When asked what the #1 piece of business advice he would give to young entrepreneurs would be, Sir Richard Branson simply said, “Work out.” Because, to paraphrase his words, if you’re looking to build a world-class business, it is absolutely imperative that you give love and attention to this fancy little meat sack that carries you through life. Without health, nothing else matters. It is on the first rung of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for a reason.
Personally, over the last year, I have been working out with a personal trainer (for weightlifting) twice per week, a gymnastics coach (primarily to learn how to backflip/do basic tumbling), and I have done at-home workouts (with resistance bands and a kettlebell) also on a weekly basis. The positive changes that I have experienced in my mind, my sleep, and my sex drive are massively apparent.
You don’t need to go to the gym and do resistance training in order to train your body. Trail running, dance classes, yoga, cycling, whatever. Simply pick up any physically active hobby that you love doing, and do it.
Put work into improving your physical fitness, not from a place of getting swole, but from a place of self-honoring and self-love. Your sense of groundedness, mental and emotional health, and sex life will all improve exponentially if you truly make your body a priority.
2. Improve your mind.
What does improving your mind even mean? It means putting in the work to slow down your thinking, and taking responsibility for your thoughts.
You slow down your thoughts (upstream) by removing/minimizing as many of the stressors from your life as possible and then have a mindfulness practice of some sort (which just means you carve out some time to slow the fuck down and be present with whatever you’re doing).
Now on to taking responsibility for your mind.
Someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for their minds (and their lives) is perpetually placing themselves in the role of the victim. And victim consciousness is so rampant in modern society that it’s easy for it to slip through most people’s radars undetected.
The man who has jealous thoughts about his partner cheating on him, so he tells her that she has to change her life to cater to his insecurities. Or the woman who views all women as competitive and catty so she avoids having any female friends because guys are just easier to get along with. Or the man who crumbles in the face of the slightest sign of aggression in others because his father’s anger used to terrify him as a child.
All three of these examples are of people who are unwilling to face and own a certain part of their own minds (insecurity, competitiveness, and anger respectively) and so they aim to bend the world to their reality instead of doing their work and reclaiming these disowned shadow elements.
So what have you disowned in yourself? What have you made wrong, or scary, or unloveable in your own mind? Acknowledge the disowned shadow element, have a dialogue with it, and then integrate it.
So, for the previous example of the man who is afraid of the anger of others because his father used to be angry, this man would need to first face his own capacity for anger. He would have to acknowledge that, given the right circumstance, he has the exact same capacity for the anger that his father did. And then he would need to enact his anger (in mindful, healing ways) in order to make friends with that part of himself.
3. Improve your health.
Good diet, drinking lots of water, prioritizing quality sleep, cultivating and honoring your personal boundaries, and investing in your social circle… the fundamentals are fundamental for a reason.
Do these and thrive. Or ignore them at your peril.
Eat food at consistent times. Don’t have your meals be too big. Have at least half of your meal be colorful, varied vegetables.
We’ll all heard this advice for years, and yet it’s still difficult to consistently prioritize. But as long as you’re making food choices like these ones 80% of the time, you’ll be doing just fine.
For more on this, check out my article The Better Sex Diet: Exactly What I Eat Every Day.
Drinking lots of water.
Drink 2-4 liters of water per day. Find this tip hard to implement? Buy a BPA free water bottle that you like, and fill it up every morning and afternoon.
Prioritizing quality sleep.
As much as the cult of productivity would have you believe otherwise, our bodies and minds need sleep.
Do whatever you can to get to bed at a consistent time (preferably before 10 pm) every night, in a cool temperature, darkroom.
If your mind is racing, write down your thoughts in a journal. If you (for some reason) have to look at screens within two hours before going to bed, wear blue-light-blocking sunglasses to protect your circadian rhythms.