Jon Acuff (@jonacuff) is an Inc. Magazine Top 100 Leadership speaker, host of the All It Takes Is a Goal podcast, and author of multiple bestsellers. His latest book is Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking.
What We Discuss with Jon Acuff:
- Jon defines a soundtrack as those repetitive thoughts that play automatically in your head that shape more of your choices than you know — and this is why you need to curate your soundtrack.
- Three questions to ask yourself if you want to identify a broken soundtrack that derails your ambitions — and change it into one that goads you into action.
- How you can flip a worry-inducing soundtrack into one that instills confidence.
- Being prepared always leads to an action; overthinking always leads to more overthinking.
- Something better to tell yourself than “Fake it ’til you make it” from the son of the guy who coined that phrase.
- And much more…
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When we don’t control our thoughts, our thoughts control us. If our days are full of broken soundtracks, thoughts are our worst enemy, holding us back from the things we really want. But the solution to overthinking isn’t to stop thinking. The solution is running our brains with better soundtracks. Once we learn how to choose our soundtracks, thoughts become our best friend, propelling us toward our goals.
On this episode, we talk to Jon Acuff, author of Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking about how we can transform overthinking — something with which it seems 99.5 percent of us struggle — from a super problem into a superpower. If you want to tap into the surprising power of overthinking and give your dreams more time and creativity, learn how to DJ the soundtracks that define you. If you can worry, you can wonder. If you can doubt, you can dominate. If you can spin, you can soar. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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THANKS, JON ACUFF!
If you enjoyed this session with Jon Acuff, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
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:
- Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking by Jon Acuff | Amazon
- The All It Takes Is a Goal Podcast
- Jon Acuff | Website
- Jon Acuff | Facebook
- Jon Acuff | Instagram
- Jon Acuff | Twitter
- I Know Three Things | Jon Acuff
- Baby Shark Dance | Pinkfong
- Why Bad is Stronger Than Good (There is No Opposite of Trauma) | A Wealth of Common Sense
- Confirmation Bias: Why We Interpret Information Favoring Our Existing Beliefs | The Decision Lab
- Moby | What to Do When Success Makes You Miserable | Jordan Harbinger
- Jean-Michel Basquiat | Artnet
- Free Brian Williams | Revisionist History
- Space Shuttle Challenger Anniversary: Where Were You? | CNN
- How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome | Deep Dive | Jordan Harbinger
- Kyrie Irving with What Looks like a Sage Burning Pregame Ritual in Boston | Stay
- Tom Ziglar | Twitter
- Cognitive Dissonance Theory | Simply Psychology
- Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley | SNL
- Positive Thinking: Reduce Stress by Eliminating Negative Self-Talk | Mayo Clinic
- I Took A Freezing Cold Shower Every Morning For a Month | Refinery29
- The Middle by Jimmy Eat World | Amazon Music
- Serenity Now | WikiSein
- ‘Just Do It’: The Surprising and Morbid Origin Story of Nike’s Slogan | The Washington Post
- Shia LaBeouf “Just Do It” Motivational Speech | MotivaShian
- Patsy Clairmont | Instagram
- The Really Easy Way to Beat Writer’s Block by Jon Acuff | Medium
- 5 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block | Jon Acuff
- Running App and Cycling App | Strava
- Humblebrag | Merriam-Webster
- What Made Livestrong Bracelets Popular? | Amazing Wristbands
- The Simple Lesson about Haters That It Took Me 10 Years to Learn | Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff | The Surprising Solution to Overthinking (Episode 495)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Jon Acuff: That's where the brain comes in with confirmation bias. The brain likes to believe stuff it had already believed. So like my kind of metaphor of that is, it's like surrounding yourself with bear traps. Every bad experience is a bear trap. And you're just waiting for somebody to lightly graze one of them, set it off so you can go, "I knew it. That's exactly how the world works. That's how business works." I always tell people, if you want to figure out a broken soundtrack, write down something you want to do, like a really simple thing to do. Just write down something you want to do. I want to start a podcast. I want to ask for a raise and then listen to the first reaction you have because every reaction is an education.
[00:00:37] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts, entrepreneurs, spies, psychologists, even the occasional journalist turned poker champion, Russian spy, or money laundering experts. You get the idea. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:04] If you're new to the show or you want to tell some friends about it — please tell some friends about it. That's how we keep the lights on around here. We've got episodes starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes — or at least popular episodes — organized by topic that'll help you or new listeners — or maybe you are a new listener — get a taste of everything we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start. That'll get you started. It can also help somebody else get started. And of course, you know how I love when you do that.
[00:01:29] Today, we're talking about overthinking. Almost everyone does it. And a lot of those people, they think they're the only one who does. I'm not an overthinker in general, but I know a ton of people struggle with this. I could probably do with some overthinking. Now that I think about it, a little, I don't know. See what I did there? by accident, but for those of us that are chronic overthinkers it can be debilitating, it can keep us from moving ahead in our careers. It can sabotage our relationships. It can really keep us in our head. Sometimes, it's nearly impossible to break free from the cycle or at least it seems that way. And today's guest and former chronic overthinker and friend of mine, Jon Acuff, he will deliver some strategies to help us decide whether our thinking is productive or not, and help us break free from the cycle of overthinking. So we can develop better soundtracks for our personal and professional lives. You all know me. I'm not into cheesy self-help stuff, but John Acuff is the real deal. All right, maybe I'm overthinking this intro. So I'm going to cut it right here.
[00:02:24] By the way, if you're wondering how I managed to book all these great authors, thinkers and creators, it's because of my network, I'm teaching you how to do it, how to build your network for free and dig that well before you get thirsty. There's a free course called Six-Minute Networking. Five minute networking was taken. Go to jordanharbinger.com/course, it takes just a few minutes a day. And most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course already. They contribute. Come join us, you'll be in smart company. Now, here's Jon Acuff.
[00:02:51] I want to talk about — well, I have to do the obligatory. Thanks for coming on the show because otherwise people go, "How come you never thank your guests for coming on the show?" Like, I don't say anything to you before the show starts, right?
[00:03:01] Jon Acuff: Exactly. Or like, "Why are you so hateful? You didn't thank Jon."
[00:03:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:05] Jon Acuff: That's funny.
[00:03:05] Jordan Harbinger: Like, "What are you so entitled? This person just shows up and does the show." I want to talk about overthinking because everyone does it, but I think a lot of people who do it think that they're the only people who do it. And I know that because I used to overthink everything, especially back in my law school days. And I was like, "You don't understand. I'm thinking about all these things." And I remember being in a study group at law school and it was like a bunch of like, you know, Russian Jewish kids and me and they're like, "Oh, we understand overthinking. How do you think we got into this law school in the first place?"
[00:03:38] Jon Acuff: That's so funny. That's so funny. It's true. I think it's one of those things that everybody thinks they're the only one. And then you look at the data and you go, "Well, it turns out everybody is." And then 2020 was catnip for overthinking. So if you weren't overthinking before — like a phrase I've been telling people is everything's a thing. So like somebody tried to shake my hand recently. And I was like, right before I did, I was like, "Should I give him the elbow? Should I say no? Should I give him a fist bump? What if I shake it? And then I put my hand in a vat of hand sanitizer right away to go, "Hey, I'm just trying to scrub off the deadly pandemic you just tried to murder me with. No offense." And then I looked around, I was like, "Is this a handshaking event? Is that a political statement?" Dude, two years ago, you know what I thought before I shook somebody's hand?
[00:04:16] Jordan Harbinger: Nothing.
[00:04:16] Jon Acuff: Nothing. I shook their hand. Overthinking, in my opinion, is an epidemic. We're all doing it to some degree.
[00:04:22] Jordan Harbinger: Well, you're right. Now, you shake someone's hand and it's like, "Geez. This is a handshaker. He probably thinks I'm weird for wearing a mask now."
[00:04:30] Jon Acuff: Yeah, exactly. Like, what did we vote? Like, what does this say about my life and who I am as a person and how I raise my kids? And you're like, all I did was shake his hand and now I'm carrying around like a million thoughts.
[00:04:42] Jordan Harbinger: Now, someone who reaches out for a handshake, you're like, "You know what? That guy's probably a racist." It's like — what? How did you get there?
[00:04:48] Jon Acuff: How did I get here? That's quite a leap. Like, I feel like Twitter would be proud of that. Twitter would be like, "I should hashtag this handshake. Oh man, man, hashtag it."
[00:04:58] Jordan Harbinger: So what is overthinking. I mean, we kind of gave a good example, but you, in the book you give a really good — is it a metaphor? You say overthinking is when what you think gets in the way of what you want. And the metaphor you use was soundtrack. And I thought that was pretty clever because if there's anything overthinkers do, it's play crap over and over and over in their heads.
[00:05:16] Jon Acuff: Yeah. And for me, I've heard people say, you know, a thought is like a leaf on a river, or it's a car on a highway, a cloud in the sky. But for me, it's a soundtrack, which is just a repetitive thought that tends to play automatically. And it plays in the background, but it's changing everything. In the same way that if you open up a movie scene and there was a peaceful neighborhood in a white picket fence, and you played an ominous song. Then that would change it. You'd go, "Don't go in there. It's too quiet. There's probably a clown in the sewer." But if you played a happy song, you'd go, "Oh, this is a rom-com. This is going to be okay." And so soundtrack was my phrase to describe, okay, repetitive thoughts that play automatically, that are shaping more of your choices and actions, that you might know.
[00:05:55] Jordan Harbinger: These thoughts that are in our head — again, I love the term soundtrack because when I'm under stress, I play a negative thought. Now, I'm probably a lot better about it. Now I'm overthinking in real time. I'm better about it now, but especially when I'm under stress, I play the same, "What if this happens? What if this happens? What if this happens?" And I remember like three, well, more than three years ago. So now when I had to restart my show and start The Jordan Harbinger Show and leave my coaching business, I had thoughts that were in my head more than any Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, you know, Baby Shark song has ever stayed in my brain. Those thoughts were there. They were there at four o'clock in the morning. They were there before I went to bed, when I got up in the morning. They were there when I got up to whiz in the middle of the night, right? They, they just immediately — as soon as your consciousness boots up, it's like, there it is. So we do need to curate that soundtrack. Because left to our own devices if we're an overthinker — maybe this isn't true for everyone — but left to our own devices, it's just nonstop Baby Shark, negative catastrophe Baby Shark.
[00:06:56] Jon Acuff: Well, and that's the funny thing during the research, we didn't find a single person whose problem was they over thought compliments. No one is like, "I just think I'm too good of a mom all the time." Like, it's a real issue. Like everybody would go, "Okay, I've got these negative thoughts." And that's what's fascinating. The way I say it is kind of like fear comes free, hope takes work. Like the negative thoughts will find you. Roy Baumeister did a study where they found that there's not even an opposite word in the English language for trauma. There's not an opposite where an overwhelming joy hits you while you're at the grocery store from four years ago, or you wake up in the middle of the night and go, "Remember that time I won that thing in that meeting and it was a home run," like the opposite tends to happen.
[00:07:34] So I think the flip side is once you recognize that you can start to go, "Okay, I don't want to listen to these anymore. They're taking my time. They're taking my creativity, my productivity, whatever. I need to write some new ones. How do I do that?" And that's when it gets kind of fun to me and it gets practical. Mindfulness, overthinking, it can be a really fuzzy topic. That's one of the things I love about conversations with you is that we both look at this and go, "Okay, well, what does that mean? How do we make it practical? What does that look like on a Tuesday? How do I actually do that?" And I think if you can apply that to overthinking, you can start to change things.
[00:08:04] Jordan Harbinger: That's a really good point that you have about the no one ever says spontaneous joy has suddenly hit me. If I'm listening to a keynote speech and someone says, "And then I was hit by an overwhelming sense of dread." Everyone goes, "Oh no, we've all been there." But if somebody goes, "And I was hit by an overwhelming sense of joy." I just go, "This freaking fruitcake is probably doing a bunch of psychedelics. I don't need to listen to this sh*t."
[00:08:27] Jon Acuff: Yeah. They just freed their mind with psychedelics.
[00:08:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:30] Jon Acuff: "I carved a new path in my brain. It's like skiing down a hill," and you go, "I don't know if that's that. I don't want to have to involve a cactus in my next—"
[00:08:36] Jordan Harbinger: "Let's speed the line for lunch, folks. Let me out of here."
[00:08:38] Jon Acuff: Yeah, exactly. "Let me get that chicken. Let me get that sad chicken first."
[00:08:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly. The persistent repetitive thoughts are never really positive. And is that what a broken soundtrack is? So essentially are all soundtracks usually broken, at least in the beginning.
[00:08:52] Jon Acuff: I think they start broken and then we have the choice to change them and go, "Okay, I'm going to flip that. I'm going to rewrite that. I'm going to create something new." And sometimes they happen from life events. So, you know, for me, there's been times where I've been taken advantage of in business situations.
[00:09:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:06] Jon Acuff: And it's really easy for me to then carry that soundtrack into a next business conversation of, "Okay. Remember, they're trying to take advantage of you. Remember, like look for the angle." And then I bring this attitude into the meeting. That's kind of a gotcha attitude where I'm just looking for them to try to screw me and then I miss out on opportunities. I miss out on relationships. I miss out on second chances. And so, yeah, I think that can be really sticky and they tend to start negative and then we get to go, "Okay, that's not what I want in my life. And I enjoy building a podcast, writing a book, having a family, whatever. I'm going to guide that with new soundtracks."
[00:09:38] Jordan Harbinger: It's interesting. I just did a deal with a really well-known YouTube channel, but I've known the guys for like a decade, not super well, but I've known him for a while and I go, "Hey, so do you want me to write something up? Because I don't really want to, but, you know, I will if you want." And they go, "No, actually we're really cool, just kind of being like, does this make sense for everyone and doing a handshake deal? Because if we have to think about it too much, it's not really going to make sense for us." It was a small deal for them and a decent deal for me. Basically, I just handed off my YouTube channel to these like superstar YouTubers to run it for me. I still own it, technically, but they're doing everything. And then I thought this is so refreshing because if it doesn't work, I can always take it from them. But I have no incentive to take it from them because if they do a good job, then I'll want them to keep it. And if they do a bad job, then it won't really earn any money and therefore they will have no reason to keep it and I'll just take it back. And then I remember negotiating contracts and I'm sure you've done this before too. You got to go create a contract with somebody and like you said, they've been screwed over before and they're like, "There's no section on what happens if the car runs over the computer while it's running our program that we created. And then who owns all the fragments." And you're like, "Okay, you're trying to shore up every possible universal scenario here." Every time I leave town for a week and you call me and I don't respond within 30 minutes, you're going to be like, "He ran off with the money." And I'm like, "I don't want it."
[00:10:58] Jon Acuff: "We knew it. We knew it."
[00:10:58] Jordan Harbinger: It's like, "I don't want to do this." You don't want to be in a relationship with somebody, like a romantic relationship, you don't want to be in a relationship with somebody who goes, "Everybody in my whole life has cheated on me. And if you don't answer the phone, you know, while you're on an airplane overnight to Taiwan, it's probably because you're leaving me." You don't want to deal with somebody like that. And nobody ever would, generally, but in business, a lot of us guys who've been around for a while, we're like, "I'm not getting that. I'm not getting screwed again. I'm going to put everything into that contract 17 pages long."
[00:11:26] Jon Acuff: And that's where the brain comes in with confirmation bias. The brain likes to believe stuff it had already believed. So like my kind of metaphor that is like, it's like surrounding yourself with bear traps. Every bad experience is a bear trap. And you're just waiting for somebody to lightly graze one of them. Set it off so you can go, "I knew it. That's exactly how the world works. That's how business works." And again, you'd miss out on the YouTube situation. You'd miss out on so many opportunities, so many dating situations. And so I think, you know, I always tell people, if you want to figure out a broken soundtrack, write down something you want to do, like a really simple thing to do. Just write down something you want to do. I want to start a podcast. I want to ask for a raise. I want to start a business. And then listen to the first reaction you have because every reaction is an education. So what is that thing? Was it okay? You don't get to write a book. Or you don't get to start a business. Or you're too late, you're not old enough. You're too old. Like, listen to that reaction because that's going to educate you on, "Okay. Wow. I do have a broken soundtrack. I want to deal with that."
[00:12:21] And if you want to, the three questions I always say to ask are simple: is it true? Is this thing I'm listening to true? Number two, is it helpful? Does it push me forward or is it pull me back? Number three, is it kind? Is it kind to me? Is it encouraging? Does it make me want to lean into it? If it's not, if you can't say yes to those three easy questions, why are you still listening to it? And let's do something about that.
[00:12:42] Jordan Harbinger: We'll get into that a little bit. I want to talk about flat — well, first of all, I want to talk about why these are dangerous in general. Because, of course, people go, "Well, yeah, I have those thoughts, but then I just kind of ignore them and it's not a big deal. But when I'm running a program in the back of my brain, that says, "You know, last time you did this, it failed. Last time you did this, you lost a bunch of money. Last time you did this, it didn't work and you were really disappointed." Even if you're able to push all those things out, it still zaps your energy. It zaps your focus. And honestly, it zaps your motivation. Like if someone says, "I've got a great idea for a marketing thing, it's going to require this, and then we're going to do that." If all I'm thinking is, "That's probably not going to work because nothing else in my past has really worked out because I'm not somebody who does experiments that are successful." I don't know. I mean, how much fun are you really having in your new business venture with your friends marketing this thing when you're sort of default — even if you're pushing it out, your sort of default is, "Weh, it's probably not really going to work, but at least I'm working with my friends." I mean, that's not a great way to live.
[00:13:39] Jon Acuff: No. And you're going to play it safe. Like even if you push it away, it's going to impact the decisions you make. Like there's some residue, there's some limiting there. And even if you don't, it's taking up time. I talked to somebody the other day that said, "You know, I got fired 12 years ago. And every time I see a meeting I'm not invited to and a door close, I think that's going to happen again."
[00:13:57] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:13:58] Jon Acuff: And let's say he only spends 20 minutes a day doing that. But how many meetings is he not invited to? Multiplied by 20 minutes. And then you go, "That's a gigantic time suck." Like, even if he's not, you know, you could say, "Well, it doesn't change his day." It changes his day because he's losing 20 minutes every day, every week, all year. I always say overthinking steals time, creativity, and productivity. And that's a practical example of, "Oh, I gave that thing 20 minutes that didn't deserve 20 minutes that I could've done a million other great things with."
[00:14:28] Jordan Harbinger: One of my friend's mothers told me, because I used to be such a worrywart, she said something like, "What if you did the opposite of worrying? And every time you thought something was going to go terribly, you thought something was going to go really well." And I was like, "That's so stupid." But it actually worked out pretty well for a few years. Like, yes, your mind still goes crazy sometimes. But it is kind of nice to go — like, imagine the door closes and it's a meeting you're not invited to. And it's like, "They must know that I'm really productive and I don't need to be in that meeting because it has nothing to do with me. And I am better left to my own devices because that's where I really shine."
[00:14:59] Jon Acuff: "They trust me to get my stuff done." Or they're, you know—
[00:15:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:15:02] Jon Acuff: "They're working on a project that might have bored me." Think of all the meetings you've been to and thought, "Ugh, why did they invite me? This is the worst." So then you're on the outside of when you're going, "Man, that's the one I need to be in."
[00:15:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:15:13] Jon Acuff: You don't get to play on both sides. So yeah, I call that like flipping, like how do you flip a broken soundtrack to a good one. That's a really easy example of, okay, what would the opposite of this be? Like, what would the positive be?
[00:15:24] Jordan Harbinger: It reminds me. I had Moby on the show a few years ago and you know, he was a big deal. He still is a big deal, but he was a real big deal, like the big deal at one point in his career. And he was also a serious alcoholic. And he said he was having like 300 to 400 drinks a month when he was drinking.
[00:15:42] Jon Acuff: Oomph.
[00:15:42] Jordan Harbinger: Can you like—? First of all, wrap your mind around that. He would go to this bar or any bar and he'd see like the VIP door and he'd walk in there. And then one day he noticed in his regular bar that a bunch of people went into a door and he's like, "That door is hidden?" Because it was like one of those wooden panels or something. So he barges in there and they're like, "Hey man, you can't be in here." And he's drunk and he goes, "You know who I am?" And they're like, "Moby, we're counting credit card receipts. This is an office you can't be in here." He's like telling me, he goes, "I thought they were trying to exclude me because I'm so used to being the nerdy guy who gets excluded from everything. And meanwhile, they were literally just counting credit card receipts because it was like four o'clock in the morning and I barged into the office."
[00:16:20] Jon Acuff: But see that's like, he took those soundtracks of you're a nerdy unwanted guy and no matter the size of the stage, no matter like porcelain crushes, play crushes, like he was referenced in an Eminem song, like there was no degree — the result wouldn't change the soundtrack. Like he had to do the work of going, "Okay. The better VIP won't make me feel a certain way. Like I need to deal with a soundtrack. That's not telling me the truth." That soundtrack lied to them and said, "There's a special secret room you've never known about. And they've all been going in there." And I love that he barged into an office. That's a perfect example.
[00:16:54] Jordan Harbinger: And they're like, "No, we do know who you are, but literally we're doing like boring accounting. This is nothing to do with you."
[00:17:00] Jon Acuff: Yeah, we're doing the bookkeeping. We didn't think Moby should be invited to that.
[00:17:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. drunk Moby.
[00:17:04] Jon Acuff: Nobody was like, "Hey, we're doing the bookkeeping, get drunk Moby in here ASAP."
[00:17:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no kidding, exactly. Man, he's an interesting dude. We'll link to that episode in the show notes. But I remember now, he actually showed — you know, him and Eminem had this beef and I can't even remember what it was. I don't even know if he knows what it was, but Eminem hated him, right? And talked about like—
[00:17:24] Jon Acuff: Nobody listens to techno. I remember that was the line.
[00:17:26] Jordan Harbinger: It's over. Let it go. Nobody listens to techno. Right. So Moby said that he was at VMAs video, maybe as the VMA is or something, and Eminem was sitting behind him and he was like, "Oh God." The people go, "Hey, Eminem's behind you." So he turned around and looked at him and Eminem just sat there, stone faced, and he's like, "Oh, I guess he doesn't like me." And then later on, he said, Eminem tapped him on the shoulder and handed him a napkin. And he showed me this drawing. He opens up the napkin or the paper. And it's a picture of Eminem that he drew himself grabbing Moby by the neck and squeezing it, choking him. So he's like getting bullied at the VMAs by Eminem.
[00:18:05] Jon Acuff: I thought you're going to say it was an apology.
[00:18:07] Jordan Harbinger: I knew you think I was going to say that, but it definitely wasn't.
[00:18:12] Jon Acuff: Can you ever imagine sitting there and thinking, "You know what I should do right now? I should draw a picture of me choking, Moby."
[00:18:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:18:19] Jon Acuff: And then sliding that napkin or did he ask for the napkin? I have all the questions about the story. Was Eminem like, "Drake, give me a napkin."
[00:18:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I need a cocktail napkin and one of those pens that doesn't bleed when what you're writing on is really—
[00:18:32] Jon Acuff: Oh my gosh. And how did he know when it was done? Like, was he like, "I need more detail around the neck"? Like how does he finish that piece of art?
[00:18:39] Jordan Harbinger: He probably put it down to go up and get like a VMA and then came back and was like, "Eh, I'm not in the mood to finish this and hands it off." There you go—
[00:18:47] Jon Acuff: This is for you Moby.
[00:18:47] Jordan Harbinger: This is me killing you.
[00:18:48] Jon Acuff: Just in case you're confused about our relationship.
[00:18:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no kidding. I told him he should sell it and donate the money to charity because there's probably not a ton of Eminem inspired or Eminem created drawings.
[00:18:59] Jon Acuff: It's probably pretty rare.
[00:19:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:19:00] Jon Acuff: But here's the thing, what if there is? What if there's actually a hundred of those notes and we just don't know.
[00:19:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:19:05] Jon Acuff: And like, Julia Roberts has one right now and it's like, "Yeah, I was at the Vanity Fair awards." I think that's an award.
[00:19:11] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:19:11] Jon Acuff: "And Eminem was beside me and he handed me this really weird note." Like maybe he's like into [Basque], like, we just don't know. I'm not into the art scene and that's Eminem's thing.
[00:19:20] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Just everyone who sits in front of him, he's like, "Hold on. This is me killing you. Here you go. Enjoy."
[00:19:26] Jon Acuff: And he can't do it until he sees your neck.
[00:19:28] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:19:28] Jon Acuff: Like, he'd love to draw you earlier, but until he's in that exact moment, he's not inspired. I mean, this is a really good story I'm telling.
[00:19:35] Jordan Harbinger: This is possibly a tangent into what we were going to originally discuss here. Let's go back to flashbulb memories and how these relate to broken soundtracks you had. This is kind of a unique idea that I think a lot of folks have in their head — phenomenon, I don't know if it's an idea. It's more of a phenomenon.
[00:19:52] Jon Acuff: Yeah. So flashbulb memory is a really big, really dramatic moment that your brain tends to retell in different ways that aren't true. So the example I use in the book was from Malcolm Gladwell talking about Brian Williams who said to David Letterman, "Yeah, I was on this Chinook helicopter that was fired on by a rocket propelled grenade." And it turned out not to be true.
[00:20:12] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:20:12] Jon Acuff: And it's really easy to go, "You don't remember that you weren't fired on by a rocket propelled grenade?" Like right now, Jordan, I guarantee you're aware, like, "You know what? I don't think that's happened to me in my life."
[00:20:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I was never in Afghanistan.
[00:20:23] Jon Acuff: Yeah, exactly. And he said he was. And so there's this, all these studies about your brain will start to distort it. It's not going to tell you accurately. And so they've studied for instance, like the Challenger explosion, where they'll go 10 years after the Challenger explosion. Where were you when it happened? And people who had written down in their own handwriting, "This is where I was," will tell the exact opposite story. And they'll go, "This is your handwriting." And they'll go, "I know I wrote that, but I don't know why I lied then. Now I'm telling the truth."
[00:20:49] And so that's part of where, you know, you have a bad moment and you touch it again and again, and again, and every time you touch it, it gets a little more distorted. It gets a little more curvy. It gets a little more detailed to where you're no longer telling yourself the truth about that moment. And then again, like cognitive bias comes in and finds additional bad moments that prove that one. Your brain confuses fake trauma with real trauma. They've done all these studies where even if participants knew the trauma and the study was fake, their bodies released the same opioids as if they'd been through real trauma.
[00:21:21] So there's all these things where your brain doesn't set you up necessarily for the greatest thinking success. And the good news is though your brain — I'm sure you've had so many people on here talk about neuroplasticity where we know you can change your brain. And if you know that you can start to take some deliberate steps to go, "Okay, I'm going to rewire the soundtracks I listened to.
[00:21:42] Jordan Harbinger: How do we know if we have broken soundtracks? I mean, I think most of us have something somewhere. Example would be, why didn't somebody text me back? You know, why are my downloads down a little bit this week? Those are the things that I might have in my head in the last decade or so. But how do we know if we have them? Because I think if most people think of the moment, they're like, "Oh, I don't do that."
[00:22:04] Jon Acuff: Yeah. I think the one easy way to think about it is people say to me, "Okay, well, how do I know if I'm an overthinker or if I'm just, I like being prepared? Maybe I'm just analytical. I'm detailed." The easiest way to tell that is being prepared, always leads to an action. Overthinking always leads to more overthinking. So, if you say to me — I meet people at times say, "Jon, okay, you wrote a book. I've been writing a book for 10 years." And I know, well, then you're stuck with that book. Like, there's a chance that you're overthinking that book. You're overthinking that. But if you say to me, "I'm prepared. Here's what I did with this. I contacted a publisher. I've written five chapters. I've started my podcast." If I can see action, you're not stuck in overthinking. So a lot of times with a thought you can say, "Okay, is it negative? Is it a broken soundtrack? Well, does it lead you to actions that you're trying to take or does it get in the way of those?"
[00:22:52] And then when we studied, like we asked 10,000 people if they struggled with overthinking and the largest responses on feelings were, "It left me feeling drained or inadequate." So after you think about that thought for a period of time, are you energized to do the thing you've been thinking about or do you feel drained and inadequate? Do you feel more confident to do the thing or do you feel less confident? So usually you can tell pretty quickly, that's not a thought, that's actually encouraging. That's not a thought that's leading me to action. What do I want to do with that?
[00:23:21] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, that's interesting. So we can kind of identify these, maybe not quite in real time, but at least after we have the thought and maybe before we have the thought for three straight years about why we can't leave our current career.
[00:23:33] Jon Acuff: Yeah. Like I always say, pull the thread. Like, what's the thought behind that thought? Let's use an example from work, you say, "Matt is the worst. You hate Matt." I'd go, "Well, let's pull the thought. What does that mean? That's really a statement. It's not a soundtrack." And if you said, "Well, Matt got the promotion I wanted." I would go, "Okay, well, let's talk about that." Because there might be a broken soundtrack behind you going, "They'll never be another promotion, never." Like in all the company and all the history, but like that broken soundtrack has told you something that's just not true. Or you go, "Matt is unqualified. And that frustrates me." And we go, "Okay, well, what's behind that. Well, maybe what's behind that is. He does more with less, and maybe you wish you were braver. Like maybe what you're saying is I wish I was confident like that and could lean into opportunities." And so unless you pull the thread on some of these things, they just get the spin and spin and spin and spin, and you listen to them for a year, for two years.
[00:24:23] For me, I started my first blog in 2001, which was super hard because there's Dreamweaver and it was clunky. And I was like, every photo is distorted and I was terrible at it, but I could have kept going, but I kept listening to soundtracks. Like, "I don't have a plan. What am I doing? They're going to find out I'm an imposter." And so I took seven years off of blogging. Like I just didn't write for seven years. I look back at that and go, "What could I have accomplished if I hadn't listened to those broken soundtracks?"
[00:24:48] So you're right. You joke about three years, but like, it can be seven years. It can be 10 years. You know, the guy who sees the door closes 12 years. You know, the time stacks up and I don't want broken soundtracks to be the one driving that.
[00:25:00] Jordan Harbinger: And we have a tendency to believe that since thoughts are — I can't remember where I read this. Since thoughts are in our head, we tend to believe that they're true, right? Because if this is something that is in my brain, it must be the reality. But that's ridiculous because people believe all kinds of ridiculous crap all the time, except for maybe sometimes we're questioning that. We just think like, "Okay, well, if I just had that thought, then it's probably the case," but really it has no bearing in reality at all. So if we think this is dangerous or this is scary, or this might not work, or I'm not cut out for this since it's not coming from an external source, it's coming from an internal source, we're like, "All right, well, I can't really argue with that."
[00:25:37] Jon Acuff: Well, yeah, I think the funny thing is we don't admit how wrong we've been. A lot of my thoughts were like, "Oh, for 400,000 on accuracy," but then I'm always like, "This could be the time. This could be—" You know, you're going to walk into a situation, you're like, "Oh man, this is going to go terribly. I know it's going to be the worst." And then it goes the opposite and I never go, "I should not listen to that thought next time." Like you were right on that one. Like trust you half as many times, I just go, "I'm going to pretend that didn't just happen. I'm going to trust the next time you tell me something that's absolutely crazy. And then I'm still going to listen."
[00:26:11] Again, those three questions: is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind? are a good pause for the loud ones. I would never tell somebody to ask every thought. We have too many thoughts, but I'm saying like the big, loud thoughts, the ones that you hear all the time. If somebody is listening to this and they're stay-at-home mom, and maybe they are five minutes late to the car rider or pickup line, and they said, "I'm the worst mom." I'll go, "Wait a second. Didn't you get the kids out the door?" Maybe you're an executive and you do your work and take care of the kids and you did a million things, but one, five minutes or race the entire half of the day. Is that true? Like, are you the worst mom? And now one, I always say, you're not, it was Hitler's mom, probably like that one feels very solvable. Like we can fix that one pretty quickly. But I think if we don't ask those questions, then these thoughts just get to kind of run rampant.
[00:26:55] And then the cool thing is when we do ask them and when we discover, we get to choose what we think. Like, I always say your thoughts happen with choice or chance. And like choice is so much better. And if you know you have the permission to do it, and then you figure out how to do it, you can do just about anything. And I don't mean that in like, you're going to say these words and it's going to manifest. I mean, like you can figure out the actions that will turn into the results you want.
[00:27:19] Jordan Harbinger: So, is it helpful? So does it generate action or apathy? And is it kind? Which sounds a little bit drum circley, right?
[00:27:29] Jon Acuff: It's dude, but then like a hundred percent, like that sounds like I'm going to light sage and we're going to clear the spirits, Kyrie Irving style—
[00:27:35] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:27:36] Jon Acuff: —but like Google study that. Google said to their company, what are the most successful teams we have here have in common and they studied 180 teams on 35 different statistical models, hundreds of variables. And what they found was the greatest thing they all had in common was psychological safety. And psychological safety is the ability to ask questions and make a mistake without being judged in an unkind way. So the ability to say like, "Hey, what if we did this?" Or, "Hey, I made a mistake or admit you were wrong." And I would say that a lot of times your team of one, like your internal team, if you can't do that, you don't have psychological safety with yourself.
[00:28:13] Like how many of your listeners have had an idea before they even wrote it down, before it even made it a paper, they said, "No, it's dumb. That's dumb." That's a broken soundtrack. Like every idea is at least worth 30 seconds of ink and a piece of paper, but that's a broken soundtrack that tells you, "No, it's stupid. Nobody would ever believe that. Don't even waste your time."
[00:28:30] And so, yeah, I think, is it kind of has the feel of like a little woo-woo, but the reality to me is there's so much science behind how you speak in kindness to yourself and to others actually has tangible benefits.
[00:28:43] Jordan Harbinger: And the third one is what? Or maybe it was the first one, is it true? And what evidence do I have?
[00:28:47] Jon Acuff: Yeah, true. Yeah, is there evidence? Like, okay, if it's true, there will be evidence. You know, one of my favorite examples in the book, there's a guy named Sal St. Germain, and he was at a company in Hawaii and they were waiting for the mother ship kind of organization to tell them what to do. He thought they were handcuffed. And finally, he went to their manager and like, "Hey, we think we need to do these five things. Why haven't you guys told us what to do?" And they said, "Well, we were waiting on you to tell us what to do. Like you have the power," but they were believing something that wasn't true. They were believing, "We have a big brother company. We're inhibited." And once he realized that they were able to build what they wanted to build and they ended up saving $14 million. So that's the fun thing to me is like because he spent 30 seconds and asked his manager, "Hey, we believe this, like our whole team is listening to this soundtrack. Is that true?" And the manager was able to go, "Actually, it's just the opposite. Like go, we're waiting for you to sprint." It changed everything. So that's an example of, okay, when you find something that isn't true, the reverse could be true, and could actually save you a ton of money.
[00:29:49] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Jon Acuff. We'll be right back.
[00:29:54] This episode is sponsored in part by Sakara. Now, this is kind of a funny one because I've been eating Sakara five days a week for several weeks now. It's been an absolute game changer. I would never tell you to put something in your body that I haven't tried myself. That's a policy here on the show. I try every sponsor. So I gave Sakara a try for three days, and then I immediately subscribed for their five day a week plan because they're so tasty. And I didn't really honestly expect that because you know, it's supposed to be good for you. I've already lost a bunch of weight. I always feel pretty full after what I eat. So I'm not just starving myself. Sakara is ready to eat chef-crafted meals delivered anywhere in the US, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Completely customizable different dishes every week. People have been complimenting me on my weight loss, no big deal. The dishes have some funny names that are, of course, right up my alley. Today, I enjoyed a yoga bunny breakfast and last night I had an energizing macro bowl. So I'm just waiting for people to notice how aligned my chakras are these days.
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[00:31:19] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Grammarly. As part of the show, I regularly communicate with brilliant and important people like you, dear listener, and a key tool I use is Grammarly. So I don't sound like a freaking schlub. If you're sending a message to your landlord, a potential date, a boss, you're finding it difficult to find the right words, I recommend Grammarly. And even if you think you're a brilliant writer, I recommend Grammarly because you can expand your vocabulary. They can tell you when things sound a certain way, they can help you with your tone, et cetera. There's more to clear, effective communication than just catching a random spelling mistake here and there. And Grammarly Premium gives you real time feedback as you type, it gives you insights to help you elevate your writing through, like I said, tone, word, choice, clarity, vocab, and more. Also Grammarly works in pretty much every app, your desktop editor, browser, plugin. They got mobile apps. You can use it in Outlook, Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever, not that you care about how you sound on freaking Twitter, but LinkedIn, you care how you sound on LinkedIn, or at least you should.
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[00:32:22] Jordan Harbinger: Back to Jon Acuff on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:32:27] If we're looking for evidence that something is true, won't that or could that just prime our brain to look for, or even fabricate evidence, to save that, which we already believe is indeed true? In other words, if I'm looking for like, "Hmm, is that true? Let me look for evidence." Aren't I just going to invent evidence about why I'm the worst mom, because that's what I already believe?
[00:32:45] Jon Acuff: Yeah. I mean, and that's like cognitive bias. You're going to find examples and exaggerate examples and I tell you, you know, that's the potential. But then there's this other part of it where it's helpful to have this conversation with other people. You're not meant to do this alone, like being an adult, living on the planet. And so sometimes it's really helpful to say to a friend, "Hey, here's a situation I keep bumping into. What do you think?" Like, and I don't mean 50 people. Like anytime I talk about community, I get pushback. People say, "Boy, you act like I have a hundred friends." that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying like a small handful of people that can go. Like, when you've gone through challenges, you were helped by people, that you said, "Hey, here's this thing. I don't know if I'm seeing it right because I'm in the middle of it. I've got crisis vision right now. What am I not seeing that you're seeing?" Then you have the humility to listen to that and let them speak into that.
[00:33:34] Another example of that might be somebody in your life that can say, "Oh yeah, I don't think that's true." Or, "That is true and here's why." I do love — like I interviewed Tom Ziglar, Zig Ziglar's son for the book, and I asked him like, "Do you believe in fake it until you make it?" Because that's something that a lot of people that are in the motivational space saying. He was like, "No, I don't believe in that at all." And the example he gave me was, like, if you're really out of shape and somebody goes, "You should tell yourself everyday I'm in the best shape of my life. Best shape of my life."
[00:34:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:34:00] Jon Acuff: That triggers cognitive dissonance where your brain goes, "No, you're not like you're lying to yourself." He said, instead say, "I'm getting fitter and fitter every day in every way because that's a progress forward." Like that's a true statement, you're working on. Like, "Everyday I'm working a little harder. Every day I'm making some progress." Versus, "I'm already there," because your brain knows you're not there and adding more lies to the conversation. It never helps.
[00:34:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's what the problem I have with a lot of the positive affirmation type of stuff, because there are so many people that will say — the joke on Saturday Night Live, or from Saturday Night Live, is "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me," right?
[00:34:37] Jon Acuff: Yeah.
[00:34:37] Jordan Harbinger: Like I'm healthy. I eat healthy every day and I exercise every day. And it's like, this is just bullshit that, like you said, it creates cognitive dissonance in your mind because you know that you're lying to yourself and that would make things even worse because then you just know that this is you lying to yourself as you always do. And it kind of seems demoralizing and a lot of ways.
[00:34:56] Jon Acuff: Well, let's say, "Serenity now." I didn't want to talk about or write about positive thinking because I'm skeptical. Like I grew up with "Serenity now." I grew up with, you know, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough." I grew up in that same space, but I started to talk to a bunch of successful people that I admired. And if you'd get them off the mic, get them off camera and say, "Hey, what do you think about positive thinking?" They'd all say, "Well, I do this little pep-talk," or like they all had something they were doing. And so that's where I got curious to go, "Okay, I'm going to try it. I'm going to investigate it." I'm going to try it with, you know, a thousand people so that we can actually see does some of this work. Are there things you should do differently depending on who you are? So, but for me, I wanted to avoid writing about positive thinking, but I kept bumping into it in the context of overthinking and that gave me the chance to go, "Okay, let me look under the hood and see what's really going on."
[00:35:45] Jordan Harbinger: Being harder on yourself is not necessarily a virtue, but a lot of people look at it like that. Or maybe it's just the United States thing or a Western, but especially among probably a mutual circle.
[00:35:57] Jon Acuff: Yeah.
[00:35:57] Jordan Harbinger: There was this whole thing where everybody was so busy that you could never get ahold of them at all for anything. And then there was this whole thing where people now pretend like they never do it anything because it's no longer trendy to be super busy. I don't know. But either way, it's the same. It's like two sides of the same coin. Being harder on yourself as like this virtue that we're teaching ourselves like, "Oh, I work 18 hours a day, but I only sleep for three hours a night because I also do the miracle meditation stuff and like work out."
[00:36:26] Jon Acuff: No, that sounds miserable, dude.
[00:36:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:36:28] Jon Acuff: Like I saw somebody that was like, "You should take an ice-cold shower every morning to prepare yourself for tough things later that day." And I was like, "Why would I start the day sucking?"
[00:36:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:36:37] Jon Acuff: Like, why would I? I have accessed to hot water. Like, can you imagine telling somebody who doesn't like, "No, man, I just do ice cold every day because I want to remind myself like, we could do tough stuff." That just sounds miserable to me. I mean, I've never met somebody like — because one of the phrases that people say is like, "I got to get my stuff together." I've never met somebody in the opposite side a year later and I go, "Wow, you look so different. Your business everything's working," and he goes, "Yeah, I just yelled at myself constantly. I told myself to get my stuff and then I got it together."
[00:37:07] I think anger, I think shame, I think trying to prove somebody wrong is a good temporary fuel for short bursts. I think it burns you out eventually. Like it's not a good long-term fuel. And for me, like I went through a crisis with a business and I had to kind of save the day by doing a bunch of extra work. And so I learned in that moment I can function in a crisis and that was a good lesson, but then it mutated into, I need a crisis to function. And so then I became the guy that in periods of peace was like, "Everything's falling apart. It's ruined." Because I had to generate this fake adrenaline and stress to get motivated and like it made me miserable to live with. My wife was like, she said this like three years ago, "You're a jerk for the two years when you write a book and then you're a jerk for the two years when you sell it. And so this isn't working. Like that ain't it, dude. Like you need a different soundtrack. You need a different fuel for where you're headed."
[00:38:01] And I think that sometimes high-performing people are using old fuels that have burned them out a long time ago. And you go like, there's no joy in that. And there's no, there's just a thinness to that. And you want to say, but there's a better way. You don't have to hate yourself to perform. And you can tell that somebody in that space, if they can't celebrate. If they're unable to celebrate, like if that feels super foreign, because they're already onto the next thing, like the next thing, the next thing, the next thing. It's a dangerous spot to be.
[00:38:30] Jordan Harbinger: I'm kind of like that too. I try to let myself celebrate, but I'm definitely that guy who's like, "Oh, we got him the New York Times. All right. Don't get too excited. It doesn't really mean anything."
[00:38:40] Jon Acuff: Dude, the launch day of my book, I scheduled like a three-hour car, like appointment. And my wife was like, "Why did you do that?" I was like, "Just business as usual, babe. Just a book came out. I got to do other stuff. Like got to stay in the zone." She was like, "No, it's okay to be excited that day." I'm not good at that. I'm just recognizing it in my mid-40s and going, "Okay, I don't want to postpone enjoying the thing. Like I want to be able to enjoy it." I need a fuel that allows me to enjoy it versus, you know, the broken soundtrack is if you enjoy it, you'll lose your edge, and that's not true. That's not true.
[00:39:14] Jordan Harbinger: That is interesting. We all kind of have these negative soundtracks or many of us have these negative soundtracks. You mentioned in the book about turning down the volume, exercising, organizing, making lists. I go for walks or exercise. And the walks help me think, but they also help me turn down the volume. Because I can kind of process things a little bit and there's less distraction, but also I'm working off probably some nervous or anxious energy by getting some sun and being outside and walking around, burning some calories. I think that's useful. And I also — this doesn't really apply to a lot of other people — but I've read fan mail from The Jordan Harbinger Show, because it's really hard to feel sh*tty when you're reading like 30 nice letters from people about your work.
[00:39:57] Jon Acuff: That's amazing. Like people ask me — I don't get recognized a lot because I'm not famous by any means, but in my own town people occasionally come up to me and people go, "Is that annoying?" I'm like, "No, like strangers give me compliments at unexpected times." And it's amazing. Like they come up to me at the airport and go, "I read your book and I started a business," and I go, "Oh, that's so cool." Like why would I not enjoy that? So yeah, the reading fan — like a hundred percent, because the opposite is true. We tend to have a perfect memory for the people that didn't like what we did. We're not excited with the one-star reviews. And so no, I have to actively say, "Okay, let me listen to this stuff. To remind myself, it's working versus I only have vision for the things that are broken.
[00:40:40] Jordan Harbinger: If soundtracks can induce fear and anxiety, can they introduce or induce positive traits as well?
[00:40:47] Jon Acuff: A hundred percent. I mean, that's really how I got my start doing what I'm currently doing. It was 2008. I was stuck at a day job. I was a technical writer at a software company, and I had to talk myself into the building every morning. Like I would listen to Jimmy Eat World song The Middle, which is really about a high school sophomore girl, but I was like, "Ah, this is close enough." And I just felt stuck and I'd hit this plateau with my career. And I started this blog on the side of life and a speaker, an event planner emailed me and was like, "Hey, do you want to come speak at our event?" And I didn't even know that was a thing. I didn't know you got paid for that. I didn't know. I had no evidence. I could do it. All I had was a single soundtrack, like this tiny fragile soundtrack that was like, "I think I could be a public speaker. Like I think I can do that."
[00:41:29] And then I added what I call overwhelming action to that. Like I did the work, I did the reps. I kept believing that. Even when it didn't work, like I kept believing that and it moved me to Nashville. It helped me at the New York Times bestsellers list. Like it changed my life. So for me, that's a big part of why I wrote this book is that I've been doing that since 2008. And I thought, I wonder if other people, one, struggled overthinking. Two, can this help them too? So yeah, I 100-percent believe that a thought that you turn into action that turns into results can change your life.
[00:41:59] Jordan Harbinger: Why is it so easy for us to repeat negative soundtracks internally, but so difficult for us to play positive soundtracks consistently?
[00:42:06] Jon Acuff: Well, sometimes it's because positives are so cheesy.
[00:42:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:42:09] Jon Acuff: We have examples of the "Serenity now," or like we think about the person who's super shiny, super fake but really sad offline. Like we all know people who like their platform doesn't match their life experience. Like—
[00:42:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:42:23] Jon Acuff: —and you go put that person's miserable. I was at the event, they were at, they were miserable. And the photo looked amazing. It's not true. So I think sometimes it's, we have a bad taste in her mouth of positivity, but also sometimes it's just repetition. We've listened to that soundtrack so often and haven't listened to a positive one that it's — I kind of like think about it, every time you touch a negative soundtrack, it's like you're putting a handle on it. So it's even easier to pick up next time. Your bad moment has a thousand handles on it. The new one, which is brand new, you just started. And because we want quick results, we often don't give it time to grow.
[00:42:58] So it's the same with a diet. When somebody says to me, "My diet is not working. My exercise isn't working." I'll go, "Well, how long have you been doing it?" And they'll say, "10 days." And I'll say, "Well, how long did it take you to gain weight?" "10 years" "So you gave yourself 10 years to gain and only 10 days," like that's part of that kindness. Like what if you said, "Okay, I'm going to be kind to myself and give myself longer than 10 days because 10 days probably isn't long enough to have a new soundtrack take root and I need to be deliberate about it and repeat it as many times as I repeated the negative one in positive ways."
[00:43:27] Jordan Harbinger: How do we go about replacing the soundtrack? Or is that not the idea here? We probably have to collect some new tracks, right? Some new bits for the soundtrack.
[00:43:36] Jon Acuff: Yeah. For me, I tell people, like, "Be a student of it, gather as many as you can." A soundtrack doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to rhyme. It doesn't have to be catchy. Don't feel this pressure of like, "I have to come up with a next, just do it. I have to re recreate Nike just for my life." For me, I always say start by borrowing other people's soundtracks.
[00:43:56] I'll give you an example. One of the ones from the book, Patsy Clairmont is this author who's written 40 books, really successful public speaker. And I had lunch with her maybe about a year ago. And there were two soundtracks I walked away with. The first was, I said, "How do you best write?" And I thought, she'd say, "In the morning with a cup of coffee and I can see the ocean." And she said, "Under obligation." And I loved that because I'm the same way, but I can feel guilty going, "I need a book contract to write. Like if I was a real writer, I would just write all day just because then maybe it would turn into a book and I'd run through a field." Like she said, "No under obligation, I need the obligation of a publisher." And so that was a great soundtrack.
[00:44:31] The second one, she said her first book that she ever wrote, the editor sent her back feedback with red ink all over it. And she said, "It crushed me. It felt like the page was dying." So she asked the editor, "Hey, next time use a different color." The editor used green the next time. And she said, "This time, when the page came back, it felt like I was growing, not dying." So I took away from that. What if the next time I get feedback? It's a chance for growth. It doesn't mean I failed.
[00:44:54] And so, like I tell people, "Be aware." Once you plug into the idea of soundtracks, you'll see them in businesses. You'll see them in individuals. You'll see them in couples. Families have soundtracks. And so the first thing is just starting to pay attention to the soundtracks around you versus I would never tell somebody, "Just sit down with a blank piece of paper and good luck with your brain. Have at it." Like, no, take a bunch of friends, ideas, take a bunch of stuff to the party. I don't believe in writer's block. I believe in idea bankruptcy. So I'd much rather you gather some ideas so that you have something to build with.
[00:45:27] Jordan Harbinger: Gather ideas so you have something to build with. That makes sense. Can you give some examples of what we can borrow? You mentioned some in the book, like pick ROI, not EGO, which I like.
[00:45:37] Jon Acuff: Yeah. So, I mean, for me, another one, like I have a card that's on my wall and all it says is, "Ask for more." Because I realized in negotiations on August 27th, apparently in 2020, I was undervaluing my work. Everyone who has a side hustle, that's listening to you right now, tends to undervalue their work. We all do that. We, as a humanity, overvalue the talents of other people and tend to undervalue our own. And so I needed a reminder. So I wrote down "Ask for more." So that's one that I just wrote, "Okay. That's simple. That'll help me."
[00:46:06] But I mean, it can be something like a song lyric that inspires you. It could be a conversation you had with a friend, a friend asks you a question. I mean, I had a friend asked me we were on a walk and I'd missed this opportunity. And he said, "What's going on? How are you doing?" I said, "I feel sad that I missed this opportunity. It was a big opportunity. I feel afraid like I'll never have another opportunity. I feel dumb like everyone else would have known how to handle the opportunity. And I feel jealous because I can see the person who got the opportunity." And he said, "Well, if you had taken that opportunity, what would you have more of that you don't have now?" And I thought that's a really good question. And then he said, his second question was, "Would you have gone deeper into your ego or deeper into your heart?" And I didn't need to wait a second to answer that one. I would have gone deeper into my ego with this particular opportunity. He said, "Well, then that makes me sad because I don't think he would have valued this relationship in these walks and I would've missed out on this."
[00:46:55] So like that becomes a soundtrack for me, ego or heart. Like I face decisions just like you, opportunities just like you do, where you go, "Yeah. That thing is awesome and would fill me up. Like I wouldn't have to not be Jordan. I'd get to be more Jordan if I take this opportunity." This other thing, like, "Oh, it's shiny. Like it's got a lot of stuff, but like you can feel the ego is like going to be crazy on that one. It's going to put me in relationships with people I already don't like, and like, it's not going to be worth it." That's what I mean, like I borrowed that from my friend, but I have to be willing to go, "Yeah, I'm scared about this. I feel anxious about this." Like I don't get to receive that gift of that unless I'm honest in the relationship.
[00:47:37] Jordan Harbinger: I like the idea of collecting actual evidence that we can do something or achieve something as opposed to like, "Choosing to believe it." Right. Which is a sort of cheeseball modern day or not — what is this, the next version of the live, laugh, love tattoo on your wrist, right?
[00:47:51] Jon Acuff: Exactly. We'll put it on driftwood.
[00:47:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yes. You have this concept of the pocket jury. And I dig this because it, well, it sort of gives us an invisible imaginary panel to bounce things off of.
[00:48:03] Jon Acuff: So the pocket jury is this phrase I use to describe this negative collection of people, ideas that the second you try to do something chirp up and go, "No, no, no, it's not going to work. It's not going to work." And so gathering evidence is to say, "Okay, now I have proof, like I've done something similar to this." Or, you know, like even the Strava, like the Strava running app, I didn't feel like a runner for years. If people ask me this question, they go, "Are you a runner?" My answer, which is a broken soundtrack, was always, "I'm not a runner. I run." Like, so I had this definition of what a real runner was and I go, "I'm not a runner. I run." And the Strava app gave me evidence that was the opposite. The Strava app said, "Well, actually like, you ran 50 miles last month, like that feels like a runner." Like the Strava app would say, "You ran like five half marathons." I don't know. Is it the six that you become a real runner? Like it's like, "Pinocchio, you're going to be a real boy once you get to six."
[00:48:54] And so I love the idea of going, "No, here's evidence I have. Here's proof I have here's little things I've done that are related to that because it's so easy to forget those good things and to miss — you know, I think one of the most important things you can do when you gather evidence is when something goes well, tell somebody else. Let them hold that too, because sometimes we're afraid to do the thing, we do the thing and it works. And then we don't put that good thing anywhere. And it just dissipates as we kind of build the next thing, the next thing, the next thing.
[00:49:23] But I think whether it's writing it down in your bullet journal, whether it's telling a friend like, "Hey, this thing that I was worried about, actually it crushed and it was really encouraging." And then the other thing is like, the Internet kind of does the opposite because we have this humblebrag culture where it's easier to share your bad moments and kind of like the victimization and all because then people won't criticize—
[00:49:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:49:46] Jon Acuff: They'll commiserate. Even having friends that you can say, "I tried this thing and it went really well and it was really successful," and they go, "I'm so proud of you. That's awesome." Versus wondering, "Are they judging me? Are they thinking I'm money hungry?" There's not a space for that. So I think you have to cultivate spaces where you gather evidence in a real way.
[00:50:06] Jordan Harbinger: Dude, 2020 was tough for that man and 2021 as well because — for example, we built a new house that we've been planning for a long time, right? And Jen posted some pictures of the frame of the house, not like a ball, it's not a baller pad, just a regular house. And this was the frame, right? It's just wooden blanks with no walls.
[00:50:24] Jon Acuff: They're not carved Ivy. It's not tusks.
[00:50:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Like there's nothing — you can't even tell how big the house was from it. Nothing. And she took the post down because a couple people were like, "You know, a lot of people lost their jobs. Not a great time to be bragging about spending lots of money on a new house that you don't even need." Like, what are we supposed to do? Live on our parents' couch. Come on. We have a kid now. Like, what are you talking about we don't even need? You decided we don't need the house. Thanks for your input a-hole.
[00:50:51] Jon Acuff: One of the broken soundtracks they're talking about in the book is the "must be nice." Must be nice, like, which is this passive aggressive, like, "Oh, must be nice to have a house like that." I mean like a guy you don't know in Ohio lost his job, but no, that's fine. That's fine. Like maybe if he gets a job, then you can talk about your house. Like none of that makes any sort of sense.
[00:51:09] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:51:09] Jon Acuff: But again, it conditions us that we can't talk about the stuff that works. We can't share about stuff that works and it's so, so broken. So I think we do need to, one, talk to ourselves about the stuff that works. Like I wrote it down. I did really well at that. That's great. So the next time that I try something and fear or doubt or insecurity goes, "You've never done anything like this." You go, "I mean, actually, I did. It's right here on paper. Like I've got it right here." And with a spouse, with a friend, they'll go, "Now, remember when you crushed that? It was really good. I think you'll crush this bigger one too."
[00:51:38] But yeah, the Internet for that, it was interesting in 2020. So I've done about 40 virtual speaking events for companies and companies either did well and felt ashamed they did well or they did poorly and they felt ashamed they did poorly. Like shame on both sides.
[00:51:52] Jordan Harbinger: That sucks.
[00:51:52] Jon Acuff: Because they go—
[00:51:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:51:54] Jon Acuff: "I mean, we almost feel bad for how, like we had a great—"and so like, I would always encourage them, like, "No, that's awesome. Build on that, build a foundation. You can share it in a smart way in your company. So there's different branding involved, but you shouldn't feel ashamed that things worked well," because it's not that you took advantage of the year. You've been working for 20 years on systems that were ready to go when things got sideways,
[00:52:20] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Jon Acuff. We'll be right back.
[00:52:24] This episode is sponsored in part by LifeLock. As the occurrence of identity scams continues to increase, more people are looking for ways to protect themselves from cybercriminals. In fact, 60 percent of Americans believe it's likely that identity theft will cause them a financial loss in the next year, and they're probably not wrong. It's important to understand how cybercrime and identity theft are affecting our lives. And every day we put our information at risk on the Internet. In an instant, a cybercriminal can harm what's yours, your finances, your credit, your reputation. Good thing, there's LifeLock. LifeLock helps detect a wide range of identity threats, like your social security number for sale on the dark web. If they detect your information has been potentially compromised, they're going to send you an alert. They'll also help you clean up the mess if you do get hit.
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[00:53:21] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Upstart. When it comes to paying off debt, it can feel like an uphill battle. High interest rates resulting in minimum monthly payments keeps you in an endless cycle of debt. Upstart can help you get ahead. Are you carrying a credit card balance month after month? You're definitely not the only one. High interest rates make it hard to pay off your debt, but Upstart can help. Join the thousands of happy borrowers who made that final payment. Do you dread looking at your credit card statement every month? We don't blame you. Upstart can lift that weight off your shoulders. So you can start to finally feel the relief of being free of credit card debt. Whether it's paying off credit cards, consolidating high interest debt, or funding personal expenses, over half a million people have used Upstart to get a simple fixed monthly payment. Unlike other lenders, Upstart looks at more than just your credit score, like your income, your employment history. That means they can offer smarter rates with trusted partners. You can check your rate up front within five minutes.
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[00:54:27] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by Better Help online counseling. The idea that your problems aren't bad enough to seek therapy is one of the most common mental health myths. Many people believe that their challenges can be handled without outside help and the reality is that virtually everyone can benefit from therapy regardless of how serious you believe your problems to be. A professional can help you sort through many of the curve balls life sends your way such as having trouble meeting your goals or difficulty in relationships, trouble sleeping — amen to that. Or you're just feeling stressed or depressed. Better Help offers online professional counselors who are trained to listen and help. You fill out a questionnaire. They'll hook you up in a couple of days. Better Help counselors have a broad range of expertise. They're available worldwide and pretty much every time zone. You can do video chat. You can chat on the phone. You can text, you can chat, whatever it is, everything is confidential and convenient. No sitting in that awkward waiting room, no driving across town to park. It's more affordable than traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available.
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[00:55:36] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks so much for listening. I love doing shows like this. I love the fact that I don't have to freaking bug you guys for money all the time, because you're so generous and you buy things from our sponsors. That's what keeps the lights on. All of those codes, all those URLs, all those discounts. They're all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. That's in one place, real easy place to find anything. jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support us. And don't forget, we've got worksheets for today's episode. If you want some of the drills, the exercises, the takeaways that we talked about here during the show, they're all in one easy place. And the link to the worksheets is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
[00:56:13] Now for the conclusion of our episode with Jon Acuff.
[00:56:18] Imagine writing bonus checks to all your salespeople and be like, "Everyone killed it. Our new product line is killing it. Everyone gets a bonus. Don't tell anyone and don't spend it conspicuously because other people will think you're a terrible person for doing a great job this year. All right, everybody."
[00:56:32] Jon Acuff: Yeah, exactly. "Hooray. Hey, hide this somewhere. Here's your check. And some shame that's going to keep you up awake. And then the next time you're about to do well, you're going to pull back because you don't want to feel that again. And then we go, where does the fear of success come from? It comes from moments like that.
[00:56:47] Jordan Harbinger: Cognitive bias automatically collects evidence of negatives all the time, right? So it does make sense that we need to consciously collect evidence of positive things.
[00:56:55] Jon Acuff: Well, think about your lawyer — I mean, you're a lawyer.
[00:56:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:56:58] Jon Acuff: If you went to trial and the other team had had 10 years to prepare and had boxes and boxes and boxes of cognitive bias of all the mistakes you've made. And then you were like, "I'm just going to wing it. I hope it got — I haven't prepared. I hope it goes well." Then you walked out and you're like, "Man, I still feel negative. Like, I feel like I lost that case." You should be like, "Yeah, you did because they had 10 years to prepare." What if you just spent five minutes going, "Hey, here's things that worked. Here's things that I'm excited about. Here's things I'm looking forward to, to give it even a fighting chance."
[00:57:29] Jordan Harbinger: How do we make it a habit? Because a lot of these platitude type of things, not that this is platitudes, but a lot of platitudes self-help advice falls apart when you try to apply it, right? You have a plan to have a better attitude when things are going down, but then in the moment, how do you actually do it? Because I can see myself thinking, "Oh, I need to be more positive and replace my criticism with curiosity." And then tomorrow I'm going to forget all that sh*t and go back to being an old curmudgeon and be like, "Oh, you want me to be positive? Fine. I'm positive. Your idea is garbage." And I'm like, you know, "That's enough this."
[00:57:58] Jon Acuff: Yeah. I mean, again, that's why I love these conversations. I mean, I pull the note off the wall that said, "Ask for more," that I've had up there since last August. So I think I just try to make it as practical as possible. Like my goal is it's actionable. So if somebody said to me, "Okay, I got this new thing. I want to believe. What do I do with it?" I go, "Okay, well, you know, how do you make it visible? Like how do you make sure you see it? How do you repeat it? How do you share it with other people? How do you look for examples of it?" I think there's a thousand actions.
[00:58:25] One of the chapters is about how do you make a soundtrack stick with a symbol. And I think a symbol is really powerful and the best brands in the world have known that for forever. Like the swoosh mark isn't just a logo. It's a symbol. Like the reason people put a sticker for Yeti on their car is because it's a symbol. Like in the 1990s, dude, nobody put an igloo sticker on their car to be like, "I want to make sure you guys know how to refrigerate stuff. Just want to make sure everybody in the highway knows. I keep stuff cold." But like it's now a symbol. And so like, I always tell people, if you want a symbol that relates to your soundtrack to make it personal, make it visible, then make it simple.
[00:59:01] One of my favorite examples is the Nike Live Strong bracelet because it wasn't gray. They made it bright yellow. It was visible. It was always personal. No one you met was like, "Eh, I just wear it because I don't like cancer, the disease. I have a psoriasis necklace too. I just wear jewelry related to diseases. Like they always said my uncle had cancer, my mom had cancer." And the last thing, it was simple. Nobody was like, "Hey, how do you put on one of these bracelet? Things like the arm goes in the whole part." So whether it's a coin that's tied to something, whether it's something you keep on your desk, whether it's a quote, a song, a playlist, or whatever. My whole belief is like, add as many things as possible.
[00:59:38] It's kind of one of the techniques I teach is about a motivation portfolio. So like I do a bunch of stuff around goals and people think motivation is like you find one. They misinterpret to start with why, like Simon Sinek's Start with Why. And they go, "I got to find one vision quest, perfect form of motivation," and one that delays him forever.
[00:59:56] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:59:57] And then they find one and the minute that one doesn't show up the whole thing falls apart. I like to have a motivation portfolio where I have 20 reasons because dudes, some days 10 of them won't even work for me. Like it's easy as a dad, I could say, "As a dad, I've got two teenage daughters. I'm going to work my butt off so I can send them to college." Dude, some days I'm like, "You know what? They'll get good ACT scores. Like I don't need to work."
[01:00:18] Jordan Harbinger: These two ungratefuls.
[01:00:19] Jon Acuff: Yeah exactly.
[01:00:20] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not paying anything.
[01:00:21] Jon Acuff: So like that's not going to cut it. I better have more than one thing in my motivation portfolio. I think it's the same way. When you create a new soundtrack, like you should have as many actions as it takes for you to actually turn it into something that helps.
[01:00:35] Jordan Harbinger:
[01:00:35] That makes a ton of sense. I saw in the book and I loved, I loved the way you explained this, right? You have a soundtrack for many people in your life as well. And that is so true. Right. We have a lot of good soundtracks for people in our life, hopefully, but there's also like the soundtrack for when our old boss or our current boss comes into play or like our business partner comes into play. Or if you're maybe if somebody in your family and you're like, "Yeah, here comes my mom's bullsh*t again." My parents are great. Just for the record, but I know a lot. I see my Feedback Friday inbox is full of people who have soundtracks about, "My family is going to ruin this holiday. I just know what's coming, not what am I going to do about it? Should I even show up to Christmas?" You know, I get those kinds of letters and I think, like, not that these people don't have perfectly valid reasons. Some of them are crazy ass families, but that is a soundtrack. And it probably hinders a lot of things in their life, especially if they can't get rid of that person's influence in their life.
[01:01:28] Jon Acuff: Yeah. I mean, I always say everyone has that person in their phone, that the minute they see the text notification, you don't even have to read the text, you're like, "Here we go."
[01:01:37] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[01:01:37] Jon Acuff: "He's going to ask me for a favor. This guy only reaches—" And it fires that up. And then you react in the moment in a way you might not have reacted if you hadn't been listening to that soundtrack. So if you said, "Okay, like with a family and a holiday, like let's get practical." I would say, okay, well what's the soundtrack." And maybe some of it is true. Like maybe that's why you asked three questions. Like one question isn't enough. If you said, "My mom always criticizes my politics and makes me feel 12 years old, again, like I'm 35 and I feel 12. The minute she starts criticizing my politics. Is that true that my mom does it?" It might be true. Like your soundtrack of my mom criticizes my politics and I feel 12. That might be true.
[01:02:15] That the next question is, is it helpful? Does believing that and listening to that all October before you even get to Thanksgiving, is that helpful or is it hurtful? You probably go, "You know what, it's not that helpful?" Is it kind to yourself to listen to that over and over again? Before you've even been in front of your mom, you've criticized yourself for a month. And so like, every nerve is exposed. Like you've already attacked. Like you flayed yourself before you even walked through there. So even the smallest comment sets you off because you're so exposed. So I'd go, "Okay, well, what do we want to do with that? Like, what do we actually want to do with that? Is it okay we set different boundaries? Is it worth having the conversation? My mom's a safe person. I can tell her the truth and we can work on our relationship." Maybe to go, "You know what? She's not a safe person. If I tell her that she's just going to add that fuel, I'm going to be at Thanksgiving and she's going to go, "You're not going to believe what she called me about two weeks ago and opened her heart about politics. Like, there's just like a liberal, that's just like a conservative."
[01:03:09] So like you then get to make that decision versus every Thanksgiving driving away with the same thought. And then now even more reinforced soundtrack. Like that's the thing. Every spin, it gets easier to listen to. So in a situation like that, I go, is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind? And if it's not, what do we want to do about it? Because you get to choose that. Like you get to do that. I don't like when people say ignore the haters, because when you apply that to people, you can't cut out of your life, it's really disingenuous. So go like, "Just with more of the haters, Jordan." You're like, "Well, it's family member and like, we have a history and I want to be part of their life. And so it's not as easy as an Internet troll." I can ignore an Internet trolls all day, like Mark Dragonheart 47, no problem. I don't bring him to dinner in my thoughts. Now, I used to, I used to get real hyped about everybody who hated anything I did. But if it's a family member, it's a different ball game altogether.
[01:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Also ignoring the haters when it comes to your family is kind of like saying, "I'm going to do nothing to ever repair this relationship." And in 30 years when crazy Uncle Frank dies, I'm going to be the person at his funeral who's like, "Oh good, he voted for Clinton." Like he's finally got what's coming to him. Is that the way you want to live your life?
[01:04:18] Jon Acuff: What is your Clinton? Yeah. You've held onto that. And that's the other thing is like, has that helped you? That's the other thing, like, you never feel better on the other side of that. I've never walked away from encouraging someone and been like, "Ugh, that was gross." Like, if it's genuine encouragement, I always feel better from doing that. So I'd much rather you have better moments with your family, but it does take time. It does take work. It does take new soundtracks. Like it does take you investing. That stuff costs. I don't like when somebody says like, "Oh, just do these three things. It'll fix it all." I'm not saying that at all. I think it does take time. I think it does take work, but it's worth it.
[01:04:51] Jordan Harbinger: You give a funny example of this blister you got in Portugal and it illustrates how sound negative thought patterns can ruin larger positive experiences. And when I read this, I was like, "Guilty," right? Like totally me.
[01:05:04] Jon Acuff: Yeah. So we're on the coast of Portugal at this speaking event for this awesome entrepreneurs organization called EO. It's amazing. I go out for a run along this beach path that like Columbus probably walked before he sailed to America. And like, people are frolicking and like it's crystal blue water. I'm there for a week and they're paying me to be there. Like I found a way to get somebody to pay me to go — like, it was amazing.
[01:05:29] And I got this tiny blister on the back of my heel. And when I came in and my wife was like, "How was the run?" And I was like, "Phew, I got this blister." And everything amazing disappeared in the space of this blister. And I think that's sometimes what happens. We have this laser focus on the little things that aren't going right. Or the negativity and it makes everything else invisible. In the same way that like, if you get a thousand reviews and two that aren't good, it's so easy to go, "Man, those two," right? And you miss 998 that were really positive, which is why it's a healthy thing for you to go, "I'm going to stay connected to the fan mail."
[01:06:04] Those are the people you're trying to serve. That's not an ego play, by the way. That's connecting you to the people you're trying to serve. That's my audience. This is who I do this for. This is who I serve. The problem is the negative is so shiny and so easy and our outrage culture encourages that. That you have to actively work to go, "No, I look at fan mail because I want to make sure I'm serving those people.
[01:06:26] Jordan Harbinger: What I started doing was I look at the email that comes in from people, but I won't look at — unless somebody sends it to me from my team — I won't look at the YouTube comments because YouTube comments are people that are like, "Boring," right? Because it's so easy to leave a YouTube comment. But in email, even if it's negative, an email will come in and go, "Jordan, I've delayed writing this letter for two weeks. I have some feedback for you. You might not like it. I'm a big fan of the show, but dah, dah, dah, and then they'll list a few things that they think could be improved on. Those are like the worst letters I get, right? The rest of them are really, really super nice. And even the ones with negative feedback are usually super nice. But man, you look at a YouTube comment or something like that. And it's just too easy for somebody who's like a 14-year-old angsty teen to write like, "Your hair is lame and you're probably a loser and you're fat." And it's like, why would you do that to yourself? Look at the stuff where the bar is high enough that somebody had to expend effort to send it to you. And yes, once a year or twice a year, there will be a crazy person in there and you can safely discard it because you've gotten 10,000 sometimes, literally about that number of other emails that were not that.
[01:07:31] Jon Acuff: Yeah, the thing my wife says to me is, "Feedback that costs you, nothing is worth nothing." So a comment on YouTube cost you nothing, it's worth nothing. So an email that I wrote and thought and found your email and was able to — I put my email address associated with that, that has a worth. Like that's worth something, but a lot of the feedback we get costs the person nothing and should be treated as nothing.
[01:07:53] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting. Yeah. I like that. Feedback from somebody you work with that has known you for years is worth far more than the person who came in to — you know, if you work at Starbucks, the person who came in that day is having a bad day and is like, "You are slow. You're all idiots," and storms out. It's like, "That might not be actionable for you."
[01:08:10] Jon Acuff: That was a four-minute relationship that they base their judgment on my entire life on. So I'm probably going to put that in the four-minute category. You're right. Like this person has known me for five years, who was brave enough to give me difficult feedback because that takes bravery. There's a level of bravery there, so yeah, that is different. And so not all feedback is created equally. That's another thing that you have to — if you create anything in the world, if you all are alive, not all feedback is equal.
[01:08:36] Jordan Harbinger: As we wrap up here. I'm curious, what are some of the most common problematic soundtracks that you see in other people? For example, avoiding confrontation or feeling like something's going to be too hard or not possible?
[01:08:48] Jon Acuff: One big one is, "This is taking too long. This is taking too long." The results should be faster. "I started a podcast. I should have more downloads. The results should be faster." "I started a diet. The results will be faster." "I'm trying to date. The results should be faster." Like the expectation that the speed at which things are going is an indication of your failure versus going, "Let me get some evidence. Oh wow, based on podcast growth, I'm right where I need to be." Or like, "Here's what's actually going. This should be happening faster is a big one. Who am I to do that? Like who am I to do that?" Like, I always joke that the worst place to write a book is the library because you're surrounded by thousands of books, and it's really easy to get discouraged there.
[01:09:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right. That had stood the test of time.
[01:09:28] Jon Acuff: Yeah, exactly. And you're like, "Who am I to do this?" And so that sense of like, "I don't have what it takes to write a book or start a business." I think that's a big one. Somebody asked me the other day, "How do you get over imposter syndrome?" And I said, "Well, I think the word over is the broken soundtrack. I think you need to trade it for through. So it's how do I go through imposter syndrome." Because over as a word of perfectionism, you climbed a wall and you're over it and you're done with it. I've written seven books, a couple of New York Times, best sellers, I still feel like not a real writer. Some days I go through imposter syndrome, I go through fear. I go through stress.
[01:10:00] And so I think that's one where people feel like, I think every adult on some level, if they're honest, feels some days like everyone else has a rule book on how to be an adult. And you're the only one that didn't get one, you're like, "Oh, I don't know how to raise this kid. I don't know how to do that. Like everybody seems they got it together. So that thought of you're going to be found out and kind of that imposter syndrome of, "They're going to know I don't have it all together." I think that's a really common one too.
[01:10:22] Jordan Harbinger: We covered that a lot on the show, because as I've found, it's like, I'll have a Navy SEAL on, or like somebody like Oliver North or something would come on and be like, "Yeah, sometimes I just feel like I didn't belong in that position—" and all high performers have it because we're all overthinkers and/or overachievers and people who don't have imposter syndrome — I say this all the time. So I'll spare the audience, but people who don't have it are like high school juniors because they see and know everything and they've seen it all.
[01:10:47] Jon Acuff: Yeah. Or like a college sophomore who had one philosophy class and then calls his parents and be like, "Let me tell you how the world works." And they're like, "Oh great. You discovered Socrates. Tell me how the world works. Like we're still paying all your bills, but give me that feedback."
[01:10:59] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah. I say, look, if you have this, it's probably a good sign that you're in that sweet spot of being challenged in your career, or you're in an area where yes, you're uncomfortable, but it's good. I mean, if you're constantly getting reamed out by your boss about how your work sucks and they're having performance reviews for you every 90 days, maybe you are. Maybe you do have a little bit of imposterism, and there's a gap between your skillset and where you need to go. But if you're just feeling like you're the only person in the room who doesn't belong there — like I did, when I worked on Wall Street. And then you get everyone drunk at a bar night and they're all like, "So you guys all feel the same way, right?" And everyone's like, "Yes, of course." And then this fifth year associates are also like, "Yeah, I still feel that way. It doesn't go away."
[01:11:40] Jon Acuff: Yeah. I love when I meet somebody 65 and they're still working on stuff because initially I'm like, "Oh, dang it." I thought by 55, I'd be like, "That's all good. I got it. I'll figure it out." And you meet somebody who's honest and 20 years ahead of you and they go, "Yeah, there's a couple of things that I know how to do. And I do them better than I used to do them when I was in my 20s." Like I liked being 45 more than being 25. There were so many mistakes I made in my 20s, but I don't have it figured out at 45. And I have a sneaking suspicion, I won't have it all figured out at 55.
[01:12:08] I love your thought about imposter syndrome. My version of that is whenever somebody says you can be fearless. I think that's nonsense because my thing is every time you do something new or at a bigger level, there's new fear there. So when I spoke to 10 people, the first time, I was afraid of 10 people, but I worked on, I got over it, a hundred people, a hundred percent fear, a thousand people, a thousand percent fear.
[01:12:26] So I think if you're always growing and always stretching, fear is going to be there. But one of the soundtracks that helps me is fear gets a voice, not a vote. It's going to have a voice, like it's going to be there because I'm trying new stuff. And it's actually an indication I'm stretching myself, but it doesn't get a vote. It doesn't get to sit at the table and go, "You're not going to do that. You're not going to do that." And so for me, fear gets a voice, not a vote. It's something I remember as I head into new stuff, because the broken soundtrack is you shouldn't have any fear. And I don't think that's true.
[01:12:53] Jordan Harbinger: Jon Acuff. Thank you very much, man. The book title is Soundtracks. What's the subtitle?
[01:12:57] Jon Acuff: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking.
[01:12:59] Jordan Harbinger: Great. And you can find that linked up in the show notes. Thanks again, man. It's always good to see your face and hear your wisdom.
[01:13:04] Jon Acuff: Appreciate it, man.
[01:13:05] Jordan Harbinger: Live, laugh, love.
[01:13:07] Jon Acuff: There you go, yeah, nice.
[01:13:11] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, here's a trailer of my interview with Thomas Erickson on how to spot psychopaths.
[01:13:19] Thomas Erickson: Some people's telling me, "Do they have to be psychopaths? Couldn't it just be, they are evil," but Hey, for me, same thing. They are out there, regardless that we are talking about it or not. The stupid psychopaths, he would go up to you on the street and say, "Hey, you, you got a nice watch." And then he will bang him in the head and take to watch. The intelligent psychopath, he will see your beautiful watch and say, "That's a nice watch." And I know he will talk you into giving him the watch. That's the difference.
[01:13:47] All narcissists are not psychopaths, but every psychopath is a narcissist. They think it is their right. They are entitled to act in this way. It is their birthright to use you and me and anybody else. The more you present yourself to the psychopath, the more understanding he has about you and the more dangerous it becomes.
[01:14:10] Love bombing is one of the most dangerous meditation techniques that we can use. If you haven't experienced, let's say true love, let's call it, and then you think you have it within your reach. You're done. I get shivers down my spine.
[01:14:25] Psychopathy is not an illness. It's a personality disorder. It starts at the moment in the woman's womb actually. You can never change a psychopath. How much value would you put in yourself? How much do you think you deserve in life? Do you deserve the good relationship?
[01:14:49] Jordan Harbinger: For more on how to protect yourself from psychopaths, check episode 465 with Thomas Erickson on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:15:00] Jayson Waller: Jayson Waller here, host of your True Underdog Podcast and YouTube channel. This is what you've got in store on our episodes. I'm going to tell stories of me growing up, being trailer parked, high school dropout, teen dad, to opening three businesses that were successful. The latest business winning Inc 500, three out of four years, entrepreneur of the year, and it's a billion-dollar company. That's right. I'm going to give you tips, strategies, how to overcome adversity, how to be better, how to not stay in the mud. On top of that, on this show on the full episodes, we're going to have interviews with people who have overcome adversity, people that have been successful, but started with things in their way, things they had to overcome and struggle with. How did they get there? Check us out on iHeartRadio, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. You can go to trueunderdog.com. Subscribe to everything, or go to YouTube at the True Underdog Podcast.
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