Although the title seems a bit spiritual and wavey, the book is truly a helpful read. Ryan Holiday wrote the book and the main point of this book is how to find this stillness and why it’s important. I think everyone can feel busy sometimes, even anxious. Some find it hard to just be at peace and enjoy life as it is. And stillness is needed to fulfill these needs. This book is a great guide to help you on this journey.
The book is split up into three sections: Mind, Soul, Body. All the chapters are diverse with helpful tips and some overlapping fun to read stories. The stories are valuable in understanding the advice.
Here are my main takeaways divided over the sections from the book. I wrote them in my own words so some things are influenced by myself. There are also quotes directly from the book.
- People don’t live in the moment; we try to get out of it. For example by buying a phone so we’re never bored. We try to chase things in the hope the endpoint will make us happy. However, when arriving at an endpoint, we celebrate a bit but then we are disappointed because it isn’t as great as we thought it would be and we don’t have an endpoint anymore so we set a new one. This constant loop keeps on proceeding. Why not enjoy the process? Focus on that instead of your end-goals.
- “The less energy we waste regretting the past or worrying about the future, the more energy we will have for what’s in front of us”. This quote is important to me because I am stuck sometimes in the future or past but there is no reason to be there. It’s great to think about goals and to learn from past mistakes, but keep it at that.
- Literally every day could be our last, so try to enjoy every one of them.
- Ryan also talks about inputs and outputs. We have so much garbage input (oversensationalized news, over the top social media posts, gossip stories, porn) that our output (creativity, what we do, our focus, etc) suffers from it. Blocking notifications and unfollowing people can help. Spending less time on your phone too.
- Giving your mind rest by just sitting in a room, thinking or meditating, helps to slow down and focus too.
- Start journaling, put your feelings on papers helps going through them. It also helps you clear your mind. I’ve been journaling for a while now, but I’ll save that for a different article.
- Our inner child or our feeling brain (as Mark Manson described it), which is the voice in your head talking you down, tries to get you off your path. We need to heal that inner child by telling it that it’s okay and that we will take care of it. We have to work together with that voice because it’s impossible to get rid of it.
- Be aware of your jealousy and desires, they can ruin you. Why do you desire to be rich? Some problems will vanish but new ones arise. And when rich people feel depressed about their problems, the scariest things can happen.
- “The need for progress can be the enemy of enjoying the process.” Constantly wanting to see progress is a bad habit. Just keep focusing on the process and eventually, you will see progress AND you’ll be more likely to enjoy what you are doing because you will get better at the process, which will lead to better progress. See where I’m going?
- Being satisfied and telling yourself you have/are enough can be powerful. Sometimes (well, most of the time) you just don’t need extra clothing, or a faster car, or a bigger house. By applying this rule, you will stop wanting more and more (which will never get you satisfied), and start actually be happy with what you got, which will make life more enjoyable.
- By just going for a walk we can give our minds some rest. Bill Gates plans a think-week twice every year. In this week he is alone in a cabin without any distractions, to seek solitude and to be by himself. This way he comes up with new ideas, often his best ideas. Usually, the mind comes up with the best ideas when we’re not doing anything. If you don’t know what to do with your life, it can also be helpful to just do nothing and sit down with a pen and paper. Eventually, something will pop-up in your head and then you can plan out how you will do this.
- By building a routine, for example, the same sleep schedule and morning routine every day; the same activities around the same time, we make sure we don’t have to constantly think what to do. There are so many choices to be made each day that it can be great to get rid of some to create space for more focus on the important things.
- Don’t treat yourself like an overworking machine that needs to continually perform at it’s best and has to do something useful constantly (that’s me a lot of the times), treat yourself as a human being.
- “A 2017 study found that lack of sleep increases negative repetitive thinking. Abusing the body leads the mind to abuse itself.” There are too many studies to count that show sleep is super important, so just get your 7-9 hours of sleep.
- We tend to try to escape from ourselves by drinking, watching porn, diving into our phones, smoking, constantly wanting to do fun stuff, etc, but you can’t continuously escape from yourself. I mean, you can, but then you ignore the ability to fix yourself and you’ll ruin your life and the life of the people around you.
- Act brave when help is needed.
Every time I feel busy and the need to perform and feel like I’m not doing enough, it’s good to take a step back and reflect. Turn your phone off for a couple of hours, that’ll feel strange. Just take it slow and maybe grab a book and read for a while. Today was such a day for me, I felt like doing nothing. But after turning everything off and playing the piano for a while I felt refreshed to write this article. There are a lot of tips in the list that are very true and will make your life better. I hope I changed your view on certain things and that you got influenced to improve yourself by applying some of these tips. I didn’t go through everything from the book, so if you got interested in reading the book, go for it!
Thanks for reading.