You Need This Practice In Your Life

Ryan Holiday
6 min readApr 4, 2024

Several years ago I was swimming in a pool in Austin — I wish I could say it was Barton Springs, one of the wonders of the world or even the Los Angeles Athletic Club (photographed above), but it was actually a 24 Hour Fitness off I-35 — and a reader recognized me as I was getting out of the water.

I’m reading your book Ego is the Enemy, they said.

That’s funny, I replied, because I wrote it in this pool.

They gave me a weird look, but I think most writers would know exactly what I was talking about.

Having a physical practice is essential to the creative life.

Not just because it gets you up and out of a chair. Not just because it’s good to stay in shape. But because when the body is in motion, the mind can really get to work.

My routine then — it’s a little different now that I have kids, as I’ve ​written​ and ​talked​ about — was to write in the morning until I hit a point of diminishing returns. Then I’d either go for a swim, or put on my running shoes and go for a run. Depending on what time it was or whether I was writing from my home or my office, I ran one of a few go-to routes. The purple, red and gray trails in the eerie elephant graveyard of the burned-out forest of Bastrop State Park. The seven or ten mile loops along Lady Bird Lake in…



Ryan Holiday

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