Episodes

  • Feed the Good Guys In our last couple +1s, we hung out with a couple of wise Indian masters and their gurus. We talked about what to do if we’re afraid of ghosts (approach them!) and how to deal with the bitter process of changing our behaviors (keep chewing!). Today I want to chat about ghosts for another moment. This time we’ll go a little further east and visit Vietnam where the great Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh was born and raised. When I searched my Mac for “ghosts” to find the Yogananda wisdom I was looking for, I saw that Thich Nhat Hanh ALSO talked about ghosts in his great book No Mud, No Lotus. Here’s the passage. He tells us: “The Buddha said that nothing can survive without food. This is true, not just for the physical existence of living beings, but also for states of mind. Love needs to be nurtured and fed to survive; and our suffering also survives because we enable and feed it. We ruminate on suffering, regret, and sorrow. We chew on them, swallow them, bring them back up, and eat them again and again. If we’re feeding our suffering while we’re walking, working, eating, or talking, we are making ourselves victims of the ghosts of the past, of the future, or our worries in the present. We’re not living our lives.” Know this: Nothing (including ghosts!) survives without food. So… Want the ghosts to go away? Then… QUIT FEEDING THEM. Eckhart Tolle echoes this wisdom in The Power of Now. He tells us: “Once you realize that a certain kind of food makes you sick, would you carry on eating that food and keep asserting that it is okay to be sick?” In The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz uses another metaphor to bring the point home. He tells us: “Deposit only positive thoughts in your memory bank. Let’s face it squarely: everyone encounters plenty of unpleasant, embarrassing, and discouraging situations. But unsuccessful and successful people deal with these situations in directly opposite ways. Unsuccessful people take them to heart, so to speak. They dwell on the unpleasant situations, thereby giving them a good start in their memory. At night the unpleasant situation is the last thing they think about... Confident, successful people, on the other hand, ‘don’t give it another thought.’ Successful people specialize in putting positive thoughts into their memory bank.” Let’s starve the bad stuff and feed the good stuff. TODAY. + + + btw: We talked about a similar idea in this +1 on Starving Fear of Its Favorite Food.

  • Wisdom From Another Indian Sage and His Grandmother In our last +1, we talked about Yogananda and his guru’s wisdom on what to do with ghosts/aka how to live fearlessly. As you may recall, the trick is to APPROACH our challenges rather than try to avoid them. The story is so good, we’ll quickly review it. Yogananda’s guru tells him: My mother once tried to frighten me with an appalling story of a ghost in a dark chamber. I went there immediately, and expressed my disappointment at having missed the ghost. Mother never told me another horror tale.” Hah. Genius. The moral of the story? Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you.” As I read that moral from an Indian yogi, I thought of another one of my favorite Indian sages, Eknath Easwaran. In his great book, Your Life Is Your Message, he tells us about a lesson he learned from his Indian guru—who happened to be his grandmother. The short story? Young Eknath was complaining about how hard it was to meditate and to change his habits. He tells us: “I complained about it to my spiritual teacher, my grandmother. She was a very plainspoken teacher, with none of the euphemisms of the intellectual, so she simply led me to a nearby amla tree. The amla is a beautiful tree, a little like the mimosa, with a small fruit. She picked a fruit and said, ‘Here, take a bite.’ I started chewing. It was pretty awful. I said, ‘I’ve got to spit it out, Granny. It’s sour, bitter, unpleasant.’ She just said, ‘Bear with me. Keep chewing for a while.’ So I went on chewing, and to my surprise the amla fruit began to get sweeter and sweeter. Similarly, meditation and the allied disciplines require sustained enthusiasm every day—even when it seems icky. Especially when it seems icky! If you keep at it, you will find those same disciplines becoming sweeter and sweeter. When meditation time comes around you will find yourself hungering for the inner peace and calm it brings. The time will even come when you want a double helping.” Approaching our fears? Rewiring our brains as we create new, virtuous habits that help us flourish while eliminating the old, vicious ones that don’t? Of course… The process isn’t always pleasant. It’s often painful. It tastes “icky.” Until… We have the Wisdom to see that approaching our fears and embracing the inevitable challenges of the journey and doing the hard work to win the ultimate game that brings us the sweet reward of tapping into our infinite potential. Let’s do that. TODAY.

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  • Here’s What to Do… Not too long ago, we talked about how I read a book. I made the point that the most important part of how I read a book is how I decide what book I will read. I also talked about the fact that, as I followed Joseph Campbell’s wisdom to immerse myself in the wisdom of an author who “grabs me” by reading everything that author has written AND everything by the authors who inspired them, I found myself going deep into Michael Singer’s wisdom AND deep into the wisdom of one of his biggest influences, Yogananda. In fact, I read five of Yogananda’s little books/booklets in very short order. They are PACKED with wisdom. I was blown away by Yogananda’s PRACTICAL spirituality and I could see why Steve Jobs was such a big fan that he reread his Autobiography of a Yogi once a year and why he gifted that book to his friends as THE last thing they got on their way out of his memorial service. (Think about the significance of that for a moment.) So… We’ll be talking more about Yogananda in the future as we bring his wisdom from the East to our modern lives in… I was going to say “the West” then I realized we have Heroic members from basically EVERY country in the world so we’ll make it …. wherever we are in the world! Now… Here’s a fun idea from a little booklet called Living Fearlessly. Yogananda shares a story of him asking his guru to tell him some stories from his childhood. Here’s the exchange between a Master and his fiercely ambitious student. “‘Guruji, I would like to hear some stories of your childhood.’ ‘I will tell you a few—each one with a moral!’ Sri Yukteswar’s eyes twinkled with his warning. ‘My mother once tried to frighten me with an appalling story of a ghost in a dark chamber. I went there immediately, and expressed my disappointment at having missed the ghost. Mother never told me another horror tale. ‘Moral: Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you.’” Those are the very first words of that little book. Want to live fearlessly? Be like Yogananda’s guru and look fear in the face. Then, it will cease to trouble us. Yogananda left India and came to the United States as a 27-year-old yogi guru in 1920. His mission was to integrate the wisdom of the East with the West. To help bridge the gap in cultures, he talked about Jesus as the perfect embodiment of spiritual truth. And, one of the American philosophers he references the most is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson echoes this wisdom about what to do with our fear. As we discuss in our Notes on The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Self-Reliance, Emerson liked to say that “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.” His advice on how to conquer fear was straight-forward: “Always, always, always, always, always do what you are afraid to do.” What happens when we go straight toward the ghosts in the dark chambers? Well, Emerson tells us: “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” Modern science, as we often discuss, agrees. We must APPROACH rather than AVOID our fears. As we discuss in The Upside of Stress and The Telomere Effect, when we are willing to act in the presence of fear and see that the stressors in our lives are not THREATS to our well-being but an opportunity to practice our philosophy and forge antifragile confidence, we change our underlying physiology from a “threat response” to a “challenge response.” Do that often enough, and the ghosts will stop being quite so terrifying. Let’s do that. TODAY.

  • The Most Frequently Asked Question in Heroic Coach In our last +1, we talked about some Ryan Holiday wisdom from his new book Discipline Is Destiny. As you may recall, we brought Cato the Elder, Ben Franklin and Marcus Aurelius to the party to talk about the importance of focusing on all the ways WE can get better rather than worrying about all the ways other people need to improve. Cato told us: “I am prepared to forgive everybody’s mistakes, except my own.” Ben Franklin told us: “Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.” Marcus Aurelius told us to be: Tolerant with others, strict for yourself.” We could add Jesus’ wisdom to the mix. He told us to quit worrying about the speck of dust in your brother’s eye and to focus on the BEAM in yours! Same thing. This is a really important Idea. And… It’s funny because as I created that last +1, I thought of what is probably THE most frequently asked question from people going through our Heroic Mastery Series/Coach certification program. It goes something like this… “I’m really into this stuff and I can already feel my life changing as I start to move from Theory to Practice to Mastery. It’s amazing!!” Then they continue with… “But…” Then I often know what’s coming… “The problem is that my [wife/husband/kids/extended family/colleagues/insert someone other than them!] REALLY needs to work on this stuff and…” I laughed as I typed that. And I usually laugh when I start my reply to our Hero-in-training. I typically talk about prescribing medicine for your neighbor, unilaterality and How am I that?” as I encourage them to avoid proselytizing and simply focus on DOING THE WORK—letting our example be the primary lesson rather than the lectures we’re all tempted to give when we’re on fire with our own self-development. Then I tell them about the fact that MY OWN WIFE doesn’t want me to coach her. (HAH!) (Trust me, Alexandra doesn’t want me to coach her unless she explicitly asks me for the support. After fifteen years, I’m almost getting that fact! ) Now I’ve got another frame to use. Let’s be prepared to forgive everybody’s mistakes, except our own. Let’s search others for their virtues and ourselves for our vices. Let’s be tolerant with others and strict with ourselves. And, let’s notice EVERY TIME we’re tempted to do the opposite. Then use that prompt/trigger/cue as an opportunity to cultivate our reactive discipline—stepping in between the stimulus and our old, habitual response as we choose a better response and practice our philosophy. Not someday. TODAY!!! Trust me. Your loved ones will thank you. And, paradoxically at first glance but obvious at the second or third glance: This is the fastest way to actually convince your loved ones that you're on to something and that you have wisdom worth paying attention to. Day 1. All in. LET’S GO!

  • Strict with Yourself I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Ryan Holiday is one of my favorite writers. We’ve featured a bunch of his books including The Obstacle Is the Way, The Daily Stoic, Ego Is the Enemy, and Stillness Is the Key. He’s currently working on “The Stoic Virtue Series” in which he’s creating a new book for each of the cardinal virtues of Stoicism: Courage, Temperance, Justice, and Wisdom. We briefly chatted about the first book in the series: Courage Is Calling. Today we’re going to chat about an Idea from the second book in the series: Discipline Is Destiny. We’re going to talk about an Idea that didn’t make it into the Note. It’s from a chapter called “Tolerant with Others. Strict with Yourself.” Ryan tells us: “’I am prepared to forgive everybody’s mistakes,’ Cato the Elder said, ‘except my own.’ Ben Franklin, many generations later, would put forth an even better rule: ‘Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.’ Or as Marcus Aurelius put it, Tolerant with others, strict for yourself.” That’s Today’s +1. Let’s be tolerant with others—looking for their VIRTUES and forgiving their mistakes. Let’s be strict with ourselves—looking for our vices and getting to work on them. We have more than enough work to do on ourselves. Let’s do it. TODAY.

  • At Least I Hope You Are, Hero! In our last +1, we talked about Abigail Adams and her letter to her son, John Quincy Adams. As you may recall, she admonished the 12-year-old who would become the sixth U.S. President to LIVE WITH VIRTUE. And, as we discussed, she wisely declared: “These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.” As part of that +1, I mentioned the fact that I think she and her family would have been part of our Heroic movement—encouraging their kids to cultivate their virtue while doing the same on our Heroic app. I also mentioned the fact that I think Benjamin Franklin would have either created something similar to our Heroic app to track HIS virtuous targets or joined the cause to help us win our current war between vice and virtue. Then… I typed “Benjamin Franklin” into my Mac’s search thingy to see if I could find a Big Idea from a PhilosophersNote on him and his commitment to virtue. And… I hit the jackpot. Not only did I find a Big Idea featuring Benjamin Franklin and his idiosyncratic awesomeness, I ALSO found a reference to John Adams in the SAME Big Idea. Fantastic! The references were from Alan Cohen’s Spirit Means Business. Franklin and Adams showed up in an Idea about helping us embrace our inner weirdos. Alan Cohen tells us: “Being a misfit is not a defect. It may be your key to success. When I hear that a person is well adjusted, I ask, ‘Well adjusted to what?’ Learning how to find your way around a mental institution does not make you sane. Real sanity rests in authenticity. ... Maybe you’re not so weird after all. Maybe your weirdness is your greatest asset. Maybe what you thought was wrong with you is what’s right with you. Just because you are out of the mainstream doesn’t disqualify you from vast achievement. You are in your own stream. World change agents do not apologize for their eccentricities or try to hide them. Idiosyncrasies come with the package. So just get on with your creations and make your contribution regardless of any oddness your personality has picked up along the way. Don’t wait until you are normal before you claim greatness. Normality and genius are rare bedfellows. As Walt Whitman proudly proclaimed, ‘Not a particle or an inch of me is vile . . . I celebrate myself.’” That’s from a chapter in which we learn about some of history’s most awesome weirdos. Get this: Did you know that Benjamin Franklin started each day with an “air bath,” standing naked outside for 30 minutes? Yep. And, that fellow American hero John Quincy Adams swam nude in the Potomac river at 5 A.M. every morning, even in freezing weather. (Cold plunge for the win! Wim Hof would approve!) Then we have Nikola Tesla and Steve Jobs with their whole array of idiosyncratic behaviors (and genius inventions). Oh! And, let’s not forget about Albert Einstein. Did you know that he didn’t even speak until he was three and, as an adult, would stop his car, pluck a grasshopper and EAT IT. Yep. That’s normal. Then we have YOU. How’s YOUR weirdness? Alan tells us: The Myth: Being a misfit is a defect you must correct. The Reality: Your nonconformity is your pathway to fulfillment. And... So much of that passage is so eminently quotable. There’s this: “Learning to find your way around a mental institution does not make you sane.” (Hah!) Plus, this is worth a quick repeat: “Normality and genius are rare bedfellows.” Then we have the whole “Well adjusted to WHAT?” conversation which—as you might be able to guess by this stage—reminds me of Krishnamurti’s wisdom that being well-adjusted to a PROFOUNDLY SICK society is no measure of health. In a world where “normal” is so astonishingly sub-optimal (from a mental, physical and emotional health standpoint), why, my dear friend, should we aspire for “normalcy? Much better to lean into our weirdness and entertain the possibility that, perhaps, “your weirdness is your greatest asset.” Here’s to echoing Whitman’s proclamation as we celebrate every particle and inch of ourselves. Not someday. TODAY. btw: Whitman also told us that “In the faces of men and women, I see God.” You know what I see and what we encourage our Coaches to see in the faces of men and women? HEROES. Yes: I’m looking at YOU, Hero!!!

  • Abigail Adams and Heroic Mothers Unite Abigail Adams was one of the Heroic Founding Mothers of the United States of America. I’m convinced that she and Benjamin Franklin and their families would be part of our Heroic movement if they were alive today. Why? Because they were intensely passionate about cultivating virtue in their lives and in the lives of their children. And… I’m pretty sure () they would have preferred to have their kids on the soon-to-be-launched social features for our Heroic training platform cultivating virtue together rather than on Tik Tok watching another absurd 20-second video. What data supports that hypothesis? Glad you asked… That’s the subject of Today’s +1. Have you ever seen this quote from Abigail? “These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.” After reading a version of that in Warren Bennis’ great book On Becoming a Leader, I looked it up to find its source. It’s from a letter she wrote to her son John Quincy Adams in January 1780–almost 243 (!) years ago. He was on a trip to France with his father to elicit support for our Revolutionary War. (Thanks, France!! ) I looked up how old John Quincy Adams was in 1780. He was 12. Check out the letter. It’s worth reading. I printed it out and marked it all up because it was so good. (See my notes below.) As you’ll see if you spend a few minutes reading her brilliant letter, Abigail starts out the letter by basically telling her son that she made him go to France with his dad and brother even though he was whining about it. Seriously. It’s so good to see this great woman (a true Founding Mother of America) talking to a future president like, well, he was acting like a 12-year-old. Then we get to the quote that made me find the letter. But get this… Bennis actually MISQUOTED Abigail. He said that she said: “These are hard times in which a genius should wish to live. . . . Great necessities call forth great leaders.” But that’s not *actually* what she said. She didn't say great necessities call forth great LEADERS. She said: Great necessities call forth great VIRTUES.” Which, for the record, MAKES THEM GREAT LEADERS. Note: Both John AND his dad would become future U.S. Presidents. Virtue for the win! Now… Of course, that struck me (goosebumps) because our ENTIRE app is architected to help us operationalize the fact that ancient wisdom and modern science agree that the ultimate purpose of life is to express the best version of yourself (in service to something bigger than yourself!) by living with virtue. And, of course, we believe the historically significant challenges we are facing DEMAND that each of us step up and show up as the best, most Heroic versions of ourselves. Which is why I was even more struck by the rest of her letter. When I read THIS passage, I could literally SEE Abigail and her husband John (who, in 1780, was the Ambassador to France in what was the fifth of an eight-year Revolutionary War!) and their kids using Heroic to commit to and then hit virtuous targets together all day every day (especially when they were so far away from each other!): “I cannot fulfill the whole of my duty towards you, if I close this Letter, without reminding you of a failing which calls for a strict attention and watchfull care to correct. You must do it for yourself. You must curb that impetuosity of temper, for which I have frequently chid you, but which properly directed may be productive of great good. I know you are capable of these exertions, with pleasure I observed my advice was not lost upon you. If you indulge yourself in the practise of any foible or vice in youth, it will gain strength with your years and become your conquerer. The strict and inviolable regard you have ever paid to truth, gives me pleasing hopes that you will not swerve from her dictates, but add justice, fortitude, and every Manly Virtue which can adorn a good citizen, do Honour to your Country, and render your parents supremely happy, particularly your ever affectionate Mother,” Then I smiled when I realized that another beloved Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, would have probably created something similar to our app to track HIS virtues (with his friends and family!) if he was alive today. Know this… These are times in which Heroes would wish to live. As we set out to make 2023 truly Heroic, may we remember that it is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station that great characters are formed. Remember: “Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engulf the Heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake to Life, and form the Character of the Hero and the Statesman.” With Love + Wisdom + Self-Mastery + Courage and profound Gratitude for all of your support in helping us create a noble and virtuous world, I say… Heroes unite!!! Day 1. All in. LET’S GO.

  • Which Will It Be, Hero? As we’ve discussed, Brian Cain is an inspiring human being. He works with some of the greatest athletes in the world and has helped them go to the next (NEXT!) level. We’ve talked about a bunch of Big Ideas from his two little fables: The 10 Pillars of Mental Performance Mastery and One Percent Better. Today we’re going to revisit One Percent Better for ONE more wisdom gem. But… First… Pop quiz!!! Question: What’s 1% of a day? Do you recall? (And do you recall that trying to recall something is one of the most powerful ways to dominate Learning 101? Yep.) Answer: 1% of the day is 14 minutes and 24 seconds. Note: I’ve changed the countdown on my Timex watch from 16 minutes and 40 seconds (which is 1,000 seconds) to 14 minutes and 24 seconds (1% of the day!!) so I can measure my meditation and deep work time blocks and, well, a bunch of stuff in 1% increments. Super fun. We’ll come back to that more as we have fun seeing if we can make at least 51% (!!!) of our days Heroically intentional. For now… Here’s the wisdom gem I want to focus on… Brian tells us: “If you don’t have a plan, how are you getting better? The problem is when you stop getting better, you start getting bitter, and nobody likes being around people who are bitter all the time.” That’s Today’s +1. Are YOU getting better or are you getting bitter? It’s a simple question with far-reaching impact. Which will it be, Hero? Here’s to continuously refining our plans to GET BETTER lest we go the wrong direction and get bitter. +1. +1. +1. ALL DAY. EVERY DAY. ESPECIALLY TODAY.

  • Of Self-Mastery: Reactive + Structural + Expansive I’ve been thinking a lot about the three forms of discipline that make up Self-Mastery. Here they are: Structural Discipline. Reactive Discipline. Expansive Discipline. We talk about them in Objective V of Basic Training and I’ll be writing about them in the Heroic book we’ll be launching in early 2024. Now… As I sat down to create this +1, I thought this would be the first time I’ve written about the three disciplines. Then, as I was going through the archives, I found that, in fact, we ALREADY chatted about the three disciplines. We chatted about them in +1 #669 to be precise—over two and a half years ago. Perfect. Let’s dust that wisdom off and shine the spotlight of our attention on them again. Why? Because they’re SUPER important. First… A little more context. As we’ve discussed many times, Phil Stutz is all about helping us cultivate what he calls “emotional stamina.” How? By getting to a place where, the WORSE we feel, the MORE committed we are to our protocol. That’s become the foundation of what I now call “Antifragile Confidence.” KNOW THIS: Getting this ONE idea may, in fact, be THE most life-changing thing we can do together. What if… When we feel like this little poop emoji (!!) (!), rather than spiral out and (let’s be honest folks! ), do all the stupid things we tend to do when we’re tired and overwhelmed and all that, we could get ourselves to be even MORE INTENSELY focused on doing what we know is best for us?! What would happen? Simple. Easier said than done but… If you can actually get yourself to do that even 10 or 20 or 30% of the time and then spiral up from there… Then… You’d change your life. Fundamentally and permanently. Now… That’s the essence of the first of three disciplines: Structural Discipline. It’s also why we spent so much time and money working with one of the best product development companies in the world to create the core experience of our Heroic app: the Big 3 Target Practice protocol. Who are you at your absolute best? What virtues do you embody? What do you actually DO on a daily basis? When we have structural discipline, we DOMINATE that protocol. We recommit to being our best selves in the morning. Then we hit virtuous targets all day. Every day. Soul Force score at 101. LET’S GO. I repeat: GOOD LUCK having a series of really bad days when you do that. Your highs will be higher AND your lows will be higher and you will have earned the trust in yourself to KNOW that you can handle WHATEVER life throws at you. That’s how you forge antifragile confidence by executing your protocol via Structural Discipline. The second discipline is “Reactive Discipline.” As I said in the old +1, Reactive Discipline is just what it sounds like. Something triggers you. Can you step in between the stimulus and your normal sub-optimal response with the DISCIPLINE to CHOOSE a better response? Fantastic. That’s Reactive Discipline. Then we have Expansive Discipline. This is both the most important and the hardest of the three. EVERY SINGLE MOMENT we have a choice. Will we step forward into growth or back into safety? If we want to live our most heroically awesome lives and have a shot at experiencing all that we’re capable of being, when we feel even a little niggle of fear, we must (more and more!) consistently choose to EXPAND. EXPAND. EXPAND. We need to make that expansion a discipline. How? “Bring in on!!” is a FANTASTIC tool to practice. That’s Today’s +1. The Three Disciplines of Self-Mastery. Structural Discipline. Reactive Discipline. Expansive Discipline. How are YOU doing with each? What’s awesome? What needs work? What ONE thing can you do a little differently Today? Here’s to your disciplines. All three of them! Day 1. All in. LET’S GO!

  • Personal Humility + Indomitable Will Jim Collins is my all-time favorite business thinker. He’s written a bunch of great books including Good to Great, Built to Last, and Great by Choice. But… My all-time favorite business book is Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company. (Thanks again for the rec on that, Gibson. ) I still need to do a Note on all those books and create a series of Notes for all the business books I’ve read but have yet to distill. For now… I want to talk about one of Jim Collins’ Big Ideas on what he calls “Level 5 leadership.” Here’s how he puts it: “Our research showed that having charismatic leadership doesn’t explain why some companies become great and others don’t. In fact, some of the most disastrous comparison cases had very strong, charismatic leadership in the very era that the companies fell or failed. Rather, our research found that the critical ingredient is Level 5 leadership. The essence of Level 5 leadership is a paradoxical combination of personal humility and indomitable will. The humility expressed at Level 5 isn’t a false humbleness; it’s a subjugation of personal ego in service to a cause beyond oneself. This humility combined with the fierce resolve to do whatever it takes (no matter how difficult) to best serve that cause. Level 5 leaders are incredibly ambitious, but they channel their ambition into building a great team or organization and accomplishing a shared mission that’s ultimately not about them. First: “Personal humility.” We subjugate our personal egos in service to something bigger than ourselves. Second: “Indomitable will.” As in… INDOMITABLE will. (Wow.) We have a fierce resolve to do WHATEVER it takes (no matter how difficult!) to best serve the cause. (Goosebumps.) Combine personal humility and indomitable will and we have what Collins calls “Level 5 leadership.” Only… You know what I thought of when I read that passage? I thought… If, as Joseph Campbell says: “A hero is someone who has dedicated his or her life to something bigger than oneself”… Then… I say… Jim Collins just described HEROIC Leadership. And… That’s Today’s +1. Let’s fiercely resolve to stepping up and into our Heroic Leadership potential—combining personal humility with INDOMITABLE (!) will to do whatever it takes for however long it takes to fulfill our Missions. And… Let’s do that… TODAY. Day 1. All in. LET’S GO. P.S. Check out this +1 on (Heroically!) Fierce Ambition for another take on the subject, inspired by Doris Kearns Goodwin and her brilliant book Leadership in Turbulent Times.

  • I Read Archeologically (Like Twyla Tharp) A couple +1s ago, I promised to tell you more about how I read a book. Here’s the very short answer… I read like it’s my job to find Big Ideas that can help me activate my Soul Force so I can help YOU activate YOUR Soul Force. For one simple reason. It is. Now… Let’s go to one of my favorite books for a passage that best captures how I read. In The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp tells us: “When I’m reading archeologically, I’m not reading for pleasure. I read the way I scratch for an idea, digging down deep so I can get something out of it and use it in my work. I read transactionally: How can I use this? It’s not enough for me to read a book. I have to ‘own’ it. I scribble in the margins. I circle sentences I like and connect them with arrows to other useful sentences. I draw stars and exclamation points on every good page, to the point where the book is almost unreadable. By writing all over the pages, I transform the author’s work into my book—and mine alone.” Yep. That’s exactly how to do it. Carrying on… Here are some other things you might find interesting in terms of how I read a book and how I encourage you to consider approaching it. First, very importantly: I DO NOT speed read. I read reasonably quickly—40-50 or so pages an hour depending on the font size and complexity of the subject and all that. But… Again… I DO NOT “speed read.” Nor do I try to see how fast I can get through the book per se. I treat reading a book like it’s my job to mine its depths for the Big Ideas that can change YOUR life as I strive to give you More Wisdom in Less Time via the PhilosophersNotes and these +1s because, again, it is. I also, even more importantly and less obviously, read a book like I’m lucky enough to sit down and have a GREAT conversation with a BRILLIANT thinker who spent years (if not decades!) reflecting on the subject of their book and then spent another big chunk of time distilling that wisdom into a book they could share with us. Why in the world would I rush through THAT? Nope. I sit up straight. Pen in hand as I GET TO WORK searching for the Ideas that could change our lives. I’ll also say that, many years ago, I was interviewing Tony Schwartz about his great book The Power of Full Engagement. He told me that, at the time, he found his brain so full with digital inputs that he had a hard time sitting down and reading more than a page of a book. And, it was at that moment that he knew he needed to significantly reduce his consumption of digital inputs. Which is a REALLY important point. If you want to be able to FOCUS your mind on a book (or ANYTHING that is important) for longer than 20 seconds, you need to, in my opinion, start by Conquering Your Digital Addiction and practicing your Digital Minimalism. A good night of sleep and meditation practice helps as well. And… That’s a little more on how I read a book and that’s Today’s +1. Let’s bring Twyla Tharp back so she can send us on our way. She tells us: “If I stopped reading, I’d stop thinking. It’s that simple.” Yep. Books. They do a Hero good. Here’s to soaking our minds in the wisdom of great thinkers. And… Here’s to taking that wisdom and going from Theory to Practice to Mastery Together… TODAY. + + +

  • Do a Gritty, Flourishing Hero Good! In our last +1, we talked about how I read a book. More specifically, we focused on how I choose the books I read—which, I believe, is ALWAYS the most important first step in how to read a book. In short, I said that I follow Joseph Campbell’s wisdom to read the right books by the right people. Campbell tells us: When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did’—and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem—but he hasn’t said anything to you.” Scientists would agree with this approach of trusting yourself and doing what really grabs you—with books and with other things in life. In fact, Tal Ben-Shahar connects the academic research on what’s called “self-concordant goals” to Joseph Campbell to make the point. Here’s how Tal puts it in his great book Happier: As research on self-concordant goals illustrates, Campbell’s belief is much more than a superstition. When we follow our bliss, we not only enjoy the journey, we are also more successful.” In the book, Tal walks us through the importance of goals in general and the importance of what psychologists call “self-concordant” goals in particular. “Self-concordant goals” are “the goals we pursue out of deep personal conviction and/or a strong interest.” As it turns out, Angela Duckworth echoes this wisdom in HER great book, Grit. We talk about the four practices to build grit in this +1 on The Science of Grit. Here they are: Interest + Practice + Purpose + Hope. The first, MOST IMPORTANT aspect of Grit? Interest. If we want to cultivate the sustainable passion required to cultivate grit (whether that’s for important, long-term goals or simply getting through a book!), we need to be intrinsically drawn to what we do. It needs to be, as we just discussed, SELF-CONCORDANT. All of which leads us to Today’s +1. How are your goals? Are they clear? Are they self-concordant? Do they fire you up? Let’s not read books or do other such things because we think we “should.” As Tony Robbins would say: Let’s not should on ourselves.” And, As Rory Vaden puts it, let’s not be should-heads.” Let’s do the things that grab us. With gritty joy. TODAY.

  • And… How I Pick the Books I Read I’m often asked how I read a book AND how I pick the books I read. In fact, I was asked this question in one of our recent Heroic Coach Soul Force Forge sessions in which I have 1-on-1 coaching sessions with our Coaches in a group environment. (These sessions are among the highlights of my month!) Today I’d like to chat about that for a moment or three. So… In a recent Zoom, I had an opportunity to connect with Franco—an incredibly inspiring 19-year-old Argentinian Heroic optimizer who is going through our Coach certification program. Franco told me that he was getting an ARETÉ tattoo for his 20th birthday (!!) and then asked me how I read a book. I kinda went off. Here’s the video clip of our time together. And, here’s the short story… The most important part of how to read a book, from my perspective, is to make sure you’re reading THE RIGHT BOOK. If you’re reading a book because you think you “have to” or because everyone else is reading it but… You’re not THAT into it, then… Well… Good luck with that. It’s going to be a bit of a slog and you may find your self x pages into another book but never finishing it. Of course, sometimes we need to read a book for school or for our jobs or whatever—in which case, we’d be wise to remove all ambivalence and GO ALL IN and act like that book you need to read is the most exciting book you could ever possibly read. (Seriously.) Assuming we’re talking about a situation in which our reading list is not assigned to us, the first thing I do is follow Joseph Campbell’s wisdom. In The Power of Myth, he tells us: Sit in a room and read—and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time. This realization of life can be a constant realization in your living. When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did’—and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem—but he hasn’t said anything to you.” Yep. That’s the way to do it. And, that’s what I’ve done for the better part of the last 15-20 years now. In my 20s and early 30s, I started with Dan Millman. And Paulo Coelho. And Wayne Dyer. I’ve read nearly everything those guys have written. (Check out the Notes by clicking on the link for each author.) More recently, I’ve read almost everything written by Steven Pressfield, Ryan Holiday, and Cal Newport. Then there’s my old coach Steve Chandler and my beloved Yoda Phil Stutz. Then there’s Joseph Campbell himself. And one of my all-time favorite teachers, Eknath Easwaran—who I consider to be, in many ways, the Indian version of Campbell. In fact, I’ve created the MOST Notes on Easwaran and his great books. Nine of them so far. His translations of the Gita and Dhammapada in particular are ! Most recently, I followed this thread with Michael Singer. Not too long ago, I read his latest book called Living Untethered. It’s INCREDIBLY good. We previously featured The Untethered Soul, which I really liked, but after reading his latest book, Singer is now one of my new favorite teachers. So… After finishing that book, I immediately got three other books he’s written—including a couple he wrote nearly 50 years ago. In one of THOSE books he thanked Yogananda for being the deepest influence of his life. So what did I do? I immediately got HIS classic An Autobiography of a Yogi. Then I learned that Steve Jobs gave An Autobiography of a Yogi to everyone who attended his memorial service as THE final gift on their way out. (Goosebumps) Then I went back to Amazon and bought a half dozen more of Yogananda’s books (/booklets) all of which are !! Notes on all those coming soon. All that to say… That’s one powerful way I pick the books I’m going to read—which is, again, in my mind, one of the most important things to consider in terms of how to read a book. In our next +1, I’ll tell you more about how I actually read the book once I’ve decided to read it. For now… Happy reading. Here’s to that nice, mild, slow-burning rapture we get connecting with wisdom from a brilliant soul. Day 1. All in. Let’s go!

  • The Place to Live to Dominate the Day In our last +1, Dale Carnegie joined us to complement some Brian Cain wisdom about the importance of focusing on THIS moment (RIGHT NOW!) to crowd out any potential stress about the past or the future that might be eliciting some feelings of depression or anxiety. As you may recall, and, don’t worry! I promise that I will continue to unapologetically repeat all the important themes we discuss to make sure we’re practicing one of the key tenets of Learning 101 known as spaced repetition” … Here’s how Cainer put it: “Remember, depression is obsession with the past, anxiety is obsession about the future, and optimal performance is obsession about the present.” And… Here’s how Carnegie put it: “George Bernard Shaw was right. He summed it all up when he said: ‘The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.’ So don’t bother to think about it! Spit on your hands and get busy. Your blood will start circulating; your mind will start ticking—and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind. Get busy. Keep busy. It’s the cheapest kind of medicine there is on this earth—and one of the best.” Now… I ended that +1 with one of my go-to lines, encouraging you to consider putting this wisdom into practice “All day, every day. Especially… TODAY!” Which makes me think of ANOTHER Big Idea from Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. He tells: “So let’s be content to live the only time we can possibly live: from now until bedtime. ‘Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, from now until nightfall,’ wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. ‘Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means.’" And… Carnegie encourages us to consider living in what he calls “Day-tight compartments.” He tells us: “Shut the iron doors on the past and the future. Live in Day-tight compartments.” Then… He tells us to ask ourselves THESE questions: “Do I tend to put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some ‘magical rose garden over the horizon’? Do I sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past—that are over and done with? Do I get up in the morning determined to ‘Seize the day’—to get the utmost out of these twenty-four hours? Can I get more out of life by ‘living in day-tight compartments’? When shall I start to do this? Next week? ... Tomorrow? ... Today?” Those are some GREAT questions. And… Reflecting on those is the focus of Today’s +1. Let’s spend a moment doing so now… “Do you tend to put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some ‘magical rose garden over the horizon’? Do you sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past—that are over and done with? Do you get up in the morning determined to ‘Seize the day’—to get the utmost out of these twenty-four hours? Can you get more out of life by ‘living in day-tight compartments’? When shall you start to do this? Next week? ... Tomorrow? ... Today?” Your answers? btw… Hint: The answer to #5 is… You should start to do this… TODAY! Yep. Today’s the day to move from Theory to Practice to Mastery, Hero. But only always. Day 1. All in. Here’s to living in day-tight compartments. LET’S GO!

  • And Its Antidote (Found in Spit!) In our last +1, we spent a little more time with Brian Cain and his wisdom on the fact that depression is obsession with the past, anxiety is obsession about the future, and optimal performance is obsession about the present.” All of which begged the question: What are YOU obsessed about these days? And… All of that led to my admonition to activate our Soul Force by getting our Energy to Heroic levels and Focusing it on What’s Important NOW all day every day. Today I want to revisit the topic and bring another peak performance guru to the party to share HIS wisdom on the subject. We’ll go old school and invite Dale Carnegie to join us. As you almost certainly know, Carnegie wrote one of the all-time best-selling personal development books How to Win Friends and Influence People. He wrote that book in 1936. It’s sold over 30 million copies. (Check out the Notes for more.) What you may not know is that he wrote another great book called How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. That book was written in 1948. 6 million copies of that book have been sold as well. (Check out the Notes for more.) In How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Carnegie echoes Cainer’s wisdom about focusing on the PRESENT to deal with any potential depression and anxiety. He tells us: “George Bernard Shaw was right. He summed it all up when he said: ‘The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.’ So don’t bother to think about it! Spit on your hands and get busy. Your blood will start circulating; your mind will start ticking—and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind. Get busy. Keep busy. It’s the cheapest kind of medicine there is on this earth—and one of the best.” There ya go. Feeling stressed? Perfect. That’s part of a good, noble life. The moment you quit thinking you should be exonerated from the pain of uncertainty and the pain of hard work will be one of the most powerful, antifragile confidence-building moments of your life! Now… Spit on your hands and get busy doing your best at whatever is in front of you. RIGHT. NOW. Gremlins come back to the party a minute or three later? Perfect. Repeat. Get back to work. Focusing your Energy on What’s Important Now. Not once in a while and not only when you feel like it. All day, every day. Especially when? TODAY.

  • Past? Future? Present? = Depression, Anxiety, Optimal Performance Not too long ago, we spent some time with my friend Brian Cain—who happens to be, in my opinion, at least tied for first as THE world’s best mental toughness coach. One particular line from his 10 Pillars of Mental Performance Mastery has been popping up in my brain and I want to make sure we take a moment to chat about it. Here it is. Brian tells us (via Coach Kenny in his fable): “Remember, depression is obsession with the past, anxiety is obsession about the future, and optimal performance is obsession about the present.” Let’s think about that for a moment… Depression is obsession about the PAST. Anxiety is obsession about the FUTURE. Optimal performance? That requires an obsession with the PRESENT. Of course, that’s a deliberately hyperbolic oversimplification of depression and anxiety. And… It’s a powerful perspective. All of which begs the question: What are YOU obsessed about these days? I repeat: “Remember, depression is obsession with the past, anxiety is obsession about the future, and optimal performance is obsession about the present.” Here’s to activating our Soul Force by getting our Energy to Heroic levels and Focusing it on What’s Important NOW all day every day. Especially, as always, TODAY. Anxiety and depression BEGONE. Optimal performance LET’S GO!!

  • We Love You… Let’s GO! In our last +1, we talked about the fact that I’m hitting 101 Heroic Targets a day so I can keep my daimon in play. You try it yet? Of course, as I’ve said many times, you don’t need to be quite as crazy and ALL IN as I am to get the benefits of using the Heroic app. Early research shows that hitting as few as THREE Heroic Targets a day can boost your Energy 40%, your Productivity 20% and your Connection 15%—all in a few minutes on the app per day. Why does the Heroic app work so powerfully? Because there’s E X T R A O R D I N A R Y power in living our lives with a clear intention and shining the spotlight of our attention on the things that matter most. Then, of course, DOING the things that are in integrity with that vision of our best selves. Not once in a while but EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Now… One of the Heroic Energy Targets I commit to every morning these days is: “Cold Plunge (2:43 after 30)” That’s short-hand for: Get in the cold plunge for 2 minutes and 43 seconds after your 30 minute AM workout. Why 2:43? Because we love you. I actually do that twice a day—once after my AM workout and the second time an hour or two before I go to bed. Why 2:43 x 2? Because 2 x 2 min and 43 seconds is about 5.51 minutes and, well, everything I do is tied back to my purpose of helping create a world in which 51% of humanity is flourishing by the year 2051. Now… On to the point of Today’s +1. I came up with a little 2 minute and 43 second Heroic meditation that I do every time I hop in the cold plunge. It goes like this. First, I take a deep breath before I get in to the cold plunge. In through the nose, down into the belly, back out through the nose—exhale slightly longer than the inhale… Optimal Breathing 101 style. You know the drill. Before we go further… To be VERY clear, I never really want to hop in the cold. Getting in 51-57 degree water is never a particularly pleasant experience. But, I do it because a) I like building the habit of doing things I don’t like to do and b) I know the benefits of cold are extraordinary (see Notes on The Wim Hof Method!) so I move through my resistance and get in. I do a little 5-4-3-2-1! countdown and… I’M IN. Then… My 2:43 Heroic Meditation begins. I start by saying each virtue. Wisdom. Self-Mastery. Love. Courage. Gratitude. Hope. Curiosity. Zest. Then I say an affirmation for each virtue. I am Wise. I am Disciplined. I am Loving. I am Courageous. I am Grateful. I am Hopeful. I am Curious. I am Zesty. Then I say the declaration for each virtue. I know the game I’m playing and how to play it well. I have structural, reactive, and expansive discipline. I am connected, joyful, and encouraging. I am willing to act in the presence of fear. I appreciate all the blessings and gifts in my life. I have an inspiring target, agency, and pathways. I pay attention to what’s working and what needs work. I dominate my fundamentals so I have Heroic Energy. Then I repeat each virtue. Wisdom. Self-Mastery. Love. Courage. Gratitude. Hope. Curiosity. Zest. Then I think of my tattoos as I remind myself of our ultimate mission: “Hero, I see a world in which 51% of humanity is flourishing by 2051. My Soul Force is at 101 and I’m helping 1 million people get THEIR Soul Force to 101 so we can change the world together.” Then I say to myself: “All in. Let’s go!!!” Then I get out of the cold, dry off and get back to dominating my day. That’s a 2 minute, 43 second version of a Heroic meditation. All in. Day 1. Let’s go!

  • It’s Hard to Have a Bad Day When I Hit These (Yours?) Every day I hit 101 Targets in the Heroic App. As I joke with our team and with some friends, “101 Targets a day keeps the daimon in play!” I can assure you that it’s *really* hard to have a *really* bad day when you start your day recommitting to being your best self in your Energy, Work, and Love and then do 101 things you KNOW help you stay plugged in. But… Don’t take my word for it. Test it! Now… I recommit to over 30 Heroic Energy Targets every morning. I’ve basically breadcrumbed my day with what I KNOW I do when I’m at my best so I can make that prior best my new baseline. My #1 Energy Target? “In Bed for 9-10 Hours” I haven’t missed that ONCE since we launched the app. Sleep is a sport for me and THAT (process!) Target is the #1 reason why my (outcome Target!) average Oura Sleep Score has been 90+ every month for nearly 2 years. For curious souls, my current Heroic Energy Top 3 includes: I. In Bed for 9-10 Hours II. AM Meditation (1%) III. Movement (30 Min) Just hitting THOSE three Targets would be enough to keep me feeling pretty darn Zesty and provide bumper rails to make sure I never got too off track. But, of course, I’m not trying to keep myself on track, I’m trying to see just how Heroically I can show up and just how much Soul Force I can activate as I strive to help YOU show up with a fully-activated Soul Force of 101! Which is why I also recommit to a Digital Sunset, PM Meditation (1%), my 1 Sun Salutation, 10 Pull-ups, 100 Burpees, 1,000 Meters of Rowing, 10,000 Steps and a couple dozen other targets. But that’s not quite the point of this +1. When I started writing it I planned to share a new 2 minute and 43 second Heroic meditation with you but I’ll save that for our next +1. Today’s +1 is this… What are YOUR Top 3 Heroic Energy Targets? What are the THREE simple things you do when YOU are plugged in and at your most-Heroically-Energized best? Seriously. What are they? REMEMBER!!! (Yes, I’m shouting.) Life doesn’t need to be so hard. We just need to step back from TikTok and the latest must-see Netflix show for a moment or three, get clarity on who we are and what we do when we’re at our best and then… BE THAT best version of ourselves and DO THE THINGS that best version of ourselves does!! As always… Not once in a while and DEFINITELY not only when we feel like it. Nope… All day, EVERY day ESPECIALLY on those days when we don’t feel like it. THAT, I repeat, is how we develop the antifragile confidence to KNOW that we have what it takes to show up and respond to every challenge life throws at us while we give the world all we’ve got. Of course, we architected the E N T I R E Heroic app to help you move from Theory to Practice to Mastery TODAY but whether you choose to use our tools or some other set of tools, please please please please please take the time to get clear on who you are at your best then recommit to being that version of yourself and doing the things that best version of you does TODAY. We need you at your Heroic best. Day 1. All in. Let’s GO!!!

  • In Permanent Ink Somewhere I’ll Never Miss It Today I want to chat about how I spent last Father’s Day with the kids. Hint: We went to Blindside Tattoo in Austin, Texas to add some Heroic targets to my forearm in permanent ink. Before we go there… As you may recall, in our last +1, we talked about Admiral McRaven’s Hero Code and the virtue of perseverance. He told us about the fact that it was PERSEVERANCE that helped many of our favorite Heroes weather the inevitable storms of their Heroic quests en route to the summit of fulfilling their Missions. I think this is so good that it’s worth repeating: George Washington was defeated on the battlefield more times than he won. Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections before he won the presidency. Thomas Edison failed ten thousand times before inventing the lightbulb. Henry Ford had two failed companies before he found success. J. K. Rowling was destitute before she got the first Harry Potter book published, and Oprah Winfrey had an extremely difficult childhood before finding her way. Martin Luther King once famously said, ‘If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.’” Now… As I read that passage and reflected on the power of perseverance, I also thought about the fantastic ancient Sanskrit word for being a hero in the beginning: arambhashura. As Eknath Easwaran tells us in Conquest of Mind: “In Sanskrit we have a word which means “heroes at the beginning”: people who take up a job with a fanfare of trumpets but soon find that their enthusiasm has tiptoed down the back stair. Those who go far in meditation are the ones who keep on plugging. They may not be very spectacular; they may never hear a trumpet. But they keep on trying day in and day out, giving their best in every situation and relationship, never giving up. Such people are bound to reach their goal.” And… Now, it’s time for that fun trip with the kids Father’s Day trip to Blindside Tattoo with the kids. I created my Note on The Hero Code on the Monday after Father’s Day. On Father’s Day, I took Emerson and Eleanor with me to go get a tattoo. (Yes, that’s like me! Hah.) As you know if you’ve been following along, I have ARETÉ” tattooed on my right forearm to remind me to practice my philosophy as I strive to close the always-present gap between who I’m capable of being and who I’m actually being in any given moment. I tattooed “HEROIC” on my left forearm along with the numbers “51 | 2051” to capture the ultimate mission to which I’ve dedicated my life: playing my role as humbly yet heroically well as I can to help create a world in which 51% of humanity is flourishing by 2051. On Father’s Day 2022, the kids and I went on a little adventure to add “101 | 1M” next to the “51 | 2051.” The “101” represents my commitment to doing everything in my power to get my Soul Force to 101 so I can help YOU get YOUR Soul Force (as measured in the Heroic app!) to 101. The “1M” represents the first million people I’m committed to doing everything in my power to help get to a Soul Force score of 101 so we can have a shot at that 51 | 2051. As we’ve discussed, science says we increase our odds of achieving our goals by about 42% if we write them down. So… I figured I’d write my most important goals somewhere I’d never miss them and let them serve as a constant reminder to PERSEVERE (just one step at a time!) through all the inevitable obstacles in a good heroic quest. Every morning I start my meditation by looking at down at my arm and saying to myself, “Hero, I see a world in which 51% of humanity is flourishing by 2051. Let’s get our Soul Force to 101 and help 1M people do the same and we have a shot at fulfilling our mission. 101 x 1M → 51 | 2051 All in. Day 1. Here’s to PERSEVERING through the inevitable storms on our Heroic quests as we take JUST ONE MORE STEP… Today. + + +

  • Did You Know That George Washington… In our last couple +1s, we chatted about Admiral McRaven’s and Ryan Holiday’s take on Courage. Remember: Courage is calling. All we need to do is take JUST ONE STEP. Today I want to explore some more wisdom from McRaven’s great new book, The Hero Code. As you may recall, The Hero Code has ten virtues: Courage. Humility. Sacrifice. Integrity. Compassion. Perseverance. Duty. Hope. Humor. Forgiveness. Let’s shine a spotlight on the sixth virtue, Perseverance. We’ll invite Admiral McRaven back to the party to share his wisdom on the subject. He tells us: “I believe history will show that success is not just a function of brains or brawn, of talent or intellect, of skill or resourcefulness, but of perseverance. Genius without resolve is just another passing person with a bright idea. Athletic prowess without determination is just another talent wasted. The world is filled with men and women who amounted to nothing because they gave up on their dreams: because they didn’t have the guts, the determination, the willpower to keep going—no matter what. But history is equally replete with heroes who fought through the challenges, persevered, and made a difference. George Washington was defeated on the battlefield more times than he won. Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections before he won the presidency. Thomas Edison failed ten thousand times before inventing the lightbulb. Henry Ford had two failed companies before he found success. J. K. Rowling was destitute before she got the first Harry Potter book published, and Oprah Winfrey had an extremely difficult childhood before finding her way. Martin Luther King once famously said, ‘If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.’” Perseverance. It does a noble Hero good. That first paragraph reminds me of this classic Calvin Coolidge wisdom: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” And, although I knew about Lincoln’s failures and J. K. Rowling’s challenges before Harry Potter success (check out our Notes on Leadership in Turbulent Times for more on Lincoln and our collection of Notes on all the Harry Potter books here), I never knew that about George Washington. Isn’t it fascinating to imagine him losing more battles than he won?! Thank you, George, for persevering. (Seriously. Thank you, sir. I don’t take the freedom my country affords me for granted as I know that you fought for SEVEN YEARS to fulfill the Declaration of Independence. ) And… THAT’s Today’s +1. Perseverance. It does a noble Hero good. Let’s take just ONE more step. Today. +1. +1. +1.