When you think about it this way, it's kind of sad that our typical definitions of success represent those three bacteria-level behaviors. Power guarantees some level of safety so you don't have to run away from or fight scary things. Money guarantees that you'll always be able to eat. And physical attractiveness means you're more likely to attract a partner so you can reproduce.
Power, money, and sex. Most of us spend our lives pursuing these three things at the behest of our mitochondria. As a relatively stupid tiny life-form, a single mitochondrion is too small to have a brain, yet it follows those three rules millions of times a second. When a quadrillion mitochondria all follow them at the same time, a complex system with its own consciousness emerges. Throughout history people have given different names to this consciousness. The one you're probably the most familiar with is ego. I'm proposing that your ego is actually a biological phenomenon that stems from your hardwired instincts to keep your meat alive long enough to reproduce. Sad! The good news is that those mitochondria also power all of your higher thoughts and everything you do as you become more successful. They're stupid but useful.
The people who have managed to change the game don't focus on these ego-or mitochondria-driven goals, but they do manage the energy coming from their mitochondria. They have been able to transcend and harness their base instincts so they can show up all the way and focus on moving the needle for themselves and the rest of humanity. This is where true happiness and fulfillment—and success—ultimately come from.
I have experienced this shift in my own life as a result of my journey to become Bulletproof. As a young, secretly fearful, yet smart and successful fat guy, I spent years fighting these instincts—striving to make money, seeking power to be safe, looking for sex, struggling with my weight, and, frankly, being angry and unhappy. Using many of the techniques in this book, I was able to finally stop wasting my energy on those mitochondrial imperatives and start putting it toward the things that really mattered. And I've seen that when you manage to do this, success comes as a side effect of setting your ego aside and pursuing your true purpose.
That purpose is unique to each person. This book is not going to tell you what to do. Rather, it is meant to provide you with a road map to setting your own priorities and then following techniques that will be noticeably effective in helping you kick more ass at whatever it is you love. This order of operations is important. If you try to implement tools and techniques before setting your priorities, you'll do it wrong. But studying the priorities of game changers, identifying your own priorities, and then choosing from the menus of options throughout the book will help you make the biggest difference in the areas that matter most.
To make it simple, you'll find these options broken down into laws summarizing the most important advice from my high-performing guests, concentrated and distilled, along with some things you may want to try if they resonate with you. This style and structure was inspired by that of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, one of the luminaires I interviewed on the show whose books have made an enormous difference to millions of people, myself included. These laws fall into three main categories, which are the areas to focus on when you want to transcend your limits and learn to like your life while performing at your peak: becoming smarter, faster, and happier.
Smarter comes first because everything else is easier when your brain reaches peak performance. Just a decade ago, most people believed that you couldn't actually get smarter. If you'd talked about taking nootropics—aka "smart drugs"—or upgrading your memory, people would have thought you were crazy. Trust me, I know. I included my use of smart drugs in my LinkedIn profile starting in 2000, and people literally laughed at me. But times have changed, and now it's almost mainstream to talk about microdosing LSD for cognitive enhancement. Whether you choose to experiment with pharmaceuticals or upgrade your head by learning visualization techniques, it's okay to want to maximize your brainpower so you can perform at your best. That will free up energy for you to do other things you care about. This part of the book will show you how.
Next up is faster, a goal that humans have been striving for since the beginning of time. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, if you could light a fire in your cave faster, you won because you survived, and we haven't stopped working to be faster ever since. The laws in this part of the book will help you make your body more efficient so that you have as much mental and physical energy as possible for the things you want to do. It's difficult to change the game if you're sluggish and weak, but when you maximize your physical output using all of the tools at your disposal, you can do more than you ever imagined you could.
It is only after you gain some control over your mind and body that you can become happier, and that's why this section comes last. It was amazing to learn how many game changers had some sort of practice to help them become more aware, centered, and grounded and how those practices led to a higher level of happiness. In huge numbers, they talked about meditating and using breathing techniques to find a state of peace and calm. I didn't draw that answer out of them in the interviews—it's what they actually do.