Thursday, September 15, 2016

13 Core Virtues Penned by Benjamin Franklin

There are many modern blog articles and magazine articles that are always attempting to provide us with sage advice. Sometimes however, it's nice to go back to the great orators and writers of long ago. They lived in slower times and they didn't have the glut of written work we do today. They had every incentive to make sure that every word they put out was of the highest quality.

One of the simplest and most succinct wisdom ever written down by one of our forefathers, Benjamin Franklin, is nothing more than a short 13-line list. It's called "Franklin's 13 Virtues."

He seems to set out with the list to educate a person on how to maintain a person' vigilance and awareness without becoming overly entangled with the affairs of mainstream humankind. He seems to set out to encourage a sort of mental and spiritual sobriety that's rooted in balance and a kind of wisdom that is able to capture some of the big-picture thinking that makes great leaders.

He starts out his list with Temperance.

Temperance is defined as: moderation or self-restraint.

Here, Franklin seems to be encouraging people harbor a kind of long-term impact vision that is propelled by a sustainable and balanced approach to living and working. It can be all too easy to become engrossed in the rat race that leads men to excess stress and, in the end, a destructive rather than productive mindset and atmosphere.

His second virtue is Silence.

Great writers, leaders, scientists, teachers, or any kind of professional can gain great benefit through the giving of time towards momentary silence and review. A few moments of quiet "me time" in your day has the power to give the body and mind some much needed rest in our sometimes fast-paced world. When we consciously choose to take stock of our feelings and whatever's on our plate so we can refresh our perspective or drop things which aren't currently important - we are able to clear the mind and emotions of excess clutter and connect to those points within our psyche which knows better how to solve our life choices/challenges.

His next virtue is Order.

Order can make even the most complex tasks or projects have some level of organization. One nice thing about order is it can help us manage the natural emergent properties in life. If we develop for ourselves a set of simple core habits in our daily and weekly routines, we can branch off those core habits with direct action for specific tasks. It's amazing how powerfully a simple task can carry over into multiple realms and subjects.

Consciously adding a little order to your day or to the way you engage with a project will enhance the way you view every new task. Order will build "places" in your mind where you may put new knowledge or connections. Order stems from discipline and from creating a quiet kind of inner awareness that exists beneath the challenges or work.

One buzzword of modern times which would actually be worthy of adding in this discussion of this list would be the "Flow State." This is a concept which has been studied from a scientific perspective a great deal. A Flow State is where a person is so focused and entranced in their workflow or their performance (for a sport, a musical piece, or even a workout routine) that they are integrating their subconscious mind and their behavior almost seems to bubble up from some magical place within themselves. The Flow State tends to be a state of mind where a person has become concentrated on the sequences of events and upon the beauty of these rhythms and thus the flow of time itself is almost an afterthought because it is all really wrapped up into the performance....into the sequence of events that comprises the event or project.

To harness the power of the Flow State, it helps to practice a type of meditating I have coined as "Meditation in Motion." This type of meditating is where one is purposefully noticing the feelings and thoughts within themselves and how even the seeming randomness of some of these neural or emotional events/connections can actually hint at a deeper narrative involving your integral spiritual connection with nature.

The 4th virtue penned by Franklin is Resolution.

Resolution is defined as: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Resolution is in my opinion very similar to the concept of self-discipline. You would say that a procrastinator is someone who continually says they are going to complete a task or start a project and they just keep putting it off longer and longer. This person lacks the necessary self-will and determination to make sure they are following through with their vision for themselves. This person can easily become stuck in a cycle of laziness where they wonder why life isn't working out the way they desire. Discipline and Resolution are important character traits in every successful person's life. Developing Resolution is as important as higher education.

To develop resolution, it may help to review the patterns of your behavior. It's also important to be able to get into a creative flow-state and to commit your thoughts and feeling rationally and "linearly." You can do this directly for your work if you are writing. You may also do this in a meta-sense as you review your consistency and goal achievement if you track your progress with a personal journal. The important thing is to break up your tasks into reasonable chunks rather than at first giving yourself very difficult tasks and then excusing your inability to complete them. This has the problem of allowing yourself to fall into the habit of making excuses for your lack of productive output.

Number 5 on the list is Frugality.

Frugality is one of those undeniably useful traits in business and personal life because when you make resources and finances go further, you retain more value for your shareholders or family. In keeping with a mostly personal angle, it's often very alluring to look for those productivity tools which we imagine will somehow magically enhance our project success or double or triple our output. That next big thing is sure to make our lives so much easier, right? Well, you might gain some benefits by using that high-performance, top-shelf pen or going for the most decked-out laptop, etc. But it's often the case that you can get just as much bang for your buck by going with a middle of the line solution. And, besides, if you lack the internal personal dedication and skills, then even the fanciest hardware won't make you succeed. My advice is work on the personal application by building the mental "technologies" as your primary focus and then focus secondarily on the physical hardware or resources which might make your job a little easier.

At the least, make sure that the resources you are investing in are thoroughly researched and you think critically about how you will implement the tools into you and your team's workflow. You will get the best results if you have a well-established plan for how you use any new tools you invest in.

Next on the list is Industry.

Industry is basically a focused effort which can lead to innovation and very meaningful progress that provides solid utility. Industry combines discipline with creativity and thinking outside the box. Industry can lead a person to experiencing flow states more and more regularly. Industry is what separates leaders from the pack. Industry is gained by re-framing and by building and working consistently with mental models. By visualizing systems using mental models that work as much with the in-between connections as with the nodes, we get our minds used to the habit of seeing practical solutions for simplifying our lives or improving a system which has become overly heavy with complexity.

Number 7 is Sincerity.

Sincerity is a way of rooting even the most sophisticated and "high-minded" mental inventions through the lens of practicality with an eye for the real effective output it will have on our business or personal lives. Sincerity also keeps a person in a state of consistent progression from week to week and month to month. With the proper integration of emotions with your consciousness, you have "skin in the game," emotional buy-in, and the proper incentives. You know your "why" for working and living the way you do.

It can be surprisingly easy to get lost in routine habits which are either wholly ineffective or performed in an efficient routine. For example, many people begin their days checking their e-mail and then they automatically start their day in a reactive manner that puts their power into the reactive state depending on whatever emails and newsletters they have received in their inbox. Many successful people have learned to deal with their e-mail at mid-morning or perhaps in the afternoon. Some people even have a schedule where they only handle their inbox once every 2 or 3 days.

Sincerity in this list is teaching us to have purpose in everything we do. Without that guiding light, we will become lost in a sense of duty that doesn't fully match our core values. When a person is always taking actions that (from the smallest details up to the highest behaviors) all form a cohesive narrative supporting their core narrative, that person will see massive success. This is how every wildly successful startup goes from 0 to exponential in short periods of time.

Distraction and Self-Delusion/Denial are the two big enemies of Sincerity. Always be true to yourself and your core purpose. Know your Why.

Number 8 on Benjamin Franklin's list is Justice.

I think he adds justice to the list because doing right to your fellow man is almost always good business sense. It's true that sometimes cutting corners are cheating people can seem to give you a sense of success for a short while but it almost always precedes a ruined reputation that follows your business and maybe even your personal reputation. In life, few things are as coveted as a good brand or good reputation. A good reputation has the power to connect you with the higher value customers and business partners that you will want as you push your business or personal life forward. And of course once a reputation becomes damaged, it can be very hard to recover.

If you have employees, you will also see the benefits of talent retention and long-term productivity by fairly compensating your workforce and maintaining a positive and forward-thinking work environment.

Number 9 is Moderation.

For this one, I think a good example is art. Whether you would like to use the analogy of a painting or drawing...or of a piece of writing, the thing all of these creative works have in common is that the best of the best have a knack for knowing when their work as reached its ideal state. And then they withhold the brush from the canvas or the pencil from the paper. Or they set down the pen for a bit. And they take a moment to review their work so far. They may finish with a few more strokes of the pen or the brush but they are careful to avoid "over-producing" the work.

This also holds true in the work involved in other productive activities. Doing enough to accomplish your core values without overtaxing yourself or your team is the key to "keeping the main thing the main thing." The most dangerous effect of doing too much meta-stuff that is outside of your core values is that you will potentially become distracted and lose traction with the main tasks and goals you have set.

The next on the list is Cleanliness.

As has been quoted for ages, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."

Cleanliness is a way of instituting simplicity, focus, discipline, and organization into your direct environment. It's true that sometimes you just need to work amid the chaos or at a "messy desk" as part of the process but at most times it is refreshing to come to the table with the free-space that's ready to contain the day's fresh creative expression.

In a somewhat meta-sense, Cleanliness also somewhat applies to cleanly orchestrating your daily rituals and habits so that one doesn't endlessly veer off into tangents that set fire to your true course. If one looks at the 4th dimension of time/perspective as the primary foundation for working with the development of progress in our lives and the development of new products in 3D space, we'll have the proper attitude for navigating and mapping out our schedules and our day.

Number 11 is Tranquility.

Tranquility is defined: as the quality or state of being tranquil; calm.

I think some good synonyms for tranquility are "composure" and "poise."

Composure is defined: the state or feeling of being calm and in control of oneself.

And "Poise" is defined: graceful and elegant bearing in a person.

I personally love the concept of "poise" because it seems to describe a state of mind which is sort of cross-fading the practice of meditation and zen into everyday life activities. When you can handle everyday tasks with the same level of calmness and creative perception as one gains through a meditation practice, you are likely to handle stresses and challenges better than your peers who haven't trained this faculty. The fact is that these are states of mind that are trainable, measurable, and scientifically reproducible. We sometimes view emotions in an entirely different mental compartment from logic but emotions are integral for life mastery and self-actualization. Mastering our emotional body puts us in the driver's seat of life.

Mastering these emotions helps us get in touch with the deeper layers of mind and also "embodied cognition" which is sort of a whole-body awareness that helps us match all our organs and bodily functions with the task at hand rather than becoming trapped in the illusion that the only important faculty is mental or brain-based. It also helps encourage a kind of balance between different states of awareness or various areas of expertise or different points of focus. Then, rather than getting bogged down in the details or ruts of life, we can masterfully switch gears between tasks and choose the most efficient parts of our mind to accomplish any given task in the best way possible.

Number 12 on his list is Chastity.

I think this one also overlaps with a kind of spiritual sobriety that contains a person's core strengths and values without selling out to the crowd or selling oneself short through short-term lust for pleasure. It can be viewed more in the abstract as in maintaining a strong sense of value of oneself so that one maintains healthy connections with others or with their work. Chastity means different things to different people but every successful person seems to be able to have some level of compartmentalization between business and personal life that helps them focus on the right thing at the right place and time.

The last Virtue in Franklin's list is Humility.

I think this one is deceptively simple. None of us like to think of ourselves as arrogant or blind ot the role others inevitably play in the peripheries of our life. I think the best way to balance self-confidence with humility is to make sure that what you're doing is truly in service of other people and also to maintain the Sincerity and sense of purpose that will keep your mind grounded in the stream of life that others are also existing in. It can feel freeing to try to escape into your own little world at times. It can of course even lead to new discoveries or creativity so it's not bad to be somewhat reclusive or freethinking. It does seem wise, however, to make opportunities to connect with others in ways that emphasizes commonalities and encourages re-connection with your culture. It's good to understand how others perceive the world.

A good adjunct to Humility is the concept of Empathy. Empathy is the internal compass that is able to sense the conscience that is common to all of us. The business benefit of empathy and humility may seem out of place if one is thinking only in terms of bullish competitive business tactics but I think that the ability to truly capture the feelings or possible challenges and frustrations of your customer base is paramount when you want to cater to a large demographic.

Humility is an appreciation for the larger order...the larger reality. An to extend thigns even further and somewhat "spiritualize" the subject, we could rightfully say that humility can bring us into closer contact with the divine order and thus with key truths about what people are looking for, what people truly need, and where the world is heading.

Franklin's 13 virtues may be some three hundred years old but the wisdom encapsulated within those 13 simple words, if taken to heart, can make you a better human being. Of course, you should expect that like everything in life, you're going to need to fully practice implementing these character traits in your life if you want to make the most of these key habits. That's what these are: habits.

In closing, I truly wish you, the reader, the best of luck in your personal and business endeavors. I know that the times which I have practiced implementing these virtues, life has gone better for me. I hope you find the success you deserve and that the world recognizes the values you are capable of generating. You may be one light...but you are very, very bright.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Awareness: The Gateway to New Resolutions

There are times in our life where we want to make change in the way we live our lives. Maybe we feel that there is simply more to our story than what we have previously expressed. We want to contribute more to the world or to our families. The New Year is often a time when this will happen although you can make these kinds of commitments to your goals at any time during the year. At least once per month, we should be prepared for the changes we have been sowing in our mind's eye to come to sustainable fruition.

There are 12 aspects for developing an inner awareness. They fall under 4 categories. The four are: Mind, Body, Spirit, and People.

The 12 are:
1. Self-Active
2. Vision
3. Actions
4. Energy
5. Wellness
6. Temperance
7. Gratitude
8. Faith
9. Order
10. Want for Everybody
11. Impression of Increase
12. Give More than you take

These 12 keys unlock the cabinets in the Awareness kitchen. Your awareness kitchen is where you take stock of what you have in your pantries, cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer - and then you intuit what you need to prepare for your family's meal time.

Knowing what's in your cabinets is key to building an inner-awareness that you will use to propel yourself into the future and then periodically review your progress. The way to follow-up with your goal-setting is to be brutally honest in the way you assess any changes (or things which have remained static). Change is hard. But getting into a flow state is relatively simple. The trick is to get into a flow-state where making positive (and sustainable!) forward momentum is a simple daily hack that becomes second nature. If you can find ways to abstract the simple routines into an ongoing process of renewal and regeneration, you'll easily create the expansion you need. It's the blank spaces to rest and recover - or to review - where we find the moment is perfect for taking stock.

It's easy to become entertained (quite repetitively, possibly almost uselessly) if we are in a time where we are feeling comfortable. If we commit to using those times where we feel comfortable - those times each day where we are preparing for the day to come...we will bring a spirit of sobriety and creativity to a creative process where we are automatically assuming that we've had some amount of shortcomings compared with our vision for ourselves.

It can become easy to fill our cabinets with illusory entertainment and things which on their face appear to be serving our higher ideals but are essentially drugging us with a "rich but limited experience." One would likely equate this analogously to the difference between spending money on experiences vs physical things you can buy. You probably enjoy the experiences more than an jobject you can buy which will wear out or be spent up. That's because memories are made during the experience. The experience becomes an abiding theme that you can mentally and spiritually subsist off for days and days. And of course experiences have a way of strengthening relationships with other people, reminding us of the larger nature we are part of, and getting more in tune with our inner world.

If we are honest about what we are placing our attention on, we might find that more often than not, we are seeking a drug-induced high. We might spend a little too much time browsing facebook or watching videos or playing on our smartphones. When do we ever create the space for intentionally opening up to the hard reality of the state of our soul? Please don't take any special meaning of my word choice here. I simply mean the moral compass of the Human Being and the state of his or her journey through the Planet Earth.

I would think it's fair to say that the vast majority of people who are feeling stuck in their personal development are simply being too optimistic. There is such a thing as being overly optimistic. Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses might seem like the most optimal state of mind because then you are (ostensibly) seeing the highest ideals you'll be able to achieve. You're seeing the wide open spaces of possibility.

It's fine to be super-optimistic about the future but one cannot have a good manifestation of their awareness if they are acting on merely a rehearsal script for the future all the time. It's good to be prepared and future-oriented but it can be hard to enter into the flow-state without the weight of the board underneath you. In other words, you need the present moment to be your surfboard. Make the present moment your Pinterest board. One can learn new tricks by watching surfboard videos. One can enjoy the process of surfing. But each morning you need to condition your boyd and mind to be ready for the day of surfing. You must strengthen your core and legs so you are ready to pounce over those wave fronts as you skim over the crystal water. Life is beautiful in its mysteries, its complexities, and its opportunities. But what are you *doing?

Awareness is an intuition as well as a disciplined mindset that keeps you in the groove. If you can get your inner vision to track along with a flow-state that is actually happening with your experience around you, you'll be in the prime spot for you to prepare for the changes ahead and to master the shifts that are necessary for you to adapt to the changing terrain.

Life lends itself to those who are willing to react quickly and positively with the changes around them and maintain integrity throughout their journey. Building these core values while generating those changes from a place of *simple* honesty and commitment will give you a nice clean cabinet sapce to arrange your foodstuffs. The consciousness can only filter properly if you are giving enough airtime to the reality of your situation.

"A word to the wise is sufficient."

If we can draw from the stream of information as we are moving rather than as we are remaining stagnant, it will contain information about our personal journey. Otherwise it will only be theory. It might seem like we are filling ourselves with unquestionable truth - but real truth cannot so easily be put into words, let alone be put into good use by words alone.

To satisfy our needs and pursue happiness is the meaning of life. To be of service to others so they can do the same is saintly. There is a certain kind of false contentment that just shreds the soul of a person. It's common in people who are internally confident but haven't communicated through real interaction with other people how they meant to enact their vision for their future.

Desires have to be worked for and fear of facing our true self is why most people pretend they are satisfied. In order to build the funnel for a rocket ship, you have to face the laws of physics and your own engineering reality. The bottleneck is where the most pressure is but also where the most thrust is generated. Learn to love the core.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ride-Sharing and a Money-Earning Opportunity

So you've likely heard of Uber. You know..the distributed taxi service that lets you order a car ride from a smartphone. Well, it's one way to earn some money on the side. It's a relatively new innovation in the industry. Traditionally taxis were the only similar form of transportation. They are now trying to maintain competition with this new breed of distributed car-sharing service.

It really makes a lot of sense too since the vast majority of cars are sitting unused for the majority of the time.

When you sign into the app as a rider, you can choose between a regular car or a larger SUV. In my experience, drivers have been at my location within 5-7 minutes. The entire process is a breeze. Pull out phone and order the ride in just a couple taps. Facebook has even enabled an Uber ride ordering feature in their mobile app.

So if you want to drive for Uber, how much can you make? Sources say that during busy hours, they can make between $20-25 per hour. That includes tips. If you show up in a clean car in a timely manner and are friendly, you are more likely to get tipped and receive a good review on the app. The Uber company does take a 20% cut out of every ride but after that you keep the rest.

If you sign-up as a driver using my custom invite code, you can help me earn extra badges and commission. Just remember to enter b872gbcbue when you sign up.

I've personally ridden with Uber three times now and I've only had good experiences. Let me know what your experiences have been in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Workflowy: The Simple but highly effective Dynamic Outline System

Effective note-taking is a universally-applicable skill that we use all the time whether for college or business or simple to-do lists or grocery lists. That's why I was thrilled to learn about this amazing web app called Workflowy.

Workflowy is a dynamic outline so you can keep all of your lists in one place and access everything through the search function. You can have nested outlines as many layers deep as you want so you can add detail and structure to your information with a simple system that doesn't get in the way of your productivity or your information. Mind-mapping software may have more tools but its many functions can get in the way of the actual process of working with your notes.

Keep all your to-do lists, business notes, or college notes all in one app. Workflowy is a dynamic outline that makes managing all your information a breeze. It's a great productivity app that is powerful and yet very simple to use.

Here is an example of how it can be used:

As you can see, I use the outline primarily for my business as well as to-do lists, grocery shopping lists, etc. If you click the image, you can zoom in and see it better.

As I research and find new information and gain new insights about how we can strategically work with the body and mind in to achieve our specific goals, I'm able to add to the outline. I can simply search for the specific disease or organ system that is related to what I'm researching and edit the outline or add something new.

It works much better than if I were to simply use a word document with bullet points because I can drill down into a specific list and show just the information I need when I need it. And I don't have to scroll through ten pages of lists.

Another great feature of this app is that it automatically saves everything to the cloud and synchronizes your outline with the mobile apps. That allows me to simply type on my laptop which makes typing much easier but if I'm with a client with only my phone, it's ready for me to pull it up in the mobile app. That also makes creating shopping lists convenient.

I love the fact that this app has just enough features to make it great but not so many features that the features distract from the productivity of organizing your notes.

This app basically makes organizing notes for research a breeze. I would recommend it to literally any business person, college student, or anyone who is looking for a way to organize their life.

If you'd like to take advantage of the research I've done regarding optimal human performance, I do health coaching and have a selection of hi-tech anti-aging supplements on my website. I'd love to help you achieve your peak potential for biological fitness. I work down to the core of your metabolic pathways and can help you gain an intuitive first-hand knowledge of what you can do on a day-to-day basis to optimize your biological fitness! Visit for more info.

By the way, Workflowy starts out with a free version allowing you up to 500 new entries per month. That's enough to really start your journey towards organizing and simplifying your life and study materials. If you find yourself needing more, there's a pro version and also if you refer your friends to the app, they will give you more free entries per month. I've currently amassed 4,119 items in my personal workflowy.

Let me know what you think of the app in the comments section!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Focus on Today for Success Next Year

#1: Reduce Distractions

We always look for what we can add to our lives when we are trying to make improvements. How often do we think about what’s going to need to be cut out of our lives so we can achieve success?
“We become our habits.”
We all look forward to our future and want to create more value for ourselves and for our children. If one watches the news (I don’t) or pays attention to the culture around us (I do but I don’t let it define me), we can grow complacent with our dreams. It can become easy to believe that we will never have what it takes to become successful. Being well-connected, having ample finances to fund our business growth, or top-tier education may seem crucial for reaching success in business. However, anything that we are looking to achieve can be gained through smart development of our skills and going out of our comfort zone. We can become well-connected and meet new people. We can develop trust and reputation in our communities, both local and online.
You can design your future by taking action in the present. -Andrew Carpenter
If we fill our days with senseless acts of consumerism, we are simply going to be entertaining ourselves. That’s not to say that we can never watch television shows. It’s not even so much about the impact cognitively or financially, although those are factors to consider. It’s the time that really matters here. Rather than looking at how we can cram more into our days, why not look at how we can re-position our schedules, build new habits, and become as comfortable as possible with doing what we need to succeed?

A person that begins going to the gym or running is probably not going to enjoy it as much the first day as they will on the hundredth day if they stick with it. Once they start seeing their progress and getting into shape, you’re naturally going to want to continue the exercise. We need to start looking at our business pursuits more like a practice or an exercise than a set goal that we are trying to achieve. Big wins don’t come in one fell swoop. Large bears do not go down with one shot. And basketball games aren’t one with one shot either. These things take momentum and consistency.

It’s time that we start looking at what we can remove from our attitudes and from our days.

We can either use the things we need to develop as excuses for why we can’t grow our wealth and success or we can use them as guidelines for how we will develop ourselves until we reach our mission. Once you’re on the launchpad of success, you may see delays but you are still going to take off.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always a result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. -Paul J. Meyer

Most of life is preparation. We are constantly positioning ourselves and conditioning ourselves. We are working with our inner potentials for creativity and possibility. A lot of what’s necessary for success is gained through practice and developing habits through self-discipline. We must learn to manage ourselves and our time.
I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky. -Oprah Winfrey
#2 Look and Move Forward with Full Responsibility for my Attention, Thoughts, and Actions.

There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. The balance between practicing our craft and just simply being busy without being productive is not always clear. I just know that you can feel when you are putting your heart into the process and you have clearly-defined goals about how you want your business to improve your and others’ lives.

It’s great to have goals and benchmark our progress towards our goals — long and short-term. I think it’s important to have several weekly and daily goals that we can be sure we accomplish so we can make sure we’re on track with our overall process.

Having these daily micro-goals and weekly short-term goals helps us develop daily rituals and processes that keep us on track. When you focus on the actual action and detail of your everyday work, you’ll be able to focus on the little micro-gears in the machine of your success. This is vital because you need to be able to tune and tweak this process based on short-term feedback loops. Whether you’re practicing writing everyday or designing webpages or drawing, as you hone your skills, you’ll find ways to increase the quality of your work.

The present moment is where focus happens.

Focus is probably the hardest thing to get right for creatives. It’s a unique combination of attention that you hold in place and a flow of action known as a flow-state. It’s the secret behind every great creative person or athlete. It’s about being in the moment and present with the work you’re doing. You can see the pieces coming together and yet you’re able to hold your focus so you don’t become distracted or overwhelmed by the large amounts of data coming through your conscious awareness.

Tell yourself:
Focus is like a muscle and each day, as I focus, I will become able to have laser-like focus.
One thing I’ve learned helps is to focus on doing the important things earlier in the day and revisit it everyday if it’s a daily practice. You can also revisit it each day later in the afternoon or evening but I think it’s important that make sure to channel your attention and focus early in the day so you start the day with a good habit/practice. Otherwise you’re just setting the day up for ‘whatever happens happens.’

Everything you do in the morning sets the context for the rest of the day.
Usually the important things are the things that make you feel uncomfortable.
Getting into a flow-state can feel good but since it requires us to make some internal mental and emotional investments in the present moment, that can feel a bit uncomfortable if we’re not used to it.

The Present Moment is where Focus happens.

Ask yourself: “If I could do only one thing, which task WOULD I choose?”

Make a conscious decision (and a daily habit) to block out at least 2 hours each calendar day to do the 1 Critical task. (no interruptions)

Effective Goal Setting:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-Oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-Stamped
Your goals should not be the focus. Doing the goal should be the focus.

Be a synthesizer. ‘Synthesize’ is defined as: “ combine (a number of things) into a coherent whole.” Sometimes people expect a great sound to come from the machine right away without first developing the individual tunes and then working everyday to find a process of recombining them and perfecting the effects.

Success is about all the little layers and parts that get stacked and mixed on top of each other.

#3. Perception Creates your Reality

It may sound counter-intuitive to someone that wants to ‘change the world’ or ‘make it big in business’ but it’s actually important to foster a state of gratitude and contentment in some form and fashion in our current life. If we’re constantly looking outside of ourselves, even if it’s at our future, without building a successful mindset and emotional state in our present attitude, then it’s like we’re telling ourselves that we’re not yet good enough to make these achievements. Or if we are looking at these far-off goals without developing the daily practices and rituals that will build-up into bigger successes and wins, it’s like we’re trying to reinvent a wheel without spokes or create a clock without gears. We can’t forget about the small inner pieces hidden behind the scenes of success.

Success is a state of mind.

How to Improve your state:
  • Smile
  • Water
  • Exercise
  • Gratitude
  • Sunlight
  • Journal
  • Envision positive inward motivation
  • Start with the most uncomfortable task
If you want to truly change the results you are getting, you have to break out of old mental routines and old habits that aren’t serving you and aren’t serving others. The beautiful thing about making micro-goals and daily practices an important part of your creative or professional lifestyle is that you are able to see the fruits of your effort each and everyday and that is its own reward. Even if you don’t immediately see monetary results or increased connections with people, you are gaining valuable insights into how you work, the art of your profession, and your gaining the valuable experience you’re going to need for your success.

Keep your eye on today. Keep your eye on the mirror. Keep your mind on the inward things. You do want to look for results outwardly but those are not always the most motivating for increasing the quality of your output. If you really want to be motivated, you need to develop daily practices. Motivation is based on habit and so you may have to tweak your “why.” Winning today leads to the championship competition later. You can think about the championship but focus on today’s game.

Random fact: The word “mind” connotes “to pay attention to.” You could be highly-educated, intelligent, and creative but if you cannot pay attention then your results and interactions are going to be analogous to looking at a computer’s output through a projector with a mis-adjusted focus.

If you can’t see all that beautiful data and creativity to its fruition, what benefit does it have for you or anybody else? External focus is often connected with inward focus as well…everything in our mind will potentially connect more accurately and completely if we are teaching ourselves to use Dopamine (the reward neurotransmitter) to be tied into the everyday activities that actually build the foundations for our success.

You see — everybody’s capable of greatness. We can adapt and improve ourselves and accomplish so much if we put our mind to the task. Typically those who fail did not reach their goals because they were trying to do too many things at once. Creating something original requires original focus.

Your vision for the future is nothing without a vision for today.

Cheers to Optimization!!

If you would like to see more of my work, you can visit my Optimal Human Performance site at

Sunday, April 3, 2016

SuperConnectors, Glia Cells, and Creative Social Networks

The human mind is a fascinating piece of equipment. The wonders and marvels of the human mind have astonished and confounded philosophers and even scientists for as long as we have recorded history. The human brain is capable of absorbing and processing an enormous amount of information and thus able to learn a huge amount from the environment. We are even able to tap into virtual environments written about in books or through stories passed on to us through family or the community.

On the physical level, we could examine some of the elements of what makes the human brain so special compared to other primates. We could note the larger prefrontal cortex in comparison to the monkey or gorilla, for example. One of the lesser-known ways in which the human brain is distinguished from the brains of other mammals is the the abundance of a specific kind of brain cell called the glial cell. These cells are most prominent in the grey matter of the brain towards the surface of the cortex. These cells have especially-long axons and are some of the most well-connected cells of the brain. These are the “socialite” butterfly cells of the brain. Their well-connectedness suits them well for the role they play in helping to organize the signals from all over the brain into a coherent stream of consciousness. Just as communication amongst tribe members and family members is fundamentally important, good communication within the mind is also fundamentally important for the success of the organism. There has to be a common language for translating the signals from one area of the brain to the other areas.

What makes the human brain so wonderful is the ability for us to communicate ideas amongst ourselves and gain from the knowledge of those who have studied and invented things before our generation. We are able to gain some of the wisdom of the crowd. The human species is able to achieve so much because of this interaction between the subtle worlds of information--and the more stable world of matter viewed through a simpler lens. (viewed through more complex, advanced quantum lenses and theories, we know reality to be made of waves of probabilities and potentials. The waves are open to signal modification and then collapse in a cyclical pattern we might describe as a vortex or toroidal action. This is similar to quorum sensing within the mind and amongst people in a group.

Humans learn best when their curiosity and inner-motivation drives the learning process. Since humans are naturally very social beings, we usually make better decisions when we are associating with like-minded individuals. Strangely, our current culture seems to have chosen to focus on the individual and the nuclear family rather than larger formations. The American Dream, for instance, is largely based around the destiny of the individual and his or her family. I think that the problem starts at the level of the individual where people are unconvinced of their true value as a human being. The human being has a unique place within the world in terms of capability as well as responsibilities that go along with our strengths. Unfortunately, I feel that one of our greatest strengths (our social bonding) is also the biggest part of our “shadow self” both on the level of the individual, and collectively as a species.

For us to transcend beyond the current state of things and recognize our true value as human beings, we’re going to need to recognize who we are without all the layers of civilization artificially built-up on top of us layer by layer. Once we see ourselves for who we truly are, we’ll see the true power of the choices we make and the ways in which our choices affect our evolution as individuals as well as our collective evolution.

In order to reach greater levels of prosperity, we are going to need to recognize the ways in which failing to work together is hurting each of us even when it’s not obvious. This may be especially challenging for those who are in the top earning brackets since they are the most likely to underestimate the ways in which those who are ‘below’ them in the socioeconomic classes actually contribute to moving the entire society forward. But really there is no finger-pointing here..

We are all responsible for recognizing our true potential as a human being and transcending our current expectations and standards for ourselves.

“Whatever your mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve regardless of how many times you may have failed in the past.” Napoleon Hill

I love this quote by Napoleon Hill which highlights the mind’s ability to achieve something when he commits his whole being to bringing forth his genuine and persistent desires. The Universe seems especially prone to helping those who truly have a selfless passion and desire for uplifting the state of many other people. For our species to thrive, we absolutely depend on others. We depend on others to be responsible on the roads we share with other drivers. We expect those in public offices and professional roles to maintain professionalism and quality work. Civilization is built upon the principle of trust. We wouldn’t be where we are at now if it weren’t for powerful force of capitalism and economic trade. But behind this obvious system of trade, there’s an entire backbone of behaviors and expectations that we can basically consider to be the “social contract” or the status quo of culture.

When we closely examine how well these arrangements are working however, I believe that most sane people will be able to imagine a great number of ways in which society can improve our interactions from the level of the individual all the way up to the level of the corporation.

In this time we are lucky to have access to the tremendous power of the Internet and all the information available to us. With all the information plus all the globalization, there are a lot of products on the market and a lot of information to sort through. This means that the amount of research one would need to do in order to stay well-informed or become well-informed about the subjects needed for him to really take matters into his own hands are quite grand in scope. It is doable of course to a large degree but definitely a challenge for the average individual.

This is why I believe we will increasingly find the relevance and sensibility in joining up with other like-minded individuals who share similar passions to us and are interested in optimizing similar things in their life. By linking up in these “intentional networks,” we’ll have the opportunities to share this knowledge amongst ourselves and keep one another on track. We will likely make better decisions and perform more optimally in the many aspects of modern, complex life.

I believe that there is massive potential in communicating with like-minded individuals on topics which are important and relevant for our evolutionary growth as individuals and communities. Changes at the community level are traditionally made through political bureaucracy and we all know how reliable and smooth these processes can be, right? I am mostly bullish about the potential for personal and family-level benefits but there are likely many benefits that could be seen at the community-level as well.

Take a second to notice the direction of this document thus far though. Notice how it has all been primarily focused on consumption. Even when discussing information, it has still centered around consumption of that information.

I believe that networks of individuals can be 10X as powerful when they are used as creative channels for channeling our individual dreams into collectively-generated dreams. There’s something about a team of intentional designers working on a project together that is capable of incredibly amazing accomplishments. In the world of children’s movies, just look at Pixar for an awesome example of the power of a creative team.

You see, this same type of creative force can be channeled for the optimization of the human being and the human family (nuclear and otherwise) First, we need new ways of honroing the human spirit. We need new ways of respecting the drives and motivations of the individual. Some people truly are on a mission to change the world and bring greater harmony and well-being to the community. Sometimes those who gain the most confidence and built the biggest dreams achieved these states because they went through so many hardships...or pushed themselves so hard...strayed so far outside the norms....perhaps in their own introverted worlds..that they were able to see the world for what it is and also for what it can become.

Those with the widest breadth of experience generally have learned the most through those experiences because there is so much contrast and complexity within their experiences that they can draw comparisons and analyses from. However, these people can get worn down through all these experiences so the community should take note of the values these people have learned along their journey and help support their dreams, or at least hear them out.

One thing I find a bit disturbing about our culture is that it seems that there are not many outlets these days for having deep conversation with people unless perhaps you are doing a business transaction with them or maybe if you are already good friends. The trouble with this is that it reduces the amount of exposure we get to new people with new ideas and new perspectives. If we want to increase our personal and social evolution by learning through others’ experiences, it is vital that we make the time for having these deep conversations with those who have nuggets of wisdom to share or knowledge in a specific field.

I wonder how much we would learn if we found ways of connecting with people on a deeper level and forming intentional relationships with people of a like mind. Would we raise the prosperity of nations? Would we find greater levels of peace? Would we recognize more of the interconnectedness of all things? See the overlaps between the multiple “separate” academic disciplines and begin to see the actual natural models behind all the theory and jargon?

It’s personal experiences and relationships that form real mastery of knowledge and wisdom. I propose that we all make a point to evaluate the nature of the human being and how far we can evolve. The greatest enemy only exists when we create it within ourself. The greatest ally is the one we create within ourself. And when we recognize that others are of very similar quality to us, we recognize that there are no clear distinctions between the “self” as in our body and our mind and with other human beings. We share the same DNA and blood. We all basically want and need the same basic desires, physical and spiritual.

We are only used to conceiving of the idea of a human being as we see it in civilization so it’s almost like if the only cheetah or black bear we saw was in the zoo. We would think that their behavior and habitats in the zoo were the norm. If we only imagine the behavior and habitats of human beings within the environments of cities, we will imagine a whole different breed of animal than the one we really are.

Let’s develop those tribes of individuals with like-minded purpose and direct our attention and will-power towards setting big things in motion. If we don’t, I believe our kids will ask us why we didn’t try harder to improve the state of the planet.

Cheers to Optimization!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Intention Networks

We live in interesting economic times. There is more potential for prosperity and riches than ever before in history. And the advances in information availability means that the potential for self-development is really only limited by our work ethic and how motivated we are to develop our wisdom and character.

There is a huge increase in people who are realizing how powerful we are as human beings, especially when we work together to achieve a common goal. Most people agree that Capitalism is one of the best systems for building wealth, at least on the massive global and national scales. The competition drives us to achieve more and deliver higher value to each customer. All boats rise.

There have been some changes to how we negotiate the economic and social landscape, like Uber for ridesharing and social media and personalized online ads for discovering new products and services on the market.

I think that these trends will continue but they will probably not be as low-friction and convenient in the roll-out on a mass-scale as the Uber App and platform. By connecting with friends who have similar intentions and interests, we can share in the advantages of economies of scale. An example of an economy of scale is when you open a printer and refill all the cartridges at once from the same ink cartridge package, it's faster than if all the cartridges are individually wrapped and you refill them all at separate times. That's just an example but in larger processes with more involvement, it's even more profound. And there are usually financial perks as well. This is actually the main reason why companies are formed. When you have a larger company that specializes in doing a few things really well, they become proficient at it and they also are doing the same basic processes all while everything is out and ready to go...

This is the same reason why there are financial advantages to living with a significant other, especially when the other person also works outside the home. The combined income is the obvious advantage but there are many savings of both time and money when the meals that would be cooked separately are cooked together in one larger meal, and groceries and products are bought for the shared home.

There is also what's known as SuperFamilies which are multiple families which network together and take advantage of one another's assets. Simple examples are tools, gardens, juicers, etc. Intention networks can reshape the way that groups of like-minded people make purchases and the way we live.

Plus there are simply the added benefits of sharing knowledge and having more social connections and more opportunities to enjoy life with each other. Life is meant to be lived in harmony with our authentic selves and with nature.

We do have so much prosperity on the planet and yet we also aren't necessarily fully conscious and intentional about the kinds of purchases we make and the activities we do. There are many reasons for this. Ads are one reason. But a bigger reason is that people feel crunched for time. There is something beautiful that changes in a person's entire spirit when we just vibe with the people around us.

I think one of the biggest benefits we can gain from linking up in these Intenional Networks is a sense of virtual experience by gaining from the collective knowledge and experience of the others in the group. In the present age with all the information available on the Internet, it's a blessing and a curse. It's amazing the kinds of opportunities available for us to learn about cutting edge technologies and such. But there is such a variety that to get the full benefit is difficult both economically and informationally unless you are working with intentional groups of people. This helps you understand better and also take advantage more fully.