Ideas, Training

The Spartan Way

The first question we need to ask ourselves is, what is my True north – in other words, what do I want my life to look like. From then on, with every decision, big or small ask yourself:

“Does this choice take me closer to my True north, or further away from it?”

The Spartan core virtues

  • Self Awareness – Know who you are and who you are not.
  • Commitment – Stick to it because the world is filled with people who don’t. Your’e better than that.
  • Passion – If you’re not passionate about what you do, you’re not going to be great at it.
  • Discipline – Set your rules and stick to them. Be disciplined about it.
  • Prioritisation – Deal with the important things, the ones you define.
  • Grit – Get gritty. Break out of your comfort zone. Do the hard scary shit. Find your passion and persevere.
  • Courage – The ability to stay focused and work relentlessly with both intensity and passion through anything. Especially failure!
  • Optimism – See the world as you want it to be, not as it is.
  • Integrity – If you’re not honest with yourself and others, then what are you?
  • Wholeness – Live the life of a complete and whole Spartan.

Discipline is about managing your emotions

Emotional stress is just resistance. We are hardwired to respond to stress in our lives. The key is to change your relationship with stress, when approaching resistance, you embrace it. Life is made up of the quality of small choices we make day in & day out; rarely by the big choices we confront.

Know your Why! Why are you here? If you are crystal clear about your goals and ideas, when it gets tough. When you get knocked down, or can’t see the end of a storm, you can say Keep going, it is worth it and I know exactly Why I am doing this.


On the worst days, when you don’t feel like doing anything, say you’ll do 20% of the work, or 20′ of a workout. Most likely that will pull you right back on track. Once you manage the strength to get started, it is relatively easy to keep going.

Embrace Adversity

Get busy

Resilient and tough people know that action is the antidote to anxiety. Embrace and conquer your emotions by getting busy being productive. Practice by putting yourself into situations of “deliberate adversity”.

Learn to breathe

Breathing tends to quicken in stressful situations while facing adversity. Our body feels like it is not getting enough oxygen, therefore we start taking shallow breaths. But hyperventilation actually makes a situation even worse, can trigger chest pain, weakness and rapid heartbeat. A top biathlete can lower their heart rate from 200 to 140 beats per minute in just 20 seconds. You can train your body through deep breathing techniques to calm down.

Try it:

  1. Blow out with a strong, deliberate abdominal contraction by pulling your belly button back toward your spine. This enables a higher volume – in breath.
  2. Now relax your belly and breathe in deeply, allowing your belly to rise before your chest, to ensure that you fill your entire lung space.
  • Bringing a higher volume of oxygen into your lungs will relax you by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
  1. Do it again and again as you feel your heart rate start to return to normal.
  • When you are relaxed with a head full of oxygenated blood in your brain, you are better able to focus. Most importantly you will calm down and plan a solution out of the adversity you’re facing in that moment.

Embrace adversity & experience it

By repeatedly experiencing hardship and pain, you build tolerance and ready-ness for when it comes again. And it will come again and again. You can practice it by deliberately putting yourself in these kind of situations.

Develop strategies to overcome Adversity

As you get more practice dealing with adverse situations, you will find certain strategies that work for you.


  • Keep your focus on your True North. Do NOT compromise.
  • Commit to your passion. Make a pledge, an unwavering promise.
  • Ask “What’s the upside/downside of taking this action?”
  • Get Busy! Always move forward through your adversity.
  • Never, ever give up, or quit.

How to be honourable

1. Be confident in your Authenticity Build courage

Fear keeps us from acting with honour and integrity. Fear & avoidance of unpleasant situations creates ambiguity and indecision. Stand up for yourself and become comfortable saying no. Be realistic you can’t say Yes to everything and HONOUR your commitments. People like to know where you stand Be straight forward!

2. Keep your word Fulfil your promises

Keep appointments. If you promise something follow through. If you think you may not be able to commit, then don’t. Integrity goes hand in hand with reliability.

3. Do an Integrity check

Honour is the quality of being fair, truthful and sincere. When faced with decisions and you are unsure if your choice is honourable, ask questions for guidence.

4. Associate with the Honourable

Join communities that value integrity. Surround yourself with people you respect. Read about and follow people who will influence your drive toward trustworthiness. Avoid people who lack integrity. Don’t do business with them. Remember, people judge your character, by the character of your friends.

5. Recruit an honesty accomplice

Be willing to have people tell you with straightforward and honest comments. Ask a trusted friend, a co-worker, or your spouse to give you honest feedback. Give that person a free pass to call you out, when you are not living up to your expectations for yourself.

Scars don’t dictate who we are, but they can build incredible strength within us.

These are my core bullet points from the book – The spartan way, by Joe De Sena

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