The schizophrenic mother with whom you’ve never had a great relationship is out of hospital and probably in need of high maintenance care. You feel guilty for saying so, but just being around her makes you want to leave town and disappear without leaving a forwarding address. Is there a way to ensure she’s taken care of without taking on the burden of providing that care, and does it make you a terrible person for even wondering? We’ll find answers to this and more here on Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- How can you ensure your schizophrenic mother gets the care she needs without taking on a burden that eclipses your entire life?
- Your cousin is in the middle of a divorce from an emotionally manipulative woman who is threatening to lie to the police that he’s been abusing her — which would threaten his DREAMer status and potentially send him back to the country where he was born but hasn’t seen since he was nine (he’s 29 now). Is there any legal protection he can pursue?
- You’re getting a divorce from your husband, who also happens to be your business partner. You don’t want a stake in the business you helped build from the ground up, and you don’t want money; you just want your dog and your truck, and you want to start a new life. But are you making a mistake to walk away with nothing?
- As a high school teacher, you’re worried the kids you teach to live in today’s world won’t have a place in a tomorrow operated increasingly by artificial intelligence. What will the future of work look like, and how can you best prepare your students for this potentially dystopian future? [Thanks to Allen and Shane from Allen Gannett and Shane Snow from the Creative Hotline podcast for helping us with this one!]
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Resources from This Episode:
- Rutger Bregman | Humankind: A Hopeful History | Jordan Harbinger
- Jon Acuff | The Surprising Solution to Overthinking | Jordan Harbinger
- What Is Schizophrenia? | American Psychiatric Association
- The No BS Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Real Life | Healthline
- The Dream Act: An Overview | American Immigration Council
- Keith Ayers, Esq. | Abogado Eric Price
- DACA | National Immigration Law Center
- Creative Hotline Podcast
- Allen Gannett | Twitter
- Allen Gannett | You Don’t Have to Be a Genius to Be Creative | Jordan Harbinger
- Shane Snow | Twitter
- Shane Snow | Cognitive Self-Defense Against Intellectual Dishonesty | Jordan Harbinger
- Shane Snow | How to Work Together Without Falling Apart | Jordan Harbinger
- Pixar Animation Studios
- The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time by Allen Gannett
- Andy Warhol and His Process | Sotheby’s
Schizophrenic Mother a Duty Like No Other | Feedback Friday (Episode 496)
Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Today, I'm here with my Feedback Friday producer, my homie in homespun help, Gabriel Mizrahi. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. And we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:00:37] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice to you and answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. And if you're joining us for the first time, or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about the show, check out the episode starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by topic. That'll help you get a taste of what we do here on the show or help someone else get a taste of what we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get it started.
[00:01:11] Had some great guests for you this week. We had a Rutger Bregman on some of the social science that says how bad humans are, and we're going to debunk some of that because things are not as bad as they might seem. And human nature is actually much better and more positive than we thought according to, well, actual science. We also had Jon Acuff on overthinking. Do you do it? I don't know. Do you? Maybe I do. I'm not sure. And what we can do about it. Both excellent episodes that I'm really proud of here for you this week. So make sure you listen to those if you haven't yet.
[00:01:39] If you're writing into Feedback Friday, you can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Try and keep the emails concise, include a descriptive subject line. If there's something you're going through, any big decision that you're wrestling with, or you need a new perspective on stuff, life, love, work, whether to dis-invite your bridesmaid from your wedding over politics. Whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up email@example.com. We're here to help. We keep everybody anonymous.
[00:02:06] Gabe, what's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:02:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, I've never had a good relationship with my mom. She's schizophrenic having bounced between severe mental illness and mild mental illness since I was born. And my sister and I were her caretakers growing up, which to put it simply was emotionally devastating for me. My dad and my mom broke up when I was nine, because he had had enough of the abuse and the instability, which left me and my sister to deal with the psychosis until I went to university. During that time my mom was in and out of hospital and I had very limited contact with her, but I usually forced her to take her medication and visited her periodically. And my sister and I supported her enough that she could stay at home. Now, I'm 24 and I'm really struggling with the pressure of my mom's mental health issues once again. She's just been discharged from the hospital and she now has to remember to take her medication on her own. I'm worried that as soon as her community support stops, she'll stop taking our medication and she'll end up back on the psychiatric ward. Her illness is pretty severe. She doesn't have the mental capacity to have a normal conversation and is so confused that she can't even remember what job I do or where I live. My sister and I were also asked to join weekly family therapy sessions as part of her treatment. I felt like I had to, as my sister had already attended some without, but I really wish I hadn't. After the first session, I ended up agreeing to do more and then ended up joining my mom's weekly care reviews because my sister was too busy with work. My mom now jokes about wanting to live near me and see me more. And I just have to awkwardly explain that I live with my boyfriend, who by the way, is brilliant and supportive. Dealing with my mom gives me this horrible feeling that I want to run away. Like I'm taking on too much of her emotional support. Like it's suffocating me. I want to move and not give her my new address and block her number and delete my Facebook account. But there are a few things stopping me from cutting contact completely. One is the intense and unbearable guilt I feel and not knowing if she'll be okay if I stopped speaking to her. Another is the reaction of my friends, family, society. And then there's my sister who will probably make me feel like a terrible person if I don't see my mom. She'll guilt me and probably hate me for leaving her to deal with it. I don't think I'm strong enough to set and keep boundaries. Like you've suggested for other people in previous episodes. I don't think even if I could, that my mom would understand or respect them anyway. So how do I manage this horrible situation? Signed, The Mom Who Broke the Daughter's Back.
[00:04:22] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, this letter is just beyond heartbreaking, Gabe.
[00:04:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:04:27] Jordan Harbinger: It's also really upsetting in other ways, I mean, what can you say about a story like this, seriously, you and your sister, you're thrust into this unimaginably chaotic situation at way too young and age. Then apparently abandoned by a father who even if he couldn't take care of your mom anymore, should absolutely have found a way to protect you guys. But it sounds like he just didn't do that. And then you're left to deal with the problem that was far too complicated for two young kids to manage. And I can only imagine the things that you've had to deal with. All the ways you've had to be a mother to your own mother without having a real mother yourself. So I understand why you feel this angry. It makes total sense to me. You've been through the ringer here.
[00:05:08] Although I got to say the fact that you managed to carve out a life of your own, you went to university, you found a great partner. The fact that you can even look at your situation as clearly as you do. I think that's incredible. And I commend you for that. That could not have been easy, but you did it. And I just want to say that I'm proud of you for that. But now you're 24, you're a young woman, just barely embarking on her life. And for the first time you're looking at this situation with your mom and you're going, "Is this really my cross to bear? Is this really what my whole life is going to be about? Do I have to deal with this forever?" And at the same time, you're feeling like there's no way out. You're going to be tethered to this drama for the rest of your life. We hear how hard this is for you. I really do.
[00:05:48] So, first of all, let's just acknowledge how complicated this situation is. This is your mom. She's a woman with a severe mental illness. That isn't your fault, but you and your sister are the closest people to her. And she has obviously struggles to take care of herself in the way that she should. At the same time, different people in different places handle a family member like this very differently. In more individualistic societies like the US and the UK, where you're from, we tend to leave care to doctors and patients. And in more collectivist societies, people are more likely to care for their family members themselves, no matter what, even to their own detriment. We see it all the time. So we might be biased here based on our own cultural assumptions. So I just want to call that out. Obviously, there are many ways to care for a patient like this, and it all happens to be personal.
[00:06:36] But anyway, the point is there really, isn't a perfect choice here. Either you keep taking care of your mom the way you have, and you end up being consumed by her or you pull away and she suffers and it sucks that these are the options you have to choose from but there it is. Now I think you're writing in, because you know, you need a new approach with your mom, but I also think that you've spent 24 years being responsible for her. And it's probably pretty painful to think about doing less. And I hear you that drawing boundaries feels impossible, especially since you're dealing with somebody who can't even remember what you do for a living, let alone grasp that you're your own person with your own needs.
[00:07:12] But I actually think the fact that you're so wary about drawing those boundaries that tells me how desperately you really need those boundaries in the first place. Because it's interesting, when you talk about putting some boundaries in place, your focusing on your mom's side of the equation, right? Will she understand them? Will she respect them? But the point of boundaries is to protect you, whether she recognizes them or not. It's not just whether your mom will say, "Okay, I hear you I'll call you less often. I won't scream at you for not coming to family therapy." It's about what happens with you. What goes on inside of you when your mom violates that boundary and you have to hold firm or pull back even harder. Because what you're telling us is my mom can't even understand boundaries, so they're just not worth drawing. But what you're really saying is, "My mom can't understand my boundaries and I'm terrified of what will happen if I try to enforce them anyway," which is the fear that we all have. Dealing with the feelings that get stirred up when we take a stand for ourselves after years, or in your case, decades of catering to somebody else's every need, let alone a mother, which has maybe the most charged relationship we'll ever have.
[00:08:20] So I guess what I'm saying is I hear you, when you say, "Sorry guys, I just can't do the boundary thing," but I also hear you when you say, "I have this horrible feeling that I want to run away and crawl in a hole and I'm taking on too much of my mom's emotional support and I'm suffocating." That right there, that feeling of drowning in this care-taking role, that inner voice that's yelling, "This is too much, this isn't right. I need to escape. I need to be my own person." That's the part of you that has never been acknowledged to your family or in your family. And that's the voice that's trying to save you right now. That's a person who desperately needs some boundaries. Boundaries with mom, sure, but also boundaries with herself, even if drawing them seems impossible.
[00:08:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, absolutely, Jordan. Well said, and that explains the whole family therapy thing, right? After years of being distant, she agreed to go, which, you know, maybe that was the right thing to do. It could be helpful for everybody all around, but then they roped her into attending those weekly care reviews. And before she knows it she's drowning again, because there wasn't a moment where she felt like she could say, "Hold on, do I want to attend these weekly reviews? Can I actually manage all of this? How much should I really be taking on here?"
[00:09:25] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And she's either totally neglecting her mom or she's completely enmeshed with her because she doesn't have these boundaries that would allow her to be appropriately involved in her mom's life without just being consumed completely.
[00:09:36] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. And I think what's really paralyzing her. There is this overriding sense of guilt. That's what really stood out to me in this letter. Just this tremendous crushing guilt. Guilt about what you aren't doing for your mom right now, and even future guilt you anticipate feeling if you were to pull away, hypothetical guilt. It sounds to me like you've been taught implicitly from the time that you were a kid to revolve around this woman who has such intense needs, such all consuming needs, that anything you do for yourself, whether it's not picking up the phone one night, or maybe letting your sister handle family therapy by herself, that feels like an act of betrayal, really. Like if you prioritize yourself, you're automatically turning your back on mom. And you still feel that guilt right now, even at your age, even when you know, rationally that taking care of your mom in this way is unfair. It's unsustainable. That signals to me, Jordan, that there's a very old pattern at work here, some very old feelings. This template of being obligated to mom, which is now carrying over into adulthood.
[00:10:32] Jordan Harbinger: But that guilt isn't totally unfounded, right? I mean, this is her mom we're talking about here. So it makes sense that she would feel responsible for her in many ways.
[00:10:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: No, it makes perfect sense. But there's a difference between feeling responsible and feeling guilty. She's not saying, "I feel this pressure to do right by my mom. I really want to help her." She's saying, "If I don't cater to my mom's every need, if I don't do exactly what my sister expects me to do, then I'll feel like a terrible person." The quality of her guilt, what she does with that guilt and how it's preventing her from even reconsidering the terms of her relationship with her mom. That's the issue.
[00:11:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right, right, okay. That makes sense. And the fact that she seems to be feeling that guilt from multiple sources, I thought that was telling too, right? It's not just internally generated guilt.
[00:11:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Very you're telling, right. Because in addition to feeling directly guilty about mom's, she's also afraid of the reaction of her friends, her family, even as she puts it, society at large. She's thinking, "What kind of person will my friends think I am if I'm not at my mother's beck and call?" Or I don't know, "What will Aunt Cheryl think about all this when I see her at Thanksgiving, she asks me, when was the last time I had tea with my mom at the house? What will the people at the hospital think?" Her mind is spinning out here with all these scenarios. That isn't just guilt anymore at that point. I think that's shame, right? Those are feelings about herself. What kind of person she is or what kind of person she believes she is when she doesn't conform to that caretaking template? Which is as she put it suffocating her.
[00:11:54] And that's a whole other layer to her mom, not just the damage that her illness has caused to our friend here directly, but the way her relationship with her mom informs how she feels about herself. How she sees her relationship with her mom reflected back to her and all of these hypothetical scenarios and all these relationships. Because in her mind, she's not thinking, "My friends will understand if I need to take care of myself a little bit better," or I don't know, "Maybe Aunt Cheryl will respect that I'm not orbiting around my mom 24/7. And even if she doesn't, that's her problem, right?" It's different. All of these hypothetical conversations that she's having in her head, they all are indicting her as a bad daughter, quote-unquote, before she's even done anything.
[00:12:30] Jordan Harbinger: Aah, because that's what she thinks about herself, right?
[00:12:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally, totally. She's looking for confirmation of what she feels about herself and all these people. But that's because she's still working out these feelings, all of this guilt, all of this shame, it's largely, probably entirely inside of her, which is really this internalized mom she has to keep protecting at all costs, no matter what. And then what happens is she's projecting that onto all the people she meets, assuming that they're going to believe all the worst things she believes about herself, given this complicated template she has with her mom where anything less than absolute devotion feels like profound abandonment.
[00:13:04] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah, good point. This thing has layers, man.
[00:13:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. Layers for days, son.
[00:13:10] Jordan Harbinger: So we have to talk about the sister here too. Because you two were in this situation with mom from the start. So in one way, the sister is your greatest ally. And in another way, she's also kind of your enemy sometimes. And that makes sense. Sibling relationships are obviously super complicated, especially when the siblings carry the burden of a parent like this together. Now, obviously I don't know your sister. She's not the one writing in, so it's not really fair to analyze her here. Maybe it's true that your sister would guilt you if you pulled away, but maybe it's also true that she would understand why you needed to protect yourself a little bit. But if she did guilt you, if she did hate you for leaving her to deal with mom, then that would also be a boundary worth exploring. How much are you going to let your sister's reaction dictate what you do and how you feel? If she's locked in the same, care-taking dynamic with mom and you're the first one to go, "You know, I don't think this is entirely healthy. I need to rethink my role here. She might have some pretty intense feelings about that, but that is her stuff. And part of your job right now is knowing that it is absolutely okay for you to decide how much you want to be involved, even if it makes your sister feel some type of way.
[00:14:18] And I'm not saying you're going to be good to just dump all of this on her and peace out. I'm saying that you and your sister can have different experiences. And that doesn't mean that you're the bad guy. So my advice with your sister is basically this. I think you need to sit down with her, have a real heart to heart. I would start by telling her what taking care of mom has been like for you all these years. The way that you feel that her condition is getting in the way of your actual life, where you feel like you need to reconsider your involvement in her care. Invite her to talk too. My guess is she's feeling a lot of the same things that you are. Maybe even the exact same things. Who knows? She might even be afraid of what you would think of her if she pulled back. You might even want to tell her that you're afraid, she's going to think you're a terrible person. How worried you are that hate you if you ask her to step up a little bit more. Start talking, start trying to understand each other better, find out how many of your assumptions about your sister are actually true.
[00:15:12] Gabe, there's a part of me that thinks since this has been happening, since they were kids, they might never have talked about this as adults.
[00:15:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, it's very possible.
[00:15:20] Jordan Harbinger: Right? Like maybe the last time they talked about this was when they were 12 and it was at 12-year-old level of conversation or just never happened.
[00:15:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right, right.
[00:15:27] Jordan Harbinger: Then after you guys have had a chance to work through all this, I would ask you the following question: how can we both do right by mom and make sure that we are not drowning here? Ask her what she thinks is fair. Try to find some solutions together. Make your sister your partner in this situation. Tell her where you feel like you need to pull back a little. For example, maybe you keep attending family therapy, but you don't attend mom's weekly care reviews, or maybe she attends family therapy when you can't and you and your sisters split the weekly care reviews, there are so many ways this could go. I'll let you guys sort out the details here, but the more you can communicate with your sister, the more you can collaborate with her to figure out what's fair to both of you. The better you guys are going to be able to get along. The less likely it will be that you hurt each other. This is really key because your relationship with your sister, it's probably super important to you, of course. And she's one of the only people in the world who truly understands what you are up against right now.
[00:16:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Great advice, Jordan. I totally agreed. Talking to each other, making an effort to understand each other a little bit better. That could be huge. My guess is that they're both drowning, but feeling alone in their experiences. So if they can come together here that would help their mom, yes. But it would also be very therapeutic for the two of them, given everything that they've been through together. And by the way, the question about how to divide up responsibilities, what's fair, how do we negotiate that, that's a great topic to bring up in family therapy. You guys are not the first family to struggle with that. I promise you. That's what the therapist is for.
[00:16:52] So we've talked about a lot here. I wish we had more time to really dig into every aspect of this. It's a huge question, but bottom line, here's what we would think about if we were you. First, I would seriously consider what role you want to play in your mother's life from here on out. Because you're right, if you continue taking care of her, the way that you have been, which is totally reflexively without really considering what you need, your mom will dominate your life and caring for her mental illness. That will be a serious obstacle to having a full life of your own, a meaningful life of your own. And again, we are not saying that you should dump her in a psych ward somewhere or leave your sister to carry the entire burden on her own. Not at all. But I think the reason you're drowning here is that you haven't found a way to support your mom without being consumed by her, which is where those boundaries become so essential. And those boundaries, they're not just about what you will and won't do for your mom. They're also about what you will and won't do to yourself when your mom relapses or your sister guilt trips you there about what you will, and won't think about yourself when you start to assert your own needs.
[00:17:51] So if your mom does go on and off her meds, if she does end up being institutionalized every few years, that might be part of her life. And you're going to have to learn how to accept that as painful as it is, and it is painful. You can't be your mom's full-time nurse. You can't climb inside her brain and make it work properly. But you and your sister, you can find as many resources as possible to help your mom without orbiting around her entirely. It's awesome that you guys live in the UK. I'm guessing the government covers a lot of our healthcare. That's probably a huge help to you. Overall, I would try to set your mom up with as many of these resources as possible. Doctors, nurses, medication, community, support, therapy, care reviews, all of that, and let them do their job for her as best they can. Because your mom, she has a severe mental illness that requires serious professional help to treat. She will never have a completely healthy, normal, balanced life. I think we all know this, but you can. And the last thing we want is to see you give that up.
[00:18:45] Jordan Harbinger: It makes sense there in the UK. Because I was thinking, wow, there's so many things that this mentally ill mom has access to. I didn't know that we had all that. And the answer is probably that we don't have that here.
[00:18:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:18:55] Jordan Harbinger: Because as far as I know, people have mental illness in the United States are completely screwed unless they have like rich family taking care of them or people that are willing to dedicate all of their time. It sounds a little bit like this, except without the therapy and of care reviews and all the stuff that I've heard. I mean, it's possible we have that and a lot of people just can't get to it in time, but it seems like mental illness is just everywhere in the world is kind of like swept under the rug and not, not well-handled from the sound of it.
[00:19:22] But Gabe yeah, I totally agree. I don't think it's going to always be easy. Of course, she's going to need her own support. You are going to need your own support. So if you're not doing this already, I would start going to therapy on your own as soon as possible. Not with your mom, not with your sister, for you, by yourself. What you're going through with your mom, it's a profoundly challenging, profoundly. The guilt you're feeling, the shame, the anger, the sadness, all this boundary stuff, especially since you've been doing it since you were a kid it's complicated. It goes back a very long time and you could really use a professional to help you process this. Also somebody who understands schizophrenia and what it's like to be raised by a parent like this is probably a good look. I'm not being dramatic when I say that, talking to someone right now could save your life at the very least your sanity and help you help your mom as much as possible without losing it and burning out.
[00:20:14] My final thought here is just this. Know that your experience is valid and that whatever you need to do to take care of yourself is both fair and important. And that might sound a little Pollyanna, Instagram quote, but you were dealt a really rough hand in life with parents like this. You did not deserve it, but you're an adult now, and you have a chance to learn how to parent yourself, the mom you didn't get to have. And I know that sucks. I know that's daunting. I get it, but it's also liberating and ultimately it's pretty empowering. And again, I don't mean to get cheesy here cause you know how much I hate the cheese. I really don't want to do this, but I will say it, you are not a bad daughter for prioritizing your own needs. You're not a sh*tty sister for asking your sibling to share in the risk possibility. You're not a heartless person for accepting that your mom will struggle sometimes. All of these things are what a healthy self-oriented person, but not a self-absorbed or selfish person has to learn how to do eventually, whether you have a family like yours or not. So all in all, if you're finding solutions that help your mom and bring you closer to your sister, if you're finding a way to balance all of these needs without abandoning yourself, then trust that you are on the right path.
[00:21:26] Thanks for sharing all this with us. Thanks for letting us into your life a little bit. We're thinking about your mom. We're rooting for you. We really are. And wow was that a beast, gabriel? Whoosh.
[00:21:37] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:21:42] This episode is sponsored in part by Babbel. For most of us learning a second language in high school or college wasn't exactly a high point in our academic careers. I took French in high school. I did horribly. It was one of my worst grades. The teacher told us to memorize this table of verbs, which is boring and also not at all how humans learn languages. Now, thanks to Babbel the number one selling language learning app. There's an addictively fun and easy way to learn a new language. Whether you're traveling abroad, connecting in a deeper way with family, or you just have some free time, Babbel teaches bite sized language lessons that you'll actually use in the real world. Of course, I lived in Germany for a year, so I'm checking out their German lessons. Babbel's got these 15-minute lessons. They even have five-minute lessons. So if you're waiting for coffee, you're trying to go to sleep. You're waiting for your kid to get off the potty, whatever it is you're doing, you can take a little language lesson there. And Babbel designs the courses with practical, real world conversations in mind. So it's not going to be random verb tables, and they've got 14 different languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
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[00:23:01] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by LifeLock. As the occurrence of identity scams continues to increase, more people are looking for ways to protect themselves from cybercriminals. In fact, 60 percent of Americans believe it's likely that identity theft will cause them a financial loss in the next year. It's important to understand how cybercrime and identity theft are affecting our lives. And every day we put our information at risk on the internet in an instant, a cybercriminal can harm what's yours, your finances, your credit, your reputation. That's why there's LifeLock. LifeLock helps detect a wide range of identity threats, like your social security number for sale on the dark web. If they detect your information has potentially been compromised, they'll send you a heads up. Also, you have access to a dedicated restoration specialist if you do become a victim. And I've been using LifeLock for a while, there's always kind of sketchy stuff coming in. I can rely on them to tell me and/or to have my back if I need to fix it.
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[00:24:06] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online counseling. Many people think therapy is for crazy or weak people. And that's such garbage. It's interesting that people don't think twice to seek medical help for health-related problems, but consider that seeking help for emotional problems is some kind of weird sign of weakness. Let's be honest. How much easier is it to just grab the closest pint of ice cream, drink your sorrows away, and pretend like your problems just don't exist? It takes a hell of a lot of strength to face a problem and ask for help. Better Help online counseling makes it easy. Simply fill out a questionnaire, get matched in 48 hours. Schedule secure video or phone sessions, plus unlimited messages with your therapist all from the comfort of your own home. If you can't get off the couch, you don't have to, you can just bring your therapist right to you. Everything's confidential. Everything's convenient. If for any reason you're unhappy with your counselor, you can switch to a new one at any time. No additional charge.
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[00:25:10] Jordan Harbinger: And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:25:15] What's next?
[00:25:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, my cousin who lives in Iowa is in the middle of a divorce. He has been in a relationship with a woman who has been very emotionally manipulative for the last three years. It was one of those situations that pretty much everyone from the outside could see it was bad, but no one could tell him otherwise. Back in December, he expressed that he wanted a divorce. She said that the only way she would accept the divorce is if they went to couples counseling. And so they did. Nevertheless, she has chosen to ignore his desire to end the relationship. They are currently renting an apartment whose lease is over soon, but he is struggling to make it to that time. Because of the pandemic, they are both working from home and she is checking on his every move. Just today, I called the checkup on him and he was unable to speak freely because she was checking up on who he was talking to. They have two bedrooms, but she will not let him sleep alone. She feels like she has to be near him all the time to make sure he is not up to something. Other than physically barring her from the room, he doesn't see many other options to try to get away. What makes matters more complicated is that my cousin is from Mexico and has lived here since he was nine years old. He is currently 29 and has not been able to secure a permanent residence. He is currently allowed to be in the country because of the Dream Act, but she threatened to lie and tell the police that he has been abusing her, so that he'll have a felony on his record, which would disqualify him from being a Dreamer. I have offered to fly him out to where I live in Arizona to get away for a while, but I'll be honest. I don't know what the best course of action is. He doesn't have very much money, so I can tell that he is reluctant to lawyer up. Is there any legal action that he can take to protect himself in this circumstance? Signed, Deportation Emancipation.
[00:26:48] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. This is a very scary scenario. And by the way, I think a lot of international people and Americans for that matter, they don't know what the Dream Act is. So just briefly, this is a law in the United States that says if you were — and there's nuance to this, but if you were brought to the United States as a child, legal or not, you can stay in the country, go to school, work, et cetera because a lot of mostly, I think, South American kids were brought here by parents or uncles, aunts, whatever. They go to school, they grow up and they find out that they're not American citizens. And they're like, what the hell? And instead of getting deported back to, let's say Mexico, where you haven't been since you were five. They let you stay in the country and it's not an automatic citizenship thing, but this crazy ass woman is threatening his immigration status over this.
[00:27:37] Also there's so much wrong here. Look, your cousin, he's in a rough spot being married to this woman. She sounds like she's just — she has mental, man.
[00:27:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:27:46] Jordan Harbinger: And I don't mean to be flippant about that, especially given Q1, we just did here, but this person — imagine saying, "Hi, we need it to get a divorce. This isn't working out." And then she's like, "Fine, but I'm sleeping in bed with you every night. And I'm checking your phone because you might be up to something." At that point, it's like, "I am up to something. We're getting divorced. You don't control what's in my phone. Even if we're married, you can't do that. Secondly, why are you sleeping in my bed? We're getting divorced. Relationship is over. Like, wow, are you insane?" This person is nuts. She's obviously willing to try to secure love from her partner at all costs. Even if there's no love to be secured in the first place. The fact that she's threatening to fabricate a crime against her cousin to keep him close. That is beyond creepy. This whole thing is creeping me out. It's really sad because your cousin is obviously very vulnerable. His status in the country is at risk. She knows it, which makes her a terrible person and a creep.
[00:28:41] So look, because there are some legal issues at play here we can sell with my friend, Keith Ayers. He's an immigration attorney friend of the show and knows a lot where a lot of the bodies are buried because we've gone to Vegas for his bachelor party. So that's all I'm going to say about that, but he's also a very competent lawyer. That's the most important part. The good news is this. According to Keith, your cousin might not be in as much danger as his wife wants him to think. In terms of his immigration status with DACA, which is the immigration law that pertains to people like your cousin, he can live freely and work in the United States without issue. He can renew his status every two years. That's how it works right now anyway. No amount of threats or lies are going to affect his DACA status.
[00:29:23] What can affect it is if he gets arrested and convicted for a serious misdemeanor or felony. So his wife can complain all she wants, but until your cousin gets arrested and then convicted in a court of law with a trial by jury, which requires a prosecutor, first of all, to take the case and then present evidence, unless that all happens. He's okay. And the likelihood of him getting convicted on something for which there is actually no evidence it's fairly low. Now, is it possible? Sure. If she's some diabolical genius who finds a way to make it look like he's hurting her, and honestly, she sounds like a real piece of work. So maybe that's something she's capable of. I'm not sure, then yet it could happen. But the more likely scenario is that she's talking a big game here and making empty threats because she is just desperate and kind of a creepy pathetic person who's lost control and is a control freak.
[00:30:18] So Keith's advice, it was actually pretty simple. I wholeheartedly agree with it. Your cousin needs to hire a family attorney ASAP. I know he doesn't want to spend a lot of money, but he really doesn't have a choice if he wants a divorce and given his circumstances, he really does need an advocate right now. Maybe you can pitch in a little, maybe your family members can all share the cost somehow. Whatever it is, I would encourage your cousin to find a way to make it work, especially given his immigration status. He should tell the lawyer his story, tell them about his wife's threats, his concerns about his status, what's stopping him from leaving his wife, and let this attorney guide him on how to extricate himself from this incredibly toxic situation.
[00:31:01] You know what I'm thinking in the meantime? You all heard me say this before document, document, document. Write down her threats. Where did she say it? When did she say it? What did she say? He will want to make sure his own lawyer has copies of all of these documents, because that's only going to be helpful. If it were me — look, and this is not legal advice at all, possibly it is illegal advice — but if it were me, depending on what state you're in, I would be thinking about recording her, saying that she's going to fabricate evidence. Having tape like this in the hands of your attorney would be pretty persuasive and actually might prevent her from even trying this bullshit in the first place.
[00:31:38] Because what you would do is you'd say — you know, you're talking with your lawyer and the prosecutor says, here's the charges we're bringing. She says that he's got a pattern of abuse and your attorney would say something like, "My client has documentation that shows that she's been threatening to fabricate evidence. And they'll say, "Okay, well, we're going to have to evaluate what's in this notebook." And then your lawyer can go, "Look. Just so you know, this is the person who says that he abused her, and then there's tape of her going, "If you leave me, I'm going to say you hit me in the face." Two days later, right? There's that report to the police that doesn't look good. And the prosecutor can go, "Yikes. Okay. This person is full of sh*t. And just trying to control this guy, I've got bigger fish to fry. I've got drug dealers waiting to get prosecuted. I've got real abusers waiting to get the book thrown at them. I don't need to be in the middle of a crazy domestic dispute where I am literally just leveraged." Right? The state is just leveraged.
[00:32:30] By the way, there is such a thing as a men's shelter. Yes, some of them are homeless shelters. He's going to want to look around, but they're just as there are women's shelters for people who are abused, there are men's shelters. Some of them, they speak Spanish. They might understand immigration issues a little bit because they deal with that kind of thing all the time. I know he's in his own apartment with his current wife, but if the crazy goes up to like 11, sounds like it's already at 11, but if it really gets to be, he can't even be in the house, then it would be good to be somewhere else. And candidly, if he packed up and bounced, it would be pretty hard for her to say, "Oh, by the way, he also abused me," during the time that he wasn't even here and was documented in this place, which has cameras and never left. Right? The problem is you don't want her to say, "Before he left, he abused me." So there's that. That's why you got to document this stuff, but he can just get out of there. And a lot of times with crazy people, minimizing contact is kind of the best thing. And then she's got to call and leave him threatening voicemails, right? If she wants to keep it up, which is going to be great for her case.
[00:33:32] So bottom line, he needs to find a way out of this marriage ASAP and the sooner he can get away and start a new life, the better. Good luck. All right, what's next?
[00:33:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, I'm 35 and I've been with my husband for 11 years. We founded a successful retail business when we were engaged, but the business is only in his name. He has a well-paying finance job in addition to our business, I didn't get paid for the first three years while the business got on its feet. But at this point, I'm compensated semi well. We are weeks away from closing on a half a million dollar property. And the property loan will be in both of our names with me, owning a separate leasing company to collect rent from the LLC for tax reasons. The problem is things have not been good with our marriage for a very long time. We have sex maybe six times a year. Not great when it happens. We're really more like business partners who live together. He's affectionate in some ways, but he has a temper and refuses to learn basic communication skills. He's often rude and harsh when he delivers a message. And if I ask him to not talk to me that way, it starts a huge fight. I stopped fighting back a while ago. It's just not worth it to me. I now see that going on separate vacations, sleeping in separate beds and generally being on different schedules. That's all a huge flashing sign that I'm not happy. I brought home marriage health books. I'm in therapy myself, and I've asked him to find us a marriage counselor, but told him he would have to set it all up as I'm not going to make him go. But I have since decided that I do want a divorce since he hasn't tried to find a therapist and I'm done trying. I'm willing to walk away from all of this with nothing. I don't want any stake in the business. I helped build it from the ground up. I don't want any money. I just want my dog and my truck. My friends think I'm crazy since he makes considerably more money than I do over $100,000 to my $31,000. But I just want to start a new life where I can be happy doing what I love, which would be going to school for a trade. So I'm not asking for legal advice, I know you're a lawyer, but not my lawyer, but what would you do if you were me? Signed, Walking Away, But Questioning What to Take With Me on the Way Out.
[00:35:27] Jordan Harbinger: Well, I'm sorry that your marriage is coming to an end. That is obviously always sad, but congrats on building a successful business with your husband. That's a big accomplishment. I know, even if it was pretty rocky along the way and possibly even rockier right now. So look, this situation is obviously complicated, especially with all the different assets, the business, the house, all this stuff. But it sounds to me like the answer is pretty simple. You want to leave this relationship and it doesn't really matter to you how much money you get. A lot of people like your friends, they're going to argue, you're leaving a lot of money on the table that you're not getting your fair share of the business. You very clearly helped start. And they're right, they're right, you invested a lot of time and money into this venture. It's now beginning to really pay off. And it's not unreasonable for you to expect your husband to let you keep a stake or buy you out or something like that. But it doesn't mean you have to fight for it or that you'd be insane to let it go.
[00:36:20] To you, your freedom is just more important than the money, and that's a completely valid position to take. It'll probably make getting out of this marriage a hell of a lot easier and it will let you get to your new life with your dog and your truck and your new career a lot faster. That said, disentangling yourself from this business, that will still be a little tricky even if you aren't throwing down for half of it. The property loan is in both of your names. You own the leasing company. You guys have other assets together. Some of them in your name, you mentioned that in part of your letter that we trimmed down. So yeah, it'll take some work to unwind all of that, just from an admin and legal perspective. You're definitely going to need an attorney to handle the divorce. And that attorney is going to have to work with your husband's attorney to figure out how to extricate you from the business. I only bring that up so that, you know, this whole thing still might get a little messy, even if you're not going to war here.
[00:37:14] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. It's probably good to be prepared for that even if she isn't fighting like hell to get what she wants. It's going to take some time to unwind all of that. My only other thought is this. If you want to walk away here without getting your fair share of this business totally fair. But I would really take some time to consider whether that's what you truly want. It sounds to me like you're so fed up with this marriage that you just want out. And so maybe you're not very eager to push for what you deserve, because that would keep you tethered to your husband for longer than you like, which is fair enough. I can appreciate that. But as like Jordan said, you were an essential part of this business and like you said, you didn't get paid for the first three years. That's three years. That's a not insignificant amount of time while the business got on its feet. Meanwhile, your husband, he kept his high paying job and even now you're still drawing a pretty modest salary. All in all you guys have built a business that allowed you to buy a $500,000 property, some other assets. And I'm assuming the business is still growing.
[00:38:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. This isn't some Podunk timeshare, you guys own in Orlando and never used. Shout out to all timeshare owners. You're never going to use that sh*t. Get rid of it.
[00:38:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly. Right, like this is a business that you helped build from the ground up. You made significant sacrifices to do so.
[00:38:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Good point. Look, I thought it was funny how she put in her letter. Like she's like, "I don't want any stake in this business. I definitely helped build from the ground up and would never have happened without me. I don't want any of that." Part of her knows that she deserves this, but maybe she's playing down how important it is to her that she get her fair share because she just wants to get the f*ck out. Right? She just wants out.
[00:38:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yep.
[00:38:43] Jordan Harbinger: And she's like, I don't want anything. I'm not so sure that she'll feel that way in like a year.
[00:38:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. I'm not convinced either. So my advice to you is just this. As you extricate yourself from this situation, make sure that you're not putting yourself at any financial risk or failing to stand up for your needs for what you really deserve. And I'm not saying that in some greedy or vindictive way, it's not about, you know, "Stick it to your rich mean husband on the way out and show him who's boss." Not at all. That's not what we're saying. If anything, the fact that you're not obsessed with getting as much as you can here, that tells me that you're a very reasonable person, a fair person. But that position of yours, it might also be part of the same instinct you have when you and your husband get into those fights you talked about. Like you said, your emo in general is just to kind of back down and avoid the conflict.
[00:39:25] And you say it's because it's not worth it. And I believe you, but it could also be because standing up for what you want, maybe that doesn't come naturally to you. Maybe it's a little scary or a little unpleasant to do that. And so you're sidestepping this conversation entirely because the reality is that you do own a piece of this business and I hate for you to lose it just because you can't wait to take your pit bull and jump in your Chevy Silverado and gun it into your new apartment. Or because you're afraid of saying, "Hang on a minute, I'm not trying to be a monster here. I know this is complicated, but I just want to be made whole as long as we're partying ways."
[00:39:53] And by the way, if you plan to go back to school to learn that trade, which I think is a great idea, this money could be super helpful to you. It could be the foundation you need to start this next chapter without stressing about money or going into debt or anything like that. So keep that in mind too.
[00:40:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Great point. My hope is that she can get what she deserves without this turning into an all-out war. But even if this drags out the process for another six months, it could be totally worth it as it does seem like the fair outcome. So I would explore all this, even talk it out with your therapist, especially with your attorney. It's great that you have a therapist right now and see if any of what Gabe just mentioned is playing a role in your decision. If you come to the conclusion that you're not avoiding anything and that you really just don't care about the money and you want out as soon as possible, that's totally fair. And I kind of admire you a little bit for having that mindset, but if you discover that you really do want your fair share or at least not to get the total shaft here, just know that it does not make you a monster. It doesn't mean you can't begin the next chapter of your life.
[00:40:52] And I kind of worry about that, Gabe. She's like, "If I just let everything go, I'm done now." That's not really, really true.
[00:40:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:40:58] Jordan Harbinger: This divorce, it might get a little complicated for a period of time. And that's okay. That's how it works. It's the process. The messiness might've happened, whether or not you get a fat well-deserved grip of cash on the way out. So you can both start right now and you also can't, but leaving everything right on the table is not necessarily going to speed it up and make it overnight. Right?
[00:41:20] So however it shakes out, I do hope that you get to build a new life that really excites you, where you feel valued. It sounds to me like you've had some incredible experiences this past decade you've obviously learned and accomplished a ton, even though the marriage didn't ultimately work out. That's valuable too. So take all of that with you, keep moving forward. And I know you're going to do great.
[00:41:43] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:41:47] This episode is also sponsored by Fiverr. Looking for freelancers or you need to boost your team with a little bit of exceptional talent. Many entrepreneurs use Fiverr Business to move their business forward. And on Fiverr Business, you can hire a voiceover for a professional voicemail greeting, a content writer, someone to post tweets, create Facebook ads, create an explainer video. We're using Fiverr business here to get help translating captions for some of our videos on social media. When you're managing a team, it can be hard to get everyone on the same page, especially when your freelancers go rogue or freaking vanish. But with Fiverr Business, you can instantly source additional brainpower, get access to an all-star team of super freelancers. Plus Fiverr Business has all the tools and support you need to easily integrate them to your existing workflow. Because when it's time to nail your next big brand refresh, your product launch, investor pitch, the last place you're going to want to be is knee deep in a herd of wild freaking freelancers. You can even utilize Fiverr's business success managers to help match you with the best talent for your team.
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[00:42:59] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored by Edmunds. Our parents and friends give us a lot of great advice about life and in some cases about cars. My dad worked for Ford for 30 years and he does know a lot about cars, but with all due respect, dad, your advice, it's a little bit outdated. We're in the market for a new SUV. Now that we have a kid in the search, comparison, budgeting options is a little daunting. Buy a car is one of the biggest purchase decisions we can make and Edmunds, they know all about cars. They've been taking the stress out of the entire car shopping process for over 50 years. Edmunds car experts rank the best cars in every category. So it saved me hours in narrowing down all of the overwhelming options in the SUV category. Plus it lays out the pros and cons of each vehicle model for you. The Edmunds vehicle testing team is also one of the largest in the industry. Every year, Edmunds' editors drive more than half a million miles and conduct over a thousand hours of testing on hundreds of new vehicles.
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[00:45:01] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. Who doesn't love some good products and/or services? You can always visit jordanharbinger.com/deals for all the details on everybody that helps support the show.
[00:45:15] And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:45:19] All right, last but not least.
[00:45:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan, I'm a teacher at a public high school here in Connecticut. Recently, I've become increasingly worried that what we are teaching students is no longer preparing them for what the working world will look like. I teach math and stats, and I read a lot of articles about artificial intelligence. And I think if machines can do this for people, what will humans be left to do is they're going to be a place for my stats, loving students. Will we all be relegated to purposeless lives of recreation as the machines take over or worse, some type of servitude to machines. What will the future of work look like? And how can I best prepare my students for this potentially dystopian future? Thanks so much. Signed, Anxious Academic.
[00:45:58] Jordan Harbinger: I wanted to bring in a little bit of help for this one. So I brought in my friends, Allen Gannett and Shane Snow from the podcast Creative Hotline, because you guys do you guys know a lot more about creativity and tech than I do. I spend very little time thinking about this. You guys spend a lot of time thinking about this. What's your take on this question?
[00:46:15] Shane Snow: I very much feel it. I think we're seeing so much change right now. And I've always been really fascinated by the fact that we're now seeing white collar jobs be automated, right? It used to be, get a law degree, get an accounting degree, and you were sort of safe. There's no factory that was going to be taken over by robots. But now that's no longer true. AI is starting to eat into those jobs. You're seeing like an e-discovery in law, for example, there's a lot of machine learning and AI. So I get it.
[00:46:44] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. I can say with some authority as an attorney and especially in my old gig as an attorney, a lot of what I was doing was very overpaid, sort of low-end secretarial work, where it was like, "Hey, make sure this document is organized in a way that sort of makes sense." Like, that was the most complicated thing I did. A lot of what I was doing was, "Make sure these things on the top match these things on the bottom, where they're cited. And if you turn to the page where it said it was that that thing is actually there." And that's something that could easily be automated and of course, should be automated.
[00:47:16] Allen Gannett: So when you were becoming a lawyer, did you think that you would be standing in courtrooms pontificating and saying, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury—"
[00:47:23] Jordan Harbinger: I object! Yeah. I thought there would be a lot more objections than there were in financial transactions. A lot of it was checking for commas and documents and I'm not exaggerating. People always think I'm exaggerating, but there was a lot of comma and document checking and a lot of draft the thing that shows this or research a bunch of cases and see if this shows up anywhere else. And if it does copy and paste it into an email. And that was really what I was doing. And I'm like, man, this is a job for a search engine, really with some AI attached to it.
[00:47:51] Shane Snow: So that actually ties in, I think, precisely into what Allen and I talk about when we get questions like this on our show, which is, you know, when it comes to creativity, which is the topic that we mostly focus on, there's actually kind of two parts. And when you parse those away, you get an idea of what's actually going on with AI that I think matches exactly to the lawyer thing, which creativity really has the part where you are coming up with new things, where you're being creative. And then it has the second part, which is the craft, bringing the thing to life. So when you think about being the lawyer, coming up with the creative arguments, figuring out how you're going to win the case, but then there's all of the things that a search engine could do. And that's the stuff that the robots, the programming that AI can handle much more easily than the creativity part on top of it.
[00:48:42] You see that happening with AI now in all sorts of fields where the things that are getting automated are there things that are more of the tasks after you come up with the creative idea that then creates the orders for what to do. So the craft, bringing the thing to life is where we're seeing all of the robots start to rise. But there is something interesting when you look at almost any category that it's hard to see where AI is better than humans and where it could be better in the long run than humans at the first part, the creative part on top of the craft.
[00:49:19] Allen Gannett: Yeah. And I think the craft we've been seeing is getting more and more abstracted for decades, like think about Pixar. Pixar people forget was also a technology company. They built a lot of animation technology to make digital animation easier and faster. And so we have always been obsessed as humans with how do we make the craft as efficient as possible. And so this is not something new. This is just sort of the next wave of it. Personally, I think it's a good thing, right? I think that if as human we're allowed to spend more time on the conceptualization, the creativity, the big ideas, to me, that's a pretty optimistic future. That's not something I think is particularly scary.
[00:49:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So AI is really only taking away part of our jobs and that part of our jobs might be the part of our jobs that kind of is tedious that we don't really like to do. Right? Like looking at 50 legal cases about satellite transmission and see if this issue shows up in any of them and it takes you six hours and you're billing that to the client and all that. Great. But you're really assigning that to your first year associates and you're going, "Ugh, make yourself useful, Jordan. Do something with your day." But it's a waste of the client's money. It's a waste of the associates' efforts. Nobody's going, "This is great. This is why I went to law school." It's really taking a lot of the ditch digging and saying, "Hey, we already dug it as ditch. And you get to build the cool pipe system that lays in there. You get to do the part that you went to school for, that you actually enjoy by taking the information," or whatever it is that's delivered to you. The pieces that are crafted by the robots and by the AI, because it seems like the AI and the robots. They're good at the heavy lifting, so to speak, but they're not good at being imaginative or creating new solutions to problems. Not yet, anyway.
[00:50:58] Shane Snow: Precisely, so say you make furniture. You're a furniture maker. The more technology that comes out that helps you do your job allows you to kind of focus on the higher order things, on designing the furniture rather than whittling it with your knife. So we invented blades, we invented machines that assemble furniture. And if you love that craft part, you love making furniture by hand, you're going to be at a disadvantage if you're trying to also make money from that. But if you love doing it, you can still do all the crafts that you want. But if you like designing furniture, now technology allows you to work on more of the designing and less of the carving the wood. That's the low level of metaphor for exactly what's happening in like a billion industries, a billion areas. So, you know, if you like the craft, you can still do it, but you're not going to be able to make money versus the machines on the craft part. However, machines aren't going to come up with the next thing that you make.
[00:51:55] Allen Gannett: I think, you know, the craft, what's interesting is we've always had throughout history, a lot of tension around that. How important is that to the creative process? If you go back to sort of Greco-Roman days, I talk about this in my book, but the idea of art and an artist wasn't actually really, uh, a thing that was that exciting. People thought of artists as basically just craftspeople. Like you might have blacksmiths who were recreating famous, religious works. They weren't actually doing that much conceptualization. They were sort of taking God's image and they were doing it over and they were creating their own version of it. And then we go forward to the impressionist era where the actual technical craft and skill was really important. But then you go to Warhol where he was literally phoning in to commercial printers. "This is how I want the screen print to look." Clearly, that was not a craft thing. And we said that was worth millions of dollars. So we've had this tension for years. This is not a new tension.
[00:52:47] Jordan Harbinger: So to answer this teacher's question or by way of answering this teacher's question, we're just sort of redefining what the work part looks like. Whereas he's worried, "Oh no, I'm teaching people how to do all these calculations. What happens when they don't need to make the calculations anymore?" The answer is they get to decide where the calculations go, how they're applied, what type of calculations to do, right? They're not sitting there drawing the blueprint. They're imagining the building that they're going to create. And then a computer can create the blueprint, which might have taken them 50 to 150 hours. The computer can do that and they can go, "What if we move this room over there?" And instead of that, taking three weeks to redesign, it happens in seconds.
[00:53:25] Shane Snow: Yeah. So there, you see this happening in all sorts of areas that hopefully anyone who's listening to this can take heart. You know, when you think about how automation used to be disrupting kind of the more manual labor and now it's disrupting the more expensive jobs. But think about surgery, for example, surgeons make lots of money. Now, robots are starting to be able to be better at doing surgeries than someone who does it by hand. What this does, it actually frees up doctors to do more figuring out of what patients need rather than spending time on practicing the cutting and stitching. And that's just one example of a ton that Allen and I could give that the craft itself actually is embedded in a lot of our higher paid, higher level jobs that we think of that we're scared of, but it will enable us to do more interesting and beautiful things in the future if we, I guess, don't focus so much on what we're losing, but focus on what it's allowing us to be freed up to do.
[00:54:24] Allen Gannett: But I do think that Anxious Academic — I get the anxiety and I also think that there's a broader problem outside of just his or her class, which is, if you look at the education system, if you look at it, it's all oriented around getting people into these high skilled sort of white-collar jobs and a lot of incentives. There's a lot of conditioning around there. And I think that's setting us up for some sort of come up because essentially if we keep preparing people for the economy of 1995 that's not going to end well. And we know when we've looked at sort of public policy and all this stuff is that we're not good at doing like mass retraining of people. And so we have to fundamentally sort of restructure and rethink how we're training students.
[00:55:09] And I think on an individual level for this teacher, that's about bringing in more creativity and not the craft into their projects. So it'd be like applied statistics. So if the idea of statistics can become easier and easier and easier over time, well, where situations that you can apply those, can you help your students build machine learning models? Like the application of the craft and the novel use cases, that's where I think a lot of the magic will be.
[00:55:31] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And this is what you mentioned, this is the abstraction part, right? Where we have layers of technology on top of things. So as you said before, we can focus on the more interesting higher order stuff. So AI is that — is AI and automation, a phase of abstraction or a layer to the abstraction? What is it? Where does it fall on this scale here?
[00:55:50] Shane Snow: I definitely would think of it that way. So abstraction in computers, basically, it's like the layers on top of the ones and zeros, the little transistors that are at the bottom of everything. The ones and zeros are, what's doing everything, but none of us know how that works. What programmers do is they type code that then tells the ones and zeros what to do that, then make the computer work. But now we're at the point where we have like five layers of code on top of that code. So then now kids can do programming on an iPad, right? They can use their fingers to tell the computer what to do. And eventually that gets translated down to ones and zeros. And so what AI and automation is, is it's basically some of those instructions are now part of the cake, the layer cake of abstraction. So we give even higher instructions. They do the lower instructions. And eventually that turns into ones and zeros. So I think it's absolutely part of the stack and it may sound a little scary, but it is like we're building this tower underneath us that allows us to reach higher heights. There's like 10 metaphors in one.
[00:56:46] Jordan Harbinger: No, it was good. I like it. I like it. I like where your head's at. I do that all the time too. I mixed metaphors and people are like, "Cool. I guess that train has sailed, whatever Jordan." But I just invested in this company called Roblox. I invested in this. Have you heard of this? It's a game for like 12-year-olds and 30-year-olds.
[00:57:03] Allen Gannett: It is huge.
[00:57:03] Jordan Harbinger: It's huge. And the thing is more kids under the age of 18 in the United States play this than not. So like more than half of American kids play this game, which is just bananas. Like no TV show has this kind of market share. No Legos, maybe have this same market share. It's just crazy. What's great about it is it's not just like you go and blow things up or whatever you build things, but not only that, not only do you Minecraft like that, you can create, you can develop on the platform. So it's not just a game, it's a platform. So millions of kids who are like in the single digits, they are using these tools to make a prison escape game or something like that. And millions of people can buy it for like a dollar. And they do cause you know, who cares if a kid buys a game for a dollar, so kids are making millions of dollars. I think the top developer in this system made $50 million in 2020. I mean, think about—
[00:57:56] Shane Snow: I'm downloading it right now.
[00:57:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Right? Like this is a guy who made a game and is now like, "Well, I guess I never have to work again because I made a cool sort of Mario clone or whatever." I don't even know what the game is on there. It probably took him several weeks to several months to create. But it's because Roblox is a bunch of tools that are all happening on the servers of Roblox. And somebody said, "Oh, okay. So you mean, I drag these things over here and I can change these physics using this. Great." And so kids are learning how to code on this platform and eventually kind of everything is going to be like that at some point, right? We're going to have people who are like, "Oh, my 15-year-old kid created an augmented reality game over the weekend." Like that's going to become a reality at some point soon.
[00:58:39] Allen Gannett: Yeah. Economic results of this are interesting. Right. So I think about it on two lenses. So one, you have these creatives who are able to use these tools. And I think you'll see sort of a bigger middle class and upper middle class of creators as a result. Obviously, 50 million is way above that, but I think there's still a lot of people who are going to 150 grand a year using these sort of direct creation tools that abstraction AI technology made easier. I also think though, and this is where I think it gets a little scary, Roblox market cap is like $40 billion.
[00:59:10] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:59:11] Allen Gannett: And so the people who build these tools of abstraction are going to have huge, massive amounts of concentrated wealth that I only think will go up. Like, I think Roblox is pretty good investment, not investment advisor, but like, you know—
[00:59:22] Jordan Harbinger: Right not a financial advise, exactly.
[00:59:24] Allen Gannett: No financial advice here and who buys stocks. The thing is that, that wealth, that huge amassing of wealth, I think that's going to cause interesting shifts and tensions in society. I think you'll see even more. I think we're entering a phase of extreme jealousy, not just extreme wealth—
[00:59:40] Jordan Harbinger: Get FOMO.
[00:59:42] Allen Gannett: Yeah. Yeah. And so that's going to be really interesting and a result of this abstraction.
[00:59:47] Jordan Harbinger: So what happens to the education system, right? Because if we're training people to, let's say physically hammer out ones and zeros, for lack of a better term, we're going to have to pivot for sure. The education system is.
[00:59:58] Shane Snow: Yeah. I think that the old idea of memorizing things and doing times tables has to go. I think that we need to teach kids the tools of creativity, teach kids how to be imaginative, how to filter bad ideas from good ideas, how to debate, how to explore, and how to think critically rather than what to think about. And that's not a new argument.
[01:00:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:00:26] Shane Snow: You know, I think educators have been trying to say that for awhile, but I think that is going to make the difference. And I think we're going to need to give them more opportunities to apply creativity, rather than just learn the theories. A kid will learn more by making things in Roblox, than by memorizing the history of computer science. I think those are the kinds of shifts that need to happen. But I will say it sounds like from this discussion, the conclusion I'm taking away that may harten the Anxious Academic is that the robots aren't who we need to be afraid of it's the nine-year-olds who were going to be at war with at some point who are going to disrupt us, which, you know, as long as they're human, then maybe they'll keep us alive. That's what I'm taking away from this.
[01:01:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah. We can't eat Roblox, unfortunately, not yet although it's only a matter of time until they make a cereal.
[01:01:13] So it seems like the downside is we're going to have to make a pivot whenever there's a pivot, sometimes people lose, but the upside to me is now we're seeing you don't need a $6,000 professional graphics station to make a game like you did in the '90. You need an iPhone four that you can probably get used off of eBay for like 40 bucks. You don't need heavy lifting hardware, because all that stuff's done in the cloud. You'd basically need something that can show you what you're doing and a keyboard or a touch screen to key it in. I mean, you could make a lot of this stuff on an iPad or not even like an iPod touch, whatever the equivalent of that is in 10 years.
[01:01:54] Allen Gannett: Yeah. I mean, I think it's going to be a much more democratic, sort of egalitarian future for creators. There's going to be more horizontal opportunity. And I think that is super exciting. And if the education system, and, you know, at some point I think the people sort of get this and we'll recognize it, the optimist in me looks at things like during the COVID, a lot of colleges dropped the sat requirement. It looks like that's going to be permanent. There's some like bi-partisan support for getting rid of common core, which obviously is against this trend of creativity. And so I think this is all we're going to work out in the end because I think people are rational actors and also are pretty good at following the money. I think we, we, we see people making money doing this. I think that'll actually drive a lot of change.
[01:02:38] Jordan Harbinger: So. Allen, Shane, thank you so much. Your podcast the Creative Hotline is I would describe it as a call advice show for creatives. Basically, people write in with questions just like this one. And then you guys make fun of each other while answering it. Does that sound about right?
[01:02:52] Allen Gannett: In my version, Shane just makes fun of me, but yeah, that's accurate.
[01:02:56] Shane Snow: And I win.
[01:02:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Creative Hotline—
[01:02:58] Shane Snow: I come out on top every time.
[01:03:00] Jordan Harbinger: Creative Hotline, we'll link to it in the show notes. Thanks so much guys.
[01:03:02] Shane Snow: Thanks, Jordan.
[01:03:03] Allen Gannett: Thanks, Jordan.
[01:03:03] Jordan Harbinger: Hope you all enjoyed that. I want to thank everyone that wrote in this week. Don't forget to check out the episodes we did with Rutger Bregman on humankind and human nature. And Jon Acuff on overthinking.
[01:03:14] And if you want to know how I managed to book all these amazing folks — all these folks are in my network. I create and maintain my network using systems, software, and tiny habits. And I'm teaching you how to do the same thing for free. That course is over on the Thinkific platform. Jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. It's a Six-Minute Networking course. That means it takes six minutes or less per day. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago. Jordanharbinger.com/course is where that's at.
[01:03:42] A link to the show notes for this episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. There's a video of this Feedback Friday on our YouTube channel at Jordan harbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or hit me up on LinkedIn. You can find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMirzahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[01:04:04] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Keeps sending in those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. I'm a lawyer, not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:04:42] You're about to hear a preview of my interview with a former FBI agent on how he gets people to reveal the truth.
[01:04:49] Jack Schafer: We want the best out of life. We want the best business deals. We want the best personal relationships that we can get. A lot of that information that we need to get that best deal is often hidden. With elicitation, people don't realize that you're using elicitation techniques on them. You're just setting up a psychological environment that predisposed it's just them to want to tell you information they wouldn't otherwise tell you.
[01:05:15] Typically, elicitation doesn't use questions. If you asked me a direct question, I'm thinking, what does he want? How's this information going to be used? Is it going to be used against me? Why is he saying this? What's his motivation? And then of course, I'm going to come out with my sunshine answer and give you something that I think you want to hear. There's a human predisposition to correct others. If I want to get information from you, I will just give you what we call a presumptive statement though, where it's either a false statement or a true statement, but you're going to corroborate say, "Yes, that's true." Or are you going to say, "No, that's not true. It's this."
[01:05:53] We take our students after four hours of instruction in the morning, we take them typically to a public mall and we will assign them targets randomly throughout the mall. And we'll tell our students, "See that person over there, go get their date of birth, go get their social security number, go get their pin numbers for their computer in their bank accounts." And the students can do that within three to five minutes of meeting a stranger.
[01:06:16] If I can get something stranger to like me within five or 10 minutes, the brain automatically ascribes all the rights and privileges of a friendship that took maybe years to develop.
[01:06:30] Jordan Harbinger: For more on how you can use elicitation techniques used by the FBI to negotiate better salaries and more, check out episode 467 on The Jordan Harbinger Show with Jack Schafer.
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