Ideas from the book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
“Obstacles are actually opportunities to test ourselves, try new things, and, ultimately, to triumph.” - Ryan Holiday
- When faced with insurmountable obstacles we should try to:
- Be objective.
- Control emotions and keep an even keel.
- Choose to see the good in the situation.
- Ignore what disturbs and limits others.
- Focus on what can be controlled.
- We decide what we make of each and every situation.
- The observing eye sees simply what is there. The perceiving eye sees more than what is there.
- Take your situation and pretend it is not happening to you. Pretend it is not important and that it doesn’t matter.
- Is your perspective truly giving you perspective or is it actually causing you problems?
- Focus on what you can change.
“The trick to forget about the big picture is to look at everything close up” - Chuck Palahniuk
- Focus on the moment not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.
- Obstacles illuminate new options.
- Doing new things invariably means obstacles. A new path is by definition uncleared.
- It’s okay to be discouraged. It’s not okay to quit.
- Settle in for the long haul and then try each and every possibility, and you’ll get there.
“What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first steps to something better.” - Wendell Phillips
- Lessons come hard only if you are deaf to them.
- Failure shows us the way by showing us what isn’t the way.
- Excellence is a matter of steps. Excelling at this one, then that one, and then the one after that.
- Even mammoth tasks become a series of component parts.
- Take your time, don’t rush. Some problems are harder than others.
“Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble” - Sir Henry Royce
“The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around. That’s all you need to know.” - Marcus Aurelius
- Do the best with what you’ve got.
“I don’t care if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.” - Deng Xiaoping
- Start thinking like a radical pragmatist.
“Whoever cannot seek the unforeseen sees nothing, for the known way is an impasse” - Heraclitus
- Sometimes the longest way around is the shortest way home.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” - Rahm Emanuel
“In the meantime, cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give into adversity, not to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases” - Seneca
- We must be willing to roll the dice and lose. Prepare at the end of the day for none of it to work.
- Always try to:
- Prepare yourself for more difficult times.
- Accept what you are unable to change.
- Manage your expectations.
- Learn to love your fate and what happens to you.
- Protect your inner self and retreat into yourself.
- Submit to a greater, larger cause.
- Remind yourself of your mortality.
- Have a premortem for your projects. Look at what could and will go wrong before you start.
- You must never lower yourself to becoming a person you don’t like.
- Don’t inflate your role and your importance.