Where you choose to focus your energy has an outsize impact on success and happiness.
Ryan Holiday joined us at work in June 2020 to discuss The Obstacle is the Way, life after COVID-19, and other tips for success. We got to spend around 45 minutes listening to a lecture from him followed by Q&A. My notes are below.
In life we don’t control what happens but we do control how we respond.
Accept reality unflinchingly. Accept that you have a lot of power over everything else.
Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies are muddled by crisis. Great companies are improved by crisis.Andy Grove
Two main reasons for his success:
1. Develop mentors – find people who have done what you want to do. Attach yourself to them. Put up with anything. Do any job. Play any role to get into a position to learn from them.
2. Read widely and learn from history and those who have gone before you.
Most people have been doing modern marketing for 150 years. Tactics change but you can learn a ton from people like David Ogilvy in 2020. People focus too much on tactics instead of principles.
Paid media can be boring and earned media has to be interesting. Do things that are so interesting that others want to share them. Boring media is expensive.
As the world becomes crazy, it necessitates normal order within ourselves. If you have more time on your hands, use it to create more order and structure. Structure creates presence and focus.
We tend to think of obstacles as one-time occurrences. The reality is more of Murphy’s Law, we are always bouncing into new problems each day.
Obstacles are bigger in our imagination than they often are in reality.
His morning routine: wakes up early and first thing he does is avoid phone for a minimum of three hours. Don’t let outside noise interfere with your day.
Make before you manage.Tim Ferriss
Do your most important thing of the day first before you get sucked into the world.
If you put off the things that require focus, concentration, and clarity, you have a million excuses to not do it later in the day.
Stillness is primarily about owning the morning.
Stoicism isn’t the absence of emotion, it is the absence of destructive emotion.
You pick each day if you want to have alive time or dead time. Dead time: Sit back and watch time tick away. Alive time: you do everything you can to be successful. You can waste years as Dead Time.
Are you using your days or are you watching them waste away?
Ryan Holiday’s 2020 Book Recommendations
School: your paper must be a minimum 5 pages.— Morgan Housel (@morganhousel) May 7, 2020
Real world: explain it to me in seven seconds or I’m out of here.
There are indeed no great men to their valets. But the laugh is on the valet. He sees, inevitably, all the traits that are not relevant, all the traits that have nothing to do with the specific task for which a man has been called on the stage of history. – Peter Drucker
The Levels of Problem-solving:
Level 1 — You solve the problem.
Level 2 — You solve the problem that caused the problem.
Level 3 — You avoid the problem that caused the problem.
Level 3 is the most valuable but hardest to see.
“I’m a believer in the ordinary and the mundane. These guys that talk about ‘quality time’ — I always find that a little sad when they say, ‘We have quality time.’ I don’t want quality time. I want the garbage time. That’s what I like. You just see them in their room reading a comic book and you get to kind of watch that for a minute, or [having] a bowl of Cheerios at 11 o’clock at night when they’re not even supposed to be up. The garbage, that’s what I love.”
When you realize there is no such thing as “quality time,” when you become okay with “garbage time,” you end up getting the best kind of time there is. You get the moment right in front of you.https://forge.medium.com/theres-no-such-thing-as-quality-time-58db618c099d
So what are the takeaways for a small business owner, middle manager or senior executive? C.C. is living proof that results can matter more than paradigms. You don’t need buzzwords to build. You don’t need inspirational posters to inspire. You need to work, and once you are known for that work, your personal brand, in turn, will bring even more work. It’s a virtuous cycle.On the Cover: The World’s Fastest Man
There’s room to balance both ambition to do big things, and the simple practice of finding pennies.
You don’t have to be a crazy monk sitting in silence all day to enjoy your life. You should be able to enjoy it right now, with what’s around you.
Balancing seeing with being seen. Balancing striving with finding pennies.
Applying love and understanding to ourselves and the people around us.
The most damaging thing you learned in school wasn’t something you learned in any specific class. It was learning to get good grades.
When I was in college, a particularly earnest philosophy grad student once told me that he never cared what grade he got in a class, only what he learned in it. This stuck in my mind because it was the only time I ever heard anyone say such a thing.http://paulgraham.com/lesson.html