Dec. 28, 2021

How To Practice The 4 Virtues That Help You Live A Happier Life With Ryan Holiday

How To Practice The 4 Virtues That Help You Live A Happier Life With Ryan Holiday

Our guest is Ryan Holiday. He’s the author of “Lives of the Stoics” and many other books on stoicism.

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
YouTube podcast player badge
Goodpods podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist. When he was 19 years old, he dropped out of college to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power. He had a successful marketing career at American Apparel and went on to found a creative agency called Brass Check, which has advised clients like Google, and many prominent bestselling authors, including Neil Strauss, and Tim Ferriss

Holiday is the author of several of our favorite books, including The Obstacle Is the WayEgo Is the EnemyThe Daily Stoic, and Stillness is the Key which have sold millions of copies in dozens of languages.

In this encore episode, we talk with Holiday about his book "Lives of the Stoics." Holiday and co-author Stephen Hanselman present the fascinating lives of the men and women who worked to live by the timeless Stoic virtues of courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom. The fascinating mini-biographies illustrate powerful, centuries-old lessons that still serve as beacons to a more principled life.

Connect with The Fit Mess Podcast on:





Facebook Group


If you enjoyed this episode, head on over to Apple Podcasts and kindly leave us a rating, a review, and subscribe!


[00:00:00] Jeremy: You can't really know where you're going until, you know where you've been. I love that quote from my Angelo. Especially this time of year. 

[00:00:07] With the holidays wrapping up in a new year ahead. It's a good time to reflect on the past 12 months and all of the growth change, loss and challenges we faced. 

[00:00:16] So we can better prepare for what's to come in the new year. And we all know by now to expect the unexpected. 

[00:00:21] Reflection in effort to better prepare is an essential stoic idea. It's one of many that I've learned more about and reading books by the popular author on stoicism Ryan holiday. Several months ago, we talked to him about those teachings And how there is applicable today as they were 2000 years ago. 

[00:00:37] Especially with all we face during an evolving pandemic. That's why we hope you'll enjoy this Encore edition of the fit mess with our very special guest Ryan holiday. 

[00:00:46] Ryan Holiday: It's really important that one of the lessons we take out of this is just an understanding of. How little of life is in our control and what, but what we do control as the moment in front of us and how we decide to spend that moment. This, 

[00:01:01] Jeremy: this is the fifth mess with Zach and Jared.

[00:01:08] I'm going to start this episode with a bit of a confession. I get excited about all of the people that we talked to on the show, because there are a ton of. That's brilliant, inspiring, motivating people that we talked to, but I'm fanboying out a little bit about talking to Ryan holiday. Uh, he has a brand new book it's called lives of the Stoics, and I've been reading Ryan's work for a long time.

[00:01:29] There are a number of books in the sort of self-help genre that that I've read over the years, but his are the ones that even the, just the titles I carry with me in my head. As I'm face, whatever life throws at me and his work has really meant a lot to me. So having him on our show this week means the world to me.

[00:01:51] Like if, if our show ended after this. I talked to one of the people that has made the biggest impact on my life. And I consider it a success, but it's not ending after this. It's not that we have, we have a lot of work to do still. However, I'm very excited that we could get to talk to Ryan holiday. We will share that interview with you in just a little bit.

[00:02:09] But first this is the fitness. My name is Jeremy and his name is Zach. What's up everyone. And I want to start with his books. There's one that has been by my bedside for, I don't even know how. And I read it every single day and it is the daily stoic. And it is just essentially brief quotes to, to read at some point in your day.

[00:02:30] I like to read it both at night and in the morning to sort of evaluate how my day fit into the life I'm trying to live and how the day that I'm about to experience is going to fit into the life that I'm about to live. I love reading this book because it is easy to just read a page. Maybe two, if you're ambitious, But it is just full of wisdom and lessons that you can use to guide you on the path.

[00:02:51] Again, of being the kind of person you want. You want to be. Yeah. 

[00:02:55] Zach: That's, that's one of my favorites too. And have you read today's page 

[00:02:59] Jeremy: yet? Nope, not yet. I'll read it to you. Cause I just read it to Natalie Guy cause I can't read so that'll, that'll be 

[00:03:05] Zach: helpful. So it's Marcus earlier. And I think on another show that we did, I quoted him and then I said, I think he is a stoic.

[00:03:15] And you were like, yeah, think, 

[00:03:19] Jeremy: but ironically, like, I didn't know who Marcus really was until I saw gladiator. And then I was like, oh wait, is that a real dude? Oh God, there's, there's a whole rabbit hole to go down here. All right. So read, read 

[00:03:30] Zach: to me. So reverence and justice, leave the past behind, let the grand design take care of the future.

[00:03:37] And instead, only rightly guide the president to reverence and justice reverence. So that you'll love what you've been allotted for. Nature brought you both to each other justice, so that you'll speak the truth freely and without evasion. And so that you'll act only as the law and value of things require.

[00:03:56] Right on the surface. It's like, well, here's two things you can follow. But then in the explanation for it, if anyone would take two words to heart and take pains to govern and watch over themselves by them, they will live an impeccable and immensely tranquil life. The two words are persist and resist.

[00:04:15] That's great advice, but what principles should determine what we persist in and what we ought to resist Marcus supplies, the answer reverence injustice. In other words for Chu, 

[00:04:27] Jeremy: right? Yeah. And it's so interesting. We were just talking about before we started recording that, that so much of what the Stoics intentionally or unintentionally were trying to teach us was to decide who you are, right.

[00:04:42] Decide what kind of a life you want to live and whatever decisions, whatever complications that life throws at you, you view them through that prison. To then decide how to respond to that thing. And, you know, I know for me, that's something I know for so many people, this isn't just me, almost every conversation I've had lately has been with people who, because life is nothing like it was a year ago is going, I made a bunch of decisions in my life leading me to that point to live that way that doesn't fit this anymore.

[00:05:17] And so I don't, I don't know anyone who hasn't said, I'm thinking of moving. I'm thinking of changing my job. I'm thinking of putting my kid in a different school program. Like everyone is re-evaluating everything, and we're doing the same thing. We're, we're looking at moving to a couple of different places and it is the hardest struggle because almost every decision has a layer of good with bad and trying to figure out what's the best thing to do here has to come from.

[00:05:46] A central set of principles. And how, how is this decision going to fit into that? And if it doesn't then the answer's no, but that's such a hard thing to figure out while you're still sort of formulating who the person is that you want to be. 

[00:06:03] Zach: Right. And sometimes you have to take it back down to there's an exercise I've done a couple of times where, it's just a sheet of values.

[00:06:12] And you just go through and you circle the ones, you like, the ones, you, the ones you are, the ones you want to be, the ones that are important to you and you kind of, you build a list of who you want to be based on what you've circled. Right. And then you can translate your life into those, those 

[00:06:29] Jeremy: values.

[00:06:30] Okay. Yeah. And it's such an interesting time to be looking at lessons that are hundreds and thousands of years old. And. Address problems. We're still trying to figure out as people. 

[00:06:44] Zach: Yeah, they're, they're super applicable to me today. Just as applicable to me today as they were 2000 years ago, like part of me always thought that, living 2000 years ago, life would be simpler.

[00:06:58] Life would be easier, right? It's really about survival. Right? You get up, you, you do the thing that, that will get you, the food that you need to eat, and then you do it all over again. 

[00:07:10] Ryan Holiday: Right. 

[00:07:11] Zach: But it's so far from the truth. I mean, like we wouldn't have all these, all of these words of wisdoms, if the things that are going through our head, weren't going through their head as well.

[00:07:20] Yeah. 

[00:07:21] Jeremy: It's crazy. It's crazy that we haven't. Like, there are so many things here that are basics of what 

[00:07:28] Zach: was Marcus earliest. Says it never ceases to amaze me. We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more 

[00:07:35] Jeremy: about therapy.

[00:07:37] That's one that every time I stumble across it like I judge myself, my success, my happiness against things that other people have all the time. And it's such bullshit. It's total bullshit. It's all inside. Yeah. I mean, there are people that I compare myself to that on the surface have much more than I do, but then they will turn around and say to me that they envy something about the way I live my life or a success that I've had or whatever.

[00:08:06] And I just think how, like, how that doesn't, that doesn't even register. Like, I look at you and go, that's how I should be living. Like I'm failing because I'm not doing what you're doing and they're doing the same thing to me. And I'm just like, I I'm baffled by that. That takes it like full 

[00:08:20] Zach: circle, back to gratitude, being grateful for what you have.

[00:08:25] Just the little things, right? There's another quote that I'm going to totally butcher at this point in time, but it's very little as needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself in your way of thinking, you don't have to compare yourself to other people. You simply don't have to. It's a choice 

[00:08:43] Jeremy: that you're making.

[00:08:45] And that dovetails perfectly into this one that I love. And I try so hard to remember, like I'm not one of those guys that can pull a movie quote out of every movie I've ever seen. Like, it's so hard for me to retain them, but when with some star wars and even then I've, I have moments, but, uh, I love this one.

[00:09:01] Choose not to be harmed and you won't feel harmed. Don't feel harmed and you haven't been, it's all about just accepting. Your responsibility for the way you react to whatever the situation is. No one has the power to hurt you. No one has the power to make you feel anything you choose. And that's, I mean, I'm saying that out loud and that's still hard for me to own because I lose, I lost control today.

[00:09:30] Not, not, I actually have. I'm pretty proud of myself because I kept it cool. But like, I, I was burning out. Like I leave my house like once a week. I hardly ever go anywhere today. We ran like every errand we've needed to run for like a month and we're in the car and the kids are screaming. They're singing, they're babbling.

[00:09:48] They're making sounds, doing things, rainstorm driving on the freeway, traffic, like I'm just bombarded with what used to be daily life. And it was now like all of a sudden, oh right. This is how society works outside my front door and was just wildly overwhelmed. And I CA I was feeling it building. And I was like, I kept trying, I kept coming back to the conversation that we had with Ryan that we'll get to in just a minute.

[00:10:15] And, and all these like, stoic things that I've been reading recently because of this interview. And it helped me just turn to them and go guys, I'm getting really overwhelmed by all of the sounds. You're making all of the crosstalk between you and everybody, that the noise I'm trying to drive in the rain.

[00:10:30] This is, this is a lot for me. I need you to dial it down. This is too much. And they're like, oh, okay, sorry. And they totally reacted appropriately. And they still talked and were normal, but it was like they weren't on sugar overload wild. And it was just, it was incredible too. To have these, these lessons so fresh in my mind to be able to pull from them and go, what's the kind of person I want to be here.

[00:10:55] Do I want to be the one that's like, well, you guys just shut the fuck up or do I want to be the guys that says, Hey, here's what I'm feeling. And I need you to help me and do your part to help me get through this. And just having that presence of mine got me through what, a few months ago would have been a much different expense.

[00:11:12] Zach: It's amazing how other people react to how you're feeling if you can, if you can phrase it appropriately. Yeah. When I give feedback to people at work, I like giving positive feedback and negative feedback, but when I give any kind of feedback at work, I follow a formula. And that formula is when you do X, I feel Y instead of just saying something like, Hey, you were late for the meeting.

[00:11:36] Hey, you, you didn't do the report. You were, you said you were going to do. If you throw in, you did that thing. And it made me feel X, like it made me feel like I can't count on you. It made me feel like I need to look somewhere else to get this job done. Right. It really 

[00:11:52] Jeremy: hits home with people. So, no, and that's so true.

[00:11:55] There are so many things in my work life that I go, oh, what's the point of this is dumb and I will give it that energy. But if, if it's somehow letting someone else down in, in that way and make it articulate. I need you to care about this, even though it seems mundane because X suddenly it's not this pointless thing that I have to do every day.

[00:12:15] And even talking to my kids the other night, they were, they were at each other and they kept, I kept asking them what's wrong. And they would, they would recite the story of what just happened. Oh, well, she did this and she threw this at me and she hit me. I was like, okay. But I don't care about all that.

[00:12:30] How did it feel? And they got down to, I felt like. She didn't appreciate what I did for her. I felt like I wasn't being seen or I wasn't being heard. And when they, I could see when they heard how their actions were making the other feel, there was a switch that flipped and they're like, oh, and my oldest daughter even said, pat, you're pretty good at this feeling stuff, dad.

[00:12:51] And I was like, holy shit. Maybe I am doing okay at this. This is all right. This is all right. And so again, and the positive reinforcement I got from that just made me. Keep at this, keep working on this, showing her that at my age, I'm getting my feelings under. Is going to go so far and helping her figure out how to do it for herself.

[00:13:14] And she's getting, guidance at a much younger age than I am on my own, you know, in my forties trying to figure this out, right. 

[00:13:21] Zach: We have children and some of this stuff is sometimes the best way to learn something is to teach someone else, even if you're not an expert in it. Right. By teaching my daughter, some of these ways to deal with her feelings and her anxiety, it's actually reinforcing it in me and making me think about it more.

[00:13:41] So I put more into practice it's it's. Other than the tax breaks, children do have another benefit. 

[00:13:50] Jeremy: Well, you know, on that note talking about the, the teacher, student relationship, we have a fascinating conversation with Ryan holiday that we want to share with you now. And, and one of the things we get into with him is that, that very question has he learned more in sort of teaching this than he has as a student and his perspective on this is, is interesting.

[00:14:07] And he'll, he'll talk about how he, you know, really approaches this as a student and is sort of sharing with the world. What he's learning as he goes and, and, you we'll let him explain that a little bit more. But as his new book is, is fantastic. It's fascinating. It is full of amazing historical stories of some of the original Stoics that he references so often.

[00:14:26] And I really, you know, maybe it's just, cause I just got done watching Cobra Kai recently, but I felt very connected to karate kid as I was reading this because I essentially felt like, oh, I'm reading a history book, but in that history, Is the lessons that I should be applying to my life. He doesn't come straight out and translate it for you.

[00:14:46] He, he says, here's what happened to these people, tells their story and moves on. And so it was very much, paint the fence, you know, learn to block it. It's a fascinating book. I hope you'll read it. But to start the interview, I just, I asked him about that, that karate kid analogy is, is that basically what he was going for in writing?

[00:15:04] Lives of the Stoics.

[00:15:10] Ryan Holiday: That's an interesting analogy. I guess when I, when I write, uh, I'm, I'm obviously trying to impart information, but to me, unless that information is applicable in one's actual life, I don't really see the point. So I I'm trying to look at the lives of the Stoics, but more directly. How we can learn lessons from their lives to apply to our own lives.

[00:15:36] Zach: So I absolutely love the real person context around this book. It really helps me in all the struggles that I have, knowing that these people were real people and had struggles and they weren't just quotes that I read all the time. Sure. But there's so many scenarios that are better in the book that mirror, what we're kind of seeing today in regards to political and social issues.

[00:15:57] So, my question is what, what can we learn from these centuries old stories that can guide us through, the, the political division and the new social norms that we're all facing? 

[00:16:08] Ryan Holiday: So not just political and social issues, but I mean, Marcus really was living during the Antonian plague. And so the Stoics, you know, it can feel like the ancient world was very, very distant, but in fact had all of the problems we have today, plus other problems.

[00:16:24] So I think what we can, we can learn from. From them is sort of how, what did, what did they, what do they bring to these situations for the Stoics? The four virtues are courage, justice self-discipline and wisdom. And so whether they're dealing with a plague, whether they're dealing with a social unrest, whether they're dealing with the temptation of luxury and success, the Stokes we're trying to always apply those virtues.

[00:16:48] Marcus really is right. Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn't matter. You know, I think you're seeing a lot of people that I struggle with. Well, here's the party that I identify with and that's sort of in conflict with what I believe inside and struggle to sort of reconcile those things.

[00:17:05] Or they say, look like I have to make a living. I, I have to do my job, but now my job is in conflict with, the lessons that I teach my kids. What do I do? And I think what the Stoics would say is, look, you got to do what's right. Sort of let the consequences come, what may and, and that you got to believe that you're going to be capable of handling those consequences and, and, and surviving.

[00:17:30] Jeremy: You mentioned surviving and plague, and we're all trying to do that right now with our own more than 200,000 debt America. Um, you, you make the point that that history sort of goes on with, or without us we've, you know, 200,000 people are not going on with this. Where, where do we, I guess what lessons can we pull from them from, from the Stoics that that can help us sort of find calm and an acceptance that, that we might not make it through this as individually.

[00:17:57] Ryan Holiday: Th the idea of momentum more is sort of really profound, stoic practice. You know, I think that the reality of the pandemic has brought death closer to a lot of people, both literally, but also it's forced us to wrestle with our mortality a little bit, sort of more than we ordinarily would be. I think what the Stoics want you to realize.

[00:18:17] It's like, Sure you could, you, you could die in this pandemic and that's why you gotta be careful. And it's why you want to make sure you're on top of things. And you know, you're not taking people for granted, but you could also get hit by a bus tomorrow. Right? You could also find out you have cancer tomorrow and when they didn't want.

[00:18:33] Was for you to only then begin to start to value your time. You know what I mean? Or value your people or value the things that you have been lucky enough to have an experience. So it's really important that one of the lessons we take out of this is just an understanding of. How little of life is in our control and what, but what we do control as the moment in front of us and how we decide to spend that moment.

[00:19:01] Jeremy: I, if I can pick up on that for just a minute, because one of the things that I keep hearing is I ask more about that as is everyone says, you know, turn to gratitude, be grateful for what you have, and I keep doing that. But then every time I do, I feel like one of the things I'm grateful for has it has now been stripped away.

[00:19:14] It just feels like it's all sort of the sand that. Is, uh, an excellent lesson in letting go. Is, is that sort of what we should take? 

[00:19:23] Ryan Holiday: Yeah. I mean, there's a, there's a humility in that that sort of seeing that, that you don't really. Have a firm grasp on any of these things. Epictetus talks about reminding yourself that you don't even possess your possessions, that your loved ones, you don't own that, that all of these things, we have a very tenuous grasp on, and they're sort of ours in trust, whereas a loan and you, you have to enjoy them and appreciate them.

[00:19:47] It's not just about sitting around. Being like thinking gratitude, but it's are your actions in line with with that gratitude? So I think a lot of people, for instance, went into this pandemic going, oh, I can afford to burn two weeks or two months. And then life will go back to normal. As opposed to thinking this is the new normal I'm going to live as much as I can within that.

[00:20:11] And then when things change, I'm going to live as much as I can within that. So it's sort of an adaptability as opposed to. Well, here's how I like them to be. And I'm just going to insist on them being that way all the time. Yeah, 

[00:20:25] Zach: it, it took me a couple of months to realize that I needed to accept what was going on and just make, make the most of it.

[00:20:31] Once I did that, things got so much easier, you know, I understand that you live on a farm and you're not traveling as much. You're probably just as isolated as we are, but you know, how are you making this a lot of time for 

[00:20:42] Ryan Holiday: yourself? Well, one of the great things about being a writer is you sort of can do it anywhere.

[00:20:47] And in fact the pandemic life is a little bit closer to how life should be all the time. Anyway. So in some ways this is sort of kept me honest. But, but what I'm really trying to like what I've really been trying to see this as it's sort of like the greatest lifestyle experiment in human history, you know, it's the greatest collective lifestyle experiment that we've ever conceived of.

[00:21:09] And everyone is being forced to do things differently and forced to sort of reimagine how they do the things that they have to keep doing. And so. it's given me a chance to question different parts of my routine question, how I, you know, spend my days question, you know, sort of what I value and not value.

[00:21:26] And then I don't know about you guys, but where in Texas has kind of been this like, oh, we're starting to open back up and then we're closing again. Then we're opening back. There's been a lot of sort of false alarms. And what I've noticed is although it's, I've been really good. When I have no choice, the second other people start asking for stuff, or you start to hear that people, you know, are changing their behavior.

[00:21:50] It becomes harder to sort of insist on what you want and then also what you know, to be safe for smart. So, I'm noticing just a lot, I'm just noticing how, how much peer pressure and just to sort of having one eye on what other people are doing, influences what we think is normal or right.

[00:22:09] And, and so I think one of the things I want to emerge from this with is a much stronger sense of like what. How I want things to be, and my ability to enforce those boundaries. 

[00:22:21] Jeremy: You know, it's funny, you mentioned that. I th I think that answers this question that I was hoping to ask you, and it's, I follow a lot of people in this genre, this sort of self-help genre, and there are people on one end saying the world health organization, and the CDC are nuts and they're out to scam you and profit, blah, blah, blah.

[00:22:37] And then there's other people. And I've heard you say, listen to them, they're scientists. They know what they're talking about. And, you know, as someone who's, who has surprised myself with the growth and things, I've sort of discovered on this. I'm torn to both sides. I mean, the logical rational person in me says, listen to the scientists, duh, that's obvious.

[00:22:56] But then when, when these people, I respect are saying things that contradict that I really wrestle with, what do I really know? And how do I, how do I reconcile the two 

[00:23:05] Ryan Holiday: it's it's it's been a helpful part of this as well in that you're sort of you're, you're also getting a nice glimpse into a. The people you like admire follow, which ones of them are also just complete pieces of shit, you know?

[00:23:21] And so it's been interesting for me, like people that I'm friends with, people that I know sort of behaving in totally self-absorbed ways, totally hypocritical ways falling prey to nonsense or, you know, conspiracy theories Or just at best sort of magical thinking. I I've even had to notice, wrestle with that with my own audience.

[00:23:42] Right. Even before I came on, I was checking something on Instagram and it was like posted something very non-controversial and there's just a whole flood of just like, Really bad stuff from people and you're just go, okay, like, this is why you can't do things for other people's approval or because you, you like, this is why that it can't matter to you.

[00:24:06] You have to do and say what you think is right. And then tune out that other stuff. And it goes, I think it goes to sort of the behavior on the pandemic. It's like the. Reasonable common sense sort of prescriptions for how to survive, this, how to keep yourself safe, how not to spread the virus are very straightforward.

[00:24:24] There's a very good amount of data behind it. And there they're sort of very minimal as far as what they actually impose on you. And then, so you, you're sort of going along in that, but you realize it's actually. The people are just sort of quietly doing the right thing. You're not hearing from what you're hearing from are the crazy people or the shameless people or the totally clueless people.

[00:24:47] And so that can be really misleading and disorienting because it's really hard to just. Okay. Wait, why do I believe? What do I believe? What I believe? Why is this important to me? Why am I doing this? And then you have to stick with it, even though, you know, you might get laughed at her. I mean, one of the things I've really taken out of the pandemic has been good for me to go back to this point about boundaries is like, my instincts have been really good.

[00:25:11] And every time I've stuck with those instincts, I've tended to be proven. Right. And so a good thing I'm taking out of this as like, oh, when I have, when I feel this way in the future, I just need to listen to that voice. I can't let other people persuade me off of it because they don't really know 

[00:25:29] Jeremy: on that line and sort of veering away from, from, uh COVID as someone who has spent a lot of time writing about Stoics.

[00:25:36] And there, there weren't a lot of people doing this. If you haven't written your first book and eight people bought it sure. Would that have mattered to you? Would you have kept going as hard as you. I think so. 

[00:25:46] Ryan Holiday: I mean, look, when I, when I first even took that book to a publisher, they were like, and I was actually just hearing from my poster.

[00:25:52] They were like, we were only humoring you, like, we thought it would fail. And then you would go back to writing the other kinds of books that you are known for writing. And so, I feel like obviously I persevered through that, but although the obstacle is the way, which is my first book about stoicism has since sold very well and, and, and continues to sell.

[00:26:11] When it came out, it wasn't that it was a failure, but like it took five years for it to hit the bestseller list. So there, I wouldn't say there was like a period in the wilderness, but there was a period where the evidence was not emphatically in. And one of the ways that I got through that was I was just busy continuing to do the work.

[00:26:31] And, and you, you do want to get to a place ideally where. The results outside of your control are not determining whether something is good to you or not. 

[00:26:43] Jeremy: Oh. I asked some folks sort of online. If they had a chance to ask you something, what were they asking? This one stood out to me is D have you learned more as a teacher than you have as a student in this field?

[00:26:53] Ryan Holiday: Yeah, absolutely. I hope it comes across that I'm not writing about stoicism from the position. Of a stoic, but I'm writing about stoicism from the perspective of a student of stoicism. So, and, and actually Seneca talks about this idea that you learn as you teach. I'm writing about an exploring the ideas in stoicism.

[00:27:14] That's why I'm not a character in the books, but then I'm looking at historical figures who have sort of proven the ideas or, or seem to illustrate the idea. So it's as much an exploration for me as for the reader. Yeah. Ultimately, I do think that's kind of why they resonate because it there's at least one test case for which these ideas are relevant and that test cases me.

[00:27:36] Sure, sure. 

[00:27:37] Jeremy: Uh, and, and as a student of it and a father of young kids, how has it shaped you as a father? Well, 

[00:27:44] Ryan Holiday: it's a constant challenge. I mean, just being a person is a constant challenge, but I think being a father forces or a parent forces you to one. Re-examining re understand your own past. It forces you to really like you see so much more clearly the effect that your actions have on other people.

[00:28:02] And, you know, it's like you lose your temper at an adult, they're an adult. So maybe you get that back at them. If you lose your temper at a child, you see the effect that it's having on this person, a person that you're you not only don't want to hurt, but whose job. It is for you to protect and, and it's just like this.

[00:28:23] Perpetual look in the mirror that I, that I think it either makes you better or you are so, or you have to completely tune it out. You know what I mean? So I think some, obviously some parents are so struggling with their own issues is that, they're really not doing a good job. And then I think other people are really transformed by the experience of going through it.

[00:28:43] And I've obviously. Trying to be transformed 

[00:28:48] Jeremy: that, that that sounds familiar. That sounds familiar. Yeah, of course. Well, w we're at the end of our time, uh, any, uh, sort of final takeaways, any, anything you want people to know as they consider picking up the. Yeah. 

[00:29:00] Ryan Holiday: I mean, there's this great line from Seneca says only those who make time for philosophy are truly alive.

[00:29:05] I think this idea that, that you have to make room in your life for study, for thinking, for reflection for self-improvement is really, really important. And it's like, people go, but I'm too busy. And then you're like, okay, but how much cable news do you watch? How much time do you spend on social media? Like really, really building an active practice in your life where you're working on getting better.

[00:29:26] That's what philosophy is. It's not what they do at Harvard. It's you sitting alone with a book and, sort of having a conversation with someone who lived 2000 years ago,

[00:29:41] Jeremy: all right. The book is lives of the Stoics and that was the author Ryan holiday. Again, I'm just a huge fan of his work. It's really meant a lot to me. So a really big deal for us to be able to talk with him. Uh, and share a sort of his process and what all went into writing that book. All right.

[00:29:56] Now, before we go, Zach, it is challenged time. So 

[00:30:00] Zach: I'm going to challenge myself to something this week. And I, I have had a couple of injuries that have really kept me out of the gym and I could be doing modified workouts, but I'm not. I like to do the full workout. I like to do, a hundred percent and, also going to the gym and working out with other people with an injury, knowing I have to modify like my ego got in the way of that.

[00:30:24] Right. It's I didn't want other people to see me not doing everything to its full fullest extent and it kind of brought up. My favorite quote from Seneca, which really helps me manage my anxiety. It's we suffer more often in imagination than in reality. In my mind, , I was already suffering that people would see me modify, like instead of running, I'd be on the bike or, not lifting as heavy, a weight that I used to be able to because, you know, I haven't lifted anything in four weeks and I suffered for weeks on that before I really just said, screw.

[00:31:01] Go to the gym and who cares what other people are, are, are thinking or even no, one's looking. No 

[00:31:07] Jeremy: one cares. Yeah. That's my favorite part is that almost always, nobody is even looking at you. They're so worried about what you think of them. They're not even given a second thought to what you're doing and thinking badly about it.

[00:31:19] So funny how we do that to ourselves. 

[00:31:21] Zach: Yeah. So that quote is really. That's my anxiety in a nutshell. Right. I, whatever the reality of whatever situation is I'm about to go into, I suffer mentally in, thinking about it, planning it, how I'm going to look, what other people are going to think of me.

[00:31:38] Like all the quotes that we talked about during the show, like run through my mind and caused me to suffer greatly before anything has ever even fucking happened. 

[00:31:47] Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah. I get hung up on. Like, I'll definitely worry about what somebody thinks, but I'll, I'll take it to the next level of, they're going to ask me why I'm doing something differently.

[00:31:58] And then I'm going to have to explain, like, and especially the injuries that, that I've been carrying for the last few weeks, like, I literally hurt my tailbone by sitting on, on a bad chair for a few weeks, but I don't want to have that conversation. With whoever I'm working out in front of whether it's, at home, I don't want to, well, yeah.

[00:32:16] Now I got this dumb injury or I did this thing. Oh yeah. Oh, that's pretty crazy. Yeah, isn't it though. I just don't want to go through the gymnastics of that. It's ridiculous. So that's where I get hung up. But, but similarly, I've got these injuries and even though every day in my journal and I do want to mention journals really quick I write down, find an exercise that you can do without hurting you.

[00:32:40] So AI don't do it because automatically in my brain, whatever exercise I find it's going to hurt. So just don't even bother. Cause it's, you're going to just hurt yourself. And that has been this, this awful crutch that I've been leaning on for weeks. And now today I feel like crap, I've eaten like crap today and I'm paying for it because I'm not doing the things that fit the person I want to be.

[00:33:05] Today I didn't, I didn't pick up the food and go. Does the person you want to be, want to eat this? I just went, oh, that looks good. And so the lessons of, of all of this stuff we've been talking about. They, they work on that basic of a level and also, uh, where do I want to live and what do I want to do with my life level?

[00:33:26] Like it it's just, it applies universally. So the, the short version of all of the words that I just led fall out of my mouth, is it, my challenge to myself is similar. I'm going to, I'm going to actually find an exercise that I can do every day. And even if it's just walking a little farther than I have, but there's, I've got to do something to move my body.

[00:33:46] I'm not doing myself any favors, but I did want to mention quickly because journaling to me is a huge part of this and being the person you want to be. And every single day, when I wake up, I write down sort of my schedule, the way it need things to go, the priorities that I have, the ones that, that are non-negotiable to have to get done.

[00:34:08] The ones that, if I don't run out of time, whatever, and it is amazing how taking that five or 10 minutes every more. Sets me up for not reacting to my day. It sets me up to create the day that I want. And yes, every day, something in the schedule goes wrong every day. Something that was non-negotiable becomes negotiable because time gets in the.

[00:34:31] But I would rather react that way than to just sort of wake up and go, well, what's coming today and just all, all day be SWAT and flies, trying to react to whatever life throws at me. That's probably a whole other show, but just the, the pressure that we're constantly under to, to grow and be better and, and get a better job and make more money and buy the bigger house.

[00:34:54] You know, Ryan even mentioned it in the interview like this, this pandemic lifestyle is a little bit more the way we're supposed to live a little bit slowed down and, and sort of taking stock and going, you know what I ha what I have is good enough and I don't need to constantly be pursuing the next thing.

[00:35:10] That's an, it's an important lesson. I think that we can all take from, from not only, what Ryan writes about him from the Stoics, but from this. 

[00:35:18] Zach: Yeah, it's changed my life in the last year. I mean, I, you can probably attest to it. I, I run fast and I switched from one thing to the next, to the next to the next.

[00:35:31] And it's been interesting because over the last, like the entire summer, it was all about taking care of my lawn. And that was 

[00:35:37] Jeremy: so. 

[00:35:39] Zach: Frustrating yet really relaxing and just really nice, it was, 

[00:35:46] Jeremy: there is something about those tasks that is almost a Buddhist where it's like, this is the thing I need to take care of.

[00:35:56] You can focus on it for a brief amount of time and then sit back and look at the, the fruits of your labor. When you can throw yourself into something like. And you're not constantly pulled from thing to thing to thing. That's again, I just think that's sort of more, the way we're supposed to live and we've gotten so caught up in this, like consumer driven, constantly, outdoing your neighbor or getting the next coolest gadget thing.

[00:36:24] I don't think that's healthy. I don't think that's what, we're what we're here for. And, and this is, I think this is kind of the earth, the universe, your God, whatever, whatever you want to choose, but it's fate saying, Hey, you guys should have turned left back there. And since you didn't, you've all been sent to your room to figure it out.

[00:36:44] And now we're still trying to figure it out. 

[00:36:46] Zach: Just think of this quote from Marcus earliest when you arise in the morning. Think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy and to love 

[00:36:58] Jeremy: period. Yeah. That's all you need. So if you're looking for a way to sort of implement, you know, a lot of these teachings to me that is a really basic one where you don't have to be an expert in stoicism.

[00:37:13] It's literally just, what do I want out of this day and writing it down? What are some things that I'm waking up grateful for writing it down? And checking in at the end of the day, how did I do with all of that? To me, that that has been one of the biggest game-changing things that I've done in my life.

[00:37:29] So if, so, if you take anything away from this by Ryan holiday's book, but then also do use a journal to plan, to plan your life so that you're not just reacting to life. 

[00:37:42] Zach: Couldn't have said it better myself. 

[00:37:45] Jeremy: All right. So that's going to bring this episode to a close thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for subscribing and for any ratings or reviews that you may choose to leave wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:37:54] We appreciate you being there. We will talk to you next week at the fitness dot. Let's see everyone. We know 

[00:38:01] Zach: this 

[00:38:01] Jeremy: podcast is amazing and does not seem to lack anything, but we do need a legal disclaimer, Jeremy and Zach are not doctors. They do not play them on the internet. And even if they did play them on the internet, they would be really bad at it.

[00:38:13] Please consult your physician prior to implementing any changes that you heard on this podcast, pollution or assumes that Jeremy and Zach do not know what they are talking about and that you will do your own research on the topics talked about on this podcast.

Ryan HolidayProfile Photo

Ryan Holiday


RYAN HOLIDAY is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying; The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; Conspiracy and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition.