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In the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, we are introduced to the “upper limit problem”, whereby people who should be more successful sabotage themselves, often subconsciously, due to fear of change and fear of success. Obviously, this seen to be a bad thing. Self sabotage is seen as some sort of harmful error in the brain’s wiring system. But what if it isn’t? What if success isn’t as good as people think it is? What if our definition of success is a harmful and dangerous one that leads to scandals, mental breakdowns, and even suicide?
In this podcast, we explore the upper limit problem and self sabotage from a contrary angle: what if self sabotage is actually a good thing?
Dan’s Top Resources
Dan has 3 bestselling non-fiction books available in both written and audio form:
- The Naked Truth, his latest release, shows you how radical honesty builds self-confidence and relationships
- Nothing to Lose explores how to build confidence from the inside by correcting the programming in your brain
- The Legendary Life is a very practical, action-focused guide on how to plan and execute a life plan that brings you your ideal lifestyle
Dan continues to put out high quality online self-paced courses through the Udemy platform
- Nice Guy Recovery: how to transform from a people pleaser into a confident beast.
- Shamelessness: how to relieve yourself of the “not good enough” story
- Powerful Honesty: takes you through step-by-step development of your communication skills to be more charismatic and powerful in your honesty
- The 3X Confidence and Authenticity Masterclass program: use the famous 3X Model to build confidence in all areas of life
- Financial Freedom for Beginners: includes everything from budgeting, to getting a raise, to investing in the stock market, to starting a side-business and more
- Overcoming Your Fear of Rejection… Permanently!: covers the psychology of “rejection” and what actions to take to make yourself immune to the fear of it
Full transcript (unedited)
Welcome back to the brojo online podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about self sabotage. And specifically, we’re going to be challenging and exploring an idea called the upper limit problem, which was first introduced by the author Gay Hendricks, in his book, The Big Leap, we’re going to have a look at whether self sabotage is actually a bad thing, or perhaps part of a safety mechanism to keep you having a high quality of life, I’m gonna explore the idea that self sabotage might actually be helpful. So in case you haven’t read it, or don’t know about it, the big leap by Gay Hendricks is a book that explores almost entirely a single concept called the upper limit problem. And his book will tell you everything you need to know about actually, the first few chapters kind of cover everything. The gist of it is, he believes that human beings have an inbuilt self sabotage system that almost invisible. And it kicks in when we get close to making a big successful transition. So if you imagine a ceiling, an upper limit, the best you’ve ever done, whenever we get close to exceeding the best we’ve ever done, a system kicks in, that starts to pull us back down. And sometimes it’s very obvious, you know, when you sort of deliberately do something that you know, will fuck everything up. And you know, those times, you know, when you get drunk before your big job interview rides, or you blow all your money, right before you wanted to purchase a new car, you know, the times when you obviously screw yourself. But then there’s these other obscure times. And Gay Hendricks actually makes the claim that this can get physiological, like we might get sick before the big job interview. And it’s just seems like it always happens that way. The only times we get sick as right before, you know, something that we need a lot of energy and physical prowess for. Or we might do things that don’t look like any sort of major, significant move. And yet they have a disastrous effect, way down the line. It’s almost like a tricky chess move. We didn’t realize it later on that would cause a checkmate against us. You know, so there’s these and he focuses on this in the book, the subtle, indirect moves that are made to really screw everything up. He believes that these are on purpose that they are quite deliberate, and that they as essentially human humankind’s worst problem, there, that is the cause of all of our misery is this problem where we just can’t let ourselves succeed. So that’s kind of a theory of steel Manning his theory there. Now, the reason that appealed to me the book, and the idea is because it’s the curse of my life. I am, I’m an intelligent guy, I have no false modesty about them. Academically, I’m intelligent. And I am courageous. And I’m resourceful. And I am assistant, I’ve got all the qualities that are supposedly needed for success. And yet, my progress in all areas has been painfully slow. And that’s been the case my entire life, the efforts to reward ratio my entire life, there’s been always something off about it. Not always, I should say, there’s areas you know, there’s times where I’ve kind of leapt forward and haven’t had this problem. Mike, when I was working in Department of Corrections, you know, within seven years, I had had like five major promotions, there’s times when I really flew. And then there are other times where I really on paper, there was no, you know, rational explanation of why things were moving so slowly for me, you know, like how I had a four year in cell experience in my 20s, where I just could not make anything romantic happen with women. There’s really no good explanation for there, there are plenty of opportunities. There was nothing hideously wrong with me that was massively unattractive, you know, I should have been at least broadly attractive to a niche of girls. And there’s plenty of times where I look back, I see that, you know, I was being offered things and so on, and nothing happened for whole years. This kind of thing has happened a lot in my life. I mean, even look at this. So this podcast, my YouTube channel, I get such great feedback from so helpful for people towards people. And yet the growth of my channels is painfully slow. You know, I have the time of the saga 2000 Something subscribers on YouTube, it took me seven years to get 2000 subscribers. Some people do it with a single video. So there’s always something where it feels like I’m moving through mud. Right? I try my best it feels like I’m trying my best. I take risks. I do very uncomfortable things I face all my fears. I never give up. You know, I’m very honest, and I’ve been very strong with integrity in nit, I can clearly see that the explanation for the results in my life must be some form of self sabotage, you must be somewhere I’m holding myself back. And it’s always been the case, sometimes I know exactly what it is. Like, in the case of my business, with podcasts and everything, it’s because I’m doing too much. I’m doing a YouTube channel and a podcast and books and courses and coaching and running a community. spreading myself thin, like that is a form of self sabotage. I’m never going all in on one thing and doing it amazing. I’m just doing everything kind of mediocre. So there’s times where I can see it. There’s other times like when I struggled with woman where I just, like, for me, I couldn’t explain it, nobody else could explain it. I could figure it out later. But at the time, I couldn’t see it at all. So just a bit about me, you know, I don’t always do so well. So I always seem to slip right before they get to the mountain top right before something bigs about to happen, I tend to fuck it up, or seems like external forces just interfere in my life. You know, I remember one time I was a guest on The Art of Charm podcast, is the biggest thing I’ve ever done in terms of publicity. And I just had a flood of emails, it was right around right around Christmas. But because of Christmas, in quotation marks, I couldn’t act on the emails and what would have been a massive leap forward in my business was just a little bump. You know, it was it was a decent sized bump, but it’s like a suddenly got really lazy and blind and had all these excuses to not act on this fresh pile of opportunities in front of me all these great potential coaching clients, I just kind of slacked off right after I got exactly what I wanted. And then I’ve seen that all the time, you know, I’ve done group programs that did really well. And then I don’t run another group program for a year for some reason, or old, finally lose a bit of weight, maybe be just about to see my abs, and then I’ll go on holiday and just binge on all kinds of shit and come back, and I’ve lost all my progress. You know, back when I struggled with women, what I could see now is that a lot of the opportunities I had, I ruin them by getting too drunk or too high. And I kind of did it deliberately. Like I knew I had an opportunity I knew I had to do was not fuck up. Like it was in the bag, the girls throwing yourself at me, and then I’ll just go on, like, get as destroyed as possible and make it, you know, guarantee that it wasn’t going to happen. I blow money on small things. This one was invisible to me for many years, you know, it’s only really over the last few years that I’ve got my hands around this. But I you know, my first couple of years of business that all right, and then I had the slump. And I really struggle with money and I had to borrow money from my parents and so on. And when I looked at my finances, finally, I could see that I was blowing a substantial amount of money on Subway sandwiches. I mean, you never going to notice that I never noticed that. I didn’t think hey, man, the reason I’m broke is because I ate subway too much. I would have never put that together as a as a guess as our trustees. Do I need to move to a smaller rent apartment, have sandwiches, sandwiches, were wrecking everything. And I do believe there’s some sort of purposeful mechanism that knew that and pushed me to do it. You know, those comfort sandwiches, deliberately how my finances back so I couldn’t reach the next level. You know, and I do get you know, I’m somebody who almost never get sick, I can go two or three years without even getting a cold. But when I do get sick, it’s just the worst possible time. It’s right before an important thing, right when I’ve got heaps on my plate, right? When things are falling apart, and I really need to be on top of things. That’s when I get sick. And it’s just, it’s too coincidental to be a coincidence. You know, I really actually do believe even though there isn’t great science to support this, perhaps but I really do believe Hendricks claim that we can make ourselves sick in order to self sabotage. Because it seems to happen to me. And it’s I don’t think it’s just confirmation bias, because I don’t want to believe it. Anyway, the reason I’m talking about myself so much is because I am sure many of you listening are relating to what I’m saying. You do this to you only just now maybe realizing that you do this to that Holy shit. Like a lot of those times where you seem like you had bad luck. If you’re looking at closely, there’s deliberate moves on your part that create the illusion of bad luck, but a really self sabotage. You know, and like I said, this is this is my Achilles heel. You know, you can all solve any problem you put in front of me, but I will make it really fucking hard for myself first, right? So I’ve got this great strength and this great weakness and I end up somewhere in the middle. You know, I’ll solve a problem that I’ll be absolutely destroyed doing so, as it kind of sounds obvious. People would think that this is a bed for self sabotage. Hendricks Gay Hendricks certainly thinks that there’s I mean, his whole book is encouraging you to overcome this uphill I’m a problem. Fact, the cause of a problem kind of clearly states his point of view on the matter. And I believe that strongly for ever since I read the book. And I guess in general thinking of self sabotage, the word sabotage sounds like a bad thing. You know, for most of my life until kind of recently, where I saw some warning flags that basically said, maybe success or the success, the way we often define it isn’t as good as we think it is, it isn’t what we should be striving for. It’s actually a dangerous and harmful place. And the upper limit problem is actually an upper limit security mechanism and might be a combination. I think that’s where I’ll end up in this podcast, that part of it is insecurities and shame and everything in what you’d call self sabotage. But it’s mixed in or overlaps with a system that’s designed to keep you away from something dangerous, which is beyond that upper limit. And I’m going to try and play. Talk that out today, what I’m talking about where this comes from. So I’m going to kind of play devil’s advocate for the idea that the upper limit problem is indeed a problem. And that self sabotage is a bad thing. And have a look at the other side of the potential argument is what if we’re supposed to self sabotage? What if the people who don’t end up far worse off than the people who do or perhaps there is a, an amount of careful self sabotage that is necessary, shall we say restriction, self restriction is necessary to prevent horrific problems, which I’ll spell out soon. So what’s beyond the upper limit? If you think of the upper limit as the best you’ve ever done, and it’s usually specific to an area’s best your business has ever been safe financially, you’re the healthiest your body has ever been, what’s the most robust and enjoyable that your social life has ever been? So much confidence you’ve ever be, or whatever that is, you know, there’s a you can have your personal best, the evil murders the next level above that, or that’s what’s beyond the upper limit. That is the upper limit. That’s what’s beyond it. And what Hendricks was saying and a lot of philosophies and myself included would say is, we, we get really confused because we think we want to succeed and successes to breach the upper limit to go beyond it. And yet, we always seem to shy away from it and fuck it up and self sabotage. So it’s like, we’re split personality, one of us wants to succeed, the other one doesn’t and doesn’t make any sense to us. We have a lot of cognitive dissonance around success, like, why is it that I seem to want this thing so badly, and I do nothing towards it, or I sabotage my efforts towards it, I make it harder for myself so on. You know, there are people who say like, I really want a relationship and they only date toxic people, they don’t ask anyone out, because I really want to be rich, and then they blow their money on shit. You know, everyone does this, almost everyone does this. So how can we want something or not want something at the same time? Well, Hendricks points out and many others is that success is really just massive change. See, what’s beyond the upper limit, is unfamiliarity. Right? And one thing I’ve learned about psychology that I never really read anywhere, but just figure it out on my own, no, I might not be the first to do it is that humans above all, favor familiarity. It’s not pleasure that we’re after necessarily, it looks like we’re where there’s not joy and happiness that we’re after. Even though it looks like that’s what we’re pursuing. What we’re really pursuing is actually nothing at all, we’re trying to stay the same as much as possible, which makes total sense in terms of evolutionary psychology, you know, back in the time where our brains were formed, and we’re still very much there, in terms of evolution. You know, finding something safe and secure and familiar was the best survival situation, right? If you found a good spot to live and hunt, with very few threads, and you found a good little tribe around you, that was reasonable to get along with, like, you just stuck with it. You didn’t go exploring, right? Because if you did that you either died or you became a legend, but most likely you died. So our drive towards familiarity makes total sense to me. And it explains almost everyone’s behavior almost all the time. If you ever like why the fuck say guy doing that? Start with the assumption this is familiar for him. And that’s actually the reason even for looks painful. Why does that woman stay with an abusive guy because she’s used to abusive guys. And that is her primary motivation that stick with what she’s used to. She doesn’t want to good relationships, she wants the same relationship. It’ll help you understand her behavior so much more. If you get that that’s the real motivation, no matter what she sees her motivation is I want a great guy. Well, you could probably find one if you really did one one, where you do find as abusers, and you do it deliberately. So there must be what you really want. You know, why is the guy who could easily earn money, stay poor? Well, because he’s used to being poor, rich scares him, your money in the bank makes him uncomfortable. He’s not used to it. So he blows it. And then he sees the red in the backyard and goes back to usual, you know, he’ll complain about it. But his behavior will tell you what he really wants, which is to stay poor. I can go on and on like this. Now, the guy wants to be really fair, but he just won’t stop eating chocolate. He knows what chocolate does to his body, right? The guy who wants to live long enough to see his kids grow up, but he keeps smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, he knows what those things are going to do. His body knows the risks see taking, being unhealthy as familiar for him. So we’re actually afraid of massive change. And that’s why we sabotage our success, according to Hendricks and many others. And I would agree that change is far more scary than the familiar, even if the familiar is fucking horrible to experience emotionally, we still is trumped by change. Right? We hate change. However, does this mean that we should strive to change? Does this mean that familiarity is always bad? Doesn’t mean that what’s beyond the upper limit is good. And I would argue not necessarily. See, what we’re going to ask is, do we really want to get to the top of the mountain? Is that really the place the destination to aim toward? I absolutely went aim towards something. We need a purpose. We need a reason to get out of bed in the morning, but is up the best direction. That’s where I’m going to be challenging today. The upper limit problem now the word upper is the idea that we’re striving for growth vertically, right? Is that really the healthiest direction to take? Is this upper limit problem actually trying to guide us to go left or right or maybe even down or within? Because up his bed? Let’s have a look. Let me talk about a few guys. Robin Williams. I talk about him all the time. I use the same examples all the time, maybe familiarity complex, but Robin Williams he had it all. He was rich. He was famous. He was popular. He was very, very well loved. He was very, very good at what he did. Like the best and comedy is the best and everything. He was generally revered as an awesome person. killed himself. Chester Bennington singer from Linkin Park. Right very well loved very popular great award he did super famous had the world at his fingertips, killed himself. Heath Ledger very well loved. You know lauded as the best Joker the Batman series has ever seen. Until the recent dude maybe but his acting was revered. He was very well loved one of the few actors that doesn’t have like a huge, controversial hate group against them. Wealthy has pic of any woman or man he could possibly want. killed himself. They’re all on the top of the mountain. There wasn’t enough to even make them want to stay alive. Tiger Woods. best golfer history is ever seen. One of the greatest sportsmen of all time. fucked it up by cheating on his wife and just came crashing down lost all the sponsors lost half as money. Looks like he lost a lot of us here though. There might have been just timing crawling back out of the ghetto just recently as we speak. Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mean Bill burrs little rant on him was excellent. You should check that out on YouTube. If you’re looking for it, it’s gold digging whores. They look that up on YouTube with Bill Burr. He talks about that he does a rant on all the successes that Arnold Schwarzenegger has had. It’s just the guy is beyond belief. Right? He is done. What most people would need 16 generations of people to achieve he’s done in one lifetime. And then he destroys it all. For six was somebody who’s not even attractive. And I had to be judgmental, but it seems irrelevant factor when a guy could have anyone including his own wife. He cheats was someone very, very ordinary. And it all comes crashing down. Louie CK was on his way to being the greatest of all time and comedy and just had to get his deck out on front of it. People, all right, clearly intelligent enough to know that that was not going to play out well for him in the long term. You know, despite whatever finishes he might have, he must have known. That wasn’t the brightest move that he could possibly make. just destroyed him. I heard him once on a secretly released recording of one of us kind of comeback gigs. And he said, basically, the whole thing cost him like GORUCK want to give this ride something like $35 million. That was the cost of his mistake. Right. Jim Carrey, one of the most loved comedic slapstick actors of all time, a legend, a guy who created his own genre of like face comedy. Some point he absolutely lost all connection with reality. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, necessarily. But there’s clearly a massive internal crisis that he went through, I think shortly after the suicide of his partner, where he didn’t even know what he was or who he was or what was real anymore. And while he has found peace since then, he was clearly quite disturbed for quite some time. And as movie Korea never really recovered, he’s only played kind of less than popular parts, and his acting has changed. It’s not quite as silly as it was. He’s kind of lost his groove a little bit. I don’t think that’s actually a problem for him. I think he’s doing what he loves now, rather than what pleases others, but, you know, he definitely kind of lost it. Rationally for a while the Shyla buff says hey, you say his name. You know, he was on his way to the top. Wasn’t he? Disturbia? I love that movie. Right. He was just, it was so great at playing the like quick talking with the dude. The dude just fucking lost his mind, money. And he became a basically a raging alcoholic. At one point, he was playing with a pistol ready to shoot himself in the face and there for a sponsor, hen got through to him, we’d be hearing about His death on the news quite recently. You know, and Kanye West, arguably one of the most successful rappers of all time was certainly not just one of the most probably in the top three. Right? I mean, he’s always been an oddball. But lately in a is marriage is broken down, he keeps getting in trouble, and not in a good way. With the media, he seems to be entertaining some bizarre and inexplicable political beliefs. So these three guys kind of lost their mind. So we’ve got three guys who commit suicide three guys who have major sexual controversies that destroy their careers at least temporarily. And three guys who basically went insane, and may or may not recover from their great men all on the way up. But once they got to the top of the mountain fuckin disaster, and these are just a slice off the top of the massive pile of examples that I could go through. Right, just Google celebs who went crazy celebs who killed themselves, rich people who fucking lost it all. And you’ll just see huge amounts of evidence of people kind of losing it when they get to the top of the mountain. And when they get all the things that they’ve been working so hard for, especially if it happens quickly. They implode. I’ve know I’ve seen this personally firsthand. In my own development, as a coach, I’ve been involved a lot of people in this kind of self help industry. You know, other coaches, guys who run podcasts or online blogs, that kind of thing. I’m not going to name any names here. I’m not here to name and shame, but I’ve known some guys in a few of them. And the amount of time I’ve been doing this for about eight years have blown up you know, they became a big deal. You know, one guy I know is His blog is basically the biggest blog on the internet. I’ll let you guess who it is. Now, the guy didn’t online men’s magazine that is now one of the most read things on the internet. One guy is dating coach who found a specific niche that nobody else is doing and he’s like the king of that niche. And just super sort of famous for the other guy knows like trading crypto, and he got it right and was earning six figures a month plus there’s a whole bunch of examples of guys I’ve known who like when I met them and got to know them. They’re just sort of regular dudes like me, you know, ambitious, striving, but you know, you have a beer with them. It’s just gonna be a normal time. Since they blew up though, something odd has happened. Every single one of them and it’s different for each. But there’s a few other guys who have gotten very, very deep into conspiracy theories like Like, you can’t talk to them without that coming up. Like how, you know, if you’re talking to a CrossFit or a vegan, you know, they just can’t keep it out of the conversation. So, guys who have never mentioned conspiracy theory before, to me ever becoming like, just deep dive into, like, that’s all they care about, they spend hours a day on YouTube looking into the stuff other guys who found religion, but found it in that way that like is scary when they mentioned the word Jesus and every second sentence, you know, and they’re always like saying, well, but the blood on the cross, you know, like, dude, I’m just trying to talk to you. You know, those guys that like, they found religion, but they found it like too hard. You know what I mean? Like, they just, it’s like it is, it’s just bizarre, it’s impossible to communicate with them. And I’m not being anti religious, my wife’s Catholic, right? I don’t have a problem with people believing what they want. But these guys went from basically kind of atheist or agnostic or mildly believing in something, to fucking die hard, it’s impossible to talk to them about anything else, right. Or others just kind of crashed and burned, blew all their money became drug addicts, or alcoholics. I said, a great chat with a good friend of mine. I’ve never met him in person. But we’re both coaches, and we kind of help each other around, you know, a little sort of brotherhood thing going to keep ourselves alive. You know, he blew up recently, over the last sort of six, eight months, something like that, and had too much money didn’t even know what to do with. It just went on a big binder of being a rich guy who lived on the beach and five top girls and did all the things that you’re supposed to do when you blow up. And the end result is he’s suicidal and alcoholic, you know, and he had to go back to AAA and he’s trying to humble himself and scale his business back down. So you know, he can he can recover from the craziness. So guys either go like crazy or lazy or something. And I know my own anecdotal experience is not scientific proof of anything. But there’s no exceptions. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t lost their mind when they got to the top. I don’t know anyone. Personally, I know. I know of people. So someone like Tom Hanks seems to have kept it together, I’m going to talk about some of the people who have like they’ve reached the mountaintop, and yet they haven’t lost it. And we’re going to see how they’re different from the ones who have. But I don’t personally know anyone who made it big quickly, and didn’t collapse as a result. Now, this kind of information is a dilemma for me, because one side of me thinks, Oh, are you just using that as an excuse to self sabotage and talk yourself out of like, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone or something? Right? That story doesn’t make sense to me, because I don’t have a problem with going outside of my comfort zone. I do it on an almost daily basis. I’m always looking for something to challenge me. So the story that I’m being a pussy to escape being uncomfortable, doesn’t it isn’t supported by evidence isn’t supported by my account of integrity of behavior, my personality. And the other side of me says, fuck, maybe there’s something wrong with success. The classic definition of success as we know it, you know, bigger, faster, richer, stronger, more popular. All these things. The push that we always get from everybody, you know, whenever I joined some sort of Coach Training, because I’m always trying to up my skills. Inevitably, the conversation is 70% about making more money. And everyone seems obsessed with it. And the guys who are 10 times richer than me, seem more obsessing anybody, my dude, how much money how many zeros you need in your bank account before you relax, you seem to be getting worse, not better, you know. So it’s really become clear to me that there’s a certain type of mountaintop that is viciously unhealthy. That something about the human brain is just incapable of managing it well, of handling it without just destroying itself. Without going weird. You think of the celebrities that some become suddenly become really political, like crazy political, or whatever it is, you know, there’s this thing that people just can’t seem to handle being at the top. I recently saw some interviews, some really in depth interviews with Jordan Peterson, you know, he crashed and burned recently, almost died, as far as I can tell, is that his wife and he went into rehab and he had like, an addiction to psychiatric medication. And, you know, he talks quite openly he’s a good one to listen to, to talk openly about fine. You know, he’s not falsely modest or humble and pretending he’s not as famous as he is. He’s absolutely aware of how famous he is. And he talks about the difficulties in handling it and how, you know, he doesn’t have the shame that some people have been complaining about being famous, you know, some celebrities or whatever they feel like they’re gonna sound stupid or spoiled or something if they come Lying about fame but he’s like no famous, horrible. You don’t want this, Jim Carrey says as well is like, I wish everyone could be rich and famous so they could see it’s not what they’re looking for. There’s a lot of evidence, saying, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, it’s actually worse than struggling, it’s actually worse than, you know, surviving paycheck to paycheck, it’s actually worse than, you know, being a bit unpopular and a bit lonely and so on. And being a bit overweight. You know, the top of the mountain is actually got this obsessive, addictive, destructive quality to it. I’ve heard a lot of people at the top of anything, whether it’s bodybuilders being at the top of, you know, physical performance or top athletes, you know, Andre Agassi’s book, open talks about it a lot. People are at the top of wealth people at the top of popularity, famous people. They hate it, but they can’t give it up. They absolutely suffer from it. They’re suicidal, depressed, anxious. They addicted, they barely struggling to like have a grasp on reality. But God forbid, less, they can’t go back now, even who said a scammy. Dude, Dan Bilzerian talks about how he can enjoy things really anymore, because he’s had so much stimulation, so much saturation of pleasure, that nothing’s good enough for him anymore. And yet, he won’t humble himself, you won’t go down to grassroots and start over again and live a humble life, which is clearly the solution. They don’t want to give it up. So this mountain top has a grip on people. Not only does it suck, but they don’t want to give it up again, maybe that’s that familiarity problem, to get familiar with being rich and famous and powerful, and 60, or whatever it is at the top. That even though it’s an abusive place to be, you can’t give it up. The mountain top clearly has its problems, doesn’t it? You know, when I think of my friends who kind of lost their minds, and I grieve, you know, I can’t communicate with them on anymore. I can’t be friends with them anymore, because they’re just too fucking crazy. I can’t talk conspiracy theories with people for three hours, I want to hear about, you know how things going. You know, I want to hear about your life and stuff. And I want to have to deal with that. But there’s a couple of things that stand out to me. One is the mountaintop is lonely. When you get to the top, you have very few peers. And when you do have peers, they’re usually your competitors. It’s hard to connect with people who don’t understand, you know, this is why famous actors only get married to other famous actors 99% of the times because nobody else understands their lifestyle. Right, somebody who travels a lot can’t marry somebody who’s a homebody that there’s not going to work together well, you know, that kind of thing. So you get to this point where like, if you’re at the very top, there’s only one person there, it’s just you. And that extrapolates to other problems. So not only are you alone, and the compulsion for narcissism is going to be very strong. It’s very hard to hear other ideas, when you’re not listening to anyone else. There’s no one else to listen to. You like critical problems, you don’t need to worry about bills anymore, you don’t need to worry about health anymore. You don’t need to worry about popularity anymore. All the stuff is bought and paid for and gets delivered to you on a silver platter. And you suddenly realize that those are actually good problems to have, you know, when you hear somebody going, like, Ah, my boss is being such a bitch lately. They don’t realize that’s a good challenge to have that keeps the brain sharp. You know, there’s a bit of dementia and perhaps even Alzheimer’s in my family. So I had to look into this being obsessive about psychology as I am. And one of the reasons I play chess a lot, is because you cannot get complacent academically, psychologically, logically, if you have dementia and your bloodlines, like you need to make sure that you’re constantly challenging yourself. They often recommend Sudoku and puzzles and things like that, where you’re always doing something that’s hard for you mentally, every single day, you never get like, never allows things to get easy, because that’s the slippery slope down into dementia. And actually keeping yourself challenged mentally, is the best way to prevent it. Statistically speaking, as far as I understand, you get that idea of like retirement is the biggest killer of people. You have to stay challenged you need problems to solve need to feel like you’re doing something important. The problems can be too big that you can’t solve them, but they can’t be too small that you don’t need to solve them. Right You need something irritating something agitating you on a daily basis that you have to deal with it. I like grassroots, get your hands dirty kind of level. I think this is you know, one of the observations I’ve made is while there are exceptions, generally trades people tend to be the most content with a simple life and because as a job, there’s constantly problem solving. And it’s never that easy. Like a mechanic for example, I know a few mechanics, there are so many millions of different car problems within the different types and makes of cars. And then the different types of customers that you never really get bored, there’s always new shit, somebody comes in, like, my car is making this noise. And you have to start all over again, like fuck is that noise. I’ve never heard that before. Even if you’ve been a mechanic for 10 years, you know. So they have like, you know, whether you’re a bricklayer plumber, whatever, every job is a bit different, you know, I did landscaping, and you might think digging holes and putting up retaining walls is pretty standard. But every property is different. Sometimes you don’t even know how to get a wheelbarrow at the back. Every time you have to solve these new problems and it keeps you sharp. Well, when you’re at the top of the mountain, you don’t have any of that shit to deal with. Right? You don’t have to worry about bills, you don’t have to worry about food, you don’t have to worry about people. You don’t have to worry about parking, you don’t have to worry about all these things that used to irritate you. But actually were good for your mental health. You’re deprived of hard feedback. You know, when you’re in the middle, when you’re a regular person, life constantly gives you feedback on what you’re doing wrong. And we are bad person and so on right to get negative critical feedback constantly. When you’re at the bottom, or in the middle. Now you also get at the top because you get a lot of hate at the top. But you can distance yourself from it. Or you can become obsessed with it either way, it’s not helpful. You’re not getting good critical feedback from someone who’s got your best interests at heart looking for your long term success. And of course, if you’re gonna have a lot of sycophancy, when you’re at the top of the mountain, everyone’s going to placate you or the people in your inner circle are going to tell you what you want to hear and tell you what makes you like them and prefer them. And even if they’re not, you’re not going to know the difference. Who can I trust? Who can’t I trust who my real friends? Sounds Oh, poor rich people would have fucking problem. Yeah, there’s a real problem. You might think you might have that in view of rich people or famous people. And then when you hear them complain, like saying, I don’t know who my real friends are, you’re like, fuck, get over it. You got everything you ever need. Actually, you’re doing better than now. Because you know who your real friends are cuz you got knocked them off for them. I was talking to a client of mine just last week, saying at one point he was down to no dollars. And he was like, basically pretending to live in a hostel. And he met this girl and went on a date with her and kissed her. And he was just blown away, that she would kiss him when he had nothing to offer. He didn’t even have enough money for a bus ride. And she still liked them. Now he can trust that she likes him because he’s gotten nothing else but his own personality to offer. But if you’ve got everything in the world that everybody else could ever want to leech from you how could you ever trust a friendship? Even someone you’ve known before you got famous? How do you know they’re still the same after? How do you know they’re not wanting some or what you got? How do you know they haven’t been corrupted by it themselves? You will always be there doubt in your mind? And of course you stumble. You know this is where I was talking to my friend that I spoke to earlier who struggled when his business blew up. It was kind of like whoa, what’s next? I mean top of the mountain is nowhere else to go. You’re at the pinnacle. There’s no further steps you’ve done at all. But you’ve still got the Spock amount of time in front of you. What are you supposed to do just stand there basking in the glory. I mean, how long does that take to wear out? You know people think like I’d love to win lotto say yeah, you would for like a month and then you’d be used to it. I mean, how long do you think you can sit on a beach sipping mai Tai’s before that gets a bit dull? Right? How long can you travel? Well, before it all just gets a bit bland like you’ve seen at all? How many girls can you sleep with? Before it just starts to be a parade of vaginas and starts getting like kind of medical on it? And just like Jesus Christ a minute seeing human beings anymore, what am I doing? There is a point where there’s nothing left. There’s nothing left to achieve. There’s no growth opportunity in front of you. Any problem you might have as solved before you even look at it. You can’t think of something even because there’s nowhere higher to go. Now you get the guys who just keep going higher that Elon Musk’s the Jeff Bezos. When I look at them, I just think Jesus Christ, they just cannot find satisfaction. They could dominate the whole universe. And the next question would be like, was there another universe that they they can never reach the end of their rainbow, they’re constantly striving, which means it constantly unsatisfied. If you got home the other day from hard day’s working, I fucking crushed it today. You are psychologically more satisfied than Elon Musk. You’re doing better than he is in that moment. stoicism and other philosophies worn away from riches and comfort. You know, they they put a lot of emphasis on being careful about such things. You know the stoics you used to practice all these sort of unnecessary challenges a lot of the stock writers of whose content we have today, were doing pretty well, you know, the high ranking politicians or merchants or whatever. And a lot of them would practice and challenge each other to practice unnecessary depravations, like eating lentils instead of nice food and sleeping on the floor once a month and, you know, going around and crappy clothes or exposing themselves to cold or doing wrestling, even though they didn’t need to do any of these difficult things that do them because of philosophy kept challenging them to stay humble, stay hard, keep themselves active and keep themselves solving problems, and not allow riches and comfort to weaken them and destroy them. So maybe, just maybe the upper limit problem is partly a safety mechanism. It’s to prevent too much growth in the wrong direction. I’m not saying growth as a bad thing. But the definition of growth, we need to be very careful about what that word means we need to be careful about what success means. When we ask ourselves, what’s the next level we need to be asking also, well, doesn’t need to be about levels doesn’t need to be up. There are other directions to go that are healthier. You know, am I actually onto something as a bit of familiarity, okay, but I can find challenge within the familiarity, I can keep doing what I’m doing, but do it differently, and keep doing what I’m doing but find challenges within it, rather than trying to change what I’m doing to make it something else. I was getting coaching couple of years ago. And I was talking to my coach about the possibility of scaling up my business, which would be something along the lines of me training and managing other coaches to coach clients. And I’ve always sort of struggle with the idea. I mean, I couldn’t I never really pulled the trigger on it, though. I knew I kind of could have. I had this kind of upper limit problem. Like, every time I got close to doing it. I made it hard for myself or slacked off. And he just asked me he’s like, Why do you think scaling up is a good idea. And I just never thought to question. So you always scale up when you’re an entrepreneur that’s constantly scaling up until infinity, right? You’re doing the Elon Musk thing. But when I look back at my, in my life, there was a particular experience that taught me a lesson, which was when I was on the Department of Corrections, I excelled. I did very well as a probation officer became a senior probation officer, I was coaching others, I was earmarked to be a manager. And I was just like, fuck it. And I just started going for promotions. As we’re in, boom, boom, boom. So getting all these promotions, I was always the youngest guy to get to the next thing I’ve talked about this before. But the thing is, as definitely it was the transition from senior probation officer to manager, where within a few weeks, I was like, Oh, I fucked up, as I liked being face to face with the criminal offenders, and now not anymore unless they just awful, right. And I’d lost something, something very significant. I kind of made up for by coaching staff, and then I moved up to a higher role. And I kept looking for the thing that I had lost. But I’d gone too far I’d gone too far up. And I’d actually distanced myself from the very thing that gave me satisfaction, the thing that I was good at and enjoyed. You know, yeah, there have been some boredom in some complacency there. But I could have done something about there. I got to challenge myself in different ways, taking on different types of offenders perhaps or, you know, run training programs, something I didn’t have to go up. And I learned from now as a chef going up is sometimes a terrible idea. Up is not always the best direction. And here, I was trying to scale my coaching business up. And when he when my coach reflected back to me what that would look like he’s like, you know, you just be doing management and admin. I was like, Oh, sounds fucking horrible. I left working for other people, so I don’t have to do that kind of stuff anymore. And he pointed out well, that’s solely what I’d be doing, you know, just be hassles and complaints. And to make sure people have paid up for this and the other and all that sort of shit. I was like, Oh, God, that’s horrible. That’s not a job. That’s a fucking nightmare. I wouldn’t be coaching clients anymore. Why do I need to scale up, I might change the type of clients I work with or challenge myself to try new techniques with the clients, I can still grow infinitely. Like coaching, I can always get better at coaching, if I push myself, but I never have to go up to do that. So what is too much growth? I think one way to put it is it success beyond wisdom, which I think is the essential human issue. If you think of things like artificial intelligence and nuclear power. You know, technology has exceeded our wisdom. We’re children with machine guns. Now we possess power was a race. I don’t have it. But as a race, we possess power that’s far beyond our maturity. You know, the kind of people have their finger on the nuclear bomb RMS is terrifying. They are not stable, mature wise, philosophical leaders are they? They’re fucking egotistical nutters, you know, we got all these people racing to get to the next level of artificial intelligence and robotics. And I’m just like, Dude, did you not see Terminator? Right, we can handle this stop, stop going up. But of course, if one of them stops, the other one overtakes them and gets all the money, so they can’t stop. Now arms race. And we’re just not really the handler, we’re not ready to handle computers that are smarter than us, we’re not ready to handle robots that could kill us all. And yet, we can’t stop ourselves from creating them. And it keeps me awake at night. But that’s not what this podcast is about today, if you read a fine growth, to been something about matching your changes and your developments to your internal stability, so always kind of doing what’s right for you next, rather than just going up blindly. Regardless of what’s going on for you. You want to get to a point that if you get richer, the money doesn’t implicate you, or make you complacent, or make you extra anxious and, you know, ambitious to a level of craziness. You want success to be something that doesn’t Jayde you doesn’t make you feel like you’ve finished everything that because the goals are achieved the left stumbling, you know, fame shouldn’t go to your head. That should be something that it’s just a tool that you use to help even more people and so on, you can see if your maturity matches where you’re going, your development and your growth. There’s no real risks or threats, like we’re talking about. But it means you need to be very careful about deciding what growth means for you. Think of depth rather than height. You know, people talk about growth as going up bigger, better, faster, stronger, more famous. But what if what if depth is the way to go, you know, resembling a coach, like how can I coach to a more powerful level, rather than how do I coach more people and make more money, right, think of mastery rather than dominance. Rather than becoming like, the most famous actor of all time. Try to make sure that your next performance is just incredible. You know, that even if it’s a small play, doing three nights at a theater that fits 30 people, that you put everything into a new embody the path that you’re playing, you know that you’re constantly getting training and development and watching the greats and trying to just one person at a time, make your acting more convincing and more powerful. Even if you never do small time, gigs. Simplicity rather than expection. I think it’s actually more challenging to be simple than it is to get bigger and better, more complicated. You know, can you do one thing amazingly well, and stick with it, the kind of commitment and loyalty and longevity that by the end of it you are the fucking door of this thing, even though nobody else knows about it. It’s simple. Think of a simple yet content people that you often see in like these viral videos on the internet, like maybe it’s a guy who makes this special type of noodles, right? Or it’s a gymnast of some kind trampoline this maybe or skateboarding, you know, somebody athletic, or like I know one dude, he just like balancing weird stuff. You know, he’ll balance stuff, it just looks impossible. He’s got like, a coin with a rock on it with a watermelon with a vase with a flower in it. And it’s all like standing straight up. You know, just the other day I saw one he was a mime. Like a modern mime not like those ones. But this guy like he makes like a pillow look like it’s like stuck in midair. And he’s just perfect. It’s just It looks like special effects and it’s just the dudes I body movement. You know, these people you don’t know the names, you love the videos, they got millions of views, but they’re not really famous people. They go about the humble lives after the video blows up. You know, they’re this simple, yet content people because they’re just doing one thing incredibly well. And they’ve kind of figured it out whatever it is, we’re all looking for that state of being they’re great satisfaction with your life and sense of contentment with who you are and what you’re doing with your time. You know, they seem to have figured it out. Now, I don’t know. Maybe they haven’t. Maybe they will kill themselves after this video. I don’t know. But I don’t think so. What I know of human psychology, the simple, humble people that you barely know about. Or even if they’re famous, they kind of don’t make a big deal about it. They just carry on with their lives. And they just really focused on doing one thing. Well, they’re really focused on serving others, they’re really focused on kind of creating great relationships. They focus on depth rather than heights. They seem to be the most content. They seem to be the healthiest psychologically and so on. And I think they’ve figured out something that we’re all trying to figure out, but they did it the way that none of us are doing. There are some healthy examples in the celebrity world that I thought of counter reaps is a great example. Apple you know you hear nothing but good stories about this fucking dude. He makes movies like that latest matrix one that was kind of a dog but he makes it because the fans ask him to you know, I think he’s doing another John Wick just because fans wanted it you know he gives his money away anonymously he helps people out all the time he lives in a flat he travels by underground tram you know, this guy lives humbly and acting for him as to something he really loves to do and does for fun and he’ll do it whether it’s gonna be big or small or something in between. He doesn’t care about his reputation. He doesn’t do parts that are like designed to move his career forward. Incidentally, being that way has made his career really solid, but he’s not trying to write, I think a Russell Brand after he crashed and burned for too much fame and drugs. Now he spends most of his time trying to help others with as little sort of conspiracy YouTube channel. And he does Brazilian jujitsu. You know, they’re quite a challenging uncomfortable sport to do. Tom Hardy just recently won gold medals on jujitsu, something he picked up when he was training for the movie warrior. You know, these guys have found something hard and difficult to do, no matter how famous you are used to get your ass kicked, and you still get a blood nose and maybe even like, you know, cauliflower ears or whatever. And they do it anyway. Right. Warren Buffett, I mean, I’m not a big fan of all these billionaires and stuff. But he lives like he’s earning 40k Yeah, you know, he eats McDonald’s instead of fucking Michelin star meals. Yoga guys doing the Wim Hof ice treatment, all these uncomfortable things is you got certain high performing celebrity types. And they haven’t succumbed to the unhealthy ways you see them like sports, you get the athletes that end up getting into a brawl at a bar or sex scandal or just you know, once they retire, they just want to kill themselves, because sport was everything. And they get the others and they become commentators or they run a funny sports show on late night TV or whatever, they just kept on going, doing what they love being good cuts, and they never kind of the success never really did anything bad to them, they kept the same wife and never cheated on her. And you know, they invested their money wisely, and they just had a good time. Like, there’s guys who have it figured out. And they keep training, you know, and they you know, that’s one of the things I noticed was like, I used to watch like those sports programs where ex rugby league players and stuff, we’ll just have a laugh together. And they’re always in tip top shape, even though it’s been 10 years since they’re on the field. Right? And I saw an interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger, actually. They’re the scammy boxer do Jake Paul, whatever was interviewing him. And you know, Jay, Paul says, Why do you go to the gym, and he’s like, because I went to the gym yesterday, and the day before there. And the year before, they just talked about the law, he doesn’t need to keep working out and be a fucking beast, but he doesn’t, because there’s something about that challenge that keeps him sane and humble, especially after what he’s been through. And he’s a great example of redemption. You know, after all his drama, he became like a kindness Ambassador than me. I his speeches started to get really just emotional and loving, you know, he’s done some powerful speeches about, you know, not giving up and just trying your best he did reach out to Putin about the war and everything. And it was really just kind of compassionate for everybody involved and just asking for people to just be kind to each other. Not saying it does much, but he’s clearly found this humble way of living. He’s focused on serving individuals of being a good guy taking care of himself. And he’s managed to sort of like subdued the effects that always seems to head on, you know, Louie CK, he’s bounced back. And now he does all his own marketing and produces all his own stuff. And he’s basically forced to, but I think it’s a good thing. He has to solve all his own problems. Now, you can see he’s tougher now. You know, I mean, he was always kind of hard, dude. But now after everything he’s been through, he’s like, you can hear me I got this. I’m gonna do it all fucking, you know, roll my sleeves up and do it all myself. And I imagine now he does late nights and long hours and hard work. Whereas before, he is kind of coasting. Tiger Woods, he seems to be really focused on teaching his son how to play golf now, rather than, you know, being the dominant guy himself, even though he is still dominant. These guys have found a simplified, humble giving way of living. They’re not going up anymore. Right? They’re sort of going in there going, Hey, how do I do a better for me not not for success externally. But how do I create problems and challenges for myself that are rewarding and keep me going? So there’s a mix of striving for great things, but keeping things humble, which sounds like a paradox. But what I think it’s all about is rather than trying to go up, think of a different direction to go in. Can you master something, can you find a new challenge? If you’ve already reached the top of the mountain somewhere, then start at the bottom somewhere else? Understand that climbing the mountains that pulling us into the top is not actually a necessary and that can be dangerous. So my conclusion is I think I’m going to be a lot less hard on myself about my upper limit now, instead of taking it as I’m too scared to succeed, and I need to push myself harder and get past this hump. Instead, what I’m going to see it is a warning sign that I need to be simplifying, doing what I’m doing better doing what I’m doing with more like focus and compassion and attention and focusing in on what matters the most. And what’s right for me, rather than just trying to get bigger and better all the time, that that little upper limit, it’s a good limit to have, but the sides are unlimited. There’s a wall at the top ceiling that prevents me going up for a good reason. But outward, or inward, there are no walls. Those are actually safe places to grow. And they all line up with what’s been shown by science and philosophy to be the best way to live the highest quality of life. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed it. If you want to figure out how to live this way, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll figure it out together. Cheers.