Year In Review 2016

For the last 3 years I have been writing a relatively short overview of my year, my successes and more importantly my failures. This year saw more travel, writing, training, and failure than I had anticipated.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988)

By all accounts I’ve invested more time this year than ever before learning about failure in any form I can. 2016 was a year for letting go, taking chances, and watching things fall apart only to realise the anticipation of the failure was worse than the experience itself.

This year I started Olympic Lifting with a qualified coach. I learned and struggled to progress until I had the opportunity to train with Andy McKenzie in Athens. He introduced me to Coach Dimas (the brother and coach of the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Pyrros Dimas).

He eliminated 90 percent of the technical problems I was experiencing in my clean and jerk and it made me realise that looks and qualifications do not trump experience. AGAIN 😉

Here’s The Thing: Ego is Killing You!

We all want to be successful in our efforts to be mindful, fit, healthy, athletic or academically gifted.

The problem with not having this as a direct influence growing up is that you become risk averse and quick to allow your emotional biases to determine the value of your participation.

“When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.” ― Ryan Holiday, Ego Is the Enemy

You might be afraid to leave your job, find a new coach, or accept that you may not be as talented or as knowledgeable as you think you are. When I look at my life, my family and the risks that were undertaken to obtain financial security; it had to be do or die because that is the commitment level required to succeed.

I learned something important when I joined the Combined Strength Group, people who rely on superiority to be perceived as knowledgeable are the biggest frauds of them all.

Learning is continual growth, letting go of ego is participating in an arena where you are willing to allowother people to teach you something new, and, that is the real barometer for success, growth and change.

If you are an aspiring coach or somebody interested in learning reliable information I highly recommend his workshops. Andy is dedicated to improvements in movement and performance by simplifying the educational component of coaching while not compromising the standard of accountability we all need in our lives and careers.

Workshop - Andy Mckenzie
Cleaning the Spine – Cat Camel @ Athens Arena Box

Time is Limited

We can only excel at the rate we are learning information pertinent to the actual goal. Not the ego’s interpretation of your next priority but the problems we all ignore.

You can choose as I did; seek qualifications and the egotism of a quick solution OR find sustainable change that limits the damage created over the timeline by learning from people with actual experience.

The real coach, exec, author or writer is doing the work, that is why they produce masterpieces. The fraud marketer, guru or ‘start-up’ can’t do anything more than create superficial change due to his self limiting beliefs.

2017, Are You Committed?

I’ve set my PB’s, meditated with the Headspace app for 114 hours and seen a lot of the world in the last 3 months. I’ve been coached by coaches, written, and worked my ass off.

My wish for you in 2017 is simply this, be good enough to look at the behaviors, triggers, frustrations, and perspectives that are holding you back. Just write it down, do something about it.

If there is one character trait that I see in all of the people that I train, we underestimate ourselves. We give up too easily. We want to be stuck so that the little story we tell ourselves articulates with our own narcissism.

Take it from me and I have failed extensively. It’s worth it changing your outlook for new growth and the opportunities that come with it!


Books I listened to in 2016: All HIGHLY Recommended (I use Audible)

My Inventions – Nikola Tesla

Ego is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday (Twice)

The Brain that Changes Itself – Norman Doidge

The Spirit of Kaizen – Bob Mauerer, Leigh Ann Hirschman

Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink, Leif Babin

Vagabonding – Rolf Potts

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey

IWTYTBR – Ramit Sethi

Scattered – Gabor Mate

In The Real of Hungry Ghosts – Gabor MAte

Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance

Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking – Daniel C Dennett

Interventions – Dan Jon

Can You Go? – Dan Jon

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and it’s all Small Stuff – Richard Carlson

The Obstacle Is The Way – Ryan Holiday

Blue Ocean Strategies – Second Read

The Road To Character – David Brooks

When The Body Says No – Gabor Mate

Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts (In Progess)

#Ask – Gary Vee

Ask – Ryan Levesque

Tribes – Seth Godin

Endurance – Alfred Lansing

The Checklist Manifesto – Atul Gawande

David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell

Mastery – Robert Greene

Built to Sell – John Warillow

Zero to One – Peter Thiel

What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars

66 Strategies to Program Design – Stephane Cezeault

Scattered – Gabor Mate


I’m leaving for Thailand soon to continue travelling. I keep wondering who is going to win The Thailand Transformation and enjoy this beautiful weather with me?

You can SIGN-UP for the comp at and download your FREE EBOOK which contains all the information you need to get started.

Happy New Year!


PS: Special Thanks to Andy Mckenzie and Marianna Tzourzek for their time and attention. You can find out more about Athens Arena Box HERE as well as The Combined Strength Group HERE.

David Robertson

I have dedicated my life to training and nutrition and I have traveled the world seeking the best tools available for the development of Strength, Cognition & Wellness. As somebody who has never had the luck of the draw regarding the ‘genetic lottery’ I created this blog to document the experiments and tools that have changed my life the most.