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Here's the most important question. People ask me this question all the time. They say, Steve, what is your favorite ever episode on The Diary of a CEO Podcast? I think the more important question is actually, what is your favorite episode on The Diary of a CEO Podcast of all time? I went out to try and answer that question. What is your favorite episode? What is your favorite moment on this podcast of all time? Using a data scientist and a big team of analysts, we've found the most replayed moments of all the hundreds of episodes we've produced this year to show to you today. These are the moments that you replayed and shared more than any other moment on this podcast. Theoretically, this should be the most valuable Dyer of a CEO episode you ever listened to because it's a compilation of the most valuable moments that we've ever had on this show in 2020, 2023. The seventh most replayed moment is my conversation with Giles Yee, where he takes on some of the biggest myths about health, weight, obesity. And he answers the question, Do we have to get fatter as we age? Is it genetic?


What are the easy ways to manage our weight? After I read it in your book about us gaining more and more weight as we age, I Googled it and the healthcare research and quality agency said that we naturally tend to gain weight as we age to the tune of 1-2 pounds per year according to their review. That's from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which I found quite startling.


But completely accurate. What the numbers that we have is, yeah, I think that's right, actually. Between 20 and 50 years old, those 30 years intervening, the average person, average will gain about 15 kilos on weight, which is 32.2. Yes, two pounds a year, 1-2 pounds a year. 15 kilos and weight is gained over 30 years on average. Some gain very little, others gain a hell of a lot more. We look at ourselves in the mirror. I look at myself in the mirror. But it's true.


I don't want to be that guy.


Mate, I don't know how much choice you have.


What can I do to try and stay? Because for me, it's not really about the weight thing or how you look. It's more about like, I don't know how to say this, but there was this big set of stairs the other day, really long set of stairs leading down to this lake. I was in Indonesia a couple of months ago, and I remember thinking about those stairs and thinking, God, if I wasn't athletic and strong and didn't have good knees and things like that, there's no way I'd be able to get down this long, winding, hand-carved set of Indonesian stairs so that I could go on this boat trip that I was going to go on. I just thought about how it was a weird thing. I know this is a strange story to tell, but it crossed my mind. I got to the bottom of the stairs and I turned to the person I was with and was literally like, That's why I've got to stay in shape for as long as I can, because I want to do these boat trips and I want to go on this little rafting thing, but I won't even be able to access it unless I can go down up and down those stairs, like 200 meters of stairs down this cliff.


That's what I care about. I care about being active and strong and fit for as long as I possibly can. From what you said about gravity and weight, being overweight is going to inhibit my chances of being able to do those stairs.


I think there are two elements there. First of all, there is doing the things that we want to do like that because you're exactly right. These are the things which I can still do that. I can still walk up a mountain or down a mountain because I'm still fit enough to do that and I want to stay as fit as long as I can to do that. And weight will inhibit that, undoubtedly. But then there's a second element to actually consider. Now that's healthy, look, none of us are going to live longer. We hopefully... Anyway, if we lived longer but was unhealthy, would you want to live longer? You want to live longer but healthier for longer. Undoubtably, the thing that is closest related to health when you age is not your total weight. There's a role to play there. The amount of muscle you have is your muscle mass as you age, independent of how much fat you have. That will determine how healthy you are as you age. Now I'm talking about going into the 60s and the 70s rather than when one is able to go down a 200-meter set of steps.


Now, as you get older, the most crucial bit of information is to maintain resistance training, not lifting, and that's not what I'm talking about, sitting on the wall, getting up and down a chair, because that the amount of muscle mass you have really marks the level of health that you're going to get. And then the science is startling. It is so related, independent of weight from there. So muscle mass is the most important for healthy aging the moment you get 60, 70 plus.


Interesting. Okay, so I'll keep doing resistance training.


Correct. Always keep resistance training.


And lifting weights as long as I can.


Lifting weights as long as you can. At some point, you won't be able to lift weights just.


Because- Don't write me off. Don't write me off, Jars.


The hubris of youth.


Yeah, that's the naivety of youth. You just assume you'll always be able to do what you can do now. It's something I think a lot about. I think a lot of people will this podcast because probably, especially this time of year, we're in January, they'll probably be trying to find ways that they can cut fat. They want to be a bit skinnier. I think you said half a stone you want to lose. I'm in the same place. I think most people want to lose half a stone or something. What is the way that you would suggest to do that? The simple way. Not the like in complicated, go by this guy's course and do three million sit-ups, whatever. The simple advice you would give someone that's hoping to create sustainable weight loss.


The first is the amount of protein you eat. You need to try and focus on trying to keep to about 16% of the energy in your day from protein. 16%. And there's a sweet spot. So if you eat too much and you're not lifting, you're stressing your kidneys because your kidneys have to get rid of the nitrogen from the protein. So 16% is a sweet spot. And it doesn't mean steaks only. It can mean beans, tofu, any protein from anywhere, 16%. Second is fiber. We need to eat as much fiber as physically possible. 30 grams we want to aim for. Although we are looking at the moment on average in this country, we're probably only eating 15 grams. We need to double the amount of fiber we actually eat. Third, we need to limit the amount of added sugars into our diet. Added sugars meaning sugars not tied up in fiber, powder stuff, maple syrup, agave, nectar, all those are added sugars you put in. Keep to five % or less of the energy content in your day. And those are the three numbers that I want you to think about. So 16 % of protein, 30 grams of fiber, five % or less of added sugars.


Apply that to whatever you want, keto, whatever you want to do, apply that. And I think that will be a sustainable, healthy way to eat.


The sixth most replayed moment is a conversation I had with Dr. Mindy Pell, who talks about the belly fat burning diet. Nutrition is a huge thing at this time of year. And so she lays out exactly how to eat and behave in order to reduce belly fat and to improve your overall health. You told me about the first two styles of fasting. The first one was intermittent fasting, which is 12 to 16 hours, which is good for weight loss, brain fog, that thing. The second is autography.




What did I say?


Autography, but I like it. No, don't I.


Said autophagy. I said autophagy. It works for me. We can play that back. I definitely said autophagy. And if I didn't, we'll fix it with AI. Autophagy fasting, which is 17 to 72 hours, good for balancing sex hormones and preventing.


Illness, broadly.


Number three we haven't spoken about gut reset fast. What's that?


Yeah, so that's based off a study that came out of MIT that showed 24 hours without food and your intestinal stem cells inside your gut actually start to reboot themselves. A stem cell is a cell that can go to anywhere in the body and repair itself. But at 24 hours, you get a plethora of them in your gut. And in the gut, we've got a damaged microbiome from everything that we've just been talking about. So what I discovered in this 24-hour fast is I could take women that have been on birth control pill for years, people that have been on multiple rounds of antibiotics, people who had been eating horrible food, and I could actually put them through a 24-hour fast once a week, once every couple of weeks. And these stem cells would come in there and they would start to repair. And so now if I teach that person how to eat right, their food is actually starting to build a better microbiome in the gut. So that 24-hour fast became this go to in my clinic where I could take all these gut challenges and I could start to unwind them just because I knew the body had this capability of making these intestinal stem cells.


And it was crazy. We got people off supplements. We got people that weren't making serotonin, which affects moods, comes from the gut. All of a sudden, it started to become happier. People who hadn't had bowel movements in three days, all of a sudden we started to put in this gut reset and it was like a miracle. It was incredible.


Number four: fat burner fast.


So the fat burner fast is probably my favorite for those people who want to lose weight. The research was done that 36 hours without food followed by 12 hours of eating. And then another 30, they actually did it over a 30 day period, but we've been using it in our community, just dosing it in. That at 36 hours, what happens is that's enough time where the blood sugar's come down, where all of a sudden the body, it's so smart, it goes, Okay, blood sugar is not common. We've been in this fasted state. We've triggered autophagy. We've brought inflammation down. We've made you ketones. We're trying to go find food, but this extra weight, it's not serving you. Because remember, you got to go find food. So it drops weight. And it's the most beautiful way to get a person to unstick any weight loss resistance. But most importantly, you know where it dropped the most amount of weight from? Where does everybody want to lose weight?




Yep. So I probably should have called it the fat burning, belly.


Fat burning. Yeah, the belly fat. That would have banged.


But yeah. And so that's what they showed, is that actually a 36 hour fast started to unstick weight loss, and it was started with weight around the belly.


Compelling. Number five: the dopamine reset fast.


Yeah. So number five, I found some research showing that when people go without food for 48 hours, the whole dopamine system will be rebooted. So what's important to know about the dopamine system is it is our molecule of happiness. It is the thing that it's actually a motivation molecule, and it's a neurotransmitter that allows thoughts, happy thoughts to go across from neuron to neuron. And so what happens, and I'm sure you've talked about this on your podcast that we're so dopamine saturated right now, but specifically people who are overeaters, they actually are finding, the study I quote in the book is that they found that people who had food addiction, people who had extra weight, like obese situations, they were not getting as much happiness out of their food because their dopamine receptor sites were saturated. So they had to eat more food to get more happiness. And food is a state changer. It does make us happy. So what they found is if they put them into a 48-hour fast that they actually rebooted the whole dopamine system and new dopamine receptor sites appeared. So that when they brought food back in to the equation, they actually got more enjoyment out of food with less food.


This got me thinking about a conversation I was having yesterday with some of my team here. We were talking about how it almost feels like sometimes if I've eaten sugar, I can go into a bit of a sugar cycle. And what I mean by that is I'll have some sugar and then a couple of hours later, I'll have another craving for sugar, and then a couple of hours later, I'll have another craving for sugar. But then other times, specifically, for example, when I did keto, I did the keto diet for about eight weeks, bloody eight months, I wish. Eight weeks. Throughout that period, I didn't have any cravings for sugar. We had come into the studio and I walked over to the chocolate and I smelled it.




I didn't want any of it. It had gone. But then when I'm in what I call the sugar cycle, I'm eating sugar maybe once or twice a day and I'm getting the craving for it, which I just can't seem to resist.


Well, dopamine is the molecule of more. It's not the molecule of enough. So what it does is when you get sugar, you get this dopamine rush and the brain goes, Love that. Give me more of that. And so it's endless. You will never be fully satisfied. It constantly wants you to come back for more and more and more. So when you start to go off the ketogenic energy system, you're getting the same euphoria. You probably felt the same high, the same mental clarity, but you've totally taken this molecule more out of the picture. In fact, dopamine will actually... You get those receptor sites that will be repaired, but you're not getting a big dopamine buzz when you're in a ketogenic state.


You're getting ketones. I was mulling it with my team how long I had to stay away from sugar to get out of that vicious, give me more cycle.


My experience has been it's about three days.


Three days. That's what I thought. I think I said four or five, but just from experience as well. If I haven't had sugar for three or four days, I mean like a chocolate, but something significant in terms of sugar. Then after three or four days, the craving for it seems to vanish.


If you think about that, it's not hard if you're trying to overcome a sugar addiction. Just bear it for three days and then that dopamine stops barking at you. And then if you tack fasting onto it, now you're getting ketones. And so you're not needing that as much. Ketones kill hunger, and they make you so mentally clear. They give you this euphoric feeling. So you don't have that urge to go for.


The sugar. And the ketones come from fasting, which is when your body switches metabolic state. The last and final fasting style, immune reset fast.


Immune reset was built off of Dr. Walter Longo's work. And he did a study on people who had cancer and were going through chemotherapy. And one of the challenges we know about chemotherapy is that it wipes out the whole immune system. And so he wanted to see, Well, what if I put somebody in a fasted state as they went through chemotherapy? Would there be a difference? And what he found is after three days of fasting, the white blood cells in our system actually reboot themselves. So what they do is all old white blood cells are sloughed away and new white blood cells emerge. So people were able to come out of that chemotherapy experience and have a stronger immune system, as opposed to what we were seeing was that it was wiping the immune system out. So that launched the whole three-day water-fast craze. At least here in America, we're seeing a lot of people that are just going after three-day water-fast to prime their immune system. But you also, at three days, get stem cells, full systemic stem cells. So all of a sudden, your body's got surging with stem cells going to all parts of the body repairing it.


The great example I always use on this one was I had an Achilles tendon injury and nothing was helping it. So I threw a five-day water fast at it. On the fourth day, I felt this buzz in my Achilles tendon. I was like, Oh, I wonder what that is. And it stayed all the way through. I went five full days. And about the fifth and sixth day, so sixth day I was entering food back in, all the pain completely went away and it never came back. I tried everything. I tried everything, and that was the only thing that repaired it.


It does make, again, evolutionary sense that if our body senses were injured because we're not eating or some other signal that we are on a course to not survive, to put it nicely, it does make sense that it might set about to repair whatever needs to be repaired. You're getting it. Because if I was a wounded human back on the Savannahs of, I don't know, Africa, wherever we came from, and I'm laid there and I'm not eating, my body should probably go, Okay, Steve might need something fixed so that he can get back to hunting.


So you're.


Getting it. So survival, that is the number one priority of the body. So when you go without food, you amplify every resource it has to keep you alive. And if repairing my Achilles means I can now go hunt for food, it's going to do that. It's going to make me stronger. And in the book I stumbled, when I was writing the book, I stumbled upon a really cool hypothesis that's called the Thrift Gene Hypothesis. And it said that it's a theory, obviously it's a hypothesis. It's a theory that the people, the humans that evolved out of the primal days had a very specific genotype. And this genotype allowed us to metabolically flex and be stronger in a fasted state because we had to survive. And the people that didn't make it from that time period didn't have that gene. But think about this for this moment. So they think we all have this gene inside of us right now, this thifty gene, where we can go long periods without food and we can survive. So what happens when we're eating all day? What happens when we're ignoring and we're not actually activating that genetic profile?


So what they are now believing is that diabetes, metabolic syndrome, all of that is largely happening because we are going against the genetic profile that we are now seeing in humans. We're like on the opposite end of the spectrum.


We're overloading our bodies. Yeah. Which is meaning that the survival gene you referenced there is not being activated to help us. That's right.


Interesting. The fifth most replayed moment is a moment from my conversation with Matthew Walker, who is the world's number one expert on the subject of sleep. He explains the importance of sleep on our overall health, on our weight, and everything in between. But most importantly of all, he gives us a roadmap for how to sleep better. I know so many of you are struggling, so I'm not surprised that this is one of the most replayed moments of The Diary of a CEO of 2023. I had a lot of health experts on this podcast recently, but none of them have really talked to me about the role that sleep or sleep deprivation plays in weight. Is there a relationship?


It's probably one of the most well-defined relationships that we know in all of sleep science. It is at least a three-part story. The first emerging evidence came in in terms of hormones. There are what we call appetite-regulating hormones. The two principal ones of concern here are something called leptin and grelin. Now, leptin, when it's released, will signal to your brain that you're satisfied with your food, you are satiated, and you are no longer hungry. Grelin does the opposite. When grelin is released, it says no, you're not satisfied with your food, you are not full, you still want to eat more, you are still hungry. Some of the first studies, they started to just limit people, restrict people's sleep to six hours or five hours or four hours. What they found was that there was... Firstly, that signal lept in that says, No, you're satisfied with your food, you don't want to eat anymore, you're full. That signal of fullness, satiation was decreased by 18 %. If that wasn't bad enough, grelin, which is the hunger hormone, that lapped up by 28 %. Overall hunger levels rose by about 26 %. So first, it's almost like double jeopardy that you are getting punished twice for the same crime of not sleeping enough.


Once by losing the signal of, I'm full, I don't want to eat anymore. And once again, for the No, I'm much more hungry and I'm just going to overeat, which is grelin. So what that produces is a profile of increased eating. So on average, underslept individuals started to eat in those studies about three to four hundred extra calories at each sitting by way of insufficient sleep. Then what they discovered is that it's not just that you want to eat more, it's what it is that you have a craving for when you are underslept. This is the problem. What they found is that when you are underslept, you eat more of everything, but you especially eat more of these heavy-hitting, stodgy carbohydrates: bread, pasta, pizza. The next thing that you started to eat, have a preference for was simple sugary foods, sweets and chocolate. Then finally you started to crave very salty food, and high sodium food intake will increase your blood pressure. That was the first of the three mechanisms. Then we did a study where we said, Perhaps it's not just the circulating hormones in the body, the brain is the ultimate auditor of your food decisions.


What's going on in the brain? We took a group of perfectly healthy individuals and we put them through the experiment twice. Once when they'd had a full eight hours of sleep and once when we deprive them of sleep. Then the next day we placed them inside an MRI scanner and we showed them images of lots of different foods that range from being very healthy to being very unhealthy and ice cream and chocolate and pizza and things to leafy salads and nuts and greens and vegetables. We asked them to rate how much they wanted that food for each item. Now, we did something a bit dastardly to make it more ecologically correct so that they weren't just saying, Okay, they probably think I should probably say that's healthy. We said, We're going to randomly select one of these images, these food images that you see, and after you get out the brain scanner, we're going to give you that food and we're going to politely ask you to eat it all. It made it a bit more realistic, so the choices were more as much as that we could. What we found is that when they were sleep-deprived, the deep hedonic centers, the emotional centers of the brain, these desire centers, these reward centers, they ramped up in their activity in response to these highly desirable, highly unhealthy foods.


These more basic guttural parts of the brain, as it were, these reward centers were lighting up much more strongly when you were sleep-deprived. Worse still, the impulse control regions in the front of the brain, what we call the prefrontal cortex, they were shut down. They were taken offline. As a consequence, you lost your impulse control. That's why you start to then say, When I'm sleep-deprived at the food buffet, I'm not going to do salad. That pizza looks awful good, or that pasta with the cream. I'm just going to go into that. We'll go. It's what we call a pattern in terms of brain activity in neuroscience of hedonic eating, that your brain goes into this hedonic desire profile. Now we understood it's not just hormones in the body, it's also changes in the brain. Then came the finding that there's another chemical in the body that's responsible. This comes on to cannabis. When people that you may know have smoked cannabis, they'll often say, I get viciously hungry. I get the munchies. I get really hungry. That's no coincidence because cannabis will stimulate appetite. Now, we all have naturally occurring cannabis compounds in our brain and our bodies.


They are called endocannabinoids. Endo meaning comes from insiders, whereas the cannabis that comes externally when you smoke it or take edibles. Endocannabinoids do many things for the brain and the body, but one of the things that they do is control your appetite and your hunger. What we found is that when you sleep-deprived individuals, these naturally occurring endocannabinoids rocketed up by over 20%, cranking up people's appetite. These three ways lead you to start packing on... When insufficient sleep is occurring, when sleep gets short, your waistline typically starts to expand. We now understand the reasons. If that wasn't bad enough...


It is bad enough.


Yeah, I know. Can you just stop, Matt? Honestly, I've really... The last thing that we discovered is that, let's say that you're trying to be really careful and you're trying to diet and you're trying to lose weight, if you're not getting sufficient sleep, then 60% of all of the weight that you lose will come from lean muscle mass and not fat. Not the muscle. I know exactly. In other words, when you are dieting, but you are underslept, you lose what you want to keep, which is muscle, and you keep what you want to lose, which is fat. Again, it's.




An ideal situation. I'm sold.


Sleep is important. I get it.


I'm sold.


My question is, what are the things that in the modern society are standing in the way of sleep? We've touched on some of them loosely, but some of the big, obvious things, the things that you would suggest doing, very actionable things we could do straight away to improve our chances of having that healthy, deep sleep that we need to be optimal in every regard of our health and performance.


There's probably, I think, five standard tips, what we call sleep hygiene that you can do. Then I'll come on to maybe just some unconventional tips that we've touched on. We've spoken about many of these. The first thing I would recommend people to do, and this is why when some people say, What about this new sleep supplement? Or, It's 40 quid for this bottle of these new sleep natural medication, so I'm going to give it a try. I would say try these tried and true things first before you spend your money on supplements. The first thing is regularity. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, no matter whether it's the weekday or the weekend. Your brain expects regularity. It thrives best in the conditions of regularity. When you give it regularity, you can improve the quantity and the quantity of your sleep. The second thing is get some darkness at night. As I said, we don't get enough darkness in the modern world. The trick I would offer, and I don't like the word hack, but the suggestion would be, in the last hour before bed, try this experiment for everyone listening for the next week.


Dim down half of the lights or switch off half of the lights or even three-quarters of the lights in your home in the last hour before bed.


All of the lights in every room?


In all of the rooms. Switch off almost all of the light. Now, I'm not suggesting be unsafe and walk around in the darkness in the last hour. That's not what I'm saying. Just dimmed out, switch off half of the lights. You will be surprised at how sleepy that darkness will make you feel. It's also an incredible behavioral trigger to signal to your brain that it is time for sleep, that darkness is around me. That's the second tip, is darkness. The third tip is temperature. Most people sleep in an ambient bedroom temperature that is too high. You need to aim for a bedroom temperature of about 18 and a half degrees Celsius, around about 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit, if I'm probably butchering the mathematics there on that. But you need to get cool. Now, you can wear thick socks. You can have a hot water bottle. That's fine. But the ambient needs to be cold because you need to drop your core body temperature and your brain temperature by about one degrees Celsius to fall asleep and stay asleep. It's the reason that you will always find it easier to fall asleep in a room that's too cold than too hot.


Make your bedroom cold. Make it dark, like a cave. The fourth question would be.


What we've...


Or fourth suggestion would be, walk it out. We've spoken about this, the 30-minute rule: get up, do something different, or meditate. Don't lie in bed awake for too long. Then the final two things we've spoken about, well, we've spoken about caffeine. We haven't spoken about alcohol, but let me just say as the headline of it, alcohol is not a sleep aid. Many people use it as a sleep aid. It is not your friend. Alcohol, again, is a sedative, so it knocks you out. The second is that it fragments your sleep. You wake up, your sleep is littered with all of these small awakenings. Most of them you don't remember because they're too brief, but it makes for miserable, lousy quality sleep. The final thing is that alcohol is very good at blocking your rem sleep or your dream sleep, which we know is critical for many other functions as well. Alcohol is not your friend. That's the final tip. Again, if you're with friends, have a glass of red wine, just know, Okay, my sleep is not going to be great.






You, Matt. Nice to-I'm joking.


-i'm not, yeah. What's up? It's just live life, to me. I'm not saying that.


The fourth most replayed moment is a moment from my conversation with the world-leading neuroscientist, the man who has scanned more brains than anybody else, Dr. Daniel Aman, who is a favorite on The Diver CEO, and he tells us very, very clearly how to grow a healthier brain. I can change my brain.


It's the most exciting lesson that I've learned. You're not stuck. I'm not stuck with the brain I had. You're not stuck with the brain you have. You can make it better. I can prove it. In fact, every day what I've come to believe you're making your brain better or you're making it worse by what you're doing.




Start there. By what you're doing.


What things make the brain worse? What are the common things that most of us do without thinking that make the brain worse?


When my daughter, Chloe, was in second grade, I went to her classroom and I wrote 20 things on the board. I went, Separate them from me. Good for your brain, bad for your brain. Seven-year-olds. They got out of 20 right. So most people know. The only thing they got wrong was orange juice. They put it in the healthy category. When in fact, when is it rational to unwrap fruit sugar from its fiber source? Because it turns toxic in your body? I'm not a fan of fruit juice. I'm a fan of fruit, not fruit juice.


What's bad about sugar.


For the brain? It's pro-inflammatory. Which what does that mean? It makes you diabetic.


But I mean, as it relates to the brain, why is like, orange juice or the ice cream bad for my brain?


Because it's ultimately going to give you high blood sugar levels, which erode your blood vessels, and you're going to have lower blood flow to your brain. That's a bad thing. I mean, there's so many things about it. So it's addictive. It's pro-inflammatory. It makes it more likely you're going to have diabetes and obesity. So 72 % of Americans are overweight, 42 % are obese. I've published three studies on 35,000 people. As your weight goes up, the actual physical size and function of your brain goes down. That should scare the fat off anyone. I used to be chubby, but when I figured out that connection, I'm like, Oh, no. It was that that gave me the motivation to drop about 25 pounds. Sugar is the gateway drug to diabetes and obesity. Not to mention, inflammation, which is the cause of depression and dementia. You want to avoid things that cause low blood flow:.






Caffine. Caffine constricts blood flow to the brain.


What does that do to my brain?


Well, it constricts blood flow. You're going to get less blood flow. Remember I showed you that progression with age? No, you don't want that. You want to do things that increase blood flow to your brain. So exercise, Ginkgo, is just one of the supplements I'm going to give you, eat foods like beans, oregas, rosemary, cinnamon. They increase blood flow. While we're on blood flow, 40 % of 40-year-olds have erectile dysfunction. 70 % of 70-year-olds have erectile dysfunction. What that means, if you have blood flow problems anywhere, it means they're everywhere. I'm like, No. It means either you're too sedentary.


You're overweight.


You're smoking or having too much caffeine or using marijuana because marijuana lowers blood flow to the brain. Just in that one of the 11, it's exercise, GENCO. And for you, not for everybody, but for you, hyperbaric oxygen, those three things will make a big difference in blood flow.




Genco. What is that? It's a supplement.


What does.


It do? Increases blood flow.


To the brain.


The prettiest brains I've ever seen take GENCO. There's actually a spec study. They gave people 120 milligrams of GENCO twice a day, significant improvement in blood flow to the brain. One of the supplements I'm going to give you, we have GENCO. I've taken it every day for the last 20 years, at least. And then this is where the US government got an F for the pandemic, loneliness accelerates dementia and brain problems. And so when they isolated us, the whole significant increase in brain problems. So get connected to other people. The I in Bright Minds is inflammation. So what increase is inflammation? Low omega-3 fatty acid levels. And we are deficient, 93 % of the population is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. 93 %. So all of us should be either eating more fish or taking an omega-3 supplement like Fish oil. Gum disease. Like who knew? I wasn't really that good at taking care of my gums until I started reading the studies. You have gum disease, you have inflammation, you're more likely to get depressed and have dementia.


The third most replayed moment is a moment from my conversation with Gary Brecker, where he lays out how you can become a superhuman, strip the fat off your body, and get yourself healthy with free, easy, simple exercises that will cost you nothing at all. When I heard the story about Dana White, and I saw he had gone from respectfully being a man that had a little bit of weight to having these six-pack abs on Instagram, of course, the six-pack isn't the outcome. As you've said, it's the stuff going on inside him that's really the transformation. But what can someone who's just heard that at home, where do they start with getting, extending their life by triple and getting the...


He also started something called the Superhuman Protocol. Superhuman Protocol is using magnetism, oxygen, and light. The only things that we really get from Mother Nature, the big benefit we get from Mother Nature is we get magnetism from the Earth, we get oxygen from the air, we get light from the sun. The truth is, most of us are not contacting the surface of the Earth that much anymore. He bought $150,000 worth of equipment: a PMF mat, an oxygen, what's called a hypermex oxygen to do exercise with oxygen therapy and a red light therapy bed. I had him use that equipment every single day, seven days a week. But if your listeners want to do it for free, you can take off your shoes and contact the surface of the earth. I'm talking about bare feet on soil, dirt, grass, sand. Because earthing and grounding is a very real thing. We actually discharge into the earth. We actually human beings build up a charge. Do you know that PH, the Acid Alkaline Scale, PH stands for potential hydrogen. It's a charge. It's a complete fallacy that you can get alkaline by drinking alkaline water. That's the biggest marketing myth ever sold to the public.


But you can get alkaline by contacting the surface of the earth. If you don't have 150 grand, which I don't expect anybody listening to this podcast to spend 150 grand, but he did. I said, You need a PMF mat so you can be alkaline. You need to spend 10 minutes a day breathing 95 % or two under mild exercise, and you need to lay in a red light therapy bed. So in the absence of the superhuman protocol, you can become superhuman by contacting the Earth and by learning to do breath work.


Let's talk about breath work.


I spend eight minutes every day doing a very specific series of breath work. People do not realize the power of something that is is so accessible, so free, and so easy to do. They want things to be more complicated, but it's not. When I said the presence of oxygen is the absence of disease, it's absolutely true. Remember that every elevated emotional state that a human being can experience actually has in its molecular structure, oxygen is a component of that emotion. If you look at the difference between passion, elation, joy, arousal, libido, and anger, for example, it's usually only one neurotransmitter and the presence of oxygen. The reason why no human being has ever woken up laughing is because you don't have the oxidative state to experience laughter right out of deep sleep. But can you wake up angry? Yes, because anger doesn't require oxygen. Every morning, contact the surface of the Earth and then spend eight minutes doing, I do a Wimhoff style breath work. I give credit where credits do. He's the father of breath work as far as I'm concerned. I do three rounds of 30 deep breaths, obnoxiously deep breaths, and I start by trying to take my belly button and pull my belly button out towards the wall.


Imagine there's a string pulling your belly button towards the wall, and then you feel from the lobes of the lung to the apex of the lung. Then you exhale and just relax.. I'm just trying to think. God knows what they think we're doing out there. Right outside this podcast, they're like a bunch of freaka. I knew it was a cult.


I knew.


He was a cult leader. You do three rounds of 30 breaths. On the 30th breath, you exhale and you hold. Allow the carbohydrate receptor to reset. When you don't feel you can hold anymore, you take a deep breath in. You hold again and then you let it out slow and you start again. I would suggest that you start with three rounds of five breaths, then work to 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30. If you get light headed, this is a good sign that the oxygen tension is changing in your brain. If your fingers and toes get tingly, this is a good sign that you're changing the oxygen tension. If you feel some heat, temperature change in your neck, these are all great signs. You will get to the point where you can actually hold your breath for two or three minutes, sometimes four minutes between rounds of breath work. Then the last thing is to expose yourself to natural sunlight. First thing in the morning, the first 45 minutes of the day, God gives us a very, very special type of light. It's called first light. There's no UVA, there's no UVB rays in this light, so it's not the damaging rays from the sun.


It still generates vitamin D3. It has a positive effect on cortisol, on vitamin D3. First light is the best way to reset your circadian rhythm. So by contacting the surface of the earth, doing breath work and getting first light, you can get to the same place that Dana White did with 150 grand in equipment.


What about oxygen masks? Because I'll be honest, when I read about the Dana story, I went on Amazon soon after and I was like, I'm just going to buy an oxygen canister. Good idea, bad idea.


So what you want to do is you get an oxygen concentrator, which takes 21 % oxygen, which is the concentration at sea level. It turns it into 95 % O2, and it fills this bag. And it can refill this bag over and over and over again. I use one called the Hypermax. You can see it on my Instagram. You plug it in, you turn it on, it fills this bag. Then you go in, you put an oxygen mask on, and you exercise for 10 minutes, only 10 minutes. Cycle for three minutes, sprint for 30 seconds. Cycle for three minutes, sprint for 30 seconds. Cycle three minutes, sprint 30 seconds, and you're done. What this does is it raises something called the partial pressure, the storage of oxygen in your blood. The only two-time Nobel Laureate Prize winner in medicine, Dr. Otto Warburg, won both of his Nobel Prizes for his work and exercise with oxygen therapy. You want to be a superhuman, do mild exercise every day while breathing 95 % or two. It's important that you're exercising. And then after that, you move into a red light therapy bed, photobiomodulation. So if you don't have access to a hyper max oxygen machine, just do the breath work, get the breath in, exchange the oxygen tension and the tissues, and expose yourself to.


First light. What about cold water plunging?


So I'm a huge fan of cold water plunging, but probably not for the reasons why you think. I also sit on the board of the NFL Alumni Association Athletica as a Health Service Director. There was a time when we used to think that putting athletes in cold water after exercise was good because of its anti-inflammatory effects. We know now that that's only about 15% of the benefit. The majority of the benefit comes from something called a cold shock protein. If you really want to be fascinated, google cold shock proteins. These are reserved proteins that are in your liver. They're dumped into the bloodstream in an effort to save your life when you put yourself in cold water. They scour the body of free radical oxidation. They increase the rate of protein synthesis, muscle repair. They are free. You get them when you put yourself in cold water. I don't know what the Celsius conversion is, but I use 50 degrees for three minutes minimum, six minutes maximum. Cold? Yes. It's actually not that cold. I see people getting in 37, 38 degree water. There's no evidence that I've read that shows that colder is better.


You get a peripheral vasoconstriction, so it forces all the oxygen into the core and up to the brain. And you get an activation of something called brown fat, right? Thermogenesis comes from brown fat. And for the women that are listening, for some reason, I seem to ensnare the women when I say this, remember that the definition of a calorie is a measure of heat, right? I mean, the definition of a calorie is the amount of energy it takes to raise one cubic centimeter of water one degree centigrade. So if a calorie is a measure of heat, then this means that when heat is leaving your body, calories are leaving your body. So if there is nothing. Nothing. No amount of exercise hits cardio, no type of cardiovascular or weight training that comes anywhere close to immersing yourself in cold water in terms of what will strip fat off your body fast. If you want to strip fat off your body, get in cold water 3-6 minutes a day.


That's fascinating. Because the oxygen rushes to my head, that's why it has a really profound impact on mood.


That's why it has a very profound impact on mood. Because if you think about it, what's the reason why we need deep sleep? What happens in deep sleep that's so special? There's a secondary oxygen transfer. We transfer oxygen from the periphery, from the extremities to the brain. Remember, the brain is a non-metabolic organ. In other words, it's unlike a muscle. If I pick up a weight and start to work out my muscle, my arm, my body will send more blood, more amino acids, more oxygen to that muscle because it's working. Well, if I'm sitting at my computer and I'm watching reruns of The Simpsons, or I'm sitting at my computer and I'm solving the most complex joint venture agreement, partnership agreement with all kinds of mathematical equations, my brain gets the same amount of nutrients, same amount of blood flow, same amount of oxygen. So it eats the same meal, whether or not it's in a dead sprint or whether or not it's just chilling on the couch, except in deep sleep and when you're in cold water because it's forcing the oxygen up to the brain.


The second most replayed moment is a moment from my conversation with Dr. Tim Specter, a favorite on The Diary of a CEO. And here he talks about health more holistically and some of the biggest myths that most of us believe that are currently standing in our way. We've got a fitness group amongst some of my friends. It's about 10 of us in it. We've been tracking how often we work out and how frequently we work out and the workouts that we do. One of the things I have to say is pretty much no one in the group has lost any weight. We've been doing this for a year. That bucks what you would think. The only time that I lost weight was actually when I went on the keto diet. I went from 14 stone eight to 13 stone eight in roughly in several weeks. But exercise and exercising for almost religiously for the last two and a half years doesn't really seem to impact my weight at all in the way that the fitness experts might tell me on Instagram. What's your stance on the role that exercise plays in weight loss?


Has very little role in weight loss. All the studies, long term studies, show it doesn't help weight loss, and it's been grossly exaggerated as an easy fix for our obesity problem.


Exercise doesn't help weight loss? No.


All the studies show that. The only caveat to that is if you have changed your diet, improved your diet and you've lost some weight, but maintaining some exercise does help prevent it going back up again. But as on its own, if you don't change your diet, it's of no use. That's well-known now by all the obesity experts and all the studies.


Does sugar make us fat? Is that the culprit? Is that one of the main things that's contributing to-?


No, again, that's reductionism. But the reason exercise doesn't work, it's important to realize this, is because we all know this, that you go for a walk, you build up hunger before a meal. That's what your parents told you. Everything about exercise is after it, your body slows down, your metabolism slows down, and it tries to regain the energy that you've lost. That's just our evolution. And so that's why it's great for your health. I exercise. Fantastic for your mood. It's great for your heart, anticancer, all kinds of things. We should all do it, but absolutely not if your goal is weight loss. You have to do something about changing your diet. I think that's a huge myth, particularly perpetuated by gyms and fitness apps and everything else, and it is complete nonsense.


I read that when you looked at studies over 30 years and you looked at how many studies had been done on the relationship of exercise and weight versus things like sugar and weight, there was 12 times more studies done on the relationship of exercise and weight versus sugar and weight. And why is that? Why is the less research done on the latter?


I think that's the influence of governments and the food companies and the drink companies. So a lot of the exercise research done in the last 20 years was sponsored by large corporations who wanted to make this link between exercise and weight loss so that they could continue to sell sugary, ultra-processed foods and drinks and just say it's childhood obesity because we don't have playgrounds and we don't encourage this. That's why the Cokes and the Pepsi's are always there at the sponsoring Olympic events and associating themselves with sport. They gave hundreds of millions to various physiology departments, sports departments, nutrition departments to do research in this area. Basically, it was really hard to get anyone to do research into how sugary drinks make you gain weight or cause problems because the amount of money for nutrition has been abysmally poor. In from governments. That's why only the first ever study of ultra-processed food in a controlled trial was only about three years ago, and it's been around for 30, 40 years. So such is the power of that lobby that it doesn't necessarily distort the research in a evil way, but they point it to make sure that the researchers are working in an area that they want people to work in and distracting them, keeping away from talking about sugars or even artificial sweeteners, which in my view are nearly as bad because they're hidden and deflecting us from the idea that, yes, giving kids sugary drinks or even artificial sweet drinks is going to be bad for them and cause obesity.


Wait, so I cut out sugary drinks about a year ago. I still have the same brands, but I have the no sugar version.


Oh, dear.


Oh, shit. What do you mean, Oh, dear?


Well, the summary of the trials shows that if you take young adults and kids and they were, say, on two cans of full sugar, soda, and you change them to the diet version, there's no real difference in weight or metabolic changes in their blood. You will go to the dentist less, so you don't get as many fillings. And yet you should be gaining 300 calories if you were doing two cans a day. So it doesn't work out as it should do, and that's because of these chemicals are not in it. So the sweeteners, in kids, they change their brains to give them... They want more sweetness in their food. So it could reflect your wish for your late-night milk chocolate, who knows? And it's very difficult to train kids to have more bitter foods or sour foods if they've got these artificial sweeteners in their diet all the time. But they've now shown that all these sweeteners actually affect your gut microbes. So even stevia, these so-called healthy ones, have an effect on your gut microbes and they're not inert. We know that saccharine and succralose also cause spikes in your blood sugar. When I did it, I have a trace.


They're not supposed to, but they actually do things they're not supposed to. So we know very little about these products, and my view is that they are harmful, probably not as bad as having the sugar, but they are absolutely not a health drink. And we should be encouraging people to have teas and kombuchas and more bitter tasting, interesting flavors and foods than just this ultra-sweet chemical concoxions.


The sugar conglomerate that I have been funding much of the research that points towards some of the things you were talking about there, that's also the conglomerate that wants us to believe the calories in, calories out approach, because if I just view all foods as equal and on this calorie number, then I can drink some of the sugary, fizzy drinks and some of the processed foods. As long as I keep it within that calorie deficit, I'll be fine. Is that sugar conglomerate? Is the processed food conglomerate for the calorie model?




They need that, right?


Absolutely. It's vital. Zero calories or one calorie on the can, that's what you see. You're fooling people into thinking this is a healthy drink. If I used to have full Coke or Pepsi and now I'm having the diet version, I'm getting 300 calories less a day, I should lose weight. It's exactly what they've been doing. And they're also desperate to show that artificial sweeteners are really healthy and they come down on anyone who tries to say that they could be in any way dangerous, and yet they're not obliged to test them. So none of the chemicals added really go through rigorous testing on how they affect our gut microbes. And their testing mechanisms haven't changed in 50 years.


As you'll know if you've listened to this podcast before, I'm an investor in a company called Heal. I'm on their board and they sponsor this podcast. And I have a very exciting announcement to make. This product called Daily Greens is one of the most highly requested products at Heal, but it's never been sold in the UK before until now. It's often difficult to get all of the greens into our diet that we need to have a healthy gut microbiome and a healthy body. And with Heal's Daily Greens product with one scoop every morning, a very, very delicious scoop, you can get 91 vitamins, minerals and whole-food-sourced nutrients into your diet. The most important point here is I genuinely believe it tastes delicious. It's maybe my favorite Huel product ever for all the reasons I've described. So if you want access to this product, you can sign up right now. The link is in the description below. It launches in the UK in January. Because of the demand, I'm pretty sure it's going to sell out. And here is the single most replayed moment as it relates to health on The Direver CEO of 2023.


So the first thing I came up against, because this was around the time of the financial crisis, was the lack of understanding of the brain-body connection. These high-performing executives were acting like their body was just the vehicle that was moving their brain around from meeting to meeting. And both disrespecting their physical health, but also not understanding that what they were actually really being paid for was to use their brain, and they weren't creating the best conditions for that brain to operate in. I'm talking about really basic things like sleep and a good diet and hydration and not being sedentary, managing your stress, etc. So this tiny organ, if it's not in an environment that is giving it the best chance of doing its job, it's not going to, and a crack is going to appear somewhere. The first time I really had a big confrontation with the bank was when people were dropping dead on the trading floor of heart attacks. They asked me to work more in my capacity as a former medical doctor to help with the physical stuff. I said, I can't do that if we don't address the mental and emotional piece because that's what's causing this.


They just could not get that.


What did you want to do with those people in a specific and practical sense? If you could have been in charge of preventing them from dropping dead on the trading floor, where would you have started?


The understanding that stress, so everything that you're experiencing mentally and emotionally that's challenging, and things like a lot of travel, which is challenging of your body, that that raises levels of the hormone cortisol, which comes from your adrenal glands, and that cortisol courses around your blood through your entire body and brain. And the brain has receptors for understanding what's going on in terms of threat to your survival. So in a 24-hour cycle, depending on your age and your gender, there's a normal range for cortisol. So it can go up and down like this. If something challenging happens, we need to adapt and rise to meet that challenge. But when that level is above the top range all the time, these receptors in your brain basically think that there's an imminent threat to your survival. So there's this whole cascade of hormones, and basically, cortisol causes inflammation in the body. So, inflammation of your vascular system, inflammation around your heart and everything else, gut and other things. But particularly around that time, we were seeing a lot of heart attacks caused by stress. This was in the absence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking. It was all stress.


Once upon a time I Googled, because I had a thesis, I Googled, is stress contagious? And it came up and it said it was contagious. Is it contagious? In what circumstances do we need to be aware of that contagion? And more importantly, how and why is it contagious?


Okay, I will tell you the answer to that, but I'm going to ask you a question first. Have you ever walked into a room with someone? And by the time you've left that meeting with them, you just feel so drained.




Course, yeah. Yeah, so you know the feeling. I'll tell you how it works physiologically. I'm going to start with something else to build you up to this story. So did you know that women who lived together or work closely together will synchronize their menstrual periods within two or three months? So whenever I want to explain something that's complex or I don't actually know the current neuroscience, I always take it back to what happened in ancient times. So when we were living in the cave, the men hunted and gathered and lived quite nomadically. So sometimes they would go away for months at a time. And in those days, the most fundamental important thing for the survival of the human species was that the alpha male must pass on his genes. So if he was going to be away for months and there weren't men there to defend the women from predators, maybe there was going to be a spell of the Ice Age and they would all freeze to death or they wouldn't have food. He needed to make sure that at least five women were impregnated with his sperm at the same time. So that if there was a food shortage or there was like still birth or miscarriage or whatever, at least one out of five would survive.


So to be able to do that, they had to be fertile at the same time. So that's why that mechanism exists. Now, we don't need that mechanism now, but it's still wired into the way that we operate. Those sex, steroid hormones like estrogen and progesterone, they leak out of our sweat about this far around us. And that's why if you're living with another woman or if you're sitting across the desk every day, then particles of hormone from my sweat would go into the through the skin of the other woman.


If she's within what distance?


I mean, you wouldn't have to be sitting next to each other. If you lived together, then that means you're interacting enough that it would happen. Okay.


So particles of-But not if you work together.


If you work together and you sit right next to each other every day, then it does happen too. So in a small office that's got like six girls in it, the menstrual synchronization will happen. Interestingly, it's led by the Alpha female. You can work out if you don't know already who the Alpha female is. Well, basically, let's say my cycles don't change and everyone says, Oh, I got my period early, or I haven't had my period yet, but now it's started, then that would mean that probably I was the Alpha female. How does.


The body know who the Alpha female is?


That will be to do with levels of testosterone.


Why did the body... Why does that matter who the alpha female is? Why does it matter that they sync up with her?


I don't know if it really matters. I think it's just a case of physiology. It's a little bit like in The Troops of Gorillars, the stress levels of the silverback gorilla affect the other correlars more than correlars who are peers to each other. We have a natural hierarchy and it must be related to survival as well.


She was probably the person who the alpha male was going to impregnate first.




Everyone needs to fall in line because when she starts having sex, they need to be ready. Yeah. Okay.


Also it'll probably be to do with things like survival genes. It will be the people with the hardiest genes because that's what you want to pass on as well.


Okay, makes sense. Most resilient. Okay.


Okay, so where.


Were we? Stress and contention. We've done all the hormones and the.


Menstrual cycle stuff. Basically, cortisol is a hormone that works in that same way. Cortical is the main stress hormone. This one doesn't matter if you're male or female, but it does matter where you are in the hierarchy of the organization, as I just mentioned. Usually, in that conversation I mentioned to you where you go into a room and you just feel completely drained afterwards, usually the person that comes out feeling drained is less senior than the person that's had that effect on them. That's why this is so crucial to leadership, because your stress levels as a leader, as a CEO, are going to have more impact on everybody else than the rest of the people put together, basically. So managing your stress is obviously important for you, but it's important in terms of what happens to other people and thefirst issue I came up against was CEOs and CFOs that said, Well, I won't show them that I'm stressed. I won't tell them what's happening with the numbers. I won't display emotions in front of them. And I said, They're still going to know physiologically. It's going to impact them. So now you really have to do something about it.


And the other thing about cortisol, which is quite funny, well, one of the side effects is quite funny, is that as a survival mechanism, it will help you to store fat around your abdomen. So again, in the cave, if you were potentially going to not find food for a month, then if you had extra fat around your abdomen, and you could digest that and survive till you could find food. With my clients and financial services, it got to a point where as soon as I walked into the room, they just lift their T-shirt up and say, Now you know how I've been in the last month.


Stress causes belly fat.


Belly fat that's really hard to shift. Again, what I would see with people is that they would say, I've put on a bit of weight around the middle, had to loosen the belt a bit. I've started eating less. I've started exercising more, and I still can't shift it. Again, that's when I would explain this is the impact of cortisol. As long as you're still leaking out extra cortisol, nothing's going to change. Like I said, even exercising more or eating better, less or differently, whatever it is, wouldn't shift that fat. You had to get to the root cause. You had to reduce the cortisol.


For any of you that are still here, I have a bonus moment for you. I often get asked what is my favorite episode of The Diary of a CEO of all time? I often try and avoid that question because I don't want to pick one particular episode. It's like picking your children. However, because you've gotten here, I'm going to reveal it to you and I'm going to play you a moment from that conversation. My favorite ever episode on The Diary of a CEO of all time is episode 101, and it just so happens to be the most shared episode we've ever had of all time on WhatsApp. I know that sounds a little bit obscure, but the interesting thing about WhatsApp is it's one-to-one typically. It's typically one friend sending it to a family member or to a friend or something like that. For it to be the most transferred between one person and another, I think, is telling about the value of that conversation. Here is one of the most important moments from my favorite episode on The Diary of a CEO of all time. To understand what happiness is, you have to understand the cause of it.


Yes. You write about that extensively and solve for Happy. What is the cause of unhappiness, as you see it, especially if you're building machine learning applications that are going to solve, make people arrive at contentment or happiness in a personalized way, we must be able to know what's causing this lack of happiness.


Allow me a bit of time to explain it because it's simple when we get it, but it's not simple to get to it. Happiness is very predictable. If you look back at any point in your life where you ever felt happy, there is one commonality across all of those moments that can actually be documented in a mathematical equation. You've never felt happy because of a specific event in your life. Take, for example, rain. Rain doesn't make you happy or unhappy. There is no inherent value of happiness in rain. Rain makes you happy when you want to water your plants, and it makes you unhappy when you want to sunbathe. It's not just the event, rain, it's the comparison between the event and an expectation in your mind of how life should be. If you're worried about your plants, then life should be generous to me and get me rain so I can water the plants. And if life does that, then life meets your expectations and you're happy. And so happiness in that sense becomes equal to or greater than, so it's really mathematics, that your perception of the events of your life minus your expectations of how life should be.


And apply that to anything. Apply that to anything. Myfavorite example is nature. We're all happy in nature. Why are we all happy in nature? I mean, you go out there and there are ants and there are flies and trees are crooked and there are shrubs everywhere and bushes, and it's just really not that hedged and organized, but that's what we expect. So nature's chaos is what we expect nature to be, and so we feel happy. Nobody ever sits in front of the ocean and says, I like the view, but please, mute the sound. You just take it. It's the monotonous sound and the view and the wind and the sun and the whole experience. Because of that, happiness becomes very different than what was defined to us. What was defined to us is that happiness is found in gathering at the pub or a party or an activity or some pleasure or fun or elation or whatever that is, that's not at all true. I call these the state of escape. Happiness, as per the definition of the happiness equation, is events equal to or beating expectations, life going my way. Basically, happiness is that calm and peacefulness you feel when you're okay with life as it is.


It doesn't really matter what life is. What matters is that you can be okay with it. You take any example, if your boss is annoying and your expectation is, Yeah, bosses are annoying. This is what life is about. They become bosses because they're annoying. If that's your expectation, you're going to look at it and go like, Yeah, I need to learn the skill of managing annoying bosses. If that's the case, then you're not going to be upset about it. Similarly, anything else, if you look at it then it's not just the event. It's your perception of the event. You have something to influence. It's not just the event. Your partner might say something hurtful on Friday at 4:00 PM. That's the event. My partner said something hurtful. At Sunday morning, you tell yourself he or she doesn't love me anymore. That's your perception of the event. That's not actually the event. The event is something hurtful was said. But your perception of the event is your work. It's your brain adding color to it. Then you compare that to your expectations. You compared my boss is annoying to my boss shouldn't be annoying. Where did you get that from?


We blur the happiness equation. We break the happiness equation because of what I call the six and seven. Six grand illusions and seven blind spots, which are the six grand illusions are basically call them pathways that the modern world teaches us to navigate the modern world that our illusions are not true. Take, for example, control. Everyone knows that to succeed in the modern world, you have to learn to control certain events. You start to believe that the way to succeed in life is to control everything. But the truth is, even if you go down to the basics of physics, that we never are in control. That the absolute design of nature itself, of the universe itself is entropic and chaos. That's the actual design. If you try to control it, you're bound to be disappointed. A lot of events are going to miss your expectations. Yes, I'm not saying don't control anything at all, but start to understand that you're going to be selective because you have a finite amount of effort. By the way, even if you're selective, and you try to control everything, sometimes things will fall out of control. That should be your expectation.


Once you get that right, that was my biggest illusion. I'm a mathematician. I'm a software developer, I am a physicist, I'm an engineer and I'm a senior executive. It doesn't get worse than that. I'm like, The worst. Absolutely the worst. I used to give my wonderful wife, I swear to you, Steven, don't judge me, I used to give her a spreadsheet that would tell her when to wash the colors and when to wash the YTS based on our average consumption as a family to save the environment. Poor Nabil would actually smile at me and say, Sure, baby, I will use this. Of course, and ignores the hell out of me because that's how crazy you can be when it comes to control. Now, these are the illusions. If you live your life through the illusion of control, good luck finding happiness. Six grand illusions. The illusion of thought, the illusion of self, the illusion of knowledge, the illusion of time, control, and fear. Now, that's one side, and that disrupts your entire view of what to expect from life because you're expecting life to behave through a lens of an illusion. The other side of it is what I call seven blind spots.


The seven blind spots are not really defects in your brain. As a matter of fact, they are the very design of your brain. Your brain is designed to tell you what's wrong. It's not designed to if a tiger shows up right here now, my brain has no use whatsoever in telling me, Oh, my God, look how majestic that animal is. Yeah, it's a beautiful animal, but my brain will say we're going to die. We're going to die is the idea that basically makes our brain constantly look for what's wrong, blur the events of life. You ask a mother and she will say, Oh, my daughter's been sick all winter. She just had two episodes of flu three days each. But to the caring heart of a mother that needs to be exaggerated to the exaggeration is one of the blind spots. Your brain is trying to get you to take action, so it pushes you. It pushes you by exaggerating the event a little bit so that you jump in and take action. Accordingly, the event you're comparing the wrong event to the wrong expectation, and the happiness equation falls apart.


Isn't this cool? Every single conversation I have here on The Diary of a CEO, at the very end of it, you'll know, I ask the guest to leave a question in The Diary of a CEO. And what we've done is we've turned every single question written in The Diary of a CEO into these conversation cards that you can play at home. You've got every guest we've ever had, their question, their name, and on the back of it, if you scan that QR code, you get to watch on your phone the person who answered that question, the next guest. We're finally revealing all of the questions and the people that answered the question. And we've just released the updated conversation cards. We released it the first time and it sold out instantly. We released conversation cards again and they sold out instantly for a second time. We've updated the cards, put all the new questions in, and we've introduced a twist. On the back of the conversation cards now, we've got different levels of vulnerability. So level one, these are more surface-level questions. And by the time you get down to level three, the questions become a little bit more challenging, a little bit more vulnerable.


And that's really where connection happens. To test the power of these cards, we invited 20 total strangers to come and have dinner. And the only thing they had to do was answer a level three question that was put in front of them in a room full of strangers. And we saw unbelievable, almost magical results. People in tears, people forming lifelong friendships, and people unlocking truths within them that they've been too scared to confront. Vulnerability is the door to connection. That is what we've always done here on this podcast. And that's exactly what these conversation cards do. You can play them with your partner at home. You can play them with your colleagues at work, or you can play them with your best friend on the weekend. The stories we've heard about these cards, about a grandson playing it with their grandfather to get to know them, pulling them out in the midst of a divorce with their wife and saving their marriage. As you've often seen on this podcast, sometimes one question and someone who is genuinely open to answering it is all it takes to unlock a truth that will end up setting you free.


And that's exactly why we made these conversation cards. And you can get them right now at theconversationcards. Com. I'll put a link to the conversation cards in the description below. They're sold out twice instantaneously. So if you are interested in getting hold of some limited edition conversation cards, I really recommend acting quickly. And let me know how powerful they were for you and/or for your relationships. Thank you. Do you need a podcast to listen to next? We've discovered that people who liked this episode also tend to absolutely love another recent episode we've done, so I've linked that episode in the description below. I know you'll enjoy it.