Dan Millman, currently studying at UC-Berkeley, is a world class gymnast specializing in the rings, hence his nickname "Lord of the Rings". He works hard, training seven days a week, fifty weeks out of the year. In the lead up to the Olympic trials in just over a year, he knows he could be the best in the world and win Olympic gold, but his constant overthinking especially having the constant fear that it will all be taken away, leads to inconsistency and self-doubt. With his innate skill in a sport he loves, a 4.0 GPA, and all the sex he wants, he knows he should be happy - he telling people that he is so - but if he were to look deep in his heart, he knows he isn't. One of the symptoms of his life is that he has insomnia. It is during one of his sleepless nights that he meets an older service station operator he sarcastically nicknames Socrates for his philosophical musings. Beyond Socrates' mumbo-jumbo, Dan cannot ignore what appears to be Socrates' almost other worldly physical feats, something of which Dan can only dream for himself. As such, Dan convinces Socrates to take him under his wing to teach him how to achieve such feats. At times, Socrates is a reluctant teacher as Dan is not grasping the meaning of what he is trying to convey. Similarly, Dan is sometimes a reluctant pupil not grasping how what Socrates tells him will help him achieve Olympic gold. Through the process, Dan does admit that some of what Socrates imbues in him leads to what Dan views as success. However, it isn't until what Dan strives for the most seems to be threatened in its entirety that he may fully understand Socrates' goal for him of true inner peace, which is at the heart of any warrior.