So… The Olympic Games started in Olympia (not too far outside of Athens) in 776 BC.
A few centuries later, Aristotle told us that you can’t just SHOW UP at the Olympics andlook like a great athlete, you have to actually COMPETE.
Here’s how he puts it:“Justas at the Olympic Games it is not the best-looking or the strongest men present that are crowned with wreaths, but the competitors(becauseit is from them that the winners come), so it is those who act that rightly win the honours and rewards in life.”
To recap his point: You can’t just KNOW how to live virtuously. You need to actually LIVE with virtue.
I repeat:Theory is rudimentary philosophy.Practice is the advanced work.
And, I’m reminded of Donald Robertson’s genius wisdom on the difference between being a warrior of the mind and a mere librarian of the mind.
As we’ve discussed, inThe Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy he tells us:“Theancients conceived of the ideal philosopher as a veritable warrior of the mind, a spiritual hero akin to Hercules himself, but since the demise of the Hellenistic schools, the philosopher has become something more bookish, not a warrior, but a mere librarian of the mind.”
Is there a “theory” you need to make a “practice”?
Yah? Which one? And how will you bring it to life today?!
Here’s to leaving the library and heading into the Olympic arena that is our lives.
In our last +1, we talked about Aristotle’sNicomachean Ethics and the fact thathis word for “happiness” was VERY different thanour word.
Eudaimonia, as we discussed, literally means “good soul” and implies a powerful sense of actualizing our potential—succeeding in expressing the best within ourselves.
Today we’re going to focus on HOW Aristotle teaches us to create THAT type of “happiness.”
Pop quiz: Can you guess?
Pop answer: In a word: Virtue.
In a Greek word:Areté.
Aristotle tells us that the ONLY way to have a “good soul” and experience the deepest sense of well-being and happiness is to, essentially, express the best version of yourself moment to moment to moment. To live with virtue.
Here’s how he puts it: “Butwhat is happiness? If we consider what the function of man is, we find that happiness is avirtuous activity of the soul.”
“Virtuous activity of the soul.”
Wow. Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL.
“Virtuous activity of the soul.”
Just for a moment… Imagine a culture in which our sense of happiness was grounded in a commitment to “virtuous activity of the soul.”
Then imagine YOUR life in which your happiness was connected to the virtuous activity of your soul.
What’s that mean?
We’ll talk more about how to hit that target via Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean tomorrow.
For now: At a choice point today, just ask yourself, “What would my soul like me to do right now? What would ‘virtuous activity’ of the best within me look like?’”
Then, of course, have fun high-fiving your inner soul as you rock it.
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that 25 minutes every day = 2 YEARS of your life.
Did you figure out how you’re wasting time and make some progress eliminating that time wasting activity?
If so, high fives.
If not, here’s a tip.
InBored and Brilliant, Manoush Zomorodi gives people a 7-Day Challenge to invite more boredom and more brilliance into their lives. Challenge #4 is pretty epic. It’s the fastest way to add two years back to our lives.
Here’s how she puts it:“Yourinstructions for today: Delete it.Delete *that* app. ... You know which one is your albatross. The one you use too much. The one you use to escape—too often, at the expense of other things(includingsleep). The one that makes you feel bad about yourself. Delete said time-wasting, bad-habit app. Uninstall it.”
Yep. THAT app.
Which one is it?
Want two years of your life back?
Delete it. Now.
I know it’s going to hurt but so is you looking back on your life from your deathbed and wondering why you squandered so much precious time and didn’t go ALL IN on living your greatest life so…
Jim Rohn’s wisdom comes to mind:“Wewill all experience one pain or the other—the pain of discipline or the pain of regret—but the difference is that thepain of discipline weighs only ounces while the pain of regret weighs tons.”
Let’s pay in ounces. Delete THAT app.
(NOW! Seriously. You’re the Boss, but let’s do this!!)
George Leonard was an aikido master who wrote a great little book calledMastery.
It’s a tiny little book packed with a ton of wisdom. I highly recommend it.
There’s one particular passage that’s been tattooed on my mind since I read it over a decade ago. We’re going to talk about that tomorrow. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at how Leonard describes mastery and the other paths that can trip us up.
First, pop quiz! When you think of the path of Mastery and the Master who walks that path, what vision comes to mind? How would YOU describe it?
Take a moment and noodle that.
Here’s how Leonard describes mastery. He tells us that“Wefail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about aprocess, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives.”
That’s mastery. It’s a PROCESS.
When we commit to the path of mastery we stay on that path day in and day out. YEAR after YEAR. (Reminds me of Steven Pressfield’s wisdom aboutTurning Pro—and how your life changes the day you truly flip the switch and go from amateur to Professional.)
The alternatives to Mastery? Well, Leonard tells us we can be what he calls a “Dabbler” or a “Hacker” or an “Obsessive."
Here’s the quick look.
The Dabbler: Gets really into something for awhile and loves the quick results but the moment the newness fades, he or she’s off to the next new thing—rationalizing that it just wasn’t a good fit. Hence, no mastery.
The Obsessive: A bottom-line type of person who wants to get the tennis stroke right on the first lesson and, when results start to slow, pushes even harder to make it work, ignoring the fact that plateaus are part of the path of mastery—pushing and pushing mercilessly to create a continuing upward curve. Then? Injury/burnout/etc. Followed by a sharp, sharp decline. Hence, no mastery.
The Hacker: After sort of getting the hang of something, the hacker is content to stay at a plateau—never really improving his skills beyond the first basic level. Hacking, hacking, hacking. Hence, no mastery.
TheMaster. TheDabbler. TheObsessive. TheHacker.
How areyou showing up these days?
Now… I was going to ask you how you think you can bring a little more mastery to your life but then I realized I should probably give you Leonard’s #1 tip first.
Here it is:“Howdo you best move toward mastery? To put it simply, you practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself.”
Aha! Practice. Again.
So… Today’s +1.
What’s the most important thing in your life right now?
And… What’s your DAILY (!) PRACTICE to Optimize that thing or the Big 3 things?
Energy = AM Trail (Inever miss a day = my commitment to the practice/mastery)
Work = AM Deep Work (Again, I (literally) never miss a day = my commitment to the practice/mastery)
Love = AM Kid Time (I too often miss a day here! lol. Although my shut-down complete is pretty legit this still needs work and is being reinstalled!)
Energy = __________________
Work = __________________
Love = __________________
Here’s to your Mastery and the simple practices that keep us on the path!
In our last +1, we talked about Rule #1 of Nutrition. You remember what it was?
Basic idea: It’s not what youstart eating that has the most positive impact. It’s what you STOP eating. There aren’t any Fountains of Youth in nature; there ARE poisons. And, you can’t eat enough broccoli to make up for all that pizza.
(So, what did you eliminate?)
Although I did share his high-level perspective, I didn’t share John Durant’s perspective on what he thinks we should remove as I wanted to make his general advice apply whether you’re Paleo or Vegan or Pegan or whatever.
Today we’re going to look at his top recs at what qualifies as “poison” and should, therefore, be removed.
*** Note: I share this with a respectful tip ‘o the hat to the Grain Lovers out there. ***
John tells us (and, of course, many others who share his perspective echo this):“Topon this list[ofpoisons] areindustrial foods(sugar,vegetable oils) as well as the seed-based crops they’re made out of(cerealgrains, legumes). Think of these as slow-acting poisons when consumed in large quantities.”
Very few people are going to argue that sugar is good for us. (And certainly not in the quantities in which we consume it today: 150+ lbs per person per year. The fact that we can consume more sugar in one meal than our ancestors would consume in an entire year = not good.)
Then we have veggie oils. We’ve talked about it before, but they’re not good for inflammation.
(Although, when I was in the hospital waiting room while my brother had his surgery, for some odd reason Dr. Oz dedicated his show to trying to convince us that corn oil is awesome. Hah. We’ll save that for another chat.)
Then we have grains and legumes. If you fall into the Paleo-esque camp, you won’t have a tough time agreeing with the statement that we can”Thinkof these as slow-acting poisons when consumed in large quantities.”
If you enjoy grains and legumes and your digestion and health are perfect then congrats!
If you enjoy those foods and your health and digestion can use some Optimizing, you might want to experiment with a little elimination!
As per the Hartwigs inIt Starts with Food (their Whole360 program was super-helpful years ago after my decade-long low-fat-vegan stint):“Themarketing from big cereal companies would have you think that cereal grains are highly nutritious—and that if you don’t eat them, you’ll miss out on all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you can get only from grains. That’s simply not true. Grains are not(werepeat, not) nutrient-dense when compared with vegetables and fruit.”
Plus:“Anotherway that a diet high in grains leads to suboptimal nutrition is in terms of opportunity cost: If there are more whole grains on your plate, then there’s probably less of some other food—like vegetables—on your plate. And that lowers the overall micronutrient density in your diet too. In summary:There is not a single health-promoting substance present in grains that you can’t also get from vegetables and fruit.”
I laugh as I type this given the near-religious fervor with which people approach their nutrition.
Again, YOU’re the Boss.
Given your nutritional philosophy, are there any foods that you think you might to eliminate?
Nathaniel Branden was a fascinating guy. As a teenager he wrote a fan letter to Ayn Rand—which she ignored. Then he wrote another letter a little later which led to an intimate relationship and collaboration.
We’ll save the details of that relationship for another discussion. For now, let’s look at some wisdom fromThe Six Pillars of Self-Esteem where Nathaniel tells us about a little self-awareness exercise called “sentence completion.”
Here’s how he puts it:“Sentence-completionwork is a deceptively simple yet uniquely powerful tool for raising self-understanding, self-esteem, and personal effectiveness. It rests on the premise that all of us have more knowledge than we normally are aware of—more wisdom than we use, more potentials than typically show up in our behavior. Sentence completion is a tool for accessing and activating these‘hiddenresources.’”
How’s it work?
Take a sentence stem (like:“Livingconsciously to me means...”) and create 6-10 completions of that sentence. Only rule is that each ending needs to create a grammatical sentence. Write quickly, don’t stop to “think” and, as Nathaniel says:“Anyending is fine, just keep going.”
Let’s try it out on this sentence stem:
If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my activities today…
That’s Today’s +1.
Here’s to tapping into the wisdom that’s always right there waiting for us!
We’ve talked about how exercise is kinda like taking a little bit of Ritalin and a little bit of Prozac, but somehow we’ve gotten this far into our +1 series without talking about the fact that exercise is as effective as Zoloft in reducing depression.
InThe How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirksy walks us through a little experiment.
Bring clinically depressed individuals into a lab. Split them into three groups. The first group is assigned to four months of aerobic exercise while the second group gets an antidepressant medication (in this case Zoloft) and the third group gets both.
The exercise group does three, forty-five minute sessions per week of cycling or walking/jogging at a moderate to high intensity.
Fast-forward four months.
As Sonja says:"Remarkably,by the end of the four-month intervention period, all three groups had experienced their depressions lift and reported fewer dysfunctional attitudes and increased happiness and self-esteem. Aerobic exercise was just as effective at treating depression as was Zoloft, or as a combination of exercise and Zoloft. Yet exercise is a lot less expensive, usually with no side effects apart from soreness. Perhaps even more remarkably, six months later, participants who had‘remitted’(recovered)from their depressions were less likely to relapse if they had been in the exercise group(sixmonths ago!) than if they had been in the medication group.”
She continues by saying:“Noone in our society needs to be told that exercise is good for us. Whether you are overweight or have a chronic illness or are a slim couch potato, you’ve probably heard or read this dictum countless times throughout your life. But has anyone told you— indeed, guaranteed you—that regular physical activity will make you happier? I swear by it.”
Any time one of the leading, conservative scientists in the fieldguarantees (!) ANYTHING I sit up straight and pay attention.
And, in this case, I put on my shoes and hit the trail.
In Self-Image 101, we talked about how to create the most heroically awesome version of yourself by integrating the “Optimus” you and the “en*theos” you into the “Hērōs” you.
We also talked aboutOther Image 101—aka: How do you see OTHERS?
Walt Whitman helped us out with this idea.
He once said:“Inthe faces of men and women, I see God.”
Which begs the question: When you look in the faces of men and women, what do YOU see?
That’s actually Today’s +1.
When you’re out and about today (and, perhaps even more importantly: when you’re in and hanging out with your family today!), take a moment to step back and SEE the absolute best, most divinely awesome essence of the people with whom you’re interacting.
And, remember: It’s hard to see in others what we’re not seeing in ourselves.
Let’s make sure the first person in whom we see God this morning is that person looking back at us in the mirror.
Here’s to bowing to the divine within yourself and to the divine within all those you meet today!
Here's another little gem from Dan Pink’sTo Sell Is Human. (The man is a brilliant writer and a treasure-trove of goodness.)
He tells us that, according to research from McKinsey:“thetypical American hears or reads morethan one hundred thousand words every day.”
Think about that for a moment.
100,000 words. EVERY DAY.
When I think about that, I immediately think of a few things: A Lion, a King, and a Monk.
Specifically, I think about Alberto Villoldo’s wisdom that we are now exposed to more stimuli in ONE WEEK than our ancient ancestors were exposed to in their ENTIRE LIFETIMES.
As he says, we evolved to deal withone lion roaring at us at a time. Now, with 24/7/365-global news, it’s as if theentire jungle is roaring at us all day every day. (Which, btw, is one of the reasons why obsessive news and talk show consumption is correlated with anxiety, depression, etc.)
(Another btw: Here’s a crazy stat from Nasha Winters inThe Metabolic Approach to Cancer. She tells us:“Wecan slug down more sugar in thirty minutes than our ancestors would consume in an entire year.” <- Yikes. And we wonder why we're all so sick…)
That’s our Lion. (Side note: Emerson and I just readThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and are now working our way through theChronicles of Narnia. Love it.)
Then there’s our King. Stephen King to be precise.
InOn Writing, King says that the hardest part of his creative journey was when he was a full-time high school teacher trying to make it as a writer. Although he loved the kids, at the end of the week he felt like his brain had been attached to jumper cables (!) and it was REALLY hard to simmer down and write anything worth reading.
Then there’s our Monk: Thich Nhat Hanh.
He tells us that everything we are exposed to is a “nutriment” that needs to be “digested.” Those 100,000 words we hear and read every day? Your brain has to process them and digest them just like all the food you eat (and that sugar you might be consuming!).
All of that to say…
To put it very directly: If you’re the “typical” American, jamming your consciousness so full of words (and stimulation) all day every day, you probably have a VERY hard time ever coming up with an original thought. (Laughing. Sorry to break the news…)
At least that’s MY experience when I open the tap a bit too much to news—I find myself waking up in the morning thinking about what’s going on in the world vs. what I want to CREATE in the world.
Of course, as with everything, there’s a balance.
btw: This is also why I very rarely have any music on (and never any talk shows) when I’m driving (that’s my silent time to decompress and think and integrate!) and why I NEVER (!!!) bring any technology with me when I’m in nature hiking (that’s my silent time to decompress and think and integrate!).
Again, we all need to find our path and our optimal balance.
To the extent we’re committed to being more CREATIVE than REACTIVE, I say we trim that 100,0000-word count down and remember Mark Twain’s quip that anytime he finds himself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect. And, of course, there’s Krishnamurti’s genius line that being well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society is no measure of health.
Let’s break away from the noise and make some noise in the world!
Yesterday we reviewed our Motivation Equation. I hope you took the time to hang out with your #1 Wildly Important Goal and run it through the little magical formula.
And, if not: Pardon the soapbox moment but… Um… Well, hmmmm…
We can’t incrementally crush it together if we’re not actually PRACTICING these ideas on a consistent (read: daily!) basis.
We’ve gotta move from THEORY to PRACTICE and there’s only ONE way to do that…
Ahem. I am now stepping off the soapbox.
Today we shall review another super powerful not-so-secret weapon:WOOP!
As I mentioned in our last +1, we’re currently working on a big project. As such, I’m employing all the best stuff I know to rock it.
And, it’s now officially I M P O S S I B L E for me tonot WOOP something I really care about.
I mean, recall that science shows just how powerful this little practice can be in making our dreams a reality so…
The key? Once again: Start with a vision of your ideal. That’s yourWISH. Know theOUTCOMES you think you’ll experience—akawhy you’re fired up. Then… Rub that vision up against reality by seeing theOBSTACLES you might face then create aPLAN to deal with it. Voila! You’ve created a “necessity to act” and you’ve increased your odds of success.
Let’s revisit your #1 Wildly Important Goal. (Note: Number ONE. Not ten. Or five. Or even two or three. ONE.)
Bust out a blank piece of paper or use our Worksheet. Let’s run through theWOOP! process.
What’s yourWISH? If everything went perfectly, what, specifically, would you see in your life? (Awesome.)
What’s yourOUTCOME? In other words, WHY are you fired up about achieving this? What benefits will you achieve? (Awesome.)
WhatOBSTACLES do you think you might face? Yep. That one. And that one. Don’t forget that one. (Awesome.)
What’s yourPLAN?! What will you do to go over and under and through those inevitable obstacles? OMMS!! (Awesome.)
One of the themes we come back to again and again is the basic idea of loving what is — whether that’s via Byron Katie’s wisdom or the Stoics or the Serenity Prayer.
Here’s another take on it that I’ve found super helpful.
Vernon Howard tells us:“Ifyour grand purpose in life is to wake up, then whatever happens to you is good, for it can prod you into self-awakening.”
And, he says:“Ifit takes apparent misfortune to turn us into true philosophers and doers of good to receive good, thenapparent misfortune is our greatest fortune.”
Well that’s one way to look at it, eh?
Indeed it is. A very powerful way.
What’s your GRAND purpose? The ultimate big ol’ purpose of your existence?
In short: To actualize my potential. In service to the world. While enjoying the process.
Now, with THAT goal in mind, I can bring Vernon’s wisdom to mind and alchemize pretty much E V E R Y T H I N G into great fortune. From the mundane issues with the kids or the biz to the bigger challenges in life.
It’s ALL antifragile fuel for the fire of actualization.
All of it.
So, again… What’s your grand purpose?
Get clear on it. Thenmake the connection between your response tothis moment andthat target.
Let’s use E V E R Y T H I N G as fuel for our growth.
That’s how to turn apparent misfortune into great fortune.
Although only 1 in 9 Americans istechnically in sales, he says that the other 8 in 9 spend a ton of their time in “non-sales selling.” In fact, the research he commissioned shows that we spend around 40% (!) of our time (or 24 minutes out of every working hour!) trying to move people to do things—whether that’s pitching an idea to colleagues or trying to change someone’s behavior.
(That’s, obviously a lot. And, being good at that is, obviously, important to our professional and personal success.)
Then there’s the personal time we spend “selling”/”moving” others—from selling our kids on a philosophical idea (“mistakes are awesome!”) or your spouse on how to Optimize your nutrition (“sugar isn’t awesome!”).
In that context, he tells us we need some new ABCs of selling. As you may know, the “ABCs” of the old-school, hard-core sales approach are “Always be closing.”
That, to say the least, is not where it’s at. Now? Now, Dan says, it’s all about “Attunement + Buoyancy + Clarity.”
Check out our Notes for more. Here’s the jumbo-quick look:
Attunement is basically the ability to connect with others. We get there via three things: humility, trying to figure out what the other person is thinking (this is more effective, btw, than trying to figure out what they’refeeling) and strategically mimicking their movements and words (but doing it subtly and acting like a human being without being weird about it).
Buoyancy is actually what I want to focus on today. More on that in a moment.
Then we have Clarity. We need to be able to concisely communicate the essence of our offer—finding the 1% of what really matters while asking good questions, etc.
All that to arrive at Bouyancy.
Bouyancy is how we stay afloat in the “ocean of rejection” we all feel when we try to “sell” people on our ideas and/or products, etc. Dan offer us tips to stay buoyant before, during and after our pitch.
Before: We want to make sure our self-talk is empowering (he offers a fascinating twist here that we’ll talk about in our next +1).
During: We want to keep our positivity ratios Optimized. 1:1 isn’t going to do it. Nor will 2:1. Research shows that 3:1 is the sweet spot. (Note: 11:1 isn’t going to work either!)
After: We want to make sure our “explanatory styles” are rocking. Check out the +1 on How to Learn Optimism featuring Martin Seligman’s 3 P’s for more.
Now, we’re ready for the point of Today’s +1.
You know that positivity ratio? We want to target 3:1. Too little positivity isn’t going to work. AND (very important and!), TOO MUCH positivity isn’t going to work either.
I love the way Dan frames Barbara Fredrickson’s wisdom on this:“Fredricksonsees the healthy positivity ratios ... as a calibration between two competing pulls: levity and gravity.‘Levityis that unseen force that lifts you skyward, whereas gravity is the opposing force that pulls you earthward. Unchecked levity leaves you flighty, ungrounded, and unreal. Unchecked gravity leaves you collapsed in a heap of misery,’ she writes.‘Yetwhen properly combined, these two opposing forces leave you buoyant.’”
In our last +1, we talked about our 80/20 180 phase in which we implemented a number of high-leverage lifestyle changes.
After that stabilization and Optimizing process, we went deep into what research shows to be a REALLY powerful targeted therapy for cancer: a ketogenic diet.
In fact, we hired the woman wholiterally wrote the book on it.
That book is calledKeto for Cancer. Its author, Miriam Kalamian has been my brother’s day-to-day nutritionist for the last x weeks. She and her book are AMAZING.
If you’re wondering what nutritional approach we’re following, THAT’s it.
I’m laughing as I type this but my brother went from pretty much eating whatever he wanted whenever he wanted in whatever quantity he wanted to following a nutritional plan with the precision of an Olympic athlete such that he knows, in his words, whether or not he can have a couple more walnuts with lunch. (HAH!)
All of which begs a few questions.
First, you may wonder: What’s a ketogenic diet? And, why is it relevant?
Well, a therapeutic ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, adequate protein, high healthy-fat, nutrient-dense diet that shifts your body’s primary source of energy metabolism from glucose to what’s known as “ketones.”
The ketones produced in a therapeutic ketogenic diet are relevant because THIS is how we strike cancer where it’s weak.
Here’s the deal. Remember our chat about the fact that “cancer loves sugar”? Well, cancer cells don’t justlove sugar, cancer cells pretty much literally (!!!) can’t livewithout sugar. (I have goosebumps as I type that.)
Know this: You don’t need to rewind that far in our 1.5-million-year evolutionary history to arrive at a time when the next meal wasn’t guaranteed (let alone arriving as “edible foodlike substances” that was made in a factory and available in your fridge all day every day — all consumed with basically no effort, etc.).
Know this: We evolved to not justsurvive during times of food scarcity but toTHRIVE.
This fact required what’s known as “metabolic flexibility.” Healthy cellshad to be able to burn either glucose or ketones for fuel.
(Side note: Here’s a little known fact that all dieticians know but nearly all keep secret: We can function just fine with ZERO carbs. We NEED fats and proteins. We do NOT NEED carbs.)
And might just be THE most important point in our entire discussion about how to conquer cancer so let’s pay attention here:
CANCER CELLS ARE METABOLICALLYINFLEXIBLE.
Which means that cancer cells can’t make the switch from using glucose for fuel to using ketones. (Whereas healthy cells easily can.)
And THAT is how you checkmate the seemingly immortal cells and their out-of-control growth.
Leverage their metabolic inflexibility. Cut off their fuel source. Step on their Achilles heel.
Practically speaking, what that means is we need to drastically reduce carb intake (in the range of around 20 net carbs per day). When done with precision (ideally with the guidance of a nutrition pro) within the healthy fat, adequate protein, nutrient-dense parameters Miriam maps out in her book, you radically change your energy metabolism — nourishing your healthy cells with ketones while starving your cancer cells of glucose.
This is why my brother measures his glucose and ketones all day every day.
He’s driven the glucose down: now in the 80s — which, again, is an epically awesome drop from the 145 diabetic, cancer-feasting-on-glucose zone to the optimal, “where’s the glucose?!” cancer cell starvation diet zone — WHILE driving his ketone levels up. Again, nourishing the metabolically flexible healthy cells while exploiting the metabolically INflexible cancer cell’s Achilles.
THAT is how we use targeted nutritional therapy to win the war on cancer.
So, on one hand, as per our last +1, science shows that genes play a surprisingly small role in the cause of cancer.
Guess where nearly all of that $100 billion of research money has has been spent?
We’ve spent $100 billion dollars on research and we spend $100 billion dollars on cancer medications every year operating under the assumption that cancer is, primarily, a genetic issue.
To put it directly, that appears to be the essence of why we’ve failed to win the war on cancer. We’ve been looking at it from the wrong perspective.
Result: No improvements in the real death rates since the 1950s.
Here’s the short story on the two conflicting theories regarding the origin of cancer:
The dominant theoretical orientation within Western medicine is something called the “somatic mutation theory” (or “SMT”) of cancer.
It basically says that cancer is CAUSED by genetic mutations.
Now, there’s no question that cancer cells are pretty wacky genetically. In fact, the sheer complexity of mutations that exist even within one individual with cancer (let alone across individuals with various types of cancers) is why it’s so hard to treat cancer from this paradigm.
But the question we need to ask is: Is cancer CAUSED by genetic mutations, or are those mutations adownstream EFFECT of some other cause?
Thankfully, researchers have been asking this question.
Enter: The metabolic theory of cancer.
The METABOLIC theory of cancer (vs. the genetic theory of cancer) says it’s dysfunctional ENERGY METABOLISM thatprecedes the genetic instability (and all the other hallmarks of cancer).
And, guess what?
That’s a HUGE distinction.
Because your theory drives your therapy. Get the theory wrong and you get the therapy wrong.
You just might spend an awful lot of money on research and treatment and get no real improvements.
To put it directly: When a loved one’s life is on the line, that’s no longer an abstract statistic. It’s a matter of life and death.
P.S. Did you know that some cancer medications cost $100,000 for a year’s worth of treatment that only extends life by three months? That’s (shockingly) true. There has to be a better way, eh? Yes. And… The good news: Thereis a better way.
P.P.S. Thomas Seyfried is one of the world’s leading researchers who is persuasively arguing for the metabolic theory of cancer. His 15-page (+ 7 pages of references) peer-reviewed article in the scientific journalNutrition & Metabolism called “Cancer as a metabolic disease” is a MUST READ.
Print it out, read it. Bring a copy with you to your next appointment with your oncologist and team, etc. This is the scientific foundation for the theoretical framework we will be using to inform our metabolic approach to therapy.
P.P.P.S. It’s essential that we understand the fact that what we’re talking about here is not a “cleanse” or a “detox” or anything along those lines. Although many inspiring anecdotal stories exist out there on the Internet about various juicing/cleansing/detoxing protocols, that’s NOT what we’re talking about here and, with blessings to all those who have benefited from and swear by them, I would never bet my life (or my brother’s life or your life) on those approaches.
What we’re talking about here is a scientifically-grounded look at an alternative theory of cancer supported by a growing body of peer-reviewed, empirically sound data. There’s a BIG difference between that and the “cancer cures” we can find on the Internet. And, that’s one of the reasons why most primary care physicians and oncologists freak out when they hear you’re doing something other than traditional approaches.
We’ve shared all this research with our traditional team. And, we’ve gotten smart about how to communicate our approach. Which (along with the astonishing (!) therapeutic benefits my brother has experienced thus far) has led our oncologist to say to my brother, “If I were diagnosed with what you have (stage IIB pancreatic cancer), I’d do what you’re doing.”
Why would he say that? Because, pancreatic cancer is notoriously hard to treat from a traditional (read: genetic origin!) perspective.
And, you knowwhen he said that? It wasn’t in our first meeting. In that initial meeting when he delivered the prognosis he literally didn’t look at my brother once. He had the very difficult job of communicating a very heavy prognosis and all my brother could see from the table was the side of his doctor’s face as he described what was going on to Rick’s wife, Kristin. It wasn’t a good day to say the least.
He changed his tone after he looked at my brother’s PET scan that showed NO SIGNS of cancer—after 5 weeks of SUPER intense nutritional and lifestyle therapeutic intervention that we’ll discuss. (Although we didn’t have a “before” PET scan to compare it to, that’s not supposed to happen with stage IIB pancreatic.) He and the other doctor who reviewed the PET + CT scans said, “If we didn’t know you had cancer, we wouldn’t know you had cancer after looking at those scans.”
Now, there are a lot of variables at play and, again, we didn’t have a baseline to compare it to, and this is a sample size of one and we have a long way to go in our Optimizing journey, etc. etc. etc. but I am extremely confident that our metabolic approach to my brother’s cancer helped halt his cancer’s growth. And, I know we’re not alone as there are so many exemplars with similar results following a similar approach out there.
I’m excited to share some of the practical steps we’ve taken in line with the metabolic approach to cancer. But, first, I want to spend a little more time establishing the theoretical framework as it’s important we get it on a high level.
In our last couple +1s, we had some fun at the hospital with our Stoic friends Seneca and Epictetus.
Recall Epictetus’ wisdom that sometimes good philosophy feels more like a trip to the hospital than a spa. (Ouch!)
Seneca echoes this wisdom inLetters from a Stoic where he says,“Be harsh with yourself at times.”
Now, of course, this does NOT mean that we need to go around like that albino monk fromThe da Vinci Code mutilating ourselves. (Yowsers!)
It DOES mean that, at times, with a base of (and, ultimately, OUT OF a deep sense of) self-compassion, we need to give ourselves a Zen stick to the head and wake up from the bad habits that might be dragging us down.
As with the virtuous mean chat we had awhile ago, there’s a virtuous mean here.
TOO MUCH harshness is destructive — we’ll develop a sense of self-loathing that Aristotle would consider a vice ofexcess.
TOO LITTLE harshness on the other hand, and we run the risk of being a bit too self-contented. That would be a vice ofdeficiency.
The virtuous mean rests right there in the middle path — where we’reappropriately correcting our weaknesses WITHOUT self-criticism per se, just a nice firm “needs work” look in the eye as we embody more and more of our ideals.
The great Sufi philosopher Rumi comes to mind. He tells us:“This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross. This testing purifies the gold by boiling the scum away.”
In other words, be harsh with yourself at times. Check yourself into the hospital for the surgery. Throw yourself into the furnace.
Let’s extract the silver from the dross. Purify the gold within by boiling away the scum.
Now. And again and again and again.
With a knowing, joyful, Stoic-Sufi-Optimizing smile.
Once upon a time in a land far away, there was an old farmer.
This man had a horse.
Then, one day, his horse ran away.
All the neighbors said, “Gah!! That’s such a bummer. What bad luck.”
The man said, “Maybe. It is what is.”
Then, one day, the horse returned!! And, lo and behold, the horse brought along a bunch of wild stallions with him!
All the neighbors said, “Wow!! That’s incredible. What good luck!”
The man said, “Maybe. It is what it is.”
At this point in the story, I should mention that the man also had a son. This son was pretty excited about the new horses. Especially one particularly wild stallion he wanted to ride.
So, he hops up on the horse and, WHAM! He gets slammed to the ground and breaks his leg.
All the neighbors said, “Ohhhhhhhhh, man! What bad luck. I can’t believe that happened. Now your son can’t work the fields. That’sreally bad.”
The man said, “Maybe. It is what it is.”
Then one day, the army came marching into the small village. There was a war and the king demanded that all able-bodied young men join them in their battle. Our man’s son with the broken leg was spared.
All the neighbors said, “Wow. Your son has been saved! What good luck.”
The man said…
Well, at this stage you know what the man said.
Today’s +1. How do YOU respond to life’s events?
Is it all either “good” or “bad”?
Or, perhaps, is it just what it is?
P.S. Shakespeare must have had this Zen story in mind when he had Hamlet say that “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
In our last +1, we talked about Phil Stutz’ great phrase: “Endlessly evolving process.”
Phil likes to draw upward spiraling loops to describe the flow of evolving into the best version of ourselves.
In fact, his spiraling loops are almost identical to Ray Dalio’s spiraling loops. Remember his? We unpacked his 5-Steps to Success model not too long ago.
The super-quick recap: You start with an audacious goal. Then you fail. Then you figure out why you failed. Then you design a better solution to your challenge. Then you get to work on the solution.
Then you spiral up and repeat that process of evolving into a slightly better version of you. (For how long? E N D L E S S L Y.)
Now, Dalio tells us that it’s REALLY important to fall in love with that process. ESPECIALLY (!) the part most people shy away from — that whole failing part.
“But can’t I just evolvewithout all those mistakes?”
(Insert laughter from all philosophers ever.)
“No. You can’t.”
Therefore, the wisest among us (with Dalio in the lead on this one) tell us that we want to so fall in love with the process of making mistakes and then getting a little better that we’re kinda like a runner who hits a certain point during his or her run where the pain goes away and the “runner’s high” takes over.
Dalio calls this the “mistake-learner’s high.”
You’re so engaged in the dynamic process of Optimizing that you L O V E the mistakes — knowing that they’re just part of the process of going after something audacious and the perfect data/fuel to Optimize just a little more today.
And, we all know that it’s all about aggregating and compounding those tiny little gains over an extended period of time, right?
Today’s +1. Made any mistakes lately?
Can you see how those mistakes are an ESSENTIAL part of your (endlessly evolving) process of achieving your audacious goals?!
Please extend your pointer finger and shake it as if you’re lecturing someone — saying something like,“You shouldn’t do this, this and this! Do that, that and that!”
Now, look at your hand and count how many fingers are pointing at the person you’re lecturing and how many fingers are pointing back at you.
Unless you’re missing a digit, you should see one finger pointing at the lucky recipient of your lecture and THREE fingers pointing back at you.
You may want to pay attention to that the next time you’re lecturing someone.
Debbie Ford tells us that this practices is areally handy way to notice our “shadow” — the stuff we haven’t integrated in our own lives that, unfortunately, we tend to project onto others.
She tells us to “attend our own lectures” because, more often than not, whatever lecture we’re giving someone else is the one WE desperately need to attend.
Today’s +1. The next time you start telling someone all the things you thinkthey need to start doing more of or less of or whatever, imagine you’re a student diligently taking notes on the lecture you’re giving.
You might just find that the lecture you’re giving *them* is what YOU most need to hear!
(And, btw, the sooner you actually do the stuff you’re lecturing other people about, the sooner you’ll stop lecturing them about it. ;)
Susan Peirce Thompson wrote a great book calledBright Line Eating. She has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of eating.
Before all that, Susan was addicted to cocaine and food and basically everything else — which gives her a very nice vantage point from which to talk about how to recover from addiction.
In her book and programs, she applies the bright lines of Willpower 101 we talk about all the time to the fundamentals of Nutrition 101 we talk about all the time.
Her top two bright lines for eating? Eliminate sugar and flour.
Don’t reduce or eat them more moderately. E L I M I N A T E.
Susan walks us through all the reasons those edible foodlike substances act more likedrugs than food and she points out the havoc they cause in our bodies. But today I want to focus on a question she often gets asked when she encourages people to make a 100% Commitment to those two bright line rules.
People often say (insert at least a slightly whiney voice):“But… Isn’t that extreme?”
“I mean, really? I have to sayno to donuts and cookies and pastries and pizza and…?”
“Isn’t that just sooooo extreme?”
NO, she says.
Cutting off your limbs because you have diabetes is extreme.
Getting checked into the hospital one Tuesday afternoon then losing half your stomach after having gastric bypass surgery because you have a cancerous growth near your pancreas that is a serious threat to your life? THAT is extreme.
Removing sugar and flour?
Not so much.
Today’s +1. Eliminate the sugar and flour.
Like, jumbo 100% eliminate.
Unless you think it’s too extreme and you’d prefer the alternative down the line.
Matthew Kelly has written a number of great books. We have Notes on three of them:Perfectly Yourself,The Rhythm of Life andOff Balance.
InOff Balance, Mathew tells us that if we want to change the trajectory of our lives (and/or careers), we need to change the period of time we think about.
Here’s how he puts it: “So, the first step is, don’t be in too much of a hurry to create the ideal life you have imagined. Personal and professional satisfaction are built like a castle, one brick at a time. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a week. In the same way, we tend to overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in a decade.
Take a decade view. Give yourself a decade to build the life you have imagined for yourself,
one that is rich and overflowing with personal and professional satisfaction. Until you take the decade view, until you begin to imagine and plan what you can do in a decade, you have not even begun to explore your potential.”
The decade view.
What’s YOURS look like?
Seriously. Pull out a blank piece of paper. Wave the wand. What’s your life look like?
That’s Today’s +1.
P.S. From a career/income perspective, Matthew brings the point home by reflecting on how much various people at McDonalds make depending on the time horizon for which they’re responsible. Here’s a super quick look:
90 second = Drive-thru clerk = $7-$8/hr
8 hours = Shift manager = $12-$15/hr
3 months = Store manager = $20/hr
1 year = Regional manager = $35-$40/hr
20 years = CEO = $10,000/hr (= $20m/year)
Note: The same returns apply to every aspect of our lives. For example, if our time horizon for our happiness is the next 5 minutes, then we’ll prioritize eating the donut, having the extra drink or smoking the cigarette.
And, guess what? Although it’s easy to take for granted, with that approach we’re not even guaranteed a decade.
Of course, none of us are guaranteed even an extra moment beyond this one but we want to choose wisely and our #1 priority should be making sure we’re giving ourselves the best shot to be around in a decade, eh?
Here’s to a beautiful decade view. See your Future Self. And prioritize your next moment accordingly.
When I worked with Steve Chandler, one of the themes of our work together was“creatingwealth through profound service.”
I just love that phrase:“Wealth through profound service.”
Steve wrote a great book calledWealth Warrior and he’s the one who inspired me to look up the ancient meaning of the word “astonish.” It’s from the Latinex "out" +tonare "to thunder." It literally means "to leave someone thunderstruck.” Or, as I like to say, “to strike with lightning.”
Steve says that most people have the wrong standard. They’re thinking about “customer satisfaction.” But, he says, how uninspiring is the idea of merely “satisfying” someone? Much better, he says, to ASTONISH. I, of course, agree.
All that’s nice, but how do we do that?
Well, I think the essence of it is found at the nexus point of those three circles we talk about in the +1 called “How’s Your Hedgehog?” in which we talk about Jim Collins’ perspective on how great businesses (and lives!) are created.
In short: Collins tells us we need to find the nexus point of what we truly Love to do, what we can be Great at, and what the world Needs (and, if it’s a biz we’re talking about, what the market is willing to pay for!).
As I was preparing for Abundance 101, I was thinking about those ideas and also thinking about Cal Newport’s great bookSo Good They Can’t Ignore You in which he tells us about the perils of following your Passion Mindset at the exclusion of your Craftsman Mindset.
Longer chat but I don’t think it’s either/or. Which led me to sketch the three venn circles for the one millionth time. But this time I wrote: Passion Mindset + Craftsman Mindset + Servant Mindset.
I think that if we want to actualize our potential (in creativity, enjoyment and wealth) we need to truly LOVE what we do. My standard? You love it so much you’d pay to do it. That’s a Passion Mindset.
(Of course, as Professionals we need to do what needs to get done whether we feel like it or not, so I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns but we’ve gotta start with the Love!)
And… If we want to actualize our potential (in creativity, enjoyment and wealth), we need to be ALL IN committed to mastering our craft and doing GREAT work. Enter: The Craftsman Mindset.
Finally, it’s not enough to Love it and strive to be Great at it, we need to find a way to share our Passion and Craft with the world. And, we need to do the often hard work of figuring out how to truly create value by giving people what they really want and are willing to pay for. Enter: The Servant Mindset.
So… Three Mindsets:Passion +Craftsman +Servant.
Find the nexus of those three mindsets. Optimize the bliss out of each. THAT is how we astonish.
And, over the long run (!), that’s how we create wealth through profound service.
Today’s +1. Sketch your three circles. Take a quick inventory. How’re you doing? What’s awesome? What needs work?
And, most importantly: What can you do today to Optimize 1%?!
A couple +1s ago we talked about taking asystems approach to disease vs. just asymptoms approach. We referenced Dr. Junger’s metaphor of a wise gardener tending to the roots.
Which reminds me of T Harv Eker’s line:“In every forest, on every farm, in every orchard on earth, it’s what’s under the ground that creates what’s above the ground. That’s why placing your attention on the fruits that you have already grown is futile. You cannot change the fruits that are already hanging on the tree. You can, however, change tomorrow’s fruits. But to do so, you will have to dig below the ground and strengthen the roots.”
Here’s another metaphor and pop quiz to bring the point home.
If you had a boiling pot of water and you wanted to easily and permanently make the water stop boiling, would you:
a) Drop in two ice cubes at regular intervals; or,
b) Turn the flame off/move the pot off the heat?
Option b) for the win!
Seems so simple... Yet, somehow, in a world where over fifteen million people have purchased Stephen Covey’sThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we’ve failed to implement Habit #1 to “Be Proactive.”
Instead, we throw our hands up in the air at all the symptoms we experience (from acid reflux and headaches to depression and cancer) and, rather than go after thecauses of these ailments, we reach for another couple ice cubes to temporarily reduce the heat while doing *nothing* to deal with the flame at the root of the underlying problem.
Option a) for the loss!
Of course, we all do it at times. Enter: Common Humanity.
And, enter: Today’s +1. What “ice cubes” are you relying on? And, what little (or big) thing can you do TODAY to deal with the root cause of the issue more proactively?
Ice cubes begone! (Except for iced tea. That’s awesome.)