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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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time







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Feb 4, 2019
At this point, most of us are pretty aware of the fact that it’s been proven to be pretty epic for our well-being. 
Congrats, high fives, curtsies, etc. if you’re rockin’ a meditation practice already.
If you’re not investing a few minutes of your day into meditation yet, what’re you waiting for?!
Perhaps you’re telling yourself you don’t have the time?
Well, we know that’s a pretty flimsy excuse (hah!) but if you’re not meditating and you have a tough time falling asleep at night, here’s some fun little data from Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution that will help us quantify the IMMEDIATE time-ROI you’ll get by meditating.
Arianna tells us: “A 2009 Stanford study found that a six-week mindfulness meditation course helped people who have trouble sleeping fall asleep twice as quickly, in fifteen minutes instead of thirty-three minutes.”
Recap: If you have trouble falling asleep, learning to meditate (and doing so consistently) can help you fall asleep twice as quickly—in FIFTEEN minutes rather than THIRTY.
That 15 minutes you invest this morning in meditation?
You’ll get it back tonight.
You’ll get all the other benefits of meditation as well.
Check out Meditation 101 for more.
For now, how about a one-minute meditation to get your practice going starting today?
Sit up nice and straight. With “dignity” as Jon Kabat-Zinn would say. Pull that thread your head. Chest up. Chin down. Relax. Smile. Breathe in through your nose, down into your belly. Exhale slowly through your nose. 
Repeat. Five times. 
You’re a meditator!
Here’s to your calm confidence and energized tranquility today AND tonight—as we remember the instant ROI from a simple meditation practice.
Jan 30, 2019
In our last +1, we talked about the Optimize Master’s program (aka Optimize Coach!) and had fun with some wisdom on moving from theory to practice—reminding ourselves that the theory (although important!) is just the rudimentary stuff. The ADVANCED work is the actual PRACTICE.
Here’s what was kinda weird.
As I was drafting that +1, I was doing some quick key word searches on my Mac to find the quotes I wanted to pull. I grabbed one from Ernest Holmes’s Creative Mind and Success and one from Vernon Howard’s The Power of Your Supermind
But before I found the right quote from Holmes, I opened up another one of our Notes on another one of his great books The Art of Life
(Fun note: I went through a phase where I was REALLY into understanding what all the old-school New Thought guys thought and read basically all their stuff.)
As I did that little searching and opened up a few PDFs, I noticed that the first Big Idea from both The Art of Life and from The Power of Your Supermind (books written by two different teachers fifty years apart), said almost EXACTLY the same thing.
Big Idea #1 in our Notes on The Art of Life by Ernest Holmes: “You are using the Law of Life every time you think. No matter how long you may have been using It wrongly in your ignorance, the very day, that hour, yes the very moment, you begin to use this Power rightly, the effect of having used It wrongly will pass from your experience. Does it make any difference how long a room has been dark when you introduce a light; how long the earth has been parched when refreshing rain comes to bring new life, a new seed time and a new harvest to the fields?”
Big Idea #1 in our Notes on The Power of Your Supermind by Vernon Howard: “It is a mistake for anyone to think he has lived too long in his old, unsatisfactory ways to make the great change. If you switch on the light in a dark room, it makes no difference how long it was dark because the light will still shine. Be teachable. That is the whole secret.”
There ya go. That’s Today’s +1.
Flip on the light.
(Then reflip it every time it goes off, of course!!)
Jan 25, 2019
In our last +1, we talked about our inaugural Optimize Coach program (there’s still a little more time to sign up and join hundreds of other passionate Optimizers in making this the greatest year of our lives while helping others in our lives do the same, btw).
Specifically, we discussed the very first email we send out with the very first micro-exercise to invite Optimus Us to the party.
It goes like this: 
Stand up. Expand. Relax. Pull the thread thru your head. Take a deep breath (in thru the nose, down into the belly, etc.). Chest up. Chin down. Relax a little more. Expand a little more. Smile.
“Hi, Optimus!!”
We’re going to start (and end) every single one of our 43 weekly sessions together with that exercise. CONSTANTLY remembering to physically flip the switch from the not-quite-Optimus version of ourselves to the “Let’s do this!!!” Optimus version of Us.
As I wrapped my brain around the importance of this little exercise and how to integrate it in our lives, I was thinking that it’s kinda like our Presence phone booth—the one Clark Kent pops into to change from his meek self into his Heroic Superman identity.
Which led me to Google.
Google: “I’d like some love on ‘Clark Kent to Superman transformation,’ please.”
You’ll notice that he goes from a hunched over, apologetic, squeaky-voiced sub-Optimus version of himself to, well, Superman. 
It’s almost as if the script said:
“Stand up. Expand. Relax. Pull the thread thru your head. Take a deep breath (in thru the nose, down into the belly, etc.). Chest up. Chin down. Relax a little more. Expand a little more. Smile.”
(Side note: At 45 seconds you may notice some room for coaching with that mouth breathing. “Love it, Clark! Well done on standing up nice and tall, expanding while relaxing and smiling knowing you’ve got it going on. Tiny little thing: Let’s keep that breath coming in (and out) through the nose. Nice, light, deep into the diaphragm, slightly longer exhale with a smile! Yep. That’s it. SUPERMAN’s in the house!!” lol)
That’s Today’s +1.
Let’s remember Amy Cuddy’s wisdom on the power of Presence and Richard Wiseman’s wisdom on The As If Principle as we practice flipping (and reflipping/ducktaping!) the superhero identity switch—living as the new version of you 24/7/365… sending the old you on permanent vacation.
One more time…
“Stand up. Expand. Relax. Pull the thread thru your head. Take a deep breath (in thru the nose, down into the belly, etc.). Chest up. Chin down. Relax a little more. Expand a little more. Smile.”
 “Hi, Optimus!!”
Jan 20, 2019
In our last +1, we took a nice stroll down Brian’s Biographical Byway—exploring the power of flipping Identity switches. (You make any distinctions? Flip any switches?)
btw: That Seneca quote with which we wrapped up that +1 always knocks my socks off: It is not because things are difficult that you do not dare. It is because you do not dare that things are difficult.” 
Today I want to go back to Atomic Habits and explore an Idea that didn’t make it into the Note. 
It has to do with Michael Phelps. And his genes. And how they impacted his pants inseam length. And how that affected his Olympic greatness.
Get this: At this stage, we all know that Phelps is one of the greatest athletes of ALL TIME. He’s won more gold medals (23!!) than anyone in the history of the Olympics. 
He’s a case study in grit. In his autobiography No Limits, he shares the key character traits he believes led to his astonishing success.
One of the things he doesn’t mention is the fact that his body just so happens to be near-perfectly architected for absolute dominance in his chosen sport.
He’s 6’4. Perfect. 
His wingspan is considerable longer that his height. Awesome.
And… His torso is crazy long. Like CRAZY long. (lol) 
A “normal” 6 foot 4 inch guy has a 34-inch inseam. Phelps? His inseam is 30 inches. (Which, Google says, would hover around the “petite” to “small” range if he were shopping for women’s pants.)
The Swimming Gods have blessed that man!! 
Of course, Effort Counts Twice and that guy put in the effort of 10 Olympians—squeezing every drop of potential out of his uniquely shaped body and dominating his sport for a very long time.
But that’s not quite the point of this +1.
This is: James Clear tells us that if we want to achieve greatness in our lives, we need to make sure we’re focusing our precious life force in a domain in which our talents and passion are a good fit.
If Phelps had tried to be a runner he would have failed miserably. His dimensions are precisely the opposite of what’s required there. He needed to be in a pool for us to see him shine.
Today’s +1.
What “pool” do you belong in? Are you in it?
Go take your hedgehog out for a swim or a walk or a run or whatever it is you love to do.
Match your strengths to the domain in which you’re building the habits to most fully express your life force.
Show us what you’ve got. All of it. 
(Pretty please and thank you!)
Jan 15, 2019
In our last +1, we talked about how to make yourself a quadrillion (!!!) times better. The recap there: Just let the magic of compounding 1% gains work for you. Every day. 10 years. Boom!
Of course the fine print includes the fact that, although inspiring, that’s (obviously) pretty much impossible as NO ONE, not even the best among us, are perfect (thanks, Maslow!) and we won’t be the first. But contemplating the sheer potential force of compounding tiny gains is pretty inspiring.
Now, as I wrapped my brain around that power and imagined each of us stepping into that next-best version of ourselves (then repeating the spiraling up again and again!), Ralph Waldo Emerson came to mind.  
In Self-Reliance, he has a great line about the fact that great human beings have an aura about them. He says that it’s almost as if they have a bunch of angels escorting them. 
As he puts it: The force of character is cumulative. All the foregone days of virtue work their health into this. What makes the majesty of the heroes of the senate and the field, which so fills the imagination? The consciousness of a train of great days and victories behind. They shed an united light on the advancing actor. He is attended as by a visible escort of angels.”
That sounds about right.
And you know what “angel” is leading the rest of the angels?
Our proud daimons.
High fives to you and yours!
Jan 10, 2019
In our last +1, we talked about how the Peak Performance guys recommend we craft our optimal work-to-rest ratio. 
Pop quiz: You recall the ratio? 
Pop answer: 50 to 90 minutes ON. 7 to 20 minutes OFF. Making nice rhythmic waves…
(More importantly: You practice it yesterday?)
Today, as promised, I want to talk about the importance of creating boundaries lest we teeter into the realm of burnout and/or never leave the realm of sub-awesome performance.
First, let’s talk about the boundaries required to get into true, 100% ON mode. 
Guess what… All that multi-tasking? Flitting back and forth from one thing to another? That’s NOT awesome. (Cap’n Obvious here with a friendly public service announcement.) 
We need to create bright-line boundaries and focus on ONE Thing—the most important thing—if we want to have a shot at operating in our upper threshold of productive performance. 
We all know that. (Right?)
Do you still paper cut your attention and never really go deep because you’re too busy multitasking? Well, as the Peak Performance guys put it: “For 99 percent of us, effective multitasking is nothing more than effective delusional thinking.”
So, to be ALL IN ON, we need to eliminate distractions and truly go ALL IN for our 50 to 90 minutes of peak performance work. Got it.
Then what?
Then we need to truly recover during that 7 to 20 minutes OFF phase. Go for a walk, meditate, take a nap. (If you’re a nut like me, go throw some spears in your backyard.)
But, whatever you do, don’t go online and read the news and/or catch up on your social feeds or anything else that’s going to blow up your brain (and nervous system and neurotransmitters) and not offer you a true recovery period.
Again, boundaries. 
100% On. 100% Off. Repeat.
But only if you like sustainable peak performance.
Remember: Boundaries or burnout.
Oh! And this is even more important at the end of the day. Remember our chat about “Shut-down complete!”? Well, that’s a really good boundary to make sure you properly recover via some epic sleep while also ensuring some solid Deep Love time. 
Boundaries = Awesome.
Jan 5, 2019
Continuing (and concluding) our trip through Steve Chandler’s wise brain (and great book, Reinventing Yourself), let’s talk about campfires.
Campfires? Yep. Campfires. 
So… You’re out camping. It’s night time. You light a fire. It keeps you warm. You wake up the next morning. The fire is out. You’ll need to light another fire tonight to get warm again.
Now, do you complain about the fact that you need to create another fire? Or, do you just accept that that’s how it is?
Unless you pretty much exclusively speak Victimese, you accept that reality and simply make another fire, right?
Well… Steve tells us that the “human spirit” is JUST like that campfire. You need to re-light it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Most people don’t like that fact. They want their fire to burn all day every day from the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep (with pleasant dreams included as well)—with as little effort as possible.
That’s called entitlement. You can also call it wanting to be exonerated from all future effort.
As it turns out, Phil Stutz says almost exactly the same thing. Only the metaphor he uses in our chats is that of a chair. He says that when you build a chair on the physical or material plane of life, it’s there the next day. 
BUT… (And this is another big “but”!!)
On the spiritual plane, that chair you built today WON’T be there tomorrow. You need to get back to work RE-BUILDING it. Every day. Whether you like it or not. 
Kinda like the campfire of the human spirit.
Today’s +1.
At the end of the day today, use the wood from the chair you built to fuel the campfire you need to build every night—knowing that you’ll need to build both again tomorrow morning.
Know that when we really get this, we’re nearly invincible. Why? Well, we stop complaining when we inevitably feel a little off and simply get to work doing the things we KNOW will help us feel great.
THAT is the source of ultimate confidence. And it’s ours.
Here’s to your comfie chairs that act as kindling for your warm fires!
Jan 4, 2019

Arianna Huffington (CEO of Thrive and co-founder + editor in chief of The Huffington Post) went from being a sleep-deprived executive to a sleep evangelist after passing out and banging her head following years of a grueling work! In this book, she brilliantly walks us through the crisis we’re facing, the history of sleep, the science of sleep and, most importantly, what we can do to Optimize our sleep. I highly recommend it. Big Ideas we explore include the fact that sleep is the #1 most underrated health habit, how to master sleeping well, the #1 tip (and #2-4), how much sleep the wealthiest human on the planet gets (hint: target: 8!), how athletes train their sleep (guess what time Tom Brady goes to sleep!), and why you should set a WORK-DOWN alarm so you don't need a WAKE-UP alarm.

Dec 28, 2018

Ready to make 2019 the Greatest Year of Your Life? Me, too. It’s time to Operationalize Virtue—getting (even more) clarity on what our Optimus selves look like and getting even better at consistently showing up AS that best version of ourselves. In this class, we review why we do what we do together, take a quick trip to hell (yikes!) then to Michelangelo’s studio (yay!) then we get to work sculpting our Energy, Work and Love—taking the time to wrap our souls around our Identity + Virtues + Soul Goals + Algorithms that will drive our Masterpiece Days as we Dare to step thru Fear Doors into all we’re destined to be. Hope you love it and looking forward to LITERALLY making this year the greatest year of your life in an unending string of such awesome years!

Dec 27, 2018

Dr. Mercola is a super-popular alternative health physician who runs the equally popular site In this book, we get a look at his “Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy” program. MMT for short. As you could probably guess, this is a high-fat (+ “adequate” protein + low-carb) diet. If that approach fires you up, I think you’ll love the book. If not, well… :) Big Ideas we explore include: meeting our mitochondria (the key to health), why “adequate” protein is where it’s at (not low or moderate or high but “adequate”!), mTOR (the cancer switch), good fats (vs. bad ones), peak fasting, and how to win the urge war.

Dec 26, 2018
In our last +1, we talked about LeBron James and the fact that he tries to get 11 to 12 hours of sleep per day when he’s training. (So does Roger Federer. And, Tom Brady is in bed at 8:30.
Let’s talk about LeBron a little more today. 
Renowned mental toughness coach Bob Rotella kicks off his book How Champions Think with a story about how LeBron thinks. 
It goes something like this.
Once upon a time early in LeBron’s career, Rotella spent some time working with LeBron. He knew the basics. Six-eight. A chiseled two hundred fifty pounds with explosive speed. A proven superstar. But it wasn’t until they sat down and chatted that he REALLY got LeBron’s power.
Rotella asked him about his goals. LeBron told him: “I want to be the greatest basketball player in history.” 
Rotella thought: “Beautiful. This is a truly talented guy.” 
He tells us what he was MOST impressed by: “It was not that he had physical gifts. It was LeBron’s mind.” 
Specifically, it was the way he saw himself that most moved Rotella: “The vital importance of that sort of attitude is the foremost thing I have learned about exceptionalism in my decades of work with people striving to be great.”
That’s worth repeating. Rotella has worked with THE top performers for DECADES. The “foremost thing” he has learned about exceptionalism and people striving to be great? The vital importance of seeing themselves and their potential with such audacious (!) clarity.
Which begs the question: How do YOU see yourself
Now, continuing our story… After LeBron told Rotella he wanted to be the greatest basketball player in history (!!!), Rotella asked him where he thought he stood in relation to that goal. LeBron told him he thought he was doing pretty well but that he wasn’t going to be the greatest if his teams didn’t win championships and they weren’t going to do that unless he became a better three-point shooter.
Long story short: Rotella told him to create a video montage of him nailing threes from every spot on the court. Set it to music. Watch it every night. FEEL it. Program his subconscious mind.
And, he told him to hire a shooting coach, work with him every day and make two hundred three-point shots off the dribble every day while imagining the best defender guarding him. Then make another two hundred catch-and-shoot three-pointers. “I told him I didn’t care how many shots it took to make those four hundred three-pointers, or how long it took. If he wanted to be great, he would find the time and find the energy.”
Rotella continues: “The actual number of shots I suggested was not as important, in my mind, as the idea that LeBron would set a practice goal for himself, commit to achieving it every day, and wait patiently for the results.”
Fast-forward. LeBron went from being a 29% three-point shooter in his rookie season to a 40% beast—collecting a few championships en route to his quest to be the greatest player ever.
Of course, this Idea has nothing to do with LeBron James and his three-pointers. 
It has to do with YOU. 
In what domain are you committed to being exceptional
Where do you think you stand in relation to that goal? 
And what do you think you need to do every day (!!) to have a shot at being your exceptional best?
Find the time. Find the energy. Be an exception. Be exceptional.
Dec 25, 2018

Susan Peirce Thompson is a Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. She’s an expert in the psychology of eating and creator of Bright Line Eating Solutions, “a company dedicated to helping people achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss.” Plus... She used to be obese and, as she says, addicted to *everything.* She integrates her background in neuroscience with her personal experience conquering her diet and other addiction issues in this super popular book. Big Ideas we explore include why bright lines are where it’s at, the susceptibility quiz, the saboteur, self-perception theory, and the four bright lines of eating.

Dec 22, 2018

Solitude. It’s the secret sauce to leadership. But... In their great book Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin tells us: “Solitude is a state of mind, a space where you can focus on your own thoughts without distraction, with a power to bring mind and soul together in clear-eyed conviction. Like a great wave that saturates everything in its path, however, handheld devices and other media now leave us awash with the thoughts of others. We are losing solitude without even realizing it.” Big Ideas we explore include the big 4 of solitude (clarity + creativity + emotional balance + moral courage), the threats from our "Input Age," how MLK and Eisenhower used solitude, FOMO (get over it!) and how to change the world (starting with YOU!).

Dec 21, 2018
Today I’d like to talk about a little more wisdom from Seth Godin’s Icarus Deception
As we’ve discussed, his book (and his entire body of work for that matter), is basically a plea for us to step up and into our highest potential. 
He tells us: “Your ability to follow directions is not the secret to your success. You are hiding your best work, your best insight, and your best self from us every day.”
That’s inspiringly true. 
(Note the references to your best,” your best, your best.” And, think: Optimus, optimus, optimus.)
But here’s the passage that’s been rattling around in my head: “It’s too bad that so much time has been wasted, but it would be unforgivable to wait any longer. You have the ability to contribute so much. We need you, now.”
It’s funny because when I recalled that passage in my head, I thought he said, “It’s unfortunate that so much time has been wasted. But it would be unforgivable to wait any longer.”
Unfortunate vs. Unforgivable.
Unfortunate vs. Unforgivable.
Unfortunate vs. Unforgivable.
That’s the phrase that’s been bubbling up for me…
Yah. It’s a bit of a bummer we’ve wasted so many years (or decades!) living at less than our best. (“Gosh darnit!! GAH!!! Oh, to have that time back!!!”)
As UNFORTUNATE as that wasted time is, it’s UNFORGIVABLE to wait any longer.
So, let’s capitalize all the lessons learned and GET BUSY GIVING OUR BEST SELVES MOST FULLY TO THE WORLD.
How might you do that just a little more today?
Remember: Unfortunate vs. Unforgivable
And give us what you’ve got!!
Dec 18, 2018

Robert Lustig is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at University of California, San Francisco. He has authored 120 peer-reviewed articles and 70 reviews and is a leading voice on childhood obesity. And, his YouTube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” has been viewed over 7 million times. Obesity is a global pandemic. It’s astonishing how rapidly it’s expanding. And it’s COMPLETELY preventable. Lustig has dedicated his career to helping us understand the causes and how to “beat the odds against sugar, processed food, obesity and disease.” Big Ideas we explore include: Meeting the Darth Vader of the Food Empire (“Hi, sugar!”), two hormones driving the show (insulin + leptin), which fat you need to worry about most (big belly vs. big butt fat!), why so many diets work (reduced sugar + fiber), exercise (best ROI in medicine) and voting with ever dollar we *don’t* spend.

Dec 16, 2018
With all this talk about sports heroes and scoring touchdowns and winning forever, I think it’s time to remind ourselves that sports simply provide the perfect (over-simplified) context for SPIRITUAL truths. 
That’s why we love watching the Olympics, Super Bowls and World Cups so much. When we watch an athlete performing at their absolute (optimus!) best we’re simply reminded of our own heroic potential.
Of course, we want to make sure we get off the couch and get into the arena of life and use their demonstration of greatness as an inspiration for our own pursuit of excellence (rather than as mere entertainment by people who are somehow gifted in ways in which we aren’t).
(Remember: According to Anders Ericsson, the preeminent researcher on what makes great people great: We ALL have “The Gift.”)
Bringing it back the spiritual arena, Today we’re going to talk about Rumi.
As you may know, Rumi was one of the greatest spiritual beings in history and his beautiful poetry is beloved around the world. He was a Sufi—which is, essentially, a Muslim mystic. He was born in the 13th century in what is now Afghanistan. He lived and taught in Konya, Turkey which was, at the time, the capital of the dominant Selcuk Empire.
I smile as I recall studying Rumi and visiting his grave in Konya on my little philosophical tour over 15 years ago (during which I also studied Socrates in Athens, Jesus in Jersualem, and Marcus Aurelius near the Danube in Hungary).
What does he say about how we should live? Well, in terms of the intensity with which our sports heroes lived, I love the way he encourages us to play the much bigger game of life. 
These passages capture some of his spiritual intensity:
“I am burning. If anyone lacks tinder, let him set his rubbish ablaze with my fire.”
“Travelers, it is late. Life’s sun is going to set. During these brief days that you have strength, be quick and spare no effort of your wings.”
He is a letter to everyone. You open it. It says, ‘Live!’”
All in.
If Rumi played football, he would have played it like Jerry Rice.
If he coached basketball, he would have coached it like John Wooden.
Today’s +1.
If you feel so inspired, I’d love to have you join me in opening Rumi’s letter.
Let’s spare no effort of our wings as we set ourselves on fire so that others may feel the warmth of our glow and we can change the world, one person at a time, together, starting with you and me. Today.
Dec 13, 2018

Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of telemorase - “the enzyme that replenishes telomeres, which protect our genetic heritage.” Elissa Epel is one of the world’s leading health psychology researcher. Together, they have created a great book that walks us through the best of what we know about telomeres, why they’re so important and what we can do to Optimize them. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about telomeres, THIS is the book to read. Big Ideas we explore include why telomeres are the secret sauce to aging well, the fact that your cells are listening to your thoughts (#1 tip? Shift from a threat response to a challenge response!), how to mind your telomeres (move from negative thinking to resilient thinking), how to eat, move, sleep your way to happy telomeres, and a challenging question: What will YOUR cellular legacy be?

Dec 11, 2018

Robb Wolf is a former research biochemist and is one of the leading thinkers/writers/practitioners in the Paleo or Ancestral Health movement. The essence of this book is the that while there are general principles of nutrition that work for everyone AND... Ultimately we need to figure out what works best for us as individuals if we want to rock it. Big Ideas we explore include: the fact that one size diets do NOT fit all (remember: "rough" tools vs. precision tools), discordance theory (there's a mismatch between our genes and our environment!), an anti-inflammatory diet (aka Paleo aka Phase I), personalized nutrition (aka 7-Day Carb test aka Phase II), the other pillars of health (sleep, stress, move, connection), and genetic + environmental lotteries (what to do if you lost them--lol).

Dec 11, 2018
A couple +1s ago, we talked about Optimizer Jessica’s kind words and then had fun talking about Mr. Anonymous Troll Guy as well.
Today I want to talk about a line from Jessica’s little note that I didn’t share before. 
In addition to her kind words about my commitment to sharing my own struggles and how that has helped her build resilience, she said this: “Furthermore, the partnership he and Alexandra have built is exemplary — I only wish they weren’t so hard to emulate!”
Now, again, I’m super touched by that and honored that we serve as potential relationship exemplars and I know Jessica wasn’t saying that she thought we were perfect…
(Laughing as I type this…)
As Maslow said and we discuss ALL THE TIME (but still nowhere near enough!), THERE ARE NO PERFECT HUMANS. And, by extension, THERE ARE NO PERFECT RELATIONSHIPS.
And, as I always like to say: You and I won’t be the first perfect people. Nor will we have the first perfect relationship. (At least Alexandra and I certainly won’t!)
Here’s what’s funny. 
The morning after we received that note (LITERALLY the morning after!), Alexandra and I got into a nice little argument. Now, to be clear, we weren’t crazy yelling at each other or anything, but it was a nice little testy one. (Laughing.)
About what?
Well, that’s the best part.
Basically about the proper way to Optimize and build sustainable habits. (Laughing.)
I won’t bore you with the details but the point I want to make is that, and I know this is obvious but I want make sure we’re all on the same page, WE AREN’T PERFECT. Individually or together. 
Again, I realize that’s obvious, but I want to make it jumbo explicit.
Why do you think I work so hard on this stuff? And why do you think I come back to the same themes again and again and again?
BECAUSE I NEED IT!!! (More laughter.)
So, yah. There ya go.
btw: In a chat with Cal Newport not too long ago (we’re actually chatting in a couple hours—which I’m really looking forward to), we talked about my Big 3: Energy + Work + Love. He was breaking it down with his “I-have-a-Ph.D.-from-MIT brain” when I shared my Wildly Important Goal for “Love.” It’s always evolving but, basically, it’s to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with Alexandra and be best friends with my adult kids.
I told him that no one sets a goal like that unless not hitting it is a possibility. (Laughing yet again.) In other words, Alexandra and I being married in another 39 years isn’t a foregone conclusion. We have challenges like everyone else. And, we’ll choose to work on them and preserve/Optimize our relationship as a key component of our Optimizing and actualizing or we won’t.
But the challenge remains. For all of us.
Again, I repeat, off the soapbox now in a more relaxed tone: There are no perfect human beings; and, there are no perfect relationships.
So, I’m honored to be an exemplar for those who find inspiration in my life and I’m absolutely (!!!) committed to being worthy of that role. 
That’s Today’s +1.
Let’s remember that NO ONE is perfect. And, as hard as we work, we won’t be the first.
Then let’s rub our hands together at all the challenges we face and strive to be imperfect, always-Optimizing-and-actualizing exemplars for our families, communities and world.
Dec 8, 2018

James Clear has a super-popular website ( Millions of people visit it every month and hundreds of thousands subscribe to his email newsletter. After reading this book, I can see why. He’s a great writer and distills the essence of habit formation into, well, its fundamental components—the “atomic” structure if you will—while showing us how those TINY little incremental improvements add up to MIGHTY results. I rarely say a book is a must-read but this one’s as close as it gets. Big Ideas we explore include: The math behind 1% gains compounding over a year (and a decade!), navigating the Plateau of Latent Potential (ever given up on a habit? Take note!), the importance (and etymology) of our Identity (get this: it *literally* means 'repeated being ness'), The 4 Laws of Behavior Change (remember: cue + craving + response + reward and... make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, make it satisfying), and the Sorites Paradox (can a single habit change your life?).

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