Stoic philosopher and author Ryan Holiday shows us how to use ancient philosophy to calm our minds and create a foundation for lasting success. Listen as Holiday takes us behind the scenes, revealing how he not only reads books and what he looks for but his process for writing and retaining information he can later put to use. He also discusses why he journals, the four virtues of Stoicism and more
Holiday is a New York Times bestselling author. He has written a combined 10 books, covering both the fundamentals of Stoicism as well as key elements of modern-day marketing and media, and his books have sold more than 2 million copies in 30 languages. His most recent release is entitled Courage is Calling.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation:
The irony of success is that there are infinitely more distractions from that success. And as you get more successful the higher the price or bribe attached to those things is.
…the first task of stoicism he says is this exercise called the dichotomy of control. It’s the distinction between what’s up to us and what’s not up to us. Any energy spent on stuff, not up to us is wasted. And that what we primarily control are our thoughts, our opinions, our actions, our beliefs.
It’s like an athlete getting older has to spend more time doing recovery work because their body can’t handle it. And I think as you take on other responsibilities, your priorities in your life, you have to figure out how to adjust for that to continue to perform at an elite level.
What good is all your success if it still makes you unhappy and unable to function as a well adjusted person in your life?
You have to wonder if your unwillingness to accept reality is actually perpetuating the very reality that you seek to change.
But my definition of courage is that courage is putting your ass on the line literally or figuratively. Self-discipline is the standard to which you hold yourself. To me, that’s what moderation is like. Not what you can do, but what you allow yourself to do, right?
- 00:00 – Ryan shares his writing & reading process
- 08:03 – The tax of saying, “Yes”
- 10:58 – The Success Paradox and opportunity cost
- 14:36 – Comparing your success to others
- 21:02 – What is stoicism
- 22:45 – Key teachings of Stoicism
- 24:29 – People from history who have embodied Stoicism well
- 26:09 – Cancel culture
- 29:17 – The steel man argument
- 30:37 – Being extraordinary and well-balanced
- 37:21 – The harmony of life and goals
- 45:30 – Hiring a team
- 49:18 – LeBron James
- 52:00 – On decision making
- 53:23 – Finding momentum while working
- 55:18 – Accepting the things you can’t control
- 56:22 – Accepting reality
- 01:02:08 – How can we learn to manage our anger
- 01:04:00 – The source of mistakes
- 01:07:57 – Strategies for saying rational
- 01:10:56 – How Cicero’s ambition hurt him
- 01:14:25 – The best way to improve yourself
- 01:18:09 – Why you need to write decisions down
- 01:19:03 – Truman’s scandals
- 01:21:39 – The four Stoic virtues