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58: Dan John – How to Live a Principled Life

By July 16, 2016Podcasts
Reading Time: 3 minutes
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For today’s podcast, I sat down with throwing champion, Fulbright Scholar, full-time author, and religious studies professor, Dan John. Yeah, that’s one person I’m talking about – a fascinating individual who’s incredibly well-traveled and has the perspective of an academic with the body and physicality of an athlete.

Dan John Whole Life PodcastDan is a guy of firm principles that are a constant in his life, and he follows a formula of the Three Fs: fitness, finance, and – you’ll have to tune in to find out what the third F is. His principled living carries over into his decision-making process where he uses a method he calls “shark habits” to get the daily questions of life out of the way without second-guessing their impact. Meeting a friend for dinner? Yes or no, right away. For a guy who’s so busy, there’s not enough time in the day to deliberate on the trivial. Because of these “shark habits,” more time is made available for the important matters that do require some reflection. And for these important life issues, Dan and his wife strive to make a difference in whatever they do.

We talk about his time as a Fulbright Scholar and his travels in the Middle East, which led to his realization that though journaling is an essential daily practice, mining your journal through reflection for the juicy bits of life that leave an impact is a major key for growth. He talks about writing your own narrative as you go, which is such a powerful way of thinking about the life we lead. What do we stand for? What makes us grow and feel fulfilled in our daily practice? A story from Dan’s late night wanderings in Israel puts this practice in perspective, as an impromptu visit to the Western Wall provided some clarity in the night and reminds us how the odd meetings and happenings of life shape our story.

Of course, I had to pick his brain about lifts and fitness training, and his philosophy of getting to the root of our failures is simple yet profound. When you reach a roadblock in training or in life, ask yourself the question “why?” five times in a row until you get to a correctable and trainable reason. We have to find something we can control and improve on, and many times that answer is hidden behind a layer of excuses. I believe this simplification of strength training is a metaphor for life – the constant failures and realizations of our weaknesses go hand in hand with our life journey. We can wallow in our excuses and perceived inability, or we can get to the core “why,” and then train it.

Links Mentioned:

Dan John — Dan’s website, featuring the Now What DVD.
Earl Nightingale — Inspirational quotes from the author of the Lead the Field series.
Max Shank — Creator of the Zero to Hero Guide to Strength.
Pat Flynn — Online entrepreneur and digital marketing expert.
Orangetheory — High intensity interval training with max Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
Royal Burpee — History of the Burpee exercise on The Huffington Post
Turkish Get-Up – Video demonstration of one of Dan’s examples of a loaded carry.
Nobert Schemansky – Article by Dan on the Olympic champion’s routine.
Weight Pentathlon — A brief primer on the weighted throws event.
Fulbright Scholar Program — Website for the Fulbright Scholarship program.

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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.