Brad Pendergraft- If You Want to Change Your Habits, Stop Beating Yourself Up

Brad Pendergraft is both an expert on psychology, and entrepreneurship, so I am especially excited to share this conversation with you. He is founder of “Lifetime Optimization,” as well as “Brain Wellness and Coaching Clinic,” and is author of “The Unworried Brain.”

Notes, Insights, and Topics

  1. Neurons that fire together wire together
  2. Most of our regular, daily behavior is guided by habit
  3. Even our emotions and responses are habit-driven
  4. How to use FIRE to change our habits
  5. Find (We can become aware of these habits)
  6. Interrupt (We can change these habits)
  7. Replace (Introduce a new, different habit)
  8. Exercise (Practice makes perfect)
  9. Habits don’t get changed, they can only be replaced, or “written-over”
  10. How people can use this information to become happier
  11. Why you shouldn’t beat yourself up for failures
  12. You should celebrate (not punish yourself) when you notice you’re halfway through a bad habit. You’re actually celebrating (or punishing) awareness, in either instance, not the habit. Say, “oooh! I noticed!”
  13. Your brain can process only a fraction of what’s really going on in the world. Thus, your subjective reality depends on what your brain chooses to focus on.
  14. A fascinating experiment on optimists v pessimists
  15. A key trait of entrepreneurs is the ability to think and act optimistically, while keeping at least some sense of realism.
  16. The need for entrepreneurs to be able to pivot their emotions, often before they pivot with their actions
  17. “The fastest way to hack into emotion in your brain is by using your body.” Aka, why you should LITERALLY! keep your chin up.
  18. Music has a similar effect. Happy music leads to happy thinking.
  19. Bad nutrition can make you feel depressed or anxious, even without an external stimulus.
  20. What he wishes he had focused more on as he started his businesses


Brad’s Book Recommendations

The Unworried Brain by Brad Pendergraft

Influence and Presuasion by Robert Cialdini

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Keys to the Vault by Keith Cunningham


I’m really grateful for Brad’s time, I learned a lot. I’ve been putting a few of his insights to work over the past week since we last talked, and it is freaky the extent to which I can already feel a difference in my thoughts. I haven’t achieved enlightenment yet or anything, but I can see just a glimmer of a world where my emotions feel more like conscious choices than like an uncontrollable reaction. Here’s what I did, and I encourage you to give it a try: every time you notice yourself thinking in a negative way, do a fist pump (or make some similarly triumphant gesture) and exclaim to yourself “Good Job! Way to notice!” Reward yourself for having that awareness. And actually, the cheesier and more enthusiastic your words and actions are, the better. Not only does this help pull you out of the negative tail-spin, but it will really train your brain to become aware of your thoughts earlier over time. This is especially valuable now, with Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up. Lots of stress, maybe some frustrating family situations. Use it as an opportunity to make your brain a better ally.


Music for this podcast is by Cambrian Explosion, who once surfed a massive tidal wave and lived to tell the tale. You can download their music at and on Apple iTunes. You can also check them out on Spotify and Youtube.


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