- Expect nothing from no one (secure your own future).
- A trusted friend will let you down from time to time. They have other things to worry about than you. Don’t think less of them, simply stop expecting them to always be there for you.
- A well-intentioned company will let you go when the economy crashes. Don’t except a good thing to last forever. Always be learning skills and seeking opportunities.
- Expect everything to go away one day.
- Realizing everything could vanish in an instant (your favorite people, your health, your freedom) makes you grateful for everything you have. It’s hard to be worried or anxious when you’re grateful.
- Do imperfect work, but strive to make it better.
- Seeking perfection may seem noble, but it’s generating unnecessary anxiety in your life.
- Instead, make early prototypes, write terrible first drafts, and start with a mediocre performance. Once you’ve done something, aim to improve upon it as many times as you can. Great work requires many iterations.
- Focus on skill development, not goal achievement
- Achieving goals will not guarantee success. Having a set of valuable skills will. (Watch my summary of ‘How to Fail and Still Win Big’ by Scott Adams for an in-depth look at skills vs. goals).
- Never follow a plan, but always be rehearsing plans.
- “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Developing and rehearsing a plan allows you to see the potential pitfalls of what you are about to do and makes the unknown less terrifying.
- When it comes time to act, following a plan is a recipe for disaster because it doesn’t allow you to rapidly improvise when things change. As Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
- Prepare for the worst: financially and emotionally.
- Each year, buy insurance and top up your savings to protect you and your family from ANY disaster that could occur in the upcoming year. Then stop thinking about it for 365 days.
- Before doing anything ‘risky,’ consider your recovery plan. If you can’t recover then don’t do it. When you look hard enough you’ll find you can recover from most setbacks. For example, leaving your job on good terms and trying to start a business is OK when you know that you could always go back to your job.
- Make the decision with the most options and make big decisions through a series of smaller decisions (short trials).
- Make the decision that allows you to change direction should circumstances change.
- Break down your big decisions into a series of smaller decisions to test assumptions and gain valuable information before jumping in head first.
- Trying to decide which city you want to move to? Rent a condo in the neighborhood where you plan to live for 2 weeks. Act as though you are living there for 2 weeks. Is it what you expected?
- Trying to decide whether you should quit your job or not? Take a 3-week stay-cation and work on your side business to see if takes off and if doing that work is really something you want to do full time.
- Own less and save your money for experiences.
- When you own something you need to maintain it. When you own something you fear losing it.
- When you save your money for experiences you get to enjoy planning, doing and talking about it after.
- Maintaining the memory of a meaningful experience requires zero ongoing maintenance and there is no need to fear losing it.
- Experiences can become more valuable over a lifetime because they often lead to new skills that serve you for a lifetime.
Inspired by James Altucher
When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed by a mountain of ‘to-dos’, try asking yourself the following list of questions (core questions plus ‘–>’ follow-up questions):
Get out a piece of paper or open up a Word file and answer the following questions by writing down whatever comes to your mind (stream of consciousness exercise):
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” – Steve Jobs
Just ONE Thing:
- Cross out 50% of that list and re-write the remaining 50% to make a new list.
- Ask the question again and cross out another 50%.
- Continue this process until you have 1 or 2 items remaining.
Less is More:
**If you’d like a PDF checklist of these questions for your records click here: Overwhelm Elimination Checklist
Does your goal inspire immediate action?
Establish a Higher Standard for Yourself
Develop a higher standard for yourself by establishing a feeling or image of someone you aspire to be. As Arnold Schwarzenegger says: “Dig deep down and ask yourself ‘who do you want to be?’ Not what, but who.” It need not be a specific person. Arnold’s standard was simply being: ‘The best bodybuilder of all time.’ He lived that standard every day until the reality matched his results.
Once you establish your standard, strip all the emotion out of it. Make it simply who you are, not who you hope to be. Become indifferent to any other way of being. This makes your brain want to quickly bridge the gap between your current reality and who you know yourself to be, thus making you more likely to take immediate action.
Challenge Yourself With Something BIGGER
In the book, ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’, author David Schwartz explains the advantage of thinking big:
Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others.” – David Schwartz
Without big goals you’ll avoid taking the first step towards achieving something great.
Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success.” – David Schwartz
Big goals are useful because they come equipped with a great fall back plan.
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you‘ll land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Modify your goal until it inspires action.
Remember: It’s not what a goal is, it’s what a goal does.
Envision the Obstacles You’ll Overcome
Envision the act of overcoming obstacles along the way. See the act of overcoming obstacles as enjoyable.
The best way to get people up and moving was to ask them to dream and then to confront them right away with the realities that stood in the way of their dreams.” – Gabriele Oettingen
Therefore, once you establish your higher standard (step 1) and aim for a BIG result (step 2), envision yourself overcoming obstacles you’re likely to face. Doing so will make you more resilient when setbacks occur and less afraid of falling short of your goal, thus making you more likely to take action.
What harsh realities are you likely to face? See those obstacles as a chance to show your skills. Get excited at the idea of eliminating the obstacles in your way.
BONUS: visualizing yourself overcoming obstacles from the ‘3rd person’ perspective will increase the likelihood of taking action by 20% according to a 2007 Ohio State University study.
Rehearse ‘When-Then’ Routines
Think: “When X occurs, I will do Y.”
Example: “When I wake up, I will put on my running shoes and gym clothes located next to my bed and go for a 10-minute run outside.”
When you rehearse a ‘when-then’ routine you are setting what psychologists call an ‘implementation intention’. Over 200 studies at Columbia’s Motivation Science Center show that we are 300% more likely to achieve our goals when we use this approach (source).
We are often slow to act because the instructions we give ourself are abstract (i.e. lose weight). ‘When-then’ routines clarify when you need to take action and what action you need to take (trigger + routine). This allows your brain to take action without hesitation.
By rehearsing ‘when-then’ routines you are effectively forming a habit. Over time, a well-formed habit seems effortless and automatic. The more we perform a habit the harder it becomes for us to not do it (consider the last time you went to bed without brushing your teeth).
Therefore, if you want to take consistent action towards your goal, rehearse ‘when-then’ routines.
Make Starting Stupid Easy
Scale back the requirement to get start to something that you consider stupid easy.
If your goal is to write more set the daily requirement for a successful writing session at 50 random words. Lowering the daily requirement makes you much more likely to start writing.
When the minimum requirement is too high (i.e. go to the gym and work out for 90 minutes every day when you haven’t worked out for 5 years), you’ll get overwhelmed and search for an easy, more pleasurable alternative (i.e. sit on the couch and eat an entire bag of Doritos). By lower the requirements you make starting easy and allow yourself to experience a greater reward.
Want to be a better golfer? Make the daily minimum requirement simply to pick up a golf club and swing it once. Any additional swings feel like a bonus.
Want to get stronger and fitter? Make the daily minimum requirement simply to do 1 push-up. Any additional push-ups feel like a bonus.
Here’s a dirty little secret: you rarely just do the minimum. Eighty percent of anything is starting. Once started you find it easy to continue once you have momentum. By thinking of everything beyond the minimum requirement as a bonus you will feel a greater sense of accomplishment for any extra work you put in.
Most goals are a daydream, a reality you hope to achieve one day. But remember:
Hope is a start. But hope needs action to win victories” – David J. Schwartz
Use the S.C.O.R.E. framework to take more action and achieve your goals. Remember to set a higher Standard, Challenge yourself with something bigger, get excited about overcoming the Obstacles, Rehearse ‘when-then’ routines and make the starting requirements stupid Easy.
Being busy is not the same as being productive.
If you examine your day you’ll notice that 80% of your time is being filled with low-return activities.
To prevent your time from being eroded by low-value activities you need to say ‘no’ more often. However, saying ‘no’ can damage a personal relationship.
Here are 10 responses you can use to defend against incoming requests and protect your time – WITHOUT damaging relationships.
“If I say yes to this, I’ll be saying no to ___”
- Works well when asked to make large time commitments: “Unfortunately if I say yes to this project, I’ll being saying no to my __(health, family, etc.)__, and I am not willing to do that at this time.”
“No for now, but I’ll let you know if something changes.”
- You leave the person with a feeling of hope and make less likely to persist with the request.
- Your response isn’t a lie because if circumstances do change you might want to accept their request.
- This is a great default response to avoid taking on too much but still leaving your options open.
The graceful “No”:
- Start with warmth: “Thank you for your consideration.”
- Continue with your Yes: “I am currently committed to …” (goal, project or appointment)
- Follow-up with your No: “Because of this I need to decline.”
- End with warmth: “I wish you all the best in finding someone else.”
“Just so I understand, you want me to ____” (defending against ridiculous requests)
- By rephrasing the request you force the person to see their request from a different perspective. This can help them see how unreasonable their request sounds. I use this response to defend against taking on impossible tasks.
Anti-chitchat: “Hi ___, I’m in the middle of something, what did you want to talk about?”
- Useful when someone ‘pops by your desk to chat’ and you need to work.
- Useful when answering phones calls and avoid small talk (however, small talk can sometimes be beneficial to maintain a friendly relationship).
“Sorry I’m busy at the moment, but have you tried ___?”
- Providing them with an alternative is a great way to turn down a request and not damage the relationship.
- A similar response might be: “I’m too busy to do that right now, but I can’t give you with the following resources: ___”
“Due to my high workload, I must decline.”
- Works well when asked to take on too much work: “Due to a high workload, I am unable to take on new projects at this time. I will have more availability after ___”
- Works well as an email auto-responder and reduce the amount of time you spend in your inbox: “Due to a high workload, I am only responding to emails between 4pm-5pm. If it’s an emergency please call my cell at 333-333-3333.”
- Also works well as a voicemail greeting: “Due to a high workload, I am only responding to messages between 4pm-5pm. If it’s an emergency please call my cell at 333-333-3333.”
“Sorry, I have another commitment.”
- Know your commitments in advance. Review your weekly calendar each morning and whenever you receive a request.
- It is OK to use this response when you have a personal commitment that isn’t on your calendar. This includes time to simply rest and recover.
“I don’t do ____” (avoid using “I can’t…” or “I shouldn’t…”)
- “I don’t” is a hard and fast personal rule that people interpret as being part of your identity. Therefore, people are less likely to talk you into accepting the request.
- An alternative form: “I have rule: I don’t ___”.
- Great for turning down undesirable social events: “Sorry I don’t go out on Monday’s” or “Sorry I don’t do carnivals.”
- Saying “I can’t” usually means your lying – saying that you can’t go somewhere often means you don’t feel like going somewhere. People will interpret your “I can’ts” as misleading statements and lose respect for you.
- Saying “I shouldn’t” leaves your response open for debate. When you say “I shouldn’t eat ice cream” the person offering you the ice cream will likely persist and give you a few good reasons to eat it (“it’s delicious!”), causing you to eventually say yes and later regret it.
Long pause. Think. Then respond: “Unfortunately I need to say no”
- This response makes the requester believe that you’ve seriously considered their request. Your delayed leaves them feeling less rejected and less likely to talk you into accepting the request.
Antifragility is the ultimate weapon to fight overwhelm and uncertainty in your life.
Understanding and embracing antifragility can radically alter your life.
What exactly is ‘Antifragility’?
In the book ‘Antifragile’, author Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes an antifragile system as a system that improves by encountering small stressors.
Being antifragile is different than being resilient.
Resilience is having the ability to withstand challenges and setbacks without being worse off afterwards.
Antifragility is the ability to not just withstanding challenges and setback but thrive as a result of them.
When we are antifragile stress doesn’t break us down, it breaks us up.
Nassim says that you have a robust system (high antifragility) when the accumulation of small mistakes has a high potential upside and very little downside.
Your body is Antifragile
Your body is the perfect model of antifragility.
- UV Radiation in small doses repairs tissues and generates vitamin D (a vitamin that is essential for every cell in your body).
- Exposure to germs and bacteria build the body’s immune system.
- Stressing a muscle causes it to grow.
- Struggling to understand a concept makes it more likely that we will remember it.
- The stress of running releases BDNF: a protein that causes your brain to grow new neural connections (read this article if you want to learn more about BDNF)
The concept of ‘antifragility’ is critical to our physical AND emotional health. Embracing small stressors forge mental toughness.
There are two areas of life that I focus on to stay emotionally Antifragile:
Focusing on several relationships results in low Antifragility
Having an abundance of relationships is exciting at first. However, the more relationships you maintain the more these relationships become ‘surface level’ relationships. Maintaining a large number of relationships accumulates stress in your life while providing no outlet for that stress.
Maintaining many friendships means you are not spending the time needed to forge deep friendships with a select few people. Deep relationships allow you to be open and honest and act as your support system.
Focusing on key relationships is Antifragile.
Slight stressors injected into a deep friendship causes that relationship to grow stronger.
Deep friendships have a foundational trust and respect that enable them to endure stress. Over time, stress actually increases the strength of the social bond. Stressful experiences become stories of triumph and growth.
Allowing too many people into your life weakens your key relationships because key relationships need time. The weaker your relationships, the more fragile you are.
Choosing to work at a large corporation introduces fragility into your career
When you work at a large corporation your small failures can easily be overlooked. When small failures are ignored you are unlikely to properly learn from them. Over time, the accumulation of small failures leads to an unexpected layoff.
At this point, you are without a job, your skills are weak and you have a poor reference for the next job interview.
Generally speaking, large corporations are slow to react to small stressors. Over time, small stressors accumulate to the point where a large corporation has a crisis. When this occurs you were out of a job and there is nothing you could do about it.
Working as an entrepreneur is Antifragile
Each small failure accelerates skill development because each failure is painfully obvious.
Small failures cause you to quickly improve your business model. Iterative improvements caused by a series of small failures increase your odds of success.
The accumulation of failures may cause your business to fail but at least you walk away with a set of tested skills. Over time, these skills could lead to a business breakthrough, allowing you to achieve financial freedom.
Seek Antifragile Situations
Seek out situations where small failures are obvious:
- Break down your projects into smaller components. Aim to work in small teams with reduced scope.
- Continuously prototype and test your products ideas by interviewing target customers (watch my animated summary of the book ‘Sprint’ to understand how).
- Learn a skill by doing it and not being afraid to initially look bad.
Avoid situations where the small stressors are hard to detect:
- Over-committing to large complex projects (in such projects small failures can go undetected and accumulate to cause catastrophic failures).
- Working on a new product idea without engaging the target customer for feedback.
- Learning a new skill by reading about it instead of actually doing it (ex: trying to learn soccer by reading books on the physics of soccer).
The ONE Takeaway
Stress causes Antifragile systems to thrive.
Set up your life to notice small stressors and see them as a way to accelerate growth. Think of yourself as a comic book character who has a special ability: the stress and setback you encounter makes you stronger, faster, better.
7 Ways of Thinking When Things Get Tough
In January I lined up with 27,000 people to run a half-marathon in Houston. I was wearing shoes purchased 22 hours before to the race and set to run 15km further than I had run in the last last 4 months. This was my first half-marathon on pavement and I knew it was going to hurt like hell (all previous races were on dirt trails).
How the heck was I going to finish 21.1km with new shoes and a lack of training?
Thirty minutes into the race the pain was intense. To get past the pain and finish the race I needed to adopt a resilient mindset.
Here are 7 powerful perspectives I used to complete the half-marathon:
1. Be Playful
Runners typically want to avoid large crowds of people. Most marathoners just want to put their heads down and grind out the next few hours.
I do the opposite. I find dense groups of people and look for ways to weave in and out of the crowd.
I see hordes of people the same way a kayaker sees white water rapids. I navigate my way through the terrain by looking for openings. When I see an opening I leap ahead, trying not to cut people off and avoid an elbow to the face!
This little game requires additional energy but it allows me to forget the pain I’m experiencing.
When things get tough – be playful.
2. Acknowledge Progress
As the race went on I started thinking about how long I had left to run and that left me feeling overwhelmed. With 5 miles to go and legs felt like jelly and I wasn’t confident in my ability to finish the race.
However, after running a few miles I had developed a nice rhythm. Each step seemed automatic, like a well-ingrained habit – I simply needed to get out of my own way and let it happen.
By letting my stride naturally continue I could simply observe the progress I was making. The last 100 yards seemed almost effortless with my new found rhythm.
Reflecting on the tiny progress I was making every 100 yards energized me and gave me the motivation to continue.
When things get tough – find your rhythm, reflect upon previous progress and let habit take over.
3. Gravitate to Others
When the pain became unbearable I ran next to a stranger. I simply got close to someone and matched their running stride. I let them dictate the pace.
Soon it felt as though they were carrying me forward with an imaginary forcefield around them. With their help I no longer needed to ‘will’ myself forward.
Along the way I internally thanked them for the help, by thinking: ‘thank you for being here and helping me!.’ If their pace started to waver I stay near them and encouraged them on by saying: “you got this, you’re doing great!”
When things get tough – gravitate to others who are moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Just Practice
At mile 8 I was completely exhausted. My mind desperately wanted to stop running and start walking. I knew if I started walking I would regret the lost time.
To distract my mind I started practicing tiny boxing jabs. I saw myself in a ring training for a boxing match. As I ran, I made small movements with my arms and wrists pretending to work on my jab technique.
At first this seem ridiculous since I don’t even box! But putting my mind in a ‘practice’ mindset (whatever form of practice it was), took my mind off the pain.
When things get tough – focus on practicing and refining a skill.
The Houston marathon had several DJ booths and bands on the side of the road. Whenever I ran by a DJ booth or marching band I felt a surge of energy that propelled me forward for the next half-mile.
When things get tough – put on some music. The right music can be a great source of energy.
6. It’s Going to End
Several times during the race I hit the ‘wall’: a feeling that you are completely out of energy.
Each time I hit the ‘wall’ I had to remind myself: “It is all going to be over soon. This will end.”
As venture capital investor Chris Sacca puts it: “Tonight I will be home in my bed.” (a phrase he repeated to himself while running his first Ironman).
Convincing yourself that the suffering will end gives you permission to endure more suffering.
When things get tough – give yourself a clear end date/scenario and remind yourself that the pain you’re feeling is only temporary.
7. Final Sprint
With 0.2 miles left and with the finish line in sight, I felt a surge of energy. The sight of the finish line inspired me to end the race with a full out sprint. The certainty that the pain would stop allowed me to tap into my reserves and finish strong.
When things get tough – make a final dash to the finish.
How did I do?
With those 7 marathon mindsets I ran a 7.4-minute mile and finished the race in 1:37 (my best half-marathon time). However, what mattered more than my time was realizing I had the tools to get through any difficult challenge.
Use these 7 mindsets to get past pain and conquer your next challenge.
A few months ago I was experiencing sporadic energy levels throughout the week, so I decided to subjectively measure my energy on a scale of 1-10 each morning and afternoon, then average the two. As Peter Drucker said: “What gets measured gets managed”. After months of experimentation, I found six habits that enabled me to M.A.N.A.G.E. my energy levels between a 8-10 rating for 3 weeks .
Meditate first thing in the morning.
A 2011 Harvard study found that an eight-week mindfulness meditation program made measurable changes to brain regions associated with memory, self-awareness, empathy and stress. With increased memory you are more likely to stick to your goals. With increased self awareness you are more likely to notice the things that take you off track and derail your energy. Having increased empathy improves your social interactions (an obvious energy booster). Lastly, with an increased ability to manage stress you prevent mental exhaustion and reduce the likelihood of burnout or depression.
Our minds go through an ultradian rhythm of focus night and day. At night, our ultradian rhythm determines when we experience REM sleep (the active part of sleep when we consolidate memories). During the day, our ultradian rhythm determines when we can achieve a state of heightened focus.
This is a typical 24 hour ultradian rhythm of mental focus (source):
During waking hours we experience high points that are similar to the REM phase we experience at night – sporadic and unfocused. If we attempt to stay focused during these times (a time when our minds naturally want to unfocus), we will rapidly drain our mental energy reserves. Therefore, it is wise to schedule in periods of ‘unfocus’ during these times. As per the graph, I have found these ‘unfocused’ periods to occur every 3 hours after waking. If I wake at 6:30am, I should plan ‘unfocus’ periods at 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6:30pm and 9:30pm.
Here are my favorite ways to unfocus and ensure my focus is heightened when it is time to re-focus:
- Mindfulness walks in the morning (going for a walk and simply noticing the sight and sounds, while letting go of any thoughts I may have).
- Running around 12:30pm and getting a dose of brain derived neurotrophic factor (natural protein that you body produces when you do aerobic exercise – increases learning and creativity throughout the day). For more details read my summary of the book ‘Spark’.
- Socializing with friends in the afternoon. Taking time to inquire about someone’s day or congratulating them on a recent accomplishment. This can include texting, social messaging or meeting in person.
- Listening to music, podcasts or an audiobook in the evening.
Night Time Ritual
Night time can be your time to catch up on TV shows or surf the internet. However, if we aren’t careful these activities will extend our waking time and prevent a good night’s sleep. Failing to get a good sleep (7-9 hours) can have the same effect on your mental state as being intoxicated.
“Most people can’t get to sleep without some wind-down time, even if they are very tired, so executives may not doze off until 2 in the morning. If they average four hours of sleep a night for four or five days, they develop the same level of cognitive impairment as if they’d been awake for 24 hours—equivalent to legal drunkenness.”
- 2006 Harvard Business Review magazine interview with Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, the Baldino Professor of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School (source)
To ensure optimal sleep, I practice a N.I.G.H.T. time ritual:
- Note – write down whatever is on your mind. Dump any to-do’s, worries or problems that you’re thinking about. This will reassure you mind that you will take care of things tomorrow and allow you to sleep soundly.
- Intention – set the main intention for tomorrow: the one thing if done well will make the day a success. Setting your intention the day before allows you to hit the ground running the next morning. It also allows you to come up with creative ideas while you sleep (the mind makes lateral connections as it consolidates memories during REM sleep).
- Glasses – wear yellow tinted glasses to block blue light. Exposure to blue light (lights in your house, computer screen, smartphone, iPad, TV) prevents you from releasing melatonin (a hormone you naturally produce to help you sleep). This 2014 study showed 20% reduction in melatonin by being exposed to blue light.
- Hold off Eating – save your appetite for the morning. This study shows that eating late releases a hormone called C-peptite which reduces the level of melatonin.
- Thankfulness – be thankful for the positive interactions you had during the day and any small wins you had. Take advantage of the peak-end rule: we recall experience by remembering the peak moment and the way it ended. For more on this watch my video summary on the book “How to Have a Good Day” by author Caroline Webb: bit.ly/1QJYTvF
Avoid Energy Killers
There are a few things that are sure to kill your energy. I call these things S.H.O.T.S. to your personal energy levels.
- Sitting for long stretches of time shuts down your metabolism and turns off your brain.
- High Glycemic Index foods. Eating high GI foods such as refined sugar and processed grains spike your blood sugar. As per Dr. Kelly McGonigal in the Willpower Instinct: “In the long term, blood sugar spikes and crashes can interfere with the body’s and brain’s ability to use sugar— meaning that you could end up with high blood sugar, but low energy (as is the case for the millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes).”
- Overeating taxes your digestive system, causing your body to divert precious energy from mental processing to digesting food. To combat this, stop eating when approximately 75% full – feeling satisfied but not entirely full. It’s important to remember that the feeling of being ‘full’ has a 30 minute delay, so eat slowly and take breaks while eating.
- Talking with negative people. Talking with people who gossip and complain drains my energy faster than anything. It’s hard to not be influenced by them and think like a cynic. Identify these negative people and avoid them like the plague (if you can…).
- Solitude. It is important to avoid negative people but that doesn’t mean you should avoid people in general! Leave the house, go to a cafe and be around people. If you work in a office, make sure you take time to mingle with coworkers. I like to work in solitude for most of the day, but if I don’t interact with people during the day, my sleep is terrible and my energy is dramatically lowered the next day.
When you play a game you are volunteering to be challenged. You look at obstacles as an opportunity for personal growth. You seek out small wins throughout your quest and get excited when facing big challenges (big challenges = big opportunities for growth). Approaching your day with a ‘gameful’ mindset makes you more resilient and optimistic throughout the day. For more on a gameful mindset watch my video summary of the book “SuperBetter” by Jane McGonigal: bit.ly/21Ir6un
Eat for Energy
Protein in the morning
According to Dr. Jack Kruse you should consume a large amount of protein within 30 minutes of waking if you want to optimize your leptin levels – the hormone responsible for regulating your metabolism/energy levels. To get adequate amount of protein try eating 30-75 grams of organic eggs, grass-fed meat or wild salmon. Alternatives include whey or plant based protein shakes.
Fat and Veggies during the day
Eating primarily saturated (butter, coconut oil, egg yolk, etc.) and monounsaturated fat (olive oil, avocado oil) with fibrous non-starchy vegetables (salad, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc.) stabilizes my blood sugar throughout the day and gives me all the nutrients I need to perform optimally. Eating this way allows me to avoid the afternoon crash. If for whatever reason I feel lethargic during the day I supplement with salt and MCTs (this is simply what I do – I’m not a doctor, so don’t make adjustments to your diet before consulting your doctor). I supplement with salt since my sodium levels are quickly depleted on a high fat diet. I consume MCTs (medium chain triglycerides – a derivative of coconut oil) because they are easily converted to ketones in the liver (ketones are an alternate fuel source for the brain).
Oh, and if you think saturated fat is bad for you, think again. Research over the last 20 years has concluded that saturated fat does not lead to heart disease and is actually essential to your health. Tim Ferriss has a great article on saturated fat: bit.ly/1T9iGeb
Carbs in the evenings
If you are going to eat carbohydrates eat them later in the day. In fact, eating high glycemic carbohydrates a few hours before bed may help you fall asleep faster according to this study.
Years of research and months of testing has allowed me to better M.A.N.A.G.E. my energy levels and remain a high level of focus each day. The next time you feel your energy levels getting low just remember to meditate in the morning, actively unfocus at 3-hour intervals, practice a night time ritual for optimal sleep, avoid the five S.H.O.T.S to your energy, adopt a gameful mindset and eat for energy (protein in the morning, fats and veggies during the day, carbs in the evening).
One final thing: drink lots of water! Never go thirsty.