Professorial arm wrestling in Zurich

If, at the age of 54, you can still arm-wrestle (and win) against a 23 year old ‘superb athlete with impressive strength and stamina’, you’re doing pretty well. And Professor Didier Sornette Professor on [sic] the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks, Department of Management, Technology and Economics (D-MTEC), ETH Zurich, Switzerland, can perform just such a feat. Not only that, he can “work 12-14 hours at close to peak brain performance everyday”.  And, upon returning from international travels to the other side of the globe, he can “perform intense monoski on the lake of Zurich with an outside temperature of 4 C with almost no jetlag and minimal protection and with the enjoyment resulting from the full play of a well-functioning body.”

“This may be seen as bragging.”  – says the professor, but, bragging or not, just how does he do it? Clues are to be found in the professor’s recent essay ‘Du kannst dein Leben steigern’ published in Schweizer Monat, December 2011/January 2012, pp. 38-49. Where the author lays out his seven Guiding Principles – which are :

(1) Sleep (7- 8 hours per night)
(2) Love and sex (as often as possible – typically morning and/or evening)
(3) Deep breathing and daily exercises (5-10 minutes a day)
(4) Water and chewing (“drink your food” and “eat your drinks”)
(5) Fruits, unrefined products, food combination, vitamin D and sun exposure and no meat and no dairy (as much as possible each day)
(6) Power foods (onion, garlic, lemon, kiwis, almonds, nuts, dry fruits)
(7) Play, intrinsic motivation, positive psychology and will. (rediscover the Homo ludens in yourself)

Following these guidelines, says the professor, “I claim that it is possible to enjoy every day to the fullest, to play and work with close to 100% of our peak performance, to be continuously ‘in the moment’ and this for many decades. We should not settle for less.”

An English translation of the essay ‘Optimization of brain and life performance: Striving for playing at the top for the long run.’ can be read in full here.