Overcoming Obstacles – Advice From The Emperor Of Rome


The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius. (Emperor of Rome. 161 to 180 AD)

Rome had five great emperors. Marcus Aurelius was the last and perhaps the wisest of them all.

What Marcus meant in that above quote, is that we shouldn’t despise our obstacles.

Obstacles are not problems. Rather, they’re a roadmap for what to concentrate on next.

For example…

If you’re not getting enough new sales leads at your job, you know you need to do more cold calling.

If you keep failing your annual IPPT fitness assessment, you know you need to start exercising more.

If you’re always arguing with your partner, you know you need to do some counselling together.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

It’s in these moments of pain and suffering, that the solution to our problems is placed in front of us.

The moments of suffering help us get stronger.

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Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, had this beautiful quote

In times of crisis, bad companies die. Good companies survive. Great companies get stronger!

And that’s exactly how it is for individuals as well. Embrace this suffering as an opportunity to get better. To get stronger. To become more successful.

I’m in my 30s now. While still young, I’ve seen some fascinating success stories develop.

Without fail, every single one of the very successful guys from my school started off as losers.

When you grow up successful, everything comes too easily. You never learn the skills to overcome adversity. (and yes, it’s a skill)

Somehow, being unpopular and unsuccessful early on, taught these “losers” grit and tenacity.

This grit and tenacity is what all successful people are made of. It’s core to their personality.

You don’t become successful without failure. Successful people have tons of failure.

The difference is that they get up each time.


And again.

They don’t stop.

That’s why they’re so successful.

Every obstacle is just a stepping stone to their next victory.

So the next time you’re faced with a painful problem, embrace it. Use it to become stronger.

If you keep doing this again and again, I know you’re going to be amazingly successful.

Further Reading: The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

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