Peak Performance & Productivity

Five Reasons Most People Never Achieve Their Goals

by Scott Jeffrey

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year?

If so, are you following through? According to one study, 80% of these resolutions fail by February.

Why?

A lack of self-discipline is the usual answer. And research from psychologist Roy Baumeister is compelling: self-control is a more significant determinant of success in life than intelligence or anything else. (And his research includes career, money, health, relationships, etc.)

For a comprehensive guide on how to develop self-discipline, see Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct (audiobook).

But a lack of self-discipline isn’t the only reason people fail to achieve their goals. In fact, I’ve come to observe other factors that may be more fundamental than will.

As a coach, I prided myself on the self-discipline I’ve cultivated in specific areas. However, over time, I’ve also become acutely aware of the limits of willpower. I think the reason we focus on willpower is that we don’t understand what’s driving us internally—for example, the archetypes in the unconscious.

Here are four patterns I’ve observed in myself and others that tend to hijack the achievement of our goals.

Read More

7 Powerful Meditation Biohacking Tools to Help You Train Your Mind

by Scott Jeffrey

Let’s start with a disclaimer: This post reviews various meditation tools and products that include affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these products through these links, I receive a nominal commission. With the exception of only one product (Muse), I have purchased and used all of the products reviewed in this guide.

________________

If you’d like to read an excellent primer on meditation, read this guide. It covers dozens of insights I’ve learned from two decades of mind training.

One of the things I explain in this meditation guide is that meditation is a natural process. Under ideal conditions, we would all remain in a present, mindful state.

Clearly, however, we don’t live in these ideal conditions and so meditative practices can play a vital role in our ability to perform better and to relax and return to ourselves.

In addition to exploring the various forms of meditation, there are many meditation tools on the market that offer additional support for your practice. If you can augment the benefits of meditation or accelerate the process, why not do so?

Why Meditation is Essential for High Achievers

If you don’t regulate your mental, emotional, and physical state throughout the day, it negatively affects your performance.

The more calm, compassionate, and centered you are, the more productive you become. If you’re an entrepreneur, meditation practices can translate to the bottom line.

But it goes far beyond that. Research shows that meditation can help:

  • Develop self-awareness (study)
  • Elevate your mood (study)
  • Improve your immune function (study)
  • Strengthen your willpower (study)
  • Sleep better (study)
  • Reduce your stress (study)
  • Enhance your focus and attention (study)

By all markers, mind training can make you a better entrepreneur and human being.

The Best Meditation Tools

Perhaps you’ve tried meditation or you may even already have your own daily practice. Regardless, most people I’ve talked with about meditation seem to struggle with it for various reason (which I discuss here).

Through the years, I’ve invested many thousands of dollars on various technologies and courses in my exploration in mind training. If you’re looking for an edge to help you build momentum or deepen your practice, these meditation tools can help you.

The following meditation tools are used for different reasons. Select the ones that most speak to you.

emWave2 by The Heartmath Institute

Heartmath Institute studies the science of the human heart. They pioneered a means of measuring what’s called personal coherence, the synchronization of physical, mental, and emotional systems. Personal coherence is calculated by a combination of heart rate variability, pulse transit time, and respiratory patterns.

emwave2 meditation tool

The EMWave2 measures these variables with a sensor clipped onto your ear or with the thumb sensor on the device. You can use it as a portable tool, but you’ll get the most benefit by hooking it up to your computer and using it in conjunction with the accompanying software. If you would prefer to use it with your mobile device, check out Inner Balance.

Using HeartMath’s Quick Coherence Technique with the emWave2 attached sensor, the device measures your coherence as you attempt to steady your breath while holding a positive emotion directed at your heart. As your ability to maintain coherence improves, you can increase the level of difficulty. Ten minutes a day is sufficient to increase your coherence score.

Purchase on AmazonBuy from Heartmath Institute

Cost: $199

Kasina by Mindplace

Using Kasina is like having a laser light show for your eyes only. It’s perhaps the closest you can get to a psychedelic experience without taking a mind-altering substance.

While studies on brainwave entrainment are intriguing, research indicates that light may influence the brain more than sound waves. At least in relation to specific physical symptoms, research by Dave Siever suggests that light frequencies have a greater impact on the brain than soundwave technology.

Regardless, there’s no reason to choose one over the other. The Kasina Mind Media System combines both modalities. You wear a headset and special glasses with embedded LED lights. The device comes with six categories that target different experiences: Accerlate, Meditate, Mind Art, Rejuvenate, Night Voyage, and Trance. After you select the program category and your desired track (descriptions of each are included in the manual), you simply lie back and enjoy the show.

If you have a lot of resistance to meditation or have trouble quieting your mind, give Kasina a try. It’s one of the best meditation tools few people seem to know about. And if you’re a techie, the application is highly customizable so you can build your own tracks.

Purchase Kasina on Amazon | Buy from Mindpace

Cost: $349

Profound Meditation 3.0 from iAwake Technologies

Are you familiar with binaural beats and isochronic tones? You basically take two different pure-tone frequencies that are close but not the same to each other, one in each ear. Combining these two frequencies creates a third tone called a binaural beat. Binaural beats can be created to a wide range of frequencies, including those of brainwave patterns associated with various states of consciousness.

The theory is that by listening to binaural beats at specific brainwave patterns like alpha, theta, delta, gamma, and epsilon, you can induce various states of consciousness in a safe manner and support your meditation practice.

I’ve experimented with many of the binaural beat programs on the market, but iAwake’s technology is unique. They go beyond traditional brainwave entrainment technology to include what they call biofield entrainment, harmonic layering, dual pulse binaural signaling, and more.

 

profound meditation 3.0 best meditation tools

 

These sound technologies are embedded into the background. You mainly hear various soundscapes (mostly rain/stream sound). Profound Meditation 3.0 is a multi-disc set with a 3-tier system. You listen to the sounds in blocks of 20 minutes. With a high-quality headset, the sounds play in the background as you meditate.

This is a comprehensive meditation program that can produce psychoactive experiences. The accompanying manual explains everything you need to know to get started. The Releasing tracks are great for unwinding at the end of the day.

In my opinion, this is one of the best meditation tools you can use. If you want to give this a test drive, you can access a free 20-minute track from this program here (along with other free tracks).

Purchase Profound Meditation 3.0 from iAwake

Cost: $227

Muse Headband

The Muse Headband is perhaps the most popular meditation tool among biohackers. The Muse Headband helps train your brain for mindfulness by giving you sound cues of the electrical activity (EEG) of your brain while you meditate. You wear the Muse around your forehead from ear to ear. Via Bluetooth, the Muse sends the signal to the Muse app on your smartphone. The app gives you real-time feedback (via various soundscapes) through your headphones. The more you quiet your mind, the calmer the soundscape becomes.

With this form of biofeedback, you’ll be able to track your progress with mindfulness training. Practicing with the Muse headband, in a short time, you’ll notice greater awareness. That is, you’ll become more conscious of when your mind begins to wander, enabling you to bring yourself back to the present moment.

I personally try to avoid Bluetooth and wireless technology whenever I can due to sensitivities with electromagnetic frequencies. But many people use Muse and if you’re not concerned about EMF, this product is worth testing out.

Buy the Muse

Cost: $199 

QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Headphones by Bose

Meditation is challenging for two reasons: external distractions and internal chatter. While Profound Meditation 3.0 and Kasina help reduces internal chatter, this product helps reduce external distractions.

bose headset meditation tool

Wearing this Bose noise-canceling headset is like lowering the volume on the world around you. If you listen to any binaural beats, isochronic tones, or meditation music, this headset will definitely enhance your experience. I also use this product whenever I really need to focus on a project. They’re also great for air travel as they block out most of the plane engine’s rumble.

While you can find less expensive noise-canceling headsets on the market, none of them are as effective as this one. They simply work. I keep one near my desk at all times.

Purchase Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones (Wired) | Buy Bluetooth Version

Cost: $227 | $349

Buckwheat Meditation Cushion by Seat of the Soul

One of the reasons I mentioned that many people have trouble meditating is because of poor physical ailment. I recommend sitting at the edge of a hard chair when you’re first getting started. But if you prefer to sit on the ground (which has numerous other benefits), then using what’s traditionally called a zafu can help.

best meditation tool zafu cushion

To maintain proper structure alignment, you want only your coccyx region elevated. This crescent-moon-shaped, buckwheat filled cushion with an organic cotton cover is ideal.

Buy this meditation cushion

Cost: $35

Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series

If you’re looking for guided meditation instruction, consider the Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series 1 by psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn.

guided mindfulness meditation tool

This program contains four 40-minute guided mindfulness meditations Kabat-Zinn used in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. There is a large body of research to support the efficacy of this program for reducing stress, improving health, and developing the brain.

Buy Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series 1

Cost: $20

Read Next

The Definitive “Underground” Meditation Guide: Secrets to Effective Mind Training

A Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating Self-Awareness: A Foundational Skill for Emotional Intelligence

How to Use Nootropics to Access Your Brain’s Potential While You Work


How to Supercharge Your Body and Mind with Energy Supplements for Higher Performance

by Scott Jeffrey

If you’re looking at supplements for energy, there’s one of two reasons.

  1. You often feel tired, perhaps chronically fatigued, or
  2. You want more energy for higher mental and physical performance.

As a peak performance coach for entrepreneurs, the topic of energy has been important to me for over two decades.

Learning how to manage your energy throughout the day is key for high performance in anything. Books like The Power of Full Engagement made many people aware of this, but it’s still an area of blindness for most individuals, especially for entrepreneurs and high achievers who need it most.

Read More

10 Best Business Books for Professional Development and Higher Performance in Your Work

by Scott Jeffrey

If you’re an entrepreneur or a creative professional interested in your development, you probably read (or listen to)  business books.

Here are my selections for the best general business books to help you improve your daily performance and work at your best.

(Note: Most of my clients now listen to audiobooks more then they read. Whenever possible, I’ve included links to Amazon’s Audible versions below. If you’re not already an Audible customer, you can start a free 30-day trial and get two free audiobooks.)

Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs and Creative Professionals

Listed in no particular order:

best business book essentialism

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown

Hardcover | Kindle | Audible

McKeown addresses a central concern in a culture that’s obsessed with doing more, faster, and bigger. Every step you make from being what McKeown calls a non-essentialist to an essentialist is a movement toward a more fruitful way of being.


best business book triggers

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith

Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook

In the recent survey I sent to you, many of you expressed interested in changing behaviors. Goldsmith is considered one of the top executive leadership coaches in the industry. His exclusive focus is on helping business leaders make essential changes to their behavior. Triggers provides many valuable insights.


best business book originals

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
By Adam Grant

Paperback | Kindle | Audible

This instant bestseller from 2016 is filled with numerous truths delivered through enchanting stories that inspire us to create at our best. For example, Grant points out that creative individuals arrive at more ideas instead of trying to refine a few, and successful people understand how to balance risk in a portfolio.


best business book 4 disciplines of execution

The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
By Sean Covey,‎ Chris McChesney, and‎ Jim Huling

Paperback | Kindle | Audible

Getting the right things done is an art and science. Any professional can benefit from 4 Disciplines—especially entrepreneurs who manage a team. The book highlights the importance of keeping score and outlines a practical process for driving toward critical results.


best business book power of habit

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
By Charles Duhigg

Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook

The Power of Habit is another instructive (and entertaining) read on the topic of behavioral change. Another similar title I recommended in a previous book review post is The Willpower Instinct. Both are worthy of your time, in my opinion.


best business book the one thing

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook

This book covers lots of key principles that I’ve been writing about and using in my coaching practice for two decades. The One Thing overlaps with Essentialism in many ways, but both are worthwhile reads if this is an area of interest to you.


best business book war of art

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
By
Steven Pressfield

Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook

Being a skilled professional at anything requires you to become intimate with a force that enslaves many of us: resistance. Pressfield, a master of his writing craft, provides instruction and inspiration on overcoming this demon in The War of Art. (See also my guide to self-mastery.)


best business book drive

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
By Daniel Pink

Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook

Through engaging research and storytelling, Pink draws on lessons from self-determination theory to illuminate what drives us—especially in the context of our work. Here’s a three-second summary: the answer is purpose, autonomy, and mastery.


best business book tony schwartz

The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance
By Tony Schwartz

Paperback | Kindle

Schwartz, one of the two authors of the bestseller The Power of Full Engagement, highlights how virtually everything we do is hijacking our performance and our ability to get consistent results. This book is full of useful insights and strategies you can apply right away.


Your Business Blueprint for Entrepreneurs

Through ten, in-depth virtual coaching sessions, my new program walks you through a proven, step-by-step process to build the ultimate roadmap for any business.

If you’re an entrepreneur or someone looking to grow a business and generate more money, this course will give you the tools, strategies, and processes you need to get the results you want.

Read the details here >>

(And I’ve extended the $50 discount through this week. Use code: ybbintro50)


Read More Best Book Reviews

10 Best Marketing Books for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Own Their Market

10 Best Personal Development Books to Realize Meaningful Growth

10 Best Self Help Books to Jumpstart Your Path to Higher Achievement

10 Best Psychology Books to Illuminate What Really Drives You


Why You Should Stop Trying to Be Productive

by Scott Jeffrey

Why do you want to be more productive?

This is a big question we often never ask. And how you answer it will determine how likely you are to make better use of your time.

If your answer is just to be able to “get more done,” you have a problem.

Let me explain…

Read More

The Definitive “Underground” Meditation Guide: Secrets to Effective Mind Training

by Scott Jeffrey

Overview: This in-depth guide provides meditation guidance, meditation instructions, and loads of “underground” tips based on over two decades of research and experience in mind training.

_______________

I was suffering from acute anxiety before and during exams in my sophomore year at the University of Michigan.

As a consequence, I was getting sick often and freezing during exams, lowering my performance.

My uncle shared with me a simple meditation practice he learned from a course. Using this method made a measurable difference in my health, performance, and well being.

And so, from then on, I began exploring and experimenting with different meditative practices and breathing techniques.

Perhaps you’ve never meditated before. Or, you’ve been meditating for years.

Maybe you dabble in meditation, or you tried it out and decided it wasn’t for you.

Regardless of your relationship to meditation (or lack thereof), I’m confident you’ll find tremendous value in today’s new guide.

In this comprehensive and unusual meditation instruction guide, I’m going to offer what I’ve learned from over 25 years of mind training.

Topics include:

  • The unconscious reasons most people resist meditation guidance
  • How to meditate even when you don’t want to
  • Powerful meditation instructions to make mind training more effective
  • Understanding the vital intersection between psychology and meditation

Let’s jump in …

Read More

How to Use Nootropics to Access Your Brain’s Potential While You Work

by Scott Jeffrey

A year ago, if you asked me if I’d write a guide on the best nootropics, I would have given a definitive “no.”

Nootropics, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a fancy word for smart drugs or cognitive enhancers. Smart drugs are prevalent in college environments where students try to increase their memory, attention, and motivation to study.

But there’s a lot more to the story. And if you’re interested in activating more of your potential (especially while you work), nootropics are worth a closer look.

Read More

6 Formidable Obstacles to Personal Mastery and How to Transcend Them

by Scott Jeffrey

In Awakening the Mind, author Anna Wise defines “mastery” as:

“Being in the state you want to be in, when you want to be there, knowing what to do with that state, and being able to accomplish it.”

In a state of personal mastery, your mind is calm, quiet, and alert.

You are free of distraction, rumination, or any other disempowering tendencies of the mind.

In this state, the inner critic doesn’t attack your ideas before they’re formed or judge you or your performance.

You access your higher potential naturally—without conscious effort.

Imagine what you can do in that state. That’s the power of personal mastery.

You have experienced this state before. But how often?

For most of us, this state of personal mastery is rare. However, I see mastery as our natural state.

If that’s true, why does it often seem so challenging to access?

There are six primary culprits …

Read More