The Science of Success Podcast

The Science of Success Podcast

Improve your decisions, hack your mind, and master the psychology of persuasion with The Science of Success Podcast.  This Podcast will teach you the tactics and strategies to understand how psychology rules the world around us and what you can do to use that information to make yourself smarter and achieve your goals.

Big News

The Science of Success has been a smash hit on iTunes and we recently made “New & Noteworthy” and have more than a MILLION downloads!Science of Success Podcast

On my website you will always be able to access the podcast via the Podcast link above or by clicking right here – but we won’t be posting an update on for each new episode any longer.

How To Organize and Remember EVERYTHING

I get listener comments and emails all the time asking me “Matt, how do you organize and remember all this incredible information?” A LOT of our listeners are curious about how I keep track of all the incredible knowledge I get from reading hundreds of books, interviewing amazing experts, listening to awesome podcasts and more.

Because of that we created an epic resource for just for you, a detailed guide called How To Organize and Remember Everything – and you can get it completely free by joining our email list below.

We will also be updating The Science of Success email list with each new episode and many extra goodies. You can sign up below to get access to everything.

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Thanks again for all your support and to all of my awesome listeners!

Science of Success Podcast – Moving Through Setbacks

The Science of Success

Do you want to understand more about your own thoughts and motivations? Do you wish you had a better understanding of what motivates other people and drives their decisions? Has psychology always fascinated you, but you’ve been missing a way to apply those lessons practically in your day-to-day life?

The Science of Success is my new podcast and I have teamed up with to explore the mindset of success, the psychology of performance, and how to get the most out of your daily life.

With gripping examples, concrete explanations of psychological research, interviews with scientists and experts, and practical ways to apply these lessons in your own life, the Science of Success is a must listen for anyone interested in growth, learning, personal development, and psychology.

On this episode of “The Science of Success”, I delve into the debilitating affect of setbacks. You’ve got a goal. You’re working towards it, then BOOM: Something gets in your way. What do you do? Do you give up and try something else? Or do you brush yourself off and keep moving forward?

How you answer this question could make all the difference.

Listen Now!

Or download here (right click and save).


Science of Success Podcast – Embracing Discomfort

The Science of Success

Do you want to understand more about your own thoughts and motivations? Do you wish you had a better understanding of what motivates other people and drives their decisions? Has psychology always fascinated you, but you’ve been missing a way to apply those lessons practically in your day-to-day life?

The Science of Success is my new podcast and I have teamed up with to explore the mindset of success, the psychology of performance, and how to get the most out of your daily life.

With gripping examples, concrete explanations of psychological research, interviews with scientists and experts, and practical ways to apply these lessons in your own life, the Science of Success is a must listen for anyone interested in growth, learning, personal development, and psychology.

Listen Now!

Or download here (right click and save).

On this week’s “The Science of Success” I explore one of the most crucial elements of leading a successful life: moving through discomfort. It’s human tendency to want to avoid things that make us feel awkward, and most of us do. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing. We will discuss two tricks that can help you move through discomfort and, if practiced enough, actively cultivate the ability to seek and embrace discomfort.

Science of Success Podcast – The Biological Limits of the Mind

The Science of Success

Do you want to understand more about your own thoughts and motivations? Do you wish you had a better understanding of what motivates other people and drives their decisions? Has psychology always fascinated you, but you’ve been missing a way to apply those lessons practically in your day-to-day life?

The Science of Success is my new podcast and I have teamed up with to explore the mindset of success, the psychology of performance, and how to get the most out of your daily life.

With gripping examples, concrete explanations of psychological research, interviews with scientists and experts, and practical ways to apply these lessons in your own life, the Science of Success is a must listen for anyone interested in growth, learning, personal development, and psychology.

Listen To Episode One Now!

“The Biological Limits of the Human Mind” (right click and save to download)

On this inaugural episode of “The Science of Success” we explore one of the fundamental underpinnings of psychology: the brain itself.

As we discussed when we talked about Charlie Munger – your brain is a roughly million-year-old piece of hardware, designed to operate in the world of hunting and gathering, where dangerous animals and competing humans may lurk behind the nearest bush.

While our society has changed massively in the last 10,000 years (or even the last 500 years), our brains have not had time to catch up.

As a result, you and I are equipped with a tool that is riddled with shortcuts and processing errors, which can manifest themselves in mistakes, calamities, and all around terrible decisions.

To find out how you can get around these and make life a little easier, listen to this week’s episode “The Biological Limits of the Human Mind”.


Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Conciousness, Venus Colonies and More

Cosmos Carl Sagan

I have long been a proponent of opening the space frontier, space colonization (Venus especially), Carl Sagan and space exploration, as many of you know. I often find myself emailing people lists of my favorite space related YouTube videos, short stories, and articles. Eventually I realized that I should simply type these links into a blog post about the Cosmos, Carl Sagan, and more to easily share with people and reach an even broader audience.

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

For starters if you haven’t seen the original Cosmos series with Carl Sagan – that is absolutely the first thing you should check out. It’s incredible. Despite being made in 1980 and featuring some seriously dated graphics, the concepts are so lucidly explained, simple, and yet often mind bending that it’s quite a journey. You can find the entire series on YouTube for free. Here’s Episode 1 of Cosmos by Carl Sagan

A full playlist can be found here. Occasionally episodes of Cosmos get deleted out and you have to find another one on YouTube, but it shouldn’t be too hard.

Cosmos & Consciousness

As part of my ongoing meditation practice I love digging into some of the deeper and more grand mysteries of both our existence and the cosmos itself. To that effect, I’ve created a YouTube playlist of a number of my favorite videos around the concept of life, our place in the cosmos, and what we are. Here’s a sample of one of these – a video by Symphony of Science called “We Are All Connected.” It gives me goosebumps to listen to this.

Awesome Short Stories

Whenever I get into a conversation with someone about space exploration, I always recommend checking out two incredible short stories.

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov (Written in 1956)

The thing that impresses me about both of these stories is how long ago they were written, yet how timely they seem today. The last question is a classic science fiction story by one of the genres all time greats. I don’t want to say too much without giving it away – but its deep and thought provoking.

The Gentle Seduction by Marc Stiegler (Written in 1989)

This story is absolutely amazing. Its one of the most lucid and clear descriptions of what I think “the singularity” might look like (and for those of you unfamiliar, all the more reason you should read this story). This one will take a bit of time to read but its incredibly worth it.

 The Fermi Paradox & The Drake Equation

Drake Equation The Fermi Paradox is another space concept that I absolutely love. This was a favorite of Carl Sagan’s as well. The concept is essentially – if you look at the fact that the Milky Way alone has 400 billion stars – each of which likely harbors multiple planets (the math of crunching these numbers is called The Drake Equation) – the math works out that we should be seeing alien life all over the place – but we don’t. Well why not? First, check out this great video which explains the paradox simply and easily.

But to me, the most interesting examination of this is actually the idea that Carl Sagan’s model for understanding the expansion of alien life slightly misses the point that it really more of a “big bang” type model – the notion that as soon as a single intelligent lifeform evolves in a given galaxy – within a relatively short cosmic time frame (approx. 20mm years) they will come to completely dominate their galaxy. So instead of many pockets of intelligent life within a galaxy – there will almost always ever be a single dominant life form. The chart below explains this distinction and this article is a full read on the theory and the math behind it. The main takeaway is the notion that humans are likely in 1 of 2 phases – either we are about to takeover our entire galaxy (assuming we avoid wipeout) or we are just at the cusp of another alien civilization taking over the Milky Way. Essentially we are either at Point A or Point D of this graph today. Fermi Paradox Drake Equation Either way – its fascinating stuff and I suggest digging into it if it’s the kind of thing that gets you excited. If you want to really go deep on this, read through the “Explaining the Paradox Hypothetically” section on Wikipedia, its great.

Venus Colonization

While most people are focused exclusively on the colonization of Mars, there is actually a surprisingly strong case for the colonization of Venus. I originally discovered this one day in a deep Wikipedia binge and have really gravitated to it since. Specifically there are 3 major risks to Mars colonization that people just gloss over.

  • Gravity – Mars only has approximately 0.4 of Earths gravity and the long term impacts of this low gravity could be several damaging. There are currently no known solutions for this problem. This is also something that even long-term would make terraforming Mars tough because we still end up with a planet that is too low gravity.
  • Pressure – Mars also has almost no surface pressure – requiring both every structure to be completely pressurized, which is extremely expensive and challenging from a design perspective, and people to constantly wear pressurized suits.
  • Radiation – Mars has almost no atmosphere which also makes radiation a very dangerous prospect – requiring further protection and raising the expense and challenges of permanent colonization.

The problem with Venus is that everyone looks solely at the surface – you have to zoom up about 30-40kms into the atmosphere to find the single most earth-like place in our solar system. A place where the atmosphere protects you from solar radiation at the equivalent of earth’s sea level, a place where the gravity is approximately 1g, and a place where the pressure is exactly the same as sea level pressure on earth. This means that all you would need to wear is a gas mask and you would be perfectly fine. The real kicker though is that at this height in Venus’s atmosphere – breathable air is lifting gas when unpressurized. What this means is that just filling a civilization with breathable air makes it automatically float – and there is no risk of a Hindenburg-esq explosion event because the pressure would be equal – the civilization doesn’t have to be pressurized so that even a rupture or tear would cause a very slow leakage of gas instead of an immediate implosion/explosion.

Here are also two great articles about the colonization of Venus.

The Surprisingly Strong Case for Colonizing Venus

Will We Build Colonies That Float Over Venus

Additional Space Resources

Lastly, I wanted to share a few awesome websites to check out about cosmos, space exploration, and much more.Here are three of my favorite sites to check out (all of them are in my Feedly RSS reader and I check them pretty much every morning) related to space news.


IFL Science

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’re passionate about space exploration please share and comment!

Weight Loss Motivation – How I lost 45 Pounds in 6 Months

Matt Bodnar - Weight Loss Motivation

Looking for some weight loss motivation? I lost 45 pounds in six months. Over the first half of 2013 I went from a plump 215 pounds down to a much more reasonable 170 pounds.

That’s a BMI drop from a BMI of about 30 (full blown Obesity) to a BMI of 23.7 or just under the level for “normal weight.”

Here’s how the National Heart Institute measures BMI.

  • Underweight = <18.5

  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9

  • Overweight = 25–29.9

  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

My target weight is 165 with me being decently cut, so that said I probably could shave another 10 pounds of fat off my body right now if I wanted to really push it (I don’t because I’m lazy and getting within a normal BMI has slowed my weight loss motivation down).

To be honest, I’m no good at building muscle and both of these weights I still have a relatively flabby physique without much muscle. I used no magic secrets to get here.

 What’s Your Weight Loss Motivation?

Do you want to know what I did to lose the weight? It doesn’t matter! The tactics do not matter. Tactics are irrelevant. Mindset is everything. Your weight loss motivation is the critical factor that determines your success.

Your mindset on how you lose weight is ALL THAT MATTERS. Period. Once you have the mindset of living a healthy life and making fitness a priority – you will naturally discover that the tactics start manifesting themselves all across your life.

Until you want it more than you want anything else you will never do it. I want you to re-read that sentence and let it sink in.


Here are some other priorities you probably didn’t realize are crowding out your weight loss motivation and your ability to lose weight:

  • Sleep

  • Not getting up when its 5am and its 10 degrees outside

  • Video Games

  • TV

  • Reading

  • Partying

  • “Not Feeling Like Going To The Gym”

  • Working

  • Hanging out with your friends

  • “Being Tired”

  • Not being that annoying person at a meal who won’t eat certain things.

  • Drinking

  • Eating Cake (ohh how do I love cake though, funfetti in particular)

If you aren’t willing to sacrifice any and ALL of those things – you are never going to make meaningful progress. You have to be a rude sometimes. You have to be unreasonable. You have to sacrifice sleep.

You have to be unwilling to compromise on your health decisions. Its your health and its your life – no one is going to hand you fitness. You have to fight tooth and nail every single day to win that battle. Your weight loss motivation has to be iron clad.


Compliance Always Trumps Effectiveness

To put that more bluntly, do the easiest possible things you can to lose weight. You have to make it as easy as possible for yourself. The absolute worst thing you can do to sabotage your weight loss motivation is to make it difficult on yourself.

Doing the “wrong” or “less optimal” (believe me the peanut gallery will chime in on this one) thing for 3 months because its easier is infinitely more effective than doing the “right” thing and quitting a week later because its too hard.

My entire weight loss motivation strategy is based on the core principle of laziness. Doing the easiest possible things in the gym so that I can stay motivated to keep going! I’ll tell you all about exactly what I did to lose the weight but, again, that doesn’t matter at all.


The Best Fitness Advice Ever

Stop listening to everyone who gives you fitness advice. Bloggers, friends, family, and even me!

There’s too much information clutter out there about fitness and health and losing weight. You can literally find “definitive” weight loss motivation advice on polar opposite topics for nearly everything. Some people say eating a big breakfast is critical to losing weight, some people say that never eating breakfast is the best thing you can do! Some people say you should lift with heavy weights for a few reps, others say lighter weights for many reps.

Stop listening to all of it and only listen to your body. That’s right, I’m literally telling you to disregard the way that I did it because it WON’T work for you. You have to do what your body says is right. Not what I tell you to do. You have to do what you mind wants to do. Not what works for other people.

Do what works for you and what your body says is right because everyone’s body is different.

Disregard all of the tactics that I am going to tell you, but make sure you especially ignore those people who have not actually achieved the fitness goals you want to achieve – they have the most dangerous advice (and they will always chime in with their “opinions” about what you should and should not do).


The Magic Secret

Because I know people are going to want to hear this. Here are my tactics. Here’s exactly what I did to lose 45 pounds and maintain my weight loss motivation.

Here’s my magic secret: diet and exercise.

I was an absolute fanatic about going to the gym every single day – and if I couldn’t get to the gym I would get up at 5am and go for a run – no matter where I was or what time of day it was (and I hate running).

I also started watching what I ate like a hawk and followed these general principles:

  •  Stationary Bike for 30-60 minutes 5-7 days a week. This is almost all I did at the gym. The only other thing I would do was a “4 Hour Body” style minimalist workout about once every 2 weeks.
  •  Stop eating breakfast, ever. I drink coffee and eat a banana and that’s it until lunch.
  •  Cut out carbs as much as you can. Real talk – carbs make you fat.
  •  Eat a salad for lunch with a lean protein like chicken.
  •  Try to eat a light dinner 2-4 times a week.
  •  Weigh yourself every morning. It creates an awareness about weight loss and helps you focus.

Keeping the Weight Off

Now that I am in a healthier weight range its about maintenance and not massive cutting. You don’t need to tap into that visceral weight loss motivation anymore, you can ease off the throttle a bit and focus on sustaining.

There are a few principles at work here.

Never be more than 2 weeks away

This is a concept I heard about from Nerd Fitness originally. The idea is genius. Basically – monitor yourself at all times and never get more than 2 weeks away from your ideal shape – that way you don’t have to kill yourself at the gym all the time – but you can maintain the physique you want.

Splurge a little bit every now and then.

It’s not about being hard core all the time. Its about making it a lifestyle and not a one time thing. Sometimes you need to eat crazy meals and order everything off the menu. In fact, a bunch of research shows that sometimes bingeing can help boost your metabolism (remember though, you need to find the right balance for your own body!).

Weigh yourself every day – keep monitoring your weight.

Research also shows that just the awareness of your weight helps you make subconscious decisions to lose weight and be healthier. Weighing yourself every day also helps you know when you’re slipping out of being “more than 2 weeks away.”

Make health and fitness into a LIFESTYLE not an event.

You have to build fitness into your lifestyle. This is more powerful than any short term weight loss motivation. Now I go to the gym 2-3 times a week. If my weight is creeping up there I start cutting back on what I eat and I go to the gym more frequently until I get my weight back in line again. I usually eat whatever I want and do whatever I want – and as soon as my weight starts creeping up I crank the heavy routine back in place until things get back in line.

Resources & Learning More

I realize I told you to disregard nearly all the fitness advice you hear. However, I still wanted to share (because I know people will want it) my two favorite resources on quality weight loss motivation and information.

These sites have helped me lose weight and stay fit. You need to find the sites that can do the same for you and are true to your body. Both of these were very inspirational to me and also provided me with a rough guideline of the tactics that I ultimately used to lose weight.

Nerd Fitness

 4 Hour Body

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.


Three Big Ideas That Will Change Your Reality

Transform your reality.

I believe in constantly challenging my assumptions, thinking outside the box, and pushing myself to the limit of transformation – constantly expanding my horizons both mentally and physically.

In the last 60 days I have completely transformed my perception of myself, reality, and the world.

In November I  joined “The Foundation” – a 6 month online mentoring program for software startups. As you may notice from some of my older posts here, I have been a huge fan of the ideas of Dane Maxwell for a long time.

Dane has one of the most unique ways of the looking at the world (much the same reason that I like Tim Ferriss) and he takes a lot of this unconventional thought to a whole new level – well beyond even the awakening I had after reading the 4HWW for the first time.

After emailing this list of links out to friends again and again, I decided that I needed to put them in a blog post so I could share these eye opening ideas with as many people as possible.

Here are three “big ideas” that I have taken away from The Foundation. I wanted to share with you a few podcasts, videos and interviews that encapsulate each of these concepts.

Focus On Changing Your Mindset First

“If you play the game at the belief level, everything shifts.” – Dane Maxwell

The single biggest and most important takeaway for me was to focus on understanding and eliminating my limiting beliefs. This single shift, which requires some seriously deep emotional thinking, has transformed the way that I act and think about the world.

“The framework is this:

The beliefs you have lead to the feelings you feel.

The feelings you feel lead to the thoughts you think.

The thoughts you think lead to the actions you take.

The actions you take lead to the results you get.

So, instead of focusing just on the actions or the thoughts – go to your deepest level – your beliefs about the world – make one minor shift in your beliefs and you will see a ripple effect on everything in your life.”

– Andy Drish

If you check out nothing else from this post, listen to this podcast immediately. This one hour podcast really sums up most of the core lessons that I have taken away from Andy and Dane at the Foundation – and has a big discussion about limiting beliefs that opened my eyes to the power of uncovering and demolishing your limits.

If you want to find out more specifics on reversing and breaking down limiting beliefs, check out this 30 minute video where Dane explains the process.

I have also included a few more links at the end of this post for those who want to do a deeper dive into discovering their own limiting beliefs.

Forget ‘Finding Your Passion’

Do you struggle with the notion of finding your passion? Do you waffle around between ideas or keep waiting until you find that perfect fit where you will be in harmony with what you are doing?

“Because of.. the myth that you have to be passionate about your idea to do it. My thought is most successful entrepreneurs have done so many different things. You couldn’t even point to what their passion is.” – Hiten Shah

The whole concept creates a tremendous amount of frustration, confusion and dissatisfaction. Instead, highly successful software entrepreneur Hiten Shah (founder of Kiss Metrics) says – optimize for learning and forget trying to find your passion.

“I would just emphasize what you want to learn about. If you want to learn about marketing because you think it’s really important to any idea then just go learn about marketing and try different things and you’ll pretty much find what you’re aligned with, right? If you’re really dying to build software online and build software as a service products or learn how to program because you think that that’s what you need to do then just go learn it. Just start learning. Figure out what you think you’re most attracted to and start learning it.” – Hiten Shah

Focusing on learning removes fear and ego from the equation – it creates a path forward and a framework for you to stay resilient even in tough times.

If you’re optimizing for learning fear doesn’t come into the equation because you’re always seeking new things, seeking how to do something better, seeking the best way to do it, seeking the knowledge and so fear isn’t even part of the equation, it’s not even the thought that comes to mind because you’re like, “Well, how can I learn how to do that?”  -Hiten Shah

Here’s the full interview with Andy Drish and Hiten Shah. One of my business partners told me that listening to this interview was one of the single biggest turning points in his business career – I highly recommend checking it out.

Take Action, Quickly and Often

One of the largest mistakes you can make is not taking enough action – even if you are unsure what direction you are moving in (isn’t that the essence of being an entrepreneur anyway?).

“Recklessly take action on everything. If you wait to feel good before you take action, you’re totally screwed” – Dane Maxwell

To be a successful entrepreneur you have to have an action bias. Peter Shallard “the shrink for entrepreneurs” breaks down the reasons behind this philosophy in this great one hour interview with Andy Drish.

“Focus on [] relentlessly trying to shorten the gap between having an idea and acting on it. … There’s certain things in business that school, high school and your parents just won’t prepare you for. And college won’t prepare you for. Nothing will prepare you for other than doing it. The biggest problem I see is that people have these ideas. They’re like, “Oh, I should try this,” like X, Y, Z marketing tactic or “I should build a website or whatever,” and then they think about it and trying to decide whether or not it’s right; whether or not the strategy is correct.

They really are thinking about strategy very, very carefully. But when you’re just starting out I think that you should road test everything. Any idea that you have should be implemented as quickly as possible and then you make your deductions based on real world results. Experiential data rather than kind of sitting there brainstorming and doing planning. In a way what I’m saying is kind of to over exaggerate it. Don’t plan anything, just do a bunch of stuff.” – Peter Shallard

That’s pretty powerful stuff right? The phase “relentlessly shorten the gap between ideas and action” has become a huge focus for me.

Here is an amazing video with Noah Kagan (founder of App Sumo) and Tim Ferriss (one of my favorite authors of all time) where Noah shows in real time how quickly you can break down an idea and take meaningful action – instead of pretending to make progress. I’m still amazed every time I watch this video, the clarity of thought that Noah brings to the table is just astounding.

Extra Credit – More on Removing Limiting Beliefs

Here are a few more resources for digging deeper on the limiting belief front.

More on the the “Four Questions” for reversing limiting beliefs, this framework is originally from renowned psychologist Byron Katie.

These 2 posts by entrepreneur Rob Scott are also fantastic resources on how our mindset impacts our thoughts and actions and how we have to focus on shifting our subconscious before we do anything else. Rob’s work within the Foundation was one of the most powerful things I have experienced so far.

Mindset is the most important thing.

The power of the subconscious. (this video is eye-opening if you ever feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut)

Thank You

Thank you so much for reading this post. I really hope some of these ideas have as profound an impact for you as they have had for me.

Here’s a quick recap of the three big ideas:

  1. Shift your mindset first

  2. Optimize for learning

  3. Shorten the gap between ideas and actions

If you even start implementing one of them in your life it could have a huge impact.

If you’re looking for a few books that also fit within this eye opening worldview, I would highly recommend checking this post out as well.

Thank you again for reading.

Image credit to Hartwig HKD on Flickr.