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Locked 101 Classes

Optimizing for the Modern Hērō 101

How to Harness Your Soul Force to Create the Strength for Two So We Can Change the World Together

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.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Your Life Is Your Message

Finding Harmony With Yourself, Others, and the Earth

Eknath Easwaran is one of my favorite teachers and one of the most beloved spiritual teachers of the 20th century. He walked with Gandhi in his native India and shows us to be the change while making our life our message. We'll explore how to change the gears of our thinking, detox from mas media and engage in practical idealism.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. If you’ve ever heard of the “Hero’s Journey,” you have him and his lifelong commitment to studying mythology to thank. This book (written in 1949) is the one that captures the essence of his thoughts on the “monomyth” that shows up across all cultures. One universal hero. A thousand faces. Big Ideas we explore include: a quick look at the hero’s journey, moving past the veil of the unknown (aka romancing your discomfort zone) while creating micro hero journeys (all day every day), your ultimate boon (don’t make King Midas’s mistake), the mistake that the makers of legend made (growth mindset, guys!!), and a portrait of the modern hero (look in the mirror!).

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Natural Born Heroes

Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance

Christopher McDougall is a brilliant story teller (and author of Born to Run). In this great book, he weaves together a number of different narratives, with an emphasis on two: one about an extraordinary wartime adventure on Crete and the other about Natural Movement. In the process, he shares a ton of Ideas on how we can each tap into the extraordinary superpowers latent within. Big Ideas we explore include the ancient Greek meaning of the word “hero,” the mantra of the hero, why weeds + fat are optimal fuel and a great test.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Road to Character

In today’s world, the road to character has a much less defined map than the road to external success. In this thoughtful, penetrating book, New York Times op-ed columnist and author David Brooks walks us through the evolution of our culture away from a character ethic toward a society all about what he calls the “Big Me.” And, of course, he shows us the way back to character. Big Ideas we explore include résumé virtues vs. eulogy virtues, answering the summons, conquering yourself, living for holiness and becoming strongest at your weakest point.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Motivation and Personality

Abraham Maslow tells us, "What one can be, one must be!" (OMG I love that.) He was a 20th century humanistic psychologist who came up with the hierarchy of needs and studied the most exceptional people of his era. In this Note, we'll explore some of the Big Ideas on how we can be all that we're destined to be and look at some of the characteristics of those self-actualizing human beings who're rockin' it.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Food Fix

How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet--One Bite at a Time

Mark Hyman, MD, is head of strategy for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and board president for the Institute for Functional Medicine. He is also the bestselling author of a number of books, including Eat Fat, Get Thin. This is a very important and equally sobering book. As Mark says: "If we were to identify one big lever to pull to improve global health, create economic abundance, reduce social injustice and mental illness, restore environmental health, and reverse climate change, it would be transforming our entire food system. That is the most important work of our time—work that must begin now.” In the Note we take a quick look at the dysfunction of the food system and how to fix it while talking about the #1 thing YOU can do TODAY to address it. We also chat about the fact that your food label may be lying to you, the ENORMOUS amount of money the junk food industry spends on junk science (think: $12 BILLION) and the social justice issues of food.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Gandhi the Man

How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World

Eknath Easwaran is one of my absolute favorite teachers. In this beautiful and brilliant biography we get his insights into the transformation of Gandhi the man into the Mahatma or "great soul." As per the sub-title of the book, we learn “How one man changed himself to change the world.” Big Ideas we explore include why/how it all starts with being the change, the power of satyagraha (= soul-force!), making history (by ignoring historians), Gandhi and sugar (and fuel for his soul engine), the call to action (to be moral warriors), and "my life is my message" (what's yours?).

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Power of Ideals

The Real Story of Moral Choice

William Damon and Anne Colby are two of the world’s leading researchers in the field of moral psychology. They’re both Professors at Stanford and have been married for 30+ years. This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book that challenges the “new science of morality”’s view that morality is essentially biologically and socially determined. Damon and Colby argue that we all have the power to cultivate our more noble, moral possibilities. Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at our moral exemplars, moral agency, and the three virtues we want to cultivate: Truth + Humility + Faith.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Seventh Sense

Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks

This book is very different than the types of books I usually focus on. It’s not “self-development” per se; it’s more like “state-development”—as in, the optimal politics for our nation and world. The main thrust of the book is that we are entering a revolutionary time, the era of “Great Connection.” His primary focus is on a macro level. In our Note we focus on how we can apply this wisdom on an individual level. Big Ideas include a look at the #1 illness of our era and how to deal with it, why we need Hard Gatekeeping, the difference btwn complicated and complex and building a 10,000 year clock while answering the call to revolution.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

Life's Great Question

Discover How You Contribute To The World

I’m a big fan of Tom Rath and his work. And... I’m not alone. His 10 books have sold over 10 million copies. Dan Pink (author of Drive and When) calls him “One of the most successful nonfiction writers of his generation.” We featured two of his earlier books: Eat Move Sleep and Are You Fully Charged? Plus: His children’s book called The Rechargeables remains one of my all-time favorites. “Life’s Great Question” that beckons all of us (“What can I contribute?”) is beautifully framed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that kicks off the book: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” This book is a field manual to help us go about answering that question so we can, as per the subtitle of the book: “Discover How You Contribute to the World.” Big Ideas we explore include creating a sense of urgency in life, Purpose 2.0, connecting what we do to those we serve, undivided attention (our new secret weapon), and creating the energy to be our best.

Locked PhilosophersNotes

The Second Mountain

The Quest for a Moral Life

David Brooks is one of the nations’ leading writers and commentators. He is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times and appears regularly on PBS NewsHour and Meet the Press. I loved his book The Road to Character. I loved this one even more. David tells us there are two mountains: The first mountain? That’s what society tells us we should pursue: all the normal trappings of success. The second mountain? That’s where the magic (and joy!) exists: where we move beyond ourselves and COMMIT (important word for this book!) to giving ourselves most fully to something bigger than ourselves. David identifies four potential commitments: to our families, to our vocations, to our faith/philosophy of life and to our communities. Ultimately, the book is intended to be a guide to the ULTIMATE quest in life: “The Quest for a Moral Life.”

Locked +1s

#66 Warriors vs. Librarians

Let’s Not Just Catalogue these +1s, Let’s LIVE Them
Our last +1 was about a modern-day warrior, Georges St-Pierre. Let’s talk about old-school philosophical warriors for a moment. In his
Locked +1s

#95 Mediocrity vs. Excellence

How to Avoid Getting Stuck in the Middle of a Rugged Mountain
In our last few +1s, we’ve been chatting about reaching the Peak of our potential. What’s the alternative? Well, did you know that the
Locked +1s

#106 Reverse Indicators

How to Interpret Your Encounters with Dragons
So, let’s say you’ve decided to embark on a heroic quest. It’s time for you to leave the normal, routine life and really go for
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#107 Hērōs

Building Strength for 2
Speaking of heroes and the reverse indicators we can expect to see on our heroic, dragon-slaying quest(s), do you know what the word
Locked +1s

#118 Heroes Have Quests

What's Yours?
Sonja Lyubomirsky tells us that happy people have projects. Heroes? Heroes have QUESTS. Today’s +1: What Epic Heroic Quest are YOU on
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#125 Follow Your Grunt

Bliss + Grunt + Grunt = Magic
In our last +1 we had fun exploring the ancient wisdom that led Joseph Campbell to tell us: “Follow your bliss!” Later in his career,
Locked +1s

#147 How to Become an Iconoclast

The Science of Breaking Icons
In his great book on the neuroscience of being an Iconoclast, Gregory Berns tells us that there are, essentially, three things that make the
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#203 You As Your Three Heroes

Who Are Yours? (Here Are Mine)
In the documentary Finding Joe on Joseph Campbell and the modern hero’s journey, Deepak Chopra shares some great wisdom. He tells us to
Locked +1s

#405 The Dreaded “U-Lag" on Your Heroic Quest

And How to Conquer It
Returning to our Hero’s journey theme, imagine yourself at the start of an epic journey. You’re looking out across a canyon. You can see
Locked +1s

#473 Confucius on the Long Game

Play It with Intensity
In our last +1, we spent time trying to keep up with Confucius and his Optimizing intensity. Today we’re going to focus on the time
Locked +1s

#531 Wisdom from My Mom and Thomas Carlyle

God Gave You Gifts. Give Them to the World!
My mom and her husband Tom recently visited. I was blessed to be the best man in their wedding. I especially enjoyed having the opportunity
Locked +1s

#577 Transparent to the Transcendent

Joseph Campbell Asks: Are You?
As you might have noticed, we talk a lot about tapping into the heroic best within ourselves. 🤓 That kinda begs the question: Is all this
Locked +1s

#631 Your Golden Seeds

Take Them Out of the Packet and Plant Them!
Not too long ago, we talked about the Golden Buddha. In fact, as you may recall, we talked about him twice. First, I thought it was just a
Locked +1s

#713 Your Genius Zone - Part 2

What Is It You Can Uniquely Do?
Many moons ago, very early in our +1 journey together, we talked about Gay Hendricks’ wisdom on your Genius Zone. As you may recall, your
Locked +1s

#754 How to Make a Pearl

To Go with our Diamonds
One of our very first +1s was on a brilliant line from Steven Kotler. At the end of our interview about his great book The Rise of Superman,
Locked +1s

#824 Being the Change

YOU Want to See in the World
I just finished reading Eknath Easwaran’s brilliant biography on Gandhi called Gandhi the Man. I HIGHLY recommend it if you’d like to
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#827 Do That Which Is Assigned to You

And You Cannot Hope Too Much or Dare Too Much
A few +1s ago we talked about being the change YOU want to see in the world. As we discussed, we can’t try to be what others think we
Locked +1s

#848 Statistics Show Trends

They Can’t Predict Your Life
In our last couple +1s, we’ve been exploring some history-making heroes. Most recently, the Mahatma himself: Mr. Gandhi. Today we’re
Locked +1s

#951 Deepak on Superheroes

The Buddha, Bodhisattvas and You
In our last +1, we reminded ourselves of the fact that the ancient Greek word for hero didn’t mean “tough guy” or “killer of bad
Locked +1s

#1015 It’s Day 1

But Only Always
In our last +1, we had fun chatting about the diploma we give to our Optimize Coaches. It so perfectly captures the underlying purpose of
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#1063 The Big 2 (x2)

1. Develop + 2. Serve (+ 3. Repeat + 4. Forever)
In our last +1, we talked about David Brooks and his great books The Road to Character and The Second Mountain. We talked about hitting the
Locked +1s

#1083 Altruism Back in the Day

Was Just How People Lived
Today we’re going to tap into some more wisdom from David Brooks’ The Second Mountain. Let’s flip our copies of the book open to page
Locked +1s

#1096 How to Fall Upward

Embrace “Necessary Suffering”
Let’s go back to Richard Rohr and his wisdom from Falling Upward. We haven’t talked about the title of the book yet. “Falling
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#1094 Purpose 2.0

Time for a Purpose Upgrade?
In his great little book Life’s Great Question, Tom Rath talks about how to create more meaning in our lives by creating more meaning in
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#1095 How to Meaningify Your Work

In One Simple Step…
In our last +1, we talked about making a Purpose upgrade—going from a grand conception of one “big purpose” for life (Purpose 1.0) to
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#1114 The Toltec Warrior

Winning the (Inner!) Battle of Life
In our last +1, we talked about committing to closing the gap between who we’re capable of being and who we’re actually being—LIKE A
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#1147 The Three Quests + U

Universal + Unique + Ultimate
In our Mastery Series, we kick off the third session of Module II on Hero-ology with The 3 Quests + U in which I proposed that we all have
Locked +1s

#1203 Make Your Bed

And Maybe Change the World
In our last +1, we spent some more time with Admiral McRaven. He tells us: “At some point we will all confront a dark moment in life. If
Locked +1s

#1255 The Jonah Complex

Quit Running from Your Destiny
Scott Barry Kaufman is one of the world’s leading positive psychologists. We featured one of his earlier books called Wired to Create. So,
Locked +1s

#1279 How to High Five God

And Plug Into Divine Power Today
For the first three years of working together, Phil Stutz and I met EVERY single week. I think we might have rescheduled a couple sessions