Becoming James Bond (Part II)

In part 1 of “Becoming James Bond,” I introduced the reader to Jungian psychology in relation to the hero archetype. According to Carl Jung, the archetypal hero embodies the personal and collective unconscious and appears in religions and mythologies across time. You’ll find it in literature and movies. Some authors like J. K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter novels) are conscious of what they’re doing, and others are not, but those who use it are tapping into it on some level.

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Though all heroes share a mythological pattern, James Bond is unique in his own right. He’s smooth, calm, confident, and charming. He has exemplary style. He has many skills. He is cultured, yet dangerous. Women adore him. You don’t find that in Harry Potter, and certainly James Bond is more prolific, having 26 movies under his belt as of this writing, which spans a timeline of over 50 years! Twelve actors have played the role, each bringing their own interpretation of the legend to the big screen, while still portraying crucial aspects of Bond’s manner without changing his underlying makeup.

What makes Bond so distinctive and memorable is that he represents the British spirit. The books were written by an English author named Ian Fleming, who also worked for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during World War II, and who after the war decided to write a spy novel, his first being Casino Royale. His James Bond character was influenced by many people he met during the war that typified the secret agent/commando persona because they were real spies and commandos. It is said that one in particular who worked for MI6 wore handmade suits and was chauffeured around in a Rolls Royce.

The British have a long history of social class ranking. For example, the term Gentleman was actually pegged at the lowest end of the gentry (or of high social class), Esquire and Knights being of higher social standing, and Royalty being at the very top. Though originally written in as upper class, James Bond has since changed his class many times throughout the film series (Sean Connery, arguably one of the greatest Bonds of all time, comes across as someone with working class beginnings).

As a universal hero archetype as well as being a symbol of modernity, Bond is a mixture of culture and timelessness. He adapts without compromising his values, he’s ever present in our psyches, and damn, does he look good!

We all understand the value of looking our best. Whether you’re rich or poor, taking the time to look good will affect how people perceive you. These, of course, are always subject to the cultural values of the society and environment, so be sure to dress accordingly. When Bond travels to various locations around the globe, he makes sure to blend in, but always with style. Being well dressed can also be psychologically rewarding, leaving you feeling more powerful and able to perform at a much higher level. It has also been shown to improve abstract thinking, which can help you in competitive environments that require mental prowess.

A good book to start with when learning the basics of men’s style is Esquire’s The Handbook of Style: A Man’s Guide to Looking Good. Make sure to check it out.

Being well groomed is also not to be glossed over. Get a good haircut. Trim your nails. Shave regularly, or trim your beard. James always keeps things neat, so be sure to take time out each day for proper hygiene/grooming.

Here are a few products that I recommend: Hair products (Suavecito Pomade for Men, Layrite Deluxe Original Pomade), a double edge safety razor (the one I have is a Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor MK23C), razor blades (I recommend Feather for the sharpest blade and Astra for more sensitive skin), a shaving brush (a great inexpensive one would be the Omega Shaving Brush PRO 48 or if you want to plop down some money for a top-of-the-line badger brush go for the Edwin Jagger Best Badger Shaving Brush), and shaving soap (you can’t go wrong with Proraso, but there are many others).

Though James Bond shaves with a straight razor in Skyfall, you can skip that and go with the double edge safety razor instead, which I linked to above.

Staying fit is another very important lifestyle choice. It’s no secret that in order to be a good 00 Agent, James has to stay physically and mentally fit. If you sit around all day at work and at home, your body becomes weak and soft. As your body loses it’s strength, energy, and flexibility, the mind follows in lockstep. A sedentary lifestyle is not conducive to good health and esteem. Do yourself and the ladies a favor – lift weights, bike, swim, and run. You need to build mental and physical strength, as well as endurance. You will see that the quality of your life will increase substantially.

I recommend getting a gym membership. I have one at LA Fitness. It’s $25-$30 per month depending on what deal you get. Be sure to negotiate for $25/month for multi-gym access if possible and a low initiation fee (one-time fee). Serious about barbell training? Some commercial gyms like LA Fitness have a few power racks, but if you’re into power lifting, then a specialty gym is recommended. Another thing to remember – Always negotiate. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for what you want, and ask again. Be ready to walk away if necessary.

Do you feel confident enough to protect yourself and your loved ones in a confrontation? Another good idea is joining a dojo and learning self defense. James Bond is prepared for any threatening situation that might come his way. In order to help get into shape for his role as Bond, Daniel Craig learned Krav Maga, which combines Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and Aikido for real world self defense.

For staying motivated throughout your physical and mental training, it is highly recommended to get a training partner. It’s hard to get yourself in the gym on a regular schedule if no one is there to push you, especially at the beginning. This is essential.

In terms of specific workouts, do some compound exercises. These exercises are more efficient and effective for building strength because they act on many different muscle groups at once, rather than isolated exercises that are only good for minor tweaks. Daniel Craig’s workout for Casino Royale was a combination of powerlifting with compound exercises. The heavy weights elevate your heart rate and is a great way to get some cardio in for burning off body fat. Examples of compound exercises include the overhead press, power clean, bench press, squats, and deadlift.

How clean you keep your living space is a reflection of your mind. Make your bed every morning. Vacuum and dust. Organize your paperwork/email. Keep a healthy wardrobe with ironed dress shirts, suits, and blazers. An organized, clean environment will affect your mind in a good way.

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Once your living space is pristine, set aside some time for meditation every day, preferably after a cold shower. If you’re familiar with the books, James Bond is known for taking a shower that started hot and ended cold. The cold shower has a range of benefits such as increasing norepinephrine in the brain (elevating your mood and wakefulness, while also reducing inflammation and pain), strengthening the immune system, and burning fat. If you want to train your body for improved circulation, start with a hot shower for as long as you want, and for the last 2 minutes end with cold water. Health benefits aside, this is also a very powerful technique for building will power.

After your cold shower, you will have the energy to sit and meditate for 5-10 min. Set a timer and focus on the gentle inhale and exhale of your breath. Let go of any thoughts that arise in your mind. This is excellent training for focus, retraining bad thinking habits, and letting go of compulsions. It is safe to say that Bond has stellar control of his thoughts and emotions. Keeping a clear head is absolutely necessary in his line of work, and life in general.

Regardless of your class, looking sharp and staying fit is something that can be learned, but being cultured is not just looking the part. It’s also about appreciating the finer things in life. You would never find Bond befuddled when presented with a selection of wines. He is a connoisseur of the best things that life has to offer. While he enjoys the opulence of Beluga caviar, he’s also no stranger to “the ordinary plain food of the country” when traveling abroad. His tastes are impeccable and his worldly knowledge is something to be admired.

When he wants to, he’ll break the rules. His own catchphrase, “Vodka martini, shaken not stirred” is his personal preference. When he’s not sipping on Taittinger Champagne in From Russia With Love, he’s inventing his own cocktails.

So, why does everybody want to be James Bond? Simple. He commands respect. He dresses the part, knows what he wants, and gets what he wants – all while remaining cool under pressure. He saves the world and lives a life of leisure and luxury, all on the government’s dime. You gotta love it!

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Becoming James Bond (Part I)

If you ask most men, they will agree: James Bond embodies the art of cool, confidence, charisma, and power. He saves the world, gets the women, and does it all in style. Women want him, men want to be him. And it’s no wonder. James Bond epitomizes the masculine ideal.

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He fights the faceless shadows of SPECTRE, the hidden criminal organization that runs things behind the scenes, which can be compared to the unconscious elements of the psyche. He operates out of sight of the general public, or the conscious mind, which allows him to battle these hidden elements. He is the true archetypal hero, in every sense of the word.

The archetypal hero has been discussed in Jungian psychology as an ancient motif found across all cultures. Rooted in the human psyche and often times manifested in dreams as symbolic representations, our brain attempts to integrate new information through storytelling, which seems to be the way the right hemisphere communicates with the left hemisphere of the brain. The hero is the actor in the unconscious drama that has helped us grapple with chaos (i.e. the unknown) and come away with some semblance of order, which we can use to achieve our ends and orient ourselves in the world.

He symbolizes the unconscious self that embodies all archetypes. In essence, the hero is that part of you that goes on a figurative journey to find something of value, and bring back that treasure to the tribe.

Your goal is to assimilate the unconscious content that has been disowned and not yet understood by you.

This is akin to, in symbolic terms, confronting the monster within you or what you most fear, and conquering it. A common myth is that of a dragon guarding treasure – an opportunity that carries risk and reward.

If we want to understand James Bond, we have to understand his character on a deep level – his thought process, his background, his motivations, his philosophy of living. Though James Bond has many skills, and some of them may be worth learning in order to fully grasp his mindset, what we can start with now and what I believe would have the most impact is tapping into your “shadow” in relation to what is unknown to you about James Bond. In other words, you must seek and integrate those forces that are currently unreachable by you, which form the basis of his personality. The idea is that you cannot embody something which you have not yet explored.

There’s a scene from the movie Skyfall, which sums up where Bond’s confidence comes from. In the scene, James is found at an exclusive casino in Macau where he attempts to track down the terrorist responsible for the MI6 server hacking and subsequent bombing of MI6 headquarters in London. He is approached by Séverine, who Bond previously sees assisting a man named Patrice in an assassination of an art dealer. He tells her that he wants to meet her employer, and determines that she is in actuality a victim under the rule of a tyrant. She agrees to take Bond to him in the hopes that Bond kills him, hence, freeing her from her captivity.

This brings us back to the shadowy aspect of the plot. James Bond doesn’t know who this man is, but he knows that he’s a powerful and dangerous individual. This does not deter James from facing his shadow who, as the movie later reveals, is symbolically his other half.

 

James Bond: I want to meet your employer.
Séverine: Be careful what you wish for.

 

The scene is quiet. There’s no music, only dialogue. The lighting is dim and there’s a sense of being watched by some unknown force. Here, James is warned that he may be in for more than he can handle. This is the classic crossroads, a point at which an important decision must be made – a decision with serious consequences. James is unfazed, and instead of running away with his tail between his legs, he just looks at her and says:

James Bond: You’re scared.

His observation is correct. She stands up to leave, but he pulls her in and confronts her. This scene demonstrates not only his assertiveness, but his willingness to face what would normally frighten someone else. The unknown is faced head on, unflinchingly. Where does he get this confidence from?

James Bond: You put on a good show. But ever since we sat down, you haven’t stopped looking at your bodyguards. Now, three of them is a bit excessive. They’re controlling you. They’re not protecting you. The tattoo on your wrist is Macau sex trade. You belonged to one of the houses. What were you? 12? 13? I’m guessing he was your way out. Perhaps you thought you were in love. But that was a long time ago.

What comes with the willingness to look into the abyss is Bond’s ability to observe his environment without being controlled by his emotions.

In Egyptian mythology, for instance, the eye at the top of the pyramid is the power of attention. One can only use this power if one is not controlled by base instincts, such as fear, which muddies the waters of perception. Bond notices the tattoo on her wrist, the barrette strapped to her thigh, and the bodyguards standing overhead and deduces from the situation. His attention is clear, sharp, and focused. He follows her eyes as she looks toward her “bodyguards.” He notices the minor details that most people would overlook, and because of this, he moves the game along in his favor.

Séverine: You know nothing about it.

James Bond: I know when a woman is afraid and pretending not to be.

Rather than taking what she says at face value, James observes the truth behind her lie. We can learn something very important from this: Watch what people DO, not what they say.

Séverine: How much do you know about fear?

James Bond: All there is.

The above quote is most profound, and gives us the answer to the origin of his confidence. It’s not that he was always immune to fear, but rather that he knows fear well from experience. He’s met with it face to face on many occasions, from all angles, and that’s why he is able to see it in others. He has conquered fear through knowing it, rather than avoiding it, and to know something is to have transcended it. Thus, he is the master of fear itself.

Séverine: Not like this. Not like him.

James Bond: I can help you.

Séverine: I don’t think so.

James Bond: Let me try.

Séverine: How?

James Bond: Bring me to him.

Séverine: Can you kill him?

James Bond: Yes.

Séverine: Will you?

James Bond: Someone usually dies.

James is confident even in the face of Séverine’s fear. He is a rock, untrammeled by the doubts of others. When he’s asked if he can kill her employer, the shadowy figure who is unknown to him, he simply affirms that he can. There is no uncertainty in his words or his tone. His body language does not hint at any deception. He is fully confident in his abilities. 

Rather than keeping with the tense situation, Bond breaks set and jokes, “Someone usually dies,” eliciting a genuine laugh of relief from Séverine. His confidence in the face of danger, allowing her to relax and let go of her worries, is a tribute to the James Bond we all know and love.

—————-

Up Next:

Becoming James Bond (Part II)

 

6 Reasons Why You Cling to Ideology

Ideology can range from being merely annoying to being downright dangerous! What makes the true believer? Why do human beings feel the need to cling to a set of beliefs, doctrines, values? Clinging would be okay if they didn’t try to shove it down all of our throats! Eric Hoffer, author of the critically acclaimed book The True Believer, has something to say about this: “People whose lives are barren and insecure seem to show a greater willingness to obey than people who are self-sufficient and self-confident. To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint.”

Now, I present to you the 6 reasons why you cling to an ideology…

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#1 Fear of Change

People don’t like change, so they cling to an ideology and look for someone to blame OTHER THAN THEMSELVES. However, blaming yourself can also become a narcotic, and can keep you stuck for years. Fear is natural. It is how we, as hum-animals, are wired. It is not, however, an excuse!

Our culture dictates what we should and should not do. Ridicule from others usually keeps our rebellious spirit at bay. Hence, rebellion is squelched….like water to a flame. It is suppressed. Who suppresses this natural desire to create/achieve/have power over your situation?

Nobody. Absolutely no one.

The fear is culturally-induced. Most people are controlled by their own base instinct – that is, FEAR. Fear of ridicule and fear of failure keep men and women docile, and willing to live way below their potential. By the time most people reach college, they are already becoming a finished good designed for the workforce. For most, this is when the rebellious spirit is beaten out of them. Indoctrination is an essential component of a point-and-click society. You are no longer looked at as an individual, rather, you are your credentials. You are the next suit in line. You must submit to the collective mind.

 

Individuality is an illusion in the U.S. Before you object to this assertion, ponder a bit about what most people are motivated by. What is it that “they” want? What they have been conditioned to want….and yet, they think they are making unique choices.

A true individual does not seek the approval of the “herd.” He or she seeks their own approval. “Am I living up to my own expectations, not someone else’s?” This is the true Alpha Male. One who stands apart from the “rest.”

If you find the will to power deplorable, then this must offend you. There is no doubt about that. For those I say, go do what you do. Just do not bother me.

….Now notice the emotional reaction you may have had after reading the above. Anger? Irritation? Depression? Take note of it. Are you now projecting your emotions onto me? Am I the enemy?

#2 Human beings can’t stand uncertainty and hate to be without an explanation (idea-ology) for too long.

Explanations for why you are the way you are and finding the culprit to punish for the pain you feel day after day is nothing unique, and is a product of the wiring of the human brain. Remember, STRUCTURE determines FUNCTION. The way the brain is structured determines how it works. Fortunately for us, the brain is plastic and if you have the WILL to change your own brain, it will function in a way that’s beneficial to you. But right now, all it’s doing is causing you unnecessary suffering. I say “unnecessary” because suffering doesn’t end when you’re truly living. People who cling to ideologies, religion, delusions, and fantasies are afraid to face the existential nature of their situation, so they dull themselves with addictions of all types – drugs, video games, Facebook, online forums, television, porn, shopping, food, sex, etc. Those who do so forfeit their potential, and they know it, but asserting their cause over and over again (to themselves and others) comforts their fragile sense of self and justifies their “choices.”

 

#3 You Believe You Have a Right to Your Opinion

Sure, people have a right to their opinion … they also have a right to be stupid.

It’s a sign of a strong man or woman if one is willing to admit that they don’t know. Most people seem to have an opinion on just about everything.

There’s a hilarious example that I got from the absurd (I mean this in a good way) show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I recommend you watch the episode “Reynolds vs. Reynolds: The Cereal Defense.” Even something as widely accepted as the theory of evolution is put into question. A mock court hearing is held at Paddy’s Pub to determine who is at fault for spilling milk in Dennis’ car – the situation being that Frank (who has poor vision) crashes his car into Dennis’ while Dennis is eating a bowl of cereal in his own car. Is Frank at fault for driving poorly, or is Dennis at fault for eating a bowl of cereal while driving? Somehow Dennis and Dee turn “court” proceedings to the topic of evolution in order to discredit Mac (who is defending Frank). Mac asserts that evolution is “bullshit” to the astonishment of all parties present. Mac isn’t swayed, however, and proceeds to “prove” that evolution is bullshit, and flips the script by accusing Dennis of believing in evolution without having looked at the data himself. He reminds Dennis that some of Aristotle’s, Galileo’s, and Isaac Newton’s theories were later disproved. Hence, Dennis’ belief in evolution without having looked at the data himself is taking a leap of faith, just like religion. His conclusion is that all scientists are “bitches.”

Before you think that I don’t believe in evolution based on the example I gave you….STOP. I do not agree with Mac’s conclusion. I do think he has a point though. People take things at face value ALL THE TIME. Even if something like evolution seems like it is backed by reams of evidence (and it is)…why not then look at the data and verify it for yourself?

Blind faith in what scientists say is true, blind faith in what your parents say is true, blind faith in your teacher, doctors, and media personalities….this keeps you IMPOTENT in mind. “Believing” in evolution is like taking a leap of faith, but looking at the data and verifying it for yourself is not.

 

What I’ve learned over the years is that there is a certain strength in admitting you don’t know. If someone asks me about what I think of someone else, I tell him I don’t know the person well enough to make a clear judgment. There were many times when I judged a person on first glance or introduction, and later on (when I got to know this individual) I was taken aback by how wrong my initial reaction was. It’s the same with various schools of thought. It is very easy to judge. I used to have the same blind reaction to political views that I never gave any thought about, or sports that I never took the time to actually play. My opinions have changed countless times since, and I’m continually astonished at my vast ignorance. The more you know, the more you don’t know.

The next time you’re on lunch break and your coworkers bring up the news, notice their immediate response. You will be able to tell who’s bullshitting, who’s simply regurgitating some pundit’s opinion they heard on Fox News or CNN (etc.), or who just wants attention. Someone there may actually know what they’re talking about; someone who has thought things through and analyzed the topic in depth. That’s who you want to talk to, and that’s the person you might be wise to ally yourself with. Even intelligent people have their biases, however, and if she or he can only speak rationally with you up to a certain point, then make note of that. This is a common problem with the human brain. Being a “know-it-all” can be disastrous.

I advocate not knowing it all. By that, I do not mean quitting your quest for knowledge. On the contrary, press on! What I mean is that it wouldn’t be wise to “believe” you know it all. You can’t. There is no “all” to know. Life is an endless mystery, and that’s what makes “it” so fascinating. Strength in admitting you don’t know – that you don’t have the data or have not done the proper research to have an opinion yet – is admirable. These are the markings of a man who is unashamed, not because he might have  low IQ, but because he has enough insight or self-awareness to admit “defeat.” So I don’t know. I’m not proud of that, but I am honest about it. I might not have an opinion on a certain topic today for you, but in the future, as I analyze the information that I research, I may come back to you with an opinion worth sharing. I’m not going to pretend I know what I am talking about, until I have at least examined the data.

#4 It’s Difficult If You’re Not Aware of the Process

First you feel anxious and depressed.

Then you attempt to seek out the cause of your misery.

The cause is (more likely than not) never you.

So, you project your anger onto someone or something else. It could be a person, religion, organization – it doesn’t matter. The crusade has begun. The scapegoat has been found, and now you have a purpose. Now it’s not YOU who is the problem. It’s THEM.

People do not like to face themselves as they ARE now. It’s so much easier to believe that you are what people think you are. How do we know ourselves? We know ourselves through others. Even that feedback, however, may be WAY off. You may think a person hates you, when in reality, they absolutely respect you, but have a hard time showing it. A person may see you as scum, but is that who you really are, or is the person merely projecting their own insecurities onto you and you’re accepting them as truth?

You may think of yourself as THE MAN or you may think of yourself as a LOSER. Either way your perspective is delusional. A positive attitude or a negative attitude is just that – an ATTITUDE. Ask yourself – why must you put on a face? Why can’t you face who you are NOW? Simple. It’s way too painful. So, what most people do is “live” through a fantasy or a distorted image of who they want to be or who they “see” themselves as being.

 

#5 You Are Brainwashed and Don’t Even Know It

Any community that eventually builds laws, codes, commandments – becomes rigid and inflexible. The reason? The human brain (as an instrument) does not like change. Change can be quite painful to the organism. Change threatens the security and comfort that was achieved. Because the organism seeks homeostasis, it takes a great deal of pain to shake it up enough to evolve. When there is enough instability, the human can either undergo deep transformation, or he can avoid facing the pain and find something else to distract himself by – a “higher” cause, for example. This is simply a defense against the onslaught of chaos and taking personal responsibility for one’s life.

Any group of robotic like-minded people has its own “gurus” and dogma. The teacher, however, can only attempt to communicate to you his perspective, and it is not the end-all or absolute truth. You want answers? There are none. Only choices. So choose wisely, and stay flexible. Always question your conclusions and intentions because the moment you may think you see the “big picture,” you fall into a trap. To assert that you have the truth with a capital T is to achieve mental retardation. To paint a picture that explains how things really are is to look through a very narrow lens (I’d much prefer a wide-angle lens). Limiting your ability to perceive more than you currently do will be a prison designed to filter/discard all incoming information that does not conform with your prejudice. Since you take it as absolute truth, you may stay in that prison thinking you have the answer and the solution. That reminds me of the time a Jehovah’s Witness came to my door.

 

#6 You Carry a Backpack of Anxieties

You are so tense that you throw up defenses to “protect” yourself from feeling vulnerable. The fear of losing control is the origin of all your supposed fears. Those fantasies and ideas about yourself and the world are like painkillers that keep you from realizing your potential.

Again, it’s not anyone else that’s making you miserable…unless you’re a slave, that is. That’s where the idea of “freedom from” comes from. Freedom from people who are trying to restrict/limit you in some way. However, the point of this article is to communicate to you that you cause most of your problems. It’s not Feminism, the Patriarchy, Blacks, Jews, Immigrants, Religion, Arabs, Commies, Latinos, Big Government, Evil, etc. People set limitations for themselves, which leads projecting their “inadequacies” onto you. They want to infect you with their world-view, and any deviation from that is thought to be blasphemy. You do this to others as well. It becomes a seemingly endless cycle of spreading lies and disinformation (lies sprinkled with enough truth to be believable). This is why groups are formed: the herd needs answers, and a charismatic leader(s) will give it to them. When laws are established and “set in stone,” the herd polices anybody who questions the authority figure(s). The rebel (one who thinks for him or herself) is seen as a threat and ostracized.

Hey, I’ll tell you a secret.

You’re all rebels, but are afraid to LIVE.

So do something about YOU. Get out of your own way.

… and please – Shut The Fuck Up.

The Idealized Self

It’s a huge psychological SHOCK when one realizes that the IDEA one had about oneself … was WAY off.

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People do not like to face themselves as they ARE now. It’s so much easier to believe that you are what people think you are. How do we know ourselves? We know ourselves through others – a feedback loop. Even that feedback loop, however, may be WAY off. You may think a person hates you, when in reality, they absolutely respect you, but have a hard time showing it.

You may think of yourself as THE MAN or you may think of yourself as a LOSER. Either way, your perspective is delusional. A positive attitude or a negative attitude is just that – an ATTITUDE. Ask yourself – why must you put on a face? Why can’t you face who you are NOW? Simple. It’s way too painful. So, what most people do is “live” through a fantasy or a distorted image of who they want to be or who they “see” themselves as being. An exercise that really scared me when I first did it will be presented below.

WARNING: you may get insomnia/anxiety/anger, etc.  for some time before you come to accept your present situation. Don’t worry too much about that. It is an unavoidable result of lying to yourself for years. Keep in mind though that to be truly successful, one must see things clearly. Many successes that you respect – the people you look up to – have gone through hell first before they arrived where they wanted to be.

So, the exercise is as follows (I will, of course, give credit to Dr. Christopher S. Hyatt for this mind fuck of an exercise he called Despair Math) … You must answer as truthfully as you can – leave your ego at the door, and accept that you have work to do. This is not what you want to be, or believe you deserve. This is where you are NOW. REMEMBER – IT’S OKAY. Nobody is judging you. This is for you, and you alone. You can destroy it when you are finished, but you will not forget once you’re through.)

On a scale from 1-7 (1 being the lowest and 7 being the highest), give yourself a number that represents where you are NOW. It might ease you to know that this is not WHO you are because who you are is POTENTIAL. The only one holding you back is YOU, and fear will have to be accepted. Use this fear – do not ignore it. You might have been crippled by “society,” your caregivers, or any number of things/events in the past. Accept that these things happened to you, and you dealt with them the way that you knew how AT THE TIME. Don’t beat yourself up. Rather, tap into the potential that you ARE, and GROW, dammit!

1) Intelligence          1-7

(2) Knowledge          1-7

(3) Wealth                  1-7

(4) Sex                         1-7

(5) Health                   1-7

(6) Motivation          1-7

(7) Education            1-7  (*There is a difference between knowledge and education. Look it up.)

(8) Special Skills       1-7

(9) Attractiveness   1-7 (*physical and personality – Hey, you might not be handsome, but you might have a HELLUVA personality to show for it. Factor in both. Keep in mind that physical attractiveness can be improved upon through clothing, physical activity, diet, and even your personality can make you look attractive – a smile is better than no smile.)

(10) Social Skills       1-7

(11) Resistance to Anxiety and Fear   1-7

(12) Resistance to Depression               1-7

(13) Power                   1-7

(14) Enlightened       1-7

(15) Other                    1-7  (*Use as many of these as you need)

 

If you aren’t sure about some of them, that’s okay. As you work more and more on gaining real-world experience and knowledge, you will find that your answers will become more refined. For now, just answer to the best of your abilities. Be real with yourself now! Otherwise, this exercise will only leave you with a sense of guilt. If, for example, you are a virgin, be honest and give yourself a 1. If your sex life is good but your health is lacking, then be honest!

It’s okay.

If you actually DO this exercise (WRITE IT DOWN) rather than think it, it will be far more beneficial for you. The reason is that thinking you know something vs. verbalizing/writing it down are two different beasts. The former will keep you in abstraction, while the latter will give you a visual – instant feedback. It’s like keeping a diary: Thinking about what you did on a certain day is not the same as writing it down because writing it down will force you to make sense out of the chaos which is your mind. Therefore, your thinking will be clearer; more refined.

Now, add up all of the individual scores and come up with a TOTAL score. Then take this total score and divide it by the number of questions you answered. Come back in a day or two (allow yourself to process) and then continue with the final part of this exercise.

Did you wait a few days? Good. Now, take the same test, except this time circle the number which represents what you WANT. Some things that you may want to write down: Is this desire highly probable? How hard are you willing to work at achieving your goal? What actions are you going to take? Add up the individual scores and come up with a TOTAL score. Divide this number by the number of questions answered.

Finally, subtract the average score from the first survey from the average score on the second. The number that results from this formula is your Despair Coefficient. You may also do this for each individual question to see where the greatest disparities occur. Let’s say you presently have an average score of 3 (survey 1) and you want an average score of 5 (survey 2). Your Despair Coefficient is +2. This is your measurement of despair and your goal for improvement. Now do this for each individual question (i.e., Attractiveness). If your score is 3 for what you have now for Attractiveness, and you want an average score of 6, your Despair Coefficient is +3. Ask yourself how realistic this is, and figure out what you will have to do in order to accomplish this goal.

Well, that’s Despair Math! Fun, huh?

So, what is the idealized self? It is the “I should be this” mentality. Brutalizing yourself is the result of not living up to those fantasies. Paraphrasing Dr. Hyatt, the disparity between who you ARE now and how you want to see yourself is HUGE. It is an IDEAL IMAGE. You want to see yourself as your best self, and if anything interferes with that, then you are reminded of how you really ARE. This causes anxiety, anger, depression, etc. That’s why it could be a danger to point out someone’s weaknesses to them DIRECTLY. Someone might even kill you for it. Be careful. When a person’s image of himself is shattered, anything can happen. Avoid doing this, and focus instead on getting clear about your life. Occasionally you may have the urge to point out others’ faults. This can happen when you are feeling overwhelmed and depressed. You will simply want to see the negatives about other people to help cope. Notice you are doing this, and STOP.

Ask yourself – “Who am I living for?” This may help you gain some perspective. In other words, don’t worry about where others are, worry where YOU are in your journey toward becoming WHO YOU ARE. When I say “becoming who you are,” I mean – well, let me give you an example. When you were a kid, you had limitless energy and creativity. Don’t fool yourself – you really were … and you still ARE. However, chronic adulthood STIFLES the body/mind. You have a full-blown case of amnesia. You can blame many people for that, but it is simply the human condition. The way that the brain develops determines how much freedom YOU ALLOW YOURSELF. There is a way to change that. Becoming WHO YOU ARE is re-claiming your courage, your power, and your freedom. Undoing yourself, on the other hand, is the process of deprogramming (in IT terms). The beliefs that LIMIT you are destroyed, so that you can FREE yourself from unnecessary suffering. Freeing up your energy to focus on developing yourself – not into your ideal … that is impossible because an ideal is a fantasy – but developing yourself to your highest level, and then going even higher …because there is NO LIMIT!

There were so many HATERS back in the day, and there still are. Those are people who set limitations on other human beings, including themselves. What is really possible? Many believed that sending a man to the moon was not going to be possible EVER. Ha! There were people who thought that the internet was a passing fad!

People will set limits on themselves, and they will set limits on you. You might realize though – the chains are invisible, and only YOU bind yourself. People will attempt to bring you down to their level. Don’t worry about them. Focus on where YOU ARE. Then BECOME WHO YOU ARE.

You are the Prison, the Guard, and the Prisoner. Give yourself some slack. Then BREAK FREE. Transcend “your” limitations. Nobody but you is holding YOU back.

Living Stress-Free in the 21st Century

Let’s face facts here. We live in stressful times.

Image result for stress

You know that the stress you feel is YOUR responsibility to correct, but if you don’t know how, what are you going to do? You’ll probably find ways to cope. People like me have perfected their coping mechanisms to a fine art! Hey, I’m not perfect, and neither are you.

Some days may feel like you’re going through the motions. You wake up, eat quickly, rush to work evading traffic, grab that cup of coffee, work in your cube (or what have you), clock out, drive home (more traffic), and you’re back where you started from. The weekends may give you some time to recupe, but sometimes that isn’t the case.

“I have responsibilities,” says your inner cop (or super-ego, according to Freud).

“There’s no time for me to relax.”

“I have work to do.”

All of these thoughts can be carried over to vacations or holidays; you can hardly relax. “I have to go do this activity.” “I have to go get souvenirs for family.” On it goes…

 

This need not be the case!

 

The reason why you feel tired, demotivated, shame, inferiority, etc., is the result of a compulsion to re-live the same level of tension over and over again.

Why?? Because YOU CAN’T MANAGE TO RELAX! 

Again, why? Survival. Your body is in a constant state of tension, whether you realize it or not. From my observations, most people will not acknowledge that they are in a constant state of tension. It’s not that they’re ashamed of telling people, it’s that they are not even aware of it! It’s become a habit, and once something becomes a habit (as you may know from driving a car), your body acts on auto-pilot. The body simply adapts to stress and remains in this homeostatic state.

If you were to measure the level of Autonomic Reactivity in a large sample of a population in the United States, the average might then be considered “normal.” Well, think about it. If normality is a tense organism, then I don’t want to be normal! And neither should you!

Just because something is “average” does not mean it’s healthy.

An overactive nervous system is the reason why the human species continues to cause itself and others pain. This is no longer necessary if you learn (that is, teach your body) how to relax.

Need more reasons why relaxation is important FOR YOU? I think the Good Doctor emphasizes it best:

First and foremost, is the reprogramming of the brain. Sex, in this culture in particular, is still a taboo topic, no matter what you see on the Hollywood scene. More often than not, what you’re seeing there is nothing more than pent-up sadism and masochism, power, control, and negative release. My concern is POSITIVE release, COMPLETE release…freedom – freedom of the whole body to participate in the experience of ecstasy. […] We see our sexuality generalized into all areas of our life – how we interact with ourselves, all of our self-talk, our self-contempt…is no different than our sexual expressions. And we also see that in our interpersonal relationships, as well as our global relationships…of wars, hostilities, violence, and particularly child abuse and spousal abuse.

Brain Change Willed

So the person is under chronic and constant stress, and it’s so chronic and so constant that many of them don’t even know that they’re experiencing it. It’s like getting used to something. […] The process of relieving someone from obsessive compulsive anxiety is essential for enjoying sex and passion, and it also assists in growing new brain fibers from the frontal lobes to the middle brain, which is often called the animal brain or the emotional brain. I’m focusing on these exercises here for individuals and couples who want to have a qualitatively better sexual life and who also want to develop their brain. By doing the exercises you develop your brain, and by developing more cortical control in a healthy way, you will in fact be able to reduce your anxiety… through the fact that you’re able to focus and be more honest with the origin of your anxieties and tensions than the average person. But everyone knows the CDs and the books I write are not for the average person, otherwise I’d be very famous and very wealthy and I could pass on the lies of the quick-fix. The stuff that I teach is not quick-fix. -Dr. C. S. Hyatt, Ph.D., excerpt from the CD Shotgun Tantra from Original Falcon.

How to Teach Your Body to Relax

The first thing to learn is how to breathe. It can be surprising to find out that most people breathe improperly. There are many ways people breathe, and few do it the right way. Here are a few examples:

1. When inhaling, the stomach goes in. When exhaling, the stomach expands.

2. Breathing from the chest only.

3. Breathing from the belly only.

4. Irregular breathing (shortness of breath, strained or shallow breathing, starting and stopping).

Those are all unhealthy breathing patterns, and are a result of chronic tension residing in the body. Since the brain is the body, when tension is transformed into energy through the process of relaxation, your brain also becomes more “flexible.” Don’t be confused by the “mind/body problem” philosophers have been debating for centuries. Modern neuroscience has long ago settled this debate. Your brain is not separate from your body. It is the entire organism that is affected, so your brain will also transform and you will have a greater ability to live in the present moment.

How, you ask? More cortical control -more fibers will grow from the frontal lobes connecting to the mid-brain (the emotional or mammalian “center”). This means more cortical (cortex) control. Emotions will no longer control you to the extent that they do today. Sound too good to be true? While I will say it sounds great, it isn’t as easy as you might think. It takes work, discipline, and repetition. But it can be fun!

Good news! Results are noticeable. Take breathing as an example. Once you learn how to breathe properly, you will find it significantly easier to relax. Learning to breathe rhythmically will take practice, but once you have it down, it becomes second nature.

How to Breathe

Lay down on a bed. Make sure the room is cool. No distractions. These sessions are about you. Privacy is important, so do this in an environment where you won’t be disturbed. Refer to the picture below for proper body position:

working position

Reichian therapy has been practiced by trained therapists for 80 years. Until now the technique was a closely guarded secret being available only to people who went through a multi-year training. In short, until now Reichian therapy has been based on an antiquated guild system of learning. Reichian therapy, as a technique of psychotherapy, is extremely valuable. Unfortunately, Reich linked the technique to an unnecessary and scientifically untenable energy concept. In this presentation of the technique it stands on its own merits and does so in the light of contemporary knowledge of medicine and psychology.

This is the basic posture you should be in when practicing deep breathing. I will give you a short overview on how to breathe properly and leave it for you to go to Jack Willis’ website (once more, http://www.reichiantherapy.info), download the FREE pdf (400+ pages), and go through the exercises. Don’t worry, as this book is designed for the layman. Dr. Jack Willis uses language anyone can understand. Don’t be put off by the number of pages either. Pictures take up a large part of the book. I suggest buying a physical copy of the book, only because it’s easier to flip pages and keep the book next to you for reference. If you’re skeptical about Reichian therapy, I recommend reading the free pdf to get a background on it, and doing the work. Theory is cool, and it may stimulate your imagination, but it won’t do the work for you.

Proper breathing goes like this:

While in the basic posture (your legs should be apart and arms to the side) relax your body. You should only be slightly tensing your legs in order to keep them up. Otherwise, everything else should be relaxed. Keep your mouth open the whole time. Your jaw should be relaxed. You will be breathing from your open mouth. Keep it slightly open (the image does not show this).

As you breathe in through your mouth, allow your belly to balloon out. The key is not to force anything. Simply allow your belly to expand as you inhale through your open mouth.

Your belly should expand first, then your chest. That is the proper order. Belly, then chest.

As you exhale, your belly should fall naturally, and then your chest. So, again…belly, then chest on the exhale.

That’s it!

Of course, it’s not that simple. It will take practice. Even more practice to be able to do this rhythmically. Also, my summary does not do this justice, and doing it accurately will require going through the book. So, don’t be lazy. There’s no need to cheat yourself by ignoring these invaluable techniques.

There is more to the work then breathing properly.

There is a comprehensive body work that must be done – face, pelvis, legs, etc. All of this can be found in the pdf. If you want to do a session, do it only twice per week. This allows your body time to adjust. If at any time your emotions feel out of control, you should take a break from this work. When you’re stable again, proceed. Too much change too fast is never good. However, once per week is the minimum. Twice per week is the maximum. Each session should be 30-60 min. in length. Do not exceed this.

Change takes place as you sleep. You can compare this to working out at the gym, in the sense that you need time to recover, and that is normally when your muscles are at rest. So, don’t rush it. You could do yourself some harm.

When I refer to a session, I mean the sessions laid out in detail within the book and not my brief description on how to perform deep breathing (that is simply the foundation). Go through it slowly, and deep change will occur. You will no longer be lived by your emotions. You will be far more relaxed than the average person, and find yourself capable of dealing with every day life in productive ways. And don’t forget about the sex! I don’t want to go on with any cheesy sales pitch, because this is no quick-fix, and frankly, this is only for the few disciplined individuals….BUT if you want REAL CHANGE, if you want to transform…..GO FOR IT. Do the exercises. Interesting things might happen…

Rob’s Notes for Joe Rogan Experience #459 – Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Visit http://www.foundmyfitness.com

•   Vitamin D regulates Serotonin

•   Tryptophan converts to 5-HTP, which then converts to Serotonin

•   5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier and convert to Serotonin in your brain, while Tryptophan has to compete with other branch-chain amino acids to get transported into the brain, and what ends up happening is that most of the time you’re not getting enough Tryptophan transported into your brain. This is why it’s good to supplement with 5-HTP as well. Also, exercise boosts Serotonin in your brain by allowing Tryptophan to easily transport because you utilize a lot of branch-chain amino acids to make muscle, which, as a result, alleviates competition between those branch-chain amino acids. Therefore, Tryptophan has a higher chance of being converted.

•   People with depleted Serotonin are comparable to meth/cokeheads. They act impulsively and long-term thinking grinds to a halt.

•   The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm) is considered to be accurate in determining what people are getting from their diet. The surveys tell us that the majority of Americans are not getting what they need in terms of micronutrients.

•   Vitamins and Minerals are co-factors for many different bio-chemical pathways in your body. Vitamins and minerals are co-factors for Enzymes, which means they need to be there for the Enzyme to work optimally. Enzymes and Proteins are what we need to keep our body functioning.

•   Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that controls the expression of over 1000 different genes in our body.  Most people are not in the sun a lot, so most people (about 70% in the U.S.) have a vitamin D deficiency. The way we determine what’s adequate is based on vitamin D’s classical function of bone homeostasis (to make sure our bones don’t breakdown). In fact, vitamin D does 1000 other things and we don’t know how much vitamin D we need to do those things, but to at least maintain bone health is considered “adequate” (30 ng/mL of the precursor vitamin D called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D).

•   The more body fat you have, the less of the vitamin D supplement is released because it’s fat soluble and gets stored in fat. People with a lot of body fat need much more vitamin D in order for it to be bio-available.

•   A good marker is 1000 IUs per every 25 lbs. It could be 25 lbs. of muscle, rather than fat, so this can get confusing. The best way to do it is to get tested. If you have health insurance, it will pay for it. There are other places where you can get vitamin D levels tested very cheaply. It’s worth it. Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. personally takes 4000 IUs per day. You should have higher levels in your blood that’s higher than the “adequate” status. One study she spoke about showed higher levels linking to longer lifespan.

•   Erroneous facts: (1) That people get all of the micronutrients they need from their diet. (2) That multivitamins are bad for you and vitamins don’t work (biased study explained).

•   45% of the U.S. population doesn’t have adequate levels of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential co-factor for DNA-repair enzymes.

•   Every day, mitochondria takes food that we eat (carbs, protein, and fat) and generate electron-reducing equivalents through the Krebs Cycle.  Electron-reducing equivalents have hydrogen which has an electron and a proton. These electrons get passed along inside the mitochondria, and they shoot out protons at the same time, and this is how it generates energy that you breathe in, which makes water, and then ATP. During this process, you start making reactive oxygen species (superoxide anion) in your mitochondria every day. These reactive oxygen species react with your DNA, with lipids, with proteins – and they damage them. This can cause DNA damage. It can even cause a break in your DNA strand. As a result, when the cells start to replicate, it can cause a mutation to occur. This can really screw up essential processes in your body. To counter that, there are things called DNA repair enzymes. They require MAGNESIUM.

•   DNA damage is something you can’t see right away, but after decades of this you can come down with cancer or other problems. MAGNESIUM IS ESSENTIAL FOR DNA REPAIR!!!

•   Folate is an essential B vitamin. It’s fortified in a lot of bread, chips, crackers, etc. Not many people in the U.S. are deficient in folate.

•   Folate is essential to make one of your nucleotides in your DNA, thiamine. You need folate to make new DNA for new cells that you make in your body every day. If you don’t have folate it can cause breaks in your DNA and mutations, which leads to cancer eventually.

•   Someone who already has cancer shouldn’t take a lot of folate because it breeds more cancer cells, since it helps them to divide. Cancer cells take over everything that should be good for you. That’s why the multivitamin study was biased because they gave it to people who already had cancer. The conclusion that multivitamins are “bad” is incomplete. It gets press because it’s attention-grabbing. Also, a lot of medical doctors aren’t trained in nutrition and preventative medicine. They’re trained to understand how different pharmacological drugs act on receptors, but they don’t know about nutrition, and because of the wealth of disinformation it becomes too confusing for most MDs, so they deny the value of it.

•   Some studies have methodological errors. They don’t have any bio-markers to measure levels of any vitamins and minerals. They were, instead, measuring some outcome like cardiovascular disease or cognitive function without any bio-markers (“we gave them this, this changed”). One study gave people an inadequate dosage of vitamin D according to the National Institute of Medicine, and of course, the outcome was a deficiency. Duh!

•   D3 is optimal for conversion to the active hormone. Take Vitamin D3!

•   Most vitamins need to be taken with food. You can get nauseous if you take it on an empty stomach. If you have too much of an acidic environment in your stomach, then you can’t absorb it. Also, your gut bacteria play a part in what you are absorbing.

•   Science is so often grey. So often NOT black and white. A lot of skeptics take on a fundamentalist attitude. It becomes like a religion.

•   Human beings vary greatly. Example: 40% of North Americans have a polymorphism in a gene called Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR – the Mother Fucker Gene) that doesn’t make it work correctly. Unless they take more folic acid to compensate for that, they’re going to have higher levels of homocysteine in their blood, which will lead to vascular problems and cognitive decline.

•   Your biology adapts to things based on environment. Example: When Europeans brought alcohol over to North America, the Natives couldn’t handle alcohol. Whereas Europeans have been drinking it for centuries, Natives didn’t. It was a foreign substance introduced to a new environment. Your body adapts to its diet, its genes, etc. There are so many variables involved.

•   People who have diets with mostly meat and fat have guts that are geared to breaking down amino acids, lipids, and glutamine because you’re giving it a ton of it. On the other hand, people who eat mostly vegetables and carbohydrates have a lot of bacteria that is involved in amino acid synthesis. But you can take this person that’s had this long-term diet and give them a vegetarian diet, and within 24 hours they’ll start to get the bacteria that starts to break down those amino acids instead.

Modify message.

•   The bacteria in our gut is very important. The environment in your gut can contribute to your mood and various aspects of your immune system.

•   Having high c-reactive protein has been correlated with depression!! That can be a bio-marker. Instead of saying, “I feel this, I feel that,” let’s actually measure your levels of c-reactive protein. There’s a study where depressed patients were found to have high levels of c-reactive protein, and they were given 2 grams of EPA a day (omega 3 fatty acid, which is anti-inflammatory), which lowered their c-reactive protein and helped with their depression.

•   Telomeres are caps at the end of your chromosomes that prevent your DNA from degrading and getting damaged (like the tips of your shoelaces). When you’re young, they’re long.  Each time your cell divides, they get shorter and shorter with each year. You lose about 22 nucleotides a year off of your telomeres. It’s a biological sign of aging.

•   Stress has been correlated to taking 5 years off your telomere length! The opposite is true. There is an enzyme (telomerase) that can rebuild your telomeres, but we don’t express them in high levels. Meditation can boost the expression of telomerase, and cause your telomeres to get longer!! That’s the bio-marker (the length of your telomeres).

•   Vitamin D affects telomere length also. Google “Vitamin D receptor mice.” http://perfecthealthdiet.

com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Premature

-aging-in-VDR-KO-mice.jpg

•   There was a study on twins where they measured their vitamin D levels and looked at their telomere length, and they found that the twins with the highest vitamin D levels also had the longest telomeres, which corresponded to being 5 years younger!

•   Another study in twins showed that those who exercised the most had telomere length that corresponded to being 10 years younger! Your lifestyle is affecting the way that you age.

•   35% of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough Vitamin K. Vitamin K is found in plants because they need it for photosynthesis, so if you’re not eating enough green plants, you might not be getting enough vitamin K.

•   Vitamin K is important for coagulation, or making your blood clot right. It also prevents the calcification of your arteries. People who are given Warfarin, which is a common drug for inhibiting vitamin K, develop problems with calcification in their arteries.

•   If you’re walking around with acute deficiencies, your body uses what it can to survive and reproduce, but you won’t be functioning optimally. Most symptoms you’re not going to notice right away.

•   There was a study on anti-psychotics, which they routinely give to people with schizophrenia. They followed them over 15 years and showed that the higher the dose of anti-psychotics they were on, the greater brain atrophy.

•   If you’re inhibiting serotonin from being metabolized (re-uptake), your body starts to downregulate serotonin receptors, which is how your body responds to serotonin. There are feedback things going on that we don’t fully understand. One out of ten of Americans are taking an SSRI.

•   30% of your brain is made of DHA, which is an omega 3 fatty acid. It’s been shown that DHA affects the way dopamine is signaling in your brain. You make dopamine in your frontal cortex. The dopamine you make there negatively feeds back on the dopamine you make in the back part of your brain. If you don’t have that negative feedback, you start making more dopamine in the back part of your brain, which can lead to paranoia and hallucinations. DHA has been given to schizophrenics, and it’s been shown that it elevates the dopamine in the front part of the brain!

•   Inflammation has been shown to be correlated with depression. Studies have shown that EPA (omega 3 fatty acid) inhibits things that are involved in inflammation.

•   Coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides, which is 12 carbons or less. Lipids, on the other hand, are long chains of carbons that are bound together with hydrogens. The way your body processes long-chain fatty acids is very different from how your body processes short-chain fatty acids.

•   Medium-chained fatty acids are digested differently. It goes straight to your portal vein, it goes to your liver, and then it goes into your mitochondria without going through a transport system, it slightly uncouples mitochondria, it’s thermogenic and has all these great benefits for mitochondria.

•   Lauric acid has been shown to be an appetite-suppressant. It’s also anti-microbial, so it’s been shown to kill off candida albicans, which is a yeast. It’s naturally in coconut oils, but the MCT oils that people put together, a lot of them don’t have lauric acid in them. Lauric acid is a 12 carbon medium-chain fatty acid, and a lot of MCT oils have less than 12 carbons.

•   Plastic, in the presence of heat, can leach chemicals into the product. Keep in fridge because it slows down the oxidation process. BPA can have estrogen mimicking effects, which could be a concern in developing males.

•   60% of your brain’s dry weight is fat. Your cell membranes are fat. You NEED cholesterol. There are tradeoffs, though. When you digest fats, you make bile acids in order to absorb them, and some of the acids are carcinogenic (i.e., deoxycholic acid or DCA). Every time you eat fat, your body is creating DCA, which damages DNA. This means that you should be aware to not eat too much fat (60 or 70% fat diet is a no-no).

•   Eating fat also increases IGF1 (a growth hormone), which is popular in the fitness community because it helps bulk on muscle. However, IGF1, if you have too much of it, doesn’t die when there is DNA damage, which makes it highly correlated with cancer.

•   When your pituitary gland makes growth hormone and then stimulates the liver to make IGF1, that IGF1 negatively feeds back on the pituitary to shut it off, but people that have a pituitary problem don’t have that negative feedback, which leads to problems. Even though IGF1 can make your muscle cells insulin sensitive (which is good), it can also (in certain conditions) cause insulin insensitivity in liver cells (bad).

•   Growth hormone can be increased from exercise, and also from the sauna. It’s a great thing to go into the sauna after a workout. It’s also great when you’re not working out if you’re injured because it prevents atrophy of muscles! It could also help with mental stress. It elevates your core body temperature. The increase in growth hormone lasts about a couple hours after sauna use.

•   Growth hormone and IGF1 are considered very good, it’s anabolic, and it helps with neurogenesis in your brain, but there’s a tradeoff. They’ve shown that reducing IGF1 signaling in lower organisms (like worms, flies, and mice) extends their lifespan. If you knock out the growth hormone receptor in a mouse, it can live 50% longer!

•   People who have polymorphisms in the IGF1 receptor, are associated with centenarians (living to 90-100+)! That’s mostly because they aren’t getting cancer. In lower organisms, the reason is that having reduced insulin signaling helps them deal with stress. They have an increased gene expression for various different genes like antioxidant genes, and genes that help them deal with proteins. The same is probably not true for humans.

•   Injecting growth hormones in massive amounts may not be a good idea because it could reduce your lifespan.

•   Myostatin is a secreted growth differentiation factor that inhibits muscle differentiation and growth in the process known as myogenesis. Animals lacking myostatin have significantly larger muscles. It can happen sometimes in humans.

•   Caloric restriction is known to extend lifespan. A 27-year experiment with monkeys was conducted. They gave some monkeys less food, and this had a huge impact on the way they aged. Age-related disease is less, cardiovascular disease is less, cancer is less, brain atrophy and nerve degeneration is less. The calorie restricted monkeys weren’t smaller, but they looked better! Caloric restriction changes the expression in 1000s of genes. There are a number of theories as to why this works. Hormesis is when you have a low level of stress, and that stress changes the expression of genes that are involved with stress overtime. It’s like conditioning your body to deal with stress. Exercise is also stress, and overtime you would condition your body to be able to deal with stress.

•   Epigenetics is causing a change in your genes. They are factors that sit on top of your genes and they activate your genes (they turn them on), and the genes become what’s called, “expressed.” They are expressing the genes, which means they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. Other factors can sit on top of them and turn them off. These epigenetic factors don’t actually change the DNA nucleotide sequence, like a mutation would. These epigenetic factors are regulated by what we eat, by stress, and by exercise – by all these different factors in our environment.

•   The Swedish government keeps extensive records of what people eat, what diseases they’ve had throughout their life, when they were born, if they were depressed, what they died of, etc. They also have extensive agricultural records like if there was a lot of famine or a crop harvest during a period of time. During the 1800s in the northern part of Sweden, it was hard to get in and out of there for whatever reason, so people really depended on the crops that were there. If the harvest was good, people ate a lot. If the harvest was bad, people were calorically restricted. Swedish scientists decided to see what effect this had on future generations. Is there a trans-generational epigenetic effect on longevity? This, of course, is not a controlled study, and there are a lot of factors missing, but it is interesting. They found that males between the ages of 9-12, and if they lived during the famine years, they had children and grandchildren that lived on average about 7 years longer than the children and grandchildren of those that grew up during the abundance years. When they corrected that to include people within the same socio-economic status, the grandchildren of the men that were between the ages of 9-12 during the famine years lived 32 years longer. There were also Swedish studies that showed that the grandchildren were ¼ less likely to get diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

•   A theory as to why you have to be 9-12 and a male is that during that time period, something in the sperm DNA gets changed (a little bit of stress changes the expression in your sperm genes, and that gets passed on).

•   Something as complex as learning and memory can be modulated by your environment. A study took mice that were transgenically modulated to get nerve degenerative disease. They took the mice and put them in an enriched environment, and they gave them toys that stimulated regions in the brain like the cognitive, motor, and somatosensory regions. They found that the mice scored better on learning and memory tests. They also increased the expression of a gene that’s involved in long-term potentiation, which is a signal that you’re making when you’re learning. What’s really interesting is that these mice had offspring mice that were also genetically engineered to have nerve degenerative disease, only this time they were placed in a boring cage with no stimulation. That epigenetic factor was still passed on (through the female egg) to the offspring mice, even though they weren’t exposed to that enriched environment that their parents were exposed to!

•   NASA is working on 3D printing non-living bio-molecules like woodchips and dental enamel.

•   NASA did a study where they took cancer cells and they cultured them in space because they wanted to see if space could epigenetically change the expression of genes, and they found it did. Gravity does affect genes that are involved in metastasis, and when you culture these cells in space it down-regulates genes involved in metastasis. Therefore, cancer cells become less aggressive. They then tried to figure out what was causing this. They took the cancer cells and they cultured them and centrifuged them (spun them at a certain rotation per minute to mimic micro-gravity). They found the same effects! The gravity changed the expression of genes involved in metastasis.

•   A study showed that 70% of herbal supplements on the market aren’t actually what you think they are.

•   There’s a whole homeopathic industry that’s essentially selling you sugar pills. A study was done where they tested homeopathic products, and a lot of what was in the ingredients was sugar. Nutrition and homeopathy are two different things, and a lot of people want to peg nutrition into the same category due to ignorance.

•   There was a study that gave people a placebo using sugar pills. The whole point of the study was to see if the placebo effect is real, and it absolutely is real. They actually feel better or don’t get sick as much. If the mind believes the medicine is there, it conducts business as if this newfound healing property exists.

•   You can change someone’s behavior by depleting tryptophan in the brain. We should be optimizing our brain as much as we can with nutrition/supplements

•   Studies were done on schoolchildren where they were given omega 3 fatty acids and multivitamins, and it has absolutely affected their IQ scores. Also, studies have shown that giving juvenile delinquents omega 3 fatty acids and multivitamins improves their long-term thinking, their behavior, etc. It’s also affecting their serotonin, and so they’re not as impulsive. There was another study where they gave prisoners omega 3 fatty acids and it affected their aggressive outbursts. What are they getting fed in prison? They’re probably deficient in multiple micronutrients, including omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. We’re spending money to keep people in prison, so why not give prisoners the proper nutrients they need to try to heal the brain and to make it work better? Privatized prisons and prison guard unions – the whole system is based on keeping them in prison. They’re not trying to fix them. The idea that they’re trying to rehabilitate them is bullshit. It’s just a system.

•   Dave Asprey’s claim that 70%+ of all coffee is infected with mycotoxins, and they make you sick and make the coffee taste bitter. People have known about mycotoxins for a long time, but good coffee providers have been able to resolve that issue with wet processing. Onnit tested 4 different coffees (2 random ones – one from Whole Foods and one from Starbucks, and 2 from Onnit – Bulletproof coffee that Dave produces and Caveman coffee). None of them tested positive for mycotoxins! None of them are using his so-called “bulletproof” process, which he won’t reveal publically. Joe’s friend, Tait Fletcher, who runs Caveman coffee, tested two bags of his coffee and the upgraded coffee, and allegedly he found below threshold levels of mycotoxins in Dave’s coffee. Joe wasn’t a part of that test and doesn’t know if it’s true. Onnit still sells it because it’s good coffee, but they removed all the literature on mycotoxins. When you talk to people who are in the know in the coffee industry (coffee growers and people who grade coffee), they have a rating system and your coffee loses points if it tests positive for mycotoxins. Dave has created this issue. His claim that coffee is bitter because of mycotoxins is unsubstantiated. If you burn it, it gets bitter. Also, there are no tests available to prove that all of these 70%+ coffees tested positive for mycotoxins.

•   With coffee, people have figured out that wet processing gets rid of mycotoxins. That problem has been taken care of. They know how to store beans so they don’t get moldy, and they know how to prevent these things from happening. Joe thinks that Dave used his platform in a way that wasn’t totally ethical. He likes Dave. Dave is a collector of ideas, but he doesn’t have a formal education in nutrition. When Onnit tested the coffee, they found 0 mycotoxins, but what Tait found was below threshold levels of two different types of mycotoxins, which isn’t going to affect you at all. If anything, it will possibly increase the expression of genes that are involved in stress resistance. The other thing is that the process of roasting the beans destroys the mold that causes the mycotoxins, 70-80% of it in some cases. Coffee experts all call bullshit on Dave’s claims, not just providers or growers, but coffee tasters/experts. Create a problem and offer a solution = profit. Joe doesn’t think it was intentional, but once you have a product out and new info comes out refuting it, it’s difficult to be honest about it.

•   Coffee experts want to know when it was roasted. There’s a time between when it was roasted and how long you should keep it when it’s still fresh. Dave doesn’t offer that info. They’re calling bullshit on that too. There should be a “roasted on” date.

•   Mercola and others talk about lectins. They say that you can’t have beans because beans have lectins, and lectins cause an immune response in your gut, and that will cause leaky gut. That’s not the whole story. Lectins are inactivated by heat, so unless you’re chewing raw kidney beans or raw lentils, you’re probably not activating an immune response in your gut. Beans are also high in fiber, and fiber gets broken down into short-chain fatty acids, which actually prevents the immune response in your gut!

•   Non-experts can really fuck with peoples’ heads.

•   Brian Dunning has something on his website claiming that vitamin C has no effect on cancer incidents, and he points to other studies that “repeated” it to disprove Linus Pauling’s studies. The problem is that it was NOT repeated. The methods were different. Linus used intravenous administration of vitamin C because the body absorbs it through your bloodstream, whereas orally can only absorb so much. These Mayo Clinic studies used oral administration. That’s a huge difference. When you’re critically evaluating these studies, you need to focus on those details because they’re very important!

•   A recent study took female patients who had ovarian cancer, and they gave them vitamin C intravenously with standard chemo. It actually killed cancer cells better and alleviated a lot of the negative effects of chemo. This study was published in Science Translational Medicine, which is a good journal for translational research. http://stm.sciencemag.org/

Dear Reader: In the Beginning There Was Nothing

To start from nothing and to make something out of nothing is a miracle of higher cortical functioning. From chaos into order – our lives are made, our perceptions shift, our world changes.

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Why did I start this blog? A few reasons: 1) It helps put my life in perspective, 2) it’s a great way to improve communication skills (the written language frequently transfers well verbally if you practice consistently), 3) to build a portfolio of my work and maybe make some money at it.

In the past, I kept a journal of my adventures in self change. I dislike the word “self-improvement” due to the fact that it is not an accurate expression of what needs to be done for a person to improve. Perhaps you remember the classic quote from the movie Fight Club in which Tyler Durden, the split personality of the nameless protagonist, says:

Self-improvement is masturbation. Now self-destruction…

This is only a half truth as well. What truly must be done for real change to occur is self destruction along with re-creation. What do you do after you knock down a building? You clear up the debris and replace it with a brand new structure. From chaos into order…

This blog is available for myself and anybody who is interested in going through some initial discomfort in order to create something magnificent. A masterpiece is created through hard work, creativity, and pain. It’s through these birth pangs of self reflection and destruction that you build character, confidence, and grace. This does not mean tearing down the whole structure in one go, which would never be a good thing for anyone who wants to stay sane. It means gradually destroying the concepts that keep you from achieving more in your life. It also means training your mind/body in ways you never thought of to build mental and physical toughness, poise, and charisma.

I’m glad you are on this journey with me. My exploits will be written here for you, dear reader. Live with purpose, be conscious of your values, and take action. I guarantee you your life will be a hell of a lot more interesting, and you can look back on your life with a smile, knowing you achieved great things.