Have you seen these studies that science have been putting out? There have been several wanting to prove how healthy foods are. There was a guy in Idaho who ate nothing but potatoes and lived to tell about it. In another one, somewhere else, a guy wanted to prove that Twinkies were safe, so he subsided for an entire month on nothing but Twinkies and water. He didn’t die or get fat so he proved his point, right? 

Not so fast. 

These kinds of studies fascinate me because I believe that every one of them misses the point. Sure you can survive eating nothing but Twinkies, but is it optimal for high performance? Can a guy eating nothing but Twinkies lift as much weight as the guy eating the balanced diet? Can he work as long and as hard? I don’t know for sure, but my guess is probably not. Could he do better if he ate better? My guess is he could. 

That’s where I think the focus should be. A culture of doing just enough to not die has gotten us to the point where most of us are overweight. Most of us hate our jobs. Most of us are unhappy with our conditions in life. We’ve been living on the Twinkie diet and we haven’t died, but we haven’t lived. 

It’s actually sparked my newest crusade; Optimize Everything. 

I recently bought Stan Efferding’s book, The Vertical Diet. I love it and I’m following it. I’ve seen great results so far and when I fall off of it due to traveling and losing focus, I see a huge difference. The whole point of the book is to eat foods that the body can use optimally. Stan says he doesn’t eat the foods he likes, he eats the foods that like him. Those are the ones that he can best absorb and utilize. To say the book is worth the money is an understatement because it’s shifted my thinking in every other area of my life too. 

Sure, I can show up to work and still get paid, but I feel best when I know I’ve given it my best effort and worked on things that are important. Sure, I can get by on talent and experience most of the times that I’m asked to speak, but if I want to make it a career, I have to prepare and focus. No longer is my goal to survive the day and not die, it has become of optimizing myself in everything that I do so I feel my best when my head hits the pillow at night. 

Later this week, I’ll post to Facebook exactly what this looks like. It’s not always easy and I still fall down in my attempts, but the effort has already had a wonderful effect on my performance. It’s my sincerest hope that you’ll join me in my crusade and optimize everything because I’m pretty sure the great philosopher Mel Gibson’s William Wallace had it right when he said: “Every man dies, not every man really lives.”  

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