Isaiah Hankel (@isaiahhankel) is an expert on mental focus, behavioral psychology, and career development. His new book is The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create, and Grow Their Way to Success.
What We Discuss with Isaiah Hankel:
- Why busy people are easily manipulated.
- Why 50% of your friendships are fake.
- How to defend against negativity without becoming negative.
- How to go on a relationship fast and why you should.
- How to make the most of your daily productive time by tracking emotions and predicting feelings.
- And much more…
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When you think of what success means to you, is it a true reflection of the fulfillment and happiness you might achieve on your own terms, or a distortion of expectations put upon you by — and dependent upon — others?
The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create, and Grow Their Way to Success author Isaiah Hankel joins us for this episode to discuss scientific strategies for achieving sustainable success through selective focus, creative ownership, and pragmatic growth. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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More About This Show
The meaning of success varies depending on who you ask. One person might think success is simply finding the right partner with whom to build a life, while someone else may eye bags of money as the prize for their achievements. Others would consider both of these together a good place to start, and others still would find success in a place furthest removed from either.
But when you stop to examine what success means to you, it’s important to take an extra step that many ignore: is your idea of success something that would truly fulfill you, or are you giving chase to something instilled in you by someone else? Are you dreaming with your own head, or have you been eavesdropping on someone else’s dreams for so long that you’ve forgotten to check in on what you really want out of life?
The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create, and Grow Their Way to Success author Isaiah Hankel joins us to help make sure we’re setting our sights on the things that matter to us and trimming the fat of expectation foisted upon us by others with their own agendas that are often at odds with our own.
Why Busy People Are Easily Manipulated
Have you ever found yourself so busy doing things for other people that you forget to do things for yourself? Take pause to consider if this happens by your own design, or if you’re being manipulated by external forces. Sometimes these manipulations are unintentional, but usually, says Isaiah, they’re not. He describes the pulse of a business meeting as an example:
“A certain meeting rhythm or pulse is set up to keep all of the employees busy. Why is that done? It’s so they will keep pushing the agenda of the organization forward and they will not have time to think or to disrupt the systems that are in place. By keeping people busy at the right level, it will keep them moving forward; there will be less disruption, less going against the grain. Less rocking the boat.
“It’s highly effective, and in one sense [there’s] nothing terribly wrong with it, but if you’re the employee and you’re trying to make a massive leap forward in your life, it’s not going to be by keeping up with other people’s rhythms and staying busy, because that’s how they’re keeping you on their track.”
So what do we do when we find ourselves under the thumb of such manipulation? Don’t we risk our jobs or relationships if we take a step back and refuse to be kept busy for the sake of agendas that don’t always match our own?
“That’s the opposite of the case,” says Isaiah. “In fact, the employees, the individuals that stop being busy, they step back, they disrupt things temporarily to say, ‘This system is wrong; why are we doing this? This doesn’t make sense. Hey, boss, that is a horrible idea. I can’t believe you just brought that up.’ These are the people that will get promoted. These are the people that will change the system because they’ll be able to step back, zoom out, get out of the weeds and say, ‘If you fix these three things, instead going from A to B to C to D, you can go right from A to D.’
“So it’s the people who are able to get out of that busy-ness and stop just doing whatever they’re told that end up having the biggest breakthroughs and actually the best careers and best lives, overall.”
Isaiah recommends taking some time — even if it’s just 15 minutes — every morning to reflect on what you’re doing that day and separate legitimate tasks that drive your agenda forward from time-wasting busy work. Identify patterns from the past that have proven unproductive and make the decision to not repeat them. Then communicate with the person who might be putting you through this busy work — whether it’s your boss or your significant other — and communicate how you might better spend your time going forward.
“Really, a lot of it comes down to being bold enough to do that and to realize that there’s more benefit in that,” says Isaiah.
50 Percent of Your Friendships Are Fake
If you want to make sure you’re using your time as wisely as possible to pursue your own version of success rather than succumbing to someone else’s expectations, Isaiah says it’s important to identify the people in your life who constantly refuse to let you.
Citing MIT research that found only about half of friendships to be reciprocal, Isaiah says we’re generally as guilty of being a “fake” friend to someone as they are to us.
“It doesn’t just mean that they’re not adding value to you,” says Isaiah, “It could mean that you are not adding value to them…those are fake friendships, and those are the things that are really eating away your time and your mental energy and that’s why it’s important to call this out — to identify which friendships are fake and which are real.”
So how do we identify our fake friendships?
Some of our relationships are so natural that they don’t require much time or effort to maintain. But non-reciprocal relationships — fake friendships — are usually a lot of work for one side to prop up for little to no reward for the trouble.
“What you need to do is you need to sit down and think about the relationships in your life,” says Isaiah. “As soon as you do this, in the first five minutes you’re going to identify some people that you clearly know should not be in your life because they are sucking a lot of energy out of you or taking a lot from you and not giving anything in return. And likewise, if you can be honest with yourself and hold yourself to a standard of needing to add value back to somebody for them to add value back to you, you’ll realize that you need to remove yourself from some people’s lives because you’re bad for them!
“Sit down; make a list. Why is it weird to make a list of the relationships in your life on paper? Some people get weird about it, but I think it’s one of the healthiest things you can do. Make a list and then write down what these people have done for you in the past and what you’ve done for them.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how to be more selective with our attention to benefit agendas that include rather than disrupt our interests, how going through a friendship audit can make you a better friend to others while eliminating the friends who probably won’t even notice they’ve been cut out of your life, how we can simultaneously avoid turning our friendships into transactional acts of scorekeeping, how to go on a relationship fast — and choose the type that’s right for you, what a goal contagion is, four strategies for defending against negativity without becoming negative, how to make the most of your daily productive time, and much more.
THANKS, ISAIAH HANKEL!
If you enjoyed this session with Isaiah Hankel, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Isaiah Hankel at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create, and Grow Their Way to Success by Isaiah Hankel
- Isaiah Hankel’s Website
- Cheeky Scientist
- Isaiah Hankel at Facebook
- Isaiah Hankel at YouTube
- Isaiah Hankel at Twitter
- Only Half of Your Friends Actually Like You, Science Reveals, Science Alert
- The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
- TJHS 6: Simon Sinek | What’s Your “Why” and Where Do You Find It?
- 5 Super Achievers Who Were Once Dismissed as Hopeless Failures by Jessica Stillman, Inc.
- If You Want to Succeed, Don’t Tell Anyone by Art Markman, Psychology Today
- The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene
- TJHS 15: Jocko Willink | Why Discipline Beats Motivation Every Time
- Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover and Shari Wenk
Transcript for Isaiah Hankel | The Smart Way to Focus and Grow Successful (Episode 91)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:01] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer, Jason DeFillippo. Today, we're talking with my friend, Dr. Isaiah Hankel. He is an expert on mental focus, behavioral psychology, and career development. His new book is called The Science of Intelligent Achievement, and we'll be discussing why busy people are easily manipulated. I thought this was kind of an interesting subtopic, why 50 percent of your friendships are probably fake, and how to defend against negativity without becoming negative yourself using a system that he's developed specifically for. Sounds pretty useful if you ask me, especially in this day and age.
[00:00:39] We've got worksheets for today's episode. As always, you can make sure that you solidify your understanding of all the practicals and key takeaways here from Dr. Isaiah Hankel. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast, and if you want to know how I managed to book all these great people, manage my relationships with all these amazing folks that I find all over the world, I use systems. I use tiny habits, and I'm teaching you how to do that stuff for free at our Six-Minute Networking course over at jordanharbinger.com/course, jordanharbinger.com/course. A bunch of videos on exactly how I do that in just minutes per day, so I hope people dig that. A lot of people doing that right now, thousands in fact, and a lot of great results have come out of it.
[00:01:22] All right, here's Dr. Isaiah Hankel. Isaiah, tell us why busy people are easily manipulated. This is something that I hadn't really thought about. I suppose it makes sense now that you say so because maybe we're distracted, but I didn't realize this was so epidemic.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:01:36] Yeah, it is. And I think the best way to think about it is when it comes to your email inbox, something a lot of people can relate to. If you're opening your emails and you're reading through us messages, somebody else sent you, it's usually their agenda, and if you respond to that email, you're pushing their agenda forward, and so the best way to get you to keep pushing their agenda forward is to keep sending you emails and to keep you busy. That way you don't have time to think about all this stuff that you're not doing for yourself, for example, and so one way to think about it is you can either be spending your time pushing other people's agendas forward or yours. And any time that you're spending pushing other people's agendas forward, it makes you more likely to keep pressing, pushing their agendas forward, and we all know people like this. They're very, very busy. They're in the weeds and they're usually in the weeds doing things for other people. So if I want to have somebody do something for me, I'm going to find someone who's already so busy, they can't think about what they should be doing for themselves.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:29] Interesting. So do people do this consciously? You think when you coach organizations and things like that, do you spot people who have kind of zeroed in on this as a technique or is it just something that you've found people reacting to and you go, “Ah, subconsciously we're always drilling into people that say yes and the people that say yes, so the people that end up being so busy due to their own poor email hygiene,” for example, that they acquiesced to everybody's demands?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:02:58] For sure it’s done on purpose. Small organizations, large organizations, there is a what's called is a pulse. Like for having meetings, a certain meeting, rhythm or pulse is set up to keep all of the employees busy. Why is that done? It's so that they will keep pushing the agenda of the organization forward, and they will not have time to think or disrupt the systems that are in place. So by keeping people busy at the right level, it will keep them moving forward. There'll be less disruption, less going against the grain, less rocking the boat, so it's a highly effective way. And I think in one sense it's nothing terribly wrong with it, but if you're the individual, if you're the employee and you're trying to make a massive leap forward in your life, it's not going to be by keeping up with other people's rhythms and staying busy because that's how they're keeping you on track, on their track.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:51] And you have to say yes, right? Because if you don't, then they're going to say, “Well, you're not a team player, or you're bottlenecking this project.”
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:04:00] And I love that you said that because that is the belief, but it say it's a false belief. We have this idea that if we go against what our boss is saying, if we upset the rhythm, if we are disruptive, if we are noncompliant, if we stop being busy for the organization that we're worse off, we're more likely to get fired. We're going to get called out. That's the opposite of the case. In fact, the employees, the individuals that stopped being busy, they step back. They disrupt things temporarily to say, “You know what? This system is wrong. Why are we doing this? This doesn't make sense.” “Hey boss, that is a horrible idea. I can't believe you just brought that up.” These are the people that will get promoted. These are the people that will change the system because there'll be able to step back, zoom out, get out of the weeds and say, “If you fix these three things, instead of going from A to B to C to D, you can go right from A to D.” And so it's the people that are able to get out of that busyness and stop just doing whatever they're told that that ended up having the biggest breakthroughs and actually the best careers, best lives overall.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:58] How do we do this in the moment though? Because it seems like if everyone else is racing around with a false sense of busyness, we're all sort of average in that respect, right? So we stay passive, we stay unfocused, we can't concentrate. We're always getting distracted by the next incoming barrage of emails or tasks. So of course, we're saying yes to things, but how do we become more selective with our attention? Can we just tell our boss, “Hey look, I'm really busy. I can't do this. I can't go to the meeting. I can't take on this project.” It seems like people would be afraid to do that or they're going to get canned.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:05:30] Yeah. And there's going to be this kind of fear because if biological, like you have a herd instinct to do what you're told, to copy what others are doing around you. And we see this, I mean you go into any -- almost any organization, you can see people, they're sitting the same way around a meeting table, et cetera. So a lot of that is biological because we have mirror neurons and other psychological factors that are forcing us to comply to be the same. But what you can do is cut out a sliver of your day before work. Like you have 15 minutes in the morning to think about, “Wait a second, what am I doing today? What is a waste of time? What is a pattern that has over the last few months or the last year proven to be completely unproductive? I'm not going to do that anymore, or I'm going to bring it up to my boss or I'm going to bring it up to my relationship partner or whatever else and then try to fix it.” And really, a lot of it comes down to being bold enough to do that and to realize that there's more benefit in that. Going back to the kind of career example, I tell people all the time, look, if you want to get ahead, you want to get promoted, be the be the disruptive one because A, your boss is going to fear letting you go, because they're going to think that, “Okay, this is just a competitor. If I let them go, they're going to go somewhere else. They're going to improve the processes there. They're not afraid to speak up, et cetera.” And B, your boss knows that there is value in not just having another yes man or yes woman. They want somebody that's going to say, “Let's not just be busy and do busy work. Let's actually do something that's affective, not just efficient or something to look busy.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:57] I like this. I think it should be taken with a little caveat here though, if you're 25, and this is your first job out of college, and you've been there for one month, don't go to your boss and say, “You know all these all-hands meetings we do every morning. These are not a good use of my time, I'm better off utilized elsewhere.” I've had people in my own companies say things like that, and if they're 30 or 20 something, late 20s, and they've been with us for a year or two and they say this, then I am listening with all -- I'm all ears. If you showed up, and it's the third day of your internship, which is why we don't take interns anymore. But if it's a third day of your internship and you tell me that you're not going to be able to make it to meetings because your time is better utilized elsewhere, I will agree with you entirely and you will not be invited to anything that we do because your time is so valuable that you should probably take it elsewhere.
[00:07:45] And I think it makes sense to really focus on, “Look, how can I prove to my boss that this makes sense for me?” And I had a friend who worked at Twitter, and this actually goes for a lot of Silicon Valley companies. He was invited to our -- and I put that in air quotes, invited to a lot of meetings, and he was in sales. And so he went, “I'm not going to these anymore because when I go to these, I can't call my clients. I can't go and sell $2 million worth of ads to Comcast, if I'm in a meeting about how the UI might affect the rollout of ads in the future, I'll look at that later. I'll look at it the presentation later or someone can tell me or someone can send me a screenshot. If there's anything that affects the sales process, cool. But I'm not going to show up for a 90 minute meeting on floor while I have other calls.” And his boss went, “Cool, man.” Well as long as you keep making sales, you don't have to go to any of these. It doesn't matter.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:08:42] I think that the word that you used prove yourself first as the key word, context matters. If you prove yourself, if you execute, you get results, then yeah, you know what's getting those results, and if something is not going to help you get those, just like the example you gave, you need to call out whoever and say, “Look, this is not leading me because the results of you brought me here to achieve and you can do that anywhere else in your life too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:04] I would recommend also when people are doing this to write down the reasons that they can't make it, not just meetings are so boring. I have a lot of email. I should do those instead. But proving yourself, showing, “Hey look, I can make three sales calls during each of these meetings and we have these meetings three times a week, and so that's nine sales calls, and when I do 10 calls, I have a 10 percent close rate. So pretty much every week I can make an additional sale almost if I don't go to these meetings,” and that's a pretty compelling way to do this. The other thing I would suggest is not doing this in front of your boss’ boss. Do this privately with your boss, because if you do this in the room with other people and you say, “This is a waste of time, here's all these reasons why I shouldn't have to go to this meeting anymore,” there's no way they can approve that when other people are around. But if you get special permission by meeting with your boss individually and saying, “Look, here's the reason why I think I'd be better off utilized elsewhere. Here's the proof, here's the math.” They can give you a reason, they can give you a hall pass for that specifically. So you've got to sort of play the social context game here as well.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:10:08] Oh yeah, 100 percent, I mean people are stupid in groups, I mean science shows that easily and all you're going to get is a bunch of bunch of posturing, if you try to you know -- no matter how logical your argument is, like you said, if you're in front of a group, bad idea, you're going to lose. Go to people one on one and then annihilate them with data. Just like you said, get the statistics, run the numbers, why does it make sense to do this? And then just show them the data and you'll win every time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:31] Another thing that you and I talked about before the show, actually a long time ago as well, when we were having, I think we were having dinner in like Jackson Hole or something like that as you, you told me, “Hey, 50 percent of our friendships are fake.” And I thought, “How is that even possible?” I know there's a wide departure from making ourselves more useful and skipping meetings and things like that, why busy people are manipulated. But when I think of this, I think, “Okay, how is this tied into our friendships?” Naturally if half of our relationships are fake, then maybe that 50 percent of fake friendships are some of the people that are manipulating us. I know it's a weird segue, but I really want to tie this in, because I don't understand how that's possible, and if that's the case, I want to figure out which half that is.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:11:18] Yeah. And you made the cut, so don't worry.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:21] Yeah, great.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:11:21 In Jackson Hole. But I actually think it's a perfect segue because look, the people that are keeping you busy with their drama, their nonsense, whatever, those are the fake friends. I'll talk about how those are defined in a second. If you want to take back some of your attention some of your time and actually start making some bigger gains in your life instead of just small eking steps is really important to do, do a friendship audit. Now this is all science-based. There's a bunch of studies that were done, one in particular at MIT, and that looked at reciprocal versus nonreciprocal relationships. And in short, what they found is that while most people thought 90 percent or more of their relationships were reciprocal, as in I'm adding value to the relationship, that person is adding value back to me. What we would call a good friendship, a real friendship. They thought that 90 percent of their relationships were reciprocal, but in fact, only half of them were reciprocal, and that's pretty surprising. So that means that in half the people that you have friendships with, that you're in relationships with, it's a nonreciprocal relationship.
[00:12:23] Now that does doesn't just mean that they're not adding value to you. It means it could mean that you are not adding value to them. And when I saw this, I was like this, I mean it makes sense. If you're listening right now you're probably thinking that does make sense, like there's definitely people out there that try really hard to be my friend or add a lot of value to me and I do nothing for them, and vice versa. There's probably people out there that you've like you go above and beyond, you really want them to like you, whatever it is, you've always given a lot and they've really not given anything in return. Those are fake friendships and those are things that are really eating away your time and your mental energy. And that's why it's important to call this out, that's why it's important to identify which friendships are fake and which are real.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:02] So how do we start this process? Because it seems like, “Yeah, okay, great. Half her fake half a real. How do we decide which ones -- how do we figure out which are which?” It seems like we can try to label it based on one or two incidents, but that's not really going to work. Most of our friends piss us off at some point or seem maybe like they're fake friends at some point. How do we litmus test that these people?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:13:25] Stop, slow down, and actually evaluate your relationships. Now people get weird when you talk about this. I mean relationships, so many of us have very rich relationships that we've had for years or short relationships at the same time, but we do very little thinking about those relationships. We just interact, the end. I interact again, the end, and unless something really pisses us off to us, like you said or makes us happy or whatever, we don't even think about it. So what you need to do is you need to sit down and think about the relationships in your life. And as soon as you do this in the first five minutes, you're going to identify some people that you clearly know should not be in your life because they are sucking a lot of energy out of you or taking a lot from you and not getting anything in return.
[00:14:08] And likewise, if you can be honest with yourself and hold yourself to a standard of needing to add value back to somebody for them to add value to you, you'll realize that you need to remove yourself from some people's lives because you're bad for them. I mean sit down and make a list. Like why is it weird to make a list of the relationships in your life on paper? Like again, that's something people get weird about, but I think it's one of the healthiest things you can do. Make a list and then write down what these people have done for you in the past and what you've done for them and think about it and recall. Because sometimes you're right, you get pissed at a friend, you're like, “This person does nothing for me. Why is this person in my life? I'm getting rid of them,” and you're like, “Oh man, two years ago, when I got sick, they were really there for me, and they really helped me and they really coached me through this. I totally forgot about that” And it'll come back to you and it may help you reconnect or be more forgiving and actually nurture the relationships that matter.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:14:55] You're listening to the Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Dr. Isaiah Hankel. That is fun to say. We'll be right back after this.Support for the Jordan Harbinger Show comes from our friends at Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, America's premier home purchase lender.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:55] So we're looking at things like emotional support, not just, “Oh, this person bought me lunch or dinner, or are hired me.” We're looking at all kinds of support. We're zooming out far enough on the timeline over a period of years because we don't want to get rid of people that have had a rough year when they were our college roommate and best friend. But we might want to get rid of somebody who was our college roommate and best friend who since then has only caused drama, borrowed money and not returned it, that kind of thing. And journaling this maybe every year or so would be really helpful because we get it on paper and we can't rationalize in the moment, “Oh well, I like hanging out with them.” “Oh yeah, but they caused this rift in this other relationship and they're dramatic and they drink too much.” Like we really have to write these things down, but it almost seems like keeping score, we don't necessarily want to keep score in relationships and turn all of our friendships into something transactional. So how do we make this a realistic process where we're not just kind of taking out our anger on somebody that we feel owes us something when really they don't necessarily owe us anything as a friend?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:18:58] Right. And can you create an equation for this? I mean, sure they did it in this study, but I don't think it's necessary. I think if you can be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable. That's really the key here. Like you need to judge yourself first. I mean, whose lives are you making worse by being in their life? And there are people out there, and I had this epiphany a couple of years ago I was like, “I have not given any energy or effort to these relationships and these people are really doing a lot for me,” and I need to just tell them like, “Look, this is not ever going to happen like this. I'm not going to be able to add more to this right now.” Be upfront about it. And that's a difficult conversation to have, but sometimes you have to have it. So I would start there, but then you know, at the same time there are people in your life when you brought up college roommates. I had some college roommates, this was several years ago when I was trying to write my first book. And these people, they were partying a lot, they just kind of, they were stuck in a college mindset. They weren't really doing anything, and anytime I try to do something, this goes beyond like the healthy kind of guy to guy busting each other's balls thing and went to just totally trying to drag everybody in that group down to keep people from doing anything with their lives, and then I think a lot of us experienced that after college.
[00:20:09] Once I walked away from a couple of people in that group, things really started to open up for me because all of my mental energy, a lot of my mental energy was freed up. Now did I write about this? Did I journal about it? Did think about it? Yes. Did I create an equation for it specifically? No, I didn't. And something that's very, very healthy to do and is something else that we might have time to talk about is going on a relationship fast. It's a really great way to identify which relationships are good for your life and which aren't, stepping away from a relationship for a while, it's a good litmus test. Going back to what you said earlier, on who needs to stay and who needs to go.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:45] Yeah. I'd love to talk about a relationship fast because when people talk about this, I think they're usually talking about dating, but you're recommending this in what? Work and even in platonic friendships, what exactly are we fasting on here?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:20:58] Absolutely, and there's different types of relationship fast, just like there's different types of food fasts. Like there -- like I think we've identified, we've known for a while now that not eating anything fast and completely is really bad for you, really bad for your health. Like you might want to go on like a juice fast temporarily or you might want to go on like a Bulletproof coffee fast or whatever, again, temporarily that can be healthy. However, that's not just restricted to food fasting. It's the same with a relationship fast. You don't want to cut everybody out of your life. We're not talking about solitary confinement, we're talking about temporary isolation from a certain group of people or from a person, or just temporary isolation overall to step away from all of that emotional energy that you get from other people, from all of the give and take and there's the law of reciprocation, all these other factors, these psychological factors that play into your day to day life. Get away from that for a while. You will see the world in a different way, and it could take you a few days to get away from that. It could take you a few weeks to get away from that, but you'll get clarity. Distance creates clarity, and I think this is crucial. And again, it can be one person maybe like, is this person actually good for me? Like am I a better person or a worse person when I'm around friend A?
[00:22:14] Step away from that friend, be up front about it. Say, “Hey, I'm working on a, you know, I got a lot of work to do at the office, or I'm working on a new project. I'm going to be a little bit unavailable for the next few days and the next few weeks.” Tell them upfront, so you have that buffer and it's like this weird awkward thing where you're hiding from them, and you'll be able to figure it out very soon if your life is better off without them or if it's worse without them. And if it's worse or you want to reconnect, then you can do so later, no harm done.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:39] So how do we decide if somebody is the reason that our life is better or worse? Because I think it would be really easy to go into a relationship fast and then go, “I'm happier without these people around.” But really, maybe it's not them, maybe it's you, maybe being around successful people makes you feel bad about yourself. So not being around them makes you feel better temporarily, but as bad for you in the long run. How do we decide and decipher between those two particular scenarios?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:23:07] Yeah. So what are your metrics? What are you measuring? And that's a great point. So if you just feel better because you're not around people who are more successful than you, I don't think that's a really good metric.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:17] No.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:23:18] Right? Is your life actually moving forward or are you more productive? A re you being pushed? Are you being challenged? Did you make any progress in X, Y, Z area? And it depends, there's always going to be like a triggering event that will make you wake up, or there should be, that that says, “Hey, maybe this isn't working out. Maybe this person is not good for me. Like that was a ton of emotional energy. Maybe I need to step away from a Betsy if my life is better.” If you're just around people and you feel bad because you're not at their level and you step away and you notice, “Oh, I fell back into my old habit of partying all the time and I'm worse off and my bank account is getting lower and lower, maybe I need to get around some better people.” And that is a type of relationship fast, replacing one group of people with another, and I know a lot of people have a hard time talking about it in this way, but I'm sorry, sometimes you have to do that. You have to say goodbye to your old friends that are holding you back and get some new friends that are going to push you and challenge you, and a relationship fast as a great way to do that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:12] You and I were talking before about the only way to truly figure out who you are is to spend some quality time alone with yourself, but to do so productively. Like you said, the tough questions. What are your priorities and things like that? What makes you genuinely happy? It's really tough to figure those things out. You had said that we're really just a composite of other people's hopes and dreams, and I thought that was kind of interesting because it starts with our parents and then it sort of moves up through our teachers and continues from there. Explain how this process works and what we can do to sort of break free of that without taking a month off and going to Bali when I've got other stuff I got to do.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:24:49] Yeah, I mean, so the temporary isolation we're talking about is not eating a pint of ice cream for every day for a week and sitting in front of Netflix with your hands down your pants and then drinking every night. It's something productive. Like you said, “It's pushing yourself towards your goal.” Now, here's the problem though, there's something called a goal contagion, and our goals, they travel through social networks the same way that a virus does. Now, we learned, we've known in science now for about 10 years or so that emotions do this. We have some hard data like they, there's epidemiologist that will study this stuff and see that, yeah, emotions like happiness and negativity, et cetera, go through social networks. Now we know that goals do the same thing, and there's a bunch of great studies that have shown that if you're asked what your personal goals are and you're asked to sit down and write them down on paper and you're writing down, the answers are going to be very different than if you are shown somebody else's goals, just on paper. Like if you say, “Hey, read this, this person has these three goals. You read it a week later, you're asked the question, write down your personal goals.” Your personal goals are going to match very closely the personal goals of the other person's goal that you read, if that makes sense?
[00:25:57] So if you read someone, even if you just read somebody else's goal, somebody you don't even know, you read their goals, what they want, and you're asked later what your personal goals are. They are going to closely match their goals that you read. Like we are biologically wired to copy other people, to go after what they want. And we know this, there's phrases like Keeping Up with the Joneses, and there's a lot of things in pop culture that kind of signify this, but I don't think we think about how intense that drive is and how much you have to pull away from it. You almost have to be -- you almost have to train yourself to be as defiant as possible when it comes to the things that you're chasing in life. And that doesn't mean that you shut down and you don't chase anything, but it means that, ”Look, if somebody else says they want something, check yourself. Don't just start wanting it because they want it.” It's not just your biology, but there's a lot of other psychological factors too that are going to pull you towards wanting what somebody else has just because they have it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:53] So in a way balancing your goals with a strong network and strong relationships around you of people that want similar things is actually a good way to reinforce those goals. So yeah, if we hang out with people that only care about the way that they look and making money or something like that, or becoming famous on Instagram, we'll absorb these sort of negative time-wasting goals. But if we create a strong network and we can sort of upgrade the people that were around who say, “Look, I want to create impact. I want to create a lifestyle that's healthy.” We can really program ourselves in a way to change what we want to be healthier for as long term by changing who we're around in the first place.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:27:35] Yeah, of course, man. And I really liked that because it talks about using -- you can use it to your advantage and I think you know, no matter -- if you have things that are affecting you biologically, psychologically, like negativity bias or a goal contagion. Great, go with it. How can you use it to your advantage, get around people that have some incredible goals that you'd love to achieve and a lean into that. I think that's a great strategy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:00] So we can really, yeah, we can reverse engineer this and actually use it as an advantage. You use it as something that'll move us ahead and some of the things that we teach at our courses at Advanced Human Dynamics are the networking is one of the things we focus on during our live event, and part of the reason is because we've all heard this, “You only go as high as your five closest friends and things like that.” Of course, it has to do with the habits and things that those people have, but it also has to do with goal contagion and the environment that you find yourself in. And I know just for myself personally, being around people that are stressed out all the time, a depressed or partying or whatever it is, sort of negative personality traits, you kind of ended up doing the same thing whether you like it or not, even if you don't really want to because of the effect that this has on you, and it's very hard to resist that goal contagion. I don't even know if you can call it goal contagion if it's a negative personality trait. So you can upgrade your own personality traits, of course, through lots of hard work as well you should, but you can really focus on making them stick by surrounding yourself with the right people as well. And I think that's important to note and is a core skillset that we teach here on the Jordan Harbinger Show and at Advanced Human Dynamics.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:29:14] You're listening to the Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Dr. Isaiah Hankel. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:19] This episode is sponsored in part by FreshBooks. If you run your own business, I bet you love being your own boss. I know I do. Well, I mean Jen's kind of the boss, but you know what I mean? Endless earning potential and doing what you love everyday certainly can make all the admin and paperwork worthwhile. So what if I told you there's an easier way to deal with all those time consuming tasks? Well, our friends at FreshBooks, which I've been using for, I don't know, a decade or something like that, they make accounting software that is incredibly simple to use, which as you might guess, makes accounting much easier and paperwork pretty much a thing of the past. When I say FreshBooks is easy to use, here's what I mean. You can create and send ultra-professional looking invoices in about 30 seconds. Clients can pay you directly through the invoices with online payments, so basically they click the invoice and boom, they don't have to bust out the checkbook. That gets you paid twice as fast. Then you can also link fresh books to your account, to your credit and debit cards so you can expense a business launch, it'll just show up in your FreshBooks account, and as a FreshBooks customer, I've experienced firsthand how all the features can save a ton of time every week, which means I've got a lot more time to work on content for upcoming shows. So Jason, tell them what we got for them.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:30:29] Right now we're giving our listeners a free 30 day trial of FreshBooks to all of the listeners. No credit card needed. Just go to freshbooks.com/jordan, and entered Jordan in the How did you hear about us section? That's freshbooks.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:43] This episode is sponsored in part by Varidesk. Today's top talent, very selective about where they work, especially here in places like Silicon Valley. Everybody's moving around all the time. People prefer workspaces that are flexible, active and engaging, and look, if you're sitting too much, you've heard that sitting is the new smoking, that's no good. You need to get a standing desk or at least have a standing workstation. And what I love about the Varidesk, they've got this new ProDesk 60 Electric. It is as you might imagine, an electric standing desk, get raises and lowers depending on whether or not I want to sit or stand. And this thing, yeah, I thought, “Oh, maybe I don't really need this. I don't know.” I finally put it together. It took like five minutes. The thing is a tank. Stable at any height, it's not going anywhere. It's not tipping over like a lot of these standing desks. It's not wobbling around. It's built to last and I just, I love it. It's adjustable, it's easy to use. It's really built quality. This is not something a furniture company designed where they're like, “Oh, we need a trendy standing desk.” This is built by people that know what they're doing. I highly recommend this if you're on the market for a standing desk, which you should be if you care about being active at work and you know, staying alive longer. Just little basics like that. Jason, where they check it out?
Jason DeFillippo: [00:31:54] You can learn more at VARIDESK.com/jordan. That's V-A-R-I-D-E-S-K.com/jordan. Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us on the air. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/advertisers. We also have an Alexa Skills, so you can get inspirational and educational clips from the show in your daily briefing. Go to jordanharbinger.com/alexa, or search for Jordan Harbinger in the Alexa App. Now for more from Dr. Isaiah Hankel.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:26] So how else can we defend against negativity without becoming negative ourselves? I know that you've got some techniques for this, and I think that negativity is pretty general and vague, but also can really encompass a lot of negative personality traits or undesirable traits that we see among and around other people that might be around us.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:32:48] Yeah. When somebody experiences something negative guy or girl, I mean their first reaction is to get sucked into that drama and then fight drama with drama, fight negativity with negativity, and that's just a race to the bottom every time. Total waste of time. And one of my favorite quotes, I forget who said it, it was in one of like, it's early, early, like personal development books, like the power positive thinking. But it said, “We are wired to work hard and to get things done and we have unlimited resources for energy.” It's not hard work that makes us tired at all. It's like emotionally draining events like a relationship events and we all know this. Like yeah, you've had a hard day at work, it's nothing compared to having like a massive fight with your relationship partner, whatever else.
[00:33:30] And why does that happen is because people fight negativity with negativity. So if you have to deal with negativity, there's really kind of four key strategies that I found that work really, really well and it's just, they're strategies that say, “Okay, I'm faced with this event. I'm going to apply this strategy. I overcome it. I don't get taken off my game. I can keep moving forward and keep making progress, keeping productive.” The first is to just really use it as motivation. I know that you've had other people on your show that talk a lot about how important the reason why is. Like how important our reasons for doing things are in terms of energy levels and driving us forward and whatever your why is usually driven by pain, sometimes by pleasure. That's what's moving you forward. That's why you have the goals that you have.
[00:34:14] A great why is somebody else being negative, somebody else saying you can't do it. I mean, how many stories do we hear about where, whether it's Oprah or Jay Z or Sam Walton, it doesn't matter. They had somebody tell them, “Look, you're never going to be able to do this.” Like, forget it. You're just poor X, Y, Z. You have this problem, blah, blah, blah. Can't do it. You're done. We don't believe in you. No support. And that is what drove them all the way to the pinnacle of their success. So you can turn negativity into productivity very, very easy. You just have to realize that's what's happening just about self-awareness. So your friends, whatever else, they're not supporting you or they're saying they're going to support you, they never show up, or they're sandbagging you. Great. Use it to your advantage, make it happen. Prove them wrong. That's the first strategy.
[00:34:57] The second strategy, I call it the fog technique. Now, first one is called the channeling technique. But the five technique, you don't have to tell everybody everything. For some reason people, they feel like, even if it's an enemy, a competitor, whoever it is, we feel like we need to be transparent in what we want and what we're going after. We have this desire, and again, this is biological to run our mouths, tell everybody what we're going to be doing. Posture, act like we're bigger than we are, and sometimes that's the biggest mistake you can make when you're dealing with somebody negative, especially with somebody that's trying to hold you back. Like you're just, you're showing them your hand. So instead just stop talking about it, stop telling them what goals you're going after. Stop sharing on Instagram or on Facebook that you're trying to achieve. Like keep some of it to yourself and this way you'll have less people be able to stop you because they don't know what you're going after. So I think those two are really key.
[00:35:48] The third one I call the investment technique. This one takes a little bit more accountability, it takes a little bit more, I would say emotional maturity. There are people out there that you think are negative, that are just disagreeing with you. They're not actually negative, they just don't have the same beliefs as you. They don't really agree with what you're saying. They're talented, they're helpful. They might just be a competitor, whatever it is, why not use them to your advantage? Why not invest in them? You see some people that have had some battles, whether it's in politics or whether it's in business, they've had some battles with some competitors. And what do they do after the battle is over? they turn around and hire them. They invest in it because they see that they see their value. That's a crucial.
[00:36:29] The final one is just the void of technique. And I'm stealing that word from Robert Greene because he talks about, there's this chapter in one of his books, The 33 Strategies of War. He talks about the void strategy, I forget where exactly it is in the book, but there is real value in just stepping away, not adding any energy to the fight. I love -- I heard somebody say this, “Starve the problem,” or you're going to be faced with problems all the time. Those problems swell and gain momentum because you add energy to them by trying to fight them instead of just ignore them, act like they don't exist. Don't add any energy to them whatsoever. Most of them, they'll go away.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:06] So the channeling technique essentially use other people's negativity to sharpen you until you're in a position to leave them behind. Fog technique, obscure the target, right? Don't post what you want to do, don't talk about what you hope to achieve, and that takes away their targets because they don't necessarily know what you really want, so they can't really hold you back from it, at least not that effectively. Investment technique, if you find somebody who might be better at you than something in it, that takes a lot of introspection, then what we could do is turn around and turn them into an ally and using, of course, a rapport development techniques like you might learn here on the show. And last but not least, void technique is what? is that kind of just ignoring them, not responding, not giving them anything to work with, and then eventually they get bored and go away? Is that kind of what we're dealing with?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:37:55] Yeah, I mean unlike the fog technique, you're not removing the target or obscuring it like you're removing yourself. You're ghosting the problem, you're leaving. It could be going back to what we talked about earlier, could it be a relationship fast? It could be you just leave that job. Sometimes you just have to walk away, end of the story,
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:14] It seems like you're really in tune with the way that you feel and how it affects the work that you do. And I know that this is what you teach when you're in corporations and things like that, in teaching high performers how to take advantage of this stuff. Do you track your emotion somehow? I mean are you monitoring, are you constantly self-monitoring throughout the day? Do you spend time doing this? Because I know that this is kind of where you have your PhD, but how did you get into the point where you went, “Okay, now I'm in peak performance,” or “Now this person is in peak performance,” or “Now is the time where you're going to have the most energy.” Is this something that we can apply to ourselves on our own, or do we need a clinical study to get it done?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:38:54] Yeah, great question. I think it's something that can be done very, very easily on your own. Most people overthink this, right? They think they have to go in for a blood test every week, look at every different protein marker in their body to track how healthy they are. The problem is, is that there's not going to be a lot of protein markers out there that you're going to be able to have access to, to see how you are functioning emotionally. It's still one of the last frontiers, in terms of the mind and emotion and neurobiology overall. But there are some simple things that you can do to track your emotional states overtime, to track your mental energy levels over time. I can tell you as a scientist write, one of the most important things to evaluate when you're looking at a scientific study is the sample size.
[00:39:36] So if you're looking at a study that tracks a thousand people over 10 years, it is a much more viable study than if it's tracking 10 people over those same 10 years, because the sample size is bigger. And so that's increased sample size gets a rid of a lot of the variables that would happen from person to person. Now that being said, a sample size and science, we refer to it as an N value. So that would be an N of a thousand if the sample size is a thousand people. However, when it comes to you and your life, no matter what you do, it's an N of one. And so with clinically, with some health things, et cetera, it's great to have a large sample size. But when it comes to like your personal goals, when it comes to your personal mental energy levels, your emotions, how you respond to things, you are an N of one, nobody else is going to come along, that is exactly like you in that area. Nobody else should ever have the exact same goals and exact same path, the exact same background as you.
[00:40:27] So what does that mean? It means that you need to track things a little bit differently and you need to study yourself. A great way to do this is to just get out your phone, a piece of paper, this is the simplest thing you can do to start. Write down every hour on the hour, starting from when you get up to when you go to bed, so 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:46] So you set an alarm on your phone to buzz and then it's like, “Hey, journal how you feel right now?”
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:40:51]Exactly. Not even journal, like just in a scale of one to 10 for whatever metric that you're using. I would say start with your mental energy levels. Like I think the limiting factor for most people in terms of what they get done and how they feel, et cetera, is their mental energy, and there are studies that show this. There's a great review, in the Harvard business review that says that we have about 90 to 120 minutes of peak mental energy, and during that time you are four to five times more productive, which means literally during that time, every minute you can get, every one minute during that time is worth four or five minutes and the rest of the day, if not more. That's freaking powerful information. So what you need to know is when are your mental energy levels peaking?
Do you even know?
[00:41:32] So the way to do this is to like you just said, write an alarm, put an alarm on your phone every hour on the hour, whatever it is, and make sure you just catalog it somewhere. On a scale of one to 10, what are your mental energy levels at? Is it subjective? Yes, but it's okay because it's an N of one. It's just you and you do this over the course of a few days and you'll start to see a pattern. Now, what most people see is that within an hour or two of waking up, mental energy levels are peaking. They hit that 90 to 120 minutes of prime time within an hour or two of waking up. This is very common. Everybody's different, but that's the most common. Why does this matter? Because what are most people doing within an hour or two of waking up? They're like answering emails and like pushing somebody else's agenda forward at the office. This might not be where you want to be spending your peak mental energy hours. Could you change things around in your day so that you get up a couple of hours earlier and you're focusing that time on writing that book that you wanted to write or starting that business or whatever it is or playing with your kids, whatever it might be? Could you change things around at the office so you could have a break at that time? You get there earlier, you take a break at that time, you spend some time on yourself working on your personal projects. That's just one example of how this can help you, and that's just one metric.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:39] So we're self-reporting our mental energy every hour on the hour to make sure that we can find that 90 to 120 minutes of peak mental energy and then we rearrange our days after the three day or five day sample size. We rearrange our working days so that our most important tasks then fall into that window if possible.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:42:59] Yes. Well said. And I mean this was a game changer for me. Like I realized, really around right around the two hour mark up to waking up, I'm in that peak zone, that 90 to one 20 minutes. And then from there I'm at about like, so I'm in a 10, one out of 10, I'm a 10 in time, and then after that for about three hours after that, I'm at like an eight or so. So it's really about five hours and a lot of other data and studies out there have shown that in terms of near peak mental energy, it's about three to five hours. Then I hit like the app that I had this afternoon slump, and there's a reason this happens. It has to do with our circadian rhythms, et cetera, but I hit a slump where I go into like a state of five or six, and then after that I rebound and then I have a couple of hours where I'm at like a seven before it just crashes completely. And so what does this mean? It means, “Hey, if I know that's coming, if I know that slump is coming, for example, I can do something to pick it up. Like I can go to the gym, do something that doesn't require mental energy at all, but that will get my body moving and then will refresh me, or I can go for a walk or I can plan my break at that time. So I'm not doing a critical task then.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:03] Yeah. Okay, I like that. What other things are you grading other than your mental energy levels? Have you found other useful metrics that you track throughout the day?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:44:10] You can do any emotion, any other metric. The two that I highly recommend are frustration, or just anger simply, which we all have and that rises and falls throughout the day and has other triggering events, et cetera. And we always think like if we have a bad day, we're like, this is so unusual. It never happens, or it's because this person did this. But if you tracked it, you'd be like, “Oh, I get frustrated every Wednesday evening.” And guess what? There's studies that show that most people reached their peak levels of frustration during the week, Wednesday afternoon, which is crazy. And then besides frustration, I also recommend doing a happiness or peacefulness or openness, is a good word I like to say, like how open are you to new ideas? When do you feel like the most readily able to go into that flow state feeling good, et cetera. And there are studies on this too, that that show that Thursday's actually the most open day. It's why Thursday's the best day to ask for a raise, for example. But for you personally, because you're an N of one, how do you know? What about not just days, but the individual times during the day, when you're the most frustrated? Hey, whenever -- if you know when you're going to be the most frustrated, that's a great time to schedule a task that you're going to work on alone, and there might be able to power through because you can leverage that frustration to your advantage. Probably not a good time to schedule a conference call with a bunch of people that annoy you though.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:29] Yeah, it maybe a good time to go to the gym, put in some headphones and a and hit the machines or hit the weights if it's going to be that time of the day. Make sure that it's in a place where nobody gets to talk to me and I get to burn off some steam. I want to go back to the relationship fast. I think a lot of people are going, “That's a really good idea.” “Oh wait, how do I cut my people out of my life in a way that doesn't burn those bridges?” Are there different types of relationship facets that we can go through? Let's go through the steps of this so that people can actually execute this without coming back and finding out they have no friends.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:46:03] Yeah, and that's important. And I think whenever you're dealing with something like this, you have to take responsibility first, that's always the first step. You have to say, “This is my fault.” And there's a lot of other great books out there that really reiterate this, not just in business but in your personal life. I mean, some of them I love, I know that you've had a Jocko Willink on. His book, Extreme Ownership, is all about this. Another great guy. I think you've interviewed in the past too, Tim Grover with Relentless, all about owning everything, the end. And there's real power in this when it comes to relationships. I don't mean power over the other person in relationship, I mean power to make the relationship as healthy as possible. So let's say you identify somebody that is just, they're constantly cutting you down or they're doing something where it really just deflates you or de energizes you or pisses you off or whatever it is, instead of acting weird. Or instead of just walking away, sit down with them and tell them what's going on and take responsibility for it. Don't say, “Hey, you're doing this,” and it's making me feel this way. Say, “I've never told you that these things when they're brought up, they really de-energize me in X, Y, Z area I'm probably a little bit sensitive in this area, so I'd really like to keep spending time with you and hanging out. I enjoy when we play ball or whatever it is. Maybe we can just cut through that and, and focus on the good stuff that we have together.” How, however you have that conversation and you're going to change the tone based on the person that it, et cetera. What matters is that you're taking responsibility.
[00:47:32] Now, if you do that and they're like, “cool man, I totally understand. My bad, no problem,” and things change. Good. No reason to cut these people out of your life forever. However, there will be some people who will say, A, they'll take dramatic offense to it even though you've taken responsibility and they'll create even more drama. That's a sign that, “Hey, this is probably somebody you need to step away from. This is probably -- this is a red flag that it's time to start a fast,” or they'll say, “I totally understand. I get it, I won't do that again.” And then later on, like in an argument or whatever else, they'll use that against you and they'll actually lean into it and continue doing it if not doing it more. I see that happen quite a bit, that's another red flag. Time to go on a relationship fast.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:17] Okay. So it's with specific people and it seems like you have some different types that you outline in the book. Of course, temporary isolation, replacement excision, discuss these different types because I think a lot of people think, “Oh, I don't want to just cut out my friends,” Or “Oh, I don't have anybody in my life is so negative. I don't really need to do this.”
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:48:36] Yeah, exactly. So temporary isolation, we touched on that earlier. It just means walk away for a few days, tell them what's happening up front. Say, “Hey, I'm going to be working on a personal projects for the next few days. I'm not going to be able to be in touch during these normal times.” Because every relationship is different, maybe you're used to talking to somebody on the phone at the end of every day, whatever. You can give them a heads up and tell them you're going to be working on this project. They'll make a big deal out of it, and see if your life's better or worse after stepping away from them after taking that temporary fast. And you can do that with a group of people, or with everyone, and just spend some time alone. I mean most of the best things I've done in life I've done when I was alone.
[00:49:17] And I think especially in this culture of online networks and technology and everything, we always think we're told your network is your net worth. Yeah, your network can help you in certain ways, but you have to be able to spend time alone. That's the only way you're going to figure out who you are. You're not going to figure out who you are by comparing yourself to other people. So I just want to mention that, that this is a healthy thing to do despite the fact that you might not hear anybody else saying this. Excising yourself from a group or excising somebody from your life. This is very similar to the void technique. You just need to cut certain people out of your life, and yes, should you give people the benefit of the doubt? Should you sit down and have a conversation with them like I just talked about in that two-step process? Yes, but at the end of the day, you have to pull the trigger. If you know this person's bad for you, you have to cut them out. I don't care if they are the hottest person in the world and they're texting you late at night, whatever it is. Dude, your mental energy is too valuable. Do you want to achieve big things or do you want to get sucked back into this drama because it feels good temporarily and then have to spend three more weeks clawing yourself out of it? Instead just be surgical, cut him out, be done with it.
[00:50:24] And then finally, like I touched on before too, sometimes have to replace the group of friends that you're hanging out around and I'm not going to sugar coat it. You need to upgrade. Like, if you've been hanging around the same college friends that you hung out with in college for five years after being in college and you haven't gone anywhere and you're all just doing the same thing and you're living in the same college house, it's time to upgrade. It's time to get around some people who are doing some bigger things with their lives because that's going to force you to do some bigger things with your life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:49] So we've got the time alone, the isolation, we've got the replacement or the upgrade, and we also have the, the excision. Removing somebody or people who are a negative influence as well. How long do these relationship fasts last? What's an effective timeline? I mean, are we talking about a day or are we talking about a week? Are we talking about a year?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:51:09] So I mean, the refer the excision as the word, permanent.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:14] Permanent, sounds permanent.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:51:16] Forever, for ever. But for the temporary isolation with those people that sometimes and not sometimes very, very often, a relationship will recalibrate itself after some emotional distance is achieved. And that could be three days, it could be a few weeks. I would not say that you need to, you know, if it's gone on for months or whatever, it's probably okay to step away from that person, you're probably both better off. But certainly for a few days, three days at the least, three weeks at the upper limit. In between that time, you'll get a very good idea of whether or not you want to go back to that relationship. Very often what will happen is the relationship, again, will recalibrate itself. You'll both learn to be independent again. You've probably got a little bit codependent on each other, that's what happens, and that's biological too. You spend too much time around somebody, you become codependent emotionally in a lot of different ways. Stepping away can help you both become independent again, and then your friendship over will be interdependent and will be reciprocal, which is the healthy type of relationship. That's a real friendship, not a fake friendship.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:21] What do we do if we feel like we might need to isolate, replace, or even excise somebody who is really close to us, and I get a lot in my inbox for Feedback Friday, it's like my mother or a mother-in-law or my apparent cousin, sibling, sometimes even a child is fallen into this category. How do we evaluate that? That's a very tough situation, but I still think we still have to look out for ourselves a lot of the time. I mean, we can't just become so caring for someone else that had drags us down.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:52:55] I completely agree and I have a tougher stance on this, but at the same time, it goes back to what we said earlier, a lot of people, they get in a relationship or a marriage, and I had these questions sent to me all the time too. I'm married to this person, et cetera, and we focus on the short term, how things are going right now. Like, this has been an awful year, like you said earlier. But are you forgetting about the two or the three years you spent falling in love and getting engaged in the years you had raising your kids, all this stuff. You're forgetting about all that, you're really just being lazy, and you're being petulant, and you want to get out of it because it's been a bad year instead of having some stick-to-itiveness.
[00:53:31] So you got to be honest with yourself there. Other times the other person has drastically changed. They are refusing to grow with you, they’re refusing to do anything at all, not just for a year or a few months, but for like a decade. And it's overriding everything that's happened in the past, and the only option is to step away from this person. Obviously, if you have kids, I mean, people that are dependent, they're not 18 yet, et cetera. Context matters, there's not going to be a blanket rule here. Your role in the relationship, are you a parent? Are you responsible for this person? Are you a mentor versus being a protege? All of these things matter and you have to evaluate them carefully. But there's never a case where walking away temporarily couldn't be a good idea. And that even in marriage, there's, I forget the name of this, there's a book that came out by one of the top marriage counselors in the world. And they said, what they actually recommend that their couples do is they spend three months apart. Now these are married couples that have been married for like 10 years, or relationships 10 years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:35] Yeah, that sounds like a long time.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:54:37] Yeah. And in your thinking, that is not a good idea, because people tend to have this -- they think that, ‘Oh, you're married, you can just spend every waking second together.” But they said that when they go on these three month vacations from each other, and that just means vacations in terms of being around each other. They go off and do their own thing for three months. They take a sabbatical, they come back, and the relationship is stronger than ever. So there's this fear in life that if you step away from your friendships or relationships, you're going to lose that person. That's, the first fear of what's the real fear underlying that, is it's you're going to lose yourself. Or if you're being really honest, you're going to lose whatever influence you had over that person, and you have to be willing to give that up for your own health and for their health. And so even if it means it might mean with your kid like, “Hey, maybe you're being too much of a helicopter parent, maybe you need to step away and let that kid sink or swim on their own instead of giving them a trophy for everything.” So stepping away can always be a good thing if it's temporary.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:32] Isaiah, thank you so much for this, man. There's a lot here, lot of practical stuff that I've really, really like, as usual. Is there anything else that you want to make sure that you deliver? Any sort of practical drill or exercise that you think we left out?
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:55:44] I think the questions determine your focus. And we talked about at the very beginning, people manipulating you by keeping you busy. We talked about people keeping you in fake friendships by sucking you into drama. You got to ask yourself the right questions, and you have to be able to zoom out and say, “Is this good for me? Is there any value in fighting this, or am I just going to add energy to the problem? How can I be a little bit more defiant in this situation, which will keep me from just copying what other people are doing?” So make sure you're leaving that time to step away, to ask yourself questions on a daily basis that'll help you avoid a lot of these traps in these pitfalls that we about today.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:24] Thank you very much.
Dr. Isaiah Hankel: [00:56:25] Thank you, Jordan. Great to be on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:28] All right, great big thank you to Dr. Isaiah Hankel. The book title is The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create and Grow Their Way to Success. I've been friends with him for years. He's just as a smart cookie that Dr. Hankel, and a his name is really fun to say. What can I say Dr. Hankel, your name is fun to say, Dr. Hankel. Want to know how I managed to book all these great people and manage my relationships, although now I'm not sure Dr. Hankel will ever hang out with me again. If you want to learn how I manage my other relationships using systems and tiny habits, check out our Six-Minute Networking course which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:57:04] Now a lot of people go, “I'll do that soon. I just have all this other stuff I've got to do,” or “Yeah, it's on my list.” The problem with procrastinating or kicking the can down the road, you cannot make up for lost time. When it comes to relationships and networking, there is no such thing as making up for lost time. The number one mistake I see students making, entrepreneurs making, all kinds of folks do this, postponing this, not digging the well before they get thirsty, and once you need these relationships, you're too late. That's how this works. These drills are designed to take a few minutes a day, you cannot ignore this stuff. I wish I'd known this stuff 15 years ago. I've been using it for a long time, it doesn't take that much effort, it's just consistency. I'm teaching you my systems and how to do that for free at jordanharbinger.com/course. Speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from Dr. Hankel. I am @jordanharbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. I'm doing a lot on Instagram these days, including answering questions that I'd find in Feedback Friday that I think are applicable to the social media audience at large, stuff I find in my Instagram inbox all the time. And don't forget if you want to learn how to apply everything you heard here from Dr. Hankel, make sure you go grab the worksheets also in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:58:15] This episode was produced and edited by Jason DeFillippo. Show notes by Robert “Don't Apostrophe Me, Bro” Fogarty, and the worksheets are by Caleb Bacon. Booking back office and last minute miracles as always by Jen Harbinger. And I'm your host, Jordan harbinger. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love. Share the show with those you don't love. There's a lot more like this in the pipeline and we're excited to bring it to you. So in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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