Review: “The School of Greatness”

Who doesn’t want to be great? Who is truly happy when they settle for less? Even in our daily routines – at work, at the gym, at home – who doesn’t call it a good day when they know they did their best?

school-of-greatness-bookHow do you achieve greatness? Lewis Howes entices those of who strive for more with his recently published book called The School of Greatness. The premise poses the intriguing idea that with just 238 pages we could take a world-class course in how to live a great life. Perhaps hokey to the more cynical minded, but for dreamers like myself it caught my eye.

Howes is an All-American athlete who after suffering a career-ending injury and being dumped after moving across the country found himself broke of heart and broke of spirit laid up on his sister’s couch for months. But sometimes rock bottom points us to our peak, and he ended up getting back up, creating a multi-million dollar business and motivating thousands as a public-speaker and consultant.

In the book, Howes identifies eight lessons that he learned along his journey and through the many “professors” that he interviewed over the past few years on his podcast. I’ll provide a quick summary of each :

  1. Create a vision – Identify a specific vision with a clear set of goals to achieve your dream. Further, make that vision your new identify.
  2. Turn adversity into advantage – Let the challenges in your life be the motivators to pursue your dreams. Accept your failures and be grateful for them as they move your towards success.
  3. Cultivate a champion’s mindset – To be a champion one must think like a champion, which is rooted in a strong belief in one’s self. This belief is coupled with vision, focus, discipline and humility
  4. Develop hustle – You must embrace a burning desire to do what others are unwilling to do. To achieve your goals you have to work harder and smarter.
  5. Master your body – Greatness starts with the mind and the body. Sleep, nutrition and fitness are all keys to ensure that we feel good so that we have the energy to get what we want in life.
  6. Practice positive habits – Daily habits can make the difference. Make your bed, meditate, go for a walk every evening, read for 30 minutes each day – whatever the habit, commit to it.
  7. Building a winning team – Surround yourself with people who motivate and inspire. Cultivate strong relationships. Find the right mentor or coach. And cut those people who are not helping you on your path to greatness.
  8. Be of service to others – In addition to improving your own life, improve the lives of those around you – your family, friends, community and the world. Think outwardly to achieve greatness.

The book is easy to digest even as it gives you a lot to consider. Each chapter includes exercises to help put these lessons into practice. For me, it requires a second reading in which I force myself to dig deep and consider each lesson a bit more closely. However, the books works on just the surface level to challenge yourself to do better.

I have never listened to his podcast but definitely want to check them out now. My only surprise with the book was that his “professors” were not bigger names. Not to mean that insight can’t be gained from people of less renown but some of his examples – like his brother and a friend from high school – while impressive felt too shoehorned. Overall though it was worth the time and consideration and will be a book worth revisiting as I work through my goal setting for the year ahead.

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