50 Optimal Living 101 Master Classes
60-min long classes where Brian distills the best Big Ideas from his favorite books into fun, practical classes to help you optimize every aspect of your life (!) so you can actualize your potential.
Latest from Master Classes
Mike Erwin joins us as a guest teacher for this class! CEO of The Character Center, co-founder of the Positivity Project, and co-author of the book Lead Yourself First, Mike is passionate about inspiring leaders across the country. His secret sauce to leadership? Solitude! (More specifically, freedom from the input of other minds.) In this class, Mike debunks the assumption that great leaders must always be accessible and uncovers the personal + organizational benefits of leaders who seek out periods of solitude. Want the competitive advantages of clarity, creativity, emotional balance + moral courage? Get your solitude on!
Alden Mills joins us as a guest teacher for this class! Drawing on over 25 years of high-performance leadership and team-building as a three-time Navy SEAL platoon commander and CEO of one of the INC Magazine’s fastest-growing consumer products companies in America, Alden illustrates his essentials for high-performance leadership and introduces us to 10 Big Ideas from his newest book, Unstoppable Teams, including his most successful leadership framework called C.A.R.E.
Michael Gelb joins us as a guest teacher for this class! He is the world’s leading authority on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development and has authored 14 books on creativity & innovation, including the international best seller How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci. In this class, Michael introduces us to his All-Time All-Star Genius Dream Team, the greatest minds throughout history (spoiler: da Vinci made the list! ha), bringing a fun + inspirational + creative approach to helping you discover your own brilliance.
How To Transform Your Digital Life From Something That Distracts You Into Something That Supports True Sources of Meaning and Satisfaction
Cal Newport joins us as a guest teacher for this class! He is one of my favorite thinkers. He got his Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT and is now a Professor at Georgetown. He’s also a bestselling author of a number of books. Given the fact that the fastest way to Optimize your life is to STOP doing things that are sub-optimal AND the fact that (for nearly all of us) our use of technology is the #1 thing that “Needs work!,” it’s SUPER important for us to figure out how to best use all the technology available to us WITHOUT becoming lost in a tsunami of inputs. Enter: Our new philosophy of technology use: Digital Minimalism.
You know that fear you feel when you exit your comfort zone? Let’s alchemize it into fuel for your hero’s journey, shall we? That’s what this class is all about. With a nod to Aristotle and modern mental toughness coaches, we start by establishing just how important it is to cultivate our courage (aka to conquer our fear!) and then we establish the fact that you are not alone (common humanity!) then we take a trip down Etymology Lane to learn that the word conquer comes from the Latin word that means “to seek”—which is a (very) good thing to keep in mind as we get really good at alchemizing that fear into excitement we can use as fuel to reach our highest potential.
Ready to make 2019 the Greatest Year of Your Life? Me, too. It’s time to Operationalize Virtue—getting (even more) clarity on what our Optimus selves look like and getting even better at consistently showing up AS that best version of ourselves. In this class, we review why we do what we do together, take a quick trip to hell (yikes!) then to Michelangelo’s studio (yay!) then we get to work sculpting our Energy, Work and Love—taking the time to wrap our souls around our Identity + Virtues + Soul Goals + Algorithms that will drive our Masterpiece Days as we Dare to step thru Fear Doors into all we’re destined to be. Hope you love it and looking forward to LITERALLY making this year the greatest year of your life in an unending string of such awesome years!
Pack:Greatest Year Ever
We’re going to have a hard time actualizing our potential if we have a hard time getting out of bed. Energy is SUPER important. In fact, it’s the engine for our actualization. In this class, we’ll integrate a lot of the most essential aspects of eating, moving, and sleeping. But first, we’ll start by stepping back and recognizing just how important it is that we flip the switch in our minds—raising our standards and TRULY committing to being our best, most energized selves so we can change the world together, one person at a time, starting with YOU and me.
I created this class after my friend Matt McCall (who helps run the Pritzker Group Venture Capital fund) asked me to do a talk for 60 of their portfolio CEOs. He was thinking “Optimizing for Supheroes 101.” I loved that idea and decided it would be the perfect context to share my absolute best stuff and here we are. 🤓
In this extra-long class, we start by connecting “Optimizing” and “Hērō” to their ancient Greek philosophical roots then we proceed to walk thru how to go about integrating ancient wisdom, modern science and practical tools to harness our soul force to build strength for two such that we can create our best, most heroic lives.
Alexandra joins us as a guest teacher for this class! Learn how to activate your superpowers, increase your mojo & have more fun.
How to Become an Optibot (aka an “Optimizing Robot”!) and Program Yourself to Reach Your Infinite Potential
“Algorithm.” Yuval Noah Harari tells us that it is the most important concept of the 21st century and that “we should make every effort to understand what an algorithm is, and how algorithms are connected with emotions.” Ray Dalio echoes this perspective and tells us that algorithms will be the most important language for us (and our kids) to learn. Psychologists have been talking about algorithms for awhile as well. They call them “if-then implementation intentions”—which are the secret sauce to using your willpower wisely to install habits that run on autopilot. In this class, we tie that all together and then talk about some practical ways to apply that wisdom to our lives so we can program ourselves wisely and have fun seeing just how awesome we can make our lives. 🤓
Technology is, obviously, awesome. We’ve been using “tech” tools for 2.5 million years since our protohuman ancestors first picked up a stone and used it as a tool. 1.8 million years ago, “we” figured out how to make an acheulean hand axe which was a pretty epic innovation at the time.
So, with the advent of smartphones in what’s known as the “Input Age,” I’m not suggesting we should all become tech-smashing Luddites. But… (And this is a big but!), I also don’t think we should underestimate just how much we play the role of addicted users caught up in the mix of a $7 TRILLION attention economics (/mind-hacking!) industry.
The solution: Become Optimizites—use technology wisely to become the BEST you rather than mindlessly let your 1 million-year-old prefrontal cortex get hacked all day every day.
In the class, we walk through the costs of addiction, then talk about how to conquer it so we can sculpt our ideal lives.
Breathing. It’s easy to take for granted but when you stop to think about it, it quickly becomes obvious just how powerful it is. Get this: You can live for weeks without food and days without water but, of course, only minutes without oxygen. Plus: Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen you consume while breathing is responsible for 70% (!) of your body’s detoxification. Yet… If you’re like most people, you’re probably doing this simple, should-be-easy fundamental wrong. In this class, we’ll look at why CO2 is (somewhat paradoxically!) actually the variable we want to be Optimizing if we want to get the O2 out of our hemoglobin and into our cells. Then we’ll look at the Three Rules for breathing perfectly as we Optimize your breathing for calm, focused energy.
We start by stepping back and looking at what I call the “True You” which is a combo of “Optimus You” + “en*theos You” which = “Hērō You.” Then we have fun SEEing that best, most heroically Optimized and plugged-in version of you (via a mirror exercise and Michelangelo assist) and, most importantly, BEing that version of you (via 3 D’s, an A and two T’s). Then we create a game to put the new you into action by WOOPing your WIG and WINning while creating Antifragile Confidence + Buoyancy (science says = Levity + Gravity) while rocking our affirmations and affirmaction and remembering Other Image 101 as well.
We’ve had a lot of people ask for a class on Public Speaking. It tends to freak a lot of people out which is why Idea #1 features Jerry Seinfeld’s quip that most people are so afraid of public speaking that they’d prefer to *receive* a eulogy than give one. (Hah.) Alas, if you have any fears over speaking in public, you’re not alone. Enter: Common humanity. And, enter my own stories about my fears and my favorite ways to alchemize that energy. (“I’m excited!” + “Bring it on!” + threat vs. challenge, etc.) Other Ideas include Rule #0 (aka, it’s not about you), Rule #1 (aka BE you—amplified!), systematically organize (and overprepare!), plus Optimizing your pre-shot routine before letting it rip! 🙂
In Conquering Cancer 101 we focused on the nuts-and-bolts of how to Optimize our terrain and make sure we’re cutting off cancer’s supply lines while getting our minds strong and aiming for the long tail, etc. Our primary source of inspiration for that class was Anticancer by David Servan-Schreiber and the dozens of references to cancer in other Notes over the years.
In Conquering Cancer 102, we cover all the wisdom I’ve picked up since that class over the last month. Theme: Rethinking Cancer: Theory + Therapy. Featuring Big Ideas from Tripping over the Truth (great intellectual overview of the history of cancer theory/therapy), The Metabolic Approach to Cancer (GREAT (!) practical roadmap on how to Optimize terrain by my brother’s new consulting oncologist), Cancer as a Metabolic Disease (by the leading research scientist on the approach we’re following), Keto for Cancer (by my brother’s day-to-day nutritional consultant), and Radical Remission (by a leading researcher on who’s studied 1,000+ case studies of people who have thrived outside of traditional approaches).
My brother was recently diagnosed with cancer. As I wrapped my brain around how to best help him, I realized that, unfortunately (and obviously), our family is not alone in fighting cancer. Although we haven’t met (yet!), I consider you a friend and a part of our extended family. So, I created this class imagining myself supporting you and your family as your friend if you happen to be dealing with cancer like us. Big Ideas we explore include understanding the fact that our habits are more influential than our genes, the importance of an empowered mindset, and the nuts and bolts of what we scientifically know helps Optimize “the terrain” (from nutrition and movement to stress management and environmental toxins) to best prevent and fight cancer. I hope you enjoy and I’m sending love to you and your fam!
How to Create True Wealth by Wisely Investing in You, Inc. (+ The Best Way to Become a Billionaire! 🤓)
I created 25 classes before we got to money/wealth/etc. That was deliberate. (Virtue for the win!) And… It was fun to create this class and share my thoughts on how to create true wealth. First idea? We’ve gotta remember that the Ultimate Currency/the reason we do *anything* is to be Happy. Therefore, we want to run our pursuit of material abundance through that lens. Then we talk about how to become psychologically wealthy (billionaires, baby!) (and look at how to Optimize your balance sheet), redefine economics from a spiritual plane and then… We talk about how to make and enjoy some more money. The theme? Wealth thru Profound Service. We talk about investing in the best stock on the market: You, Inc. And, we integrate Cal Newport’s Passion + Craftsman mindsets with what I call a “Servant” mindset for a new hedgehog-like concept plus we look at Ray Dalio’s 5 Steps to Getting What You Want in Life model—which is super powerful, kinda like WOOP by an uber-practical genius. Plus some other goodness I hope you enjoy!
I absolutely love the idea of *paying* to run through (and over and under and up and across) obstacles. It’s the perfect metpahor for life–which is one of the reasons why training for Spartan Races is my new sport-hobby. In this class, I share some of my favorite Big Ideas on how to become immune to obstacles in your life and, if you’re feeling it, do your first Race. The biggest obstacle you’ll face? Well, that’s Big Idea #1. :)
Journaling. It’s a powerful way to create a foundation of clarity, confidence and consistency. This is my most personal class ever as I walk thru the precise way I journal every morning (I call it “The Five-Minute Foundation” and share the 10 scientifically proven ways to Optimize I’ve integrated—from Goals and Grit to Hope, Virtues and Process) and how I WOOP my #1 goal. Plus, we’ll look at how to create Masterpiece Days, Optimize the Big 3 (Energy + Family + Service) and a bunch of other goodness.
Ready to get some great things done? Fantastic. Step 1: Identify the great thing. Step 2. Say YES to your wildly important goal! Step 3. Say “No!” to basically everything else. Then know that it starts with energy management then goes to time management, focus, 4.5-hour workdays, the four disciplines of execution, the science of progress and relentless forward motion.
You can be fragile, robust or antifragile. Do you break when you get hit by life? Or are you kinda resilient? Or… Are you antifragile—do you actually get STRONGER the more life kicks you around?! Learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable as you step into your infinite potential and use *everything* to fuel your heroic growth.
I love Stoicism. In this class we take a quick look at the cast of characters (from founder Zeno to Seneca + Epictetus + Marcus Aurelius) and then dive into the ultimate goal of Stoicism (hint: become bff’s with your inner daimon so you can experience a state of well-being and flourishing) along with the practices that help us apply this wisdom to our lives. We’ll create energized tranquility and equanimity as we have fun becoming our own ideal sages.
Leadership is all about inspiring and empowering people to do great things. In this class, we’ll explore the fact that leadership starts by leading yourself as we identify your noble purpose, chisel your foundation, create a compelling vision, embrace the process, and do what you’re here to do. We’ll also look at the power of charisma, the neuroscience of being an iconoclastic leader, and discuss the best-kept secret of leadership to help you create your legacy.
Ready to set and achieve great goals that will help you do heroic work? Awesome. This is the class. We’ll learn why goals are so important, how to set your #1 goal, identify your Big 3, master the motivation equation, turn the serenity key and be your ideal self NOW!
Ready to conquer anxiety? Our first step is to embrace the fact that it happens and then we’ll quit making it worse as we choose a target (calm confidence!), get our fundies in order, remember to breathe (deeply + properly), turn the serenity key in our brains, do some Olympic-style focus training so we see challenges not threats as we exit our mind and enter the moment. We’ll also look at how to create calm confidence in 5 steps and how to tap into infinite calm confidence. Tame those gremlins and rock it!
Alexandra joins us as a guest teacher for this class! In today’s society it’s truly a revolutionary act for women to take exquisite care of themselves. In this class, we will challenge some of the beliefs that stop you from truly caring for your unique body as we find creative ways to align your life with who you are. You’ll discover how to come home to yourself, create a blueprint to help you flourish, know and trust your beautiful body, own your greatness, and live from a place of good enough and love. Basically, remembering that you’re awesome and all you need to do is let your goodness shine!
Nutrition. It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of conflicting science. In this class, we focus on the 2 facts Michael Pollan tells us we can all agree on and then look at how to eliminate the primary causes of disease caused by our modern diets. Optimizing our health, energy and happiness starts at the end of our fork!
Did you know there’s a science (+ art!) to learning? Yep. In this class, I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas on how to learn + make things stick–efficiently! Whether you’re a student, parent, teacher or life-long learner, I hope you enjoy!
Movement. It’s about more than just exercise. Did you know you can be active *and* sedentary? Yep. In this class we’ll take a look at how to optimize your energy, genes, mind, mood, and body as a perpetual motion machine!
High standards are great. Perfectionism? Not so much. In this class, we’ll take a look at why it’s so important to embrace the constraints of reality as we have fun incrementally optimizing–aggregating and compounding tiny improvements over time to create magic!
Ready to reach your potential and perform at your best when it matters most? Fantastic. Let’s get clear on where you’re headed, go all in, and cultivate our grit + presence + self-confidence as we vacuum up any potential choke dust, visualize, let it rip and win or learn.
Willpower is the queen of all virtues. It outpredicts IQ by a factor of TWO for academic performance (and everything else we want in life). This class is all about the science of how to systematically build our willpower so we can reach our highest potential.
Did you know the word “parenting” comes from the Latin “to bring forth”? Yep. Begs the question, what do YOU want to help bring forth in your kids?! In this class, we explore 10 of my favorite Ideas on how I’m approaching fatherhood and going for dad of the year while doing my life’s work.
Sleep. It’s the secret sauce to optimal living. In this class, explore my Top 10 favorite Big Ideas on how to create consistent, great night’s of sleep to optimize your energy, mood and mojo. We’ll start with why, unpack the kryptonites that get in the way, set some curfews and get you sleeping like a champ.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve spent half my time in Founder/CEO-mode and the other half in Philosopher-mode. Before going all in as a Philosopher, I built and sold two market-leading social platforms (raising $10m in the process). In this class, I share my Top 10 Ideas on how to create a great business and get paid to change the world. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, solopreneur, small business owner or leader in any organization, we hope you love it.
In this class we’ll look at your #1 creative project, doing your life’s work, turning pro and the three laws of mastery. Plus how to get your mind right and deal with troll poop. Let’s master the process of consistently creating cool stuff and giving our gifts to the world!
How to Celebrate Motherhood—The Most Creative Work of Your Life! (Special guest teacher: Alexandra!)
In this special class, my wife Alexandra joins us to share her Top 10 Big Ideas on how to celebrate the most creative time of your life. Discover how to mother from your essence, be a self-care queen, ignite your desire power and see your mothering as holy work + invisible art as you bring more fun and play and mindfulness into your heroine’s journey.
Abraham Maslow tells us that what one can be, one must be. Actualizing our potential is like oxygen for the soul. Helping you discover your purpose and fulfill your destiny is what this class is all about.
Confidence.The word comes from the Latin con + fidere and means “with intense trust.” To have intense trust in what? In YOURSELF. *That* is true confidence–having total trust in yourself knowing you can handle whatever life throws at you. Helping you create that kind of indestructible trust in yourself is what this class is all about.
Have you or someone you loved ever experienced depression? If so, it’s time to tame the gremlins and create a sustainably awesome life. Here are my Top 10 Big Ideas on how to CONQUER depression–forged from my own experience.
Meditation. It’s unequivocally awesome. But it can also get a little more esoteric than necessary. Enter: How to meditate without moving to the Himalayas! Here are my Top 10 Big Ideas on the nuts and bolts of how to create a great, sustainable practice.
I LOVE the science of flourishing. In this class, we have fun exploring my absolute favorite Big Ideas from my absolute favorite psychologists. Life-changing stuff. The psychologists: Maslow + Frankl + Csikszentmihalyi + Seligman + Dweck + Baumeister + Ben-Shahr + Oettingen + Segar + McGonigal. The Ideas: Actualizer + Choice + Flow + Virtues + Mindsets + Willpower + Optimalist + WOOP + Why + Stress.
Want to optimize your relationship? My wife, Alexandra, joins us for this special class. Join us as we explore 10 of our favorite Big Ideas–starting with a definition of love then looking at the difference between falling in vs. standing in love and then some nuts and bolts Ideas on how to rock it.
Procrastination. We all do it to some extent but the best among us have learned how to conquer it to sustain peak motivation in pursuit of their goals. In this class we look at what SCIENCE says works to quit putting our life on hold and actualize our potential. If you’ve ever procrastinated I guarantee you’ll get at least one life-changing idea from this action-packed class.
Aristotle tells us: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a HABIT.” It’s not about living at your best every once in a while. It’s about rockin’ it day in and day out. Making it who you are. A habit. That’s what this class is all about. We’ll help you identify and install your #1 keystone habit while learning how to tap into your superpowers and create habits that will change your life.
Great lives are created one great day at a time. Which is why this class is a key component to rockin’ it. Step 1: Make TODAY the day. Know what your ideal days look like (we’ll help you figure it out), set clear targets, make progress while you make waves, control the kryptonite, create AM + PM bookends, remember the Deep Work + Deep Love blocks and iterate, iterate, iterate.