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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: 2020
Oct 19, 2020

Here are my Top 3 HABITS Books of All Time:

#1: Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg
#2: Atomic Habits by James Clear
#3: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

LISTEN for More on why + a Big-Idea from each of those books!

Oct 19, 2020

Eknath Easwaran is one of my absolute favorite teachers. In this beautiful and brilliant biography we get his insights into the transformation of Gandhi the man into the Mahatma or "great soul." As per the sub-title of the book, we learn “How one man changed himself to change the world.” Big Ideas we explore include why/how it all starts with being the change, the power of satyagraha (= soul-force!), making history (by ignoring historians), Gandhi and sugar (and fuel for his soul engine), the call to action (to be moral warriors), and "my life is my message" (what's yours?).

Oct 16, 2020

David Brooks is one of the nations’ leading writers and commentators. He is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times and appears regularly on PBS NewsHour and Meet the Press. I loved his book The Road to Character. I loved this one even more. David tells us there are two mountains: The first mountain? That’s what society tells us we should pursue: all the normal trappings of success. The second mountain? That’s where the magic (and joy!) exists: where we move beyond ourselves and COMMIT (important word for this book!) to giving ourselves most fully to something bigger than ourselves. David identifies four potential commitments: to our families, to our vocations, to our faith/philosophy of life and to our communities. Ultimately, the book is intended to be a guide to the ULTIMATE quest in life: “The Quest for a Moral Life.”

Oct 13, 2020

Alexandra got this book for me after I told her how much I loved David Brooks’ The Second Mountain. Apparently it is recommended alongside that book on Amazon. With 1,400+ reviews, Alexandra thought I might like it. Not only did I like the book, I loved it. And, I fell in love with Richard Rohr. Father Rohr is a Franciscan priest who beautifully integrates his faith with wisdom from various perspectives. Big Ideas we explore include our main Job in life (remembering that we're light bulbs and staying screwed in!), life's two major tasks, the fact that the way UP is DOWN (hence, the title of the book: Falling Upward), the hero and the heroine and their journeys, the paradox of the ego ("You ironically need a very strong ego structure to let go of your ego"), and how to become a Serene Disciple (let God drive).

Oct 12, 2020

Here are my Top 3 BEST Books of All Time:

#1: The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels
#2: Deep Work by Cal Newport
#3: Happy Together by Suzie and James Pawelski

LISTEN for More on why + a Big-Idea from each of those books!

Oct 11, 2020
One of my favorite parts about creating our Optimize Mastery Series is that it forced me to go to the next level of clarity on the most important aspects of our Optimize philosophy.
 
This was true from Day 1 of the program and I found it to be especially powerful with our Eating Fundamental (which is day 200-something!) in which I integrated the wisdom from dozens of books and our Optimal Nutrition 101 and Optimal Metabolism 101 classes into what I called our Optimize Food Rules.
 
Of course, join Optimize Coach and check out that session for the full download. 
 
Today we’re going to take a quick look at our Big 3 (+1!) Optimize Food Rules. 
 
Here we go…
 
Rule #1: Quit Drinking Your Sugar.
 
This is inspired by a number of great teachers (including Robert Lustig in Fat Chance and John Ratey in Go Wild) but Mark Hyman brought the point home powerfully as his #1 rec in Food Fix.
 
Note: If you’re currently drinking sodas or fruit juices or any liquid with sugar, this is arguably THE fastest and easiest way to take your nutrition to the next level—and, as a by-product, take huge steps forward in Optimizing your metabolism (“Hi, insulin!”) so you can move to your optimal weight.
 
(Note: I just had a flashback of the Science Says data we collected. One of the highlights was how many Optimizers now feel they can easily follow their nutritional philosophy and maintain their Optimal weight.) (Check out the sketch on it below.)
 
So…
 
Are YOU drinking your sugar? If so, STOP!! (Hah. Seriously.)
 
Note: Soda is obviously not a health food but… 
 
Parents: Fruit juice is NOT a health food either.
 
Rule #2: Eat Real Food and Throw Out the Factory Food.
 
In the Mastery Series session, we discuss the fact that we want to get rid of three different types of Factory Food including:
 
  1. Factory-made ultraprocessed carbage with ingredients you can’t pronounce, don’t have in your pantry and didn’t evolve to consume;
  2. Factory-farmed animals for ethical, health and environmental reasons; and, 
  3. Factory fat including vegetable oils like soybean, safflower, corn, and canola oils—none of which existed pre-Industrial revolution and all of which disrupt our Omega 3:6 ratios and create inflammation. (Note: Socrates was all about the olive oil—that’s been around for over 5,000 years!)
Quick check in: How are you doing there?
 
Rule #3: Eating Sunsets (Aka: Give Yourself the Night Off!)
 
Let your glymph get to work by restricting your eating to a window that gives you AT LEAST 13 hours between your last meal and first meal. We explore some fascinating research on cancer, etc.
 
As you know if you’ve been following along, we have a last-input “digital sunset.”
 
I say we need a last-input “eating sunset”!!
 
In fact, science says: We want to eat AT LEAST two hours before we go to bed and target FOUR hours before we go to bed if we’re playing the Professional Optimizing game. (It’s crazy for me to see the resting heart rate and heart rate variability data on my Oura ring show me the difference when I play in too short of an eating window!)
 
So…
 
When was your last meal last night? When was your first meal Today? How many hours were there in between?
 
Let’s get to 13+ and know that if you have a hard time going that long between meals, it’s probably because we need to work on some metabolic flexibility issues. See Rules #1 and #2 for support there.
 
And, finally, my favorite Rule…
 
Rule +1: Eat Like Your Favorite Philosopher (who lived at least 300 years ago). 
 
Perhaps the simplest, wisest advice is to simply eat like your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents ate before all the factories.
 
I like to tweak that a bit to have fun helping you channel your favorite philosopher or spiritual teacher—whether that’s Jesus or Mohammed or Moses or Buddha or Lao Tzu. 
 
For me? It’s Epictetus. 
 
Guess what? Our favorite old-school Philosophers didn’t (and couldn’t) drink their sugar because it didn’t exist. And all they could eat was non-factory produced food because factories didn’t exist yet. And they couldn’t eat all day every day because that wonderful invention we call the fridge didn’t exist. 
 
There ya go.
 
The Optimize Food Rules in a nutshell.
 
Here’s to changing our lives (and our families’ lives) one bite at a time.
 
TODAY.
Oct 11, 2020

Here are my Top 3 BEST Books of All Time:

#1: The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels
#2: Deep Work by Cal Newport
#3: Happy Together by Suzie and James Pawelski

LISTEN for More on why + a Big-Idea from each of those books!

Oct 10, 2020

I got this book after my friend, retired Navy SEAL Captain Bob Schoultz, recommended it to me. It’s ASTONISHINGLY good. As per the sub-title, this book is about "The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown." It's a humbling, inspiring story "of an American hero who bravely gave permission in his final written requests to share his journey, from small-town America to gutter to jail to Jesus to war to the top tier of the U.S. military: SEAL Team Six.”

Oct 7, 2020

This is our third Note on one of Mark Divine's books. Mark is a retired Navy SEAL Commander. He also has twenty-five years of experience as an entrepreneur. In this book, he draws on his decades of leadership experience to teach us the "7 Leadership Commitments That Forge Elite Teams." Big Ideas we explore include The Two Wolves (which one are YOU feeding?), the. 7 Commitments (Courage + Trust + Respect + Growth + Excellence + Resiliency + Alignment), Falling Down Seven Times (and getting back up eight), Semper Gumby (Always Flexible!), and Your #1 Fear to Stare Down Next (what's yours?).

Oct 6, 2020
In our last +1, we drew some Venn circles with my Yoda and had fun high fiving God by giving ALL we’ve got.
 
Today I want to chat about what we talked about at the VERY end of our time together on August 10th, 2020. 
 
After recapping the importance of showing up moment to moment to moment to keep my Soul Force powered by Divine Energy, Phil said—almost in a mantra-kinda way: 
 
“APPLY THIS!!!”
“APPLY THIS!!!”
“APPLY THIS!!!”
 
It was one of those goosebumpy kinda moments.
 
I wrote it down in huge letters on the third page of that day’s notes and then said, “YES!!”
 
Then I said, “It’s funny because tomorrow morning I’m hitting the studio to film the very last session for our Mastery Series for our Coach program. It’s Module VII but we also call it Module Infinity (as in: Repeat this forever!). It’s called Optimus You: Practicing Your Philosophy. The whole point of that class? We need to APPLY THIS WISDOM to our lives TODAY!!”
 
So, I told him, “I’m DEFINITELY going to share our chat as I make the point.”
 
Then, he said, “I love you son. I’m proud of you.”
To which I replied, “I love you father. I appreciate you.”
 
(As we’ve discussed, Phil is my spiritual Godfather. I’m his spiritual son. We end nearly every one of our chats with that. Enter: Pure joy.)
 
As I reflected on his mantra, “APPLY THIS!!” I felt an even deeper commitment to making him proud and serving you and my family as profoundly as I can.
 
That was 5:50 PM Central Time.
 
I had 10 minutes to go before I transitioned to Deep Love time and gave Alexandra some time for herself while I enjoyed my PM session of 1-on-2 time with the kids.
 
Now, I don’t do non-essential technology inputs these days as I’ve -1 to +1-ed it for the +3 win (which is one of the reasons I’m crushing it). So, I hopped on our PEMF machine and plugged in the NanoVi thing to recover while meditating.
 
At 6:00, I headed out of the office. The house was quiet. (Which, if you have kids, you know is VERY unusual. lol)
 
Hmmm… 
 
The car wasn’t there. Alexandra must have taken the kids out.
 
So…
 
I might have dashed back to the office, hopped back on the PEMF/re-plugged in the NanoVi and had a little dessert watching some more of Netflix’s great documentary on Michael Jordan and his Bulls called The Last Dance. (Highly recommend it.)
 
Now…
 
At this point, I’m on Episode V. The Bulls have just won their first championship. They’re going for their second.
 
I wait for the show to load. It takes a second or three as I’m on satellite internet here in the country—which always gives me a moment to reflect on the fact that this whole thing we call the internet (and everything else in modern life) is an absolute miracle. 
 
Internal dialogue: “Thank you, God, for blessing me with the gift of so many awesome things.”
 
Then…
 
It loads.
 
I’m TEN SECONDS in. Phil Jackson, one of the greatest Coaches in history (who won 6 titles with the Bulls then another 5 with the Lakers), comes on.
 
You know what he says?
 
He says, and I quote: “You’re only a success in the MOMENT you perform a successful act. You have to do it again.”
 
Did he just say what I think he said? I hit the little rewind 10 seconds thing to watch it again.
 
Yep. 
 
“You’re only a success in the MOMENT you perform a successful act. You have to do it again.”
 
I rewind it again and go get my pad of paper to write that down because I KNEW I’d be kicking off my final Mastery Series session with wisdom from two world-class Coaches named Phil.
 
Note: Phil Jackson has his 11 championships. Phil Stutz and his clients (who tend to be Hollywood actors and writers and directors and executives) have WAY more than 11 Oscars.
 
So, when two Coaches named Phil say the same thing back-to-back like that, I take it as a Divine wink from the Universe.
 
And, well, that’s Today’s +1.
 
One more time: “You’re only a success in the MOMENT you perform a successful act. You have to do it again.”
 
All the stuff we chat about that REALLY resonates?
 
APPLY THIS!!!
APPLY THIS!!!
APPLY THIS!!!
 
When?
 
As always…
 
TODAY.
Oct 5, 2020

Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL. He was commander of Task Unit Bruiser―the most decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War. I really enjoyed Jocko’s first book Extreme Ownership and I knew this one would be good but... I didn’t expect it to be THIS good. The words literally explode off the page. Not just because each micro-chapter was an incredibly inspiring micro-manifesto but because each word was written by a man so clearly living in complete integrity with his deepest values. John Maxwell would say his “moral authority” is extraordinary. I’d say his SOUL FORCE is palpable. If you’re in the mood for a soul-rattling call-to-disciplined action, I think you’ll enjoy the book as much as I did.

Oct 2, 2020

David Goggins is a former Navy SEAL (and Army Ranger) who used to hold a Guinness World Record for completing 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours. These days he’s setting records as an ultra-endurance athlete. But he wasn’t always Mr. Superhero. In this great autobiographical self-help book, David walks us through his transformation from being a 297-pound exterminator to a “Who IS this guy?!” superhero. If you’re into SUPER (!!!) intense demonstrations of how to conquer ourselves to do the seemingly impossible (and don’t mind a stream of f-bombs—lol) then I think you’ll love this book as much as I did. Big Ideas we explore include: The Accountability Mirror, bringing your best (when you feel the worst), hero callouses (let failures toughen you up!), the process (how to go from running 1/4 of a mile to 200+ nonstop), and bursting from the inside out (learn to endure!).

Sep 30, 2020

Quick creative update Today. Good times at Optimize!

Sep 29, 2020

#1: Today I kinda go off on a ton of stuff: From HRV/RHR ice-bath spikes to Soul Force and Deep Work and the Handbook. Hope you enjoy. Let’s do this. Together. TODAY.

As always: Get instant (free) access to all 600+ PhilosophersNotes AND all 50 Optimal Living 101 classes AND 1,000+ Optimize +1s as part of our free 2-week trial: http://optimize.me/

Sep 29, 2020

Eric Butterworth was a prolific author and Unity minister—one of the great spiritual teachers of the 20th century. We featured another one of his books called Spiritual Economics. That one transformed my consciousness around money/ambition/etc. (I *highly* recommend it.) Butterworth was also Maya Angelou's spiritual teacher. And, Oprah says that this book is one of her all-time favorites. Big Ideas we explore: Where to find the Divine (hint: look within!), the great decision, the true meaning of “meek” (it's not what you think), going the second mile, and how to create a heaven (or hell) right NOW!

Sep 28, 2020

Thanks for all your Handbook love! Here's the Optimize Handbook link I mention: https://optimizehq.typeform.com/to/sFx8AlU1

Quick edition as it's time for shutdown complete/meditation and Deep Love!! LOVE!!
Sep 27, 2020
In this Sunday edition, we talk about doubling my basic training protocol (it's the 200 burpees and 20k steps a day that provide the best challenge!) and some iterative creative progress on the book.
 
As always: Get instant (free) access to all 600+ PhilosophersNotes AND all 50 Optimal Living 101 classes AND 1,000+ Optimize +1s as part of our free 2-week trial: http://optimize.me/
Sep 26, 2020

Weekend edition: Today we take a quick trip to the back of the property for a "Before" look at what (Deo Volente) will soon be an awesome outdoor office. Fun. :)

Sep 26, 2020

My wife Alexandra has been a huge fan of Marie’s for a long time. I knew she was awesome. But... As I told Alexandra: “I had no idea Marie was THAT awesome!!!” My excuse: I’ve been in hermit-mode and have done nothing but read books for 5 years (no blogs/videos/etc.) so I wasn’t able to get the full sense of Marie’s heroically brilliant and grounded and HILARIOUS power until this book came out. I’ve read and created PhilosophersNotes on well over 500 books. This is one of my ABSOLUTE (!) favorites of all time. I HIGHLY (!!!) recommend it. It’s in the same league as some of my other favorites like Deep Work Atomic Habits and The 5 Second Rule. (In fact, on my chalkboard right now, I actually have “EVERYTHING IS FIGUREOUTABLE” right above “5-4-3-2-1-GO!” <- Winning combo!) The book is PACKED (!) with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

Sep 25, 2020
Today we have fun with my (re-)new(ed) identity: Philosopher + CEO and some Handbook +1s. As always: Get instant (free) access to all 600+ PhilosophersNotes AND all 50 Optimal Living 101 classes AND 1,000+ Optimize +1s as part of our free 2-week trial: http://optimize.me/
Sep 24, 2020

Today we take a sneak peek at v1 of the OPTIMIZE Handbook cover and look at some Oura data on a good bad night saved by an algorithm! As always: Get instant (free) access to all 600+ PhilosophersNotes AND all 50 Optimal Living 101 classes AND 1,000+ Optimize +1s as part of our free 2-week trial: http://optimize.me/

Sep 23, 2020

Today we chat about missing the ol' mark on the 3:00 last-input target. And simply recommitting. And... Finished Phase I of the Handbook construction process. Scaffolding is in place. Fired up. (Just noticed this is #50. Time flies when you're having fun!) As always:

Get instant (free) access to all 600+ PhilosophersNotes AND all 50 Optimal Living 101 classes AND 1,000+ Optimize +1s as part of our free 2-week trial: http://optimize.me/

Sep 23, 2020

"Positive Psychology and the Body." Unfortunately, those two subjects are rarely connected--which is why I was so excited to get this book when I saw the title. It's actually a *textbook* not a normal book. It provides an overview of research on a range of subjects including: “Positive Psychophysiology,” “Positive Neuroscience,” “Positive Sexuality” and “Positive Nutrition.” Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at Martin Seligman's PERMA approach to eudaimonic (vis-a-vis hedonic) happiness, your nervous system (flip the switch!), longevity and positive emotion (some astonishing stats), diet and wellbeing/depression (sugar begone!), and physical activity (science says: it does a body good!).

Sep 22, 2020

Did you know there are 101 days left in 2020. Yep. Time to finish strong. I share a little on how I'm going to do that with the Handbook, etc. How about YOU?

Sep 22, 2020

Afternoon edition of our #1 post 6 hours of DEEP Work on the Handbook. We chat about some creative systems and do the quick Oura review.

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