The father of your eight-year-old daughter has been given six months to live. How much do you tell your daughter — and how soon? We’ll try to find answers to this and more here on Feedback Friday.
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:
- The father of your eight-year-old daughter has been given six months to live. How much do you tell your daughter — and how soon? [Thanks to clinical psychologist and friend Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- Career circumstances drove you and your ex-girlfriend apart a few years ago. And while she thinks you and her new fiance would be fast friends, you don’t need a constant reminder of what might have been. How do you get her to respect your boundaries on this matter?
- A recruiter told you that a misdemeanor DUI from 2013 makes your chance of becoming an Air Force officer “nearly zero,” but it’s a dream you’ve had since you were seven. You couldn’t forgive yourself for not giving it a shot anyway, but are you just wasting your time? [Thanks to Evil Genius Jason LeDuc for helping us field this one!]
- You’ve been on a revolving door basis with college admissions for years, never really nailing down a course plan that suits you before you drop out and try something else. You’ve spent countless hours and dollars without credentials to begin a professional career, much to your parents’ shame as well as your own. How can you just choose a path and stick to it?
- 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.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Better Help offers affordable, online counseling at your convenience. If you’re coping with depression, stress, anxiety, addiction, or any number of issues, you’re not alone. Talk with a licensed professional therapist for 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan!
HostGator has been around almost as long as the Internet. Does your business have an Internet presence? Save up to a whopping 62% on new webhosting packages with HostGator at hostgator.com/jordan!
Nuun is a refreshingly effervescent hydration beverage, enhanced with electrolytes, minerals, carbs, and vitamins, and bursting with a natural, low-calorie fruity flavor. Go to nuunlife.com and enter code JORDAN for 25 percent off your first order!
Blue Moon Belgian White is refreshing for the palate of the sophisticated beer aficionado without succumbing to snobbery. Not sure if it’s available in your area? get.bluemoonbeer.com allows you to find local stores that carry Blue Moon or have it delivered in under three hours!
Simple Mobile was founded on the idea that there is a better way to do wireless. Unlimited, no-contract plans starting at $25. Just text BYOP to 611611 to see if your phone is compatible, and visit simplemobile.com to find out more!
Miss the show we did with Cesar Millan — the celebrated Dog Whisperer? Catch up here with episode 162: Cesar Millan | Seeing the World from a Dog Whisperer’s Perspective!
Pluto TV is available out of the box on your favorite connected TVs. Hit the power button and connect to your network to watch hit movies, binge-worthy TV shows, the latest news, sports, comedy, and more! Find out how Pluto TV works here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Ed Calderon | Survival Secrets of a Drug War Veteran Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Ed Calderon | Survival Secrets of a Drug War Veteran Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Preparing a Polyamorous Protection Plan | Feedback Friday | Jordan Harbinger
- WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn | Hulu
- We (might) Work | No Mercy / No Malice
- Scott Galloway | From Crisis to Opportunity Post Corona | Jordan Harbinger
- SoftBank’s CEO Now Says Its $9 Billion Bet on WeWork and Adam Neumann Was a Mistake — But He Still Thinks WeWork Will End Up Making Money | Business Insider
- How to Avoid Scams | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- Dr. Erin Margolis | Thrive Psychology Group
- Talking to Children When a Loved One Has Cancer | Cancer Care
- Glossary of Military Slang | Wiktionary
- Can You Join The Military With A DUI? | OMK
- Evil Genius Leadership Consultants
- Jason LeDuc | Twitter
How Do I Tell Daughter Her Dad Is Dying? | Feedback Friday (Episode 502)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with my Feedback Friday producer, my equerry in inquiry, if you will, Gabriel Mizrahi. I feel like we use that one already, but anyway — on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people, and we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission on this show 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.
[00:00:38] If you're new to the show on Fridays, that's today, whatever day you're listening, we give advice to you. We answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from athletes, authors, thinkers, performers, spies, and CEOs. And if you're joining us for the first time, or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about the show, we've got these episodes starter packs. You go to jordanharbinger.com/start. We got all these popular topics, popular episodes organized right there. You can say, "Hey, are you interested in personal development? Oh, you're interested in crime. You're interested in money laundering. Great. We've got podcasts for you." You can send those links right there. Again, jordanharbinger.com/start to get started.
[00:01:17] And this week, speaking of crime, we had Ed Calderon, this guy — undercover is not quite the right word. He's a non-permissive environment specialist. He's a former Mexican police officer and he investigates narco trafficking and all this stuff. And he's got all this sort of hidden weapons and all these, all this esoteric knowledge about drug cartels and how they use the occult. And it's just a wild conversation. It's a two-parter because it was just so much there. If you're interested in drug cartels, crime, policing, the occult, all the craziness that is Narcos, have a listen to that. And make sure you've had a look and listen to everything we have created for you here this week.
[00:01:53] You can reach us email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line. Also, if you can include your state and country that you live in, that does help us give you more detailed advice. Nothing like recommending you get a lawyer about something and you're in Canada, right? If there's something you're going through, any big decision you're wrestling with, or you just need a new perspective on stuff. Life, love, work, how to make sure your — what was it last week? Polyamorous sister-wife doesn't seize your assets. Whatever's got you staying up at night lately. Hit us up firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help. We keep every email anonymous.
[00:02:29] Gabriel, have you seen this WeWork documentary.
[00:02:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:02:32] Jordan Harbinger: I mean news flash, guy who dresses like Jesus and talks about how real estate is going to change the way that humans interact with everyone forever turned out to be a con man. I mean, give me a freaking break.
[00:02:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Who would have thought?
[00:02:43] Jordan Harbinger: Unbelievable. Yeah, this guy — and then, you know what it shows me among other things. No matter how smart you are, you can always be conned. I mean, people lost billions of dollars on this investment. And meanwhile, dumb people like me were like, "Hey, that doesn't make any sense." And you know, Scott Galloway, who's been on the show. He was on the documentary too. He talks about, he goes, "I checked the value of the entire building that WeWork had rented one floor in and the value of the building was $50 million. But the WeWork office had listed their floor alone as being worth like 120 million."
[00:03:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wow.
[00:03:19] Jordan Harbinger: So their floor alone is worth twice as much as the whole freaking building. And all you had to do is look up like one or two buildings—
[00:03:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: Fascinating.
[00:03:25] Jordan Harbinger: —to find these discrepancies.
[00:03:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Isn't it incredible that it took that IPO perspectus to bring that awareness to everybody else? But there were people before that who were just looking at it, going, "This doesn't seem right. There's something not right about this."
[00:03:37] Jordan Harbinger: And think about Masayoshi Son, the guy who runs the vision fund, it's got a hundred billion dollars and you're like, "I want to cut basically a blank check and just throw a ton of money at you. And at this thing," and meanwhile, business professor, Scott Galloway, who's not investing in this at all, was like, "Hey, this really basic equation doesn't work." "Nah. That's cool." So it all comes down to your cognitive bias. If you are willing to lie to yourself, it doesn't matter what other people say to you, right? You're going to believe what you want to believe. Although at some point what happened was the investors were holding a wolf by the ears, right? They couldn't let it go because if it failed, they would lose all their money. So they had no choice, but to keep banks growling this guy, when it was beyond obvious that he was full of crap.
[00:04:20] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I was thinking a lot about the episodes we did about scams. And we were talking about how one of the common qualities of scam victims is that they're desperate for meaning and they're desperate for a solution. And even though the people who signed up for WeWork or worked at WeWork, or who worked for the company might not on their face, seem like the typical victim of a scam, in the documentary, it does kind of capture how those people were so attached to the quote-unquote meaning that they derive from working at WeWork, right? They felt like they were part of something that meant a lot that was bigger than themselves. You heard that a lot in the documentary. And I couldn't help, but feel if maybe that was a version of that scam victim quality, where, you know, you might've worked for four years for some boring as hell REIT, or you were wasting away crappy consulting firm for six years before you got this job and you're desperate to be part of something you actually care about. And then that'll lead you to overlook all the weird sh*t that's happening all around you at this company. When your boss is saying, "You are you and I am I, but together we are we," and I'm just sitting there—
[00:05:20] Jordan Harbinger: Everyone's like, "Yeah." I'm like, "Hey, no, it's not that fun."
[00:05:23] Gabriel Mizrahi: If I were there, I would look to the person next to me and be like, "Are you hearing the same thing I'm hearing? Like, this does not mean anything."
[00:05:31] Jordan Harbinger: Nothing.
[00:05:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: But if you're caught up in a dream like that, it must be a lot harder to see that. That's the only explanation I can come up with.
[00:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: It's bad for humanity. I almost said America — it's better for humanity to see somebody who's such a grifter ended up getting ousted, but they're like, "Ah, well, here's two-billion dollars to make you feel better. Bye." I mean, it's just the wrong message. Anyway, people can catch that WeWork documentary on Hulu. It's called WeWork The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn which is just, an eye roll. I'm going to hurt myself if I roll my eyes any harder.
[00:06:00] Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:06:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabriel. My daughter is eight years old and insanely close to her father. He does tons of quality activities with her, gives her attention, is supportive of her, and loves taking her on adventures. He and I are divorced, but have remained friends and get along very well. Tragically, he was recently diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer. The doctor informed him that this is not curable and hopes to give him six months. This all happened very quickly. A simple ER visit turned into a life-changer. I'm heartbroken for him and for my daughter. She knows her dad is sick and has medicine that decreases his immune system. So she understands the need to wear a mask around him but we have not told her that he has cancer. I know we need to tell her what I'm torn about is whether to tell her that he is dying. I don't want to give her false hope, but I also don't want her to spend her days with him wondering if it will be the last time she sees him. My daughter has a very unique personality. She's feisty and smart and often asks blunt questions. I know when I tell her he has cancer, she will ask me if he is going to die. I've been doing a lot of research on how to approach this conversation, but all the information out there is conflicting. I know my daughter is going to struggle with her father passing no matter what. But I don't want this to completely change her as traumatic events in childhood often do. So my question is how much do I tell my daughter and how soon? Signed, Breaking the News Without Breaking My Daughter's Heart.
[00:07:19] Jordan Harbinger: So, this is an extremely sad story. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for you right now. And I got to say, you guys sound like a really special family. Your daughter sounds like a truly exceptional kid, and I love that you and your ex-husband have stayed close even after the divorce. I mean, honestly, what can you say about a situation like this? It sucks. It just sucks. And what you guys are going through, there's no way around it. There's nothing you can ultimately do, but move through it as best you can. And I'm sure you guys feel angry and sad and helpless and all the things, and I'm sure that breaking the news to your daughter is one of the hardest parts. And you're right. The information out there about how to tell a child about something like this. It is mixed. There is no one right way to have this conference, which can make it pretty daunting. We do have some thoughts. We also consulted with Dr. Erin Margolis, who is an excellent psychologist, a friend of the show, just to make sure we had a good handle on how a young child processes an event like this.
[00:08:15] First of all, you sound like a wonderful mother, you and your husband obviously have a great relationship with your daughter. And it's important that you have this conversation with her soon, the sooner, the better, because the longer you wait, the harder the news will be. The more she'll pick up on the tension around her. She's not going to understand what that tension is about and the less time she's going to have with her dad, knowing all the facts that might breed anger later on, it could, or sooner who knows. But before you break the news to her, I would get together with dad, just the two of you and talk about how you want to handle this conversation.
[00:08:47] This might be something he wants to tell her on his own, since he's the one going through it and they're super close, or it might be something you decide to tell her together. So she hears it from both of you at the same time, that might be helpful. Or maybe your husband wants you to tell her first so that he can talk with her afterward. I don't know. Of course, this is something you have to decide, but whatever you decide, I would decide together. You don't have to put all the pressure on yourself to carry this entire conversation. Talk to your ex-husband, get on the same page, come up with a plan that feels right for both of you.
[00:09:19] And once you do that, you'll want to prepare for this conversation together. And it's not going to be easy as I'm sure you can imagine. Dr. Margolis, she explained that the approach you take here really depends on what kind of child you have. Your daughter, she sounds like a smart kid, precocious, curious, outgoing. She sounds advanced for her age and I'm guessing she doesn't settle for vague or confusing answers. And honestly, I remember getting those as a kid and they were just annoying. Like badly explained adult concepts were just irritating and they drove far more annoyed, curiosity than understanding. Also sounds like your child is pretty resilient.
[00:09:55] So it goes without saying, you're going to want to be super supportive when you tell her what's happening, but I wouldn't lie or dance around the news too much. And I know that you're torn between wanting your daughter to understand what's going on and protecting her from having her heartbroken. But Dr. Margolis, she also pointed out that losing a parent at such a young age, it's incredibly traumatic. No matter how you handle this. It's a major attachment trauma, even if you're the best parent in the world, your daughter. She's going to have a strong reaction to this loss either way and children, especially sensitive children, they always know when something's going on, even if they're not being given the full story. Kids pick up on energy in the house, stress, chaos, sadness, even if they don't necessarily know what it is and they can't articulate it.
[00:10:42] So you're basically having to choose which sh*tty feeling to protect her from sadness and grief or fear and anxiety and frankly, then sadness and grief. And as a parent, I understand the impulse to avoid and protect your daughter, I really do. But if you don't tell her directly and soon then yeah, you might be protecting her from some difficult feelings now, but you're almost certainly going to cause more complicated feelings for her down the road.
[00:11:06] So your real goal in this conversation is to deliver the news in a way that is gentle and supportive but clear and unambiguous, and then allow your daughter to have the reaction that she's going to have. You have to validate those feelings. You have to be with her in those feelings. You have to help her process those feelings. Dr. Margolis, she put it this way, "Trauma plus surprise is much worse than trauma plus preparation." And I think that's absolutely right.
[00:11:33] So how do you actually do that? Well, I would sit down with your daughter, with your husband, or just the two of you, whatever you decide and tell her what's going on as gently and as lovingly as you can. I would keep it simple. I would keep it direct. You might want to say something like, "So honey, you know daddy's been sick lately, right? Well, I know this might be hard to understand."
[00:11:50] And by the way, I'm getting a little bit emotional here, Gabriel. This is actually hard for me, even to just say as advice.
[00:11:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Sure. Yeah.
[00:11:58] Jordan Harbinger: "So honey, you know how daddy's been sick lately, right? Well, I know this might be hard to understand."
[00:12:03] And by the way, I would try to use the word hard rather than scary. You don't want to put too many feeling words on this at first, because you don't want to tell your daughter how to feel that could create an unnecessary problem.
[00:12:13] You could say, "This might be a little hard to understand, but daddy's sick in a more serious way now. And in a few months, he'll be too sick to live."
[00:12:20] Okay, I need a second.
[00:12:22] "People who get sick the way your dad is right now sometimes they die and that's what's happening to dad right now because his body isn't working the way it's supposed to. That means that in a few months, dad won't be here anymore."
[00:12:34] I need like one minute.
[00:12:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's okay, Jordan. Take your time.
[00:12:40] Jordan Harbinger: "That means that in a few months, dad won't be here anymore." And I would pause there and see if she has any reaction, any questions, check in with her, make sure she's understanding all of this and let her ask you anything that she wants. And I know that that script might sound a little blunt as a father. It's freaking devastating to even think about saying. But all of the leading research out there, it recommends being specific and direct here. If you say something like daddy's going away or daddy's going to get more and more sick that creates ambiguity. And that could just cause more confusion.
[00:13:13] So whatever language you use, it is important that she really understand what death actually means. After that I would say something like, "I'm so sorry, this is happening, sweetheart. But I want you to know that I will be here for you no matter what happens. However, you feel, whatever questions you have, I'm here to answer them and I'm not going anywhere."
[00:13:32] Obviously, you have to tailor that script to you. I would use whatever language feels right. The most important thing is that your daughter hears this news in a way that makes her feel respected. That makes her feel understood and makes her feel totally supported. Like I said, this will never be an easy conversation and the goal is not to make it easy. The goal is to make it clear and connected and to make sure that you are showing up for your daughter as a steady presence, a loving presence in the middle of all of this.
[00:13:59] My only other advice to you is this as much as it's important to be there for your daughter, this is a really difficult time for you too. You're losing your friend, you're losing your co-parent. So I would make sure that you have some support in place for you and your daughter, talk therapy, group therapy, support groups for children who lost a parent. All of those resources are available to you too. And I highly recommend looking into them. If you need some help with that, there's probably a social worker at the hospital where your ex-husband is getting treatment. I would imagine that has to be the case. They will definitely have a bunch of resources for coping with loss. So I would chat with them and surround yourself with as many good friends and family as you can. That's going to be a huge right now as well.
[00:14:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Great advice, Jordan. This will probably be the hardest conversation of her life I imagine, but explaining it in that way to her daughter, that will go a very, very long way. Man, so emotional, that's an intense situation. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have to sit down with your daughter and tell her that. But I think that'll give her the right language to use in a situation like this. Beyond that, the best thing you can do is really be a great mom and a great friend to your daughter. What she's about to go through what you're both going through, it's life-altering, but there is a way through this. It's going to be horrible at times. It's going to be incredibly sad. Some days they might feel impossible, but you and your daughter, you're going to make it through. And you're going to make it through not by suppressing this pain that you're feeling, but by inviting it in by giving yourself and your daughter the room to express it, to not be afraid of it.
[00:15:26] Dr. Margolis pointed out that your daughter, she could process this event very well and bounce back quickly. Like you said, she's pretty resilient. Or she might act out or she might get depressed or she might just kind of stuff it down and act like nothing's wrong. You can't really predict exactly what her response is going to be. You can only shore up your strategies for coping with it in advance, using all of the resources that Jordan just mentioned. But it's really your relationship with your daughter that's going to be the defining factor here.
[00:15:51] So I would focus first and foremost on that and on getting the support that you need. You're going to be much better equipped to take care of your daughter if you're also taking care of yourself. And you might learn some things in your own support that will help you with your daughter, not just through this loss, but through all of the difficult situations that she's going to encounter in her life. Because losing her father, this is going to create a template really for how she responds to difficult events for the rest of her life in the future. So while you navigate all of this, just remember that you're also giving her a mindset and a toolkit for how to navigate trauma and loss, which we all go through at some point in general.
[00:16:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I know this is probably a lot of pressure, but I think you're going to do a wonderful job here. I really do. I mean, the fact that you've even thought this much about it, you guys have been excellent parents to your daughter. She still has you what a lucky kid. So thanks for writing in. I know how hard that must have been. You have all of our sympathy right now, but you also have all of our confidence. We're sending you guys good thoughts.
[00:16:42] And Gabriel, I need to make some kind of joke to lighten the mood because I am about lose it, right now.
[00:16:49] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:16:55] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online counseling. Often people freak out at the thought of going to therapy, but contrary to common misconception, therapy isn't just for those who are struggling with mental illness. It can be beneficial for anyone who is experiencing stress, intense emotions or life transitions, and just wants to improve their life. Talk therapy provides you with a safe, non-judgmental place, to vent about your experiences, explore your options, and develop the skills to handle various life challenges. If you've always wanted to try therapy or you'd like to try it again, or maybe you just need to talk some things out, Better Help offers online licensed professional therapists who are trained to listen and to help with issues including — well, there's a whole list here. Look, you got one of these. Let me just put it this way. Everyone has something on this list and finding a therapist can be intimidating and time-consuming. With Better Help, you can simply fill out a questionnaire. They'll hook you up and under 48 hours, everything's remote. So you can be confidential, do it right from your bed if you want to. And if you don't click with your counselor, you can request a new one at any time. No additional charge.
[00:17:56] Jen Harbinger: The Jordan Harbinger Show listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. Visit better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan. And join over one million people who've taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced Better Help professional.
[00:18:10] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by HostGator. Believe me, I used to be one of those people who thought nobody looked at websites anymore. I assume they went straight to social media profiles, but guess what? I was wrong. People spend most of their time online buying products and using services. Considering the amount of time people spend online, having a website for business owners of any size is crucial. If you have a business and you don't own a website, you might be losing a lot of potential customers online and missing the key to grow your business many folds. So what's stopping you from building yours. HostGator has plans that started $2 and 64 cents a month for our listeners. And let's be honest, that's cheaper than a parking meter. HostGator is offering up to 66 percent off packages for new users with a 45-day money-back guarantee. 18 years of experience, 24/7, 365 support. You're never going to be on your own when it comes to HostGator. So it's time to make it official. Go to hostgator.com/jordan right now to get started. hostgator.com/jordan.
[00:19:04] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:19:10] All right, next up, and please tell me the next one is a little bit lighter.
[00:19:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hello, my favorite golden voices. I dated a young lady pretty seriously a few years ago. When we met, I just graduated and had decided to take a gap year to figure out her life. During which time, she decided to get her graduate degree, that posed several problems for our relationship. I've built a practice over the course of several years. That requires me to be physically present for my clients. She, on the other hand, was entering a field where she would be moving cities a lot, both within the US and internationally. We talked long and hard about how to make things work, but ultimately made the emotionally difficult decision to break up. We ended things on good terms and stayed friends, but with nowhere near the level of emotional closeness that we had before. Fast forward to a few months ago, she seems to have had a fantastic experience in school and she's now engaged to a guy. When I saw the announcement, I sent her a sincere congratulatory message. A few weeks later, she reached out to tell me how much he thought I'd get along with her fiance and offered to put us in touch. I politely declined, but she persisted. I ignored her texts after that. And she eventually stopped. But then a month later, she started talking about all the new things her fiance is getting into. There's some of the same bands, books, movies, and TV shows that I like. I think she was subtly trying to get me to realize how much I have in common with this guy, but it really just reinforced my sense of loss. After the third or fourth time, she made a comment like this. I finally told her that I didn't enjoy having her great relationships shoved in my face and that I feel that my boundaries are being disrespected. She got emotional and started crying. We haven't spoken since. Am I the bad guy here? Should I have just put up with it? Any ideas for following up with her? I'm not looking to be close friends with her, but I don't really want things to end on such a sour note. Signed, A Reluctant Third Wheel.
[00:20:48] Jordan Harbinger: You know, I really feel for everyone in this situation, the guy writing in, he obviously wants his ex to be happy, but it's painful for him to see her with another guy. But then this ex, she still wants our dude in her life, but she's not getting how hard this is for him. And her fiance, we don't know his deal. He's probably a decent guy. He's also kind of, sort of the clone of the guy that wrote in. He's just going with the flow. He probably has the easiest of the three. This all seems pretty simple, but the love triangle here, or possibly just a weird friendship triangle, he's got to make things more complicated.
[00:21:19] So Gabe, I'm of two minds here a little bit. On the one hand, I totally get why this guy doesn't want to be best buds with his ex-girlfriend's new guy and that's awkward. It's forced. It's clearly a little sad for him. Like you said, it just reinforces his sense of loss. And I think we've all been there. I've been there. I get it. It's not like he's pining away horribly. He's not a wreck, right? It's not like she left him for this other guy at the altar. And then she's like be friends, but still, he doesn't want it sort of right front and center all the time.
[00:21:47] On the other hand, he and his ex-girlfriend. They ended things on good terms. They stayed friends. So if they're truly friends, why can't he be friends with her and her new beau. Is he secretly pining for her? I mean, I don't know. Isn't that what friends do? Not the pining thing, but stay friends.
[00:22:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm with you. Either he still has feelings for this girl, and it's just impossible for him to even think about hanging out with her fiance. Attending a Phish concert or whatever she wants them to do together. I don't know. In which case they're not really friends, are they? Because his feelings for her are preventing them from having a healthy, normal friendship, which like you said, fair enough, that happens all the time. Or he doesn't have romantic feelings for this girl and they really are friends, but then why can't he be friends with both of them? I don't quite understand.
[00:22:29] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I feel like there's more going on here beneath the surface. If I had to guess it's probably this. Even though he's put this girl in the friend category and moved on, there's still a part of him that's a little raw about their breakup, which is understandable. I mean, it sounds like they broke up because she moved, not because there was any sort of issues.
[00:22:45] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:22:46] Jordan Harbinger:Maybe the way his ex is going about this, working so hard to force the friendship subtly or not so subtly, pointing out how much they have in common. Maybe that's what's pissing him off. I mean, I even said that in an annoying way, because it would piss me off too. I think what she's saying is, "I want to stay close with you. I want you to be part of my life. And my fiance is now a big part of my life and you guys are going to get along great. So it's a win-win," but what he's hearing is, "You should be friends with my fiance because it's really convenient for me. And I don't really care if it hurts her feelings. In fact, I might not even really be aware of your feelings at all."
[00:23:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. She's genuinely trying to be friends with him, but his experience is that she's rubbing her happiness in his face. Like, "My life's so great. Aren't you just so happy for me? Why can't you just be friends with my fiance? We can just all be like one big happy family." Although it just occurred to me, maybe she's trying to introduce our guy to her fiance so she can make it okay to still be friends with him. Because if they're all friends, then she won't just be hanging out with her ex all by herself. Maybe her fiance would have some feelings about that. That's a possibility too. Maybe she's doing this for him.
[00:23:46] Jordan Harbinger: You know, that's a good point. I hadn't thought of that. Like, "If we're all friends, then it's not weird. I'm not doing anything wrong."
[00:23:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That's a more cynical take, but it could be part of the equation. Anyway, the point is there are definitely some unresolved feelings at play here. And I don't just mean romantic feelings. I'm not saying our guy here is secretly still in love with her or anything. I actually don't get that vibe from his email, but he might have some residual feelings about having lost somebody he cares about or watching another guy get to enjoy the relationship he thought he would have. Or just feeling like he's missed out in general and that's coloring his whole perception of her invitation.
[00:24:19] It might not even ultimately be about his ex and this guy. It might just be about the thoughts and the feelings that get stirred up when he thinks about being friends with them. And I got to say, part of me is a little bit sad for him actually, because for all he knows her new guy, he could be a good friend. It could be awesome. I mean, our guy might be missing out on a new phase of his relationship with his ex and a new friendship with this guy someone to — I honestly don't know what she expects them to do together. It was like jamming out in the garage together, like watch Succession in the basement. I don't know whatever it is that they have in common because his feelings are getting in the way of that. It's pretty rare for exes to get along as well as these two do. I actually find it kind of touching that she wants him to be part of her life again, though, assuming that she has no ulterior motive.
[00:25:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Like, this isn't some covert way to keep him in her orbit in case things don't work out with the fiance and then she's got our dude on the back burner. Ready to go.
[00:25:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm assuming that's not what's going on here. She actually does seem genuine, which is why I hope he can find a way to move past this stuff and take her up on her offer if that's ultimately what he wants to do.
[00:25:18] Jordan Harbinger: Right, if that's what he wants to do. And I'm with you on that. I just think it's a lot more complicated than that for most people, especially for guys, right? We all have this desire to be victorious, to be a guy who won whatever that means. Actually men and women both have that. Probably I can speak from experience only from one perspective.
[00:25:33] It's possible that there will always be a little edge between these two guys. And that'll make it hard to truly be bros, but I agree with you. It's not impossible. And maybe if he processes the relationships more, he'll be able to release some of this stuff and take her up on the invitation. You know, this just occurred to me, maybe she's doing this so she feels less guilty. Like maybe she's like, "Oh, I left. And he was really hurt by that, probably. And so now if I'm like, we're all buddy, buddy, then I can sort of put this to bed in my conscience," right?
[00:26:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:26:05] Jordan Harbinger: Anyway, he did say, he's not looking to be close friends with this woman. He just doesn't want things to end on a sour note. So if he's already decided he doesn't want to be super tight, that's kind of the end of the story, isn't it?
[00:26:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: If that's how he really feels, then yes. That's the end of the story and totally fair. That's a completely fair choice. I'm just trying to understand if he doesn't want to be close friends because it's too painful or if he doesn't want to be close because he actually doesn't care that much.
[00:26:26] So to answer your question, bud. No, you're not the bad guy here. You're just a guy with some complicated feelings, feelings that are perfectly normal, perfectly understandable. You just have to decide what to do with them. You can either draw this boundary once and for all and tell your ex, "Look, I'm thrilled for you. I really am. But I just don't want to be friends with your fiance. I appreciate your invitation. I know it's coming from a good place. No hard feelings. I wish you guys the best." Or you can do some work to process those feelings. You know, do some of that healthy repression that we all have to do when our feelings don't quite line up with reality and decide to relate to your ex and her new guy in a different way as a friend, as a true friend.
[00:27:01] And if you decide that you do want to do that, I would encourage you to tell your ex why you responded the way that you did that. It was hard for you to wrap your head around this at first. But that you've given it some thought and you really do want to be friends with her, which means at least being open to being friends with him. That way she'll understand you a little bit better. Maybe she'll be more sensitive to your experience and all of this, which again, that's what good friends do.
[00:27:21] I guess the only caveat to all this, Jordan, is whether our guy actually even likes her new fiance because they could meet up and find out that they actually have no chemistry at all. In which case her suggestion to be friends, that's not just hurtful to him, it's also freaking pointless.
[00:27:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Right. Of course, he has zero obligation to take her up on this. If he doesn't actually enjoy hanging out with this guy, but if they do enjoy hanging out, then she was right. That's a great reason for them all to be friends. Or who knows? Maybe if he's awesome and nice, and they just have so much in common, maybe that'll hurt even more. Like, "What the hell? This guy's literally my clone. He loves detective novels and listens to the White Stripes and reads that freaking the Economist. Why wasn't me? Why didn't you pick me?"
[00:27:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: That's also a possibility, which again, just goes back to how he really feels about her.
[00:28:02] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. So that's what we do: get clear with yourself on how you really feel, decide whether this is a friendship worth fighting for, and know that all these choices are valid. You're not wrong to feel one way or the other. Just make sure that you're not missing out on a potentially great friendship or putting this whole thing on the shelf in some way, because it's some feelings that are totally resolvable.
[00:28:20] Gabe, I'm curious, are you still friends with any of your exes?
[00:28:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: I am actually. Not all of them. Most of them though. I like being friends with exes. What about you?
[00:28:28] Jordan Harbinger: Not really. They were obviously all crushed after I broke up with them and hopelessly lost and heartbroken.
[00:28:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. That does not surprise me.
[00:28:36] Jordan Harbinger: To be real for a minute, when I broke up with one of my — a girl that I dated for years, I broke up with her when we were done with college or like early in my law school career, I guess you would say. And I said, "Oh, can't we just be friends?" And she said something brilliant. She said, "No, I don't want to be friends. I wanted to marry you. And I want to be your girlfriend at the very least. I don't want to be friends with you." And I was like, "You know, that's honest and legit and totally makes sense." So years later, years and years and years later, I broke up with another girl and it was kind of mutual because she was like one of those people who worked 29 out of 30 days in the month. And then the one day when she was home, she was like, "I'm just so tired. I'm going straight to bed."
[00:29:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Interesting.
[00:29:14] Jordan Harbinger: You know, gets home at 1:00 a.m. From an airport and has like a day to go get her haircut and shop for food, you know, stuff like that. So we decided to break up. She goes, "Let's be friends. And I'll invite you to my parties. And I have these holiday parties." And I said the same thing, I go, "No, I don't really want to be friends. I wanted to date you, but I don't want to be friends. And if you don't have time to date, I understand that, but I don't want to be friends." And she was like, "Ouch, why are you saying that?" And I realized in that moment, she doesn't give a crap about being friends. And that's what I think might be going on here. She just wanted me to go, "Yeah, let's be friends." And then that way she's like, "Oh good. I don't have any guilt around screwing up this relationship and prioritizing my career."
[00:29:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:29:52] Jordan Harbinger: Which she shouldn't have felt bad about anyway. She prioritized her career. Fine. Like not a problem. I get it. We weren't dating for years. We weren't about to get married and she'd dumped me. You know, it wasn't out of the blue. It was a very mature breakup. She just didn't want to feel any guilt about it. So she's like, "Let's be friends." And I was like, "Nah, I'm good. I don't want to, I'm trying to date. I'm not trying to make a bunch of friends. That's not why I'm here."
[00:30:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Got it. Yeah. All the motivations for breaking up with somebody wanting to be friends with somebody it's hard to parse all that stuff. I think that there's so many different possibilities, even in this question. So it's a lot about him figuring out what her agenda is as well as his own.
[00:30:25] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. All right, what's next?
[00:30:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm 30 years old. And like a lot of people I lost my job during quarantine. The upside is that I have a chance to hit the reset button and pursue a career flying for the Navy or the Air Force, which I've been fixated on since I was seven years old, my undergrad grades were not hot, but I figured out that performing well on the ASTB. That's the standardized aptitude test for aviation candidates and having solid references could offset that. What does not work in my favor is the fact that I have a misdemeanor DUI on my record from 2013. That could make it difficult for me to get the necessary top secret security clearance, and might even prevent me from making officer in the first place. I've actually been told by recruiters that my chances at this are nearly zero. Hearing that left me feeling hollow. I have a tremendous amount of meaning wrapped up in this career. Move being told no would not be the first big disappointment that I've lived through and I'm stealing myself for that possibility, but I couldn't forgive myself for not giving this my 110 percent. So do you think it's worth soldiering on or should I just give up on this dream? Signed, Trying to Claim My Spot Without Hearing Alpha Mike Foxtrot.
[00:31:29] Jordan Harbinger: I've heard that before. What does that, Gabe? It's military phonetics, but it was for something, right? Yeah.
[00:31:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: Alpha Mike Foxtrot that's aviation slang for adios motherfucker.
[00:31:38] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, right. Yeah. I think I saw that in the A-Team movie. That's my military experience. That's sort of where it begins and ends. Nice. When I see you went down another weird rabbit hole to find that out, I'm sure. Or did you know that already?
[00:31:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, it definitely did a little Google for that one.
[00:31:51] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:31:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:31:52] Jordan Harbinger: Well, look, I'm sorry to hear this, man. I think it's a huge blow and I can tell from your letter how badly you wanted to fly. I do know that military aviation careers are very competitive. I've been hearing that my whole life, but I wanted to make sure that we were getting an accurate picture of how your story would actually play out. So we consulted with Lieutenant Colonel, retired, of course, Jason LeDuc, founder of Evil Genius Leadership Consultants. He's a friend of the show. I've known this guy for years. Before starting his coaching firm, Lieutenant Colonel LeDuc served for 20 years as an officer in the Air Force. So he has a pretty good grasp of what recruitment processes are like.
[00:32:27] So Jason's take was basically this, you're definitely not the first person with a DUI to try and join the military, but having a DUI plays out differently for different people. According to Jason, there are usually mitigating circumstances for DUIs in the military and for security clearances, but those usually only apply if you're already in the military and you have a stellar record of service prior to the incident. Jason wasn't sure how a DUI would be handled if it happens before you join. His opinion, it's probably not an automatic kill. But it will be taken in the context of everything else in your application, your grades, your recommendations, all of that.
[00:33:03] So unfortunately, if the recruiter is telling you that this is a long shot, it is almost certainly a long shot. Those recruiters, in my opinion, they're ultimately salespeople. They want to sign up tons of candidates. They're just going to tell you what you want to hear. That's why everything always has to be in writing. It's not really in their interest to turn you away because they're going, "Eeh, you know, I don't know, the chances are low." They're going to always embellish. If even those people are telling you it's an uphill battle, that's probably the very least of your concerns. They're probably right. I would take them at their word. It's a tough pill to swallow, but there it is.
[00:33:38] As far as a career in aviation goes, Jason said that the bigger factors beyond the DUI are going to be your GPA and your work history going in. And I'm sure you know this, but there's a ton of competition to fly for the Air Force and the Navy even more so than in the past. Military flight training, it's so expensive. It's so intensive academically, intellectually, physically.
[00:33:59] So the selection board, they're going to be looking at your GPA, your work history, and your recommendations altogether. And they're going to be looking at your GPA specifically as an indicator of whether you'll be able to handle this intense training, that would be ahead. So even though there's no minimum GPA requirement for this job candidates do tend to have very good grades. There's so much competition within and outside the military for flight training programs. So the fact that your grades weren't too hot, that's not disqualifying, but it is a barrier since the competition is so high.
[00:34:30] And by the way, we did some more digging and the consensus seems to be that yes, a DUI would compromise somebody's security clearance. But it's not a hundred percent guaranteed to deny you one. There are exceptions, there are mitigating factors, but it's just, it's not clear if those would apply to you, especially since you are applying and you're not currently serving.
[00:34:50] So the bottom line, according to Jason, Lieutenant Colonel LeDuc, there is a chance you could make it in. And with your determination and your passion, I really hope that you do, but because there's just so much competition for these slots, anything that doesn't put you at the very top of the competition pool, that isn't disqualifying, end of story. But it does make it that much harder, extremely hard to compete with the insane pool of talent out there. And Jason did qualify that this has been his experience over his career in the Air Force. Other people might have a different take and you should definitely seek those opinions out, but for what it's worth, I really do trust Jason on this one. He was in the Air Force up until about six years ago. He's got a pretty good grasp on what's going on here.
[00:35:31] So given all that, should you give up or should you soldier on? Well, that's going to be a personal decision. And I know we probably pissed on your strawberries here a little bit. I'm sorry about that. But I know you're asking for an inside scoop and I wanted to give it to you. So look, if you've decided to stop now and drop out of the recruitment process, I totally understand. I'm sure it's a lot of work to apply, interview, wait for a response, all of that. If you wanted to take all of that energy and put it into something where the odds of success are higher, that would make sense to me, it wouldn't mean you're a failure. It would just mean that you're being realistic and practical.
[00:36:05] But if you feel you've come this far and you want to see this through, so you can prove something for yourself or to yourself, I totally get that too. On a certain level, I admire that. Also your chances of getting in are not zero, so maybe it's worth fighting for your slot. And if you do, I would work your ass off to give yourself every possible advantage. Writing an undeniable personal statement, getting killer recommendations, crushing the — what is it? The ASTB, it's like a standardized test, building strong relationships with recruiters and mentors, all of that. If you tip the scales in your favor, it'll be because of those things, just like with any other job. And yes, networking does matter in the military, but I do think it's smart to temper your expectations. Like you said, you're stealing yourself for the possibility that you won't make it in. And that's a healthy attitude to take regardless.
[00:36:53] And by the way, you should make sure that you're cool with wherever you might end up. If you don't end up in aviation, come up with something that is maybe a second choice, because what you don't want is to not get aviation and then go, "Crap. I just signed up for six years and I'm going to be working at like a warehouse that ships equipment. This is not great. This is a living hell." You know, those guys that get stuck on submarines when they're claustrophobic or they're afraid to do XYZ and they end up doing just that. That can happen, but you should be able to fight for a different path. If it's like, "Look, you're not getting aviation." You're like, "Okay, fine. I want to be an aircraft mechanic." "Great. All right, we'll get you trained up for that." You want to make sure that you're not just like, "Eeh, give me whatever you got." That's not going to, I could end up in disaster.
[00:37:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, right. I agree with you Jordan, if this career path that doesn't end up working out. I would definitely think about opening up your aperture a little bit. See what other options are available to you around aviation or even other than aviation. If there is something you could care about, as much as this Lieutenant Colonel LeDuc, he pointed out that if you really want to serve in the military, there are definitely tons of options outside of aviation. So do some research, talk to more folks, see what other roles could interest you. If you don't end up getting accepted into one of these programs, the military will not necessarily be like, "Sorry, bye, we'll send you on your way packing and you have to figure it out." They might still want you. They just might want you in a different role.
[00:38:07] I love how focused you are on flying. I really do, but don't be afraid to open up your mind here a little bit. If you look for other ways to be a value and to serve, you might actually be surprised to discover that there's another amazing path that's waiting for you. So just keep in mind that the whole security clearance thing that might come into play here too. Lieutenant Colonel LeDuc, he pointed out that it's very hard to be in the military without some kind of clearance, whether it's a secret clearance or a top secret clearance, you might not need it right away, but almost certainly you'll need a down the line.
[00:38:35] Jordan Harbinger: Right. We wish you the best in this process. We really do. Whether you get this position or not, I'm sure it's teaching you a lot about yourself. And who knows? Sticking with this goal. Maybe that's more about proving to yourself that you have what it takes to go after what you want. And what you're really doing is teaching yourself how to chase your dream or a dream. If that's the case, this is all time and energy well-spent because this might not be the dream you end up getting. But the one that turns out to be your path when you land that it'll be because you went after that with the same kind of drive and commitment that you are discovering you have right now, if that makes sense.
[00:39:09] And that's super important, man, I commend you for taking yourself seriously enough to put your pride on the line. I really do. You're playing with heart. Most people are too afraid to even try to do that. So good luck, man. And know that whatever's on the other side of this outcome, it's all good as long as you keep working hard to be the best possible candidate that you can be.
[00:39:30] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show, and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:39:35] This episode is sponsored in part by Nuun. Nuun Energy is the future of energy drinks. They carefully formulated a blend of invigorating ingredients to jumpstart your day. What makes Nuun energy different from every other drink out there? It's about the deets, the details. Made with only two grams of sugar, four grams of carbs. Clean ingredients, so non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free. The caffeine comes from organic green tea, not some laboratory somewhere overseas. The optimized caffeine levels make you feel energized and not jittery if that's the thing for you. High potency B vitamins for a boost, organic ginseng which help improve focus. Plus it's packed with electrolytes to keep you hydrated while you do your thing. So just drop a fizzy tablet, turn your water into a quick pick-me-up. Good for workouts, workdays and everything in between. Also four delicious flavors, watermelon burst, berry blast, tropical punch, and ginger lime zing.
[00:40:24] Jen Harbinger: To discover what Nuun Energy can do for you, visit nuun.life/jordan. That's N-U-U-N.life/jordan and use code Jordan for 20 percent off your first order.
[00:41:32] This episode is also sponsored by Blue Moon. Blue Moon is on a mission to bring some brightness to your life and break up your routine. This is a beer. So, you know, it kind of has the ability to do that. It's got a refreshing flavor, Valencia orange peel for subtle sweetness, sense of coriander. Blue Moon Belgian White is a one-of-a-kind beer. For me, I used to drink this all the time in law school, because if there was a time where I needed a beer, it was every single freaking day in law school. And I went to the bar and I'd order a Blue Moon and I would sit there with my books open and pretend to study and dream about the day that I didn't have to do that anymore. And honestly, it's kind of funny to talk about anticipation being the fondest part of memory. It really was. I definitely drank my body weight in Blue Moon back in the day. And I remember it fondly for that reason.
[00:42:16] Jen Harbinger: Reach for a Blue Moon when you're in need of some added brightness, get Blue Moon and Light Sky delivered by visiting get.bluemoonbeer.com to see your delivery options. Blue Moon tastes brightness. Celebrate responsibly Blue Moon Brewing Company Golden Colorado Ale.
[00:42:31] Jordan Harbinger: 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.
[00:42:44] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:42:49] All right, last but not least.
[00:42:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I've been a long-time listener and I just wanted to thank you for all that you've done. Your show was recommended to me by a friend during one of the darkest moments of my life and has played a very huge role in building my confidence.
[00:43:02] Jordan Harbinger: I'm glad we could help, man. Thanks for sharing that.
[00:43:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm writing because I can't seem to stick with anything I choose to study. I dropped out of my computer science degree to pursue being a self-taught web developer. Then after a year of pursuing that, I switched to IT. Then after that I switched back to web development. Then I decided to start going to online college. And then I went back to web development. And now I'm back at the college that I left three years ago, repeating the same cycle and thinking about dropping out all over again, in order to switch to a one-year technical college that specializes in technology. I've been fully independent from my parents since I was 18, but I can just imagine calling them and telling them that I'm dropping out again and physically hearing their eyes roll. I'm Asian and my parents are stereotypical Asian parents who don't think that you can be successful without a degree. "You're 25. You need to figure your life out now. And are you actually going to finish this or are you just going to give up like last time?"
[00:43:51] Oof, that's rough.
[00:43:52] Jordan Harbinger: Cringe. Yikes. That sucks.
[00:43:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: It also doesn't help that. I'm the only one of my siblings that seems to have this issue. All of them completed great degrees, debt-free because of scholarships, and they make great money while I still make $15 an hour cleaning cars. I don't want to finish my bachelor's because I would have to go into about $40,000 worth of debt. But I'm worried that I won't be able to find a job just by going to a technical college or getting IT certifications. Making this decision has really been tough on my mental health. And it seems like no matter what I choose, I'm going to go wrong somewhere. What would you do? Signed, Double-Down and Perspire or Halt and Catch Fire.
[00:44:26] Jordan Harbinger: Well, thanks for writing in, man. I'm sorry that you've been spinning your wheels here. I can hear how badly you want to move past this and get your life on track. I'm sure it doesn't help that you feel this pressure from your parents. I'm sure they're just as frustrated as you are, but it doesn't really sound like they're communicating it in a very helpful way. And then there are your siblings, you can't help but compare yourself to them. So that's really rough too. I feel for you, bud, and you're right. You definitely have to fix this problem, but I can say — I love your openness about all this. I think it's great. You're able to face this issue head on. I hope we can help you do that a little bit.
[00:44:58] So my question for you is really this what's going on for you when you hit a wall and you give up on something. When you dropped out from your computer science program, what was your experience? Was it hard? Did you feel intimidated by the curriculum? Did you just not want to do the work? Did you think you were above doing the work? And then when you gave up on being a self-taught web developer, same question. What do you remember feeling and thinking back then? Was it hard to be disciplined? Were you angry with yourself for not sticking to a schedule? And now that you're back at your old school and thinking about dropping out again, what are you noticing about yourself? Are you depressed? Are you anxious? Are you bored? If you're going to crack this problem, you need to start getting a lot more curious about yourself, so your beliefs, your feelings, your mood. What comes up for you in the days and weeks leading up to you giving up on something? That's the mystery you need to solve.
[00:45:49] Because it's interesting, in your email, you skipped over all of that. All you told us was how many things you've dropped and picked up again, which tells me maybe you're not really in touch with what's happening for you, inside of you, that's driving you to repeat the pattern over and over again. So I would take some time to really think about that. And I would encourage you to talk to some people you trust about that. A therapist is probably going to be great. They've got training for this kind of thing. In fact, talking to a professional right now could really be a game changer for you. I highly recommend doing that. You know, I'm going to say it, but betterhelp.com/jordan is a good place to start with that Better Help therapist, talk therapy. But you should also talk to a friend, a professor, a mentor, maybe your siblings, if you feel comfortable doing that. Tell them what you are struggling with. Tell them how you feel when you want to give up, ask them if they have any advice or insight for you.
[00:46:38] I would write down everything that comes up for you along the way. So keep a journal, keep notes, make it real. Your job right now is to get curious about yourself and start processing what is going on beneath the impulse to give up. Otherwise, your only options are going to be to soldier on and be miserable in your career or give up and sink deeper into the frustration and shame that you were feeling right now. And then hearing it from your mom, because you're not figuring out the root of the problem. You're just trying to avoid it or manage it.
[00:47:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, I agree, Jordan, 100 percent. And when you do start to get into this stuff, you might be surprised by what you find. Maybe you realize that you struggle to stick with things when they get hard. Maybe it makes you feel confused or intimidated and dropping out as a way to avoid some of the shame that comes up when you struggle a little bit. Or maybe you find out that you totally have what it takes to do a computer science degree, but that you actually don't really like programming all that much. And what's really going on here is that you just hate what you're doing. So it's really hard to stick with it. Or maybe you realize that you do love coding, but you're afraid of the commitment required to double down on the one thing that you're really good at. And you actually maybe resent your parents for putting all this pressure on you to succeed, but not really backing that up with the confidence that you expect from them in you.
[00:47:49] I'm actually going to go out on a limb, Jordan, and say that his parents are definitely a factor here, regardless of what else is going on for him. That's a great reason to go into therapy on its own, but taken as a whole, that probably makes everything else even harder. And so when you hit a wall at school, I'm guessing that you're not just staring down the barrel of a couple of C's, which would be hard to handle, or, you know, dealing with what your parents are going to say. You're staring down the barrel of what your whole family thinks of you, your siblings, all of your most fundamental feelings about yourself.
[00:48:16] So yes, you really do have to go inside if you want to fix the outside. And I know I kind of sound like Morpheus from the Matrix right now, but it's true. All of these things are possible. We can't tell you exactly what's going on here. That's up to you. But once you do start to appreciate what's at play for you. Then you can start to resolve it. So if you realize that you hate coding, then it's time to be honest with yourself about that and start getting curious about what you actually care about. If you discover that you don't have enough self-esteem to follow through on your goals, then I would explore the roots of that feeling. Maybe take on some smaller challenges to build up your confidence a little bit. Consider using your degree as a way to rewrite that belief.
[00:48:50] And if your parents are making things harder for you, with the way that they respond when you come home, that kind of thing, then I would think about talking to them about that. Maybe you can help them understand how what they say is undermining you. And if they just keep piling on, then maybe you want to consider how much contact you have with them for a little while, or at least be more careful about what you decide to bring to them. All of these things are on the table, but you have to diagnose yourself first and I'm with Jordan, doing that with a therapist that would be huge for you right now.
[00:49:16] Jordan Harbinger: Agree. Look, I'm not saying that the ultimate goal here is to work on yourself so you can finish school. I'm one of the loudest critics of the whole graduate college or else thing, right? School just is not for everyone. And I really do believe you can go further and faster with the right combination of apprenticing and creating and self-learning. So if you hate computer science and this degree is just going to leave you 40 grand in debt and you spend the next 30 years getting out from under that, it might be the right move to drop out. But then you have to be committed to following your skills and your interests to something that you truly care about and know that dropping out for good won't solve the underlying psychological stuff at play here.
[00:49:53] So good luck, man. Like I said, your willingness to look at this stuff, that is a huge asset. Use it to learn more about yourself. Think of this struggle as an opportunity to get more in touch with who you are, and I'm confident that will lead you to a much better place.
[00:50:06] Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone who wrote in this week. Go back and check out the Ed Calderon episodes if you haven't yet. Also, if you want to know how I managed to book people through the show, it's always about my network. And I'm teaching you how to build a network. A lot of you have been using these skills to negotiate higher salaries or get better jobs, speaking of that last question there. It's all about systems, software, tiny habits, check out our Six-Minute Networking course. That course is free. It's on the Thinkific platform. They just went public. Congratulations. That link to that course is at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Again, it's all free. It's not fluff. It's critical stuff. I wish I knew it 20 years ago. I think it would have been a game-changer. I mean, it's been a game-changer for me from when I discovered it. I wish I'd gotten it younger. jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:50:52] A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. There's a video of the Feedback Friday going up on the YouTube channel, eventually. Right now, it's only interviews. We're going to start doing Feedback Friday at some point, jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:51:16] 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. Keeps sending in those questions to email@example.com. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. And I'm a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. And remember, we rise by lifting others, share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that 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.
[00:51:56] We've got a trailer of our interview with Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer. Cesar tells us how he went from impoverished Sinaloan kid to homeless immigrant to world famous dog training guru. We'll also learn how to communicate better with animals by understanding the priority of their senses compared to ours.
[00:52:13] Cesar Millan: When I was 10 years old, I told my mom, "Mom, when I go home, I'm going to, I'm going to be a drug dealer," and she's [swoosh] slapped me across the face and say, "If you want to kill me, that's what you do." And when I was 13 years old, I told my mom, "Mom, you think I'd be the best dog trainer in the world." She turned around and just said, "You can be whatever you want." So I spent Christmas and New Year's at the border trying to jump it.
[00:52:36] Jordan Harbinger: You get this reputation as the guy who could walk 30 dogs.
[00:52:40] Cesar Millan: That's when I came, so that it was in San Diego.
[00:52:42] Jordan Harbinger: You were kind of an underground guy for a while that could walk all these dogs in LA.
[00:52:47] Cesar Millan: In LA, yeah.
[00:52:48] Jordan Harbinger: With no leash and the gang bangers are hanging out. Like there goes the crazy guy with all the knives. Don't mess with the guy with the dogs.
[00:52:55] Cesar Millan: My customers were NBA players, you know, NFL players, Nicolas Cage, Vin Diesel.
[00:53:03] Jordan Harbinger: How did they hear about you?
[00:53:06] Cesar Millan: You know, that Mexican guy in the street.
[00:53:08] Jordan Harbinger: You're washing limos and you're like, "Yeah, I want to be on TV." People must've been like, "Okay buddy."
[00:53:14] Cesar Millan: Most of them. I was first interviewed by the LA Times. At the end of the conversation, the lady says, "So what would you like to do next?" I say, "Well, I would like to have a TV show." So I manifested the TV show away before producers came. And I had no idea. I didn't know that dishonesty part in Hollywood, you better have a good pack of lawyers.
[00:53:34] Jordan Harbinger: For more from Cesar Millan, including how animal behavior is reflective of their human owners, check out episode 162 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:53:45] Male Narrator: Hey movie lovers, who needs a theater when you have Pluto TV? Grab your popcorn and your streaming device because free movies are here. Pluto TV is your home for movies. Great movies are playing any time in over 20 exclusive movie channels of action, horror, rom-coms, and more. Watch hits like Saving Private Ryan, Pretty in Pink, and Charlie's Angels all for free. No signups, no fees, no contracts — ever. Download the free Pluto TV app on any device.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.