Why do obstacles exist in the first place? This has been an age-old question, and for most people, obstacles and, generally, difficulties in life shouldn’t exist.
Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of our world. Good and bad, obstacles and opportunities are all woven into the fabric of reality, and there’s nothing that can change that.
Aside from not understanding and accepting why obstacles exist, a significant portion of the population generally shies away from obstacles.
So, the question is, how can you overcome obstacles and pivot yourself to success? Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is The Way has the answer to this and more.
About Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs, Growth Hacker Marketing, and Trust Me I’m Lying.
Other notable books he’s authored include The Daily Stoic and Ego Is the Enemy.
He has been an advisor, writer, and strategist to companies and individuals like The New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, and writer Robert Greene. He is also the former director of marketing for American Apparel.
In addition to his writing, Ryan has worked with companies like Complex, Google, TASER, and surprisingly with some of the best-known musicians in the country.
Here are ten key ideas from the Obstacle is The Way By Ryan Holiday.
StoryShot #1: All Problems Are The Same, What Matters Is Your Perception
In any situation, the nature of the problem is always the same: it is an obstacle that stands in our way. The question is not the problem but how we deal with it.
The first step to overcoming any obstacle is understanding the problem’s nature. All problems are comprised of three things:
-The challenge itself
-Your reaction to the challenge
-Your actions in response to your reaction
Our perception of obstacles determines whether we see them as threats or opportunities. If we see obstacles as threats, we will avoid them or try to remove them. However, if we see obstacles as opportunities, we will embrace them and use them to our advantage.
To change our perception of obstacles, we must first understand why we see them as threats. Often, it is because we focus on the negative aspects of the obstacle instead of the potential positive outcomes. For example, if we face a difficult challenge at work, we may focus on all the ways it could go wrong instead of considering how it could help us grow and develop new skills.
Once we understand why our perception of obstacles is often negative, we can begin to change it. Instead of focusing on the negatives, try to look for the positives. Consider how the obstacle could help you grow and learn new things. Embrace the challenge instead of avoiding it.
When you start to see obstacles as opportunities instead of threats, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. You will find yourself taking on more challenges and overcoming greater obstacles than you ever thought possible.
You can change the outcome if you can change your reaction and/or your actions. Problems are not insurmountable; they are challenges to be faced and overcome. Keep this in mind next time you’re faced with an obstacle, and it will seem a lot less daunting.
StoryShot #2: Remember What’s Important – Practice and Maintain Objectivity No Matter What!
This means you must keep your head cool and avoid getting caught up in emotions when making decisions. Getting too emotional about something will cloud your judgment and ruin any chance of making good choices for yourself or others around you.
The trick here is knowing when enough is enough; if something isn’t important enough for you, why should you waste time on it?
No matter what obstacles you encounter in life, it is important to remember what is truly important and to remain objective. This can be difficult, but it is essential to achieve success.
Don’t get bogged down by the details of your problems; instead, focus on the bigger picture and what you want to achieve. It can be easy to get lost in the negative aspects of a situation, but if you stay positive and keep your eye on the prize, you will be more likely to overcome any obstacle.
Trust your gut instinct and rational analysis of the situation. Don’t let anyone or something else control your decisions. A prime example of this is the story of Rockefeller, whose success can be attributed to the principle of being objective and steadfast even when everyone around him was scrambling.
Ultimately, you are the only one who knows what is best for you. So, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and make decisions that are in your best interest.
StoryShot #3: Focus On The Present
When faced with any challenge or working on a goal, the first impulse is to think about previous experiences. After all, it’s an impulse we all learn at a young age to learn from previous events.
Presumably, past experiences and speculations about the future help make better decisions. However, it brings some irrationality into the mix.
Case in point, while the economy is in recession, some companies somehow profit and grow in stark contrast to the rest. Some of these businesses began operating when all signs indicated looming trouble.
One common thing these companies or their founders share is the ability to focus on the present. There are two options when facing adversity: to face it and grow or to run away from the challenge.
Like everything in life, challenges involve events we can and can’t control. Instead of being paralyzed by speculations of doom in the future, or terrible events in the past, you can take action. Do your best with what you can control, and accept your fate with what is beyond you.
StoryShot #4: Take Action
To overcome your fears, you must take action. Taking action will help you to face your fears head-on and eventually overcome them. If you let your fears control you, they will only grow stronger and hold you back from achieving your goals.
So instead of letting your fears win, take action and conquer them!
The first step is to identify the obstacle standing in your way. Once you know what it is, you can start to develop a plan to overcome it. This may involve seeking help from others, researching, or taking time to reflect on the situation.
With the plan ready, take action and put it into motion. It won’t be easy, but if you’re committed to overcoming the obstacle, you’ll find a way to succeed.
StoryShot #5: Embrace Discipline To Achieve Success and Freedom
An understanding of the fact that unchecked emotions can compromise logic and detract from the noblest ambitions is never enough.
Understanding this fact is one part of the solution; the application comes in the form of or is supported by discipline. Discipline, in this case, refers to the ability to consciously and faithfully follow through with one’s plans.
When we are disciplined in our actions and thoughts, we are free from the negative emotions and impulses that can hold us back. We can also better control our destiny when we are disciplined.
Julius Caesar and Steve Jobs are some great personalities who relied on discipline in their pursuit of success. In the battle between the Romans and Gauls, Caesar carefully planned his campaign rather than simply charging into battle, using every tool at his disposal. This allowed him to not only defeat the Gauls but also to do so with minimal casualties.
Similarly, Steve Jobs’ focus on discipline and attention to detail made Apple one of the most successful companies in history. Jobs was known for being a demanding boss, but he also got the best out of his team by setting high standards and holding them accountable.
Think about it this way, you want to start an e-commerce store, but you’re always short on time. Time scarcity is the challenge in this case. With discipline, you can carve out at least an hour or two each day after or before work to work on your business.
With discipline, you won’t be held back by negative thoughts that you don’t have the time for it or that it’s a holiday, so you don’t have to work on your goal. You’ll commit yourself to see it through no matter what!
This doesn’t mean that life will always be easy, but you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever challenges come your way.