Normal People Normal Results

Working as a coach means I'm always looking for ways to improve.  I want to be smarter, faster, and more effective.  In constantly training myself to be better, I think it's important to stay cognizant of my ultimate goal, to positively influence 40 thought leaders by 2026.

The trap that most people fall into is creating goals just to create goals.  I've been guilty of it too.  The other day I was pondering the possibility of parenthood in my future, and I thought to myself, "I want to be the best father possible, so I should work now to become that man."  In considering this, I adjusted some of my reprogramming.  Specifically, I decided to stop cursing.  My loved ones know that I swear like a sailor.  I also considered the prospect of dressing formally on a regular basis.  I wanted to be "classy."  

Fast forward to today, and I'm listening to Joe Rogan interview famed powerlifter, Louie Simmons.  Simmons is unapologetically vulgar, and I can't picture the guy in a suit.  And you know what?  He's effective, and I like him!  As I continue listening to the 68-year-old Simmons talk about training techniques, I find myself nodding in agreement.  Then he hits me with a quote that I'll never forget, "Normal people give you normal results."  

I'm a heavily tattooed, former pro wrestler, who likes to drop the occasional f-bomb.  I'm not ordinary, but then again, I get extraordinary results!  In the past year alone, I've helped approximately 1,200 individuals transform their careers.  I've helped over 1,000 men and women find romance.  Countless others have become healthier following Spartan Plan.  I thought about all of this and wondered, do I need to stop using curse words?  Do I need to wear a suit and tie every day?  Are these things required to achieve my objective?  Fuck no.  

Be bold.  Be unapologetic.  Be Spartan.

Spartan Plan Reborn

It's been a minute since I posted here at SpartanPlan.com.  I've spent the past few months exploring myself, and I've learned quite a bit.  I can't wait to share my findings in the blog entries that follow.  I hope that my words will help you live a better life.  I don't pretend to have all of the answers.  This blog is merely my attempt at sharing the lessons I learn throughout my life.  

I should restart this blog by establishing exactly what I mean when I say "Spartan Plan."  Many readers will assume that it's a fitness plan.  While at first glance Spartan Plan has all the trappings of a fad fitness program, it's very different.  I created Spartan Plan to help keep myself physically and mentally healthy regardless of the challenges that life throws at me.  I wanted a plan that was simple and sustainable.  I needed a few simple guidelines that would take the guesswork out of holistic wellness.  

While I intend on exhaustively describing the logic behind each step in Spartan Plan, I want readers to understand that they needn't read too far into each step.  They are obvious to most of us, but few of us actually embody their spirit.  Is it possible to be even healthier if you follow a more granular program?  Sure, but I'm not so confident that complicated regiments are sustainable.  

In my next post I'll start breaking down each piece of Spartan Plan, and explain why it will help you live a better life, but for now, here it is: 

1. Eat only whole foods. 
2. Exercise daily. 
3. Meditate (or pray) daily. 

Minimalism isn't a competition

If you’re familiar with the simple living movement, you likely know about a variety of “minimalists.”  Minimalist has many definitions, but I define it as an individual who focuses only on persons, commitments, and things that are necessary or bring joy.  They don’t waste their limited resources on that which doesn’t bring them value.  

I consider myself a minimalist, but I don’t know exactly how many possessions I own.  I’m sure there had been times when I owned fewer than 100 things, and there had been times when I held a few thousand.  To me, it’s a state of mind--not a checklist.  People who stress about counting their possessions suffer from the same problems as hoarders.  They let acquisition take control of their lives.  

Rather than counting your socks, spend time counting your blessings.  Minimalism is the ultimate first-world problem.  I don’t fault those minimalists who focus intensely on their possessions.  At least, they recognize the problem.  But using minimalism to fill the void left by consumerism is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire.  People often make the mistake of assuming that advertisements create our consumer culture.  Advertisements only capitalize on preexisting insecurities.  Marketers are smart.  They see that most of us are unfulfilled, so they sell us the appearance of a satisfied life.  Strip away the fancy ads, and it’s just stuff.  Some of it will bring value to your life, and some of it won’t.  It’s not the stuff that’s the problem; it’s what we attach to the stuff.  

Priority versus priorities

The other day I was working with a client who asked me to help her map out priorities.  Most of my clients ask for help prioritizing.  They want to know how to allocate best their time so that they can accomplish some tasks.  For me, you can only have one real priority, and it should be specific.  If you’re a job seeker, your priority should be to find employment that utilizes your skills and offers appropriate compensation.  If you’re an athlete, your priority might be to lead your team to a winning season.  

I'm not saying that we can only put our energy towards one thing in life, but there should be a singular focus.  That objective can change over the years, but by spreading ourselves thin, we accomplish nothing.  I see this pattern in struggling businesses.  The company has a small team, but they’ve got big dreams.  They burn the midnight oil to accomplish a set of goals, only to find that they weren’t able to compete with larger organizations who had the bandwidth to outwork them.  Smaller companies tend to beat bigger companies when they focus on a single priority that separates them from the pack.  Individuals are much the same.  

Examine your life.  What is your priority?  If you knew that you only had one year left to leave an indelible mark on society, what would you do?  Maybe you don’t have an answer yet.  That’s okay; you can spend some time thinking about what you want.  Those of you who do know how you’d spend that last year shouldn’t waste a moment.  Write your priority down in a place where you’ll see it daily.  Remind yourself of its importance, and build habits around the priority.  You’ll take occasional breaks from this mission, but it should account for the majority of your time. 

What do you want?

I’ve spent the last 13 years designing the ideal lifestyle.  I’ve tried countless diets, exercise routines, romance strategies, and business plans.  I’ve spent time meditating in the mountains and brokering deals in boardrooms.  Through it all, I’ve made some realizations.  The most important thing I learned is that much of what I’ve spent time on had little to do with what I want from life.  

There’s something special about building a life where you genuinely don’t have to answer to anyone.  I’m not quite there, but that’s where I’m aiming.  For too long I spent time trying to be “well-adjusted” or “successful”, but I was letting other people define my success.  Eventually, I found that success is different for different people.  Language is funny like that.  We use words and assume they mean the same thing to other people, but who’s to say my “happy” is the same as yours?  

In this amorphous peregrination, we call life; people are always looking for something solid to stand on.  We invent words to describe ourselves.  To show that we are different from everyone else.  Minimalist.  Healthy.  Wealthy.  Educated.  These words seem concrete, but they are just comparisons.  Wealthy compared to whom?  I believe that we innately understand that the phrases we use to describe ourselves are just comparing us to each other.  So we strive endlessly to represent those adjectives.  They cease to serve us and instead become prisons of our making.  What if someone is more minimalist than me?  Who am I if I’m not considered educated enough?  One can see how this way of thinking generates unease.  

The key to determining what you want is to take time away from others.  Pause and reflect on the times in your life when you’ve been most happy.  What were you doing?  Determine your definition of the words that describe you, and don’t let it be altered by what other people think.  When you master this, others will notice, and they’ll start to try to be like you.  They’re trying to be like you because they’re still playing the game of comparison, but you’ve escaped your prison.

Make friends with yourself

I’m incredibly fortunate to make a living on my mission.  I contribute to the lives of hundreds of men and women every year.  It’s a dream come true, but it’s not without its challenges.  My job involves a lot of travel, which means I spend time away from my friends and family.  I go alone, which can be difficult.  Many of us are afraid of being alone. 

The other day I had lunch with one of my friends.  As we were walking, I asked if he had been to the restaurant before.  He said, “Yea, but it’s been a while.  I usually just eat at the office, because I don’t have anyone to go to lunch with.”

“Why not go alone?” I asked.

“I don’t know.  I guess I don’t like to eat alone.  Hell, I don’t like to be alone,” he replied.  

As we continued our conversation, I came to learn that my friend was uncomfortable with the idea of being alone with his thoughts.  His fear surprised me. 

“What bad things could you learn?  Do you keep secrets from yourself?”  I questioned.

“You know, I guess I do.  I avoid being alone because if I get to know myself, I might not like what I find.”  

I don’t think my friend is unusual.  We live in a society that praises busyness and leaves us all in the fear that if we take the time to reflect, we'll miss out.  We’re so busy consuming information that we often forget to form thoughts of our own.  That’s because we need time to digest the information we’ve already consumed.  Maybe that’s the silver lining in all of the time I spend away from home.  I’m alone, so it’s a lot easier to pause and reflect. 

When’s the last time you took a break from the hustle?  Consider turning off your phone.  Close your laptop.  Tune out.  Allow your mind to digest.  You’ll probably see an improvement in your creativity, and you just might learn something about yourself.  Maybe you’ll make a new friend.