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Exploring the Boundaries of Human Potential

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"If we did the things we were capable of, we would astound ourselves" - Thomas Edison


The Art of Doing Less (and Accomplishing More)

By | Human Performance, Lifestyle, Productivity, Self Improvement | No Comments

I felt like starting this one off with something funny, and this clip get’s me every time! The following post is inspired by my friend Ari Meisel – founder of LessDoing.com   Two things happened in the past three weeks that have profoundly influenced my sanity in a very positive way: 1) I went on a weekend-long silent meditation retreat after what had been one of the most chaotic, productive, engaging yet mind-scrambling months of my life, and 2) I attended Ari Meisel’s skillshare class in Soho, New York. The details of my schedule that lead to such catalysts are inconsequential – what is noteworthy here, and the main takeaway of this brief post, is the importance of taking a step back. Very generally, there are two types of problems we typically face: problems of abundance, and problems of scarcity. The former are always better then the latter, but problems…

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THE EXTREME MIND-BODY CONNECTION – PART III: Extreme Healing and The Absurd Reality of Spontaneous Recovery

By | Experiments, Explorations, Mental Perfomance, Mind-Body, Physical Performance | 3 Comments

The medical world has been taken by storm in the last decade with this concept of neuroplasticity. It says that the brain is not a static structure, as previously conceived, but is rather pliable – like plastic; capable of adapting both functional (synaptic) and structural (dendritic) changes, as visibly seen on PET scans and FMRIs. In truth, it is not just our brains that are plastic, but as you are learning – it is our entire reality… Continued from THE EXTREME MIND-BODY CONNECTION – Part II: How to Increase Your Strength by 22% Without Moving A Muscle! and THE EXTREME MIND-BODY CONNECTION – PART I: How to Change Your Life, by Changing Your Mind (The Neuroscience of How Thinking Makes It So) – this final installment in my trilogy of mind-bending phenomenon is sure to change the game insofar as the how we think of medicine, sickness, treatment, and healing….

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Cultivating Intuition Through Meticulous Self-Tracking

By | Events, Experiments, Habit Design, Health Insights, Mind-Body, Recovery, Video | One Comment

The following talk is a culmination of 5+ years of research, failed tracking trials, exhaustive experimentation, and mind-bending experiences – all of which have lead me to this point: Ben Ahrens – Cultivating Intuition Through Meticulous Self-Tracking from Steven Dean on Vimeo. Filmed on February 22, 2012 at the NY Quantified Self Show&Tell #15 at Fahrenheit 212. Re-posted from http://vimeo.com/37530815 It’s a funny thing, about gut intuition; we spend half our lives acting as if it doesn’t exist (always searching for answers outside ourselves), and the other half, we spend trying to access it. On that same note; centuries of disciplines have emerged in the fields of science, religion, and philosophy, all because humans, until this point, have lacked the ability to discern truth from falsehood. – Given our 21st century understanding of biology, combined with unfolding discoveries in quantum physics, we can now confirm what most of us have…

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THE EXTREME MIND-BODY CONNECTION – Part II: How to Increase Your Strength by 22% Without Moving A Muscle!

By | Exercise, Experiments, Mental Perfomance, Mind-Body, Physical Performance | One Comment

Continued from previous post.  Mind Over Muscle As Dr. Norman Doidge, author of the New York Times best seller, The Brain That Changes Itself, recounts: “from a neuroscientific point of view, imagining an act and doing it are not as different as they sound.” – This ties in nicely with a favorite quote of mine from Maxwell Maltz who says that,“the human body cannot tell the difference between something real and that which is vividly imagined.” We know from PET scans and studies using FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that a gymnast will activate the same neurons whether she is visualizing her routine or physically executing it. Furthermore, it’s been clearly demonstrated that she can fortify neural networks and make marked improvements to her physical routine by mental run-through alone. One of the most unbelievable demonstrations of how thinking makes it so, has to be an experiment carried out by…

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THE EXTREME MIND-BODY CONNECTION – PART I: How to Change Your Life, by Changing Your Mind (The Neuroscience of How Thinking Makes It So)

By | Experiments, Explorations, Habit Design, Health Insights, Mental Perfomance, Mind-Body, Physical Performance, Self Improvement | 4 Comments

What follows in this three-part-post is a collection of examples, the implications of which not only open new doors for achieving potential, but completely negate the concept of Cartesian Dualism once and for all. Some of these stories might seem bizarre, others, down right impossible. But I’ve done the research and you can check it out too. The data is real. What you choose to do with this knowledge is up to you. At the very least, my intention with these posts is to get you thinking of the possibilities…  What if you could: – Increase physical strength without moving a muscle!? – Improve your athletic performance using only your mind? – Dramatically reduce pain without a single pain killer? – Speed up healing and recovery by virtue of what you think? – Eliminate depression, fear, anxiety, or even seasonal allergies! – no drugs, just results? That’s just for starters….

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Is Life What You Make of It?: Q&A

By | Positive Thinking, Self Improvement | 2 Comments

Heard it before have you? “Life is what you make it.” Or, “The world is what we make of it.” – Sounds very Hallmark, or perhaps, like something you’d find in a fortune-cookie. Well, it’s time we crack that cookie open and examine the validity of its contents…. Q: Is life really what you make of it?                                                                           A: Yes.  Short story:  Once upon a time, two foreigners happened upon a small town and met with the mayor before coming to live there…   In his meeting with the mayor, the first foreigner asked, “what is it like to live here?” – to which the mayor replied, “first, why don’t you tell me what it is like…

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Total Reboot – Five Habits To Change Your Life

By | Events, Habit Design, Mind-Body, Recovery, Self Improvement | 10 Comments

The following post is an excerpt from my recent ignite talk at Habit Design:  Topic: Five habits acquired over the past five years, which, assembled in the proper construct, have proven to be the most instrumental in actualizing significant and enduring change in all aspects of my life from health, to happiness, to self-concept, and general outlook on the world as abundant and positive. These habits, you might note, are quite broad. Whereas habits such as, tooth-brushing, regular exercise, and healthy diet are among those commonly targeted for improvement, consider the five habits on my list as “meta-habits”; ones that aim to change our basic operating system and allow our other goal-oriented, and often more specific habits, to simply come to fruition in virtue of our new software. By that same nature, we can expect all negative habits, even those patterns we have been running for a lifetime and work so…

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Why Advice Doesn’t Work and What to Rely on Instead

By | Lifestyle, Positive Thinking | No Comments

  So you find yourself sitting on a park bench, weighing the pros and cons of what has grown in your mind, to be the mother of all decisions. What started as a simple left or right on life’s I-95 has branched into a complex network of stop-lights and intersections, each holding over you, the power to determine your entire future; so it often seems. You know that choosing one path necessarily entails forgoing all others, and at no other time then in that moment, is it more crucial to keep your hands on the wheel. But you’re afraid of taking a wrong turn. Suddenly, you throw your arms in the air and cry out: “I just wish someone would tell me what to do?” The struggle to answer this question, what should I do, for any one of life’s decisions however big or small, is not a sign of…

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Don’t Miss the Boat!

By | Experiments, Productivity, Zen | One Comment

I first came across the following poem while visiting the very scenic Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, back in May. – It reminds me how important it is to remain “tuned in” – not distracted by external influence, during any time of great decision:   Missing the Boat by Naomi Shihab-Nye It is not so much that the boat passed and you failed to notice it. It is more like the boat stopping directly outside your bedroom window, the captain blowing the signal-horn, the band playing a rousing march. The boat shouted, waving bright flags, its silver hull blinding in the sunlight. But you had this idea you were going by train. You kept checking the time-table, digging for tracks. And the boat got tired of you, so tired it pulled up the anchor and raised the ramp. The boat bobbed into the distance, shrinking like a toy— at which…

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Who Am I? What’s My Deal? and, Why “The Limitless Self”?

By | Health Insights, Life 101 | 7 Comments

Greetings! In this, my premier post on the new site, I’d like to take the opportunity to explain what is meant by The Limitless Self, how the concept arose, and say what I hope to accomplish through my writing here. But first, a little background on who I am: My name is Ben Ahrens and I’m the author of these posts. I’m deeply involved in the world of health and physical fitness – as a Practitioner of Holistic Health, a Sports Nutritionist, and Personal Trainer specializing in Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement. I wrote a health column for a newspaper out of college, taught classes in fitness and nutrition in NYC, and operated a water-sports camp in East Hampton. All in all I considered myself an example of robust health and devoted my time to promoting fitness as an integrated way of life. But life is filled with uncertainty, and…

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Practically Letting Go – What Zen and Children Tell Us about Recovery

By | Health Insights, Lifestyle, Recovery, Self Improvement | 4 Comments

  There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs, when a number of people are confronted with disaster; children often pull through ahead of adults. Author and survival expert, Laurence Gonzales, has read hundreds of accident reports and writes in his book, Deep Survival, of such instances when an experienced hunter gets lost in the woods and perishes in one night while a four-year-old survives. The underlying principle, he says, applies not only to wilderness survival but to getting through any demanding situation, be it divorce, loosing one’s job, or surviving illness. The question is: what do children do that we as adults fail to do? What does a child have to teach us about navigating through trauma, and what does this mean for our approach to recovery?

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How to Abolish Your Low Back Pain – for Good!

By | Exercise, Fitness Matters, Physical Performance | One Comment

A staggering 100 million people suffer from low back pain in the United States at any given time, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In addition, an estimated 50 billion dollars are spent on treating low back pain each year, yet it remains this country’s leading cause of missed work and still holds true that eight out of ten Americans will experience it at some point. The price we pay for low back pain is high and growing. It’s time we turn our attention toward avoiding this problem, not just treating it.

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“Don’t Let Your Knees Go Past Your Toes!” – Really?

By | Fitness Matters | 3 Comments

Have you ever heard a yoga teacher, read an exercise article, or worked out with a trainer who told you, “Whatever you do, don’t let your knee go past your big toe!”? The idea, here, being that it’s bad for your knees if you allow them to protrude beyond your toes (as viewed from the side) when doing squat or lunge exercises. Well, is it? – Southampton Hospital’s knee specialist, Dr. John J. Brennan, says “No”. Before jumping into the physiological rationale, let me ask you another question: Have you ever seen Roger Federer throw himself into a super-lunge to return a volley? Or Tom Brady crouch extra-low before executing an explosive maneuver? Or Kelly Slater drop his butt to his surfboard as he tucks into a barrel? Or Jorge Posada squat behind the batter for several hours of a ballgame? Absent any impact related injuries, these athletes and their…

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Fix Your Posture – All the “Why” and “How” You’ll Need

By | Exercise, Fitness Matters, Physical Performance | 9 Comments

  You’ve been told: “Don’t slouch”, “Keep your shoulders back”, “don’t drop your head”, and by God, “Sit up straight”. You’ve been nagged ever since you graduated from the highchair; always told it’s important to practice good posture. But until now, you’ve never been told why. When it comes to working out, what are our main concerns? If you’re a guy, you probably want to build a bit of muscle, burn some fat, gain strength and get lean. If you’re a girl, you likely focus your efforts on weight-loss, getting toned, and total body conditioning. But goals aside, let me ask you this: How many hours in the gym do you spend working on your posture? Whether you’re a beginner, or an Olympic athlete, I’m willing to bet “None” is your answer.

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