Say "Productive Past Presidents" Three Times Fast…

Subscribe for Free Apple Podcasts | Google Play Music | RadioPublic | RSS Feed

What is up friends and family? We’re having a great day over at the Maven Mansion, all 350 square feet of it. It’s a beautiful day, the birds are chirping, and construction is happening everywhere. Anyone’s city relate to that?

So, today we’re going to get some productivity tips from past presidents. Shoot, we’ve only had a handful of past presidents in the whole scheme of this global history thing. Now, this is an elite bunch, only one of these makes it in every four years, the run-up to becoming president can be a brutal sprint. These people have to try to figure out how to balance work, home, stress, and all that comes with the pressures of being one of the most public figures in the world.

This is the Maven Show and my name is Rex Barrett. I want you to learn new things and enjoy your whole life. And HEY, if you’re listening to this on Anchor, hit that applause button if you like what you heard. If you like the segment hit that plus sign and echo this content so that others can enjoy it too. If you’re listening to this as a podcast, tell a friend, give a review on iTunes, it really does help this little production get noticed.

And at that, let’s get to the dang thing today.


TJ’s Canon of Conduct

First up we have good old Thomas Jefferson who had his “Canon of Conduct” a legit list that he followed and shared with his children, grandchildren, and shoot, anyone who’d listen. You can actually see handwritten examples of his sending these thoughts to people. Of his “Dozen Canons of Conduct in Life” he penned, we’ll take a look at the final one, everyone knows you save the best for last and this one is dang important. I moved the best to first because I’m generous like that.

He said:

“When angry, count 10, before you speak; if very angry, 100.”

I love simple quotes that have more depth than at first glance. On face value, you can read it as don’t reply when you’re angry ‘cuz what you say will be mean and/or stupid. And, yeah, that is a very true statement. I know that when I’m initially upset, even if it’s a person sharing something in my best interest - that would be helpful to me if I’m offended I respond like a wounded animal. You ever had a dog with an injury that you’re trying to help out? Yeah, they’re not so nice are they. At the end of the day, we all have wounds we respond out of, but that’s a topic for another day.

A deeper look into this quote says that if you count it out and take that pause, you not only don’t respond like a jerk, it allows a totally different part of your brain to interject. The calm part of your brain that allows you to not just ignore the statement, but answer the apart from the anger. To answer in a way that is helpful and not hurtful. Not just not hurtful.

People, do like Jefferson recommends. Don’t reply in emotion. Reply after the pause.

A favorite scripture of mine is in James 1:19. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Now that is super helpful.


Eisenhower’s Smart Friends

Eisenhower said,

“I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow.”

Dang, that’s good. If you’re going to borrow some brain power, it’d better be from people who are smarter, better, and view the world in a different way compared to you. I think it’s easy to think, “if I could just have five of me, I could take over the world.” But, that’s really not true. You’re still limited by YOU. You’re always going to bring you and your ideas and thoughts to the table.

Who you hang out with impacts your personal success. Jim Rohn says “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” That means that the people you hang out with affect how you act and think. Think about how many of the hobbies, political opinions, views of life you share with your closest circle of friends. I’d posit that it’s not just because we’re drawn to like people, though that is true, it’s also because we influence one another.

What should we do with this? It might mean you need to surround yourself with some more successful people than you’re currently hanging with. If you’re surrounded by downers, I’m betting your view of life is starting to drop to theirs.

Eisenhower said,

“Always try to associate yourself with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.”

Take a minute and think through who you’re surrounded by. Invite those smarter ones in a bit closer. Let them have more input and say in your life. You’ll be better because of it. Create a list of people in your broader circle and think through who you’d like to be around more often. Invite them to coffee, pay for it, and pick their brains. Draw the smarter people into the influential places of your life. You’ll be better because of it.


The Habit that Multiple Past Presidents Share?

There are few things we can do that both expend energy and cause us to have more of it. No, it’s not sleeping, sleep is recharging our energy banks. Eating is filling our tanks back up. Creative outlets are close, they can be productive and charge our tanks. For me that’s photography. But nothing produces more energy through we are expending energy quite like exercise.

I’ve ramped up my steps and feel the energy and strength increased by the end of the day. My mental sharpness is stronger. My ability to go to bed just a touch later and not feel tired the next morning is increased.

Yeah, that habit the multiple past presidents share is working out. Life Hacker shares that,

“A large number of presidents have made it a point to add exercise into their daily routine. Obama planned for an hour of exercise a day, Clinton was an avid jogger, Teddy Roosevelt loved tennis, jogging, and boxing. George W. Bush was also an avid tennis player and jogger, while Jimmy Carter was a cross-country runner. John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan were all swimmers. Time and time again we’ve seen that exercise is as important for physical health as it is mental health, and in the stressful position of president, that seems to hold true.”

Get off your butt. Get moving. Burn that stress and strain out of your life. Shoot, if Obama represents the average amount a president works, that means they’re in the office 10 hours a day. They work from their residence three hours a day. And guess what, the nation doesn’t stop running on the weekend, so they power through Saturday and Sundays too. That’s a heck of a lot longer than any of us probably work. If Obama can find an hour in there somewhere, I probably can too.

What did we learn today?

  • So what did we learn today? Three productivity tips from past presidents:
    • One- Don’t reply out of anger
    • Two - Surround yourself with people smarter than you
    • Three - Get off your butt
  • Whew. Only three tiny things, but I’m betting there’s a whole heck of a lot to try to apply here…
  • I’m posting a transcript of this podcast onto my website at http://Maven.Show with links to even more productivity tips we can learn from past presidents…
  • If this is the first Maven Podcast you’ve listened to, please look up past episodes. We’ve covered how to make cold brew, how to avoid burnout, productivity apps, comic books, several that cover the best in fast food, and the top ways to get your caffeine fix. All these episodes exist to help us learn new thing so we can enjoy our whole lives.
  • Do you have any thoughts, questions, or comments on what we talked about today? It’s easy to reach out…
  • Download the Anchor App in the App Store and call in to tell me about it. I might just publish your thoughts.
  • What to chat on Twitter? Find me @RexBOKC. Head to the Facebook page for the Maven Show at and coming soon, The Maven Show on YouTube. I’ll let you know when that’s up and running, but if you’d like to subscribe early so that when content comes out, you’ll have it, just head to
  • If you like what you’re hearing, share, share share! I love being at the top of the charts so that we can get more people onboard and enjoying their lives a bit more. Seriously, if you’re on Anchor, go through and pick a segment that resonates with you and share it right now. If you’re listening on your favorite podcast app, leave a review, let’s get the word out. This community is growing and I’d like more to be on the Maven bus with us!
  • I’m Rex Barrett and you can find me at Maven.Show or where all fine podcasts are distributed.
Rex Barrett @rexbarrett