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.
There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up. No one said it would be easy and, of course, the stakes are high, but the path is there for those ready to take it.
“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.
Don’t let the force of an impression when it first hit you knock you off your feet; just say to it: Hold on a moment; let me see who you are and what you represent. Let me put you to the test.
The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.
Objective judgment, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance—now at this very moment—of all external events. That’s all you need.
Our perceptions determine, to an incredibly large degree, what we are and are not capable of. In many ways, they determine reality itself.
Every obstacle is unique to each of us. But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Helplessness. Depression.
Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
“Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”
See things for what they are. Do what we can. Endure and bear what we must. What blocked the path now is a path. What once impeded action advances action. The Obstacle is the Way.
Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.
You will come across obstacles in life—fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.
Focusing exclusively on what is in our power magnifies and enhances our power.
“The Things which hurt,” Benjamin Franklin wrote, “instruct.”
In the meantime, cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, not to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases.
“Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” as Shakespeare put it.
If we’re to overcome our obstacles, this is the message to broadcast—internally and externally. We will not be stopped by failure, we will not be rushed or distracted by external noise. We will chisel and peg away at the obstacle until it is gone. Resistance is futile.
Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist.
“Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”
Being trapped is just a position, not a fate. You get out of it by addressing and eliminating each part of that position through small, deliberate actions—not by trying (and failing) to push it away with superhuman strength.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.
While you’re sleeping, traveling, attending meetings, or messing around online, the same thing is happening to you. You’re going soft. You’re not aggressive enough. You’re not pressing ahead. You’ve got a million reasons why you can’t move at a faster pace. This all makes the obstacles in your life loom very large.
First, see clearly. Next, act correctly. Finally, endure and accept the world as it is.
The process is about doing the right things, right now. Not worrying about what might happen later, or the results, or the whole picture.
A good person dyes events with his own color . and turns whatever happens to his own benefit.
My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it . but love it.
We must all either wear out or rust out, every one of us. My choice is to wear out.
Just because the conditions aren’t exactly to your liking, or you don’t feel ready yet, doesn’t mean you get a pass. If you want momentum, you’ll have to create it yourself, right now, by getting up and getting started.
Take your situation and pretend it is not happening to you. Pretend it is not important, that it doesn’t matter. How much easier would it be for you to know what to do? How much more quickly and dispassionately could you size up the scenario and its options? You could write it off, greet it calmly.
If you think it’s simply enough to take advantage of the opportunities that arise in your life, you will fall short of greatness. Anyone sentient can do that. What you must do is learn how to press forward precisely when everyone around you sees disaster.
Remember and remind yourself of a phrase favored by Epictetus: “persist and resist.” Persist in your efforts. Resist giving in to distraction, discouragement, or disorder.
Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind. There’s no other definition of it.
What such a man needs is not courage but nerve control, cool headedness. This he can get only by practice.
Discipline in perception lets you clearly see the advantage and the proper course of action in every situation—without the pestilence of panic or fear.
When it comes to our actions, disorder and distraction are death. The unordered mind loses track of what’s in front of it—what matters—and gets distracted by thoughts of the future. The process is order, it keeps our perceptions in check and our actions in sync.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. [A] crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”