Expanding Your Focus: Reflections on 2020

So with all the great shows about diet, fitness, healthy living, what’s interesting to reflect upon as the year comes to an end is what is beyond nailing all the logistics and practical application. You know how to sleep, eat, and exercise, and it’s not always easy or on point, but we must also realize that it’s not the whole picture.

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is learn how to manage our thoughts and emotions. This is crucial as it allows us to try to escape flawed subconscious programming, so we can live in a happy state, in the present. Some of my most memorable interviews are the ones that went in that direction. From Mark Manson to John Gray to Dave Rossi (who also turned the tables by interviewing me for once!), here are some of my favorite takeaways from the most unforgettable conversations I had on the B.rad podcast this year:

“Self worth is an illusion, a façade. Focusing on self-worth, reputation, etc. is a form of persistent, low-level narcissism. Maintain an identity that is defined by as little as possible, instead seeing your life as a series of decisions and actions.” This wonderful quote comes from worldwide #1 bestselling author Mark Manson, author of the hit book, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*&k, who I had the pleasure of interviewing earlier this year. Our conversation was full of numerous mind-blowing insights, and one of the most powerful things Mark said was that it is important to recognize patterns within yourself, and also realize that, “You can’t control the outcome, but you can control how you handle it.” This resonated deeply with me, as the number one lesson that I personally had to learn as an athlete was to not attach my self esteem to the outcome, because I found that if I was able to free myself from that, I felt absolutely fearless.

One thing I think about every single day are John Gray’s essential male and female relationships assignments. It’s a simple, powerful way to keep things happy and peaceful. Men: do not speak if you have a negative emotional charge. That’s right, shut the f*ck and go off and do testosterone boosting activities. Women: never complain or nitpick. Even small things will bug the crap out of your man. Instead, express everything as a preference. Your man wants to be the hero in your story. John frames it this way: “Women, don’t be questioning men. They don’t like it.” The reason why is because it raises their estrogen and gets them agitated. On the other hand, John actually recommends that men ask more questions of their women and seek to understand them better, because women want to be understood.

I also got to have a wonderful conversation about gratitude and goals with Luke Storey, who echoed Mark’s sentiments by saying, “I just focus on what I can control, which is putting in the work. What I can’t control are the results of that work.” Luke went on to explain the importance of finding things to feel genuine gratitude about in the present: “I have to first ground in the gratitude for what I have right here. Otherwise, I just know I’m going to get to the next level and bust my ass to get there, and then be that guy who’s still not satisfied.” 

Speaking of the importance of being present and grounded, Scott Carney was a phenomenal guest to have on the show. His book The Wedge, opens with this quote: “Life is all about stress and choices. And The Wedge is a choice that separates stimulus from response. We do not have to react in these pattern ways that we’ve learned throughout our lives.” Of course, it is no secret that I am a huge fan of cold therapy; it’s an integral part of my morning routine, so I had a great time hearing Scott share so many insights about the benefits of discovering the space between stimulus and response, the most life-altering being the fact that you can truly become a more resilient person though this practice. Scott also illuminated things in a really clear way for those who may feel trepidation about going outside their comfort zone by saying, “Instead of having increasingly narrow areas where you’re comfortable by stressing, by putting yourself in stressful situations, and then relaxing in those stress situations, you expand the boundaries of where you are comfortable. And that’s the goal. Now your boundaries have expanded,” instead of your feelings of comfort expanding. Scott also said something that really stuck in my mind as it is applicable to so many areas in life: “The secret is that by putting yourself out there, the world opens up to you.” 

And as always, I got to enjoy some great talks with Dave Rossi, three-time podcast guest and author of The Imperative Habit. My interviews with Dave are always peppered with countless groundbreaking insights throughout the conversation and this year was no exception. One of my favorite pieces of advice he gave on the show was: “Don’t complain! When you complain verbally, this will wire neural pathways in the direction of these negative ideas you express.” Dave also made the important point that you should not suppress your emotions, because, “you should learn to experience them without having to react.” Sure, maybe it’s easier (in the short-term) to ignore our emotions, but it is only through feeling our emotions and experiencing them, that we are able to grow and evolve. Because again, it all comes down to what you can control. You can control only the work you put in, but not the outcome. You can control how you react, but not how others react. And it’s important to remember that not reacting is a perfectly fine (and sometimes the best) kind of reaction. Remember John Gray’s wise words: “90% of the things we get emotional about are an overreaction.”

To end with one last inspiring (and thought-provoking!) quote from Dave to carry with us and consider as we head into the new year: “Choose behaviors that get you closer to your goals. If you’re not doing that, you’re not living consciously.”

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!


Brad Kearns
Brad Kearns
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