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: September, 2019
Sep 27, 2019
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been hanging out in our guts. (Good times!)
Surprisingly, that’s where we discovered 90% (!) of our serotonin and 70-80% (!!) of our immune systems.
Crazy, eh?
Today we’re going to spend another moment on the subject.
Get this: Although modern medicine pretty much ignores the gut as its standard of care focuses on alleviating symptoms rather than Optimizing systems, the idea that our guts play a central role in our well-being isn’t a new idea.
Let’s jump into a time machine and rewind the clock about 2,400 years. 
Destination: Ancient Greece. 
It’s time to meet the father of medicine: Hippocrates.
You know what he said? “All disease begins in the gut.”
Dr. Gundry echoes that wisdom and adds a little bonus gem (via The Longevity Paradox) where he tells us: “As Hippocrates famously and wisely said, ‘All disease begins in the gut.’ The good news is that all disease can be stopped there as well.”
That’s Today’s +1.
What’s ONE thing you KNOW you could be doing to Optimize your nutrition?
Is TODAY a good day to make that happen?
High fives.
Low fives.
Mid fives. (Right around the gut!)
Let’s do this!!!
Sep 17, 2019
Dr. Steven Gundry is Tony Robbins’ doctor. He’s a former world-class heart surgeon. These days he focuses on longevity.
His new book is called The Longevity Paradox. Sub-title: “How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age.” 
It’s fantastic. I highly recommend it. 
The main theme of the book is that our longevity, paradoxically, is driven by the most ancient parts of us—the bacteria and other “foreign” stuff living in our guts (and on our bodies). 
Today, I want to focus on one of the practical ideas from that book that might wind up being one of the most significant Optimizing levers I’ve pulled. (Ever.) (Seriously.)
It’s called Brain Washing.”
Short story. 
I’ve known for awhile that I should have my last meal earlier than I’ve been having it. Dr. Gundry finally sold me on why I should at least test what would happen if I ate my last meal FOUR hours before going to bed. 
Yes, four (!) hours before I go to bed. Now, I go to bed as early as 7:30 PM so that means I’m eating my last meal around 3:00 or so. 
It sounded absurd to me as well when I first contemplated it.
The data coming in so far is almost even more absurd. We’ll talk about that more in our next +1.
For now, let’s talk about glymph.
Ever heard of it?
Here’s how Dr. G puts it: “A few years ago, researchers discovered a system that allows cerebrospinal fluid (that clear fluid we tap when we stick a needle into your spine) to flow through the brain, cleaning out the spaces in between cells, just as lymphatic fluid does in the rest of your body. This is called the glymphatic system. To make room for the fluid to wash out your brain, your cells actually shrink in size when you are in deep sleep. This allows the full ‘brain wash’ process to go twenty times as fast when you are in deep sleep as when you are awake and helps explain why a good night’s sleep is so restorative. When you get an adequate amount of deep sleep, you literally wake up with a refreshed and rejuvenated mind that has been swept clean of junk and debris.”
We’ve all heard of our lymphatic system.
It’s an essential part of our immune system featuring a clear fluid called “lymph” that helps rid our bodies of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
But... What about our glymphatic system?
I never really paid attention to it until I read this book. It’s a BIG deal.
Want to keep your brain all squeaky clean?
Well... It’s the glymph in our GLYMPHATIC system that’s responsible for getting rid of all the toxins, waste and other unwanted materials from our BRAINS.
Which kinda begs the question: How do we Optimize THAT process?
Back to Dr. G. He tells us: “The glymphatic system is most active during the specific stage of deep sleep that happens very early in the sleep cycle. And the glymphatic system, just like your digestive system, requires a great deal of blood flow. This means that if you eat too soon before going to bed, your blood will all flow to your gut to aid in digestion and will not be able to reach your brain to complete the all-important brain wash.”
He tells us that this “brain wash cycle” is probably the “single most overlooked and misunderstood aspect of neurodegenerative diseases.”
He also tells us that, luckily, there’s a simple solution: “Leaving as big a gap as possible between your last meal of the day and your bedtime.”
His specific recommendation? Again: Eat your last meal at least FOUR hours before you go to bed.
That’s Today’s +1.
Got glymph?
What time was YOUR last meal last night?
How can you Optimize that a little more Today?
-1. -1. -1. -1. 
Glymph for the win!
Sep 12, 2019
This morning I was doing my normal thing. In the process, I came up with a little insight I’m excited to share. 
First, the quick recap of what led to the insight.
Of course, my day started yesterday when I shutdown early the day before (4:00 PM; right after my every-Monday coaching call), hung out with the fam then went to bed super early (7:30 PM) and deliberately spent 10 hours in bed (getting 9 hours of sleep including 1 hour 24 min of REM sleep and 2 hours 23 min of deep sleep). Then I was up at 5:30 AM (I’m sleeping in these days, folks! lol) with an Oura readiness score of 95 (having fun gaming it). 20-min Meditation, 5-min Movement then AM1 Deep Work.
I started the Deep Work with our quick “Carpe Diem” journaling session—noting my Identities + Virtues + Behaviors for Energy + Work + Love. (Note: This practice is a cornerstone of our Mastery Series/Optimize Coach program. Aspiring Coaches need to log 200 days of Optimize Carpe Diem journaling as one of the requirements to get certified.)
Then I spent some time doing some strategic planning for 2020 and beyond.
That journaling looked something like this.
At the top I wrote Philosopher” (technically, I drew the Φ symbol to represent Philosopher). Then I wrote “Soul Force” then “Elegant Simplicity” then “Focus” then “Flow.”
(Note1: Every (!) time I write down “10,000” in the +1 column in 25 years, I imagine the 70-year-old version of me smiling and waving and saying, “Hi, this is Brian. Welcome back to another Optimize +1!” (That actually gets me misty just typing that, imagining the potential of us hanging out for that long.
Note2: If all goes as currently planned, we’ll share that +1 exactly 3 months after I turn 70 on August 22, 2044.)
Below that Body of Work goodness, I sketched out the three primary components of our biz as I currently see them.
These include what I call “Core Wisdom” which is basically the +1s, PNs, and 101s as articulated above in the Body of Work chart. I draw an arrow to infinity to represent my (current) plans to do those forever as the foundation of our work together. (And, so I can be like this guy.)
Then I draw a big “greater than” symbol (>) to represent the fact that all that “Core Wisdom” is going to be distilled into what I’m calling a “Mastery Series.” Imagine my absolute best stuff distilled into a “this will change your life” program that will, well, change your life. (lol)
Then I draw a “less than” symbol (<) to represent that all THAT energy goes into “Optimize Coach” to represent the fact that a select group of people will go through the Mastery Series and not only master the wisdom for themselves but use our Optimize protocol to Coach others on how to Optimize their lives. 
Ultimately, my sketch looks kinda like this:


But none of that is really the point of Today’s +1. (Although I do like sharing my thought process and I hope you enjoy it as well. I feel like we’re creating something together and I think it’s important to share my (often messy!) creative process as we have fun creating something awesome together.)
Below all THAT, I reminded myself of my/our Mission.
Change the world.
One person at a time. Together.
Starting with you and me.
Then I wrote down: “Elegant Simplicity” + “Fierce Consistency” + “Energized Tranquility” + “Operationalizing Virtue.”
I drew two venn circles. 
Next to the one on the left I wrote “ELEGANT SIMPLICITY.”
Next to the one on the right I wrote “PROFOUND SERVICE.”
And all THAT gets us to the point of Today’s +1.
After writing “PROFOUND SERVICE” I got up and cruised over to the dictionary. I was curious what profound” literally meant.
Do you know what the word means?
Apple Dictionary tells us that profound is an adjective that has a couple definitions:
1 (of a state, quality, or emotion) very great or intense: profound feelings of disquiet | profound social changes
2 (of a person or statement) having or showing great knowledge or insight: a profound philosopher
Those are interesting, but what I really wanted was the etymology of the word. It’s from the Latin profundus—which means “deep” and is made up of two little words: pro (before) + fundus (bottom). 
I literally laughed when I read that.
Profound. It means DEEP. As in “right before the bottom.”
The best part? 
I have a chat with Cal Newport scheduled for this afternoon. I can’t wait to tell him that Deep (PROFOUND!) Work is what allows us to engage in Deep (PROFOUND!) Service.
And THAT, my friend, is Today’s +1.
Let’s serve profoundly.
Sep 7, 2019
In our last +1, we talked about the Fundies and how (ahem) fundamental they are to our Optimizing and Actualizing. 
Be Present!
As I said, if I could whisper one thing in my younger self’s ear, I think it would be to MASTER those guys as I’m firmly convinced that when we get our PHYSIOLOGY properly Optimized, the rest tends to follow pretty smoothly via the super-strong connection we’ve created between our “normal” selves and our eudaimonic, Optimus-best selves.
Today I want to talk about another Idea from the Big Picture lecture on the subject.
Remember the Spinny Fingers we talked about back in the day?
Basic recap: Find a safe place to spin around and get yourself dizzy. Then do one of two things. 
First: After getting yourself nice and dizzy, stop spinning and start looking aimlessly around the room. Up over there. Down there. All around.
What happens when you have no central point to ground yourself? You get DIZZIER.
Shake that off. Then, if you feel so inspired, get yourself nice and dizzy again. 
Only this time, rather than aimlessly looking around, press your palms and fingers together in front of your face (like you’re praying) and STARE intently right at your fingertips.
What happens when you have a central point in which you can ground yourself? You IMMEDIATELY get balanced. Dizzy begone.
(Try it. It’s pretty cool.)
All of that brings us to the point of Today’s +1.
The next time you find yourself getting all dizzy by life, consider pausing and asking yourself three simple questions.
  1. What’s my #1 self-care habit? Am I honoring it or have I let it slip?
  2. What’s the #1 thing I could START doing that would have the most positive impact in my life?
  3. What’s the #1 thing I could STOP doing that would have the most positive impact in my life?
The #1s x 3
#1 Self-Care = ________________.
#1+ = ________________.
#1- = ________________.
I call those “Equanimity Anchors.”
How are yours?
Sep 2, 2019
In our last +1, we talked about lint on the projector’s lens and the fact that, as per Byron Katie, every perceived problem appearing ‘out there’ is really nothing more than a misperception within your own thinking.” 
As I imagined us all busting out a nice little cloth to clean up our own lens rather than trying to change things “out there,” I thought of another great spiritual teacher.
He lived a couple thousand years ago. In the land of Galilea. His name was Jesus.
You know what he said?
Well, in our Note on The Jefferson Bible, we flip open to the Bible, Matthew 7:3 where we find this eternally epic wisdom gem: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerst not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite! First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
That’s precisely it.
And, that’s Today’s +1.
See any “mote” in thy brother’s (or sister’s or spouse’s or child’s or colleague’s or…) eye?
Settle down. 
Look in the mirror.
Work on the beam in your own eye. 
(btw: For curious souls, a “mote” is “a tiny piece of a substance.” Think: Sawdust. A beam? It’s much bigger. Focus on that big thing in your own eye.)