Josh Waitzkin Interview

I just finished Josh Waitzkin's fantastic book "The Art of Learning" and wanting to learn more about him, and his approach to learning, I found this video on Tim Ferris' site

Josh is a former child chess champion, as well as a Tai-Chi push hands champion (national and international)… He has now taken up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is looking to compete in 2010, or 2011…

Check out the following video! It is a very good interview about his approach to learning, keeping composure during competition, with brief mentions of neuro-plasticity, Buddhism, Robert Thurman's "Tolerance of Cognitive Dissonance," and more…

Highly recommended! 

(Note: I hope to have a review of his book later this week)

38 Tips for Better Life

This was sent in an email…

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to __________ today.’

5. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.

7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

29. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

30. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

31. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

32. The best is yet to come.

33. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

34. Do the right thing!
35. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!) Hey I’m thinking of ya!

36. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

37. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

38. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

Some good advice!

MS and Exercise

My dad passed away about six years ago from a two-pronged hit of MS and having heart damage from rheumatic fever (three valves were damaged when he was 5-6 years old).

Because of MS he lost most of the use of his legs. He couldn’t stand or walk for any length of time or distance. Because of the damage to the valves of his heart, his heart was inefficient in removing the fluid that built up in his lower extremities since he became wheelchair bound. The pressure on his heart became to much for it, and it ultimately failed when he was 63 years old… Way too young.

Over the years I tried — unsuccessfully — to get him to exercise. In particular to do some form of resistance work, as I knew (I’d seen studies) that it could help with his condition. Now, I am not talking about PR driven powerlifting, or Oly lifting. I am talking about a moderate level of (and I hate this term) “functional” training…

Here is some interesting research that shows I was on the right track:

Exercise and brain health – implications for multiple sclerosis :
part 1 – neuronal growth factors.White LJ, Castellano V.

Sports Med. 2008;38(2):91-100.Links

“The benefits of regular exercise to promote general health and reduce the risk of hypokinetic diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles are well recognized. Recent studies suggest that exercise may enhance
neurobiological processes that promote brain health in aging and disease.

A current frontier in the neurodegenerative disorder multiple sclerosis (MS) concerns the role of physical activity for promoting brain health through protective, regenerative and adaptive neural processes. Research on neuromodulation, raises the possibility that regular physical activity may mediate favourable changes in disease factors and symptoms associated with MS, in part through changes in neuroactive proteins. Insulin-like growth factor-I appears to act as a neuroprotective agent and studies indicate that exercise could
promote this factor in MS. Neurotrophins, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor likely play roles in neuronal survival and activity-dependent plasticity. Physical activity has also been shown to up-regulate hippocampal BDNF, which may play a role in mood states, learning and memory to lessen the decline in cognitive function associated with MS.

In addition, exercise may promote anti-oxidant defences and neurotrophic support that could attenuate CNS vulnerability to neuronal degeneration. Exercise exposure (preconditioning) may serve as a mechanism to enhance stress resistance and thereby may support neuronal survival under heightened stress conditions. Considering that axonal loss and cerebral atrophy occur early in the disease, exercise prescription in the acute stage could promote neuroprotection, neuroregeneration and neuroplasticity and reduce long-term disability. This review concludes with a proposed conceptual model to connect these promising links between exercise and brain health…”

If only he’d listened.