The 3 Sayings from Business Books I Would Get Tattooed as Daily Reminders

Advice I love from Ryan Holiday, Ben Horowitz, and James Clear.

Author Ryan Holiday’s actual tattoo reminders

#1: There’s always a play

This one comes from Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things, the best book for entrepreneurs I’ve ever read. “There’s always a play” means you’re never cornered. You’re never out of moves. Even when your back is against the wall, and you feel like you have no options — a sensation entrepreneurs often feel — you do have options. You may not have good options, but you have options, and your job is to pick the best one and do something.

#2: Ego is the enemy

In success or failure, ego is always the enemy. This book of the same name by Ryan Holiday relates stories from history to drive home the point that it’s not about you. One of my worst habits is that I take things personally — including important constructive criticism — and the core fault in that is making things about myself. That’s ego at work, and I’m working on it. And I need this reminder every day.

#3: You fall to your systems

In Atomic Habits James Clear convinced me that “you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” This is now part of my worldview, and it affects how I think about achieving anything. Don’t set a goal — become the type of person who would achieve that goal. Adopt the habits that person would adopt. Everything flows from your systems.



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Trent Hawthorne

Builder of companies, high-performing business teams, & technology products. People Accelerator.