In The Decision, Kevin Hart describes how training his mental fitness helped him become the success he is today. He believes that anybody who follows the same mental fitness training regime will become a better version of themselves. Kevin provides a wide range of practical tips to help you reach everybody’s life goal: living for you.
About Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart is an award-winning actor and comedian. Forbes named him the “king of comedy.” His filmography has earned over $3.5 billion at the box office. On top of this, Kevin is a television producer and CEO of Hartbeat Productions.
“Your life today is the sum total of your choices. So if you’re not happy with it, look back at your choices and start making different ones. Even if you are struck by lighting and injured, you made choices that led you to that spot at a particular time – and you get to choose how you feel about it afterward.” – Kevin Hart
Part I: The “Fuck Yes” Moment
Kevin starts the book by going back to his childhood. He describes his mom as having a significant influence on who he is today. His mom had a fantastic work ethic, and Kevin has followed in her footsteps. Having this work ethic means working your hardest in all you do, but it also means working on your mental mindset. Life is a constant series of decisions. Therefore, if you can bring a strong work ethic to your decision making and mindset, you will instantly improve your health and happiness.
The Art of Thriving
Kevin believes that becoming successful is easier than staying successful. Kevin believes his success is down to his hard work rather than his talent. However, as success is based on hard work, the difficult thing is maintaining this work ethic over a long period. If you start to slack, there will be others ready to work harder than you are. Therefore, when we become successful, we cannot take our feet off the pedal. We have to keep working hard so we can keep thriving.
Mental Strength Training
Kevin describes how people train their bodies physically but often forget to train their mental strength. Mental strength is about knowing who you are and accepting who you are. Once you have accepted who you are, you can utilize your mindset’s strengths rather than having a mindset that holds you back.
People can engage with mental strength training by staying calm and balanced during difficult circumstances. Hence, we shouldn’t shy away from mentally challenging encounters. Instead, we should use them as part of our training. If something negative happens in your life, you must try and stay positive. Staying positive, no matter what, is also part of your mental strength training.
Part II: Know Before You Go
Kevin describes 11 things that we have to release from our minds before we can better ourselves. Each of these things will hold us back in their own way.
- Jealousy – Other people’s possessions and accomplishments should not influence you. These things might not be right for you. You might work your whole life to have what somebody else has only to find you were happier before
- Perfectionism – No perfect person exists. Therefore, don’t strive for perfection, and don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes
- Comparison – Comparing yourself to others, whether that is above or below yourself, will always take your focus away from where you need to be. All that matters is that you are doing your best
- Unhealthy Fear – People are lying if they say they have no fear. However, some fears are reasonable, and others are unhealthy. Unhealthy fears are those that get you worked up even if they’re not life-threatening
- Fear of Failure – One of the worst fears that plagues humans is a fear of failure. We have to let go of this fear so we can strive to be the best version of ourselves
- Resistance – Kevin defines resistance as taking yourself off the course of your original plan. We have to fight resistance and stop convincing ourselves that it is okay to betray promises we have made to ourselves. This betrayal will only make things difficult for your mind. Your mind loves familiarity
- Self-doubt – You should never doubt yourself. If you understand who you truly are and the strengths you possess, you can utilize your strengths across all circumstances
- Anger – Do not react to feelings of anger with aggressive behaviors. Instead, anger should be addressed through analysis and logic. Anger is the enemy of progress
- Blame – Playing the victim will not benefit anybody. You will be wasting time making excuses when you could be using the experience as an opportunity to grow
- Judgement of others – Those that judge can’t do and those that do don’t judge. Those who are successful are not those that judge others. Instead, they are living for themselves
- Self-judgement – Self-judgement should only be done productively. Judging yourself against others is not productive, and being harsh on yourself is also not productive. Instead, providing yourself with attainable goals and holding yourself to account is important
Part III: Orientation
A Pep Talk
Kevin suggests that pep talks are one of the most important things for success. Specifically, he says that you should try and ask big enough and positive enough questions. He provides examples of questions that he asks himself to make sure he is maintaining extraordinary performance:
- What am I building?
- What is my endgame?
- When I reach my endgame, will this really be the end?
- When I die, what will other people say about me?
- What is the legacy I am leaving for my children?
15 Core Weapons of Mental Toughness
“If you’re too weak to handle failure and disappointment, then you’re too weak to handle success, which will only end up damaging your life and happiness.” – Kevin Hart
Kevin describes mental toughness as one of the most critical attributes for success. In The Decision, Kevin outlines 15 core weapons that he uses to maintain mental toughness. Here are each of the 15 weapons that Kevin talks about in this book:
- Positive Mindset – Your mindset is the most important thing. In each moment you must decide how you can be positive rather than negative
- What-is-ness – Deal with what is right in front of you. If you cannot change something, you need to accept that and make the best of it. Kevin says we should be like water and allow, adapt, and keep moving
- Consistency – Those who are successful are those who are consistent. There may be amateurs who are less naturally talented than those who are successful. However, successful people will be more consistent than amateurs. Once you produce consistency, this will inspire you to become even more consistent
- Reliability – As well as being consistent you want to be reliable. You need to know your schedule and make sure you reliably adhere to this schedule. This might mean you have to say no to people and that is fine
- Determination – Kevin describes determination as appreciating your individual journey. Respecting how hard you are working and your ability to keep going when things get tough
- Cowboying up – Take ownership of your words and actions. You are the only person who can change things in your life. Leaders and champions only reach those stages by taking ownership. People are inspired by and respect those who take ownership
- Teddy Bearing – Teddy bears are liked by most people and make people feel good. Our lives are all about the relationships we build. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to bring happiness to your life is to help other people be happy. If you radiate happiness, life will give you happiness in return.
- Dissatisfaction – You need to be somewhat dissatisfied with your life to develop. You need to identify areas in your life where you can improve and make the changes necessary to improve
- Non-reactivity – The only reason people spread negativity is for a reaction. Therefore, if you avoid reacting, you are nullifying their reasons to attack. Subsequently, they are less likely to continue spreading negativity towards you in the future
- Self-generating power – Self-powership means being a self-starter. You need to stop relying on other people and have the determination to find your inner strength
- Sponginess – You want to soak up the knowledge and experiences of those around you. Therefore, you should surround yourself with successful people who are better than you at the skills you want to improve on. The smartest person in the room is the person who listens and learns
- Relatability – You will gain a wide range of opportunities if you are good at making connections and starting conversations
- Eye on the prize – Decide what you want in your life and go for it. Do not let others define the prizes that you want to acquire
- Put up with things – You must learn to deal with discomfort. The most successful people will have sacrificed much more in their life
- Humility – Stay connected with what matters. Other people’s opinions are not important. Your achievements and your prizes do not make you better than other people.
Part IV: Mental Fitness
“Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.” – Kevin Hart
If you want to see real changes in your life, you will have to transform your everyday approaches.
- Fuel – We have to feed our bodies with foods that are healthy and make us happy. The food we eat is very closely connected to our mood. If we eat poorly, we will feel bad
- Energy – You should always aim to promote energy flow within your body
- Input – Choose the inputs that you have in your life. Silence the things in your life that are distracting and not useful
- Company – Some people will pull you down in life. It can be hard to accept that these people, even if you love them, will limit your ability to achieve success. If you choose the right company for you, you’ll benefit from people who will lift you up. These people will want you to be happy and are willing to accept you for who you are
- Environment – As well as your company, you must choose your environment wisely. Think about the things around you that influence your thoughts. Choose to surround yourself with things that cultivate a positive thought pattern
- Solitude – Solitude can bring clarity and stability. Sometimes you just have to disconnect yourself from the people and places around you. Use this time to reconnect with who you are and what is important to you
- The work – Success is always about action. Every day you should be asking yourself whether you’re actually acting on thoughts or you are just talking about getting things done
Besides daily approaches, there are also specific practices that you should engage with to improve yourself.
- Discomfort – You will eventually find comfort after a period of discomfort. Therefore, seek out experiences that are uncomfortable but will help you improve. You can be confident in the idea that you will eventually feel comfortable again
- Visualization – You must rehearse the outcomes you want in life. Your emotions will respond to these visualizations, and your emotions impact your actions
- Energy Assessment – You should frequently be checking in on yourself. You need to understand when you are burning out and when you need a rest. Recognizing when you need a rest is vital for excelling. Being your best will help you do your best.
- Force field – Kevin describes how he uses a force field against negative things. Think about negative words from others as their faults rather than yours. If you do this, you will not let their words impact on you
- Self-challenging – Always ask yourself how you can do better
- Iconoclasm – You need to challenge the status quo. Only once you have learned your own way of life, rather than following others, will you excel
- Shift from negative to positive – Practice finding the positive in every situation. If you are stuck, you shouldn’t get frustrated. Having these situations helps you to overcome similar challenges in the future.
- No chips challenge – Try and identify every weakness you have in your life. For example, say you rely on takeaways to deal with negative emotions. In this instance, you should try and give up takeaways for an entire month
After engaging with all these practices, Kevin recommends readers take up a challenge. The challenge is for readers to spend 30 days without making a single complaint. Doing this will have a profound impact on your life.
Part VI: Victory
Kevin explains that success, money, and fame should never be the end goal of your life. These things are enjoyable signposts that let you know you are heading in the right direction in life. Everybody’s goal in life should be to live your life for you. This means living a life that is meaningful and purposeful.
“Everybody wants success in something, whether it’s in work, love, play, finances, family, or an inner struggle. But success doesn’t come instantly. Life has a process of rejecting you to test you and prepare you to win.” – Kevin Hart