The Keys to a Good Life | Ryan Holiday on Impact Theory

Last updated: Jun 1, 2023

The video is an interview with Ryan Holiday, a bestselling author and media strategist, discussing his philosophy on life and his approach to writing.

The video is an interview with Ryan Holiday, a bestselling author and media strategist, on the show Impact Theory. The host introduces Holiday as one of the greatest thinkers of their generation, and they discuss his motivation for writing and his search for answers on how to live a good life. Holiday talks about writing for a younger version of himself and his desire to share the things he wishes he had been taught in school. The conversation also touches on Holiday's experience as a father and his approach to leadership and managing people.

  • Choosing what to get upset about in a company is important.
  • Being the boy who cried wolf is dangerous.
  • The goal of the show and company is to introduce people to people and ideas that will help them execute on their dreams.
  • Ryan Holiday is a bestselling author and media strategist.
  • Ryan Holiday's philosophy is about trying to figure out the things that he wishes he was taught in school.
  • Ryan Holiday's approach to writing is systematic and practical.
  • Parenting has taught Ryan the importance of just being.
  • Protecting your time is essential for happiness and gratitude.
  • Stoicism is about focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can't.

The Keys to a Good Life | Ryan Holiday on Impact Theory - YouTube

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Introduction

  • The importance of choosing what to get upset about in a company
  • The danger of being the boy who cried wolf
  • The goal of the show and company is to introduce people to the people and ideas that will help them execute on their dreams
  • The guest is Ryan Holiday, a bestselling author and media strategist
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Ryan Holiday's Background

  • Ryan Holiday is a multiple time bestselling author who has written six books in the last five years
  • His book, The Obstacle is the Way, is a true perennial seller and has been translated into more than 20 languages
  • He has a devoted following of some of the most driven and successful people on the planet
  • He dropped out of college at 19 to apprentice with the master author Robert Greene
  • He became the director of marketing for the billion-dollar public company American Apparel in his early 20s
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Ryan Holiday's Philosophy

  • Ryan Holiday's philosophy is about trying to figure out the things that he wishes he was taught in school
  • He is always searching for the answer to the question of how one is supposed to live and find happiness
  • He writes to a younger version of himself when he is writing
  • He believes that as a writer, you have to have some idea of who your audience is and speak to them
  • He is always trying to speak to himself, whether it's five years ago or ten years ago or 15 years ago
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The Keys to a Good Life | Ryan Holiday on Impact Theory - YouTube

Ryan Holiday's Approach to Writing

  • Ryan Holiday's approach to writing is systematic and practical
  • He believes that writing is a craft that can be learned and improved upon
  • He believes that the key to writing is to have a system and to stick to it
  • He believes that the most important thing is to write every day
  • He believes that the key to success is to be disciplined and to have a routine
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Lessons from Fatherhood

  • It becomes easier to say no to things because you realize we seem to have a limitless capacity to steal time from ourselves.
  • Parenting is just actually just being there.
  • Being there and sitting there and being still is where really great insights come from and this is also where happiness comes from.
  • Watching someone experience just complete joy is a reminder that things don't need to be as intense.
  • Having this person, this living thing that you're responsible for, keeps those lessons top of mind because there's real consequences for it.
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Challenging Yourself

  • It's good to challenge yourself.
  • Parenting has been the hardest thing that Ryan has ever done.
  • Abstracted from kids, it's good to challenge yourself in other ways.
  • It's important to prioritize and not try to do everything all at once.
  • Consequences are often deferred into the future, but it's important to remember that they will eventually catch up.
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The Importance of Being

  • Parenting has taught Ryan the importance of just being.
  • Being present in the moment is a reminder that things don't need to be as intense.
  • Being still is where really great insights come from and this is also where happiness comes from.
  • It's hard to be happy and appreciate and feel gratitude when you're just moving all the time.
  • It's important to remember that it's human being, not human doing.
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Protecting Your Time

  • We protect our physical space much more than we protect our time.
  • It's important to protect your time and not steal time from yourself or others.
  • It's easier to say no to non-essential things when you have a child because you have promised as much of your time as you can to them.
  • Protecting your time is essential for happiness and gratitude.
  • Time can never be regained, so it's important to use it wisely.
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Struggling with Time Management

  • Austin Kleon's advice for entrepreneurs and creative people is to say yes to everything until you can say no.
  • However, it's hard to know when you've reached the point where you can say no.
  • There's a balance between being aggressive and having discipline.
  • Once you've achieved a certain level of success, it's all about protecting the space you need to do your work.
  • Having a kid makes the stakes of making hard choices higher.
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Untangling Conflicting Goals

  • People often see other people's goals as a grab bag and want to do everything at once.
  • It's important to pick a lane and know that some goals are mutually exclusive.
  • Asking clients what success looks like for them on a project helps sift through conflict.
  • Ego can get in the way of meaningful impact.
  • Clarity on what success looks like is important for creating a path towards it.
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The Importance of Stoicism

  • Stoicism is about focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can't.
  • It's about being present and not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.
  • It's about accepting reality and not fighting against it.
  • Stoicism can help with decision-making and dealing with setbacks.
  • It's a philosophy that can be applied to all aspects of life.
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The Power of Reading

  • Reading is a way to learn from the experiences of others.
  • It's a way to gain knowledge and perspective.
  • It's a way to challenge your own beliefs and assumptions.
  • Reading can help with decision-making and problem-solving.
  • It's important to read widely and not just stick to one genre or topic.
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Choosing the Right Path

  • High-powered executives don't have time for creative long-term thinking.
  • Being a writer and researcher while working for a big company were mutually exclusive.
  • Trying to do both for a long time was not sustainable.
  • Realized that doubling down on the wrong path was not the way to go.
  • Freedom to go where the day takes you is important, especially creatively.
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Defining Success

  • Success is not having a life that takes you further away from what you want your ideal day to look like.
  • Regularly checking if your life resembles what you want your days to look like.
  • Journaling every morning and every night to prepare for and reflect on the day.
  • Never getting too far from where you want to be.
  • Having too many days in a row that don't resemble what you want your day to look like is the opposite of success.
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Identifying What You Really Want

  • One of the hardest things to do in the world is to turn down money.
  • People have a hard time identifying what they really want.
  • Successful entrepreneurs and athletes often wish they could write and read more.
  • It's important to think about what you want your life to look like, not just how much money you can make.
  • Buying freedom with money is common, but people often give up freedom to get money.
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Making Decisions in Life

  • Back yourself out of situations that don't align with what you want your life to look like.
  • Leaving money on the table is sometimes necessary to make the right decision.
  • Don't make decisions based on how many zeros are in a check.
  • Buying freedom with money is common, but people often give up freedom to get money.
  • Skipping steps and staying where you are can lead to happiness.
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Money and Values

  • People sacrifice their freedom for future freedom that may never come.
  • Tim Ferriss helped Ryan Holiday realize that he didn't need more money if he was already living reasonably.
  • Brass check test: Is the work going to be something they will be proud of or is it just for the money?
  • People say yes to money not because they need it for something important, but because they want to buy something they don't need.
  • People should focus on what they need instead of what they want.
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Indifferent Spectator Test

  • Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments suggests that people should judge their actions based on how an impartial person would view them.
  • The indifferent spectator test is a way to step out of one's own logic and impulses and judge actions objectively.
  • People should ask themselves what a person who isn't caught up in the situation would do.
  • If an action doesn't pass the test, it's probably not a good thing to do.
  • Philosophy is about the moment between stimulus and response, where people get to choose who they want to be.
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Belief System

  • People should have a belief system that they can use to put negative situations through and get a useful outcome.
  • Building a belief system is an intuitive and unconscious process.
  • People should try to slow down the process by putting in information and little points that the thing is bouncing around on.
  • Most people don't work on themselves and have no time between stimulus and response.
  • The more people work on themselves, the more time they have to choose who they want to be.
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