Greatness is an abundance of goodness, or virtue. The Core Protocols are practices that enable people to aggregate their virtues – and hence starting that aggregation is starting down the path toward greatness. Being great also means dropping behaviors that don’t lead to greatness. Those changes are not easy, but they can be rewarding.

As with any experiential learning, just reading about the Core isn’t enough to effect change. One has to actually do the practices to start making changes. So where to start?


The process of learning the Core Protocols is known as "Booting" – a reference to the process computers go through when they are starting up and loading the software they need to operate. Using the Core by yourself is called "Self-Booting".

If you’re new to the Core, the best place to start is with the Core Commitments. On your own, decide to hold these commitments. Experiment with yourself. Telling others that you’re doing this is optional. Remember that it will take some time before you can reliably remember the commitments in the midst of your life, before you become aware of them when working or when you are with others.

If keeping all of them at once seems daunting, just pick a few that speak to you: seeking effective help, or disengaging from unproductive situations, for example.


At first, it will feel awkward, as learning any new thing does. That’s natural. Press on!

Many of the Core Commitments relate to the Protocols – one view is that the Protocols are best practices for helping people keep the Commitments. For instance, Check Out is a way one can disengage from unproductive situations without causing confusion, and Check In is a way to re-engage gracefully. Use them when you want to go deeper or be more effective.

If you’re Self-Booting by yourself, you don’t even need to tell others that you’re following the Protocols, they are designed so that you can do them without calling attention to yourself.

Next: Self-Booting a Team