images” My Brain gives birth to what is real, he thought, to the bloom of the bulrush, the flakes of the pinecone, to the drone bee, the sea grass, to every object large and small, to the meadow nearby, and to the distant peaks. It burns, it glitters. and it has no name. It has no name but I.”- Giulio Tononi

You should read  PHI a Voyage from the Brain to the Soul by Giulio Tononi. Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD


Insight- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageOne of my favorite writers is Robin Sharma. I have followed him for many years now and always appreciate the wonderful emails that I receive from him. I personally receive hundreds of emails per day from many sources and I have this horrible compulsion (even though I am very busy ) to try to read each and every one. Fortunately I have become a bit wiser and try to pick a time toward the end of my day to read them. He sent me a wonderful list of things that he wished he had known earlier. Here they are!

–I wish I’d learned earlier that imagination’s more valuable than logic. You really need to “20X” your thinking and then let the “how” follow. Most people try to figure out what’s logically possible and then develop a strategy around that. That approach breeds mediocrity versus greatness.

–I wish I’d learned earlier to stop over-analyzing opportunities and to trust my instincts more quickly. My costliest errors happened when I failed to listen to my gut. It’s wiser than the head.

–I wish I’d learned that “the discomfort of transformation is always much better than the heartbreak of regret” a lot earlier.

–I wish I’d learned earlier how essential it is to surround yourself with people performing and living at dramatically higher levels so that their ways of thinking, producing and living influenced my mindset and achievement levels. Just having a few conversations with the right people can be the event that triggers a tsunami of excellence for you. This year alone I’ve invested in 3 expensive mastermind groups to ensure I was around people who lifted me higher. The return on my investment has been 10X.

–I wish I’d learned the system I now use to plan out and then schedule my annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals in the way that gets them done unbelievably effectively much earlier. I’d have saved so much time. And doubled my output. So much of ultra-success comes down to the time management tool you use. Please get this piece right.

–I wish I’d learned earlier how to build elite project teams of fanatically focused and passionate people who deliver superb results (took me years to crack the code on this one but once I did, my business transformed…you can’t build a great company with a merely average team). And you’re wasting your talent if you’re trying to do everything yourself.

–I wish I’d learned earlier that “the key to energy is recovery” and the way to have rare-air stamina is to learn how the brain and body needs to be refueled (again, I’ve developed some pretty unique rituals via trial and error that pretty much give me more energy than I could ever use).

–I wish I’d learned earlier that the best way to get more done is to work less. It’s truly is about smart work versus hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That’s just not true.

–I wish I’d learned earlier how to “retrain” my brain so as to clean out negativity and toxicity so I felt better, stronger and faster when I was first starting out. [Instead, when was a young litigation lawyer, my mindset was negative, I focused on problems and lacked the full-on inspiration that you absolutely must cultivate to achieve extraordinary results in your life].

–I wish I’d learned earlier that “people smell fear” so it’s key to approach all business and personal opportunities from a position of strength and confidence versus from a place of scarcity and weakness. Your belief in yourself will become contagious. Trust me.

–I wish I’d learned earlier that super-successful people run their businesses and lives in a completely contrarian way than average people do. It was only when I began advising the titans of business and other star performers to that I discovered the “eccentric” habits and processes that the best run each day [More people need to know these and I’m committed to sharing them].

–I wished I’d learned earlier that life can change in a moment. And it’s wise not to postpone all the important things you really want to do today until some fantasy time off in the future. That time never comes. [Re-read Tuesdays With Morrie to know what I mean].

–I wish I’d learned earlier that world-class business and personal results are less about luck and more about a specific strategy and a series of proven practices that guarantee awesome outcomes.

–I wish I’d learned earlier that the true measure of success is not net worth but self-worth…and that the depth of your character is so much more important than the size of your home.

–I wish I’d learned earlier that each of us can achieve immortality by contributing value to the lives that follow ours. [And that’s really what the game’s all about isn’t it?].

Anyway, those were a few of my reflections…Hope they’re helpful, as always.

You Can Beat Depression- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageHave you ever  awakened from a full night’s sleep and even though you had a reasonable amount of sleep still felt like you were dragging around like you were carrying a two-ton weight? After several cups of coffee a little prayer and quiet time you still could not shake the fog? Today was such a day for me until I changed my thoughts. How I did I do it? I have always preached that if you change your thoughts you can change your life. It is far easier to preach it than live it. Today I had to live it! Two major thoughts were in my mind as I waded most of the day through this fog. 1. The joy of the Lord is my strength!  2. One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. These thoughts remained in my mind through the morning and all the way to lunch time. My breakthrough occurred at 1:30 PM! I began thinking about King David in the Bible. I now know that this was a prompting of the Holy Spirit. “…But David encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6). In 1 Samuel 30:6 we read that David was greatly distressed. You know it really is not that important as to what distresses us. Some things that distress us would send others to an Asylum for the Insane! However, others might gladly trade our positions for theirs. What did David do to get out of the funk that he was in? He encouraged himself in the Lord? How did he do that? The word encourage means to fasten upon, to seize! You see beloved we have to fasten ourselves upon the Lord. To seize Him and hold on to Him like Jacob held on the angel of the Lord! The apostle  Paul wrote, (Ephesians 3:16).
“That He ( God ) would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man”
Believe it or nor, God was in this apparent tragedy. If David is to become the man God uses, he must be stripped of everything, including his reputation and self-will. He must cry out of his system the last tears of self-pity. He must face the full fury of loneliness and overcome it. He must put away all memory of applause and praise for what he had accomplished and draw his strength from God. We must seek the Lord and not resort to our own power or wisdom. We have to do the inner-work. Take a walk.

  • Exercise (walk like you are running late for 45 minutes a day)! In a study comparing exercise to antidepressants, they were equally effective at 12 weeks, and exercise was more effective at 10 months.

What did you eat today?

  • A healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. Lose the processed foods and sugar, and foods that quickly turn to sugar. A Mediterranean Diet was shown to have antidepressant effects.

What is a good Mediterranean diet?

Fresh fruit. Have 3 or 4 pieces of fruit every day. Make one of these fruits an orange; they are very high in antioxidants and phytochemicals, substances that protect us against diseases. Berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) are also a must in this diet because of their antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential in the fight against heart disease and cancer. If you want to follow a Mediterranean diet, eat some fruit for dessert. That is how Mediterraneans eat their fruit most of the times.

Veggies. Have a salad in your main meals. Use olive oil and lemon for dressing; This is a powerful antioxidant combination. Tomatoes and tomato products are a staple food in the Mediterranean diet; they contain lycopene. Cut a whole tomato and spread it with olive oil and some basil as part of your side dish or include them in your salads. Sauté green beans with olive oil and garlic to have a complete Mediterranean side dish. Zucchini are also a delightful compliment; sauté them with olive oil.

Whole Grains. Have a piece of whole wheat or whole grain bread with your main meals (except with pasta). Have whole wheat pasta 2 or 3 times a week. It is low in calories, and the fiber enhances the feeling of fullness.

Legumes. Eat dried beans, lentils, or garbanzo beans 2 or 3 times a week. Nutrition experts at the Michigan State University tell us that eating 2 to 4 cups of cooked legumes every week can protect us against heart disease. Dry beans have fiber that eliminates cholesterol from the body. Eat legumes and a piece of whole grain bread to have the perfect protein. Vegetable protein does not put a load on kidneys as animal protein does.

Nuts. Have a handful of nuts as a snack in your morning break. Nuts are also a staple food in Mediterranean countries and are high in monounsaturated fat, the one that does not get stuck in the arteries. Read the food label and be aware of portions because nuts are high in calories. Scientific studies have found that almonds and walnuts are the healthiest choices.

Olive oil. Use olive oil in your meals both to cook and as a condiment in your salads. Olive oil is the main source of fat in Mediterranean countries and is the “cause” of the low incidence of heart disease in those countries. Use olive oil and lemon as a dip in your salads.

Fish and sea food. Have fish and sea food two or three times a week. Salmon and sardines are excellent choices because they provide omega-3 oils, oils that the body needs but cannot create in enough quantities.

Garlic and aromatic herbs. Use garlic and aromatic herbs as condiment. Garlic is the leading contributor to the low incidence of high blood pressure in Mediterranean countries because it dilates the blood vessels walls.

Be encouraged my friend. You are not alone!

The Formless Abyss of a Silent Mind- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageThe Formless Abyss of a Silent Mind- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

Today I started reading My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD. It is a chronological documentation of the journey that the author took into “the formless abyss of a silent mind. It is quite interesting that Dr. Taylor’s trauma allowed her to come to understand how indeed it is possible for one to have a “mystical” or “metaphysical” experience-relative to our brain anatomy. She shares a chronological journey of her recovery, including over fifty tips about things needed to in order to recover completely. Ultimately it is about the brain’s journey into its right hemisphere’s consciousness, where she became enveloped in a deep inner peace. It is very curious that earlier this week I was listening to a conversation between Dr. Mark Chirona and Marilyn Hickey on the Word Channel on TV. They talked about many things but Dr. Chirona commented that in general Christians seem uncomfortable about the mystical and that to him this was very strange in that anyone who has truly experienced a ‘religious experience’ cannot escape the reality of the mystical. That is not exactly how he said it  but I took away from the conversation this fact:  that all true Christians are by definition “mystics”. This book presents an opportunity to understand why this is indeed so. Ultimately the book is about Dr. Taylor’s brain’s journey into her right hemisphere’s consciousness, where she became enveloped in a deep inner peace. This is a place I believe that I achieve each time I meditate. I call it my ‘my asylum of peace’.

Facing Fear- Boyace Van Harlan Jr., PhD

ImageI’ve just finished reading Resilience-

Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success by Mark Mcguiness. Mark is a business coach and trainer specializing in the creative industries. Mark has many wonderful chapters in the book that would be helpful to anyone. However, one title caused me to slow down and think. Really think. He wrote: ‘The bigger the dream, the bigger the fear.’ Wow. I have always considered myself to somewhat resilient. I had to endure many hard times and situations but I could never understand why in all of these victories I really never thought of them as though they were so great or overcoming victories. I have always felt that I just barely got through. I’ve wondered why fear was so pervasive and immanent. It’s simple, the bigger the dream, the bigger the fear! Mark offers some wonderful steps if you are like me and deal with fear constantly. I do a lot of public speaking. I am nervous always before I talk. What really calms me though is something that has been attributed to the great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar.  He said that if you would place a Georgia mule in front of an audience that he would stand there quietly and just lull himself to sleep. However if you would place a purebred stallion in front of an audience that he would be ‘skid-dish’.  so I feel the fear and do it anyway! Well I guess, I should start off by saying that you and I have big fear because we have BIG dreams! Here are his steps:

  1. Think about a big dream you have, or a big challenge you’re facing. Picture yourself committing to making it happen. Visualize it as realistically as you can, and tell yourself you are really going to do it…then wait for the fear.
  2. When you start to feel the fear in your body, don’t resist it or try to ignore it! Stay centered and alert, and observe exactly where in your body you experience the fear. Breath into it, and allow yourself to experience the fear, realizing there’s no need to panic.
  3. Notice what thoughts are going through your mind. If you catch yourself running a ‘mental disaster movie’-  switch it off! Imagine taking the disc out of the DVD player and snapping it into two. Now load a mental rehearsal movie’-in which you see yourself dealing effectively with the challenge, surviving and succeeding in your goal.
  4. Stay with the fear until you feel it start to subside naturally.
  5. Do something concrete that will take you one step closer to your goal. Even if it’s a small action, notice how it reduces the fear.

I would add to this wonderful list to do a voice memo on your phone of these steps like I have to remind you from time to time. We have nothing to fear but fear itself! Buy the book and read it!

MB900432776“But things aren’t as bleak as they seem. or rather, things are only as bleak as they seem, for the way events impact us depends far more on the lens through which we view them- our inner life state- than on the events themselves”.

The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self.

The Undefeated Mind  by Alex Lirkman, M.D.

I recommend reading this book.