Stillness Is The Key By Ryan Holiday

Drawing from history’s greatest thinkers, Ryan Holiday gives a modern definition of stillness, presents examples and lays out how it can be achieved.

RATING: 3.9/5

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KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” -Blaise Pascal
  • Who is so certain that they’ll get another moment that they can confidently skip over this one? 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. 
  • The important stuff will still be important by the time you get to it. The unimportant will have made its insignificance obvious (or simply disappeared). 
  • “Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.” -John Cage 
  • People who don’t read have no advantage over those who cannot read. 
  • Find people you admire and ask how they got where they are. Seek book recommendations.  Add experience and experimentation on top of this. Put yourself in tough situations. Accept challenges. Familiarize yourself with the unfamiliar. 
  • Give more. Give what you didn’t get. Love more. Drop the old story. 
  • Lust is a destroyer of peace in our lives. 
  • “To have blessings and to prize them is to be in Heaven; to have them and not to prize them is to be in Hell.” -Thomas Traherne 
  • “As long as this exists, the sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?” -Anne Franke
  • “Beauty remains, even in misfortune. If you just look for it, you discover more and more happiness and regain your balance.” -Anne Franke
  • Don’t let the beauty of life escape you. See the world as the temple that it is. Let every experience be churchlike. Marvel at the fact that any of this exists – that you exist. 
  • “Try to look at this moment in the light of eternity.”
  • When the body is busy with the familiar, the mind can relax. 
  • “If a man can reduce his needs to zero, he is truly free: there is nothing that can be taken from him and nothing anyone can do to hurt him.” -John Boyd
  • “If an action tires your body but puts your heart at ease, do it.“ -Xunzi 
  • You were given one body when you were born— don’t try to be someone else, somewhere else. Get to know yourself. Build a life that you don’t need to escape from. 
  • “Before we were born we were still and at peace, and so we will be once again after we die. A light loses nothing by being extinguished, it just goes back to how it was before.” -Seneca 
  • “Conservation of energy. Never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.” -Winston Churchill 

To capture the same joy and zest and stillness that defined Winston Churchill‘s life, we must:

  • Rise above our physical limitations. 
  • Find hobbies that rest and replenish us.
  • Develop a reliable, disciplined routine. 
  • Spend time getting active outdoors. 
  • Seek out solitude and perspective.
  • Learn to sit-to do nothing when called for.
  • Get enough sleep and rein in our workaholism. 
  • Commit to causes bigger than ourselves. 
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