OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson features the best Big Ideas from the best optimal living books. More wisdom in less time to help you live your greatest life. (Learn more at
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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time





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Now displaying: June, 2016
Jun 30, 2016

F.E.A.R. got you stopped in your tracks? It's time to D.A.R.E. Defuse from your negative thoughts, Accept discomfort, set Realistic goals and Embrace your values and #bam. You're rockin' it.

Jun 29, 2016

Katy Bowman is the world’s leading biomechanist—helping us apply wisdom from that domain to optimizing our lives. This is a great, quick-reading, smart and funny look at how we can optimally transition from sitting to creating a standing and dynamic (<— key word!) workstation to help us optimize our whole-body health. Big Ideas we explore include whether or not sitting is the new smoking, checking in to see if we’re active yet also sedentary, the 3 M’s of movement, working out our eyeballs, what sea turtles can teach us about our sleep and how to have the best ideas.

Jun 28, 2016

You have a big goal. You have your why. Here's how to make a plan to rock it. It's all about 3-D planning!

Jun 27, 2016

Anders Ericsson is the world’s leading scientist studying expert performance—looking at how, precisely, the people who are the best in the world at what they do became the best. In this Note, we take a quick look at The Gift that we all have that’s the key to our potential greatness, HOW to go about tapping into the benefits of that gift via a certain type of practice (forget naive practice and go for purposeful + deliberate!), the fact that there is no such thing as a “10,000 Hour Rule,” and why we should be called Homo Exercens rather than Homo Sapiens. :)

Jun 26, 2016

John Herdman is the head coach of the Canadian women's national soccer team that won Bronze in London and is off to the Olympics in Rio. In this chat, we explore some of his wisdom on how to cultivate belief, the power of clarity and simplicity, how to deal with adversity (by inviting it in) and what makes the best so great.

Jun 25, 2016

Living Forward is a powerful little book all about helping us figure out our Life Plan—which is, essentially, the vision for every aspect of our lives and our plan to make it a reality. The book is the result of a collaboration between leading publisher + author Michael Hyatt and his coach Daniel Harkavy. It’s basically like having one of the world’s leading life coaches walk you through the Life Planning process he’s used with thousands of his clients. Big Ideas we explore include The Drift, your life GPS, pull power, soul oxygen and the Law of Diminishing Intent.

Jun 24, 2016

This is a dinky little pamphlet of a book based on a speech Albert E.N. Gray gave to a group of Prudential life insurance agents back in 1940. It’s packed with goodness and is uber-popular. In this Note, we define The Common Denominator of Success, identify the power of purpose and the fact that your future is formed by your habits.

Jun 23, 2016

Your amygala is kinda like a car alarm for your limbic system. You don't want it to go off at the smallest thing. Meditation helps cool a hot amygdala so you're not always in fight-or-flight.

Jun 22, 2016

Russ Harris is one of the world’s leading authorities on one of the most cutting-edge forms of therapy known as Acceptance and Commitment Training, or ACT for short (pronounced like the word “act” not A.C.T.). In this book, Russ tells us that we’ve been following the wrong rule book if we want to dial in our confidence. We explore The Golden Rule of confidence (and 9 other rules), why we need to defuse from our negative thoughts NOT try to eliminate them, how to have instant success (presto!), and how to move from FEAR to DARE as we live the great adventure that is our lives.

Jun 21, 2016

We need to be committed, of course. But, there's a virtuous way to go about it and a not-so-effective. It's all about flexibility (not fickleness or obstinacy).

Jun 20, 2016

This is a surprisingly awesome book—a fable about a young captain who spends time with a master and commander who reveals the secret code of rockin’ it. It’s kinda like if a Navy SEAL wrote The Alchemist or The Way of the Peaceful Warrior or The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Big Ideas we cover include: U.P.E.R.S.I.S.T. (the code to being unstoppable), the 2 limitations in life, how to discover your why, how to plan in 3-D, and the magic pill you need to take.

Jun 19, 2016

Did you know the word “parenting” comes from the Latin “to bring forth”? Yep. Begs the question, what do YOU want to help bring forth in your kids?! In this class, we explore 10 of my favorite Ideas on how I’m approaching fatherhood and going for dad of the year while doing my life’s work.

Jun 18, 2016

Want to learn about the science of successful learning? Then this is the book for you. Written by a story-teller and two of the world’s leading cognitive scientists who have dedicated their careers to mastering memory + learning, the book is packed with wisdom on what works and what doesn’t. Big Ideas we explore include mastery vs. fluency, the power of active retrieval (aka “the testing effect”), explaining stuff in your own words and the wisdom in the adage that whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.

Jun 17, 2016

This book is very different than the types of books I usually focus on. It’s not “self-development” per se; it’s more like “state-development”—as in, the optimal politics for our nation and world. The main thrust of the book is that we are entering a revolutionary time, the era of “Great Connection.” His primary focus is on a macro level. In our Note we focus on how we can apply this wisdom on an individual level. Big Ideas include a look at the #1 illness of our era and how to deal with it, why we need Hard Gatekeeping, the difference btwn complicated and complex and building a 10,000 year clock while answering the call to revolution.

Jun 16, 2016

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times journalist (and Harvard MBA) who wrote the best-selling book The Power of Habit in which he walked us through the science of building better habits. In this book, he walks us through the science of being productive so we can be smarter, faster and better at everything we do. It’s a great book packed with fascinating stories and practical applications. Big Ideas we explore include the 2 keys to motivation, how to build your focus, the best way to set goals (think: Stretch + SMART), why disfluency helps learning and how productivity is all about choices.

Jun 15, 2016

Seneca was an old-school Roman statesman and one of history’s leading Stoic philosophers. In this book he tells us that life is only short if you don’t know how to use it and also gives us some tips on how to deal with challenging times and cultivate tranquility. Big Ideas we explore include making T.O.D.A.Y. the day, how to deal with being exiled (never know when it could happen ;), and why flexibility is the virtuous road to tranquility (and how to avoid the detours).

Jun 14, 2016

"As a predictor of later success in life, I would place my bet on strong entrepreneurial capacitites" says William Damon, one of the world's leading development psychologists. Here's a quick look at those 7 qualities.

Jun 13, 2016

Russell Simmons is often called the godfather of hip-hop. He’s a fascinating guy and entrepreneur. This book is a quick, straight-to-the-point guide to meditation written in a style that makes you feel like you’re having a chat with Russell. Super simple, fun, practical. Big Ideas we explore include: how to deal with the #1 excuse for not meditating, and the #2 excuses + how meditation benefits your focus + creativity and how make your amygdala quit acting like an annoying car alarm.

Jun 12, 2016

Sleep. It’s the secret sauce to optimal living. In this class, explore my Top 10 favorite Big Ideas on how to create consistent, great night’s of sleep to optimize your energy, mood and mojo. We’ll start with why, unpack the kryptonites that get in the way, set some curfews and get you sleeping like a champ.

Jun 11, 2016

Amy Cuddy is awesome. Her TED talk is the 2nd most popular ever. This book is just as good. Learn the science of cultivating your personal power to bring your boldest self to your biggest challenges. Big Ideas we explore: self-affirmation theory, priming + nudges, the magic of expanding your body to increase your power, iHunch (how’s yours?), and the boldest you.

Jun 10, 2016

This book is a scientific look at Purpose by one of the world’s leading developmental psychologists—a powerful look at how to cultivate purpose in our children (and, for that matter, ourselves) and why it’s so important. Big Ideas we explore include a definition of what it means to be purposeful (and a look at the alternatives), the #1 thing that gets in the way of discovering and creating purpose, 9 key things parents can do to help their kids with purpose, why entrepreneurial spirit is so important and a four-word mantra to reduce timidity and build courage and confidence.

Jun 9, 2016

Veritas. That's the Latin word for truth. The Romans considered it the mother of all virtues. Are you shining the light of truth on your life?

Jun 8, 2016

William Damon and Anne Colby are two of the world’s leading researchers in the field of moral psychology. They’re both Professors at Stanford and have been married for 30+ years. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book that challenges the “new science of morality”’s view that morality is essentially biologically and socially determined. Damon and Colby argue that we all have the power to cultivate our more noble, moral possibilities. Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at our moral exemplars, moral agency, and the three virtues we want to cultivate: Truth + Humility + Faith.

Jun 7, 2016

Meet the enemy: Your ego. Our guide, Ryan Holiday, wrote one of my favorite books of 2015: The Obstacle Is the Way. Ego Is the Enemy is now one of my favorite books of 2016. It’s fantastic. Big Ideas we explore include: defining ego, becoming more than a flash in the pan, finally answering the question of whether it takes 10,000 or 20,000 hours to attain mastery, the virtue and value of staying true to your own path and making it rather than faking it.

Jun 6, 2016

Mistakes are part of life/performing. It's what we do when they happen that matters. Remember the 3 P's: Present + Positive + Process.

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