The tenant renting your upstairs room has become so paranoid and delusional that you and your spouse no longer feel safe in your own home. On top of this, he has no job, no car, and he’s behind on the rent. You don’t want to be the heartless landlord who evicts someone so clearly in need of help, but you also don’t want to wait until his erratic outbursts become violently directed toward you or your wife. So what’s the right thing to do here? We’ll try to find answers to this and more on this, our first Feedback Friday of the new year!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- How do you evict the mentally unstable boarder who makes you feel unsafe in your own house without also being heartless? [Thanks to attorney Corbin Payne for helping us field this one!]
- With a desire to “fix” the problems of others where you find them, you seem to get romantically involved with a lot of emotionally dysfunctional narcissists. What can you do to break this lamentable pattern? [Thanks to clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- In conversation, you often find yourself thinking of something to say before the other person has finished talking. And when it is your chance to speak, you’re painfully aware that you’re speaking too much. How do you strike a better balance of active listening and speaking succinctly?
- In your senior year of high school, you’re hopelessly overwhelmed. If you crush one deadline, another one looms nearby to crush your spirit. Your willpower is low, you’re neglecting basic self-care, and procrastination is always more appealing than productivity. Do you truly need a break, or are you just being lazy?
- As an underling ascending the corporate ladder, you found certain aspects of company culture a bit cringy and borderline cult-like. Now that you’ve started your own business, you want to create a company culture that builds rapport and teamwork while avoiding these pitfalls. But how?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
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Resources from This Episode:
- Dwyane Wade | A Life Bigger Than Basketball | Jordan Harbinger
- Jocko Willink | The Winning Example of Extreme Ownership | Jordan Harbinger
- Dave Navarro | Instagram
- The Spotlight Effect and Social Anxiety | Verywell Mind
- Corbin Payne | Twitter
- A Landlord Says Her Tenants Are Terrorizing Her. She Can’t Evict Them. | The New York Times
- Abusive Tenant | Mr. Landlord
- The Faculty | Prime Video
- Does a Landlord Have the Right to Interfere with a Tenant’s Behavior Towards Their Children and Contact Child Protective Services? | Quora
- Erin Margolis | Thrive Psychology Group
- How to Practice Active Listening | Verywell Mind
- Your Future Starts Here | Common App
- Why Procrastinators Procrastinate | Wait But Why
- How to Beat Procrastination | Wait But Why
- Stopping a Swami from Swindling Our Mommy | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- The “Cult” in Company Culture – Corporate Cringe | Joshua Flake
- Michael Scott: Greatest Hits | The Office US
- Mike Abrashoff | It’s Your Ship — Here’s How to Shape It | Jordan Harbinger
- Darknet Diaries
609: Evicting a Boarder with a Dangerous Disorder | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the booster to my dose of this life-saving advice vaccine, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.
[00:00:23] We're going to get emails. I know it already about the vac — it's a hoax. It's about the control — we're going to get some crazies. I've gotten some crazies, reasonably.
[00:00:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Still a booster.
[00:00:33] Jordan Harbinger: Still a booster.
[00:00:34] We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people on the show think and behave. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:00:48] Now, if you are new to the show, on Fridays, we give advice to you and answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of really frankly, amazing folks from athletes to authors, spies to CEOs, thinkers to performers. We had some fantastic episodes this week. We talked with NBA superstar, Dwayne Wade, especially really about anything other than basketball, which was really fascinating, parenting role models, leadership. Go figure. He's a lot more complex than what you see on TV. I really enjoyed this conversation and I think you will, as well, even if you don't have kids and you don't care about basketball. We also had one that I recorded several years ago from the vault with Jocko Willink, really popular episode, a lot about leadership. A little bit about violence in there. I just found this conversation really fascinating, worth remastering and re-airing. So let me know what you think of these episodes once you've had a chance to listen.
[00:01:37] And Gabe, I want to start off with this. I can't believe I remembered this. This literally happened to me maybe 10 years ago now, eight to 10 years ago. I was walking through Hollywood. I used to live on Hollywood Boulevard, which is actually kind of a crappy area. Believe it or not. The walk of fame is disgusting, like pretty much—
[00:01:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: I remember it. That was a very specific phase of Jordan Harbinger.
[00:01:56] Jordan Harbinger: It was, yeah. And it lasted way too long. I was probably there for three or four years. But I was walking along right out near my apartment and someone goes, "Yo, Dave Navarro." And it was like this kind of like, whatever, like a rough looking dude. I'm like I'm not going to acknowledge this. Dave Navarro, if you don't know who that is, he's a rockstar and he's super famous in the United States anyway. So I shrugged that off. Then I walk a few more blocks and literally like a guy panhandling, homeless guy sitting on the ground. He's like, "Wow, bro, Dave Navarro." And I said, over my shoulder, I said, "Screw Dave Navarro. I'm not Dave Navarro." Because I was just kind of, I'd had it, you know, probably not having a good day.
[00:02:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Do you look like him?
[00:02:34] Jordan Harbinger: I don't think I look like Dave Navarro. No, I don't think I do. And then a voice behind me goes, "Uh, think he's talking about me, man." And I turn around and there was Dave Navarro. So that was a little embarrassing. But the takeaway here is, "Hey man, not everything's about you. In fact, usually stuff is not about you."
[00:02:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:02:54] Jordan Harbinger: You just think it is.
[00:02:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure.
[00:02:56] Jordan Harbinger: What's that, Gabriel? What's that like cognitive bias. I always forget this. Is that the spotlight effect?
[00:03:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: The spotlight effect, yeah. It's like you think everything. You think it's always about you and you think everybody's looking at what you're doing, but really everybody thinks that. So everybody's just focused on themselves and nobody's paying attention to you.
[00:03:11] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yes. My friend's grandfather, whenever I retell this, I say my grandfather, but it wasn't my grandfather, my friend's grandfather and my grandfather, as far as you're concerned, told me one thing a long time ago. And he said, "Yeah, I spent the first 30 years of my life worried about what everyone was thinking about me. And then I spent the next 30 years of my life not caring what anybody thought about me. And now, I'm in the final 30 years of my life and I realized nobody was ever thinking about me." And it's so true, but—
[00:03:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:03:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, Imagine thinking about that and coming to that realization at age 60, instead of right now. Right now, now, you know.
[00:03:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: My question is what, why was Dave Navarro doing behind you for so many blocks? I mean, was he like just falling following you?
[00:03:54] Jordan Harbinger: He was just trying to get my autograph. No.
[00:03:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, okay.
[00:03:56] Jordan Harbinger: He was walking down the hall of fame probably to go to his dealer. I don't know. Who walks on the—? If you don't live on Hollywood Boulevard, what are you doing there? It's dangerous. Get off the Boulevard. It's like tourists who want to go to the wax museum and people looking for drugs. That's it.
[00:04:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: I feel like Dave Navarro can afford a Lyft.
[00:04:14] Jordan Harbinger: Well, man, this is sort of almost pre-Uber, pre-Lyft.
[00:04:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Pre-Lyft.
[00:04:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh damn. Okay. Maybe it did have to walk.
[00:04:20] Jordan Harbinger: I think the guy would have had a bike or something.
[00:04:22] Anyway, you've heard me talk about this on the show before, probably a few months back, but I wanted to highlight this once again, I got an online trainer and I was highly skeptical of online fitness training, but about six, seven months ago, through some business connections, I decided to give online training a shot. This has turned my entire life around in such a good way. You know, like I said, I was skeptical of online training. This has really done. I'm more flexible. I can play on the floor with my son, a bunch. I can run around a ton. I can lift heavy things. I don't get back pain. I fixed some knee and hip issues that were starting to come up, which turned out to be because of an imbalance. I feel much healthier. I look better. I mean, it's just like really just flipped everything around for me. And I highly recommend anybody that's been like, "Oh, maybe I should get in shape." It's not just about losing weight. It's about getting stronger, functional fitness. You know, if you're spooked to go to the gym or your workouts are half-assed, get a trainer, I'm telling you.
[00:05:16] This company is called Wrkout, W-R-K-O-U-T.com, W-R-K-O-U-T.com. Usually you get a free trial, but I love this company. So now if you tell them that I sent you, you'll get your first three sessions, and 20 percent off your first training package. Again, I highly recommend it. W-R-K-O-U-T.com. Tell him I sent you to get a few free training sessions. That's W-R-K-O-U-T. So Wrkout without the first O.
[00:05:42] Anyway, Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:05:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, my wife and I are in our early 20s and living in our own house where we rent the top floor to a 47-year-old, six-foot-five, 300-pound man, and his 10-year-old daughter. Over the past few months, the tenant has become more and more paranoid. He has been raised stomping and yelling all day and night about hackers and microwave beam arrays in the walls and floors slowly following him and burning him alive. That's a direct quote. He also believes the house is slowly killing him with its dryness, a negative energy. My wife and I have both begged him to get help, but he thinks we in the neighbors are the ones doing all of this to him. He even admits that he is physically unable to stop yelling, which makes our lives a living nightmare. Recently, he had a complete meltdown accusing my wife of hacking his daughter's iPhone after I adjust factory reset it. He pounded on the door until my wife crying and petrified, opened it to find him throwing his daughter's iPhone on the floor, and then screaming at her that, "I'm the victim, not you stop crying. And I'm the one whose life is being ruined." When I got home, we talked with him and he seemed to understand that we are genuinely innocent. Then the next day, he confronted us again about the hacking. So I had to look at his phone and found that it was just him, putting his password wrong and changing stuff around in the settings. So finally we got the police involved. They talked with him and afterwards confirmed our suspicion that he has some sort of disorder like schizophrenia, but there's nothing they can do until he physically threatens himself or others. Last month, I had given him a two-month notice that we plan to use the entire house and to no longer rent out the room, but I don't believe he will ever move out. He has no job, no car. And he's even behind the rent. It will take at least a year for the landlord and the tenant board legal system to catch up or even consider our case due to COVID. We've considered installing a camera in the hallway when he inevitably gets violent or breaks into our unit, but he thinks everything will get hacked and is super paranoid about being watched. He even took the fire alarm down in the hallway since he thought it might have a camera in it. The only other idea I have is to offer him money, to look for a new place. Some friends and family have suggested calling child services, but I feel this option would definitely cause him to become violent. My wife and I are petrified and had been unable to sleep for the past few weeks. And now it's really impairing our ability to work. So, what other options do we have? What would you do? Signed, Fighting the Monster Over the Bed.
[00:08:03] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. This is a nightmare.
[00:08:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Nightmare.
[00:08:07] Jordan Harbinger: My nightmare, specifically living in the same house with a severely unstable person who's literally terrorizing me and my family and then refuses to get help. On the other hand, right? It's super sad for him, for you guys, for his daughter, especially somehow. I'm so sorry. This is happening to you, but more importantly, I'm worried about you guys. Something has to change, so let's get into it. Since a lot of your question hinges on the law, we decided to talk to an expert. Of course, we consulted with Corbin Payne, aka the Oracle of Knoxville, defense attorney and friend of the show.
[00:08:40] And the first place Corbin went was, how can they get evidence of what this guy is doing before they go to court? And that's where my mind went as well as worst lawyer ever, even I thought of this. The police reports are helpful, but going forward Corbin said it would be extremely helpful to get some audio or video of the guy's ranting, raving, the threatening. He said this has been critical in landlord-tenant cases because you don't want to get into a he-said-we-said situation. Apparently, a ton of landlords — surprise, surprise — will just say whatever it takes to get a tenant evicted because they want them out and judges have seen it all before. So you really want to come in ready to show the judge just a small taste of the nightmare that has been your life these past few months.
[00:09:21] Now, I know that that's hard because the guy won't put up with any kind of monitoring. Imagine — we're just going to put up a few cameras, but don't worry. We're definitely not hacking you. And your enemy of the state paranoid fantasy is totally, totally just that, a paranoid fantasy, but just a few more ring cams in the common areas, please. So you don't have to get clever.
[00:09:40] First of all, when he's talking to you have your phone in your shirt pocket recording already every time you have a conversation with him, even if it's not the video camera. And you're just sort of like back of the phone, but the audio is recording or, and/or you install a super discreet camera in the hallway while he's out of the house, of course. Or you set up like a Teddy bears/nanny cam in the common. And you only talk to him there so that you can record it. Do some Googling on home surveillance. Figure out what options you have that won't trigger this dude's paranoia. Hard evidence could be a game changer.
[00:10:15] And the good news is Corbin said that there's probably a quicker remedy to this than you think. If you're willing to take a loss on last year's rent — and I know that's hard to stomach, but hear me out here, you can likely get this guy removed because he's made himself a nuisance and he's breaking the law. He's harassing you. He's engaging in essentially aggressive assaultive behavior. Depending on your state, those grounds can allow you to expedite his removal. The only snag is that the law tends to be pretty specific and largely inflexible in what you can do as the landlord and what you have to do to successfully give him the boot over these behaviors.
[00:10:55] Corbin also said that the idea of giving him some financial incentives to relocate, it's not a bad idea, but you might want to double check if that's even legal in your state. There's coercion and stuff. You don't want to go over the line here. Corbin mentioned that some states that once had rent controls now have outlawed this practice because of the power imbalance between landlord and tenant, yada, yada. So just do your homework and make sure you're not breaking the law yourself there because the last thing you want is then to be dragged through the mud over this. Just trying to protect yourself.
[00:11:25] So Corbin's overall take is that this is one of those areas where you may/probably will have to retain an attorney. And I know that cost can be off putting, but Corbin said you might be surprised at the cost of hiring an attorney, pleasantly surprised I should add, for evicting a bad tenant. There's a lot less work involved in a case like this than say going after the guy for back owed rent or something like that. That's always tricky. This is a little bit less complex.
[00:11:53] Also, the influx of post COVID landlord-tenant cases has bogged down the system as you know. But according to Corbin, it's also left the judiciary, so like judges and things like that, just exasperated with bad actors in these cases. And this is a bad actor, right? So if you have to get in front of a judge, he said that the facts of your case could really cut in your favor, especially if you have airtight evidence of this guy's behavior. I mean, if you show up and you're like, here's him freaking out and making my wife cry and saying that there's laser beams in the walls, and then he says, "I'm going to come after you if you keep hacking me," eh, not a whole lot of wiggle room there for him to be like, "Hey, you know, they're treating me unfairly." I mean, he is mentally ill. And while as tragic as that is, you don't have to put up with it.
[00:12:43] Corbin made another good point, which is that this guy probably doesn't even have the wherewithal to hire an attorney. And if he does, he'd probably run his attorney off pretty damn quick. So if you're up against a pro se defendant, meaning a defendant who's representing himself, that also entails a lot less work generally than somebody who does have an attorney, which could even dramatically lower the costs of this case. But if you're not ready to hire an attorney, most states also have nonprofits that provide legal guidance to landlords, which is interesting and probably long overdue. They'll have the forms and the instructions on the timelines and the time limits and all that. So maybe start there and see what you can find.
[00:13:22] Gabe, the big question for me though, I know I went over some legal stuff here, but the big question, the real issue, that's just sort of in the back of my mind here or in the front of my mind, do they report this guy to child welfare/CPS? Because it is clear that somebody mentally unstable and potentially violent, he has a little girl trapped in the house with him.
[00:13:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. That is terrifying to think about. And we actually did some homework about that and you can absolutely report a parent who's struggling with mental illness if — and this is an important if — you believe their child is being abused or neglected. I mean, you're welcome to report them either way, but if a child is being abused or neglected, then child welfare can step in. It's not exactly clear from your letter if that's the case, but I think it's safe to say, Jordan, that this guy's daughter, she's not growing up in the healthiest environment, right? And that's kind of understating it and not to be alarmist or whatever, but who knows what this guy who thinks that laser beams and desiccation are slowly killing him? I mean, I don't mean to laugh because it's super sad, but it's absurd.
[00:14:21] Jordan Harbinger: Well, no one likes a dry apartment either. I'm with him on that. I'm with them on the dryness.
[00:14:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: But it's also, you know, it's a little, The Faculty, if you've ever seen that movie. It's a little creepy. So if that guy's concerned about all of that stuff that doesn't exist, who knows what he's doing to his daughter behind closed doors, even if he's not physically hurting her. I have to imagine that the psychological damage of a parent like that is very real. So yes, reporting him to DCF or an agency like that could be a good option, but you have to be prepared for the consequences. And the obvious consequence, which you already mentioned is that a visit from child welfare could really antagonize this guy. Maybe drive him to get even more violent with you, which is just terrifying to think about. If they remove him from the house that same day though, then you'll probably be okay, but that's not guaranteed. And, you know, he could always come back later. I mean, I'm just thinking about what this guy's capable of. Very impulsive, out of control, can't censor himself, you are dealing with a highly paranoid, highly aggressive personality. So just take that into account.
[00:15:17] Jordan Harbinger: And he's huge, right? 6'5" 300 pounds. Like this is a guy—
[00:15:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's right.
[00:15:21] Jordan Harbinger: —who can Kool-Aid man, your door in if he wants it.
[00:15:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: You're not tackling this guy on the front lot.
[00:15:26] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:15:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: The other consequences, and maybe the harder one to come to terms with, is what's going to happen to this 10-year-old girl. I mean, in general DCF and the courts try to keep families together unless there's a very good reason to separate them. But with a parent like this, it is possible that she gets taken away from him until he's evaluated and he's medicated and he's proven to be a fit parent. And then that could take who knows? Months, maybe longer. So here's the question. Do you know if this guy has any friends or family? I mean, do you have their contact information? Do you know if they're in the area because A, if DCF or the police did take this guy in, then the daughter would ideally be sent to live with the next of kin. Hopefully, somebody close to them, which would be a relatively good outcome here. But also B, if you're in touch with any of these family members, they might be able to help you talk this guy down, come to the house, maybe convince him to get help before you have to escalate this. If that's an option, I would definitely try to do that first.
[00:16:17] So yeah, this is a very difficult choice to make it kind of breaks my heart to think about this innocent 10-year-old girl being taken away from her parent and put into some foster home somewhere. I mean, we know some foster homes are great, but some, a lot of them, very violent, very difficult, just unstable in general. That is traumatic stuff. So the question is, is it better than growing up with a father who's ranting and raving and doing God knows what to her? It's very hard to say, but maybe.
[00:16:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that really is the question. And that is definitely what y'all have to figure out. But in any event, Corbin agreed here. It is critical to get this guy evicted ASAP. We obviously have — look, I've got compassion for someone like this. I know we're sort of painting him in the negative light here because of the way the letter came in. But I'm sure it's terrifying for him as well as you guys. But this guy's behavior is bad and it's only going to get worse. This guy needs psychiatric care and his daughter, she needs and deserves a safer parent.
[00:17:12] So Corbin's advice is to ask yourselves: what's the cost of having peace and quiet and knowing you'll be safe in your own home? Because the situation y'all are living in right now, I think, you know, it's untenable or un-tenant-able as the case maybe. I know I couldn't resist. So start making moves, get the resources you need. And most importantly, please stay safe. If this guy ever does threaten himself or you or your wife or his daughter for that matter. Don't even hesitate. Call the police immediately to protect yourselves as much as you can mentally, physically. I really hope this is all over soon and has a positive resolution here. Sending you good thoughts from California, where you basically have to burn the entire house down to get evicted, but good luck. Hopefully, you're in a more reasonable state.
[00:17:59] You know who won't accuse you of spying on them with laser beams and assault you in your own home? The products and services that support this podcast. We'll be right back.
[00:18:09] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:18:14] This episode is sponsored in part by My First Million Podcast. These guys are great. They're a top 25 business podcast on apple podcasts and every week Sam Parr, good friend of mine, and Shaan Puri brainstorm business ideas you can start tomorrow. Not only do they bring ideas, but they also break down how to pull off these businesses. These can be side hustles that make you a few grand a month, big billion dollar ideas or anything in between. The episode on vending machines and how they work, how those generate millions, kind of mind blowing because I don't spend any time thinking about vending machines. I assume you don't either, but there can be big money in it if you're willing to bust your butt. These guys also bring on founders, celebrities, billionaires, and they get them to open up about business ideas. They've never shared before the way Sam and Shaan talk and explain subjects, it makes you feel like you're sitting at a poker table with them hanging out, getting specific business or life advice, hearing successful funny guys tell you unique stories that nourish your imagination and your intellect. So not only do they teach you things, they also instill in you a method of thinking and a winning mentality. These aren't like, dude, bro, yell at you to motivate you kind of guys. So if you want to get an edge on the rest of the world, I'd say give it a listen. Great for anyone interested in investing, startups, side hustles. Search My First Million on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you're listening now.
[00:19:25] This episode is also sponsored in part by National Car Rental. National Car Pental is a premium, internationally recognized brand serving the daily rental needs of the frequent airport traveler throughout the world. As business travel returns, National is here to help you navigate the new normal. The award-winning Emerald Club is designed to make your car rental experience faster, more convenient and seamless. They've also extended elite tiers and free days. Emerald Club members have access to benefits such as premier selection, priority service and Emerald Club counter service, which allows for an expedited frictionless rental process. Whenever we fly, we grab a rental car from National and there's no waiting. There's no lines. You just jump in a car and go. It's so fast and easy. It almost feels kind of illegal. National's Emerald Club earned the top spot in Newsweek Magazine's 2021 List of America's Best Loyalty Programs in the car rental category. Emerald Club wins a ton of awards. In fact, they're ranked number one in its category based on ease and enjoyment benefit, overall satisfaction, customer support and trust, and rated number one worldwide for best airport location by kayak reviewers in 2020. Big thanks to National Car Rental for supporting the show.
[00:20:25] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. Who doesn't love some good products and/or services? You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show.
[00:20:38] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:20:43] All right, what's next?
[00:20:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hello, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a lady in her 20s and currently single. Although I'm very picky, I tend to gravitate toward guys who are basically narcissists with emotional dysfunction and big insecurities. Literally, all of my exes look exactly the same.
[00:21:00] I'm assuming by that, she means that they all have the same personality, Jordan.
[00:21:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not that they all look like Danny DeVito or whatever.
[00:21:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, Strapping Danny.
[00:21:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure, sure.
[00:21:09] I find myself looking for a case to solve. I unintentionally want to take the person under my wing, like a mother hen and fix them. This is not what I want for myself. I want someone who's confident and stable. I don't know if I myself have a problem. It's not like my life is empty. I'm in medical school and I'm about to take my first board exam. I live with my family and I interact with them all the time. I only have a handful of friends, but I'm happy about my relationships with them. How do I even find the time to get entangled with the wrong people? Now that I've recovered from the last toxic relationship, I'm open to meeting someone new. What's your advice for avoiding the wrong person? What are some red flags that I should watch out for? Signed, Finding Mr. Right While Avoiding the Blight.
[00:21:49] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I got to say, I love how open and clear you are about this pattern of yours. You've kind of nailed it. I think a lot of people can relate. We wanted to talk to an expert about your questions. So we turn to the one and only Dr. Erin Margolis, clinical psychologist, friend of the show.
[00:22:04] And the first thing Dr. Margolis said was that this pattern of yours, it doesn't have anything to do with how empty or full your life is, it has to do with you and how this pattern is functioning in your life. Her hunch is that there's probably something that feels safe or familiar about this dynamic with the men that you date, even if it's unpleasant. For example, maybe you saw this kind of caretaking and fixing in your parents' relationship, or maybe you received attention and love by being a caretaker to a parent or a sibling from a young age. And that's the only way you've learned to sort of feel worthy in a relationship or maybe — and I thought this was an interesting hypothesis on Dr. Margolis' part, maybe it feels safer to be the fixer in the relationship and not the one who needs to be fixed because you don't have to be as vulnerable. That's pretty insightful if that's true. Obviously, we can't know for sure, but we'll let you figure out if any of these theories fit.
[00:23:00] So Dr. Margolis' question was: what are you getting out of this template for your relationships? Does it make you feel good or maybe safe to play that caretaker role? Does it make you feel validated if someone who's emotionally unavailable needs you? Is being with that kind of person tied up with your self worth? Because whatever's drawing you to guys like this, it's not about whether you have a ton of time on your hands. It's about your history, your relational models, your conditioning. It takes two people to make a relationship work. It's not just that you're finding men who are narcissistic, toxic, in need of saving, it's that you're willing to tolerate and even participate in that pattern. That's the dynamic. So the first thing I'd encourage you to do is find the origins. This is a pattern that's repeating and it's worth uncovering what that pattern is, figuring out why and where it comes from.
[00:23:54] We also asked Dr. Margolis about these red flags, which things to avoid and prospective partners. And again, her take was that it's not necessarily about looking for red flags in other people. It's more about looking for these qualities we're talking about in ourselves or in yourself. When you develop more awareness around your own pattern, then you'll be able to make a more conscious choice about which men to get involved with rather than being, you know, yanked around by unconscious patterns and interpersonal habits.
[00:24:22] So Dr. Margolis' insight is that you're sort of asking the wrong question here. I mean, sure. We could tell you, you know, avoid guys who talk for more than 20 minutes nonstop without taking a breath or run away from dudes who dumped their insecurities on you immediately on the first date, but in Dr. Margolis' view, and it's a bit of a fool's errand, right? The more important thing to focus is which behaviors trigger you and send you into your own pattern of Mrs. Fix it, right? Or Ms. Fix it. Of course. If somebody is abusive or violent or is doing the exact same thing, one of your difficult exes, yeah, that's worth paying attention to, but outside of that, I'd focus more on you and less on them.
[00:25:02] So the best advice we can offer you, and this is not going to be much of a surprise, start going to therapy if you're not there already, that's really the only place to unpack the deep roots of a pattern like this with a professional who's interested in getting to the origins of this thing. And if you're already in therapy, great. Just make sure you're talking about the deep stuff, attachment history, old patterns, childhood, the past basically. As Dr. Margolis said to us in our consult, you have to go back to go forward and look, not every therapist takes that same approach. Different therapists might have different takes on that, but I'm with her on this.
[00:25:37] My unqualified opinion is that she's right. You know, the insight and growth you're looking for lie in the roots of this pattern. Not so much in what other people are doing. You're wanting to look outward at hypothetical partners that don't exist yet, but really you got to look inward and sort of fix your picker, if that makes sense. And I hope you get to do that. You're already halfway there in recognizing this problematic pattern and the fact that it exists and wanting to rewrite it. That is a huge step forward. Now, it's just time to do the work. You got this.
[00:26:07] Alright, next up.
[00:26:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, I have a problem where I talk way too much. I often catch myself in meetings and social situations and literally have to bite my lip to stop myself from talking. I'm fully aware of the fact that if I'm talking, I'm not learning, I want to learn about and from others. And don't get me wrong, I do listen a lot, but I often find myself thinking of something to say before the other person has even finished talking. The only thing I'll say in my defense is that in situations where there are awkward silences, I feel obliged to speak up and help everyone to relax. And I do always try to get others to join in. I'm good at spotting when others want to speak, but are interrupted or ignored. And I directly ask them for their input. So they have a chance to speak. I also volunteer for a crisis hotline to talk to people who are struggling with mental health. And I could listen for hours without talking too much as nothing on those calls is about me, but in my work and in my personal life, I just can't shut up. Do you have any tips for someone who wants to stop talking so much? Signed, The Loquacious Laborer.
[00:27:09] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, you're asking me this? I mean, as someone who talks for a living, you know, I'm not the best person to give advice on this candidly, but I have asked myself the same question. I'm always trying to find that balance between carrying a conversation and staying present enough to really listen. It's a skill like any other skill. And it starts with becoming aware of just how much you talk, which you're already doing, which is great. Gabe, there have been times and I mean, many of them. Like we're at a group dinner and I'll be talking and Jen will say to me in Chinese, "You're talking too much." It's just like under her breath. And I'm like, "Oh," and then I'll just be like, "What about you guys? Tell me about what's going on in your life." And she's like, "You're just really on fire." And I'm like, "I'm being entertaining, everyone's smiling and laughing." And then she's like, "Yeah, you need to not be Mr. Onstage all the time."
[00:27:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: I guess that Mandarin is paying off.
[00:27:57] Jordan Harbinger: It is. I get disciplined in multiple languages now at all times because no one else understands.
[00:28:01] So your situation is interesting though, because you clearly can listen when you want to look at the crisis hotline. And when you do talk a lot, it's not a narcissistic thing. It's not, "Cool story, bro. Let's get back to me." You just feel obligated to carry the conversation so everyone can relax. You try to get people to chime in. You even notice when people are ignored. You're like a white hat conversation dominator, right? You might talk a lot, but you're usually doing it in the service of something good.
[00:28:30] So I'm not totally convinced that you need to do a complete 180 here. I think it's more about calibrating the ratio of talking to listening. One easy way to do that is to catch yourself in the moment you feel the impulse to just go on and hit pause on the next comment. Right then and there, catch yourself wanting to talk again and tell yourself, wait, skip the next thing, make it about them. And then ask the person a followup question or follow their train of thought or pass the baton to somebody else and just stay quiet and see what happens. If the thing you were going to say turns out to be important, you can always say it later. If it wasn't important, you won't even remember. And over time your brain will start to learn what it thinks is urgent. Eh, usually it isn't as urgent as it seems. And if you're like me, you're like, "I need to get this out before I forget." And then it's like, you didn't really need to get that out and you can forget. And it's fine. There's no consequences. It's almost like, I don't want to use the term OCD, but it's a definite neurotic thing for me to be like, "I have to say this, or it's not going to happen." And the answer is, it can just not happen.
[00:29:32] The other thing that this practice will do is keep you present in conversations. If you're really clicked into what somebody is saying, it's impossible to plan your next comment, an idea, or a comment or a reaction might float across your mind, but you won't be reviewing it and practicing it like a transcript of the conversation in advance. And this is something I had to learn with interviewing because a lot of interviewers just know what they're going to say next. And they don't listen, they just go to their next thing. And that's an interview killer. It kills the flow. So my main piece of advice is to totally focus on the person in front of you. That is it. I know it's easier said than done, but let go of the need to control the conversation. Just listen.
[00:30:12] Whatever you learned by putting all your attention on another person, that's where the conversation will go. And that's where it should go. You don't have to control every exchange. You can just follow the other person and together you guys will create the conversation. In fact, the more you listen, the more other people will want to talk. I'm sure you've noticed those because more than anything people love to be heard and the less pressure you'll feel to prepare your next comment and be sort of a performer.
[00:30:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Man, that is so true, Jordan. Just that feeling of being in the presence of somebody who's really, really clicked into what you're saying.
[00:30:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:30:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ah, it's just, there's nothing better than that feeling. And it would be a relief for her to be able to put down that need to control conversations down for a little while and just be present with whoever she's talking to. But, you know, what I'm wondering is really what's behind his impulse to talk so much. I get the sense that she's really good and I mean, really good at taking care of other people. You know, making sure everybody feels included, making sure that they're heard, she's always looking out for people who are maybe on the outside of a meeting or who were being interrupted. I think it's coming from a really good place. She's working so hard to make sure that happens. It's incredibly thoughtful. She's very attuned. I mean, look, she's even volunteering at a crisis hotline on top of all of this.
[00:31:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: So she clearly cares about other people. But in another way, I wonder if she's feeling a lot of anxiety about what would happen if she didn't direct these conversations, like what would happen if there were an awkward silence in a meeting and she and her colleagues just, you know, sat there for 10 or 15, 20 seconds, just thinking about whatever the last person said. Would that really be so bad? Like, what if that silence were actually productive? I mean, maybe in that silence, somebody would have an unexpected idea or somebody else would speak up or they would all just hang in the silence and appreciate the problem that they're trying to solve.
[00:31:55] I think her fear of the awkward silence is very telling because to her, any silence at all is awkward, but that's not the case. It's just that she hasn't allowed herself to find out what happens when she doesn't try to fill every single gap with more words. She doesn't know that her conversations might be even better if she pulled back just a little bit and created more space for other people to step up. So I try to figure out what's behind the impulse to talk so much. Is talking a subtle way to maybe assert control a little bit? Is it a way to take the burden off of other people to play their part? Does it feel really good to take care of everybody? All of these impulses, again, come from a good place, I know, but they might not always be serving you or other people the way that you think.
[00:32:36] Jordan Harbinger: That's a really good point as well. And the fact that she can do this at the crisis hotline, but not in her own life is interesting as well. I would try to figure out what it is about talking to strangers that makes it so much easier to listen. Maybe there's some distance there. You don't feel as responsible for them although it's hard to think about. Like, it's hard to imagine that's the case on a crisis hotline, but what do I know? Or maybe talking to somebody on the phone, maybe that forces you to really listen because you can't see their face. You can't see their body language. And that's fascinating as well, actually, because maybe that's another exercise you can try just listening to what someone says as if they were talking to you on the phone and seeing what you notice.
[00:33:15] I don't think you can really wear a blindfold when you're in conversation. That might be a little weird, but you know, we'll figure out how to make it work. Whatever it is, try to apply what you're doing at the hotline to your life in any way that you can and see what happens. You're obviously capable of listening and you clearly have a lot of empathy. You just have to apply it the right way and figure out what's driving the urge to talk this much. Dig into that and see what comes up. And I love your self-awareness about all this. I think it's really admirable. And now I'm self-conscious about talking on this question. So I'm done.
[00:33:46] You know, who won't talk nonstop though, without taking a breath? The sponsors who help support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:33:54] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show, and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:33:59] This episode is sponsored in part by Grammarly. It felt like just yesterday I was playing Xbox while sipping on hot cocoa spiked with a shot at Glenfiddich, suddenly it's 2022, and my inbox is starting to pile up. Thankfully, Grammarly can help take the load off. Grammarly is smart AI powered writing assistant that can help you jump boldly into the fray with clear mistake-free writing, keep every pitch proposal and deck pristine. Grammarly is great in helping me communicate clearly and kindly for that matter, even when you're in a hurry. What's the saying, if I had more time, I would've written a shorter letter for me. It's if I'd had more time, I would have sounded less like an a-hole in this email. Grammarly has not only helped me sound smarter by increasing my vocabulary, but it'll also say like, "Hey, your tone here is a little bit extra hard-ass." It doesn't quite use those words, but I know how to read between the lines, Grammarly. And thanks to Grammarly, I come across sounding a warmer than I am in reality.
[00:34:48] Jen Harbinger: Start the year off right with Grammarly. Our listeners can get 20 percent off Grammarly Premium at grammarly.com/jordan. That's 20 percent off at grammarly.com/jordan.
[00:35:01] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Progressive. Progressive helps you get a great rate on car insurance even if it's not with them. They have a comparison tool that puts rates side-by-side, so you choose a rate and coverage that works for you. So let's say you're interested in lowering your rate on your car insurance. And who isn't? Visit progressive.com to get a quote with all the coverages you want. You'll see Progressive's rate and their tool will provide options from other companies all lined up and easy to compare. So all you have to do is choose the rate and coverages that. Progressive gives you options so you can make the best choice for you. You could be looking forward to saving money in the very near future. More money for maybe a pair of noise-canceling headphones, couple of Xbox games, maybe a new laptop, whatever brings you joy. Get a quote today at progressive.com. It's just one small step you can make today that can make a big impact on your budget tomorrow.
[00:35:46] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates, comparison rates not available in all states or situations. Prices vary based on how you buy.
[00:35:54] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Blue Nile. Getting ready to pop the question? Friendly little PSA, Valentine's day is coming up. Make sure you got it all planned out. Whether you're customizing an engagement ring or looking for fine jewelry to gift for Valentine's day at bluenile.com, you can find a timeless piece like classic diamond stud earrings, elegant tennis bracelets, all that stuff that never goes out of style. It's all at bluenile.com and with free two-day shipping, even options that ship same day for those of you that wait till the last freaking minute. I get you. I see you. They got you taken care of. Jen is thrilled with her push present, which is a one-carat total weight, diamond eternity ring. And we call it that because the baby was 10 days late. It took a frigging eternity to get here. But anyway, that ring showcases a full circle of round brilliant cut diamonds set in polished 14-carat white gold and Blue Niles experts were always helpful with my questions.
[00:36:40] Jen Harbinger: Make your moments, sparkle, the jewelry from bluenile.com and our listeners get $50 off $500. This podcast exclusive is only good through Valentine's day and includes engagement. Use code JORDAN. That's code JORDAN. Plus every order is insured, ships free, and arrives in discreet packaging that won't give away what's inside. Shop stress free and find your forever peace. Go to bluenile.com today.
[00:37:02] Jordan Harbinger: Hey, by the way, Spotify just released the ability to rate the show in the Spotify app. You search for the show in Spotify, and then you click the little dots on the right, and there's an option for rate the show. Please rate us five stars. I think it helps. I know a lot of you using Spotify wanted to rate and review and didn't have a chance because it was only on Apple and other platforms before, but please in your Spotify app, search for The Jordan Harbinger Show if you need to do that and then click the little dots up there on the right and rate us five stars. I think those ratings are going to matter for the charts. So if you want to help other people discover this show, I would really appreciate it. It would be super helpful. Thank you so much.
[00:37:36] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:37:40] All right. What's next?
[00:37:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabriel. I'm in the thick of my senior year of high school. And I'm feeling very overwhelmed. It's as if the second I take care of one deadline or crisis, another one pops up and I'm constantly doing damage control for things I let slide. I'm so busy at this point. I'm regularly neglecting basic self-care, sleeping too little, skipping breakfast, eating poorly, and so. I suspect that your advice would be to reprioritize. But the problem is that I feel like I should have time to manage everything as many of my peers seem to be able to do. I regularly lose the willpower to work. And then I procrastinate. I'll watch random YouTube videos late at night, even though I'm tired. I'll practice guitar instead of studying or draw and listen to podcasts, yours included. Anything that's distracting enough to lessen the stress that I feel. For example, I should be taking physics notes right now, but instead I'm writing you this email and now I feel guilty whenever I'm not working. What's the difference between self-care and procrastination? Is this happening because I truly need a break or am I just being lazy? Signed, Seeking Enjoyment or Just Being Avoidant.
[00:38:42] Jordan Harbinger: Such a good question. Gabe, do you remember junior, senior year of high school?
[00:38:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh yeah.
[00:38:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So intense. I did my senior year. I was an exchange student, but I think, you know, I pushed all that crap to junior year. You're up at six, maybe like 5:00, 5:30, depending on the school. You're at school, like 7:00, 7:30. Eight classes until what is it? Three o'clock. And then you've got sports and clubs and all that stuff. And you go home and have a ton of home. If you're like me, I think of the '90s with like three, four hours of homework, some nights, on top of all that. Now, you're also supposed to be working on your freaking college applications while you're just totally brain dead and trying to be a human being and function. I honestly have no idea how we did that. That's just straight up young person energy right there. I mean, I still work pretty hard at my age. Harder than most people I know that are my age, just from an energy perspective, but in terms of pure hours and brain power, there are weeks. I don't even come close to how hard I grinded. Is it ground, grinded in high school? On like four freaking hours of sleep per night for weeks and months at a time being a teenager.
[00:39:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Brutal.
[00:39:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, being a teenager, especially a teenager right now, it's beyond intense. I think competition's probably even more intense than it ever was. And there's like social media following you home. And that's not even touching on the social aspect of being a teenager, just the workload. Anyway, all of that to say, what's asked of high school seniors is literally insane to me, borderline in human, really. So what you're describing it doesn't sound out of the ordinary to me at all. I know your peers seem to be handling this a lot better than you are. Maybe some of them are, but I promise you that they're all struggling in some way. We had people addicted to coffee who were like 14. Okay. The other people are just good at hiding it or no one's asking. So everyone thinks they're the only ones having a hard time. Just keep that in mind. It's like Instagram, no one wants to be like, "I'm having a hard time." It's just like, "Oh, well, my life sucks. That's what's up right now. It's just the way it is." And parents have no clue, generally. They're like, "Well, just go to bed earlier," because they have no clue that you're doing homework or that like, you have to get — they're like, "Well, just quit band." And it's like, well, okay, that's like the only thing they can be competitive for college, but cool.
[00:40:54] So let's talk about the main reason you wrote in. What's the difference between self care and procrastination? Such a great question at any age, and it's tricky because a lot of procrastinatory behaviors, sure, they're often a clever way to put off work, but they can also be your brain's way of saying, hang on, we need a break here. We need to laugh or play or just escape for a little. And that can actually be healthy. So I'm not sure there's a clear divide between procrastination and self-care. Sometimes procrastination is also self-care, like playing guitar or writing an email to us, but not all self-care is necessarily procrastination, of course, if that makes sense to you.
[00:41:34] But in general, I think we know deep down when we're procrastinating, it's when you're doing one thing, when you should be doing something objectively more important and the behavior is impairing your ability to succeed. There's a difference between playing guitar for an hour on a Sunday morning because it's meditative and helps you focus later and playing guitar at 2:00 a.m. in the morning while your calculus homework sits there, half finished, and you should definitely be asleep. One is therapeutic and expressive. The other is staving off anxiety or boredom or stress in the short term and only creating more of it down the line.
[00:42:10] So the best advice I can offer you, and this is after years of struggling with the exact same problem, is to become a lot more, a lot, lot more deliberate about your time. If you know you need an hour and a half to, I don't know, shower and play guitar and talk to your best friend and have dinner with your family, put it on the calendars, schedule it into your calendar and do all of those things within those 90 minutes. And if it's impossible to get done in 90 minutes, the answer isn't to do everything faster or to blow over that time slot, it's to stretch out the time slot next week when you realize that you need more time. Then it's back to work. Another 90 minutes for homework, 30 minutes to watch an episode of The Office and decompress, check your texts, grab a snack, whatever. Then put the freaking phone away, and it's two hours to work on college essays. Run a timer. Then you're in bed at 10 or whatever. So you can get the eight hours of sleep that you need. Tomorrow, do the same thing.
[00:43:02] This is not rocket science. There's no big secret here. It is, frankly, just about being disciplined and these boundaries though, they are crucial. They tell your brain when it's time to play and when it's time to work. So it isn't trying to do both at the same time because it hasn't gotten any frigging rest for a month. Boundaries will also help you get things done more quickly because you're totally clicked in for a period of time. You're not dragging an assignment that should take 45 minutes into four hours because you're sort of half playing Halo during, right? And they force you to prioritize. If you schedule everything out and you realize you actually can't go to the movies this weekend, you'll know that your job is to really buckle down and finish those applications. And you won't be at the movies having a freaking panic attack about how you're going to answer essay number two on the common app or whatever, and then not enjoying any single month.
[00:43:54] And I know you said that you feel like you should have time to manage everything. That's a freaking myth, man. Either you do have time to manage everything and you haven't figured out how, which is what we're talking about. Or you don't have time to manage everything and you need to make some trade-offs in the next couple of months or for the next couple of months, which is perfectly fine. There's zero shame in prioritizing. It is not a weakness. It's actually the definition of discipline. This is what every successful person that I know does. So, no, I don't think that you're lazy and I don't even think that you lack discipline. I think you're just under systematized.
[00:44:30] Also I would go back and check out episode 547. It's a Feedback Friday. We took a question from a woman who was struggling majorly with procrastination. And we talked in depth about why it pops up and all the ways to deal with it. That'll be a great listen for you, jordanharbinger.com/ 547. I think it was the last question on that episode. We'll also link to that in the show notes.
[00:44:53] So give this a real shot and I think you'll find some relief from the stress and anxiety that you're facing, but also know that stress and anxiety are normal parts of being a junior, senior, whatever, in an insane freaking educational system. Once spring rolls around, you'll feel a lot better and it will not always be this way. No college is not worse. A lot of people expect it to be, it is not. It's kind of the opposite in many ways, but if you can learn to develop the habits and techniques to thrive at 17 years old or whatever, you're going to take those with you into the rest of your life, which is a huge. Whether you're working in a business, that's your own or someone else's. So as much as you can try to view this as an opportunity to grow as well. You've got this. You have all my confidence. I used to be a freaking disaster way worse than you. Goodluck.
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[00:46:14] By the way, if you're joining us for the first time, or you want to tell your friends about the show and I always appreciate it when you do that, check out our episode starter packs. Those are collections of favorite episodes organized by popular topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started.
[00:46:33] Alright next up.
[00:46:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, when I was attending college, I worked for quite a few large corporations and many of them had a very ingrained company culture. From mottos to systems, they always seemed so artificial and so fake. At most of these jobs, I was at the lower end and remember joking about how ridiculous they seemed with coworkers. A team leader comes by and spouts some script about teamwork makes the dream work. And you know, we're a team because of X, Y, and Z. I even remember a job I had where we had to pool our hands together in a circle and say, "Juiced," for the start of each shift.
[00:47:07] Jordan Harbinger: Juiced.
[00:47:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Did you work a job as juice or was that like a juice specific thing? Or do you think they say that a normal company?
[00:47:12] Jordan Harbinger: No, I think it's a very juice specific thing. Like, it sounds like juice place.
[00:47:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: He worked at Pressed.
[00:47:17] Jordan Harbinger: It's actually kind of clever. I won't lie, but I can imagine walking in there and having to do it by force sometimes you're just like, I need a slower start folks.
[00:47:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Little annoying.
[00:47:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:47:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think that one's context dependent, but I hear you.
[00:47:29] The whole thing was borderline culty. I've grown a lot since then and have a successful business with a great partner and a decently sized staff. Now, we're working on developing our own company culture, but I can help remember how repulsive that concept was to me in the past. I don't want us to become that annoying employer, that imposes eye-roll culture speeches on their staff. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but it's affecting my buy-in as to what we're trying to do. So I'd love to hear some extra input. How do we do company culture without the cringe? Signed, The Cautious Culturist.
[00:47:59] Jordan Harbinger: Man, I'm so with you here, my time in corporate life was short, but almost every company culture, I was a part of, it felt kind of cringe in some way, especially those places where they try super hard to, "We're going to make our culture a thing," right? It just makes me think of office space where they're like you only have 37 pieces of flair. That's really the minimum. As soon as you're coming up with catchphrases and anagrams and rituals and forcing them on people, it's already weird. It's just so artificial and yes, borderline culty, for sure. So I'm with you, man.
[00:48:26] Obviously, seeing as I run my own business and our company culture around here is basically me and Gabe roasting each other for 10 minutes before we hit record. I don't have a whole lot of so the background doing this here. We do the annual Zoom call to make sure everyone is still alive and breathing. But the fact is we like to have — that's the bare minimum. That's the very bare minimum—
[00:48:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Very nurturing culture.
[00:48:50] Jordan Harbinger: The bare minimum around here is the pulse. Yeah.
[00:48:54] The fact is every company has a culture whether that company consciously creates it or not. And some company cultures are just the lack of a culture and it's kind of a free for all. And then it's really about the quality of the people who work there, which works for some of these small companies. Like if they're awesome people, the culture is pretty awesome. There's not a whole lot of people here. Everybody's great. So we kind of don't have to force slogans on everyone, but if they're not awesome people, it can totally go off the rails. And I do think that a good company culture is essential. And if it's done right, it can be amazing, which I know is what you want. I've been in companies with bad culture and that's way worse than no culture and way worse than a cringe culture.
[00:49:35] Here's what I'm thinking. First of all, your cringe detector, when it comes to this stuff, is pretty high, higher than most. You know, firsthand what a cheesy, culty culture looks like. So anything you guys consider implementing, I'd run it through your cringe filter. If your business partners, like what if we did happy hour every week and everyone went around saying one thing that made them feel vulnerable at work recently, you can just imagine being an employee standing there, just sweating with a Sierra Nevada in his hand, like racking his brain for something that's good to say, but not actually vulnerable because you don't want it to go there at all and be like, "Nah, that feels forced. This feels pushy. I don't like it." But maybe you could imagine having fun at a happy hour, once a month, where anyone who wants to say a few words about what made them excited at work lately, maybe that's the better version of the ritual. So you can actually use your cringe filter to find the right ideas to put into place.
[00:50:31] At the same time though, I wouldn't feel too much pressure to create those rituals from the top. That's where the cringe comes from. A lot of the time some executive or rando consultant comes up with these ideas in their offices or in like a boardroom because they got to justify their salary and then just rolls them out as a matter of policy. Then the culture becomes rigid and self-conscious as opposed to playful and organic. I'm just envisioning — this is so Michael Scott/motivational posters on the wall of the conference room type of stuff, right?
[00:51:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yup.
[00:51:01] Jordan Harbinger: So if I were you, I'd start paying attention to the little ideas and customs that develop around your office and then find ways to formalize those things. So, for example, if you overhear a customer service rep asking a customer about their dog barking in the background, and it goes well, and it's kind of a fun thing that happened that day, maybe you write that kind of chat into the customer service support scripts, and you guys become the friendly company that talks to customers like they're actual human beings. Or here's another random idea, right? If a bunch of your employees like form a bowling league. Maybe you have a quarterly party down at Lucky Strike. Maybe you have different departments face off and they get a little crappy plastic trophy that goes on the desk of somebody or they rotate it. Or if your business partner accidentally blurts out some weird phrase in a meeting, maybe you guys turn that into a meme or a running joke. Like everyone goes, "All right, guys, time to crunch some snails." And that's how, you know, it's time to end the small talk and get down to business or whatever, right? You don't have to force it on people. It doesn't have to be a thing people have to use or participate in dumb examples. I know, but you get the idea.
[00:52:04] These are organic references. They mean so much more than like, "Juiced," before starting. Juiced is lame, but no one else in the world says, "Let's crunch some snails." That phrase carries a very specific meaning that ends up being unique to your company. And that tiny thing becomes part of your culture. And then that'll encourage other people to do the same. And then your employees will be creating the culture too, which is really what you want. That organic bottom up culture, especially in a smaller company.
[00:52:34] The other thing you can do is just ask your employees what they like, what they don't like, what would make them happier or more productive. Check in with them from time to time, and just ask them, "Hey, are you liking the weekly happy hours? Are they fun? Do you just feel kind of obligated to be there? The whole share one thing that made you excited thing, is that working for you? Tell me the truth. I really want to make sure we're getting our culture right here and we're not going full, Michael Scott." And maybe they say they love it, or maybe they say it's a bit much. And then you just adjust or get rid of the ritual accordingly. And you, welcoming candid feedback like that, not being heard or holding it against them or being passive aggressive about it, using it to make the culture better, that's also a big part of building your culture. Because when your employees realize they can speak freely and you'll take their ideas on board, then they'll feel heard. They'll feel invested. They'll want to keep sharing ideas with you and the culture will just get better in.
[00:53:28] So a lot of what makes a culture is actually just the way you treat your employees, the core values you guys embody, not just, you know, whether you dress up as Pennywise the Clown every Friday or yell catchphrases at all hands meetings. Because at the end of the day, culture is really just how it feels to work at your company, right? You know, is it fun? Is it supportive? Is it inspiring? Is it productive? Stay focused on fostering that experience. And I know that you'll get the details right. So good luck with that. I know that's tricky. It's a fine balance.
[00:53:58] Hope y'all enjoyed the show this week. I want to thank everyone who wrote in and everyone who listened. Special shout out to listener Braden James, who found us in Darknet Diaries and wrote into the show and really, really, really wanted a shout out. So thanks for listening, man. I appreciate. Don't forget to check out the episodes we did with Dwayne Wade and Jocko Willink this week.
[00:54:17] By the way, we're not going to be making worksheets for episodes anymore. I know collective groan. There's just a lot of work involved in creating them. It's very hard for us to keep up. It's almost impossible. We're just not going to have new worksheets moving forward. But the old ones will stay up. So I hope you find those useful there at jordanharbinger.com. There's links in the show notes for the worksheets. When you look at them, you'll see that, "Wow, these must've been a ton of work," and they were/are. So we're just going to kind of let that go. I know you get a lot of use, but we just can't. We can't.
[00:54:47] If you want to know how I managed to book all these great people that are on the show, I manage my relationships using software systems and tiny habits, and I teach all that for free in the Six-Minute Networking course over there on the Thinkific platform. That's at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you're thirsty, I'm teaching you how to do that. These drills, they take a few minutes a day. There's really no excuse to not do it. Ignore it at your own peril. Find it all for free, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:55:14] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me on. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi. Don't forget to rate us in Spotify, you search for The Jordan Harbinger Show in Spotify. You click the three dots on the right there. One of the options is rate show. Please give us a five-star rating if you think we deserve it. I think it'll help us in the charts. I really love to test this and I would really love your feedback on the show in the Spotify app. Thank you so much.
[00:55:45] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. Ditto Corbin Payne and Dr. Margolis' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance and that means you.
[00:56:20] Remember, we rise by lifting others. So share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. 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.
[00:56:36] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with a black man that befriends members of the Ku Klux Klan.
[00:56:42] Daryl Davis: I support the KKK at all. I don't support that ideology, but I support people having the right to believe as they want to believe, as long as they don't cross the line and hurt people. And to show, to prove that I will stick up for somebody else's rights has also lead to people just like that, sticking up for mine.
[00:57:02] I know I didn't convert anybody. I am the impetus for over 200 to make up their own minds, to convert themselves because I've given them reason to think about other things, that make more sense than what they're currently doing. It bothers me a great deal that we call ourselves the greatest nation on the face of this earth. And then we have to admit that there are some flaws here. I don't adhere to that statement that we are the greatest. Maybe I would bend and say that perhaps technologically, we are the greatest. So how is it that we as Americans can talk to people as far away as the moon or anywhere on the face of this earth? But yet, there's so many of us who have difficulty talking to the person who lives right next door.
[00:57:50] This is the 21st century. This racist nonsense does not belong in any century, let alone the 21st. We are living in space age times, but there's still too many of us thinking with stone-age minds.
[00:58:06] Jordan Harbinger: For more on how Daryl Davis convinced 200 KKK members to give up their robes, check out episode 540 on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:58:16] Are you ready for a podcast that doesn't hold back? Check out The Adam Carolla Show, the number one daily downloaded podcast in the world, five days a week, and completely uncensored. Join Adam as he shares his thoughts on current events, relationships, politics, and so much more. Adam welcomes a wide range of special guests to join him in studio for in-depth interviews and a front-row seat to his freewheeling point of view. Download, subscribe, and tune into The Adam Carolla Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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