In today’s tech-driven world, many equate having the newest gadget or gaining social media ‘likes’ with success.  But does that truly define success or flourishing? At HAPPINESS SQUAD, we define success as unlocking your best self, and Brian Johnson, the Founder of Heroic shares this vision. 

Brian founded Heroic Public Benefit Corporation. He’s a 50% philosopher and a 50% CEO, but he’s 101% committed to create a world in which over 51% of humanity is flourishing by 2051. He’s made crowdfunding history, and he’s built and sold two social platforms. 

As a philosopher, he’s helped millions of people from around the world, trained over 10,000 heroic coaches from over 100 countries, and created a protocol that science says changes lives. On November 14th, he’ll be launching his book, Arete Vol. 1. 

In this episode, you’re going to hear about his amazing story, the journey that led him to create the Heroic Platform, what he envisions for his readers to unlock when they open his book. 

The conversation dives deeper into the crossover between HAPPINESS SQUAD’s Rewire Program and Heroic, highlighting the science and benefits of each other’s practices. These evidence-based approaches have the power to transform lives!

With Brian Johnson’s insights and the transformative power of his practices, we’re all one step closer to a world where true happiness and flourishing are within reach. If you’re ready to unlock your inner hero, dive into this episode!

Things you will also learn in this episode:




Anil Ramjiani:

Hey Happiness Squad, it's great to have you with Ashish and me as we host guests who are industry leaders helping individuals and organizations unlock their inner happiness and flourishing.

Welcome to an episode of Heroic Proportions. Today, we're joined by Brian Johnson, founder of Heroic, and when our minds come together, the conversation is simply powerful.

Brian founded Heroic Public Benefit Corporation. He's 50 percent philosopher and 50 percent CEO, but he's 101 percent committed to creating a world in which over 51 percent of humanity is flourishing by 2051. He has made crowdfunding history and built and sold two social platforms. As a philosopher, he has impacted millions globally, trained over 10,000 heroic coaches from more than 100 countries, and created a protocol that science confirms changes lives.

He resides near Austin, Texas, with his wife, Alexandra, and their two children, Emerson and Eleanor. On November 14th, he'll be launching his book, Arete Vol. 1. In this episode, you'll hear about his incredible story, the journey that led him to create the Heroic Platform, and what he hopes readers will discover in his book.

You'll also gain insights into the seven objectives he's outlined and how to incorporate them into daily life. The scientific benefits of the practices discussed by both Happiness Squad's Rewire program and Heroic are real and life-changing.

Stay with us till the end for a rapid-fire segment where you'll get an intimate insight into Brian. Now, let's dive in. Please join Ashish and me in welcoming Brian to the Happiness Squad as we rewire together.

Ashish, Bri, it's wonderful to be with both of you. I truly feel surrounded by legends. How are you both today?

Brian Johnson:

I'm doing great. I'm thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me here, Anil, and great to see you, Ashish.

Ashish Kothari:

Lovely to be here. I can't wait for this discussion. It'll offer so many insights for our listeners to live their best lives. Bri and I are truly committed to this, and we're excited. I'd like to start with one of the standard questions we ask every guest. We once had a researcher comment, "I know what you're doing. You're trying to collect answers from everyone."

You might think we're aiming to compile these, but we're not. The question is a very simple one but complex: "What is happiness, and how has your definition of it changed from your younger years to the impactful work you're involved in now?"

Brian Johnson:

I always like to start by referencing two of my favorite teachers when discussing the meaning of life or happiness: Aristotle, representing ancient wisdom, and Martin Seligman, symbolizing modern science. They essentially convey the same message. I have a particular fondness for the ancient Greek term "eudaimonia." If one were to ask Aristotle about life's purpose, he'd mention the "summum bonum" or the highest good, which is eudaimonia.

Though we translate this as "happiness" in English, it's more nuanced, leaning towards the idea of flourishing or actualizing one's potential.

I appreciate that sentiment. Martin Seligman's recent book is aptly named "Flourish." I lean towards redefining happiness with a nod to the ancient concept of eudaimonia, which, when broken down, means "having a good soul." It's about manifesting the best within ourselves continuously. As some might know, I've even tattooed my body with the answer to achieving eudaimonia. The word for this is "Arete."

Often translated as "virtue" or "excellence," it embodies the idea of being and expressing your finest self consistently. When there's a discrepancy between who you could be and who you are, that's where feelings of anxiety, regret, and disillusionment arise.

It's about closing that gap, living authentically, and expressing your potential. In the past, I was swayed by society's hedonic metrics—fame, wealth, physical attractiveness, credentials, social media following, and the like. Now, I'm passionate about practicing this philosophy and motivating others to view life through a eudaimonic lens.

Ashish Kothari:

Many of us have pursued what we consider the primary goals in life—money, relationships, power, fame, promotions, and the like. However, the essence is straightforward: realizing our full potential from the inside out.

What resonates with me is the simplicity in your approach, acknowledging the gap between who we are and our potential, every moment of every day. The key lies in actively addressing that gap. As you mentioned, it's about virtue and practice. What are we practicing that guide us towards being the best version of ourselves in service to a higher purpose?

Brian Johnson:

This is why there's such coherence in your nine practices. The Cardinal virtues play a significant role for us: having the wisdom to understand the ultimate game and the discipline to practice your philosophy when it's most crucial.

Then, of course, there's love, courage, gratitude, hope, curiosity, and zest—values we often revisit. It's intriguing because the concept is straightforward: be your best self. If one takes a moment to pause and reflect, the wisdom to discern the right course of action is always present. While it's a straightforward principle, implementing it is challenging. The adage "simple, not easy" comes to mind. However, by simplifying and establishing the right practices, as you mentioned, individuals can more consistently bridge that gap to express their best selves.

Life transforms when this occurs, and there's a myriad of nuances to discuss around this topic.

Ashish Kothari:

One tiny step along the way. Great. One tiny step along the way.

Anil Ramjiani:

Bri, one thing I genuinely appreciate is when you shared an early copy of your book, which we'll discuss shortly. In it, you detailed how you explained to your child what "Arete" means by using the analogy of one hand raised and the other near the ankles, highlighting the gap. Such a straightforward explanation. I have a deep affection for "Arete." Interestingly, one of our previous guests and a dear friend, Eric Schmidt, has "Arete" tattooed on his wrist. He got it around 18 years ago, believe it or not.

He's deeply into Greek philosophy, so seeing that resonated with me. I'm aware of another tattoo you have, and you've also named your platform "heroic." Could you maybe give our listeners an idea of what does ‘heroic’ mean to you and what led you to establish the Heroic platform?

Brian Johnson:

I appreciate that. But I can't go so fast past Eric. He has an Arete tattoo? We are soul brothers—Arete brothers, to be precise. Several of my closest friends also have the Arete tattoo. I'd love to connect with Eric offline.

On one forearm, I have Arete, and on the other, I have the name of our public benefit corporation, Heroic. On election night, 2020, setting politics completely aside, I woke up in the middle of the night with my 10-year-old and 6-year-old. It was one of those moments when I thought, "We can do better."

Entrepreneurially, I've built and sold two social platforms before the rise of Facebook. My last one was acquired by a publicly traded company but unfortunately didn't thrive, as is the fate of many startups. It's been over 15 years, and I've been waiting for someone to create an alternative to platforms like Facebook and Instagram, a solution in response to the issues highlighted in the documentary "The Social Dilemma" featuring Tristan Harris.

That's what Heroic is—a social training platform. It leverages the very best of social and persuasive technology to help bring out the best in individuals, aiming to create a world where 51 percent of humanity is flourishing by the year 2051. What truly inspires me is the etymology of the word "heroic."

In ancient Greece, the word "hero" didn't mean a tough guy or a killer of bad guys. It meant "protector." I want to redefine what it means to be a hero. Every one of us is called to be heroes in our own lives, no matter how modest. We all have values, institutions, and a broader purpose that we can dedicate ourselves to.

The moment we live with Arete, close the gap, and express the best version of ourselves, we are embodying heroism. There's no need to wait for big accomplishments like making a bestseller list to consider oneself heroic. The instant you act with wisdom, discipline, love, and courage, you are a hero.

As for my tattoos, there's a saying that if you write down your goals, you increase the chances of achieving them. While many jot their aspirations on a post-it and place it on their bathroom mirror, I've chosen to ink mine in large, permanent letters on my forearms, hoping it aids in my success, both in the immediate and the long term.

Ashish Kothari:

Brie, it's remarkable how we connected, considering the vastly different worlds we come from. I spent nearly 25 years in consulting, while you divide your time between building and selling startups and working as a philosopher.

Yet, around the same time, we both felt a call to action. You were drawn to create a platform to help people realize their potential and their ability to be heroic. Everyone has the power to make a difference, and I admire your dedication to that idea.

Similarly, when I decided to leave McKinsey, many questioned my decision. I left because I believed that the knowledge we had accumulated over 25 years regarding behavior change needed to reach billions quickly. Our innate inclination towards fear has driven us to a crisis point on multiple fronts, deepening global divisions.

While the planet might endure, I question the survival of humanity. I wanted to contribute positively to this challenge. So, witnessing your journey, especially the launch of Heroic around April 2022, resonated deeply with me.

Brian Johnson:

Yes, it was founded in November 2020, we were fortunate to work with Metalab, the company behind Slack, Tinder, Uber Eats, and Neuralink, to build our platform. We launched the training platform in April of the following year and are currently rolling out the social platform, which is an exciting development.

It's interesting because as I got to know you better, I saw the parallels in our journeys. While I had my experiences as a founder and CEO and dabbled in philosophy, your work at McKinsey and your dedication to the cause has been just as profound. Both of us are on this mission to foster a world where more individuals thrive, especially considering the significant challenges we face today. This is our collective call to heroism.

We need you. You’re the hero we’ve been waiting for. Look in the mirror. You’re our most important hero right now. It’s you stepping up, being your best self, in service to something bigger than yourself.

Ashish Kothari:

I love it. Everyone matters. Everyone can make a difference. And you start from here and now, which is the other thing I love about it. It's small little things every day, but you show up and you do them every day.

Brian Johnson:

And then you do them again, and then you do them again. And it's day one, but only always. Let's go.

Anil Ramjiani:

Brian, when you reached out to people and spoke to them about your endeavor, did you encounter any naysayers? People who felt, "I'm a hero in my own right, but I don't need to do that. That doesn't resonate with me." What have you encountered and how have you overcome that attitude?

Brian Johnson:

I'm a big fan of the diffusion of the adoption curve. I'm not naive enough to believe that everyone will resonate with me, our movement, or anything I stand for, even with my experience and age.

We've been fortunate to connect with individuals across the spectrum, from elite military officers and special forces operators to CEOs of large organizations, professional athletes, coaches, and even individuals who are struggling to find a reason to get up in the morning.

There will always be those who aren't interested or resonate with our message. We have early adopters who are passionate and see value in what we offer. But as you move further along the curve, you encounter cynics and, eventually, nihilists. I approach them with compassion and humility, focusing on the individuals of influence. My aim is to help these influencers integrate ancient wisdom, modern science, and practical tools to elevate their lives, recognizing their potential to impact their communities.

Our vision is also to train coaches. So far, we've trained over 10,000 people from 100 countries in a protocol that Sonya Lyubomirsky's lab has proven to be effective. My focus remains on those passionate individuals, meeting them where they are, and empowering them to positively influence others in various ways.

Ashish Kothari:

It's crucial to be aware that many people start companies with a vision, but they stop when they face obstacles or encounter skeptics. If we understand from the outset that if 80 percent of the people already believed in our mission, we wouldn't need to embark on it. Why would you be building Heroic if the majority understood its value? Similarly, why would I be doing the work with Anil at Happiness Squad? When I engage with companies to change their cultures and embed new practices, I often get asked about receptivity.

I understand that 80 percent might not be open to it initially. It could be because they don't believe in it or because they're in a mindset where immediate results are prioritized over long-term impact.

Many are caught in a cycle of seeking short-term outcomes without looking at the bigger picture. We need to recognize this and focus on the early adopters and influencers who can amplify our message. If someone isn't an early adopter, that's okay. Let's approach them with compassion, understanding that living without realizing one's potential is challenging. We should be patient, waiting for them to discover our mission in their own time.

Brian Johnson:

Let's introduce them to the modern religion, which is scientific proof. We're focused on merging modern science with ancient wisdom. In our culture, while 80 percent might be resistant, a vast majority are unhappy and are not flourishing in their energy, work, or love.

If we, by that I mean both our individual entities and collectively, can provide rigorous scientific proof that our methods work, that they can make someone more energized, productive, and connected, it's challenging for anyone to deny the appeal.

After all, who wouldn't want to wake up feeling great and purposeful? Who wouldn't want a deeper connection with their loved ones? The challenge is presenting it in a way that resonates, is rigorous, grounded, but also engaging and practical. I appreciate how you've put it. And now, it's day one. Let's move forward. Who's next? How do we continue to provide value?

Anil Ramjiani:

Well, let's shift gears. You're no stranger to writing and you're launching a book in November, Arete Volume one. I understand there are seven objectives you've laid out in the book. Do you have a favorite objective, and how do you integrate that into your daily life?

Brian Johnson:

I love it. The book, titled "Activate Your Heroic Potential: Volume One," is set to release in November. There are seven objectives, and I'll touch on each briefly before diving deeper into my favorite.

The first objective is understanding the ultimate game. Most get sidetracked, playing the wrong game. As Stephen Covey mentions, climbing a ladder quickly on the wrong wall is fruitless. It reminds me of your metaphor with David Brooks' second mountain. If you dash up the first mountain without direction, you'll end up even further from your true goal. So, understanding the ultimate game is essential.

My favorite, and the second objective, which I'll detail shortly, is forging antifragile confidence. Especially today, you can either be fragile, resilient, or antifragile. The aim is to grow stronger with life's challenges through our philosophy.

Next, it's crucial to identify your top three areas in self-development, which I distill down to energy, work, and love. Following that, make every day a masterpiece by translating theory into practice. Then, master yourself through the art and science of self-discipline.

Objective six emphasizes the basics: eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, etc. The final objective is activating your "soul force," inspired by Gandhi's Satyagraha and echoed by Martin Luther King Jr.

Returning to my favorite, the second objective is about forging antifragile confidence. Etymologically, confidence comes from "confidere," meaning intense trust. Building this trust, especially in oneself, demands consistency. To foster trust, consistently do what you promise. If you've made a commitment to meditate, eat healthily, or be present with your family and fall short, that trust diminishes. So, the goal is to identify one's best moments and maintain that as a standard.

The concept of anti-fragility, as coined by Nassim Tawa, is vital. It's beyond resilience. You want to thrive and strengthen when facing adversity. The key to this is doubling down on protocols and disciplines, particularly when challenged. This is how one cultivates anti-fragile confidence. It's what I'm incredibly proud of and eager to share. Mastering even a fraction of this can be transformative.

In summary, of the seven objectives, the primary one is to forge antifragile confidence.

Ashish Kothari:

Brian, I appreciate your perspective. Many might wonder about being "antifragile." Yet, we all have that capacity inherently.

Consider strength training. We stress our muscles, and with proper recovery, they grow stronger. Similarly, vaccines introduce small doses of a virus or bacteria, boosting our immune system in the process.

We often overlook this innate resilience. When faced with challenges or setbacks, it's not an invitation to surrender. Instead, it's an opportunity to adapt and shift our mindset. Instead of questioning our misfortune, we should lean in and ask, "What can I learn from this?" or "Where's the hidden gift?"

"Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl, a book I deeply admire, speaks to this concept. When adversity strikes, our power lies in reframing the situation to find meaning. Rather than resorting to avoidance behaviors, let's view challenges as a chance to harness our innate resilience. Possessing this ability isn't enough; we must actively apply it.

Anil Ramjiani:

One of the micro-practices in our rewire program focuses on cultivating self-awareness, specifically building an anti-fragile mindset.

This morning, I checked a poll on our LinkedIn, asking which of the four practices people would like to learn more about. There was a tie between mastering anxiety and developing a resilient mindset.

I revisited our video on this topic, where we emphasize the growth mindset. Your mind has the ability to develop that sharp edge. If you approach the day with a growth mindset and choose curiosity over expertise, asking questions and seeking to understand more, the potential is immense.

As Ashish mentioned, it's intrinsic in us, whether in our immune system or our muscle fibers. This is our chance to embrace the concept of being antifragile. Until meeting Ashish, I wasn't familiar with the term. So, listeners, if you're adding "antifragile" to your vocabulary, view it as a level beyond mere resilience.

Ashish Kothari:

Brie, share with our listeners, you decide between the two. Both are crucial and integral to our work. Do you want to discuss optimizing your big three or start with knowing the ultimate game? What's your game? Where do you want to head?

Perhaps we can address both topics, one after the other, as they're foundational. Many people are constantly on the move, but without a clear goal. One can spend a lifetime wandering without making significant progress if they're unsure of their direction.

Brian Johnson:

We're scoring the goal and wondering why we're not winning the game. It's even worse when you believe you're winning. "I'm making money. I have a big house." But still, you're not happy or fulfilled.

That distinction, from extrinsic to intrinsic, is essential. It's the shift from pursuing fame, wealth, and superficial qualities to personal growth, deep relationships, and making a genuine contribution. Understand this distinction, and it's life-changing.

Then focus on forging antifragile confidence. Nassim Taleb offers the metaphor: wind will extinguish a candle but fuel a fire. So, are you a candle, or are you a fire? Will you be fueled by challenges? If you follow a certain protocol, you will.

The idea of the "big three" is compelling. Life can be overwhelming. Stephen Covey, with his roles and goals, had an influence on me. But I often found myself overwhelmed with my many roles. I'm a husband, father, entrepreneur, writer, philosopher, teacher, friend, and athlete. It's a lot. Where does one even begin?

Tony Robbins has his categories, but I prefer to simplify. A good life revolves around two things: work and love. If you can get those right, you're on the right track. But if your energy is lacking due to poor lifestyle choices, everything else suffers.

We call it the "big three": energy, work, and love. Science confirms that the virtue most correlated with flourishing is zest. It's about life force and enthusiasm for life, which is directly influenced by our physiology. Our physiology significantly influences our psychology. So, we start with energy, then bring our best selves to our work and love. This is what we focus on in our book, our coaching program, and all we do.

Ashish Kothari:

What are some ways that you help? You know those on the platform and as well as some of the practices you write in the book. How can somebody be at their best when it comes to energy?

Brian Johnson:

Well, we do a few different things. One way we've framed the app, developed with Metal Lab and scientifically studied, is our coach program. In the app, we help users understand who they are at their best.

My coach, Phil Stutz, featured in the Netflix documentary "Stutz", describes it as "emotional stamina." I call it "antifragile confidence." He emphasizes that the worse you feel, the more committed you should be to your protocol. But that naturally raises the question: what is your protocol? We encourage users to determine their best selves in energy, work, and love.

As James Clear articulates in "Atomic Habits", identity means repeated beingness. So, we ask users to name their identity in energy, work, and love. For me, in terms of energy, it's "disciplined athlete." In work, it's "heroic philosopher CEO," and in love, it's "joyful soulmate." Each of these identities holds significant meaning for me.

Furthermore, as David Brooks points out in "Second Mountain" and "The Road to Character," while many focus on resume virtues, it's eulogy virtues that truly matter. So, we assist users in identifying virtues their best selves embody. In my energy, for instance, I value discipline, calmness, confidence, poise, strength, and being grounded. Each morning, I commit to these in our app and have specific targets I aim to achieve.

Our protocol helps users clarify their best selves across energy, work, and love. Users then make a daily commitment each morning, taking just 60 seconds to prime themselves to recognize opportunities to be their best throughout the day. Research indicates that following this approach can make individuals 40 percent more energized, 20 percent more productive, and 15 percent more connected.

That's the essence of our app's practice side, which we discuss in our book and delve further into within the app. Additionally, our entire coaching program focuses on training coaches to guide people through this process in their unique ways.

Ashish Kothari:

I love that. Identities. Before even determining what you're going to do, start by connecting with who you are and who you want to be.

From that foundation, you can then determine behaviors: what actions will you take? When we consistently carry out these actions, no matter how small, they start to shape us. For example, if "disciplined athlete" is your identity, you might begin with just one push-up or perhaps 100 steps.

Whatever your starting point, the key is consistency. As you repeat these behaviors, you begin to see success. In your app, users can track these behaviors repeatedly. Each time they do, they're reinforcing new neural pathways — neurons that fire together, wire together. By celebrating every achievement, users are continually reinforcing their best selves.

Both of us are passionate about this, not just as individuals but as business professionals. The research overwhelmingly supports the benefits. It's time for leaders to assist others in developing these habits. Even if you prioritize the well-being of others, there's an inherent benefit for everyone. We all share this world and are interconnected. When our peers thrive, we all benefit.

Moreover, the evidence is undeniable: happier organizations and individuals are more creative, innovative, and productive. These companies report higher profits, reduced turnover, and heightened creativity.

The studies you've undertaken, as well as the research from Sonia's lab and Oxford's latest well-being study, all validate these connections. They clearly demonstrate the relationship between well-being and factors like return on assets, profitability, and shareholder returns.

It's time for a shift in focus, emphasizing the importance of supporting everyone around us. By fostering the right habits and nurturing the best in one another, we can each be the heroes we are meant to be.

Anil Ramjiani:

I was watching a TEDx the other day, and Ashish, we discussed how happiness is an inner game. Yet some people believe they can buy happiness or find it externally. Bri, you mentioned the distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic sources of happiness.

What surprised me was when the speaker shared some statistics: We spend nearly 3 trillion a year on cosmetics, 300 trillion on fashion and apparel, while on personal development, which targets our inner character, we only spend 40 billion a year globally. The vast difference in spending underscores our pursuit of external sources of happiness, which often lead us into a vicious cycle of unfulfillment.

The reality is, true happiness requires inner work. Brian, you talked about dedicating just 60 seconds every morning to cultivate this habit. So, for both of you, how can we encourage people to invest a few minutes daily in themselves? How can we show them that using science to enhance their well-being is a worthwhile investment compared to hours of daily stress? How do we inspire individuals to tap into their potential?

Ashish Kothari:

Anil, those stats are staggering. But that 40 billion is a misnomer. Bri will tell you, having spent all his time trying to perfect the method, that just because 40 billion is spent doesn't mean it's effectively used.

From my work at McKinsey, 70 percent of transformations fail. The number is even higher for personal transformations. People might sign up for subscriptions, but it doesn't always lead to a change in behavior. They might hop from one program to the next without lasting results.

That's why I'm such a fan of Heroic and the work Bri and his team are doing. It's grounded in the science of what works and the science of habit formation. At Happiness Squad, we use the neuroscience of habit formation at our core. Knowing what to do is one thing, but if we don't help people do it correctly, it won't have a lasting impact. That's what I appreciate about platforms like the one Bri has created; they're powerful. I'm especially excited about the community aspect of it because learning together and in repetition is where results truly manifest.

If the entire 40 billion were effectively used, perhaps we wouldn't see so many ongoing challenges. But the reality is different. What are your thoughts?

Brian Johnson:

I appreciate your kind words about Heroic. I've noticed your contributions over the past 25 years, and the momentum you're building is palpable. We're fortunate to have partnerships with special forces units in the US, and West Point has introduced Heroic to their cadets, faculty, and staff.

So there's Heroic Military, which we're particularly excited about. Then there's Heroic Corporate. Inspired by our conversations, it's evident that when we merge rigorous science with ROI, it makes a compelling case. The challenge is packaging and presenting this information effectively.

While the corporate world faces "app fatigue" and there's a saturation point with solutions like Calm and Headspace, our aim is to fundamentally help people engage in habits that change their lives.

That's why we partnered with MetaLab—to develop a user experience akin to a Tesla for self-development, ensuring maximum adoption. The influence of wellness directors and leadership development experts is crucial. I'll soon be speaking with the Royal Bank of Canada's 90,000-employee team about mental health. They've prioritized this, and the goal is to instill scientifically proven behavioral change mechanisms systematically.

Corporate America, and global corporations at large, are poised to be the most influential agents of change in the coming years. If our goal is to have 51% of humanity flourishing by 2051, organizational leaders must prioritize their teams' health and well-being.

The good news is, the science backs this approach, and the economic return is undeniable. It's not a question of if, but when. The ultimate bottom line will be met as we build cultures that honor and support every individual.

I'm profoundly optimistic about the future because we must take these steps. The path is clear. It comes down to leadership. Give me a CEO, an HR head, or a military officer who's committed, and we'll prove the efficacy starting with them. From my perspective, it's inevitable.

Ashish Kothari:

That's it. The best part is hearing individuals say they want to make a change, but their company won't support it. To those listeners, Gandhi said, "Be the change." Start with yourself. Even if you're a supervisor in a warehouse and feel the entire company doesn't prioritize this, if you have a team of 14, you can initiate change with that group. We're designing things to be accessible. Don't wait for the world to change; you change. By doing so, you'll witness the world changing alongside you.

Go for it. Explore Heroic, get a copy of Arete, visit Happiness Squad. Don't let the hesitation of organizational leaders deter you. Reach out to Bri or me; we're here to support you. Time is of the essence. Given our current ecological and social challenges, we need individuals to act with urgency. We're calling on all who are ready to step up as leaders and torchbearers. We're here to support you in being the change.

Bri, you've built an incredible community and are launching a new platform. Can you share more about the importance of community in personal growth and learning, and how you're integrating that into your offerings?

Brian Johnson:

I want to reflect on your beautiful articulation; bless you. Amen, let's go. There's much to discuss regarding Gandhi, but the way I frame it is as follows: there's wisdom, which involves getting a new idea. I refer to this as inside out. You grasp an idea that can transform your life. This is undeniably essential, and our platform is full of such wisdom.

However, science indicates that the most effective way to alter your life is to immerse yourself in a community with high standards. In such an environment, you naturally elevate to match those around you. This resonates with Jim Rohn's sentiment that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

We are enthusiastic about the social aspect of our platform because it offers users a chance to be surrounded by individuals whose default behaviors are the optimal ones. Many who are committed to this path of well-being often feel out of place in their usual environments. They may be perceived as anomalies for their health-conscious habits. But we're striving to foster a culture where doing the right thing is commonplace.

While we are developing our online community, it's the offline interactions that we're truly passionate about. We have an initiative called "Heroic Local." When we gauged interest in building local communities, we had responses from over 750 cities in 75 countries. Imagine having Heroic Austin, Heroic New York City, and countless others worldwide, where individuals connect in person.

The essence of Heroic Social is not just about meeting up. Alongside the human connections, there needs to be a structured yet adaptable protocol to guide participants towards their best selves. That's where our social training comes in, and it's an integral part of the Heroic platform we're launching.

Ashish Kothari:

So beautiful. The notion of Sanghas in Buddhist traditions is a powerful one. We should surround ourselves with others and create space to practice together because life continues. Your programs and ours aren't just one-off experiences. It's not as if after one year, you can say, "I'm heroic now," and revert to old habits. We have to show up daily and live it. I'm enamored with the idea of local communities. You can count on our support to help initiate one in Boulder. Bri, we're all in.

Brian Johnson:

I can’t wait to see you in Boulder.

Anil Ramjiani:

I'm in Amsterdam. Having lived 17 years outside the US, I consider myself a global citizen, spreading the word in this part of the world. When I hear what you both are saying, it reminds me of a conversation I had with my sister this morning.

For those who know me, I'm very close to her. She's been a guiding light on my self-reflection journey over the last eight years. Asha, she echoed your sentiments, emphasizing the importance of surrounding oneself with those who resonate with this philosophy. The power lies in growing that circle because, as they say, good begets good, and strength begets strength. We have a fantastic opportunity to expand this circle, and I applaud what you're doing.

Now, I'd like to switch gears, Brian. Let's discuss your favorites among the nine "hardwired for happiness" practices. We've shared these with you, and you've got them in front of you. I'm curious about your top pick and, as I mentioned earlier, how you integrate them.

Brian Johnson:

This is an even more unfair question than asking which is my favorite. I knew you'd pose this, and I thought, "not fair." However, I'll answer by emphasizing the integration of all nine.

For me, having self-awareness as the number one slot is significant, and living with intention is my primary objective. It encapsulates wisdom and knowing the ultimate game. That requires self-awareness to discern whether you're playing the right game.

As I consider your list, I see profound resonance. For instance, defining your purpose. I believe there's a universal purpose we all share and then there's your unique purpose. In every moment, our aim should be to be our best selves while living with eudaimonia.

Embracing mindful living is another facet of wisdom. The importance of gratitude is well-supported by science. Mastering emotions equates to recognizing our internal patterns and acting rightly, regardless of our feelings.

Fueling up with compassion is essential. The term "compassion" means to "suffer with." However, there's also the heroic encouragement of envisioning a brighter future together. Investing in well-being is a crucial aspect, as is the concept of community, which we just discussed. We then circle back to intention.

I love the cyclical nature and the way you've structured this. So, in essence, it's the integration of all these elements in their unique, ever-evolving, and harmonious manner that, I believe, leads to happiness, flourishing, and eudaimonia we're discussing today.

Ashish Kothari:

Brian, it's fascinating how our journeys and frameworks have independently converged, particularly around intention. I love that your first of the seven objectives is "know your game," emphasizing awareness and the protocols of every morning.

Choosing and committing to intention, defining who you want to be is crucial. Without commitment and keeping it front and center, achieving it becomes challenging. I eagerly await reading your book and recommend it to our listeners for its expected wisdom.

However, reading alone won't suffice. For application, one should check out the Heroic app or Happiness Squad. Without dedicated practice, all the knowledge is futile. We are in an era abundant with information but starved for consistent application.

Understanding is essential, but without practice, there's no transformation. Even starting with one or five minutes can make a difference. We owe it to our loved ones, our teams, and ourselves not just to avoid becoming the lowest version of ourselves but to pursue and embody our highest potential. So Brie, thank you.

Brian Johnson:

Thank you, Ashish.

Anil Ramjiani:

Hey, are you guys up for a quick speed round of questions? This is more for fun. And just to get to know you a bit better, Brian.

First question. Your favorite shoe brand?

Brian Johnson:

Vivo barefoot, the only shoe.

Anil Ramjiani:

Okay. I don't know if you know where I work right now. That's why it's like a curveball question, but I love it. I work for Nike.

Brian Johnson:

So then I'll tell you why I wear the Vivo barefoot. You guys have the equivalent whatever low profile you get for me and shoe dog. Phil Knight's autobiography is one of my absolute favorite books, So you got me on that one. Nike second, although I hired the CEO of Adidas to replace me at 25 years old So it's a tough battle there for the top three

Anil Ramjiani:

Okay. Number two your favorite song to listen to to turn your frown upside down?

Brian Johnson:

“We Can Be Heroes” by The Score, which I don't know how many times I've listened to, but phenomenal band. The Score is my favorite band. We had them at our launch party and actually, the name of the song is actually “Unstoppable” and the lyrics are “we can be heroes.” Phenomenal song. I love it.

Anil Ramjiani:

All right. Your favorite book, and I know that's a tough one because you've read a lot, but what's the one that you're like, unequivocally, this is my go to?

Brian Johnson:

It's not possible for me to pinpoint an exact number of books I've read, but I've compiled 650 Philosopher's Notes. If I had to recommend, I'd say an empty journal. Additionally, and with a touch of bias, I'd suggest my new book, Arete. It's a thousand pages where I've consolidated 451 of my absolute all-time favorite books from the past 25 years. But I'll put an asterisk on that recommendation. I'll leave it at that.

Anil Ramjiani:

Okay. Last one. Not sure if you're a big movie buff or TV buff, but what's the last series you binged?

Brian Johnson:

The last time I engaged with something like that was "Hero" or "Heroes." After that, I started dreaming about those characters, and that's when my wife and I decided to stop consuming that type of content. These days, I watch movies and great documentaries.

One of my recent favorites is Nims Purja’s 14 Summits in 7 months. It's incredibly inspiring. He's a phenomenal Nepali individual who made history. Another documentary I enjoyed is "Stats."

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