#1796 Turn Up the Heat

Call: +1 (212) 451-2000

I’m not sure exactly where I saw the book 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold referenced but…

When I saw the title I figured it would be a good addition to our ever-growing collection of Philosopher’s Notes on mental toughness books so I got it, enjoyed it and here we are.

I read the book in the same (DEEP WORK!) week I read Move by Move by the first African American Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, The Confident Mind by Dr. Nate Zinsser, Unstoppable Mindset by Alden Mills, Scars and Stripes by Tim Kennedy, and Elevate and Dominate by Deion Sanders.

Steve Siebold founded Mental Toughness University in 1986. He’s the author of a number of books and has worked with elite performers around the world for decades.

As per the title, this book is PACKED with “177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class” on, as per the sub-title: “The Thought Processes, Habits, and Philosophies of the Great Ones.”

Today I want to chat about the VERY FIRST of those 177 mental toughness secrets of the world class.

It’s time to turn up the heat.

Let’s get to work.

Siebold tells us: “In thirty years of competing, coaching, and working with performers from various fields, I’ve discovered most amateurs suffer from mild to severe delusion in their efforts and competencies. In other words, most people delude themselves into thinking they are working harder than they are, and that they are more competent than they actually are.”

Then he says: “Of the five major levels of conscious awareness (poverty, working, middle, upper, and world) my experience has been that performers at the middle-class level of consciousness suffer the grandest delusions. The poverty level is barely surviving. The working class is punching the clock and counting the days until retirement. They’re usually not expecting much, and no one around them expects much, either. They are typically not concerned about climbing any higher. “

And: “It’s the middle class that is most incongruent with reality. They are operating at a high enough level to understand that higher levels exist. Although they don’t expect to get there, the thought crosses their minds from time to time. Because of their low expectations, their actions are incongruent with their desires. In other words, they want to live the life of the world class, but are unwilling to pay the price.”

Finally, he says: “Since this reality is too harsh to bear, they delude themselves into thinking they are doing everything in their power to get ahead. Of course, they’re not. They’ll tell you they’re putting in far more time than they are. They’ll swear they are thinking about their vision all the time, but they’re not. The world class is brutally honest with themselves, and they tend to look reality in the face. They err on the side of over-practicing and over-preparing. Champions know that to ascend to the top, you must first be operating from a mindset of objective reality. Self-deception and delusion have no place in the professional performer’s consciousness.”


In the introduction to the book, Siebold warns us that we might find his approach a bit (or a lot!) offensive. He doesn’t mince words as he uses different frames to capture the difference between the “average” and the “elite.”


As I read that passage, I immediately thought of Joe Manganiello’s BRILLIANT passage from his book Evolution.

Although he shares it in the context of working out, it’s one of my all-time favorite distinctions.

He tells us: “Truth: You think you’re working out at an 8. You’re actually working out at a 2. I don’t care how long you’ve been training; that’s just the reality. If that hurts your feelings, I’m sorry. It’s time for you to reestablish your baseline in order to define intensity.”


Laughing as I echo Joe’s line: Sorry if that hurts your feelings. It’s time for us to reestablish your baseline and properly define INTENSITY.


These days, when I think of INTENSITY, I think of one of my friends who happens to be an elite (capital ELITE) military officer.

He fell in love with the idea of “activation energy” and came up with our new Heroic phone number: (212) 451-2000.

Water boils at 212 degrees. Fire ignites at 451 degrees. Swords are forged at 2000 degrees.

I repeat: If we want to hit that activation energy point where one thing transforms into another, we MUST turn up the HEAT!

Note: One of our awesome Heroic members encouraged me to add “+1” to the number to remind us to turn up the heat moment to moment to moment.

So, next time you want to go next level, call your Heroic batphone at: +1 (212) 451-2000.

Additional Note before we wrap things up: I always like to complement that super-ambitious energy with some equally intense spiritual wisdom.

Here’s how Joseph Campbell puts it in A Joseph Campbell Companion: “Sri Ramakrishna said, ‘Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.’”


Here’s one more way we can frame it up. If the idea of “middle class” vs. “upper” and “world class” offends your sensibilities, how about we juxtapose “mediocre” and “excellent”?

As we’ve discussed MANY times, the word mediocre literally means “to be stuck in the middle of a rugged mountain.” There are a LOT of synonyms for mediocre (average, ho-hum, middling, etc.) but only ONE antonym: EXCELLENCE.

If we want to activate our Heroic potential we need to close the gap between who we’re CAPABLE of being and who we’re ACTUALLY being. We need to live with ARETÉ.

Not once in a while and when we *feel* like it.

All day, every day.

Especially, as always...


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