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Experiments

On Having Fun and The Flip Side of Health

By | Experiments, Explorations, Food for thought, Health Insights, Life 101, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I thought I’d start off the New Year with this post about the important (but often overlooked) role that FUN plays in performance, health and life. Up until a few years ago, I always focused on getting healthy or improving my health so I could have more fun. Then at some point, I’m not exactly sure when, I realized that my level of health was already sufficient enough to do any number of the activities (surf, travel, paddle, camp) that I really enjoyed. And I had and still have great fun doing them. Still, I found myself hungering for something. What was it? Just conditioning that said “you must achieve x in order to feel y.” – So I ask, why can’t one have fun in the process of achieving? There are so many things I’d like to do in my life. I know many people feel the same. And…






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How to Catch the Ultimate Ride (in surfing and in life): A lesson in discernment

By | Experiments, Gaming, Human Performance, Physical Performance, Productivity | One Comment

Yes! Another surfing post! Sort of… In my recent post on the power of taking a pause, I used surfing as a proxy to convey the value of slowing down in “critical situations.” Now I’d like to share another insight that came from my beloved sea. Although this post deconstructs the act of surfing, I believe the process can be replicated to expedite improvement for virtually any desired outcome. One question that I always find myself asking when striving to make tangible improvements in any aspect of my life (physical, mental or beyond) is, “what’s the most important thing?” – There’s something in physics called the Critical Point Analysis (CPA), which says that every system has a critical point where the lightest touch has the greatest impact. One analogy used is that even a powerful locomotive running flat out can be stopped by the lightest touch if you know exactly where to…






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The Automated Morning Routine: Making the Most of Your Least Productive Times

By | Experiments, Habit Design, Mental Perfomance, Productivity | 6 Comments

Let’s get one thing straight here… I am NOT a morning person. If left to my own lack of devices, I would lay in bed for several hours before frittering away the rest of the morning while trying to decide how to best begin the day. It’s nothing to do with laziness, I profess to myself – my brain simply runs on Pacific Standard Time, despite having lived in New York for most my life. So what can a guy do to transform what can only be seen as a massive black hole of wasted time, into something more useful, maybe even productive? What guys do best… try and control as many discomforting variables as possible and follow 3 steps: 1) Design a structure that prohibits wasteful procrastination (not all procrastination is useless, see my article on How to Use Procrastination to Foster Productivity) 2) Install a program complete with rewards to accomplish…






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How to Use Procrastination to Foster Productivity

By | Experiments, Habit Design, Lifestyle, Mental Perfomance, Self Improvement, Sleep | One Comment

Six months ago I made a fascinating discovery – I’m a procrastinator… but that’s not all. The fascinating part was that, if properly structured, my innate procrastinating tendencies could be redirected and applied to: 1) Fixing my sleep, and 2) Increasing productivity 5x We’ll get to how in a second, but first a bit of back-story – I’d been a poor sleeper my entire life. For as long as I can remember I’d suffered form “onset insomnia” (difficulty falling asleep) – It took some doing but resolved itself with some basic sleep highgene techniques (cutting out caffeine, sleeping in a cool pitch black room, no LCDs two hours prior to sleep, etc.), combined with pillow conditioning – a form of behavioral or Pavlovian conditioning aimed at helping to develop a physiological association between the body’s location (being in bed) and the proper cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters required by our…






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Boosting Testosterone, Beating Disease, and Reaching Your Potential

By | Diet & Nutrtion, Experiments, Human Performance, Medicine, Physical Performance | No Comments

Re-posted from lessdoing.com “I need to get the doctor in here… he needs to take a look at this…”  Said the Nurse Practitioner during my last checkup this past January. “Holy sh@t” Said the MD, staring at my chart in disbelief. My recent lab-work showed my total testosterone at a shocking 988 – a full 900 pt increase from the year before! “What the heck have you been doing!?” he said. It took a solid fifteen minutes of convincing and Q&A time on my behalf, for the medical staff to concede that I’d not been using anabolic agents, injecting supraphysiological doses of testosterone, taken hormone replacement therapy, or using aromatase inhibiting supplements that might produce such an effect. In fact, the only supplements I had been taking were fish oil and a multivitamin. – To put things in perspective, free T is measured on a 1000 pt scale with a reference range of approximately 450~700…






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Outsourcing Motivation: The End of Discipline

By | Experiments, Habit Design, Lifestyle, Productivity | One Comment

Want to get better at upholding personal commitments? (rhetorical question) – Try outsourcing them… Brought to you from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and the gurus of Behavior Design; in order to accomplish any goal, we need to have the following three things: 1) Ability – the physical capacity to carry out the task or tasks that will result in our intended outcome 2) Motivation – an incentive that outweighs the cost of acting. And, we need to have what they call: 3) A “Hot-trigger” – this is our call to action… Short story:  Thursday, March 22rd, 2012 – 10:00am…  “Leave it with your doorman and I’ll come by first thing tomorrow morning – Would you like me to pick up one load or two” – asked Kirsten. “One trip should do it”, i said, “It’ll be such a relief to finally get this stuff off my hands”. “Well I’m glad…






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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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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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