Book – The Obstacle Is The Way

ObstacleThoughtful and entertaining book with many useful ideas – or suggestions how to look at negative situations differently.  Rooted in Stoicism, the ideas are very relevant for modern people and modern business. One of the points of the book is separation of what can be controlled and what can not.  As many circumstances can be completely unfair, we should not spend energy on lamenting the unfairness of the situation, but rather find the most reasonable plan of action. Wonderful examples:

  • bananasTwo companies interested in growing bananas wanted to buy a desirable piece of land somewhere in Honduras.  Unfortunately, two different entities claimed the rights on the land and it was not clear which one can officially sell it.  The large company dispatched lawyers and tried to find the rightful owner, the smaller company, however, just met with both owners and bought the land twice.  This approach guaranteed the right of ownership of the land for the smaller company.
  • Government regulations prohibited building bridges across the river…  what interfered with banana shipments.  The solution was to build two long piers and a pontoon between them.  The construction did the job needed to transport bananas from one side of the river to another.
  • A black boy who wanted to read during the time of segregation, forged a request of a white person to allow him to pick up books for somebody else.

The book quotes Serenity Prayer…  what seem to be quite beneficial for business: “…to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” rockWhen Thomas Edison watched his business burn… he suggested his son to call friends to watch the fire they will never see again (the fire was fueled by different chemicals used in the business).  Edison did not see a reason to be upset by the event that happened and could not be changed.  However, after the fire was extinguished, his company quickly started rebuilding the business.  

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