Ryan Holiday Quotes

What are your favorite Ryan Holiday quotes?

Ryan Holiday is an author and media strategist who started his career when he dropped out of college at 19 years old to apprentice under Robert Greene, the author of 48 Laws Of Power and many other best-selling books. Holiday went on to become a director of marketing for American Apparel and also start a creative agency called Brass Check advised companies like like Google, TASER, Complex and many others.

As an author, Ryan Holiday wrote multiple best-selling books like Trust Me, I’m Lying, Ego Is the Enemy, The Obstacle Is the Way, The Daily Stoic, Stillness Is the Key, Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire’s Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire and others.

Ryan Holiday’s work has inspired millions of people around the world. Here are some of the best and famous Ryan Holiday quotes to keep you inspired in your journey of life:

Best Ryan Holiday Quotes

1. Failure shows us the way—by showing us what isn’t the way. -Ryan Holiday

2. We are one big collective organism engaged in one endless project together. We are one. -Ryan Holiday

3. We should not trust the masses who say only the free can be educated, but rather the lovers of wisdom who say that only the educated are free. -Ryan Holiday

4. Blessings and burdens are not mutually exclusive. It’s a lot more complicated. Socrates had a mean. nagging wife: he always said that being married to her was good practice for philosophy.

5. Failure really can be an asset if what you’re trying to do is improve, learn, or do something new.

Ryan Holiday

6. In every situation, life is asking us a question, and our actions are the answer. -Ryan Holiday

7. Stop looking for an epiphany, and start looking for weak points. Stop looking for angels, and start looking for angles. -Ryan Holiday

8. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well. -Ryan Holiday

9. You will never feel okay by way of external accomplishments. Enough comes from the inside. It comes from stepping off the train. From seeing what you already have, what you’ve always had. -Ryan Holiday

10. To have an impulse and to resist it, to sit with it and examine it, to let it pass by like a bad smell—this is how we develop spiritual strength. This is how we become who we want to be in this world. -Ryan Holiday

Famous Ryan Holiday Quotes

famous Ryan Holiday quotes

11. Stillness is the key to, well, just about everything. -Ryan Holiday

12. Everything is change. Embrace that. Flow with it. -Ryan Holiday

13. Knowledge—self-knowledge in particular—is freedom. -Ryan Holiday

14. If solitude is the school of genius, as the historian Edward Gibbon put it, then the crowded, busy world is the purgatory of the idiot. -Ryan Holiday

15. People who don’t read have no advantage over those who cannot read.

Ryan Holiday

16. You can’t run away from your choices—you can only fix them with better choices. -Ryan Holiday

17. Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control. -Ryan Holiday

18. I cannot understand how some people live without communicating with the wisest people who ever lived on earth. -Ryan Holiday

19. Don’t feed insecurity. Don’t feed delusions of grandeur. Both are obstacles to stillness. Be confident. You’ve earned it. -Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday: The Obstacle Is The Way Quotes

Ryan Holiday The Obstacle Is The Way quotes

20. Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead. -Ryan Holiday

21. You know what’s better than building things up in your imagination? Building things up in real life. -Ryan Holiday

22. Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective. -Ryan Holiday

23. There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means. -Ryan Holiday

24. To argue, to complain, or worse, to just give up, these are choices. Choices that more often than not, do nothing to get us across the finish line. -Ryan Holiday

25. It’s okay to be discouraged. It’s not okay to quit. To know you want to quit but to plant your feet and keep inching closer until you take the impenetrable fortress you’ve decided to lay siege to in your own life—that’s persistence. -Ryan Holiday

26. All great victories, be they in politics, business, art, or seduction, involved resolving vexing problems with a potent cocktail of creativity, focus, and daring. When you have a goal, obstacles are actually teaching you how to get where you want to go—carving you a path. -Ryan Holiday

27. For all species other than us humans, things just are what they are. Our problem is that we’re always trying to figure out what things mean—why things are the way they are. As though the why matters. Emerson put it best: “We cannot spend the day in explanation.” Don’t waste time on false constructs. -Ryan Holiday

28. Epictetus told his students, when they’d quote some great thinker, to picture themselves observing the person having sex. It’s funny, you should try it the next time someone intimidates you or makes you feel insecure. See them in your mind, grunting, groaning, and awkward in their private life—just like the rest of us. -Ryan Holiday

29. Think progress, not perfection.

Ryan Holiday

30. The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition. -Ryan Holiday

31. We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given. -Ryan Holiday

32. The only guarantee, ever, is that things will go wrong. The only thing we can use to mitigate this is anticipation. Because the only variable we control completely is ourselves. -Ryan Holiday

33. Remember that this moment is not your life, it’s just a moment in your life. Focus on what is in front of you, right now. Ignore what it “represents” or it “means” or “why it happened to you. -Ryan Holiday

34. Each time, you’ll learn something. Each time, you’ll develop strength, wisdom, and perspective. Each time, a little more of the competition falls away. Until all that is left is you: the best version of you. -Ryan Holiday

35. When people ask where we are, what we’re doing, how that “situation” is coming along, the answer should be clear: We’re working on it. We’re getting closer. When setbacks come, we respond by working twice as hard. -Ryan Holiday

36. How we interpret the events in our lives, our perspective, is the framework for our forthcoming response—whether there will even be one or whether we’ll just lie there and take it. Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective. -Ryan Holiday

37. To prevent becoming overwhelmed by the world around us, we must, as the ancients practiced, learn how to limit our passions and their control over our lives. It takes skill and discipline to bat away the pests of bad perceptions, to separate reliable signals from deceptive ones, to filter out prejudice, expectation, and fear. But it’s worth it, for what’s left is truth. While others are excited or afraid, we will remain calm and imperturbable. We will see things simply and straightforwardly, as they truly are—neither good nor bad. -Ryan Holiday

38. If an emotion can’t change the condition or the situation you’re dealing with, it is likely an unhelpful emotion. Or, quite possibly, a destructive one. But it’s what I feel. Right, no one said anything about not feeling it. No one said you can’t ever cry. Forget “manliness.” If you need to take a moment, by all means, go ahead. Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist. -Ryan Holiday

39. Andrew Carnegie famously put it. There’s nothing shameful about sweeping. It’s just another opportunity to excel—and to learn. But you, you’re so busy thinking about the future, you don’t take any pride in the tasks you’re given right now. You just phone it all in, cash your paycheck, and dream of some higher station in life. Or you think, This is just a job, it isn’t who I am, it doesn’t matter. Foolishness. Everything we do matters—whether it’s making smoothies while you save up money or studying for the bar—even after you already achieved the success you sought. -Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday: The Daily Stoic Quotes

Ryan Holiday The Daily Stoic quotes

40. What we desire makes us vulnerable. -Ryan Holiday

41. A degree on a wall means you’re educated as much as shoes on your feet mean you’re walking. It’s a start, but hardly sufficient. -Ryan Holiday

42. You become the sum of your actions, and as you do, what flows from that—your impulses—reflect the actions you’ve taken. Choose wisely. -Ryan Holiday

43. There is clarity (and joy) in seeing what others can’t see, in finding grace and harmony in places others overlook. Isn’t that far better than seeing the world as some dark place? -Ryan Holiday

44. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Ryan Holiday

45. All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way. -Ryan Holiday

46. Just because you’ve begun down one path doesn’t mean you’re committed to it forever , especially if that path turns out to be flawed or impeded. At that same time, this is not an excuse to be flighty or incessantly noncommittal. -Ryan Holiday

47. If we can focus on making clear what parts of our day are within our control and what parts are not, we will not only be happier, we will have a distinct advantage over other people who fail to realize they are fighting an unwinnable battle. -Ryan Holiday

48. Getting upset is like continuing the dream while you’re awake. The thing that provoked you wasn’t real—but your reaction was. And so from the fake comes real consequences. Which is why you need to wake up right now instead of creating a nightmare. -Ryan Holiday

49. The combination of power, fear, and mania can be deadly. The leader, convinced that he might be betrayed, acts first and betrays others first. Afraid that he’s not well liked, he works so hard to get others to like him that it has the opposite effect. Convinced of mismanagement, he micromanages and becomes the source of the mismanagement. And on and on – the things we fear or dread, we blindly inflict on ourselves. -Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday: Stillness Is The Key Quotes

Ryan Holiday Stillness Is The Key quotes

50. It takes real work to grasp what is invisible to just about everyone else. -Ryan Holiday

51. It’s not that we need to believe that God is great, only that God is greater than us. -Ryan Holiday

52. Confucius wrote that the “gentleman is self-possessed and relaxed, while the petty man is perpetually full of worry. -Ryan Holiday

53. Don’t feed insecurity. Don’t feed delusions of grandeur. Both are obstacles to stillness. Be confident. You’ve earned it. -Ryan Holiday

54. Remember, there’s no greatness in the future. Or clarity. Or insight. Or happiness. Or peace. There is only this moment. -Ryan Holiday

55. 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. -Ryan Holiday

56. This is what the best journals look like. They aren’t for the reader. They are for the writer. To slow the mind down. To wage peace with oneself. -Ryan Holiday

57. 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. -Ryan Holiday

58. Stillness is what aims the archer’s arrow. It inspires new ideas. It sharpens perspective and illuminates connections. It slows the ball down so that we might hit it. It generates a vision, helps us resist the passions of the mob, makes space for gratitude and wonder. -Ryan Holiday

59. We are restless because deep in our hearts we know now that our happiness is found elsewhere, and our work, no matter how valuable it is to us or to others, cannot take its place. But we hurry on anyway, and attend to our business because we need to matter, and we don’t always realize we already do. -Ryan Holiday

60. Man is a thinking reed,” D. T. Suzuki, one of the early popularizers of Buddhism in the West, once said, “but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. ‘Childlikeness’ has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self-forgetfulness. When this is attained, man thinks yet he does not think. -Ryan Holiday

61. Stillness is what aims the archer’s arrow. It inspires new ideas. It sharpens perspective and illuminates connections.

Ryan Holiday

62. Get your day scheduled. Limit the interruptions. Limit the number of choices you need to make. -Ryan Holiday

63. So much of the distress we feel comes from reacting instinctually instead of acting with conscientious deliberation. -Ryan Holiday

64. Routine, done for long enough and done sincerely enough, becomes more than routine. It becomes ritual—it becomes sanctified and holy. -Ryan Holiday

65. Done enough times, done with sincerity and feeling, routine becomes ritual. The regularity of it—the daily cadence—creates deep and meaningful experience. -Ryan Holiday

66. Be present. And if you’ve had trouble with this in the past? That’s okay. That’s the nice thing about the present. It keeps showing up to give you a second chance. -Ryan Holiday

67. Keep strong, if possible. In any case, keep cool. Have unlimited patience. Never corner an opponent, and always assist him to save face. Put yourself in his shoes—so as to see things through his eyes. Avoid self-righteousness like the devil—nothing is so self-blinding. -Ryan Holiday

68. The gift of free will is that in this life we can choose to be good or we can choose to be bad. We can choose what standards to hold ourselves to and what we will regard as important, honorable, and admirable. The choices we make in that regard determine whether we will experience peace or not. -Ryan Holiday

69. So much of the distress we feel comes from reacting instinctually instead of acting with conscientious deliberation. So much of what we get wrong comes from the same place. We’re reacting to shadows. We’re taking as certainties impressions we have yet to test. We’re not stopping to put on our glasses and really look. -Ryan Holiday

70. Take action. Get out from under all your stuff. Get rid of it. Give away what you don’t need. You were born free—free of stuff, free of burden. But since the first time they measured your tiny body for clothes, people have been foisting stuff upon you. And you’ve been adding links to the pile of chains yourself ever since. -Ryan Holiday

71. Michel Foucault talked of the ancient genre of hupomnemata (notes to oneself). He called the journal a “weapon for spiritual combat,” a way to practice philosophy and purge the mind of agitation and foolishness and to overcome difficulty. To silence the barking dogs in your head. To prepare for the day ahead. To reflect on the day that has passed. Take note of insights you’ve heard. Take the time to feel wisdom flow through your fingertips and onto the page. -Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday: Ego Is The Enemy Quotes

Ryan Holiday Ego Is The Enemy quotes

72. Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive. -Ryan Holiday

73. People learn from their failures. Seldom do they learn anything from success. -Ryan Holiday

74. The pretense of knowledge is our most dangerous vice, because it prevents us from getting any better. -Ryan Holiday

75. Those who have subdued their ego understand that it doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them. -Ryan Holiday

76. Most successful people are people you’ve never heard of. They want it that way. It keeps them sober. It helps them do their jobs. -Ryan Holiday

77. Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room—until you change that with results. -Ryan Holiday

78. Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more “Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.” It’s rarely the truth: “I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know. -Ryan Holiday

79. The only real failure is abandoning your principles. Killing what you love because you can’t bear to part from it is selfish and stupid. If your reputation can’t absorb a few blows, it wasn’t worth anything in the first place. -Ryan Holiday

80. Ego is the enemy of what you want and of what you have: Of mastering a craft. Of real creative insight. Of working well with others. Of building loyalty and support. Of longevity. Of repeating and retaining your success. It repulses advantages and opportunities. It’s a magnet for enemies and errors. It is Scylla and Charybdis. -Ryan Holiday

81. When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.

Ryan Holiday

82. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance. -Ryan Holiday

83. I was trapped so terribly inside my own head that I was a prisoner to my own thoughts. -Ryan Holiday

84. You’re not as good as you think. You don’t have it all figured out. Stay focused. Do better. -Ryan Holiday

85. Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong. -Ryan Holiday

86. When success begins to slip from your fingers—for whatever reason—the response isn’t to grip and claw so hard that you shatter it to pieces. It’s to understand that you must work yourself back to the aspirational phase. You must get back to first principles and best practices. -Ryan Holiday

87. Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves. -Ryan Holiday

88. And that’s what is so insidious about talk. Anyone can talk about himself or herself. Even a child knows how to gossip and chatter. Most people are decent at hype and sales. So what is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong. -Ryan Holiday

89. Work is finding yourself alone at the track when the weather kept everyone else indoors. Work is pushing through the pain and crappy first drafts and prototypes. It is ignoring whatever plaudits others are getting, and more importantly, ignoring whatever plaudits you may be getting. Because there is work to be done. Work doesn’t want to be good. It is made so, despite the headwind. -Ryan Holiday

90. We will learn that though we think big, we must act and live small in order to accomplish what we seek. Because we will be action and education focused, and forgo validation and status, our ambition will not be grandiose but iterative—one foot in front of the other, learning and growing and putting in the time. -Ryan Holiday

91. You must practice seeing yourself with a little distance, cultivating the ability to get out of your own head. Detachment is a sort of natural ego antidote. It’s easy to be emotionally invested and infatuated with your own work. Any and every narcissist can do that. What is rare is not raw talent, skill, or even confidence, but humility, diligence, and self-awareness. -Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday Favorite Quotes

Ryan Holiday favorite quotes

Here is a list of Ryan Holiday’s favorite quotes that he has shared in his books as well as social media:

92. The best way to avenge yourself is to not be like that.Marcus Aurelius

93. Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself. Publilius Syrus

94. A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. Herbert Simon

95. All of humanity’s problem stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone. Blaise Pascal

96. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Henry David Thoreau

97. What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first steps to something better. Wendell Phillips

98. Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been. -Marcus Aurelius

99. Persist and resist”. Persist in your efforts. Resist giving into distraction, discouragement, and disorder. -Epictetus

100. What such a man needs is not courage but nerve control, cool headedness. This he can get only by practice. Theodore Roosevelt

101. Take a good hard look at people’s ruling principle, especially of the wise, what they run away from and what they seek out. -Marcus Aurelius

102. Most of us would be seized with fear if our bodies went numb, and would do everything possible to avoid it, yet we take no interest at all in the numbing of our souls. Epictetus

103. How much better to heal than seek revenge from injury. Vengeance wastes a lot of time and exposes you to many more injuries than the first that sparked it. Anger always outlasts hurt. Best to take the opposite course. Would anyone think it normal to return a kick to a mule or a bite to a dog.


104. Work is what horses die of. Everybody should know that. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

105. The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough. Ralph Waldo Emerson

106. If the mind is disciplined, the heart turns quickly from fear to love. John Cage

107. As a well-spent day brings a happy sleep, so a well-employed life brings a happy death. Leornado Da Vinci

108. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. Richard Feynman

109. What matters to an active man is to do the right thing; whether the right thing comes to pass should not bother him. Goethe

110. If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters—don’t wish to seem knowledgeable. And if some regard you as important, distrust yourself. -Epictetus

111. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant. Viktor Frankl

112. BE RUTHLESS TO THE THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER “How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements—how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time! -Seneca

113. Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength. -Marcus Aurelius

114. A good person is invincible, for they don’t rush into contests in which they aren’t the strongest. If you want their property, take it—take also their staff, profession, and body. But you will never compel what they set out for, nor trap them in what they would avoid. For the only contest the good person enters is that of their own reasoned choice. How can such a person not be invincible? -Epictetus

115. In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices. In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices. -Epictetus

116. Were you to live three thousand years, or even a countless multiple of that, keep in mind that no one ever loses a life other than the one they are living, and no one ever lives a life other than the one they are losing. The longest and the shortest life, then, amount to the same, for the present moment lasts the same for all and is all anyone possesses. No one can lose either the past or the future, for how can someone be deprived of what’s not theirs? -Marcus Aurelius

117. If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed. -Marcus Aurelius