Sparta was a warrior society in ancient Greece that reached the height of its power after defeating rival city-state Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.). Spartan culture was centered on loyalty to the state and military service. At age 7, Spartan boys entered a rigorous state-sponsored education, military training and socialization program. Known as the Agoge, the system emphasized duty, discipline and endurance. Although Spartan women were not active in the military, they were educated and enjoyed more status and freedom than other Greek women.
We can certainly use their way of living today…
Spartans were notorious for living a simple, frugal, minimalist lifestyle. They ate only what they needed, kept their bodies fit, did not spend money wastefully.
A minimalist lifestyle is much more rewarding than the standard consumer lifestyle. To live a minimalist lifestyle you get by on the least amount possible and don’t concern yourself with over-indulgence. That’s gluttony.
It’s quite easy to live like a Spartan. All you need to do is get rid of the junk, the clutter. Go through your belongings and sell or give away anything you don’t absolutely need.
Start small at first, but once you get rid of the junk it can feel quite liberating and you may want to have that feeling again. Great! Do it.
Take a look at your finances and see where you are spending money thoughtlessly and cut back on it. If you’re spending $40 a month on haircuts invest a few bucks on some clippers and cut your own hair. If you’re eating out all the time start actually buying groceries and making your own food. Restaurant food is garbage and will make you fat, quitting it is win-win.
If you’re paying $600 a month on the cool new car sell it and buy yourself a cash car. $2000 a month on rent, move to a less expensive place. It’s not as hard as it sounds. All it takes is the commitment to do it.
We have all been in the situation where we are having a difficult time making our outrageous rent payments, mortgage payments, credit card payments, car payments, lease payments. All for stuff that does not increase our happiness or make our lives better. That shit is like a weight on our shoulders, crushing us little by little. Get rid of all those burdens and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders.
How to Start a Business the Spartan Way
Imagine this scenario: a man wants to be self-employed, hates his job and wants to be in business for himself. He feels that he cannot do so because he has so many payments to make there is just no way he can make enough money right away to take care of all those obligations. So he just endures. He keeps at his soul-stealing job so he can keep making those payments, keep consuming, keep himself down.
The opposite scenario is this: a man wants more than anything to start his own business. He feels extremely passionate about it. He will do anything to make to succeed. He has all the same bills and junk to pay for as the other man.
This man, however, is willing to do what it takes. He sells his car that he is making payments on and he buys a cash car. He cuts up his credit cards and is determined never to use them again. He turns off his cable TV, and instead sends the money in to pay off those credit cards. He sells all his extra junk, electronics and so forth, anything that is not absolutely needed he gets rid of. He sells his house and moves into a cheap little apartment. He cooks his own food instead of eating out all the time.
He uses all his energy and resources to make his business work. He doesn’t care about having the latest cool phone, he knows it doesn’t matter. It’s hard but he finally makes his business work. It’s 5 years later and the man is basically retired. His business is on auto-pilot and he is living the good life. The other man who was scared to quit his job is still going into the same miserable job, buying the same miserable junk, living a miserable existence.
It’s hard to leave a steady job knowing you have bills to pay. But is it harder than living a miserable existence dependent completely on someone else?
If you’ve got a job making 50k a year and you have 30k worth of bills per year why not get rid of all those bills, make 20k on your own and live freer and happier?
That’s how you live like a Spartan. Get rid of all the bullshit and live with what you need, not what you have been spoonfed by advertising to think you need.
Live Like a Spartan
The Spartan Community today
Spartan isn’t just a race. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle. Here are 9 ways you can start living like a Spartan warrior and begin reaping the physical and mental rewards of greatness.
Spartan Warrior Basics
1. Do hard things
You won’t remember the easy times. Tough times define you and create your story. And the more difficult your challenges, the more interesting your story.
2. Life is a class—don’t skip
Your attitude, not your aptitude, decides your altitude. If you want to reach the peaks, decide right now to become a lifetime learner. Every day, learn something new that’s useful. You do that by trying new things, especially the stuff you’re afraid to do. Learn by doing they hard things. Take the long route, the road less traveled. Read everything you can, especially biographies and history. Learn from others. Seek to understand them through empathy. And above all, strive to know yourself. The journalist Sydney J. Harris said: “Ninety percent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves.”
Don’t allow that to happen.
3. Decide who you want to be
That’s right—you get to decide! But change is hard. You have to put in the work to recognize your purpose in life, your True North. “Your True North is a fixed point set by your deeply held beliefs and values,” writes Spartan founder Joe De Sena, in The Spartan Way. “Align with it and your True North will act like a high-speed train pulling you through life.”
Not only will you accomplish more than 95 percent of the people on the planet, but having a well-defined purpose to your life will likely help you live longer. One study that followed 6,000 people over the course of 14 years found that those who lived lives of purpose were 15 percent less likely to die than those who were aimless. The protective effect of having a strong life purpose may also extend to brain function. Another study of nearly 1,000 people without dementia found that people who expressed a greater sense of purpose were 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, and were much less likely to develop any cognitive problems.
4. Embrace discomfort
If you’re not tired, you’re sleeping too much. If you’re not cold, you’re wearing too much. If you’re not hungry, you’re eating too much.
“Life in the First World has become too easy,” says De Sena. “It’s hard to be happy when you have ‘easy’ in abundance. You appreciate nothing.”
Growth and fulfillment come when you embrace discomfort and adversity and struggle to overcome the tough stuff. Look for opportunities to make life more challenging. Create adversity. At Spartan HQ in Boston, you’ll find hand weights at the bottom of each staircase. Employees are encouraged to carry them whenever they go up and down. Why? To make life a little bit more challenging—and to build a little bit more exercise into the workday.
There’s another benefit to embracing discomfort: It’s invigorating. “The human mind was built to deal with adversity by having a physical reaction to it,” says De Sena. “You see a lion, you run. One reason the Spartan race is so popular is because we’re looking for that physical excitement in our lives, because we don’t have lions and tigers chasing us anymore.”
5. Don’t delude yourself
Success doesn’t come naturally. If something is easy, you’re not as good at it as you think you are. So, wake up and realize that you can do better. Two things separate average and extraordinary people: sweat and tears. Stop procrastinating and start sweating. Stephen King once said, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Get to work.
6. Wake up early
It’s so simple, and it gives you a daily edge over 99.9 percent of your competitors.
In a study at the University of London, researchers surveyed over 1,000 people about their sleep habits, physical and mental health, diet, exercise, and level of happiness. The study found that people who rise early in the morning tend to have lower body mass indexes than people who sleep in; they also report being healthier and happier.
Getting up earlier gives you more time to make breakfast (breakfast eaters tend to be healthier and thinner than non-breakfast eaters, according to many studies), and more time to squeeze in a workout before work.
A study in a recent issue of the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research demonstrated an association between waking later in the morning and shorter sleep duration, and higher levels of negative thinking and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Rise earlier and be more optimistic.
Research by biologists at Harvard University say that while night owls tend to be more creative, morning larks are more productive. Their study found that early risers are more confidant and motivated, better problem solvers, they spend more time setting long-term goals for themselves, and they procrastinate less.
How to do it: Getting up earlier than you normally do requires establishing a regular sleep schedule. Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night and get up at the same time each morning. To make it easier to fall asleep:
* Exercise during the day. It’ll increase the quality of your sleep by boosting the production of serotonin in the brain and decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
* Make your bedroom as dark as you can.
* Turn down the heat. Setting your thermostat to a cool temperature, say 60 to 65°F could help because your core temperature cools as you fall asleep.
* Wear socks on your feet. It’ll help your body get into sleep mode.
Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Studies suggest that amount of quality slumber improves immune system function, reduces cravings for carbohydrates, and boosts metabolism.
6. Eat healthy
You are what you eat. If you eat crap, you’ll look, feel, and perform like crap. If you want to look healthy, feel strong, and perform like a Spartan, focus on your body’s fuel. Build the best nutrition into every meal. A few ways to start:
- Eat eggs for breakfast. A study in Nutrition Research found that people who ate an egg-based breakfast consumed a lot less calories the rest of the day, compared with people who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories.
- Sneak more vegetables into your day. Toss a handful of spinach into a blender; add almond milk, frozen berries, rolled oats, flaxseeds, and a scoop of whey protein powder. Blend for one minute. You won’t even notice the spinach.
- Eat more fiber. Few of us get enough. Fiber slows the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, keeping hunger at bay. Foods high in dietary fiber include, fruits and vegetables (eat the skins), beans, lentils, chickpeas, steel-cut oats, and whole-grain bread.
- Fuel muscle repair with protein. A study in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism found that people who doubled the recommended daily amount of protein (about 112 grams for men and 92 grams for women) improved their ability to build and maintain muscle and boosted their metabolisms.
- Snack better. Toss the chips. Snack on popcorn. It contains 15 times the disease-fighting nutrients of tortilla chips. Snack on walnuts, too. They are high in healthy plant-based fats. Eating a half-cup of walnut halves every day can improve blood vessel function, according to Yale researchers.
8. Train daily
This is non-negotiable. It’s not what you do; it’s who you are. For those times, when you feel you have no time, at least do this:
–10 arm circles clockwise, 10 arm circles counterclockwise
–20 bodyweight squats with your arms reaching toward the sky
–10 lunges, right leg forward,10 lunges, left leg forward
It’ll take you less than 5 minutes. Have a little more time? Do it again. You’ll feel so much better than if you did no exercise that day.
9. Become harder to kill
In other words, get gritty. Grit is elusive. It is something you have to work on all your life. It’s one of the hardest Spartan traits to build but one of the most powerful. When you face failure after failure and you crawl into a hole to lick your wounds, grit is the tenacity that forces you to crawl back out for more.
As you work toward building greater grit, keep in mind Teddy Roosevelt, who famously said:
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strived valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
9 Ways to Live Like a Spartan Soldier
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