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The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
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“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.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
“Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”
Marcus Aurelius, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“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.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Think progress, not perfection.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and herever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
“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 ever 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.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
“Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
“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.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“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 Adversity to Advantage
“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.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“It’s okay to be discouraged. It’s not okay to quit. To know you want to quit but to plant your feet and keep inching closer until you take the impenetrable fortress you’ve decided to lay siege to in your own life—that’s persistence.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Andrew Carnegie famously put it. There’s nothing shameful about sweeping. It’s just another opportunity to excel—and to learn. But you, you’re so busy thinking about the future, you don’t take any pride in the tasks you’re given right now. You just phone it all in, cash your paycheck, and dream of some higher station in life. Or you think, This is just a job, it isn’t who I am, it doesn’t matter. Foolishness. Everything we do matters—whether it’s making smoothies while you save up money or studying for the bar—even after you already achieved the success you sought.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices. —EPICTETUS”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“We’ve all done it. Said: “I am so [overwhelmed, tired, stressed, busy, blocked, outmatched].” And then what do we do about it? Go out and party. Or treat ourselves. Or sleep in. Or wait. It feels better to ignore or pretend. But you know deep down that that isn’t going to truly make it any better. You’ve got to act. And you’ve got to start now.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“You know what’s better than building things up in your imagination? Building things up in real life.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“What such a man needs is not courage but nerve control, cool headedness. This he can get only by practice. —THEODORE ROOSEVELT”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“To argue, to complain, or worse, to just give up, these are choices. Choices that more often than not, do nothing to get us across the finish line.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Epictetus told his students, when they’d quote some great thinker, to picture themselves observing the person having sex. It’s funny, you should try it the next time someone intimidates you or makes you feel insecure. See them in your mind, grunting, groaning, and awkward in their private life—just like the rest of us.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Failure shows us the way—by showing us what isn’t the way.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Stop looking for an epiphany, and start looking for weak points. Stop looking for angels, and start looking for angles.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph
“In every situation, life is asking us a question, and our actions are the answer.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“True will is quiet humility, resilience, and flexibility; the other kind of will is weakness disguised by bluster and ambition. See which lasts longer under the hardest of obstacles.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Remember that this moment is not your life, it’s just a moment in your life. Focus on what is in front of you, right now. Ignore what it “represents” or it “means” or “why it happened to you.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Blessings and burdens are not mutually exclusive.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“All great victories, be they in politics, business, art, or seduction, involved resolving vexing problems with a potent cocktail of creativity, focus, and daring. When you have a goal, obstacles are actually teaching you how to get where you want to go—carving you a path. “The Things which hurt,” Benjamin Franklin wrote, “instruct.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Each time, you’ll learn something. Each time, you’ll develop strength, wisdom, and perspective. Each time, a little more of the competition falls away. Until all that is left is you: the best version of you.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“To prevent becoming overwhelmed by the world around us, we must, as the ancients practiced, learn how to limit our passions and their control over our lives. It takes skill and discipline to bat away the pests of bad perceptions, to separate reliable signals from deceptive ones, to filter out prejudice, expectation, and fear. But it’s worth it, for what’s left is truth. While others are excited or afraid, we will remain calm and imperturbable. We will see things simply and straightforwardly, as they truly are—neither good nor bad.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage
“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant. —VIKTOR FRANKL”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

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