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Brain Food – What Are You Feeding Your Brain?

By March 20, 2024No Comments

“Yours is the most terrible crime a human being can commit.  I accuse you of a wasted life.  The penalty is death,” pronounced the Judge in Steve McQueen’s 1974 classic Papillon.  Papillon’s response: “Guilty…guilty…guilty.”

Tomorrow will look pretty much like yesterday, and next year will look pretty much like last year unless you do something different about it.  And that will depend pretty heavily on what you are feeding your brain daily.

Here are a couple of thought-provoking quotes to get you thinking:


  1. Living with Purpose – In “101 Essays that will Change the Way You Thinkthe author Brianna Wiest writes “My life consists of my days – what am I doing with this one?”  How are you spending your work time and (equally importantly) your idle time?
  2. Goal Setting – As Socrates wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  The examined life sets goals.  Achieving these goals means breaking bad habits and creating new ones.  This is not going to be easy.  As Warren Buffett says, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”  Attitude is everything.  As Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is a habit.  Unfortunately, so is losing.” How are you doing at keeping the “New Year’s Resolutions” you set for yourself 3 months ago?
  3. Thriving in the “Jungle” – Similarly, in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen Stanley Johnston says, “People either survive in the jungle or exist in the zoo.”  As the boxer Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Assuming you have no interest in just coasting through life on auto-pilot in the zoo (or getting punched in the mouth), what are you doing to not just survive but thrive out there in the jungle?
  4. Personal Health – How would you describe your overall health now, compared to how it was 5 years ago?  “Outlive – the Science and Art of Longevity” the #1 New York Times Bestseller by Pater Attia MD is a “groundbreaking manifesto for living better longer”.  He believes that lifespan and healthspan and more malleable than we think.  He presents a deep dive into the causes of the “four horsemen” of death (cancer, cardiac disease, Type 2 diabetes and mental degeneration) and offers a roadmap to help us reverse the negative trends in our current lifestyles through nutrition, exercise, sleep patterns and emotional fitness.  Unfortunately, one quote here will not do justice to this 400+ page book, so you are just going to have to go to Amazon and buy it!
  5. Investing – In his latest annual letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett quotes his recently deceased life-long mentor and partner Charlie Munger as saying “Buy better companies for a fair price instead of fair companies for a better price.” – Since its inception in 1965, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s per share market value growth has outperformed the S&P 500 Index 4,384,748% to 31,223%.  How do you choose your investments, and how is your investment strategy performing?


  1. Leadership – The biggest lesson learned from the COVID pandemic is that “business as usual” is no longer an option.  As Einstein said “The thinking it took to get us into this mess is not the same thinking that is going to get us out of it.” Leadership must step up and lead their companies into the new “Promised Land”, but there is no road map.  Here are the 2 greatest Leadership requirements:
    1. Continuous business transformation to be more resilient and agile;
    2. Employee centricity to foster greater employee engagement, loyalty and productivity, especially with remote teams, hybrid work models and new employees.

How are you developing your leadership skills in these 2 areas?

  1. AI – Back in 2018 Jean-Philippe Courtois (Microsoft EVP) was quoted as saying “AI is an opportunity, unless you don’t grab it – then it’s a threat.” We all know AI is here to stay, and we need to embrace it.  The tools are here.  The heavy lifting is in how we creatively apply them to our businesses and our industries.  What are you investing (money and time) and doing (activity) to apply AI to your business?

Lots to think about!  Fortunately for us many pioneers have gone down the road ahead of us and written about their successes and failures.  So, we don’t have to try to figure it all out for ourselves. Just keep reading and learning – Feed your Brain!!!

About the author: Bruce McAlpine is President of Fulcrum Search Science Inc., a Toronto-based executive search firm solving Mission-Critical hiring challenges throughout North America for more than 50 years.  He is also a Past President of ACSESS, the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services, and a Past President of the Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada.  He can be reached at 416.779.8505 or .