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How To Handle The Inevitable Challenges Of Life

on August 11th, 2015 by admin

I came across an interview of Ryan Holiday about his book The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph.  After reading the interview I decided to read the book. I can tell you I was not disappointed. Holiday’s book is not the usual self-help books with their meaningless platitudes that offer no real guidance.  Instead, Holdiay relies on Stoicism, a philosophy developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Applying Stoicism’s principles Holiday developed his own methods in dealing with life’s challenges.

Two chapters I liked the most were: Control Your Emotions, and The Discipline Of The Will.  With the first chapter, Holiday does not imply that emotions should be repressed.  Instead he is offering something that has been lost in our increasingly irrational times.  Using NASA’s seminal space program and its inherent dangers the astronauts faced.  Their training literally trained the fear out of them so that they can stay clear and do their jobs.  We all remember Apollo 13 and its aborted flight to the moon. Can you imagine those men having screaming fits, or crying their eyes out that they are going to die in space?!?!?!?!? I think not, and they didn’t.  We all know the outcome-they all made it back to earth, alive.

The next chapter, The Discipline of the Will, focused on the life of President Abraham Lincoln. We all know his incredible story.  A man born into abject poverty who was left an orphan, self-educated, and battling depression at time when it was least understood.  He lost a number of congressional elections before reaching the White House president.  President Lincoln is my favorite president because he was the best man for the job during an ugly period in American history.  I cannot see anyone else steering the country through the horrors of slavery and the Civil War.

Holiday’s book reinforced what I have known for as long as I can remember.  It is this: Having a conversation with yourself by introspecting.  Being prepared for anything in good times and in bad times.  But most importantly using logic and reason to work yourself through stressful times.  In short, this is about being guided by a rational philosophy.

If you want to learn more about Stoicism check out Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) by Seneca, an ancient Roman philsopher.  I am currently reading it.  I think you might enjoy it.

Bookish Babe

Tags: , , , , , , , | Posted in History, Philosophy

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