I’d be willing to bet you recognize at least 3 of these names if not all.
Friedriech Nietzhche. Plato. Seneca. Socrates. Daniel Gilbert. Marcus Aurelius. Other philosophers. Recent scientists. Neuroscientists, even. They’ve covered the gamut of the meaning of life, happiness and what makes human beings tick. It’s kind of a big deal. And for good reason. Humans are the only species we know with such self awareness. More than ever, people are asking the deeper questions in life and are interested in creating more well-being and happiness in their life. And they want it yesterday.
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It’s freaking freezing. As usual, I’m not dressed for the cold. When people bring it up, I usually respond with “Cold adaptation has many benefits.” and while that’s halfway true, it’s usually because I haven’t really picked out warm clothes before leaving the house. So I suffer through the -9° C to find this damn place.
I finally find the place. 717 Bloor Street West. I walk down the stairs. There’s a (warm) waiting room and nobody yet in sight. I’m excited.
The Isolation Tank (also called the ‘Float Tank’ or the ‘Sensory Deprivation Tank’) has been around for a while. It’s a lightless, (mostly) soundproof tank where a person floats in skin-temperature water that has a few hundred pounds of epsom salts dissolved in it. It came to exist around 1954 when John Lily wanted to ‘test’ the effects of sensory deprivation.
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*Cue in 50 Cent’s voice*
Chapter 1: Intense Realism
Reality can be rather harsh. Your days are numbered. It takes constant effort to carve a place for yourself in this ruthlessly competitive world and hold on to it. People can be treacherous. They bring endless battles into your life. Your task is to resist the temptation to wish it were all different; instead you must fearlessly accept these circumstances, even embrace them…
*Cue out 50 Cent*
I smile satisfactorily as I listen to the first chapter of the 50th Law. Sometimes when I listen to an audiobook, I imagine I’m having a conversation with the author and listening intently. Especially when the audiobook is narrated by the author himself (Robert does 90% of the narration).
Few things in life are as profound as a having read a book that changes your perspective on life. About 10 years ago, I came across the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and have been a fan of his work ever since.
Having met him on his first visit to Toronto, I jumped at the chance to interview him. What followed is over an hour of discussion about his creative process, learning strategy and his perspective on coming shifts in our world and his perspective on death.
- Mastery (his latest book) is the end result of years of research on highly successful & powerful
people in their field for about 17 years. Eg. Napoleon had a power & intuition that nobody ever writes about.
- This incredible power of high level intuition is not a function of genetics but something that is function of what Robert calls Mastery.
- Mastery is a function of (deliberate) work – a process that he could describe in detail ; that transcends the proverbial 10,000 hours and something which is maybe going to 15,000 to 20000 hours
- Robert’s Rituals: Daily physical exercise (swimming, stretching, mountain biking, pilates) , meditation – 30 minutes Zen meditation.
- Golden (Creative Peak) Hours 4 pm to 7 pm when he produces his content.
- “Wasting time is part of the ritual.”
- Researching each book involves reading around 200 -300 books or more
- Every book’s structure is critical to it’s success – has a unique and fascinating way to structure his books.
- Writing Advice: Don’t panic when you can’t figure things about. Just relax and tell yourself that it works out in the end.
- Contemporary Strategists he admires: In sports: Phil Jackson (wrote the book 11 rings).
Politics: German Chancellor – Angela Merkel
Business: Google (in their earlier days)
Others: Goethe, Benjamin Franklin
- Most creative people have been their best in their 30s.
- The Descent of Power
- On Consuming Information & News Sources: Greater danger is getting distracted – what separates the Masters from other people.
- Visualising one’s own Death: Similarity with Seneca’s practice: Becoming aware of the shortness of life..giving one a sense of urgency..maybe we do not have that much time as we think we have.
- “Think of the myriad enemities, suspicious, animosities and conflicts that have now vanished with the dust and ashes of the men who knew them and fret no more.”
- Carl Sagan – Pale Blue Dot
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
- Friedrich Nietzche
I’m not (normally) a violent guy. I trained martial arts when I was a kid and started beating up people at school so my mother promptly pulled the plug on that petrified I’d follow in the footsteps of Marlon Brando in the Godfather.
But this post isn’t about any of that. It’s about the fundamental questions in life. The real important stuff.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This post aims at giving you an espresso shot of introspection. Here’s a video that’ll get you in the mood.
The most impressive coaches and trainers I know don’t necessarily offer the best advice. They ask great questions. They tease out the answers that are buried in layers of confusion and bullshit.
Whenever I’ve found myself hesitating or stuck in an unproductive rut, I’ve found the following as an effective pattern interrupt.
“If you had a gun to your head, and you had to do *INSERT SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE TASK HERE*, how would you do it?”
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I’m halfway between confused and intrigued.
“You gulped down six raw eggs?”
“Yup. Great source of digestible protein and one of the best places to get bio available choline. I’m experimenting with a new protocol.”
Ameer Rosic. Always a source of fun practical facts. A good friend who shares an interest in biohacking and all things performance related, he’s a natural choice for an awesome interview. If you’re ever interested in bettering your health, energy and vitality or interested in the science of human performance, Ameer’s your guy.
We talk about past clients, the best actions you can take for your health and why anger is the best thing that could happen to you.
INTERVIEW TIME: 18 minutes
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I’m doubled over with laughter. The kind of laughter where you stop caring about drool or losing balance. I’m shaking my head in disbelief…
My Audible app keeps going. “Next Chapter: The Seven Highly Effective Habits of Mediocre People…”
James Altucher continues reading his audiobook – Choose Yourself in this raspy voice. Apart from running one of the most popular blogs online, he’s incredible wise and down to earth.
Equal parts comedy and compassionate wisdom, I’ve listened to his book multiple times. And since we’d connected not long ago, I figured it was best I learn more about him. Below you’ll find the video interview I did with him along with my notes below.
INTERVIEW DURATION: 51 minutes. Worth it.
READ TIME: Under 4 minutes.
1. The message of Choose Yourself – You’ve gotta get a daily practice. See more below for details.
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