Tom Bilyeu: Hey everybody. Welcome to Impact Theory!
With everything going on in the world right now, we all need to make sure that we’re taking the time to prioritize our own self-care. So on this special episode of Impact Theory, we’ve gathered self-care tips from some of our incredible guests to help you guys incorporate these practices into your own life.
So get ready to prioritize YOU – with our first guest the one and only Les Brown.
Les Brown – Connect with Yourself
Les Brown: The easiest thing I’ve done was to get out from under the labels and to live the life that I live. The most difficult thing I’ve ever done was to believe that I can do it.
Tom Bilyeu: What’s the difference?
Les Brown: The difference is that when you don’t know what’s impacting you and it’s something that’s holding you down and you’re not aware of it. The great anthropologist Margaret Mead was at a restaurant in London. And a guy was serving her and said ‘There’re several Americans here, tonight!’
And she said, ‘Is that right?’
‘Let me know when you serve them dessert, I’ll tell you exactly how many are here,’
He said, ‘Oh you couldn’t possibly!’
And so he came back and said, ‘Okay, I’ve done it!’
And she got up and she walked around and she came back and she said, ‘They’re around 25, here.’
And he looked at the roster, ‘How did you know that?’
‘In America, we eat differently from you when we eat a dessert. You eat it from the crust toward the tip; we eat it from the tip toward the crust.”
When you eat a slice of pie, how do you eat yours?
Tom Bilyeu: I definitely have it from the tip back to the crust, for sure.
Les Brown: Yeah okay. In my situation, when you live in a dominant culture that is designed to destroy your sense of self and your belief in yourself. And you have to learn ways in which you can begin to connect with this power that you have within yourself to handle where you are. The key is to be constantly in a perpetual process of discovering the truth of who you are and fighting constantly to look for ways in which you can escape the inner conversation.
I speak to audiences around the world around and I’ve trained speakers as well. And I tell them that when you speak that — there’s an objective that you want to achieve when you speak to an audience — because how people live their lives is a result of the story they believe about themselves. So you as a speaker when you speak, when people see you, what you do is Distract, Dispute and Inspire!’
You distract people from their current story, with your guests and the questions that you ask, through the process of the ongoing questioning. And the way in which they respond and the things they have learned you dismantle their current belief system and inspire them to create a new chapter with their lives.
And so, but that’s an ongoing process of constantly interrupting that conversation. What psychologists call you ‘Self-explanatory’ style! Because life is going to beat up on you in so many ways. And many things they come back – negative thoughts and how you feel about yourself. They don’t die. They come back once you stop doing the maintenance work on your mind.
Kelly McGonigal – Be Active
Tom Bilyeu: So why is movement specifically so important to mental well-being?
Kelly McGonigal: I almost don’t even know where to begin with this. I mean you can start with the data. If you just look at the data around the world, every country you can imagine that it has been studied in, every age group, every health status, every gender, every socioeconomic status – people who are more physically active are:
- They have better relationships
- They’ve more meaning in life
- They’re less at risk for things like depression and loneliness
If you go further than just sort of that kind of epidemiology and you look at how movement affects the brain and how movement affects mental health… It’s as if humans were born to move. And when we are physically active, it puts us in a state of not just body, but of mind to be the best version of ourselves.
You know, everything from the neurochemistry of the runner’s high which makes us enjoy cooperating with other people more, and gives us hope and optimism. All the way to how, if you are regularly active you have a different brain and nervous system than people who don’t exercise. You have a brain and a nervous system that are more sensitive to pleasure and more resilient to stress.
I could literally just talk for the next hour listing the many ways but I think that the biggest takeaway is that human beings as individuals and as a species, we thrive when we are active. That our brains aren’t just housed in bodies like it’s a suitcase that’s carrying our brains around. Our brains really work best when we are in bodies that are active.
Tom Bilyeu: You actually talk about in the book how it’s quite possible that the very reason we developed large brains was to move. Give us some of the science behind that. One thing that I found in my own life was once I could understand the biological mechanisms, once I knew why things were the way that they were, it became easier not to be a slave to it. Then I sort of understood my sense of agency within the meatsuit, as it were.
So where does the hypothesis that our brains were created to move us come from?
Kelly McGonigal: Yeah. This is an idea that I feel like you can’t even explain it. This is an idea that if you look at the structure and the function of the brain, everything that humans do other than think is a form of movement. You know, communicating language, emotion expressions, labor, finding food, celebration, procreation. It’s all a physical action.
And the idea is basically other than think and ruminate and plan, that there is no other reason to have a brain except to interact with the world. And even like thinking is subservient to our ability to engage with the world.
And so basically we have a brain that scaffolds every type of interaction we have with the world which is movement. And I think it’s not even like a fancy idea. That just is true.
Cal Newport – Take Social Media Breaks
Tom Bilyeu: Some of the things you talk about the book in terms of the consequences of the way that we’re interacting with our digital devices, if you’re right about the cause, it’s pretty terrifying! And I don’t think anyone’s going to argue the sort of realities about mental health issues, about attempted, or hospitalizations due to attempted suicide. I mean it’s pretty crazy.
Cal Newport: Yeah! It really is. I mean I think it’s getting stark that having this thing (gesturing a phone) as a constant companion it’s not good for us. And what’s important about this to understand is that it’s also not fundamental. So this behavior of constantly looking at the phone – it’s not intrinsic to this technology.
In fact, we had both social media and smartphones for years before it became normal to look at your phone all the time. The reason we do that — and this is the behavior that’s causing all these issues. The reason we do that is that around the point when the major social media platforms were preparing for their IPOs, they completely re-engineered the social media experience.
So instead of it being about posting and reading your friends’ posts, it became about this steady incoming stream of social approval indicators like ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ and ‘photo tags’ and ‘comments’.
And so now you had a reason to keep going back to the phone. Because every time you hit this, there might be another reward there, another indication of social approval. None of that was in the original social media model, but they added it, because it changed it from something you checked every once in a while to something that you checked all the time and it was really hard to resist.
And then that changed our entire relationship with these devices. So now we think about something we look at all the time. It sort of trained us to think of it like this constant companion that we always need to be looking at, in every down time. But that’s a very recent and it’s very contrived and it’s causing a lot of trouble.
Tom Bilyeu: So how do we begin to carve out that space for solitude? Are there things that we can do? You’ve talked about walking. What are some things that people can do to train themselves? Because obviously now most people are in a very Pavlovian response cycle, where it’s not going to have by accident for them to stop. So how do they break out of that? And what can they do to reintroduce solitude?
Cal Newport: Well just for the issue of solitude, it’s pretty easy to get it back. All you have to do is on a regular basis do something without your phone. You basically go back to about ten years ago. Not all the time but just occasionally right. So maybe when you walk the dog at some point like ‘I’m not going to bring my phone’. You’re going to the drugstore – I am not going to bring my phone’. Like just have some activity you do most days without your phone even if it’s 20 minutes there.
There you’re already getting little doses of solitude, you’re breaking the solitude. Complete solitude deprivation syndrome.
Lori Harder – Create Life Balance
Tom Bilyeu: One thing that I see in your story that I think is really powerful and I really want to take a second to drill down into it — is you’re way intense. And you’ve said that one thing I have to remind myself every night, and we’ll talk about feminine and masculine energy a little bit later.
But you have to remind yourself to soften back up at the end of the night. It’s so interesting. So you’ve got this – I really like the titles – I really want to go after it. I’m way intense. I want to win. I’m all in. Getting in that kind of shape is brutally difficult. But then at the same time you can balance it with the playfulness. And it’s not all about that. How have you learned to strike that balance? And maybe more importantly how do you teach other people to do that?
Lori Harder: I’ve learned if I don’t learn to strike that balance that when I go to extremes in either one, I’m not happy. I feel very scattered; I feel frantic; I feel crazy. So I think that for me when I start feeling a little bit chaotic. So for me it shows up in a very like grasping for straws. Things aren’t happening, like I’m running into a wall, like the feeling of banging your head against a wall. That’s what it feels like for me.
And I know a lot of people can relate to that. And I think especially a lot of people in fitness might get into it to kind of like – maybe they’re anxious, or it calms their nerves. Because I think I run really on the anxious side. So for me if I don’t learn how to control that, I’ll go to the extreme of something. So it’s a must for me.
I actually think it’s a must for everyone to kind of find how to dance in the different categories of your life, because we’re not just one thing. And when we go all in on one thing, we’re severely neglecting the other parts of us which makes for an empty human. You know which makes for someone who doesn’t feel, who never feels full. So I have to remember that there’re so many parts of me that I need to make sure that I’m fulfilling.
For me play is so important. When I was first building my business and when I was really getting into the fitness world, I neglected play and I neglected I’m like ‘I love being a weirdo!’ ‘I love being a goofball; I love being funny’. And I thought that I had to suppress that side of me in order to win, in order to be successful. School was, college was frowned upon and like really restrictive religion.
So for me, I think that in order to win and be successful I thought that I had to just shut down the goofy. I had to be a certain way. I had to just drive so hard. And what happened is the driving got me somewhere. Drive drive drive drive! Do it! Do it! And you know the voice in my head was like it was very like a hardcore coach which would get me somewhere. But there was no joy along the way.
So every time I’d wind up somewhere I was like: ‘Well! I thought this would be way better than what I’ve actually here and that wasn’t even fun!’ ‘Was it even worth it? And now it’s never enough. It’s like never enough.’ And I just felt so empty as well. Because this part of me that I loved. I loved that side of me. I love the silly, goofy side. That’s when I really that feeling of really liking yourself and feeling alive – that’s when I feel most connected to people.
That was another moment I was, OK, I really think that all of my power might be in the complete vulnerability and when I started sharing my story more of I still have anxiety like literally when I sat in this chair I was like, ‘Oh dang! I think there’s the wave again!’ I still have massive anxiety, I’m like a massive weirdo. When I started sharing those things that was when people just came flooding in. Because they can see you like they can finally see who you are!
Brendon Burchard – Nurture Healthy Relationship
Tom Bilyeu: Why are you so good at relationships? What are a few of the things that make you bond with people as quickly as you do?
Brendon Burchard: There must be an intention. So the intention for me came from…. You know, when I was on my deathbed, two times in my life, I thought I was going to die. And the one that gave me the greatest gift was that did I love part, did I live, I love, I matter. I saw scenes of my life when I thought I was going to die. I saw scenes of my life, when I was surrounded by the people that I loved.
And my instant feeling was I’m going to miss them and they’re going to miss me. And I’m dying and that’s so sad. And that was as important as did I live my life? Or did I make a difference? It was like I’m so sad and I got that as a 19 year old kid. Like a breakup of a relationship sent me into suicide.
That realization was like, ‘Oh my god! At the end all you’re going to wonder is about your family, and your friends, and people you loved!’ And they’re going to miss you. So I got early that one of the objectives of this game has to be deep relationships because you’re going to see scenes of your life surrounded by people you love at the very end.
So live your life, so it’s this epic, beautiful movie! And so I think that was where the intention came from was I just wanted to have great relationships.
The second is I’m so good at recognizing how awesome people are. You know I just have a talent finding capability of just goodness. I don’t attract hassles like that. I’m too annoying, I’m too happy for them. There’s too much positive psychology happening. So the assholes like ‘I don’t like that guy!’ They don’t come to my seminars. They don’t buy my stuff. I repel all the jerks. And I’m super lucky by that. I don’t know it’s the way I look or the way that I talk.
I think the other aspect is all I want to do and what I realized early on from reading personal development books is ‘Your life creates a ripple!’ And so I’m always trying to realize that: ‘Maybe I can make somebody smile today. And now when they go home they’re nice to the kid!’
That’s a real thing. And so I treat people with that recognition, because I won’t be able to – Sometimes when someone treats you bad, it really does mess up the rest of your day. And I had people beat me, when I was a kid. I got in fights when I was a kid. I was a martial artist most of my life. So I’ve just had like super violent things happen in my life. I’ve had a lot of drama with relationships early in my life, and I’m talking like pre-20s.
And I just wanted to be the positive ripple!
Tucker Max – Acknowledge Your Emotions
Tucker Max: I picked a path that you know a lot of people pick. I drank, hooked up. I didn’t really even go that far. I just wrote about — the only reason people know me about this is just because I wrote about it in a funny way. And then it kind of took off and it led me to success! And then I kind of went a little excess.
But if you asked me at 26, I’m like – ‘No, no, no! My parents, you know they were fine. Everything’s great. I’m perfectly happy. Are you kidding? Everything’s wonderful?’ It’s not true. It wasn’t true and I just never thought about my emotions. I never really connected with them. I had never really — I just had never really had those conversations with myself or with anybody else really.
And so part of therapy was understanding….
- First recognizing the pain was there.
- Then it was accepting that it actually existed, which is hard.
Like you think well if you recognize it, you accept it. ‘But no no!’ Like I was in denial for a lot: ‘Oh well! I’m not!’ Yeah all the stories like you tell yourself: ‘Oh well! But other people have it worse!’ They do, but that doesn’t mean like that my stuff doesn’t deeply impact me. Or you know it wasn’t that bad it may not have been. It doesn’t mean it’s not having an impact. I mean all sorts of stuff.
I do accept all this. Then I had to give myself space to really investigate like: ‘Okay! Like what am I feeling?’ Like so really kind of connecting my thoughts, to my emotions, which sounds really basic and I don’t know. It just wasn’t there. I think most people aren’t.
Tom Bilyeu: That process of… this is so useful right. And I don’t know if you have a sense that this is so unique to, you’d never be beneficial. But like I get this question over and over and over like no how to become aware what they are going through.
Tucker Max: Yeah. Listen I’ll talk about it. So I mean all I can do is tell you what I did, right. Like I’m not going to stare in well… ‘Here’s the eight ways to do it!’ And I don’t know. I can only know my path.
So for me like that’s why I picked psychoanalysis because it’s intense. You were going four days a week an hour a day. So for four years I did this. And what you’re doing when you go is – it’s not like it’s not a good analyst and I had a pretty good analyst – it’s kind of like the classic image of like you know laying on the sofa and the analyst is kind of behind you. It’s like that.
It’s mainly you’re talking and then about what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, and then they essentially do their best to present basically a mirror to you, right. So they ask questions or they point things out. And they never say what you’re doing is wrong. Almost never give advice. They never tell you what’s right or wrong. They’re definitely not judgmental. It’s very accepting. It’s very like they care. It’s very caring, but it’s also very reflective/
Ed Mylett – Stack Gratitude
Ed Mylett: I had a really good friend of mine that I went to lunch with and he said ‘I don’t know who this guy is here in front of me. And he goes. Let me ask you a question: Honestly right now what are you grateful for?’ And at the lunch I said, ‘Jack! Nothing brother! There’s nothing good in my life, right now!’
And I’m not exaggerating this to you when I tell you this. And this is a factual story. As I’m mouthing these words two people walked in with an older man both of them clearly were fighting cancer somehow. Both had lost their hair. One of the ladies had a bonnet on and they were barely moving in. Both walked by our table and gave me the most warm greeting, the warmest smile as a stranger. And he goes, ‘That’s pretty freaking pathetic! You can’t find anything in your life to be grateful for you right now?’
And on the drive home – I’m not kidding you – I started to stack gratitude. I started to take inventory. Because if you can find things to be grateful for in that space, man, your life is going to be rich when there really are external things to be grateful for…
So my first mechanism out of that space was honestly to stack the things I was grateful for. And I started reinforcing it over and over and over again. And what happens is there’s this reticular activating system (RAS) in our brains, right! And all of a sudden because that’s the messaging I was giving myself. All of a sudden, all these things start to come into my awareness that I’m grateful for!
I started to magnetize myself to some people that I needed to find into my life and that was the next layer. I started to see things to be grateful for:
- my health
- my fitness
- people who loved me
And what it did was, it changed my state. When I stacked gratitude I changed what I did in the morning and I changed what I did in the evening. And so somehow by grabbing control of my morning and by grabbing control of my evening, I got some measure of control over the middle of my day.
I was an out of control person, back in those days, meaning this – I woke up worried, stressed, fearful, and I immediately start thinking about a bill I had to pay. Something that was wrong and I’m in a state of reaction to begin every – I am talking within six minutes of waking up, six seconds. Most people listening to this, that’s what they do.
I said I got to grab control of my morning. And I set up routines in my morning. Maybe they served me, maybe they didn’t. But they were things I could deliver on doing for myself.
And so not only did that give me control over the day but I started to stack my self-confidence
James Altucher – Maintain Daily Practice
Tom Bilyeu: How in the depths of your despair, did you become okay with trying something that you knew might fail? Like how did you build yourself back up? The daily practice – was that the answer? Like in your book ‘Choose Yourself’, you do this extraordinary walkthrough of… a kid reaches out to you and he’s like at that place where he’s just on the floor. There’s no getting up. There’s even you said, even asking him to floss a single tooth would have been asking too much. And how do you build back from that? How did you build back from that?
James Altucher: Yeah. So I mean it’s happened more than once to me. Sometimes I would do things right and I get back up and I’d be disciplined. And you know, I would find opportunities and some success again, and then lose it again. Against lose everything to zero after making millions again.
And I remember one time, I had built and sold a second company or maybe this was the third company and I was lying in a hammock and I realized I just had lost everything again. And the hammock was in between these two houses I had bought on this nice piece of property overlooking the Hudson River, and it was raining. And I just didn’t feel like getting up. It was just – ‘Where was I going to go?’ ‘I had nothing to do, nothing going on, nothing to hope for…’ And I was just like – ‘What? Why did this happen again?’
And I started to just bit by bit piece it together. Like where did I feel pleasure on the way up in such a way that ‘Oh! If I keep doing this, if I keep hitting the accelerator on this activity, good things will happen…’ And that’s what I call it in the ‘into-yourself’. I call this ‘Daily practice’ now. Just every day I make sure I factor in these four things. I’ll say the four things, but then I’ll say how from the beginning you can do it.
So the four things that I started doing, and again this was just me. It may work for others, it might not. Am I getting a little better in terms of physical health? Now as you age your physical health changes, is different. But I’m at least attempting to understand and essentially eat, move, sleep better every day.
Emotional health. You know so many times I thought I have a business opportunity with this guy. Not such a great person. I could see there’s some toxicity around him but this opportunity seems really huge. So I better ignore the bad sides of this person and focus on the opportunity. That no situation is never, at like zero of those situations worked out.
And so you know I everyday I think: ‘Am I eliminating toxic people from my life? And focusing on positive people who I love and want to support? And they love and want to support me?’ And then every day you could tweak that like a bonsai tree. There’s always people moving in and out of your life and you could always tweak it. And so that’s emotional health!
Tom Bilyeu: Alright everybody! I hope you enjoyed learning how these amazing individuals use self-care practices to help them create the best versions of themselves. And now my hope is that you guys will be able to prioritize your own needs and help you achieve the same kind of extraordinary success.
You need to take care of you. Please don’t forget that!
Thank you guys so much for watching and until next time my friends, be legendary! Take care.
Resources for Further Reading: