Philosophers Notes x100


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Brian Johnson spent a year in Bali distilling the best of 100 great books on life, the universe and everything. He shares the wisdom in them via his fab mp3 commentaries and his easy to digest pdf notes. I was lucky enough to interview him for my website and as a result got right into the notes and made this slideshow...

Philosophers Notes x100

  1. 1. ‘Journeys’ Series: Interviews by Michelle Rumney Get your wisdom on! Lucky me, I got to chat to Brian, Chief Philosopher at:! Here’s a whizz-thru overview of the 100 titles in the fab Philosophers Notes series... and here’s the recording of our call.
  2. 2. No.1 from Brian: What are YOU here to do? What’s your specific vocation or mission in life? We all have one. What’s yours? Clear? Write it down! Live it!
  3. 3. No.2 Slooooowwww down. Find the stillness. Be still. And watch your power grow!
  4. 4. No.3 “When you meet anyone, treat the event as a holy encounter.” Namaste. It’s one of my favorite words. It’s Sanskrit and means “I bow to the divine within you.”.
  5. 5. No.4 The essence of Tolle’s work can certainly be distilled into these three words: “One With Life.” Take a deep breath, smile. And enjoy the God within you...
  6. 6. No.5 How about you? Where’s your locus of control? The book is all about empowering you to step into your role as a conscious creator of your reality. It’s an incredibly powerful thing to do. * nudges you * What are you waiting for?
  7. 7. No.6 ‘If you shoot for the stars, you’ll at least hit the moon.’ How great is that? What are you shooting for?!? Never give up. Don’t compromise your vision. (I KNOW you have a big one if you’re honest with yourself.)
  8. 8. No.7 Affluence. Another beautiful word. Did you know the word literally means “abundant flow”? That rocks. Get in the FLOW of the universe. Express yourself. And you will experience every sense of the beautiful word “affluence.”
  9. 9. No.8 Seligman and his wealth of research speaks LOUDLY that we need to figure out what our strengths are and use them often. So, what are your strengths? What are you great at? What do you most enjoy doing? (Good news is that they all usually go together. :)
  10. 10. No.9 So, how about you? What’s YOUR goal? Still refining it? Here’s a short-cut: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Combine that with: If you were ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEED to succeed, what would you do?
  11. 11. No.10 “He is a letter to everyone. You open it. It says, ‘Live!’” As Gandhi once said, “My life is my message.” What is the message of your life? What does your “letter” say to the world? Mine? “Live!!!!”
  12. 12. No.11 How are your thoughts? Your actions? Your habits? Your character? Trace them closely. Shape them consciously. Reap your destiny…
  13. 13. No.12 Isn’t that a beautiful image? Feel that chaos within?! Here’s a switch: Let’s EMBRACE it. Let’s not fight it. Deep breath in. Exhale. Relax into it a bit. Smile. Know you’re growing and that it’s this chaos that gives birth to our dancing star... Oh, yah. And definitely Dance.
  14. 14. No.13 Don’t flinch, don’t compromise, surround yourself with people who ‘get you’ and if you “but remain true to these ideals, your world will at last be built” and if you are still looking for that ideal vision, keep on mining, my friend..
  15. 15. No.14 I want to make sure you read it. :) Isn’t it kind of BIZARRE that we spend years and tens of thousands of dollars on our educations and don’t spend a minute or a dollar studying what is arguably the most important subject of our lives: LOVE?!? I think so, too.
  16. 16. No.15 “You will not do incredible things without an incredible dream.” You should get the book (if you haven’t already decided to get 10 of them!!) for the chapter on “Embracing the Last Taboo - Being as “Unrealistic” as You Can.” It’s one big inspiring quote.
  17. 17. No.16 It’s easy to get on the path of Mastery. The real challenge lies in staying on it.” How true is THAT?!? ... My experience? Just do what you say you’re going to do. Again and again and again..
  18. 18. No.17 So, the constant question: For what were you created?!? What makes you feel most alive? ... What are your greatest gifts and how are you giving them to the world?!?
  19. 19. No.18 What little things can you do today to move forward? Gimme three things (they don’t need to be huge) that you have been putting off: 1. ...................................... 2. ...................................... 3. ...................................... Good. Now do them.
  20. 20. No.19 I love this distinction. Creator or Competitor? Imagine choosing to live from a place of pure creativity... from a place of joy and overflow... having fun as we give our unique gifts to the world...
  21. 21. No.20 It’s rather simple. Three words: 1. Follow. 2. Your. 3. Bliss. Key words: “bliss” and “your.” Not someone else’s idea of your bliss.
  22. 22. No.21 “Your purpose is to act on the resources God gives you. If God gives you a bucket of fish, you have to distribute those fish. If you don’t, they’re going to rot, attract a bunch of flies, and start stinking up your soul.” Love that. You have gifts to give to the world. Give them.
  23. 23. No.22 What’s happening is happening and no amount of wishing on your end is going to make it any different in that moment... DO NOT argue with reality. You’ll lose. But only 100% of the time. :)
  24. 24. No.23 “The avoidance of money is just as psychotic as being attached to money.” Where do you fall on the money psychosis scale? Attached to it? Or avoiding it? OR! Healthfully engaged in the circulation of abundance?
  25. 25. No.24 ...So, we’ll start with a simple question. What’s your ideal?... Good. Let that flow. Grab your journal or a sheet of paper and write down what flows through you. Now! (Seriously. We need to quit putting stuff like this off, because we rarely get around to it “later”!!)
  26. 26. No.25 Simple point here: if you can’t control it, just accept it. Which leads us to #3: “Every feeling, however unpleasant, has its uses.” ...see how that feeling might be able to help you understand yourself better.
  27. 27. No.26 “Shortage of time is not your problem. Shortage of money is not your problem. Shortage of Connection to the Energy that creates worlds is at the heart of all sensations of shortage that you are experiencing.” Wow. Well, that puts it in perspective, eh? Are you feeling a shortage in your life right now?
  28. 28. No.27 “Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.” Again, what thoughts do you allow to dominate your consciousness?!?
  29. 29. No.28 How’s your internal dialogue? Are you even aware of just how much you criticize yourself? It’s pretty crazy when we really start to notice what’s going on up there in our minds!!
  30. 30. No.29 “On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.” I love that. Are you feeling disillusioned?!? KNOW that on this path, effort never goes to waste!
  31. 31. No.30 So, I banish about 90 per cent of my worries by taking these four steps: 1. Writing down precisely what I am worried about. 2. Writing down what I can do about it. 3. Deciding what to do. 4. Starting immediately to carry out that decision.
  32. 32. No.31 “To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I’.” Wow. Love. That. (States obvious:) We MUST have a sense of who we are and have true love for ourselves if we are going to truly love another. Yah? So, do you know how to say the “I”?
  33. 33. No.32 Whereas the average individuals “often have not the slightest idea of what they are, of what they want, of what their own opinions are,” self-actualizing individuals have “superior awareness of their own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective reactions in general.” There’s that self-awareness again!
  34. 34. No.33 “The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” from Journey to Ixtlan That’s brilliant. So, uh, what are you emphasizing? Any better alternatives?
  35. 35. No.34 1. Master Your Mind 2. Follow Your Purpose 3. Practice Kaizen (constant and never- ending improvement) 4. Live with Discipline 5. Respect Your Time 6. Selflessly Serve Others 7. Embrace the Present
  36. 36. No.35 1. If you like something, enjoy it. 2. If you don’t like something, avoid it. 3. If you don’t like something and can’t avoid it, change it. 4. If you can’t or choose not to (important distinction there!) avoid or change something you don’t like, then accept it. 5. You accept something by changing your perception of it.
  37. 37. No.36 “What difference does it make, after all, what your position in life is if you dislike it yourself?” That’s hilarious. And so true, eh? Isn’t it amazing how we can spend so much of our time doing everything we can to please everyone around us and, at the end of the day, not even like ourselves. Eek!
  38. 38. No.37 Jacobsen talks at length about the fact that we “everyday geniuses” are fundamentally different than most and our attempts at being “normal” are typically far from successful. As she says, “It is essential to remember to work with, not around, your own uniqueness.”
  39. 39. No.38 In this overview I’ll introduce you to two (very) different orientations from which we can choose to live: Victim and Creator. One’ll land you in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) and the other’ll place you squarely where you want to be: in The Empowerment Dynamic (TED).
  40. 40. No.39 Again, step #1 for the Superior Man? Know thyself. Immediately followed by: Express thyself. We MUST show up as our highest selves. THAT is our primary practice—if we have any integrity to our commitment to give our gifts to the world.
  41. 41. No.40 Here’s one of the many great exercises from the book: Get out your journal. Ask yourself “Why am I here?” Write down what first comes to your mind. Don’t edit or fret. Just write... Do this 20 times...
  42. 42. No.41 “...the winners are those who are superior not to others but to their former selves.” Don’t compete. Excel. Are you superior to yesterday’s former version of yourself? Good. Let’s keep the momentum. :)
  43. 43. No.42 “The greatest leaders and statesmen in history have not been problem solvers. They have been builders. They have been creators.” The theme of Robert Fritz’ brilliant book, The Path of Least Resistance can be summed up in three words: “Structure determines behavior.”
  44. 44. No.43 If you’re as passionate about integrating your spirituality and economics as I am, it’s always a good sign when an author wraps up his book with: “We are free when we move from a focus on getting love, abundance, peace and freedom to being love, abundance, peace, and freedom.”
  45. 45. No.44 Same goes with our health. Are you only “mildly disappointed” with your current health? Saying to yourself: “It’s just a few extra pounds (or a few dozen!), I’m a little bit tired, I could look a little better and feel a little better, but I’m OK.” Insert slow leaking tire sound here <--- Well, WAKE UP!
  46. 46. No.45 Hah. That rocks. The image of a world- class athlete going to an “exercise camp” cracks me up. You want to achieve specific results? You have an intense drive and motivation to achieve them? Then train. Don’t “exercise.”
  47. 47. No.46 From a scientific perspective, “optimism” does not equal positive thinking. “Pessimists can in fact learn to be optimists, and not through the mindless devices like whistling a happy tune of mouthing platitudes (“Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”), but by learning a new set of cognitive skills.”
  48. 48. No.47 If you’re ready to have your ego torn into “approximately a thousand” pieces, you’ll probably dig Andrew’s work. If not, you may want to delete this Note and go back to your cozy existence. :) As always, your call. For those ready for the (hero’s) journey into the land of Enlightenment, let’s go.
  49. 49. No.48 Let’s say we commit to a big goal or to living a certain ideal—whether it’s building a business or living from appreciation. Powerful first step. But, the real trick is in the RE-committing. It’s so easy to get distracted or thwarted or discouraged.... We need to RE-commit! Again. And again. And again. :)
  50. 50. No.49 Tony likes to say we have six fundamental needs. The needs for 1. Consistency; 2. Inconsistency; 3. Significance; 4. Connection/Love; 5. Growth; 6. Contribution. Now, all of these needs are present and important. The question that’ll shape our destiny is, which are our top needs?!?
  51. 51. No.50 “No one is smart enough to be 100% wrong.” What that means, stated positively, is that everyone has, however small, a partial truth to their position. They’re not smart enough to be 100% wrong... if you want to have good relationships.. you’ll be wise to first acknowledge the partial truth of the other person/ideology/country/whatever.
  52. 52. No.51 If you have limited thoughts about yourself, you will produce limited results, “For imagination sets the goal “picture” which our automatic mechanism works on. We act, or fail to act, not because of “will,” as is so commonly believed, but because of imagination.”
  53. 53. No.52 “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” from The Alchemist. That makes it pretty simple, eh? Are you afraid of failure? Know that it’s the only thing standing in your way. So... *clears throat* *ahem* What would you do if you weren’t afraid?!?
  54. 54. No.53 “It is within the power of every man to become great.” Do you think you can become great? Coupla things on that: 1) EVERYONE can become great; and, 2) As per Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
  55. 55. No.54 Now, what can you do to create a life in which you’re spending more and more time in your bliss zone and less time in your “don’t need to spend my precious hours on this spinning green ball doing THAT” stuff? What SPECIFIC steps can you take to follow your bliss more? Starting today?!?
  56. 56. No.55 “Fear brings failure; faith brings success. It’s just that simple.” What are your greatest visions for your life? I’ll wait for a moment while you conjure up the images of your ideal life in your mind. :) Take a deep breath in, close your eyes and really FEEL into the vision of your ideal life...
  57. 57. No.56 My AM ritual has given me more consistency, clarity and confidence than ever before. (Meditation, movement, journaling, visualization. It’s hard to have a bad day with that start! :) So, get your morning routine on and how about spending the last few minutes of your AM silence imagining your ideal self?!?
  58. 58. No.57 “Throughout almost the whole history of psychiatry it has been difficult for most psychiatrists to accept that depression is a choice.” “What about my headache?” Sorry to break it to you, but, um, yah. That’s a choice, too.
  59. 59. No.58 Imagine your body without your heart. Say goodbye to your arms and legs and brain and all your other organs and, well, your life. Now, imagine your life without courage. All that love and kindness and compassion and creativity and joy and patience we live to express? Gone.
  60. 60. No.59 --> “Am I willing to feel good and have my life go well all the time?” Think about that. Are you willing to feel good and have your life go well ALL the time? (Or do you think you’d explode before something like that was possible? :)
  61. 61. No.60 Before we get into some more Ideas from the book, how about this: This is the #1 habit I can develop in my life that’ll have the greatest positive impact: _________________________ This is the #1 habit I can remove from my life that’ll have the greatest positive impact:_________________________
  62. 62. No.61 Very cool. I always knew meditation was powerful but I never knew WHY. :) ... As my Vipassana meditation teacher, S.N. Goenka says: “Work diligently. Diligently. Work patiently and persistently. Patiently and persistently. And you’re bound to be successful. Bound to be successful.”
  63. 63. No.62 Event + Response = Outcome. How are YOU responding to the events in your life?!? If you want more success, happiness, joy, health, creativity, mojo, love,wealth, and all that is good in the world, you’ve GOTTA pay attention to Principle #1. Take 100% Responsibility for your life.
  64. 64. No.63 It’s easy to TALK about spiritual ideals, eh? But, obviously, that means NOTHING if we don’t LIVE our truths. So, what truth are you talking about a lot these days but not quite embodying?!? Now a good time to start living it? :)
  65. 65. No.64 This book is packed with wisdom. AND, if you’ve read any of Dan’s work, you know that he *always* comes back to the simple stuff. So, we’ll start there. What little things can you do in your day-to-day life to increase your activity level to enhance your vigor and vitality?!
  66. 66. No.65 Your emotional well-being can be tied to your source of motivation. Where’s yours come from? Do you love what you do? Or are you going (compulsively) through the motions cuz you feel you have to? If you do love what you do: YES!!!!!.
  67. 67. No.66 Life is calling. Are you answering? If not, beware. No matter how much you try to numb yourself, the pain’s not going away. Not till you step up and answer the call. Then? Well, then God’s on the line and flowing through you. Enter: Bliss, Enthusiasm,..
  68. 68. No.67 “That vibrational variance between where you are and where you want to be is the creative arena that you have come forth to play within: the Leading Edge of creation...” Ah... Are YOU willing to play at the Leading Edge of creation and dance with your creative genius?!? Good. :)
  69. 69. No.68 “I would like to take the word should and remove it from the vocabulary forever. I’d replace it with the word could. Could gives us a choice, and we are never wrong.” This is one of the all-time greatest Big Ideas. Seriously. Should, should, should, should.
  70. 70. No.69 So, you might have noticed that little voice in your head. Yah? :) One of the key first steps to entering the Power of Now is to be able to get outside of the tremendous force of an undisciplined mind.
  71. 71. No.70 “Do things with your whole heart, with as much intensity as you are capable of.” Are you split? Timidly going half-way? Well... DO THINGS WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART!!! How are you holding back in your life? How can you turn that intensity up a notch or ten?
  72. 72. No.71 Wow. “Mediocrity is self-inflicted. Genius is self-bestowed.” So, uh... Which one are you choosing? :)
  73. 73. No.72 Hah! How’s that for an image of our minds? First: get a jumping monkey. Then make him mad. Then drunk. Then get a scorpion to bite him. That little mad, drunk, jumping, scorpion-stung monkey running your life these days? If so, time to get it tamed, eh? :)
  74. 74. No.73 If we want to enjoy life and expand into our highest potential, it’s clear we’ve gotta stop our criticizing, blaming, complaining and overall whining and eliminate all the “if-onlys and what-ifs.” Starting now. Sound good? Sweet.
  75. 75. No.74 “Self-worth cannot be verified by others. You are worthy because you say it is so. If you depend on others for your value it is other-worth.” “Other-worth.” That’s classic. :) Do you depend on others for your sense of worth? Please stop doing that!!!.
  76. 76. No.75 So, we clearly need to relax and recover. But skip the TV, will ya? Go for a walk, hang out with your family and friends, take a bath, read a book, open your journal, get a massage, meditate, do yoga, whatever! Just unplug the TV, pretty please. :)
  77. 77. No.76 I love that. Feeling down? Look at “It.” Say, “It’s a little down today.” YOU are NOT the depression. Observe it. See it as separate from your purest self. And, let it pass.
  78. 78. No.77 What do you do when you see others who are doing great things in their lives and/or enjoying great material success?! Do you celebrate their success or feel a twinge of jealousy or even outright envy? Pay attention! ... Choose to CELEBRATE their success!
  79. 79. No.78 “The person of low awareness sees everything in life in a dualistic perspective, either as a blessing or a curse. The master of life sees all things as opportunities.” How do you see the world?... It’s ALWAYS up to us how we want to interpret the world.
  80. 80. No.79 “It is not enough to know how to do it; one must do it, consistently, in the same way as athletes or musicians must keep practicing what they know in theory.” This is another *huge* theme of these Notes. It’s NOT about “knowing” how to do something or who said what when. We must DO what we know.
  81. 81. No.80 It’s nice to talk about ideas, memorize inspiring words, and get an intellectual understanding of something. But it’s what we DO that leads to our self-esteem.
  82. 82. No.81 That’s awesome. Imagine your ideal car. It looks soooo beautiful on display. You buy it. And... It’s stuck in reverse. Hah! Now imagine YOUR life. Are you stuck in reverse? Always looking backwards? Stuck in 1st, never willing to take a risk? Or maybe stuck in 5th, never able to slow down?
  83. 83. No.82 The solution? We’ve gotta literally re- wire our minds to become more inclined to notice and ruminate on the things we *want* to have swimming around in our consciousness. For now? Start noticing when you’re replaying that horrible scene for the 3rd or 300th time and see if you can observe yourself watching it...
  84. 84. No.83 So when we’re impeccable, we don’t use our word against ourselves indulging in guilt or shame. We also don’t use our word against others in blaming, criticizing or gossiping. We also honor our commitments and only make commitments we intend to follow through on. How’re you doing on those fronts?
  85. 85. No.84 “Take inventory of your good reasons for self-esteem today... “ ...Every day for 100+ days I wrote down 5 things I’m proud of, 5 things I will be proud of, 5 things I’m grateful for, 5 things I’m excited about and 5 truths I live by...
  86. 86. No.85 That’s another great image, eh?!? You holding a grudge? You DO realize that’s about as smart as eating rat poison and thinking the rat will die, right? Seriously though. It’s that backwards. :)
  87. 87. No.86 Positive-negativity. That’s brilliant. Something stressing you out right now? Can you step back and see the positive in the negative event? Can you see how the greatest, most transformative times of your life tend to come after the most challenging/ stressful?!?
  88. 88. No.87 This is the 87th Note I’ve worked on and it’s been fascinating to see the same Big Ideas repeated by philosophers, mystics and modern-day self-help gurus. It’s even more exciting, in fact, EXHILARATING (!!!), to see so many of these Ideas SCIENTIFICALLY TESTED and *PROVEN* to be effective.
  89. 89. No.88 “Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.” So... where have you/are you spending most of your time?!?
  90. 90. No.89 “You can not go beyond your own self- accepted image. As long as you underestimate yourself, you cannot succeed in life.” So... How do you see yourself?!?! As a Divinely-inspired genius put on this planet to share your precious gifts and love and compassion and creativity and abundance? (Awesome. :)
  91. 91. No.90 Our career is clearly one of our most important primary foods. It’s INCREDIBLY important we love what we do if we wanna be living a vibrant life. If you’re not loving your work, you’ll get 10x (1,000x?) the value of this book just by doing the exercises he has in this section!
  92. 92. No.91 “I realized that I only judged people when they displayed a quality I could not accept in myself...” You might’ve heard of this finger thing before but go ahead and try it now. Hold your hand straight out and point at someone. You’ve got one finger pointed at them and three more right back at yourself...
  93. 93. No.92 “I’ve never known anyone to find answers from thinking things to death, but I have known people who gained peaceful insights and grand solutions while strolling through the park.” This is a really Big Idea. Did you know they’ve actually scientifically studied the effects of exercise on our emotional well-being?
  94. 94. No.93 Isn’t it weird how often we think stuff needs to be either/or? Particularly with our “spirituality.” Either I’m spiritual or I’m an entrepreneur. Either I’m a monk or I’m wealthy... What about: My spirituality is expressed THROUGH my work and my wealth is a sign of my connection to the abundant flow of the universe?
  95. 95. No.94 That’s awesome. So, if someone gives you a hard time for your commitment to your self-development, stay strong and remember that those who are giving you the hardest time are probably suffering the most. As Seneca comically reminds us: “The worse a person is, the less he feels it.”
  96. 96. No.95 “The Master said, (the good man) does not grieve that other people do not recognize his merits. His only anxiety is lest he should fail to recognize theirs.” Love that. Where’s your focus? Are you frustrated people aren’t seeing your wonderful qualities?
  97. 97. No.96 “The best leader follows the will of the people. All of them embody the virtue of non-competition. Not that they don’t love to compete, but they do it in the spirit of play. In this they are like children and in harmony with the Tao.” Brilliant. Did you know the origin of the word “compete” has nothing to do with our modern idea of going “against” someone else? ...
  98. 98. No.97 Have you ever kept a log of how you spend your time? It’s a *really* powerful way to bring awareness to your routines and the simple act of logging your behavior dramatically alters it! :) You’ll wanna check out the book for all the Ideas Fiore brings to how we can leverage this simple yet effective practice.
  99. 99. No.98 Got a journal? If not, time to get one! Da Vinci carried his everywhere. You might wanna as well. Gelb has a lot of awesome exercises to fill your new journal up and research has proven that capturing your thoughts, questions, dreams, goals and all that jazz is good for ya.
  100. 100. No.99 We tend to fear the unknown and the more we can, as Ariane says, “...change our view of change by viewing the uncomfortable moments as an opportunity for tremendous transformation” the more empowered we’re going to be in every facet of our lives!
  101. 101. No.100 The grandmasters were more passionate about chess. They loved it so much that they were always thinking about it—they lived, breathed, and ate chess!—leading to a level of excellence that was far superior to any other players in the world. So... What are you most passionate about? Of what will you become a grandmaster?
  102. 102. Get your wisdom on! thanks so much, Brian!! :-) Log on to:!! for full access to the mp3s & pdfs... and to hear this interview in full....