Hey, what’s up guys?
Stan here, and this is week six, book six, “Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday.
Now, a key takeaway from this book is essentially the title.
It comes from this Marcus Aurelius quote, which is,
“an impediment to action, advances action. what stand in the way, becomes the way.”
Now, there’s a lot to this, but I think maybe why my takeaway comes into play is that when you see an obstacle in your way in life, you shouldn’t look at is as a negative thing. You should take it as an opportunity.
Now, this is extremely hard to do, and it takes a lot of practice, and even when you are good at it, you’re still going to have moments of weakness, where you’re not as good as you should be.
But I guess what I like about it, it makes you second guess all the negative things in your life that, you could look at these negative things as being a nuisance, or as being hurtful, or make you sad, or any other negative emotion.
Or you could look at them as opportunity to develop, or as an opportunity to push forward in life. And, by switching that mentality up inside your head, you end up having a much more fulfilling and a much more positive life, because you take this obstacle, and you turn it into a positive growth moment, rather than a negative period of your life.
That seems a lot easier said than done, but, you know, you can do it everywhere.
Now, I think where this quote really resonated with me is that idea that you get to choose your attitude.
You get to choose whether or not the obstacle is something for you to get mad at, or treat negatively, or do you use it as a positive growth and development opportunity.
And I think that’s quite important, because everything in life can be seen in both lights, negative or positive. It’s entirely up to you how you see it. There’s one part in the book where he said,
“people can’t frustrate you, you can just be frustrated.”
That people can’t change the way you feel. How you let that affect you is what changes your attitude.
So, someone that you think is frustrating you, could just as easily be making you laugh, it’s up to you and how you interact with that person, and how you take whatever they’re doing and let it affect you.
How many times have we said, “Oh, he’s so annoying,” or “she’s so frustrating”, or whatever it is that you’re saying, but really, you’ve let that person get to you.
It’s like road rage, where someone cuts you off, and they may have done it intentionally, or they may have done it unintentionally, but how you react to it is how you feel.
They didn’t make you get pissed off, and beep your horn and yell and scream out the window, that’s your choice, not theirs.
Now, that little bit about how you let things affect you is one part of what I took out of it, and I guess it’s quite big, because I get frustrated over a lot of things, and as soon as you haven’t eaten for a few hours, everything ticks you off.
My next takeaway was using obstacles as a way of developing yourself.
I think that in this perspective, I’ve been quite good in recent years, where I’ve taken these obstacles that have been thrown at me, in terms of life and work, and used that obstacle as a way of growth and development, and being able to overcome that obstacle, and come out the other side, and be able to look back and say,
“Wow, I really did get over top of that”
I had something standing in my way, or I had barrier that was not letting me achieve what I wanted to achieve, and I managed to find a way around that and come out the other side successful.
I’ve managed to do that quite a number of times in my career and, I guess, if anything, that’s probably where most of my successes come, not just in actual, tangible stuff where I’ve been able to make more profit here, or make more revenue there, or save costs there, but also in terms of people and development where I’ve had a certain person who potentially was an obstacle.
Maybe they needed a lot of development, or maybe I needed to move them on from their position because they weren’t performing, or weren’t part of the team, and having the emotional intelligence and the leadership skills to be able to work through that obstacle and either help that person, or inevitably with some people, you have to just move them on and let them be successful somewhere else.
All of those things, and all of those obstacles, I’ve used as development opportunities and I’ve said to myself,
“okay, what do I need to do?
“How do I need to get through this?
“What I have I done in the past that has worked?
“What have I done in the past that hasn’t worked?
“How can I change my approach to get an even better outcome?”
I constantly do that in these situations. I constantly go through all the iterations of the times I’ve done it before and see how I could be better.
I think it’s quite important, and quite a good lesson at the start of this year, to read a book like this to make sure you’re back on track, you’re back on par.
Okay, the obstacles that are gonna come up this year, this is how I’m going to approach them. I’m always gonna have a positive outlook with them, and I’m gonna know this is a development opportunity, it’s not gonna be easy, but I’m gonna take the lessons I learned here, and I’m gonna help apply them to future projects, and it’s going to help me grow as a person.
I think by doing that, you give yourself the best opportunity to succeed in life, and for me, it’s worked.
And that’s what I got out of this book. I think it really gave me some tools and some lessons to be able to do that, and also it gave me that affirmation that what I am doing is a good approach, and that I should keep to it.
So, yeah, that was my key takeaway. I hope that you read the book, you enjoyed it, and you got a bit out of it as well. It’s a really good book.
Otherwise, hit me up in the comments about what you thought of this book, and we’ll see you next week.