October 21, 2021

Busy busy busy...I’ve found that one of the biggest obstacles for good people to make a difference in the world, is succumbing to the allure of “Busy” and all that follows. That has certainly been one of my biggest challenges. How do we stop the endless hamster wheel of busyness? We’ll discuss today on a special episode of the Happiness Playbook how Stillness Is The Key...



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“Routine, done for long enough and done sincerely enough, becomes more than routine. It becomes ritual—it becomes sanctified and holy.” 

― Ryan Holiday, Stillness Is the Key

“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, Stillness is the Key

“All of humanity’s problems,” Blaise Pascal said in 1654, “stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” 

― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

“Tolstoy expressed his exasperation at people who didn’t read deeply and regularly. “I cannot understand,” he said, “how some people can live without communicating with the wisest people who ever lived on earth.” 

― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

“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” 

― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

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

― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

“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, Stillness is the Key

“If you wish to improve,” Epictetus once said, “be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters.” 

― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

“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, Stillness is the Key

“Remember, there’s no greatness in the future. Or clarity. Or insight. Or happiness. Or peace. There is only this moment.” 

― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

“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, Stillness is the Key

“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, Stillness is the Key

“If the mind is disciplined, the heart turns quickly from fear to love. —JOHN CAGE” ― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key


Busy busy, busy. I found that one of the biggest obstacles for good people to make a difference in the world is sick. Coming to the allure of busy and all that follows. That is certainly been one of my biggest challenges. And I want to address that today. So how do we stop the endless hamster wheel of busy-ness?

We'll discuss today on a special episode of the happiness playbook. How stillness is the 📍 key?

Okay for today's highlight reel. This is an interesting one. A man in Israel noticed the unmistakable shape of a sword during a recreational dive. And it turned out to be a 900 year old Relic from the crusades. Encrusted with shells and Marine life. It's not clear if the sword was from the Muslim or European side, but it's now in possession.

Of the Israeli

antiquity authority for further study. So this Kai's out on just a recreational dive. He's looking through and he sees this sword. And. Turns out to be a 900 year old piece of treasure. From the crusades. What a beautiful example of being present, but not just being present so that he could observe and see the sword, but also he was on a recreational diet. He was taking time to recharge, and that is so important. And we're going to talk a lot more about that today.

Last week we discussed how to navigate embarrassment in particularly the power of laughing at yourself. So how did it go? Did you leverage the power of humor to put pride aside and move past embarrassment. When you have an embarrassing experience or your pride is wanting to show up

because of a mistake. Laugh at yourself. Okay. This is so powerful. I had so many opportunities to do this last week and

it is such an effective vehicle to move past embarrassment. And to keep moving forward. So I hope that you can keep laughing at yourself in healthy ways. And laughing with yourself. If you make a funny joke.

I do that too. Before we get into our practice. It is time for our teen.

Before we get into our practice, it's time for our team huddle. So gathered around. For today's team huddle. I have some very kind words to share from a truly amazing individual Dana Sanders, who said not a lot of things are life-changing or live up to their hype play theory is, and does. I've been practicing the play theory tools for many years and can say that.

The well depth is infinite. The tools you can gain from understanding and implementing the plays from the happiness playbook will be ones that will forever help you. And those whom you care about. To create more happiness in your relationships, work and play. Dana Sanders. If you don't know her a, I feel sorry for you because she's amazing.

But she is truly on our MVP list for play theory. People I've known Dana for years. And it is so abundantly clear that she strives every day to apply the concepts we discuss here on the happiness playbook. I am so grateful for Dana Sanders influence in my life personally, but just on team happiness that she is out there doing so many amazing things. Dana, we love you. Thank you for your kind words. Have a magical week.

Okay. Let's get into our practice. Being busy. Is often worn as a badge of honor. Do you know anyone like that? I know I'm guilty. You know, we say, oh, I'm so busy. And we kind of broadcast that fact to the world almost as if it's something to be applauded. But is it. Today. I want to discuss the power of being still and how that relates to being present. And there are some super good things to talk about here.

And I gotta tell you, I shifted gears a little bit on today's topic. Originally, I was going to talk about productivity. But I had just finished reading a book called stillness is the key by Ryan holiday. And I just couldn't help, but want to share it with you because it's so good. And so I'm going to touch on that today. And actually today's going to be a little bit like a short book review, which is kind of a fun format. We've done that with movies. And so we're just trying it out with a book today and this. This episode is going to be packed full of a pluggable actions. You can take to find more stillness and to be more present in your life.

It's a deep dive on stillness. And so let's start with how he defines stillness and how applicable it is to being present. Let's be honest. It is very hard to be still and to find stillness in today's world. Right. You got your phone, you got the constant barrage of advertisements. If you're on your computer, like it's impossible to find stillness almost unless you're listening to a mindfulness.

A YouTube video and you have your eyes closed. But aside from that, It is just really hard. And I love how he describes stillness because it can be misunderstood. And he says, this is a quote from the book. Stillness is not an excuse to withdraw from the affairs of the world, quite the opposite. It's a tool to let you do more good for more people.

Stillness then is actually a way to superior performance. And I love this distinction that stillness is not intended to be a vacation necessarily from the hustle and bustle of life. Although that certainly can be the case. But it's about what we will then turn around and do for others with our renewed and grounded version of ourselves. It really is a way for us to.

To level up and to become a better version of ourselves.

A key principle the book is a centralism. One of our biggest struggles is determining what is truly important and where to focus our energy and effort. We discussed this on episode 57 on yes, and-ing undesirable offers. And the importance of knowing what to say yes to and what to validate and redirect.

And the temptation to tend to every task and ask that comes our way. We'll destroy our chances to have stillness and presence. And I personally suffer from this constantly. And I know it's my own doing. But I am just loving this journey.

Of finding ways to create. Stillness and make room for it in my life. A quote by Herbert Simon. Is a wealth of information, creates a poverty of attention. And when you remove attention from your life and you're not paying attention. You can obviously see the damage that can cause. In order to think, clearly it is essential that each of us figures out how to filter out the inconsequential from the essential, it's not enough to be inclined toward deep thought and sober analysis.

A leader must create time and space for it. He continues with the important stuff will still be important by the time you get to it, the unimportant will have made its insignificance obvious or simply disappeared. Then with stillness rather than needless urgency or exhaustion, you will be able to sit down and give what deserves consideration your full attention. This is so appliable when it comes to texts and emails. Okay. That is an example that I think we can all relate to. Right. We get a text or get an email and we kind of feel this need respond immediately.

And in this world of immediacy there, we've put a lot of value on that on immediate response on being quick to respond. But in reality, if you can create systems. And space for those replies to happen at a certain time of the day.

Or just simply wait.

What's truly urgent and important will still be. So by the time you get to it, I love that.

Remember that's what time is, it's your life? It's your flesh and blood that you can never get back when we know what to say no to, we can say yes to the things that matter. Oh, discover this for yourself. I hope that we can internalize this concept of the centralism that he just so beautifully portrays in the book, because it is key to finding stillness presence and happiness.

Take the time to really determine your process for a centralism in determining what is important and what can wait that will pay dividends.

He touches on the idea. Of intentional recreation in downtime. And this was really good for me to hear because in my hustle and bustle, I rarely make time to just engage in. Uh, recreational hobbies. And that's important. And just like the guy in our highlight reel who found the ancient sword on a recreational dive.

Which was leisure, right. He didn't have to be out there. It was, I assume it's a hobby of his. But he wound up finding an ancient treasure. While we might not find actual treasure. As we make time for recreational hobbies, we will find more fulfillment and presence in our lives. We'll be recharged and more able to take on the tasks and responsibilities that await us, but we have to make time.

For recreational hobbies, whether it's running golfing, making. Crafts painting, whatever it is, we need to make time for these things because they recharge us. It's enjoyable. It feeds our souls.

The last principle from the book that I wanted to touch on is deep thinking. This chapter was really great. And I realized just how little deep thinking I've been doing, especially lately. I've been so busy lately. And I just don't make time for deep thinking, but it's amazing. And he beautifully articulates this concept in the book. He says,

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. We have to do the kind of thinking that 99% of the population is just not doing. And we have to stop doing the destructive thinking that they spend 99% of their time doing.

All so much to unpack here, but deep thinking is the key to really internalizing concepts, to giving space for ideas to flourish and for strategies about your life and insights about your life to come into your mind and heart. How often do you create space for and take the time to think deeply? So I got to share a quick story here because when I was in corporate America,

I would go into the bathroom and I'd bring my phone. And it was just like this time for me to escape. Right. And I would just be in there and I'd just be on my phone and I just waste time. I'd vege. I had, you know, kinda numb out.

And I realized that this wasn't helping me, the anxiety sometimes would be worse, coming back to my desk. And so I made the intentional decision. Too. Instead of bringing my phone to the bathroom, leaving that at my desk and bringing a notepad. And what transpired during that time? I did that for about, oh gosh, a few months. I had some of the most. Insightful thoughts. And it was just time away from my phone and the computer and the busy-ness just with my thoughts and a notepad and the thoughts that I captured during that season of life.

We're the beginnings of a framework for goal setting and productivity for an amazing program that I actually just launched called the achievement tribe. It's now a planner and a framework and an accountability group. And it was that time that I took to intentionally think deeply and to capture those thoughts in my notepad, where the framework for everything now that I'm doing with that program. And I am so grateful for that. I'm not always good at this. And in fact, I'm most of the time, very terrible at making time for deep thinking. But I can tell you firsthand the power that can come from that. And that's a very tangible example. Deep thinking is crucial to our long-term growth and happiness, and is a powerful way for us to be present with principles that can help us grow in powerful ways. If we're only hearing truth.

And not giving it time to marinade. We're not going to be able to apply it. Be present is the first principle in the happiness playbook, because without it, we cannot absorb or apply the other principles. And this deep thinking is just expert level presence. Right? This is how we really get deep into being present with something.

And this is also really fun to do with other people, my wife and I love to do deep thinking together about a concept and just create a safe space for us to explore thoughts together. In the book, he wraps up the importance of deep thinking by stating this is why each of us needs to sit down and examine ourselves. What do we stand for? What do we believe to be essential and important? What are we really living for?

Deepen the marrow of our bones in the chambers of our heart. We know the answer. The problem is that the busy-ness of life, the realities of pursuing a courier and surviving in the world come between us and that self knowledge. As you really strive to deeply think you are going to level up in ways that you can not imagine. And that is a great segue into our play of the week. I want you to set aside.

10 minutes at least, but I would highly recommend doing more than that. Give yourselves. You know, 20 plus minutes to just think about a topic. And I want you to write down a topic, grab a note pad, leave your phone in the other room. Find a nice quiet place. If it happens to be the bathroom I know from personal experience, that works great.

But then set a timer or just take 10 minutes. To think deeply about a topic in capture your thoughts. And I want to hear how this goes for you. And again, in the busy-ness of life. Eh, this is hard to do. Okay. It's going to be so easy a week from now. You hop back on here and you didn't make time for it. Okay. That's the normal, that's the mediocre effort. Okay. But I want you to make extra effort this week to carve out that time and to actually.

I deeply think for at least 10 minutes with a notepad and no distractions.

Wow. So much. Goodness today. Overall this book, stillness is the key is phenomenal, especially for the busy folk who get caught up in the hustle of life. Guilty and need the important reminder that stillness is the key. The narration and audible is amazing. And I loved all the stories, quotes, and applications of what Ryan holiday is teaching us the listener. I highly recommend this book to all our players on team happiness. And just to wrap up with this amazing quote from the book.

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. Doesn't matter how bad you were yesterday or the week before. Today's a new day. Be present find that stillness because it is the key. 📍

Wow. What a jam packed episode. I hope you got as much out of that as I did again. I can't wait to hear your thoughts. After you've read the book, please send us a note, leave us a review and send some love our way. Want to know how to practice happiness in social settings, amid peer pressure and anxiety.

Jump in next week to learn more. We might even have a special guest for you. And we'll dive way deeper into that.

Don't miss it.

Find stillness this week. Make time for deep thought recreation and stillness. Remember to be present. And don't miss out on the beauty of each moment as it passes. And of course, remember that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport. And boy, am I glad to have you on the team? Catch you next week.

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