The Obstacle is the Way- Top Three Reviews

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October’s book of the month was The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. Many reviewed but only three made it to the video. Out of those three, only one was chosen to receive the $100 gift card to Amazon.

The Obstacle is the Way- Top Three Reviews

Top Review- David White:

In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow, “The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.”

This statement succinctly sums up The Obstacle is the Way. Mr. Holiday is adept at finding numerous successful people throughout history and describing how they became successful in spite of the “obstacles” in their path. Mr. Holiday’s primary message is one of attitude or perspective. If we are able to view problems as opportunities, we will succeed where others fail.

Mr. Holiday uses actual examples from peoples’ lives as well as apocryphal stories passed down through generations. I especially enjoyed the story about the king who placed a boulder in the middle of the road to his town. Most of his subjects complained about the boulder, but only one decided to solve the problem on his own. When he did, he found a treasure under the rock. The king undoubtedly also added the man to his staff as well!

The fact that Mr. Holiday is able to find so many representative examples to prove his point shows us that anyone CAN change their mindset. The trick is to being WILLING to change it and to make this willingness a part of our daily lives.

Another area where TOITW shines is in exhibiting cases where “outside the box” thinking has been used. A great example provided is the story of Zemurray’s bananas. Twice he outwitted his business opponents by refusing to play by their rules. This points out that while there’s always a way around the obstacle, it sometimes requires us to take a step back and consider other ways of removing it.

Mr. Holiday highlights one of life’s greatest paradoxes. “Will” does not mean our intent or actions or belief in something, but rather, our willingness to sublimate our force to allow the desired outcome. His example of using “God willing” instead of “the will to win” is very thought provoking. Our exercise of patient may be all that is required for the obstacle to move to someone else!

One of Ryan’s final thoughts revolves around something that should be central to our lives. “If I can’t solve this for myself, how can I at least make it better for other people?” Selflessness can often result in our obstacle being reduced or removed. Whether you call it fate or karma or providence or dumb luck, we often seem to be paid back when we “pay it forward”. If we made this a focus of our lives, everyone will be better off. Including us!

Mr. Holiday wraps up with a reminder of the triad of attitudes and actions that allows us to succeed. 1. Perception – Perceive problems with an eye to turning them into advantages. Remain open-minded at all times to inventive solutions. 2. Action – Take appropriate action after understanding the opportunities available to you. 3. Will – Be willing to accept temporary setbacks on the road to success. No one ever achieved anything significant without setbacks. Why would you expect anything different?

2nd place-  Leon L. Herndon:

This book was a great read. I got a lot of value out of it. Real short, sweet and to the point. Mindset. New way of thinking. How we see it. The way we accept it. Make the best of it. Have a great attitude about it. Toughens you up for the next challenge that is going to happen. Being prepared and knowing that you have time, but it is limited. Do what you can do with the time that you are given to do it.

To be a champion or a winner at anything you do in life, you must be persistent. Also, have a positive outlook on your situation. To not look at obstacles, or adversity as barriers to stop us, but taking a different look at it as a challenge to overcome and get better and improve. For example, it’s like taking a driving trip. If you are leaving from Los Angeles, and your destination is Houston, TX, then the 1500 miles and 30 hours are part of the process. So have a positive attitude, prepare for food you might need or the number of gas fill ups you have to make, how often you will rest, and enjoy the scenery.

The book also covers doing the job right, and doing it right the first time. I remember being on the ship, while I was in the Navy. I was in charge of the Deck Team. Our mission was to complete 200 floor jobs in 6 months. It was 50 of us as a team, and over time, we turned this job into a crusade. It was definitely bigger than us. The process was ripping and tearing out the old floor. Then dump the waste in the proper containers. Then sand the deck for priming. Next was the glue. Then laying the tile. Then waxing the deck for a finished product. Done right, it would take 4 days from start to finish. I admit in the beginning we make mistakes. But, as the book states, they were not mistakes, but merely opportunities to identify what areas needed improvement.

The book also goes into areas that I am able to control: Emotions, Judgments, Creativity, Attitude, Perspective, Desires, Decisions, and Determination. That in every situation you encounter, whether it’s daily living or learning to become an entrepreneur, your are going to have to have patience, take action, persevere, and do what ever it takes to get the job or goal completed.

I find this book relevant to the current times, value-added, and a usable resource that I can return to over and over. I highly recommend this book.

3rd place- Briana Lamberson:

This book of the month for October has come at a crucial time during the run, somewhere in the middle when obstacles either make or break us. Holiday’s look at how adversity has pushed people to greatness throughout his text demonstrates to its readers how to use what bad comes their way and turn it into good. From a believer’s standpoint, we know and understand that God uses everything for our good. When the enemy comes at us, we know and understand that God will use that for our good. Not every believer practices this principle because sometimes they allow themselves to be defeated when obstacles come there way, but still, the bible encourages them in that God will never put anything on them that they can not bare. 

Holiday writes, “Great individuals, like great companies, find a way to transform weakness into strength. It’s a rather amazing and even touching feat. They took what should have held them back – what in fact might be holding you back right this very second – and used it to move forward” (4). This is truth to its core. We deal with so many hardships in our everyday life, and put on a face that all is well when we come to BOM’s, and during trainings realize, yes, all is well because whatever we were dealing with before we walked into the door was a distraction meant to discourage and keep us away from God had for us there. Bigger than that, when we move forward beyond the things that have been holding us back, in spite of our emotions, in spite of what we feel like doing, God can better use us for His purpose in our life. I live a life to serve the King of kings, and yes, adversity comes, that’s granted—if it doesn’t then I need to take a look at who I’m serving—but the adversity is the soil that nourishes the purpose being fulfilled.

“We turn what would otherwise be disappointment into opportunity… Being outnumbered, coming from behind, being low on funds, these don’t have to be disadvantages…” (49, and 60). Car repossession, eviction, health issues, no groceries, cell phone off, family issues, recruits not coming back, people not returning our calls, appointments being canceled—all are disappointing things that happen meant to build and strengthen us, not devour and cripple us.

“While others are arrested by discouragement, we are not. We see the moment differently, and act accordingly” (67). In life, we experience many trials, but perspective is everything. Use your strength in Christ Jesus to help get you through those tough times, and put your energy elsewhere, regardless of your circumstances in order to turn your obstacle into an advantage meant to aid you on your journey and purpose. Being arrested by discouragement is bondage—literally. To be arrested means to be taken prisoner, or be imprisoned, so if we choose to be incarcerated by the obstacles of life, then we’ve lost the battle we were never meant to lose.

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