The Magic of Creativity

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 1-2  minutes

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“It’s you + creativity + fear.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

What I appreciated most from Big Magic was the part on fear. I feel that everybody can make great things. However, at times fear tries to hold you back. This is what gets in the way. You may be afraid as to what other people think of you.

I think this book opened my eyes a little bit and allowed me to say: You know what, I am just going to go for it and put fear aside. I acknowledge that fear is there but you need to have the courage to get past that level of fear and move forward in creating great art. You have to be willing to let your passions and ideas come forth and make a move on them instead of rejecting them.

I want to continue writing as it is something that excites me. I want to work on that art every day. This is what makes me happy and that is what is most important. We are brought up in school with the emphasis that if you work hard you’ll be happy. But what if you don’t like what you are working hard on. I think it’s important to find your creativity and work on that everyday which will create happiness along the way.

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Talking Happiness During Holiday Season

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3  minutes

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“Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it’s the realization that we can.” -Shawn Anchor

I had The Happiness Advantage on audio sitting in the passenger seat of my car and for some reason I couldn’t get myself to listen to it. I finally decided to give it a try, as it was the only audio book left in my car that I did not read. I was hoping it was not one of those happy mumbo jumbo books, yet I was surprised from the get go and I was hooked. I could relate to the author and his experiences at Harvard. This might be my favorite happiness/positive thinking books/

This book even sparked a convo with one of my good friends Harjot Hans that I wanted to share below:

Me: I did some reading early this am and the way our society pushes us: They make us think that if we work extremely hard and sacrifice things, we will then be happy once we get that raise, promotion etc. However, the opposite is true. Success succeeds happiness. With a positive mindset and happiness along the way, this will help you to succeed at your job and make you successful.

Him: So instead of thinking get this job, then that degree, and the other job that makes 100k to get the car to be happy. You should be thinking this is great, I’m doing the right things and it’s such a blessing to be in this position?

Me: Be grateful right now for what you got. That you have the privilege to work at a biotech company. Be optimistic. When you live a life of positivity that will lead you to success.

Me: It’s when you sacrifice health and happiness by working so much that you are depressed or hate life with the end goal of getting that promotion or car. In the end you will not be happy as this negative lifestyle will consume you.

Him: Will keep that in mind

Him: It’s too easy to get consumed and fall off the wheel maynn

Me: Ik that’s why you need to be aware of these things and not let emotions get to you.

How have you brought positivity into your life?

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Investing in Great Businesses: Warren Buffett

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 3-4  minutes

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Investing= “Allocating resources to improve quality of life.”         -Tim Ferriss

After reading a blog post from Tim Ferriss regarding lessons from Warren Buffett, I decided to compile the key takeaways.

If there is one thing you should know: Never, never, never invest in something you don’t understand better than the majority.

Here is how to think of the great, good and gruesome companies:
To sum up, think of three types of “savings accounts.” The great one pays an extraordinarily high interest rate that will rise as the years pass. The good one pays an attractive rate of interest that will be earned also on deposits that are added. Finally, the gruesome account both pays an inadequate interest rate and requires you to keep adding money at those disappointing returns. (2007)

Determining if a business is a great business:

• Those that have high returns on capital and that require little incremental investment to grow. (2009)
• High returns, a sustainable competitive advantage and obstacles that make it tough for new companies to enter.
• A truly great business must have an enduring “moat” that protects excellent returns on invested capital. (2007)
• “Moats”—a metaphor for the superiorities they possess that make life difficult for their competitors. (2007) Moats can widen or shrink.
• Long-term competitive advantage in a stable industry is what we seek in a business. (2007)
• One question I always ask myself in appraising a business is how I would like, assuming I had ample capital and skilled personnel, to compete with it. (1983)
• A great business has pricing power or the power to raise prices without losing business to a competitor
• An economic franchise arises from a product or service that: (1) Is needed or desired; (2) Is thought by its customers to have no close substitute and; (3) Is not subject to price regulation.
• The best protection against inflation is a great business: (1) Has the ability to increase prices rather easily (even when product demand is flat and capacity is not fully utilized) without fear of significant loss of either market share or unit volume
• Businesses needing little in the way of tangible assets simply are hurt the least.
• Customer goodwill creates economic goodwill
• It’s far better to have an ever-increasing stream of earnings with virtually no major capital requirements. Ask Microsoft or Google (2007).

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How to Become One of the All Time Greats: 5 Keys

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”- Barack Obama

Over the past few days I listened to the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. I heard about this book after reading Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. He continually referred to it so I said to myself: let me give this a shot. It was on my “To Read” list, but I never got around to getting it.

This book had some great takeaways and I wanted to share those with you.

  1. To be a great leader, your decisions and actions need to be about the company and not yourself
    • The leader does not let his ego get in the way of making decisions.
    • The leader is not concerned about fame or his salary.
    • When the company succeeds: the leader says it is because of the entire company, each and every employee. The leader believes they are lucky to be at such an amazing place.
    • When the company makes a poor decision: the leader takes full responsibility.
    • The leader will put the company first and do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal.

 

  1. Who before what
    • It is about hiring the right people
    • One needs disciplined people who you can trust will do an amazing job and will continue to “break new ceilings”
    • Wait until you find the right person, as it will help your team to succeed rather than spend the time training someone who might have had some red flags

 

  1. Managers should manage the system not the people
    • When you have the right people from the get go, a manager should manage the system to help make the team more productive and effective

 

  1. The goal/vision for your team should be simple
    • Ask yourself: What can we be the best at?
    • Continually ask yourself: Is the decision I am making getting our team closer to the goal?
    • Stay focused, present and don’t let the sunk cost fallacy get in your way

 

  1. A culture of your own
    • Bring in the right people that are aligned with your culture and values
    • Make your workplace lively and fun. A place where you are excited to come in each and every day.
    • Work should not just be work. It should be a place full of friends that are there for you, with that same passion and fire under their feet.

 

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Live Worry Free: Tips from the great Dale Carnegie

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2 minutes

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Remind yourself that the only things you can control are your thoughts and actions. Everything else is uncontrollable. -Ryan Holiday, Daily Stoic

I recently just listened to How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie in my car. I did skim through it (parts of it made me sleepy on my commute) but I walked away with some great reinforcing ideas on how to live a worry free life. Worry can lead to sickness and poor health. Here are some ways to prevent that.

The most important takeaways I found are:

-Ask yourself: What is the worst possible outcome? How does it make me feel?

  • This is something that I use when making decisions that are stressful or risky. It tends to calm me down and make it easier to move forward rather than thinking about all the different outcomes.

-Live day by day. I know that sometimes you need to look at the big picture but by living each day to the fullest and not thinking about the future or past can help you to live a happier life.

-When discussing a business problem  answer these questions in writing: What was the cause of the problem? How could we solve this problem? What do you recommend?

-Be grateful and appreciative of what you have. There are many people out there in worse situations than you.

-Practice happiness. Smile more. Meditate daily. Get busy doing the things you love. Be optimistic and don’t let your negative emotions get to you.

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Out to Eat: 32 Meals in 18 Days and the Damage Done

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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Jax at the Tracks

The Damage done:
• Gained 2.8 pounds
• Had some GI Discomfort after a few meals
• Energy levels down a tad

I honestly thought I would gain about 10 lbs but staying strictly Ketogenic actually astonished me. I could not believe I only gained 2.8 pounds. Replacing the fries with greens must have really helped. It was tough and options were a bit limited but I was able to eat Keto at every meal. I was happy that restaurants were so easy going with substitutions.

Here is a breakdown of my meals while I was in the SF area:

Breakfast: I was lucky that I had continental breakfast at the hotel. I had about 3-4 hard-boiled eggs (1-2 yolks) and occasionally some sausage. Starting your day off with a high protein, low carb meal gave me a solid amount of energy and was satiating.

Here is a sample of some of the restaurants I went too and what I ate. I honestly think that every meal I had was amazing.
Lunch: My top picks for a fast lunch was Asian Box, Poke Love, Cocola Bakery.
Asian Box (Palo Alto)- Custom Box with Asian Salad, Chicken, Green Toppings and hot sauce on the side
Tava (Palo Alto)- Bowl with fresh romaine base, chicken tikka, pickled veggies, and side of chilled brussels and carrots
Poke Love (Palo Alto)- Organic Mixed Greens, Spicy Tuna and Siracha Salmon, Green mix ins, hot sauce on the side
Melt (Palo Alto)- Double Spicy Mission Burger in a lettuce wrap
Jax At The Tracks (Truckee)- Pulled pork in a lettuce wrap, cole slaw (Guy Ferrari Top Pick)
Mexcal (Menlo Park)- Short Ribs, black beans and Guacamole
Tender Greens (Palo Alto)- Chipotle BBQ Chicken Kale Salad
Cocola (Menlo Park)- Lemony Herb Tuna Salad with olive oil on the side

Dinner: My top picks were Burma Superstar, Barbara’s Fishtrap, Sajj Mediterranean
Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara)- Shrimp Bay Roll in a Lettuce Wrap
China Bee (San Mateo-Japanese Eggplant, Seaweed Salad, Spicy Cucumbers. Side Note: First Time Trying Stinky Tofu- To me it tastes like stinky feet combined with garbage but I know it is delicacy. I also got a chance to try the fruit durian).
Barbara’s Fishtrap (Half Moon Bay)- Cod Fish and Calamari, Cole Slaw
Kufu Ya (SF)-Hot Plate with Lamb and Beef
Cold Water Restaurant (Yosemite)- Cheat Meal
Burma Superstar (SF)- Tea Leaf Salad, Curry Style Fish, Oh Noh Kauswer Soup minus the noodles
Sajj Mediterranean (Palo Alto)- Steak Shawarma Salad Bowl
Amici’s (SF)- Buffalo Wings and side spinach salad
Suisha House (Redwood City)- Hibachi Steak and Vegetables

In terms of exercise I only lifted light weights a few times at the hotel and did hiking on the weekends in Yosemite (Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls) and Lake Tahoe (Rubicon Trail, Eagle Lake, Stateline Fire Lookout).

When I returned home: I did two days of intermittent fasting and returned to strength training (deadlift, bench press, squatting). I lost the 2.8 lbs in only 1 week. I was shocked how quick I got back.
What has been your experience while travelling and maintaining a diet?

 

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How Can You Create New Brain Cells? A single ingredient can help.

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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Fall Season is Here

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” –Buddah

Did you know that your brain can create new neurons? It does, and you can have a major role in this process. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is one of the most important factors you probably have never heard of. Even my CNS course in undergrad did not discuss this. BDNF plays a role in creating new neurons, protects existing neurons during synapse formation, and helps protect against neurodegenerative diseases. It has been shown that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have low levels of BDNF. The gene that increases BDNF can be activated through lifestyle changes such as exercise, sauna use, a ketogenic diet, omega-3 fatty acids specifically DHA, and turmeric.

Out of these the one that stood out to me was turmeric. I kept hearing about this from podcasts with Tim Ferriss and his guests. I decided to buy turmeric powder and start adding it to my diet. Turmeric is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. It has been found to be among one of the most effective compounds in the world. This is one of the main reasons turmeric can be key to disease reversal. It has been studied in regards to its effects on killing cancer cells. Turmeric is the main spice in curry and can be easily found in a supermarket. I like to add it to my vegetables with grass fed butter. I also found that Vitamin Shoppe has this as a supplemental chew. It tastes pretty good; like you’re eating a Laffy Taffy.

With these benefits, why wouldn’t you add it to your diet?

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How the Sauna Can Help with Muscle Growth, Longevity and More

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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The Sauna I Use After Every Workout

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” -Mahatma Gandhi

After listening to a podcast with Dr. Rhonda Patrick I decided to dig a bit deeper on sauna use and its effects on muscle growth, endurance, and longevity. After a 45 min to 1-hour weight training and stretching session, I go right into the sauna. I put a timer on my iPhone for 5-10 minutes and bring a water bottle in. I use the water on the sauna to form steam and heat up the room. This is your average sauna in a gym so it is nothing special. For those 5-10 minutes I will tend to relax and use it as a form of meditation. To note: I don’t breathe deeply as this causes me to become short of breath. I then dry off, drink some water and hop in a cold shower when I get home.

I knew that the sauna was good for your skin, immune system and as a way to detox but I wanted to learn more about its effects on the body. Here is what I found. I was amazed.

As per Dr. Patrick, Sauna Use May:

Increase Muscle Growth: Prevents protein degradation and increases protein synthesis

  • Increases release of growth hormone
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Increases production of heat shock proteins (they help to keep proteins from misfolding which is associated with many diseases of aging)

Increase endurance by:

  • increasing nutrient delivery to your muscles
  • improving your cardiovascular mechanism and reducing heart rate
  • improving thermoregulatory control and reducing core temp during workout

Positive Effects on Brain:

  • Increases release and storage of norepinephrine
  • Increases the hormone prolactin which increases myelin production
  • Increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor which increases growth of new brain cells
  • Increases expression of dynorphin.

The Relation to Longevity:

  • Increases production of heat shock proteins
  • Activates the longevity gene: FOX03-a

How often do you use the sauna?

 

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Why you should ditch wheat and start eating more saturated fat.

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 5-7 mins

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“Whole wheat bread increased sugar as much as or more than table sugar, or sucrose.” William Davis.

It was great to be able to challenge myself by going on the Slow Carb Diet.  I was amazed when I lost 15 lbs in 6 weeks. Rather than a quick way to lose some fat, I wondered if this could be a lifestyle change. I decided to do some research on the many reasons one should eliminate wheat from their diet and the health effects. On the Slow Carb Diet, which mainly eliminates all white carbohydrates, I started to have more energy throughout the day, I felt more agile in the gym, I felt focused at work and even slept better. Replacing wheat with foods containing fat was something that worked. I decided to start my research by skimming these 3 books:

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers

The wheat we eat today is not the same wheat our ancestors used to eat. The alterations of wheat that could potentially result in undesirable effects on humans are due to the hybridization experiments that pre-date genetic modification. Over the past 50 years, thousands of new strains have made it to the human food supply without a single effort at safety testing (William Davis).

The consumption of wheat has been tied to many health issues including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, multiple sclerosis, narcolepsy, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Alzheimer’s disease just to name a few. One of the major culprits is inflammation, specifically when it is not under control. If the body is under assault by exposure to irritants, the inflammation response stays on and spreads throughout the body. Grain is composed of many proteins, one being lectins. Lectins are easily mistaken by the body as foreign invaders and our immune system will attack it and produce antibodies against it (Robb Wolf). Prolonged inflammation can lead to the production of chemicals that are toxic to our cells,  can lead to activation of chemical pathways that increase free radical production and the increase of oxidative stress. A free radical is a molecule that has lost an election and oxidation refers to an oxygen molecule missing one of its electrons. Oxidized tissues and cells don’t function normally and lead to further inflammation (David Perlmutter).

The whole fat free idea created in our time is something I quickly realized is false. We once thought that all fats were bad for you. Saturated fats are actually essential parts of our diet and can help build stronger bones, improve cardiovascular risk factors, improve liver health, improve lung health, improve brain health, are essential for proper nerve signaling and a stronger immune system to name a few.

To bring more saturated fats into my diet I recently started to use MCT Oil in my coffee each morning. These are medium chain triglycerides that are easily burned by our bodies and quickly turned to energy in the form of ketones. They also play a major role in brain health and can improve cognitive function. MCT’s are a rich source of the precursor molecule for beta-hydroxybutyrate. This is the most important fat for brain energy utilization. Being on a ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce amyloid in the brain, increases glutathione (a brain protective antioxidant), stimulates growth of mitochondria and increases metabolic efficiency (David Perlmutter).

I first started using MCT oil with half a tbsp. in my coffee. The next day I went to 1 tbsp. This was a mistake. A warning, you will find yourself in the bathroom. I went back to ½ tbsp. for first week and then 1 tbsp. after that and have been keeping it there since. All is well. I highly recommend that you try this supplement in your coffee. You will notice the oil forming as a layer on top of the coffee. It will also make your lips nice and smooth. It is odor free and flavor free which is what I like. I feel the energy and concentration immediately and feel even more satiated throughout the morning. I encourage you to pick up one of the books above to learn more about the importance of diet in your health. I was shocked by what I learned and I am happy to be on the Slow Carb Diet as a part of my lifestyle change.

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In the Blink of An Eye, Anything Can Happen

 

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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Minutes Before Making A Sudden Save in Long Beach, NY

Yesterday my father and I attempted to save two drowning individuals in Long Beach, NY. We were walking down the boardwalk onto the beach and all of a sudden an individual ran up to us screaming that two guys needed help in the water. We immediately started running to the shore, jumped on our surfboards and paddled out to them past the jetty. There was a strong rip current due to a tropical storm and no lifeguards were on duty at the time. We were able to save one individual and I send my condolences to the family of the other individual. This really shocked me and I couldn’t believe what just happened. I want to warn every one of the major rip currents out there from the storm surges. It is a reminder that anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

The life lesson I learned was to be grateful for all that you have. You really do not know how much time you have left. I try to remind myself each morning what I am grateful for and to live my life to the fullest. Time is the only thing we don’t get back. It is easy to get caught up in focusing on things such as your income or what type of job you have. However, you have to remember to do the stuff that you love because you never know what may happen next.

Philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, stated, “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.”

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