In Defense of the Individual

In Defense of The Competent Individual

A pervasive ideology of group-think and group-identity has been slowly infiltrating the college system in the West over the last 40 years and has finally made its way to the center of the political and social arena as a consequence.  The post-modernist philosophy that has fueled this is based on resentment of Western culture, a rejection of the importance of the individual (post-modernists believe essentially that all individuals are constructs of their society, especially their race, gender and sexuality). In other words, to the post-modernist, you are your race. You are your sexuality. You are your gender.  You are part of an identity group and all groups are in a struggle for power because of the existing dominance hierarchy. In other words, the entire world can be seen through the lens of the Oppressor vs. The Oppressed.   The result of this thinking has manifested itself all over the West.  Identity politics has taken center stage in the 21st Century political discourse, with various groups demanding that supposed existing power structures in societies be toppled by force. 

Us vs Them 

Surely dominance hierarchies do exist and they always will. (They will also exist within certain groups themselves which shows the futility of the post modernists attempts to take down the existing power structures.)  Humans are animals and all animals fight to find their place in the pecking order of life. However, the problem with seeing the world through the lens of US vs. THEM is that it is a poor philosophy to live a good life.  A problem with all ideologies is that, by adopting them exclusively, you are willingly sacrificing your ability to reason as an individual actor in the world.  Instead, you have opted to engage in the collective thinking of the group.  By engaging in group think you are likely to adopt a mob mentality, one that lacks reason, empathy and compassion.  The result of mob mentality is almost always violence.  Some post-modernists are okay with violence. In fact, some leftist politicians have even called for it. When mobs rule, regardless of the ideology, the rights of individuals will always be trampled.   Without the importance and protections placed on all individuals disaster occurs, even genocide.  This has been the case in Marxist countries and the atrocities have been well-documented.

Western culture is based around the idea that the individual has rights and those rights are not to be usurped regardless of what the majority of people believe.  In other words, the individual has value in the world and they must be protected by the law. It’s worth repeating that there are no “group” rights. There are only individual rights.  You have rights because you are a human being, not because you happen to be identified with a certain group.  Any time you hear the call for group rights or new laws to protect certain groups of people, you should be suspicious of the people making the demands.  What are their motives?  Who will suffer as a result of the new laws?  Who will benefit?  Whose rights are being favored over others? Another question to ask is, “What are you against?”  See, every political party and ideology says what they are for, but rarely do they say what they are against.  The reason is often that they are against other groups of people entirely.

However you may identify with a certain group, your potential as a human being is not determined by the categories in which you believe you fit. All individuals have nearly unlimited potential, being limited only by their unique characteristics and beliefs. By allowing yourself to identify as a group rather than an individual, I am suggesting that you are damaging your potential due to the rigidity of your beliefs.  You are not poor because someone else is rich.  You are not fat because someone else is fit. You are not depressed because someone else is happy.  Life is not arranged in such ways, although having a scapegoat may make you feel better. Labels create division and animosity between people.  It would be wise, before lumping people into certain “oppressor” or “oppressed” groups, to look at the individual situation pertaining to people. If someone has done well, it could very well be that they are competent, not that they were given something not earned.

The world runs because of competent individuals.  Regardless of whatever group you are identified with, the number one factor in regards to personal accomplishment is still competence.  Mastering a trade or skill, being effective in communication, and performing a duty that others see as valuable is the number one way to rise above in any social hierarchy that values the individual and individual accomplishment. Today, there is confusion between extremely competent people and the so-called “privilege”.  Groups of people are made to feel guilty because they were born with a certain skin tone or an XY chromosome, when in reality these people have no responsibility to make right the sins of their predecessors, whatever form those sins may have come. Personally, I think the attempt to label groups of people as “privileged” and suggest whatever success in life they have is solely a result of them being born into a certain group is atrocious.

  Competence and privilege should never be confused.  There are many people born into financial privilege who end up miserable, depressed failures.  Likewise, there are many people born into “under-privileged” groups that end up massively successful.  In the end, the greatest determining factor in how well a person does is his or her own personal philosophy and desire to achieve.  Social hierarchies do exist in the world, but aiming up and taking action is the best way to get ahead in them.  What I am really suggesting is that all this political discourse should be focussed around the protection of individual liberties, not mandating an equality of outcomes.  Should a student who earns A-plus grades be required to give some of their grade points to those who have not done as well so all can have the same grade?  Will that make us all feel better? That instead of celebrating someone who has done exceptional work, we can celebrate that all outcomes will be equal?  This is what the post-modernists want in truth.  They cleverly hide behind the false excuse that a white male dominated patriarchy has led to inequality in outcomes and if we could just eliminate this social hierarchy, everyone would have equal outcomes.  When in reality, if you look at other groups, the outcomes compared to others inside those groups are often unequal as well in regards to finance, education and other important markers in life.  

By demonizing certain groups, a philosophy of resentment takes hold in the minds of people.  Those who feel oppressed begin to resent anyone who they feel has more than them and blame them for the unfairness of life.  On the other hand, those who have been declared oppressors or privileged will begin to harbor resentment for those who call them such.  Thus the cycle of the politics of envy and resentment continues as groups are pitted against each other thanks to such ideologies.  The truth is that the competent individual is the one to be admired, because no one is quite like anyone else.  Each person is unique and cannot fit conveniently into whatever philosophical boxes that certain people would like.  Every person is a mixture of both good and evil, determination and laziness, compassion and indifference. If systems are rigged to limit opportunities, they should be fixed, but to fool ourselves into thinking that equal opportunity means equal outcomes is ridiculous.  Each person determines his or her own outcome based on their talents, intellect, physical attributes and competence.  All of these gifts vary from person to person, so outcomes will never be the same because people are not the same.  That is something to be celebrated—uniqueness.  Instead, groups of people tear each other apart in the street because they think the world is rigged, US vs. THEM.

We have seen where this ideology has led.  Let us not go down that path. 

What Do You Have a Right To?

Enough About Your Rights

            This post will be short and may sound like a rant, but I feel the need to clarify the difference between actual “rights” and things people wish they had. In today’s social media environment, there are so many millions who like to say that they have a “right” to free education, a “right” to free healthcare, a “right” to a certain income. These are not rights. These are wants. No one has a right to ask something to be free while others are paying for the service. In fact, there are only a few rights that exist to humans. Among them are the right to life, liberty and property. That’s it!

This means that you have a right to your life—no one else has a claim on it. You have a right to own property, which comes from the fact that you own your body and what your body produces via work in the marketplace. Lastly, you have the right to liberty, meaning that no one else has a right to initiate violence or aggression against you, nor do you have a right to do so to anyone else. Liberty means that so long as you are not violating another person’s life or property, or initiating aggression against another, you are essentially free to go about your business. These are really the only rights that exist for all humans. Just as you have no right to a free car, because you would be violating someone else’s property and liberty by taking one, you also do not have a right to free college (because someone would have to pay to service your education—a violation of their property, their money and time). The same goes for health care. As long as someone is spending time and energy to service your health care, they must be compensated. You do not have a right to ask others to pay for what you are receiving. That would be a violation of their property, their money. You have no right to a “universal income” without producing valuable work to earn income. Even if the government is paying, other individuals are truly the ones on the hook for what the government spends.

I apologize if this all sounds harsh. You may have been told you have endless rights to many things. Much of this is due to that fact that the government is engaged in other activities and spending on programs besides concerning itself with protecting your liberty and property. Government should exist to protect your rights and that’s it. You do have rights after all. You have the right liberty, life and property. You have the right to not have others violate your rights. You do not have a right to violate other’s life, liberty or property. You do not have the right to ask for a product or service for free, because someone must spend their labor and money to support that product or service, so asking it for free would be a violation of their rights. It’s also worth noting that groups do not have rights, only individuals have rights. You do not have special rights because you identify with a certain group of people. Nor do you have fewer rights because you’re a part of a group. We all have the same rights—life, liberty and property.

In Liberty,

Sean

Be a Libertarian

I’m going to be blunt. If you’re a Democrat or Republican, you’re being hoodwinked. Don’t you see that nothing changes? More wars. More debt. More taxes. More regulations. More corruption. Less privacy. When will enough be enough? I’ve listed 20 reasons to convert to libertarianism now.

Reasons to become a Libertarian:

1.You want to keep more of your own money and believe it’s your decision how you spend it.
2.You take a substance the State would consider illegal, but you don’t harm others or pose a threat.
3.You’re tired of both parties sending money overseas to foreign countries that hate us.
4. You’re tired of the Federal debt expanding under both parties.
5. You’re sick of the perpetual wars Democrats and Republicans continue to wage without a declaration of war.
6. You believe in limiting the powers of the executive branch.
7. You believe in private property rights and personal privacy.
8. You believe you have the right to defend yourself against aggression.
9. You believe the State operates similar to a gang–only what they do is “legal”.
10. You want sound money and are tired of central banks running the show and the subsequent intervention in the economy.
11.You understand that you rights are come from your humanity, not from government.
12. You agree that government cannot create anything without taxing another or inflating the money supply.
13. You disagree that a majority can trample on the rights of the individual.
14. You think there are too many laws.
15. You know that because something is legal or illegal, it doesn’t make it moral or immoral.
16. You disagree with the use of force, whether through taxation or otherwise to take property from individuals.
17. You believe that you get to decide your own destiny and the individual liberty is the highest ideal.
18. You believe that you own your body, not the State.
19. Nothing ever changes in Washington despite the party in charge.
20. You believe power corrupts, and people in power will become corrupt absolutely.

Are you a Libertarian? I believe that most are, but have been indoctrinated into supporting a certain political party. Be free. Be a Libertarian.

On Virtue

I’m going to talk about virtue in this essay… stick with me.

When’s the last time you heard the word virtue? Maybe you remember the term from philosophy class in high school or college? What do you think of when you hear the word? I bring up virtue, or moral excellence (high moral standards), because it’s something I think about often. It’s such an important ingredient to living a fulfilling life. Virtue is also needed when building a great family or relationship. I think virtue is even more important in building a lasting business that serves the marketplace. Something I ponder, the same question the ancient Greeks raised: “Can you live a successful life without being a virtuous person?” Our society’s current standard for what success is has virtue so far removed from it. I think we must move in a direction as a people that declares the only successful life is one lived with virtue. Ironically, if there is one value lacking in society today, it would be virtue.

I believe that businesses especially must return to the philosophy that virtue—incredibly high moral standards are the cornerstone of a successful, lasting business. Sure, anyone can make money off of other people by scamming them or selling them inferior products or services, but that kind of business will never last in a marketplace that values integrity and quality. The truth is that we all demand integrity and quality from others, and that is where most people truly fail. You must demand integrity from yourself. If you value morality in people, in the marketplace and in society, you must first demand it from yourself. You can never ask someone to have certain ideals that you yourself do not exhibit.

Likewise, as a business owner, I can never ask my employees to have virtue unless I first demand it from myself, and I do. I make it a discipline to reflect every night on whether I exhibited virtue throughout the day. Was I someone that other people could learn from and look up to? Did I lead my staff in a way that I would want them to lead others? Did I act in accordance with who I really am and who I want to be? Or, did I allow myself to slip? Being mindful of my successes and my shortcomings regarding virtue is something that allows me to grow as a person of character.

There can be no success without virtue. No relationship or business will last, business or otherwise if both parties do not have a high regard for integrity and moral standards. Every good person interested in the well being of themselves and others seeks to live in a world of harmony and goodness. So, a good place to start is by asking every day: “Who am I?” “What type of person was I today?” “Did I act in a way that others would see as virtuous?” “Am I proud of my actions as a leader, an employee, as a lover or a parent?” These questions, if reflected upon daily, can guide you to leading to a life of incredible integrity and fulfillment—a life of virtue.

Sean

Child or Adult?

Are you an adult or a child? This topic has been discussed much in the media with regards to the current state of millennials. According to Goldman Sachs research, over 30% of millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) live with their parents. The average age of marriage for the generation is 30, compared with age 23 in 1970. Fewer millennials have licenses and cars compared to previous generations. These are all major economic changes that will affect the economy in a major way. And while the law states that a certain age makes someone an adult, in reality, I believe that most people, not just millennials, lack the maturity to be considered such. Here are 20 ways to know that you’ve graduated from childhood into adulthood.

  1. You take responsibility for everything that happens in your life. It’s the highest level of maturity.
  2. You focus on the present and future much more than the past.
  3. You have stopped blaming your parents and upbringing for where you are in life now.
  4. You no longer blame others for the emotions you allow yourself to feel.
  5. You understand that you own your own body and must take responsibility for it and what it produces.
  6. You realize that your primary responsibility is to take care of yourself. That responsibility does not belong to another individual.
  7. You understand that people have different identities and that your values are not theirs.
  8. You stop focusing on trying to change others before yourself.
  9. You realize that everyone is working in their own self-interest, but even the honeybee, which does the same, brings life to the many plants while it serves its own needs. This is a positive thing.
  10. You take care of your physical health and work to improve it daily.
  11. You avoid making excuses about why you “should” do something but “can’t”.
  12. You only associate with those who bring value to your life.
  13. You are working on refining your philosophy daily.
  14. You look for opportunities instead of problems.
  15. You never beg for anything or ask anything of another without offering something in exchange.
  16. You are constantly looking for ways to add value to others through the marketplace.
  17. You have the desire to grow yourself so you can serve the ones you love.
  18. You keep your word and pay your debts.
  19. You do what you believe is right, not because someone is telling you it is.
  20. You have decided to live a great life that you have designed because you are the architect of your life.

 

Life and Death

These are troubling times. Not that there haven’t always been troubling times, it’s just that more of humanity is aware of problems in various parts of the world thanks to technology. Unfortunately, there will be more troublesome events to come. It is unlikely bad things will stop happening. However, it’s important to remember that you choose where you get to live emotionally. You can live in despair and fear. You can live in gratitude and abundance. The choice is yours. Do you want change in the world? Change yourself first. Specifically, there are two things that must change for positive transformations. The first is having a productive philosophy towards life. The second is to live in harmony. If you have these two characteristics, you will thrive. These are the traits needed to maintain life. If you lack these, you will begin to break down and devolve. Life needs harmony and clear thinking. Death does not. Death must be staved off–the death of the business, the relationship, the organism. It is the natural consequence of not having a philosophy of productivity and being in harmony with those around you. Growth or death—it is all very simple.

Those who develop and maintain a positive, productive philosophy will always do well because they take responsibility for everything in their life and control their emotions and responses to the world. These people will also have a natural tendency towards harmony with others. Those who have a productive and positive philosophy understand that harmony is essential for life. Your body must work in perfect harmony to sustain energy and life. If not, it begins to decay and the damage may be irreversible. The same is true with a business culture. A relationship is perhaps the clearest example of why philosophy and harmony are necessary to life. Both people in a relationship must give 100% effort for it to work. They must each have a philosophy of love, responsibility, and compassion. Each must strive to be in harmony with the other. Yet, half of all marriages end in divorce. It’s so simple to see why. It’s the lack of harmony and maintaining a philosophy of positivity. The same goes for the violence so prevalent amongst mankind. All of it can be traced back to the lack of the fundamental characteristics needed to grow and maintain life.

I urge all of my employees to strive for harmony with each other. Most workplaces are toxic and a majority of polls taken of employees show that most have significant issues with their coworkers and managers. This is all due to a lack of harmony. There must exist a desire to be in harmony with all those in your workplace (and in your life) to realize an incredible workplace. Without that desire for harmony, the natural tendency towards problem and decay will occur. If this continues in a business, it becomes part of the workplace culture. Once it’s a part of the culture, it’s nearly impossible to stop without replacing every individual. Often, even the great employees cannot free themselves of the damage done to them by a toxic environment. It warps their philosophy to see the worst in others and seek out problems. If people only knew it was within their own power to change this. An incredible workplace, an incredible relationship—an incredible world begins with each person acting incredible and developing an incredible philosophy. Be mindful of your own personal philosophy. Is it geared towards harmony and growth? Or are you letting your mind erode with the problems of life? Are you thinking clearly—thoughts leading to positive consequences for those around you and your loved ones? If not, change it. Be the change you want to see in the world.

25 Biggest Problems in the World-Solved

Top 25 Problems Solved in 6 Words or Less

In this very short article I will attempt to provide an answer to what I believe are the world’s greatest problem. Caveat: My answers will be six words or less. My goal here is to get people to think about the questions posed and then research my answers for themselves. I believe most of the problems we face as humans have simple solutions, but we refuse to believe they can be solved because “it just can’t be that simple.” What if it was? Complexity is the enemy of execution, which is just another way of saying that people don’t do something if they believe it will be too difficult or complex to complete or solve the problem. So I’m going to be deliberately brief in my answers and I hope that my brevity will spur people to take some action.

1.How can I be more happy and fulfilled? A: Gratitude and mindfulness.
2.How can we achieve wage equality? A:Not possible unless humans are identical.
3.How can I build the best business? A:Build a monopoly. Do not compete.
4.How can I make more money? A:Add more value to marketplace.
5. Why do we have financial bubbles and cycles? A: Fractional reserve banking, central banks.
6. How can I stay positive? Focus on serving others. Be decisive.
7.How can we cure diseases like cancer, AIDS, etc? A:More private donors to startup firms.
8.Can poverty be cured? A:Only through the free market
9.Why is it so hard to stick with a goal?A:The reasons for achieving it,weak.
10.How can I make a marriage last? A:Take 100% responsibility for it.
11.Why is violence so prevalent? A:Violence makes humans feel significant.
12.How do I stop being mad or jealous? A: Focus on loving and serving others.
13.How do we end war? A: Private law societies,libertarianism.
14.How can I feel better about myself? A:You are wise,enough,courageous(repeat)
15.What is the most important trait to have?A:Courage, by far.
16.How do I know what to do in life?A: Do what others won’t or can’t.
17. How can I be financially secure? A: Multiple streams of income.
18. How do I bring progress to the world? A:Look for and work on “secrets”
19.How can I have a great life? A:Decide: live in a great state (everyday).
20.What determines if a person or country will be successful?A:Their philosophies and culture.
21. Best supplement for depression? A: Sam E (joints +liver also)
22.Best diet to lose fat and our disease in remission? A:Ketogenic diet
23. What is the biggest problem the world faces in the near future? A: Loss of hope.
24. Why do people tend to make the same mistakes over and over again? A:Habituation.Not examining their consciousness.
25.What is the biggest mistake most people make in life. A:Believing and following the majority (herd).
There you have it. Did this make you think? I truly hope it was helpful in expanding your consciousness and making you examine your own thoughts. Truly, the greatest thing any of us can do is to be mindful of our consciousness and its contents (thoughts). If we do this, the world will be a better place.

Reasons To Not Be Republican

There are many reasons, but here is a quick list of why I’m not a Republican and couldn’t vote for one. This may shock some people, but I live to shock. Some may disagree with me and say they are “voting for the lesser of two evils.” I would counter they are getting the very evil they fear by voting Republican. So here’s why I can’t vote for the GOP.

  1. Republicans are anti-Liberty. The Grand Old Party (GOP) or Republican Party was the ideological descendent of the American System—a political ideology Henry Clay and his ideological mentor Alexander Hamilton (a proponent of lifetime presidencies) propagated. They believed strongly in a powerful central government, an income tax, a strong central bank and high tariffs. All of these beliefs run counter to the principles of Liberty. The Republican Party, especially the hero of its party, Abraham Lincoln, was a student of Henry Clay. Lincoln inherently wanted a strong central bank, income tax and high tariffs. These tenants are still found in the GOP today.
  2. The GOP grows government, despite what it states publicly. The current Republican-controlled congress has repeatedly approved budgets that have taken America further into debt, expanded the welfare system, expanded government surveillance of Americans and then looked the other way while the executive branch has gotten the country into foreign entanglements that apparently have no end. While some would suggest this is done in the name of “national defense,” the truth is that these operations have less to do with the defense of this country and more to do with reaffirming the presence of an American empire. After all, most of the hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi, yet American forces invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. We also are involved in covert operations all over Africa and Asia via drone warfare.
  3. They believe in the same political ideology as the leftists. Republicans, especially neoconservatives, believe in Machiavelli’s Noble Lie principle as laid out in The Prince. The principle suggests that the public is too stupid to know the truth, so smart central planners should lie to them in order for the common good. Democrats and progressives at the turn of the 20th century like Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR believed this as well. In fact, the belief is so engrained into the political ideology of both parties that closed door meetings, congressional voting without the public presence, and classified government programs are the norm and almost completely accepted as a reality by the public.
  4. Republicans love government and deplore the Constitution. Despite what they may say, Republicans continue to pass unconstitutional laws, expand unconstitutional programs and rely on the Federal Reserve Bank and income tax to steal from Americans though taxation system and inflation of the money supply. Government under George Bush grew beyond any previous president and has grown even more under Obama. Does more government equate to more freedom or less freedom for the public? More taxes or less taxes? More debt or less debt? The answer is obvious.
  5. They love war. This was mentioned before, but it’s worth restating that Republicans have consistently violated the constitution by allowing the executive branch to conduct foreign wars without a formal declaration of war by Congress. Democrats are complicit in this as well and the result is a foreign policy that has made it less safe for Americans at home and abroad. Not to mention the endless debt and perpetual warfare state our country is embroiled in.
  6. Republicans have contributed to the failed War on Drugs. Indeed, the GOP and “conservatives” love to demagogue about Liberty, but they will use the force of the government to keep you from using substances they have deemed illegal. Ingesting a substance or possessing something should never be a crime if there is no victim. The United States has spent billions of dollars incarcerating people for the use and sale of illicit drugs, but drug use is still very high in this country. Meanwhile, our jails are full of nonviolent criminals, publicly bankrupting our system.
  7. Republicans believe in limited speech. While it has been mostly Democrats that have supported hate speech laws and the sedition acts of World War One (which shows how intolerant the left truly is of free speech), Republicans have been complicit in the war on free speech. From creating laws against flag burning (which is obviously atrocious), to attempts to ban pornography (also admittedly a problem for many), Republicans have repeatedly misconstrued FREE SPEECH for POLITE SPEECH. Just because something is not polite, may seriously offend someone or even possibly be hurtful to others or the government itself does not mean there must be a law against it. Freedom of speech was not written into the First Amendment to the Constitution to protect polite speech. It was written into law to protect controversial speech. Besides, why should we allow government to tell us what speech should be allowed or what speech is polite or appropriate? If there is no physical victim created from the speech, it must be allowed. (The famous argument for restricting speech is the “yelling fire in a crowded theater” logic. Obviously if there is an actual fire, the speech is protected, even if it results in a stampede because the truth was spoken and there was no malice of forethought. If there was no fire, malice of forethought has been established and the person “yelling” is responsible for the consequences of his behavior.) Flag burning and pornography may be atrocities, but they are speech nonetheless and should be protected under the constitution.
  8. Republicans have sought to expand the police and surveillance state. After 9/11 Republicans were eager to pass the Patriot Act into law which allows for law enforcement agencies to execute their own search warrants without approval of a magistrate in certain situations, if that situation is deemed to be of “a national security matter”. While this is a clear violation of the Bill of Rights, Republicans did even worse than that by giving us the TSA and Homeland Defense Departments of government—agencies that repeatedly engage in the violation of personal liberty. Perhaps the worst example though, is bipartisan effort to allow warrantless wire taps on American citizens and the mass collection of data from phone calls, emails and text messages by the NSA. But what is even worse is that they refused to inform the public before they engaged in these acts.
  9. Republicans consistently raise the debt and deficit. This is not disputable. Republicans have consistently grown government programs at home (think Medicare Part D) and given out billions in foreign aid. Even Ronald Reagan, the great Republican hero, engaged in deficit spending and added significant to the national debt.
  10. They lie. You might say that all politicians lie and you’d probably be right. However, Republicans will say they stand for less government and more individual liberty and then act in a way that does exactly the opposite. At least Democrats will say they are going to expand government, restrict Liberty (the necessary implication of expanding government), increase taxes and spend more money. I mean, at least you know what you’re getting with a liberal. With a Republican, you might get a Democrat in Brooks Brothers clothing.

The takeaway? The only “wasted” vote is one cast for a Republican or Democrat. There is no lesser of two evils. There is only evil. Ditch the two parties and vote for Liberty, property rights, and the non-aggression principle. Don’t be complicit in the evil of the system. Reject it.

10 Statements For Your Success

Want to be the best you can be? Print out these 10 Success Statements and look at them daily to remind you of how great you are and can be.

  1. Do what you fear most and you will thrive and grow. Discomfort is how we grow.
  2. You are capable of more than you think you are.
  3. There are only 4 levels of action: retreat, staying still, normal action and massive action. Move forward whenever possible to advance yourself.
  4. Progress equals happiness–to be happy you must be progressing forward.
  5. The best return on investment you can do with your time in the gym is to lift weights and lift intense.
  6. Fear is what holds most people back but fear, like everything, runs in cycles.
  7. Nothing lasts forever–cherish what you love while you still have it.
  8. If you want an increased quality of life, raise your standards.
  9. You become what you think about most of the time. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t.
  10. Love and gratitude are the antidotes to fear and depression. You cannot be truly grateful and depressed at the same time.

5 Lifestyle Hacks

(Disclaimer: Although we love to pretend, we do not live in a free country.  There are powerful forces that love to intervene in every aspect of our lives. That is especially true when it comes to your pocketbook and your health.  Please do not misconstrue the following as medical advice.  So, to protect myself I will state the obligatory, “Consult your physician before engaging in any diet or exercise program”.  That said, be your own advocate. Do your own research. Ask your own questions. Do everything possible to better your life. As far as I know, you only get one.)

If you followed the last 50 years of government advice regarding diet and exercise, its almost a certainty that you have a chronic illness, fatigue, a high body fat percentage and you have no idea what your body needs in terms of real nutrition and physical activity.  Don’t worry. It’s not completely your fault. After all, we remember that awe-inspiring food pyramid telling us to eat five to seven servings of carbohydrates and walk 20 minutes a day as part of “balanced” diet and fitness plan.  I have bad news for you: both of those recommendations are probably not suitable for you. What should you do? Say, “Screw it”, sit on the couch and pound some cola and chips while watching reality TV? NO! You care about yourself and your body and are dedicated to improvement.  So, if you’re looking for some tried and true life hacks to kick-start your health and physical fitness, the following tips are for you.

  1. Intermittent Fasting (IF): The old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day turns out to be an old wives tale.  In fact, new research shows that skipping breakfast altogether may turn out to be the single best thing you can do for your health.  Dr. Joseph Mercola and others have done a great deal of research about this subject and I suggest you do your own.  Fasting has been used for centuries as a way to detoxify the body and lose weight. This tactic is well known in the Paleo community, but it can also be used to build muscle mass and cut body fat. Many athletes and bodybuilders are beginning to embrace IF.  Actor Hugh Jackman, when asked his secret for getting so lean for the X-Men movies, stated that he only ate between 10am and 6pm.  Essentially, he skipped breakfast, worked out in a fasted state and then stopped eating food after 6 pm. He fasted for 16 hours, ate for 8. He did not cut calories. He actually ate more while he was trying to pack on lean mass.  This is the approach I use and it has worked very well for me.

How does it work?  Skipping breakfast and doing exercise in a fasted state triggers the body to release growth hormone to preserve muscle tissue. Additionally, the body is signaled to mobilize fat tissue to burn for energy. Most breakfast foods are high in carbohydrates, which triggers the body to release insulin.  While insulin levels are high, the body will shut off growth hormone production. If your muscles and liver have enough glycogen stored already, that high insulin will cause your body to shuttle glucose from those carbohydrates into your fat cells.  So what if you just skip carbs in the morning and opt for eggs? I’ll address that next, but I suggest unless you have some medical condition that prevents you from trying intermittent fasting, try it.  Who knows? You may reverse unhealthy conditions in your body and you might feel better.

2.  Carbohydrate Cycling or “Backloading”: I’ve already suggested skipping breakfast and especially high sugar, high grain foods in the morning.  There are those who do not eat any sugar or grain whatsoever, and they have changed their lives.  Personally, I have followed a no starch, low-sugar diet and I have been able to effectively manage an autoimmune disease without any painkillers or prescription drugs.  However, if you are an athlete who needs to refuel your muscle tissue or you just have to have some carbs to feel whole, try eating them only on certain days and eating them later in the day, after exercising.

Carb Cycling: By skipping carbohydrates for a period of time and then spiking your intake of them, you can refuel your glycogen stores allowing your body to perform at a high level while stripping off body fat.  This is carb-cycling.  Essentially, skip carbs for a number of days to mobilize fat stores to be used as energy, and then fill up for a day. You will learn how many carbs and what type your body likes after just a few weeks.

            Carb Backloading: Another approach is to eat your carbs later in the day.  This essentially allows your body to slip into ketosis, maximize fat usage through the day, and then reefed at night.  John Kiefer has published two books and other articles examining how the body can transport glucose without raising insulin levels in the body.  By eating carbs later in the day, after exercise, the body can take in carbohydrates to refuel without the body’s insulin level skyrocketing.

If you need carbs in your diet, you may consider looking into these two life hacks.

3.  Eating More Fat: If your have not read Wheat Belly by William Davis M.D. or Grain Brain by Davis Perlmutter M.D., you really should.  Both books present a compelling case against high carbohydrate consumption and also for why people may not be eating enough of the right fat for optimum health. Grain Brain further argues that most bodies, and especially the brain, prefer to burn ketones for optimal health. The brain needs enough fat (butter, avocado, fish oil, heavy cream, nuts) to function and repair itself properly.  Both books suggest that Alzheimers and other brain abnormalities could really be a form of diabetes, caused by excessively high blood sugar levels.

The takeaway?  Fat is not the enemy.  Fat doesn’t make fat.  High blood sugar and insulin levels are most likely the culprits. Also, it is no coincidence that after the government’s “war on fat” occurred, the level of obesity and autoimmune disease began to skyrocket. Changing your diet will change your life. Embrace fat or be fat. Pun intended.

4.  Hit it and quit it! How long are your workouts?  Do you spend hours at the gym or on the bicycle or treadmill?  If so, raise your hand, and say, “Hi, I’m ________your name here_______ and I’m wasting time.” You may have been led to believe that the time you put into an activity is more important that the intensity you use.  The opposite is true.  Just as productivity is more important that activity, intensity is more important than duration.  Running is more effective than walking. Smaller rest periods are more effective that sitting on the leg press or preacher curl machine with your smart phone for 5 minutes between sets. The book First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds is a great resource for those who want to learn more about why exercise intensity trumps exercise duration. For now, as a multiple health club owner and personal trainer, I will tell you those who train using drop sets, supersets and high intensity interval training (HIIT) see much better results than those who workout without a plan and take a nap between sets.  In fact, while I suggest changing routines every 6-8 weeks to shock the body into change, I never recommend people stop using high intensity principles.

Note:  Please don’t confuse HIIT, drop sets and supersets with Crossfit.  Some preach Crossfit, and I applaud anyone who sticks to a plan. However, the amount of injury, chronic fatigue and overtraining I see from crossfitters lead me to suggest using it as a part of a training routine, not the entire thing.  Think Bruce Lee here. Take the best from all disciplines. Don’t be a fanatic without regard for the results.

How It Works: With Cardio: Instead of walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes, begin to walk for 30 seconds, then sprint for 30, then back to walking. Continue to do this for 10-20 minutes.  You’ll save time and increase results.

With weight lifting: After doing squats with, let’s say 135 pounds, drop the weight down immediately after the first set to 100 pounds and perform more reps. This is a drop set. A superset would be performing bicep curls on the machine and then immediately performing another bicep exercise. It’s also possible to move onto a completely different muscle group. (For example, doing bench press followed by pull-ups.)  Embrace intensity over duration. Save yourself some time. Don’t workout for longer than 90 minutes. Ever. 45 minutes is much better. See more results. Enjoy life more!

5. Wear a Watch During Your Workout And decorate your house with wall clocks.  I believe firmly in being consciously aware that time is ticking away. We all have the same hours in the day.  The bum and the millionaire get the same time during the day. What makes the difference? How people use and don’t use their time. Time is really the only asset we have that doesn’t depend on something or someone else.  During your workout, being conscious of how you are using your time. Capitalize on it. This will help you be more productive.  Personally I like to wear a Casio G Shock with a stopwatch so I can time my workouts and rest periods. Sometimes I’ll even wear an expensive watch to remind me that lost time is lost money and that craftsmanship matters in life and the marketplace.

At home, decorate with clocks.  They look nice and they will keep you on track. Once you begin to maximize your time, you’ll find you begin to resent the people and things that waste your time.  This is good.  Don’t waste your time. This is especially true when eating and getting exercise.  Most importantly, don’t waste time being ignorant. It’s your responsibility to yourself and your family to become educated and independent. Do your research. A mentor once said, “Poor people have big TV’s. Rich people have big libraries.” I believe this is also true with healthy people. You only get so much time in life. Don’t waste it!