#1291 Soul Force: An Origin Story

Gandhi’s Great Soul (+ Yours!)

In our last +1, we talked about the fact that YOU are my all-time favorite hero. (It’s true.)

We also talked about the fact that, although every hero expresses it in different ways, EVERY (!) hero has the SAME superpower.

We named it… SOUL FORCE.

Today I want to share a quick origin story on where I came up with that phrase.

But, first…

In case you’re wondering if you qualify to even aspire to be a “hero,” I have another question for you…

Do you happen to know what the word hero means?

As you may have heard me say before (and I promise I’ll say it again!)… It’s an ancient Greek word. Etymologically, the word hero doesn’t mean “killer of bad guys” or “tough guy” or anything like that it. It means “PROTECTOR."

A hero has strength for two. And, very importantly, a hero is willing to do the HARD work to HAVE that strength for two.

And, do you know what the secret weapon of the ancient hero was? LOVE.

It’s LOVE that fuels our commitment to DO that hard work to HAVE the strength for two. It’s LOVE that gives us the Courage to be willing to act in the presence of fear. It's LOVE that gives us the Self-Mastery to do what needs to get done whether we feel like it or not.

And… If you haven’t noticed, our world needs heroes today more than ever before.

We’re not just recovering from the effects of COVID-19. We have pandemic levels of anxiety and depression and cancer and diabetes and political polarization and social injustice and environmental degradation.

And the ONLY possible way we are going to meet those *historically significant* challenges and create a more noble and virtuous world for ourselves and for our kids and for their kids is if each of us steps up and starts showing up as the best, most Heroic versions of ourselves.


Back to your Soul Force. It’s your superpower.


Activating this superpower is the whole point of EVERYTHING we do together.

As in… E V E R Y T H I N G!!!

Activating your Soul Force is the final Objective (Objective VII) in Basic Training in our Heroic app.

Your Heroic Soul Force score is the first thing you see when you open the Heroic app and it’s THE individual metric by which we measure our success in helping you show up as the best, most Heroic version of yourself. It’s by getting YOUR Soul Force to 101 then helping enough people ALSO activate their Soul Force that we’ll have a shot at LITERALLY (!) changing the world.

Then there’s the sub-title to the Heroic book I’m working on. Can you guess what that might be?


“A Training Manual to ACTIVATE YOUR SOUL FORCE”!!


Here’s the origin story on “Soul Force.”

It involves one of my heroes: Mahatma Gandhi.

(Btw: Did you know that mahatma means “great soul” in Sanskrit? Yep. Aristotle had a word for that in ancient Greek as well: magnanimous.)

We’re all familiar with Gandhi’s (paraphrased) admonition that, if we want to change the world, we each must be the change we want to see.

What you may not know is just how FIERCELY disciplined Gandhi was. He practiced his philosophy with a relentlessness that I find deeply inspiring. He was the living embodiment of Areté.

Of course, Gandhi liberated India via what we called “nonviolent resistance” in the West. But “nonviolent resistance” is a VERY weak translation of the Sanskrit word he coined to capture the essence of his movement and practice.

The phrase he used was satyagraha. That word comes from two Sanskrit words: sat and graha. Sat means “beingness” or “truth.” Graha means “polite insistence” or “force.”

Gandhi fiercely believed in and fiercely challenged his followers to stand in the power of truth. He knew that Britain’s domination of India was morally wrong and that, if he and millions of others could stand in that truth without resorting to violence, he could liberate the country without having to go to war.

Now, like many ancient/foreign words that are difficult to translate into English (see: eudaimonia and areté!), satyagraha can be translated as not just “truth force” but also as “love force” or...


There’s an ineffable and extraordinary power that is palpable in an individual who is standing in their truth—living with fierce integrity to their highest ideals.

THAT is what Gandhi cultivated within himself and was able to help cultivate within enough people to LITERALLY (!) change the world.

It’s also what every hero we’ve ever admired has embodied and what I am so fiercely committed to personally embodying and to helping you and enough people embody in your own idiosyncratic way such that we can LITERALLY (!) change the world.

How do we do that?

By showing up and living in integrity with our highest ideals.

Not someday.


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