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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 optimize.me.)
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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time
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Now displaying: July, 2019
Jul 24, 2019
This morning on the Trail I was thinking about Mister Rogers and his challenges creating (recall our “tortures of the damned”!) along with Dr. Seuss and all his creative challenges.
 
Then I was thinking about all the challenges I (and we all) face as I (and we all) strive to do my (and our) life’s work. (And… I was thinking about that gap that pretty much *always* exists between what we see in our mind’s eye and what winds up on our proverbial canvases.)
 
I thought to myself, “Are there any artists truly happy with their work?”
 
At precisely the moment I finished framing that question in my head I glanced down and saw a snail a few feet ahead of me.
 
And I smiled.
 
It was a just a normal, mid-size snail. The kind we see all the time and usually just kinda take for granted and ignore.
 
But this morning I could see just how elegantly perfectly his (or was it her?) shell was designed.
 
I mean, it was a piece of art!!!
 
And then it hit me…
 
The “Guy” (or was it “Gal”? Or was it…?) who created THAT piece of art?
 
He/She/It was definitely happy with His/Her/Its creation.
 
Then I looked around and saw all the other imperfectly perfect art on display—from the trees to the dirt to the rocks and the weeds and the shrubs and the sky and, well, everything.
 
It was kind of an epiphanal moment for me. 
 
That’s Today’s +1.
 
Let’s celebrate all the art in our lives.
 
And try to emulate the satisfaction of the ultimate Creator as we diligently, patiently, persistently, humbly and JOYFULLY strive to make our lives (and all its creations in it) a masterpiece!
Jul 19, 2019
Continuing our trip through Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky’s brilliant brains and equally brilliant book Make Time, Today we’re going to have fun with a little history lesson combined with a super-simple way to start chipping away at all those twitchy smartphone touches.
 
(I still can’t believe the average person touches their phones 2,617 times per day!!!)
 
Jake and JZ give us a ton of great tactics to rock their four-step process. (Recall: Highlight + Laser + Energize + Reflect! btw: You know YOUR Highlight for Today?)
 
In fact, they  share 87 tips and tricks to Optimize!
 
In the “Laser” section, after teaching us how to create a “distraction-free phone” (hint: clear your home screen, remove email apps, social media and unnecessary notifications) they encourage us to consider getting a simple watch—you know, those things that just tell time. 
 
Here’s the little history lesson.
 
They tell us: “In 1714, the British government offered a £20,000 prize (that’s $5 million in 2018 money), to anyone who could invent a portable clock that could be used aboard ships. It took nearly fifty years and dozens of prototypes until finally, in 1761, John Harrison created the first ‘chronometer.’ It was a technological marvel that changed the world even though it was barely portable—the clock had to be mounted in a special cabinet and stowed belowdecks for its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the HMS Deptford.”
 
Isn’t that awesome?!
 
They continue: Today you can buy a portable clock—that is, a digital quartz wristwatch—for ten bucks. It’s always accurate. It’s lightweight and waterproof. It can wake you up after a nap or remind you to take dinner out of the oven. It’s an amazing piece of technology.”
 
That’s Today’s +1.
 
Want a super-simple and equally powerful way to reduce our compulsive smartphone usage?
 
Consider getting a portable clock.
 
And…
 
Let’s salute the crew of the HMS Deptford on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic as we appreciate that miraculous moving time piece we can put on our wrist as we remember to appreciate just how awesome our modern lives are—ESPECIALLY when we Optimize how we choose to use all the amazing technology!
Jul 14, 2019
A couple +1s ago, we hung out with Mister Rogers in his barrelful of songs. 
 
Today I want to hop in the pool with him and then do something extra special.
 
First, some more wisdom from The World According to Mister Rogers.
 
Fred tells us: “I like to swim, but there are some days I just don’t feel much like doing it—but I do it anyway! I know it’s good for me and I like to keep my promises. That’s one of my disciplines. And it’s a good feeling after you’ve tried and done something well. Inside you think, ‘I’ve kept at this and I’ve really learned it—not by magic, but by my own work.’”
 
Of course, I LOVE the fact that Fred swims every day. Whether he (insert whiney voice) feels like it or not. He knows it’s good for him and he likes to keep his promises.
 
So…
 
*splash*
 
See ya in the pool!
 
But it’s not his discipline to swim every day that I want to talk about Today.
 
It’s what he does AFTER he gets out of the pool.
 
He steps on the scale.
 
And what does it say?
 
“143.”
 
When did it say that?
 
Basically EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! of his adult life.
 
Do you know WHY he was so enamored with his scale saying “143”? 
 
Well, “I” has 1 letter, “L-O-V-E” has 4 letters and “Y-O-U” has 3 letters. 
 
1-4-3.
 
His ENTIRE LIFE—all the way down to his weight!!—was one big expression of “I love you.”
 
Today’s +1.
 
Makes me wonder: What are YOU committed to? 
 
Is there a way to have fun connecting your weight to that mojo? 
 
+1. +4. +3.
 
P.S. Fred was 6 feet tall. So am I. I weigh a little more than Fred but not that much. 
 
Although I’m currently in the 150’s, I’ve been playing around with different potential combos for my weight. When/if it’s in the 140’s again, I’m thinking 149 might be cool.
 
1 is for our “I’ and 4 is for “L-O-V-E.” 
 
What about the 9? 
 
Let’s go with: “E-U-D-A-I-M-O-N-S.”
 
I love YOU and YOUR eudaimon. 
 
Yes, I do.
Jul 9, 2019
In our last +1, we talked about being the change we want to see in the world.
 
I asked: What change DO you want to see?
 
(Well… What is it?! And… Are you being it?!)
 
That makes me think of another 20th century icon: Mister Fred Rogers.
 
In his great little book The World According to Mister Rogers, we get to immerse ourselves in a collection of wisdom-gems from the great man.
 
Including this one: “The values we care about the deepest, and the movements within society that support those values, command our love. When those things that we care about so deeply become endangered, we become enraged. And what a healthy thing that is! Without it, we would never stand up and speak out for what we believe.”
 
Mister Rogers “enraged”?
 
Yep.
 
You want to see his fierce courage in action?
 
Watch this 6 minute, 50 second video of him testifying before congress. 
 
Note: Please make sure you notice how he channeled that rage into pure love.
 
Notice how pure love broke through the armor of a hitherto harsh foe. (I’ll be surprised if you, like the Senator in that hearing, don’t get goosebumps (and/or tears) FEELING the soul force of Fred Rogers standing up and speaking out for what he believed in and dedicated his life to.)
 
What’s fascinating for me is how similar Fred’s approach is to Gandhi’s. 
 
As we discussed, one of the primary themes of that book is Gandhi’s evolution/transformation in which he learned to alchemize his anger into an unstoppable “soul-force.”
 
He did this via what he called satyagraha.”
 
Satyagraha is a word he coined combining two Sanskrit words. It basically means “holding onto truth” and is the foundation of his (and MLK’s) “nonviolent resistance” to evil.
 
So... What values do YOU care about the deepest? 
 
What movements within society support those values and command your love? 
 
Are those values endangered?
 
If so, let’s become enraged and celebrate the power of that emotion as we alchemize that fierce love into noble action—standing up and speaking out for what we believe.
Jul 4, 2019
Today I’d like to let you know that I officially have a new job. It’s one I’m quite excited about.
 
First, a little context.
 
You know that Ferrari pit crew guy I’ve been obsessing about? You know, the one we watched in this little video
 
(I’m literally getting that picture framed so I can put it up in my office, btw.)
 
As you may recall, his sole job is to yank off the right-front tire while his 21 buddies play their roles as well as they can as they create some poetry in motion.
 
Well, that’s my new job.
 
Only YOU are the Race Car Driver
 
Imagine me poised and ready to yank off your front-right tire so you can get back on track Optimized and ready to rock every day. 
 
Because that’s what I’ll be doing for as long as I’m lucky enough to serve in your crew.
 
That’s Today’s +1.
 
Have a great Race Day, my friend.
 
Oh! 
 
P.S. Two quick little things.
  1. What’s the most important thing for you to do in your Race Today?
  2. How will YOU swap out someone’s front-right tire Today?
 
That is all.
 
That and LET’S DO THIS!!!
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