Life Changing Lessons From 100 Of The World’s Greatest Minds | E104 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Life Changing Lessons From 100 Of The World’s Greatest Minds | E104".
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Well, we've now recorded more than 100 episodes of the diary of a CEO. And I've had some of the most amazing, inspiring, and life-changing conversations with some of the world's most accomplished experts, business people, psychologists, athletes, you name it. So this week we're going to do something a little different, something many of you have requested for a long time, and something I've always wanted to do. This week we're going to look backwards. This week I'm going to share with you the key moments, the actionable, life-changing, epiphany-inducing moments from the last 100 episodes that had a lasting impact on me that changed my life. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett, and this is the Diary of a CEO. I hope nobody's listening. But if you are, then please keep this to yourself. We hear this phrase a lot, which is "find your passion."
Personal Development And Dealing With Challenges
How to find consistency and reach your full potential - Jamil Qureshi (00:54)
And I almost feel that it's in many respects quite harmful because that question is kind of loaded. It assumes a singular passion for a start. It assumes that you can discover it like an Easter egg. And also, the context in which that question usually sits in, implies that once you find it, then it's, you know, it's a kind of unlimited happiness and orientation forever. And that's yours. I just feel like sometimes language can be harmful because it simplifies very complex things, and sometimes multifaceted plural things. So I wondered if that phrase "find your passion" was something you felt similar about? Yeah, I do. I mean, it's true that passion can be a significant multiplier of human potential. So, you know, people are passionate and engaged in a business. They can direct their energy in a worthwhile and meaningful manner. So it's worthwhile, but you're right. But there's a big difference between passion. A big difference between happiness and joy. Some are in the moment. I don't know. I think joy is in the moment. I don't think happiness is something that we continually adjust towards. You know, passion can be a significant multiplier of human potential, particularly in the workplace. So it does have a place. It is something which is useful to understand. And ultimately, it always comes down to personal introspection and self-awareness for me. And I think that we need to work harder at understanding ourselves. And when we are constructing a mindset which is conducive to performance. So we optimize our potential when we're in a particular state of mind. And that state of mind might be passion. It might be relaxation. It might be enthusiasm. It might be enjoyment. But we need to almost get to know ourselves and know that there are certain things which enable us to do others. Once we work backwards and understand what that looks like, maybe we can gain more consistency. I say to a lot of sports people and to a lot of business people that consistency of mind gives you consistency of play. And I'm convinced of it. In a more consistent, we can be in our thinking. We understand the building blocks, the component parts, the success. The more success we can have. And how does one establish consistency of thought? Because I completely agree with that. I completely agree. I've seen that in my own life. When I've been consistent with my thinking, I've managed to perform the same habits every day. But then sometimes I'll lose consistency in my thoughts because I lose it. I guess I lose attachment or sort of my anchor with my why. I've talked a lot on this podcast over the last couple of weeks about this realization I've had this year with the gym, which was every year. February, March, I was incredibly motivated to go. I've fired up trying to look good for summer. And then obviously once you look good and summer has ended, it's almost like you've lost your anchor. So you get into September and the why which made you go into thinking consistently every day has been evaporated. And I can't get myself to go to the gym in October. Do you know, I mean, I always think that consistency of mine comes from understanding the intrinsic quality of our decision-making processes. I say that a lot to people in sport and in business. So you can make a good decision and have a really bad outcome. You can make a bad decision and have a good outcome. And this is my work with leadership teams who have confused luck for genius. They're a really bad decision for a great outcome. Markets have changed, competitions done something. Something's just worked in their favor. So it's really important for us to not judge our decision-making by our outcomes. And we often do. So we'll say this is a good decision because it resulted in this. Or this is a bad decision, it resulted in that. And we can only understand the outcome retrospectively. So it's wrong to measure our decisions by the outcomes. And we need to go back to how we made a decision in the first place. And once we start to understand the intrinsic quality of our decision-making process, we can become more consistent in how we make decisions and therefore have more control over those outcomes. So I think that, you know, two things. I think that, and they will use you as the example here, Steve. That consistency of mine will come from knowing how we make decisions. I don't understand that we put our weight into evidence, how much we use prejudice and bias and opinion. Whatever it might be. But let's understand how we make decisions. And in that way, we can be consistent in how we apply our logic and thinking and feeling to try and determine some best outcomes. And then the other thing, as you've just positioned, is reframing. Let's stand back and create some time and space to understand why we do things and why we don't do things. Now, I always say that the people are most successful. And I've had a pleasure working with six sports people who got the number one in the world. I can guarantee you. The one thing they had in common was that they never made big changes and the small changes. So I'm a big, big believer in the one degree of change. If you take two parallel lines and you move one by one degree, it may not seem much at first. But it's a really big difference between where you start and where you end up. So everyone's trying to make a dramatic change, a sea change from tomorrow, I'm going to be different. I think it's about doing something a little bit more than what we've been doing at hand a bit more consistently. And then the other thing with these people who obtained what I call super achievements at home, so they did really, really well, is that it actually worked on their strengths. They started to understand what was good about them and do that some more. So we think to be better as human beings, who would be better as a business or a team of people, we need to fix our weaknesses. I'm not sure that's true. I actually think it's more about understanding our strengths and playing to them. So I've actually worked with teams before in business and in sport who have actually weakened the strengths by trying to strength and a weakness. If you think about it, it's ridiculous. And actually we can the strengths by trying to strength and a weakness we need to be careful. So I think understanding what's good about us, understanding where our behaviours come from in regard to the thinking before it, and then reframing some of those words and pictures. And I guess that's what you've done with your gym example. I guess change some of the words and pictures in your head to therefore feel differently, which has resulted you in acting differently. Yeah, and I really, I was valuing intensity over consistency and intensity wasn't sustainable, right? So I was going through the summer like to the gym two times a day. I was starving myself, like eating things that I didn't want to necessarily eat. And the consistency came from being a bit more realistic with myself. Being like, you know, if you miss the day of gym, it doesn't matter. You don't have to. Perspective, isn't it? And I think, you know, it's funny because again, so many sports people I work with, business people who will lose perspective. They'll lose the tournament and it's dreadful. You know, when a tournament, I've made it, you know, so this is turning point for me. You know, they win a big contract, you know, business and you know, this is us now. We're set up, you know, well, they lose a contract and life has never been so dreadful. But I think that we need a better perspective on things. So there are ability to think more long term, to be more forgiving, you know, to understand with more reality at what's good and what's not so good. It's probably the way forwards.
Importance of failure - Elizabeth day (08:30)
I want to talk about failure now, which seems like a good thing to talk about. And in your book, "Philosophy," you list seven failure principles. Number one, failure just is. Failure is a fact. It's inevitable. It's going to happen to all of us. No matter how much we try to avoid it, I guarantee that it will happen. And that can feel scary, but it can also feel liberating because once you've accepted it as a fact, there's no point in trying to avoid it. So you might as well take the risk. So acceptance of failure starts with the observation of it. Failure is a fact, but how you respond to it is within your control. Whether you decide to feel like a failure for many years after the thing that's happened, or whether you think to yourself, okay, well, that's taught me something and I'll do it differently next time. I guess the risk there is one bad failure and people stop trying. Exactly. And then I was thinking this is very similar to confidence in the way that like, if you have one bad failure, your performance next time you get an opportunity, if you actually don't manage to just avoid it completely, will probably be worse because of nerves and the memory of "I'm terrible." And then that's going to increase your chances of failing again. And then the kind of like self-negative reinforcing cycle kind of continues and your confidence and your sort of your guts kind of cascade downwards. And for some people working the other direction where you have a success, your confidence builds, you walk on stage to do that public speech next time around with a bit more confidence. You do a better job, which increases your chance of success and it cascades upwards. How failure works from your experience? It can work like that. I mean, to take the example you've just given, one of the ways of looking at that, if you're then stuck in a downward cycle and you're failing and you're trying the thing, is that you're therefore in the wrong situation. So you're in the wrong workplace, for instance, that isn't generous enough to like make you feel okay after your failures or doesn't make you feel like you can be your true self. In which case, I would argue you need to remove yourself from that situation and find the place that does suit you. Or it can be a question of mindset and a question of applying that mindset that we've just talked about, which is, "Okay, I failed. I'm feeling in a downward spiral. How much of that is fact?" That's a very difficult thing to do on your own when you're a very low ebb and that's why I'm a huge advocate of therapy. And again, I know that I come from a privileged place where I can afford therapy, but even if it starts with reaching out to your friend and talking about it or reaching out to your work helpline and talking about it or texting, shout the mental health charity or calling the Samaritans, that's a really valuable step. And the other thing that I would say there is that I'm very aware that my definition of failure, which is what happens when life doesn't go according to plan, has a fatal flaw, which is that sometimes there are failures that are totally cataclysmic that we couldn't possibly have predicted that go against any plan whatsoever, like a global pandemic, like a terrible illness that you contract, like the death of a loved one. It would be monstrous for me to sit here and say, "Those failures are as easily assimilated or learned from or dealt with as fading or driving test." And so I'm not saying that at all. Those kind of failures will require a process of mourning and coming to terms with the thing that you've lost. And that's absolutely right and as it should be. My only thing is the way that I choose to live my life is I mourn, but I don't have to constantly relive the pain. I can still feel sadness about something, but I don't need to live in that place of reliving it constantly. Becoming a victim? Yeah. And becoming defined by that. I can choose to be defined by something else. I can choose to be defined by my response to it. I can choose to find some kind of meaning in something that was meaningless at the time. And that's how I choose to live my life because that makes it less sad. And I think that that choice is available for most of us. So point number two in your book is you are not your anxious brain. I think you've talked about that. Yes. I met this man called Mogaud at. He used to be the Chief Business Officer of Google X, but he wasn't happy. And he has a lot to say about expectation versus reality. So if we can manage our expectations of life, so if they're equal to or less than our perception of events and how they turn out, then we can be happy or contented. And he was the one who really brought it home to me that we are not our worst thoughts, that our thoughts are produced by our brain as organic matter in the same way that blood is pumped around our body, by our heart. We wouldn't think we were defined by our blood, so why would we think that we are our thoughts? Actually, as you know, the premise of all meditation is that you can observe your thoughts. Who's doing the observing? That's you. That's you. Why would you need thoughts? You don't need to communicate to yourself, so your thoughts are just being produced by your brain constantly. And I found that really helpful, the idea that once you realize that, you can train your brain to think differently and to replace negative thoughts with positive ones as much as you're able. So he gave this incredibly moving example. His son, Ali, died at the age of 21 during a routine operation. And then the aftermath of Ali's death, Mo would wake up every morning with tears streaming down his cheeks, and his first thought would be Ali died. And it was an unbelievably oppressive, grief-stricken thought. And after a few more weeks of it, he was like, "I just can't live like this. I can't live like this." And so he challenged his brain to come up with a different thought. And each morning he would wake up and he would still think, "Ali died, Ali died." And he'd still be crying. But he added something to that sentence, and he added, "Yes, but he also lived." And in that differently expressed sentiment was 21 years of memories of a father and son who were best friends. And that was what enabled him to carry on living. And if he can do that in that situation, I sure as hell can do it when someone criticizes me on Instagram. It was a really helpful lesson. Almost everyone feels they have failed in their twenties. So I think that a lot of people struggle in their twenties, particularly in this day and age, because of the curse of comparison, and because we live in a culture of curated perfection, where you're constantly comparing yourself to your peers' filtered appearance on Instagram. And the life that they seem to be living. So we're comparing our insides with everyone else's projection of their outsides. Exactly, yeah. And for many people, although I know not you, but for many people, it's the first time that they've come out of full-time education and come out of a system of exam and reward, exam and reward. And there is no exam that you can sit to show that you're being a good grown-up. So you feel quite lost. Plus piling on top of that, the pressure to find your passion, to make a career for yourself, but also to earn enough to pay your rent, living in house shares. Just trying to make your way and trying to forge your identity in this day and age. It's just so hard to do all that at once. And then you're like, "Oh, and I should be having a thriving personal life, and I should either be in a long-term relationship, or having my night sounds and making footloosing fancy free and drinking roads." And then at the weekend, making vegan brownies, because I got to watch what I eat and all of that sort of stuff. And it's exhausting. And so really what I wanted to say in that failure principle was that so many people come out and hock us and say that they feel they failed at their twenties. And I think a lot of us fall into the trap, and I did too, of believing that we had to have our life sorted out by then. And actually, your twenties are a decade of transition of discovering who you are, of grinding up the spices of life in your pestle and mortar. And the older you get, my experience has been, the more you know yourself, and the more you know what you want to do. And that's where success lies. I've had so many more opportunities after leaving my twenties behind in the rearview mirror. Wow. When we choose to share our vulnerabilities is when we feel most satisfaction. Most connection, I think, is what I said. Why does it say satisfaction on my list? I don't know, I like that too, because you probably do feel personal satisfaction. But when we choose to be open about our vulnerabilities, that's paradoxically when we find the most strength and the source of the most real connections with other people. Amen. Yeah. And that's something that I have genuinely learned through the podcast. The first season of the podcast I did, I was very much, I came from a very traditional newspaper journalist background. So for me, it was like, I'm interviewing my guest. I will ask the questions and I will listen and then I will ask another question. And it was only as time went on that I felt more comfortable sharing my own experiences. And whenever I did that, I had such an incredible feedback loop of like just amazing people sharing their stories and their vulnerabilities and also saying that they felt less alone because I shared mine. And really, that's what my entire life was about ultimately is connection. And so I really want to encourage people not to be scared of opening up about the things that they perceive as their weaknesses because so often what you think of as your most personal shame turns out to have most universal resonance. And that was certainly my experience talking about fertility and miscarriage and divorce. Like actually, that's where I've had the greatest impact, I think, and I'm so grateful for that. Why do you think that is? Why do you think in terms of like why it has such wide resonance? Why do you think that is? Because I think that when we're vulnerable, we're being real and we're letting our masks slip and you're seeing a glimpse of who the authentic person is. And there's something just absolutely quintessentially human about that. So it's a human recognizing another human. It's a human recognizing another human beneath the pretense. And I think it also reassures people because as we've been talking about in this culture that we live in, which is so defined by social media and how you appear and the currency of perfection, again, it's such a relief. It makes you feel like you can breathe. Someone's like, "Oh, God, I'll tell you about today." I sat in bed in my bajamas eating hummus direct from the tub because I felt really down. That's an act of singular generosity to someone else who can then have the space to talk about how they're feeling.
How to build confidence and self-esteem - Matthew Syed (19:27)
And that brings us to the topic of mindset, really nicely. You know, I've heard you talk about having a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. What is the difference between the two? So I think for what it's worth, I think this contrast is so important. I mean, I can talk about it through my own life. But in a fixed mindset, people think that success, however defined, is all about talent, having the gift, having the genetic inheritance and having the personality trait in order to excel. A growth mindset is saying, "Okay, talent obviously matters. It's a factor, but it's not enough. It's what we do with our talents." So people in a fixed mindset have two massive risks. One, they think they're so talented, they don't even need to try. So think of a young person who's just been invited to join the Manchester United Academy, and they're suddenly getting money into their bank account. They're able to buy the fast car and they think, "I'm God's gift." And the amount of academy coaches who've come to me and said, "We don't understand it. We had this hardworking youngster. We invited them into the academy." And then they just went off the rails. It's a fixed mindset. They think their success is assured. So they stop putting in the hard yards and don't transition into the first team. So that's one danger. The other danger is people who don't think they're God's gift. But like me at Goldman Sachs, you make one failure and you interpret that as meaning, "I obviously don't have talent. Therefore, I'm just going to give up." You see what I mean? So that's the negative advantage. Yeah. So you've got the "I'm super talented" everything and I've got it. So therefore, I don't need to try. Talent is everything. I don't have it. Therefore, I should give up. They're both terribly damaging, I think. A growth mindset. It doesn't mean that we think we're all going to be the best speaker in the world. I wasn't the best table tennis player in the world. I never got into the top 20 of the world rankings. But with that attitude, I maximise my own potential. I'm very intrigued as to certain people in our society are more self-believing than others. You see differences in genders and races and backgrounds. And I think a lot of people in my DMs, this is where the question comes from. I have so many young kids in my DMs that are struggling with confidence or lacking self-belief. And I wondered if you had any words of wisdom for those in my DMs that can't find confidence and self-belief? I think for what it's worth, that self-belief, self-esteem, other things of that kind are overrated. And the reason goes back to something we said earlier. I mean, there was a movement in the 70s and 80s in Western education to build self-esteem in young people. And the way to do it was to let them succeed all the time. Right? So you won't remember this, but you give them easy tests, get them to pass, and give them lots of... And then praise them for how super talented they were. They get all this self-esteem and they can change the world. People were so worried about undermining self-esteem that there were no losers in sports days at some schools. I don't know if you've heard of this? I've heard of everyone as a winner. Yeah, and it gets a sticker in a minute. And that was all about building. It was called the self-esteem movement. Right. But it failed. And the reason it failed is because people would keep succeeding and get all this self-esteem. And then they'd be given a difficult test. Or they would leave school and they'd actually hit the real world where they would fail. And what happened? All the walls of their world would come crumbling down. Oh my goodness. I've never failed before. Right. Self-esteem that is frat... And people would protect their self-esteem by not trying new things. Right? And that's a disaster. Self-esteem can be very fragile. I like to talk much more about resilience. I want my children to be resilient, to try new things, to mess up, but not to be devastated by it. And that I think is a much better cross. Now, it may be that when people are talking about confidence, what they really mean is resilience. I want to be able to walk into a room, give it my best shot. Things don't go slightly wrong. I'm going to carry on regardless. Every person who's a success has had some really tough, difficult moments. And I just think that's an inevitable part of learning. How do we build resilience in ourselves? Both mindsets, very strongly related to it. So instead of, you know, for parents out, you probably have a very young audio. I'm sure I might as well, but the parents out there, it's very easy to praise young people for their talent. You're super talented. You're super talented. You're the next Picasso. You think they're going to develop all this self-esteem. The problem, as I've said, is that, you know, the moment they draw something that isn't Picasso, as soon as they get negative criticism, "Oh, my goodness, I'm no Picasso after all." A much better thing to do is to praise them for the effort or the process. Well, I love the way that picture that the colors fit together. They think, "Oh, right. If I want to develop as a painter, I have to make the colors fit together in a more sophisticated way." You're aligning their mind and motivation with the journey they need to take to fulfill their potential. So, as good experiments, praise in for effort, praise in for process, is a much more positive thing than praise in for talent and fixed attributes. It's interesting, because in my company, I came to learn that the most effective way to get my teams to innovate was to praise them for the effort and the process as opposed to the outcome, because if it became about the outcome, the successful failure of the experiment, which is largely actually outside of their control. So, if I say to my team, "We're going to build this website and we think it's going to do this," whether it does that or not, whether this product market fit, whether it's a success or a failure, isn't actually in their control. The bit they can control is starting doing it and the process of getting to the point where we go live. And so, what I learned in the last year of my business was we would celebrate the conducting the experiment, not the outcome of the experiment. Exactly right. I see that is exactly the same thing. And it's interesting, but if you look at R&D, you know, have you heard of Six Sigma? Yes. So, one of the big mistake, Six Sigma is a great process, like lean manufacturing or the Toyota Pro. The things of that kind, it's basically squeezing out variation, isn't it? So, if you imagine making a car, you know, manufacturing car, all it takes is one component in the engine to be of the wrong size or specification and the whole thing won't work. So, Six Sigma is about delivering and executing with no variation. But when you're innovating, you need variation. You need to try new things. If you're trying to create a new computer program, a new website, or a new drug, and you don't know which combination of ingredients they're going to create, you need to try lots of combinations. If you penalize people for failure, and you're only judging them on the outcome, and it fails, and then they're like stigmatized, they will never try. You need, you know, that's where fail fast, it's, yeah, you've nailed it. That's exactly the insight that I think is important. For some people, that's terrifying. The thought of like throwing themselves into that place of uncertainty that they have to travel through before they get to their new self.
How to deal with uncertainty - Anna Hemmings (26:48)
How do you get someone to come willingly into uncertainty, to leave that job, or to, you know, take on that promotion, or to pivot in their career, when they're scared of the unknown? You know, it's like, well, then I would think about what I would think about, rather than what I'm afraid of, I'm thinking about what I'm excited about. And so, rather than I'm afraid of what I'm going to leave behind, or I'm afraid of what might happen, I'm more about what could happen. And when we focus on what we want, and what we could have, it's optimism, isn't it? It's about what's possible, and what could I achieve? You know, and you asked me earlier about, you know, some of the things about sports psychology, and visualization was a massive technique that I learned from my sports psychologist and employed and still use all the time. And I think when you can start to visualize what that new role, person identity could be, and when you bring it to life with all of your senses, and see it really vividly, then that's exciting. And what could I achieve, and what could this look like? And the power of visualization is that your mind does, when you see it really vividly, your mind doesn't know the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real life experience. What's your process for visualization? Now, is it something that you do actively, you set time aside and do it, or is it just something that you naturally now do when you're pursuing a goal? A little bit of both. As an athlete, it was definitely something that I would sit down, usually I'd be lying on my bed, I would have done some relaxation, because the more we clear our mind and relax, the easier it is to visualize and to see really clearly. And so I would, it would be a conscious, right, I'm going to spend the next 15 minutes or even two minutes or five minutes or whatever time I had, visualizing my next race and seeing myself execute that race plan as perfectly as I can, and in exactly the right way. And I would visualize everything from, if it was the Olympic discipline and we've got nine boats on a start line, I'm seeing my, I don't know which lane I'm going to be in when it comes to race day. So I'm seeing myself racing every lane. I'm seeing myself with the headwind, with the tailwind, with it raining. I'm seeing myself cock up the start, because that might happen, but then I'm just going to recover from it and I'm going to see myself recover and I'm going to see myself win from behind. I'm going to see myself win from the front. I'm going to see, imagine, you know, the start being delayed or it's a full start, you know, all these eventualities, so that when it comes to the event, I'm prepared, and it can just all unfold and I'm not phased by anything that happens, but most importantly, I've seen it happen the way I want it to happen, and then I believe that it can happen. And what visualization also does is when we're visualizing a goal, for example, it starts to activate the subconscious to generate creative ideas about how we can achieve our goal. It's my, I don't know how it works and why it works, but it's mind blowing and it does work, and it starts to get your brain to perceive and recognize the different resources that you need to achieve your goal. It's like the law of attraction, and it starts to activate that in your life and bring in the people, the resources, the environment, the circumstances that you need to achieve your goal. And so now, what do I do? I probably, I do spend some time consciously going, right, I'm just going to spend two or three minutes visualizing my goal. I'm seeing it happen. I'm seeing it realize. But then other times, I'm probably just, you know, driving in my car and subconsciously, you know, like daydreaming almost, but I think the conscious, right, I'm going to visualize now, is really powerful, because then you start to, you know, start to really, it starts to ingrain in the subconscious. Quick one. I talked to you guys about Heal a lot, so I'm going to do a quick intermission to tell you about a bit of a change that's happened in the last two months in my life. As you guys know, my favorite Heal product historically has been the Ready to Drink, which is these bottles here. They are nutritionally complete. However, recently, since Heal introduced the Heal protein, this now plays a huge role in my diet. The salted caramel flavor protein from Heal, which is only 105 calories and has 26 vitamins and minerals and 20 grams of protein. So, it serves two roles in my life now. First thing I do when I wake up in the morning is I have a glass, and then at nighttime, after I've been to the gym, straight off to the gym, I have a glass, it tastes amazing. I'm going to try it, follow my instructions here. Get a couple of cubes of ice, put it in a blender, put on the salted caramel protein, and it tastes like a delicious smoothie. I've already gone through one tub of this. I'm actually on my second tub, and I've got two more tubs to go before I'm going to reorder more, but genuinely the salted caramel flavor, maybe because I have a liking for salted caramel, for me has been a game changer.
How to get over heartbreak - Steve Peteres (32:00)
Professor Steve Peters. Steve's invented this groundbreaking concept called the "Chimp Model", and it focuses on how there's these three parts to our brain. The first part is called the "Chimp", which is our desire to be impulsive, rational, emotional, and short term. The second part is what he calls the "human", and you'll hear him talk about this, which is logical and rational, and thinks in terms of facts and thinks things through in the long term. And the third part is what he calls the "computer", which is our set of core values and beliefs. I wanted to talk about exactly that topic, which is like managing your emotional reactions across different facets of life. I think, let me just give you an example of a situation that I went through that I read about my book. So I'm just going to be completely honest because that's what I tend to do on this podcast. I broke up with a girl, and two days later I found out that she'd slept with somebody else, and even though I'd broken up with her, when I read the message that she'd slept with somebody else, my brain, revenge, message her, destroy her life. That's what my brain said to me. And I am at a place in my life where I feel quite secure in my self-image, let's say. I don't feel particularly insecure. I'm a more confident person. But even I couldn't seem to get a grip of my own desire to react emotionally in that situation. And really interestingly as well, it was actually my friend calling me. I went to the gym, I thought, "Maybe I'll go to the gym and that'll like clear my head." It was my friend calling me. And I don't know where this fits in psychiatry, but my friend said to me, "Steve, just remember, you broke up with her. She's probably doing this to make herself feel better and to rebound or whatever." But that was one of those key moments where I was like, "God, the damage you can do if you don't know how to control that primitive urge to just burp." Okay. You've covered a lot of ground there. That could be an hour's work here. So I'm going to take it back. I'm going to try and go very steadily to try and drive home. There's a lot of areas. One is, first of all, what would you expect somebody's mind to do confronted with the same situation? What would you expect them to do? Probably the same thing. Exactly. So nothing abnormal happened. There wasn't a problem. You're saying this is absolutely healthy and normal, but maybe not helpful. Yeah. And what you really said, because you've told me this, if it wasn't a problem to you, you wouldn't have mentioned it. So clearly, your human brain is saying, "I don't want to get revenge. That's not what I want. What I want is to just become a collective, accept the reality of it, and move on." Unfortunately, we have to learn now how the mind works. So it's like saying you went to the gym. So therefore, you're a fitness man. If I said to you, right, I've never been to a gym for 30 years, I'm going to go tonight. And at the end of the day, I'm going to be super fit. And you laugh because you're in the last ridiculous. It's not the way the body works. So we have to now look at another aspect. So now we know it's normal. How does the mind work when we get a really nasty shock and something which is devastating? So the reason that the chimp is there and the reason we're here is for us to be safe and present the next generation to the world. That's what the chimp's agenda is. So what happened there is the generation that you thought you were going to get was taken away from you. So this is devastating. So we expect you to be devastated. We also expect you to accept the mind is going to now grieve, and it'll take approximately three months, give or take. You're talking about heartbreak here? Yeah, you've got to grieve. So the mind has a rule on the way it deals and processes grief. I can't speed that up. So if some like if I'm at is that night and I say, right, I'm going to get you out of it. I'm going to fail because you have to go through these ripples and work it through. So your human brain can do it in seconds because that's logic. She's gone. She was dishonest. It's good thing. She's gone now. No more wasted time. Yeah, that's easy. But the emotional chimp brain has got to process it. It cannot do it overnight. So you've got to now allow around the 12 week process and you're going to go through various stages of grief in the loss of what is a very significant relationship. And on top of that, there was another insult. It wasn't just she said it's not for me. She slept with someone else. So that is really going to get your chimp. You know, we expect it now to be devastated and your chimps reaction. Some people wouldn't. But it's common that it wants revenge. It wants to say, right, if you did this to me, you're going to suffer now. In reality, what you just said by your nodding is that's not what I want. I just want to move on and accept. It wasn't for me. She did what she did. That's her problem, not yours. And what your friend did is start to try and turn it around with some facts to calm your chimp down and say, because it always looks to the computer. Let's look at reality. And the reality is, if I said to you, this girl is going to come back into your life and they'll bring all that pleasure you used to have, but she's going to have affairs every few weeks. Is that what you want? No. No, so you did break it off. You know, so you just try and look at it in a different way and say, let's look at the reality and the facts of the situation, but you cannot stop the grieving. You can't stop the yearning or the bargaining because guys in the opposition often go back and plead. And then she'll say, I made a mistake and then you have to make a decision, you know, and then they'll bargain again. And then if you go through that, you're going to disorganize stage. But this can all be circumvented. If you suddenly met somebody new, your chimp might recover very quickly. Is that what tends to happen? Well, unless we know this is the rebound. So this is never a good thing. I'm sure somebody listens to go, I am married the person I met on the rebound. So of course, it's all probabilities, but generally speaking, you need time to get over this. Gather yourself. So you're in a good place when you do meet somebody else. I've had good relationship. That's interesting. So it's quite complex, the whole thing. So yes, rationally, we can pull you along, but we've got to give you a lot of TLC and that should go through grieving. Don't be harsh on yourself. And what your experiences are totally natural, unhelpful, but natural. So many people are going through a grieving process in it could be a significant life event. It could be the loss of a partner at the death or whatever. Is there anything in psychiatry from your experience that can... Okay, that process is unavoidable, but is there anything that I can do to help that process be easier? Yes, there is. I mean, one is understanding it. As you said, if you start to go through this and say to people like, "This is how your mind has to do this." And like you tell me in the gym, you laugh, I can't do it in the night. Well, how long do you sell it? It's a bit of a piece of strain. But roughly speaking, if you keep going regularly two, three times a week, maybe three months, six months, you're going to see a difference, for sure. And it's the same with me explaining the mind. I would explain to people that we go through a grieving process. You are likely to experience the following emotions or stages in the grief process, but you are unique. And everybody grieves individually. So it's very important, as I said earlier, I have a process, like a recipe and say, "This is what we're going to do." I work with you as you grieve. But I want you to get insights. That's the key. So the work I do is giving understanding an insight and then applying this so you learn the skill of managing your emotions and the skill of understanding, the skill of mind management. That's what I'm about teaching a skill base so you can be independent of me, but use me as a fallback. On the point of rejection, which we talked about a second ago, is it the stories that I then tell myself about myself, which impact myself image that really holds that hurt me the most? Because it feels like when you go through a romantic rejection or heartbreak, it feels like, even if it's not the front of your mind, the fact that someone didn't want you or they wanted someone else makes yourself tell yourself that you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough. You weren't enough. And it feels like so much of the hurt and the pain lives inside that story you're telling yourself about yourself. And again, if you stop and we look at what you've said, are these factual statements or are the impressions and feelings? Impressions and feelings. So we know that the chimp brain is in full flow now. So what we're saying is don't quench that. It's not wrong. It's expressing. And it's like, as I said, you've got this best friend. So if this happens to me, announce it, and what is it you're telling me? And it'll go through all this, you know, it's the end of the world and you know, clearly no one's ever going to love you. And then we sort of count it by saying, well, let's look at that. So we start to rationalize and that can help the grieving process because we start saying, well, let's not just sit there with these false hoods. Let's challenge them and let's replace them with truths. Not brainwash. It's no good saying, for example, say I'm your best mate and you've just fallen apart and you say it's because I'm ugly. It's no good me. Say, no, you're really handsome. That's not, that's an impression again from me. What I'd be saying is let's look at facts. If we look at people in relationships, do people find a partner eventually? And the answer is most people, yes. So the chances are very high. And if you can get through this, will you eventually get back on your feet? Is there a future? Yeah. Yeah. There always is a future. And it always is a future. Even for people in a much more serious situation where they become suicidal and obviously it's part of my work, you can tell them with honesty, there is always a future and things do change and feelings do move. So when you start giving these facts and rationalizing the facts of the situation, that is going to be powerful for starting to settle your emotions. But giving false hoods, you know, I know you can do it. That's not going to settle your trip the street wide. So it'll just keep agitating. Whereas if we talk facts, then it'll settle. But again, there's a key point here. We have to find the facts that resonate with you as facts. Because if I said like I just did, will you find another partner? What's the general rule? If you said to me, yeah, but I don't believe that everybody does, there's no point me forcing this truth on to you. I'd have to look for others that might resonate with you. Yeah. Such as if I go out and I actually start socializing when I'm ready, then the chances are I'll increase my probability. So that gives me a bit of hope. You might work with that. Yeah. So you've got to find what resonates with the person. And again, that's why I don't have this recipe. I'm saying discover them, but think around, but you can offer common things. Yeah. Super interesting. And again, it perfectly explains why in that moment, for some bizarre reason, my friend telling me, being very sort of rational with me, things that I genuinely did accept to be true, just completely diffused my brain because he's acting effectively as you're human. Yeah. That's what he's doing. He's coming in rationally and stepping back and saying, let's look at the facts here. And he's hit some nails on the head where you think, Oh, that's settled me down a bit. Yeah. So, but what tends to happen is you tend to isolate yourself. Most people do this after this has happened and they go within themselves and they engage these emotions, which generates more and more falsehoods and distorted words of perceiving themselves and the world. Instead of being able to, which is not easy, talk to themselves rationally and preempting things like, you know, let's work with reality. It's not easy to do that. So when you can't do it, it's not a failure. You turn to your best friends and they'll do it for you. So what is the cause of unhappiness as you see it, especially if you're building sort of machine learning applications that are going to, you know, solve, you know, make people arrive at contentment or happiness in a personalized way, we must be able to know what's causing this.
Path To Happiness
How to be happy - Mo Gawdat (43:28)
Yeah. Like of... Allow me a bit of time to explain it because it's simple when we get it, but it's not simple to get to do it. So, so happiness is very predictable. Okay. If you look back at any point in your life where you ever felt happy, there is one commonality across all of those moments that can actually be documented in a mathematical equation. Okay. You've never felt happy because of a specific event in your life. Okay. Take, for example, rain. Rain doesn't make you happy or unhappy. There is no inherent value of happiness in rain. Okay. Rain makes you happy when you want to order your plants and it makes you unhappy when you want to sunbathe. Right. And so it's not just the event rain. It's the comparison between the event and an expectation in your mind of how life should be. Okay. If you're worried about your plants, then life should be generous to me and get me rain so I can water the plants. And if life does that, then life meets your expectations and you're happy. Okay. And so happiness in that sense becomes equal to or greater than. So it's really mathematics that your perception of the events of your life minus your expectations of how life should be. Okay. And apply that to anything. Apply that to anything. So, you know, my favorite example is nature. We're all happy in nature. Why are we all happy in nature? I mean, you go out there and there are ants and there are flies and, you know, trees are crooked and there are, you know, shrubs everywhere and bushes. And it's just really not that hedged and organized. But that's what we expect. So, you know, nature's chaos is what we expect nature to be. And so we feel happy. You know, nobody ever sits in front of the ocean and says, "I like the view, but please mute the sound." Okay. You just take it, you know, it's the monotonous sound and the view and the wind and the sun and the whole experience. Right. And because of that, happiness becomes very different than what was defined to us. Okay. What was defined to us is that happiness is found in gathering at the pub or a party or, you know, an activity or some kind of pleasure or fun or elation or whatever that is. That's not at all true. These are, I call these the state of escape. Okay. Happiness as per the definition of the happiness equation is events equal to or beating expectations, life going my way. Okay. And so basically happiness is that calm and peacefulness you feel when you're okay with life as it is. It doesn't really matter what life is. Okay. What matters is that you can be okay with it. Right. So, so you take, you know, any example, if your boss is annoying and your expectation is, yeah, bosses are annoying. This is what life is about. They become bosses because they're annoying. Right. And so if that's your expectation, you're going to look at it and go like, yeah, I need to learn the skill of managing annoying bosses. Okay. And if that's the case, then you're not going to be upset about it. Similarly, anything else, if you look at it, then it's not just the event. It's your perception of the event. So you have something to influence. It's not just the event. And just the event, your partner might say something hurtful on Friday at 4 p.m. That's the event. My partner said something hurtful. At Sunday morning, you tell yourself, he or she doesn't love me anymore. Okay. That's your perception of the event. That's not actually the event. The event is something hurtful was said. But your perception of the event is your work is your, it's your brain adding color to it. And then you compare that to your expectations. Right. You compare my bosses annoying to my boss shouldn't be annoying. Where did you get that from? Right. So we blur the happiness equation. We break the happiness equation because of what I call the six and seven. Okay. Six grand illusions and seven blind spots, which are the six grand illusions are basically call them pathways that the modern world teaches us to navigate the modern world that are illusions are not true. Okay. Take for example, control. Everyone knows that to succeed in the modern world, you have to learn to control certain events. Right. So you start to believe that the way to succeed in life is to control everything. But the truth is, even if you go down to the basics of physics, that we never are in control. That the absolute design of nature itself, of the universe itself, is entropy and chaos. Right. That's the actual design. And so if you try to control it, you're bound to be disappointed. A lot of events are going to miss your expectations. Okay. And yes, I'm not saying don't control anything at all, but start to understand that you're going to be selective because you have a finite amount of effort. And by the way, even if you're selective and you try to control everything, sometimes things will fall out of control. If you live your life through the illusion of control, good luck finding happiness. So six grand illusions, the illusion of thought, the illusion of self, the illusion of knowledge, the illusion of time, control and fear. Okay. Now, that's one side. And that disrupts your entire view of what to expect from life, because you're expecting life to behave through a lens of an illusion. The other side of it is what I call seven blind spots. Okay. Seven blind spots are not really defects in your brain. As a matter of fact, they are the very design of your brain. Okay. Your brain is designed to tell you what's wrong. Okay. It's not designed to, you know, if a tiger shows up right here now, my brain has no use whatsoever in telling me, oh my God, look how majestic that animal is. Right. Yeah, it's a beautiful animal, but my brain will say we're going to die. Okay. So we're going to die is the idea that basically makes our brain constantly look for what's wrong, blur the events of life. You ask a mother and she will say, oh, my daughter's been sick all winter. No, she just had two episodes of flu three days each, but to the caring heart of a mother that needs to be exaggerated to exaggeration is one of the blind spots. Your brain is trying to get you to take action. So it pushes you. It pushes you by exaggerating the event a little bit so that you jump in and take action. And accordingly, the event you're comparing to your comparing the wrong event to the wrong expectation and the happiness equation falls apart. Under all of this, you're inferring something which I think will annoy a lot of people. And that is that happiness is a choice. Oh, totally. And that you can choose to be happy. And that if you're unhappy and really for many circumstances in our life day to day and work in love in relationships, personal responsibility is the answer. And entirely on you. And a lack thereof is the cause. Absolutely. You know what you just did? You've just lost us 80% of the audience. To tell someone it's your responsibility to get yourself out of this horrible place that you're in is quite disturbing because we like the idea of saying, no, no, hold on. No, it's not me. Life is treating me really badly. That's why I'm not happy. Okay. I can't do anything about it. Life took my son. You know, life took my son. I have the right to be unhappy. Yes, life took your son. That's true. And you have the right to be unhappy. But you're never going to get out of unhappiness if you wait for life to bring him back or you wait for life to correct its action. Okay. The only way you can come out of unhappiness is if you choose and say, okay, it's going to be a long journey. It's going to take a lot of time. Okay. And I'm going to try and try and try, but I'll get there. And neuroplasticity proves that. Neuroplasticity basically tells you that if you just run a happiness kind of activity once a day, every day your brain will be better at it. And I mean, please don't get me wrong. But what do most of us do every day? We watch negative news. We swipe on toxic positivity and we were just drowning ourselves in negativity. And then what happens? What happens is we become really good at being negative. We become really good at finding what's wrong with life. We become very good at getting pissed off with the prime minister, right? Because it's an activity we do on daily basis. So your brain goes like, this must be important for her or him. Okay. I'm just going to make sure I have their neurons aligned around that. And so you're basically, we're basically configuring our brains to be unhappy. And that is the kind of neuroplasticity that we need to shift. You know, if you go to the gym and lift weights every day, you're going to look like a triangle. If you squat every day, you're going to look like a pear. Okay. The same is happening inside your brain. You just don't see it. If you're constantly watching news media, right? You're literally building your muscles that are concerned and are critical and are worried about the world. When in reality, most of the time you can't do anything about it. There's something in there which is clearly a theme in, I think, three topics we've touched on, which is this theme of radical acceptance. Oh, absolutely. I mean, this is what I call the jedi master level of happiness. So there are three levels of happiness, right? I call it the happiness flow chart. Events are going to piss you off. It's just the truth. If you can manage to acknowledge your emotion and say, "Oh, my God, I feel so... am I angry? Is this anger? I mean, is this what I'm feeling?" And then you take that feeling and you say to yourself, "Okay, interesting. I am angry. I need to do something about it. I will give you three steps." Okay? The beginner's level is, "Ask yourself if what you're thinking is true." Your partner said something hurtful on Friday. Your thought is, "He or she doesn't love me anymore." Okay? Ask yourself if that thought is true. If it isn't, drop it. There is no point to be unhappy. If it is, then let's go to the black belt level of unhappiness, which is, "Can I do something about it?" That's the second question. Is it true? It's question one. Can I do something about it? It's question two, right? And honestly, by the way, it doesn't take more than two seconds. To feel the emotion, ask yourself if it's true and then go to say, "Can I do something about it?" And if yes, then do it. What are you waiting for? Text him or text her and say, "Baby, can we please talk over dinner what you said on Friday? Okay? Instead of just banging your head against the table, hoping that they will find out and come and say, "Oh, I'm so sorry." I was teaching. This story really hurts me. I was teaching, you know, before lockdown, I taught a lot of people in workshops and seminars, more than 20,000 people. One day, one of them comes to me in the first break and says, "What are you talking about? What do you mean happiness is a choice? You have no idea what happened to me." And I said, "Okay." And she said, "When I was 17, she was 74 at the time. Can you believe that? 57 years of holding onto one thought hitting her head against the wall." And I hugged her. I hugged her. I cried. And I said, "Did it work? Did all of that work? Or was the better thought? Okay, it was horrible. But can I do something about it?" And that's question number two. That's black belt. Sometimes, however, there's nothing you can do about it. Whatever she experienced could be irreversible. What I have experienced at the loss of Ali is irreversible. There's nothing you can do about it. Okay? And I'm not asking everyone to get there quickly, but the jedi master level of happiness is to say, "Okay." It happened, and I have no choice to change it. There is nothing I can do to fix it. So can I accept it, but not surrender and lie down and die, accept it and then start to do something to make my life better despite its presence? Or maybe because of its presence? Okay? Can I accept that Ali died and start to spread his message so that my life and the life of others become better? Can I do that? I call that committed acceptance. Okay? And it's very simple. If you commit and accept things, you can't change and commit to make your life better despite of or because of their presence. Nothing can beat you. Nothing can beat you. And yeah, is it horrible that I actually managed to move on and not hit my head against the wall for 27 years? Does that say, "I don't love Ali"? What are you talking about? I do worry, I cry about missing him still today. Right? There is nothing to prove in that. What I can prove is I love him so much that I actually dedicate my life to spreading his message. That's so much better than sitting there and saying, "Ah, life hit me. I don't like life." That's a six-year-old attitude, honestly. And adults will say, "Okay." And especially business people, I mean your audience, the market changes all the time. Do you sit down and go, "I lost another deal or do you just get up and say, "Why did we lose this deal? What can we do about it?" Right? And if there is something wrong with the product, can we change the product? Right? Well, you talked to there about business in particular. Ring is very, very true because in business, and you've been very successful entrepreneur yourself and worked with teams, you'll get people who are high in defaulting to logic in moments of chaos and also default to personal responsibility and those that don't. Yeah. And the outcomes of both groups are quite pretty different. Very different. And actually, this approach of, "Is it true? Can I do something about it? Can I accept it?" And commit. I learned that in business. And it's a very simple business approach. Now, most of us do that in business. But when it comes to our personal life, we don't do that. And interestingly, most of us, by the way, who do that in business are very successful in business, and most of us who do that in life are very successful in life. It's not just happy. It makes us successful because it doesn't waste our cycles on things that are not necessary. So if you can do it at work, do it at home, do it in your life, do it in your relationships. So really, a very straightforward to flowchart. I hope you enjoyed that look back at my life-changing moments from my first 100 episodes. I've got to say November, December, January, we're publishing the best podcasts we've ever published. When I saw the guest line up, I genuinely was like, I looked at the list and thought, "How? How is it possible that my idols, world exclusives, people I've wanted on this podcast since it began many years ago, have all decided to come in the same month?" And honestly, November and the guests we're recording with within that month, which will be published over the next three months, is the reason I started this podcast. And it's a real sign of where it's going and the platform it's become. So thank you for sticking with me. It's going to be one hell of a last quarter. I know it's going to change my life. I figured that's for sure. And I can't wait to bring you more people's diaries. Have a wonderful week. Quick one. As many of you know, I've been trying to make my life a little bit more sustainable as it relates to energy. Ever since I sold my Rangeover Sport and bought an electric bicycle and my energy, as a sponsor of this podcast, one of the brands that make that transition much, much easier, they are at the forefront of bringing it to the world. And they're at the forefront of British, renewable, eco smart technology. And their products are really, really changing the game. If you're on YouTube, you can see what I'm holding in my hand. This is called the Eddy, right? It's the UK's number one solar power diverter. So what is a solar diverter? It's a device for people like you and me. That means you can divert your excess energy back into your home, rather than back into the grid, which will save you power and money. You can use a user friendly and easy to install and you can control it using the My Energy app on your phone. To find out more about this product and more products like here that will help you make that sustainable transition, head over to MyEnergy.com and I highly recommend you check out the Eddy. It's a real game changer for a product and one that I'm going to be installing in my home soon.