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Finding Stillness In A Fast Paced World with Ryan Holiday

Lesson 116 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

Finding Stillness In A Fast Paced World with Ryan Holiday

Lesson 116 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

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116. Finding Stillness In A Fast Paced World with Ryan Holiday


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Lesson Info

Finding Stillness In A Fast Paced World with Ryan Holiday

Hey, what's up, Chase? Welcome to another episode of the show. You know the show. This is the Chase Germans live show here on creative life where I sit down with the most amazing humans and I do everything I can unpack their brains with the goal. The singular goal of helping you have your dreams in career, in hobby and in life. My guest today is he ties the record for the most appearances on this show of anyone. Ah, he is the best selling author of nine count of nine books. And this one right here is what we're talking about today. Still, this is the key. This just last week hit the number one slot in the New York Times best seller list. He is the inimitable Mr Ryan Holiday in the house. I love you. Thanks, man. I think you were like, the first interview that I did with my first book. You go. That was Think it was in this room or was that room? I don't know, but, uh, it's ah. Feels very fitting to be nine books later. Yeah, congratulations. A number one man. I know this has been a jour...

ney. You have always been on the list. So all over the place, just to go straight to number one on your first week is huge. Congratulations. Yeah, it's been cool. I mean, after, you know, eight previous snubs. It's good to be there, but I think what I sort of we're start talking about this previous is is is like you. You can't be attached to the results because a lot of times you do everything right. You don't get them. Yep. And it's wonderful when you do get them. Yeah, but art and creativity and entrepreneurship all you really controls what you put in and the that the the results have to be the extra. Actually, you actually have to love the grind of it in the process of it in the work of it, because that part is guarantee. And the other part is extra for sure, as super well put. And ah, I think the context is you have been a huge mentor to me in the world of book writing. I just came out with mine. You were instrumental in helping shape that and helping me understand the process and the process part of any creative activity. I found it especially grueling writing, since it's not my primary mode of expression, Uhm and Teoh have that. I think that's gonna be the underpinning to our conversation today. The process for everything, because there's, uh, a lot of process oriented in all of your writing. Um, as a way of foundation way of thinking about the world. Um, stillness of the key to me is my favorite. So far. Confession. I'm on Lee 2/3 away through cause I got the book yesterday, and so do not have the last last chunk is killing me a little bit, but I do think that that, um I kind of I I love the, uh this is my favorite book of the trilogy. Famous folks who know ego is the enemy. What was the order? Actually, obstacles the way it goes. Enemy still, um, those books as a trilogy have sold. I don't know. Are you up to a 1,000,000 copies? Yes. Well, well, over. Yeah, I see. That is just crazy. And you talk about results versus process. So did you think that you were going to sell a 1,000,000 books when you started? Started on this trilogy A B was it a trilogy from day one, or did it evolve and see? And I'm on It will deconstruct these answers. And C, would you do it again if you had the chance? Okay, that's a lot. Um, I I talked to a lot of authors, and actually, one of the big red flags for me is when I hear them have a number that they're trying to hit. Got, um, a number of books or number. Yeah, they want to sell a 1,000,000 copies or its two million copies. And I remember I was talking to someone like white, and they were like, I want to sell 2.5 1,000,000 copies. Like what? 2.5 That seems like that strange number. And he's like, Well, I heard so in, So Sold X. And so this is like, 50% more than X. And to me, that's totally the wrong way to think about it. First off, because you should want to sell as many copies as possible, right? Why artificially limit yourself of, like, this is what successes. But so much of that part is out. The goal should be to write the best book your humanly capable of making in that moment because that is totally under control, right? It's to say what you have to say, Teoh. Leave it all on the jersey or in the desk chair, you know, to leave it all there. That's what you want to dio. And then, of course, if you want, you have to hustle. You have to promote it. Put it just the same amount of work in a selling as you didn't to making. But I think to think about it in terms of sales numbers is the wrong way because, like if you can pull up right now, the reviews of Herman Melville's Moby Dick when it came out and they're savage, you know, they're like It's like how dear you publishes a horrible book like this. You are doomed to fail. Your everyone hates you. Please kill yourself. You know it and and that that happens time and time again for a really great artists. And then, conversely, the opposite happens all the time, which is super untalented. People sell lots of copies when lots of awards get all sorts of recognition because their on trend, it's of the moment and then we kind of look back and we're Lake and we really buy that many limp biscuit albums, you know? And so, uh, you know, no offense, of course, but the point is like, it's not that sales don't matter. But to me, having sales only matter over such a long period of time that they're not worth thinking about graduate to feed her family at the pay the bills. You know, if you sell zero copies, just probably a sign something's wrong. But like eso, I don't think about it in terms of sales. What I thought about when the obstacles way came out is like, Look, did I write the best book I possibly can? Did I do everything I possibly could to put in a position to succeed? And it came out and it did. Okay. I mean, look, it was it. These books are about unscrew your school of ancient philosophy. They're not. They were not going to blow the doors off like I'm writing a book. Do you want to write a book that sells a 1,000,000 copies out of gate? You write the secret, which tells everyone what they want to hear. If you want to write something that matters and means something to people. You can just challenge them. And so it did OK when it came out, But really, the saving grace for me there was I already started. The next book already sold it. So the fact that it didn't, you know, a blow away expectations didn't matter. Because, like, I had a deadline to meet And then when the New England Patriots read it, and then the Seahawks, Reddit and all these sports team started reading it in the Sports Illustrated profile that it did blow up. Yeah, it sold so many copies, like the publisher cannot print enough of them. But also, that didn't matter because I had a deadline to be right. So you want to be like you want? You want to be so busy. Do we were creating Yes. Yeah, exactly. You wanna love the the work so much and also you want to have so much you need to do that. You don't think about that. And so I absolutely do that again. I would I would maybe I wish I'd had a little bit more confidence that to see where the series is going in advance. It was a little bit more like piece by piece. Yeah, but But for me, it was What do you have to say? Are you putting in all the work necessary to get it down on the page to get it into a place where can succeed and then put it out into the world and then get back to work? Super powerful that Teoh circle back. Now we're underpinning the creative process here. And what you described right there to me is where I think, 90% of the creators that I know whether you couch it as you did early on in our conversation, in sales or whatever or just the accolades afterwards versus the loving of the actual process. And to be crystal clear process is not just the writing because you have to love talking about it and sharing it and doing the work. You gotta love getting the notes back that are ripping it apart. You gotta love the smell of the pages. You gotta love the grind of the marketing you gotta love. You gotta love the whole thing. Um, I heard Ah, someone is talking that Coon and Bryant Conan O'Brien. He just is like his fantasy is like backstage like he was the motion and the energy and everything that's happening backstage. That's his heaven. Yeah, and I think Jerry Seinfeld said something similar. You gotta like you've got to find the painful stuff that you like. Do you know what I mean? You've got to find that that part of it, what differentiates you your willingness to like, pushed through when everyone else sees this is Oh, it's too hard. It's gotten too ugly, too gross to deep to, you know, the hill is too high or sure hard to climb. So now if that's going to continue to underscore our conversation cause I'm fascinate with process, specifically writing process, having personally just come out of it and having so many people are her listeners and watchers of this show in their own creative process somewhere. But in order to understand the process, I now want to go to stillness. Okay, so if the previous two books dealt with different aspects stillness to me in a world that is like I'll say, plagued. But there's lots of words that I could use that is bombarded with filled with overly inflated with hustle Grind. Sure, and we've just Yeah, we're just talking. We were using some of those words. What role does stillness play? Because we can't. Can we be all of those things? And still, I think so, Like the stillness that I'm fascinated with. I'm writing about that. I think creative entrepreneurial people need to think about is not the stillness of the monk in the meditation retreat to the the Ostrom in India or whatever, right? It's not the retreat from the world. It's How do you have the stillness? Wow, all the craziness is going on. I open the book with this story of Seneca. It is in basically this hotel room in Rome 2000 years ago, and he describes the exact scene and sounds that we would get if we open this window right now. Yeah, the spent, the splashing. There's something like the splashing of the water on the fat guy Jumping in or somebody like Spain tell is amazing. He's staying above a gym. He can hear people getting like massages. Yeah, that's the slab of growing old man. He can hear like the traffic on the street below. You can hear the cops arresting someone downstairs like so So that's his scene. And he's like, You gotta figure he's like you have to be able to get to a place where you can to not only all of that out, because what happens if it's totally silent? And now all you're hearing is that voice in your head you gotta build a tune that out as well. You got to get to a place where stoats called apathy a or at Iraq CIA. And it just means like you're not jerked around or distracted by anything external or anything internal and was totally walked in. And you're 100% on whatever you're doing. In that case, he's writing, Ah, letter that we're still read in years later. That's why that's so important. And so when I think about when I think about my best work, whether it's the best sentences, I've written the best decisions I've made the best investments. I've you know, I've gone ahead with the best personal you know, choices I made in my life. What all those things have in common is that they came from a place where I had slowed things down where I was only thinking about what matters. My heart was in the right place. My mind was in the right place. Habits were on point and I was just there. And so the stillness I'm talking about is stillness. That will is the stillness of an elite athlete in the prime of their career at the peak moment of their career. It's the artist who's in the flow state, who's who's accessing things, the deeper part of their existence it and it's also the stillness of like, you know, ah, walk through the woods or, you know, time on the couch or someone you love. Like it's that stillness that makes us great at what we do and great full for all the things that we have. So I think the stillness that I'm talking about is not mutually exclusive with the grind or the work or the hustle. It's actually like if you're gonna be grinding for gonna be hustling, if you're gonna be putting things out, make sure you're doing it from a place of fullness, not from a place of like craving and desperation. Um, because you're not gonna get the same results. Yeah, and you've arranged the book into three parts that are really helpful. Sort of the mind part, the spirit part and then the flesh part, which is what you basically just sort of unpack for us. Um, I like also the variety of examples that you used athletes and entrepreneurs, and I think just to reference the athlete in the prime that you just mentioned. When Michael Jordan talks about playing basketball the way that I see stillness come through in his, obviously you changed the paradigm of sure it's possible for a basketball player. He talks about seeing the world in slow motion. Yes, like seeing everything ahead of when it's gonna happen and when everyone else is, whether it's a flow state or whatever. So when how does stillness manifest in each of these areas of your life? That the sort of parts of the book that you will, that seeing the world in slow motion is so important and it comes from experience. It comes from self discipline. It comes from, you know, tuning out the things that don't matter. I think what you see those athletes doing in those moments is that they become totally present. They don't they're not worried about the shot they missed. They're not thinking about, you know, hoisting the trophy over their head. They're not thinking about anything but exact moment there in and it it strikes me as funny that we we I think that whatever we're doing in life, whether we're doing an interview or were writing a memo or were, you know, on a phone call with a client that we can get away with not being present, that were so good. I can half do this and half do this at the same time. No, you can't like not Well, not at the elite. Best in best in the world, world class level or even highest performing for you. Yeah, you're getting the best out of yourself in that way. So what they do is they become totally president. But Michael Jordan, such an interesting character because you're right. The best Michael Jordan moments air. You know what he's playing for? The love of the game. All in. Totally focused. Um, but he's also a character in the book. Someone cautionary character, right? Like if you see this, you juxtapose it with that. Yeah. You see, in the Hall of Fame speech? No, it's haunting. So the the references that God is the greatest honor of Michael Jordan's careers. When he gets inducted into the basketball hall of Fan and he gets up there and instead of thank you. This is so wonderful. I'm so honored. He's like, basically, like I got some shit to state all you people is what he does. Any dumps, what's clearly decades of anger and resentment and petty grudges that he's created and used as fuel. And so that's one of things to talk about the book, like we think that anger is a good creative fuel and we go like, I'm gonna shove this in all these people's faces. I'm gonna prove them wrong. And and I'm not saying that it's not powerful fuel. I'm just saying that's corrosive, toxic and and volatile. So you know they're there is great art. Um, that is clearly defined by the artist rage or the artists anger. And there's great athletic performances that way. But it tends the later explode all over the same person. And that's what happened to Jordan, right? Like it did fuel him in certain moments in his career. But then there he is in the shining moment of his career, humiliating a guy who got he actually invites. The person who got picked for the high school basketball team over him is sophomore year of high school. He invites him to the dinner and then calls him out and basically humiliates him in front of millions of people like that. That is not like that is not a good place to come from. And I think what you're seeing that does. And this is something I think people want to think about is it's like, so imagine you are the greatest basketball player of all time. You went on these championships, but the attitude you cultivated to get there makes it impossible for you to enjoy that achievement. All you're thinking about is this open wound you've been picking at for 30 years, Raya. There's no way to live. That's so true. So Michael Jordan side Yes, good point. Yes, and I like the juxtaposition there. But, like walk us through, trot out each of these different aspects and where stillness lands in what we know the modern. This sort of like part of why used Michael Jordan as an example Yeah, at his prime or at any athletes prime or any musician, or you see someone in a flow state. You you recognize the greatness, and you can see At least I'm I feel like I'm able to connect with the part that's in there Well, so that most of the opening story in the mind section and this is something I basically sort of you came that the main thing they built the book around is Kennedy in the missile crisis maze. Here, here this guy goes to bed and he wakes up and people tell them that their missiles pointed at his country and in the Northern Hemisphere that if left unchecked, could kill millions of people. And the advice from his generals is like, You gotta go now. You have time to think about it. You know, time to question. You got to drop some bombs and you got like, 10 minutes to decide. And Kennedy realizes that no good decision is made when it's rushed. And usually the people that want you to rush it are trying to get you to not think about something. And he has the incredible strength and the clarity to stop and go now. Obviously, we're not gonna allow these missiles, right? There are certain non negotiables. But why did they put them here? What were they? What were the Russians trying to accomplish? What are they hoping to get out of this? And if we respond this way, Are we in fact actually giving them exactly what they want? And he goes like, I'm not worried about the first step. I'm worried about the sixth step, and he's like, I'm worried that you guys were so sure you're right. Um, if you're wrong, no one's gonna be around. Didn't tell you that you're wrong because we're all going to die. And what Kennedy does over these 13 days, even that he stretches it out over 13 days in, You know, he's taken long swims in the White House pool. He writes a letter later to the gardener, the woman who attended the White House Rose Garden, thanking her for her important contributions to saving humanity, because the walks that he went through, the thinking that he did allowed him to come to a solution that saved all these lives. And so, you know, the job of the leader is to think about the things that other people aren't thinking about to push away the unhelpful or the destructive thoughts. Right to think, big picture, to think, compassionately, to think strategically and so the mindset that Kennedy brings that missile crisis, he says, I want to use time as a tool and not as a couch. And that's such a great line. Amazing about that. Now, all the time. It's like, Wait, why am I throwing back an answer in two seconds to this email? What if I slept on it? You know what? If I talked about it to other people, how can I make sure that I'm I'm considering all the factors? And so again, you know, when we think meditation, we think an empty mind, and that is part of it. But you're emptying it for a reason. So you can really get to the core of what the truth of that situation is or what life is. Humanity is. And so Kennedy is able in that missile crisis to get to a place of such mental and moral clarity that he's able to de tangle it. He's able to help the enemy save face. Um, he's able to negotiate both publicly and in a compelling way, but also privately and secretly in a compelling way and in the end saves, you know, millions and millions of lives. And I don't think if any other person was in that same situation that same moment, that we would have had the same ending. So hopefully the stakes of the stillness that we are seeking or not so high. If, but you're going through a divorce, you're going through a contentious business negotiation. You're caught up in the excitement of an accomplishment or the you know, the pain of a failure. Can you think that way? And can you get to that sort of place of openness and vulnerability but also conviction and clarity that he was there? That's what this stillness is gonna help us accomplish. Emotions. Yeah, um anger, frustration, explosive, fiery, like this belonging, craving all this stuff in in the spirit part. Like, how does stillness manifest it there? Because I think to me that the patient's there's wisdom in the Kennedy story, and it's just very clear we we elected a very wise person. They navigated their way out of there eyes. Can you say the same thing about all the emotional charging if we had someone who was not as emotionally fit like right? No, you can have clear thoughts, but emotionally you could be coming from the wrong place, and that can disrupt everything. So it in the book I talk a lot about Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods is a great example of someone physically complete control himself, mentally, totally clear, locked in on the game, but spiritually, emotionally in his private life, he's come in from this place. When you look at his childhood, it's coming from this place of profound pain and anguish. His his sense of right and wrong is all twist it up because of how he was raised in the example that he saw from his parents and just also just the incredible temptations and, you know, enabling. That happens when you're that famous. I mean, so one of the things I sort of zoom in on this his dad, uh, I would refer to the idea of Enough is the e word. And so should we be surprised that he was insatiable and it could never be satisfied And that despite a you know, a great career and a beautiful wife and beautiful Children. He was, you know, it clubs at 2 a.m. Or hooking up with waitresses and car parking lots, right? And and and so ultimately you. You might be able to be unaligned or or disintegrated for a short period of time or even in this case for a decade. But eventually they come this the tectonic plates and they come crashing together and ultimately that sort of emotional bankruptcy, that that moral degradation and that disastrous personal life explodes all over the rest of his life and it takes it down. I mean, it's a 10 years of work to rebuild, to get to where he was. Now he just won this major in one hopes that winning that experience of being hugged by his, I think his son at, Yeah, that meant something mawr than all the other victories. And so that's really what I'm not saying that it's not worthwhile toe win, that it's not worthwhile to accomplish things to hunger for an accomplishment. But can you do it from a place a better place? Emotionally, spiritually, mentally, again, like I think about this and like I want to do great things. As a writer, I want to be successful as a writer. I want to be one of the best in my field. Maybe, you know, whatever it is. But I try to do the work not from a place of desperation or a place of craving, but as the same from place of fullness. So it's like I wanted. I'm I want to prove that you can do great work and be a good person or be at least trying to be a better person. And you don't have to be a if you don't have been unbalanced monster. Yeah, you know, and s o many of the photographers and the great artists and great writers and musicians really bad p totally unhinged. And I don't I don't think that's the only way to do it. I don't think that's the right way to do it. I'll bring this the way people people might think. They want to do it that way. But trust me, you don't live in a killing themselves because it's deeply miserable. You deconstruct any of those lives, and it's a sharp contrast of what you'd actually want, U s. So it's how can you. How can you succeed from a place of enough and stillness and gratitude, but still try to get better every day and still work really hard? Um, I'd like to think that people who are successful can continue despite the success. You don't have to continue by telling yourself that your success isn't enough that you're worthless, that it won't you know what I mean? Like, it would be sad to think that Tom Brady believes that only if he wins one more ring will he be good. You know that. It's also it's it's absurd toe like hear those words. But to know that that is the psychology of so many people that are in that place, I'm sure. I mean, I'm sure you've done this in your own life. Let you go. If I could only get here, that will be good. And you get there and you Whoa, this isn't what I thought it was. And so instead of taking stock of yourself going, why did I think that this external accomplishment will change how I feel internally you go? Oh, my number just wasn't high, you know, or it's like, oh, hitting this bestseller list it's because it's not the best seller. List it because it's not number one. You know what you mean like this. So what we do is we just move the goalpost repeatedly, and we can see why moving the goal post moves The ball forward moves the species forward. It's good for humanity, right? Good for my own. It's no, it's no way to live right. Well, the brain isn't meant to keep us happy or fulfilled right? Keep us alive and thriving in all those were not. It's just meant to propagate the species, right? So you know, the Conquer tells them that I have this quote from Stefan Zweig, because when this great underrated novelist of the 20th century says history recounts no instances of a conqueror being surf, it'd been satisfied by conquests. No one Alexander gets to the end is the world's good and he's not like I did it. I could go home and live in peace. No, he goes, Oh, do you know there's another country I like over here? Like what about this, Right? And again, it's great for the customer that Jeff Bezos wants to continue to grow Amazon to make more and more money. But But is it good for him and his Children that you know it? So can you Can you keep going and growing? But can you do it? Not from a place of delusion where you're being like on Leah. Get one level higher that I'm good. I just shared something this morning that I saw online. And it was Remember when you wanted what you have now? Yes. Yes. This is a powerful powerful. I mean, went so 78 years ago, we did that first interview I all I wanted to do was be a writer, and I want to do is have one book, that a book. Can you imagine publishing a book? And so I published the book and it's like, Oh, but it's got a debut on the best seller lists and it does. But then before it's even before even have it framed on the wall, I I've gotta have the next one total and then the next one in the next one in the next one and and and ah, you know, you just keep going And and so this is like what I what? I was thinking Those okay, So does that attitude. Is that why I am where I am? In a sense, yes. That's why I have the deals. That's why the book. That's why that someone agreed to purchase the book like the publisher. But the actual work itself did not come from that place the work came from, like were talking about earlier that I actually love making the books. Right. Um, don't don't go there quite yet, because I'm gonna come back to process at the end, okay? I want to complete the trifecta here. Now we're into the habit section. The the process, the physicality, the, um, talk to me about how what role that habits play in stillness. Winston Churchill's a big character in the book, and I like him because he is probably the busiest, most ambitious person of the 20th century. You know, his life spans from the final cavalry charge of the British Empire to the space age, and he's like an integral part of all of it. He's always there is always working, always trying to get to that next position. He wants to have influence. He you know, he serves in government for almost 70 years. Crazy you know, he writes like 30 books. 10 million words. You know, he gives 2300 speeches, you know, tours The planet does all this stuff. And so on the one hand, that might be like, Oh, that's the nightmare. But when you actually when you listen to church show when you read about him, it's like this guy was happy. He had a pretty good family. He never seemed to have been overwhelmed. He seemed to always have the zest and zeal for life. And a big part of that you find when you really study him is ah, he had these hobbies. He, Winston Churchill. Despite in addition, all the things I just had also painted 500 paintings. It was an avid painter, right? Avid painter. I also learned how toe lay bricks as a hobby. He builds these cottages on his property. So So here, the most powerful man in the world down in the dirt land bricks. You have him sitting out in a field painting a cow or a tree. And he is not a good painter. Do you know what I mean? Like like those paintings air not in museums, because they're so beautiful. It's because of the what the person who painted them was able to accomplish in kind of through the painting context staff. After the Casa Blanca conference, where all the major powers get together, Churchill drives five hours to paint a sunset in Marrakech and that he wasn't always that way. He cultivated actively. You basically has this nervous breakdown after the First World War, and his sister in law says, Hey, my kids really like painting. Maybe you want to borrow their paints and he doesn't. He just falls in love with the creativity and he falls in love with the I would say the purposeless nous of it. But I mean, he falls in love with just the act for its known safe, and and I think this is what you talk about. Its creativity is important not just because it will make you better at your job, not just because it'll help you make more money, but because it's intrinsically and genuinely enjoyable. And, you know, it really teaches them how to slow down and teaches them out of the present. He notices that it changes how he sees the world. He would go to museums and just look around and soaking on his paintings and then rush back and try to paint them from memory. You know, we can imagine that the ambitious, uh, Windsor Joe wants to be prime minister was not previously going out to sea sunsets, right? And so the painting brings out this other side of it, and and so the painting was a part of it. He was a big fan of resting, you know. He takes a nap every day. He was poetry. His schedules that he's published are amazing. And that rooty even the routine, the structure it. So it's like, Oh, this wasn't like Oh ah, forest Fire of chaos. This was a lot of work, sure, but it's broken up in chunks, and he just did it every day. And so it's really important that we don't get intimidated by these really successful people are learning the wrong lessons from we really break down. How they do what they do and realize someone like Winston Churchill by being disciplined by being orderly by cultivating different skills and resting and care of himself is able tohave stillness. Despite the fact that you know he's a major figure in two world wars a nen or MUS empire. He's doing all these things. That's and that's what I mean about stillness with in the active riel world. So I think you picked an absolutely genius character to unpack all that to me. The the, um that someone can be that accomplished and not be cut. Would you call the forest fire before his fire of chaos? May think I'm gonna remember that did not a forest fire of chaos. I think you know, I love books that challenge conventional wisdom. Sure. And to me, that is a that is a great lens through which you challenge conventional wisdom. I am reminded of a story of a mutual friend of ours, Tim Ferriss, that, uh, Tim hey, was having we're up here. It was on some business means or something. At some meetings appear. I remember we got together and he said, Man, you seem like things were going well, but you seem so chill. And I was like, Oh, I just I don't know, Maybe it's this thing Meditation started, and he was like, I don't know, man. Like I just don't buy it. I like, and we that was her second conversation about it. And then our third conversation. He was starting to ask questions, and it was basically well, I only got here because of my sure forest fire of chaos. Totally. Or I think Tim would put it. His ambition or edge, I think, was the word that he actually used with me in the moment. And yet you, then a couple, I think you and Rick Rubin and a handful of us gang up on, you know, try meditation. It's really powerful stuff. And so he comes full circle, and now he talks about, you know, a nun. Durst anding that the thing that he actually thought was his virtue, his edge was actually the anchor. And then when he started calling down and quieting himself that it was, there was this, like, massive proliferation. I think he's the lens that he used through. That was like, What would it be if it was easy? And then his life became incredibly easy, So he turned taking it like the path of water. So if your book challenges, as it does so well, conventional wisdom on this point, and this now gets in tow habits and process. And you personally, What is it that you person Ryan did in order to create this book? What was your still not sure What was your rock in a forest fire of chaos, Which is not a bad way to describe my life. Sometimes you got you just had a second child. You you're on books like 10 11 or 12 company and got investments. I got a lot of stuff, right? And eso in you found a way to not just write about it, but clearly toe live it. And then here you are is the first time you debuted at number one. Yeah, so this is not an accident. There's this macro think. No, I I agree. I agree. So, I mean, one of the challenges that kind of set out for myself in the book is like, Can I write a book about stillness that advocates for stillness that doesn't just say, like, go meditate like I actually didn't want to talk about meditation. You say at one time I did not, um, and on purpose, because one I don't really meditate. And most people, most people have heard that they should meditate and clearly chosen not to write to me. It's kind of like E. I was feeling meditation is advanced. So, like you don't tell a really unfit person. He's incredibly my new dietary restrictions. Just like, look what the big changes you could make. So I think about that on my own. So, for instance, every morning I just go for a long walk. I go for a long walk with my son. We live on a dirt road, would go for this walk. Don't take the phone. We're just outside. We're just present. And this is where I have a whole bunch of my ideas. This is what I like Instead of starting the day on the back foot because I picked up my phone and I saw I have to do all these things. I'm going to take some time for myself in the morning, and I'm gonna do what is actually probably similar to a walking meditation. I'm gonna go outside in nature, be a piece, and then I'm gonna bring that piece back to the work. And, you know, there's so many practical things. You wake up early before there's distractions and noise, right? Go to the creative work right away. Sit down with a journal. Don't have any expectations for what needs to be in this journal. Just kind of stream of consciousness. Uh, you know, do your morning pages. This Julia Cameron calls it, um, you know, I went, I went for not one, but two swims today because it was stressful. I got a bunch of interviews. I'm running around like crazy I'm doing to talks. I was like, I'm gonna swim in the morning and then went back. The hotel must swim the afternoon. And, like swimming to me is a deeply meditative experience. I'm, uh There's no screens. Uh, you can't hear anything. You're looking directly at the floor beneath you. You're doing a repetitive motion, and this is where I you know I'm breathing. I'm calming myself. I'm staying in the present. I'm just enjoying an experience. So there's all sorts of things you can do. And even if we talked about Winston Churchill's routine like that, if you do something, if you do it, if you do have it a couple times, you do something a couple times, becomes a habit. You do it for a couple weeks, it becomes a routine. You do that routine for a couple of years, it becomes a ritual. And so for me, like the rituals that I practice as a writer, the structure I have for my day becomes almost sacred. It gets me into the headspace that I need t get. Um, you know, you could Sprinkle incense in your hand and run it and smell it, and you kind of get to a You can use that as we have sent to yourself to get in tow, where you need to get its why athletes do this and this and this before they shoot a free throw. Or why they, you know, they start their warm a bit exactly 7.5 minutes before the game, or they eat the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich the same. The ritual in the routine of it is another way. And so there's all like we've got attack stillness. Where were attacking? Is the frantic nous the opposite of stillness from all these different ways, and we subdue it and we calm down into a place where all were really thinking about is the stuff that matters were in the right headspace from the right heart space. And then we can do whatever it is that we're meant to dio. Yeah, like in the book versus the think You I've noticed you living that. I'm wondering if you lived it before you wrote about it, or it was in writing about it, that you lived it. It's a little of both. I mean, what I try to do with my books, I'm not. I want to be clear that I'm not writing from a place of, like, superiority in Jerry. I'm writing as a student on the journey. That's maybe a little bit ahead of the reader, but it's certainly struggling and falling back and failing the same ways that the reader is. And so I'm often writing to a younger version of myself or to people similar to myself, Um, and so stillness. I'm not writing about still this because it comes naturally to me. I'm not writing about ego because I don't have one. And I'm not writing about overcoming obstacles because, uh, I overcome them. Overcome them. All right. I'm writing about it cause I'm bumping into this constantly and I'm working at getting better at it, and I I'm turning to history and philosophy and religion and wise people and saying, Well, what have you figured out? And can I put all this in one place on DSO? Yeah, it's it's a total struggle. I mean, how can you be still when you're an ambitious, busy person like That's a question that I wake up and think about on a daily basis, cause it's my life. Yeah, right now, we're gonna go back all the way back to process, all right, because I feel like now we've tried it out enough of the book, and we understand it. But what we really want to do is we want to take action you want. We we want to find still. And that's the reason someone's. There's two reasons someone's gonna pick this book up one, because Ryan Holiday's Nouveau corpse and two it's because, like I stillness, I don't know why, but I know enough to know yet this is not gonna be bad for me. Yeah, sure, it's sort of like someone says meditation. Horrible. Definitely don't do it runs really, ever said that. So assuming that we've attached, we've we've acknowledge that there's a lot of people are gonna buy it because you wrote it. Now let's take on the concept of stillness and how do we integrate it into our lives? And specifically, I want to talk about the creative process because for so many people were watching and listening, that's why they tune in tow. They do have ambition, and they do identify as creators or entrepreneurs. I want to get things going, and there's a conflicting message of, you know, chaos and hustle 24 or 24 7 work. And we've talked generally. But let's talk about loving the process. How do you find that stillness in the process have a stinking of, ah, of a couple's or real practical things people should do and think about? So one is is sort of silence and solitude. Why does Divinci you get up extra early and head in Teoh work on the Last Supper before anyone else? It's because it's quieter and there's less distractions, and he's by himself and he's able to access something deeper. And in his notebooks he writes this fascinating fable of Ah of, ah, stone. It's like lonely, and it rolls itself down on the road with the other stones And then it realizes that the road is a miserable place to be because there's a bunch, other stones and you're getting stepped on and rolled over. And and and so the importance of solitude in the creative process is really important. Whenever I hear a writer or a creative be, like work that their work out of a we work or or ah, coffee shop, what are you doing? How you know, like, uh and look, there's a certain amount of privilege about affording on space or your, uh, your studio or whatever, but like, you cannot make great work in the midst of the busy scene. Or if you're conflict like, uh, a rapper doesn't make great art because they were at the club until three in the morning. They made great art because they were sitting alone with their thoughts for some fraction of a second right. And so solitude. Bill Gates goes on a think week every year where he goes out into the woods and he just thinks and like, Are you taking the time to do that in your life? Like my last book idea I'm gonna do next came to me while I was on vacation with my family, literally building a sandcastle with my then like 2.5 year old. I would not have that idea which is going to be lucrative, which gonna be exciting, which could be fun. Not have had that if I had not agreed to go on the vacation, right? You can't always be doing. You have to have a quiet and solitude and you have to sort of alternate between being on and off. Yeah, I talk a lot about in my own experience in chairman others this on off this sort of like gathering and yeah, gathering or taking input and then synthesizing, Yes, and those air Two wildly different experiences for me personally. Yeah. Is that universal? Is that the take? I think so. I mean, why do so many ideas pop into our heads in the shower? It's because we're accidentally turned things off. And so look, one of the reasons I have such a regimented exercise process is because, and it is where it fits in my routine. It's I'm working really hard on the work the first half of the day. Second after the day, is the meetings and the exercise and the fund, and it's usually when I'm doing something else that the idea that I need pops into my head. So I think that's just a really a really important part of it. I think a big part of it is, is about stillness is going to be like saying no, You know, we talked about this a little bit, but like if you are over committed, if your life is scheduled thing after scheduled thing because you cannot say no if you're agreeing to be on every podcast that asked you because you're so insecure and so desperate for validation that you can't separate between the important and the you know in essential where the ones they're not gonna have any impact, I don't have any time to do the work. I'm not gonna have any time to go for that Walk or Teoh sit in the pool or toe. Just sit alone quietly and thinking right so that when we talk about stillness, it's not. It's not just meditation is not just clearing the mind is not just doing work in therapy, it's also going, Hey, I have to be really disciplined about my schedule I have to build a practice that allowed, like my room with my assistant is like, obviously no more than three things in the calendar each day, because I have to it. What I explain to her is like, and even any time that's not scheduled on the calendar is writing creative time. So when you are adding it into the calendar, know that you are taking away from that time and that now the creative work is pivoting around this thing. So if you add in a meeting that could have been a phone call her phone call, that could have been a text message. Now my entire, like you have pivoted my creative process to prioritize this thing, and so that requires confidence that requires security that requires having some sense of enough. Or or ironically, the more successful you get, the less time you will have to do the one creative thing that you were pursuing the successful in the first place. Remember why you started? Definitely. And I I became a writer because I like writing. I did not become a writer because I really like speaking or more meetings or because I want to start a company, right? Right like and so no knowing like, Hey, success is a writer for me means lots of time to write in the freedom to write the things I want to write. That doesn't mean I don't take other awesome opportunities. I don't try to monetize or maximize what I get out of thing. But at the end of the day, success is not running from obligation, obligation for me successes. I wake up, have something I want to do creatively, Aiken do it and then I have access to the audience. Who's gonna receive that work? That's that's why I started. That's where I got. Don't trade that thing for another, less valuable thing. How do you identify when to be still and when to be not still not necessarily forced fire? Yeah, right of chaos. But I think first off, let's try to do, I think, a better way to think about its Let's do everything we are doing from a place of stillness. So you're caught in traffic. Don't be like, but I got to get to my next appointment. If I'm late, then this go. I'm stuck in traffic. I didn't choose this. What am I gonna do? Well, I'm in traffic. I'm gonna sit here. I'm gonna breathe, or I'm gonna look out the window, or I'm gonna make these phone calls that I've been putting off, right? I'm gonna do that from a place of stillness, or it's like, Hey, I gotta bang out thes. You know, five articles, bang out the five articles. Don't think about anything but that task in front of you know, um, you've got a kid running around in circles at home because someone gave you sugar I gave him. Sure. Don't be like this is a nightmare. What am I gonna do? I'm so stressed. Go like this is hilarious. This is a child with kids. This is what kids do. This is this what kids do this what you signed up for? You run around the house like a crazy person. Enjoy it. Do you know what I mean? Like like because I think at the core of it you could be in that nightmarish hotel room that Seneca is in. You could be in the middle of a bankruptcy proceeding. You could be stuck in traffic. You could be stuck at the airport. You could be looking at an email inbox. You know, you went into the meeting, you had zero emails. You came out from the meeting, got 300 emails, and you're like, Oh, my God. What am I gonna dio? No, you You just You just sit down and you start responding until you're done, right? Like, just do even the craziest, busiest, hardest things from a place of stillness. So let's not think about it as a false economy. And so that's what I've really been working on. This crazy tour is like, This is all I'm doing. I don't need to add on top of it. I don't need to feel guilty that I'm not doing this or that, like, this is what I'm doing. And I'm gonna do it the best that I can, because that's all I can dio You talked about bumping into these things. This is why you right? These. So is this a letter to yourself? This always. I think all great work is got to be for the off for the creator. Yeah. I mean, look, you it's gotta also be relevant and hopeful to other people. Otherwise, it's an audience of one but like, if you're if you were preaching or lecturing other people where you're telegraphing what you're demanding, that they think or feel Do you know what I mean? Like, if you're taking a photo and you're like, Oh, I want to make people feel pain or I want to make people feel guilty like I want, I want to get them to do X. That's I think the audience can smell that. You know, when you're when you're writing an article that you're hoping to sell this or when you're creating a video that you're hoping is gonna go viral like that's always the worst shit. Yeah, it's when it's when you feel that it's powerful, you know what I mean? It's like when I saw this thing, I captured it this way and it means this to me. And then you go, Okay, Now can I shift it this way or that way? Can How can I make sure it's It's not just speaking to myself, but it's speaking to some universal truth. But if it's not responding with something in yourself, it's not gonna work, and that goes back to what we're talking about. It's like you're doing this team make a certain amount of money or sell a certain amount of copies. You in a certain amount of win a certain award. I think even if it works, even if you do that, there's something artificial and there's something that's actually horrible. When you are, you get the wrong reinforcement. You know, you you write it for the wrong reasons. You get the award and it's just like Onley. Can you connect those dots looking backwards? But any time I think we've all experienced times or motives were out of whack with our values and then you just like it comes back to bite you in the ass, that's for sure. Yeah, yeah, You see, people, they're like, Why are you doing this? And you realize, Oh, they you know, they got a 1,000, views doing at one time and and somehow that becomes the Onley note. They can hit now and that's again. That's not what attracted you to becoming an artist. I see. Yeah, I see these people, sort of all these people I know that didn't care about politics, not that long ago. Suddenly now the politics of the main thing, that's what They're like this in the world. That's all they're doing, and it's like they're doing it. It's not that they're doing damage to their brand, but it's that they are betraying the very reason they do what they dio. Yeah, I see it a lot with people wanting to start companies. They had some success at something, and then the next idea comes along and it just is a business idea. It's not something that they actually care about, right? And they are swapping out the fact that they were successful in this line of work because they loved it in all these other reasons and then where they've mis attributed successes like, Oh, it was a business. Therefore, I can have success at this or this or this, and they'll trade this beautiful little moment of alchemy or period of their life for creative career or creative project for something that they know that that everyone knows around them and probably them that they don't actually love. But they're going to transact on it because they were able to do it here catastrophic. And I've I've done that myself as well. So yeah, yeah, you gotta you gotta do it for the right reasons. And ultimately, if it's not the thing that's getting you out of bed in the morning because you genuinely love it, you're not gonna put in what you need. Teoh have the success with If stillness is the key, what is the What's the opposite? What are we? What are we? What are we fighting? I think we're fighting, uh, the craving in the relentless nous and the ceaseless nous and the frenzy and the distraction and the the the business of the modern world. So what I'm saying? Still, this is a key in the question is to what I'm saying that is the question. It's the key to all the things that matter the most. It's the key to the most important things in life. Um, the other attributes are that off that craving, that's not the key. That what? What do you getting out of this craving? The craving is beginning more craving, and the desperation begets more desperation and the need for approval, but gets the need for more approval. And so I'm trying to. I'm just trying to work towards and and talk people towards a place where they are content but also creating, you know, And that might seem like a paradox. But paradoxes air powerful, right? Like, um, can you can you create and do and be from a place of of of enough? Yeah, right from a place of to me and to me, that's a fundamental distinction between confidence and ego, right? Egos, the need and the desire and the craving for validation. Confidence is like, This is who I am. This is what I stand for. This is what I'm doing. Andi, I think my best work came comes from that place. And when I look at my different books and I see when I see things I could do differently it's like I rushed it because I I was thinking about publication or I I didn't go far enough or didn't say what I really thought. Because I was afraid of what other people would think again. Not the place of confidence, right? What about writing Perennial cellar? That's a book about selling perennially. Yeah, right. And and so you in that book, I remember reading it like a yesterday. I couldn't tell you where I was when I finished the last page and I remember being struck with its the meta layer of writing about selling something perenially is it's boggling. I would just wrote about a book about creativity. I consistently was like got stuck Yeah, and had to go read my own stuff to get unstuck. Sure, when I'm wondering, if did was perennial seller. Was that a note back to yourself about how to be like how to go beyond whatever is trendy, your hip or whatever instance Stay truer. It was like, Don't compare yourself to other people. Don't compare yourself on the short term metrics. Make stuff that's timeless. Make stuff that matters rooted in the principles that matter, do the work. You know, Austin cleans things like Just keep going like that those It was a reminder of the principles that I try to shape My work by its ah is codification of the principles. I think the really great work is shaped by, So it's aspirational for me. I mean, like my books air inching towards, you know, their first serve 10 years in existence, and they seem to be to have kept going. But, you know, you don't know, and so I'm always trying to get better. I'm always trying to grow, and I'm always trying to push myself to another level, but not hey, I want to get an advance. That's this big this time where I want to get this award. I want to get invited to this party. It's am I pushing myself creatively again around the things I control, which is basically just what I put in it. Yeah, I think that's a maybe just a total keystone. The what you can control and loving the process again, we opened with process. The book has a lot of processing, and now we're talking about your process like, would you be satisfied with this book or your This is your night with your 10th book. If now that you've went straight to number one, would you be satisfied because of your process? You just reaffirmed that you want to write perennials that are in line with your values. You can do so from a place of confidence and I d go. And now you can enjoy the process from being still. What if Ryan Holiday's next book So zero copies that sold zero even shirt sold 1160 copies? Yeah, so I'm not perfect. And I don't think any artists can get to being the sort of enlightened Buddha about it, right? We care too much. And look also this how we eat. So there is a certain reality to it. But I feel like, you know, let's say with with, um, trust me online. My first book, I was 30% satisfied with what I put in 70% waiting to see what the results were. I feel like I've inched towards a place where on this book, like at launch day, before a copy was sold, I had taken 90% of the satisfaction. You know, You know, as I sold, I sold the stock on the private market before it went public. I got 90% of my gains already locked in, and 10% was, Hey, how's it do people send me nice emails about it to people I respect? Say it was good, you know, where does it him list? How many copies it sold. But like I, I'll give an example. I woke up the morning that the numbers came in. I saw my phone that the numbers were in, and members, you mean sales numbers, sales numbers, which are going to determine the list. And I was able to not check it and go for a swim and go about my normal day, and and I almost forget that they were there and come back to them and be like, Oh, that was wonderful, right when the numbers came into. This is a pleasant surprise. How great the same thing happened when it when it hit number one. I was in the middle of doing something. I didn't answer my phone. I was locked into the conversation I was having with someone. It was great to get the And then when I got back to the voicemails, it was wonderful to hear the new is. But I took a certain almost perverse pleasure in people on the other side of the phone being more excited than I waas. Not because I was like, Oh, this doesn't mean anything. I'm onto the next thing, or, um, it was That's just extra. Yeah, the other would be appropriate. Oh, God. You know the word land? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Uh, Creole word. Yeah. Yeah. It means like the 13th known it. It's like the extra right the one you weren't expecting. But you're glad toe have. That's That's where I'm trying to get creatively. I'm not perfect. I mean, like, if I If I got savaged in in a national television by someone I admired, I'd be like, Wow, that affects me. Yeah, but it wouldn't crush me. Um, and just like, you know, getting a lot of awards. Or, you know, when the New York Times raved about one of my books or when they put you a number one that also doesn't it feels good, but it doesn't. It doesn't fundamentally change how I see myself with work, and that's when we're talking about these philosophical concepts. Of what? What does that have to do with the real world? Well, these are the kinds of things you interact with as an artist. You get the highest you've ever been paid for a commissioned, you know, you you get featured in on the local news. Your parents finally appreciate where you're you know, you get these external things and you've gotta get to a place where you don't let it define you and really the proper response to any of that good or bad, like positive or negative feedback is Lake cool? I gotta get back to work that's so empowering. And I think that it's been fun to listen to and talk about it honestly through the lens of you personally and the work that you've done. We don't have to be so pedantic that we ascribe it to everyone. But it's just as I'm listening to you talk. I'm recounting all the moments where I got it right and got it wrong and just, I think right relative to I think, the wisdom that you're sharing with us here, Uh, I want to ask one more sort of question. I feel like is relevant and it's been implicit. It's been in the air around all this stuff, but I don't I don't know how it fits in your system and its judgment. Okay, so like all of these things, these air basically value these air judgments that we're saying we're there is citing. We're going to allow someone else's judgement to affect us or we're not or even our own. We're going to judge our own work and you keep mentioning it. This is the famous Warhol quote. Why, what else is judging your work. Let them judge of what you do is you get back to work. What role this judging play in not just in stillness is the key, but in your life, in your yet in life, in your philosophy. So when the most powerful quotes I've ever heard it comes from Epictetus and actually I gave a talk to the Pittsburgh Pirates in spring training last year actually have this quote on the wall in the in the facility, it says it's not things that upset us. It's our judgment about things. Events are objective, right? Somebody said something. They said words to you, decided those were offensive words or those were complimentary words, Right? You Did you choose to see the sales as good or bad, the sales or just a number? Right. All of these air judgments and so realizing that that the opinions we have about things are really the sources of the distress or the elation that we feel is it is a really breakthrough having for any creative person, and it's a really big step on the path to enlightenment or wisdom, or whatever you wanna call it. It's realizing that Shakespeare said nothing either good or bad. But thinking makes it so something there's not right or wrong. Like morally. It's that you decide whether the negative review was a negative review. You could decide to see it as, and that's a publicity boot, Uh, Boone, where you could see it as, ah, totally clueless piece of nonsense that you're not even gonna pay attention to. Or you can decide that the New York Times the end all be all. And if they don't like it, you should go kill yourself, right? Like you have that power. And so and that power it needs to be wielded responsibly. And ideally, it should be willed it in a way that allows you to keep going that allows you to be productive. That doesn't either inflate the ego or totally destroy your confidence. And so this judgment is super important, and it takes a lifetime to practice that judgment in to figure out what sort of what the right and the wrong ones are. But that, like we things air objective. And then we put our opinions on top of them. It was just sort of a life changing realization for me as an artist. a someone who is your friend and has consumed probably eight of your nine books. And I have, like nine books is a lot of I think I could probably name them if I had a gun to my head. But like your You're so sharp now it's like like just hold me too homey. It's so focused, I know like two paragraphs And then I'm reading your book and everything feels familiar. Feels comfortable but challenging and new. It's like you are. This is, I think next level mastery. It's been super. It was super fun again. I received this last night. I know. I publish earlier. You may be ascended to San Francisco, I don't know, but like that does a lot to me. I think one of the things I do practice as an artist, I try to be indifferent to extra results, try to be indifferent to the crowd of the mob. But you do have to cultivate a group of people who are close to you, whose opinions you respect, who help you get some objectivity of your own opinions, and so that the one thing that does fill me with meaning and satisfaction is when I know that people I admire whose have also done their own your work in the real world, when they go like you did it, they might not agree with it, but they're like it's obvious you did what you set out to do. Yeah, that's all you can really hope for is a creative You totally crushed this one and it's it's feels so fun to see someone, like, just not just in their stride, because to me, that feels like they're no longer awkward. But this is just, like, effortless running. And ah, and I think that the man in the arena quote comes to mind that the teddy rose about one, which is, you know, it's like you got to care about the opinions of other people in the arena, right nd and not the people in the Chiefs units. And so thank you for putting me in the course, not cheap seats, but having just come through it. And not only did you help me with the writing part of it, but it's just super fun. We are full circle now. You know, your first book, Whatever. We talked about it in this room. 10 years ago, 99 years ago or whatever it was. And, um, like it's just it's so impressive. So for the folks at home, like, I rarely just grandstand on, you just really have to buy this. It's such a powerful, powerful read. And I still got, like, 47 saving the best for last. Thank you so much for behind the showman. Um and I know the best people best place toe these air available everywhere. Books are sold, I presume. And, uh, what about you personally? Had it? What's the best way for people to follow along? And then you got a great email Newsletters? Yeah. Ryan holiday dot net daily stoke dot com at Ryan Holiday at Daily Stuck. And the daily emails from Day Stoke are incredible. Booklist that you put out is that you feel like the best way to stay up to up to speed with what you're doing is to get your email newsletter. Yeah, Okay. Awesome. Congratulations. Makes a huge, huge accomplishment. Numero uno. Thank you. See you next time. Thanks again for tuning in. I hope to see you. Uh, maybe tomorrow

Ratings and Reviews

Dream Focus Studio

By far the best classes on Creative Live!! Thanks Chase Jarvis for bringing so much greatness to the table for discussion! Just LOVE it!

René Vidal

@ChaseJarvis - love chat with Gabby about hope and the "relentless optimism" you share at the end of Creative Calling. Many thanks. -- René Vidal McKendree Tennis


Excellent interview with thoughtful questions. Thanks!!

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