Craig Ballantyne On The 5 Pillars of a Highly Successful Life

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

craig-writing-bw-leftIf you want to get better, surround yourself with the right people. Never be the smartest person in the room. It hinders your growth.

Living by these concepts allows me to interact with some of the sharpest minds in the fitness business, including today’s guest, Craig Ballantyne.

A Men’s Health Magazine Training Expert and my long-time friend, Craig runs multiple mastermind groups and is part of some of the world’s most highly acclaimed online business seminars.

Over the years, Craig has helped me become more productive, get focused and make more money, and today, he’s here to do the same for you.

After the great feedback on our most recent conversation, Craig and I sat down at the Fitness Business Summit to pick up right where we left off.

In this episode, Craig shares powerful insights on transforming your life, aligning your priorities, and building an environment that fosters success. Craig will teach you how to lead your company, forge business partnerships, and develop unrelenting focus.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the successes and failures of one of the best.

Today’s Podcast Topics Include:

  • 2:10: How did Craig transition into online business?
  • 7:20: Time management and ramping up a career change.
  • 8:38: The early days of Craig’s mastermind groups and seminars.
  • 11:32: What is the secret sauce to joining the top 5%?
  • 13:55: Craig’s 5 Pillars of Transformation
  • 15:47: Your Big Idea and tips for starting your online business.
  • 17:30: The importance of having thick skin.
  • 18:53: What’s the best book idea of the last 5 years?
  • 20:15: One habit of successful people.
  • 22:27: What breakthrough boosted Craig’s income the past few years?
  • 24:11: Do you really need more traffic for your online business?
  • 26:40: Why you have to sell if you want to help people.
  • 28:26: Craig’s recent personal progress.
  • 30:26: What makes a business partnership work?
  • 36:36: The one app Craig uses.
  • 38:05: Rapid fire: last meal, music, and books.
  • 40:52: Lessons from those who have endured tremendous hardship
  • 43:15: Craig’s advice to his 20 year-old self

Listen To The Jay Ferruggia Show

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Links From The Show:

If you want more from Craig, check out his website, or reach out to him on Facebook or, Twitter.

Do you have feedback from today’s show? Post them below, email You can always hit me up on Twitter @JasonFerruggia

And, if you liked the show a short review on iTunes would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for listening.


Jason:         Thank you, guys, for tuning into another episode. If you haven’t hit the Subscribe button yet, please do so. That will ensure that you never miss an episode. It will also help me out quite a bit. I would appreciate it. Today’s show is a great one with my good buddy, Craig Ballantyne. He’s a fitness and personal development guru and he’s going to share all the secrets of his success with you guys today. It’s stuff that you guys can implement immediately and notice a huge impact and huge difference in your lives.

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All right, guys, I am here with my close personal friend, Craig Ballantyne. Great to have you on the show, friend. What is new, my friend?

Craig:           Hey Jay, it’s great talking to you again. We’ve got a lot going on. We’ve got these brand new bodyweight videos coming up that are super awesome, high quality. We actually filmed at NBC’s TV studio. They look like they belong on a beach body commercial so I’m really hyped about that. Then we’ve got a ton of great stuff in my other business, my personal productivity business over at Early to Rise and I’m working on a book and I know we’re going to get through a lot of info on this stuff, how I am productive and also how I’ve kind of been overcoming obstacles on a long way. We can talk about training stuff. We can talk about that. I’m looking forward to it.

Jason:         Absolutely. What does your current training and nutrition program look like these days?

Craig:           It’s not too far from what it was back in the day when we had the odd workout together. I followed a bit of Wendler’s stuff. I don’t do the 1 version of 5/3/1 but I go 5 and 3. I probably only get into a gym with barbells twice a week so I try and pair up the deadlift and military press or the deadlift and bench press and then do a squat day. I travel a lot so I do a lot of hotel room and hotel gym workouts, a lot of bodyweight stuff. Then when I’m at home which I am now, I have power blocks. I use the power blocks just to do the dumbbell workouts a lot of the time, too.

Jason:         Nice. So you’ve got the whole garage gym all set up?

Craig:           Yeah, but I don’t have any barbells or squat stands or anything but I have kettlebells. I only have a 70. I don’t have like a beast or anything but a couple of 53’s and I really like double kettlebell front squats, one of my favorite. I’ve got those and then I’ve got the power blocks. They only go up to 90 but I just ordered the ones that go up to 135 or whatever.

Jason:         Wow. Do you have a chin-up bar or rings or anything in there?

Craig:           I’ve been using, and this actually screwed up my elbow, the rafters in the basement and it was just a really bad fit. So I don’t have that. I have a TRX but only in the summertime because there’s two feet of snow out there right now. I’ve been using that and then playing around a bit more with bands and stuff, too.

Jason:         We’ve probably been friends since 2001, I think, now so has your training evolved in a way to keep you safer or injury-free as you got older?

Craig:           Warm up for sure. The training itself not so much but definitely the warm-up, at least 15 minutes of some stuff that I try and make as exciting as possible which is bodyweight stuff and mobility stuff. I just try and change the order all the time so it’s not boring but it takes me at least 15 minutes to get through it and I do a little bit of stretching before. Just by making those changes, I’ve really improved it.

Back in 2009, I screwed up my back and I could not literally run more than 30 meters without the pain being so bad. I just got lazy with basic core work so I did that. I got dome chiropractic help and that fixed it. It was just some stupidity when I was younger hanging around you.

Jason:         Yeah, always the bad influence.

Craig:           Right. Hanging around you is stupidity.

Jason:         Right.

Craig:           I call it the old man warm-up. I do that stuff. Triple-H talks about it on T-bag and all that sort of stuff. He just says as you get older you roll with it a little bit. But I’ve never torn a muscle like Bedros has torn his bicep. I’ve never torn anything. I did something stupid yesterday but I did some extra rolling and some stretching and it really is not bad today. Then I also got a lot more ART done but that, Mr. Ferruggia, is how I’ve changed in the last 15 years.

Jason:         What about the back injury in 2009? How’d you get that?

Craig:           I had steel toe boots on and I jumped off an eight-foot ledge and I landed. I thought I was totally fine but I think that either jarred something or just caused an injury to kind of come up to the surface. So maybe a few days later, I was trying to run, I’m running down the street and literally I couldn’t go more than 30 meters. I fixed it in about three to six months. That was when I really started going to that old man warm-up sort of mentality.

Jason:         Got you.

Craig:           So I probably do more than I need to. I always have to go to the gym before anybody I’m training with like Bedros. It’s like hey, I’ve got to go to the gym for ten minutes and warm up or I warm up in the hotel room before we meet at the gym because most people don’t do it to that expense of limit. It just makes me feel better.

Jason:         I do the same thing. I trained with B only one time and it seemed like if I didn’t warm up, he wouldn’t have warmed up. Is that right?

Craig:           Yeah, he’ll go right into it but he doesn’t lift super heavy. He does a lot of pre-exhaust stuff which is pretty good, too. That’s one way of doing things but I still like to do the couple of weeks of 5/3 to train and get stronger although I’m not as strong as I certainly was in 2006.

Jason:         Yeah. I’ll still do like a heavy inclined press or something like that but the difference is, like you said, I’ll do a pre-exhaust, pre-fatigue type of thing like Bedros does where I’ll do ring push-ups for 3 sets of 10 to 12 first and then get on the bench so that the weights are obviously a lot lighter. I’ve shortened up my rest periods. Yeah, I just made some of those changes as I’ve gotten older to keep feeling good.

Craig:           Yeah, you’ve had real injuries though, right?

Jason:         Yeah, for sure but I’ve always been injury-prone as a kid. I was always flipping ATVs, dirt bikes and in sports I got injured. Then I got injured in the gym being stupid so. Yeah, just being me. I feel pretty good now though. A lot of people know your fitness stuff. You give awesome information on training, diet, all that kind of stuff and the bodyweight thing. Is bodyweight training a passion of yours or would you think you’ll ever get away from barbell and big lifts or you’ll leave some of that in there?

Craig:           You see some of these guys do handstand walks and all that stuff. I’m not into that at all. I’ve tried to improve my handstand push-ups over the last six months but it just doesn’t fire me up. Even dumbbell pressing I just really look forward to more. So I’m still more of a meathead at the end of the day. If I came to the point where it’s like you probably shouldn’t use barbells anymore then I won’t but I’ll just do dumbbell stuff. I can pretty much do dumbbell stuff in my garage and never have to deal with commercial gym again. But I like going in. We like going in and playing around with those wacky hammer strings.

Jason:         That’s always fun.

Craig:           You get this weird pump that you never had in your upper back or something like okay, that was fun for some strange reason. So I don’t think I’ll ever get away from that stuff. I do certainly like traditional bodyweight training in terms of like I use blaster abs or dips and pull-ups and that sort of stuff. I do a lot of bodyweight training because that’s what I help people with mostly because most people who follow me have a lot of obstacles in the way such as time or no equipment so I need to be creative. That’s also the bread and butter of my business, the bodyweight training stuff. So I probably two good bodyweight sessions a week. Even just today, I did a couple of ten-minute circuits and came up with some new ideas that we’ll put in some videos.

Jason:         I agree with you though. As great as bodyweight training is, there is something more satisfying about doing a one-armed row versus doing an inverted row on straps.

Craig:           Yes, for me but there are guys who are really—

Jason:         No, I’m talking for the meatheads like us. I could relate to that totally. If you and I were training together, we would try to outdo each other on the one-armed row and then I would spit on the ground and challenge you. You can’t do that. What are you going to do? Throw down the TRX in challenge? No, it doesn’t really work as well.

Craig:           No, but I certainly have great respect for those guys with the crazy YouTube videos.

Jason:         Yeah, that’s a whole other level for sure. So what I was going to say before that was people know you from your great fitness info but a lot of people might not know that you’re probably the most productive human being I know. Let’s talk about that a little bit. Were you always like that? What were some of the changes you’ve made to become so productive?

Craig:           I think I was always in the mindset of being productive but I didn’t know how to release the brakes. There’s a book written about the releasing brakes in your life and you become much more effective and successful. So I always knew that I was a morning people but when you don’t have to train people at 6:00 in the morning for the first six months after you’re like how late can I sleep sort of thing. It’s the same with college. You want to stay up and you don’t want to get out of bed on a Saturday morning. It’s the same when you have your first job. You don’t want to have to get out of bed on a Saturday morning.

But I always felt when I was doing that that I was missing something. I’m a morning person. I get up very early now at 4:00 am. I love it. I think there’s something spiritual about it. That is my magic time. It’s when I write. Yesterday, I got up and in an hour I wrote 2,500 words on an essay. I can do 500 words in 15 minutes repeatedly if I’m in my little flow. So that’s when I get up and I do that stuff. It’s really good for me and that’s how I become more productive.

Also by getting up really early, I’m subject to the same temptations and obstacles that everyone else is. If I’m up early, I don’t feel like checking ESPN at 4:00 in the morning. I can wait till ten or noon and by then you’ve actually accomplished something. That has been the big change for me. There was a point, I think it was in 2010, when I was getting up 7:00 in the morning or 7:30 in the morning and I felt like I’m missing something and wasting. I just dialed it back and dialed it back, 5 to 15 minutes at a time and that’s where I am today. I feel like I’m in the right place.

Jason:         Can you talk a little bit about your morning routine?

Craig:           The first thing I do aside from going to the bathroom, getting changed and all that stuff is I go downstairs and my dog greets me. Here’s one thing. You’ll appreciate this because you know and you’ve gone through personal transformation in terms of like taking time for the small stuff. When I first got my dog, as a puppy dog I’d let him sit on my chest all the time. I got so busy and that never happened anymore. It’s like this is so stupid, I can’t take out like five minutes out of my day to appreciate my dog.

So the first I do is I send out those text messages which you’re on my coaching program and “pexts” for the people listening are text messages that pester people into doing something. Jay gets that every morning. My alarm’s on my phone. My phone sometimes wakes me up and sometimes I get up before the phone and then I just open that up. I send the text messages, the pestering coaching out to a very select few of my friends.

Then I get out of bed. Then I go downstairs and I let the dog sit on my chest. I wipe the sleep out of his eyes. I pet the dog and we just hang out there until one of us gets annoyed by each other. When you’ve got an 80-pound dog on your stomach, you can only do that for so long. He can only deal with me for so long. So he goes back to bed and then I open my computer up and I go right to writing. I open up the number one document that I happen to be working on and I write. There’s a great book called Daily Rituals­—did you read it?—by Mason Currey?

Jason:         Yup. I haven’t read through all but I kind of go through it almost like one of those daily reading things where I’ll just read one a day.

Craig:           Sure. I think that’s just a fantastic book. There are so many people in there that have all crazy types of schedules. It just shows you how crazy schedules work. But there are a few people in there. There’s this guy Nicholson Baker and I don’t know what he’s written to be honest with you in terms of books but he said he likes to write at 4:00 in the morning because in this half-sleepy state you come up with really creative stuff. I’m not really half sleepy but I do think that there’s something about that time for me that worked for him and works for me. So that’s what I do. I go right to it.

Some people do meditation first thing in the morning. I don’t do that until after I’ve done my work. But I do that later on in the morning. I just listened to an amazing interview between Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins on his podcast and Tony has this really extreme shock-your-nervous-system morning routine where he plunges into a cold bath and then he gets into a hot bath and vice versa and he does some power breathing. He gets fired up that way.

That’s not something I do. I just go right to it. The biggest thing for me is I can screw this routine up if I don’t go to the right document, if I open something up or if I want to look at numbers for my business., I’ll screw it all up and it’ll get me off-track. So I have to be prepared.

Jason:         Yeah, that’s so true. That’s a great point. It’s so easy for one thing to go wrong and then your whole morning and your day is actually off track.

Craig:           Yeah. People listening to this, the analogy is if you’re trying to getting to exercise, a lot of people have said this but the last time I saw it was in an interview with James Altucher and said if you’re trying to get into exercise, wear your clean pair of exercise clothing to bed—not what you would wear, Jay, your four-week old workout clothing; I’m just kidding—but where your workout clothing to bed so that you get up and nothing gets in the way between you and your workout. My business is based on that where you just say open your computer up and do the workout videos. You don’t need a single piece of equipment.

So as many obstacles and temptations you can eliminate in whatever routine you’re trying to get into, you have to do it. I think, especially for fat loss and this is what I deal with almost all the time in my business, it’s my bread and butter, it’s helping people lose weight and I think that eliminating temptations is more important than doing the things right, going and doing things perfectly like going and having exactly one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. It’s helpful obviously but it’s so less important than not going and eating an entire pizza. Which one would I rather have you do? Don’t eat the pizza, the 4,000 calories of pizza and if you don’t hit your protein numbers, it’s okay.

That’s the same with writing. I go and for some stupid reason, and I’ve done this for the last month, I opened up our numbers in my business so I could see how much money we made yesterday, if I do that then it’s like this slippery slope of okay, I’ve checked this website, I should check this other one or I should send an email to Jeff at the office and say why are these numbers out of whack? Then 20 minutes later, I’ve completely screwed it up. So I have to go and I have to know the night before what document needs to be opened and what is going to be written. If I do that, that’s when I have days like yesterday when I write 2,500 words.

Jason:         I personally if I have one of those distractions and I go down that slippery slope, I’ll actually get a little bummed out and down on myself. Do you find that happening?

Craig:           Yeah, I say if you want to have the perfect day, you have to have the perfect start. That’s why getting up a few minutes earlier allows you to do that. If you prepare the night before—the perfect day starts the night before; it always does—with what the priorities, what am going to do the first thing, how I am going to start this day perfect. Then if you start that day perfect—I’m writing an entire book about this and it’s going to be done soon—it’s all about those first 15 minutes, that’s how you win your morning.

If you win your morning, you control your day because as the day goes on, more and more distractions come up. If you try and leave an important project for 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon, you’re dead. You’re totally dead meat because how many people are going to bring you these crazy emergency fires that they think are the most important thing in their life and it has to be the most important thing in your life? You’re never going to get those magic 15 minutes that you’re going to get first thing in the morning no matter when first thing in the morning is for you.

So people listening to this have to understand it’s not about 4:00 AM. It’s about 15 minutes earlier than whatever time you’re getting up right now. If you dedicate yourself to those 15 minutes, you just change your get up time so you have 15 minutes alone, I believe you could solve any problem in your life. If you’re in debt, you have 15 minutes to sit there and think and look at your bank statements and go where am I making these mistakes? How can I get out of debt? Where can I make more money? 15 minutes every day of the week, you’re going to make incredible progress. If you’re going to have 15 minutes for weight loss, you’re going to be able to do something in ten minutes, a great workout in ten minutes. There are a million ten-minute workouts out there that will kick your butt. Then you have five minutes to actually think about your nutrition for the day.

So 15 minutes first thing in the morning, you get off to the perfect start and you’ve won that victory. So even if the rest of the day goes downhill and almost all the time for most people it does and one way or another something comes up, you have that victory in the morning. So you can go to sleep that night and say at least we did this and we made a big step forward. That is so important to me personally. I’m sure it is to you and it will be to anybody that hasn’t implemented it who’s listening.

Jason:         Yeah, I love that you gave a variety of options there because sometimes people talk about that it only applies to people who are self-employed. When you first discussed these and you got up and wrote, maybe people are thinking they have to go a job at AT&T, they don’t write so what do they do? But you gave a bunch of good options there. Are there any good ideas for people who do have to get up and go to work? Is there anything else that you have found successful to do in the morning and maybe even throughout the rest of the day?

Craig:           Yeah, there’s lots of stuff. If you go to work and be there 15 minutes early, you’re doing to be able to sit and think about important stuff in your life. So that’s really helpful to be there, to be the first person there, to be able to go through your voice messages so you know what’s coming down the tubes so you know what’s going to be a big fire when everybody else drags their butt in. Also a million people have said this but don’t check your email first thing in the morning. If you have to check your email first thing in the morning because there are certain people you have to hear from, guess what? Email addresses are free. People are always I’ve got to check my email because I’ve got to hear from this person. Okay. Well, have an emergency email account where that’s the one you check and everyone knows that you only check that one and the other one you don’t check until three hours after you’ve actually gotten something done.

Jason:         That is a great idea.

Craig:           It’s so ridiculous. People say that is the problem. Or if it’s a real emergency, someone’s going to call you or text you. If it’s a real emergency in most cases, unless someone’s dying that you can actually save them, it’s not a real emergency. Unless something that you own is on fire, it’s probably not a real emergency. If somebody is already dead, it’s no longer an emergency unless you’re in a suite in Vegas and you’ve got to get rid of the body. But that point, I’m sorry, Mr. Ferruggia, it’s no longer an emergency and you should just call a lawyer.

That’s another thing that people can do. Just definitely script your day as much as possible. One thing I’ve learned from Dan Kennedy—I’ve learned some all this stuff from Dan Kennedy, guy—to have endpoints as much as possible in your tasks. So if have a call with somebody, it should be a call that lasts 15 minutes. They know it lasts only 15 minutes because you have something to do at 2:45. The call starts at 2:30, it ends at 2:45 and you’ve got to get everything done on that amount of time.

Otherwise, as Tim Ferriss explained in the 4-hour Workweek, it expands. He says there’s something called Parkinson’s Law which means the task expands to fit the time that you give to it. Back in college, if you had an essay due on the 30th of November, you’d get it done on the 29th at midnight. If that deadline was the 23rd of November, somehow you would have gotten it done the 22nd at midnight. So the work expands to fit the time. So you have to be very, very strict with your time and you have to accept that you’re going to upset some people.

But the one big lesson that I would give to people who are employees is that if you find yourself working late all the time, it’s because you haven’t managed the time in your day and you’ve let people kind of walk all over you. You have people run your day. You have understand that if you have kids at home or if you have hobbies at home or whatever, even for yourself if you need to get on a weight loss program, you’re letting people steal your time. If you want to go home to play with your kids, you’re letting your co-workers steal time from your kids by wasting your time in meetings and on phone calls. Or you are stealing time from your kids if you’re checking ESPN when you should be working or if you’re playing fantasy football and that’s the reason why you’re late for dinner.

So you’ve got to do a mental check that way and really just audit your entire life and figure out how you can take control of your life, whether it’s in addition to getting up 15 minutes earlier, scripting your day, focusing on your number one priority, not checking your email, not letting people steal your life away. That’s the most important stuff. You have to get militant about it.

Jason:         That was such a great perspective there that you gave on looking at it that way, about stealing time from your kids. Most people never even consider it on those terms and I think that’s really powerful, the way you described it there.

Craig:           I think that once people hear it then it breaks down these barriers of again, you’re not married with kids and you are self-employed so all of your baloney does not apply to me. When you can say listen, you missed dinner last night and if you took a look at your time journal, if you did a time journal, of what you did all day, you spent 20 minutes already filling out like the college basketball brackets even though they’re not for another month. You were just doing one in case it started tomorrow.

We waste stupid amounts of time on stuff like that and we wonder why we can’t get home on time. It really does come down to personal responsibility. So I challenge people and I think that obviously a lot of it is going to be hard at first, especially if people don’t think that way that they can control their time as an employee but you can certainly make some progress in many areas of your life.

Jason:         Sure, I’m living proof of that. You’ve been a huge help in me getting more organized, getting more focused, getting more disciplined and getting more stuff done and a lot of it is not only just info you shared with me but just the example you set. We spent a lot of time around each other and even from afar I watch and see what you’re doing and it always inspires me. I thank you for that.

Craig:           Well, I appreciate it. I have a phrase actually I’d love to share with everybody. It’s been said a few other times but I have the phrase that the more structure you have in your life, the more freedom you will have in your life.

Jason:         I love that.

Craig:           A very great example because by putting all this structure in your day, you’ve gone from working all those hours in a gym to being a really successful, self-employed person. You’re now employing a team and everything who does a lot of the work for you because you’re very structured and you work in your magic time on what Dan Sullivan calls your unique ability and you’re able to go and have all those nights off, nights out and all those amazing experience because of the structure that you have in your day.

That’s so important to me and that is what I really think is one of the most important things that people could take away. I’m going to sacrifice free through my day by having more structure in my day. In doing so, that’s going to allow me to get home in time for my dinner. It’s going to allow me to have more freedom in my life so I can have more vacations, more success and more opportunity. There’s a great quote from an author—I’m going to butcher his name—Paolo Coelho. Have you ever read his book The Alchemist?

Jason:         I actually have never read that. I remember trying to read it years ago and I just wasn’t into it. If I tried to read it now, I’ll probably like it more.

Craig:           Yeah, I didn’t love it as much as the people who gave it to me loved it but he has a really great quote. He says, “Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but they’re mutually dependent because otherwise, you sink into chaos.” Again for people to understand that, “Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but they’re mutually dependent.” You can’t have freedom without discipline because if you don’t have discipline, “You sink into chaos.”

Like I said, that’s what my entire book is about. If you have more structure in your life, if you get up 15 minutes earlier, you control your day. You control the victories in your morning and in the afternoon there’s going to be chaos but you’re not going to sink into it no matter how many emergencies people bring you because you’ve already won and you’re going to be able to control those people in how they respond to it like Winston Churchill. I’ve been doing a lot of profiles for the book and he didn’t go into his war cabinet until the afternoon. People expected him to walk in at 12:00 and they were prepared for him. He spent all morning actually working in bed. He was getting all his big thinking done in that time before he went into the war cabinet where he had his meetings and sent people off to do the stuff they had to do because he knew that if he went in there earlier, he wouldn’t get the most important stuff done.

So you’ve got to think like these great thinkers and authorities in life, all these artists and writers. Hemingway, even though he was hung-over most of the time he got up at first light and he wrote right then. I have that in common with him. Beethoven got up and he composed first thing in the morning. B.F. Skinner who’s a psychologist, he got up and he wrote with like a timer even before he went in and counseled patients. There are so many people in that Daily Rituals book who experience the great value in that morning time and winning the victory there. So I get pretty hyped up about how important that is. I really think that if people take that approach, they’re really going to have a great amount of success in life.

Jason:         That’s awesome stuff, man. I love it. You are sharing some great information. Now let’s talk about finding the balance there. You brought that up a little bit where with anything in life, as soon as you discover something and it starts to snowball and you have success, especially myself, I’m an extremist, I could take it too far. That could be with training or anything new that you start. What I noticed that once I started getting more and more productive and structured and disciplined, I got to a point where I almost took it too far and I was starting to give up on some of the fun times and the social interaction with people. Then I had to kind of rein in back and bring the pendulum back towards the center.

As your friend, it seems like—maybe I’m wrong—you might have done that a bit, too where recently in the last couple of years, you’ve seemed to make a little more time for fun. I don’t know. Did you find the same thing where you maybe took it to an extreme and then it’s all about finding the balance?

Craig:           Yeah, definitely. I really think that you’re definitely a guy to take stuff super to the extreme and I know that you’ve got to have the right amount of stuff. So the way that I structure a person’s day, and there are three parts to the book, is that you control the morning, then you conquer the chaos of the afternoon and then you concentrate on what counts at night. So again, you have that structure of the day where you are like wow, this person is super productive and you’re like super disciplined but then you have that freedom in the evening so that you go and do whatever you want and you have to do that.

One thing that I did, like you said I maybe went too far with stuff, is I realized okay, I’ve got to rein it in. I have to have a cutoff time. There’s a cutoff time every day when I stop working, a cutoff time for email, a cutoff time for all that stuff. That worked for me that I had to have this cutoff. For the employees that I’ve coached and dealt with and even the people that are entrepreneurs, what we have people do is set a cutoff time and then you do what’s called a brain dump where you take all the stuff that’s still running around your brain and you just write it down and you leave it at work. You leave it at work and you come back to it tomorrow. That’s just a really fantastic way of having that distinction between work and home, work and home.

There was a really big, popular book from last year, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I actually read that recently because I was doing a profile on her, too, for my book. There’s a big deal about how she gets home for dinner every night at 5:30. Now what most people don’t understand is that she then works for many hours after that but she says that cutoff time, it’s really important for her to be at home for dinner with her husband who’s a CEO of a tech company down there—I think SurveyMonkey—and that’s a priority for them. It’s really important so they do that.

You can go and make your own flex schedule once you know what really matters to you at night. If it’s having dinner with your kids, which I think is one of the most important things that a parent could possibly do and research backs it up, if you eat with your kids, your kids are going to be better adjusted, they’re going to have better school performance than people who don’t eat with their kids so that’s a really important thing. So if you make time for that, maybe you’ll have to sacrifice and go back and do some email at 9:00 at night, you might have to write some memos or do some spreadsheets or whatever, just structure your schedule so you concentrate on what counts at night, whether it’s social stuff for the single person, whether it is family stuff for the married person, whether it’s going out and hobbies for people like you. You’ve got a lot of hobbies that you’re really into so you can make the time.

At the end of the day, it all starts last night by planning and preparing and then having the cutoff time so you leave work on time. You do the brain dump before you go home so that you’re not worrying about stuff. Then you go home and you’re focused on what really matters to you at home. Then you get up a little bit earlier than everybody else the next day so you have some time that. You can just spend it meditating or just thinking, doing big thinking like James Altucher has that Big Ten Ideas thing. I love that. I sometimes do that. You could spend your 15 minutes on that but you’re going to be refreshed and have that victory.

Then you go to work and you have a semi-scripted or tightly scripted day, depending on how much control you have over the events. You get more victories done early in the morning. You win your morning, control your day. You have the chaos in the afternoon that you deal with because you know how to deal with people and keep them on your schedule, which is another thing that people can do. They can learn how to keep people on their schedule as opposed to being on the other person’s schedule. Then now it’s the end of the day and you go through that. Okay, I’m getting out of here at 5:00. That’s my cutoff time. I’m leaving all my problems on this piece of paper and I’ll deal with them tomorrow. Then you go home and have an amazing time with your family, your hobbies or whatever it is you do. I think that is a pretty darn good life and I think it’s all freedom from structure.

Jason:         Let’s talk about some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to personally overcome. You’ve talked about your anxiety attacks. Maybe we can cover that and anything else you’d like to address.

Craig:           I’m pretty wound tightly.

Jason:         To say the least.

Craig:           So that definitely had to do with it. So was also staying up really late and going and burning the candles at both ends because you’re staying out till midnight, sometimes 2:00, 3:00 in the morning and then getting up to train people through 6:00, 7:00 or maybe 8:00 on the weekends. So it’s not just a healthy lifestyle. You can obviously get away with it when you’re 21 or 22 but I was like 30 at the time. It was just stupid. I was trying to be Jason Ferruggia.

Jason:         You can’t all do that.

Craig:           You had the genetics to keep it going for a few more years than I did.

Jason:         Yup.

Craig:           So that was embarrassing because here in Canada, you can just walk into a hospital and say that you’re having a heart attack, which I did actually say to a guy. He went from being like what are you doing here in the emergency room, you’re wasting everyone’s time because I’m just another person walking in there and he was dealing with all these people to when I said that, his face totally changed. He’s like okay, go in the back. Half an hour later, he realized I’m not having a heart attack because I’m totally fine. I’m really embarrassed and you walk out of there and you don’t pay a cent here in Canada because it’s universal health care.

Jason:         Yeah, it’s crazy.

Craig:           I actually went in another time, too. I had a 300-pound client, an obese man, take me to the hospital because I couldn’t handle being in the room training people. I’m so embarrassed by that because I used resources.

Jason:         Wait, what do you mean? You just kind of had a breakdown in the middle of training people?

Craig:           I was training the guy. I’m just like I can’t be here anymore just because the anxiety attacked had actually been going on for like six weeks. I was waking up at 4:00 in the morning then but not on purpose but I was waking up with shortness of breath. I never got rid of this compression on my chest. It was like if you drank 12 Red Bulls, you know how you feel?

Jason:         Yup.

Craig:           That’s how I felt all the time. So one day, I’m training this guy, Richard. He’s a wonderful man and he’s like, “Are you okay?” I’m like I’ve got to get out of there. Will you take me to the hospital? So it was very embarrassing again. I used and wasted resources but that was when I literally cured myself in one day because after I left there, they said wear this heart rate monitor and then bring it back tomorrow. If there are any problems, we’ll let you know.

So I went home. I was always looking for resources so I did qi gong. I would try that. That’s when I bought my dog because I thought petting my dog would get rid of it. Then I bought the book Panic Away which is an eBook on ClickBank which is totally ironic because at the time Tom Venuto was coaching me to take my product onto ClickBank. So I found this eBook and I read the chapter two. There were five words in chapter two that basically fixed me. It just said, “There’s nothing wrong with you.” Once I read those, I’m like there is nothing wrong with me and I’m way too busy for all this crap. So my anxiety almost disappeared that day. I had a few flare-ups but I just learned how to breathe properly. It sounds so stupid that I wasn’t breathing properly but I wasn’t. I was just like doing all these shallow breaths.

Jason:         That’s an incredibly common problem. We just Jill Miller on from Yoga Tune Up and she was talking all about that.

Craig:           Yeah. You’re so stupid you don’t know how to breathe. Way to go, Craig. So I fixed that. Now I meditate every day. It’s been just over 735 days in a row that I’ve meditated at least five minutes. I probably average 22 minutes a day. That’s been helpful. I’m not drinking a lot of caffeine and Red Bull and obviously living a healthier lifestyle. I’m not just preaching a healthy lifestyle and going in and drinking a lot of vodka and Red Bulls on weekends. That kind of sucks. It’s a little exciting than being at Lallapallooza with Jason Ferruggia in 2007 but it’s better for me, in a way much different.

That was probably I would say the lowest point in my life. But I learned so much from that. I learned what I call my Five Pillars of Transformation which is what all my clients go through in their weight loss transformations. One of the biggest knocks against me from a client’s perspective was like you’ve never been overweight, you’ve never had to go through what I’ve gone through. I certainly haven’t gone through all the weight stuff but now I completely understand what it’s like to not be able to fix something. For so long, I was going through that anxiety attack and it was like I would do anything to fix this but I can’t. I don’t know how to fix it.

So I know at least the semblance of the frustration and struggles so the Five Pillars that helped me. Also I realize how every single person who wins my contest had to have better planning and preparation, they have to have social support, they need professional accountability so that goes beyond social support, you need to have either a doctor, a trainer or a coach of some kind that you’re connecting with for professional accountability levels then you need an incentive. The incentive was obvious. I just wanted to get rid of that and then you need a deadline.

There might not have been an exact deadline in there that I had to hit. It wasn’t like I was in a transformation contest. But that was when I was working with Tom. He was coaching me and I had this big product launch on July 17th of 2006. I think I went to the hospital the last time in June and I was like I’ve got to get rid of this before I launch that product because I was getting coaching from Tom and sometimes I would get on the phone with Tom and I’d be like I don’t even know if I’m going to make it through this phone call without freaking out. It was so bizarre.

Jason:         Wow.

Craig:           It was a weird point. It was really weird time and I think that was when I shifted a lot of stuff, I suppose, to healthier stuff. It’s not that I wasn’t healthy. It was just like six days out of the week you’re really healthy and then the seventh day you’re not so healthy. That can catch up with you over time. That was definitely the biggest hurdle. I’m relatively introverted as well.

Jason:         Well, I want to talk about that because you push yourself.

Craig:           Well, I was just about to.

Jason:         Well, let me say something here. It’s my own show. I would say that you push yourself as much or more than anyone else I know which is something that I always admire. That inspires me to see you do that because as you just mentioned, you’ve had the anxiety attacks and you are naturally introverted yet you push yourself to constantly get out there. You’re always public speaking. Now you’re onstage in front of 500 people regularly and getting better every time, might I add. Maybe I’m off here but I would imagine it’s even more uncomfortable for you to be at the party with those 500 people after and kind of make the rounds and have to do that. But you constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone, which I think is so cool. So talk a little bit about the conscious decision to make that effort on a regular basis.

Craig:           Yeah, you are right. Most introverted people can get up onstage or there are probably a lot of actors where you think why are they such jerks to their fans? It’s because they probably are similar to, they have that introverted personality where being an actor and being onstage or in Movies are completely different than interacting with people one-on-one. It’s strange and bizarre.

Now here’s another very interesting story. I met Tony Little on an airplane from Toronto to Tampa and he was very reserved. I didn’t want to be up in his face but if you go to the Tampa airport, you have to ride this ridiculous shuttle like 100 meters. You’re not allowed to walk outside between the terminal and where the gates are. So he and I were standing right beside each other. I said hey, I really appreciate all that you do and I think that you’ve done great. I had read a lot about him and I said I’m going to try some of your bison sausages. He said, “Oh yeah, try the bison hotdogs.” But he’s really quiet because he’s actually super shy. You’d be like, “Tony Little is super shy?”

Jason:         Yeah, shocking.

Craig:           He is. It’s interesting and believable when you meet him and when you think about it as an introvert but as a person who watches him on TV, you couldn’t possibly imagine that he would be shy in real life. You’d think he’d be as high energy as Martin Rooney or Todd Durkin but he’s not. That’s just another extreme example of how people can be that way.

So back to your question, it’s relatively easy for me to get onstage and talk to the audience but I’m always studying people. I think I’ve learned probably the most about public speaking from watching Louis C.K. videos. I just think he has amazing transitions and how he can tell a story, he’s really, really great at that. So watching him and watching pastors on YouTube videos, those guys also tell great stories. That’s how I improved that.

Jason:         It’s funny. A lot of public speakers refer to comedians as their inspiration. I know Gary V said he patterns everything he does after Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock.

Craig:           Very nice. There’s a lot to learn from those guys because that’s what they’re doing. They’re doing public speaking and they’re telling stories which is the best type of public speaking. So you’ve got to get away from spitting out facts. The most highly voted people at seminars are always people who tell great stories. Storytelling is so important for a million reasons, as you know, but another one is if you’re struggling as a speaker, learn to tell stories and you’re going to do much better.

I’ve gotten a lot better with the interactions on a one-on-one level with people I don’t know. I try and even just talk to strangers now which seems really bizarre. I just know that I am the person who needs the most self-improvement. That’s why I focus the most on self-improvement and that’s why I run a self-improvement business. It’s because I know what it’s like to need it so I try and share it.

Jason:         And you noticed obviously, I was going to ask you the why and you shared it there at the end, the difference when you push yourself to get out there and be uncomfortable, it’s uncomfortable at the moment. But let’s say you go back to your room or the next day, obviously you feel better. You’re happy you did it and you’d probably be more down on yourself if you didn’t do it.

Craig:           Yeah, well even when I do it, I’m like why didn’t I do more of it? It’s easy in hindsight but I’m always trying to get better at it.

Jason:         Yeah. Speaking of getting better on a daily basis, one of my favorite articles you had a few years ago was the, I think it was 12 rules you live by?

Craig:           Yeah, that’s probably my most popular article ever.

Jason:         I love that. A lot of people listening probably haven’t read that so could I ask you to take us through that real briefly?

Craig:           Yeah. I’ll have to quickly call it up but while I call it I’ll tell you a story in that I’m in good company because other people that do have rules include Ben Franklin and George Washington. Both of those guys had rules for their lives and other people do, too. Almost everybody has rules for their life but they never actually thought about them that way or they’ve never communicated them.

Let’s say a paleo person who’s listening to this, you’ve got rules for your life. You don’t eat bread, period. That is a rule that you live by and if you’re like a true paleo person, you never ever break that rule. It’s very easy then to extend that okay, if I can have that rule for my life then clearly I can have a few other rules that will therefore make my life more effective and less stressful. I really think that articulating your rules will really, really reduce the amount of stress that you have in your life.

Jason:         All right, guys. Sorry about that. We had some audio difficulties. Craig was going to get into explaining his 12 rules and explaining why it’s so important. Craig, we touched upon this earlier. I think it’s worth reiterating that having those rules, sometimes people think, “Wow, you live by rules; that seems so stressful. You’re self-employed. That’s so restrictive” but really it does give you freedom more than anything else.

Craig:           Absolutely. It allows you to have some more automatic actions where you don’t have to think about things. There’s a lot of research out by this guy, Roy Baumeister, about willpower. He talks about how willpower is kind of like a muscle energy or muscle strength. If you try and use willpower all day long to make decisions, you’re going to run out of it and then you’re going to make some calamitous mistake or decision later on in the day. So if you have rules like I do this, I’m a paleo and I don’t eat bread, then you never have to rely on willpower because having a rule, an automatic action and then trying to rely on willpower are completely different things, completely different mindsets.

For example right now, I don’t necessarily have any reaction to dairy but I’m just going through a period right now of avoiding dairy on purpose. If someone slips in some butter in one of my dishes, I’m not going to freak out but I’m not eating dairy right now. So it’s not an option for me to go and binge on chocolate-covered almonds which I might do once every couple of months. It’s just not an option because that’s the rule.

That’s one way of thinking about it. Again, it’s just more freedom and less stress when you have a few certain rules in place. It doesn’t have to be a lot. I’m going to tell you at the end a couple that you should have for your life.

The first one for me and it really helped my energy levels is I go to bed and I get up at the same time seven days a week. I avoid caffeine after 1:00 pm because I’m very sensitive to caffeine. I avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime. That’s me. I have an early cocktail hour and I don’t drink.

For me, one the greatest things is if you had the lifestyle where you can go to sleep—as a young person it’s going to be hard because you’re going to go out on the weekend. It’s totally different. I understand that. But once you get to the point where you’re comfortable with going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at relatively close to the same time every day, you’re going to have so much more energy Mondays and Tuesdays, it’s going to be ridiculous. It’s going to be one of the greatest things. You’re going to think you’re on some type of crazy Renegade Roast high energy coffee or something.

Jason:         That’s 100% true. And even if you don’t drink or eat junk food, it’s still something about going to bed two or three hours later than normal that almost gives you that hangover feeling.

Craig:           Yeah. One thing I’ve found because I go to bed so early, there’s no way that I can ever go to bed at the same time all the time. I’d go out with you guys at the mastermind and I’d go out on dates. She wants that dinner by the time I regularly go to bed during the week so I’ve got to obviously sacrifice. Usually, I’m sacrificing one or two nights a week. But the most important thing is to get up at the same time so you sacrifice your sleep and you use what I call the Spanish solution which is you have a siesta around lunch time the next day. The most important thing is getting up at the same time and if you can just try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. It really would be helpful.

So even if you’re young and say the next two weeks there are no parties because it’s early in the year, just try it and you will be amazed at how effective it is. That’s rule number one, just my health stuff. That’s what I do.

Rule number two is I write for at least 60 minutes first thing every morning. We’ve talked about that quite a bit. Another rule that has changed over time because it used to be 9:00 am is I do not check email before 11:00 am and I do not talk on the phone unless it is a scheduled interview or a conference call. If a random number phones, I don’t answer it. If someone phones and I’m not expecting them, I don’t answer it. Now I only check my work email Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons for 90 minutes. I have an emergency email and I have an email for the editors that I deal with and then I have another work email that I only check. What you come to realize is that most emails that come to you can just be deleted. You just don’t need to deal with them.

Jason:         I have two follow-up questions there. One is just to throw you for a loop here, if you weren’t self-employed, what would you do first before you started writing? Now you get and write. Let’s say you had to go work at a Verizon, what do think?

Craig:           I used to have a job at a supplement company and the first thing I would do back then would be that I would go through all of the big ideas that I could talk to my manager about. I would get in early before official work time. He got in early, too, but I almost always beat him. I would make this bullet point list of I want to talk to him about this idea, I want to talk to him about this idea, I want to follow up on this project and then I would get like five minutes with him. We would talk about these things. I’d get these answers and I’d feel like that was really cool because first of all, it motivated me because I saw the progress and the future projects and sometimes he would share like a secret with me about products that were coming out. I think it advanced my career and so I thought that was really, really valuable to me. That’s what I would do with my time, it’s figure out-

Jason:         Yeah, I think that’s great advice for anyone who works.

Craig:           Yeah, you know Max Smith. He’s my business partner, he’s a friend of yours and he wrote an email to all of his employees at the company that he runs which is a much bigger company than he and I were partners on but he said if you want to advance in the company, it’s all about solving problems. So even if you went in for the first 15 minutes before anybody got there and you looked at what are the problems here or is there a problem with the website that I can help fix, is there a problem with this standard operating procedure that we have, how can I fix this? When you fix that, you add value.

How is your management going to able to say when it comes time for your review or whatever that you don’t deserve a raise or anything? Now you can go—and I actually learned this from a Men’s Health article back in the day—when it was time for my review I made a document of all the things that I did that went above and beyond my work schedule, how I saved the company money, how I made the company money by doing extra work and I went into the performance review and I got a big raise, more than anybody else in my department because I eventually became the manager of that department.

You can do all this stuff by solving problems. That is the most important thing. Don’t take problems to your boss. Take solutions to the boss and that is how you get ahead.

Jason:         Dude, I am absolutely loving this right now. That is fantastic advice. I hope everyone is really paying attention. Especially if you think you’re in a dead end job or there’s a glass ceiling, that’s never the case. People do get ahead and if you just implement what Craig is saying, you can be that person. So let’s move onto the next rules in the list.

Craig:           Okay. Again, the first one is the health stuff. The second one is writing. The third one was email and that’s just like a rule about how you structure your day. The fourth one, I think I may have added this or modified it since I first wrote these back in 2011, I act polite and courteous and I do no swear. In fact, I quit swearing two years ago. I still swear in my head but I don’t let it come out of my mouth.

Jason:         Well, I’m going to challenge that the next time we get together and have a few drinks. We’ll see.

Craig:           You can definitely get me to but 99% of the time I don’t swear. I used my five pillars of transformation actually to overcome that. I stopped swearing literally in six days.

Jason:         Fucking A. Yeah, man.

Craig:           I still appreciate that. Don’t get me wrong. Number 5 is I create a to-do list at the start and end of every workday and I update my daily gratitude and achievement journal. You’ve got one of those journals, right, Jay?

Jason:         That’s one of my favorite things. Yeah, I got that idea originally from you and it makes a tremendous difference.

Craig:           Definitely. For people that are like struggling through life, if you go and do daily gratitude, what you’ll find is how good your life is just because of all the little things in it like the bus was early today or the bus was on time or the bus driver was funny. It’s stuff like that. You don’t need a lot in life, as Marcus Aurelius said, to be happy.

Jason:         Yeah, and just seeing it there, writing it out makes such a difference because everybody has got things they could be bummed out or down or stressed out about. For example, today I’ll write the name of at least five people. I’ll write your name because I got to talk to you today. I’ll write Jen, my assistant, some of my other friends that I’ve encountered that I’m grateful for that have helped me in some way today and then I’ll write down things. I’ll say it was great to catch up. Even though we’re doing this for a podcast, it’s still you and I getting to talk which you living in Canada, me living in California, we don’t as much as we should. So I’m grateful for that. I had a good workout this morning which I’m grateful for. We’re going to go on a hike later.

Just small things like that, if you write those things out, even any of the small things like you said, you look at it and say wow, what am I so bummed out about? I have all these great people and all these things. That just spirals and snowballs to you having a greater day and a greater outlook on life.

Craig:           Yeah, the other day, it was Sunday actually, it was two days ago, I must have written down 50 people and I just kept on going and going and going. I couldn’t believe how many great people I have in my life from all really close friends like you to all the mastermind people to all the Turbulence trainers. If people had met you and I in 2007 or even like a couple of years before that, we were skeptical and jaded.

Jason:         Yeah, that’s true.

Craig:           You can definitely appreciate stuff so people can change. That’s for sure. All right, number 6 is I do not engage in confrontations with anyone in person or online. This is a waste of time and energy. If I’ve caused harm, I apologize and fix the situation. Then I take a deep breath, relax, breathe out and refocus my efforts back on my work and my goals.

Jason:         I love that one.

Craig:           Yeah, it’s pretty self-explanatory. I think it’s just objectively looking at the situation. Somebody mouthing you off on the internet is not real life. Turn the computer off. Go around. Walk around the block and realize nobody’s throwing stones at you and then you get a better perspective on things.

All right, number 7 is I’m guided by these two phrases: Nothing matters. I can only work towards the major massive goals and my vision of helping others while the opinion of others does not matter to my goals. And b) it will all be over soon. That kind of sounds weird but it means if you’re going through troubled times, it will all be over soon. You’ll get out of it. Things will be better. And if you’re really experiencing great things in your life, make sure you appreciate it because everything ends. If it’s a party or a wedding, really take advantage of appreciating it.

Jason:         For sure.

Craig:           And if it’s Jay’s wedding, make sure you watch him jump and destroy himself on his dance floor.

Jason:         That’s true. Absolutely.

Craig:           Number 8, everything that happens to me, good and bad, is my personal responsibility. I blame no one but myself. These are the choices I’ve made. This is the life I’m living, which is actually like a Simpson’s quote, when Homer went back to school with the nerds and they said, “These are the choices that we made” so I to them. Then I will accept the consequences of my actions. If people think that I’m loser because I go to bed at 8:00 at night, so be it. This is the life that I’m living and these are the choices I’ve made. I’m living my life and I’m making the right choices for myself.

That’s what I try and teach people, especially I deal with a lot of women over 40 and weight loss. Because they just give themselves so much to all the other people in their lives, they struggle and this personally responsibility thing, they just need to take care of themselves a little bit more. That’s the message that we try and get out there.

Number 9 is I will help 10 million men and women transform their lives. We made this a big goal in our business to help 10 million transform physically, financially and emotionally by 2020. We’ve had a real big breakthrough in our business. We went from 20,000 Facebook fans to 250,000 Facebook fans last year. These videos that we’re going to release now are going to roll really well and help us do that.

Number 10, and I only have 12 so bear with me everyone, is a long one. This is like an embarrassing, really vulnerable, baring my soul one here. I will not be the person I don’t want to be. I will not be petty, jealous, envious or give in to any other lazy emotions that actually do come quite naturally to me. I love my father. He passed away a couple of years ago but he’s a very bitter man, a very jealous man and whether that passed down genetically or environmentally, it got into me. You and I have both gotten out of that negative thought process.

Jason:         Yeah.

Craig:           It goes on to say I will not gossip or speak badly of others no matter who I am with or what environment I am in. I’ve actually cut many relationships because of that. I will not be negative when it is easier to be positive. I will not hurt others when it is possible to help. I will know the temptations, situations and environments in life that I must avoid and I will in fact avoid them, even if it means loosening relationships with others who live in those environments. Again, I have done that. It’s my life and that matters more than what other people think of me. That one is about as hard core as it gets on here.

And you, man, you did an amazing presentation at our mastermind in Vegas. Not this year, this year was good but the one you did the year before was just awesome. You talked all about how you’ve changed some of your environments and stuff. I’ve grown up with you through our 20s and 30s and we’ve both changed in the same direction. You’ve inspired me even more than I’ve inspired you, I think.

Jason:         I appreciate that.

Craig:           Number 11, I will always keep the child within me alive. That’s a quote from Ted Nicholas who’s actually a marketer. I joke around. I love hanging out with my friends’ kids like I love hanging around Bedros’ kids. I love hanging around Joel Marion’s kids. I’d much rather talk to a 4-year old than a 34-year old. I love watching kid’s movies.

Jason:         Or split the difference of somewhere right in the middle.

Craig:           Yeah, sure. I just try and have fun as much as possible. I’m trying to laugh. I make time to goof off with the dog every day. I do try and keep the child within me alive as much as possible. I think you do a great job of that. You are out having a great time. You are a really, really good leading and living by example type of person who has the structure and the freedom and lives by that little rule there.

Jason:         Yeah, I really try to prioritize that. You know what I’ll do at the end of the day, if I’ve had a super disciplined work day and maybe it’s 7:00 or 8:00 at night and I didn’t make time for laughter today like I didn’t talk to one of my friends and we’ll laugh about things like you and I will or something, I will just pull up an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee or watch Seinfeld or something, just turn it off totally because I think like the cliché goes, laughter is the best medicine. It’s so important to laugh daily that at the end of the day if I haven’t gotten that in, I will prioritize that.

Craig:           Yeah, and that’s actually how I realized that Louis C.K. should be my speaking coach. It was because every day if I wasn’t [inaudible 01:05:25] going to YouTube and watching C.K. and comedians and stuff to get my jokes in for the day and my laugh in for the day then I realized hey, I can learn a lot from this guy in terms of speaking. So I was doing exactly the same thing. Great stuff.

The last rule is I will write with honesty and feeling and that’s another quote from Ted Nicholas. But I add to it, the opinion of others does not matter. What matters is the number of people that I can help by sharing advice and encouragement in my writing. You see that with a lot of people that the more famous people get, the more people just take swipes at them. When you’re not doing anything, when you’re young and you’re just getting started in life, you kind of take swipes at people, too, and you don’t really think about it. If you write an article or you do a blog post even if you’re not a business and you get a negative comment, that can really ruin a person’s day.

But now you realize you’re the other end of what celebrity deals with every day so you just have to get to the point where it’s like I’m going to get people that don’t like me no matter who you are—again, I’ve said this onstage at Fitness Business Summit—there are hate sites devoted to Mother Teresa. So if there are hate sites devoted to her who claim that she wasn’t as nice as they say she was, she didn’t really help that many people, if people are doing that, just think about what they’re going to say about you. And people are already talking behind your back, for everybody who’s listening. Nobody’s perfect. You just have to get over it and realize that once you get past that and you start really writing, being what Brené Brown calls being vulnerable and opening yourself up, that’s when you make huge differences in people’s lives.

Jason:         And Craig, I think a good point to bring up here is that the haters are always the vocal minority whereas the people who are really positive and have a lot of good things to say don’t seem to speak up as much. So you can go on YouTube and think wow, the world is full of hate-filled scumbags and there are sites dedicated to hating Mother Teresa but I think that’s the small minority. I think in general most of the world is really comprised of good people who do want you to succeed. So if you take the stage in front of 500 people, no one wants to see you bomb so we can all laugh at you and make fun of you. We all want you to succeed. No matter what the case is in life, the majority I believe will want you to succeed. That way you’re setting an example for us, showing us what’s possible and the haters, that small minority, like you said, who even cares? Don’t even pay attention. Don’t worry about them.

Craig:           Yeah, because you know what the name is of every single hater, it’s anonymous because there’s never a real name associated with it. Those people that say disparaging things about you online wouldn’t have the guts to say a word to your face. That’s what you have to understand. They really are gutless people and they would not say anything to your face. Those people that hate Justin Bieber, they’re the same ones that would put their arms around Justin Bieber if they saw him at the airport to get a photo of it and put it on their Facebook page even though they call him all sorts of names. That’s the reality of it.

I’ve said things about people before that I wouldn’t have the courage to say to their face and now I realize how pathetic and spineless that is being. That’s why I have these rules that I’ll never be like that again. Going back to your speaking stuff, absolutely. When people are onstage, if you’re really nervous about speaking you have to understand that every person in that audience, not only do they want you to be good, they think that you are an expert and they know that you’re going to be good so they don’t really even think about you being nervous. If you just have that mental shift then you’re going to be a better speaker. You have to realize these people are putting you on a pedestal just because you are actually speaking at the event.

One last thing, Jay, is that I totally agree with you that there are so many people out there who are good people. The media is full of nothing but bad stories but there are so many people who are good people out there, who want to help. That’s why I believe that there’s so much social support to be found online, in online communities and offline as well as CrossFit and the paleo world has shown. It just goes to show you how people can rally behind one another. There’s a lot of good out there. At the end of the day, that’s what people should understand and once you get into the gratitude stuff, you’ll start to realize how many good people are out there and how many people want to see you succeed like you said. It really, really is a good world out there at the end of the day.

Jason:         Absolutely. I have probably another 50 questions and we could talk for another couple of hours so I think what we’ll do because we can’t end it on a better note than that is I think what we should do is get together again. The next thing we can do in person if we can make the time at Fitness Business Summit. I think it would be great. Maybe we could block a half hour or an hour. I’ll bring the stuff and we’ll do another live podcast from there. But this was amazing, my friend. I appreciate it. We’ll definitely have you back on to cover a whole bunch more. I think everybody’s going to learn a ton from this one. Give out your websites, your social and all that.

Craig:           Yeah, I think the best place for people to connect with me is through Facebook. We have the It will take you to our biggest fitness fan page. Then is where I write the personal development stuff. I’ve been writing more and more essays about people’s productivity tools and success so check out the articles we have there. That’s where you’ll find the 12 rules as an article and a video on that site. Those are probably the best ways to check our stuff out right now.

Jason:         Yeah, I love the look of Early to Rise. I was on there recently.

Craig:           Yeah, we just changed it.

Jason:         Yeah, it looks great. Then you’re also @CraigBallantyne on Twitter.

Craig:           Yup.

Jason:         The next time you come on, I want to get into more business and marketing stuff because we shared a lot of great fitness info and personal development stuff but what some people might now know is you do a lot of business coaching and stuff like that, online marketing stuff. So we’ll get into that next time. Everybody, I hope you enjoyed this. Send me a tweet. Send me an email. Let me know what you thought. Hit up with Craig. Check out all his stuff and we’ll be back with another episode next week.