The obstacle is the way.
The ego is the enemy.
Stillness is the key.
I am indebted to Ryan holiday for authoring three books of the same name.
If you haven’t come across him as an author or the books, I will commend him and them to your reading.
It struck me that the titles represent a trident of mantras that offer easy to remember touchstones to help us through life’s journey. Let us evaluate each in turn:
Each obstacle we experience in life, be it a mistake we have made, adversity or set back can offer the opportunity to improve ourselves. As we now know what doesn’t work. However, we have to be self-aware enough to embrace this contention. We learn so much more from every type of failure than we ever do from success. Obstacles offer a unique chance to grow and improve. Lessons come hard only if you are deaf to them, and life’s experiences are dressed up as lessons. They have a habit of repeating themselves until they are learnt! Learn to remove our ego and emotion from the situation and bring a ‘scientific method’ to bear as a way to add a sense of perspective. Setbacks from a scientific experiment gone wrong would not piss off scientists, it would help them. The Obstacles we face are the true test of our character.
Our ego can be defined as our idea or opinion of ourselves, especially our feeling of our own importance and ability. When this gets to an elevated level, it can be the enemy to understanding the truth of any situation and our ability to respond in an effective and conducive way. In short, it can be a barrier to being able to present the best version of ourselves to the world. A characteristic of a truly wise person is the ability to recognise the wisdom of others, discovering the truth in any situation rather than merely defending a view. It is our need to be proved right that lays in the path of understanding.
Our lives are full of noise, interruptions and disruptions. Our minds permanently on, moving from one thought to another without any control from ‘us’ and without ‘us’ even noticing that this is unusual.
Being more still and developing a clear and calm mind enables us to offer a considered response to situations rather than knee jerk emotional outbursts. The good news is that a range of tools and mental hacks are available to us. Stillness can come to us from the inside out and from the outside in. From the inside out means taking time to quiet the incessant chatter of our own minds. Spending 10-20 mins every day running a mindfulness meditation is a great way to help us here. From the outside, it means trying to manage the inevitable disruptions and interruptions more effectively. Planning and executing our time effectively, being focused and not multitasking will help. Try evoking EDS -Evening Digital Shutdown, choose a time a shut off all work-related devices and social media feeds.
I am not one for tattoos, but if I ever change my mind, I would use these three mantras, to be a bit fancy, I would get them done in Latin!