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Want To Get Stronger? The First Goal You Must Set


If the goal is far away, focus focus focus

I got back from a strength coaching seminar today taught by one of my heroes: Dan John. If you’ve lifted a weight, you’ve probably heard his name and have your favorites stats of his.

In less than 24 hours, Dan said dozens of the most profound things I’ve ever heard. He is able to express complex truths very clearly. On the flipside, he makes simple things feel profound and revelatory.

I want to share two quick things with you. The rest you should hear from Dan John himself.

The Only Goal That Matters

Whatever goals you have made, this one must come first: The goal is to keep the goal the goal.

Read that again: The goal is to keep the goal the goal.

An unecessary translation: quit bouncing around. Pick a goal then measure all your actions against it. Does what I’m doing help me reach my goal? If not, eliminate it. Do not spend your time doing things that don’t get you closer to your goal. Avoid distractions at all costs.

Be grateful for shared knowledge: it may have been hard won

I said that Dan is great at making things sound simple. He stated more than once today that even though something is so simple it can be said in three seconds, it may have taken someone (like himself) decades of experience, blood, injuries and mistakes to figure out how to express it with clarity. When someone provides you with an “Aha!” moment, assume that they paid a price to learn it and be grateful to them.

This seminar was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I would say more but the seminar will be released on DVD later. You might even get to see trollish me getting a lesson in instant shoulder flexibility and kettlebell cleans. If you’re a Dan John fan or are looking for a way to get to know a genius, check out Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning. I’ll post a picture of my autographed copy soon–I might have to get it laminated first.


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  • Aaron June 6, 2009, 6:46 pm

    Just started reading Dan John’s book – it’s excellent! (As is your site – keep up the great posts.) Thanks for the heads up about the DVD – who, what, when is that about?

    • Josh Hanagarne June 6, 2009, 6:49 pm

      Thanks Aaron! The two day seminar–which was essentially “The Philosophy of Strength Coaching” was being filmed. Laree Draper will be the one who will know the release details, and she has no idea yet. When I learn something, I’ll let everyone know. And I should know as soon as anyone does, because I’ll be chomping at the bit to order it.

  • MarkFu June 9, 2009, 12:10 am

    I also bought Dan John’s book and just cracked it; so far so good. Dan a truly nice guy and a terrific coach. I have an RKC friend who knows Dan well and I had the pleasure to meet him at an RKC training at UCLA last year.

    • Josh Hanagarne June 9, 2009, 6:54 am

      I really love the book. I’ll be doing a full review later but there’s a lot in here. I asked Dan to sign my copy “To Josh who taught me everything I know.” He ignored that. He signed something very nice and better than I deserve, but he ignored that:) Any plans on doing another RKC or assisting?

  • MarkFu June 9, 2009, 8:52 am

    maybe you should have just settled for “almost everything I know”. I would do it again if it were local just to help out, but I can’t say I am interested in RKC for myself, though of all the certifications out there, at least you really have to earn it, not just by dropping the grand I wasted on Crossfit.

  • David December 22, 2009, 7:13 pm

    Excellent! Reminds me of the Stephen Covey quote “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Of course, I noticed “Seven Habits” is in your top 10 books list (what’s #10?!) Love me some Dan John. Need to pick up his book soon, and re-read “Enter the Kettlebell.” Keep the great stuff coming, Josh!