This is an introduction to our newest Master Class: Greatest Year Ever 101: How to Make 2016 the Best Year of Your Life and Create an Unending String of Such Awesome Years. :) Get instant access to the full class plus a ton of other goodness as a member. Sign up here: https://brianjohnson.me/membership/
Carol Dweck tells us we can have 2 different frameworks to approach intelligence and achievement. Each has its own goal. Here they are. (P.S. Choose wisely!)
Creativity and anxiety go together. Anxietivity. Let’s remember that a meaningful life in which we’re flourishing and giving ourselves most fully to the world involves stress.
Deep Work. It’s the key to how you get So Good They Can’t Ignore You—which, of course, is the title of another one of Cal’s great books. Big Ideas include Deep Work vs. Shallow Work, how to give your neurons a workout, cleaning up attention residue, the four rules of deep work, finding the routine that works for you and learning how to shut down completely.
Naive passion is *great*!! Right up to the first obstacle. Then our hero tiptoes out the back door. We need the courage of informed passion.
Are you fully charged? Tom Rath tells us it’s all about what we do DAILY and that if we want to improve the quality of our lives (and sense of aliveness!), we need to focus on optimizing three key conditions: Meaning + Interactions + Energy. Big Ideas we explore include the meaning equation, doubling down on your talents, embracing the 500 million moments of our lives, and The iPhone Effect.
Malcolm Gladwell tells us some difficulties can be desirable. How about yours?
This is the second of the three books currently in 99U Book Series. (We cover them all.) Big Ideas we explore in this one include putting yourself into permanent beta, making a decision and then working hard to prove yourself right Peyton Manning style, expanding the amplitude of the waves you make and becoming the Better You.
This is the third installment in 99U’s book series on the “missing curriculum” for creative leaders. Like the other two, it’s a collection of short essays by great leaders + creators + writers. The content is organized in four domains: 1) Defining your purpose + 2) Building your product + 3) Serving your customers + 4) Leading your team. Big Ideas we explore include purpose, eating your own dog food (aka making something YOU are excited to use), serving profoundly, character as your #1 asset and the power of just getting started!
The ability to hold two contradictory beliefs in your mind simultaneously while accepting both of them AND knowing when to bring the right one to the surface while casting the other aside. It's a powerful tool.
Imagine a ceramics teacher splitting a class in two: One group is graded for quantity, the other for quality. Which one do you think creates the bet stuff? (Hint: Think quantity. :)
Here's a quick look at how to Spark + Sustain + Amplify your motivation as you optimize and actualize. Remember: Ambition + Expectancy + Attention + Effort + Attitude + Environment = Super powerful.
Mindsight. It's the seventh sense you didn't know you had! Can you pay attention to the inner workings of your own mind? That's what Dr. Dan Siegel, one of the world's leading neuroscientists + psychotherapists, helps us do in this phenomenal book. We'll explore Big Ideas ranging from the basics of brain hygiene to the power of integration and how to live with more flexibility and coherence as we leverage the best of modern neuroscience.
If you’re looking for a smart, grounded, funny and well-written introduction to the Paleo movement, this is the perfect place to start. Big Ideas we explore include the five ages of our origins (Animal + Paleolithic + Agricultural + Industrial + Information), poisons vs. fountains of youth, the importance of meaning (and how to dial it in) and alarm clocks for bed time.
Want a big win? Then small wins are where it's at. Build your momentum. Make progress!
Carol Dweck is one of the world’s leading researchers on the science of motivation. This book is a collection of brief essays on various aspects of “self-theories.” It’s essentially a bridge between her extensive academic research studies and her popular book Mindset. It’s amazing. Big Ideas we explore include the two frameworks (entity vs. incremental) and their two goals (performance vs. learning), attributional retraining (aka learning the best way to respond to failure!), and moving from contingent self-worth to wholehearted self-esteem.
Little bets. Peter Sims tells us they’re a LOT wiser than bet-it-all-and-pray big bets. He shows us the wisdom of the little bets approach via fascinating stories highlighting the extraordinary success of everyone from Chris Rock mastering a performance to Pixar creating their ingenious films. Big Ideas we explore include how to build our growth mindset muscles, going from suck to unsuck, smallifying, creating small wins and doing things to discover things.
Your brain only weighs around 3 pounds. That's 2-3% of your total body weight. Yet... Your brain is hungry. It consumes 20-30% of your total caloric intake. So, eat wisely!
It’s a LOT easier to get fired up to do something with a strong YES!! What’s your WILDLY awesome goal that’ll help you crowd out all the shallow distractions?
Art and fear. (You may have noticed they go together.) This is a quick-reading (122 pages), witty, real look at the process and challenges of making art. Of course, I think the biggest art project all of us can ever engage in is the creation of our own optimized and actualized lives, so we’ll be focusing on Big Ideas we can apply to our lives today including: quitting vs. stopping, fast vs. slow, 50 lbs, the importance of progress, naive passion vs. informed passion and how to get work done like a PRO!
Tony Schwartz is the CEO and founder of The Energy Project, which helps companies fuel sustainable high performance by better meeting the needs of their employees. Drawing on the multidisciplinary science of sustainable high performance, Tony’s abiding passion and lifelong commitment is to change the way the world works.
This is a great little book packed with gems on the creative process we can apply to both our work AND our lives. As per the sub-title, Austin gives us “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.” Big Ideas we explore include the need to start copying, the importance of taking care of ourselves and establishing a routine as we set creative constraints and amassing a body of work as we consistently show up.
This is Austin Kleon’s second masterful little book on optimizing creativity. The first? Steal Like an Artist. After learning how to get our creativity on, we’re ready to become the artist whose ideas *others* steal. Big Ideas include chain creating, micro sabbaticals, playing till the 9th inning, troll pooper scoopers, and the #1 way to get more followers.
What do you think about excellence? Do you think it’s primarily driven by natural, inborn talent? Or, do you think that it’s primarily driven by effort? Matthew Syed tells us that’s a very important decision that has a broad impact on how we show up and shows us how to Bounce into our highest potential. Big Ideas we explore include: the iceberg illusion, 1 million balls, doublethink and the importance of purposeful practice + the growth mindset.
Failure. Some of us lean into it and learn as much as we can from it, and some of us prefer to avoid thinking about it and/or pretend it never happened. As you may guess, one approach leads to dramatically better performance over the long run. (Hint: Seeing failure as feedback + learning opportunities is a very wise idea.) Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the aviation vs. health care industries, the importance of quantity of work if you want quality, marginal gains, cognitive dissonance and pre-mortems.