How to Brush Your Teeth

By: Jim Murphy

How to Brush Your Teeth


  1. The most significant thing about you is your heart (spirit), because it drives your actions and results. The driving power in your heart is your greatest desire–what you love most.
  2. To live an extraordinary life and perform with peace and confidence under pressure, we need to prioritize our desires in a way that maximizes joy and self-control. Joy and self-control are foundational for self-mastery and life’s most amazing moments.
  3. Two things are pivotal to this maximal life: the desire at the very top (your heart’s greatest love); and daily disciplines that transform your life from an ordinary one dissipating in multiple directions, to a laser-focused, extraordinary one.
  4. It takes real strength to be able to reject desires that scatter energy (or worse) and embrace those that empower; thus you need something more powerful than your limiting desires. You need a purpose that goes beyond yourself, and this must be at the very top of your desires.
  5. The key to extraordinary performance and the best possible life is arranging your days such that the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before bed is embrace and recall your purpose, religiously… just like brushing your teeth.

NOTE: Nine weeks left before the first ever Inner Excellence Retreat open to the public! (August 18-22, 2023). See updated details at bottom. Limited space available. ❤️___________________________________________________

“True sacrifice isn’t the losing of anything, but the finding of joy.” – Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

When was the last time you really felt a deep sense of purpose and joy? So often in our busy lives we spend our days chasing money or numbers or success, but in our pursuit of happiness we get emptiness instead.

I’m writing this from the Fakarava Atoll in French Polynesia, world-renowned for the immense variety of fish swimming in the crystal clear turquoise waters, and shark alley, sporting the highest concentration of reef sharks in the world. ?

It’s an incredible gift to get so connected to nature, rising with the sun, sleeping on the sailboat, catching tuna… but it’s nothing compared to having a deep sense of well-being, freedom and gratitude independent of circumstances (joy defined). Thus I want to use my time here to assess my life and think deeply about the path I’m on and the calling for my life (as well as How To Be on Vacation).

The most fulfilling life, the one we all dream of, is not one with superior circumstances but rather one with extraordinary moments and deep, fulfilling relationships, a life where you’re learning and growing and making a difference.

There’s a difference that only you can bring–the gift that no one else in the world can share, not with your insights and experiences.

What you can bring is love.

Love is our greatest power, our greatest desire and our greatest need. And not the hollywood version, but the real kind. The kind that’s sacrificial and unconditional. It’s that kind of love that the greatest lives and the greatest performers have had.

They have passion–the willingness to suffer. They’re willing to suffer because they know what’s on the other side of suffering; they know what comes with love.

Joy comes from love. And self-control comes from joy. In fact the greatest act of self-control in world history was empowered by joy. It was joy set before the Christ that inspired him to endure the cross.*

Self-control is what empowers us to reject desires that harm us and embrace desires that help us. Self-control comes from joy, and joy comes from love. (Apparently Steffi Graf’s self-control came from love…).

So perhaps the question is, what do you want most, and what are you willing to sacrifice to get it?

Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard said, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.”

Unless that one thing is to sacrifice your life, especially for others, it will never be pure; you’ll never be able to will one thing. You’ll always have a divided heart, part of your identity and worth in what you have and what you’ve done, and part of your heart desperately wanting to love and connect with others. Your love and connection will always be distracted until you make your one thing, the greatest thing: A life of service. A life of love. A life of joy. And a life of self-control.

Five disciplines to get started on maximizing your joy and self-control

  1. Examine your life. Consider taking the Heartstyles assessment/indicator. This will remove the wool from your eyes and give you a much more accurate look at your own self-centeredness. It’s a behavioral assessment from those who know you, including yourself. Email me if you’re interested.
  2. Simplify your life. Get rid of what’s not you.
  3. Be still. Slow down your life. Ruthlessly eliminate hurry. Create space in your life. If you want to live a life of love and therefore joy, you’ll need space in your life, space to have compassion (literally, to suffer with) and for others.
  4. Speak the truth. Every day, in all that you say, especially about the past and future, of who you are, and what’s possible in your life.
  5. Be grateful. Have an accurate view of your life, and constantly look for smaller and smaller gifts given to you every day.

These are the first five of nine daily IX disciplines. The first two are crucial:

  1. Examine your life. Are you living with deep contentment, joy and confidence, independent of circumstance? Where will you be in five years mentally, emotionally and spiritually if you continue on this path? Remember joy comes from love… sacrificial love, where you sacrifice some resource you have and give it to someone else.
  2. Simplify your life. You’ll need to prioritize and think deeply about what you want most and especially, the type of person you want to become. For example, if joy is important to you, you’ll need to have sacrificial love be at the top of your desires. What can you do in the next three months to give of your time, energy or resources to serve others?

The best possible life, as well as the the most extraordinary performances, are given to those whose vision is strong, who stay connected to that vision every morning and every night, perhaps, while brushing their teeth.

Let me know how it’s going! Will I see you at the airport in San Diego?

With love,


*For the joy set before him, he endured the cross. – Hebrews 12:2.


What: The Inner Excellence Retreat started in 2012 as a way to get a year of Inner Excellence coaching in three days. As a small group you’ll immerse yourself in the mindset and philosophy of Inner Excellence while learning how to implement the Three IX Principles as well as the tools and skills. Every participant will leave with a clear life purpose and tools to use to live it.

We will also be building a house, start to finish, with YWAM Homes of Hope. This alone is a life-changing experience. The first day we say a prayer for the family and house we’re building, and the third day we hand the kids and parents the keys to their new home and new life. Typically their old house is right next door, often dirt floors, pallet walls and tarp roof. No skills required. Just a willingness to serve. ? Jobs include hammering nails, painting, putting up the drywall, and loving the family and their new home. The family (kids included) will be helping build their new home.

When: August 18 -22, 2023. You’ll get picked up at the San Diego airport the afternoon of Friday, August 18 and brought back to the airport the morning/afternoon of August 22.

Where: Ensenada, Mexico. You’ll need your passport as from there you’ll be driven to Ensenada, Mexico where you’ll stay at the Las Rosas Hotel in Ensenada overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Who: Anyone wanting to live their purpose (love others) and experience deep contentment and joy, as well as learn Inner Excellence. Families are welcome. Limited spots available. Reply to this email if you’re interested.

Cost: $2,685 (with several scholarships available up to $1750/person for total cost of $935, not including hotel). (Note: If you’re interested in a partial or full scholarship (up to $1750), reply to this email why you’d like to be considered.)

Total cost includes your ride to and from the San Diego airport all food, YWAM team fees, the cost of the house, and the cost of the Inner Excellence retreat (discounted this retreat only). You’ll need to get to and from the SD airport and pay for your hotel directly upon arrival to Ensenada. (Last year one night at the Las Rosas hotel cost about $135/USD per night).

Note: The cost of the home is $12,449 (2023 price). Generally that cost is split between the volunteers. Great news! The Inner Excellence Freedom Project has some scholarships available that can help pay some or all of your share.

Note: Getting to and from San Diego will be on your own. Sometimes people choose to come early or stay later to enjoy San Diego.

If this sounds amazing, reply to this email and I’ll send you how everything works (and how YWAM Homes of Hope house builds changed my life).


As you know, the Inner Excellence audiobook is available on Spotify, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and multiple other websites. ( still coming!!). The audiobook has added material including 3 pro athlete case study interviews as well as a section discussing the mindset of Inner Excellence. ?

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