Be Unstoppable - Alden Mills

Be Unstoppable - Alden Mills

Video Book Summary

Download all of the Mind Maps here.

Book Summary Notes 

Be Unstoppable

“I was doing what I loved back in those SEAL days, and I had the confidence of knowing I could do anything I put my mind to."

"I want this book to capture those themes in a way my boys and everyone else who reads it will remember. A series of vignettes illustrating how any among us can accomplish great things would only fade with time. I’ve tried to go farther. I’ve tried to create a framework, a code my sons can follow throughout their lives, a touchstone to encourage them when the going gets tough."

"I want this book to capture the essence of my spirit as a tangible reference for them, a pick-me-up when they feel like giving up on a dream, a voice of encouragement when no one else believes in them, or perhaps simply the voice of a proud father saying, ‘Go for it—you can do it!’"

"That’s why I wrote this book. It will give your mind a code to follow so that no matter what obstacle attempts to derail you, your mind will be working for you, not against you. And when your mind is on your side, no obstacle is too big, no dream too daunting, and nothing can stop you from living an amazing life!"

"Once you’ve mastered the code in this book, your biggest challenge will be dreaming bigger dreams! That’s right: Once you’ve tasted success and gained the confidence of making a dream come true, a funny things happens: You get addicted to making dreams come true. And as each dream gets a little bigger and a little scarier, you get stronger, smarter, and better at making them come true. And isn’t that what life is all about? Live your dreams!”

First, how awesome is this?

A father writing a book for his sons.

Full of the lessons he's learned over his lifetime!

All boiled down into a framework/code (and boiled into a fable) for them to read when things get tough.

Now let's talk about the book..

It's filled with 8 really helpful thought frameworks or mental models that are very impactful!

Personally I love mental models because they are easy to remember in the moment (when you need them). 

But this book isn't just for kids!

Alden Mills is a former US Navy SEAL platoon commander who invented the Perfect Pushupand created Inc 500’ fastest-growing company in 2009.

So you could say we're learning from a master in many domains today!

It's a great book about self reliance, but if we read between the lines it's a great book on leadership. 


“The young captain was still speechless as he gingerly held the paddle and scanned it from handle to blade tip."

"There were letters and words inscribed on the handle, stem, and blade. Tim looked closer and saw that it read ‘UPERSIST’ from the handle down the stem.

"On the blade was the quote from the compass on the master and commander’s helm: ‘Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

"The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.’ At the very bottom were the letters N E G U, clearly carved by someone else’s hand. Tim smiled; he bet those letters were Robert’s handiwork."

"Captain Peter heard him recite the code: ‘U—Understand; P—Plan; E—Exercise; R—Recognize; S—Survey; I—Improvise; S—Seek; T—Team up. It’s brilliant! I wondered how I was going to remember all eight actions,’ said Tim.”

Remember those 8 frameworks from before?

They can be distilled down into this acronym


U = Understand Your Why.

Everything starts with knowing you way.  Without a deep and meaningful connection to your why your ability to persist goes down fast!

The next node in this mind map has a great exercise for finding your why.

P = Plan in 3-D. 

Once you've connected to and written down your why we need to make a plan! 3 Steps.

1. Define it.

2. Divide it.

3. Do it.

E = Exercise to Execute.

Being able to execute your plan means being able to work hard over a long period of time. 

Alden teaches us that exercise is the way to build our willpower muscles to help us do just that!

R = Recognize Your Reason to Believe.

Small wins lead create progress and progress builds our self confidence.

Belief is non-negotiable for success, but if you don't believe now, start with some small wins.

ps. check out Re-thinking Positive Thinking by Gabriele Oettingen for more here (video).

S = Survey Your Habits. 

What might be getting in the way of our success?

A good spot to start looking is your habits! 

Which ones are helping you and which are hurting you?

Check out my Habits Playlist for more there.

I = Improvise to Overcome Obstacles.

Obstacles will always appear when we're chasing our dreams.

Instead of letting them get in the way, we need to learn from them and improvise to overcome.

Check out The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday for more here.

S = Seek Expert Advice.

We are not going to be great at everything!

When we don't know something, it's often better to seek advice than spend time becoming great.

T = Team Up.

Experts can help us periodically, but they aren't often invested in our success..

But if we team up with people who's strengths compliment our weaknesses it can be very powerful!


“‘There’s beauty in simplicity, my friend,’ Peter said."  

"‘The code is simple, and I’ve put it into a framework that’s easy to remember. However, putting it to use will be up to you, and you alone. I hope this paddle will serve as a constant reminder that you are limited by only two things in life: your ability to dream and the courage to pursue those dreams."

"There’s an amazing world waiting for you outside this harbor.’ Peter pointed toward the bow of the Persistence, which aimed toward Hardwork Bay. ‘You have the boat and brains to explore the world. All you need to do now is to find a course and have the courage to follow it.’”

Now that we've got our framework for success..

There are only two things missing!

  • Having a dream or goal in mind.
  • Having the courage to pursue.

Having a dream in mind:

Earl Nightingale in Lead The Field says:

“If you should visit a ship in port and ask the captain for his next port-of-call, he’ll tell you in a single sentence."

That's what we need!  Our dream boiled down into a single sentence (a destination to aim towards).

Question: What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Having the courage to pursue:

Brene Brown in Daring Greatly Says:

“I took a deep breath and recited my vulnerability prayer as I waited my turn: Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen. Then, seconds before I was introduced, I thought about a paperweight on my desk that reads, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I pushed that question out of my head to make room for a new question. As I walked up to the stage, I literally whispered aloud, “What’s worth doing even if I fail?””

Courage isn't about being the hero, it's about being willing to step into the arena, knowing the potential consequences.

Question: What's worth doing even if you fail?


“So how do you get to understand your why?" 

"What’s worked for me is using what I call my Outcome Accounts. Whenever I dream up a new Milestone Goal, I create an Outcome Account."

"It’s a simple way to test how truly important this goal is to me. Some goals are just not as important as others—some are just nice-to-have goals, not must-haves. You can use Outcome Accounts for any goal, but I find this tool especially helpful when I’m going after a Milestone Goal—something that will require months, if not years, of persistence to attain."

"I’ve used an Outcome Account to outline my reason for putting my head down, working hard, and filtering out those who will help me from those who want to see me fail. The Outcome Account is my single most important first step toward being UNSTOPPABLE. As Master and Commander Peter teaches young Captain Tim, ‘Once you understand your why, you’ll figure out your way.’”

One who has a why can bear almost any how..

The U = Understand you why is the most important part of UPERSIST!

  • It's what kicks it all of and keeps it all going..
  • If you don't have a why not only are you rudderless and not steering you life, but you don't have a motor or a sail to keep going!

But connecting to you why is something I get questions about every single day..

  • People have a hard time knowing what their WHY is, and it's understandable because it's not always obvious!
  • But Alden has given us a great exercise here to sort out the true Why's from the "nice to haves"

The Outcome Account Exercise:

  • Step One: Write down your potential Goal at the top of a piece of paper.
  • Step Two: Draw a line down the middle of the page to create two columns.
  • Step Three: Fill one side with all the amazing positive benefits accomplishing your WHY will get you.
  • Step Four: Fill the other side with all the negative things that come along with not accomplishing your WHY.
  • Step Five: Mine those columns to see if something jumps out as a main WHY for you.


“None of it is hard; it just takes time, creativity, commitment, and perspective." 

"Training for a SEAL mission and going after your own Milestone Goal both require three-dimensional planning. I call Action #2 ‘Plan in 3-D’ not only because great planning requires thinking in three dimensions, but also because each of those dimensions begins with the letter ‘D."

"’Remember, it’s not about creating a perfect plan, because there is no such thing. It’s about creating a plan to succeed no matter what obstacles you encounter.”

Now we know what we're going to do and why we're going to do it, we need a plan!

Alden tells us that it's important to plan in 3D.

The Three Dimensions:

1. Define it.

First we need to do as Earl told us early, define our goal in one or two sentences.

What Specifically do you intend to do and by when?  Write it down!  And put it somewhere you'll see it all the time.

2. Divide it.

Now we've got our two sentence goal (Milestone Goal) but it's big and scary..  Maybe a year in the making!

Alden tells us to divide it or break it up into some small action steps that you can do daily!

What can I do everyday that will move me in the direction of my milestone goal?

3. Do it daily.

 Now we've got the big goal, and out daily actions!  All that's left is to do it. 

Create a habit out of the actions you need to take and get busy working.

Daily action is key.  Check out the Habits Masterclass playlist for more.

Magic Pills

“What if I told you of a pill that makes you smarter, helps you lose weight and build muscle, fights off depression, improves your ability to work longer and harder, and prevents numerous life-threatening conditions including heart disease and diabetes?" 

"What would you pay for this pill—$10, $50, maybe $100?"

"Now, what if I told you this pill could change your destiny by making you successful and perhaps famous, if fame is a dream of yours? And what if I told you this pill could give you the confidence to do anything you put your mind to? How much might the pill be worth to you now? $1,000? Maybe $10,000?”

Of course, there is a magic pill..

That pill is exercise!

  • Exercise has been shown to improve our mood, enhance our brains and boost our willpower..
  • Basically it's a pill that when taken often, improves every area of our lives!

But it doesn't have to be as scary as you might think..

Michelle Segar in her book No Sweat tells us it's as simple as finding OTM.

“Finding opportunities to move (my clients abbreviate this as OTMs, so I will too) throughout the day is surprisingly fun." 

"You’ll be amazed at how soon you begin to become aware of the free spaces in the day that present themselves and the surprising places that are conducive to movement."

"You may think that your day is crammed so full that you can’t fit in one more thing, but believe me: It’s not true. If you’ve got one minute, you’ve got time.”

How about you?

Where could you find more opportunities to move in your life?

Some examples:

Park a little further away

Take the stairs vs the elevator

Take a 5 minute dance break

Do walking meetings

Dream Team

“No matter what your goal, always remember that nothing great was ever achieved without a team."   

"Period. No single person can do it all. Teaming up is an essential step in accomplishing your dream. It can be the difference between languishing with inaction and finding unbelievable success."

"It all starts with the first action of UPERSIST: Understand your why. When you know why you’re willing to work hard and take risks to achieve your goal, you’ll be able to show others why they should team up with you."

"Once you have a teammate, you can attract more teammates, and then there is no limit to what you can accomplish. It all starts with a dream. So what are you waiting for? Dream as if everything is possible. Dream big and GO FOR IT!”

Now we all know the age old cliche..

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go with a team.

This is true for almost anything in life..

  • Humans are community animals, and we need to be sure we're mindful of who we're around.
  • Whether it's a business partner, friends or romantic parters we need to be mindful..

How do we attract the right people?

  • Focus in on our WHY and tell people about it!
  • Through that you'll repel people who aren't on the same mission, and attract people who are. 
  • These people will have different skills, and weaknesses.  But if you've got the same driving force, you can be stronger together.
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