Are You Optimizing Too Much?

I have many clients who come to session wanting to “optimize their life.”

High powered folks (or wannabes!) who want to make sure they are squeezing every bit out of life and performance they can, in the most efficient way.

Hey I get it.

I started biohacking back in 2013 when I attended Dave Asprey’s first ever Biohacking Conference in San Francisco. It was right after reading Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Body and got some amazing and enlightening results from trying some of its protocols. Some of those folks are still my friends and we still trade biohacker tips and tricks today.

However, the same Tim Ferris, on his podcast with the Huberman Lab, made an interesting comment which was along the lines of:

How can you de-optimize to optimize the whole?

It resonated well with what I had discovered along the way in my own experiments.

Because optimization takes Time. Energy. Willpower. Tracking. MONEY. Focus. Attention. Measuring. Analyzing. Change.

That’s a lot of WORK!

There are many I meet in session who want to completely optimize every part of their life.

Literally you can try. But most end up falling flat.

Forget the fact that biohackers, the ultimate optimizers, are of a different breed. They are humans that have that unique ability to flip their whole life on a dime. To stop eating something for months. To stop eating at all. To focus on measuring incessantly and analyzing for changes. To be sensitive to changes. And also sensitive to benefits. Or lack thereof. And more.

Is that you?

Maybe it is, but likely not.

However, even biohackers can overdo it. You can spend all your waking hours implementing every optimizing protocol you can find. At some point, it crosses that threshold of positive value vs too much expended.

So Tim Ferris’s comment resonated, from one of the most optimizing, experimental, biohacky guys out there.

Even he has figured out that sometimes, taking things away optimizes the whole.

That all that Time/Energy/Willpower/Tracking/MONEY/Focus/Attention/Measuring/Analyzing/Change is finite, and that sometimes you’ll do better by not optimizing something for the greater good of your life.

It’s also why when people ask about optimizing, that I coach a more holistic philosophy for life that embodies doing less for getting more, and doing it all with ease.

Therein lies how you might consider removing things.

So if you’re wondering about life optimization and becoming superhuman and all that, here are some questions for you:

What are you doing now that is not adding to the whole?
What things are feeling too hard or too much?
What things aren’t showing clear positive results, given what you put into it?
What are the most important things in your life that need optimizing versus everything?
What could be another, less problematic way of doing something now?
If something is difficult for you, how might you do it with ease?

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2 responses

  1. Natalie Avatar

    Very good point, David. I found that our desire to optimize without clear reasons and holistic mindset create additional stress on our mind, which may hinder the entire effort.

    1. David Shen Avatar

      Exactly so!