Business Coaching Fascinating Leadership

Plus minus and equal

So, I decided to take a break from listening to podcasts for a couple of weeks and instead just do audiobooks. All the time. And boy, I’ve accumulated a lot of hours over just the past week. Instead of going for the newer titles in my library, I’m focusing on the books that I’ve already listened to before. I mean you can’t listen to all these titles just once.

I finished Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday this afternoon and was reminded of a great system for the leaders and learners out there. No other system, in my opinion, defines the art of constant and never ending improvement better. It’s called the ‘Plus, minus and equal’ and was developed by the legendary mixed-martial arts fighter Frank Shamrock.

It’s a three part system that goes like this:

Plus: learn from someone with more experience than you.

Minus: teach someone with less experience than you.

Equal: engage and connect with someone with the same experience as you.


Dan Rockwell does an awesome job of explaining the system in detail.

Plus: Ego stands between you and meaningful success. You don’t have to be humble to succeed. But humility enables the enjoyment of success. I watch leaders during presentations. The humble are note-takers.

When “OTHERS” is a bad thing:

– Thinking OTHERS need to learn, but not you.

– Worrying about changing OTHERS, more than yourself.

– Providing coaching and training for OTHERS, not yourself.

Learning is painful for arrogance and joyful for humility. Practice humility by having a “Plus” in your life.

– The teacher learns more than the student.

– The practice of listening, asking questions, and sharing insights with a mentee/student is both humbling and confidence-building.

– It’s confidence-building to have someone ask a question and listen to your answer. It’s humbling to care for people and listen deeply to their concerns.

– The only thing more challenging than being ignored is being respected and listened to.

An equal:
– Calls your bull shit.

– Celebrates, without envy, your success.

– Challenges your thinking.

– Provides a “with”.

You can’t go far on your own. Everyone needs a “with.”


I think Frank broke down the core rules of success with this insanely system of learning. Think about it — isn’t that the most successful among us do? And the guy’s a genius! Check out his interview with James Altucher for a deep dive into his thoughts and insights. You’ll be amazed!