The Obstacle is the Way —Summary and Application

  1. Why did the author write this book?
  2. What are the main ideas?
  3. How have I applied this book in my life?
  4. What is my opinion on the book?

Q1: Why did the author write this book?

Q2: What are the main ideas from the book?

  1. Perception: Your attitude towards the problem
  2. Action: Breaking problems down and turning them into opportunities
  3. Will: Cultivating perseverance that can overcome difficulty

Part 1: Perception

  1. Be objective
  2. Control emotions
  3. Have perspective
  4. Focus on what can be controlled

1 Be objective

2 Control emotions

3 Have Perspective

  • You have rival? Great! They keep you alert, motivate you, toughen you, help you appreciate friends, and give you an antilog (a model of whom you don’t want to become).
  • That computer glitch erased your work? Good. Now you’ll be twice as good by doing it again.
  • That business decision turned out to be a mistake? A scientist wouldn’t be upset. He’d be happy that he made progress. You should too.
  • Someone is critical towards you? Good. Lower expectations are easier to exceed.
  • Someone on your team is lazy? Good. That makes our accomplishments seem greater.

4 Focus on what can be controlled

  • Our emotions
  • Our judgments
  • Our creativity
  • Our attitude
  • Our perspective
  • Our desires
  • Our determination

Part 2: Action

  1. Practice persistence
  2. Iterate
  3. Follow the process
  4. Don’t worry about how you look; Focus on getting the results

1 Practice persistence

2 Iterate

3 Follow the process

4 Don’t worry about how you look; Focus on getting results

Part 3: Will

  1. Anticipate failure
  2. Accept what’s outside your control
  3. Love everything that happens
  4. Persevere
  5. Prepare to start again

1 Anticipate failure

  • What if…? Then I will…
  • What if…? Instead I’ll just…
  • What if…? No problem, I can always…
  • What if…? It will suck, but I’ll be okay.

2 Accept what’s outside your control

  • Lost money? At least you didn’t lose a friend.
  • Lost that job? At least you didn’t lose a limb.
  • Lost your house? You could have lost everything.

3 Love everything that happens

4 Persevere

5 Prepare to Start Again

Q3: How have I applied this book in my life?

  1. Take your problem and pretend it’s happening to someone else.
  2. Use contrarian self-talk against panic or fear.
  3. Do a pre-mortem for important decisions.
  4. Change from “I must do this” to “I get to do this.”
  5. Focus on the process

1 Take your problem and pretend it’s happening to someone else.

2 Use contrarian self-talk against panic and fear.

3 Do a pre-mortem for important decisions.

  • What if I don’t find a job quickly? Then I’ll be patient in making sure I find a suitable job rather than any job. Good idea.
  • What if other people judge you and worry about you for not finding a job quickly? Then I’ll practice calmness and emphasize that I’m focusing on the long-term by looking for a suitable job. Besides, letting their worry seep into me is not going to help anybody. True.
  • What if you can’t find a suitable job? Then I’ll lower my expectations. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I’ll still be okay. And I can pursue my passion projects during my spare time. Okay fair point.

4 Change from “I must do this” to “I get to do this”.

5 Focus on the process.

Q4: What is my opinion of the book?

Before you go…

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Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.

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Alex Chen

Alex Chen

Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.

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