#1750 WOOP! (vE)

Explain It Like I’m 11

I just dropped Emerson off at a day-long chess tournament at the Austin Grandmaster Chess Academy.

We arrived ten minutes before the first game, banged out three quick sets of eleven burpees before the match while listening to Mommy’s Heroic chess declarations (set to Rocky music, of course! 😂).

Pre-match protocol dominated.



THE MOMENT we drive out of the little gate on our property and hit the road to go to a tournament I ALWAYS (!!!) start our conversation with the EXACT SAME QUESTION.

Me: “Hey, Buddy! What do you want?”

Emerson: “To have fun today and get some rating points!”

Me: “Fantastic. And… What do you want big picture/longer-term?!”

E: “To be a Grandmaster!”

Me: “Awesome. By when? Remember the #1 thing successful people do differently… Science says they set SPECIFIC goals!”

E: “By the time I’m 15 or 16!”

Me: “That’s amazing. If you do it by the time you’re still 15 that’s how many years?”

E: “Five!”

Me: “Exactly. 2024. 2025. 2026. 2027. 2028. BOOM! I’m so excited for you!! You believe you can do that?”

E: “Yes!! If I have fun and work hard!”

Me: “Exactly. Hey… Have we ever talked about WOOP?”

E: “I don’t think so!”

Me: “Ah. We haven’t, huh?! Cool. You’re going to love this. I teach it to all our Heroic Coaches who then teach it to all their Heroic clients. It’s awesome. It’s all about the science of how to make your dreams a reality.”

Then I continued: “Here’s how it works….


That’s W… O… O… P.

Each letter stands for something.

The W is for Wish (or what you hope happens).

The first O is for “Outcome” or why you’re excited to make your Wish happen.

The second O is for the obstacles you might face.

And the P is for your Plan on how you’ll deal with the inevitable Obstacles.

Make sense?”

E: “YES.”

ME: “Awesome. Let’s go through it real quick. We’ll start with your wish. What is it? You already told me but let’s start there…”

E: “To become a Grandmaster.”

Me: “Yep. And.. BY WHEN again?! Rule #1 of effective goal setting is having a VERY clear target. If I’m an archer and want to hit a target but don’t know exactly where it is, can I hit it?”

E: “Of course not!”

Me: “So… By when do you intend to be a Grandmaster?”

E: “By the time I turn 16.”

Me: “Amazing. Exciting. Now… WHY do you want to hit that target and fulfill that wish? What benefits will you get?”

E: “Because it will be fun to be able to beat basically anyone in the world.”

Me: “Hah. Yah it will, huh? And you’ll pretty much be able to do that. I mean, there are only like 1500 Grandmasters in the whole world, right? That’s so cool!”

Me: “Why else do you want to become a Grandmaster?”

E: “Because it will be fun!”

Me: “That’s another great reason. Why else?”

E: “Hmmm. Because I’ll be able to make a lot of money!”

Me: “Hah. Yep. And I like the order in which you mentioned that relative to your other reasons. You want to make sure you do something that you REALLY enjoy and… When you’re REALLY good at it, you have a shot at making a lot of money doing it.”

Me: “What’s cool about you is that I think you’re going to be able to help a lot of people by teaching them all the stuff you’re learning from me and Mommy—about how to eat and move and sleep and train your mind and all that.”

Me: “What else?”

E: “Hmmm. I’m not sure.”

Me: “I’ll tell you the #1 reason I am most excited about your Heroic quest to become a Grandmaster… You’ll prove to yourself that you can pretty much do ANYTHING you set your mind to. Period. How exciting is that?”

E: “That’s super cool!!”

Me: “It’s kinda like Elon Musk [Note: We’ve been listening to Walter Isaacson’s brilliant biography on our long road trips]. He KNOWS he can figure out ANYTHING he wants to dominate. That’s like you!”

E: Big smile.

Me: “Alrighty buddy. That’s our O for Outcomes!”

“Now for our second O… What obstacles might you face?”

E: “Hmmm. Face scrunched. Laziness and… fear?”

Me: “VERY good. That’s what Grandpa Phil says are the two primary obstacles we all face. Fear isn’t a big obstacle for you. You love to compete which is incredible.”

Me: “Remember John Wooden’s pyramid?”

E: “Yah.”

Me: “The peak is called competitive greatness—being your best when it matters most and loving the battle. That’s totally like you.”

Me: “You remember the cornerstones?”

E: “Loving what you do and hard work?”

Me: “Yep. Enthusiasm and hard work. Brilliant.”

Me: “Now… What other obstacles might you face and how might laziness come in?”

E: “Not exercising enough?”

Me: “Ah. Good one. You’ll master that. We just need to remember to make it fun. What else?”

E: “Hmmm. Not doing my daily work?”

Me: “Yep. But I’m not worried about that. You’re on fire. Almost 50 days in a row of puzzles now. GREAT WORK. THAT’S LIKE YOU!”

Me: “You know the only thing that concerns me?”

E: Hmmm...

Me: “That you quit. I think that as long as we keep having fun and you push through the hard times you’re going to continue to do some incredible things.”

E: Nodding his head.

We talked some more details and clarified his Plan to bring it all together on our 40-minute drive from the country to the Austin Grandmaster Chess Academy that Saturday morning but that’s more than enough for now.


That’s Today’s +1.


Explained like you’re 11.

If you feel so inspired, WOOP your wildly important goals.


If you feel so Heroically inspired, explain it to an 11-something-year-old and help THEM forge their confidence in creating the life of their dreams.

Bonus points for explaining it to a 21/31/41/51/61/71/81/91/101-year-old as well.

Actually, if you’re fortunate enough to know a 101-year-old, ask them how THEY figured out how to live so long!


There it is.

The science of making our dreams a reality.

Today’s the Day, Hero.

We’re ALL IN.

Let’s go.

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