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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: December, 2017
Dec 7, 2017

In our last +1, we talked about Scott Adams’s wisdom on Wishing vs. Deciding (https://www.optimize.me/plus-one/deciding-vs-wishing/).

The key difference? When we DECIDE, we get clear on what we want AND we get clear on the price we’ll need to pay. Then… We get busy paying it.

Scott tells us that one of the ways to reduce the price and make it more palatable is to create systems.

He’s ALL about systems. In fact, he tells us that “Goals are for losers.” (Hah.)

We obviously need goals but he says we should, at the very least, word-glue them together so we have goals-systems or systems-goals.

His point is that if all we’re doing is chasing a goal, we’re constantly going to be “losing” because the goal is always at some far-off spot we may never reach.

On the other hand, when we figure out the SYSTEMS we’re constantly WINNING every single time we successfully execute the system.

For example, if you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, you have a goal. Eating right is a system. Trying to run a 4-hour marathon is a goal. Exercising every day is a system.

As Scott says: “A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.”

Leadership guru John Maxwell has a GREAT way to describe systems as well. He says that systems are good strategies repeated.

So…

What are YOUR goals?

And, more importantly, what are your SYSTEMS that will get you there?

Here’s to Optimizing your systems-driven, perpetual-small-wins-creating machine!!

Dec 6, 2017

Harvey Dorfman was one of the world’s leading mental training experts. Major League Baseball described him as a “pioneering sports psychologist.” He earned World Series rings as the mental skills coach for both the Oakland A’s and Florida Marlins. In this book, he covers the A to Z of mental discipline. Big Ideas we explore include Carpe momentum (seize the task at hand!), the peak performance cycle (approach + results + response), the blind men (and their elephant), and Percussus Resurgo (“Struck down. I rise again!”).

Dec 5, 2017

In our last +1 we talked about the magic of creating a hoped-for future vision that has super-strong "Pull Power."

Today we're going to talk about Pull Power's best friend, Pulling Power.

Step 1. Create a vision for your future that truly fires you up. Got it? Great. Pull Power in place.

Step 2. Now, imagine that future sitting there in a bag on the ground about 25 feet in front of you. That bag weighs a lot. It's tied to a rope that's right down by your feet.

Step 3. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sit down on the ground of your current reality, dig your heels in and PULL that bag of future awesome all the way to where you are.

That's Pulling Power.

It's what you do with the Pull Power.

Steve Chandler captures this brilliantly in Wealth Warrior where he tells us: “The only good use of any future is artistic. You paint a picture of your positive imaginary future on your whiteboard. Then you PULL THAT PICTURE—WITH EVERY OUNCE OF STRENGTH YOU HAVE—into the present moment.”

Today's +1.

Can you see that future in front of you?

Ready to pull it into your reality?

Sit down. Rub your hands together.

And PULL with everything you've got.

+1.

Dec 4, 2017

Irresistible. That’s the perfect word to describe the growing array of addictive technologies that are capturing so much of our attention these days. And, it’s the perfect name for the book. Adam Alter is an associate professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business. This is a great book on, as the sub-title suggests, “The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.” Big Ideas we explore include the fact Steve Jobs didn’t let his own kids use an iPad (why?), why addiction is about more than just personality (and what matters), how to add 11 years back to your life, what happens when your brain gets pickled and the simple question you can ask to Optimize.

Dec 4, 2017

Get this: Scientists can bring people into a lab and have them hold a pen in their mouths in one of two different ways to elicit two very different outcomes.

One group comes in and holds a pen between their lips. The other group holds the pen between their teeth. (Try it to feel the difference!)

Guess what?

The group that holds the pen between their teeth (which, you may notice, creates a sort of smile) are HAPPIER at the end of the experiment than people who hold the pen between their lips (which, you may notice, creates a sort-of frown).

Kinda nuts.

How could something THAT simple lead to a significant change in well-being?

Well, as we’ve discussed many times, FEELINGS follow BEHAVIORS. And, even something as mundane as unknowingly moving your happiness muscles into the shape of a smile can make you feel better.

Moral of the story: Work today with a pen between your teeth!

Hah. Not really.

But, DO remember that feelings follow behavior. The little things you do matter. Stand up tall. Act the way you’d act if you were feeling great even if you’re not feeling great. And, shockingly, you’ll find that your feelings follow that behavior more than you may initially believe.

And… Smile more today.

It’s kinda weird to feel how quickly your whole mood can soften and elevate when you shift from a serious (or negative) facial expression to a simple, soft smile. (Try it right now!)

+1 Smile. +1 Smile. +1 Smile.

(I’m smiling as I type that.)

Dec 2, 2017

We’re on a roll with the whole “embrace challenges on your epic quest!” theme so how about one more +1 on the subject?

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book called David and Goliath in which he walks us through some fascinating stories that demonstrate the fact that sometimes what we perceive to be our greatest weaknesses can actually be turned into our greatest strengths.

Scientists call these “desirable difficulties.”

Imagine that, difficulties that are desirable.

Like what?

Well, how about a girl’s basketball team packed with kids with no experience playing basketball and, therefore, no traditional talent. Oh, and the head coach knows nothing about basketball. That’s a weakness right?

Sure, but what if they turned that weakness into an asset? That’s what one team Gladwell features did. They decided to break all the rules and simply HUSTLE more than anyone else by running a full-court press all game. (Hah.) Which worked. It so disoriented their competitors who were used to people playing by traditional approaches that they won. A lot.

Personally, I used to wish I grew up in a happy, stable, affluent, well-educated family with a silver spoon in my mouth and optimal DNA in every cell.

(Laughing but I *still* wish that was the case at times! 😃)

And... Now, I can see that growing up in a lower-middle class, blue collar, super-conservative Catholic family struggling to pay the bills with a father who struggled with alcohol (and whose father struggled with alcohol and killed himself) was, ultimately, a huge blessing.

The resulting challenges that I experience(d) and have overcome/continue to overcome in my own journey ARE THE PRIMARY REASONS I CAN NOW DO WHAT I DO.

Thanks to the wonderful cocktail of my compromised Nature AND Nurture, I was forced to develop a set of skills that I otherwise never would have been forced to create. I also have a deep sense of compassion for the inherent challenges of battling demons along with wisdom on how to overcome them that I can integrate into my work to serve even more profoundly.

Like that girl’s basketball team, I compensated by running full-court presses on my fundamentals (eat + move + sleep + breathe + focus!) ALL.THE.TIME. (Hah.)

+1 for today: How about YOU?

Can you create an even more compelling, coherent narrative about YOUR life and how your
difficulties have proven to be desirable?

Let’s do that.

Dec 1, 2017

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He’s also an extraordinary, best-selling author of a number of books. Short story: Want to get things right? Use a checklist. Sounds too silly to work but… It does. Period. Big Ideas we explore include two reasons we err (ignorance + ineptitude), what to do about it (checklists!), how to reduce your Masterpiece Day mortality rate by at least 47% (checklists!), why Van Halen doesn’t like brown M&M’s (checklists!), and your Big 3 Keystone Initiative (checklist!).

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