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Locked 101 Classes

Conquering Anxiety 101

How to Tame the Anxious Gremlins and Live with Calm Confidence

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!

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Upside of Stress

Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

If you’ve ever had stress in your life (hah!) and wondered how to deal with it more optimally, I think you’ll love this. McGonigal tells us that how we THINK about stress plays a huge role in its affect on us and walks us thru the science behind it. Rather than try to get rid of stress (good luck with that!), we’re much better off shifting our mindsets to embrace and use the stress wisely!

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Anxiety Free

Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind - Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness

This is a quick-reading, simple, practical guide to, as the sub-title suggests, “Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind—Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness.” If you’re looking for a general introduction to the power of Oxygen, I’d recommend you go with Patrick’s more recent and more all-purpose Oxygen Advantage. If you suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks, this might be a great place to start. Big Ideas we explore: The #1 rule of breathing, the 2 key benefits of putting your attention on your breath, why CO2 is your friend and how to play nice, avoiding rat poison and becoming a good mind gardener.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Time Tested Methods For Conquering Worry

Have you ever worried more than you'd like? (Me, too.) In this Note, we'll explore some *really* Big Ideas on how to stop worrying and start living—including the importance of rest (did you know our hearts rest way more than they work every day? (Me, either.)) and how important it is to make decisions and take action!

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Awaken Your Strongest Self

If you’re looking to “Break free of stress, inner conflict, and self-sabotage” then Neil Fiore’s Awaken Your Strongest Self is the book for you! We already did a Note on Fiore’s GREAT book on overcoming procrastination called The Now Habit and I’m excited to have some fun sharing a few of my favorite Big Ideas from this great book as well. You’ll get to know your Strongest Self as we learn about the third perspective, ask ourselves “Where can I start?”, and address the genius syndrome!

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Relaxation Response

The classic mind/body approach that has helped millions conquer the harmful effects of stress.

Originally published in 1975, this is an old-school classic on the science of meditation. Herbert Benson, MD, has been a Professor at Harvard Medical School and a leading figure in the mind/body movement for decades. Benson was the first to scientifically establish the significant positive effects of meditation. He called it the “Relaxation Response.” Big Ideas we explore: Fight-or-flight vs. Relaxation responses, how to elicit the relaxation response, the placebo effect (is powerful!), and the power of focus.


The Tools

Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity

The Tools. This was easily the best book I read in 2012. It's *packed* with goodness. Stutz and Michels are two no-nonsense therapists who developed powerful tools to transform our problems into courage, confidence, and creativity. In this Note, we'll take a quick peek at how to put these powerful tools to work to create real change in our lives.


Eat Move Sleep

How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes

Eat Move Sleep. The simple, powerful keys to optimal health and well-being. We talk about these fundamentals ALL the time and this is my new favorite book on health. Big Ideas we explore include 10,008 hours and 36 minutes (the magic # of elite performance), candy for cancer cells, the power of measuring whatever it is you want to improve, how to buy willpower at the store, and a vaccine for the common cold.


Making Hope Happen

Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others

Did you know there's a science of hope? Yep. And Shane Lopez is the world's leading researchig studying the science of hope. This book is an inspiring look at the nuts and bolts of cultivating hope. Big Ideas we explore include differentiating hope from fantastizing and dwelling, the three keys to hope (goals + agency + pathways) , futurecasting, sirens, when/where plans and why hope is so important for leadership.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Way of the SEAL

Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed

A former U.S. Navy SEAL Commander, Mark Divine integrates the ancient warrior traditions with grounded, practical virtue and 21st century get-it-done effectiveness in a way that I find incredibly inspiring. Big Ideas we cover include the power of front-sight focus, how to DIRECT your mind, going Yoda on your commitments and creating micro goals when things are tough.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Make Your Bed

Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World

Admiral William H. McRaven is a Retired U.S. Navy SEAL who served for thirty-seven years and commanded at every level. As a Four-Star Admiral, his final assignment was as Commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. (During this time, he oversaw the covert mission that killed Osama bin Laden.) In 2014, he gave the commencement address to the graduates of the University of Texas at Austin. Millions of people wound up watching his speech on ten lessons he learned from his Navy SEAL training. This book takes a deeper look at those ten lessons. It’s a super-quick read—packed with simple, yet profound wisdom along with moving stories of moral exemplars. It's FANTASTIC.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Stillness Is the Key

This is our fourth Note on one of Ryan Holiday’s books. Ryan is one of my absolute favorite writers. One of the testimonials in the front of the book perfectly captures my sentiment. Screenwriter and director Brian Koppelman (Rounders, Ocean’s Thirteen and Billions) puts it this way: “I don’t have many rules in life, but one I never break is: If Ryan Holiday writes a book, I read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.” (btw: Cal Newport’s the first testimonial. He says: “Some authors give advice. Ryan Holiday distills wisdom. This book is a must read.”) Penguin Random House sent me an advance copy of this book. As I knew it would be: It’s fantastic. Of course, the book’s packed with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share some of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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#20 How to Stop Thinking

The #1 Tip on How to Master this Important Lost Art
Patrick McKeown is one of the world’s leading experts on optimal breathing. When I interviewed him recently, he made a very interesting
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#25 Grateful Flow

The Antidote to Ick Sauce
In our last +1, we chatted about the scientifically-proven power of gratitude: Simply writing down 5 things you’re grateful for can boost
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#27 "I'm Excited!"

What to Say to Yourself When You’re Feeling Nerves
Alison Wood Brooks is a researcher at Harvard Business School. She studies the most effective strategy for dealing with acute stress. First,
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#59 Mistakes? They’re Just Mis-takes

You As the Director of Your Life
Imagine yourself as the Director of a movie. Huge budget. You have an amazing crew. Best actors in the world and an impeccable script.

#82 Suffering = Pain x Resistance

An Important Lesson on How to Reduce Suffering
In her great book Self-Compassion, Kristin Neff shares a little equation that can help us reduce our suffering. It goes like this: Suffering
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#84 Rumination

It's Time to Quit Chewing on Your Mental Cud
While we’re on a roll with how to reduce our emotional suffering, let’s talk about something you want to quit doing: ruminating. Science
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#127 Lion vs. Jungle

Be Nice to Your Limbic System, Please
Alberto Villoldo tells us that we evolved to deal with one lion roaring at us at a time. That lion’s roar triggers a fight or flight
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#132 Whose Business Are You In?

Three Options: Yours + Someone Else’s + God’s
Byron Katie tells us that there are three different businesses we can be in: Our own business, someone else’s business, or God’s
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#133 The Serenity Prayer

Serenity + Courage + Wisdom = A Winning Combo
In our last +1 we talked about Byron Katie’s idea that you can be in one of three businesses: someone else’s business, God’s business
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#142 How to Eat Stress Like an Energy Bar

Reappraisal + Paradoxical Stress Swap
Are you chronically stressed? Of course, the good life is not one in which we never experience high levels of stress and/or try to eliminate
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#190 Approach vs. Avoidance

What Do You Do When You Feel Challenged?
What do you do when you feel challenged? Do you APPROACH the challenge? Or, do you AVOID it? Psychologists tell us that this is one of the
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#310 The 2nd Arrow

Quit Shooting Yourself with It
In No Mud, No Lotus, Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that suffering is a part of life. You can’t create a beautiful lotus flower without some
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#336 Threat vs. Challenge

How to You Respond to Life’s Stressors? (It Matters!)
In our last +1, we met our telomeres and learned how important they are in protecting our chromosomes so they can do their job and keep us
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#363 Fear & Expectations

How to Move from Fear to Excitement
Quick pop quiz: Are you afraid of something these days? Pause for a moment and identify one thing that’s kinda (or really) stressing you
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#375 You, a Farmer and His Horse

A Zen Fable on Good and Bad Luck
Once upon a time in a land far away, there was an old farmer. This man had a horse. Then, one day, his horse ran away. All the neighbors
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#407 Styrofoam Weights

And Your Optimize Gym™ Membership
As we’ve discussed, years ago I did 1-on-1 coaching with one of my favorite authors, Steve Chandler. It was awesome. One day, Steve and I
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#409 It Is What It Is

The Power of Loving What Is
Byron Katie wrote a great book called Loving What Is. We talked about her before in the context of making sure you stay in YOUR business
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#479 How to Bottle Up Your Worries

You, Fog and Some Elevation
I live in a tiny little town in Southern California called Ojai. Our town is in a valley and every morning I do my sunrise hike/trail run in
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#509 Eckhart Tolle on Food Poisoning

And on Thought + Behavior Poisoning
Have you ever had food poisoning? Me, too. No fun, eh? How’d you get yours? (I’m having flashbacks of the time I got so sick in Bali I
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#528 Unicorns and Where to Find Them

Hint: On Mt. Everest (+ How to Give Your Stress Meaning)
In our last +1, we talked about Joseph Campbell’s thoughts on Bliss AND Pain. Short story there, if you’re ONLY experiencing fun and
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#637 Ownish vs. Victimese

Learning a New Language
In Steve Chandler‘s great little book called Reinventing Yourself he makes a distinction between being an “Owner” vs. a
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#780 The Greatest Predictor of Anxiety

Can You Guess It?
Way back in the early days of our +1 Optimizing together, we talked about the fact that our limbic systems evolved to deal with a single
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#851 Stoic Negative Visualization

A Practice in the Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
In our last couple +1s, we talked about a couple of ways to reframe life’s lemons into a little more Optimizade. We started with “At
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#870 How to Stop Worrying

And Start Living (Hint: Spit on Your Hands and Get Busy!)
At this stage, most people have heard of Dale Carnegie’s uber-bestselling book How to Win Friends and Influence People. It was originally
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#918 Don’t Feed the Demon

A Lesson from Olloch the Glutton
One of my favorite things in life is reading with Emerson. It’s a keystone habit for our family’s nighttime rituals that I absolutely
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#940 Stress Curfews

When's Yours?
Not too long ago, we talked about Sleep Curfews. Five of them, to be precise. One for Caffeine. Another for Exercise. Plus Eating. Plus
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#948 Despair --> Hope

The Best Bridge?
In our last +1, we put on our Optimizing nerd glasses ( 🤓 !!!) and explored the etymological (and psychological) opposites: prosper and
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#1006 Brushing Our Brains

Here’s Your Brainbrush
In our last +1, we spent some time with Emily Fletcher and reflected on her meditation wisdom that thoughts are not our enemies. As she

#1069 How to Cultivate Gratitude

Science Says: #1 Practice = …
Robert Emmons joined us to give us some EYE-POPPING (his words, my all caps!) stats: “People are 25 percent happier if they keep gratitude
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#1127 How to Get Perspective

And Meet Life’s Biggest Challenges
Not too long ago, we hung out with my friend Tripp Lanier who helped us gain perspective via a little thought exercise that included us