10 Keys to Stillness and Inner Peace

Tips from “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday

Parker Klein ✌️
5 min readMar 23, 2024


1. Take care of yourself first

A mind that is overtaxed and ill treated is susceptible to vice and corruption.

We must treat the vessel we inhabit on this planet well — or we will be forced to abandon it early.

It will take our body — our habits, our actions, our rituals, our self-care — to get our mind and our spirit in the right place, just as it takes our mind and spirit to get our body to the right place.

A good routine is not only a source of great comfort and stability, it’s the platform from which stimulating and fulfilling work is possible.

Inner peace and stillness is the highest good, the key to elite performance and a happy life.

“If a person puts even one measure of effort into following ritual and the standard of righteousness, he will get back twice as much.” — Xunzi

2. Sit quietly and reflect

“All of humanities problems stem from mans inability to sit quietly in a room alone” — Blaise Pascal

Only those of us who take the time to explore, to question, to extrapolate the consequences of our desires have an opportunity to overcome them and to stop regrets before they start.

“When we embrace our strong emotions with mindfulness and concentration, we’ll be able to see the roots of these mental formations. We’ll know where our suffering has come from. When we see the roots of things, our suffering will lessen. So mindfulness recognizes, embraces, and relieves.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

3. Empty your mind

“It’s impossible to hit and think at the same time.” — Yogi Berra

When our thoughts are empty and our body is in a groove, we do our best work.

No one of the swat of envy or jealousy has a chance to think clearly or live peacefully.

Empty our mind of preconceptions.

“To hold the mind still is enormous discipline, one which must be faced with the greatest commitment of your life.” — Garry Shandling

4. Focus on what you have rather than what you want

“Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” — Epicurus

Enough is a beautiful thing.

“To have blessings and to pride them is to be in Heaven; to have them and not to prize them is to be in Hell.” — Thomas Traherne

You will never feel okay by way of external accomplishments. Enough comes from the inside.

We want more moments when we feel like we are enough.

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” — Lao Tzu

5. Focus on things outside of yourself

There is no stillness to the mind that thinks of nothing but itself, nor will there ever be peace for the body and spirit that follow their every urge and value nothing but themselves.

You must believe in something greater than yourself. This is about rejecting the tyranny of our intellect, of our immediate observational experience, and accepting something bigger, something beyond ourselves.

When your life is solely and exclusively about yourself, it’s worse than not fun — it’s empty and awful.

The less we are convinced of our exceptionalism, the greater ability we have to understand and contribute to our environment, the less blindly driven we are by our own needs, the more clearly we can appreciate the needs of those around us, the more we can appreciate the larger ecosystem of which we are a part.

6. Be intentional with your action

Ask yourself at every moment, “is this necessary?”

So much of the distress we feel comes from reacting instinctually instead of acting with conscientious deliberation.

A person enslaved to their urges is not free.

Most desires are at their core are irrational emotions. Think ahead to the refractory period, to consider the inevitable hangover before we take a drink. When we do that, these desires lose some of their power.

7. Reject distraction

“We have to live in such a way that we stop consuming the things that poison us and intoxicate us.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

You can’t be your best if your mind is elsewhere.

Get your house in order. Get your day scheduled. Limit the interruptions. Limit the number of choices you need to make.

Weigh advice against the counsel of our convictions.

8. Take a break

Don’t book a cross-country flight — go for a walk instead. Don’t get high — get some solitude, find some quiet.

“A quick visit should be enough to ward off all and send you back ready to face what waits you.” — Marcus Aurelius

9. Spend time alone

It’s difficult to understand yourself if you are never by yourself.

Solitude allows you to reflect while others are reacting.

“Nowhere you can go is more peaceful — more free of interruptions than your own soul.” — Marcus Aurelius

10. Focus on doing good

If we want to be good and feel good, we have to do good.

When we fall short of our standards, we don’t need to whip ourselves, we must simply let it instruct and teach us.

“As a well-spent day brings a happy sleep, so a well-employed life brings a happy death.” — Leonardo da Vinci

These keys came from the book “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday

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Parker Klein ✌️

Former @Google @Qualcomm @PizzaNova. Building Twos: write, remember & share *things* (www.TwosApp.com?code=baller)