Ayush Antiwal

Ayush Antiwal

The Summary of Stillness is the Key By Ryan Holiday

The stillness is the key author says we do not live in this moment. We, in fact, try desperately to get out of it—by thinking, doing, talking, worrying, remembering, hoping, whatever. We pay thousands of dollars to have a device in our pocket to ensure that we are never bored. We sign up for endless activities and obligations, chase money and accomplishments, all with the naïve belief that at the end of it will be happiness.


Stillness is the key Summary | Ryan Holiday
Stillness is the key Summary

Book : Stillness is the key

Summary of Stillness is the Key By Ryan Holiday

The mind is restless, Krishna, impetuous, self-willed, hard to train: to master the mind seems as difficult as to master the mighty winds.

The Bhagavad Gita

The less energy we waste regretting the past or worrying about the future, the more energy we will have for what’s in front of us. We want to learn to see the world like an artist: While other people are oblivious to what surrounds them, the artist really sees. Their mind, fully engaged, notices the way a bird flies or the way a stranger holds their fork or a mother looks at her child.

Don’t reject a difficult or boring moment because it is not exactly what you want. Don’t waste a beautiful moment because you are insecure or shy. Make what you can of what you have been given. Live what can be lived. That’s what excellence is. That’s what presence makes possible.

In meditation, teachers instruct students to focus on their breath. In and out. In and out. In sports, coaches speak about “the process”—this play, this drill, this rep. Not just because this moment is special, but because you can’t do your best if your mind is elsewhere.


The way you feel when you awake early in the morning and your mind is fresh and as yet unsoiled by the noise of the outside world— that’s space worth protecting. So too is the zone you lock into when you’re really working well. Don’t let intrusions bounce you out of it. Put up barriers.

All this noise. All this information. All these inputs. We are afraid of the silence. We are afraid of looking stupid. We are afraid of missing out. We are afraid of being the bad guy who says, “Nope, not interested.”

It is in this stillness that we can be present and finally see truth. It is in this stillness that we can hear the voice inside us. How different would the world look if people spent as much time listening to their conscience as they did to chattering broadcasts?


Appearances are misleading. First impressions are too. We are disturbed and deceived by what’s on the surface, by what others see. Then we make bad decisions, miss opportunities, or feel scared or upset. Particularly when we don’t slow down and take the time to really look.

Epictetus talked about how the job of a philosopher is to take our impressions—what we see, hear, and think—and put them to the test. He said we needed to hold up our thoughts and examine them, to make sure we weren’t being led astray by appearances or missing what couldn’t be seen by the naked eye.

We have to get better at thinking, deliberately and intentionally, about the big questions. On the complicated things. On understanding what’s really going on with a person, or a situation, or with life itself. We have to do the kind of thinking that 99 percent of the population is just not doing, and we have to stop doing the destructive thinking that they spend 99 percent of their time doing.

Start Journaling

Journaling is a way to ask tough questions: Where am I standing in my own way? What’s the smallest step I can take toward a big thing today? Why am I so worked up about this? What blessings can I count right now? Why do I care so much about impressing people? What is the harder choice I’m avoiding? Do I rule my fears, or do they rule me?

How you journal is much less important than why you are doing it: To get something off your chest. To have quiet time with your thoughts. To clarify those thoughts. To separate the harmful from the insightful. There’s no right way or wrong way.

Each of us needs to cultivate those moments in our lives. Where we limit our inputs and turn down the volume so that we can access a deeper awareness of what’s going on around us. In shutting up—even if only for a short period—we can finally hear what the world has been trying to tell us.

About the Author :

Ryan Holiday is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker, strategist, and the author of many bestselling books including The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; and The Daily Stoic. His books have been translated into over 30 languages and read by over two million people worldwide. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his family.

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