The Everyday Hero Manifesto (2021) is a how-to primer for becoming the hero of your own life. It’s full of detailed plans interspersed with short essays, anecdotes, and even poetry to help you become happier, more productive, and more successful.
Introduction: Unleash the superhero within and live your best life!
You don’t need a Batmobile or a golden lasso to be a superhero. All you need is . . . to be yourself!
That’s right. We all have the makings of an everyday hero within us – and the tools we need to bring that reality to life are those you most likely already possess: a thinking mind and a loving heart. Being a hero to yourself means unleashing your highest potential.
In this summary to Robin Sharma’s The Everyday Hero Manifesto, We’ll share with you surprisingly doable tips and take you through some tested techniques you can use in your own life to bring your inner hero to the forefront. No secret weapon training here – instead you’ll see how simple shifts in life can reap enormous rewards.
Take control of your environment, both exterior and interior, by carefully curating a space for focus and creativity. And in doing so, free the pure, happy, successful version of yourself who waits within.
In this summary, you’ll learn
- why JD Salinger built a secret tunnel;
- five simple shifts from victim to hero; and
- what a hotel room can do for your productivity.
Each of us can become an everyday hero through intentional, hard work.
Hero: it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot.
We read about heroes who storm burning buildings to rescue others or those who land planes in frightening conditions. Heroes like Mahatma Gandhi or Rosa Parks stand up to oppressors while others surmount the odds to rise to dizzying heights in sports, music, and the arts.
But a hero doesn’t always have to be loud and public. Author and motivational speaker Robin Sharma wants readers to know that within each of us lies a heroic force. Anyone who consistently strives to live their life with beauty, honor, self-respect, joy, bravery, and creativity can aspire to the title of everyday hero. Becoming a genius does not require hitting the genetic lottery. It’s a goal attainable by anyone willing to put in the work to get there.
Take the author, for example. He decided in his 30s that he wanted to live his life in a better, richer, more meaningful way, so he set out to teach himself how. Every day, he woke up early while his family slept, and studied ways to improve his productivity, confidence, and happiness. He attended conferences, hired coaches, and worked with experts until, three years later, he felt transformed. He wrote a book to share his journey, calling it The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
There was just one problem. He didn’t know a single thing about publishing. His mother, a teacher, edited the book, and his father, a family doctor, drove him to the copy shop to print out his first few copies. The copies were hard to read. Editors discouraged him. Hardly anyone showed up to his first reading. Yet he persisted, self-belief rising above all external discouragement.
And then, one day, when he was in his local bookstore signing the six copies of his book that he’d given the store owner on consignment, a man approached him, curious about the title of his book. Robin eagerly filled him in, using this opportunity to pour out to the stranger all his enthusiasm, hopes, and dreams for the book and its message.
As luck would have it, that man was the president of the publishing giant Harper Collins. The rest, for anyone familiar with the blockbuster status of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, is history.
The moral of the story? Well, there are a few.
One is that the capacity for great work lies in all of us, and it’s our job and even our duty to find it, polish it, and let it shine. Second is that your act of heroism requires self-belief and commitment to excellence that can’t be denied. And finally, it may take time for things to work out, but if you handle your journey the right way, you will reach your destination.
But the very first lesson for becoming the everyday hero of your life? Don’t wait. “Action delayed is greatness betrayed,” is a saying Robin is fond of quoting.
On that note, let’s get started on our journey.
Through simple shifts in how you think and act, you can begin priming yourself for heroic work.
All of this may sound wonderfully inspirational, but how, you may ask, can you actually become heroic? It’s easy to feel trapped by the constraints of family expectations or the necessity of paying bills. It’s easy to push away that voice in your head that whispers that you can do so much better and reach higher by shouting back that this isn’t the time.
Robin doesn’t just inspire – he has practical tips and step-by-step plans to help take you from a humdrum existence to one radiating joy and promise. Let’s start with his five suggestions for shifting from victim to hero.
Shift one is from can’t to can, and the key is to simply say it. Words are powerful. The words you say to yourself bathe your brain with the feelings and vibe that they incite. Kick things off every morning with positive, inspirational words to yourself. Here’s one suggestion that Robin has that you can use until you come up with your own: “I am so grateful for the day ahead and all its beauties, joys and excitements.”
What if you start off this way, but then your mind veers into resentment or worry or any number of negative thoughts? When this happens and negativity intrudes, whisper, “Let’s not go there.” Sounds simplistic maybe, but do this often enough, and you’ll start listening to yourself!
Shift two is from excuses to results. There are a hundred reasons why you can’t accomplish something and only one true reason why you can: because you should! Don’t let naysayers bring you down. When hugely successful Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling wrote a mystery series under the pen name Robert Galbraith, editors rejected her manuscript, suggesting that she join a writing group to improve her skills. Remember that someone’s rejection is only their opinion.
Rejection and other harsh scenes from your past may still be hovering before your eyes. Maybe a high school teacher told you that you’d never amount to anything. Or a parent worried out loud that you were aiming too high. We all have aspects of our past that serve to hold us down. But successful people activate shift three: rather than being chained by the past, use it as fuel for future accomplishments.
Working hard is key, but there’s a difference between being busy and being productive. Everyone’s busy nowadays. But take a hard look at what you’re busy doing. Is it the hard work of building excellence and honing your skill or craft? Or is it busy on social media, socializing, or shopping? The fourth shift to becoming an everyday hero is to move the needle from busy to productive.
And the fifth and final shift is this: Don’t be a taker. Be a giver. The importance of generosity and enriching others through your own journey is a message that’s constantly reiterated by Robin’s mentors. Whether the words come from Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak or Robin’s father, a family doctor from humble beginnings who quietly practiced for 54 years, the message is the same: Be kind. Be humble.
Curate your mind, body, and environment for optimal conditions to become your best.
When J. D. Salinger was deluged with overwhelming attention following the success of The Catcher in the Rye, it became hard for him to avoid his crazed fans. So Salinger had an underground tunnel built that allowed him to walk from his home to his office in peace.Salinger understood the importance of protecting his personal ecosystem. The energy you surround yourself with permeates your mind and heart and affects the trajectory of your life and career.
Who do you talk to every day? Which influencers do you follow on social media? What do you read, watch, and listen to? What do you eat? How do you get around? Everything you take in plays a role. Robin calls this the IPOP principle: Input Positivity and you’ll Output Positivity. It’s important to create and curate your environment carefully to protect your dreams and inspirations.
This mindset extends to what Robin calls maintaining his “Trinity of Radiant Vitality.” The trinity is made up of exercise, nutrition, and rest. As lofty as its name sounds, these are attainable goals. You can start part one of this trinity in the morning with a vigorous, sweaty workout to release dopamine and increase inspiration. This will also release BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which allows new brain cells to generate and repair old ones, and norepinephrine, which helps achieve peak concentration. Not a bad cocktail of things that you can easily generate through your own body. Then, early evening, do another bout of physical exercise, even if it’s just a walk. Bonus points if it’s outside in nature. Add weight training and stretching.
Part two of the trinity is nutrition. We probably all know the basics now, that food is best when it’s fresh and local. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. Thanks to the depletion of our soil, today’s food isn’t as nutritious as that grown in the earth even a decade ago. That’s why it’s important to supplement. To most effectively provide your body with a customized nutrition plan, Robin suggests getting your genome analyzed. Fasting also helps. Curbing caloric intake even just a few times a week helps your body clean out old, damaged cells, and will give you more energy.
The third part of the trinity might be the most fun: recovery.
The majority of the workforce nowadays is made up of cognitive laborers, paid for their thoughts and inventions rather than for putting in eight hours a day on a factory floor. To be the most effective cognitive worker, it’s better to focus intently and go deep for a short amount of time and use the rest of the day to rest and refocus. That can look different for everyone, and it depends on whatever it is that helps you get into your best workflow, whether it’s a long afternoon nap, spending an evening on the sofa deep in the pages of a good book, enjoying a gourmet meal, or traveling to a new city. Spending a weekend walking on the beach may seem like an indulgence, but it’s important to schedule recovery often to protect your productivity.
Use tools, hire help, and learn techniques to protect and optimize your productivity.
Let’s go deeper into how to protect your productivity. It’s both harder and easier than you think to do this, and making the effort to do it can yield exponential rewards.
We all have a cognitive bandwidth, which is the limited amount of attention that the human brain has available each day. This is a finite amount, so guard it well. When engaged in a task, focus on that one task without switching back and forth, because every time you switch from one activity to another, you leave behind a few drops of focus. This phenomenon is called attention residue. So the next time you see a message flash across your cell phone screen while you’re engaged in work, think twice before picking up the phone and whether you want to pay that creative cost.
That’s one thing not to do. But here are many things you can do to help maintain peak productivity. Some are as simple as waking up at 5 a.m. and spending that time focusing on activities that strengthen your skills and align with your values. Spend the first 90 minutes of your workday focused on your most valuable activities. Write for at least ten minutes a day in a gratitude journal, a practice that has been proven to have results in productivity and happiness. Even just noting three small wins a day can have an impact.
Another way to improve productivity is by surrounding yourself with the right team. Hiring actual professionals has the added effect of forcing you to pay attention to their advice – something Robin calls “forced optimization.” If you set your alarm for 6 a.m. to run a mile, it’s easy enough to hit snooze ten times and decide you’ll try again at the weekend. If you’ve hired a personal trainer or fitness coach to show up at your house at 5 a.m., however, that mile is getting tackled!
Other professionals who can help you up your game include massage therapists, psychotherapists, functional doctors, and spiritual counselors. The key is to pay ahead for their services. Hiring a world-class executive assistant or personal aide can free up huge amounts of bandwidth if they take over tasks such as scheduling flights or paying bills.
Using some or all these tools and techniques can help you create your TBTF: Tight Bubble of Total Focus. Protect your mental focus, physical energy, willpower, time, and gifts. Sometimes this means leaving home to work from the library or even booking yourself a hotel room for a day of uninterrupted work. If you need inspiration to create a place of total focus for yourself, look no further than Jamaica, where Ian Fleming created a gorgeous beachfront escape for himself from which he wrote his iconic James Bond novels. And we know how successful a venture that turned out to be!
When your heart and mind work together, your true heroism benefits not just you, but humanity.
We’ve talked a lot about priming your mind to do its best work. But the mind does its best work when it’s backed up by the heart. It’s important to go all in, and that means with your whole heart and soul.
However, the heart is a complex thing. Almost everyone has past hurts and feelings that lurk just beneath the surface and affect today’s actions. Rather than ignoring them or considering them a waste of time while gunning for a goal, the best thing to do is to acknowledge this “field of hurt.”
We do a lot of thinking and not enough feeling. This makes it easy for us to hurt others. Robin has an acronym to stop this cycle: AFRA, which stands for Awareness, Feel, Release, and Ascend. The next time you have a powerful and perhaps disproportionate reaction to something – say you’re extremely upset about a gift your husband got you that he clearly put no thought into – become aware of what you’re feeling, not what you’re thinking. Do you have a stomach ache? Does your throat hurt? Do you hold your breath? Don’t think about it intellectually; simply identify the physical feeling. Now, FEEL it fully. Immerse yourself in what you’re feeling. Sit in it. Next, set the intention to release the feeling wholeheartedly. Finally, ascend and rise above it.
It’s important to go through each of the above steps deeply and wholly. Beware of false positivity because artificial optimism that belies the truth and hurt of what’s actually happening can be just as damaging as pain itself. Convincing yourself you’re fine when you’re not can prevent you from thinking things through honestly and empty you of true feeling.
Will this be an easy process? Probably not, but nothing worth doing is easy. Doing the hard work of working through emotional hurt to become a more feeling person, and then working hard to create habits and an environment that push you to achieve your best can feel like an uphill journey. When you hit a wall, remember that this too shall pass. Sometimes, an obstacle that seems unbearable can actually turn out to be a blessing – maybe you miss a flight but meet the love of your life at the airport bar waiting for the next one! Also, tough situations can help you grow and test your desire for the reward that you’re pushing yourself toward.
Also, remember that in chaos lies opportunities. When you are face to face with tough choices, brutal obstacles, and internal strife, that’s when you can take everything within yourself and fight to overcome. And in doing so, you’ll become that everyday hero who lay within you all along.
The most important thing to remember from all this is:
We all have the capacity to become our own heroes – better, more focused, productive, and happier, fulfilled versions of ourselves. We can do this by paying attention to what we consume, think, expose ourselves to, and how we think and act. By curating our environment and protecting our productivity, we can take back control and drive our own lives into victory.
And here’s another top tip:
Write down inspirational quotes.
Robin Sharma loves quotes and sayings that make him think or recognize an inner, universal truth. Because words matter, it’s important to surround yourself with good ones. Every time you see or hear a quote or saying that inspires or speaks to you, write it down on a small notecard and keep them all handy to consult daily.
Motivation, Inspiration, Productivity, Personal Development, Management, Leadership, Personal Time Management, Success Self-Help, Psychology, Business, Health
About the author
ROBIN SHARMA is a humanitarian who has devoted his life to helping people express their highest natural gifts. He is widely regarded as one of the top leadership and personal-mastery experts in the world. His clients include NASA, Microsoft, NIKE, Unilever, GE, FedEx, HP, Starbucks, Oracle, Yale University, PwC, IBM Watson and the Young Presidents’ Organization. His #1 international bestsellers, such as The 5 AM Club, The Greatness Guide and Who Will Cry When You Die?, have sold millions of copies in over ninety-two languages, making him one of the most widely read authors on the planet.
Table of Contents
1 A Manifesto for the Everyday Hero within You 3
2 Being Faithful to Your Ideals Is a Force-Multiplier 6
3 The Final Hours of Your Defeatable Self 19
4 It’s Okay Not to Be Okay 22
5 The Gold Miner’s Paradox 24
6 The Victim-to-Hero Leap 27
7 That Time My Private Journals Were Taken 34
8 Instruction from Heavyweight Mentors 37
9 The Joy of Being Laughed At 44
10 The Orson Welles Memo 45
11 Nothing’s Perfect 47
12 The Chestnut Seller Doctrine 49
13 The IPOP Principle for Accelerated Positivity 53
14 Stop Calling Your Genius Sh*t 56
15 What J. K. Rowling Taught Me about Relentlessness 59
16 Guard Good Health like a Pro Athlete 62
17 My Four Chocolate Croissant Evening 73
18 A Contrarian Philosophy for Mastering Unexpected Change 77
19 You’re Absolutely More than Enough 80
20 The Starter’s Activation Declaration 83
21 The Very Good Bearded Man in the Really Cool Baseball Cap 86
22 Train with Stronger Teachers 89
23 A Red Flag Is a Red Flag 92
24 The Shortest Chapter in the History of Creativity? 95
25 The Rule-Bender’s Hypothesis 96
26 Have Bravery like Swifty 100
27 A Teacher Called Trauma 102
28 The People Builder’s Mantra 107
29 The 7 Threats to World-Class 110
30 Expect Ungrateful 118
31 That Time I Was Left Alone at the Top of a Mountain 120
32 The Peak Productivity Strategies Pyramid 125
33 Join the Hope Brigade 141
34 40 Things I Wish I’d Known at 40 143
35 The Misty Copeland Confidence-Making Technique 147
36 The 40 Copies of a Single Book Habit 149
37 The Meaning of Disgrace 152
38 A Basic Motto for Stunning Prosperity 154
39 Hug the Monster 155
40 The 4-Figure Dessert Rule 159
41 Don’t Be a Sloth 161
42 Ben Franklin’s 13-Virtue Habit Installer 163
43 The Peacock’s Complaint 168
44 The Most Costly Conflict 169
45 Kill Your Darlings 171
46 Avoid the Third Reward 175
47 To Heat Your Once Wide-Open Heart Makes You a Great Master 177
48 What I Learned from Leonardo’s Private Notebooks 187
49 The “You Won’t Win If You Don’t Even Try” Attitude 191
50 The Hard Worker Who Never Got Any Better 194
51 The Dark Sides of Your Upsides 197
52 The 3 Step Success Formula (and My Broccoli-Eating Behavior) 200
53 What I Think About When I Think About Difficulty 205
54 Why I Write to Heartbreak Country Music 213
55 The Patient Who Blinked a Book 215
56 The Possibilitarian’s Secret 217
57 The Big Lie of Positive Thinking 223
58 That Time I Went Camping 228
59 The 13 Hidden Traits of the Billionaires I’ve Advised 231
60 The 8 Forms of Wealth 239
61 The Algorithm for a Beautifully Balanced Life 246
62 The “Just Because” Code for Everyday Heroes 254
63 Deaths Just a Hotel Room Upgrade 257
64 Why Aristotle Slept on the Floor 260
65 Shatter Your Winning Formula like Miles Davis 264
66 The Antifragile Artist in the Shiny Purple Suit 266
67 The Keep Your Fire Blazing Theory for a Lifetime of Audacity 270
68 How Heavyweights Work 272
69 The Little Things Are the Big Things 275
70 Become a Creative Athlete 277
71 How SuperProducers Do It 279
72 Escape Post-Moonwalk Astronaut Affliction 284
73 Resilience Lessons from the Human Who Lost His Face 286
74 Charles Darwin and the Extreme Agility Advantage 290
75 The Free Money Model for Advanced Prosperity 293
76 Put Down Your Phone and Talk to a Person 299
77 The Shortest Chapter in the History of Productivity 301
78 Business Is a Beautiful War 302
79 Be Serious When You’re Serious 304
80 The 4 Major Communication Practices of Movement-Makers 306
81 That Time I Learned How to Surrender 311
82 You Never Know Who Is Standing in Front of You 314
83 The GCA Index for A-Lister Performance 316
84 Steve Jobs’s Last 6 Words 321
85 When Things Seem Hard, Trust Your Strength 323
86 You Can’t Inspire If You’re De-inspired 326
87 The Six Months Left to Live Question 332
88 Fame and Fortune for a Line on Your Tombstone? 335
89 Resist the Titan’s Decline 337
90 The Necessity of Artistic Unpopularity 342
91 The Troll Deconstxuction 344
92 That Time I Met Muhammad Ali 349
93 Don’t Worry about Your Legacy 353
94 A Hero Named Desmond Tutu 355
95 The Life Regrets of People on Their Deathbeds 357
96 The Good You Do Lasts a Lifetime 362
97 Be Happy to See Live People 365
98 Verses of the Everyday Hero Who Can’t Be Defeated 366
99 Windows of Opportunity and Your Second Chances 368
100 Be Not a Dream Postponer 373
101 A Philosophy for Returning to Human 375
What’s Next on Your Heroic Adventure? 377
Fuel Your Rise by Reading 379
Appendix 1 My 25 Books to Read Before You Die List 380
Appendix 2 My 25 Favorite Films 382
Appendix 3 My 25 Favorite Documentaries 383
About the Author 385
For over twenty-five years, leadership legend and personal-mastery path-blazer Robin Sharma has mentored billionaires, business titans, professional-sports superstars and entertainment royalty via a revolutionary methodology that led them to accomplish rare-air results. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Sharma makes his transformational system available to anyone who is ready for undefeatable positivity, monumental productivity, deep spiritual freedom and a life of helping others.
In The Everyday Hero Manifesto you will discover:
- The hidden habits used by many of the world’s most creative and successful people to realize their visionary ambitions
- Original techniques to turn fear into fuel, problems into power and past troubles into triumphs
- A breakthrough blueprint to battle-proof yourself against distraction and procrastination so that you produce magic that dominates your domain
- Pioneering insights on adopting world-class routines that will lead you to achieve superhuman fitness and become the most disciplined person you know
- Unusual wisdom to operate with far more simplicity, beauty and peace
Part memoir of a life richly lived, part instruction manual for virtuoso-grade performance, and part handbook for spiritual freedom in an age of high-velocity change, The Everyday Hero Manifesto will completely transform your life. Forever.