Ryan Holiday On Why Speed Isn’t the Key to Success

Ryan Holiday On Why Speed Isn’t the Key to Success


Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching
MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. You know, if you want to make work that lasts
not just for a minute, but maybe a decade or even a lifetime, this is the episode for
you. Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist
and the founder of the creative agency Brass Check. He’s the author of six books including The
Obstacle is The Way, Ego is The Enemy, The Daily Stoic, and his latest, Perennial Seller. His work has been translated into 28 languages
and retains a cult following among NFL coaches, world class athletes, TV personalities, and
political leaders. Ryan lives on a ranch outside of Austin, Texas
where he does his work in between raising cattle, donkeys, and goats. Ryan Holiday. Hi. Hi. It’s been a while. Like we’ve wanted to do this well over a
year. Yes. I’m so thrilled to have you here. Thank you. I want to take it back before we take it current
and forward. So you’ve had such a fascinating and interesting
career so far. I feel like a lot of folks in our audience
are either writers, want to be writers, dream of that. Yeah. Let’s go back to when you were the – Robert
Greene’s apprentice and also the American Apparel days. What lessons did you glean from them that
informed how to make a living as a writer and who you’ve become today? Yeah. You know, it’s – I think one of the things
that’s interesting about sort of mentors or apprenticeships or whatever is that they’re
only that in retrospect. Right? It’s not as if you know. So like Benjamin Franklin, his father wants
him to be a – in the newspaper business, a printer. So he assigns him to his older brother as
an apprentice. It’s like a literal contract for like seven
years you’re basically this person’s slave. They have to like provide your room and board
and all this stuff. Well, that’s not how an apprenticeship works
in the modern era. Right? It’s an informal arrangement. So, you know, I now look back and I say “Robert
Greene was my mentor, I was his apprentice,” but really it just starts like a job, like
any other. Right? I was working for someone else who was working
with Robert, and I was a huge Robert Greene fan. And so my reward for working so hard for this
other person was that we got to have dinner or lunch with this – my idol, basically. And I remember Robert was talking and he was
complaining about how he didn’t have a research assistant. And he was drowning in this book. And I, you know, I was like “I’ll do it. Like whatever it, you know, whatever. Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it. You don’t have to pay me. Like, please.” Like, you know, it’s my dream job, basically. And he was like “no one works for me for
free. I’ll pay you to transcribe these interviews.” So that was my first job. I just – I had to transcribe dozens of hours
of interviews between Robert Greene and 50 Cent. And everyone in 50 Cent’s entourage. It was a very surreal experience. I had a day job, and then at home I would
go home and just listen to these interviews and transcribe them and transcribe them. And then I did a good enough job that he gave
me another thing, and I did a good enough job that he gave me another thing. And I would try to, between those projects
whenever I would get Robert on the phone I would ask him a question. You know, I’d say, you know, when you’re
– “how do you do your research?” Or, you know, “when you had your first idea
for a book, you know, how did you know it was real?” Or, you know, “what can I do better?” And I would just – and I would see it as
okay, he’s paying me to do these tasks and that rate is probably below market rate or,
you know, whatever. Below what would be a livable wage. But what is an hour of Robert Greene’s time
worth? And if I can sneak 15 minutes here, there,
that’s a huge reward for me. Like I remember a couple of years ago there
was a controversy where Sheryl Sandberg was trying to hire an unpaid intern, and a bunch
of people got really upset. It’s like, you know, “you’re a billionaire. How could you not pay someone?” And I think it’s so short-sighted to think
that the value of working for Sheryl Sandberg is $15 an hour. Yes. It’s what is an hour of Sheryl Sandberg’s
time worth? If you could theoretically even purchase it. And this person is going to be around her. So what I really learned from Robert was the
craft. I learned how to make a book and how an author
lives and works before I’d ever even really had anything to say. So then when I had – when I did discover
something to say I was like, “oh. I can just put these two things together and
I know where to go from here.” Was that dream of being a writer as a livelihood
alive in you? Or was it kind of perhaps almost like a hidden
seed where then you became around someone who you greatly admired who happened to be
a brilliant writer, and then, again, as you went on your journey you found like “I have
something to say too, and now I have these tools and this framework?” Yeah. I mean, I think it’s like a little of both. Yeah. I think I always – like I was obsessed with
books. I loved books. But I don’t know about you, but like I didn’t
meet anyone doing – like you didn’t meet anyone doing what you were doing when you
were 9 years old. Right. So it wasn’t like a thing. Like, you know, it’s – you know writers
exist because you know books exist. But sometimes it’s not until you really
meet one you’re like, “Oh, they’re just a person and this is a profession. Just like, you know, my dad’s a carpenter. You know, like my friend’s dad works at
an insurance company.” And so I think one of the great things about
working for someone who does what you want to do or is at least in the industry that
you want to be in. Like, you know, let’s say you want to be
a musician and you’re a janitor in a recording studio. What you’re figuring out it’s like “oh,
this is a business, a system that has a logic, and like anyone can figure it out. And that these other people who are doing
it are not that much different than me.” And so I think it was – I wanted to be a
writer, and that’s why I so admired him. And then meeting him it was like – I think
it was nurturing the seed and then it was like oh, this is a – you know, if you water
a seed, if you give it enough sunlight, if you protect it from the elements, it’s gonna
grow into a plant. You know? And I think that’s what that process enabled
for me. You don’t want to be around just other people
who are aspiring to do what you’re doing, because you’re all in the same boat. Right? So it’s like I think a lot of people want
to be writers, so they go get an MFA. And it’s like really the only person in
that environment who is a professional writer is the one teacher. So it’s like you and like 50 other people,
you know, and you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars or tens of thousands
of dollars for the privilege when really, you know, you could be the house cleaner to
a writer in your neighborhood and have more one on one time with them and learn their
routine. And so, yeah, you want to be around people
who have done what you’re trying to do so you can sort of destigmatize it and it can
lose some of its… Mystique. Yeah. Because it’s not – none of this stuff
is that, you know, Robert’s a brilliant man, but he’s not a rocket scientist. You know, he’s not – or he’s not LeBron
James like doing this sort of unreal thing. He just worked really hard and figured it
out, and then he can pass that knowledge on to someone else. Yeah. Let’s get to – one … I love many of
your books, but like Obstacle of the Way, I – The Obstacle is The Way, I remember
sitting down and reading that when I was in LA. I just loved it. Like I was sitting there and highlighting
and underlining, and I was like, “Ryan, yes.” And then Ego is the Enemy, you know, stoicism,
for anyone watching that is not familiar with the philosophy, tell us about it. And then also, what inspired you to make this
such a big part of your work? So I was introduced to stoic philosophy when
I was – right around the time I met Robert. So probably like 18 or 19 years old. And I nerded out about it, I loved it. I’ve always loved history and really old
things. And then I – as I would go around and be
like, “Have you ever heard of stoic philosophy?” to people they’re like, “that sounds horrible.” You know? So one of the things I tried to do in those
books is try to take this thing that I’m super passionate about and translate it to
other people. Because I realized the phrase “stoic philosophy”
already sets off like 50 red flags for people. Right? Stoic means you don’t have any emotions, philosophy
means like things that academics talk about but has no practical real world value. That’s not why I love this philosophy. What it – Stoicism is much closer to Buddhism,
but I think it’s even more practical than Buddhism. If you think about like if we take some prominent
stoics. Right? You have Marcus Aurelius, who was the emperor
of Rome. So you have this philosopher who’s also
the most powerful person on earth. And then you have Epictetus. He’s this other famous stoic philosopher. And he was a slave, so he was a slave who
gets turned on to philosophy. He gets his freedom and he dedicates himself
to this thing. So it’s this framework for extreme success
on the one hand and extreme adversity on the other. And then Seneca, who’s probably my favorite
stoic, is on one hand the political advisor to the emperor of Rome, so he’s a Karl Rove
type or a, you know, a sort of a political fixer. And then on the other hand he’s Rome’s
most famous playwright. And so you have this philosophy that’s really
designed for people facing real world problems. They’re trying to make sense of the world,
they’re trying to deal with their temper, they’re trying to deal with frustrating
people around them or their fear of death, and they’re just writing their thoughts
to themselves or to their friends, and then somehow all of this survives. So it’s this really great collection of
wisdom that you could spend your whole life going through. And what I’ve tried to do in the books is
just illustrate those principles and tell them. So the reason you like it is it’s not really
my writing. It’s that you’re resonating with this
thing that’s been tested on millions of people for 2,000 years. Right? So … And I’m not making any of it up. I’m – it’s like this was true in this
situation, this was true in this situation, and then I’m just collecting them in a narrative
that allows you to make sense of it. And to, “Oh, okay. I get…” you know. Because I think a lot of times when you see
these big names that you can’t pronounce people are like, “Oh, that’s not for me.” Yes. But if you hear the same wisdom applied to
a story about, I don’t know, Tiger Woods or Eleanor Roosevelt you’re like, “Oh, I
get it, because I’ve heard that before.” Yeah. I think you do a brilliant job of it. And I love it. And so much of it resonates with the way I
intrinsically live my life. So there’s a little bit of affirmation in
there as well. Yeah. I mean, I say stoicism is basically what your
grandmother would have told you or how your grandfather would have lived his life. You know, and that’s what stoicism really
was too. It was – like Cato is one of the other stoics,
and he was considered a philosopher even though he didn’t write anything down. And think about Socrates. Right? Socrates doesn’t have any books. It’s that he lived his life in a certain
way that made him a philosopher. And I think we’ve lost sight of that. We think philosopher is like someone who works
at Harvard and wears a turtleneck and asks questions that there are no answers to. You know? Yeah. And really philosophy is like a really great
person who’s excellent in all forms and they’re living an exemplary life. To me that’s what philosophy is. That’s really cool. I want to talk now about your latest creative
baby. Okay. Perennial Seller. Which is about creating things that stand
the test of time. And you wrote this, which I highlighted. “People claim to want to do something that
matters, and yet they measure themselves against things that don’t.” Yes. When I read that I was like oh! I got all the chills. Got the highlighter out, all that jazz. Tell us about what that means to you. I mean, most people don’t remember that Star
Wars was beaten at the box office by Smokey and the Bandit its opening weekend. Or, you know, how many copies did the Great
Gatsby sell on its first week or its first year? Like, you know, these are really short-term
metrics for what we’re trying to accomplish. Right? It’s like you spend a year or two years
or five years of your life working on some project, and then you’re gonna judge it
by how the open rate on the first email that you did worked you know? There’s a quote I have in one of my books
from Kafka’s editor, and he’s saying “we both know that the things that last are rarely
received well when they first come out.” You know, that they’re rarely appreciated
because they’re so complicated or they make us feel uncomfortable or new. And so what I’m really urging people to
do is to stop measuring. It’s like if you – nobody’s sitting
down and writing a book going, “I hope this has two or three months of good, you know,
good life in it.” Right? And then it’s done. Yeah. The whole point is that you want it to last
for your children or your children’s children. Right? And then so if that’s true and that’s
– why are you measuring yourself on its success on its first week? Or why are you judging – why are you ready
to throw in the towel on this company because you hit a rough spot three months in? You know? Almost all the successful people that you
admire took a long time to get where they’re getting, so don’t look at these things in
microseconds. You’ve got to give yourself a little bit
of runway. In my case a lot of runway. I mean, I’m one of the slowest people ever. And everyone’s like, “Where’d this girl
come from?” Like are you shittin’ me? I’ve been doing this since 1999. And I think about that too, it’s – I know
that I’m heading in the right direction and that’s really all that matters. I’m not planning on going anywhere. And so you’ve got to be – you can’t
be whipping yourself like “why am I not doing what so and so is doing?” And especially if those are, you know, if
they’re crushing it. Not because they’re not good, but maybe
they got breaks that you didn’t get or circumstances lined up in a way that it didn’t work for
you. Like if you’re gonna do it I say do it right
and then give yourself enough time to see if it’s gonna work or not. Don’t quit early. Yeah. I think what you did so well too in this particular
book is you broke it down. And it’s so understandable in terms of,
you know, the creative process itself. Like going into whether it’s a book that
you want to make, you know, it’s an online program, it’s a business, it’s an album,
whatever the creative act is, is going into it. And I think what’s so interesting about
this book to me is I’ve always been like a turtle. Yeah. And a lot of folks are like go faster, go
faster, go faster, go faster. And I am the slowest ever. Like I write so slow. Most of, not all of them, but a lot of MarieTVs
are scripted because I like to build in weird skits because that’s what I do. I like it. But it takes a while. Like, I don’t just sit down. Can’t you go faster? I’m like “no. I can’t.” Like creating good stuff, at least for me,
sometimes takes time. I remember with my first book I was convinced
that not only if it didn’t come out by a certain date it wouldn’t do as well, but that it like
– it wasn’t even worth doing. You know what I mean? Like that it’s like if we don’t hit this
window, we might as well not even do it. Like the world will have moved on. My one window will be crushed. And so like I was whipping myself, I was whipping
everyone involved, I was cutting corners – not cutting corners, but I was – I wasn’t
taking a week to think about something, I was taking an hour. And sometimes that can be great, because you
can become paralyzed if you have unlimited time. But I was pushing and pushing and pushing
myself thinking that if I didn’t hit it it wasn’t worth it. And, you know, I’m just finishing the final
pages on the updated version of that book on its 5th year anniversary, and it’s like
“what was I thinking? I could have done” – first off, I could’ve
done a lot of this on the first time and maybe it would have done better. But also like just the idea. It just seems so crazy to me that like I couldn’t
even think five years in the future. Yup. But as I’ve worked on more projects you
get more confident. And I wish I could give like first time creators
that patience and like room to play that you’re gonna get later in your career anyway. Yeah. I wish I could gift that to them now, and
I think they can gift it to themselves. Go like, look, a week here or there is not
going to matter in, you know, unless you’re running for president and the election is
on November 4th and so you have to get the book out earlier. You know, there’s a couple of circumstances. Right? You know, Steve Jobs dies, you want to get
your biography of Steve Jobs out as soon as possible. But for the most part on almost every project,
a week here, there, or taking extra time to get these things right, they’re not going
to matter and they’re gonna seem totally insignificant in the big picture. So like give yourself that. And it’s gonna make a better product. That’s gonna make everything else you do
better and more effective for that reason. Let’s talk about the creative process a
little bit. You said, you know, the hard part is not the
dream or the idea, it’s the doing. I think one thing that a lot of folks don’t
realize or they don’t want to realize is how hard it is. It’s really hard. It’s really hard to do the work. It’s really hard. Sometimes I’ll look in comments on social
media and I’ll try and like help people or respond or give some encouragement and
we’ll get into mini dialogues where it’s like “oh, I wish I could do this.” I’m like, “Well, are you doing it now?” I want to be a rapper. And I’m like where’s this? Like send me some mp3’s. I want to hear your tracks. Lay it down. Or whatever it is. The hardness of doing. I think it’s intimidating to a lot of people,
but it’s like that’s what it takes. Yeah. And first off, if it wasn’t hard there wouldn’t
be any money in it. Right? Because everyone can do it. Like the easy things, there’s lots of competition
and there’s very thin margins. Right? The whole reason this is worth doing is because
it’s really hard. And just because it’s hard doesn’t mean
it’s enjoyable. But I love the saying for writing specifically,
but it’s probably true – I bet painters would disagree. You know, there’s a saying, painters like
painting, writers like having written. You know, like having an idea for a book is
fun and having a finished book is fun, but the difference maker is what happens between,
you know, point A and point B. And, you know, when you’re working on something big whether
it’s like starting – let’s say you’re starting a company. You’re gonna work on it for months and you’re
not gonna really be any visibly closer to finishing. That’s the discouraging part. Like when you, you know, writing an article. No one’s ever discouraged writing an article
because you get it done in one day or you get half of it done in one day. When you’re working on a book or starting
a company or you want to launch a channel, you want to do something big, you could work
for whole days or whole weeks and not be a percentage point closer to finishing. Or if you’re 2% closer to finishing, that’s
not a physically noticeable amount of progress. So you’re – you have to develop this capacity
to sort of chug away and be okay without the perception of progress or momentum. You know what I mean? I experience that a lot and I have to do battle
in my own mind, because sometimes when perhaps it’s like working on a MarieTV episode or
writing, you know, working on a book, now getting into that, that there’s this period
where it doesn’t look like a lot is happening. Yes. But it’s actually happening. You’re pulling together. Your subconscious is starting to make connections. And then outwardly you might still be looking
at three sentences on a screen. But if you’re not willing to hang with that
discomfort, you’ll never get to the chapter or you’ll never get to the end of the book. Yeah. Ira Glass talks about this thing. I sort of – I love the quote. I won’t butcher it. But it basically I sort of call it the taste
talent gap. Yes. Right? And he’s saying – and I talked about this
in Ego because I think ego plays a part in it. He’s basically saying like whatever creative
thing you’re doing, you got into it because you have really good taste. You know what great music is, you know what
great art is, you know what great food tastes like. And then you start and you’re gonna be really
bad. Right? Like your first – your dishes are gonna
suck or your writing is gonna suck. And if you can’t tolerate suckiness, you
can’t tolerate crappy first drafts, as we call them, as writers call them, you’re
never gonna get to polished, excellent prose. And so you’ve got be okay. Like, “I worked all day and I got three
sentences.” You know, or I worked all month on this manuscript
that I thought was done, and it’s actually feels like it’s in worse shape than when
I started. But that’s just because they’re moving
all these pieces around, and one of these days I have faith in myself that it’s gonna
come together. And that will be a great moment, but I don’t
need – I don’t need to see it. You know what I mean? You don’t need that light at the end of the
tunnel. Yeah. You have to be okay in the discomfort and
have that faith. I’ve seen that time and time again with
so many things. It almost feels like things get worse, they
get messier, it’s all over the place. But you do, you have to keep chugging along. Well, I love the metaphor of the car on a
lonely dark road at night. Right? It’s like you can only see as far in front
at the headlights, but that’s all you need. You don’t need to see the destination. Right? You just need – as long as you’re not
running off the road ten feet in front of you, you’ll get there. As long as you do what you got to do. One tactical piece that I thought our audience
might find really useful was a concept I identified with, “right to think,” which was inspired
by Amazon. And you shared about this in Perennial that
Amazon requires managers who are launching new products to write a press release before
the idea is given the green light to show how you kind of would think through the marketing
of it. And I feel like, you know, most people who
pay attention to my work know how much I love marketing. It’s what we teach in B-School. It’s like if you are a creative, if you
believe in what you’re putting out into the world you’ve got to embrace marketing
and love it. Let’s talk about this tactic a little. Because I feel like it works for books, it
works for companies, it works for product launches. Well, the worst thing in the world would be
to spend all this time on something and then have it and be like, “you know, people don’t
really want that.” You know what I mean? And that, sadly, that happens a lot. And it’s not that the thing isn’t good,
it’s just the direction they took it in or the way they decided to make it didn’t
work for some number of reasons. And so what Amazon asks its employees to do
is like, let’s say you want to launch a product at Amazon. Like you had the idea for the Kindle. Not like you want to sell something at Amazon,
but you want to launch some internal thing. You write the press release for that or you
write the user manual for it, and the idea is, “I want you to think all the way to
the end. So you’re really envisioning – like what
they’re saying. That’s like can you see Oprah like standing
on her couch shouting about this?” And it’s like if someone’s a huge Marie
fan, can they think about you loving what they’ve made and describing why you’re
loving it? And so instead of like so much of the time
like we love what we’re making or we wouldn’t make it. And so that’s really important, obviously. But it’s – you’re not making it for you. Yes. You’re making it for an audience. That’s the – right. Otherwise you would just think about it. Do you know what I mean? Like I’m not writing the books for me. That’s a lot of unnecessary work. I could write in shorthand to myself. You know? So what is this and is it amazing and exciting
and awesome, and can I think about it from that “creating value for a customer perspective”? And that forces you to be more empathetic
and think all the way to the end. So I write the back cover copy to one of my
books or something like that. Yes. Yeah, and I feel like it also from a messaging
and positioning perspective, it trains you as a business person to be really concise,
to be really clear, and to be able to make some great creative decisions before you get
lost in the muck. Yeah. So you’re making the creative decisions
along that goal that you’ve set. You’re not just taking it wherever it leads
you, because, frankly, it could lead you in the wrong direction or just to the easier
direction. And then when you have that draft, you can
go “did I do it or not?” Right? Like I think I tell the story in Perennial
Seller about Adele’s album that she did with Rick Rubin. You know, she did all the demos for this album
and she gives them to Rick Rubin and she says, you know, it’s ready. And he said no, it’s not. Because they had it – and then she said
“you’re right.” You know, she – and that was because they
both had a shared understanding of where they were trying to get. It wasn’t just objectively the songs were
not that good. It wasn’t as good as they were trying to
do. And so the reason that album is called 25
is that it was supposed to come out when she was 25 years old. It actually comes out when she’s 27. So like she by sort of having that vision
for what she wanted to do, she had something to measure against. And then that was enough to have to keep her
going for two additional years. You know, so you need to have – if you don’t
know where you’re going, it’s very unlikely you’re gonna end up there. Yeah. You could just end up wherever. Let’s switch gears for a minute, because
I know you and your wife just fairly recently welcomed a baby boy into the world. How is having a family, now that you’re
a dad, impacted how much you work, how you work? It definitely messes with your routine. It changes the routine. I really liked it. So like he won’t let me put him to sleep
or put him back down to sleep in the middle of the night. So I actually sleep pretty well, which I’m
sure will piss off a lot of parents. But I take him in the mornings while my wife
catches up on sleep, and so we go for a long walk. So it’s like I used to just take walks by
myself, and now I take a walk with this other person. So I definitely – you want to be adaptable
and flexible, and then you wanna – what’s been good for me, what I’ve really taken
out of it, is that it gives me a real reason to myself and to other people to say no to
things. Like I loved your video and we talked about
this about like, “hey, can I pick your brain?” And it’s like I might let you guilt me into
picking – not you, but I might let someone guilt me into picking my brain when it’s
me, because maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. But it’s been good for me to go, “oh,
I’m taking that time from another person who doesn’t care that I was letting some random
person pick my brain.” So it’s been really good for me as someone
who has trouble saying no to have this other – it’s like by making a child I promised
as much of my free time as I have to this human being, and they need it. And so for me to fritter it away for no reason
is actually really selfish. And so it’s made me much more disciplined. I really – I really appreciate that. Plus it’s amazing and i wish I’d done
it sooner. But it’s been great. That’s awesome. I love it. Tell me about being grateful for your least
favorite things, which sounds like it’s a relatively new practice or something you’re
playing with. Yeah. Well, one of the things in stoicism is trying
to always find the good in things. Right? So the idea of the Obstacle is the Way is
that obviously you wanted it to go a certain way, but it went the way that it did and you
can’t change it. So what can you do with that? And so one of the things I’ve been doing
in my journal is I try to – I love everyone’s talking about gratitude. But it’s really easy to go like “I’m
grateful for Marie” or “I’m, you know, I’m grateful for my mom or I’m grateful
for the success that I have.” I’ve been trying to – that’s easy, and
I think it doesn’t mean anything because it’s so easy. So I’ve been trying to go like “what’s
something I’m upset about and why am I grateful that it happened that way? Who’s the person that I feel the most anger
towards and why am I grateful for them in some way or another?” I read a really great viral piece a long time
ago about someone who took something they were really angry about and they had to like
– they made their internet password like expressing gratitude for that thing. And how like over weeks and months of having
to type this in it totally changed. And so I’ve been trying to like, “oh,
this person that I feel resentment for. What am I grateful about them? Or this pressure that I feel, you know, what
– how has that helped me in some way?” And so I’ve just been trying to muse on
things that I shouldn’t be grateful for, but if I practice gratitude about them, it’s
work and it’s stretching my capacity, and there really is something good. And it’s been an experience. Some mornings I can’t bring myself to do
it. But – and sometimes I have to do the same
one 15 times, but it’s been really good. I love it. It’s so fresh and it’s so unexpected. And as you say it I can feel the usefulness
of it immediately. Yeah, yeah.  Because, look. Gratitude is very important. But, again, like… It’s easy. It’s not sincere if you’re not actually… But I do. I think the expansion of capacity and the
expansion of our ability to look at the things that we find irritating or frustrating or
perhaps like “this should be that way” to find value or growth or something to actually
genuinely, sincerely express appreciation about. Yeah. That’s a nice growth edge. Yeah. And I think – like, this is a weird story
that I’m sure most people won’t be able to relate to. But we’re gonna go to my farm later and
we’ve got these new cows and they promptly just broke like all the inner fencing in our
thing. And so on the one hand this is frustrating. I was somewhat mad as the person who sold
me these cows clearly knew this was gonna happen and it’s taking advantage of my complete
incompetence in farming. But on the other hand, now I’m fixing all
this stuff and I’m learning something from it. It’s something I should have taken care
of earlier. It’s gonna be better for me having taken
care of it. It’s sometimes having a project, an emergency,
it forces you to prioritize and schedule and you do everything faster. And so it’s like I want to be grateful that
that happened. And stoicism is about – it’s not about
“hey, everything’s great.” Because not everything isn’t great. Something stuff really sucks. Totally. But can you make it a little bit better. Right? So it’s not even saying that, “hey, you
know, this negative thing happened. You’ve lost your mother or your company went
bankrupt.” These are terrible things that ideally you
don’t want to have happen. Yeah. But can it change you for the better at some
form or another? Can you take something that was 100% bad and
make it 99% bad and then be grateful for that 1%? That’s the way of thinking about it. Love it. And I love how much you practice what you
preach. Like whenever I’m following you on Twitter
and seeing your tweets and all the things and you’re running it’s like so why I was
really excited to have you on. Because having known you for a few years and
watch you work and read your work, that’s one of the things that I admire about people
is when they really live what they talk about. And none of us are perfect obviously. No, I mean. Yeah. I actually say – it’s very simple, but
it’s not easy. Yes. And I’m as bad at it as anyone or I wouldn’t
be – it wouldn’t be – if I was really good at it it wouldn’t be interesting to
me and I wouldn’t be writing about it. Yes. And obviously my wife can tell you any of
the unstoic moments that that are then preceded by some level of stoic insight. “Oh, you mean it’s not a good idea to
yell about, you know, yell at this inanimate object? It’s not accomplishing anything?” That insight only comes because I found myself,
you know, hurling a book at a wall over and over again. I wasn’t sitting there like the sage, you
know, I was like “wow, that was really embarrassing.” Yeah. No, I love it. Well, you’re doing great work. I’m really excited. I know you’re gonna keep going and we’ll
have lots more books to talk about and hopefully lots more practices too. Thank you. Now Ryan and I would love to hear from you. So we’ve covered a whole lot of things. I really love this conversation. But I am curious, what of the many things
was the most impactful for you? And tell me not just why you found it insightful,
but what action can you take right now to put it into practice in your life? Let us know in the comments below. Now, as always, the best conversations happen
over at MarieForleo.com, so get your butt over there and leave a comment now. And when you do, don’t forget to sign up for
our email list and become an MF Insider. You’ll get instant access to an audio I
created called How To Get Anything You Want, plus you’ll get some exclusive content and
special giveaways and some personal updates from me that I just don’t share anywhere else. Stay on your game and keep going for your
dreams, because the world needs that very special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and we’ll
catch you next time on MarieTV. Hot potato. Hot potato. Do you remember Amadeus? That song? I really was convinced they were saying hot
potatoes, hot potatoes. Because I did not know the words Amadeus yet. Don’t handle me, woman.

100 thoughts on “Ryan Holiday On Why Speed Isn’t the Key to Success

  1. LOVE this discussion on taking your time with creative projects and businesses – I have felt so pressured to rush my work but it feels so much better to understand the time that my work needs and listening to it, even if others don't understand "why it's taking so long", or they don't understand how much time it takes to create long-lasting value and create simplicity out of multiple layers. Thank you!!

  2. Such a great interview. What I learned: Give yourself time and find people that are doing what you love to "demystify" it. Thank you Marie!

  3. This was so timely. I have been hard on myself by thinking that I had to do by this time, I should have done this by that time. Trying to be on a schedule that was imposed on myself! I'm taking away that I need to be kind to myself and slow down to a pace that truly works for me. What I want to get will get done in its own time. Thank you for this interview. 🙂

  4. Great interview…very inspiring…I finally started one of my projects and being patient on a long term to reach success….

  5. OMG Marie!!!! I am only half way through, but i had to write a comment. This interview came out at the best possible time, right before the overwhelm from the creative process. So many truth bombs and revelations. I feel the burden of 'why arent you there yet' slowly elevating and my soul is grooving – give yourself some time to marinade and let the subconscious connect the dots as you've put it. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Ryan is brilliant. Learning about stoics philosophy is my next thing after watching this interview.

  6. I loved everything but I really appreciated the "Sometimes everything isn't so great, but how can you make it a little bit better?" I am living with chronic illness and pain and I try really hard to do what I can to take care of my health, my mind and my relationships but there is a lot I can do to make my life a little better. Today is actually the first day of my Happiness Project. Love Gretchen Rubin and was finally motivated to do my own.

  7. Deadlines can be a useful tool, but I love what he is saying about not being attached. Do the work, sometimes it takes a bit longer to deliver.

  8. I loved the conversation about writing the press release first. I needed to hear that today. Thanks Marie and Ryan.

  9. Thank you Marie, for this interview. I’m a turtle too ? So to know about your experience that it’s not a wrong way to do it, it’s reassuring

  10. That was an amazing gratitude practice that I am definitely going to start implementing. Was so profound.

    Can't wait to read Perrenial Sellers

  11. Absolutely loved this, particularly the advice about not rushing things and taking time to build quality stuff, exactly what I needed to hear today thank you Ryan and Marie.

  12. That's what I'm doing now,
    taking action while taking time.
    I also always find the positives in the seemingly negative because it always turns out to be a positive anyway in its solution.
    The benefit is usually in the big picture that I can't see while in it.

  13. This was such a great conversation. I learned that there is such a thing of appreciating the 1% of a bad situation or hurtful place. 99% you may still not feel great about but at least the growth comes by increasing that 1% each chance you get by finding gratitude within it. I'm going to keep practicing that philosophy.

  14. What really stuck with me was the part about quick success vs. longterm impact. It made me think of Virginia Woolf actually. I recently learnt that she had at one point a lover called Vita Sackwille-West. Vita was apparently a much more successful author at the time – bestseller and all – but how many of us have read Vita's books today? Vita was definitely a very interesting person and probably did leave a lot of other things behind ('portait of a marriage and her garden at Sissinghurst Castle to mention some) but of two the one we know today as a writer is Virgina.

  15. I love it. A perfect episode and lesson on patience in business and seeing the big picture. Very down to earth. I took many insights from it. Thank you so much ???

  16. Thank you for the truth. Creating is really hard. I was crying today from getting and not getting things done. Yes there is so much discouragement.

  17. THIS!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE! It is exactly what I needed to hear on my 121st day, STRAIGHT, of writing a brand new song and going live with it by noon on my IG and FB..that's right, EVERY single day. I've deemed it the "365 Song Challenge," and it slowly has grown into such a positive community and place of encouragement for to be courageous in their own creative journey. SO many songwriters now come to me for advice that I'd eventually love to lead a songwriting workshop/week-long retreat series. I'm not a "business planner, " or a lawyer, I'm an artist…so the idea of forming a "pitch" prior to beginning didn't resonate…but the end game is getting clearer and clearer with every day. My mission statement now clearly states:
    "Writer's block is a myth. Creativity is a muscle. Dare to suck."
    THANK YOU so much for this Marie and Cheers Ryan! Y'all BOTH deeply inspire us all~ Grace

  18. 1st of all, in this day and age of "instant everything", i love being reminded to allow yourself time to walk instead of run through the creative process while you work toward your goals. I also love how Ryan refers to musicians. As a singer/songwriter, I feel incredibly slow. But if you asked me if I'd be doing this 10 years ago I would have laughed, so it's actually quite amazing I've come this far and already posted 2 new songs to my Youtube page. The encouragement has been great and I'm working on my next 3 songs atm.

  19. Amazing! So interesing! THANK YOU!! That car driving in the darkness – it's a great analogy of a journey my daughter has started at school (she doesn't like it much, she is scared of the teacher, etc.) all parents' explanations about future, profession, level of life – she can't grasp yet, she just sees the bad. NOW I will make an illustration of this phrase and hang it on the wall. This car is easy to comprehend. Especially, when the lit part of the road will be colored and the rest – darkness.. Thank you, Mary and Ryan, for insights and great ideas!

  20. Impacting lives is the main keys to being successful. Both Ryan Holiday and Marie Forleo are so inspiring to me for the same reason. Wish you guys more success !!

  21. This is my biggest take away from this video (which was awesome!) is this TWEET – https://twitter.com/SylviaDziuba/status/991656788670996482

  22. The comment about Sheryl Sanderg not wanting to pay an intern. There is no one, and I mean no one, who is that important that working for them for free is reward enough. What a load of garbage! She should have wanted to help someone else out instead of wanting something for nothing!

  23. I loved the comparison with driving in the night. I am really trying to practise this as I am growing my business, to not get overwhelmed by all the things ahead of me but just focusing on the next few steps. Great talk, guys. <3

  24. Thank you, Marie, I really needed to hear that it is ok to take more time to figure things out. I always rush myself to do things faster and get upset that pieces of my project don't fit together but now I am going to calm down and keep chugging on it until it would. Thank you ?

  25. I really needed to hear this today! I have a big project that I'm working on, and I've been feeling impatient with myself to get it done. Now I will relax more and know that I can take my time and make it great!

  26. I really loved your talk with Ryan, The best part of it was the way he practices gratitude . It is amazing! clever and from now on I´ll do the same. Thank you both!!

  27. I. Need. A. Mentor.
    I hired a business coach, I have plenty of female entrepreneurs in my life, but I’m looking for that TRAILBLAZER who can take me to the next level. I’m hoping that with a positive mindset I can attract someone interested in hiring/teaching me.

    How would you suggest the best way to reach out to more prominent business leaders in a way that they’ll actually respond to me?

  28. Thank you Marie! I will try to follow your suggestions but it's hard! Especially when you don't see any improvement??

  29. I love Ryan's description of philosophy, but one of the most beneficial things a formal study of Philosophy for me does (full disclosure: I'm graduating soon with a BS in Philosophy) is develop the skills to be able to slow down, deconstruct, and think critically about issues or truths that seem self-evident. Agreed, philosophy is more accessible when we see it demonstrated in leading a good and virtuous life. Yes. But I can't help but feel like the rigor that comes with philosophical training is tremendously beneficial to leading such a life.

  30. Recently got the Robert Greene book so this is serendipitous. Another insightful interview. Thanks Marie.

  31. Audience-Customer is the KING. As a marketer, I've heard it over and over again – a key fact goes off when it becomes a CLICHE. But when Ryan said "You're not making it for you" it hit my obsession of liking my work. Most of the time, blogs – copies I write overlook relevance, simplicity with respect to the audience. The context he used shifted my perspective immediately, the words pierced inside. The empathy towards my audience was missing.

    How I'll implement this – After finishing will come back to it after a break to ensure a fresh perspective. I realize I was skipping this step because I told myself "Its a fresh piece of writing, different from what I wrote yesterday, so it has to be good. If I like it the audience would like it too"

    Thanks, Marie and Ryan 🙂

  32. I really loved this video! It came at the perfect time too. I really loved that quote about how "the things that last are rarely received well when they first come out. They are rarely appreciated because they are so complicated, or they make us feel uncomfortable." I have been questioning whether or not to continue putting in the work for my small jewelry business as it has been hard to market it well and build brand awareness, but when I talk to other business women I know, I see that it took them years to get to where they are and I am reminded about how time consuming it is and how much love and dedication it takes. I will always remember that interview you had with Elizabeth Gilbert where she talks about the "shit sandwich." This conversation just holds so much truth left and right! Thanks Marie!

  33. Holy moly. Wow. My mom died 2 months ago and hearing Ryan use that specific example as something that happens that totally sucks but, to still learn and be grateful for a piece even if that piece seems so small. I've never thought to be grateful for something or someone that induces a negative emotion. Thank you so much for this interview. Incredibly insightful. ?

  34. I have an Etsy Printable Shop (GrinandPrint). I just want to be able to work part-time now from my home after being a mom and having various jobs to make all of that work. I started a year ago and I wear ALL the hats! It is sooooo tough and I feel like it will never happen. What happens when you don’t have mentors in your field? The people that I am trying to learn from want you to constantly pay for webinars etc. and I have no money to do that yet. I have put money in my business I have a website GrinandPrint.com. I have an etsy shop, I blog and I am working hard to keep up with all of the social media. I love what I do and I don’t want to quit. I get up in the morning and am excited to do what I really love doing! Anyway, just looking for more help to take what I do to the next level. I even have a degree in Journalism and Advertising from way back and love learning but no money to go back to school, nor do I want to. I’m 54 and just want to get on with my life again after kids. :). Sorry to ramble on. Lol

  35. OMG! I write slow too! Lol. When I hear people doing batch posts it drives me crazy! For blogging.

  36. Awesome! I think I wrote down at least 20 ideas/quotes that are each amazing on their own. My favorite is practicing gratitude with things/people that are a challenge to us. I have been walking this path and learning this lesson myself but have been sorting out how to articulate what I am experiencing. I've been sharing with my "tribe" how I've been seeing opportunities in disappointments, but the way Ryan explained this I was, "YES! YES! That's exactly it!". 🙂 This interview definitely in the top 5 of my favorites.

  37. Gratitude is always useful and admirable! But love the idea of finding silver-linings deliberately.

  38. Such perfect timing for me to watch this today, as I work hard to get my new channel ready to go. I'm "developing the ability to chug away"!!

  39. The part that resonated with me the most is that when making someing you want to last, don't become fixated on short term benchmarks. It was also great to hear that you both struggle with knowing that the 2 percent progress you make on creating something significant isn't necessarilty going to be perceptive those around you. Dealing with that now and glad I'm not the only one.

  40. The husband wakes up and takes the baby on a long walk so the wife can catch up on sleep. Unexpectedly this is the most useful tip I picked up from this interview.

  41. Wow, This interview is Gold! I really like how he talks about how some of these things take time and you cant always measure your success right away! This is so true, and I often just get very discouraged, But I will try and see the bigger picture now, That good well made things always take time. and I am trying to build something that lasts. This perspective also will help me go slow enough to create 'quality content', instead of just trying to churn stuff out because I'm trying to compete with someone else, or I'm putting myself under pressure! Could probably watch this interview several times and learn something new each time!

  42. He's wrong on the Sheryl Sandberg point. You don't get to eat for free simply because you work for Sheryl Sandberg. Pay your intern!

  43. Thank you. I needed this. I'm patient only when I think patience is appropriate, and artificially placed deadlines mean everything is rushed in one way or another. The quality promptly reveals itself subpar & it's abandoned until another "opportunity" to retry comes along; rinse and repeat. But it's dumb to chase after tomorrow's opportunities when you can take your time to make something beautiful now, even if it's not the fastest or cleanest option.

  44. I opened an Etsy shop, I’m doing something I absolutely LOVE! I get up in the morning and I can’t wait to get started, I could work all day but I can’t because I still take care of my home and husband who works so hard. However, my shop (open a year now) is slowly making money and I am impatient and not sure if what I’m doing is right. I want it to work so bad but when do you tell yourself enough is enough and to stop? My shop is GrinandPrint in Etsy and I have a blog at GrinandPrint.com as well as a shop in there. I feel like when I send out CTA things people totally ignore me. It is getting frustrating for sure. Advice Please!

  45. The genuine touch you both put into your work really warms my heart. I hope I can take a little bit of that feeling and make what I do in the world even better. I guess I knew this, but Ryan emphasizes that results do not come immediately and you have to work hard day and night for hopefully a great product (but again that is jot guaranteed). That is so true in life, and I feel like it should be that way otherwise everybody would write a book, everybody would become a doctor, etc. The hard work we put into things is what makes each of us so different :).

  46. Marie, I just found you and I'm in love!!! What was impactful to me about this interview was when you stated that your process in becoming successful was slow. Slow is where you can find your flow. I like that! Recently I've been taking some courses to build an online business and I've felt an oncoming sense of being overwhelmed by how much information I'm consuming from various speakers and platforms.

    So when you stated that your process to success was slow. I'm grateful. I feel like it gave me permission to take a successful approach to my building a new lifestyle at a different pace. Thankyou!

  47. If I was really good at it, it wouldnt be interesting to me and I wouldnt be writing about it 🙂 LOVED IT!!!!

  48. Nice analogy with the car driving towards its destination with it's headlights guiding the way. The practical takeaway is setting some smaller goals for myself that will bring be closer to my larger idea of where I want to go. I am concentrating on building a counseling channel on youtube and making the first video seems huge. Could I tape maybe just the first minute of a video or learn the steps it would take to start making videos? Stuff like that

  49. Interesting content as always Marie. I disagreed with the unpaid intern comment though. People have bills to pay, and it shouldn't just be wealthy people who have these opportunities.

  50. I really liked the part where Ryan said to find something that’s 100% terrible and make it better. Even if it’s 1% better.

  51. Thank god for synchronicity .. needed to hear this …self confidence & moving away from 'negative' mindsets is key .. great interview xx cheers Melb. Australia

  52. Thanks! I loved to know he’s had his anger fits and those episodes helped him grow stronger into stoicism ??✨☀️

  53. This is fantastic, Marie! Managing my own online business has a lot of hardships and challenges. When I started to jump into this industry, I know it won't be easy. I waited patiently and worked very hard to get where I am now. I got recognized, wrote my own book, and now I have been coaching other people who aspire to be an affiliate marketing like me. It feels great when you inspire other people. Overcoming a lot of challenges in my life and as an entrepreneur has made me stronger and wiser to face new challenges that willl come along my way.

  54. well, yes, actually a billionaire SHOULD pay for people working for him. power does come with responsibility. not in our version of capitalism, but in a version were we actually don´t have people starving while we throw away half the produced food at the same time… well.
    you have to be very very privileged to be able to work for free. it isn´t only a question of will. it is often a question of possibility, it is a question of privilege, class, income, race, of your physical abilities, wheter you´re a single mum or single dad and much more.

  55. The thing that stuck with me the most is Ryan’s point that he had very non-stoic moments in his life which is actually what provoked his interest and work in stoic philosophy. I’m more of an existential philosopher and sometimes I don’t feel ready to finish my book because I still struggle with the existential predicament that is such a fundamental part of the human condition. Now I feel like I’m in the same boat Ryan was in- My struggles with life and my downfalls are what provoked my interest in existentialism and so I DO NOT need to be already living “an exemplary life” in order to speak about topics which I’m fascinated by and have become very knowledgeable in!

  56. Great interview. My favorite was finding the gratitude in the difficult situation and seeking a way to make it a little bit better.

  57. Your interviews are always so insightful–sometimes the way they are unexpected are the most significant for me. I had planned to take part in this big art market this next Christmas season, and must be ready to present in March. I am realizing that I altho I have been working toward this for over a year, I am not going to be ready the way that I need to be ready. I hadn't realized how much I was beating myself up about this internally, until I heard Ryan talk about other experiences with having to delay things sometimes.

    I was not familiar with his work. I have ordered all of his books now, and appreciate that you have brought him to my attention.

  58. What I feel can help me the most from this interview was that you sometimes have to give yurself more time and not rush things (this is something I heard in another video of yours too) – it's relaxing to know that it might take more than I thought. Also, that it is hard to actually DO it for everyone. What I will do with this is take my working hours more seriously. I work from home, but I will try to actually do the work even everyday though it might not seem like I am making progress. I should probalby do a week review as well in my journal. It is Sunday when I am writing this, so I wil do it today 🙂

  59. one of the very best episodes of the show I've watched so far. Thank you all for setting this up and putting it out there for us to watch!

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