The School of Greatness - Lewis Howes

The School of Greatness - Lewis Howes

Video Book Summary

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Book Summary Notes 

The School of Greatness

“The place I am talking about is more like Plato’s cave than the red circle on the TED stage."  

"My amazing mentors did not speak to me for 18 minutes and then disappear into the ether; they sat across from me, literally and virtually, and brought me out from the shadows into the light of real knowledge."

"How did this happen? I’m still not entirely sure, but there is one thing I know beyond any doubt: They fired my passion to sit across from you, through the pages of this book, and share their teachings with you."

"I’ve come to call this place the School of Greatness."

"It’s not your stereotypical school. There are no classrooms. No homework. No principal or dean enforcing rules or even tracking attendance."

"With The School of Greatness, you will learn how to recognize and harness this potential. You will come to understand the importance of dreams and the tools that exist within you to make those dreams a reality."

"The School of Greatness is not a bag of tricks and hacks. It’s not a boot camp. It’s a way of life, a way of living. When you want to lose weight and keep it off, you don’t go on a diet, because diets are about artificial restriction. They’re miserable. Instead, you change your lifestyle to match your goals. This is the same thing. The School of Greatness is a lifestyle for a lifetime that you are going to love.”

Learning from the best..

This is The School of Greatness!

Lewis has interviewed some of the worlds most interesting and successful people..

This book is a culmination of everything he has learned from them!

I love this idea..  Really it's what this channel is!

I'm reading these books and giving you guys the highlights that I've learned.. 

But really what we're doing here is surrounding ourselves with mentors who have been, done and seen more than we have!

People who have insights into what it takes to get where we want to go!

The School of Greatness is full of practical exercises..

Today I pulled out my favorite for you!

But the real 'meta' here is that YOU should be creating your OWN School of Greatness.. 

Seek out people who are further along the journey than you and tap into that!

Be willing to learn for a lifetime, in ways others don't and make it a way of life! 


“Greatness, as I’ve come to learn from people like Shawn, is ‘not just holding a gold medal at the top of a podium.’" 

"It’s about inspiring people, about sharing a message, about believing the truth in that cliché: That it’s the journey, not the destination to some perceived treasure or moment of adulation. In fact, there are a million ways to be great and a million more things to be great at. Most of them don’t come with a medal or a giant check.

Consider this list:

  • Being a parent
  • Being an artist
  • Being generous
  • Being a leader
  • Being a change maker
  • Being an advocate Being healthy
  • Being an entrepreneur Being of service

"All of these are amazing dreams where greatness is a worthy and attainable goal. Those who have become great at any one of them—irrespective of plaques on their walls or trophies on their mantel—are the people we can all learn from.”

Greatness is for everyone..

Often we reserve 'greatness' for people who have accomplished something in the public eye..

  • But greatness can be for anyone!  Greatness can be for each of us..  
  • Whatever you choose to do with your life, the goal should be greatness!

Actually I think we all have the desire for greatness..

  • I believe it's a natural human instinct to drive towards mastery in our chosen field..
  • The fields might be very different!  And only a few of them are looked up to in society..
  • But whatever the field, greatness and the instinct to achieve mastery is beautiful.

How about you?  What does greatness look like.

  • What is your chosen field of greatness?
  • Why are you pursuing it?
  • What does greatness look like for you?

Great 8

“As Shawn put it to me, ‘greatness means having pride in yourself, being happy with yourself, knowing you’ve worked for something and couldn’t have done anything more. That is greatness itself."  

"It is cultivating the character and habits that not only lead to success but also help you overcome any challenge or adversity. It’s about lifting yourself up from the depths of despair and using mindfulness, joy, and love to harness your dreams."

"It is a progression through a series of lessons—eight areas of focus and continual improvement:"

  • 1. Create a vision.
  • 2. Turn adversity into advantage.
  • 3. Cultivate a champion’s mind-set.
  • 4. Develop hustle.
  • 5. Master your body.
  • 6. Practice positive habits.
  • 7. Build a winning team.
  • 8. Be of service to others.

This book is written around 8 areas of greatness..

Each area get's it's own chapter and lessons from the Mentors!

  • Each area in and of itself is worthy of exploration..  
  • But we've only got a 30 minute video so I picked out my favorite lessons from each!

Here is a quick overview of each point:

  • 1. What’s your life's vision?
  • 2. How can your turn the obstacle in the way into the way?
  • 3. Mindset is everything.  How's yours?  Turn it into a champion's.
  • 4. Hustle is the barrier to entry of greatness..  Are you hustling?
  • 5. Energy makes everything easier..  Are you sleeping well, exercising and eating well?
  • 6. Keystone habits!  What is the one habit that will change everything for you?
  • 7. Want to go far?  Go with a team.  Look at yours..  Make sure they are great (or help them get there)!
  • 8. A life of service is a life worth living..  How can you give more to the people around you today?

Hang Up

“Write down your goal. Print it. Frame it. Hang it somewhere you will see it. Every day."

"Writing down your goal is a powerful thing. Declaring your vision and putting a date on it, as though it will happen (or as Angel would say, like it already did), is even more powerful."

"This exercise is about getting total clarity on what you want and why you want it and then declaring that vision for yourself in the next 6 months or whatever date you have in your head, as long as it’s specific." 

"Your goal can be financial, personal, health or career related. It almost doesn’t matter what the vision is. There’s only one rule: It must be something that terrifies you when you say it out loud to someone you respect. At the same time, it should be something that is possible to achieve in the allotted time frame—provided you put in the work. And then you write yourself a new goal once it is completed.”

What is your vision?

Most of us don't even know that in the first place..

  • It takes a lot of soul searching, commitment and self confidence to even speak our vision! 
  • And that much more to write it down and tell it to everyone you know and admire.. 

But if we don't know what we're aiming for.. 

  • How will we know what greatness looks like?
  • How will we know what to chase and what to leave alone?
  • How will we be able to recruit a team?
  • How will we be able to keep our energy up and do things that make us uncomfortable?

What is the #1 thing you want to accomplish this year?

  • Try to write that down in 4-6 words! 
  • Then do what Lewis says..  Frame it, Hang it Up and Tell People You Admire!
  • Mine: Share Big Ideas With 250k People (This Year)

Perfect Day

“In this exercise, your job is to map out what your perfect day looks like along the path to achieving your vision." 

"There are two parts to this exercise: the macro and the micro. First up is the macro part, where you figure out what your perfect day would look like at a general level. Not every day is going to be exactly the same. Each day will look a little different depending on what happened the day before. It should look a little different; otherwise life would get boring and monotonous. Still, you want to have a broad sense for what each perfect day will feel like."

"This starts with a series of questions."

  • How do I want every day to look?
  • How do I want to feel every single day? What am I creating daily?
  • Whom am I spending time with?
  • What places am I exposing myself to? What passions am I fulfilling?”

Want to live a perfect life?

String together a bunch of perfect days..

  • When we think about creating our perfect life or 'accomplishing our vision' we can tend to get overwhelmed.
  • How do we overcome that?  Ground that grand vision in the day to day actions that lead to it. 

What do you need to do each day?

  • How are you going to keep your eye on the prize?
  • How are you going to keep your energy up?
  • Who are the people you'll need to be around?
  • What actions move me toward my vision?

Time to draw this out:

  • What does your perfect day look like?
  • Write this down on a piece of paper..
  • Do your best to make each day look as perfect as possible!
  • The vision or goal then takes care of itself!


“When adversity arises, you have two choices:"   

"(1) Do nothing, let it overwhelm you, and fall victim to your circumstances"

"(2) embrace the challenge and move toward the adversity, making it part of your success story."

"Prepare yourself for these moments, because they are going to happen in all areas of your life whether you like it or not. When you understand this and learn to embrace adversity, then you can learn to overcome it and use it to your advantage.”

Anything worth doing is going to come with adversity..

Whether you're trying to be a business owner or a parent..  Things are going to be tough!

  • Actualizing your potential means moving past adversity and not letting it get you stuck..
  • Having the ability to notice adversity, embrace the challenge and move forward is probably the number one skill of greatness..

How do you frame adversity?

  • The first way is to see it as an obstacle and a reason to stop..
  • The second way is to see adversity as an opportunity..

I love adversity!  (Need a T-Shirt)

  • Every time I come up against adversity my mind goes into mode #1 of being stuck.. 
  • But I know that's not how I'm going to get where I'm going..  So instead I try to change the way I see it!
  • Sometimes I think every time I come up against something hard..  Most other people wont be willing to go through this!  This is how I can stand apart.


“Chris was tapping into something that I think 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps described best when he talked about his swim training:"  

"‘If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.’"

"He [Chris] was willing to do whatever it took: ‘You have to chase opportunity whether you are an entrepreneur or an artist—especially for me, because I had to make up for so much lost time.’"

"The irony is, we’re all making up for lost time. That is the essence of hustle in the pursuit of greatness—doing whatever it takes and chasing opportunity with great urgency—like your life depends on it. Because it does."

"Greatness is really the survival of your vision across an extended timeline, based on your willingness to do whatever it takes in the face of adversity and to adopt the mind-set to seize opportunity wherever it lives.”

Making up for lost time..

This is the story of Lewis's brother who went to prison for selling drugs as a young man!

  • Eventually he spent his time in prison and came out to become one of the best Jazz Violinists in the entire world..
  • Talk about making up for lost time! 

But are we all making up for lost time?

  • Greatness requires that you live up to your potential moment to moment to moment.. 
  • Meaning that every minute we're not moving towards who we could be we're technically behind!

Now this isn't to make you feel bad about where you are right now.. 

  • Of course we're all at different points on our journey!  
  • No one path to greatness looks the same..
  • But none the less wherever you are you are and in this moment you can take a step towards greatness.
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