#655 Michael Phelps’ Golden Gene-Inseam

Swim Gods and Your Destiny (Pool)

In our last +1, we took a nice stroll down Brian’s Biographical Byway—exploring the power of flipping Identity switches. (You make any distinctions? Flip any switches?)

btw: That Seneca quote with which we wrapped up that +1 always knocks my socks off: “It is not because things are difficult that you do not dare. It is because you do not dare that things are difficult.

Today I want to go back to Atomic Habits and explore an Idea that didn’t make it into the Note.

It has to do with Michael Phelps. And his genes. And how they impacted his pants inseam length. And how that affected his Olympic greatness.

Get this: At this stage, we all know that Phelps is one of the greatest athletes of ALL TIME. He’s won more gold medals (23!!) than anyone in the history of the Olympics.

He’s a case study in grit. In his autobiography No Limits, he shares the key character traits he believes led to his astonishing success.


One of the things he doesn’t mention is the fact that his body just so happens to be near-perfectly architected for absolute dominance in his chosen sport.

He’s 6’4. Perfect.

His wingspan is considerable longer that his height. Awesome.

And… His torso is crazy long. Like CRAZY long. (lol)

A “normal” 6 foot 4 inch guy has a 34-inch inseam. Phelps? His inseam is 30 inches. (Which, Google says, would hover around the “petite” to “small” range if he were shopping for women’s pants. 😜)

The Swimming Gods have blessed that man!!


Of course, Effort Counts Twice and that guy put in the effort of 10 Olympians—squeezing every drop of potential out of his uniquely shaped body and dominating his sport for a very long time.

But that’s not quite the point of this +1.

This is: James Clear tells us that if we want to achieve greatness in our lives, we need to make sure we’re focusing our precious life force in a domain in which our talents and passion are a good fit.

If Phelps had tried to be a runner he would have failed miserably. His dimensions are precisely the opposite of what’s required there. He needed to be in a pool for us to see him shine.

Today’s +1.

What “pool” do you belong in? Are you in it?

Go take your hedgehog out for a swim or a walk or a run or whatever it is you love to do.

Match your strengths to the domain in which you’re building the habits to most fully express your life force.

Show us what you’ve got. All of it.

(Pretty please and thank you!)

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