Optimize Conquer Procrastination

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Conquering Procrastination 101

How to Quit Putting Your Life on Hold and Actualize Your Potential

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.

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Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change

EVERYBODY procrastinates. And this "concise guide" by Timothy Pychl, Ph.D.--one of the world's leading procrastination experts--helps us solve the procrastination puzzle. Big Ideas we explore include IF ... THEN (<-- huge!), Just getting started (vs. Just doing it), the horror of "It will just take a minute," why multitasking is a myth, and why it's best to be nice to yourself when you stumble.

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The Procrastination Equation

How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done

Did you know there’s an equation for Procrastination? Yep. Expectancy x Value / Impulsiveness x Delay = Motivation. Thank you, Piers Steel. In this great book, Piers (a leading researcher on the science of motivation/procrastination) walks us thru the power of that equation. Big Ideas we explore include: Mental Contrasting (and why it beats creative visualization), goal setting (3 scientific keys) and how to add a month of productivity to your year.

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The Art of Taking Action

Lessons from Japanese Psychology

Greg Krech is one of the world’s leading teachers of Japanese psychology. This book integrates three core facets of the work he has done for the last 25+ years: Morita Therapy + kaizen + Naikan. Big Ideas we explore include understanding what is within our control and what is not (hint: thoughts and feelings are not; behaviors are), how to create momentum in your life and the importance of constant incremental improvement.

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Art and Fear

Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Art and fear. (You may have noticed they go together.) This is a quick-reading (122 pages), witty, real look at the process and challenges of making art. Of course, I think the biggest art project all of us can ever engage in is the creation of our own optimized and actualized lives, so we’ll be focusing on Big Ideas we can apply to our lives today including: quitting vs. stopping, fast vs. slow, 50 lbs, the importance of progress, naive passion vs. informed passion and how to get work done like a PRO!

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The 5 Second Rule

Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

Mel Robbins is funny, witty and wise. Her TEDx Talk (called How to stop screwing yourself over) is one of the most popular of all time, with more than 18 million views. This book is also super popular—with over 1,000 Amazon reviews. It’s pretty awesome. Actually, the book is REALLY (!) good. In fact, Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule might just be one of THE most elegantly efficient Tools we can use to close the gap between who we’re CAPABLE of being and who we’re ACTUALLY being. (Seriously.) Big Ideas we explore include The 5 Second Rule (and how/when to rock it), how to win the game of life (hint: start, stay in, for the long game!), excitement + anxiety (and how they feel the same in the body), managing distractions (today a good day?), and changing your life with one moment of everyday courage.

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Everything Is Figureoutable

My wife Alexandra has been a huge fan of Marie’s for a long time. I knew she was awesome. But... As I told Alexandra: “I had no idea Marie was THAT awesome!!!” My excuse: I’ve been in hermit-mode and have done nothing but read books for 5 years (no blogs/videos/etc.) so I wasn’t able to get the full sense of Marie’s heroically brilliant and grounded and HILARIOUS power until this book came out. I’ve read and created PhilosophersNotes on well over 500 books. This is one of my ABSOLUTE (!) favorites of all time. I HIGHLY (!!!) recommend it. It’s in the same league as some of my other favorites like Deep Work Atomic Habits and The 5 Second Rule. (In fact, on my chalkboard right now, I actually have “EVERYTHING IS FIGUREOUTABLE” right above “5-4-3-2-1-GO!” <- Winning combo!) The book is PACKED (!) with Big Ideas and I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth

Live Them and Reach Your Potential

Do you want to reach your potential? If you’re reading this then the answer seems clear. The path to do so is pretty obvious as well: We must grow. And, as Maxwell advises, we must be intentional about it. Big Ideas we explore include a couple uber-powerful questions, Discipline as the bridge btwn your goals and accomplishments, trade-offs, and the magic of “Do it now!”

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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!

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The Now Habit

A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

You ever procrastinate? Me, too. D'oh! This is an *awesome* book to help get at the underlying psychological issues/behaviorial patterns that are driving the show when we procrastinate (The Pursuit of Perfect is another great one for that, btw) and we'll have fun getting out of perfectionism and into facing our fears with baby steps in the right direction as we replace the self-defeating thoughts with more empowering ones.

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The Progress Principle

Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work

Teresa Amabile is the Director of Research at Harvard Business School. It’s pretty much impossible to read a book on business, creativity, or happiness at work and not run into her research. She wrote this book with her husband, leading developmental psychologist Steven Kramer. In it, we learn the secret of joy, engagement and creativity at work. Hint: Small wins! On (important distinction) meaningful stuff. Big Ideas we explore include the power of our “inner work life,” the 3 key influences to optimizing it (progress, catalysts, nourishers) and how to get on the progress loop and stay on it!

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Eat that Frog!

21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

You ever find yourself procrastinating? Well then, my friend, it's time to Eat That Frog!! Brian Tracy gives us 21 good reasons to figure out the most important work for your life and day and get on it already. Big Ideas include discovering your #1 goal, 80/20 time management, taking care of the raw materials of peak performance, and single handling.

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Constructive Living

Outgrow Shyness, Depression, Fear, Stress, Grief, Chronic Pain. Achieve the Goal of Constructive Living - To Do Everything Well

Dan Millman (author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior and other great books) introduced me to this book as he's been deeply influenced by David Reynolds' integration of Zen Buddhism and Western Psychotherapy. In this Note, we'll explore some Big Ideas on how to live with greater self-mastery by more effectively relating to our emotions and consistently asking ourselves: "Now what needs to be done?!"

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Fail Fast, Fail Often

How Losing Can Help You Win

Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz are two leading psychologists and career counselors. This book is a distillation of the wisdom they taught in their popular Stanford University continuing studies course ‘Fail Fast, Fail Often.” After working with thousands of people, they came to a compelling conclusion: “Happy and successful people tend to spend less time planning and more time acting”—which allows them to learn a TON and optimize along the way to mastery. Big Ideas we explore include dialing in your fun-meter, how to take action, being willing to be bad if we want to be good, think big—act small, and the fact that failure is what you make of it.

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How to Be an Imperfectionist

The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism

You ever struggle with perfectionism? If so, it’s time to learn how to be an imperfectionist! Stephen Guise (author of Mini Habits), shows us the way. Big Ideas include being a poser, living within floors and ceilings, thinking vs. doing, pulling the lever, and cultivating result apathy.

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A Mind for Numbers

How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)

Although, as per the sub-title, the book is ostensibly about “How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra),” it’s really about excelling at learning and at LIFE! Barbara Oakley is an award winning engineering teacher who used to struggle mightily with math and science. She walks us through the latest research in neuroscience and learning as she shares fascinating biographical sketches of scientific + mathematical luminaries along with wisdom from other world-class teachers. Great stuff.

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The 10X Rule

The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

Ready to 10X your thinking and your action? Fantastic. Grant Cardone is your man. In this high intensity, LET'S DO THIS! book you'll get fired up to go out and crush it. Big Ideas we explore include how to create goals, why MASSIVE ACTION is so important, how to starve fear, why obsession is a gift not a disease and how Smokey would smoke the tortoise and the hare.

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The Key to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

Mastery. Are you a dabbler or a hacker or an obsessive or a master? We all have elements of each and we tend to fall into particular patterns in our lives. In this Note, we'll explore George Leonard’s brilliant ideas on how to live a life of mastery, in which every moment becomes an opportunity for growth and self-expression as we embrace the practice of living masterfully.

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Loving What Is

Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

Byron Katie is best known for the four questions that make up "The Work" and in this Note we’ll take a quick look at those along with some other really cool Ideas. We'll learn to love what is by seeing our suffering as a compassionate alarm clock awakening us to our possibilities and by recognizing that if we see things as "wrong" in the world, we need to start by changing our own consciousness.

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The Icarus Deception

How High Will You Fly?

Seth Godin is one of the world's most inspiring and prolific creators. He's also one of its most popular bloggers. This book is all about challenging what Seth calls "The Icarus Deception" and reclaiming our power to fly. The primary theme? We’re way too worried about exhibiting any level of hubris and trying to fly too high when we should be more concerned about flying too LOW. (Obviously, without being “recklessly stupid” about it but…) Big Ideas we explore include: how to catch a fox (and human!), the highs and lows of the Icarus Deception, "the itch" (how's yours?), and how to deal with resistance (aka "the most important line in the book"!).

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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!

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Tiny Habits

The Small Changes That Change Everything

BJ Fogg founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the science of behavior change. In this book, he introduces us to the core elements of his Fogg Behavior Model as we learn that habit change doesn’t need to be as hard as we make it. As BJ tells us: “We are not the problem. Our approach to change is. It’s a design flaw—not a personal flaw.” Big Ideas we explore include the three elements that drive behavior (B = MAP!), the ABCs of Tiny Habits (Anchor + (Tiny) Behavior + Celebration!), the power of anchor prompts (After I (ANCHOR), I will (NEW HABIT), and the power of celebration (get your Shine on!).


Atomic Habits

An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

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

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Mini Habits

Smaller Habits, Bigger Results

How’s your habit-building process working for you? If you’ve stalled a few (hundred?) times, Stephen Guise tells us that Mini Habits might be just the thing you’re looking for! In the Note we look at what a Mini Habit is and how to go about rockin’ it exploring Big Ideas like making habits stupid small (aka “too small to fail”), embracing Newton’s 1st law, and being aware of ego depletion as you create your chain!


#7 Handy Dandy Motivational Calculator

The Science of Solving the Procrastination Equation
Piers Steele is a leading research scientist. After analyzing hundreds of studies on motivation, he came up with a little equation to
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#8 Motivation = ENERGY x (Value x Expectancy / Impulsivity x Delay)

A Modified Look at the Science of Motivation
Yesterday we talked about our motivation equation. You know: Motivation = Value x Expectancy / Impulsivity x Delay Quick re-cap: Our

#54 Speed Is a Force

The Force Is with You - Use It Wisely
The very first thing Phil Stutz taught me in our very first session together was the fact that Speed Is a Force. He told me that the longer
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#55 The Law of Diminishing Intent

Goes Nicely with Massive Action
In our last +1, we talked about the fact that Speed Is a Force. Jim Rohn said the same thing a little differently. He told us about the
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#72 Now What Needs to Be Done?

Remember: Feelings Follow Behavior
David Reynolds wrote what might be the best book you (and most other people) have never heard of. It’s called Constructive Living. David
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#81 Getting Started vs. Getting Finished

A Good Idea on How to Deal with Procrastination
If you’re feeling a little less than motivated and tempted to procrastinate on stuff, you might find this distinction helpful. There’s a
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#140 Stop Stopping

Be Not Afraid of Going Slowly. Be Afraid Only of Stopping.
Men’s Health says that Dean Karnazes is one of the 100 Fittest Men of ALL Time. He’s done crazy things—like running 350 miles at once.
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#168 Procrastipain

The Pain Is in the Anticipation—NOT in the Doing!
Barbara Oakley taught one of the largest classes in history on “Learning How to Learn.” She also wrote a great book called A Mind for
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#178 Eliminate Delay

To Increase Motivation and Jumbo Crushing
In our last +1, we revisited the Motivation Equation. Have you gotten that tattooed on your forehead (or at least in your brain!) yet?! I

#180 Thinking vs. Doing

Lessons from a Beach Ball
In one of my coaching sessions with Phil Stutz he told me to write something down. (He often does that. 😃) He said, “Draw a horizontal
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#206 Robot, Do This!

How to Put Your Awesome Ideas to Work
You know those times when you have a super-clear energetic hit of what the next best step is—whether it’s creatively or professionally

#267 Ready Fire Aim

How to Start a Donut Shop
John Mackey created Whole Foods Market and captured the principles of how he deliberately created a purpose-driven business at scale in his
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#303 Starve Fear

Of Its Favorite Food
In The 10X Rule, Grant Cardone tells us that we need to starve fear of its favorite food. Pop quiz! Do you know what fear’s favorite food
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#371 Eat that Frog

The Secret Ingredient for a Great Day
A few +1s ago, we mentioned one of Brian Tracy’s books called Eat that Frog. “Eat that Frog”? Yah. Eat it. First thing in the morning.
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#413 Are You a Should-Head?

Yoda, You and the Extra Degree that Burns thru Ambivalence
Not too long ago, we chatted about the importance of not “shoulding” on yourself. (You may recall Tony Robbins’ wisdom that it’s
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#476 How to Make Progress

Confucius Says It’s Simple: Just Keep Going
Confucius is back for a little more wisdom. Today he’s going to teach us about how to make progress. Me: “Thanks for joining us again,
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#480 Put Your Name on a Sheet

For an Immediate Surge in Clarity and Energy
Since our time with George Leonard exploring his ideas on Mastery, I’ve been thinking about him a lot. I realized that I forgot to share
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#536 How Byron Katie Does Her Dishes

Hint: She Dominates Them 🤓
In our last +1, we talked about the etymology of the word dominate. Recall, it comes from the Latin “to rule.” I like that. Let’s rule
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#625 Unfortunate vs. Unforgivable

Wasted Time and Waiting Any Longer
Today I’d like to talk about a little more wisdom from Seth Godin’s Icarus Deception. As we’ve discussed, his book (and his entire
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#680 The Moment of Decision

Is Where It’s At
In our last +1, we took a quick trip to Michelangelo’s studio and saw the Optimus You sitting there in the uncarved marble. Then we did a
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#736 Pre-Wins

Yoda’s Laws of Action: Part 1
I meet with my Yoda (Phil Stutz) on Mondays at 3:00 PM. I meet with our Optimize Coaches on Tuesdays at 9:00 AM. Not too long ago, that
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#788 The 5 Second Rule

5… 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … BLASTOFF!
Mel Robbins has a super-popular TEDx Talk called How to stop screwing yourself. She also wrote a super-popular book called The 5-Second
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#789 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

Now What Needs to Be Done?
In our last +1, we talked about Mel Robbins and her brilliant 5 Second Rule. When we know what we need to do (whether that’s getting out
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#790 5… 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …

Now What Needs to Be Done? (Part 2)
In our last +1, we talked about our new Optimus launch code: “5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Now what needs to be done?” Although I didn’t
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#804 Optimus Jet Packs

Strap Yours on Today and GO!
Not too long ago, we had fun taking a quick tour through Mel Robbins’s wise and funny brain and book. We talked quite a bit about her 5
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#819 Do It Now

Do It Now. Do It Now. Do It Now. (x50 in AM) (+50 in PM)
In our last +1, we spent some time hanging out with John Maxwell and his 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. Recall the focus of that discussion:
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#841 Growing Teeth

“It’s Not Growing!” “Oh… There It Is!”
Not too long ago, Emerson lost his first tooth. As any parent of a missing-tooth child knows, it’s pretty epically cute and awesome. The
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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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#1047 Zeno’s Paradox

Time to Reverse It
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been getting our riddles on with Ellen Langer. How about another quick pop quiz?! Two parts. Four questions.
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#1082 #1 Tip for Life Puzzles

Just Find the Next Piece
As we discussed in our +1 on The Puzzle of Life, Emerson and I recently got into puzzles. These days we’ve been having fun with the