“Perennial Seller” Quotes

I recently read “Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Promotion is not how things are made great – only how they’re heard about.” (19)

“To be great, one must make great work, and making great work is incredibly hard. It must be our primary focus. We must set out, from the beginning, with complete and total commitment to the idea that our best chance of success starts during the creative process.” (19)

“Art is the kind of marathon where you cross the finish line and instead of getting a medal placed around your neck, the volunteers roughly grab you by the shoulders and walk you over to the starting line of another marathon.” (28)

“But Hamilton’s “topical writing has endured” works like The Federalist Papers and George Washington’s farewell address – “because he plumbed the timeless principles behind contemporary events.” (30)

“Seinfeld has transcended the era it was produced in primarily because, like many classics, it focused on what was timeless about timely events.” (31)

“Jeff Bezos reminds his employees, “Focus on the things that don’t change.”” (31)

“You can’t make something that lasts if it’s based on things, on individual parts that themselves won’t last, or if it’s driven by an amateur’s impatience. The creative process will require not only time and work, but also the long view.” (31)

“Peter Thiel writes, “If you focus on near-term growth above everything else, you miss the most important question you should be asking: Will this business still be around a decade from now?” (33)

“Creative people naturally produce false positives. Ideas that they think are good but aren’t. Ideas that other people have already had. Mediocre ideas that contain buried within them the seeds of much better ideas. The key is to catch them early. And the only way to do that is by doing the work at least partly in front of an audience. A book should be an article before it’s a book, and a dinner conversation before it’s an article. See how things go before going all in.” (42)

“Creation is often a solitary experience. Yet work made entirely in isolation is usually doomed to remain lonely.” (43)

“You don’t have to be a genius to make genius – you just have to have small moments of brilliance and edit out the boring stuff.” (43)

“Classics are built by thousands of small acts. And thinking about them in that way allows you to make progress.” (44)

“It’s about finding the germ of a good ideas and then making it a great product through feedback and hardwork.” (44)

“Many creators want to be for everyone… and as a result end up being for no one.” (45)

“Identify a proxy from the outset, someone who represents your ideal audience, who you then think about constantly throughout the creative process.” (46)

“You want what you’re making to do something for people, to help them do something – and have that be why they will talk about it and tell other people about it.” (49)

“The more clearly it expresses some essential part of the human experience, the better chance the products that address it will be important and perennial as well.” (49)

“The creator of any project should try to answer some variant of these questions:
What does this teach?
What does this solve?
How am I entertaining?
What am I giving?
What are we offering?
What are we sharing?” (51)

“An essential part of making perennial, lasting work is making sure that you’re pursuing the best of your ideas and that they are ideas that only you can have (otherwise, you’re dealing with a commodity and not a classic.” (52)

“The Grateful Dead weren’t trying to be the best at anything, they were trying to be the only ones doing what they were doing. Srinivas Rao put it well: “Only is better than best,” (53)

“Far too many people set out to produce something that, if they were really honest with themselves, is only marginally better or different from what already exists. Instead of being bold, brash, or brave, they are derivative, complementary, imitative, banal, or trivial. The problem with this is not only that it’s boring, but that it subjects them to endless amounts of competition.” (53)

“The higher and more exciting standard for every project should force you to ask questions like this:
What sacred cows am I slaying?
What dominant institution am I displacing?
What groups am I disrupting?
What people am I pissing off?” (54)

“Brashness, newness, boldness – these attitudes are not at all at odds with perennial sales. In fact, it’s an essential part of the equation. Stuff that’s boring now is probably going to be boring in twenty years. Stuff that looks, sounds, read, and performs like everything else in its field today has very little chance of standing out tomorrow.” (54)

“People want things that are really passionate. Often the best version is not for everybody. The best art divides the audience. If you put out a record and half the people who hear it absolutely love it and half the people who hear it absolutely hate it, you’ve done well. Because it is pushing that boundary.” (55)

“Cyril Connolly said that literature is writing meant to be read twice – everything else is mere journalism.” (57)

“One agent I work with put it to me, “Spend three times longer revising your manuscript than you think you need.” (58)

“Robert McKee said, “I don’t think anyone can actually set out consciously to produce a masterpiece. I think what we do is to tell the best story we can, the best way we can, and produce it in the best way possible, and then see how the world reacts to it.” (59)

“The more nervous and scared you are – the more you feel compelled to go back and improve and tweak because you’re just not ready – the better it bodes for the project.” (59)

“Nobody wants the hassle of cultivating a diamond in the rough. If you want to be successful, you’d better be cut, polished, set, and sized to fit. What does that mean? At a very basic level, if you’re not amazing in every facet, you’re replaceable. To publishers, studios, investors, and customers alike.” (68)

“Remember Neil Gaiman’s advice: When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” (73)

“Seth Godin explained, “Everything that has a clear path to commercial success is in a genre.”” (80)

“This is why creators must know which variable(s) the project will hing eon. They must know which conventions of the genre they are observing and which ones they are taking a risk on by tweaking or subverting. They must understand – even if it is some vague gut notion – what they are making and what they are aiming for. If they do, the rest can be lined up against it.” (81)

“You must be able to explicitly say who you are building your thing for. You must know what you are aiming for – you’ll miss otherwise. You need to know this so you can make the decisions that go into properly positioning the projects for them. You need to know this so you can edit and refine the work until it’s so utterly awesome that your target group cannot resist buying it. Marketing then becomes a matter of finding where those people are and figuring out the best way to reach them.” (86)

“The key to this is to service the core audience first and do so in a way that does not alienate the others – only then can you emanate outwardly from the center.” (87)

“Robert Greene wanted a diversity of examples in his work so that every reader would feel included.” (89)

“You must create room for the audience to inhabit and relate to the work. You must avoid the trap of making this about you – because, remember, you won’t be the one buying it.” (89)

“Today, in order to even have a chance at people’s attention, your project has to seem as good as or better than all the others. Three critical variables determine whether that will happen: the Positioning, the Packaging and the Pitch.
Positioning is what your project is and who it is for.
Packaging is what it looks like and what it’s called.
The Pitch is the sell – how the project is described and what it offers to the audience.” (90)

“Work that is going to sell and sell must appear as good as, or better than, the best stuff out there. Because that’s who you’re competing with: not the other stuff being released right now, but everything that came before you. A new TV show is competing with on-demand episodes of Breaking Bad and Seinfeld and The Wire. A new book is competing with Sophocles and John Grisham.” (91)

“Harvey Weinstein wrote to Errol Morris with this admonition:
Speak in short one-sentence answers and don’t go in with all the legalese. Talk about the movie as a movie and the effect it will have on the audience from an emotional point of view. If you continue to be boring, I will hire an actor in New York to pretend that he’s Errol Morris… Keep it short and keep selling it because that’s what is going to work for you, your career and the film.” (96)

“You’re going to need to explain to reporters, prospective buyers or investors, publishers, and your own fans:
Who this is for
Who this is not for
Why it is special
What it will do for them
Why anyone should care.” (97)

“You must be willing to be a big enough jerk – ahem, enough of a perfectionist – to say: “No, we’re not moving on from here until we get this right.”” (98)

“Nothing else will matter – the quality of your product, the strength of your marketing – if the premise and the pitch of the product are wrong.” (98)

“I am making a ____ that does ___ for ___ because ____.” (98)

“If your goal is to make a masterpiece, a perennial seller for a specific audience, it follows that you can’t also hope that it is a trendy, of-the-moment side hustle.” (100)

“We can’t prioritize the gatekeepers (the media) over the goalkeepers (the audience). To do so is foolishly shortsighted.” (103)

“Jeff Goins makes the distinction between starving artists and thriving artists. One adopts all the tropes and cliches of the bohemians and supposed purity. The other is resilient, ambitious, open-minded, and audience-driven.” (104)

“Winston Churchill said, “To begin with, your project is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling it to the public.” (105)

“Marketing is anything that gets or keeps customers.” (110)

“It is the job as the marketer of my work to make people care, and that’s not going to be possible if I start with any illusions or entitlements.” (115)

“A recent study found that when you visit the Facebook News Feed, more than 1,500 pieces of content are vying for your attention. There is, in other words, a 1-in-1,500 chance of even seeing a desired customer.” (116)

“No one has the steam or the resources to market something for more than a short period of time, so if a product is going to sell forever, it must have a strong word of mouth.” (119)

“Our marketing efforts, then, should be catalysts for word of mouth.” (119)

“Hey, as many of you know, I have been working on ___ for a long time. It’s a ___ that does ___ for ___. I could really use your help. If you’re in the media or have an audience or you have any ideas or connections or assets that might be valuable when I launch this thing, I would be eternally grateful. Just tell me who you are, what you’re willing to offer, what it might be good for, and how to be in touch.” (126)

“A smart business friend once described the art of marketing to me as a matter of “finding your addicts.” (128)

“Price is marketing.” (140)

“A critical part of attracting influencers is to look for the people who aren’t besieged by requests.” (146)

“We announced he was accepting Bitcoin payments for the book… both of them ended up getting media attention, mostly from outlets that don’t otherwise cover rap music or books.” (160)

“Tell me what to do!” the student says. Epictetus corrects him, “It would be better to say, ‘Make my mind adaptable to any circumstances.’” (170)

“If you have to choose between spending money to pay for a publicist or buying your own products and giving them away to the right early adopters, you should go with the latter every time.” (170)

“Where other bands relied on radio, on being on MTV, on being timely or on trend, Iron Maiden focused on one thing and one thing only: building a cross-generational global army of loyal fans who buy every single thing they put out.” (177)

“Casey Neistat says, “Platform is not a stepping stone. It is the finish line.”” (183)

“Marcus Aurelius once admonished himself to be a “boxer, not a fencer.” A fencer, he said, has to bend down to pick up his weapon. A boxer’s weapon is a part of him – “all he has to do is clench his fist.” In developing a platform, we eschew the promotional apparatus that must be rebuilt and picked up anew with each and every launch. Instead, we choose to bind ourselves to an audience, to become one with that audience, and to become one with our weapon.” (184)

“Focus on “pre-VIPs” – The people who aren’t well known but should be and will be.” (193)

“More great work is the best way to market yourself.” (205)

“Creating more work is one of the most effective marketing techniques of all.” (205)

“It turns out that with each new album, the sales of a band’s previous album will increase. As the researchers wrote, “Various patterns in the data suggest the source of the spillover is information: a new release causes some uninformed consumers to discover the artist and purchase the artist’s past albums.” (206)

“There is a difference between something that services your audience and something that expands it.” (210)

“Colonel Parker, the infamous manager of Elvis Presley, came up with the idea to sell “I Hate Elvis” memorabilia, so that Elvis could profit from his haters too.” (211)

“Some questions to ask yourself:
What are new areas that my expertise or audience would be valuable in?
Is it possible to cut out the middleman like a label or a VC and invest in myself?
Can I help other artists or creatives achieve what I have achieved?
What are other people in my field afraid to do? What do they look down on? (These are almost always great opportunities.)
What can I do to make sure that I am not dependant on a single income stream?
If I took a break from creating, what would I do instead?
What are parts of the experience ro community surrounding my work that I can improve or grow?” (214)

“Luck is polarizing. The successful like to pretend it does not exist. The unsuccessful or the jaded pretend that it is everything. Both explanations are wrong.” (220)

“As Nassim Taleb puts it, “Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.” (220)

“The more you do, the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get.” (221)

“We do what we do because there is nothing more rewarding than the artistic and creative process – even if those rewards aren’t always financial, even if they don’t accrue as quickly as we might have originally hoped.” (224)

“Bill Walsh explained that his goal was to “establish a near-permanent ‘base camp’ near the summit, consistently close to the top, within striking distance.” The actual probability of winning in a given year depended on a lot of external factors – injuries, schedule, drive, weather – just as it does for any mountain climber, for any author, for any filmmaker or entrepreneur or creative. We do know with certainty, however, that without the right preparation, there is zero chance of successfully making a run to the summit.” (226)

“Steve Martin once explained that there were three levels of “good” when it came to a movie: “One is when it comes out. Is it a hit? Then after five years. Where is it? Is it gone? Then again after ten to fifteen years if it’s still around. Are people still watching it? Does it have an afterlife?” (229)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

“Ego Is The Enemy” Quotes

Ego Is The EnemyI recently read “Ego Is The Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Marina Abramovic says: If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.” (4)

“Talk depletes us. Talking and doing fight for the same resources. Research shows that while goal visualization is important, after a certain point our mind begins to confuse it with actual progress. The same goes for verbalization. Even talking aloud to ourselves while we work through difficult problems has been shown to significantly decrease insight and breakthroughs. After spending so much time thinking, explaining, and talking about a task, we start to feel that we’ve gotten closer to achieving it.” (27)

“Doing great work is a struggle. It’s draining, it’s demoralizing, it’s frightening – not always, but it can feel that way when we’re deep in the middle of it. We talk to fill the void and the uncertainty.” (27)

“The greatest work and art comes from wrestling with the void, facing it instead of scrambling to make it go away.” (28)

“The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.” (28)

“Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive.” (32)

“There’s a quip from the historian Will Durant, that a nation is born stoic and dies epicurean.” (32)

“The power of being a student is not just that it is an extended period of instruction, it also places the ego and ambition in someone else’s hands. There is a sort of ego ceiling imposed – one knows that he is not better than the “master” he apprentices under. Not even close. You defer to them, you subsume yourself. You cannot fake or bullshit them.” (38)

“The pretense of knowledge is our most dangerous vice, because it prevents us from getting any better. Studious self-assessment is the antidote.” (39)

“Because we only seem to hear about the passion of successful people,w e forget that failures shared the same trait.” (47)

“Be an anteambulo. Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself.” (53)

“When you are just starting out, we can be sure of a few fundamental realities: 1) You’re not nearly as good or as important as you think you are; 2) You have an attitude that needs to be readjusted; 3) Most of what you think you know or most of what you learned in books or in school is out of date or wrong.” (53)

“Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room – until you change that with results.” (56)

“Be lesser, do more. Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do fro them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you.” (46)

“Most people’s egos prevent them from appreciating: the person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction.” (58)

“It is a timeless fact of life that the up-and-coming must endure the abuses of the entrenched.” (64)

“It’s a sad fact of life that new talents are regularly missed, and even when recognized, often unappreciated. The reasons always vary, but it’s a part of the journey.” (64)

“You’re not able to change the system until after you’ve made it. In the meantime, you’ll have to find some way to make it suit your purposes – even if those purposes are just extra time to develop properly, to learn from others on their dime, to build your base and establish yourself.” (64)

“Genghis Khan warned, “If you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead.” (77)

“The question to ask, when you feel pride, then, is this: What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see? What am I avoiding, or running from, with my bluster, franticness, and embellishments?” (77)

“Fac, si facis. (Do it if you’re going to do it.)” (82)

“We want so desperately to believe that those who have great empires set out to build one. Why? So we can indulge in the pleasurable planning of ours.” (109)

“Once you win, everyone is gunning for you. It’s during your moment at the top that you can afford ego the least – because the stakes are so much higher, the margins for error are so much smaller. If anything, your ability to listen, to hear feedback, to improve and grow matter more now than ever before.” (110)

“Instead of pretending that we are living some great story, we must remain focused on the execution – and on executing with excellence. We must shun the false crown and continue working on what got us here. Because that’s the only thing that will keep us here.” (113)

“Ego needs honors in order to be validated. Confidence, on the other hand, is able to wait and focus on the task at hand regardless of external recognition.” (134)

“We never earn the right to be greedy or to pursue our interests at the expense of everyone else. To think otherwise is not only egotistical, it’s counterproductive.” (135)

“The only way out is through.” (168)

“This is what we’re aspiring to – much more than mere success. What matters is that we can respond to what life throws at us. And how we make it through.” (169)

“”Ambition,” Marcus Aurelius reminded himself, “means tying your well-being to what other people say or do… Sanity means tying it to your own actions.” Do your work. Do it well. Then “let go and let God.” That’s all there needs to be.” (180)

“The world is, after all, indifferent to what we humans “want.” If we persist in wanting, in needing, we are simply setting ourselves up for resentment or worse. Doing the work is enough.” (181)

“The problem is that when we get our identity tied up in our work, we worry that any kind of failure will then say something bad about us as a person.” (189)

“Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of – that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.” (197)

“A person who judges himself based on his own standard doesn’t crave the spotlight the same way as someone who lets applause dictate success.” (199)

“A person who can think long term doesn’t pity herself during short-term setbacks.” (199)

“This obsession with the past, with something that someone did or how things should have been, as mucha s it hurts, is ego embodied.” (206)

“Perfecting the personal regularly leads to success as a professional, but rarely the other way around.” (216)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book.

“Growth Hacker Marketing” Quotes

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 3.16.30 PMI recently read “Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer On The Future of PR, Marketing, And Advertising” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like these quotes, buy the book here.

“I think anyone marketing or launching fantasizes that they are premiering a blockbuster movie. And this illusion shapes and warps every marketing decision we make.” (xix)

“Our delusion is that we should be Transformers and not The Blair Witch Project.” (xix)

“The best marketing decision you can make is to have a product or business that fulfills a real and compelling need for a real and defined group of people.” (2)

“The books that tend to flop upon release are those where the author goes into a cave for a year to write it, then hands it off to the publisher for release. They hope for a hit that rarely comes.” (7)

“They test the ideas they’re writing about in the book on their blog and when they speak in front of groups. They ask readers what they’d like to see in the book. They judge topic ideas by how many comments a given post generates, by how many Facebook “shares” an article gets. They put potential title and cover ideas up online to test and receive feedback.” (8)

“Phil Libin said, “People thinking about things other than making the best product, never make the best product.”” (10)

“Once we stop thinking of the products we market as static – that our job as marketers is to simply work with what we’ve got instead of working on and improving what we’ve got – the whole game changes.” (11)

“Brian Halligan says, “you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products.”” (15)

“All of these types of outreach are done with a very specific mindset, with a very specific goal. We are not “spreading the word”; we’re not throwing up a billboard in Times Square and hoping in six months someone will spot our product in a grocery store and decide to pick it up. Instead, we are intensely focused on driving an initial set of new user sign-ups and customers, right now.” (26)

“It doesn’t matter how many people know about you or how they find out about you. It matters how many sign up.” (26)

“Patrick Vlaskovits puts it: “Focusing on customer acquisition over ‘awareness’ takes discipline… At a certain scale, awareness/brand building makes sense. But for the first year or two it’s a total waste of money.” (28)

“Users have to be pulled in. A good idea is not enough. Your customers, in fact, have to be “acquired.” But the way to do that isn’t with a bombardment. It’s with a targeted offensive in the right places aimed at the right people.” (28)

“The good news is that we have to do that only once. Because the next step isn’t about getting more attention or publicity. The endless promotional cycle of traditional marketing is not our destiny. Because once we bring our first customers in, our next move is to set about turning them into an army.” (29)

“Only a specific type of product or business or piece of content will go viral – it not only has to be worth spreading, it has to provoke a desire in people to spread it. Until you have accomplished that, or until your client is doing something truly remarkable, it just isn’t going to happen.” (32)

“Virality at its core is asking someone to spend their social capital recommending or linking or posting about you for free. You’re saying: Post about me on Facebook. Tell your friends to watch my video. Invite your business contacts to use this service. The best way to get people to do this enormous favor for you? Make it seem like it isn’t a favor. Make it the kind of thing that is worth spreading and, of course, conducive to spreading.” (33)

“You should not just encourage sharing but create powerful incentives to do so.” (34)

“You can’t just make a YouTube video about whatever you want and expect it to get ten million views. There has to be a compelling reason for a community to take hold of it and pass it around. You can’t just epxect your users to become evangelists of your product – you’ve got to provide the incentives and the platform for them to do so. Virality is not an accident. It is engineered.” (40)

“In an effort to improve the site’s aesthetic appeal and attract higher-end customers, Airbnb began offering free professional photography for its listings. If you listed your house on the service, they’d send a pro over to take amazing photos that made your house look irresistible.” (47)

“What growth hackers have mastered is the ability to grow and expand their businesses without having to chase down new customers.” (49)

“The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while a new prospect it’s just 5 to 20 percent.” (55)

“Tim took Product Market Fit to the next level – designed each chapter to stand alone on its own merits and made specifically for a defined community and group of readers.” (59)

“When your product is actually relevant and designed for a specific audience, bloggers love to write about you. Writing articles about you means more pageviews (and advertising revenue) for them!” (60)

“If you’re planning to launch a business in a few months or a few years, start building your platform – and your network – today.” (61)

“Marketing, too many people forget, is not an end unto itself. It is simply getting customers. And by the transitive property, anything that gets customers is marketing.” (66)

“You’ve got to build a list, because a list is the easiest and most effective marketing tool, period.” (76)

“If people are coming to your site and only a small percentage “stay,” the answer is never, I repeat, never, to try to get high volumes of traffic.” (81)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book.

“The Obstacle Is The Way” Quotes

I recently read “The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. As always, if you like the quotes, please buy the book here.

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 5.57.46 PM“Through our perception of events, we are complicit in the creation – as well as the destruction – of every one of our obstacles.” (22)
“Real strength lies in the control or, as Nasim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist.” (30)
“Epictetus told his students, when they’d quote some great thinker, to picture themselves observing the person having sex. It’s funny, you should try it the next time someone intimidates you or makes you feel insecure.” (34)
“Take your situation and pretend it is not happening to you. Pretend it is not important, that it doesn’t matter. How much easier would it be for you to know what to do? How much more quickly and dispassionately could you size up the scenario and its options?” (35)
“When you can break apart something, or look at it form some new angle, it loses its power over you.” (36)
“One meeting is nothing in a lifetime of meetings, one deal is just one deal. In fact, we may have actually dodged a bullet. The next opportunity might be better.” (38)
“Everything changed for George Clooney when he tried a new perspective. He realized that casting is an obstacle for producers, too – they need to find somebody, and they’re all hoping that the next person to walk in the room is the right somebody. Auditions were a chance to solve their problem, not his.
From Clooney’s new perspective, he was that solution. He wasn’t going to be someone groveling for a shot. He was someone with something special to offer. He was the answer to their prayers, not the other way around. That was what he began projecting in his auditions – not exclusively his acting skills but that he was the man for the job. That he understood what the casting director and producers were looking for in a specific role and that he would deliver it in each and every situation, in preproduction, on camera, and during promotion.” (39)
“Most people start from disadvantage (often with no idea they are doing so) and do just fine. It’s not unfair, it’s universal. Those who survive it, survive because they took things day by day – that’s the real secret.” (46)
“One thing is certain. It’s not simply a matter of saying: Oh, I’ll live in the present. You have to work at it. Catch your mind when it wanders – don’t let it get away from you. Discard distracting thoughts.” (48)
“Remember that this moment is not your life, it’s just a moment in your life. Focus on what is in front of you, right now. Ignore what it “represents” or it “means” or “why it happened to you.”” (48)
“Steve Jobs refused to tolerate people who didn’t believe in their own abilities to succeed.” (51)
“Take that longtime rival at work, the one who causes endless headaches? Note the fact that they also:
– keep you alert
– raise the stakes
– motivate you to prove them wrong
– harden you
– help you to appreciate true friends
– provide an instructive antilog – an example of whom you don’t want to become” (56)
“The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.” (57)
“It’s a huge step forward to realize that the worst thing to happen is never the event, but the event and losing your head. Because then you’ll have two problems.” (60)
“Boldness is acting anyway, even though you understand the negative and the reality of your obstacle.” (60)
“Sure, Demosthenes lost the inheritance he’d been born with, and that was unfortunate. But in the process of dealing with this reality, he created a far better one – one that could never be taken from him.” (67)
“In persistence, he’d not only broken through: In trying it all the wrong ways, Grant discovered a totally new way – the way that would eventually win the war.” (77)
“Knowing that eventually – inevitably – one will work. Welcoming the opportunity to test and test and test, grateful for the priceless knowledge this reveals.” (78)
“We’re usually skilled and knowledgeable and capable enough. But do we have the patience to refine our idea? The energy to beat on enough doors until we find investors or supporters? The persistence to slog through the politics and drama of working with a group?” (79)
“Epictetus: “persist and resist.” Persist in your efforts. Resist giving in to distraction, discouragement, or disorder.” (80)
“Failure shows us the way – by showing us what isn’t the way.” (86)
“Don’t think about the end – think about surviving.” (88)
“But you, you’re so busy thinking about the future, you don’t take any pride in the tasks you’re given right now.” (94)
“Forget the rule book, settle the issue.” (99)
“I you’ve got an important mission, all that matters is that you accomplish it.” (100)
“Think progress, not perfection.” (102)
“In a study of some 30 conflicts comprising more than 280 campaigns from ancient to modern history, the brilliant strategist and historian B. H. Liddell Hart came to a stunning conclusion: In only 6 of the 280 campaigns was the decisive victory a result of a direct attack on the enemy’s main army.” (104)
“When you’re at your wit’s end, straining and straining with all your might, when people tell you you look like you might pop a vein… Take a step back, then go around the problem. Find some leverage. Approach from what is called the “line of least expectation.” (105)
“We wrongly assume that moving forward is the only way to progress, the only way we can win. Sometimes, staying put, going sideways, or moving backward is actually the best way to eliminate what blocks or impedes your path.” (112)
“We act out, instead of act.” (116)
“If you think it’s simply enough to take advantage of the opportunities that rise in your life, you will fall short of greatness. Anyone sentient can do that. What you must do is learn how to press forward precisely when everyone around you sees disaster.” (119)
“Ordinary people shy away form negative situations, just as they do with failure. They do their best to avoid trouble. What great people do is the opposite. They are their best in these situations. They turn personal tragedy or misfortune – really anything, everything – to their advantage.” (120)
“It’s much easier to control our perceptions and emotions than it is to give up our desire to control other people and events.” (132)
“Could you actually handle yourself if things suddenly got worse?” (135)
“About the worst thing that can happen is not something going wrong, but something going wrong and catching you by surprise.” (143)
“It doesn’t feel that way but constraints in life are a good thing. Especially if we can accept them and let them direct us. They push us to places and to develop skills that we’d otherwise never have pursued.” (145)
“If someone we knew took traffic signals personally, we would judge them insane. Yet this is exactly what life is doing to us. It tells us to come to a stop here. Or that some intersection is blocked or that a particular road has been rerouted through an inconvenient detour. We can’t argue or yell this problem away. We simply accept it.” (145)
“Love everything that happens: amor fati.” (150)
“To do great things, we need to be able to endure tragedy and setbacks. We’ve got to love what we do and all that it entails, good and bad. We have to learn to find joy in every single thing that happens.” (151)
“The Germans have a word for it: Sitzfleisch. Staying power. Winning by sticking your ass to the seat and not leaving until after it’s over.” (157)
“There are more failures in the world due to a collapse of will than there will ever be from objectively conclusive external events.” (158)
“Whatever you’re going through, whatever is holding you down or standing in your way, can be turned into a source of strength – by thinking of people other than yourself.” (165)
“Stop pretending that what you’re going through is somehow special or unfair. Whatever trouble you’re having – no matter how difficult – is not some unique misfortune picked out especially for you. It just is what it is.” (165)
“One does not overcome an obstacle to enter the land of no obstacles.” (172)
“On the contrary, the more you accomplish, the more things will stand in your way. There are always more obstacles, bigger challenges. You’re always fighting uphill. Get used to it and train accordingly.” (173)
“Passing one obstacle simply says you’re worthy of more.” (173)
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