15 The Obstacle Is The Way Quotes by Ryan Holiday: Setting Stoic Philosophy Into Action

The Obstacle Is the Way Quotes Ryan Holiday

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click them, I could earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you!

The Obstacle is the Way Quotes

The Obstacle Is the Way Quotes

The Obstacle is the Way Quotes

Typically, we pick out and find the books we read, but sometimes, a book finds you.

In December, The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday found me while I was on a Christmas holiday at the cabin in the Tennessee mountains my family and I visit yearly. While squeezing my huge rolling suitcase into the corner of the second-floor landing, I jostled a table filled with a few stacks of books, and this one fell on my feet.

Given the enigmatic title and the circumstances, I took it as a sign from the universe that I was meant to read it.

I’ve never read much Stoic philosophy. I read Plato’s Republic ages ago and wasn’t exactly riveted. Even the word “Stoic” doesn’t conjure much excitement. Yet, here I was starting off the new year with a book on incorporating a Stoic mindset into day-to-day life. Having finished it, I’m hungry for more. The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius are next on my reading list.

In case you’re wondering, I do plan to return The Obstacle Is The Way to the cabin next year, so I’m not technically a book thief. More like a long-term book borrower. After spending a year with me, I’m sure it will be ready to return home so it can fly off to someone else.

The Obstacle Is the Way Quotes

15 The Obstacle Is The Way Quotes by Ryan Holiday (with page numbers)

The Obstacle Is the Way Quotes

1. “We decide what we will make of each and every situation. We decide whether we’ll break or whether we’ll resist. We decide whether we’ll assent or reject. No one can force us to give up or to believe something that is untrue (such as, that a situation is absolutely hopeless or impossible to improve). Our perceptions are the thing that we’re in complete control of.” “Recognize Your Power” (pg. 21)

2. “…if we have our wits fully about us, we can step back and remember that situations, by themselves, cannot be good or bad. This is something–a judgment–that we, as human beings, bring to them with our perceptions.” “Recognize Your Power” (pg. 21)

3. “There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.” “Recognize Your Power” (pg. 22)

4. “The Greeks had a word for this: apatheia. It’s the kind of calm equanimity that comes with the absence of irrational or extreme emotions. Not the loss of feeling altogether, just the loss of the harmful, unhelpful kind. Don’t let the negativity in, don’t let those emotions even get started. Just say: No, thank you. I can’t afford to panic.” “Control Your Emotions” (pg. 29)

5. “When given an unfair task, some rightly see it as a chance to test what they’re made of–to give it all they’ve got, knowing full well how difficult it will be to win. They see it as an opportunity because it is often in that desperate nothing-to-lose state that we are our most creative. Our best ideas come from there, where obstacles illuminate new options.” “Think Differently” (pg. 52)

6. “It feels better to ignore or pretend. But you know deep down that that isn’t going to truly make it any better. You’ve got to act. And you’ve got to start now.” “The Discipline of Action” (pg. 68)

7. “Life can be frustrating. Oftentimes we know what our problems are. We may even know what to do about them. But we fear that taking action is too risky, that we don’t have the experience or that it’s not how we pictured it or because it’s too expensive, because it’s too soon, because we think something better might come along, because it might not work. And you know what happens as a result? Nothing. We do nothing.” “Get Moving” (pg. 72)

8. “The one way to guarantee we don’t benefit from failure–to ensure it is a bad thing–is to not learn from it.” “Iterate” (pg. 85)

9. “We spend a lot of time thinking about how things are supposed to be, or what the rules say we should do. Trying to get it all perfect. We tell ourselves that we’ll get started once the conditions are right, or once we’re sure we can trust this or that. When, really, it’d be better to focus on making do with what we’ve got. On focusing on results instead of pretty methods.” “What’s Right Is What Works” (pg. 99)

10. “Think progress, not perfection. Under this kind of force, obstacles break apart. They have no choice. Since you’re going around them or making them irrelevant, there is nothing for them to resist.” “What’s Right Is What Works” (pg. 102)

11. “As such, the will is the critical third discipline. 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 is also the most difficult of all the disciplines.” “The Discipline of the Will” (pg. 132)

12. “This is strikingly similar to what the Stoics called the Inner Citadel, that fortress inside of us that no external adversity can ever break down. An important caveat is that we are not born with such a structure; it must be built and actively reinforced. During the good times, we strengthen ourselves and our bodies so that during the difficult times, we can depend on it. We protect our inner fortress so it may protect us.” “Build Your Inner Citadel” (pg. 137)

13. “The path of least resistance is a terrible teacher. We can’t afford to shy away from the things that intimidate us.” “Build Your Inner Citadel” (pg. 138)

14. “The next step after we discard our expectations and accept what happens to us, after understanding that certain things–particularly bad things–are outside our control, is this: loving whatever happens to us and facing it with unfailing cheerfulness.” “Love Everything That Happens: Amor Fati” (pg. 152)

15. “The true threat to determination, then, is not what happens to us, but us ourselves. Why would you be your own worst enemy?” “Perseverance” (pg. 160)

The Obstacle Is the Way Quotes

Interested in reading more philosophy quotes? Check out:

The Obstacle Is the Way Quotes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top