Matt W. Kane

School of Greatness

Lewis Howes—2015


  • Change your lifestyle to match your goals.


  • In fact, there are 1 million ways to be great and 1 million more things to be great at.
    • Being a parent, being an artist, being generous, being healthy, and being of service.
  • The happiest and most thriving people are those who spend their life giving back, helping others, and participating actively in their communities.


  • Greatness is my passion, but vision is my obsession. Let I me explain. A clear vision can unleash extraordinary, mind-boggling power.
  • He was listing all the things she could do but probably wouldn’t.
  • Danielle LaPorte.
  • The Desire Map is about helping as many people as possible get clear on their core desired feelings.”
  • Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.
  • If you want to be great at anything, you’ve got to have a clear vision of exactly what you want, why you want it, and when you want it to happen.
  • No path to greatness has ever involved settling for less than what you really want.
  • “I came to the conclusion that it’s easier to come from a place than to go to a place. At Reebok, I thought we were better than Nike,” he recalled. “We just hadn’t done it yet. I didn’t come to Deckers because I wanted to stay in the funky old building we were in before this new one was built. I was already at the other end of the telescope for this company. I saw this as a multibillion-dollar company because of the quality of the people and the products and the brands. I realized, you become what you envision yourself being.”
  • You become what you envision yourself being.
  • The seasons where coaches had us write our team vision and our personal goals were the most successful seasons I ever had.
  • Every successful sports season I had included detailed daily itineraries. There was no more wondering what to do, when to do it, or how much time to spend on it. It was all right there, plain as day. Laid out in the steps necessary to reach our end goal.
  • Here is a version of my daily itinerary while I was writing this book.
    • 7:30 a.m. Wake up, meditate, and enjoy the views from my balcony.
    • 8:00 a.m. Healthy breakfast with green juice or a smoothie.
    • 9:00 a.m. Cross Fit/kickboxing or private skills training session.
    • 10:45 a.m. Check in with my team about projects of the day.
    • 11:00 a.m. Complete the top three tasks that were on my list before bed.
    • 12:00 p.m. Healthy lunch at home or lunch meeting with someone who inspires me.
    • 1:30 p.m. Back to the top three on my to-do list, recording interviews, doing videos, or working with the team.
    • 3:00 p.m. Physical therapy to increase flexibility (2 days a week)
    • 5:00 p.m. Pickup basketball, hiking with friends, swim in ocean.
    • 7:30 p.m. Healthy dinner at home or out with friends.
    • 9:00 p.m. Read, movie, events with influencers on the town.
    • 11:00 p.m. Make a list of what I’m most grateful for today, create a “completed list” of what I did today. Write the top three list of what I want to create tomorrow.
    • 11:30 p.m. Meditate, sleep, dream, recover body.


  • Ryan Holiday–Founder of a marketing and strategy firm
  • To be great is to be misunderstood.
  • Part of greatness is being doubted and facing difficulty and it’s precisely that struggle that contributes to their greatness.
  • This is why adversity is so important and why it is the second lesson in this book. First we have our vision, and then we run into obstacles. The real greats don’t worry too much about this—it’s inevitable, it’s not the end of the world. Instead, this dose of reality is simply used as a challenge
  • This is something that great men and women understand—that the actual problem, obstacle, or adversity is irrelevant. It’s their mindset and response to it that matter.
  • What you resist persists.


  • The consulting firm McKinsey did a 10-year study of top executives in flow. They found top executives in flow are five times more productive than when out of flow. That’s 500 percent more productive. DARPA did a study with snipers, inducing flow artificially using transcranial direct stimulation and teaching snipers target acquisition skills. The snipers learned the skills 230 percent faster. In a separate nonmilitary study, DARPA also induced flow artificially and cut the time it took to train a novice sniper up to an expert level by 50 percent.
  • The other reason it happens is because you’ve surrounded yourself with all the necessary flow triggers. True greats have basically created the most high-flow environment they possibly could. Everything in their lives is triggering flow. Psychologists talk about it as the source code of intrinsic motivation,
  • I also practice visualization before I call people on the phone, whether it’s personal or for business. I envision what I want to create from the exchange—perhaps a particular result for a business deal, a feeling or experience 1 want the other person to have at the end, or how I want a controversial situation to resolve. I visualize the whole process.
  • Each night, I visualize what 1 want to accomplish the following day. Before giving speeches onstage, doing online webinars, and soon, I visualize what impact I want to have.
  • You live the day of a Champion by beginning as one and ending as one.
  • All champions, even if they are scared, fall back on their belief in themselves and the work they’ve put in to get them to where they want to be.


  • “When I got out, I was not afraid to promote myself,” Chris said. “Most people can’t get over that fear. In the arts world, you’re supposed to stay cool, man. Just do your music, and it will come to you. I said, ‘Fuck that. I know what I want to do, I want to be a great jazz violinist. To go onstage with great musicians,’ and so I pursued it zealously.”
  • They were amazed at how this 24-year-old former pro athlete kid with no degree was able to get so many people to show up at these professional networking events. What they didn’t know was that I was literally e-mailing my Linkedln connections one by one to ask them to come to my events or join one of the groups I’d created to bring everyone together. I adopted the approach Chris took right after he got out of prison—there was nothing I wouldn’t do
  • She didn’t wait around hoping someone would recognize her talent. She shoved it right in their faces and made it impossible for them not to see. “The opportunities that can come when you do that, you can’t even predict,” she told me. “When you show up with that attitude of ‘I’m going to master this, I’m going to bring my A game,’ you feel better. You have more energy, and the results are going to be better!’
  • Japanese proverb says, “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” You need both vision and action to achieve great things. Vision guides you; action propels you.
  • If I could give one piece of advice to a budding entrepreneur, it would be that – just one word: hustle.
  • Let it all out onto the paper. Experience the fear with each possible outcome. Now redirect each what-if into a potential positive outcome. What if I get fired…?
    • …and it turns into a better job in a few months?
    • …And I can use the severance to take a well-needed family vacation?
  • There are four smart areas everyone can and should be hustling in:
    • Your body
    • Your mindset
    • Your relationships
    • Your skills
  • A leader is someone who understands that relationships are the key to success in business and life.
  • When you experience fear, move towards it. When you feel doubt, take the necessary actions to build your confidence. When you are afraid of being wrong or looking bad in front of others, be humble and vulnerable to create real human connections. The hustle takes action. It requires getting over yourself and how you look. It can be a beautiful journey if you give yourself permission to hustle like a manic because what else are you here to do other than make the most of what you can be?
  • Your body is everything. You may think being a little overweight isn’t that big of a deal, but on the road to greatness, and affects your overall energy and can be that one thing that holds you back with everything.


  • True greatness comes from the intentional act of doing something positive over and over again.


  • This is not a story unique to the playing field. Poor practice habits—or preparation problems, as I like to call them—transcend the world of sports and affect us in our jobs and our relationships. Doing the bare minimum at work. Rushing to complete a task at the 11th hour because experience has taught you that you don’t need the previous 10 to get it done. Forgetting your partner’s birthday and running around the day of for a present that doesn’t feel like you forgot. Crash dieting to lose 10 pounds before going on a beach vacation. We do these things because we’ve gotten away with them in the past. We were fast enough, smart enough, young enough, and lucky enough. We lean on experience and ability, not on proper preparation. We have poor habits, and sooner or later our luck is going to run out.
  • Over the years, I began adding positive habits and noticed a dramatic change in my results and the way I felt internally as well.
    • Constantly expressing gratitude
    • Smiling at as many people as possible
    • Going to bed early
    • Getting 7 to 8 hours of committed sleep
    • Making my bed in the morning
    • Staying organized
    • Acknowledging myself and others
    • Loving people wherever they are on their personal journey
    • Eating clean
    • Training my body
    • Saving and investing my money wisely
    • Meditating
    • Visualizing mv results and creating a game plan
    • Meditating
    • Investing in my personal growth
    • Surrounding myself with inspiring people
  • Consciously pursuing great habits consistently will click you into autopilot on the path to greatness.
  • These are their habits.
    • Maintain a to-do list.
    • Wake up 3+ hours before work (to set themselves up for the day].
    • Listen to audio books during commutes (or you can read, if you take public transportation, or listen to my podcast!}.
    • Network 5+ hours each month.
    • Read 30+ minutes each day.
    • Exercise 4 days a week (I recommend 5 days myself, with daily movement, of course].
    • Eat minimal junk food.
    • Watch 1 hour or less of TV a day.
    • Teach good daily success habits to their children.
    • Make their children volunteer 10+ hours per month (I encourage you to do it with them to set the example]
    • Encourage their children to read 2+ books per month (I didn’t read much as a kid and wish I would have].
    • Write down their goals.
    • Focus on accomplishing a specific goal.
    • Believe in lifelong educational self-improvement.
    • Believe good habits create opportunities.
    • Believe bad habits have a negative impact.
  • Here are the daily habits I focus on the most.
    • Wake up early and say thank you for being alive another day (not 3 hours early but it’s an ongoing practice!)
    • Make my bed
    • Meditate for 10 minutes.
    • Drink a green juice at breakfast.
    • Stretch and move my body.
    • Have a high-intensity training workout.
    • Eat organic, home-cooked meals.
    • Watch very little TV (for 4 years I didn’t even own a set so that I would stay focused).
    • Focus on my goals and take action steps toward them.
    • Network with a purpose to give to others. .
    • Acknowledge others and smile in every conversation.
    • Express gratitude throughout the day and the last thing before bed.
    • Work with a coach and mentors.
    • Constantly learn new information and skills.
  • Have a morning ritual. I learned the importance of a morning ritual from Tim Ferriss. He told me, “I think for entrepreneurs, it’s very valuable for a week, for instance, to just figure out what your ritual is going to be in the morning or when you wake up. What is the first 60 minutes going to look like, and then script it out so that you do the same thing every day? I think it’s a very freeing experience to allocate more thought power to the things that matter as opposed to trying to decide what you should have for breakfast today. I think ritual and routine are extremely important for people who want to be creative.”
  • Acknowledge others (and yourself). Similar to how I expressed I my gratitude to Ramit, getting in the habit of acknowledging others is a powerful tool because our natural tendency is to deflect attention from the crowd. It’s a defense mechanism. By acknowledging others—for their contribution, for their assistance, for their existence—you acknowledge their humanity and, in turn, your own
  • This is straight from the Gretchen Rubin playbook of building good habits. She published her own Habits Manifesto in 2014.
    • What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.
    • Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.
    • Focus on actions, not outcomes.
    • By giving something up, we may gain.
    • Things often get harder before they get easier.
    • When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.
    • We’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.
    • It’s easier to change our surroundings than ourselves.
    • We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.
    • We should make sure the things we do to feel better don’t make us feel worse.
    • We manage what we monitor.
    • Once we’re ready to begin, begin now.
  • It’s time to step up and get serious with your daily actions, as this is what builds the momentum in your life towards the vision you want to achieve.


  • “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ –African proverb
  • The most important lesson coach Wooden ever taught Don was this: you will never outperform your inner circle. If you want to achieve outer success, improve your inner circle.
  • You’re trying to figure out the first person to add to your winning team. Who is it? It’s the coach. Your mentor. Your advisor. Your father/mother figure. Their role on your path to greatness is literally invaluable.
  • Point being, it’s extremely important—I’d even say absolutely necessary—to find the right coaches for you if you want to achieve greatness in any area of your life.
  • You’ve got to realize, the only way to scale is to delegate and to empower others to say, you know what? They are not going to do it exactly like me, but they’re going to do it exactly like them.
  • What I try to think about after learning about teams from Scooter and Don Yaeger is this: How can I be of service to every member of my team and set them up to win service to win as best as possible 
  • To find out if someone is serving you in your life or holding you back, ask yourself these four questions.
    • Do I feel energized or stressed when I’m around or think about this person?
    • Does this person inspire me or have a negative mindset around me?
    • Does this person pursue greatness in their life, or are they often a victim to circumstances?
    • Do they get excited about my success and want to see me succeed, or do they complain about their own life when I achieve my dreams?
  • Ultimately, your mastermind group should start with 4 to 6 people [up to 15 max] and a simple, no more than one page mastermind agreement you’re all aligned with that includes:
    • The group name
    • How you’re going to connect (in person or via Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, or phone]
    • How long your meetings will be (1 to 2 hours minimum is recommended, but some could be 2 or 3 days)
    • How often you will meet (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.)
    • When you will meet
    • The agenda for your meetings
  • Get a piece of paper and a pen. Create three columns with the following headlines:
    • Things you don’t like doing
    • Things you can’t do
    • Things you shouldn’t do
Don’t like doingCan’t doShouldn’t do
Checking emailGraphic designUpdating social media
Managing my calendarDeveloping a websiteHanding customer support
Researching TravelBook keepingCollecting dry cleaning
  • “This becomes the road man to working with your team. These lists flag the jobs that aren’t the best uses of your time with the skills you have for making a bigger impact and getting closer to your vision. They indicate how to best set up your team or support structure.


  • Then one night shortly thereafter, he went to the New York Philharmonic for the first time. “I’d never been to a symphony before, and this guy walks out onstage to play a piano concerto and just starts crushing these keys. He was exuding so much passion into this instrument. I was just mesmerized by it.”
  • Not only was Adam mesmerized, he was inspired. The same way that pianist felt about his music, Adam wanted to feel about… anything, really. “I just wanted to feel that passion, I wanted to feel alive the way that he must when he connected to that piano. And in that moment is when this name literally just popped into my 4: Pencils of Promise. It was the perfect name.”^


  • Glenn Rifkin for guiding me in the initial development, structure, and layout of this book.
  • Ryan Holiday and Nils Parker at (Brass Check for writing this book with me