You Can’t Succeed In Life Without This Skill

Ryan Holiday
6 min readMar 21, 2024

Preparation is important.

Planning is important.

Reflection is important.

I mean, I wrote a whole book called, Stillness is the Key, because it’s true. And I was just saying earlier this month that I needed to slow down and take better care of myself because I was pushing too hard. And I just read and loved Cal Newport’s new book Slow Productivity (we had a great conversation on The Daily Stoic Podcast, listen here).

At the same time, I recently hung up two signs at The Daily Stoic offices and in the backstock of The Painted Porch that say “A Sense of Urgency.” It’s something I cribbed from the kitchens of Thomas Keller, the creator of Per Se.

He wanted his staff to understand that they weren’t waiting on customers…the customers were quite literally waiting for them. Sure, making great food takes time and it can’t be rushed…but it also can’t be slow-walked.

I’m a ‘sense of urgency’ guy. I always have been.

As I was working on a draft of this article, one of my former employees sent me a short piece about the concept of “clock speed,” which in the world of computing refers to how quickly something can execute instructions. “Something you are very good at,” this former employee (and now friend) wrote. “You keep the…



Ryan Holiday

Bestselling author of ‘Conspiracy,’ ‘Ego is the Enemy’ & ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’