The Impossible True Story of $0 To $1 Billion : Tom Bilyeu | E146 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "The Impossible True Story of $0 To $1 Billion : Tom Bilyeu | E146".

1970-01-06T19:38:10.000Z

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Introduction

Intro (00:00)

Man, we're going in a real dark place. I've never talked about this stuff out. The American entrepreneur, broadcaster Tom Billie. I'm about to ruin that fucking good mood. I tried to believe I was special and either luck of the draw or the fact that I really am average, I would always run into somebody better than me. I was sliding rapidly towards depression. The breakthrough for me was to accept that I was hopelessly average and that that was still going to allow me to be successful. I can sum up personal responsibility in a single quote by Kobe Bryant. Booze, don't block dunks. The most insidious thing about excuses, you have a valid reason to feel like a victim. But the question is, is that going to serve you moving forward? When I reflect on how many people in our society are feeling anxious these days, is there something we are just fundamentally doing wrong about the way that we're living our lives? Yes. And what is that? I would lose respect for myself if I didn't say this. So here it goes. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the Dyer over CEO USA edition. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this to yourself. The story you tell yourself about yourself is the single most important thing you're going to craft.


Personal Development And Global Issues Discussion

How did you become the successful person you are today? (01:17)

Thanks. I was watching a compilation of things you'd set up stairs before I came downstairs. And that really stuck out to me because when I think about the Tombow story that I know, it's the question that I find so repeatedly fascinating is how a man went from what you told me in our last conversation. Many years ago, you were someone that was kind of counted out by seemingly by your mother, by yourself and other people around you, your current wife's father, to this guy that I see as the antithesis of that. How did you, what did, or how did you change that self story? Well, the how I changed that story is so rudimentary that I wish people would take me seriously. So the only belief that matters is that if I put energy and effort into getting better, I actually will get better. And so you can look at anything and say, OK, maybe I stuck at this right now, which was the key realization for my life. OK, I'm I actually am not good. Like my father-in-law wasn't crazy. I really wasn't anywhere useful for his daughter at that time. My mom wasn't crazy. I really was lazy. Like, so she was just picking up on the fact that I was tremendously lazy. She wanted me to be successful, but she was just looking at my behavior. And so I hadn't been misidentified. People just didn't calculate how much I could change and that I would so grasp on to the ability to change as an emotional life raft. And so the big switch was that I decided to believe that I could get better. And once I made that decision, it aligned my behaviors with skill acquisition. And that's all life is. Acquire skills. When I reflect on this idea of like choosing your beliefs, I think one of the things that people will come to front of mind is it's very hard to believe something if you don't have some kind of subjective evidence for that thing. And when I think about my own confidence or my own personal growth, a lot of it came from some type of subjective evidence. So I didn't believe that I could speak in front of people because I'd never done it before. And when I hear a lot of the narrative in the self development community, that there's some some narrative in the self development community that you need to look in the mirror in the morning and say, I am great. I am a millionaire. I am successful. I never wanted on that. Yeah. And this is the this is the the fine line I'm trying to understand is why is that bullshit? Because that's someone. Apparently choosing or affirming that they are something. I don't think it actually is bullshit. It just isn't going to get you very far. So if what you're hung up on is you just can't ever fathom that being true, then saying it may begin to form this like just like it erodes this lack of belief that it's possible. Now, my problem is when people think that just saying it out loud is going to make it come true. That for sure isn't true. So your behavior results me all all that matters. So if you make all the right decisions, but you have like you absolutely think that it's impossible for you, but you still do the right things, you will win. The problem is that if you believe that it's never going to happen for you, you won't take the steps. And so when you look at how hard something is and you get partway down that road and you're like, wow, this is really hard. It's making me confront my insecurities. This does not feel good. And I don't believe it's possible anyway. Then why would you keep going? And the answer is you wouldn't. And so nobody does. And so everybody who believes it's impossible and encounters the difficulties that success will demand of everybody, they stop 100% of the time. And so by looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, I am a millionaire, I'm a genius, like all this stuff, it may function as some eroding mechanism to those entrenched beliefs that it's never going to happen for you. That would not work for me because there is a part of my brain that just screams, this is bullshit. Like, you know, this is bullshit. So for me, I had to align with what do I believe to be true about humans? I needed to be, I needed to accept that I was average. That was a huge moment for me because I tried to believe I was special and either luck of the draw or the fact that I really am average. I've always been around a substantial number of people that are smarter than me or faster than me or stronger than like literally everything, every niche I tried to find. I would always run into somebody better than me and it was devastating, like really devastating. And the breakthrough for me was to accept that I was hopelessly average and that that was still going to allow me to be successful. And so for me, the breakthrough was reading about the brain, like just brain science and understanding brain plasticity. And so once I understood, whoa, like your brain actually can change. So that means that just because I'm not good at something today doesn't mean I can't get good at it tomorrow. And so it was like, well, wait a second, if the average human is actually designed to get better, like that is our fundamental design, not that I'm special, not that I'm smarter than anybody. But once I realized, oh my God, that is what the DNA of the human animals designed to do is learn and grow from context. And so then it was just like, OK, word, like if you're going to just focus on being the learner, then get your sense of pride out of being willing to admit what you're not good at and to sit at somebody else's feet and learn. And all of my success is a result of that. Tremendous self awareness, even the use of the word realization, that realization that you were pursuing something as opposed to something else and you were able to kind of separate yourself from your ego or at least look, look down on it and understand the role it was having when your decision making self awareness and then huge humility. Are these skills? Yes, because I didn't have them in the beginning. Interesting. Now, self awareness is a double edged sword. I didn't have any when I was a kid and I didn't have anxiety. As I have really leaned into developing self awareness, it's actually made me more anxious because I'm hyper aware of what I'm not good at, what I am good at, how I'm being perceived, how I perceive myself, that things matter. Like this, this is man, when I really try to shake this off, the thing that I keep coming back to is life has consequences and building and selling a billion dollar company has consequences. Like they're amazing. So getting good at something and winning can change your life. And those things are powerful. And so it's like, I realized the game I'm playing. I realized the stakes. And so one of the things that I really have to focus on now is like, I don't value that stuff. I need to be careful not to value that stuff. That what matters, the thing that you started this off, the only thing that matters is how you feel about yourself when you buy yourself and all the success in the world can't touch that. But you're constructing that in your own mind. You're constructing a value system. You are constructing beliefs. Now, most of the time, you don't realize that you're constructing them. So they're invisible. You just see cool shit. And you think, wow, that's cool. You don't realize that in saying, wow, that's cool. You just made a value judgment. You reinforced that in your own mind. And now in some subtle way, you're moving towards that and judging yourself against whether you have that or not. So you have to keep coming back to what's cool is feeling good about myself. What's cool is having a dope marriage. What's cool is getting better. What's cool is sitting at somebody's feet and learning something new. So I have to reinforce that value system because from an evolutionary standpoint, we have all these weird things baked in already. So 50% of you just baked in. And then 50% of you is created really subtly from the time you are a child and you have no idea that you're absorbing and creating these belief systems that are governing your value system that are governing what you think is worthy of respect, which means if you think that the only thing worthy of respect is tremendous success, then you'll put yourself on that wheel trying to earn your own respect. And then if you don't get it, you'll be in the dumps. And then if you do get it, you're going to realize it didn't matter in the first place because you have these embedded things in your brain. And here's the most insidious. You will get this more than most. There is no amount of success. Big enough that you can stand in it forever. There's no meal. Big enough, no feast, overwhelming enough that you never need to eat again. No drink, so thirst quenching that you don't need to drink again. We get that with like the bodily stuff. No sex. So great that you don't want sex again. So why is it that we think that success would be any different? And people think it is. They think I will have reached that, right? Like, if you read my resume, it sounds like I should just permanently be happy, right? You sold a billion dollar company. You live in a really fancy house. You've got a lot of money. It doesn't work like that. None of that stuff carries any weight with me today. I have to earn myself respect every day. And so I have to be really careful what I choose to value because that will determine how I feel about myself when I'm by myself, which is ultimately all that matters. You mentioned the anxiety that comes with that self awareness now. What is because what I heard there was this kind of expectation that you're placing on yourself, which is part of the baked in part of Tom. Is that the thing causing the anxiety now?


Anxiety (10:32)

Anxiety is really complex. So let's start with diet. The biggest change that I've made to my anxiety was stopping drinking a sugar-free monster, which I love, by the way, absolutely love them. But there's something in them that causes my microbiome to get out of whack and I will feel really anxious. So I used to have generalized anxiety disorder. I couldn't even tell you why I felt anxious. I just did all the time. And finally, I realized that there was a component of diet, so I no longer get generalized anxiety. Now, I will still get anxious if I'm dealing with something that's really like the stakes are really high and it really matters to me. So I have to, I've had to learn meditation that changed my life in ways that I can't even convey. So that's been really important. But it is, it, and some of it is going to be just the way that I'm wired. I don't have an addictive personality, but I have an obsessive mind. Now, my obsessive mind has led to my success because I will think about problems all the time. And so, like, I'm actually a really slow thinker, but people give me all this credit because I can talk fast. But I talk fast because I've thought about it obsessively for days, weeks, months, years, depending on what thing we're talking about. But that rumination, in fact, I was just talking to a guy that does, he doesn't like the term hypnotherapy, but everybody will understand that idea. So he's really well versed in hypnosis. And he said, people break into three personality types. And the personality type that struggles the most is the personality type that both experiences the world incredibly emotionally. But then has an analytical mind that ruminates on the emotions. And that's where I met. So I experienced the emotional gamut of life. And it's incredible. I would never want to not. It's wonderful. Life is a roller coaster of incredible highs and lows and meditation and my belief system allow me to even that out so that I never get to out of whack in any direction. But I'll loop on ideas. And if it's a negative idea about myself, I'll loop and loop and loop and loop. And so that's why I said at the beginning, what you allow yourself to repeat is really going to determine the quality of your life. And so I have to really get good at interrupting that. So that's why meditation is the key for me to dealing with anxiety. Like, as I can feel it ratcheting up, it's really my mind ruminating on all the ways that it could go wrong. And so I have to find a way to insert myself to break that rehearsal of failure and instead force myself to focus on rehearsing success, which it's almost silly, but it really does drop my anxiety to next to nothing. But I have to really forcefully insert myself. Does it always work that process? There are things that are so high in amplitude that it's like, okay, this is really like stressing me out. But yeah, it always works. I've never been more than 45 minutes away from complete equanimity. Really? And that's going through things that are where there's hundreds of millions of dollars on the line. It's like really, really stressful. I've experienced anxiety too. And I, before I had experienced it, I think I experienced it in my mid 20s for the first time, when my business got really, really difficult and when the stakes got really, really high, I always thought it was something that others, other people experienced. I never thought it would be something that would find me. And so my perspective in my, this is why I'm so compelled by the concept because it did find me and I couldn't believe it did. I couldn't believe it when it did because, as I said, I thought it was something that some kind of, you know, maybe chemical disorder.


How to improve people's mental health (14:12)

But when I reflect on how many people in our society are feeling anxious these days, it bakes, pulls into question. Is there something we are just fundamentally doing wrong about the way that we're living our lives? Yes. And what is that? Diet is the biggest problem. You think it's a hundred percent. If you were, if you said you can have what you can make one change to somebody's life, what change would you make to lower their anxiety? A hundred percent their diet. Now, once that's regulated, it doesn't mean that it goes away. I still have anxiety. But when I think I've reduced it by 70% through diet alone, now the remaining 30% is still a pain. So you really do want to address it. And for that, I've had to turn to meditation. I've had to insert myself into my ruminating thoughts and be very thoughtful about that. I've had to adjust my belief system so that I'm not afraid of failure. Like there are a lot of things that I've had to do to get myself to that place. But if I could only make one change, it would be that now living in the social media era is amazing. It's amazing, man. And it's given so much. And I think it's given far more than it takes. But you really have to be careful. Like to give people an idea, I have had a lot of success. I have a lot of the worldly things that people want. And even I can look at somebody's house and people saw my house and then they hear the following statement, they will laugh. But I can look at someone's house and be like, yo, that's a house. Right. So it never ends. Right. So it's like if I peaked out and I had the best house in the world, I'd be like, yeah, but Elon Musk just built a rocket that can carry 300 people to Mars. Like what have I done? So there's always some other thing. So you just you've got to be psychotic and careful about what you allow yourself to value yourself for because I value achievement. I think it's extraordinary. I'm very glad that I have that. It makes me strive. It's pushing me to be a better version of myself. But at the same time, I have to be really careful not to let it damage my sense of self, which it will do very rapidly. And I think every we have to agree that there is a north star. And for optimizing a human life, and I will say that which reduces suffering and elevates the individual to fulfillment, those would be my two things. Reduce human suffering in yourself and others and elevate your sense of fulfillment in yourself and help other people do the same. Like that seems to be the cocktail for the most resilient mental state you could hope for so that even as life goes up and down and you win and lose and people are born and people die, I mean, we're all going to go through just unrelenting misery from time to time, just is. And the only way to even all of that out is to pursue those two things. Now, once we have that, then you start optimizing for lifestyle and beliefs and your thought patterns and all of that stuff. I really do feel like if you removed social media, you'd remove a tremendous amount of anxiety and obviously everyone's context would get some more. So the comparison part, I mean, there's various reasons, front of mind reasons why I think social media courses, people to be anxious. One of them is obviously all the feedback we get about our success, our achievements, 100 cents, whatever. And the other is the feedback we go searching for via comparison. So me looking out at the world, which is now billions of people on my phone, whereas once upon a time, my human design probably, I was probably designed to deal with about 20 or maybe, you know, a small tribe, you could also optimize. Here, here is the brutal thing. Put out a tweet, like put out a hot take, but something you really believe in, like that really matters to you and you're moved by it and you feel like you're adding something positive to the world, like put out one of those tweets. It will not be universally loved. I've done that last week and it was 20 pieces. Yep. And like in newspapers, that is, that is emotionally brutal. Yeah. And when you realize that, man, I just want to like connect, I want, I want to put something rad out into the world, but then people kick you in the face and it makes you want to turtle up. And so it's this weird exercise of like, you have to divorce yourself from what other people think, which is powerful if you can do it, but we're the human animal. And so you can't ever, I think, completely detach. We are, as I like to say, we are both the shout and the echo. So we are what we say, do and believe, but we're also what people tell us about the things that we say, do and believe. And that matters because we're a tribe animal. So yeah, it gets real weird. And then you and I are both into Web3 in a big way. The only thing I know that's going to be more devastating to mental health than Web2 and social media is Web3, but it's also incredible. And it's so life changing that we have to find a way to mitigate some of the bad, but you're taking all of the things of Web2 and putting money on top of it. And so now people are really freaking out. Why is it going to be worse, Web3? Because it's money. You're playing with people's money. And so now it's not fun and games anymore. It's like people are there oftentimes investing more than they should in something. And so it will be bad for them because now something that they otherwise could have enjoyed becomes incredibly stressful. And for the creators, we're going to destroy a lot of creators who are just like, yeah, I'm not. I can't. This isn't fun anymore. Like it was fun, but I've now taken money for this thing. I have obligations. You have to be honest about that. But if like it's not going well, most people are not going to have the tools that they need to grapple with that to work through problems, to improve, to get better. Like it's just going to be really hard. And so when you take the ability for people all over the world to tell you what they think, and then you let them invest money, now it gets, it gets crazy real fast. And we're already seeing projects implode because the creator was maybe an artist who's already wearing their heart and their sleeve. And it just doesn't work. And they're not able to deal with that. And then the project poof, it goes away. And I don't think that most people had inletent. Of course, there are people that have inletent, but I don't think most of them do, but they're just it's a business and they don't know how to run a business. A lot of we've talked about a lot of stress, pressure, tension and all the bullshit that comes with striving.


How do you find fulfillment? (20:48)

You said achievement and striving is very important. What is the cocktail? The ingredients that you now need for that fulfillment that you described earlier. All right, I actually have a as close as you're going to get to a conceptual math equation here. So fulfillment is very simple for me. So and it has to do with the directives that are embedded in your brain from an evolutionary standpoint. So you must work hard, it's embedded in your brain to acquire skills that matter to you that allow you to elevate yourself and others in service of a goal that's both exciting and honorable. So exciting and honorable means that you're just amped about it. You dig it. So I dig storytelling, just I do. And I want to help people through storytelling. I do. My life circumstances have led me to that the way that I'm hardwired. I just have an over an outsized response to stories. And so I'm drawn to that. And because of life experience, I want to use stories to help people. So that's very exciting for me. Now, it's also honorable because I'm not just looking to make myself rich or be admired for telling a cool story. I actually want to help people with that story and I hold myself accountable to that. So when you have that cocktail, you're working hard to garner a set of skills that allow you to serve not only yourself, but other people. It that's fulfillment. So people can say whatever they want. And I know like if I'm actually out there every day doing my best to help people, I'm going to feel good about that. No, I'm not going to feel good about people misunderstanding that that's still going to suck. But I know it's in my heart. And so if I'm like, no, for real, I'm showing up no matter what people say, I really am showing up to help people. Then that will give you the emotional resilience that you need to see yourself through. So fulfillment is it's able to withstand even moments of unhappiness. And when you have fulfillment, the thing that you believe in that you're fighting for, then it gets easier to push through, you know, whatever frustrations, difficulties, the mob coming after you, whatever. If you don't have that and it was, you were just trying to be famous or get approval. And it feels like the entire world is piling on you. You just are like, yeah, I'm done with this. So there really has to be something you're fighting for. You know, when you do interviews and you make content and you do that a lot, right? So you're very much like me over this side of the table. When I make content sometimes, the thing that's front of mind comes through. So if I'm if this week or that's why I'm before we started recording, I want to see the question. What's front of mine? The thing that's front of mine tends to come through. I can't help it. So if I sit here with a guest and they are a chef, I'll end up talking about the thing that happened like two days ago. And I can kind of I kind of get that a little bit from you that you that one of the things that's front of mind is like, maybe I'm totally wrong is dealing with the external criticism from the mob who are questioning something that to you came from a place of sincerity and authenticity. Is that? Since we started since I started being on camera, that has been front of mind. Like you really have to deal with that. And when I first started, so I first stepped in front of the camera and like seven years, eight years ago, something like that. And I was like, I'm not sure I really want to do this. And I wrote an article that I thought was it really was like, Tom, what is the like the most life changing thing you've realized that you could offer as an idea to other people and that would change their life. And I wrote this article about how if you get hit and in fact, I'm going to light myself on fire again because I know how people respond to this, but this is really what I wrote. If you get hit by a drunk driver, it's all your fault. And that's amazing because you could do something about it. You could do something different next time and get a different result. Now, of course, I no longer use the word fault because that just does not lead me anywhere productive. But that was the article and people lit me on fire and I was shocked to my core. I I cannot tell you. Dude, when I hit publish on that, I was like, Oh my God, people are going to love this. It's going to change so many lives. This is going to be incredible. And then people were not loving it. And so I was like, whoa, okay. So that was extraordinarily eye opening. But because I really am trying to help like this was working at Quest, working in the inner cities, you realize or at least my big revelation, having big brother for a kid in the inner cities. When I was much younger and seeing what it was doing to him and then having a thousand employees that grew up in the inner cities and being like, Oh my God, like this is your zip code in most of the developed world, whatever the equivalent of zip code is, is the number one predictor of your future success. And so I was like, there's got to be a way to help people with that. And the conclusion I came to is it's this set of ideas that are timeless. They have nothing to do with me. But I have a way of explaining them through how I had to struggle with them. And so maybe I'm able to say it in a way that certain people will hear. And so between writing, between being on camera, between the stories that I hope to tell that I can embed these ideas and get them across. And it does there in today's world, I've been given a gift, which is social media, which is web three, which is going to allow me to expand all of this and reach people. I never could have dreamed of reaching before, but it comes with the other side, which is you put something out that really is coming from a good place and people still are not loving it. Like I, my wife and I do the show called relationship theory. And I did a thing. When I say even now, re-listening to it, I can't believe that at least half of the people that hear it are just infuriated. And it's about like how to develop a good sex relationship with your partner. I send clips to my girlfriend. Oh my God. And people were just like, who the fuck does this guy think he is? I'm like, wow. So anyway, you really do like we are raising a generation of people that need to develop incredible mental resilience against that. If you want to be able to engage with this incredible gift that is the web and being able to communicate to large groups of people. But it really does require like developing a value system and a belief system that's going to make you resilient to that because it isn't easy even for me. And I've spent a lot of time building resilience and I'm older. So it's like a lot of the things that probably would have thrown me off in my twenties now don't, but it's a thing for sure. That article seems just from the title seem to be one that centers on like personal responsibility. Am I guessing that correctly?


The importance of personal responsibility (27:29)

You then use the word eye opening because I imagine what you wrote there still to this day. You believe to be true to the core of my existence. So the word eye opening is illuminating for me because it means that it taught you something not about what you'd written, but about the reaction to what you'd written about the people reacting. What is it you've learned about why personal responsibility is and I've seen on this podcast. Like if I were to be canceled for anything, it's probably there's a number of things. But my pursuit of like being a champion for personal responsibility is up there. Mo Gaudet sat here and said when he published his book, he he open sources it to 500 people and he says he loses about I think it was 10% of people. They just click off the document when they get to the personal responsibility part. That just seemed to be inherently offended by it. Why? Where is the truth? What can be done? OK, so this goes back to what we were talking about earlier, which is I just know people are going to just say, I just really love this section. But I can't help myself. I would lose respect for myself if I didn't say this stuff. I could see myself one day not being on camera anymore. I can't ever see myself saying something that I don't believe to be true. So here it goes. You have to have a belief system that is both true and optimistic. Personal responsibility is true and wildly optimistic. And it is people's belief system and the value system that they cobbled together over a lifetime that will lead them to reject that. And all I can say is rejected at your own peril for the following reason. Personal responsibility is about remembering you can do something and change. And I can sum up personal responsibility in a single quote by Kobe Bryant. Booze don't block dunks. That's personal responsibility. You can get so good at something that no matter how much people hate you, the best athletes in the world were paid millions of dollars and trained to stop Kobe Bryant from scoring. And yet he scored 81 points in a single game. So you can get so good no matter how much people hate you, no matter how much they're training and trying to defeat you, they can't. And that is the most exciting thing in the world to me. That wait, you're saying that I can get so good at something that at least the vast majority of humanity can stop me. There will always, of course, unfortunately, I don't, I don't yet believe that I'm Kobe Bryant in anything that I care about. So, but that I can get better than the vast majority of humanity at something by dedicating my time and energy to that thing. That is so cool. That is so liberating. It's changed my life. It's given me hope. It got me up off the floor. It in every possible way, it has changed my life. It is the thing that I rely on when I'm feeling my most anxious. I'm like, I can get better at this. A word. And then I remember that's right. Like, if I put time and energy into this, I can get better. So it's okay if I'm actually not good at this. If people are coming after me and saying, you're stupid, you're seeing this wrong. I'm like, maybe I really am. Like, maybe there's really something to learn here. Even with personal responsibility. If somebody shows me that taking personal responsibility for my life is worse than if I didn't, I would change. But in every metric I have ever encountered and including all the people that I've introduced this idea to that have then gone on to do something with it, it has made every single one of their lives better to a person without exception. And so I'm just like, I want people to win so badly. I'm wired to love other people winning almost as much as I love winning myself. When I was six, I threw an Easter egg contest so that my sister would find more eggs than I did because I knew it meant more to her and I just was so happy to see her win. So like, it just, that is innate. I didn't do anything to earn that. I'm not an extra nice person. Just for whatever reason. I really enjoy seeing other people win. And so, dude, when I'm giving these ideas, I'm like, it will help you. It will help you. You. Like, I'm already doing it. My life is already a reflection of this. And it's true and optimistic just to bring it all background. It is true and optimistic. And so I hope people embrace it. I know that some people don't because they have a value system where they're getting value out of being in a helpless position. And that's heartbreaking because it doesn't feel good. At least it didn't when I was there. I'm trying to think of the rebuttals because I agree that having a bias to optimism and personal responsibility has solved all the- Can I give you the rebuttal? Please. So the rebuttal is that societal energy and momentum really, really matter and that we are the shout and the echo. So even though if you feel like you are a victim and that life is out of your control and it's stacked against you and there's nothing you can do, when you are the recipient of legitimate injustice, the world is going to rally to your side and be like, yo, you've been wronged. We celebrate you. We love you. We elevate you. Like, this is just so crazy. It should never happen to you. That will feel awesome. And so you've been embraced. And there is a lot of cultural momentum around that. Now, the problem is that when you're by yourself thinking about yourself, you feel disempowered and it does not feel good. And you're in a very dark fucking place, which is a big reason why, I think, right now, that people are- I mean, suicide is like- depending on the age group, it's like the number one leading cause of death, like teenage boys. I mean, that's nuts. So clearly there's something going on. So I don't think people will feel good about themselves when they're by themselves if they adopt that value system. But they are getting huge emotional rewards from the crowd. Now, the crowd can't save them again when they're by themselves. But to deny that to be embraced for something like that feels good would be foolish because it really does feel good. And I spent time there feeling sorry for myself for a long time. And when somebody's like, wow, that really does suck. I was like, yeah, man, that feels good to be acknowledged. And so I get it and I want to acknowledge it too. Like, it really is. When people have the deck stacked against them, that really sucks. That really sucks. And they're up. I mean, I have to look, I've spent enough time in the inner cities. There are people with the deck stacked way hard against them. But my thing is, you can actually get out. And you- how about this? You can make your life a hundred times better. No matter how bad it is, you can make it a hundred times better. And that joy, seeing people do that, is everything. It's everything for them. It's everything for me as somebody who just likes to see people win. And I don't see that same 100x improvement on people that embrace a different value system. But it's real. And there's a lot of momentum. Is that unwillingness to accept that idea also somewhat linked to people's own self-esteem? Because when we admit personal responsibility, for some people, especially those that have a lower sort of sense of self-worth, maybe, they see that as evidence of their further evidence of their own inadequacy? I'm going to bend it more to identity. So you build your identity and I have the deck stacked against me, for whatever reason. And when that becomes your identity, and you value yourself for that, like I have the deck stacked against me and I stand strong in the face of this and I can deal with these links and arrows or I fight back against them. And so I become like I'm really on a mission to fight against this. And all of that becomes your identity. So now you have to give up personal responsibility to embrace that and to fight for it. But you get that, right? You get the tribe. You get the other people in that community that feel the same. But what you've given up is really being able to change and to acquire skills and to become capable of more. And so my obsession is getting people to understand skills have utility. Now, if skills have utility and they let you do something better than other people, you can do things that other people can't do. That's A monetizable. B, there's something hardwired in all of us to work hard to gain skills that allow us to serve the group, right? As a social animal, you have an imperative buried in your brain. There is no way to escape it to contribute to the group. So if you embrace personal responsibility, you're going to get all these other kinds of rewards because you'll be able to accumulate skill set. You'll be able to dunk and people will not be able to stop you, right? Like that becomes the reality that you live in. It's super intoxicating because going back to this idea of why it matters to make sure that you have a narrative that is true. Because when it's true, your predictive machine of a brain can actually predict how to change the world to what you want it to be, which I will define power as the ability to close your eyes. Imagine a world better than this. Open your eyes. Gain the skills you need to make that world come true. That's power. And to get that power, you have to acquire skills. To acquire skills, you have to take responsibility. To take responsibility, you have to reject being in the victim category. Even though it's real. Like, that's the other thing I want people to understand. The most insidious thing about excuses is that they're so valid. You have a valid reason to feel like a victim. You may really be being victimized. But the question is, is that going to serve you moving forward? I'm obsessed. Have you read The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela? No. Oh my God. You have to read this book. Like, when I say there are few humans I look at and go, I don't think I could ever be that amazing. Holy hell. He was in prison for 28 years. And he comes out and is like, no, no, no. We're not seeking revenge. That to to oppress is to give up your humanity. That was his whole thing. And so he's like, I feel bad for people who oppressed me because they had to give up their humanity to do it. So I am certainly not going to come out and be the oppressor. That would make no sense. So it's what I call the third way. This is me told. He just didn't use those words. This is me ripping his ideas off. But his whole thing was there. There are three paths before you. Remain the oppressed. Not going to do that. Become the oppressor. Not going to do that. The third way is to find that way of unity. And that's what he was all about. It's the most insane story. Like nobody ever earned their bona fides more than Nelson Mandela by my estimation. And when he comes out and says we need to find the third way, only the path of unity makes any sense. And like just brought people together and refused to be in that victim category. I was like, nope. Like what happened happened and now we build from here. Oh man. That just like it gives me the chills every time I think about it. So anyway, that's intoxicating to me. I am so into that. But I recognize the cultural momentum on the other side. And so I know how people end up getting just enough out of that that they stay there. Quick one. One of the greatest tips I can give any small business owner listening right now is to take risks. In fact, the biggest risk to your business will be taking too few risks. Complacency and comfort seeking will harm your success. But taking risks can be incredibly daunting. That's why I've partnered with Vodafone Business and their V-Hub, which offers free one to one sessions with V-Hub digital advisors. You can call up and speak to one completely free of charge, sharing your ideas and getting input from someone who's knowledgeable on the topic and able to help you towards your next business step. To find out more, search V-Hub by Vodafone. And thank you for Vodafone for sponsoring this podcast. As you might know, Crafted are one of the sponsors of this podcast and Crafted are a jewelry brand. And they make really meaningful pieces of jewelry. And this piece by Crafted, when I put it on, for me it represents courage. It represents ambition. It represents being calm and loving and respectful and nurturing, while also being the antithesis of that. Seemingly the antithesis of that, which is sometimes a little bit aggressive with my goals and determined and courageous and brave. The really wonderful thing about Crafted Jewelry is it's super affordable. It looks amazing. The pieces hold tremendous meaning and they are really well made. There's two points I'm going to make at the same time. The second one's a question. The first, the other rebuttal that I think I've heard before on the topic of personal responsibility as well, Steve Tom, you've got a privilege of your mindset that you can eat.


How do you get out of difficult situations? (39:50)

Oh, I'm white, so it's really bad for me. And I'm a guy. But even your people will look at the Tom they see before them today. The guy that understands these ideas that has that ability to think through things slowly, as you said, but speak about them very quickly. There seems to be, if I'm looking at 45 year old Tom today, a huge amount of mindset privilege. That's how it seems. I'm not saying that it is. I know your prior story very, very clearly. So people say there's this mindset privilege where it's not easy just to get up off the floor and just learn a skill. So when I hear this article, when I see this article about it being my fault, I wish it was so easy, Tom. I've got chronic, deep depression. The doctors have told me there's a cycle, a balance in my brain of a chemical. I'm at the point of wanting to end my life. So this article, it just makes me feel inadequate. It makes me feel like it's my fault. That's what I saw. I read. I felt. That's the thing where I go. What do we say to those that group? Ready? Yeah. It's all true. And if you have a neurochemical imbalance, that really sucks. Like I can just tell you, looking at my mom, I'm prone to anxiety. So there is, I'm sure if when this all gets mapped out, it will become clear that I have markers for anxiety, whether they were epigenetic or genetic, but that I came out just primed to become anxious. So that sucks for me because I've really had to contend with anxiety. Like this is one of the biggest issues in my life. I think about anxiety almost every day. So it is really a thing that I've had to manage, especially for somebody striving in the way that I have. So I'm constantly putting myself in the position of being anxious. I remember in high school, I promised myself, I would never again do anything that made me nervous. That was the word I used back then. That I would never again do it. And yet my adult life has been a betrayal of that promise that I made to myself in high school because all I do is put myself in situations that make me anxious. So, but the striving and getting better has been a reward of untold proportions. So when I think about, we all in some way, we all have it worse than somebody else, right? So somebody with Tourette's, that sucks. I would not want to have Tourette's. Somebody that gets multiple sclerosis, that sucks, it would not want that. Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, whatever the thing is that makes your life worse. It really does make it worse. But the only thing that compounds that problem is to lean into that, that it sucks to be me, whereas take Stephen Hawking, right? What are you going to say? What advantage did he have, right? Like he literally couldn't move. So in his early 20s, he starts losing every function that he has other than his brain. And he realizes at one point, this sucks. But if I, in fact, he has a quote, "Oh God, people are really going to hate this." Stephen Hawking, okay? Quadra-plegic in a wheelchair basically can blow in a straw and move his eyes. I think towards the end, like he could only move one eye. I mean, it was crazy. So this guy, there's just not a lot he can do. He's been spoon-fed since he was like 30 years old, like crazy, crazy. Imagine not being able to like go to the bathroom by yourself forever, like every time, and crazy. So this guy says, "What I have found is that no one will help you if you don't help yourself." And it just is, man. We look at somebody who, despite all of that, is like trying to make contributions to physics or that, you know, ended up being hischtick. And he just realized that I can actually get help from people, but not if I'm not helping myself first. It's just something that we respond to. Are you optimistic? You talked about this cultural movement. I'm freakishly optimistic. But because I need a belief system that is both true and optimistic, I don't want to fall for traps. And if I paint myself a falsely optimistic view of what's real, I'll get tripped up. And so... Optimistic about that personal responsibility, movement. Everything. Are you optimistic that... Oh, that that will gain momentum? That it will lose momentum. It has lost so much momentum just in my lifetime that the pendulum is swinging so hard in that direction. So I don't know if it swings back in the next five years, the next 50 years, it will swing back. But now we're going to really derail. But I remember, as a 16-year-old boy, reading about Roman orgies, and I was so angry, because I was like, "How is it possible that you're going to be a little bit more comfortable with your own life?" And I was so happy that they were having orgies 2000 years ago, and me now in the mid-90s, my mom would have a seizure. I wasn't allowed to go see the movie Basic Instinct. So it's like, "How did we go in my 16-year-old brain? How did we go backwards?" I feel betrayed by all the generations between Roman orgies. And I was like, "How did we end up here? It's cyclical. Everything is cyclical." And so once you understand the cycles, one, it can be a little daunting. So if you read Ray Dalio's book Principles for Dealing with the Changing World Order, it's going to fuck up your sleep. So you're welcome. But he outlines. He goes back, I think, to 500 BCE, but he really focuses on the last 500 years. And he shows you, "This is all a loop, and that there are only so many personality types, and you can just watch culture, loop, and loop, and loop, and loop, and cultures build up, and then they crash down. And he's like, it's freakishly predictable. It goes in six steps the cycle does. And there is not yet a society in the last 2,500 years that has avoided this cycle that lasts about 100 to 150 years. So the reality is that I'm like, I don't think we get out of this cultural momentum quickly. I think that the phrase "tough men make good times, make weak men, make hard times, hard times, make strong men, any loop, and loop, and loop." And we have been in good times for a long time. And so I think we've, I'm just going to keep doing myself damage here. I think we've gotten soft. And I think because of that, we are headed for hard times. And I think the hard times will take care of any of the values and belief systems that aren't useful in the acquisition of skills. What do those hard times look like in your... Oh, Jesus. So this is fun. This, I'm sure, will be the last time that I go on a podcast.


Where are we heading and how would you solve future global problems? (46:39)

So just had Ray Dalio on my podcast. And in his book, he pegged civil war in the US at a 30% chance. That book came out, I think, two months ago, he now pagues our chances at 40%. So we're moving in the wrong direction. Remember, this is the guy that spent inordinate amounts of money researching the movements of these societies. And he's just like we, as the American Empire, we are in mid to late stage five and stage six is civil war and revolution. So I think we're probably, look, here's part of why I love web three. I think web three is the only thing I can see on the horizon that gives us a shot of bringing back a thriving middle class, which is precisely what you need to do to avoid a bloody civil war or revolution. So that's part of the reason that I'm so gung ho about it. I try not to be delusional, but it gives me reason for optimism. But I think we are headed in the wrong direction. I think that we are getting more and more divisive. And I think every single person has to say to themselves, I have to race to the middle. And right now people are racing to the extremes and they want to dehumanize the other side. And look, there are things like on the personal responsibility side. I'm not angry with people that are angry with me. I'm like, I need to find a way to like meet you in the middle so that like we can both learn from each other and we can have love for each other. And ultimately it's the friction between the two sides and that not everybody should come over to my side because maybe it's too harsh and it doesn't show enough empathy for people. Word, like, hey, I'm down to like come to that middle, but I need you to come to the middle, right? And so what ends up happening, like you can look at these charts that show whatever candidate, presidential candidate in the US, is whatever party, excuse me, whatever party is closest to the middle becomes the party that wins the election. But as you look at the graphs, they're just moving farther and farther to the extremes. And so while the one that is closest to the middle will win, they're still both in the extremes. So I'm just like, yo, I refuse to take a political identity that should scare me. I think people are just putting themselves in a gnarly position. I'm over here channeling long walk to freedom like as quickly as I can trying to think just like unity, unity, unity, getting people together like, yay, like as Polly Anna as I can make it sound like we just have to recognize that there are two predominant personality types. Those that are more on the personal responsibility side and those that are more on the empathy side and that we need both. And we have to value each other. And I remember so I've been in business relationships in the past, not to docs anybody, but where I had partners that they just would butt heads and make fun of each other all the time and just like the other persons that dumbass. And I was like, what are you talking about? Like you're both extraordinary. And so I kept trying to get them to see it is the friction between you that makes this magical. And so stop trying to convince the other person, try to meet in the middle with respect, try to understand where the other person's coming from, value their opinion. So my wife and I are, we're like in a lot of ways, but in sort of a fundamental disposition, we're very different. And so we talk about that all the time. I value that you see this differently than me. And hopefully you value that I see this differently than you. And let's use that friction to navigate a more intelligent path forward. So yeah, to go back to your initial question, I worry that we are headed towards either a civil war or a war with China or both. And that if China's smart, they're watching us going, yep, they're maximally divided that, man, we're going in a real dark place. I've never talked about this stuff out loud on camera. And I think that the war in Russia is going to create a food shortage. Watch the All In Podcast because these are just crib notes. And so as they were talking about in the recent episode, basically that the food shortage will be backstop by China. China will exchange that for military bases, etc. We're going to continue to fight in America over dumb shit that hardcore people should not be fighting over, that we should be resilient and coming together and loving our differences and all of that stuff. And we won't be, so we'll be pulling in opposite directions. China will be getting stronger in the world stage. And in our moment of maximal weakness, they make a move for Taiwan and we have a choice to make where we either back down and then we effectively forfeit our leadership status in the world, which will almost certainly mark the end of the dollar as the global reserve currency, which will be devastating. Or we fight and now we're in a hot war with China. Either of those options suck. So how do we find a diplomatic solution? That is my obsession. And that brings me back to Web 3 with just Pollyanna ideas abounding, but I am optimistic. Through all of that, you ask me what the bad thing look like. My hope is that we avoid it, but that is the thing that I worry about. That's my disaster scenario. You're someone that's thought that through, and I'm not surprised that you've thought that through in tremendous detail and it's something that's been, you know, another thing that's been front of mind for you. So knowing with my presumption that I know the kind of guy you are, I imagine you've also thought about the role you can play in stopping that scenario playing out. Especially because you're a guy with great resource, with great intellect, with great intelligence, with a great skill set, with a great platform to tell stories, one that you're building, the last conversation we had some four years ago, you talked to me about this idea of building almost a more modern version of Disney with your content studios and storytelling. So what is the role that Tom thinks he can play in? Yeah, man. My hope is I can contribute. I certainly don't think that I don't have the intelligence or the temperament to be a world leader. So I will just tell you right now that that is entirely off the table for me. I have zero interest. I don't think I'd be good at it either. So let me be very clear. I think you will. I'd be amazing that I just don't want to do it. I would be terrible. So yeah, I'm definitely not going to contribute in that way. So my way to give you one glimmer, I wrote a comic book with Steve Aoki called Neon Future, which is entirely about Nelson Mandela's third way. And it plays out in a fictional way between people that have augmented their body with technology and people that haven't. But it was me in a comic book exploring those ideas that trying to point out, so you have this guy, Kita Savie, who is representing the third way. He has every reason to be angry, to strike back, to kill, and yet his only thought is of sacrifice and bringing people together. But he's also tough and he's a badass and he's not a pushover. That whole idea of the meek shall inherit the earth and meek being defined as the most dangerous person on earth who keeps their sword sheathed. You hear Bruce Lee talk about this a lot, Sunze, the whole thing is to be so dominant that nobody wants to fight you. So, and in that you can actually choose peace instead of peace sort of being just because you're too weak to fight. So, my hope is through story I can tell ideas that make people value differences, that make them want to meet in the middle, that make them want to love and be loved, and to, of course, adopt personal responsibility with a plumb and recognize that they can get better and that nobody can stop them, and that the world desperately wants for them to come alive and to acquire skills that matter to them and build things that matter to them and unify and create incredible things. As a percentage, what do you think the chances are that that future of the US, the global sort of Western power getting into a conflict or getting into a scenario that is potentially apocalyptic with a Russia or a China? The exact scenario you described, do you think that's more likely to happen than not? I think it's less likely to happen as of today. I am too ignorant on the subject to give you anything other than to parrot. People who are far more educated on the topic than I just want to be very clear, I know my lane. And so, I have formulated a hypothesis based on other people's research. I have not done the research myself. I would never want to be on national television asked about foreign policy, like I would say the worst person in the world. But Ray Dalio's assessment of the situation is so astonishingly well researched, and he's been in the thick of it for decades. He spent hundreds of millions of dollars just on research of global trends and movements. And so when he says that he pegs US Civil War at about 40% and US-China conflict at about 40%, I just trust it. But that is literally me blindly parroting. Quick one, we bring in eight people a month to watch these conversations live here in the studio when we're here in the UK and when we're in LA. If you want to be one of those people, all you've got to do is hit subscribe.


How to keep a healthy long term relationship (56:33)

A more light, hot topic you said earlier about Lisa. And one of the things you said is that you fundamentally have differences at a fundamental level, right? Me and my partner have fundamental differences. And as I said earlier, with your content you put out together about relationships and love have been really profound and important to my relationship with my girlfriend. And that's why we frequently send each other the clips. Some of my best friends send me the clips because you make sense of things together from both perspectives, the male perspective and the female perspective in a way that's quite liberating as someone that's going through those things. Central to having differences, which me and my girlfriend discovered we had, is communication. Something that I think you listed as number one or two on your list of nine things to sustain a 17-year marriage in the whiteboard list that you and Lisa held up that time. And you said obsessively communicate. That's what you said. One of the things that I definitely struggled with and I want your advice on is what are the principles of that healthy communication, that ego-free communication that you and Lisa have adopted? Never lie. Okay. Which would make your life in the moment temporarily easier. I can't tell you the number of arguments that will be in and she'll give me an out where she's restating my thesis a little bit wrong, but it would end the argument. And all I have to do is say, thank you so much. That means so much to me that you understand that. And I'm like, that's not quite it. And I know that when I restate what it really is, it's another hour or two of arguing, but you got to do it. Because then you can actually get to, this is where I am at. Help me understand where you're at and then let's find the way forward. But if you never, here is the big problem. Most people do not take the time to articulate to themselves what's bothering them. So my whole thing and this drives my wife up a wall when we're in an argument. She likes it the rest of the time. But say in a single sentence, what's bothering you? Most people can't do it. And I'll stop her, you're waffling. Stop. Say it in a single sentence. Because you don't understand it well enough and therefore we can't get to it. And so she holds me accountable to the same thing. If I'm all over the place, then she's like, hey, single sentence, give it to me so I can actually understand where you're at. Most people they can't, they can't get to a single sentence. Or they don't want to get to a single sentence. They want to like, but it's all of these crazy things. It's like, it's impossible to deal with. So give me a single sentence summation of what your problem is. No commas, no parentheticals, no run-ons, a single sentence. I'm feeling insecure because you didn't pay attention to me when I asked you if you wanted to go on a date this weekend. Word. Now I know right where you're at. But if you don't want to acknowledge that that made you feel insecure, now we're arguing about the T as my wife and I call it. The biggest argument my wife and I ever got in ever was over a cup of tea. We were screaming. We were on our way to a wonderful vacation. I actually turned the car around and was like, we're not even going. We're going home right now. And literally when I turned around, I was like, this is over a cup of tea. I'm like, there is no way that we are arguing about a cup of tea to the point where I am turning around and we're not going on the only vacation that we've taken and whatever at that point. It had been like 18 months. So I'm like, what's this really about? And so then we got to the real issue. And I realized, oh my God, in communication, you have to admit your flaws, your insecurities. Like you need to immediately go, okay, I'm angry and I know that when I'm angry, it's because I'm insecure. What am I insecure about? Oh, I'm insecure about this. Oh my God. And then you just own it. Here's what's really going on for me. And now you can process through and get to where you really want to be. But most people assume they're angry because the other person is wrong. And once you assume you're angry because the other person is wrong, you're never going to get to the real issue. And so Lisa and I are very good about, okay, what's really bothering you? And then you, and of course when you're in it, it just really does feel like they're just wrong. And so I'm mad because they're wrong. But I have a just belief system that you end up getting triggered because you're insecure. And so we have to figure out what was the insecurity that got triggered so we can address that and figure out the path forward. So interesting. I was thinking of so many times where I waffled for the first hour of a conversation/argument with my girlfriend. And then an hour and 30 in, I'm able to crystallize it as something that I remember it was in Peru with her maybe a month ago. And we're arguing about I don't even know what, but an hour and a half in, I crystallized it to a single thing which reflected an insecurity ad from my childhood. And then when it's so funny because when I said that target, you know what it is? When I grew up with my mum and dad, and explained it to her, the argument, completely done. It was actually finally understood. And yeah, there's something about dropping your garden such a way and kind of holding up the mirror to yourself that pacifies and shows you've arrived at a place of honesty and not seeking victory. Word. That's so sweet. Give me the chills. That's spot on. One of the things that Lewis Hausa here, and a good friend of yours on mine, he said when he was talking to me about it, and he was talking to me about relationships is that he met his new partner, Martha, and he said to us straight up, you won't be my first priority. And he listed the things that would be his priority. So he said, my mission, my vision, whatever else it was. And then the third thing was like our relationship. Now, when I looked at that whiteboard that you did with Lisa, number seven, I believe, no, number nine, I believe was this marriage is our first priority. It says, yeah, on the nine lessons we learned over 17 years of marriage, the number one, the number nine thing on that list was make your marriage your highest priority. And that sits in conflict with what Lewis said to me. So I'm like, he's telling the truth. Is it both? Is it? Well, so it will be a question of results. Lewis, you know, I love you, brother. So I will just say this, that he was honest with her is amazing. And that's going to buy them several years of like he told me, I understand, but I believe relationships require too many sacrifices for them not to be the thing that you reinforce as your highest priority. And if it isn't giving you more than anything else gives you, then it will always lose out. And so ultimately they will either be living parallel lives, anybody that chooses this, you'll end up living parallel lives where you each have something that's more important. Like kids, which is one of the reasons at least, and I didn't have kids because we were both honest, like the kid would be our first priority, which means that each of us would fall into second place. And did we want to do that? And so that was part of why we didn't have kids. And I think that's right. I think that if you're going to raise kids, yo, they need to be your first priority. But I don't have kids, so whatever. There are probably people that have way better advice than me on children. But anyway, that was part of why we didn't have kids. And a relationship is massive compromise, massive. That's so interesting because he said the office is it. Oh, no, no, no. He said don't compromise anything. It won't. It won't. Anybody who takes that, I want to make this about Lewis. No, no, no, no. No, I know it's just different perspectives, right? Yeah, I will say that I've got a 20-year marriage to back up my thesis here. And if a relationship is compromised, because you have two people that view the world in even slightly different ways, that want slightly different things. And so, I mean, Lewis has made it clear that there are two things that are more important. So there's going to be constant collision and friction there. I think we have an innate desire as a human being to be somebody's number one priority. And I have found in my own life that there is nothing more extraordinary, nothing more significant, nothing more significant, nothing more significant, nothing more significant. And I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. I think that's the most important thing. Because I will say what I say to myself all the time is, hey, I'm building this thing. I'm really putting myself on on the limb trying to build this company. If it all goes to nothing and the whole world thinks I'm a moron, at least I have my wife. And I'm just like, oh, yeah, word. Like I will have my wife. Like no matter what other people think. If I continue to honor her and the way that I honor her now, I will have my wife. And so the only thing I fear, I don't fear going broke. I don't fear losing my business. I fear losing my wife. Because the outsized return that I've gotten out of this marriage compared to what money's brought me or whatever micro fame that I have, it's awesome. Money is awesome. The micro fame is awesome. But it's nothing compared to my wife. Nothing. Nothing. So, I mean, it's just, oh my God, it's incredible, man. It's incredible. And so that, to get that, requires sacrifice. It requires attention. It requires making it your first priority because otherwise there's going to be a moment where one person needs that and they realize that they're giving that up, right? And the thing is though, from anybody's perspective, if you'd asked me at the, like, when we were first dating, I would have said the same thing. There's no way. We just got together. You know what I mean? So you're not going to be my number one priority. So for me, there was a line in the sand. When I decided to propose, that was a very difficult thing for me. I really thought about it, man. I debated it as she really the one. And finally I was like, well, I'm either never getting married or I'm marrying this woman because I have never felt like this. Like she feels worth the sacrifices, all that. And once I proposed, there, I never once thought about it again. There was no cold feet. There was never like, oh, shit, I shouldn't I? Once I made that decision, it was everything. So my advice to anybody in that situation is there should be a line where you say, and now because of what I want this relationship to become, I'm going to make it my number one. I've felt extraordinary businesses, even with my wife being my number one priority. And she isn't the thing that I allocate the most time to. And that's important to understand. But she's my number one priority. So if ever she came to me and said, hey, I really need you right now, but there was something really important going on in the business, we'd be like, word, totally unconflicted. Awesome. What do you need? I'm here, which has happened many times. So on that, it's actually nice to Jaco Willing's point of discipline equals freedom knowing that she's my number one, that I don't need to be conflicted. If ever those two, any two things collide, it's always Lisa. There's like a piece in that. Is there anything you wouldn't compromise? So I once told Lisa, I said, look, I'll give up virtually anything for you, but don't ever ask me to give up my ambition because I don't know who I am without it. And I don't know that I want to. And look, I'm very thoughtful about in my back pocket, I keep Buddhist style detachment so that if ever I got overwhelmed, it wasn't fun anymore or whatever, I would just pull out the detachment and I know how to do that and I know how to not strive. I know how to loosen my bonds to desire and wanting, which is, by the way, something very wise for everybody to get those tools in place, especially if you're a striver. But I love it. I love to pursue. I don't need the wins. The pursuit makes me feel alive. And business is the only game I've found that you can play until you die. And so there's something really awesome about striving to be the best. Even though I don't know, in all of my years, in 46 years, you're very kind to lowball my age. In 46 years, I have never found myself to be the best at anything. And yet the pursuit of being the best has been one of the most thrilling rides in my life. It comes with the cost, right? Which is for you, it's the most severe cost that I've heard your name is living with that anxiety, that feeling of anxiety.


Is there a place where you don't feel anxiety? (01:08:48)

Was there a place that you went to? Because for me, when I went to, when I go to Bali, my girlfriend lives there at the moment, when I go there and I'm out of the business, striving, ambition, da da da, social media all the time, mindset, there is a different level of peace within me. So sometimes my brain goes, well, Steve, if you know that there's another place you could live without feelings of anxiety or whatever, why don't you just go live there and strive in a small way outside of social media and huge public scrutiny? Yeah. And presuming there's a place where you felt, fuck, there's no anxiety when I'm in this zone. Yeah. And I think the right answer is I ask myself a slightly different variation of that same question. And it goes like this, do I still want to strive enough to make it worth not going and doing that peaceful, stress-free life, which for me would be writing, just rightful time. I have enough money, I never need to work again ever, not a single day in my life. So every day that I choose to go to battle, I'm choosing to go to battle. And so the second that the answer is no, I actually isn't worth it anymore, then I would go do that and I was just right. And knowing that I have that in my back pocket is extremely liberating. So I know at any time I can stop, I can detach, I cannot continue to pursue this. And that has allowed me, it's like this magic trick that allows me to carry a lot more weight to deal with a lot more stress, because I know every day is a choice. And so that allows me to have fun, it allows me to remain playful. It is like when I think about how much stress I've taken on in my life with business, I wouldn't have been able to do it. If I couldn't imagine a life, that would be just as awesome. And so there is a parallel life where I'm a writer and I chill and spend time with my wife and whatever, learn languages and just fucking travel around, whatever. Like that would be awesome. I would love that. So I just love this one a little bit more. But if I, if this diminished in its joy, I've got this other thing that would be so dope. So yeah, I don't have any sort of like, oh my God, what would I do? And I remember, so I've proven this stuff to myself and look, never teach something that you isn't like you're not living it, that every word out of my mouth I live. And I realized that I could very easily just detach myself from the success, the achievement, the whatever, because when we left Quest, it was like, oh, just done. And it wasn't hard for me in the slightest. Like Lisa really was part of her identity. So for her having been a founding member of Quest, like it was hard. Like, in fact, I still think she sees it as like her child. Whereas like, people will almost remind me, oh yeah, that's right. Fuck, I did build Quest. I don't think about it. It's not a part of my identity. It's not my brain isn't wired that way. I don't, I don't cling on to things like that. So for me, it's like, I want to feel good about myself and I'm by myself. I want to have fulfillment and I want to do things that I love in and of themselves. And because, and this is the one thing that haunts me. In fact, this, like I say this and I think people think I'm kidding, but I actually worry about this in myself. So I have one thing in me that is problematic. It's the very thing I have to struggle against in business. Like I'm constantly having to course correct when people hear me teach the opposite of this is because it's the lesson that I need to constantly remind myself. I really believe you can do anything you set your mind to, but not everything. And that really bothers me. And I'm not sure why, but I have something in the way that I view the world, my belief system, my value system, the natural rewards that I get for like, even in this podcast, we've covered a lot of weird things. And I can talk pretty deeply about a lot of different topics because I love that shit. I want to be able to go deep on a lot of different things. I don't want to do just one thing. And so that is the one thing that haunts me is I can give something up and go do something else very easily. My identity is not tied to this, that or the other, but I want to do everything I want to do. Why? The question I get asked the most is, Tom, how do you find your passion? And I walk people through the process. You don't find it. You build it. Now, one thing that I worry about is because all of our minds are different and because there's a region of the brain that I just recently learned about for determination where they can hit you with trans cranial magnetic stimulation, hit the region of your brain that deals with determination and you'll be like, I can do it. I know I can do it. What can you do? I don't know. I just know I can do it. So they can actually trigger this sense of like, I won't stop. I'm going to do it. But you have no idea what it is that you're not going to stop doing. So there's all these weird things. So anyway, there's a region in your brain for motivation, which only reinforces this idea in my head that maybe I'm just really good at building desire. And so over my life, I want to react to things very strongly. And then when I like something, I pour myself into it and I remind myself how much I like it. And I tell other people how much I like it. And I do it in this embodied way where I get really excited. And so I've reinforced all these things in my mind that I really like. Like I really like Japan man. I really like anime. I really like manga. I really want to make like those essay anime videos that people do and like get into some really obscure anime. And I want to watch every anime on Netflix and like write books about that shit and write books about why as a storytelling format, it's just different man. Like I'm obsessed. But I also want to learn Greek. That would be dope. Learning Greek. Like with my wife, I'm super passionate about that. At one point we were going to move to Greece. I was going to learn. I promised myself at one point I would get published in Greek. Like this whole thing. I also want to write a book. This mindset stuff man. It's really like a big thing for me. But by the way, nothing gets me like storytelling. So I really want to tell my stories. But I also like video games. So it's like yo. So all of these things speak to me at a level that's like screaming passion where I am passionate. I could live an entire life where I was an anime scholar. I didn't discover anime until I was in my 40s. But now I'm not kidding. I could become an anime scholar and live an extraordinarily joyful life. So I have to be really thoughtful and people that take my course. Hear me say this a lot. You're standing in a room with a thousand doors. Your job is to close 999 of them. The problem isn't finding a door to walk through. It's shutting the doors and only walking through one. That's the hard part. So my life has been a never ending series of frustrations that I can only really excel at one thing at a time. But it's not confusing to me that every 10 years I've completely reinvented myself. Wow. It's remarkable you have an ability to focus and achieve great things while still having that kind of predisposition as you describe it to be obsessively, deeply interested in so many things at the same time to that extent. It shows, Tom. It shows in your deep understanding, as you said, of topics. I feel like I could ask you about anything and I feel like you would. That is the truth. But I tell you the things that I don't know. I'll be like, I don't know shit about it. But yeah.


Closing Question

Our last guest's question (01:16:31)

We have a closing tradition on this podcast. Let's do it. Where the previous guest writes a question for the next guest. Tell a specific story of someone in your life who helped make you into the person you are today. What did they do specifically that made you into the person you are? That's a great one. I will preface the story of how she did it with one of my favorite stories about my wife. Long before my wife became an entrepreneur, she had really influenced me in a Gerriam Maguire way where it was like she believed in me and nobody else believed in me even when I was struggling to believe in myself. She just had an irrational belief in myself in me. I often think back to who would I have become if I hadn't met her? Because I was in a dark place. I didn't have like, it's not like I had all the beliefs that I had now. I didn't have any of these beliefs. I thought I was not smart enough. I did not think I could accomplish. My wife in many ways manipulated me in these wonderful ways to get me to see what she saw. It was empowering and it made me, yeah, yeah, I really can't do this. It really is that moment in Gerriam Maguire where he's like, yeah, this is good. Keep coming. She would just do that at these critical junctures in my life. Long before she became an entrepreneur, I don't remember what happened, but I was weeping, man. I'm not a crier. I was ugly crying, having a hard time catching my breath. I was like, you're never going to get enough credit for how you've shaped me that I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for you. Remember I found my wife when I was 24. I went on one date with her and never looked back. She's the only woman I've ever said I love you to in a romantic way as my mom likes to remind me. She really, really shaped my brain. She shaped my belief. She shaped my motivations, like a woman to whom you are sexually attracted. There's almost no end if she's got real emotional wisdom. There's almost no end to which she can motivate and encourage and, yeah, shape you. She's just, she's my best friend. She's my lover. And with that, she has all of the levers at her disposal to help me maximize my potential. She has openly pulled those levers and made me believe and encouraged me and supported me. Oh my God. And so just like all of these things. And so one day somebody asked me like, who's had the biggest influence on your life? And I was like my wife. Like that's just so self-evident. It's the one you could remove anybody else from my life, even my mom. And I know she doesn't want to hear that. And I would fundamentally be similar to who I am. Wouldn't be the same. My mom obviously had tremendous influence on me, but I would not be anything like what I am if I hadn't been married to Lisa. Like it's just crazy. It's crazy. The thousands of little ways, little moments where she's in my head, like, you know, encouraging me or making me question a decision, making me think smarter about something. I mean, she's crazy. So she loved the idea of behind every great man is a great woman. And she was just so adept at like, go ask for this. Go talk to this person. Push on that. And I was like, I don't know. Like that makes me feel uncomfortable. She's like, no, no, no, trust me. You've earned it. You're worth it. Push for it. And I would push for it and get it and be like, well, what the hell? So it was, it was just extraordinary. And so yeah, that was a very long answer to that question, but Lisa. A beautiful answer, very inspiring and so much truth in that for so many people that are listening. And I do hope, you know, when we, part of the reason we have podcasts and we have these deep conversations that are full of context is so that people can understand intention. They can have conversations that aren't always comfortable or that that don't fit in two hundred and eighty characters and that aren't meant to fit in two hundred and eighty characters. And they can see the intention and the experience that sits behind it. And that's why I love having these conversations, but that's why I love talking to you. I can talk to you forever because I, it's like, I know how many books you read, Tom. And your ability to have condensed the sort of key part of the wisdom in so many things in those books, but also in your own life through self awareness is the most amazing thing ever. I'm going to say this because I feel like people need to get the roses sometimes. There's a lot of people in the self awareness game. There's a lot of, sorry, the self sort of development content, personal development space. However you want to define it, you are by far. The best in my view based on what I think matters, someone that has immense knowledge is able to deliver it, but in a way that it's engaging and wrapped in storytelling. And then maybe the fifth is just this humility and this honesty. So I've said this to my friends privately when they tell what's this guy like, what's this guy like, what's this guy like, I'm going to Tom's the best. Tom is the best. And whether you realize that or not, whether it matters or not, is there, it doesn't matter. But for me, you are and you're the guy when, you know, if the video pops up or if it's humanly to make in a video together, I'm like, I don't, I don't necessarily need to understand the subject matter, but I know the guy and his thinking and his intention and I know the way his brain thinks. So I'm going to get a ton of value from this. I'm just telling you to your face because I say it behind your back. So extraordinary. No, it's true. That's what I say behind your back. So, um, and I, I was perplexed when I first met you at your house and four years ago and I thought, fucking hell, it's funny because it makes me realize how much I, I, I, I, I can improve in the most positive way. You know, in terms of my delivery, in terms of my ideas and my thinking and my storytelling, it's really made me like inspired by, by how much space I have to grow. Um, so thank you. Thank you for giving me your time today. I know you're incredibly busy person. Man, thank you for one of the most fun interviews I've ever done. This was a lot of fun. No, it really was. It was awesome. I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast as the seasons have begun to change. So has my diet. And, um, right now, I'm just going to be completely honest with you. I'm starting to think a lot about slimming down a little bit because over the last couple of probably the last four or five months, my diet has been pretty bad. Um, and it started to show a little bit really over the last two months, I go to the gym about 80% of the time. So I track it with 10 of my friends in a WhatsApp group and this tracker online that we all use together. And so one of the things I'm doing now to reduce my calorie intake and trying to get back to being nutritionally complete and all I eat is I'm having the cure protein shake. Thank you, you all for making a product that I actually like. The salted camel is my favorite. I've got the banana one here, which is one my girlfriend likes, but for me, salted caramel is the one.


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