126. Chris Bailey – Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction

Chris Bailey is the creator of the blog, A Life of Productivity, a platform he launched straight out of graduating from business school. He was on a mission to follow his passion and devour everything he could get his hands on the subject of productivity. By the time he finished his yearlong experiment, his work had been read over one million times by people from almost every country around the world. He’s written two books on productivity which have been published in 20 languages – Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction, and The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy. Chris Bailey has been featured in several media publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Harvard Business Review.

In today’s episode Chris joins me to discuss the subject of productivity and the various ways we can savour and squander it. He explains why focusing on one task all day long could be the worst thing you can do for your productivity. He reveals how the activity of knitting, for him, personally releases his thoughts and helps problem solving in a tactic he calls, the ‘scatter focus approach’. He also has some suggestions on what other simple, enjoyable tasks you can do to allow your mind to wander and think. Chris explains how our brains have a ‘novelty bias’, where we can’t help but direct our attention to every new novel thing, and how the answer to that can begin by taking a break from your mobile phone.

Quotables from Chris Bailey

“Life is about extracting meaning out of things that on the surface don’t appear meaningful”

“If you want something done, give it to a busy person”

“The hyper-focus – it’s one of the most valuable ingredients in not only getting things done – but also living a good life”

“If we can process 40% more in every moment because we have a consistent meditation practice? That will make us back hours”

“The more you rely on your mind to do good work, the more you need meditation and mindfulness to be in the arsenal of productivity strategies you deploy”

This week on The School For Good Living:

  • How you can increase your available time NINE-FOLD by meditating
  • Why the idea of limited attentional space is powerful
  • What productivity means to Chris and his philosophy on life
  • How being intentional will increase your productivity
  • Why a plan helps when you’re unmotivated to complete a task
  • How a scatter focus approach to tasks works
  • Why we tend to over focus on the short run in achieving our goals
  • Why our need for novelty is a dopamine time sap

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Chris Bailey:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. 

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential. 

125. Captain Charles Moore – Plastic Ocean: The Sea Captain Who Discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Captain Charles Moore is an oceanographer and captain of the research vessel Algalita. He is known for articles that recently brought attention to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an area of the Pacific Ocean strewn with floating plastic debris caught in a gyre. Charles is the founder of Algalita Marine Research Institute where he currently works, and the founder of Long Beach Organic, a non-profit organization operating eight organic community gardens within the city limits of Long Beach, California. Charles is also the co-author of Plastic Ocean, a book recounting his ominous findings in the ocean and unveiling the secret life and hidden properties of plastics; from milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled.

Charles joins me today to share the story of his journey from seafaring adventurer to oceanic environmentalist whistle blower. He describes the moment he first discovered the overwhelming sight of the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. He also explains how it led him to meet Ricky Grigg, a ‘surfer scientist’ who was the first such scientist to live in an underwater environment. Charles talks about how our relationship with consumerism and need for pristine goods and disposable packaging is one of the main contributors to plastic waste in our oceans. Charles breaks down the hard facts of this pollution, explaining there is no single ‘bad guy’ to blame because the world’s population is collectively at fault, and therefore the solution will have to be “a world historical revolution in the consciousness of the individual to stop polluting plastic.”

Quotables from Captain Charles Moore

“Life is about liberating oneself from those things that constrain it.” – Captain Charles Moore

“What life is increasingly about today is extricating oneself from those forces, which have invaded our mind space and created a kind of moronization of the populace as a whole.”

“For me what life is about is the struggle to become free from the society that is so oppressive at this time in history.”

“The importance of being different is the importance of being able to see a new world, a better world.”

“A citizen of the stone age knew more about what to do with a stone than a citizen of the plastic age knows what to do with plastic.”

“You can’t give a hurricane a higher wage and make it go away.”

This week on The School For Good Living:

  • How encouragement from his parents made Charles understand it was good to be different
  • Why umbrellas are Charles’ waste collectors’ item of choice
  • Why it’s important to have hands on experience conducting experiments
  • Why plastic is not a clean, sterile, harmless material
  • Why we need to be radical in the retooling of production methods for the future
  • How planned obsolescence and the world of advertising encouraged people to define themselves by the products and brands they invest in
  • How hyperproductivity creates hyper waste
  • Why Charles thinks there is no difference between Chinese communists and American capitalists when it comes to production and consumption
  • Why pollution data was pitted against impact evidence
  • Why Charles has appointed himself Ambassador of the world’s garbage patches
  • The terrifying statistic of the oceans’ garbage patch coverage

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Captain Charles Moore:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. 

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential. 

124. Brian C. Wilson – New Age Tycoon: The Life and Legacy of John E. Fetzer

Brian C. Wilson is a Professor of American Religious History in the Department of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University. He has a BSc in Medical Microbiology from Stanford University, an MA in Hispanic Studies from Monterey Institute of International Studies, and an MA and a PhD in Religious Studies with the University of California. Brian is also the award-winning author of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and the Religion of Biologic Living. His most recent book is John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age following the spiritual sojourn of a 20th Century Michigan business tycoon.

Brian joins me today to discuss the path he has traveled, powered by a curiosity for the metaphysical questions in life and a desire to serve in a spiritual role. He shares his experience of joining the Peace Corps, where an initial posting to Honduras led him to spend several years traveling Central America and the Caribbean where he was introduced to a host of religious cultures. Brian discusses his links with the Fetzer Institute, located in his neighborhood, and how he eventually came to write John E. Fetzer’s autobiography, a story of an unconventional businessman with New Age beliefs. We also discuss reincarnation, spiritual camps for mediums and psychics, and the history of the Ouija board with the positive and negative associations to it.

Quotables from Brian C. Wilson

“World religions are so rich and there’s such interesting history and theology and philosophy people have developed, that if you take a deep dive it really does help you to better understand not only the world around you and the way people have perceived it, but also your own ideas of the world.”

“World religions are so rich and there’s such interesting history and theology and philosophy people have developed, that if you take a deep dive it really does help you to better understand not only the world around you and the way people have perceived it, but also your own ideas of the world.”

“World religions are so rich and there’s such interesting history and theology and philosophy people have developed, that if you take a deep dive it really does help you to better understand not only the world around you and the way people have perceived it, but also your own ideas of the world.”

“World religions are so rich and there’s such interesting history and theology and philosophy people have developed, that if you take a deep dive it really does help you to better understand not only the world around you and the way people have perceived it, but also your own ideas of the world.”

This week on The School For Good Living:

  • Why differing religions should be compared for understanding rather than rank
  • How Brian’s time in the Peace Corps opened up new ways of looking at his own religion
  • Why John E. Fetzer was not your typical American business tycoon
  • Why the Ouija board gets a bad rap
  • What Brian discovered about his own beliefs researching his latest book
  • How Fetzer gave up his business interests to create a legacy in the Fetzer Institute before his death
  • Why you should keep a journal when you travel
  • Brian’s tips on finding a story worth writing about and his own creative process

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Brian C. Wilson:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. 

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential. 

123. Donald Rattner – My Creative Space: Design Your Home for Ideas and Innovation

Donald Rattner is an Architect who helps individuals and organizations optimize creative performance by applying scientific research to the design of physical space. A widely published author, his third and most recent book My Creative Space: How to Design Your Home to Stimulate Ideas and Spark Innovation, has won three awards to date and was an Amazon #1 Bestseller. He has also written for numerous print and online channels including Work Design Magazine, Better Humans, and The Writer’s Cooperative. Donald’s work has been featured on CNN and in such publications as The New York Times, Houzz, and Architectural Digest. Donald also has an impressive teaching resume, having taught at the University of Illinois, New York University School of Real Estate Studies, Parsons School of Design, and the New York Academy of Art.

Donald joins me today to discuss the origins of My Creative Space and who he felt the book was written for: the architects, design professionals, interior designers, and the people who are simply passionate about shaping their home or workspaces. He explains why he likes to link his creative philosophies to science backed theories in an effort to be as truthful and supported in his instruction as possible. We discuss how the act of creating can be considered a risky endeavor, creating our need for a safe space to produce creative output. We also discuss how the natural environment influences our mood and behaviors, how colors can affect where we direct our concentration, and how the shape of the ceiling you work under can have an enormous effect on your mood and sense of well-being.

Quotables by Donald Rattner

“The word creativity has a long history and that the meanings do change over the millennia.”

“Creativity is the development of novel and useful ideas for products services and systems.”

“Creativity, health and happiness tend to fall on the same spectrum with respect to the surrounding environment, meaning that whatever cues or triggers or inputs in your environment improve creativity, tend to boost the other two as well.”

“Social norms to a great degree do kind of discourage us from being creative. So, it takes a certain amount of courage. Courage requires the sense of safe space -that I have the space to do this creative act.”

“It’s all about what we perceive, not necessarily what literally IS.”

This week on The School for Good Living:

  • Why Donald prefers to link his creative processes to science backed theory
  • How our environments influence health, happiness, and creativity
  • Why open spaces are conducive to open thinking
  • Why there is a discouragement of creativity in the general working world
  • The 3 main groups of Donald’s tactics that can contribute to unlocking a creative block
  • The book Donald has recommended more than any other
  • Donald’s writing process and the pivots of direction that led to the completion of My Creative Space
  • Why you should take breaks when undertaking a creative problem

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Donald Rattner:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. 

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential. 

122. Rebecca Henderson – Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Rebecca Henderson, FBA, is an economist and author of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire. She is a professor at Harvard Business School, where she teaches Reimagine Capitalism, the most successful MBA elective course at HBS in the last five years. In addition to her authorship and work at Harvard, Rebecca also serves as Research Fellow at the National Bureau for Economic Research and as a sustainability advisor to the world’s largest companies. Rebecca is a leading authority in organizational and strategic change whose work focuses on purpose-driven capitalism and the role that businesses and individuals can play in making change happen.

Rebecca joins me today to share her ideas on Reimagining Capitalism and contemplate how we can contribute as individuals to social, political, and economic change. She illustrates how the idea of shareholder value maximization is destructive to the environment and society and reveals the two foremost causes of the world’s enduring predicaments. She also describes how working with others can act as an antidote to despair and highlights the need to reimagine democracy as a means to reimagine – and change – capitalism.

“We will only be able to reimagine capitalism if we bring our personal purpose to work.” – Rebecca Henderson

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • The roots of the world’s problems and why Rebecca wrote Reimagining Capitalism
  • The destructive nature of maximizing shareholder value
  • Our illusion of separateness and what makes it difficult for us to think about others and the future
  • Finding our paths to changing the world and how we give up our power by believing we don’t have any
  • Working with others to drive change as an antidote to despair
  • Self-care as a radical act of political resistance and the importance of finding joy
  • How writing and publishing Reimagining Capitalism has changed Rebecca’s life
  • Why we need to reimagine our democracy
  • Rebecca’s writing routine and how it has evolved over the years
  • The challenge of cultivating discipline in writing and the role of caffeine in Rebecca’s work as a writer
  • How Rebecca identified stories to include in Reimagining Capitalism
  • The most challenging part of writing and Rebecca’s advice for writers

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Rebecca Henderson:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review.

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential.

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