Overcoming Depression, Burnout, Anxiety and Insomnia with Dan Murray-Serter | E54 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Overcoming Depression, Burnout, Anxiety and Insomnia with Dan Murray-Serter | E54".
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It's very rare that you get to meet entrepreneurs that are following and have followed in the steps that you followed in in your life. And like, so whenever I meet people like you and Ben Francis, who is similar age to me, who has like similar life ambitions, I see it as like this really amazing, rare opportunity to learn for myself and to ask honestly like selfish questions. And I saw on your Twitter, I think it was over the mental health week period, you did a tweet where you talked about your experiences with depression, burnout and anxiety. And from what I know about your story, you experienced those things in that order. So I think that's a good place to start, which is let's talk about depression and the role that depression played in your life and where it came from and how you've overcome or are overcoming or handling depression. Yeah, so interesting actually because I realized when I started to talk about mental health stuff, even more interestingly than what you've just said, I kind of realized that I'd been burying another mental health problem.
Dan'S Personal Journey With Mental Health And Identity
Dan's Mental Health: Part 1 (01:00)
So actually the tweet was more depression, burnout, anxiety and insomnia. But actually it's really interesting. I did a podcast interview with a nutritionist called Rhianne Lambert. And I was preparing for that, I was going over the fact that I'd grown up fat and the fact that I probably did have an unusual relationship mentally with food. And suddenly I was unpacking what had happened in my 20s and I actually had bulimia. I used to throw up for like four to five years, not intentionally though, this was quite unusual, but that's how deeply rooted this mental health problem was. I would eat something and I would throw a lot of it up. My friends would know about this but it wasn't like labels and I went to specialists in Harley's free to see what was up and they were like, "Medically you're fine." So psychologically there's something there. Anyway, I haven't done it since I was about 26 or whatever, but it suddenly occurred to me a few weeks ago really interestingly that being able to label the time I got depression, the time I got anxiety, the time I got insomnia, the time I was burnt out, I remembered those moments. This one, I'd actually buried as a story in my head. I'd never expressed it in my whole life to anyone publicly at all, full stop. And it was a couple of months ago and I wrote a newsletter on mental health and nutrition and I admitted for the first time then that I'd had bulimia and what the symptoms were and how long it had gone on and the fact that I was basically losing lots of weight, getting really skinny and all I saw was someone fat. So interesting to me, like two revelations that came from that, one is that if it's so uncomfortable, for me it's really embarrassing to admit to myself that I was weak enough to have a mental health condition that bad that I would psychologically throw up when there was nothing biologically wrong with me. That's really awkward to admit to yourself. It's also far more terrifying to admit it publicly once you've uncovered it and it kind of made me reflect on the fact that sometimes these things are actually just so painfully embarrassing about your personal life that you can even bury it to yourself. - Interesting to ever understand why you were bulimic, was that because it's a psychological like homobility, so what was the cause?
The cause of Dan's Bulimia (03:19)
- Yeah, it's really hard to say what the cause was because I got it after I'd lost weight. So by the time I was sort of 21 or whatever, I was in perfectly reasonable shape, but I got it at like 23. And actually there was a result of it, the only time I was ever hospitalized, it's a really random but hilarious story in its own way. Because I'd been throwing up, I'd been basically like hurting the inside of my throat, right? And I was at a festival one time and I had a coughing fit in Hackney and I had a coughing fit at the hospital and I coughed a hole in my throat literally. It's called a pneumomedia stynum, it's a very unique thing to happen apparently. And fortunately it was close enough to the Royal London hospital to go in there and show them, right? And basically what happened to me was my head started to grow. So I was with my friends feeling fine other than this cough and one of my friends just looked at me and was like, whoa. And I was like, what? They're like, mate, your head is massive. I'm like, I'm not even talking mate, India dick. No, no, no, your head is growing. What is going on? I was like, what? And then everyone else was like, oh my god. Anyway, walked to the hospital, it's sort of like five in the afternoon or whatever because there's a day festival. And there's like, you know, it's East London, there's quite a lot of genuinely like gang related things. People are bleeding everywhere, all this stuff and they just see me and they're like, that guy's next. And put me, and I went into intensive care for like the whole week was they were basically trying to sew up this hole in my throat. When you see your head was growing. So oxygen was going, not going like in my mouth and through my bloodstream properly. I'm sort of escaping around my head and my brain. So it was like an emergency procedure to like get me on meds and sort me out. But it's so interesting because even knowing that that had happened to me, I didn't relate the cause to actually a deeper root cause, which was another mental health problem. To be honest with you, like I couldn't say to you what the trigger was beyond this like story, you know, the things that we grow up with, the people that we grow up with those little, you know, bullying and things like that. I mean, you know, in some good respects, because I grew up fat, I've got a good personality and a sense of humor. So I've always been like able to really connect with people because I just never had it all my way kind of thing. Why do you know this, this, this story about, you know, people that are fat having better senses of humor and being a little bit more, you know, quote unquote bubbly. Why, why is that? I think self-deprecation can sometimes be like a defense mechanism, right? And ultimately, you know, with these things, you're going to hear them a lot. If you grow up fat, you're going to hear it a lot, right? You're going to go to a new environment. Someone's going to believe for the audience. And so you kind of find a way of coping with it in your own way. And for me, it's just interesting because the other mental health issues that I've had in my life, I'm able to trace back usually to a moment or a thing or reflect on why this one kind of just happened later. And then as soon like, you know, I had it for a few years, but then it just also went away. At what age was this? So about 23 to about 27. And you're how old now? 33. So you had it for 23 to 27 for about four years and you overcame? Yeah, but like naturally, I wasn't doing anything different. I mean, I started to learn what foods would make me more sick than others, if that makes sense as well. But I find it super interesting. Again, less so, I mean, we call to know the trigger, obviously, but it's almost less so that and more so the fact that it kind of ran its course as well was interesting to me and that I buried it, right in my head. And actually 27, you know, was the start of like a whole other, you know, experience in life for me anyway. So it is possible that, you know, these things are related to stress and other things. My entrepreneurship journey started at 24. So it's not completely unrelated, but not quite, not enough to actually label it and say it's for a thing. So then, you know, the other experiences that I've had with mental health, a lot clearer.
Experiences with Mental Health: Mental Health is a Process (07:20)
So I think depression is a really complex term. And the only, I think it's really well saying the only relation that I've got to depression that I'm comfortable talking about is after my father passed away. And I think that's really reasonable, right? And so this is the thing, because I work so much for people and mental health and experts, I know like depression is also not something to claim you have when you feel down or, you know, it's very different. Like, and obviously there is a spectrum of these things as well. But for me, my depressive episode was right after my father passed away because he was on life support for six months and overcame when they said he's 100% going to die, actually survived, made it out of the hospital into recovery home. And then someone basically had a cold around him and he died of their cold, catching their cold after the entire recovery process. And the truth of the matter is that my depression was actually interestingly sort of linked with a lack of belief in a higher power or whatever you want to call it justice, like everything, right? Because I'm famous. Yeah. And like my dad was like such a generous, spirited guy. He was blind. All of these things wrong with him anyway and still like was just the funniest, nicest, warmest person anyone knows. And the last person on earth to kind of deserve something like that. And so for me, the experience after he passed away, so he believed in God. So when he died, I was like, that's my connection to God gone. Therefore, I straight up believe in nothing. You know, I think it's really interesting to have conversations with people, intelligent people like yourself, when you talk about purpose and vision and these things, it's very hard to imagine that you've got a purpose, a vision for anything. If suddenly you've switched and you've switched off and you've said, I believe in nothing. You did totally destabilized. Yeah. Yeah. I remember the feeling of being I was religious until I was well, I was Christian until I was 18. And then which I think will surprise a lot of people because I'm a very rational sort of someone that makes a lot of decisions and thinks from first principles or logic. And then at 18, I lost my faith per se. And it was the most like the two years following that were the two most destabilizing years of my life as I became a total obsessive atheist, which means I read every book, watched every documentary video. And then I got to the point, and this is when I realized that I overcome my sort of wobble, where I no longer cared about engaging in these debates with people that agreed or disagreed with me. And I was at peace with my own beliefs that I guess which is like agnosticism, if that's a term. And the other really destabilizing moment in my life where I lost my sense of purpose was the day someone offered me about 20 to 30 million, hypothetically to buy my business. And 18 year old Steve shows up, I've talked about this a few times because he thought we were doing this for money. He thought that was the goal. And so I go home that night. I remember where I sat like it was yesterday. I'm typing right move.com looking at houses at 24 years old. And then I'm looking at these houses and I'm getting this real sort of deep sense of unfulfillment by thinking, well, that was that was it. That was the game. And then like, okay, so auto trader, bum, bum, bum, Lamborghini eventador. I'm looking at this eventador and feeling like I'd be poorer, not in a financial sense, but in like a spiritual sense, if I chose to step on what's clearly a hamster wheel. And that so from that day, the day after, I didn't know why I was, I didn't know why I was working hard anymore. I didn't know why I was building the business. And I had to then go in search of a real form of stability in my life, which was, you know, I love it, but I thought I loved it for another reason. I thought I loved it for money, but I loved it for connection and for conversations like this and those things. But to go back to your point, please, you're talking about how you lost your sense of sort of stability, I guess. Yeah, I lost what I believed in this world. Yeah. You don't have a sense of belief. It's really hard to find your purpose. And I would say that I went through a few years of that. Very if you age, sorry. So 24, my dad died. So I mean, also similar time to having the, I mean, I didn't even realize that as I until I was saying it just now. But so probably related, obviously. But I went through about three years of not believing in anything, right? Like really, and, you know, not very nice about it either. So I grew up Jewish. And I've always said in fairness, you know, I think Judaism is as bad a religion as all the other religions, you know, I don't actually personally like any one of them, but I do love what they all mean. But then, you know, it's very possible to be wise and not associate yourself with a religion.
Identity & Spirituality (12:25)
And what I've learned, which I find so interesting, is my identity, my connection to spirituality, and Judaism is a weird one as well, because it's like a race and a religion. So it's like, you can actually be not religious. You can lose your religion, but still be the race. And that's like an actually is a positive in a way because it means you don't have to disassociate from cultural values, but you can disassociate yourself from religious ideals. And what actually happened to me was, you know, I would be relatively difficult and question people a lot when they were talking about their religious beliefs. I'd want to dig into them and I'd really want to challenge the way that they think and why they think these things and how they can defend them, but not try not to be an absolute asshole, but just using my own, I guess, bitterness and my own experience of growing up being told to believe in something, which is very different to finding something. And you know, when my father passed away and I didn't have this connection to it anymore, I also felt like I didn't have a connection to spirituality or anything. And so it's very weird to have like almost the death of a religion as a human being, because that's your death of your connection to this earth and purpose and everything. And it wasn't until I was 27, really. One of my really good friends told me about and obviously we've been talking about Christian Angamire as well, like our mutual friends. This is a relevant conversation, told me about Ayahuasca and I'd never heard of it before. I didn't even know what it was. And I went on a retreat with him. And I mean, I came back that weekend completely. I mean, when I say a 180, I went from the most cynical non-believer in the whole world, negatively so, to like without sounding like a complete twat, like positively enlightened and confident, never more confident of anything in my life of spiritual realism and what I believe in. And ultimately what I believe in, I have these like fun conversations with people now about spirituality, which is, you know, what do I believe in? I believe in nature. I believe in looking at the beauty of the world and how cycles work, which is science, right? And the way that my Ayahuasca experience actually opened my eyes to believing in something spiritual or greater than myself was 90% of my hallucination was observing what happens in nature with cycles, right? Birds, bees, oxygen, air, soil, all of this recycling all the time for a sustainable system and being like, you know, that is in itself a scientific miracle, but something greater than us that's always happening throughout time. It was a real shift for me because A, I overcame my depression from that. Maybe I suddenly believed in something, even if that something is nature. I mean, people are like, and I get some questions quite often as well, but they're like, you know, what do you mean you believe in nature? Like, what is that? I mean, it's more believable than a guy that walked on water. Yeah. And when they like get annoyed, I'm like, I've got nothing against Jesus. I'm just saying that like believing in nature as ridiculous as that sound is a profound belief. And what's important is it is a belief. And having a belief has actually helped me, helped guide me to then work on things like, what are my personal values? You know, which you talked about, you know, mental models. What do I say yes to a no to in life? Well, you can only figure those things out if you spend time with mental models, first principles, thinking about what things mean to you in life. And then suddenly other things start to come into flow.
Iowaska Experience (16:02)
And so I really want to just double down on this Iowasker experience. What exactly did you do on that experience? So Iowasker is essentially an it's completely natural. It's tree sap from the Amazon. And it's been practiced for thousands of years. And, you know, I won't go into like the whole history of psychedelics, but I could do because I've read a lot about it. The reality is it's sacred. So our shamans have like a legal license to practice with it. And they it's a guided experience. So the most important thing to say to anyone thinking about Iowask or whatever, like, it's not something you do at home on your own at all, ever. You could do that with mushrooms. You can definitely do that with LSD. You definitely do not want to do that with Iowasker because in my experience, the other psychedelics are a bit like you can have sort of one foot in this world, one foot in that world. And Iowasker is not even in this plane. You're just somewhere else. But what's fascinating and very common from people's recollections of Iowasker trips is you have a spirit guide called Mama Iowasker. That's where everyone calls her. And in all of my experience of doing it, and I've done it about 12 times now. So I almost go back every year. By the way, it's an incredibly painful experience. And it's very difficult to do. And it's not something you look forward to, which is why it's like rockish, rocket fuel growth, which is why I do it because you learn all the things about yourself. You don't want to hear. You don't want to know. And you confront the worst realities. I've learned more in those weekends that I've done this than you can learn with therapists and you can learn yourself. So staggering. Everyone says this to me. And you mentioned a guy called Christian Angamaya. Yup. Context. He runs a company called Atai, which are now developing psychedelics as a way to cure treatment resistant depression. It's really sort of a groundbreaking company. And he sat with me in his penthouse just across the street, in fact, from where we are now. And he was telling me that you can let you unlock the brain by taking these drugs and you discover truths about yourself, which in many experiences, which is similar to the one you're describing, will have a permanent lasting transformative impact on the way you see the world. And it like, corrects your thinking.
How To Change Your Mind (18:13)
And it's crazy, crazy for a normal person that isn't in this world or doesn't understand this to think that you can take a magic mushroom or a drug or a psychedelic, whatever you want to call it. And overcome grief. There's a great book by Michael Pollan called How to Change Your Mind. And in it, he talks about this problem with psychedelics. It's a bit like dreams, right? You're having an ineffable experience. So to describe it for people was generally quite boring. What I think is more interesting in a sense is to discuss the outcomes that I've got from it. So the first time, you know, very quickly, because you asked, the experience was the hallucinogenic experience, like I said, was watching the cycles of the earth develop. And were you conscious? Because I think we haven't done that. Yes. So you drink it, it takes about an hour for me. You lie down in the pitch, blacks, fluid. It's like a shot. It's taste disgusting, but some people like it. You lie back and the shamans basically start playing music. And it's a completely guided, facilitated experience with them. If you're having problems, they come over. They help you. If you need to be taking out the room, they look after you. It's like, you know, it's busy night. There's noises. Like a lot of people throw up, "How's this for irony?" I didn't throw up for my first 10 times, which everyone was like, "That's super weird." I was like, "Yeah, especially considering my history." Really bizarre. But the experience I saw was the one I needed. And there's a really deep, insightful experience you get from psychedelics, which you can often go in wanting a thing, but it isn't what you need. And in this experience, what I wanted was to see my dad and to connect with my dad. But it isn't what I got. What I got was a vision of understanding how everything in this earth is living in a cycle, like a beautiful miracle. And so it was less about seeing micro things and seeing macro things being in it. If it's taking me to a place I don't want to go, a door I'm not ready to open, you can negotiate. You can actually say, "I'm not ready for that yet." And sometimes it'll push you and say, "Open it anyway." But sometimes it will actually listen to you and let you go sort of back into your body. So it is a really fascinating experience. What I'd say about it is, it's the number one most important thing I've ever done in my life. And especially because it's not pleasant. The first time I did it was the single most life-changing moment of my life. Not only got over my depression, I went and spent the whole day with my mum the next day, explained everything that I'd experienced. Not a mum's favourite chat, hearing your son talk about psychedelics, but certainly is in context of helping me get over something she was aware of all the suffering from. The single greatest lesson I've learned in Ayahuasca is about gratitude.
The greatest lesson in Ayahuasca is about gratitude (20:54)
So I was going through a period, I think I was 30 potentially, so it was a few years later, and things were going well at the time. So my attitude, my mindset was, "I want this, I want that." What's your intention going in? Well, I want this, I want that. That's how you answer it because you're not enlightened enough to understand this. Because I've got to know the things that I've done. Yeah, yeah, and you can write it down and come back to me like that was what I was looking for in this journey. But actually, the lesson I learned, so I was asking, "How can I 10x what I do? How can I be more? How can I become better? How can I have more impact? You know, me, me, me, me, all these questions?" I was instead transported to basically, I'm not sure where in the world but a very poor part of the world where there was this kid begging in the street basically. And I became that kid. And I became this person, I tried to get water for his family and having to walk miles for it. 50% of my whole entire psychedelic experience that night was literally walking like a mile in this boy's shoes. This lesson sort of came to me about, you know, it isn't always about what you want. And it isn't always about like, you know, asking for more. It's actually about having gratitude for what you have. And when you have enough gratitude for what you already have, you will unlock the path to more. You know, there's this thing that I've learned as well, which is when you go into experiences it's helpful to have a totem, right? So I carry a different stone in for each experience than I have these stones at home. Anyway, I have this stone by the side of my bed. And every single morning that I wake up, the first thing I see is the stones, literally just a pile of crap stone. But the point is it's imbued with this message for me. And I wake up every day and I'm grateful for having running water in my bathroom there. And that is like an unbelievably poetic and powerful way to like live your life past and experience, to wake up in Camden Town in London being, you know, so fortunate like I am, but with a real genuine reminder of gratitude as opposed to like waking up groggy and being like, yeah, I'm grateful for waking up today. This is like, it means something to me. So these little triggers and shifts, they emotionally change something in you. But I've learned a lesson the hard way through IOSCA as well, which is just because you're learning lessons, this is like all wisdom, right? It doesn't matter whether you get it from IOSCA or you get it from, you know, your Instagram posts, you can read it and it can resonate and you can be like, wow, that's powerful. Without action, it means nothing. So if you don't create then the steps to be better based on what you learned, you're wasting a very powerful weekend and painful weekend. I've been guilty of that too. I've learned lessons that I haven't necessarily followed through with. You know, and sometimes it's because they take bravery and I feel like I'm not ready for that bravery yet. And so it's really talking about the city of the day, you know, with the, with personal branding. Exactly. I should segue onto that topic as well, because it's something that I know for a fact, a lot of people struggle with in different forms and, but in, but also specifically with this topic, which is putting yourself out there on the internet. I know this because a lot of people have told me, but also because I've been there, right? So let's, if we've rewind a couple of years of my own life, a guy called Ash Jones says to me, you should make a YouTube channel. I dismissed the idea. Obviously, because I'm like, well, people are going to think that I think I'm my, my Gandhi, like, or like people are going to think that I think I'm a genius or that I think I have all the answers. So I'm not doing that. Eventually, after two years, he sits me down in this room and it took about eight or nine hours for us to shoot a two minute video because I couldn't speak. I, I was self conscious and one of these things. And I was plagued by that thought that my friends back home who knew me in school will think, Oh, Steve's a dick. He's changed. What's he doing? Who does he think he is? And that almost imprisoned me. It almost stopped me from doing the thing that actually liberated me, made me the most fulfilled I've ever been and by allowing me to be my, like, truest self. And in fact, what I wanted to do was be true to myself. And it felt like I was worried that people would think I was being something I wasn't trying to fake myself. And so I guess the question that I have for you is you know a lot of stuff, but you've not, you know, you've got a great podcast, Secret Leaders. You've got a new podcast as well, which is centered around your brand heights. You struggled to put yourself out there on the internet and social media.
Struggled to put yourself out there on the internet and social media? (25:38)
Can you explain why? Yes. Any answer to your questions, Steve, but also because we connect a lot on this, right? So you're like my unofficial mentor with a few voice notes. Right. It's got a fucking point. So, you know, is, I guess I'll put it a slightly different way. And I was listening to one of your early, but you sent me this actually your podcast with, with him. So what was his name? Ash Jones. Ash, yes. You told me to listen to an episode, which I did. And you know, he was talking about the early days of social chain. You learned early that you were, you were bringing in most of the revenue, like Steve was bringing in most of the revenue there for the business decision, made lots of sense to center that around you. I think when you're doing B2B, that makes loads of sense. The challenge I have is my products are B2C, right? They're for consumers. Putting as much time and effort and thought and energy into promoting myself is mental energy I should be putting into the brand. You know, there is, I think, probably a reasonable compromise. And also like all things, this is a bit of a developing scenario. However, you know, it's a very fair thing to say that I'm not the product. This is the product. Inside my company, we could all agree that that is like broadly true, right? We're selling a thing. We're not selling me. Whereas, you know, going through exactly the same experience at social chain, you guys, if you weren't in the room, you guys would have come to the same conclusion, which is Steve's the greatest, like, part of the funnel here. So we as a company succeed when Steve succeeding. So that's the kind of marketing funnel we should back. So, you know, I can see sort of smurking at me because this is the story I told myself. Okay, fine. Because I was like, this doesn't make a difference. This is the story. No, this is the story that I told myself. It doesn't mean that it's true. You know, then there's another question about platforms, right?
Imposer Syndrome (27:21)
So, you know, this isn't a mental health condition, but I do have imposter syndrome. And you know, we've talked about this in the past as well, but, you know, the first business that I scaled was gravel, which is when we first met. And you know, that was me going into technology and fashion, having had no experience previously, I was in advertising before. And I love changing industries and I love challenging myself to completely wipe the slate, keep clean and do something new. But it comes with imposter syndrome. That's what I've learned about myself, right? I'm full of the internal monologue of I'm not good enough. No one cares what I think. And I don't deserve to be doing this at someone else's dream. That doesn't change, right? In me, that voice is still there. However, you know, a really good thing if you're aware, if you're consciously aware of your limitations, especially like some of your mental frailties, creating steps to improve those things are helpful. So, with heights, the first thing I did just over 100 weeks ago, we started a newsletter because I was like, I'm going to get imposter syndrome so badly in a space of neuroscience and nutrition, not neuroscientists or nutrition. Like it's going to be awful for me. So, I'm going to write a newsletter every week and I'm going to read a science paper every week. And I am going to distill that into three minutes because when you read something you learn at once and when you share it, you learn it twice. So the process of literally rewriting this was creating neural pathways and embedding the information into my brain. So I was like, in 100 weeks, it's actually what I told myself and it's just being 101 now, in 100 weeks, I won't be a neuroscientist or a nutritionist, but I will have read over 100 science papers and I'll know what science says is good for your brain according to journals, experts, etc, which would be an amazing step to create an amazing habit to build, to get over my own mental frailties and my own story of imposter syndrome. So when it comes to social media, I feel like I've got the same thing, which is I, when my last company failed, I didn't know what I was going to do next.
Social Media (29:17)
I looked at my social media platforms and I was like, you know, where am I going to spend time rather than where am I going to waste time, ultimately, right? Because you can get caught up in this silly game and then thinking personal branding, where do I feel comfortable that would be a good place to start? And I chose LinkedIn. And the reason I chose LinkedIn was because I told myself a story which I completely believe to be true anyway, which is whatever I do next, I'm a serial entrepreneur, right? As in, I'm fine not having any money. I'm fine working for other people for free doing all these things, but I'm always going to start something else myself again. So if I know that to be true, it means I'm always going to hire people. And what a really smart and impressive people want from their boss. They want to know who they're working for. They want to know what your values are. They want to know what you believe in. They want to know what kind of things you share. And so I was like LinkedIn is the only place that could credibly do that for me, right? And I actually went from, I mean, it's not, you know, that impressive, but I went from like 3000 followers or something to almost 25,000 on the basis of, and as you know, there's no putting money behind anything and LinkedIn or anything, literally just by being myself, by writing about how I'd failed, by writing about what I was working on next, by working. And also all of the things when you're writing about what you're working on next is such a difficult thing to do because it's probably going to fail as well. And it did, you know, before heights with three iterations of things that I was publicly putting out there and getting feedback on and stuff that we had to kill because it didn't have legs. And it's a horrible time for an entrepreneur in between. It can be certainly in between people like, what do you do in your identity is in flux. You know, like, do I talk about this new thing that I've just discovered that might not be a thing in a month? Preach to the quiet head down. I know, right? Exactly. It's such a complicated answer to give in the now. So anyway, like on the personal brand thing, like I decided LinkedIn was a place I felt comfortable because I can be my authentic self because I am an entrepreneur, because I am someone who is willing to go big and fail and like actually figure out why and talk about why. And I think this stuff is so important for entrepreneurs to connect openly and honestly because I absolutely hate. And the one thing I will not miss about networking events is like going to them and everyone talking about them killing it. You know, that is literally poison in our society. It's nonsense. So everyone just talking about how they're killing it stops people from saying actually, you know, shit's really hard right now. This is the problem I'm dealing with. And this is like how it's making me feel. If you're able to say that to another entrepreneur because you've created the container in the environment to be comfortable to do so, that person can probably help you. And if you are stuck with the narrative that everything's going amazingly all the time and that's all you're telling people, no one can help you figure it out when you actually could do with the help. You know, it's the other thing going slightly off piece, sorry, but you know, my biggest bug-bearing entrepreneurship is stealth mode. I think stealth mode is like the most stupid thing that an entrepreneur can claim to be in full stop because as you know, ideas are worthless, execution is everything. Anyone that's ever built a business knows how stupid it is. Stealth mode is when people say like working on a new business in finance in stealth mode. Right. I'd love to tell you. I mean, not telling you to be doing it. Yeah. I'd love to tell you what my startup is, but it's so amazing. You'll steal it. So I'm not going to tell you. Mate, all the time, all the time. So many people do it. And I give the most direct feedback on LinkedIn, probably very similar to you, like loads of people ask for loads of things all the time. And if I ever see stealth mode on their thing, I'm like, I don't talk to anyone in stealth mode, FYI. Stuff mode is such a stupid thing because it's like, how do I describe the thing? I'm afraid of feedback. But it's also like saying, I've got something that I can't tell you. Why did you tell me you had something? I know. I know. Just don't start the conversation with me. It's like, you're asking me what it is. But you know, you're attention seeking, but you don't want to tell. It's like, it's a weird form of like, I don't know, flirtation. I don't know.
Why Dan struggles with the 'business side of things' (33:18)
But I want to get to this point about why you, we have this conversation. Yeah, sure. Like a week to go about Instagram and making videos of yourself and putting your ideas out there. What is it that's stopping you doing that? You talked about imposter syndrome. I guess that kind of relates to the business side of things more. What's stopping you going on Instagram, putting a video on your Instagram and saying, this is what I think these are my ideas. Comment below if you agree. Yeah, it's a great question. So I guess as a starting point, like it's worth saying that I think a very healthy way to approach stuff like this in your life is to choose a place, build confidence and go on from there. So I feel like that's what I did with LinkedIn. I understood that that's the place where I'd feel at least imposter-y and so I'd start there. Now, you know, I picked up on Twitter. Twitter is like my favorite platform is when I spend probably the most time on. But it's a very short half-life, so it's kind of impossible to consistently come up with gems. Instagram, to me, was this place where just beautiful people live, young, beautiful people live, and that's all anyone's interested in. And that's not really my world, right? I'm interested in challenge. I'm interested in mental health. I'm interested in stories. And interestingly, I wasn't finding that on Instagram. So I was like, what am I doing? I don't really belong in this place at all. I'd say like 100% inspired by the way that you've approached your Instagram, like sharing insights because insights and distilling my thoughts into something and writing them down, that is something that I do. I just don't publish them, or I was and LinkedIn. So actually, like what I've now started doing on Instagram is like literally taking a leaf out of your book after our chat, which is going through some of my high-performing LinkedIn posts that might have got one or 2,000 likes and being like, if it was popular there, I guess it'll be popular here. Let's have a go. And trying to get over it now slowly, but surely, but it's this constant belief that no one wants to hear what I have to say. Yes, of course. And that's what I was getting at. And like, what are the forces that are at play which are making it feel like some psychological discomfort if you are to tell the world what you think on Instagram, let's say. In your mind, what is it, friends back home? Is it this particular person? Sometimes I can think of a particular person. Yeah, and I can think that person from four years ago is going to think I'm a dick.
Finding a new identity (35:43)
100%. Dude, like the thing that I've learned, which is so interesting is 90% of my fear of what people will think is based on my school friends. Yeah, same. You know, I only speak to a bunch of them now. You know, identity is such an interesting thing. And you know, you have it when you're, you'll be going through it right now. And I empathize, right? You're not Steve from Social Chain anymore. Yeah. Right. And that's Dana for ages. You know, I was Dan from Grabble now I'm Dan from Heights. You know, people do that. And that's fine. But it's important you don't overcompensate that identity for yourself attached to your business because we're all on a path and we're going to go through a journey and the journey, the stories are going to change. And when you overattach yourself to a particular part of the journey is where you can find struggle. And that's, and you, on that point, you build your life around that identity. So your friends, your music, your interests. And so you would have collected through your life a bunch of people who know Dan as this. Exactly. And you're going to have to shed some of them potentially by stepping into your new identity. 100%. And that's a, I guess, a conflict where not 100% and it's difficult, right? But as you grow, you edit. And you know, you need to really consider who you're editing out of your life and who you're welcoming into your life. And I think, you know, there's the practical reality that what was good for you five years ago is no good for you right now. And frankly, you know, the highest leverage decision you can make, I'm still terrible at this, by the way, but the highest leverage decision you can make is picking what to say no to. And the hardest thing you can do is say no to opportunities that you would definitely say yes to. So, you know, that includes friends. That includes saying I don't have time for this friend anymore or this identity, this part of my identity anymore. Even though I like it and like them, I like all this stuff because frankly, there's, you know, this shedding almost that we do as human beings. And, you know, the, you know, in reptile form, it's very physical, right? They're literally shedding a skin. But as humans, you don't see this change, but it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. When we go in these cycles, and I think a lot of, you know, mental health conditioning is attached to our holding on to the past and refusing to sort of embrace the future. And that's why, you know, I think it's really important to set out a clear understanding of your purpose, a clear understanding of the things you will say no to and won't say no to and acknowledging that that changes, right? So I do an exercise like this every year. And it takes about five or six hours. And I do it with my wife, like a whole massive like briefing document, essentially on your vision, your purpose, your friends, like all of this stuff. Spending the time thoughtfully thinking about these things, which people do not do enough of is so important because if you're not reflective and you're not spending time thinking, manifesting, essentially, who you want to be in the future, then I think you're going to miss a massive opportunity to grow. You know, I because, you know, I work in the brain space now in in brain care, neuroscience, you call that neuroplasticity, right?
Exploring Burnout And Mental Health
Are we a burnt out generation? (38:37)
It's this idea that the brain will grow. It's plastic and it's essentially changing and whatever direction you choose to take it in. If you are. I've got episode 53 of chapters. I talked about this on the last episode. So it's very relevant. Oh, really? Okay, fine. Yeah. So neuroplasticity is that if you are into spirituality, like I am, then it's called manifestation, right? It's spending the time thinking about what you're going to do and how you're going to get that. And then to put it into like super business terms, if you're into business, it's called planning and execution. So there are these different ways to articulate the same point. But the point is if you just spend your days going bit by bit, not really thinking about where you're going to go and what it means to you, it'd be very hard for you to make good decisions. And frankly, and this, I guess actually speaking like a personal branding and more popular post I did recently was about stamina and the things I've learned about rest, which is that as a founder and a CEO, you learn that you're not paid for your stamina, right? You pay, yeah, you pay Mo Gorda for, sorry, not Mo Gorda, Mo Fara for his stamina, right? He's got to run a 10K. That's stamina, right? That's what athletes are paid for. I'm paid for my decision making. People invest in me and they invest in heights for my decision making abilities and overworking giving yourself burnout, not taking space to rest, not listening to what you know to be true and spending the time planning. That's bad decision making. If you can't do those things for your own body, it's like what I said is if you can't be the CEO of your body, you do not earn the right to be the CEO of your company. You've got to look after your mental stay and your physical body first by thinking and finding the space, carving out the space to think what does good decisions look like that fit my purpose and where I'm looking to go.
Would you do it all again? (40:26)
If you can do that and you can answer those things, you actually start to learn things start to add up. That kind of segues back to the initial tweet where you talked about depression, anxiety, bana and insomnia. Let's talk about burnout then. It's a very popular topic. I actually think one of the most listened to episode of this podcast was the one about burnout and us being a burnout generation and how we've kind of glamorised it. We're optimising our lives so we can fill it with more things to do. Did you burnout? How did you burnout? Do you understand why you burnt out? 100%. Gary Vee is a very clever man, very intelligent, but he has created a negative impact on society that he would probably be upset about because he seems to be a lovely man that really deeply cares about stuff from what I can see, I believe his authenticity, but he has created hustle culture and hustle porn. You know what? I met Gary Vee, had him on this podcast and you're right, I think, in every depiction of him there. He's a genuinely authentic person. You meet him and think you are who I thought you were online and you're completely right in the sense that because he's being his authentic self, which we can't criticise anyone for being, in fact, that's what we tell everyone to be yourself and willing to share it with the world, the issue I think as you're pointing out is his lack of appreciation about nuance and that everyone is fundamentally different and everyone's not Gary Vee. I had that problem too when I started. I couldn't understand why people weren't sacrificing their lives to build businesses and working till forearm in the morning and sleeping under the desk. I thought everyone that wasn't doing that was both an idiot and inferior. And wasting their time. And wasting their time. And they would never be happy because as far as Steve's Bartlett's brain could tell him that was happiness. Yeah, because all of the pain that you suffer is part of the game. That stuff isn't... This is the thing, right? That stuff isn't not true. You do have to grow, growth is painful and you will have sleepless nights and all the other bits and pieces. That is part of the parcel. The thing where we confuse this is it's all mutually exclusive, aka my identity has to be that and only that because that's how Gary Vee and a few other geniuses in society have got to the top of their games. But here's the thing. There's two reasons why I had burnout last time. The first was because I wasn't happy on what I was working and running a startup can feel a bit like a cage sometimes. So unless you're really sure, I say this all entrepreneurs all the time, are you sure this is the company you want to build? Because if it's not, you're going to be doing it anyway. And then you are your own birdkeeper. You have locked yourself in a cage. And that's what I did with Grabble. I got lucky.
Is Following the Money a Recipe for Burnout? (43:33)
I found a niche and opportunity. It grew exponentially, really quickly. Millions of downloads and a million monthly active users in our end. We had like an acquisition that failed sadly, but would have made us millionaires. It was a real journey with that company. It was fashion for Tinder, basically. Yeah, Tinder for fashion, exactly. And it was a real exciting journey, but at no point did I enjoy it. Really? Not at no point. My ego enjoyed it, right? And we won loads of awards. We won the award we wanted. We just want to be written about in TechCrunch and all this stuff. And in 2017, we won Best Mobile Start Up in Europe over Depop at the TechCrunch Europa's. We didn't even turn up to that award to take that award because I was having such a bad time mentally. I didn't even go to the awards at the ceremony. My friend picked up that trophy and took a photo on our behalf. I was sitting at home drinking whiskey, feeling really terrible about myself. Why? Because that was living someone else's dream. I didn't care about fashion. What was the force that made you live someone else's dream? Yeah, good question. A bit of serendipity in the sense of listening to users going on a bit of a journey and the product sort of developing and then getting catching fire before you really have an opportunity to stop and say, "No, that's not really for me." Like you were getting dragged and you weren't pulling. A bit. A bit. But then at the same time, like everyone, I'm scared of failure. So I didn't want to be a failure. So I wanted to make it work. And by hook or by crook, I was willing to push really hard to make it work. And I looked back on my time with Grapple and other than working hard, I was working against my purpose. And I could feel it. And when people asked me, "I'm actually, as you know, always to my detriment, honest." So I would tell people, including the wrong people, including investors, that my heart really isn't in it and all this stuff. Because all I had left for authenticity was to be honest in these conversations with other people. I've just finished writing my book. I'm not trying to plug it, although Happy Sexy Millionaire is it? Happy Sexy Millionaire, available in all but sounds? Yeah, it's on pre-order. But there's a chapter in there where I really investigate burnout. And the reason that it's topics like self-awareness and burnout, which we haven't quite yet properly defined. Everyone throws it out there on Instagram, or I'm feeling burnt out. But nobody's like gone down the rabbit hole to figure out the innate causes or the psychological or social causes of it. So I just wanted to like go as far down as I could go. And I tend to believe the depth that I've got to with my thinking and the research that I've done is that you typically get, you stand a higher chance of burnout in situations where you are extrinsically motivated to do X activity. Because I view my life and I think about all the things that I do intrinsically like walking my, I've never got burnt out walking my dog or playing with my dog. I've never got burnt out like reading books that I love and those kinds of things. But when it comes to getting paid to do something that I don't intrinsically enjoy doing, burnout is almost inevitable at some point, not just burnout, but then motivation. And I started looking at motivation and the spectrum it sits on, on one end being totally extrinsic.
Defining Burnout & Reflecting on Mental Health (46:41)
You're literally doing it because you're forced to. And then on the other end doing it because it's an intrinsic passion. And all of the things on this end where you're paid and you're forced to burnout seems to show up. And on the other end when it's intrinsic and you love it and you're doing it for the sake of doing it, I never get burnt out and my motivation seems to last the course of time. So I wanted to see if that resonates with you as well. Yeah. But let me tell you something else that's interesting that I'm, I'm consciously aware of because I've had burnout. And by the way, my experience of it was, you know, I just couldn't get out of bed for a month. Really? That was it. I basically just stayed in bed and I just like couldn't face games to the office. I couldn't face leaving my bed. You've got a team in the office and you're lying in bed. Well, I got my co-founder and I was just like, explained that I'd literally, I didn't know what it was at the time. I was like, I think it might be depression. I didn't know what it was though. This is the thing I probably didn't even say those words. How did it feel? Just like, just no energy whatsoever. Just like no, no ability, a bit like when I had coronavirus, to be honest, just like zonked. Um, not, and nothing I was doing was able to make me feel like I was getting the energy. But I think the reason why as well was, um, again, I, like I'm a helpful guy. I really believe in my greater superpower, full stop is connecting people, right? I've got infinite numbers of ways that I've connected people. Eight people have got married that I've introduced. You know, they say three in heaven, but you know, don't quite believe that heaven. So just irrelevant. But point being, um, you know, so many co-founders introduced, like I really just believe in the serendipity of creating, you know, moments where you know that person and that person just should have that chat and I force it to happen. So because of that, because I really believe in serendipity as well, um, I do try and say yes to people and help them out. So what was happening to me at Grabble was we were flying. We were like number one in the app store and all this stuff. So the inbound start coming like thick and fast, right? And so I was like, I can't do this the way I was doing it, which is like all over the place. I'll go to old street at six a.m. Every single Tuesday and Wednesday. Um, and between six and nine, I'll do like sessions, right? If you come meet me between that time and like your 45 minutes slot, I'll fit you in. And then Tuesday and Wednesday became Tuesday to Thursday. And then before I knew it, I was doing it like almost every single day, trying to be so helpful. And it was great because I, I get loads of energy from that, right? Like so much. There's, you know, great quote of, you know, there's no such thing as altruism because you're ultimately doing it for yourself. And I believe that, um, however, so it's like, find your motivation and then 10 exit, but I overdid it. And so the result, the net result was like one day I woke up from my alarm, trying to do it. And I like basically couldn't move. And that alarm basically, you know, kept going for the next few days. And I was like, Nope, I just can't do it. I can't go to work. I can't get out of bed. It was really like, it was really strange time. But the thing that's really interesting to me this time, right? So I analyze that as partly burn out and I was trying to do too much to, and, and not spending enough time on myself, not having any rest, not being sensible about my life personal space and my life, which was stupid, but the kind of thing you learn the hard way quite often. And then the other thing was obviously like I was working on a business that I wasn't very happy and I was having more fun meeting these people and helping like make introductions than I was working in my own business. Now with heights, you know, very consciously aware of the opposite problem to be true.
The opposite problem: open calendar syndrome (49:58)
So we just talked about burnout from some of your insights, right? One of my fears from heights is, you know, I won't see burnout coming because now I'm living my purpose. Now I am so passionate. I get so much motivation and pleasure from working on heights that I could do this 24/7. And I, I diarize stopping myself, right? I literally put in my diary to start like all, all my things, rest, naps, peloton, like all of the things I talked to you earlier about like my shakti, matte meditation, these things are in my diary because if it's in my calendar, I'm going to pay attention to it and I'm going to respect it. I don't. I won't respect my own boundaries because I know that I'm intrinsically a bit of a workaholic and if I'm passionate, you can't stop me. So I have to stop myself. And knowing, you know, taking preventative measures towards things like burnout, if you are happy, I think it's been a really like mature decision that I'm really proud of taking this time around because it's a bit like the imposter syndrome, right? How am I going to overcome it? I'll write a newsletter every week. Great. I feel way less like that now. Same thing burnout. I don't feel like I'm going to get burned, even though I've been sitting in my bedroom pitching, you know, to investors like all of February and March. Like it's not a great existence because of lockdown. And if I said to you, listen, I'm the same. I'm a workaholic and all these things. I'm an entrepreneur. I'm going to build a big business down. What is the one thing I can do to avoid myself getting burnout? What would you say that is? You'd say it is diarizing and scheduling time to do other things like, you know, I had an URL on this podcast and he talked about, he writes the book, Indestractable, he talks about how he will literally schedule time in his diary to see his, to spend some time with his partner and take his kids for a walk. And those kinds of things. Is that what you're saying? You're saying? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I've got, I do have like a list of habits that I've created for myself. And you know, talking about habit formation, terrible error everyone makes is like, oh, I'll listen to Dan, I'll do all of these, you know, habits. No, I pick like one new one a year. To be honest with you, my number one mental health hack full stop that I say to everyone, everyone always asks me my one thing. Mine's going for a walk, you know, spending an hour or so walking. If you can do that without being distracted, I mean, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks, but I also go for some where I don't take anything with me and I just go for the walk. That's my number one health hack. Because it's not only good for your brain, but good for your body. And because it puts you into, there's two things. One, we live in London, actually, to be honest, like gets way worse a rep for about rain than, you know, you would think because I don't go out with the raincoat most days. But even if it's raining, you still go out. And that's a great moment to just be with the elements and accept that, you know, things aren't always perfect. Even the manifestation of rain, you know, it's a great moment to just go out and be like, things aren't perfect, but I owe it to myself for my own rest and for my own space to do this today. And the other reason, honestly, is because on average, I get to listen to about 50 books a year just by doing that one thing. So as someone who's like a lifelong learner and happiest when I'm learning, the amount of books that I've devoured by attacking that, you know, had it on to my daily walk has been the fastest way to grow. Yeah.
Anxiety & Leafs mental health diagnosis (53:16)
And so we talked about burnout there. The next thing, so that was during your time at Grabble. The next thing from that tweet was anxiety. Yeah. So anxiety and insomnia were completely linked with each other. So a really, really fascinating experience, to me, the most interesting of all of them, really, because at the time I got, and so at the time I got insomnia, and this is when anxiety starts to build, because anxiety does go with it, insomnia very well, because you start to get scared of going to sleep, which builds anxiety. You can't really sleep when you've got anxiety. So it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy, like every single night.
Addressing Anxiety And Nutritional Impact
An methodologies towards anxiety & self-doubt (53:56)
So I had insomnia for six months, and my symptoms were I'd go to sleep at midnight, but I'd wake up at 2 a.m. And at 2 a.m., I was wide awake, and there was no game at sleep whatsoever, no matter what I did. So this was at a time when business was going well. I was pretty happy in life. I was getting married. Yes, my dad had passed away, but my mum had just recovered from cancer. So I'd had like the whole fear of her, and she's already had it before and recovered once, so very unlikely to recover the second time, but she had a roof over my head. I practiced gratitude, you know, like I am just that archetypal dickhead that's just too smug for the world. And I just suddenly couldn't sleep. And I was like, I don't understand. Like I have everything that I wanted, and I don't even want much. I've worked on that stuff, so where has this come from? And you know, basically chronic anxiety, the feeling of chronic anxiety is lots of sweating, lots of self-doubt, and lots of almost like a bit of a personality change in me, you know, outwardly, I'm quite confident. But you know, this experience with anxiety was sort of really making me question everything about what I say, how I feel, who I am. And you know, it was in this cycle where if I'm about to go to sleep, I'm not going to be able to go to sleep because of this, you know, these feelings of doubt and stories I'm telling myself. And it became this perpetual illness, and by the way, I tried so many things, right? Because when you say doubt, and the stories of something about business, self-doubt about business, self-doubt about who I am, and about why I'm feeling like this, anxiety is such a complicated thing because, you know, there's a great, I think it's by Lao Tzu, and it's not a perfect verbatim quote, but he says something like depression is a symptom of sadness for the past we've lived. Anxiety is obsession and confusion over the future you're going to have, and that's why like mindfulness and being present is the antidote. I think I really resonate with that because, you know, my own depression experience was loss of my father, the past. My anxiety was like the person, A, was anxiety about the night I sleep I'm about to not have, but also like, you know, who am I going to be, what's going to happen, how long can I live like this? It feels like it's self-fulfilling in a way as well. Exactly.
Struggling with short term fixes for long term issues (56:15)
So the truth is I tried all these different things, so I went to, I did therapy, I did sleep therapy, I used all the apps, calm, sleepy, oh, I tried, you know, cutting out alcohol, I tried drinking much more alcohol, I tried, you know, like you name it, I'd like not smoked weed for a while, I was like, right, that's it, getting a weed habit back, you know, like anything that you could possibly do to just like stay zonked, but I went to doctor and he recommended me sleeping pills, but that really irked me, and we know we just talked about loss connections, Johan Hari, right? I don't appreciate medication that will work that night as solving my problem, and I'm smart enough to know that it wouldn't solve my problem, it would just help me sleep that night. So I still got those sleeping pills and I never used them and I kept on going for this journey, the search for why this was happening, and it led me in the end to a dietitian, which I'd never worked with before, and by the way, I didn't even know what a dietitian was, I'd heard of nutritionists, because isn't that just for everyone on Instagram, but a dietitian had no idea, but it turns out a dietitian is basically a nutritionist with a scientific degree, they can work in the NHS and they work with sick people. So if you have a sick problem, like insomnia, you go to a dietitian and they will literally tell you medically what they can do to affect your experience. And she just said to me, she basically asked me about what I was eating and my habits and like all this kind of stuff, and I told her, and this is someone who I think I'm quite healthy, generally speaking.
Nutrition Impact (57:36)
And she just said, you're basically not getting enough brain food. And I was like, I don't even know what that means, I don't understand the context of that statement. And she was like, well, let me put it this way, your brain is an organ, right? It's 60% fat, 90% of the fat in your brain is this one compound called DHA, and most people that come to me with essentially mental health problems, which is what you currently have have nutritional deficiencies, and don't realize there are three main things that I would recommend in your condition. One is Amiga 3s. The other is B vitamins, because again, that's for energy. So she explained that I'm having a spike at 2am. So I need that spike not to happen. I need to have like much more slow release of B vitamins in my energy supply and my body every day. And then the third thing was blueberry extract, because it's an antioxidant and would help make lymphatic system whilst I slept right. She's saying this stuff to me. I'm like so skeptical, I can't even tell you, not only not a supplement taker, but she's now recommending me three supplements, and I've been given pills by the doctor, and I'm like, I mean, like, come on, how is this going to be any better? So you can imagine my complete and utter surprise when I took those three things. I mean, they were very expensive. They were like medically prescribed ones, so super potent from, you know, I think it was Whole Foods or Planet Organic, they were pricey. But within two weeks, I was sleeping like a baby, and I wasn't, I wasn't feeling anxiety. And when you have a moment like that in your life, and you know this because you're a deeply inquisitive person, it makes you stop and it makes you go hold on a second. Like this was so simply solved. I don't actually believe it to be true. This must be placebo. This must be finally my placebo that has caused this. And instead I did what I do. I'm quite nerdy. I started reading science papers because I kind of, you know, the one thing I do hate on Instagram is like everyone's a nutritionist, everyone's a this, everyone's a that. I don't want to listen to some guy that takes new tropics telling me about like my brain and mental performance. I want to see what scientists that don't take any credit actually have to say about this stuff. And I learned that there are thousands, literally of science papers. This is why I did the newsletter. I knew I'd never run out of content. It's like literally the deepest well of content ever, ever, ever to do what I'm doing. There were thousands of science papers on all of these ingredients and how they impact not just your mental health below the baseline. So if you're suffering from insomnia, if you're suffering from anxiety, even if you've got depression schizophrenia, like so many medical papers, scientific journals, sorry, about the impact of taking a high supplementation of XYZ or obviously much more food of that particular ingredient and the impact it's had. And then when you're at the baseline, all of these examples about nutrition impacting your mental performance. So this is things like decision making, focus, energy, like all of the things we want in life, right? No one wants to really be recovering from a mental health problem. They want to be at their baseline and thriving. It just took me by so much surprise because it's like, well, if this is in like, if this is so well known in science, why didn't I know about it? I was working in shortage at a scaling startup, like bearded glasses, hipster, twat, like, you know, keto, vegan, like, yes, I've heard of all of them. All my friends at a intermittent fast, yada, yada, yada. This is just like common sense brain food. Why is that not a thing that people know about? Why is taking care of your brain, not something anyone's actually talked about clearly and actually found a really meaningful way to communicate what that stands for. And what science papers do really badly is like, you know, the, when I synthesize them, there's about two or three sentences that are saying the point, but it's just covered with jargon, they're boring as shit. So I was like, first step, newsletter, I will add some emojis and some lols and make it millennial and fun. And I will get people to read science papers without even realizing they're necessarily reading them. So every week you'll learn something from a scientific journal, which I will link back to that you can click and by the way, no one clicks it. And you can learn something that science says is good for your brain every week. And that is essentially how the journey with heights actually started with this, like, realization that something as, you know, when you see, you know, the beautiful moment in life where you can spot an opportunity so big and actually solved by the power of communication and brand. And, you know, a lot of people say brand and comms, that is not a market strategy. That is not defensible. I think those people are idiots and the wrong market because, you know, my counter to that is, do you think the Buddhist monks got everyone meditating or was it calm and headspace? Do you think that we love to run because we watch the Olympics or is it Nike getting in our heads? Do you think that people around the world are doing yoga because of like, you know, some ashram or do we actually think it's Lulu lemon brands create change in the world that we want to see and brands connect with human beings and create communities and the power of social media and standing for something is where brands take something that was always done before anyway, stick a tick on a shoe. It's still just a shoe like Lulu lemon, like it's just like a little logo, an omega logo on pants. It doesn't matter. The way that you express what you do and why you do it is the thing that has the power to change. And my opinion and my own experience of being, you know, in that shortage hipster twat area where you just know about things like early and trends to have never come into contact with something so important that can have such an impact as nutrition and mental health, nutrition and taking care of your brain to me felt like a calling, right? I've just suffered for six months. I've overcome something. This is all I want to do with my life. And so you started heights and so I started heights. How's it going? Great question. I've launched January the 6th in a pandemic, well, not in a pandemic yet. I have to say, you know, I saw this on my Facebook feed and I think I messaged you about investing in the company just because it was beautiful. I saw the branding on the website and the way that you'd done the website. And I was like, this team get branding. And in the direct to consumer world, it's interesting what you were just saying there about comms and like the way that I hear it is like storytelling and platforms, enabling almost democratizing the access to like build great products now because back in the like if we think about Nike, shelf space, but we think about the, you know, the power that the Unilevers have. You're in fact, not the war isn't always storytelling and brand or comms.
Storytelling vs. Brand & Comms (01:04:28)
It's in fact like knowing a guy or price points, but in the direct to consumer, social media world, brand and comms and storytelling can win. And product design. Exactly. And that's a huge part of the story. And that for me was beautiful. So I, I was straight in there to try and invest in your company. And I mean, you know, you know, for a fact that I've been taking heights ever since. January. Yeah. Yeah.
Supplements having a bad rep (01:04:52)
December. What's your experience been as a customer though? I love it. And you know, this is, this is, this is where I really, this is why I always also really wanted to talk to you today. So there is probably several people on a spectrum of like, you know, devout, vitamin takers or, and then there's people that don't understand or believe in it. Yeah. And so how do you confront the skepticism? Because with products like this, it is hard for the user to establish cause and effect. And like there's other factors that might happen in my life that make cause and effect almost in a establishable. So like say I take my, I take the, the heights for one week straight, but in that week, I have just the worst mental health week because of other factors. How do I know? So I guess it, yeah, it's a great question. I think there's two parts to this, right? So one is like supplements deserve a bad rep. This is the most important thing to address first and foremost. Cause when I went, I was like, why is she giving me this like prescribed stuff? I kind of just go to Holland and Barrow or boots and just buy the things that she says there. It turns out there's this weird marketing thing and supplements where you can put a minimum in. So there's the amount according to science that will have an impact on your body, brain, whatever. And then there's a marketing amount, which is way lower that you're allowed to put in on that product. So if you take like, vital biotics or, you know, a lot of products, there's an asterisk on those boxes. They're legally obliged to tell you tiny small print on the back that what you're taking is actually a fraction of the daily amount that you're meant to have according to science. But marketing wise, they can say promotes healthy this promotes healthy that. You know, my favorite story on this is probably seven C's. The biggest amiga, right? Cause we all grew up as children. Our parents give us seven C's. And, you know, that's the biggest amiga three brand in the whole entire world. Now every single day, according to science, we're meant to have a minimum, like an RDA, if you will, 250 milligrams of amiga threes, right? You can get it from your food or you can get it from these pills as a safety net. Essentially what a supplement is, right? It's if you're not getting the food supplement, not instead of don't take supplements instead of eating their supplements. So it's like a safety net. Now that 250 milligrams, the minimum you can put in is 45 milligrams. So guess how much seven C's put into their number one best selling programs. 45 on the dot. That means you have to take seven C's for six days straight just to get one day's worth of the scientific dose you're meant to get. But it's all small print and a consumer doesn't see that and supplements for whatever reason have been able to do that. So when we went into our supplement design, right? This was the awesome thing. Me and my business partner Joel came from a tech background at this point, right? We've done user experience. We've done all this stuff and we are very much into this idea of because we're not from this space, we're going to win because we are going to approach this completely differently. Today we start with community building a newsletter and an audience asking questions to that audience about what we should do and how we should do it and can we see how they behave. So here are the things that we learn. Most people, like a lot of people are super open minded about taking supplements, starting supplements, right? The problem with supplements is it can be very difficult to feel the impact or know they're working. And so like a lot of things with prevention and well-being in general, it's a commitment to the person you want to become more so than it is like a medication which cures a problem and you're like, oh, that got fixed. That's great. So, you know, we got really fascinated by this idea of like, how can you help people build habits with our product design? How can we overcome this problem that supplements have that, you know, in January massive surge loads of people start but very few people continue? If you can get past the hurdle of someone trying something, your job as an entrepreneur is to figure out how to make them a real customer, not just a first-time buyer. You know, you talked about that bottle. That bottle was designed with our newsletter audience by going into people's homes and asking them very weirdly and quite often the wives, show us what you do with your supplements. And everyone has these supplement cupboards because we need a rest of our supplement takers before like we even started this, right? So we didn't know what normal behavior was which means you get to ask these great open questions which is where you get the best answers. So like everyone has a supplement cupboard. Reason? They all look the same. And what happens is psychologically and we got told this the whole time, people basically open their cupboards see so many that are like broken promises at the time they promised they were going to start and didn't continue. I feel attacked. Yeah, they feel guilty. They feel guilty. And they're like, well, I can't just take the vitamin C because I said I take D, I said I take that and everything else. And they're always separate. And so people just give up. And you know, there's two things to that. There's one that's sort of like guilt about the promises that you were like the person you wanted to be. And then the second is just again, you know, it's set and setting or, you know, out of sight, out of mind. So also, but also for me, it's I will complete your completely wrap. I'll commit to what this person that I want to be, which is I'm going to develop this new healthy habit, which involves me taking zinc every morning or whatever. I do it for three days.
Gym vs taking Zinc (01:09:29)
And if you look at that, you know, famously, but maybe misattributed quote from Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again. And it's honestly, yeah, and not getting and getting the same results. I'll take zinc for three days. And because I can't see a difference, it's much like going to the gym for a lot of people, so you do eventually see a difference with the gym. And the great thing about when you get to the gym is you get the pump and you use a little bit of sweat. So you think something's going on. I want to take my zinc. Nothing. Yep. Next day, nothing. So it's almost like a belief.
Success, Failure And The Power Of Storytelling
The Brand Storytelling Strategy (01:10:00)
And that's I think what I've struggled with historically. So here's the thing. So like we hear this kind of stuff with heights and we love this because it's like opportunity, right? It's like challenge and opportunity. That's how everyone did it. Well, that's done. We're going to do it better. Like our first thing was the number one reason most people do not continue is because they forget out of sight, out of mind. So we designed a bottle that passed the wife test that wives were like, yes, I put that on my bedside table. Or yes, I'd have that out in my living room. Like you've just done right. You've got your bottle there, but there's no other supplements there. It's because it looks nice and because it makes you feel good because you're looking after your brain and it's there. Like virtue signaling. Exactly. The virtue signaling to yourself completely. I'm the kind of guy that looks after myself. I look after my most important organ and this is my cymbal of doing that. So that was like an important first step. Then the capsules themselves are in like patented clever capsules. So you've seen like there's omega three on the outside and the nutrients on the inside. That's important because we learned that lots of people take supplements at different times of the day. Ritualizing when you build a habit is really important. So if we could make these that you don't have to have them with food, let you do with most supplements because of the absorption. The absorption happens because the DHA omega three on the outside is fat. When this dissolves in your gut, literally the capsule dissolves, the outer capsule with the inner capsule at the same time the nutrients have been dissolved in fat. That is the same effect as what you get from food. So those capsules have been designed also around habits to help people pick a time and a lot of people don't eat breakfast. And so they just end up forgetting their supplements full stop. So we did it so that you can start at the same time. So you get ritualized like with by having the bottle out and you see it. And then the most important part, which is communication. So we actually have something like a brain health score essentially. It's like an algorithm put together by a couple of neuroscientists PhDs and you take it before you start. And again, we do a 15 day check in and then before we send you your next month because it's a subscription through the letterbox before we send you your next month, we ask you to take it again. Now what happens for most people in the first month, let's be real, right? You just said, you know, scientifically, typically speaking, this product will last, will take three months for you to feel anything like all supplements. So it's a bit of a long game, right? You have to believe in that. Now in the first month for you to feel an impact, maybe you will because where your nutritional levels were coming from and your mental state was coming from, but maybe you won't. So how can we help nudge you there? Well, we can give you awareness. So yeah, so we sent people that this brain health survey, right? And it, you know, self administering, but it gives you a bit of a baseline, a score at the end of like, you know, where you are right now. And then we start sending you coaching comms, like very short emails and snappy bits of information about how to take care of your brain that you might not have thought about, things that are really small little habits that you can build in. And people start to read them. They have an unbelievably high open rate because you've just taken the first step to choosing to look after your brain. So from that point on, why wouldn't you read the emails of the thing that's coaching you to do those habits? And what we find is in the first 25 days or something, like 90, I think it's more than that, like 93% of people have improved their brain health score on a self administered basis from paying attention, right? Not from the vitamins, not from anything else, but suddenly they're interacting with a brand that they're welcoming a brand into their life, whose sole focus is about how you can take care of your brain. It got all these really interesting, very, very respected people just helping to coach you on your journey. And that is such an important part of this because you do have the disbelief in the first couple of months, right? And people like to be able to see and measure improvements. And that's hard to do instantly with supplements, but it isn't hard to affect how someone feels and help encourage them to make changes in their own lifestyle that will make them feel better. That is a brand's responsibility, and that's our responsibility. So that's what we work quite hard on.
Failure and Starting Again (01:13:53)
So where I'm really passionate about building this brand is as a community. It started as a newsletter, "Community is Everything to Me," bringing people along on this journey of brain care and understanding why it's important. The amount of money that we spend on skincare or hair care every day, but nothing on brain care. The most important organ in our body is so completely normalized in society to have skincare and hair care rituals and budgets and households, but not for our brains. So going back to the business side of things, you started gravel, didn't go well in your own estimation of it. You said you struggled with fears of failure. And it failed. When you're talking about imposter syndrome and when you're talking about some sort of confidence issues around putting yourself out there, all of those things seem to sit in contrast to something else you said, which is that you're the type, I think this is a not a verbatim quote, but you said it earlier on, you said you're the type of person that's just going to keep starting and you know you're going to fail, potentially, and that seems like someone that's high confidence and very, very self assured and is not scared at all. And then the other side of you seems like someone that is the antithesis of that. So I'm wondering how you kind of like contend with you because I do believe that you will save that God forbid, not that I believe in God, as you know now. But you believe in a forbid. Yeah, I believe in forbid. Forbid heights doesn't go to plan. Yeah. Riches its lows. Yeah. That's another way of saying it. I'm not out of the business at some point based around something else. How do you find the guts to keep going despite failure? And I'm guessing maybe it speaks to your motivations as to why you wanted to be an entrepreneur in the first place. Right. I'm intrinsically motivated by growth and learning. So the way that I like to think of myself is, someone else said this to me and I just thought it was so poetic and I was so impressed with her for using these words, which is like a lifelong intern. This was a founder. She'd gone to Stanford, had a really successful career and then she'd basically come into intern at heights for a few months. And I was like, I talked to you about that. I did that in other companies as well. But it was interesting to me to find someone else that did that. And I was like, I mean, I could learn from you rather than the other way around. She's like, I'm a lifelong intern. Everywhere I go, I'm a lifelong intern. And I'm like, I talk about myself as a lifelong learner, but lifelong intern was even more powerful. Right. I was like, wow, that's, you know, it's a real mindset towards, you know, redefining what success is. Yeah, because as long as you're learning, well, not you, I, as long as I am learning, I am fulfilled. And I think we all have this like one thing we know to be true about ourselves, right? Starting a business is super hard, right? And you know, I'm like I say, not a nutritionist, not a neuroscientist, had no experience in the space of never launched a vertically integrated supply chain, like from three different countries, or ingredients come to from 10 different countries, because we literally source the highest quality. So the Amiga three comes from like Canada and the blueberries come from Italy, like nuts. But all of that stuff, so exciting to learn and like the opportunity to learn all of these things are new gets me out of bed. And so the whole like failing and starting again, you know, that's got nothing to do with, you know, confidence or lack of or anything. It's got absolutely everything to do with knowing where I'm in my sweet spot. You know, it's a term that I learned years ago that sums it up so perfectly, which is Icky guy.
A Japanese concept for navigating success and failure (01:17:24)
Are you familiar with Japanese Icky guy? That that's me. I'm living my Icky guy right now. What is Icky guy? So Icky guy is Japanese term, basically looks like a Venn diagram on a Venn diagram, right? So you're at the centre and then the different aspects of things like, you know, what makes you happy, what makes other people happy, what makes you money, what makes other people feel filled, it's like ticking off all of these things. And it's like, if you can find that where you are in the centre and you could say, am I contributing to society? Yes. Am I waking up every morning fulfilled? Yes. Am I mentally challenged? Yes. It's like ticking off all of these things. It's like this weird flower. You should definitely check it out. For people watching and listening to this podcast on YouTube, I will put the Icky guy graph on this right now. Yeah. Yeah, it's amazing. It's amazing. And you know, and I come back to it all the time, you know, I had my honeymoon in Japan because of discovering Icky guy. Really? Because I'm like, so, you know, I'm very spiritual. I'm waiting in my beef room. Yeah, well, I had a spiritual wedding and I beat her and then I went and did my honeymoon in Japan and you know, it was all, it was like hikes and spiritual searches and stuff. And you know, there's another fantastic Japanese proverb, which is literally translated as "Fall 7, Rise 8." But what it means is like, if you fall down seven times, rise up the eighth. And you, you, we talked about success and failure just in that moment. And you said that I think you immediately defaulted talking about the purpose, which was you love progression, sort of intellectual progression, growth and learning.
Bringing back viewpoints that are only about your way (01:18:45)
And it almost seems to me that one of the ways to escape from the fear of failure, if you even think about what happened to grab all the, you just grabbed that as a failure, one of the ways to escape from the, from ever failing again is by redefining what success is redefining what failure is. And it sounds like you've almost redefined success now as growth and learning. And you, and you won't fail at that, even if the company goes down, right? So this is like, it's almost like you've developed a strategy somehow not to be able to fail again, because failure now isn't losing the company. It's losing your, losing your way, like you did with Grapplin, becoming someone you're not and being extrinsically motivated. It's exactly that. And you know, I think the opportunity that we all have as human beings to be creative is to certainly accept that things are not going to go on a straight path. But you know, when, when confronted with these like horrible moments of like things like failure and everyone else thinking that you're a failure, that blow gets softened a lot when you get to reflect and think about what you learned. You know, really interesting experience that Joel and I did after failing was we, we went to business psychologists. And we had a facilitator sessions over the course of a week with the, this was your fault. That was my fault. I take blame for this. I blame you for that, letting it all out, right? And then we spoke about, you know, what our, we did personality tests and we looked at where our crossovers were and we had like for the first time a real clear view of strengths and weaknesses gaps and could map out some of the poor mistakes and decisions that we'd made that led to failure. And interestingly, like, you know, rehiring in, in heights this time, the thing that we've had for the last year before we had any employees was a set of company values and hiring processes. And all sorts of like interview tips and hiring docs based on our values before we hired our first person, we must have had them for nine to 12 months, because we were so certain of understanding who we are and what we stand for being the company values and that those company values lead to hiring the right people with the right mindset and that those people are the greatest leverage you could have as a founder to do less of the stuff yourself and enable brilliant people to take it forward. And I think that's probably one of the most important things I've done in my life. We're spending time on company values with a business partner by identifying gaps, weaknesses and spending time hearing my failings from my best friend. What do you say? So much of what was true that I demonstrated a lack of focus. I'd been overly honest, right? So I hadn't picked my moments. He's like, you know, I appreciate a very like transparent person. But you know, but do you know, he's like, you know, we don't have to like tell an investor to their face that you don't buy into the business that they've given you money for. Like you could have a filter. Things like that. The end is, this is this is the behavior. It was the most hurtful thing he said. I think the most hurtful thing that he said was that, you know, he felt that I had not contributed 50/50, right? And that I had like an almost irresponsible attitude towards what I was trying to get out of the business compared to what he needed to get out of the business. And that was a really meaningful start for us to decide on the next business too because what he meant by that was Joel is like a very intelligent person. So he is motivated by challenge. If something is hard to fix, right, then he'll find a way to fix it. That is like he'll get up in the morning for that. I won't. I'm motivated by making an impact and feeling like I'm having a difference and telling a story and impacting people and then telling me that, you know, that made them feel all this way. That is like all emotion for me, right? He's pure like logic and challenge. So by me, you know, constantly discrediting the work that we were doing by saying things like that, right? By being too open and honest about my purpose and not putting on the filter, I was literally without care or remorse. Making his fracturing. Yeah, fracturing what he believes in and his ability to succeed and his ability to tell his own story about the hard work he put it in. And I think all of those things were true. I'd say that it was 60/40. If I was being brutal to myself, 70/30, like, you know, the success of our last company on him. And to be honest, like a lot of the failure was related to me. And I personally don't regret any of it. And I really don't believe he does either. But being able to say this stuff to each other with a letter to all out, that then also gave me the confidence to say like Joel came up with like two or three business ideas before like heights and we were like figuring out what we want to do. Well, it's just like, no, mate, I'm going to do the same thing again. I don't care about that thing. It's like, yeah, but it's really exciting. I'm like, it's not to me, right? No one is going to have their health or mental health impact. I feel like that's my space. That's where I want to be. So really, really enabled us to just, you know, look at my mistakes of the past and my character and say, if you want to work with me, you know that I'm going to have to work on something I feel purposeful about. Otherwise, this is non-negotiable for me. Otherwise we'll repeat history. And you've got another partner in your life, which is your wife. I do. Yes. When did you get married, wage? Well, two years ago I got married, two and a half years ago.
Steves Good Story (01:24:03)
When did you meet her? Ah, well, do you know this story at all? No, I don't. Okay, fine, fine. So technically speaking, I met her at 18 on the Coast on Road for one night, but I didn't sleep with her in Thailand, in Bangkok. I didn't sleep with her, but I tried to chat her up and stuff and it was a straight up no. So she's best friends with my business partner, Joel's. Sure. Best mate, a cousin, sorry. So anyway, the point being that's how we met her originally. And I'd like, you know, sent some very awkward Facebook wall messages when that was a thing, you know, trying to chup over the years. It was always enough. And then at like 30 or 31, like on my birthday, Joel basically reintroduced us. And I was like, I'm having a party. Why don't you just come, et cetera? And she's older than me, right? She's two years older than me. So I was a bit like, you're 32, I'm 30. You're a bit too old to pick right now. Your mates are married. I literally gave her all the band to her. I was like, you're mates are married. You're running out of options. I'm still available. You know, let's do it. You're not going to do any of that, haven't you? Yeah. She found it hilarious. She did come join me at drinks and like the rest is history. And actually our relationship's been super interesting because we spent the first year, not monogamous. We spent the first year openly. So we spent the first year openly communicating that we'll sleep with other people, but they were all like more like one night stands, whereas we were like coming back to each other, which was interesting because she's just like hilarious, really good fun, really funny. And so I enjoy hanging out with her. But I was very clear, like you're not my girlfriend. She was like, yeah, great. I'm not your boyfriend. No problem.
The Reality of Dans Relationship (01:25:35)
I did that for a whole year. Why were you saying that? Why were you not written? I've been, yeah, because I like loads of reasons. Like one is I'd come out of a horrible relationship the last time where I wasn't treated particularly nicely and I just didn't didn't make me want to get married for sure. And I told my mum and her that I wouldn't get married incidentally. So I was like, I don't believe in marriage and I don't really believe in monogamy. And like those are my beliefs. I told you about this book, Sex at Dawn, I highly recommend you read it. So I've been telling myself the story that this wasn't going to happen for you. Rejecting her in a way and protecting myself. Absolutely. And I think that was mutual for whatever reason for a year. And actually, after a year, we had that awkward conversation. I almost like where she actually said, what are we going to do? This is getting a bit silly now. I'm getting on. I'm like 75 now. I need to get married. And so I said, you know, I almost said no. They're in there. And I said, let me sleep on it. And I was about to say no, but then all my friends were basically like, you know, she's literally wicked. Like, well on earth, would you do that to yourself? What have you got to lose? And from that point of saying yes and being in a relationship with her, I proposed to her the like six months later and we got married a year later.
Balancing Personal Life And Work
Achieving and maintaining balance in your personal life (01:26:43)
So it was actually a really short relationship from meeting to marriage. You matter with your 33 now. You matter at 30. Yeah. So you proposed when you're 31? Yeah. Okay. So you've been together for two years now. And so I always find it super fascinating when I meet an entrepreneur that's super busy and you know, in love with their business and their ideas and is a workaholic to some degree, how they manage to keep their relationship balanced because I haven't figured it out yet. Yeah. And I, I take the faces that I've gone through different sort of levels of immaturity in my life. The first phase was meeting great people, meeting a great girl and thinking to myself, you need to wrap your life around me. I'm not going to change a thing about myself. I'm the most important thing in the world. The world revolves around me. You're welcome to join the all bit. But I'm not going to change at all. Didn't go well. Surprisingly. And then like trying to find a little bit of compromise somewhere in me, but still being ruthlessly apologetic. Didn't go well. And now I'm at a place where I'm currently single, completely single and I need the answers. I'm less, I don't want to be one of these fucking asshole narcissists that I just read about one in the newspaper. I won't say any names, Martin Sorrow. And what I've, what I read about people, I think it was his ex wife that described him was very, very similar to the behavior that I'm exhibiting, which is this kind of self-centeredness that excludes everybody, but ultimately will run the risk of actually being self harm when I make myself lonely and miserable. Because I didn't appreciate the value of a relationship. So I want you to help me with the answer. Well, let me tell you, I told myself the narrative that being in a relationship, I don't have time to be in a relationship, right? That's my narrative. Being married and all of these things will close opportunities down to me and my life will be worse for it. And that's fine. Those are stories and like everything, you know, we convince ourselves of all sorts of stories. And I do believe in, you know, finding not just the one, but ones. I really don't believe that there's one person for you in the world. I believe there's many. And I think having a spiritual connection with others and, you know, for some people like a sexual connection with multiple partners, I think that this stuff is totally acceptable. A, be completely biological, like biologically, scientifically more normal for us than monogamy, which is essentially because of Christianity in the world. And frankly, you know, even though that's not what I do with my wife currently, we've had conversations about, you know, in five years or in 10 years, right, if we weren't sleeping together, because we weren't finding ourselves like, you know, sexually attractive or whatever at that point, you know, would we consider having the conversation, like opening up our relationship? And ask you that question. Huh? Can I ask you that question? Yeah, I'm answering it almost now, which is like, yes, we would. We would do that. And would you be comfortable with how sleeping with other men? That's a very different question because right now, no, you to me, maybe logically, right, logically, if I took a motion out of it, absolutely, because if I didn't want to at that point sleep with my wife, it would not be fair to deprive her of sex because of how I was feeling. And so I think having a maturity towards your relationships and to all relationships is so important. And a lot of, you know, what really upsets me, like so many people get divorced. And one of the most common reasons people get divorced is because they cheat. And you can avoid that by having a conversation, like I still love you. And I still think everything I always always did think about you. So for whatever reason, the sexual attraction has gone, and either we are going to work on that together, or we should explore other options. And like everything in life, Steve, the most uncomfortable conversations are the ones you need to have. So I think a really smart way, and I would say this because, you know, I'm doing it, but I think a smart way to approach your relationship is like you approach your business. So you set out a vision for your relationship. And you say this is what we want to be and where we want to be in 50 years. What does that look like? And, you know, recently I did this with my wife. We were in Portugal. We were with some friends. I was holding her, like I was working in Portugal for a month during lockdown. And we were staying like a villa with some friends and like we'd kind of been okay in lockdown, but like now she's around other people, she's being a sub-ex, snappy, like kind of bitchy. We were just getting on each other's nerves. And I went for like a long walk on the coast with her. And I was just like, where's this coming from? Like five wives, right? Why are you doing that? Why are you doing that? Why are you doing that? Right? And we've kind of got to the crux of the issue. You know, these are things that I'm annoying about and what I do, the irritate her and obviously like these are things you do. And I was like, okay, let's take a break from like right now, the things that are annoying us about each other. Let's flip the script. In 50 years, what are the things that we're going to be saying, doing and believing about why we love each other? What does that look like? So like literally let's imagine in the future how we are and work back from that. So objective, right? A long, happy and fulfilling marriage. So you know, you might be familiar with OKRs. So objectives and key results, we implement them at heights as a startup, but also Melissa, she's the director of operations for Europe, Middle Eastern Africa for vice and she put OKRs into vice. So we're both fan of the system, right? And the system is literally, this is the objective we're trying to get to. These are some measurable key results that would have to happen for us to achieve the objective. So we decided to try and apply this framework to our marriage, right? What is the objective? A long, sustainable, happy and fulfilling marriage. What are the key results that get us there? Well, we broke them down into mind, body and soul, right? And from there, you get to cascade down these key results, right? So they start to say a little bit like, OK, so mind, for me, meditation is really important. For her, you know, she doesn't really want to do it, but like from a compromise point of view, because she knows that I believe in it and stuff, she'll do it with me. Similarly, you know, from a mind point of view, she wants to be heard, right? So how about, you know, we will ask each other how our days are, but systematically as a habit, right? We'll build it as a habit. Another one was, you know, we'll teach each other something new every day. So we're always growing. These kinds of things literally became a habit tracker list that we fill in in our journal every single night. Did I teach Melissa something new today? Did I ask her how her day was? Did we have sex?
Scheduling out key elements to a successful marriage (01:33:27)
Were we intimate, right? Were we cuddling and, you know, spending time? Did I have personal space because really important to have space away from your partner? These literally become habit trackers that if you think about it really methodically, you know, did we exercise for 30 minutes a day? These things, if you do them, you know the compound gains of the results you get in a marriage. If we're literally doing these things together, if I'm asking how her day is and I'm listening, if I'm spending time like learning something new to teach her because I want to and she'll reciprocate the same, it will literally create these moments where we're not in our work and we're not doing other things. We're doing this with each other and they don't have to take very long, but they are like things that we've taken personal responsibility for to achieve. Some people, a certain type of person will listen to that and they'll think to themselves our robotic. Our robotic. And you know, I had the same conversation with Nia, Nia, I L, he came on this podcast. Yeah. He was the king of this stuff.
The Spontaneity Illusion (01:34:24)
Yeah. And he talked about how he literally schedules time to be with his wife and to see the kids and to play with the kids. And a certain type of person listening will think, well, that takes the, the specialness and the magic and the spontaneity out of just like living and being, you know, free to go in whatever direction. And it also, when you listen to that, you think that you start to think about how us as humans have over, but this is potentially a thought over organized and over routine and really overthought every facet of our life. And one of the things that I have a sometimes a bit of a visceral bad reaction to is like, and you would have heard about all this stuff, that, you know, the 10 habits of highly successful entrepreneurs, you've got to get out of bed, drink the green tea, do the yoga, write your diary, do 10 star jumps, then call your mum until you're a lover. And, and it gets to the point. That is one of mine to be fair. Yeah, yeah. Call your mum every day. If you listen to all of this stuff, your day would literally be completely unconscious. It would be what's the next thing in my list of how to be a good human. And so how do you kind of contend that rigidness with creating space for lack of rigidness and just fucking seeing where the wind takes you? It is a great question.
Does Routine Help Or Hinder You? (01:35:36)
In my experience so far, this particular bit of rigidness has created more space, not less space for me. Interesting. And the reason is because if you think about the opposite of this, right? So if you don't do some of this stuff, if you don't, I mean, there's so many examples that are like filling my head right now. So if I don't ask my wife how her day is regularly, if I don't exercise regularly, if I don't, you know, meditate every day, this is me personally, right? Okay, what are the outcomes of that? My wife is not going to feel listened to. We might end up in an argument. How much, not how much time does the argument take up? How much mental energy after the arguments over is going to distract me from all the other things I could do that day, right? The things I wish I hadn't have said, like all of the things, right? Call that day a write off, maybe a couple of days, right? That takes up loads of time. If I don't meditate every single day, I have a very loud mind, I'm much slower at making decisions in general, right? So it is actually taking up more time to not build that habit in for myself. If I don't go for my daily walk, personally, I am not making time to read, listen and learn. So therefore, my personal growth as a human being is slowing down because I really believe that, you know, the way that I can build a better life for myself is funneling wisdom into myself, choosing what I read and choosing who I listen to and choosing what I believe to an extent, right? I love reading counter views to staff. Like I'm a lefty. I love, I follow loads of conservatives and right-wing Republicans because it's healthy for me, but I'm choosing to funnel stuff into my life. So again, by not doing that, I could be more aimless and more free and I wouldn't necessarily be following the path to making better decisions as a human being, which also speeds things up. If I don't call my mum every day, she will call me up and ask me why I don't love her, which will make me feel like shit for three days. So I actually find that this stuff in my, you know, again, not exercising, you know, you don't have to ritualize half an hour, five days a week like I have in my diary, right? But if I don't, I actually start to feel achy, I start judging myself. You think about these things. Like actually they create time. They don't take away in my experience. And that's exactly what Nia said, which is that, you know, he's planning his time so that he has more time to do the things intentionally that he wants to do. My last question on the relationship point is about bringing your problems home and how you've kind of, because this is one of the big problems I have as well is along with the like selfishness around my business being the most important thing sometimes is how do you not bring your problems home, but then also like not make her feel lonely when she sat right next to you by being off with the fairies.
Brought Work Problems Home1 (01:37:53)
And you know, I was reading Elon's book, the book written about Elon Musk and it talked about how he would, you know, come home and be, you know, a little bit of a recluse, even though everyone's around him and he's in his head and he's just focused on his problems, his life, he's working incredibly hard to the point he's sleeping on the floor. How have you managed to find the balance in the relationship? Is it just the OKRs? Is there, does she get it? Do you know who it will? I think I'm lucky, like A, she gets it and B, she enjoys her personal space. And she's super busy as well. And she's super busy as well. Yeah, exactly. And we have, you know, she's got scale up, she's running a big company, like she only reports to the CEO. So she's got a lot of responsibility. Does there, sometimes, go in the opposite direction as well where you're not getting enough out of her in terms of attention? No, I think we're both really lucky. Like, we both like our own company and we both like each other's companies. So, you know, you can kind of be happy the way if you're lucky enough to learn what you like and how to be with yourself, which takes quite a lot of learning. A lot of us are very dependent on other people. And if I was still completely dependent on my wife's attention and my wife, like in general, then I might be like that. I come to learn, you know, how to listen to myself, how to make time for myself, how to spend time enjoying being on my own as well. And I think that's a really important skill to learn because otherwise I think the answer would be true. And I think, you know, she's got the same, which is, you know, I'll listen to podcasts about performance and habits and stuff and she'll listen to case file on repeat.
Casefile (True Crime) (01:39:37)
Oh my God, does she a case file file? Oh, man. If I hear that Australian pricks actually one more time. Oh my God. I've listened to every episode. There's a UK one called They Will Come Among Us. I'm obsessed with true crime. Yeah. So is she so obsessed? Well, listen, do my account. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. She's a love. She makes me watch true crime stuff on Netflix and it freaks me out. I have this really bad habit of because I can't sleep without listening to something. Yeah. So I'll be, it'll be two a.m. in the morning, just got in bed with my partner, whoever I'm with. And I'll say, do you mind if I just partner? A murder podcast. Yeah. That's what she does. Serial rapist. Yeah. I keep asking the question, but the answer is always saying Steve, it's 2 a.m. I don't want to listen to a story about a serial rapist right now while I'm closing my eyes in the dark. I'm fucking so I get my phone or my airport and I put it in one ear where they can't hear it. And that's how I fall asleep. So she's exactly the same. She like, she, you know, we actually, I mean, it's, I find it so interesting, you know, she will make me watch these things on Netflix because she's like, but it's so interesting, right? And I actually quite damaged my mental health because, you know, you see things like, you know, but that husband loved that wife so much. Why does he end up killing those two daughters and his wife? Oh, he's talking about American murder. Yeah, the most recent one, but like there's, you know, all of them, you know, at the end of the day, like why someone goes from, you know, lovely and humane and kind and wonderful and all the things I like to believe about people in the world to that terrifies me. Really? So it has, it has, and this almost, it's something you, what you've just said then sent my mind back to the start of this conversation about religion and belief and purpose and, and what, you know, before when I was holding on to fame. I mean, they're usually religions even more terrifyingly. Yeah. Yeah. But this, the reason I find it so fascinating is because it gets to the truth in human beings, which is something that I know we're both deeply interested in, which is like finding the true nature of humans. And in the example we've talked about there in America, but by the way, because I'm such a now, I'd read that story. I'd watched documentaries on it three, four, five years ago. So seeing on Netflix and their depiction of it was fascinating, but there you have just the perfect, perfect example of how, um, unboxable and unpredictable human nature can be when forces like infidelity and love and, um, because that was a normal person, the fact that a normal person can go from being this lovely dad who was quite placid to smothering his own children and, uh, an affair, teaches you something valuable about the nature of being human and, um, how, and for me that is like awesome. That is awesome. And that's why I think I'm so obsessed with those things is they teach you the lessons in a violent, emotional, gripping way about the true nature of being human. Yeah. I mean, she feels the same way, whereas I'm just like, you know, that's, it just plays on my mind. Really? It plays on my mind to the idea of like, well, that could happen to me then. That's why, because I'm like, I'm so kind to loving, you know, full of, you know, good energy, but so is that guy in that example. So is that guy, so is every review of what that guy was like from all of his friends and everything else. So how can that happen to a person? This is the fascinating thing, which was he met someone else clearly. He was, he was in a marriage which, which had lost its passion, a loveless marriage. He decided to stay probably for the sake of the kids. He decided comfort over a decision which he probably should have made a tough decision, which he should have made in the short term for the long term good. And it caught up with him. And for me, that's like, isn't that life where you suppress making a short term tough decision?
Navigating Relationships And Finding Happiness
How to overcome a relationship crisis (01:43:14)
Yes, but that comes back to exactly what I was saying, right? Which is, yeah, that comes back to the relation. No, it comes back to setting a vision for your relationship and, you know, having a plan and talking about in advance, right? You know, if you're really smart, you're talking advance. What happens if one of us cheats? What happens in this scenario, right? What would happen if we fell out of love? Um, you know, there's no point like, you know, planning the perfect life. If you don't crisis plan, the things that happen to all human beings. Um, if you've got a great relationship with your partner, I think it's so valuable to treat it like you would your business, which is scenario planning, spending some time talking about what would we do in this kind of crisis and how would we behave? Because by doing that with my wife, like I, you know, we've got permission to bring up that horrible conversation, right? Like in theory, that that would never happen to me because if I wanted to cheat on her, I'd have the conversation with her and I've got permission to have that conversation because we've talked about it. I thought you meant that like, I want to murder you tonight. No, I probably wouldn't tell her. It'd still be a nice surprise. Um, but you know what I mean is in like, you know, there's permission in our relationship to address the difficult things. Um, that's why in some respects, you know, I treat my marriage like I treat my business, which is, you know, something that I deeply care about if it's successful and everything that I put into my life is about making these things successful to the best of my ability. And what I've learned is doing those things from a sense of, um, vision and clarity and communication and values as well.
The 3 fundamentals for choosing your partner (01:44:40)
Because you're talking about transparency and, you know, honesty and exactly. I, I, um, as a, when I started dating, you know, I don't know, 18 years old, whatever, I thought that I was looking for, I had a checklist. If you said, Steve, what, what's your type? I'd be like, okay, the brown hair, the this, the that this, they want to look like this, they want to talk like this to me. And this list was almost like, it was endless, right? Of like little specific superficial things I was looking for in a partner. And after a couple of, you know, bad relationships and bad experiences and maturity and self awareness and understanding myself, I got close. I was like, what are the fundamentals? What are the like, the unnegotiable things that I can't be without and that where I'm at now, and I kind of want to get your take on this and see if it resonates at all with you is I have three things that are like fundamentals that I need to fit. So the first one I've, I've kind of defined as they need to be intellectually stimulating to me, which you can say, you know, being able to have a conversation, being able to, um, yeah, like release my mind or else I all, I'll almost, I feel like I'll get a mental um, disorder if I can't release my thoughts. Cause you know, we're very similar people in terms of our cognition. The next for me is sexual attraction. I used to think it was like they, they're pretty, they're hot, but I realized that sexual attraction is much different to be them being pretty in the mind of the world. And the third thing is, um, I would hope that they would make me a better person and you can, I'm that's intentionally broad. That could be a spiritual thing. It could be helping me become a better CEO in my business, better at my podcast or whatever. So those are my three things intellectually stimulating, sexually attractive and they make me a better person. Whatever you wanted to find that. What are yours? Well, I have to say sexual attraction is such an important thing to me in general. But what I've learned is, and you learn this a lot the more you read about relationships, that is actually something that wanes for everyone. It doesn't mean it will go and it doesn't mean you won't be attracted to your wife or your husband or anything like that, but it wanes and you as a human being become less sexual, the older you get, right? That's just biology. So I've learned not to make that one of the most important things on the basis of, or I wouldn't say it's the most important thing purely on the basis of, um, I'm more likely to fall out of love with the person that I'm with. If one, like you just said, they don't intellectually challenge me. Second one, again, like you said, like they have to help me grow in some respect or certainly be with me on the journey because in, you know, in a lot of relationships, including my marriage, like I am the one forcing a lot of the growth. But I'm like that and I can be quite irritating to be around because like I just always want more growth, more this, more that book, this podcast. And some people just want to like chill out and that's good for me as well, right?
The importance of having a partner that ups your enjoyment of life (01:47:38)
And that is growth being pushed back and being like, rest, stop it. You know, she's the one who's like, you're doing too much, you got to stop like read this book. I read an amazing book called rest by Alex Song yam Ping, I think his name is brilliant book, much better than why we sleep and all the other ones that you would read about this stuff and really, really helped me grow by realizing recharging as such a huge, huge part. Actually what I meant. It was with that third point and like think about it, it was a, it was one person I was with that would stop me working. Yeah. And she would make me realize the value of everything else but work. So she'd be like, let's go to this garden, which is something Steve would never, you usually choose to do. But when she took me, my life was better. And so I think when people think, great, they think, I'll like clapping at the back when you're, I'm like, no, take me out of my world and show me something else that allowed value to my life that I wouldn't ordinarily have pursued. And how much more productive you are as a person as well when you've got space and time and you've had thoughts and there's a reason why short thoughts come to us in the shower or on walks, right? It's because you're literally scientifically speaking, your default mode network, your DMN in your brain is being activated by that moment of rest. So you know, it is neuro scientifically true. There's loads of studies on it, but it's hard in the moment when you're people like us to take the rest. And so having like, you know, a partner that's there that forces are on you as a culture, like, you know, almost every single evening now, I don't do any work, which is so different to me. But like last night we watched the mask together, right? Like we will watch something like, you know, trashy fun, whatever, but it's like not laptop down, we're eating dinner, we're chilling out. And it's like a rule. And you know, I have to have a very good reason to break that rule. And it's made me a happier, healthier person, but you know, without that guardrail, I would just carry on working. And you talked about the sexual point there.
The importance of finding someone with a sense of humour (01:49:23)
I want to tell you a very personal story that I've never shared before about why that made my list. And this is a dynamic list that's changing as I'm mature. Of course. I met a girl that was the other two. So I met a girl that was the most intellectually stimulating person I've ever met. She was actually a model. So she's absolutely gorgeous. She's also like a, just a genius. And she, she challenges me with a sense of like, like she doesn't care who I am or what I've done in my life or what I've achieved. And so that made me a better person. She was an absolute genius. And she was gorgeous. Went to have sex with her after, you know, two months of, you know, you know, humbling hot air balloons and all of this stuff. I'm really hoping she isn't listening. But the whole point of this podcast is to be honest. So. And it just wasn't there. The first time ever in my life. And I experienced what I can only describe as a feeling of like horror, total disappointment, not with her or anything like that, but that that was the thing. Yeah. And it felt like such a pathetic thing to stand in the way of someone that I thought was perfect. And I got out of bed, tried again, I tried again, I tried again over a couple of days, and I realized that it wasn't there. And I got out of bed and I remember a text my best friend. I said, I can never see her again, because this is something that I didn't realize is actually so important to, to a relationship, even though it sounds pathetic when you say they weren't good in bed, but they were perfect in every other way. It sounds pathetic. But it was the truth. And that's what made my list. My other, my other thing is sense of humor. Yeah. You know, one of our company values is have a sense of humor and humility, which I'm sort of two in in the same one, but I believe so strongly in that, which is work can be very serious, life can be very serious. But finding moments to connect and laugh, I mean, so good for your brain, but just so good for your soul. And, you know, spending every day with my wife in lockdown, right, you know, just us too, et cetera, et cetera, like, thank God we make each other laugh. You know, like we, we both have a very similar, very dark sense of humor. You know, one of our things is actually my, when we fought on our first date, I brought up my dead dad and how actually one of my favorite things to do in like social situations is to bring up my dead dad to make other people feel awkward, just like, because it's like kind of funny. Anyway, she was like, Oh my God, I do that about my dad. And it turns out that her dad had died like a year after mine or whatever. So we, as like our second date or something, we decided to go out on Father's Day together without our fathers and everyone else just had their dads around into the Oxford hotel and they came over and they're like, would you like the Father's Day menu? And we're like, Oh, no, our dads are dead. Thanks. And just literally like found it the funniest thing that only us two would find so funny, right? Because it's just so uncomfortable for everyone else. But to ask that kind of like dark humor, like ways to connect and like weirdness that other people, you know, you're connecting on your pain as well, because you took quite a self disparagement and comedians and stuff. 100%. Yeah. And like how many of like, you know, comedy greats are, you know, coming from, yeah, not just suffering, but also coming from huge places of insecurities as well. And that's their platform to bring on. So I think those things all really match up, but by 100%, I think, you know, finding someone who makes you laugh and gets your quirks so, so, so important because humans are weird. And I think it's lovely if you can be your fullest, weirdest self in front of other people.
Thoughts on happiness (01:53:01)
Are you happy? Yeah, I was thinking about this question the other day, someone asked me two answers to that. One, yes, I am happy. Like the, the blunt answer is yes, I'm happy because I'm fulfilled because question, isn't it? Yeah. But the question that body language there is because because the question that I asked back to this person was, I am happy, but why is happiness so important? Like why is that the question you want to ask me? Like, is it, does it matter that I am happy? And is it binary? It's another. Yeah. And is it binary? But like, why does that matter to you? And why does that matter to me? Because I think a much better question is, am I contributing? You know, am I fulfilled and am I contributing? Because if I'm doing those things, I'll be happy. And I know that to be true. Whereas for me, asking that happy is a bit like, you know, it's too binary. It's too dense. Yeah. And it's like straight to the point. And it's like, there's nothing really behind that question. Undefined as well. Undefined and also like, which depends on what you're asking me that day, I will be like, no, today I'm not happy today. If you ask me if I'm contributing to society and does that make, fulfill me and make me feel like I'm living my purpose, it won't matter what I feel like today. Are you fulfilled?
Very, but I have so much more to do. I, I, one of the real fascinating things that I've learned is, and I can, I've read about this at length in my book, is how binary questions like that are the cause of so much pain and no one realizes it. That the cause of so much like misunderstanding pain and, and, and anxiety. So like another great example is if I asked you now, if I said, are you in love, and immediately you have a bunch of problems there, first you've got to define in love. No one's ever told you what that is. They've never shown you it. When you were born, they didn't say, okay, Dan, if you ever feel like this, it's in love. You've got it from Instagram and movies. So you immediately have to overcome that. And then you have to try and understand if what you're feeling for this person fits into that box. And, and I think I want to, it's so crazy that especially from what I do on Instagram and putting myself up there, tons of people send me their problems. And usually it's because they, they're trying to fit into a binary box and they don't even realize that like Steve, I'm not sure if this is my passion. I'm like, that is a super binary thing. Because you need to have you found your passion that that presumes a yes or no answer. Whereas if you say, like, are you feeling fulfilled, it's a much more, it's an answer that appreciates. It's a gradient. And not just a gradient, but a gradient that different things impact. Yeah. So, you know, I mentioned contribution, like, you know, there's many ways to contribute. And, you know, being outwardly successful or building a company or, you know, you know, having a high-flying career, you know, they don't tick that many boxes in terms of contribution. A lot of contribution comes back to what you do for society, for what you do for your family, for what you do for people that you care about, you know, that stuff is a much broader question. And it's like a cup that's never full. Right? So it's nice because it's got different levels and you kind of know deep down if you feel like you're living your purpose and contributing to the level that you would make you proud. And you also know when you're not, which is great because again, it's not bad that you're not. It's just like, well, I could actually improve some stuff by giving it some focus. And I think that's why you've got to continue to, like, question the question as much as you try and answer the question sometimes. Are you scared of dying?
Notions Of Life, Death And Entertainment
Fear of Dying (01:56:12)
Great question. Why is it a great question? A great question because I don't believe in fear of death. Fear of death is literally, like, illogical because fear of death is what actually makes you fear of life. So if you're scared of dying, then you approach your life in a very different way. And actually, the greatest fear that we should have is not living your life in a true way. So no, I'm not at all scared of dying. It's also really worth saying that, like, ever since doing ayahuasca, like, I 100% convincingly believe in things like reincarnation, soul spirits, other planes, all of the woo woo crap that just sounds completely bizarre for me to think that I would ever say those words. It's not even woo, is it? From like a scientific perspective, you describe the reincarnation. Exactly. That's why I believe in reincarnation because I see it everywhere around me. So the reality is I'm not in the slightest bit scared of death. And I think that that's the biggest blessing that I got from doing ayahuasca was no fear of death because that's a potent, powerful feeling, not feeling, like, knowledge, insight, right? That's categorically so quick for me to answer that question and no. It helped me deal with the death of my father when my mum got cancer. It helped me come to terms with what might happen to not have her around as well. This is life. People die. So you have to approach it, right? You can't pretend that isn't going to happen. It's the only thing that's guaranteed. So having a philosophical understanding of what that means to you and then how that impacts your life or maybe holds you back is a terrible thing. So it's usually a fear of death that essentially limits our life, in my view. I feel the exact same and the experience I described you where I lost my faith in Christianity at 18 was also the exact moment where I, because up until that point, I believe that there's heaven and hell. And that was a fucking terrifying thing. So for the next two years, I went on this search of what the answers were, got obsessed with reading about atheist books. And it was actually Richard Dawkins that said, you should really fall in love with the beauty of the world and the true nature of nature. And he talks about being able to go into a church and crying even as an atheist because of the beauty and the wonder. But also on the point of death, one of the things he said was, a lot of people are scared of death because it's the unknown. And when you're religious, you think I'm going to burn or I'm going to be in this place with all these good people, that sound kind of boring. But when I got to the point where I was agnostic or atheist or whatever you want to call it, he said, like, how did you feel 100 years ago? I didn't feel anything. Were you scared? Were you fearful? No, no, because I wasn't here. And he said, that's how you'll feel then. And then when I lost this idea that I would burn or go to this other place and be judged in some way, it all became about now. And as you described, it was this liberating feeling of then, okay, well, this is it. If this is it, then everything is so much more special. This isn't an audition. This is the fucking show. And my life completely changed. And I completely agree. I asked the question, which is a strange thing to ask him, like, well, I don't even want to call this a business podcast, because it's so fundamental to me. And because I think the fear of death is so deeply illogical. And as you say, in prisoning, it's like, yeah, so listen, we could talk for hours and hours and hours. What an amazing conversation. I've loved it. I'm so thankful for coming on and sharing your insights. It's interesting because the dam that didn't want to do personal branding was like, well, you know, I have a direct-to-consumer product and what's my personal brand fit in that? But the most convincing sales pitch for this product was in fact, when you talked about you. It's not when you, you know what I mean? Yeah. And I think that, I mean, of course, like you're talking about the struggles you've had and the agenda and motivations that went into creating your product is the most convincing thing. Yeah. And that's, again, why your personal brand and you building it and even why it's having this conversation is so, I think, so incredibly important. I always finish this podcast by asking one question, which I'm sure you've had before, which is about the dinner party.
The Dinner Table (02:00:21)
We're at a nice table now. Just imagine there was two other seats at this table. Who would you bring to the table and why? Your arms crossed again. Yeah. Sorry, I'm just getting into the serious mode, like thinking about this. So I think, I think to be honest, I'd want like an ancient philosopher. I'd love like, you know, it'd just be so cool, like Marcus Aurelius, I would say one big fan of meditations, you know, stoic philosophy. I read meditations after my first business fell, someone bought it for me. And I read it again every year. It takes like an hour to read. And it's just such a great reminder of, you know, yes, the world is tough and yes, the world is shit, but everything is what you make of it. And really, the world you're living in is all, it all exists inside your own mind. And once you understand that, you can control a lot of how you feel. So Marcus Aurelius would be one. And I would say the second, you know, this is pathetic. And I'm sorry, but you know, Dennis Burghamp is my all time hero. I'm a goona. And you know, the man was a magician and so classy and such an authentic and great leader in so many ways and iconic. Beful though, I hear. Huh? Fearful. Yeah, oh, the opposite of Jesus, he won't fly, but he does walk on water. Yeah, crazy when I heard that he refused to fly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, totally correct. Yeah, he's got a bunch of interesting anxieties. Yes, I could ask him about that. Maybe I'll get Marcus in. Well, exactly. And if I had a third, if you were being generous, to be honest with you. Full, full, full. Oh, all right. Okay. So yeah, Oprah. Yeah, why? Literally, just think she's phenomenal. Yeah, it felt stupid asking why. Yeah. In every way, right, as in, it's hard to pick a thing, but let's just say then because of personal growth, media brand, understanding wealth and leveraging your wealth for good and storytelling. I mean, I could just go on like, you know, the list is just ridiculous. So 100% Oprah. And, or I don't know, I feel like, I feel like, you know, once the fourth seat literally sitting way would be the back seat. My French bulldog is just like sprinting around attacking imaginary other French bulldog. Yeah, exactly. Sit, Pablo. And then I'd actually say my fourth would be Louis Hamilton. Because I think what he's achieved, even before literally breaking a record like a couple of weeks ago, is so awesome. And I love, I'm so proud of the fact that he's British. I'm so proud of the fact, like, obviously, even though I'm a white guy, I'm so proud of the fact of what he's doing to using his platform to take a stance, actually being political with his message when he knows he has such a big platform, which is a thing that a lot of people choose not to do and choose to back out of. So he's a man that stands for morals and values. Secondly, he's vegan. So, you know, I like, I think it's interesting that he's chosen, he's on such a high performance. No fail, like attitude, but is like, as a plant-based person, clearly environmentally conscious, even if he's in F1, which is obviously debatable. But he's got these like, clearly deep-rooted values about how he wants the world to be. And he is manifesting and living them in being basically the greatest racing driver that's ever, ever lived. That's what he will end up as, because he just beat Schumacher's record. And he seems like quite a nice bloke, just in general. Like, I just like, when I see interviews of him, I just like, what a relatable guy this is, you know, he doesn't seem like a knob superstar at all. So I would just love to, the reason for him is I just love to talk to him about mindset and focus. Because when you think about it, that is all you're doing in an F1 car. Yeah. That is the, in my opinion, the most focused you can be is driving a formula one. I don't think there is any other, anything tops that. So I would love to know how you achieve that kind of level of flow and focus, like, week in, week out, nothing would be more interesting. So Marcus, Berkemp, Oprah, and... Sounds like a wicked dinner.
Jay's Dinner Party Guests (02:04:29)
Yeah. It sounds amazing. Listen, thank you so much for your time today. It's a pleasure to consider your friend a mentor through the content you produce and your podcast, Secret Leaders, but also just an all-round good guy.
And you have a way of being honest and open, which was not only perfect for this podcast, but it's so tremendously valuable for people like me, for everybody listening. And I want to thank you for that as well, because it's not always the easiest thing to do, you know, people default to massaging the ego, or trying to get, you know, press for being positive and untouchable and perfect. And I think you've taken a different route, which is serving a much needed positive service to the world. So thank you for that as well. Pleasure. Yeah. I'm sure you will pick up this conversation again soon. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Diary of a CEO. Listen, if you're on the podcast store or you're in a Spotify or you're listening to it in some kind of app, do me a huge, huge favor, leave a review and hit the subscribe button. If you're watching this on YouTube right now, I need another favor. I need you to hit the like button. And if you'd be so generous to leave a comment, one person that does this will be joining me in March at the Diary of a CEO live show in Manchester, and you'll be coming backstage and meeting me and the other members of our team. Thank you so much for listening. Bye. Bye.