Chasing Excellence Notes

Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World's Fittest ...

Link (Amazon)

Written by the man who coached both the Men’s and Women’s Champions in the 2016 CrossFit Games. The book is a mix of storytelling and wisdom – and a must-read for anyone who is attempting to pursue not just competence but excellence.


  • A “bad” situation might be the best thing that ever happened to you. Reframe.
  • “It’s impossible to spend any time around Ben without becoming a better person.”
  • Mental toughness isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you can actually improve. But you have to practice it.


  • The only way to get better is to pound on your craft, day in and day out, doing the right thing over and over and over again. “There are no secrets, there are no tricks. If anything, it’s the opposite. Whether you are a pro athlete or a guy running a business, or driving a truck or going to school, it’s simple. Ask yourself where you are now and where you want to be instead. Ask yourself what you’re willing to do to get there. Then make a plan to get there.”
  • Working and training at the champion level is not for everyone. Too much pain, sacrifice, hours, monotony. There’s so much you have to think about and dedicate yourself to chase perfection. Not about talent, it’s about commitment.
  • Excellence is asking yourself: Am I committing everything I have to make myself the tiniest percentage better I am right now, no matter how hard I have to work, no matter what I have to give up?
  • Commitment is about a focus on each minute.
  • You’re focused not on the outcome of your dedication, but the dedication itself and the person you’re trying to become
  • Champions wake up with one goal in mind: becoming better.


  • What is grit? It’s when things get harder, you push harder; when you fail, you get back up stronger; when you don’t see results, you don’t get discouraged but you continue to pound away day after day with relentless/consistency/heart/passion.
  • What people don’t see is that behind most every talented person who has become a massive success is a daily schedule of grind, hours of suck, and a whole string of difficult, lonely moment working on the tiny details that will get them to where they want  go.
  • Talent + Grit = Unstoppable
  • “People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.” –Mozart


  • Staying positive is hard for us because our DNA is hardwired for survival. Far more important to remember which big furry animal would kill you than that butterfly is pretty.
  • Where most people see adversity and difficulty, you want to see advantage and opportunity.
  • Positivity is directly linked to improved performance. If you stay positive, you perform with greater speed and accuracy.
  • Almost two-thirds of the words in the English language convey the negative
  • Tell yourself the right story – the positive one – about what the adversity means for your own success. The obstacle is the way.
  • Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, and your actions dictate your future.
  • Preparation, not your attitude, will dictate results. Positivity doesn’t guarantee anything, but it can lower perceived exertion, make things seem more enjoyable, and improve your chances of competing at your potential, and give you a competitive advantage

Embrace Adversity

  • Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.
  • The days when you have to do things that scare you, when you have to take risks, push against challenges and difficulties – those are the days that make you stronger, faster, better.
  • Overload Principle: you can force adaption in your body by consistently pushing past yesterday’s limit; you can make yourself stronger by showing your body what stronger feels like
  • Humans naturally fear adversity. Ironically, adversity is the only thing that makes us better. In fact, we’re certain to face adversity on Earth. It is 100% guaranteed. So when we do face it, putting ourselves through adversity will help us.
  • “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
  • Visualization is an incredibly powerful tool, but it’s not enough to simply visualize success. You need to also envision adversity and setbacks.
  • Michael Phelps set a world record in the 200m. He swam BLIND. He only knew what he could do because he visualized adversity.


  • Confidence is about your competitive drive, your focus, positivity, perseverance and grit, and whether you can maintain those characteristics when it matters most. Can you maintain the characteristics of a champion, regardless of what life throws at you? That’s confidence.
  • Event + Response = Outcome
  • We don’t control the events of life. We only control our responses to them.
  • “Exceptional competitors understand that their primary competition is themselves. They understand the biggest struggle is always the one within, the struggle to bring out their best physical and mental self to the competition floor and maintain presence until they cross the finish line.” – Bob Rotella
  • If you win the battle in your own head, you’ve won. Regardless of the outcome
  • True confidence is being secure in the knowledge you did everything you could, even if that excellence doesn’t produce victories.
  • Be a racehorse and a bumblebee. Racehorses are incapable of focusing on anything but themselves. Bumblebees fly… contrary to everything we know about physics.
  • Tying success or failure to one single point in time, one event which you don’t even have much control over, sets you up for unavoidable failure because there’s no way anyone can win every single time.
  • What Katrin wrote – her definition of success:
    • “Success to me is giving full effort knowing that was the best I was capable of. That said, full effort means nothing if day-to-day preparation was not all I had. Success to me is giving everything I have into each and every day, each and every moment; training, recovery, family, friends, giving back, inspiring, loving what I do. Then, come game time, give full effort, knowing I am the best I am capable of becoming.”

Maximizing Minutes

  • Deliberate practice is different from normal practice. Deliberate practice is stepping outside your comfort zone and trying activities beyond your current abilities. 
  • Are you giving each minute the respect it deserves? Every minute of your day is a building block that goes toward creating your success, your measure of excellence. Every minute deserves your utmost attention and commitment.
  • Passion is the only way to commit your all. You have to love it.
  • To watch – How Great Leaders Inspire Action.
  • Story about Samuel Pierpoint Langley vs. Wright Brothers

The Process

  • Nick Saban: “Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you need to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”
  • When character and process are both in place, the results will take care of themselves.
  • Ray Allen: “What makes [KG, Paul Pierce LeBron James, Dwayne Wade] champions is the boring old habits that nobody sees. They compete to see who can be the first to the gym and the last to leave.”


  • Create a list of what you can control vs. what you can’t control.
  • Focus ruthlessly on what you can control. Ignore the rest.
  • Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Turn The Page

  • When you make a mistake, all you can do is turn the page. What can you do in this moment to prepare for tomorrow? Anything we do looking back can’t help us.


  • Mat Fraser, a CrossFit competing athlete, reached out to a high school coach and started practicing with high schoolers twice a week. That takes humility. Then he went from last to first in the CrossFit Games the following year.
  • When you reach a certain level, it’s easier to hide your weaknesses behind your strengths. But continually ask: what can I do better?
  • Further Reading: Teaching Smart People How To Learn
  • Single loop learners look for external reasons they’re not succeeding; double loop learners look inward for solutions

Competitive Excellence

  • “Excellence is the gradual result of always wanting to do better.” –Pat Riley
  • “I will maximize my minutes by thinking, acting, training, and competing with excellence, regardless of circumstance.”
  • If you can compete with excellence when you’re ahead, you can do it when you’re behind
  • You can’t train on autopilot and compete with purpose. In order to perform at the highest level, you have to prepare that way every single day. When Mat Fraser trains, he doesn’t do it compete. He trains like he’s possessed.
  • Excellence can only be achieved today. Not tomorrow or the following day – because they don’t exist in the present moment. The not-so-hidden secret of extraordinary success: clarify what you really want, then work as hard to get it for as long as it takes.


  • “In any game played with the body, it’s the head that counts.” –James Kerr
  • Further Reading: Clutch by Paul Sullivan
  • Clutch is the ability to do what you can do normally under immense pressure.
  • You cannot summon what you do not have. The traits you need when the stakes are highest must be worked through in training.
  • Who you are on the competition floor is a reflection of who you are in practice – no more, no less.


  • “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare” –Chinese proverb
  • Katrín Davíðsdóttir ordered fish and veggies after winning CrossFit Games to celebrate. The process reigns.
  • The only way the process works is through action.
  • Success is a decision, not a gift. The ideas in this book are only useful if you can decide to apply them to your own life, day in and day out.
  • Further Reading: A Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremow
  • You don’t become a champion and then start acting like a champion. You start acting like a champion first.
  • It’s the manner in which you try to achieve your potential that defines you as a champion – no medals, titles, accolades. When you start acting this way… when you commit to the process fully… everything else falls in place.

On Slipping Up

Anyone who has tried to change has experienced a slip up.

We set big dreams and layout the vision we want to live for new bodies, businesses, relationships. And then it doesn’t go according to plan.

The easy choice is dangled in front of our face, and, sometimes, we take it.

It’s an off day.

The real questions becomes…

What do you do when you slip up? What do you do when you have an off day?

Because what you do after it doesn’t go according to plan is probably more important than anything else.

Here’s what has worked for me…

  1. Recognize the slip-up. You didn’t fulfill your potential in this instance. That’s okay. The first step toward getting better is recognizing it – not hiding from it. You can only attempt to fix the mistake after you’ve recognized it.
  2. Ask why. If you don’t replay the day, you’ll never figure out how to avoid the same situation tomorrow. Think about what got you off track? Why didn’t you fulfill your potential? Was there something you could have done better?
  3. Forgive yourself for it. Holding onto negative thoughts about your performance from yesterday will hurt your journey tomorrow. Let it go. As hard as that may sound, ask yourself: what can you control right now? You can set yourself up to be in the best position to dominate tomorrow.
  4. Get back on the horse tomorrow. Everyone has an off day here and there – even the best. One is a slip-up. But two in a row is a choice.

Conscious Living Notes

Conscious Living: Finding Joy in the Real World: Hendricks, Gay ...

Amazon (Link)

My life changed dramatically from August 2019 to August 2020. This book helps explain why: I started to follow the principles in this book without even realizing it. Although I read this book in August 2020, it almost serves as a manual for someone wanting to change. Would highly recommend it if you have an open mind and want to create change in your life.


  • The only way to attract the love you want is to love and embrace your self.
  • “I am made of the same stuff as everything else in the world. I am the same as the oak leaf and the earthworm and the sky beyond. It is all one thing, and I am a part of it”
  • What is creativity? Creativity is next to love. It is simply endless experimentation without judgment or criticism. In a word: play. We are at play all the time, so is everything in the universe
  • Big 3 = Love, Creativity, Intention
  • When we are scared or sad, we try to distance ourselves from the experience rather than feel it, resonate with it, love it. We do not feel what we feel. We do not try to tell the truth about our feelings to others
  • Answer two questions: (1) How do I live at peace with myself? (2) How do I live in harmony with the people around me?
  • We are at our best when we are doing what we did as a kid.
  • Every aspect of reality is sacred.
  • Fear cannot be controlled. Since it is already there, it is too late to change it. Better to flow with it – to let it be – and put your energy into figuring out what you need to do.
  • Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change those I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.
  • The secret of happiness is knowing that there are some things you can control and some things you cannot.
  • Stoic Philosophy: live in harmony with the way things are.
  • In order to change things, you must first embrace them the way they are.

Five Lessons of Conscious Living

  1. Seek your true self.
  2. Let go of the uncontrollable.
  3. We are all made up of the same thing.
  4. Life is fullest when we’re most true to ourselves.
  5. Life reaches its full potential when we bring forth our creative desires and the treasures which we have been blessed with and act on them in the world.
  • Put space between you and your thoughts.
  • You are already a spiritual being.
  • Beautiful line: “I had spent so much of my life having opinions and defending my point of view: now I realized that they were all exactly the same, just places where I glued my foot to the floor and limited my ability to dance.”
  • You are supported by so many different people. We do not often pause to acknowledge the person who makes your sandwich, the person responsible for the tire on our cars, or the person responsible for making the cup of coffee… but when we do notice them, when we do become grateful for them, life becomes better. We feel more connected to ourselves and the world around us.
  • Identify the fear in negative emotions.
  • He asked… “What is the purpose of my life?” He found his answer: to expand in love and creativity every day and to assist those who are interested to expand in their ability to be more loving and creative.
  • Knowing purpose gave him instant checkpoint for evaluating any action
  • To find your purpose, ask yourself questions like:
    • What do I most love to do?
    • What could engage me so deeply I’d never want to retire?
    • What am I really about?
    • What would be a purpose so grand that it could express itself through everything I do, from shoveling snow to making love to sitting on a bus?
  • Fear is beyond our control. So if we cannot control it, the only sane alternative is to relax into the pure acceptance of it.
  • “You are a distinct portion of the essence of God, and contain part of God in yourself.”
  • We choose how gently we get our lessons by how open we are to learning. Life teaches us with a sledgehammer if we refuse to pay attention.
  • We are shaped more by our choices than by our genes or past history.
  • At the bottom of our problems is something we’re afraid to face. In order to face our problems…
    • Look for a feeling you are not facing
    • Look anyplace you are not facing the truth
    • Look at agreements you are not keeping
  • We are either committed 100% or not committed at all.
  • If you think you are your past, you give power of your choice to do anything outside your control. The past has already happened and you cannot do anything about it. What is real is this moment, and you have the ultimate choice when you’re in it.
  • “There are fools who dance and fools who watch the dance. If I must be a fool, let me be a dancing fool.”
  • You are faced with the same question dozens of times throughout the day: do I tell the truth or not?
  • When we open our mouths to communicate something of emotional significance, we speak with one of two intentions:  the intention to be (1) right or (2) in harmony.
  • Start a conversation with, “Isn’t it great how easy our lives become once we take responsibility for them?”
  • 85% of our messages to children are negative – “Don’t!” “Stop!” “How could you?” When we shift to love, our messages come through much deeper.
  • Paradox of self esteem: We can only give to others effectively when we love ourselves deeply. We can only love ourselves deeply only when we contribute to others fully. It’s like breathing: if you breathe all the way in, you can breathe all the way out.
  • Ask yourself: “Can I love myself unconditionally? If I can love myself, I open the possibility of loving others the same way. If I cannot love myself, there is no possibility of loving others.”
  • “Love is the antidote to fear. Fear pulls us into contraction but love allows us to expand again. When we don’t know how to love ourselves, we live in that state of contraction permanently. Fear is not only a fist around stomachs; it grips out hearts as well. Loving ourselves is the only way out of the grip of fear.”
  • “When I stopped lying to myself and other people, the music started again inside of me.”
  • If you wake up in the morning and you do not feel good about yourself, look for where you are out of integrity. Look for where you’re not being honest with yourself or someone else. Look for agreements you haven’t kept. Fix these however you can and notice the positive feelings return to yourself.
  • When you were a child, you learned a personality to get your needs met. To survive and prosper in a family, you adopted the social masks that worked in that particular time and place.
  • Many of our self-esteem problems are not about us personally.
  • Each time we take an action, we strengthen the motivating force behind the action. For example, it is easier to work out the 20th time than the first.
  • Each time you go through a big transition in your life, you break through into the unknown. You are outside your normal box. When these expansions happen, self-esteem issues come to the surface. Part of you wants to break through into the unknown, into a higher version of yourself. Part of you wants to stay in the comfort zone, the zone of the known.
  • “Fear is excitement without the breath” –Fritz Perls
  • The ultimate healing move is to love your fear conditionally.
  • You can love yourself for hating yourself.
  • If you are expressing your creative potential, you get to feel good about yourself. If you are not, you don’t. “If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.” (!!)
  • People working to express their creativity feel good about themselves whether they are rich or poor.
  • Do some creative work every day to keep the pipes oiled
  • Throughout a two hour lunch, Picasso’s hands were never idle. He doodled, sketched, and drew. Keep creativity flowing, don’t worry about the outcome. 
  • Put serious focus into a few projects
  • Questions to ask yourself:
    • “What are the top four or five goals in your life?”
    • From a future perspective, “Is this what I really wished I had done?”
  • If you really want to feel intimate with someone, say something authentic about your feelings when you feel them – speak the truth of fear and anger as well as hurt.
  • “Polite” / PC culture makes so many people sad because we have been brainwashed to overlook the obvious signs of feelings, to pretend they are not there.
  • Questions to ask when you’re not feeling good:
    • Where am I out of integrity?
    • What feelings am I denying?
    • What truths am I hiding?
  • To be “in alignment” means feeling and handling our fear, expressing the creativity that is within us
  • You’ve got to go all in if you wish to succeed because without total commitment, you are fooling yourself.
  • You are already getting what you’re committed to.
  • When the room lights are off, how much inner light is still on?
  • Be a Leveler – someone who knows that having a good time and helping others have a good time is what life’s all about. Levelers choose love over creating melodramas based on fear.
  • You’re either in one of two camps: “What Can I Get?” or “What Can I Do To Help?”
  • Trying to get other people to love us – when we don’t think we’re loveable – is like a dog chasing its own tail.
  • Don’t know how to love yourself? Love yourself for not knowing exactly how to love yourself.
  • If you are authentic with yourself, you’ll stay in a naturally good mood as you walk around the world. If you tell the authentic truth, you’ll have clear relationships with others. If you don’t, things will get out of control quickly.
  • Under all major messes is a truth that didn’t get told, a truth that would have taken about 10 seconds to tell.
  • If you lead with appreciation – actually start conversations off with appreciations throughout the day – you’ll create a field of positive energy around you wherever you go.
  • On listening: Breathe while other people are speaking. Pause briefly after they finish before you rush in with your point of view. People like it when you give them an informal summary of what they’ve just said.
    • “If I understand what you’re saying, you…”
    • “Let me see if I’ve got what you mean…”
  • Simple rule to follow: do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t do what you say you’re not going to do.
  • Say something authentic every hour
  • Speak an appreciation once an hour
  • “When you reach out to touch another person, you are touching the whole universe. You are the universe touching itself. The universe is a whole, and it also has individual parts. Although we may think of ourselves as individual parts, we are always in relationship to the wholeness of ourselves, others, and the world around us.”
  • When we think of “the world,” we are really just thinking of our relationships
  • The only hope for genuine growth comes from taking responsibility for everything we’ve previously claimed victimhood for.
  • We create the exact situations we complain about most
  • Gay’s belief: monogamy is the only path that works. Everything else is complicated and requires so much time to process. Impossible to be in integrity with all parties involved. Little energy after for creativity.
  • We lose sexual interest in people whom we lie. As long as we speak the truth, we are contributing to a healthy sexual environment as well as a healthy environment in general
  • There is only one intention that brings ultimate sexual fulfillment: to celebrate the essence of your partner and yourself through lovemaking
  • William James (founder of Psychology) believes his greatest discovery: one can change the outer circumstances of one’s life by changing one’s thoughts
  • When we are expanding our consciousness in love and awareness and gratitude, our goals seem to manifest quickly, as if by magic (explains why so many synchronicities happened in San Diego from Sept-Dec 2019)
  • Few minutes of visualization every day better than once a week for an hour (same as exercise and meditation)
  • The moment you love things the way they are, they are not the way they were any longer. Now they’ve been bathed in love
  • If we are equal with all that is, we support the universe and the universe supports us. When we relax into the support that is happening all around us, we can be carried faster to our destination

What’s Your End Goal?

I’m scheduling this post from a cabin in the woods. It’ll be short and sweet.

I’ve been asked more than a handful of times over the past few months…

What’s your end goal?

People usually expect some sort of elaborate plan.

But it’s much simpler than that…

My end goal is to spread love, joy, happiness to all those who cross my path (and look momma, I’m doing it!).

So, I’d like you to take some time today to think about the question…

“What’s your end goal?”

Can you achieve your end goal today? Can you make your end goal a game that you can play forever?

Because, if you can, I can almost guarantee your life will be better than if you are constantly chasing the next carrot along the path.

If you need any help figuring out your own end goal, or just want to chat about it, feel free to shoot me an email – my name at this domain. I’ll do my best to respond to every email.


What I Learned Writing 1,000 Words For 100 Straight Days

I wrote more than 100,000 words in a few months.

That’s about the size of an average book.

I’ve been writing since I could speak, but I have never formed a consistent writing habit. I always wanted to “be” a writer, but I never wrote.

Well, I realized in order to be a writer… I had to start writing.

I found joy in the activity itself, but soon enough, I found I didn’t want to write 1,000 words. Some days, it was painstakingly difficult to pull the words from my mind. Of course, other days the words flowed effortlessly from brain to computer. Either way, I persisted.

These were the lessons I learned:

5 Ways To Find Flow

So many days I got lost while typing. I often forgot what time it was or if there was anything outside the screen. I wasn’t doing this for anyone else. I was (am) writing for me. And that was incredibly liberating. I had the discipline to sit down so I was granted the freedom of flow.


When I first started, I had an awful habit of typing “tw” (for and “gm” (for Today? I still have the same habit. But I do it less. is an app that blocks any website you want. I’m not quite sure where I would be without it. An essential tool for anybody who is trying to do distraction-free work. And it has been extremely important in turning my computer into a single-function device.

2. Noise-cancelling headphones

A worthy investment to block out the world and get lost in the screen. A single interruption can completely take you out of a thought.

3. Music choice matters

I like to go with music that has no words. I tend to get lost in classical music, lofi beats, and video game soundtracks.

Also if the music does have lyrics… putting the same song on repeat can be helpful.

4. Full screen mode

A computer is used for so many different functions. For example, you can text someone, go on social media, check email, write, play music… all from one single device. By using full screen mode, you focus your brain on single focus.

5. Write first, edit later

When I first started this mission, I commonly edited my work while I was in the middle of a draft. This is a waste of time (for me). I’d rather throw up all over the page then have to clean it up later. The writer’s version of: don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.

Other Realizations Along The Path

Man, I have so much to learn

You go into any journey with wide-eyed ambition. The novice is confident because he believes he knows the most. And this is good. Because if you thought you sucked, you probably wouldn’t hit the Sweet Spot.

That’s why you went into it – because you thought it was going to be fun and exciting. You are going to dominate. You are absolutely sure of it.

But if it was easy… everyone would do it. And although I didn’t think I had it all figured out with writing… I realized how little I knew. Which is exciting. Because it means I have so much to learn.

Write when it’s top of mind (aka 10 minutes after a cup of coffee)

If you have a thought that you are passionate about or you think would make good writing, you need to write it down immediately. You run the risk of “losing it” if you don’t.

Usually, my ideas begin to overflow approximately 10 minutes after my first and only coffee of the day.

Build a routine

Even though you should write when you’re passionate, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write when you’re not passionate.

To quote the English playwright Somerset Maugham: “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

Have a goal

Whether it’s one post a week or writing a certain number of words, it’s helpful to have a goal you are responsible to hit. It can help keep you on the path.

Make it public

Tell others about your goal. This single act may be able to keep you on the path.

Private reps count too

You don’t have to publish everything you write. My goal was to write 1,000 words every day. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to publish every single word. Most of it will be bad. But that’s okay!

Quantity > Quality

From the book Art & Fear:

The teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. 

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. 

It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

Writing 1,000 words a day is my version of producing objective quantity instead of subjective quality.

Find a community

You are more likely to do something when you’re a part of a group. Joining Compound Writing has been essential to helpful to keep me on the writing path.

Write about what you think about in the shower

Writing isn’t fun when you write about things you have no interest in writing about. That’s why writing for school is boring. But writing doesn’t have to be this way. You can actually write about what you’re interested in, or the things you think about in the shower. This makes for the best writing – and what I’ve tried to do on this website.

So What Should You Do?

If your goal is to write, be a writer. Or if it’s to be something else, do it. You’ll figure out the weird little tips and tactics and extra stuff after you’ve started.

Some of these tips will apply to whatever venture you’re trying to do, so I hope they were useful to you in some small way.

Thank you for reading.