Heroic with Brian Johnson | Activate Your Best. Every Day.

Heroic with Brian Johnson features the best big ideas from life-changing books and practical tools to help you move from Theory to Practice to Mastery and flourish in Energy, Work, and Love. Get more wisdom in less time so you can activate your best, every day—so that we can change the world, one person at a time, together, starting with you and me and us, today! (Learn more at
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May 9, 2020
In our last +1, we all get issued our magic wand.
It can alchemize any and all challenges into fuel for our growth.
Thank you, Hermes and Epictetus!!
I mentioned the fact that Ward Farnsworth shared that passage in his great book The Practicing Stoic
He shared it in a chapter on how Stoics deal with adversity in which he tells us: “Stoics avoid adversity in the ways that anyone of sense would. But sometimes it comes regardless, and then the Stoic goal is to see the adversity rightly and not let one’s peace of mind be destroyed by its arrival. Indeed, the aim of the Stoic is something more: to accept reversal without shock and to make it grist for the creation of greater things. Nobody wants hardship in any particular case, but it is a necessary element in the formation of worthy people and worthy achievements that, in the long run, we do want. Stoics seek the value in whatever happens.”
As I read that passage and reflected on the fact that some adversity is NECESSARY for our growth, I thought of some wisdom from Robert Emmons and his great book Thanks!
He tells us: “Not only does the experience of tragedy give us an exceptional opportunity for growth, but some sort of suffering is also necessary for a person to achieve maximal psychological growth. In his study of self-actualizers, the paragons of mental wellness, the famed humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow noted that ‘the most important learning lessons... were tragedies, deaths, and trauma... which forced change in the life-outlook of the person and consequently in everything that he did.’”
Facing any adversity, my beloved Hero? 
Let’s wave Hermes’ wand, alchemize it into another opportunity to practice our philosophy as we give ourselves most fully to the world. 
May 4, 2020
In our last +1, we played the “I want to speak with your supervisor!” game.
You play it yet?
If not, try it.
It’s truly awesome.
As you’ll recall, the most important part of the process is to start with the end in mind—knowing that it’ll end with you praising the awesomeness of the rep who helped you. 
(btw: When you chat with the supervisor, tell THEM how great of a job THEY must be doing to have such a great team member. Then you get a double bump of awesome. people with bunny ears )
Today I want to talk about how to get some bonus points as we practice our philosophy and play the game of life well. 
Here it is.
Before you make the call—right before you commit to ending it with the supervisor chat—take a moment to practice a little gratitude.
Presumably, you’re calling the company to get help with a service they provide. 
Well, what service is it?
Recall that we have two options: We can take the service for granted OR we can take it *as* granted.
As Robert Emmons tells us, we can act entitled or we can have the humble perspective to realize that we are so ridiculously blessed it’s astonishing. 
That’s Today’s +1.
Super simple.
Let’s use every opportunity we can to be grateful.
As we practice our philosophy.
Apr 29, 2020
In our last +1, we upgraded our conception of Soul Mates to Soul Mate 2.0.
(At least I did!)
Before we jump into the wisdom for Today’s +1, how about some fun Johnson family history?!
Once upon a time (actually, almost exactly 13 years ago), Alexandra and I met. 
At the time I was running a social networking site called Zaadz that was all about connecting people who wanted to be the change and change the world together.
Long story short, Alexandra was introduced to the site by a friend. She checked it out, found my profile page and said, “I’m going to marry that guy.”
No joke! 
I get misty-eyed just typing that.
We happened to have a mutual friend who happened to introduce us and, well, skipping some fun details, the rest is history. 
One of the reasons we fell in love is that we both loved Leo Buscaglia and his book Love.
In fact, Alexandra was the first woman I ever met who had actually read that book. 
TWICE no less!
Today we’re going to talk about Love. 
More specifically: Leo Buscaglia’s Love
We’ll start with this gem (that captures the thesis of our Love 101 class): “As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.”
Then there’s this lesson I’ve been blessed to learn and relearn (!): “One does not fall ‘in’ or ‘out’ of love. One grows in love.”
And: “It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”
And, finally: “If one wishes to know love, one must live love, in action.”
Let’s live it.
Apr 24, 2020
In our last +1, we spent some time with Carlos Castaneda and his Toltec Warrior. Today, we’re going to spend a little more time with this eccentric teacher.
I’ve always found one passage of his to be particularly powerful.
THIS one: “Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore, a warrior must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if he feels that he should not follow it, he must not stay with it under any conditions. His decision to keep on that path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. He must look at every path closely and deliberately. There is a question that a warrior has to ask, mandatorily: ‘Does this path have a heart?’”
  • “Does this path have a heart?”
← Well, that’s a powerful question, eh? 
How do we possibly answer that one?!
Enter, some more Castaneda wisdom: “’But how will I know for sure whether a path has a heart or not?’ Anybody would know that. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path.”
That’s Today’s (confronting) +1.
Your path have a heart?
Of course, there will always be times when a path with heart doesn’t feel quite as heart-centered as it could. Those times often require some re-energizing and micro-adjustments and re-committing and all that.
There are other times when we’re just not on the right path. Those times may require some zero-based thinking and Deep Work to figure out what path IS the right one for us.
In all situations, I believe this is why Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Trust thyself. Every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
Here’s to courageously walking our paths with heart with deeper and deeper authenticity.
Apr 19, 2020
In our last +1, we did some swooping and gliding and hunting with a red-tailed hawk and our bird-watching guide: Carlos Castaneda.
Today I want to chat about that hawk again.
I mentioned the fact that he’s not worried about whether or not he’ll find his prey.
He’s just hunting.
Calmly, 100% focused on the PROCESS.
Letting the outcomes take care of themselves.
He’s not up there flying around thinking to himself, “OMG. My family’s going to starve if I don’t pull it together and find a mouse soon. I’ve been flying around up here for TWO HOURS (!) already and I haven’t seen a single mouse. Where’d they go? OMG. OMG. OMG.” 
Enter: Castaneda and his wisdom: “Once a man worries, he clings to anything out of desperation; and once he clings he is bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whomever or whatever he is clinging to. A warrior-hunter, on the other hand, knows he will lure game into his traps over and over again, so he doesn’t worry.”
To be fair (and to state the obvious), our red-tailed hawk friend doesn’t have the prefrontal cortex to engage in any anxiety-provoking overthinking. (Or, well, any “thinking” for that matter.)
Which reminds me of some parallel wisdom we explored back in the day. 
Remember our +1 on Squirrels, Einstein and You?
As you may recall, that one was inspired by a pre-Trail drive. As I stopped at a stop sign right next to Byron Katie’s little chapel in Ojai, I spotted a squirrel racing across a telephone wire and thought to myself, “I wonder what that guy’s thinking?!” 
Then I reminded myself that he WASN’T THINKING.
Then I thought of some wisdom from Jon Eliot’s Overachievement.
He tells us: “Great performers focus on what they are doing, and nothing else... They are able to engage in a task so completely that there is no room left for self-criticism, judgment, or doubt; to stay loose and supremely, even irrationally, self-confident... They let it happen, let it go. They couldn’t care less about the results.”
That’s Today’s +1.
That red-tailed hawk?
He’s the flying embodiment of great performers.
Let’s be like him a little more.
Apr 14, 2020
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been having fun spending some time with former Navy SEAL Commander and perennial wolf-tamer, Mark Divine.
Most recently, we named our Courage wolf, “Daimon” and our Fear wolf, “Demon.”
(As Dan Siegel and other mindfulness neuroscientists would say: It’s always wise to Name It to Tame It!”)
I mentioned the fact that I made a note on a piece of paper to make sure I included this Idea in our Mastery Series session on How to Create Antifragile Confidence, Heroic Courage and Response-Ability.
I had a bunch of other ideas already on that sheet of paper.
You know what I had written RIGHT ABOVE “The Two Wolves | Name ‘Em!”? 
“Learned Helplessness vs. Learned Optimism.”
The story I’ll tell for THAT wisdom is basically all about Martin Seligman’s research that we discuss in our Notes on Learned Optimism and in this +1 on How to Learn Optimism.
The weird part?
Recall Mark’s description of what happens when we constantly feed the fear wolf: “If you constantly feed fear by thinking about the could-haves, the should-haves, the would-haves, and the can’ts in life—if you allow negative beliefs, attitudes, and conditioned behavior from whatever drama you experienced or stories you adopted—then the fear wolf gets stronger. Eventually he gets so strong that the courage wolf is left cowering, unable to fight back.”
That’s almost a precise description of the “Learned Helplessness” state Seligman induces in his experiments. confused face 
The (very!) good news?
We can Learn Optimism.
Well, that’s pretty much what we’re doing every day with these +1s and why we show up EVERY DAY.
One more time: Let’s feed the Daimon-Courage Wolf. 
Apr 9, 2020
I’m the kinda guy who goes to a movie with a pen and paper ready to take notes.
Well, I’m actually the kinda guy who (aside from when I’m on the Trail) pretty much ALWAYS has a pen and paper ready to take notes.
The other day, I’m that guy in the movie theatre watching the most recent Star Wars installment: The Rise of Skywalker
Luke is chatting with Rey and drops some fantastic Optimizing wisdom that demands a little ink on paper.
If my notes are correct, Luke says: “Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi. Your destiny.”

“Confronting fear is the destiny of a Jedi. Your destiny.”

<- Isn’t that some solid wisdom? 
Makes you want to silently shout BRING IT ON!!, eh?! 
I go to Google to do a quick search to make sure I got the quote right. 
I find this awesome blog post on a site appropriately called “Star Wars Thoughts.”
In it, our wise guide walks us through the role fear has played throughout the Star Wars saga. He tells us that Luke once told Yoda: “I’m not afraid!” 
You know what Yoda said in response? 
“You will be.” 
← That’s SO good.
And, that’s Today’s +1.
Confronting fear.
It’s the destiny of a Jedi. 
And an Optimizer.
It’s your destiny. 
And mine.
Let’s step into our infinite potential as we exit our comfort zones calmly and confidently and courageously chanting BRING. IT. ON.
P.S. Not too long after Luke dropped his wisdom bomb on Rey, I took my notebook out again to capture some wisdom from Poe who tells us: “We’re not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them.” 
Amen. Let’s do this.
Apr 4, 2020
In our last +1, we talked about making a Purpose upgrade—going from a grand conception of one “big purpose” for life (Purpose 1.0) to finding micro-moments of purpose all day every day (Purpose 2.0).
I promised to chat about HOW to go about doing that Today.
Here we are.
Let’s bring Tom Rath back for some more wisdom from Life’s Great Question.
Tom is a senior scientist at Gallup and shares some FASCINATING research he and his colleagues in the wellbeing-at-work industry have conducted.
Get this.
Tom tells us: “You can begin by connecting your daily efforts to the way they contribute to specific people’s lives—connecting what you do with who your work serves. There are now countless examples of how connecting your work to the meaning it creates for specific people leads to better results, as well as to more enjoyment in and satisfaction from one’s work.”
He continues by saying: “In food service, for example, when a cook or someone preparing food can literally see the people they serve, it increases that customer’s satisfaction with the meal by 10%. If the cook and customer can both see one another, satisfaction with meal quality goes up 17% and service is 13% faster. You see a similar result across other professions.”
And: “When lifeguards read stories of people’s lives being saved, they are more vigilant on the job. When telephone-based fund-raisers hear from the beneficiaries of their work, they are more motivated and raise far more funds for their cause. Even when the only people you serve are internal customers or colleagues, connecting the work you do with the direct contribution it makes has tangible benefits.”
Plus: “In a Harvard study, field workers who harvested tomatoes watched videos of the way their contribution helped colleagues in the factory another step down the supply chain. In comparison to a control group, the workers who watched this short video experienced a 7% increase in productivity, as measured by tons of tomatoes harvested per hour.”
← Pause and reflect on that for a moment longer. That’s nuts! peanuts
Finally, he tells us: My takeaway from all this research is that people experience a far greater sense of belonging and more sustainable wellbeing when they connect their efforts in the moment with a larger influence on others.”
That’s Today’s +1.
Spotlight on YOU.
What do YOU do? 
Who do you SERVE when you do what you do?
Take a moment and actually identify a SPECIFIC person who you KNOW benefits from the day-to-day things you do.
One person.
Could be a colleague. A customer. Whoever.
ONE PERSON you *know* benefits from what you do.
Got it?
Let’s reflect on our contributions often.
Remember: “People experience a far greater sense of belonging and more sustainable wellbeing when they connect their efforts in the moment with a larger influence on others.”
+1 micro-moments of service +1 micro-moments of service +1 micro-moments of service.
All day every day for the Purpose 2.0 meaning-filled life.
Starting TODAY.
Mar 30, 2020
Richard Rohr is one of my new favorite teachers.
Alexandra got me his book called Falling Upward after I told her how much I loved David Brooks’ The Second Mountain. Apparently it’s recommended alongside that book on Amazon. With 1,400+ reviews, Alexandra thought I might like it.
And, well, YES!! Not only did I like the book, I loved it. (Check out those Notes for more.)
And… I fell in love with Richard Rohr.
Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest. In fact, he’s been a Franciscan priest for FIVE DECADES. 
This has particular resonance for me. As we’ve discussed, I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for twelve years. At my elementary school and primary church, our priests were Franciscan. 
Yet... The closest I’ve come to studying an integrated Catholic perspective thus far has been Anthony de Mello—a Jesuit priest. 
So... I found Father Richard’s wisdom particularly resonant for a range of reasons.
Now... When I read a book, I use a blank note card as a bookmark. On that note card, I jot down related books and ideas I want to make sure we cover in our Notes together. After reading chapters in which he connected Odysseus and the Hero’s Journey to Christianity and our modern lives, at the top of the bookmark-card for this book I wrote this description of Father Richard: “If Joseph Campbell was a Franciscan monk.”
I laughed as I typed that but it’s pretty darn close to being a great micro-bio. Throw in a little Ken Wilber and a TON of “elderly” wisdom and voila. We have one of my new favorite spiritual teachers.
But that’s not quite the point of Today’s +1.
Today I want to chat about a fantastic line from the book that comes pretty darn close to capturing the intention behind ALL of our work together.
Here it is: “As Desmond Tutu once told me on a recent trip to Cape Town, ‘We are only the light bulbs, Richard, and our job is just to remain screwed in!’”
How great is THAT?
We’re only the light bulbs. Our job is just to remain screwed in. (Thank you, Bishop Tutu.)
Not only does that line capture the essence of all of our work together, it’s also a great answer to Joseph Campbell’s question: “What am I? Am I the bulb that carries the light, or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle?”
Here’s to keeping ourselves screwed in so the Divine Light can shine through us. 
Mar 25, 2020
In our last +1, we talked about being Efficient vs. Effective.
It’s GREAT for managing our time and completing tasks. Not so great for creating EFFECTIVE relationships with people.
We also hammered our “technology is the obstacle to presence!” theme one more time. (I promise to keep coming back to it.)
Today I want to chat about another big relationship idea I’ve been meaning to discuss.
We’re going to talk about the idea of “bids.”
I’m pretty sure I learned about this from Dan Siegel. 
Enter: Search of my Mac for “bids”…
Oh, wait. 
Actually, I learned about this from THE leading researcher on the science of effective marriages: Jon Gottman!
In his GREAT book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Gottman tells us that we need to “Turn Toward” our partners and respond to their “bids.” 
Here’s how he puts it: “Hollywood has distorted our notions of romance and what makes passion sizzle. Watching Humphrey Bogart gather teary-eyed Ingrid Bergman into his arms may make your heart pound, but real-life romance is fueled by far more humdrum scenes. It is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life. In marriage, couples are always making what I call ‘bids’ for each other’s attention, affection, humor, or support. Bids can be as minor as asking for a backrub or as significant as seeking help in carrying the burden when an aging parent is ill. The partner responds to each bid either by turning toward the spouse or turning away. A tendency to turn toward your partner is the basis of trust, emotional connection, passion, and a satisfying sex life. Comical as it may sound, romance is strengthened in the supermarket aisle when your partner asks, ‘Are we out of butter?’ and you answer, ‘I don’t know. Let me go get some just in case,’ instead of shrugging apathetically. It grows when you know your spouse is having a bad day at work and you take a few seconds out of your schedule to send him an encouraging text. In all of these instances, partners are making a choice to turn toward rather than away.”
“Turning toward” our partner instead of away from them. 
Gottman tells us that our partners are always making “bids” for our attention. Whether we accept their invitation to connect or not is one of the greatest predictors of the longevity of our relationship.
Get this: Gottman did a 6-year follow-up study of newlyweds. For those who were still married, the partner’s responded to each other’s bids 86% of the time.
For those who got divorced? They only responded 33% of the time. 
Today’s +1.
How’s YOUR Bid Math?
Let’s pay attention and see if we can notice some more bids and, of course, remember to TURN TOWARD our partners a little more TODAY.
Mar 20, 2020
In our last couple +1s, we flipped through my notes from session number 150-something with my Yoda/spiritual Godfather Phil Stutz.
On page one we had: Success doesn’t matter in this world, commitment does.”
On the middle of page three we had: “Real enthusiasm is passing through the worst and realizing it’s the best.”
Looking at the bottom of page three, we see: “How you react to dramatic things is good. How you react to SMALL things is GREAT! That’s where the power is.”
As I reread my messy writing, I actually remember asking Phil to hold on a second so I could write that down. (Hah. Seriously.)
I repeat: “How you react to dramatic things is good. How you react to SMALL things is GREAT! That’s where the power is.”
As we’ve discussed, Phil (and all great teachers, really) is ALL ABOUT the SMALL THINGS. 
He calls our moment-to-moment experiences (with ourselves and others) “micro transactions.” Although we tend to ignore them and think only the “big” stuff is “really” important, he flips that around and says it’s the TINY things that matter the MOST.
(Of course, by practicing with the small things, we’re well-trained to handle the “big” things when they inevitably arrive.)
One more time: “How you react to dramatic things is good. How you react to SMALL things is GREAT! That’s where the power is.”
David Allen comes to mind.
As we’ve discussed, in our interview years ago, he said that “the sublime comes through the mundane.”
That’s Today’s +1.
Let’s bring our best.
To the small things.
P.S. Fun family fact: Midway through writing this +1, I heard a ferocious banging on my office door. Like jumbo crazy loud. (Laughing.) 
My initial reaction was WTNotFantastic! (Laughing.)
Then I ran my “If… Then…” algorithm and got ready to welcome my little man.
What did I see?
Emerson in his brand-new BRIGHT GREEN (hah) helmet standing next to his sister in her helmet.
“Daddy!!! Look at my new bike!!!”
Yep. His new bike we got last night was downstairs. He cruised down, hopped on it and rode around the house. 
To think I almost ruined that TINY moment by getting upset IN THE MIDDLE of writing this +1… (Laughing yet again.)
Here’s to moving from Theory to Practice.
With the little things. 
And little ones.
Mar 15, 2020
Yes, we’ve been chatting about it quite a bit recently. 
That’s deliberate.
You know how we recently established the (scientifically-validated) Top 2 virtues as Zest + Hope?
Positive psychologists arm wrestle a bit about those top two virtues. 
While Ryan Niemiec (via The Power of Character Strengths) tells us that Zest + Hope are our Top 2, Robert Emmons tells us that Gratitude is even more predictive of well-being than Hope. 
We’ll leave the arm-wrestling debate on the precise order of those Top 2 to our academic friends but let’s shine a BRIGHT LIGHT on the Big 3 Virtues: Zest + Hope + Gratitude.
As I’ve been thinking about it, I actually like the order: Zest + Gratitude + Hope.
We’re Optimizing our Energy-Zest so we can give our best to our Work + Love. (Zest is still the undisputed #1 Virtue—although I’d say it’s technically achieved as a by-product of Wisdom + Self-Mastery/Discipline on the the fundamentals.)
Then… We practice Gratitude for the fact that we’re alive and for everything in our lives. (INCLUDING all the challenges, of course.)
Then… We practice Hope as we see a better future via a specific goal that inspires us, know we can make it happen and make a plan to make it so.
Zest + Gratitude + Hope.
(Note: Throw in Love + Curiosity for the Top 5.)
I love coming back to that and I’m constantly spinning those virtues around in my mind, trying to think about how to help us operationalize them more consistently in our lives. 
That’s not quite what I want to talk about Today.
Today I want to talk about that “What Went Well and Why?” gratitude exercise I referenced not too long ago. It’s one of Robert Emmons’ top recommended practices. 
Here’s how Martin Seligman puts it in Flourish: “Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (‘My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today’), but they can be important (‘My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy’).
Next to each positive event, answer the question ‘Why did this happen?’ For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes’ or ‘because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.’ Or if you write, ‘My sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy,’ you might pick as the cause ‘God was looking out for her’ or ‘She did everything right during her pregnancy.’
Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.”
Today’s +1.
Here’s to celebrating many more awesome moments (and clarity on how they came about!) between here and our next +1!
+1. +1. +1. 
Mar 10, 2020
In our last couple +1s, we talked about the science of gratitude and explored some tips on Robert Emmons’ #1 practice: Gratitude Journaling.
Today I want to chat about one of the distinctions I most loved from his book Gratitude Works!
He tells us: “Think about and then write down those aspects of your life that you are prone to take for granted. Instead, take them as granted.”
I just LOVE that distinction. 
Ungrateful people tend to take things (and people!) for granted
For example, we take for granted all of the astonishing modern benefits that make our lives possible: like a warm house, a car, a smartphone, the Internet and all the other magical marvels of modern life.
Robert tells us we’d be wise to move from taking people and things FOR GRANTED to seeing them AS GRANTED.
Let’s think about that for a moment longer.
We can take the amazing people and goodness in our lives FOR GRANTED or AS GRANTED
It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a REALLY big distinction. 
Science says: We’d be wise to remember that NONE of it is guaranteed. 
Making the shift to see that it’s ALL one big GIFT is at the heart of gratitude. In fact, it’s so important that we’re going to spend another moment on it tomorrow as we talk about the #1 obstacle to gratitude.
For now…
Let’s think of three things we normally take for granted and see if we can shift to seeing them “as granted.”
Here are three things pop up immediately for me…
#1: The computer on which I’m typing this. 
It’s easy for me to take this for granted (and get frustrated when it inevitably doesn’t work perfectly). But MY GOODNESS!!! It’s a MIRACLE. 
I can type on little black pieces of plastic and somehow (!) create letters that somehow (!) show up on the screen and on a website (Dropbox Paper) that I can edit and share with our team who can share it with you and with other Optimizers around the world. MIND BOGGLING. 
I hereby commit to, for this moment, seeing all of this AS GRANTED to me (via countless people over countless iterations over countless generations…). Grateful wow.
#2: The house in which I’m typing this. 
As I looked up from the screen out my office window at the mountain I hike every morning I thought of how easy it is to take the fact that I live in a safe, climate controlled house FOR GRANTED. That’s crazy. I’m so blessed (by so many people—including YOU) that it’s not even funny. 
I shall now, for this moment, see it AS GRANTED to me. Thank you.
#3: The bottle from which I’m drinking fresh water. 
I drink from a water bottle all day every day. Of course, it’s very easy to take that FOR GRANTED. But… Again… MY GOODNESS. That’s a miracle. Countless people around the world don’t have fresh water (gah) and ALL of us used to have to trek long distances to get our daily water (when we could find it). 
I hereby, for this moment, commit to seeing this gift AS GRANTED. And, for that I am grateful.
Of course, we can go on all day every day on this. And STILL barely scratch the surface of all the benefits we receive. 
And, that’s Today’s +1.
What three things can you shift from taking FOR GRANTED to AS GRANTED?
  1. _________________________________________________________________________
  2. _________________________________________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________________________________________
Mar 5, 2020
In our last +1, we talked about how to sidestep depression and anxiety. 
I still can’t believe that scientists have identified a threshold for our step counts under which we make ourselves more vulnerable for anxiety and depression.
As Kelly McGonigal tells us in The Joy of Movement: “The average daily step count required to induce feelings of anxiety and depression and decrease satisfaction with life is 5,649. The typical American takes 4,774 steps per day. Across the globe, the average is 4,961.”
Right before those step count thresholds, she tells us: “Other experiments in the U.S. and UK have forced moderately active adults to become sedentary for a period of time, only to watch their well-being wither. Regular exercisers who replace physical activity with a sedentary activity for two weeks become more anxious, tired, and hostile. When adults are randomly assigned to reduce their daily step count, 88 percent become more depressed. Within one week of becoming more sedentary, they report a 31 percent decline in life satisfaction.”
Those stats are nuts as well.
Take a regular exerciser, force them to become more sedentary and VOILA! 
Their “well-being withers.”
88% (EIGHTY-EIGHT PERCENT!!!) become more depressed. 
Within ONE WEEK of becoming more sedentary, they report a 31% (!!!) decline in life satisfaction.
Kinda makes you want to move, eh?
It’s funny, because, having been a non-exercising and much more “anxious, tired, hostile and depressed” version of myself, I’ve often jokingly said that you couldn’t PAY me to NOT exercise. 
As it turns out, the researchers conducting studies like that often ran into challenges finding people willing to not exercise! (Apparently, I’m not alone.)
So... One more time. Back to you. 
How can you move a little more?
Feb 29, 2020
In our last +1, we left Zeno the leopard gecko in his terrarium and hung out with Zeno the founder of Stoicism.
As we discussed, Zeno was a wealthy merchant who arrived in Athens via shipwreck, discovered philosophy and then told his students that “he had come to value wisdom more than wealth or reputation.” 
He valued wisdom so much that he used to say: “My most profitable journey began on the day I was shipwrecked and lost my entire fortune.” 
Today I want to talk about another Stoic practice we can use to get a firm grip on reality so we can alchemize our apparent misfortune into our greatest fortune.
Stepping back for a moment, let’s remind ourselves of the fact that the Stoics took the whole idea of living with wisdom VERY seriously.
They were ALL IN on playing the eudaimonia game and believed that living with virtue was THE means by which to win that game. 
When a “disaster” struck, they stepped back (right there in between stimulus and response) and asked themselves, “What virtue can I put to work on this challenge?”
Perhaps a little Wisdom to remind myself that setbacks are an inherent part of life?
Perhaps a little Self-Mastery to actually practice my philosophy in the moment it matters?
Perhaps a little Courage to step forward into growth and do needs to get done whether I feel like it or not?
Or, perhaps I can practice the ultimate virtue of Love and bring kindness and presence and magnanimity to the moment?
That’s Today’s +1.
Facing any challenges?
What =Virtue(s) can YOU apply to those challenges?
Let’s move from Theory to Practice en route to Mastery. 
+1. +1. +1. 
Feb 19, 2020
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been hanging out with Emerson, playing the “I Love You!” game and taking a quick look at the story of our world.
Today we’re going to spend a little more time with Emerson and history.
First: Quick aside.
At the Optimize Coach graduation weekend, it was amazing how many of our Coaches came up to Alexandra and me and told us how much THEIR KIDS loved seeing Emerson in the +1s. (I actually got misty typing that.)
They told us that the +1s with him were a great way to share the wisdom with their kids and that their kids looked forward to more +1s with the little philosopher.
So… Here we are.
Back to The Story of the World: Volume 2: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance.
After the fall of Rome, Western Europe entered what is known as the “middle ages” or the “dark ages.” Then there was a “rebirth” or renewed interest in ancient ideals that fueled the Renaissance.
As you know, a key player in the Renaissance was a guy named Galileo.
(In addition to his creation of a super-powerful telescope that let him view the moons of Jupiter that strengthened his belief in Copernicus’s theory that Earth revolved around the sun, did you know that Galileo also invented the thermometer? Might want to give ol’ G a virtual fistbump of gratitude every time you check the temperature Today!)
Which leads us to page 339 of The Story of the World Volume II and to the point of Today’s +1.
Here’s the passage: “Galileo was one of the first modern scientists, because he used the experimental method to find out how the world worked. Rather than trying to decide whether or not his ideas lined up with philosophy, Galileo made theories about the world and then tested them through doing experiments. ‘Measure what is measurable,’ he once said, ‘and if something cannot be measured, figure out how it can be.’”
I LOVE (!) the idea of running Optimizing experiments (but only all day every day) (N = 1!), but it’s that last part that got me to fold the page over.
Measure what is measurable.” … “And if something cannot be measured, figure out how it can be.’”
When I read that, I immediately thought of virtue. 
If we believe all the ancient wisdom traditions (and modern science!), virtue is THE #1 thing that’s driving our sense of flourishing and well-being.
Are we measuring it?
How do we measure it? 
Of course, there are an infinite number of ways to attempt to measure virtue, but I think the most important thing to do is to simply step back long enough from the hustle and bustle of daily living and all the “time management” we do and think about virtue management” long enough to appreciate just how important it is.
Which is why we encourage you (and require our Coaches!) to reflect on your virtues EVERY SINGLE MORNING—identifying who you are at your best, articulating the virtues THAT version of you embodies, and then committing to BEING that Optimus-best version of yourself TODAY.
Then, for the super-serious-Optimizing scientists among us, we check in at the end of the day (channeling our inner Pythagoras) to see how we did so we can get a little better tomorrow.
That’s Today’s +1.
Let’s measure it.
Feb 14, 2020
In our last +1, we had fun with the ultimate riddles of life—from skunks and giraffes to watches and pearls. 
And… The answer to pretty much all of life’s riddles?
After Emerson gave me that answer to the hero-virtue riddle, we went to visit the ladies in the bath to tell mommy about his answer. 
Which, of course, led to a whole ‘nother round of riddles. 
Today we’re going to talk about the riddle I got from Ellen Langer—the “mother of mindfulness” research and the creator of the “psychology of possibility.”
In our interview, she asked me this little riddle…
Ellen: “What’s 1 + 1?”
… Before we carry on, whaddya think? What’s 1 + 1? …
Got it? Awesome. 
Now, back to the show…
Ellen: “What’s 1 + 1?”
Me: “Uhhh…” 
(The quick look inside my head in that moment: “I know the answer can’t be 2 but…” “Hmmmm…” Insert thought from Part X: “Well! At least we’re filming this so I’ll look ridiculous!” Quick reply by Optimus: “That wasn’t helpful Part X. Just have fun and answer the question, B.” ← Yes, all of that happened in the span of a couple seconds. lol) 
Me: “Uhh… 2?”
Ellen: "Nope. The right answer is ‘It depends.’”
Then Ellen (in full Professor Langer mode) proceeded to school me on the importance of mindfully approaching life and its challenges.
If you’re adding two of the Arabic numeral “1”s together, she explained, the answer is 2.
If you’re putting two pieces of gum together, the answer is 1. 
And, as we discussed in the Joov-light powered bathroom the other night, if you’re putting two “1”s right next to each other, the answer is “11.” Put a sperm and an egg together and you get one baby (or maybe two!).
You get the idea…
That’s Today’s +1.
If you feel so inspired, have fun riddling your friends and family as we remember to approach life a little more mindfully.
Feb 4, 2020
In our last +1, we spent some time with John Maxwell and reflected on his wisdom on the pinnacle of leadership influence: Moral Authority.
Recall: “Moral authority is the recognition of a person’s leadership influence based on who they are more than the position they hold. It is attained by authentic living that has built trust and it is sustained by successful leadership endeavors. It is earned by a lifetime of consistency. Leaders can strive to earn moral authority by the way they live, but only others can grant them moral authority.”
Today I want to talk about another little gem from his most recent book called Leadershift.
He tells us that Babe Ruth (apparently) said: “Yesterday’s home run won’t win today’s game.”
Isn’t that AWESOME?!
“Yesterday’s home run won’t win today’s game.”
That’s Today’s +1.
Yesterday’s home run?
Congrats on rocking it yesterday but… 
That epic performance is not going to win TODAY’s game.
Start again. (And again… And again…
Build the chair. Light the fire.
+1. +1. +1.
Jan 30, 2020
In our last +1, we talked about the research on the fact that The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.
Today I want to talk about another way to make what we’re learning stick.
We’re going to consult with Barbara Oakley on this one.
Barbara taught one of the most popular classes in history. Nearly 2 million people from 200 countries have taken her Coursera class called Learning How to Learn.
She also wrote a book on how to learn called A Mind for Numbers where she tells us: “The legendary Charles Darwin would do much the same thing. When trying to explain a concept, he imagined someone had just walked into his study. He would put his pen down and try to explain the idea in the simplest terms. That helped him figure out how he would describe the concept in print. Along those lines, the website has a section called ‘Explain like I’m 5’ where anyone can make a post asking for a simple explanation of a complex topic.
You may think you really have to understand something in order to explain it. But observe what happens when you are talking to other people about what you are studying. You’ll be surprised to see how often understanding arises as a consequence of attempts to explain to others and yourself, rather than the explanation arising out of your previous understanding. This is why teachers often say that the first time they ever really understood the material was when they had to teach it.”
That’s Today’s +1.
Want to master something?
Explain it to someone.
Like they’re 5.
Jan 25, 2020
In our last couple +1s, we talked about a key (arguably the #1 key) predictor of our long-term health/morbidity: our visceral fat. 
We also discussed the Optimized WHtR (Waist-to-Height Ratio!) that gives us some insight on how we’re doing with that facet of our lives. (+1 +1 +1 for the <.5 win!)
There are, of course, a number of things we can do to Optimize our WHtR.
Eat + Move + Sleep Fundies for the win!
The #1 thing? 
At the end of the day, if we want to get our weight Optimized, we need to get our nutrition Optimized. (And, that requires us to get our metabolism/insulin Optimized.)
For the record: I’m agnostic as to whether you should go vegan or paleo or keto or carnivore or whatever strikes your fancy.
I am, however, very (!) committed to a) encouraging you to GO ALL IN on whatever path you choose while b) remaining open to experimenting as new data comes in while c) making sure whatever path you choose includes limiting/eliminating sugar and flour and ultra-processed foods while d) reminding you that the more weight you need to lose, the MORE committed you’ll need to be, the more important the margins will be, and the brighter your lines will need to be.
But that’s not quite the point of Today’s +1.
Today I want to talk about the fact that exercise, as awesome as it is, is PRIMARILY a WELL-BEING tool *not* a WEIGHT-LOSS tool.
We talk about this in our Notes on Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney’s book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.
It’s one of their “Ten Clinical Pearls.” 
They tell us: “Exercise is a wellness tool. It is not a weight loss tool.”
They also tell us: “Exercise done by heavy people causes a lot of collateral damage. Think ankles, knees, hips, and low backs. So here’s a radical idea… let heavy people try carbohydrate restriction first, lose some weight (which most do without resorting to exercise), and then let them decide when to become more active once they are empowered, energized, and lighter of foot. Making heavy people exercise is punitive. Enabling heavy people to lose weight and then become more fit is smart.”
Exercise is unquestionably awesome for our overall well-being. It’s like that little bit of Ritalin and Prozac a la John Ratey’s Spark. And, as Sonja Lyubomirsky tells us in The How of Happiness, it’s been shown to be as effective as Zoloft in reducing depression.
But, again, remember: Exercise is NOT primarily a weight-loss tool. It’s a wellness tool.
I often think of this when I’m out on the trail and see significantly overweight people training super hard. It makes a LOT more sense to slow down and get your weight down THEN train. 
To put it in perspective, I used to carry something heavy for the first and last 5 minutes up to the start of the trail—either a 50-pound sand bag or a bucket filled with 50 pounds of gravel-rocks. (That’s like me!)
People often looked at me and asked, “What are you carrying?!” Then we’d have a sweet, Love 2.0 moment as we chat about Spartan Races, etc. 
No one ever pauses to think about the fact that running with 15 to 25 to 50+ extra pounds is AT LEAST as weird as me carrying a 50-pound bag of sand or a 50-pound bucket of rocks! 
If you’re carrying extra weight, consider putting ALL your energy into dropping it THEN hitting your higher-impact aerobic training. (Note: Carry on with the lower-impact MAF aerobic goodness and resistance training during the transition!)
One more time…
Let’s remember: “Exercise is a wellness tool. It is not a weight loss tool.”
Jan 20, 2020
In our last +1, we talked about the PM ritual Pythagoras came up with 2,500 years ago (!) that the Stoics liked to follow:

"Allow not sleep to close your wearied eyes,

Until you have reckoned up each daytime deed:


‘Where did I go wrong? What did I do? And what duty’s left undone?’

From first to last review your acts and then

Reprove yourself for wretched acts, but rejoice in those done well.”

Today we’ll step back a bit and put in an AM Intention practice to go with that PM Reflection practice.
Let’s go back to Donald Robertson’s How to Think Like a Roman Emperor.
He encourages us to follow another one of Aurelius’s practices and “Contemplate the Sage.” Specifically, he tells us that Marcus made it a practice to think about the virtues he admired in others that he aspired to put into practice in his own life.
He also tells us: “In addition to the virtues of real people, the Stoics were also known for contemplating the hypothetical character of an ideal Sage, or wise person.”
Then he shares my favorite practice: “In addition to asking ourselves what qualities the ideal wise person might have, we can ask what qualities we might hope to possess in the distant future. For instance, what sort of person would you hope to be after having trained in Stoicism for ten or twenty years?”
When I read that I immediately thought of our Carpe Diem journaling process.
In our Mastery Series, after establishing the ultimate game we’re playing (and how to play it well), we walk you through a Steven Covey-inspired eulogy exercise in which you attend your own funeral and listen to what your loved ones have to say about you.
Pause for a moment, if you feel so inspired, and imagine that scene. You’re gone. It’s your funeral. Who says what?
Specifically, what VIRTUES do you hope people use to describe you and your presence in their lives? WRITE THOSE DOWN.
We then proceed to help you get more clarity on who you are at your Optimus-best so that you can more consistently express those virtues TODAY. 
We need to move out of the abstract, “Oh, yah. That’s how I’d like to be remembered” to a VERY concrete, “Well, if I *really* think those qualities are important, then TODAY is the day to live in integrity with them.” (Right?)
Which leads us right into the next piece of wisdom Donald shares which also happens to map over nearly perfectly with what we encourage our Optimizers to do. 
He tells us to reflect on your ideal self and those virtues you intend to embody every morning. Write them down. Imagine your ideal self interacting with people Today. Who are you? How do you show up? That’s essentially what Aurelius did. 
We call our Optimize process “Carpe Diem Journaling.” We start by getting clarity on our Optimus-best selves in our Big 3 of Energy + Work + Love. Then we briefly reflect on that best-self Identity and write down the virtues that version of you embodies. Then we identify the #1 behavior we’ll engage in that day as we re-commit to being that version of ourselves TODAY.
Donald encourages us to add a PM reflection so we can go through what he calls daily “learning cycles.” At the end of each day, he tells us to ask ourselves three simple questions: 
  1. What did you do badly?
  2. What did you do well?
  3. What could you do differently?
Those three questions happen to be exactly the questions Lanny Bassham tells us to reflect on after a performance. Only, he switches #1 and #2—starting with the positive.
Shall we start that reflection process Today? 
How about RIGHT NOW?
If you feel so inspired, reflect on those three questions for your day so far today:
  1. What did you do well?                __________________________________________________
  2. What did you do badly?              __________________________________________________
  3. What could you do differently?  __________________________________________________
Imagine your life in ten to twenty years if the ONLY thing you changed was adding that simple reflection practice into your life.
Here’s to aggregating and compounding those incremental gains over an extended period of time so that BEST version of us is the one looking back at us in the mirror in ten or twenty years. 
Jan 15, 2020
In our last +1, we had fun chatting about the diploma we give to our Optimize Coaches.
It so perfectly captures the underlying purpose of all of our work together that I’d like to share it again. 
Here it is one more time:
  • Having demonstrated a commitment to areté through the mastery of ancient wisdom, modern science, and the fundamentals of Optimal living—both in their own life and in service to others—let it be known that
  • [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE] is hereby recognized as a Certified Optimize Coach and granted all privileges thereunto appertaining, for as long as they continue to demonstrate their commitment through practice.
  • In witness whereof, we hereby commit to do our best to operationalize virtue and live with areté, honoring the fundamentals and striving to be our Optimize = Optimus = Best = Eudaimōn = Hērō selves in Energy, Work, and Love.
Today I want to chat about one particular subtle little thing from this section: 
“… is hereby recognized as a Certified Optimize Coach and granted all privileges thereunto appertaining, for as long as they continue to demonstrate their commitment through practice.
I actually laughed as I bolded that.
for as long as they continue to demonstrate their commitment through practice.
Our program is 300-days long. We graduate after doing a Spartan Race together on Saturday.
Then you know what happens on Sunday?
We start again.
It’s Day 1.
Yes, after completing our program and demonstrating Mastery, our Coaches “graduate.” They’re now “certified.” 
Then, inspired in part by the the Navy SEALs who need to “earn their tridents every day,” we start again. 
And again. And again. 
It’s Day 1. 
Well, as we talk about all the time, moving from Theory to Practice to Mastery isn’t a “Check me out, I’m done!” kinda thing.
It’s a constant and never-ending process in which we strive to show up, work our always-evolving protocols and see just what we’re capable of as we make our prior best our new baseline and give the world all we've got.
If that sounds like fun, we’d love to have you join us in our 2020 Optimize Coach program.
Either way, of course, we’re ALL IN on supporting you and helping you make 2020 THE greatest year of our lives and the start of the greatest decade of our lives.
Love and let’s do this!
Jan 10, 2020
Last night as I was falling asleep, I was reflecting on the wonderful time I spent with a dear friend who came up to Ojai for a hike to chat about his next hero’s journey. 
We talked about some of the key themes of our upcoming Mastery Series/Optimize Coach program. (Fun fact: Looks like he’ll be doing the program with TWO of his kids—which makes my soul smile.)
One of the things we discussed was creating Masterpiece Days. Of course, we talked about the fact that our day starts the night before (PM counts twice!), the importance of being creative before we’re reactive and all that jazz. 
We also spent a fair amount of time talking about The Fundamentals (Eat! Move! Sleep! Breathe! Be Present! Prosper!) and how important it is to Optimize our Energy so we can show up most fully in our Work and our Love.
But what I found myself thinking about as I was falling asleep was the fact that when most people start to think about architecting their ideal days, they start with “Time Management.”
Optimizing the nuts and bolts of how we manage our time is, of course, important. But I think there’s something more important and essential than managing our time. 
As Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr put it in The Power of Full Engagement, we need to manage our ENERGY. When we prioritize Energy Management, things like our PM Bookends (with its shut-down complete and digital sunset rituals) become obvious high priorities.
Energy Management > Time Management.
There’s something FAR more important than either Energy Management or Time Management.
Virtue Management.
This is, essentially, what all (!) the great philosophers and spiritual traditions have taught us since the dawn of time. 
Live with Wisdom. And Self-Mastery. And Courage. And Love.
So we can more consistently close the gap between who we’re capable of being and who we’re actually being as we joyfully show up as the Optimus-best version of ourselves in service to our families, communities, and world.
P.S. We’d be honored to welcome you to our 2020 Mastery Series and Optimize Coach programs. You can sign up now. Based on the feedback of the 1,000+ Optimizers who participated in our inaugural class, I KNOW we can help you make 2020 THE greatest year of your life and the start of the greatest decade of your life. 
Let’s do this!!! 
Jan 5, 2020
Emily Fletcher was a Broadway performer living the dream.
Her hair was graying at 27, she was always stressed and had chronic insomnia.
One of her fellow Broadway performers was always super calm and confident. Emily asked her how she did it. The woman told her that she meditated. Emily rolled her eyes. Then she decided to give meditation a try.
After ONE day of meditation, her insomnia was gone. She was hooked. Soon after, she quit Broadway, traveled to India to study more deeply then became a meditation teacher and created something called the “Ziva Technique” which she’s taught to thousands of people.
In her book Stress Less, Accomplish More, Emily walks us through the science of WHY meditation is so powerful and then introduces us to the “3 M’s” of her Z Technique: Mindfulness, Meditation and Manifesting.
As you know if you’ve been following along, I’m a HUGE fan of meditation. I’ve missed ONE day in the last 12+ years. 
If you’ve been looking for a book that will help you get started on your meditation journey and/or take your existing practice to the next level, I think you’ll love it. It’s a great place to start. 
Today I want to chat about one of my favorite distinctions from the book.
Emily tells us: “The single most important piece of meditation advice you can hold with you as you dive in is this: Thoughts are not the enemy. Remember that the mind thinks involuntarily just like the heart beats involuntarily, so please don’t try to give your mind a command to be silent. Instead, know that thoughts are okay—they’re actually a useful part of this process and now you have your trusty anchor, one, to come back to when you notice you’ve taken a mental field trip.”
I always love it when an author prefaces some wisdom with “The single most important thing you need to know about X is...” As we’ve discussed, IF that happens, THEN I sit up a little straighter (gently pulling that thread through the head, of course) and pay even closer attention.
Sit up a little straighter and pull that thread if you feel so inspired as we note: “The single most important piece of meditation advice you can hold with you as you dive in is this: Thoughts are not the enemy.”
Have YOU “tried” to meditate but felt like a failure because you couldn’t stop thinking?
Well... Uh... 
Know this: You’re not SUPPOSED to be able to stop your brain from thinking. PERIOD.
Emily tells us that she’s NEVER (!) had a session in which she didn’t have a single thought bubble up. It’s not going to happen. EVER.
Why? Because, and I just love this line: “The mind thinks involuntarily just like the heart beats involuntarily.” <- Isn’t that a beautiful, empowering way to think about it?
The mind THINKS involuntarily just like the heart BEATS involuntarily.
Yes, you can slow your heart rate quite a bit by learning how to breathe deeply, training wisely and all that jazz. BUT... You can’t just flip the switch OFF.
We can learn how to slow our thoughts down (interestingly, via the same mechanisms we use to slow our heart rates down: deep breathing, good sleep, exercise, etc.) BUT... We can’t just flip the switch OFF. <- Isn’t that empowering?
Knowing that, when our minds inevitably move away from our anchors, we can just say “Oh, well” like Herbert Benson recommends and get back to our practice—in this case, to allowing our mantra to gently bubble up in our consciousness as we deeply relax our minds and bodies.
So… One more time: Our thoughts are not our enemies.
In fact, a meditation in which we have a LOT of thoughts bubble up is actually, potentially, one of our BEST meditations because the process of sitting and calmly bringing ourselves back to our anchor allows us to “digest”/“release” those thoughts that would otherwise have remained locked up in our minds and bodies.
As Emily says: “Thinking during meditation is actually an indicator that some stress is leaving the body. This is where the healing happens. Better out than in, right? When you feel those thoughts coming up and out, know that it is stress exiting your nervous system.”
And: “If you remember one thing from this whole book, let it be this: A deep meditation is no better for you than a shallow meditation. I’m going to say that again for dramatic effect. A deep meditation is no better for you than a shallow meditation. I am defining a deep meditation as one in which time passes quickly, you have few thoughts, and you generally enjoy the sitting. In a shallow meditation, the time may pass more slowly, you may feel like you are just sitting there having thoughts the whole time, and you may not enjoy the sitting itself. Both are beneficial for you. A deep meditation means the body is getting deep rest; a shallow meditation means the body is releasing stresses in the form of thoughts. One is not better for you than the other. Write it on your mirror, make a T-shirt, tattoo it on your forehead. I know it sounds crazy and counter to everything you have likely heard about meditation so far, but it’s true.”
Here’s to just showing up and brushing our brains.
Dec 31, 2019
This is Optimize +1 #1,000.
I don’t really know how to best start this one other than by saying: 
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Seriously. I am so honored to be a part of your life—whether that’s occasionally or every day. And I’m deeply grateful to have your support so I can do what I do.
Thank you.
Today I want to celebrate YOU.
I want to shine a special light of awesome on all of you heroically gritty Optimizers who have actually been with us for ALL 1,000 Optimize +1s. 
We’ve actually created a little virtual Hall of Fame. It’s time to induct our first wave of honorees. (If we missed you, sorry! Please let us know and we’ll retroactively add you!)
Ahem. Here we go…
charles agrusa
Kay Garkusha
Peggy Rakas
Nat Barcellini
Tricia Nelson
Jaya Chauhan
Hussein Jinnah
Jordan Bernard
Angèle Verrier
Judi Wearing
Khaled Sultan
Georgina Ingram
Hal Simonson
Angela Stokes
Gianni Bergandi
Solène Hyordey
Esther Ratsch
Abhay Gulmire
Ajay Panackal
Riccardo Gelmini
Soraia Kutby
Jason Simmonds
Bogdan Petrutescu
Matt Willcocks
Michael J Smith
Kippy Jo Berry
Candace Pollock
Sidney Hutter
Dennis Schvejda
Tony Vito
Ana Pichardo
Matt Ramsey
Steve Mortimer
Travis Thomas
Zack Feeney
Cheree Simons
Shane Starke
Deb Kronsberg
Shelly Auld
Stephen Stohler
Paulo Oliveira
Stephanie Martinez
Caron MacLane
Betsy Newlon
Dawn Hoffmann
Nancy Stahl
Candace Pollock
Mark Fischer
Kristie Kuehnast
Gieta Beckmann
Kat Bloom
Derrick Wulf
Luke Gilson
Daniel Keller
Pattie Beaven
Dennis Miller
Tim Brown
David Newman
Wendy Holt
Michael Balchan
Tara Bogdon
Dushan Bosotov
Carl Brenner
Bharat Singh
Lisa LaMont
Josée Boutin
Michele Herkimer
Katherine Long
Henry Mason
Cath Cooney
Kevin Stallmo
Ryan Phillips
Virginie Kidwell
Patrick Köhn
Jaya Chauhan
Catherine  Cullen 
Antonis Katsarakis
David Lee Jr 
Bud  Search
Brendan Malloy
Bruce Ollis
Helen Thorgalsen
Marta Ribas
Aygemang Clay
Geoff Downey
Kyle Abel
Win Callender
Arvind Gopal
Susie Berman
Jericho Robles
Lori Lang
Joe Goryl
Fernando Orta
Cheryl Wheeler
Aneesh Ghosh
João Alves
Ernest Wassmann
Stephanie Scott
Cathy Dodd
Kay Garkusha
Pam Holzapfel
Yohanse Manzanarez
Stephanie Criner
Susan  Benson
Genevieve  Jones 
Anne Dwane
Bill Turner
Andy Moriarity
Jonathan Schreter
Glen McNiel
Laurie Struck
Emmanuel Ryckeboer
Hayley  Schmidtke
Louise Soifer
Wendy Holt
Tania May
Summer  Teixeira
Randall Grayson
Blaine Hart
Jamie Erwine
Grace Christensen
Jill Young
Scott Miller
James Abney
Marie Anne Patenaude-Alexandre
Steve Medland
Tirth Pat
Alma-Jade Chanter
Julie Beck
Jeffry Myers
Ben Robins
Jason Deppen
Mark Davis
Carl Blackburn
Michael Metcalf
Mari Lynch
Laura Larsen-Strecker
Scott Miller
Mike Lange
Pamela Castillo
Diane Martin
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