The Path to Stillness
Ryan got into a fight. And we taped it.
Here’s what happened.
Ryan called the president a maniac.
An hour late, we did a Q&A. Because this podcast had an audience.
Someone stood up and said, “You’re using your book platform to bash the president. I’m a Republican. And that offends me.”
“Why does that offend you?”
Then someone commented on my Instagram. I was doing a giveaway of Ryan’s new book “Stillness Is The Key.”
They commented, “Great interview. Ryan why are you so angry??? Lol,” with the crying laughing emoji.
Emojis have taken over our emotional expression. And people are getting worse at expressing themselves.
Anger could be passion. Passion could be fear.
That’s for another post.
Everyone just wants to know how to live a great life. How to be happy. How to deal with the hard stuff. We want a prescription.
But it’s all subjective.
So how do you sort it out?
I asked Ryan.
And he told me two things he does every day.
He quoted Secana, “[We are] dying every day.”
I’ve been dying for 51 years. And I don’t know how many years, months, weeks, days I have left.
Shakespeare wrote: “Every third thought shall be my grave.”
“I don’t know if it has to be that common,” Ryan said, “but no day should go by without thinking, ‘If today was it, would I be good? Or am I leaving something on the table?’”
That’s part of stoicism.
It’s called “memento mori.” Which Ryan writes about on his blog, DailyStoic.com.
And he writes about it in “Stillness Is The Key.”
At the podcast, Ryan made coins to give to people who asked questions.
Volunteers passed out the coins. They didn’t give one to the Trump supporter. My wife didn’t like this.
Not because of politics. But because it’s opinion discrimination.
I asked Ryan to define stoicism. He said it’s meant to help you deal with things that are unpleasant.
Or “circumstances that aren’t ideal.”
But it’s really difficult to be stoic when you’re broke, isolated, scared, angry…
So I ask Ryan, “What are the first steps? How does someone listening, who’s struggling, mentally bring themselves to stillness?”
Skip to 18 minutes to hear his answer.
Or just listen from the beginning.
Here are the list of topics and a sneak preview of the episode.
- 4:20 | The horrible advice I gave Ryan that almost destroyed his life. And how he chose himself instead.
- 6:51 | People have a hard time figuring out how much money they need in order to do what they want in life. I break down the math.
- 8:39 | Are people more miserable now than ever before?
- 11:38 | How Eastern and Western philosophy mix in the modern world. And how they don’t.
- 18:00 | Stoicism was designed to help you deal with circumstances that aren’t ideal. But it’s really difficult to be stoic when you’re broke, angry and scared. So I ask Ryan, “What are the first steps mentally to bring yourself back to stillness?”
- 24:48 | How to balance ambition and stillness.
- 29:02 | What determines the majority of your happiness?
- 36:10 | How to start new habits. No matter where you are in your life.
- 41:25 | Don’t follow the hot thing. Follow your internal compass.
- 42:43 | Author recommendation: Robert Greene (Mastery, The 48 Laws of Power, The Laws of Human Nature)
- 44:45 | Ryan’s writing process. And how he learned to follow his intuition
- 49:05 | What to do if you’re not cut out for a 9–5. And how Ryan figured this out.
- 50:56 | Three things you can do right now to have more stillness in your life.
- 56:11 | How to evaluate your actions. Ask, “What’s the externality of my actions?”
- 59:34 | Audience Q&A – question #1: “What are the biggest changes you’ve made as a result of your research?”
- 1:03:08 | Question #2: What guides Ryan’s writing?
- 1:04:53 | Ryan gets into a fight with someone in the audience.
- 1:08:02 | Question #3: How do you find balance between the extremes of being too negative, too positive, too happy, etc.?
Links & Resources:
- “Stillness Is the Key” by Ryan Holiday
- Also by Ryan Holiday:
- Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and international bestseller, “Ego Is the Enemy“
- Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller, “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living“
- “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph“
- “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator“
- “Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising“
- See Ryan’s reading list newsletter + subscribe to his email “The Daily Stoic”
- Follow Ryan on Facebook + Twitter