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These DAILY HABITS Will Prime Your Brain For FOCUS & PRODUCTIVITY In 3 Days | Tom Bilyeu | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "These DAILY HABITS Will Prime Your Brain For FOCUS & PRODUCTIVITY In 3 Days | Tom Bilyeu".
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Morning routines are one of the most important things that you can create in your life. And the reason is, when you start the day, if you get early momentum going, the rest of the day is often gonna follow in that. It's an idea called entropy. Everything moves towards chaos. And the only way to combat that is to put energy into the system. You are not going to wake up and randomly have a good day. You're going to have to structure your day in a way that sets you up to overcome all of the entropy, all of that chaos, all of the thousand things going to come at you on a daily basis that are going to knock you off course. And the easiest way to do that is to have a routine that you follow every morning so you don't have to think about it, you don't have to reinvent the wheel, you don't have to wonder or think about what you should be doing, it's just right there. It is baked into the routine. So by doing that, now you can actually accomplish the most important things first. So the thing to doing your morning routine well is to optimize for what Tim Ferriss refers to as the lead domino. What's the thing that if I did this, it's going to make everything else easier down the road. So number one, a morning routine actually starts the night before, you want to get plenty of sleep. Why? Because that's going to optimize your cognition. The next thing you want to do is either meditate or workout. Typically I will work out first. The reason that I work out is because it optimizes your cognition so that everything else is going to get easier. It also dramatically impacts your energy levels. Talk about two things that are incredible lead dominoes. If I'm getting sleep and optimizing my cognition, if I'm working out and optimizing my cognition and I'm making sure that I have the energy levels that I need to get things done, now I'm really making sure that everything that I do after that is easier. The next thing that I do is meditate. Why? Because it optimizes your cognition. You want to make sure that you're getting all of your background radiation, the stress, the anxiety. You want to get that as close to zero as you can. That way you can think clearly. You get into what I call a calm and creative state so that areas of your brain that don't often communicate are able to communicate, get better ideas that way. Again, lead domino, improving your cognition, lowering your stress levels, making sure that you're centered and that you've got that energy to move forward. Then I'm gonna go down my list of important things. I make that list the day before so I know exactly what I should be doing at any one time. And again, it's a lead domino strategy. The first thing that I'm going to do is gonna be the thing that makes everything else on my list easier. I'm gonna do everything that I can do on the most important thing. By the way, they should always be rank ordered. There is no such thing as a tie. There is a number one, a number two, a number three, a number four, so on and so forth. There is not two number ones, there's not two number twos. There is a one, two, three, four, five, so on and so forth. I do everything that I can do on number one. Once that's now where I'm waiting for something else or I just have to let it bake, whatever, then I'm gonna move on to number two. I'm gonna do everything I can on number two. Then I'm gonna move on to number three. You set your day up like that and you're not checking your phone and you're not responding to other people because that's letting them control your schedule. And what are the odds that somebody other than you knows better what you should be doing to make your goals come true than you? The answer should be zero because if somebody else knows better than you, we already have a problem. It means that somebody else is paying more attention to your own life than you are. That would be problematic. Get that morning routine down, get that momentum going, do the Lee Domino strategy, make sure you're optimizing for energy and cognition. Absolutely critical.
Healthy Living Routines And Mindset
The optimal Whole Food Diet. (03:21)
Your diet is one of the most important things that you can do to boost your energy, your focus and your productivity. What you should be eating varies wildly. And I will just tell you right now that while I'm gonna give you a very simple thing that you can follow and it's gonna take care of 80% of all of your desires and problems, know that there is massive variability at the individual level and that you should be testing a lot of different things to find out what is right for you. So what I'm about to lay out is the sort of generic strategy that I think everybody should try. But getting into the nitty gritty is gonna require you to do a lot of testing. There is no way around this. I wish that dieting was more simplistic, but based on your lifestyle, based on your heredity, based on your microbiome, all of this stuff is going to dramatically vary. So be very thoughtful, make sure you run experimentation. Having said that, what are the things that I think are universal? Number one, you want to be eating whole food whenever humanly possible. So you want to eat food that is recognizable from what it was in nature. So a piece of meat should look like a piece of meat. It shouldn't be highly processed. Your vegetables should look like vegetables. You should be brushing dirt off of them. That kind of recognizable from nature. Nuts should be, I mean, ideally raw. I'll be really honest, I do sometimes eat roasted nuts, but if I'm honest, that's worse than if you're just eating them raw. So you want things that are as close to their natural state as humanly possible. The less that they have been messed with, manufactured, altered in any way, the better off you're going to be. I will say that heat is something that I apply to virtually all of my food. There are some really interesting theories about from an evolutionary standpoint that cooking is one of the things that allowed us to grow the big brain because by cooking it, you not only soften the food and make it easier to chew, but you also release some of the nutrients. It's beyond the scope of this to get into that, but when I say raw, I don't mean that everything needs to be uncooked. I just mean the less processed, the better. Things that I eat every day. I eat a lot of eggs, red meat. I eat some chicken, a bit of pork, but I'm eating a fair amount of meat. So I get a good portion of my calories from that. Again, individual variability. If you're doing a vegan thing, word, I'm totally about it. Test for the individual response that you get. I find that the more plant-forward I go, there's like a breaking point where I start feeling worse. Could be me, it could be me doing it poorly, but as long as you're doing whole food, I think you're on the money. So eating whole food and making sure that you're avoiding sugar. That is like the big thing. So I don't think that you can eat fruit with impunity. I think you have to be very thoughtful about that. If you're unsure of what fruit is going to impact you and how, I highly recommend getting a continuous glucose monitor. That will allow you to eat fruit if you want and see what kind of glycemic response you have. For instance, I find that I can make certain fruit smoothies and if I eat it slowly enough, my glycemic response will go up to about 120. I prefer to keep it in the 80s, but hey, if it goes up to 120 and it's sort of even and it comes back down, I don't consider that too problematic, but if I eat it really quickly and it spikes up to say 140, 150, that to me is problematic and I don't wanna be that high. So you can play with things. Also, what you put in the smoothie, et cetera. If you're going to eat fruit and vegetables, make sure that you separate fruit and vegetables. Keep those two things distinct. I think you will find by wearing a continuous glucose monitor that you're gonna have a dramatically different response to most fruit than you will to vegetables. Again, there's a lot of variability here, so the more that you test on yourself, the better, but that's really the sort of generic response or generic setup that I think everybody should try. Whole food whenever humanly possible, avoid sugar.
The benefits of intermittent fasting. (07:02)
Keeping your blood glucose below 100, I highly recommend it. For me, I try to keep my glucose in the 80-ish range. That's sort of my default. I also do intermittent fasting. I think that that is very effective. Getting into things like autophagy is beyond the scope of what we're talking about right now, but even that, I think it's gonna be huge. Body composition is greatly affected by intermittent fasting. Again, individual variability. Make sure that you experiment with this stuff for yourself. I do, when you average it out, I think I went about 18 months where I was tracking every day. My average over that extended period of time was 17.5 hours. So on the weekends, it's shorter, but on the weekdays, sometimes it's longer, sometimes it's 19, 20, 21, 22 hours that I'll go between meals, but again, over a very extended period of time, it averages out to 17.5 hours of not eating. Now, the way that I do that, I have my last meal around 1.15, definitely done chewing by 2 p.m., and then I don't eat again until the next day at around nine, 9.30, somewhere around in there. Shorter on the weekends, longer during the week, and it balances out. I'm having everything from green leafy vegetables like bok choy, collard greens, kale, broccoli, to carrot, jicama. I do occasionally have some sweet potato. Gonna be a little thoughtful about that one. Watch your glycemic load. That definitely spikes me more than green leafy vegetables, but those are the mix that I use. Again, I'm eating whole foods. Virtually all of my calories come from whole food. During the week, in fact, I'd say 95% of my calories come from whole food, and it's very rare that I deviate from that, but doing that allows me to have tremendous focus, a lot of energy, get the most out of my workouts, maintain my body composition, keep my fat low, keep my glycemic spikes low so I'm not getting blood sugar spikes, which helps me maintain my energy through the day, and also, just from a longevity standpoint, I think that's a great idea. I will say, go look at David Sinclair. He's got some pretty compelling information around the fact that meat may not be great for longevity, so while it makes me feel awesome, it's something called mTOR, so be thoughtful. As you get into the complex weeds of this stuff, nutrition is a very big, complex topic. Again, the only things that I consider universals are whole food and reducing sugar.
Universals, close to a universal would be intermittent fasting, though some people can have differing responses to that, so be thoughtful as you experiment with this stuff, but if you do that, like I said, 80 plus percent of your problems are gonna go away. That's a nice, low inflammation diet, and keeping your inflammation low is incredibly important. The way that I've found to stay focused, be productive, and not get distracted is one, by auditing my time so that I know, one, what I'm supposed to be working on, and then two, that at the end of any task, I'm gonna reflect back on how long it took me, how much time did I spend on task, and also, I have rules. Like, if I'm working on something, I don't take out my phone. I don't look at it, no matter what, I have no alerts on my computer, no alerts on my phone. If somebody's calling, I would never know. If somebody's texting me, I would never know. I don't have anything that pops up on my computer. You wanna eliminate distractions. I don't even work facing a window. I will go into a room and I will intentionally face myself away from a window. There was one period of my life, and the only reason I stopped doing this is 'cause I think it's really important to get daylight in your eyes, but I was putting myself in a dark room and literally with a stand-up desk was the only thing between me and a wall. So even though I was in a nice, expansive, beautiful room, I was putting myself facing the wall so that there was nothing for me to even look at, that I wanna be working on the thing that I'm trying to accomplish. And the other thing is that's hugely important is to make sure that you care about what you're working on. about what they're doing with their life is terrifying, and when you don't care about what you're working on, there's no meaning or purpose behind the thing that you're trying to do, then of course it's gonna be harder to stay on track. Of course you're gonna be looking for that dopamine hit from your phone, from that email, because working on the thing that you're working on doesn't give you the dopamine hit. Making sure that you're pursuing things that you care about, that's a huge part of it. So caring about what you do, making sure that you're optimizing your environment to minimize distractions, and then having rules about things like not checking your phone, not letting yourself wander off. Like for instance, I won't even let myself go get a drink of water until I've accomplished a certain thing that I'm trying to do. And I will find myself taking that first step to go get a drink of water. You're on autopilot, you need some drip of dopamine when you're working on something that's boring or difficult, but then the rule kicks in and I remind myself, ah yes, I'm going to finish this thing. And then I make sure that I reward myself for doing that hard work. So when you're doing hard work in service of something that you really believe in, that you're really emotionally connected to your why, now all of a sudden, with some rules put in place, it becomes easy to stay there and get your stuff done. And then on top of that, I know when to give a break, to go get a drink of water or something like that, to get up, to walk around. All of that stuff is incredibly important to make sure that you're able to stay on task. A big thing, maybe the biggest of all, is personal standards. You gotta have standards. and they let themselves get away with not being productive, wasting an entire day before they call themselves out. Or worse, staying at a job that they don't care about, doing something that doesn't mean anything to them, just to collect a paycheck. And I get how people would be unable to stick with something, but let me promise you, your life will pass you by in an instant. Not only is tomorrow not guaranteed, tonight isn't guaranteed. So if you're not working at something that you really care about that means something to you, your life is gonna pass you by, make sure you're focused on things that you care about, you're eliminating distractions, and you're rewarding yourself when you crush it. Then, just make sure you audit your time, you should be ready to rock. If you fall into a rut and you wanna get out of it, the first thing that you have to do is be honest with yourself that you're in a rut. So often, I see people not wanting to admit that things are not going the way that they want them to go, whether it's because they're trying to keep up with the Joneses, or they have low self-esteem and they're really struggling, and so they're trying to tell themselves a story that isn't true because they're building their self-esteem around being right, being good, being talented, whatever, all of those fragile things, and so they're not willing to stop, take a good hard look at whether or not they're making the kind of progress that they want to make.
RAIN RUT (13:06)
Now, my advice is to switch what you build your self-esteem around so that you're building your self-esteem around not being right or smart or good, that you're building your self-esteem around the very willingness to look at whether or not you're making progress, recognize that you're not making progress, and make a change and get moving again. But that's the key, to really be honest with yourself, to audit that time, to make sure that you really are making progress, and to not be angry, upset, or diminish your sense of self because you're in a rut, but instead, be proud of yourself for really being willing to assess, where am I at, what am I trying to accomplish, am I actually making progress, and that willingness to stare nakedly at your inadequacies, to really be honest about whether you're making progress, to be honest about whether you're improving enough at something, to be honest about whether you're working hard enough at something, all of those things are incredibly important, but you'll never be honest with yourself if in recognizing that you're underperforming, if you just beat yourself up. You wanna recognize you're underperforming and be proud of yourself for recognizing that you're underperforming and being willing to do something about it. If you build your self-esteem around that, now you have that self-reinforcing engine that you're going to need to get moving again, but first, it starts with acknowledging the problem. Being pristine on prepping for bed, I think is incredibly important. Getting good quality sleep is critical, so there are several things that I do.
Hydration, Sleep & Recovery with WHOOP (14:57)
Number one, I wear myself out during the day. I'm going all in on the things I'm trying to accomplish, so man, at the end of the day, I feel like I've earned my sleep, and that idea of earning your sleep, the idea of earning your days off, of earning a vacation, something that is incredibly rewarding. Remember, we're only pursuing things that we care about. That means something to us. We have the strong why, the strong attachment to not only us, but the people that we're trying to help, but then going all out for it, so that by the end of the day, I've worked out. I've eaten right. I've been disciplined. I've worked my ass off. I've stayed focused. I've pushed myself. I've avoided distractions. I've left everything out on the field, trying to move myself forward, going down my important things list, taking things one at a time, really pushing the ball forward, not just chasing dopamine, but actually trying to do something. So by the time I get to bed, I am worn out. The next thing I do is starting about three hours before bed, so for me, 'cause I go to bed at nine, like it's a religion, I'm putting blue blocking glasses on at 6 p.m. You wanna make sure that you're not even around very bright light, so I start dimming the lights towards the evening time. Not exposing blue light into my eyes really helps with circadian rhythm. In the morning, I try to get outside and actually get direct sunlight into my eyes. That does not mean staring at the sun. Just means looking up at the sky, being outside, letting all of that natural light get on your skin, get in your eyes. It's gonna be a huge part of setting that circadian rhythm. For about, I stop checking my text messages usually about two hours before I go to bed. Reason is that the most stressful things in my life come in via text message, so I know better, so I try to stop that two hours before. Definitely an hour before, because it's gonna take me time to sort of recalibrate my mind. One thing I'm always telling people is the reason that I'm able to work as much as I work, to endure as much stress as I endure is I'm very good at compartmentalizing. When I have something stressful, I take it and sort of code it in the things that I'm going to do to deal with that, because action cures all. So earlier in the day, if I get something really stressful, if I can get the ball rolling, then all is well. I get things going. I know that that problem's gonna be solved. My brain goes, "Ah, we're in action mode." All is well, I can deal with this. As we get later in the night, I'm not gonna be able to do the things that I need to do to get it moving, which means that my brain is gonna worry on it all night. So I've gotta do something to compartmentalize that, to figure out what my strategy is gonna be, and then I put that thing away. Now, it takes some time, so I'd rather not encounter that an hour before I go to bed, right? So like I said, about two hours before I go to bed, I'm gonna stop looking at my text messages, so I'm gonna keep working. I'm gonna execute on the things that I'm working on, but I'm gonna try to compartmentalize that so that I'm not introducing new things that I have to come up with a new strategy for. The next thing is about an hour before bed, I now only work on things that I find fun, so that that's moving my brain to like, "Oh, this isn't stressful.
Evening Ritual (17:52)
"This is actually enjoyable. "This is fun." So I do a lot of my research for episodes that I'm gonna be filming at night, because I love it. That's one of the most fun things about my job, is getting to learn something new. So I can do research right up until the moment that I go to bed, so that's something that I'll save for that time. If I don't have an episode coming up and I wanna keep working, then again, I'm gonna focus on something that I find enjoyable, which for me often means that I'm working on storytelling or something along those lines, because it's really, really pleasurable. And then, about a half an hour before I go to bed, I'll be listening to something, but I just start my night routine. I'm gonna be brushing my teeth in sort of a meditative fashion, really relaxing. I'm not listening to anything that's gonna be stressful, doing things that are chill. If I've had a really stressful day, I might even sit down and meditate for the last 15 or 20 minutes before I go to bed. And then, when I'm actually going to bed, I go into storytelling mode. So the great news is for me, that actually works for work as well, but I'm putting in headphones. I might start listening to an actual book if I don't have a story that I'm trying to work on. I start listening to a book, a fiction book, puts my brain in a different space, and if I've worked right up until the moment I go to bed, at that point, I will still put a fiction book on right as I'm going to sleep, and I have learned an incredible technique that allows me to deal with stress.
Power Down Hour Sleep Routine (19:05)
I'm not necessarily suggesting that people push themselves this far. If you find yourself at night having a hard time falling asleep, this works unbelievably well. I don't have a trick that works better than this. This is the closest thing to magic that you're gonna get. I put my AirPods in, I put on a fiction book, a book that doesn't have murder or anything like that 'cause I don't wanna hear screaming and yelling. I made that mistake, so I've run that test. It does not work well. I will put a book on, it's usually sci-fi, a great narrator, and I turn the volume down so I can just barely make out what they're saying, just a little bit of pressure to my ear in order to clearly hear what they're saying, and then I apply that pressure, and I leave the book running. I don't put a timer. I let it go, and then I fall asleep, and then the pressure comes off my ear, and now I can no longer make out what they're saying, so as I'm drifting off to sleep, I lose the words that are being said, but my brain has gone out of problem-solving mode into story mode, narrative mode. I'm able to relax and fall asleep all by listening to that story. I forget about the things that are stressing me in the day, and then if I wake up in the middle of the night, I will swap out my headphones so that the battery doesn't die 'cause that little beeping noise telling you that you have low battery will wake me up. Again, learned that the hard way, and then again, it's just as I'm trying to fall back asleep, I put a little pressure on my ear so I can hear it, and then the story takes me back into dreamland, and I sleep.
Everyday Things (20:36)
I went through a phase where I was really struggling to sleep. Man, I tried everything, and finally figuring that system out works like a charm. I use 1.4x. Everybody knows I like to listen to things at 3x, but I can't do that if I'm trying to fall asleep. I found the perfect rate where my brain doesn't have to struggle to listen, but the words are coming in fast enough that the pauses don't irritate me. Put it in, pressure, good story, good narrator, boom, I'm off to sleep. If you do all of those sleep hygiene things, you ought to sleep like a baby. Oh, and keep the room cool. Get a chili pad if you don't have AC. They're not the cheapest thing in the world, but they are worth every penny. Making sure that your room is cool or that you are cool on a chili pad makes a huge difference, so make sure that you do that. And then get your room as dark as possible when you're sleeping.
Sleep Hygiene (21:37)
Personally, I know this is gonna freak some people out. I sleep with the blankets up over my head to ensure complete darkness. So my wife and I don't share blankets, which is another thing that I recommend, which everybody thinks that I'm crazy. I forget now that that's even a thing 'cause I told my wife from the jump, we're never gonna share blankets. Hope you're okay with that. Forever, we have slept with several blankets. That way I can wrap myself up in mine. I never have to worry about her stealing them or me stealing them from her. And all of those things allow me to sleep like a baby night after night, even in the middle of stress. I won't say that it never happens where I'm so stressed that I wake up. It's pretty rare because of all the things that I do for sleep hygiene. If you're not going in the right direction in your life and you want an action plan that you can use, you can just try it for the next seven days. It's gonna change everything in your life. It goes like this. Follow the morning routine plan that I laid out before. Plenty of sleep, perfect sleep, getting up, working out, meditating, intermittent fasting, important things, absolutely critical, getting your diet right. The number of people that are in pain, that don't realize that they have brain fog, that don't realize that there's just a general sense of suck in their life because of their diet. Once you clean that up, get that right, get your inflammation down, get your stress and anxiety down, which is also majorly impacted by your diet. Getting your sleep right, your energy levels are gonna feel awesome because your diet's there, because your sleep is there, meditation, changing the game. So you're gonna do all of the things that I talked about in that morning routine. And then the next thing that I will add to that, human connection, find a loving relationship and put time into it. Find a loving relationship and put time into it. Even though I have a rule, Monday through Friday, if I'm awake, I'm either working or working out. But you will note, I'm involved in storytelling, so I'm around things like anime and manga and I'm talking about stories. I'm interviewing incredible people, so my job, even though it's hard, even though it's a lot of hours, it's doing things that I love and care about in service of people that I'm trying to help. 92% of people that set a new year's goal fail to achieve it, which is why I've created a 90 day challenge designed specifically to ensure that you hit your goals. You really can radically transform yourself. Just click the link below to join me and the entire Impact Theory University community to kick off 2023 right with the Impact 90 challenge. All right guys, now back to the episode. And I'm doing it with my wife. My best friend, the person that I care most about in the world, everything that you're striving for, everything that you're trying to do and accomplish. If you don't have people that you love and care about and that you're spending time with, it's all for naught. We are a social creature, so optimize your sleep, optimize your diet, optimize your exercise, and all of that is gonna take care of your cognition and your energy levels and your general feeling of well-being, which comes largely from your diet, exercise and sleep, and love.
Why You Need to Create a Morning Routine You Love (24:16)
And if you're doing all of that in a package and the thing that you're working towards really matters to you and to the world, it's about as good as it gets. Yes, a negative mindset is going to have an overall impact on your mental health. So anxiety is the easiest one to talk about because I've experienced it, but I think depression is also gonna be hugely affected by what you allow yourself to repeat. So one core mechanism of the brain is to understand that while we are a very active species, it's meant to go out and explore and master our environment, there's a secondary evolutionary force pushing on us, which is that we also wanna conserve calories to make sure that we survive a famine. So we have this dual competing thing hence the big dreams and wanting to sit on the couch and eat a bag of potato chips, hence why we procrastinate, why we feel lazy.
Neurons that fire together, wire together (25:09)
And the way that the brain as a physiological organ has dealt with this dual impulse challenge over evolutionary timeframes is that it's a process called myelination. And what that does is it's wrapping fatty tissue around neurons that fire together at the same time frequently. So this is why they say neurons that fire together wire together. They are literally getting optimized for the efficient transmission of the signals across those synaptic gaps. And the reason that they do this is that it becomes easier from a caloric perspective to do those things. So now you've made whatever you repeat, whether it's something empowering or disempowering, whether it's something that makes you anxious or feel like you can do anything, it's going to make thinking those thoughts and feeling those feelings easier from a caloric perspective. It also begins to move it into what's called the default mode network. So the default mode network is responsible for anything that we'll call automatic thinking. If you've done something a bazillion times, you don't think about brushing your teeth, you just brush your teeth. You don't think about driving to work oftentimes, certainly before the pandemic, you just drive to work. And there were times where you would show up at work and be like, whoa, I almost don't remember the journey getting here. And the reason is that what ends up happening is your cognition can be put onto basically something else. So you're thinking through daydreaming, whatever. And the thing that you do in a repetitive way is just happening automatically, super efficiently. And it's a thing that happens to the brain where you can scan somebody and go up, they're in the default mode network right now. And if worry, anxiety, panic, fear, stress, if that's what you're doing all the time, then that's what's going to be moved over, made calorically easier to do, moved into the default mode network. So that by default, that's where you go.
Living in the Default Mode Network (27:24)
And this is where most people spend the majority of their lives is living in that default mode network of these emotions that they've created these very well-worn paths to looping around over and over, to feeling those feelings over and over. And so you can understand since the body responds to your, the mental states that you're constantly in, that each of those mental states is characterized by hormonal and neurochemical states. And the body will have different long-term consequences based on what you're feeling. So for instance, if you are constantly stressed or constantly anxious, your cortisol levels are extraordinarily high. Cortisol levels begin to damage the elasticity of your blood vessels. It's one of the vectors of attack on your body. And so you don't want to stay in these chronically elevated levels because it deteriorates the integrity of the lining of your blood vessels. And this is the kind of thing that leads to stroke or coronary heart disease. So being incredibly thoughtful, not to loop on those things, which doesn't mean that there aren't bad things going on in your life, but it does mean that when you allow yourself to loop, loop, loop, that there is this hormonal and chemical cascade as a response to that, that your body will have negative consequences too, or positive consequences if you're in a loving, calm state a lot. And that's the thing that becomes the default mode network. That becomes the easiest thing for you to think. And you're in this really calm and creative state a lot of times, then you're gonna prolong your life. So I hesitate only to say that because of course, there are other extenuating circumstances, like if your diet is terrible, but you're in that calm and creative state a lot, I think you're still gonna run into issues. And quite honestly, if your diet is messed up, then the odds of you being able to stay in that calm and creative state are very, very low because of the communication that happens between your brain and your guts. Getting into dysbiosis is a whole nother thing.
Brain-Gut Communication And Learning Processes
The Communication that happens between your brain and your gut (29:16)
But anyway, you wanna be very careful the things that you allow yourself to think. Now, how do you train yourself to get out of that, get out of a negative default mode network and into a positive default mode network? So one is something called pattern interrupting.
Pattern Interrupt (29:34)
This comes from cognitive behavioral therapy. It's extraordinarily useful, and I highly encourage you guys to get very deft at this. And this is simply not allowing yourself to think certain thoughts. And every time you catch yourself doing it to pattern interrupt and you remind yourself, you don't do that. So for instance, one of the reasons that I don't get overwhelmed is because I don't allow myself to be overwhelmed. That doesn't mean that I can carry an infinite load. What it means is every time I can feel that escalation, I can feel like, "Oh my God, this is overwhelming." I say to myself, "Ah, you don't do overwhelm." And saying that thought interrupts that pattern and breaks me out of it, brings my conscious control back in, right? Viktor Frankl, between stimulus and response, there is a gap. We want to mind that gap. We want to get in there, insert something like this statement, "I don't do overwhelm," which then puts me back into conscious control. And I decide what I want to insert in terms of the emotion that I want to feel, which of course is more calm, more relaxed, able to handle more things. Now, I also remind myself that doing less is always an option. So if there's just too many things happening at once, 99 times out of 100, even if I'm really in something busy and there's a lot happening, if I feel overwhelmed coming on, boom, pattern interrupt, I don't do overwhelm, and then I'm gonna sit down, I'm gonna deep breathe from my belly, and I'm gonna slow things down. And I'm gonna let that stuff go. And that's exactly how I'm actually able to end up doing more because I don't let that become a runaway process. I pattern interrupt it, I breathe from my diaphragm, I slow down, it doesn't take long to reset, to get yourself focused. And then typically what I'll do at that point is shift back into an aggressive mental and emotional posture, which then helps me push through anything that might potentially feel overwhelming. And that is the training. So you're doing that pattern interrupt, you're doing the physiological things that you need to do to shift your state, and then you're inserting yourself back into that gap, and you do that over and over and over and over, never wasting time being angry with yourself that you start to feel overwhelmed, but instead being proud of yourself that you do the pattern interrupt, that you slow things down. And when you reinforce that behavior, that's what begins to wire together. And now over time, it becomes this very easy loop that happens automatically, you don't even think about it. When you start to feel that sense of overwhelm, you don't get lost in the overwhelm. Boom, you stop, slow down, breathe, insert the aggression in this case, I'm just giving you an example from how I deal with it, but whatever you're gonna do to deal with it. I do something exactly similar to that for anxiety. I start to feel the anxiety build up, I'm not going to allow that to become this runaway process, I'm going to slow down, it happens again that I'm gonna breathe from my diaphragm, I'm going to relax, I'm gonna close my eyes, I'm gonna start some sort of visualization of things going well instead of going wrong, you only get anxious when you imagine things going wrong, so now I'm going to force myself to imagine them going well, I'm gonna breathe from my diaphragm doing the physiological work of making sure I'm shifting state, and just do that over and over and over. Do you know what the best way would be to accelerate the electrical neural connections in my brain so I can learn faster, change habits, and improve exponentially in my life? Working with the neuroplasticity that you know so well, thank you.
Learning Faster (33:07)
Okay, so this is a game of repetition, and understanding that for the reasons that I just out laid in the previous question, it just comes down to what you repeat. Whatever you repeat, then you're going to get better at that thing, better meaning more efficient from a brain wiring standpoint, it gets easier to do. And so as you think about trying to learn faster, a lot of this is going to be practice learning. You're going to be learning as much as you can, and one, you're gonna lay down those neural pathways, but two, and maybe more importantly, is you are going to learn tips and tricks along the way that will optimize for exactly you. So I'm giving you all the things that work for me, I think it'll probably work 80 to 85%, exactly the same for you, but there's that 15% that's going to be optimized just for you, where you're like, you know what, that thing, I'll give you an example from my own life, box breathing. So to meditate, people will typically tell you to breathe in four equal parts. I found that that didn't work for me. So I found by optimizing for the pleasure cycle of those four parts of the breath cycle, that it worked perfectly. So it was like 85% of it was just sitting down, meditating, understand how to come back to the thought, understanding how to breathe through my diaphragm, all that, that was by far all of the heavy lifting, but then that little tweak at the end made a big difference. And so by practicing learning, by repeating learning, by doing it over and over, by finding out, do you do better when you're reading a physical book? Do you do better when you're listening to audio? Do you do better on YouTube videos? Do you do better on audio books? Do you do better when you can take physical notes? Do you do better notes handwritten or typed? All of these things. So it's all the same stuff, but there are going to be little nuances that are different for you. And so getting in there and doing them over and over and over, that's going to be the key to learning faster, increasing the speed, and then just overall getting better at that by doing those things over and over and over so that you get the hard wiring that you're looking for. Next. Is it possible to train your brain to control dopamine addiction, especially with things like YouTube games and NFTs that are so all-consuming and addictive? How can you redirect your brain to focus on your goals? All right, let's talk about time management. So I am very grateful that while I have a very obsessive personality, I don't have an addictive personality. And what that means is that I find it relatively straightforward to create rules in my life. And I highly encourage anybody to do this, whether you have an addictive or an obsessive personality or anything else, to create bright lines in your life, rules that you simply don't violate. That way, there's no question, like imagine if you say something like, this is actually true from my childhood. My mom would say, I don't remember the exact number, but it was something like 13. We could have 13 Doritos. So you're eating your 13 Doritos. But like Dorito number nine was kind of broken.
Real-Life Examples of Fulfilled Anticipatory Periods (36:07)
So that doesn't really count as a full Dorito. But then the next one maybe only has a tiny bit of a corner missing. So you take that one, you're like, "Well, they were both broken." And so you end up eating the equivalent of more. Or maybe you lost count and so you don't wanna cheat yourself, of course. So at number six, maybe you start the count over. So there are all these ways where you end up intaking more than you mean to, versus saying, I only eat Doritos on a Saturday. That way, if it isn't Saturday, I'm not eating Doritos. And then if you find, well, what I end up doing is on Friday night, I stay awake until 1201, so I can eat Doritos, go to bed, wake up, eat more Doritos, if that isn't the outcome that you want, then you say, cool, I don't eat Doritos until I've woken up on a Saturday morning after at least seven hours of being in bed. Whatever you need to do to make sure that you're not getting up in the middle of the night or only sleeping four hours because you're so excited to go eat. These are sadly all real things from my past. And so figuring out all of those things and understanding how you have to refine your rules so that you can be very clear about what you do and what you don't do. Once you do that, now you can start breaking that dopamine loop that people can get into. So one area that I do find that I get into it, and I have to be really thoughtful about this, is this weird loop around checking WhatsApp, checking Twitter, checking my text messages, if I'm moving something forward in the business. So I never do it just like in my personal life, but there are times when I'm trying to move something forward in my business, I need to see what the team is doing. Some people on the team communicate via WhatsApp, some for text, and then on Twitter if I'm trying to promote something. And so I'll get in this loop of just like going, going, going, going, going, and each thing leads to the next and getting to inbox zero on WhatsApp triggers me to go get to inbox zero on my text messages, triggers me to go get to inbox zero on Twitter, triggers me to go back to WhatsApp to text, and I get in this weird, crazy loop. And so what I do to end up breaking that cycle, one, becoming aware of it is hugely important and understanding how that dopamine cycle works, and then two, to make sure that I put confines around it, even if I have to set an alarm. Normally I don't because my day is so busy that I've gotta get onto the next thing.
Slowing Dopamine Cycles with Bright Lines (38:25)
But recognizing, okay, this is something that I'm prone to and that I need to have a hard stop because if I don't have a hard stop then I know that I'll end up in this loop and it begins to not feel good. Like at first it feels like I'm making progress, I'm pushing things forward, and then at some point it begins to start to feel really uncomfortable and like that I have a compulsion. I have to check again, I have to go back. And so recognizing that that's a thing and then instituting rules. So for instance, I don't care about inbox zero. I care about moving a project forward, I care very much about time management, I care very much about having my priorities in order and going down my list of priorities. And once that thing is no longer a priority, even if I see that a notification comes in and now there's a message waiting or five messages waiting or 10 messages waiting, I train myself that I'm not even gonna look at that. I know that there are people waiting for a response, I've already moved it forward as much as makes sense given my time allocation, given my priorities, and therefore I'm gonna be completely fine with that. And so one thing I've done is on almost everything, it's not on everything everything, but on almost everything I've turned off all visible notifications. So that if you were to pick up my phone it looks like I have nothing waiting for me. There's nothing in my email, nothing in my text, nothing. But there are, but I force it so that I have to go in to check it. So there aren't these little things dripping on my mind. So being very careful about doing that. And then things that are just pure fun like games or NFTs or something like that. Again, it's knowing that I'm going to allow myself to spend this much time. So for instance, having a bedtime that you stick to is incredibly important. I'd be lying if I said the NFTs haven't led me beyond my bedtime a few times, but I really do try to be religious. So if once or twice out of the week I end up going say 20 minutes over my bedtime, I'm okay with that. We'll call that a margin of error. But if it started to be a problem then I would put bright lines and I would say something like, "I cannot stay up past my bedtime more than twice in the seven day period." And you do something like that. And again, bright lines are incredibly effective at making sure that you don't end up in a behavior pattern that you don't want to be in. All right, and then go look at Andrew Huberman and his work on dopamine and all the things that he's discussing. It's really powerful to understand how dopamine works and that it isn't actually rewarding you for getting the thing, it's rewarding desire. So dopamine is the anticipatory neurochemical that feels good. It's exciting to want something, to pursue something. And so once you understand that dopamine is actually triggering the desire to pursue it, then you're more likely to be able to break that pattern 'cause you realize that doing whatever behavior, playing the games, looking at NFTs, all of that, it's never going to satisfy it. You're never going to be like, "Oh, cool. Now I've had my fill and I can go stop." Dopamine is specifically making you want to do more of something, to pursue it, to go after it, to repeat that behavior. So be very thoughtful about that. Next. Should you be hard on yourself or soft on yourself? How can you tell if someone's brain is geared towards hearing negative affirmations or needs negative persuasion to get things done? Okay, so there's moving towards and there's moving away. And once you understand what your baseline personality is, are you more likely to move towards something or more likely to move away from something? I'm a move towards kind of person.
Move Toward (41:49)
So the vast majority of my life is spent moving towards the things that excite me, call it 80%. And then 20% of the time, I find that moving away from something is very powerful. And what the person asking the question is referring to in the gym because I hated it so much and it was so exhausting and felt like such a waste of time, I had to think about protecting my wife and that if I wasn't able to get strong and not be able to protect my wife, that something bad might happen to her. And so that was a real motivation. But if I'm honest, as I get into the nuance of that, it was really the thing that I would imagine was just ruining the person trying to get after my wife. And so it was about me winning in that scenario, being able to dismantle them. And even that was like a move towards, it was moving towards getting stronger. But there's no doubt that there was some negative impulse there. But it's figuring out from yourself what motivates you, what scenarios as you imagine them, walk through them, push you to do more. And then recognizing that nature has only given us two things, pleasure and pain. And so the more you can optimize them both, the better. Now, part of the optimization cycle of pleasure is understanding that when you think about the beautiful things, the pleasurable things, that you want to bring into this world, that you could soak there, you could spend all of your time there, and it would feel wonderful. The negative stuff, I think is actually higher in amplitude in its ability to incentivize behavior, but is corrosive.
Brain Optimization And Breathwork
The gun in Destiny 2 (43:17)
And so there are video game references coming to mind. There is a gun in Destiny 2. And the longer you use it, the more it overheats, and it will actually end up damaging you as you use the gun. And so you have to be careful not to use it too much because it starts taking away your own life. So that's negative energy all day. So as you are using that negative energy, it works at first and gives you this real boost. Then if you stay there too long, it begins to become a problem, both physiologically and just from a is it fun living my life perspective. So you want to be really thoughtful. I find that an 80/20 balance is roughly right. Find the right balance for you. I would be startled if it was ever more than 20%. But in my darkest times where I am just exhausted and cannot bear the thought of going on any longer, to get that reinvigoration, I need to only think about the people that are waiting for me to fail. And that gives me the juice that I need. But I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about that. So be thoughtful in your own life. But both are powerful.
Stay up and positive (44:38)
And I would learn how to wield both tools. How do you stay up and positive when you keep getting kicked down, things get worse and before you know it, you're buried neck deep and completely lost as to what to do. How do you get back to center and beyond? Can you break down step by step how to train your brain to move past how you see yourself? Yes, I can. So here is how to think about yourself. Number one, recognize that you are hopelessly average. That way you don't have to think of yourself as special. Because that negative voice in your head is going to constantly tell you that you're not special. So now, just admit you're average. And given the distribution curve, the odds of you being average are extraordinarily high. So you're average. You meet what I call minimum requirements. So if you're asking this question, you are smart enough to do all of the amazing things you wanna do in your life. You may not be the best in the world at them, but you'll be able to do extraordinary things that are going to dazzle yourself and other people. So step one, recognize that you are average. Step two, recognize that you're an average human. And the average human has become the apex predator of all apex predators because of one simple principle. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but rather the most adaptive to change. As the average human, you are the most adaptive creature the world has ever seen. So now, even being an average adapter, you're gonna be able to do things that are incredible. It's what I call the only belief that matters. The only belief that matters is that if you put time and energy into getting better at something, you will get better. The second part of this idea is that skills have utility. So you're putting time and energy into gaining skills, and those skills let you do something in the world that other people can't do. When you can do something in the world that other people can't do that the world values, you will always be able to make a living. If you get good at something that the world values that other people can't do, and you love it, now all of the sudden, you're optimizing for a life that fills you with joy. And if you're optimizing for something that the world values that other people can't do, that you love, and it serves other people as well, you now have the magic formula for fulfillment. And the harder you work to gain that set of skills that serve yourself and others, you will begin getting feedback from the world because they value it. And you're out there doing something that lifts them up. So you're lifting them up in a way that they recognize and value, and inevitably, they're going to thank you for doing that thing. And that makes you feel good, which makes you wanna go get better at that thing. And so now you go gain more skills than this thing that was hard, that the world values, that you're getting better at than other people, and doing things other people can't do, and elevating people in ways that other people can't elevate them. They're thanking you for that, and now you're in a virtuous cycle. And so that was the breakthrough for me, was recognizing I did not need to believe that I was different or special because I was having a very hard time doing that. Life was showing me that that just wasn't true, that there were so many people that were better than me. And so dealing with that was emotionally very difficult in the beginning. So that big first step was recognizing, oh, I'm just hopelessly average, but that's okay. I'm the hopelessly average adaptation machine. And now it's a question of what are my goals? What do I love doing? What do I love doing even when I'm failing, even when it's really difficult? And as long as I'm doing something that I find exciting, okay, it has to be fun, it's gotta be exciting, and it elevates other people, now the harder I work at that thing, the better it is for everybody involved, and it becomes this really magical thing. - Brain optimization.
Brain Optimization (48:34)
I am joining you from the gym, which is my least favorite part of brain optimization, but it's an absolutely critical part. There are many things that you can do to get your cognition at the highest level possible, and I often hear people thinking that they can grind their way to a better performance, and while working long hours is certainly one of the strategies that you can run to get ahead in life. I will say you have to be very careful not to spend extra hours in a suboptimal cognitive state, and that's what most people do, is they think the first thing to go is sleep, the second thing to go is exercise, the third thing to go is diet, things that we're gonna be talking about today. And the reality is that the first thing you wanna do is optimize your cognition so that all of the hours that you're spending on your chosen pursuit are things that are done at the highest possible level from a cognitive standpoint. Now, nobody wishes more than me that you did not need to pay attention to the body, that you could simply live this entirely cerebral life and get everything going that way, but the reality is that you cannot separate the organ of the brain from the rest of your body. This all works in concert, much to my dismay. So if you wanna be thinking quickly, if you wanna be thinking clearly, if you wanna be at your best, feeling good, operating at a high level, the reality is you must focus on cognitively optimizing. That's what we're gonna talk about today. One of the most important things that you can do is to get yourself in shape. Now, I am not a fan of working out.
Fitness Overhall (50:18)
In fact, it is very fair to say that I really don't enjoy working out, but when I think about getting my brain in shape, one of the most important things you can do is get your blood pumping. Now, I'm also not gonna lie, there are cognitive benefits psychologically, if nothing else, to also being strong and looking good. None of those are gonna hurt your feelings, but the real reason that I spend my time in the gym is that you're sending a very particular signal to your brain when you're working out. And so you increase the production of things like B, D, and F, brain-derived neurotropic factor, if I remember all the letters correctly, but basically you're sending miracle grow to your brain to make sure that you're creating the optimal neurochemical soup that you need in order to be performing at a high level. It really has big impacts on memory. And so getting in the gym, getting your blood pumping, getting yourself in good shape is gonna be a critical part of getting rid of brain fog, making sure that you're incredibly sharp, and making sure that you're creating the growth factors in your brain that you need to enhance your memory. And that's gonna be a big part of it. So I personally go into the gym roughly five times a week. There are definitely times where I might miss a day and there are some weeks where I might add a day. But on average, it comes out to be about five times a week. You can do any kind of different split that you like, but I personally find that weights over cardio is one, it's far more pleasurable for me. And the best workout is the one that you will actually do. And so I'm far more likely to stick with a routine that is revolving around weightlifting. Now I will often do the weights at a cardio pace. So I'm moving very quickly in the gym from thing to thing to thing, and not a lot of rest between periods, which has a two-fold effect. One, I'm going to move quickly through my workout, so the amount of time that I need is very low. And then the other part of that is that I'm actually getting that cardio workout. My heart is pumping, it's a very intense workout, and that way it allows me to basically combine the two things. But some people prefer to do cardio, and certainly getting yourself in cardio shape can be very advantageous as well, certainly for heart health, for your vasculature, all of that stuff's incredibly important to maintain well. Diet, exercise, and sleep are going to be the magic trifecta of a little bit of meditation thrown in. We're going to cover all of that. But then finding if you're going to do that split, how much can you mix it up? Now, I am particularly bad about mixing up my workouts. I'm just going to be really honest. But having some sort of split, so you're not doing your full body every time, is going to be better. So the way that I break it up is for me, I do a push, pull, legs, abs split. So it's a three day cycle that I rotate through. So I typically start with my back and biceps, so that's going to be your pull. And then I go to chest, shoulders, triceps on the following day, that's going to be your push. And then I do legs and abs on a separate day. And that's the basic split that I use in my gym. I work out roughly 45 minutes, sometimes an hour, sometimes I might be able to get out a bit faster. Sometimes I have to get out faster if I've got a lot going on for the day. But that is the basic cycle. Put in the work, you will definitely get the results. All right, meditation is one of the most important things in my life. It would be very fair to say that it changed my life, that is for sure. It might, it's a little bit of an exaggeration to say that it saved my life, but it certainly saved my sanity. And I resisted doing it for a long time. And I'm very glad that I finally met Mark Devine, who told me to stop being ridiculous and to start meditating. And it really was a game changer. So managing your neurochemistry is one of the single most important things you can do. And understanding how to shift back and forth between the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. So sympathetic is the fight or flight response so many of us that are hard charging. You're gonna spend so much of your time there. And it really does have some sort of cumulative effect so that after a while, you just feel on edge all the time, the sense of something is wrong, you just feel antsy, unsettled, and that can get really unbearable in your life. And meditation is a magical way that nature has given us where you can reset that to absolute zero to where you feel completely calm and creative and anchored. It is truly a phenomenal gift of evolution that simply staying in a comfortable position, which I'm literally sitting exactly how I sit when I meditate, I breathe from my diaphragm down at your belly, and that by bringing your thoughts back only to the breath, back to your breath, nice and simply, back to the breath, it's gonna wander, your mind is gonna wander. You're not doing anything wrong when your mind wanders. That is the nature of the human mind. So don't worry that you have what they call the monkey mind, that your mind is constantly bouncing around to all these thoughts, many of them negative. Just when you realize that your mind has wandered, come back to the breath. Now, I use headphones when I meditate and I play the sounds of nature. Typically, my favorite is a thunderstorm. There's something about hearing the rain and the occasional crack of thunder that just keeps bringing me back to the present moment, right there with the sound of that rain, the sound of that thunder, the rhythm of my breath. And then I find when I maximize the pleasure of each part of the breath cycle, so there are four parts to the breath cycle. There's the inhale, the inhale hold at the top, the exhale, and the exhale hold at the bottom.
Optimize for the Pleasure of Each Part of the Breath Cycle (56:13)
And then you just repeat that cycle over and over, and I'll do a couple cycles here so you can see. Now, oftentimes people will talk about making each part of the breath cycle four equal parts. I have found that optimizing for the pleasure of each part of the breath cycle is a far more useful way for me, everybody needs to try it for themselves, but a far more useful way for me to get what I call that background radiation, that anxiety, that stress, all of that down to zero. And so this is what it looks like for me. I sit cross-legged just because I find it comfortable, you don't need to, whatever's comfortable for you. I put my hands in my lap. I have found there's something weird about touching my hands together ever so lightly, that I don't know if it creates like a circle of energy, I don't know, it sounds cheesy, but that's how it feels. And then I close my eyes, and again, I would normally have my headphones over my ears listening to the sound of a thunderstorm, and then I just start my breath. I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, but whatever feels right for you. So this is what it looks like for me. All right, can't help but be relaxed doing that even just right now here on camera. And the key thing is, you'll notice that for me, I hold at the top of the inhale for a very brief period of time, but then I hold the exhale for a much longer period of time. And the only reason that I do that is that it feels better. And so finding that rhythm for you is gonna be the key. And then I meditate for the exact amount of time that it takes me to get completely calm and creative so that I have no background radiation, no sense of stress, no sense of anxiety. Sometimes it takes two minutes, sometimes it takes 45 minutes. Now it's never taken me longer than 45 minutes, even at the most stressed out and anxious I've ever been in my life, which is extraordinarily stressed. It's never taken me more than 45 minutes to get to complete equanimity. And that is worth its weight and goal. Now, my wife does not enjoy meditating, but she does enjoy drawing where she gets into a very meditative state. Now, I think that if she let herself off the hook and stop thinking that there's ever going to be a time where her mind doesn't wander off onto things and just realize that's part of it, and you just come back to the breath and you're gonna get better at it over time, that she would get additional benefit from traditional meditation. But having something, anything in your life that's meditative, maybe it's the gym, maybe it's drawing, maybe it's cooking, whatever your thing is, finding something that makes you feel absolutely calm and creative, find that thing at a biological level, it's going to help you. And few things will help you optimize your cognition, better the meditation. So develop that practice. I promise you'll reap the rewards. - The truth is hitting your career goals is not easy. You have to be willing to go the extra mile to stand out and do hard things better than anybody else. But there are 10 steps I wanna take you through that will 100x your efficiency so you can crush your goals and get back more time into your day. You'll not only get control of your time, you'll learn how to use that momentum to take on your next big goal. To help you do this, I've created a list of the 10 most impactful things that any high achiever needs to dominate. And you can download it for free by clicking the link in today's description. - All right, my friend, back to today's episode. - All right, welcome to where the battle is won or lost. Now, all of the things that we're talking about today are important for cognitively optimizing, but very few will have the deleterious effect of failing to get your diet right. As somebody who went through a brief period where I could not understand what was going on, I had brain fog, I was tired, it literally felt like I had lost my will to fight. It was crazy, it was the weirdest period of my life as it relates to diet, that is for sure. And the culprit ended up being pecans.
What Am I Eating A Lot of? (01:00:56)
I still can't believe that that is true, but I know that if you're not feeling good in life at a physiological level, the first thing you should do is ask, what am I eating a lot of? And then cut that out. It is shocking how much your diet impacts your cognition. So now what I'm showing you is basically everything that I eat. Now, full disclosure, if I make any error in my life, it is that I don't eat a wide enough variety of foods, but I'm going to be honest with you about what I eat. So this is my Monday through Friday diet in its entirety with the exception of jicama. I don't have any jicama, but I do eat a fair amount of that. All right, so the vast majority of my calories, so I eat a lot of meat, and the vast majority of my calories, this is a sponsor, but they're a sponsor because it's real. So Lisa and I, in trying to fix her gut, needed a good source of grass-fed and grass-finished meats. So we get our meats almost exclusively from ButcherBox. Again, they're a sponsor, but that is not why I eat them. I eat a lot of eggs. So intake calories, a fair amount from eggs. And then between the different meat sources that we get, I have found that consuming a lot of vegetable matter does not sit well with me. I'm perfectly willing to accept that if I were to transition my microbiome slowly over time, that it may work, but I have not found that advantageous. But I do eat a fair amount of green leafy vegetables. Three of my favorites right here. You've got bok choy, you've got kale and collard greens are ones that I particularly enjoy. I also eat a lot of carrots. And then for a snack, I'll have berries. So it's something very sweet, almost always, either blueberries, raspberries, sometimes blackberries. But those are the ones that I eat. Olive oil, extra virgin olive oil is the only oil that I use. So be very, very thoughtful about getting vegetable oil. So vegetable oils, A, they rancify, even just sitting on the shelf, and then they have a very low flash point or smoke point. So you can damage the fats in cooking. I use olive oil largely because it has a high smoke point. So it doesn't tend to get damaged in a normal cooking process. Of course, if you cook it too high or too long, it can. And I probably get about, I don't know, 60 to 65% of my calories from meats. And if you throw in the eggs, maybe it goes closer to 70, 75% of my calories. And that's all that I eat Monday through Friday. Now on the weekends, I eat differently. So on the weekends, I have a fair amount of sushi, but it's mostly what I'll call clean sushi. So it's things like baked crab hand rolls. So it's basically crab, rice, and avocado. And that helps me mix things up. I'll also get some of the things you see here, or maybe like a beef burger. I don't eat the bun or anything like that. It's literally just the patty, which I tend to mix with eggs or bacon. And yeah, that's my diet. Now in terms of what I drink, I'm not sponsored by these guys. Just so happens that I mix cold brewed coffee, 'cause I don't like hot liquids. And again, no sponsorship or anything, but I drink Perrier water and I mix them together. And that's very weird for people, but I don't like the idea of being addicted to caffeine.
Diet And Lifestyle Choices
So I like to keep my caffeine intake very, very low. So what I do is I take one of these, and I normally have an empty one, and I'll pour some from the full one into the empty one so that I get about a third of the coffee that I mix with the water. And I continue every drink that I take, I add more water until it reaches a point where I can sort of just barely taste the coffee. And the only reason I do that is that when you don't drink anything other than water, it gets a little bit tedious. So one, I like the sparkling water, and two, I like to mix it with the coffee just to get a little bit of a different flavor. And the reason that I chose coffee is I didn't wanna drink anything that humans haven't been drinking for thousands of years. That was the idea. And that actually made a big difference in my anxiety levels once I cut out all of my artificially sweetened beverages. So I was drinking a lot of Zero-Calorie Monster and a lot of Diet Coke, and I missed them, and they were amazing. And to anybody that drinks them, I get it. But I had begun to notice a tie between having that and feeling anxious. And so I decided to cut it out and just see if it would help, and it helped massively. I'll say it probably reduced my anxiety by about 70%, which is massive. So that's been a big win. So this is it. Now, on the weekends on a Saturday, I may have a full-blown cheat meal.
Cheat meal (01:05:56)
I don't do it every weekend, but I absolutely do it when I'm in the mood. It tends to be something like Cold Stone ice cream, which I absolutely love. So I'm very thoughtful about how often I do that, and very thoughtful about monitoring my blood glucose levels. In fact, literally just off camera is a new blood glucose monitor that I'm excited to try out, a continuous glucose monitor. And I think it's really important to understand what your average glucose level is, like where are you spending the most of your time. And then another big part of my strategy is intermittent fasting. And so I will intermittent fast seven days a week.
Intermittent fasting (01:06:33)
There literally isn't a day, even during the Christmas season, where I am totally off the chain in terms of my normal diet. Even then, I'll do intermittent fasting. And I do that, one, for cognition. It is hugely valuable to staying sharp, to have these long periods of time without eating. And then usually one to two times a year, I'll do an extended fast. And some of them might only be 24 hours. Other times it might be up to 72 hours. I've done a full five day fast before. That was miserable though, and I don't plan to be repeating that unless some new evidence comes out that really shows that there's a huge difference between a 72 hour fast and a five day fast. I just found that it was like having the flu. I couldn't pay attention. It was just horrible. And I'm somebody who's keto adapted. So for me to really struggle at the five days, like it negatively impacted my business, which is something that I don't like to do. And certainly had a negative impact on my cognition. I find a 24 hour fast is pretty amazing. Longer than that, and I do find that it has negative impact on my performance. So I do limit that. But every day, literally every day, my average is probably about 17.5 hours. So that means there are some days that I'm doing, call it 19 hours. And then other days on the weekend where I'll do typically 16 ish hours. But in the wash, it comes out to about 17.5 when you factor it over the course of a year. But that intermittent fasting is something that I do all the time, every day. It's just a natural part of my life. And the way that I do that is I have my last meal around 1.15, 2 p.m. at the latest. And then I don't eat again until the following morning. And then I'll usually eat somewhere between eight and nine. Sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little bit later, depending on what I'm doing that day. But making sure that I get that average of 17.5 hours has been incredibly beneficial. So there's all kinds of health benefits. But in terms of its impact on body composition and cognition, it really can't be beat. Especially when your diet consists of whole food. And that's the thing. Other than the olive oil, everything that you see here on this table is the thing that you would see out and about. So the bacon looks like the flesh of a pig, as it is. And the eggs, obviously, are just whole eggs. The carrots, carrots, the berries, berries, the vegetable, vegetables. And so not eating processed food, eating whole food, where during the week, I'm gonna guess 95% of my calories, even including a week where I cheat, 92 to 95% of my calories are gonna come from whole food. And that's been a huge win in terms of how I feel, how I sleep, cognition, all of it is vastly improved by whole food. So that's my easy advice to people, is to eat whole food whenever possible. And that's my diet.
Let's talk about the big daddy of all things related to cognitive optimization, and that is sleep. If I were going to say the two most important things that you can do to optimize your cognition is sleep and eat right. Those are the big ones. But sleep is the one that will impact you the fastest. You could mess up your diet for a day, two days, maybe even a week before it really starts to hammer you. But man, you miss one night's sleep, and there is a catastrophic cascade of biological problems that will present themselves rapidly. So somebody that gets, I think, less than six hours of sleep a night shows the same kind of blood glucose response as somebody who's pre-diabetic. So that gives you an idea of missing only part of one night's sleep can have that kind of massive cellular impact. So being incredibly thoughtful about getting your sleep is super important. Now, as somebody who loves hustle porn and being hardcore and working an amazing amount, I do all of that with precious little negative impact to my sleep. I won't say that it never happens, especially not since I've gotten into NFTs. There has been some wobble in my perfect sleep record, but it's really minor. And the reason that I do that is, to me, being tired is a unique ring of hell. I do not understand people who are prepared to go their entire lives fatigued. It makes everything worse. Your ability to enjoy your life goes down. Your likelihood of being depressed goes way up. Your likelihood of having metabolic disturbances goes way up. There's just so many things go wrong. And then, of course, the most traumatically impacted is your ability to think clearly and think quickly. If you've ever gone even one night with bad sleep, let alone two or three nights, you can feel yourself declining rapidly in performance. In fact, if you take somebody that hasn't gotten any sleep and put them in a car, they have the same sort of delays that somebody who's intoxicated has. So the impacts on cognition cannot be overstated. So be very careful. If you're trying to be at your best and really perform at an elite level, the thing that you must do is get sleep. So make sure that you're prioritizing your sleep.
How Do We Get Sleep Done In a Highquality Way (01:11:56)
Now, how do we do that? How do we get sleep done in a high quality way? Number one is you wanna make sure that you're sleeping in a completely dark environment. So no night lights, hopefully no even like charging lights or things like that. Now, one way I do to make myself absolutely bulletproof, not only do I have blackout curtains, but I sleep with the blankets completely over my head. Now, admittedly, it didn't start for reasons of light pollution, but now as I get older, I'm actually grateful that my whole life I've had this pattern of sleeping with the blankets up over my head, which I know for some people is a just nightmare scenario. But for me, it's like, I mean, if I'm honest, it's like sleeping in a womb. It's just to be completely encased is so wonderful and it makes me feel so relaxed, absolutely incredible. And then the other thing that I do is I use white noise. And so to make sure that there are no little noises that are gonna wake me up in the middle of the night, I have white noise basically sounds like a fan, but from a little machine that plays that consistent sound and that helps me sleep incredibly well. And then because my mind is so frequently in problem solving mode, what I've found is that about 30 minutes before I go to bed, I switch into narrative mode. And so I'm gonna be reading a book, I use Audible, but I'm gonna be listening to a book that shifts my mind out of problem solving mode into narrative mode. And then if I wake up in the middle of the night, I keep next to me three pairs of iPod Pros so that I can put them in, I listen to the book, it makes sure that I don't go into problem solving mode, that I can stay there in narrative mode, and I turn the volume down just to the point where a little bit of pressure on my ear is required to hear them perfectly. And so I'll put that bit of pressure, listen to the story, and then as I fall asleep, that pressure comes off my ear, and now I can barely hear it, and I fall right back to sleep. Now, I will give you the advanced tip, which is don't pick an audiobook that has a bunch of murder in it, because then you wake up to the narrator screaming and yelling, and that was waking me up. So I had to learn the hard way that there's a certain type of book that's a good, engaging story, but doesn't have narration where there's yelling and screaming at any point in the story. And yeah, the last thing that I will say about my sleep is that I go to bed at the same time every night, which is 9 p.m., I treat it like a religion, I go to bed every night. At that time, sometimes a few minutes earlier, if I can convince Lisa. And then the second part of that is that I don't set an alarm. So I haven't set an alarm for the last, I don't know, 16, 17 years at this point. So trust me, you can do amazing, incredible things in your life without needing to set an alarm. I get as much sleep as I need. Now, I don't have kids, so that is no doubt a big part of how I'm able to maintain that. But the more that if you do have kids, you can sleep closer to their sleep rhythms to make sure that you're getting as much sleep as you need. And let me tell you, if I had kids and I needed to go to bed at 7 p.m., I would go to bed at 7 p.m. So I'm gonna go to bed at whatever time I need to in order to get all the sleep that I need. If you need nine hours, get nine hours. Your brain shrinks in the middle of the night, which basically the inflammation is going down so that the glial system can flush everything out, get rid of any toxins that might be building up in the system, get rid of the amyloid plaques, which are very present in people that have Alzheimer's, probably doesn't cause Alzheimer's, but nonetheless lets you know that it's doing something that we don't necessarily want sticking around. And I said the glial system, I think I mean the glymphatic system. Somebody will have to fact check me on that 'cause I'm actually not sure which. But the brain shrinks nonetheless and allows you to clear out that system. So being very thoughtful to get as much sleep as you need so that you can enjoy your life so that on a biological cellular level that you're able to run all your processes so that you're able to do all the memory consolidation, all the things that go along with the ancillary effects to sleeping and then making sure that you're able to think as clearly, sharply, and quickly as possible. And all of those things come down to the quality of your sleep, the quality of your diet, the quality of your exercise, and your ability to manage your psychological life which we can do most easily through meditation. So that and a bundle, my friends, is how you take care of yourself cognitively to make sure that you can deliver an elite level of performance day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Let me tell you why so many people procrastinate and experience laziness.
Laziness & procrastination (01:16:50)
Number one, the most important reason is people just don't want it badly enough. That is the hard truth that not a lot of people wanna face, but the reality is when you're struggling to get something done, you have a desire problem. There is a very famous story that I think perfectly encapsulates what you have to harness if you really want to accomplish something difficult. Think of somebody drowning, being held underwater, and desperately wanting that next breath of air as the person lets them up and being dunked back under and held back up and dunked back under. Every time that they're under and they're being held under, think about how badly you want that next breath of air. You would claw at their flesh. You would tear at their eyes if you could get ahold of it. You would flip yourself over. You would go deeper into the water to try to push yourself back up. You would do anything, including kill the person that is holding you underwater to get your next breath. When you want success that badly, you will find a way. And when it comes to being an entrepreneur, when it comes to being successful, that's what I always tell people, success is a game of problem solving. But you have to really want to solve that problem. And the only way to really want to solve that problem is to build your desire. So people have to understand, everything in life is a process. Love is a process. You go on dates. I don't believe in love at first sight. Lust, sure, evolution took care of that for you, but nobody loves at first sight. You don't know the person well enough. You haven't done the reps. You haven't gotten to know them. You haven't spent the time with them. You haven't developed love. That's why we have dating. That's why first it's dates and maybe not a lot of commitment. It's just getting to know them. And then it's like, whoa, we're getting a little bit more serious. And then it's an engagement. And then it's the wedding. And then it's the actual life lived together. It is a process. Love even changes colors and textures as you go so that in the beginning, it's a very lustful, all-consuming, drug-like effect. You can actually put somebody in an fMRI machine and scan their brain. And at the beginning, in that passionate love phase, there is no difference on an fMRI between somebody who is in love and thinking of the person that they're in love and somebody who's on cocaine. They are identical scans. But over time, that changes into something more mature and I would say more wonderful, more sustainable, more incredible. Now, once you understand that desire in and of itself, whether it's for another person, whether it's for a goal, is a process of building desire, then you realize that you can go through that process. You can build up that desire.
Overcoming Laziness And Handling Burnout
3 Steps to complete transfers. (01:19:30)
So when you think about that person having their head held under water, you can build that level of intensity in your life to want something so badly. The only way that you're gonna do it, the only way that you're going to escape laziness is by attaching meaning and purpose to that thing that you want. You have to want it for a reason, as Simon Sinek would say, you have to start with why. Why do I want this thing? And you're tapping into the evolutionary drivers that you have embedded in your brain that are going to compel you to get better, that's a huge part of this whole process, to serve not only yourself but the group and get to the point where you can translate your potential into usable skillset. So when you're doing those three things, when you're transferring your potential, making it usable skillset that's allowing you to actually make progress at something that you care about and serving not only yourself but other people, now you're gonna get into this positive feedback loop that's like falling in love. You're gonna be building that desire because you're getting good at something. Progress is a foundational pillar to human happiness. If you're progressing, okay, this is evolution, embedding something in your brain. You have a desire to progress, period, end of story. If you are a human being, you have an embedded, deeply embedded desire to get better. You will never feel a sense of progress. You won't feel good about yourself. You will have a profound sense of dis-ease if you're not improving. Why? Because that was nature's way of ensuring that you went out and did the hard things that you would need to do to feed your family, to keep the group intact, to protect yourself from the devastatingly vicious nature of nature. Nature is doing its best to kill you at all times. Okay, whether it's from starvation, exposure to the elements, or being attacked by a predator, we were at risk constantly throughout our evolutionary past and all of those directives that nature had to give us and implant deep in our brains to make sure that we went out of the safety of the cave to go get that next meal, to go find a mate, to fight to raise our kids, to make sure that they had kids, all of those things that nature had to embed in our brain still exist in us today and they govern our wants, desires, behavior. So if we don't take the time to build that up, to fan those flames, to get us hyped about this thing that we want to do for whatever reason, if we don't do that, then the laziness kicks in, which is the flip side of the evolutionary coin. So side number one, you better get out, you better go do something, you better hunt, you better take these risks, you better protect your family, you better be a tough nut that is going to contribute to the group, otherwise you're gonna get ostracized, you're gonna get left behind, and you're going to die. finding calories is tough, you've gotta go out and forage, hunt, kill, chase, defend yourself against this thing that you're trying to take down, and once you get those calories, it was a lot of work, and oftentimes you had very little to show for it, especially if we're talking plant matter, which from a caloric standpoint is not very dense, and it's not like it is today where we have farms everywhere, you had to literally hunt and forage in dangerous spaces in order to get those calories, so you had to have a competing desire to chill, so you've got this desire pushing you forward to make sure that you do hard things, to make sure that you're progressing, contributing, getting better, but then over here, you've got this weird ass, completely contradictory desire to chill, because the brain, if nothing else, there are two things that just gobble calories, and that is muscle and brain, and your brain by far is the hungriest thing in your body, it's something like 2% of your body weight and takes up 20 to 25% of your caloric intake just to run your brain, so you can imagine if you've got muscles gobbling calories, even at rest,
You've gon-past It (01:22:52)
you've got your brain just mowing through calories to keep you alive, to leverage your intelligence, then you better have a directive embedded in your brain that once you've gone out and done the thing, whether it's hunt, protect, mate, whatever, that you then relax, so you're always gonna have these two competing desires, it is a very weird part of the human experience, so to overcome that laziness, you've gotta have a very compelling reason to go out and hunt, especially when the grocery store is right down the street and for very cheap, you can get plentiful calories, you can swipe left or swipe right and decline or find a potential mate, right? Everything has gotten so easy, you have to have a compelling reason to go out and do these hard things, but if you don't, then you have this profound sense of disease because again, progress is a foundational pillar of human happiness, so people procrastinate because nature is telling them to procrastinate, they are lazy because nature is compelling them to be lazy, and if you don't build the desire to overcome those things, if you don't build that up, walk that process, do the things that you need to do to fan the flames of desire, then you won't, you will chill, you will relax, because that's how nature designed you, but you have to go down the process of building desire.
Build Desire To Overcome Laziness (01:24:09)
Now, the process of building desire is very simple and I will walk you through it, it goes like this, you're going to tell yourself your why, I am doing this for this reason, I want this goal for this reason, for me, I want to build this mega media company because I believe that the only way to break the relationship between your zip code and your success is through ideas, that it is a mindset problem, a belief problem, a value system problem, it is not a money problem, you can actually, just by where you live, dramatically increase the likelihood that somebody will remain poor, generationally, okay, that's an idea problem, that's a mindset problem, it's a way to think about the problem, problem, it's not an IQ problem, plenty of smart people, it's an idea problem. Since I believe that, and I believe that the best way to get ideas across is through story, I'm building a media company to help people, people like the people that I have known and loved that did not succeed because they had the wrong frame of reference, now the idea of frame of reference is beyond the scope of today's video, because I have known extraordinary people, smarter than me, that did not end up having success that they could have had if they had that right set of ideas, I have dedicated my life to building this media company, that gives me a pretty compelling why, there are people that I know and love that I can think of tired and I do not wanna keep going, I don't think about money, I don't think about adulation, I don't think about recognition, all I think about is those people having a better life or their kids having a better life, and that is what propels me forward, or I flip to the dark side and I think about the people that want me to fail, again, this may be outside of the scope of what we're talking about today, but I have these things that I tap into that fan the flames of my wanting, that make me want it badly, and when I can capture that sense of wanting the success, the way that a drowning man wants that next breath of air, then I have the willingness to fight, to keep pushing, to do the thing, so I'm gonna tell myself, I'm gonna tell other people that I want this thing, I'm gonna repeat it, I'm gonna be saying it internally, I'm gonna be saying it externally, fanning those flames, and most importantly, and you've been watching me do it this whole time, I'm going to embody the emotion that I want to feel, so when I say it, I don't say it like this, I wanna help break the relationship between your zip code and your future success, instead, I say there are people that I know and love that are smarter than me that haven't achieved half of what they could've achieved because they had the wrong ideas. As I embody that and somewhat act out the emotion that I want to feel, there's a part of my brain that everybody has that goes, why are we getting so hyped up about this? We're getting this hyped up about it for some reason. Oh, that's right, because people that we know and love have struggled in life because they didn't have these ideas, and as my brain relates that feeling to that story, they begin to get intertwined, and now I can trigger that emotional state simply by remembering the people that I'm trying to help, so that's a part of the brain that you really want to leverage, so that as you think about this, you can recapture that physiological state, and when you can change state at will simply by remembering the kind of people that you're trying to help or the goal that you're trying to achieve, the reason behind it, now when you get tired, when you're procrastinating, when you feel lazy, you can tap into that, the desire kicks in, and now you've got the juice that you need to push forward. Take the time, it's a very simple process, take the time to build that desire. Tell yourself, tell other people, repeat it like crazy, and then make sure that you embody the emotion, and then just repeat, repeat, repeat. Right, if you're trying to accomplish something extraordinary in your life, there's one thing that can really become a problem, and that's burnout. Now, I think that most people, if I'm being quite honest, are spending way more time giving in to laziness, and burnout is probably not the thing that they have to watch out for, but they are two sides of a coin, so you wanna be very thoughtful about pushing yourself, not allowing yourself to be lazy, not accepting that or tolerating that in yourself, which most people do, and it has become very fashionable to be anti-work, and I'm telling you right now, if you're anti-work, if you're looking for ways to be lazy, you are going to get mowed over, because there are people out there who understand one immutable truth, skills have utility, skills have utility, okay?
Burnout vs. Laziness (01:28:37)
As Kobe Bryant used to say, "Booze don't block dunks."
People can hate you all they want, but if you can outperform them, they can't stop you. They cannot stop you. There were people, very talented, highly paid people, that scouted the entire globe looking for people that could play basketball better than Kobe Bryant. They were paid millions of dollars every night, and their sole job was to stop Kobe Bryant from scoring, and yet, despite that, he scored 81 points in a single game, because he got better than they were, and if you get better than somebody else, you can outperform them, you can do things they can't do. Skills have utility. Now, if you remember that, and you really put that at the core of your existence, and you push yourself, and push yourself, and push yourself, then you can accomplish extraordinary things. Now, on the journey to doing that, if you know that you are leaving it all out on the field, now you can earn the credibility with yourself to check to make sure that you're not burning out. Burnout is a totally separate beast. Burnout happens when you become pathological about getting better, about pushing yourself, and it no longer is about what it should be about, which is an end mental state, because you are playing a game of neurochemistry. Make no mistake about it. The sole purpose of life is to be fulfilled, to work really hard, to garner a set of skills that serve not only yourself, but other people. If you are doing that, if you are pouring your guts out every day doing everything that you can to get better at something that matters to you so that you can serve not only yourself, but other people, and yes, you should serve yourself as well, but you also need to be committing, contributing to the group, if you're doing that, if you are going all out every day and achieving that level of fulfillment, then life is gonna be amazing. If, however, you're not focusing on that and you're living by a set of rules that, like for instance, I have rules in my life. Monday through Friday, if I'm awake, I'm either working or working out, that is a rule that I live by, unless I'm burning out, unless it's stop being fun, unless through all of this, I'm pushing myself too hard, and even though I'm doing all of the things that I just laid out, I'm working my ass off to garner a set of skills that allow me to serve not only myself, but other people, but I hate my life, then I know that I'm burning out and that I need to back off. And let me tell you, the reason that I can have a rule in my life that Monday through Friday, if I'm awake, I'm either working or working out, is because I trust myself to do two things.
How to Avoid DoingBurnout (01:31:32)
One, leave it all out on the field. I play to win and I play to win every day. And number two, if I'm burning out, I do less. I cannot tell you the number of times I've seen incredible people not be able to do less. If you don't trust yourself, that's a whole 'nother issue that needs to be dealt with. But if you're leaving it all out on the field and you don't have a release valve, you will burn out and you will stop, and you will actually get less done.
Importance Of Sleep And Consistency In Routine
Why Is SleepImportant? (01:32:22)
This is like people that don't prioritize sleep. As hard as I go, you'll notice I say, if I'm awake, if I'm awake, because I prioritize sleep, I get as much sleep as I need. It is rare, I may wake up to an alarm 10 times in a year. I mean, it's really a vanishingly small number of times that I will wake up to an alarm. Most of the time, I'm able to just sleep as much as I want, and I have built several successful businesses, all without needing to set an alarm. You prioritize sleep, you can get efficient. So you gotta prioritize your mental health. I don't understand people who don't do that. You're living for the wrong thing. You're living for external validation, other people's praise, you're trying to impress your parents, you're trying to make a certain amount of money. You're mistaking something as the punchline of life. The punchline of life is not money, it's not fame, it's not recognition, adulation, it's none of those things. It's just fulfillment, that's it. It is a neurochemical state. You will respect yourself if you're fulfilled. You will have self-worth if you're showing up every day playing to win in a way that serves you and to the people. If you follow that fulfillment formula, everything else is gonna take care of itself, unless you don't know when to quit. One of the rules that you need to have in your life is if you are unable to achieve fulfillment because you're burning out, because you don't recognize that Tuesday that you just need a day off because you've been going too hard, you've been pushing yourself too much, you're starting to get poor sleep, whatever the triggers are for you. Depression is a big one, overly anxious, not being able to eat or eating too much depending on how you deal with stress, not being able to enjoy your life, not being able to enjoy the smile of a loved one, not being able to enjoy your favorite song, all of the things like that where you can't shift your state, where you're locked in that negativity, all of those are signs that you're burning out if you've been working hard because you can have those same symptoms by being lazy. So you are going to have to structure your life, build rules, be accountable to yourself to make sure that you're actually living up to your end of the bargain. What's your end of the bargain? You have a goal and that goal is something that you believe passionately about. You have started with why. You're trying to do something that matters that serves not only yourself but other people. If you're doing all of that, going all out and you're not feeling good, you're either pointed in the wrong direction or you're burning out. So be very thoughtful, but remember most people fail on the lazy side. They never get to burn out.
Practical Steps to Introduce Discipline Into Your Routine (01:35:06)
What are some practical steps that I can take to introduce discipline into my everyday routine? Right, the key when it comes to discipline, one, you have to know what it is that you're trying to achieve and why and why you want to achieve it. Once you know what you're trying to do and why you're trying to achieve it, then we're gonna put rules in place. So when you have rules and you know, these are the things I do, these are the things I don't do, they are bright lines in your life, we can start to create some routines and habits that are going to take us where we wanna go. So I'll give you some rules in my life, especially at the, really it's the night before and the morning of so that every day is set off for success. So rule number one, I go to bed at 9 p.m. like it's a religion. So that way I'm gonna get as much sleep as I need. I almost never wake up to an alarm because I just wanna make sure that I get plenty of sleep. So rule number one, bright line, go to bed at 9. Rule number two, I'm out of bed in 10 minutes or less. So from the moment I realize I'm awake, I'm getting out of bed in 10 minutes or less. Now the reason I need that rule, even all these years later, because I first put that rule in my life in my early 20s, the reason that I put that in place is because I was laying in bed four to five hours a day every day and getting absolutely nothing done. And so I realized that if I didn't have that rule, if I didn't just have a mandate, a bright line, a non-negotiable that I got out of bed in 10 minutes or less, I was never going to get anything done. Now you have to have that goal and that reason, otherwise you're not going to stick to your goal. And so a big part, or you're not gonna stick to your rule. A big part of your discipline is knowing why you're doing all of this. So I had all these big dreams and quite frankly had shame because I was at that point engaged to my now wife and I felt like I was letting her down, the family down because I wasn't actually taking steps to make my dreams come true. So trust me when I say that if you don't build the desire, if you don't really want something that makes it worth having these rules, you're not gonna stick with it. So out of bed in 10 minutes or less. Next thing is I sat beside my bed in my workout clothes. So it's not like a big debate whether or not I'm gonna work out. I put my workout clothes on, I give my dog his medicine, long story and then I go and work out. And it just makes it easy when the very thing there next to your bed are your workout clothes. The next thing I do is I make sure that I always have an important things list so that I don't have to think or wonder what should I be doing. I know exactly what I should be doing with the next 15 minutes of my life because I keep that list of important things that I would need to do in order to take meaningful steps towards my goal and because I really want my goal, I've built all that desire, it becomes very easy for me to stick with it. So those are some really simple practical steps that you can put in right now. Know what you want, build the desire to get there, put in rules that optimize your time and get rid of any and all excuses and sort of weak moments because I find people that have to, "Mm-hmm, what should I be doing?" They get distracted, they end up living by the law of accidents. So go to bed at the right time, have rules about getting out of bed, put your gym clothes or whatever's important to you right there. If the first thing that you wanna do when you wake up is get to work or whatever, make sure that whatever work implements you have, your laptop, whatever. This is not what I advise, but I'm just saying, whatever that thing is that's important to you, grab it and get going. And then keep an important things list that's in order so that you know exactly what to do first, what to do second, third, fourth, so on and so forth. And if you do that and you have those bright lines, you'll be off to a very good start. All right, what tools do you use to keep yourself dedicated and focused on your main priority on a daily basis?
Practical Tools to Stay Dedicated to a Goal (01:39:04)
All right, so much of what I do and how I'm able to accomplish the things that I'm able to accomplish is because I've taken the time to actually build the desire, to want the thing that I'm chasing. Now, a big part of that is assigning meaning and purpose to your goals. Your goals should not be random, they should not be designed to make you rich, even if that's a second or third order consequence, great, but the primary goal should be something that gives you meaning and purpose. Now, when you have meaning and purpose, you will be willing to fight through the lame, the boring, the difficult, okay? I've said many times, boredom kills more dreams than fear than failure. It's you get in there and to get good enough to do the thing you wanna do, it's really boring. You have to do a lot of stuff that you do not wanna do over and over and over. And so the only way for you to have the stamina to see that through is to really want that thing that you're pursuing. Now, if you really want that thing that you're pursuing and you've tied meaning and purpose, so back at Quest, it's real boring, being under the equipment trying to fix it. But I was there fighting for my mom and my sister. I wanted to end metabolic disease. I wanted to make sure that they lived long enough that I could enjoy their company for decades and decades and decades to come. But to do that, the price for that, if you will, was I had to create food that they could choose based on taste and it happened to be good for them. At Impact Theory, I am trying to make sure that nobody gets to the age of 15 without encountering a growth mindset through story at scale. And so all the boring things dealing with finance and contracts and all of that stuff, I do it because I really believe in the people that I'm trying to help. And I have deeply personal connections with people that I've encountered in my life that because they didn't encounter a growth mindset in those years, they have struggled needlessly in their lives. And so that really matters to me. So when it gets hard, when I get bored, I can stay focused because I really have this deep, spiritual, quite frankly, connection with what I'm trying to do. It isn't about making money. It's not about getting famous. It's about helping people that I love and care about. And so when you have that, you're going to be able to keep yourself focused and on your main priority. And then if you actually believe that you can accomplish it, that helps. And so you need to believe that you can get good enough. You don't have to believe you already are good enough, but you need to believe that you can get good enough in order to achieve this. How do you decide on what you want to dedicate yourself to?
Making consistent choices (01:41:56)
How do you keep yourself focused on that goal while other opportunities are opening up to you or unforeseen obstacles come up? Okay, here is how life works. If you're trying to achieve something great with your life. Right now, I know exactly what's happening to you. You are metaphorically standing in a room with a thousand doors. There are many things you're excited about, many things you could do, so many opportunities before you. The hard part isn't finding opportunity. The hard part is standing in a room full of opportunity and knowing out of those thousand doors that are open to you, how to close 999 of them and have the courage to walk through just one. Most people are so dazzled, distracted, so worried that they're going to choose the wrong one that they never step through one. And so my advice to you is just run around closing doors like crazy, walk through one with reckless abandon, knowing that you can always come back the other side and try something else. And also, if you're young, don't prematurely optimize. Go through a bunch of doors, come back, go in, come back out, go in, come back out, try a bunch of different things, find the things that excite you the most, find the things that the more you engage with it, the more interested you become. If you engage with something and over time it starts to lose interest for you, that's not the right door. If on the other hand, the more you learn about it, the more you engage with it, the more you're like, man, this is so fun. That's what you're looking for. You're looking for something that gives you more energy than it takes. If it's taking more energy than it gives, this is not the door for you. So you want to find that thing where the more that you engage with it, the more fascinating it becomes. Now, if you do that, and the only thing that you pursue is the thing that's giving you more energy, and again, it's gonna give you more energy because there's something innate about it that's fun, and you did what we talked about earlier, where you figured out why you wanted it, you started assigning meaning and purpose, I'm doing this to save my mom and my sister, whatever the case may be, but you're assigning something to it that is deeply personal, that really makes sense with that thing, and now when an unforeseen obstacle comes your way, you know why you're fighting for this, and you will push through that boredom because it's something that you know on balance you love anyway, and you're fighting for something that matters to you. When you get that magical cocktail, as Frederick Nietzsche said, a man with a strong enough why can endure any how. So you need that strong why to keep you focused, to ignore all the other obstacles and opportunities, to really go after that thing, and to have tested. You've tried a lot of things. You did not prematurely optimize. So I know that this one is good for me. I know that I'm not, 'cause a lot of people, they end up, just they like the beginning, and so in the beginning, I know why I'm here. I'm ready to fight. This is good, and then as time wears on, laziness kicks in. They like distraction. Maybe they have ADHD. They want the next dopamine hit. They pick up their phone, and suddenly they think it's, oh well this, Tom said they'll only do the one that gives me more energy. This doesn't give me enough energy. I'm gonna go try something else. I would say once you've done the early exploration, you know, of 15, 20 different things, and found some that give you more energy than they take, then if more than three times you find yourself starting only to stop and want to start over again, that is you're lacking grit. Angela Duckworth has a book called "Grit" where she addresses this, but basically you have to at some point draw a line in the sand, and say look, I know that in the early phases of this, I loved it. Now I just need to push through the boring stuff by knowing why I'm doing this, and having a desire to progress in my life, which is incredibly important, and I'm going to do that by gaining mastery in the skills that I would need to master in order to be good at this thing, and then you commit and you go. All right, that's how that's done.
Being consistent (01:46:01)
Next, I struggle with the consistency aspect of discipline, what advice do you have for someone like me? All right, so first of all, you want to set yourself up in the way that we were talking about earlier to make consistency the default answer. So we go to bed at the same time, we have our meal plan prepped out, so we don't have infinite ingredients in the house, and a bunch of junk food, it's like we have the ingredients we need to make the food that we want to make, our gym clothes are right next to the bed, all of that stuff. So we are setting ourselves up so that the right answer is the easiest answer, and the pantry is an easy way to explain that. If you don't know what you're going to eat, you don't have rules around what you eat, and you've got a bunch of junk food in the house, the odds of you sticking to your diet are basically zero because you don't have things laid out. You have not said, this is what I eat for breakfast, this is what I eat for lunch, this is what time I eat, this is what time I stop eating, all that stuff. Put rules in your life. By according to that, live according to that, and then keep that list of the things that you know that you're supposed to be doing. It's very important for you to make the right choice the easy choice. As you do that in multiple areas of your life, and just start ruling things out, and this is again where bright lines really come in handy, you have to have things that you don't do as much as knowing what you do do. And a lot of people get themselves in trouble because they don't have these bright lines. There aren't things that are off limits. So for instance, Monday through Friday, if I'm awake, I'm either working or working out. So you can imagine if I start goofing off, I start playing with a dog, I play video games, I would know immediately that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing, because is it Monday through Friday? Yes. Am I working or working out? No. Cool, then you're doing the wrong thing. And so by having these rules, and writing them down can be really useful. Having these rules, writing them down, knowing exactly what you're trying to accomplish and why you're trying to accomplish it. Because remember, you don't want to live the way that I'm describing unless it's in service of something you love, that you're excited about, that you believe in, that you want it. Because when you want that stuff, none of what I'm describing is a pain in the ass. You're excited to have these rules because they're actually allowing you to get done the thing you want to get done. And the more you engage with it, the more exciting it is, the more your passions are ignited because you're getting good at something, you're making progress, and something we haven't talked about, make sure your goals are exciting and honorable. They're exciting, you just want to do it, it's fun, this is an area that you like to be in, and it's serving people in a way that elevates not only yourself but other people.
10 - Make your goals exciting and honorable (01:48:31)
Okay? When you're working your ass off to gain a set of skills that allow you to serve other people in a way that's fun, now you've really got something. If you hear me talking about all this, and I'm saying apply it to a thing that you hate, that doesn't make any sense. But when you apply it to something that you believe in, and you have to do that work, you have to decide to attach that meaning and purpose to that thing, but when you do that, now all of a sudden working hard and being a badass and seeing who you're becoming, that is amazing. As Tony Robbins says, "Progress is a foundational pillar to human happiness." Make progress. Make progress and you will feel amazing. Discipline isn't meant to make your life suck. As Jocko Willing says, "Discipline equals freedom." The point of these rules and all of that is to know you're not going to quit, and you're not going to quit on something that you care about, something that matters to you, something that you're building towards that is improving your life and giving you a sense of joy. Unfortunately, joy is not easy to come by. All of the default answers are going to lead you somewhere negative, and the reason they lead you somewhere negative is because nature has hardwired you to work really hard to gain a set of skills that allow you to serve not only yourself but other people. Nature has hardwired you for that. So if you fail to do that, you sit around just playing video games all day, and I love video games, but I don't sit around playing them all day. So if you're just sitting around staring at the wall, getting lost in a book, working out all day, and you never do anything that allows you to serve other people, I promise you, as much as you don't want this to be true, you will not feel fulfilled. Okay, nature only has two levers to pull, pleasure and pain, and if you're not doing the things that nature has deemed you need to do in order for you to live long enough to have kids that have kids, you will have a profound sense of dis-ease. And the only way to combat that is that formula for fulfillment, working really hard to gain a set of skills that allow you to serve not only yourself, because it should be fun for you, but also serve other people. All right, that's how you get consistent.
Achieving Happiness Through Progress
12 - Progress equals happiness (01:51:13)
Next, what makes you keep pushing towards your goal after you've already had some level of success? Nature. You're having a biological experience. Nature has those two levers, pleasure and pain. I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking, well, as long as I don't do things that create a problem, I don't do bad things, I'll be fine. What could possibly be wrong with sitting around in my apartment all day, goofing off, watching TV, playing video games, all that stuff, all individually wonderful, but when you put it together, suddenly it does not give you the life that you want, and you start to feel disease. You don't feel good, something's not right, something's off. I don't know why I don't feel good. And then, by the way, you're probably eating terrible food, and each bite individually is amazing, but it adds up to inflammation, dysbiosis, meaning your gut, bacteria, your microbiome is out of whack, and it's sending signals to your brain that alter your brain chemistry and make you not feel good, something isn't right, but why don't I feel good? I'm doing things that are awesome. This food is awesome, playing video games is awesome, relaxing, awesome, reading a book, awesome, but life in total, not awesome. And how is that possible? Because nature has implanted directives in your brain to ensure that you work hard, 'cause you grew up on the plains of the savanna, and life was hard, and life was scary, and if you weren't a part of the group, you were gonna get eaten by something, you were gonna die of exposure, you weren't gonna make it. And so nature, by way of natural selection, has made it extremely pleasurable to work really hard to gain a set of skills that are unique and exciting to you that allow you to serve not only yourself, but the group, makes that really feel good, even though it's hard, even though each step of that way is difficult, and yet it adds up to something extraordinary, okay?
Work hard towards a meaningful goal (01:53:10)
It is the most counterintuitive, weird thing in the world that if you do all of the individual things that are fun, it ends up where you feel like crap, and if you do individually all of the things that are hard and a struggle and are difficult, you end up feeling awesome. That's a reality of life, so I knew that. So even as I became successful, I never thought, "Hey, why don't we just retire?" It won't work, it won't work, meaning work, because I won't be able to feel the way that I wanna feel. I wanna feel good about myself. I wanna make progress in my life. I wanna feel like I'm contributing. I know all of that because I understand how the brain works. I understand how nature embeds these directives in your brain, and it isn't enough to not do something bad. You have to be pursuing something that matters. Meaning, purpose, that's it, that's the game. It isn't success, it isn't wealth, it isn't adoration. It's not trophies, it's not goals, it's nothing other than fulfillment, and fulfillment is. Work really hard, okay? If it comes easy, it won't work. Work really hard to gain a set of skills that you care about, that matter to you. Don't worry about what everybody else thinks. Skill set that matters to you, not skill set could be playing video games. That could be how you're gonna reach and touch the world and elevate people and show 'em what's possible and entertain them, absolutely great. You're doing something for other people. But you work real hard to gain a set of skills that matter to you, that are exciting to you, but they don't just serve you, they serve other people as well. Nature, baby, you're having a biological experience if you don't follow that pattern. So, no matter how much success you have, you still need progress. You still need to be moving forward in your life. You still need to be gaining skills.
Utilizing Failures For Success
12 - Failures as a road map to success (01:55:32)
There is no retiring, not if you wanna be fulfilled, not if you wanna enjoy your life. You need to go after something. Now, make it fun, it should be joyful. It should be the joyful pursuit of something that matters to you. But man, if you do that, life is amazing. It's hard, but it's amazing. But if you don't do that, it's easy, but it sucks. Every time something goes wrong in my life, I am asking myself one simple question. What is it that I suck at? I suck at something. There's something I'm doing wrong by definition. If I were doing it right, then I would be getting the outcome that I wanted.