Book: Obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday


Dont panic. It will be ok. One foot at a time.

This book is ultimately about perseverance. Ryan gives examples about how we can use stoic philosophy to deal with current situation and to end victorious.





  1. Keep cool head
  2. Observe, dont feel, assess the situation
  3. What can you change? How can you do it better?
  4. Give it your 100%
  5. Seriously
  6. Now invent new approaches. Think outside the box
  7. Again
  8. You can loose anyway
  9. You control only you
  10. You’ll die anyway

All that kind of reminds me of Observe, Orient, Work approach described by Hadfield and recommended by NASA.

Obstacle can also be beneficial. Breaks you out of your comfort zone and forces to learn skills and make contacts that will make you successful in the future.

I also find that the more often you face and overcome and obstacle, the easier it becomes in the future.

In regard to companies, the industry-wide obstacle is weeding out the competition.

Honestly, I found a lot of this very intuitive, but I am not dealing with any issue right now.

But the main takeway is: dont panic. It will be ok. One foot at a time.

My Clippings

  • Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them?
  • It teaches you how to get unstuck, unfucked, and unleashed.
  • We’re soft, entitled, and scared of conflict.
  • Great times are great softeners. Abundance
  • Objective judgment, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance—now at this very moment—of all external events. That’s all you need. —MARCUS AURELIUS
  • To be objective To control emotions and keep an even keel To choose to see the good in a situation To steady our nerves To ignore what disturbs or limits others To place things in perspective To revert to the present moment To focus on what can be controlled
  • Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been. —MARCUS AURELIUS
  • We decide whether we’ll assent or reject. No one can force us to give up or to believe something that is untrue (such as, that a situation is absolutely hopeless or impossible to improve). Our perceptions are the thing that we’re in complete control of.
  • did not have much power, but he understood that that was not the same thing as being powerless.
  • “Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” as Shakespeare put it.
  • Just because your mind tells you that something is awful or evil or unplanned or otherwise negative doesn’t mean you have to agree.
  • Like: I refuse to acknowledge that. I don’t agree to be intimidated. I resist the temptation to declare this a failure.
  • There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up. No one said it would be easy and, of course, the stakes are high, but the path is there for those ready to take
  • Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist.
  • Do I need to freak out about this?
  • Don’t let the force of an impression when it first hit you knock you off your feet; just say to it: Hold on a moment; let me see who you are and what you represent. Let me put you to the test. —EPICTETUS
  • The perceiving eye is weak, he wrote; the observing eye is strong.
  • Nietzsche, sometimes being superficial—taking things only at first glance—is the most profound approach.
  • Marcus Aurelius had a version of this exercise where he’d describe glamorous or expensive things without their euphemisms—roasted meat is a dead animal and vintage wine is old, fermented grapes. The aim was to see these things as they really are, without any of the ornamentation.
  • Take your situation and pretend it is not happening to you.
  • He was the answer to their prayers, not the other way around. That
  • And what is up to us? Our emotions Our judgments Our creativity Our attitude Our perspective Our desires Our decisions Our determination
  • The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up. —CHUCK PALAHNIUK
  • Socrates had a mean, nagging wife; he always said that being married to her was good practice for philosophy.
  • We must all either wear out or rust out, every one of us. My choice is to wear out. —THEODORE ROOSEVELT
  • For some reason, these days we tend to downplay the importance of aggression, of taking risks, of barreling forward. It’s probably because it’s been negatively associated with certain notions of violence or masculinity.
  • Too many people think that great victories like Grant’s and Edison’s came from a flash of insight. That they cracked the problem with pure genius. In fact, it was the slow pressure, repeated from many different angles, the elimination of so many other more promising options, that slowly and surely churned the solution to the top of the pile. Their genius was unity of purpose, deafness to doubt, and the desire to stay at it.
  • Working at it works. It’s that simple. (But again, not easy.)
  • Great entrepreneurs are: never wedded to a position never afraid to lose a little of their investment never bitter or embarrassed never out of the game for long
  • break it down into pieces. Simply do what you need to do right now. And do it well.
  • Only self-absorbed assholes think they are too good for whatever their current station requires.
  • To whatever we face, our job is to respond with: hard work honesty helping others as best we can
  • The great psychologist Viktor Frankl, survivor of three concentration camps, found presumptuousness in the age-old question: “What is the meaning of life?” As though it is someone else’s responsibility to tell you. Instead, he said, the world is asking you that question. And it’s your job to answer with your actions.
  • don’t care if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”
  • “Don’t go expecting Plato’s Republic.”
  • never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Things that we had
  • exercise in hindsight—in advance. She is using a technique designed by psychologist Gary Klein known as a premortem.
  • premeditatio malorum (premeditation of evils).
  • Say it with me: C’est la vie. It’s all fine.
  • Letters used to be signed “Deo volente”—God willing. Because who knew what would happen?
  • To do great things, we need to be able to endure tragedy and setbacks.
  • this: loving whatever happens to us and facing it with unfailing cheerfulness.
  • This is what I’ve got to do or put up with? Well, I might as well be happy about it.
  • When Antonio Pigafetta, the assistant to Magellan on his trip around the world, reflected on his boss’s greatest and most admirable skill, what do you think he said? It had nothing to do with sailing. The secret to his success, Pigafetta said, was Magellan’s ability to endure hunger better than the other men.
  • We can turn even this to our advantage. Always.
  • And if our only option—as was the case with Marcus—because of someone else’s greed or lust for power, is simply to be a good person and practice forgiveness? Well, that’s still a pretty good option.

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