Neil Pasricha (@neilpasricha) is a New York Times bestselling author of five books including The Book of Awesome, The Happiness Equation, and his latest, You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life.
What We Discuss with Neil Pasricha:
- Why anxiety is at an all-time high when we live in an age of relative ease compared to what our ancestors (and even recent generations) endured.
- Why you need to be prepared — and willing — to lose more if you want to win more from what life has to offer.
- How to set up incredibly productive untouchable days where you’re basically unplugged and unreachable — even when you have bosses and significant others who may be resistant to the idea.
- How to use the Saturday morning test to brainstorm new skills, adventures, and personal improvements you’d like to implement.
- A failure budget you can use to try new things, fail, and rejoin the fray — enhanced by the experience, but with relatively few scrapes and bruises.
- And much more…
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We’re currently living in an era of ultimate abundance with the highest ever rates of longevity, wealth, and education, yet we also have the highest ever rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide. In fact, The New York Times now reports that one in three college students suffers from clinical anxiety. The downside to unbridled prosperity, it seems, is that we’re losing the knack for handling bumps in the road that make the journey of life interesting — but less than smooth. We’re becoming less resilient.
On this episode we talk to author Neil Pasricha, who deals with this phenomenon in his latest book, You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life. Here, we go over practical strategies for growing our capacity to withstand failure, strengthening our inner resolve, and building up calluses of resilience to catch life’s curveballs without succumbing to their impact. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Join Unmistakable Creative’s own Srinivas Rao and a group of teachers, coaches, scientists, and experts for The Architects of Reality in Nashville, TN from April 9-11, 2020! Find out more and get tickets here: thearchitectsofreality.com!
THANKS, NEIL PASRICHA!
If you enjoyed this session with Neil Pasricha, 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 email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life by Neil Pasricha
- The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything=Have Everything by Neil Pasricha
- The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
- Other Books by Neil Pasricha
- The Institute for Global Happiness
- 3 Books with Neil Pasricha (Podcast)
- Neil Pasricha’s Blog
- Neil Pasricha at Instagram
- Neil Pasricha at Facebook
- Neil Pasricha at YouTube
- Neil Pasricha at Twitter
- Neil Pasricha’s TED Talk: The 3 As of Awesome
- Mimi Ikonn | What the Life of an Influencer Is Really Like, TJHS 193
- Cy Young Stats, Baseball Reference
- Nolan Ryan Stats, Baseball Reference
- The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City
- Pottery Class: a Parable for Idea Generation, Industry Week
- The Adam and Dr. Drew Show, PodcastOne
- ASMR Videos Are the Biggest YouTube Trend You’ve Never Heard Of, Think With Google
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- Deep Dive | Forget Finding Your Purpose — Do This Instead, TJHS 138
- Mark Manson | Channeling Hope, Choosing Problems, and Changing Values, TJHS 198
- Analysis Paralysis Definition, Investopedia
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- James Clear | Forming Atomic Habits for Astronomic Results, TJHS 108
- Cal Newport | Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, TJHS 159
- Malcolm Gladwell on Strangers, Spies, and Silencing the System, 3 Books with Neil Pasricha, Chapter 37
- David Sedaris on Holding Happiness Hostage and Healing Holes in Our Hearts, 3 Books with Neil Pasricha, Chapter 18
- Deep Dive | How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, TJHS 127
- The Most Surprising Advice on Success I Received from a Harvard Dean by Neil Pasricha
- Manhattan Real Estate, Zillow
- The End of History Illusion, Science
- CN Tower, Toronto
- Views by Drake
- Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Transcript for Neil Pasricha | You Are Awesome (Episode 277)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger. As always, I’m here with producer Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world’s most brilliant and interesting people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.[00:00:20] I want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave, and I want you to become a better thinker as well. If you’re new to the show, we’ve got episodes with spies and CEOs, athletes and authors, thinkers and performers, as well as toolboxes for negotiation, public speaking, body language, persuasion, et cetera. So if you’re smart and you’d like to learn and improve, well you’ll be right here at home with us. [00:00:42] Today’s show isn’t just about resilience. Yes, we’re feeling the sting of a new wave of social media-induced anxiety, but that’s not all we’re dealing with. It’s not just that we need to reduce our exposure to perceived failure. It’s that we need to increase our exposure to actual failure. What? Well, yeah, I was a little confused too. But today on the show, bestselling author and buddy of mine, Neil Pasricha, explains why we need to lose more to win more, or why we need to dramatically increase our lose rate. We’ll also discuss how to set up incredibly productive, untouchable days where we’re basically unplugged and unreachable and how to negotiate doing this with our boss, or in many cases, our significant others. We’ll also touch on something called the failure budget and how it can help us make big strides in our ability to try new things, fail, and then get back up again. Last but not least, we’ll throw in a nice heaping of cognitive bias — something we’re all guilty of. Well, not guilty of. It’s something we all do. This one will make you feel better about your situation in life, no matter where you stand. I tricked Neil into admitting he only has one testicle. You’re welcome. [00:01:45] If you’re wondering how I managed to get all these great guests and spill their beans, well, I’ve got a great network and I’m teaching you how to do the same. Well, not with the one testicle thing. But how to make a great network and get them to actually care about what you’re doing and help you along in your career and in your life. I want to teach you how to do that for free in my course. Six-Minute Networking, which you can find at jordanharbinger.com/course. All right, here’s Neil Pasricha.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:11] Resilience, this is what we were talking about pre-show a little bit. I mean, we talked about a lot of things pre-show, but one of the things that you mentioned was that people have lots of anxiety, depression, suicide — even though we’re living in an era with massive abundance of things that would increase longevity, wealth, education, so far.
Neil Pasricha: [00:02:30] It’s the best time ever to be alive. I mean, you look around, we’ve got clean water coming out of our tap.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:36] Unless you live in Flint, Michigan. Yes, you do.
Neil Pasricha: [00:02:38] We feel safe when we walk out the front door. People can marry who they want. They can live where they want. This is, you know, by definition, the best time ever to be alive. You’ve got access to the best technology. You can go anywhere you can. It’s amazing. But at the same time — yeah, what you’re saying, Jordan, is true. Anxiety is up, depression is up. Loneliness is up. What’s behind this sort of like paradox that in the era of the best time ever, we feel the worst.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:01] Instagram. Well, that’s a big part of it. Yeah. No, I’m joking, but I’m also not joking. I was sort of hinting at this when we were walking upstairs here. I said something along the lines of, “You know, my show would be a lot more popular if I was obsessed with being popular and famous,” and I was half-joking, but also not because now there’s this era of sort of manufactured celebrity. I just got on Instagram probably October 2017 and I didn’t really mess with it until like mid-2018.
Neil Pasricha: [00:03:30] What do you mean mess with it?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:31] I didn’t log in and do anything.
Neil Pasricha: [00:03:35] Use it!
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:36] Yes, “Use it” is the technical term here! Jeez, you’re going to get all jargony on me. So I found that I have to block certain people that are marketers, and at first, I was like, “Oh, look at me, I’m such a wimp. I can’t even look at other people’s stuff without feeling bad.” And then I realized, wait a minute, this is literally designed to make me feel bad because they want me to buy into their lifestyle so that I purchase things from them.
Neil Pasricha: [00:04:02] Oh, my God.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:4:03] There’s a difference between my friends who are always on vacation because they have this cool optimized lifestyle, but they’re still selling that to other people.
Neil Pasricha: [00:04:10] Yeah, and I mean, it’s just what they take pictures of.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:12] It is. Like my friends Alex and Mimi Ikonn. Do you know them?
Neil Pasricha: [00:04:15] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:15] They’re awesome. And their photos make me go like, “Oh my gosh, look, they travel with their kid. I want to do that. It’s amazing.” When I look at that stuff, I don’t feel bad. But then when I look at some of these other things where people have things that I actually don’t aspire to be or have, I actually do feel bad and I don’t really understand why. I’ve had to do a lot of introspection, like, do I really want a Lambo? No, I really don’t. So why is that making me feel less than, and this other stuff is making me feel more empowered or optimistic?
Neil Pasricha: [00:04:44] Three gigantic problems with cell phones. You just nailed the first one, which is psychological. They all start with P, by the way. The first P is psychological. You’re comparing your director’s cut life, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:53] Right.
Neil Pasricha: [00:04:53] Your current clothes, like the way your skin looks today, the way your hair looks today with everyone else’s greatest hits. You wouldn’t put a picture of the way you look right now on Instagram, but everyone else is. So there’s a psychological deficiency. You can’t be the best basketball player in your high school anymore, because you’re competing with the world. You just are never the best. The second one is physical. We don’t talk about this one enough, Jordan, but there’s a physical problem with cell phones. We’re developing into a nation of hunchbacks. When you look down at your phone, you’re putting 60 pounds of pressure on your spine. I went to the physiotherapist last year —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:21] That’s how much your head weighs? 60 pounds.
Neil Pasricha: [00:05:23] Well, with the pressure, when you’ve got the angle of some sort of physics involved. I go to the physiotherapist last year. I got a texting thumb. I’m not joking. My thumb stopped working. You know, when she says to me, “All we do is thumbs now.” You remember casts? When you were a kid? Didn’t kids have like broken arms, broken legs?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:39] Oh, they treat our thumbs now.
Neil Pasricha: [00:05:40] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:40] Get out!
Neil Pasricha: [00:05:41] Also, I’m saying this like, we all now, we’ve got just black bags under our eyes and broken thumbs.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:46] How do you break your thumb text — Or how do you — ?
Neil Pasricha: [00:05:50] Well, you can see my hand because beside you. This muscle right here like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:52] That thing when you stick your thumb up, there’s a thing that sort of sticks out towards your wrist. That thing?
Neil Pasricha: [00:05:57] Yeah. I had to do like these — I’m holding my fist and I’m pointing them. I had to do these daily exercises.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:02] Oh you’re like stretching that thing.
Neil Pasricha: [00:06:03] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:04] Oh, that hurts when I do that.
Neil Pasricha: [00:06:06] And why does it hurt? You know why? Because you’ve got texting thumb. And it’s not just that. It’s also the bags under your eyes. What’s happening to your eyes?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:14] I came equipped with these bags.
Neil Pasricha: [00:06:17] You’re straining your eyes. There’s a physical problem. And the third one is physiological. You know, when you look at a bright screen an hour before bedtime, your brain doesn’t produce as much melatonin. You’re not sleeping as well. So you wake up in the morning, you’ve got lower resilience. Because you didn’t have a good night’s sleep. So what do you do? You check Twitter because you’re in a low resilience state.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:33] It’s like you know me. You see me, Neil.
Neil Pasricha: [00:06:36] Psychological, physical, and physiological. Cell phones are a huge scourge right now. We’re using them over five hours a day — five hours a day. We touch them over 2,500 times a day. It’s like a constant fondle.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:17] Ohh, imagine setting up that experiment. That’s impressive that they can even do that.
Neil Pasricha: [00:06:51] Yeah. This is the market research firm in the states, but that includes all the times you’ve touch letters for all your texting and stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:57] All right, that makes more sense.
Neil Pasricha: [00:06:58] You’re touching it all the time. And sometimes I say this to an audience, I look around the room and sure enough, everyone’s like — it’s literally the ultimate fidget spinner — your cell phone.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:08] That’s true. That’s true. There’s a reason —
Neil Pasricha: [00:07:10] It’s smooth, it feels nice.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:12] Fidget spinners never caught on with adults because we have phones.
Neil Pasricha: [00:07:14] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:14] Yeah. The reason 13 and below like it because they don’t have phones. Dang!
Neil Pasricha: [00:07:18] That’s all it was. It was like a soother for people who didn’t have cell phones.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:20] It’s a pacifier. It’s a pacifier for — I don’t know — adolescents. So going back to the resilience idea. You mentioned, look, we need to have and develop more resilience to ultimately become our strongest selves. This helps us handle failure but also perceived failure. And I think that’s an important distinction because we were just talking about this. I don’t feel like a failure, but there are many areas of my life where I’m like, “Ooh, I don’t want to dive into that area because that’s more work. And it might not do well.” We didn’t touch on this, but everyone goes — You were just saying, “Why didn’t you write a book?” And I had all these reasons. But one of them that we didn’t get to was: what happens if I don’t sell enough copies? aka fail. I let down my agent. I look stupid. I feel bad about myself. Then other people can go, “Ooh, I sold more books than Jordan Harbinger.” That would grind my gears. But why? I didn’t care about any of that crap before.
Neil Pasricha: [00:08:14] You and me are the exact same age, we grew up in a culture with the idea that less failure equals more success.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:19] Yes, that sounds right still.
Neil Pasricha: [00:08:21] That was the idea, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:22] Yeah.
Neil Pasricha: [00:08:22] But the principle that I want to lay out for your listeners today is actually, no, no, no, it is more failure equals more success. And the examples, I want to give to you are like — look at baseball for example. Okay. So I had this old baseball statistics book when I was a little kid. I’d look around and it’s like, okay, the guy with the most wins is Cy Young. He’s earned 12 wins. Guy with the most losses is Cy Young. Guy with the most strikeouts is Nolan Ryan, guy with the most walks is Nolan Ryan. I mean, literally, the people that fail the most are also the people that succeed the most. Look at wedding photographers — it’s one of my favorite little subindustries, wedding photographers. and I’m always like, “How did you guys get so many good pictures of the wedding? How’d you get 50 awesome shots?” And they all answer the same way, Jordan. They say, “Well, I took 2,000 photos. The failure rate on my pictures is way higher than yours, but because my frequency is so much higher, I get more success.” We have to start thinking of failure as the pathway to success. It is the thing you need to exponentially increase in order to build up that thick skin, to get that resilience going, and ultimately to win more in the long run.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:25] Okay. I understand that, but the photography analogy, maybe I’m just getting lost in the metaphor here. Doesn’t that cheapen the skill of a photographer? Surveillance cameras take probably 10,000 photos an hour or something, right? Nobody’s putting those up in the MOMA.
Neil Pasricha: [00:09:41] That’s hilarious. Well, I’m trying to say, is that the average person who takes three pictures at the corner, of course, their photos aren’t going to look as good, but the thing you’re missing in the wedding photographer is they’re doing weddings also every week. They’re doing the frequency that they’re doing is great. I’m wanting to say the surveillance camera analogy doesn’t count because it’s like it’s not even a person. There’s no brain involved. There’s no one’s like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:01] It’s not moving around and trying.
Neil Pasricha: [00:10:02] There’s no one’s aiming for like the golden hour of that thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:05] Yeah. Yeah. Although I bet they do look nicer in the golden hour.
Neil Pasricha: [00:10:10] Last time you had me on the show, we were talking about my old stuff. I brought this blog 1000awesomethings.com. That thing got viral, went popular, got big, but the thing I never told you, Jordan, and I didn’t even write about that until You Are Awesome, is in this book, I lay out all of the other blogs I tried along the way and they were endless messups. I had so many horrible concepts on the way to that one good one. So what I would say to you about your book is, “You know what? Your first book might stink, but your fourth book might be awesome, and you won’t know that until you get the first one out.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:37] That’s true. I mean, I look at the first 10 years of this show and I go, “Ooh, yeah, I could have put a little bit of grease into that one,” or, “Try harder,” or like, “Prepared more,” or “Just been who I am now, which is impossible,” while conducting the interview.
Neil Pasricha: [00:10:50] And I would argue that all those years, however you call them, maybe you look at them as a failure, I hope you don’t —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:54] I don’t really, no.
Neil Pasricha: [00:10:54] That 10 years created this year. What you’re doing now couldn’t happen without that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:58] Of course, I know that. Right, but I think your point may be better illustrate, well, a point that might be your point or maybe I’m making a different one might be better illustrated by this. Have you seen this? It’s like a pottery experiment. And where they — what is this? All right, so hold on, let me remember this. There was an experiment in which they said, “Hey, your grade is based on — ” They say this to a class or a sample group of people.
Neil Pasricha: [00:11:21] People doing pottery?
Jordan Harbinger: Making pottery. “Your grade is based on — you have to make one perfect, amazing pot. You’re 100 percent of your grade is based on this.” Then they did a control group, whatever that might’ve looked like, and then they did another group where they said, “Your grade is based on how many pots you can make, no matter how crappy they are.”
Neil Pasricha: [00:11:36] I have heard this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:37] You heard this, right?
Neil Pasricha: [00:11:38] But lay it out there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:40] So the group that had the best pottery at the end was not the group where they needed to make one really awesome one. It was the quantity group. Because you can’t not get better over time — I think is the reason.
Neil Pasricha: [00:11:53] That phrase is so powerful — you just said you can’t not get better over time. When you do things over and over again, you’re more likely to win. This is what I always find when I’m watching football on TV or watching the NFL, they always say at the bottom of the screen, like Drew Brees most passing yards ever or Tom Brady most touches. I’m like, those are the two oldest dudes. Those guys just played the longest. They had so many missed passes to get to the most passes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:18] So we can essentially increase quality by increasing quantity to an extent. Obviously, there are exceptions to this. I mean, if I put on a show every day, quality would go down but long-term it would go up, right?
Neil Pasricha: [00:12:31] Yes. And what I’m trying to also inject here, and because we’re talking about anxiety, I’m talking about resilience. What I’m really focused on now is we are trying to be too perfect. If you give the people the option which pottery class you want to go to, just metaphorically, people are choosing that first one. Like we want the picture to be perfect before we post it on Instagram. We have to have the right lighting, the right filter. How many times do you edit the comment in your little notes file in your iPhone? Seven times before you pick and post it?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:54] Is that what you do? That drives me crazy on Instagram. I write the caption in the app and I just proofread it for spelling errors and fire it off because I don’t like doing it.
Neil Pasricha: [00:13:04] You’re living a more authentic life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:05] Is that really it?
Neil Pasricha: [00:13:06] Well, I just think that we are trying to be too precious with our output.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:11] I agree.
Neil Pasricha: [00:13:12] The world is so visible, so we’re thinking that if we look bad, then we are bad. But the only way to get better is to look bad.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:18] You know I have to say, and this is not speaking of looking bad, but it does come across that way. When I go on shows like Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew, I am so envious because they will — it’s not that they haven’t put in any work. Of course they have. But when I look at the amount and the notes that they have for that show, they are not sitting there going, “Oh, we can’t release this. Oh, edit that out. I shouldn’t have said that.” They’re not doing any of that and it’s because they come from radio where you couldn’t really edit anyway and they’ve just kind of got it down. This will get edited and scrubbed and re-edited. Now I’m not going to move things around — producer Jason is not going to do that, rather — but they’re going to cut out all the noise if I go [sniff] — well, they’re going to leave that one in, but they would normally cut that out. And if there’s weird mouth noise — because when you listen to — sorry, Tim — but you listen to Tim Ferriss and somebody, not him, but one of his guests, would be like [loud mouth noises], and it’s like, okay, I’m not here for the ASMR. They’ll remove that. And I like that but I am so envious —
Neil Pasricha: [00:14:16] What’s ASMR?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:17] Oh, you never heard of ASMR?
Neil Pasricha: [00:14:18] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:18] This is — hold on. Let’s Google what this means because this is this whole YouTube thing. It is called autonomous sensory meridian response. Now, that doesn’t mean anything, but what this concept is, there are all these videos on YouTube where there will be — usually a girl or maybe it’s a guy, but all the popular ones are women — and they’ll do something like, they’ll whisper and they’re going, “I’m just going to scratch a Kleenex box,” and they’ll scratch this Kleenex box with their nails and it goes and makes this little sound —
Neil Pasricha: [00:14:50] I trying to picture that sound.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:51] And are you getting like a weird cringe tingle?
Neil Pasricha: [00:14:53] Yeah. It’s like nails on a blackboard.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:55] So I don’t like it. I find it extremely irritating, which is why I’m not going to do any more of that. So if you’re listening right now, don’t worry, you’re off the hook.
Neil Pasricha: [00:15:01] But, why are people doing videos like that?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:03] So apparently this is massively popular. I guarantee you that if we look, in fact, we’re going to edit out the pause. I’m going to look for a popular ASMR video. So here’s one, 2.1 million subscribers.
Neil Pasricha: [00:15:16] I’m failing to understand the purpose though.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:19] 1.75 million views on this video from last month. Okay.
Neil Pasricha: [00:15:24] People watch this for what reason?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:26] I think they watch it. If you watch ASMR, can you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org? I don’t get it. Does it help you fall asleep? What is it?
Neil Pasricha: [00:15:36] You lost me. I’ve got no idea why anyone would watch this type of stuff. Interesting sound effects.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:42] At the end of the day, my point was before getting massively derailed is they’re not worried about that stuff. Some people will say, “Oh, they’re older, they don’t care. They’re mailing it in.” I don’t really know if that’s true. I think back then they weren’t listening to 7,000 other radio shows and going, “Ooh, was mine as good as that one? I don’t know.” They were doing whatever they thought was good. They put it out there. A lot of people liked it. Other people who did it and didn’t get a following, they were less popular and that was it. But it’s still me coming up in this time in radio and audio. It’s a different story, man. All these marketers will be like, “You have to be on every platform.” And I think that’s dangerous because I think people who are starting — imagine being a 20-something-year-old kid and finding out that you have to crush it on social media and you have to have a personal brand. I mean, no, you have to get through college or high school.
Neil Pasricha: [00:16:29] Also, it might be an argument saying I don’t know the guys you’re referencing super well, but they are older. You implied they’re from radio. So that to me tells me that they had something that you and I don’t necessarily have naturally, which is thicker skin.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:39] Maybe.
Neil Pasricha: [00:16:40] Okay. They have thicker skin. These days when kids grow up, and I’m including me in this subset, part of the reason stress is going up, anxiety is going up, these things are going up is because when we get a nasty email from our boss, we go home crying. You know, you trip on the sidewalk, you lie there screaming, like we don’t have the thick enough skin to recover and navigate through the difficulties and challenges of life. We’ve had it relatively easy. We’ve been taught that less failure equals more success. So we become fragile and we aren’t testing it. We aren’t testing losses and failures enough.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:12] Okay. I buy that, but I want to go back to your point about the athletes. You said, okay, this might mean they had more playtime in general. In fact, you did make that point, but could that be because they were already good and that’s why they got more playtime, not because of their rate of failure. I feel like you might’ve just told me a little bit more on this one because maybe they lasted so long the league because they were good.
Neil Pasricha: [00:17:31] My point here, so I have one chapter —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:34] Am I overthinking it?
Neil Pasricha: [00:17:34] No, no, no, no, no. And there’s a nuance here, but I have a chapter in You Are Awesome called Lose More to Win More. That’s the thesis. Yes. I use the example of baseball players. Cy Young has the most losses and the most wins. Nolan Ryan has the most strikeouts and the most walks. But I’m also saying, “Hey, look at me,” and you said, “Your first 10 years,” I’m saying, “My first 10 blogs.” You have to lose more to win more. You have to keep trying, trying, trying, trying, trying. If someone’s listening, it’s like, “Oh, I really want to have a big YouTube channel.” I was like, “Oh yeah, you’ve got to make a thousand terrible videos.” Most people tapped out of the first five. You can’t handle the type of loss. You have to continue to navigate through failure in order to learn from it. The point you made with super value is like you can’t not get better. That’s what you said. That’s beautiful. You cannot not get better. You just have to keep punishing yourself and get trying over and over again. Everyone who’s successful would say, “Actually, you know, what? I have piles of losses. Here’s all the things I screwed up on. Here’s the massive amount of failures I have.” Navigating through that. That’s the best part. The metaphor I like to use is like the T-1000, Terminator 2. Take a bullet to the shoulder, take a bullet to the leg, patch it over, tighten your menacing smile, and keep going. Just watch out for vats of molten lava.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:40] That’s right.
Neil Pasricha: [00:18:42] That’s the only thing that can kill you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:43] This leads to one of your other points, which is, look, the commencement speech industry. Now that’s really a thing here, but I call it that because it leads to garbage advice, like “Follow your passion.” This is one of my favorite things to skewer on the show, and I’m not going to beat it to death because the audience has heard it a million times, but people are saying things like, do what you love. That’s not bad advice. It’s just not good advice either because it doesn’t really lead you to an actionable place.
Neil Pasricha: [00:19:13] The advice should not be “Do what you love.” It should actually be a different question, Jordan. I reframe it this way. I’d say, “Do you love it so much that you can take the pain and punishment too?” You and I have a mutual friend, Mark Manson. He’s written The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. He famously has said many times, “I actually wanted to be a rock star. Like that’s what I was trying to do. I wanted to be a musician, but the pain and punishment of practicing the same chord progression over and over again, lugging an amp to a concert in the back of a van, I could not take that pain. Whereas writing, that pain, I love to get into Facebook wars with the people in the comment threads. That was my love. I was good with that.” Look, if someone is listening and they want to apply to the new job, I’d say to that person, “Hey, do you love it so much that you’d write a hundred cover letters, get 12 interviews, and be rejected from 11 of them to get one new job?” That’s the pain on the path to finding a new career. Hundred cover letters, 12 interviews, 11 rejections. That’s part of the path to getting it. You want to find a great, perfect partner? How many bad dates have you got to go on, right? How many kinds of tries do you have to have in a long-term relationship?[00:20:16] These are the things that are on the way. The question isn’t do what you love. It is, do you love it so much that you can take the pain and punishment that goes with it? If the answer is yes, you can navigate through that knowing that, “Hey, the high-level goal will take me forward.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:20:31] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Neil Pasricha. We’ll be right back.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:45] Here’s the problem that I have with that though. Everyone thinks the answer is yes because everyone secretly thinks they’re exceptional. Or is that just me? I’ll be candid here because of course —
Neil Pasricha: [00:23:57] Tell me more.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:58] I’m not just saying I’m the only one that thinks that I’m exceptional. I’ve tried to stab that delusion as often as I can in my life. But here’s a podcasting example, I just came from Podcast Movement. It’s a fun event. Everyone who’s new there will say, “I know it’s hard work, but I think I’ve got a really good idea.” What I hear a lot in my inbox are people going, “I know it’s a lot of work. This is like a Gary Vee problem, right? I know it’s a lot of work, but I don’t think it’s going to be as hard for me because — they’ll have a reason, but the real reason is because they’re them and they think they’re going to be good at it. That happens with podcasting. It happens with YouTube or any sort of creative process. It happens with writing. It happens with books. It happens with blogging. It happens with everything. People go, “Yeah, I know this is going to be a lot of work,” but in the back of their mind, they’re thinking, “But I’ll be fine.” And the truth is you probably won’t. You’re literally a statistic of someone starting something and thinking that you’re going to be fine. So yes, maybe I will start something and go, “Well, I know I’ve got to be able to take the pain and the punishment too,” but nobody goes, yeah, it takes — well, maybe not nobody. It takes a lot of emotional maturity that most of us, including myself, probably do not have where we go, “Yeah. I don’t really know if I want to go through and do all of that work. I don’t really want to do that.”
Neil Pasricha: [00:25:11] I’m actually envious of you, honestly, Jordan, that you think that because my natural M.O. when I’m approaching something is “I’m going to suck at it.” I don’t think it’s going to be easy. I’ll probably figure this out. I actually think — so I started a podcast, right? Remember my podcast 3 Books? I actually thought about that podcast for like three years before I had the courage to —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:28] Oh yeah, that’s not me at all.
Neil Pasricha: [00:25:30] I’m too nervous to start. I’m like what if it’s — I overthought different angles, different names. I had scratched out different like logos a hundred times. Like I feel like I needed to get it perfect before I launched. So I’m speaking to myself when I say “Lose more to win more.” I’m speaking to myself to say, “Fail fast and go quicker.” I’m speaking to myself, because my hesitation is, I think I live in the world of like — you called it Instagram world — but I live in the world where it’s got to be good when you launch it because otherwise, you might miss your chance and then you fall out of it. If your first book sucks, I think, well, you’re dead. You’re not going to be having another — you’re not going to get another chance to do it. Take another shot.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:01] That’s funny. You’re talking to me — this is August, September 2019. As of right now, my show art is a photo someone else took of me speaking on a stage and some generic font. We put it right on there and I named the show The Jordan Harbinger Show; that is the least creative branding and show name and art that probably I could have possibly done.
Neil Pasricha: [00:26:24] So I used 99 Designs for three bucks and I rejected like 50 different things.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:28] I tried that and they were worse than nothing. It was like, “Hey, designer from Uzbekistan made this thing that looks like his national flag, but like in a blender.” No, thanks.
Neil Pasricha: [00:26:36] Well, if you have something that works, I mean, that’s what everybody wants. If you’re saying what you’ve got is simple and was easy to do and didn’t take much thought, but it works. So that’s fine too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:47] I do get occasional feedback that’s like, “Hey, you are big enough to hire a real designer.” And then I hire a real designer for 5,000 bucks, and I go, “This sucks,” and I use my original crap. I hate it.
Neil Pasricha: [00:26:56] There’s something to that too is that, you know what, we have — I have a tendency to overthink, overanalyze, analysis paralysis. For most of us, we grew up in it an age where we think that we have to get it right in our heads first before we do something. I call that motivation leading to action, but the truth of the matter is I use the example of me learning how to swim. I’m in my mid-30s, after my divorce, living alone, downtown Toronto. It takes me a full year to start dating again, another year until I meet someone who we both like each other. Her name is Leslie. And I had never learned how to swim my whole life. I was horribly afraid of water. I had ear infections. I had tubes in my ears. I never learned how to swim. Second date we go on, Leslie says to me, “So do you like swimming?” I’m like, “Not really.” And she’s like, “Well, swimming is my favorite thing to do in the world. My family’s got a lake house on an island. We’ve had it for generations.” And I signed up for swimming lessons, Jordan, that night.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:44] I bet you did.
Neil Pasricha: [00:27:45] I signed up — $40, eight weeks. I was like “Buy! Buy! Buy!” Guess what I learned? It’s not motivation leading to action. It is action leading to motivation.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:54] How do you get over that hurdle then? Because for a lot of us, we just start doing stuff and then we quit early when it’s hard. Other people like you, apparently, never started doing anything, and then eventually something pushes you over the edge and you do it. Like how did you eventually start your podcast, for example, or start writing books?
Neil Pasricha: [00:28:11] So if someone is listening, say, wants to run a marathon. You think, “I’ve got to have the right shoes. I need a running buddy. I’ve got to have a perfect playlist.” They’ll spend more time on the playlist. Actually what I would say is, “Run to the stop sign at lunchtime on your break in your dress shoes; the next day you’ll think you can do it and you run a little bit more.” I say someone wants to write a novel, forget the idea that you need a perfect Moleskine. You need a cool coffee shop with dim lighting and techno. You need to have like, a great idea? No. Just write down a sentence on your bedside table before bed. Khaled Hosseini, who wrote The Kite Runner, was famous for saying, “Hey, I wrote a little bit after work. I’m a doctor.” You know, like he wrote a little bit after work. You write a little bit more, you write a little bit more, and then it starts. The hard part is getting started. So you said, “Hey, how’d you do with the podcast?” Eventually, you’ve just got to pull the trigger. This time, if you can get out of your head, if you stop thinking, it’s better. Look, another way to say this is: it’s easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than think yourself into a new way of acting.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:02] Yeah, that’s definitely the case. This is the whole “I need to go running, so instead of saying ‘I’m going to go run five miles,’ all I have to do is put my shoes on in the morning and then I can go back to bed.”
Neil Pasricha: [00:29:11] Sleep in your gym clothes. Leave them on the floor. Make it harder not to do it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:15] Yeah. This is like a habit thing. This is like a James Clear habit change type scenario, and I like this because it does work. Look, you’re a very productive guy. One of the concepts that you had before that I think is fascinating, and I aspire to this. You have an untouchable day.
Neil Pasricha: [00:29:30] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:30] Tell me what this is because this sounds — this, for anybody who’s constantly interrupted by stuff, this is Heaven on ice.
Neil Pasricha: [00:29:37] So last time I was on the show was I think 2016, The Happiness Equation just come out. I don’t know if I told you this at the time, but I was still working at Walmart. So I’m working at Walmart through Book of Awesome, through the sequels, five books —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:48] What did you do at Walmart?
Neil Pasricha: [00:29:49] I was the Director of Leadership Development.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:51] Because I think people are imagining you standing in front of the store with a vest and being like, “Welcome to Walmart.”
Neil Pasricha: [00:29:55] I worked many different jobs. I was a learning manager, I was a project manager to CEO, and eventually, I was in leadership development — all HR jobs, and then I quit, Jordan. Here’s the problem. I quit to make more room for my writing, three months in, six months in, a year, and people are like, “So how’s the new book coming?” And I was like, “Oh, now that I quit my full-time job? Horrible!” Like all my space that I was expecting to have got completely full of like, meetings about building a website, and a pre-call before a speech, and like all this stuff. I desperately needed something to carve out the time that I was putting in the evenings and weekends before. So I made a day, I called it an untouchable day. I spell it all caps: UNTOUCHABLE.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:34] I thought that was a mistake.
Neil Pasricha: [00:30:35] It’s the only thing in my iPhone calendar that’s actually in all caps. It screams at me. 16 months out, I plan one of these days per week. What is an untouchable day? It’s a day where I am literally unreachable, untouchable, incommunicado to everyone in the entire world, including my wife. My phone is off. I have no contact. And it is a blissful day where my productivity, honestly, 10 Xs. On an average day, I’ll write 500 words. On an untouchable day, it’s not unusual for me to write like 5,000 words.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:04] Wow.
Neil Pasricha: [00:31:05] And I am doing one of those days per week because they’re my most productive and creative times. I have to protect that time. So I carve them out. So if you do it 16 weeks in advance — that’s what I do — so it’s like four months in advance I plan them. It’s after any super long ranged — you’re going to a conference — in my case, I might be giving a speech. That stuff’s already planned out. But all your short-term stuff, your meetings, none of that’s planned out. You can plant these flags in your calendar. Then if it gets closer and you have to move it, I give myself a couple of rules. I can’t bump it. I can only shift it in the middle of the week. The weekend acts as the bowling lane bumpers on this thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [0031:37] Sorry, you can’t bump it, like skip this one —
Neil Pasricha: [00:31:40] Yeah. Let’s say you call me up and you’re like, “Hey Neil, let’s do the show on Wednesday.” And that was my untouchable day. I say, “Great, Jordan, I’ll do it,” but then I have to move my untouchable day to Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday. I can move it, but I can’t delete it and I can’t move it to another week.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:52] Because it’s the highest value day in your week.
Neil Pasricha: [00:31:53] Exactly. Exactly. So I have it scheduled like that and people always say, “Oh, what about emergencies? What if somebody needs you?” And I always say, “You know, none of us used to have cell phones. Like, you know, we all operated for 200,000 years of our history, until like 20 years ago, without cell phones. We’re fine.” But my wife didn’t like that, of course. So she was like, “Well, I’ve got to get ahold of you at lunch if I need you. So why don’t you check your email at lunch?” So I started doing that, Jordan, and it was a recipe for disaster. Well, of course, you’ve got like 14 text messages waiting for you, urgent-sounding emails, and you can’t get back in the groove in the afternoon.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:12] Right, so you spend two hours clearing out emails and phone, and then you just go home.
Neil Pasricha: [00:32:25] That defeats the whole purpose. So now all I do is I tell her where I’ll be. So I was like, “If you really need me, I’ll be at that coffee shop.” You know what I mean?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:33] So like, if you can like walk over there, walk in, bleeding, or whatever is going on, and tell me.
Neil Pasricha: [00:32:38] Truth of the matter is, emergencies pretty much never happen. But if they do, you know where I am for peace of mind. Untouchable days have two components. Number one is deep work — that’s a Cal Newport term. But what I’m saying, you go deep into the thing you’re doing. You’ve got nothing else to do. You’ve got no one else to contact, you’re offline on your laptop. There’s nothing else to do except your work. The number two thing is nitros.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:58] Nitros? Nitros.
Neil Pasricha: [00:32:59] Nitro is where when you find your productivity slowing down, you have to have little tips or things that help you get back into the groove. Going for a little walk and doing a little meditation, hitting the gym for 20 minutes, ways that you can get yourself back into a productive state of mind. After doing untouchable days for a year, that’s probably how I launched my podcast. That’s how I wrote my next book. That’s how I wrote my new keynote speech, and now I schedule two of them a week. I now have two days where I’m 100 percent off the grid. In exchange for three other full days, and it’s 40 percent of my time. It’s how I get everything I do done.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:28] That’s impressive. I think if I had one of those, I would end up using it for email because that’s the one thing that piles up that otherwise, most of my job is reading. And then I answer a bunch of emails from you, dear listener. So do I need something like this? I think there’s a lot of people that go, “Oh, that’s cool, but I’m not writing a book, so I don’t need that.
Neil Pasricha: [00:33:47] Well, here’s what I would ask you. Do you have space in your life right now to do the biggest thinking on not doing things right, but making sure you’re doing the right things? And I find that these days also provide for me space and air to constantly re steer my little ship, which is my life. But I’m like, do I really want to be doing this podcast? Do I really want to be doing this? And I come up with these little breakthroughs for me, I’m like, literally, Leslie and I and my wife have a contract and the number of nights away I’m allowed per month. It’s four nights per month. We’ve signed it in ink. That came from an untouchable day where I was like, nothing’s more important than my family. I got to be at home more. We came up with a contractual thing from an untouchable day. The title of my podcast 3 Books came from the untouchable day. The concept of my new book You Are Awesome came from an untouchable day. Everything I’m doing of high value in my life if I look back came from a day where I was doing nothing else except just thinking, being totally unplugged from the world. Plugging into the world is bad. The world will eat you up and chew you up and spit you out in two seconds. It is a suffocating, giant cesspool of toilet bowl flushing that’s just going to take your brain, mine your attention, sell you ads, and send you away. Get out of it. It is flotsam. It’s garbage. You have to unplug and be on your own with your own thoughts to actually know what you should be doing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:05] I mean, I can’t argue with that. I think anytime you turn on any sort of computer, something’s going to hit you in the face with shopping or some sort of distraction, texts, whatever it is. You can put that there if you want.
Neil Pasricha: [00:35:18] I was setting my water near yourself and I’m like — I thought I was going — it might spill.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:21] These are waterproof, remember? They’re supposed to be waterproof, plus this is not exactly new. No, go ahead because it makes less noise when you put it in here anyway.
Neil Pasricha: [00:35:27] Your attention’s for sale, Jordan, like every single new site, every single TV channel, every single Netflix show, every single Spotify — everything is designed to hook your attention, sell to you. In order to pull back, I recommend an untouchable day. I wrote a whole chapter about it in the new book, how to do it, how to design. I wrote this article originally came from an article I wrote for Harvard business review. It became the most popular article on their website. It’s published in some HBR but I’m like, this got to be a chapter in the book because it is an ingredient to curing some of the anxiety that we’re suffering. Part of that anxiety is driven by this endless sea of comparison. When you unplug from the world for a day per week, you release a lot of that. It’s impossible to, after an hour of feeling anxious that you’re missing stuff, then you start focusing on the stuff that matters.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:10] You mentioned increasing your failure rate and one of the ideas that you have, one of the drills you have, I don’t know if we can call it an exercise perhaps, is having a failure budget. I’d like to go over that because I think this is a great idea. The problem with any sort of budget is people go, “Well, what should my budget be? Well, I don’t know how much. Well, I’ve got to think about that.” Then that’s the end of the exercise. So you’ve got a way to decide what it should be.
Neil Pasricha: [00:36:33] Well, here’s the thing, Jordan. Like a long time ago when I started my blog 1000awesomethings.com, I didn’t have money. I couldn’t afford like fancy advertising or a fancy logo like we were talking about before. If I had a two-figure expense, like buying a domain name —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:48] Two-figure?
Neil Pasricha: [00:36:50] Yeah two-figure, like that was approved, but nothing else was. As I got older and I started to make money in my career, I was like, “Oh, three-figure. That’s what game I’m in.” Like, I can spend up to three figures. And it applies to business, it also applies to your personal life. Taking a kickboxing class, going to a Firefly Music Festival . The way I think about it is you take your salary and you move the decimal place over three digits. It’s really simple, so it’s like it puts the amount you’re spending on your failures in the tenths of a percentage point range, which makes it so small that you shouldn’t care about it. What I mean is if you’ve got like a six-figure salary, you’re in the three-figure game. You’re like, “I make a 150 grand a year. I can afford to spend like $500 to go on a bike trip or take this online marketing course I’m interested in.” If you’ve got like a five-figure salary, you’re in the two-figure game. Two-figure is what you spend your failures on. So you’re like, “Oh, I can spend $75 on a cooking class or a softball league.” It’s a small enough percentage of your total income that you shouldn’t overthink it but yet you’re making yourself open to, you could call them Black Swan opportunities here. You’re betting chips, small chips, on a lot of different hands.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:52] This makes sense. I know a lot of people that make five figures and a lot of people that make seven figures and their sort of level of the impulse if you will or let’s not think about it too. Maybe not impulse, but let’s not think about it as too much. Spending is about that.
Neil Pasricha: [00:38:06] Yeah, and that’s a general rule of thumb. Somebody might be like, “You’re a tech billionaire; you can afford to spend $1 million here and there.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:13] Yeah. You literally see that. I see that with like — I mean, that’s what these angel investors and VCs are doing. They’re going, “Those kids seem smart and they only want a couple of hundred grand,” and you’re just like, “Wow, you just threw three houses that I grew up in at these kids based on an idea.”
Neil Pasricha: [00:38:26] And it seems overwhelming to you because they’re in a number of figures game on their failure budget. That’s totally different than yours, but it gives you a rule of thumb. And if you want to say, “Well, okay, Neil, how do you figure out like what to try?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:36] Yeah. What do you want to do exactly?
Neil Pasricha: [00:38:38] Well, then I have a test that I use in The Happiness Equation I always called the Saturday morning test, which means when you wake up on a Saturday morning with nothing to do, what do you do? Brainstorm wildly from that. If you’re like, “Oh, well, I always get up and play guitar.” Well, what could you do in the music industry? Could you teach guitar lessons online? Could you become a ukulele importer? You know what I mean? There’s so many things you can brainstorm wildly off the thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:02] It doesn’t have to be a business though, right? Or is that the idea?
Neil Pasricha: [00:39:03] Well, I just went business. You’re a business kind of guy in the show. Are you?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:08] Yeah. I guess, yeah, sometimes I just thought maybe this is like, this could be anything that improves you as a human, right?
Neil Pasricha: [00:39:14] Like follow your heart. This is like, do you want to go to Coachella? And you’ve never been, how much does it cost?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:20] A lot probably.
Neil Pasricha: [00:39:23] Then make a failure budget on that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:24] There you go.
Neil Pasricha: [00:39:25] Spend on things that you don’t know if we’ll succeed or not, but you’ve wanted to do, and if you can’t think of what those things are, try, try, try again. Go to meetup.com. See what’s going on in the community. Say yes to those far-flung invitations you get that you’d typically say no to. You want to go to this fundraising dinner, you want to go to this. You just say yes to a bunch of stuff until you find out what you want to do. It’s a failure expense. It means you aren’t expecting anything to come from it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:46] Right. I like that.
Neil Pasricha: [00:39:47] And if anything comes from it, great.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:49] That’s why because otherwise people go, “Ooh, that’s expensive. It’s $175. I don’t know if I’ll get ROI from it.” And you’re saying, literally, don’t worry about getting any ROI from it. Just do it and try it. That’s what this budget is for.
Neil Pasricha: [00:40:02] So I actually even said in You Are Awesome that my whole podcast, my podcast is a lot smaller than your podcast, but my whole podcast 3 Books is my failure allowance is a four-figure failure. My thing doesn’t have ads going in or out. I just literally fly around, talk to guests. That’s it. That’s my whole show. And I pay a producer a $500 a month to produce the show. And so that adds up to my whole thing. But it’s a way for me to have conversations I wouldn’t have otherwise had, lead dominoes on like interesting ideas that turn into book chapters later. It’s a failure allowance that I love. My podcast is permanently in the red. You know what I mean? Like it’s just a loss, but it is a loss-leader because it’s a total failure for me that is hopefully going to result in other interesting growth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:42] And has it?
Neil Pasricha: [00:40:43] I’d say absolutely. I mean, I just got to hang out in Malcolm Gladwell’s living room for an hour.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:47] Ridiculous, that’s awesome. Was he there? Does he know about this?
Neil Pasricha: [00:40:53] I spent two hours in the back of a limo with David Sedaris, talking to him about the three books that shaped his life. I’ve been reading his comedy writing since I was a little kid. He’s like an icon to me. I’m super nervous. The only reason I got permission to do that is because he’s on his book tour for his book. You kind of slip into like the publicist’s agenda and they all say, “Oh, he’s doing these morning shows, he’s doing this book reading.” I’m like, “I’ll go at 1:00 p.m.” I’ll go when the time of the day when like no one’s doing — I’ll carve my whole day over on his schedule. I’ll hang out with him naturally,” and I get to do that. And my David Sedaris episode is my number one episode ever. Because I’ve been reading this guy’s books for like 20 years, so I have a lot of stuff to ask him.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:31] Was he impressed by some of that stuff? I mean, you had some deep cuts in there, I would imagine.
Neil Pasricha: [00:41:35] Well, I think at that point, so the way I opened that episode was I was like, “Here are 10 things you’ve said about books over the last 20 years.” I’m like pulling stuff from all over that I’ve heard him say. And he riffs on itself. I mean, part of what I’m trying to do is what you’re always trying to do is like, how do you develop chemistry quickly? If I’ve only got an hour with someone, well, in life in general, you’re not going to have chemistry with that person in one hour, but that’s your job. You have to have chemistry with him in five minutes so the show’s interesting.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:58] That’s true.
Neil Pasricha: [00:41:59] I’m like far away from where you are. I’m like I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m trying but you asked me if there is pay off. And I’m like, “Hell, yeah, it’s paying off because I’m learning new things.” There are other chapters in my book that are ideas that came from conversations that I had through the podcast.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:13] Well, yeah, that’s the story of my life. I met my wife through the shows. I can’t really see the ROI has been that bad for me, especially recently. You had a concept that I really am interested in here. Why you shouldn’t buy the $5 million Manhattan condo. Now, it sounds ridiculous because most of us, including me, are not on the market for a $5 million Manhattan condo. I’d love for you to expand on this because this positive academic self-concept was brand new for me. This big fish in a small pond theory.
Neil Pasricha: [00:42:42] We started this conversation by talking about how the world today has suffered from a ton of anxiety and stress, even though we live in this great time to be alive. All of us — myself included, yourself included — will occasionally throughout our lives suffer from feeling like imposter syndrome, not good enough syndrome. I can’t compete at this level. What am I doing here? We all have that. When that happens to you, and it will, and you might be in there now, your goal then is to find a small pond where you can be a bigger fish. I got this advice from Dean John McArthur, who’s the Dean of Harvard Business School. When I was going to Harvard Business School, I got a scholarship from this guy. I met him for lunch and he asked me how the job search is going. I said, “Terrible, terrible. You know, Dean MacArthur, I’m trying to get a job in all the things, you know, Google and McKinsey and Boston, but so is everybody else.” He said, “You’re like a horny guy outside of a beach looking in at like, the 10 bathing beauties, call them whatever gender you want. You want to run in with a thousand other people and try to get together with one of them? Your odds are super low, and if you actually get together with them, you’re going to be looking over your shoulder the whole time. You’ve got to get off the beat. Go to the library, find a nerd, find the broken company, the banker company, the places that aren’t flying to Harvard recruiting sessions.” I never went to another recruiting session again. I cold called a hundred companies that had fallen on hard times. 50 percent of them let me have a little conversation. 10 of them ended up in an interview. Five of them turned into offers. That’s how I ended up going to Walmart in the first place. I went way off the beach. I tried to find a place where you could be a bigger fish. His argument was, “If you go into one of those companies, guess what? They’re going to take what you say seriously. They’re going to give you a bigger job. They’re going to actually need your help.” You know what I mean? You’ll be unconventional there. So why shouldn’t you buy the $5 million condo? Because when you open up The New York Times Magazine and it says “Condos on Hudson River starting at five million,” you would be the smallest fish in that pond. You would have literally a condo on the second floor with no view — into the courtyard; everyone else is looking at the river — with no amenities at all. You’d constantly be feeling lesser than. Instead, what you should buy is a better apartment at another place.[00:44:43] You can apply this principle anywhere. It’s based on, as you said, academic self-concept research from 1984 has, it sounds like a long time ago, but has shown that when you put yourself in a smaller pond, you think you’re a big fish for up to 10 years after you leave the pond. If you want to start playing golf, golf from the front tees, the ones that are closer to the pin. You want to run a marathon, start in the slowest category. Put yourself into a game where you can win. When I first started my speaking career, they said, “Oh, Neil, we want to put you in this budget range.” I was like, “That sounds high. Who’s in there?” They’re like, “Oh, New York Times bestsellers, Olympic athletes, blah, blah.” I was like, “What about the lowest range?” They’re like, “Oh, here’s a bunch of people in that,” and I’m like, “I’ve never heard of those people. Put me in that.”
Jordan Harbinger: [0045:21] “Put me in that. I’m going to get a speaking gig every two days!”
Neil Pasricha: [00:45:23] Instead of speaking for a thousand people in Vegas. I was speaking to like 25 people in the boardroom. Guess what? Now I think I can do it. My self-concept goes up and it stays up as I moved to larger and larger stages or venues. Find small ponds where you can be a big fish. It will help cure your anxiety. The goal isn’t to like, I’m not taking to brandish your ego and be like a hot potato. The goal is to spike volleyballs into like kindergarten foreheads here. The goal is to help you convince yourself that you’re good enough. How do you improve your confidence? Don’t buy the $5 million condo that the thing in Manhattan starts at. I have penthouse suite somewhere else. Go somewhere where you can be like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:02] In Mesa, Arizona.
Neil Pasricha: [00:46:03] Exactly. Here’s the question for your listeners. Would you rather be a nine in a group of nines, a five in a group of nines, or a nine in a group of fives? The research says that you should be a nine in a group of fives. You will think better of yourself and your confidence will stay up as you keep ratcheting up into interesting, newer and higher level.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:46:22] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Neil Pasricha. We’ll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:30] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. Is there something interfering with your happiness, maybe preventing you from achieving your goals? If so, Better Help online counseling is there for you. Better Help offers licensed professional counselors who specialize in issues like depression, stress, anxiety, sleep stuff, relationships, trauma, anger, family conflicts — funnily enough, all of those can stem from family conflicts and relationships — grief, self-esteem. The list is long because humans are complicated. I mean, I certainly see this on Feedback Friday. Connect you to a professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. You can do it on your own phone, get help at your own time, your own pace. No driving across town, no parking. Schedule secure video or phone sessions plus chat and text with your therapist. If you’re not happy with your counselor, you can request a new one at any time. No charge for that. Jason, tell them where they can get a deal on Better Help.[00:47:22] It is a truly affordable option for our listeners and get 10 percent off your first month with discount code Jordan. So why not get started today? Go to betterhelp.com/jordan. Simply fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with a counselor you’ll love. That’s betterhelp.com/jordan.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:27] This episode is also sponsored in part by Verishop. This is an interesting, nice new competitor in the e-commerce space. So perfect for last-minute gifts because they have free one-day shipping. So keep Verishop in mind for the holiday coming up. If you’re in a pinch or people like me who want instant gratification, you don’t have to wait through the mall crowd, drive, find parking. You get your Verishop box at the door like Christmas every day. And what they do that’s different here because — of course, you always get the big guys — it’s an online shopping site with all of the higher end brands that you want — men’s fashion, women’s fashion, beauty, home decor, wellness. You can get All Saints, John Varvatos, stuff that you’re not going to find on the other websites. The most important thing is look, it’s Verishop. The whole idea is it’s verified, so you’re not going to order it and it comes and it’s fake. So if you buy stuff like that, if you buy those fancy pants, gifts are for yourself or for other people, you want the real stuff. And we even had a fake pacifier for my kid that we ordered online and Jen was like, “Wait a minute, how is this?” And it’s such a good fake, but look, this goes on my kid’s mouth. You know, I want the real one that was made in Sweden, not the one that’s made by a counterfeit product maker. And this is being sold on regular websites and you’d really can’t tell. You have to look really closely. So a paranoid supermom caught it. Its stuff is more important than you think. So shop at Verishop for the fastest free shipping out there. And with my promo code, new Verishop customers can take 15 percent off their first purchase to try it out, go to verishop.com and use my code Jordan. That’s V-E-R-I-S-H-O-Patient verishop.com with the code Jordan for 15 percent off your first purchase. Exclusions may apply.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:50:07] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us on the air. to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, so you can check out those amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don’t forget the worksheet for today’s episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you’re listening to us on the Overcast player, please click that little star next to the episode. We really appreciate it. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Neil Pasricha.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:37] I remember reading about this because I live in the most — and I’m not bragging by any means, I’m an idiot if nothing else — I live in this area because my wife’s family lives very close. People always go, “Oh yeah, well you must be doing so well with the show to live in Silicon Valley. Look at — you own a house in Silicon Valley. It’s unbelievable.” I could live anywhere in America and I would have a house five times the size, maybe more. I try not to think about it because I look at the house I grew up in Michigan, and just to punish myself, last time I went home, I looked on Zillow at the fancy house that everyone was like, “Wow, who lives there?” My whole life growing up, you couldn’t buy my garage here for that price. Granted, Michigan’s not doing super hot outside Detroit these days. That’s part of it. But the other reason is you can’t get a frigging stinking garage in Silicon Valley for the price of a literal mansion in the suburbs outside of Detroit.
Neil Pasricha: [00:51:32] If your confidence crashes and you feel like you need to kind of get back up. I’m saying, “Hey Jordan, go buy that house. Be the top dog in that neighborhood. Get yourself together. Let yourself feel like you’re enough.” The reason the book is called You Are Awesome by the way is because I’m trying to tell people that you really are, and we are looking at Instagram too much is what you’ve started us on. We’re thinking we’re lesser than, we’re looking at everyone else’s greatest hits. We think we stink and I want to rid people of that thinking. That’s probably why I’m saying “Get offline” so much.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:00] Tell me about the end of history illusion. I like this concept I’ve heard of. I don’t know what it is. I’ve heard this so much recently. It’s like, you know when you hear a news concept and you’ve never heard of it before, now you hear it 10 times. It’s that sort of reticular activation system where you’ve got a blue car now you see the blue car everywhere. I’ve been hearing this everywhere. I love these little — is it a cognitive bias? Is that what this one is?
Neil Pasricha: [00:52:20] Well, here’s the problem. So one of my jobs at Walmart — you asked what I did there and you asked if I was greeting and stuff and I said, “No, I’m in HR.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:25] I was obviously kidding.
Neil Pasricha: [00:52:26] No, no, no, and there’s no judgment on that. And I think greeting is a phenomenal role. I would like that. You walk and you talk to people as they come in, what a cool job. But I’m saying part of my job in HR, one of the worst jobs I had was for a period of time, like about a year, I was responsible for being in the room while people got fired.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:42] Oh yeah, that’s got to be horrible.
Neil Pasricha: [00:52:44] Okay. I was with the executive and coaching, guiding them through that process. And then after the termination conversation happened, I was with the person who got terminated and I was like helping them kind of move their stuff into the trunk of their car and giving them Kleenex and talking to them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:57] So awkward.
Neil Pasricha: [00:52:58] It was the worst job, but at the same time also, it had a ton of opportunity for empathy, compassion, understanding. And what I heard from those people every single time there was a termination, our conversation was, “I’ll never find another job. This is the end of my career. It’s all over for me.” The end of history illusion, which is based on a 2013 study by Daniel Gilbert called The End of History Illusion, says that we confuse the improbability of changing in the future with change itself. What’s the point? Whenever I’d meet the people that were terminated from Walmart, years later, you bump in. It’s a small world. You bump into them at a conference, see them in the street. Guess what they always said to me? “Best thing that ever happened to me.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:33] That’s funny.
Neil Pasricha: [00:53:36] “I would never have got this job with a smaller company and been vice president.” “I would never have spent time with my daughter after a miscarriage.” “I would never have decided to start that business that I’d always been putting off.” Every single time, people confuse the fact that they couldn’t picture the change with the fact that they wouldn’t change. The end of history illusion — listen to those words directly — you think history is over. The study, what it did, in the Daniel Gilbert study in science magazine, said, “How’d the last 10 years of your life been?” And everyone said, “Oh, it’s been crazy. Everything’s changed. I moved, I got a new job, I’m in a new relationship.” And they said, “Oh, what about the next 10 years? What’s that going to be like?” Everyone said, “Well, I think I’m good. Like I think I’m settled.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:12] I totally feel you there.
Neil Pasricha: [00:54:13] Like, where I am now, that’s the way it’s going to be.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:16] Sure, I’ll just be older.
Neil Pasricha: [00:54:17] And no matter what age they asked people whether they were 20, 30, 40, 50, they said the last 10 years were totally tumultuous and unpredictable but, for sure, the next 10 years would be even Steve, we think that history is over today where we are now. And when things change in your life, like you lose a relationship or you’ll lose a job. We catastrophize and we think, “I’ll never get a relationship again. I’ll never get a job again. I’ll be surfing temp ads in my parents’ basement forever. The end of history illusion is, yes, it’s a cognitive bias, but because you’re aware of it because you’re listening to this show, The Jordan Harbinger Show, you now know to be aware of that. So when you lose that job when you lose a relationship. Don’t confuse the improbability of change with change itself. You will find something else. You will, but you just don’t know what it is yet. You can’t see the future. The staircase upwards is invisible.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:05] So is this something that happens to us when a negative occurrence goes into our lives? Because otherwise, it seems like, “Look, if I’m flying high, that’s great.”
Neil Pasricha: [00:55:14] I mentioned Daniel Gilbert a few times. This guy is super famous. He’s written, Stumbling on Happiness. He’s a Harvard professor, Harvard psychologist. I actually listened to an interview with him about why he even did this study. I mean, they interviewed 19,000 people. Okay. It’s a huge study, and he said it’s because he went through one of those really bad years. He, himself, this prominent positive psychology research — he went through — he lost the relationship and some negative stuff happened and he thought, “Oh, I wonder if my life’s going to suck forever.” A year later it didn’t. He was, “Okay, and he did a study then to show we all catastrophize. We think history is over when we have something negative that happened to us. Part of the reason anxiety and stress is so high because we think, “Whoa, no, I’m 20 years old and I can’t get a job and I’m just finishing college and I’ll never get a job.” And that last sentence is the mistake. We think history is over today. It’s not. You’ve got to keep going and when you keep going, inevitably you look at the past 10 years of your life and you’re like, “Oh yeah, all that stuff happened. That was good.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:07] Okay, so we think just because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future that nothing is going to happen in the future.
Neil Pasricha: [00:56:11] Because we can’t see it, we think it won’t. Because we can’t see it, we think it won’t.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:16] How does this play with that kind of optimism bias that we see in? economics for example? We see this in elections. This type of optimism bias where a lot of times people who are on the lowest part or the lower part of the socioeconomic scale, they’ll vote for economic policy that doesn’t serve them, and it’s not because they’re stupid or some other reason. I’ve seen this data and maybe this is not true. So let me know what you think. The people assume, well, in the future I will be rich, so I want this policy. In the future, I will want this positive tax cut to the people who have $5 million plus of state because I’m going to be in that group and it’s like, “Whoa. No, you won’t. You’re a burrito roller at Chipotle. You have no education. You only work part-time.” And why would you be in that group? Look, if you’re 24 and you’re rolling burritos, I feel you, but let’s say you’re 30 and you’re doing that and you’ve been doing it for 20 years, you’re not going to be in that group unless something crazy happens like you win the lottery. And yet we see that people often believe that they will because they believe they might win the lottery for example. So how does that play with some of history is over? It seems like the opposite. It is like an opposite bias.
Neil Pasricha: [00:57:27] You’re asking the Canadian venture into US politics here. I am very afraid of talking about it because I don’t know anything about US politics. Here’s what I say —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:34] You don’t have to get political. Let’s talk about the burrito roller. And he’s going to say, “I don’t need to save money now because in the future I’m going to start a business and I’m going to be loaded.” In fact, I used to work with — we can use a real example. I used to work with guys at an old company that never invested, never saved any money, spent everything they had because they thought, “Well, it doesn’t matter. Our business is going to go up so much in the future. I won’t have to worry about that.” Meanwhile, me with the dad who freaking started an IRA when I was like old enough to spit out the pacifier, I’ve been saving like crazy and luckily business for me has gone up. Their business, however, has not done that and that’s a problem for them now. They can’t catch up and they still to this day — from what I hear second hand — believe that it’s not a big deal. In the future, they’re going to be rich because they’ve had some luck in the past.
Neil Pasricha: [00:58:22] Why is that? Why do you think people think that way?
Jordan Harbinger: I think it’s the only choice you have because otherwise, you go, “Gee, I’m pretty stupid spending money at $100 a night at a bar when I really should be saving money. I’d rather have that instant gratification.” And then when people go, “Wow, that’s a dumb decision.” You go, “No, no, hold on, smart part of my brain. I’m going to be rich in the future because my business is going to take off.” I think that’s a rationalization. I don’t know if people really believe it.
Neil Pasricha: [00:58:48] Yeah. That’s interesting. Most people I know are not a destitute position or living in poverty or sort of struggling to make ends meet. When you talk to them, it’s like, “Yes, I hear what you’re saying.” They have a plan or they want to get out of that situation, but it’s hard to move up the rungs of socioeconomic status in society. It’s hard to move forward.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:09] I tend to believe what you’re saying more than what I have read —
Neil Pasricha: [00:59:13] The burrito roller friend.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:13] The burrito roller friend. Yeah. Like maybe my stuff is anecdotal. It’s not just me though. I mean, I’ve read about this before. I’ve seen this phenomena and people talked about it a lot during the last election —
Neil Pasricha: [00:59:22] It sounds like a little bit like the wantrepreneur phenomenon.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:25] Yes, it is, and I’m getting a lot of that from there. That’s why that research interested me because people were going, “Why are these people who are in this area are, who are totally going to get screwed by voting for this person, voting for this person? What’s going on?” They must really believe these other values are more important like maybe they’re really anti whatever, and this person is also that, and it turned out that wasn’t the case. They were thinking, “Oh, if someone in X state is voting for this candidate, they must be really anti-immigrant,” for example. So they’re like, “Well, that must be more important to them than economic success.” It actually turned out that they just assumed in the future they would have economic success.
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:02] Yeah. “So when I’m rich, I don’t want to pay taxes.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:04] That’s exactly what it kind of was. What you’re saying, “Look, maybe we can’t really solve this problem right now. I just find these two things are contrasting.”
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:12] Well, they sound very opposed. The other thing though, I kind of sprinkled into this conversation, is that it seems like so much of how people vote these days is based on false algorithms and news. They don’t understand what services you might get and they don’t understand what the trade-offs are, and it’s super complicated. Even from a distance, I’m looking down from Toronto because that’s where I live, it’s like —
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:33] Looking down.
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:35] I don’t mean looking down —
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:35] Standing down the roof of the weird —
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:37] Geographically looking down.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:38] CN Tower whatever.
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:40] They’re saying it’s freestanding structure in the Western hemisphere.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:42] Is it really?
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:42] Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was the tallest freestanding structure in the world until they built a bigger one in Dubai.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:46] I did not know that.
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:46] Burj, the goddamn Burj. Oh yeah. It’s tall, man! Have you been up it? Drake, you know, the front of the Drake album. He was sitting on the top.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:52] I have to go to Toronto to do that.
Neil Pasricha: [01:00:54] Please come visit it. From the view, from Toronto, I look in geographically southward. I’m looking at that. I’m just like, I don’t even understand how the thing works. It’s so complex. And like this study, I’m quoting The End of History Illusion, which is in Science magazine, 19,000 people, Daniel Gilbert, a prominent Harvard psychologist. It says, “No, no, no. When you ask people what the last 10 years look like, they can paint a tumultuous picture of how everything changed. Well, you ask them how the future is going to look like, they think it’s the same,” and that is the problem. When you’re going through something hard, I think stress and anxiety is probably up there because if you lose your job, if you lose your relationship, if you go through something hard, you think, “I’m screwed forever.” People stuffing their trunk with their picture frames in the parking lot at Walmart, what they would tell me is, “I’ll never find a job again. What am I going to do now?” Like those were the phrases they said. They never said, “Oh, now I get to spend time with my daughter.” “Oh, now I can — ”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:43] Nobody ever sort of had a positive attitude at all?
Neil Pasricha: [01:01:45] Pretty much never in any of the conditions had someone be like, “Woo!”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:48] I’m surprised. Nobody was like, “You know what? Screw you guys. I hated working here.” Nothing like that?
Neil Pasricha: [01:01:53] Well, those people probably would’ve quit. Don’t you think?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:55] Not necessarily. No. It also doesn’t mean that when they say it that they mean that. I feel like —
Neil Pasricha: [01:02:01] I never had those really fiery kinds of conversations probably because that was my role that’s how as human, a connection as possible here, insert some humanity and empathy. These are the things people are going to remember how they were treated when they were terminated. If it’s a very, very supportive atmosphere with a lot of compassion. It feels a lot different for people.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:23] Yeah. I can imagine just being like, “Look, I want to humanely make you feel supported while you take all of your stuff out of here with security.”
Neil Pasricha: [01:02:33] Well, you don’t do it that way.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:34] You don’t do it that way?
Neil Pasricha: [01:02:35] You don’t walk people out in front of the bunch of people looking with security. No, no, no. It’s —
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:39] People do that at other companies.
Neil Pasricha: [01:02:40] Yeah. No, no. Everyone’s different on how they structure stuff like that. But you, you tried to figure out the most respectful way possible.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:45] Well, good for you. You’re a good human. All right. Before we cut. I want to find out this ridiculous story of how you made a discovery in that ninth-grade gym class.
Neil Pasricha: [01:02:55] So before you come on The Jordan Harbinger Show, it’s like Jeopardy. Jordan, one of the things he asks you is like, “Okay, tell me some weird story you’d never talked about before.” I was like, “Well, I’ve got a few of them.” I guess here’s something — you jumped on this one like a hot potato.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:07] Yeah, I was on it.
Neil Pasricha: [01:03:08] Yeah. So here’s the story, okay, real quick. I’m a baby. 1979. I’m constantly crying. My parents take me to the doctor over and over again, two-week-old, four-week-old, six-week-old. The doctor says the same thing. It’s the ’70s. They’re like, “That’s what babies do. Take him home. That’s what babies do.” My parents kept thinking something was wrong. I’m six weeks old. The doctor finally realizes that I’ve got a painful hernia and undescended testicle. I’m taken in for emergency surgery and all I’m left on my body is a huge scar and one ball. I didn’t know this growing up.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:40] They took the ball out?
Neil Pasricha: [01:03:41] Well, the ball wasn’t working properly.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:44] Still in there somewhere?
Neil Pasricha: [01:03:45] Maybe, I’ve got one of them. I didn’t know this because you grow up and you’re a kid, there’s no internet. I’m like, this is normal. You’ve got one-digit striker down the middle. You’ve got one nose, you’ve got one mouth, you’ve got one heart, you’ve got one belly button. It made sense to me, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:01] To have one testicle.
Neil Pasricha: [01:04:02] Why do we have two eyes? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re going to need two kidneys or two lungs, but yeah, one heart, that’s fine. One stomach. Sure. Like it’s random, like, I don’t know why we have to have some stuff on one of the others. Well, my point is I didn’t know it was different. And then in grade nine gym class, grade nine gym class, you can pick a grade nine gym class. The teachers like a big brute and he’s lecturing us about AIDS and about menstruation and herpes. And he’s always wistfully telling his stories about how he was like a wrestling champion in Eastern Europe. And one day he tells us a story that gets the whole class laughing. And he’s like, “Yeah, one day, I was like pinning a guy and I actually like popped his testicles.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:37] Oh God.
Neil Pasricha: [01:04:38] The whole class of grown.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:39] Oh yeah, that’s horrible.
Neil Pasricha: [01:04:40] Like you just did. And then he says, “Yeah, after that we all called them half a man.” And the class like started screaming, laughing, pounding their desks. Everyone’s like tears or spring clearing off people’s faces and it hit me, I’m like, “Oh shit. Like I never knew other people had two.” Like I never was aware of that.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:57] But didn’t people say like, “Oh, right, and they got him in the ball.”
Neil Pasricha: [01:05:00] I thought that was a figure of speech, like the breadbasket in wrestling, or “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” Like I never processed that sort of thing. And so I then felt ashamed. So that story I write about in You Are Awesome. I felt total shame and I look into the research now in shame as I’m an older person now, and I’m like, you know what, so much of the shame I attached myself for years, and by the way, it was like, I’m never going to mate. I’m never going to have children. I’m horribly disfigured. Like the stories, I told myself were horrible self-stabbing stories. Our minds are so sharp, we can shatter ourselves. I now look back at that time of my life and I look at that story and I look at it through a new lens now and I realized that so much of what our shame is, is a story we’re telling ourselves. What I’m saying to you and your listeners is I failed my biology exam is a lot different than I failed my parents. I’m an alcoholic is a lot different than no one will ever trust me. I had one ball. I have one ball, but I attached all kinds of stress on top of that, that for years made me horribly shy and introverted and I had all this like disgusting shame inside myself because it was a story I was telling myself.[01:06:05] One of the things I’m trying to do with this book is to help people rid themselves of the stories they are layering on top of the facts. Don’t beat yourself up. You can be the most critical person to you. Your self-talk in your head is often what kills you. Don’t talk so negatively to yourself. Just tell yourself a different story.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:25] Neil, thank you very much, man.
Neil Pasricha: [01:06:26] My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:31] Big thank you to Neil for coming in. The book title is, You Are Awesome. He’s got multiple books, so look for You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life. He’s a funny dude as you can tell. Links to his stuff will be in the show notes and of course, there are also worksheets for each episode, so you can review what you’ve learned here from Neil. That’ll be at jordanharbinger.com in the show notes. We also now have transcripts for each episode, and those can be found in the show notes as well.[01:06:57] We’re teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits. That’s over at Six-Minute Networking. That’s our course. It’s free. It’s over at jordanharbinger.com/course. The problem with kicking the can down the road, you know doing it later. You’ve got to dig the well before you’re thirsty. All my relationships that have panned out from me. I’ve had them for years. I didn’t ask them for anything. I’m showing you how to do this in a way that’s systematic. It doesn’t require a ton of time. It’s really, really easy to do. It will change the way you think and behave and that’s the idea. The drills take a few minutes a day. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. Seriously, you can find it all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course and the newsletters. So come join us and you’ll be in smart company. Speaking of building relationships, you can always reach out and follow me on social. I’m at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. [01:07:46] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. This episode is produced by Jen Harbinger and Jason DeFillippo, edited by Jase Sanderson, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola. I’m your host Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. And yeah, I’m a lawyer, but I’m not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting, which should be in every episode. Please share the show with those you love, and even those you don’t. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we’ll see you next time. [01:08:28] I want to do a quick little bump for my buddies. Srini has got a conference coming up. People have said that his podcast is what you’d get if you combined TED talks and Oprah. For the first time in six years, he’s bringing together some of his most incredible guests for a two-day in-person live event. And there are two types of people in this world, those who believe they’re stuck with what they have and those who believe they have the power to change their circumstances. The greatest lie you’ve ever been told is that reality is fixed but when you have the courage to question your reality, it becomes malleable, very matrixy. At his event, you’re going to learn how to use the power of neuroscience to set goals, reinvent your personal, professional, and social life at will and expand social skills and increase your self-esteem. The lineup of speakers includes former Jordan Harbinger Show guests like Srini Pillay, Philip McKernan. It’s not your typical conference that takes place in some hotel ballroom. There’s no social media. There are no smartphones. There are no laptops. Just genuine connection and community limited to 300 attendees. You’re going to have interactions with the speakers. It’s in Nashville, April 9 to 11, 2020 — not just a conference, but an experience and you can learn more and get tickets at thearchitectsofreality.com. We’ll link to that in the show notes as well. Tickets are limited. The prices go up. Grab yours ASAP if you’re interested. Thanks, Srini.