Know Thyself Or Life’ll Be Harder Than It Need Be

Apr 16, 2023 | Capstones & Spotlight

This is a Capstone Project from a member within The Guardian Academy (TGA). A Capstone is one of the requirements for a member to complete if they wish to ascend to the final tier of TGA, known as Guardian. In his Capstone, Brandon (Wolf Pup #3610) discusses his journey with the elusive concept of self-discipline and why all his attempts seemed to lead to failure. If this resonates with you, have a read through Brandon’s Capstone and explore his thought process. He has also included why he is interested in becoming a Guardian of TGA.

You can check out the “Additional Resources” section at the bottom for links to be able to further connect with him and or read more about TGA Capstone Projects.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Attributed to Sun Tzu

“Calling yourself lazy when you don’t follow through on actions is lazy thinking” – Nic Peterson (Paraphrased)

“The solution to a lack of self-discipline cannot be self-discipline”  – Dan Nicholson (Paraphrased)

Self-discipline has been a lifelong struggle for me. 

When I discovered the “Behavior Change Pyramid”, I thought to myself…

“Oh that’s why I fall off the horse! I’m biting off too much too soon… If I take it slow, then I can build up to higher amounts of work… longer amounts of focus.”

And that appeared to work.

Until it didn’t.

Yet again I’d get to a point where I couldn’t keep it together and the cycle would start anew. 


I’d always assumed that I was the problem, which means…

More self-discipline, habits, and techniques for “getting stuff done”.

It was infuriating.

I knew that Nic/Dan and what others were saying was the real deal…

Success in anything requires consistent work over long periods of time without an immediate reward.

And many other counter-intuitive, brilliant principles. 


Failure has permeated my 20’s.

Plus a ton of guilt and shame to go along with it. 

Two months ago I read in Nic’s newsletter something along the lines of…

“If you keep failing to do XYZ, calling yourself lazy or immediately saying “because of this” is itself lazy thinking.”

“If you want to lose weight, ask yourself… Why do you sit down so much?”

In other words.

What are the deeper reasons for the actions you take every day?

A weight loss example. 

WHY do you consistently take in more calories than your body burns?

Maybe it’s because your neighborhood is ugly and it’s not appealing to walk in…

Maybe you have so much junk food lying around that anybody would be tempted. 

Maybe X, Y or Z. 

Maybe it’s not, “I just need to try harder or have more self-discipline”. 


Immediately jumping to an easy, knee-jerk explanation, prevents you from getting to the core issue. 

So a seed is planted when I read this…

And it germinated when I traveled to Puerto Rico to visit my old friend Dylan.

Dylan’s an interesting guy.

He’s 20 years my senior.

Composer and musician.

He briefly worked in banking but left to get paid minimum wage at Harvard in their SETI program. (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)

He’s a brilliant, theoretical physicist with an encyclopedic memory and he’s a good guy. 

So I’m there with him for a week and the entire time he’s pointing out stuff.

My impulsiveness and impatience. 

My shitty working and long-term memory… 

My inability to focus and listen before speaking… 

When I struggled to contain my anger when we got lost and I had to drive through dangerous, hurricane Katrina-ravaged mountain roads to get home… 

(I also drove way too aggressively).

It was a fun trip and a huge wake-up call.


And since then I’ve discovered…(Drum roll please).


My life makes more sense now than it ever has.

In the past, I’d viciously blamed myself and felt incapable. 

WHY do I KNOW what to do… but consistently fail to do the things?

What’s the Champion’s Key-word from Dr. Jeff Spencer?


Well as it turns out I have a neurological disorder that screws with your ability to REGULATE YOURSELF. 

Need to focus on a project… for weeks, months or maybe years until it pays off? – Good Luck

How about following a schedule? – ForgehtaboutIt

And other symptoms like poor working memory, being frustrated easily and impatience etc…

Now it’s not all doom and gloom but it needs to be managed. 

And now that I have clarity.

I know my weaknesses that need to be mitigated.

What strengths to amplify…  

And I’m exploring prescription drugs like Strattera to great effect.

But most of all…

This discovery has alleviated a metric ton of psychic suffering.

Because It’s hard to feel good when you can’t rely on yourself. 

And you blame yourself and figure there’s something wrong with ya. 

To wrap this up. 

No strategy, technique, methodology, career, or knowledge is useful until you know yourself.

For me, all the things I’d studied/learned weren’t helping because of ADHD.

I don’t know what’s holding you back but really, take the time to figure it out. 

Don’t be a lazy thinker. 

What’s actually, really holding you back in the aspects of your life you care about? 

Find your own Dylan to point out your blind spots.

And good luck. 

Why do I want to become a Guardian?

By Brandon Whited

Well to put it simply. 

I think Nic is brilliant.

His way of thinking reminds me of Jay Abraham.

The story’s they both tell of counter-intuitive decisions, strategies and tactics… 

Well, they’re awesome.

I wanna think like that!

I wanna see what they see!

So if I can surround myself with people who are also trying to think like Nic…

Since it’s unlikely I’ll be able to hop on a zoom call each week with Jay Abraham.

And since Guardian’s hop on a weekly zoom call with Nic. 

Then I’m gonna become a Guardian.

And that’s that. 

That’s my reason, what’s yours?


Additional Resources

Follow Brandon On Twitter

Original Tweet

What is a Capstone?

Bumpers by Nic Peterson

Dr. Jeff Spencer’s Champion’s Daily Schedule

Rigging the Game by Dan Nicholson

TGA Fundamentals 

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