top of page

The Obstacle is the Way

I am rereading Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way, a book on Stoicism. That’s capital ‘S’

Stoic vs. a more modern small ‘s’ stoic. A modern interpretation of ‘stoic’ is one who is cold and emotionless. By contrast, a classical Stoic is one who embraces the four virtues of: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Here temperance is not the absence of emotion, but rather the ability to be cool-headed under pressure.

Philosophy in general, and Stoicism specifically, were never schools of thought intended only for academics. Rather, they are a toolkit for navigating life’s challenges.

Starting with ‘temperance’. When an event happens, good or bad, it is just that, an external event. How we react to that event, this is what is in our control. This is the ultimate freedom as Victor Frankl, concentration camp survivor wrote. In the words of Marcus Aurelius: “Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page