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
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Dec 6, 2018
In our last +1, we met one of my heroes, Mrs. Kristie Kuehnast. I smile with joy (and in awe) every time I imagine her fifth-grade students coming back into the classroom after their mile run to sit down and watch a new +1 or PNTV. 
High fives, Kristie. We appreciate you. (Oh! Please walk through a cloning machine about 50 million times. Thank you.)
We also briefly touched on Yuval Noah Harari’s perspective on the subject of Education. Today I want to revisit some more wisdom from his new book.
As we discussed, Yuval shines a spotlight on 21 of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. With the rise of artificial intelligence, information technology and biotechnology, things are changing at an incomprehensible speed. And, it’s only going to speed up, not slow down.
He tells us: “The danger is that if we invest too much in developing AI and too little in developing human consciousness, the very sophisticated artificial intelligence of computers might only serve to empower the stupidity of humans.”
He also tells us: “To avoid such outcomes, for every dollar and every minute we invest in improving artificial intelligence, we’d be wise to invest a dollar and a minute in advancing human consciousness. Unfortunately, at present we are not doing much in the way of research into human consciousness and ways to develop it. We are researching and developing human abilities mainly according to the immediate needs of the economic and political system, rather than according to our own long-term needs as conscious beings. My boss wants me to answer emails as quickly as possible, but he has little interest in my ability to taste and appreciate the food I am eating. Consequently, I check my emails even during meals, which means I lose the ability to pay attention to my own sensations. The economic system pressures me to expand and diversify my investment portfolio, but it gives me zero incentive to expand and diversify my compassion. So I strive to understand the mysteries of the stock exchange while making far less effort to understand the deep causes of suffering.”
Let’s focus on the end of that passage…
Which are you most interested in understanding?
The fluctuations in the stock market? Or the fluctuations in your own well-being, and, by extension, the well-being of those around you and the world at large?
I remember a coaching session where an Optimizer and I had fun making the distinction that, rather than waking up and immediately checking the stock market, he may want to consider waking up and checking in how his ULTIMATE stock was doing—that stock being his OWN CONSCIOUSNESS, of course.
When you wake up, what do you do? Do you check in on the most precious “asset” you’ll ever have? (Again, I repeat: That would be YOU and your well-being, of course!)
Or, do you immediately check in on the world—whether that’s the stock market or the news or your email inbox?
Byron Katie comes to mind. She tells us: “The greatest stock market you can invest in is yourself. Finding this truth is better than finding a gold mine.”
Today’s +1.
How can you invest in yourself a little more today?
Here’s to celebrating (and tapping into!) our gold mines.
Dec 1, 2018
A few +1s ago, we talked about Walter Russell and the sound of joy
Today I’d like to talk about another one of his powerful insights.
Here it is. 
He tells us: Mediocrity is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed.”
Here’s the slightly longer version: “I believe that every man has consummate genius within him. Some appear to have it more than others only because they are aware of it more than others are, and the awareness or unawareness of it is what makes each one of them into masters or holds them down to mediocrity. I believe that mediocrity is self-inflicted and that genius is self-bestowed.”
Today’s +1 is very simple.
Are you bestowing genius upon yourself or inflicting mediocrity?
Well, which is it?
Genius. Mediocrity.
I agree with Walter (and countless other teachers). We ALL have “consummate” (Golden Buddha!) genius within ourselves. 
Can you see it?
Nov 26, 2018
In our last couple +1s, we talked about the lead-up to a recent keynote talk I gave and some wisdom gleaned in the process—including practicing the “Bring it on!” and “I’m excited!” tools THE MOMENT I experienced doubt/fear/etc. and… Hanging towels over mirrors to reduce the ol' self-consciousness.
Today I want to talk about being a ballet dancer. (Hah.)
Well, actually, I want to talk about some of my favorite feedback from the event. I had some great conversations with the people at the event but one nice little comment really stuck.
Short story: While I was holding Eleanor while Alexandra and Emerson were enjoying a quick little hot tub session at the hotel on Friday night, a woman who attended the event strolled by. We had a nice little Love 2.0 moment. 
She told me that she was trained in Russian ballet and that one of the first things she noticed when I started talking was my posture. 
She said that in her ballet training, she was taught to simultaneously go up AND go down. And that, apparently, I did that really well. 
She said I looked like I could be a ballet dancer. I said, “That’s AWESOME. Thank you!”
But, as awesome as that is (lol), that’s not quite the point of Today’s +1.
Today I want to talk about three things: Head Threads + Power Poses + Thor’s Hammer.
I take my posture/gait kinda seriously. (I think it was Phil Maffetone who says that how we hold ourselves (how we stand/walk/etc.) is, essentially, the sum total of our overall well-being and communicates to everyone around us.)
So… During my meditation this morning, the essence of this +1 bubbled up and I actually got up to capture the ideas (which is a very rare thing for me to do).
There are three essential things I think we want to have in mind posture-wise.
First, Head Threads. Quick recap: As per the Alexander Technique training I did on a tiny little island in Greece back in the day, imagine having a thread that runs from the top of your head down through your spine. Gently pull it up—lengthening (and widening) your spine. When you sit. When you stand. When you walk. All day every day. Experts in that method say that’s one of the keys to grace and poise.
Then we have Power Poses: I also like to think of Amy Cuddy’s research on the power of our posture. As it turns out, Amy was actually a ballet dancer as well. Recall her research on how to cultivate Presence. One of her big things, of course, is to strike a power pose. Channel your inner Superman or Wonder Woman. When you sit. When you stand. When you walk. All day every day. Experts in this field of research say this is one of the most effective ways to cultivate our presence and power.
Finally we have Thor’s Hammer: Eric Goodman is one of the world’s leading biomechanic experts. He wrote a book called True to Form. You know who wrote the foreword to his book? Thor!! Well, technically, it was Chris Helmsworth but he attributes his superpowers to Eric’s wisdom. The key tip from Eric I have in my mind often throughout the day? “Chest up. Chin down.” Try it. Chest up. Chin down. All day. Every day. Thor says: It does a body good.
That’s Today’s +1.
Let’s (literally!) embody the idea of buoyancy by simultaneously having levity AND gravity.
Remember: Head Threads. Power Poses. Thor’s Hammer.
Simultaneously UP and DOWN.
And, most importantly: Let’s dance!
Nov 21, 2018
We’ve been talking a fair amount about the idea that some of history’s greatest creators didn’t work all that much. To be clear, they worked hard and (very importantly!) CONSISTENTLY, but the fact is that it’s really hard to put in any more than 4 to 6 hours of really high-quality work.
Of course, we all have our own idiosyncratic professional responsibilities. And, in addition to Deep Work, we all have (and, for the record, all of history’s greatest creators had!) some Team Work and some Monkey Work to do. (Even hermits like me can’t get all that to zero—as hard as I may try! lol)
But I get the fact that, for a lot of people, the idea that we can structure our lives such that we’re basically hammering out four hours of deep work and then calling it a day feels a bit impossible. 
Fair enough. 
Maybe we can’t currently (or ever!) wave our wands and instantly manifest our ideal Masterpiece Days. 
a) Have you actually stepped back and REALLY thought about how you COULD structure your life so you more consistently execute a pretty epically masterpiece day?
b) What about just ONE hour of Deep Work hammer time per day? If four hours feels like an “impossible” stretch, can you carve out ONE hour to go DEEP on what REALLY matters most to you before jumping into the whirlwind of other people’s priorities?
Perhaps part of that Deep Work time can be dedicated to mapping out how you create four hours of sheer awesome such that you can consistently accumulate twenty hours of REALLY solid Deep Work per week?! (And, the “impossible” becomes “what’s for breakfast” as per a recent +1?)
You know how much four hours of Deep Work per day/twenty hours of Deep Work per week adds up to in a year?
1,000 hours. 
You know how many hours that adds up to in a decade?
10,000 hours. 
You know who you would be if you logged in 10,000 (!!!) hours of REALLY Deep Work?
Of course you don’t. That, as Ellen Langer would say, is UNKNOWABLE. 
But… You know what? I’m super-curious to know what it could look like.
How about YOU?
That’s Today’s +1. 
If you’re struggling to find your Deep Work rhythms, how about an hour of awesome today?
Let’s run the math on that as well…
You know how much one hour of Deep Work per day or five hours of Deep Work per week adds up to in a year?
250 hours. 
You know many hours that adds up to in a decade?
2,500 hours. 
You know who you would be if you logged in 2,500 (!!!) hours of REALLY Deep Work?
(… Echo…) Of course you don’t. That, as Ellen Langer would say, is UNKNOWABLE. 
But… You know what? I’m super-curious to know what it could look like.
How about YOU?
Here’s to your 1-Hour (Deep)Workday!
Nov 16, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that we need to train our recovery the same way we train our Deep Work. We want to create nice, rhythmic waves in our lives and prioritize rest. One great way to do that? Deep Play.
I briefly mentioned the fact that, as Alex Pang tells us in his great book Rest, when we look closely at the routines of some of history’s greatest, most creative and most prolific creators what we find is that they don’t actually work that much.
Here’s how he puts it: “Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the results of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest ‘working’ hours. …
If some of history’s greatest figures didn’t put in immensely long hours, maybe the key to unlocking the secret of their creativity lies in understanding not just how they labored but how they rested, and how the two relate.”
That again, is from a chapter he calls “4 Hours.”
As in, the greatest creators tend to work only 4 hours a day. 
But, they put first things first and GO DEEP.
Then, they recover.
The 4-Hour Workday. ← That would be an epic book.
btw: For those paying close attention, you may recall that we actually had a very similar +1 not too long ago featuring wisdom from Anders Ericsson and Tony Schwartz. We called that one The 4.5-Hour Workday
I love how we come back to the same wisdom again and again (and again!!). As Tony Robbins says, repetition is the mother of skill; or, in our case, repetition is the mother of wise Optimizing. 
(One more aside: I’m reminded of a recent philosophical ping-pong chat with Cal Newport. We talked about the fact that all great traditions come back to the same themes and I remarked that Optimizing by integrating ancient wisdom + modern science + practical tools like we do is kinda like looking at all the facets of a gem from different angles so you can appreciate its full beauty.)
One more little facet of the Today’s gem then we’ll get back to our 4-Hour Workday.
We’ve talked a lot about Scott Adams and Stephen King. Alex talks about their daily rhythms and tells us: “Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, works about four hours a day on the strip and other writing; as he points out, ‘My value is based on my best ideas in any given day, not the number of hours I work.’ Stephen King describes four to six hours of reading and writing as a ‘strenuous’ day.”
There ya go. 
Get clear on what matters. GO DEEP. Daily. Accrete value in your most important work. Recover. Deeply. Repeat.
That’s Today’s +1.
Now, go enjoy your 4-Hour Workday!
Nov 11, 2018
Continuing our theme of wisdom gleaned from Zen Optimize in the Art of Spartan Racing, let’s talk about spiritual obstacle course racer, Sri Swami Satchidananda.
Sri Swami Satchidananda was an obstacle course racer? 
Well, yah!
Satchidananda was one of the most revered Yoga Masters of the 20th century. He wrote a great book called The Golden Present. It’s one of those books that has a chapter for each day of the year so you can work through the wisdom and create your greatest year ever.
Guess what wisdom he shared in Chapter #1, January 1st? 
… What wisdom do you think he thought was most important to kick off your year strong? 
Quick answer: How to see life as one big obstacle course.
Longer answer, in his words: “Life must be a challenge. Only then is it exciting. In an obstacle race, you are forced to surmount all the obstacles: to jump over the hurdles, go through the barrels, crawl under the rugs, climb over walls.
What would happen if, to avoid all that, you went around all the obstacles and asked for the winner’s cup? Would they give it to you? No. They would say, ‘You must go back and face all the obstacles.’
... Make your life as exciting as possible, but always think of it as fun. The adversities as well
as the harmony should be enjoyable. Don’t become sober and morose and have a castor oil
face in the name of spirituality. Just be happy. Jump with joy. Even if you make a mistake, say, ‘Hey, I did this? Great! What a wonderful lesson I learned!’ If you really want to, you can make everything fun.”
Amen and high fives, Swami!!!
That’s PRECISELY why my sport-hobby involves me PAYING to go over and under and through obstacles so I really get the sports-metaphor that so perfectly captures the essence of life.
Today’s +1.
Two key things. 
  1. Make your life as exciting (and challenging!) as possible.
  2. And always think of it as FUN!!!
Friendly Optimizing reminder: Life is one big, preciously brief game. 
As India.Arie says
If you create the game then you create the rules
And if you just be you
There's no way you can lose
Get out there and have fun. 
Jump with joy—right over any and all obstacles you face today!
Nov 6, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about Zen in the Art of Spartan Spear Throwing and the recent installation of a spear throw setup in our backyard, complete with bails of hay, etc. (Yes, we’re ALL IN at the Johnson house.)
How about YOU? Do you have a deep commitment to mastery in your life? 
Remember: Even the most mundane practices can be a portal into enlightenOptimizement. 
I’m in my backyard throwing my spear and thinking about Steven Pressfield’s wisdom. As I had fun walking back and forth covering the 30 feet between the hay bales and my starting point, I was also thinking about some Lanny and Troy Bassham wisdom.
As we’ve discussed, Lanny wrote a book called With Winning in Mind. Troy wrote a book called Attainment. We briefly talked about some of their wisdom on how average vs. elite performers practice in our +1 on why Buddha kept on meditating after his enlightenment
Short story: Lanny and Troy tell us that AVERAGE performers practice something until they can get it right. ELITE performers, on the other hand, practice until they CAN’T GET IT WRONG.
That’s how to roll. 
And that’s worth a repeat: AVERAGE performers practice something until they can get it right. ELITE performers, on the other hand, practice until they CAN’T GET IT WRONG.
So… Today’s +1.
How are YOU approaching your life and the most salient aspects of it?
Trying to get it right? Or working so hard you can’t get it wrong?
Let’s avoid the “Meh, I’m good enough” zone of competence as we chase excellence.
Let’s go from average to elite to our optimus best.
Then let’s keep going.
Nov 1, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that Americans check their phones 8 BILLION times every day. (Wow.) 
We also talked about the fact that (at least 5 billion of) those 8 billion checks are essentially kryptonite for the love in your life.
Today I want to talk about some more wisdom from Yuval Noah Harari’s new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
But first, let’s talk about horses.
I live in a small town in Southern California called Ojai. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the very few places in the world where people ride their horses next to Teslas. (Hah.)
Now, of course, no one in town is getting around primarily via horses, but it’s always fun to see a few people on horseback cruising through town or to see a few horses “parked” outside the local cafe.
So… The other day I saw a fresh horseshoe print on my Trail. For whatever reason, I thought of Elon Musk’s talk to governors. 
Note: I pretty much never watch YouTube videos or TED Talks. I read books. Period. (Hah.) But, a good friend of mine (thank you, Michael!) strongly encouraged me to watch this talk. So, I did. And, I’m glad I did. I highly recommend it for a fascinating look at one man’s vision of the future. (Check it out here.)
So… In this discussion, Elon talks about the future of cars. Long story short, he tells us that, at some point in the not-too-distant future, ALL cars will be self-driving. It’s not a question of IF, it’s a question of WHEN.
To make his point, he tells us that just as some people still ride horses for fun, none of us ride horses as a primary means of transportation these days. Likewise, some people will have fun driving a car around in the future, but that won’t be the primary means of transportation in x years.
That, my friends, is what I thought of when I saw a horseshoe print in the dust of my Trail. (Hah.)
Well, that and a passage from Harari’s new book. 
In a chapter on “Work” he talks about the HUGE shifts in our global economy that will result from the advances in artificial technology.
He tells us: “The benefits for human society are likely to be immense. AI doctors could provide far better and cheaper healthcare for billions of people, particularly for those who currently receive no healthcare at all. Thanks to learning algorithms and biometric sensors, a poor villager in an underdeveloped country might come to enjoy far better healthcare via her smartphone than the richest person in the world gets today from the most advanced urban hospital.
Similarly, self-driving vehicles could provide people with much better transportation services, and in particular reduce mortality from traffic accidents. Today close to 1.25 million people are killed annually in traffic accidents (twice the number killed by war, crime, and terrorism combined). More than 90 percent of those accidents are caused by human errors: somebody drinking alcohol and driving, somebody texting a message while driving, somebody falling asleep at the wheel, somebody daydreaming instead of paying attention to the road. … Self-driving vehicles will never do any of those things. Though they suffer from their own problems and limitations, and though some accidents are inevitable, replacing all human drivers by computers is expected to reduce deaths and injuries on the road by about 90 percent. In other words, switching to autonomous vehicles is likely to save the lives of one million people every year.
It would therefore be madness to block automation in fields such as transport and healthcare just in order to protect human jobs. After all, what we ultimately ought to protect is humans—not jobs. Displaced drivers and doctors will just have to find something else to do.”
Of course, the long-term economic ramifications of all this are beyond the scope of Today’s +1. 
Two things I want to focus on.
First: Let’s take a moment to appreciate just how quickly our world is changing and that a lot of the things we take for granted as the peak of sophistication will be viewed, in the not-so-distant future, as a bit like riding a horse. 
Second: You know what Harari tells us is the most important quality for us to cultivate (and to teach our children) to prepare for such a rapidly changing world? 
Well, he says that “for every dollar and ever minute we invest in improving artificial intelligence, it would be wise to invest a dollar and a minute in advancing human consciousness.”
In short, we need to Optimize.
Oct 27, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about my quest to be a Spartan champion in 2025 and how that’s resulted in a lot of WINing TODAY. (How’re your goals-systems?!)
Today I want to talk about being a Champ Champ Champ. 
← I laugh as I type that. 
Note: This +1 is a bit ridiculous. 
Quick context: After one of the best mixed martial arts coaches in the world (Firas Zahabi, owner of Tristar gym and Georges St Pierre’s coach) became an Optimizer then sent a note telling me how much he loved the PhilosophersNotes (thanks, Firas!), I learned more about Firas and his mastery of his craft and, in the process, paid more attention to the UFC.
In the process, I stumbled across Conor McGregor before he was the superstar he is today. It’s cliché to say that I could see that he had a spark of something different about him but, well, he did. And, he does.
While embracing Maslow’s wisdom that there are no perfect human beings, I’ve enjoyed watching his entertaining, charismatic rise to superstardom.
Short story for those who may not know: Conor McGregor is an Irish mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter who is the first person in the premier “league” of MMA (the UFC) to win championships in TWO weight classes. It’s a pretty impressive feat. It’s especially impressive and inspiring because he went from being an apprentice plumber to a kid with a dream receiving welfare checks to winning those two world championships and making something like $100 million in his first professional boxing match against one of the all-time greats.
Now, in addition to being a great fighter, Conor is also a great promoter. 
All of which brings us closer to Today’s +1.
After winning the two championships, he took to calling himself “Champ Champ.” I laugh as I type that as it’s so wonderfully ridiculous. “Champ Champ.” (Hah.)
As I’ve been stepping up my athlētē game, I’ve been having fun with different mantras during my meditation, during training and during everyday life. Optimus is one of my favorite ways to focus my energy on being my best. I also like “World-Class.” And, as the bar has moved up, “World-Champion” might have been getting some airtime in my head.
Of course, my athletic goals are really just a means to Optimize my Energy which is really just a means to Optimize my Work and my Love so I’ve been having fun playing with different ways to capture all Big 3 commitments in one mantra.
That’s when Champ Champ Champ” popped into my head.
← I laugh as I type that and I laughed when it first appeared in my head. (Which I take as a very good sign.)
Yep. That’s the standard. A World-Class → World-Champion Athlētē AND a World-Class → “World-Champion” Husband and Father AND a World-Class → “World-Champion” Philosopher-Teacher-Leader.
That’s like me.
Champ Champ Champ.
How about you?
What’s the best version of YOU look like Energy + Work + Love-wise?!
Any fun ways to bring your commitments to life?
Oct 17, 2018
We’ve been talking a lot about how champions maximize minutes—giving everything they’ve got into being the best versions of themselves.
Thank you, John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, and Dan Millman for your wisdom. 
Today we’e going to invite Gandhi to the party to establish the fact that this isn’t a SPORTS idea, it’s a SPIRITUAL ideal.
Here’s how Gandhi puts it: “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”
Full effort is full victory. We do our best, let go of the results and then get back to doing our best. That wisdom is a central theme of Gandhi’s handbook, the Bhagavad Gita.
Now, for a fun twist, let’s bring the conversation back to sports.
Have you ever heard of The Legend of Bagger Vance? It’s an old-school movie starring Will Smith and Matt Damon. Guess what they’re doing? Playing golf. 
Short story: Matt Damon (playing Rannulph Junuh) has lost his mojo on the course. His caddy Will Smith (Bagger Vance) teaches him to trust his swing again.
The movie is based on a book written by a guy named Steven Pressfield who, in addition to being a great author, is also a master of the creative process. I consider his trilogy on the creative process must reads. (See Notes on The War of Art, Do the Work and Turning Pro.)
But get this: “The Legend of Bagger Vance” is really just the “Bhagavad Gita” on a golf course. (Get it? Bagger Vance Bhagavad Gita…)
In the Gita, we have a reluctant warrior named Arjuna (sounds a lot like Rannulph Junuh, eh?). Arjuna is counseled by the mighty Krishna who, basically, tells him to trust his swing and do what he’s here to do. 
Take that spiritual wisdom, put it on a golf course, throw two huge stars in there and voila, we have a sports movie delivering some pretty legit wisdom.
Which, of course, is why sports are so popular. The super-clearly-defined rules of a given sport give us an opportunity to see life’s bigger challenges play out in a 60-minute game.
For now, let’s bring all this wisdom back to our lives via a couple more sources of wisdom.
In The War of Art, Pressfield tells us that we need to go from being amateurs” to being “Professionals in our creative lives. One of the key attributes of the professional? 
Here’s how he puts it: “The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.” 
In other words, full effort is full victory. We do our best, let go of the results and then get back to doing our best.
Pressfield got that wisdom from the Gita. Flip open that classic manual on the art of living to find this gem: “The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results.”
In other words, full effort is full victory. We do our best, let go of the results and then get back to doing our best.
That’s Today’s +1.
Remember: Full effort is full victory. 
Let’s do our best, let go of results and then get back to doing our best.
Oct 12, 2018
In our last +1, we continued our chat about the fact that your perfection is already there. It’s just waiting for you to follow Rule #1 and quit doing yourself harm. 
I said that that just requires a little more discipline from you. (And me.)
Which makes me think about the connection between our ego and the divine within.
This is part of a much longer discussion. But here’s the quick take.
Most people think we need to “get rid of” our ego or subdue it or tame it or otherwise maim it if we want to tap into the most divinely spiritual within us.
I don’t agree with that approach.
I prefer to think of it more like Joseph Campbell. And Ken Wilber. And Nathaniel Brandon.
Campbell tells us that he doesn’t understand why there’s all this talk about annihilating the ego when, in fact, it’s our egos that keep us in the game. 
Then Wilber tells us that it’s not “ego-minus” but “ego-plus.” We need a strong ego that’s plugged into something bigger than ourselves. THAT’s when the magic happens. 
Then we have Nathaniel Brandon who tells us that even if we think “letting go of” the ego is either desirable or possible (he and I don’t think it’s either), successfully letting go of your ego would, by definition, require you to have a firm grip on your ego before you could let it go. (Think about it for a second: How can you let go of something you never had hold of?)
All of which leads me to how I think we should think about our ego.
Of course, there are so many different definitions of what the “ego” is that we can get dizzy trying to keep up. I prefer to think of the ego in a classic Western psychoanalytic frame a la Freud.
In that model we have three components: our id,” our “superego” and our “ego.” 
Our id is that impulsive part of us that wants everything right.this.second. Doesn’t matter whether it’s good for us or not. Just give it to us. NOW. Say hello to all your addictions—be they digital (“Hi, smartphone!”) or chemical (“Hi sugar and flour and alcohol and…”).
Our superego is basically the conditioned part of us that’s constantly judging all those things your id did and wondering what in the world you were thinking. (It also really really really wants people to like us and can lock us into conformity.)
Then we have our ego. Our ego is that part of us that keeps our id and superego in check. We NEED a STRONG ego to make sure we don’t spin out of control alternating between a hyper-impulsive/addictive version of ourselves and a hyper-conforming/ashamed version of ourselves.
All of which brings us back to where we started: DISCIPLINE.
How do you get your ego to be strong enough to deal with the pulls of the id and the superego? You dominate your environment. You cultivate a heightened level of self-awareness to know how to make yourself proud and then you match that self-awareness with an equally high level of self-mastery such that you consciously, joyfully do the right thing moment to moment to moment.
You know what happens then?
Your golden light shines through. 
Your divine spiritual essence (however you want to define it) finally has a stable home in which to hang out and shine forth. 
Here’s to your ego. Get it strong. 
Then plug it into something MUCH bigger than yourself and shine with the radiant enthusiasm only discovered when we live in integrity with what we know to be true.
Oct 7, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about the science of social comparison and reiterated the fact that it’s toxic.
Remember, as per Sonja Lyubomirsky: “You can’t be envious and happy at the same time. People who pay too much attention to social comparisons find themselves chronically vulnerable, threatened, and insecure.”
Plus: “The happier the person, the less attention she pays to how others around her are doing.”
Today we’re going to talk about what we can do when we inevitably find ourselves feeling the itch of envy.
I love how T Harv Eker puts it in The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. He says: Bless that which you want. If you see a person with a beautiful home, bless that person and bless that home. If you see a person with a beautiful car, bless that person and bless that car. If you see a person with a loving family, bless that person and bless that family. If you see a person with a beautiful body, bless that person and bless their body.”
There ya go.
That’s Today’s +1. 
Feel a little envious? Remember, you can’t be envious and happy at the same time.
Notice something you wish you had a little more of in your life? BLESS the people who are blessed to have it.
Then get back to living your life as well as you possibly can.
You’ll be considerably happier NOW and considerably more likely to experience the same blessings in the future. 
Oct 7, 2018

Alexandra joins us as a guest teacher for this class! Learn how to activate your superpowers, increase your mojo & have more fun.

Oct 2, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about my mission to become a Spartan World Champion. 
My heart skips a beat just typing that.
(Which, btw, is a good reverse indicator” as my Yoda would say. Btw2: When Phil and I chatted about my contemplations about raising my standards and going all in on the Spartan mission, he told me that I MUST go for it or the Universe will fire me from my job. Laughing.)
The title of that last +1 was “Becoming a Champion.” Today’s it’s called “Being a Champion.”
We’re going to talk about another coach of champions: Ben Bergeron. Ever heard of him? 
If you don’t know who he is, have you ever heard of CrossFit? If you’re alive and into Optimizing, my hunch is that you almost certainly have. One more question: Ever watch the CrossFit Games where the world’s best CrossFit athletes get together and see who is “The Fittest on Earth”? 
Those world-class CrossFit Games athletes are absolute BEASTS. As in: ASTONISHINGLY strong, skilled and tough.
Only 40 men and 40 women (and 40 teams) make it through the regional qualifiers to the world championships. Most of the athletes who make it there are just happy to be among the world’s best. 
But a select few are there to win it. Those are the athletes Ben Bergeron coaches.
In fact, he’s coached his athletes to six world championships. In 2016 he coached BOTH the men’s champion AND the women’s champion. (Which is kinda crazy awesome when you think about it.)
All of that to say, Ben wrote a GREAT book called Chasing Excellence in which he shares his approach. We’ll chat about it a bit more in the next few +1s.
Today I want to focus on one simple point. 
He and his athletes never talked about being champions. They were too focused on ACTING like a Champion NOW.
Here’s how two-time champion Katrín Davíðsdóttir puts it: “Though I moved halfway around the world with the goal of making it back to the CrossFit Games, Ben and I never actually talked about the Games. We didn’t talk about qualifying, we didn’t talk about finishing in the top ten, and we certainly didn’t talk about winning. What we did talk about was giving full effort in every single moment of every single day, and becoming the best we could possibly be.”
Today’s +1. 
You may or may not have aspirations to be an “official” “champion” of anything in your life. Of course, that’s fine. (Although I’d encourage you to think for a moment about what you COULD be the absolute best in the world at Jim Collins Hedgehog Style.)
But, if you’re this far into this +1, I’m going with the assumption that you’re at least moderately committed to Optimizing. (Hah.)
So, reach over to the virtual stovetop in your mind, turn the heat up to 212 degrees, and think about YOU at your ABSOLUTE (!) BEST.
Then be that version of you Today.
Moment to moment to moment. 
Put your old identity on a permanent vacation and act like a Champion.
Sep 27, 2018
A few +1s ago we talked about Stuart Wilde. He’s an old-school self-help teacher who used to lecture with Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay and Deepak Chopra. 
He’s really funny. He’s also a fascinating blend of super-esoteric spirituality AND super-intense discipline. (As per our “Dominate Your Life!!” +1!!)
Today I want to chat about a practical little exercise I’ve been using from his great book Infinite Self.
Short story: The book is, as the title suggests, all about connecting to a power that’s infinitely (!) bigger than us. Call it whatever you want—God, the Universe, the Field, the Force. Doesn’t matter. But, I think we’d all agree that there’s SOMETHING bigger than us that’s beating our hearts and growing our toenails while somehow finding the time to expand the universe at the mind-boggling speed of around 68 kilometers per second per megaparsec
Stuart tells us that we’d be wise to figure out how to make that infinite power a more conscious, consistent part of our lives. He offers 33 steps. Step 1 is to FEEL the force WITHIN you NOW. It’s not some abstract thing out there. It’s within you. Now. Check out the Notes for more. 
For now, the exercise.
The next time you feel annoyed by something or someone in your life, step back and imagine yourself as a 250-foot tall version of yourself. You’re so tall that you can basically straddle your city and stand WAY above your little self—barely even seeing the tiny little problem(s) you’re dealing with at the moment.
And, if you want to go astronaut-style all in on it, just imagine yourself as a 250,000-MILE tall version of you—so big you can touch the moon with your finger. That should do the trick.
From either of those vantage points, look down at your city or our planet and try to find your little self and your little problems that feel so big when you live from such a contracted place.
How do things look from THAT perspective?
Exactly. Like a non-issue.
Guess what? That’s the accurate perspective.
All of which leads us to Today’s +1.
Anything or anyone annoying you? Say hello to the 250-foot (or 250-mile!) tall version of you. Look at your problems from that vantage point. Smile. Wave. Then do what needs to get done. 
Sep 17, 2018
Continuing our underwater theme for a moment longer, have you ever heard of hagfish?
They’re pretty creepy. (I apologize in advance for the visual image here but I think it’s worth it…)
Here’s how Steve Chandler describes hagfish in Time Warrior
“To really live now there are two things I want to phase out of my life forever: (1) Resentments about the past and (2) Worries about the future.
These two activities, strengthened by repeated indulgence, are like hagfish. Hagfish? Many people don’t know what hagfish are, but they are just like worries and resentments.
In the real, undersea world, hagfish are blind, slimy, deepwater eel-like creatures that dart into the orifices of their prey and devour them, alive, from the inside.
Kill the hagfish in your life. Then you can live now and maybe procrastinate later.”
Um. Hmmm… Wow. 
That’s a heck of a way to kill your prey, eh? Dart into their orifices and then devour them, alive, from the inside? Yikes.
And, well, that’s Today’s +1.
Got any hagfish in your life? 
Any resentments and/or worries that’re eating you from the inside out?
Is now a good time to kill those hagfish before they get you?
Fantastic. Good luck with that!
Sep 12, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about W.H. Auden’s (genius) quip that routine, in an intelligent person, is a sign of ambition. (I laugh with joy every time I type that.)
Then we did a quick check in on your ambition. And, hopefully, we dialed it up a notch and made sure that your routines were reflecting that strong desire to Optimize and actualize in service to your family, community and world.
Today I want to talk about work and play.
A lot of people think those two things are separate. 
I think you’re doing it wrong if your work ISN’T play.
Abraham Maslow would agree. He once said that one of the hallmarks of self-actualizing people is that they get to a place where “apparent dichotomies” are dissolved. In Motivation and Personality, he has a chapter in which he describes the “19 Characteristics of the Self-Actualizer.”
Check out the Notes for a super-quick look at all 19 of those self-actualizer characteristics.
For now, know this: The 19th characteristic of self-actualizers is their Resolution of Dichotomies.” For example, he tells us: “The dichotomy between selfishness and unselfishness disappears altogether in healthy people because in principle every act is both selfish and unselfish.”
Another dichotomy that dissolves for self-actualizers?
The dichotomy between work and play.
What happens when work IS play? And when play IS work?
Well, then you get a statement like this from author James Michener in his autobiography: “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both.”
That’s the way to roll.
Here’s to mastering the art of living.
Let’s have fun writing the rules to the game that is our lives and then playing it with all the joy and intensity and excellence we can muster—letting others decide whether we’re working or playing.
For us, we’re always doing both.
Sep 7, 2018
A couple +1s ago, while celebrating Yuval Noah Harari’s lack of a smartphone, I mentioned the fact that we don’t need to become smashing Luddites in response to the tsunami of technology that hammers us all day every day.
But… We ALSO want to make sure we don’t become addicted users
The best solution? Be an Optimizite. Let’s make the best use of technology to sculpt the best possible version of yourself. (Recall that Optimize comes from the Latin optimus which literally means “the best.”)
That’s the central theme of Conquering Digital Addiction 101—which might be my favorite master class so far. 
Here’s the deal.
You know how Facebook and Instagram and Google make money?
By, essentially, hacking and then selling your attention.
They work REALLY REALLY REALLY (!!!) hard to make sure you spend MORE and MORE and MORE time on their sites and apps.
Then they SELL your attention to (literally) the highest bidder.
Now, of course, there’s nothing inherently evil about this per se. These companies often provide astonishingly cool and equally valuable services.
But the way they’ve set up their business model essentially REQUIRES them to, as this must-see 60 Minutes exposé called “Brain Hacking” puts it: HACK your mind.
Now, we often say we watch stuff like that for “free” but, technically, we typically pay for it via xx seconds of your attention (which is sold to a sponsor who shows us their ad).
Alternatively, you can upgrade your YouTube account and NOT watch ads—which is a really compelling alternative business model that doesn’t require a company to focus so much on mining your attention.
Saving the bigger picture business model discussion for another time, get this: That whole economy is called the attention economy (and could be called the “mind-hacking economy”). 
You know how much money is made hacking your mind every year?
Some researchers put the number at $7 TRILLION dollars. 
S E V E N. 
T R I L L I O N. 
D O L L A R S. 
That’s a lot of zeroes. (12 in fact.)
And… That’s a lot of hacking.
And… A lot of addicted users.
Which brings us to another point of the class and of this +1. Technologists refer to their customers as “users.” You know who else refers to their customers as “users”? Drug dealers. (Hah. And d’oh.)
Seeing that our smartphones and emails and apps light up the same addiction centers of our brains as cocaine and alcohol and other drugs, it’s a fitting parallel.
It’s also why Bill Maher refers to “social media tycoons” as “tobacco farmers in t-shirts.” Only, he says, the tobacco guys only wanted your lungs. Tech titans want your SOUL.
Again. I’m NOT saying we should all go smashing our phones and computers Luddite style.
But I AM saying that you’ve gotta wonder why Steve Jobs wouldn’t even let his own kids use the iPad he was so excited about. And why so many tech execs follow his lead and RADICALLY limit their kids’ use of the very products they build.
As Adam Alter says in Irresistible: “It seemed as if the people producing tech products were following the cardinal rule of drug dealing: never get high on your own supply. This is unsettling. Why are the world’s greatest public technocrats also its greatest private technophobes? Can you imagine the outcry if religious leaders refused to let their children practice religion?”
All of which leads us to the practical point of Today’s +1.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Not at all! I’m 100% Optimizite, baby!” and 10 being “Oh… yikes! I’m a 10 Addicted User!” where are you on the addicted-user spectrum?
1 ----------------------------------------- 10
And… Most importantly: How can you take a step or three toward the Optimizite side of that spectrum today?
Here’s to wisely unplugging from the $7 trillion mind-hacking economy long enough to become all that we’re capable of being!
Sep 2, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about Professor Harari’s two world maps—one before The Scientific Revolution that was all filled in (including areas they knew NOTHING about) and one after that had plenty of empty spaces (accounting for all they things they didn’t know). 
Then we talked about YOUR maps. And, hopefully, we all added a good deal more empty space in our maps—especially that space outside our comfort zones that leads to the unknowable zone of our infinite potential.
Today I want to chat about the importance of running our own scientific experiments. Of course, admitting our ignorance is an absolutely essential first step to gaining new knowledge. But, then we’ve gotta throw on our lab coats and get to work!
Before we go there though, how about another quick little history lesson? 
So, we all know that Christopher Columbus “discovered” the continent that became known
as America. But... He refused to believe it. When he landed on the Bahamas he thought he had discovered islands en route to East Asia. As Professor Harari puts it: “He called the people he found there ‘Indians’ because he thought he had landed in the Indies—what we now call the East Indies or the Indonesian archipelago. Columbus stuck to this error for the rest of his life. The idea that he had discovered a completely unknown continent was inconceivable for him and for many of his generation.”
Then, get this: America was mistakenly named by map-maker Martin Waldseemüller who thought explorer Amerigo Vespucci discovered it. As Harari says, “There is poetic justice in the fact that a quarter of the world, and two of its seven continents, are named after a little-known Italian whose sole claim to fame is that he had the courage to say, ‘We don’t know.’”
Alright. Back to the Scientific Optimizing.
Today’s +1. 
Let’s throw on our lab coats and goggles and grab our clipboards. It’s time to run some experiments. 
In fact, let’s follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wisdom and make EVERYTHING an experiment.
btw: My hunch is you’re familiar with this quote: All life is an experiment. The more experiments the better.”
The full passage is even better. As Ralph says: “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”
So, my dear Scientifically-Experimenting-Ignoramus-Optimizer friend: What experiments have YOU run lately?
Let’s measure our little (and big) tests as objectively as we can—making the connection between the mundane things like “When I eat that, my nose gets stuffy” and “When I’m online late at night I sleep poorly and that diminishes my energy and optimism which makes me grumpy which slows down my actualization” to... Whatever else you need to shine the light of ignorance on!
Then, of course, we need to take that data and APPLY it to our lives. As Harari points out, it’s APPLIED scientific knowledge that leads to power. 
We can only gain new power by moving from *theory* to PRACTICE. 
So, my dear Scientifically-Experimenting-Ignoramus-Optimizer friend: What data have you gotten from recent experiments and, most importantly, how will you apply that knowledge to your life TODAY?
Here’s to your lab coat and clipboard. And don’t forget the goggles.
Aug 28, 2018
Wallace D. Wattles was an old-school Philosopher-Optimizer who wrote The Science of Getting Rich. He also wrote a little book called The Science of Being Great. (Both of those titles are, of course, finalists for best titles ever.)
In The Science of Being Great he has a great line that has been tattooed on my brain since I read it.
He said: The world needs demonstration more than it needs instruction.”
The world needs DEMONSTRATION more than it needs INSTRUCTION.
Isn’t that a powerful statement?!
(Kinda makes you wonder what you’re demonstrating, eh?)
For example, we know that kids don’t do what they’re told or taught, they do what they SEE. So, it’s pretty obvious we better model the behaviors we want to see in our kids if we want them to grow up to be great humans. 
All of which leads us to a little personal story—one from a couple months ago that features me in a (laughably) low moment in my parenting career. 
Short story: My dad cursed like a sailor. In fact, he literally WAS a sailor. (Hah.) He enlisted in the Navy when he turned 18 and his language was just astonishingly bad. (So bad he’d literally make my devout Catholic mom cry at times. I can laugh now but it wasn’t funny then.)
Anyway… I rarely curse and I’ve been committed to never cursing in front of the kids. So, I was particularly appalled at myself (laughing) when, on an evening when I was particularly tired and Emerson was acting particularly like a (tired) 5 year old, I got so annoyed by the meditation cushion (oh, the irony!) he dropped on my face when I wasn’t looking as I was laying on the ground playing with Eleanor that I got up, walked out of the room and mumbled in a voice considerably louder than I intended: “You’re such a little sh*t!”
What happened next?
Well, he was at the door and IMMEDIATELY said, “No! YOU’RE such a little s*it!”
Again, I can laugh as I type this as a) It’s been awhile and b) He had no idea what the word was and hasn’t repeated it since and c) I got some serious mileage on the "Needs Work! front but…
It was a really powerful opportunity for me to remember that the world needs DEMONSTRATION more than it needs INSTRUCTION.
All of which leads us to Today’s +1.
What are you demonstrating? 
Any behaviors that make you wince that you’d like to clean up and throw out? 
Let’s do this!
Aug 23, 2018
Today we’re going to talk about walking.
Walking is awesome. In fact, it’s so old-school epically awesome in helping thinkers think that our ancient friends even had a Latin phrase to capture its power: Solvitur ambulando. <- "It is solved by walking.”
Nietzsche would agree. He said: “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”
Kierkegaard would agree. He put it this way: “I have walked myself into my best thoughts.”
Then we have Immanuel Kant. He was so consistent with his daily walks that his neighbors could set their clocks to the time he passed their houses. (They even named a street after him called “Philosopher’s Walk.”) 
Then we have Charles Darwin. For nearly FORTY years he followed his schedule with “clockwork” precision. And, you know what made it on the schedule every day? His walk. He was so committed to it that he actually leased his neighbor’s land just so he could do a complete loop on what became known as Sandwalk (although he preferred to call it his “thinking path”).
Then there’s Aristotle. He and his followers walked so much as they thought and taught and philosophized that they were known as the “peripatetics”—which literally means “walking up and down.” 
Of course, modern scientists have proven just how powerful walking is for creativity. (Especially in nature!)
So, yah. Ancient and modern philosophers agree: Walking is pretty powerful. 
But, pop quiz!
You know what NONE of those philosophers had on their deep-thinking walks?
Of course, none of them lived in a world with such a nonstop tsunami of digital distractions but I can assure you that no self-respecting, deep-thinking lover of wisdom would bring a device that would subject them to OTHER people’s thoughts on a walk intended to tap into THEIR own thoughts.
… How about you?
Today’s +1.
Go for a walk. (Ideally somewhere easy to get to yet beautiful.)
And leave your smartphone at home. (Or in the car/whatever.)
Say hello to your deep thoughts for me.
Aug 18, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that batting .300 over the course of your Major League Baseball career gets you in the Hall of Fame.
Today we’re going to continue the baseball metaphor. 
Pop quiz for baseball fans: You know how many perfect games have EVER been thrown?! 
(For those who may not know, a perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball (via Wikipedia) as “a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches for a victory [in a game] that lasts a minimum of nine innings in which no opposing player reaches base.”)
So… Get this: According to Wikipedia, Major League Baseball has been around for 140 years. Over 210,000 (!) games have been played. And only 23 (!) perfect games have ever been pitched. And… No player has ever thrown more than one perfect game.
140 years. 210,000 (!) games. Only 23 perfect games. 
And NO pitcher has ever done it twice.
Yet you and I want to have perfect lives. (Hahahahahhaha!)
I’m also reminded of John Wooden. He was all about GOING for perfection but only doing so KNOWING we’ll never actually get it!
Here’s how he puts it: “Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.”
(Sounds a lot like our Guiding Stars and Distant Shores, eh?)
You know what else Wooden said? This: “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens—and when it happens, it lasts.”
(Sounds a lot like our Optimize +1s, eh?)
And, one more Wooden gem (all of these are from his book called Wooden, btw): Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort? That’s what matters. The rest of it just gets in the way.”
Today’s +1. 
Let’s make our best effort. 
Let’s “seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens—and when it happens, it lasts.”
+1. +1. +1.
Aug 13, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about the science of daydreaming. Quick recap: Stay out of the “poor attention control” and “guilty-dysphoric” realms and in the “positive-constructive” mode.
Here’s another way to think about it. (Thanks again to Manoush Zomorodi!)
When your mind is wandering and you’re kinda randomly thinking about your life, do you imagine yourself as the CONQUERING HERO of your own story (positive-constructive!) or the SUFFERING MARTYR (guilty-dysphoric) of the story?
It’s a big distinction.
We want to get REALLY (!) good at noticing when we’re falling into the “woe is me” helpless Victim orientation and SHIFT it into the “Let’s do this!!” Creator orientation.
Well, again, what do you think we’re doing with all these +1s? 
I’m basically trying to give you a super-stocked toolshed/armory of tools and weapons and tips and tricks and hacks you can use THE MOMENT you find yourself losing your connection from the best version of yourself.
It all starts with mastering our fundamentals: eat! move! sleep! (Ever notice how the martyr shows up a LOT more when you’re TIRED? Me, too. That’s why Vince Lombardi says that Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”)
Let’s actually keep things simple and focus there today.
Do you know your #1 Self-Care Habit
Is it eating well? Exercising? Sleeping? Meditating? Doing deep work? Helping others? …? …? 
What’s the thing that, if you DON’T do it, pretty much guarantees a sub-optimal day? (For me it is, unquestionably, getting a good night of sleep.)
This is my #1 Self-Care Habit: ______________. 
This is the #1 thing I can do to Optimize it Today: ________________.
That is all.
Here’s to doing the things that help the Conquering Hero show up more and more consistently. 
And, here’s to stepping back and looking at the fundamentals whenever we get a little Whiney-Martyr wobbly!
+1. +1. +1.
Aug 3, 2018
In our last couple +1s, we’ve talked about your breathing. If you haven’t checked out the full Optimal Breathing 101 master class yet, you might dig it. 
For now, how about a quick look at the THREE simple rules of optimal breathing?
Here they are:
  1. Breathe through your nose
  2. Into your belly
  3. And exhale slightly longer than you inhaled
1 + 2 + 3 = Magic.
How about a quick inventory then a closer look?
First, the quick inventory:
  1. You breathing through your nose? (Most people don’t. Go look around and/or in the mirror. Do you see a mouth gaping open?)
  2. Do you breathe deeply (yet calmly) into your belly? (Most people don’t—especially if you breathe through your mouth!)
  3. And, is your exhale slightly longer than your inhale? (This is the fastest way to relax!)
Now, for the closer look:
Rule #1. Breathe Through Your Nose (EXCLUSIVELY!)
When? All day. Every day. (Including while sleeping and training.)
Why? Well, check out the class for a full description (and/or the Notes on The Oxygen Advantage, etc.) but here’s the basic idea. 
  • First: Your nose filters, humidifies and conditions air in ways your mouth simply can’t. 
  • Second: Know that we NEVER used to breathe through our mouths except for the most extreme instances of physical exertion. (Think: Lion chasing you.) 
  • Third: When you breathe through your mouth, you tend to “overbreathe” via short, shallow, fast breaths that disrupt the oxygen to carbon dioxide levels in your body. Although it might sound weird, it’s the CARBON DIOXIDE that actually gets the oxygen out of your red blood cells and into your tissues and organs and you need to slow down your breathing (via your nose!) to get the CO2 right and, as a result, the O2 where you want it. 
Rule #2. Breathe into Your Belly
Fill up the lower part of your lungs. Flex your most underappreciated and underutilized muscle in your body. Get your diaphragm rocking!!
Note: Don’t take “big” breaths via your mouth into your chest. Take nice, mellow, quiet, DEEP breaths into your belly. Repeat. All day. Every day.
Rule #3. Exhale Slightly Longer than You Inhale.
This is the fastest way to flip the flip the vagal switch and turn on your parasympathetic nervous system and R E L A X.
Whenever you think about it: Exhale longer than you inhale. (Finish strong as we like to say at the Johnson house!
Squeeze your diaphragm. Get all that air out. Why? Well, did you know that breathing is responsible for 70% (!!!) of your body’s detoxification? Elimination and sweat only take care of 30%. (Kinda surprising, eh?)
But, guess what? If you’re not breathing right, you’re not detoxifying fully. And, of course, you’re not fueling your cells properly. 
Enter: Compromised vitality and increased potential of getting all the things you don’t want. 
Therefore: Nose. Belly. Exhale.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Today’s +1.
How about a nice, deep, calm breath. In through your nose… Down into your belly… Out through your nose with a nice, long exhale.
Here’s to your Optimal Breathing!
Jul 29, 2018
Since our time with George Leonard exploring his ideas on Mastery, I’ve been thinking about him a lot.
I realized that I forgot to share another one of my favorite Ideas from his great little book that has most changed my life. 
It’s super simple but equally powerful. 
First, the context. 
In a section on getting energy for mastery, George tells us: “A human being is the kind of machine that wears out from lack of use. There are limits, of course, and we do need healthful rest and relaxation, but for the most part we gain energy by using energy... It might well be that all of us possess enormous stores of potential energy, more than we could ever hope to use.”
Of course, as we discuss often, we need to remember to oscillate and train our recovery, etc. but we’ve also gotta know that human beings GAIN energy by USING energy. We’re the kind of machine that wears out from LACK of use.
Which reminds me of super-energized Leonardo da Vinci’s wisdom: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. So we must stretch ourselves to the very limits of human possibility. Anything less is a sin against both God and man.”
(Cue choir of angels on this one: ”So we must stretch ourselves to the very limits of human possibility. Anything less is a sin against both God and man.”)
George offers a few tips on how to Optimize our energy for mastery.
One of them is to set priorities and make decisions. He tells us: “Indecision leads to inaction, which leads to low energy, depression, despair.” 
Another tip is to get on the path of mastery and STAY ON IT. He says: “Much of the world’s depression and discontent... can ultimately be traced to our unused energy, our untapped potential.” 
All of which leads us to two questions and then the point of Today’s +1.
Question #1: Got any decisions you need to make?
Question #2: Are you using your potential?!
And, now to the main event: As an Aikido master, George tells us: “It’s instructive to watch the immediate surge of clarity and energy during training that comes from the simplest act of writing one’s name on a notice.” 
I don’t know about you, but after I’ve put my “name on a notice” (aka signed up for a Spartan Trifecta for the year including a 13+ mile race up and down ski slopes at elevation with bonus energy points for racing with the elite age group guys), my energy and clarity and intensity of (and consistency of!) training IMMEDIATELY shifts. 
How about YOU? 
Has that ever happened to you in the past? 
And, most importantly: Got any sign-up forms waiting for you?
Yah? What makes you smile (and maybe makes your heart skip a beat) just imagining doing it?
A 5k? A triathlon? A Spartan Race? Getting your black belt? 
What’ll it be?
That’s Today’s +1. If you’re feeling so inspired, go put your name on a notice. Watch the immediate surge of clarity and energy during your training.
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