Brain Power [7 Optimizations]
SUPERHUMAN SCORE: 8.5
If you're unhappy, start with brain health: Sleep, hydrate, exercise, eat nutritiously, and rebalance your dopamine with less screen time (more on these to come).
I learned from Dr. Daniel Amen that our society labels many issues as mental health that are actually related to brain health.
Some experts even say, “Mental health IS brain health.”
Not only will prioritizing brain health make you feel better, but you’ll perform better.
Today, I’ll unpack 7 tips for a high-functioning brain.
In every edition of System Sunday, I assess the featured system across three superhuman dimensions: impact, setup, and maintenance.
Unlike your typical review, I focus on factors that influence personal growth. Get to know the evaluation system.
Know this: If you make money with your mind, you’re a mental athlete.
Get an edge by optimizing for brain power:
- Less brain fog = better decisions
- More energy = a greater ability to focus (and stay present).
7 daily brain practices to feel ON, here we go…
1. Follow Japan's 80% Rule
“Eat until you're only 80% full.” Overeating makes the body divert blood & energy to digestion (causing drowsiness). Nobody has time for a food coma. So, at lunch:
- Prioritize nutritious foods
- Eat slowly to calibrate fullness
- Stop eating at 80%
Pro Tip: If you struggle with overeating, try these tips. At home? Use smaller plates; you’ll serve yourself less food. Out at a restaurant? Ask for a to-go box when you get your meal, and pack up half of it immediately (Credit: James Clear).
2. Limit Foods That Weaken Focus
If you want to think clearly, there are 5 food types to avoid: Added sugars, fried foods, high-glycemic-load carbohydrates (such as white bread), alcohol, and preservatives like nitrates (Source: Dr. Uma Naidoo of Harvard Medical School).
Pro Tip: Look up your food's nutrients with an app like MyFitnessPal.
3. Stay Hydrated
Your brain is 73% water. Being dehydrated by as little as 2% significantly impairs cognitive ability. Get your brain the water it deserves! Drink 0.5-1 fl oz per lb of body weight.
Pro tip: Carry a large water flask with you everywhere you go.
4. Take Long Walks
What do Steve Jobs, Nietzsche, and Aristotle all have in common? Each used walking as a strategic tool for clear thinking. In the words of Nietzsche, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
Pro tip: Take walking meetings with others or yourself.
5. Have a Strong Rest Ethic
Sleep is vital for the brain's restoration, memory consolidation, and cognitive function. Prioritize 7+ hours of nightly sleep and take power naps (as needed).
Pro tip: Track your sleep with a device like Oura. Measure it to manage it.
6. Avoid Energy Vampires
Spend more time with people who give you energy. Spend less time with people who steal your energy.
Pro tip: If you struggle to let go of energy vampires, try this 5-step boundary-setting conversation.
7. Control Your Dopamine
You’re unhappy because your dopamine is depleted. Checking your phone 100+ times per day is NOT only destroying your happiness but also your ability to get stuff done. The best productivity app on your phone is called Airplane Mode (use it).
Score your current performance for each of the 7 tips on a scale of 0-5, with 0 being poor execution and 5 being strong execution:
- Follow Japan's 80% Rule
- Limit Foods That Weaken Focus
- Stay Hydrated
- Take Long Walks
- Have a Strong Rest Ethic
- Avoid Energy Vampires
- Control Your Dopamine
In my experience, the quality of your personal energy is the product of these dimensions (not the sum).
Here’s what I mean:
Personal Energy = 80% Rule x Limit Foods That Weaken Focus x Stay Hydrated x Exercise by Walking x Sleep x Avoiding Energy Vampires x Dopamine Management
Did you score a zero in any of these categories? The rule of multiplying by zero tells the outcome: Any number, no matter how large, multiplied by a zero is a zero.
So start by addressing your deficits (low scores) to improve how you feel.
BRINGING IT HOME
Your brain is a top-level system.
It has cascading effects on every thought, feeling, and action you take.
Your brain deserves your care.
All systems go,
P.S. I’m now offering 1:1 private coaching to executives, founders, and entrepreneurs ready to become thought leaders on LinkedIn. I’ll teach you how to get paid for your expertise and build your dream lifestyle business.
There are only 4 dates left in October. Learn more about my 1:1 coaching program (and read client reviews) here.
P.P.S. Welcome to the 2,810 people who've joined System Sunday since last week! 🎉 Enjoy past newsletters here.