This week’s topic is: Stoicism in Everyday Life with Ryan Holiday
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Ryan Holiday, who is a best-selling author, marketer, entrepreneur, founder of the creative advisory firm, Brass Check, and host of The Daily Stoic. Listen in as Ryan shares what moved him to go from studying marketing and the psyche of what motivates people to stoicism and how it can be applied in your everyday life.
- Stoicism and how this came into Ryan’s life…
- Ryan’s upbringing and how these philosophical ideas either reinforced or contradicted where he came from…
- Marrying philosophy with business and marketing…
- Writing about stoicism and philosophy versus marketing…
- The Genesis of Ryan and where his ideas came from…
- Understanding the psyche of people and what motivates them…
About Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist. When he was 19 years old, he dropped out of college to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power. He had a successful marketing career at American Apparel and went on to found a creative agency called Brass Check, which has advised clients like Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as many prominent bestselling authors, including Neil Strauss, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss.
He is the author of ten books, including “The Obstacle Is the Way”, “Ego Is the Enemy”, “The Daily Stoic”, “Conspiracy and Stillness is the Key” which have sold more than 2 million copies in thirty languages and have a following among NFL coaches, world-class athletes, TV personalities, political leaders, and others around the world. He spends much of his time on a ranch outside Austin, Texas where he does his writing and work in between raising cattle, donkeys and goats.
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!
There are lots of ways to share your responses or questions about the podcast:
- Comment below
- Connect on Twitter: @_kimberlysnyder
- Follow the conversation on my Instagram
- Comment on my Facebook Page
- Ask a question: mysolluna.com/askkimberly
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
You may be really intrigued by podcasts, but you may just know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, I promise! To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s way better to subscribe so you never miss an episode!
Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the “Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder”? My passion is to inspire and empower you to be your most authentic and beautiful self. We offer interviews with top experts, my personal philosophies and experiences, as well as answers to community-based questions around topics such as health, beauty, nutrition, yoga, spirituality and personal growth.
The intention of the Feel Good Podcast is to well…help you really Feel Good in your body, mind and spirit! Feeling Good means feeling peaceful, energized, whole, uniquely beautiful, confident and joyful, right in the midst of your perfectly imperfect life. This podcast is as informative and full of practical tips and take-aways as it is inspirational. I am here to support you in being your very best! I have so much love and gratitude for you. Thank you for tuning in and being part of the community :).
LEAVE A REVIEW ON ITUNES
Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material they are interested in! If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Many thanks in advance.
[❤️ FAN OF THE WEEK]
[RESOURCES / INFORMATION]
- SBO Probiotics
- Digestive Enzymes
- Feel Good Starter Kit
- FREE Gift: 7-Day Meditation Series (DIGITAL COURSE)
- Recipes For Your Perfectly Imperfect Life
- Be a part of the community Join the Feel Good Circle
- Kimberly Snyder’s Books
- Four Cornerstones FREE PDF: Text to 555888 + text the word: feelgood
- Additional resources in transcript
Other Podcasts you may enjoy!:
- The Power of Mantras, Heart-Based Yoga (Bhakti) and Community with Govind Das and Radha
- How to Overcome Not Feeling Good Enough and Own Your True Self
- How To Get Back Into A Healthy Routine
- Fitting In A Healthy Routine With Young Kids!
Powered and Distributed by: PodcastOne
Hydrant: Go to DrinkHydrant.com/FEELGOOD or enter promo code FEELGOOD at checkout to get 25% off your first order.
Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. This is due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Kimberly (00:00): Hey Beauties. Welcome back to our Monday interview podcast. I am super excited for our guest today. His name is Ryan Holiday. He’s a bestselling author, marketer, entrepreneur, founder, and host of the Daily Stoic. He is a super interesting, fascinating guy who has forged his own path. He’s found a way to combine his love of marketing and ancient philosophy. I recently went on the Daily Stoic podcast and loved and enjoyed our conversation so much. And I am so excited to pick his brain today.
Fan Of The Week
Kimberly (00:54): Before we dive in, though, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week. His or her name is neats915, and he or she writes: “I’m so thankful I found Kimberly. It completely changed the way I look at food because of her books. She is amazing and I love her vibe.” neats915, thank you so much for being our fan of the week, for being part of our community. I’m so grateful for our connection. Thank you, thank you. Sending you a big cozy hug, wherever you may be, a big virtual hug. And again, lots of gratitude and lots of love.
Write a Review and Subscribe
Kimberly (01:12): Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as the fan of the week, please just take a minute and write us a review on iTunes. It could literally be one sentence. But we all know how important reviews are, and it’s just a wonderful, energetic way to support the show. And while you’re at it, you could also be sure to subscribe to our show and that way you don’t miss out on any of these Monday interview podcasts or our Thursday Q&A community podcasts as well.
Kimberly (01:40): All right. All that being said, let’s dive right into our interview today with Ryan Holiday. Okay. And now here’s the outro. All right, Beauties, I hope you enjoyed this interview with Ryan Holiday. Please head over to mysolluna.com to check out the show notes where we link directly to his website, which is ryanholiday.net. You can learn about his work, about his books. His latest book is called Stillness is the Key, and he has other books, including the Obstacle is the Way.
Interview with Ryan Holiday
Kimberly: 00:16 Ryan, I love talking to you about stoicism, which is actually a topic that I knew nothing about, and then I started reading about it to prepare for our podcast. It’s obviously something you’ve written about so much and something that’s a big part of your life. Yoga is the same thing for me and it’s just a big philosophy that I keep learning from. I was first interested in yoga when I went to India and spent a couple months there and immerse myself in Ashram. I’m interested in how did you come across stoicism? It’s not nearly as popular as yoga and you seem to be one of the pioneers in actually bringing it back. So how did it even come into your life?
Stoicism and how this came into Ryan’s life
Ryan: 00:59 So I was in college. I went to Riverside, which is not too far from you. And I got invited to a conference in West Hollywood and afterwards I went up to the speaker and the speaker was this sort of person I admired. It’s actually Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Kimberly: 01:15 Oh, yeah.
Ryan: 01:17 Yeah. And so I went up to him and I said, “Hey, what are you reading? Are there any books you would recommend to someone my age?” And he recommended that I read the writings of Epictetus, who was a slave in ancient Rome, and from Epictetus I went to Marcus Aurelius. I basically, I asked for a book recommendation.
Kimberly: 01:36 Wow!
Ryan: 01:36 And sometimes the sort of… I think this is actually a Zen saying, but sort of when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And I think it was the right time in my life I asked a question. I don’t believe sort of in predetermination or anything, but I do kind of believe in just sort of the things aligning when you put yourself out there, and so for me, it was just the right ideas at the right time. And I think like a lot of this stuff you talk about, real wisdom is sort of timeless and universal and cross cultural, and so you pick up these things and you go. How did this person living in a totally different country, in a totally different world, managed to write this in a way, that it feels like they are speaking to me just like you and I are talking, and that just struck me very vividly.
Ryan’s upbringing and how these philosophical ideas either reinforced or contradicted where he came from
Kimberly: 02:28 Was that in alignment with how you were raised? For instance, with me, I was raised Catholic, so when I started learning about some of these concepts, like reincarnation and universality, I thought, “Whoa, this is really different.” Then there was this sort of internal struggle, and then I had to find the parts that made sense to me. How were you raised and how did these philosophical ideas either reinforce or contradict where you came from?
Ryan: 02:55 Well, I was also raised Catholic, some sort of a lapsed Catholic, but I think like a lot of people, and I wonder if this is why this stuff hit you so hard, is that if you step away from religion or as religion has lost its way over public life, people are really looking. We still need direction. We still need guidance. We still want someone to sort of tell us, what’s right, what’s wrong. I think we’re all trying to answer this question. How should a person live? Right?
Kimberly: 03:28 Right.
Ryan: 03:29 And for thousands of years in the Western world, that’s what religion did. But before religion, before Christianity specifically, it was philosophy that answered that question for people. It’s interesting, the thing… Marcus Aurelius lives in the early days of Christianity. Actually, Seneca and Jesus are born in the same year, in the same Roman-
Kimberly: 03:52 Really?
Ryan: 03:53 Yeah. In the same Roman Empire, both in sort of far flung provinces. So there’s a lot of overlap in the philosophy and actually this is what they call now, the Cardinal Virtues, which is courage, justice, wisdom, and moderation are actually… Christianity adopts those virtues, but they come to us through Aristotle and then through the Stoics. One of the benefits about writing about Western philosophy here in the Western world is that, religion has kind of co-opted and absorbed a lot of the things. When you kind of go back to the source material, you’re struck with the familiarity, like almost a sense of deja vu because, Oh, that’s actually where they got it from.
Kimberly: 04:41 Ryan, when I listen to you, it almost sounds like a philosophy professor, and you know, in college philosophy was one of those degrees that you kind of do, but unless you want to be a professor, people are like, “Oh, that’s kind of a useless degree.”
Ryan: 04:54 It’s true.
Marrying philosophy with business and marketing
Kimberly: 04:55 But you have found this way to really live this very philosophical life. And then when I read your bio and all the things that you’ve done. You’ve done amazing marketing. And you created all these businesses. I mean, you’ve done your own thing obviously, but how do you think you’ve been able to marry philosophy with business and marketing, and then you just have such an interesting combination?
Ryan: 05:22 Well, it’s kind of weird. It’s almost sad to me that when we think philosophy, we think like turtleneck university professor asking these intriguing, but utterly unanswerable questions, right? Like, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the trolley problem, which is like, there’s a trolley going down a track and it’s going to hit five people and you can pull this lever and it’ll move and it will only kill one person. What do you do? And it’s like, that’s never going to happen. Right? Or how do we know we’re not living in a computer simulation right now? Right? That’s one of the sort of questions on the forefront of philosophers lips these days. And that doesn’t tell me what kind of person I should be day to day.
Ryan: 06:11 In the ancient world philosophy wasn’t an abstraction. It wasn’t theories. My next book is actually called Lives of the Stoics. I wanted to look at… There’s a famous book in Catholic circles called Lives of the Saints, where it’s like, what did the saints actually do? When were they born? How did they live? And I’m interested in that. Zeno, the founder of stoicism, founds the philosophy after a shipwreck ruins his… He’s an entrepreneur and he loses everything. Marcus Aurelius is the Emperor of Rome. Seneca was a playwright and a businessman and a senator. In the ancient world philosophy wasn’t this thing that you did full time. You were a full time human being with a job and philosophy was more like a religion. You wouldn’t say like, “Oh, I’m Episcopalian. That’s what I do.”
Kimberly: 07:07 Right. Sure.
Ryan: 07:09 You’re an Episcopalian car salesman, or you’re a Pentecostal insurance broker, or you’re a Catholic stock trader. You could be anything, right? That this is just how you try to guide your decisions day to day, and then you have your profession. And so like in the ancient world, Cato, one of the most famous Stoics, he’s the one who challenges Julius Caesar. He’s this great stoic. He didn’t write anything down. And so as a Stoic, he’s considered Stoic because of how he lived and the decisions that he made, not what he said. When I write about philosophy, I’m at least trying. I’m not saying I am Cato. I can’t possibly live up to that standard. But what I am trying to say is, it’s not like, what are these interesting riddles or paradoxes, or cool theories. It’s how does this stuff help you day to day in your actual life? And in that way, I think the Eastern, Western traditions are really similar. There’s Buddhist samurai warriors and stuff like that.
Writing about stoicism and philosophy versus marketing
Kimberly: 08:18 Your earlier books, right, even reading some of the titles and then the more recent ones, Stillness is the Key, did you come across stoicism in the midst of your career? Do you find yourself being pulled more towards writing about stoicism and philosophy versus marketing? And obviously you’re an entrepreneur, obviously there’s always this business component, but do you find yourself more passionately focusing on that part of your teachings?
Ryan: 08:47 Yeah. I mean, I think from what you were telling me about your story, I think we’re sort of similar in that you can get really good at something and it can be close to what you want to do, but you have this sort of thing that if you really had your choice, you’d only be doing that. I think for me, I was introduced to stoicism very early and then I went on and I had a marketing and a business career. Then I started as a writer and I wrote these two books. And for me, after those first two books, what it was all sort of moving towards, was how can I get self sufficient enough? How can I have sort of enough leverage or control my destiny enough, that I can decide what kind of books I want to do?
Ryan: 09:34 You can imagine when I went to my publisher and I’m sure it’s the same with you.
Kimberly: 09:38 Yes.
Ryan: 09:38 It’s like, if you said, “Hey, I want to do a celebrity diet book.” They’re like, “Done. We’ll by that right now.” And then when you say like, “Hey, I want to do this thing that’s a little riskier. That’s a little closer to my heart.” Like when I went to them with Obstacle Is the Way, which is my bestselling book, I got less than half the advance than I got from my first book, which is about marketing. It was about putting myself in a position where I could do that and not need their sort of approval. For me it was all about getting to a place of self sufficiency so I could do what I felt like I was really meant to do.
Kimberly: 10:21 It really does sound like my journey, Ryan, because my first two books were very food focused. And then my third one, which is called Beauty Detox Power was really about mind and psychology and chakras and really bringing the yogic philosophy. I love hearing that you so successfully bridged over. When you say putting yourself in a position, do you mean that you really put energy into your earlier work, built it up, you had the audience, so you could then go to your publisher say, “Hey, I’ll take less money upfront, but this is where my heart is.” You had that leverage because of your earlier success.
Ryan: 11:00 Yeah. There’s a great thing I heard from Mark Maron. I love Mark Maron’s podcast, and he was saying, he didn’t realize this in show business till later on, but he’s like, you really have no power until you’ve made other people money. I think that’s an interesting way to think about it. Right? And it was like, what I really thought about was like, okay, ultimately I want to write about ancient philosophy or write about history. I was a research assistant for many years for this writer, Robert Green, who writes these amazing books about strategy and power and history. And so it’s like, that’s where I want to end up. Very few people were going to give a 24 year old the opportunity to right… No one’s going around trying to hand you your dream.
Kimberly: 11:47 Of course.
Ryan: 11:47 That’s just not how it is. So I thought more, what is the best first book that I could write. What is the way I can get my foot in the door? How can I sort of announce myself on the scene? So it was, Hey, if I write philosophy books first, I won’t be able to write marketing books second. But if I write marketing books first, I can always go towards philosophy. And so-
Kimberly: 12:10 You had that much longterm vision?
Ryan: 12:15 There was certainly some explicit longterm vision, but there was also just kind of a gut sense of like what order things should go in, or at least… I just talked to two people and they don’t… You can get so excited about what you want to do. You also have to think about how does this fit in with the realities of the market. It’s like Casey Neistat, who I’m a big fan of, and he’s become a friend of mine over the years. He was like, “Nobody is just sitting around, ready to make you a YouTube star or make you a travel blogger, an influencer.” He’s like, “I had to to slave away for many years doing things I didn’t want to do. And so I could do the things I did want to do.” I think you have to think about what you’re willing to put up with to get in the position where you can make some more empowered decisions about what you want to do or not do, I think.
Kimberly: 13:11 So stoicism did come early on in your career. And it’s interesting, we were just talking on your podcast about reason versus emotion and really… I was reading about, I was like, wow, there’s this yoga quality to it, but in some ways, right, we could say it’s very different than marketing, which is about exciting people and getting people to make a decision to buy something, to actually shift their behavior.
Ryan: 13:36 Sure.
Reconciling stoicism and marketing as the two parts that Ryan is known for
Kimberly: 13:36 How do you, and I know you’ve already said marketing in your own way, which I want to get to in a minute, but how do you reconcile stoicism and marketing as the two parts that you are known for?
Ryan: 13:46 Sure. Well, sometimes I’ll get this criticism, they’ll go like, “Why are you selling your books? Would Seneca have done that?” And it’s like, “Well, look, Seneca lived on a beautiful estate that was tended by slaves.” That’s not the situation that any of us live in, thankfully. The reality is we live in a sort of a world of commerce that might seem a little more transactional in some ways, but is ultimately I think more empowering and freeing, and then it lets everyone sort of compete to do what they want to do. So on the one hand, I accept that this is sort of very different world than the ancient world, and we want to make sure that we take that into account. But the way I think about it as like, okay, in the ancient world, they weren’t necessarily marketers, but they were selling things.
Ryan: 14:37 As I was saying, Zeno was a dye merchant. He sold this thing called Tyrian purple, which was… We live in such a time of abundance now that it doesn’t occur to us that even color was rare in the ancient world, and to get the color purple slaves had to gather shellfish, break them open on rocks, and then dry out their sort of guts. It was a painstaking process and that’s how they created the color purple. And because it was so expensive, it was the thing that rich people craved as a way of distinguishing themselves. This isn’t that different than today that people wanting expensive handbags or nice cars or whatever, this is the reality of the world. At the founding of stoicism is a person who has the ability to sell this sort of materialistic item that doesn’t necessarily bring out our best qualities. But at the same time, when he ultimately turns towards philosophy, a lot of those strengths translate over.
Ryan: 15:44 And so famously, Zeno opens up his philosophical school in the Agora, in the marketplace in Athens, because he realizes that’s where the people are.
Kimberly: 15:58 Interesting.
Ryan: 15:59 As I think about this now, people might go, “Oh, aren’t you simplifying it?” What I love about Instagram is that it allows me to reach millions of people with these big ideas. These are people who are not attending philosophy classes at Harvard.
Kimberly: 16:22 Yes.
Ryan: 16:22 Yeah, sure, I’ve had this marketing career and there’s parts of it I’m very proud of and other parts that I’ve written critically about. But I think ultimately where this has helped me as I transitioned to what I do now, it gives me the ability to reach people, to be compelling and to sort of do the kinds of things that I want to do.
Kimberly: 16:44 You can also say to those people, “Hey, the people are on Amazon. So I had to write books because that’s where they’re going to get wisdom.”
Ryan: 16:50 Sure, sure. Yeah. And again, I think there’s something honest about making something that’s worth something and then people buying it. I don’t like this idea of, “Oh, it’s so valuable, but I’m going to give it away for free. And because it’s free, nobody values it. And nobody hears about it.” As you said, because my book has made Amazon money, Amazon puts it in front of people. Amazon’s algorithm has spread stoicism to millions of people all over the world that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have done it, just like podcasts do, and YouTube does, and Instagram does.
Kimberly: 17:26 Yeah. I love that. I love that. So, Ryan, you created this whole movement on stoicism. You’re bringing it back. I didn’t know anything about it until I was connected with you. So I, one of the people that’s affected by your work. Thank you very much.
Ryan: 17:41 Thank you.
Kimberly: 17:41 It’s opened my eyes to a lot of things, but even… I’m so interested in the genesis of Ryan. When you started out, you were very young. Were you like in your early twenties when you became the marketing director at American Apparel. You were doing things that people were not doing. So can you tell me about, if you can go back to that courage, which I know it’s one of the virtues of stoicism. Thinking outside the box. How did you come up with all these marketing ideas? Your first book, is Trust Me, I’m Lying? Is that what that-
Ryan: 18:21 Trust Me, I’m Lying. Yeah.
The Genesis of Ryan and where his ideas came from
Kimberly: 18:22 Trust Me, I’m Lying. That was the first one. So where did all this come from? Where you just… I’m still interested in people that have paved their own path.
Ryan: 18:31 Yeah. I certainly wouldn’t describe it as courage. I think there was kind of a raw ambition and a desire to be seen and to do things in the real world that like… I remember I dropped out of college to pursue this marketing path, and I remember someone who was encouraging me to do that, they said… And they couldn’t have known how seductive this was to say to me, but they said, “Are you going to go back to class and listen to your professors talk about people who are doing things, or are you going to go do the things that they’re talking about?” And for me, it was just this sort of raw desire to have impact and to… The first time I did something and I saw the New York Times write about it, or the first time I did something and I saw it sort of trending on Twitter or going viral or whatever, that was immensely satisfying to me.
Ryan: 19:32 I think it was connected to some issues I had from my childhood. And just being a 20 something guy who just wants to make their mark on things. I think as I got more philosophical and as I studied these things, I realized how relatively empty that was. But as an outlet for that energy, and at the time that I happened to be doing it, it all sort of came together quite nicely. I think it was actually hard to say like, “Hey, I’m going to walk away from this,” because it was lucrative and it was validating. But for me, ultimately, it was just like, is this the person that I want to be? And that it wasn’t.
Understanding the psyche of people and what motivates them
Kimberly: 20:18 Well, sometimes we might think marketing is connected to psychology and really understanding the psyche of people and what motivates them. And here you are with not a psychology focus, but a philosophical focus. Do you think that was part… How does that… I’m just trying to wrap my head around it.
Ryan: 20:38 Yeah. I mean-
Kimberly: 20:38 It’s very interesting.
Ryan: 20:41 No. No. It’s interesting. I remember one time I was interviewed by a reporter and I made this sort of comment. I didn’t think about how it was coming off. She said something like, “What would you say to people who say, you’re just sort of just doing this to make money?” And I said, “You know, I can sell anything. I probably wouldn’t have chosen ancient philosophy for the money or something.” And the quote is just like, “I can sell anything.” And the [inaudible 00:21:09] looks like… It was sort of the exact opposite of my intention. But I do think you sort of realize, Oh, okay, there is a set of skills sort of persuading people and getting a point across and making something compelling. That is a skill that a lot of people don’t have. Particularly really smart people. Smart people often think that being right or having the facts is sufficient.
Ryan: 21:37 I think nothing makes it clear then that our sort of inability as a culture to wrap our heads around Donald Trump. The media seems to think like, “If we can just show people some more facts about it, they’ll finally wake up and see,” and that’s not what it is. He’s managed to tell people a story and the critics and his opponents, again, not making a judgment on either side, have not been able to lodge that story with the more compelling one. As I approach this philosophy, it’s like this philosophy was working in my personal life, and so what I spent a lot of time thinking about, and when I spent a lot of time thinking about in my books is like, how do you take something that is on its face as unappealing as the phrase stoic philosophy and make it compelling and accessible and interesting to ordinary people or people who think quite specifically that they don’t like philosophy.
Ryan: 22:34 And that’s where I get a lot of satisfaction hearing from people go, “I haven’t read a book since high school,” or like, “I hate reading, but I read all your books,” or whatever, to me that’s a sign of success. It means I’m reaching people with things that otherwise they probably never would have gotten through to.
Ryan shares what his purpose is
Kimberly: 22:55 And everybody’s journey, all this marketing, all this financial and commercial success you had obviously contributed to who you are today. What would you say Ryan, now is your purpose? Why is the reason you’re here? What would you like to leave as your legacy at this moment?
Ryan: 23:14 Yeah.
Kimberly: 23:14 Obviously you can change it in a year, but now that you really shifted in your books and what you’re teaching, what you’re focused on, the Daily Stoics, putting out all these amazing quotes, it’s very thought provoking, your podcast, what’s your purpose?
Ryan: 23:29 Well, so the Stoics are not actually super big on legacy. Marcus Aurelius just goes like, “What good is posthumous fame?” He’s like, “You won’t be around to enjoy it.”` And my favorite part is he goes, “The people of the future will be just as dumb as the people who are alive right now.”
Kimberly: 23:45 Oh my God.
Ryan: 23:45 So he is-
Kimberly: 23:47 What about the idea? It’s not about fame, but what do you want to help people? Make them good.
Ryan: 23:52 No. I totally get what you’re saying. I’m just like, what I think about is less. Yeah. Like, how do I build this thing? Or how do I make this thing? Or how do I achieve a certain thing? I actually, as I’ve gotten better and successful, I think I had kind of picked up this sort of Zen idea of like, trying to be less and less focused on the outcome or on goals. We talked about the Gita earlier. I love this idea. It’s like, only the effort is yours. Like, work done for the reward is not the point, so what I try to think about is first and foremost, like how can I just be what I’m talking about, particularly at home with my family.
Ryan: 24:35 I think my primary legacy or impact I want to have at home. And then the second part, as a writer what gets me going, is the idea of translating ancient wisdom into modern life or bringing it to the modern world. That’s what I think is my purpose as a writer. I’m not inventing a philosophy. I’m not a philosopher. I think I’m a storyteller or a writer about philosophy, and I take a lot of satisfaction in being able to reach people with that writing.
Kimberly: 25:11 I love that. We talked about the timeless wisdom that comes from these writers as if you know, you and I are just having a conversation. It’s so applicable today.
Ryan: 25:20 Totally. Totally. It’s how can I keep that if this is a 2000 year old tradition, how can I just keep it going a little bit longer? That’s kind of how I think about it.
Kimberly: 25:35 Wow. And you keep learning, you keep driving into it. How much do you read a day?
Ryan: 25:42 Well, I used to read a lot when I would travel. So I’d be like at home, I wouldn’t read. I didn’t have to have as much of a reading practice because I would have to go give a talk and I’d be gone for a day and a half or two days or whatever. So I tended to be more of a binge reader, but obviously with this quarantine and I’ve had to get more into a rhythm. I usually try to read a little bit in the morning. I try to read when I eat and then I try to read quietly in the evenings before bed. I’m not actually like a speed reader. I don’t read hours and hours a day. To me it’s more of a tortoise and the hare kind of a thing. Like if you’re always reading, if you read a book a week, that’s 50 books a year, that starts to add up very quickly, I feel.
Essential go-to’s to start your day
Kimberly: 26:29 Ryan, last question, I could talk to you all day, but we talked about here a lot at Solluna, which is the sun and the moon. It’s about rhythms and practices. We talk a lot about a morning routine and a lot of successful people talk about their morning routine, but on a practical note, tell us a little bit about what your process is in the morning starting from, do you wake up at a regular time? What are your essential go-tos to start your day?
Ryan: 26:55 Big morning routine fan. I feel like you own the morning. You have a chance at sort of owning the day. I’ve got two young kids, so don’t need an alarm clock most of the time. I wake up early and then my wife and I get the kids ready. And then I take them for a walk. So we went for a three mile walk this morning, while my wife got an extra hour of sleep. She’s the one that gets up in the middle of the night if there’s an issue. I take them for that hour in the morning. Then we come home. I write in a journal for a little bit. I sort of do a journaling thing. Part of my routine is I don’t touch my phone for the first minimum of one hour.
Ryan: 27:58 Today I woke up at 6:30 and I touched my phone at nine o’clock for the first time.
Kimberly: 28:04 Amazing.
Ryan: 28:04 I have this sort of free phone time. And then the first thing I do after the journaling, after the walk is I do whatever the writing I have to do for the day is. I want to get started on it. I want to have the thing that requires deep work and focus. I want to do as early as possible in the day, before the interruptions, before email, before texts, before any… There’s a great expression I heard, make before you manage, I want to start the morning with some making time.
Ryan: 28:35 And then only after that’s done, do I start to go, okay, like, what are the things I have to cross off the to do list for today or whatever. And then lately with quarantine, I take my son for a ride or a run at about 12, 12:30, while he takes his nap, and then I get my exercising. So today we took a long bike ride and he slept in the trailer. And then we played in the pool and then this sort of evening, afternoon, I’m getting caught up on work stuff I have to do and then start a whole day over again tomorrow.
Kimberly: 29:11 And do you have a specific place where you do that deep work every day, where you do the writing that puts you in that mode?
Ryan: 29:16 Yeah. One of the things before I had kids, there was a place I do it every day. And then having kids, I try now to have more like routines plural rather than routine, because things can get interrupted. It can be like, Oh, somebody’s sick or somebody is tired. Or in this case, like we’re locked down in a quarantine, stuff can happen. I have like, sometimes I can write in this room, sometimes I go to my office and I can write there. I kind of try to have different places, but I do feel like there is something about the energy of like driving, my office is a short distance away, driving to work, arriving at work, treating it as work, is an important part of it for me.
Kimberly: 30:02 Amazing. Well, speaking of work, you’re really putting out fascinating, interesting work in the world. So Ryan, thank you so much for being on our podcast, for sharing your perspective and your wisdom. And can’t wait for that next book to come out as well.
Ryan: 30:17 Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, we’ll talk soon and good luck.
Kimberly (02:18): We’ll also link to some other shows we think you will love, and some other resources such as our free ebook on getting started on our Four Cornerstones of True Beauty. So be sure to check it out over there. Again, mysolluna.com. Thank you so much for tuning in. Sending you a big virtual hug. Super grateful for our connection. For being connected in this community. We will be back here Thursday for our next Q&A show. Till then, lots of love and see you back here soon.