Tal Ben-Shahar is one of my favorite teachers. He taught one of the most popular classes in Harvard's history and this book captures the essence of his class on Positive Psychology—sharing the best of what we scientifically know about how to create happier, more fulfilled lives. We'll explore how important it is to have goals AND be in the moment (and the perils of *just* being in the moment) along with mucho más goodness.
Flow. It's all about the science of optimal human experience. In this Note, we'll explore what the flow state is (hint: get fully engaged in an activity that matches your skills with your challenge) and we’ll look at some other Big Ideas on controlling the contents of our consciousness to get out of anxiety and boredom as we create more flow experiences in our lives. (Plus, you'll even learn how to pronounce "Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.")
One of the classics of Positive Psychology, Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence established the fact that IQ doesn't account for why some of us succeed and function well and others don't. In this Note, we'll explore some (really) Big Ideas on how to scientifically get our emotional intelligence on—from the power of delaying gratification to how worrying can act as self-fulfilling prophecies.
Martin Seligman is essentially the father of the Positive Psychology movement and in this Note we explore how important it is for us to use our Signature Strengths consistently throughout our day-to-day lives. We've got tips on how to discover our Strengths and how to move from a job to a career to a calling as we live a life of meaning and purpose. Good times.
Nietzsche was said to deliver his philosophy with a hammer and this book definitely nails his disdain for conditioning and conformity. In the Note, we'll take a peek at some really Big Ideas including the fact that our worst enemy is often inside our own heads, that sometimes we need to push ourselves to discover just how far we can go, and how we’ve gotta be willing to go into the depths of our being if we want to fly.
The Tao te Ching. It's the core text of Taoism and one of the top old school classics of all time. In this Note, we'll take a look at everything from making use of solitude to the fact that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step (heard that before, eh?!). We'll also learn to let go of our attachment to future results and gracefully roll with the ebbs and flows of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is a hero of mine (he occupies the Great-Great+ Grandfather slot in my spiritual family tree) and his essays, although written in 19th century prose, totally fire me up. In this Note, we'll explore some Big Ideas on self-reliance (trust yourself!!!), the power of enthusiasm (did you know the word literally means "God within"?!), and how God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. Plus other goodness.
Epictetus is one of three Stoic philosophers we profile (Marcus Aurelius and Seneca are the other two) and this former slave turned leading philosopher of his era is incredible. He echoes the wisdom of all the great teachers as he reminds us that, if we want to be happy, we've gotta realize the only thing we have control over is our response to a situation. We'll have fun tapping into a lot more of his vast mojo in the Note.
A core text of Buddhism, The Dhammapada literally means something along the lines of "the path of truth and righteousness" and is packed with wisdom. In this Note, we'll take a quick look at some central tenets of Buddhism (like the Four Noble Truths, nirvana, and the eightfold path) and soak up some Buddha mojo on how to rock our wisest lives.
The classic text of Hinduism is *packed* with wisdom. In the Note, we take a super quick look at the context for the book and then jump into some powerful wisdom—including the importance of meditation, the fact that making mistakes is an inherent part of our growth process and the uber-importance of letting go of our attachment to results.
Confucius. Talk about old school. I’ve waded through some of the arcane stuff from his classic "Analects" to bring us some highly practical wisdom for our 21st century lives. We'll take a look at a bunch of Big Ideas on the importance of being a passionate (and patient!) student of life while striving to do our best. Good stuff.
Rumi's poetry is stunning. In this Note, we'll explore some inspiring wisdom from the Sufi mystic and have fun applying it to our 21st century lives—from the importance of having patience and seeing challenging times as God's way of strengthening us to working hard and going for it.
Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor-Philosopher of the Roman Empire and one of the most enlightened leaders ever. Meditations is a collection of journal entries he wrote to himself and in this Note, we'll explore some Big Ideas of his Stoic philosophy—from the importance of never confusing ourselves with visions of a lifetime all at once, to not worrying about what others think of us and living a life of purpose and service.
Seneca. He was born around the same time as Jesus and was one of the leading figures in his Roman Empire. He was also one of history's leading Stoic philosophers (along with Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus who we also profile) and has some powerful wisdom to share. In this Note, we'll explore the purpose of philosophy, the importance of focusing our attention and the mojo that comes from facing our fears.
Optimize your life at brianjohnson.me.