As a successful entrepreneur and the founder of Bulletproof, people often want to know my “secrets to success” — not just as a business leader but as someone who plans on living to at least 180 years old. For real. Because keeping secrets isn’t cool, here’s mine: It’s all about control. Not control over other people, but control over your own biology. Each of us has the ability to tap into the unlimited power of being human, and that power source starts inside our cells. Working hard or trying something isn’t effective if your body isn’t making enough energy for you to actually get it done.
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Learning to control your body’s biology improves stamina, willpower, confidence and authority — important traits for an aspiring business leader looking to change the world. More importantly, when your body and mind are in sync, you can get more work done in less time, and still have enough energy to enjoy the things that matter to you most, whether that’s playing with your kids, running with the dog or simply immersing yourself in a good book.
Here are five easy changes to your daily routine that will set you up for unprecedented success:
Work with your body’s daily rhythm.
Years ago, I realized I’m a night owl. In fact, I usually do my best work late at night and sleep in in the mornings, starting my workday at 9:30 a.m. Maybe you’re the same way, or maybe you are one of those people who’s up before dawn and ready to take the day by storm. Take stock of your daily routine: How do you manage your time, energy and priorities? Figure out when you feel the most energized, and work with your body’s biology. Waking up early doesn’t make you a good entrepreneur, and neither does burning the midnight oil. Doing what works for your circadian rhythm — which is in part genetic — is what makes you a good entrepreneur.
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Improve your sleep.
Along with identifying your body’s natural rhythm, make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep. My book Head Strong explains why sleeping in a pitch-black room (that means absolutely no LED or natural light) and reducing room temperature can make you sleep better. Better (but not necessarily longer) sleep causes a surge in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells. ATP also has anabolic (muscle-building) impacts on the body, giving you more energy. I use a combination of special TrueDark sleep-inducing glasses and a Bulletproof sleep supplement every night to get the best sleep. The bottom line: A good night’s sleep feels good and gives you more energy, and science backs it up!
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Take a cold shower.
This may sound daunting, but an icy shower hits that sweet spot of being uncomfortable but still bearable. Getting as cold as you can for just a few minutes has both psychological and biological benefits. Brief bouts of cold water tell the weak parts of your cells to literally die to make way for new, younger, more effective cells. Mentally, you’ll realize that it’s not as bad as you initially anticipated. Taking a cold shower also increases metabolism, elevates neuro-transmitters (which improve mood) and works wonders for curbing pain and inflammation.
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Practice gratitude through mediation.
A big part of being an entrepreneur is being resilient, and rolling with the punches no matter what life throws at you. All businesses, like life, go through ups and downs, but how we manage these trials is up to us. Meditation helps. It cultivates an inner peace that helps you weather storms and relish good times. It also builds gratitude, happiness, empathy and mental clarity.
Find a teacher, use an online program, or try my favorite — neurofeedback, which is a way to train your brain. During a neurofeedback session, electrodes are attached to your head to analyze brain activity. This information is then used to train your brain to behave differently by rewarding it for positive behavior. It can be used to help with sleep disorders, stress and depression. Don’t believe me? Try it.
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Undergo a digital detox.
Let’s face it: most of us spend way too much time dialed in and in front of a monitor, laptop, smart phone, TV or tablet. In fact, a recent Nielsen Company audience report revealed that the average American spends nearly half a day (10 hours) staring at a screen! The sobering fact is that real life can’t compete with this endless, artificially intense technological simulation. Consider taking a “digital detox” for 24 hours, and notice how it feels to not binge on Netflix or reach for a status update, Tweet or email. Chances are, it will feel uncomfortable. Embracing that discomfort can help open your eyes to the life all around you, perhaps even sparking your next great breakthrough.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to biohack your way to success. The tools to improve yourself, strengthen your body and mind and be more successful are within your grasp. Take stock of what you can control, develop a game plan and tap into your unlimited power.
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