It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Discipline is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control by Ryan Holiday. Further below there is also an extract of the book!
Ryan Holiday is the world’s best-selling living philosopher, sharing the wisdom of ancient Stoicism to help us navigate 21st century life. He has sold more than 5 million books in 40 languages. With insights that are as relevant to the boardroom as to everyday life, Ryan’s books have proved hugely influential with sports coaches, business leaders, aspiring and established entrepreneurs, and self-help and smart thinking readers.
Ryan follows an ancient school of thought but has a huge digital following: his Daily Stoic brand has 400k subscribers to its daily email. In 2019 the Instagram had 350K followers, now it has 1.5 million; its YouTube channel has over 585K subscribers and its TikTok account has 341.1k followers and over 10 million views. Since starting The Daily Dad in June 2019, Ryan has amassed 12.9k followers on the Daily Dad Twitter channel and 82.8k followers on the Daily Dad Instagram platform, and the email newsletter reaches over 50k people.
About the Author
Ryan Holiday is one of the world’s foremost writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. His books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, The Daily Stoic, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Stillness Is the Key have sold millions of copies and been translated into over 40 languages. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his wife and two boys… and cows and donkeys and goats. He founded a bookshop during the pandemic called The Painted Porch, which features a carefully curated selection of Ryan’s favourite books and a stunning fireplace display made from 2000 books. Follow @RyanHoliday on Twitter
About the book
In Discipline is Destiny bestselling philosopher and life-hacker extraordinaire Ryan Holiday explores the power of temperance, which along with courage, justice and wisdom formed the four virtues of Stoicism. Yet these other virtues would be impossible, worthless even, without self-discipline to bring them about.
Self-discipline is the moderating influence against the impulse of all other things. Cultivate it in every deed, and it will enable us to become the best that we are capable of being. With self-discipline, we can find balance, focus and fulfilment, resisting the distractions that can quickly take over our lives; without self-discipline, all our plans fall apart.
In this latest book, Ryan Holiday shows us how to cultivate willpower, moderation and self-control in our lives. From Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius to Toni Morrison and Queen Elizabeth II, he illuminates the great exemplars of its practice and what we can learn from them. Moderation is not about abstinence: it is about self-respect, focus and balance. Without it, even the most positive traits become vices. But with it, happiness and success are assured: the key is not more but finding the right amount.
Excerpt of Discipline is Destiny
Practice . . . Then Practice More
It is said that the master swordsman Nakayama Hakudo would practice drawing his sword some two thousand times a day. At the Hayashizaki temple, in one marathon of endurance training, he was recorded drawing his sword ten thousand times in a single twenty-four-hour period.
We can imagine the sheer speed required to do this . . . and also the deliberateness to do so many reps in so little time. But why would do such a thing at all? Because, as the Stoic Arius Didymus said, “Practice over a long time turns into second nature.” We don’t rise to the occasion; we fall to the level of our training.
The samurai Musashi was once challenged by a warrior named Miyake Gunbei, a man who thought himself one of the best in the world. On his third attack, frustrated by his lack of success, Gunbei charged at Musashi in an aggressive lunge. Musashi, having prepared for this exact scenario countless times, replied, “That is not what you should do,” then parried the blow with one sword and watched as the man gashed his own cheek against Musashi’s other sword. How had he known? Practice.
Cho tan seki ren was Musashi’s phrase. Training from morning to night. Oh, you’ve done that? Okay. Do it some more. And after that? More. More. More.
“A thousand days of training to develop,” Musashi would write, “ten thousand days of training to polish.” For a samurai, there was no such thing as pretty good. If a pretty good swordsman met a better fighter . . . he would die. It’s like the basketball Hall of Famer Bill Bradley observation: When you are not practicing, refining, working, somewhere, someone else is . . . and when you meet them, they will beat you. Or kill you.
Gunbei was lucky enough to learn this lesson and live to tell about it. In fact, after Musashi treated the man’s wound, Gunbei accepted that he was outmatched and became Musashi’s student, training and practicing under him until he was no longer prone to the mistakes that come from such rashness.
Look, this is not a drill. There is no greatness without practice. Lots of practice. Repetitive practice. Exhausting, bone-crunching, soul-crushing practice.
And yet what emerges from this practice is the opposite of those three feelings. Energy. Strength. Confidence. You deserve that. Yes, your body will burn, but that’s the evidence. From that burning comes real heat, heat you can apply to your craft, to your work, to your life.
The cellist Pablo Casals practiced continually late into his life, even long after he was widely considered a master, because he believed he was still making progress. In fact, we might say that progress and practice are synonyms. You can’t have the former without the latter. And the latter is worthless without the former.
Drawing the sword from the scabbard. Thrusting. Blocking. To build up your stamina for those skills, you lift weights, you do conditioning. To put it all together, you spar. It’s the same with music. You can jam with other talented musicians; you can put all those sessions together to learn new songs. But before all that, as Casals did, you can simply practice your scales in your bedroom for hours upon hours. What are those scales for you? You better know and you better be doing them. No matter what you do, practice will make you better.
Florence Nightingale wanted young nurses to understand that nursing was an art that required “as hard a preparation as any painter or sculptor’s work. Churchill spent many evenings practicing his “impromptu” performances.
Only you know what it will look like to train in your art like a samurai, an Olympic athlete, a master in pursuit of excellence. Only you will know what you need to practice from morning until night, what to repeat ten thousand times.
It won’t be easy, but in that burden is also freedom and confidence. The pleasure of the flow state. The rhythm of second nature. The quiet calmness of knowing that, from the practice, you’ll know exactly what to do when it counts . . . the pride and the dependability of doing it too.
This is the sequel to Courage and the second book in the Stoic Virtues series. The hardcopy versions are lovely.
The can versus the should, the higher versus the lower self. Two versions in constant battle with each other. It’s any interesting concept, perhaps even more so when the inner battle is taken to an external level and the stimulus determines which one wins. In a way the external manages to circumvent the internal choice – or does it?
Are the two selves not silenced or dimmed by the external input, one more than the other. The way trauma, PTSD, depression speaks to one rather than the other. Magnifies the lower, and of course vice versa.
I thought this was slightly darker than the previous book. More introspective, but it also had a path of ups and downs. A deeper search within the folds of self, which may have been both an interesting and eye-opening experience at times.
I had a mixed reaction to the book or content. Not that the principle is wrong, and the results can equal the difference between success and being mediocre. Between succeeding and exploring full potential, perhaps most of all it’s about the perseverance in life. Teaching yourself to be focused, to find the best path, and most importantly putting thought to action to achieve your goals.
All of that is commendable, but what happens if those paths aren’t achievable depending on the person walking said path. If discipline is something that is in direct conflict with skill set, upbringing, environment, support and possible neurodiversity. Does that mean discipline and therefore success is unachievable? Either way it is a read that gives food for thought.
Buy Discipline is Destiny at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Profile Books, pub date 27 September 2022. Buy at Amazon com.