It’s resolution time. If it were up to me, everyone’s resolution would include better burpees and more Spartan races. I realize, however, that many of you have other things in mind. You want to make more money, start that new business, and visit cooler places than just your kitchen. I commend those, too. As we look to the things we want to do in 2022, let’s not forget who we want to be in 2022.
It’s easy to get swooped up into the vortex of doing more things, but we sometimes lose sight of who we are in the process. True Spartans focus first on character. I’ve picked the 12 attributes that I think all Spartans need to prioritize in 2022. Read ‘em, and get to work.
The Character Traits That All Spartan Racers Should Have This Year
You’ve got to be a giver, not just a taker. Whenever I’m out on course during races, I am so inspired by the generosity that I see Spartans giving one another. You turn back after completing a grueling obstacle just to help another racer who is struggling. You lend out pairs of shoes and gear to those who aren’t quite as prepared. You throw someone a gel when they start to burn out. Generosity is all about giving, and Spartans are great givers.
Spartans never waver when it comes to discipline. You have to be consistent and unrelenting in the way you do things. The standards for my morning routine never change. On a plane, in a hotel gym, at the farm, or in the office, it’s the same routine each time. The discipline develops a sense of responsibility to my health and to others. Commit and put it on repeat.
This ties back to generosity, but is also an element on it’s own. Spartans support each other — not just through giving, but through encouragement and accountability. We lift each other up and remind each other that anything is possible. We also give support while our partners and comrades try new things, and we hold them accountable when they try to back out. Don’t underestimate the power of support. Spartan would never be the global entity that it is today without the support of all of you.
There are few things that get me riled up, but liars and cheaters are one of those things. It really gets under my skin when I know that someone is operating without honor. True Spartans have honor. They admit when they’re wrong, they remain committed no matter how rough the waters get, and they don’t take shortcuts. Cutting corners only makes you more weak — never stronger. Hold up honor, and that means don’t cheat on the burpees.
Respect and kindness can be wrapped together into one single attribute: courtesy. It’s easy to be courteous, and the payoff is huge. A simple "thank you" to the server who brings your food or the mail person who drops off your packages can make a huge impact on their day. Drop the ego and the nasty attitude and just be courteous.
Ego does not breed greatness. Some of the most humble people I know are the most decorated soldiers and badass warriors. Spartans don’t value their achievements over anyone else’s. They know that ego is the enemy, and being part of the tribe is what matters. Work on being more humble by moving your ego aside.
You know how I know whether or not someone is right for my team? Willingness. I don’t care how many degrees you hold or what Fortune 500 company is on your resume. If you’re not willing to do the work and lean in where others won’t, then you’re not a true Spartan. It’s less about being good at something and more about whether you’re willing to contribute. If you’re willing, you’ve won.
The minute that you stop wanting to grow is the minute you die. Spartans are always interested in growth. And growth starts with curiosity. You have to be interested and curious in what you don’t know. This is just one of the reasons I keep doing the Spartan Up! podcast. It allows me to stay curious all the time. And if I’m curious, I know that I’m growing.
Easy. Spartans are courageous. No matter how much fear they have — and they could have a lot, based on the number of tough things they do — they still move forward, participate, and execute. Fear is never an excuse to quit. Mustering up courage isn’t easy. Our brains can be a big barrier in that regard, because they interpret fear as a threat and encourage us to seek comfort. But the more tough shit we do, the better we get at saying, "F*** it. I’m doing it anyway."
Say please. Smile at a stranger. Tip your driver. Be polite. It’s not rocket science. Sometimes people equate being tough with being nasty to others. But it’s the small people who treat others with smallness. Remember that.
You have to be able to laugh. I’ve got a few people in my life who really make me laugh. Life is hard. And if you’re a Spartan, you’re choosing the hard path most of the time. Don’t take yourself too seriously and make sure you bring some laughter into the mix.
Obviously this one is on the list. Spartans have massive amounts of resilience. Not necessarily because their lives have been filled with bad stuff that has forced them to build resilience, but because they zig when others zag. They choose hard when everyone else picks easy. Spartans are known for their ability to rebound and march onward. Build resilience. Win the war. Aroo!
Related: 5 Ways to Start Building Resilience NOW