Shrugged Collective

Aubrey Marcus: Own The Day, Own Your Life #61

Onnit is true to the bone, Pursuing your passion while making enough money, Failing to Succeed, Evolving as a leader, Listen to your heart, and more.

Guest: Aubrey Marcus

Aubrey Marcus is the founder and CEO of Onnit, a lifestyle brand based on a holistic health philosophy he calls Total Human Optimization. Onnit is an Inc. 500 company and an industry leader with products touching millions of lives, including many top professional athletes around the world.

Marcus currently hosts The Aubrey Marcus Podcast, a motivational destination for conversations with the brightest minds in athletics, business, science, relationships and spirituality with over 10 million downloads on iTunes. Marcus also regularly provides commentary to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Doctors, and The Joe Rogan Experience. He has been featured on the cover of Men’s Health, and his newest (and first!) book is Own The Day, Own Your Life.

Connect on social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Resources: Onnit, The Aubrey Marcus Podcast, Onnit Podcast, MAPS, The Cure is Near Campaign (Done to MAPS)

Aubrey’s new book: Own The Day, Own Your Life


Onnit is true to the bone

Onnit was Mike’s first stop on The Bledsoe’s 2018 nomadic travels. Mike and and his wife, Ashley, stayed with Sam Pogue (episode 57), Director of Strategic Partnerships and Senior Coach for the Onnit Academy Education Team. Mike was super impressed with the leadership and culture at Onnit, where everyone is driving in the same direction and everything feels good.

Aubrey Marcus built an impressive team of leaders at Onnit and he attributes their success to staying true to their hearts. He recognizes mistakes and things that could have been done better along the road, but those are sunk costs, and he keeps a relentless drive to keep improving, which carries throughout the organization.

“It’s true to the bone with me. It’s true to the bone with the other people that are here. It isn’t a business we’re just trying to grab as much cash and run as we can. We don’t focus on purely what is the serial entrepreneur move… This is who we are and it’s a reflection of that. And sure, we are entrepreneurs, and we running a business, and I do want to keep growing the business, I’m not shy about that at all, but really what this things is about is something a lot greater than that, and that’s a lifestyle that whether Onnit exists or not, the people who are involved here will carry forward.” — Aubrey Marcus


Life before Onnit

Before founding Onnit, Aubrey Marcus was depressed and upset with himself. Between ages 24–29, he had some really dark years and failed over and over again. He knew he had a message to deliver, a voice that could shift people for the better, but he couldn’t deliver it in his work product, and he didn’t have the right platform to have people listen to him.

Back then, Marcus was fired up to get his message out, but he didn’t know he wasn’t ready. He did a lot of internal work his 20’s and around 29–30 years old, he made a big shift and stopped being upset and frustrated with himself. Instead of ruminating about lack of external success, he decided to the best human being he can possibly be.

Marcus realized he just needed enough time, resources, and personal skill to accomplish what he wanted to do. He had an idea that he had to make money and deliver his message at once, but the ability to unify everything under one banner only came after help from plant medicine. That’s how Onnit was created.


Pursuing your passion while making enough money

You can pursue your passion and make enough money to live, you just need to make sure your passion isn’t too narrow. Aubrey Marcus’ passion was generalized enough to create legitimate business ventures, he set his intentions on improve the self.

Onnit could have been focused on one area of products, such as supplements, food, gym, or workout equipment, but in Marcus’ mind it should’ve been one complete system, which is why he decided to pursue it all.

He worked on making the right connections to help him execute the big vision. Particularly, his relationship with Joe Rogan made it possible to accelerate the business with relatively low capital. Before meeting Rogan, Marcus knew he was in a position to become friends with Rogan. He had value for him in terms of his knowledge in psychedelics, aliens, and super volcanoes — things that Rogan is really interested in.


Failing to succeed

Aubrey Marcus failed at pretty much everything except Onnit. He tried many things and never made a return on any investment. He even tried to create a male nail polish company based on some badass UFC fighters. The accumulation of getting his ass kicked is what got him to success.

Today, Marcus gets a lot of people pitching ideas to collaborate with Onnit, but usually they don’t come prepared with the right offer. He suggests that if you want to partner with someone, first come with a valuable proposition. It could be as simple as some laughs, a good conversation, or a fun workout. Once you form a relationship, then you come with a balanced, valuable business offer.


Evolving as a leader

Aubrey Marcus was featured on Barbell Shrugged in June 2014 for the first time to talk about Onnit. Since then, he evolved as a person and Onnit evolved as a company. Marcus was a leader from day one, but his leadership has changed. He used to work really hard, doing a lot of the work himself, but today he’s leading leaders.

Marcus attracted and empowered other leaders to expand Onnit. Today, he manages most of the business by talking to a small group of people, who responsible for rallying and managing their own teams.

“I was a fraction of what I am now 5 years ago. I’ve leveled my game up in a lot of different ways from the skills that I have, to emotional control that I have, to the purview I have from the information that I gathered. and I think a lot of the people in here can say the same and that’s a beautiful process to watch.” — Aubrey Marcus


Own The Day, Own Your Life

Marcu’s new book, Own The Day, Own Your Life, is about how does the best day you could possibly live look like. It’s about creating a day that you can sustainably reproduce, which will allow you to put out your very best effort, create your very best products, and enjoy yourself.

Marcus believes that a lot of times we get too myopic by focus on one KPI/goal. Instead of creating another 30 day program to get jacked, increase productivity, or cleanse your body, he designed one day that is the best day. His daily routine starts with getting sunlight, drinking a glass of water with lemon and sea salt, and doing some movement, which help set the circadian rhythm.

“The best miracles drugs in the world are free as fuck. It’s air, temperature, sleep, sex, and exercise.” — Aubrey Marcus

In the book, he also outlines what the perfect training session looks like, the perfect timing to have a glass of wine, perfect timing to smoke a joint, best sex process to get into flow state, best best journaling practice, best way to approach sleep, and much more.

To get started, Marcus suggests you pick a day and start small. He himself isn’t at 100% with everything he outlined for the best day, but he’s getting close to it. Try picking up a couple of things each time, whether it’d be a cold shower, carb loading at night, or doing intermittent fasting. You can also start by doing these things 3 times a week, rather than everyday. After a while, making good choices will become easier, but it takes years of practice.


One baby step at a time

Life is all about starting small and taking baby steps. Aubrey Marcus loves the story of Marcus Luttrell, a real life hero who authored the book Lone Survivor, and who the Lone Survivor movie is based on. Luttrell watched all of his best friends get shot and killed by the taliban, was shot a few times himself, got blown up, fell of multiple cliffs to avoid getting more bullets, and survived it by crawling a long distance on his elbows with a completely broken body.

99.999999% of people wouldn’t even attempt to survive what Luttrell went through, but we should all learn from him. Luttrell is alive thanks to taking it one small step at a time, which is what we all need to do. Start making small changes in your life. For example: Listen to an audiobook instead of music on your morning commute.

“Don’t worry about changing your life, your will life will change. Just take the baby steps to get there.” — Aubrey Marcus



Aubrey Marcus is a big supporter of an organization called MAPS — Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS is particularly focused on the use of MDMA to treat PTSD, coupled with guided psychotherapy sessions.

Current options on the market for PTSD treatment are pretty rugged. Pharmaceuticals are failing by not addressing the root cause, else focusing on mitigating symptoms, and in some cases making it worse for people, which can lead to suicidal thoughts. On the contrary, MAPS succeeded to cure PTSD with just three sessions, treating people that had varying types of trauma from sexual abuse to military tragedies.

Corey Capella (episode 41) is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who had seen terrible things in Afghanistan, suffered from PTSD, and cured it with the help of ayahuasca. What’s interesting is that Capella realized his deeper trauma was actually from childhood, not from the military. Our culture created a type of trauma for him, Mike, and a lot of other men. When boys get raised with extreme masculinity, they develop a desire to be tested as a man, and that can lead to unwanted spiritual and emotional results.

When you treat the root cause of something, both your mind and body change perspective, and you start a process of unwinding. Even multiple years later without MDMA or psychotherapy help from MAPS, people still get better.


Aubrey’s vision for MAPS

Imagine a future where you’re going through a really hard time, feeling anxious, not sleeping, depressed, or about to have a panic attack, and you can go see a trained psychiatrist that is fully trained, which means they can give you any pharmaceutical, but also psychedelics.

Imagine you could get guided MDMA sessions, psilocybin, catamin, or even get flow tank sessions prescribed. Side effects from pills can get you suicidal, but side effects from psychedelics can get you to love your pet or girlfriend more, see hallucinations, “talk to God”, talk to your higher self, etc.


Why are people afraid of psychedelics?

Aubrey Marcus likes to make a comparison between our higher self and small self. Our small self is our attachment to our identity and to physical things, such as our status, likes on social media, etc. It’s like an entity that thrives on delusion and fear.

The small self is what makes people fear they’d have to recognize they’re not the creation they created. If you elevate the perspective and identify with another part of yourself, such as the higher self, you will weaken your small self, giving it less control. But the small self will never die, it’s always trying to survive. The more psychedelics you do and the more you open your heart, the less you will associate yourself with the small self.


Listen to your heart

Our survival mechanisms are overworked. We constantly worry about not being liked, not having enough money, not being healthy, etc. which puts us under a lot of types of stress. In order to navigate life better and avoid getting stressed, we need to have a wisdom that goes deeper than our minds, which is our heart.

“When I’m moved by love, I make the choices that I’ll never regret.” — Aubrey Marcus

Mike Bledsoe

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