07/27/2013 03:23 pm ET Updated Jul 29, 2013

Retired Lieutenant General Jack Gardner On How To Unite America (VIDEO)

As a retired 3-star general, Jack Gardner knows a thing or two about service and success.

At the Aspen Ideas Festival last month, Gardner sat down with HuffPost's Daniel Koh to discuss the Franklin Project, which advocates for large-scale civilian participation in service. He also talked about the key lessons he adheres to for a successful and balanced life.

Gardner asserted that while America's diversity is one of its greatest strengths, it can also hold us back. Service, he said, can help mitigate those inherent challenges. "We no longer have a common set of experiences," he said. "[The Franklin Project] has the potential to provide an opportunity for up to a million young men and women across the country to spend a year in service and that will help them provide that common experience we don't really have right now."

When it comes to success and balance, Gardner believes it is essential to allocate time to the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. "I worked for a very senior guy, a very smart guy, a couple years ago, who said that when you're in very difficult work environments, you need to always eat, sleep, exercise and think to maintain mental, emotional, physical balance, and I've tried to practice that," he said.

Watch the video above to see the whole interview.

This video is part of a series of interviews with speakers, attendees and panelists at The Aspen Ideas Festival, produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with The Aspen Institute. For more videos from the series, click here. For more information about The Aspen Institute, click here.