Seven years ago, you’d have found me sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours per day crunching numbers for a Fortune 500 company, absolutely miserable. My grades in college, shiny business school degree, and high-paying corporate finance job may have looked like a success, but I didn’t feel it inside.
I remember talking to my dad on the phone weekly (I was living in Laguna Beach, CA at the time), explaining to him how unhappy I was. One point he kept reiterating was how any of my friends would “feel lucky to be living in sunny California with a high-paying job.”
This was the start of 2010, just after my company had cut 10,000 (15%) employees in response to the financial meltdown.
I didn’t feel luck, nor did I know what success was, but I could feel this wasn’t it.
That’s when I discovered a copy of the book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court. John Wooden won 10 National Championships as the Head Coach of UCLA’s basketball team. He’s widely considered the greatest coach of all time.
Wooden’s definition of success changed my life.
“Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
The lightbulb went off. I didn’t feel successful because I wasn’t behaving successfully day after day. I had no peace of mind because I was making no conscious effort to become the best I was capable of.
This book set the course for the rest of my life.
I quit that corporate job, moved to Chicago, then spent the next 3 years “finding myself.” Which, actually, just meant working in a bunch of shitty part-time jobs and slowly uncovering that fitness, nutrition, and the primal lifestyle produced a massive amount of self-satisfaction.
The process of learning new skills (cooking, strength training, anatomy, etc.) and doing everything I could to become my very best provided the peace of mind I was sorely lacking in California.
Slowly, over time, I installed habits that last with me to this day: consistent exercise, [mostly] primal eating, and lifestyle habits that regularly slow my life down. I built my whole definition of success around enjoying the process of living a primal life in the big city.
You have to create your own definition of success.
In order to truly feel successful during the challenge and at the end, you just have to do your best. But here’s the key: only you know whether or not you’re doing your best.
Only you can give yourself permission to feel successful. The self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best is so much more important than the weight on the scale or any other material figure.
The Primal Challenge provides a simple formula for developing your best by focusing on the building blocks of personal success: movement, food, and mindset. Focus on the process of getting these three simple elements of your life right day after day.
If you slip up, step back and remember that obstacles are inherent in all endeavors worth pursuing. The doer makes mistakes.
You’ve got 34 days left in the challenge, and then the rest of your life. If you look at this challenge as a temporary “diet” that you’ll soon give up, then it’s very likely to feel unsuccessful, even if you produce results.
However, if you truly focus on and derive satisfaction from the process of developing your absolute strongest, healthiest, and happiest self, my bet is that you’ll enjoy the heck out of this 5-week journey and feel highly successful at the end. The incredible results will be a wonderful by-product of all the hard work and good thinking you do along the way — your preparation.
It’s the habit of successful preparation that we are after.
Stay strong, Primal People!
– Coach Sean
p.s. grab Coach Wooden’s book here.