2016-12-02T18:40:54

The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

  • He was inclined to see the opportunity in every disaster.
  • Outward appearances are deceptive. What's within them, beneath them, is what matters.
  • revert to the present moment
  • As Gavin de Becker writes in The Gift of Fear, “When you worry, ask yourself, ‘What am I choosing to not see right now?’ What important things are you missing because you chose worry over introspection, alertness or wisdom?”
  • Objectivity means removing “you”—the subjective part—from the equation.
  • When you can break apart something, or look at it from some new angle, it loses its power over you.
  • Where the head goes, the body follows.
  • In its own way, the most harmful dragon we chase is the one that makes us think we can change things that are simply not ours to change.
  • Yet in our own lives, we aren’t content to deal with things as they happen. We have to dive endlessly into what everything “means,” whether something is “fair” or not, what’s “behind” this or that, and what everyone else is doing. Then we wonder why we don’t have the energy to actually deal with our problems. Or we get ourselves so worked up and intimidated because of the overthinking, that if we’d just gotten to work we’d probably be done already.
  • Those who survive it, survive because they took things day by day—that’s the real secret.
  • Those people with an entrepreneurial spirit are like animals, blessed to have no time and no ability to think about the ways things should be, or how they’d prefer them to be.
  • For all species other than us humans, things just are what they are. Our problem is that we’re always trying to figure out what things mean—why things are the way they are.
  • right now is right now
  • There are many things that can pull you into the present moment: Strenuous exercise. Unplugging. A walk in the park. Meditation. Getting a dog—they’re a constant reminder of how pleasant the present is.
  • He was Napoleon shouting to his soldiers: “There shall be no Alps!”
  • What advantage do you derive from someone being polite?
  • In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.
  • We must all either wear out or rust out, every one of us. My choice is to wear out. —THEODORE ROOSEVELT
  • That’s the next step: ramming your feet into the stirrups and really going for it. That’s definitely not what they say about most leaders today.
  • Failure shows us the way—by showing us what isn’t the way.
  • Okay, you’ve got to do something very difficult. Don’t focus on that. Instead break it down into pieces. Simply do what you need to do right now. And do it well. And then move on to the next thing. Follow the process and not the prize.
  • But envision, for a second, a master practicing an exceedingly difficult craft and making it look effortless. There’s no strain, no struggling. So relaxed. No exertion or worry. Just one clean movement after another. That’s a result of the process.
  • Or worse, how many people are paralyzed by all their ideas and inspirations? They chase them all and go nowhere, distracting themselves and never making headway. They’re brilliant, sure, but they rarely execute. They rarely get where they want and need to go.
  • Only self-absorbed assholes think they are too good for whatever their current station requires.
  • You’ve got your mission, whatever it is. To accomplish it, like the rest of us you’re in the pinch between the way you wish things were and the way they actually are (which always seem to be a disaster). How far are you willing to go? What are you willing to do about it?
  • Or, in some cases, giving the middle finger to the people trying to hold you down and blowing right through their evil, disgusting rules.
  • Start thinking like a radical pragmatist: still ambitious, aggressive, and rooted in ideals, but also imminently practical and guided by the possible.
  • Whoever cannot seek the unforeseen sees nothing, for the known way is an impasse. —HERACLITUS
  • Part of the reason why a certain skill often seems so effortless for great masters is not just because they’ve mastered the process—they really are doing less than the rest of us who don’t know any better. They choose to exert only calculated force where it will be effective, rather than straining and struggling with pointless attrition tactics.
  • You don’t convince people by challenging their longest and most firmly held opinions. You find common ground and work from there. Or you look for leverage to make them listen. Or you create an alterative with so much support from other people that the opposition voluntarily abandons its views and joins your camp.
  • When we want things too badly we can be our own worst enemy.
  • The great strategist Saul Alinsky believed that if you “push a negative hard enough and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.” Every positive has its negative. Every negative has its positive. The action is in the pushing through—all the way through to the other side. Making a negative into a positive.
  • Think water. When dammed by a man-made obstacle, it does not simply sit stagnant.
  • You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.
  • For it is bursts of energy directed at decisive points that break things wide open.
  • The world could use fewer martyrs.
  • If Perception and Action were the disciplines of the mind and the body, then Will is the discipline of the heart and the soul.
  • Certain things in life will cut you open like a knife. When that happens—at that exposing moment—the world gets a glimpse of what’s truly inside you. So what will be revealed when you’re sliced open by tension and pressure? Iron? Or air? Or bullshit?
  • We can think, act, and finally adjust to a world that is inherently unpredictable. The will is what prepares us for this, protects us against it, and allows us to thrive and be happy in spite of it.
  • It’s much easier to control our perceptions and emotions than it is to give up our desire to control other people and events. It’s easier to persist in our efforts and actions than to endure the uncomfortable or the painful. It’s easier to think and act than it is to practice wisdom.
  • “If you’re not humble, life will visit humbleness upon you.”
  • Chimeras are like bandages—they hurt only when torn away.
  • It takes toughness, humility, and will to accept them for what they actually are. It takes a real man or woman to face necessity.
  • they understood ultimately that what happened would happen. And they’d go from there.
  • This is what I’ve got to do or put up with? Well, I might as well be happy about it.
  • Determination, if you think about it, is invincible.
  • We forget how light our grip on life really is. Otherwise, we wouldn’t spend so much time obsessing over trivialities, or trying to become famous, make more money than we could ever spend in our lifetime, or make plans far off in the future. All of these are negated by death.
  • Someone on a deadline doesn’t indulge himself with attempts at the impossible, he doesn’t waste time complaining about how he’d like things to be.
  • One does not overcome an obstacle to enter the land of no obstacles.
  • Knowing that life is a marathon and not a sprint is important.
  • the powers of perception, action, and the will.

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