The Obstacle Is the Way
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” (Marcus Aurelius)
Ryan Holiday takes you through history and sifts through philosophies to get to the simple notion that what stands in your way becomes your way. If you’re not quite up for reading about stoicism and/or just can’t seem to drag yourself to a library to sift through ancient texts, Holiday brings it to you in a fresh, modern and actionable book.
From Ryan’s site, I highlighted his notes about what he learned reading Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations:
In my first read of Meditations, I highlighted the line “It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character.” In a later read I added brackets around that line, just for more emphasis. And I underlined in pen what came after, “Otherwise, it cannot harm you—inside or out.”
If this makes sense to you, Ryan’s books will make sense to you. If you don’t quite get this, you might start with The Obstacle is the Way.
Perhaps, because I have recently changed so much about my life and have righted my ship towards the direction of my heart (rather than of my mind), I not only read what Holiday writes, I don’t just get it, it’s not only that I believe it and do it, but I’m living it.
If you’re still struggling with challenges and life just seems like one big mountain of sand, read his book and get some traction. How can you turn some of those roadblocks into detours? Feeling that rumble strip on the side of the road, get focused back on your path. Holiday uses famous (and less famous) personas from the past to show us that maybe it’s not really that complicated, maybe it doesn’t need to be “so much work” and struggle and misery.
Take the power of water. A river is going to find a way. It doesn’t think too much when it comes up against a mountain, it just goes around it (good idea) or waits until the mountain dissolves (slower) under the pressure that the water builds up. So why wait? Find a way around and turn that mountain into your ally and make the obstacle the way.
Good show, Mr. Holiday. I just bought your latest Audible collection of “The Daily Stoic.”
If you’d like a bit of a primer on stoicism,
- What Is Stoicism? A Simple Definition & 10 Stoic Core Principles From Nils and Jonas Salzgeber who are on their journey to live a great life and become the best versions of themselves. They even have a “13 Illustrated Ways Stoicism Helps with Everyday Life” download at the end of their post.
More from Ryan Holiday:
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph (Audible edition)
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living (Audible edition)
- Ego Is the Enemy (Audible edition)