“Spartan Up!” by Joe De Sena is a very interesting and motivational book. Joe De Sena is the founder and co-owner of the world renowned obstacle course race “Spartan Race”. The book is advertised as “a take-no-prisoners guide to overcoming obstacles and achieving peak performance in life”, so he is essentially taking aspects from the race and helping individuals overcome different difficulties that they may face in life. De Sena does an excellent job at both entertaining readers and backing his ideas with real-world experiences. De Sena focuses on many different ideas that an individuals can utilize to better themselves, ranging from increase physical activity, living a simplistic life, and changing ones “frame of reference”, delayed gratification, and many others. A key idea that De Sena pushes is obstacle immunity”, which he defines as “the ability to overcome unforeseen obstacles without becoming excessively stressed. The book is one of my favorite reads and I continuously go back to it for reference as it relates to almost every aspect of life from business to relationships, dedication to hard work.
A key theme in the Spartan Up! that is relevant to the class is the idea of will power, more specifically the concept of delayed gratification. De Sena cites the “Marshmallow Experiment” and goes a step further with expanding it to real life scenarios, going as far to say “I believe that the instant gratification that the marshmallow test measures is the number one reason we fail as humans in many aspects of our lives.” We are constantly fail in the concept of delayed gratification – we sleep in late instead of waking up and being productive, we use credit cards to purchase items when we don’t have the money, we give up when push comes to shove in life. De Sena relates this idea even farther with Shackleton’s advertisement for his expedition that read “Honor and Recognition In Case of Success” – it guaranteed them nothing by the chance at glory. A few more ideas that relate to the course are: Yerkes-Dodson Law, Optimal Functioning, and a chapter dedicated to food and its effect on behavior and performance.
It’s no question on how this book can be utilized in everyday life – it provides thoughtful tools that can be useful when facing stressful situations, improve physical health as well as mental health, and overall just how to be a better person in various aspects of life. The ideas that De Sena discusses are very effective in the improvement in the quality of life, I’ve personally included many different aspects into my own life. At the core of Spartan Up! Joe De Sena has one message: the only way we can grow and become better is to challenge ourselves.
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