My husband, R.J., has been following the work of Ryan Holiday for quite some time now. He has all of his books and follows his blog almost religiously. It took me a little longer to catch on.
If you have no idea who I’m talking about please see my earlier review of ‘Trust Me, I’m Lying‘. The book takes an in-depth look at how the blogging world can be manipulated and used by industrious (unethical) people in the marketing (political) industry.
But mainly Holiday focuses on stoicism and how it can change your life. What is stoicism you may ask? Well, here’s one definition from Merriam-Webster.com.
*The quality or behavior of a person who accepts what happens without complaining or showing emotion*
There’s much more to it than that, but I want you to find out for yourself. Some of you may think this type of attitude isn’t a good thing. I certainly didn’t while I was growing up with a mother who seemingly didn’t care about anything, ever. I also didn’t think it was a good thing when I showed signs of this behavior myself. I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t like getting upset at the drop of a hat.
I still got upset, overreacted, and treated those around me horribly, but the whole time I’m thinking, ‘What the hell is wrong with me? This is not a life or death situation, so what if this person offended me?’ It took several years before that thought happened BEFORE I reacted.
But back to Ryan Holiday. This man is 29 years old. 29, people! You want to know what I was doing at 29. Well, see the previous paragraph and you’ll have some idea.
I’m sure he has his quirks and issues and whatnot. We all do, it is unavoidable. But, man, what must it be like to live with someone this self-aware that young?
There is such power, and dare I say it, grace in being self-aware. And once you open those flood gates it’s impossible, or nearly so, to shut them. Sure some of what comes out is cringe worthy, but it’s the only way any of us will ever improve or grow. It’s the only way we won’t become a society of gigantic assholes.
You know how in business they say if a company isn’t growing its declining, it can never just stay where it’s at. That’s kind of what it’s like with our personalities. If we’re not constantly on the lookout for asshole behavior we will soon back slide far enough to become 100% asshole.
I doubt very much you will like everything Holiday has to say. His writing has the habit of making a person uncomfortable. But that’s what truth does. It’s like standing in your underwear in a department store dressing room and really seeing what your body looks like.
I’ll let that sink in…
I will even go so far as to say that you may even leave him a snarky comment or two on his blog, but that’s okay because the journey of self-awareness has begun. It can only begin when we’re forced to face things that may be unpleasant truths about ourselves. It can only begin with self-righteous anger and denial.
But then an almost magical thing happens. If – and that’s a big if – we can get past the denial and anger we see that even if we admit some asshole behavior we’re not that bad. We’re not the worst human being in the history of the world. We’re human. We’re imperfect. So what?
We also have the amazing ability to move forward and learn from our past mistakes, but only if we’re willing to admit them and understand that the world won’t stop spinning just because we screwed up. Of course then we would have to admit that the world doesn’t revolve around us and what we do.
Maybe that’s the harder truth to accept.
Anyway, if you’re tired of always struggling and always being stressed out, check out Ryan Holiday and his Thought Catalog. There’s some thought-provoking stuff in there. There’s also some stuff about his goats which is pretty cute and funny.
You know, the way life is…