John Joseph And The Power of Positive Mental Attitude

John Joseph was once homeless, addicted to drugs, and nearly dead. Now, he's not only alive and clean, but thriving as a musician, writer, and athlete. His new book, The PMA Effect, shares the power of positivity and how it can change your life.

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John Joseph, once homeless and addicted to drugs, now is a 10x Ironman triathlete in addition to being an author and the lead singer of the popular hardcore punk band the Cro-Mags.

Excerpt from John Joseph’s new book, The PMA Effect: How a positive mental attitude can make you the badass you were born to be.

If you ask those who have overcome tremendous adversity and gone on to win at monumental challenges, you’ll see that the primary factor of their success is—and I guarantee you they will all give the same answer—developing and, more importantly, maintaining, a positive mental attitude throughout. PMA.

See, that’s what separates the people who get their [expletive] done from the ones who quit, who cave when adversity strikes. Everyone faces challenges in life. The real issue is how you deal with them.


So PMA, in essence, comes down to how we deal with life. How do you react to tough situations? Do you fly off the handle when the pressure’s on or stop, take inventory, assess the situation, and figure out the best way to move forward?

Here’s an example. As a young man I was angry and extremely violent because of the abuse I had suffered as a child. I lashed out at everyone around me. I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol and never looked for a way out of my suffering. That nearly cost me my life. Then, as I started taking an internal inventory, I found myself beginning to heal. Day by day I put what I was learning into practice, and bit by bit I turned the corner on all my bad [expletive].

I’m not special. That’s what it takes for everyone—rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty, never taking shortcuts. That’s how you pull yourself out of the crap and work toward achieving a positive mindset. Every day you have to monitor the ebb and flow of your thoughts, desires, and actions and question where they will get you in terms of reaching your goals.

Fire can be an all-consuming force that burns everything to the ground, or it can be used to forge a sword to help you cut through ignorance and maya (illusion). You can use fire to help you see things for what they are, to gain perspective. Like fire on a blacksmith’s forge, fire forges our character. It does so through burning—challenging—us. Your true character is only revealed under pressure. The greater the pressure, the greater the revelation.

We’re all trying to make our way in the world and be happy. In order to succeed at happiness, we must find out what we’re made of. There’s no half-stepping with that. You must challenge and invest in yourself. Welcome life’s tests and be prepared to enter the battlefield, ready to fight under any and all circumstances, to cut down the three great enemies: negativity, self-doubt, and resistance. The only way to win this war is to remain steadfast and determined, to fight to the end. Enter the battle with the greatest weapon in your arsenal: your PMA sword.

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