THE SCHOOL OF GREATNESS- LEWIS HOWES BOOK REVIEW
The school of greatness is all about how to take your life and bring it to the next level.
The man behind the book was raised in Ohio and used to be a pro athlete, so he knows what it takes to be great.
Unfortunately, he suffered a career ending injury that ended his career. He then switched his attention to teaching people how to become great in every areas of their life.
The book has a total of 8 chapters.
Chapter 1 – Vision
You need to have a clear vision. All people that achieved greatness in their life had a crystal clear vision about what they wanted in life. Lewis, the author, gives an exercise called The Perfect Day itinerary (PDI) in which the person has to describe in details what their perfect day would look like. The purpose of this exercise is to bring clarity in your life.
The author reminds the readers that a real vision is not just about clarifying what you want. A real vision is about defining what and who you want to be in life.
In the end, your vision is extremely important because you become what you envision yourself being.
Another exercise in the chapter one is called Your Certificate of Achievement (COA). It basically consists of writing down your goal, print it and frame it. You want to put that certificate in a place where you will see it often. Lewis tells us that declaring your vision and putting a date on it is a really powerful exercise. You want to clearly state what you want, why you want it, and put a date on it. This exercise will bring a lot of clarity in your life.
You should pick something that terrifies you when you say it out loud. At the same time, you should pick something that is achievable in the allotted time frame.
Lewis gives the example of when he joined Toastmaters International, an organization that helps members with their communication skills. His main idea was to go every week to get better, but he soon realized that his goal wasn’t specific enough. He then decided to change his goal for: at the end of the year, I will make $5000 for a speech.
The last exercise in the first chapter is called: Personal Principles Declaration (PPD). This exercise is all about bringing clarity to who you want to be and what you will stand for in life.
The goal is to declare to yourself what you truly stand for no matter what happened in your life and what comes your way. Here is the PPD of the author:
1) Love myself, everyone, and everything.
2) Be in service to support others and the world
3) Always give my best and strive for greatness in everything I do
4) Live in abundance
5) Create a win/win with everything.
Chapter 2 – Adversity to Advantage
This chapter is all about how to use adversity to become great.
Storms make trees take deeper roots. —Dolly Parton
Lewis tells us the story of Nicole Lapin, a finance expert who grew up in a family where they didn’t talk about money at all. In fact, she didn’t even have a debit card and a bank account because her family paid for everything in CASH.
At some point, carrying cash all over the place became an annoyance and she decided to learn everything she could on finance and how money works.
When she started learning about money, she said that it was just like learning a new language. It is hard at first but then you start to understand better then at some point you master it.
Lewis tells us that every single new thing that we try in our life is like learning a new language.
You have to learn how to deal with adversity if you want to become great.
Lewis makes us do an exercise called Embrace The Adversity.
Here is what you should do next time you encounter adversity:
Step 1: be aware of the adversity. Discover what precisely what the adversity is and why it is happening. Ask yourself the question: what is standing in the way of fulfilling you vision right now?
Step 2: Write it down or share it. By writing it or sharing it, it will help you let go of the stress.
Step 3: Acknowledge yourself. Replace that stress by acknowledging yourself for all that you have done recently that helped you getting closer to your vision.
Step 4: Express Your Gratitude. It is almost impossible to be in a negative mood when you are grateful. This step is all about expressing your gratitude towards your small achievements towards your vision.
Step 5: Reconnect to your vision and take action. Reconnect to your Certificate Of Achievement and your Personal Statement Plan.
Chapter 3 Cultivate a Champion Mindset
This chapter is all about using techniques used by professional athletes to be able to visualize progress and success like them.
Lewis asks us to think about Michel Jordan, Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, etc and ask us what makes them so special? People look at them and they assume that they just have natural abilities that other people don’t have.
In reality, what they have is the mind of a champion. Their goals are crystal clear. Their vision is extremely clear. They don’t live in an inner world of self-doubt like average athletes. They have a lot of focus, flow, belief and emotional intelligence.
Exercise 1: Visualization.
What you want to do is to create a space with no distraction so you can visualize properly. The first thing you need to do is to relax as much as possible. The second thing you want to do is to visualize whatever you want to see as complete. Focus on positive outcomes only. If you want to have a successful business, then visualize yourself making successful deals, visualize the money coming into your bank account. Try to involve all of your five senses. What will you hear? What will it smells like, etc.
Exercise 2: The 15 seconds centering breathing.
The goal with visualization is to fill your mind with a clear image of what you intend to get. The goal with meditation is to clear the mind completely. It will eliminate all the extraneous distractions, obsessions and doubts that keep you from focusing.
Exercise 3: The 5 seconds breathing process.
- What you want to do is to breathe in through the nose if you can for a count of one, two, three, four, and five, while expanding your belly.
- Hold your breath for a count of one and two.
- Breathe out through your mouth for a count of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, then release the air in the belly.
Exercise 4: Mindfulness.
This is all about starting a gratitude journal in which you will write down your thoughts and express gratitude.Each night, what you want to do is to notice what has worked for you that day and what did not. Take the time to be proud and excited about everything that worked well and acknowledge what didn’t work and come up with ways that you could change that.
Exercise 5: emotional intelligence.
Lewis tells us that the key to greatness is having a clear vision for your future, but if you really want to achieve that vision, you have to be emotionally present so that you can give your full attention to the moment
Emotional intelligence is all about being able to understand and regulate your emotions and the emotions of others and be able to use that power to guide your own thinking and your own behavior.
Step1: list your 5 strengths and weaknesses
Step 2: Ask people that know you well to be honest and give you feedback about what you believed your top 5 strengths and weaknesses were. After they tell you, compare it with what you did in step one. This exercise will let you know what you need to reinforce in your life (strengths) and what you need to work more (weaknesses). It will also give you a more realistic view of yourself.
Chapter 4 Developing Hustle
In the end, vision is great but what you also need it to take action. This is what this chapter is all about. The author wrote a few stories explaining in details this idea.
Exercise #1 What-if scenarios
Think about your vision and imagine yourself working towards achieving it. Write down all the things that you are afraid of that could happen.
What if I look stupid?
What if it doesn’t work?
What if I end up bankrupt?
With each one of these scenarios, write out all of the things that could go wrong, including the worst case scenario.
For example if I take the scenario : what if it doesn’t work?
-…and feel like a failure?
-…and everybody laughs at me?
-…and I end up broke?
Now redirect each possible negative outcome with a positive outcome. For example for my example; what if it doesn’t work..
-…and it turns into a better opportunity?
-…and I find something that works right after?
-…and I find a better way to make it work?
Exercise #2: Working the hustle muscle
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
Lewis tells us that there are four smart areas everyone can and should be hustling in:
- Your body. Do one thing per day that will make your body healthier and stronger like going to the gym.
- Your mindset. Do something every day to improve your mindset, like listening to inspiring audio books.
- Your relationships. Make sure to network with other people regularly.
- Your skills. The more skills that you have the more valuable you become. Teach yourself how to something useful.
Chapter 5 Mastering Your Body
If you want to achieve greatness, you need to eat healthy food. How productive you are is highly dependent on what you eat in your day to day life. You also need to sleep properly to make sure you function at a high level of performance.
Exercise #1 Take a picture of your body naked.
Take a picture of yourself naked and evaluate what you like about yourself and what you don’t like. Notice what parts you want to improve on. Also, notice where you are putting a lot of negative energy and focus on accepting these parts of your body.
Exercise #2 Develop a fitness lifestyle that you love
Create a fitness schedule for yourself that you will love. If you are not already working out, start now. Lewis tells that you should train t least 30 minutes five times per week.
Exercise #3 Find out what’s missing
Mineralization: You need sufficient minerals if you want to function properly. Lewis says you should use Himalayan salt because it contains anywhere from 65 to 85 trace minerals, instead of around 3 for regular salt.
Inflammation: A lot of doctors are now saying that a lot of diseases come from inflammation. When your body use resources to deal with inflammation, it has fewer resources to deal with immune response and proper function. This is why diseases can appear. This is also why managing inflammation is vital. The author recommends using proteolytic enzymes.
Stress: Stress is bad because it releases what’s called cortisol, which reduces immune function.
Make a list of how you manage stress. Do you smoke? Drink? Replace these bad habits with good ones like drinking green tea and meditation.
Sleep: Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night and try to eliminate the light in your room. It will make you sleep better. Also, try to minimize artificial light source like late night TV and smart phones right before bed because will short circuits your melatonin process and affect your sleep quality.
Inhalation: Make sure you are berating properly. This is really important. Meditation will help you with that.
Nutrient Density: Forget about the number of calories in what you eat. It’s all about the nutrients. You have to eat quality food if you want to become great. Eat a lot of green vegetables, healthy fats, and drink a lot of water.
Gut Health: Your gut health is influenced by what’s called the probiotic flora, or the gut biome. Also, Lewis says that many of your neurotransmitters and hormones that are responsible for your mood are either affected by or originate from the gut.
Chapter 6 Practicing Positive Habits
Successful people have good habits, it’s a fact. This is what this chapters is all about; how to have good habits into your life so you can become more productive.
Exercise #1 The attitude of gratitude
In life, what you focus on grows. If you concentrate on what you already have, you will have more of it and if you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll have enough. Lewis tells us that we should at the end of each day a list of three things we are grateful for.
Exercise #2 Write your habits manifesto
Lewis tells us that we should have a habit manifesto. These habits are habits that you want to incorporate in your day to day life. He gives the example of the habit manifesto of Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project:
-What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.
-Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.
-Focus on actions, not outcomes.
-By giving something up, we may gain.
-Things often get harder before they get easier.
-When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.
-We’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.
-It’s easier to change our surroundings than ourselves.
-We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.
-We should make sure the things we do to feel better don’t make us feel worse.
-We manage what we monitor.
-Once we’re ready to begin, begin now.
You can use this one of create one for yourself.
Exercise #3 The 28-day morning routine challenge
This exercise is all about building a new habit in your life that will have a tremendous impact on your life. Lewis gives a few examples:
- Spend the first 30 minutes of your day writing about what you want to do that day.
- Make your bed
- Work out
It could be anything. Pick something that will increase your productivity and stick to it for 28 days.
Chapter 7 Building a Winning Team
This chapter is all about relationships. Who you hang out with will have a huge impact on your success level in life. You need to hang out with productive people and you need to find good mentors.
Exercise #1 Take inventory of your relationships
To know if a relationship that you have is a good one or not, ask yourself these four questions:
- Do you feel energized or stressed when you are around or think about this person?
- Is that person inspiring? Or does that person have a negative mindset around me?
- Is it someone that pursues greatness in life? Or is it someone who is a victim od circumstances.
- Is it someone that gets excited about my success and wants me to succeed?
Exercise #2 Join or create a mastermind
A mastermind group is a group of highly motivated people who support each other. These groups are meant to help you attain your goals much faster by borrowing the wisdom of other people.
Chapter 8 Be of Service to Others:
This chapter is all about how if you want to achieve greatness in your life, you should shift your focus on how to help other people as much as possible. That’s the fastest way to achieve what you want. Lewis gives multiple examples to explain this in details.
Exercise #1 Choose your avenue of service
Make it a habit to give back to other people.
Step 1: Write down something that you can do to help other people.
Step 2: Identify how you can best serve it through your time, talent and energy.
I liked this book. It is definitely not on my list of favorite book of all time, but I think everybody should read it because because there are a lot of good insights in it.
Please leave a comment below or let me know any questions you have. I’d love to hear what you think!