The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk

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Episode #331: Ryan Holiday – Stillness Is The Key

RYAN HOLIDAY is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker, strategist, and the author of many bestselling books including The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; and The Daily Stoic. His books have been translated into over 30 languages and sold over two million copies worldwide. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his family. His latest book is called Stillness Is The Key.


  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence =
    • They look at the whole picture
    • They have the ability to zoom out
    • They have balance
      • Driven, skilled at what they do, but they do not run unchecked.  This creates happiness.
    • Highly disciplined
    • Temperance – Integrated into life
  • The word enough:
    • Balance – “We’re definitely going to be forgotten.” 
    • It’s important to have the quiet time to do the work.  And you have to love doing it.
  • Michael Jordan’s hall of fame speech:
    • “It’s so misguided.  The problem with proving people wrong is eventually you do it.  And it’s never enough.  Rather, you should choose to prove your own potential right.  Did I leave it all on the page?  Did I fulfill my own standards?”
    • I choose to prove my supporters right instead of allowing detractors to take up space in my head
  • The higher power was the logos – the path of the universe… The stoics acknowledged fate and fortune and the power these forces had over them.
    • Marcus Lattimore (RB from South Carolina and the NFL) – He said, “The career ending injury I had was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
      • Decide how you will choose to respond.  Make the choice to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
  • The impact of father hood has had on Ryan:
    • “You realize how powerless you are as a parent.  It’s humbling and eye opening.”
  • The WHO – the power of relationships
    • It’s a team.  It requires balance.  Both players must flourish independently:
      • “Accomplishments are not part of the identity of the relationship I have with Sam (his wife).  She doesn’t give a shit how many books I sell.”
      • “I have an inner scoreboard and hold myself to those standards.”
  • The value of a daily journal – The process, the ritual, the routine is helpful.
    • The act of the devotion.  Quiet time everyday, provides energy in the morning.  “A routine becomes a ritual over time.”
    • Journaling one line a day for five years: It’s the process of warming up, talking to self, verbalizing fears
  • Thoughtfulness – “Interrogate yourself at the end of each day.” — This is what Churchill did
  • Hitler said, “I recognized the correctness of my views.”  That’s not wisdom, it’s insanity.  Don’t do that.
  • Privately, Abraham Lincoln with racked with doubt.
  • The epidemic of ego easily mistakes for confidence and strength
  • Stillness – What we’re working towards.  We need it to think clearly.  We need to rest.
    • Must be fully in the moment
  • Momento Mori – “Get in the moment”
  • Speaking routine – Wear the same clothes, workout before, listen to the same music, manage energy, funnel focus, and know that the material helps people
  • Use the “Get To Know You Document
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea


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