Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning
University Professors and Authors Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey on “Developing and Delivering High Quality Distance Learning for Students.”

University Professors and Authors Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey on “Developing and Delivering High Quality Distance Learning for Students.”

August 4, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #77 with Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey, who are both professors at San Diego State University in Educational Leadership where they focus on policies and practices in literacy and school leadership. Watch the interview on YouTube here.


For those who are new here, my name is Andrea Samadi,  I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience and educational research, matched with social and emotional skills, with interviews from experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or parent working in the corporate space.


Welcome Doug and Nancy, it’s wonderful to meet you after enjoying your books for the past few days.


Doug and Nancy are also both teacher leaders at Health Sciences High & Middle College, an award-winning open-enrollment public school in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego that they co-founded in 2007. For over 2 decades, they have dedicated their work to the knowledge and skills teachers and school leaders need to help students attain their goals. Their shared interests include instructional design, curriculum development, and professional learning. Doug and Nancy have co-authored numerous articles and books on literacy, and leadership that I’ve included links to in the show notes, including: This is Balanced Literacy,[i] The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+,[ii] All Learning is Social & Emotional[iii], The Teacher Credibility and Collective Efficacy Playbook,[iv] and most recently The Distance Learning Playbook[v] with co-author John Hattie[vi]. 

  1. I couldn’t start this podcast, without acknowledging John Hattie’s Visible Learning Research[vii] and the fact that he is the co-author of your Distance Learning Playbook. I 100% agree with the write-up I saw in your book that says “The pandemic teaching of mid 2020 was not distance learning but rather crisis teaching.” But starting now, teachers have the opportunity to prepare for distance learning with purpose and intent.”[viii] I’d love to learn how the idea of The Distance Learning Playbook came about and why it was important for you to include John Hattie as your co-author. (Discuss the playbook style of PD book and about John’s Visible Learning research).
  2. My next question for you ties into our last podcast, episode #76 with Michael Horn on “Using a Positive Lens to Explore Change and the Future of Education”[ix] where he spoke about the importance of embracing technology as an important component of our future, and the article you wrote for on “4 Steps for Powerful Distance Learning Experiences”[x]  ties right into this topic. This morning I had both my girls go “back to school” online and I was grateful that I felt a bit more prepared for this after getting ready for this interview and reading that article. Could you outline these 4 steps as many schools and families are like me, in the beginning stages of going back to school, with distance learning being the platform to launch the school year, before students transition to in person learning?
  3. Because this podcast focuses on social emotional learning, I’d love to dig a little deeper into the concept of the all-important teacher-student relationship. I know that building relationships is one of John Hattie’s teaching effects from one of our earlier episodes, #7 with Assistant Superintendent Greg Wolcott, who wrote his book Significant 72 based on the importance of student-teacher relationships.[xi]  What type of impact do those relationships have on student learning and how do teachers build those relationships from a distance?
  4. Tying in closely with the teacher-student relationship is a concept you call Teacher Credibility. In fact, one of your other playbooks is titled Teacher Credibility and Collective Efficacy.[xii] However, in the distance learning playbook, you focus on how to build that credibility at a distance. Can teachers really do that when they’re not in the same room with their students?
  5. I noticed Module 1 of your Distance Learning book is titled “Take Care of Yourself” referring to teachers/educators taking care of themselves first. I really appreciate that you put this as Module 1. Can you tell me about why self-care is at the front and center in your playbook and tie in the fact that All Learning is Social and Emotional and that as parents, and educators, the need to take care of ourselves before we reach out and help our children or students?[xiii]
  6. I know you’re both big proponents of Teacher Clarity and how that clarity has the potential to accelerate student learning.  You’ve identified 3 questions that contribute to teacher clarity. Can you briefly cover those and how they apply to distance learning?
  7. Lastly, and tying back to social emotional learning, in your playbook you discuss the socioemotional links to feedback. Tell us about the importance of a classroom climate (be it physical or virtual) where errors are celebrated and expected and how that plays into feedback.
  8. What are your final thoughts to tie everything in together on the future of education?


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your work and powerful vision for education. If someone wants to learn more about you, is the best way and they can find you both on twitter Nancy is @NancyFrey and Douglas is @DFisherSDSU


Also, Corwin Press is also offering a 30% discount plus free shipping through the end of August on all books and I will have the link for your Distance Learning Playbook[xiv] in the show notes.







[iii] All Learning is Social and Emotional




[v] 30% off all books at Corwin Press though the month of August 2020


[vi] John Hattie


[vii] John Hattie


[viii] The Distance Learning Playbook


[ix]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast Episode #76 with Michael Horn on “Using a Positive Lens to Explore Change and the Future of Education”


[x] “4 Steps for Powerful Distance Learning Experiences.” For Smartbrief by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, July 16, 2020.



[xi] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast EPISODE #7 with Greg Wolcott


[xii]Teacher Credibility and Collective Efficacy


[xiii] All Learning is Social and Emotional


[xiv] 30% off all books at Corwin Press though the month of August 2020

Speaker and Writer Michael B. Horn on “Using a Positive Lens to Explore Change and the Future of Education.”

Speaker and Writer Michael B. Horn on “Using a Positive Lens to Explore Change and the Future of Education.”

July 31, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #76 with Michael Horn, the author and coauthor of multiple books, white papers, and articles on education, including the award-winning book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns [i], (a book I think that everyone should read as it describes how disruptive technologies  will personalize and revolutionize learning) making complete sense with what’s happening with online learning in the world today. He also wrote the Amazon-bestseller Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools [ii]and his most recent book,  Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life.[iii] that was written to help students and parents stay ahead of the curve as they make important college decisions.


Watch this interview on YouTube here.


Podcast Intro and Background on Michael


Welcome Michael! It was fun to hear your reaction to some of my questions yesterday, that dig back a few years.  


I first saw you speak, Michael, at the ASU/GSV Summit in San Diego in 2016[iv] when our company was nominated for the McGraw Hill Innovation Award[v] in K-12 Education and wanted to watch this event, learn from the speakers, through streaming video. The title of my notes this year was “Aha Moments from the Eyes of a Disruptor” so I must have been reading your book Disrupting Class at that time. It was from this event that I learned about disruptive ed tech companies like Class Dojo, Clever and Remind who were all skyrocketing their online services  within the school market  (and now most people have these apps on their phones) and I knew this conference was one that I needed to stay connected to, and learn from these speakers, with you being one of them, if I wanted to stay at the forefront of innovation in education. Things really have changed since 2016, haven’t they?


Thank you so much for meeting up with me, to share your vision of education with those who are listening. I’ve been on your email list, ever since that 2016 summit, and felt that it was time I reach out to you when your email subject matter read “Why Developing Character in Schools Matters” as I have been focused on a Character Manual for Educators to put these of these concepts into practice.


Q1: Michael, I have so many questions that range from the K12 market, into higher education, and then I found your podcast Class Disrupted[vi] that you started when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted education and changed everything we as parents, teachers, or workers know about what it means to go to school.  I listened to a few episodes, and loved them with my favorite being the one about “Why can’t Sal Khan just teach everyone?” Can you give an overview of your podcast, and what your vision is so our listeners can check it out and stay with your content?


Q2: Let’s go back to 2016 to that ASU GSV Summit (this was the one that Bill Gates was a keynote speaker), these were the good old days in education. I was watching some of these ed tech companies talking about their growth. It’s crazy for me to look back and see that Class Dojo was only founded 9 years ago, and Coursera 8 years ago or that the Remind app back then was only in 50% of public schools (I am sure they are in 100% by now). We can all see that online education and technology has disrupted education.  Remember Moore’s Law[vii] that shocked Gordon Moore, Intel’s co-founder and author of Moore’s Law that states that “computing power will double every two years.” What advice would you have for schools/teachers/parents that were not ready or set up for this wave of online education that we are all now getting used to?


Q3: As a parent of 5-year-old twins, what are you focused on at home with their learning? I know routines are important, but what does a typical day look like for you? I’m asking mainly because I’m hoping to hear that someone whose written all these books in education with access to all of the tools under the sun, finds working from home, AND homeschooling to be challenging…like I am!



Q4: What about higher ed. I saw your article “Changes Ahead in Higher Ed: The Experts Weigh in”[viii] and wonder what other changes do you see for the 2020-2021 school year that go beyond COVID-19 testing, online learning challenges, the sports team you mentioned were being eliminated and whether campuses will reopen?


Q5: On this podcast, we do focus on the 5 social and emotional competencies, with self-awareness being one of them. Why do you think a gap year is so important for students these days to consider learning more about themselves before going to their next steps after high school?



Q6: Is there anything that you think is important that we have missed, to close out our conversation?


Thank you very much Michael, for the time you have taken to be on this podcast and share your vision for education in the next year. For those who would like to learn more about you, they can go to and find all of your books there and follow you on Twitter @michaelbhorn or Michael Horn on LinkedIn.


Michael’s BIO


Michael is a senior strategist at Guild Education, and founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, a nonprofit think tank. He's an expert on disruptive innovation, online learning, blended learning, competency-based learning, and how to transform the education system into a student-centered one. He serves on the board and advisory boards of a range of education organizations, including the Clayton Christensen Institute, the Robin Hood Learning+Tech Fund, and the LearnLaunch Institute. He also serves as an executive editor at Education Next and is a venture partner at NextGen Venture Partners.






SEPT. 2020 Agenda with Michael Horn speaking


Class Disrupted Podcast


Khan Academy Kids for ages 5 and under teaches early literacy, math and social and emotional skills through 1,000 games, videos and stories.


Resource for Colleges


Measuring Colleges’ Financial Strength


Kaplan’s Boost Year





  • Remind, a company that reaches parents and students wherever they are, increased to 35M users, with 50% of public schools using their services.
  • ClassDojo, a simple, safe classroom management app that helps teachers encourage students in class, and easily communicate with parents was founded in 2011 and now has 50M users.
  • Clever, founded in 2012, a program that keeps educational applications (anything that needs a user name and password) up to date so that students log into their applications in one place, with a simple process, now has 20M users across the country.
  • Stanford AI Lab, had 160,000 students in 2011, and has now grown to over 4M users.
  • Coursera had 18M students in 2012, now has over 35M.



Moe continues to explain why these companies have experienced exponential growth with Moore’s Law, that states that “computing power will double every two years.”  These numbers have shocked Gordon Moore (Intel co-founder and author of Moore’s Law) himself, as shown in this image.



So what’s next for this next generation of students with these current trends? We do know that 50% of the jobs that currently exist will be replaced in the next 20 years, bringing up new challenges. How are we preparing our students for jobs that don’t yet exist? How do we ensure that “every person has an equal opportunity to participate in the future?” Moe asks and replies with some solutions to consider. Think of ways to “apply imagination to come up with ideas to solve big problems” with these companies as examples.

  • Facebook re-imagined communication
  • Airbnb re-imagined travel
  • Uber re-imagined how to hail a cab






[iv]ASU GSV Summit 2016 Keynote hosted by Michael Horn “Mind the Gap: How Do Universities, Employers, Students and Government Get in Sync.” and summit keynote slides

[v] McGraw Hill Jr. Prize in Education

[vi] Class Disrupted Podcast

[vii] Moore’s Law

[viii] Changes Ahead in Higher Ed by Michael B Horn July 18th, 2020


Director of Rutgers SEL and Character Development Lab, Maurice J. Elias on “Boosting Emotional Intelligence Through Sports, Academics and Character.”

Director of Rutgers SEL and Character Development Lab, Maurice J. Elias on “Boosting Emotional Intelligence Through Sports, Academics and Character.”

July 29, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #75 with Maurice Elias, a Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University[i], Director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab[ii], Academic Director of The Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service at Rutgers and he is one of the members of CASEL (Collaborative  for Social and Emotional Learning) which our listeners will know as a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs.[iii] Prof. Elias lectures nationally and internationally to educators and parents about students’ emotional intelligence, school success, and social-emotional and character development. Among Dr. Elias’ numerous books are ASCD’s Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators, the Social Decision Making/Social Problem-Solving curricula for grades k-8, Emotionally Intelligent Parenting, and many others that I will reference in this interview.


Watch the interview on YouTube here. 


Podcast Introduction and Backstory of Maurice Elias


My name is Andrea Samadi,  I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, matched with social and emotional skills, with interviews from experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level. My vision is to bring the experts to you, and help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or parent working in the corporate space, for immediate results.


When I was first introduced to Maurice Elias, it was from Corwin Press’s Marketing Department, who explained to me that his work fit directly into what we are doing with this podcast. When I looked at his website, and the Rutgers Social and Emotional Learning lab, it looked familiar—I know I have been on his page before, while researching leaders in this field, and within a minute of watching a YouTube video of his work from back in 2010[iv] that describes Emotion in Education, I wish I had been introduced to him 10 years ago.


Welcome Maurice, it’s wonderful to meet you.


Thank you so much for agreeing so quickly to share all the work you have been doing to transform education. After reading a couple of your books, I couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened, if I had met you 10 years ago when I worked at Pearson Education...


At that time, I was working as a sales rep, selling programs and services to the school market and someone reminded me recently of how hard I tried to put social and emotional learning content into one of the products we were selling. For those who have been following this podcast, you will know that I have had this vision for teaching these skills in the classroom for the past 20 years, and finally decided to approach Pearson’s Product Development team with this vision and was told “let’s take it slow, and poll some educators, and see how they respond.” It just wasn’t the right time. If only I had met you back then, Maurice, I would have just played the video I saw of you in 2010 called Emotions in Education to help them catch the vision that you explained in be “the foundation of what learning is all about.”[v]  I would have had the right person, with the right sense of the urgency for this vision but so glad to be meeting you now!


Q1: Maurice, as a Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University and the Director of the Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab that guides school-based efforts on SEL and character development, I wonder how and when your vision for SEL and Character began and what’s the vision that you hold now for your SECD lab[vi] and SEL in schools? 


Q2: I’ve always thought that character was an integral component to SEL and I can see that you agree calling your lab social and emotional and character lab. Can you explain the idea that Character has two essential parts: moral character and performance character that you talk about in your book The Other Side of the Report Card[vii]


Q3: I know that many educators want to improve their students’ social and emotional intelligence, but don’t know where to begin. In your book The Educators Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement[viii], you mention some first steps that educators should consider when implementing these ideas into the classroom (in person or virtual classroom)? I read your article about creating buy in for educators[ix], but what else should they consider? How can they best prepare for their vision of integrating these skills into the classroom?


Q4: What about parents who want to raise emotionally intelligent children, (which is all of us) and especially children who have the ability to think and make decisions. In your book, Emotionally Intelligent Parenting,[x] you take some of the principles from Daniel Goldman’s bestseller, Emotional Intelligence[xi] and explain how they can be applied to successful parenting. Can you explain a couple of these principles and why we its crucial to be teaching them at home to our children? 


Q5: I loved the article you published for Parent Toolkit (I saw it on LinkedIn about how watching sports with your children can boost their SEL/Emotional Intelligence skills).[xii] I absolutely loved this idea, as I never thought about this connection but there was this one time, we were at a baseball game with my 2 girls, ages 10 and 8 and we watched Wilson Ramos[xiii] (Ra-Mos) meditate away from some other players who were warming up, before a game. We did talk about it, but I never thought about going deeper with this like you did with this article. (Talking about focus, the athlete’s preparation and practice, emotion regulation, goal setting, problem solving, planning, teamwork, building resiliency and overcoming obstacles). I know it’s going to be awhile since we are all watching a game like this live, but can you recap these ideas so we can think of creative ways to talk about discussing these skills so we can learn from these athletes? 


Q6: It’s definitely been different times the past few months, but I know there is always a positive side to every challenging situation. What do you think are some challenges that educators/parents/families are going to face in the next year, and how can we think of these challenges as learning opportunities to build resilience?


Q7 Final thoughts. Is there anything that we’ve missed that you think is important? 


Thank you so much Maurice, for your time today. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the work you are doing at Rutgers’s Social and Emotional Learning Lab. My brother in law went to the New Brunswick Campus, and he’s now a Professor at SMU in Texas, and I’ve only heard great things about Rutgers over the years. For those who want to reach you directly, they can go to and contact you from there.



Committee for Children









[iv] Emotion in Education YouTube with Maurice J Elias Published Aug. 4, 2010


[v] Emotions in Education, Maurice J. Elias, YouTube Published August 4, 2010

[vi] Social and Emotional and Character Development Lab


[vii] The Other Side of the Report Card by Maurice J. Elias, Joseph Ferrito, and Dominic Moceri. (2015)


[viii]The Educators Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement by Maurice J. Elias and Harriett Arnold (2006)


[ix] Creating Buy-in for SEL at Your School by Maurice J. Elias Published October 10, 2017


[x] Emotionally Intelligent Parenting: How to Raise a Self-Disciplined, Responsible, Socially Skilled Child by Maurice J. Elias, Steven Tobias and Brian S. Friedlander  (May 18, 2011)


[xi] Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ by Daniel Goleman (2009)


[xii] Watch Sports with Your Kid and Build Their SEL/Emotional Intelligence Skills by Maurice J. Elias (Nov. 2018)


[xiii] Wilson Ramos


Brain Science Author, Horatio Sanchez Addresses Race, Culture and “How to Apply Brain Science to Improve Instruction and School Climate”

Brain Science Author, Horatio Sanchez Addresses Race, Culture and “How to Apply Brain Science to Improve Instruction and School Climate”

July 27, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #74 with Horacio Sanchez, the President and CEO of Resiliency Inc.,[i] an agency leader in helping schools improve climate, instruction, and discipline with tools and resources that include his most recent book The Education Revolution.[ii]

Watch the interview on YouTube here. 


My name is Andrea Samadi,  a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.


Welcome Horatio, it’s an honor to have you on today, especially knowing that one of our early interviews, EPISODE #3 with Ron Hall, from Valley Day School, Pennsylvania on “Launching Your Neuroeducational Program”[iii] features you in the show notes and YouTube video (2:51)[iv] I highly recommend listeners go back to the video interview, and hear Ron Hall’s story of meeting Horatio by chance at an educational conference, where he says that “in 10 minutes (of his presentation) he saw his future in education change right in front of his eyes.”


I want to give a bit more information on your background, since your background is vast in the field of neuroeducation, which is what we focus on here on this podcast. Horacio Sanchez is recognized as one of the nation’s prominent experts on promoting student resiliency and applying brain science to improve school outcomes. Horacio has been a teacher, administrator, clinician, mental health director, and consultant to the Department of Education in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and other states. His diverse education and background have helped him to merge research, science, and practice which is why he has been so successful in the field of neuro education. His best-selling book, The Education Revolution published by Corwin Press, addresses the decline in empathy, increase in obesity, and the impact of implicit bias on minority students.


Welcome Horacio, I have so many questions to ask you, and hope that we can get them all in!


Q1: I like how you named your company Resiliency Inc as the word resiliency is important these days in education. Can you tell the story that I heard you tell on a podcast with John Williams, where you talk about how resiliency is built? (early days were hard, every day was a struggle, then they progress with hard work, effort, and now you have only good days and better days).


Q2: As a former publishing rep, I have visited thousands of schools in the US (mostly in the Southwest region) and know that you can “feel” a school’s climate within minutes of walking into a school, sometimes even from the parking lot. We’ve all felt this feeling—and you know that our students feel it also. How do you improve school climate and what outcomes does a school typically see with your school climate improvement plan?


Q3: One of the motivators for me doing the work that I’m doing with SEL/neuroscience began in the late 1990s with the Columbine tragedy being a huge motivator to take action. With all of your knowledge with students with emotional disorders, why do you think we have these incidents in the US? (My friends in Australia say they have not had one school shooting ever). What types of programs, or things should parents and educators be aware of to prevent these incidents from happening in the future? (connecting with the shy/anxious type)


Q4: These days, it’s very clear that students are not learning as much as they could be or should be learning. Parents are just not equipped to be teachers, and I’m talking from the heart, as a parent with a teaching degree, with more resources for my 2 kids at home to learn while schools have not been in session. With a sense of urgency, I’m thinking about students in poverty who will be struggling more these days with less instruction, especially if parents are working. How does culture and poverty impact an individual's perceptions, behaviors, and how they learn? What solutions do you see here?


In the next 2 weeks, I have been blessed to interview authors from Corwin Press, and while researching over the weekend, I can see that all authors for the school market are focusing on instilling character in addition to a student’s social and emotional skills. Why do you think there has been a decline in empathy and what do your programs do to build this skill back up again?


Q5: You have such a vast choice of training topics[v] on your website for educators.  One of the topics that stood out to me was Overcoming Issues of Diversity. Can you explain the impact of implicit biases, and how they are formed? What can we do to reduce or eliminate bias in the human brain in order to experience immediate progress?


Q6: What obstacles do you see that hold schools back from making progress with your programs, or any other programs they might be using? What are some key areas that schools should focus on for the most noticeable improvement?


Q7: Is there anything important that we have missed? Final thoughts.


Thank you so much Horatio, for meeting with me today to share more about your programs for schools. Are you conducting these programs I saw at online? For anyone who wants to learn more about Horatio Sanchez’s programs, go to   

Follow Horatio on Twitter @resiliencyinc or Facebook and LinkedIn with Horatio Sanchez.



Cultural influences on neural systems (Feb.2020)


Kimberly Noble, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Columbia University.





[ii] The Education Revolution: How to Apply Brain Science to Improve Instruction and School Climate by Horatio Sanchez (August 5, 2016)




[iv] (2:51) where Ron Hall speaks about his introduction to educational neuroscience.




Chris Manning, Ph.D. on “Using Neurowisdom to Improve Your Learning and Success in Life”

Chris Manning, Ph.D. on “Using Neurowisdom to Improve Your Learning and Success in Life”

July 23, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #73 with Chris Manning, Ph.D., who is a distinguished clinical professor of finance, real estate and entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University. He has authored and co-authored more than 30 articles published in both academic and professional journals (including the Harvard Business Review), and he continues to serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Real Estate Research. Watch the interview on YouTube here. 


My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.


Today we have Chris Manning, who co-authored the book Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success[1], with my mentor Mark Robert Waldman, and he is the only business professor I know who applies contemplative values and empathetic dialog when working with his Executive MBA students and corporate leaders. It is, in many ways, the psychology of business and work under one umbrella.


Thank you so much for agreeing to come on the podcast and sharing with our audience your knowledge on the brain as it relates to business success.


Chris, I just met you last week on Mark Waldman’s webinar, but I’ve known about you for years, through Mark Waldman. I didn’t know about your interest and vision to bring this concept you call Neurowisdom to your Executive MBA students.



Q1:  As simple as possible for our podcast listeners, please tells us What is NeuroWisdom all about?   Answer: 

  1. NeuroWisdom is about learning to use your brain better to be more self- aware and self-directed to better achieve your goals and enjoy your life more;
  2. Several years ago, Mark Waldman and I published our research findings learned from teaching our Loyola Marymount University Executive MBA NeuroLeadership course in a popular book (that we could also use as a textbook for our graduate level NeuroLeadership course):
  3. This book, NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success, has now been turned into an online interactive course[2] complete with audios and videos to help people learn how to use their own brains better. (I recommend your listeners go[3] to check out our new and improved NeuroWisdom interactive online flipbook course complete with audios and videos and also look over our 10 free ebooks on related topics while there.)
  4. In essence, our book discusses the practical application of recent Neuroscience discoveries about our brains that can enable a person to learn more efficiently, with less stress and more joy and become more successful (at whatever that means to them whether it be their career, relationships, an advanced graduate professional degree, or merely making more money).


Q2: What are the practical useful applications of recent Neuroscience discoveries that your book explains that our listeners can use every day in their life pursuits?  Answer:

  1. We call them the “Four Pillars of Wealth” in our book (referring to a person’s search for both “inner and outer wealth”) and they are really more about “How to take advantage of your brain’s natural patterns and tendencies to better learn and achieve things in life”


  1. While we all often “get in the way” (or “block”) our natural healthy motivations, and our natural abilities to learn and get ahead in the world, our book explains how to accept and take advantage of four natural brain circuits in everyone’s brain that supports our learning and how get what we want in life.


Q3. What are the actual “Four Pillars of Wealth” you talk about in NeuroWisdom and how does each of them help people learn better (faster, easier, and with less stress and more joy) to overcome whatever obstacles get in the way of their success in life?  Answer:

  1. Pillar #1: Motivation (Desire, Curiosity and Pleasure)
  2. Desire and curiosity are what gets us all out of bed in the morning to do anything! When people get stuck living by only this first pillar, and pursuing desire to the extreme (while ignoring what else their brains can enjoy), people become overly selfish and greedy.
  3. Educators and business leaders need to encourage and support their students/employee’s natural desire and curiosity to further people’s energy and good health, not block, discourage, or get in the way of this extremely important natural brain function that even releases a dopamine into a person’s body (which is very pleasurable and even a euphoric experience even when only contemplating achieving whatever it is you desire to achieve or acquire). 


  1. Pillar #2: Decision-Making (Goals, Consciousness and Inner Speech)
  2. While most educators and employers appreciate the importance of learning and thinking better to make better decisions, few realize the importance of noticing when they are thinking “Positively” vs. when they are thinking Negatively,” and to learn how to control their negative thinking when it creaps in.  Certainly, worry and anxiety over something is natural for everyone, but we not only don’t have to dwell on negative things in our lives, it actually turns out to be unproductive to do so!!!
  3. What happens is that when your brain gets caught up on worry, anxiety and other forms of negativity thinking, your higher brain functions (which we are about to talk about) merely shut down (and most people don’t realize that they can’t think well using negative thoughts.
  4. We will come back to this at the end after I tell you about the two higher brain functions: Pillars #3 &4 . . .



  1. Pillar #3: Creativity (Imagination, Intuition and Daydreaming)
  2. This is where your brain enjoys “taking a break” from consciously learning, memorizing or working hard. People don’t realize that their best thinking happens subconsciously when you are not concentrating hard on solving a specific problem, but rather when you are relaxed, thinking of something else, asleep, and maybe even daydreaming.  Neuroscientists can now observe using brain scans that a person’s brain is actually more active and working harder when they are relaxed and daydreaming that when you are trying hard to concentrate on something!!  This relaxed brain state is when your intuition and creativity provides a person with their best answers – and it is a very pleasurable experience.  (Thus, daydreaming is an important use of your time to further learning and success!)
  3. Think of all the times that people are trying to think harder for longer periods of time attempting to learn something or come up with “the answer.”
    Forcing yourself or others to do this is really counter-productive.  
  4. Resting your brain’s decision-making efforts is not only more productive (and even necessary at times), but it is also enjoyable, reduces stress, builds self-confidence, brings more joy and satisfaction into one’s life as they get to enjoy using their creativity and intuition to easily know “the answer” to something.


  1. Pillar #4: Social Awareness (Fairness, Empathy, and Generosity)
  2. This higher level of brain function that makes learning easier and more pleasurable builds upon our first learning how to, and becoming comfortable with, using the other three pillars of wealth just mentioned.
  3. Thus, we should teach people to not fight their natural desire and curiosity about things (Pillar #1), while encouraging people not to dwell on “negative stuff in their life,” but rather use their infinite creativity to look for positive solutions to whatever is causing them to “worry” or “be anxious” (Pillar #2), all while taking frequent pleasure breaks and relaxing from “working hard” on their “decision making” (Pillar #3), so that their awareness (Pillar #4) can enable their intuition to “come to the rescue” to provide the answer sought;
  4. By using our self-awareness, our brains are able to “be present” with whatever is going on in our lives and intuitively know the answer to things through a higher brain function called “contemplation.” Being relaxed helps a lot to make this all happen for us.


  1. In addition, using our self-awareness, our brains can naturally integrate our desires and thoughts so that we realize automatically how important other people are to us (e.g. family, friends, etc.) such that self-awareness naturally evolves within all of us as social awareness (that includes wanting to be fair to others, having empathy for what others are experiencing in life, and even being generous toward others);
  2. Just as social awareness naturally evolves from one’s self-awareness, “Enlightened Hedonism” and even spiritual awareness naturally evolves from self-awareness and social awareness (which NeuroWisdom discusses at the end).


Q4: Was there any resistance to these concepts when you first started teaching them to your Executive MBA students?


Q5. Does NeuroWisdom contain any practical exercises that people hearing our Podcast today might be able to practice in order to learn how to use their brains better?   Answer:

  1. Yes, we have more that 50 specific exercises contained in NeuroWisdom that people can practice – most of which take less that 1-2 minutes for someone to do so they can immediately access the the personal benefit of doing it.
  2. Our Executive MBA students at LMU were far to busy to waste their time on meditation or anything that would take them 10-15 minutes to do! Thus, we wrote NeuroWisdom to seduce “busy skeptical people” into using their brains better to accomplish more in life, with much less stress, which enjoying each day.


Q6. Can you give us an example of one of your NeuroWisdom exercises that your Executive MBA students found particularly helpful?  Answer:

  1. Yes, that would be our “Inner Values” exercise
  2. Do we have time for me to briefly describe for your listeners how to do this exercise themselves and well as the benefits that they will notice right away in their own lives within a week? It will take less than 2 minutes?


Q7. Go ahead and briefly describe for our listeners how they can do your NeuroWisdom “Inner Values” exercise on their own and experience the benefits within a week.   Answer:

  1. This is what I want your listeners to do each morning when they wake up before they get out of bed to start their day. . . .
  2. Relax, take a deep breath, and ask themselves over the next 60 seconds first think in the morning before they get out of bed: What are my deepest inner most values?
  3. By merely doing this first thing every morning, our Executive MBA students discover two very important things that improve their lives within a week:
  4.       First, that they are subconsciously reminded throughout their normal workday (after they do this exercise) when some rote habit, behavior, or repetitive social interaction is not consistent with the deepest inner most values and they are inspired to change whatever that is to improve their life.
  5. Second, when our students get in the habit of doing this exercise over a 10-day period, they begin to notice that their “deepest innermost values” gradually evolve into being even more important values that they want to live their lives by.


I do often get asked “how do I know if I’m thinking of a value” and I found it helps to remind people values are like our north stars, and when we are living them, happiness, success, and high performance shows up, and when we are not living them, conflicts and unhappiness shows up. That’s one way to identify values that you want in your life. What would you say to someone who is having a hard time uncovering their innermost values or their north stars?


Chris, I want to thank you very much for your time and all the work you did to prepare for this interview. If people want to learn more about the Neurowisdom book and online version that has the experiential exercises that you spoke about,  they can go to Mark Waldman’s website [4]where there’s a ton of FREE ebooks, tools and resources that take these evidence-based concepts and help us to bring them into our everyday experiences. Thanks so much for your time today.




EPISODE 30 of the “Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast” with Mark Robert Waldman on “12 Brain-Based Experiential Learning and Living Principles”


EPISODE 48 of the “Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast” on Brain Network Theory: Using Neuroscience to Stay Productive During Times of Change and Chaos


FREE EBOOKS that relate to Neurowisdom



[1]Neurowisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness and Success

[2] Interactive Version of Neurowisdom

[3] Mark Robert Waldman’s Website

[4] Mark Robert Waldman’s Website

Dr. Shane Creado on “Sleep Strategies That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage”

Dr. Shane Creado on “Sleep Strategies That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage”

July 19, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #72 with sleep medicine physician, sports psychiatrist and author of the NEW book that I couldn’t put down, “Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage”[i] Dr. Shane Creado. I highly recommend watching this interview here on YouTube with the visual images. 

My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.

I am beyond excited to have Shane Creado[ii] here today. He is a double board-certified sleep medicine doctor and psychiatrist who practices functional sleep medicine, integrative psychiatry, and sports psychiatry, putting all those skills together to uncover underlying factors that sabotage the patients, comprehensively treats them, and helps them to achieve their goals. That shows dedication.

I want to give you just a bit about Dr. Creado’s background that shows where this dedication to helping others improve their lives began: He completed an undergraduate degree in physical therapy, went on to do an MD. He then went on to a fellowship in Sleep Medicine at the University of Wisconsin because of the huge overlap between sleep and psychiatric issues. As he believed in optimization, not normalization, he devoted his time to optimizing brain health in professional athletes, executives and anybody who is interested in peak performance. If you have not yet listened to episode #71 from last week, I did a deep dive into his book to prepare for this interview so we could maximize our time together.

Welcome Shane, thank you so much for writing back so quickly and agreeing to come on the podcast.  I know how busy medical professionals are--these days especially, and I know that you are working with patients in between this podcast. I didn’t expect that I would be able to get this time with you, so thank you so much!

After reading your book and recording episode #71 about the most important concepts from your book, I had so many questions.

INTRO/PRE QUESTIONS: Shane, I first heard you on Tana Amen and Dr. Amen’s Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast[iii], and then watched your YouTube Live with Tana Amen this week to be sure that the questions I ask you, don’t overlap with questions you have recently answered, but before we dive into the questions, can you explain what  you do with Amen Clinics in Chicago? Why would someone come and see you?

Can anyone come into Amen Clinics for a SPECT SCAN[iv], or do you need to be referred with a specific issue?

Q1: I love how you named your book Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes, as I know you are talking about concepts that EVERYONE can apply. I always look at elite athletes, or friends I see in exceptional shape and always ask them the same question “What foods do you eat and how do you train” to see if I can learn something. When you wrote this book, what message did you want to get across to those who work with elite athletes, as well as the regular person reading it, who may not be an elite athlete, but wants to train, live, eat and act like one?

Q2: I came across something you said in your book that I thought was so profound, I instantly created a graphic and shared it as many places as I could. You mention “your brain health and sports performance cannot be optimized unless your sleep is optimized. Once this is achieved, your quality of life will skyrocket. When you sleep well, the fabric of your life will change. When this happens, it will have a ripple effect.”  This podcast is all about improving our results with the understanding of neuroscience that I think is relatively new. 20 years ago, no one was asking me “what are you doing to improve your brain health, or what are you doing with your brain in mind.” Can you explain what research says now about the importance of our brain health and sleep as it correlates to our results (whether it’s athletic or just our day to day lives)?

Q3: One of the most powerful statistics I read in the first part of your book was that “60% of people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience long-term difficulties with sleep” (p54) and that concussions cause sleep problems. Most people I know involved in athletics, have hit their head in some way, and I never would have made this connection between brain health and sleep, especially the fact that “sleep optimization is important before an athlete has a concussion, to reduce the risk of concussion.” (p58) Can you take us through the importance of sleep on the parts of the brain that are critical in sports and how sleep deprivation puts the athlete AND anyone else in significant danger of injury?

The parietal lobes, associated with spatial awareness (critical in sports with visual processing, sense of direction) are impaired with lack of sleep putting you at risk of poor form, positioning, footwork and performance. (p29)

Q4: When I was watching you with Tana Amen on her YouTube[v] live this week, she was asking you about nutritional supplements and you had mentioned of the importance of not just hearing that a supplement is good, and taking it, but to know your brain type. I know that Dr. Amen has assessments[vi] you can take online (I have done this one) but is the only way to know exactly what type of brain you have (busy or sleepy etc) to get a SPECT SCAN[vii]? Do you think that this type of scan is important to see what’s happening in the brain even if there are no problems showing to get a better understanding of how to improve our overall health and life?

Q5: In the deep dive episode to your book, I suggested 3 sleep improvement strategies.  What do think is important to add to this list to help prepare ANYONE for improved sleep and results in their life? I know that you listened to this episode. What else could we add to this list to improve our sleep right away?

  1. Adopting the Mindset of an Elite Athlete: We can all learn from the lifestyle and work ethic of an elite athlete to take our results to the next level.
  2. Empower Change with Fear: Understanding Exactly How Sleep Impacts the Brain: I’m not sure which one of the many statistics would make enough of an impact on you to change with your sleep habits, but once you find it, here’s your answer to sticking to the change you want to create.
  3. Your Sleep Routine: Pick one or two new strategies to implement to improve your sleep and log your results. With time, you should notice an improvement in areas that go far beyond your health and daily results.

Q6: I saw your course Overcoming Insomnia[viii] that you have on Dr. Amen’s Online University Classes. I’ve taken his Thrive by 25 Course which I loved, so I highly recommend these classes. Can you give an overview of this course?  What if someone doesn’t have insomnia but just wants to improve their sleep? What types of supplements do you recommend for someone to improve sleep? What would I learn from this course?

  • 21 exclusive evidence-based lessons
  • A comprehensive sleep evaluation + easy to implement protocol for better sleep
  • Cognitive behavioral strategies & recommended supplements for overcoming insomnia

Q7: My final question…I know you get asked this one EVERY time, but what’s the magic number? Is it really 7-9 hours of sleep that you want people to get? What about if we are getting 6.5 hours? I heard Dr. Satchin Panda[ix] (circadian rhythm researcher and sleep expert) speaking on Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof podcast and he mentioned that it’s 7 hours in bed meaning you can wake up and meditate or read at 6 hours… as long as you are resting in bed. Is this accurate, or would you still say, 7-9 hours asleep? (I get 6.5 hours and meditate for one hour…main reason I’m asking) 

Q8: Any final thoughts?

Thank you so much Shane for carving out this time to come on the podcast to share your knowledge about this powerful book Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes and online course Overcoming Insomnia. I think this is a crucial time for us all to be proactive with our health, and sleep is one of the facts we can change. If someone wants to dive deeper into all of the ways that a deficit of sleep impacts health and longevity, I highly recommend buying Dr. Creado’s book, looking into his online course and following his work. You can find him on Instagram or YouTube @peaksleepperformance or his website 

The good news is that we can all modify, optimize and improve our sleep routines for improvements that can have an immediate impact on our overall health, results and future.


Samuel Holston, Melbourne Australia, explains John Medina’s Sleep chronotypes (lark, owl, hummingbird sleep patterns) and more about sleep is his new podcast BRAIN TOOLS.

Put Me to Sleep Brain Supplement

Overcoming Insomnia Online Course

Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage (March 15, 2020)

Dr. Creado’s YouTube Channel Peak Sleep Performance


[i] Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage (March 15, 2020)


[iii] Dr. Shane Creado The Link Between Sleep and Daytime Performance



[v] Building Resilience: Sleep Tips with Dr. Shane Creado








[ix] Bulletproof Radio Podcast with Dave Asprey


Self-Regulation and Sleep with a Deep Dive into Dr. Shane Creado’s “Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes”

Self-Regulation and Sleep with a Deep Dive into Dr. Shane Creado’s “Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes”

July 13, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, I’m so grateful that you are here, listening with me at this time when there’s a lot of chaos and uncertainty in the world. I’m sure you are feeling it—I most certainly am—but I do know that this chaos that we are feeling will always be here. There’s always going to be something happening in the world, and we must be prepared and stay in control, without letting outside influences impact our results. This is one of the key strategies used by the most successful people in the world. They have all have developed sound systems, with a clear plan to follow, and they don’t ever veer of their path. This uncertainty surely has the ability to knock the best of us, even the most productive, off course, without a clearly defined plan in place.

My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has followed, supported and shared this content. With this episode, we are now at over 20,000 downloads, reaching over 110 countries. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to create and share these ideas with such a wide audience. This has been the most powerful learning opportunity I have ever been involved with, and with each expert that we bring on here, we are learning the most current success strategies, to help us to all stay on track.  Here’s what we have covered so far on this podcast, so you can see where we started and where we are going. 

Season 1 EPISODES 1-33 introduced the social, emotional and interpersonal competencies to help parents, educators and those in the workplace to bridge the noticeable gap with SEL Competencies like growth mindset, responsible decision-making, self-awareness, social awareness, self-regulation and relationship building. We know that interventions that address these competencies increased students’ academic performance by 11 percentile points[i], compared to students who did not participate in such programs. Students learning these competencies also showed improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school. The case is clear that these competencies are important for us to practice whether we are a teacher working in the classroom, a parent working with our children at home, or even how we interact with each other in the workplace.  Implementing these SEL competencies are the first step towards bridging the gap that employers have noticed exists in the workplace today.

Season 2  EPISODES 34-67 introduced more high-level experts with cognitive strategies from many different fields, with a focus on improving learning, focus, attention, goal setting, planning, perseverance and problem solving.  These are the core skills that our brain uses to think, read, remember, reason and pay attention and each guest explained how they use these skills for improved, consistent, predictable results in their field.

Moving into Season 3 now, with EPISODES 68 and onwards we are diving deeper into these 5 competencies by connecting them to well-known authors and experts and bringing in a cognitive connection. The more ideas, thoughts, and strategies that we can implement in our day to day lives, with our brain in mind, the more productive we will be. If we can learn to do everything with our brain in mind, the results will not only show up in our personal or academic/work lives, but we will be increasing our emotional intelligence at the same time—a skill that will prepare us for future life success.

This week, episode #71 focuses on applying self-regulation (everything that we do to feel better) with a close look at Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage. [ii] 

If you have been listening to these episodes, and studying brain strategies, you will know that sleep is not only important for sports performance, or for elite athletes, but work and brain performance as well.  This episode we will continue to make connections for how we can pinpoint an area of our life to improve our results with these new ideas.

I first heard Dr. Shane Creado[iii] speak on Dr. Amen’s Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, and he caught my undivided attention when he said that “your brain health and sports performance cannot be optimized unless your sleep is optimized. Once this is achieved, your quality of life will skyrocket.” Dr. Amen mentioned that he thinks this is one of the reasons why there’s an increase in mental health issues in the country, because if we don’t get a good night’s sleep, all areas of our life will suffer. If this sentence didn’t catch my attention, I’m not sure what would. 

I quickly bought Dr. Creado’s book and have reached out to him personally to see if I could dive even deeper into his work in person. Stay tuned, he will be our next interview, but in the meantime, I will break down the most important concepts from his book, that are not just important for me to share with you, but for me to practice as well. All of us will be at different stages of learning and implementation, depending on how long we have been working on these ideas. Sleep has been a topic that I have been learning, measuring and looking to improve for only the past year and a half and it’s not an area I would say I have mastered, yet, so join me in learning these tips, and I would love to know what  you think, if you learn anything new, and if you were able to implement any new ideas for new results. I would love to know. Send me a message on Linkedin, Twitter or Instagram.

Some quick facts that build a case for our need to put sleep first:

  1. Sleep debt adds up and is non-recoverable, and “getting six, four, two or zero hours of sleep resulted in impairments equivalent to consuming 2/3, 5/6, 7/8 or 10/11 beers respectively.”[iv]
  2. Even a single all-nighter can reduce your reaction time by more than 300%. (p21)
  3. Reducing your nighttime sleep by 1.5 hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
  4. Athletes who slept less than 8 hours/night had 1.7 times greater risk of being injured (p22)
  5. 72% of sleepy MBA players are no longer in major leagues two years later. (p24)
  6. Sleep loss impacts the frontal lobes, temporal lobes, parietal lobes, and the amygdala “impairing judgement, decision-making, and worsens impulsivity (risk taking and moral reasoning), motivation, focus, memory, and learning. (p25)
  7. Not getting enough sleep causes people to react more emotionally to negative stimuli because their amygdala overreacts. (p26)
  8. Students with better sleep report higher GPAs and insufficient or poor-quality sleep predict a student’s academic performance. (p27)
  9. We need sleep not just after we learn something (to back it up on your hard drive so you don’t forget it) but before learning as well to make sure there is enough space on our hard drive to store it. (p28)
  10. The parietal lobes, associated with spatial awareness (critical in sports with visual processing, sense of direction) are impaired with lack of sleep putting you at risk of poor form, positioning, footwork and performance. (p29)
  11. The most shocking statistic I learned from Dr. Creado is that “60% of people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience long-term difficulties with sleep” (p54) and that concussions cause sleep problems. Most people I know involved in athletics, have hit their head in some way, and I never would have made this connection between brain health and sleep, especially the fact that “sleep optimization is important before an athlete has a concussion, to reduce the risk of concussion.” (p58)
  12. Larry Fitzgerald (an NFL player) who I ran into often as our kids attended the same daycare when they were little has said that “on game days, that night I will for sure get 10 or 11 hours. I always get my rest and I think that’s one of the things that people don’t talk often about.” (p30)

I could go on and on and make a case for why sleep is so important for athletes, which easily transfers into our everyday life.  Sam Ramsden, the Director of Player Health and Performance of the Seattle Seahawks says that “sleep is a weapon” (p33) and that there are the countless ways that sleep impacts our health. Todd Woodcroft, former Assistant Coach to the Winnipeg Jets, currently the Head Coach Coach of the Vermont Catamounts from episode 38[v] was right in line with Ramsden’s emphasis of the importance of sleep with his players in ice hockey, saying that “rest is the single most powerful weapon” and that they schedule sleep for their players all the time. It was interesting for me to speak this morning with Rick Miller, from the Oakland A's Organization, as he told me that it’s been 30 years since he has played, but there was a stark difference from his experience with training. He told me that there was not a push to eat right or sleep well at all. It was the survival of the fittest where they would fit in meals when they could, and sleep when their crazy travel schedule allowed them to.  He compared it to the way athletes train today and said that he had zero access to the coaches that these young athletes have now. Athletes today are bigger, stronger, faster and are like machines, and they have to be because the competition is fierce. There are 20 people who can do exactly the same things as these athletes, so they need a competitive advantage, a way to step out and set themselves apart from the rest. Athletes today need to work at insanely higher levels than he was used to and live their sport every single day. Sleep is one of the many tools they use to do this.

If you want to dive deeper into all of the ways that a deficit of sleep impacts health and longevity, I highly recommend buying Dr. Creado’s book and following his work. You can find him on Instagram or YouTube @peaksleepperformance or his website  The good news is that we can all modify and improve our sleep routines for improvements that can have an immediate impact on our overall health, results and future.


TIP 1: Adopting the Mindset of an Elite Athlete

An elite athlete, who has made significant sacrifices with their training schedules, and life, would most likely never choose sugar, alcohol or foods they know are bad for their body, the night before a big game. They just know better, and we can all learn from the lifestyle and work ethic of an elite athlete to take our results to the next level.  Rick Miller reminded me that athletes today are taking this to the next level, and often doing it on their own. They know what they must do, and they are sticking to their plan.

Not at all the way things were 20 years ago, where athletes often flew by the seat of their pants.  Jeremy Roenick, a former professional ice hockey player said that he once “played 36 holes of golf with basketball legend Michael Jordan, who drank maybe 10 beers, and then went on to play for the Chicago Bulls that night…against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where Jordan put up 44 points to help the Bulls win by 24 points.”[vi] There’s always the exception to the rule, but the research is clear that over the long term, alcohol will impact your sleep, not help it, since it’s a depressant to the nervous system, and will more likely cause fragmented sleep. It might have worked out ok for Michael Jordan back in those days, but not today, with the high level of competition in pro sports.

Dr. Creado talked about the fact that reaction time is reduced by 300%[vii] with one night of sleep deprivation, that not only translates over to the impact on the athlete,  but think about the impact on sleep deprived medical professionals, or the facts that there are over 38,000 fatal auto accidents/year in this country[viii]  where Dr. Creado ties in the fact that “with one night of sleep deprivation of less that 4 hours of sleep, it’s like drinking 4-5 alcoholic beverages and is literally the same as if you were drunk.”[ix]

Implement this tip into your daily life: and think how could you improve your results by watching what you put into your body the night or even few days before an important presentation?  Think about how a good night’s sleep a week before something important (modeling the way athletes treat a big sports game) and notice how it can impact our results. We all know this. If we haven’t slept well, and we get into the car and drive, we know we are not as focused. When we work on our sleep, all areas of our life improve.

TIP 2: Empower Change with Fear: Understand Exactly How Sleep Impacts the Brain

By now, we’ve all heard that it’s bad for our brain to read our phones before we go to sleep because it disrupts our natural circadian rhythm (a 24-hour internal clock that runs in the background of your brain defining our sleep/wake cycle)[x] and keeps us awake. I even heard this go a step further when I heard Dr. Satchin Panda (a researcher in circadian rhythm) talk about the fact that even going to a brightly lit store a few hours before bedtime is a bad idea, since that bright blue light from LED lighting can negatively impact your sleep.[xi]  Your circadian rhythm works best when you have developed regular sleep habits, like going to sleep and waking up the same time every day (including weekends) and limiting your exposure to these bright blue LED lights that can disrupt our biological clock by suppressing the production of melatonin (the hormone that regulates our sleep cycle).

Dr. Creado found a trick to encouraging his younger patients to turn off their devices at night by teaching them how their brains work. He taught one young patient that “if he was sleep deprived, the hippocampus, (the area of the brain responsible for new memories and learning) functioning drops by 40% and that kind of impact could have a detrimental impact on his choice of his career and sport. It could also limit his ability to become physically fit.”[xii] The young man didn’t want his phone use to ruin his future dreams and plans, so he made the habit change needed.  But what about you?

Implement this tip into your daily life: and think about your use of the phone before you sleep. I can see how this strategy could help students who need to maximize new learning and their ability to remember what they are studying), especially if they are trying to get into a certain school, and their entire future is on the line, but would it motivate you to make a change here? 

When I first started to learn more about brain health, I remember reading about the importance of shutting my phone off at night, to limit the amount of radiation coming from the phone, especially if it was next to my bed, and the importance of using the “night shift” feature that produces a dimmer light at night. While the research remains elusive if cell phones are really bad for us, and that “public health data shows no exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phones and health problems”[xiii] I still take notice when health experts I am studying talk about the fact that they do not sleep with electronic devices in their room at all.  It really made me think when I heard Dave Asprey, the founder of talking about the fact he wears blue light blocking glasses when he is using technology at night.[xiv]

TIP 3: Your Sleep Routine: Create regular “wake and out of bed times” that are consistent on a daily basis.

Create a bed time routine that takes into consideration a good bed (mattresses replaced every 7-10 years), with a room temperature in the mid-60s (F) or 16-19 degrees (C) and keeping lifestyle choices in mind like avoiding strenuous exercise four hours before bed time, and being aware of foods can disrupt sleep

Chapters 9, 10 and 11 of Dr. Creado’s book are dedicated to sleep performance habits and tips and I could spend the next couple of days writing about. Pick one or two new habits that you would like to implement like

  • Choose your going to sleep/wake up time and stick to it.
  • Decide how you will calm your mind before sleep (read/meditation).
  • Block out lights in your room that might be keeping you awake or use a sleep mask so lights are blocked.
  • Creado dedicates Ch 12 to sleep disorder supplements and it’s worthwhile reading up on his sleep promoting strategies and supplements.

When I speak with Dr. Creado for our next episode, I will go much deeper into the science behind sleep, the supplements he recommends, and more details on sleep strategies.

Just to review, there is a clear case that improving our sleep is not only important for sports performance, or for elite athletes, but work and brain performance as well.  There were 12 powerful statistics that caught my attention when reading Dr. Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes, and that “60% of people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience long-term difficulties with sleep” (p54) and that concussions cause sleep problems. Knowing how important sleep is for athletes, why wouldn’t we all want to optimize our sleep for improved performance? With the brain in mind, there are 3 thought provoking strategies to think about: 

  1. Adopting the Mindset of an Elite Athlete: We can all learn from the lifestyle and work ethic of an elite athlete to take our results to the next level.
  2. Empower Change with Fear: Understanding Exactly How Sleep Impacts the Brain: I’m not sure which one of the many statistics would make enough of an impact on you to change with your sleep habits, but once you find it, here’s your answer to sticking to the change you want to create.
  3. Your Sleep Routine: Pick one or two new strategies to implement to improve your sleep and log your results. With time, you should notice an improvement in areas that go far beyond your health and daily results.

Let me know if you learned anything new with this episode that dives deep into self-regulation and sleep. I hope that you have found something helpful here to help you to create some sort of routine in these times of chaos and uncertainty. I know that we all create energy that goes out into the world, and my hopes are that these ideas help you to keep moving with positivity. Everything that we are all doing now, matters in the larger scheme of things. If we can create a solid framework now, then when more challenge or uncertainty comes our way, we will be prepared for it. Using these strategies will help you to keep those energy reservoirs high, so that when challenges hit you, you will be able to get back on track, with more resilience.

Stay well and see you with our next episode.



[ii] Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage (March 15, 2020)



[iv] Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: Page 21

[v] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast EPISODE #38 with Todd Woodcroft on “The Daily Grind in the NHL”


[vi] Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: The Cutting-Edge Sleep Science That Will Guarantee a Competitive Advantage (March 15, 2020) Page 7

[vii]Dr. Shane Creado The Link Between Sleep and Daytime Performance




[ix] Dr. Shane Creado The Link Between Sleep and Daytime Performance


[x] What is Circadian Rhythm?


[xi] Bulletproof Radio Podcast with Dave Asprey


[xii] Dr. Shane Creado’s Peak Sleep Performance for Athletes: Page 9



[xiv] Dave Asprey on Blue Light Glasses


Self-Regulation and Behavior Change for Leaders with David R. Hawkins’ “Power vs Force”

Self-Regulation and Behavior Change for Leaders with David R. Hawkins’ “Power vs Force”

July 6, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #70 Applying Self-Regulation to Move to Higher Levels of Consciousness and Results with David R. Hawkins’ Power vs Force book to analyze the hidden determinants of human behavior. 

My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.   

Today we are going to take a closer look at Human Behavior. The past 4 episodes have touched on identifying paradigms or habits that we want to change, with some ideas on how to change them with episode #67 with a Deep Dive into the Most Important Lessons I Learned from Bob Proctor’s Seminars[i] and episode #68 The Neuroscience of Personal Change, with a Deep Dive into Dr. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People[ii]. I have received the most feedback about these 2 episodes, out of all the episodes we’ve done in the past year, so thank you for everyone who listened sent me messages about what you learned from the awareness and application of these 2 episodes. When writing these lessons, they often take many different turns and directions and you never know how they will turn out. I’m so glad to hear they have been helpful.  

I know that we can still go a bit deeper into looking at human behavior, with some serious introspection, that will improve our self-awareness, as we take serious inventory of what’s working in our life, and what’s not working. When I first heard the term “paradigm” when I worked with Bob Proctor in the late 1990s, it took me a few years to understand what he was talking about. Then it took me many more years to figure out what paradigms weren’t serving me. Then, after writing them down, and staring at them, it took me a few more years to decide I was going to change a couple of them at a time. We all have paradigms that are working for us—so we will want to keep those and be aware of the ones that are preventing us from reaching those higher levels of achievement.

If you want to identify your paradigms (positive and negative ones): take out a piece of paper and write out all of the behaviors that you do habitually. You will be able to identify your habits that are working for you (they’ll be the ones helping you to produce better results in your life) and the ones that are not working for you (the ones that hold you back). Circle the habits that are NOT working for you and pick one or two that you want to change. I suggest reviewing episode #35 How to Use Your Brain to Break Bad Habits[iii] as I go into detail here on how to substitute bad habits for more productive ones, with brain science in mind. For the next 90 days, you focus on changing just one habit, and this will take discipline. It will take the ability for you to give yourself a command and follow it.  For example: I am going to switch this habit for a new one—like maybe you want to stop drinking coffee, so you substitute coffee for hot lemon water in the morning instead. If you really want to stop the old habit, you will be ready to make this switch. I want to give a shout out here to Mandy Krueckeberg, a social worker who follows this podcast. I recently saw her post on her FB that she was on day 1 of cutting out coffee in her diet, and she did it by replacing the habit she wanted to change (coffee) with something that made her feel better (by drinking cinnamon tea). When I was writing this episode, she was on day 3 of this habit change and the longer she keeps this up, the more likely it will be that this habit change will be a success as her brain will lock into the new neural pathway she’s creating. She applied discipline to achieve the results she was looking for.  Awesome work Mandy! There are also tools that you can use to log the days that you are successful with your habit change. I use the 100 days to habit worksheet[iv] to cross off my successful days, and notice when I go off track, so that I can get myself back on track. 

But what happens if you really want to change a behavior, and you try, and just can’t? If you have put all of your effort into change, and are still struggling, I suggest reading John Norcross’s book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions[v] because millions of people around the world have met with success through his plan. If you are still not having success with changing a behavior, and just can’t stop the habit for 2 weeks on your own (after 2 weeks you should lose interest in the habit) then we are crossing into the field of addiction, where I’m not an expert, but there are entire podcasts based on this topic that you can tune into. Since human behavior is predictable, and addiction is not difficult to miss, it’s just difficult to acknowledge and take the steps to change.  This current Corona Virus time will magnify something like this as there is nowhere to hide while we are all on quarantine. People with addiction can be extremely high functioning like we have seen with celebrities who have to go through their challenges in the public eye. It is very clear that the first lesson here is that we can’t change other people’s behaviors since all of our brains are wired differently. We can only change our own habits, but we can gain understanding and awareness that can help point others and ourselves towards finding our own way.

But how do we know if we have an addiction and need more specialized help? This will be apparent if you cannot stop the habit that you want to stop on your own and the habit is preventing you from reaching your highest levels of achievement. If there is something you are doing that is giving you poor results and you keep doing it anyway, you will know what it is. There will be no question in your mind, but the key will be when you decide to do something about it.

On July 4th, I was fortunate to be near my favorite mountain in the Phoenix area and hiking this mountain is always at the top of my agenda. When I was starting out, it was still dark, around 4am, and I noticed a large group of men in a circle, prepping for their hike. I couldn’t really see anything except for their silhouettes against the rocks, but I could tell these guys all looked like they were in shape, and I was guessing they were a sports team, meeting for some sort of training, the way they were interacting. They said some sort of prayer or something before they started, and then they all took off like a rocket. For this hike, the starting stretch is the most difficult. These guys left me in the dust, and I asked 2 guys near me “Are you all a part of sports team?” and they replied, “kind of, we are all recently out of a rehab program.” This made sense to me now, as this mountain will open your eyes to how you are showing up in life. If you aren’t sleeping well, you will fade at the beginning. If you haven’t been treating your body well, it will be a rough hike. After the first few hills, you see it all the time, the ones who are being good to their bodies will keep their pace, and the rest will fall behind. On my way down, I passed the guys who I spoke with at the start—they started out strong, and now they looked like they were about to die. I asked “hey, what happened?” I had already seen the rest of their team celebrating at the top and these guys were nowhere near the finish line. They both looked at me, then looked down to the ground  and said “well, smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes a day is going to need to stop.” The mountain never lies. Either do the stairs when the elevator is broken. We all know the bad habits that interfere with our daily life, just like these 2 guys knew that it was smoking that prevented them from staying with the rest of their team. Self-awareness is the key, but sometimes it takes something like this to kick us into a higher gear to do something about this awareness.

Another helpful tool is David R. Hawkins’s book Power vs Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior.[vi] This book taught me more about human behavior and why people do what they do, than anything I had ever heard before, that it wasn’t surprising that Dr. Wayne Dyer said this book was “perhaps the most important and significant book (he had ever) read.”

This book has helped many people with addiction to get to the root cause of it. If you ask any addict about their behavior, and they are at the point where they are not hiding it anymore, they will talk about the shame and guilt they feel about it. They want to break the cycle. So, this is their work, to heal their past, and move upwards on the map of consciousness. I’ve provided this map in the show notes that David Hawkins created to show that different emotions we have are like radio stations or frequencies and when we are tuned into a certain emotion, or level, we are thinking thoughts at this level, and operating from this level. Any emotion at the level of 200 and above (Courage, Willingness, Acceptance) are constructive expressions of power, showing us that true power comes from within, while the lower frequencies, anything under 200, he explains are destructive for the individual and society. Think about people in a position of leadership. True leaders know they cannot apply force to get their team to do the things they want them to do. True leaders inspire loyalty, not fear, using the higher levels of the map of consciousness.

It’s interesting to look at where anger sits on this chart since we might think that anger is a destructive emotion, but it’s quite a way up from guilt or shame. If you are in a place of leadership, you can use this map to predict human behavior and this can be very helpful. You can use these ideas to walk into a room and assess where the people you are leading are operating from, without being judgmental. If someone is angry about something, there’s no need for you to react to this person and get upset about their anger, you just need to find a way to encourage them to move them up the scale perhaps by talking to them, and looking for a solution to what they might be angry about. This map can really help you to become more self-aware, have more belief in yourself and your own abilities, to help you to understand others and you will want to inspire people with your example, which is to by using power, never force.

Take a look at where you sit on this map and strive for higher levels of consciousness with self-regulation techniques.

Neuroscientist, Stefanie Faye, from episode #39 Using Neuroscience to Improve our Mindset, Self-Regulation and Awareness[vii] just recorded a podcast called Mindset, Micro Movements and Super Regulators[viii] where she talks about how we can become better at self-regulating to move up this map of consciousness intentionally. Regulation, Stefanie explains is “everything that we do to feel better” and this is relative to each person. She explains that “there are two types of self-regulation: conditional self-regulation (bottom up) where we use television or our phones or something from the outside to regulate, or top down, unconditional, where we use our mind and body to access a sense of inner well-being like through meditation, focused awareness or visualization.

We can also co-regulate with our connection to others—conditional, which would happen when we are physically present, or unconditional, by using visualization where we can draw people up in our mind for a regulating effect. We are not born with this ability, so we must learn how to do this.

Some people, she calls super regulators, have become really good at this skill and can help others to climb up the scale to “self-regulate, co-regulate and access a higher awareness of their own possibility for well-being, growth and evolution.”  People in leadership roles should develop the skill of a super regulator as they can model the way for other people to improve this use of their Prefrontal Cortex (thinking, decision-making part of their brain) but they will need to be aware of what they are doing. Since humans are the only species who have this ability, we must model for others to keep building a better brain and life and help others to reach up the scale of human consciousness. Stefanie does have a Masterclass on developing the skills to be a Super Regulator[ix] where you can learn specific strategies to gain a sense of power with your well-being by using biological signals in your body to help you to solve problems you might be facing.

A fascinating part of her podcast, she talks about habit breaking, to improve our results and takes it a step deeper when you add in her knowledge of the brain to this practice. Think back to where I had you write out all of your habits on a piece of paper and circle the negative habits you want to break. Now, go back to the habits you want to break and write out the micro movement that you take BEFORE doing the habit. For someone who wants to break the habit of drinking coffee, the micromovement would be grabbing the hot cup of coffee and smelling the coffee beans before you take a sip. Take a minute to identify the micromovements involved in each of the habits you want to change. There is muscle memory involved here, so to break the habit, we will need to be aware of and break the micromovement by doing something different. Instead of reaching for whatever it is that you reach for to feel better, break it up and go for a walk instead. Take a brain pause, think, slow things down and be intentional about the new habit that you want to create. The more we can slow things down, the better we will become at breaking our habit loops.

We’ll meet with success when we are able to practice giving the brain what it wants. Our brains seek novelty, and this new level of awareness will propel us forward and up the scale of consciousness where our results will be heightened. When looking for solutions to feel better, Stefanie Faye suggests to “find the answers from within your own body” with this new sense of awareness. Learn to tune into yourself, build up your self-awareness, and practice listening to what you might be thinking or feeling to break the habit loop of mindlessly staring at your phone, or whatever strategy of escape you are using. With practice, we can all take the steps to connect with ourselves mindfully, take a pause, and rise up the levels of David Hawkin’s Map of Consciousness where our results will soar. 

Just a quick review:

  1. To identify your habits or paradigms, whether positive, or negative, take out a piece of paper and write out all of the things you do habitually.
  2. Circle the habits that hold you back from accomplishing your goals.
  3. Write out the micro-movement that you take before you do this habit.
  4. Pause the next time you want to repeat the bad habit.
  5. To change this habit, you will want to replace the bad habit with something new, something positive, that doesn’t hold you back from the results you want to attain.
  6. Watch yourself rise up David Hawkin’s map of consciousness when you are able to practice self-regulation.
  7. If you want to help others to regulate, you can learn more about begin a super regulator from Stefanie Faye’s Masterclass.
  8. Practice being “kind and forgiving to everything and everyone, including yourself, at all times, without exception” and strive for the power emotions that are at 200 and above (Courage) vs the destructive emotions (below 200). (Power vs Force)

I hope you have enjoyed this episode and that these episodes are helping you to think differently about yourself (the social and emotional side of you) with your brain in mind (the cognitive side). Once you have these new insights and have opened up your awareness, you'll want to take action on the ideas that come to your mind. It's the action, integrating these ideas into your behavior, that will change the results in your life. 


Purchase David Hawkins' Map of Consciousness

Learn more about David Hawkins here 


[i] EPISODE #67 of the Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast “Expanding Your Awareness with a Deep Dive into Bob Proctor’s Most Powerful Seminars”


[ii] EPISODE #68 The Neuroscience of Personal Change with a Deep Dive in Dr. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


[iii] EPISODE #35 How to Use Your Brain to Break Bad Habits


[iv] 100 Days to Habit Worksheet


[v] John C Norcross Changeology


[vi] David R. Hawkins, M.D. Ph.D. Power vs Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior.


[vii] EPISODE #39 Stefanie Faye on “Using Neuroscience to Improve Our Mindset, Self-Regulation and Self-Awareness”


[viii] Mindset, Micro Movements and Super Regulators Stefanie Faye on the Girl on Fire Podcast


[ix] Super Regulator Masterclass


Certified Neurocoach Ben Ampil on “Using Your Brain to Manage Your Behavior and Results”

Certified Neurocoach Ben Ampil on “Using Your Brain to Manage Your Behavior and Results”

June 29, 2020

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning podcast, episode #69 with Ben Ampil,  a US-Certified Neuroscience Coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer who I have watched all over the news this weekend, even though he is located in the Philippines, his positive message about using your brain to manage your behavior is having a global impact and following. Watch the interview with visuals here on YouTube. 

My name is Andrea Samadi, and if you are new here, I’m a former educator who created this podcast to bring the most current neuroscience research, along with high performing experts who have risen to the top of their field with specific strategies or ideas that you can implement immediately, to take your results to the next level.    

I’m beyond excited to speak with Ben Ampil today and we’ve been chatting about our topic the past week or so, adding new thoughts and ideas to his message as things in the world are changing on a daily basis, but Ben’s message remains consistent. He has had extensive corporate experience in the various cross-functional disciplines of General Management, in a variety of Industries and has also been a Keynote Speaker in Conferences in Neuroscience in London and in Bangkok. His background and speaking history is top notch, and I know that he will share some insights to make us all think differently after this interview about the best ways for us to manage our behavior with our brain in mind.

Welcome Ben! All the way from Manila, Philippines! This was fun setting up this interview and making sure we had the time zone correct. You are so right, nothing is going to stop us from finding the right time to speak together and from now on, I will be mindful about what it means for me to say “see you tomorrow” because my tomorrow and your tomorrow are 15 hours apart. 

Q1: Since connecting with you on LinkedIn, I noticed many similarities with how much we are both passionate about the topic of neuroscience. It’s an area I lose track of time when I’m learning and studying and spend all of my spare time with. What got you interested and passionate about the field of Neuroscience? 

Q2: I’ll never forget the first person who introduced me to this topic. He was a school administrator and he urged me to take my work in this direction. He handed me a bunch of books off his bookshelf, one of them was a series from David Souza on How the Brain Learns[i] (to Read, the Special Needs Brain, the Gifted Brain, the ELL Brain etc) and at first glance of this book series, without any knowledge of how the brain works, it can be an intimidating topic. You’ve created some acronyms to help demystify an otherwise intimidating topic like “Neuroscience”

Can we break this down a bit?

2 A) CHANGE OUR PARADIGMS vs BEHAVIOR: The past few podcasts I’ve taken a deep look at the fact that in order to make significant change in our life, we need to change our paradigms vs our behavior….Can you explain how our brains work with your acronym BATMAN and keep in mind that we don’t want to just change our behavior, but change some of our old ways of thinking or beliefs that might be keeping us stuck?

2 B) WHAT ARE SOME STRATEGIES FOR OVERCOMING THE FEAR WE MIGHT BE FEELING IN THE WORLD TODAY? (Real fears like you’ve lost your job, or someone you know is really struggling with something or even a perceived or imagined fear?) SCORE

2  C) Over the weekend, I created a graphic based on Dr. Bruce Perry’s concept of the Power Differential that describes the fact that there is this power differential that puts one person at a cognitive disadvantage and can cause significant issues with leadership and communication (it describes what happens to a young child’s brain when dealing with an adult, or when anyone gets pulled over by a policeman for speeding etc. What are triggers the fear we feel coming from the amygdala and what are some solutions we can keep in mind to offset this instinctive fear? SCARF as a solution

Q3: I know that we all know that when our brain works right, everything else works right. What other strategies do you suggest to better manage our brain/minds and behavior during these times, so that we can continue to move forward and make progress in our lives?

Q4: From all of the work you have been doing all over the world with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Neuro-Coaching with Business Executives, what do you see as some of the most common reasons that people become stuck with their results? What do you think we should all know and practice daily to improve our personal and professional results, with the brain in mind?

Q5: What strategies that you teach about, have you found to be the most useful for you, in your own personal and professional life?

Q6: To sum this all up, what’s a simple way for us to all remember these strategies to Manage our Minds and Behavior? BATMAN/SCORE /SCARFand SELFISH?

Thank you for this interview, Ben, for the insightful conversations we’ve had as weve been preparing for this interview and for doing this after hours in Manila. If people want to learn more about you, they can go to and follow you @Ben Ampil on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  You’re definitely all over the media, so it’s not difficult to find you! Thank you for everything you are doing to help the world to take some deep breaths, and continue to move forward.



[i] David A Sousa, How the Brain Learns


The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

The Neuroscience of Personal Change with Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

June 20, 2020

Today’s episode #68 started out with me wanting to take a look the most important concepts from Dr. Amen’s “Thrive by 25”[i] online course that dives deep into understanding brain basics that we should all understand for ourselves as well as to better understand others, since brain health strategies will lead to a better brain and life. But—while writing this episode, I was sitting in an empty lobby of what used to be a busy local resort, looking around at what was once the hustle and bustle of business people, hurrying off to their events, or families rushing off to the pool to spend time together and the fact that the world has literally STOPPED STILL really made me think. 

This place looked like a Ghost Town, almost like in a movie where the scene freezes. It made me freeze and think. Things around the world have changed like night and day over the past few months starting with the COVID-19 Pandemic, with the danger of infection and death, and the change continues as the world now faces racism, riots, and global economic upheaval.  I thought that this episode needs to go a bit deeper than I was planning at first, and really needs to address the Neuroscience of Change. Since we usually reject anything that we aren’t familiar with, I thought this episode could look at how to consider a change with our thinking or perspective, resulting in a change in behavior around some of the critical issues our world is facing, to see where we can take individual responsibility. If we can add the understanding of how our brain works optimally and how we can improve ourselves by really thinking about some of these issues our world is facing, we can become more empathetic towards others, and set the stage for the much needed change our world needs. If nothing is done at this time, we will look back and there will be no change, but if we can all do some self-reflection, and make our own personal and individual change, 20 years from now, we will know if our actions made a difference. 

While still thinking about the new direction of this episode, I read a social media post from my mentor, Greg Link[ii], who I’ve mentioned in past episodes. As co-founder of the Covey Leadership Center, Greg was the one who orchestrated the strategy that led Dr. Stephen R. Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, (1989) to become one of the two best-selling business books of the 20th century according to CEO Magazine, selling over 20 million copies in 38 languages. He created the marketing momentum that helped propel Covey Leadership Center from a start-up company to a $110-plus million-dollar enterprise with offices in 40 countries. When he writes something, I always pay attention and what he has to say is always insightful and profound. This time, what he wrote was full of his own personal insight on what was happening in the world today, tied to the 7 Habits book, and he was talking about Habit #5. For such a popular business book, that sold so many copies, you would think I would know the habits off by heart. If you were to ask a room of 100 people “who knows about the 7 Habits Book?” most people should raise their hand, but few people (including myself) can actually name the habits.  

Did you know the habits were divided up into 3 segments? Habits 1-3 are focused on how we manage ourselves, habits 4-6, how we lead others, and habit 7 how we unleash our potential. The 8th Habit[iii] is a whole new book, published years later in 2004 and it focuses on “Finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs.” There’s never been a time like this in our world, and more than ever right now, we need to think about how we are managing ourselves, how we lead others, and how we can unleash our potential, and find our voice, in a way that inspires others to do the same. If we can do these 4 things, I am sure that when we look back to this time period, 20 years later, there’ll be some change.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve read this book, go back to the habits (I’m doing this as well) and I’ve included them in the show notes so we can all begin to implement some of the most powerful principles of the 20th Century into action, in our life.  

I challenge you, just like I’m challenging myself, to learn more about yourself here. Sit down somewhere quiet and think about some of the issues our world is facing. None of us can escape them, so we might as well begin here. Do you know what implicit biases are?[iv] Do you know the biases you hold? We all have them. Greg Link’s post reminded me that “We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are”[v] and that “if we want small incremental changes, work on your behavior. If you want quantum-leap change, (like we all do) work on your paradigms.”

Here’s that word paradigm again. We talked about it in EPSIODE 67 with “A Deep Dive into the Most Important Concepts I learned from working directly with Bob Proctor and his Seminars”[vi] where we cover paradigms so you can go back and take a closer look at what might be holding you back. We all want quantum leap change, and Greg Link went on to explain that the secret to this change lies in changing our paradigms. I also suggest reading Price Pritchett’s You Squared[vii] book for the best description of how to experience quantum leap results in your own life, especially if you are ready for significant change to occur. I’ve had a copy of this book since the late 1990s and it’s always on my desk. It’s only 38 pages, but the concepts are ground-breaking as they teach you HOW TO change your personal effectiveness. Price Pritchett[viii], a business advisor, speaker and author who specializes in mergers, culture and organizational change, states in this book, that “if you want to accelerate your rate of achievement rapidly, you must search out and vigorously employ new behaviors.” Quantum Leaps will knock you out of your comfort zone, but where do they begin? They begin with shifting your Paradigms—that could be controlling virtually every move that you make.

Remember: “To ignore the power of paradigms to influence your judgment is to put yourself at significant risk when exploring the future. To be able to shape your future, you have to be ready and able to change your paradigm.” –Joel Barker, a technology and business futurist who published the book Paradigms in 1993.

The more understanding we have of ourselves and others, the better we can communicate, work with and thrive, not just survive with our current and future results. If we want significant change to occur in the world, we must begin with some self-reflection. We did cover some of these concepts in episode 29 “How to Rewire Your Brain for Happiness and Well-Being”[ix] but this episode will focus as a review of the most important brain basics that we should all understand and apply to our life, so we can stay strong and focused and challenge ourselves to think in ways that we have never thought before, tied to Stephen Covey’s powerful habits. If the brain is involved in everything that we do and everything that we are, then we must tie in brain health to optimize our future behavior, actions and the state of the world.

Let’s take a look at Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and the 8th Habit) as they relate to the 8 Most Important Concepts I learned from studying from Dr. Daniel Amen’s Thrive by 25 Course, with an action plan in place to implement these habits, and brain tips, into our daily life.



HABITS 1-3: How We Manage Ourselves

HABIT #1 Be Proactive, The Habit of Choice. We want to look for alternatives, not roadblocks to help us to see that there are choices. What areas of your life right now, can you be proactive with? During this COVID 19 Pandemic time, think about reframing “I am stuck inside” to “Now I can Finally Work on Myself[x]” or my home and complete some of those projects you’ve always wanted to complete.  Write out a list and see how good it feels with each item that you complete. Focus on the things that you can influence, and let the others go. I know this can be difficult because people do not resist change, when it’s their choice, but many of us are now dealing with change that is NOT our choice, and it’s frustrating, annoying and just darned difficult. Just keep the momentum moving.

BRAIN TIP #1: BE PROACTIVE: WITH YOUR BRAIN HEALTH: Normal is a myth. 51% of us will have a mental health issue (post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, or addiction) and cases have increased since the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s more normal to have a problem than not have a problem, so being prepared and aware of how to help yourself and others is more important than ever these days. “If you struggle with attention, focus, sadness, anxiety, worry, flexibility, stubbornness, or impulsivity—welcome to the club, this is normal.” (Dr. Daniel Amen). Then add to it the fact that many of us, globally, are still quarantined, and in lockdown, and it’s understandable why there has been a rise in mental health issues. Whatever you might be dealing with, take action towards finding a solution.


Be proactive and ask for help if you just don’t feel right.  Do you know where you would begin to learn more about your brain health? Dr. Amen has a whole website dedicated to this at Visit his site, and also access his FREE 6-week challenge called The End of Mental Illness: Brain Health Revolution[xi] that he launched January 2020. This free YouTube course goes back to the basics and has tons of worksheets, tools, strategies and ideas that we all should be implementing to put our brain health at the forefront of our minds.  This course will keep you busy and give you the most current information you will need to know about being PROACTIVE with your brain health.

HABIT #2 Begin with the End in Mind: The Habit of Vision. Isn’t it true that we can see things clearly in hindsight? “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.”[xii] Looking back at my life and choices as a young teenager (I’m sure we could all could do the same) the things we know today with all of the advancements in neuroscience, would have changed some of the actions I took back then but we don’t know what we don’t know and no one was preaching about brain health back then, so we can only focus on the change we want to see for ourselves moving forward, (yes, we can change our brain health if we change our habits) for our next generations with the new knowledge we are uncovering every day. If we truly want ourselves, and our next generation to reach the highest level of potential, then this habit, tied to brain health is the key. We just need to have a clear vision of what we want, and then infuse this vision into our homes, schools and workplaces.

BRAIN TIP #2: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: CREATE A VISION FOR YOUR BRAIN HEALTH: Your brain is involved in everything that you do, and everything that you are. It’s involved with how you think, feel, act and interact with other people. It’s the origin of your intelligence, character, decisions, dreams, thoughts, creativity and actions.  If you think about it, your brain is the organ that’s behind how well you will do in school, in your career and your relationships. I’m sure if we were taught about brain health in high school, we would be mindful about doing anything to not harm this powerful organ that has complete control of our future success. Everything a young person does either HELPS or HURTS their brain development and when your brain is working right, you will work right. Everything in our life stems from the functioning of our brain.


What change do we want to see in the world? What vision do you have for the world in the next 20 years? As parents, teachers, coaches, managers and leaders, “teaching civil responsibility, respect and character” should be at the forefront of our minds if we expect change in the next 20 years. These themes should be reinforced in our homes, schools and workplaces, and infused into our day to day lives. If our brain health determines the actions that we will all take towards these themes, then brain health should also be emphasized in order to carry out this vision, starting at an early age, to protect our brain, and future, but we must begin with the End in Mind, with a Clear Vision.

HABIT #3 Put First Things First: Plan Weekly and Act Daily.

Stephen Covey built his whole career around the 4-quadrant chart called the Urgent and Important Matrix[xiii] where our attention goes to Quadrant 1 with Urgent and Important Tasks completed first and Quadrant 4, Distractions last. I’ve put the chart in the show notes for anyone who wants to see all of the quadrants.


Quadrant 1 - Crises - URGENT and IMPORTANT

Quadrant 2 - Goals and Planning - NON-URGENT and IMPORTANT

Quadrant 3 - Interruptions - URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT

Quadrant 4 - Distractions - NOT URGENT and NOT IMPORTANT 

BRAIN TIP #3: PUT YOUR BRAIN HEALTH FIRST: What You Do Today, Impacts Tomorrow

Just as our daily habits impact our future results in our professional world, the same goes for our brain health. Make brain health a priority; put it first, as urgent and important. We must know what things are bad for our brain (I’ve included the link to Dr. Amen’s 6 week course in the show notes resource section—this course has a resource of 100 foods that are bad for us in week 3 of this 6 Week course).[xiv]It’s helpful to know the food we should learn to avoid—the things that are bad for us and our brains so we can begin to eliminate them.           


If you can plan ahead, the night before, write out the top 3 urgent and important things you need to do for your work, this will eliminate time wasting. If you can follow the same idea with healthy eating, and plan ahead, making sure that your fridge is full of healthy food vs the items we know are bad for us we will be miles ahead with our health.

HABITS 4-6: How We Lead Others

HABIT #4 Think Win/Win: The Habit of Mutual Benefit.

Win/Win “is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense of or exclusion of the success of others.”[xv]  When a situation is Win/Win, both parties feel good about the decision, and this builds trusts.

BRAIN TIP #4  WIN/WIN: Strengthen Your Body and You Strengthen Your Brain. This is a Win/Win situation as everyone wins when they are building a stronger brain, and body. The benefits do spill into other areas of your life when you put a focus on brain/body health as your relationships and career will also improve.  You will also role model the way for others to follow your example.


Put this habit to test and see what happens if you take 90 days to focus on your health. Have you ever done this? When you make your health priority, you will watch all other areas of your life improve. This is truly a WIN/WIN situation. You will feel sharper, have more energy, and something happens to someone who is on track. People are drawn to them, creating more opportunity. Try it—I would love to hear what happens when you take control of your health.

HABIT #5 Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

This was the habit that Greg Link mentioned he was working on, and is centered around practicing empathetic listening, and effective communication. We listen first to understand, to really understand the situation, without putting our own beliefs, thoughts, feelings, or motives inside someone else’s head. Only then can we seek to be understood, which takes courage.

BRAIN TIP #5  Understand Your Brain First: Discover Your Brain Type

If we want to deepen our understanding of ourselves, get to know more about your brain, since it controls everything that you do.  Look up and take Dr. Amen’s Brain Type Assessment[xvi] to get an idea of what type of brain you have. You will receive an email with a video explaining your brain type, characteristics of this type of brain, dietary suggestions for your specific brain type and a full report with your brain fit score. 


Take the time to understand where you are right now with your brain health. Once you have this baseline, you can take the 6 week course, and begin to make changes, one step at a time.  Be kind to yourself, and know that you can make significant change to your brain and health, by learning and implementing some new ideas.

HABIT #6 Synergize: The Habit of Creative Cooperation

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and when we can learn to work in synergy   with others, we create something powerful. One plus one equals three or more. My mentor, New York Times Best Selling author and Presidential Historian, Doug Wead[xvii] used to call this concept “the triple braided cord” where we accelerate our results with the synergy that comes from the creative cooperation when two or more minds come together. Call it a brain trust or mastermind, but be prepared for the great power that comes from this union. 

TIPS #6 Create Synergy by Understanding Other People’s Brain Types

If you want to reach the highest level of potential and experience the magic of synergy whether it’s in the workplace, or in your personal life, it’s important to keep in mind that not all brains are the same. This was John Medina’s Brain Rule #3 that “Every Brain is Wired Differently.”[xviii]  Since we have all had different experiences in life, our brains are all different. What we do and experience in our life, literally re-wire what our brains look like.


If you really want to understand another person, Dr. Amen’s Thrive by 25 Online Course covers the main parts of the brain, with characteristics that we can all use to recognize our own brain vulnerabilities, along with ways we can improve and strengthen different parts of the brain. Also, week 2 of his Brain Health Challenge has a PDF document for strengthening each part of the brain.[xix] When we can use habit #5 (using empathy with others) with habit #6, we really can create a new level of communication with others.

Habit 7 and 8: Unleashing Our Potential

HABIT #7 Sharpen the Saw: The Habit of Renewal

How do you sharpen your saw to increase your personal and professional effectiveness? Is it through continual learning, or renewal from exercise, meditation or prayer? Whatever method you choose, know that we must renew ourselves in body, heart, mind and soul to unleash our full potential.

BRAIN TIP #7 Keep Learning About Brain Health, Nutrition and Exercise

The older we get, the more serious we need to get about our brain health. When we stop learning, our brain starts dying. We must keep learning to stay sharp and focused and to prevent our brain from aging. We can even measure our genetic age by measuring the telomeres which hold our genetic material together like the end caps of shoe laces. We know there are specific strategies that prevent our brain from aging, and the more we take this seriously, the stronger and healthier we will be.


Pick one new strategy to implement and write it down. If you want to begin a daily mediation program, begin here. Or perhaps you are looking to improve your eating, then pick one area, and focus on this area for 30 days. What we measure improves, so if you can log how many days you were successful with your new strategy, you will have a gauge at the end of the 30 days how well you have implemented this new habit.

HABIT #8 “Finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs”

This habit is so important that Stephen Covey wrote a whole book about it. In this book, he talks about 5 behaviors that inhibit our greatness: criticism, complaining, comparing, competing and contending. Then he goes on to say that we all have the ability to impact the world by taking our mental energy and creating a vision, channeling our physical energy with discipline, unleashing our emotional energy towards what we are passionate about  and tapping into our spiritual energy to share your truth, or what life has to offer others for a better life. When we do this, we are role modelling the way for others to do the same.

BRAIN TIP #8 Role Model the Way

Since we can only change ourselves, it’s important to think about role modelling the way, whether it’s with our health, or ways that we can inspire change in others.  When I worked with Bob Proctor in the seminars, I remember he was always asked the question “how do I change my (spouse, parents, sister, etc) so they can stop xyz (being negative, complaining, criticizing).  The answer was always “You can’t. Just focus on yourself, and role model the way.”


You will NEVER change another person, as people resist change, unless it’s their choice, so the best way to inspire others to take action, is to focus on developing your voice, and encourage others to do the same.

I remember the first time I put my voice and ideas out into the world, with my first book in 2008, just 12 years ago, and it wasn’t an easy step. Finding your voice takes courage and initiative, and with that comes the chance that you will face criticism, but when you can move forward, regardless of what comes along with putting your voice out into the world, there is a chance for great opportunity.  It will start off small, but with time, momentum will take your ideas from one person, to the next, to the next, and with each person you are helping, you create a ripple effect of goodness in the world. Not everyone will resonate with your message, but the ones who do, will propel you forward. Before you know it, others will begin telling you the actions that they have taken and you realize that finding your voice has made a bigger difference than you could have ever imagined.

To Review the 8 HABITS:




BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: CREATE A VISION FOR YOUR BRAIN HEALTH: Your brain is involved in everything that you do, and everything that you are, so create plan and vision to improve it.


PUT YOUR BRAIN HEALTH FIRST: What You Do Today, Impacts Tomorrow so make your Brain Health Urgent and Important.


WIN/WIN: Strengthen Your Body and You Strengthen Your Brain.


Seek to Understand Your Brain First: Discover Your Brain Type


Create Synergy by Understanding Other People’s Brain Types


Sharpen Your Saw: Keep Learning About Brain Health, Nutrition and Exercise


Find Your Voice and Role Model the Way

I’m grateful that I saw my good friend Greg Link’s post on social media, reminding me of the importance of Stephen Covey’s powerful 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, tied to our brain health makes us all think of ways that we can improve our own personal effectiveness in the world. If each of us can, like Greg did in his post, take personal responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions, we can begin the ripple effect of change we all want to see in the world. If we want quantum leap results, we must focus on changing our paradigms. I hope you have gained some insight from these ideas.

Episode #69 (being recorded next week) will feature speaker Ben Ampil, a US Certified Neuroscience Coach from the Philippines, to cover the neuroscience behind the fear that the world is facing, with some ideas for us to further implement the change in our behavior that could impact the world if we can all expand our own awareness, think, and accept the challenge to take new actions. My hope is that our next episode will allow us build of this one and discover that there is great possibility in front of us, and that with this great challenge (of self-reflection and change) there is also great opportunity as we begin to put each brain tip into action in our daily life, reflect on the 8 Habits and make the necessary changes so that we can look back on our world in 20 years’ time and see the impact of this change.  

See you next week.


Dr. Daniel Amen’s Thrive by 25 Online Course.

If you have a teenager, or a young adult, or just want to optimize your own brain, this course is important because it will open your eyes to the vital importance of taking care of your brain at an early age. “Thrive by 25” was designed to educate students in high school to prepare them for success in life so they thrive by the time they are 25, (there is a section where high school students debrief each lesson) but this information can help us at any age. If you purchase this course, you can gain access to 3 undergraduate units, transferrable to ANY college or university. Access Dr. Amen’s online courses by clicking on the link in the show notes, or just listen to this podcast where I break down the most important concepts from this 12-module course.

What I liked the most about this 6-week course were the resources. In week 1 for example, there was a worksheet all about knowing our important numbers. Just as our numbers are important with our business, we should all know our health numbers as well. You can print off these resources and take notes week, highlighting the most important ideas learned. You will never be the same. Your brain will love you. Week 2 was powerful as they outlined their BRIGHT MINDS Brain Risk Factors and Interventions. This is the backbone of the course, with tips for staying on track with your brain health, with each risk factor, like for example, what to do if you have someone in your family who has dementia, or other mental health issues. Week 3 the resources included 100 foods that love you (or are good for you) and 100 foods that are bad for you. If you follow Dr. Amen’s work, and his Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast[xx], you will get to see that he is on a mission to change the Standard American Diet, (that he calls SAD) and I’m his #1 fan! Be sure to check out his podcast and this 6-week course and you will learn the most up to date information on building a better brain. 



[ii] Greg Link Speaker’s Bio

[iii] The 8th Habit by Stephen R Covey

[iv] Understanding Implicit Bias

[v] Greg Link on Stephen R Covey

[vi] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast EPSIODE #67 on “ Expanding Your Awareness with a Deep Dive into the Most Important Concepts from Bob Proctor’s Seminars”

[vii] Price Pritchard You Squared: A High Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps (Feb 2012)

[viii] Price Pritchett Bio

[ix] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episode #29 “How to Re-Wire Your Brain for Happiness and Well-Being to Optimize Learning”

[x] Covid-19 Lockdown Guide: How to Manage Anxiety and Isolation During Quarantine by Aarti Gupta

[xi] Dr. Amen’s 6 Week Brain Health Revolution Challenge

[xii] Proverbs 29:18 King James Version of The Bible.

[xiii] The Urgent and Important Matrix


[xv] 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

[xvi] What’s Your Brain Type Quiz by Dr. Daniel Amen

[xvii] Doug Wead

[xviii] John Medina’s Brain Rules

[xix] Dr. Amen’s PDF for Strengthening Different Regions of the Brain

[xx] Dr. Amen and Tana Amen’s Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast


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