“Old Blood and Guts” 3 Keys to Becoming Great

Temperance 10/29/2019

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be great? It is possible to be great in specific areas like a sport or in your job. It is also possible to be great at life in general. When they say anything is possible, this is what I want my son to know. It is something I need to constantly to remember:

Anyone can be great!

Are you willing to do what it takes to become great? After all, that is the great question you have to ask yourself. Greatness will not fall into your lap. You will not inherit it from your parents. No one can gift greatness to you. If you want it, you have to go out and get it for yourself. So how do you become great? Let’s take a look at one of the truly great leaders from our nation’s past.

By perseverance, study, and eternal desire, any man can become great. –General George S. Patton

Perseverance. There are many requirements needed to become a general, and time is one of them. For Patton, it took 31 years to get his first star as a Brigadier General and another five years on top of that to become a 4-star General commanding over 200,000 soldiers in World War II.

To build up to that level takes time. It takes perseverance. There is no giving up along the way. You have to keep going, both in good times and in bad.

There are many new employees I come across who aspire to greatness, yet very few make it through the first few years. The excitement falls off. They become stagnant in their progress. Eventually, they get distracted by other pursuits. What they once wanted to be great at no longer seems important, and they end up moving on in life. To be the best in your field, you have to stay focused and continue the pursuit.

Study. We want to put leaders on pedestals and expect them to be flawless. Look at our current leaders today. We have zero tolerance for their mistakes, yet at the same time, we dismiss our own shortcomings.

Old Blood and Guts (Patton’s nickname) didn’t have a perfect track record as an officer. On top of that, he was far from perfect in his formative years before receiving his commission. He wasn’t very good in school and had trouble reading and writing. At West Point, he struggled with his math as well and had to repeat his first year. How could a struggling student finish in the top half of his class? He studied. He continued working on his craft and became a lifelong student.

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. –Harry S. Truman


If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you. –General Jim Mattis

I often ask people what they are reading. I’m curious, and I’m looking for like-minded souls who may have a good book recommendation. There are two reasons why people tell me they don’t read. First, they say they aren’t very good readers. Well, I am afraid there is only one cure to that problem. Read more. Insider tip: Start by reading things you are interested in. Develop your skill set, and then you can move on to more difficult topics. The second reason why people tell me they don’t read is time. They don’t have the time to read. There is always time. You just have to make it. You have to prioritize what is more important in your life. Did you have time to see what all your friends are doing on Facebook? How’s your progress on consuming the complete Netflix catalog? We have time enough if we want it.

In your field, you cannot become complacent. General knowledge of your subject will not take you very far. If you are not the expert at what you do, someone else will be. Depending on your job, this means you are replaceable by someone has who is willing to learn. You have to know your field. You have to study and stay current on the subject.

Desire. Or as Patton says it, eternal desire. You have to want it. Nobody gets to the top unless they want to get there. You can’t want it today but not tomorrow. It has to consume you to do what it takes to be the best. If that means millions of free-throws, then so be it. They say practice makes perfect. Really, it should be said continuous practice over the course of a lifetime and you may find perfection. To practice for the rest of your life, you have to have eternal desire.

The keys to greatness according to Old Blood and Guts, the great General George S. Patton are:

  1. Perseverance
  2. Study
  3. Eternal desire

Good luck on your quest!

Build Through Action

Temperance 10/1/2019

My son, Alec, gets frustrated when he can’t do something right the first time. He is still learning that practice is the key to success. Eventually, he will understand the concept of practice. This is not something to get upset about, it is a deficiency. And to overcome the deficiency, you must practice.

When I think about the things I am good at, I consider what it took to get that way. It took hours of repetition. It took patience. It took the realization that glory, if it was to be had, would not come during the practice sessions.

Often, we become good at things we don’t necessarily want to do. We are required by our employer to do job-related tasks. We get good at them, because we don’t want to spend all of our time on the menial stuff. We practice until we become efficient, and then we do the task in the least amount of time possible.

Action is the key to foundational success. –Pablo Picasso

Over 140,000 works of art. That’s what Picasso did. It would take over 383 years to do one a day. Imagine how many pieces he did every day during the course of his life.

In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that it takes about 10,000 hours to become a master. That’s twenty hours a week for ten years. I don’t recall giving any one area of my life that much time. Am I even working toward one discipline with that much effort?

There are things that I want to get really good at. There are areas that I want to master. Am I putting in the effort to accomplish these in my lifetime? I can’t say that I am. I only have so many years left to get after it, if I don’t increase my efforts now, when will I?

And what about Alec? Even at seven years of age, he is becoming passionate about different hobbies. Of course, I think it is wise for him to try as many as he can. But the sooner he can narrow down one true pursuit, the quicker he can master it. It is a bit of a conundrum but something I think about, and eventually it is something I hope he thinks about.

Words That Nourish

Take a moment and think about the words you use. Do you wish to inspire others to become greater than they are? Do you wish to be the motivating force that fuels this generation to action?

How powerful is your dialogue? What words strike to the core of your audience, leaving them with a lasting impression? Will your words be profound, or will they be profane?

Often one chooses the profane. It is radical and cutting edge. Fifty years ago, it was looked down upon, but now it is cool. These words are catalysts that cause an immediate reaction. They are not very creative. There is not a whole lot of effort required to use them. Do you have to think long and hard to ensure the word’s correct placement?

Consider the word, fuck. What is it?

  • Fornication Under Consent of King
  • An English Archer’s salute to the French with the middle finger saying, “I can still pluck you.”
  • A noun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective, or any other type of word when the user can’t think of a better word to use. Can it really be all those things, a modifier for all occasions?

Will you rob a strong word’s power through overuse?

Don’t get me wrong. I have let that bomb fly from my mouth too many times. When it has flown, it has the mark. I said it with intent and out of anger. With malice, I chose to cut my intended victim. Every time it came out, it was followed by regret. Not because I am righteous, high and mighty, or a goody two-shoes. No. I was lacking discipline.

I was being LAZY!

My vocabulary is strong enough that I could have picked a more suitable word. Instead, I chose to go with crass. I didn’t want to stop and take the time to choose another. I didn’t want to use more brainpower than necessary.

Finding the profound word takes effort. It takes a little more thought, more time, than it does to find the profane word. But what would you rather be, profound or profane?

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. -Proverbs 16:24

Consider this proverb. It is not flattery. It is nourishment. It is using words that strengthen and edify the recipients. Pleasant words are not used out of anger. They are not rash, lazy, or weak. They hit their intended mark and leaves the hearer better off than before.

What Good Have I Done?

Last night I opened up Twitter and in my notifications was a question that made me pause and think. “Now that the day has passed, what good did you do today?”


I will keep constant watch over myself, and, most usefully, will put each day up for review. -Seneca

A new habit that I am working on is writing in my journal before going to bed. What am I writing about? I’m putting my day up for review and noting my short-comings. I am looking at where I went wrong and how I can do better in the future. Did I allow my temper to get the best of me? Did I not do the things I wanted to get done? I look at where I went wrong, but there is a question I don’t usually ask myself. What good did I do today?

Yesterday, I did a lot of good things for myself. I got up early. I exercised, read, and wrote. I drafted a future post on the virtue of Temperance. I went to work. I went about my day as usual and did a lot of good things -for myself. To my knowledge, I didn’t do anything evil. I don’t even remember having any bad thoughts. But did I do any good? I did what I felt was right, but is this enough? I didn’t see an opportunity to do a good deed, but was I really even looking?

Virtue consists more in doing good than refraining from evil. -Aristotle

When I came home, I found out my son got in trouble at school. He hit someone for no reason. I asked him why. He said because he wanted to. He was not provoked nor upset by the other person. He, for no apparent reason, wanted to hit the other boy. I did my duty as father.

What is my duty? As a father, it is my duty to raise a boy into a strong and productive man that can contribute to society when he gets older. He has his name and reputation to protect, even at the age of six. He cannot do that if he is being a bully. He must actively do good and not only refrain from evil.

The rod of correction gives wisdom, but uncontrolled youths disgrace their mothers. Discipline your children, and they will bring you comfort, and give delight to your soul. -Proverbs 29:15,17

“What good did I do today?” It is good that I did my duty. But if he did not get into trouble, would I have done any good? My plan after work was to play with my son. We were going to exercise a little, wrestle a bit, and then get into some Legos. My “good” was in being a good father and husband. It may not seem remarkable to some, but I view it as my sacred duty. Yet I could have done more on this day. I will catalog it in my journal and make the attempt to do more “good” tomorrow.

Again, thank you Chip for creating this awareness to actively do good.

Take Your Lumps, Learn

A boxer knows he is going to get hit. He may learn how to take the hits and minimize the damage. But he knows that if he is going to fight, he is going to get hit. Does that prevent him from stepping into the ring?

The pain of getting hit should be a powerful lesson. We learn from pain.

The way of fools is right in their own eyes, but those who listen to advice are the wise. –Proverbs 12:15

There is a repeated lesson in Proverbs concerning the wise and the foolish. The wise listen. They take in knowledge. Fools, however, don’t shut up. They keep talking. They don’t learn.

A wise son loves correction, but the scoffer heeds no rebuke. –Proverbs 13:1

Nobody begins with wisdom. We have to learn it. As children, we should be corrected for our foolish words and acts. The correction should be strong enough that we learn and do not repeat the error. This should be a continuous process until we become refined adults able to function society.

This is what should happen. But often, the correction never comes or is not severe enough to deter the child from this foolish behavior.

Those who disregard discipline hate themselves, but those who heed reproof acquire understanding. –Proverbs 15:32

Discipline is not a bad thing. You put a hand in the fire. You get burned. You know in the future to not do it again. You say something offensive among your peers. You get called out or ignored. In the future, you will either curb your tongue and provide something meaningful or you find a new group. You find what works and what doesn’t. You take your lumps and you grow.

The rod of correction gives wisdom, but uncontrolled youths disgrace their mothers. –Proverbs 29:15

The rod of correction. Sounds horrible, mean, and abusive. In the old days, fools got whipped. Why? What is the reasoning? To get better. To learn. If you knew you were going to get whipped for foolishness, wouldn’t you stop being foolish? Wouldn’t it be better to take the correction and learn?

We all get the rod of correction sometimes in our life. Whether it is physical or psychological, from our parents or from society, we cannot escape it. It is up to us to learn. It is up to us to test the waters, get in the ring, and try our best not to get punched in the face. It is okay to be ignorant. It is not okay to stay ignorant.

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn. –Ray Bradbury

Your Highest Standard

What have I noticed on the assembly line in the last month that I have been back on it? Too many associates and lower-level managers are content with exerting the minimal amount of effort to achieve the company goals. We want our compensation levels to increase, but we are not willing to do more in order to get more.

What happens when the standard is to achieve the minimum? Morale goes down. Safety is sacrificed. Production goals are not met. The potential of an excellent product is diminished by defects. Customers become less satisfied and ultimately choose another product.

“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.” –Orison Swett Marden

“Circumstances does not make the man; they only reveal him to himself.” –Epictetus

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” –Leo Tolstoy

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi

It is easy to fall into the trap. We look at the goal for the day and strive to achieve just that, no more. We complain about the environment in which we work and blame the management rather than take the steps to fix it ourselves. We justify safety concerns instead of addressing them. It is easier to put the blame on the circumstances, not on ourselves.

Last week, I said no more. I have always tried to do a good job. My goals have always been simple: no defects and no downtime. But I looked at it and thought even that was the bare minimum. Shouldn’t I be doing more? So I told myself to set a new standard. Set a higher standard.

It may seem over-the-top, but I am all-in. When I get to my station, I set it in order. I look for ways to improve it. I leave it in better shape than the way I entered it. I clean, always clean. In between units, I pick up. Even if it is not my mess, if it enters into my area or is around my area, I clean it up. I don’t say anything to the other associates about the mess, I just do it. Maybe they see me doing it, maybe they don’t. It is not my concern. My concern is that the mess doesn’t travel down the line to the next person.

I’ve become 100%, a hundred percent of the time. The line may go down, but not me. I keep going, preparing for the next unit to come down the line, setting myself up for success.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” –Robert Collier

“If I am anything, which I highly doubt, I have made myself so by hard work.” –Sir Isaac Newton

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” –Marcus Aurelius

Have I become the ultimate factory worker? Not at all. Of course, I want to see the company do well. It pays my bills. It provides a certain amount of security in what can sometimes be a chaotic world. But I don’t plan on working there forever, and this company really is just another employer. My reasons, though beneficial to the organization, are really personal ones.

Working on the assembly line has created an imprint on my personal operating system. In order to maintain optimal quality, there should be no deviation to the processes. If you do the same things over and over again, you should get the same results every time. When something abnormal is added to the equation, it has the potential the change the results. When a continuous stream of abnormalties occur, things can get chaotic.

I have become mechanical, almost automatic. I don’t do well with chaos in either my personal life or my professional. It changes the rhythms and affects the results. The idea of a chaos-free world isn’t reasonable. Neither is a chaos-free workplace. Things happen, and I will have no choice but to deal with it. But if I can minimize it, there is a chance I can overcome it and not let it ruin me. If I continuously strive to create an ideal work environment, a work area free of clutter, then a defective unit coming into my area doesn’t become a disaster. I can deal with it on my own terms with less stress.

“If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” –Herschel Walker

“People create the reality they need in order to discover themselves.” –Ernest Becker

“Become what you are by learning who you are.” –Pindar

“Character, not circumstances, makes the man.” –Booker T. Washington

Jim Rohn said, “You should work harder on yourself than on your job.” Over the last year, those are the words I have tried to live by. But if I was’t working very hard at work and only doing the minimal requirements to get a paycheck, then I wasn’t really setting the bar very high for the “myself” that I was supposed to be working harder on. I had to ask myself a few questions. What if I changed? What if I raised my personal bar at work as high as if would go? Would this raise the level of work on myself? Could I exceed my own personal development goals?

This factory may not be where I want to be the rest of my life, but it is where I need to be right now. It is my personal training ground. It is where I test the methods I want to instill into my own life. It is a place where I can introduce my philosophical beliefs and see what ideas stick and which ones need to be refined. This is a place where I am learning just exactly who I am, while getting paid at the same time.

When I create the ideal environment to work in, magic happens. When I go on autopilot, my body by rote can operate on very little mental capacity. It knows what to do and so it just does. My mind is free to roam. So I think. I think about the job. Can I make it better? Is there any correlation between what I am doing and life. I envision where I want to be and how I can get there. Calvin Coolidge said, “All growth depends on activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” It is here, at this factory job, where to my amazement I am growing the most.

Bedros Keuilian says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”  This has become my gold standard. I can’t be half-way anymore. I have to be all-in. If I want the results I am looking for in life, then it comes down to this type of consistency.

The willingness and execution of going above and beyond increases my value. It increases my credibility when I am asked about my beliefs. Maybe nobody is watching and noticing what I am doing. That’s fine. I am not doing this for others but for myself as my own personal standard. But maybe there are others watching. Maybe everybody is watching. A positive change by one or by a few has the potential to change a cultural norm.

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how thing have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” –Rumi

“The choices you make today will be your biography tomorrow.” –James Altucher

Hard Life or Easy Life

It’s a new year of school (Alec is starting the 1st grade) and with it comes a new set of challenges. Last year in Kindergarten, Alec’s performance issues were talking, playing, and doing cartwheels at the wrong time. Coming into the second week of school, talking when he should not, has turned into his first challenge. Yesterday, he had four warnings for talking which led to not completing one of his tasks.

Growing up, I don’t remember being much of a talker. As I got older, not talking turned out to be a social negative. When others were building valuable social skills, I was locked away in my own thoughts. Now I am constantly waging a battle to become more approachable, with a positive demeanor, as opposed to my normal serious countenance. Often, I have to remind myself to be more engaging, to talk more.

I asked Alec why he was talking so much. He said, “I am trying to make friends.” Now that puts me in a conundrum. Not doing what you are supposed to in school should warrant some form of punishment. Building strong social skills that can enhance your personal and professional life as an adult, however, may be a more valuable lesson than any traditional education can provide. What Alec needs is balance. He needs to be able to do both and to do each at the appropriate time.

Sometimes it is not enough to do our best, we must do what is required. –Winston Churchill

The Punishment.

In Army Basic Training, a young soldier quickly learns the consequences of not doing what he is supposed to do. Usually this is in the form of physical exertion. My platoon in Basic underwent a lot of physical exertion. In the beginning, we did our best. It was never good enough, and we paid for it in our sweat and tears. Towards the end, we learned that doing what was required far outweighed our best intentions. In doing what was required, our extracurricular physical exertion was considerably reduced.

50 Push-ups, 50 Sit-ups, 5 total minutes Wall Sit

We broke Alec’s punishment down into a simple circuit of the three above exercises. 5 repetitions each of push-ups and sit-ups followed by a wall sit for as long as he could hold it. Except the last 10 seconds of the wall sit, this workout was not too difficult for Alec. The goal of this punishment was not to break him down. It wasn’t to psychologically scare him out of talking again. The purpose was to remind him that there are consequences for our actions. As long as he doesn’t get into trouble, I encourage him to talk. More importantly, we must do what is required. In this case, completing all tasks.

Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life. –Jerzy Gregorek, author of The Happy Body and legendary Olympic weightlifter.

The Lesson.

We are always making choices. The fruits of our present choices are always borne out in the future. Looking back again on my younger years, I made many easy choices. Every time I chose credit instead of cash, cheap and easy foods instead of high quality “fuel,” or laziness over action, I paid a very expensive price at later date. All the easy choices made my life much harder. Some of these choices I am still paying for today.

When Alec chose to talk instead of completing his tasks, he was making the easy choices. A hard choice would have been wait for the right time to talk. As a result of his easy choice, he paid for it through exercise. This may sound harsh to some, but it is a relatively small price for the value of the lesson. If he can learn to do the hard things now, he can possibly have a much easier life in the future. Many parents want the best for their children. In many cases, this results in the parents enabling their children in a futile attempt at making their lives easier. But gifts are often under-appreciated and easily squandered compared to possessions earned. I want Alec to have an easy life, but I can’t give it to him. He has to earn it by making the hard choices now.

You Snooze, You Lose

This morning I had a thought. It occurred as soon as my alarm sounded. I hit the snooze button on my phone (Why is snooze the big yellow button in the middle of my iPhone screen, instead of OFF?). My thought was to continue laying there. Maybe today I don’t get up. The desire to stay comfortable a little longer was very strong. If the rest of the world is sleeping, why shouldn’t I?

How many days have I lost? All those times I did not get up when my alarm went off, if I even set an alarm. I can’t begin to count the days and hours lost due to sleeping in.  I have squandered so much time. I will never get that time back again. It is that thought that caused me to change my sleeping habits. It is that thought that caused me to set that alarm for so early in the morning. It may be okay for the rest of the world to sleep in. That is their choice. I don’t want to be like the rest of the world.

How long, O sluggard, will you lie there? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest –then poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like a brigand. Proverbs 6:9-11

There are those that despise their alarm clock. It goes off way to soon and signals the start of another day of going through the motions. I have been there. I have woken up and the first thing on my mind is “survive the day.” But until I saw the above tweet, I have never looked at my alarm as an opportunity clock. Here is the signal to start again working toward a better life. Here is the opportunity to get better physically, mentally, and spiritually. Here is the opportunity to get ahead of the rest of the world. For while they are sleeping, I have the chance to improve. Ultimately, it is progress that I am looking for. I may never separate myself from the rest of the world, but I can improve upon the person I was in the past.

Getting up that early used to be really hard. When I was younger, I heard the really successful people in life did it. I tried it. I failed. About 9 months ago, I started attempting the early wake up again. I didn’t like working out after work, so I decided to make the move to the mornings before work. I probably averaged 2 days a week of actually getting up and going. Around November of last year, I heard The Jocko Podcast for the first time. I was intrigued. Here was a guy (former Navy Seal Commander, Jocko Willink) who said if you want to get up at 4:30 in the morning, then get up. There was no slow acclimation. There was no beating around the bush. Just do it. So I started doing it, not 2 out of 7 days, but every day including the weekends. During that time I read his book, Discipline Equals Freedom. The content was more of the same: You can achieve your goals with hard work and discipline. It is that mentality that gets me up in the morning. How can I achieve the things I want in life if I am always sleeping in? I can’t. If you want to achieve a different result, then you have to do things differently. I had to wake up.

Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink, “Begin”

If this post inspires you to change, then do it. Along the way, you may find accountability helps. If you can find a group of like-minded individuals, you will be amazed how much more consistent your progress will be. There are several twitter groups (#0445Club and #SamaraiGang) that I associate with. They are both very positive groups that inspire me to achieve greater heights. Since last November, I have lost about 35 pounds, have read about 26 books, and written more than I have in the previous three years. I am far from where I want to be, but I have a lot more discipline. In turn, I have so much more freedom.

In the Forge

It begins as a lump of steel. It gets forged with heat, so that it can be shaped. Then it gets ground down, filed down, and cut down. It experiences extreme heat and extreme cold. The steel continues to get stressed until it is hardened. Once the blade has its shape and its strength, then it can be polished.

The sword arm starts out in a similar way. It begins as a lump of flesh and bone, but in time it can be shaped. On the training grounds, it can be stressed until it hardens. And once it has its shape and strength, it can be the weapon that is worthy to wield the blade.

Without a sword arm, the sword is useless and dangerous. It could be a decoration on the wall, or it could be a grotesque tool in a clumsy hand. The sword’s true purpose can only be realized by the warrior trained to use it.

The pen is mightier than the sword. –Edward Bulwer-Lytton

It begins as a jumble of words and ideas. Thoughts fluttering in the ether waiting to be caught. Moved to paper, they begin to take shape. They begin to become solid. In the forge, they get ground, filed, and cut. All the superfluities removed. In time, once the process is completed, the result may be something beautiful and polished.

Just as a swordsman must prepare for the day of battle, so a writer must prepare. Daily practice. Daily study. The mind has to be shaped, and it has to be strengthened. The writer will experience extreme heat from the critics and extreme cold from the disinterested. If the writer can overcome these trials, the message can indeed be mighty.

A pen, not used as a decoration, can also be dangerous in the wrong hands. A reader’s mind has to be strong as well. This too can come from practice.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. –Proverbs 22:6

It was a proud moment coming home from work when my son showed me a large pile of books and a new library card. This soon-to-be six year-old has a voracious appetite for reading and his skills are really accelerating. It is truly exciting to imagine the opportunities if he continues to cultivate this super-power throughout his lifetime.

Bo's lasting lessons
Could this be when Alec first developed his love for books?

I loved reading as a child but fell away from it as a teen. It wasn’t until a very boring field exercise in the Army that I started reading again. Once that bug infected me, I couldn’t stop. I developed my skill as a reader through fiction in those early days, and it truly has helped in my ability to read non-fiction. It was in those Army days, that I first began to realize that I, too, wanted to be a writer. But in order to be a good writer, a writer, as Epictetus says, has to write. And back then, I didn’t have the discipline to stick with it. I was arrogant and thought it would come naturally. What foolishness. It is on the training ground that a warrior learns the art that prepares him for battle. Likewise, it is in the training of daily practice, that a writer can master his art.

Epictetus: Wanna be a writer, write.


I have always been one to create goals. In my mind, I shoot for the moon. In reality, I come up far short. “This is the year I am going to achieve my fitness goals” or “This year, I will write that book” were annual phrases in my life. My list of all the things I wanted to accomplish in the future kept growing. So many goals created, so little to show for it. Until I unknowingly started creating systems.

It started with work on the assembly line. Do the same work over and over and achieve the same results. The consistency I learned in manufacturing, I began to apply to daily routines. I applied a lean manufacturing concept to my pre-work habits, which tremendously helped me get through those early years working the night shift. The more consistent my routine, the less chance something would go wrong that would keep me from making it to work. I would try to automate my life in every aspect from meal prep to placing my wallet and keys in the exact same place every day. I didn’t know that what I was doing back then would become an integral part of who I am today.

Over the last year, a new system has been instituted into my workout routine. In the past, I would work out when I could at whatever time was available. This of course, led to inconsistent behaviors. With inconsistent behaviors you get inconsistent results. I realized that after a hard day of working on the production line, I was less likely to get in a quality workout, if I even got one in. Often I was too tired or too dehydrated. Back then I was primarily a runner, and after standing all day on my feet, the thought of pounding the pavement was unbearable. In addition, there was the guilty conscience of selfishly spending the last few hours of the day on myself instead of my family.

I was not happy with the results I was achieving. Something had to change. I had to change. So I started working out in the morning. This meant I would have to get up before 5 a.m. to start. So I set my alarm for 4:30. But it was too inconsistent. I would hit the snooze button, make too much noise getting ready, or start too late. I had to bump up the time, though that didn’t keep me from snoozing. So I had to make incremental changes to get it right. I started to get the mix right by setting the alarm at 4, laying out my clothes the night before, and drinking a large glass of water when I woke up. Now my success rate was close to 75%. When I started planning my workouts the night before, my percentages started to improve.


After a month of getting up at 4, I stumbled upon the Jocko Podcast. This affirmed what I was doing. Jocko Willink is a former Navy SEAL commander who preaches that Discipline Equals Freedom. He says to get up every morning at 4:30 and workout. Not only is he is saying to do this, but there is a whole community of people doing this very thing. They are getting up when the rest of the world is still sleeping and they get after it. Now I am a part of that community and actively holding myself accountable by participating. So here is a tip of my hat and a thank you to the 0445Club, the Samarai Gang, and the Troopers. Consequently, my success rate is over 95%, 7 days a week.

My system for fitness is working. And if it works here, it can work in almost any aspect of my life. I can create a system for writing that ensures a consistent daily output. Having a system for personal finances keeps the bills paid on time and more money in the bank. Developing a system for whatever aspect I want to improve in my life gets me much closer to accomplishment, than the throwing of a quarter in the wishing-well of a goal. I haven’t completely tossed out the creation of goals in my life, but they are now only a starting point to the building of a systematic plan for accomplishing the mission.

There must be a beginning to any great matter –But the continuing unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, yields the true glory. –Sir Francis Drake