Read This Book If You Feel Low

A book that gets you motivated

Do you ever feel like you need a quick, but not too quick pick me up? Motivation is a bit low, you are not feeling very creative and you just need something similar with a pep talk, but not an actual talk.

Photo by The Daily Stoic

I got you. This short and light read might be what you need. The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday is one of your classic self-improvement books, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, just that is what you usually expect from one of those. Some nice stories, some motivational quotes, some good ideas, and some strong opinions about life.

What makes me recommend this for low motivation is that is well-written and it can actually bring your spirits up in a simple, non-aggressive way. Exactly the push you might need to start something.

Here are some points that stuck with me and helped me feel better about life:

  1. Shift perception — an event that is generally perceived by most people as negative, might actually be an opportunity if you adjust your perception of things. I think this is a good reminder, that we often forget in our daily lives. It takes some practice to get used to shifting your perception from the general one, but try to do it with small things first.
  2. Trained panic — Ryan Holiday presents the art of not panicking in one of the chapters, and as corny as it might sound, there is a good point there. With enough exposure to unexpected or chaotic situations, you will learn to remain calm rather than being frozen by emotions or reacting hastily. From making calls, confronting people, asking for something, or being put on the spot by someone, the more you do these the easier and normal these will be for you. As the book says, in these situations, we should get used to ask ourselves “Do I need to freak out about this?”
  3. Practice objectivity — rather than attaching labels such as good or bad to everything that happens or to objects, being able to just state what happened or what is it can give you a clearer point of view on the situation. Marcus Aurelius used to practice this by describing expensive things without their euphemisms, such as roasted meat is a dead animal or vintage wine is actually old, fermented grapes, you get the point.

I think that these 3 points if practiced regularly can make life a bit easier and make us take action more often and therefore we get more motivated. If you want to get more insights about how to take action and get ready mentally for what could happen this book is for you.

I will end this recommendation with my favorite quote that was cited in the book:

In the meantime, cling tooth and nail to the following rule: not to give in to adversity, not to trust prosperity, and always take full note of fortune’s habit of behaving just as she pleases.

— Seneca

Article published in The Book Cafe

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