[00:01:19] Transformation Challenge
[00:03:09] Podcast Sponsors
[00:05:55] Guest Introduction
[00:08:39] Thoughts on maintaining balance in your life
[00:13:50] Why Ben begins his productive day very early in the day
[00:26:33] How Ben maintains balance with work structure and family/friend relationships and obligations
[00:37:53] Podcast Sponsors
[00:40:20] cont. How Ben maintains balance with work structure and family/friend relationships and obligations
[00:49:41] How controlling your diet affects your productivity
[01:07:11] The one animal Ben would choose to be, and why
[01:13:46] Closing the Podcast
[01:15:17] Legal Disclaimer
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast: if you're living a self-actualized life and you've chosen a career that really does fulfill your life's purpose, work does feel like play.
Joe: It comes down to, as a dad now, as a guy, as a human man who's acquired all these skills, made mistakes, failed, man, how am I going to deal with this? Learned how to deal with those.
Ben: You're going to get better writing done when you carve out those deep work times or those early morning times to work. But, I really do take advantage of every minute of the day.
Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Hey, you guys are about to hear a fun podcast discussion between me and one of my friends who wanted to put me in the hot seat about all my habits and rituals and routines and my daily comings and goings. And, it turned into a really fascinating discussion that I think you'll dig. So, sit back and enjoy.
And, if you're listening this podcast on the day that it comes out, Merry Christmas.
Alright, I got some epic news. I want to make sure that you are aware that I'm going to be opening up another round of the highly popular transformation challenge just in time for this new year, 2022. So, the challenge is going to include all the nitty-gritty recovery, immune-boosting, cognitive-enhancing, connection-building tips, and actionable steps to take your body, mind, and spirit to a boundless level, all the same stuff we did last year, but even better. And, the last time we ran this challenge, there were some pretty impressive results. We had some folks who lost 12-plus pounds of fat, gain 8 pounds of muscle, shed inches off their waist, and also connect better to their family, develop better relationships, maximize their spiritual health. And, people were sleeping better, better focus, better energy levels. It's crazy what happens when you holistically combine all this stuff together.
Now, to maximize results even more, this time around, we're doing something new. We're adding exclusive access to my fitness programming platform, the app called Ladder, where I've got six weeks of workouts for you to elevate that whole transformation process. So, it's going to be super fun. We have a whole bunch of nutty health-seeking go-getters ready to embark on this journey of self-discovery and human optimization. We're going to run it six weeks, plus a bonus prep week with a focus on setting the foundational stage to shift you into a state where you'll be ready for deep-rooted lifestyle change. This isn't a weight loss challenge. It's a full-body, mind, and spirit transformation challenge. The doors close on January 2nd, alright, or whenever we reach 200 people, whichever ones happens first.
So, you get in at BenGreenfieldCoaching.com/Challenge, that simple, BenGreenfieldCoaching.com/Challenge.
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Joe: Well, let me just start by saying how grateful I am for you spending the time to do this. I know we got to know each other a little bit over just planning that fun event with you and your boys. And, even before doing any of that, just reading about the stuff you do and your aspirations to where you want to go in your life have always been encouraging to me. They've always been inspiring. And so, when my commander told me, he's like, “Hey, do you want to run this off with this civilian guy in Spokane,” I was like, “Alright, sounds cool. Who is it?”
Ben: You mean a little survival course with the fish on the pokey sticks on the forest.
Ben: My sons loved that thing so much, man. And, I guess we're just jumping right in here. We didn't really–I haven't had an official start for the show or a welcome for people. But, I guess, for people listening in, Joe, how do you even pronounce your last name Joe, is it Apolinar?
Joe: Apolinar, yeah.
Ben: Apolinar, I was close. Joe, who's way over in Italy now, he's United States Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape specialist. And so, I knew of your guys' existence right close to my home in Spokane, because you're the bee's knees for training for airman, or airmen, I suppose they're called, who want to, as the name appropriately enough implies, be able to survive and evade and resist and escape any situation. And, you guys train these folks to survive in the most remote and hostile environments on the planet. And, I just about peed in my pants when I found out that you guys would be willing to come out to my little 10-acre property out here in Spokane and take me and my sons through a private little personalized wilderness survival course.
So, I guess, thank you for coming out and doing that. We learned a ton and got to know each other a little bit since then. So, later on, when I found out you wanted to interview me about my personal productivity routines and rituals and habits, etc., I, of course, was up for it. And, I should mention to folks, too, that you guys actually came back to my house a few months after the initial survival course that we did, and took me and my family through a nighttime navigation and star interpretation course. So, I really appreciate you, too, man. I've learned a lot from you.
Joe: Well, thanks. So, some of the things I wanted to do when I first brought the idea up to you–see, I'm trying to remember. You invited us to dinner. So, we came out. We hung out, smoked some brisket on the Traeger, had some wonderful organic wine, made some charcuterie. I'm pretty good at it. I'm getting better at it now that I'm living in Italy. There's a lot more tricks I got to show you.
Ben: I bet. I have been there. I've ridden my bike through Italy. I have partaken often just basically dismounting from my bike along with my wife from looking at shop windows of a wide variety of the best dried and cured meats and cheeses I think I've ever sunk my teeth into in my life there in Italy. And, of course, I've told this story before on a podcast, so I won't belabor the point. But, when we did our tour of Italy about 12 years ago on a bicycle, the inevitable scenario was that every day, the bikes got heavier and heavier. These pannier bags we had hanging on other side of our tour bikes because they were just stuffed full of all those wines and cheeses and everything you'd need to make an amazing charcuterie board back here in America. So, I know exactly what you're talking about, man.
Joe: And, it's crazy how available things are. I think I've listened to a few podcasts with you talk about how, when you're making the decision to try and alter what you eat to a higher quality, sometimes it's not in your favor because everything is so expensive. But, that's not the case, especially living in northern Italy where I'm at, because it's common people that aren't–There's not a lot of tourism out here. So, you go down to the cafe, and I can order a croissant or something that was made that morning. I can get a glass of wine that was made in a vineyard maybe 30 minutes away that's completely organic. And, it's €2 for a glass, and maybe €1 for the croissant. It's just unbelievably available. So, I've really enjoyed it.
Ben: When you can drink table wine that rivals a $27 glass of wine here in the states and you're forking over a couple of euro for it, I can get on board with that dangerously enough because it can often lead to daytime/lunchtime drinking. But, I'm on board.
Joe: Well, I was just listening to another one of your podcasts. So, I tried to do a bunch of homework before I sat down with you because I didn't want to redo a bunch of questions people have asked you.
Ben: This became a shit show or something like that. I think it's Tim Ferriss who's sometimes does drunk-dialing episodes. So, let's listen to one of those or one of the Joe Rogan episodes where we just get high and shoot advocate for four hours about meaningless topics that have occasional gold gems spread throughout.
Joe: Sure, sometimes they can be valuable. But, when you and your boys make it through Italy, if you get up to far as Pordenone, which is was where I'm at, I'm actually living in a small town called Budoia, let me know and I'll drop you guys a care package, or you could stay at my place for the night, look right at the base of the Dolomites. Literally, I could walk out my back door and go trail running on them. It's amazing.
Ben: Well, you and another previous podcast guest of mine, the music producer, Rick Rubin, both have standing invitations for me to come visit Italy and hang out. So, it will happen. I have no clue what the whole vaccination scenario looks like over there and travel restrictions, etc.
Joe: It's a good point.
Ben: But, it's on the radar. I actually want to take my entire family back to Italy to recreate the bike trip that my wife and I did 12 years ago. So, at some point, man, it'll happen. I'd say it'll happen in Italian, but I, of course, need to brush up on that.
So, anyways, you wanted to interview me. And, I said, you know what? Let's turn on the mics while we do this because I guess you have some questions you want to ask me. And, I'm happy to riff on anything. I can't guarantee I have amazing answers, but I'll do my best.
Joe: Well, I appreciate that. The humility is clear, but it's not needed. I know your status and I know what you believe in and what you stand by. So, I'm excited to just hear what you think honestly is really what. And so, when I asked this to you originally, I was like, can I just come hang out with you? And, it got complicated because you're very busy and you want to spend time with your family and trying to draw those lines. But then, when you said, why don't we record it, because other people could probably benefit from it, it absolutely made sense. I needed to change my mindset to see, “Hey, how could I turn this into something that's reproducible?” that's the military mindset thinking now.
So, my topics, ultimately, the theme I'd like to have all these questions revolved around is the idea of balance. I find myself coming back to the idea of balance maybe once a month on the most random things and how they apply to our lives. So, big topics that I would like to get into is one, education, communicating with your co-workers, time with your family, fatherhood, and then specifically diving in a little bit more the difference between waking up early in the morning versus later in the evening, or what's it–taking rest from structures that we create to be productive or to try and to make your life more balanced, and just leaving room for things to be spontaneous.
And then, again, the reason I wanted to ask you these things is because I believe the axioms are true. We are who we hang out with. You are what you eat. You are a product of your environment, and so on. I don't think —
Ben: Yes. And, one that I'd throw in there is how we live our days is how we live our lives. I tell my sons that quite a bit. It's so simple to skip little things. It's so simple. Even for something as seemingly trite as when we're in bed at the end of the day and ready to do our evening self-examination, which our entire family does at the end of each day, the presence or absence of a journal in which to write down one's self-examining thoughts is something that often, when we're tired and someone's left their journal downstairs by the dinner table and doesn't want to get out of bed to go grab it, I tell them, how you live your days is how you live your lives. You don't have your journal in bed one night, the next day it'll be so much easier to not have that. And, all of a sudden, eight days will go by where you haven't written down anything in your journal. You've thought about it, but the power of the pen dictates that, when it's written it will be accomplished, or when it's written you will relive it, or when it's written it will become more meaningful or re-visible in the future.
And so, another example, of course, very relevant to my audience would be workouts. You skip here and there. And, eventually, how you're living your days is how you live your life. So, yes, I love little sayings like that and have a constant and ever-expanding collection of such quotes, many of which litter the walls of my office because I have them blown up into poster size and framed posters on my office wall. And then about, gosh, I would say about 300 additional quotes that I'll snipe from books. And, I simply have a screen saver folder on my computer. So, whenever the screen saver on my computer comes on, it's linked to that folder. And, it just basically plays all my favorite quotes in front of me all day long whenever my computer goes into screen saver mode. So, I love all those types of sayings.
Joe: You're submerging yourself. You're almost creating your own environment. And, that will lead into one of my questions in regards to the structures we create. But, the reason I think it's important to ask these questions, even though you may have been asked these questions before, to do them again is because I feel like some people don't ever have the opportunity to do what I did, to sit down with Ben or sit down with somebody and ask them these questions. So, I think it's really cool to get to ask common questions over again that, maybe, you will answer in a different way because I'm asking. And so, that could even enlighten someone, maybe, who's a little bit more like me, or you said it in a different way that could enlighten them to be able to use these tools, essentially is what they are, to better their life. Because, ultimately, that's the question. Why do I want to aim towards balance? It's to benefit my life, which in turn will benefit everyone I'm affecting or anyone I'm influencing–
Joe: —my family, the people I work with. So, all that lead into my first question. So, the first one is really specific. Why do you choose to start your day early? And, I've heard multiple people ask you, “Hey, Ben, how do you start your day?” And, it's always really early in the morning. Why is that as opposed to doing it later in the afternoon?
Ben: Certainly. This is a time management question. And, related to time management, I always name this when I'm being interviewed so that folks know. The response or length of my answers will be correlated to the time that I have available for the interview. So, from right now, we've got about the next 45, 50 minutes to riff on this stuff.
Joe: Yeah, sure.
Ben: And so, in relation to time management, any of these questions, we could go deep on. But, what I'm going to do is I'll be as precise and concise for you as possible. I wake at typically between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. each morning. Occasionally, for a more demanding day, I wake between 3:45 and 4:30. I do not use an alarm. I wake when my body wakes. And, I find that, as long as I have, already the night before, taken a glance at my calendar, mapped out my day, and manifested to my brain, because it's sleeping on problems or walking on problems, a very, very powerful way to solve problems, I would throw a third lesser named one in there, preying on problems, and in a very similar way, manifesting how your day is going to go when you're going to wake and trusting that you'll wake at the perfect time, which can occasionally backfire, depending on the type of substances you ingest the night before.
Ben: Like, if you're trying out some new sleep supplement or having an extra glass of wine. Set a just-in-case alarm, which I tend to do when I travel, because when I travel that's the time when I can be less trusting of my body's natural capability to wake at its normal time. But, typical day, on the home front for a demanding day, it's 3:45 to 4:30 a.m.-ish. On a less demanding day, it's a 4:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. wake time.
The reason that I do that is, because I value heavily the idea of caring for one's body and one's spirit at the beginning of the day. And, while many of the things that I do for those first several hours in the morning when I'm awake and the rest of the family is asleep and the house is dark and things are quiet are things that I could do during, say, the lunch hour. I could, whatever, I've thought about this, I could take a shot of ketones and a couple of servings of, say, amino acids and skip lunch and do all these things during the lunch hour and saving myself an extra couple of hours of sleep time and snuggle time with my wife in the morning. Or, perhaps, I could do these things before dinner in the evening. But, I find that morning, for me at least, is when I'm most primed to get up and do all of those things that I normally otherwise would be annoyed about doing or feel like I need to rush because I know that the rest of the world is blowing up my phone and my email inbox and I have other things scheduled during, I suppose, the hours that most other people are working.
And so, I carve out those morning hours because, really, that's my me time. It's as simple as that. And, furthermore, less productive things happen in the evening than happen in the morning. And, what I mean by that is if 8:30 p.m. rolls around and I'm done with my day, I go to bed. I go to bed. And, sometimes, my sons will be up later than me. My 13-year-old twin sons, they don't want to go to bed because they have books they want to read or things they want to do or perhaps a little bit of school work they want to catch up on. And, I'll still go to bed because I live life by the philosophy that more good and productive and impactful things happen in the morning than happen in the evening. In the evening, it can be much more tempting to delve into a TV show or surf the internet or a social media feed or have that extra glass of wine or spend an extra 45 minutes at dinner or go out to a social event that you've been invited out to. Those things don't tend to happen in the morning. I don't know many people who ruminate on catching up on a Netflix episode at 5:00 a.m. But, at 9:30 p.m., when decision-making fatigue has set in and your willpower has waned, which inevitably happens throughout the day, as your willpower fades from task achievement and your decision-making fatigue sets in from having made a multitude of decisions during the day, you're just basically far less likely to make important, impactful, and productive decisions at the end of the day.
And so, I wake early so that I can take advantage of all of the quiet times that lend themselves well to productivity early in the day. So, yes, I get up. And, that's when I go about my self-care routine. I do a lot of ayurvedic routines in the morning, tongue scraping and coconut oil pulling and jumping up and down on a trampoline and prime my body. And then, I settle into about a half hour of journaling and meditation and prayer. And then, I move on to tackling the most important tasks of the day, which for me these days is usually working on an article or a book or a podcast presentation or anything else that's like that pressing task that inevitably doesn't happen once the rest of the world wakes up and demands your time.
So, I finish that most important task of the day and all of that morning self-spiritual care and some amount of body care, typically, by about 7:30 to 8:00 a.m.-ish. And, around then, the rest of the family is up and at them. The rest of my family gets up typically sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. And then, I gather the family for our family meditation and journaling and prayer, which is usually about 15 minutes in the living room, or during the summer and spring out on the patio or in the backyard. And then, once we've done our journaling and meditation and everything, I hit my garage gym or my home gym for about 30 to 45 minutes, come in, make a smoothie. And then, I start the elements of the day that one might consider to be more reactive, more dependent on other people's times, like recording podcast like this discussion I'm having with you right now, speaking with my clients on the phone, taking calls, speaking to folks about investments, just basically doing all the things that I do during the day that I would consider to be a little bit more reactive or involving other people.
Joe: That's exactly what I was looking for.
Ben: Yeah, so that's why —
Joe: So, I wanted to just reiterate something honestly for myself, is you do those things early because it's the time where you're not really being pounded by everything else. There's a great physical example for me. When I wake up, I try to follow a very similar routine. I like to get up around 5:00, especially because of what I've been really doing recently. I'm currently in a course in Vicenza, Italy. It's a Jumpmaster course. It's three weeks long. And, there's tons of memorization you got to memorize, like four pages of text verbatim and be able to recite it, got to memorize parts and pieces of the parachute. So, I still have a job that I'm doing sometimes nine hours. And then, I also have two children. And, my wife wants time with me. I want time with her as well. But, where am I going to get that time? When I wake up and I go run in the morning, there's nobody on the road.
That's the best physical example I could see to represent what you're talking about, is there's no competition here. If I can be disciplined enough to get up in the morning to find that time, then I'm going to grow in all those other aspects, and then, also, have time to do my normal job and then be with my family. And then, in the evening, I can afford to relax and have a glass of wine because I did the work early. So, great.
That's what I was looking for. I think what I was looking for, really, is some reassurance, like, “Am I doing too much here? Because it gets taxing.” And, that leads me to my next question. So, how often does that structure or that routine become an issue or get in the way of relationships with your wife or with the boys or even with friends? And, do you ever accommodate them? Or, does your family more so accommodate you? Because, without, I don't know, making it sound weird, but you're the breadwinner, so to speak. You're the person who's driving the ship. Do accommodation come towards you because of that, or is there other reasons?
Ben: Well, there is a certain amount of, I would say, sacrifice necessary in one's life if, well, not to get too Bible-bumpy with folks —
Ben: —but if one desires to, as I desire to, be like Jesus as much as possible. I think that Jesus was not only one of the greatest philosophers that ever walked this planet, but the only deity to have ever walked this planet as a human. And, I truly believe that Jesus was a deity. He was the Son of God. And so, I would say that if, or was is, if there's one person that I want to emulate, it would be Jesus who made a frequent habit of sacrificing for others, even to the extent, of course, laying down his life for others in the most dramatic example of self-sacrifice that exists. I was just reading this morning, as a matter of fact, during our meditation as a family. We visit one bible verse. It's written at the top of the Spiritual Disciplines Journal that we do each morning as a family. And, I think that's wonderful because I like to memorize or at least dwell upon some meaningful verse from scripture every single day. I think that if 365 days a year, you can place words from very, very similar to how I feel about Jesus. One of the greatest books, the greatest book, that has ever existed, the bible, upon one's heart, you're going to grow dramatically as a person throughout the course of your life.
And so, this morning, there was a verse from John. There is no greater love than this than to be able to lay down one's life for one's friends. That's a slightly bastardized, non-fully memorized example of that verse. But, yes, you have to strike a balance between setting up your life to be as impactful as possible with the skills that God has given you but also be able to accommodate others while living that life. I do accommodate my family, and I accommodate others. But, I'm also highly protective of my time, Joe.
So, I'll riff on that for a little bit. When I wake up very early in the morning, like I've just outlined that I do, we're all adults here, well, there might be somebody driving in their minivan down the highway with eight children in the back seat who will someday be adults, that means that my wife and I, sometimes when we go to bed, we aren't necessarily making love into the wee hours of the morning or staying up late and going on dates and out to clubs and things like that like we used to do before my schedule became a little bit more organized, I suppose. And so, for example, sex is something that we go out of our way to, as unromantic as this might sound, to schedule, to organize, to say, “Hey, Thursday night, let's make love.” And, we might say this on a Tuesday. And, I simply–I plan for that. I make sure that I've organized my day so that I'm available in the evening, and I've organized the next day so that I don't have too many early morning activities or no highly demanding podcast early in the day or something like that.
So, I do plan ahead for those things that aren't quite as easy to squeeze in when you're, say, going to bed early and getting up very early. Because my wife likes to sleep in. And, when I say sleep in, she sleeps till 6:00 to 7:00 a.m.-ish. And so, this means that there's not a whole lot of morning delight that occurs. And, in the same way, we also need to plan out things like sex and romanticism and date nights pretty well in advance. But, through organization and calendaring, that happens.
Same thing with my time with my children. It's not, or it's very rarely organic. It is often scheduled. I go the entire day. I work like a horse with blinders on from that 9:30-ish breakfast and smoothie, taking care of my emails, all the way up through 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. I'm working very hard. And then, when 7:00 p.m. rolls around, I gather the family very similar to how I gather them at 7:30 to 8:00 a.m.-ish in the morning for our meditation our journal. I gather the family. And, when we gather, we begin by gathering in the kitchen, chatting about our day, visiting our–we all go through the same book or devotional each week. And, right now, we're going through a year-long devotional called “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. And, I'll ask my sons questions about that. We'll talk. And, typically, we have 10 to 15 minutes of talk as we're tooling around in the kitchen, pouring wine, making food together, preparing the night's dinner. And then, we typically have some kind of a song or a prayer or something ceremonial before dinner to mark the occasion and celebrate the end of the day. We then break out games. We sit and play games as a family for a good hour, sometimes an hour and a half at dinner time. We finish. We all clean together while we play music and talk some more.
Once we do that, we all go up into my son's bedroom, and we read a story. Sometimes, I'll play a song. We finish with our Spiritual Disciplines Journal where we end with self-examination and prayer and bedtime hugs and kisses. And then, we all go our separate ways and go to sleep. And, that's all scheduled. And, it's one of those things where I think that, if you schedule a lot of these activities in and you plan for them ahead of time and prioritize them, to a certain extent, there's not a whole lot of need, at least, I haven't found in our household, for needing to accommodate your schedule to others' needs as long as —
Joe: Yeah, because you're writing it in.
Ben: You're writing it in. You're planning for it. And, yes, you'd still need to live life through the lens of self-sacrifice. If we're halfway through this podcast and my wife texts me because she's run out of gas and she's out running errands, then if you take that, all of a sudden, you and I have to press pause and I'm skipping my late afternoon or early evening workout or walk or something like that that I might squeeze in at the end of the day to be able to instead revisit and finish our podcast.
And so, those things sometimes happen. But, also, I ruthlessly outsource. From the time that I read Tim Ferriss' “4-Hour Workweek,” which would have been, gosh, I think 16 years ago, and realized the importance of outsourcing, the importance of surrounding yourself with amazing people, and then sticking to doing what you do best, I find that I'm able to have plenty of time for family and social life and things like the dinner parties that we throw each week and elements of social life because I'm not spending a lot of time mowing the lawn, checking the mail, delivering packages —
Joe: I like that.
Ben: —grocery shopping, because I literally have surrounded myself with people who do all of that for me.
And, a lot of people, because I'm asked this a lot, they're like, “Well, you make good money. You can afford to do that.” I can tell you that, especially when I first began outsourcing, I couldn't technically afford to do so. I basically used my credit card to be able to do things like hire virtual assistants and, eventually, an executive assistant and a social media manager. I bootstrapped everything that I've done and bootstrapped through the lens of hiring people to be able to free up time for me to engage in the most impactful activities that eventually resulted in me having a good enough disposable income to where I didn't have to borrow money to hire people but could instead just be able to make the money myself to hire people.
So, I have a live-in assistant who literally lives at my house from 9:00 a.m. until about 6:00 p.m. who takes care of meeting UPS and USPS and managing deliveries and running out to the grocery store when I need something or looking for a book in my office that I text her about while I'm at a podcast because I need a book set out for my next podcast, or you pretty much name it. I also have a handyman. And, I sometimes get guilt that I'm not mowing my lawn, that I don't know how to fix the washer and dryer, that I get some crazy biohacking tool sent to my house and I don't get to engage in assembling it and everything. And, he does it. But, I have that person that basically takes care of everything around the house, which sometimes, again, makes me feel a little less manly not being able to fix and impress my wife that I've repaired the muffler on the car or whatever, but that person takes care of all that.
And so, that combination of scheduling and calendaring, combined with living life through–or filtering everything that you may need to do through the lens of, could someone else do this, and if so, how can I make that happen, has allowed me to, really, as bad as this might sound, I don't have to sacrifice a lot. I don't have to accommodate a lot because I've surrounded myself with enough outsourcing and calendaring to where it hasn't become much of a necessity. It occasionally happens, but it's not a big pain point for me. How do I do this when I got to do this with the kids and this with my wife? How am I going to squeeze it all in? I outsource so much and then calendar so intensively that those needs don't arise too much.
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Joe: I really like that. And I think I know what you mean. When you start talking about such a personal act, like making love and scheduling it, or even going spending time with my kids, we write it in, you make time for the things that are meaningful to you. So, I think that wraps it up in the right package for me. It's not weird to do that. It's absolutely meaningful. So, that's why I do it. And so, yeah, I totally agree.
And, I always pick up these really cool things for me. It just reminded me of the way you would sit down to pray. Something I've tried to practice doing with my family is just practicing breathing and centering yourself before we engage in this meal. And so, it was like, I really like that. I want to do it. And, something that you're hinting at here is I'm really, really rigid with scheduling work things, but I don't think I do that enough with home things. So, that's something I'm going to try and focus on a little bit more when I get back home, is just scheduling time, like, “Hey, we're going to do this together. Tomorrow, I'm going to take Willow and we're going to go ride our bikes to the cafe. And then, Friday, I'll take Wolf,” because they really–it's hard to do them both at the same time. You and I are going to do it. We're going to hang out. That's great. I really like that.
Ben: Typically, for things like that, it's five to seven days in advance. Looking at my schedule in advance, I use a calendaring app called BusyCal, which for me is just a little bit more versatile than Google Calendar. And, I will say, even though my team knows not to schedule any meetings or anything until at least 9:30 a.m. in the morning, because again, I don't want to be dependent on anyone else's schedules or anyone else's time until at least that time in the morning, but I'll look ahead and ping my team and be like, “Hey, leave 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. open next Wednesday because I want to take my kids to the juice bar for lunch on a date.”
Or, we'll plan out a family date night or date now with my wife. I always, at the beginning of the month, reserve at least two nights during that month for a date night with my wife and then two other nights for date nights with the family or individual date nights with my sons. But, rarely, rarely is that random or just last-minute drop of the hat.
That also means, though, that I do live my life in a little bit more strict and rigid format than some people are comfortable with. I do not take coffee appointments. I do not take last-minute phone calls. I do not really do a lot of random meetups. I don't work out with a lot of people because I find that driving 10 minutes to the gym, waiting around an extra five minutes, and then doing the workout with someone, and then driving back home, which takes another 10 minutes, maybe there's some chat after the workout, there's a half-hour right there, I can walk out to my garage. And, in the time that it takes me to drive, meet, finish up, chat, and drive home, I've already done the whole workout it would have been at the gym to do. Does that mean that I miss out on some things? Absolutely. There are some things that I simply sacrifice because I've chosen to be more impactful in other areas.
Ben: And so, I'm not a very random person. But, that strict rigid calendaring has allowed me to, I think, to a certain extent, get to where I've gotten in life thus far pretty efficiently.
Joe: So, before I wrap up this question, do you ever take a break from that structure? Is there–I don't know. I've read some books. Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote a book like the Keto–what is it? Fast or Fuel. And, he says, during the holidays, he doesn't eat in a certain way. Is there anything like that that you ever do? Like, no, this month I'm not doing this, or something? Or, can you not afford that free time? Or, maybe you don't want to. Maybe, it isn't necessary. I think you said that earlier.
Ben: Well, I think that if you're living a self-actualized life and you've chosen a career that really does fulfill your life's purpose, that work does feel like play to a certain extent, it still is work and there still is blood, sweat, and tears and lots of time put in, but at the same time my work isn't necessarily something that I feel like I need a break from. I don't think I've ever taken a proper what someone might identify as a vacation ever since I was 13 years old. I've been working since I was 13 years old in my own businesses and starting off with the tennis coaching business and working for my dad with his ambulance company doing health insurance forms for him. And, I don't really think that I have done any type of vacation or break from work for as long as I can remember. And, yeah, I am a creature of habit, of ritual, and of routine. And so, I suppose, maybe, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, those days when I'm like–But, even on those days, I'm still up at 5:00 a.m., working on books, articles, writing. Before the kids open Christmas presents on Christmas morning, I'm in my basement, working. I love what I do. And, no, I maintain the same cadence 365 days a year.
Joe: I totally understand that, yeah. I think I'm not as strict, but I do find myself doing that. I'm writing a book right now that I'm really, really passionate about, based on some of the experiences I had to being deployed to Afghanistan and then what we did at the SERE‘s schoolhouse in Washington. And, I can't not write about it. Thanksgiving morning, I'm going to wake up at 5:00, I'm going to do yoga, and I'm going to write because I'm dying to get this stuff out on a page.
And so, I think I understand that now. Other parts of the military aren't as enjoyable to do, but I'd say 98 to 99% of my job is like that. And, that's really what I'm writing about there. So, I think I understand at least a little bit of what you're talking about.
Ben: Yeah. And, related to that, productivity and even the deep work aspects of productivity, as a guy like Cal Newport, in his book, which I believe is called “Deep Work,” outlines so well is certainly something that's valuable, but I also, for example, when I travel, despite it costing me more money, I don't rent a car. I Uber everywhere. And, while I'm in the back of the Uber, I'm working on books, I'm working on emails. I put a value on my time. And so, if my time is worth X amount of dollars, I can actually wind up being more profitable, more impactful, and more productive by not renting a car and sitting in traffic and instead, paying a little bit of extra money to be in the back of the Uber. And, literally, if the ride is 10 minutes long, I can write 500 words in 10 minutes.
Joe: That is great.
Ben: I remember even my former podcast sidekick, Brock, when we used to do these triathlon tours around the world, we would be sitting in Thailand in the back of a tiny little, what do you call, a three-wheel tuk-tuk, weaving through the city of Bangkok. And, I think this is when I was working my book, “Beyond Training.”
Joe: Wow, love it.
Ben: And, I literally was hunched over a laptop, weaving through the streets of Bangkok, with chickens running across our paths and stopping for street pad Thai and then getting back in the tuk-tuk, just hunched over my laptop writing. I've taken my laptop to restaurants, and, while waiting for my meal to arrive, worked on a chapter of a book. So, I pretty much do not waste rarely a minute of any day even when I travel. And, yes, you're going to get better writing done when you carve out those deep work times or those early morning times to work, but I really do take advantage of every minute of the day.
Joe: I want to lead ultimately to making the mistake of pressuring your kids to do too much. But, before I get there, there's a few other things I want to hit on. So, just to summarize quickly, we've covered the idea of balance. And then, moving into this very, very structured way of living your life, these are all tools that I'm sure you've picked up along the way. Maybe, you've read them. I'm not sure how many of them your dad gave you or maybe an uncle or mom even, but somebody, not if those weren't all given to you in the beginning. So, now that you've acquired them, and I'm thinking about this as a dad myself, the way I take notes, the way I use bullet journaling to structure my day, I'm going to teach that to Willow. She's six now. And, when she's able to write, she's going to learn how to do that, because it's been insanely effective for my life. And, Wolf is going to learn how to do some of the similar things that I'm, “Oh, that didn't really work with Willow,” and so on.
Something I've noticed is that what I eat affects my mood greatly, and that could be positive and negative. So, like we talked about some of the dinners that we've had at your place, it's relaxing. We're having wine or maybe some brisket you smoked for eight hours or 12 hours. And then, we're sitting outside and talking. Maybe, it's not something I eat every night. But, man, that was enhancing things. So, I go home and I'll really enjoy talking people about this, or other times where I'm just going to eat this whole bag of whatever. A lot of times, for me, it's chocolate. And, other time, it used to be Sour Patch, but I've gone away from that.
Ben: Pork rinds would be another one.
Joe: Pork rinds, I'm still there. I got to get rid of that one. But, I've noticed that learning how to balance what you eat and reining in–let me rephrase that. Learning how to control your diet is insanely impactful for your productivity because you are in charge still, you maintain your energy levels. Nope, I'm not going to do that because I'm not feeling tired. I'm not forced to crash in the middle of the day because I didn't overload my carb intake and whatnot. So, my question is why is a balanced relationship with food so important to get right? And, what makes it so hard for people like me or anyone to find that balance?
Ben: And, this is one of those questions that of course could be an entire podcast.
Ben: For me, the number one thing is it's twofold. For both myself, for my wife, for my sons, I go out of my way to educate our family about the importance of proper nutritional decisions, about why we might be choosing to, say, have, let's say, rice instead of whole wheat bread or why we are slow-cooking egg versus cooking at high temperature and easily oxidized oil, etc., there could be a multitude of examples. But, I think, probably, in addition to just knowing the impact that food has on your mental productivity and even on spiritual health, on biological health —
Ben: —on everything, it's that idea of knowledge. And, there's a little bit of a rabbit hole we could dive down here, which I may briefly do. I'll come back to that educational piece here shortly. The other thing is that, when it comes to food and habits around food because I work from home, I have a refrigerator and a pantry at my beck and call the entire day. And so, we simply do not have in our house anything that one would consider a cheap food. There is nothing in our house that one could just say, “I have to get in my car and drive to be able to hunt down red vine, licorice, or some peanut butter dark chocolate ice cream, or anything.” There's just nothing in our house that would cause us to–About the only time I'll eat something that I know is going to put me into a situation where I'm less impactful from a mental or physical or spiritual standpoint is if I'm at a party or a restaurant because that's about the only time when there's actually food available that might be of the somewhat unhealthy variety.
So, education and awareness about the consequences of food decisions and constantly auditing what it is you're eating and noting whether there are any staples that may have been introduced or could be present that might be holding you back in life, in addition to that, it's simply eliminating the things that would attempt to tempt you throughout the day. And so, those just aren't around, period.
And, related to that educational component, I think this is really important, is this idea that while it's not a parenting or education style that's necessarily unheard of, we use this parenting approach in our house that would be, I think, best summarized in the book “Parenting with Love and Logic.” And, the basic tenet of love and logic is to thoroughly educate your children on the consequences of any decision that they make in life, and then to step back and allow them to, as you observe and monitor them, with compassion, with some amount of empathy, allow them to make decisions, to make mistakes, and just as they'll eventually experience in the real world, live with the natural or logical consequences of those actions.
And so, it's basically the opposite of helicopter parenting. It's more empowerment parenting because you're empowering your children to know about the consequences of any decision that they might make in life and then to step back and allow them to deal with the consequences of that decision. And so, as a result, we don't have many non-negotiable rules in our home. There's no limits on screen time. There's no foods that are banned. There's no strict enforced bedtimes. There's no parental punishment for things like poor grades or procrastination or the like. And so, for example, we don't tell our sons they can't eat cake at their friend's birthday party. But, we do teach them about the inflammatory effects of sugar and gluten on the digestive system, the benefits of modulating consumption of sweets and carbs and gluten, and the existence of even supplements that could control blood sugar or pre-digest gluten in their GI tract.
And so, when presented with a cornucopia of cupcakes at a birthday party, they'll partake but in moderation, often paired with physical activity and sometimes chased with some kind of gluten-digesting supplement. And, if they decide to eat as much cake as they'd like, it's totally their decision. And, they can personally deal with any of the gut upset or eczema or acne, or other biological issues that occur as a result. Rather than issuing strict rules on screen time, we educate them about issues like the effects of blue light from backlit screens on their circadian rhythms or the effects of too much electromagnetic energy on their fertility later in life or their overall brain health. And then, we let them decide how much time they want to spend on their iTouches or their MacBooks or whether they want to stay up late at night playing video games or watching television, none of which are off-limits in our house in any way whatsoever. Although, the television is hidden away downstairs and we don't even have any video game consoles, and neither of them owns a smartphone. But, they know they're welcome to have a smartphone anytime they want. They know they would need to purchase it themselves and pay for their monthly plan because some financial obligation often infuses into a child a greater sense of ownership and responsibility. And then, if they get headaches or brain fog or poor academic performance and have simultaneously spent long amounts of time on those devices, they know what's happening and they know what to do about it. And, same thing with bedtime or wake time, we let them sleep however they would like to sleep at whatever times they like, but we teach them about the biological importance of quality sleep and relatively consistent sleep and wait times and the impact of poor sleep on academic or mental or physical performance the next day. And, if they decide to stay up until 2:00 a.m. reading a graphic novel, that's their choice and also their problem to deal with if they feel tired or worn down or less mentally sharp the next day. And, after experiencing enough rough days from late nights, they'll make notes, they'll learn from their mistakes, and they'll adjust.
But, please, understand here that authenticity is key. So, if your kids hear you say one thing and do another, they're going to be far less likely to pay attention to your suggestion or your inside of your teachings for any of the examples I just gave.
Joe: Right, you're doing it.
Ben: Right. So, Jessa and I, we don't stuff our face with the bread basket at the restaurant. When our family goes out to a restaurant, we tend to favor reading books or playing musical instruments when there's downtime at our house instead of turning to smartphones or computers or television. We've already established, we're like old fuddy-duddies. We're usually checked out in bed by 9:30 p.m. at the latest, close to when our sons go to sleep. And so, they see all of that. And so, that definitely helps them out quite a bit as well.
There's also, when it comes to so-called vices, there's no forbidden fruit in our house. So, when I was growing up, alcohol was off-limits and for adults only, and porn was only spoken of with hush breath. It's some kind of mysterious Pandora's box. And so, what were my first experiences with alcohol and porn? Well, it was sneaking a bottle of scotch from my dad's office and getting drunk in my bedroom, and hiding dirty magazines under my bed because my parents didn't teach me anything about the realities or the consequences of alcohol or porn. And, frankly, my early impression of these things is they were something mysterious and potentially fun that I simply wasn't allowed to partake in.
And, in contrast, my sons and I have had frank and honest, and open discussions about responsible use of vices like alcohol and cannabis. I've taught them about the impact of those type of things on a young human's liver and brain and how they could be damaging or deleterious in those situations. And, we've had deep and wide-ranging conversations about porn and about sex. And, I've taken them through anatomy books and been very frank with them about all these things. Because they've been thoroughly educated on those type of things, like wine or weed or porn, it's unlikely they're going to wander into our pantry and sneak a bottle of wine into their room to get drunk on some of this mysterious stuff called alcohol when mom and I aren't around, or they're going to steal a vape pen from my office to go get high under the patio or start googling what a–I don't know–what a naked woman looks like when I've already taken through all of that in human anatomy books with dad.
And so, this idea of parenting with love and logic, to come full circle to your question about nutrition, nutrition is a perfect example where you educate yourself, your family, your children about the consequences of nutrition decisions. And then, you let them or yourself deal with the consequences. But, you also pair that with being smart, with not having things around the house that could present you with easy ways to derail that process.
Joe: I think you hinted on a couple ideas that I started doing subconsciously. And, I think they're the most effective. One is you just take the thing away from your environment. So, we talked a little bit more about you are a product of your environment. So, let's move those things away from it. And, now, this place, here, this is where I wanted to go. I saw this great documentary. I don't remember what it was called. But, the guy was saying you can eat whatever you want. That's what he would tell his clients. Anything you want, chocolate cake, whatever, as long as you cook it all yourself from scratch. And then, all of a sudden, it's like, “Nah, not really interested anymore.” So, I think that's a great way to start first.
And, this is something that I've done myself is, alright, I don't want to feel that horrible depression, because that's something that I tend to do, is get really depressed when I overeat and I feel bloated I just curl up, close the door, I don't want to talk to anybody, the exact opposite of my personality. And so, I have to work extra hard to keep that out of my life because I want to maintain effectiveness, I want to still be useful to the people around me. So, I removed it from my environment.
And then, the other thing I really like that you said is learn about it. Well, actually why? Other than it making me feel bad, what is really happening? What could be an issue? So, Willow, you're 6. You may not know that this is going to be an issue for you now, but look what will happen. And, now you have a fully functioning brain to make a decision on your own.
So, you're already leading into my last question, which is really cool. Before I move on to it, though, is there anything else you wanted to add to it? Because I really appreciate the wisdom there.
Ben: I think that, well, there are a variety of things that we've done from an educational standpoint, I, of course, have entire podcasts about, including one with the author of an excellent book called “Unschooling to University,” but I've gone through a lot of books, like “Unschooling to University” or the book “Free to Play,” the book “Free Range Kids,” the book “Let Them Play,” and really organize their entire education around it being a self-directed and largely experiential-based education. We pay attention to their passions and interests and desires in life. We surround them with as many tools and books and mentors and teachers and tutors and excursions that allow them through, preferably, as much of a non-book, non-curriculum-based way and more of a real-life, hands-on way to fuel those passions and interests and desires. And then, we simply step back and foster and love their immersion in what it is that they've expressed interest in, which I think is a really, really great way, especially going into a future where automation and artificial intelligence has replaced what factory workers and an outdated educational system is designed to do, and instead allowed for the formation of more creative, free-thinking, independent, and resilient young humans. That model, I think works, quite well.
There are certain things that they don't know. They don't know what they don't know. We make sure that we go out of their way to teach them math. Even though they don't wake up in the morning begging to learn math, they go to an online math class called Mathnasium a couple of times a week. Or, say, for something like learning a language, they don't wake up in the morning really wanting to learn a foreign language but we have them immersed in Spanish lessons just because I think it's important and very expanding for the neuroplasticity of a young human's brain to be able to be familiar with a language, in our case, other than English. And so, this whole idea of a self-directed and largely experiential education, when paired with that idea of parenting with a love and logic approach, I think, is a really, really great way to raise a young human.
Joe: I love it. You already answered that last question. And, just to clarify for people that are listening out there, I was going to ask, what do you do to prevent making what I call a common mistake of over-pressuring your children? So, I felt that, as a young kid, my dad, his intentions were great. He wanted me to get on the baseball team. But, it was overpressure where it became negative pressure. But, ultimately, he was trying to develop me into a strong responsible capable man. Another thing, I learned how to play music because my dad would make us sit up in front of the church until we figured out how to play because we went to a church when we were younger that didn't have any music. We would just sit there and sing. And so, they had a piano. And, my dad said, “You're going to sit here until you can learn how to play.” Me and my brothers learned how to play by ear because we didn't have an option. We were forced into it. And, though, something beautiful came out of it, I love playing music and it's one of my great expressions for the way I'm feeling and to recalibrate myself, it started in a very over-pressured environment. So, you've already answered that. And, I think I could summarize it myself.
Ben: While we're talking now, my sons are upstairs in guitar lessons. They didn't ask to play guitar. I literally said, “Hey, are you guys interested in guitar?” “Nope.” Would you be game if I had an instructor come over to the house one time to take you through a guitar lesson and trying it out? “I guess so.” And, now, they're five weeks into guitar lessons and loving it and grabbing my guitar from the corner of the living room even when their guitar teacher isn't over to mess around with playing songs.
And, again, parental-based demonstration and authenticity is important here, too. They've seen me sit down on the piano in the past month and dink around on that trying to learn how to play the piano. So, they see dad going out of his way to sound dumb on a musical instrument and eventually actually make music and realize, “Hey, when you first start off, it's ugly and you may not love it. But, as you begin to progress and attain some amount of mastery and eventually get to a state from of conscious or unconscious competence all the way to unconscious competence in an activity, it's quite rewarding.” And then, it allows you to turn around and bless others and be more impactful in life with that skill. So, absolutely.
Joe: That's really great. And, I think that's a great example of–even in the fitness world, you start out and you're like, man, I'm not going to be any good at this. And, you start to make these slow adjustments diet. I really like Mark Sisson's longevity ideas. I don't go to the gym. I just lean on my counter and do 30 of these. Man, that's awesome. Just those small actions that you're doing. And then, slowly, you start to just build this world around supporting that ideal, which is I'm a pretty good musician now because I spend time doing it.
Well, I really appreciate you spending the time. I know we're getting close now. So, I got one question. My wife said I have to ask you this one. If you were any animal in the world, she'd say, “What animal would Ben want to be? And, why?”
Ben: Alright. Actually, this is going to sound the Stahl Tactic. I do have the response for you. But, before I give you the answer, I want to put a pretty little loop on a couple of things, or a ribbon on a couple of things. First of all, related to that idea of letting a kid be a kid, I think all of us parents experience some amount of angst or frustration or impatience when we discover some new or important book or teaching or resource or method and we want to share it with our kids so they could learn that same wisdom or skill early in life for their future impact or success, and at the same time we know or sense it could threaten to overload them with too much, especially at their age, we might wrestle with the notion that introducing a child to cryptocurrency investing or breathwork or those three great philosophy books we read last month or the new recipe we've just discovered, etc., could potentially distract them from enjoying just being a kid, like building a tree fort in the backyard or throwing snowballs or reading a comic book. And so, we have to deal with this balance of passing valuable knowledge and wisdom onto our kids while at the same time not creating a scenario in which they're worried too much about or distracted too much by this constant stream of information and so-called adulting and how do we strike a balance between letting a kid be a kid versus nudging them towards responsible adulthood and the attainment of valuable wisdom.
And, for me, one of the ways I tackle that is, once a week, I'll take at least one book. I typically read three to five books a week. And, I'll take at least one of those books. And, with all the pages folded over and all my highlights and my notes, I'll put it out on the table, and I basically reward my sons, typically, I'll pay them or take them out to a restaurant or buy them a book of their choice on Amazon or whatever, if they go through that book and within a week write me a simple one-page book report on what they've learned.
And, I think, for me, that works. It's like, well, they're doing everything they do as a kid, but just once a week they're reading a book given to them by dad. And, when combined with the things like me taking through the spiritual disciplines in the morning and self-examination in the evening and them just basically getting exposed naturally and organically to some amount of wisdom that I'm passing on to them, that structured wisdom from a book. And, sometimes, it actually is a documentary. Sometimes, it is a video. And, sometimes, it is a book. It depends. Most of the time, it's a book. But, that's allowed me to 57 weeks–It's 57 weeks, right? Am I blanking on that? 57 weeks in a year, yeah? You should know this, Joe. Is it 57 weeks a year? However many books in a year they're reading, 50-plus books a year, I think, is a pretty good start. And, it doesn't seem to overload them. So, I was thinking about that as we were wrapping up and thought I'd share that little tip with folks and strike that balance.
Joe: I really appreciate it. You're right. You're really getting to the heart of the question there. I found myself doing this in classes of SERE students that would come through. Hey, why don't you know how to do that? Where it's this is their first week with me. I've already put six classes through or four classes through. And, this guy's like, “Well, Sergeant, you never taught me how to do that.” Right, we got to start the beginning with you. And so, you're really narrowing down how to do that. That's a great little tip. And so, I'm going to listen to this podcast again to extract more of the data out of it. But, yeah, I really appreciate you spending the time. But, you have to answer that last question.
Ben: So, last question. Our family did a three-day getaway in Utah with a guy who specializes in helping a family develop their family playbook, their legacy, their family constitution, their family colors, their family logo, even their family crest. We're having a crest design that's going to hang above our fireplace that ties in all of our family values and things we love to do together. It's a visual representation of the Greenfield family, what we live for, and what we envision as our legacy, how we want to change the world, the Greenfield family mission statement. It's all organized in this giant playbook. But, as a part of that experience, his name is Rich Christiansen–And, what I'll do, because we're going to put this out on my podcast, is, in the shownotes, which are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/JoeAndBen. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/JoeAndBen, I'll find a link to Rich's stuff because he does some of this stuff online. Some people fly out to Utah to do it with him. But, part of that involved, all of our family identifying our spirit animals.
My wife say she's a dolphin. My son, Terran, is a white wolf. My son, River, is a gray fox. And, I am actually, because I value the idea of this fierce, autonomous, hard-to-kill mentality and aura that this animal represents, but in the same way, this animal also is a pack animal and is also interdependent on a tribe and can't necessarily survive on its own, so it's hard to kill, it's independent, it's resilient, it's creative, but it's also interdependent upon others, and so needs certain amount of love and social life and family life, etc., it's a gray wolf. Gray wolf is my spirit animal.
Joe: Well, there it is, Laura. I got it. She's very fascinated by you. It's really funny how similar Jess and Laura are together. And, I feel like you and I, I'm not at all comparing myself to you, but I think I have a similar energy. And so, when I hang out with her and I talk about this stuff, she's like, “Oh, my gosh.” And, I noticed Jess has some of the same comments to you. So, it's hilarious, though. I think she was just really curious what your animal was.
Ben: That's awesome. Well, I feel like we probably could have talked Joe for a long time. And, I'm hoping this at least gives people a little glimpse into routines and rituals and habits. And, I always enjoy getting put in the hot seat by a badass, by United States Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape specialist. So, I've learned a lot from you in different ways. And so, thank you, Joe.
And, again, I'll put this up for folks–If you're listening in and you just have follow-up comments or your own stuff to add or maybe some wisdom that you want to pass on to Joe because Joe is a young man in Italy with a young family just basically really trying to be as responsible and capable as possible in terms of setting up both himself and his family to be productive and impactful, as you can tell from this podcast, drop in. And, if you have your own tips to add or questions or information to share or resources for Joe or for me, because we can all learn from each other, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/JoeAndBen. And, drop your comments there. And, Joe and I will be able to read through them. And, I just love to keep the conversation going.
Joe: I've got a couple more, for sure, but I have to put them together.
Joe: Thanks, again, Ben. I really appreciate you spending the time.
Ben: Alright, Joe. Well, catch you on the flip side. And, thanks for the interview.
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I recently got put in the interviewee hot seat by my friend Joseph Apolinar, a United States Air Force SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) specialist.
Whether it’s in the desert, the arctic, at sea, in the jungle, or as a prisoner of war, airmen must be prepared to survive, evade, resist, and escape any situation. And it’s the SERE specialists' mission to train them. These experts know how to survive in the most remote and hostile environments on the planet. It’s up to them to make sure that when a mission doesn’t go as planned, the airmen involved are ready for anything and can return with honor.
So Joseph Apolinar is kinda a badass and even visited my property in Spokane, Washington to take me and my sons through a pretty epic, personalized wilderness survival course.
But this podcast isn't about survival.
It's about me.
Joseph Apolinar wanted to get a glimpse of my environment, to expose himself to some words or ideas that may offer insight to better my life in business, with family, and in life, and to learn how I am productive, how I schedule and live the average day, and the routines, rituals, habits that I depend upon for success and impact.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Thoughts on maintaining balance in your life…08:30
- You are who you hang out with
- Traeger grill
- Dry Farm Wine
- How you spend your days is how we spend your life
- Self-examining thoughts via a journal
- You affect others when you improve your own life
- BGF podcast with Rick Rubin:
-Why Ben begins his productive day very early in the day…13:56
- Wake at 4:30-5:00 a.m.; no alarm; wake when the body wakes
- Map out the day the night prior
- Sleeping and walking (or praying) on problems
- Care for one's body and spirit at the beginning of the day
- Do less productive things in the evening; go to bed early if you're done with the day's work
- Self-care; Ayurvedic routines in the morning
- BGF podcast with Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya:
- Tackle the most important items first thing
- Reactive tasks (involves other people) mid-morning thru the afternoon
-How Ben maintains balance with work structure and family/friend relationships and obligations…26:44
- Sacrifice for others (Jesus is the best model to follow)
- Spiritual Disciplines Journal
- Highly protective of assigned time for productive tasks (early morning)
- My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
- Schedule important things such as intimate time with wife and children
- Outsource more mundane tasks such as mowing the lawn; hire an assistant
- The 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
- BusyCal app
- You sacrifice some things in order to be more impactful in other ways
- KetoFast by Dr. Joseph Mercola
- Work doesn't feel like “work” when you're living a self-actualized life and career
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Rent Ubers rather than a car while traveling so you can work in the back seat of the car
-How controlling your diet affects your productivity…49:40
- Educate family on proper nutrition decisions and the consequences of decisions
- Keep no food in the house one would consider a “cheap” or “junk” food
- Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster Cline
- Very few non-negotiable rules in the family
- Your kids are more likely to listen to you if you walk the walk
- “Eat whatever you want…as long as you cook it yourself” – Michael Pollan
- Books on education:
- BGF podcast with Judy Arnall:
- Mark Sisson's The Secret to Health & Longevity: Are You Following the 10/90 Rule?
-The one animal Ben would choose to be, and why…1:07:18
- Rich Christiansen of Legado Family (use code BEN40 to save 40%)
- Ben would be a grey wolf – a hard-to-kill, fierce, autonomous but a pack animal
-And much more!
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar
Resources from this episode:
– Joe Apolinar:
- The Perfect 11-Minute Morning Routine: How To Make Your Day Better By Using Ancient Ayurvedic Principles To Optimize Your Morning Routine with Dr Bhaswati Bhattacharya.
- How To Lose 131 Pounds By Eating Meat: The Rick Rubin Podcast
- The Ultimate Guide To Unschooling: Top Tips To Create Free-Thinking, Resilient, Creative Young Humans Who Can Thrive In A Modern World with Judy Arnall.
- My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
- The 4-hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
- KetoFast by Dr. Joseph Mercola
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster Cline
- Unschooling to University by Judy Arnall
- Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
- Let Them Play by Denita Dinger
- Free to Learn by Peter Gray
– Other Resources:
- Spiritual Disciplines Journal
- Traeger Grill
- Dry Farm Wine
- Tongue Scraping
- Oil Pulling
- BusyCal App
- Mark Sisson's The Secret to Health & Longevity: Are You Following the 10/90 Rule?
- Rich Christiansen of Legado Family (use code BEN40 to save 40%)
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