Defy and Trust

December 10, 2012 — 16 Comments

Defiance is a form of optimism.

Like this: I refuse to acknowledge that. I don’t agree with your assessment. I resist the temptation to declare this a failure.

Acceptance is equally optimistic: Well, I guess it’s on me then.

The two come together well in the following principle:

There will always be a countermove, always be an escape or a way through. And just because you can’t see it right now, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

Defy and Trust. And you’ll never get stuck.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

16 responses to Defy and Trust

  1. Sometimes you’re checkmated, bub. This is good advice in general, but anyone who’s played chess is gonna have a hard time applying this to an end game.

  2. “There will always be a countermove, always be an escape or a way through. And just because you can’t see it right now, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.”

    Love this.

    • I think the challenge in life is to try to see what isn’t there. Things are invisible to us because of our beliefs (previous experience, knowledge, skills, etc…). Just because we can’t see them does not mean that they aren’t there. The more you want to find something, the more likely you will. This is something it took me over 50 years to get. Great insight, Ryan!

  3. If no one EVER truly believes in what they say, then why should we acknowledge it?

    • What are you talking about?

      • Scepticism can also be a form of optimism if acceptance is a form of optimism.

        Like this: If I accept no one ever believes in what they say, then I am doubting them.

        If I don’t trust your assessment, then I can become optimistic about my own abstraction — that there will always be a countermove.

        Accept and doubt. And you’ll never be in a rut.

  4. When being defiant it is hard to gauge your success as there is no real person or path to base your approach on. If you do do things differently, productivity and managing your own progression becomes fundamental. The gap between undertaking that journey and ‘making it’ (when your journey becomes actualised) is what concerns me – you can’t determine if what you are doing is actually beneficial to you or is really just wasting your time…

  5. If you get checkmated within the rules of the game then you need to defy the game itself. Getting people to go along with that is hard though and getting them to “defy” harder within the game justifies the lose even greater.

  6. Ryan – congrats on the continued success of your book, it’s the bee’s knees. What are your thoughts on self-publishing your next best-seller via Amazon as opposed to working with a publishing company (i’m thinking Radiohead and more recently Ferriss)? Cheers.

  7. The pessimist says: things can’t possibly get any worse. The optimist says: Oh yes they can.

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