14 Things I Learned to Make Me Better


Jan 18, 2023
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1- Hard Work Still Wins. I have always been a hard worker. It’s just a part of who I am. I used to actually take pride in how hard I worked but then something happened. I started coming up with excuses why I didn’t need to work hard anymore. Bullshit!

Over the course of 2014 I started studying successful people. I really dug into what makes successful athletes, business owners, parents, etc. The one overwhelming aspect they all had in common was hard work. It became incredibly difficult to find anyone who was ultra successful who was not also an extremely hard worker.

Are there people who have made it the “easy” way? Yeah of course, but don’t focus on the outliers focus on the majority. Always be the hardest worker in the room and you will be rewarded.

2- Books Can Change Your Life. I don’t have a particular book in mind to share with you but this point is more or less just talking about reading in general. In my opinion reading will change your life as long as you read the right books.

I made a conscious effort to read more in 2014 and I immediately felt the effects. It’s hard to really pin point what I mean but throughout the year I could tell when my reading slowed down or increased.

In 2014 I became obsessed with reading and books in general.

Most people don’t have access to positive uplifting people. I wish that wasn’t the case but it is. Reading can provide you with that.

My goal for 2015 is to read at least 75 books. You don’t need to read that many but I guarantee you will see the benefits if you start reading more.

3 – Training Should Be Fun. I know this is not a revolutionary idea but we (myself included) sometimes get too caught up in the X’s and O’s of training. Agonizing over sets, reps, programming, etc. is important but at the end of the day training should be fun.

Throughout 2014 I really worked on bringing the fun back into my training and it has made a big difference. For me it came down to trying a bunch of newish things and then in the end incorporating them in with what I enjoy the most.

I recommend following a similar path. If you are struggling to stay motivated in your training chances are you would benefit by making it more fun.

Try something new. Find a training partner, join a different gym or hire a coach to incorporate some changes for you.

4- More is Not ALWAYS Better. This is something I have adopted all across my life. I wouldn’t say I am a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination but I am learning to value having and doing less. If I had a theme for 2014 it would be focusing on what I really want while eliminating that in which I don’t.

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In the past I have always tried to push for more. I wanted to do more, be more, have more, etc. More is not better, better is better.

Time is the most precious commodity we have. It’s something we only have so much of and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Becoming a dad has made me more aware of this. I value my time more than anything else.

Time is often wrongly used as an excuse. Not having time is the most common reason people use for not doing or accomplishing something. How can everyone be so busy? I certainly don’t see it. How are successful people getting all their shit done? They don’t have more hours in the day. It comes down to priorities.

Part of being more productive is knowing what to be productive on. As a society we value being busy more than being productive. In the end being productive is all that matters.

5- It’s Not Overtraining It’s Under Recovery (Stress). You hear people say this a lot, it has almost turned into a cliché but in 2014 I felt it.

If I had to define my training style (for myself not necessarily my clients) I would say I favor a high volume/high workload approach. On top of that I love training. With all that being said I would admittedly do things I would not have my clients do. Things such as train hard 14 days in a row or squat heavy 5 days in a week. Think of something crazy and I have probably tried it. Up until 2014 it was never an issue.

As many of you know in 2014 I became a dad. With that came a lot of newly added stress which severely hampered my recovery ability. Also my nutrition which has always been on point suddenly went to shit. It was one little thing after another throughout the entire year. I was tired, hurt, sore, and overall just felt beat up most of the year.

Now as the year comes to an end, I am beginning to get a hang on this new dad thing and everything is getting better. As my stress has gone down so has the little things that were bothering me.

Don’t take your ability to recover lightly. On top of that, stress needs to be managed. I never paid much attention to either of those things until I was forced to.

6- Everyone Does Not Have to Agree With You About Everything. It’s perfectly ok to agree to disagree. It’s impossible to change someone’s opinion when that person does not want their opinion changed. People like what you have to say as long as it agrees with what they already believe to be true.

I learned this in 2014.

There are many different ways to achieve your goals. Some ways are better than others but in the end a lot of strategies work.

As an educator all I can do is provide the information. I used to get bent out of shape if people didn’t agree or buy into what I have to say. Now I understand some battles you just can’t win.

Be open minded. Try to learn from everyone. Also, spend time learning about things you don’t know or agree with. Extra knowledge never hurt anyone.

This leads into the next one…

7- Not Everyone Wants Your Help. I realized this with the growth of my newsletter. After every newsletter my email inbox gets flooded with messages from people thanking me for the information. The response has been incredible. However, with that being said for every hundred or so positive messages I get a couple people who unsubscribe. That’s a pretty good ratio but it still upsets me that anyone would not want the information I provide.

After a while I had to just come to the understanding that not everyone wants my help.

I know many of you may be in the same boat to a different degree. You may want to persuade friends and family to adopt a fitness lifestyle, or to start Flexible Dieting. Just understand that they may or may not actually want you to help them. Don’t take it personally.

8- Don’t Buy Cheap Alcohol or Coffee. This point speaks for itself. Somethings you can get away with buying knock off brands – alcohol and coffee you can’t. You probably won’t even realize the difference until you try “the good stuff” but once you do it will be a no brainer. Reach for the top shelf.

9- Changing Your Frame of Reference. I got this from Joe De Sena, founder of the Spartan Race and author of Spartan Up. I found myself repeating this a lot throughout the year.

For this point I am going provide you a passage from Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life.

“Compare the satisfaction of eating a banana after Thanksgiving dinner to eating a banana after a weeklong fast.When not eating, we gradually grow accustomed to being hungry; we recalibrate our frame of reference. After not eating for a week, you would think anything that is edible tastes like a gourmet meal…Money does not equal happiness, and too many people strive for wealth as a way to achieve happiness. A Spanish economist named Manel Baucells Alibes wanted to answer this question: why are millionaires living in mansions in the United States not infinitely happier than Masai warriors living in huts in Kenya? Alibes developed a mathematical formula: Happiness = What I Have Now – What I Had Before”

What does all this mean? We need to control our frame of reference. It’s too easy to succumb to being unhappy about everything.

We get used to training in perfect conditions with our lucky lever belt, olympic lifting shoes, knee sleeves, wrist straps, a $1000 Eleiko barbell, etc. God forbid something happens and we have to train without one of those things.

Change your frame of reference.

10- Little Babies Poop A LOT. Just thought you would want to know that…

11- Eliminate Hate From Your Life.

If you only get one thing out of this article I hope it’s this. Watch the video, the message is worth it.

12- Learning How to “Unfollow”. In 2014 I made an effort to spend less time on social media. At first you would think that would hinder my online business but actually the contrary is true.

When you break down the time you spend on social media what does it consist of? For me (and I assume many of you as well) it came down to worthless scrolling and seeing posts I didn’t even care about.

It all changed when I finally unfollowed everyone on Twitter and Instagram and deleted Facebook off my phone. Now if I am on social media it is to post something. You would not believe how much this has freed up my life. You will not understand how much time you waste on social media until you stop doing so.

I’m not saying everyone has to unfollow everyone. Actually I think you should follow a select few people that can make your life better. The trick is finding those people who are worth the follow.

The bottom line here is take action and cut down on your social media use in 2015. It will not only make you more productive but happier as well.

13- Just Do You. I don’t think you can really get this one until you learn to unfollow life like I said above. It’s just too hard to be original when you spend all day observing what everyone else is doing. Even those with the best intentions go on social media and get bombarded with ideas on how they should live their life.

As a society I see this as a problem. Focus on being the person you want to be. Find out what makes you happy. This is a lot easier said than done.

Picture your perfect day and start taking steps to get you there.

14- If You Don’t Want to Be Average You Can’t Do Things Average People Do. Going back on the first point of the article – in order to achieve greater accomplishments you need to put in the work to make it happen.

You do not get what you deserve, you get what your actions dictate you get. If you do average things your results are going to be average. If you put average effort into your training you can’t expect more than average results.

To me this came down to finding little things I know “average” people wouldn’t do. Find those things in your life and do them.

Common Sense?

I truly believe the best advice you ever receive will be things you already know.