The Obstacle is The Way

Andrew knew the importance of a good night’s sleep. Rest enabled the body to recover and adapt. He had driven hours of research into how to optimise this part of the training cycle.

As he began to drift off, meeting the odd state between sleep and wakefulness, Hugo and Henry began to bark in chorus. Andrew was yanked from rest and began to feel agitation well up inside him. The two continued for a number of minutes before resting, allowing their vocal chords a chance to freshen up, before commencing a fresh bout of barking.

Andrew was frustrated at their timing. This would hinder his sleep and training progress. Just as quickly though, his attention was brought to his current reading, The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday. The premise of the book is based on stoicism, a philosophy made popular by Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor.

The basis of the philosophy is centred on clarity of thoughts. That is, not allowing destructive emotions to interfere with the objectivity of a situation. When confronted with a crisis, rather than seeing it as an impedance to progress, view it instead as an opportunity for growth by practicing virtues such as humility and resilience.

With this in mind, Andrew brought his attention back to the barking. What could being angered achieve in this situation? Certainly nothing positive. The stirring of such emotions were more likely to keep him awake than the noise itself. He approached the situation trying to separate his emotions for the objective facts. His options were to practice patience, waiting for the dogs to cease on their own accord. Alternatively he could get out of bed and find the target of the barking in an effort to curtail the dog’s efforts.

Before he was able to decide, he was asleep.

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