Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) is a comedian, broadcaster, actor, podcaster, columnist, political commentator, mental health and drug rehabilitation activist, and author of twelve books — including Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions.
What We Discuss with Russell Brand:
- How the concept of the 12-step program is applicable to all forms of attachment as a tool for transition.
- Why does it usually take a serious crisis to spur people toward seeking help for their addictions?
- Addiction is really the result of reaching for something external that already exists internally — but exists in a place that’s either unknown or inaccessible.
- Do we really overcome addiction, or is it an ongoing struggle that requires constant attention and maintenance?
- What does addiction want?
- And much more…
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Russell joins us to talk about everything from his book Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions to beekeeping to mindfulness to mass media to philosophy. Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Russell handles his addiction to social media, why you have to be willing to confront pain to grow, what addiction wants, why confession is a tradition that works, patterns Russell identifies within himself and how he works to break their hold on him, what’s involved in the amends process, what the secular world can learn from religion, why Russell has been a vegetarian since age 14, why Russell has waited until now to write this book, how Russell has acted as a tool of reconciliation for Jordan, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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THANKS, RUSSELL BRAND!
If you enjoyed this session with Russell Brand, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand
- Under The Skin with Russell Brand | Podcast
- Russell Brand | Website
- Russell Brand | Facebook
- Russell Brand | Twitter
- Russell Brand | YouTube
- Russell Brand | Instagram
- Meat Is Murder by The Smiths
- Punch-Drunk Love | Prime Video
- Russell Brand Puts His Spin on the 12-Step Program | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Transcript for Russell Brand | Finding Freedom from Our Addictions (Episode 411)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show
[00:00:02] Russell Brand: That adolescent idea of, "Oh, man, the system. This is all bullsh*t." I don't see things like that no more. One of the things that continue is I'm optimistic about people. I think people are beautiful and the people will change.
[00:00:19] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. If you're new to the show, we have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional economic hitman. And each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:00:45] Today, we've got a real fun episode for you. It's from the vault. Look, this episode almost didn't happen. I'm so glad that it did. We ended up recording it in a green room at NBC Universal in LA after Russell Brand had just done The Morning Show. He was completely beat. And his people kept trying to feed him during the show, which made for a pretty funny setup. And if you're watching this on YouTube, you can see that we are in a tiny little room and I'm in this weirdly low yellow chair, which was ridiculously uncomfortable and I had to leaned way back and then lean way forward to be in the conversation. But it didn't matter at all. We clicked right away. Russell and I had a real conversation.
[00:01:20] Everything from addiction to beekeeping — yes, he keeps bees. That is totally random — mindfulness, mass media. There is some philosophy in there as well because it's Russell Brand. And you know how he is with all that. There's some fanboy questions in there because I was/am a fan of Russell Brand for the past several years now. Maybe not my style of comedy per se, but he is an amazing guy and he's one of the first guests I ever wanted on any podcast. 14 years ago, I thought, "Oh, it would be cool to get a guy like that on, him and Jay Mohr," as an old-time fan now. So now I've got to rack my brain and think, who else am I going to cross off The Jordan Harbinger Show podcast bucket list here. This episode was a hell of a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it as well.
[00:02:02] And if you're wondering how I managed to book all of these great authors and thinkers and celebrities every single week, it's because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network for free. It could help you get a job. It could help you with your career, upward mobility. It could help you make new friends. If you're moving into a new place, it could help you meet your significant other. I'm teaching you all that at jordanharbinger.com/course. It's a free course. You don't have to enter your credit card details or any crap like that. I'm not one of those guys. And by the way, most of the guests on the show, I get a tip or two from them and I throw it in the course or the newsletter every single time. Come join us, you'll be in smart company. Here's Russell Brand.
[00:02:39] Congrats on the book launch, by the way. Not your first book, but still a big deal.
[00:02:43] Russell Brand: Yeah. I'm very happy with this particular book. I'm proud of it. I love it, and that's the thing is, it's because of the program in it — the system in it, that's not invented by me. So you don't have to worry because I'm potentially an idiot. I could come up with all sorts of mad ideas.
[00:02:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:02:57] Russell Brand: The program is like 100 years old. The 12-step program was primarily invented to help people with serious chemical dependency issues in your country, America, 100 years ago, nearly. I think the principles within it are applicable to all forms of attachment. And I think that it can be nothing less in the right context than a kind of secular religion. Most people that get involved with 12-step programs go, "Oh wow, everyone should be doing this."
[00:03:22] This is because, of course, once you yourself get rid of drugs and alcohol one day at a time, you start to realize that drugs and alcohol were never the problems. The problem was your own emotional state, your own reaction to the world. So you have to start working on them. And the 12 steps work on them, in fact, that's the function of it. The first thing you do with drugs or alcohol or food, you stop taking drugs. If it's food, you have a structured way of doing it, then you start following these steps. It's about inventory in yourself. It's about treating people differently. It's a complete tool for transition.
[00:03:51] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds like a self-help program that you only get to when you have seriously run out of options, which is a problem because it seems like you should be working on that stuff before you run into the problems themselves.
[00:04:04] Russell Brand: That's exactly right. I wouldn't have done a 12-step program were it not for the fact that I was on the precipice of serious mental health and criminal, judicial issues, but the problems that I had prior to becoming a drug addict were continual. The way they are related to food, the way they are related to news, TV, was all problematic. And that's exactly it. Why wait for a crisis? Or your life may not provide you with a crisis. You might be someone that's just coping with being in crap jobs, crap relationships, not really happy. It takes as its premise the quite simple notion that you deserve to be happy, in inverted commas — content, free from pain, free from suffering, which I suppose again is the foundational point of all religions.
[00:04:50] Like, yeah, you're going to die. Do you want some sort of system, or are you going to just try and cope with it through masturbation and buying stuff? "Oh, I've tried masturbation and buying stuff. All right. See you on the deathbed." And they're like the reason the book starts with talking about death is because one of the visceral things that I feel is that a lot of people you meet in the world and even people in my own family, I think, "When is it that you're going to be who you actually are?" I know people that I feel that when they are on their deathbed, they're going to go, "This isn't who I was!" They're clinging—
[00:05:21] Jordan Harbinger: After all that.
[00:05:21] Russell Brand: Yeah, this is, in a way, sort of an awakening tool, I guess, or an awakening system or code. But as you said, Jordan, most people don't engage with it until crises.
[00:05:33] Jordan Harbinger: Why do you think that is? When you were growing up, when you were looking at the problems that you were experiencing, why do you think people look to one thing and not the other? Why do you think people look to substances instead of working on the problem in a way that's — is it because it's harder? Is that it? Is it that simple?
[00:05:49] Russell Brand: My personal theory is that it's to do with our way of life. The way we live in a system that tells you, you can make yourself feel better by getting stuff, by buying stuff, by doing stuff. And there is almost no way that it's presented to you in ordinary and realistic terms to deal with your inner life. Why do people drink? I'm not even talking about people who have drink problems, anybody. They drink because they want to feel good. They want to go out on a Friday or Saturday and feel good. Well, there should be other ways of feeling good. Feeling good shouldn't be something that needs to be facilitated by an external agent. It should be something that you have an ongoing relationship with.
[00:06:30] The reason I think the world is like it is because I feel well that we have quite a deep and all-encompassing capitalist consumer system and we can't see the edges of it. We are all within it. We think about life in those terms. You think about life as a commodity. Is it worth doing it? Look at the bees that we've talked about already. You have the bees in order to get the honey. The idea of just having the bees, you're not commodifying it. We default to commodification. So I think that creates a mindset in us that we are looking to consume, always looking to acquire. And these are not original ideas, they're relative. Like, I suppose when, Guy Debord, a French situationist says, "We live in a spectacle. We are losing our contact with reality." We are living in an externalized way, engaged in your profession or whatever your job is, and when you get home, your consumer. Sit and watch that TV, buy stuff. And now people carry their advertising devices using the palm of their hand. Thank God they do because we work in a form of media which means that's bloody useful to us. It's not all bad, but the reason that we have an excessive drug addiction, excessive alcoholism, food issues, is because people are constantly reaching for something external that's already in them.
[00:07:37] Jordan Harbinger: Do you think it's that people don't know how to get that out of themselves or they don't know that it's there at all?
[00:07:43] Russell Brand: As an addict, I feel like the drive is slightly stronger. I think a person that develops chemical dependency issues, develops them because they are not happy. They're like, "Oh no, is this life? I'm going to die? I'm expected to — this is school. Is it? What, this is family life? Well, this isn't going to work. You better give me something else." And because the world tells you what it's going to be outside of you and no one tells you — giving you ideas on prayer, meditation, you look to resolve it using some external agent or method. Like people that are in recovery groups have found a different way of dealing with her feelings.
[00:08:18] Jordan Harbinger: I had a question before, how do you get addicted to eBay? But I assume it was just like every day, looking for something new on eBay. Why eBay and not Amazon, for example?
[00:08:26] Russell Brand: I've never personally had those kinds of addictions. More with me, it would be social media, say like tech stuff. And what I mean is I think addiction is something that you do a lot, it's not good for you, you don't want to do it, and you can't stop.
[00:08:39] Jordan Harbinger: Compulsion.
[00:08:40] Russell Brand: Yeah, compulsion and obsession, I think are two of the ingredients of addiction. Now, if your obsession and compulsion is about a substance, it gets bad, fast. And if it's about behavior, you can carry on longer. Like I put on there, sort of social media and stuff because I do notice I stare at my phone a lot and I often don't feel better after looking at Twitter for ages.
[00:08:58] Jordan Harbinger: Twitter will definitely not make you feel better. Out of all of the social media, Twitter will make you feel the worst, the quickest because it seems so anonymous and so easy. And it's kind of like every time you go out there, you get those little jabs. On Instagram, you're looking at them, they're looking at you. Most of the profiles aren't anonymous on Facebook, for example. Twitter is just like — it's useful and yet a cesspool at the same time.
[00:09:20] Russell Brand: Or it's a useful cesspool. It's a bear pit.
[00:09:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, a bear pit, yeah. Is there any healthy balance for you? Social media is good, but I have to cap myself at half an hour or you just like, "I can't look at this at all anymore."
[00:09:31] Russell Brand: I think with the chemical dependency, abstinence — if you're a drug addict, you cannot take drugs one day at a time. If you're an alcoholic, you can't take drugs. Gambling I think can't gamble, but like food and sex, these are life-giving things. They're natural things. We have to find a structured way. And I would say that social media belongs in that category. So me personally, I don't anymore have my Twitter password, someone that I work with does that. So I'll go, "Here is a photograph and a thing." And maybe once in a while, they'll tell me some stuff that's going on, on there. But with Facebook, I've never had it. So I can look at my Facebook page, but I can't go in it. And with Instagram, I post stuff. I've always a sensitive person and I'll get too affected by it—
[00:10:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:10:13] Russell Brand: —either negatively or positively. It's like that you're right. I'm only going to use social media for half an hour, a day between 4:30 and 5:00. That's when I looked at social media. And then if you try and do it and you can't do that, it's like, well, there you go. You've learned something about yourself. You aren't capable of keeping it to half an hour, so that tells you you're not in control of it anymore. So that's, in a way, step one, you've got to, then if you've got a problem with social media.
[00:10:35] Jordan Harbinger: It seems tough to admit you're addicted to something because it's obvious when it's cocaine. It's obvious when it's alcohol. Maybe not for a lot of folks, but it can be. But when it's computers, social media, or shopping, it's really easy to couch — or sex — it's easy to couch that in something else, especially for somebody who is well known to the world to realize they're addicted to sex and not just having fun. Do you remember that process? Because at some point you must've been like, "This is awesome. Every woman that I fancy, I can go after and get. This is what I'm supposed to be doing." And then at some point, you must've gone, "Actually, this is really bad for my emotional wellbeing."
[00:11:10] Russell Brand: Addiction is a bit of a blind spot for me, sort of oddly because sometimes I think I'm clever, but then sometimes it's revealed to me that I'm not because my behavior is so dumb. With sex, it's interesting because I feel like, "Well, I'm an adult. I'm attracted to adults, in my case of the opposite sex, adult human females. It's all pretty vanilla and they're innocuous." And like when I first got famous, it was like, I felt like I was addressing the previous circumstance of not feeling good enough, not feeling attractive, trying to address that. It was so exciting and felt kind of validating and of course, sex is fun anyway. I mean, that's the point of it. I suppose, you know, using the model that I've just said — doing it, it becomes problematic. You can't stop it — well, it becomes problematic when you think, "Oh, I might like to be in a relationship with one person now." And you try and then you sort of can't because one, I think people that have no sex with strangers often find intimacy with one person challenging.
[00:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: Is it because you're spreading it out thin instead of going deep?
[00:12:10] Russell Brand: Yeah, that's a really simple way to put it. I think it is that. And I think that intimacy with a stranger — for most people, I know they've had issues around sex, intimacy with strangers is kind of lovely. You don't know them, and then you have that sudden excitement of sex and you're kind of connected to them in that context. You know, I used to joke about it. I used to say it's because I can have sex with strangers because I'm not thinking about any other information in that person's life. I'm not thinking, "Oh no, her brother has got diabetes. Oh., she might be worried about this. What if that happened?" No, they only exist in that context. In a way, there's something spiritual about it. You're in the moment, there's no judgment. The connection is very pure, even though the type of stuff that I was into at least.
[00:12:45] But like after a while, I think that that means that when you do know somebody, it seems almost absurd to be intimate with them and the kind of physical proximity and the frequency of sex. A lot of people my age, and God knows what it's like if you're younger — pornography is what I learned sex from. No one taught me., "All right. This is what it is to be a man. And if you're into women, this is what women are like. Or if you're into men, this is what men are like. And this is how we treat each other. And this is what it should feel like. And this is how to be loving." It was just like, yeah, I'll look at these magazines, look at these videos.
[00:13:16] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:13:16] Russell Brand: It's not a very good template really.
[00:13:18] Jordan Harbinger: When you and I were kids, you had to find a kid who had the magazines. And you might've been the kid who had the magazines. I had a neighbor who had those and then maybe when I was 14 or something, or 12, one guy had a tape that he had stolen from his uncle or something like that.
[00:13:33] Russell Brand: Yeah.
[00:13:33] Jordan Harbinger: You need to wait when your mom's not home. And he knows she's going to be gone for two hours and your buddy comes over. There's a lookout and everything. Now, your kid could be in the backseat of the car with you while you're driving and he could be on PornHub and you would have no idea.
[00:13:45] Russell Brand: It's unbelievable.
[00:13:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:13:47] Russell Brand: The same is kind of true with drugs. With what's called spice in my country, those ever-evolving sort of smokable drugs.
[00:13:53] Jordan Harbinger: Bath salts I think we call them.
[00:13:55] Russell Brand: Bath salts, that's right, in your country. Now you can find them online. Your kid could be using drugs. So like the way that we treat addiction has got to change because addiction is changing because like you say, your kid is in the back of your car, looking at PornHub or ordering online drugs, unless they have access to a way of addressing that. And the feelings that are motivating them towards that.
[00:14:11] My experience of porn was similar, but looking back, I recognize that we're just trying to make myself feel better. Of course, it's natural when your sexuality is awakening. You're looking to express it. But is it the correct way to be looking at images again and again? You're starting off on the path of your sexuality regarding the people that you'll be having sex with as an object. That's the beginning of objectification. it's happening right there. For me, I was doing a lot to make myself feel better as well. It's like, "Ah, this makes me feel good. It's a distraction. I'm not in myself when I'm doing this." And you're right, it's terrifying, the idea of the access to pornography that kids will have now.
[00:14:48] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like drugs and things like that people might say, "Hey, man, look, you ever think about you're doing too much of this." Guys, don't get that with sex, right? Your friends never go, "Look, man, you're having too much sex. We need to tone it down." People are going, "You're my hero."
[00:15:03] Russell Brand: Yeah, that's right. And I would notice that a lot of how I would relate to men, I felt powerful among men because other men knew that I would sleep with a lot of women. Now, what I have since learned is that a necessary component of that was that I was not respecting what it was like for the people I was having sex with. What's so amazing about being famous is that people are willing and excited and up for it and there's a constant flow and it's sort of unbelievable in one respect?
[00:15:30] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds pretty good right now.
[00:15:31] Russell Brand: It does sound good when I'm saying again. But the problem is, of course, now I know now that I'm awakened — one moment at a time — that these are human beings, and once you realize, "Oh, they're probably doing that for their — they've got their own motivation—
[00:15:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:15:46] Russell Brand: —because they're not going to feel any better for having sex with a famous person, except for the brief moment of orgasm, which I did use to try to guarantee, Jordan. Other than that, you're involving yourself in an exchange that isn't necessarily going to be beneficial.
[00:16:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:00] Russell Brand: So, I'm participating in other people's unconscious behavior. And for myself, what lies on the other side of addiction? That's what's interesting. What lies on the other side of the compulsion? See this, when you want to look at social media and you don't. What happens to you? You start to get anxious; you start getting nervous. You want to have sex with someone and you don't. What happens? You start to get nervous. You start to get anxious. Well, you have to go through that pain at some point. Because if you live constantly confined by your unwillingness to go through pain, you do not develop into who you are supposed to be. I've lived in that cycle. It meant I became kind of stagnant, spiritually.
[00:16:38] Jordan Harbinger: So if you mean that you'd have to go through that cycle of pain in order to get through the addiction, did then the addiction start because of pain?
[00:16:46] Russell Brand: Yes. Addiction begins with pain and ends with pain. You're in pain. You introduce some secondary agents to deal with the pain. Then that might even make you feel worse. So you're back in pain and you do it again. It's very obvious when it's drugs. It's less obvious when it's pornography. People feel ashamed. If someone's trying to be faithful in a relationship and they sleep with other people outside the relationship, they feel ashamed when they do it. And then the feeling of shame is so bad. Like, it's not always the right thing to tell the other person. It gets worse, they do it again. Food, it's the same process. When you feel awful, you're in pain, you feel lonely, you eat too much food. You make yourself puke, you feel ashamed. You do it again. Some point in this cycle has to be broken. This is one of the things I've found myself saying. And I think it's pretty true, Jordan. We don't choose between having a program and not having a program. We choose between a conscious program and unconscious program.
[00:17:35] We work in a program. I've got a program already. My program is, I want drugs. I want sex. I want people to like me. I want money. I want prestige. And if I don't intervene with that, like a sort of a waterfall, it just rushes away. This program makes me awaken. One, there's a problem whether it's drugs, sex, porn, food, relationships, whatever. One, there is a problem. Two, it's possible that it could be better because I see other people not living like it. Other people that work the program. Three, I've become willing to be teachable. I become willing to look at things in a different way. I come willing to accept help, whether it's from a community or from a higher power spiritual idea there
[00:18:13] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Russell Brand. We'll be right back.
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[00:20:33] Jordan Harbinger: And now back to Russell Brand on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:20:38] How does that fit in and with your career now? Because you can't have prestige and do the job that you're doing, but you have to then sort of short circuit the addiction part of the prestige.
[00:20:48] Russell Brand: The method and the perspective of addiction that I have, that addiction is a drive — if you drill down this thing is a will to power, whether you call it obsession or compulsion, whatever it is. Like, it's a yearning, a hunger. What does it want? What does it want this hunger? One time I was awakened. I can watch it a little bit more. For me, I'm not going to become a yogi or a monk or someone that lives in a cave and meditates all day. That's not, I don't think about my path. I'm going to be involved with the material world. I have a wife; I have a baby. I've got bees, damn it.
[00:21:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you got bees. There's no going back, man. You can't abandon the bees.
[00:21:24] Russell Brand: You can't un-bee yourself
[00:21:26] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:21:27] Russell Brand: What it changes is that I notice when I'm doing this podcast right now in this moment, I'm thinking, "I hope this goes well. I hope this will be the best one of the podcasts that Jordan has ever done, and it will get the best figures." Now, when I see myself thinking that, I still go, "That's just the habit you have in your mind. Don't take it too seriously." Your thoughts become the first layer of the outside world, your cognitive activity, your thoughts no longer define you. You start to recognize it as just a pattern in your mind. "Oh, I always think stuff like that. Don't worry about it too much." Like, "Oh no. I'm so shallow. I want everyone to love me." I just go, "Oh, yeah, that's just a habit you picked up somewhere." I have tried to be the experience or the consciousness that watches those patterns.
[00:22:09] And when you have undergone this program, that perspective becomes easier to access. It is by no means permanent. That's why you get people that get to the top of the mountain — priests, yogis, swamis — and then you find out they were having sex with the people in their comments. You're like, "Okay. I trusted you." It happens not just in Christian culture. It happens in far-out places where Western people like me really think, "Oh, no, they've got the answer in their robes with shaved heads." Then you find out they're doing the same thing. Unless you've stayed moment to moment vigilant about your patterns, they will reassert.
[00:22:40] Jordan Harbinger: That has to be kind of scary to know that as much work as you've done to get through addiction — you're 15 years almost clean, right?
[00:22:47] Russell Brand: Yeah.
[00:22:48] Jordan Harbinger: That if you let your guard down, you could be back to square one. Is that not intimidating a little bit? It seems like that would be scary for me because it's like you keep walking away from the cliff edge and then you turn right just to check and see how far away you are and you realize you've just been walking along the cliff edge for 15 years.
[00:23:04] Russell Brand: It's a good metaphor.
[00:23:05] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks.
[00:23:06] Russell Brand: Well, yeah, but we are all walking along the cliff edge. In a way, the addiction just makes you address it. All of us have just one decision away from destroying our lives, really. You can, in traffic, get in a fight with someone. You punch them, they hit their head, they die. That's your life now.
[00:23:22] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:23:23] Russell Brand: Or like you cheat on your wife because someone is nice to you and you felt vulnerable in that moment. Or you take drugs and you overdose. It can happen. But I think you can guard against these things by having a kind of a spiritual awakening, by being connected, or whatever the answer is. It ain't in my head because if it was, I'd have found it by now.
[00:23:41] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:23:41] Russell Brand: All I've done my whole life is to try to be happy. It's not working. I need help. Write down all the things that are f*cking you up or whatever f*cked you up. Don't lie or leave anything out. Make a thorough inventory and there's a particular technique that doing that. Honestly tell someone trustworthy about how f*cked you are. You start involving other people.
[00:23:56] Now, when I had done that, it taught me that I didn't need to be so ashamed of myself. That all of the dark, dirty little secrets I carried — the guy that I talked to was like, "Yeah. That's no big deal. I did something about that." At some level, I think we will often think at a level where we wake up at 3:00 a.m., "Oh no, I'm worthless. I'm crap. I'm not good enough." Well, that's not real. It's just sorts of a pattern that you're carrying. And by telling someone else, it alleviates you. Most traditions have confession in them, you observed.
[00:24:19] When I did the inventory, it made me realize that the way I got in trouble at school was the same way I got trouble at MTV. The way I got in trouble in Hollywood, the same way I got in trouble in politics. I have a pattern. I get into a place. I get loads of attention and then I do something mad. I've always done it. And I do it because of pride, self-centeredness and aspects of my ego. Then the steps or the seventh step right now, you know that: Are you willing to live in a new way that's not all about you and your previous f*cked up stuff? You have to. It's like, "Okay, am I willing to not do that?"
[00:24:49] Now, the thing we're talking about lust, you know, the pornography. It's easy in this room to think about that. If I'm on my own late at night, the feeling comes. "Oh, maybe, I will look at pornography." Am I in that moment willing to take a different course of action? Am I willing to call up someone else and go, "Yeah, listen, I'm in this moment thinking about one, using drugs, two, cheat on my wife, three, pornography, four, eating food and make myself puke, five, texting that guy that I know is no good for me?" You know, like if you're prepared to make the phone call before you do it, the person will go, "Okay. Well, remember, we've done all of these steps. We've done all this inventory. We know where these leads. Are you going to do it? Yes or no." And that sometimes gives you respite. That's why you work one day at a time, one moment at a time because it will always come back. You are always walking along a cliff edge. I like that analogy.
[00:25:34] Once you've done this process, you realize you've hurt a lot of people in your life. Prepare to apologize to everyone for everything affected by you being so f*cked up. So you prepare to apologize. You just go and you write down all the people you might have harmed.
[00:25:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow. That's got to be sobering — pardon the pun — list of people. It can't be a shortlist.
[00:25:51] Russell Brand: No, I'm old. There's loads of people and a lot of those people will go, "You know, what you do?" You go, "Yeah but they did this."
[00:25:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:25:57] Russell Brand: You're not allowed to do that. You have to go, "Nevermind, what they did. What did you do?" And you just put down your stuff and you've completely eliminated, e.g. like my stepdad. If I think, "Oh my stepdad, I wasn't very nice to him when I was a kid," but my next thought is, "Yeah, but I was a kid. He's an adult."
[00:26:11] Jordan Harbinger: He should have known better.
[00:26:12] Russell Brand: Yeah. But that's not going to help me change going, "He should know better," that's where I am already. I need to change my perspective and to change my perspective, I have to go, "Forget what he did. I did something wrong." And then the next step, now apologize. That will start making things worse. So I get myself into a frame of mind where I become willing to go without any of the parentheses or caveats, go, "Whatever happened when you were with my mom, it was not acceptable. I apologize for that. It must have hurt you. It must have been very difficult for you. I'm not that man anymore. I don't live like that and I don't treat people that way anymore. I apologize. Is there anything else that I did that you want to tell me about? And if there's anything I can do to make amends, I'll do it." And once you do that, your consciousness has changed. You've packed into your patterns.
[00:26:52] Jordan Harbinger: You can't do that all at once though, because if you apologize to people and say, "Is there anything else that you want to go back and forth?" There's probably a lot of people that go, "You know what? Now that you mentioned it, there's a whole lot of stuff you did when we lived together, while I was raising you during your college years, blah, blah, blah. When we were married." You got to be taking some — not abuse maybe, or maybe abuse from some of these people, whether you deserve it or not.
[00:27:14] Russell Brand: You go into it consciously and you don't go into it alone. That's the ninth step for a reason. You've already done these previous eight steps. You're already a different guy by the time you get to that point. And also, importantly, you're doing it under the guidance of a mentor. So one by one, you got to admit you're all right. "I'm doing the one with the stepdad now." "Okay, so what are your expectations? How do you see it going? What are you going to say? What are you going to say when he says this?" An important part of it and in fact, the best part of it is the bit where they go, "You don't know this, but when you did that, it made me feel this." And you just have to sit there while someone tells you and you feel, "Oh my God, my actions really hurt other people."
[00:27:50] And the reason it's called an amends process is not just restitution and apology to the other person because it amends you. You think, "I'm not doing that ever again. I don't ever want to hurt someone the way I've heard that person." People that just will be like extras in your life, people that you just pass by in a crowd scene—
[00:28:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:28:05] Russell Brand: You think, "Oh, my God, I've damaged them." So now when I'm walking down a corridor of Access Hollywood or wherever we happen to be, we could be in any number of places.
[00:28:12] Jordan Harbinger: That's right.
[00:28:13] Russell Brand: It could have been that. I could have just chosen that off the top of my head. When I walk down the corridor, I'm polite to everyone. I'm polite. I want no one coming away going, "He's a dick, that guy."
[00:28:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:21] Russell Brand: I can't take no more of it.
[00:28:23] Jordan Harbinger: It's a lot of responsibility, especially for somebody who's in the spotlight.
[00:28:27] Russell Brand: But what choice do we have, Jordan? That's the realization that you come to. You're not giving anything up because none of that stuff works anyway. It's not like, "Yeah, but now, I can't be an assh*le anymore." Being an assh*le wasn't working anyway. Otherwise, I'd have carried on doing it. Having sex with everyone wasn't working. Being obsessed with fame and money wasn't working. So you're not giving up anything real. Every so often, of course, you are seduced again. What's important here and what I'm trying to do, which I think is a bit odd, is that I think there's a lot of stuff in religion that has been sort of booted out in the secular age because we all know the complications with religious life — the violence, the bigotry, the institutionalization, et cetera.
[00:29:03] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:29:04] Russell Brand: But, in religion, there are stories that are about the human psyche and the human condition that are indispensable. Oh, it's a tough gig, this — well, look at the myth of the Egyptian sun god, Rah, who nightly wrestles with the serpent of darkness so that the dawn may come, knowing that the next day he will undertake the same battle again. I mean, of course, that helps early people to have some relationship with astronomy and astrology and all that, but it also helps you to understand this is life every day. Sisyphus, who daily pushes the rocks at the top of the mountain, knowing that tomorrow he does it again. Prometheus who has his guts pecked out by the eagle for stealing fire and giving light to mankind knows that the next day his stomach is going to heal and the eagle is going to peck it out again. This is it. Accept it. There is suffering in life. We've gone to die.
[00:29:52] So the choices are all you going to be beautiful while you're here, or are you going to make stuff worse? Now, the problem I think we have is the culture is saying, "We are going to make it as bad as possible. We are going to exemplify and constitutionalize the worst aspects of human nature, greed, selfishness. These are going to be our politics now. I'm not even talking about recent events, although obviously yes. But capitalism generally, materialism generally — an age of darkness, an age where we only understand what gross, because we've forgotten how to go within. And now this simple program for dealing with yourself means that I have just one little unit within it. I'm doing my best. With the severe and underscored caveat. I'm still a total f*ck up. And I still, every day we'll do stuff that's selfish and make mistakes and being patient with my wife and make mistakes with my kid.
[00:30:43] The guiding light is I'm trying to be good. I'm not just going, "Yeah, but that's the life who gives a sh*t? So what? It doesn't really matter, does it? So what? My wife is lucky to have me. Who cares if I sleep with some other people once in a while? I could go that way if I would like. All of us, we can all go that way. We're all comprised of good and evil. It's a commitment and intention, a program, a method.
[00:31:01] Jordan Harbinger: Speaking of wrestling with good and evil, you were a vegetarian since you were 14, that means then at one point in your life, you are not willing to eat meat, but you were willing to do crack or something. How does that work? What was going on there?
[00:31:16] Russell Brand: Some of it is about identity, I think.
[00:31:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:19] Russell Brand: As a fan of the Smiths and I just found it impossible not to translate my sort of love of animals on the kind of, "Oh, that dog." I've found it possible to not translate that to, "I shouldn't eat that animal over there, should I? It became so propulsive mentally and a nice commitment. Drugs although you're a pain in the ass to other people, it's a self-destructive thing. You're trying to annihilate the self. You're trying to get beyond the self. So it's yourself you're harming really? So the vegetarianism, I must admit there were probably late-night relapses at burger vans out of my mind on something or another where I urge from that path. But I see the paradox of being like a vegetarian crackhead.
[00:32:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's so unusual. But I think it makes sense with their earlier constant battle that's going on. It seems almost like there's an element of, "All right. Well, I can't control this area of my life, so maybe I can try to control this other area and be strict enough with it."
[00:32:14] Russell Brand: And also, the addiction is a little bit about control. You can control it, you can get heroin, you can get crack, you can alter your state of mind. Much harder to control another human being impossible ultimately.
[00:32:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:32:28] Russell Brand: What I liked about being a drug addict is you're just on your own. I wasn't very sociable. Just on your own, doing drugs, shutting down, all nice and comfortable, and all of the pain melting away and the tight fist in my belly opening up. The problem was in the end, it stopped working and it got worse and it created worse problems. So I needed to find another way to alleviate that tension. And thankfully I found it in that program. So I think addiction is a sort of way of finding control, finding meaning, finding order, finding connection in a culture that doesn't provide. It doesn't know how to provide it because it's too busy turning you into a component in an economic machine.
[00:33:06] Jordan Harbinger: Why write this book now after being clean for 15 years? You know, why not write it earlier? What sparked the interest suddenly in this? Because it's not like you just recovered and you're like, "I'm going to write a book on this." I mean, you've gone through this process for as long as, as the public has really known you.
[00:33:23] Russell Brand: Because I think at this point, I understand it and I understand it well enough to know how little I understand it. I'm at a point where I can say, whilst I've written this book, anybody that's got clean time could have written a book. I still have to spend and enjoy and love spending time with other recovering addicts and recovering alcoholics and people with issues around all manner of compulsions. And when I go and spend time with them, I'm not like to sit in the middle with a blanket draped around me and dramatically lit. I'm just another one of them. And it's a relief to be another one of them. There's a relief to know that I'm still, like you say, on the cliff edge and the awkward fall over at any moment. I'm not better than anybody else. I don't have that illusion. I lost that now. Sometimes that can be a bit grand and a show-off, but I know that I'm no better than anyone else. But the relief is I know I'm no worse than anybody else. I'm just a normal person. Have you seen that film Punch-Drunk Love, the Sandler movie?
[00:34:19] Jordan Harbinger: A long time ago, yeah.
[00:34:20] Russell Brand: There's a bit in it after he confronts Philip Seymour Hoffman, who's been bullying him on the phone. He's been really meek and he's been easily bullied. There's a bit where he just confronts him finally, he goes, "I'm a nice person. I'm a nice person." And the reason that it's sort of beautiful and moving is because he's not saying, "I'm great," or, "I'm powerful. I'm wonderful. I'm invincible." He's just saying I'm a nice person." It's such a simple little aspiration, "I'm a nice person," to just be a nice person in the book.
[00:34:49] So I suppose if I'd have written this a while ago that there would have been much more, "I'm the new Jesus," about it. I'm always attracted to being the new Jesus. Why not? I mean, part of the point of Jesus, was saying that there's a consciousness accessible to all of us. That's within us. The kingdom of heaven is within the way to God is through the ways of God is through the self. It's about that God made flesh. It was about God is within man. God is not in the constellations and the stars. God is in your belly. God is telling you, "Don't do that. That was wrong." No one else is telling me, "Don't cheat." No one else is telling me, "Don't speak badly to people even if you don't think they can do anything for you." My guts go, "That was cruel, what you just did." Like, who is that in there? Who is saying that? Jiminy Cricket assh*le, kicking me in the guts. Now, it's written from a perspective of fallibility and ordinary, real fallibility about the ordinary real aspiration that ordinary people can have that we can all have together to be beautiful.
[00:35:53] Jordan Harbinger: The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Russell Brand. We'll be right back.
[00:35:57] This episode is sponsored in part by Theragun. So when these guys became a sponsor, I got so excited because we have — well, now we have two of these, but this is like, think of it, like a power tool. It's a handheld device that bashes your deepest muscle tension using a scientifically calibrated combination of bashing, but it's depth, speed, power. It's like a quiet electric toothbrush, but it really — all right let me put it this way. If you've got one of those massagers from a crappy sort of future shop. This is the therapy legit, AF version of that. I love it. You'll wonder if the thing is on half the time and you can soothe your aching muscles with this. I know I sound like an old man, but I use this thing every day. It gets rid of all of those little tight spots. All of those little sore spots. I love the Theragun and I highly recommend you try it if you're any kind of athlete or if you're just a sore old grump like me.
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[00:37:10] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Vuori clothing. Vuori. I've been living in it pretty much all of 2020. I think it's safe to say. Everything they make is designed to work out, but doesn't look or feel like it. So it's incredibly comfortable. You're going to want to wear it all the time, just like me. If you're sick and tired of traditional workout gear, this will do the trick of course, as well. It's incredibly versatile. I go outside and walk. I also got to lounge around on weekends, go out to dinner — well, back when we could do that. The stuff you see me wearing on camera and YouTube is often almost all the time, in fact, is Vuori clothing. And they've got some colder weather stuff coming out right now. Like the men's ponto pants, women's performance jogger. It's designed to look great in everyday life, but you can also go to the gym in it. And that's what I think I love best.
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[00:38:09] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by Design Crowd. If you're anything like me, you have no idea how to come up with a quality logo or creative design of any kind. And that's where Design Crowd comes in. Design Crowd is a website with more than half a million designers around the world. Ready to help you solve your creative problem. What you do is you post a brief describing the design that you need. Design Crowd will invite 750,000 designers to submit. Within hours, you get your first design over the course of a week or so you might get 60 minutes, even a hundred different designs from designers around the world. The hardest part of this whole thing is going to be choosing your favorite design. Rate, all the designs and send the link to your friends or to us. Jen loves voting on these things. They'll help you vote, help you choose. Once you've decided, just approve payment to the designer and you'll be sent all of the design files.
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[00:39:06] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you so much for listening to this show. Look, your support of our advertisers. That is what keeps us going here. We link all of those advertisers on the deals page. You can go to Jordan harbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support us. That's what keeps the lights on. That's why I don't sell a bunch of crap on this show. You know, I'm not like buy my course about making money online. I don't do that because you guys are doing a great job of supporting the sponsors. So go to jordanharbinger.com/deals. Pick up a mattress or something, you know, no big deal. And don't forget, we've got that worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. And now for the conclusion of our episode here with Russell Brand.
[00:39:47] How do you prioritize your different passions? On the one hand, you're a comedian, actor, public personality. You have thousands of people constantly interrupting you and trying to get your attention. But on the other hand, you're creative. So you need to carve out massive amounts of time to be creative — create books, create great comedy. I would imagine that requires a lot of solitude. And these paths maybe appear to contradict, right? You have to be in the limelight. You have to be accessible. You have to be interacting with people, but you probably have to carve out a piece of your life to think deeply. Otherwise, you're just, you wouldn't be able to do it
[00:40:19] Russell Brand: It is contradictory and it's changed since I've been married and had a baby. Before my whole life — even though I was clean from drugs for a long time, the behaviors were carrying on around sex and the behaviors were carrying on around the obsession with the work itself. Now, I have a wife and I have a dog and these are so compelling and so absorbing. My baby and my wife were with me on this trip. So when I'm in the hotel room, before maybe there'll be a stylist, who would have been a good friend of mine — as you can see, I'm all hair and makeup — and is also a good friend. My life, the focus, the pinnacle of my life is the showing off in those times. Now, there's a baby. There's baby stuff everywhere. So you can't but be ordinary. It just grounds you, it smashes your ego and your face actually sometimes.
[00:41:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I bet.
[00:41:01] Russell Brand: In so many bloody ways, violent child. And I've sort of learned, in one way, a practical thing. Like I do stand-up three nights a week back in the UK. I've written this book. I know that if I don't spend time at home if I don't spend time around other addicts, I'll go wrong. So I've got no choice.
[00:41:17] And the last three steps, funnily enough, are the maintenance steps. Once you're done with making amends and all the things that we've already talked through. Ten, watch out for f*cked up thinking and behavior and be honest when it happens. If I'm out today and I start thinking — that's the point where it starts to be real. If I start thinking, "Oh, that person shouldn't have said that," or "This should have done that," or, "That should have sold more." I'll go, "Ah, that thing's happening again."
[00:41:40] Stay connected to your new perspective. That's why I need prayer and meditation because part of my life is solitude. It doesn't matter if this goes well, or if this goes badly, I'm going to be sitting down for half an hour with a candle. In my case, looking at a picture of Amma, the great hugging saint two travels from India and does nothing but raises money and helps people, and sleeps on the floor. She's just like an unbelievable figure. Like that will be part of my day and the prayer part of it reminds me of the principles that I want to live for by what I'm grateful for in my life and how I'm supposed to treat people. And number 12, and the point of all of this, curiously, look at life less selfishly, be nice to everyone, help people if you can. So this whole journey deposits you in a place where you're trying to be of use to people.
[00:42:22] And again, every day I will default back to, "Hmm, should I buy this shirt or not? Do I look cool in this photo? I don't like that person who said that?" But I don't just accept it, justify it, pursue it. I remember, "Oh no, God, have you done anything for anyone else today? Not at all. All I've done all day is for myself." I'll go out and I'll try and help someone and be productive and constructive. And those things, that's changing you. I mean, I don't know much about neuroplasticity, you'll be surprised to learn.
[00:42:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:42:46] Russell Brand: Apparently your consciousness alters—
[00:42:48] Jordan Harbinger: Absolutely.
[00:42:49] Russell Brand: —if you do these things.
[00:42:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, absolutely. We talk about neuroplasticity all the time on the show. You know, when you see a road in a hot climate and it's got. The little dimples where all the cars drive.
[00:42:59] Russell Brand: Yeah.
[00:42:59] Jordan Harbinger: It's a lot like that, right? So when it's hot and that asphalt heats up, cars drive along essentially the same way or a hiking trail that is carved in a grassy area. You can see it because people keep walking on it. That's essentially a very oversimplified way of how the brain works. So if you start different habits, you can start to create new neural pathways. The problem with things like addiction is that those old pathways that you've treaded for a decade and a half or whatever since you were 14 years old. Those are still there. And you know that from experience, whether you know about neuroplasticity or not, because if somebody were to hold you down and force you to do with substance, those pathways would light up like crazy and you might have a hard time stopping again.
[00:43:39] So now you've got your new habit, which is this green juice, and that's a more healthy habit to have, but as you know, any habit done to an extreme can result in something negative, right? You could end up surrounded by corn-made cups and have missed all of your appointments. And haven't hung out with your family in three months because you got addicted to this green juice.
[00:43:58] Russell Brand: I'm wallowing in kale in a bathtub. I'm not going anywhere. Bring me more kale.
[00:44:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly.
[00:44:05] Russell Brand: It could easily happen. One of the things about the spiritual life that is fascinating to me is the way that they somehow — thank you for explaining that so well — the way that they intuited information that we can now demonstrate materially and anatomically and medically, they intuited that. So this system, of course, it was the 12 steps is only 100 years old but it's taken from a Christian group, the Oxford group, which was older than that. And these principles are perennial and universal and they are found everywhere. Like was the Mindfulness Movement, they say this out loud, "If you meditate, it's good for your blood. It's good for your heart." Oh, is there anyone else that was saying that you should meditate like thousands of years ago before scanning was available?
[00:44:39] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:44:39] Russell Brand: Well, what else are those people saying? Because I think there might be other stuff in there. You know, it's obvious that there's a lot of stuff that's in religion that are cultural inflections of the time that they were written, bigoted, prejudicial information, practical stuff that doesn't seem relevant anymore.
[00:44:53] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:44:53] Russell Brand: All of that, the things that interest me are the things that are found in all religions. That's the stuff that we should be focusing on. If it's found in all of them, there's a kind of something that's coming out of the human consciousness that's truthful. And so now that he's found in the religion of our time, which I accept is even more science-based and empirical, and that's a bloody good thing and it's given us so much. But we should look to which of those principals were already present. And that's just one example. You can act yourself into thinking differently. You can't think yourself into acting differently.
[00:45:24] Jordan Harbinger: You can act yourself into thinking differently, but you can't think yourself and act differently.
[00:45:29] Russell Brand: Yeah.
[00:45:29] Jordan Harbinger: I like that.
[00:45:30] Russell Brand: It's good, isn't it?
[00:45:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's really good.
[00:45:32] Russell Brand: A lot of these things are sort of the folk wisdom of the 12-step program.
[00:45:37] Jordan Harbinger: Do you ever think, "All right. I've got a baby daughter? Oh, crap. I've slept with a lot of women. This is what men are like"? Does that ever worry you or are you just kind of like, "Look, I've—"?
[00:45:47] Russell Brand: Not yet. On one level because I sort of see like — maybe you need to talk to me again when she's 16 or hopefully 25, but like—
[00:45:54] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, you should be so lucky.
[00:45:56] Russell Brand: What I feel is I don't know what type of woman she's going to be. The other sort of thing is I'm going to teach her if she's up for it—
[00:46:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:46:06] Russell Brand: —to not do stuff to make her feel good just for the sake of it, to be a grounded, connected person. And the only way I can do that is by being grounded and connected around her. Now, I know all parents go into parenthood with those objectives and all sorts of curveballs must come flying in from every direction. But my hope is that by being conscious and awake around her, she won't go, "Oh, I'll feel great if I drink a lot. And if I sleep with a load of people."
[00:46:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:46:29] Russell Brand: I'll be like, "No, I did try that and it does work temporarily, but here's some boring stuff."
[00:46:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:46:33] Russell Brand: Would you like to try this green juice, Mabel? I don't think you'll find anything that could be more satisfying.
[00:46:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It could be tough, especially with a teenager.
[00:46:41] Russell Brand: I know because—
[00:46:42] Jordan Harbinger: It could be extremely tough.
[00:46:42] Russell Brand: Well, you know, the score about neurology and biochemistry that she won't even have the mental facility. Literally, it doesn't arrive through the mid-20s to understand certain aspects of the reason I was listening to.
[00:46:53] Jordan Harbinger: She will, however, have the mental facility to tell you that you don't know anything, you don't understand, and you never could understand. And then she's going to read this book and probably, with any luck for you, curl up in a little ball and go to sleep and realize that you dodged a bullet, right?
[00:47:06] Russell Brand: I hope so. I hope so.
[00:47:08] Jordan Harbinger: You were on Colbert last night. That was your first time on the show?
[00:47:11] Russell Brand: Yeah.
[00:47:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. How is this stuff for you now? I mean, this aside, is that stuff still fun, or are you kind of like, "All right, this is part of the job. I'm used to it by now"?
[00:47:19] Russell Brand: It is still fun if I do it right. I recognize that something like this, through all these years, the reason I love this medium is it's kind of oddly old fashioned in a way.
[00:47:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:47:29] Russell Brand: It's less constructed. There's a lot more room to unpack and examine the ideas. It's more free form. It's more intimate. It's more real. Something like going on Colbert is a performance, that's what I'm aware of. And I noticed while I was doing it. I thought, "Oh, God, I'm acting funny." I'm doing silly stuff with my legs. I'm leaning into him. I'm being antic and daft, but I kind of liked doing that. It's a laugh to do that.
[00:47:53] And then another thing is I recognize my own snobbery because going on to daytime shows that are built around entertainment. I start saying, "I read very deep scriptural texts. I analyze Nietzsche. I don't think that these people are going to understand me," but then I go on and I realize that I'm from that background, whether it's entertainment or growing up watching that stuff. And these people are just people like me, they were interested in the same things I'm interested in.
[00:48:21] And funny enough, a few of those shows that I've been on, I've been given a little bit of a wake up because they're like, "My cousin is a drug addict," or, "My relationship is codependent." They've spoken a very plain way. I'd be like, "Oh, brilliant. Well, this is what this is about." So it's been actually — adolescent idea of, "Oh, man, the system, this is all bullsh*t." I don't see things like that no more.
[00:48:43] One of the things that I maintain and that's a continuum of the last book I wrote, which is the Revolution. It was all about changing systems and anarchism—
[00:48:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:51] Russell Brand: —and deception in the media and sort of my understanding of Noam Chomsky and about learning and trying to distill important academic information into an accessible format. One of the things that continue is I'm optimistic about people. I think people are beautiful and the people will change. When I'm going on Populist TV, I don't think, "Oh, I'm too good for this," that sort of thing. No, these are beautiful humans. This is going to be brilliant.
[00:49:13] Jordan Harbinger: And they're looking to both to be entertained and for you to make them think, or do you think people are looking at you to be entertained and then you're kind of like, "Let me slide some entertainment in there. Then here's something it's much more important"?
[00:49:25] Russell Brand: I try and do both of those things. When I'm listening to people, giving me spiritual information and advice, I love the theoretical stuff. But when people tell me a story about how I did this and this is how it felt, I like it. When people tell me stuff, that's funny, it really impacts me. So being put in the conditions where I have to be entertaining is not a drag. It's like a kind of joy. As long as I look after myself. If I'm overtired, then I can be a bit, I don't know. Like, "Oh I've got to do this bullsh*t."
[00:49:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I wondered if that was going to happen today. I was like, "Maybe we should just do a really short one because he might be really tired."
[00:49:59] Russell Brand: No, it's been a joy to talk about it. And it's a context in which I feel comfortable. You're obviously a very intelligent person and obviously tuned into what's real and challenging yourself and willing to be open. I've been watching you and your eye contact. You're obviously going through things yourself in life and lovely to be able to communicate with another person.
[00:50:18] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I appreciate it, man. I appreciate you. And I appreciate this. What is next for you, by the way?
[00:50:23] Russell Brand: Doing a lot of stand up. I'll probably come back to this country, America, and do stand-up soon. I may do some acting, sometimes read a film script and think I'd like to do that. What else will I do? I don't know. This is a weird time in my life. I've sort of always used to know. "I'm going to do this and I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this." Now, I don't really know, but I feel right about it
[00:50:42] Jordan Harbinger: By the way, the back of my head is in your comedy special at The Improv from about four years ago.
[00:50:47] Russell Brand: Oh, wow. Cool.
[00:50:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, right in the middle too. And I thought, "Oh man. We had to do this thing." Because we were in those first rows where they're like, "You got to sign a waiver because if you turn around this way, your face is in there maybe."
[00:50:57] Russell Brand: Oh, thanks.
[00:50:58] Jordan Harbinger: It was cool.
[00:50:59] Russell Brand: I'm glad you came. Did you like it?
[00:51:00] Jordan Harbinger: I did like it. You know what's interesting? Because I went with a group of people that I had decided had done some pretty shady stuff to me years and years ago.
[00:51:08] Russell Brand: Ooh.
[00:51:08] Jordan Harbinger: And they called and they said, "Will you come and go to this Russel Brand thing with us?" And I said, "No, because you guys did all this stuff. That was really sh*tty." And they said, "Actually, that's why we're inviting you because we all want to apologize. And we all want to make up and take you out to dinner. And we would love for you to come to this comedy thing with us. End the night on this feel-good note." And that's exactly what happened.
[00:51:27] Russell Brand: Oh my God. I was a tool for reconciliation.
[00:51:29] Jordan Harbinger: You were, absolutely.
[00:51:31] Russell Brand: Excellent.
[00:51:32] Jordan Harbinger: So thank you very much for everything.
[00:51:33] Russell Brand: Thanks, Jordan. Thank you.
[00:51:35] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this one as per ushe. But before I get into that, I wanted to give you a quick bite of a recent episode I did with Simon Sinek. He's been on the show a couple of times. Simon is one of the most sought-after speakers and mentors in the corporate world, but he's no stuffed shirt. Well, here are some of his wisdom from the elite levels of public speaking, as well as his organizational skills that keep him at the top of the game.
[00:51:58] Simon Sinek: I have a vision of the world that does not yet exist. I'm trying to build it and whatever it takes for me to advance that vision — speaking, writing, teaching — whatever it is, I'll do it. I remember when cell phones were just starting to show up. You know, there was this great promise that we could leave the office because of this device. And in reality, it backfired. We don't leave the office. The office comes with us.
[00:52:17] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:52:18] Simon Sinek: So we're always at the office, you know, because of the device. One of the things that happen when we take the office with us is if we're not constantly engaging and checking in. We actually feel guilty that we're not. You know, you're walking to the subway, you're on the device. If you're off the subway, going to the office, you're on the device. We take the phone with us to the bathroom. You hold it in and look for the phone. You know that? There's something unhealthy about that.
[00:52:41] Jordan Harbinger: So true!
[00:52:41] Simon Sinek: You know, when we're not connected, we actually feel guilty. And the reality is, is that ideas don't happen when we're connected. Ideas happen when our minds have an opportunity to wander. And this is why we have our great ideas in the shower, when we're driving, when we're out for a run, when we're just going for a walk. Because the brainstorming session actually isn't the time to solve the problem. The brainstorming session is the time to ask the question. Allowing ourselves to disengaged time is absolutely essential for innovation. It's absolutely essential for problem-solving. It's absolutely essential for creativity, to disengage with the device. The problem is, I don't know when it's going to happen.
[00:53:15] When I was writing Leaders Eat Last, I would have many ideas in the shower and I would forget them as quickly as I had them. That I kept a dry erase marker in my bathroom and I wrote them on the tile. And so as soon as I got out of the shower while I was brushing my teeth, I'd write an idea on the tile. And so when I was standing there the next day, brushing my teeth, I'd be staring at my writing on the tile. And I'd sometimes have another idea. And so it looked like a Beautiful Mind. It was ridiculous. All the tiles had these little chicken scratches all over it, and I didn't want to erase any of them because I didn't know what ideas were going to be sparked.
[00:53:42] But my point is, is like, if you figure out what works for you, do that. Keep a notebook by your bed. If you go for a run, take a notebook with you. I usually carry a notebook in the back of my pocket at all times because I don't know when I'm going to have an idea. And like I said, I lose them as quickly as I have them.
[00:53:56] Jordan Harbinger: For more from Simon Sinek, including why it's important to have a worthy rival to stay sharp, check out episode 300 right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:54:07] Big thank you to Russell Brand. The book title is Recovery Freedom from Our Addictions. It's a lovely book. If you're interested in this sort of thing, I do recommend it. This interview almost didn't happen. Like I said, they pitched us which was a huge virtual pat on the back. And I tried to get him for years to do the show, no response at all, as it goes. And then one day out of the blue, "Hey, would you like to interview Russell Brand?" It's like, "Yes, please." And the day before that they're like, "Look, he's not feeling good. He's really not feeling well. He kind of just wants to cut the tour short and just fly back to the UK." And I said, "Look, I'll fly to the UK. But I did book a flight and hotel to LA and I don't live there anymore." And they're like, "All right, fine." So the sympathy card works, people. They just talked with him and he stayed. He freaking stayed and we did the show. And I'll tell you, look, he's a great person. And I'll dig into that in a second, but I've got to tell you his people, his people, his assistant — Charlie is so nice as well. And that is highly unusual for a lot of times, these folks are just kind of untouchable and the people around them are, they're a little dusty.
[00:55:05] But at first, I was thinking, wow, these, these people must be new, or maybe they work for somebody else. And they're just subbing for him. But everyone I dealt with in the email chain and in-person when I met them was just so incredibly nice and polite. They weren't all British because I know that's what you're thinking. Maybe they're just Brits. And I thought that's so strange. They must not work with celebrities that much because usually people who work with celebrities in my experience, they don't always fall on the side of patient, nice, caring, responsive folks, I should say, but it reflected well on him.
[00:55:30] And I'll tell you when I met him. He was also incredibly nice and friendly. Just what you hear on the show is the real thing. He doesn't turn it on and off. He was super present, very real and interesting as you heard here. I got none of that fake comedian vibe that you get from a lot of folks and Russell, of course, is charming. That's his major, major trademark, I think — major hallmark. And, you know, from every interview, every movie, everything he's ever been on, but it's different because it really does feel genuine in person. For those of you who are going to ask me about that as you always do when I have a celebrity on the show. So yes, Russell is just who he appears to be on media which is great in person anyway. And if you're ever fortunate enough to meet him, you'll immediately want to be his best friend. Let me tell you that.
[00:56:08] Links to the books and everything will be in the show notes. Please use our website links if you buy books like this one because it helps support the show. Yeah, we get like a quarter for each one or something, maybe — maybe half a dollar. I don't know. Not even, but it adds up. Worksheets for the episode are in the show notes. Transcripts are in the show notes. There's a video of this interview going up on our YouTube channel, recorded in a tiny closet of a room with GoPro cameras. That's going to be at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or just hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:56:38] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig that well before you get those. Most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course and the newsletter, or they helped contribute to it. Come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[00:56:57] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My amazing team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. 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. If you know somebody who's a Russell Brand fan, or maybe climbing through addiction or dealing with somebody else who's climbing through an addiction, share this episode with them. I do hope that you find something great in every episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show, please do share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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