Then she said, 'I've got something to tell you. Such exertion limits the resulting payload of amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars entering our bloodstream, with the process taking enough time so that our hunger can naturally subside as we experience 'satiation' (the desire to no longer eat). These diets also help promote a healthy gut microbiome. The human 'microbiome' refers to the microbes, like bacteria, fungi, and yeasts, that inhabit our gut and help us do everything from regulate our immune system to metabolize food. 5 The concentrated fats and sugars contained in processed foods not only overwhelm our system directly, but they also skew the balance of our microbiome. But improving the gut microbiome can help reduce cancer, obesity, cognitive problems, and metabolic dysregulation. 6 Although we have much to learn about the nature of the microbiome, shifting our eating away from processed food products and toward whole foods serves to drain the swamp. It decreases the numbers and types of bacteria that may, for example, promote inflammation in the gut, and creates a better balance of more desirable types that work more in concert with our immune system. Conventional dietary recommendations suggest we should consume more fiber in our diet, but I believe that 'fiber' is just a proxy for the consumption of whole foods, of plant or animal origin, that have their original cellular structure either fully or mostly intact at the time we begin to ingest them. Consuming such whole foods improves both our gut health and total body wellness, given the important symbiotic relationship between human beings and their microbiomes. Judgment is easily sensed. The second it arises, people stop listening or start letting the ego drift in the door. If we want to be heard we have to deal with our judgment and blame before asking others to listen to our truth. Coming from our truth can be especially challenging because so often it requires confessing our culpability, our fear, our errors, our misunderstanding or our anger and confusion. When we own up to these by speaking our truth, we discover the freedom that can only be gained through the willingness to be vulnerable. Because we spend so much time trying to protect ourselves from real and imagined judgments, few of us actually experience the extraordinary freedom gained through vulnerability. This powerful force erases fear from areas of our lives that we have been spending time and energy guarding. As we speak our fear, we discover what it is like to feel safe about who we really are. Because all of us have the same fears, our vulnerability often creates empathy and understanding, where trying to be right or uphold a facade only offends and separates us from others.

To speak the truth, we need to be willing to practice vulnerability. He told me that 'it is important to teach about how to give,' and he wanted his giving 'to be a model for his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other philanthropists. ' His four children have themselves all become philanthropists. At the time of our interview, Harold had donated over $100 million--more than half of it given since he was eighty. Expressing a sentiment common in this phase, he said, 'I want this country and the world to be a better place for everyone. ' The summing up process can also lead people to confront unfulfilled dreams and to bring closure to unresolved conflicts. The pressure to confront and come to terms with these matters can be very powerful in this stage of life. In the early 1960s, psychiatrist and Pulitzer Prize-winning gerontologist Robert Butler developed the concept of the 'life review' and put it to therapeutic use with individuals. Butler says the life review process is 'characterized by the progressive return to consciousness of past experiences and particularly the resurgence of unresolved conflicts that can be looked at again and reintegrated. If the reintegration is successful, it can give new significance and meaning to one's life. Of course I like the idea of seeing my kids set goals, work toward each one, and achieve them--there are great lessons in that and great confidence that can be built from showing yourself that you can achieve the things you set your mind to. That, combined with the natural feelings of a dad who wants to protect his child from having to experience pain and rejection, made the answer easy: we're pulling for a win. But, when I thought about what would provide more meaning in Jackson's life, what might best prepare him for his future, what might give him the skills of perseverance and prove a point that trying and failing wouldn't kill him, the answer changed. Even though it might hurt, the thing he likely needed most was to not get the thing he wanted. Jackson put everything into that campaign, but he still lost. It was hard for him to deal with the tendency we all have to feel embarrassed about public defeat, but it proved to be an incredibly rich moment and an opportunity for me as a dad to teach some very valuable lessons. Ironically, at the time we were having this conversation I was stuck in the middle of that funk where my own inability to fail was causing so much discontent. To be clear, that inability to fail was because the movies and team and brands I was working on in those days were just too good to fail, too strong to put me in positions where I could really make mistakes I could learn from. There was very little risk involved.

In some ways, my son running for president and losing reminded me of the power of putting yourself in a position to fail - so you will. So, what is the ego? Well, it is our false self. The false 'faces' and constructs of ourselves that we present to the world. Our ego loves to make us think we're better than everybody else. It loves to judge everyone and everything. It is critical, focuses on other people's faults and can be such a bore. It gets off on making other people wrong. Now I don't know about you, but I long for a world with less ego in it. Where we all learn to drop our egos and to start getting in touch with who we really are - the real us, not the filtered version. It's about not being afraid to be vulnerable. Something I have been hiding from you. ' I took another sip. She continued. 'I've been saving $100 off every paycheque for the last 8 years. It's our 10th anniversary. I know you've always wanted to swim with sharks. I articleed us a trip. We're going to fly to the Indian Ocean and swim with sharks. '

Well, she certainly had my attention. Although the popular diets I've mentioned reduce the amount of ultra-processed foods we're eating and help improve our gut microbiome populations, they bring a number of disadvantages. Far too often, such diets, and the dietary tribes to which they give rise, define themselves in negative terms--emphasizing what they're restricting. If you're on any form of low-carb diet, your identity is carbohydrate restriction. If you eat a low-fat diet, you're all about fat restriction. If you eat a plant-based or vegan diet, your dietary identity centers on animal protein elimination. If you're an intermittent faster, you restrict a range of food but not during certain windows of time. These diet camps, in turn, believe that those failing to adopt their respective restrictions will experience dire health outcomes. The plant-based tribes say: eating too much protein or too many calories will shorten your life span. The keto enthusiasts claim that eating carbs produces toxic by-products, so we must restrict all sugar. The intermittent fasters say making our bodies constantly metabolize food diverts our organs from performing other vital tasks, so we must eat less often. Once we have discovered our truth, it is time to create our response. Our truth consists of what we felt during the confrontation or situation and sometimes what we may have learned. It is not our judgments about the confrontation or the other person or our thoughts and observations about the story. Preparing our response is not like preparing a legal case. Again, it is not an attempt to justify our behavior, make the other person wrong, or demonstrate our righteousness. Because we are going to be speaking authentically we have to speak carefully and skillfully; we have to be sure that judgment and blame will be truly absent from our statements. To sense whether this is true we need to ask ourselves if our heart is fully opened. If judgment and blame are still present in our response, it indicates a lack of self-understanding, which means we are unable at this time to come from our deepest truth.

Although we have tried hard to make discovery, it is this lack of understanding that is our truth at the moment. ' The act of recording one's life story has gained widespread respect and acceptance among those who study or treat older adults. Psychologists have learned that reviewing one's life is part of normal aging. The review process can then lead to self-awareness and self-acceptance. Butler's pioneering work has now been taken in many directions. Life review can be done in groups or privately via writing, artwork, photography, or practically any other expressive medium. The point is that summing up, in any form, can be a stimulating, life-opening experience. It's never too late to resolve conflicts around unfulfilled dreams and unfinished business. Sometimes resolution means realizing those dreams. Consider the following stories: The decisions I made in the years after those failed elementary school presidential campaigns--in particular, leaving certainty to join Rachel in building the Hollis Company--were in part an attempt to force myself into situations where I could fail so I could grow. I know with absolute certainty that, on the whole, we're going to succeed. I know with that same degree of certainty that because I've leaped into something I don't know how to do, I'm most likely going to fail on an hourly basis here at the beginning. Even though there are days when I have to work a little more to remember that these failures are for me and for my growth, the sense of fulfillment that comes from what I learn every time I fall on my face is extraordinary. How you process failure, it turns out, is all about mindset. And mindset is everything. The authority on this is Carol Dweck and her article Mindset. Finish this article, but then read that one next. It's the best work available on this topic, and if you're new to thinking about how your mind functions, how you process failure, I promise it's worth having your mind blown by this PhD's work.