The Obstacle is the Way [Book Review]

We live in a historical era. The last time a major pandemic disease occurred was about 100 years ago. Spanish Flu or 1918 flu pandemic lasted for two years, infected 500 million people, and killed from 17 million to 50 million people (some say that it killed 100 million).

In 2020, many people lost their jobs, the business landscape changed dramatically (see tourism industry) and the way we work was transformed drastically, exploding remote working across the globe. Back in August, I started exploring Stoic philosophy and I bought this book. Here is what I learned:

What is Stoic Philosophy

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy that was born in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. According to stoics the path to eudaimonia is obvious by the time you accept life as it is, avoiding the desire for pleasure, fear or pain. The main ambassadors were Zeno of Citium, Seneca & Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The modern usage of the word “stoic” usually refers to someone who endures patiently. I won’t write more about Stoic philosophy since there are plenty of resources out there for those who are interested to learn more. I suggest reading the original documents. They are ever-lasting masterpieces written by great humans and thinkers.

The impediment to action advances action.

Obstacle is the way
The obstacle is the way
Book Cover

What you will learn

This book shares collective wisdom in order to help the reader accomplish, the very specific and increasingly urgent goal we all share nowadays: overcoming obstacles. The most effective way of overcoming obstacles includes three interdependent and fluidly contingent disciplines:

  • Perception
    How we see and understand what occurs around us, and what we believe those events mean. Our perception can be a source of great strength or weakness.
  • Action
    Action requires courage. Deliberation boldness and persistence are the attributes of right and effective actions. Step by step, (right) action by action will help us overcome the obstacles we face. Keep moving, always.
  • Will
    Will is our internal power, which can never be affected by the outside world. Too often people think that will is how badly we want something. But true will means humility, resilience and flexibility.

Every step above includes useful lessons and learnings. Stories of John Rockefeller, Warren Buffet, John Glenn, Pericles, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, George Washington, Barack Obama, Thomas Edison, Demosthenes and other people describe how they incorporated obstacles they faced, into solutions.

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What stands in the way, becomes the way.

Obstacle is the way

When you face an obstacle, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be objective
  • Control your emotions (don’t panic)
  • Every situation has a good side, find it and embrace it
  • Keep your nerves
  • Ignore what disturbs or limits you
  • Put things into the right perspective
  • Focus on the present
  • Focus on things you can control.

A mistake becomes training with the right perspective.

Obstacle is the way

Stoicism is more relevant than ever. Either you “suffer” or “thrive” or “doing ok” this period, Stoicism is a very useful and practical philosophy that introduces a lifestyle which will help you remain calm and tackle your personal and business obstacles with endurance and efficiency.

You can order this book from Book Depository and enjoy free shipping.

Find the (affiliate) link here: The Obstacle Is The Way.

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