You Can't Out-Work A Bad Diet (The shortest book on success you'll ever read)




It’s been a while since I’ve written about personal development but I’ve had this idea swirling around in my head for almost a year now...


The title quote is about health (mostly) and I can attest, as someone with a monster sweet tooth, it’s one of the truest axioms of personal training. 

Your STRATEGY will always determine your success; not your tactics, not your WHY ( see Simon Sinek), nor your passion. 

A similar saying in sports goes, 

“Offense wins games but defense wins championships.


At the core of these quotes is this concept: You will never out perform your root habits. 

And it’s best to first remove the obstacles that stand in front of us and our goals than to think we’re going maneuver and hack our way through them.

Below are a few key areas of life that this principle influences in very significant ways.



If you haven’t learned to live below your current means, more money will not make you richer (or happier.)

Until you build this discipline, you’ll always live paycheck to paycheck, no matter what your income. I know dozens  of people pulling down six figure incomes with less than a month's pay in savings. (Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses, they’re broke!)

Test this against your own experience and be 100% honest with yourself. Did you put your last annual increase into savings? Or the one before that? Desire only begets desire. Wealth is created less by what you earn and more by how you spend.


Buying more "time-saving" devices or joining the "5 am club" will NOT make you more productive if you can’t prioritize or turn off the deluge of distractions we get bombarded with each day.

We have more time-saving devices available now than we've ever had in our history, yet most people are working longer hours than ever before.

These systems, life hacks and devices haven’t given you back more time, they’ve only increased your ability to perform, and along with it: an expectation to produce more. 

You get more of your life back by simply saying "NO" to unnecessary things and replacing them with what’s truly important to you. These days, productivity in itself isn't the goal, more time for yourself should always be the aim.


Home organizing trends and systems are just euphemisms for hoarding; because, bottom line: you have too much stuff and you keep buying more. 

Close your eyes for the next minute and visualize your dream apartment. Actually do this… Imagine your perfect oasis of peace and solace. Your dream home.

Got the picture?

I’m guessing it wasn’t full of wall-to-wall clutter, or closets piled high, equipped with multiple organizing systems necessary to keep it all from falling over. Did you visualize camping equipment and piles of sport paraphernalia in the garage that hadn’t been touched for months? I’m guessing you didn’t. 

You already know less is more, you just need to purge now. Tyler Durden said in Fight Club, “You don’t own things, they own you.’

I’m not sure why so many people are given to complexity.

It’s as though our thinking is: "If it can’t be packaged, bought in three easy monthly payments, or comes with a personal coach, it doesn’t have much value." Perhaps it’s evolutionary, and we’re hardwired with a scarcity mentality that perpetually drives us to keep consuming, be it food, possessions, even information (see FOMO).

As a mentor and coach, experience has shown me that this dilemma is the crux for a large majority of people. 

When I see people I care for struggling to get fit , organized or accumulate wealth, it almost always comes down to a failure to see, understand or accept this "Occam’s Razor". 

The simplest solution is usually the right one, and less really is more.

Thoreau said it tis way, “…Simplify, simplify.”


  1. Edit without mercy. Habits, things, people. – Remove things from your life that don’t support the best version of yourself and your long term goals.
  2. You don’t need to get organized, you need less stuff. – Don’t own more than you need or anything you can borrow - be equally generous with your own possessions as well.
  3. Work more on more character and less on your reputation. – Your character is who you are while your reputation is only what other people think of you. F@% your stupid ‘personal brand’. People who ‘fake it till they make it rarely do.
  4. "NO." is a complete sentence. – You don’t need to always explain and defend. You’re either working on your priorities or someone else’s.
  5. Self-Care is not selfish. – Develop yourself so you can help others, and help others into order to develop yourself.

Eat less, sleep more, move often, and be mindful wherever you are.

- John


Recommended Reading: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday