Five Quotes I Live By, Three Keys To Happiness, Two Questions To Ask Yourself & One Must-Do Thought Experiment.

Print pagePDF page

This may be the most important article I’ve ever written.

Here’s why…

…you and I love getting fit, feeling good about the way our bodies look, and quenching our deep-seeded thirst to live life to the fullest by challenging our bodies and brains to achieve exciting and fulfilling feats of physical and mental performance, right?

That’s why I’m on a constant quest to discover methods of training, fueling and living that are perfectly healthy and natural, but still allow you and I to look, feel and perform at our peak capabilities, and to achieve an ideal blend of health and performance.

But, life goes beyond your body and brain.

Life goes beyond physical and mental performance.

Feats like finishing a triathlon, getting muddy in an obstacle race, achieving a new deadlift PR, learning how to hack your mind for mental performance, or unlocking keys to maximum longevity are all for naught and frankly, quite meaningless, unless you have a good soul, a strong spirit, satisfaction, happiness and life purpose.

The last thing you want written on your tombstone is “He Was A Good Exerciser” or “She Was Really Smart” or “He Did Crazy Adventures” or “She Won Lots Of Races”.  

There’s more to life than that.

So how do you ensure that you’re not squandering the life you’ve been blessed with by wasting your time shoving weights around in the gym or pounding the pavement? How do you ensure an infatuation with biohacking or longevity isn’t just an endless, pointless pursuit of health? How do you ensure that getting leaner, stronger, faster or smarter isn’t just a self-serving, selfish objective?

At the risk of writing a very woo-woo, ethereal thought-stream, I’m going to tell you how I personally balance achieving purpose and meaning in life with what would appear to be a nearly obsessive infatuation with health and longevity, jet-setting around the globe in a pursuit of some of the most masochistic and extreme adventures on the face of the planet and spending an inordinate amount of time building my body and my brain.

If you pursue the betterment of your body and brain through the lens of what you’re about to read, then you’re going to find that your pursuits are far more meaningful, fulfilling and lasting than that temporary high you get after crossing the finish line, walking out of the gym, or polishing off a great adventure.

Specifically, I’m going to give you three keys to happiness and meaning in life, five quotes I live by, two questions to ask yourself and one must-do thought experiment.

Enjoy reading, and jump into the discussion by leaving your own comments below.


Three Keys To Happiness & Meaning In Life

I tell my twin boys River and Terran that there are three things that are truly important in life.

Even if you get hit by a bus tomorrow and completely lose the ability to use your arms and legs and you can never exercise again, or you get some rare disease that takes away your eyesight, your taste, your smell and your hearing, or you lose all your money and you can never travel or go on adventures again, if you have these three things in your life, you’ll still have happiness and meaning.

The first key to happiness and meaning in life is love.

You’ve no doubt heard of gratitude.

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., author of “The Science of Gratitude” and a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend preventive health check-ups, which can contribute to longevity. Gratitude also reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.

Writing in a gratitude journal has been shown to both strengthen the immune system and help you sleep better and longer, and individuals who practice gratefulness report fewer headaches, less congestion, and less stomach pain.

To be grateful is to express love and to feel love. Quite simply, gratitude is love. That’s why gratitude is so powerful. 

Love is the greatest emotion you can have in your life. Heck, love is the greatest emotion in the universe. In the book “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest“, you can read about how love in relationships, love in families, being loved, feeling love and giving love is one of the biggest keys to happiness and longevity.

The most esteemed book in my life, the Bible, has this to say about love:

…”love covers a multitude of sins…”

…”you shall love your neighbor as yourself…”

…”now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love…”

So I tell my children that above all, they must strive to have love in their life – by both giving love and receiving love.

The second key to happiness and meaning in life is to have a career you’re passionate about. 

Now don’t get me wrong: I do not believe you should randomly following your passions. In his book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love“, author Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. Not only is the cliché flawed because preexisting passions are rare and have little to do with how most people end up loving their work, but cliché can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic job hopping. Just listen to my friend Jordan Harbinger’s recent ArtOfCharm podcast interview with Cal to get the nitty-gritty details of what this means.

Instead, as Cal details in his newest book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World“, career (and life) satisfaction is achieved by building up a rare and valuable skill; then using this skill as leverage to take control of your working life and growing more passionate about that skill as you become a master craftsman at that skill. For example, my son River may not currently have much of a passion for woodwork, but if he practices carving, gets better and better at making intricate pieces of furniture and art, develops woodworking skills that are good and valuable and eventually begins selling his woodwork, starting a woodwork YouTube channel, or writing a blog about woodwork, he’s going to eventually be living a life immersed in something he’s passionate about.

In other words: if you’re unhappy with your job or life’s current situation, just get really good at what you’re currently doing, and you’d be surprised at what happens. Passion will grow.

OK, so I tell my children that the number one key is love. The number two key is career passion achieved by deep, meaningful and valuable work.

And the number three key to happiness and meaning in life is to believe that there is a great and wonderful and enchanting story for your life.

In his book “Unfinished Business: Believing Is Only The Beginning“, author Rich Stearns presents the concept that there are three choices you can make about the story of your life. Here is what he has to say:

Choice #1 is to believe that there is no story.

Rich says:

“We can choose to believe that there simply is no story or mystery to figure out and that everything we see and experience is totally random and without meaning. There is no truth. We are just a meaningless species on a meaningless planet in a meaningless universe. There is, therefore, no God and no real defining purpose to our lives. When I was in college, there was a popular bumper sticker that summed this up succinctly—“Life sucks, and then you die”—quite a noble motto to live by…

…kill your ego, because nothing you do will ever matter. That’s OK, though. It’s not just you. It’s all of us. It’s taken 100,000 years for our species to hump and grunt its way into momentary dominance on this pale blue dot, but nothing we’ve accomplished is all that outstanding when you consider that a Mall of America–sized asteroid is all it would take to turn humanity into the next thin layer of fossil fuels. Greatness is nothing but the surface tension on the spit bubble of human endeavor. On a geological time scale, our measurable effect on the planet is a greasy burp. We are 7 billion tiny flecks of talking meat stuck to an unremarkable mud ball hurtling through space in an unimaginably vast universe for no particular reason. There is no difference between kings and cripples, my friend. We’re all the same hodgepodge of primordial goo, and the pursuit of greatness is a fool’s errand. Pursue happiness instead. Find peace in your insignificance, and just let your anxiety go. Learn to savor the likely truth that the sum total of human achievement won’t even register in the grand scheme, so you might as well just enjoy whatever talents you have. Use them to make yourself and others happy, and set aside any desire to be great or outstanding.

What an inspiring philosophy to live by—we are just “7 billion tiny flecks of talking meat stuck to an unremarkable mud ball hurtling through space in an unimaginably vast universe for no particular reason.” Now, that makes me want to jump out of bed each morning to greet the day! People who believe Choice #1, that there is no story, often just ramble through life doing whatever feels good until the clock runs out. They have a mentality of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” But because we don’t live in isolation, there are implications to Choice #1.

A person’s view of truth always has consequences. What happens when your actions and decisions come into conflict with mine? Since we are both just “tiny flecks of talking meat” spinning in the “same hodgepodge of primordial goo,” there is really no such thing as right or wrong, so the only mechanism to resolve our disputes is force or power; survival of the fittest. If you really believe that human beings are no more than flecks of meat, then taking a human life has no more significance than picking a mushroom or squashing an ant. One “fleck of meat” could form alliances with others to achieve their aims by overpowering another group of “meat flecks” with different goals. The group with the most power wins; right and wrong don’t even enter into the discussion.

Choice #1 leads to a world without truth, and a world without truth leads to chaos. So what are the consequences of all of this? One just needs to look at the bloody and brutal course of world history to see the answer. This worldview is essentially the worldview of someone who is an atheist—life is pretty much meaningless and there is no higher purpose to our lives.”

I don’t know about you, but Choice #1 seems pretty depressing to me, and it’s not the advice I give to my kids or the story by which I live my own life..

Choice #2 is to make up your own story. 

“People in this category are not necessarily selfish or egotistical. They can be quite pleasant and even admirable and inspiring. At their core they are quite practical: “I’m here. I have a life to live, so I am going to make some basic decisions about what I believe, how I will live, and what values will best guide me as I walk through life.” These are the “what’s right for you may not be right for me” people. They essentially invent their own truth but don’t require or expect that others will necessarily live by it. They often begin sentences with “I think that . . .” or “I believe that . . .” They fill in the blanks with their own home brew.

Here are a few of the manufactured “truisms” that might undergird the worldviews of these folks:

• You should be able to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt other people.
• The one who dies with the most toys wins.
• Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.
• We can all find God in our inner self.
• It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and only the strong survive.
• I think that all religions are just different roads to the same truth.
• Everyone should have an equal opportunity to pursue his or her dreams.

Note that some of these truisms are quite appealing while others are quite awful. The thing that they have in common is that they are all made up and arbitrary. They may or may not be true. They are made to create meaning for people who don’t really believe there is such a thing as absolute truth.

Here is where our 2006 Word of the Year, truthiness, comes in handy. truthiness, n.: the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.

To solve the great mystery of their lives, people who have chosen to make up their own stories do so to create the meaning and purpose that their lives lack. I believe this may also speak to something innate within us that compels us to seek truth and meaning. The fact that we long for it so universally suggests to me that there must be such a thing as a truth and meaning that satisfies that longing, just as there is such a thing as food that satisfies our experience of hunger. So who are these people who have chosen to make up their own stories about truth?

Actually, this “make up your own story” approach to life’s great mystery can produce both monsters and saints. They could be drug dealers or human traffickers as easily as they could be homemakers or schoolteachers. They might be NBA all-stars or Fortune 500 CEOs. Usually they share the fairly universal human goal—happiness. It’s just that some pursue it through violence and crime and others through hard work and education. Some even find it in helping their fellow man and being generous.

People can live an entire lifetime pursuing happiness and fulfillment without really worrying about whether there is some deeper truth or bigger story that they might be a part of. They are the stars of their own movies, writing their own stories and making their own rules. For seventy or eighty years they move from one event to the next, like balls in a pinball machine, bouncing off bumpers with lights flashing and bells ringing all the way. They are busy racking up points and bonuses until the ball finally goes down the drain, the noises stop, and the lights go out. Game Over!”

For obvious reasons, I’m not a fan of Choice #2 either. And then there’s the third option.

Choice #3 is to become part of a greater story.

“If you read a mystery novel, there is one thing you know for sure: someone wrote it; there was an author. The author creates the setting (the place where everything happens), the plot, and all of the characters in the story. The author gives each character unique traits and personalities and a role to play in the bigger story. And, perhaps the most significant aspect of this metaphor, every character is designed to play a key role. Let me underscore this one more time. If God is the Author of the big story and you are a character in that story, then it follows that the Author created you to play a key role in his story.

The Author created you to play a key role in his story. You have probably seen The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, and I hope you have read the books too. J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of those books, created an astonishing world called Middle Earth. It was a remarkable place filled with adventure and dragons and orcs and hobbits. It was a story of good versus evil, of kings and sorcerers, wizards and magic. And the characters in the book—Frodo, Arwen, Gandalf, Sam, and many others—were placed in the midst of a big story unfolding around them that went back into time for thousands of years. Tolkien had created each of them to play some role in his sprawling epic story.

And as we read about them, we realize that each of them struggled to make sense of the story and to understand just what his or her role should be. They couldn’t see the whole of the big story from the author’s point of view; they could only see the part that was in front of them with occasional glimpses of the broader narrative. But each of them had to puzzle out the role he or she was meant to play, based on the information that character had.

Well, doesn’t it make sense that our story has an author too—one who created the world and the universe we were born into, one who cast the vision for the expansive plot and story narrative that has unfolded over eons of time, one who began the story and also will bring it to its conclusion? Doesn’t it also follow that this same Author/Creator gave life to each and every character in his story—to you and to me—and that he created each one of us with unique gifts, talents, and personalities; and that he placed us within his story in both space and time?

I want to be frank in stating that all of this requires a significant leap of faith. Philosophers have been debating the existence of God for millennia, and I will not bring an end to that debate here. But again, I want to appeal to your common sense—something philosophers don’t always have in abundance. Doesn’t it make more sense to believe that our story has an Author than to believe that everything we see and experience is meaningless and without purpose?”

And that third option, the choice to believe that you are living out a pre-written, amazing, exciting, enchanting adventure is the choice I live my life by and the choice I recommend to my children…and to you.

So that’s it: have love, live your passion, and believe in a greater story for your life. Those are my three keys to happiness and meaning in life.


Two Important Questions To Ask Yourself

Alright, so once you’ve established love, a passion for your work and the belief in a greater story, what comes next? 

Here’s where I recommend you start: there are two important questions that you should ask yourself, questions for which you must have a firm answer if you want actual direction in life, and questions that you should ask yourself so that you are not engaged in an endless selfish pursuit of spinning your wheels exercising or competing or traveling or adventuring or pursuing your career or finding love or making money or writing the next great American novel or getting a better body or enhancing your brain.

The first question you must ask yourself is this: where am I going?

Ask yourself where you are going. What is the end result? Why are you doing what you are doing right now? What is the vision? As Verne Harnish says in book Scaling Up, what is your “Big Ass Hairy Goal”?

For example, if you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said that in my wildest dreams, what I ultimately want to do is provide you with one single, convenient stream of information that gives you all the lifestyle solutions, coaching, consulting, foods, supplements, gear, technology, biohacks, knowledge and education that you need to live life to the fullest while pursuing the ultimate combination of health and performance, to live life at whatever screaming fast pace makes you happy and fulfilled, and to live life at a level that allows you to experience exactly the way your human machine was meant to look, feel and perform.

And that’s still my goal. That’s still where I’m going. But I also want to enable you to satisfy a deeper meaning and a deeper purpose in your life.

But at the same time, over the past couple years, things have changed as I’ve matured. I now also want to enable you to satisfy a deeper meaning and a deeper purpose in your life than simply living in an optimized human machine. I want to help you go above and beyond the physical and mental and instead delve into experiencing love, passion and a greater story for your life. I want to help you have not just a healthy body and mind, but also a healthy soul.

This means that rather then simply writing, podcasting and producing content focused on biohacking, performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep and hormone optimization, I also want to help you have a healthy family life and create a lasting legacy of resilient children who will grow up to make this world a better place, to be able to tap into skills that go beyond just exercising, such as making beautiful music and reading enchanting books and cooking amazing meals, and to learn how to have those things in your life that you just learned are so important, things like love and passion and realizing your part of a greater story.

And of course the concept of answering the “where am I going” question must be balanced with the realization that, as one of my favorite books “Just Enough” explains, life is an unpredictable adventure, a series of moving targets, and an exciting, enchanting roller coaster ride during which your journey to your Big Ass Hairy Goal may wind up being a journey that is far, far different than what you might currently envision, but at the same time you must have some notion of why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing and what it is that you want to achieve when you get out of bed each morning.

The second question you must ask yourself is this: how am I making the world a better place?

Just think about it: are you affecting positive and lasting change in the world through what you do? Or are you just living life as a series of repetitive rushes of adrenaline? A pursuit of getting a bigger bank account? A goal of building a big business you can sell? Sex. Fame. Power.

Take me, for example.

So far, I’ve lived a crazy, adventurous life that has so far involved everything from bodybuilding to Ironman triathlon to fame and success as one of the world’s top personal trainers to obstacle course racing to bow hunting to training with the Navy SEALs to free diving to being a New York Times best-selling author to fulfilling my dream of writing a fantasy fiction book to competing in the upcoming and coveted Spartan Delta event, to training for my first kickboxing fight this summer, to building a beautiful home that is a mashup of ancestral off-the-grid living combined with a crazy biohacking lab.

Wow. Sounds pretty cool, huh?

But really, this is all pointless unless I actually leave this world a better place.  If you read through the list above, it actually looks a bit selfish when you really think about it, right?

As one of my favorite Bible verses says, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul?”  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that going out and doing good deeds to help make the world a better place is going to necessarily make you a good person or “save your soul”,  but it’s certainly reflective that you’ve got your priorities straight and certainly reflective that your soul is probably in the right place.

I used to think that making the world a better place had to involve doing something big. I used to think that I had to go to Africa and spend a month feeding starving children. I used to think that I had to start some huge charity to donate enormous sums of money to help those in need. I used to think that I had to get on stage in front of thousands of people to spark an enormous uprising of folks who would go out and fight injustice in the world.

But I’ve realized that’s not the case. I realize that thinking too big when it comes to making the world a better place can sometimes be a self-defeating enterprise.

Instead, I’ve recently partnered with my church to feed fifty families each week at a local, poverty-stricken elementary school full of kids who normally might get one meal during an entire weekend.  I’ve been setting aside at least 10%  of every dime that I make each month to help support my church, which does a great deal of good in the local community. I’m supporting one little girl in Ethiopia with food, clothing, shelter and clean water.  I’m waking up each morning and choosing one person in my life who I can help or serve that day. That’s it. None of these things are huge or impressive or earth shattering.

But boy, oh boy, I’d say these things are so much more meaningful than any accomplishments that might show up on my resume, wouldn’t you? 

So how can you make the world a better place? Start small. Go shovel your neighbor’s driveway. Go play your instrument at the local nursing home.  Find the one person in your neighborhood who has trouble moving and mow their lawn. Go volunteer for one afternoon a month at your local shelter.

That’s it.

Let’s review where we’re at so far.

Have love, live your passion, and believe in a greater story for your life.

Have a plan for where you are going. Ask yourself how you are changing the world. 


One Must-Do Thought Experiment

Next, there is one important thought experiment that will nearly wrap all this up.

A few years ago, I read an article that  challenged the reader to write their own obituary, with the goal being to inspire you get out there and start making any changes that you need to so that you can “live up” to your fantasy obituary.

And while writing your own obituary is actually a good idea, I personally have found it to be even more meaningful and simple and elegant to engage in the thought experiment of writing what you want to appear on your tombstone.  After all, you can only fit so much on a tombstone and so you must be clear and precise with imagining exactly how it is that you wants to be remembered.

Will your tombstone say that you did a good job living a really long time, beating out the lifespan of your peers by a good five years?

Will it say that you had the nicest six pack abs ever seen on Instagram?

Will it say that you could both run a five minute mile and also squat 400 pounds?

Will it say you could memorize a deck of cards in less than two minutes?

Will it say that you were really healthy and toxin free?

Sometimes it would seem to and outside observer that, by our actions, that’s the kind of thing were striving for on our tombstone and that’s the kind of things that we pour our lives into. Anti-aging. Exercise. Healthy living. Optimized minds. Detoxing.

And while all of those things are great when it comes to taking care of the bodies that we’ve been blessed with, they really aren’t all that meaningful in the whole scheme of things, are they?

What do I want my tombstone to say? I want it to say this:

He loved. He cared. He inspired.

What do I mean by that?

He loved: I poured out my heart to love everyone around me, no matter who they were. My life was full of love and relationships and laughter and gratitude in family and friends and those were more important than my own selfish pursuits.

He cared: I actually freaking cared about the people around me –  not about what they could do for me, but about what I could do for them.  And I’ll be honest with you, I still sometimes do a pretty crappy job of that. I can still be a pretty self-serving guy. I can be arrogant. Selfish. Rude. Short. Proud. That’s something I’m trying harder and harder every day to put behind me and it’s always been an uphill battle for me.

He inspired: I’ve realized more and more that when I go out and cross the finish line of crazy, difficult, masochistic events, or embark upon difficult adventures, or use myself as a guinea pig and put time in the trenches to figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to this crazy world of fitness and diets and biohacking and performance, it’s not about me. It’s about inspiring others to go out and chase their dreams. For some reason, I’ve been hardwired with a deep desire to challenge myself, to compete, to live life at this screaming fast pace that I live it at, and I’m realizing more and more that the deep reason behind that is so that I can inspire you to go out and climb your own personal Mount Everest.

So what will your tombstone say?


Five Quotes I Live By

Finally, as silly as it may seem, I want to leave you with a few gems. There are five quotes that I live my life by and these are quotes that will help you better understand where I’m coming from. Just do me a favor. If you have your own quote or quotes that you live your life by, then, along with all the other questions and thought experiments in this article, leave your quote or quotes in the comments section below.

The first quote I live my life by is by Robert Heinlein.  It goes like this, and it probably reflects why I’m always learning, always experimenting, and always chasing new adventures.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Quote number two is a quote that I already mentioned once in this article and it comes from the book of Mark in the Bible (Mark chapter 8, verse 36). Somebody out there will always seem to be greater, faster, stronger, richer, more powerful than you, and you can spend your life in an endless pursuit of chasing after what they have, but it’s all for naught unless your soul is in the right place. So this quote helps me keep perspective in life when I’m tempted to pursue wealth or fame or prestige and it goes like this:

“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own soul.”

I discovered quote number three when I served on the board for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The FCA has something called an “Competitor’s Creed”,  I read it before I head out into the field of battle for a competition or race so that I remember why am really out there, and it goes like this:

“I am a Christian first and last.
I am created in the likeness of
God Almighty to bring Him glory.
I am a member of Team Jesus Christ.
I wear the colors of the cross.

I am a Competitor now and forever.
I am made to strive, to strain,
to stretch and to succeed
in the arena of competition.
I am a Christian Competitor
and as such, I face my challenger
with the face of Christ.

I do not trust in myself.
I do not boast in my abilities
or believe in my own strength.
I rely solely on the power of God.
I compete for the pleasure of
my Heavenly Father, the honor of Christ
and the reputation of the Holy Spirit.

My attitude on and off
the field is above reproach –
my conduct beyond criticism.
Whether I am preparing,
practicing or playing;
I submit to God’s authority
and those He has put over me.
I respect my coaches, officials,
teammates and competitors
out of respect for the Lord.

My body is the temple of Jesus Christ.
I protect it from within and without.
Nothing enters my body that
does not honor the Living God.
My sweat is an offering to my Master.
My soreness is a sacrifice to my Savior.

I give my all – all of the time.
I do not give up. I do not give in.
I do not give out. I am the Lord’s warrior –
a competitor by conviction
and a disciple of determination.
I am confident beyond reason
because my confidence lies in Christ.
The results of my efforts
must result in His glory.


Quote number four  is short and simple and it’s what I tell myself when the going gets really tough. Word on the street is that this one came from Lance Armstrong. He may not have proven himself to be a man of the most upstanding character, but when you’re really hurting this quote works like a charm, And it’s probably why, with over 150 events and 6,000 miles of racing logged, I’ve only ever had two events that I didn’t finish.

“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”

And then finally, there’s quote number five. Perhaps it’s more of a prayer than a quote, but when I tuck my little boys into bed at night and I watch their beautiful eyes close as their heads hit the pillow, I close my own eyes and I recite the same words that the great US General Douglas MacArthur said for his own son:

“Build me sons, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when they are weak; and brave enough to face themselves when they are afraid; sons who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me sons whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; sons who will know Thee — and that to know themselves is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead them, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let them learn to stand up in the storm; here let them learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me sons whose hearts will be clear, whose goals will be high, sons who will master themselves before they seek to master other men, sons who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are theirs, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that they may always be serious, yet never take themselves too seriously. Give them humility, so that they may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, their father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain!'”

Even if I fail in every pursuit that I put my hands to, I can take confidence in the fact that I’m doing everything that I can to leave a mighty legacy who will grow up to make this world a better place. And that’s one of the strongest emotions that I experience every day.



So there you have it.

Frankly, I’m a little nervous to press publish on today’s article. I know I’ve gone to places in this article that I don’t usually go. I know that I’ve delved into the woo-woo, the serial, the spiritual, the stuff that, like politics, tends to ruffle feathers and create controversy.

But like I’ve said many times in this article, the reason for that is that my purpose in life goes beyond blood and guts and muscle and fat loss and neurons and oils and tinctures and steel barbells and looking good in spandex and barb wire and finish lines.

And I can’t just keep that to myself.

In summary, I’m challenging you to join the conversation. In the comments section below, answer any or all of the following questions:

Do you have love, passion and a greater story in your life?

Where are you going?

How are you changing the world?

What’s going to be written on your tombstone?

What quote or quotes do you live by?

And finally, what can I do better? What can I change for you? How can I use my platform to serve you better? How can I care for you more?

Fire away, and I promise to read everything you write.

Also published on Medium.


116 thoughts on “Five Quotes I Live By, Three Keys To Happiness, Two Questions To Ask Yourself & One Must-Do Thought Experiment.

  1. I have never been a person with a plan. I enjoy doing lots of things: home repair, writing, exercising, etc. I always thought is was a weakness because I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. But for me, love trumps everything I’ve done/will do.

    I recently started to work on creating a local chapter of a nonprofit that partners veterans and civilians. During one of our activities, someone thanked me and said it will help a lot of people.

    I finally know what I want to do with my life: help others. It took almost four decades to figure it out! And your post is a great place to seek that motivation to move forward. Thank you.

  2. I’ve been listening to your podcasts and reading your articles for several months now. This article by far means more to me than all the other things I’ve heard from you combined. I and many others will know what you mean when you said you were somewhat reluctant to post this. It seems that many people today misunderstand faith because of how it is portrayed. God has blessed us in so many ways, but that realization takes effort to explore – just like it takes effort to learn about the things you teach. Faith is like a muscle that grows stronger with use. I’m psyched you had the courage to post this. By the way, my favorite quote is ” Do not be afraid, for I bring good news”.

  3. Ben,

    I knew there was a I am drawn to your work. And you and answered the here by sharing you beliefs. Thank you and bless you. These are things that are meaningful and lasting. Hardwork to come as I venture to apply this info to my life.

  4. Having been blessed to have lived almost 65 years, I wholeheartedly agree with the main points of you article. I believe it is the best article you have ever posted and gives followers a deeper understanding of the person you aspire to become. God has placed all of us on earth with a purpose and the skills to make a difference in the lives of others if we take the time to listen to and follow the plan he had for us. Having been blessed to have worked 40 years with children as an educator I have been able to see the impact on can have with a positive affirmation, a kind word, an attentive ear and a warm hug. We must all continue to live our stories in such a way so that when we die and face God we can here him say, “Well done faithful servant!”

  5. One of the main reasons I’m such a fan of what you do, Ben, is your honesty and integrity. (We also seem to share the same sense of humor, so that helps, too). It takes courage to put so much of yourself out there. I won’t get into my own faith journey, but I have recently gotten more involved in my community. I’m working with several local history projects, but the one I’m proudest of is helping to preserve the stories of survivors of a disastrous flood that happened here in 1948. I applaud you for being so forthright. Thank you for giving us something to think about today.

  6. You certainly have been an inspiration to me and many like me. The quality of your podcasts, supplements, training plans, and much more is undeniable. Obviously, what lies beneath this is a principled life and it shows in all of things you do. It might be scary to peel back a few layers and let people see your foundation, but I think we suspected that it was coming from a deeper source. I have recently been thinking about where I am going and have made a commitment to get back on track. Your article is a confirmation that I have made the right decision.
    Thanks Ben!

  7. Great post Ben, thank you! Your words are wise.

    “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” -Calvin Coolidge

  8. Thank you very much for taking the time to write and publish this article. I do feel like it was written for me to see. Your articles and podcasts have really helped me take that first step to a better, healthier, more meaningful life! You have made a difference in someone’s life!!! Be blessed and again, thank you.

  9. Having been an avid listener and follower of you for the past 4 years. It has been inspiring and neat to watch you grow. Probably one of the best write ups you have done have done in awhile. Very inspiring to see this side of you. Keep up the amazing and inspirational work you bring to this world Ben. You have inspired me and I thank you for that.

  10. Beautifully written Ben. Thank you for going out on a limb and penning this article. You’ve inspired me with your words and I’m sure I won’t be the last.

  11. Hey Ben,

    Been following your podcasts, reading your articles and books over a long time now and this article brings it all down to what really counts in life! I really appreciate your honesty and integrity in what you are doing and I think you are a role model for a lot of people.

    This is by far your most inspiring article you’ve ever written. It’s provoking, raw and eyes opening. We need more of this . Thank you for sharing this. Great stuff!

  12. Great article Ben. Know that there are many of us in your audience that share your love of God and are behind you 100%. That being said, the article is not God-pushing what so ever. You wrote some great thoughts on how you are a better human being by giving to others both family and community. Rock on and thanks for all your service to THIS community.

  13. Well spoken, Ben!
    I have not read all of your articles, but cannot see how any could have been more challenging and inspiring than this one is.
    Clearly the holistic approach to the purpose of our life takes training to another level too.
    May you be granted the grace to exceed your own vision for your life, for His glory.

  14. I always read, listen and share all I get from you, but never comment. Today though, I have to comment to commend you. I will be sharing this article with way more people than I normally do! You are truly inspiring.

  15. Yesterday I lost my gym. Today I start a new one. I’ve hardly slept, i’m scared to death, I fought with my husband., I have a massive headache, and you’ve inspired me. I have been a personal trainer for 18 years and just recently found your podcast if you months ago. After reading your book beyond training. Since then, you’ve been with me every day, I’ve been soaking up as much as I have time for, everything I’ve been learning all these years finally culminating in one amazing space. I’m incredibly grateful to have found you, and I know I will come back to this particular article many times. Thank you Ben

  16. I love hearing about the spiritual side of your life. Which really is the core “optimizer” when you strip everything else away. Thank you.

  17. Great post. It highlights the counter-intuitive reality that power in life is found in submission. I have a beautiful scene posted in my office that highlights a “spiritual discipline” phrase from Dallas Willard;

    “Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry”

  18. I’ve been following/reading your posts for quite some time now Ben, and I must say I truly enjoyed reading today’s post. You have a way with words, and really do encourage us all with your wisdom on the net, I myself, would like to thank you for just being a inspiration to me, and everyone else on here, a heartfelt thanks to you, I may not always comment on your posts, but I do read every single one, a pleasure to be signed up to your blog etc…

  19. Great read today, one of my favourites now – thanks for being open.

    I know I have love and passion and my story seems to be ever changing along with lifes experiences and now as I’m getting older (maybe wiser, more educated!) I’m moving into a good place where I can give back to others. I hope my tomb stone reads “she cared”.

    One other point I like to share and know others may do similar – every night when we are sitting down having dinner, my partner and our twins start the dinner with 3 questions – What was your favourite thing today, What are you grateful for and What did you learn and how would you use it tomorrow. It is wonderful to hear my kids and partner talk about their day and particularly what their grateful for and then it generates more conversation.

    Thanks Ben for this great, thought provoking read today. Linda

  20. Thank you and I agree with all the above comments. Honesty, Integrity, a principled life…all of these show in your work. And this article is a masterpiece. You are a living legend, someone we look up to and for whom we have a lot of respect. Though you make money out of what you do, it is never insulting or pushy, but fair, worthy, and honest. Hat’s off to you and your crowd x

  21. I think you have hit on the one ingredient that is missing in much of the world and certainly in many of our leaders- the spiritual component of life. How great would this world be if more people lived this way. Thank you for bringing it to me today.

  22. Hey Ben. As someone who’s got a lot more years on this planet than you (65, but still get inspired by you) I’m glad you are moving in this direction, even though it was obvious to me that it was there all the time by the passion you put into everything. The things you touch on the article get even more important as we get older. Leave this planet with as few regrets as possible, not having loved or lived wholeheartedly being the biggest ones. Well done.

  23. Thank you. I am always struggling with making an “idol” my own health and fitness. But health and fitness, without love, without God, is nothing!
    Great reminder. Sending this to my son and husband and going to retread often.

  24. I really appreciate your posts and your podcasts. I probably fall more towards your #1 than #2 or #3, but I feel at the end of #1 you draw a bit more conclusions than an Objective viewer could. However, tell it how you will to express your point. I do not believe in God but there’s no way I feel that there is no meaning to life. I also feel that “truthiness” could accurately portray any of the 3 viewpoints. The important thing is that we all recognize the difference between knowledge and belief, and we respect others ability and right to believe what they do, just as we each expect to have the right to believe what we do. I do feel that I’m becoming part of a greater story but that story is not necessarily one of thousands of religions believed over the years… but that of society, humankind, the people that we can touch and affect from the time that we have is in part how we contribute to the bigger story, and we live on through those we touch by improving our skills, recipes, our ecosystem, our community, however we contribute to society. A quote I live by – “To be a liberal according to my favorite scripture, Merriam-Webster, is be open minded, is to be free from the constraints of dogmatism and authority, is to be generous and to believe in the basic goodness of humankind. Religion is defined as that which binds us back or reconnects us to that which is ultimately important. Thus religious liberals are those that are connected, through generosity and openness, to the most important aspects of life. And therein lies the challenge. If we are open minded and not bound by authority, who or what decides those matters of ultimate importance?” – Kimi Riegel

    I will close my comment with a shout out for a great philosophical podcast along the lines of this post, the partially examined life. You want to consider the biggest questions of life and our existence, These guys will ask and answer questions which will make you think, reflect, and appreciate everything all the more.

    1. Ben has too much class to respond to this…but why is there always someone (and I just saw another) inserting their own beliefs in another’s thought? It’s not “your show”. However, I know there are Christians that feel the need to intrude (a la Westboro) and convert people. That too is wrong.
      We all have a worldview or narrative we live by, and we all have blindspots. Yes, I do listen to partially examined life podcast. Btw, read Jonathan Haidts “The Righteous Mind”. He’s secular, so you’ll be safe.

      1. Sorry, didn’t think that by commenting I was “stealing his show” or by sharing a different possibility that I was somehow inserting my opinion uninvited. On the contrary I was actually trying to respond to the questions Ben posted.

        I accept that Ben’s position is different and I respect him for that, which was one of my points, agreement is not mandatory, variety of opinions is healthy. Heck, my significant other does not share my beliefs and we live in harmony. I don’t think that these keys to happiness are universal. For Rich Stearns to say that atheism leads to chaos, brutality, truthless and a meaningless existence seems radical… much of the brutality and ruthlessness he references could be applied to cultures that absolutely believed in higher powers e.g. Nazi Germany was primarily protestant and catholic. “The Righteous Mind” sounds good, I will give it a look. I am sure that I have and have had a difficult time seeing things from a believer’s perspective and finding common ground. I can get caught up in all the rhetoric when someone speaks with obvious bias and a closed mind and miss the point.

      2. Agree with you Sean. Sounds great if you are a Christian but no hope for us heathens and atheists. I grew up most of my life in an Apartheid society and our rulers used the very same bible to suppress the masses, made us believe we were inferior to the privileged few and kept us in poverty for all our lives. These were righteous Christians who swore by the bible and believed that all non-Christians were not worthy to share this planet with them – similar to the Crusades I guess! I guess we are destined for the alternate Universe otherwise known as Hell. At least I know where I’m going!

  25. Ben, you’ve written many great articles- this one surpasses them all! At the end of the day who cares how high your HRV was or how many fermented foods you consumed if you’re not living a happy, passion filled, purposeful life! Thank you for sharing a little bit of your heart. I just went from thinking you were pretty cool to knowing you’re SUPER COOL! Thank you so much for this article- definitely the most important thing I’ll read in a long time!

  26. Thank you for sharing and pressing publish on this piece. I think it will be relevant for a lot of people , myself included.

  27. Ben, thanks for giving us the testimony of your life. This was profoundly helpful! Given the special place the Bible holds in your life, you have no doubt read Ecclesiastes thoughtfully…its principles have found their way into your life. If interested, and you can find it, I recommend “Reason for Being” by Jacques Ellul. (If you can’t find it, let me know and I’ll loan you mine since I live in CDA.) In the spirit of what you’ve written, I’ll share a definition of success that is important to me, and I think it comes from Coach John Wooden;

    “Success is not a function of what you did compared to what someone else did, but what you did compared to what you could have done. Success isn’t a function of who you are compared to who someone else is, but you are compared to who you could be.”

    1. Slowly working my way through all these comments, and plan on giving you all replies. I’d love to read that book. It’s possible my local library may have it, but if you are willing to loan me yours I’d be indebted . Just email me: ben at Ben Greenfield

  28. I’ve been following you for a few years, and this is the most genuine thing i’ve ever read from you. I have subcribed to multiple things you offer and then unsubscribed because to me you had just become someone willing to huck the latest product or service for what appeared to be your own gain. At best, you seemed an overly optimistic person who would believe any new gizmo a gimmick and at worst a shameless marketer willing to promote anything if you could profit. My lifelong friend even hired you as a coach for a while and enjoyed it, but eventually it burned him out. I recently did a round of unsubscribing to simplify my inbox and you were on that list. After reading this article I’m gonna keep listening for a little bit. Thank you very much and good on you for being a hands on dad.

  29. Thank you Ben! This is the real stuff and im so happy you took the time to share, and had the guts to share. Inspiring for sure. Keep doing great things.

  30. I’ve never considered all topics presented in this piece, but certainly since turning 45, my most pressing thought is my impact on my fellow man. So thank you for the encouragement and guideposts and statement of your faith in Christ. Excellent!

  31. This article really hit home with me Ben, as I’ve been struggling with my own journey. Very inspirational! Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

  32. bravo, bravo. I can see mark divine’s influence all over this. Thank you for sharing all the good stuff. Keep loving those boys.

  33. Wow – thank you so much for taking the time to say all this and having the confidence and courage to state your beliefs and be an inspiration and light for others – but I love that you don’t just say it – you DO it. Thank you for your witness and example. I respect you more than ever. Thank you.

  34. Cool article! I agree with most of these points but I don’t agree with not trusting in yourself and making the glory of God as something separate or outside of you. Even Jesus said “the kingdom of heaven is within” .

  35. Glad you pressed publish! Well done!

    I do have love, passion, and a greater story in my life, and recognize there is room for a whole lot more.

    I’m learning and reaching in the direction of being more and offering more of those aspirations.

    With that, I am changing the world in a very small way.

    I don’t believe I’ll have a tombstone – and I’m okay with that.

    I can always correct my direction by remembering this quote by Jim Rohn:

    “Sucess is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day, while failure is simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day…”

    For your final questions I’ll say continue to expand your comfort zone and influence with meaning articles like this one.

    Bless up!

  36. Amen Ben. Awesome post. It took a tremendous amount of courage to say the thinks that you did. Praise God for doing so. I have read your book, and usually read your emails. I know now, that you are a brother in Christ. God has led me to take care of, and strengthen this temple. And you have helped me to do that. Paul said,”I can do all things through Christ who strenghens me”. Jesus said,” I am the way, the truth, and the life”. Thank you, Ben. God has used you to totally make my day.

  37. I don’t always comment on an article, but when I do it’s because Ben wrote a good one. It demonstrates that he truly loves, cares, and indeed inspires. These are the three pillars I always strive to live by and it’s wonderful to read ‘how’ others can achieve the same inspiration. Well done Ben, well done.

  38. Thank you Ben! Very on point. Possibly one the most meaningful and reflective posts you’ve placed. It’s easy to find ourselves tripping up in life’s own Spartan Race, and how useful it is to pause and reground our souls to our higher purpose.

  39. Speak from the mind and you will reach another person’s mind. Speak from the heart and you will touch another’s heart. You touched many “hearts” with this article. I salute you. Well done.

  40. – Reminds me of a verse I decided long ago as a kid I would strive to live by : “Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men” Col 3:23

    Thanks for the article Ben.

  41. I really appreciate you sharing your personal philosophy ben, I think you’re awesome and you have so much to offer the world. I would love to read more writing from your heart.

    I personally believe a little bit in choice one, two and three – go figure. I don’t believe in absolute truth – although I still hold space for that to be the case – but I think if there is such a thing humanity does a terrible job at trying to comprehend it. I don’t think we have all of the information we need to form an idea of an absolute truth, and in the mean time, it is too often used to start wars, and harm other people, and for that reason I choose to steer clear of them.

    I believe fundamentally that we are just evolutionary goo, riding on a sphere through the universe – that there is no ‘story’. But this doesn’t turn me into a fatalistic, hedonistic narcissist, no, it makes little difference actually. I still love, connect and serve in the same way I am required to if I believed there was a pre-determined plan or story. In fact, I do these three things harder than a lot of people I know who believe in the author, the plan, and the reckoning. This is very simply because I have a choice, and there are consequences to my actions. Many, many people I know think more along the lines of choice 1, and no one has become amoral because of it.

    I do believe that you create your own truth and I can’t express enough how much beauty, joy and connection I have seen and experienced in the world, because of the diversity of truths – or ‘truthiness’ – the world offers. To understand the truth of another human who is different to me is one of the most expansive experiences I have in life. In those conversations is where I have felt most connected to myself, humanity and the earth.

    AND finally, I don’t believe there is a greater story or any author to my adventure, except me. I believe I am in charge of my destiny, and the world I will hand down to my children. I believe that it takes work to make that world something you are happy with. I believe that all the bad things in this world are man made- they are not ‘a part of the ‘plan’ – and I want to change them (if I can) because I empathize with the people who suffer through them.

    The fundamental point I’m trying to make in this comment is that what I believe is almost the total opposite to you. And yet the end we have both reached, is almost identical. I make this point, because I truly wonder how much beliefs actually matter, as opposed to the unraveling, connecting to, and expression of, the heart.

    Thank you for posting this article Ben. Love!

    1. Again…..good reply. Good for the narrow-minded that don’t understand plurality… However, this isn’t your blog. Ben has too much class to respond. Me…not so much. You’re probably getting all your input from evangelical Christians that have no flexibility. I get that. They’re wrong too….my own opinion….

      1. Let’s “give room” for people to develop their own “narrative”. If one believes in unicorns and imps, but isn’t hurting anyone….let them be. I know I haven’t walked a mile in anyone’s shoes.

  42. Ben, great artical!, it once again points to the fact that as humans we have to deal with ALL aspects of our lives. We must deal with nutrition, sleep, hydration, spirituality, staying physically active, and we must love and have have a healthy and so structure social life (including Family, friends and love ones). We must deal with our careers and most importantly our stress. Only when we persue our whole being can we then be happy and healthy. Thanks for the inspiration and great quotes.

  43. I have never commented (and I rarely made it through an ENTIRE article), but this is by far the most important and most impactful article you’ve ever published. Thank you for openly sharing your faith.



  44. Beautiful message, Ben. Thank you for bravely writing and posting your inspirational words. Since healing from an 18 year health crisis and living in a healthy body now, I know there’s a reason and purpose for all we experience. So many lessons learned along the way. Some are only for us, but most are to be shared with those we meet. Thank you for sharing your lessons along your journey. My purpose? To write my spiritual story … and that’s what I’m doing! Much love and many blessings.

  45. Ben,

    Awesome article! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on spirituality and the quotes to live by. I plan to share the FCA prayer with my clients this week.

  46. Hi Ben, I found your podcast a few months ago and love the work you do. I never comment, but thanks for this, I feel rather challenged to act on your article. You have a gift and it is amazing to see how you are using it!

    My quote I live by is also from the Bible Phillipians 4:13 – “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”

  47. Thank you Ben for writing and sharing this. I am only 23 but I am feeling stuck and somewhat lost. I have found health and fitness as a way to give my days purpose but it isn’t enough. I need a real purpose that makes me feel good and more importantly helps others as well. This article helps reinforce the idea that i need to seek a higher purpose, look to a greater cause, and seek direction outside of personal concerns. After reading this I realize I need to do some internal evaluation and make some plans for my future to make my life fulfilling.

  48. Hi Ben. After all the dust of the great stuff you share in your books, articles, videos, etc, has settled. The only thing left is the essence. This article is the essence, it exemplifies elegantly WHY you do what you do. It’s a blessing having you spreading your wisdom.

  49. Thank you Ben. You are a tru inspiration. At this turning point of my life where fitness is the true passion I am embarking into, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such an awesome example.

  50. Ben,

    I have been listening to you, attended your Superhuman Conference 3 years ago, and “following” you for about 4 years now. I have learned much about health and performance and am always amazed at your wealth of knowledge. I personally am thrilled you took a leap here and pushed send. Thank you for sharing this insight into you and your journey. I look forward to having you inspire, and encourage those interested in our journey for a healthy soul.

    Where am I going? It is definitely a work in progress. My life shifted 2 years ago and since then I have been on the path of discovering what God’s Purpose is for me. I work on a much smaller scale than you to inspire others to be physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. However, I myself am still on the path in particular emotionally and spiritually as you say having a healthy soul. I have learned however, that I can be an example and inspire others who are older that it is not too late.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are a wise young man.

  51. Hi Ben.. Thanks for your your inspiring piece. I agree on every level. Y life started with odds stacked against me.. No doubt. But I always held my faith and had a plan. In my late twenties I became a fitness competior and proceeded to live the fitness life. I was blessed with twins also and now see that everything I’ve been through has led me here. Presently, I’m raising three beautiful girls and have been happily married for 14yrs. . Life is great! God and I are square,” as I could not ask for more. I’m no longer competitive but continue to educate anyone who asks me about fitness as I’ve maintained by passion for movement and nutrition.. I will serve the world by raising three loving, strong and smart women. Yes, I will teach them to build walls and walk barefooted in snow .. No worries Ben;) I will serve my community by starting every day with gratitude and giving of myself whenever possible.. I will inspire by spreading the word (hopefully with a book) about balance for women. So as you live your journey maybe you can address more of the female athletes like me that always find it tough to strike that balance between the woman that once had 10 percent BF and now finds herself over 40 and needs to shift the paradigm toward longevity. Thanks for all you do .. I’ve learned so much from you and you’re guest. Fair to say, God and you are square too;))

  52. Best article/email I have received from you. I am a 5x ironman finisher and father of 3. I have learned the hard way that without God, it means nothing. But when we take this passion for sport and human performance and we channel it for God’s glory it can give a meaning and purpose to life, and can set a wonderful example for others, most importantly our young children. As an avid follower of Sealfit/Unbeatable mind, and a former board member of FCA in Delaware it is wonderful to hear about your faith. Thank you for having the courage to share your story. Thank you for being bold in the declaration of your faith. May God continue to bless you. Now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever amen.

  53. Hey Ben,

    I am not religious at all (I personally found my “spiritual” value through yoga) but the questions and ideas you pose here are valid to anyone. Tho, I must disagree with the idea that not being religious and viewing other human beings as “meat flecks” goes hand-in-hand… Rest assure your audience is far too intelligent and humble for you to lose any fans over this article. And after all the great content you’ve provided over the years, how could you lose any fans??? You never hammer your faith into your audience (in fact you hardly ever reference it), your faith clearly fuels an ambition to do good (not just good — GREAT) rather than evil, and the Bible quotes you pulled are practical ideas anyone can live by. On the subject of values more important than physical fitness, among them for me are honesty, integrity, humility and a sense of humor, and you’ve always demonstrated all these above reproach, or I wouldn’t have become a fan. I may choose to look up to and serve and be inspired by real people — I mean “meat flecks” — rather than religious figures but you sir Mr. Greenfield are one hell of a meat fleck for us to look up to. I hope all the positive feedback on this article is inspiration by itself for you to keep pursuing that “convenient stream of information”, but I and I’m sure the rest of your audience will support whatever decisions you choose to make. I never comment but since you say it took serious initiative for you to post this article I hoped to ease your anxiety a bit by letting you know this article does nothing to alienate a long-time fan even if they don’t share 100% of your beliefs. You are a top-class individual and that’s what counts.

  54. This article more than any others has inspired me to write you a short note. I am compelled to tell you that your article today was absolutely fantastic. It is inspiring and meaningful. It’s very well written and I could not have said it better. I admire you for the courage to stand in what you believe. I really do. I’m trying to take similar steps in my life/professional career and it is terrifying. This is a brilliant bit of writing. You’ve taken a difficult topic and addressed it with intelligence and heart. Really brilliant work. You have a real talent for writing and sharing. I look forward to true mind, body AND Spirit info coming from you now. I just can’t say enough. All the best. Lori-Ann

  55. This is a very good article Ben, one of your best.

    I particularly like your discussion on the joy, success and satisfaction that comes from getting really good at your job. One of the happiest people I ever met works as a farrier/blacksmith. he is uneducated and makes only a modest income, but he is a bloody good farrier and the self and community respect he receives from this seems to far outweigh the lack of monetary success.

    He is also very strong and fit (despite being in his 70s) from the work! He has muscles on his muscles!!

  56. Ben, I have been following you for less than a month now. I knew that such a smart man like you has to be a man with faith.

    “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do”

    My quote from Quran 16:96

  57. Awesome. This is the blog post that I always hoped you’d write. Solid gold. Thank you for being such a PRO! Keep it up. Hooyah!

  58. Wow! So impressed by you and your willingness to speak your truth! So many people are afraid to express their Christianity. I applaud you for your courage. You truly are a very strong man! I will continue to be a fan of yours and now with much more faith in you because of who you follow. May God continue to bless you and your family!

  59. Hey Ben, great article but you lost me at the injection of this bigger picture, spiritual aspect of it. Let me ask you, if we found out today there is no god, would you stop getting up every morning? Would you stop loving fitness, and all the things you do. Would you stop loving your family or your children? I think it takes a brave person to simply say I don’t know. I don’t know if there is an author behind all this or if is merely physical forces. But for me personally, either way I still find very deep meaning in my life. Just a different perspective here, but I’m still fan of what you’re doing. Take care.

  60. Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and beliefs Greenfield. It’s good to see the man behind the machine!

    “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Albert Pike

  61. Ben, i didn’t knew u where such a strong Christian. I am a endurance coach in MN and a Christian. In 2014 I rode a single speed bike from CA to SC for to fight for human trafficking. Yesterday was my 36th bday and I give all the honor to God for letting me coach people and letting me bring them closer to Him with the work I do. I see so much in you that is so similar to how I do my own style of coaching. You are an inspiration. I will love to be in touch with you and if you ever are around MN, i will love to connect. In the same way if I go near where you are I will love to connect. Blessings my friend!

  62. It takes a lot of courage to write so openly about what you believe so thank you for that. I am a scientist and love listening to your podcasts and reading your articles describing the science behind nutrition and physiology. I loved the beginning of your article, but as an atheist, I would like to say that I do not sit by thinking everything is meaningless; on the contrary I have a deep thirst for the truth and knowledge and the fact that I don’t believe my story is pre-written gives me the freedom to search for truths and write an amazing story of my own. A story that also includes love, passion, inspiration, the desire to be great, and the hope that I leave the world a better place as well. I still have a drive to make my time meaningful, if not more-so because my meaning is not already written and decided but up to me to make happen. It’s superficial to assume someone who doesn’t believe in a God is depressed, uncaring, and floating through life with no purpose. Thank you for providing the opportunity to comment.

  63. Moving from the quantified self/striving only for human performance to a place where you realize that “lowest resting heart rate” isn’t tombstone-worthy is not only a great shift for you but a wake up call and some consolation for the rest of us, some of whom may be trying like hell to biohack themselves but who may not realize the benefits of self-love and participation in part of a bigger community on one’s health. Great post!

  64. Hi Ben, I’m so grateful to have come across all your work, and that you’ve shared this side of yourself. You love to get into the nitty-gritty of the human body, but we all know we’re more than fleshy automatons. We all have a spirit, a capacity to grow and feel, insecurities and flaws. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into who you are, and reminding us of what is truly important in life. (Its kale right? Kale is the most important thing?) Love your work, keep at it :)

  65. Way to go Ben……for putting yourself and these ideas out there. You are inspiring, and changing the world, one person at a time. To paraphrase Margaret Mead (I do not remember the exact quote) ” Never for a minute believe that the world cannot be changed by a few dedicated and inspired people, because in fact, that is the only way it has ever changed”. Thanks for reminding us of what is REALLY important!

  66. I have only recently discovered your podcasts, I listen and wonder about the man behind the machine and what is the motivation so this article is very helpful for me

    For you, as you live and gain age and trauma life can sometimes make you lose sight of the reasons why you do stuff, so writing it down to check back in once in a while is no bad thing.

    I have short arms and I changed career a while back and to using me feet to provide sports massage, it has enabled me to receive and give far more than I thought was possible…..I think your advice to your sons is spot on!

  67. Proud of ya Ben.

    “That’s how you become great man. Hang your balls out there”.
    From Jerry Maguire.

  68. I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs, knowing that nobody can hear me. The constant dialogue running in my head is overwhelming and rather hateful at times…”you aren’t good enough”, “you have no direction”, “you are a failure”. I feel that my life is battling itself to be someone that I am not, but when you don’t know who you are, it’s hard to rectify that. A hamster spinning in a wheel. Then a ray of light hits, some sunshine to help bring me back to center and allow myself to refocus. I keep needing to remind myself that life is bigger than just me, and I have to allow it to happen in order to understand my place. You are much appreciated in this world Ben; thank you for your article on finding the keys to happiness.

  69. Ben-you are a blessed man! Thanks for ‘hanging it out” and letting it rip!! May the Lord continue to bless all you do. You are heading in the right direction my friend!

  70. Ben kudos to stepping up and writing the best blog to date. I read every word of it, reflected on what you said and as usual learned a lot. I admire your vulnerability and the fact that you spoke to your strong Christian believes that ground you.

    Your stock just went up in my book.

    I live to learn, challenge myself and to love all those I come in contact with in my life. I try to lead a healthy live to set a good example for those around me but most importantly my children. I hope my tombstone says he lived, he laughed and he loved.

    One of my go to quotes is by Teddy Roosevelt the Man in the Arena and one of my favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13

    Keep up the great work!

  71. Hi Ben,

    I’ve listened to your podcast for years, and I think you admit this piece is away from the scope of your normal work. This was a surprise to find, but for me, much needed, thank you.

    I’ve been struggling with personal demons, distracted by fleeting emotions, power, sex, a selfish desire to look good, and now have little to show for it after a nasty fall.

    I’m looking for ways to find deeper meaning in my life, so your words provide a great bit of inspiring clarity to that process. Thankfully, I have two little boys and a wife who have unconditional love for me, so I am receiving love. What I must do is give that love back in equal and greater amounts. It’s reassuring to know too that you can “change the world” in smaller bits, just as you can make your life better, happier and more fulfilling in less overwhelming ways. After all that’s happened, I know it will be a long road to find, in particular, a greater story for my life and a plan for where I’m going. Writing like this really helps your audience find that purpose.

    Thank you for the post, Ben, I’ve become an even bigger fan.


  72. Its rate to see so many positive comments online… Which just highlights how great it is what you’re doing and how good it is to see someone being so humble and human and transparent online. That’s the future, but it does take loads of courage, although it can seem to be such a straightforward thing for people not involved in this world.

    You’re making the world a better place with your work, never give up Ben!

  73. Hi Ben,

    I reread your article today. You talk in you article about one of the issues that I struggle with so much, that doing some of the things I do, feel very self centered at times. The biggest issue at present is running Iditarod, as it takes time away from my son and is very expensive. There were acouple of things that happened last week( several people gave me some sponsor ship money), when I was out running the dogs yesterday, this thought can to me, ” this is bigger then you”, referring to Iditarod, I felt less selfish and I do think Iditarod is an inspiration to others. ( and talk about passion, those dogs are very passionate about their work) The other thought I had out there was, ” it’s ok to do well”, like permission to succeed. I “love” your definition of gratitude, that it is love , because that’s what it feels like.

    I liked your article very much, Thank you for sharing your inner self with us!

  74. Ben,

    Awesome that you share not only what nourishes our hearts, bodies, and minds, but much more important our souls. Thank you for not taking the PC approach to your philosophy on life but sharing what you truly believe in and how you feel.

  75. Ben, the feeling this article has given me is by far the most inspiring and motivating feeling I’ve ever got from anything on the internet.

    I know at the best of times I am quite verbose (that’s an understatement), but I’ll try my best to shorten this. I’m going to try and answer those questions.

    Do I have love, passion and a greater story in my life?

    Passion – yes, and nothing more so

    A greater story – perhaps……….definitely a great story, and definitely one with the aim of inspiring others, but whether I’m a pawn in a much larger chess game, I’m not sure…….

    Love – I have the world’s greatest family. We have massive christmas and cup day (melbourne cup) parties every year, sometimes Australia day and grand final day (AFL) too. My brother once stayed up until ~4am convincing me not to run away from home. I once ruined my dad’s surprise present (pool table) for his 50th birthday, and he told me “it’s ok”. I have many mates who I can talk to about anything. My family is unique in the amount of love we have, the connection we have, compared to how many people have divorced parents and situations like that.

    But I don’t have that one person who I want to spend the rest of my life with. THE person, THE one. I’ve screwed up many *relationships* with girls in the past. And I realise now more than ever, I need someone who understands me and someone to help me on my journey, and (possibly) more importantly, I want someone who I can fill the same needs for.

    Where am I going?

    AFL. Australian Football League. The highest level of the greatest sport in the world. No one will stop me, everything I do, every day, every minute, every second is to get me closer to there, and this has been my attitude for the past 3 years. This is why I gave a crap about year 12, and why I’m at university now, why I study whenever I can, why my study content can range from uni content to fitness videos to job applications to ben greenfield to peter attia to testosterone nation.

    This is my single biggest motivator.

    How am I changing the world?

    Despite my dreams, I am an average footballer, my fitness level is below average. I have very little money, my family is not rich (although I think we have a rich life) and at my age most AFL players are already being drafted. So when (not if or maybe, when – that is my attitude), I make it, I think it’ll be a pretty inspiring story.

    On top of that, I want to host an “anti-biggest loser” television program, I want to open a health cafe/franchise and be bigger than McDonald’s and, the most realistic of all and something I’m considering doing right now, I want to host a fitness-based radio show. These tasks are not as prioritized as my footy dream, but I’m still very passionate and serious about doing them.

    What’s going to be written on my tombstone?

    I’m really not sure. Not just because I actually HAVE to be concise with this, but I genuinely don’t know. I’m going to be thinking about this for the next few days, if not the rest of my life.

    What quote or quotes do I live by?

    I have a heap of quotes, typed out on computer and printed off and stuck up on my bedroom wall, that I’m looking at as I type this right now. I won’t share them all, but I’ll share some. If you like, I’ll post email them to you (key phrase here – “if you like” – IF, and if YOU). Here’s some of them:

    “Stick to a dream only you can see” – Christian Woodford, July 2015

    “Never forget. Remember the dream. Always.” – 23rd August, 2015, Rd 20, ESS v GCS

    “Save yourselves. If you need me to throw you a line, I’ll throw you a line, I’ll even help pull you in, but you gotta do some kicking. You gotta want it. If you don’t want it, you’ll never get it.” – Cam Elliot, May 2015

    “Before every game – make your opponent say “I’ll never forget playing on him”. Every time.” – Ken Boxell, 2015

    “I used to believe that who I was ended at the edge of my skin. That I had been given this little vehicle called a body from which you experience creation……..then I learnt that everything outside the vehicle was a part of me too.

    And now I drive a convertible” – Jim Carey

    “I have never failed at anything in life. I have just learnt how to do it better next time.”

    “The sheer visceral joy of using your body in a contest. Sport IS sanctioned aggression & violence. And frankly, it’s a thrilling experience.” – Kirsten Drysdale

    “Golden nuggets……………be on the lookout”

    And finally, what can you do better? What can you change for me? How can you use your platform to serve me better? How can you care for me more?

    Help me with my journey. Help me with my dream. Let me meet you and chat to you in person (that is very likely not to be feasible, but it’s a must). Right now, you are my number 1 idol, and I need your help. I need a mentor. I need it to be you.

    Thankyou for this post. THIS is life changing.

      1. sorry it took me so long to reply to this.

        I will join the mentorship.

        I hate to always sound like this, but some bad things have happened recently (one of them I’ve mentioned – my laptop breaking down) that has put my family back financially a bit……..a bit more than a bit……….so – does it cost money to join? I had a quick look (quick coz I have to leave for work now), and I just want to make double sure.

        Also, I just want to share about that comment above, I know at times I sound a bit hyperbolic (sometimes it’s deliberate), but that was all 100% sincere. Not trying to boast here, just want to make clear none of it was shits and giggles. This was deep.

        And I think you recognized it (eg. “kind words” – you’re more than welcome). Thankyou.

        1. and did you want to hear the rest of those quotes?

          i feel like “what will I have written on my tombstone” will be a question I ask for my entire life. The more I think about, the more I think it’ll be something like – “he fulfilled the promise” (relating to outliving my parents – not really anything I hold more near and dear to my heart, to borrow some of your vernacular ;) ). But nevertheless, it’s a bloody good question.

          oh, and if any of what I say ever overwhelms you, I apologise heaps, like, heaps more than heaps, like, lots, really lots. And heaps. and lots.

  76. Ben, I apologize that it has taken me this long to read this. I really get a lot out of your podcasts and articles. I’ve struggled the past few years since I quit racing bicycles. The balancing act of training, my physical day job and family finally took its toll and I couldn’t do it all physically. It’s been tough to fight back to eating correctly, exercising and finding my rhythm and passion about things. Seems the bike had a huge effect on how I viewed God, love, passion, health and how I felt about my job and family. Long story short I’ve just recently started figuring out the next chapter. I’ve kind of taken some time to reset from how hard I pushed for the past 20 years of beating my body and my gut. This article really nailed it though. It reassured me that this new chapter I’ve started is the best for myself my family, God and my small part of the world. While I still feel bad some days I’m on the right track back. Thank you so much. I’ll be reading this multiple times.

  77. Great post!!! It has moved me to make some positive changes in my own life and the lives of my four boys. Thanks for providing so much quality information on not only health/wellness, but life in general. You’re an inspiration brother. Keep it up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *