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What if I told you there was one weird trick to realize all of your biggest dreams?

Just one thing you could do to achieve success and live your best life.

Want to know what it is?

The trick is to ignore all the one weird tricks.

That’s right. The real secret isn’t shortcuts and fads. It’s hard work, consistency, discipline, and building good habits. That’s the real juice.

If I just knocked the wind out of your sails, I understand. 

Hard work sounds a lot less fun than instant gratification. But what’s more fun? Failing, jumping on the next bandwagon, and failing again, or making real progress and actually achieving what you want? In the long-run, the tried-and-true methods of developing a strong work ethic and discipline have an astounding track record and are far more likely to get you where you want to go. 

That’s what I’m talking about on this episode with Nick Shaw. He’s someone who’s learned these lessons and honed them through personal hardship, building them into an actionable framework in his book Fit For Success, that you can follow to live your best life.

If you’re not familiar with Nick, he’s the founder and CEO of Renaissance Periodization (co-founded by Dr. Mike Israetel, who’s also been on the podcast). He’s also a former competitive powerlifter and bodybuilder, who’s coached hordes of elite athletes, including CrossFit Games Champions, Olympians, UFC fighters, and professional athletes, so he knows a thing or two about achieving success and helping others do so.

In this episode, Nick and I chat about . . .

  • Why he wrote Fit For Success
  • Enjoying the work process versus being outcome-oriented
  • Morning routines and the benefits of waking up early
  • Mindfulness and the difference between using data instead of feelings
  • Developing discipline and thinking long-term
  • The importance of a positive mindset
  • And more . . .


13:48 – What are the key concepts of success that you wrote in your book?

16:17 – What does hard work mean to you?

21:39 – Where are you now with work/life balance?

24:24 – What are your thoughts on developing work ethic?

25:57 – How do you organize your to-do list?

27:07 – Do you have a morning routine?

47:08 – What is your take on developing discipline?

53:47 – What does a positive mindset mean to you?

Mentioned on the show: 

Nick Shaw’s New Book (Fit For Success)

Nick Shaw’s Instagram

Renaissance Periodization

How to play Sevens

Books by Mike Matthews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hey, and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today to listen to an interview that I did with Nick Shaw, who is the founder and ceo, but co-founder and CEO O of Renaissance Securitization. Mike is Raelle, who has also been on the podcast, is the other co-founder, and in case you are not familiar with Renaissance periodization or just RP as it is generally referred to.

They are one of the bigger players in the fitness coaching space and in the diet app space. They have a very successful diet app. Multimillion dollar business, and they have a lot of smart people doing a lot of cool things, producing a lot of good content. And so I’ve interviewed several of RPS people over the years and I’m always happy to do it because they know what they’re talking about and I like what they’re doing.

And one for one, they’ve always been great guests. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on the episodes that I’ve done with RPS staff, and in particular in the several that I’ve done with Dr. Mike Iselle now in this episode. Nick is gonna be talking about a new book of his called Fit for Success, and it’s a book that resonated with me because I have a book called The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation that is similar in that it’s kind of a personal playbook for success.

And in Nick’s case, in his book, he talks about a lot of. Fundamental habits that he contributes most, if not all, of his success in business and outside of business too. And not only that, but Nick knows a thing or two about producing success and excellence in others as well, because he has coached many elite athletes, including CrossFit games champions, Olympians, u ffc fighters, and other professional athletes of various stripes.

And in this episode, Nick and I talk about several of the things that he believes really sets high achievers apart from everyone else, including enjoying the process of doing the work versus being very outcome-oriented. We talk about morning routines and the benefits of waking up early mindfulness, and the difference between using data instead of feelings to make decisions and drive actions.

We talk about developing discipline and longer term thinking versus shorter term thinking, immediate gratification, and more. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world.

Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef. Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their. Body ever. And you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes and Noble stores.

And I should also mention that you can get any of the audio books 100% free when you sign up for an Audible account. And this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to Legion.

That’s B U Y and sign up for your account. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence-based strategies for losing fat, building muscle, and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books, bigger, leaner, stronger for Men, thinner, leaner, stronger for Women, and the Shredded Chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipes.

Hey Nick, thanks for taking the time to do this. 

Nick: Hey, well, thanks for having me on. I really 


Mike: it. Honor to be here. Yeah, thanks for being flexible too. I know. I had to reschedule. I was on a a no worries deadline that, I mean, you know how it is that you think you’re done and then you’re not, and then you think you’re done and then you’re not.

And in, in this case, this is actually a book I’m working on with Simon and Schuster, so it’s not really up to me to even say that I’m done, you know, and, and especially, hey, I, the editor I’m working with is great and she has brought up a lot of great points, but, you know, you get the, the manuscript. And then it’s like, Hey, there’s actually a lot more to do here and that’s fine.

Oh, and by the way, can you get it back to us in a week? And the experience on the has been, has been great on the whole, it’s just, there have been those moments where I’m like, oh, shit, I, I pretty much have to drop everything now for the next week or so if I’m gonna meet the deadline. Uh, they would be very flexible, you know, again, not complaining at all.

They’ve been very accommodating. I try to over-deliver. So that’s why sometimes I was like, well, I guess I’m just clearing my schedule and I’m just going to, you know, make this the priority because I want to make sure that I do everything I can to make this as painless as possible for them. Because I have heard many horror stories of authors, you know, being a year late on manuscripts and just being a real pain in the ass to, to deal with.

So from the beginning I was like, I’m gonna not be a pain in the ass. I’m gonna be the, the easiest author they’ve ever worked with. . Well, that’s 

Nick: probably a good approach, right? Because that if they have a good experience and then it’s, uh, they’re more likely to, to want to do stuff and yeah. The, uh, the book.

Publishing industry is really interesting just, uh, by itself, 

Mike: so, yeah. Yeah, totally. And you know, we were just talking offline about your experience and, and my experience, and I don’t know about you, but researching and writing is still. My favorite work that I do. I just really like the process. I like writing, which is nice.

It’s actually something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life, and regardless of the finances re regardless of the economics, it’s just an activity I really do enjoy. And I’ve always liked reading books, and so I’ve always appreciated the creativity of it. And it’s fun for me to speak with other authors because I’m guessing that’s at least partly the case for you because it’s not like you need to write a book to make more money.

Your company does great and you live well. And so I’m guessing a part of this is just you were drawn to doing it. Yeah, totally. I mean, I never 


Nick: if you would’ve asked me this, let’s say a year, a year and a half ago, did I consider myself an author or anything like that? I would’ve never said that, but I did.

I just had this love of reading and sort of just learning as 

Mike: much as I could. 

Nick: And I mean, you can probably relate to this too, but as you read more and more books a across different genres, like not just fitness, not just health, it’s really everything. You just notice all of these themes and these common principles that apply.

And I really just, I kept making all these notes and I just was really getting into it. I just really loved to do it. And basically every time I would read a new book, I was able to kind of link it back to these five or 10 common ideas and then 20, 20 hits. And my wife was dealt with some bad health news, um, honestly, almost a year ago Today.

She’s doing well now, though, of course, knock on wood. But that just really kind of forced me to take these principles that I had been thinking about and really truly lived them every single day. And I mean, maybe you can relate to this too, but it, it’s one thing to talk about all these things, but then when you really have to live them, it’s a little bit different and.

It was a really unique experience. I guess maybe, I don’t even know if that’s the right word, but I just knew, I was like, you know what? I think I have something here. I think it could really help a lot of people. And again, at RP we’re mostly just helping people with health and fitness, you know, like yourself.

And I just thought, well, this is a really cool opportunity to step outside that like, Hey, I’ve kind of been dealt this bad hand in 2020, but it doesn’t really matter. We can overcome it. And hey, here’s these principles and if you just use these, apply them really to whatever it is, you can be more successful.

And given the nature of 2020 for everyone, well shoot. It seemed like a really good idea to get this book out before. The year was over cuz everyone has been negatively impacted by Covid, something 

Mike: else crappy in 2020. Totally. And yeah, I, I wrote a book similar in theme called The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation, which I would say is, is a bit more maybe whimsical and less structured than yours, but does touch on some of the concepts that you talk about in your book, which of course, like you mentioned and how that book came about was similar.

There wasn’t any specific event that occurred or a specific trial or tribulation. It was more just, there was a point when I had achieved a certain level of success as an author and. Entrepreneur that more and more people were asking me for my thoughts and my advice as to how to be more successful just in terms of achieving goals.

Not necessarily to making money per se, but sure that could be a goal. And as more people were asking for that, then that’s when of course I started to think like, uh, maybe I should write a book. Maybe I’m credible enough to write that book at this point. And then as I do also read widely, or at least I make an attempt to, I kind of, I follow like a rotation of genres related to things.

Yeah. So I have a personal list and then a work list, and I just go back and forth in between and I’ll read one or two books on like a personal list genre, and then I’ll flip over to the work and do one or two there and just kind of work through it. And then when I was starting to read with that idea of, okay, what, how could I tie this stuff that I’m reading into this other book that became the little black book and what ideas are interesting to me?

I like that process. It’s fun because. It feels like there’s a lot of scope for creativity and it feels like there are almost like infinite ways that you could put this thing together and you’re finding your own that really resonates with you and that you hope resonates with your readers. Yeah, totally.

Nick: mean, I’m kind of the same way. I’ll kind of have like a list in mind of books and usually what happens to me is I’ll be reading some, some books and then they’ll reference one or two books that I’m just like, man, I have to read this, so what do I do? Write it down. Go go to Amazon and add it to my list.

Amazon’s amazing. Basically, the, the next day it’s there and then, so like I feel like I have this list of books that has been sitting there for a while that like, I feel 

Mike: like I’m never gonna get to because this like, oh yeah, mine is absurd. Like I have, it broke down into genres. I will certainly die with a long tbr r pile.

Uh, it’s just gonna be all the things I never got to 

Nick: basically. Really. Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean, same, huh. I don’t know. Like I read some digital too. I read a lot of, uh, hard covers too, and so I just, yeah. I have this stack right now, probably like 20, 30 different books and I’m just like, I don’t probably need to buy another book this entire year in 2021, but I know that’s not realistic, so.

Mike: Yeah. You know, it is what it is. You collect them? I do the same. I collect board games too. I have probably a hundred and most of them are unopened because I have no one, I haven’t really figured out where I want to fit that into my life yet. , but I have them. Yeah. 

Nick: Well there you go. Well, you know, you kinda have two kids to experiment 

Mike: with, right?

That’s true. They’re not quite old enough yet. It’s an investment in my future enjoyment. I, at some point, my wife laughs and I’m like, you wait and see one day this is gonna come into play. Like I will decide that I’m gonna start putting time into this. It’s just not right now. And see, the thing with board games more so than books, is they can go out of print.

So you know, you gotta get it while you can get it. So it’s not gone in the future. At least that’s how I rationalize it. Quick tip for your TBR R pile. You may already do this, but something that I do is before I read a book, I always try to find a book summary, so something on Blinkist or Insta read or get abstract.

And if that isn’t available, I’ll go try to find a summary, some sort of review that gives me an idea of what’s in it. And the reason being is I’ve found that if I go through something on in three, one of these other platforms and I’m, I haven’t made any highlights and my curiosity isn’t sparked, then that’s one of those books where you’re like a hundred pages in and you know you should quit, but you don’t want to quit, so you just keep going and.

if you take your reading seriously, which sounds like you do, you know that there is a real opportunity cost. Yeah. The next whatever, however few hours even, let’s say it’s four or five hours. And for me, reading takes a bit longer because I spend a fair amount of time in the dictionary. I like to clarify words I don’t know or haven’t heard.

I like to check words and learn new definitions. And so it’s maybe even a bit of a more of a time investment for me than some people. But that is, you know, time that you’re not gonna get back and that is time that you could have put into something that makes more sense. And so what I’ve found is by sticking to books that were, if the summary has some interesting things in it, then I’ve often found that the book, depending on, not so much maybe with like business books or some self-help books, where there is maybe really just kind of one big idea per chapter and the rest is kind of filler and fluff.

In some cases you could just get away with the book summary and you don’t even need to read the book. But in many other cases, take a book like Thinking Fast and Slow, which I liked. You could read the summary and be like, oh, this looks pretty interesting. And then read the book and learn a lot more than you learned in the summary and really appreciate the experience.

So random tip that. Might help you just avoid wasting your time with shitty books at least. Yeah, no, that’s actually a really good idea. 

Nick: I end up probably sticking to a lot of books that aren’t super long, but yeah, every now and then, then you’ll get into a book and you’re just like, yeah, just 

Mike: this just just isn’t, I mean, if you’ve gone like 20 or 30 pages and you haven’t made a single note or highlight for me, that’s where I’m like, eh, this is, and I’m not really not good at quitting books every once in a while.

Yeah, yeah. Same. Yeah. Yeah. . Yeah. So anyways, random tip, but, uh, let’s transition and talk about your book. So there are, let’s see, what did I make a note here? 3, 6, 7 kind of key concepts that you talk about in your book present as like, here are the key habits of success. Do you wanna share what those are?

And then, and then we can maybe dive a little bit deeper into some of them. Yeah, yeah, sure. 

Nick: So yeah, it is, it’s built into a pyramid. And the reason that I did that is cuz a lot of our other books at rp, so about nutrition, about recovery, They all relate back to a pyramid. So that’s kind of where I came up with 

Mike: this idea one day and Right.

And it’s a good metaphor, right? Like, okay, here’s your foundation, here’s the base. 

Nick: Exactly. Yeah. No, no, for sure. Because it just helps show people like, well, what should you really focus a lot of your time and effort on? Well, probably the things that form foundation versus, you know, the things at the top usually gonna be more efficient, better use of your time.

So yeah, I mean, just, I, I did it one day, just I was making notes one morning while I was reading a book and I kind of sketched it. I took a picture of it, sent it to a couple people, and I was like, Hey, does this make sense? Like, does this, does this seem like something? And they’re like, yeah, that seems pretty good.

I don’t think you’re too crazy. At least not, you know, about this. And so I was like, all right, well I’m gonna run with this. And that’s really how the book idea got started. And that was, you know, about a year ago. And that was really cool, you know, just kind of fine tune it, like you were saying earlier about, uh, the publishing process.

It, uh, went through several different iterations and kind of definitely landed on, on one, on this eventual pyramid. I guess after a while, a little bit of back and forth there, which was cool. I think there’s some good arguments to be made. You could probably rearrange some of the stuff and there’s probably good argument either way.

But yeah, so it, it, the foundation of the pyramid is hard work and it seems so painfully obvious, but for some it still has to be said. So that kind of is the most important part. I mean, as you know, you’ve written tons of books. You know, you can have all the ideas in the world, but until you actually do something about it, you know, it really doesn’t matter.

So that’s really 

Mike: the, the core of everything. Totally. And maybe quickly, if you want to just run up the pyramid just to give people the overview and then I’ll follow up on this hard work point. Yeah, 

Nick: totally. So hard work is number one. Number two is internal locus SelfControl. That basically, well, I’ll just, I’ll just go in order, I’ll just list them out.

So number three sure. Is then a positive mindset and then number. Is being disciplined. Number five is your purpose and meaning. And then number six is failure. And then number seven at the very top is the idea of 

Mike: recharge. And it’s interesting that order I have some thoughts on, I’m, I’m curious regarding purpose specifically.

It’s interesting that you put that where you put it, but let’s start with hard work. What does that mean to you? Like specifically? Because that’s one of, this is one of those fuzzy, you know, oh yeah, I work hard. How many people do you know who say they work hard and they don’t by your standards? You know what I mean?

Like how many people really know what hard work is. It is. It is just like a theme of some of these, the discussions I’ve had on this topic. Yeah. Well it is really 

Nick: good. Idea and topic to talk about, because a lot of people do think that they work hard and so a lot of people, you know, a question that I get a lot, maybe you do as well, is, hey, what do you think about the idea of, you know, work life balance or something like 


Mike: And you know, I get asked about that often. Yeah, yeah. 

Nick: Well, so I’m getting my opinion real quick. You can tell me what you think of that. So I think that there are certain times, especially early on in the process, when you’re first kind of just getting going with something like, let’s say, to being an entrepreneur, you’re not gonna have balance.

It’s just not really possible early on. You know, especially if you’re kind of doing things by yourself, like it’s just not gonna happen. You just have to work your ass off literally day and night pretty much every single day until you maybe get to the point. A lot of people might not even get to the point where you can kind of ease back, but you just have to work so fundamentally hard that a lot of people aren’t even aware of what it takes.

And so I’ve had the, the pleasure of working with someone like the best athletes in the world, you know, like CrossFit games champions and all that. And I’ve seen them train in person and let’s take Rich phoning as an example. I mean, I like to think that I work hard, but boy, I’m probably done with my workouts and.

60, 90 minutes. I mean, this guy’s in the gym four or five hours a day. So do I work hard? Well, maybe, but like compared to who? Right? . So a lot of people don’t have this true idea of just how much the top people in the world work. It’s really astounding. It’s 

Mike: crazy. I totally agree. I mean, if we take it into the realm of business as far as entrepreneurship goes, I get asked a fair amount about that.

I’m sure you too. And I, I tell people as a number, I say, If you can’t work at least 50 hours a week, and when I say work, I mean work like, yes, you’re gonna have your breaks to go to the bathroom, you’re gonna check your phone here and there. We’re all human, whatever. You’re gonna have to eat some food, but not, you’re gonna have the TV on in the background and you’re just basically watching tv, or you’re gonna be jumping back and forth between email and social media and other things that aren’t productive, like.

Old quote unquote deep work necessarily, but work, really you’re working, right? If you can’t consistently work at least 50 hours a week, and I would say probably if you want to increase the probability of winning, push that up to probably 60 or 70 hours a week consistently without losing your mind. Maybe you’re gonna feel a little fomo and you’re gonna wish that a part of you is gonna be thinking.

It would be nice to go do that thing with the people, or you know, to go watch the movies or whatever, and that’s fine, that’s normal, but you’re not on the brink of like a meltdown. You’re just kind of doing your thing and you get into your groove. If you can’t do that consistently for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t say that I don’t recommend becoming an entrepreneur, but I would say that that that’s not a good sign.

May alone be enough depending on the circumstances for. If I were to try to give my best advice to like a friend, don’t do it. Don’t do it. Just get a job instead. Because the point of building a business and becoming an entrepreneur is not just to have another job that also just has all these other risks and all this other stress with it.

There’s something to be said for the autonomy, but there’s a lot to be said for having a job, working in a business. You like doing something you’re good at only having to focus on what you’re good at. Not having to worry about any of the other things like making payroll, for example, um, or, or getting sued or whatever.

And you can focus on this skillset. You can get better at it. You can grow, you can actually, you can get some, uh, autonomy. Maybe you can even become an intrapreneur where you kind of, you know, say, Hey, you pitch someone like you, an owner of a business and say, Hey Nick, what if I took this area that I’m in right now and I have this vision for it, and I, I think I could build it out to this.

What do you think? And if you had any faith in that person, you would be excited. You’d be like, please, yes. How do we do this? I’m, I’m all for this. And if you can do that, You’re gonna make a lot of money, right? I don’t wanna hijack the conversation, but these are just my thoughts. I’ve had these discussions a lot.

So I think that, again, it’s correct that it’s almost like a a point of estimation of effort. I guess it needs to be way higher than what I’ve seen with many people. Is that make sense to you? Yeah, it does. 

Nick: So think. About how much work you think it might take and then start adding to that. Cuz that’s probably what it’s actually gonna take.

And I like the idea that you’ve said that I’m just being brutally honest with people because I sort of, I, I conclude the book by saying, you know, everyone kind of thinks that they wanna have six pack abs. They think that they want to be a millionaire. And then you tell ’em how much work that it truly actually takes.

And the, the number of pans seem to go down quite a bit when you start talking about trade-offs. And so that usually is a pretty good, uh, awakening for people. They’re like, uh, well you know what? I like the idea, but uh, yeah, I’m not really willing to pay that, that cost and that trade off, so I’m good. 

Mike: And I don’t think there’s any shame in that.

No, there’s not. Yeah. I think it actually takes, in a sense, it takes some, at least self-awareness and some self honesty to make that assessment and say, yeah, it’s not worth it to me. That’s not worth it. And I’m gonna find something else that is worth it to me. Totally. That’s 

Nick: the ultimate brutal honesty because a lot of people, they’ll lie to themselves like, oh yeah, yeah, I can do it.

And then, you know, they get too far into it maybe, and they don’t really have a choice. They kind of just have to keep going and you know, that can be good or bad of course, but yeah, for some people it’s just, hey, you know what, it’s not. It’s just not for me and there is nothing wrong with that. 

Mike: Totally fine.

Where are you at now with work life balance? Because you don’t have, quote unquote, have to work the way that you did in the beginning, but what does that look like now? Yeah, it’s definitely a little bit 

Nick: more balanced now for sure. So it’s kind of nice, you know, I have a little bit more time to, you know, work out myself and, you know, read a lot of books and stuff.

But I also kind of consider that, you know, obviously when I am reading books, it. I’m not thinking of ideas like, how can I apply this to my own business, my own life? How can I get better? So, you know, it’s kind of all indirectly related to work, but yeah, I’m not having to do as much hands-on stuff as I used to be, you know, a couple years ago or whatever it is.

So it’s a bit more, I guess, you know, managerial kind of leadership roles, which is, uh, pretty unique to 

Mike: be doing that. Huh. And as far as your time goes, do you find, and this is really just a personal question because my experience has been that there was a time when I thought, well, In my personality, I tend to, when I want to do something, I tend to just want to do that and nothing else.

Yeah. And I’ve gotten better in that regard. So early on I was thinking more, okay, if I reached a certain financial, like a certain level of income, then I can think more about ba quote unquote balancing my life, right? And then I got there and then just wanted the next thing, right? It wasn’t satisfying in the way that I had envisioned it.

Right? Get to the next level and then feel the exact same way. Until now, I’ve just accepted that it’s not a, a financial thing per se, but I just really enjoy working and I really enjoy, I do not enjoy doing things that feel purposeless to me. Like if I’m spending my time on something, I really find it more enjoyable if I know why I’m doing it.

And so my default kind of go-to is always just working on something. What has your experience been like? Yeah, I mean, it’s better now than 

Nick: that. I have a little bit more free time, but I’m very similar to you in that. Yeah, you kind of have these ideas in your mind of, yes, I just wanna get to this next level and then everything’s just gonna be drastically different.

Life’s going to be perfect. And then you get there and it’s just like, oh boy. It’s almost like you add more layers and more complexity and there’s even more issues. Sometimes there’s even bigger issues. So it’s probably this thing of, I don’t want to seem ungrateful. Cause I’m certainly grateful for everything in my life, especially even more so after 2020.

But at the same time I just, that’s just my personality. Like I just always want to do more. I want to be more, I wanna, you know, help more people do whatever I can to do that. So, yeah, very much like you. It’s like even know if I were to retire tomorrow, I don’t know what I would do. Like I would start something else, right?

I would be doing something else. So I was like, well, why don’t I just keep doing what I’m doing? Cause I love it so much and it’ll help a lot of people, which is really cool. So let’s just keep going with that. It’s just, it’s the mastery mindset. You just love the process. It’s not really an outcome. You just love the 

Mike: process.

Totally. Yeah. I totally agree. What are your thoughts on developing work ethic? So let’s say for people listening who maybe feel like they’re kind of soft in that regard, or it’s something they struggle with to maintain a sharp work ethic, so to speak. Yeah. 

Nick: Well I think some of it maybe goes to that mastery mindset where you kind of just have to abandon some of these outcome goals and you just have to hopefully learn to love the process.

And if you can start to enjoy, the process becomes a lot easier and easier is all relative. So that’s maybe one aspect of it. And the other aspect, talk about a little bit in the book, but you just have to become good at making lists and just doing things cuz you’re not always gonna want to do them, but you just kinda have to do them.

You know, we’re all adults here and no one’s forcing us to do all these things, but if you really want to, and it goes back to the why and the purpose. And you had said, uh, , if we jump ahead a little bit here, you know, Interesting where I put that in the pyramid. I think you could make a really good argument that could go lower in the pyramid.

And I don’t think that argument is off base at all, just kind of, um, with the way it was tying in the book, I think it fit in really nicely there because it, it does, you know, at the end of the day, right, like, well, why do we do the things that we do? Well, you know, usually it is purposeful and, and meaning to us, and that’s hopefully why we’re doing what we do.

Again, it. You just kind of have to do things. And that’s where discipline ties in too. Cause you’re not always gonna want to do ’em. But I started finding that I just made the daily to-do list and just started checking ’em off. And I’m the type of person that if it’s something on my list, well I’m gonna see it.

I’m gonna be, oh, oh shoot, you know, I shouldn’t have done this this morning, but I didn’t, but you know, now I have to do it now. And it just helps cultivate the idea of getting work 

Mike: done. Yeah. I work the same way. For your to-do list, how do you organize them out of curiosity? Like what, I’m sure you have some sort of system you use.

Yeah, totally. Well, I just kind of have this daily list. It’s probably not just a random list of tasks. . Yeah, 

Nick: so there’s a handful of ’em. So they’ll change a little bit based on what’s going on. But I always do have this like handful of things that I like to do every single day. You know, working out, being more mindful of things.

Um, just having some household chores just to make things a little bit easier around my house for, you know, my wife. It’s probably a good idea to do, right? 

Mike: So, and I almost happy wife, happy life. That’s what they say, 

Nick: right? That’s what they say. But I actually, I have some like easier things. that are on my list, you know, and I just, you know, it kind of feels good when you check ’em off in the morning.

You’re say, okay, yep, got that done, got that done. And it just builds this tiny bit of momentum. And again, like these are just things that, you know, I usually spend some time after I take my kids to school or whatever, you know, reading or, you know, just, hey, doing the dishes. You know, maybe I’ll, I’ll kick on a, a podcast or an audio book while I’m doing that.

Just little things like that. And then just kind of checking off the main things that I need to do at, uh, work each day, kind of making sure. Typically I wanna get those done earlier in the day, so they are out of the way. So I’m not having to, you know, think and procrastinate all day about ’em. But that’s kind of maybe a general way of how it’s put together.

Mike: Makes sense. Do you have a morning routine? Sounds like you may, but Yeah. Yeah. 

Nick: Yeah. And you know, it’s really 

Mike: funny because over the holidays, I know it’s kind of trendy, uh, but I actually do think there is something to be said for it. And I, I’m the person who has essentially given up on the self-development space.

I don’t read many self-help, I guess probably not self-help at all, maybe some self-development here and there. It’s just, I’ve read so many that we got to a point where it was just kind of the same ideas, rehashed again and again. So I was like, all right, this is not a good use of my time, but I do. think that there really is a value to having a good morning routine.

Some of the stuff I’ve seen out there is way over the top, in my opinion. And at least it wouldn’t be necessary for me. But I’m curious if you have just a standard number of things you do from when you get up to whenever. Yeah, so 

Nick: it’s talk about a little bit in the book and I, the main reason that I wanted to do this was just to really cultivate the habits of making sure that I focus on myself every day and you know, not letting life work all that get in the way.

So for me it was just easier. So I do a lot of social media stuff now, know about you, but if there’s a lot of social media stuff, you know, emails and all that stuff, it’s sometimes hard for me to get into that deep work mindset, which, you know, is required. So I just started thinking, well, gee, when’s the best time to do this?

Usually it’s earlier in the morning and you know, there’s not a whole lot going on social media, you know, other people aren’t up, they’re not, you know, shooting emails and slack messages and all this. So I just. Thought, Hey, this is probably a good time to read and because if I’m not doing this stuff now, it’s just gonna be really hard to do it later.

So again, I don’t think you have to get up in the morning and do all this stuff, like I don’t think there’s anything mandatory about it. Now that being said, so let’s ask ourselves, why is this stuff so popular then? Like, why do people think that they need to do it? Well, again, I don’t think there’s any magic of getting up early, per se, cuz I’ve actually been experimenting with this a lot recently over the holidays cuz I kind of, you know, I took like a day or two off over the holidays and some family and stuff was in town and I just, I kinda lost that momentum of doing it.

And I’ve been doing it every day for like five months in a row, just getting up early and just doing these things and it becomes just habit. It kind of part of who you are, part of your identity. And so it’s really easy to keep doing and then lost some of that momentum. And boy, if you lose that momentum, sometimes it’s just really hard to, to get it going again.

Which again, I like to consider myself decently disciplined and, and motivated, all that good stuff. But, you know, it’s, it’s hard. So for people that might not be as internally motivated, it’s gonna be really hard. So, Cultivating those habits, doing ’em every single day, just making them become automatic. I think there’s a lot to be said about that.

Especially the same for, you know, fitness. Again, you just cultivate these habits of meal prepping and making sure you have some food prepared, making sure you take your supplements every day, all that stuff, like, you just have to keep doing this, and over time it’s just gonna become automatic. So that to me is why the morning routine is, is probably so overblown and so over hyped.

You know, again, like let’s say if you’re still working out, but maybe it’s midday instead of the morning, if you’re still able to read, you know, 30, 60 minutes a day or whatever it is, if you’re still able to, you know, be more mindful, well, you don’t necessarily have to do it all in the morning, but for a lot of people, like, let’s be honest, real life gets in the way.

So for them it’s just 

Mike: easier to do it earlier. That’s it. Yeah. Yeah. And I can attest to that personally. My little routine is I get up around six and then I read for the first hour or so, sometimes a little bit more. And during Covid when it was like full lockdown, I was doing cardio in the morning and I would actually just continue reading cause I have an upright bike so I just hop on it, do moderate intensity, nothing wild, and 30 minutes, burn some calories, sweat, you know, help my heart out a little bit and continue reading.

So get my reading done. And I guess first I drink a liter of water cause I’m thirsty. To be specific, I have a, um, an infrared sauna. So I’ll sit in the sauna and do little stretches and read and I like to. Massage gun. There are a couple spots, almost like trigger points, and it just is easier than rubbing it with my hands.

So I have my little thing there, and then now it’s changed a little bit. I go to the gym, so I get my workout done. First thing, I’ll leave, uh, 7 30, 7 45 or so, leave, get that done and come back and then get to work. And I’ve just found that, uh, those aren’t, again, there’s nothing really special about that, but I’ve noticed that the waking up early, one thing I can say that I enjoy about it is that means I have to go to bed.

So I get in bed no later than 10 on most nights, sometimes a little bit earlier. I wish I, when I was younger, I didn’t need to be in bed as long as I didn’t have to be in bed eight hours. I had a really good run for like five years where I would sleep probably six and a half, maybe six hours, 45 minutes, just I’d fall asleep in five minutes, blackout, unconscious, and naturally just wake.

After six and a half, no more than seven hours, and have no problems whatsoever for five years straight. And then after I had kids, now I’m a lighter sleeper. Yeah, and that was it. That was the end of the, but hey, I made good use of it. That was, I worked hard during that time, so at least I capitalized on it, made hate, but now I’m a lighter sleeper, so it really is a point of discipline for, to make sure that I’m in bed eight hours to get enough sleep.

Because as I’ve gotten older, I’m 36 now. When I was 26, if I slept, I remember days that, not that I wanted to, I just didn’t sleep well. You know, maybe I got five hours of sleep and I really wouldn’t notice anything. I would go have a great workout work all day, do my cardio later and be like, eh, yeah, maybe I feel it a little bit, I guess now, unfortunately, Not the case.

Like I’m not gonna be passing out at 4:00 PM but I just, it just the whole day kind of sucks if I don’t sleep enough. And so that is one thing that I’d say is beneficial about waking up early is if you’re gonna be good on your sleep hygiene, that means you get to bed early. And that means you’re probably gonna spend less time just doodling around on social media or just watching tv.

And you will more naturally orient yourself toward, I think, more productive activities. Cuz if you’re waking up at 6:00 AM or 5:00 AM you’re not gonna go sit on the couch and turn on Netflix. Like you’re not getting up for that. And you’re naturally, I think again, you’re like, okay, cool. You’re gonna feel that the world is still asleep.

Like you were mentioning, there are no nothing ping, there are no notifications of any kind and you can focus on these things. So again, nothing magical, but it is, uh, maybe a little bit of a quote unquote hidden benefit of getting up early. Oh 

Nick: 100%. And that’s why I think a lot of these people out there.

You know, kind of preach that there is something magical about it. No, there’s not. I mean, you can do these things any time, but let’s be honest, it’s just not practical for most, so it’s not really an option. Whereas just getting up a little bit earlier, getting it done, getting it out of the way, and let’s be honest, if you do those things, if you do get up early, I don’t know about you, but you just kind of feel good.

You’re just like, yeah, like, Hey, I did this. You know, like it just builds a little bit of that, you know, early momentum in the day. Yeah. Damn. Like, Hey, I’m the man. I got up early. I did all this stuff. Like, there’s probably something to that 

Mike: I think as well. Yeah, I mean, it sounds a little bit cheesy, but I totally agree.

No, it’s true. I mean, there’s, there’s even, I talked about this in my version of this book, and there’s a, there’s some research to show that, like your mood in the morning kind of sets the tone for the rest of the day. Again, that’s something we don’t need science to tell us that we’ve all experienced that, but there is, I think, definitely some psychological and emotional benefits too.

Like you’re saying, just starting the day out, doing some positive things that, you know are, maybe they’re not gonna pay dividends immediately. Like reading. Yeah, you didn’t get more money in your bank account or something because you read a book, but you know why you’re reading, and in your case, you’re doing it partially because you just enjoy it.

But it also, it sounds like you read a lot of stuff that’s related to. Just how to live better. And so it gives you ideas. And this is a segue into something else I want, I want to get your thoughts on. So no argument for me, of course on the importance of hard work, something I have talked with some of the guys who work in, in some of the women who work with me, some of my team, and not just, something I’ve thought about is, it is interesting though that, and this is particularly true in creative or it’s particularly obvious in creative pursuits, but I, I think it applies to really any type of work that while hard work is certainly necessary to get anywhere, the efforts can be.

Subtracted to or added to greatly by the ideas that preceded the work. And this is something I’m not articulating it all that well. I probably should think a bit more of how I would say that, but the point of where if you start off with good ideas, it become an extraordinary force multiplier for the work that you put into it because there’s a quantitative.

Element to work, right? We can only exert so much effort. We only have so much time. And even if we look at the qualitative aspect, we can only be so good and and so efficient with the output that we have. So even if we’re good at getting into that flow state and really doing good deep work, and we’re not distracted, and we’re being about as productive as we can be, that.

There is a cap there and maybe we can improve it a little bit. I don’t know. I feel like it’s probably similar to athletic ability, like good luck trying to increase your vert by 50%. Yeah. It’s not gonna happen. But if you can come up with better ideas, and especially when it comes to like breakthroughs, maybe a meta better metaphor could be if you have a glass and you play a a loud sound and at at a certain frequency, it just vibrates the glass.

But if you get the frequency just right, you shatter the glass. And that’s one of the big benefits that I think is I just, I mean I talk about this cause I do book reviews on my podcast, that it’s so hard to really create a mental model of the world that is accurate and works and that is useful for making predictions and that you can rely on without reading a lot.

That’s my opinion. What’s your thought in that? Like people who don’t read consistently and read the right types of books and really think about. Things and how the world works and how people work are at such a disadvantage in life that, so much so that I would argue that most of them have very little chance of achieving the type of life they wanna live.

If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world. Bigger, leaner, stronger and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded chef.

Yeah, I think there’s a lot 

Nick: to that. So when you were saying that just about being able to predict outcomes and protect things that are gonna happen, it made me think of the book Super Forecasters. The types of people that are the best at it, you know, have this attitude where they’re always trying to learn more.

They’re not huge egomaniacs. They wanna learn. They want that quick feedback. That’s just kind of the way they have to be. And then you even look at it further and like, they don’t make these. Really crazy claims. They’re just like, Hey, I’m pretty confident that, you know, this event is going to happen. And I would place the odds of it being 65, 70%.

Like that’s kind of the way people who really understand what’s going on and are gonna have the best predictions and and models, that’s usually how they think. They’re not these talking head experts that are out there saying, oh, this is gonna happen 100% guaranteed. Like, I mean, come on. You just usually don’t do that.

So that was one of these things that really stuck out to me when I was reading a book like that, sort of learning about these people that are the best at making predictions. Like that’s just kinda how they operate. They’re not the talking heads that people seem to love, you know, the, the Stephen A. Smith or something like that on the ESPN that, you know, kind of just gets paid to, to have crazy opinions.

Uh, you know, the most successful people typically don’t do that stuff. 

Mike: Well, it’s better marketing to make very specific predictions and to make a lot of them, and just to get lucky now and then, and then draw all the attention to the ones that Yeah, you were right on. And of course, just never mention all of the other ones.


Nick: totally. 100%. 

Mike: But like that can make you look so prescient and then all of a sudden, now you’re a guru. Yeah. Right. And then people, 

Nick: it, it is really funny how that works, because you get lucky here and there, right? Like if you make a hundred predictions, you’re gonna get right on some. And then if you are really good at marketing whatever, or you have a lot of money behind you with big TV or whatever it is, like they’re gonna tout you as the next go-to expert.

And then everyone’s gonna start looking to you. And did you really learn anything when you’re making these predictions or were you just spouting off stuff? And reminds me of Annie Duke when she talks about it like playing poker. Well, like, are you learning anything? Because you might just be really lucky, but you make really bad decisions.

Well, we don’t wanna follow those people because they’re probably gonna be wrong most of the time. But the people that are able to kind of see through that and be a little bit more calm and logical and rational, well those are the people that we probably really wanna listen to. And boy, it seems like, um, we don’t do a ton of that these days with just the way social media and TV and all that stuff is because yeah, it’s probably just geared to, we want to promote the, the people that just say kind of the 

Mike: craziest.

Yeah, right. Clicks, eyeballs. And then the reason why those things drive clicks and eyeballs, obviously one of the reasons is the emotionality of it. It’s a totally different experience to hear somebody say, well, based on my analysis, probabilistically speaking, that that’s different than some concrete statement about, you know, take what’s going on politically or culturally.

We see so many examples of that. And so I understand there’s, there’s a bit of human nature in that. And where though I think it becomes, Very self-destructive is when people don’t incorporate probabilistic thinking. Talk about poker. I was a long time ago, I was pretty into poker and read. I don’t know every book I could find at the time and was getting lessons and playing a lot.

And I really liked the game is it really is a fun game if you’re into math and if you’re into psychology. And the luck component I thought made it even more fun because I didn’t care for the gambling. But it was fun too. I mean, do a lot of what we’re talking about and then see. How it played out, you know, over time, over the course of hundreds of thousands of hands and so forth.

But when, and again, this is just something that I think is such an important skill to cultivate, which is to learn how to think in this way that you’re talking, where instead of being the pundit to yourself and latching onto, for example, having a goal, envisioning some outcome, and then not thinking with anything other than has somebody who’s remotely similar to me accomplished this before?

Oh, they have. That’s it. I’m sold. Like I’m gonna go for it. As opposed to looking at the circumstances and to start thinking in terms of probabilities and talk about Annie Duke. Start looking at the decisions that you make in terms of bets. And it sounds like this is kind of an attitude that you have as well.

Yeah. Right. 

Nick: I mean, you can look at, let’s say one example of someone doing something in your Elon Musk, let’s say, like, oh yes. Well, Elon Musk did it like. I can do it too. It’s like, okay, well maybe you’re right. Okay, well someone has done it so it can be 

Mike: done. Or even less, maybe less, less dramatic. And it just takes smoking, right?

Somebody who smokes a lot and they’re like, oh, well I know somebody, they’ve been smoking their whole life. They’re fine. You’re like, but the data says this is really not a good decision. Like this is a bad bet. You know, if you are at a casino and you just run this, uh, bet like a thousand times, you’re outta money.

Do you really? You wanna take that risk or, yeah, totally. 

Nick: No, no, for sure. It works great in health outcomes too. So, real, real funny, uh, example too, uh, you know, I don’t really play poker. It’s just never really, I’ve never really gotten into it. But, uh, as, as a family, I have two small kids and even like when some of my other family comes to visit, we play a card game called Sevens.

Have you ever heard of it? No. Mm-hmm. I won’t really go into detail, but whatever. I mean, someone could probably look it up if they are interested, but, uh, it is funny how I think when it comes to playing the. and I have to kind of predict what other cards people might have and sort of like, well, should I play, let’s say there’s a couple different plays.

Well like, well, do I wanna play here? Do I don’t play here? Almost every single time I’m ahead. I’m thinking, okay, well I’m just gonna take the statistical probability and say, you know what? There’s only one other card that can be played on this one, whereas this other one has, you know, two, I’m gonna choose the one that only has one every single time.

And I might not always be right because the person sitting next to me, well they might be down to one car too, and that might be the one that they have, but guess what? Like there’s no way that I can really guess that. I mean, maybe if I wanted to like look ’em in the eye and kinda like grill ’em and all that stuff, like, you know, people do that in poker, but like, I’m not gonna do that.

You know, I’m playing with my family and all that, so I. It’s not that big of a deal, but I’m just gonna play that statistical probability every single time. And, you know, most of the time again, kind of comes down to, you know, what’s Sandy do talk about. It’s kind of like that 60 40. And if you can get to that point, the 60 40, like you’re gonna win more often than not.

And that’s usually how the successful 

Mike: people are. Totally, yeah, I totally agree. And it, it requires maybe a bit more of a, a rigorous approach and it also requires maybe a, a stifling of, of emotion. How has your experience been in just getting to where you’ve gotten in your business and in your life and in your family?

Cuz this is also just something that I’ve thought about a fair amount and reflected on is, is. I mean, I guess how I think of it is I don’t put very much weight on my feelings. And I could talk a lot about that, but this is not my interview. I’m curious as to your thoughts, like feelings versus maybe the, the more rational where you are, like sticking to an analysis and then actually following through on it and even when it costs you something.

And you had mentioned that earlier in the interview and I think that that’s an important point. Cause it’s one thing to say things and, and say you have these values and say this is what you would do if you were faced with the, you know, certain, uh, situation. But it’s another thing to actually be in it and have something at stake and to follow through with what.

When you were not emotionally involved, you clearly saw as the right thing. You know what I mean? Yeah, 

Nick: totally. Well, so a couple things that that come to mind on that. So one, I think the idea of practicing mindfulness and then, you know, whatever, meditation, love. 

Mike: Yeah. What does that mean for you? I’m curious.

Nick: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it is something that I have really, uh, you know, pun intended here, I have been a lot more mindful of it. And I can give actually a really good example of something that I was not very good at for the longest time, and that was, uh, watching sports. I would get really angry about watching sports and to be even more specific, Michigan football, and I don’t know if you’re a big football fan, but Michigan football’s not that good and they’re sort of traditionally.

they’ll always not, they’ll, they’ll kind of not always win the big game and whatever. And he would really get to me like, I was just too emotional. You know? My wife would maybe say I had a little bit of a, a tempered problem and this was never something that happened at work, but, 

Mike: but my dad is from Buffalo, so, and he has loved football his entire life.

So I I’ve seen it firsthand. Although now finally, what has it been? He’s, they won their first playoff game in 25 years or something. 

Nick: 20. Yeah. Yeah. So I almost took this as a challenge cuz my wife is like, Hey, you know, like sometimes you, you kind of just get a little too angry about things and it was mostly just like silly, stupid stuff, right?

And so I just rating enough. Being more mindful, just it gives you that split second. Right. And so you mentioned the, the conman thinking fast and slow books. So like reading something like that and then, you know, reading other books kind of reinforce that idea of there’s this constant internal battle of, you know, the quick impulsive brain that just wants to react emotionally and you’re not gonna make good choices most of the time.

If you’re only going on that, where’s like, if you can give yourself that split second to not react super emotionally and you can be a little bit more calm, cold, collected, use that more of the the system two thinking, well chances are you’re gonna be better off and how do we kind of get there? For me, that’s what mindfulness is.

So whether it’s meditation, whether it’s reflecting, journaling, whatever it is, like I don’t personally care what it is. You can kind of do whatever it is that you want, but it just gives you that additional perspective. So you aren’t a slave to your emotions and you’re not overreacting to every single thing.

So you can see things more clearly, more logically, and ultimately 

Mike: make better decisions. Totally agreed. What about discipline? , what’s your take on developing discipline? I mean, I don’t think that anybody listening needs to be sold on why being more disciplined is better than less. It’s basically like, well, being stronger is better than being weaker.

Right. So what are some of, and I know this is of course these are things that you talk about in the book, but what are some of the habits and what are some of the ways that you have been able to develop enough discipline to get as far as you have, you know, liking the 

Nick: idea, the, the process and the things that you’re doing?

I think that’s, uh, a big part of it, but I think there’s also a couple other parts. And one is being able to think more long-term, having a longer term time horizon. So if you are really only concerned about immediate gratification and you know, maybe it’s, you know, do you take the business deal that doesn’t kind of fit your overall look and brand, but you know, you make a few quick dollars in the intern.

Is that a good decision to make in the long term? Probably not. Right? Because you lose trust, you lose, you know, that, hey, you know, these guys know what they’re talking about. Well, you know, I’m not really sure anymore. So if you have the longer term time horizon, again, this actually is a lot of credit to my colleague, Dr.

Mike Ertel, who had, you know, I think you’ve interviewed 

Mike: before, but he’s always been mm-hmm. several times. Yeah, he’s, he’s been great with 

Nick: that. He’s like, well, you know, like we just need to do a good job and think long term. And I’m just like, oh yeah, damnit, yes, I know you’re correct. But you know, like , something like that.

And so he’s been, you know, really good with it and always reinforcing that. And of course, you know, I’ve generally been a fairly disciplined person. But again, just reading a lot, seeing these same common themes pop up for a lot of different folks across all the different fields. It’s just like, you have to think longer term.

I mean, that’s really what it is. And again, it’s almost, because you already mentioned deep work, usually anything that’s gonna be more painful in the short term, seemingly. It’s gonna pay off more in the long run. Right. So what’s easier setting there on social media and answering emails like, you know, feeling like you’re busy and doing 50 things at once.

Cuz like, I mean I’m certainly guilty of doing that a good bit where it’s like it is entirely different thing to dive into that deep work realm and really be in that space and be able to do really productive work like our. Engineers and software developers have to do that stuff. It’s very hard. You have to be very disciplined.

And it seems that all the things, the payoff just quickly in the short term hugely aren’t as good in the long term. It’s like this kind of polar extreme. So you just have 

Mike: to keep that in mind and something that can make the long-term thinking hard. And this is something that I don’t know if I’d have any great personal stories to share on it, but it’s something that I’ve definitely observed and I’ve tried to become more aware of.

And it comes back, I think, to something we were talking about, which is, okay, so if you’re gonna think long-term and you are going to forego instant gratification, then you want there to be some sort of long-term satisfaction that is greater than what you can get right now. Right? And if you don’t have the confidence in yourself to actually be able to get there, then in some ways I can understand why some people.

They would avoid the long-term thinking because maybe they’ve tried, and this comes back to this point of the model in your mind that you use to create your plans. For example, you have a goal. How are you gonna get there? And, and you’re thinking with how the world works, how people work. And if you do this, then this is likely to happen, and then this is likely to happen.

And you get to a point where you feel convinced that you’ve put together a good sequence of actions to make this goal a reality. Nothing’s guaranteed if it were life would be boring. So we can thank the universe for that. However, Unless you’re at a point where you have the confidence again, where you could plan, let’s say, a year out in advance, and you’d have, there’s a lot that goes into it and you’re really, really going for a big goal.

It might be helpful for, and this is some again, so just advice that I’ve shared with people, to take it on a gradient, look for the easier wins first, and build up some confidence in, again, your ability to observe the world and see it in a different way and then work backward to how you can get there.

Does that resonate with you at all? Oh, it absolutely 

Nick: does. So it reminds me of, of Tiny Habits and talk about it a little bit earlier, just in. Again, like why do you get up early? Will you just kind of create these little momentum winds early in the day and you get that confidence, you feel good about yourself.

So if you were able to create these little things that give you some confidence, well again, success usually takes a little bit of success and it kind of snowballs, you know, builds on itself. So again, do these little things. It doesn’t even matter what it is, right? Cuz it’s all relative to our goals that we’re trying to accomplish.

But if you can do these little things that add a little bit of of goodwill and build that confidence, cuz we do need confidence. Cuz if you just don’t think that you can do it, you kinda get that learned helplessness or you don’t really feel like anything you do is gonna matter what, why would you ever take action if you think like that?

But if you can do some little things, get that. Momentum building, I think momentum’s a great word here. Get that building. Seemingly everything becomes a little bit easier, right? And then it’s just you get more confidence and then you’re probably likely to take more action. You’re more hopeful and more 

Mike: optimistic and, and I think that that’s a much more productive approach.

The just looking at how you can get into action and allowing that to now mold your attitudes and your worldview really, and eventually your values. Then the other way around, then trying to fix, quote unquote, or address the internal stuff, the inner game, exclusive of the outer game, exclusive of getting into action.

I think that’s a, something that’s worth emphasizing. I don’t know about you, but my experience has been, , it can be more powerful than you think. Just thinking about it in your mind, you’re like, yeah, sure, whatever. You do little things and you gain momentum and, but then you actually go through it and you experience it for yourself, and then you really get sold on it, you know?

Nick: Yeah, totally. And again, the, the long term thinking, everyone, whatever social media makes us worse, of course. But a lot of people just see the finished result and they don’t kind of see the everything that it takes in between. So they think. You know, seemingly overnight they have to go from zero to a hundred, and it’s like, that’s just not how it works.

I’m sorry to say that, but again, it’s like going from zero to one and then you, maybe you can see those exponential jumps here or there, but like there might be sometimes where you’re just stuck on, you know, let’s call it 10, right? If we’re using the one to a a hundred analogy here, you might just be stuck at 10 for a while and then you kind of slowly start building from there.

But again, it is just this wrong impression that people think they have to make these huge leaps, and that’s just really not how it works. The people that are the most successful just do these things consistently, right? Consistency wins in the long term, and that’s the idea of long term digging. Just keep doing the little things over and over and you’re gonna see success.

Mike: What’s your take on positive mindset? What does that mean to you? Yeah, positive 

Nick: mindset’s, uh, of course a good thing to have. So if we go back to when my wife was diagnosed with s Cancer, it’s very easy to fall into the negative kind of downward spiral. Oh, woe is me. Like, why did this happen to me? I can’t believe this.

I’m so mad. There’s nothing I can do about it. Well, you very easily fall down that downward spiral. And you know, funny enough, one of the first things we were told, you know, by a, a good friend, she runs a breast cancer non-profit, actually. And so I was talking to her about it and she just says, the first two things she said, one, you have to have positive mindset, so you just gotta stay positive.

She said, two, you gotta focus on the things that you can’t control. well alone. Behold, that becomes chapters two and three in my book. Not just because of that, of course, but like they tie in together, right? So talk about being hopeful, being optimistic. Well, that’s because you believe that your actions matter.

So positive. Mike said intros of control tie together. You can’t really. You know, you can’t really have one without the other. It’s, it’s the idea of the exact opposite of learned helplessness. It’s actually learned hopefulness and there’s actually a book type of that. But again, the two tie in together, which is a cool thing to me.

Again, it goes back to the pyramid image and you know, you had said, well, you know, purpose of meaning could be lower. And it’s like, look, I, yeah, totally. It could. It’s just all these things tie in together. So to be successful, it’s not just any one thing, right? It’s not just any. Two or three things. Being successful actually takes all of 

Mike: these things.

It’s a recipe. Yes. For a feast . 

Nick: Yeah, totally. That’s a good way 

Mike: to think about it. Yeah. Or you could think about it, maybe pillars, right? You need them. But yeah, no, I totally agree. And that makes me think of what you had mentioned earlier regarding to take this positive mindset point. And so that was obviously a not a good day for your wife and glad to hear that she’s good now.

And I’m sure though it was not a, that was not a nice experience and it’s something she would prefer to be done with, but for you as well, of course it’s different because it’s her body and her health, but it’s your wife. So what was that experience like? Because I’m sure these were ideas you had read about and you’re like, yeah, positive mindset, be hopeful.

Uh, don’t be a victim. You know, growth mindset, but then, then you experience something like that, which may be short of your kids going through the experience is probably one of the worst things. That you can experience. It’s probably worse to see your wife go through it than you yourself. That’s probably how it would be for me.

How were you able to. Actually apply these concepts and not just give into what I’m sure were some emotional, just tornadoes that were going on, that were trying to suck you into them, you know? Yeah. I 

Nick: mean, you’re gonna have some of those, it’s just, it’s gonna happen along the way, but it’s just being able to, you know, kind of recognize ’em and not letting him build and spiral down.

But hey, you know, if you are having a bad day and, and shit is just really tough on this particular day, well, okay, well it is what it is and it’s gonna happen along the way, but it’s just not letting it dwell and kind of ruminate and, and build those downward spirals. You just gotta recognize it and hopefully get back on track and be okay, well you had a really bad day.

What can I do about that now? Okay, well, are there things that you can do? If so, great, let’s start doing them. That’s the internal focus of control. If not, well, let’s not stress out about it too much. Like you can’t really change. They had this diagnosis, so now we gotta focus on the things that we can actually control, because focusing on the externals really leads nowhere.


Mike: Totally. And you know, something that I’ve always attempted, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job, is when I’m not in a good mood for whatever reason, right? So let’s just say if I’m feeling kind of bitter and hostile or worse basically, and that maybe that’s the, the point of delineation where I’m, I’m just certainly I’m not, not like gonna be a great person, not gonna be the life of the party kind of thing.

Then there are two things that I consciously do not do when I’m in that state. One is make any important decisions, any meaningful decisions, any certainly irreversible decisions. And also I’ve developed maybe good discipline on not acting. on those emotions. So there’s this point that you mentioned where, what can I do?

I had a bad day. What can I do about it? Or, I mean, just a personal example of that is sometimes mornings will get away from me with phone calls and slack messages and things like little fires. I mean, you know, you have to put out, and it actually kind of irks me because that is my deep work time and now I have other things I have to do.

I have to record a podcast. I do another one. It. Annoy me to where I go, okay, what can I do about it? Am I can put in extra time that tonight or maybe tomorrow night or maybe on the weekend or I can just let it go and move on and know that this point of consistency is very important. And just because I didn’t get my 2000 words done in the morning, just like as if I missed my meal plan by, uh, a few hundred calories one time, who cares?

Let’s not allow the molehill to turn into a mountain just because it feels good to wallow in, I don’t know, in emotions sometimes. Right. But anyways, I just thought I’d share that. I’m, I’m curious if you have any sort of similar habits that help you, cuz in my, in my observation, when you’re in that state of mind, That’s when, and this I’ll speak for myself, that’s when I am much more likely to make a stupid decision or to do something that will just make things worse.

So if I can just avoid that, if I can not do those things, then at least I’m turning the scales a little bit to my side, you know? So the consistency 

Nick: is more important than perfection. There’s a really funny meme, Dr. Spencer, he’s a great meme, I believe you’ve had him on before as well, but, uh, it’s this analogy that let’s say you’re driving down the road and you get a flat tire.

Well, no one in their right mind is then going to flatten their other three tires because one tire happened to become flat. No one’s gonna do that, right? Doesn’t make any sense. So it’s similar to that. If you have a bad few minutes, you don’t let that impact the rest of your day. You just get back on track, and that’s the whole thing.

It goes back to the consistency. Again, they’re most successful people. They’re just more consistent over the long run. Have a bad day. Okay. You know, who cares? Flip it around. Just get back on track. That’s it. 

Mike: Yep. Yep. There’s a, a quote from, I believe it was peak performance, and I’ll just paraphrase, but that great.

You’re talking about athletes are not consistently great. They’re just great at being consistent. They keep showing up and every now and then they perform at a level that they would consider great, but most of their performances is not, is good and it’s a lot of good enough, but they’re always the one showing up and putting in the work and giving themself the chance to be great and it comes and goes.

It’s like the muse. Yeah, totally. It 

Nick: reminds me of the Kobe Bryant examples, right? Like he’d be in the gym at three or four in the morning, but he’d just be working on the basic footwork fundamentals. You kind of think that, well, I is one of the best players in the world just doing this. Well, he was one of the best in the world because he was so good.

At the basics. A lot of people miss that. Again, they get wrapped up in thinking they need all these fads and gimmicks and quick fixes and you know, again, like that’s why people think that the morning routine is so much more important than it really is. It’s like, well it’s cuz people want to be spoon fed that like, That one thing and it’s like, well, you know, it’s not really any one thing.

Does that help? Yeah, sure does. You know, a handful of other things help as well. Sure. Like, you actually need them all. It’s not just any one 

Mike: thing. Did you ever read the book The One Thing? Uh, I . 

Nick: Funny enough, no . I know what 

Mike: it is. Um, I actually recommend it. It’s better than. You would think just reading its little Amazon page or like reading the back or whatever it is, one of the few simple self-help books that I recommend.

I think that there are a lot of good ideas in there and the the guy, there are two people who wrote it. But I believe it was, there’s one guy who is a very successful business person, and then I think the other person I think is a writer. But regardless, it also is coming from someone who has done some things like, you know, it’s not just theory.

You know what I mean? Totally. Well, I, I’m 

Nick: gonna guess it’s pretty similar and I’m definitely gonna add it 

Mike: to my list now. You’ll burn through it. It is, it’s easier. Okay, good. 

Nick: Yeah. Yeah. Again, that’s always good too. Cause it’s always good to, to go through a book quick and especially when you’re really into it and you’re like, wow.

Like, yeah, that, 

Mike: that was good. Not everything needs to be belabored. Sure. You know what I mean? Where if this chapter really only has 10 pages of worthwhile content, it doesn’t need to be 30 pages. That formula irks me when you read a book and you’re like, that was really probably like a 5,000 word article that now turned into an 80,000 word book, because there’s just a bunch of pointless stories and filler like it could have done without any of it.

You know what I mean? Well, so interestingly 

Nick: enough, that’s why the, the chapter in my book on work ethic is actually the shortest. It’s like, well, how much can you really talk about work ethic? Right? Like, You can only talk about it so much where, and then after that it’s like, okay, the horse is now dead.

Like it’s been beaten. All right, let’s just, let’s chill out there. But the book that I always like to recommend people is called The Slight Edge. I’m gonna assume it’s probably the same idea. And it’s just like you just do a little bit and you just keep doing that. And it’s, the idea of being consistently good is, is better than occasionally perfect because, well, no, no one really cares about the people that are occasionally perfect and then totally fizzle out and you never hear from ’em again.

People that are good, they just, they keep doing the, the things that they need to 

Mike: over time. And similar to fitness, I think once you start seeing results of this approach, it’s unsexy. And there isn’t much emotional payoff initially, but in time, as you start to see, again in fitness, that’s counting your calories is, is it?

You don’t feel like there’s no breakthrough here. There’s no revolutionary new science of nothing. And it’s just like, yeah, this is kind of what scientists have been saying forever now. And you have to watch what you eat. It’s not very fun or sexy. You can make it easy, but you do it. And then though you take your measurements here and there and whatever, and a month later you’re like, oh, wait a minute, this works.

And then you realize, so if I just keep doing this, Then I certainly can get to where I want to be, and then the whole experience changes. I think that a lot of the habits in your book that you talk about, a lot of the stuff you’re talking about is similar in that if you just read about it again, it, it’s not as palatable as the the junk food of Miracle Mornings and other one weird tricks to blah.

But if you actually just apply the things and then you start seeing that now you’re making meaningful progress or making meaningful change, then your value or maybe your appreciation of all this stuff, it really changed. At least that’s been my experience 100% I 

Nick: would’ve to agree. It really is that simple and people love overcomplicated, but again, you just, you get really good at the, the basics and do them consistently long enough.

That’s your winning ticket, right? 

Mike: Totally agree and I’ll mention the name right in the intro. So people, I realize that we haven’t even mentioned the name of the book yet. Um, so I will mention it in the intro so people know throughout what exactly we’re talking about here. Although if anywhere along the way somebody has been sold on checking it out, of course they’ll know to search your name.

But why don’t we just close with the name of the book and where people can find it, and then of course, tell us about Renaissance Periodization and any other exciting kind of things you have that you want people to know about. Yeah, totally. It is 

Nick: funny how we, we’ve said that we’ve been talking about success a lot, but uh, you know, here we are.

The book is actually called 

Mike: Fit for Success. And it really 

Nick: is just lessons on achievement and, and leading your best life. So it’s really, if you apply these habits, you’re gonna be more successful in whatever it is that you’re gonna do. And it’s not a super long book, you know, it’s about 160 pages or so, 

Mike: and it wasn’t 

Nick: intended to be this super long, you know, sciencey, drawn out book.

It’s like, no, there’s gonna be some actionable take home stuff at the end of each message. And again, if you just do these things, you consistently apply them, you’re gonna be more successful. Like you said, there’s nothing super sexy about it, but the sooner people realize that they need to stop chasing the fads and the gimmicks and the one things, and just do the, the basic things consistently over time.

And that’s what this book’s gonna help people do. Like that’s actually the shortcut. That’s it. So . Yeah, so that’s a book. You can get it on Amazon. Just, you know, search Fit for Success and who knows, you’ll probably see all your books along there too. You know, if people are buying mine, they’re probably buying yours still.

maybe they’ve already come across it. You 

Mike: know what’s great about that though is books are not a zero sum game. People who read tend to read widely. I mean, I’ll get people asking sometimes. How I feel about other people entering my domain. And I encourage it. I, I wish every single fitness influencer out there would write a book or pay someone to write a book because all that would mean is more people are gonna be filtered into the book reading ecosystem.

I mean, it’s mostly gonna be Amazon, but they’re now in orbit with not just the book, not just your book, but also my book and vice versa. I like that element of writing as well and of book publishing again, that the bigger the category is, the better it is for all of us. 

Nick: Yeah, totally. I mean, I’ve already seen your book pop up Everywhere, so it is funny and it did, it had a similar effect.

So, you know, we normally do a lot of eBooks and kind of sell ’em on our own website, RP But we do have some stuff on Amazon and I’ve already noticed it on our other, so Renaissance Diet 2.0 book that we did like. Well now, so what is the first thing that pops up if you buy my book? Well, it’s that book and so like we’ve seen that kind of.

Get that residual bump from this book. So it is really interesting how it all works. And like Amazon, they usually have good recommendations and you go down that rabbit hole for a long time. But, uh, you know, we don’t necessarily have to to do that here. We’ve been, we’ve been chatting for a while, so I’ll just kind of quickly wrap it up for everyone.

You know, again, just say, thanks for having me on and you know, if you wanna check out my myself on [email protected] dot rp or check out our main page, it’s at RP Strength. That’s how, uh, most people know about us. 

Mike: Awesome. And then as far as finding your website, rp or is there another one?

No, that’s it. Yeah, just so 

Nick: we simplified it down, you know, you can type in renaissance if you want, but no one wants to do that. So , 

Mike: I, I didn’t want to say that cuz I, yeah, I was like, I hope there’s something else because that’s gonna be tough. For sure. RP 

Nick: At RP Strength on Instagram.

That’s it. That’s why we, we simplified 

Mike: it now. Awesome. Awesome. Well thanks again for taking the time to do this. I appreciate it. Of course. Manam, thank you for having me out. Honor to be here. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or.

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And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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