What the Longest Study on Happiness Ever Reveals


Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger is the director of the longest study on happiness in history. It was conducted by Harvard, and lasted over 75-years. In a recent TED Talk, Mr. Waldinger reviewed the key findings from this historic study.

What Keeps Us Healthy and Happy?

To begin with Mr. Waldinger poses the question: 'What keeps us healthy and happy a we go through life?' Or, to put it another, Mr. Waldinger asks: 'If you were going to invest now in your future best self, where would you put your time and energy?' According to Mr. Waldinger, in a recent study which asked millennials what their major life goals were, over 80% of them answered that it was to get rich. Another 50% answered that a major life goal was to become famous. To determine whether or not achieving these things matter toward happiness, Mr. Waldinger says it’d be necessary to study people’s entire lives. From the time they were teenagers all the way into old age.

The Longest Study of Adult Life Ever Done

Fortunately, such a study has been done. The study was called the Harvard Study of Adult Development and it’s goal was to observe people for an entire lifetime in order to determine what really keeps people happy and healthy throughout life. For 75 years, Harvard tracked the lives of 724 men. Year-after-year, the study asked these men about their work, their home lives, and their health, all the while not knowing how their life stories would turn out.

A One-of-A-Kind Study

According to Mr. Waldinger, studies like this are exceedingly rare. Often such studies end within a decade because either funding dries up, participants leave, or any number of other things goes wrong. However, Mr. Waldinger states that through a combination of luck, and the persistence of several generations of researches, this study has survived. According to Mr. Waldinger, as of 2015 sixty of the men are still alive, most in their 90’s, and still participating in the study. The researchers are also now beginning the interview the more than 2,000 children these men have had as well.

According to Mr. Waldinger, since 1938, the study has tracked two groups of men. The first group started at Harvard as sophomores and the second group was a group of boys from one of Boston’s poorest neighborhood. Over their lives, the participants in this study entered an extremely varied number of careers. Some experienced abject failure, some success, and one even became President of the United States.

Every two years, the researchers called up these men and asked if they could send them another set of questions about their lives. These were not simple questionnaires however. According to Mr. Walinger, they also interviewed these men in person, got their medical records, scanned their brains, interviewed them with their wives talking about their deepest concerns, and every other measure of involvement the researchers deemed fit.

The Clearest Message From the Study

So, what are the lessons such in-depth studying has derived from observing these hundreds of lives? According to Mr. Waldinger, the most important lessons have nothing to do with wealth or fame, or working harder and harder. ‘The clearest message we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

The 3 Big Lessons About Relationships Learned

According to Mr. Walinger, this study has shed light on three big lessons on relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. According to Mr. Walinger, “It turns out people who are more socially connected, to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected.” According to Mr. Walinger, lonely people are less happy, see an earlier decline in health in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner, and they live shorter lives. Perhaps the saddest fact however is that at any given time more than 1-in-5 Americans report being lonely.

According to Mr. Walinger, you can be lonely in a crowd, and lonely in a marriage as well. So, the second biggest finding was that the number of friends and committed relationships people have don’t matter, it’s the quality of those close relationships that matter. Living in high-conflict relationships turns out to be extremely bad for our health. Warm and happy relationships were very good for people’s health. According to Mr. Walinger, when looking back at these men when they were at age 50, the ones who reported being the happiest and the healthiest in their 80s were the ones who were most satisfied with their relationships at age 50. According to Mr. Walinger, good relationships seemed to buffer people from the slings and arrows of getting old. “Our most happily partnered men and women reported, in their 80s, that on the days when they had more physical pain, their mood stayed just as happy. But the people who were in unhappy relationships, on the days when they reported more physical pain, it was magnified by more emotional pain.”

The third big lesson this study revealed was that good relationships also protect our brains. According to Mr. Walinger, those who are in a relationship where they feel protected and feel like they can count on their partner when they're in their 80s have memories that stay sharper longer. Those in less happy relationships experience earlier mental decline. This doesn’t mean the good couples didn’t fight, just that they knew they could count on the other person when the going really got tough.

What Truly Brings Us Happiness

According to Mr. Walinger, these findings - that good close relationships are good for our health and well-being - is nothing new. Why then, does everyone not take this advice? Because, good relationships are tough to maintain. It takes a lot of work, effort, and understanding. It is a life-long endeavor. According to Mr. Walinger, those who were happiest in retirement were whose who had actively worked to replace their co-workers with new playmates. According to Mr. Walinger, just like the millennials in the recent study, most of the men in this study felt when they were just starting out that what would make them happy was fame, fortune, and success. However, according to Mr. Walinger, over-and-over what this study has shown is that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, and with community. According to Mr. Walinger, it is far better to reach out and maintain the relationships we have than it is to not pick up the phone or to hold a grudge.

In closing, Mr. Walinger ends by quoting Mark Twain who, more than a century ago, in looking back on his own life said, “There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.” According to Mr. Walinger, “The good life is built with good relationships.”



How to Beat Self-Sabotage


Mel Robbins is a best-selling author, life coach, and CNN contributor. Recently, Mrs. Robbins gave a speech on how to stop patterns of self-sabotage. Below are some of the key points from her speech.

Permission to be Selfish

Mrs. Robbins starts her talk by stating that for the last 17 years, she has done nothing but help people get everything they wanted. According to Mrs. Robbins, 1/3 of Americans currently feel dissatisfied with their lives. In order for her to help however, Mrs. Robbins says we first need to reflect on what it is we really want. In answering this question, we can be selfish. According to Mrs. Robbins, our answer does not need to sound good to other people; it is is strictly for us. So, we must first get clear on what it is we really want.

According to Mel Robbins, getting what you want is simple, however, this does not mean it’s easy. Today, we live in an age of incredible resources, and no matter what it is you want in life, if you’re reading this, you have access to at least ten books written by credentialed experts on how to get that thing. According to Mel, today we have all the information, contacts, and tools we need to achieve whatever we want. So, why don’t we?

The Other F-Word

According to Mel Robbins, too often we use the word ‘fine’ as a crutch. When we use this word too much, we can convince ourselves we are fine not having the thing we really want. According to Mrs. Robbins, this is why we are not pushing ourselves. It is the areas of our lives where we’ve given up in which we say we are fine.

We Are Never Going to 'Feel Like It'

According to Mel Robbins, we constantly have ideas for what we want to make of ourselves. We constantly have ideas of things we’d like to pursue and endeavors we’d like to undertake. However, just as often, we hit our own internal snooze buttons. According to Mrs. Robbins, in any area of our life we want to change, there is one fact we need to know: we are never going to feel like it. Motivation will not come, and you are not going to feel like doing it.

A Simple and Effective Challenge

According to Mrs. Robbins, scientists call this ‘activation energy’: the force required to change from ‘auto-pilot’, to doing something new. In order to combat this, Mrs. Robbins challenges us to try this: tomorrow, set the alarm for 30 minutes earlier, and when this alarm goes off, throw off the sheets, stand up, and start your day. According to Mel Robbins, the reason this challenge is so effective is because it forces us to come face-to-face with the physical force required to change our behaviors.

Parenting Ourselves

According to Mel Robbins, no one who needs to go on a diet ever feels like it. However, according to Mrs. Robbins, the activation energy required to go to the gym, or to start a diet, is the exact same activation energy needed to push ourselves out of a warm bed, and stand up. According to Mrs. Robbins, no one tells us when we turn 18 that it will be our job now to parent ourselves, or to make ourselves do the things we don’t want to do so you can be everything you’re supposed to be. But as adults, we must parent ourselves.

According to Mrs. Robbins, it is very simple to get what we want, but it is not easy. In order to get what we want, we must FORCE ourselves to do it. Mrs. Robbins states our mind has two settings: auto-pilot, and emergency brake. Auto-pilot is our default setting, and any time we do anything that deviates from this auto-pilot state, our minds immediately pull the emergency brake and try to get us back  into the more comfortable, familiar state. Thus, by ‘force’, what Mrs. Robbins is referring to is anything that is a break from our routine. That is a ‘force’.

Often, this auto-pilot is a result of our routines. However, just like when we need water we feel thirsty, or when we need food we feel hungry, according to Mrs. Robbins, when we feel stuck, our bodies is sending us a signal one of our basic needs is not being met. Often times, this is our need for exploration. Thus, according to Mel Robbins, the only way to get back into growth is by forcing ourselves to be uncomfortable.

We Must Force Ourselves to Get Outside

According to Mrs. Robbins, we must force ourselves to get out of our own heads. We talk too negatively to ourselves and too often we rationalize ourselves out of what we should do. As stated above, we will never feel like doing the things we must do in order to get what it is we truly want. So we must force ourselves past our feelings and past our own comfort zones.

The Five Second Rule

According to Mel Robbins, when we have an impulse to do something we feel we should, if we don’t marry it with an action within the first five seconds of having it, our minds will pull the emergency brake, and kill the idea. For example, if we have the impulse to get up and run, or to strike-up a conversation with a stranger, and we don’t act on this impulse within five seconds of having that initial urge, we will likely not act on it at all. According to Mrs. Robbins, our problem is not coming up with ideas, our problem is we don’t act on them. Thus, Mrs. Robbins ends her speech with a simple directive: go do it. That is all.


5-Steps to Build An Unstoppable Mindset


Craig Ballantyne has been a contributor to Men’s Health for over 17 years. In a recent interview, Mr. Ballantyne outlined his 5-Step ‘Champion’s Checklist’ to help build an unstoppable mindset. Below are Mr. Ballantyne’s 5-Steps.

Step 1: Develop a Positive Mental Attitude

In order to do this, Mr. Ballantyne recommends a trick called ‘anchoring’. Anchoring is a technique that allows you to snap yourself into a higher mental state whenever you need it. To anchor, Mr. Ballantyne suggests recalling a moment from your life when you felt absolutely unstoppable such as the moment after you won a great victory. Once you fully feel yourself back in this moment, Mr. Ballantyne suggests balling up your right fist and punching it hard into your left palm twice. That is anchoring. According to Mr. Ballantyne, if you do this twice a day for a week, whenever you need to enter that higher mental state you can simply pound your fist into your hand twice and be taking immediately back to the higher state of mind.

Step 2: Get a Coach

In almost any walk of life, those who succeed are those who have great coaches and mentors. While an in-person coach or mentor who can work with you is always the best option, according to Mr. Ballantyne consuming content from someone who’s living the life you want to lead is also a very good step. As Mr. Ballantyne states, “Remember the Law of Environmental Exposure: ‘Whatever you expose yourself to on a regular basis, you will eventually become.’ By intentionally consuming content and ideas from other high-achievers you will begin to subconsciously adopt their mindsets, beliefs, and behaviors.”

Step 3: Set Goals that Will Fire You Up and Force You to Grow

Aristotle once said, ‘Nothing improves aim like a target’. If you want to achieve something great, you must know your goal. According to Mr. Ballantyne, it is very important to write your goals down and to revisit them daily. According to Mr. Ballantyne, repetition is the mother of all success. In order to achieve your goals, you must constantly strive toward them. “By having a concrete vision for your future and betting on yourself you will start to build your Unstoppable Mindset, and start doing the things required to live your best life.”

Step 4: Take Massive Action

This steps is no surprise. In fact even Tony Robbins claims taking massive action is perhaps the most important step towards achieving your goals. According to Mr. Ballantyne, “You can watch motivational videos, listen to coaches, and set goals all day long, but you still have to do the work. You have to take action to get the outcomes you desire. This is the fundamental difference between those with an average mindset and those with an Unstoppable Mindset.”

Step 5: Track and Review Your Performance

And finally, according to Mr. Ballantyne if you aren’t sitting down once a week to measure and review your goals you’ll be overtaken by someone else who is. According to Mr. Ballantyne, “All you need is 10-20 minutes a week to sit down and review: 1) What action steps you took during the week. 2) The outcomes of those action steps. And 3) The lessons you learned and the steps you’re going to take to improve your performance over the coming week.” According to Mr. Ballantyne, you don’t need to make great strides quickly. If you can get just 1% better for 365, in a year you won’t even be able to recognize the life you are living.

If you follow these five-steps and put them into practice every day, you too will soon be well on your way to developing your own Unstoppable Mindset.

Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues for Business


Few Americans had a greater impact on the history of this nation than Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was the embodiment of hard work, self-discipline, and an innovative spirit. At the age of twenty, Franklin established Thirteen Virtues to live by in order to help develop his character. These Thirteen Virtues are as applicable today as they were during his time, and each can easily be applied to the development of our professional characters as well.

1. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. - This seems straight-forward enough: Don't waste time and be productive. When it comes to accomplishing as much as Franklin did, efficiency was certainly a top priority.

2. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. - More than anything, often times business seems to be a matter of how many things you can give your attention to. You may have 100 balls to keep in the air and each one needs your attention to do this. If you can't personally do it, delegate.

3. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. - Franklin was a master of finding Win-Win situations. Instead of attempting to harm and defeat his enemies, it was always Franklin's first goal to make allies of them. By doing so, he gained many more friends than he ever had enemies. This served him well in both business, and politics.

4. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation. - Often times, unhealthy relationships can take a huge amount of our mental space. This is energy and attention that could be directed toward our goals. If we find ourselves in relationships that are taking up too much needless time and attention, we must be willing to re-evaluate our approach to them and whether or not they should be maintained at all.

5. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing. - Again, this could not be more applicable to business: Waste no money. Be frugal. According to Franklin, whenever we spend a dollar we must make sure it is being put toward a useful goal. And perhaps the best use we can make of our money is putting it toward sound investments.

6. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. - A big lesson in business is not allowing yourself to be concerned by the things that don't matter. Likewise, we should not be concerned about the little or unavoidable mistakes that will inevitably occur. Things happen. And when they do, we need to fix them, and move on.

7. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation. - Dress for success. Look the part. If you want to be successful, it doesn't hurt to dress this way. As shallow as it may seem, people will treat you differently based on your outward appearance. So, if you want to be successful, you should attempt to walk, talk, act, and yes even dress the part of success.

8. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. - Many business opportunities have been stymied because someone drank too much. Likewise, if we want to stay productive, living a healthy lifestyle can be to our huge advantage. In fact, the one thing many billionaires all state  they have in common is that they exercise. By eating healthy and watching how much we drink we can give ourselves an advantage in both our productivity, as well as our mental, and physical well-beings.

9. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. - In business, one of  the most powerful assets a person can have is a good reputation. Such reputations are built by treating people well, treating them fairly, and treating them honestly. If we can make it a habit to never slander another, and to be impeccable with our words, it will go a long way toward raising our profiles as noteworthy businesspeople.

10. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. - Perhaps the two greatest traits a businessperson can have are reliability and responsibility. By simply doing what we say we are going to do, every time, we immediately place ourself ahead of almost everyone else out there. We must make it a practice business, as in life, to simply always do what we say we are going to do. End of story.

11. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. - Often times, taking an extreme stance can leave us on an island. And often times once such an extreme stance has been taken it can be very difficult to come back from it. When we view our decisions as binary, often times we miss the middle-ground where many more options lay.

12. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. - Don't speak merely for the sake of speaking. Instead, try to make it a practice of only speaking when you have something valuable to say. Often, if we want to get someone to like us it is far better to let them talk about themselves, than it is  to list our own accomplishments. This is as true as in business as it is in dating, friendship, and in life in general. If you only speak when you have something good to say, when you do speak people will be much more inclined to listen to what you have to say and take you seriously.

13. Imitate Jesus and Socrates. - Finally, to this list we could add: Imitate, Benjamin Franklin. 

A Lesson in Motivation from Arnold Schwarzenegger

By any measure, Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most successful people of all-time. From being named Mr. Universe, to becoming one of the most recognizable movie stars in the world, Arnold is a master of achieving what he sets out to accomplish.  In a recent interview Arnold laid out what it takes for him to be successful.

Get Clear on Your Goals

For Arnold, it all begins with a goal. A vision of what you want to do. For Arnold, he envisioned himself as the greatest body builder of all-time. He envisioned himself up on the stage. And envisioned himself lifting the trophy over-and-over-and-over again. Arnold recommends we sit down, take our time, and start to think about why do we want to achieve our goals.

Envision Your Success

According to Arnold, once you become clear on what it is you want it's a good idea to post pictures of what success looks like around your house as a daily reminder to help you stay clear on your vision. According to Arnold, seeing these constant reminders of what you want will help you stay on track. When Arnold was chasing his dream of becoming Mr. Universe, he was constantly smiling. He said this was because he knew every curl he did and every weight he lifted got him one step closer to the goal he was chasing. That attitude kept him excited, and kept him going.

A Lesson in Motivation

Just after Arnold had won Mr. Olympia in 1975, film director Bob Rafelson approached Arnold about a starring role in the film, Stay Hungry. The only catch was Arnold needed to weigh 210 pounds. At the time, Arnold was weighing well over 245 pounds. But he wanted the role, so for the next few months, Arnold did everything he could to lose the weight and the day before they started filming, he weighed-in at 209 pounds. The entire time he was working out, Arnold says he visualized exactly what he wanted to look like.

Success Starts Small

According to Arnold, when he started into the world of weight lifting as a kid, he did not have very much confidence. It was not until he won his first little trophy for doing the best ‘clean and jerk’ lift that he began to believe in himself a bit. From there he won another little trophy. And his confidence built. This continued until Arnold was the most successful bodybuilder in the world.

According to Arnold, this approach of using little victories to add confidence until he ultimately achieved his biggest goals was the same approach he used all throughout his life.

The Importance of Deadlines

For Arnold, it was always important to have a deadline. Knowing he needed to be in top shape by a certain deadline always helped to streamline and sharpen Arnold’s effort. Arnold says he would never allow a deadline to arrive without knowing he did his best to be in the best shape he could be for his deadline. Having such deadline motivates one to keep on track, and lessens the chances of allowing your efforts and attention to drift aimlessly. It is this focus on achieving a specific goal by a specific date that has helped Arnold achieve so much.

How to Find the Time

According to Arnold, of the 24 hours in a day, there is more than enough time to prepare for the goals you want to achieve. For Arnold, this is especially true if what you want to achieve is learning something new, or reshaping your body. Finding one hour a day in which to devote toward these goals is totally doable, if you are dedicated to your goal. If you want to do something, you will make the time for it. Get up an hour earlier. And don’t waste a minute. For Arnold, there are no excuses. If you think you need eight hours, according to Arnold all you need to do is, ‘Just sleep a little faster.’


Is this the Actual Equation for Success?

Recently, Northeastern University physics professor and Harvard Medical School appointee, Albert-Lazlo Barabasi developed what he claims to be an equation for success: S=Qr.

The Equation for Success: S=Qr

According to the professor Barabasi, S (success) equals r (the potential value of a given idea) multiplied by Q (the person’s ability to execute on the idea). Thus, success equals the potential value of an idea times the ability of a person to execute on that idea: S=Qr

The Two Questions to Ask Before Starting a New Business Venture

According to professor Barabasi’s research, when considering any new business venture there are two key questions we should ask ourselves: 1.) What is the potential value of this idea?, and 2.) Can I make this idea work? Thus, when evaluating the value of any new business idea, we should first consider how much this idea could be worth if it reached its full potential, and then consider our honest ability to bring the idea to this full potential. If after evaluating our new business idea in such terms we remain confident of the venture's chances for success, perhaps then we may deem the idea worth pursuing.

The 'Q-factor'

As such, a brilliant idea alone is not enough. We must also be able to pull it off. According to professor Barabasi, this ability to execute in a given field is known as someone’s ‘Q-factor'. A Q-factor is a combination of a person’s innate talent and skill. According to professor Barabasi, "If an individual with a low Q-factor comes across a great idea with a huge r value, the impact will still be mediocre, as the resulting product--or Qr--is diminished by the small Q-factor. Fantastic idea, poor execution." The converse is also true. According to professor Barabasi, "Think Apple's first handheld Newton, with its inept handwriting recognition. The reverse also happens: A creative person with a high Q-factor can put out multiple weak or mediocre--or low r—products.” It is only in the instances where a brilliant idea and the right person with the ability to make it happen merge where true success is found. The greater the idea and the greater the ability to execute to that idea, the greater the success.

What This Means for Our Careers

According to professor Barabasi’s research, our Q-factor remains relatively constant throughout our lives. Meaning, if we are not finding success in a given field, perhaps we’d be better served to switch careers and find a field where our talents may be more aligned. According to professor Barabasi, "If our Q-factor isn't resonating with our job, we should consider if we've pinned our hopes on the wrong career path." On the other hand however, professor Barabasi’s research seems to indicate it is possible to find success at any point on our career path, if only we are only on the right path. Thus, in a final word of affirmation, professor Barabasi suggests in order to find success we must merely find what we are good at, and keep trying.

You can read the full excerpt of professor Barabasi's work here.

Train Your Brain to Get What You Want


On more than one occasion, Marisa Peer was named Britain’s Best Therapist. In one of her most famous speeches, Marisa explains how to train your mind to reach beyond your limits and get what you really want. Below are the key points from her speech.

Our Minds Are Here to Serve Us

Marisa Peer began by asserting the most important collaboration we will ever make is between ourselves and our minds. Furthermore, Dr. Peer claims that when you collaborate with your mind and tell it what you want, it will do everything in its power to attain the object of your desire.  According to Marisa Peer, there are four things about our minds which - if we put into practice - will ensure we have success across the board.

The Four Principles of the Mind

First, Dr. Peer asserts our minds will always do exactly what it thinks we want them to do. Thus, if we are not getting what we want it is because we are not collaborating properly with our mind. Secondly, according to Dr. Peer, our minds are hardwired to move toward pleasure and away from pain. Third, the way we feel about anything boils down to two things: ‘the pictures we make in our heads and the words we say to ourselves.’ And fourth, our minds love what is familiar. In other words, our minds are, ‘programmed to keep going over-and-over again toward what is familiar.’ Thus according to Marisa Peer, ‘If you want to succeed at any level, you’ve got to make what is familiar unfamiliar, and what is unfamiliar familiar.’

The First Principle: Tell You Mind Exactly What You Want It To Do

According to Marisa Peer, our minds are always working out for our own best interest. Our minds listens to what we say, and act accordingly. Thus, if we say, ‘I want a week off in bed’, the chances we will come down with an illness are then greatly heightened. It’s almost as if our minds are genies willing to grant whichever wish we command to it. So, conversely from the above example according to Dr. Peer, if we use language like, ‘I have chosen to do this, and chosen to feel great about it’, it will go a long way toward changing our lives.

The Second Principle: Link Incredible Pleasure to What You Want

Dr. Peer states, ‘This is way more than positive thinking: it is collaborating with your mind.’ Thus, if we are not getting what we want from life then we are not collaborating properly with our minds and we must learn how to. According to Dr. Peer, if we want to get something which requires a tremendous amount of work, we must constantly tell our mind that we love the work even if it isn’t true. That is how we collaborate with our mind: we must, ‘tell it, using very specific, very detailed, very precise words, what we want.’

So, if you tell your mind, ‘I like this. I want this. I’ve chosen this’, and you link pleasure to these statements, your mind will move toward whatever the object of desire is. Even if it’s something that will cause us a tremendous amounts of pain, if we are collaborating with our minds and properly telling it what we want, we will be able to get through the pain to achieve our goal. In fact, we will actually move toward the pain knowing we will feel even better afterwards. A good example of this would be forcing ourselves to go through the pain of going in a run because we know the rush of endorphins we will feel when we’re done will outweigh the temporary pain we experience during that same run. Thus, in order to get what we want we must link pleasure to doing the things that are hard to do.

The Third Principle: Feed Your Mind Very Specific Images and Language of What You Want

The third thing Marisa Peer wants us to appreciate is the only language the brain understands: the pictures we make in our head, and the language we use. Thus, when we are properly collaborating with our brains, we must make sure the pictures we envision and the words we are using are bringing us the things we want. According to Dr. Peer, the pictures we make in our heads and the words we use change everything. To demonstrate this idea, Marisa Peer asks the audience to pretend they are eating a lemon, then asks them to notice the way heir mouths have begun to water. It is this effect the mind has on the body that Dr. Peer is most interested in.

The Fourth Principle: Make What You Want Very Familiar

The fourth thing, as stated above, is that our minds love what is familiar. According to Marisa Peer, if what is familiar is procrastination, laziness, and not applying ourselves, this is what our brain will go for. Thus, if we want to become successful, we need to make these negative behaviors unfamiliar, and the more positive traits, such as working hard and believing in ourselves, familiar. So, just like eating the lemon, if we believe we are great at something, we will tell our brains what we want to be and our minds in turn will make this thing so. As an example, Dr. Peer points to Mohammed Ali who claimed he told himself he was the best ever until he became the best ever. Or, how Arnold Swarzenegger once said, ‘Modesty is not a word that applies to me. And I hope it never does.’ Whatever we tell our mind, it believes, so Dr. Peer encourages us to tell our minds better things. ‘First you make your beliefs, then your beliefs make you. When you believe in yourself, other people will believe in you too.’

The Bannister Effect As Proof

As a further example, Marisa Peer points to Roger Bannister. Bannister told himself the four things above when he decided he wanted to run a mile in under four minutes when no one ever had. By taking control of his mind and taking it through these four steps he was able to achieve what no one had before. According to Dr. Peer, this is the reason why Olympic world records keep being broken: because our potential expands as we think it is possible.

So to reiterate, Marisa Peer suggests if we want to have the most fantastic collaboration with our own minds, we’ve got to tell our mind what we want, link massive pleasure to getting the thing and pain to not getting it, change the pictures and words  we use to match what it is we want, and make these ideas of having this thing familiar. When we do this, we will truly collaborate properly with our minds and in turn our minds will expand to bring us whatever it is we ask it for. It is not positive thinking, it is re-wiring our brains for success.





The Greatest Single Factor in Startup Success


Bill Gross is the founder and CEO of the business incubator, Idealab. In a recent conversation in Vancouver, Mr. Gross shared his findings on what factors matter most for startup success.

The Power Startups

To begin with, Mr. Gross asserted he believes the startup model is one of the greatest ways we can make the world a better place. According to Mr. Gross, by taking the right group of people and incentivizing them properly you can unlock human potential in a way that has never been possible before. Why then do so many startups fail? And what factors matter most in startup success?

The Five Key Factors for Success

In order to answer these questions, Mr. Gross reviewed the 100’s of startups founded within Idealab and examined what lessons could be learned from both these company’s successes, as well as their failures. In so doing, Mr. Gross identified five factors he felt contributed most to a company’s success or failure. Those five factors are: idea, team, business model, funding, and timing.

A Real Life Case-Study

To determine the effectiveness of these five factors, Mr. Gross examined the impact of each factor across 100 Idealab companies as well as 100 outside companies. Mr. Gross examined companies from Idealab which had gone on to achieve billion dollar valuations, as well as those he considered to have fallen short. Likewise, when examining outside companies, he examined both companies he considered to be wild successes like AirBNB and YouTube, as well as companies which he considered to be failures like pets.com and Friendster. For all of these companies, Mr. Gross measured the impact that each of the five factors had.

The Single Greatest Factor

According to Mr. Gross’s research, across all of these companies, the number one factor was timing (42%). The second biggest factor was execution (32%), then idea (28%), business model (24%), and finally funding (14%).

Two Real-Life Examples

As an example for how these key factors played out, Mr. Gross sited, AirBNB. According to Mr. Gross, at the time of AirBNB’s launch many very smart investors wanted nothing to do with the company. Very few could see the validity in renting out their home to a stranger. The model was new and untested. However, according to Mr. Gross, one of the major advantages AirBNB had was launching during the height of the recession when people really needed extra money. This timing helped people overcome their objections to the new business of renting out their homes to strangers. According to Mr. Gross, this was the same situation which helped to contribute to Uber, which launched around the same time. 

To Sum It All Up

In summary, Mr. Gross stated that execution and idea certainly matter a lot, but that it is timing which might matter even more. According to Mr. Gross, the best way to assess timing is to thoroughly determine if customers are ready for what you are offering them. According to Mr. Gross, if you are very honest with yourself about the factor of timing, you will have a better chance of seeing your startup join the ranks of those changing the world for the better as well. 



How Flatiron is Improving Cancer Research

Flatiron Health was founded in 2012 after its founders witnessed firsthand how decentralized cancer research information had become. By bringing all of this information into a single repository, the New York City-based Flatiron Health hopes to make such information more readily available and accessible for research of breakthrough cancer treatments.

The Need for Change

Flatiron Health was founded in 2012 by Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg shortly after they sold their first company to Google. The need for Flatiron Health became apparent when Nat’s seven-year old cousin was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

After witnessing firsthand how few hospitals, clinics, and universities were sharing their data with one another, Nat and Zach realized there was an important opportunity to bring all of this information under one single system in order to assist in the discovery of new and improved breakthrough cancer treatments.

Flatiron Health Goes Beyond Mere Treatment

And the need is vast. Beyond merely assisting with the development of new cancer treatments, Flatiron Health also assists with a full range of patient needs. Along with health data, Flatiron Health's shared technology platform assists with visualizing patient populations, determining resource utilization, identifying treatment patterns, overseeing network management, and even allowing health care professionals to match patients with clinical trials among many other beneficial aspects. Coupled with this the company’s ability to streamline the insurance process and manage and make available electronic health records for academic medical centers and hospitals, and you can begin to see just some of the roles Flatiron Health is able to serve.

The Company is Constantly Improving

As an organizational tool for managing the total care of patients, Flatiron Health is unparalleled. According to Flatiron Health's website, currently more than 2.1 million patient records have been entered into their system. Add to this the fact that all 15 of the top therapeutic companies work with Flatiron Health, and over 280 community oncology practices, and seven major academic research centers partner with Flatiron Health as well. The company also sees more than 2,500 clinician users on its OncoEMR service, as well as 55 community oncology practices using its OCM network.

Major Funding and an Enormous Acquisition

Investors have taken notice as well. As of this writing, Flatiron Health has already raised more than $313 million after three rounds of funding. Most recently, Flatiron Health closed a $175 million round of Series C funding in 2016 led by Roche, a Swiss-based company which focuses on bringing targeted cancer treatments to patients. Then, two years later in February of 2018, Roche acquired Flatiron for $1.9 billion.

Today, Flatiron Health and Roche are combining to pioneer a new way to both managing and treating cancer patients. Both companies look to improve the care of patients for many years to come.


A Trick to Achieve Goals on a Busy Schedule


One of the hardest parts in achieving any large goal is finding the time to do it. This is especially true when you have children, or a demanding work schedule. This was the case for author, Andre Dubas III. However, after discovering this simple productivity technique, Andre Dubas was able to write the entire novel, The House of Sand and Fog, which went on to become a National Book Award Finalist, a selection on Oprah’s Book Club, and a New York Times bestseller.

A Very Busy Schedule

In the late 90's, Mr. Dubas wanted to write a novel, but both he and his wife worked. They also had three small children. When Mr. Dubas and his wife weren’t working, they were fully committed to spending all of their time with their children. This of left very little time for Mr.  Dubas to work on the novel.

The 17-Minute Rule

The solution Mr. Dubas came up with was to find an extra 34 minutes each day by freeing up 17 minutes on his way to work, and 17 minutes on his way home. He would leave his house 17 minutes earlier and pull into a parking lot to work for those 17 minutes. Then on his way home, he would do the same thing and stop to write for another 17 minutes. By finding an extra 17 minutes both to-and-from work each day, he was able to write the novel that eventually went on to become a New York Times bestseller.

Finding the Right Place to Work

The parking lot Mr. Dubas would pull into was a cemeteries. As a writer, he needed a quiet place. This was it for him. At five or six in the morning, very few people were out and he could get some very good work done. He wrote the script in longhand with a pencil. Now that Mr. Dubas has had some success, he’s been able to afford a better place to write. However, he still prefers a nice quiet place. In the new house he built, Mr. Dubas says he writes in a ‘jail cell’, a tiny closet only five foot wide and a eleven feet long. This provides him the necessary quiet and solitude he needs to create.

Often, Mr. Dubas was able to find a bit more time throughout the day. During these times he would write a bit more. But having these 34 minutes set into his schedule, he was able to achieve a long-term, life-long goal and change his career and future forever.