If You FEEL LOST In Life, Watch This To CHANGE YOUR FUTURE In 30 Days! | Jordan Peterson | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "If You FEEL LOST In Life, Watch This To CHANGE YOUR FUTURE In 30 Days! | Jordan Peterson".

1970-01-13T18:13:07.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Introduction

Intro (00:00)

I'm hoping that they find it useful the same way they seem to have found the first one. I mean, there is a book that actually hurts me. Actually, both of them hurt me, I would say, because I'm very hurt. I'm a very destroyed person in many ways. And so I feel unworthy. Unworthy of what? You name it. In the book, you encourage people to think from an evolutionary perspective, which I think is incredibly important. And I think what you offer people is one, we all struggle with our own internal demons, and you allow people to see how that's a heroic endeavor, maybe the ultimate heroic endeavor to conquer that inside of yourself. And then going back to the beginning of identity, being a function of behavior, by helping people begin to identify as the hero, engaging in relatively straightforward behaviors, like cleaning your room or like in the new book, making an area beautiful, refusing to give into resentment. Aim at one thing, which fuck was one of my favorite parts of the book, and see how extraordinarily good you can get at that.


Discussion On The Hero Myth, Controversy And Personal Struggles

Why the Hero Myth is so important. (01:02)

Like when I think about something. That's a good thing, A.S. You got aim at something. It's like, otherwise, your life is meaningless. Well, what should you aim at? Well, I don't know. Well, pick something, pick something, aim at it. As you move toward it, you'll get wiser. Then maybe your aim will change. That's okay. But at least it'll change in an informed way. It's like discipline yourself in one dimension. See what happens. Well, that's exciting. And I think that's something that's open for everyone. You can do that. I shouldn't say that because I don't believe that. I think you can find yourself in a situation that's so dire that you don't. There's no escape from it. But that doesn't matter because this still, this is the hero myth might not be the best we have might not always work. But it's still the best we have. And the fact that it might not work doesn't mean we should throw it away. It's still the best we have. I mean, everyone dies. And so we fail in some sense. The fact that a symphony ends doesn't mean that it wasn't worth listening to. Yeah, when you put that in an evolutionary context and you acknowledge that people are compelled by biology to strive, they're compelled by biology to progress. They're compelled by biology to be courageous, that they will be rewarded for being courageous, neurochemically. They will be punished for being a coward, neurochemically. And yeah, well, think about, you know, the thing about that biological explanation too, is that we've been social for a very long time.


Why people are compelled by biology to strive. (02:46)

We've been social for so long that our social nature is programmed into our biology. And so you'll be punished if you're not useful to other people. Yes. By your conscience, because you're a social creature. And the question is, well, how could you be most? Here's another question that starts to what verge on the religious? What does the most useful person look like? Well, who is everyone hoping they'll meet? And that's a genuine question. And that's the ideal. The ideal is the person everyone's hoping they'll meet. That's Christ in the Christian culture, psychologically speaking, independent of any religious claims. So that's these, these, these, this is, this is, I suppose, the essential idea of the archetype from the Jungian perspective. We have the, we have the image of an ideal. And because it is the ultimate ideal, it has a religious element, it's compelling. It's a judge. Why is it a judge? Well, if you fall short of the ideal, your conscience punishes you. So it's a judge. And it's merciful. Well, why? Because if you act out the ideal, then your life improves. You know, when I said, well, the question, what is the relationship between these images of the psyche and reality? I don't know the answer to that. I don't know where the archetype shades into reality. It depends to some degree on how you define reality. And you know, this is, I've been, people don't like that statement. But when you're asking questions that are deep enough, you start to have to ask, what do you mean by true, for example? What do you mean by real? Because the questions you ask get so deep that they're of the same kind as the question, what is real or what is true? You know, if think of it this way, reality is what we adapt to by definition.


What reality is based in adaption. (04:57)

That's reasonable. If you're a Darwinian, you have to say that's actually as far as you can go. Reality is that which shapes us. You can't get a better handle on reality than that. Well, when you make a picture of objective reality, it's not the same as that. It's a different picture. And it's not obvious which one should play Trump. Now, the hero myth, as far as I can tell, is an evolutionary artifact. And that means that for human beings, that the hero image is the path of optimal adaptation. Does that reflect reality? Well, it does insofar as reality has selected that. Well, does that mean that reality is a story? Because the hero myth is a story, or at least that's one of the things it is. Does it mean that reality has a narrative aspect? Well, it does insofar as we act things out. Does that mean that reality is ultimately a story? Well, I don't know. But the answer isn't obviously no. Yeah. Reading the book beyond order, there was a part in there that struck me as this is going to be the new battleground that Jordan is going to be fighting on. Do you have a sense of what in the book is going to trigger people? No. I mean, I didn't think that the lobster, the last book was going to be so hell-aried. I thought it was really cool. It's like, oh my god, serotonin mediates dominance in lobsters and people. How ancient, how remarkable. But well, that took off in all sorts of directions. People made fun of it. It's like, well, you can make fun of 350 million years of evolutionary history if you want. You can put your social constructionism up against 350 million years of evolutionary history. Good luck to you. I didn't think it was like, and the idea that I was trying to insist that because lobsters live in hierarchies, that hierarchies are the source of all moral value. Trying to insist that hierarchies are so inevitable that you see nervous systems adapting to them across virtually every level of animal.


Why Jordan was so controversial (07:36)

Why? Well, because some things are valuable. And within any given domain of value, some valuable things are more valuable than other things. And so you have a hierarchy. There's no avoiding it. As long as you need something, as long as there's scarcity, a hierarchy is inevitable. Yeah, I know nobody cares how many big pens you have. It's because they're not scarce. So you can't have status because you have 200 of them. But as soon as there's scarcity, there's a hierarchy. And there's always scarcity of one form or another, no matter how rich you get, you know, if you're if you have a hundred million dollars, Picasso paintings are still scarce. Yeah, the the pushback on the lobster thing falls into two things for me. One, I don't understand why people look for a reason not to listen to somebody, which to me, most people coming after you for that one just they didn't want you to be right or to be heard. And so they went after something that they thought they could mimeify and shut down on. And then I understand that like I understand that. I it's obvious why people are looking for a reason not to listen to someone. It's like how goddamn many people can you listen to? There's nine billion of them, you know, so you have to not listen to almost everyone. And so you'll fall for any excuse. And sometimes that's not so good, you know, because you have a bias that prejudice is you against a viewpoint that you actually need. That's that's a problem. But the phenomenon itself, like, you know, you you mentioned, sort of bring this up again, but because it's germane and relevant, someone said something disparaging about me and they were on your staff, it's like, well, you have lots of options for guests. You're looking for no. You're always looking for no, because you can only say yes to a very limited number of things. So that's another reason we have to be very careful about our prejudices, because we need them, you know, to I don't mean prejudice in that obviously in this inappropriate social sense. But Jesus, we have to shield ourselves from an excess of information. We're very limited capacity processors. No question. I don't understand though. I don't understand really. And it's really killing me, I think, I might might mean that literally. I don't understand why I'm so controversial. I can't figure that out. It's very distressing to me. You want me to take a stab at it? Sure. Good metaphor. All right. So my gut instinct in terms of why a certain type of person responds negatively to you is when you think of a person as a blank slate and that we all have this collective responsibility to make sure that everybody ends up the same, then you saying some people are better at something than others already is feels judgmental. And so it is. Yes. For sure. And but when you have a collectivist view and you believe that everyone should have equal outcome, which by the way, I think everybody yourself included, like if only, right? Like that would be amazing. Like if everybody could live truly in harmony and that didn't violate principles of just the human animal, which is why I was reminding people to remember you're having a biological experience, but you say things that are they violate a deeply compassionate person's desire to take care of everybody, this sort of no child left behind type thing. And when you insist on in your own life, like I'm only going to say that, which is true. And I'm certainly not going to let somebody force me to say something I don't believe is true. So now with that, and by the way, all of that, and this is a key thing, I think you have to understand, you're fighting with a level of intensity that makes sense when you realize your obsession with what happened in the 20th century, the Gulag Archipelago, what happened there. Obviously not to Germany, Mao's China, like the number of people that have been killed in these essentially social experiments. So you have this deep intense thing trying to give people to understand, like hierarchies are real, there's no escaping them. Not everybody is as good as everybody else at everything. And by the way, you have to shoulder responsibility. And that's where people are like, you just to them, I cannot, and before I say what they think, I will reiterate, you have changed my life forever and for the better, I will forever be grateful to the things that you continue to put out into the world. And I missed you horribly as a thought leader during 2020 of all years to be on a Jordan Peterson diet. I was not happy about that. But what they think of is that you're being mean for the sake of being mean, that you're not trying to help them see, you cannot pretend reality isn't reality in pretending that the dragon is not there. The dragon does not go away. The dragon grows more powerful, more likely to devour you and your family. And so I get smaller. They don't see that. And so that's why when I see people attack you, I'm like, Jesus Christ, how many times does he have to say this is about a balance between order and chaos that you need both of these things that you have to show the responsibility because that is what reality demands that you're in, you're nested in an evolutionary context. There are things like hierarchies that will play out in the body in section. Exactly. And so you may not want to feel bad when you walk in the room and are worse at something than everybody else, but you're going to. You may not want to feel bad when you're rejected, but you're going to. You may not want to feel bad because you're just lazing around your house and not doing anything, but you're going to. And you have peered into enough of human nature to recognize, hey, there are just certain truisms. You've now given us 24 of the, I forget how many were originally in the core article 49 or whatever. 42. 42. Okay, we've got 24 answer to the life, the universe and everything. Is that all? Hostagers number. So, oh my god, that's perfect, actually. It is this incredible thing once you break free from ideology. And that's where, again, this is one of the rules in beyond order, not to fall prey to ideology. This is where I thought you were going in the beginning with identity. I thought you were going to say, identity has become pathological because it has become, it's been simplified. You talk about this in beyond order. Once you simplify something, and this is how an ideologue gets you, they simplify it. They make it very understandable, becomes very clear who's in and who's out. You can reward and punish based on that. People are grabbing these unnegotiated, self-determined pieces of identity that don't necessarily bring value to the larger world, which will create dissonance in their own life because they've got all this substructure running telling them to be valuable. Well, the don't bring tradable value. You know what I mean?


Not everyone deserves your help in life (14:58)

It's like, I'm not saying they're like, your race, I suppose, is of value, but it's not a tradable value and your gender and your sex, the same thing. It's like, I guess it's partly because there's no scarcity. You know, it's like, we've got enough white people. Being white doesn't buy you anything. So, and I'm not saying that with any pleasure.


You're Not Relishing in Help (15:32)

That's what I think people miss. This is why I think people come after you. They don't recognize that you're not saying it. You're not relishing in this. You want people to be happy. And I'm always so confused, Jordan, I don't know why you remain as vulnerable and open as you are. After the time saying, I was like, what the fuck? You sounded so kind, open, compassionate, after what four years of, you know, some percentage of the world relentlessly slandering you. And obviously, you get people that cheer you on probably way more people that cheer you on than don't. But you still remain vulnerable, which is fucking incredible. But the fact that they don't recognize that you're trying to help, like, I could get it if they said, hey, look, I disagree with Jordan on this side or the other but maybe they do recognize that. You know, there's a lot of cynicism about the help. And I can't understand why you'd be cynical about help unless you weren't that helped, weren't that pleased about the idea of help? You know, like all these deplorables that I'm helping these angry young men, you know, they don't deserve help. Well, I don't think that. I don't know anyone that doesn't deserve help. You know, there's this idea in the New Testament that you should love your enemies. It's like, why would you do that? Well, it'd be better if they weren't your enemies. And their unnecessary suffering doesn't help. It's not helpful. It's not like you don't, you know, anyone with any sense, anyone who's human is liable to take pleasure and vengeance or even in. But you know, when people go after the journalists that have gone after me, I don't take any pleasure in that. I don't sit back at my home and rub my hands and think, you know, you got what was coming to you. I do think sometimes you got what was coming to you. But I think of that more like watching someone in the road, you know, they're in the road and they have their back turned and the truck runs over them. It's like, well, you were in the road and there was a truck. And so you got what was coming to you because you were on the road and there was a truck. But I don't take any pleasure in it.


What do you Want People to Get out of Beyond Order (17:59)

I don't see that it's helpful. What do you want people to get out of beyond order? It is extraordinarily well thought through. It is very well laid out. Each sentence stacks like a brick upon the next. I wouldn't advise people read them out of order. It's literally this very careful case being made that taken in totality is breathtaking in its advice. I think you can read them in either order. I tried. Maybe maybe they're better read in order. But but I think that if you read the second one first, then it would color your vision of the first one. I mean, I mean, the rules. I think you write 12 rules for life and beyond order. It doesn't matter. They're yin and yang. You mean the rules themselves. The rules themselves just it stacks so well. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a book. I mean, each the thing about writing a book is that you're outside of time in space in relationship with the book because chapter one comes before chapter 12, but not when you're writing it, you can go back and modify chapter one because of chapter 12. I did try to tie them together so that they make a book and they one builds upon another. That's like that's the musical element of it as well. The recurrent themes. I'm glad you liked it. See, I can't tell. I can't evaluate it. I'm hoping that it it's of the same level of quality that the first book was. And I'm not making any claims saying that about the level of quality of the first book. I'm just that was as good as I could do. And I wrote the second one under unbelievable duress. So I can't tell if it's whether that was a curse or well, certainly a curse and no doubt about that. I don't know how it impacted the book though. It's hard to say what I want people to get out of it. Well, I'm hoping that they find it useful the same way they seem to have found the first one. I mean, they're actually hurts me. Actually, both of them hurt me, I would say, because I'm ashamed of what's happened to me. What do you mean? And their books about life and my life is I'm very hurt. I'm a very destroyed person in many ways. And so I feel unworthy.


I'm a Destroyed Person (20:22)

Unworthy of what? You name it. I hope people find it useful. You know, I hope it alleviates some unnecessary suffering.


The People that Should Write the Instruction Manuals (21:00)

That's a goal. Here's how I read your books and everything that you've put out into the world. The people that should write the instruction manual are the people that have struggled. And in your suffering, you have been able to piece together useful information, which is the barometer by which I judge a book's value for sure. The reason people flock to your lectures, they buy your book is you have made in modern times the single most coherent and useful instruction manual for life, period. So the I fear that the brokenness that you feel, the heartache that you feel translates into something usable that couldn't be written by somebody that hadn't gone through what you've gone through. Well, I would like to believe that was true. You know, there's a bit too much self-justification in it for my taste, but I thought the other day I'd probably do this too. And I have to record an announcement for this book because it's coming out on Tuesday. I thought the best announcement would be just to thank people for all of their kind attention. I'm very fortunate in that regard. I get letters from people all the time that they open up their hearts, you know, it's really something. But I am somewhat non-clust, let's say, for all this work, I'm pretty broken.


How I Rate Your books (22:48)

In general or just in this moment? I don't know. I think in general. Man, well, I will say this as somebody whose life you have touched and the thing I want you to recognize in me, as I imagine, countless other people want you to recognize in them. More than warm wishes is I have put to use the things that you're teaching and they have made my life better and they have made the lives of those around me better. And what is up my friend Tom Bill you here and I have a big question to ask you. How would you rate your level of personal discipline on a scale of one to ten if you're answer? Is anything less than a ten? I've got something cool for you. Let me tell you right now, discipline by its very nature means compelling yourself to do difficult things that are stressful, boring, which is what kills most people, or possibly scary or even painful. Now, here is the thing. Achieving huge goals and stretching to reach your potential requires you to do those challenging stressful things and to stick with them even when it gets boring and it will get boring.


Discipline UCLA (23:51)

Building your levels of personal discipline is not easy, but let me tell you it pays off. In fact, I will tell you you're never going to achieve anything meaningful unless you develop discipline. All right, I've just released a class from Impact Theory University called How to Build Ironclad Discipline that teaches you the process of building yourself up in this area so that you can push yourself to do the hard things that greatness is going to require of you. Right, click the link on the screen, register for this class right now and let's get to work. I will see you inside this workshop from Impact Theory University.


Until then my friends, be legendary. Peace out. Man, it is really heartbreaking to see you go through what you're going through now and I certainly get it. I don't know you well enough to offer you any sort of familial consolation. I will just say that what you do matters probably more than you think it does, certainly as much as you think it does. I had never met you through 2020 and I started reaching out to people that we both know asking about you because I believe that the world needs the insights that you uniquely have coming from your background of mythology and understanding what is deeply ingrained in the human psyche from an evolutionarily shaped perspective and that nobody is putting it together, the way that you're putting it together and the fact that you've been, hopefully it's small in comparison to the people that are supporting you but Jesus, I know I would not put up with the amount of shit that you've put up with and the fact that I think the individual is the only way to approach any systemic problem. You just have to deal with the individuals and then from there it will echo out into society and so the fact that that's your approach. I kept telling people we need Jordan Peterson right now. And I'm so grateful you're back and I know this book will be very successful because I'm glad you liked it. I'm glad you liked it because like I said it's really hard for me to evaluate it. You know sometimes I, well I have every possible thought that you could have about it. You know sometimes I read it and I think oh that seemed to have turned out pretty good and other times I think Jesus I've said this 50 times already and yeah I'm all over the place. I can't I think that happens. It happens when you write a book you get so because you know if when you read someone else's book you can kind of tell if the ideas are original at least in so far as you're concerned. Well I can't tell because these are my ideas, well not all of them obviously but their ideas are at least deeply familiar with so I can't tell to what degree it's original. None of it and so I and it's also I suppose I'm quite apprehensive about its release in some sense because I've set myself up an impossible second act. You know because the first book was so insanely popular I think it's six million copies now in in all the languages it's been published in. So that's impossible that never happens right. It's certainly it's like winning the lottery. It's probably less probable than winning the lottery. In fact I'm virtually certain that it's less probable than winning the lottery and to to imagine doing that twice is well that's just it happens but it's highly improbable. Anyways it's going to all come and then you know I'm in a different space than I was when I released this first book so this is compared to all this is going to be compared to all my electronic avatars which are busily working out there in the world. I think there's more of me outside of me now than there is inside of me weirdly enough. That's another phenomenon I can't really get my hand my mind around. You know the power of YouTube Jesus that's quite the technology.


Exploring Identity, Ambition, And Socialization

Jordans fantasy and identity (28:18)

When I put those first videos up you know I was just was bothering me this piece of legislation and for a variety of reasons some of which we've discussed. I talked to my wife and my son sort of casually I said well I'm gonna make these videos see what happens and just like famous last words. Yes yeah man look it's resonated it will continue to resonate you are you have an extraordinary ability to translate what people are feeling into the actions they need to take to get out of it. It is not a mistake that you are a very practiced clinical psychologist that is able to scale what you were doing one-on-one now to the many it's extraordinary and I think it's really had an impact on society. My fantasy is being a clinician. It was a great job you know I really loved it. There was nothing better than intense conversations about how to make things better when both partners in the conversation are fully committed to that. It's such fun to produce incremental improvement sometimes more than incremental you know collaboratively there's nothing better than that I love doing my lecture tour because it was that on a large scale. I talked to Dave Rubin about that this week because of course he was long on the tour and it was such it was so perfect to be talking to people about making things better and to have everyone at least in that moment fully on board with the idea you couldn't you couldn't ask for anything better than that was great and to have the support I've had from people it just stuns me you know I think it's actually traumatic to have that much support. That's interesting why traumatic it's not easy to know what to do with you know the cheers of a million people it's overwhelming it's dangerous. Dangerous because it can seem into your identity or this is probably not directly relevant but I don't know you know I've thought a lot about Hitler you know was it his arrogance or his humility that led him to be the savior so called of Germany he had millions of people cheering for him how could you not think you were right how could you possibly think you weren't right and so there's danger in that you know I don't think I've I don't think I've unfairly benefited from it. Money success fame all that stuff is irrelevant what matters is how you think about yourself when you're by yourself and I want to know what you think about in terms of self identity how we construct our sense of self and then how we leverage that to move through the world in a way that makes sense. So identity to me is something that's practical it's your identity is a it's like a dramatic role that you play out in the world and while playing that out it has to furnish you with a life and what that means is that it has to be it means that it has to be negotiated with other people when you're a very young child and you first start to play with who you are you live in a fantasy world and according to some developmental psychologists at least particularly this is grounded in the theories of Piaget that very young children two or three are


Identity and playing pretend (31:20)

quite egocentric in their play they play according to their own rules and so they're not social yet until they're three or four which means that they have their own goals in mind and then they erect a little fictional world around those goals and then they play out the role within that fictional world and that's pretend play and when they get to be about three or four and they start playing with other kids they have to bring their worlds together and negotiate because both children have to want to play and so that means identity has to expand beyond its egocentric focus and increasingly be negotiated in the social world I study developmental psychology for a long time especially in relate in relationship to the regulation of aggression and most children learn to regulate the regression between the ages of two and four now for example for instance there's a subset of children mostly male who are very aggressive at the age of two comparatively speaking they bite kick fight hit and steal that's the definition of aggressive and almost all those children are socialized out of that by the time they're four although a small proportion aren't and they tend to be long-term anti-social children and then criminal adults it's very very difficult for that to be rectified if it isn't rectified by four what happens with most children is they learn to move beyond their egocentric presuppositions and include other children in the play and so they start to negotiate the roles and identity is a sophisticated identity is a negotiated role and so it's not appropriate for anyone with everyone with everyone and of course you know this is the case because if you if you well first of all if you're a child and you want friends then you can't insist that only your game be played so i'll give you an example there's been observational studies of children in playgrounds so imagine there's a group of children together let's say they're six or seven years old and they're playing helicopter so they've got their erasers out and they're buzzing around in the helicopters okay so they've already established the ground rules they've got together and they laid out the drama they say well let's play helicopter and maybe there's four or five suggestions but the group the group develops a consensus that helicopters the fun game and let's make our erasers into helicopters i don't have an eraser well you can use your pencil and it can be a long helicopter and so everybody gets a role and everybody's happy about it otherwise play won't continue right everybody has to be happy or play won't continue and so then the the the little drama organizes itself and the kids play helicopter and there's consequences of that that play out like a story and then maybe another kid comes along and he's gotten eraser and a pencil in his bag and he wants to play helicopter too and if he's a socially sophisticated kid he'll hang around the outside of the little


The problem with a one-sided spectrum (35:24)

game and watch and then he'll take out his eraser and maybe start making buzzing noises with it and when when he can see that there's an opening in the play situation he'll swoop in and maybe he'll get integrated it's like when you're at a cocktail party and you hear a conversation and you're hovering around the edge you wait for an opening and then you say something that's germane to the topic and if you're sophisticated enough and the people are friendly enough then it'll open and you'll be allowed in now even popular kids often get rebuffed when they try to enter an already structured game unpopular kids don't watch what's going on and then they come along and try to impose their game on the entire group and then they have a tantrum if they don't get let in and so that's a good example of how identity is negotiated at the earliest stages now that that feels to me um something it feels very different than what i would think of as identity so i'm going to try to put this in context of what i see as the major movements of your work and what makes you so powerful tell me where i go astray so i look at your two books and i'm literally just paraphrasing from what you said that they're basically the yin and yang so you have chaos on one hand and you have order on the other both will tend towards tyranny and as far as i can tell and this is why do not understand why people are pushing back on you why there's so much bizarre backlash is the moral of your story is hey everybody guess what you need to find this balance between the two if you only exist in the creative potential it ends up being all chaos all the time if you only exist in the conservatism the things that are already there and working they will tend towards tyranny solidify and cease to be useful and die and so now it's this game and you do this brilliant explanation of what happens in a city that shows exactly this with artists and if you can walk us through that and tell me if if the identity of the artist if that's what you're trying to get out with identity because i i'm understanding what you're saying in terms of okay in that moment we're negotiating but there's a grander sense of who we become that is seems to me to be a negotiation with the world so collectively everybody else but also a negotiation with how i want to feel about myself when i'm alone and the things that i think are right the things that i think are wrong okay well that okay well that's very complicated so i'll walk it through so as you pointed out i'm going to hold up these books so this is the new book beyond order and it does concentrate on pathologies of structure and the previous book which is 12 rules for life and antidote to chaos and the the underlying presupposition there is that in our phenomenal logical landscape so that's the world as we experience it complete with emotions and motivations and dreams and so the full range of human experience including the subjective and the objective let's say can broadly be broken into two domains and one is the domain of things that are beyond our grasp and reach and that's the unknown the unknown emerges when the unknown emerges you tend to experience anxiety and then there's the the known and i define the known very specifically and very carefully the known is the place you are when what you're


How do you get what you want (38:49)

doing produces the results you want and i say want because that brings motivation and emotion into the game so you're motivated to pursue something you pursue it and what you want happens not only do you get what you want but you get validation for the structure that governs your perceptions and your actions now if you you know imagine that you're you know you're lonely and you approach a young woman in a in a social situation attempting to make some contact with her you you want to alleviate your loneliness and so you hope you make a good impression and you tell a joke let's say in a relatively awkward manner and you get rebuffed then you feel you you you're no longer where you control you're no longer where you exercise control and that brings up all sorts of specters and immediately it's like well why were you rebuffed well maybe all women are uh to be despised that's one theory maybe there's something deeply wrong with you maybe you're having an off day maybe it wasn't a very good joke and so when you don't get what you want then a landscape of question emerge questions emerge and those questions can resonate through different levels of your identity from the trivial or i told the joke wrong to the profound there's nothing desirable about me and i'll be alone for the rest of my life now you asked about identity and i used the example of a child's game but i could go through an identity and so i do this particularly in maps of meaning and so for example let's say i'm sitting typing okay we could decompose my identity so at the highest level of resolution i'm moving my fingers and so that could be my identity i'm the thing that moves its fingers and then


Importance of socialization (40:35)

slightly at a slightly broader level than that i'm typing words and at a broader level i'm typing phrases and thinking them up and then sentences and then paragraphs and then chapters and then let's say full papers or books that that's that's a productive unit so i'm the author of a book or the author of a paper that's an identity but then that's nested inside for me it would be nested inside being a clinical psychologist being a professor being a good citizen and then that's nested inside something that's even broader than that and i would say that that's nested inside a cultural heroism and i don't mean that specific to me i mean that for everyone that's the outermost level whether you're playing out the role of hero or adversary say that's that's the highest possible level of identity that's the level at which fundamental morality is adjudicated and there isn't really anything beyond outside that is it's beyond us it's the transcendent itself and you're all of those at any one time you're all of those levels of identity but those are all practical right so those are the rules that you're playing in the world all of those are a consequence of who you are but in interplay like in this situation with the child all of that's negotiated with other people and so if you have a functional identity you see if you have a functional identity when you act it out in the world then you get what you want to need and if an identity doesn't do that well then you should you either retool or your identity or you retool the world your conception of the world well if you're retooling your conception of the world then you're retooling yourself no you can actually i mean what a revolutionary does is try to bring the world into alignment with literally change the world yes literally well and we all do that to some degree because we are practical engineers you know i mean not only do we perceive the world but we also interact with it so that it does manifest itself in accordance with our desires there's limits obviously to how far you can go or how far you should go with that you know and what are the limits well there's practical limits nature won't do what you want it to unless you're very sophisticated in your in your application of your knowledge and other people will object so now you might say well you should forge forward regardless of their objection and you know there are circumstances under which that's true but generally speaking that's not a very good idea it certainly doesn't make you popular as a child and so that brings up one other issue i would also say and this i developed this idea quite a bit in the new book you go from ego centrism as a child you have to go through this period where you're socialized as a child and adolescent and that really means that you allow your identity to be molded and shaped by the group and you know you think about how important peers friends and peers are to children and adolescents you know your mother will say when you're a teenager well if johnnie jumped off the bridge would you too and you say well no but the real answer is well probably if all your friends are there taunting you you would in fact jump off the bridge and not only that generally speaking you should because it's your duty it's your developmental duty as a child and a teenager to take your your isolated self and turn it into a functioning social unit now you could say well do you peterson wants everybody to be a functional social unit a robot you know a cog in the wheel and i would say well that that isn't where development stops it has to go through that period before you can emerge as a as a genuine individual which means you have to know the rules of the game before you can break them but not being able to abide by the rules is not anything like being a genuine creative individual those are not the same thing and there's plenty of attempt to confuse the two things because it's much better if you can't follow the rules to view yourself as a avant-garde revolutionary than as a failure and it's not like i don't know that that social molding crushes obviously it crushes and everyone feels that these are existential problems everyone deals with the tyranny of culture and the fact that it does want you to be a certain way and not other ways and those ways might not be in keeping with your with your the deepest elements of your nature well tough luck for you you because you're also the beneficiary of culture and so you have to offer it your pound of flesh now you shouldn't do that at the expense of


Who is being exploited by mixed messages? (45:35)

your soul but you shouldn't stay an immature child either and so this notion of identity that we're being fed is very very it's very thin what are we being fed be very specific well well there is the idea for example that your identity is whatever you say it is and that everyone else has to go along with that no that isn't how it works partly because no one even knows how to go along with it like let's say just for example that you're a gender non-binary okay what am i supposed to do about that man i don't know i hardly know what to do if the rules are already there so let's say i grow up i want to being a heterosexual male i want to find a woman fall in love with her raise a family have children have grandchildren that's a game i know the rules to it not well because everyone's a failure at that you know it's very difficult but at least you kind of know what the the goal is and so does the person you're with well you leap out of that which is already terribly difficult you leap out of that into completely unknown territory saying that i'm presenting yourself as something other than those categories leaves everyone around you and you completely bereft of direction let me put it in words that i get from your material so what i heard you just say tell me if i'm wrong is part of the negotiation that we do from the time we are little kids and figuring out that play we're up on the bridge we jump maybe because we want to you know fit in with our peer group it there is a sense of order to that now you've been very careful and it will drive you crazy if people respond to this interview as if you have not already illustrated that it is the balance between two opposing forces but so we need enough order so that somebody can find their way through the world and that many i think a big part of the reason that your work has resonated so profoundly with people is there excuse me they are left in a world where they don't know how to move forward in a way that serves them spiritually practically as well for sure and so hey everybody both of those both of those practically shades into spiritually as you move up into the broader reaches of identity you know and look this this see one of the things i really laid this out in maps of meaning it took me a long time to understand that belief regulated emotion so what happens is that if you act out your identity if you act out your beliefs in the world and what you want doesn't happen what happens is that your body defaults into emergency preparation for action and the reason for that is you've wandered too far away from the campfire and now you're in the forest and maybe you're naked and so what do you do then and the answer is what you don't know what to do so what do you do when you don't want know what to do and the answer is you prepare to do everything and the problem with that is that it's unbelievably draining psychophysiologically like it hurts you and there's there's an immense physiological literature detailing the the cost of of of exactly that kind of response and so people need people and animals they people stay where what they do has the results they want that's partly why you want to be around people who share your cultural presuppositions is because you know that for example even in small ways let's say you're a country music aficionado and you're hanging around with your cowboy-headed buddies and you throw on a tape and everyone says great tunes man and you you know you're happy about that but you know you throw on a piece by chakoski and you're you're in a different subculture and who the hell are you and people the people in your group will say man who listens to music like that and like that's a trivial example in some sense but i believe it's one that everyone can resonate to we like we it's very hard on us not to be where we know what we know that what we want is going to happen we hate that we hate that and no wonder so and then you know there are there are varying degrees of that obviously you can really be where you don't know what's going to happen or you can only be there to some degree but by and large by and large we're conservative creatures even if we're liberal entemberment there's not we can't tolerate that much uncertainty and you might ask well why and the answer is well because you can be hurt pain you can be damaged you can become intolerably anxious and you can die so it's


Identity Reframing And Navigating Life Transitions

The functional give and take of identity (50:39)

no wonder you're sensitive or very sensitive to negative emotion and so our identities rate functional identity regulates your emotion but you do that in concert with other people in the first chapter of the new book beyond order the rule is uh don't casually denigrate social institutions or creative achievement that's that balance again um i make the case that most of your sanity is socially distributed and what i mean by that is well let's say that you know how to behave you're well socialized you can play with others now i said already in this conversation if you didn't learn to play with others between the time you were two and four you will never learn and psychologists have beat their heads against the wall trying to rehabilitate antisocial children they can't do it after the age of four is that because areas of the brain just don't develop well it seems to be partly because the kids fall farther and farther behind so let's say you make the leap from egocentric dependence on your mother at two and three to immersion in a peer group well then the then you you pick peers that are at your same developmental level and you chase each other up the developmental ladder and the longer you're out of that the farther you fall behind and so you know kids five-year-old kids might come across another five-year-old kid who tends to cry too much if they don't get their way and they'll say we don't want to play with the baby and what they're saying is we have to find someone who's at our developmental level shares our developmental horizon so that we can mutually scaffold our further development now they're not going to say that obviously but that's the situation and kids test each other out when they first meet so do adults game game game game can you play are you playing at the same level as me i'm playing my game at the level that will further my development can you play along with me if not well maybe you're lower in status and i can pull you up as a mentor maybe you're higher in status and i can learn from you but if you're a peer we can play together anyways if you're acceptable to your peers and you behave well they'll accept you and then they tell you all the time if you're acting appropriately you know if your jokes are funny if you're dominating the conversation if you're bringing something of value to the table and all you have to do is pay attention to the social cues and you'll keep yourself regulated okay i want to dive in here and i'm going to see if i'm tracking all of this because i'm i'm putting this in a larger context of this really matters and it applies directly to something that's happening in the world it seems to me that you don't dive into things unless they have real relevance so is it fair to define identity as the self-narrative that emerges from a nearly infinite


Reframing & Good Identity (53:50)

number of interactions with other people and nature itself well i i would say yes but that gets to the point it's so broad it's almost it starts to lack definition so i can take it finer than that i i am trying to sort of find the borders and then then then i will work in okay so if we're if we still remain true at that point then having in the book you walk through a lot of some of the people that you've done psychoanalysis with and so we get a lot of insights into the actual people that you're dealing with and how people can begin to tell themselves a narrative that is very dysfunctional and you help them out i don't want to say easily because that that sounds like achievements it but pretty straightforward in helping them reframe and framing is something i'm obsessed with and so our identity is based on this it's a self-narrative that we tell ourselves based on the interactions we have with other people and nature such that we begin to solidify a set of behaviors that make sense for us based on the goals that we want to achieve and where we're trying to go am i still good yes well you improved your definition by adding the behavior element because i would say the fundamental element of identity is what you act out on top of that there's the story that you tell do i have to be consciously aware of it well you're consciously aware of some of it not of other elements of it you can't be consciously aware of everything you do and the conscious and conscious alike make up my identity as you define it your identity is the story you tell about your actions in the world but it's also your actions in the world okay now why why does my identity and i assume as i understand it why does my identity as i understand it matter to the course of my life because it's the it's the structure of the it's it's the structure from which the plans that you implement in the world originates and you're always acting in the world you have problems to solve all the time and you have to solve you have you have to solve there's all sorts of problems you have to solve to stay alive and you have to solve them for today but you have to solve them in a way that works for today that doesn't screw up tomorrow too bad and leaves next week intact and next month and next year and so there's a continuum of you so that's another see that's the other reason why your identity can't just be you because or how you feel right now because you're not only who you are right now and how you feel right now you're this strange entity that exists right now but that already existed in the past and that is going to repeat itself into the future and so you're actually a community of individuals stretched out across time and the plans that you implement have to be beneficial for that entire community of individuals and it's going to be the case that there isn't much difference between you acting properly with regards to your extended temporal self and you acting properly in relationship to other people that's interesting so you're stuck with society just because you know that there's a future you're stuck with society even if you're so obtistic right if you think you're the only conscious consciousness that there is there's still the fact that you have duration across time and that you know you have to take into account what the consequence for your actions is going to be on the 50 year old tom and the 80 year old tom and so now here's a question do you think that there's something that has pathologized the creation of useful identities in today's culture well i think each person can judge that for themselves to some degree i mean the more functional your identity the better regulated your emotion the more positive emotion the less negative emotion certainly negative emotion doesn't rise to an intolerable level if you're fortunate your identity is well constructed i think that any insistence that identity is something other than a pragmatic set of actions let's say that orient you properly in the world is sufficiently sparse so that it isn't going to solve the problem that has the problems that have to be solved so i might insist i'm whoever i think i am at the moment and if you were polite you would go along with that and to some degree i would be right we do that when we allow people to save face but if i'm right we go along with their presuppositions presumptions we don't call them on their mischief and a certain amount of that's polite but that doesn't alleviate the necessity for me of adopting a role that other people find valuable otherwise what the hell do i have to trade and you might say well why should i have to trade well if you can live all by yourself then you don't have to trade but if you can't you have to bring something of value to the table and you can't insist on its value humans are not intended to decline decline is hugely painful because happiness comes from progress unhappiness comes from regress and when you feel that something is harder than it used to be so it's interesting you know you see this the decline in the fluid intelligence here we just talked about if you're really a striver and that's what i'm working with i'm working with people want to make the most with their lives if you look if you never do anything with your life you're not going to know it's over you're not going to have this big crisis at the end of your life because you never did anything and it was like i watched a lot of tv awesome it's like i can still do that don't you think their


Making Peace w/the Void (59:59)

whole life is a crisis not really no actually no no not really no no no it's yeah i know for sure i mean well here's the thing it depends on what you mean by happiness and what a good life is you know i want my life as a striver but i also recognize that it's not normal in many ways to strive and not to strive to the extent that you have but is that what you mean by it's not normal yeah and it creates problems i mean you you you rein hell on yourself yep when you're actually doing the stuff that you've done and there's a lot of ways that you could have had a much easier life a much more relaxing life a life with great peace for me yeah for sure so that's all i mean isn't it's not a very profound point in that way but when i you know when it was when things were going poorly and i was deeply unhappy because i was in a state of regress my wife said you're unhappy you just need to quit i said that's insane i mean like one can't just walk away but of course and she said yes you can absolutely you can do anything you want i said we'll be poor she said we're already poor you know you know it's you know multiplying by zero is still zero and uh and so we did we just we we bailed you know we went to we left Barcelona we moved to Boca Raton, Florida where nobody knew us i took a pretty easy teaching job and i started studying by correspondence at night nobody knew i was doing it she had a minimum wage job she spoke very poor english had not graduated from high school um and so was learning english


How do you rebuild fluid intelligence (01:01:10)

and making you know six bucks an hour or whatever it was and i was getting paid to teach the french horn while secretly working on my bachelor's degree at night to build my to to rebuild the person that i was and then finished that went on to and started my phd which is what i really thought i needed to do and that took me a little i came here to los angeles another fact i studied the ran graduate school in Santa Monica and then i learned a new trade i learned i actually learned who i was as a person again for the first time but it was like four years of you know it was weird i couldn't i remember trying to sign a check during that time and i couldn't replicate my own signature and it turns out that that's actually quite frequent when people are in this period of liminality between faces of their life that their handwriting will change what yeah yeah it's actually a common occurrence they didn't know i'm trying to sign a check for the bank it's like i'm sorry mr brooks this is not the right signature is it is it because there's a subconscious part of you that's like i'm not that person anymore it's i don't it's it's not well understood but there's a the the neurophysiology of a lot of this stuff is we're just starting to understand there's no doubt something that where these things are connected where your sense of yourself is somehow connected to to you know these motor skills in a particular way i couldn't replicate my own signature sufficiently i got like rejected by the bank for cashing a check into my own account at one point i'm like my my early dementia the early stage something what's going on here and it was was i was in this profound state of liminality which in retrospect was this just fertile period you know i tell the story in the book is a place that you and i both know it's pacific northwest guys there's a place called lincoln city in Oregon that's your near just north of newport and i used to go there because my aunt was uh the receptionist the hotel and she had she lived in a trailer near the beach and it was like this bliss i used to go there and i remember the first time i was trying to fish off


The time between the tides of life (01:03:08)

the rocks in in lincoln city Oregon i was catching nothing this old guy living a shack is watching me and he comes up he says kid i've been i've been watching you you know today he'd be arrested but and and i said he said he did not catch anything right he said no he says because you're doing it wrong you can't catch any fish unless it's a falling tide that's when the tide is going out very quickly rushing out between the rocks and i'm like well all the fish are gone right he says no no you'll see it's stirring up the plankton fish go crazy it's happening in 45 minutes he has his fishing pole we throw we throw our lines in and we're pulling them out but you know by the tens it's unbelievable and and afterward he's feeling sort of philosophically lights up a cigarette on the rocks i'm 11 or something and he says hey kid you know during a falling tide you can only make one mistake i said what's that said not having your line in the water and i have learned this that the time between the tides of your life the falling tide of your life looks like you're losing everything get your line in the water because that's the most fertile period of your life so what does it mean to have your line in the water you must try new things you must be fully alive you must try everything you possibly can you must need you to define fully alive to be to to wake up each day and to live that day full of possibility not to nurse your wounds not to waste your time not to try to do things that you used to do to be fully alive is to be alive to the new set of experiences that's that's


Bruce Feiler and lifequakes (01:04:53)

coming across the transom that's super important because during this time of liminality there's a lot of research on this is not just an anecdote about you know this kid fishing in Oregon this is there's a lot of research that shows that this time between periods in your life what's there's a guy named Bruce Filer who writes a book about transitions and he said during these lifequakes you know if you're if your spouse just left you that's a fertile period for you to learn new things if you you know you've lost somebody to death if you've if you're if you're going through chemotherapy for example this is and you and you're very afraid through a pandemic for example for example if you during the pandemic many people find that despite the fact that they hated it and were insecure and it was horrible that their lives transformed for the good that in terms of what we're talking about here the two curves fluid and crystallized intelligence that period between the two where you're you're declining in one and the others increasing but you don't know how to get on it or even what it means that's your most fertile period that's when things are can be absolutely magic they're not gonna be fun you know I'm not be happy but that's when magic can happen so tell me about this then because this happened to you you've been in periods between the you've got you know you're successful but you're miserable and so you had to change what was the time between the tides for you what happened you have a concept that resonates with me profoundly which is that suffering is sacred you have to do it well though and I think there's a few key things that you have to recognize and when you were telling your story about your wife a I


Approaches To Suffering, Happiness And Self-Congruency

Suffering Is Sacred (01:06:03)

don't even know who I would be without my wife and as I think so for a period my wife and I now I would say are in very a traditional gender roles but in the beginning of our marriage it was very traditional in a way that was profoundly transformative so much of the way that she tried to express herself in the world was through me so she was a stay-at-home wife but very shrewd very sharp and would push me to be better and was beyond supportive when things were not going well for me and in a very similar vein of like I don't care for poor I want to see you happy that's all that matters to me and so when I was profoundly unhappy I would come home and I would say don't ask me about my day I don't want to think about it I have to separate myself from that and so finally it got to the point where she was like look this is starting to damage our marriage and so I'm going to need you to work last to figure something out whatever and so that's when I went in and decided I was going to quit and we were going to move to a small town in Greece and I was going to write again she's Greek and it was I was going to do that which made me feel alive and so that was the refrain I want to feel alive again I want to feel alive again and so I knew what that felt like because I had pursued my art so fervently for years and it made me feel some kind of way and so I recognized the decline was able to associate it with well you're just trying to get rich you've made money it hasn't changed so there's something here that you've fundamentally misunderstood about the world and my I guess liminal thing had been it had been going on for a while because when I left film school and did not understand how to break into the film industry that was a devastating period and I would just lay on the floor and I couldn't afford to furnish my apartment and I would the the sort of yeah like hilarity was not lost on me I could feel like that cheap nylon carpet that you get in cheap apartments and it would leave like an imprint on my face because I would just lay on the floor and I'm like this is so ridiculous and I started reading about the brain and I don't remember where that insight came from maybe something I picked up in college I don't know but I was like I need to learn about how the brain works and so this is the late 90s and brain plasticity is being debated and it wasn't there wasn't an answer some people were like yes it's real other people like no it's not and I was like you know what I'm going to act as if it's true because that's so much more hopeful and so I didn't know that Einstein quote back then but the quote of the most important decision anybody will make is whether they live in a friendly or a hostile universe and me deciding that I lived in a world where brain plasticity was real was me saying I live in a friendly universe right and so I started trying to get better and I was teaching at the time and so I'm teaching film and I start noticing I can make the students films better if I can make their films better because by this point I believe I have no talent that's a whole part of the story so I believe I'm completely talentless I thought I was born with talent I clearly was not I don't know how to break into the industry I'm going to teach because those that can do and those that can't teach but I'm reading about the brain brain plasticity I'm helping the students make their films better and I have a question in my mind which is well if I can make their films better why can't I make my own better I was like maybe I could and so that gives me the hope that I need to be fully alive to start approaching things with hey maybe I just need to get better and I can work on this and I had read the Doudaging when I was 16 which plants some very profound seeds in my mind which I will now call a growth mindset but back then like I didn't really understand how to put them to use in my life but I start putting them to use in my life I start getting better at filmmaking and you couple that with my wife being just incredibly encouraging not afraid to be poor wanting to see me happy and and that was when I went in and as I said before we started rolling I went into my partners and I quit and I said look I can't keep pursuing money anymore and so I don't know my version of having my my line in the water was knowing I wanted to feel alive believing that if I went and did the thing that I wanted to do that I would get better at it and that if I got good enough I couldn't be denied right and so the old Steve Martin quote this would have been I've been like 28 29 so you're really on your flu intelligence curve in a big way but not feeling it so I have struggled my entire life have you seen Amadeus for sure okay so Solieri laments to God why did you make me oh my god your musician this will resonate with you why did you make me just good enough to realize I'll never be as good as Mozart why couldn't you have made me like just another person in the crowd that can appreciate what he does but you had to make me just good enough that I want to be that good and I realize I never will be that's how I have felt my entire life I've always had friends that were just enough smarter than me but I was like damn I'm never going to be that smart and so I always tried to find a different lane and in the beginning it was being funny and so for a long time I wanted to be a stand-up comic but it was all self-deprecating because I had low self-esteem I would just make fun of myself all day which only reinforced my low self-esteem for sure and so while I was very funny it didn't feel good and so ultimately end up rejecting that but yeah so at the height of my fluid intelligence I did not feel intelligent I felt the exact opposite and you were getting tons of material success thus helping you to understand later on as you as you increase the wisdom that if you take the instrumentality of money and make it your intrinsic focus you're destined for misery no doubt now this is an interesting you know insight that that we we can take back to ancient times but St. Thomas Aquinas in 1265 writes his Suma Theologica the seminal text of western philosophy you


Ancient Philosophies for Happiness, Money Cant Buy (01:12:26)

know forget the just the theology just western philosophy and in it he talks about this very interesting thing he says that that man mankind humankind we'd say today has four idols you pursue everybody pursues one or more of four idols and he calls them the substitutes for god because his supposition is that that we all want god but god is extremely inconvenient a lot of one-sided conversations and a ton of rules so we look for substitutes that have kind of these divine characteristics the problem is they're 180 degrees off god they're money power pleasure and fame fame he says honor which is has different connotations you have a son who's a marine who serves with honor that's not what we mean we're talking about admiration and the of other people of you which is which is people want that or or just prestige or maybe fame you know so people actually want to be famous but let's just call it money power pleasure and fame everybody you know I played this game what's my idol and I'll ask people not what's your actual idol but what is not your idol you know of these four money power pleasure fame what's the one that least attracts you that you could get rid of with total impunity you don't care and then we'll we'll start eliminating and we're gonna find your idol as the whole thing now the interesting thing about that is that what he says is not that you'll go to hell if you do that he says you'll be unhappy if you don't recognize the idol if you don't recognize the idols in your life the trouble is the limbic system of your brain mother nature that tyrant tells you that you'll actually be happy if you get your idol as you chase it and you chase it you can't quite figure out what you're going to do if you get it like you know tom's going to get hundreds of millions or billions of dollars what are you going to do with that money that you would actually like and you can't quite figure out well yeah because if you if you articulate it you know if I say you'll buy a yacht you know like that sounds like kind of a hassle to have it yaught maybe it sounds good but not that good right the real reason you want that is because you want admiration because you want the validation of what it represents of you to you you want to this transference of social comparison you've always done with other people you want to actually feel the thing that you felt for others about yourself that's what the idols do that's the nasty switcheroo that's the that's the despotism of this of of mistaking the intrinsic good for the instrumentality that's why tom's acquaintance was so astute in what he was talking about here so when he would play this game and we we see what is actually holding us back and you experience this absolutely you were chasing the thing chasing the thing and


Money doesn't buy happiness (01:15:12)

chasing the thing and chasing the thing getting more and more and more miserable because you're actually getting closer and closer to your idol and realizing it will not realize one single thing that you needed for your unhappiness it had no intrinsic worth look interesting about money by the way the research on money is very clear that it doesn't actually ever bring happiness it lowers unhappiness which are processed in different hemispheres of the brain happiness and unhappiness are not opposites they're not they're different experiences and what happens is that low levels money will lower unhappiness so when i could finally go to the dentist i felt better the trouble is i don't know how to do the sums inside my brain i just know i felt better and we always mistake lower unhappiness for higher happiness and so early on you're like wow i went from from you know 15 000 to 20 000 a year and i felt better i actually felt better about myself i was able to eliminate some of these sources of of you know misery so i'm happier and so you get into the pattern early on you wire your brain when you're a young person working your way up the ladder more money feel better that means more happiness and you realize that going from 250 to 300 000 dollars is not doing it that because it's not big enough jump apparently so you go and you go and you go and you go and you're basically just chasing a lure it's a real tyranny no doubt and that's what you experienced and that's why you're miserable right because you couldn't get there from here it's interesting yes i put different words to it and i'm curious to see what you think about this so i think about it from an evolutionary standpoint so we have directives in our brain that there is going to be a sense of discease if you don't do certain things i think that deep and profound unhappiness can come from pursuing the wrong thing so that you're spending your time doing things that just they rob you of energy instead of giving you energy but i also think that people end up profoundly unhappy by not doing things that nature wants them to do right and i think one of the things that nature wants us to do and so just not doing it will be a problem is work really hard to turn your potential into skill set yeah and so if things come easily to you even though you're on top of the world and everybody else admires you and wants to be you that there will be a sense of discease for you because you're not working hard it doesn't feel meritorious yeah nature has to find a proxy right so nature wants you to have children so it makes sure that sex is intensely pleasurable but that's really just a proxy for have kids so that i find really interesting that that nature is working in these weird proxies so people end up like you think you're supposed to do one thing chase money power fame whatever you're like why does this suck but all of those things actually do have utility and so the thing with money is people are always going to pursue it the thing with fame is people are always going to pursue it why because it actually has utility so money for instance is more powerful than people think not less but it isn't what you've been told so it's never what myself and everyone else included is trying to do is feel better about themselves right it won't help with that it cannot touch your self-esteem and that's like the biggest like mind fuck ever your wife won't love you more your children won't respect you more when you have more money exactly more troubling yes you won't respect you more yes which is ultimately the because other people will like people treat me differently because i have some micro fame and then because i had actually troubling too because when you know somebody is instrumentalizing you when you know somebody's objectifying you because of this outside characteristic it makes you profoundly uncomfortable it's interesting people hate that you know it's one thing where we will allow people to objectify us you're well-known you're successful and people will be nice to you because of that and deep down you know that they they they don't love you and it's not how it plays out in my head how does it play on your head that i have no ability to be vulnerable around them oh i see sure but that's the same part of self-objective it's the same part of objectification and if when you're objectified you can't be a full person there's another interesting thing that might actually apply you're a creative you're fundamentally a creative when you were doing your work you were thrown


How dis association leads to self-objectification and unhappiness (01:19:19)

off the creative process now why is creativity intensely pleasurable you get you've read the work of michai cheek sent me hi the great social psychologist who wrote a book a very famous book called flow f l o w flow and what it talks about is how minutes how hours turn to minutes of sheer pleasure when you're in this flow state when you're doing something that you can master you're you can it's not too easy it requires your ability but you can master it because of your skill and you can get into this group creatives must create if creatives are not creating they will be miserable because they can't attain a flow state it's very possible Tom that when you were in this part of your career you needed to create what do you want to quit and go to grease to do creation you were basically craving that it's like you had no protein in your diet for a year or something it's like i don't know i just can't stop thinking about peanut butter well because you were create you were you were you were craving this macronutrient in your psyche and and you were never getting a flow state and if you're denied the flow state that uniquely comes to you through creativity you're gonna you're gonna be practically suicidal yeah it was it was definitely a rough period this interesting i've never thought about it as being intrinsically a reflection of the pleasurability of flow but you might be right it's just i feel i feel alive that is the right word i feel alive when i'm creating i am never happier than what i'm creating it's amazing people who are fundamentally creatives look the same thing you know when i retired as a ceo and i came back to writing speaking and teaching um i'm a new man i'm a new man for the past three years it's extraordinary you said something a while ago i didn't want to interrupt you but i want to go back to it now you said you rediscovered yourself yeah what does that mean like you need a sense of identity is that a core part of this like is when you say you rediscovered is it a self narrative it's you you know who you deeply are as a person you're acquainted with yourself you're acquainted with your true self and just as with people who are around you you can you can create a an identity that's actually not authentic you can create an identity yourself that's not authentic you can be giving yourself a self narrative that's not true to actually who you are as a person what does it mean who you are what you're good at what you love it generally speaking has to do with being in the zone of what you actually love to do and what you appreciate most in your life when you're in line with your own values when you're living according to your own values so Jung would have put it this way Carl Jung


Creating congruency (01:22:00)

his definition of his understanding of happiness was that you need to understand your own values what you value what you think is proper and correct and moral and if you know what that isn't can articulate it and live according to that you will be happy if you I think it's actually there's a lot of truth to that because you know you have to figure out what you think what your model of the world actually is what you think truth is and then living in accord with your own values with your own integrity is really critically important because when people live outside that groove they're they're never in equilibrium they're just never the problem is that they're not comfortable they're not comfortable in their own skin and I've noticed this you know I was working you know it was it was it was good being the president of a think tank I was lucky to be a president of a think tank I believed in the work but it wasn't who I was and so I was kind of out of my groove for 10 years 10 and a half years and when I started going when I went back to writing and speaking and teaching and doing creative work I said it's weird always who you were or was that because you switched into crystal I was always a creative you know as a kid I was painting and writing and composing music and I just always wanted to be I was a creativity is the most important thing in my life or curiosity and creativity are the or the most important thing that I can not most important thing in my life the most important thing that I can do and when I'm actually happiest and when I was managing a large workforce managing a lot of creatives to their best selves I mean it was that certainly created moments to it to be sure but it wasn't comfortable to me and when I my second curve which was much more crystallized intelligence is a lot also a lot more creative so I was kind of out of equilibrium for a long time during that period as well which compounds the problem my declining flu intelligence also not being in a creative role but it's just so much better I mean I I teach at a great university which I love I write for a magazine every week about things that I'm really interested in I get to talk to you about it this is well be working so true for some reason I was just thinking today like I was pacing listening to you and I was like I'm technically working right now weird I was like this is cool it is super cool and you know there are people that I've met it's interesting you know I talk to lawyers who don't feel like they're working I talked to and a guy who's putting cabinets in my house and and he's super into putting in cabinets he loves making cabinets he was talking about all the details and he's so proud of his work and I say do you do you like your work and he said it doesn't feel like work you know I went on a fishing expedition deep sea fishing expedition with my son Carlos we we he loves a fish we go fishing and and the guy says every morning I wake up and he says today I'm going fishing and so this is what we all need to find I mean we need to eat each person because we have the blessing of living in an economy where you can do a lot of different things the problem is that people chase these extrinsic lures the money power pleasure and fame and they get out of the groove of what they're supposed to do and then they wonder why they're unhappy what are some habits that I can easily incorporate into my daily life to accomplish fulfillment all right here's the important thing to understand about fulfillment is that it is a process and there is a formula what I call the fulfillment formula the aptly named and the way that it works is this first I want you to understand that there are these imperatives in your brain given to you by evolution and you are going to be emotionally rewarded for doing certain things and emotionally punished for not doing other things and that's where fulfillment comes in when you put yourself in an evolutionary context you're going to understand why the formula is what the formula is so I'll quickly give you the formula and then explain it in context so the formula goes like this you're going to work really hard to gain a set of skills that allow you to serve not only yourself but other people okay now why is that the formula so first of all it's very important to understand that growing up on the plains of the savannah you would have had to work really hard to stay alive to feed your family so you had to face tremendous danger massive obstacles and so nature only has two ways to get you moving and that is pleasure and pain punishment reward so when it wants behavior it's going to reward that by making it uh feel amazing and if it doesn't want behavior then it's going to make sure that if you're engaging in it it sucks and if it wants you to do something and you don't do it that will also suck so this


The fulfillment formula (01:26:42)

is where pleasure and pain come in and where you have to really understand why this cycle is so deeply embedded in your brain so because from an evolutionary standpoint working hard was necessary for survival then working hard working hard has to feel good and conversely if you're not working hard then you're going to feel a deep sense of unease so that's why I say that the first step in the fulfillment formula is that you're going to have to work really hard to gain a set of skills now the reason that you're working hard is because if you don't work hard even now in a modern context where you can probably get away without putting that much time and effort into something the reason that fulfillment is going to demand it is because from an evolutionary standpoint you needed to have that embedded in your brain the directive to work hard to accomplish these things so working hard really is its own reward dad something that he used to tell me all the time when I was a kid and he's absolutely right it is truly ingrained in us even though we sometimes fight and don't want to do it and we also have the impulse to chill and lay on the couch but if you're not working hard you will feel a deep sense of unease all right so we're going to work hard to gain a set of skills now the set of skills is really about serving the group so we know that humans are a creature that leverages culture so so many other animals are hardwired and so a horse when it's born 20 minutes later it's doing all the things that a horse can do but humans are different than that so we take this long period of gestation followed by this long infancy and in all of that we are going through these different phases of development and around the ages of 11 to 15 you go into this drinking deeply from the culture moment where it's not just about your environment anymore it's about the actual culture and taking in that information so you're going to gain a set of skills that matter to you and matter to the group okay and that's the part of culture so you're working really hard to gain the set of skills that matter to you in the group something that's exciting to you you just enjoy doing it that's very important for fulfillment and then it allows you to serve not only yourself but the group because we're a social creature we of course need to be rewarded for doing things for the group and we're going to be punished for not doing things to the group in our own minds okay that's very important if you're not contributing to the group you will have this sense of meaninglessness and this is where meaning and purpose come in I'm doing something not just for myself but for other people it is ingrained in your mind to do that okay so you get this set of skills now this is where passion comes in you want to be developing a


Pursuing Fulfillment Vs Momentary Pleasure

Gaining passion (01:29:18)

set of skills that you're deeply passionate about but understand passion also is a process so you start with something you find interesting you engage with it if the more you engage with it the more fascinating it becomes then we're going to go down the process of gaining actual mastery doing the boring difficult repetitive tasks required to truly master that thing in a way that the group values now when you do that you get into a passion feedback loop even though it is boring and difficult at times as you get better at this thing that matters to the group the group gives you feedback and that feedback when it's positive feels wonderful thank you for whatever your contribution is oh my gosh it really matters it's amazing thank you so much which makes you want to do more which you know to get that feedback more you're going to need to go get better at that thing and that's how you get people in these virtuous cycles you're working really hard to gain a set of skills that gets the group excited about your contributions which make you feel good about yourself which make you want to get even better at that thing so that you can contribute even more to the group and that is fulfillment there's all this meaning and purpose behind it you're doing it to serve other people it's bigger than yourself and now you get the neurochemical cocktail that you've been looking for by doing that formula that's fulfillment fail to optimize for fulfillment at your own peril all right next question can you shed some light on how to be still in times of chaos and focus on working towards fulfillment first of all I want to acknowledge that chaos can be very difficult to deal with and it requires a lot of emotional management and you've got to be able to do many things quite frankly it is going to be a whole grab egg of tricks my friends for you to get through and get on the other side of that chaos all right first things first meditation is going to be huge okay just at a physiological level you've got to get that background radiation down to zero now this can be very difficult when you're in the middle of something and you really feel like you're fighting for your life but you need to make time for that this is a physiological process by getting into that calm and creative state you're going to find answers that you otherwise


Steps To Prevent Yourself From Seeking The Easiest Pleasures (01:31:16)

wouldn't see so we need to get out of that panic mode and into calm creative problem solving now remember action cures all so we've got this fulfillment thing that we're chasing we've got the fulfillment formula we know exactly what we need to do we're in the middle of the chaos and the thing that's going to solve for that meditation so we're thinking calmly and clearly but also having a plan of attack and then going after it so there's been really cool studies done by Andrew Huberman and other people about how lateral eye movement can actually pull you out of that


How To Change Your Mindset From Momentary Pleasure To Fulfillment (01:32:18)

stressed and anxious state because what it's doing is it's mimicking you moving forward and moving forward on these evolutionary time frames we've been rewarded for that because it means that you're confronting your problem you're working hard you're dealing with the saber to tiger the warring tribe the just need to go out and hunt whatever you're dealing with it and since nature only has pleasure and pain if you're dealing with it nature is going to make sure to give you some pleasure on that and conversely if you're trying to hide from it that's not going to feel great and you're going to really spiral it is crazy to me how taking action and getting into problem solving mode immediately shifts me out of anxiety it is absolutely profound so that's going to be a big part of this and when you're doing that in the context of the fulfillment formula now you know that this is going to be something you're working really hard to gain that set of skills that serve not only yourself but other people so you're thinking about other people you're thinking about service and that has a way of really helping you get through the chaos because it's giving you the emotional energy to have the stamina to fight through to get to the other side and as i think it was Churchill that said if you're going through hell keep going but keep going armed with meaning and purpose around how you're contributing to the group around getting these skills around being in problem solving mode and around taking action because that is going to be the thing that cures all and then don't forget sleep hygiene very important meditation important keep you diet right don't tell yourself a negative story don't allow yourself to loop and defeat find people that can elevate you find people that will in a very real skills-based way help you see the path forward and help you hold on to the only belief that matters that you can figure this out what are some action steps i can take right away to train my mind to not go after easy pleasures and happiness and instead seek the gratification that comes from fulfillment all right the great news is all you have to do is recognize the truth of the human condition and the truth of the human condition is that chasing momentary happiness won't fulfill you that's literally what i wanted to say and i'm not because we're talking about fulfillment i won't use a just recursive loop but that really is true all of that stuff is so transient what makes fulfillment interesting is that it is this far more stabilizing neurochemical state so your brain is constantly checking in with you making sure on a subconscious level that you're doing the things that you need to do to be of service to the group to be of service to yourself to make sure that you're taking care of yourself and your family and your loved ones in your tribe okay so there's this subconscious record keeping going on and that's exactly what's happening that's why you sometimes will feel the unease in your body before consciously you know what's going on and you feel it uh there's something off you need to take the time to identify what it is to be able to articulate it in a single nice crispy sentence so you can figure out exactly what it is that you need to do to move forward okay now once you understand that that is just the nature of the game that going after these momentary things will be exactly that it's going to be momentary it's going to fade you're going to have a sense of unease you're not going to be in the shape that you want emotionally once I know oh going down that road is not going to leave me in the emotional state that I want to be in then it's very easy to go well this one might be a little bit more difficult it might take more sustained effort but it yields these tremendous results so the example that I always give is um eating junk food I love junk food and truly love it by the way it is it gives me a drug like high it is so fun to eat sugary foods the problem is that especially as I get older it hurts literally after the fact my joints will hurt I won't sleep as well I wake up the next day and it's just like I have like a slight hangover it's literally what it feels like and because I know that that's the outcome it's like well on the times where I don't mind and it's like well I'm gonna you know enjoy this drug like thing for a minute I'll sort of walk a fine line have some fun here suffer a little tomorrow but on balance maybe I come out a little bit ahead on the happiness but if I try to do it two days in a row forget it three days in a row it really starts to be like a real problem so even over the holidays now when I let myself off of you know the hook with all of my normal disciplines and all of that even then now I keep myself in check just because I don't like the way that it feels so once you understand oh I can do this thing over here and feel really good or I can do this thing over here it's very momentary it's very transient it doesn't last I kind of you know I'm not where I want to be and I begin to ask myself questions like what am I doing with my life so just knowing that to me fulfillment is much longer in duration it's much more resilient I can be fulfilled even when things are hard even when things aren't going my way even when it's difficult in fact the fulfillment I get from contributing to the group is the very thing that inoculates me from the hard times being able to knock me all the way down because on those moments where you're just beleaguered and you're getting it from all sides and it just seems like everything is crashing on you at once in those moments you're going to cling to what you're doing to help other people and nature will ensure that that is going to make you feel way way better all right how do you become fulfillment driven versus achievement driven when everywhere around you see people and society running for the latter okay one I want to acknowledge the power of success success is amazing and winning at the game in


ENERGY SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION (01:38:05)

a way that's recognized by your peers is always going to feel good so understand that you don't have to be you know mother Teresa in order to um be worthwhile and to love yourself it's okay to want some success and honestly if we really look at mother Teresa I'm betting that to hurt really mattered to succeed in a way that was deeply meaningful and she certainly seemed to be trying to reach as many people as humanly possible and so if we can look at someone like that and say well that was a worthwhile endeavor then what we're really saying is as long as the way in which you're contributing is meaningful then that's like the double whammy of you should absolutely feel good about that so we've got two things one it's okay to want to be successful I want to be successful even more successful than I've been I want to scale and touch just an untold number of lives and I don't feel badly about that I love that it makes me want to go out and help more people now I don't think that everybody should pursue scale in the way that I pursue scale it certainly has its own complications but if you know that about yourself and you want to play on that level and you're willing to pursue it knowing you may never get there right I mean never get where I want to go but I love striving to play at that scale so when you are looking at it from that perspective it's not necessarily a bad thing it becomes toxic when you're aiming yourself at something that isn't helping you or it's only helping you and it isn't helping other people and that again just going back to this idea of you're a social creature with evolutionary imperatives to help contribute to the group and when you're not doing that you will automatically feel a sense of unease that there's something missing so I say do both very cool to pursue like the the big grand rewards whatever it is that you want but make sure that you're doing that in the context of something that serves other people as well if you're doing that and trying to pursue fulfillment at the the grandest level that makes sense for you and your personality I say go for it so you don't need to artificially downplay yourself or try to be small like go crazy be bombastic be big do your thing go as hard as you want just make sure that it's in service of something that is honorable that's it all right what are ways I can recognize when I am fulfilled especially when I am still in the middle of my journey all right so one this is about taking time to catalog the things we're grateful for just really stopping to either journal or think through what is it that I'm doing what's my goal how am I attempting to contribute to the group am I actually contributing to the group and then you can


WAYS TO FEEL FULFILLED IN YOUR JOURNEY (01:40:46)

use David Goggin's idea of the cookie jar where it's like you remember the times where you meaningfully impacted somebody you did something you got amazing feedback it really helps somebody out it was aligned with you know what your goal is then those are the things that you put into that memory bank and you pull on those when things are getting hard and you remember yo I did this thing I can do more things I can push harder go farther help more people whatever the case may be and so as you think about that and you recognize you're not where you want to be yet but you're focusing on the ways in which you've already contributed that's going to give you the energy that you need to keep pushing through and ultimately you have to be honest with yourself about whether or not you are fulfilled at this moment because it isn't something that you're going to be able to talk yourself into because maybe you're not maybe you're not feeling your contributions maybe you're not doing things in a way that's joyful I talk about goals need to be two things exciting and honorable okay so if honorable is that it helps not only yourself but other people don't forget about the exciting part you've got to be just amped up you got to be doing something that you want to do for instance is it possible that I could help more people by doing something other than building impact theory it's entirely possible but impact theory is what I love doing on a daily basis I love doing content like this I love the people that I get to meet the people that I get to interview I love the idea of building film and TV and NFTs like all of that stuff for me is absolutely thrilling I love it maybe I shouldn't but I love it and because it's so exciting for me I have handcrafted my life to make the biggest contribution to the tribe if you will that I can but doing things that I love and want to be the best in the world at so if you're not doing that then all of this might feel empty or you might be serving the group in a way that's sort of by rote instead of and this is a great example I'm almost certain this was Toyota so Toyota was trying to encourage their employees to do charity work and they found that people were going to soup kitchens and helping feed the homeless and was nice but the people at Toyota felt like they weren't really leveraging their unique skill set and this is why I say fulfillment is about working really hard on a set of skills that matter to you and allow you to serve the group so you go down this that passion loop of gaining true mastery of something that gets you positive feedback so what Toyota's employees ended up doing was going and making the soup kitchen more efficient so that they could feed more hungry people faster and that made them feel extraordinarily good so figuring out why it is exactly that it's coming up for you that you might not be feeling fulfilled so one you might not be doing the right things so making sure that you're following the fulfillment formula and then two making sure that you have that meaning and purpose you know why you're doing what you're doing you feel connected to the people that you're serving it's a big deal at impact theory every team meeting we go through and read something that somebody from the community has written explaining how impact theories touched their lives it's incredibly important to us to re-ground ourselves around the people that we're actually serving so that can be an important thing to just take that time what are you doing that is helping that's moving the needle you know circle around it write it down like really focus on that thing and internalize it and that should help all right everybody fulfillment is one of the most important things i'm telling you the punchline of life the very thing that you were trying to optimize for is very simply fulfillment done in a joyful manner fulfillment and joy fulfillment and


FULFILLMENT AND JOY (01:44:57)

joy that really is the key it isn't the grand success so there's nothing wrong with chasing that it it isn't accolades it isn't money it isn't fame it's none of those things it is truly working really hard to gain a set of skills that that you care about that allow you to serve not only yourself but other people towards an end that excites you well i think there's a through line of change as a thing that's a constant in our lives there's change that we choose we've become fed up with the status quo or normal being okay with being okay we decide that we're going to finally create the courageous first steps in making that change a thing that gets us closer to who we're meant to be or the version of what becoming looks like for us and then there's the change that chooses us in that we think we have some control that illusion is a thing that we can connect to until we wake up one day and there's a diagnosis there's a job that no longer exists a relationship that ends and in a world where i had is the pillar one of the biggest pillars of my identity husband to Rachel the change choosing me in this the end of our marriage was something that i now didn't know who i was in the absence of not being who i'd been and in a world where we were also working together that identity of what i did and what i thought i'd do for the rest of my life was something that in a single swoop was pulled out and that required that i in having been handed this blank piece of paper go through the work of trying to fill out what next look like and i say in the book and


Addressing Divorce, Fear And Personal Transformation

The terrifying and the exhilarating feeling of divorce (01:47:00)

i've said it plenty of times it's both parts exhilarating and terrifying at the beginning it's way more terrifying than it is exhilarating but that's part of what courage ends up being a required ingredient for turning the terrifying into the exhilarating because when you realize other there is no control there's only the way that we respond to the circumstances that life presents or the way that we in choosing change manufacture new events or a new road a new map that we ultimately end up sailing off of that still because it ends up being different than something we've previously been familiar with or gotten hang of or have comfort with requires courage to step into it it's the whole idea of having to lose things first if i'm really interesting and i don't know if i remember when fight club came out and the way that it felt and the the sort of i don't know it made me feel more attached to it but i lived in the building that he in the beginning he showcases and he describes the building that's i don't know if he intentionally took it from the brochure but it's so specific to how they marketed that building yeah my guess is that he did yeah and so he's describing a building i actually lived in in like all the you know ways about how modernity is sort of trapped us in this thing and then he blows it up and so there was a sense of i don't know it was a real cultural moment and you going through a divorce so publicly has that same kind of interesting ring of like and now let me show you the process of building up so if fight club takes a far darker look at you know that the process of creative destruction your life and the book specifically is this really interesting take on the beautiful side of creative or the the creative opportunities that come from destruction yeah walk me through like as things are falling down around you i'm sure your first instinct is to try to hold it together when did you first get the sense of maybe actually letting this fall down is the right place to start it took a while to be honest because i initially was very much in this well let's do the work to fix it can we is there some way that we can keep this thing that has been put on the table from happening and it was evident very early on oh this is a decision that has been made there is no negotiating as it were and acceptance was a thing that took time for me and and the reality was in part one of the first casualties in my life was my imagination because i in this thing that i didn't think could happen having happened the vision that i'd had for so long of what the rest of my life would look like and who i'd be with and where we'd live and the way that we do work it being gone made my ability to see what is not even five years from now what is a year from now i just i had a compromised imagination it was gone and so then you had a sense of that loss oh yeah no i was acutely aware of this inability for me to forecast anything beyond what was now a survival survival mode of sorts of i just got to get through tomorrow like i was in deep grief just deep grief and in that sadness of now letting go of what i'd previously thought things might look like i was trying to find something that i might connect to that would allow me to re-cultivate or re-spark that imagination and the place i had to start to be honest was really getting intimate with my fear because most of why my imagination had been lost was because there were so much fear around trying to figure out something that i'd never contemplated so that becomes like a screaming voice in your head that stops you from seeing things yet well i mean i ended up having this conversation with fear where i was trying to understand what is it what are the things that are inside the reason you feel the need to have this conversation is it's ever present and you don't like it it's ever present and it is 100% inhibitor from me being able to see anything hope-filled it's it's hard for me to see the exhilarating part of the choose your own adventure narrative that i am suggesting i believe exists but i can't connect to all right so sit me down in that moment so you so i've known you before divorce through divorce after divorce and there's no doubt that we all sort of present things to the world but you from the outside um you handled it extraordinarily well and that doesn't mean that you didn't process grief and cry and all that but um it's really interesting i think having read the book i'm gonna step back you're intriguing to me because you don't see yourself the way that i see you and while there's no doubt that you know yourself better than i know you the thing that you've had to like fight and claw to earn your own respect around is from the outside so self-evidently impressive about you so in the book you're like i mean built through courage like you know you've got to step outside your comfort zone but i'm the guy that always gets trapped by my comfort zone no you're not you're the guy that for whatever reason is constantly able to reinvent reinvent reinvent like when i hear you describe what you did in the corporate world how many times you took different jobs and just said yes before you knew what was going on but every time it's hard for you which makes you in my opinion the right person to write the user's manual on how to get through this so now as we sit down with you in that fear i want to know how because most people they are lost in that forever okay i've known plenty of people they get divorced and 25 years later they're still stewing in that same space they were two months after the divorce you've already made some pretty extraordinary leaps begun to put things back together but if you sit me down in that moment of fear where you can't see anything hope-filled what's the first thing that you grab a hold of that allows you to begin to construct a context for how to move forward the first thing was truly getting to a place of acceptance right like i was in


The first key to moving on from fear and divorce (01:53:35)

denial that this was even happening it felt like i was in the upside down that like the matrix is a thing now like is this the simulation i've in some ways at the beginning convinced myself that there was the possibility that this wasn't even real really oh yeah because it just it didn't make sense and then i got to a place of no no this is real you have the responsibility to parent these four kids you have the responsibility to show up for your life how are you going to do it and the thing the question i started asking was what did i need to just become the version of who i'd hoped to be 90 days from now right like the first thing i had to do was really shake shrink the window of my forward-looking vision casting where i'd been a person doing five and ten years here's where i'm going to be and i could just like a movie playing in my head describe what it was going to look like i needed to understand what did i need to do today to get myself just 90 days into the future and for me it ended up going through the question of health how might i in the five dimensions that i've identified as being important for me in health mental emotional spiritual relational and physical health how might i have two or three things for each of those dimensions of health every day that might become part of my routine and part of what ends up being my set of habits that will allow me to create just enough inertia from this now standing still i describe a sailboat in the book that is waiting for wind right like okay i got to at least build the sail i got to put it up so that when the wind


Seeking professional help to navigate grief (01:55:23)

starts to come i'm actually prepared to move forward and so for me it was all right what do i need in my mental health well i needed to see professional freaking help on the regular i mean i was talking to a therapist a couple times a week because i didn't understand why i was thinking what i was thinking why i was feeling what i was feeling and that interaction created a little bit of an inertia standard or it was erratic one minute i can make it the next minute no i'm never going to both both i didn't understand the way that the voice in my head was being so critical of not having had this thing that was so important work out i'm just an achiever by nature i've had success in career i've had success in a whole host of things and yet i couldn't at the time see that my marriage not working out wasn't a success my marriage was a success it just was the end of my marriage in what had been or the end of our relationship and what had been as we've now transitioned into something new but at the beginning i saw it as a failure that i somehow had failed and i i was really as i'm sitting with my therapist or having a conversation through podcasts or books with myself trying to understand what what could you have done differently or what are you meant to learn from this and some of that work yep would allow me just a little breadcrumb now i'm taking one step closer to an answer that over what now is almost two years worth of time had me really come to appreciate i am who i have become not in spite of what happened but because of what happened and that as much as i had this bold declaration at the end of 2019 2020 is going to be my best year ever i have like publicly declared that 45 was the year of my life that i was waiting for this best year to happen and what i couldn't appreciate then that i see so clearly now is that i was not ever going to be the person who could dictate the conditions that would bring my best forward right and so yeah if in some ways i brought on some of what ends up happening in 2020 i apologize for the pandemic and anything else i may have been responsible for i don't think that for real but i also right like i i i prayed that certain things that happened would never have happened and i was doing so at the expense of how that cause and effect relationship produced the best i wouldn't have been brought to my knees in a way that brought me closer to my spiritual walk i wouldn't have had the way that this divorce created closeness with my kids the kind of relationship that comes out of it i wouldn't have spent the kind of time in physical transformation really which your physical transformation is crazy well crazy no thank you but like it is you know moving my body and pushing myself to do things physically has been an exercise in showing myself that i can do things that go beyond what i believed myself to be capable of so that i could take that experience in the physical realm and believe it in the mental and emotional realm oh you can also handle things mentally you can handle things emotionally that go wildly beyond what you believed yourself to be capable of because you now have proof you have evidence in this other part of your life body transformation is the most


Connecting mental and physical transformation (01:58:46)

underutilized mental transformation tool ever and the number of people that i've seen whether it's in business whether it's you know in something like a divorce or your career whatever where when you show yourself that you can set an intention go and lift a progressively heavier weight and your body actually changes you look different you feel different and you can actually pick up heavier things like there's something that goes on of like oh what if the same thing is happening in my mind you can't see it in such a tangible way but when you go through a physical transformation like that it really does leave you with something truly profound yeah there is something too i describe myself as a recovering fixed mindset person and yet the attribution of growth in a gym or inside of the physical realm was never anything that i would have indicted myself for not being good because i was not already someone who could lift a certain amount of weight but the ability to connect dots and see oh yeah you can continue to grow in the space you can grow whether it's muscle or endurance or stamina recovery all these things have been things that have changed the way that i think about growth in every aspect of my life not just the physical realm which is part of why it's so powerful all right so you things are crumbling down around you we're in grief we can no longer attached to hope and we realize okay i have these five pillars in my life and in the book you have a really great quote that i think is what all this is hanging on which is the antidote to fear is a plan and i thought that was brilliant it's absolutely true the same idea i sum up by saying the action cures all if i'm super anxious


The action cures all (02:00:18)

about something all i need to do is start dealing with the problem head on like just go start actually executing against it because it's that's it does that same thing it puts your brain in a problem-solving mode instead of a just looping over that it is a problem all right so we're there we recognize that the antidote to all of this is going to be getting a plan we chunk our life life up into pieces and we start putting goals in each of those areas the the cool thing about the tyler durden quote that you have in the book is that it it


When it became a strategy to fail (02:01:04)

has this open-ended question of if you can now do anything what's the anything you want to do so how did you begin to like put that together the whole vision that you'd had for you know 45 years is gone what do you start to piece together and how do you do it so for me there were two very very big things that were somewhat of departure from who i'd been as a more prac pragmatic practical person i began even though your introduction of me having been someone who's taken more chances or put myself out of my comfort zone is the greatest compliment and something i probably don't see enough in myself yeah i have been in a season of yes like just radical yes so that if opportunity presents itself for me to do something that i have not previously done that might publicly embarrass me that i will fail wildly and spectacularly at for the opportunity to fail wildly and spectacularly at i have just said yes and i why when did that become a strategy in part because of what was the byproduct of the learning of you know now that i can do anything i in being somewhat lost from who i am now that i'm not who i was i had to go on something of a fact finding mission to rediscover who i'm going to be and so i mean one of the questions that was a provocateur of the conversation around divorce was a simple what do you like to do in your spare time which i should be able to answer and yet there were some codependent things that existed in our relationship there was some there was some stuff that kept me from being as connected to myself and so the discovery of where passion might exist in my life or where curiosity might exist in my life became well there's only one way that i'm actually going to get to the bottom of it and that's by just saying yes to a bunch of stuff i'm going to probably eliminate or disqualify a bunch of things that i am definitely not curious about or definitely don't have passion for but i have to start by saying yes so that was the first that was the first big thing the really fast i want to tie that to something you say in the book that i thought was really profound so um you talk about you you have to be very careful about how you frame something and i forget the exact example you use in the book but you're like let me describe the same thing two different ways both are true but one is like you know you failed at this thing and you know that set you back at work or whatever but also this is also true from that thing you learned this and that's what ended up giving you the promotion and it's like which one of those you want to focus on and tell yourself is really going to determine your future tony robins is a really great quote where he says the quality of your questions will determine the quality of your life and was there a conscious thing around that like i need to ask a different question around okay i can look at this as everything has fallen apart or i can look at this as this is now my opportunity to change who i am in a way that i find exciting it's interesting because it actually ties to what my second thing was going to be which was this conceit this belief that good would come from it which is hard to manufacture at the beginning when you're sitting at the bottom of a ditch of were you leaning on faith on that or was there something else that faith yes but not just like religious faith but this was like belief that the things that i would need in the journey would present themselves along the way because that's just how life works no because i believe that if you look for things you find them and i was at a place where i was desperate to find the evidence that good could still come from this and so i went on the hunt for it and when i even as i'm you know cow rippkin's streak of crying on consecutive days in like you know like it was hard only old people get that reference well i know but great reference you know like i i did have plenty of days where just getting out of bed felt like the win and yet i'd still start my day with gratitude like finding the good that was already present despite the conditions that i was in was a way to just hack a little bit of how i might because of that gratitude practice go on the hunt for things to be grateful for and so some


Exploring Psychological Methods

Internal Family Systems Method (02:05:42)

of it was just this conceit of think good things are going to come out of this you will become something because of the post-traumatic growth that can come out of the hardest thing that you've ever experienced and it's of course way easier to say that and see that today than it was in real time but i just had a little thing here a little thing there a text from a pastor that came every day for the first two months of the experience 11 really profound words what small piece of sadness can i hold for you today right he wasn't trying to diminish the pain agree if he wasn't trying to even do anything more than just offer solidarity and some empathy for the fact that this is a shared experience kind of thing i'll walk alongside you while you do it but the fact that that showed up every day was just a reminder some evidence of the things you need are going to show up when you need them along this journey i'm out running and a new neighbor has happened to move in down the street i had my head down i was very emotional that day i was not interested like i got on a plane kind of thing i don't want to talk to you in the seat next to me and yet i ran past him i end up turning around to come back and introduced myself and they ended up becoming part therapist part comedy buddy part guy who was showing up to barbecue every day when i was struggling to remind myself to eat and they showed up right when i needed them and so like they made you turn around i to be honest i don't know i mean like i felt it's now it feels more like a miracle like oh wow i had no concept of what i was turning around for i'm not like close necessarily to my neighbors generally i live in the middle of nowhere texas on a you know parcel of land where i can't see who's on either side of my house and yet on that day for whatever reason that was like that was the instinct that was the tug there's a lot a lot of what i end up writing in the book is about trusting the voice trusting you know whether it's glenn and dole's definition of knowing or voice of god or intuition or gut but like there've been plenty of times in these last two years where there was something that was tugging and that was an intuition that had a sense of what was necessary for me to do that i didn't consciously have an appreciation for and now that that voice was presenting itself was like okay i'm gonna try this i'm gonna say yes to this even though i don't know why you've got one voice so telling you you're a loser everything is gone and lost and another voice telling you to do something that ends up being good for you how do you differentiate well i mean i first have to give credit to a therapist that does work in self right i in having lost identity attempt to find someone who might help me find who i am and i did this work inside of something called internal family systems where i am self my voice of inside of my head or my emotions are parts and the way that i am able to then develop a relationship between self and these parts allows me to not be them so the first part with the voice is all right you got a voice in your head some of it's true some of it's bullshit okay how do you differentiate well first you have to say i'm not the voice that voice that speaking is not me i am the witness to the voice in a very untethered soul michael singer kind of way i am not the voice i'm i'm i'm watching the voice i'm listening to the voice it's my job then as the listener to do the investigative work of understanding which of the things that are being represented are real like how many of them are fact based evidence based is there any reason to question the voice and a lot of the things inside of like why we believe what we believe or why we do the things we do come back to programming that the voice is echoing and so if we were raised in a patriarchal society or we were raised inside of a certain religious belief or we have parents or family of origin that believe a certain way that voice often is the echo of something that existed from when we're five years old and the question that i have to go back and ask is well did the people who were the originators of that


Question the Voice (02:09:51)

story have credibility like do they have credibility generally and oftentimes they do you believe things usually because they've come from someone of authority that's important in your life that you love or crave love from and that you for whatever reason have put on a pedestal or respect but just because someone at some point in your life had credibility doesn't mean that they have credibility on that topic or that there's even relevance necessarily for their opinion that maybe right i was born in 75 my parents were good people they meant well a thing that they were programming into me when i was five in 1980 may not have practical relative to when it was you know good then application in 2021 likely doesn't and going back and questioning if that story that was told then is still a credible story today is part of how when you hear the voice and that bullshit side of the voice is chirping you get to go and ask where did this voice come from i'm not the voice i'm the witness to it and does it actually have a credible connection to anything that has practical application in my life today and so utility becomes the guide is you're assessing all these different voices basically yeah utility but also and this will sound crazy because when it was described to me as a thing to do i thought it crazy and then i just started doing it i actually will name these feelings that i have and invite them to sit at an imaginary table inside of my psyche and have a conversation with them and it works because you make them the other and not yourself yeah and so as a for example i have anxiety as a thing that has clark clark who is you know the opposite of superman


Discussion On Anxiety

Anxiety (02:11:57)

as well as i have to ask of course yeah clark who is the opposite of superman is a thing and i'm talking like situational anxiety not clinical anxiety like when i get anxious i used to try and mute the anxiety i used to try and push it away i would become a dick to people whatever was i was not great with anxiety and now clark shows up i get to sit clark at this table have this conversation clark for what reason do you believe yourself to be here and clark right as a part inside of me believes himself to be serving a helpful role right so clark doesn't realize he's a negative emotion clark thinks ah i'm here for a reason and then my job is the observer of clark having shown up is to sit him down at the table and ask why why are you here and most often clark shows up in my life because there is something in my life that has enough ambiguity around it that a simple plan or even in some instances a more complex plan but a plan being applied in that ambiguous part of my life would give clark permission to leave because his job and having drawn my focus to the area is done he's here as a helper and so in a crazy way not that like i celebrate anxious anxious moments or clark's arrival i've changed the way i see clark or anxiety as a negative thing and more as a clue oh this is intel information is being presented to me and if i can sit down and have a conversation with it i might get to the bottom of why he's here if you capture substantial amount of life your very presence will become a significant life otherwise you will become a mediocre life this is the important thing it's not the knowledge you together in your head. It's not the muscle that you gather in your body. It's the life.


Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Wisdom In a Nutshell.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.