#1644 Mastery Math

... +1, Equal, -1

The other day I had a GREAT chat with James Altucher for his podcast.

Our chat is right up there as one of my all-time favorite podcast interviews I’ve done for my book. And I’ve been blessed to do a LOT of podcast interviews at this stage with a wonderful group of people. (Check them all out here.)

Note: The chat I had with Jim Rome for his podcast remains my all-time favorite. (Check out the chat with Jim Rome here and the chat with James Altucher here.)


As you may know, James Altucher is a fascinating, iconoclastic human being. He’s a successful entrepreneur, angel investor, and author.

I loved his book Choose Yourself. I read it years ago. I just bought it again so I can reread it and do a Note on it.


He’s also a chess master.


The VERY first thing we started chatting about when we connected was chess.

He had read the first chapters of the book and knew about Emerson and his passion for chess and we had a lot of fun chatting about how we’re approaching things.

Topics covered included the power of mental toughness, the importance of training like an athlete to dominate at the chess board, and a bunch of other fun stuff.

Today I want to chat about one of the things we chatted about right at the end of our chat right before I brought Emerson in to meet James.

Here’s the short story…

James told me that one of his friends is a guy named Ken Shamrock. Shamrock is one of the legends of mixed martial arts. He’s a former UFC Champion and an inaugural UFC Hall of Famer.


James told me that when Shamrock was learning a new martial art, he’d try to do THREE things to accelerate his path to mastery.

First, he’d find someone better than him who could train him to master the new art.

Then he’d find someone at about the same level as him so they could train and improve their skills together.

THEN he’d find someone who was less skilled than him so he could teach them what he was learning.

He had a handy-dandy way to capture those relationships.

The teacher was a “+1.”

The sparring partner was an “Equal.”

And the student was a “-1.”

+1, Equal, -1.

That’s some Mastery Math right there, my friend.

Today’s +1.

What are YOU trying to master?

Do you have a +1, an Equal, and a -1?

If so, awesome. Nice work. 👏

If not, and you feel so inspired, remember that Mastery Math and go find a +1, Equal, and -1, Hero.

Day 1.

All in.


P.S. At the end of our chat I invited Emerson in to meet James. They had a great chat.

James is currently on his own Heroic chess quest to reestablish himself as a competitive chess master after a twenty-year hiatus. He offered to be one of Emerson’s “+1”s while bringing him in as one of his “-1”s. 🤓

Goosebumps as I typed that.

We’re also planning to connect at an upcoming tournament and dominate our pre-chess match rituals together.

So fun.

(I repeat: Day 1. All in. LET’S GO!)

Unlock this Heroic +1 (and over 1,000 more)!

Create your account to get more wisdom in less time. Personal development made simple so you can flourish in energy, work, and love. Today.

Sign Up Today