The following is adapted from Unstoppable: 4 Steps to Transform Your Life by David Hauser.
What is optimization? This word is thrown around a lot these days, mostly in business and startup growth circles, both of which I’ve been a part of for the last fifteen years.
In business, “optimization” means identifying the processes and practices that positively impact a metric you care about, like revenue. But in order to do that, you need data. Today, thanks to the explosion of data, it’s possible to track just about everything. And tracking everything means that you have the potential to optimize everything. You just need to be able to identify the patterns that get you closer to your desired outcome.
As I’ve embarked on my health and wellness journey, I’ve realized how applicable the concept of optimization is to how we think about the pursuit of health. In this article, I’d like to share what I’ve learned to help you optimize your life and your health.
Developing an Optimization Mindset
Collecting more data was crucial to my health and wellness journey. More information about things like the ketogenic diet and new types of exercise, like yoga, have helped me get closer to my ultimate goal. When I adopted what I like to call an “optimization mindset” and started opening myself up to new experiences—and testing them meticulously—I took the first step toward evolving my body and my mind.
An optimization mindset requires that you approach every experience as an opportunity to gather data and learn from it with the goal of improving yourself in the process. In this context, we’re optimizing for whatever’s important to you—weight loss, better health, more energy—so you conduct experiments on yourself to make that happen.
Start with a hypothesis, test it, and gather the results. Analysis reveals whether or not your hypothesis was correct. Did your experiment help you get closer to your goal? If not, what else might? This, in a nutshell, is what I mean by an “optimization mindset.”
Optimal health requires you to become sensitive to the signals your body is always sending in response to new stimuli. With this sensitivity comes the ability to identify when your body is functioning in an optimal state, or, as I like to put it, when you’ve become “unstoppable.”
It Won’t Be Easy, but It Will Be Worth It
I’m going to tell you something that would’ve sent my twenty-year-old self running in the opposite direction: this isn’t a quick fix. Taking an optimization mindset with your health doesn’t mean taking a prescription or losing weight overnight. Instead, it’s a series of methodical approaches to the key components of health that you set in motion to achieve your goals.
If you adopt an optimization mindset, you will be much more likely to succeed. Throughout my health and wellness journey, I tried dozens of diets and workouts that promised success, but they were essentially designed for someone else. For example, when I replaced meals with SlimFast shakes, I’d found a short-term solution for losing weight, but I was starving all the time. Sure, I’d lose ten pounds quickly, but when I gained it all back not long after, the feelings of failure and shame returned, and were amplified. I’d beat myself up over not being able to stay on track, but in reality, I wasn’t following a path that worked for me.
With optimization, you’ll find a routine that is designed only for you. Back in the day, I took popular health recommendations as the ultimate truth. Even though my body was telling me that something wasn’t right, I refused to listen to it, ceding authority to so-called “health experts” in popular media. By taking an optimization mindset, you’ll stop looking outward and start looking inward to improve your health. You’ll replace your lust for solutions with curiosity and experimentation. If something doesn’t work for you, if it doesn’t help your body to feel and perform better, if it doesn’t clear up your mind, then try something else. Accept responsibility for the experiments you employ within the framework and evaluate the outcomes so that you can try something else. That’s when you’ll see progress.
That progress may not come easily, but when all is said and done, this method will help you will maximize the potential of each day of your life. When I was working out two to three hours a day and worried about burning calories all the time, I wasn’t living. I was surviving. And I was entirely miserable. While this framework will improve your quality of life in the future, it’s also about making the most of each day. It’s not just about living longer. It’s about living more fully.
Feel Like the Best Version of Yourself
Whether you feel overweight, tired, or out of control, moving toward feeling good and enjoying your life requires your full acknowledgment of where you’re at. As you experiment, everything that you learn is valuable data, and you can use it to become unstoppable.
Optimization is about building the best version of yourself possible. It has nothing to do with being better than or competing with others. It’s accepting the wholeness of who you are—body, heart, and mind—and using it to live your life to the fullest. This requires ownership of yourself and the inner space in which your thoughts and feelings dwell. It’s an ownership that can position you to experience the greatest depths of life, and the many gifts you already possess, just for being who you are.
For more advice on optimizing your health, you can find Unstoppable on Amazon.
David Hauser is the co-founder of Grasshopper. He’s a serial entrepreneur who launched several companies before he began high school. David spent his youth working more than one hundred hours a week, until he realized the toll it was taking on his mind, body, and life. After failing to see results from conventional wisdom, he decided to do what he does best: innovate. His unique journey to wellness has helped him realize his life’s purpose of empowering others to optimize their own lives by reclaiming their health. As David continues to evolve, he receives tremendous support from his partner, Dawn, and their three inspiring children.