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Stillness is the key – A masterpiece by Ryan Holiday

Hey guys what is up welcome back to my blog I’m so thankful that you guys took the time out of your day to read my blog post. Hope you all are safe from the COVID-19 and having a great 2021. Man this book took me a while to finish but it was absolutely worth it.

I heard Ryan Holiday on Jay Shetty’s podcast, ON Purpose. He was absolutely phenomenal person to hear and I loved his thoughts and ideas on stoic philosophy and stillness. I was so impressed that I immediately got this book and began my reading and boy was I impressed.

The book is divided into three parts, the spirit, mind and body, dealing with different parts of well being and stillness connected to these different parts. The book is mostly Ryan’s take on stoic philosophy while taking inspiration from a number of different sources and finding the teachings from the failures and successes of famous people like John F. Kennedy. The book inspired me a lot personally as I was going through a tough time when I was reading it and I took my sweet time reading and finishing the book but it was all worth it. Ryan talks of Chinese poems and teachings to help the people learn the stillness that people aspire for. In each chapter he first gives an example of some previous occurance from a person we admire from history and then he connects it to stoic philosophy and then gives his own advice.

I’ll talk about the first chapter of the book here to give you a basic idea of what the book has and what it holds for you. The first chapter talks about the legendary John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile crisis. Ryan speaks about how instead of simply going in and defending against the Missiles or attacking Russia in retaliation, Kennedy simply waited. He waited and waited giving hismelf time to think the issue over while also giving Russian generals time to think their attack over, this is what allowed the entire event to go down without a confrontation happening. The Cold War wasn’t something that just affected the US and the USSR it gave an important lesson to the whole world, the lesson of patience and stillness. Kennedy’s advisors had an immediate answer : The missile sites must be destroyed with the full might of the country’s military arsenal. Every second wasted risked the safety and the reputation of the United States. After the surprise attack on the missiles, a full-scale invasion of Cuba by American troops would need to follow. Kennedy however taking his different approach saved his country from all out war or as Ryan put it in the book ‘With clear thinking, wisdom, patience, and a keen eye for the root of a complex, provocative conflict, Kennedy had saved the world from a nuclear holocaust.’ Ryan goes on to talk of the ancient Chinese text The Daodejing and how examples from it substantiates the route of action that Kennedy took while also observing Kennedy’s life like his notes and hobbies during the time to teach us what stillness is like. He finally ends the chapter with a few words of advice like, ‘Be fully present’, ‘Take our time’, ‘Sit quietly and reflect’.

What I liked from the first chapter and what urged me to read more of the book was how Ryan deeply analysed and researched every little detail and with excellent explanations makes the reader understand the real importance of stillness. While stillness initially collided with my ideology of service the book explains that stillness is a state of mind, it’s not emptiness. It’s like the water in a bottle, you can drain out the water or you can wait and watch the water in the bottle slowly settle into stillness. That is the way for life to be lived, by keeping a still mind focused on service. That said, the book is a must read for everyone who wants calmness in their life so read it and let me know what you thought of it.

So that is it for this post guys hope you got some value from this.  Thank you guys for reading to the end hit me up on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn with your thoughts and if you have any ideas which I should write about. Stay safe from the COVID-19. Thank you again and I’ll see you all next week.

Published by Harshit Sagar

I am a 18 year old teen who has a passion for writing and loves anime.

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