The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday – Book Review
Life can be frustrating. And our life may go the wrong way. Sometimes we know what to do about them.
But we fear that we are not fit, it’s too risky, that we don’t have the knowledge or experience, or we think something better might come along.
In The Obstacle Is The Way, Holiday offers three disciplines: Perception, Action and Will.
As he explains in this book, Holiday builds up each section with historical anecdotes and figures from politics, commerce, sports, and history including Theodore Roosevelt, Demosthenes, John D Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ulysses S. Grant, Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, among others.
The Obstacle Is The Way; The Timeless Art Of Turning Trials Into Triumph. By Ryan Holiday.
Ryan Holiday is an American author, modern Stoic, public-relations strategist, owner of the Painted Porch Bookshop and host of the podcast The Daily Stoic.
Holiday’s notable works include his books on Stoic philosophy, such as The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, Stillness is the Key, Courage is Calling, and Lives of the Stoics.
The three disciplines composed in this book:
In this part of the book, Holiday points out that an individual’s perspective contributes to his or her success.
The holiday takes on the Stoic point of view by stating that an unprejudiced mind, which can resist temptation, no matter how attractive, no matter the situation can succeed.
He talks about how transformative it is to be able to understand that the worst thing to occur is for us to be faced with an obstacle and lose our steadiness of mind.
He argues that by not remaining emotionally or mentally composed, we make the problem larger and bigger upon ourselves.
He talked about individuals who founded businesses who were able to succeed because they weren’t focused on the circumstances under which they were starting their business, but rather on the products that they were trying to sell and had strong faith despite the economic crisis.
Often times in our own lives, we aren’t content to deal with things around us as they happen, because we are afraid of the environment we live in.
Then we wonder why we don’t actually have the energy to deal with our problems. And we get ourselves so worked up and intimidated because of overthinking.
Holiday encourages the reader not to get caught up in thinking about the entire situation, wishing a situation would be another type of way, but rather being mindful and in the moment.
In the preface of part II, Holiday discusses how individuals need to take action that is intentional and not just without meaning. He discusses the value of action, specifically, “directed action” and writes that action is able to “dismantle the obstacles in front of us.”
Holiday also writes that action needs to be taken with “creative application and not brute force”.
“Our movements and decisions define us: We must act with calculation, boldness, and persistence”.
Those are the attributes of right and effective action. Nothing else – not thinking or evasion or aid from others. Action is the solution and cure to our predicaments.
Many times we wait for the conditions to be the way we want them and for the situation to go our way before we act.
And you know what happens as a result of it? Nothing. We do nothing.
Your will is best used to accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can. Once you have the right perspective and know which action you should take, getting past your obstacle is a matter of will.
Once you start attacking an obstacle, quitting is not an option.
Use Obstacles Against Themselves, you overcome obstacles not by attacking them, but by withdrawing and letting them attack you.
Opposites work. Nonaction can be action. It uses the power of others and allows us to absorb their power on our own. Letting them — or the obstacle — do the work for us.
So instead of fighting obstacles, find a means of making them defeat themselves.
I rate this book 5/5.
I recommend this book to anyone who sees failure in everything and thinks they can’t get out of their trials.
Both young and old should read this framework by Holiday. Rest assured, you’ll triumph in every trial.