Key Takeaways From The Obstacle Is the Way

The words of Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius highlight a truth any high achiever has lived by, obstacles are opportunities in disguise. “The Obstacles in the Way” provides a recipe to follow so anyone can triumph in the face of adversity. The stories of great inventors, entrepreneurs and pioneers of their time who overcame obstacles are analyzed so anyone can emulate their success.

My key Takeaways from "The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph" by Ryan Holiday

Turn Obstacles Into Advantages
How many times did you give up on something because of an obstacle that made you either change direction or give up on your focus entirely? Obstacles occur in every aspect of daily life and should be tackled head on, turned into advantages instead of excuses, and used as a stepping stone to success. How? By focusing on the following 3 things:

Perception -Instead of thinking an obstacle is hindering or blocking a plan, that nothing ever goes your way and that this cannot be overcome, drop the emotion and look at the obstacle from an objective point of view. See it in a positive light and you'll see hidden possibilities and opportunities. When the going gets tough, remember that the largest obstacles hide the largest weaknesses. Use the strength of that obstacle against it until you weaken it so much that it crumbles.

Action- Panic never helped anyone, instead, you need to summon all of your self-discipline. With persistence and tenacity as well as by being flexible and creative you can overcome any obstacle. Sometimes you get through one obstacle to find another standing in your way, in this case, don't focus on the outcome but instead on completing each challenge individually – A mountain is climbed 1 step at a time, not all at once!

Will – You need enough willpower and belief in yourself to persevere and eventually overcome the obstacle without giving up but you must also understand and accept what cannot be changed and what can be changed. You cannot change external factors such as natural disasters, death, or other people's action. You can change the internal factor; how you react to an event or situation.



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The Obstacle Is the Way Chapters

Chapter One - The Discipline of Perception
Chapter Two - Recognize Your Power
Chapter Three - Steady Your Nerves
Chapter Four - Control Your Emotions
Chapter Five - Practice Objectivity
Chapter Six - Alter Your Perspective
Chapter Seven - Is It Up to You?
Chapter Eight - Live in the Present Moment
Chapter Nine - Think Differently
Chapter Ten - Finding the Opportunity
Chapter Eleven - Prepare to Act
Chapter Twelve - The Discipline of Action
Chapter Thirteen - Get Moving
Chapter Fourteen - Practice Persistence
Chapter Fifteen - Iterate
Chapter Sixteen - Follow the Process
Chapter Seventeen - Do Your Job, Do it Right
Chapter Eighteen - What's Right is what Works
Chapter Nineteen - In Praise of the Flank Attack
Chapter Twenty - Use Obstacles against Themselves
Chapter Twenty-One - Channel Your Energy
Chapter Twenty-Two - Seize the Offensive
Chapter Twenty-Three - Prepare for None of it to Work
Chapter Twenty-Four - The Discipline of the Will
Chapter Twenty-Five - Build Your Inner Citadel
Chapter Twenty-Six - Anticipation (Thinking Negatively)
Chapter Twenty-Seven - The Art of Acquiesence
Chapter Twenty-Eight - Love Everything that Happens: Amor Fati
Chapter Twenty-Nine - Perseverance
Chapter Thirty - Something Bigger Than Yourself
Chapter Thirty-One - Meditate on Your Mortality
Chapter Thirty-Two - Prepare to Start Again


Best Quotes from The Obstacle Is the Way

“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”

“Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”

“Think progress, not perfection.”

“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.”

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”

“Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”

“Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well.”

“If an emotion can't change the condition or the situation you're dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion. Or, quite possibly, a destructive one. But it's what I feel. Right, no one said anything about not feeling it. No one said you can't even cry. Forget "manliness." If you need to take a moment, by all means, go ahead. 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.”

“Just because your mind tells you that something is awful or evil or unplanned or otherwise negative doesn’t mean you have to agree. Just because other people say that something is hopeless or crazy or broken to pieces doesn’t mean it is. We decide what story to tell ourselves.”

“Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.”

“For all species other than us humans, things just are what they are. Our problem is that we’re always trying to figure out what things mean—why things are the way they are. As though the why matters. Emerson put it best: “We cannot spend the day in explanation.” Don’t waste time on false constructs.”

“The only guarantee, ever, is that things will go wrong. The only thing we can use to mitigate this is anticipation. Because the only variable we control completely is ourselves.”

― Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph


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Apply What You Read

Editor and Founder

Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating the next generation of leaders to their true potential.

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