Spartan founder Joe De Sena's latest book, 10 Rules for Resilience: Mental Toughness for Families, is a foolproof guide to parenting from a position of resilience. The goal? Prepare your children for ANYTHING. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy today!
A couple of years back in a suburb outside of Boston, a woman noticed two young kids carrying kettlebells on the street. Confused and more than a bit disturbed, she screeched her car to an abrupt stop and confronted them.
"Is he a coach?" she asked them frantically, referencing Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena, who had been monitoring and encouraging the kids as they carried their kettlebells. "Who IS he? Are you kids OK? I've watched you for 15 minutes carrying those heavy things."
"Ma'am, they're my children," De Sena calmly explained. "They're fine. We're exercising."
Seems reasonable enough, right? Not for this woman, who remained unnerved. The initial confrontation led to a heated, back-and-forth discussion. Though De Sena believed that this woman was clearly misguided and out of line, he admittedly couldn't blame her for her reaction. After all, when was the last time she had seen a kid outside doing something hard? Fifteen years ago? Twenty?
But the more he thought about it, the more it bothered him. Has it really gotten to the point in our society that seeing kids outside and exercising is cause for concern? Yes, the sad truth is that it has. This is the unfortunate reality that we're living in.
Shortly thereafter, De Sena decided that he had to do something about it. He had to help change the way we parent, and help change the trajectory of how we prepare our children for the world.
That was when he wrote 10 Rules for Resilience: Mental Toughness for Families, a foolproof guide to resilient parenting.
"I've gotta wake up the developed world to this idea that we are teaching our kids helplessness," De Sena told host Jim Rome on his podcast, The Reinvention Project. "And when they go out, and they expect to get a job, they're not gonna have any of the tools. They have no resilience. We're creating little soft munchkins."
Jim Rome and Joe De Sena Talk Parenting, Resiliency, and More
Rome, a sports radio host with a syndicated show on CBS Sports Radio, has a son in college and another son in high school. As the parent of two, the 56-year-old was completely immersed in the book right from the introduction, and loved the make-it-hard message that De Sena and his co-author, Dr. Lara Pence, delivered in the pages.
"I got more out of the introduction to your new book than many entire books that I've read," The Jim Rome Show host said. "I got a shit-ton out of your book."
Listen to the podcast in its entirety above, and check out some interesting snippets from their highly entertaining conversation below. To order 10 Rules for Resilience: Mental Toughness for Families, click here.
What's More Important for Kids: Fun or Hard Work?
"My saying around the house is, 'Save the fun for later. We've got work to do right now,'" De Sena said. "Are you kidding me? Fun?! And by the way, they have fun when they complete challenging tasks, and they get to pat themselves on the back and say, 'I just got something big done, I'm proud of myself.' They can look themselves in the mirror.
"We, as human beings, need to move. We need to run. We need to have challenges in front of us. Otherwise, we get miserable, we get depressed, we start fighting with people around us, we don't act well. You want to have fun? Not here."
Why ALL of Us Need to Do Hard Things
Doing hard things now prepares you for challenging situations later. When you push yourself to the limit, you're ready for all of the curveballs that will inevitably be thrown your way. You get primed, both physically and mentally, for the difficulties and obstacles of everyday life.
"Every cell in your body gets called to attention when your world gets turned upside down," he said. "[When] you go for a sprint, you're grasping for air, every cell in your body gets called to attention. You feel alive. You get in that cold shower, it's completely uncomfortable ... You're either growing or dying, and growth occurs in discomfort."
If you're out of shape or feeling depressed or feeling uninspired, the solution is simple (but not easy). Remove yourself from your comfort zone and turn your daily routine on its head. Wake up early, work out in the morning, take a cold shower daily, eat a salad at every meal, and occasionally fast for a day. (De Sena casually mentioned that his mother once meditated and fasted for 30 days straight. We're not suggesting you take it to that extreme...)
"Just get rid of some of the luxuries that we've all become accustomed to," De Sena said. "Make yourself uncomfortable purposely, get comfortable in that discomfort, and you can handle anything in life. You'll be ready for anything."
What Does It Mean to Choose Your Hard?
"Eating healthy is hard," De Sena said. "Eating unhealthy is harder. You might not know it right now, but I watched my father die in a hospital because he didn't take care of himself, he didn't eat well. Choose your hard: Can you delay gratification? Not put that cookie in your mouth? Not take that short-term money? Or, pay the price later. It's even harder.
"You have a little bit of discipline, you don't take the shortcut. It might feel like it's harder now, but it really is easier."
What's the Difference Between Resilience and TRUE Resilience?
"Resilience is that ability to bounce back," De Sena said. "But true resilience is that ability also to be agile ... It's that ability to not only bounce back, to not only be a rock if you need to, but also be the water and pivot and understand that your environment's changing. Be completely flexible. You don't want to be so rigid that you break ... You want to have structural integrity, but be flexible."