The Big 4

The Puzzle Is Almost Complete…

If you’ve read “The Big Focus”, then you know that…

  • Life is built on Conflict.
  • Two forces in conflict until one wins is what makes life possible…
  • In life, you are only responsible for what you do…body and soul…
  • This is because that is all you can control.
  • In conflict, you are responsible for winning.
  • You don’t do it for evil, selfish reasons…
  • You do it for good reasons!
  • For the poor, for the weak, for the little guy!
  • Bottom Line is…
  • Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t.

In the Ancient times, the Stoics called the Big Truth that Life is Conflict Physis or the “Laws of Nature.”

They called knowing your place in the world and your responsibility in it Logic because…it makes sense. You don’t need to have a PhD to figure it out.

But the life code for mankind to live in this world of conflict, the values to live by…

The Stoics called those Ethics.

Throughout history, they’ve been called “The Four Cardinal Virtues of Western Civilization.”

Around here, we call them “The Big 4.”

What Are “The Big 4”?

The Big 4 are being…

  • Smart
  • Just
  • Tough
  • Disciplined

They’re everyday words for the original old English…Wisdom, Courage, Temperance, and Justice.

Let’s take a look at what each one means…


Being smart is understanding every aspect of the game of life. It’s knowing human patterns of behavior...the secrets of winning.

Knowing that life is conflict is the foundation for being Smart.

If you can’t understand the guiding principle of the big picture, the little pieces won’t make much sense.

But that is only the foundation.

Being Smart is knowing the many different types of conflicts in life.

This means we need to know the many different types of behaviors and patterns in life, and what type of conflicts they apply to.

Which leads us to…


Being Smart is knowing the many different types of conflicts in life. The study of literature lists a few…

Man against Himself, Man against Man, Man against Nature, Man against Machine, Man against Society…

In every situation, “victory” is defined differently.

Take a look at two different situations, both conflicts.

If you are a in a gunfight, victory is killing the enemy. A loss is getting killed.

But let’s take a look at a different situation…

If you are talking to a little kid, victory is being kind and protective. A loss is being mean and abusive.

This is Justice.

Justice is treating the little guy with dignity. Obeying the laws. Protecting the weak, giving them strength.  

You probably know this as “Being a Decent Person.”  

That leads us too…


If being Smart is knowing the target you’re shooting at, then being Tough is having the guts to pull the trigger.

In conflict, whoever is weaker loses. Whoever is stronger wins. The strongest one is the Toughest one. Therefore, the Toughest is the winner.

If life is a conflict and your responsibility is to win, then your responsibility is to be Tough.

Being Smart tells you how specifically to be Tough in a given situation. Being Tough is the bottom line.  

Being Tough consists of two things: 

  • Resilience
  • Aggressiveness

The old time words for these are “Endurance” and “Daring” respectively.

Let’s take a look at what each one means.


If life is a conflict, then “the enemy has a vote.”

Secretary of Defense “Mad Dog” Mattis is a big fan of that phrase.

What it means is that sometimes you are going to get knocked down. As Mike Tyson says…

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

The test of being tough is what you do when you get punched, when the enemy casts his ballot in your direction.

Being Resilient means to keep moving forward to victory like nothing happened.

How does Resilience feel when you put it into action?

Resilience is a defiant attitude. It says “You’re going to get me with that? You are so pathetic. You have no effect.”

Mad Dog Mattis’ favorite author is the Stoic Soldier Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Marcus Aurelius once said, “Lose your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears.”

This means you’re not a whiner when you get hit…you’re a bullet-proof winner!

When you take a hit, it doesn’t define you as a loser, even though you may have temporarily lost in the moment…

You have the self-confidence to completely ignore it, the certainty that you are still a winner…like it didn’t even happen!

Resilience is the defiant self-confidence of being emotionally bulletproof in the conflict of life. 

Only by mastering Resilience can you get to…


If Resilience is taking hits like nothing happened, Aggression is giving knockout punches to decisively win the victory.

Roman legend Julius Caesar once said, “He who dares wins.”

It’s true. But you’ve got to understand that…

You can only be Aggressive by mastering Resilience.

If you don’t, you’re only good for shooting fish in a barrell, fighting losers who can’t fight back…that makes you the real loser.  

But Resilience is just the set-up for Aggression.

Why? Because…

You can only win by mastering Aggression.

No war was ever won on the defense. You’ve got to take the fight to the enemy and knock his lights out. That is the only way to victory.

Figuring out the right knockout punch for your specific enemy may take time. That is where being Smart and Resilient comes in.

You’ve got to be Smart to figure it out, and you’ve got to be Resilient for the time it takes. But when you do, that’s when you come out swinging.

Aggression brings victory. It is the end goal of all conflict, because it is what wins.

That brings us to…


Discipline is the consistent commitment to be Smart, Tough, and Just over a long period of time.

You’ve got to be disciplined about three things in your life…

  • Always be gaining knowledges about life and patterns of human behavior…
  • Consistently use that knowledge to seek out new conflicts to test your Tough…
  • Do it for the little guy!

Things only happen by habit. You are “a natural” at a skill? Look back over your life.  You will find that you spent a lot time…

  • Learning the skill…Getting Smart.
  • Doing the skill…Tough Enough to Put Knowledge into Action.
  • Again and again and again…Doing the Skill repeatedly over long periods of time.

That is the only way to make it happen!

The Big Picture.

Those are The Big 4.

It’s the code we operate by around here…and it’s the standard we use to learn…

When you read an article on our website about a winner or a loser in the conflict of life, we’ll ask these questions…

  • What pattern of human behavior did this winner/loser master or miss?
  • Where they tough enough to execute this pattern of human behavior?
  • Did they stay on it consistently?
  • Did they do it for Good for Evil?

The more winners and losers in life you study, the more patterns of human behavior you’ll have at your disposal to win the game of life.

Granted that you’re Tough and Disciplined enough to carry it out…

And you do it for the good guys!

That’s what this website is all about.

The Bottom Line…

  • Be Smart enough to know what is Just in the situation…
  • Tough enough to do it…
  • Disciplined enough to do it consistently.
  • Always be gaining knowledge about life and patterns of human behavior
  • Consistently use that knowledge to seek out new conflicts to test your Tough…
  • Do it for the little guy!
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