I read something by Ryan Holiday today that really got me thinking. “We cannot expect it to march in a straight line,” he writes. Of all the things I have read during this Coronavirus pandemic, this has affected me the most.
I’m a big fan of stoic philosophy, especially Ryan Holiday’s writing. I start every morning by reading his Daily Stoic book at 2:30AM and his daily newsletter around 9AM. They keep me going.
His bestseller The Obstacle Is The Way is a book I go back to reading often, too. Find some Ryan Holiday, I encourage you. In fact, explore stoic philosophy in general. The teachings of Marcus Aurelius apply as much to today as they did in the year 100.
When I read Ryan’s email today about nothing ever going in a straight line, it really got me thinking. 2020 was going to be a year of new beginnings for a lot of people I know. It just had a perfect ring to it. A new decade. A clear vision. I can hear Barbara Walters saying it in my head…
Well, as we all know now, 2020 had other plans. A straight line to success and happiness wasn’t meant to be. A lot of people have been sidelined. Thrown off the path.
Ryan talks about President Obama’s speech after the 2016 election. Clearly, Donald Trump was not his choice for president. Obama’s words then sound perfect now:
“Sometimes you lose an argument. Sometimes you lose an election. The path that this country has taken has never been a straight line. We zig and zag, and sometimes we move in ways that some people think is forward and others think is moving back.”
I think that’s where we are now. We’re zigging and zagging. We’re not going straight to anywhere.
People have lost jobs, lost businesses. People have died. I have been following the story of Nick Cordero, the 41-year-old Broadway star that contracted COVID-19. He spent over 90 days in the hospital. His brave wife, Amanda Kloots, shared details of his illness from beginning to end. He died yesterday. Such a sad, sad story.
Never a straight line.
That’s what I’m learning about 2020. We all have plans. Goals. We may just make it to where we want to be. We have to realize, though, that it’s not going to be easy. We zig and zag. We fall back. We get sidelined. We press on though. It’s hard right now. But… we have to push through. Zig and zag. Never a straight line.