Neil Pasricha has an amazing story. A self-described “average guy,” he realized that he was overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, so he started consciously thinking about any positive thing he could find – no matter how small. Then he blogged about it at 1000awesomethings.com, won a Webby Award, and became an international best selling author for his work, The Book of Awesome. Nice work, Neil! Neil is a biohacker too, even if he doesn’t know it. Here’s why:
From a Bulletproof® Executive perspective, Neil hacked himself. He cured his depression by making conscious changes to the software running in his head. (Because I’m an executive in the cloud computing, security industry, my Bulletproof® approach to improving the body and brain uses models hackers have used for years). Other techniques that I’ve used to hack my brain include boosting the hardware (cognitive nutrition, lifestyle, or pharma), upgrading the operating system (things that change how the brain is wired without introducing physical changes – things like EEG neurofeedback, binaural beats, yoga, and related), or hacking the software in other ways (learning new ways to think, meditation, various schools of psychology, therapy, even chanting or drumming). The attached video from TED is a bit long but humorous and enjoyable. You can watch it, or find Neil’s “recipe” for Awesomeness distilled here.
- The first “a” is attitude. Neil defines it as making the choice between two things – dwelling on a problem, failure, or choosing to acknowledge it and move on.
- The second “a” is awareness. Neil describes awareness as “embracing your inner 3-year-old.” What he means, however, is taking the chance to see everything as if it is the first time you’ve seen it.
- The final “a” is authenticity. It’s common, but good advice – follow your heart and do what you love. His example from real life – “Rosy Greer’s Needlepoint for Men” book – is too hilarious to believe.
From a Bulletproof® perspective, this is great advice for entrepreneurs looking to perform better. Attitude matters the most. One of the world’s top experts in EEG feedback for performance enhancement was hired by the US Special Forces to upgrade their brains. This is actually true – and I spent more than a week doing the same training with him. He told me, “I enjoyed working with the Special Forces most of all. They were amazing because of their attitude – every day, they resolved to do at least one thing to improve themselves. It made the training even more impactful.” Entrepreneurs need that same attitude – whether you upgrade yourself, your company, or both, you need to adjust your attitude to believe that your objective is possible, and that you will do it. Awareness matters because without it, you can’t tell if your hacking and upgrades are actually doing anything. If you’re hyper-aware of the state of your company, your body, and your mind, you learn to see patterns that are holding you back. Buddhists (some of the original brain hackers) would describe this as “living in the moment.” It’s more than a self-improvement platitude – it’s how you get the information you need, and it drives your performance every day. I’ve tried dozens of tools, from brand new technology to 5,000 year old techniques to enhance my ability to be aware and in the moment. When I started, I didn’t even understand what that really meant. As I learned, I became a better entrepreneur, husband, and father. Authenticity belongs on the list because it’s tied to motivation – if you don’t do what you love, your motivation and happiness lag over time. If you can’t be authentic, it means you can’t be truthful with yourself interfering with your awareness and affecting your attitude. Having the courage to be authentic is a part of being a healthy entrepreneur and healthy person. That’s why you can see my name on the front page of this blog – that’s as authentic as it gets. I’m a biohacker and an entrepreneur because I love it.