How Conor McGregor used the 48 Laws of Power to become the most powerful man in MMA


Conor McGregor. You may or may not watch MMA, but you sure as hell know who this guy is. Polarizing is an overused word to describe him, but it is 100% accurate in this case. Everyone has an opinion of Conor. You might love him and his trash talk, think he is invincible and the G.O.A.T., good for the sport of MMA, or simply admire his raw talent and skill. You might have the utmost hatred for his arrogance and disrespectful attitude, his ability to win and prove his trash talk correct, or simply think he is not as good as he claims. Either way, you have an opinion of this man and one thing is for certain – since Conor burst onto the scene, the UFC has definitely become “The McGregor Show”.

A brief background on Conor McGregor. He is an extremely popular Irish MMA fighter with immense kickboxing skills, a larger than life personality, and a 20-2 record (His last loss was about 5 years ago). He is also the most powerful man in MMA at this moment. The only person comparable in this regard to him is a woman (Ronda Rousey). By this I don’t mean he is the best or most skilled fighter in the UFC. I quite literally mean he holds more power than any other fighter in the UFC.


Power is defined as: The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.

I just recently finished reading a Robert Greene classic and favorite of some of the most successful and powerful people on the planet, “The 48 Laws of Power”. This has my mind highly attuned to look for instances of people using power, consciously or unconsciously, and I find it everywhere. I observe myself making power moves sometimes without even noticing, simply by my experienced-guided intuition, and observe others attempting to exert power over the circumstances and people around them. Power controls everything around us and the people who understand and use it best are also the ones who hide it best. Conor McGregor is one of these people. I am not saying he has read the book, but I am also not saying he hasn’t. Whether or not he has is irrelevant, he applies the laws better than the majority of people in the world and definitely better than anyone else competing in professional MMA at the moment.


Now let’s delve into some of the laws he has mastered.

Law 6: Court Attention At All Cost

Conor McGregor understands that bad publicity is better than no publicity. This is probably the #1 attribute contributing to his power and one of his greatest talents. He understands that he serves a “master” (Dana White/UFC) and by courting attention better than anyone out there, he becomes more valuable to his master than any other fighter. He does this through spectacular trash talking, a scandalous and superhuman personality, and dominant, showy performances that keep his name in the limelight at all times. He breaks records for UFC gates and fills his master’s pockets with cash. In return he receives preferential treatment, premature title shots, and the ability to get away with insane amounts of disrespectful behavior.


Law 17: Keep Others In Suspended Terror: Cultivate An Air Of Unpredictability

Humans are creatures of control who try to predict and find patterns in everything and everyone around them. No one can predict what Conor McGregor will say or do next. He is talking trash one minute and being respectful the next. In the middle of a press conference, he will stand up and steal the champion’s (Aldo) title belt. Other fighters are unable to control and adapt to Conor’s chaotic personality and are constantly thrown off balance. This gets into their head and cultivates a literal attitude of terror.


Law 23: Concentrate Your Forces

Conor McGregor has decent grappling skills. He is not a one-dimensional fighter. He does, however, understand the art and power of concentrating his forces in one area. Conor does one thing really well and he sticks to it relentlessly. He moves forward constantly, putting immense pressure on his opponent, and relies on pinpoint accurate striking, seemingly unstoppable endurance, and an iron chin. When Chad Mendes did his best to disrupt this game plan through takedowns and lateral movement, Conor stayed relaxed and constantly moved toward what he was good at until he finished the fight.


Law 28: Enter Action With Boldness

The power of audacity and boldness has been proven throughout history over and over again. Conquistadores in Latin America burning their ships behind them. 6 unarmed German men capturing the entire capital city of Belgrade. Conor McGregor betting 3 million on his ability to put out Chad Mendes in the first 2 rounds of their fight. How can you lose when your entire financial freedom is at stake? This complete confidence and boldness in his ability to win his fight is reminiscent of Muhammad Ali and shakes every opponent that stands across the octagon from him.


Law 30: Make Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

This is a favorite power tactic of mine and another UFC great: Anderson Silva. Him and Conor McGregor are both masters of this technique. They fight so completely relaxed and apparently distracted, taunting with disregard for their opponent that it seems they are not even trying at all. Even when Conor was getting elbowed in the face and cut open, he seemed unfazed, almost as if was still winning the fight. This fools everybody, including his opponent, into thinking that he is capable of much more. How much does it shake you when you are throwing your 100% effort at your opponent and he is yawning at you? You give 120% and exhaust yourself which was Chad’s exact mistake. In reality, both Conor and Anderson are trying their best at all times, they just understand the power of appearing effortless.


Law 43: Work On The Hearts And Minds Of Others

One of the most powerful laws in Robert Greene’s arsenal. Logic, coercion, facts, rationality. These things have no power over men. People cannot be convinced, persuaded, or forced into your influence. They must want to do what you want them to do. They must be seduced. Conor McGregor is an expert in this regard. He intensely appeals to people’s weakness – emotion. In the fans of the UFC, he stirs up anger and disgust with his cocky and disrespectful words. The result? People come in droves to watch him get humbled. He also stirs up plenty of admiration for his bravado and integrity. The result? People come in droves to watch him dominate his opponents. To his opponents? Conor does the same. An emotional man is easy to predict and defeat. If Mendes remained calm, he would have had a great chance of defeating Conor McGregor and earning UFC gold. Unfortunately for him, Conor got him right in the feels.


Conor McGregor is the most powerful man in the UFC and in the sport of MMA. He has mastered the laws of power and leverages them to disrupt and defeat his opponents, secure lucrative paydays, and keep his name in our minds at all times. I am sure he is completely conscious and deliberate with many of his power moves and that he also unconsciously is, through previous experience, making other of his power moves.

Robert Greene’s landmark book is a great read and, while it may seem abstract or inapplicable, it is important to recognize power so that we can use it if the situation comes up and arm ourselves against it when it is used toward us. The book has given me great perspective on power, especially in MMA, and how Conor McGregor has come so far, so fast. I could also delve into many transgressions of the 48 laws that other MMA fighters are making that is deducting from their power, but that is a post for another day.

And now, for the most important question? Aldo or McGregor. UFC 194. Who will win?

I believe if they had fought originally at UFC 189, McGregor was sufficiently in Aldo’s head with his power moves and games that he definitely would have emerged victorious. Now I believe Conor is not in Aldo’s head as much as he was previously. If Aldo can stay calm and in control, I believe he has a great chance of finishing Conor in the first 3 rounds. If Conor outlasts him to the later rounds, he has a better chance of finishing Aldo. My final prediction? Conor by TKO in the 4th round.



“The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”

The Motivation Manifesto – Slowing Down Time


Declaration #9 – We Shall Slow Time

 This chapter was an emotional one for me. The final declaration ties everything together. While we are out in the world reclaiming our power, taking right action, giving and receiving love, and leading our personal movement, we must not forget one thing – TIME runs out.


We are not supposed to miss this moment.


We are missing this moment. You can see it wherever you choose to look. I look around me, at this very moment, in starbucks, and see people caught up on social media or their smartphones. I see people ignoring the world around them or inside them. When someone is fired from their job. When somebody’s lover leaves them unexpectedly. When someone’s friend or family is taken from them by life. “I thought there would be more time”. We always thought there was more time to enjoy other people, to show them our love. We thought there would be more time to demonstrate we could do better at our jobs, give it our all. When we die, we might think there would have been more time to live the life we truly wanted…


We are not supposed to miss this moment.


Yet we can all recall moments that we did not miss. We can recall a time when we were completely locked into an activity we craved doing, where we lost consciousness of ourselves and truly became what we were doing. We can recall laughing with our dearest friends and family, where time flew by so fast, but every second lasted an eternity. We can recall time we spent holding a loved one passionately, where it seemed we could die at that moment, and we would die content. I look around me, at this very moment, in starbucks, and I can see people who are savoring this moment to its very core; engrossed in a novel or tutoring a friend.


We are not supposed to miss this moment.


Human beings are sensory and intuitive animals. We can increase our intuition of ourselves at this very moment – or we can increase our sense of our surroundings at this very moment. Take a deep breath and focus on it. You can literally feel the time slowing down around you. Pay attention to smaller and smaller details in your surrounding: Colors, sounds, subtle things. Feel the vividness of your current experience expand.

We can not always sink into every moment completely. Life and our society will do its best to tear us away from what really matters. What we can do is catch ourselves whenever we are too concerned, too distracted, too caught up in the never ending race to the finish. And we can take a deep breath and bring our attention back to this moment. This moment is our birthright, our gift, let us claim it NOW.



We are not supposed to miss this moment


“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

The Motivation Manifesto – Becoming A Leader


Declaration #7 – We Shall Amplify Love

Declaration #8 – We Shall Inspire Greatness


There was not much to write about these chapters individually so I will combine them into what they inspired me to write. Both declarations involved many details, but they both touched a part of me that I truly believe in and strive to embody. I seek so much to inspire others, to lead the way, to be the voice of calm reason, to teach. You can see this through the way I speak, act, and write. But sometimes I forget the most important part about leading others is to lead yourself first. This post is for me. To remind me that before I try to change others, to change the world, I must first look within and change myself.

Declaration #8 tells me that there are 9 things we must demand of other people to become great leaders. I will turn this around. These are 9 things we must demand of ourselves to become great leaders. If we can demand the best out of ourselves and demonstrate this through our actions and who we are, then we are leaders.


1. Let us demand of ourselves Honesty

We can not allow ourselves to get away with the comfortable, little lies. They pave the way for us to distrust ourselves and for others to distrust us. They open the floodgates for the big lies that ruin trust and love.


2. Let us demand of ourselves Responsibility

It is difficult for us to point out our own mistakes and failings, but this is the only we can improve to the level that leaders must be at. Our actions, all of them, have consequences and we must be aware of these and hold ourselves accountable.


3. Let us demand of ourselves Intelligence

We are all geniuses in our own way, regardless of what other people’s opinions or test scores may tell us. Our goal is to believe in our intelligence and seek to continue improving it. Great leaders have no tolerance for ignorance in themselves and they are always on the look out for it.


4. Let us demand of ourselves Excellence

Laziness and a half interested culture lead us to neglect certain things that we do, in work, relationships, or passions. What leaders realize is that how you do anything, is how you do everything. We must be excellent in the small things, for they become the big things.


5. Let us demand of ourselves Courage

Courage lies in one thing, and one thing only. The actions you take in spite of fear. We must realize when fear is poisoning our minds with excuses and rationalizations and take action immediately to stop the paralysis by analysis. Our dreams are waiting.


6. Let us demand of ourselves Respect

Leading others begins with respect for others. We cannot help those who we do not believe in. Kindness, compassion, fairness, empathy, and love will be how we interact with the world.



7. Let us demand of ourselves Vigilance

Successful leadership is a narrow road. One misstep to far to the left or right and we can easily fall astray off of our paths. I heard a millionaire say once – “to be successful, you must be careful”. We must be careful of apathy, of laziness, of bad habits, of acting against our values, of anything that could derail us from our narrow road.


8. Let us demand of ourselves Service

Service is revealed in our intent and our actions for others. Leader’s are passionate about improving the lives of everyone around them, or at the very least not harming them.


9. Let us demand of ourselves Unity

Our last demand on ourselves is that of a true leader: unity. A leader does not have to lead everyone, but he maintains unity in his circle. No gossip, no miscommunication, no division. So much more is accomplished when our team is on the same page.



If you demand these 9 values of yourself, you will consistently fail to live up to them and have many shortcomings. You are a human. What makes you a leader is that you still continue to demand them of yourself. If we are demanding all this of ourselves, then we can feel comfortable demanding these 9 values from anyone we lead and surrounding us. Not everyone was meant to take part in our journey and only those who are leaders themselves are fit to walk with us.



“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

The Motivation Manifesto – The Value Of Integrity


Declaration #6 – We Shall Not Break Integrity

This declaration was very powerful. We are all people of honesty, good will, and hard work when things are going well. The defining factor of someone with integrity is that they maintain this strong character when things are going badly or they are faced with temptation. And this is truly difficult. We make or break our integrity with our little actions. Every time we decide to cheat on a test, tell a small lie, break from our values, not speak up, turn our back on someone, skip out on a hard task or workout “just this once”, we break a crack into our foundation. By maintaining our values “just this once”, we keep our foundation strong and our integrity unbreakable.


Our integrity is forged of 3 C’s – Character, Connection, and Contribution. We must decide our personal definition of these values before we can stand behind them.

Our character is the identity we wish to have.  When we face situations, our character decides how we will respond. We must be intentional with how we would like our character to be, so that we can rely on it through all that life throws at us. If you were to die tomorrow, how would you like people to remember you? That is your desired character. Before you take any action, decide what aligns with your character.

Our connection is how we interact with the world. This is how we treat people close to us, as well as strangers and acquaintances. Define the kind of person you will be to anyone you come across and stand strong behind this.

Our contribution is what we wish to give to the world. These are the goals and creations you will leave behind in this world. Your contribution can be described as the reason you were put on this earth. This is our priority and when we deny giving our all to our contribution, we are breaking our integrity.


There are 6 practices we should remember to maintain our integrity:

  1. Think before we act
  2. Never commit to anything where we lack passion
  3. Keep our word
  4. Treat others with respect
  5. Tell the truth
  6. Always favor action


We should be disciplined in making these 6 practices habits because we will need them when we are faced with the 7 temptations that attempt to break us from our integrity.

  1. Impatience
  2. Disappointment
  3. Desperation
  4. Aggression
  5. Hurt
  6. Loyalty
  7. Power

These temptations will happen to all of us on a constant basis. It is not the temptation that is bad, it is how we react to it. When we lose patience, we can lash out at others. When we are disappointed with our progress in a goal, we can easily quit. When we are desperate, we make poor decisions with only the short term in mind. When we are angry or hurt, we try to spread these feelings to others. Loyalty sometimes causes us to lie and act wrongly out of good intentions for those we care about. Power can distract us from our true selves and lead us to act out of character.


Despite these temptations, we must remember our integrity and act from there. We often fail to realize every action we take forms a permanent part of our being. We must be conscious of the person we are becoming, with every action we take.



“First say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do”

The Motivation Manifesto – Joy And Gratitude


Declaration #5 – We Shall Practice Joy And Gratitude


This declaration ties in well with declaration number one about meeting life with full presence in the here and now. Brendon Burchard recognizes that our attitude and view of life depends much more on ourselves then on our environments and situations.

Many times, we choose negative attitudes for ourselves. We choose to pity ourselves because of the bad things happening to us. We choose to feel anger at those around us for something they have done. We choose to feel apathy when we feel like life is not going our way. We can blame external events or our surroundings for this, but the truth is that we all know people who are going through worse events and are surrounded by much more negativity, yet these people maintain a positive attitude and genuine smile through all of it.

The difference here lies in a simple choice. The joyous simply choose to be more conscious and pay more attention to the reasons to be happy rather than the reasons to be glum. Next time that you are experiencing negative situations or you find yourself in a downward spiral, try to focus your attention more on what you have to be grateful for. Everyone’s journey is destined to have ups and downs, this is part of the human experience; Accept this as the fact that it is, and decide that you will do your best to maintain a thankful outlook on life, regardless of the chaos or calm surrounding you in this moment.



“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world”

The Motivation Manifesto – Advance With Abandon


Declaration #4 – We Shall Advance With Abandon

This chapter has a recurring theme that I have noticed throughout “The Motivation Manifesto”, a bias towards action. This declaration not only shouts out that we will advance, but that we will do so with abandon, which is usually used in a negative light. Maybe because so many of us(myself included for sure), do the complete opposite of advancing and taking action, that the author really felt he had to hammer this nail in.

I consider my entire life advancing towards the point I am at now, but to be completely honest with myself, I have been moving only slightly faster than a snail. I may have been progressing forward, which is better than a lot of people regressing or standing still, but I could have been taking more action, putting myself out there more, failing more, struggling more, and learning/improving far faster than I have been. But now I am aware and so this will be no more.

This summary will be brief and I will discuss two major points Brendon Burchard makes that stood out to me.


“We judge others by their actions, and ourselves by our intentions”

I’d say this is very true and I can see why we fail to realize that we are not taking necessary action. We intend to, we truly want to do the uncomfortable things that will help us, we wake up some mornings with a plan for the day to move towards our dreams! The problem is that, by the time night falls, we still have a list full of intentions and barely any actions taken, and now we are tired and unmotivated. The main key to solve this dilemma is simply to stop the overthinking and overplanning and simply plunge into the sea of action. We are not happy or motivated or successful because of our plans or intentions. We are happy, motivated, and successful by the actions we take. So take one extra small step today. And two tomorrow. And I will see you at the top.


“Fortune favors the bold”

There is one obstacle we all face that stops us from taking action and doing what we should be doing. Other people have not given us permission. As ridiculous as it sounds to write it down and acknowledge it, we are terrified of taking action when the people around us are content not to. What if they look badly upon us and judge us as egotistical when we try to improve ourselves? Much better to simply stay right here and not draw attention to ourselves. WRONG. Some people will try to stop us and hold us down like crabs in a bucket when we take positive action, but take the action anyway, and these people will be your biggest fans in the end. Permission to do all you would like to do in this world is already inside of you.


This declaration almost inspired me to take an MMA fight as soon as possible. But I am already taking significant action everyday towards my dreams, to take a step with reckless abandon like that might favor me, but it also might hinder my efforts that I am working so hard for. Action is all important, but temper your action with wise preparation and success will be yours.



“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.

The Motivation Manifesto – Defeating Our Demons


Declaration #3 – We Shall Defeat Our Demons

This declaration hit me right in the chest, as I’m sure it will to many people. We all have our demons and we all acknowledge that they can hold us back from living our life exactly how we would like to. Brendon Burchard places us face to face with our demons in this chapter. It is impossible to fight an unknown enemy so he gives it a name and a shape. Our enemy inside that prevents us from being 100% is named Defiance and we can picture it acutely as a 3 headed serpent lurking inside of us. Luckily, we can also learn of our own weapon to defeat this enemy, the Sword of Courage.


The first head of the serpent resembles a pale, sickly eel and is named doubt. Doubt is the small whiny voice inside of us that we can almost ignore, but it keeps insisting until we finally pay it attention and give it power. This voice speaks to us when we try to emerge out of our comfort zone or improve ourselves in any way. It talks in “what ifs….” and it give us 1000 reasons why we shouldn’t take the positive action we plan to. The weapon to defeat doubt is FAITH. Faith is a voice inside of us too. Faith tells us that, regardless of all the “what ifs”, we can trust our wings whether we fall or fly. To invoke faith, I suggest you write down everything you’ve done in your life that you never thought you could have. You will be able to call on this list whenever the serpent of doubt appears inside of you. If you listen to doubt, you will remain trapped in your self constructed prison all your life. If you listen to faith, you will be able to claim the life you deserve.

The second head of the serpent is a powerful, orange snake with a thundering voice that can halt us right in our tracks. This one is named delay. If we conquer doubt and decide to move forward with faith, delay will strike suddenly with a bout of inaction. Delay happens the moment right before we take great actions, big or small. Before we speak up for what is right or fight when you should have fought. Unlike doubt’s incessant whining, delay shocks us with a burst of terror that can cause us to literally fear for our well being. Every hero and great man or woman has felt this terror. The difference between ordinary people and hero’s is that they use their weapon to defeat delay: ACTION. When you take decisive action in spite of what that voice inside is telling you, you vanquish delay back to where it came from. Remember that the only time a person can be brave is when they feel fear and to defeat delay we must be brave.

The final head of the serpent can be imagined as a jet-black, eyeless worm. His name is division and he ensures that, if we listen to him, we suffer alone. Division strikes when we are in social situations. It tells us bad things, not about ourselves, but about those around us. It can tell us that we are worse, or better, or different than them. The main thing is that it fulfills its name, it divides us from each other. Division reigns strong in the boss who considers his employees lazy and stupid, in the impatient driver who criticizes everyone on the road aside from himself, in the successful man with no friends or family, in the woman who hates her own gender, in the child who shuts himself down in his room with his video games. Our strongest weapon is reserved for this serpent head: LOVE. Love allows us to see the good in even the darkest people and places. Love shows us that everyone is fighting their own demons. Love reveals that we are all one, anything you do unto another will be done unto you.


In our enemy, Defiance, we find the cause of all human misery. Lack of certainty, activity, and humanity is the great derailer of our destinies and if we wield our sword of courage, formed of faith, action, and love, we can succeed against our foe. Good luck!



“A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself.”

The Motivation Manifesto – Reclaim Your Agenda!


Back to the Motivation Manifesto, this time for Declaration #2 – We Will Reclaim Our Agenda!


This chapter was simple and to the point, but very important for regaining our personal power in this world. I am reminded of an impactful quote I heard years ago – “Show me your agenda and I will show you your priorities”. I believe this to be true, but I also believe that many people’s priorities are in disarray according to what they really desire out of  life. If you took a close look at where you spend your waking hours(and even sleeping hours), does it accurately represent the most important activities in your life? Or is it filled with trivial things, meaningless tasks, and time wasters?

How do we know if our agenda has been compromised? If too many of our days go by in a continuous stream of nothingness, if we wake up week after week with no passion burning through our veins, no excitement for the blank slate we are to paint that day, this is a sure sign our agenda has been hijacked. People that have issues with their agenda may know exactly what their dreams are and where they would like their life to be at, they simply are not able to dedicate the hours necessary to make it a reality. This can happen for many reasons, but the most prolific and damaging cause of this affliction is prioritizing other people ahead of ourselves. We are scared of offending other people by refusing their requests, of burning bridges by doing what is important to us instead of to others, and of missing out on what everybody else is taking part in.


There is only one solution to this dilemma; The word NO.


Most people who do not have control of their agenda have issues with saying the word no. They seem to say yes to every request made upon them. To regain control of our agenda, we have to regain our ability to say no. If we know where we are heading, we should know what we have to do to get there. Every morning (I prefer the night before) we should sit down and create our agenda for the day ahead. We should not overburden ourselves, but instead write down a realistic to do list of the steps we must take to get one day closer to our dreams. We can then use the word no to stop distractions from swaying us from these steps. It is ok to balance our social life with our journey, love and friendship is key to a life well lived. It is not ok to allow our social life to overtake in importance what we are put on this earth for.

Imagine every night that we will meet our creator face to face and he will ask us if we took full advantage of the day he blessed us with. Once you have reclaimed your agenda, you will be able to respond in the affirmative with a smile on your face.



P.S. I stumbled onto Brendon Burchard’s website while I was writing this and apparently, he will send you his book, The Motivation Manifesto, free of charge if you sign up on his website. You will only have to pay shipping and handling ($7). Great offer if you are interested in reading the full and much more eloquently written version of what I am summarizing.



“No one saves us, but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path”

The Motivation Manifesto – Mastering Our 6 Roles In Life

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I have been through a dark (but very fun and necessary) period in the last month a half of constant self destruction. A lot of things conspired to get me to those lows, but luckily, a lot of things conspired to get me out of there with much more motivation to push to higher peaks than I have been to previously. I had a great chat a few weeks ago with a man I am lucky to know and we discussed how life is full of cycles, without struggle and regress, literally taking steps backwards, it is impossible to take leaps forward. My mindset right now is that I am ready for a big leap forward.

I am starting this leap forward by finding a way to sustain these super high levels of motivation I am feeling right now. To this end I am re-reading “The Motivation Manifesto”, by the great Brendon Burchard. There is so much to get out of this book and I am still only a quarter of the way through it. As such, I am going to quickly summarize a short section I found very interesting. I may write some more later about another section I find inspiring with my continued reading.


Brendon Burchard is a popular author and motivational speaker whom I really resonated with


The book is split into 9 declarations of personal power we must make to regain our personal power. The number one declaration is We Shall Meet Life With Full Presence And Power.

When we meet life in the now fully, we experience the choice of 6 different roles we can play at anytime. Some people are better at some roles than others, but we must try our best to master all of them so we can truly be free and powerful during any moment of our lives.


Observer – This role is defined by self-awareness. This is the role we play when we are figuratively floating above ourselves, observing what we are feeling, thinking, and doing. We must become great at observing, especially, because this allows us to achieve control over ourselves. To become a better observer of yourself, it is helpful to stop and examine yourself multiple times daily, most so when you feel yourself feeling or acting in a way you do not want to. When you master this role in your life, you will be able to sense anger or other negative emotions welling up inside of you and stop them before they build up, you will be able to stop yourself from taking bad actions and making poor decisions before it’s too late.

Director – We play this role when we are deciding how our lives will play out, similar to how a movie director decides how his film will turn out. This role is important to master because if we do not become experts at directing our lives and how we want things to turn out, all kinds of wrong characters will enter our scenes and we will focus our camera on all the wrong scenes. To become a better director, we must be intentional in our thoughts, decisions, and actions. Master director’s know to ask themselves “What shall our life’s story be and how can we direct our thoughts and actions to make that a reality.

Guardian – This is the role vital to protecting our mind, body, and soul from unwanted intruders. We play this role poorly when we allow ourselves to consume horrible information from the TV or internet. When we fill our bodies with food that is fast and sweet that is destroyed us from the inside out. When we allow negative people who discourage or distract us, even with the best of intentions, to loiter around us. To master this role, we must be conscious when we consume information from people or media and conscious about our body and it’s health. Everything we take in becomes a part of us and master guardians are very protective about what they take in

Warrior – This is a very exciting and very scary role. The role of the warrior is defined by one word: ACTION. The warrior is either moving forward towards his dreams or sharpening his weapons and tools to get ready to move forward towards his dreams. To become better at this role, we must realize that fear is our compass and what we fear doing the most is what we must do. Enough senseless planning and procrastinating, once a general direction is set, even just a temporary direction, the warrior must move forward with boldness and obsession. Master warriors are masters at giving their lives to something that matters.

Lover – The role of the lover contrasts with the warrior. On our quests moving forward, we have to remember whom we are fighting for. We play this role when we connect with others. When we are truly present around our loved ones and are shining our sun of adoration on them, this is when we are playing the role of the lover. Mastering this role is all about the little things. The choice to go on facebook or to ask our friend how her day was. The small actions we can take that cost us little, but are extremely meaningful to our family. Master lovers treat their role similar to a career, aiming for growth and ways to improve relationships.

Leader – When we begin meeting life with full presence and power, we rise to the position of leader whether we like it or not. People will look towards me and you to shine a light on the path ahead. We play this role when we seek to help others around us better themselves and when we seek to better the world. To master this role, we realize that the way we act and express ourselves influences those around us and so we make decisions that better not only us, but those following us. We learn to ask ourselves “How can I improve my community?”, “How can I help others?”, and “Who can I enlist and empower to achieve something great together?”. Master leader’s are the George Washington and Nelson Mandela’s of their time.


We can play any of these 6 roles at any time and we do so unconsciously all the time, mostly very poorly. Some of these roles will come easier to us than others, but we can improve and even master all of them, in time, if we focus on being present and consciously playing any of these roles. For now, let us make those tiny improvements day by day, in full presence and power and we will be fine. For now, let us commit to doing our damnedest to play all these roles as best as we can in our lives.



“Your true home is in the here and now”

The Path to Mastery


The path to mastery, a long winded, mysterious road in which many have seemed  to embark on, but very little factual information is shared about. Anecdotes and metaphors, quotes, inspiration, and motivational clips is all the guidance we can seem to find about becoming great at anything. This is all nice and well, but what do we actually do to become masters at something? Or at least good enough?

George Leonard delves into Mastery in his classic book and clears up the fog surrounding this topic. He shares why society leads us to the opposite of mastery, what kind of learning style is specifically stopping us from achieving mastery, and the actual keys to finding and staying on the path to mastery.

George Leonard learned about mastery as he struggled along the path to his Aikido black belt

George Leonard learned about mastery as he struggled along the path to his Aikido black belt

I believe there is some great things to be found in reading this book if we pay attention, but the only way to truly believe and internalize the lessons is to live them. The number one lesson to take from this book is to get out there and take consistent action for what you want as much as possible for as long as possible. Not only for the rewards your actions will reap, but for the joy that comes in taking that action. I will go into some of the learning trends and patterns that you may get stuck in on your path to mastery – or better yet, on your path to learning and becoming good at anything.


Are you a Dabbler, Hacker, or Obsessive?

George Leonard names three of the most common learning styles that will derail you from the path of becoming a master and halt your progress at a dead end. See if any of these descriptions ring a bell in your mind. I have been guilty of following all three of them multiple times in my life, and I still do in many areas of my life.


The path of the Dabbler


The Dabbler is an extremely common learning style that fits right into our American culture. We have created a culture that values the quick fixes, the short term solutions, and the extreme highs and peaks of life. A culture of endless climax, if you will. The Dabbler’s motto of choice will be finding his passion or finding himself. That is why he dabbles or tries so many new things.

The Dabbler is in love with the novelty of newness, the rush of excitement when you start rapidly improving at something new, and the endless adventure. There is nothing wrong with craving new experiences or leaving something behind that is not meant for you. The problem arises every time the Dabbler encounter his first, inevitable, plateau in something he has taken up. Enthusiasm wanes and rationalizations begin. The cycle repeats itself. The Dabbler ends up becoming a Jack, if even that, of all trades and a master of none. While it may seem as if the Dabbler’s life is always changing, in reality only their external circumstances are changing, the Dabbler remains the same.



The path of the Obsessive


I definitely recognize myself in this archetype more than all the others. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a very extreme kind of person, throwing myself fully into things with little care for consequences. The Obsessive prides himself in this, refusing balance or moderation, preferring results over all else.

This pays off quickly, of course, and the Obsessive improves at a rate faster than most when he begins learning anything. The problem arises again when the inevitable plateau, necessary to development, occurs. Instead of giving up and seeking elsewhere when the novelty fades away like a Dabbler would, the Obsessive continues to seek ways to keep the fire burning and improve at a faster rate – trying to leap over the plateau. This works for a while, but is unsustainable, leading closer and closer to an epic decline that will cripple the Obsessive and anyone involved with him.



The path of the Hacker


The Hacker is different from the Obsessive and Dabbler. On the outside, the Hacker seems unworried with the novelty or continued improvement that these other characters possessed. The truth, however, is revealed when the Hacker continues to avoid opportunities for improvement and does just enough to get by. The best single word to describe the Hacker is comfortable.

The Hacker improves solidly at first and doesn’t give up or turn up the notch when he hits the plateau. He keeps at it. Soon enough, the Hacker has developed quite nicely at his skill or relationship. Then… he stays there. The Hacker is content to be decent at something, but fears or dislikes taking the risks and discomfort needed to improve. He ends up staying on an endless plateau while those around him continue to rise above.



The path of Mastery


We’ve seen the paths we take to avoid Mastery and what happens when we are derailed into these for significant periods of time. But what is the solution? Mastery is not dabbling, seeking endless thrills. Mastery is not obsessing, desiring a steep, rapid incline to the top. Mastery is not hacking, staying comfortable at a certain level indefinitely. Mastery is trusting the process.

Learning is not a straight upward curve and the Master realizes this. There are significant plateaus and regressions that you encounter along your way and the only way to get through them is to trust the process and learn to treasure the action over the result. It is ok to desire the fruits of your action: Money, fame, respect. But the plateau will destroy you if you do not learn to love the actual routine of learning. A Master knows consistent, dedicated action will eventually pay off, but the joy is in the action itself.


There are 5 key components to success on the path to mastery

  1. Seek out proper instruction.
  2. Practice. Practice. Practice.
  3. Surrender to the process.
  4. Be intentional in your effort to improve.
  5. Live at the edge of your comfort zone


Some days you're on top of the world

Some days you’re on top of the world…

and other days, the world is on top of you with a deep choke sunk in.

and other days, the world is on top of you with a deep choke sunk in.

Mastery is not the key to happiness (whatever that may be). Mastery won’t guarantee you an easy, pleasurable, or successful life. Mastery’s rewards will be found along the path itself. The enjoyment you derive from your effort, the flow and presence that comes with surrender, the insights you internalize from repeated failure and pain.

You don’t have to want to be a Master to learn something from this book. Everybody wants to learn something, improve themselves, or build better relationships. These lessons apply to any and all. Recognize if you are a Dabbler, Obsessive, or Hacker and strive to follow the path to Mastery. It will help, I promise.



“What a pity it is that war, with its terrible suffering and devastation, should often be more vivid than peace. In war, your comrades mean everything to you, life is unsure and thus precious, and you know that the sword is raised above you. Now it is peace. Your friends still mean everything, life is still precious, and look–why didn’t you notice it?–there’s the sword, still raised above you.”