Know Thyself: Why Observation Trumps Inquisition

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

I first caught a glimpse of the above Greek quote while reading the much quoted, The 4-Hour Body, by Tim Ferriss. It simply means Know Thyself in Greek.

I try and ingrain the very essence of what it means to "Know Yourself" into my ever-distracted brain on a daily basis. In fact, it is a theme that I have been working on the entire year -- I want to be my authentic self and if I find I'm doing something or acting a certain way to please someone or a group of people, then I know I'm steering the ship in the wrong direction.

Before I go any further, yes...that is me sitting in something called the Fat Mobile which Dave Asprey built for burning man a few years back -- I must say, it was an honour to sit on the throne of Healthy Fat.

Knowing yourself and how you operate is the greatest asset we have as humans. The struggle? Most people don't even know where to begin. I think we have to know ourselves in the four dominant domains; mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

You will find that some people, including myself, tend to know themselves better in certain domains while ignoring the others. Example: your typical meat-head who has a chiseled physique straight out of Gladiator but has no cooking clue what is going on around his emotional well-being.

The muscle is an organ of longevity
— Charles Poliquin

When I attended the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference a couple of weeks ago, I sat in on Charles Poliquin's Q&A. Firstly, it was so humbling to be around such a powerhouse -- not only were his biceps the size of a camels hump, but his sheer intellectual knowledge was astounding. I mean it blew my f*cking mind for lack of better words.

Seriously. Any question you threw at him, he not only answered with a mixture of wit and intellect, but he could cite almost any study from the medical field.

What I absorbed from hearing this amazing man speak was the power of observation. He basically said, if we were to wait for double-blind, FDA approved studies before going ahead with our inclinations about the health and fitness world, we would be so far behind.

He has an unorthodox way of training his Olympic athletes according to most -- but, I consider it to be the only way. From his years of observation and reading studies that were done during the pre-steriod abuse error of the 1920's, he went on to become the most successful strength and conditioning coach the USA has ever seen.

A perfect example of his bluntness was when a tech-savvy biohacker (who was not in the best of shapes) asked him about the latest technology around the "readiness to train" factor -- basically technology that tells you when and when not to train based on calculations etc. He simply said it's absolute bullshit. Why?

"Because the nervous system takes 6 times longer to recover than the muscular."

I initially lost all my weight, not by following a perfect exercise routine or diet to a tee, but by observing how different foods affected my mood and biology. Of course, there was a baseline. I couldn't expect, as a fat overweight and lazy piece of poo, to lose weight by eating more carbs. As Charles would say,


Did I deserve any carbs when I was weighing in around 90kg and had about 30% body fat? Definitely not!

My question for you today is simple: How Well Do You Know Yourself?

When you take off that mask and actually dig deep, how well do you understand your inner workings? I certainly have no idea what I am made of, but I try and find out a little more everyday.

tools & hacks i use to get to know myself a little better

  • Headspace -- this daily guided meditation app has changed my life. Read my post on it by clicking here.
  • Journaling -- writing down your thoughts is a great way to defragment the brain.
  • Lifting & Running -- no brainer.

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