How to Uncover Your Creative Talent by Using the “Equal Odds Rule”

Paul Erdos was a strange man. He lived out of two suitcases, never learned how to cook his own meals, worked up to 19 hours per day, took amphetamines daily and washed them down with caffeine, and gave away nearly all of the money that he earned. [1]

Erdos was also the most prolific mathematician of the 20th century. He wrote or co-authored over 1,500 mathematical articles during his career and partnered with over 500 different collaborators. As you would expect, his contributions to mathematics were significant.

Erdos solved a variety of difficult problems. He worked out a proof for the prime number theorem. He led the development of Ramsey theory. He discovered the proof for a difficult mathematical riddle known as Bertrand’s postulate. Long story short, Erdos was good. He worked his tail off and advanced the field of mathematics because of it.

And yet, do you know what became of the vast majority of his 1,500 articles and papers?

Nothing. They are long gone. Forgotten. Tucked away in the archives of an old research journal or filed into a box at the bottom of some math lover’s closet. And that is why the story of Paul Erdos is perhaps the best example of what is known as the Equal Odds Rule.

Let’s talk about what this rule means and how it can help you uncover your creative talent.
[click to continue reading...]

How to Sleep Better: The 3 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Most people aren’t getting enough sleep, plain and simple. But—and this is the important thing to realize—we don’t recognize that we are sleep deprived.

In my comprehensive article on the science of sleep, The Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Sleep Deprivation, I covered this problem, discussed how sleep works, and shared a variety of practical ways to improve the quality of your sleep. If you’re looking for a primer on the science of how to sleep better, I suggest reading that article.

However, if you want to improve your sleep, there are actually some very simple and practical ways to go about it. I call these strategies the 3 Levers of Sleep.

Here’s how they work…
[click to continue reading...]

3 Simple Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

A lot of people want to build an exercise habit that sticks. (A 2012 survey analyzed the top ten habits of thousands of people and found that exercise was number one by a long shot. [1])

Of course, wanting to make exercise a habit and actually doing it are two different things. Changing your behavior is difficult. Living a new type of lifestyle is hard. This is especially true when you throw in very personal feelings about body image and self-worth.

But there are some strategies that can make it easier to stick with an exercise habit.

I have been using the three strategies below to build my personal exercise routine, which I have stuck to for two years without skipping a workout. While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far and how I have successfully made exercise a habit that am I excited to do each week.

Here are 3 simple ways to make exercise a habit.
[click to continue reading...]

Photo Essay: The Isle of Skye, Scotland

I believe that creativity is one of the pillars of living a healthy and fulfilling life. And, because I try to live out the principles that I write about each week and not merely talk about them, every few months I set out on a photography trip to create art, explore the world, and learn a thing or two along the way.

This photo essay was created on the Isle of Skye, the largest island in a chain known as the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. As always, all photos are my own.
[click to continue reading...]

How to Build Muscle: Proven Strength Lessons from Milo of Croton

Nearly 2,500 years ago, there was a man of incredible strength and athleticism roaming the hills of southern Italy. His name was Milo of Croton and he was almost certainly the most successful wrestler of his day.

Milo was a six-time wrestling champion at the Ancient Olympic Games in Greece. In 540 BC, he won the boys wrestling category and then proceeded to win the men’s competition at the next five Olympic Games in a row. He also dominated the Pythian Games (7-time winner), Isthmian Games (10-time winner), and Nemean Games (9-time winner). [1, 2]

In the rare event that an athlete won not only the Olympic title, but also all three other games in one cycle, they were awarded the title of Periodonikes, a grand slam winner. Milo won this grand slam five times.

Now for the important question: What can Milo’s incredible strength teach you about how to build muscle and improve your health and fitness?

The answer is covered in a story about how Milo developed his strength…
[click to continue reading...]

This Simple Equation Reveals How Habits Shape Your Health, Happiness, and Wealth

In 1936, a man named Kurt Lewin wrote a simple equation that changed the way we think about habits and human behavior.

The equation makes the following statement: Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment. [1]

Lewin's Equation

Known today as Lewin’s Equation, this tiny expression contains most of what you need to know about building good habits, breaking bad ones, and making progress in your life.

Let’s talk about what we can learn from it and how to apply these ideas to master the habits that shape your health, happiness, and wealth.
[click to continue reading...]

My Upcoming Speaking Schedule (Let’s Meet in Person!)

Earlier this week, our little community passed 84,000 members. (First time visitor? You can sign up free here.)

One of my favorite parts about writing for a global audience is meeting you all in person when I speak at various events and organizations.

With that in mind, I’m starting to book my speaking schedule for the end of 2014 and the first half of 2015. If I’m coming to a city near you, I’d love to meet you and say hello. And if you’d like me to speak at your organization or event, details for contacting me are below.
[click to continue reading...]

What I’m Reading: Fall 2014 Edition

It’s time for the Fall 2014 Edition of my reading list.

For each of the books below, I have assigned a rating and written a three sentence review, which summarizes my thoughts about why I did or did not enjoy the book. At the end of each review, I have included a link to the book on Amazon so that you can read additional reviews and learn more about the book.

Here’s what I’m reading…
[click to continue reading...]

Measure Backward, Not Forward

We often measure our progress by looking forward. We set goals. We plan milestones for our progress. Basically, we try to predict the future to some degree.

We do this in business, in health, and in life at large.

  • Can we increase our quarterly earnings by 20 percent?
  • Can I lose 20 pounds in the next 3 months?
  • Will I be married by 30?

These are all measurements that face forward. We look into the future and try to guess when we will get somewhere.

There is an opposite and, I think, more useful approach: measure backward, not forward.

Here’s what I mean…
[click to continue reading...]