How to think offense all the time, wake up early, and prioritize your goals and decisions

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I haven’t written in a while. No excuses.

The truth is, I didn’t really have much to write about, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time talking about useless stuff.

Lately, though I have had a few things on my mind.

3 things actually:

  • How to think offense all the time
  • Waking up early
  • Learning how to prioritize your goals and decisions

How to think offense all the time:

Mark Divine, Navy SEAL Commander and founder and CEO of SEALFIT says, Think Offense all the Time.

He lists a couple of way to do this:

  • Develop unwavering confidence
  • Sharpen your awareness
  • Do the unexpected
  • Lead with rapid execution

Most people might think that this an overly macho way to approach life, but it’s not. They also might think that offense means to attack and continually go for the jugular.

However thinking offense just means strategizing and knowing your next move. Take for instance an example that I have of when I took Taekwondo in college. We used to spar every Saturday with the full combat gear on, and it was a point system. Every time you made contact with the other person you got a point as long as it was a technical move.

If you hit someone in the head with a kick you got 2 points. The goal was to get to 5 points, if you did that you won the match.

How would you approach this goal?

  • You might think OK, I have to get 5 points, so that means I need to make contact 5 times. (Half offense)
  • Another person might think, OK, I just have to keep them from getting 5 points (Defense)
  • I am going to kick him in the head and get points as fast as possible (Offense)


I used the 3rd approach. My only goal was to get 5 points as fast as possible and in order to do that I was going to go for the head, and do this as fast as possible.

Almost every time I could get a kick to the head within 10 seconds of starting. Sometimes I had to wait until someone did a kick or a punch exposing their head, then I would attack. I would also bait them to think I was punching or side kicking then go straight for the head.

We also did this other drill where it was one person vs 4 or 5 other guys and they had to defend themselves for 2-5 minutes. If you didn’t attack you got defeated, you couldn’t defend against every attack, but neither could the assailants. If you didn’t think offense, you died.

It’s the same thing with anything that you do in life. If you aren’t’ thinking offense, or about your next move, then you are dying albeit a slow death of the soul or your spirit.

In taekwondo there are 5 pillars of training.

  1. Respect & Obedience – To others and the rules
  2. Trustworthiness and Honesty – To each other and ourselves
  3. Courage – In all situations, because courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is doing the right thing even though we are afraid.
  4. Be Honorable and Positive – do the right thing and don’t let things get you down, because whatever may be holding you back is a lesson needed in order to grow as a person.
  5. INDOMITABLE SPIRIT – “The hardest Pillar”. Nothing promotes success like perseverance, and nothing destroys our goals like quitting.

Take a close look at pillar number 5. Indomitable spirit.

Don’t freaking quit, and think offense all the time.

Wake up Early

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If you know me and have been around here long enough, you know that I preach about getting up early. I only tell people this because it has seriously changed my life.

When I was 28 years old, I had depression, was $55,000 in debt, I didn’t sleep very well, and was very unhealthy. I hadn’t ever seriously made going to the gym a habit. I was a high school athlete where I played point guard on the basketball team, but the last time that I had played was 10 years before that.

I had gained 60 pounds since high school. I really hated where I was at in life, and I hated the man that I had become.

This self-loathing cycle was hurting me. It might even be hurting you.

I wasn’t always a morning riser, and in fact, I only had to be up at 4:30 am throughout boot camp, after that I worked 12 hour shifts for years, and would often times sleep less than 5 hours a day. Not because I didn’t have time to sleep but because I couldn’t sleep.

Often times I was usually wired or I would have to wake up to stand watch or do a drill. When you are stationed on an aircraft carrier underway, you are technically always working. At night everyone was quiet, but if you worked at night and slept during the day, you didn’t ever sleep.

I suffered, and I still suffer somewhat. I probably don’t get enough sleep occasionally, but my body has adjusted to getting about 5-6 hours of sleep a night, with an occasional 7 hour stretch thrown in there.

However, I may be one of those rare individuals who can get less sleep than others. Maybe not.

Why do I tell you all of this?

Mainly so that I can understand both sides of the spectrum. Those who can’t sleep, and those who sleep too much.

How much is too much sleep? Usually more than 7-9 hours is too much.

Research Links Longer Sleep Habits with:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Increased inflammation
  • Increased pain
  • Impaired fertility
  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Higher risk of stroke
  • Higher all-cause mortality

Shocking, I know.

Are there any benefits of getting too little sleep?

Yep, pretty much the same stuff.

So to answer your question. Yes there is an optimal sleep duration. It is 7-9 hours a night.

What does all this have to do with waking up early?

Well, it’s two fold. People who sleep less and people who sleep longer than the optimal sleep duration both typically share one thing in common.

They stay up way too late!

There are a couple of reasons that people stay up late (and yes, I’m going to be blunt, so if you are easily offended you might not want to read)

  • They hate their lives, and their jobs
  • They consume way too much caffeine and sugar throughout the day
  • They stare at blue light (TV Screen, Computer Screen, phone screen) in the evening
  • They are taking too many pills and medicine throughout the day
  • They are overweight and have things that prevent them from sleeping well
  • They are stressed out thinking about the bills they have to pay, or how much debt they have
  • They can’t stop thinking about tomorrow (Enter Fleetwood Mac…)

What is it for you? For me it was all of the above.

I hated my job, I couldn’t stop watching TV or playing video games. I drank pop all day, ate like crap, and was thinking about everything I had to do and the money I was in debt. It consumed me.

That’s what happens when you don’t do anything about your situation, and instead choose to dwell on it.

This is when it’s time to think offense. Do you see how these build on each other?

This is where getting up early can change your life. You see when you go to bed early (9pm-10pm) you can get up earlier (4am – 6am). If you go to bed late (11pm – 1am) the later you wake up (8am-10am).

Guess what happens at 8 am in the morning...EVERYTHING

Guess what happens at 4 in the morning…NOTHING

When nothing is going on, you can get a whole lot done. You have freedom to do what you need to do. Or you can lay in bed until everyone else has already started their day. Then you can be a part of their day. They don’t get to be a part of your day.

I learned this very quickly. I had made up my mind to get up at 5 am and start lifting weights at our apartment community gym. I did this for 3 days in a row, then 5, then 7…then I was hooked. I have been doing this for almost 8 years now. Sure, I go to bed at 9pm-10pm every night.

I don’t think I am missing out on anything, and I tend to stay up a little later on weekends to visit with friends or to watch UFC fights or something, but I find that waking up earlier also helps me go to sleep earlier. It is a wonderful cycle.

Waking up early has many benefits:

  • You get quiet time
  • You anticipate problems
  • You have time to exercise
  • No one else is awake
  • You can eat breakfast (make it yourself, no donuts at work for you!!)

Besides all of that though, it seriously just makes you a better human being. I can’t prove that but I can tell you from experience it is true. You just have to try it for yourself.

However, I will say this. Getting up early just to get up early is going to be short lived; you will need to have a plan before you start.

There is a process to this. It is like doing a kata in martial arts. It should be repeated every day, that way it becomes a habit. Once it is a habit then it can be tweaked and refined until it is perfect.

Miyamoto Musashi the greatest swordsman who ever lived wrote in his memoir “The Book of Five Rings”, that: “A thousand days of training to develop, ten thousand days of training to polish. You must examine all this well. From one thing, know ten thousand things.”

Here is my daily kata:

  • My workout gear and routine are set up already from the night before when I prepared them (This is most important. Life is all about preparation)
  • Wake up (Alarm goes off, and you spring out of bed. Don’t hit snooze or it’s over)
  • Go to bathroom turn on light
  • Splash cold water on my face
  • Brush my teeth
  • Drink 1 large glass of water
  • Workout
  • Read/Write
  • Eat/protein shake
  • Work

Yours might be different, but you have to have a plan or else you will just go back to bed or sleep on the couch. I understand you might have Fear of Missing Out in life, but you are just going to have to get over that. Trust me, you are not missing out on anything.



What has been done, has already been done, and will be done again.

Here are two articles you can read to further your understanding of this concept:

Start waking up early, and make your bedtime more about the person you want to become and less about being the person that everyone else wants you to be or thinks you should be.

Most people live their lives in a catatonic state. Zombie-like, drinking 5 hour energy shots, red bulls, Monster energy drinks, and eating gas station food. That is called the “Standard American”. If you want live life like that then you will have a very hard time escaping it. The longer it goes on, the harder to recover.

Been there done that, hate it, don’t ever want to go back.

Ben Franklin, a man much wiser, wealthier, and more ingenious than I said:

“Early to bed, Early to Rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”

Now, why wouldn’t you want to be all those things? And even more so if you knew the way to attain them?

Learn How to Prioritize Your Goals and Decisions

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I want to introduce you to something called the CARVER Matrix.

It was first introduced to me by a Navy SEAL named Richard "Mack" Machowicz in fact you might remember him as the host of the television show “Future Weapons”.

“Mack” also founded the Bukido Institute, as well as the Bukido Training System, which "teaches a performance philosophy that uses unarmed combat as a pathway for exploring the dynamics of doubt, hesitation, second-guessing, stress, pain, fatigue and fear." He served as a personal protection specialist for many high-profile individuals within the political arena, business world and entertainment industry.

Sadly “Mack” died of a brain cancer at the age of 51, On January 26th 2017.

He wrote a book called “Unleash the Warrior Within”, that helped people work through fear, doubt, hesitation and setting goals. This is where I had first read about the CARVER Matrix.

It is really just a very simple tool to help you prioritize your goals and to help see visually how effective to your overall life they might be.

The origin of the CARVER matrix is shrouded in mystery. Some people believe that it first came to be in World War II, still others belief it was the Green Berets in the 50’s. Either way it is a Special Forces Tool and the Green Berets and Navy SEAL’s use it to this day.

The CARVER selection factors assist in selecting the best targets or components to attack. As the factors are considered, they are given a numerical value. This value represents the desirability of attacking the target. The values are then placed in a decision matrix. After CARVER values for each target or component are assigned, the sum of the values indicate the highest-value target or component to be attacked within the limits of the statement of requirements and commander’s intent.”
—U.S. Army Field Manual 34-36

Here is a great article on how a CARVER Matrix should be used and was designed for: The Carver Matrix

 The CARVER is very simple and it is meant more for “How to think” rather than “What to think”. Most people just want to know how to think, and this actually requires someone to kind of already know how to think (in other words, be of above average intellect).

It is simply just a matrix that can be used to analyze your goals. (Actually it can be used for anything but I have worded it in a way to be used for your goals.) CARVER is an acronym for:

  • Criticality: The target value. How vital is this to my overall life? A target is critical when its completion or attainment has a highly significant impact on the overall well-being of the person, persons or organization.
  • Accessibility: How easily can I reach the target? What are the obstacles? Do I need training, a coach? Is the target located somewhere else?
  • Recuperability: How long will it take to replace, repair, or bypass the destruction or damage caused to the person? Once the goal is achieved how difficult will it be to recuperate?
  • Vulnerability: How vulnerable does this leave me? Can I afford it, are my resources spread too thin? What is the timing? Are there other options?
  • Effect: What’s the impact of the goal on the organization? Similar to the first point (Criticality) this point should also analyze possible reactions from the organization, or other people (family).
  • Recognizability: Can I identify the target as such? How easy is to recognize that a specific area / process / behavior is the target?
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You can use this to prioritize visually what has the most impact on your overall target. For me, my target is always to be the man I was made to be, the best man that I can be. Within that target come freedom, family, responsibility, ambition and charity.

This is why I said it is for someone that already knows how to think, because you have to know what you are aiming at. This will hardly be as effective if you have no clue how to use it. Just remember it is a tool, not the how to.

I find it extremely effective when having to decide exactly which direction to take on a certain thing. Sometimes there are several different approaches and you have to narrow them down, this will help you to do that.

Also, if you don’t typically make goals or have ever done anything like this, it will mainly be used as a catalyst for you to get stuff done.

Either way, it will help you as intended, if you use it as intended.

You can download the CARVER Matrix FREE HERE, just like the one below.

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