I just finished reading The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. What a great book. When it first came out, Michael Lombardi and Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots picked it up. They shared copies of the book with players and coaching staff and the team won the Super Bowl that year.
The book is based on stoicism which is a philosophy that highlights our inner strength over external circumstances. We can only control ourselves.
The book talks about Marcus Aurelius’ writing in the year 170 and ties it back to modern stories. Marcus Aurelius wrote words that we still read today and their timeless strength is incredible. Aurelius wrote, “Our actions can be impeded… but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting… The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
The obstacle is the way. The lost job. The broken relationship. The diagnosis. The financial disaster. The obstacle is the way.
It’s hard to see it when we’re in the middle of it. But walking through the fire is what molds us, helps us grow, strengthens our character and puts us on the path to our destiny.
Ryan Holiday writes in his book, “We’re dissatisfied with our jobs, our relationships, our place in the world. We’re trying to get somewhere, but something stands in the way. So we do nothing. We blame our bosses, the economy, our politicians, other people, or we write ourselves off as failures or our goals as impossible. When really only one thing is at fault: our attitude and approach.”
Our mindset is everything. We become what we believe. What is holding us back from becoming all that we were meant to be? What wall is in front of us that we are scared to climb over? Get a foot hold and start clawing your way up. Never forget that the obstacle is the way.