Recover From MAJOR LIFE Change and Come Back STRONGER By Doing THIS | Dave Hollis on Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Recover From MAJOR LIFE Change and Come Back STRONGER By Doing THIS | Dave Hollis on Impact Theory".
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.
We as people have in some ways convinced ourselves that we are willing to stay inside of suffering that we know rather than facing the possibility of something new because the knowns of that existing suffering feel predictable and life wasn't meant for suffering. I mean, like it doesn't mean that you're not gonna have to go through hard times or bad times, but you can decide to push away from it. The challenge in pushing away though, is that that safe harbor is surrounded on all sides by fear. You are not going to eliminate fear just because you decide to be courageous. You're going to become prepared to face your fear, which is the thing that's necessary in that journey that has to go through it in order to become. So we have to face our fear or we will stay stuck. We will stay inside of this familiar place, the comfort zone, the suffering we know at the expense of who we could become. - Dave Hollis, welcome back to the show, man. - Thank you for having me back, Tom. So good to be here. - So good to have you. I read the new book, Built Through Courage, Absolutely Fantastic. In it is a really powerful idea, which is basically the word built, like that we can create something of ourselves.
Understanding And Navigating Personal Struggles
It is not until we lose everything that we can do anything. (01:10)
But what I liked about the context of the book is it's really, in fact, I'll sum it up with a quote that you put in the book, which I think is fantastic from Tyler Durden. - Yep. - Which is, it is not until we've lost everything that we can do anything. - Yeah. - What does that mean and how does that become the foundation of the book? - 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 gonna 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 now 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 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's still because it ends up being different than something we've previously been familiar with or gotten the 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 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. I don't know if he intentionally took it from the brochure, but it's so specific to how they marketed that building that my guess is that he did. And so he's describing a building I actually lived in in like all the ways about how modernity has 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 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 creative opportunities that come from destruction. - Yeah.
Acceptance of Your Situation (04:57)
- 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 the reality was in part, one of the first casualties in my life was my imagination. - Wow. - 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 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 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 was 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? - Yeah, well, I mean, I ended up having this conversation with fear where I was trying to understand what is it?
The Voice of Fear (07:10)
What are the things that are inside of it? - And 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 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. So sit me down in that moment. So I've known you before through divorce, after divorce, and there's no doubt that we all sort of present things to the world, but you from the outside, you handled it extraordinarily well. And that doesn't mean that you didn't process grief and cry and all that, but 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 fight and claw to earn your own respect around is from the outside so self-evidently and impressive about you. So in the book, you're like, I mean, built through courage. Like, you know, you gotta 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 wanna know how, 'cause most people, they are lost in that forever. Okay, I've known plenty of people that 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? All right, like I was in denial that this was even happening. It felt like I was in the upside down, like the matrix is a thing now, like is this the simulation? 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, 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 gonna 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? Like the first thing I had to do was really shrink the window of my forward-looking vision casting, where I'd been a person doing five and 10 years. Here's where I'm going to be, and I could just like a movie playing in my head, describe what it was gonna 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 gotta at least build the sail. I gotta put it up so that when the wind 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 freakin' 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 inertia. You didn't understand it or it was erratic.
Finding the lessons among the chaos (11:46)
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, workout. 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 was really, as I'm sitting with my therapist or having a conversation through podcasts or books with myself, trying to understand, 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 gonna 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. 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, like 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, 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 or 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 underutilized mental transformation tool ever and the number of people that I've seen, whether it's in business, whether it's, you know, and something like a divorce or your career or 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've described 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 or 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 attach 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.
Tyler's backstory leading up to his divorce (16:07)
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 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 does that same thing, it puts your brain in a problem solving mode instead of just looping over that it is a problem. All right, so we're there, we recognize that the antidote to all of this is gonna be getting a plan. We chunk our life, life up into pieces and we start putting goals in each of those areas.
Wife or son… who to put first? (16:51)
The cool thing about the Tyler Durden quote that you have in the book is that it 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 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 a departure from who I'd been as a more pragmatic, practical person. I began, even though you're 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. 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 why, when did that become a strategy? In part because of what was the byproduct of the learning of 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?
Versus The World back story (18:30)
Which I should be able to answer, and yet there were some codependent things that existed in our relationship. 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.
Where to find the good (19:15)
The, really fast, I want to tie that to something you say in the book that I thought was really profound. So you talk about, 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 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 Robbins 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 'cause 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 further 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 even as I'm, you know, Cal Ripken'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 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 of it was just this conceit of, 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 of grief. 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. Outrunning 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 them. I ended up turning around to come back and introduce 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, there means you turn around. To be honest, I don't know. I mean, like it felt, 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 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 of, what I ended up writing in the book is about trusting the voice, trusting, you know, whether it's Glenn and Doyle'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, I was like, okay, I'm gonna try this. I'm gonna say yes to this even though I don't know why.
How to differentiate your voices (24:21)
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? 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's 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 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, did the people who were the originators of that 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, it 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 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 as you're assessing all these different voices basically.
Identifying and Navigating Negative Voices in Your Head (27:24)
Yeah, utility but also and this will sound crazy 'cause 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 the opposite of Superman. I was gonna say 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 it 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. So Clark doesn't realize he's a negative emotion. Clark thinks, ah, I'm here for a reason. And then my job as the observer of Clark having shown up is to sit him down at the table and ask, 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 in 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 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. As we are getting ourselves back together, we're starting to get a grip on things. We've got our pillars, we're making progress. At what point does it become? I'm gonna start now putting a new vision in place and how do you make sure that you don't end up falling for the same traps that got you to the point where you needed the creative destruction in the beginning? - Yeah, so the question that I really spent a ton of time with was who did I want to be before I became who I'd become? Who did I wanna be back in the day? I believe that each of us were created with very intentional design. Whether you have a faith person or not, I just believe that there is something of a higher power that had just a conceit in having created you the way that you were created, you were wiring Tom different than mine, your experiences different than mine, the way that you love or feel all different. And in that difference, it makes you this limited edition one of one and in that limited edition one of one that you are, you have an opportunity to honor the intention of your creator. And the work that I'm now on this planet to do and then I would argue anyone is on this planet to do is find a way every day to honor the intention of a creator who had very intentional design in the way that you were put together and the way that you've experienced the things that you have. So my question was, why was I created? Like, what was the intention? And what are the clues you used to suss out the answer? - Well, the things that I think have been like in the instances where I felt closest to purpose or closest to fulfillment. - Which feels like, which feels like I am going to end my life proud of myself. Or, I mean, like, man, I've heard you say it so many times and I just believe this so much. The most important question you can ask is, how do I feel about myself when I'm by myself? And the answer to that question is when you feel like you are in integrity with having done everything you possibly could have on that day to honor the measure of your creation, that you feel connected to, wow, I have been given these unique skills. So part of it is skills, right? Are there things that you can develop mastery around, that you have uniquely been blessed with or gifted with, that in the exploitation of those things, you might generate a feeling of pride for yourself, have legacy at the end of life, feel like you mattered when everything is said and done. And the utilization of those skills or not is the difference between integrity and feeling great about yourself when you're by yourself. The second is passion, right? You have to be connected to something that you have passion for. You can develop skill in almost anything. I can argue that with 10,000 hours or whatever it ends up being, you can develop mastery over time. I don't think you can develop passion though. - Yeah. - Oh no, I think you either have passion or you don't. And our job is to play in a ton of pools to find out where curiosity might lead to passion. And so asking-- - Still has to be discovered. Still has to be discovered, which again was part of like the, all right, the world's just blown up. A lot of really, really important things in your life had to die so that you might be brought back to life. Who are you going to be is in some ways connected to what you have passion for? You couldn't answer a simple question about what you like to do in your spare time.
Honor the Intention of Your Creator (33:24)
You better start trying a bunch of things to find out what you like to do in your spare time. There's likely a connection to honoring the intention of your creator and what you like to do in your spare time or what you would wake up and not even feel like it's work because you just love doing it so much. - Hence the season of yes. - Hence the season of yes. And the third thing is you've got to be able to take that passion and that opportunity for mastery and apply that to impacting other people. Why? Because it's hard to feel like you matter if you don't. I really feel like there is something in the goals that I had in my career at Disney, relative to the goals that I have in the career and legacy that I will create for the rest of my life that are disconnected by a single feature. And I'm super proud of my career inside of entertainment, 20 plus years, assistant to president. It was a good run. Almost every single one of my goals was connected to individual achievement. I want to be this title. I want to make this money. I want to have this influence. I want to be invited to these tables and roll with this crew. And as much as man in that run, I was able to sit at some of those tables and enjoy some of that salary and have some of the title and whatever else.
Work on passion purpose (34:46)
It felt empty because it was not connecting to impacting other people in the way that having now left my career for my calling, I feel like I am actually doing work on an everyday basis to serve. I guess what I can still provide for my family, but I'm definitely playing inside of the passion pool and using gifts that were uniquely given to me. And now life experience that is super unique to me and not any other person on the planet to hopefully have someone see themselves in my stories, understand some of the things that have worked in my own journey of transformation and becoming, so that they might have their own journey themselves. - So amazing. So all right, that I think does a really good job of explaining the built part, like the process of how you put yourself back together. Talk to me about courage and this idea of being willing to lose sight of the shore. - Yeah. There's something, the book has a lot of analogies around the sea. I am not one that even likes the sea, which is hilarious, but-- - Cover up your book as the ocean, I love it. - The cover of the book is the ocean. I'm seasick thinking about it. But there's this interesting relationship that all of us have to familiarity, to comfort, to the status quo of things we know, that has us in some ways, deatizing, or putting up on a pedestal, the conceit that what has been will be in a way that doesn't allow us to even consider leaving what we've known. And if, you know, like the suggestion of the book is you can't actually make it to the other side of the ocean unless you lose sight of the shore, that other side of the ocean being the fulfillment of your fullest potential, or connecting to that idea of honoring the measure of your creation, you have been creative for purpose, but that purpose requires that you get outside of your safe harbor, become unmoored in ultimately enduring the choppy waters, believing though that you were built for those choppy waters, and then having the courage to continue sailing once you've now lost sight of what was familiar. And the idea of that safe harbor, even if it's connected to suffering, right? Like we as people have in some ways convinced ourselves that we are willing to stay inside of suffering that we know rather than facing the possibility of something new, because the knowns of that existing suffering feel predictable. And life wasn't meant for suffering. I mean, like it doesn't mean that you're not gonna have to go through hard times or bad times, but you can decide to push away from it. The challenge in pushing away though is that that safe harbor is surrounded on all sides by fear. And the only way to get to learning, the only way to get to growth, and my argument is that you have to be growing in order to feel a sense of fulfillment. If you're not growing, you're dying, and in that death state, you will not feel the things that you are hoping to feel when you're by yourself. But there's no drawbridge around the moat. There is a moat of fear. And so the courage piece just suggests that you are not going to eliminate fear just because you decide to be courageous. You're going to become prepared to face your fear, which is the thing that's necessary in that journey that has to go through it in order to become. So we have to face our fear, or we will stay stuck.
Transforming Negative Experiences Into Positive Vision
How does bad stuff become good (38:27)
We will stay inside of this familiar place, the comfort zone, the suffering we know, at the expense of who we could become. So really interesting idea that hides in plain sight in your title that you are built through courage. So it isn't, you didn't title it built through pain, or built through trials, built through courage. So what is it, one, it'd be great, like define courage. What is that, and then why is that thing so self shaping? - Yeah, I mean, we all have a choice in our response to change, right? We can medicate through coping mechanisms that aren't good for us when times get tough, we fail on a frequency that we're unfamiliar with, where we are exposed as not having every single thing together at the beginning of doing something new, or we can, again, it's like storytelling, you referred to it a minute ago, like see those opportunities as the reason why we're going to acquire new skills, why we in the challenge or the breaking down of muscle will have it built back up even stronger. And the decision to put yourself in those situations, even though you know you will be triggered, but deciding to do it with a set of skills or resources or habits or positive coping mechanisms that engineer the possibility of that evolution is the opportunity, but it still takes courage, it still requires that you face that fear. So putting it in your context and the way that you think about things that we have a purpose that we were born with, life isn't meant to be suffering, but yet you have to go through it, why does it all have to be so hard? And why does the hard seem like it's unavoidable? There is no fulfilling life without difficulty. Yeah, this is a like, why do bad things happen to good people? This isn't about fairness, I think that fairness is a construct that the universe does not play by or even care about. But there is something in the way that you build tenacity in actually having to be tenacious or the way that you build strength in actually getting knocked down and having to get back up that makes the two connected in a way that can't be disconnected. I wish it wasn't the way, right? Like I don't want to relive 2020 in the way that most people don't want to relive 2020. And yet I can see so clearly that again, I am who I've become and will look back at the end of my life acknowledging that 2020 is among the most important years of my life at the end of my life because of not in spite of those things that I went through. Now, what I'm hopeful for is that the experience of those hard things now has given me a new set of evidence of one, my ability to handle the hard, but also when, not if, but when my next bad hand is dealt that I might in receiving it in real time appreciate, oh, just like last time, this is gonna suck. As I crawl through the tunnel to get out of Shawshank, but there is still that rain sequence at the end once I get through it. I've experienced it in a way that when I was starting the crawl out of the tunnel two years ago, I didn't know that the sun could come up ever again because all I smelled was the shit in the tunnel and the darkness that sat in front of me. But one step after the next, cultivating the courage to keep going even though I didn't necessarily know how it was going to come out, sometimes playing into some almost delusional optimism for the way that I again had that faith that there was another side, that there was the promise of what might exist inside of that body of water, keep going. And the reality is, yep, I'm now prepared and I'm not gonna enjoy going through a hard thing next time, but I have the evidence that suggests I have become so many things that I would never have become if I didn't have to go through the hardest thing I've ever been through. Why did most people get stuck?
How people get stuck in a loop (42:54)
Because divorce is the perfect example. The number of people I've seen that just get obliterated by divorce and they end up in a loop that they can't shake out of. And I'm just curious, when you think back, what was the thing that was the most dangerous that you found yourself like, whoa, that reaction or the way that I thought about it or whatever, I could see how people could end up in a never ending loop on that one. I mean, I think a lot of it ends up just coming back to the stories that we believe, right? We have had a bad experience and then believe that that's just our lot in life, right? I'm just a person who doesn't ever have things go my way or every time I've tried something new, it ends up failing, so I'm probably gonna fail again. In a way that ends up being something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, because again, when you have that as a belief and it frames the foundation for how your day starts, how your month is going to look, you're out there scanning the horizon for the evidence to help support that belief that it's just gonna be a tough time for you and that evidence will present itself. And the thing is, I'm not an advocate of toxic positivity or rose-colored glasses necessarily. But I do believe that you get to choose the thing that you're gonna go looking for and if you can get up and say, I'm gonna go out and find some evidence of a good day. The likelihood of you having one is just higher. Doesn't guarantee that you're gonna have one. I had this opportunity, I talked about it in my book, I got to see her on this trip. My 99-year-old, Grammarly, has been through everything. I mean, like 99, you've been through everything, right? She's been through a couple of wars, she's had to bury two husbands, she's a single mother of five kids that has lost a son to cancer, a grandson by suicide, like she's seen things. And now at 99, almost every one of her friends is gone, right? Like she's experienced a lot. And I talked to her at the very beginning of this journey and she said, well, I can tell you this, I have been through a lot of hard things. I didn't let going through them, but I have been through a lot of hard things. And you know what I know about all of those hard things? I got to the other side. And that's why I know that you will get to the other side too. And you're not gonna like it while you're doing it, but when you get to the other side of this, you have an appreciation for yourself, for your strength, the way that you can do hard things because of the way that you did hard things. And I know this because of what ends up being 99 years of experience on this earth. And so I think sometimes as you find yourself at the beginnings of whatever your tunnel ends up being, the crawling through it kind of thing that sits in front of you, the experience that someone else has that's gone through or been a witness to the power of how that hard thing created that post-traumatic growth in their life can be something that you can borrow a little bit of hope from so that in that borrowed hope, you can become hopeful. There's a less brown quote that I used in both of my books now, but hope in the future is power in the present.
What it means to cast a hopeful vision (46:15)
And I just believe so much that if you-- - What does that mean? - Basically, if you can't cast a hopeful vision for what is possible next, you will be left powerless in the present to even get there or make any kind of momentum that might allow you to get unstuck. - Being hopeful about your future makes you powerful now. - Yeah, I mean, back to your question of why do people get stuck? I think people get stuck because they let the circumstances of what's happening in real time cast a probability future, a likely to happen next future that is clouded by the subjectivity of what they're currently experiencing. So they don't have like a long frame objectivity lens that they're looking at. They're like, "Poom, things are hard now, which means they're gonna be hard in the future." And that absence of hope leaves them without a lot of motor to actually get out of the mud that they're stuck inside of. But if you can cast a hopeful future because of believing that it's gonna be there or having someone in this instance that has been through a bunch of hard things, giving me that guarantee that I will get through this, that I will become something because of it and that I will be better prepared to handle it when I get to the other side. All right, that gives me some hope.
Toxic Positivity (47:41)
And in that hope, I now have an engine that can help me get out of the rut. You mentioned a phrase that I've heard before but I've never talked to anybody about it. Toxic positivity. So when does positivity become toxic? Well, I think that there's the risk anytime that we are talking about anything positive that doesn't also appreciate privilege as a for example. Like we have to stop and just appreciate that, oh, if you have access or in my instance, I'm a man and not a woman. I'm a straight person and not someone who lives inside of a community that sometimes is being prejudiced against. I happen to be Caucasian, right? There are things that in me suggesting that anything is possible or you can, if you work hard enough, you're gonna get there that might underestimate some of the headwinds that just systemically exist inside of the world. So I hear that, but would it ever benefit somebody to take a pessimistic view of that? No, I mean, I think that you're always going to be in a better position if you're able to cast positive, hope-filled vision for what ends up being possible for you next, but also it can be dangerous if you're not acknowledging that, hey, there are some people that are gonna have a better chance at winning the lottery because they've got 10 million tickets purchased in currency for some of the things that are already happening inside of their life relative to the person who's just getting a single ticket. It's interesting, I can see how quickly we could derail this whole conversation, but I will say that to me, everything should be judged to the lens of usability. So you have a goal and a belief is either gonna move you towards that goal or just gonna move you away from that goal. And negativity actually does have a purpose. It can be quite useful, but I would say in very limited quantities and two less Brown's point about if you don't have hope for the future, you have no power in the present. So somebody spending any amount of energy saying, hey, stop spreading this optimistic view because it's really, really hard for some other people.
Lack of Hope (49:44)
It's like, those are the people that need hope the most. And the energy should go into finding a way to help them see a path to something positive. And yeah, I mean, I think that less Brown has it right that the extraordinary answer is, yo, put all of your energy into finding a way to dial the positivity up for them, help them create a view of their future that is positive. And the people for whom it will be the most difficult are the people who need it the most. I don't disagree with that. You did say something though that triggered a reminder of the last time I was here, which is, I am someone that taps into negative visualization. I get right. - I had mentioned on the book. - And so like, there were times inside of this experience in the last couple of years where when faced with, am I gonna turn back to these negative coping mechanisms? I'm gonna be someone who stays on the mat after getting knocked down. The answer sometimes revealed itself in that how do I want that room of people to toast me at the 60th or 70th birthday party? Do I want that room to be filled or not? And the negative side of that, oh, people aren't coming or don't have something to say, that's a motivator. That like connecting to that, what could happen if I don't get up, what could happen if I feel sorry for myself or just lay down and stop trying, super motivating for me.
Needing a Push (51:15)
- No, I think that's really powerful. So to me and obviously you and I look at things through a slightly different lens, but I think we end up in a really similar place. For me, nature has given us two things, pleasure and pain and that's it. And so to wipe out half of that, because it doesn't feel, I mean, it's a negative energy. So it's like, but it's that through, again, my lens, through millions of years of evolution, you end up with this brain that rewards you for doing things that lead you towards from an evolutionary perspective, survival and procreation. And then it gives you pain when you're doing things that aren't moving you in that right direction. And so one question that I had asked you earlier about why is this hard? Like why does it need to be hard? And it's interesting to hear a more faith-based take on that. But for me, the answer is because you had to go face a saber tooth tiger, you had to face insane weather, either extreme heat, extreme cold, whatever, every day of your life was dangerous. You didn't, you were talking that, you know, there's a snake on your property and your neighbor warned you and you thought, yeah, I really do need to think about the fact that this is tall grass and Texas, like there could be snakes there. Now imagine a world in which everywhere you turn, there was something trying to kill you. And so you have to have this massive push to do hard things. And I think that we have just, it is embedded in the human brain. If you do not do hard things, you will feel the sense of unease. There's something wrong. And I think this is one of the issues with modernity is we end up making so many things easy. I mean, people in that are at or below the poverty line still often have a refrigerator and AC. And it's like, I mean, these are not to in any way downplay the devastation that is poverty. Let me be really fucking clear about that. But there is a world that we came up through that was far more terrifying. And there was death at every turn. And so from that needing to wire the brain in a certain way, it's like, if things get too comfortable, you don't know why things feel off, but they feel off. And this is why I think rich kids end up imploding. They didn't have to work, and not every rich kid obviously, but they end up struggling with the fact that so many things came easily. And they don't necessarily understand that that's why they feel this deep sense of discomfort. - Yeah, what's interesting, I know I've been a person of faith, my life, growing up and even throughout my life today. But it's easy to say that like, oh, I'm a believer or I have faith when it hadn't been tested to the depths that it was tested.
Faith And Gratitude Amid Trials
Testing Your Faith In God (54:03)
And this make you wonder if there was a God? I had many, well, yet no, but I expressed anger to God in a way that I'd never been angry. And the good news is making me go through this. Why are you making me go through this? Really, really upset, really angry. And I, one, came out of this with an appreciation that God can very easily handle my anger. Thank you, all is fine. But also this appreciation that the way that I feel about my faith is fundamentally different because of having to have my faith tested. I was forced to my knees. - And so let me ask, if the challenge isn't that God exists, the challenge to your faith is that God has your best interest at heart? - My prayers. So this is like the crazy thing that you get to see as time goes by. But there's also privilege in this answer because things end up working out well for me in the circumstances that have come to pass, having created something that was good. But I was asking for fulfillment and I was asking to feel a certain way about myself. Like I wanted to love myself and a lot of things that ended up becoming the byproduct of the work that was only possible in the hardest thing I've ever experienced. God's like, yeah, you were praying for these things and good news, you got the things that you prayed for. You thought you had a say in the way that those things would be created in your life. You know what I would say? And by the way, this is God pulling every single string kind of a question. I do believe in the free will of man and like, "Yep, I'm making a lot of my own choices. "I don't think that everything happens for a reason. "I think that there's an opportunity for us "to figure out how to make the things that happen matter for us "in whatever way we decide to use them "for our good or the good of other people." But I find myself the recipient of the things that I was praying for because of the circumstances, the hard circumstances that were thrown my way. But I also, I will say there's a verse I use in the book, James 4-8, "Draw near to God, he will draw nearer to you." Like, I was also, as I was put to my knees by this thing that was just holy cow harder than I'd ever expected, I'd have to endure begging for proximity to God. And wouldn't you know it in that prayer after I was done yelling at him? Right, I found myself unbelievably close. There's another Bible verse that you mentioned in the book and it's very interesting to me. And you were talking about there was this woman, she had children and then had a stroke and she had to like relearn to walk and like everything. And she said there was a verse about though there are no sheep or fruit on the tree. I forget the exact quote, "I shall love God" or something. And you said, "Oh, everybody should take that verse "and like put your own pain points in there." Do you remember the exact verb, just in sign butchering it? It is the idea of what you speak of, which is like though all of these things have happened, they didn't happen the way that I would have hoped. I'm still gonna give glory to God. I'm still gonna be thankful for, grateful for. And again, I think it ends up being this like call to, "Can you still go on the hunt for the good "that can still exist inside of the heart?" And so for me in the way that I was able to, in having like my kid came to me wanting to have me teach him how to shave. Very small thing. But oldest son, "Hey, can you show me how to shave?" Very small thing. That seems huge to me. Well, here's the thing. I didn't appreciate it was going to become a huge thing that would provoke a very emotional reaction from me. But what it was was this reminder of how many more beautiful moments with my children were still going to come as I got tied a bow tie for a big dance or walked someone down an aisle or whatever it was. Because in the moment when it feels like life is ending, you forget that there's so many firsts and so many nexts and so many beautiful moments. And so, you know, took the kids down to fish at the local pond and we catch a fish. Like the reminder that fish still bite was a surprisingly emotional thing in the midst of like not being able to totally connect to all the good. And so, whether it's that verse or just like being observant of the 400 mini miracles that are happening around us any day, it's, I've said it now three times in the show, but you find what you're looking for.
Holding Onto Gratitude for Your Trials (58:59)
So powerful. And so as I was now being reminded of that good in that moment with my kid in the razor or whatever it was, it was just this prompt to be a detective and be on that hunt for the other good things that were already and still present, even in the midst of hard things. We both know and love Mel Robbins.
Looking for Hearts (59:29)
And in her most recent book, "The High Five Habits," she talks about looking for hearts. And because you're looking for them, you end up seeing things that really like the shape that isn't quite a heart, but you suddenly begin interpreting it as a heart, which is a really cool idea. I'm a huge believer in you get what you look for, you see what you look for. That's a really powerful idea. I can see a heart now behind you and these diamonds on the wall. It's very bizarre. It's funny how that works. The idea of priming is so powerful.
Yeah. So getting people to do these mental tricks, I think is really useful. You have a lot of them in your book. As you think about moving forward now, and you talk in the book about roles and how we can sort of become something that we didn't necessarily intend to become because of the way that other people think of us, how are you protecting yourself against sliding into old habits or old patterns or letting society begin to dictate who you become? Yeah. I mean, I've really tried to ask myself, how do I want to experience the week? How do I want to experience a day in the week? I know I want to wake up and click that button of being in my passion and using things that I have mastery for to serve other people. That's the thing I want to do, but how I experience it is a big part of the thing I'm trying to solve. And that question of like, who did I want to be before I became who I'd become? I mean, I tell the story in the book of this insane God moment chance encounter with Dan Rather who I end up getting sat next to on an airplane in the midst of trying to answer this question of who am I now that I am not who I thought I was going to be. And it was this reminder. Mind you were a kid. When I was a kid, just as a sign of how dorky I was and how long it took for me to kiss a girl, Dan Rather was my childhood idol. I mean, between he, Tom Broca, Peter Jennings, like I wanted to be the nightly news person. And when I was sitting with him, he was so generous with his time, a couple hours on a plane, like totally violating that. Can we have a conversation rule? I got off of the plane and there was this like giddiness for having been reconnected to the 19 year old version of me while in college, anchoring a news desk, the 2 a.m. DJ time slot coveted that I was, you know, spinning records. I was reminded that I wanted to be a reporter as I was trying to believe in myself to become one. So I'd been working inside of a business. I was making this decision in real time to figure out what next was going to look like in my life, my career. And I was gonna have my first book coming out. I was gonna coach for the first time. I was going to have a podcast. And as much as my 99 year old grandma still asks me, do you have a career that should, should we be worried about you? That is amazing. When I try to explain to her what I do, it's hard with what ends up being an unconventional kind of job, but the easiest way to explain it is that I'm a reporter. I take my experiences, I take the amazing insights that come from people like yourself or others that I admire. I try to consolidate them into a way that might be understood in part because of hopefully people seeing themselves in my story and storytelling. But that also maybe is a byproduct of me being someone who's got a skill in connecting to them with something of an empathy bridge that allows them to have a breakthrough that they wouldn't have otherwise had. That's why I'm here. And so when I think about my legacy or what I wanna be known for, how I'd hope to be eulogized at the end of my life, I had a great career for 20 years in entertainment. I hope that nobody brings it up. And not because I have anything but pride for it, but because I know now having been so connected to why I'm here, getting back to that person I wanted to be before I became who I'd become, that this is the legacy of my life. This is my life's work and I'm just getting started. The book isn't your first, but dude, it's really good. And in terms of brick by brick building that legacy, man, your written work is phenomenal. Certainly what you're doing on the podcasting and YouTube and all that stuff, it's really fantastic. I think you are well on your way. - Thanks, man.
Discussion With Dave Hollis
Dave Hollis on the Journey (01:04:27)
- Where can people follow along in this journey? - Mr. Dave Hollis is both the name of my website and the handle I use on Instagram. So mrdayofholis.com and I hang out on social here and there but Instagram's probably the place I spend most of my time. So come hang. - I love it, there it is. All right guys, trust me, you will not regret reading the book, hanging out with him on social. And if you can do it, hang out with him in real life that one I can really vouch for. Speaking of things that I can vouch for, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care, peace.