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Chop Wood, Carry Water

Charlottesville, Virginia

April 7, 2020

Notes and highlights from Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall In Love With the Process of Becoming Great.

Not sure how I know this fact, but this book is one that Coach Bennett has the basketball team read. As you read these highlights, you will understand why he does. The book is a story about a boy who is training to be a samurai archer and the wisdom imparted to him by his sensei. It is the story of sacrifice, focus (on the right things) and believing in the process. For me, it was a good reminder that in order to lead a meaningful life we need to overcome some of our natural biases.

The book itself is a fast read - it's only approximately 120 pages long. I've attempted to separate the wheat from the chaff in these highlights (not there is much chaff in the book!).

Chapter 1 – Chop Wood, Carry Water

First you must chop wood, and carry water.

Chapter 2- Building Your Own House

The whole time he had been building his own house. If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have cared so much more. He would have only used the finest materials, and he would have overseen every detail and given it his all like he had always done. But now, it was too late.

The only thing that is truly significant about today, or any other day, is who you become in the process. Each of us are building our own house. Sometimes you might think you are building for your school, your family, your company, or your team, but you are always building your own house. I hope you build wisely.

Chapter 3- Faithful in the Small Things

Everyone wants to be great, until it’s time to do what greatness requires. Dream BIG. Start small. Be ridiculously faithful. Focus on what you can control

Your greatest challenge will be faithfully keeping your focus on the process while surrendering the outcome.

Chapter 4- One Eye For the Journey

The monotony of chopping wood and carrying water every morning and every evening had begun to wear on him.

In the West, you want everything instantly, but here you must learn to fall in love with the process of becoming great. Now go chop wood, and carry water.

No matter whether you are winning or losing, the point is to focus on the process and neither get too high or too low, but instead to control the controllables.

The reason it takes longer to reach your goal is because with one eye on the goal, you only have one eye for the journey. You need both eyes for the journey.

He then went on to tell stories of people who climb ice mountains, and how if they are focused on the top of the mountain they will not know where to step in front of them. They will slip and die. The key to ice climbing is to focus on one solid step at a time. No man climbs a mountain all at once. He climbs it by making one solid step at a time.

Focus on doing the best at what you are doing presently, chopping wood, carrying water, and letting go of the result.

Chapter 5- Nothing Is a Test

You keep getting in the way of your own potential, because you keep seeing everything as a test.

The secret is to understand that nothing is a test, but only an opportunity to learn and grow.

Many people never fulfill their potential, because they look at every situation in life as a test. If you look at something as a test, then you will focus only on passing the test instead of maximizing your growth through the experience. Over time, the person who is simply focused on maximizing what they can learn and how they can grow will become much greater than the person who sees life as one continual test to prove themselves.

Don’t fall for the trap. Even tests in school are not tests. Nothing is a test, it’s only an illusion.

Everything is an opportunity to learn and grow, because remember you are building your own house.

Chapter 6- Where Do You Find Your Identity?

Who would you be if everything you do was taken away from you?

It is so easy for me to get caught up in the results I get from working with people. I constantly have to remind myself that my value comes from who I am, not from what I do. It is easy to feel like your value is much greater when your teams win, when you make a lot of money, when you experience great success in business. But it is just as easy to feel defeated and depressed when your teams aren’t winning, when your business is failing, and when it feels like you are failing at everything.

The truth is that your value is constant, it is priceless, and it never truly goes up or down based off of results or your performance. Your value comes from who you are, not from what you do.

When your identity gets wrapped up in what you do, it clouds every decision you make. It is easy to see some of the reasons that a person would make very compromising decisions when their identity comes from what they do. You must fight that instinct.

Find your identity in something that cannot simply be stripped away in a moment, and do the hard work of reminding yourself that your value comes from who you are.

Chapter 7- Guzzling Salt Water

Every day, people everywhere live their lives believing that everything will be different if they can just achieve more, win more, or make more money. But if achievement hasn’t filled that void to date, how is achieving more going to fill it in the future? Like thirsty people guzzling salt water, achievement only creates a greater desire for accomplishing more, dehydrating us of true satisfaction and fulfillment.

The scorecard society judges us by is tragically flawed, and pursuing it will leave you completely unfulfilled. It is time we develop a new scorecard for how we define a truly successful life. I want you to think about a few people that you truly admire, and write out what characteristics they embodied that you would like to be known for.

Scorecard - I want you to grade yourself twice a day on how you have done on the things that you have said are the most important characteristics for living a truly successful life. If you grade yourself around the middle of the day then you will know what areas you need to focus on that evening. With this new scorecard, you can use any situation you find yourself in as an opportunity to grow these characteristics. John took a blank 4x6 note card as they were being passed around, and wrote out his new scorecard. He was excited because he now had a very practical tool for using any circumstance as an opportunity to develop into the man he wanted to become.

Chapter 8 - Evil’s Best Weapon

The old witch looked at her and said, “This tool is discouragement, and it is more powerful than all the other tools combined. The best part is that most people never suspect that it comes from you. Discouragement will allow you to get to a person’s heart when none of the other tools will, and once they become discouraged, they are putty in your hands. You can squash the most powerful of dreams, level the greatest of ideas, and ruin almost anything in the world without detection, all by using this tool to plant the seeds of discouragement.

One of the most powerful forces you will face during your time here is discouragement. It can come in many different forms; sometimes it is the voice inside your head that says you aren’t good enough, while other times it might come from giving your best and still not succeeding. Still other times it will creep in in ways you might not even be aware of. But make sure you always keep your guard up, and fuel your heart with encouragement.

You fuel your heart with six things:

1. what you watch,

2. what you read,

3. what you listen to,

4. who you surround yourself with,

5. how you talk to yourself, and

6. what you visualize.

We were created just like that Lamborghini, but if we put the wrong fuel into the gas tank of our hearts, we won’t run as we were intended to. We get frustrated and discouraged because we know deep down that we were created for so much more. You were created perfectly and meticulously for a purpose John, but if you put the wrong fuel into your gas tank, it is very easy to get discouraged and break down as you go through the journey of life.

Chapter 9 - What Went Well?

It is much easier for your brain to focus on the negatives, even if they are totally outweighed by the positives. Many people’s confidence suffers. They have been conditioned to focus on negative stories about themselves and their performance. Now, there are people who have the reverse challenge and can’t see their flaws, but far and away the bigger issue is people who lack confidence and who are highly critical of themselves. But negativity and a ‘nothing I do is good enough’ attitude is a recipe for unhappiness.

Humility is not thinking less of your self, but thinking of your self less.

Let me tell you a couple secrets about how our marvelous brains actually work. Your memories are not created through your experiences, rather they are created through the stories you tell yourself and others about those experiences. So, if you leave a practice or a match and you tell everyone how poorly you played, and you focus on all your mistakes, then that is what your brain remembers. Most people undermine all the hard work they are putting in by telling really negative stories and blocking out all the growth that is happening.

If we want to change the way our brain scans the world and start to adopt a more beneficial reality and vantage point, we must start by rewiring the way our brain scans the world around us.

I want you to do this after every shooting session, I want you to start by writing a value statement at the top. It should say, ‘My value comes from who I am, not from what I do.’ Then, follow that with a growth mindset statement. ‘Anything that happens to me today is in my best interest and it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.’ Then, I want you to write out fifteen specific things you did well.”

In time this will get easier as you consistently force your brain to scan the world differently, but until then I encourage you to always keep going until you have at least fifteen things. If you decide to quit before fifteen, make sure you at least get two more than where you quit the day before.

Remember, this is rewiring your brain. It is hard work, but it is very worth it.

You have ignored what you have done well for a long time, while blowing your ‘flaws’ out of proportion. So, maybe for the next six months let’s try and do the reverse. Let’s ignore most of the ‘flaws’ and focus on finding even the smallest things you did well and how you got better.

Chapter 10- Insta-everything

Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.

There is no easy way around it , no matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you are not skilled.

Talent without character is like an expensive, fast car with no gas. It is useless without the fuel that drives it.

And while I do not know what anyone is born with, I do know that none of us know our potential. Your potential is much greater than you ever realize, but it will take incredible dedication and purposeful training to unlock it . Most people never realize their potential, because when things get hard, or they experience failure, they just quit. Or, they never give their very, very best and exhaust themselves in order to protect their ego. They enjoy being able to say, ‘I didn’t even really try,’ or ‘I didn’t really care.’ Because if they did really give it their best, and still failed, that would be too much for their ego to handle.

You do not shine under the bright lights; the bright lights only reveal your work in the dark.

Too many people seek exposure from the bright lights, but the bright lights only expose their lack of faithfulness to their craft in the dark.

Chapter 11- Wandering Eyes

“I have really been struggling the last few months, because it just feels like it’s not fair that I work so hard, yet other people who are more talented than me continue to surpass me with less effort. Do you know how embarrassing it is to be busting my butt every day, and giving my everything to get better, and it never feels good enough? I watch others give half the effort, and they are still better than me. I just feel like I should quit, go home, and get a normal job.”

Let me tell you two very important things: comparison is the thief of all joy, and the grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it. You have grown up in a society where things like social media and twenty – four-hour television have established a culture that is hyper - focused on comparison. But if you are constantly comparing, you will have all the joy sucked out of you. You must focus on your journey, yours alone.

Use what you and you alone have been given. You do not know what other people are going through, and everyone has their own unique struggles. Stop trying to live their life, because there are millions of people who would give anything to live your life.

You must always keep perspective. It is very easy to lose it, and when you lose perspective you forget that this life is but a vapor; we are here today and gone tomorrow. Do not waste your life. Focus on what truly matters, and do not fall for the lies of the comparison thief.

Chapter 12- Rough Side of the Mountain

Many people think that all you need is talent, and that only the chosen few can ever truly succeed. Many talented people believe the same thing, and then get frustrated when they fail, because they think all they need to do is show up, and everything will magically line up for them because of their talent.

I know you are afraid of your perceived weaknesses and shortcomings, and you feel like your journey has always taken you up the rough side of the mountain. But when you don’t give up and you don’t give in, the rough side of the mountain actually molds you and shapes you into a person who can travel much further in life, just like those roughed-up golf balls.

The blemishes, scars, and setbacks are what give you the character to take you places other people are too soft and smooth to go.

Winning the lottery skips the valuable process of going up the rough side of the mountain. Instead of being forced to learn and develop the skills necessary for creating or sustaining success, you arrive at the top, without any of what it takes to stay there. Talent can be a kind of lottery. A talented athlete is often less likely to develop the skills and work ethic that a less-talented one has to develop just to survive, and because of that, they may end up much worse off down the road. They never learned the work ethic, persistence, and grit needed to overcome the inevitable challenges that life throws their way

I know that it seems like life is unfair right now, and you want things to be easier, but the rough side of the mountain will actually prepare you for life much better than the smooth side. Believe it or not, the setbacks of today can quickly become the forging blades of greatness for tomorrow. In fact, a wise man once said, “hardship often prepares ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

Chapter 13 – Harnessing Power

Words are a lot like that. Just like the wind, they are everywhere. We use them every day to talk to others, but most importantly, we use them to talk to ourselves. And just like the wind, their power can either destroy, or create. You may not have control over how other people talk to you, but you do have control over how you talk to yourself. And that is hugely important, because words put pictures in your mind. Pictures in your mind impact how you feel. How you feel impacts what you do. What you habitually do impacts your destiny. What amazes me is that many people, often without realizing it, use this power to talk themselves into choices that are harmful for themselves in the long run, even if they might offer temporary happiness. Or, they use their words to give power to their inner critic, destroying their own joy and growth before it even has a chance to start.

Worrying is a form of negative visualization, that helps create the scenario you see happening in your mind. The hard choice, but the one that is best for us in the long run, is to use our words to put beneficial pictures in our minds, and to talk to ourselves in ways that push us toward growth and toward what is most beneficial for ourselves in the long run. It might sound crazy at first, but using beneficial and constructive self-talk instead of giving power to our inner critic is one of the most formidable strategies possible to use toward reaching our own potential.

You might not be able to stop negative thoughts or your inner critic from screaming at you, but you don’t have to believe them or give them significance, and you can definitely talk to yourself rather than just listening to the negativity

Chapter 14 – Diet Coke

Mental training is not magic. It is deliberate, intentional, and extremely hard training. If I told you it would be easy to lose one hundred fifty pounds, you would think I was crazy, just like you do when you watch these commercials.

It is the same with mental training and developing true mental toughness. It’s not sexy, it’s dirty, hard work.

Chapter 15 – The Path To Mastery

He explained that while he wanted to feel constant improvement, mastery moves much differently: it moves in steps, not constants. While he might feel discouraged now, he was on a long plateau, and in time he would eventually have another growth spurt.

Chapter 16 – I Am With Everything

No highlights

Chapter 17 – Bamboo

Not forgiving people is like swallowing a deadly drug and hoping the person who wronged you dies from it.

Many people love bamboo. They love the bamboo trees, and they love the bamboo wood, but very few people understand the process of growing bamboo. You dig up the soil and make sure it is good soil, and then you plant the bamboo seed. You then must faithfully water it every day. After three months, guess what starts to happen?

You see absolutely nothing happening. You keep watering it and watering it, but you continue to see nothing happening for one year, then two years, then three years. Do you know what happens after three years? Nothing - you see absolutely nothing. What you don’t see happening is what is taking place beneath the surface. Beneath the surface, a massive, dense foundation of roots is spreading out all throughout the ground to prepare for the rapid growth that the bamboo will experience. So, you keep watering it and watering it, and eventually, after five years of seeing nothing at all happen above the surface, the bamboo tree shoots up to over ninety feet tall in just six weeks. Most people want the ninety-foot-tall bamboo tree without the five years of the process. They want the bamboo to grow to ninety feet tall in six weeks, but without the five years of invisible growth, the bamboo wouldn’t have a solid foundation, and it could never sustain the massive and rapid growth that occurs.

Chopping wood and carrying water is the price of admission for the opportunity to reach sustained excellence. Like the roots of a bamboo tree, it is a long and arduous process of invisible growth, where you are building the foundation that is necessary to sustain success.

For many years it might feel as if nothing is happening, but you must trust the process and continue to chop wood and carry water, day in day out, regardless of what is happening around you. There will be distractions. There will be people who tell you that you are stupid or crazy for doing it. There will be people who try and lure you off the path with quick fixes and get rich quick schemes. But you must be wise and stay the path, and continue to build your foundation by chopping wood and carrying water every day. Greatness isn’t sexy, it is the dirty, hard work that is often very boring. Stay the path, and never forget “chop wood, and carry water.”

Chapter 18- Road Signs on The Path To Mastery

Wait a minute, am I going in the right direction?

The same thing often happens with people in their teams, businesses, corporations, and families. The road signs on the path to mastery are similar regardless of the context we find ourselves in at any particular time in life. We can take solace in knowing that we are going in the right direction by the signs on the road. Here are some of those road signs:

• This is hard.

• I don’t feel like doing ________ today.

• Everyone else has more time than me.

• I don’t feel like this is making a difference.

• Almost no one else is doing this.

The thing about all of these signs is that they provide information, but they don’t give a whole lot of instruction. Instead, they are more like the mile-markers or rest stop signs that tell us where things are. But the great thing about most highways is that they don’t just provide information; they actually provide instruction that will help us move safely and efficiently towards our destination. These are the yellow diamond signs that we see instructing us about a speed change for a sharp bend, uneven roads, or road work ahead. The road signs on the path to mastery are no different.

So, what are some of the path to mastery’s instructions?

• Talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself.

• Ask the question, “What is one thing I can do to make the situation better?” rather than, “why is this happening to me?”

• Live by principles rather than feelings.

Finally, there are warning signs that mark the path. They are signs that warn us about the result of our choices. On the highway we see warnings about fines in a work zone, fines for littering, and fines for HOV violators. They are the boundaries that we must operate in, or else there will be a consequence. The path to mastery is marked with those as well.

• Your choice creates your challenge

• You are building your own house

• Your choice creates a challenge for those on your team

• You will reap what you sow

• The grass is greener where you water it

• The wise man finds the diamonds on his own land.

Even though the path to mastery is available to everyone, very few will choose to take it.

Will there be obstacles? Yes.

Will there be people who try to hold you back? Yes.

Will there be circumstances that create challenges outside of your control? Yes.

Will it be lonely at times? Yes.

But choosing to believe that anything that happens is in your best interest will turn all of the challenges and circumstances into a refinery that will shape your character and skills, and will develop within you an ability to change the world.

Chapter 19 – Be Where Your Feet Are

A sensei had talked about the need to be fully absorbed in the moment. The way he described it was almost as if the greatest samurai archers arrived at a place where they were so fully absorbed in the moment that they melded with the bow and arrow, so that they were no longer two separate things, but became one.

The teacher had shared the importance of playing present. He said that the majority of people feel pressure and never come close to playing to their potential, because they never play present. Instead, they play in the past or the future, which is where they feel pressure.

There is no such thing as pressure in the present moment.

To play present, you must first learn to live present. Remember, you are always training.

There is only one thing you have to do in life, and that is die. You are always doing what you want to do, because there is always a choice. You may not like the choices, or the consequences, but you always have a choice.

When you tell yourself that you have to do something, it creates a negative internal energy, but when you realize you want to do something it creates a more beneficial internal energy.

Chapter 20 – Goal vs Mission

People love goals because they secretly let them off the hook. If your goal is to become a doctor, there are a lot of people who can stop that from happening. There are many checkpoints along the way where people can tell you that you aren’t smart enough, or that you don’t qualify

But if you look at Mother Theresa’s mission, ‘to serve the needs of the sick and the dying,’ no one could ever stop her from living that out. Goals actually allow you to shirk responsibility.

But a mission? Only the person in the mirror can stop you from living that out. I think one of the reasons so many young people today are floundering around chasing all the wrong things, is because they are bored with goals. They need a compelling mission.

One hundred years ago, teenagers were leading armies, raising families, and living inspired lives. They might have lived ‘boring’ lives by today’s standards, but I would argue many of them were inspired by a compelling mission from a very young age.

Today, our parents and coaches do all sorts of things to shelter kids from the consequences of their choices, and rarely inspire them with a mission. I believe a mission is something you can do right where you are, anywhere, using only what you have. You do not need anyone’s permission.

So, what is your mission? It is much deeper than a goal, and it is okay to borrow one from others and then refine it as you go. But your mission will act as your internal navigation system. Without a mission, you will flounder through life and very easily end up with your ladder on the ‘oh sh**’ building.

Many people keep climbing and climbing, only to get to the end of their life and the top of the ladder, and realize their ladder has been on the wrong building - the "oh sh** building." Without a mission, it is easy to lose perspective on what truly matters.

A mission will make you think beyond the moment, which is greatly important because the only thing that is significant about the moment is who you become in the process, and the impact you have on others.

No one on their death bed is worried about how they did in a game, on a test, or how much money they made. They care about their relationships, and who they have become as a person. I know that in the moment, the achievements feel like a big deal, but with perspective, you will realize just how insignificant they really are.

Chapter 21 - Surrender

As soon as you told me your goal was to win the tournament last week, I knew you had allowed your focus to shift away from the process and onto the uncontrollables.

You cannot play present if you are focused on winning or the outcome.

Remember that the next time you are struggling and you need a perspective shift. It’s not just what you do, but it is also the heart posture you have while doing it. If you broke your legs, I bet you would give anything to just be able to go for a walk. But it is easy to lose perspective and focus on silly things like the results of a tournament, rather than on being grateful for even being able to participate in that tournament in the first place.

When you operate with a heart posture of gratefulness, you free yourself up to be at your best and slip into the zone. When you are focused on results you tend to force things, which makes you tight, and it’s almost impossible to get into the zone. Not to mention, you are also much more of a joy to be around for those you love when you operate with a heart posture of gratefulness.

The ultimate illusion of the human experience is control. The person you want beside you in battle is the guy who has surrendered the outcome, and surrendered to the fact that he might die. When you surrender the outcome, you are freed up to be at your best, to be in the moment, and to trust your training. It is the one who has surrendered the outcome who ironically has the greatest chance of survival. It is the one who has surrendered the outcome who has the greatest chance of success. It is the one who has surrendered to the fact that he could fail, who has the greatest likelihood of not failing.

Until you surrender the outcome, you will always be the greatest enemy to your own success. In order to reach your greatest potential you must operate with a heart posture of gratitude, commit to the controllables, surrender the outcome, and trust the process.

Chapter 22 – Famous Failures

Because your failures, shortcomings, and challenges can either end up as your excuse or your story. I hope you choose courage, curiosity, and persistence. Because those are stories worth telling.”

Chapter 23 – The Illusion of Partially-Controllable Goals

The truth about partially-controllable goals: they are very alluring, but very dangerous.

Things like winning, rebounding, sales, or beating your opponent’s records, can distract us from what is more important: the person we become on the journey.

That day, my focus was on the partially controllable goal, and I spoiled the journey, my character, my health, and my relationship in the process. I compromised the things that are not only important to me, but the things I spend my life trying to teach others to do well.

Cascading waterfalls in life are sexy and alluring, and I hope you get to experience some of them. But if we focus on them instead of true mental toughness, we so often end up compromising all the things that truly matter.

Sometimes we make it to the waterfalls, many times we do not. But regardless of whether we achieve our goal or not, there is always a path of destruction in our wake. It might be easier to justify that wake of destruction when you achieve the goal, but it is even more of a reality check when you do not.

A wise man once said, ‘You can go chase a dream, but then sometimes you look back and there’s a trail of tears behind you. And the tears are usually your wife and kids.

Chapter 24 – The Flight

The Chinese symbol for crisis is the combination of two words: danger and opportunity.

At every crossroads there are at least two choices: to view your circumstance as a calamity, or to view it as an incredible opportunity. The most important question to think about right now is this: five years from today, will you be ashamed of how you shrank from what you saw as a calamity? Or, will you look back and be proud of how you maximized your incredible opportunity?

The thing about incredible opportunities is that they often come to us disguised as five-hundred-pound lions. Right now you are face to face with one of the many lions you will encounter in life. The question is, what will you believe about it, and what will you do about it?

There is an ancient story about a warrior named Benaiah, and while he doesn’t get very many lines in the Book, they tell us a lot about life. In the first line, it says that one day he chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day, and killed it. The next line says that Benaiah went on to become King David’s chief bodyguard. When most people come face to face with their opportunities (lions) they run as fast as they can in the opposite direction, but when you decide to embrace the lion and chase it, you have the opportunity to build your resume, your character, and your skills.

No one is interested in watching a story where the hero doesn’t have to overcome a lot of adversity. That would be incredibly boring.

You have an opportunity to develop mental, emotional, and relational skills. But what you do with that opportunity, is up to you. Will you squander it wasting time, or will you harness the opportunity and allow it to build you into more of the person that you want to become?

Make a ‘can do’ list of all the things you can do to get better while you are not able to train/work.

Chapter 25 – Principles Instead of Feelings

How is your strategy of living by your feelings working out for you?’

He then shared a quote from a man named Eric Thomas, ‘At the end of your feelings is nothing. But at the end of every principle is a promise.’

Living by feelings is never going to work out well for anyone, because feelings change.

Sometimes we simply wake up and we feel differently. Sometimes, someone does something to make us feel differently. Living by our feelings is like riding an emotional rollercoaster.

When you make the choice to live by a certain set of principles, it will not only protect you from your feelings, it will allow you to step into your greatest potential. Many days, you aren’t going to feel like working out and honing your craft. Many days, you aren’t going to feel like treating people really well. Many days, you aren’t going to feel like being unconditionally grateful. Many days, you aren’t going to feel like giving your very best.

But the principle says you are going to reap what you sow. The principle says that diligent workers are going to serve kings instead of ordinary men. The principle says to turn the other cheek. The principle says to seek wise counsel. The principle says to speak life and not death.

At the end of principles there is life, freedom, hope, joy, and peace. But at the end of feelings is destruction.

I want you to seek out principles from ancient wisdom that have been tried and tested through the ages. When you switch from living by your feelings to living by principles, you will start to see very different fruit in your life. It is not easy, and sometimes you will slip up and make choices based off of your feelings. Pick yourself up, and get back on the road to living by your principles rather than your feelings. It’s not easy, but it is a lot better than living by your feelings.

Can you think of four principles you have learned so far from your time here that you want to live by?

1. you are building your own house.

2. to play present, you must train to live present.

3. you must surrender the outcome and commit to the process or you will become your own worst enemy.

4. no matter what my circumstances are, always chop wood and carry water.

Chapter 26 – Warrior Dial

It is called the warrior dial. Think about your warrior dial from one to ten. One is ultra-stealth mode, and barely moving. Ten is a super-hyped kamikaze screaming and running into a building with a bomb strapped to them.

Every one of us can turn our warrior dial up or down, and depending on the context of the situation and where we are at our best, we would be wise to do so. Think about today. Based off the context of the day and it being your first day back, where do you think you are at on the warrior dial?

If you are above a 4 or 5 on the warrior dial likely to shoot inaccurately.So, how do you turn your warrior dial down? You can turn your warrior dial down by doing deep-breathing exercises, talking slower, lowering your voice, listening to classical music, and slowing your movements. In fact, many of your teams in the west would benefit from turning their dial down before the “BIG” games and turning it up before the “smaller” games.

You already know how to turn your warrior dial up by watching inspirational movies, listening to upbeat music, and by jumping around. But in my experience, it is more challenging to turn your dial down, than it is to turn it up. It will take practice, but you will get the hang of it.

Chapter 27 - They

I want you know that when you get back into the world, you will face a unique challenge. You will face the challenge of ‘they.’

We come out from the womb creating and exploring. But then we start school, and we are told to sit down, shut up, and get in line. We are told to behave and to color inside the lines. We are told to dream sensibly and to be ‘realistic.’ You want to know who ‘they’ are? ‘They’ are the ones saying all of that. And if you don’t obey, if you don’t do what ‘they’ say, they call you disobedient, unassimilated, disturbed, or they diagnose you with ADHD. Then they drug you, all to get you to fit in their nice little box.

'They’ will call you all sorts of names, they will throw down the gauntlet in front of you, they will do everything they can to keep you inside their ‘safe’ container.

If you put one crab in a bucket, it will crawl out. If you put multiple crabs in a bucket, they will pull each other down every time one starts to crawl out. If a crab continues to try and crawl out of the bucket the other crabs will break its leg.

Unfortunately we live in a society of crabs. But we weren’t created to sit still and learn the ‘right’ answer. We were created to explore, create, to be loved, to love and to learn. Be courageous, and never listen to ‘they.’

Once you break out they will call you a genius, and tell everyone how talented you are. They will try and neatly sweep all your years of sweat, turmoil, and uncommon persistence under the rug. Why? Because it is so much more comfortable to believe greatness is reserved for the chosen few than it is to work your ever-loving butt off to become the best you are capable of being.

And most importantly, please don’t try and teach your friends and family the lessons you learned here.

There will be people who ask you for wisdom, and feel free to share it with them, BUT you must never cross boundaries without an invitation. A wise man once said “the difference between a pest and a guest is an invitation." You have gained so much wisdom while you are here, but most people won’t be interested in learning or changing. It is very sad, but you need to be prepared for what you are walking into.

Even though you are equipped with life changing wisdom that could transform lives, you must not share it without an invitation. Most people just want to be heard and loved, they don’t want your wisdom, and that is OK! Sometimes, you can actually become the greatest impediment to other people growing when you try and force things on them. In time, if they see you model it, they will probably start to ask for help.

Greatness is a bunch of small things done well, added up over time, that most people think are too small to matter. You have learned to fall in love with the process of becoming great, to take the rough side of the mountain, and to let your skills and character be refined by the day-in, day-out process of chopping wood and carrying water.

Chapter 28- A New Name [Call Me George]

Names are very powerful.

You have transformed through your time here, and you need to have a new name that represents that transformation.

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