The Obstacle Is The Way By Ryan Holiday (Book Review & Summary)

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Main Theme

  • What stands in the way,
    becomes the way.
  • Can’t control what happens to
    us – But we CAN control how
    we perceive and respond to
    what happens to us.
  • 3 keys = Perception, action,
    and will

Key Takeaway #1 – See opportunity in obstacles

  • Perception = how we decide
    what things mean to us
  • Market panic = opportunity
  • Seeing opportunity in disaster
    takes discipline and practice

Process to seeing opportunity:

-Be objective
-Control emotions
-See the good
-Steady your nerves
-Ignore what limits others
-Put things in perspective
-Revert to the now
-Focus on what can be controlled

  • “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.”

Thought process…
-There’s always another move
-No reason to get upset
-Nobody said it would be easy
-Yes, stakes are high
-Path is available if you want it

  • “Look at the reality of the
    situation… steady your nerves…
    throw your best at it.”
  • Control emotion and panic
  • Realize freaking out doesn’t add
    anything constructive.

Focus on what you CAN change:
-Emotions
-Perspective
-Creativity
-Attitude
-Desires
-Decisions
-Perseverance

Key Takeaway #2 – Act with boldness and persistence

  • It doesn’t matter what happens to
    you, but it DOES matter what
    you DO with what happens to
    you.
  • “Turn shit into sugar.”
  • Situations suck sometimes. What
    are you going to do about it?
  • Decide that quitting is not an option
  • Mindset: never in a hurry,
    worried, desperate, stopping
    short.
  • Persist & resist.
  • It’s okay to get discouraged.
  • It’s supposed to be hard.
  • Not ok to give up.
  • Embrace failure as feedback.
  • Startup failure examples.

Traits of great entrepreneurs and investors:
-Never marry a position
-Aren’t afraid to lose money
-Never get bitter or embarrassed
-Not out of the game permanently

  • Focus on the process of finishing and performing at the best of your ability.
  • Use your obstacles’ weaknesses against it

Key Takeaway #3 – Use your will power to change or accept

  • Will = internal power
  • Take on a big task without giving
    into hopelessness
  • “Sometimes a clear head and
    action aren’t enough… we need
    a greater purpose and ability to
    handle it with firmness.”

We can always…
-Prepare for difficult times
-Accept what we can’t change
-Manage expectations
-Persevere

  • Success is 99% habit and
    perseverance, and only 1%
    talent.
  • “Amor Fati” – love everything
    that happens
  • Accept whatever is outside of our control – love everything that happens to you

Final Thoughts

  • Success starts with your
    perception of obstacles
  • Persistent action in the face of
    adversity
  • Use your will to discern what
    you can and cannot change

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About the Author

Chris Dunn is the founder of Skill Incubator. He is an active investor and entrepreneur with the mission of helping people learn Skills to thrive in today's economy. Chris spends his time testing and building multiple streams of income and investing the profits. Read more here.