The other day we received a beautiful note from an Optimizer (thank you, Jessica!) letting us know how much she appreciated our work.
Like many of the other amazing notes we’ve been blessed to receive, I printed it out and put it on the top of my desk to remind me of how lucky I am to be able to do what I do AND to personalize my mission to help change the world ONE person at a time, together, starting with you and me.
(It’s easy for a hermit like me—so deliberately unplugged from most of the world—to forget the REAL human beings on the other end of my Deep Work, so a big part of my practice is to ALWAYS think of the one individual I hope to help with each piece of content I create!)
So… There are a few things from Jessica’s note that I want to talk about but one in particular.
I was going to paraphrase her note then quote the sentence I wanted to talk about, but I’m actually going to quote the whole thing (if I may!) as it so perfectly captures what I aspire to do (and why I’m committed to being pretty vulnerable (at least for me) in sharing my own challenges).
Jessica says: “I love hearing about Brian’s insights and how he applies them to his life. His open honesty in how he has dealt with setbacks like the Ojai fires and his brother’s diagnosis and his wife’s seizures is incredibly inspiring. He walks the talk and shows his audience how to be resilient and how to construct an antifragile existence. I also love how he mixes all levels of content intellectually — from Seneca, Emerson, and Epictetus to Harry Potter and the Spartan race training culture… I’m very grateful for this content and believe it has helped me push through obstacles I would have been thwarted by previously. Can you please send a gift membership to my brother?”
That whole note makes my soul smile—especially the last line as nothing makes me happier than imagining families Optimizing together. But the second-to-last line is what I want to focus on. The one about our content helping her “push through obstacles” she “would have been thwarted by previously.”
I was thinking about exactly that concept when I was hammering out another set of 11 burpees earlier that day—which, at the time I’m writing this, was about #30,000 for the year. (I’ll hit 40,000+ this year.) (Funny how things add up one set of 11 reps, one rep at a time. #littlebylittle!)
Specifically, I was thinking about WHY I bang out 100+ burpees every.single.day.
It’s simple. I want to develop, as Joe De Sena puts it, “obstacle immunity.” I LITERALLY want to be IMMUNE to obstacles.
I do what I do athletically so I REALLY get the fact that obstacles REALLY make me stronger.
As De Sena puts it: “Spartans refer to this readiness as ‘obstacle immunity,’ meaning an ability to move past, around, through, or over whatever life places in their path. In the races, we’ll position a mud pit, a greased wall, and other physical challenges in the way of racers—but, whatever the obstacle, its purpose goes beyond just trying to trip someone up and challenge them with thirty burpees. These obstacles are metaphors for the obstacles we all encounter as we move through life. A cancer diagnosis is an obstacle. A pink slip is an obstacle. A broken marriage is an obstacle. Life sends them our way in an endless procession.”
That’s where it’s at.
If you feel so inspired, o’ fellow Hero, chant it with me now: OMMS.
Obstacles Make Me Stronger.
OMMS. OMMS. OMMS.
Here’s to cultivating our obstacle immunity.
One obstacle at a time.
Oh! Almost forgot the super-practical application for Today’s +1.
Got any obstacles in your life?
If not, stretch a little more will ya? lol
If so, congrats! Now what needs to be done? Remember: OMMS.