All the Changes
As I mentioned previously, things have been changing here for me the past few months. I have been a lot more focus on reading than I have writing, always on the look out for more inspiring ideas to maybe get the words flowing through my fingers once again. I’ve read more books, longform articles, and listened to more podcasts than in the past. I also solved a few major hurdles for me technology-wise that’s allowed me to do much better work.
####The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph By Ryan Holiday
You will come across obstacles in life fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure. You will learn that this reaction determines how succesful we will be in overcoming- or possibly thriving because of- them.
Ryan Holiday is quite an interesting man, and his book, The Obstacle Is the Way has certainly opened up my eyes. It’s impact on me has been equally impressive as [Fck It](http://www.foursides.ca/locked-out-and-saying-fck-it/ “Fuck It”) that I read last year. While the latter book helped me move on from things that ultimately don’t matter to me, Obstacle has helped me tackle the things that *do matter to me.
It is a book about stoicism and follows people through history, from Thomas Jefferson to Amelia Earhart to Theodore Roosevelt and more. All faced challenges, all tackled them head on instead of avoiding them. They didn’t let the obstacles stop them in their pursuit of success. The book is broken into three general areas which can be taken as steps towards success when facing a challenge: perception, action, will.
What I thought about while reading the book was, “What’s stopping me from writing more?”
There were three general problems for me:
- Hardware was failing
- Blogging platform was insufficient
- Ideas were all over the place
The first item was the most serious. My trusty MacBook from 2006(purchased for $1500, on sale on Amazon for $200) was starting to go on me. It was taking 15 minutes for it to start up and would pause in the middle of doing something. Was it worth while to try and get the logic board replaced, or move on?
I decided to move on and purchased a MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Instead of a 10-15 minute wait to start up, this machine logs in instantly from being powered off. I’m so impressed with how it functions, how it looks, and the latest Mavericks operating system, that I can hardly keep my hands off of it.
The blogging platform has been a cause of concern for me ever since my blog on Wordpress was a victim of constant attacks. I made the jump to Scriptogr.am first, quickly realized that development had been frozen, and made a jump to a new platform. Dropplets looked better than Scriptogr.am on a desktop computer, but looked horrible on mobile. Not a great solution at all.
I debated about returning to Wordpress, but I love being able to write in Markdown and publish easily. Getting some of the Markdown-supported blog engines operational can be a challenge. I discovered that Github Pages allowed you to publish a blog using Jekyll, I took on the challenge of converting my site over to it. It works, looks fantastic, and is dead simple to publish too. Couldn’t be more impressed.
The last obstacle was a bit trickier to deal with. There are so many apps out there that allow you to capture ideas and organize everything, but I never stuck with one choice. I was having the same problem with my workflow for my consulting business. I’m a sucker for new web platforms or mobile apps, so was constantly checking out new ideas. The obvious problem was my ideas were getting spread out, and I was spending more time trying out new apps than actually creating from my ideas.
My solution was to purchase OmniFocus 2 for Mac (Canada App Store, US App Store. It’s an investment, $40.00, but well worth it in my mind, because it forces me to be committed to it. I can’t drop everything and switch to a free app, then switch to another.
Right now, I’m using it both for business, and as a capture device for my writing ideas. Any time I get an idea in my head about a writing piece, I hit Option+CTRL+Space and get a neat pop-up to input my idea. A few keystrokes, and Enter, and the idea is stashed away for the future.
So far, so good. I look forward to purchasing the mobile apps, as well, to continue my effort in capturing ideas more effectively and still remaining productive. With those three major obstacles out of the way, I am better prepared and committed to writing more regularly as was the case four years ago when I first started this blog.
Ryan Holiday Resources
- Ryan Holiday - home of his blog and other information.
- Tim Ferriss Podcast with Ryan Holiday
- The Obstacle Is the Way - book.
- Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
- Also read Steve Richards’ take on the book: The Obstacle is the Way