The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

Chris Woodall | 2016-10-21

I listened to Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph as an audiobook on my way back from a weekend of climbing at the Gunks. Climbing always gets me into a reflective and stoic mindset because of that introspective struggle which involves both meatspace and your internal thought processes, so I was very receptive to this book on my drive back up. Ryan takes the approach of inspecting the stories of various successful people throughout space and time to extract some of the common mental tools used by all of them. The book is full of great anecdotes, and lessons which you can apply to your life, but the core piece of knowledge is really in the title. Every obstacle that life puts in front of us, no matter how bad, can be viewed as an opportunity after the fact. Who we are is a sum of the obstacles we had to undertake, and those obstacles are great growth opportunities and should be taken advantage of rather than shrouded in fear and terror. This is of course easy to say and hard to do. Some obstacles are terrible and have a very strong psychological impact, but for many obstacles we face on a day to day basis they are minor and help us hold a mirror up to ourselves.