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I am honored to share two conversations with two dear friends, both of whom are true experts in living a longer, happier life.
Dr. Peter Attia is a renowned doctor, longevity specialist, and host of the The Drive podcast. He shared a scientific look at one thing we all can start doing now to help prevent dementia, how to get more restful sleep, and the core elements of a balanced diet.
Marshall Rauch is a close friend and at 96 years old – he is truly one of a kind. He’s a former state senator who played a key role in the civil rights movement; a serial entrepreneur who’s worked with everyone from Elvis to Jim Bakker; he played basketball for Duke in 1941; he fought in WWII; and he’s a family man at heart. In the episode below, Marshall shared what it’s been like to see the world change over 96 years, and what he thinks the true secret is to living a longer, happier life.
Here’s What I Learned:
1) Live with gratitude. There is no chance for an unhappy life if you live with gratefulness, and Marshall exemplifies this the best. Not making the Duke basketball team in the 1940s and having to go to war – no matter what, Marshall lives with a sense of gratitude that has been critical for him living a long and happy life. We should all learn from that.
2) Sleep and exercise more. Worry less. As we age, many of us accept the fact that we don’t have the energy we used to have, but perhaps we give up too early. According to Peter, regular exercise is the single most effective strategy for preventing/delaying dementia – even just 3 hours of slightly strenuous activity per week. And if you’re pushing yourself too hard to achieve at the cost of losing sleep – remember that your brain function and longevity depends on getting enough rest. I believe that re-learning how to love sleep is something we all should commit to as we age.
1) Create your own luck, and don’t take yourself too seriously. If you can laugh at yourself, you will always have a reason to smile. Marshall took a phone call from a stranger, which ultimately led him to build a massive business. How many times do we not take a chance because we’re afraid of the outcome?
Listen to Dr. Peter Attia’s full episode here:
In this episode:
“Lifespan vs Healthspan” (1:25-3:00)
- According to Peter, it’s not just about how long you live – it’s about “how well you live.”
- He measures healthspan in three pieces: cognitive function, physical health/freedom from pain, and emotional wellness.
Preventing or prolonging dementia (3:15-9:25)
- Peter lists three of the most significant factors in improving cognition (which ultimately comes down to preventing or prolonging dementia).
- The first is nutrition. “Diabetes of the brain” certainly contributes to dementia, so Peter recommends doing all of the things you think of to prevent Type II Diabetes – namely, improving your metabolic flexibility.
- The single most potent form of intervention for dementia? Exercise. Anyone who cares about their brains should make space in their day for a minimum of 3 hours of aerobic exercise per week.
- And finally, sleep. Many people believe they need a minimum of 6 hours of sleep for optimal functionality. In reality, the vast majority of us need a minimum of 7 and a half, and upwards of 9 hours of sleep for optimal brain function and health.
What’s the most important metric when measuring sleep? (10:15-11:10)
- Unquestionably, it’s time in bed – or your total sleep time divided by your time in bed.
- Typically, if you’re 85%-90% efficient, you’re hitting the right target (without considering important factors like staging).
- If you’re falling asleep 1-2 minutes after getting into bed, that’s a bad sign. You’re too exhausted.
- If you’re waking up 6 times in the middle of the night, you may have too much cortisol in your system and are ruminating too much.
Proper “sleep hygiene” (11:10-18:08)
- In terms of maximizing your rest, Peter recommends wearing blue light blocking glasses at night, taking away electronics in the hour before bed, not eating too close to bedtime, avoiding alcohol, and keeping the room very cold while you sleep.
- The worst thing to do if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep? Stay in bed.
- Peter recommends getting up and starting your day, even if it means taking a huge hit in sleep debt, rather than conditioning your body to lay in bed without sleeping.
Devastating impacts of technology on our kids’ sleep (16:30-18:08)
- Blue light has been shown to have negative impacts on sleep efficacy, which has significant implications when you consider brains that are growing at the velocity that kids’ brains grow, their significant need to assimilate information, and what happens when they’re deprived of that ability.
Which foods should we all avoid, and how could nutrition scale? (18:22-23:30)
- Things that are universally “less healthy” are things that contain refined sugar or are processed. Specifically, Peter warns there is something very unique and harmful about liquid sugar.
- For example, eating a doughnut isn’t great for you – but drinking a soda could be even more harmful.
- He attributes this to the velocity with which fructose in liquid form is able to escape the first part of your GI tract and is absorbed elsewhere in the body.
Listen To Marshall Rauch here:
In this episode:
“Life has many phases, but it always comes down to inner strength.” (1:20-3:25)
- Marshall is an accomplished entrepreneur and politician – but he says three things have remained core to his life throughout – friends, family, and religion.
- At 96, Marshall still works out three times per week and is planning to pick up swimming as a new sport. He makes it clear he does not enjoy exercise – but he does enjoy focusing on improving at something every day.
“The Jewish Santa Claus” (3:25-9:00)
- One day, while running his small textile business, Marshall answered a phone call from a stranger and took a risk by agreeing to a deal he knew nothing about.
- That agreement turned into a $60,000 contract to manufacture Christmas ornaments, which Marshall grew into an industry-leading business, earning him the nickname “the Jewish Santa Claus.”
- Later, Marshall learned a lesson in salesmanship from Jim Bakker, who increased his margin nearly 25x from Marshall’s prices.
“The Closer” (9:00-13:30)
- In 1941, a sophomore at Duke University, Marshall proudly recalls his role on the basketball team.
- Here’s why he calls himself “the closer.” If Duke got 20 points ahead or 20 points behind, with 20 seconds to go – the coach would Marshall in to close out the game.
- The next year, Marshall recalls being pulled out of school to go into military service. He joined the Air Force – but quickly realized he wasn’t cut out for the air and moved on to the Infantry, where he fought in combat for 1 year.
Earning his first million dollars (13:35-16:05)
- Marshall tells the hilarious and relatable story of Sam Schwartz, and what happened when Marshall told his father he’d made his first million dollars.
- Reflecting on his experience serving in combat, Marshall says he wasn’t worried. Instead, he feels his mother and father were much more deeply affected by his time overseas.
The longest-serving member of the North Carolina Senate (16:10-20:05)
- Marshall first got into politics by running for City Council
- During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Marshall proudly led a committee to integrate Gastonia, NC.
- The first Jewish state senator in NC, Marshall spent 10 years breaking down barriers personally, before becoming chairman of the Finance Committee, and serving more than a decade more.
What is the secret to constantly dreaming about the future? (20:05-21:30)
- For that one, you’ll have to listen for Marshall’s answer.
About 3 Things
Ric Elias learned 3 things from surviving the Miracle on the Hudson. Now he’s sharing conversations with remarkable people, and 3 things we all can take away from each.