“The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.” – Ryan Holiday
My job is usually to deconstruct world-class performers from business, military, entertainment, politics, or athletics, and then to tease out the routines and habits you can use.
In this particular episode, I’m going to share an overarching strategy that has been used by many of the greats. That includes Ben Franklin, legendary NFL coach Bill Belichick, and many more. It is also how I built my network, how my first book hit the tipping point, how I became successful at angel investing, etc.
Of course, if you’re interested in the networking part of it, you can also read the blog post and listen to the episode, How to Build a World-Class Network in Record Time. But that is bonus credit.
The secret to all of the above is the “canvas strategy.”
And in this episode, Ryan Holiday, author of the new book, Ego Is the Enemy, will teach you how to apply canvas strategy to your life. (The book is also the newest addition to my book club, which can be found at audible.com/timsbooks.)
Please enjoy this excerpt with Ryan Holiday from Ego Is the Enemy!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast with Ryan Holiday? — In this episode, we discuss the “big three” stoics, how Stoicism applies to the modern world, and how to improve your decision-making when stakes are high (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Ryan Holiday: Website | Twitter
- Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday (also on Audible)
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
- The Life Of Belisarius by Lord Mahon
- Epigrams by Martial
- Silence Dogood, the Busy-Body, and Early Writings by Benjamin Franklin
- “Great men have almost always shown themselves as ready to obey as they afterwards proved able to command.” [06:53]
- The definition (and pronunciation) of anteambulo. [07:04]
- The problem with the patron-client system. [08:00]
- The timeless indignity of the intern. [09:34]
- Find canvases for other people to paint on (why being a path-clearing anteambulo for someone else also clears a path for you). [11:00]
- Obeisance is the way forward. [11:52]
- How Benjamin Franklin used the canvas strategy to learn how to be a better writer by anonymously penning the Dogood Letters. [12:32]
- Franklin saw the benefit in making other people look good — even by letting them take credit for his work. [13:08]
- Bill Belichick excels as a coach by embracing parts of the job other coaches usually hated. [13:25]
- Bill Belichick’s father taught him how to use the canvas strategy to become a rising star without threatening or alienating anyone. [14:27]
- Succumbing to the trappings of ego make using the canvas strategy impossible. [14:50]
- Greatness comes from grunt work. [15:22]
- The cumulative value of the canvas strategy. [15:41]
- The cumulative effects of shunning obeisance. [16:37]
- The person who clears the path — the lowly anteambulo — ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting. [18:34]
- Benjamin Franklin
- Bill Belichick
- Ryan Holiday
- Lord Mahon
- Marcus Valerius Martialis (Martial)
- Seneca the Younger
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Silence Dogood
- James Franklin
- Steve Belichick
Posted on: June 10, 2016.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.