Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) joins us for this deep dive into three surprising ways to cope with suffering that we’ve learned during our recent period of massive change, stress, and uncertainty.
“All experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” -The Declaration of Independence
What We Discuss in This Deep Dive:
- The difference between suffering and pain.
- The three thoughts that make up the architecture of suffering.
- The phenomenon of meta-suffering.
- How much of the suffering we endure is actually under our control?
- The beliefs and mindsets we can adopt to manage suffering more effectively.
- And much more…
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For most of us, suffering isn’t really a binary thing. At least it doesn’t feel that way when we’re going through it. As much as we might wish it were, suffering isn’t like a light switch we can turn on and off, no matter how many self-help articles teach us “how to stop suffering,” or “ways to avoid suffering,” or “the one weird reason you can’t stop suffering!”
In this deep dive, we move beyond the usual tidbits and bromides that teach us how to deal with suffering and, we hope, give you useful and unexpected practicals that actually generate meaningful change. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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More About This Show
If you’ve been listening to our new show, you know that it’s been a very tumultuous and exciting adventure.
The show was born from a period of massive instability, which has taught us more about hard work, compassion, and the possibility of starting over than we ever thought we’d learn.
If you want to learn more about how to manage instability, we highly recommend checking out our last deep dive on the topic (that’s episode 4).
It’s also kicked up more challenges than we’ve had to deal with in a long time.
Every challenge is like a message from the world to your brain saying, “Time to worry. Time to freak out. Time to suffer!”
So we’ve been forced over the past few months to think more deeply about:
- Why we suffer.
- How we can get better at coping with suffering.
- Whether suffering is under our control — and how much.
- What beliefs and mindsets we can adopt to manage it more effectively.
That’s what we’ll be discussing in this deep dive — specifically, we’ll be talking about three surprising ways to cope with suffering that have been learned during this period of massive change, stress, and uncertainty.
1. Let Yourself Suffer
Three thoughts make up the “architecture” of suffering:
- I’m in pain / I’m suffering.
- I want to stop being in pain. I don’t want to suffer.
- How do I stop suffering?
But if you look a little closer, you’ll find that there’s actually another thought lurking behind all of them:
I shouldn’t be suffering in the first place.
Because if you think about it, there are really two layers to human suffering:
- There’s the suffering itself.
- And then there’s the suffering about your suffering, which depends on the thought that you shouldn’t be suffering!
If you take a hard look at what you’re going through at any given moment, I’d be willing to bet that a great deal of your suffering — maybe even most of it, in some cases all of it — is actually coming from that second layer.
- The thought that says you shouldn’t be experiencing what you’re experiencing.
- We could call that meta-suffering.
A Story from Jordan’s Life
For the last month or so, I felt all the stress and fear and anxiety of the transition super acutely. My professional world had been stripped away, my career was placed in jeopardy, and my identity as a broadcaster and coach — a massive part of my life — suddenly felt like an illusion.
All of that would have been more than enough suffering for me to work through, until I noticed that I was also carrying around this other burden:
- The thought that I shouldn’t be dealing with any of this to begin with!
- I wasn’t just suffering because of my professional circumstances. I was suffering because I was convinced that I shouldn’t have to.
Franz Kafka: “You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature,” he wrote, “but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.”
Translation: You’re totally free to avoid pain. That’s a normal thing for a human being to do. But maybe trying so hard to avoid that pain is actually the one form of pain you don’t have to experience in the first place.
- When you find that pain arising, take a moment to unpack the bundle of thoughts behind that pain.
- Notice how this strange conflict — I’m suffering; I shouldn’t be suffering — is actually helping to create a lot of your suffering in the first place.
- Instead, drop that thought, and allow yourself to experience whatever pain seems to be arising.
- The pain might still be there, and it might still be very acute. But I’m willing to bet that it’s a lot less painful without the added pain arising from the belief that you shouldn’t be experiencing this pain at all.
- It seems counterintuitive. How can I avoid suffering by allowing myself to suffer? But it’s actually one of the most powerful ways to reduce suffering, by consciously avoiding that unnecessary meta-suffering under our control.
That’s how we can turn the brain’s peculiar wiring against itself to alleviate the layers of suffering it’s so good at creating.
2. Suffer at the Right Time
The brain has the unique ability to contemplate the past, present, and future.
- That ability to relive things that have already happened and imagine things that haven’t happened yet is a form of mental time travel.
- It’s an incredible faculty that allows us to learn from our mistakes in the past and anticipate challenges in the future, so that we can adapt, plan, and survive.
- Unfortunately, it’s also a really great way to suffer over things that haven’t even happened yet — and that’s where it gets us into trouble!
Because when we can experience a source of pain before it even happens, then we suffer in advance — and then we suffer again, when the source of that pain actually shows up.
- For many of us, that anticipated suffering is even more acute than the actual suffering when it arrives.
- Because worrying, if you really think about it, is always anticipatory — it’s always looking forward.
- That’s actually part of what makes those events so worrisome — the fact that they haven’t yet happened, but that we’re afraid they will.
- Which means that when we worry, we’re really worrying about a thought — a thought about the future!
- In other words, we’re not worrying about the actual thing we’re afraid will happen — the thing we think is going to bring us all this suffering — but the thought that that thing will happen.
- And when that thing does happen — if it happens at all — then we get to suffer twice.
- First by worrying that it’ll happen.
- And then again when it actually does happen.
A Story from Jordan’s Life
- Examples of worries that are all future-oriented:
- Meeting my audience goals.
- Hitting ad targets.
- Living up to the huge expectations my team and I have for our new show.
- But of course, what I’m really doing is projecting myself into the future — in my mind — and catastrophizing an outcome that hasn’t happened yet.
- And by doing that, I’m suffering right now, and setting myself up to suffer again in the future, if that imagined suffering ever turns out to be real — which it rarely does!
- When you notice yourself experiencing some form of suffering — big or small — ask yourself whether you’re suffering about something that is actually taking place, or about something that has yet to happen.
- Oftentimes, you’ll find that your suffering is largely focused on the future.
- In those cases, you’ve identified a form of suffering you’re free to give up whenever you’re ready — because until that future event actually plays out, you’re not obligated to obsess about it.
- Once you see this, you’ll realize that one of the best ways to avoid suffering is to commit to only suffering at the right time.
So when is the right time?
- When the source of your suffering — the event, person, decision or outcome — actually arrives, and not a moment sooner!
- Anything before that is just a thought in your head, and it’s a form of suffering you can easily avoid, as soon as you see it for what it is.
- The time to worry, of course, is when the object of our worry actually comes to pass. Then we can worry. If we have to. But when we do, we often find that our worry is nowhere to be found — because our suffering is now in the present, and will soon be in the past.
3. Focus on Sources over Symptoms
The Declaration of Independence includes a killer quote: “All experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
Translation: We all know that people would rather cling to their unhappiness than to actually fix the things that are making them unhappy.
Because as we all know, we humans love to complain about the things that make us miserable. But the second we think about actually doing something about them, we often realize that we’d rather protect our grievances — our suffering — than do the hard work to really address them.
As long as that’s true, then we’re choosing — at least to some degree — to continue suffering.
- The final key to avoiding suffering at the end of the day: action.
- Take concrete steps to address, resolve, eliminate, and remove the underlying sources of our suffering rather than complaining about, rationalizing, or accepting the symptoms.
If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that who we are — for real, deep down — is the person obscured by the various forms of suffering in our lives.
If we allow ourselves the room to suffer when we have to — without beating ourselves up for suffering in the first place, suffering before we really have to, or accepting the symptoms of our suffering as unavoidable — then we dramatically reduce the pain, stress, and anxiety that keep us from doing the one thing we all know we really should be doing: changing our circumstances, becoming better, and acting our way toward happier and healthier lives.
THANKS, GABRIEL MIZRAHI!
If you enjoyed this session with Gabriel Mizrahi, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Gabriel Mizrahi at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Secret to Avoiding Suffering by Jordan Harbinger
- JHS 4: Deep Dive | Learning How to Cope with Instability
- JHS 6: Simon Sinek | What’s Your “Why” and Where Do You Find It?
- Michael Port
- Franz Kafka
- The Declaration of Independence
- The Bhagavad Gita
- Liam Neeson’s Taken Speech
- Freud on Sublimation, The School of Life
- Norman Pattiz
- The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Transcript for Why We Suffer and How to Manage It | Deep Dive (Episode 10)
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:00:00] When we can experience a source of potential pain before it even happens, then what ends up happening is we suffer in advance and we set ourselves up to suffer again. When that source of pain actually shows up in our lives and for many of us that like anticipated suffering is even worse.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:20] All right. Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger as always. I’m here with my producer Jason DeFillippo. On this episode, we’re talking with my friend Gabriel Mizrahi. We’re doing a deep dive on the secrets to avoiding suffering. And it’s not really a secret and it’s not really avoiding suffering, but that’s the title of the article. It’s on JordanHarbinger.com, if you’d rather read it. Although if you’re listening to a podcast, so you obviously like listening. This is a really interesting article for me because it’s about suffering, it’s about key takeaways and how to avoid slash suffer at the right time and of course, why action is always better than victimhood, I would say, and we’re going to focus on sources over symptoms and give you some takeaways on how to deal with this. Now a quick caveat, we do talk about the breakup of the show, which everyone is so sick of hearing about, but the way that we do this, I hope, comes across as relatable because it’s less about, “Oh my gosh, this thing happened and we feel so bad about it.” And more along the lines of the takeaways that we’ve gotten from this situation so that other people who are going through some ish can apply this stuff for themselves. So it’s supposed to be a learning thing and if you are sick and tired of hearing about the whole corporate drama, then you’re in for a treat because it’s not going to be something that we do, that we sit in and roll around in. It’s going to be something that we extract goodness from, in my opinion. What do you think, Jason?
Jason DeFillippo: [00:01:38] I think so. I don’t think anybody who’s, you know, tired of hearing about us whine about the breakup will be disappointed by this episode because this is all about practical advice on how to get past suffering.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:49] Yes. And trust me. Nobody’s more sick of hearing about it than me and Jason. So here we go. Deep dive with Gabriel Mizrahi. So if you’ve been listening to our new show, you know that this has been a very tumultuous and exciting adventure. The show was born from a period of massive instability slash ongoing instability, which has really taught me more about hard work, compassion, and the possibility of starting over than I ever thought I’d learn or would have to learn, for that matter. And by the way, if you want to learn more about how to manage instability and insecurity, I highly recommend checking out our last deep dive on the topic. That’s episode number four. This has also kicked up more challenges than I’ve had to deal with in a long time. And of course every challenge is like a message from the world to my brain saying time to worry, time to freak out, time to suffer.
[00:02:37] So I’ve been forced over the past few months to think more deeply about why we suffer and how we can get better at coping with suffering and whether suffering is under our control. And how much and what beliefs and mindsets we can adapt to manage it more effectively. And I’m going to caveat this a little bit. When I say suffer, I’m putting kind of a wide circle around it because I didn’t lose a limb or a loved one or anything. This has hit us pretty hard as a team, but it’s certainly, I’m not trying to equate this with some sort of real profound sense of loss or suffering. I just want to make this a relatable topic for people because there’s people growing through real stuff as well. And I think that is part of the show and that’s why we’re here. So that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this deep dive. Specifically, we’ll be talking about three surprising ways to cope with suffering that I’ve learned during this period of massive change, stress and uncertainty. And naturally, as with all deep dives I’ve brought with me, my friend Gabriel Mizrahi.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:32] Hey, Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:33] Hey, thanks for coming back, man. I mean…
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:35] My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:37] I was going to say you don’t have a choice, but you certainly do. And you could always choose to spend your time elsewhere, but you choose to spend it with us. And that’s —
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:03:43] Would that be funny if you were like, “Can you come on the show to talk about suffering?” And I was like, “Ah, pass. Hard pass. Now I’m suffering. I can’t do it right now, man.” It’s such an important topic and everybody on the show and who’s listening to the show has dealt with it, so I’m very happy to be back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:00] Where do we begin with this? Because suffering seems kind of like a nebulous thing and kind of seems like, okay, I’m crying in a corner somewhere. Should we talk about the architecture, the anatomy of suffering a little bit?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:04:11] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, first of all, you already touched on something really important, which is that when we talk about suffering as something that we all as humans have to deal with, you know, there’s such a huge spectrum of suffering, right? There’s profound loss on one end of that spectrum. And then there’s minor inconvenience on the other end of that spectrum and everybody in the course of their lives is going to deal with different experiences at any point along that continuum. But there’s kind of a difference I think between pain and suffering. And I’m using both of those terms very broadly, just like you are. Pain is just the visceral feeling or reaction to difficulty or adversity or struggle. Suffering, I think, and you know, we can debate this, but I like to think of it as like this thing above and beyond the pain.
[00:04:57] It’s the way we interpret and respond and internalize and then experience that pain. And sometimes even though we use those terms somewhat interchangeably, sometimes those are different things. So I think we should unpack the concept and we should recognize that there’s a response to difficulty and then there’s this other mental emotional reaction we have to that pain. And I think that’s pretty much what we call suffering. The thoughts that make up suffering is I think a really nice place for us to begin. And you and I have talked a lot about that over the past few months, so we can dive into that if you’d like.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:30] Yeah, let’s do that because I think that the idea, well for me, I’ve had to sort of peel back the layers of the onion on the suffering thing because I realize a lot of what we talk about in the article and what we’re going to do here on the deep dive is, is it a hundred percent accurate? It sounds a little cliche, right? “Oh, you shouldn’t be worrying because when you worry you’re putting your mind in the future and blah, blah, blah”, but it’s still worth discussing and repeating
[00:05:58] because when you’re in the midst of it, you don’t think of all this stuff. You get philosophical later after a few days of no sleep and not eating and all this grief and it’s like, okay, let’s get there sooner so it, let’s get people there sooner so they can stop freaking out already. That’s the part that’s important. Alleviating the suffering.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:06:15] Totally. That’s the hard part about suffering is that whatever lessons or perspective you gained as a result of it seems to come way too late and it’s after you’ve gone through all this suffering. So it is interesting to sit back and study it so that we can be a little bit better — better prepared for when the adversity actually comes up. And I think it all starts with letting yourself suffer because a lot of suffering shows up in our lives in such a way where you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m experiencing this pain or this stress or this anxiety or this fear and I don’t want to, and we’re already at this place of, ‘I don’t want to even deal with this’, which somehow makes it worse.”
[00:06:51] So let’s unpack that concept of suffering and how it actually pops up in the brain because it’s actually really simple once you break it down. The first thought that we all have when something stressful or unwelcome happens is I am stressed or I’m in pain, or I’m suffering. It’s just we know that, if we weren’t suffering, we wouldn’t have the thought. If we’re having the thought, we’re obviously in some kind of pain. The second thought comes in almost immediately after that in it. It’s this thought that says, I want to stop feeling like this, right? It’s like none of us feels this and then says, “Nah, that’s fine.” We’re all like, I feel it and I don’t want to feel that. I don’t want to suffer. And the third thought is almost just as instantaneous. And that thought is, how do I stop? How do I stop feeling this way?[00:07:33] So these three thoughts, I think, in the simplest terms kind of make up the architecture of suffering. I’m in pain, I want to stop being in pain. How do I stop feeling that way? But if you look a little bit closer, and like you said, peel back the layers of that onion, there’s one more layer that most of us don’t even realize is there. And it took me years to realize that it was there when I was feeling this. And that thought is I shouldn’t be suffering in the first place. The thought is, I don’t even want to feel this way. I shouldn’t have to, I should be exempt from this. This is not an experience I should be having. And in many ways that last for thought that you shouldn’t be feeling it, is the driver of so much of the pain that we feel when we’re suffering because there’s the feeling of the pain,[00:08:16] there’s the promotion that we didn’t get at work or the breakup we’re going through or the house on the market we didn’t get, or the car accident that we got in, you know, on the way home from work, whatever the stressful situation is, is already enough to generate all of that pain. But then we come in, our brains come in and our brains add this next layer to it, which is that I shouldn’t be dealing with this at all. And if you look at it really closely, that kind of creates, in some cases, more pain than the actual thing that was causing the pain in the first place.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:50] Yeah. It’s strange because when I feel this in the recent past especially, it’s almost like, “Oh, I feel guilty about feeling that way.” So I feel, “Yes, I’m suffering. Oh, I shouldn’t be suffering in the first place. This is unfair.” And then I feel guilt as a result of feeling like I shouldn’t feel that way because it’s like, “Well, all right, come on, this isn’t that bad. And other people have real stuff in their life that they’re going through.” So it really does sort of tend to pile on and then you feel like, “Oh, am I just being entitled? Like maybe I should never have bad feelings.” That’s ridiculous. This is what being alive is all about. You go through stuff, it happens, you’ll be fine. Get over it and get over yourself. So that that’s kind of a swirling toilet of emotion that nobody really wants to be in. But you’re right, there’s so much suffering that comes out of the thought that you shouldn’t be suffering in the first place. And that’s where the swirl, the downward spiral of the vicious cycle gets started. And that’s the problem that I think a lot of people find themselves in. And once you can get some escape velocity and you can get out of that, it’s so much easier to deal with everything that’s flying in your face if you’re still dealing with a bad situation or if you’re not, you can finally move forward and you don’t have to lay around lamenting all the time, which is frankly a little boring and not very productive.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:10:09] Yeah. Well said. First of all, swirling toilet of emotions. Can we trademark that?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:15] I don’t think so, but we can use it. We can use the crap out of it.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:10:18] Let’s use it again. Yeah. Such a funny image. So yeah, like everything you said is dead on and all of the thoughts that you just shared. I feel like I’m entitled, am I self-pitying? Do I deserve to feel this way? I feel guilty for feeling this way. Like those are all the thoughts that are separate from the original source of the pain. Those are thoughts about suffering. It’s kind of like meta-suffering, right? Like you can have this car accident and you have to like send your car into the shop for a few days and you feel really frustrated and stressed and anxious about it, but then you’re like, “Yeah, but I didn’t grow up in a war torn country.”
[00:10:54] Or you know, something that accident could’ve been so much worse. Why do I feel so depressed about it? And we’re not here to tell you that those thoughts are true or not true or worthy or not worthy or anything like that. That’s something you’ll have to answer for yourself. All we have to do is recognize that there is this class of thoughts that are above and beyond the original source of the stress and it’s that second class of thoughts that kind of meta-suffering that we’re talking about that is actually much easier to let go of than the original source because the car accident is the car accident. It happened, you can’t change it. Whatever is going to go on with that car accident is probably more or less out of your control. But feeling badly for feeling badly about it is within our control. And if we see that, it gives us a really nice first step to try to mitigate, reduce some of those feelings of suffering so that any of these stresses actually become a little bit and sometimes a lot easier to handle.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:49] And when you’re in the middle of this, and speaking from recent experience, because it’s really hard to take an academic approach to this, when you’re in the middle of this, you just feel the suffering is one sort of nasty wet blanket on your life. You don’t really say, okay well 68% of those is me worrying about worrying. And the other 30% that I’m dealing with is this other segment of real worry that I’m planning. And then there’s 2%. You don’t really categorize it. You just feel bad. And that’s as much thought as you give it. And for me intellectualizing this and talking it out with other people like you and like with my wife has made this a ton easier because once you can separate the thought that you shouldn’t be suffering from the suffering, you realize, wow, the actual worry and suffering is such a small piece because I’m not really going through that immediately. It’s the what ifs that kill you, as my friend Michael Port would say, and then that what if and that whole this-shouldn’t-be-happening-right-now. The resistance that I’m putting up or that one puts up, that’s the stuff that really causes a lot of the pain.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:12:54] Yeah, and you don’t have to know that it’s 68% of your suffering versus whatever the portion of it that’s coming from your meta-suffering. Like you don’t need to break it down in that way. You just need to recognize that there are two layers to this thing and that you’re free to put down one of those layers at least to some degree, the moment you want to because there’s enough pain and suffering out in the world and in your life. It’s going to find you and it’s going to stick around as long as it sticks around. That’s more than enough for us to handle. We don’t also have to make it even harder. Everything you just talked about. Again, the wet blankets is a nice metaphor cause it kind of like mmothers us and we don’t even know how to separate it out.
[00:13:31] But everything we’ve just talked about, a lot of people much smarter than us have actually talked about for a long, long time and I thought it was really beautiful. There was this quote by Franz Kafka, the writer and he said exactly this a long time ago in a different context and he said, and I’m quoting him right now, he goes, “You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world. That is something you’re free to do. And it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.” And if I had to translate that into super simple terms, because it took me like nine times to understand what she was saying, he’s saying, you’re totally free to avoid pain. Like that’s a normal human thing to do, but maybe trying so hard to avoid all of that pain is actually the one form of pain that you don’t even have to experience in the first place. And it’s like a really important thing to take away. I also wanted to look into this because I was like, “Isn’t that the guy who writes absurd as surreal novels and plays and writes about Gregor Samsa turning into a cockroach?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:32] Yeah. Because isn’t the phrase Kafka asks something people say when something really creepy and crappy is going on?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:14:38] Exactly. So I was like, why is that guy so concerned about suffering? Like it was a bit of a surprise and it turns out that he wrote that in 1917 or 1918 when he was in Germany living in his sister’s house, recuperating from tuberculosis, which from
[00:14:52] what I hear is no walk in the park, not exactly a picnic. And if you read his books, I think you can tell that this is a guy who kind of like has a grasp on the human condition. So I just thought that was an interesting thing that he wrote that and what I imagined was one of the more difficult moments of his life. So I just thought that was a really interesting way to think of it and something that I have to constantly remind myself that there’s enough of that pain out there and you know as it is, but to try to hold it back and not experience it and not just let yourself feel it and to believe that somehow you shouldn’t feel it. Sometimes that is worse than the actual source of the pain.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:32] So when you find that pain arising, it does help to take a moment and it might take you a few days because that’s what it took me to unpack the bundle of thoughts behind the pain.
[00:15:34] So you kind of have this conflict that I’m suffering and I shouldn’t be suffering. It actually, that friction between those two things is what’s causing the suffering in the first place. So instead of diving into that and swirling around in it, that’s swirling toilet of emotion that I referenced earlier. Drop the thought. Allow yourself to experience whatever pain seems to be arising, but try super freaking hard to separate it from the idea that you should not be feeling that because you don’t deserve it somehow. It doesn’t mean you do deserve it. I want to be clear there too. You don’t have to go and beat yourself up and lean into it. You just have to accept what is actually happening and when you start to go, I’ll deal with this as it comes instead of I’m going worry about it constantly.[00:16:17] It seems a little counter intuitive. I get that. How can I avoid suffering by allowing myself to suffer, but it really is one of the most powerful ways to reduce suffering by consciously avoiding all of that as you turn with meta-suffering that is actually under our control. This episode is sponsored in part by SmartMouth. I almost said smat mouth. I’m from Boston, but that’s what I ‘smat’ mouth. Go get you some ‘smat’ mouth kid. I love this stuff. I know I’ve said it a million times. I don’t care. I love using this. If I had one criticism of this, it’s that I don’t have enough and I’m not just saying that because they’re a sponsor. I found out about them because they were a sponsor and then this is one of those sponsors where we’re constantly like, “Hey, your campaign ended.[00:17:01] You should come back and if you don’t come back, at least send us more of the stuff.” Right? They’re like, “Uh, okay. We’ll do both of those things.” This is the bomb mouthwash. I thought, you know, the regular stuff was great and makes your breath fresh. This stuff kills the ability of the bacteria in your mouth to produce sulfur gasses, which is what causes bad breath in the first place. And it works for 12 hours. It works for 12 hours without your mouth tasting like fake mint for 12 hours. It just works on its own and in this nifty very scientific two chamber bottle. That’s right. It has science in it and you can’t beat that and it’s got the minty stuff in there. Don’t worry, you’re not going to have non-mint. You know, you’ll still get your psychological bad breath killing action as most mouthwashes have and will do.[00:17:51] However, the sulfur eliminator is really the key. This is the kick butt block the germs ability to consume protein, block their ability to produce smelly sulfur gas for 12 hours. No sulfur gas, no bad breath. So if you want to solve the real problem, you need to get the one with science in it, not just the one with mint in it. No one wants to be the guy or gal with that breath and now you won’t. Go get you some SmartMouth at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Target, Amazon, wherever you shop or go to SmartMouth.com and figure out how the science and it works. They’ll show you how this stuff works and if that makes you feel better before you buy it, then go right ahead and do that. But either way, SmartMouth, once you try it, you’ll be like, “Oh yeah, now I get it.”[00:18:31] This episode is also sponsored by Varidesk. These are amazing little devices. I got to say there’s sherbet sitting in a cubicle at a crappy desk, hunched over. You can put this thing on your desk. This commercial-grade device, I want to say space age materials, but that sounds so sixties, doesn’t it? There’s space-age materials. They didn’t put that in the copy. That’s me. You’re welcome. No charge. They’re really nice commercial grade materials. You can turn your regular work surface into a standing desk and frankly sitting is the new smoking. So if you can stand up at work for even a few hours a day, which sounds like a lot, but you will soon build up to it, is going to change the game for you. You got a little back pain, got a little foot pain, got a little joint pain. This will help you for sure. And honestly, I love this thing. It’s really well-made. People borrow them and never return them. And that’s the mark. That’s the mark of a quality product, Jason. If somebody borrows it and you never see it again, depending —
Jason DeFillippo: [00:19:25] I think that’s called theft actually. But if you know, we’ll go with borrow.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:28] When it’s somebody you like and or family, you know, and I separate family from people that you like because you never know that situation. But if it’s somebody who normally wouldn’t steal from you and they just got so attempted, they took your Varidesk. I get it. I get it. Varidesk has sit stand solutions that sit on top of your existing desks. You don’t have to drill anything in. They’ve also got full blown standing desks, little to no assembly, ready for use in minutes. Like I said, the thing’s well built, really nice. You won’t regret it. Try Varidesk risk-free for 30 days with free shipping to you and free returns if you’re not satisfied. See it for yourself. varidesk.com — that’s V A R I D E S K.com. All right, Gabriel. So what else can we do here?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:20:11] So the other thing to keep in mind is that suffering is something our brains are actually really good at doing, right? Because they’ve developed this unique ability to contemplate the past and the present and the future. And sometimes do that simultaneously or seamlessly. Like we can be in three different places at once. That’s how good our brains are at moving across time. And that ability to really have things that have already happened and imagine things that haven’t happened yet. Like that mental time travel that we can do is a really useful faculty. Because I mean, it allows us to learn from our mistakes in the past, right? And it allows us to anticipate challenges in the future so that we can make plans and do things better and you know, avoid potential suffering if we can think about it before it actually happens. But it’s also a really good way to experience stress about things that haven’t even happened yet.
[00:21:01] And that’s when it gets us into trouble because when we can experience a source of potential pain before it even happens, then what ends up happening is we suffer in advance and we set ourselves up to suffer again when that source of pain actually shows up in our lives. And for many of us that like anticipated suffering is even worse than the actual suffering when it arrives. Because when you worry, you’re always worrying about the future. It’s always forward looking. And that is sometimes what makes those events so worry. Some of the fact that they haven’t happened yet, but that we can contemplate them, we can obsess about them. For some of us that’s like a full time job, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:39] Uh, yeah, totally yeah. Gee, I can relate. Yes. And I will not only do that about a lot of things, I will get pretty freaking creative if I do say so myself about what could possibly go wrong. And I mean, I don’t know if that’s the Jewish side of the family, you know that DNA coming down the pipe. But I will tell you that I am pretty damn good at worrying about stuff that is very unlikely to happen. Now I’ve had it under control in the past enough to move forward and start these businesses and get this stuff going. But I’m certainly not immune to it. And I know that a lot of folks out there do the same thing and it doesn’t matter if you think you’ve got a handle on your emotions, if you’re normally very rational, all it takes is something to knock you off your pedestal for a second or knock you back on your heels and then all of this stuff can start to flood in and it can get out of control pretty quickly in my experience.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:22:37] Yeah, and a normal experience of just imagining something that you have to worry about. Like it could be as small as, “Oh it’s my mom’s birthday next month. I really, really need to get her something good.” Right? Or, “I really want to get that promotion at the end of the year. What are the nine things I’m going to have to do as an employee to really, you know, kill it this year so I can get there.” Like those are normal forward thinking activities that can easily tip over into a lot of suffering over things
[00:22:58] that haven’t happened yet. Will my mom like that gift? Like, should I get her that book or do I have to get her a cruise or you know, whatever it is like –
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:04] And if she doesn’t, is she going to think that I’m a bad son? And then how do I fix that? Oh my God, it’s so hard to fix a relationship with your brother. I know this one guy and his mom and him don’t even talk and it’s been 30 years and he’s heartbroken. Wait, did that happen because he bought her a bad birthday present? Probably not. But see that thought? That doesn’t make the cut. I just go down the pipe and other people I know we’ll just go down that pipe and I’ve gotten pretty damn good at controlling it. But like I said before, if you’re in some sort of other situation, holy moly, you can really just lose control of it. And that’s sort of the point. Your brain, our brains love doing that because we love gaming, especially as analytical thinkers. We love gaming out these scenarios and that’s really useful. Unless it’s driving you crazy and you’re doing it at four o’clock in the morning for the third night in a row. Right?
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:23:51] Totally. So what ends up happening is that we suffer long before we actually have to, if we have to at all, to your point, because you can game out these situations or imagine possibilities that will never actually play out the way you think they will. And then if it does happen the way you think it will, which again it often doesn’t, then you set yourself up to have to suffer twice. So it’s this weird thing of like we want to avoid suffering. We tell ourselves that we don’t want to be feeling this way. And then we end up suffering at the wrong times, usually way before we actually have to. And then again when the thing happens. And then for some of us, we even do it three times afterwards because if the thing that we worry about happening so much, like the missed promotion, the angry mother, the angry spouse or whatever it is, if that actually happens, then we think we could think about that for months or years.
[00:24:38] And then we remember it as a memory. So it’s really funny because you know, we humans walk around, we’re like, we really, “I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to deal with this stuff.” But the way we end up dealing with it means that we end up experiencing it once, twice, sometimes three times. When we say to ourselves, we never wanted to experience it at all. So I think the key takeaway is to notice when you are experiencing a form of suffering, big or small, about something that hasn’t happened yet because there’s a difference between imagining a possibility so you can plan for it or be prepared for it or address it. So it never actually has to happen and already stressing out about this thing that hasn’t happened and might never actually happen because that is not an event or a source of stress. That is a thought and that thought is a lot easier to worry about than the actual thing because it can exist here and now even if it’s never happened.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:29] And of course what you’re saying is that suffering is largely focused on the future. In these cases, so just a beautiful kind of release for me personally in cases like this is once you’ve identified this form of suffering, that you’re free to give up whenever you’re ready and just deal with stuff as it comes. Because until that future event actually plays out, you’re not obligated to obsess over it. Once we see that, and then we realize that one of the best ways to avoid suffering is to only suffer at the right time, since it’s not that time yet, you can just kind of sit back and relax and maybe get a few winks of sleep, and it does wonders for focus and actually solving problems because you’ve got all this cognitive bandwidth that you were just devoting 110% to go and down weird rabbit holes that were not helpful for you. Now you can go, “Oh wait, maybe I should just in my case, let’s just prep for the next show. Let’s focus on great content. Oh, I’ve got an idea. Here’s something that’s actually going to be helpful.” Instead of just vibrating at the dinner table, picking at a salad because dot, dot, dot. In five years we could be homeless or whatever, you know, whatever kind of catastrophizing has been happening. And frankly it makes me a lot nicer to be around. That’s for sure.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:26:44] Totally agree. Yeah. Dead on, dead on. And that actually brings us to the third important strategy for dealing with suffering, which is to focus not just on the symptoms of suffering, but on the sources of it. So this might actually seem a bit obvious because anybody who’s been listening to your show for a while knows that you’re a lot about, you’re big on execution and, and practical strategies and that, you know, you don’t want to just wallow in your feelings. You want to understand them and do something about it. But when it comes to suffering in particular, for some reason, this is a lot harder, right? Because suffering when it’s our own suffering is so interesting to us. Like that feeling of being unhappy or being stressed or being anxious. Sometimes that becomes a full time job, not just because it’s so intense but because it feels better and easier than actually doing something about it.
[00:27:32] I was surprised recently when I was reading up on the writing of the Declaration of Independence. Super random. I know, but I know, but there’s a killer quote in this in the Declaration of Independence that I did not expect to find there because I thought it was mostly, you know, foundational principles for the country. But there’s this other principle that was written in there that caught my eye and…
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:53] There’s a lot of fluff in the old Declaration of Independence.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:27:54] Let’s hear the quote before you call it fluff, all right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:58] They really padded those pages. Some of them sitting there with the quill and they’re like, “Look man, we need more of this and we’re not going to — people aren’t going to take it seriously.”
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:28:04] The teacher said we needed 5,000 words. You got to hit that double space. Double space the Declaration of Independence. So there’s this quote and the quote is, “All experience has shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” So let’s translate that because it’s a little obscure. Basically what the writers of the declaration were trying to say is that we all know that people would rather cling to their unhappiness than actually fix the things that are making them unhappy. And that’s a really interesting thing to put into the declaration if you think about it because the framers and the founders of the country were, I mean they were really responding to what they perceived as a huge amount of pain under the rule of the British. So that’s like a psychological experience that is separate from all of the heady stuff about starting a country.
[00:29:06] I just thought it was interesting that they wrote that into the document. But that is true just as true today as it was back then. Like we all know that human beings love to complain about the things that make us miserable. I mean, I’ve certainly done that, right? So the second though that we start actually thinking about doing something about it, then we realize that that’s hard. That can be hard sometimes, sometimes harder than just being upset. And that some of us would rather protect our grievances, like actually protect our suffering or our right to suffer than to do the hard work to really address it. So if you’ve ever been in an unhappy job or an unhappy relationship, or have had a problem with a family member or even a health issue, I mean, any of these things can keep up, kick up different forms of pain, but sometimes just sitting with them and internalizing them is the thing that feels easier to do and then doing something about them. So I think the third and maybe the most important principle of all of these is, is once you let yourself suffer, allow yourself to suffer, and you allow yourself to suffer at the right time, then the next obvious thing is to focus on the sources of that pain so you can address it rather than just sitting with the symptoms.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:13] What is super interesting about this quote, the translation, which is we all know that people would rather cling to their unhappiness than actually fix the things that are making them unhappy is that this is such a foundational idea of humanity that it made its way into the freaking Declaration of Independence, and yet here it is almost like a self-help meme, right? Where people have a victim mindset and instead of focusing on the things that are making them unhappy, which might be harder than suffering and clinging to their unhappiness and possibly getting sympathy as a result. I think a lot of folks for a lot of reasons will cling to their unhappiness because they get sympathy because being a victim turns you into somebody who gets attention and becomes an object of, I don’t know what you’d call it, some people want to help you with.
[00:31:03] People want to feel bad for you. People try to give you good feelings. It can become kind of an addiction and here are the founding fathers are literally writing into this document like, “Hey, we should probably stop doing this because otherwise we’re going to be under these dang Brits forever. We got to do something about this and quit whining about, I don’t know, taxation without representation or whatever.” Whatever the big issues were back then and we have to fix this, and it was so important for them to remember that, that they put it in the document. They weren’t just throwing this cliche across the table while they were kicking around ideas for this. It made it into the final cut.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:31:42] Yeah, I know. Isn’t that crazy? And it really tells you a lot about the mindset of the people who are working on this problem because they weren’t just in the mode of let’s come up with a technically brilliant solution to this problem. It’s like, let’s recognize that what we’re doing here is not just figuring out this annoying bureaucratic question of how to govern ourselves. It’s really about like our foundation for our experience in this world. Like how can we be happy? Like how can we address the unhappiness that we’ve all been upset about and that we could, if we wanted to, just lay back and accept as the circumstances that we just can’t change. Or we can say, you know what? We are in pain. We are suffering. We don’t like the situation we’re in right now. We know that it’s much easier given our makeup, given our brains, given our humanity to just accept that as the way things are. And they began with that and then made that kind of like the spiritual anchor of this bigger question of what the country should look like. And it’s weird because it makes you think like, “I wonder if those guys were onto some really, really old spiritual truths.” You know what I mean? As they were working on something that we think of as pretty modern, which is the experiment that they engaged in to start the country.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:57] Yeah. Maybe. I mean, it’s very possible or knowing I’m going to get so much shit for this, but I don’t care. Knowing groups of old white guys, they probably were like, “I just came up with this. I am a freaking genius. Somebody write this down.” And someone took out a quill and wrote it down and gave credit to the founding fathers for something that’s probably in like the Bhagavad Gita or something.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:33:18] Oh. So yeah. They did not cite their source in this, in this padded so that they were turning in. But I mean, if you know anything about these people, like they were more than just technocrats. They were deep thinkers and I’m not saying they were perfect, but like they were definitely educated and aware of a lot of really old truths that were around for a long time before they were and, and you can see that in their writing and their thinking.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:43] The ideas behind this though are not just not just profound when it comes to the foundation of a country. But of course when we talk about our own suffering, we have to then realize to some degree, big old asterisk, as long as we don’t decide to do the work or we’re unable to do the work, which I understand can be the case sometimes to address the problems that we’re dealing with. Then at least to some degree, we are choosing to continue suffering. And I want to caveat this too because if you lose a loved one or something very profoundly traumatic happens to you, I don’t want people to be like, so I’m choosing to be sad about this whore. No. Especially in a situation like we’ve experienced recently where we experienced a hard time, a loss of a business, we have to start over.
[00:34:30] These are very in context, very trivial sufferings. It’s just that they exist for us right now. So these are the types of things we can have a choice about. If you are undergoing something that is life altering that will never “get better or be fixed”, then I understand you’re in a different situation. And, Gabriel, there’s a story about a rabbi that I heard very recently and I wish I could remember the name, but he had lost his son and he wrote later about how he became so much more compassionate and so much more understanding and a much better rabbi, and a much better counselor to his congregation. And the question was, “Wow, you’ve gained all these insights. There’s so much good that came from the death of your son.” And he’s like, “Yeah, but I would trade it all if I could have my son back.” And that’s kind of the cold truth. He’s like, I can’t choose. So I can take the learning out of it. I can take the lesson from it. But he said if I could choose, yeah, I would choose to have my son back. So we’re not kind of, I don’t want to get the impression that we’re just BS-ing each other. Like, “Look, it’s always a choice in everything that happens. You can get positivity[00:35:38] from it.” Yeah, maybe. But it’s still going to suck. And that is also okay.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:35:43] Definitely. I’m so glad you said that. Because I 100% agree with that. And nothing we’ve been talking about today has suggested that you can choose to not suffer the way you can turn on and off a light. It’s not like a binary thing where it’s like either you’re suffering or you’re not suffering. And by the way, bro, that’s totally up to you. It’s not like that. But every principal we’ve been talking about is a way to engage with that suffering in a more productive and more self-aware way because it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. I mean, we’re all going to experience it. We’re wired to experience this pain — big, small, it doesn’t matter. It’s going to find us. So everything we’ve been talking about suffering at the right time and not suffering in ways that we don’t have to and just allowing ourselves to suffer in ways that are normal, that are unavoidable, right?
[00:36:31] That can apply to some of the most profound losses. And it’s not to say that those losses shouldn’t happen or that you can control the way you feel about them. It’s to say if it’s going to happen, what’s the best way to do it? Can we be better about it? And even in this case, you know, we’ve been talking about focusing on sources of suffering over symptoms of suffering. There might be a period where you can only focus on the symptoms. I would say losing a loved one is probably the prime example. I mean there is probably in my mind there’s probably no more difficult tragedy to deal with in that. It’s probably like the pinnacle of human pain is to lose somebody you love and there will be a period of time, we call that part of morning. Obviously is just to feel that and to be frustrated and angry and whatever other feelings come up because that’s not something you can fix.[00:37:15] But over time, even that has sources, right? Because if you continue to feel the pain, you can start to investigate why you feel it or why you’re not healing or anything like that. The story you just told about the rabbi’s really actually a really beautiful example of this because even though he would have gone back and traded it, it sounds to me like he was trying to understand the underlying mechanics of his loss. Like, yeah, of course I would go back if I could, but I can’t. So rather than just sitting with the loss of this for the rest of my life, what can I extract from it? What kind of person has it made me? And that is a really profound thing. I mean for a rabbi whose job it is to comfort and advise people, right?[00:37:54] Like that’s a really profound experience and an ability that he probably wouldn’t have had if he hadn’t gotten through it. So we’ve all sort of gone into like these really, really meaningful and interesting side conversations about the role of suffering. The biggest thing, I mean I find it interesting that you brought that up because the most interesting thing you’ve shared with me over the last couple months is just how much this transition has increased your empathy and your compassion, which is so funny because it’s a hard thing to read about. I mean people do try to read books about how to be more empathic and yeah, there are ways to do that. You can listen more consciously, you can be there with people, you can open yourself up to new experiences, you can try to understand where people are coming from and all of that is[00:38:36] great. But there is nothing for the empathy muscle like loss or pain or suffering because really one of the best ways to become more compassionate is to suffer. And that’s kind of the weird paradox of being human.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:48] Yeah. I don’t love recommending that people suffer in order to become more compassionate and empathetic. But here’s the thing, I don’t have to, because like you were saying, suffering will find you. Suffering is like the Liam Neeson in Taken of emotions, right? It’s like, “I have a unique set of skills and I will figure out how to get to you, somehow when you least expect it.” That’s not a quote from the movie because the quote is much more bad ass of course being Liam Neeson quote, but the idea that you’re going to somehow avoid this all the time or that you should worry about it when it comes is completely for not, because I will tell you days before all of this happened for us here, there was no indication whatsoever and so really there’s no point in worrying about it coming for you and there’s no point in worrying about what it’s going to be like when it hits.
[00:39:38] The point is you have to be prepared to deal with it in the way that you do that is by accepting that this is going to happen. And then also not worrying about the worry, not getting yourself into that swirling toilet of emotions. Easier said than done. So I don’t know Gabriel, here’s what I think — give yourself permission to suffer a little in the beginning but maybe kind of sort of set a wall for you and those around you will help you do this too. I think I mentioned this earlier, but I got an email from a gal, Nikki and I remember her name was spelled really funky and it was easy for me to remember because she was like, hey, we’ve got a lot of supportive email about what everybody’s going through here on the show and I don’t really want to talk that much about it anymore because I’m also sort of going through it and moving forward and everybody else is doing the same.[00:40:24] And my wife and all these other folks around here like, “Hey cool, we got it, moved forward, get it up, get over it and get it done.” They’re not saying that my or our team’s emotions are invalid or that we shouldn’t be worrying about. But a lot of those who care about us the most, super fans, those that are around us, that love us, family, they’re kind of noticing that, “Hey, um, this is awkward, Jordan, but if you spend more time working on this stuff and you get your head back in the game and you spend less time going, ‘weh, let’s watch Netflix’, which wasn’t a path I was really tempted to go down but could easily happen to any, to the best of us.” If people around you will draw a border for you and say, “Hey look, it’s time to get back in the game.[00:41:06] We’ll help you. That’s how you should seek to be supported. Try not to seek to be supported in the way where people are just giving you sympathy. Because I will tell you, also from experience, it’s so unfulfilling and it’s so pathetic and you’ll wake up one day and go, “Ugh, all I’ve done was make people feel sorry for me. This is so crappy. This is not how I want to get through this situation or solve this problem.” And for me at least, and for Jason as well, I know I am speaking for you Jason, so holler at me if I’m wrong. Getting back to work, getting your head back in the game and figuring out how to solve the problem and worrying about things as they actually come instead of beforehand. That has been a wonder drug for everything that has happened, big and small recently and that’s why I’m so keen on sharing this.[00:41:51] This is not a show where we want to discuss the ins and outs of the woe is me or the suffering itself, but how to get people through it because of the insights that we’ve gotten just over the past few months and the research that you’ve done here in this piece.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:42:05] Getting back to work was the single most important thing that we did. Yup. I have to say that hands down.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:11] And honestly, I wouldn’t have done it as quickly if it weren’t for you, Jason, Gabriel, of course, my wife and the management over at PodcastOne, our network. I was thinking like, “Oh gosh, you know, maybe we should just take some time off and think.” And you were like, “Nope.” And then the network went, “Hey, this sounds a little self serving, but you should just continue doing shows immediately.” And I was thinking, “well you guys, you just want your ad property.” And they were like, “Yeah. And also we don’t want to hear you complain and whine about it constantly.” And you know, there’s a lot, there’s a million other reasons, but they’re like, “Hey, hate to break it to you. You’re less valuable to us if you stop talking. So keep talking, keep recording it, put it online and we’ll figure out how to solve this problem later.” And that was simultaneously the most callous and yet most caring advise anybody ever gave us, in my opinion.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:43:03] Yeah. I mean when I think what they did it without you realizing it was give you this gift of actually acting and continuing to execute even while you are dealing with the stress and the anxiety and the uncertainty of it all. Because, I mean, Freud had his list of defense mechanisms or his, I think they were one of his defense mechanisms was sublimation, which is like channeling all of your feelings into a productive activity as opposed to like just sitting with it, right? Which is in a way, the first few episodes of the show have been that for you. I mean, they’ve grown out of that experience and instead of just lying on the couch complaining about it constantly, watching Netflix or disappearing to a book or trying to take a nap, right? You’ve managed to put it into a product.
[00:43:42] And here we are talking about something that is so meaningful and so important but it’s only because we had to go through it or you had to go through it. So I think the final key to avoiding suffering at the end of the day is action. The question is, can you allow yourself to suffer in such a way where it doesn’t take over your life, where you aren’t suffering in ways that you don’t have to, where you’re only allowing yourself to go through the experience? You absolutely do have to doing it at the right time. So you’re not worrying about something that happened in that, you know, might happen in the future or obsessing about something that has happened in the past. But you’re here, you’re here now and like maybe you do have those feelings and maybe it is difficult and maybe not every day is awesome, but you’re creating stuff and you’re doing stuff and you’re acting. And to me that is where we have to be at the end of the day is we can have all of these feelings, but if we can actually move forward and continue to grow and change and do things[00:44:32] then we’ve kind of cracked it. And that to me is what this topic is all about.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:35] So the final key to an air quotes, avoiding suffering at the end of the day is really action. So having those around you support you in moving forward because look, here’s what I learned. Luckily, the management norm especially over at PodcastOne, he is a salty businessman. He’s been in the radio game for 50 plus years and he’s really adamant in saying, “Look, this is a very recoverable situation.” So yes, it sucks. Get back to work. He didn’t make light of it at all, but his life experience had shown this to be true, that if you just get back into it, you can figure out how to get around it and get through it. It is very tempting for those of us around us, our best friends, our loved ones and things like that, they’re going to try to care for us in the way that they think we want to be cared for most of the time, and that’s because they don’t want to hurt our feelings.
[00:45:24] They want to comfort us. Sure, we’re going to get some tough love. If we have those kinds of people around us, they might say, “Hey man, you know, you’ve got to get back to it.” But a lot of a lot of people are just going to give you sympathy and you can train them to give you more sympathy if that’s what makes you feel good short term. But longer term, the best advice you can listen to are the people that are just imploring you to move forward and go through it and sometimes you will need the support. Sometimes it takes a village. We were just talking with Dan Heath and his book Moments and one of the examples in this book was a woman whose husband had passed away from ALS, which is just a terrible way to go and she was having trouble getting back dating and meeting people and she kept wearing her wedding ring and it was years later and what she did was she brought a lot of the people that were at their original wedding.[00:46:14] They went to their church and they had a ceremony where she went through all of her wedding vows backwards with the priest and then he took the ring from her and then interlocked it with the husband’s ring in a photo and she said that was the only time her ring could actually come off and she really did need all of those people around her because she was undergoing some real suffering and she was really stuck for frankly a really heartbreaking reason and that’s why she was able to finally go through it because she had all that support. But if she was just sitting around whining about how everything didn’t work out for her, I guarantee you that those around her who loved her would probably support that for years if not for the rest of her life.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:46:54] There are a lot of different forms of support and they don’t all look like support. I think is what you’re saying.
[00:46:59] Yeah. And yeah, sympathy is a big part of it. Compassion is a big part of it, but a lot of it is helping ourselves and helping other people and sometimes those go hand in hand to not let ourselves be owned by the experience of suffering, I think is what you’re really saying so that we can move forward. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:15] Yeah. And also just not letting people dictate how you get through this, right? Not letting people go, for me especially, and I can only speak from my own experience so pardon me for bringing it back to my situation here, but for me especially having people say, “This isn’t probably what you want to hear, but here’s my opinion.” And having them give me a real opinion was much better than the 100th person saying, “Oh, that’s so terrible. I’m sorry.” That was great after my mom did it a few times and then it was like, “Oh wait, I’m not 11. I need to suck it up and get through this.”
[00:47:52] And that was so much more helpful. And look, this could be the way that I’m wired. This could be like the entrepreneurial blood where I just needed someone to kick me in the pants and move forward. And that’s always works for me. But it’s counterintuitive because if somebody in your life is suffering, sometimes you really don’t want to be the one who says, “Hey, I don’t know if you thought about this, but you telling and complaining and going on with this and it’s already been three years and your divorce is already in there, that’s not good for you.” You can lose friends doing that. You can lose friends doing that and you can lose those around you. So a lot of us who love people who are suffering, we don’t want to do that and we don’t want to rock the boat. We don’t want to be the person who deflates that person’s balloon of suffering because they are really identifying with that. But I think if you want to be a good friend, you want to be a good mentor-mentee relationship, family member, whatever it is. You do have to, at some point say, “Hey look, tough love time.” And Jason, you sent me a tough love email that was like, “Hey man, I know you’re not feeling good. Get your ass to work now.” And that’s a paraphrase, but it was,
Jason DeFillippo: [00:48:58] Yeah, that is a very big paraphrase because, and I was going to say, as you were saying that, that was one of the hardest emails I had to write because I wanted to make sure that you were feeling okay and going through this and then it got to the point where, you know, it kind of could go back in on itself and I could see you just going into a ball and then I had to stand up and just, I’m like, I don’t want to write this email, but I had to. And I’m like, look, take the weekend, have a nap, do whatever you’ve got to do. But on Monday, put your big boy pants on and get to work. Because it’s time to go. We’ve got to get things done. And I was terrified when I hit send on that, that you were going to just say, “Screw you. I’m not ready, leave me alone.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:34] No, I forwarded it to like 20 people and I was like this guy, and Jen was like, “Yeah dude, hello?” And I went, “Oh yeah, okay, I’m the last one to get the memo. Got it. Okay, that makes sense.” And that’s how it’s probably going to work for a lot of folks in this situation. And I want people to know that that’s kind of supposed to happen and that it’s okay and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if someone comes to you and says, “Hey, put your big boy pants on. Put your big girl pants on.” They’re doing it because they see that you’re ready and you might be the last one who can actually tell if you’re ready. So if we allow ourselves the room to suffer when we have to, without beating ourselves up for suffering in the first place, without suffering before, we really have to, without accepting the symptoms of our suffering as some sort of unavoidable, this is how my life is now kind of thing, then we dramatically reduced the pain.
[00:50:24] We reduced the stress and the anxiety that are keeping us from doing the one thing we all know we really should be doing, which is changing our circumstances, coming better and acting our way toward happier and healthier lives. And that is the takeaway of this Deep Dive in my humble opinion. So Gabriel, thank you so much man. Always a pleasure.
Gabriel Mizrahi: [00:50:46] Yeah, me too. Thank you for having me on the show. I love talking about this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:52] So this is a good one, Jason. I always love the Deep Dives. These are, by far, sort of the deepest content because it does relate to what’s going on in our lives and Gabe is always so good at getting really good practicals and takeaways out of maybe nebulous topics such as suffering or other general topics. He’s just so good at that and that’s why he is the head of editorial here at jordanharbinger.com and I love this episode and there’s so many more good Deep Dives in the pipeline, man,
[00:51:21] I’m excited. I wish we could do them all at once, but Gabriel would go insane. Speaking of suffering, the poor guy would melt down.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:51:26] Seriously. No, Gabriel is wise beyond his very few years. I got to give him that. For a young guy, he knows a lot of stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:35] Yes, Guru Gabe in the house and if you enjoyed this one, don’t forget to thank Gabriel on Twitter. I’d also love to hear from you on Twitter, your number one takeaway perhaps from this episode. I’m @jordanharbinger on Twitter. I’m also on Instagram, @jordanharbinger, so you know this is all easy. If you remember my name, you can find us. I’ll tell you the show notes where all this is linked up. Can also be found at jordanharbinger.com. So just learn how to spell Jordan and learn how to spell Harbinger and you’ll never lose this again.
[00:52:01] This episode of the Jordan Harbinger Show was produced and edited by Jason DeFillippo. Jason Sanderson with us in spirit. Show notes are by Robert Fogarty. Booking, back office and last minute miracles as always by Jen Harbinger. And I’m your host, Jordan Harbinger. Please review the show in iTunes. You can click the star, but it means more to us if you write something. These are our first few reviews. Oh, first few hundred. I’m impressed by that, but now’s not the time to lolly gag and rest on the laurels. We’ve got to get back up, man. We’ve got to get back on top. So share the show with those you love and even those you don’t. We’ve got lots of more in the pipeline, like I said, and I’m very excited to bring it to you. But in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen and we’ll see you next time.
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