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5 Lessons I Learned About Success From Europe’s Strongest Man

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lessons learned from Europe's strongest man

As many of you know, season 5 of Game of Thrones is starting soon. In my nerdy excitement, I started reading about the guy who plays The Mountain, Hafthor Bjornsson.

It turns out this guy who crushes skulls on TV is also officially Europe’s Strongest Man.

As I watched this behemoth lift immensely heavy weights, I realized that he actually has a lot to teach us entrepreneurs about success.

But first, just to give you some context for how freakishly strong Bjornsson is in real-life…

  • He can bench press 510 pounds, squat 770 pounds and deadlift 925 pounds.
  • He recently broke a 1,000 year-old strongman record by carrying a 1,433 pound log on his back for 5 steps
  • He’s been Iceland’s strongest man for four straight years, and has a good shot of winning the Arnold Strongman Classic this year (one of the most competitive strongman events in the world).

Even if you know nothing about health or fitness, you can probably tell that this is a man who has mastered his craft.

What Can We Learn about Success from Europe’s Strongest Man?

At 26 years-old, Bjornsson is a strongman prodigy. As you continue reading, you’ll learn how you can use the same principles and philosophies that he’s applied to strength training to become a better, more effective entrepreneur.

 

Lesson 1. Make Your Habits Match Your Goals

If you watch any of Hafthor’s Youtube videos (here’s his channel):

You’ll see a recurring theme – he only does exercises that have a direct correlation with a strongman event. That means he only lifts really heavy weights and focuses primarily on developing his legs and shoulders.

Why?

Because he’s training for a competition where the goal is to lift really heavy stuff with his legs and shoulders.

Pretty straightforward when you think about it. But, what does this mean for us entrepreneurs?

It means that you need to take a careful look at your goals compared to your daily habits. Make sure that what you do on a daily basis directly relates to the specific goals you want to achieve.

For example, if you want to build the most popular blog in your niche, then you should probably focus the majority of your effort on creating better, more helpful and more engaging content than your competition and telling as many people about it as possible. If every single thing you do during your work day doesn’t align with one of those two objectives, cut it out.

 

Lesson 2. Be Overconfident

I’ve talked to way too many timid entrepreneurs; more than I can count. These are people who have a truly great idea, but they’re just too afraid to get out and make it happen.

After Bjornsson broke the 1,000 year Icelandic log-carry record, he shared his opinion of himself with a post on Instagram: “NOTHING CAN STOP ME!! NOTHING CAN BREAK ME!!”

He’s made a similar proclamation after winning Europe’s Strongest Man: “I… AM THE FUTURE… OF STRENGTHHHH!!!!!”

Yeah, pretty intense guy, but that’s the kind of mentality you need to be the best.

Nothing can stop you.

Nothing can break you.

You have to tell yourself that you’re the best even before you’ve gotten there. Plus, if you’re putting in the hours into endeavors that directly align with your goals, then there really is nothing that can stop you.

Which brings us to…

 

Lesson 3. There’s No Such Thing as a Setback

At 6’ 9” tall and over 400 lbs., it’s obvious that Bjornsson is well-suited for lifting heavy stuff, but he wasn’t always a strongman.

He actually grew up playing basketball. In fact, he was a starting center for the D2 Icelandic National Basketball Team in 2006-07, and then he played on a professional team called FSu Selfoss from 2007 to 2008.

Unfortunately, just as his professional basketball career was starting to take off, he sustained a debilitating knee injury that put an abrupt end to his dreams of playing pro ‘ball. Losing even a few months for recovery in such a competitive sport is a literal death blow to any possible career.

And yet, despite the knee injury, Bjornsson wasn’t done showing the world what he could do. Later that year he met an old-time Icelandic strongman legend, Magnus Ver Magnusson, who convinced him to give strongman competitions a try.

Two years later he was the Strongest Man in Iceland. Six years later he was Europe’s Strongest Man. This teaches us one very important lesson about setbacks

There’s no such thing as failure; just doorways to new, better opportunities.

 

Lesson 4. Leverage Your Unique Talents

This brings us to another point, which is that Bjornsson latched onto something he was good at and never looked back.

Think about it… There’s no doubt that he made less money in those intermittent two years between his basketball career and strongman career. Yet he stuck with what he knew he was good at and it paid off big time.

All of us have something that we’re really, really good at…

  • Maybe you’re really good at writing engaging content
  • Maybe you’re really good at finding profitable niches or keywords
  • Maybe you have a knack for project management or working with contractors
  • Maybe building an audience on social networks is one of those things you “just get” how to do

Either way, figure out what your natural strengths are, and then never let those talents out of your sight.

Hone your strengths until you’re so good at what you do that it eclipses your weaknesses.

 

Lesson 5. Work Hard & Conquer

Above all, the lesson to be learned from Bjornsson’s immense success in the strength training world is that hard work pays off.

There isn’t a moment of any day that goes by where Bjornsson isn’t thinking about his goal – to be the strongest man in the world.

Everything he does throughout each day is geared toward this one goal. What he eats (all 8,000 calories of it), how much he sleeps, how and when he trains, who he talks to… These are all 100% optimized to enable him to work as hard as possible, recover as fast as possible and compete at the highest level possible.

Do you have this same laser-like focus?

Do you have this same undying work ethic?

If not, what’s holding you back? What habits, people or problems are keeping you from devoting yourself to your goal?

Do you even know what that one goal is?

When you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to achieve the same success with your startup that Bjornsson’s achieved in strongman.

 

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John

    Feb 19, 2016 at 4:07 am

    Loved this! What great actionable info…thanks!

  2. Avatar

    Niraj Singh

    Apr 3, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Oo, Great Words
    It really Motivated me a lot.
    Thank u so much for sharing.
    From now I will best my best for my goal.

  3. Avatar

    James Simwanza

    Mar 23, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Great,thanks alot

  4. Avatar

    Absolutely Tara

    Mar 20, 2015 at 12:25 am

    I love the mantra:

    Nothing can stop me.

    Nothing can break me.

    I want to say it. But I need to be brave enough to say it. Why do I need to be brave for this? Something I should look into I think.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Avatar

    Teke Churchill nde

    Mar 19, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks very much my life will not be thesame again

  6. Avatar

    Dan Western

    Mar 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Will,

    Great post, thanks for sharing these lessons!

    I think overconfidence is something that really depends on the scenario. In many cases it can be a bad thing rather than a good one!

    Thanks again,

    Dan

    • Avatar

      Will Mitchell

      Mar 13, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks for reading Dan, hope all is well over at Wealthy Gorilla! Good to hear from you 🙂

      I can certainly think of some exceptions, but in most cases – I’d take overconfidence over under-confidence!

      Being overconfident will certainly lead to lots more failure and embarrassment than under-confidence. But if you make a habit of it, you’ll eventually catch up and be better for it.

      The future belongs to the bold 🙂

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