I had been studying the biographies of successful people for years trying to find the key factors that led them to greatness. I found things that were pretty obvious indicators of success—dreaming big, setting goals, working hard, and so on.
But these alone could not be the answer I was looking for.
Carl Hart woke up to screams from his parents’ room.
His father had come home from having an affair and his mother chose to retaliate by boiling maple syrup and flinging the burning hot liquid at him.
She then bolted out the front door into the streets of Miami and fled in a car before the man could get revenge of his own. Carl and his sisters were grateful that she managed to escape, because if he caught her, he would’ve killed her.
The hotel maids – all who claimed to be the furthest thing from habitual exercisers – were given the statistics about how many calories they were burning compared to actual habitual exercisers.
Compared to a desk job, hotel maids actually get a lot of exercise. They are constantly moving. The scrubbing, vacuuming, and walking from room-to-room isn’t exactly "intense". But over the course of an 8-hour day, the calories add up.
In fact, they add up to about 900 calories burned every single day!
The sun was beating as I was nearing the end of the Spartan Race in Monterrey, California.
Okay, I’ve got to be somewhere near the top 15.
Over 6000 participants showed up to take on the course that was a full 13 miles of mountain terrain and obstacles. Several obstacles included having to carry heavy bags and buckets up extremely steep hills.
During one of his many serious contemplations about suicide, Eric Clapton was saved by only one thought.
If he killed himself, he would no longer be able to drink. 
He had brief periods of addiction with coke and heroin, but neither of them were as important to him as his relationship with alcohol. After several times in which he seriously thought about ending his life, however, he finally checked himself into rehab.
After completing rehab, he remained sober for several years before one summer day.
She was overweight, unemployed, clinically depressed and addicted to both alcohol and cigarettes. Her husband had just left her for a younger, more attractive woman and she began stalking the two of them; contemplating violent action.
To make matters even worse, she was standing on over $10,000 in debt without any means of repaying it. Even before her life was completely in shambles, she had never held a job for more than a year.
She had absolutely nothing going for her in her life.
At 24 years of age, Mark Cuban was far from what many would call a success.
“I was living in a 3-bedroom apartment in Dallas. I didn’t have my own bedroom. I slept on the couch or floor depending on what time I got home. I had no closet. Instead I had a pile that everyone knew was mine. My car had the usual hole in the floorboard, a ’77 FIAT X19 that burned a quart of oil that I couldn’t afford every week.”
Until that point, Cuban had been working exclusively in the service industry. His prospects were poor and he was essentially coasting through life. That all changed when Cuban landed a job with Your Business Software – the first retail software store in Dallas.
The year was 1519 and Hernán Cortés, with some 600 Spanish soldiers, had landed on a vast inland plateau called Mexico.
The Spanish conquistador and his men were about to embark on a conquest of an empire that hoarded some of the world’s greatest treasure. But, with only 600 unarmored men, conquering an empire as vast as Mexico was a mission that was doomed to fail.
This fact was even more clear when you look at the history of Europeans invading Mexico. Many with more soldiers and more resources had tried and failed to conquer the empire.
The town was Framingham, Massachusetts – a simple place in the Northeastern United States with a population of approximately 68,000. It is a lovely town with a mix of old colonial ties and new developments. And in 2012, Framingham was listed by CNN Money Magazine as the 36th best place to live in the United States.
That was what I told myself at the beginning of February. I had enough money to live for another 30 days and that was it. I was broke.
When I started Willpowered in October, I knew that this day was coming. I had a big circle on my calendar for March. March was when I was going to run out of the money I had saved to take the leap and fully commit to Performance Psychology.
In a famous essay by Isaiah Berlin, the 20th century philosopher divided the world into 2 categories of people: Hedgehogs and Foxes. 
The fox knows a great many things. He is cunning and smart. He is fast and sneaky. He is willing to try a lot of strategies to beat the hedgehog and win his share of the forest.
The hedgehog, on the other hand, knows one big thing. He is simple. He knows only one strategy but executes it to perfection. Whatever the fox tries, the hedgehog defends himself with what he knows to do best.
At 21 years of age, Jonah Hill exploded onto the Hollywood scene. His lead role in the comedy Superbadnot only made audiences laugh, but also turned him into one of the most beloved comedic actors of his generation.
It landed him many follow-up roles in movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Funny Peopleand Get Him to the Greek. In each of these movies, Hill played the chubby, jovial, funny guy – a role that he played with brilliance. But in 2011, Hill wanted to mature as an actor and as a person.
Growing up in rural Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger had very little chance of achieving fame or fortune. His parents were poor and his father was set on Arnold joining the military, then becoming a police officer like him. Arnold, however, had a different idea.
As a child, he picked up a magazine with Mr. Universe, Reg Park, on the cover as the star of the new movie, Hercules. As Arnold read through the magazine, he the whole plan began to unfold for him. He was going to follow Reg Park’s footsteps, become a body-building champion and a huge movie star.