Podcast Review: Timothy Ferriss: 5 Morning Rituals That Help Me Win The Day

I love listening to Timothy Ferriss (who doesn’t?). His podcast is one that i often frequent. His unique viewpoint that is a mixture of aggression, intellectual curiosity, and practical tactician insight is intriguing to listen to. His podcasts usually consist of him interviewing world-class performers and deconstructing their habits, thought processes, and viewpoints in the hope of distilling wisdom that can be disseminated to his followers.

This particular podcast was a bit different. This actually is like some of his earlier podcasts that were in the format of short to medium essays  that addressed specific topics. In this podcast Tim (Can I call you that? Thanks.) talks about some morning rituals that help him to effectively get a mental head-start on the day.

I think we all instinctively can appreciate the value of rituals. Not rituals in the sense of slitting rabbit’s throats and painting 6 pointed stars on the ground although I’m sure there were reasons for those. (At least I hope not).  But rituals in the sense of repetitive behaviors performed in situations where the outcome is uncertain in order to reduce anxiety, and induce a feeling of control.

However, if your not feeling very instinctual here’s some science: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-rituals-work/

Timothy outlines the benefits of his morning rituals which consist of 5 activities:

  1. Making the bed
  2. Meditation
  3. Making Tea
  4. Spinal decompression via gravity boots
  5. Keeping a Journal

Couple thoughts on each:

Making the bed: I do a horrible job of this. It feels like I actually make the bed more messy after I wake up. But I can speak to the sense of peace that a made up bed gives me when I stroll back into the room later on in the day. I’m going to make an effort to do this for a week.

Meditation: I’ve been struggling with integrating meditation into my daily practice for some years now. The method I usually use is focusing on my breath for around 10 minutes – especially when my mind is especially chaotic. Which is very American. Very prescriptive after the fact, instead of taking more of a preventative position. I think in order for the changes that I want to make in my life to really take shape..I’m going to have to wake up a bit earlier. I’d like to [ideally] run a mile in the morning and then get some meditation in + make my bed. Which would require around 20-30 minutes of time + the time it takes me to actually roll out of bed.

Making tea: Sounds relaxing..but I don’t see myself integrating this into my morning routine just yet. to be honest, I think Spinal decompression also falls into this camp. Although there seems to be some evidence that spinal decompression can be very helpful for nutrient diffusion in people who do put a lot of strain on their backs.

Journaling: I actually find this to be a most helpful practice..although it is not currently part of my morning routine. I do find when I have nebulous worries or frustrations that I’m not really able to put a finger on keeping a journal helps me to spill my thoughts onto a page.  This blog also serves a similar purpose. A place to solidify thoughts, and maybe get rid of some unwieldy and recurrent anxieties. I think it can also be helpful for setting priorities for the day.  I think that maybe moving this from an evening activity to a morning activity may help me to get a better handle on day.

Definitely enjoyed this show!



Podcast Review #3: The Elective Rotation: A Critical Care Pharmacy Podcast – Sux vs. Rox

I’ve been trying to make an effort to make my self-education more streamlined and automatic, so I’ve been looking for podcasts and other forms of media that are easily consumed. In my search, I stumbled across this podcast hosted by a critical care pharmacist. This was the first episode I decided to listen to while running and…I really enjoyed it.

I’m not a critical care pharmacist but I’m definitely interested in learning and becoming better at my job of helping patients. This particular podcast dived into the long-running debate of whether rocuronium (Roc) or succinylcholine (Sux) is the better paralytic for rapid sequence intubation (RSI).

Some important points that this podcast made me more cognizant of:

  • Both Sux and Roc have essentially the same onset of action if dosed correctly. Sux is usually though of as the faster onset drug, but Rocuronium will work w/in the same 45 second window if you dose it at 1.2 mg/kg.
  • Rocuronium has a much longer paralysis time period ~ 90 mins vs. 10 minutes with Sux – which is usually a reason Sux is heralded as a safer option.
  • Both allow for equal success in first chance intubation, although b/c of rocuronium’s longer paralysis time period – doing neurological function tests may be out of the question for a longer period of time.
  • Relative vs. absolute contraindications for succinylcholine: With high potassium, crush wounds, or other myopathies with CPK rocuronium is often thought of as the safer more risk averse choice..however succinylcholine’s risk with higher potassium is often overstated and in patients with just hyperkalemia it may not be a terrible choice.

I learned a lot and look forward to further podcast from this pharmacist!


On Being – Louis Newman – The Refreshing Practice of Repentance

On Being is a really insightful, thought-provoking conversational based show hosted by Krista Tippett. Krista often interviews deep thinkers and philosophers about topics that range from DNA sequencing and epigenetics to the power of vulnerability.

In this conversation, which unedited goes on for 2 hours, Krista and Louis explore the concept of repentance. In the Jewish religious tradition repentance is regarded differently than how I traditionally viewed it coming from a Christian household. In both the Christian and Jewish tradition, repentance is human initiated. However, in the Jewish tradition – repentance seems to be something that requires more ongoing contemplation from us. We should turn toward God, but also acknowledge the mistake or character trait that led to sin, and then actively work on rectifying the mistake to the best of our ability. In the Christian tradition there can be an implicit suggestion that just the act of repentance is enough, but in the Jewish tradition there is such a focus on ‘action’ and fixing the problem (as much as possible) with the people who were wronged.

Since this conversation is waaay too deep to blog and give each thought it’s due discussion. I’ll instead pick out a couple thoughts that stood out for me.

  1. “Sin is pretending something that is true when it’s not. Idolatry is pretending something is divine when it is not. T’shuva [repentance] is about turning toward what is true.” – Louis Newman

So I’ve mentioned this in a previous post but I think it definitely bears some reflection. This quote rings so true to me. Having been mired in different types of sins for varying lengths of time (and enjoyment), I can definitely relate to the fact that when I “woke up” that I realized that this thing or “idol” that I had devoted myself to was not worthy of the devotion and attention I’d given them. Whether they were money, sex, busy-ness, or other people’s opinions was of less important the fact that they each had consumed a bigger chunk of my time, energy, and attention ( = devotion) than they deserved.

  1. “If you change your path only by a couple degrees – over an extended period of time, your final destination is a very different place” – Louis Newman

I love this idea that repentance does not have to be a complete and instantaneous change. To me this idea is important because it allows a margin of grace that is often missing in the day-to-day practice of seeking God. This may be partly because of the way we see change depicted in movies and media. The media we all see depicts change as a process that is supposed to occur over the course of a 3-minute video montage accompanied by theme music and perhaps a voiceover. I think the real process of change for human beings is slow, up until the point where critical mass is reached and suddenly the change seems difficult to ignore.

  1. Paraphrasing: “God created the world as an imperfect place and that God is using us to perfect the world. So every time we turn toward God – we are working out the perfection of the world.”

This thought is intriguing and deserves much more attention than I’m going to give it here. How interesting to consider that God is welcoming us into the co-creation process of perfecting the world. That perhaps this imperfect world is a workshop for us to not only work through our sinfulness and move toward God, but also a place for us to – through each step towards God – to bring God into this world.

  1. The person who recognizes and struggles with his/her evil side/inclination and fights to move toward righteousness is more righteous than the person who has never known sin or been tempted.
  1. The 13 traits of God
    1. Compassion before a person sins
    2. Compassion after a person has sinned
    3. Mighty in compassion to give all creatures according to their need
    4. Merciful, that humankind may not be distressed
    5. Gracious is humankind is already in distress;
    6. Slow to anger
    7. Plenteous in kindness
    8. Truthful
    9. Keeping Kindness unto thousands
    10. Forgiving iniquity
    11. Forgiving transgression
    12. Forgiving of sin
    13. Pardoning

It’s mind blowing to me how many of His attributes are related to turning toward mankind, even in our sinfulness. I think that reading this list continually and meditating on the character of God can do a lot to help me to release some of the incorrect mental frameworks about who God is and how He feels about me.

All in all this podcast was a great listen.


Podcast #1 Getting started as a Business man, not a handyman with Fat Tony [BiggerPockets Podcast]

So Biggerpockets.com podcasts is one of my favorite online shows to listen to, mainly because the information can be both inspiring and informational and the hosts are a blast to listen to. This particular episode interviewed a BMX/Crossfit athlete “Fat Tony”.

Fat Tony is an interesting investor for a couple of reasons. 1. He’s never been a huge income earner. He started out professionally as a photographer for a company and rode BMX bikes and then transitioned over to Crossfit. #2 Fat Tony makes it clear throughout the whole interview that his number one concern is to enjoy the life he’s been given. This is almost the exact opposite of the life philosophy that I’ve adopted through my twenties. But it aligns with how I’ve been feeling as I start the trek through my thirties. I’m leaning less and less toward saving every dollar for a mythical retirement day, and instead focusing on taking each day as it comes while trying to plan judiciously. Understanding deep down that the world is changing more rapidly than any one person can really come to grips and that the future that I scrimp and save may never come. Whether as a result of globalization, technology, or an 18-wheeler accident is something I’m becoming more and more cognizant of. As a result my focus is shifting away from saving for retirement, and cutting costs to creating a life of meaning now.

One of ‘Fat Tony’s’ thoughts is that he realized early on, that he wasn’t interested in being a handyman or sacrificing his time to make the maximum amount of income. He was more interested in paying other people to do the things he wasn’t interested in doing. I think I’m a little more hands on, mostly because I’m a little more neurotic than Tony. However, I can see the value in prioritizing the fragility that is life over money.

This podcast actually dovetails into some pretty major realizations I’ve been having about my reliance on money as a type of idol. Listening to another podcast which I’ll review later – Sin was described as treating something as though it was something it was not. So idolatry is treating something like money like it was a God or The God. And for me, because of my childhood where my parents did not have money and as a result I wasn’t able to do some of the things that I would have liked to do. Then the years of struggle followed by hard work and watching every dollar in order to make it – the importance of money sometimes did ascend the peak of mount Olympus and dethrone the actual celestial being that should have resided there.

So this podcast actually did a great job of putting things into perspective and helping me to rethink what should be most important to me.

Short answer: Not money.

Getting Back Into the Game

So I’m on a mission to get some things done after a particularly slow couple of months. I haven’t really been on any timeline to get anything done. This has been really nice. And by nice, I mean life changing.

One of the big things I’m learning in this time period is learning to really just relax. Put down the white board, the checklists, the constant need to measure myself against my ideal self, or the millions of more successful people than me that can be found on my timeline/feed/blogroll.

I’m learning to just exhale, accept myself and my flaws and try to grow organically.

For those that know me, this can seem disconcerting and even alarming.

However, I’ve been feeling the itch to get back active and move on to conquering the next big goal. I’ve decided to give myself a small short-term challenge which I’ll document here in order to push myself. Here is the outline for the challenge so far:

  • Write 6 chapters of an Ebook that I’ve outlined
  • Buy/Design BPR website
  • Listen to 6 BCPS lectures
    • Gastroenterology
    • Infectious Disease
    • Fluids, Electrolytes, and nutrition
    • Pharmacokinetics
    • Geriatrics
    • Critical Care
  • Listen to 8 podcasts and take notes then create 1-3 action steps for each.

I’m giving myself until 10/1/15 to get all this done. And as noted above, I’m going to keep track of my progress and thoughts on the blog. Also to spice things up – I’m going to tell a close friend that I’ll give them $200 if I don’t hit all my targets. I really don’t want to lose that $200. Let the games begin!