Dimensions of Happiness

happiness-pleasure-karl drogba

Hello,

today’s video is one of my favorites because I dig into happiness and break down the different kinds of happiness, from pleasure to joy, to happiness and then bliss. Studying fitness, psychology, philosophy, mind science, spirituality, and doing meditation for the past decade, I spent a lot of time understanding various levels of happiness.

Sigmund Freud, the father of western psychology said that what we call being normal, being healthy is general unhappiness. This is what being normal is about, hence why so many of us, even when healthy are looking for something more, let’s call it true happiness.

I think if you learn to differentiate the various types of happiness, you will have a better idea of how to navigate your life and reach higher levels of emotional maturation and happiness while reducing levels of suffering in your life, physical and mental. As you will see, higher levels of happiness have less downside. For example, drug addiction to cocaine provides a lot of pleasure, but at what cost, because the level of suffering is pretty high.

Every month, I make a theme video, one video that is longer and focused on a specific subject. In previous months, I made one called thinking in systems, another one called LSD, Molly and Weed… and another on Racism.

Since we are in the heart of the holiday season, I choose a video on happiness for this month. In the past few years, I became less enthusiastic, less excited and happy about the holiday season and to an extent, to every holiday of the year. Because I want more…why increase my happiness only during holidays like a puppet, why not reach a stable state of inner peace and long-lasting happiness every day. Why settle for less?

There are only 11 public holidays in the US every year, and you see some people who are so happy in the days leading to holidays. They call it the holidays spirit, or just another marketing slogan to get people to spend more money.

But you also have the TGIF people, who thank god it’s Friday…but in actuality, this is an insult to god, he created 7 days and you are so happy for only one day, Friday, and then maybe Saturday. Please don’t bring God into this, it’s not his fault if you cannot be happy 365 days a year, you are setting your own limits.

Then lastly you have those I call the weather people, whose emotion shifts or swing, according to the weather outside, cold, dark, rainy, they are sad, moody, low energy…then as soon as the weather is better, boom, they are ecstatic, they cannot stay inside, they have to go out, meet with friends, they cannot focus at work…they become hyper extroverted, life is good as long as the weather is good.

From the Holiday people to the TGIF and the Weather people, all of them fit into the category of sensory pleasure, the lowest form of happiness you can reach. And this is what I told my mom during a conversation to move away from, go toward higher levels of happiness because what we call pleasure don’t last, we get used to it quickly and crave for more. In the worst-case scenario, some become addicted to sensory pleasure.

If you want to reach emotional maturation and higher states of happiness, your happiness cannot be at the mercy of what day of the week it is, or thanksgiving, or a warm and sunny weather. To me, that doesn’t look like happiness, more like emotional slavery, because you are not in control of your happiness. Emotional maturation is the only true freedom.

Before going further, here are the 4 groups of happiness from the lowest to the highest levels I will dig into:

You have Sensory pleasure, what we all call pleasure..like eating an ice cream
Then you have Joy, which is a form of mental pleasure, like achieving a goal
Then you have True Happiness, which is a deeper level of Joy, joy is like the wave, true happiness is like the ocean at deeper levels
Then you have the highest states of happiness like inner-peace and bliss. Basically, a state of happiness that is neither physical nor mental, it’s like a form of happiness at the core of your soul, at your center, which when developed, never leaves you.

Now, I will break each one so you can understand these different dimensions of happiness and decide which ones you already experienced and how high you want to go. Dimensions of happiness is the right word because they are not all located at the same level of your being.

When you deconstruct who you are, you can observe how you are made of a physical body, a mind, and something being your mind. The observer of your thoughts and mind, the one who experiences.

This is the reason you say, my body hurts, the body is part of you but not you…or you say, I feel sad, you are experiencing an emotion, but the emotion is not you.

This witness aspect of who we are is called consciousness, some people call it the soul or spirit. Each of the three parts that make you YOU have an associated form of happiness. It’s very important to understand this.

Spirituality, in the right form, and now positive psychology are both focused on happiness at the level of your spirit, your soul, your consciousness.

The lowest form of happiness is the one we share with animals: Sensory pleasure. Reflect a bit on this and you will see that what we call pleasure, some call it happiness, only comes when one of our 5 senses is triggered in the right way. This is why it’s called sensory pleasure.

We have 5 senses…which can lead to 5 types of sensory pleasure you can experience. I will go over some examples of each so you can see them in your daily life. The goal is to become more aware of what kind of happiness you experience every day.

Listening to some good music can lead to pleasure, we feel happy…So it’s a sensory pleasure via Hearing…

Having Sex or Dancing can also lead to pleasure..we feel happy…So it’s a sensory pleasure via touch

Then eating some delicious food, we also feel good, happy…So it’s a sensory pleasure via taste

Watching a good tv show, looking at someone who beautiful, or arts, some beautiful landscape can lead us to feel some type of pleasure…this happens via the sense of sight

Smelling some good food, or an amazing perfume..or the fragrance of nature in the spring, in a park or a forest, can also lead to sensory pleasure via the sense of smell.

As you can see, there are many, many ways to reach sensory pleasure, and in many cases, like food, all our senses are triggered: sight, smell, and taste are involved in eating.

Dancing to some good music, you have touch, actually, here it’s called proprioception which is almost a 6th sense that is combined with hearing…

We also experience sensory pleasure from the three actions we perform in life. Thinking, Speaking, and Acting physically. We can generate some sensory pleasure using these three actions every day.

Now, it’s important to realize that we live at a time where sensory pleasures is our God, capitalism combined with technological achievements made by cheap energy enables billions of people to access happiness via sensory pleasure.

Pleasure via eating, pleasure with technological gadgets like the TV, traveling on a plane or car all around the world to experience new things, eye candy landscapes or exotic food…pleasure via dressing up, pleasure via sex, pleasure via entertainment, music, and things of that nature.

Our ancestors did not have access to the level of wealth we currently have in the world. Our current economies led billions of people out of poverty, where basic human needs are covered. There are still billions of people who don’t have daily access to food, shelter or water, but capitalism helped many come out of the survival mode of living.

Technological innovation from capitalism led to machines and then overproduction. We went from covering all our basic needs to having too much stuff. Then many people thought… the more the better, so our society and the world created a new religion… Consumerism, which is basically triggering sensory pleasure with new stuff…over and over and over again.

Binging on food, binging on relationships, binging on tv shows, traveling all over the world, having the freshest clothes, 50.000 songs on your old iPod now collecting dust, 100K images on your phone…we live in an era of sensory gratification to the max.

Yet some people were not satisfied with all this stuff, so they discovered ways of pleasure from ingesting chemicals or natural plants to trigger their senses directly, either to spice up their weekend, recreationally or in the worst-case scenario, by becoming addicted to drugs.

Next thing you know, business was booming for drug cartels and drug dealers…Depression and pandemics led to billion-dollar profits for tobacco and alcohol corporations. Al Capone, El Chapo, Escobar, they all provided sensory pleasure just like Mcdonald’s and Disney does. They are all in the same business.

I can go on and on about different types of sensory pleasure but that’s not the aim of this video. I just want to share with you what I started to realize, that all this sensory pleasure, all this technological stuff gave me a superficial, short-lived type of happiness and pleasure. I remember back in college… you get the new Jordan, you feel cool and happy for a second before hunting for another shoe, chasing again. You become a fashion victim, another word for emotional slave.

You don’t need to be Einstein to realize that every form of happiness via sensory pleasure, from sex to delicious food or watching Queen’s Gambit on Netflix comes and goes faster than a shooting star, and we are left wanting more. As I said in the video on needs, we go from empty to full, full to empty. Sensory pleasure binds you in a loop your entire life.

What’s worse is that the more you trigger your sensory pleasure, the less pleasure you get in return. You reach a point of diminishing return, also called down-regulation in the brain.

So there are two limits to sensory pleasure, one is that pleasure doesn’t last long…Second is that you experience less pleasure over time from the same stimulation. So you have to either up your dosage or increase quantity, which radically reshapes your brain chemistry. At that point, your baseline happiness is pretty low. You are now a perfect consumer.

Once you realize the limits of sensory pleasure, the limits of consumerism, and endless consumption, you can now look for higher forms of happiness.

So let’s talk about Joy, which is a form of psychological, mental happiness. Less dependent on physical pleasure. First, notice the difference between sensory pleasure and mental pleasure I label as Joy here. You can physically be tired, yet because you just reach a big goal, you access a state of mental joy that overpower your physical fatigue.

For example,in the final of a championship, the winning team is tired, if not more tired than the losing team yet they are so happy, because of joy which is mental, not physical.

Now, if you construct your life in a way that you are aiming at Joy more than at sensory pleasure, you will access a better, more stable and long-lasting form of happiness. And this is where finding your purpose in life, meaning, or the right job that stimulates you mentally is so important.

This is why Nietzsche said, “If you know the why, you can live anyhow.” There is something magical about having meaningful goals in life because it makes you endure the grind of daily life…Endure is the wrong word here because so many people love the hard work that leads them to their goals, like a sword master polishing his sword day after day.

Or even better, finding your calling, where money to buy sensory pleasure is not as gratifying as perfecting your skills… because you found your WHY to exist. This is how some doctors can work barely sleeping, with so much to manage yet be upbeat and happy every day. You hear that from athletes sometimes, that god put them on earth to play this or that sport. They have purpose.

Now, there are still downsides to mental joy from having goals and finding meaning in your life, but the downsides are less destructive than sensory pleasure. It’s important you first realize that Joy is 100 times more powerful than sensory pleasure because it allows you to become less dependent on triggering physical pleasure every day.

You will be happy even if your senses are not triggered to release pleasure like hormones in your body…Joy helps you stay relatively happy even if the weather is not optimal, if your food is just alright, or if you don’t look your best today. Because you have purpose.

Let’s go over the downsides of mental Joy. First, not everyone can find meaning in life, there are now close to 8 billion people on earth, so not everybody does what they really want to do every day.

Second, you have people who had something meaningful, goals in life that pulled them in the space of mental joy but they were not able to reach those goals, or what gave them meaning is gone. So what to do, many people end up facing various levels of depression and anxiety after losing things that gave them meaning, a divorce, the loss of someone, losing a dream job, becoming physically limited, losing children or pets.

Because what gives up purpose and meaning can fade away or disappear, a whole philosophy emerge in Europe 200 years ago and thousands of years ago in Asia. It’s called existentialism and then Nihilism. Individuals, philosophers, and mystics who realized that life, from a certain point of view, was meaningless.

This is illustrated by the famous story of Sisyphus by Albert Camus the french philosopher, where meaning in life is equated to pushing a big boulder to the top of the mountain to have it fall down again, we end up repeating this story our entire lives.

You have people who get their dream job, they feel so happy it’s like they can levitate because reaching your goals and finding meaning can uplift you. Yet after a while, even some of the best jobs in the world can become meaningless. You fall back down to earth. And it’s very common for people who lost mental joy to fall into sensory pleasure and worse, addictions.

Addiction to drugs, addiction to food, many people who lost meaning and purpose use addiction to cope with the loss of joy, trying to fill this void.

But they are other levels of happiness you can reach, it’s really up to you. The next one is True, unconditional happiness, one that does not depend on endless physical pleasure or having goals and meaning in your life. Hence why I call it unconditional happiness, it’s not dependent on something external.

Of course, you need some basic needs covered…like food, water, and shelter. But beyond that, you don’t need much to be happy because your baseline state in life is happy. It’s almost absurd, how can someone be happy for no reason, yet it’s what true happiness is all about. Sadly, in today’s consumerism culture, billions of people don’t know that this state is possible.

As you might know, some people in life have genuine happiness that other people don’t have. Genetics might play a role here. Some people are somewhat always upbeat, always optimistic. But everybody can reach this state of true happiness, which way deeper than Joy and last longer because there is a true transformation of your mind, just like lifting weight build muscle.

This state of true happiness stays in your shadow, like an undercurrent…Whether you are experiencing difficulties in life, mentally or physically, if you have true happiness, you can always tap into it and change your mood back to this baseline. You bounce back easily.

Now, the recipe for developing true happiness is simple, yet simple is not easy. The answer is emotional maturation, which is the result of maximizing positive mind states and emotions while burning toxic emotions.

We humans arrive in the world with seeds of positive and negative emotions. Joy is an emotion like anger, and we can amplify those seeds, you can destroy roots of jealousy in you and magnify joy, amplify discipline, detachment, enthusiasm, equanimity, reduce reactivity and hatred.

True happiness is similar to a healthy body. For your body to be healthy, you need fitness and nutrition. For your mind to reach true happiness, you need mental fitness, which leads to peak wellness, blossoming.

Now in the context of being in shape, losing weight, eating healthy, you can see how beneficial accessing true happiness within the mind can be. You are more likely to eat healthy and stay fit because your happiness is not entirely dependent on sensory pleasure, especially food.

Yet, beyond true happiness, lies another realm. For thousands of years, this dimension was in the domain of mystics, individuals who are spiritual in the right sense. Mass religion is fake and superficial, is about culture, identification with a group, and sharing some common values. But the core of spirituality is focused on raising your state of happiness to the highest level, or better yet, returning to your core, your center, your essence.

To put it simply, over the past five thousand years, some people realized that there are states of being that one can achieve by digging within, going deeper, like peeling the layers of an onion, and finding out that what we are, our essence, it’s spaciousness, at the core of the onion. And there is a feeling associated with this realization, ultimate happiness.

I called this video dimension of happiness because physical happiness gives you pleasure, mental happiness gives you joy, then deeper, true happiness. But if you stay seated in the observer seat, you immediately access a state of inner calm with a cool, zen-like happiness. You are not lost in the movies of your mind anymore, falling victim to short-lived emotions and sensory pleasure.

And that state of being is available right now, it’s just a matter of returning to your original state of being. There is an African word for that called Sankofa, meaning, go back and get it. Hence Jesus saying the kingdom of heaven is within you.

It’s up to you, thank you

 

Holidays Fat Gainzzz

weight loss-nturition-fitness

Holidays Fat Gains

Hello,

In this video, I will speak about holiday fat gains, and how this bad habit of gaining a couple of weight in the winter holiday season can set you on track to no just become overweight or obese, but to suffer greatly when entering old age.

I read yesterday that from the age group of 50 to 64 years old, 75% of the population are using prescription drugs, and they subscribe to 13 different drugs on average…for the age group of 64 to 79, 87% are on prescription drugs, averaging 20 different drugs. That’s staggering. Think about how many of them regret those holidays binging on food, I don’t think many do. It’s the Yolo lifestyle I guess.

It’s ironic that the holiday season leads millions of people to suffer in the long term. And also, we will talk about the mindset people fall into by all the sudden overeating during the holidays, does the winter weather play a role here? I think it does. So let’s get into it.

First thing first, we have to understand that the holiday season, from a business perspective, it’s the money-making month for a lot, a lot of industries.

The fashion industry, the airplane industry, the food industry, the video game industry, the insurance industry, the auto industry, the marketing industry, all these trillion-dollar industries make money, hand over first, during the holiday season, especially Christmas, and you are the ones making it happen. We have been programmed to enter buy/god mode when Jesus’ birth is around the corner. Every commercial has Santa Claus, elves, and some winter decorations to put you in the right temperature to buy. I guess that makes me the Grinch.

If you have the means to buy what you want, go for it, why not? But unleashing your food cravings in this holiday season will hurt you in the short and long term.

Every new year and throughout the month of January, I have friends reaching out to me, with the same old slogan: Karl, I’m sick and tired of being overweight, I got to do something about it, help me, this is the last time.

And all these people are on a clock, I know that by March, I won’t hear from them anymore, the best might last till April, then all the motivation will be gone. When you dig into human emotions, you realize that every positive emotion attracts the opposite emotion, like a pendulum clock. This is a great insight I learned from studying Taoism and Buddhism.

They say in order to become wise, one needs to stay in the middle of the pendulum, become zen-like in any situation, this is what the pimps call staying icy. Having ice in your veins, having control over impulsions is great, but you have to do it the right way, most people look icy outside but inside they are bubbling with emotion like lava.

The player that exemplifies this zen attitude in the NBA is Kawhi Leonard, or coach Bill Belicheck in the NFL, never low or high emotionally. This doesn’t mean you are numb and detached… no, it means you understand that the more you reach out and attach to a good emotion, you are indirectly attracting and becoming more sensitive to the opposite emotion. Like today, people think it’s torture to take cold showers, why? because attaching to hot showers made you extra sensitive to cold showers. Similarly, when it comes to food, it’s the same law, it’s logical that the following months after people binge on food, they suddenly go in the opposite direction with vengeance.

Gym memberships shoot through the roof in January. Every gym on earth, heaven and hell lower their prices for the month of January because they know, these new members are what they nickname Kevin Durant, easy money. They know you won’t last and will quit after two-three months. What I’m really saying here is that for many of you who will suddenly feel the urge, the compulsion to lose weight in January, this doesn’t come from you, you are being controlled by the pendulum swing of your emotion, like Pinocchio the puppet.

But one thing that will last after the new year is the weight you accumulated in the Holiday season, worse, if you reside in a really cold climate, you might enter the new year with a slight depression of your mood, what they call the winter blues.

Couple this with the fact that people wear a lot of layers in the winter, you are less concerned about people seeing you gain weight. So by spring, it’s very common for many people to have gained 10, 20, 30 pounds of weight. From Thanksgiving to April, you can go from a normal BMI to overweight or obese.

And this can create a snowball effect. When people realize that oops, the summer is around the corner, they all a sudden get a jolt of motivation to lose weight again, but it’s too late because if you really wanted to lose weight in order to look good for the summer, you need to start in December.

Now, why do people overeat so much during holiday seasons, well,I can tell you this, it’s not because they love Jesus. There are a lot of reasons, let’s go over some of them:

First, like the pendulum swinging on both sides without your will, the holiday season shows how much societal and peer pressure can affect people. Marketers and big corporations create this spirit, with lights, tons of commercials, the color red, big discounts, that people have the compulsion to consume, by buying stuff and eating more food.

Second, because of family gatherings. This is a huge reason why millions of people gain so much weight during holiday seasons, family gathering means lavish food, infinite desserts and bottomless drinks. I always say that one of the reasons why 70% of the population is overweight is because the majority of people don’t know how much food and calories they should eat to stay at a normal weight. So you can imagine what happens during holiday parties and gatherings. People who don’t know that they already overeat every day, going on multiple days of eating tons of calories and carb-loaded food.

And the third reason why people tend to gain a lot of weight during the winter holiday season is because of their internal mood, this is actually the number one reason. In the book I’m writing about Losing Weight Forever, my thesis is that losing weight and staying fit all year long is 99% mental. The ability of big corporations to influence your behavior, the effect of peer pressure and the holiday spirit, the family gatherings, all these would not affect you one bit if you had total control over your mind and emotion and more importantly, if you have a base happiness, from within, that was constant, without the need of endless sensory pleasure.

This time of the year would not affect you negatively, it might actually help you be more focused and reflective about what lies ahead, about your growth as a human being.

When the end of the year is about to come, we all start to reflect on the whole year, and we want to finish it on a good note, we want to feel good at the end of the year, so we please ourself, with shopping, with traveling, with eating.

One way to get out of this illusion is that time is man-made, it’s an illusion due to our inability to see reality as an infinite string. If Yesterday, today and tomorrow, were divided, can you see and show me where tomorrow is located and separated from today and yesterday, same thing with this year 2020 and next year 2021.

Look at yourself, can you see a sharp line of demarcation every year you celebrate your birthday…IM saying this to help you understand that time is timeless, and second, that you want to reach a mood that is beyond moods…Transcending basic emotions.

Reality is a process, so you too are a process, your current emotional state is the result of your past actions and can predict your future emotional states, your ability to become fit and healthy can start today.

The keyword here is CAN because right now, your present state if the result of your past actions, but with courage and effort, you can right now re-shape your future, it take a lot of mental energy and will to do it, then commitment to go all the way, because you have to stop the momentum of how you have been eating for so long, you have to initiate a new snowball to gather momentum moving forward.

It all starts within, it’s the end of the year, take some time to reflect, do you want to increase your true happiness within, grow emotionally and reach peak wellness or do you want to stay at the level of emotional pleasure and stay in a loop of thirst, from empty to full, full to empty. This is what buddha called being stuck in the realm of samsara until the end of times.

It’s up to you, thank you

 

Thinking in Systems

thinking in systems- nutrition- wellness-karldrogba

Are you thinking in system?

Hello, in today’s video, I will talk about one of the most important subjects I learned in my life so far. In a previous vlog, I talked about the phrase, “survival needs can never satisfy you”, and how that phrase completely changed my understanding of life. In the same manner, learning how system works, thinking in system,and looking at life from the viewpoint of systems, with parts, relationships being those parts, type of connections, transformed my life for the better. This is what I want to share with you today.

Understanding life in terms of systems is extremely relevant to human health, happiness and prosperity. After all, what you call you, it’s not actually a single entity, we have this illusion of self, but if you poke around, you realize that your body and mind is made of different systems layered one on top of each other.

Each with 100+ parts working together. The human body is one of the most complex machines known in the universe. People rave about beautiful complex watches, phones, cars, planes, but realize how your body, no machine can equal its complexity.

A commercial aircraft, plane, is made of 3 to 7 Million parts. Compare that to your body, how many cells are working so you stay alive and healthy? Around 70 trillion parts. When the body operates smoothly, trillions of cells and parts working seamlessly together, give you the illusion of one single entity.

Yet, as soon as you get sick, if some parts of this ecosystem malfunction, connections start to break down. Then you receive a notification, via a pain signal. Pain allows us to find out, something is wrong with the body system, and depending on your level of pain, you have to go to specific doctors who are specialized in one of the many systems in the body and mind.

When I say understanding the science of systems changed my life, it’s because every system obeys to some simple rules, and once you learn those rules to keep a system like the human body healthy, you feel like an emperor, because you now possess some skills to fix complex systems by focusing on key areas in this network, this web of life.

The Human body has 11 major systems. Yet you feel like, NO, I am one single unit, people say to me, Karl, don’t tell me I don’t exist, that this sense of self is an illusion. Sure, believe what you want to believe, but if I remove some aspect of your body, you cease to exist, you are not the same anymore. A small depression and boom, you don’t feel like yourself. Here are the 11 major systems in your body:

  1. The Blood circulation system
  2. The Digestive system
  3. The Endocrine system also called the hormonal system
  4. The Exocrine system…basically skin, hair, nails, and sweat
  5. Then the Immune and Lymphatic system
  6. The Muscular system
  7. The Nervous system
  8. The Renal and Urinary system
  9. The Respiratory system
  10. The Reproductive system and last but not least
  11. The Skeletal system

How amazing is this, these 11 major systems in the human body all function within their dimensions yet communicate with other systems to create a larger system you call YOU, ME, I.

You hear this popular phrase often, there are levels to this game. Meaning, like an onion, things in life have different layers of reality below the surface we see. And you find out that those who understand multiple levels in specific fields of life make more money than those who only understand things at the surface level. Hence we say, knowledge is power, because the right kind of knowledge pays. Emphasis on right kind of knowledge. Knowing all the pokemon in the world, good luck with that.

Compare a very young rapper to someone like Jay Z
Or a young Med student with a Surgeon with 20+ years of experience
Or an NBA rookie with a 10-time all-star.

This applies to the human body or a computer for example. The one who knows how to code softwares or websites will most likely make more than someone who only knows how to turn on a computer, join Facebook, navigate the web, and send emails. In the same manner, students who decide to learn about the human body and diseases become doctors, they spend a lot of time in school and doing fellowships at hospitals to understand the body systems. As the medical field progresses, more experts of specific human systems are needed.

If you have some muscle issue, a doctor who specializes on the digestive system cannot help you much. If you have some respiratory problems, a bone surgeon cannot help you much. Yet, when you are healthy, you feel like a king, you feel like you know how to be yourself, how to operate this complex spaceship. Yet as soon as we get sick, we realize quickly that, oops, we don’t know much about this mansion we claim ownership, people start to look left and right for a manual of operation, let me google and find out the answer now.

You have people eating junk food left and right, drinking alcohol like it’s a game show, and literally abusing their body every day. It’s just a matter of time before the body breaks down…So spend some time learning how your body functions and how to keep it healthy, vibrant, graceful.

Being healthy is when all the systems operating in your body and mind works smoothly without too much friction or failure.

First off, what is the definition of a system? A system is a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or network to accomplish a goal. Systems tend to follow principles and are organized in specific ways for the system to work in an optimal fashion.

Since the science is vast and this video cannot go on for 5 hours, let’s focus on some important aspects for you to understand System dynamics in a broad sense and improve your life right away.
Any system operates within some barriers and boundaries. The 11 systems in humans mentioned earlier are limited to the boundaries of your body. Within these boundaries, they operate following specific rules.

Now the system that follows rules of operation as best as possible, enters a state called homeostasis. A state of balance, which is optimal for performance and longevity. For example, a plane is composed of many systems and parts working together. When everything operates smoothly, the plane is at its best and can be used for 10,20+ years without major alterations.
Same thing with the human body, a computer or even a country. This is how words like balance, stability, or equilibrium are used so much in our daily lives. Because they point toward health. The health of a person, a country, a plane, or the planet earth depends on homeostasis, balance, yin, and yang.

Now, this is where it gets tricky, it’s that ecosystems with parts that are alive tend to have a lot of room for adaptation, for better or worse. A person who eats well and exercises often not only maintains balance and health but over time can increase the strength of the parts within the body and make it more robust to damage. This increased health can also slow down the rate of aging.

In the same fashion, a country, with better health can upgrade and build new roads, improve its healthcare system, have higher living standards, better education and increased overall happiness. These are positive effects from adaptations of biological systems.

But negative adaptation also happens, we need to be hyper-aware and awake to not let systems we care about degrade, from your body to your country. Cancer, Obesity, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, chronic back issues, insomnia, depression, anxiety, are symptoms or results of the human body systems degrading and adapting over time.

You eat too much food, your body finds a way to deal with it by storing this extra food in your fat cells, over time, those fat cells get larger and change your appearance, which affects other areas of your body and overall health.

Now, let’s go over FOUR parameters you can tweak, to keep your body and all these systems within, in balance, in a state of homeostasis, which will keep you healthy, vibrant and age with grace.
Systems can be improved for better of worse via:

Positive feedback loop
Negative feedback loop
Goals of the system
And the most important, the Paradigm this system lives by.

Let’s go over each one in terms of importance.

The most important parameters of a lever to control a system it’s the paradigm this system follows. While learning about system dynamics, paradigm and paradigm shift became part of my favorite words to use.

A paradigm is a worldview that affects the core of what a system is about, how it will behave. In order to radically change your lifestyle for the better, the most important parameter is your paradigm when it comes to fitness nutrition and health, your worldview.

The phrase eat to live or live to eat, it’s about two worldviews people choose to live their lives by. People with a healthy lifestyle follow a worldview that impacts how they behave every day, it’s their operating software. Think of paradigm as your operating software. Capitalism, socialism, are paradigms for countries, and why so many people pay a lot of attention to these economical paradigms.

You hear people who made life decisions in split seconds, and from that moment, they started living differently. Then when they look back, they can point exactly to that moment when they had a paradigm shift, when they adopted a different outlook of life. The victim mindset, it’s also a paradigm, under this outlook of the world, you will be under the dictatorship of people around you and your environment. So, out of the four parameters in this video, a paradigm is the most powerful tool to turn around a system, for better or worse.

Next, you have the goal of the system. The body as a system can have various goals, depending on you. A country, a company, a drug cartel, a sport team, all these systems understand the importance of having big goals and smaller goals in order to focus the entire systems made of parts and be able to track performance. Without clear goals, systems tend to fall into chaos. An organization implies an organized system, whereas a crowd, a mob, are not as organized and focused toward clear goals.

This is why you want to set goals when it comes to your health and fitness and make it as detailed as possible. You talk to some people looking to lose weight and you find out their desires, wants and thoughts are not in sync, not organized toward the same goals, where being healthy and fit is the foundation. Ask yourself if your mind is organized like a top corporation or is like a disorganized crowd when it comes to your lifestyle, nutrition and fitness? Next, you want to track your goals daily or weekly.

Then the last two variables that control the behavior of systems: Positive and Negative feedback loops.

A positive feedback loop is when an action performed in a system is rewarded, which will increase the likelihood of repeating this action in the future. A loop is created, a habit. Take a child and give him some McDonald or ice cream, as he performs the act of eating this type of food, he is rewarded in the brain by hormones of pleasure.

The child feels happy which might lead him to perform the same action in the future for the same reward of pleasure. This positive feedback loop applies to people with addictions. They enter positive feedback loops that reinforce their drug habits.

Now, take someone who follows a healthy lifestyle or just committed to losing weight, let’s call her Emily. At the beginning, it’s tough, but if she keeps at it,eating, exercising, Emily will eventually feel better, then a positive feedback loop will slowly start to develop.

Next, she might lose more weight to a point where people around her start to compliment Emily. These compliments are positive rewards that reinforce her healthy behavior, so the positive loop to eat healthy is reinforced. Then maybe 8-9 months, Emily coworkers and friends might ask her for advice to get in shape. This will strengthen her positive feedback loop when it comes to her healthy lifestyle.

In these examples, you see how positive loops are there to make a system continue doing what it’s already doing and even increase this behavior over time.The issue is that positive feedback loops can be bad or good for you.

You need to assess your life and find out what positive feedback loops, what habits you should break and what good ones you want to maintain or start doing. This is why you hear the phrase, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, because of the law of positive feedback loops.

This is why I’m convinced that great public education or access to private education for all is the best way to break the cycle of poverty in families or poor communities.

Now let’s look at negative feedback loops. If a positive feedback loop increases the likelihood of performing the same action in the future, negative feedback loops decrease the likelihood of performing an action in the future. The kid eating ice cream and liking it will most likely behave the same in the future, but the kid who sticks a fork in the electric outlet and is electrocuted won’t try this action again. So the electric shock acts as a negative feedback loop.

A negative feedback loop is something that stops a behavior from continuing. A speeding ticket or a ticket for crossing the red light are negative feedback loops. The goal is to penalize you so this behavior is not repeated.

A society that is well developed like the United States, which is also a system, uses a lot of negative feedback loops to maintain good behavior.

I used to have a lot of negative feedback loops to maintain good health. For example, I would weigh myself every day, and if my weight increased by 5lbs, which rarely happened, I would run 3-5 miles that day. This was a strong negative feedback loop to keep me accountable.

Another funny negative feedback loop to stay in shape is basically giving 100$ to your friend or better yet, to someone you dislike, every time you gain one pound of fat. Another one is fasting the next day if your weight went up by a certain amount.

So you can set up all types of negative feedback loops to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It will help you monitor your lifestyle.

A winter thermostat is a strong negative feedback loop to keep the house warm in the winter. If the temperature falls down to a level you are not comfortable with, the heater will kick in and raise the temperature automatically.

But negative feedback loops can also make you stay overweight or obese, or poor, or addicted to drugs. Because if you are poor, obese or addicted to drugs, what keeps you in those cycle are positive feedback loops.

For example, you love eating junk food and your behavior is always rewarded for the hormones of pleasure in your body after eating. Stopping via a negative feedback loop will be challenging, because it means, going into an uncomfortable situation.

Some poor and underdeveloped countries face this problem, they don’t want to go into austerity and work extremely hard like China or South Korea, in order to be developed in 20-40 years. So they stay stuck in a positive feedback loop that keeps them mediocre. They maintain habits that will keep everything the same.

The goal of this video was to share with you the science of how systems work, and how this can improve your understanding of life and impact your own life for the better. There are many, many ways to affect a system, for better or worse. I broke down 4 tools you can use to improve your body as a system, positive and negative feedback loops, the goals of the systems and the most important, the paradigm, which is the outlook on life that this system has. Now it’s up to you to learn more about system dynamics and use it in your current life, nutrition and fitness.

Needs Cannot Satisfy

needs-pyramind of needs-pleasure-nutrition-brain

Survival Needs cannot make you happy

Hello, in today’s video, I want to talk to you about one of the most important things I learned the past 30 years or so I have been alive. Have you ever reflected or wrote down what were the best nuggets of advice or even, skills you learned so far in life?

It’s a good exercise to practice and find out how those insights or skills changed you as a person, your outlook on life, or shifted your destiny for the better.

For me, one of those big insights was that NEEDS can never fulfill you, especially survival needs. I read it in a book a few years ago. At first, it didn’t jump out to me when I read it, then upon reflection, the meaning exploded in my head, it was like a revelation.

Let me say it one more time, needs can never fulfill you nor make you happy. Now let’s unpack this super-condensed wisdom and connect it with your nutrition, fitness, and wellness in life.

It’s important to understand this topic because billions of people who suffer from overeating and obesity do so because fundamentally, they believe that food makes them happy. But food is first and foremost a human need for survival, like going to the bathroom or drinking water. Once that is satisfied, more will not give you anything in terms of happiness and satisfaction.

Imagine going to the bathroom to relieve yourself but then, you keep going every hour, thinking you will feel better and better the more you use the bathroom, thinking it will make you happier.

The happiness you get from eating is only there when you are empty, like a phone battery. Nature triggers us to crave food because it’s so important for our survival, and we are rewarded with pleasure hormones when we feel up our battery. But once the battery is fully charged, more energy will not make you happier, worse, your health, physical and mental, will start to suffer.

Once you eat enough to be at a normal healthy weight, you need to shift your focus in life toward higher human needs, which I will talk about later in the video. But instead, many stay stuck in the survival needs dimension, looking to find happiness and pleasure by eating and eating and eating.

In the words of DJ Khaled, congratulations, you just played yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror, don’t you see that consuming more food is negatively impacting your life, your health and disturbing your happiness? That the more you eat past what you need, the worse you will look and feel?

When we talk about human needs, we must go back 50 years to get a broader perspective.
The pyramid of need is well known, developed by one of the father’s of positive psychology, Abraham Maslow in 1943 while writing about human motivation.

Basically, if you google image the pyramid of needs, you find out that Maslow made three large groups of human needs, From the most essential needs we cannot live without to less important needs”, those less important needs could be called strong human desires.

At the bottom of the pyramid, at the base, you have physiological needs, such as food, water, warmth, and rest. Then above that, you have safety needs like safety and security.

The rest of the pyramid at the top covers psychological needs and then self-fulfillment needs, what Maslov calls achieving one’s potential, not in terms of success, more in terms of emotional maturation, another term is blossoming or peak wellness which is the motto of my website.

But for this video, I am focusing on the most important human needs, what we also call survival needs, food, water, shelter, sleep, safety, and security. Now, this is where understanding this special insight that needs cannot make you happy is extremely important.

Notice how, a survival need is something you have to do in order to stay alive, not to be happy.

Sleep, water, shelter, food, safety, and security, once they are met, they will not provide you any more satisfaction in terms of raising your level of happiness.

There are many things in life that the more we do them, the happier we get. For example, learning to play a musical instrument, or improving your skills at work to get promoted, if you are a teacher, helping more students get better and see them do well in life, or an athlete improving his skills over time.

All these things can be called infinite games, meaning, there are so many levels you can climb that will reward your psychologically, in terms of happiness, doing something meaningful to you, and the sense of satisfaction that can come with it. It’s like going from level one to seven to twenty-two and you keep going up and up.

But when it comes to basic survival needs, there are not that many levels and mountains to climb.
Take sleep, it’s something extremely important to our survival, but sleep more than 8-9 hours max, and boom, you start feeling lethargic, your back may start to hurt. Stay in bed longer, like when you are sick or at the hospital and boom, your body starts to decay and muscle waste away. With not enough sleep, your body can start to die, with too much sleep, your body will also decay.

Now, listen carefully, survival needs work in circles, meaning, they go from fully charged to empty, and they trigger or manipulate you to move from these two poles. When you eat enough, you get rewarded, but only momentarily, because your food battery will start to empty out. You basically go from zero to one, back to zero, then to one, your entire life. This is how survival needs like water, food and sex work.

When you are thirsty, at zero, it triggers you to quench your thirst, again momentarily, until you get thirsty again. Take even sex, you have too much of it, it’s a problem, your energy is drained, you don’t have enough or none of it, you feel like you are going to explode. But when you explode, you go back to zero. You move in a circle. This is why some people feel like there is something missing in their lives.

Survival needs cannot fulfill you because they work circles, they get empty right after you satisfy them momentarily. So how can that make you happy long term?

It cannot really fulfill you. If food is your god, in terms of the control it has over you, emotional maturation, blossoming will be difficult to accomplish.

You have to find something in life where you can climb and go further, something you can add to your life to enrich you, physically, mentally, emotionally. More food cannot enrich you, if you try that, you become overweight and obese.

Explore uncharted territory. That reminds me of a quote from Jay Z, where he says, Young Carter, go farther, go further, go harder…Is that not why we came? And if not, why bother?

This is exactly what Jay Z has done his entire life, continue to move the goal post, and find uncharted territories to explore, new mountains to climb. Like millions before him, from Picasso to Beethoven or Einstein. These people are not there saying, I ate enough food, I’m happy but since I want to be happier, let me eat more food. No, once their food and other survival needs are covered, they use this energy to explore life and make it meaningful to them.

One feature about food is that it’s a cheap and easy way to press your pleasure button. So even when we are full, in healthy physical shape, many opt to consume more food because it will bring some joy, some excitement to their life, it becomes a drug. I often ask myself this question, if you remove extra food that makes billions of people overweight or obese, how exciting their day to day life would be.

Over drinking, overeating makes life exciting to some people. My take is that, I don’t want to lie to myself, like going to the same club over and over just because being drunk will make it exciting. Don’t blind yourself by overeating, look at your life sober, and ask yourself, are you satisfied, happy with it, in terms of meaning. Are you exploring an area of your life and going deeper into it?

When you find life goals and skills to develop, you become passionate about them. You hear people putting so much time perfecting their craft or exploring life that they forget to eat. To a point where it can become a problem.

Now, before we finish, it’s also important to know that it’s great to find hobbies and life goals that bring joy, meaning and a sense of fulfillment in your life, that will definitely move your focus away from indulging in food or other basic survival needs. But being fit and healthy is a fundamental human need, it’s a prerequisite to a happy life.

Make sure you allocate time to stay fit and eat healthy. Because we see people who solely focus on their career or hobbies, which fulfill them but their health starts to crumble because of negligence and not taking it seriously. We all need to find an optimal balance where our health and fitness is strong so we can dig into areas in life we are passionate about that bring fulfillment.

Healthy nutrition and fitness is the seed to grow a tree, then your life focus, goals and hobbies are the fertilizers needed to enrich this tree, to make it flourish and blossom.

The topic of this video is that basic survival needs like water and food cannot bring fulfillment and satisfaction in your life. These physiological needs work in circles, you move from one pole of hunger to fullness every day, back and forth. Don’t fall into this trap and become a slave to basic physiological needs like water. Become more alert, aware and reflective of your life.

It’s up to you

Perception & Experiences

wellness-ontology-epistemology-karldrogba

Perception and Experiences

Hello,

Today’s vlog is on perception, how what you “see” affects how you think and behave every day. You might be thinking, what does perception have to do with fitness and nutrition, with staying vibrant as you age…Just tell me what exercises to do and what nutrition to follow.

Well, it has a lot to do because your perception of the world shapes your reality, and as you will uncover in this video, people who eat healthy 24/7, all year long have a perception of the world that is drastically different than someone who eats unhealthy food or overeats every day and suffer because of this. Your life might be a complete nightmare but if you are blind, you might think you are in heaven.

I am firmly convinced that most people, even criminals act based on their perceptions of the world, based on the information they have. If someone acts like 1+1=5, then that’s because deep down, that’s what he knows best.

So in order to help people make better decisions in life, by better I mean, decisions that improve their happiness and reduce suffering, we all need to increase our perception of the world as close as possible to true reality, so we are in sync with existence and act wisely.

As we look at perception, we can agree that making a mistake, like eating unhealthy food because you think it’s good, doesn’t happen by you just looking at food. Perception leads us to having experiences, and it’s acting out those experiences, consuming them, like eating junk food, robbing somebody or insulting someone that leads us to problems in the short or long term.

This is why the title of this video is Perception & Experience. Because your perception of things around you will determine what kind of experience you will have. Your entire life is the sum of all the experiences you had so far, they shaped you, for better or worse.

How many times we hear this phrase, don’t buy things, buy experiences. That to be happy, it’s better to buy amazing experiences than collect things, because we get bored quickly from the things we buy. The initial pleasure fades away quickly. Whereas experiences stay with us forever and shape who we are.

But this is where it gets tricky. You labeling an experience as good or bad depends on your perception prior to having this experience. For example, someone is a lifetime thief, and walking behind this woman, he sees her backpack open and can easily steal what’s inside. Before even going into that experience of robbing this lady, the thief’s perception told him that something good for him will come out of that experience. Yet, if you were in the same situation, seeing the woman’s bag open, you might actually see it as something dangerous, to her and let her know, hey, your backpack is open.

Your behavior and the thief in this scenario is based on what you both saw, his perception of the situation was completely different than yours, and that played a role in the experience you had after.
Now, why I’m I saying all this, to stress the fact that when it comes to eating healthy day in and out, it comes down to what you actually see from food around you.

In order to be fit and healthy for the rest of your life, you need to have a deeper perception of food around you, an x-ray like vision. Because if you only look at food at the surface, you will be easily fooled, and continue to eat unhealthy food and think it’s good because it tastes yummy. The only way out of an unhealthy lifestyle is by increasing your perception of reality, you have to see within the matrix, beyond the curtain.

70% Americans are overweight or obese, that’s more than 100 million people, and the relapse rate is 95% when it comes to fully transition to a healthy lifestyle. So it comes down to knowledge, but really, knowledge is about improving our perception of the world, you have to be willing to improve your vision.

I came up with this topic after talking to someone I was helping lose weight and get in better shape.
I told him that his current perception of junk food had to change, or better yet, go deeper.

We all look at things at different levels, like you might only see the top layer of an onion, whereas your friend next to you might see deeper layers of this same onion.

So I told my friend, when we both look at a burger and fries, we don’t see the same thing, which affects what we will do next. What my friend who was overweight by almost 100 pounds saw when looking at burgers and fries was the sweet bun, the yellow, stretchy cheese, the meaty, juicy burger, the crispy fries, bright yellow, the sour ketchup and so forth.

But I also see the same thing, but more than that. Because I trained my perception to look at food differently. I see all the superficial reality of the burger and fries but also see that the bun is made of wheat and yeast, maybe sugar in it. The wheat might be highly genetically modified, the cheese is very low quality, the oil used for the meat terrible, the meat very low quality, maybe the cow lived his whole life caged in terrible conditions, the fries are also GMO, dense with cheap calories.

Overall, I can SEE how eating this food will impact my body, not at the surface with just the yummy taste, no, deeper than that, how will this affect my digestion, feeling lethargic and bloated, how will that affect my entire system, the bacterias in my gut, my blood sugar, turn into fat and make me gain weight, then I can see in the future, how this food will impact the way I look and my health, I can even go 20 years from now, how eating this type of food will make me look as a parent, as a husband, healthy or sick, and how will this impact my children, how will me as a role model shape their own perception of food and the world and what kind of experiences my children would want to have based on me.

From my perception or my friend’s perception of food, we both have different experiences with these types of food. When people tell me, Karl, I really need to lose weight, I want to be healthier, cool, that’s fantastic, but you have to be committed to reshaping your perception of the world, of food in particular.

You cannot expect to navigate in the dark with no special night goggles, you will be lost. Learn how to look at food deeper, because at that level, big food corporations cannot fool you easily. They spend billions of dollars a year following the shallow perception of food, how the food looks, how the food smells, the mouth taste and texture, that’s where they spend the most money.

Then deep inside, they actually hide all the junk, so they can sugarcoat garbage and make it look like fillet mignon, and you have billions of people who can’t see behind this illusion.

Refining your perception of life goes beyond nutrition and fitness. All scientific innovation that created this modern world came from people who started to look deeper into things and finding out secrets, from this new knowledge they could create new objects, they could change their behavior for the better.

In the corporate world, people with a deeper understanding of their field make more money. When I play basketball, I don’t see what an NBA player sees, and he doesn’t see what Michael Jordan sees, we all have different levels of perception of the same exact situations.

Another area where refining your perception, looking deeper, will help you greatly is in relationships. One of the most important decisions we make in life is who we are going to spend our lives with, romantically.

How many people we know who were or still are in terrible relationships, toxic, and who suffered because of it. Then you talk to them and they say, wow, I didn’t know this person was like that. Because we all tend to look at the surface of people, and this first layer is very easy to manipulate so we can look great, so this outer layer can hide and offset deeper flaws we have within.

Just like Mcdonald is good at hiding junk nutrition by making cosmetic changes at the surface. People are great at doing the same, so we look better at the surface. Hence why we say love is blind, because our senses get caught up, and our emotions stop us when looking deeper into people we meet. Love is truly a drug. That’s why we don’t say rise in love, only fall in love.

Who is to blame, the person or food industry deceiving us or ourselves for not improving our vision.
Who is to blame, the lion from being too strong or the antelope from being too slow. If you are in the position of the antelope, blaming the lion is not going to help you much. You will be eaten.

Instead, you have to increase your perception and understanding of the world, in all aspects, especially about your body, your mind, your emotions, and how to sustain health and emotional balance. If you fail to do it, don’t be shocked when your body crumbles and you start to suffer, don’t blame other people, the government or big corporations, increase your vision, your perception.

The quality of your life depends on the quality of your experiences, and how you choose what experience to have depends on how you perceive the world, the more shallow, superficial your vision of the world is, the more shallow your experience will be, for better or worse. Because you won’t know if the deeper layers of what you see is good or bad.

My curiosity with perception and reality started when I learned about eastern spirituality, from Buddhism to Taoism. Here in the west, we love to talk about what is true and what is not, what is good or bad. But these spiritual schools in the east had different methods.

Buddha said that human suffering comes from ignorance, but Buddha defined ignorance as the gap between how we look at the world and how the world really exists. Reducing our ignorance means reducing the gap between what we see and how things really are, at that level, we have better information and can make wiser decisions in life, thus reducing our suffering.

In order to know what is true, you have to first develop a good perception of the world. A blind person cannot know what the color blue is like. So it’s up to you to refine your perception of food, of life, so you can adopt a healthy lifestyle.. It’s really up to you because you cannot borrow someone else’s eyes. You Need your own X-ray vision. Thank you

How Many Calories?

calories-nutrition-weight-karldrogba loss

How many calories should you eat?

Hello, in this video, I will talk about one of the most powerful weapons to staying healthy, in shape and vibrant as you age. It’s an open secret, but few people use it in their day to day lives, knowing how many calories to eat every day…then along the day, always knowing in the back of your mind, if you are undereating or it’s time to stop for the day.

In today’s complex society, with so much food available, those who can stay fit, all year long, it’s a skill they have mastered, to such a level that it’s second nature. To me, talking about how many calories to eat if you want to gain muscle or lose fat is pretty boring, because I have spent so much time doing it for myself and others.

Yet, it’s important to realize that for the majority of people, here in America and around the world, have no clue how much calories they should consume every day to stay in a healthy weight range or to trigger fat loss.

Hence why 70% of the population is overweight or obese, that’s more than 100 million people in the US. So we must not forget the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle, and how many calories should you be eating, is where you want to start.

Nutrition can be complex because you can really drill into it and tweak it over and over and over again. You don’t need to have a master in nutrition to be fit and healthy, but you do need to spend some time learning the basics and raising your wellness IQ to a level where you are confident about eating the right thing and that shows in your behavior, how you look and how you feel every day.

There is something amazing about waking up every day and feeling like every part of your body is in mint condition, that you can take your car body to the race track without any issues, and use your brainpower at an optimal level. This is peak wellness.

Now, there are two skills you will learn by the time this video ends. The first one is knowing how many calories you should eat every day. Let’s go over it. In order to know how many calories you need to consume every day, you have to know what is your current weight status. Because if you overweight by 100 pounds, eating enough calories to stay at that weight is no bueno.

Remember, you want to find out how many calories to eat in order to lose weight, or gain muscle, or stay lean if you are already fit.

This past 4th of July, I was invited to eat at my cousin’s place. And I knew they would have some of my favorite food, fried plantain, and other stuff. So I made sure a week before, to make this 4th of July my cheat day of the week. Then, instead of taking the subway back home, I walked 80 blocks to get home after dinner. It was a beautiful walk, walking down Manhattan at 10 pm, seeing fireworks all around Central Park, in the dark, with the full moon out, it was amazing stuff. The next day, I checked my weight and after eating so much food, I was actually down 2 pounds. Because I planned for this day in advance and the overload of food did not affect me at all.

This is how knowing your calories in and out can help you manage your health. First thing first, you need to know for your height, what is a healthy weight. And there is a chart that will help you find out, it’s called the BMI chart, you can google image it. The BMI stands for body mass index, this chart help locate what weight we should be at for our height in order to be in a healthy range. Look at your height and weight and see in what range you are currently.

There are 5 categories you can be in, Underweight, Healthy, Overweight, Obese ad Extremely obese. When I say that 70% of the American population is overweight or obese, it’s by using the standards of the BMI chart.

I am 5’10, so to be in a healthy range, I need to be between 130 to 165 pounds. Below would be underweight and that can be unhealthy. But I can go above 165 pounds without becoming overweight if I add muscles instead of fat. I have actually been around 170 pounds for the past 7 years but this year I decided to go down to 165 pounds, where I’m at today. What the BMI doesn’t calculate is body fat percentage.

But on average, the BMI chart is very good for you to get a sense of where your weight should be in order to be in a healthy range. So right now, look it up and write it down. If you are overweight, calculate how many pounds you need to lose to get back in a healthy range. If you are underweight, see how many pounds you should gain to get into a healthy range.

One thing I noticed with many people I help or just give fitness advice, is that most people have no clue how far they are from a healthy weight. People are walking out there being 20, 30, 50, 100 pounds overweight and don’t realize it.

By saying they don’t realize it, I mean, talking to people, they often think they need to lose a couple of pounds, 10 or 15 pounds in order to get back in shape, but it’s rarely the case. This is why many give up so early, they realize after two-three months that they have a long way to go, there is way more weight to lose than they previously thought.

This is partly due to the fact that as a society, we are used to seeing so many people overweight, to the point that what is considered normal is already overweight.

Now, by knowing how to use this BMI chart, you just found out something important in your journey to a healthy lifestyle. You are aware of your current BMI status, healthy, or overweight, or obese. Next, you need to find out how much weight you need to lose or gain to reach a healthy weight for your height.

Most people looking to gain muscle or lose fat, only know that they need to lose some weight or gain some muscle, but they don’t know the specifics. You want to know exactly how much weight you need to lose, it’s very important to have the final destination of the GPS in your mind, so you can prepare mentally.

Knowing how much weight you need to lose will also help you find out the next step, which is how many calories you need to consume every day to accomplish your goal. Because saying you need to lose 22 pounds is one thing, but knowing how many calories to eat every day is another.

Finding how many calories to eat in order to trigger fat loss and gain muscle is very easy, you will use a nutrition calculator. I actually have one on my website you can use or just google nutrition calculator.

First, you will enter your current weight and target goal, either losing weight or gaining muscle. Some calculators will ask you about your current activity level. I personally don’t like to take that into account if you are looking to lose weight.

But If you want to gain muscle mass, this is needed because weight lifting requires you to eat more than you are burning in order to create muscle growth. If you are looking to lose weight, the calculator will let you know how many calories you should consume every day to trigger fat loss.

Also, when you reach your target weight goal, find out how many calories is needed to stay at that level, and not gain weight. At this stage, you will know, what’s your current weight status with the BMI chart, how much weight you need to lose, and how many calories you should eat a day to trigger fat loss.

Then the last step is a bit tricky but not so much. Back 20, 30 years ago, you would need the help of a professional nutritionist to crunch all these numbers for you. Basically, translating your daily target calories into macro-nutrient. Macro-nutrients are the 4 nutrition groups.

Fats, Carbs, Proteins and Fibers. Because just knowing how much calories you need to eat to trigger fat loss is not enough, you want to know the percentage of your macros, % of fats, % of proteins, % of carbs, % of fibers, and then convert that to grams.

But today, many of those calculators can do this for you. Lookup for marco nutrient calculator online or use the one on my website. This is where you will need to choose a nutrition plan, also called a diet. There are many diets out there, I’m sure you heard of them before.

The keto diet, the meat diet, the south beach diet, the low carb diet, the paleo diet. All those diets play will the variable of macronutrient percentages.

For example, the standard American diet, also called SAD, because it makes so many people overweight, is composed of 50 % carbs or more, then 15% proteins and 35% fats. Couple with this is the fact that, most people in America today overeat. Even if the food you eat is healthy, if you overeat, you are guarantee to gain weight.

In comparison to the Standard American Diet, a low carb diet has less than 20% carbs, and the rest is broken down in healthy fats and proteins. If you are looking to lose weight, I advise you to follow a low-carb diet. I have two low carb diet version I recommend:

60, 20, 20…very easy to remember, for 60% healthy fats, 20% proteins and 20% carbs
Or 50% fats, 30% proteins and 20% carbs. After choosing a diet and finding out your macros in percentages, you want to translate that into grams or just use my fitness pal.

My fitness pal is a great app that will help you input your daily calorie goal and your macronutrient percentages or grams. Then during the day, you can log in what you are eating and track it. Even better, you can plan what food you will eat in advance and make sure you will be within the metrics you learned throughout this video.

Tracking what you eat with my fitness pal is a fantastic way to become more aware of what you eat and develop a deeper relationship between your body, the food you eat, your nutrition, and your well-being.

You learned three important skills today. Finding out where you currently stand on the BMI chart and how much you need to lose in order to reach a healthy body weight. Next, you learned how many calories to eat in order to trigger fat loss and last but not least, translate that in macro- nutrients, how much fats, protein, and carbs you need to eat every day to lose weight.

Now, this is a gigantic step in the direction of a healthy lifestyle. Over time it will become second nature, you will know at all times, in a ballpark, if you are undereating or overeating… and if you need to stop eating for the day.

Now you need to spend time developing another element needed to stay fit and healthy, it’s the X-factor, the missing link, which is the psychology, the mindset needed to follow a healthy lifestyle forever. This is what I focus on the most, your mind, it’s all mental. But it’s up to you, thank you

LSD, Molly, Weed

lsd-molly-weed-happiness-pleasure

LSD, MOLLY,WEED?

Hello,

Today’s video is about pleasure and happiness from drugs. Weed, Molly, LSD, Mushrooms, Cocaine.

Let’s not generalize, but we live in an era where many people opt for shortcuts to peak wellness, reaching high states of happiness, of bliss via cheap drugs. The same way it’s easier to feel good by buying some icecream than working hard and getting a good job or spending time in the gym to reap the benefits, people look for quick ways to feel good, there is really no other way to put this.

I have been in the USA, for now more than 15 years, and I will speak from experience and observing people in all types of scenarios. I went to Arizona State University, one of the top party school in the country, been in vegas a ton of time, and spent a lot of nights in the meatpacking district of New York City.

Politically speaking, I identify as a libertarian, and if you don’t know what they advocate, they are for the decriminalization of all of these drugs, these natural plants. I personally don’t care if anybody, of legal age, freely chooses to ingest any of these drugs. It’s actually debatable that alcohol is more damaging to health than psychedelic drugs are. And legalization will reduce the collateral effect of drug cartels, crime and violence. I’m always cool with friends and people who are into these types of drugs because I don’t see how they are different than coffee or alcohol.

But I’m always thinking, if people taking those drugs can truly reach stable states of bliss, after using these drugs, like lifting weight makes you stronger over time, I would definitely be more eager to use them every day, 24/7, like drinking milk in the morning.

The bottom line is, we all thrive to maximize happiness and reduce suffering, these are human desires we all share, no matter our age, sex, income, or nationality. So if there is a pill out there that can guarantee everyone reach and sustain states of bliss, of happiness for the majority of their lives, then why not take it? Can you imagine all the problems it will solve in the world…How many wars were started by people who were not happy? How many people are hurting society, their families, love ones because they are unhappy within?

But from my observation, experiences, and readings, I came to the conclusion that those happy drugs are very limiting because they lead nowhere, they create addictions in the worst-case scenario and for anybody who uses them, they have to come back to baseline, nothing drastically change.

Worse, the downside increase over time as the body develops tolerance, this is often a recipe for disaster and unhappiness, then you enter a vicious cycle of dependency. I’m looking for true transformation, metamorphosis, not something that gives me the illusion of transformation.

Going to Arizona State in college, I loved going out with friends every weekend, yet 4 years in college, I never drank alcohol, because, when I tried it, first, the taste was terrible, and the rewards weren’t worth it, compared to the downside. So it’s was an easy decision.

I understand people drink to be happy, and I cannot be in their heads to see how they feel sober, but personally, alcohol doesn’t make me feel better than when I’m not drinking. In comparison, playing basketball gave me a level of joy that no alcohol can ever equal.

Now, psychedelic drugs are something else than alcohol. My initial observation about psychedelic drugs, weed, molly, LSD was, can we reach those states of happiness, deep relaxation, of bliss, naturally, and make it more constant. Just like fitness and healthy nutrition, where you gain something, you level up.

So it’s not that I’m against drugs, it’s just that I have higher expectations of happiness, I feel I can reach similar states of bliss, of happiness, naturally… and make it last longer. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to tell people into those drugs that, yo, why not try to reach those states at all time, why not be emotionally ambitious, why be satisfied being in those states for a couple of hours during the weekend, why just taste heaven and come back to earth, sometimes to hell, why not stay up in heaven, if it’s naturally possible.

And this is where my research into psychedelics led me. That in many, many ancient cultures, all around the world, in many religions, these drugs were used to give people a glimpse, a peek into states of happiness, states of bliss they would have never thought were possible. In my opinion, this is the biggest positive aspect of psychedelic drugs, giving people a glimpse of what’s possible.

Humans often realize what’s possible to achieve when other people make it happen. Hence why sports, technology and art keeps getting better, because we see what other are able to do and it motivates us to develop our potential to reach higher levels of expertise. This is the same with emotional maturation, peak wellness.

This might sound crazy, but I wish my mom tried weed, LSD, or Molly because that would give her a glimpse of states of being that she has no idea are possible to reach. I am convinced that ancient cultures and religions provided sober ways, natural ways to develop the body, and then the mind, to reach higher states of happiness.

The meaning of true spirituality is Spiritual Fitness, fitness of the soul. Where one follows specific exercises like meditation to develop mentally, mature emotionally, and reach its highest peak, where one connects with infinity.

The word ecstasy is important here because it means being outside oneself, standing outside oneself…it’s actually a religious word, implying that once we reach our peaks, we dissolve into infinity, into oneness, like a wave collapsing back into the ocean. We dissolve our physical barrier and connect to something higher.

Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychoanalysis said that the decisive question for man is, is he related to something infinite or not…Look around and see how many people want to belong to something bigger than them, a team, a nation, a religion, a fashion trend, a political group…but all this is nothing compared to peak wellness, to emotional maturation.

Ask anybody that tried psychedelics drugs, they would argue that yes, it’s possible to reach states of ecstasy, where one connects to something bigger. But drugs cannot lead us there, they can only show what’s possible.

Unfortunately, the problem today, even in ancient times with culture using these drugs, was that many people get caught up, instead of getting a glimpse of the mountain peak, of the higher, and then walk the ladder up naturally, millions of people decided that…we could just keep doing these drugs, taking these plants, popping pills, taking molly every weekend, LSD or mushroom every three months instead of climbing the ladder sober because that’s the only way up. And they get trapped. Instead of going higher, they go lower and it’s hard to get out.

If you take psychedelics drugs, does it permanently remove destructive emotions, anger, jealousy, resentment, anxiety, boredom…does it silence the mind for good, where one feels at peace, calm and gets better over time…do these drugs increase your capacity to be more aware, more sensitive, receptive, naturally joyful, focused easily, when sober, at all time? They don’t.

It seems like the usage of psychedelic drugs do more harm than good, because few people take a glimpse at what’s possible and then decide that…you know what, now that I know what’s possible, I will work to get there, organically, step by step. This is why so many religious painting feature ladders, steps, birds flying toward the sun, and saints with circle of light around their heads…caterpillar to butterfly, all these are symbols showing that we can progress toward higher states of mind, of being, blossom, enter states of bliss.

Unless you have a glimpse of bliss, it’s hard if not impossible to understand what the words peak wellness and blossoming mean.

One of my favorite book this year is called Breath, by James Nestor. He breaks down the science of improving how we breathe and documents how ancient cultures, especially in India, developed systems to increase happiness and mental health by breathing techniques. It’s an amazing book with so much research. I knew most of what’s in the book from studying Yoga the past 5 years but now more people can see all the science to back it up.

James Nestor, the author, was on the Joe Rogan Podcast a couple of months ago and at one point, they talked about these amazing yogis that could hold their breath for 20+ mins, be buried underground in coffins for days and stay alive, stop their heart at will and slow down blow flow…Things that medicine up to now said it was impossible to do.

Really amazing stuff, but then Joe Rogan, someone who dab in a lot of psychedelic drugs, said, the crazy thing is that we all want to reap the benefits of what these yogis have accomplished but not spend the time. No one wants to sit in a cave for years.

It’s funny but so true, Joe Rogan, someone with so much discipline, lifting a ton of weight like it’s plastic, saying that he is not willing to spend time reaching states of mind that he reaches when doing drugs like weeds, DMT, mushroom and so forth. That statement points to why is millions of people stay stuck at the drug level to access higher states of happiness.

I mentioned earlier that I wish my mom would try weed, LSD, or molly, just one time to get a glimpse of what’s possible. Because I have been helping her meditate, and advising her to increase the time she spends meditating, but she thinks she feels great, meditation is good, so there is no need to go further. She doesn’t know what she is missing and how much higher she can go, emotionally, and reach higher states of happiness.

I say that because I started meditating 5 years ago, first doing pranayama, the yogic science of breathing to develop the mind and emotions, then I fully switched to pure meditation. Now 5 years later, doing up to two hours of meditation a day, it’s difficult to explain to someone the emotional, the mental improvement I made from meditation, like explaining the color blue to a blind person. I’m eager to see how far, how high I can go.

If psychedelics truly was the answer to human happiness, to emotional maturation, our ancestors would have found it and used it every day. Modern human civilizations began more than 10 thousand years ago, these drugs, plants, psychedelics, have been discovered way back then, and are not true solutions to human happiness.

I hope they all get legalized or at least approved for therapy so everybody can realize that, just like alcohol or cigarette, it will not transform them, then when we have exhausted all psychedelic drugs, people would look at natural, organic ways to climb the ladder and reach peak wellness, blossoming.

But I believe governments don’t believe this, they think people become massively addicted like China during the opium wars and this will destroy society. Let’s see how drug policies unfold and what people behave.

It’s up to you, thank you

 

Veggie Problems

nutrition-veggies-health-karl drogba

Hello,

In today’s video, I will talk about an important subject in nutrition many people don’t know about. I actually call this next level nutrition. The veggie problem is about the fact that many vegetables we all think is good for us have negative side effects that are detrimental to our health.

Before I go into the meat of this video, let me repeat that this is next level nutrition, because many people I help improve their nutrition and fitness, I never talk to them about this subject, it will confuse them. Like you know, people saying, I don’t even know what to eat anymore, so much information out there.

If I’m helping someone lose a lot of weight and completely change their nutrition for the better, I will focus on changing the composition of what they eat, their macros…macros are the four groups of food we eat every day, carbs, protein, fats, and fibers. So the first thing to do if you want to improve your nutrition is to analyze how you currently eat, how does your macro-nutrients look like, in terms of percentage and then, the quantity of food you eat. This is what a nutritionist will help you with.

For example, most Americans… now most people around the world follow diets that are heavy in carbs, it’s now called the SAD diet, sad for Standard American Diet. Funny right, but not so funny, because this standard American diet is the prime factor leading 70% of the population to become obese. That’s more than 100 million people. You think COVID is bad, well, the standard American diet is the number one killer in the United States.

The average American diet is full of carbs, from 40 to 70% carbs. So when I’m helping people improve their nutrition, I will advise them to greatly reduce the number of carbs they consume every day, from 60+ percent down to 20%. This is what people would call a low carb diet.

In the past 10 years, You may have heard of the keto diet, the paleo diet, and now the meat diet. These are all forms of low carbs diets, meaning, they reduce the number of carbs in your diet below 20%. Keto is the most “Extreme” form of low carb diet because you have to eat less than 5% carbs a day. That’s very little, no sugar, no bread, no pasta, no rice, mostly meats, nuts, eggs, cheeses…so protein and healthy fats plus veggies.

So if I’m helping someone lose weight or improve their nutrition, I will not confuse them by saying, eating veggies is also bad for you, I will focus on reducing their carbs intake, increase protein and good fats…then next, reduce the amount of calories they consume every day. Because if you want to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit, eating less than what your body needs currently to trigger fat loss, where your body will have to dig into your fat cells to burn extra energy needed.

Now, let’s get into the next level nutrition this video is all about. One of the best books on nutrition and fitness the past few years is a book by Dr. Gundry called the plant paradox. I put a link in the comment section of his Instagram account and I highly recommend you follow him and check out his book. For me, the plant paradox took my understanding of nutrition to another level.

Dr. Gundry is a successful heart surgeon, he performed more than 10 thousand heart surgeries over 40 years, developed new ways to perform heart surgeries in children and invented numerous medical devices to improve heart surgeries.

He was also a college professor in medicine. Dr.Gundry made a full transition from cardiac surgeon to a nutritionist after realizing that he could save more people’s lives, in the millions, by helping people eat better rather than performing heart surgeries from the damage caused by poor nutrition.

First, he completely changed his nutrition…he was overweight and inflamed, with all kinds of allergies and digestive issues.

While improving his health and fitness, he studied nutrition science and discovered that many plants and veggies we all think are good for us, healthy, have huge negative side effects. From these discoveries, he developed the Dr. Gundry diet and wrote 3 books plus some great cooking books to help people increase their wellness IQs and implement his diet into their lifestyles. So here is what he discovered:

FIRST: lectins…which are plant toxins that can harm us.
SECOND: The effects of plant toxins on the human digestive system and brain.
AND THIRD, the correlation of these plant toxins with allergies, IBS, leaky gut syndrome, systemic inflammation, and all the health problem that comes with inflammation in the body.

Now let’s go over each item so you can see what I meant by next-level nutrition. If you apply this in your life, the way you feel will go to another level. It’s hard to believe until you do it, just like it’s hard for a caterpillar to understand life from the point of view, the perspective of an eagle…high in the sky.

Like pretty Ricky said, Let’s talk about lectins.

The way I explain this to people is that… it’s not the life goal of every plant to be eaten. Imagine being a plant, do you think your life goal is to be cut, hunted, eaten, then cooked, or juiced up?

Plants number one enemies are insects, so over time, plants developed weapons to fight inspects, to fight predators, the same way we human-invented toxic gases for war. Millions of Plants invented toxins that paralyzed, even killed insects attempting to kill them.

Some plants like to be eaten after maturation so they can grow seeds in other areas. These plants, like fruits, will sweeten up so someone can eat them and propagate their seeds.

Now that you understand why plants created a way to protect themselves, you can understand that even though we are bigger in size than insects, some plant toxins can hurt us. Not to the point of killing us right away or paralyzing us, but to the point of messing, of disrupting, our overall health.

Like paper cuts, plants can hurt us to a point where we start thinking, you know what, these plants are not good for me, I don’t feel good and healthy when I eat these types of vegetable. Which is one of the many reason children don’t like veggies, because the amount of toxicity is too high for them, compared to human adults.

Some of the most common forms of food allergies in the world are peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts, raw foods, and raw vegetables. This is because of the toxins, the lectin poison in them Dr. Gundry has been writing about.

We all heard about the problems of gluten, leading millions of food items staying gluten-free food on packagings. Because some people are too sensitive to the damage of gluten on their health. Guess what…gluten is a form of plant toxins, it’s a lectin. Different veggies have different toxins in them, and those toxins have been given names like gluten in wheat.

One issue with peanut is that it’s not a nut, it’s a vegetable, hence why so many people have peanut allergies. Still, many can tolerate peanuts, I eat peanut butter, even though I prefer almond butter. But it’s important to know that peanuts, especially raw peanuts have levels of lectin toxins that can disrupt your health.

Another interesting fact to remember from this video is that raw unmatured fruits and raw veggies can hurt you more than they can help. This is why I advise people to be very cautious with all these raw veggies they like to juice up and drink every day.

Listen to this carefully, one of the most important human inventions is ketchup…no, I’m joking, it’s the invention of fire, how to start fire, and how to cook with fire. Cooking food is what allowed us, our species to make a leap in terms of evolution.

Why? Because cooking food, cooking plants helped us destroy a lot of plant toxins in veggies, in legumes, and also parasites in meats. Fire helped us accelerate the break down of food and make it easier for us to absorb all the nutrients.

My point is that eating raw veggies can completely destroy your health because of the level of toxins, those lectins will mess up your gut and digestive systems in many ways. Now, let’s transition to the next point, HERE are 8 WAYS these lectin toxins in vegetables can mess up your health:

Number ONE is the negative impact on the entire digestive system. IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome, millions of people are suffering from it today, it includes belly pain and cramps to diarrhea, constipation, bowel movement issues, bloating, gas, and food intolerance.

Reflect on your life and see how many times a week, a month you have these digestive issues and how much it disrupts your day, your life, your happiness.

Another way Lectins toxins in food can hurt you is by disrupting the health of your gut biome. There a boom in the science of gut bacteria… also called our second brain…you have close to 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, and what you eat, affects them for better or worse.

You can help good bacterias in your gut that will support your health, fitness, and happiness or kill them and develop bad gut bacterias. Some of these toxins in plants can hurt your healthy gut biome. This leads to this other problem, leaky gut.

Leaky gut is a huge, trendy word today in nutrition for good reasons. Because a leaky gut can lead people to develop so many health issues that they might think they have been cursed by God himself.

There is a membrane in your gut in charge of protecting gut bacterias and food that has not been broken down or approved yet from entering your bloodstream. Additionally, this gut wall protects you from diseases that might invade your body via your digestive system.

Some people developed leaky guts where the gaps, the tight walls guarding your bloodstream get loose and hell breaks loose, you have bacteria that shouldn’t be in your blood circulation passing these loose walls and creating inflammation, like a virus-infected your computer and triggering anti-virus software, this is what inflammation does to the body.

So one of the keys to reducing inflammation in your body and stopping it from breaking down is reducing toxins from food in your diet.

A quick point here is that, when your digestive system is disrupted and you feel funny, when your body is under attack, inflamed, it has a massive impact on your mental state.

Feeling lethargic, lazy, tired, we don’t often make the connection with our diet. Your nutrition can either make you feel your best, like people feel on Fridays… or be your worst enemy. Food is medicine or poison.

Now before we finish this video, let’s talk about what you can do right away to reduce toxins from veggies in your nutrition.

First, read and inform yourself about what kinds of food are normally high in lectins, those plants toxins. Here is a quick list:

Legumes are full of lectins. Many legumes like black, red beans have high levels of lectins.
So one thing is that you need to cook your legumes with a high-pressure cooker if possible, if not let them cook for long periods of time on the stove. It eliminates a lot of lectins in food and makes it safer to eat. You will see right away that you are not bloated or have gas if you cook your legumes and other veggies in high-pressure cookers. Ancient traditions use to soak legumes for 24-48 hours before cooking because it’s a clever way to drastically reduce lectins in food. This knowledge has been lost by our current culture.

Also all the plants from the nightshade family, so potato, eggplants, bell peppers, tomatoes. This makes a lot of people unhappy when they hear that potatoes and tomatoes have a lot of lectins.

This is where I tell them that not everybody suffers from lectins to the same degree. But as Dr. Gundry says, it’s great to do a 7-10 day cleanse where you remove all type of food with high lectins in your diet and see how your feel, then re-introduce them and monitor your health, this way, you will learn what lectin food you tolerate and remove those that disrupt your health.

This is why I call this next level nutrition because if you are overweight or super unhealthy, you might want to focus first on losing weight, not on these lectins.

Other foods with high lectins is soy, peanuts, pine nuts. As a rule, a lot of seeds in veggies are high in plant toxins, so make sure to remove the seeds in your tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies to reduce the amount of lectin in it, this was a great step in improving my nutrition.

I can’t tell you the number of people who had food allergies, high food sensitivity, brain fogginess, whose daily lives were complete nightmares and by removing lectin toxins food in their diets, recovered their health, almost overnight.

So to finish, go check out Dr. Gundry Instagram’ss page, listen to his great podcast and also check out his blog, subscribe to it so you can learn more about lectins toxins and nutrition. I highly suggest you read his book the plant paradox or listen to the audio version

To finish, this video is about the veggie problem, how some plants we all think are good and healthy have strong negative side effects that can harm us. Remember that these plant toxins might not incapacitate you right away, but like dying of paper cuts, it will slowly damage your heart and break you down over time.

It’s up to you to improve your wellness IQ from these videos and do your own research. Again if your health matters to you, if that’s a priority in your life…Thanks

Peace & True Happiness

peace-happiness-karl drogba-wellness

Hello,

In today’s video, I will talk about peace and true happiness, then connect it with…nutrition, fitness and your overall well-being. It’s cool to know what fitness exercises to do, what nutrition to follow in order to stay healthy and strong, but we must not forget the big picture, why are you actually doing this, it’s not to please society, not to please your parents, or to look good, those are side effects of fitness and healthy nutrition, but the big WHY, it’s about you being at peace and happy, and that’s a huge motivator we should not forget. It’s the bottom line.

It does sound cheesy to look at it this way, to say that being fit and healthy is the foundation of a happy life. We see all kinds of fitness models on Instagram, celebrities being fit, and we forget what’s it’s all about, it’s first and foremost about happiness and peace.

No one is going to the gym and eating healthy to suffer endlessly or to be in pain.
Whether you are currently in shape, eat healthy or not, you should know that true, unconditional happiness is directly correlated with peace. Peace can only be achieved when your life, outside and inside, is in balance, in sync, with not too much disturbance. This is why I love the analogy of planes. No matter how comfortable the plane is, if you are going through turbulence during the entire flight, it’s going to be a bumpy journey to your destination. Same with your life.

Without peace, physical and mental, we humans cannot be happy, truly happy.
Take a look at medicine, what they call homeostasis, is when all systems in your body, muscles, bones, cardiovascular system, hormonal system, are all in balance…this is what being healthy means, the body systems are in balance, they are at peace, so you are healthy.

From this angle, you can understand where peace fits in. If your body is not balanced, healthy, it’s not at peace…which means, true happiness will be hard to reach, like trying to jump and catch the moon.

That reminds me of the joke from David Chappelle about starving children in Africa. How reading the book called the secret, on the law of attraction…and thinking positive is not going to help them make food magically appear …Yet that’s the same thinking millions of people have in developed countries today. We now live in an era where many people think that happiness can be purchased cheaply, without taking care of the pre-requisites, the fundamentals, which are your health and fitness.

We have been led to believe, maybe because we want to believe, some want to live in illusions, that happiness can cheaply be purchased. So instead of making sure we are healthy, at peace, physically and mentally, some people opt for pleasure via food, via endless experience, via drugs, via clothes, via all kinds of material goods.

Pleasure seeking took over a search for true happiness. Marketing from billion-dollar companies is fooling some of us to think that having the latest toy, the latest phone, new trendy clothes, new video games will increase our level of happiness in life…and it’s working, for those corporations, billion-dollar companies, the entertainment industry, Hollywood, fashion brands…but is it really working for people buying those goods. You see, I’m not against big corporations, I am an entrepreneur, if people want to buy anything they desire, they are free to do so, I’m all for capitalism. But here I’m asking the question as a philosopher, an existentialist, are people getting good returns on their investments…because when I look around, I really don’t find many people who are truly happy, first at peace, physically and mentally… then cool, relaxed, and unconditionally happy.

What I see and read is addiction being on the rise, politics becoming a religion, food addiction, 100million plus American overweight or obese, drug addiction, suicide on the rise, child obesity on the rise, porn addiction, social media addiction, people running in the pursuit of the next thrill, the next shiny object. So we are extracting all these precious resources from the ground, from nature, manufacturing all kinds of products and overall, people are not happier.

My take is that if people achieve true happiness, unconditional happiness which is within, they would be less likely to keep seeking material things for pleasure, they would start to enjoy more, the little things, because they would already have what’s most important, blossoming, the peak of emotional maturation.

In order to achieve the peak of emotional maturation, which is true happiness, we need to pass through three-levels, I call it the trinity of peak wellness.
First, environmental peace, Second, physical peace, and Third, mental peace. When these three levels are met, boom, you blossom, you enter a state of true happiness.

Let’s go over these three elements for the rest of this video and see where fitness and healthy nutrition fits in.

Number one is achieving peace in your environment.

If your life is chaotic, super complex and it’s harder and harder to manage it, you can imagine that your mind will not be at peace. If you are in conflict with people around you, relationships at work, or with your family, or in your romantic life…these issues will create a lot of tension, you will be anxious, maybe angry, and all this takes a toll mentally, so you will be far away from being at peace.

It’s like people living in countries during wartime, it’s very hard for these people to be at peace ,within, because there is so much chaos around. You need to simplify your life, remove the roadblocks to peace in your surroundings. Take 30mins or so to do an audit on your current environment and relationships, see what can you improve, or remove, see how can you simplify your life, reduce the level of complexity, make it more manageable.

Life goes fast, take a few moments a week to audit your life. It’s never too late.

Now the second item in the trinity of true happiness is physical peace.

Being sick, overweight, obese, bloated, disturbed with back pain, knees issues, not being able to sleep well at night…you don’t need to be Einstein to understand how these issues will disturb your physical peace, having all your body systems in balance, healthy…what medicine call homeostasis. And this is where fitness and healthy nutrition fits in. Allocating time toward improving your fitness and nutrition helps your body stay healthy, and therefore achieve body peace.

Fitness and healthy nutrition are the building foundations of true happiness. Then last but not least, the last stepping stone toward emotional maturation, toward blossoming is mental peace, reaching a state of ZEN, at all time.

Psychological peace is when your spirit, your soul is centered, in peace. Psyche means spirits.
But the fact is, billions of people are not interested in taking this last step, I kid you not, you think people want to find true happiness, I don’t think so, because very few are allocating time to improve their emotional health, to remove mental, emotional toxins, by de-rooting negative emotions like jealousy, hatred, resentment, envy, anger, stress…people are walking with gigantic reserve of negative emotion within them, larger than oil fields in the middle east, ready to explode with small triggers, and very quick to blame other people.

Achieving this emotional state of peace, of ZEN at all times requires the capacity to quiet your mind, modern human is constantly thinking, ruminating, living in the past, labeling people around, judging people, we have overactive minds because we have been taught in school to think think think, so people are thinking when they shouldn’t be thinking. Thinking while eating, thinking while walking, thinking while having sex, thinking while playing, non-stop, 24/7.

This third stage, mental fitness, is the level I have been spending most of my fitness time developing these past 5 years. Physical fitness doesn’t require me much time anymore, healthy nutrition is automatic, so now the new frontier is my emotional maturation and reaching this state of zen, I call it spaciousness, when your mind is quiet, at peace. It’s like the entire space in the universe is your mind, it’s vast.

Okay, this video was about the correlation between peace and true happiness. I explained that you cannot truly find happiness if you have not developed the trinity of peace. Peace in your environment, peace in your body by being healthy, and the last hurdle, peace of mind, a deep relaxed state of being, by removing mental toxins and destructive emotions, so you can reach peak wellness, a state of blossoming.

Jesus has this saying, take your cross and follow me, meaning walk the path toward liberation, toward emotional maturation, toward peak wellness. It’s really up to you, you have to desire improving your emotional state, maximize your human potential, and finding true happiness. Buying pleasure is cheaper but not sustainable, it doesn’t last, you will be endlessly running after it. It’s up to you.

On Racism

racism-wellness-karl drogba

Hello,

This video is beyond nutrition and fitness but still within the realm of peak wellness, as I will explain in the rest of this video, racism is mental, and improving our mental states is the only way to reduce racism, which I call extreme tribalism, in our society.

One reality we all have to understand is that the potential to be racist is in everybody, it doesn’t stop at skin color, geolocation, or income level. I argue in this video that tribalism, the root of racism, is in our genes because it was an important part of human evolution. Yet, we have the power to transcend tribalism and invite more people to this world village we live in, a better term is an ecosystem, a spider web.

I first wanted to call this video, it’s okay to be racist with an interrogation mark, for the simple reason that I wanted people to really reflect on what are the roots of racism and see that tribalism is an evolutionary mechanism that helped our ancestors survive so we could be here today.

In the midst of the George Floyd death and the bloody history of racism all around the world, the majority of us want to eradicate racism, we want to outlaw and ban it, but realize that you can’t outlaw an emotion. Imagine if tomorrow, we outlaw anger, is this possible? The president goes on tv and says, Anger is outlawed in the United States. Will you be able to follow this new law?

Emotions can be outgrown, but first we have to understand those emotions and what practical exercise we can do in order to get rid of negative emotions within us. Racism is one negative emotion, but notice how anger, jealousy, hatred, did as much if not more damage in the history of mankind than racism, sometimes they actually precede racism.

The first insight is that racism is a terrible word if we want to get rid of this mental sickness. Why, because it doesn’t enable us to diagnose the root emotion, which is tribalism.

From now on, if you really want to understand racism, replace racism with extreme tribalism or extreme xenophobia. The emphasis is on extreme because it’s where tribalism becomes a disease. Now let’s analyze tribalism, the mother of racism aka extreme tribalism.

Genetically speaking, the seeds of tribalism exist in all of us. Racism is not okay but tribalism is okay in many situations. This is where it gets dicey, where does tribalism start and when does it become racism?
If you see tribalism as a spectrum, there is a point where it becomes extreme and that’s dangerous, to us and others, that’s racism.

When I say tribalism is okay, I don’t mean it’s good, just like when I say cancer is natural, doesn’t mean it’s good and we should all have it, I mean they are both part of nature. Actually, unlike cancer, tribalism is good in many situations. Let’s travel back to the dawn of human history. When our ancestors were living the majority of their lives in very small groups, less than 300 people.

At this level, it’s easier to understand where tribalism fits in. it’s the mindset of US vs THEM and all the group behavior attached with this identification with your group, your tribe.

One of the most important human needs is survival, it’s the most basic need because if you cannot fulfill it, you are doomed, soon to be dead.

What makes survival difficult is that the resources we need to stay alive are limited, they are not unlimited, this is the law of scarcity. Food is limited, space is limited. Back in the dawn of humanity, it was harder to find food, space was more available. Today food is easier to obtain in some countries, and real estate is harder. You can also add water, electricity and fire.

Our ancestors back 20, 30K years ago had to protect their land because it’s where they had access to precious resources, food, water, fire, shelter. It wasn’t just necessary for their survival, but also for their brothers, sisters, and children, the next generation.

In this context, you can start to understand the function of tribalism, ingrained in all of us. It helped strengthen the us vs them behavior, our connection to this group we were born into. Tribalism made us cooperate and protect this group, ready to fight for our tribe and our space.

It’s also important to know that many of the people in the tribe of our ancestors shared genetic traits, sisters, brothers, uncles, nephews, or children. Your first tribe is actually your parents, brother and sister. Other things ancestors also shared with their tribes were a culture,same bacterias in the gut, and immunity to the same diseases.

Now imagine your ancestor tribe, 20K years ago, with limited resources, finding one day that a new tribe has entered their territory. How would you think they would react?

What would happen if their first reaction were super friendly, they didn’t know if the other tribe carried foreign diseases if they had friendly intentions if they wanted to steal resources. None of this was known in advance. You couldn’t check their Facebook group and Instagram pictures to see beforehand.

Hence why it made sense evolutionary to be extra cautious, or a bit scared, on high alert when facing a new tribe. Because ancestors that were too friendly right off the bat had higher chances of getting killed, raped, burned, enslaved. The reason why today’s parents say to kids, don’t speak to strangers.

The seed of tribalism is in every single one of us, just like the seeds of anger, sadness, jealousy, hatred, violence, happiness, pleasure, joy, empathy and compassion.

You cannot cancel this extreme tribalism we call racism. Maybe on the surface, you are going to stop some outward behavior of tribalism but you will never be able to erase it by making it a law, you might actually do more damage than good because you are repressing it in some people which can end up building resentment, a dangerous ticking bomb.

Now, before we move on to solutions to help people outgrown extreme tribalism, let me provide more examples of tribalism today:

Close to 50% of people raised in the family of a given political party end up voting for their parent’s political party when they grow up.

People choose to cheer for sports teams based on where they are from, or the team their parents support.

In the world cup, what do you feel so attached to supporting the team and players of your country versus the other, it’s pretty obvious right, you feel a strong emotional attachment to your country because it’s your tribe.

Now here are two super interesting social psychology experiments showing how ingrained tribalism is within us.

Kate Yang at Yale university did this experiment on tribalism where they bring random people in a room and make them toss coins randomly. Next, you divide the group based on who flipped head vs tail and give them two different color shirts.

The next stage of the experiment is doing all kinds of random, individual tasks and having each person judge others. What they find out over and over is that people will favor those with the same color shirt versus others who flipped coins differently. It’s called minimal group paradigm, it shows how the US vs THEM evolutionary software within us doesn’t need much to turn on. Feminists, LGBTQ, Worker Unions, all these groups use some aspect of tribalism to advance their cause.

You can see this play out often in sports, one player leaving your team for the rival team and now hating your team.

Another similar study was done with kids, age 5, 6 years old. This time they don’t even flip the coin themselves, someone flips it in front of them and assigns them a color shirt. Then they are asked to judge each other in terms of intelligence, who is better looking or distribute money or toys, and right away, those tribal biases emerge. They favor the people with the same shirt color they have.

This shows that what people call systemic racism can’t disappear without bringing emotional development in debates and solutions.

Now let’s switch to solutions, how to reduce tribalism in us and make sure the extreme form of tribalism, racism, is burned within us and society at large.

One option some people want to put forward is fighting racism with racism, but this is not a good solution because where will that lead us? As a country and planet? More divided, war perhaps. So understand the consequences in society of what you are encouraging, supporting, and sharing. Facing extreme tribalism with extreme tribalism is not the answer.

Another issue of facing racism is what do you do if you are not racist, if extreme tribalism is not in you but someone else is racist, what do you do?

Racism can lead to segregation, hate, negative discrimination and prejudice, all the way to violence. This led to murder, slavery, raping, to dehumanizing the others. It wasn’t too long ago that Women were deemed lower than Men, it’s still the case in many cultures around the world today. Now, When it comes to being violently attacked, you have to protect yourself, sometimes physically, this is what our ancestors did.

But this is not the world we live in today, most forms of racism today are not the violent ones. Pockets of violence due to racism still happen all over the world, against people of other colors, or countries, or religions or other ethnicities.

The solution to helping others outgrow racism starts with us. It’s counterintuitive, we think racist people need to change, not us, but I’m saying solving this problem starts with us.

I will first explain it with Cesar Millan, known as the dog whisperer. When I first came to the US, he had a tv show and I was blown away by his ability to deal with difficult dogs. I thought he had some kind of superpower. Since then, I read his book and listen to him often. He is an amazing guy in many aspects.

He crossed the border from Mexico to the US at 13 years old with 100$ in his pocket, then was homeless. From the jump, he had the dream of becoming the best dog trainer in the world. Another American Dream story.

Anyway, while listening to him explained how to deal with dogs who have anger and trust issues, who are super defensive when facing strangers, he said something that was very insightful. I faced many scary dogs back in Africa, I thought all dogs were vicious but that wasn’t the case when I came to the States.

Cesar Millan said, dogs who are defensive and trigger a fear response in you will only make them more defensive and worsen the situation. This is how we like to say dogs can smell fear.

So first he said, don’t approach the dog, keep your distance and stay where you are, stand your ground. Generally, a dog needs to come toward you to show that he allows you to be his friend and enter his space.

Next, you have to find a way to make the dog override his fear/defensive mindset and turn it off by helping generate a positive emotion. So help him develop a good emotion to offset the negative emotion whenever he is in contact with you. Then over time, with repetition, this dog can accept you as part of his tribe. This can happen rapidly.

Right there, it’s important to know that the aggression and defensiveness of the dog is not necessarily bad. Just like anger in humans is not always bad, it depends in what context and for what purpose we use it.

What Ceasar Millan does to generate a positive emotion in an aggressive dog is to put horse manure under his shoes. That’s weird right. It does it because this smell overwhelms the dog, it’s so appealing to them that they can’t resist turning off their defensive mindset and come toward you, allowing you to enter their space. This is the first step toward building a friendship with this type of dog. Helping him turn off fear, lower his guard.

The lesson here is that fear matching fear, anger matching anger, hate matching hate rarely solves anything, especially in the long term. The optimal solution is when negative emotions are turned off on both sides.

In practical terms, we have to understand that working together, cooperation outmatches competition in many ways. Survival and competition are fundamental laws of nature, so is cooperation.

Great nations, which are expansions of our ancestors tribes, thrive when people are working together. I come from Africa, in Ivory Coast. With 25 million people, there are close to 60 tribes, tribalism is very pungent back home. Two civil wars in the past 20 years, and the majority of the population today vote based on tribal affinity. We have failed to create a Nation Tribe, we are still stuck at the tribe level of our ancestors.

Because of this, the majority of people in Ivory Coast, even very smart people, choose their president based on tribe. Not because this candidate is the best, that’s not the number one criteria, number one is his tribe. And we are in 2020. As a result, many African countries are 100 if not 200 years behind nations like the United States.

I’m saying this to emphasize that the more we grow our tribe and cooperate with more people, the better off we will be, our country and the world. Covid is a perfect example of this, the world is small today, diseases and viruses are global, we are hyper-connected, like a spider web, we cannot afford to be tribal and racist:

Pollution is a global issue
Nutrition is a global issue
Natural resources is a global issue
Happiness is a global issue
Suffering is a global issue

You might think, what the heck, I can care less about the happiness of someone in Afghanistan, Nicaragua or a starving kid in Ethiopia because you have your own problem here. That’s understandable, but if you want a better world for your children, soon or later you will have to start caring and paying some attention to how other people around the world live and more, see how you can improve their lives. If your tribe is thriving, and the other tribes are starving, what do you think is going to happen? It’s just a matter of time.

Which leads me to this final point, the only way to counter, to uproot racism and reduce tribalism is kindness and compassion. Those two emotions are within us but at the seed level, underdeveloped is the right term because kindness and compassion are not as developed as anger, jealousy, attachment and other emotions associated with tribalism.

It’s crucial we understand that we have to make kindness and compassion flourish in our society, teach it as early as possible, and practice it. Compassion is different from empathy, people misunderstand this, empathy is a tribal emotion because you tend to have more empathy for people who look like you, ironically, having a lot of empathy can make you more racist.

Also, it’s hard to have empathy for millions of people, it’s singularly oriented. Compassion is the expansion of empathy, you are less emotionally attached but you want the best for others, you want to see them do well, improve their happiness and reduce their suffering.

Kindness is how you behave toward others. First, this mindset shifts your perception of other people, which then bleeds in how you interact with them.

In the west, we like to solve our problems with morals, ethics and law. It works in many situations like speeding law, red light, stealing and so forth but you can’t outlaw an emotion, moral can’t fix it, nor intelligence.

What’s missing is human emotional development. Education of the heart. Helping people remove negative emotions and amplify positive emotions.

I learned about developing kindness and compassion through Buddhism. When I started to get serious about meditation, as I did with fitness and nutrition, I dug into books from the best in this area.

Right in the beginning, schools and masters in meditation emphasized the need to amplify kindness and compassion through specific practices, and how that was really important to achieving tangible results in meditation. I was perplexed, what’s the connection between me meditating to be at peace within, relaxed and free of racing thoughts with kindness and compassion?

Well, the link is now clear, because some emotions make the mind shaky, trembling, running in all directions, which triggers the heart and makes us feel uneasy.

Think about it, how do you feel when you are angry versus happy, how do you feel, mentally, when you are anxious versus relaxed. How do you feel when you are jealous, hateful versus happy for someone? The poison of anger or racism is more damaging to the person who carries it then the one who it’s directed toward.

This is very important to understand about racism. A person affected by extreme tribalism can never be at peace within, relaxed. Remember at the beginning of the video I said that tribalism, like anger, are emotions that helped us enter survival mode.

It makes us ready to fight, to defend ourselves. So how can you be at peace if you are constantly preparing for battle, if your nervous system is turned on survival mode, stressed, ready for war? You can understand that better with the word paranoia, it’s a scary, jittery state of mind.

It’s the super extreme form of US vs Them. Imagine if the only tribe you identify with is your family, outside your house you will never feel safe. Your mind will always be on high alert. The less tribal and racist you are, the more peaceful and mentally calm you can be.

The goal of mediation is enlightenment and the end of suffering, and a prerequisite to reaching those states of being is achieving constant equanimity of mind. Equanimity is a mental state of calmness, groundedness, without being swayed emotionally.

In my eyes, I don’t look at someone who is racist as bad, but as someone who has a disease and is not at peace. the same way you don’t feel anger against someone who is depressed.

They once asked the Dalai Lama, the head of Tibet, how meditating over 50+ years helped him, how does he feel now.

Out of all the benefits he could have talked about, he said, when I meet a stranger, it feels normal, like I know him. Right there, he showed the power of developing kindness and compassion. Notice, there is a weird feeling we often feel around strangers when we first meet them, or being in a foreign environment, our mind is racing a bit higher than usual, elevated heart rate, some are anxious.

But you can reach a state where this doesn’t happen anymore, where any new person you meet feels like meeting a family member. This doesn’t mean you will like them as friends. But at least, you are giving them the benefit of the doubt and not have any preconceived, negative bias based on how they look, where they are from or their income level.

I can testify on the benefit of developing compassion and kindness through meditation. I feel at home everywhere, it’s gradually getting better. And this feeling of meeting strangers is completely gone. Which offset a lot of prejudice or ingrained bias I might have had regarding them.

In a state of emotional arousal like anger or hatred triggered via tribalism, you cannot think clearly, your mind is intoxicated with the worst possible scenario, then your reptilian brain, the most ancient part of the brain takes over, this reptilian brain is here for survival, so the worst can happen, you lose control easily.

That’s what happens to that Karen in Central park. She has to develop compassion and kindness in order to inhibit her tribal fears. Putting her in prison or sanctioning her, is it really helping her? And what message is this sending to society at large, did you hear any news media talk about emotional development? No, because media platforms operate on the same polarized tribalism that leads to racism.

Extreme Tribalism in her kicked in and took over her behavior, the US vs THEM software was activated. We have to see the humanity in everybody, in the oppressed and the oppressors.

Everybody who meets the Dalai Lama says the same thing, from neuropsychologists, doctors, biologists, to politicians, they say his welcoming aura is contagious…it’s warm…today we call that vibe, and many of us always love to shout, good vibe only.

If your vibe is good, to a degree you can change the other’s vibe because good vibe is contagious, this is what Cesar Millan is all about, bad vibe cannot counter bad vibe. And it says a lot when your good vibe goes away as soon as you meet someone with a bad vibe. Why? because negative emotions exist as seeds within you, under the right context, temperature, climate, they re-surface.

This was the meaning of Jesus extending his other cheek, of telling God on the cross, pardon these people who crucified me, they are emotionally unwell, fear got Jesus killed. It takes someone with immense compassion, kindness and mental maturation to love his enemies, the meaning of the turn your other cheek parable. It’s about the vibe you project when meeting adversity or someone who doesn’t like or hate you. Make your good vibration shine through the smokescreen of darkness, don’t get contaminated, hence Mrs. Obama saying when they go low, we go high.

Some of you might say, well, it doesn’t help to turn your other cheek, they will keep hurting you. That’s a big fallacy. If you play any type of competitive sports or been in the army, play board or video games, you understand that being emotionally cool, under control, is the best way to outsmart your opponent, to think and strategize. It’s the quarterback mindset.

That’s my biggest reproach with any mass movement in history, they get caught up emotionally, for good reason, I can’t deny that, but this reduces their capacity to think clearly, effectively, and focus on leverage points to apply pressure. Another issue is that running a movement on emotion is doomed to fail because emotions are not sustainable. As soon as your emotion goes away, you lose focus.

The Dalai Lama said this, your enemy is very good in the sense that he reveals who you are within. If your response to hate is hate, you are in the same boat as the other group.

I have met many extreme tribal people over my life,first back in Africa, with people who shared the same skin color as me but were from other religions or tribes or countries.Then I lived in Tunisia, where I faced extreme tribalism from people of different color, then in France, then in the USA. I’m saying this so you understand extreme tribalism exists all around the world. But in each of these countries, the vast majority of people I interacted with were good people.

We cannot fix deep issues in society with shallow solutions and being caught up emotionally. Understand what are the roots of racism, understand the role of tribalism in human evolution, then how to develop kindness and compassion in order to burn any potential in you then radiate that to others around and the world at large. Your individual actions matter because you are part of an ecosystem.

It’s up to you, thank you.