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Self-Image 101

How to construct the best, most heroically awesome version of you

We start by stepping back and looking at what I call the “True You” which is a combo of “Optimus You” + “en*theos You” which = “Hērō You.” Then we have fun SEEing that best, most heroically Optimized and plugged-in version of you (via a mirror exercise and Michelangelo assist) and, most importantly, BEing that version of you (via 3 D’s, an A and two T’s). Then we create a game to put the new you into action by WOOPing your WIG and WINning while creating Antifragile Confidence + Buoyancy (science says = Levity + Gravity) while rocking our affirmations and affirmaction and remembering Other Image 101 as well.

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The Alter Ego Effect

The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life

The Alter Ego Effect. This is one of the most fun and compelling and inspiring books I’ve read in awhile. I REALLY (!!!) enjoyed reading it, had a ton of fun constructing and playing with some potential Alter Egos and highly recommend it. I also really enjoyed how high-performance coach and mental game strategist Todd Herman describes the science behind the power of “secret identities” to transform our lives and I loved the parallels between his perspective and our Big 3 Identities > Virtues > Behaviors model. Big Ideas we explore include Superman + Clark Kent (who's who?), activating your Heroic Self (the science of), motivation and emotion (share a common Latin root), virtues as super powers (more on the science of), and Crossing the Threshold (Today the day?).

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Coming Alive

4 Tools to Defeat Your Inner Enemy, Ignite Creative Expression & Unleash Your Soul’s Potential

I’m a HUGE fan of Phil and Barry's first book, The Tools. Coming Alive is kinda like The Tools Part 2. In this book, we get four new tools to go along with the original five tools. Big Ideas we explore include how to connect to our Life Force, defeat Part X (their name for that part of each of us that gets in the way), build our confidence and learn to see problems as gifts as we live a GREAT life.

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Discover the Power Within You

A Guide to the Unexplored Depths Within

Eric Butterworth was a prolific author and Unity minister—one of the great spiritual teachers of the 20th century. We featured another one of his books called Spiritual Economics. That one transformed my consciousness around money/ambition/etc. (I *highly* recommend it.) Butterworth was also Maya Angelou's spiritual teacher. And, Oprah says that this book is one of her all-time favorites. Big Ideas we explore: Where to find the Divine (hint: look within!), the great decision, the true meaning of “meek” (it's not what you think), going the second mile, and how to create a heaven (or hell) right NOW!

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Reinventing Yourself

How to Become the Person You've Always Wanted to Be

I got this book years ago when I first started working with Steve Chandler. At the time, I read and listened to a ton of his stuff. Steve and I worked together one-on-one for a couple years. This is our sixth Note on his books. It was super fun to reread this book and dive back into Steve’s down-to-earth and empowering wisdom. I love his short, to-the-point, funny style. Big Ideas we explore include the difference between being a Victim vs. an Owner (this is the #1 key on "How to Become the Person You've Always Wanted to Be), lifting real weights not the Styrofoam stuff (but only if you want to get strong!), the fact that Yes lives in the land of No, 10 things you'd do if you had no fear (pick one and go!), and campfires (they're a lot like human spirit--ya gotta re-create one every day!).

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Spiritual Liberation

Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential

Michael Beckwith runs the Agape church in Los Angeles and is one of the most plugged in human beings I've ever seen. In this Note, we'll explore some of his many Big Ideas—including how important discipline is and the fact that as we rock it, our discipline turns to blissipline. We'll also see how to avoid spiritual constipation by PRACTICING what we study and how even enlightened beings burn their bagels on occasion (so we can prolly relax into our own imperfections).

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The As If Principle

The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life

William James once said: “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.” In this book, Richard Wiseman, Britain’s official professor in “the Public Understanding of Psychology” walks us through the astonishing array of research that proves what he calls the “As If Principle.” Big Ideas we explore include an exploration of the fact that feelings follow behavior, how to make yourself happy, the paradox of rewards, and how to create a new you.

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With Winning in Mind

The Mental Management System

This is a SHOCKINGLY good book. Want to get your mind right? Lanny Bassham, an Olympic gold medalist, has been teaching the art of mental training/peak performance for decades and this book tells us just how to rock it. In the Note, we'll look at the importance of making the process primary and other fundamentals of mental mastery.

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12 Rules for Life

An Antidote to Chaos

Jordan Peterson is one of the world's leading intellectuals. He's a Canadian clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. (Before that, he taught at Harvard.) He’s published over 100 scientific articles and he’s super-popular on YouTube. This book is wonderfully intense and equally thoughtful. Peterson’s integration of everything from evolutionary psychology, politics, religion and morality is astounding. After taking a super-quick look at all 12 Rules, Big Ideas we cover include the importance of mastering the flow or Order + Chaos (and why RULES are so important), Rule #1 (stand up straight, shoulders back! Remember lobsters...), Rule #2 (Treat yourself better! Remember pets...), Rule #6: Clean up your life (remember to start stopping...), and the fact that your Being is in your Becoming (which is connected to Rule #4...).

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This Book Will Make You Dangerous

The Irreverent Guide For Men Who Refuse to Settle

My friend Tripp Lanier has been coaching guys for the last 15+ years. He’s the host of The New Man podcast and is a very funny guy. He’s also a very wise guy. If you (or the man in your life) like to laugh deeply while joyfully getting your Optimizing on, I think you’ll enjoy his “Irreverent Guide for Men Who Refuse to Settle.” Note: This book is not for those who don’t enjoy some colorful language. And... It very much IS for those guys who DO. In fact, although I think anyone not easily offended will enjoy the book, I think this is the PERFECT book for the kind of guy who *doesn’t* usually like “self-help.” Tripp is such a funny, self-deprecating (yet wise!) guy that “normal” guys love. Big Ideas explore include: the experiences we're *really* going after (freedom + aliveness + love + peace), gratitude (the #1 practice), you're NOT a big deal (and THAT's a very big deal), find the fun (PLAY!!), and the ultimate game (is spelled L.O.V.E.).

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The Power of Your Supermind

Great Cosmic Wisdom Explained in a Clear and Practical Way

How's your Supermind? Find out what Vernon's talking about and how to turn up your Supermind's power with this wisdom-packed Note. We'll explore everything from psychic spankings (codeword for suffering) to causes and effects and we'll see how detecting negativity is actually a very positive thing.

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The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field

Nathaniel Branden is easily one of the most articulate human beings I've read and is one of the world's leading experts on self-esteem. This book rocks and in the Note we'll explore the six pillars of self-esteem—from the practice of living consciously, accepting ourselves and taking responsibility to practicing self-assertiveness, living purposefully and having personal integrity. This is one of my favorite books and Notes that I think you'll love.

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#62 "That's Like Me!"

How to Optimize Your Self-Image
Whether you’re an athlete, entrepreneur, teacher, parent, manager, or — fill in the blank here —, what percentage of your game do you
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#63 “That’s NOT Like Me!”

Part II on How to Optimize Your Self-Image
In our last +1 we had fun cultivating a strong Self-Image via “That’s like me!” imprints. Quick recap: All the elite performers agree:
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#113 Making Yourself Proud

How Can You Make Yourself Proud Today?
After finishing the last +1, I got up out of my chair and celebrated another little micro-win. I actually did a little fist pump and said:
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#161 Self-Affirmation Theory

The Science of Affirmations that Actually Work
In our last +1, we chatted about Amy Cuddy’s research into the bidirectionality of our feelings and behaviors as we looked at the
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#203 You As Your Three Heroes

Who Are Yours? (Here Are Mine)
In the documentary Finding Joe on Joseph Campbell and the modern hero’s journey, Deepak Chopra shares some great wisdom. He tells us to
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#205 To Thine Own Self Be True

The Very First Quote I Ever Memorized
William Shakespeare once told us (via Polonius in Hamlet): “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night
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#254 Act As If

What Quality Do You Want?
William James is considered the father of modern psychology. He once said: “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.”
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#347 Neurohacks

How to Program Your New Identity
In our last +1, we talked about Sean Young’s SCIENCE of Sticking with It. Pop quiz: Can you remember what each of those letters in his
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#359 Self-Image 101

How to Create the New You
In our last +1, we talked about Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics. We took a quick look at servo-mechanisms (like missiles) that have a
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#423 Self-Talk: Interrogative Style

Ask Yourself Questions Lately?
In our last +1 we talked about Dan Pink and the new ABCs of selling. (You recall what they are? Attunement + Buoyancy + Clarity!) I promised
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#488 The Golden (+ Platinum!) Rule

How’re You Treating Others? AND… Yourself?
We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule. But, today I have three quick questions: 1. Do you know just how ubiquitous that Golden Rule is across
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#495 Conquering Hero vs. Suffering Martyr

Which Are You When Your Mind Wanders?
In our last +1, we talked about the science of daydreaming. Quick recap: Stay out of the “poor attention control” and
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600+ PhilosopherNotes: 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3 breaking down the Big Ideas from the world's best books. 50+ Optimal Living 101s: fun, practical, hour-long classes to help you Optimize every facet of your life. 1,000+ Optimize +1s: inspiring, impactful and practical micro-lessons you can apply to your life today. And every (!) day.

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Locked +1s

#533 Your New BFF

Mine’s Named “Optimus” — Yours?
In our last +1, we talked about Eric Maisel’s powerful question: “How can I make myself proud?” That was part of his existential,
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#540 Meet the 250-Foot Tall You

How to Connect with Your Infinite Self
A few +1s ago we talked about Stuart Wilde. He’s an old-school self-help teacher who used to lecture with Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay and
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#553 The Golden You

Just Chip Away at the (Not-so) Bonus Layer
So, we’ve been pretty intense lately with all this “Champion” talk. Before we go any further, I want to make one thing REALLY clear.
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#555 Strong Ego = Ticket to Divine

An Optimized Approach Your Ego + Id + Superego
In our last +1, we continued our chat about the fact that your perfection is already there. It’s just waiting for you to follow Rule #1
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#603 The Golden Buddha: Part II

The Historical Reality + The Parable
Not too long ago we talked about The Golden Buddha. I always thought it was a beautiful parable about the fact that we’re all already
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#636 The Royal You

Wake Up and Find Yourself a True Prince(ss)
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote Self-Reliance in 1841. (For curious souls, he was 38 at the time.) Among many other notable and quotable passages
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#654 Your Identity = ?

Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can’t…
In our last +1, we took a trip down Etymology Lane and learned that the word Identity has ancient Latin roots. It literally (!) means
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#659 “Hi, Optimus!”

How to Invite Him or Her to the Optimizing Party
As we discussed in Greatest Year Ever 2019, one of my core themes for this year is to operationalize virtue—to help us (really!) move from
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#681 The Perfectly Imperfect MasterpieceYou

Michelangelo's Imperfect Marble (and Rain-Soaked Studio)
In our last couple +1s, we talked about Michelangelo and his studio. Today we’re going to step back and chat about some historical facts
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#701 Reasons to Believe in Yourself

What Are YOURS? (← Eat Those Hero Bars!)
In our last +1, Emerson and I chatted about how to Be Unstoppable via Alden Mills’s eight actions delivered via his acronym UPERSIST.
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#855 The Comparison Game

You Will Always Lose It (Here’s Why)
We’re kinda on a roll with the whole envy-squishing theme, so why not one more? In our last +1, we talked about the fact that if we’re
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#949 Nietzsche on Shedding One’s Skin

Me, You and Mr. Little Lizard
This morning I hit the Trail for a super easy recovery day walk-hike. As I was cruising along enjoying the astonishingly perfect blue skies
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#964 You, Batman & Dora the Explorer

Time to Put on Your Heroic Costume?
Not too long ago, we talked about Ellen Langer’s fascinating (!) research on the power of pretending you’re an air force pilot. Play the
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#965 Asking for Qualities

A Quick Way to Flip the Switch
In our last +1, we spent some time with Todd Herman, Batman, Dora the Explorer and YOUR most heroic self. Today we’re going to connect all
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#1012 Your Limitations

Idea: Stop Arguing for Them
In our last +11 (that got long didn’t it?!), we talked about my love of the word forge and I invited you to join our Optimize Soul Force
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#1141 To Say “I Love You”

One Must Know First How to Say the “I”
In our last +1, we hung out with Emerson and practiced our Squeezy-eze. As you may recall: Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze. = I. LOVE. YOU!!! (You
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600+ PhilosopherNotes: 6-page PDFs + 20-minute MP3 breaking down the Big Ideas from the world's best books. 50+ Optimal Living 101s: fun, practical, hour-long classes to help you Optimize every facet of your life. 1,000+ Optimize +1s: inspiring, impactful and practical micro-lessons you can apply to your life today. And every (!) day.

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#1184 LIEs + BS

Limited Ideas Entertained That Wreak Havoc on Our Belief Systems
In our last +1, we talked about baby elephants and you. Recall that a baby elephant is often tethered to a stake that it can’t pull out
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#1223 The Mystery of the Oscars

Plus: Cookie Jars and Highlight Reels
In our last +1, we hung out with Goldilocks and set some goals that landed in the right spot on that Inverted U of ours—challenging but
Locked PhilosophersNotes

A Daily Dose of Sanity

A Five-Minute Soul Recharge for Every Day of the Year

Alan Cohen has become one of my favorite writers and people and this book is great--it’s precisely what the sub-title promises: “A Five-Minute Soul Recharge for Every Day of the Year.” The perfect treat for a lover of more wisdom in less time. In this Note, we’ll learn how important it is to be in integrity as we answer the voice that’s calling and fire our inner critics while promoting our inner fan club. And, for good measure, we’ll drop in some Harry Potter wisdom. Good times.

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Do You!

12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success

Who knew the Godfather of hip-hop was also an incredible yogi and spiritual teacher?!? In this Note, we'll have fun learning how to "Do You!!" as we tap into the importance of having a powerful vision for our lives, the fact that a mantra is literally a "tool of thought" we can use to shape our minds, and how important it is to take the next baby step in front of us as we give ourselves most fully to the world.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter Year 2. I’m having fun reading the epic series to Emerson and in this Note we have fun looking at a handful of my favorite Big Ideas including Burning Days (phoenixes burn then rise from their ashes—so do we!), opening your eyes to reality (always a good idea!), eating your words (gotta do it at times or else you might become a hobgoblin), and what wins in the choices vs. abilities game (hint: CHOICES!!).

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Infinite Self

33 Steps to Reclaiming Your Inner Power

Stuart Wilde was a leading a figure in the self-help movement. In the 1990’s, he was giving lectures with Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer. He’s a really funny guy. This book was written in 1996. It features “33 steps” to tapping into the infinite within you. Big Ideas we explore include the physics of spiritual growth (think: states and traits), Step 1 to tapping into your Infinite Self, how to avoid rat DDT in your life, discipline = power (featuring some hair-splitting on ego vis-a-vis id and superego), and your new superpower: serenity.

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Love, Medicine and Miracles

Dr. Bernie Siegel has been a groundbreaking pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine and teaches us the power of love, self-acceptance and believing in ourselves in this classic. In the Note, we'll explore the power of placebo, embracing our perfectly imperfect selves, figuring out who we want to be when we grow up and other such goodness to help us become our highest, healthiest selves.

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Perfectly Yourself

9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness

How'd you like to be perfectly yourself? In this great book, Matthew Kelly shows us how to become the-best-possible-version-of-yourself by doing the next right thing, making virtue our goal, building discipline, simplifying and finding ways to serve!

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Presence

Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Amy Cuddy is awesome. Her TED talk is the 2nd most popular ever. This book is just as good. Learn the science of cultivating your personal power to bring your boldest self to your biggest challenges. Big Ideas we explore: self-affirmation theory, priming + nudges, the magic of expanding your body to increase your power, iHunch (how’s yours?), and the boldest you.

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Superheroes and Philosophy

Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Tom Morris is one of my favorite modern philosophers.
He has a dual Ph.D. from Yale in both Philosophy and Religious Studies. He also taught at Notre Dame for 15 years before becoming one of the most sought-after practical philosophers. We’ve featured two of his other books in which he brings ancient wisdom to our modern lives: True Success and The Art of Achievement. (He’s also the philosopher behind Philosophy for Dummies and wrote If Aristotle Ran General Motors and If Harry Potter Ran General Electric.) I got this book after he and I had an electric chat about Optimize 2020 and the role of The Modern Hero. It’s a collection of essays written by some of the smartest and wisest academic philosophers out there. Tom edited it with his son, Matt—which makes me think of *another* book we’ve featured on the wisdom of superheroes written by a dynamic father-son duo: Deepak Chopra and his son Gotham who wrote The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes. I loved diving into some of the deeper philosophical questions inherent to our modern superhero tales. If that sounds like fun, I’ll think you’ll enjoy it as well. Of course, the book is packed with Big Ideas so, KABAM! Let’s throw on our spandex tights and capes and jump straight in.

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The Art of Living Consciously

We profiled Nathaniel Branden’s classic Six Pillars of Self-Esteem in Volume I and in this Note we explore some more Big Ideas from this brilliant mind. We’ll check out the importance of moving from defensiveness to eagerness, being present within the context of the bigger picture of past and future and why you may want to consider your ego as a friend if you have any hope of moving forward spiritually. Genius stuff.

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The Book of Understanding

Creating Your Own Path to Freedom
by Osho

Osho's a fascinating guy and in this Note we'll take a look at the power of Zorba the Buddha, the importance of self-discipline, the fact that we've got to have a firm hold on our ego before we have any hope of letting it go (big point a lot of peeps tend to miss!), and a lot of other Big Ideas on making our potential a reality.

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The Narcissism Epidemic

Newsflash: We're in the midst of a narcissism epidemic. Oh, wait, you probably already knew that! In this great book, Twenge and Campbell, two research psychologists, let us know what's up and how to deal with it. In this Note, we'll look at what narcissism is (think: overconfidence, vanity, materialism and entitlement), the five causes of narcissism, and touch on some Big Ideas on how we can deal with it—personally and culturally. Intense and powerful wisdom.

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The Power of TED*

The Empowerment Dynamic

David Emerald's wonderfully wise fable rocks. In this Note, we'll take a quick look at one of my favorite books as we explore the importance of stepping out of DDT (the Dreaded Drama Triangle) and stepping into TED (The Empowerment Dynamic) as we learn to more consistently live from a Creator's perspective (rather than a Victim's) and learn how to hold the tension between our ideals and our current realities by taking baby steps.

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The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes

What do you get when you mashup Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success with his son Gotham’s passion for comic books and superheroes? This great little book. In this Note, we’ll have fun looking at what makes a superhero so super and how we can rock it as well. Big Ideas include learning how to rise to the occasion as we live our ideals and commit ourselves to service. Will *you* be a superhero?

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You Are the Placebo

Making Your Mind Matter

The Placebo effect is a pretty nutty phenomenon. Merely the *belief* that a pill (or surgery) will benefit you can lead to those results--even without the actual pill. In this great (!) book, Dr. Joe Dispenza tells us we can harness that power and shows us how. In the Note we'll have fun looking at how to become the new you as you cross the river of change and become an epigenetic engineer.

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#888 The Pearl in My Pocket

Irritant → Awesome
Not too long ago, we talked about How to Make a Pearl. As you may recall, an irritant gets inside an oyster’s shell. The oyster creates