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Book:  Own the Day, Own Your Life

Author:  Aubrey Marcus

Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Citation:  Marcus, A. (2018). Own the day, own your life : optimized practices for waking, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping, and sex. New York: Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. The real power of smell and essential oils isn't in their acute ability to relieve negative sensations, it's in their ability to create positive ones. I call them "trigger scents." You can use these scents to your advantage at work by either piggybacking on positive memories or by making new ones and deliberately associating them with a scent. Suppose that every time you know you are going to enter a flow state, you have a certain essential oil you smell. After a while, your brain will link that flow state to the scent. Sometimes I mix cedar oil with a drop of rose, for that masculine vibe. Sometimes I mix peppermint with bergamot. Do the same for yourself, whether it's re-creating a trigger scent you already have positive associations with or experimenting with new scents that might become tomorrow's trigger scent for owning the day. (pg. 146)

  2. When you feel yourself slowing down after lunch, your body is sending you a signal loud and clear that it needs rest. There is no shame in going with the flow and taking a nap. Some of the most famous leaders - Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy, Ronald Regan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison - all regular nappers. Some of them had nap time built into their schedule! Naps have been shown to consistently outperform high doses of caffeine for cognitive tasks and motor performance. They've been shown to improve logical reasoning, reaction time, and immune function. So what is the perfect length of a nap? Thirty minutes is exactly the length of time one sleep expert recommends for a controlled recovery period. you won't enter deep sleep in that time, but your body will prioritize REM sleep and leave you feeling mentally refreshed. If you don't have thirty minutes, feel free to take what you can get: a little rest is better than nothing at all. (pg. 202)

  3. Over 60 percent of people in the United States report sleep difficulties, more than ever before. It's a self-inflicted epidemic. When faced with a busy schedule, what's the first thing to go? Some people actually feel real guilt for sleeping. However, if you take your sleep seriously, you will get more done with less stress. It's a "life hack" that's not a hack, just a rule of the operating system. You shouldn't count how many hours of sleep you get in a night, but rather how many 90-minute sleep cycles you get in a week (35 cycles is your target). That means the typical day needs five sleep cycles that are 90 minutes long. You could get 4 sleep cycles at night (6 hours) and then get another 30 minute nap and that counts as a cycle. So if you have a night where you don't sleep much, you will need to find ways to make up your points. "Catching up on sleep" is a real thing, therefore you can take the pressure off of a single day and spread it over the week. (pg. 349)


Other Key Ideas:

Sugar is probably the worst thing to happen to human health in the last two hundred years. As consumption of our favorite sweets has increased over the decades, public health has deteriorated. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer have been linked to sugar. 30 million Americans have diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is our leading cause of death. Childhood obesity is at epidemic levels. The great irony is that we have more gyms, diet coaches, and "health food" restaurants than anywhere on the planet. (pg. 54)

Mindfulness is not that complicated - it's simply being aware and conscious in the present moment. That's it. The next time you're supposed to be doing something and you catch yourself focusing on something else, that is a moment when you're not being mindful. You probably have more of those moments then you'd like to admit. But that's why mindfulness as a practice can be so powerful. It can help bring you back to the present moment, and in doing so expand and prepare your mind for what lies ahead of you the rest of your day. During your morning commute, instead of worrying about things outside your control focus on your breath and be hyper aware of your body and surroundings. If you can do this right on your routine ride into work, this is all the meditation you will need for the day. Soon your commute will be a trigger for mindfulness instead of a trigger for road rage. (pg. 102)

The iPhone is a traveling university. After your morning commute mindfulness practice, fire up your phone and put on a podcast. I don't run a hedge fund and I'm not into politics, so that the idea that I, an average person, should be following breaking news in real time is ridiculous. While it's important to be an informed citizen, I'm not interested in making myself miserable by plugging into the 24/7 news cycle of endless rage and conflict. The point is to learn something, not gorge on nonsense. Jim Rohn once said, "Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune." (pg. 106)

Time is the wrong metric to evaluate work. It's not just about how much time you work, it's about how effectively you use that time. Any productivity issues aren't time-related, they are passion-related. In the United States, workers only take an average of 57 percent of their paid vacation days. The biggest problem is that people think if they work long enough, make enough money, eventually happiness will arrive. However, most studies show that peak income correlated to happiness is $83,000. It's because there is no amount of work you will do that will finally make the work go away, and definitely no amount of money you can make that will solve all your problems. (pg. 138)

Sitting three hours a day can cut two years off your life expectancy, even if you exercise regularly. Therefore we make all forms of ergonomic chairs available to our employees. Studies show when employees use ergonomic chairs, they not only improve productivity but also there is a dramatic reduction in strain-related injuries and absenteeism. For many people, stress is already stressful enough - who wants to spend eight hours in what amounts to a stress position? If you invest in your employees you will always yield a great return. (pg. 147)

Kettlebell training teaches your body to stabilize itself and produce force despite the chaos of the movement. It works the best side of your body you don't see in the mirror and the deep inner core. A kettlebell's center of gravity lies six to eight inches away from your grip, making it hard to control. This is going to require more muscle activation than without a kettlebell. Kettlebells are incredibly versatile and are also great for building strength and power. (pg. 215)

Journaling gets your thoughts out of the hamster wheel of your mind and makes it real. It is a reinforcement of the overarching objective of your life. Writing things down also reduces the instinct to go over that thought again and again in your head, making it easier for you to relax. Knowing that you won't forget anything, because it's written down for you, also smooths your transition into sleepy time when you journal at night. First you want to set your mission and objective for the following day. Then you want to purge anything you no longer want to carry, and memorialize those things you don't want to forget but also don't want to burden your psyche with. (pg. 330)

Most small businesses fail. Most books don't get finished. 95 percent of podcasts don't make it to their 13th episode. Why is this? It's because we weren't able to win the mental battle necessary to get us here. We got discouraged when we ran into obstacles and didn't get the results we were expecting. Or, we listened to the flood of voices giving us a million reasons why we should stop. Sometimes the voices come from inside our own heads, telling us we're not good enough. But what kind of game would we be playing if there were not monsters? How could we adapt to stress if there was no stress? Just because there will be resistance, doesn't mean we shouldn't do everything we can to overcome it. (pg. 362)

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