The health and fitness industry is tricky to navigate. On any given topic you can find multiple experts saying completely different things. It can make you feel helpless and think there is no point in even trying. How is this possible?

A big reason for this is because people (experts included) don’t clarify their outcomes and they don’t state their underlying beliefs/assumptions behind what they are saying which absolutely has a HUGE bias on what they are saying.

When it comes to the best time of day to workout it is the same. Some experts say first thing in the morning while in a fasted state and others say at the end of the day is great. Which one is it?

If your outcomes are:

To feel great.

Have energy throughout the day.

Look great.

AND

If you’re not a professional athlete or training for a specific sport / activity …

The best time is in the MORNING!

Why is that?

Because….

You get the benefit of compounding throughout your day from your workout. Compounding works in EVERY area of your life; not just investing your money! It also works in good ways and bad ways.

Just like with ANY important habit you want to do it right away! Syntax is super important and underrated by people. If you are making your grandma’s special homemade cake though it is critical to do things in the right order. What would happen if you waited until you baked the cake and then cracked the eggs on put them on top?!

Same with fitness, your body and your mindset. It’s a super important ingredient you want to get in as soon as possible in your day. Train your brain and nervous system to do what’s most important (especially if it’s hard) NOW!

If you’ve ever worked out early in the morning you know how great it feels to go through the rest of your day with the natural high that comes with it. The hormones are pumping through your body and your metabolism is up throughout the day. Not to mention the mental, emotional and psychological benefits of feeling like a champion athlete after crushing a solid workout.

Once you get your sweat deposits in – you walk differently, you talk differently, you show up differently.

The more you do it the more it stacks in your favor and you will become an athlete. That is what you are if you want to be successful in anything. You need to treat yourself like a world class athlete and you need ENERGY to live an epic life.

Everyone wants all the amazing things that come with a great life. Family, business success, impact, financial freedom, health and vitality, contribution, etc. but few are willing to put in the sweat deposits to create the ENERGY that is required to do all these things. Having kids alone is a huge investment of energy, let alone running a business and having a social life.

The best part is you don’t have to train every morning. You can be flexible and work out whenever you want to. Just having the intention, awareness and discipline to get your workout in early in the morning (75% of the time) is going to have a HUGE impact on your day and your life.

So my suggestion would be to make it a top priority for the next 60 days to get some sort of exercise in early in the morning before 10am. It doesn’t have to be more than 15 minutes. Go for a jog, do yoga, lift weights. The cool part is once you get going you’ll feel great and can keep going if you want or stop and get on with your day in a great state!

Go get it champion!

Thank you for reading and please share with anyone you believe will find value from this!

Also, please give me feedback on Twitter.  What did you enjoy or take away from this? What do you suggest I improve upon?  Let me know! Just send a tweet to @naeemmahmood

Make today your masterpiece!

Naeem Mahmood

Meditation can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be.

Most people don’t even get started with it because they think there is a right way of meditating (there isn’t – anything can be meditation: walking, eating, talking, working out, having sex, playing the guitar).

I was one of these people. I heard about how great it was and all the amazing benefits successful people were getting from their meditation practice. I would even sit down and try it every now and then. But I would always stop because I had thoughts during my meditation such as:

  • “Am I doing this right?”
  • “Should I be thinking?”
  • “This is hard!”
  • “How do I stop thinking?”
  • “What should I eat after this?”
  • “Am I going to become enlightened like the Buddha?”
  • “This is boring.”
  • “I can’t believe I am doing this.”
  • “Is someone watching me and laughing?”

Even if I completed the session I wasn’t consistent with it on a regular basis because I didn’t think I was doing it right and it wasn’t working. I would meditate once every few days or every now and then when I felt like it. Low and behold I was a wannabe meditator.

Then one day I decided I would keep it as simple as possible. After all Einstein said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

I made an agreement with myself that I would set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes, sit down, close my eyes and think whatever thoughts I wanted.

I could do it whenever I wanted to during the day but the goal was to do it once per day. However, if I missed a day it wasn’t a big deal either. I kept it as loose and flexible as possible so I could build the habit. From there I knew if I got consistent with it and started receiving benefits I couldn’t help but want to do more and stick with it.

And that’s what happened. I have been meditating virtually every day for the past 6+ years. Not because I forced myself to do it but because my body and mind have become accustomed to the benefits they gained from my meditation practice (the same as if you have developed the habit of working out and now can’t go more than a couple of days without exercise).

Some of them are:

  • Relaxed focus
  • Calmness
  • Presence
  • Clarity
  • Energy
  • Better decision making
  • Happier state of being

Now after building my practice for over six years I’ve come to realize three simple keys that I like to use to make my meditations fun, simple and easy.

Here they are:

  1. Smile
  2. Focus on your breath
  3. Set a timer for five minutes or less.

You can think whatever thoughts come into your head and even do a terrible job – there is no standard here, set the bar as low as possible. If you just focus on doing these three things you will do great. And if you don’t you will still do great because these are just guidelines, not rules.

The reason they are helpful is because smiling will keep you playful and happy. Focusing on your breath will keep you in your body and out of your head. And setting a timer for five minutes or less will give you an intended goal and keep it short so you can get small wins to build on your success.

That’s it. Those are three simple guidelines I offer to you. You can use them or use some of them. They aren’t the answer to meditation. No guru has the answer. All gurus started off right where you are. The only thing that makes them a ‘guru’ is they stuck with it.

I hope this helps you in your meditation journey.

Please share with anyone you believe will find value from this.

Thank you for reading!

Also, please give me feedback on Twitter.  What did you enjoy or take away from this? What do you suggest I improve upon?  Let me know! Just send a tweet to @naeemmahmood

Make it an epic day!

Naeem

One of the many benefits about traveling is that you have to stay flexible as your environment is always changing which makes it challenging to stick with a consistent routine. Some would not call this a benefit haha. I’ll explain…

Routines are great to build a foundation and allow you to use your focus elsewhere because you can put many things on autopilot. Some of these things are having a gym to go to, quality healthy food source, ideal work space, transportation set up, etc. Each time you travel to a new place you have to start from scratch and figure out how get these things set up so you can continue to function at a high level.

The upside to this challenge is that it forces you to be resourceful and use what your environment offers you. It makes you much more creative which translates into other areas of your life. If you don’t have a gym; go for a run outside, do yoga in your room, do push ups, google a gym near you. If you don’t have your ideal work space; create one where you are, discover one close by, go to a local coffee shop or hotel.

What’s great is once you have this skill you are no longer limited by location. You can function anywhere with what you have which gives you the ability to move freely throughout the world.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned during my travels so far. From Italy, to Singapore, to Malaysia, Thailand and now Indonesia. I have become more attuned to them specifically because I have to be more flexible and creative with my resources as my environment is changing and I want to make sure I make the most of the places and time I have with them.

Be selective who you spend your time with.

Filter quickly who you decide to spend time with. This is true back home as well of course but especially when on the move. You make new friends and meet up with old friends. If they aren’t aligned with your purpose, values and outcome politely remove yourself and move on.

Learn from your mistakes quickly.

It is inevitable that you are going to make mistakes. Make sure you learn the lesson and don’t repeat it. The biggest mistake is dwelling on it, letting it drain your energy and not learning the lesson. If you don’t learn the lesson you are going to make the mistake again until you do.

Don’t make more mistakes just because you made one.

Just because you screwed up doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and make five more bad decisions. The quicker you can dust the dirt off your shoulders, the less damage control. If you can correct asap, frame it as a win. You stopped the bleeding fast and are back on track.

It’s more expensive not to go all in.

Even if it’s more expensive for the option you really want to do, go for it. When you do the cheaper less exciting one you end up paying more because you don’t get the full ROI you want and still pay for it. Get the full ROI and move on to the next big goal.

It’s more expensive to think about it and procrastinate.

When booking a flight or deciding to take a jungle tour, instead of weighing out the pros and cons of time and money just decide on the one you want. The time, energy and focus that it takes away from higher ROI activities you could be doing isn’t worth the trade off.

Don’t let things build up.

If something or someone is bothering you. Communicate it to the appropriate parties. Sometimes that might be you being gut honest with yourself and simply doing something different. It saves you much time, energy and frustration vs. letting it fester until it all comes crashing down at an inconvenient time.

Set boundaries.

Not everyone can have access to you. Make sure you communicate that to people. Also make sure you set the time blocks for yourself for fun, business, friends etc. If you don’t life will take control for you.

There’s seven lessons I’ve learned and have gotten the opportunity to grow from. I hope you found value in some of them and encourage you to discover your own as you embark on adventures around this wonderful Earth we have been blessed with to call home.

Please comment below on what you think and share with anyone you believe will find value in this post. Thank you for reading!

Naeem

We make things too big so we don’t even start. When I say chunk down I don’t mean break down your goals into smaller steps. That is important but I am referring to chunking the experience you are having in your head down.

You are making it too big. It’s too much to take in at one time. Your mind gets overwhelmed, the circuit breakers switch on and you turn off.

When we aren’t doing the thing we are just locked in a mental/emotional/physical state that basically hijacks our entire nervous system and floods our biochemistry with feelings and hormones that deter us from doing the thing we want. You are making pictures, you are hearing sounds, saying things to yourself and using your body a certain way.

Start to notice these things. Notice your formula/algorithm and how you do them. There is a structure to it all. Just like Wayne Gretzky could see where the puck was going long before any other player on the ice. You can too if you learn this and practice each day. Each experience.

To keep it simple just notice when you get stuck or doing something excellent and then remember to check in on three things:

  1. What pictures/images are you making in your head? Big/small? Bright/dim? Colors/grey?
  2. What are you saying to yourself? What sounds are going on in your head? Loud/quiet? Tonality? Volume?
  3. How are you using your physical body? The micro movements. Your posture. Your breath!

Then for the stuff that is holding you back make the shifts you need to make the experience better. Make the picture bigger if it’s too small. Lower the volume on that person who is getting on your nerves. Make the basketball hoop the size of a swimming pool instead of a thimble. Pull your shoulders back and breathe into your diaphragm instead of your upper chest.

One trick is to use the things you’re doing great as examples for the ones you aren’t doing great at. If you are great at going to the gym in the morning but can’t get yourself to talk to that special person. Notice what makes you great at the gym experience but not so much at relationship. Then make the shifts the same for your relationship as for the gym. If the volume is up, turn it up! If you see yourself as superman walking into the gym, see yourself as James Bond when you are walking up to her.

The key is to be EASY on yourself and PLAY with this. You’re not going to be great at it when you start. Even stopping to notice is a WIN! Success builds on micro success. The smaller seemingly insignificant successes you can notice the better you will do!

The goal is to be able to breakdown your experiences into bits of data. Like a computer programmer with code. Like an architect with blueprints. You are already doing this without realizing it. Now it’s time to bring it to your awareness. And then you can make tiny shifts to move the experience in your favor.

That is how you can break down your goal of starting your business, approaching that person, investing more money, working out, applying for your dream job, traveling the world or giving more to charity. When you chunk down what’s going on inside psychologically you can start to take those small action steps towards your once overwhelming goals.

Burning man is one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life  The beautiful spirits in the people. The mind-blowing art. The peaceful, yet harsh environment of the desert.  The radically innovative costumes. And the 10 principles it was founded upon all combine to make it a magical place.  

Over 70,000 people are preparing to make the annual pilgrimage to Black Rock Desert and erect the city that will be HOME for Burning Man.  Then after seven days and the man burns it will disappear and leave no trace that would even make a magician wonder how anything so massive and magical could have happened there.

If you haven’t been and have any interest in checking it out I suggest you do.  If you have friends or family that recommend it I suggest you take their advice.  


You get to have once in a lifetime experiences with friends, some of whom you don’t get to see that often during the year (and some only at Burning Man) as we are all busy trying to make our impact on the world.  I’ve had some of the best times of my life in the desert with old friends and new ones. Pure magical moments with people surrounded by artistic and natural beauty you can never create again. 

It is so wonderful to be able to meet new amazing humans aligned with the 10 principles.  The fact that they have decided to show up at the desert, made the trek get into Black Rock and invested thousands of dollars to get there is a great qualifier that they are aligned with a similar value system as you and you’d most likely have a great experience with them.  You know they are most likely your type of human.   

On the flip side many people NEED to go to Burning Man.  They don’t want to miss out – they want to go because everyone else is going.  It’s the current trend, the next shiny object to keep them busy and fill much needed space in their heart and mind.  

If you feel like you NEED to go then I would suggest experimenting what it’s like not going.  Often times we get addicted to people, rituals, things and even experiences like Burning Man to give us a sense of certainty and link our identity to it.  It’s the same idea of achieving goals to be happy or needing to do a certain ritual each morning to feel ready for the day. The reverse is that you want make it so you happily achieve vs. achieve to be happy.  Whatever experience you believe you will get (or be able to give) by attending you can have (or give) right now wherever you are. And that is the true practice of a master and the true message the 10 principles teach us.  We shouldn’t have to wait all year to finally practice them for a week and then forget about them until next time. Live them now and throughout your year and your entire life.  

I really want to go again for what would be my third time.  However, if I am honest with myself it isn’t the right timing for me with what I have going on at this stage of my life.  I am traveling in Asia and building my business. As a business owner making an astute business decision I do no have the bandwidth to make it there this year.  I don’t need to go to the desert to have the transformational experience that I get at Burning Man. The true transformation you get is in the gifting to others.  And that can be done right now where you are.  

The true essence of Burning Man can be practiced anywhere on the planet.  The playa is anywhere you are.

I recently heard about a great concept from Ray Kurzweil who is one of the most innovative thinkers, inventors and futurists of our time. 

He has been referred to as the, “Edison of our generation.”

In fact he is responsible for the invention of Siri on the iPhone and also a big educator on the idea of the Singularity – when humans and and computers become ‘singular’. 

“A hypothetical future point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.” – Wikipedia

Life logging is a cool way to record the events of your life so you can remember them in the future and share them with others.  

If you don’t want to do it for yourself, it’s a really cool idea to be able to have it for the people you love in the future – not for social media, but for you and your family.  

It’s a very simple concept and you can do it in different ways.  

To do it all you have to do is record whavever you want about your life.  Kind of like a life update.

They can be daily, weekly, monthly or random timeline updates, whatever comes up for you.  

Here’s three simple ways to life log:

  1. Record a video and save it on your computer, external hardrive or privately on YouTube
  2. Start a blog or journal
  3. Record audio files on your phone or audio recorder

As you do it more and more you’ll get better at conveying your stream of thoughts and you’ll also find you have more clarity.  

Some benefits I’ve found are that I’m more aware of the direction I’m moving with my life and the things I’ve done as I am forced to reflect on and articulate the experiences I’ve had.

It is also a great feedback tool for you to remember what has happened recently and keep you honest to what you are doing as someday someone you love may watch your life logs. 

Give it a shot with no expectations for a couple of months. Then review your life logs and see how you like it and decide if you want to continue.

Your job is to keep on learning!

Learning isn’t limited to reading and studying. Learning is EVERYTHING! Taking care of your health, deepening your relationships with love, managing your time, building a company, giving more to charity!

The smartest, most successful people on the planet are always learning.

They thrive on it. They know if they stop learning they will not live the full life they are blessed with.

In fact the more successful people become the more they invest their time and energy in learning because they realize more and more how valuable it is to their success.

They love it.

They are voracious readers – Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett all read over 3+ hours per day!

They choose to make every situation a learning experience.

The cool thing is that you can too! It is simply a choice to make life a study vs. a reaction to things that ‘happen’ to you and don’t go your way.

:(:

You can see the above as a sad face or a smiley face.

Same thing if you are in a social situation you don’t want to be in, in a job you don’t want to be in or in a class you don’t enjoy. You can be unhappy about it and resist it or you can embrace it and filter for the learning opportunities.

One great way to do this is not think about whether the circumstance is useful to you but how you can use it to teach others!

When you become a teacher you learn better for a few reasons.

  1. You aren’t self absorbed and not thinking whether it’s worth your investment of time, right/wrong etc.
  2. Your brain is thinking about how to share it with others in a digestible way for them to apply.
  3. When you teach others you learn better.

Everything in life is learning. Some may seem like a stretch but the truth is they all require a neural connection between your brain and your nervous system.

  • Getting your body fit
  • Sales
  • Playing guitar
  • Smiling
  • Meditation
  • Building a company
  • Earning $1,000,000
  • Love
  • Listening to your intuition
  • Getting out of bed in the morning

All of these require you to deepen your skill set more and more. If you want to learn more about the levels of learning you watch this video.

Learning is one of the best forms of entertainment.

The more you are able to create associations with a multidisciplinary approach the richer your life will be.

A lot of us hear about how important it is to have a great morning routine to start the day off right. We are big proponents in creating a solid morning routine that gets you to be your best self.

However, not many people talk about how to wind down the day. It is just as important to wind down your day in a way that serves you and those around you.

Why?

A few reasons.

  • So you can enjoy your evening after you complete your mission for the day.
  • So you can be in a great state to spend time with the people you love.
  • So you can slow down your mind/body from high gear to be ready for bed and be prepared for the next day.

The routine can be whatever you want it to be and it doesn’t have to be the same thing every night. Be creative and flexible with it.

Here’s a few examples of great ways to wind down the day:

  • Read a book (fiction, inspirational, spiritual)
  • Drink tea
  • Talk with someone you love
  • Meditate
  • Take a cold shower
  • Journal
  • Visualize the next day

Make sure to have fun with it! Be playful and curious!

Big love,

Naeem

“To a man with only a hammer every problem looks pretty much like a nail.”

The solution that works for one realm of life isn’t always the appropriate solution for other realm of life.

Often times when we find a way that works for something or we have been mastering our craft for years we tend to think/become habituated that it is the correct way for other things in life.

For example in Charlie Munger’s book Poor Charlie’s Almanack he tells about a professor at Yale Law School. “Poor old Eddie Blanchard, he thinks declaratory judgment will cure cancer.”

Here are some of my go-to ingredients these days for my morning oatmeal.

Raw Honey – Y.S. Eco Bee Farms

Raw Cacao Powder – Now Foods

Coconut Oil – Viva Naturals

Rolled Oats – Bob’s Red Mill

Cacao Creamer – Laird Superfood