What I enjoy most about reading and writing is seeing commonality across disciplines.
Navy SEALs, billionaires, and stoic practitioners all talk about the same things — albeit through a different lens.
They also produce the same result: success.
Success cannot always be copied but the enablers, what it takes to become successful, can be.
There is a connection between the mental and physical.
Elite military and professional athletes channel it to produce almost superhuman efforts. Billionaires use it to create empires and it shines through in the philosophies of stoic wisdom.
No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. – Socrates
♦ The Power of Thought by Brandon Webb. The mind is the most powerful tool in existence. Wielded as a weapon, it is the sole reason for human ascension to the top of the food chain. By all other measures, we are weaker, slower, and physically lacking compared to other natural hunters. Still, humans are the premier apex predators, capable of hunting to extinction any other species. We do this because of our ability to use our minds as weapons. Yet, the necessity to use our mind as a survival mechanism as waned, simultaneously stifling our abilities to expand, conquer, and grow. Webb, realizing the power of thought, restructured how the Navy SEALs trained their snipers. This thought based system allowed the school to increase their graduation rate from 70% to 95%.
The three powerful lessons from his experience:
1. They implemented a positive teaching style over a negative one.
2. They encouraged mental visualization or mental rehearsal.
3. They taught trainees how to self-coach.
♦ Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday. Holiday is the modern day stoic philosopher and happens to be a master marketer who was tutored by the greatest non-fiction writer of all-time. His backstory is reminiscent of The Hero’s Journey, having to drop out college before becoming what he is today. This is relevant because he once held the top marketing position at American Apparel, with no college degree, but armed with a self-made education built on the foundation of reading and studying. He has said that Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way, and here he refines his message to include stillness, which is of course the key. Stillness is described as a way of shedding the unnecessary and becoming aware and tuned in to what really matters in our lives: mind, spirit, and body. We think about too many things. We pursue too many stuff. And we ignore our spirit, our inner being, the most important part of what makes human.
We are overfed and undernourished. Overstimulated, overscheduled, and lonely. – Ryan Holiday
♦ Maxout Your Life by Ed Mylett. Mylett is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world and is a notable name in the fitness and leadership industries. This playbook includes all of Mylett’s strategies for becoming an elite performer, including how to think about yourself and create your self-image, how to create habits, gain confidence, generate energy, and change your beliefs. Much of what he talks about encapsulate the MCD Universe of Mindset. Character. Discipline.
Mylett’s underlying message is that you can create the life you want and that those moments are to be cherished. Life is short and it must be intentional, or else we become average and unfulfilled. When you become totally obsessed with success, things beginning working in your favor.
Your obsessions become your possessions. – Ed Mylett
♦ Shut Up and Listen by Tillman Fertitta. Written in a straight-to-the-point style, this book provides hard business truths that will help you succeed. As the owner of more than 600 restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, and aquariums in 36 states and more than 15 countries including names like Morton’s The Steakhouse, Saltgrass Steak House and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., he is known as “the world’s richest restauranteur.” Oh, he also purchased the Houston Rockets for a record $2.2 billion.
Tillman preaches five potential blind spots that can kill a business if you don’t remain vigilant at all times. Never stop worrying about your business, especially when things appear to be going well.
These big five blind spots are: hospitality, know your numbers, the 95:5 rule, see/seize opportunities, and live your leadership.
– Hospitality: Every successful business is built around it.
– Numbers: Dictate progress and leads to failure.
– The 95:5 Rule: Most businesses are good at around 95% of what they do, identify the remaining 5% and excel in those areas.
– See/Seize Opportunities: Success always takes time and perspective and the best can see through the chaos and confusion.
– Live Your Leadership: Work hard to build and improve upon your leadership skills and be prepared to be exceptional when times are bad.
Beyond these pearls of business advice, there is another thing he said that really resonated with me. When pursuing a business deal, he already knows what to expect from how the business looks on the outside. If things are not neat and well-kept, it’s a sign of how the business is conducted on the inside.
♦ Ignite the Fire by Jonathan Goodman. The premier book on becoming a personal trainer to include the process of transitioning from trainer to fitness coach. Although it is written explicitly for those in the field of personal training, there are lots of valuable coaching pearls that would be useful to any coach. Some of the things that I found most valuable about Goodman, currently one of the industry’s most recognized names, is that he places a premium on education, learning, and listening. Most trainers and coaches attempt to take the helm and steer their clients into what is perceived by them to be success, yet one of the most important things we can do as coaches is to listen to the client and adapt to meet their needs. This is very applicable to personal training and would be valuable to a high-level management consultant. What the client needs is not always the first thing they talk about, usually it comes from a diagnosis, where a skilled coach listens and learns before deciding on the way forward.
Read More: The Outwork Book Club