The Obstacle is the Way: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #11

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Below are my personal notes of The Obstacle is the Way. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books

“Our actions may 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.” Marcus Aurelius

  • Whatever we face in life we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles or will we advance over them.
  • Great times are great softeners
  • We are skilled at cataloging what holds us back. Obstacles are unique to each of us, but the responses they create are the same: Fear, Frustration, Confusion, Helplessness, Depression and anger
  • The Obstacle in the path becomes the path, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition
    • All great problems, whether in politics, business or art, involve solving vexing problems with a potent cocktail of creativity, focus and daring

Perception: Our view of what has occured around us

When faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, we must be:        

ObjectiveCalmPositiveSteadyIgnore what disturbs othersPut things in perspectiveLive in the present momentFocus on what can be controlled
  • We and only we control our thoughts, beliefs and reactions
  • There is no good or bad, there is only perception and what we tell ourselves what it means
  • Perception cannot be obstructed, it can only be relinquished

Nerves

  • When we aim high, pressure and stress are natural companions
  • Nerve is based on defiance and control
  • It will not be easy and the stakes are high, but the path is there for those ready to take it
  • If your nerves hold, then nothing “happened”, your perception made sure it was nothing big

Emotions

  • Does getting upset expand your options? No? Then it is destructive
  • Real strength lies in domesticating emotions, not pretending they don’t exist
  • Freaking out? Realize it doesn’t add anything constructive

Objectivity

  • The perceiving eye is weak, the observing eye is strong
  • The observing eye sees events free from distractions, exaggerations and misperceptions
  • See things as they really are, without the ornaments

Change

  • When you can dissect something or view it from another angle, it loses its power over you
  • Fear is crippling and often irrational
  • Put this in perspective: one meeting, deal, game is nothing in a lifetime of such events
  • Ask: Is your perspective truly giving you perspective? Or is it the problem
  • Right action precedes right perspective

Your Power:

  • Know the difference between the unlikely and the impossible
  • To argue, complain, give up are choices, choices that don’t help you reach what it is you want to reach

Living in the Present

  • Many Fortune 500 founders founded their company in an economic rut, but the founders did not know that because they were too busy living in the present, dealing with the situation at hand. 

Think Differently

  • To aim low is to accept mediocrity
  • Our perception is highly influential in what we are capable of. In many instances, it determines reality itself. 
  • See the opportunity inside the obstacle, rather than just what is being blocked

Preparation:

  • Problems are as bad as you think, the worst thing isn’t the vent, its losing your head
  • Decide to challenge the obstacle, not because you’re a gambler defying the odds, but because you’ve calculated them and boldly embrace the risk

Action:

  • It feels better to ignore or pretend but you know it won’t make it better. You’ve got to act now. Make the most out of what you have
  • Greet obstacles with:
EnergyPersistenceCoherent and Deliberate ProcessIteration and Resilience Pragmatism Strategic VisionCratiness and SavvyAn eye for opportunity
  • Remember that courage, at its most fundamental form, is action

Persistence: 

  • Problem Solving: Slow pressure, repeated from many angles. Discover what works
  • A genius is someone with a unity of purpose, deaf to doubt and has the desire to stay at it

The Process: 

  • Action and failure are 2 sides of the same coin, one doesn’t come without the other
  • Failure shows us the way by showing us what isn’t the way
  • The process is doing the right things right now

Pragmatism: 

  • Be flexible, not realistic, there are many ways to get from point A to point B
  • Its burst of energy at decisive points that break things wide open
  • Nothing can ever prevent us from trying. Ever.

Will: 

  • Will is the discipline of the heart and soul
  • Stoic Maxim: “Sustine et Abstine” Bear and forbear
    • Acknowledge the pain, but trod onward
  • Crisis reveals the man. Are you made of Iron? Air? Or Bullsh!t?
    • Life always demands an answer, if you ignore the call it will be answered for you

Premortem:

  • Use  “premortem”, determine what can go wrong and plan accordingly through perception, prevention or endurance
  • The worst thing that can happen is failing though being blindsided because the unexpected failures are most discouraging
  • Anticipating faults led to an ability to avoid them completely or endure the bumps in the road more effectively

Love Everything That Happens:

  • To receive the unexpected benefits from an unexpected obstacle, you must accept the unexpected cost first. Every difficulty provides a proportional opportunity to learn, grow and build. 
  • If something unintended happens, feel great about it as if it happened, it was meant to happen. And you are meant to make the best out of it. 
    • How you feel about anything is your choice, and why would you choose to feel anything but good?

Perseverance

  • Exercise self trust, new powers will appear
  • True perseverance can only be ended with death

Something Bigger Than You

  • A man’s job is to make the world a better place to live in
  • Contribute your bit to the universe and be happy with that. Lend a hand to others, be strong for others, and it will make you stronger
  • See things for what they are. Do what you can. Endure and Bear what you must
  • Philosophy: An operating system for the difficulties and hardships of life.

If these brief notes, peaked your interest in The Obstacle is the Way , you can check it out on Amazon here.

And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.

13 thoughts on “The Obstacle is the Way: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #11

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