Mel Robbins: This One Hack Will Unlock Your Happier Life | E108 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Mel Robbins: This One Hack Will Unlock Your Happier Life | E108".
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And this is fricking genius. I've taught it to millions of people. It's curing people's anxiety. There is nobody like Mel Robbins. There is nobody. If I hadn't done what I did that morning, my life would have gone in a totally different direction. I'd probably be divorced. I'd probably be an alcoholic. My family would be torn apart. No idea what I'd be doing for a living or where I would be. I finally had the experience of being in my body and being safe and being okay. And I hadn't had that in a really long time. So you asked me in the beginning, kind of what is it that created all of this insight or this drive to figure it out? I think I just figured it out. You just fucking did it. They call her the female Tony Robbins, but she's so much more than that. She's one of the most incredibly vulnerable, honest, introspective, wise people I have ever met in my entire life. And she's written three best-selling books that offer a very simple solution to have a transformative impact on your entire life. I first found out about Mel Robbins some seven years ago when I watched a video of her talking about how to motivate yourself every single day. And when my team told me that she was coming to London for a short trip, I said, "We have to get her on this podcast. "There is nobody like Mel Robbins. "There is nobody." I've never seen Mel Robbins cry during an interview before. But in this podcast, it happens again. We have an epiphany. Mel removes her glasses. She begins to cry. And it's an incredibly touching moment. I think for a lot of you, this is gonna be the favorite podcast on this channel that you've ever listened to. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett, and this is the Diaries CEO. I hope nobody's listening. But if you are, then please keep this to yourself. Before we started recording, I said a lot of nice things about you just a few seconds ago. And I talked about how sort of introspective you are, how much you've achieved, your remarkable ability to speak about ideas and things you've discovered in yourself. You really are a standout individual. And so whenever I meet someone that I consider to be a really standout individual, it always begs the question to me, having a small background in like childhood psychology, what is it, what was the cauldron in which Mel was sculpted that made you the person you are today at the very start of your life? I guess that I'm trying to think about, like there's no defining moment because I had great parents who did the best that they could with what they were handed in terms of their own childhoods and patterns and thinking. And I grew up in a tiny little town where nothing really happened, but one thing did happen. And that was in the fourth grade, I was at a family kind of ski trip thing. And in the middle of the night, I woke up and one of the kids was on top of me.
Discussion On Trauma And Survival Mode
Mel's defining moment (03:27)
And yeah, like on top of me, molesting me. We're going here like fast. I mean, you asked like, what was the thing? And this was like the first thing that popped into mind. And it was interesting because I didn't remember the experience for a very long time. I did not remember that this had happened until I was in my late 20s. And if you look at the spectrum of what can happen to somebody in terms of sexual abuse, which unfortunately is very common experience for people, this was a very mild experience. Like it wasn't anybody that I knew, it was a one off, it was another kid. So clearly something was happening to this kid in their life. It wasn't scary, it was confusing, but I was awoken from a state of sleep. And I immediately felt and knew that something was wrong. And it's my first experience in my life of what psychologists call disassociating. I literally left my body and I rolled over and I don't even remember how it ended because I wasn't in my body to be there. And the very next morning, I'll never forget this. I hid underneath the sheets 'cause it was a big bunk room and all the kids left to go downstairs to get ready to go skiing. And I remember waiting until I thought it was quiet. I threw the comforter off, I went down these steep stairs, I turned the corner and there was my mom. And she was cooking breakfast with some of the other moms and she turned around and she said, "How'd you sleep?" And I immediately, Stephen, wanted to tell her. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw the kid.
Disassociating, lying and new patterns (05:17)
And in that moment, split second child brain, I froze. And as much as I wanted to tell my mom, and I knew exactly what she do, I mean, she grew up on a farm, she had a spatula in her hand, she would have hit that kid in the next week. But I didn't know what the kid was gonna do. And in that moment, I lied. And I said, "Fine." And the day went on and nothing happened. And I believe whether it is a 30-year-long struggle with anxiety or a tendency to disassociate or the fact that I was chronically lying when I was younger in any moment when I felt uncertain, I had no idea how that singular moment set me on a course that would last decades before I realized that all of these patterns of behavior that I was struggling with, I didn't know why I lied. I didn't know why I felt so uncomfortable if I couldn't predict somebody's reaction. I couldn't understand why I would leave my body so many times. I couldn't understand why I had very few memories from my childhood. It wasn't until I started to understand human behavior the way the brain learns patterns, the way that you need and can break patterns and replace patterns and learn new patterns that I began this journey that I've been on for the past 10 years of understanding my own breakdowns, my own heartaches, my own struggles and sharing what I'm learning with anybody who will listen. How's that for an answer?
Expressing what we're going through (06:54)
Did you ever tell anybody? When did you first tell someone about that incident? Well, I never told anybody because it's like I forgot about it in that moment. Like I just suppressed what had happened. And there were lots of times in my life when I was a teenager, when I was in college, when I was in law school, particularly in law school because my anxiety just came to a huge crescendo in law school, just completely out of control with my thoughts with how I felt in my body. I had not been diagnosed yet with anxiety or anxiety disorder and had not been medicated. Did not even know anxiety was a thing. So this would have been 1992 through 1994. And I didn't even remember it. And so I didn't even remember this incident until I was 28 years old and I was sitting in like kind of one of these life improvement seminars where you're in a windowless conference room and everyone's got a name tag on and there's a person up front and this woman stands up and she was talking about how she had been molested when she was younger by a babysitter that her parents hired. And the story went on how she had been in therapy for a long time. She was starting to deal with the trauma of the experience she had forgiven the babysitter. She had forgiven her parents, but she could not forgive her sister. And the person leading the seminar kind of looked at her and said, "Why, what's wrong with your sister?" And she said, "Well, I'm so angry "that this babysitter was choosing me. "And while I'm in this room getting abused, "my sister is out there watching TV." And when she said that, I had an immediate memory and there was this triggering moment where I... I was sitting in this windowless conference room at the age of 28, but I was physically in that bunk bed because what I remembered in that moment was, "Oh my God, when I woke up in the middle of the night "with this kid on top of me, "I looked to my right, my younger brother, "was sleeping in the bed right there." And my immediate thought was, I don't want this person to hurt him. And that's why I rolled over and stayed quiet. And so it was that it was this woman telling the story about her sister that triggered me to remember it. And as soon as I remembered it, "Oh my God, I told my brother, I told my parents, "I just started talking about it. "I think that one of the things that I'm grateful for "is that I process things by talking about it." Once the dam is open, baby, like the floodgates are coming, like I just, and so I tend to process things by speaking about it. And for me, it wasn't the incident itself that created a lot of grief for me because I know based on the work that I've done as a crisis intervention counselor working with victims of domestic violence, the work I did as a criminal defense attorney working for Legal Aid in New York City and the amount of training that we got.
Forgetting traumatic experiences (09:58)
And also just the amount of work I've done and studying that I've done on the subject of psychology and human behavior, I know that when a kid is doing that to another kid, it's being done to them. So I, even at the age of 28, I didn't even have any anger toward the person that did this to me. My anger was at myself. Why didn't I remember this? Why am I so fucked up? Why couldn't I have remembered this? Like the constant self-bashing, that is the piece that I think has been the thing that I've really struggled with. - Why am I so fucked up? - Yeah, why am I so fucked up? You know, there's this incredible thing about the human design. So when you think about human beings and as a parent, so my husband and I have three kids, one's 23, another one's 21, and then our son is 16. And as a young parent, I would often feel this incredible sense of awe. Like, it is remarkable how many babies are born when you think about how many things have to go right. You know what I mean? In the design of a human being. And there is so much elegance and beauty and sophistication and genius to the human design. It's just shocking. But there is one fundamental flaw that screws up everybody. And that is that when you're a little kid and things happen to you, you do not have the life experience and you do not have the support system to be able to process what is happening. And it could be anything. It could be something as serious as homelessness and poverty and systemic discrimination. It could be violence. It could be abuse in your home. It could be addiction, mental illness. It could be chaos in your household. It could be sexual abuse. It could just be a mother or a father who's so freaking critical or who is passive aggressive. So you wake up as a kid and you have no idea what you're gonna wake up to. But when something goes wrong or something happens to you as a kid, you don't have the life experience or the support structure to basically go, "Whoa, this situation is fucked." Or these adults, somebody called the police. Like, this is not okay. You don't get to talk to me. Like, no kid does that. The fundamental flaw in human design is that when something happens to you as a kid, you don't say, "What's wrong with that kid?" Or, "What's wrong with my dad?" Or, "What's wrong with this situation?" You say, "What's wrong with me?" We aim it back at ourselves. And then I think that this then starts to build as a thinking pattern, that there must be something wrong with me. That you aim everything that's happening out there, back at yourself. - And you did that through your early adulthood, right?
What's wrong with ME? (13:41)
- I think everybody does. I really do. I think that when you're growing up, I believe that this happens around the age of eight or nine or 10, that no human being is born and hates themselves. We're actually wired for love. We're wired for connection. If you look at a kid who's two or three or four, right, and they see a mirror, they don't look at it and go, "Oh, my thighs are so fat." Like, I can't, you know, they look at the mirror and they put their hands up and they twirl and they kiss the mirror and they love the sight of themselves. And you and I don't remember this, but we loved the sight of ourselves too. And what happens, because that's your natural state, that's your wired state, in my opinion. You are wired for self-love. You're wired for self-acceptance. You are wired for self-worth. You are wired for self-respect. You're wired for resilience. I mean, when you think about a baby, none of us remember this, but you will literally fall down 77 times an hour and you'll just keep standing back up. So this resilience, this sense of empowerment, this sense of really being proud of yourself, of loving yourself, it is part of your design, your DNA, your birthright, but life happens. And it can happen two ways. You know, if you grow up in a chaotic household, you start to absorb the message that something's wrong. And so you go into modes of behavior to protect yourself.
Trauma in early life (15:11)
And these patterns of behavior that you create to protect yourself get locked in your brain. But for everybody, so if you grew up in a wonderful household, like I did, if you grew up in a place that you were very safe like I did, you still are gonna experience some kind of trauma 'cause trauma is deeply personal and trauma at its simplest form is just a moment when your nervous system gets dysregulated, a moment where your whole body turns on an alarm. And when your whole body turns on an alarm, whether it's, uh-oh, there's the car pulling on the gravel driveway, the person that drinks and comes home and is abusive is pulling in, or uh-oh, mom's got that expression on her face, I better not say anything, it can be small moments, big moments, but when your nervous system goes into a state of alarm, your brain kicks into, let's record everything in hyper-speed so we can remember this so I can protect you in the future. And that pattern locks. And that's why so many adults continue to stay trapped in patterns from their childhood that they don't even remember, why they have them, like any of it. But for everybody, so that's sort of like if you grew up in a chaotic household, which I didn't. But I think what happens developmentally is there's this moment when we're in elementary school. And none of us remember it, or at least I don't remember it. But it happens to everybody. Where one day you walk into elementary school and you're loving yourself and you're happy as a clam and you're just kind of walking up to whomever and you like yourself and you love yourself. So you'll go up to anybody, you'll sit with anybody in the cafeteria. And then I don't know what the hell happens, but the next day you walk into that cafeteria, you got your little hands on your tray and you start scanning the room for where you're gonna sit and all of a sudden that brain that is wired for self-love and self-acceptance flips into the sorting hat from Harry Potter. And you all of a sudden see the world in the places that you belong and the places that you don't. And that's how it begins. And your mind starts to tell you, you can't go there, you don't look like those kids, those are the sports kids, they're gonna as a way to protect you. But the message that you start to get from your own brain or from society at large or from what's going on in your household is that who you are is not okay. - When I was reading about your story, we're talking about education then in schools, it seemed that you were quite, I don't know, disorientated in college.
Carrying it over into adulthood (18:00)
When you went to college and you were struggling to figure out who you are and if that resulted in quite significant procrastination. - Oh my God. Yes. So I, you know, I'm very open about the fact that I struggled with anxiety for a long time. And what's interesting about anxiety is that, you know, I'm now talking to you from the perspective of being 53 years old. I was like really fucked up. And by fucked up, I mean, not that I was like stealing cars or breaking laws or doing anything like that, but I was not comfortable in my own body. And the way that I would describe it is, I think from that moment, literally, that moment in fourth grade that I just shared with you, it makes me really sad to think about the fact that I was just a fourth grader that it had a traumatic experience. I didn't know, but my nervous system remembered. And so, any time I went to bed, I woke up the next morning with the sensation in my body that something was wrong. And any pattern of behavior or thinking that you start to repeat becomes a habit. Habits are just patterns. It's all that they are. And so, I had a life experience because of one incident where I would wake up every single morning and feel like something was wrong and I couldn't put my finger on it. And the more that you wake up and think something's wrong, the more your brain is gonna find reasons why something might be wrong. And so, I developed this sort of chronic state of feeling on alert, feeling the sense that I gotta be aware. - If I could fly again. - Yes, yes, in clinical terms, my sympathetic nervous system got switched on. And I had no idea how to turn it off. And if you don't know how to calm your nervous system down to flip off the sympathetic nervous system and flip on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is your calm, grounded, resting nervous system, you will forever struggle with focus, with being present, with the ability to think clearly and make good decisions. You will constantly talk about the fact that you feel anxious and that comes from your nervous system, always being on edge and being in fight or flight. I didn't know any of this. I was just a nervous kid with a nervous stomach every camp that I went to. I got sent home 'cause I was too homesick. Oh yeah, I mean, I was just, I mean, you know how homesick you have to be for train counselors to actually call your parents and go, we got a problem here. She can't stay here like she is out of her mind.
Anxiety at school (21:08)
- When you say out of your mind, what are the physical symptoms or verbal symptoms of that? - Oh my gosh, complete disassociation. So I would be at camp, like literally sixth grade camp. So at the end of sixth grade year, and I feel bad for little Mel Robbins, I feel bad for her because, you know, here's this experience, sixth grade camp, where the entire school for four nights goes away to a camp, just the sixth grade. It's supposed to be the culmination of your sixth grade year. And I am so freaked out that something bad is gonna happen. That I, of course, escalate things in my own mind. I don't even feel like I'm at camp. I feel like I'm walking on a movie set. I don't feel like I'm on earth. I feel like I'm on a spaceship somewhere, looking down all the time. I feel like I might throw up 'cause my stomach is rattled because when you're anxious and you can't focus your thoughts, you tend to not eat. And so that, of course, upsets your stomach. It's not that something bad's gonna happen. It's that you're screwing up the chemistry in your stomach by not eating 'cause you're so nervous, which only makes it worse. And as your mind is scrambling, thinking something bad is gonna happen. And then your stomach is hurting. Then you start to think, oh my God, I'm gonna throw up. And then you start to think, well, if I throw up, something bad's gonna happen. And then the kids are gonna laugh. And like, it just becomes this spiral train wreck. And that is the state that I lived in. And so you learn how to cope. It becomes your new normal, but that was basically my life. Constantly feeling like something bad was gonna happen, constantly feeling like I wasn't really present, constantly lying or fipping about how I felt or what I was thinking because I didn't want people to judge me.
Living In Survival Mode (22:48)
I mean, it's awful. - And then you come through college and you've gotta make that choice in life as to which direction you're gonna go in. It seems quite-- - Choice. I love the choice, yeah. - Yeah, well, how would you define it? - Panic. - Panic, yeah. - Yeah, 'cause I didn't know what I wanted to do. - Yeah. - 'Cause I had only ever lived in survival mode. - So did you not take a pause? Did a sort of list it? - Take a pause. - Who you were and what your calling was. - Take a pause. - You know. - When you have anxiety, your whole mode of living is if I'm on the move, no one can catch me. If I am on the run, I'm safe. And so what's interesting is that I think the only time in my life that I have actually slowed down was during the pandemic. Does that sound familiar? - Yeah, of course, yeah. You had no choice. - Yeah. And one of the hardest things, which became one of the greatest realizations, is truly coming face to face with myself and realizing that even though I have done all this work to heal trauma, even though I have done extraordinary things in terms of my own thinking patterns, that there was a level to which I was still on the run, that I was darting off to a coffee shop or darting off to Target or darting off to an airplane. And all of this racing around kept me from having to truly stop and stand with the woman in the mirror and just be still and figure out, well, what do I really want? How do I really want to feel? - You talk about the topic of distraction and procrastination and it's rarely in this context, but it sounds like a form of distraction, distracting yourself from taking a moment to confront thyself and yeah, to really ask some of those questions, which I guess if you're in a survival state, the answers to some of those questions might be maybe illuminating to an extent which will make you feel vulnerable and unsafe because those are pretty existential questions to ask yourself, to look at yourself and say, who am I and what do I want and how do I get it? It's much easier, as you say, just to be swept by the tide and that's a form of short-term defense.
Layering Healing (25:20)
It feels like a short-termist will just get to tomorrow. Some people go through their lives doing that, right? - Oh, I was. - I was. - I think that there's also layers of healing on issues and so when I remembered the initial incident and I started to kind of string together, holy cow, like all of this is connected in a really interesting way, compounding itself, right? - Yeah. - Talking about it is one layer and it's a super important thing to do to give yourself the gift of sitting down with somebody who is licensed or who has an expertise in helping you unpack what happened because it's only in being able to talk through what happened that you have the ability to start to free yourself from what happened. Like if you can't reveal it, you are definitely not gonna heal from it. And so I had done the layer of talking about it and then I had gone and done the layer even underneath it of understanding what had happened and understanding how it connected to anxiety and how it connected, how trauma connected to that and understanding the lying piece. And I had even gone and done the layer underneath that which was starting to interrupt the old patterns that would get triggered and put in new patterns but it wasn't until recently that I went to the layer that you need to go to, to truly heal, which is to repair the nervous system. And what is interesting to me about kind of even the whole journey is that I've had layer after layer after layer. For me, talking about it was very freeing. And people always say to me, "My God, you're so relatable. Like we open up boom right out of the gate. I tell you something that normally somebody reveals like an hour in. It's because I have a level of freedom around it. And I also know it's a shared experience that so many people can relate to on some level. But it wasn't until I understood how it impacts your nervous system and the connection between your mind, body and spirit that I began to realize what I think it was Michael Poland or Tim Ferriss on one of his podcasts said, which is, if you didn't talk yourself into this shit, you're not gonna talk yourself out of it. Like you have to have a corresponding physical intervention if there was something physical that disrupted your body state to begin with. And that makes a lot of sense to me. It makes a lot of sense to me that if your nervous system or your brain recorded an experience, like I can give you a benign example for people that have never really kind of thought through what trauma actually means. Why it's deeply personal, how it's a physical experience, not just a mental experience.
Melissa's personal story of trauma (28:30)
So when I was, God, how old was I? I guess I was, I must have been in high school. We were driving to Northern Michigan, it was a huge snowstorm and my mom was behind the wheel and my dad and my brother were in the car in front of us. And there was a radio on and all of a sudden the radio announcer said something about black ice. And this truck pulled out to try to pass us. And right as he tried to pass us, you could see headlights coming on. And my mom said, oh my God, hold on. 'Cause the truck started to veer back in. So I remembered the words black ice, oh my God, hold on. And the next thing I remember, we were in the, it was like a SUV, the car rolled over, right? Several times. And the experience of being in that car was like, imagine sitting in a dryer and you're sitting still like, mmm, but the clothes are tumbling around you, right? And so like, the McDonald's bag went flying past us and the dog went flying past us and all this stuff. And we, and I remember, even though I don't remember getting tumbled around, I remember this unbelievable sound that was like, of the car rolling and packing down the snow. Now we ended up with the car on its side and I was like thrown to the back seat, the dog was in the way back, but my mom was buckled in at the top. We were fine, little shaken up. I think my mom might've had a concussion. We survived, nobody died. They flipped the car back over, we climbed him with my dad, off we went. Now here's what's interesting about that experience. I was never scared to drive ever. I didn't ever really even think about it. But it was a traumatic experience because my body remembers it. And it remembers it in a certain way. I don't ever think about the experience if I'm driving a car. That's not a trigger for my body to remember it. But if I walk to my mailbox in Boston, Massachusetts, after a freshly fallen snow and I step on the snow and it goes I feel like I'm back in that car because that sound is a trigger for my nervous system to remember. Now that sound of me stepping on freshly fallen snow, my mom does that all day long in Michigan and doesn't think about the accident. But if somebody ever says the two words, "Black ice" around my mom, she feels like she's in that car accident because that's her trigger for her nervous system to remember it. So the reason why I tell that story is because I didn't understand trauma. I thought trauma was like for victims of war, that's what you experience if you do a tour of duty, somebody who has been the victim of a super violent crime, I did not realize that trauma is a disruption in your nervous system. That sends your brain into a mode where your brain holds down the shutter on a camera and is like, "Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap, snap, snap, "all five senses recording everything "it can possibly grab as a way to protect you "in the future." When I started to understand that, oh my God, patterns of behavior get triggered by smell. They get triggered by sound, they get triggered by music, they get triggered by, and the same thing with patterns of thinking. Now I had the missing piece to be able to start to truly reset not only my nervous system, but also the default patterns in my mind. And I haven't looked back since. But that was step one in terms of how I stopped the cascade of the, what if this happens and what if that happens and what if this happens and what are they thinking and why didn't they invite me here and what if, and the universal thing that I started to replace the what if with was, what if it all works out? What if this is the best thing that ever happened to me? What if this is really hard and it does suck? - That's not easy. - But it turns out to be the best thing that I ever did.
Where are those fearful thoughts coming from? (33:00)
- It's not easy though, is it? - No, it's very simple to do, but it's not easy. And it's not easy because you love patterns. Like, we don't, it doesn't, that's not even the right way to say it. It's not easy because you're so used to thinking a certain way. - And you, and as you write about, you know, one of the things I scribbled down was that you said feelings that made me suggestions ones you can ignore, but we go through life. No one's ever said that to us before. We go through life thinking that our thoughts are ourselves and that that is an instruction from ourselves. And that's my voice in my head telling me what to do and that I must, my job is just do a bay. So if it says, you know, this ice means danger, then I, you know, and we accept our thoughts. And when I've sat here with guests, you know, you have spent a lot of time working on the brain and understanding the difference between thoughts and are they true? And it appears to be that you can analyze a thought and accept or reject, which is a compelling. - Well, the way that I put it, or I like to think about it is this, you can be two things at once. So you can have the feeling of being really frustrated with somebody. And that can be true. And you can also love them at the same time. You can be jealous of somebody. And you can also allow that to inspire you at the same time. You can be afraid, which is true. And you can still find the willpower to push yourself or discipline to push yourself forward. You can be deeply in a state of grief. Having experienced one of the biggest losses or betrayals of your life and still experience a moment of joy as you're standing on the ocean and watching some bird dive into the sea. Human beings are very complex. And when you start to understand you're not just one thing, it gives you freedom to ride the waves of feelings, to ride the waves of experience and to kind of go down and go, "Oh shit, this is a terrible thing." And know that you will be able to come out the other side of it. And so, I think that emotions, yeah, they are suggestions and that's one way to dismantle it. Another way to dismantle kind of the way that an emotion can hook you is to keep reminding yourself that it's temporary. This wave of pissed offness, this wave of betrayal, this wave of fear, this wave of grief, this wave of frustration, this wave of feeling stuck, this wave of feeling hopeless, it's temporary. It will come and it will go. And when you realize that emotions are temporary, it also gives you perspective, right, to know that something better is coming and that's gonna help you be able to endure whatever it is that you're enduring. Why should you drink fuel?
Strategies To Combat Anxiety
We're going into the fourth quarter of the year. Diets are dropping off, we're becoming lazier and lazier. And what tends to happen when our diets dip and we start to become less compelled to go to the gym is, yeah, we get out of shape, we start to feel low energy, we start to binge eat bad things and fuel is the antidote. It's nutritionally complete. So you get everything you need for your diet in a drink. You get your 20 grams of proteins, you're gonna get your 26 vitamins and minerals, it's low sugar, high in fiber. It really is the cure to a lot of the health issues that we see in our personal lives, but in wider society. If you've never tried it, all I'll ask you to do is give it a try. And if you're like me, then you will like the world berry ready to drink. You'll like the mac and cheese, which is just selling absolutely crazy, unsurprisingly. You'll like the cinnamon and you'll like the banana flavor. Those are my recommendations. I know a lot of people love the chocolate flavor. Let me know, try it, get yourself healthy and send me a message on Instagram, tag me on Instagram as well on your stories. If you do try it out, 'cause I sometimes upload those tags and let me know which is your favorite flavor. Can't wait to hear from you.
Step 2 - Deeper Understanding of Anxiety (37:18)
- So that was step one. I dug it all deeper on that statement phase, which was that, you know, the kind of mental work. What was step two of your level four overcoming the trauma? - So the first step was combating the thoughts in my head. Seeing them, interrupting them, I'm not thinking about that. And then, you know, I went a little bit further and then started to figure out, well, if I think this, I'd rather be thinking this. And so then I started working on replacing the thoughts so that the default became different. The next step though was a deeper understanding of anxiety and really studying it, because I was tired of being anxious. I was tired of taking Zoloft. And look, Zoloft saved my life. I mean, I was on that drug for two and a half decades for crying out loud. One of my kids takes Zoloft and it helped them climb out of a hole. It is, I love medication. Like I'm not here saying nobody should be on medication. It's the opposite. I think that you, itself harm, not to take medication if you're in a hole and that medication can serve as a ladder to help you climb out of it. But I was at a point where, you know, I'm 45 years old. I've been on this drug for a long time. I've been out teaching the five second rule. I'm interrupting thoughts. I'm starting to feel like, wow, I actually have the ability to not think what I have always thought. I actually have the ability to shut that worry down. And so as I started to understand what anxiety really is, so anxiety is a really important thing. Anxiety is an alarm system in your body. If you and I hop in a car and we drive off to have dinner and a truck pulls out, right, and cuts us off, and you immediately swerve, what do you feel in your body? - It feels like something rising in my belly and making me like a little burst of nervousness. - Yeah. Yeah, your heart races, your armpits sweat, your hands get clammy. - Fyter flight. - Yeah, fighter flight. - Yeah. - The alarm is sounding the alarm 'cause there's danger. Well, what happens the second the truck pulls away in your body? - I should go back to a calm state. And my respiratory system should start to function as normal, my dietary tract should start to engage. We should start burning the carbs again in my belly. - Yeah, exactly. - And you should go back to normal. - Exactly. - That's from a biological perspective. - Yes, exactly. And the reason why that happens is because your mind has the vision of the truck pulling away. So your mind tells your body threat is over. For a person that experiences anxiety over and over and over like at their default state, what's happened is you're standing in your kitchen and all of a sudden you feel that tidal wave that you and I felt when the truck pulled into our lane, but there's no threat. And so as the rush hits your body, your mind starts scrambling, looking for what in the kitchen is threatening me and there's nothing there. And since you know the science of the body, all the blood when you go into fight or flight goes to your major organs, it leaves your digestive tract, your stomach starts to gurgle. Most people think butterflies means they're fucked. No, butterflies just means the blood left your stomach to go to your heart and now your digestive chemistry has changed, that's all that's happening. It doesn't mean you're about to die, but we misread it 'cause we don't understand it. And so then once you go, oh, I'm fucked, my stomach hurts and now I'm feeling now your mind escalates it and your mind starts freaking out. When your mind starts freaking out, then your body freaks out more and that's when the grand panic attack happens, which is an emergency break. It's designed to get you to stop thinking and to just remove yourself. And if you've ever seen somebody have a panic attack, they dart around a room, they can't breathe and they feel like they've gotta leave whatever situation they're in. This is how your body's designed to get you out of emergencies. The problem with somebody who gets a dysregulated nervous system is you feel like a truck's about to pull in your lane all the time, but your brain can't understand why you feel that way because there is no truck. Your body just got stuck there. And so when I started to understand that, I found this really interesting piece of research from Harvard Medical School called reframing performance anxiety, where researchers wanted to know, since people really screw up tests when they get nervous, right?
Performance Anxiety (41:39)
You get nervous about a test and then you can't focus and so you blow it because you've got performance anxiety or athletes that really blow it when they get nervous before in a game. Well, medically speaking, there is no physiological difference in your body state, physiologically speaking, between being nervous and being excited. Zero difference. So exactly what you talked about when the truck pulled into the lane, in the example that I gave, that experience that made you feel nervous, when you feel excited, the same thing happens, your heart races, the blood leaves your digestive track and goes up to your major organs, your armpits start to sweat, your throat feels tight, your hands get clammy. Exact same physiological experience, excitement and nervous. The only difference between a situation that makes you excited and a situation that makes you nervous is what your brain is saying about what's happening. So if you're in a situation where you're like, oh my God, I'm gonna screw up this test, you know, this is gonna be terrible and you start working yourself up and I'm so nervous, I'm so nervous, I'm gonna blow this interview, I'm so nervous, of course you're gonna start sweating, of course your heart's gonna race. If you and I are about to go see our favorite musician, let's say we have front row tickets, Adele is gonna play right here in London, we are right there, oh my God, she's about to come on stage, my heart's racing, my armpits are sweating. I'm excited because my brain's going, Adele's about to be there. So the body makes sense in the excitement situation. So the researchers at Harvard wanted to know, well, given that physiologically, it's the exact same experience, is it possible to trick the brain? In a moment when you're nervous and make your brain think you're excited, and if you did trick your brain, in a moment when you were nervous to believe that you were actually excited, would it impact your ability to perform? And the answer is yes, you can trick your brain in a situation where you're nervous, to believe that you're actually excited, and yes, it profoundly impacts your ability to perform. And so they put people in control groups in like karaoke competition and negotiation competition, a standardized test and a track meet. And there were only, the only difference between the groups is one group was taught in a situation that made them nervous to simply say, as dumb as the sounds, I'm so excited. I'm so excited to run this race. I'm so excited to take this test. I'm so excited to get out there and sing. Even though they felt nervous, I'm so excited. And the people that were taught to say, I'm so excited, outperformed the people who had no tools. And the reason can be explained by chemistry and physiology and neurology. If you get too nervous and you start to get too worked up and your thoughts start to spend, and your body stays in a fight or flight state, your brain releases cortisol. And cortisol impacts your brain's ability to focus. So all your preparation goes out the window because you just blew it with the cortisol in your brain. When you say, I'm excited, even if you feel nervous, your brain buys it and does it release cortisol, which allows you to focus on what you need to do. And so I started experimenting with this because I was deathly afraid of flying. And at the age of 45, I'm now all of a sudden because of that TEDx talk starting to take off on the speaking circuit and I'm having to board planes. And I'm being bombarded with these thoughts of, I'm gonna die, I'm never gonna see my kids get married. Is my husband gonna remarry? Will I make it? And so I said, I gotta figure out a better way. And so I stumbled into this project and I came up with this strategy. And this is fricking genius. I've taught it to millions of people. It's curing people's anxiety. I kid you not. Therapists are using this around the world. It is extraordinary. So before you have to do something that makes you nervous, come up with anything that you can grab onto that makes you excited about what you're doing. So for example, with the example of flying. Before I get on an airplane, I mean, I'm not afraid to fly at all anymore. But back in the day, back when I eight years ago, before I would get on a plane, so I'm flying to London, I would think of something I'm excited to do when I get to London. And so before I board that plane in Boston, I would think about coming here and meeting Steven and getting to hang out with him. When I get on that plane and we're up in the air and all of a sudden we start bouncing around like, something like a turbulence in the air and my body goes, oh my God! I close my eyes and go, I am so excited to see Steven.
Angela's Strategy (46:58)
Is this gonna be amazing? And what happens is that my mind goes, oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on, hold on. She's not nervous. She's excited to see Steven. And your body literally settles and your mind locks onto this thing that makes sense because I'm going to London. I'm going to see you. And if I'm going to see you, the plane obviously makes it. So there's nothing to worry about. And it took me about five or six times of doing it and I stopped having any kind of anxiety whatsoever about flying. - It's really interesting. So many different, my brain fizzled off into so many different like sicker flow chugs. But a lot of people talk about anxiety being this like concern about the future, right? And from one perspective, I was thinking then as you're saying that what you're actually doing is making the future a really nice place. So your brain is saying this plane is going to crash, the future is death. And it sounded like you're hijacking it saying, in fact, brain, the future is really, really pleasant. I get to go and see Steven. - Yeah. - And it's like, that's what it sounded like. But I have to, I just completely resonate. And anyone that's really listened to me, even in two episodes ago, one of the questions I was asked was about imposter syndrome. And my response to that was, I don't necessarily feel like I've experienced imposter syndrome. And the example I give is when I'm in Brazil and I know I'm going up on stage, you know, balm is there.
Impostor Syndrome (48:24)
For me, I always say this on the podcast. I have the same butterflies everyone else has. But my brain is telling me that I'm excited. - Right. - And it's done that so many times. And because, I think because it does that, and then it goes well, it's reinforcing that that is in fact excitement. And next time you're, you know, and it's kept that fear at bay, but yeah. - Can I unpack what just happened? - Please. - So for most people, butterflies in your stomach is a trigger that makes you believe something bad's about to happen. And I have a theory about it. The number one fear in kids is throwing up. Number two is their parents dying. But number one, according to pediatricians, is the fear of throwing up because this is, this intense moment of losing control. And so, tons of little kids have an enormous fear of throwing up and the trigger of your stomach rumbling or butterflies triggers that fear. And so I think there's been a lifetime negative association with having butterflies. What you did is you took a very common experience that's a negative trigger for people. So the physical sensation of your stomach being upset triggers negative thought patterns, uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, I'm in trouble, I'm in trouble, I'm in trouble. And then that sticks. What you've done is you've hijacked it, and you've labeled that feeling in your stomach as something positive. I'm really excited. - 100%. But I don't deserve credit for that because it was never, it was, I've figured that out in hindsight, only from hearing someone that suffers with nerves and then seeing the consequence of the impact that nerves have when it go up on stage. And me being like, okay, I have that bit, I have the feeling, but my brain isn't fearful. And then it goes well for me. And that reinforces me and creates this compounding positive cycle in my life. Now where I can walk up on stage with Obama, and yeah, I'm feeling it backstage, but I'm like, I can't wait to get up on stage, right? And this kind of speaks to a confidence, all of these things because once you get stuck in that negative reinforcing downward cycle, and I'll tell you, the downward cycle goes much faster than the upward cycle, like one incident can make that confidence drop and then it's hard to get out of. It's hard to get out of, you know, I guess hijacking it in the way you've described is a definite solution. - Well, you know what I just got really excited about? Is that let's go back to the fact that your brain learns patterns. And even though you may feel stuck, even though you may feel hopeless, you're not broken. You have patterns of thinking and patterns of behavior that are broken for where you are and where you wanna go in life. And what's super exciting is that when you start to think about changing your life through the lens of just looking for patterns, breaking them and replacing them, it becomes less personal. And I believe, especially after what I've experienced with the high five habit, that, you know, there's a lot of research in habits, obviously, about how long it takes a new habit to stick. And it's anywhere from according to a lot of people, 21 days to 63 days, depending upon what you're looking at in terms of the mind, body, spirit. I personally have a theory that if you don't like the new habit, you're never gonna make it stick. Like, I don't like getting out of bed in the morning.
The Five Second Rule (52:14)
I've been using the five second rule, 54321 for 13 years. - Can we talk about that? I feel like we didn't get brushed over that little bit. - This five second rule, you released the book, I think 2017 called The Five Second Rule, and it's all about, you know, well, you tell me what it's about, where it came from. I know there was a rocket, you're watching a rocket on TV. And that was a little bit of the initial inspiration, but where did this come from and what is it? - Well, so, you know, I think I alluded to earlier that it seems like my version of personal development requires me to fall into a hole or dig one. And then I realized nobody's coming to rescue me, and if I wanna get out of the hole, I'm gonna need to build a frickin' ladder. And so at the age of 40, I found myself in a place that I just never envisioned I would be. And that is, I had, my husband and I had three kids under the age of 10, and I was unemployed. And my husband had been in the restaurant business with his best friend, and the housing crisis hit, especially hit in the United States. And we found ourselves 800 grand in debt because we had secured the restaurant business like complete morons with our kids' college fund and our house and every credit card and the home equity line and the cars and everything. And that's great when your business is working. It's absolutely terrifying when it's not. And so I would wake up every morning, just pin to the bed with anxiety. And I became somebody that I barely recognized. I was screaming at Chris, I was drinking myself into the ground, the kids were missing the bus every day, I didn't have a job, I was hiding from my friends, I hadn't told my family what was going on. And the thing that's interesting about being stuck in life is that the fact is, you know what you need to do. That's the easy part. And if you don't know what you need to do to improve the situation and Google it, there's approximately a bazillion videos out there of people like you that have been in the exact same situation, they will walk you through, there are books you can buy there, courses, the what you need to do is out there. It's the how, how the fuck do you make yourself do what you need to do when you are scared or overwhelmed or anxious or hopeless or depressed or any of the stuff that happens to you as a human? That's the $100 million question. And at the time I didn't have the answer, I knew I needed to look for a job, I knew I needed to stop streaming at Chris, I knew I needed to get the kids on the bus, I knew I needed to ask for help, I wasn't doing any of those things. I was stuck in broken patterns and I didn't know any of the things that we're talking about right now. But one night, I was sitting there and I was watching TV and I was telling myself tomorrow morning, it's gotta be the new you, I've given myself that lame pep talk, like Mal, you've gotta stop drinking, you have gotta be nice to Chris, you've got to pull your shit together, you gotta look for a job, and by God woman and that alarm rings, you cannot lay there like a human pot roast marinating and fear and staring at the ceiling, you have gotta get out of bed woman.
Methods For Self-Love And Acceptance
Redefining yourself (55:07)
And then all of a sudden, this is divine intervention. The rocket ship launches across a television screen, Stephen, and I say that's it. That's it. Tomorrow morning, when the alarm goes off, Mel Robbins, you're gonna launch yourself out of bed like a rocket ship. You're gonna move so fast, you're not gonna be in that bed when that anxiety hits. Now, it was either God or bourbon, one of those two things gave me the idea, 'cause it sounds dumb. Okay, Mel, you're gonna be in anxiety by moving fast, that sounds great. Well, the very next morning, it was a Tuesday in February outside of Boston, Massachusetts in 2008. The alarm went off. And I think a lot about this moment, because if I hadn't done what I did that morning, my life would have gone in a totally different direction. I'd probably be divorced, I'd probably be an alcoholic, my family would be torn apart, no idea what I'd be doing for a living or where I would be. And I profoundly believe that you are one decision away from a different life. And that happened to me on a February morning in 2008. The alarm ring. And as soon as the alarm ring, I remembered the idea of launching myself out of bed. And then I did what psychologists call a bias toward thinking. And this window opens up when you start to think about what you need to do instead of doing what you need to do. It's this window of hesitation that's about five seconds long, a window of hesitation that defines your whole life. Inside this window of hesitation, lives anxiety and procrastination and fear and imposter syndrome and overwhelm all patterns of thinking, all patterns of feeling, all patterns of behavior that get triggered in this five second window of thinking about what you need to do. Because it's in the thinking that you go from being present to all the patterns kicking in and the coping mechanisms that you have. And so for whatever reason, I started to think about getting up and all the shit started to come in, I don't feel like it, how's it gonna help? I don't want to, for whatever reason, I just started counting backwards. Five, four, three, two, one. And I stood up. And I used it the next morning and the next morning. And by the third morning, I was kind of freaked out 'cause I'm like, okay, this is working, this is weird. And I said, Mal, I made myself a promise. If at any moment, you know what you need to do, but you don't feel like it. Just count backwards and let's just see what happens. And so I started using it, Steve, in this little count backwards technique, five, four, three, two, one. No idea why it's working, by the way. In any moment, I'd see Chris, I'd want to count five, four, three, two, one. All of a sudden, I'm calm. I can speak to him from a more supportive place. Kids are irritating, five, four, three, two, one. Take a breath. And now I can be the mom that I know I want to be. Five, four, three, two, one. I'm going out the door to exercise, five, four, three, two, one. I'm picking up the phone and I'm networking, five, four, three, two, one. I'm picking up the phone and calling my parents and asking for help. And slowly but surely, one decision at a time, using the five second rule. And the five second rule is very simple.
Cheat code for your brain (59:07)
The moment you have an instinct to move, you got to do it within five seconds or your brain will kill it. And counting backwards is critical. I now know why it works. When you count backwards, five, four, three, two, one, you interrupt habit loops stored in your basal ganglia. And the counting backwards requires focus, so it awakens this sucker right here, your prefrontal cortex. It's referred to as a starting ritual and habit research, a cheat code for your brain. And basically, I used it in secret for three years, because I mean, what am I going to do? Tell people you can count to five and you change your life. I mean, it sounds ridiculous. Plus, I was just trying to survive. I'm trying to find a job and save my marriage and help my husband and make sure my kids are OK and start to pay our bills and make the ends meet. And that's what I was doing. And one thing led to another. And the word got out about it, and people started to write to me about it. And it has now gone on to change the lives of millions of people. We know of 111 people who have stopped themselves from attempting suicide by counting backwards, 54321. When I had a daytime talk show, an entire wing of nurses from an inpatient unit at a psychiatric hospital in Philadelphia came to my talk show and explained to me after the show that of all the tools that they have when they discard somebody from an inpatient commitment, that the five second rule is the most effective thing that they have, except for medication, obviously. But it's the most effective thing that they have, because it's simple. And you can remember it, and anybody can use it, and it works. And I think we make a huge mistake in life. We make the mistake of believing that because our problems are big or because our dreams are so big, that somehow the solution to achieving those dreams or to solving those problems must be enormous, too. When in truth, it's the opposite, the larger the problem, the smaller the solution, the bigger the dream, the smaller the actions are that you need to start taking. Super compelling, because that also has a lot of similarities with your new book, the high five habit. It does. So I'd love to hear the story of how this was born. And I imagine that came out of, as you said, a low point in your life where you were looking for what you thought would probably be a complex solution to a set of complex problems and dynamics in your life. But the high five habit is more centered around gratitude.
The High-Five Habit (01:01:50)
And I guess self appreciation, is that an accurate description of that? Yeah. Yeah. Even knowing what I know about the five second rule, I believe the high five habit is 1,000 times more powerful. And the reason why I say that is because the five second rule will help you break patterns of behavior. It'll help you push through fear. It'll help you take action. It'll help you interrupt thoughts. It will help you walk away from things, define boundaries. It's very action oriented. I've become procrastination. Yeah. Overcome procrastination. The high five habit works at a much deeper level. It solves what I believe is everybody's core issue and problem. And that is the issue and the habit of hating yourself, of criticizing yourself, of not liking yourself, of beating yourself up. And as successful as I've become and as much as I've accomplished, it wasn't until I stumbled into the high five habit that I truly confronted the fact that in spite of all that success, I still didn't like myself. I still judged the woman in the mirror. I was still in many ways betting against myself by constantly beating the hell out of myself. And it was a habit. And we talked in the very beginning about how we go from being children that are wired to love ourselves to the ways in which life can make you start to feel what's wrong with me, and the ways in which your brain starts to turn and fill to the world in a way where you see everything that you're not, and all the ways that you don't fit in, and all the things that aren't working out. And that was exactly my experience. And I think it's every single human beings experience. I don't care how successful you are. And so the high five habit is very, very simple. And first, I'll tell you what it is, and then I'll explain the story. So I'm on a mission to get every single human being on the planet to add high fiving themselves in the mirror to their morning routine. That right after you brush your teeth, as ubiquitous as it is for people to brush their teeth in the morning, let's get rid of the skanky breath so you don't drag it through your day. I want you to literally wipe clean your mind, body, and spirit so you don't drag generational gunk and patterns into your day.
The Morning Routine Beating (01:04:24)
And it's that simple. Put down the toothbrush, look at yourself in the mirror, raise your hand and send yourself into your day, knowing that you have your own back, knowing that no matter what happens today, you will be here there to support you and encourage you. No matter what, because you haven't been. And the way I discovered it was in April of 2020. And the backdrop doesn't even matter. I mean, what was happening is a universal experience. I was just at a moment where I was overwhelmed by my life. There was a lot of shit going on in my business. There was a lot of stuff going on in the world. A couple of my kids were really in a state of being anxious and upset about things. And I just woke up morning after morning feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Feeling like if one more thing happened, I just can't cope. And I think that that's something that we all feel at times in our life, whether somebody just breaks up with you or you lose a job or you don't get the funding you want it or you lose an election you went for or you just feel lost in your life or maybe your parents are sick, just this feeling of I just can't take it. I just don't know how I'm going to deal with the demands of my life. And that was me. And so one morning I'm standing in my bathroom and I'm brushing my teeth and I'm there in my underwear. And I look at myself in the mirror and my first thought is, "Oh my God, you look like hell." And then I immediately, out of habit, start picking my appearance apart. I mean, look at the dark circles in your gray hair and your saggy neck and God, one boob is lower than the other. You look like shit now. And the second your mind goes negative, you're already alluded to this. It's like more negative thoughts climb on. And so then I drift into my day and it's not like, "Yes, it's like, why did I get up so late?" And you got a Zoom call in eight minutes. I'm like, "God, I haven't even walked the dog yet." And oh, I forgot to text Stephen back and just the beat down begins. And I believe that my experience that morning is everybody's experience. And I know based on research that it is, that we talk a big game about gratitude and meditation and morning routines, but we've skipped this one thing that's happening in everybody's morning routine and it's a habit of self-rejection, of self-criticism. And every human being has it, I kid you not. And standing there that morning, overwhelmed by life, giving myself the morning just kind of beat down and negativity, I couldn't think of anything to say to myself. And I wouldn't have believed it anyway, because I felt overwhelmed and as pathetic as it sounds. I don't know what came over me, but for whatever reason, again, I think it was probably divine intervention. I just dog at my feet, underwear on, no bra. I just raised my hand and I gave the woman in the mirror a high five because she looked like she needed one. That very first one, a couple things happened. I actually laughed because it was so cheesy. I now know that the reason why I laughed is because your brain drips dopamine when you give somebody a high five. And then I felt like a switch flip. And it wasn't like I was like, "Yes!" But I just felt myself go from this very low state. I didn't even think any words, but energetically, I felt myself go from feeling defeated to sort of like, "Come on now, you got a roof over your head. It's not that bad. Get your ass out." Like it was kind of like that kind of tough coach kind of mustering of an energy. But Steven, it was the second morning when everything broke wide open. So I wake up, same problem, same kind of energetic, depleted, overwhelmed, 54321, I get out of bed. I make my bed. And as I'm walking to the bathroom, I'm not even to the bathroom yet, and then it fricking hits me. I realize I'm experiencing something I've never felt in my entire adult life.
What Do You Feel (01:09:07)
And what I'm experiencing is this. When you go and you're about to meet somebody at a cafe that you really love, and you're about to walk in the door, what are you feeling? Excitement, positive anticipation. Yeah. Yeah. I felt that about seeing myself. Now, I've felt excited to see an outfit or a haircut. I don't ever recall as an adult feeling excited to see the human being, Mel Robbins. Why were you excited? I was excited because the experience of high-fiving yourself. Is more than a gesture. It creates partnership. And there's a sense that you're returning home. The same way that a neighbor waves to you and sees you, I knew that I would have that experience with myself as soon as I rounded the corner and walked into that bathroom. Because what I realized that second morning is I rounded the corner and walked into the bathroom. Is that there's actually two human beings in the bathroom every morning. There's you and there's a human being in the mirror. And that human being is trying and they've been there a long time and they've been waiting for you to wake up and to see them. They're tired of your constant negativity. They're tired of you beating them down. They need you to be more encouraging. They need you to be more celebratory. They need your support. And when you finally wake up and create a moment with yourself every single morning where you look yourself in the eye and you see yourself and you forgive yourself and you honor yourself and you say, "I believe with this gesture in you." It is this remarkably deep and spiritual feeling of connection that you've been longing for for a very long time. And so that second morning, you know, I'm realizing, "Holy cow." It's like this sort of, it's sort of like when you first realize that the voice in your head isn't you and you have this whole paradigm shift. When you allow yourself to understand the depth of what I'm trying to teach you, there will be a paradigm shift that will fundamentally change how you live your life. The hardest part is looking at yourself. 50% of men and women cannot or will not look at themselves in the mirror because they are either disgusted or disappointed with where they are in life.
Act of Self-Love and Acceptance (01:12:12)
And if you cannot look at yourself in the mirror, that is an act of self-rejection, that is an act of self-criticism, that is an act of self-hatred. That's not just a casual thing you're doing. The rest of us that can look at ourselves, what we do when we look at ourselves is we focus on the things we need to fix. For most women, putting on makeup is not additive, it's not a creative expression, it's covering something up that you don't like. It's changing something that you think is wrong. That action, that intention behind it is self-rejection. It is self-criticism, it is self-hatred. And for so many men, if it's not about your appearance, it's about where you are in life, what you've provided, how much you've made, what car you drive, where you stand in your career, what you've built, what you haven't, the mistakes that you've made. So you stand in judgment. And what is so groundbreaking about the act of being where you are in life, even with all that judgment or that weight or that shame or that regret or whatever it may be that you carry into the bathroom with you based on your life. When you raise your hand to high-five the human being you see in the mirror, your brain has neural association with that physical action. The physical action in and of itself is a positive trigger for every human being on the planet. Even if you are in a culture where people do not high-five each other, you have seen sports teams do it, you have seen viral videos with it, your brain knows exactly what a high-five is. Just like everybody's brain knows exactly what this is. You don't even have to say a word because all of the positive programming is already hardwired into your basal ganglia and the physical action alone triggers it. You've never high-five somebody and thought, "I hate you, you suck, you've blown your life, I hope you lose the game, fuck off, you've never ever done it." It is neurologically impossible to stand in front of the mirror and actually think something negative as your hand is reaching the mirror because your brain's not programmed to do that. So when you high-five somebody, what is the high-five communicate? Well done, acceptance, congratulations, you did it, you can do it, let's do it. Yeah, well done, it's collaboration, it's partnership, it's union. If somebody's going through a challenge, it's shake it off, you got this, keep going. It is so many things but it's all in belief and celebration and being seen, all of which are your fundamental emotional needs. And so the thing that's super exciting about this is that we're taking programming that is already stored in your mind, body, and spirit and we're just going to aim it right back at you. And the layers upon layers upon layers of psychological proof, of research, of all kinds of evidence for why this works, goes so deep it's extraordinary. So for example, the physical action of high-fiving, your brain is already always given you a drippodopamine, that's why you will immediately feel a boost in your mood. It's why a lot of people laugh. The other thing that happens is you are also tapping into wiring in your nervous system that's celebratory.
Connection And Affirmations
The wiring in your nervous system that is celebratory? (01:15:55)
So when you cross a finish line, for example, or when your favorite team scores, what do you instinctively do? Celebrate. Yeah, you raise your arms. Shout surprise, you raise your arms. When you say hello, you raise your arms. When you go to high-five, somebody raise your arms. So even on your lowest morning, when you go to raise your arm to high-five yourself, your nervous system taps into that celebratory energy that we all so desperately need in life. The other thing that happens that I love about this is you don't need to say a word because for many people who feel extraordinarily stuck and beaten down and full of shame or regret, you wouldn't believe any positive mantras anyway because you've got so much evidence for why you're a screw-up, why things aren't working. But when you go to raise your hand, the gesture does all the communicating. And it also taps into behavioral activation therapy, which says at its most simple form, act like the person you want to become. That's not fake until you make it, by the way. This is intentional. Intentionally act like the person you want to become because when you intentionally act like the person you want to become, your brain sees you taking those actions so your brain starts to change the way it relates to you. When your brain sees you high-fiving yourself in the mirror, it starts to go, "Oh, wait a minute. Steven loves himself. Steven's cheering for himself. We don't beat Steven up." Do you see a difference when you're between doing it with yourself and doing it with someone else? Oh, it's night. Well, it's night and day in that you've been cheering for everybody else your whole life. And when somebody else high-fives you, it feels amazing because you're getting affirmed as a human being.
You can create the same connection with yourself (01:17:49)
It's connection as well as connection. But I believe you can create that same connection with yourself. And what's happened for me is profound. I used to look in the mirror and on default, pick myself apart. It was never enough. It didn't matter how many millions of dollars I made. It was never enough. I was, "No, no, no." And I realized now, like so many entrepreneurs, I had married achievement with being worthy of love. That as long as I was achieving something, then I was worthy of love. And that's also why we all tend to chase achievement because the second that you get the first million in the bank, "Okay, now I got to do more." Because if you're not doing something, then who are you? And in practicing the high-five habit for now more than a year, and researching it for more than a year, in having hundreds of thousands of people go through this thing that we call the high-five challenge. We've released it to the public now for 34 days. We've had 136,000 people complete it from 91 countries. Not a single person because we're tracking all the data on it has said it didn't work. Not a single person. We have people writing to us about the breakthroughs they're having with depression, with anxiety, with suicidal ideation, with self-worth, with senses of failure, because it's the physical action and the programming that exists within you that go to work against the patterns that are making you feel so dark and stuck. And that's why this is powerful. And so after a year of doing this, what's amazing is I don't even see my face anymore. I just see a person that I love. Being a parent, it's pretty extraordinary. You have this experience when you become a parent or even a pet owner, right? Where you love this thing so much, even when the dog poops on the ground. You're angry, but you don't stop loving the dog. When your kids screw up, you might be annoyed or regret what they did, but you don't stop loving them. But somehow we never figured out how to do that for ourselves. That when we screw up, we stop loving ourselves and we stand in judgment instead. And I think that's why life is hard. I think that's why people don't feel inspired and motivated. You want to fix imposter syndrome and people pleasing, learn how to stand in front of the mirror, give yourself a high five, demonstrate that you like yourself, demonstrate that you accept yourself. Because if you like yourself, you don't go out in the world and look for other people to like you because you don't need it. It's wonderful if they do, but the fantastic thing is, is if you actually like yourself, if you just accept where you are, you stop judging yourself, you accept yourself with some compassion. What's extraordinarily powerful about it, Steven, is that when you go out in the world, if somebody else disrespects you, it doesn't change the fact that you respect yourself. If somebody else doesn't like you or love you, yet stings, it sucks, but it doesn't change the fact that you like or love yourself. That's your first foundation. That's your first foundation. And this high five habit of standing in partnership with yourself, demonstrating through a physical action that you see yourself and support yourself, you got your own back. You like yourself. You know you deserve to be treated this way. It changes how you show up in life. Quick one, as you probably know by now, I'm trying to make my life a little bit more sustainable. And I consider myself to be on a bit of a sustainability journey in the same way that I'm on a health journey. And it's a privilege to be able to share that with all of you. And you, you'll know, if you've listened to the last podcast, that I traded in my Range Rover Sport in for an electric bicycle, which is now my only vehicle. And next year, hopefully, I'll have my electric car to if Tesla hurry up with a cyber truck. And that's where my energy comes into my life and my sort of sustainability journey. It makes your life, if you are on that sustainability journey, 10 times easier. This is one of their, if you can't see this, I'm holding it in my hand, if you're listening on Spotify or Apple. This is one of their renewable energy products. If you're watching on YouTube, you'll see this. This is called the Harvey. It's this very clever little device that allows the Zappi and the Eddy, which I've talked about before on this podcast, to be installed into your home without hard wiring or without batteries or without those god-awful transformers that a lot of people have in their house. It's basically a tiny device that's going to save you both time and money. And for someone like me, who doesn't have loads of time on our hands, it's a real lifesaver. If you're looking to make a conscious switch and you need a quick fix that's going to save you a load of time, then head over to myenergy.com to see this product and many, many more. A lot of self-help advice tends to advise looking in the mirror and just saying nice shit to yourself.
Do affirmations actually work? (01:22:42)
I am strong and capable and I will be a millionaire and then crack on with you. If that worked, we'd all be millionaires. But so that doesn't work because there's a lot of people out there. Isn't that how you made your millions? Then you just stand in front of a mirror and say, I'm a millionaire. I've got to be a millionaire. I'm going to be a millionaire. Then I went back to bed. There's a lot of that narrative in society. It's all shit. It's interlinked with the manifestation piece, which is from what I've, a lot of the fluffy stuff that I read is you just got to think about it. In fact, I had this argument with this girl in there in New York where she was like, Steve, all you got to do is think about it and it will happen. So you don't believe there's any work in it? No, just think about it. I was like, I don't. That sounds like somebody with a trust fund. The analogy I often give is like, if I just did the sat-nav in my car and didn't put the key in and press the accelerator, I would just be in my garage all day. I understand the importance of knowing where you're going, which is the sat-nav, but I also have to drive or else we're not going to move. Yeah. A couple of things. Positive mantras don't work and they don't work because people pick positive mantras that they don't believe. So if you are in a studio apartment eating rice and beans, barely able to pay your bills, standing in front of a mirror and saying, I'm a millionaire. I'm going to be a millionaire someday. What happens based on research is your brain's like, actually, have you seen where you live? Have you seen that you've quit every job that you've had? Have you seen and heard your negative self-talk? I don't think this is going to, like, your brain's like, uh-uh. Your brain has a great bullshit detector. And so the mistake people make is they pick a mantra that is the exact opposite of the way they treat themselves. Is it like, so the way that I've come to it, maybe even in the last two months, is my brain actually needs evidence. Yes. Right? Yes. So. And you know what evidence at once? It was fucking action. Right. Oh, yeah. Prove it to me. Behavioral activation therapy. Act like the person you say you want to be. And then maybe I'll believe you. Yeah. Now, should you still interrupt the beat down? Absolutely. Absolutely you should. What I'm saying is, you got to stop beating the hell out of yourself, but you can't jump immediately to, and it's going to all magically disappear. And I'm going to love my body after beating myself up and hating myself for 20 years. It's not going to happen that fast. So, you know, if you want to do mantras, do a more pathetic mantra, you know, do something that's like a little bit like more achievable, like, you know, instead of, uh, you know, I love my body after trashing your body for 20 years, say, I deserve to be healthy. Even if you hate your body, anybody in any brain can get behind. Yeah, you do. That's right. I'm glad you're waking up. You do deserve to be healthy. Now, now prove it. Let's take some actions that show you that. So no, mantras don't work. If you're picking a mantra, you don't believe. And if you're picking a mantra that is the opposite of the way you treat yourself and the actions you take. So that's number one. Number two, manifesting.
How manifesting actually works (01:26:06)
Everybody has been sold a bill of goods about manifesting. If you make a vision board with your, uh, house on the ocean or you at the stock exchange, ringing the bell. And that's all that you have on it. Science says that that vision board will become a source of profound discouragement. Because over time, as you sit there and stare at your dream house or you ringing the bell at NASDAQ and nothing in your life changes, you start to feel further and further and further away from what you want, which makes you feel further and further discouraged, which means you're less and less motivated to even begin working on it. Like the hardest part for everybody is to start. And the reason why is not only the patterns of procrastination and anxiety and stuff that you get trapped in, but it's also because your goals feel so far away that you don't believe that just starting is going to even chip away at it. And so number one, because it sounds like I just contradicted myself. Yes, you need to have something like a beach house or the NASDAQ bell or the business you're starting or the love affair of your life or the family you've always envisioned or the health that you've always dreamt about. Absolutely. Swing for the fences. What do you want it to look like 10 years from now? But when it comes to manifesting based on science, I want you to think as manifesting as a bridge. Manifesting is a bridge that's made of bricks between you and the thing that you dream about. And what you do when you manifest is you don't manifest where the bridge is going. You manifest the bricks. So a great example is a marathon. So let's say that you've never run a day in your life, but your bucket list is to complete the London marathon. Yes, you can put on your vision board a photograph of a runner crossing the London marathon. You can even put the dream that you have in terms of the number that you want the time to be. But you better put a runner in the rain up there. You better put an alarm clock that says 4.30 in the morning, because that's what time you're going to have to get up in order to get your training runs in. You better put a runner that's gripping their leg like this when they get a muscle cramp. You better put up a vision of you at mile 13 and your earbuds run out. And you still got two more miles to go. Visualization is the bricks. And so what I want you to do when you visualize is instead of visualizing, "Ah, marathon, I did it. That's amazing." And then you open up and you're like, "Okay." And I still have not even bought a pair of sneakers. That's not happening, but that was a fun little exercise. Now, what you do is you literally visualize, walk into the store and get sneakers, call your friend who runs and ask for advice. Oh my God, that's me on my first training run. I've only gone 30 seconds and I'm out of breath. Oh, there I am running three miles in the rain. And I feel proud of myself because I've actually gone out in the rain. Oh, there I am saying, "No to my friends. I can't go out tonight because I didn't get my run in, but I'm going to go on my big run alone." That you visualize the annoying, irritating, amazing things. I'm sure people look at you all the time with your extraordinary success, Steven, and are like, "How'd you do it? How'd you do it?" And do you know how many things I missed that on? Do you know how many, like the amount of work that nobody wants to do because they're not thinking about it is extraordinary? That's the bridge. Anybody is capable of achieving anything. I actually believe that because I think human beings are designed to change. You're capable of breaking any pattern. You're capable of getting control of your health. You're capable of launching a business. You're capable of making millions of dollars. You're capable of healing your trauma, of finding love, of doing absolutely anything that you put your mind to as long as you are willing to do the work for it. And as long as you give up your timeline, because I do believe that people who put in the work get rewarded, but you just might not get rewarded when you think you're going to be. And it might not be the reward that you thought you were going to get. Is that the case in your life? It's always the case. And that's why I always have big dreams because I have learned time and time and time and time again, especially in entrepreneurial ventures, that you put this huge flag out there. You write the business plan, you set the goals, and then you put your fucking head down and you put in the work. And you ride the wave and you have the disappointments and you spend the late nights and you have the heartbreak and the heartache and then things change. And then you think this didn't work out and I got betrayed and why didn't they recognize me and damn it, I've worked hard. And now I got to start all over and you have all of that. But if you keep going and you keep going, eventually you will look up one day and be like, Holy shit, this is exactly what I was meant to do and what I was meant to discover. Yeah, my business plan said I was supposed to go over here and I ended up over here because this is what I was supposed to do.
Generating happiness = being on your purpose. (01:31:56)
But without this business plan, I never would have gotten started. The business plan was but a dot on the map of my life connecting me to where I'm meant to go. You know, I think one of the most extraordinary things that has happened to me in this past year, especially now that I have this real partnership with myself, where I have a level of trust that through my attitude, through my actions, through a sense of faith, that it's going to turn out that even when things are really hard, I still believe deep in my core that through my attitude and my actions, it's going to be okay that I have within me the power to ride the ups and downs and to come out on the other side of it. And you know, I think that we've all had the experience, Stephen, of being able to look backwards and say, Whoa, you know, I wouldn't ever wish the experience that I had back and forth great on anybody. But without that experience, I would not be able to help the amount of people that I help. I would not be able to understand trauma as a lived experience and inside and out and at a layer that's so deep because it is an experience that I had in my life without 25 years of struggling with anxiety, without having two kids that have struggled with anxiety, I would not know what I know about anxiety and be able to help people, including my own children. I would not, without having made mistakes with my kids and their anxiety, be able to tell parents, Do not do this because I did this and it made my kids anxiety worse and I didn't even know. And so I can see, you know, I can see how everything from, you know, working as a public defender to being a legal commentator from CNN to the number of stages that I've been on to the number of people that I've helped. I can see how all of that comes together to help me do what I need to do in this moment. And I think one of the most powerful things that you can cultivate when you cultivate partnership with yourself is being able every single day to have a level of trust in your life, in the magic of things, in yourself, to know that this moment right now is also a dot on the map of your life. And five, 10, 20 years from now, you will look back on this moment and you will know exactly why this happened and why it happened is it was preparing you for something. It was giving you a skill or an experience or some wisdom or a relationship that you're going to need for something extraordinary that's coming. And when you believe that, it gives you the strength to face absolutely anything. When you look back on the person you are now and the tremendous wisdom that you've just demonstrated, just speaking to me just then, do you recognize the male that couldn't get out of bed, was feeling depressed, couldn't find, you know, described to herself as you did as being lazy, do you recognize that person? And what's at the very essence in the engine room that drove that change? Was it passion? Was it finding your calling? Because I know you weren't this person. You couldn't have been this person. Well, dude, it's also been 31 years. I mean, come on. I've had, I've like basically been changing for as long as you've been alive for crying out loud. And also, human beings are designed to grow. But not everybody seems to because you have... Because they don't understand being stuck. Yeah, interesting. See, being stuck is one of the most universal feelings of the human experience. And nobody understands what it is. What is it? Oh, it's amazing when you hear this. It's like... So remember how we've talked about how the human beings have this crazy amount of natural intelligence wired into us. And inside your body, we've talked about one of the signals, anxiety. Anxiety is a signal that means pay attention. That's why you go into fight or flight. You're in an alert mode. Okay? That's all it is. It's a signal, an alarm system. And your body has a sophisticated system of signals and alarms. And they're all tied to fundamental needs. Anxiety is tied to your fundamental need for safety. That's why it's a signal. Let's talk about your most important fundamental needs. Let's go right back to psychology 101, Maslow's hierarchy of needs. You need food or else you die. So when you need food, what is the signal that your body sends you? When you need water, what is the signal? When you need air. Yeah, you're catching your breath. When you need rest, what do you feel? When you need connection, what do you feel? Human beings are designed to grow. When you stop growing, what do you feel? Stuck. Yeah. I was going to say stagnant, but I guess stuck is, yeah. We're stagnant. We're still trapped, I guess, is, yeah. Feeling stuck is a signal that you've stopped growing. That's it. And when most people feel stuck since they don't understand that it's tied to a fundamental need for growth, we believe it's an existential crisis and we blow up our lives. For most human beings, what actually will get you feeling like you're not stuck is having something in the future that you're looking forward to. Or taking a class where you're learning something or changing a routine so that you try a new class at the gym. Learning anything gets you back in touch with a fundamental need. It makes you start to feel like things are moving. And from that place, a feeling a little bit more empowered, you'll be able to make better decisions about what big things need to change in your life. And you would also describe that as a moment where your life has an absence of purpose.
We all have the same purpose. (01:38:30)
I think about various examples, Olympians that come back from the Olympics and they're like 80% chance of depression after they've, you know. And then I think about people who have, yeah, lost purpose in their lives for whatever reason, been fired from their jobs or whatever. All people that are in jobs that are, you know, absence of purpose completely, a feeling of being stuck. And then you certainly talk to us about the importance of goals and ambitions going forward when humans don't have that forward ambition or that thing to look forward to in the future. And their current situation lacks purpose. They become very psychologically disorientated. Be the way I'd describe it. I have a different take on purpose. I think everybody's purpose is exactly the same. What is that? I think your purpose is to share your true self, to be fully seen. And for the Olympian, when you are training and you're in that arena, that is an experience of being seen. And for most people that are lacking purpose, they feel profoundly invisible. And being seen fundamentally comes back to whether or not you even see yourself. And when you start to feel empowered and you start to see yourself and meet you where you are, what happens is every day that you're able to stand with yourself, to accept where you are, to give yourself the compassion, to give yourself the support and the love and the respect and the worthiness that you deserve, you're going to go out into the world and share more of yourself. That Olympic athlete is sharing more of themselves. And so I think our purpose in life is to come back home to ourselves, to reconnect with ourselves and to empower ourselves, to go back out into the world and share our stories and share our experiences and share our full selves with the rest of the world. From a prehistoric standpoint, I say, because I always try and check things against the caveman of my ancestral beings, the idea of being seen when I was my ancestors 10,000 years ago, what kind of role does that play in from a survival perspective?
Transmutation Of Negative Experiences Into Gifts
Being celebrated=reducing trauma & stress from experience. (01:40:55)
Well, I mean, I'm freestyling here. So my suspicion is, if you were not within your mom's eye view, your ass was going to get eaten. And so I think that, you know, if you wandered off as a kid, you were in danger.
If you weren't hunting with the pack, you were in danger. And so being seen means safety. And that's why when you look at psychological safety, there are three fundamental needs that need to be seen, they need to be heard, and they need to be celebrated for the unique person that you are. Those are your three fundamental emotional needs when it comes to feeling safe and whole as a human being. And most people's experience, by the time they are done with childhood, is they feel invisible. They feel like nobody gets them, and they feel completely disconnected and unloved or not celebrated. It makes the time sense. Yeah.
The TAG Question from Kelly Flanagan (01:42:20)
Sorry, you don't care about that answer. Yeah, no, it's a really, really remarkable reframing. We have a new tradition on the Diaries of a CEO, which is in the diary, the famous diary of a CEO. The previous guest always writes a question for the next guest that's coming, and they don't know who they are. Okay. And these guests, they're so diverse, it's always so fascinating. And they never know who they're writing it for, which is also interesting. The previous guest wrote, "What is the one regret you have if you have any at all?" It's a tricky question because I'm one of these people that doesn't want to go back and change anything. I think everybody is. According to the science, we had a, my guy that's here from Google, he talked about the eraser test, and he said, "Even people that have gone through profound trauma when asked the question, if they were to raise the trauma, 99% said no because of the domino effect, you don't know." It's an interesting one. Yeah. You know, like any behavior that hurt somebody else, anything that I did, whether it was lied or cheating or just being an asshole, when I was just trying to survive that unintentionally hurt somebody else, I wish that that wasn't part of my story. But... But... I wouldn't understand at a profound level that really well-meaning good people do really shitty things when they feel shitty about themselves. And if I hadn't done shitty things when I felt shitty about myself, I wouldn't fully believe that. And you might do that again, I guess. Had you not done it once? Yeah. Yeah. Or twice or three times or four times.
Last Question (01:44:13)
Like first you get to wake up. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then there's all the things that I did that I don't realize hurt somebody else. But, you know, I know in my heart that I was still a good person, I was just in a really bad place. Which is, you know, why you do bad things. Your relationship with yourself is the foundation for everything in life. And if you believe you're a bad person, you will tend to do bad things. And the opposite is also true. If you believe that you are a good person who is worthy of good things, you tend to do good things. Unbelievably true. My last question for you is one that I tend to always ask people I meet that I find to be incredibly wise and very good at helping others. I mean, you help hundreds of millions of people combined. Which is, do you still struggle with all of this shit you talk about? Oh, my God.
Why a big loss inspired Mel to share her story (01:45:15)
Like, yes. That's why I'm so fucking relatable. I do not have this stuff figured out. I am shoulder to shoulder with everybody. Whether it's issues going on with one of my kids, issues going on with one of me, you know, with, look, you know, just the other night. I mean, I'm, this is what happened. I self-published the audiobook. And, which is amazing because I'm a smart motherfucker. I own my rights. And you should. This one I did a joint venture on the publishing, but I own all of the audio. Amazing. And, because the five second rule is self-published, and it's the number one selling self-published audiobook in the history of audiobooks. The book is self-published. And, which is why I need to get into NFTs because my, I don't like it when somebody else has control. I as an artist want to own what I do as a businesswoman. Nothing pisses me off more than getting into a dumb deal. And then I resent the people that I'm in the deal with because I didn't negotiate properly. And, if you believe in what you're doing, you better own your work. You better understand the long tail payoff of your work because nobody will market your work better than you and you will be profoundly pissed off when somebody else is making their money 100 years from now. And, for every author that's listening, make sure you look at Amazon because the relatives of What's His Face who wrote the seven habits of highly effective, whatever, they're the ones collecting checks on that because that book is still hitting. So, you want to be like Mariah Carey. She laughs all the way to the bank whenever Christmas rolls around because of that song. And so, I self-publish the audiobook. I have a tremendous partnership with Audible where we create a lot of original content for them behind their paywall. And, I self-published this book and we destroyed it in sales the month of October. The number one selling audiobook period hands down of any book that was published, period. AP reported it, everybody reported it. And then the New York Times comes out in November and they ranked the top 10 audiobooks of the month of October and they deliberately left me off. And when that happened, I punched the wall. I drank a gin martini. I lit up a joint. I called a couple friends and bitched and I immediately got triggered because I went right back to the experience of being a ninth grader on the tennis team and having the seniors throw a party and I was the only ninth grader who wasn't involved. And so, it triggered a very old pattern that I thought I had gotten rid of which is I'm an outsider. Nobody likes me. I'm always having to sneak in why am I never invited? Why am I not part of the cool kids? Why am I not for it? It's that old stupid-ass story that got triggered. And so, of course, this shit happens. It happens all the time. And I just happen to talk about it because I don't like feeling these things and I find that just trying to shove it down makes the next time it happens get even bigger. And so, I share this stuff because I think holding it in is what's creating a lot of anxiety and regret and upset and stuckness for people. We are all so the same. And the more that I share the ups and downs, I think the more people listen to the things that are working and try them out and tweak them for their own life. And look, if I can save anybody, the heartache and the headaches that caused myself, that's a life well lived. If I can laugh at myself along the way, if I can punch a wall and drink a gin martini and then share with you, like, "Okay, this," and then get out because how I got out of that because I could have been in that cycle. The old mal would have been there for a month. Everybody's out to get me. I never get recognized why even bother. It doesn't matter. And it allows me to share in real time that I feel all the shit, but I don't like to stay there. And this is not toxic positivity. It is important when you're disappointed to allow yourself to feel disappointed. It is important when you lose something to give yourself the grace to grieve for as long as you need to. It is important to have a good cry, to have a good scream, to draw, to... It's important to feel the highs and the lows. You're meant to feel it all. But you can shorten the length of time you stay down. And what always helps me, it's something that I developed when the five-second rule launch was coming off the rails. As I just kept saying what I've said a couple times during this, I say to myself, I refuse to believe that if I'm a good person, and that if I'm working hard, I refuse to believe that this doesn't work out. I refuse to believe that I'm not going to be okay. Like, I know that this moment's going to pass, and I know that I will look back on this moment five years from now, and I'll see exactly what I was meant to learn. And what I was meant to learn, I already know, is that I have got to once and for all stop looking for validation in old institutions. If I truly want to be an artist on my own terms, don't even pay attention to that shit, because it doesn't matter in the world that we're living in now. It doesn't matter if you really want to make impact, because the person that's struggling is the person that you want to reach, not the person that's deciding who gets on some stupid list that's printed in a paper, and redirecting your focus to what actually matters. And the fact that you believe in your heart, that you got the mindset, you got the work ethic, you got the ability to figure this shit out and to keep going, and that eventually if you do, what's meant for you is going to find you, you will be rewarded for all this in the way that you're meant to be rewarded. That's amazing. It's an amazing feeling, because you can pick yourself up no matter what happens. Well, thank God you do share it, because you know, you're a very special human being, and there's very few in the world that have the genius of the skill stack, the way it's kind of the hard idea that you have, where they're able to go through things in life, analyze them, understand them from a psychological or scientific perspective, from an sort of intrinsic internal perspective, and then be a masterful orator in sharing that in a relatable, honest way that helps others to change their lives and find the peace they're looking for, find the outcomes they're searching for. There's very few that can do that with such genius. So that's a beautiful compliment, and thank you for saying that. I really appreciate it, and I can hear it. For the first time in my life, I can hear it. And you've also given me this extraordinary insight that I just got. So you asked me in the beginning, kind of what is it that created all of this insight or this drive to figure it out? I think I just figured it out. You've just foggened at it. I just figured it out. I spent so long being dysregulated, having a nervous system that was constantly on edge, like what it felt like to be me, any moment in my life, whether I was sitting in a classroom or I was sitting at that law from bait stamping, or I'm sitting as a young mom with postpartum depression, or I'm sitting in yet another job I don't like, is it felt like being in a car at a stoplight that had a green signal. And the emergency break was on, and the gas was floored, and I was going nowhere. Like just the engine revved, in the sense that I needed to go, but not being able to go. And when I finally started to get control of my own thinking, when I finally started to understand anxiety and how to quiet it in my mind, and then how to quiet it in my body, when I finally got serious about understanding trauma and healing it in my nervous system first, through EMDR, through therapy, through guided MDMA sessions, I finally had the experience of being in my body and being safe and being okay. And I hadn't had that in a really long time.
How to actually transmute negative experiences into gifts (01:54:41)
And I'm so aware of when I'm not in my body now, I'm so aware of when my nervous system starts to go on edge, that my tolerance for staying there is zero, because I live for far too long, feeling on edge, anxious, dysregulated, self-loathing, that when I dip into that space, and everybody, you dip into that space once a day, if not like, I used to live there. And so when I start to dip into that dysregulated, anxious, on edge, intense space, it's like, get this out of my body.
Unstoppability And Resilience
Living on edge (01:55:31)
We got to get back into my new default, which is grounded, centered, in control of what I'm thinking, what I'm going to do next. And it's a fluid situation. But you just gave me the insight as to why it's so quick for me now, because I've made a commitment to myself that after spending 30 years that way, 40 almost, that I don't want to live another year that way, another week that way, another full day that way. Now, do I have things that happen in my life that are tough, that put me into a mode where I'm anxious and on edge? And of course, do I disassociate when I get really awful? Of course. But I now have the tools to bring myself back into my body, to give myself the encouragement, the assurance, the support that I need, so that I can face whatever's happening and know that I'm not only going to be okay, I'm actually going to be awesome eventually. That's beautiful. And yeah, I've got a little bit emotional there too. I also assert that you figured that out.
Nothing can stop you (01:57:16)
And you're also helping a lot of other people figure that out in themselves, which is a remarkable, I mean, it's the highest service I think anyone human being could do for society is to do what you're doing at the moment. And yeah, if only there were more forces in the world like you, I really, I was thinking as you were speaking, I was thinking this, this woman really is a force in the world. And I'm nothing can stop you. I really believe that I'm thinking nothing is you got too much too strong, too much, too much intrinsic drive. That's coming from a lot of the sort of traumas and experiences you've described, nothing can stop you. No inclusion on any list is going to stop you. Probably only add to the coal firing inside of yourself. That's everything better. Just get out the way.
Conclusion With Lindsay
Tom wraps up with Lindsay (01:58:06)
Thank you so much for the time, the honesty, the openness, the inspiration for many a year. I've seen you going way back to the viral video days on Facebook where you'd come up all the time in my feed and I'd say, "Who's this person?" And what's this thing she's talking about jumping out of bed and I was like, "Fuck." And then I was trying it myself and it was working for me. So it's such a huge honor. And that's the word are you sparingly, but in this case, it's perfectly adequate to sit here with you and to spend some time with you and it's time I won't forget. So thank you. Thank you.