Get Your Life Together with the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

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Get Your Life Together with the Swanson Pyramid of Greatnessron swanson ronald ulysses swanson pyramid of greatness parks and recreation nbc


Picture courtesy of NBC

Ron Swanson is a great man and as all great men do, they leave their mark on the world. Great men (and women) have qualities and values and a high level of self confidence. Ron Swanson is indeed a great man. Apart from a myriad of sensational quotes one thing stands above all else for me – The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. If you aren’t aware, Ron has spent years developing it and it is a perfectly calibrated recipe for maximum personal achievement as demonstrated below:

Starting at the bottom and working up, I have taken the liberty of expanding on a few points contained within The Pyramid that can help you get your life together and achieve your Greatness.


Cut the B.S.

These days too many people hide their thoughts and feelings for fear of offending, starting conflict or putting someone out. Making a habit of this will affect you deeply over a long period of time. Think about it – If you can’t tell someone your opinion (whether its good or bad), call them out on something when they’re wrong or put them in their place when they need to be what are you doing?

You’re most likely sugar coating what they really need to hear. You hurt people more by not being frank and upfront with them. If someone stuffs something up, tell them. They’re less likely to do it next time.

Being frank and upfront with people builds trust and relationships. People will know where they stand with you and value your opinion when its given. People will know you’re genuine. It will also put you in touch with yourself as well – something that many people are missing these days.

There’s a fine line between being frank and just being an asshole though. If you’re not familiar with it you’ll find it through trial and error.

swanson parks and recreation tom

Facial Hair

Full, thick and square. Nothing sculpted. If you have to sculpt it, that probably means you can’t grow it.

Nothing tells someone how confident you are more than growing your beard or a fine thick moustache and being proud of it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you don’t, just shave.

Why is this important? If you’re not confident in how you look or comfortable with it others will be able to tell. To achieve your Greatness you must be confident in how you can wear your own facial hair.

Growing a fine beard or moustache also shows others commitment, dedication and discipline. So does shaving if you can’t grow a fine beard or moustache.

ron swanson beard


One rage every three months is permitted. Try not to hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it.

Control yourself in stressful situations. Flying off the handle all the time is not going to lead you to your Greatness. Find an appropriate outlet for your inner rage-a-holic to channel the emotion to.

Many people deal with their anger through breathing techniques and meditation. Others write about it and some others find a physical way to deal with it like running.

Personally I go to the gym. Going there and moving heavy weights around is peaceful. You need a certain amount of aggression to move heavy things and after 90min of doing that I’m honestly too tired to be angry or annoyed anymore. The endorphins released when a workout is completed also have a calming effect, turning a shitty mood around in no time.


Firm. Dry. Solid. 3 Seconds.

You will not achieve your Greatness without mastering the art of the handshake. Do as the pyramid says. Keep it firm, dry and solid for no longer than 3 seconds. Any longer and you’re telling the other person you’re a threat to them. Any shorter and you’re telling them you’re insecure around them.


One to three is sufficient.

Not everyone is your friend. Most are acquaintances. If you believe everyone is your friend you are sorely misguided. The more life experience you have the more you will come to understand this statement.

Keeping a small number of actual friends ensures you know who you can count on in times of need and who you can hang out with and actually have a good time – for example creating memories, not pissing the day away.


You are your biggest ally.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? If you’re not confident in your own abilities, who else is going to be? Only you can fix this one for yourself if it’s an issue for you.

Physical Fitness

You should be fit enough to accomplish the things you want to in life. Enough said.

swanson physical fitness


Give 100%. 110% is impossible. Only idiots recommend that.

Be realistic with what you can give and achieve. You cannot give the impossible, but you can give it your all. Give every relationship, every goal, every rep, every run and every task 100%.

The 100% of today may be different to the 100% of tomorrow, but that’s self-improvement. Every day you should strive to be better than you were yesterday whether that’s just by .1% or 50% – the point is to be better at being a person, at being you, than you were yesterday.

Regardless though, it will still be 100%

ron swanson intensity


Don’t waste energy moving unless necessary.

Appreciate the time you can spend not having to do anything. Life can be so rushed today that we forget to just rest and sit when we’re done. Being still and also alone with your thoughts is calming and can reduce stress.

To further reduce stress you may also consider meditation. Being still, alone and focusing on your breath is a great way to calm down. You may also find you get in touch with the thoughts you’ve been ignoring or suppressing. This is just another way to get in touch with yourself.

You will not achieve your Greatness if you can’t be alone with your thoughts.

Cow Protein | Pig Protein | Chicken Protein | Romantic Love | Deer Protein | Fish (Sport Only)

You need protein to live. Ron does not eat vegetables or salad. You also need romantic love. You cannot be a lonely, proteinless person wandering the earth and achieve your Greatness.

The Pyramid is very clear on these points. You need protein and romantic love. Do not question it.

swanson five courses meat


The ability to repeat a boring thing over and over again.

Some may say going to the gym and lifting weights is boring. But it takes great discipline to perform the same exercises again and again only to perfect them then make them harder again by adding more weight.

You could say the same for running. Just putting your feet in front of each other again and again for an extended period of time until you get good at it, only to make it harder again by going further or faster.

People who say this have no discipline. They will never achieve their Greatness.

If you’re a disciplined person you have control of yourself. If you control yourself, you control the outcome of your life and will achieve your Greatness.


Trust yourself.

Refer back to the “You” section for more info. You should be able to call on something within in a time of need without hesitation and know that something will be there.

You will not achieve your Greatness if you can’t trust yourself.

ron swanson fish


Work together as if your life depends on it…IT DOES!

Building a network of team members in life will help you achieve your Greatness. This is everyone from your friends and family to trainers and health professionals. These people are all on Team You.

Without a team we are useless. Do not rely on the team though; function as a part of it and your Greatness will come.

Greatness Itself

The best revenge.

How many celebrities, fitness models, bodybuilders, singers and elite athletes were bullied at school or teased when growing up and told they would never make it and should just give up?

John Cena, Ronda Rousey, Michael Phelps, Rhianna, Tiger Woods, Georges St-Pierre and even Mike Tyson were all bullied and teased as kids.

These people are world beaters and still cop flak from people on the internet and the media.

You will never shake all the critics but will silence them all by achieving your Greatness. Rise above them all and sure, you’ll become a bigger target – especially as you rise past these people – but at the end of the day their criticisms and bullying won’t bring you down and will fall away to the nothingness it really is.


Whenever available choose quantity over quality.

Achieve your Greatness by eating well. Feast when you need to.

Buffets are a challenge being laid out to you. They will tempt you with foods you could eat at home, but are too lazy to cook, try to fill you on pasta and not have a lot of meat. Hunt out the meats discussed earlier and place emphasis on breakfast foods.

I apply the following formula to buffets:

(Buffet Price + Chance out of 10 you will get Food Poisoning) ÷ Plates Eaten = Value and Enjoyment

The higher the score, the higher the value and enjoyment.

ron swanson bacon and eggs

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