Bounce! Conversations with Larry Weeks

By Larry Weeks

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Interviews w/ authors, entrepreneurs, athletes and others on resilience, getting on or getting over life’s set ups and setbacks. Description On the podcast Larry has in-depth conversations with notable people from a variety of fields and occupations; professors, entrepreneurs, athletes, physicians, etc, to get their stories or research on how to deal with or prepare for life’s challenges, stumbles, and stings. If research exists on how people bounce back, he talks about it. If there are physical practices, proven psychologies or philosophies that can help people build personal foundations before the storms come, he digs into it.

Episode Date

“What would it be like if you were only known for the worst decision that you've made for the rest of your life?”

I’m excited for you to hear this episode because I think it will challenge you as it did me.

My guest is Catherine Hoke.

“Cat” is a former venture capitalist who is using training in entrepreneurship to solve a very serious social problem, high recidivism rates in the US prison system. And to that end, founded two successful nonprofits; the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) and Defy Ventures.

In 14 years over five thousand incarcerated people have graduated from these two programs and earning Baylor University MBA certificates and the programs have resulted in industry leading low recidivism rates of less than seven percent.

Fast company named “Cat” one of the hundred most creative people in business. Forbes named her 40 women to watch over 40. She was also one of the first recipients of the MakeTechHuman Agents of Change award given to global influencers who are shaping how technology is expanding human possibility

She has a new best selling book (published by Seth Godin BTW)  called A Second Chance: For You, For Me, And For The Rest Of Us, about the struggles and triumphs of her journey and on her graduates journey, telling the stories of America's most unforgivable people redeeming their lives.

This was an emotional interview - for me - in many levels.  I was personally challenged by her vulnerability, as you will hear, she is incredibly brave. I was also humbled by her commitment to her mission as she did the interview despite very difficult circumstances. So many times I’ve been waylaid by something or some event and there goes the day. Not Cat.

We all make stupid decision and mistakes that, on a continuum range from the benign bad to the life changing horrible. Cat will challenge you to ‘step to the line,’ forgive yourself and others then move forward in making a difference.

...and I challenge you to listen to what she has to say



Sep 08, 2018

What does the 2007 -2008 financial crisis, the Fukushima nuclear accident, Three Mile Island, and Deepwater Horizon all have in common?

The small things. Or rather, lots of tightly coupled small things that are overlooked, ignored or covered up.

Accidents waiting to happen.

In Deep Survival, Lawrence Gonzalez, writes about the fact that accidents don’t just happen, they are assembled carefully, piece by piece. And if just one single piece is missing, the accident simply doesn’t happen.

Risk is unavoidable but accidents aren't.  

Our world is filled with countless near-misses and close calls, and the truth is, most of the time we never even know how close we came to this or that accident or disaster.

This is even truer at the organizational/institutional levels, where risk and complexity combine with organizational culture to increase both the likelihood and the impact of catastrophic failure.

My guest on this podcast is Chris Clearfield. Chris brings a novel approach to the study of the challenges posed by risk and complexity. He’s a science geek and reformed derivatives trader, but more recently he’s the founder of System Logic, an independent research and consulting firm dedicated to understanding risk and its interaction with organizational factors. He’s also the co-author, with András Tilcsik, of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail, and What We Can do About it, which is the topic of our show today.

This isn't a conversation just about system failures and why they happen; it's also about what we can do about those failures, about how we can better prepare for, and even prevent many such accidents and failures from happening.

“The same kind of culture and decision making that led to the financial crisis also led to BP" - Chris Clearfield 

Complex systems generate risk (and fail) in ways that are fundamentally different from the kinds of risks and failures our species evolved to deal with over millions of years, and that the new risk landscape we face requires a new approach to risk management, and really, an entirely new organizational culture.

Chris was very insightful during the conversation, as he discussed the emergent properties of many system-wide failures. Many of these disasters were emergent in those systems in the same way as the 2009 financial crisis was “of the system and not an anomaly.”

“What would have to be in place for something really bad to happen?"

Checklists and Pre-mortems

After talking with Chris, I find myself thinking much more in terms of checklists and “pre-mortems” and the like. It’s like we spend most of our lives driving along a twisty mountain highway at night, totally clueless about just how close to the edge of the 500-foot cliff we really came around that last turn. I’m reflecting more and more on what would have to be in place for something bad to go wrong, say driving your car or in managing online bank accounts. What would have to be in place for something really bad to happen and then kind of going back and mentally reverse-engineering and mitigating those things, those pieces, one by one.

I hope you find my conversation with Chris as interesting as I did.  

Some of the other subjects we discuss include:

  • Why systems fail and how some of these companies handled or weathered different crises much better than others;
  • Tight coupling—where connections come together in a way that’s very hard to stop
  • The most prevalent cognitive biases associated with meltdowns 
  • Black Swan events—and how to find the feathers that predict such events
  • Pre-established criteria in decision making
  • The value of dissent
  • Power cues—including a fascinating example Chris gives of a study they did with physicians’ around body language with patients;
  • The S.P.I.E.S Tool, that goes hand in hand with the Annie Duke episode if you're curious and want to listen to that regarding Thinking in Bets.

In other words, we talked about a ton of really interesting and useful subjects, and hopefully, I've “salted” this intro enough to make you thirsty for the whole episode.

Jul 31, 2018

This episode is about where you spend the majority of your life - your work: why you do it, how you do it, changing where you do it and how companies should measure it.

On this podcast I talk with Fred Kaufman. Fred is the former vice president of executive development at Linkedin and current leadership advisor at Google. He is also the author of seven books including conscious business, authentic communication, and for our discussion, his findings in his latest book, the Meaning Revolution. Fred addresses both sides of the issues facing employees and employers and describes how to create not only a productive work environment but a meaningful one.

70% of American workers say they’re stuck in a job in which they are completely disengaged and 30 percent of that group actively hate their jobs.  

Fred says there is a better way...

"Autonomy I put fairly low in the hierarchy. For me, the most important one is to have a purpose that you're really behind, that makes you proud, that you feel is a noble thing to pursue."

Talking with Fred felt like a meeting with a spiritual advisor that I climbed a mountaintop to see. But make no mistake, this is a business discussion but it “felt” different. What he said resonated with me. 

Fred gave me perspective expanding ideas and challenged my cynicism. I think you'll find that it will change how you look at work and your long-term career goals. 

On this show we discuss...

  • How to really use LinkedIn
  • Building identity capital
  • The motivation problem in the workplace
  • Why employees are disengaged 
  • Incentives and unintended consequences
  • The economic value of workplace happiness
  • How to size up a company's a true culture - very helpful if you're in the job market as we usually we get blinded by the financials or benefits
  • What it means to work for a mission
  • And more...

If you're interested in creating a more meaningful work experience, listen up. 


Jun 15, 2018

Does motivation - or the lack of motivation - have to stop us from achieving our goals?

On this podcast, I talk with Jeff Haden. Jeff runs Blackbird Media, is a top a LinkedIn Influencer--making him a part of an exclusive, invitation-only, global collective of 500+ of the world’s foremost thinkers, leaders, and innovators--a contributing editor to Inc., and the author of his latest book, The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.  

When it comes to motivation, we are going to address two broad bucket applications: you have a desirable goal / task you want to achieve OR you have an undesirable goal / task you need (have to) to achieve.

It doesn’t matter which bucket your goal falls into, the truth is, whether we want to do something or not, many of us have a hard time starting, or, once we start, a harder time completing it.

Many of you set new year’s resolutions that you haven't even attempted to reach.


According to Jeff, the reason has to do with how we prioritize a goal. Most of us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the “prize”: the sixty pounds to lose, the 26 miles of a marathon, the 50,000 word novel we’ll have finished writing. We become fixated on the dream of what we'll earn at the end of the climb, and compare each day’s results to that big payoff.

Annie Duke, in her book "Thinking In Bets" has a name for this: Outcome Junkie.

Redefining Success

Jeff advocates for process orientation and redefining achievement to be more inclusive, so that even if you don't reach the end goal, that process, if you’ve work it, will have still benefited you by providing takeaways you didn’t have when you began. You will meet people you would have never met. You'll make connections that you'd never would have made. You might find some other interests that you never knew you would have.

Jeff has not only met with great people who have achieved their dreams, such as tennis star Venus Williams, but has spent untold hours applying his motivational principles to himself. What did he learn?

A goal isn’t worth a hill of beans if it doesn’t inform one’s process.

“...started me thinking ok, if that's how successful people do it, how do you create a process for basically anyone to follow to achieve anything that they would like to achieve?” - Jeff Haden

While many people ascribe to the “dream it, believe it, do it,” goal achievement philosophy, Jeff opts instead for creating cycles of motivation fulfillment.

Priming the pump

In our conversation Jeff goes into detail on how an emphasis on action brings about a result, which in turn breeds motivation for more action and thus more results. He goes into detail to show how strategic, action-based planning can help someone struggling to achieve results in both areas described above: those who have tasks they want to complete and tasks they don’t want to be doing, but need to get done nonetheless.

Jeff also gives some great tips on how to find a dream or goal if you’re drawing up blank when asked the question, “What would you do if you could do anything?”

Jeff emphasizes that his motivation techniques can help anyone, no matter what their starting place might be. Having spoken to numerous high achievers like Richard Branson, he realizes that they are all merely humans like us, who used planned motivational strategies to push themselves far. Therefore, Jeff asserts, we can do the same.

Oh and by the way, Jeff gives some super good advice on how to reinvent yourself. Want to break into an industry you have no experience in? Listen to Jeff's backstory, he walks me through how he did it. 

So, tired of starting and then giving up for lack of motivation?

Ready to get those new year's resolutions back on track?

Click on the podcast above to access Jeff’s tips for beating procrastination and other motivation sappers, so that you can finally cross items off your to-do list.



Jun 04, 2018

"We’ve all had that experience of expressing something with certainty…and someone says “wanna bet?” and immediately it brings to the fore the fact that whenever you declare something you believe to be true, or a prediction, that there’s risk in that – Annie Duke

All decisions have tradeoffs, risk vs. reward. We have to make choices that have costs yet, many factors involved in making those choices are often hidden.

So how do you make good decisions in the face of uncertainty?

These are challenges inherent in the game of poker, and in poker, as in life, there is a difference between good decisions and good outcomes.

On this podcast, my guest is Annie Duke. For two decades she was one of the top poker players in the world. She holds a World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet and the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions and the National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2010.

Before becoming a professional poker player, Annie was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study cognitive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She now spends her time writing, consulting and speaking on topics such as decision fitness and embracing uncertainty.

In her new book, "Thinking In Bets" Annie reveals lessons cultivated by combining her academic studies in cognitive psychology with real-life decision-making experience at the poker table, which is the topic of this podcast.

This conversation is indeed about better decision-making, but that encompasses a great deal. It's also about equanimity, how to be objective in the face of bad outcomes - while developing skill to influence better outcomes.

This is also how resilience is developed, using outcomes good or bad, as a feedback loop. 

You also become more resilient when you are able to unhook your happiness solely from a result. 

I think that the outcome anchors us so heavily that we can't see that there's lots of other stuff by which we can determine whether a decision was good - Annie Duke

There's been a lot written about the benefits of shifting to a process orientation but Annie tells you how to actually do that.

I had a great time talking with Annie and you will really enjoy this episode. Don't let the length fool you, there is no lull.

Here's some of what we talk about on this show. 

  • How she went from academia to poker 
  • Her introduction to decision strategy
  • Some great betting stories (Ira the Whale)
  • The worst call in history?
  • Cognitive bias / why we make bad decisions
  • Defining failure
  • Time travel thought experiments
  • What being wrong / right really means
  • Probabilities and predictions
  • How to use betting to make better decisions in life

Whether it's career, business or relationships our lives are the sum total of our decisions to this point. I would listen to this podcast and reflect on whether you've made good decisions or whether you've just been very lucky so far - and then learn how to make better ones. 


For show notes and resources visit



Mar 14, 2018

This is a podcast about training how you want to exist in the world.

Your training how to do this everyday. If you're existing in a consistently negative state  - angry, fearful, stressful - that's the habit you're unconsciously training.

There is a better way. 

My guest is Jeff Warren. Jeff is an author and meditation teacher and referred to as the meditation MacGyver. He's the author of "The Head Trip, Adventures On the Wheel of Consciousness", the founder of the Consciousness Explorers Club and recent collaborator on the book "Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics"

In 2004 ABC News Anchor Dan Harris had a panic attack on live TV and that experience eventually led Dan to meditation. He then wrote a - now best selling - book about it called "10% Happier" and the fidgety skeptics follow-up, subtitled "A 10% Happier, How-To Guide"  which explores why most people don't meditate or can't stick with it once they start. 

Jeff's research for the book was a cross country tour with Dan - on a bus - with Jeff being the meditation teacher. They visited 18 states in 11 days meeting with a mix of people from line cooks to police officers, members of Congress, neuroscientists, military cadets and celebrities to better understand the obstacles people have to meditation. Jeff offered up best practices and life hacks designed to help people learn meditation.

Hence why I have Jeff him on the podcast.

Personally, meditation has been absolutely helpful to me, WHEN I do it but it's been a struggle. Occasionally I can string together 10 or so days in a row (woowho!) but then I just drop it and it's hard to get back into. So, Jeff agreed to talk with me about it and about the book.

Thank God. 

If you've ever said “I’d love to meditate but I can’t because __" 

You need to listen to this podcast.  

Jeff describes himself as the anti-Buddha. He says he was meditations hardest test case. Ah, the perfect person to talk to about what meditation can and cannot do. 

So I did just that. Enjoy!

Episode and show notes -

Mar 05, 2018

Rory Sutherland is one of the most admired and influential intellects in advertising. He is also one of the most interesting and witty people I've had the privilege talking to. 

Rory is Vice Chairman of Ogilvy and Mather group and co-founder of Ogilvy Change, a behavioral science practice were he co-heads a team of psychology graduates who look for "butterfly effects" in consumer behavior - these are the very small contextual changes which can have enormous effects on the decisions people make.

Rory has spoken at TED Global and has 3 Ted Talks related to behavioral economics; the popularity of one (Lessons From an Ad Man) even influenced UK Conservative Party policy in 2009 related to speed camera funding (see the TedTalk).

If you're not familiar with behavioral economics, it is the study of the effects of psychology on economic decisions. 

Rory says advertising can add value to a product, service or "thing" by changing our perception, rather than changing the said product/service/thing itself. He believes marketing and advertising are part and parcel to the actual functioning of markets - and changing perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value.

This and more is our discussion thread on podcast. I learn his take on psychology in advertising, his view of brands, the work of Ogilvy Change, and how behavioral insights can be also be applied to ourselves.  

If you're a student of human behavior or just a marketing nerd like I am, you will enjoy this show.

Topics covered 

  • How the ad industry changed on the 70's 
  • How Rory defines advertising / how it really works 
  • Amazon and brands 
  • How our choices are influenced  
  • The value of attention 
  • The book that influenced a country 
  • Advertising in nature
  • The power of creativity
  • Advertising alchemy, creating value out of nowhere
  • How we market to ourselves







Feb 04, 2018

"The important thing is never stop questioning" - Albert Einstein 

What's possible, medically, mentally and physically, is the topic of this podcast.

And the power of persistence. 

What would you do if your child was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease and every treatment protocol was not working?

The medications prescribed are not only ineffective but come with even worse negative physical side effects. 

What do you do? 

For many, they accept their fate and live with it. Solution seeking stops and who would blame them? Hope deferred "makes the heart sick" and hope dashed leads to disillusion.  

For Susannah Meadows, a combination of desperation and circumstance pushed her to persist until she could find a solution.

"If you have exhausted the answers that traditional medicine has. That's not the end of the world" - Susannah Meadows 

Her 3 yr old son Shepherd, was diagnosed with debilitating juvenile idiopathic arthritis which is Sheperd's case caused near crippling joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

Her journey for a cure took her into areas some might consider fringe or certainly outside of conventional medicine.

But Susanna is a former senior writer for Newsweek. She covered stories ranging from the 2004 presidential campaign to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina and she's a frequent contributor to The New York Times

She is not one to believe anything unsubstantiated.

Her new book is called the Other Side of Impossible. It's about ordinary people who faced daunting medical challenges and yet refused to give up. 

They turned desperation into determination.

Suzanne not only chronicled her journey but also the stories of others who've faced severe medical challenges and the steps they took to overcome them.

Her journey took her into areas some might consider fringe or certainly outside of conventional medicine.

And what she learned is the topic of our discussions.

  • Medicine, food and illness.
  • Learned helplessness and disease.
  • The latest research into the mind potential to heal the body.
  • Alternative therapies for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, multiple sclerosis and others.
  • The impact of anxiety and fear on the body's autoimmune response

Maybe more importantly Susan share what she learned about the power of personal agency. Your capacity, your faith in your ability to handle a situation.

These are stories of courage.


You may be healthy, you may not have challenges of disease. But you have challenges none the less. 

You may have run into dead ends and failed attempts of a different sort. 

Keep trying. Take heart.  


Jan 27, 2018

My guest on this episode is Marisa Peer. Marisa is a best selling author, motivational speaker and a pioneering therapist in the UK. Marissa was named best British therapist by Men's Health magazine and is featured in Tatler guide to Britain's 250 best doctors. Over the last 25 years Marissa has spent time with an extensive client list that includes rock stars, actors, royalty, professional and Olympic athletes, CEO's, and a variety of media personalities. Marisa has developed her own unique approach to therapy called RTP (Rapid Transformational Therapy) which is frequently referred to in various publications as life changing.

RTT peaked my interest when some therapist I know not only used her approach with their clients to good success but also went through the process themselves telling me their experience has been phenomenal. That is, they've made change in their lives that they weren't able prior to with other coaching or therapy methods.

I also wanted to talk to Marisa about RTT since anything that connotes rapid or quick is appealing to me because, you know, if I can hack something or find a shortcut, obviously I'm lazy. So anything that can speed up the process of dealing with something or improving something in your life has me curious. 

"Were beginning to be taught now in schools to succeed at business and you've got to have these great communication skills. You want to have a long marriage, you better have these great communication skills, but no one teaches you that, you know what - you better communicate with yourself" - Marisa Peer

Our conversation coalesces around self talk or rather unconscious self communication. We talk to ourselves all the time with automatic thoughts were just not aware of them, and I would say depending, on the day, the majority of these thoughts can be negative and cause friction between you and the goals you're trying to achieve.

These can be contrary thoughts like "this is going to be too hard" and your mind presents a challenge to you. It may be ready to do the thing but you have to convince it, so to speak, by either doing the thing and pushing through resistance or by dialoguing with it.

"We do get into this really depressive language without even meaning to and we think sometimes it's funny, but but the mind doesn't understand anything. It believes it's all real." - Marisa Peer

This podcast will not only educate you a bit on RTT but it will make you reflect on what you've been telling yourself and help you change self talk that's not serving you. 



Jan 25, 2018

“The problem of disrespectful, demeaning, and downright mean-spirited behavior is worse than ever” - Robert Sutton

I'm sure everybody listening to this podcast has dealt with or is currently dealing with, a jerk, and this is most likely some work situation as you can't always choose who you work with and often due to the power position - it's a boss.

But it could be someone you have to live with or interact with family friend friend of a friend whatever. If you have anyone in your life like that who is driving you crazy I will listen to this podcast and take notes because it's gold.

My guest in this podcast is Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford and a New York Times and Wall St journal best selling author.

Robert studies organizational change, leadership, innovation, and workplace dynamics and As it relates to our conversation today, Robert's new book was just released, The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt

Since the first book "No Asshole Rule", which probably put assholes on the map, became a bestseller, Robert said he was constantly asked about strategies to deal with assholes. Hence, the book.

On the podcast Robert offers up some interesting research and psychological theory explaining a asshole behavior and it's detrimental impact on people but more importantly he offers some really good tactics to manage them.

Here is some of what you'll learn from the podcast. 

1) The difference between sporadic asshole and true asshole

Context vs personality.

2) Why you don't have to be an asshole to succeed

The Steve Jobs fallacy 

3) How to make sure you don't contribute to the pool

The "Arse" test and feedback. 

4) Creating a survival plan based on goals

if you're deal with somebody who's leaving you feeling demeaned and de-energized and disrespected that you've got to figure out what your survival plan is.

5) Physical and emotional strategies and techniques

When to leave and when to stay. 

The "clinician" reframe. 

Temporal distancing. 

6) Forgiveness as a strategy 

First, do no more harm to yourself. 

7) Teaching others how to treat you. 

This is an important topic and it's life changing stuff in my opinion. 

There are people dreading getting up in the morning to head to work some go home from work crying. Some will get a work email tonight that will rob them of sleep.

Life is too short. 
Learn the skills needed to manage the assholes in your life. 

Oct 27, 2017

Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist, researcher, and New York Times best-selling author of “Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life

Tasha has thoroughly studied the science of self-awareness and has helped thousands of people improve their personal and professional effectiveness. Tasha believes that heightening self-awareness is essential for success today and self-understanding positively affects work performance, career satisfaction, leadership potential and relationships

I think we all know someone like a co-worker or manager who thinks he’s a brilliant presenter or thinks he is well loved in the office but in reality they are far from it. But how often do we stop to consider whether we might have the similar problems?

Do you understand how others really see you?

According to Tasha’s research, 95 percent of the population believes they’re self-aware, but the reality is that only 10 to 15 percent actually are.

So the majority of you are not self aware. Ok, so what?

A recently published working paper from Paul Green and Francesca Gino of Harvard, and Bradley Staats of the UNC, caught people avoiding criticism - a specific type of criticism where they thought they were doing a good job but then were told they were not, this is called “disconfirmatory” feedback.

They show’ed that when disconfirmatory feedback was given, workers would then avoid contact with the people who had given them the unwelcome comments.

The problem is that “disconfirmatory” is the most useful type of feedback there is. If I’m blind to the mistakes I’m making I really need someone to explain what I’m doing wrong, however uncomfortable or it gets I just get worse.

We have blind spots; things we do, issues we have that we just cannot see from our subjective vantage point. 

And if we were more self aware, more open to feedback, they could be revealed to you for positive change, promotion, new position, better relationships, new relationships and on and on. 

To the my fellow Googlers out there listening, this will help you with Perf (or anyone working for an organization that has regular performance reviews). Believe me, you can really benefit from what Tasha has to say. 

But also, even if you don’t have regular reviews, she says self insight is a meta skill and can be applied to improve many areas of life. 

Give it a listen.

Some of what we discuss in this episode. 

  • Self awareness as a necessary component of happiness
  • Why self awareness is a meta skill
  • Why insight is more important the higher up the corporate ladder
  • On Dunning Kruger and inappropriate confidence
  • How much should we care how others see us?
  • How to use social media (Facebook)
  • What Tasha thinks of personality testing  
  • How to handle performance reviews
  • How do you deal with negative feedback
  • How self awareness can help someone bounce back from a setback
  • The Miracle Question and how to properly ask it
  • On the benefits of journaling
  • Mindfulness without meditation
Oct 07, 2017

My guest is this episode is Caroline Miller. Author of Getting Grit (2017) For almost three decades has been a pioneer with her ground-breaking work in the areas of goal setting, accomplishment, grit, happiness and success.


She is recognized as one of the world’s leading positive psychology experts on this research and how it can be applied to one’s life for maximum transformation and growth. In 2015 she was named “one of the ten positive psychology coaches to follow.”

Caroline thinks we need a grit revolution. A change in our recognition and cultural reward system where effort is venerated over talent and people do their best every day regardless of how hard it is and we are all part of other people also being their best. 

How important is grit?

Caroline has written on the use of the twelve-item Grit Scale and found it to be the leading predictor of who drops out at West Point during the first summer, known as “Beast Barracks.” It had also worked with preteens, determining who would be in the finals of the National Spelling Bee.

Grit is considered a key ingredients of high achievement.

We live in an exciting but challenging times. Disruptive economic conditions, geopolitical strife and now every negative event around the globe is piped into our homes via television and the internet.

Add to this the natural vicissitudes of life itself. As I’m writing this we are rebuilding our fences, screens and cleaning up after a direct hit by hurricane Irma and Houston just went through much worse with Harvey. 

Without grit, we can be handicapped by discouragement, fear, inertia and habituated comfort.

At various points, big and small, we get knocked down. If we stay down, grit loses. If we get up, grit prevails

– Angela Duckworth, Grit

If you’ve been knocked down … you’ll need some grit to get up and try again.

 The value of hard things 

Caroline has done a great deal of research on what really makes people happy. A lot of that data points toward the imperative of doing difficult things in order to live a satisfying, high-quality life filled with achievement.

If you do nothing hard at the end of the day the research shows, you feel mediocre about yourself because you know you went for a low hanging fruit.

– Caroline Miller

Research she has done in Goal Setting Theory, holds that “challenging and specific” goals are required if someone wants to attain the highest levels of performance. Easy goals, don’t just result in mediocrity, she says, but also leave people feeling mediocre.

You aren’t happy doing nothing. You are driven to master environments in order to feel related, autonomous and competent.

Self efficacy theory is the belief you can do hard things and she says there ways to build that belief. One is just by having small mastery experiences, challenge yourself by doing successively hard things; like parking farther away from the store, taking a cold shower or getting up earlier, mowing your own lawn.

Exercise your grit muscle.

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life

–  Jerzy Gregorik, Olympic weightlifter

Caroline is  like a cross between Tony Robbins and Sheryl Sandberg. She’s motivational, incredibly articulate and footnotes her sentences with research and scientific articles incredibly articulate. Her passion for the topic and her zest is contagious.

In this interview, we cover a lot, including:

  • Defining grit, the various types and how they differ
  • The research on purpose and goal setting
  • How to develop grit and the science behind it
  • Her story and how she overcame eating disorder
  • The importance of hope – what it really is
  • How the nation is promoting mediocrity in many arenas
  • The research on how we can build strengths
  • How to cultivate grit in ourselves
  • How we can teach our children to be gritty – she has some strong opinions here
  • How mantras and mottos can change your life

Listen up, take notes, if you don’t already follow Caroline, I think you’ll be a fan.

Show Notes and Resources Click Here  


Sep 15, 2017

NOTE: This is part two of a series on the subject of failure. On this episode, we talk with Ashley Good on how companies can fail intelligently. Part one is with Ryan Babineaux.

How does a company deal with failure?  

Can companies “fail well” and use failure as a catalyst for innovation?

Ashley Good is the CEO and Founder of Fail Forward – the world’s first failure consultancy – that supports people and organizations to acknowledge and adapt to

failure in pursuit of innovation.  They do this by offering clients a set of tools and best practices to deal with failure intelligently.

Ashley offers a way to build the skills necessary to fail well. She says it's a skill that we can practice but it's one we're often not taught. We're just taught to avoid failure at all costs.

We want to create space to take risks and mess up and help our organizations make their way into the future and adapt as they go... when the inevitable failures happen along the way we're able to maximize what we can learn from those experiences to go forward more wisely

- Ashley Good

This was a very fun interview because there was no pressure.

We took failure off the table as any kind of “issue” as we were going to use any mistake we made as part of the show.

There is lesson #1, reframe your failures as case studies and experiments.

I still I still fail all the time but I have the luxury of being able to use myself as a case study as opposed to as opposed to I think what other people suffer through their failures - Ashley Good

And we made no mistakes, the conversation flowed. Funny how that works.

Perfection pressure is not conducive to good work or clear thinking. Seems obvious on a personal level but not so corporately. 

Ashley says IF you as a manager can bypass shame and defensiveness teams are more productive and if someone does fail, you can find a productive way of working amid failure.

A lot of people write and talk about productivity in the workplace. Never heard how defensiveness or shame may impact productivity.

Maybe we should address that.  

It’s part of our conversation for this podcast: We do talk about failure on a personal level but focus on companies. How would a large business allow for failure while trying to mitigate it?

Intelligent or incompetent failure

Again, want to be clear here, we are not glorifying failure. Especially within a company. There are things that can sink a company, like losing a big client, a lawsuit, etc.

Lesson #3, not all failures are created equally.

Ashley says intelligent failures is what want to create room for because we know we need to try new things, experiment and adapt. But we need to acknowledge that there are high consequence failures that we should be avoiding at all costs.

There are failures that are blameworthy, where we intentionally deviate from a linear process.

"Failure isn't fatal, but failure to change might be" - John Wooden

F**ck-up nights, better days

Here is something fun I learned talking with Ashley that I wasn't aware of. There are networking events called F**ck-up Nights that have entrepreneurs coming together talking about their start-up mistakes and failures. 

It's all about changing the conversation about failure and making it ok to share. People get up and talk about their screw ups that may have unwittingly resulted in eventual success.

Something that we could all learn from and emulate. We expend too much energy in success proving and importance posturing.

Opening up about your failure not only helps you get over it, but also helps others (and you) learn from it. 

Failure, rebirth / reinvention

When Ashley tells her personal story about how she started her company, I couldn't help but think of the many people I've talked to who found their calling or passion through some form of failure or pain. 

Sometimes the phoenix must burn.

Ashley was at one of the lowest points of her life, everything was hard and nothing made sense and all of a sudden a light went on.

“This intolerance that we have for those dark moments our inability to deal with them really spoke to me in my moment of darkness."

And she was grateful for the experience because she says, up until that moment she hadn't I hadn't really failed at anything. 

We don't really practice failing in ways that really matter to us to get good at it, to recognize that we can come through it.

Consider this podcast a form of vicarious practice.

Give it a listen and learn from Ashley.


Sep 07, 2017

This is part one of a two part series on the subject of failure. On this episode we talk with Ryan Babineaux the author of “Fail Fast, Fail Often” on the importance of making mistakes and learning from them to discover what works and more importantly - what makes you happy.  

What if your biggest mistake is that you're not making enough mistakes?

I don't mean in the sense of purposely screwing things up. We are not advocating recklessness nor do we want to glorify failure directly - we are glorifying effort, risk, courage and for good measure let’s tack on the end of Teddy's famous poem 

"...and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." 

Yeah, that. 

Ryan has a Ph.D in Educational Psychology from Stanford University and an M.Ed in Psychology and Human Development from Harvard. He is the co-creator of the popular Stanford course “Fail Fast, Fail Often,” and in his best selling book of the same name, discovered after working with thousands of people, that those who were successful seemed to have had less fear of mistakes.

They spent less time planning and more time acting. They got out into the world, tried new things, made mistakes but in doing so, benefited from unexpected experiences and opportunities.

The strategy is to overcome your fear of losing so that you will increase your at bats for winning by sheer volume of effort and what you learn from that effort. You use that to adjust till you find what works and all the while, gain experience and build resilience.

Think of this podcast as a course in a specific kind of courage. Courage to take more risk, courage to try.

Ryan says somewhere on the other side of failure is the success you seek, but it's on the other side so walk through it. 

What if your goal was to fail, and fail a lot? For a second just forget about the results, think of how many NEW things you would actually start. How many HARD things you would attempt since we flipped failure from avoidance to be the actual goal. The only way to fail a lot is to start a lot of things, try a lot of things.

On the podcast we talk about all of this and much more.

Give it a listen.



Aug 28, 2017

To say James Altucher is an interesting guy may be a gross understatement. He’s a computer programmer, venture capitalist, former hedge fund manager, successful author, financial journalist, serial founder (20 companies), CEO, publisher, popular podcaster, chess master. He doesn’t own anything, lives exclusively in AirBnBs, does stand-up bits on subway trains. He’s been described as the “minimalist multi-millionaire” and the guy who failed his way to millions.

It took me four months to get James on the show. So you know, he agreed to come on immediately (within 2 hrs of my asking) which was very kind as I didn’t even have a show yet – but it took four months to get him on.

It was worth the wait.

On of my favorite comedies (top 5) is Forgetting Sarah Marshall and James, with just a mention of the film, rolls out a case study on failure and success with a story about the producer Judd Apatow. He riffs like Sherlock Holmes chaining all the connections and experiences that Apatow accumulated while struggling to make it in Hollywood and how it all dovetailed into Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Blew me away.

The interview is chock full of insider “here’s what I learned” nuggets like that.

Coming back from the bottom, over and over.

So here is why I wanted him on the podcast.

Losing it all happened to him multiple times, professionally and personally. He founded 20 companies, failed at 17 of them, yet wound up not only surviving but thriving in a media empire / business conglomerate. He is a comeback king with more sequels than Rocky. He is Mr. re-invention and literally wrote the book on it.

I wanted to know how he did it, how do you come back over and over again?

In this episode, you can learn some of what he learned and shorten your time on the floor.

So consider this just a taste of a few of the many lessons he expounds on.

1. Reinvention is a skill you can learn.

When you talk with James he makes self-reinvention aspirational.

A lot of us have to reinvent out of necessity, but he says it’s something you should always consider. What is happening in the market, in your life and in the world that points to something new? Consider it disrupting yourself before being disrupted by outside forces. What new skills can you learn? What new habits can you develop?

Reinvention is a habit. It’s something you should always be on the lookout for…what stimuli from your environment can you take in and incorporate into your next reinvention – James Altucher

1. Ego is an enemy opposed to your successes

James talks about how making the money gave him “… this ego to think that I could I could do other things that I had no experience in. But at the time I really had very little experience in anything.”

Ego says, you succeeded, and now you know more than you really do.

Ego says your successes were ALL your doing.

Ego blows you up so no other brains can fit into the room. Brains you need.

2. Know your boxes and check them every day.

When James was down and out he put together a checklist of activities that, if he did them daily, helped him recover.

Like Superman and the sun, his superpowers returned.

They included things like getting enough sleep, swapping unhealthy relationships with healthy ones, writing, learning and reversing any behaviors that were not serving him (doing the opposite). During our chat, he goes into some detail on each.

James has the bounce back process down pat. He’s done it so many times that it’s proven itself over and over. Now he seems fearless because he absolutely KNOWS he can get back up again.

He has a go-to plan. He checks the boxes.

He really made me think about formalizing my own this checkboxes. Maybe I should create my own a personal bounce wiki?

I think when I’m down a few of my go-to’s are good books I’ve highlighted over the years, interesting podcasts I listen to and some reflection time to be quite, find my “center” or whatever.

What gets you up when you are down?


2. Creativity is a muscle.
I never thought of it that way. Like any muscle it atrophies if you don’t use it regularly. And if you’ve lost it you can get it back by exercising it.

On the podcast, he goes into detail about this process, and he elaborates on one specific technique that I’ve been trying.

Ten ideas a day.

James recommends no matter what that you write down ten ideas every single day. Business ideas, blog ideas, any kind of idea and they don’t have to be good ideas.

It’s the activity, the work out that’s important. The whole purpose is to do it for its own sake but don’t be surprised if a good ideas come from it.

I’ve read somewhere where James said he used a waiter’s pad back when to in write ideas down. I found out he still uses it; he showed it to me.

Point taken, you won’t do this unless you have something with you. I use the note app on my phone. 

James also gave me a little tip on the idea side, and that is if you write an idea down and if you think there is something there, then you can flesh out “execution” ideas under the main idea in the same way. No matter how good or bad, go for volume and see what results.

3. Happiness = learning

James started taking ping-pong lessons after 40 years of playing.

He started doing stand-up comedy, not to be a comedian but to learn a new skill. 

Psychologists say that stretching and learning something new not only helps us be more confident but it’s a way of connecting with other people, which also adds to happiness.

People engaged in learning activities trigger changes in the brain chemistry. Our minds light up when we find new things for the it to do.

People say oh I’m 27 and I haven’t found my passion yet. Well there is no one passion, and I’m finding I’m constantly trying to find the things that I’m interested in…so I would never say I found myself. There’s nothing really to find, that notion of finding one’s self is kind of mythology – James Altucher

There is so much more on this podcast.

We talk about whys and wherefores of his business philosophy, how he looks at investments, writing, stand-up comedy and more.

Give it a listen.

For show notes and resource links, go here 

Aug 17, 2017

What we're trying to do is figure out what leads us to the edge of happiness cliff that point at which we have a maximum productivity, maximum happiness without going over the edge - Amy Blankson

There is no doubt that technology in the 20th century has brought advances unimaginable in previous eras. In the US gross domestic product per capita quintupled from 1950 to 2016. Things that were once luxu­ries have become affordable commodities.

However, with such advances, computers and all that comes with them, internet, games, email, etc., are now in our pockets, purses or strapped to bodies. They are extensions of ourselves.

Tech companies pay big money to UX designers and engineers to create devices and apps that grab and keep your attention. They high want high engagement metrics. They need you to spend time in an app or a video and to come back, over and over.

So we all know it impacts our productivity but what about our happiness? What is the impact of a world of screens and notifications on our cognitive behavior and development? What about our relationships?

Enter Amy Blankson, my guest on this episode. Amy has become the world’s leading expert on the connection between happiness and technology. Amy is an alum of both Harvard and Yale and has worked with organizations like NASA, Google, the US Army, and the Xprize Foundation to help improve well-being in a Digital Era.

Amy states the problem in terms of discernment. “There’s this pain point about technology and happiness with technology specifically draining happiness because people feel overwhelmed. They don’t know what to do with all the information… and how to evaluate what’s actually good for them.”

There is now a condition called Nomophobia, as in no-mo(bile) phone-phobia. It’s a fear of being without your smartphone. Seriously, a phobia and 40% of Americans “suffer” from it.

One in five young adults admits to using a smartphone during sex. What?

Okay, I'll cop to using the phone in the bathroom, so I need help.

We are in uncharted territory.

Amy says that we absolutely need to look at our relationship with technology very carefully but what she came away with from her research was surprising to me; that time on the screen is not necessarily a bad thing.

Time on the screen is not necessarily bad. What is bad is the unintentional non-thoughtful use of the technology - Amy Blankson

In fact, she goes further stating that technology can actually increase happiness - IF you use it wisely

There’s the rub. Using it wisely

On this episode we discuss what she learned writing her new book, The Future of Happiness. Amy talks about how we can mitigate the dispiriting effects tech can have and rather leverage it to increase our happiness. She's done the research and has the data on what you can do in the midst of work / life to harness it to serve your real needs in relation to happiness: social connection, meaning, and well-being.

Amy answers LOT of questions I had like...

  • Is there an inverse relationship between personal happiness and tech innovation
  • How should we use Facebook, or should we abandon it?
  • Would we be happier without tech?
  • What is the impact of distraction on our well-being?
  • How do I manage all my apps to minimize distraction?
  • What about wearables?
  • What do we teach our kids regarding appropriate tech boundaries - what exactly IS appropriate?
  • Are there specific apps that can helps us become happier and healthier?

Oh, and you have got to hear her answer my Timescape question.

Give it a listen.

For resources discussed in this episode go here. 


Aug 02, 2017

At the age of 36 and as a mother of three with a busy solo practice in internal medicine Wendy Harpham M.D. was diagnosed with stage three non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and just like that, the Doctor became the patient.

Now, from both sides of the stethoscope, Wendy uses her unique perspective to help patients become healthy survivors, survivors who get good care and live as fully as possible.

Dr. Wendy Harpham is a fellow of American College of Physicians, a best selling author of six books on cancer (Happiness in A Storm is the one I read), a patient advocate and a nationally recognized speaker. Now a 26-year cancer survivor with seven recurrences since, Dr. Harpham has a lot to say about dealing with such a diagnosis and how to live a full, happy life.

Wendy has something I really cannot explain; you have to listen to understand. Her passion touched and inspired me.

I think a big part of fear are the unknowns related to what you fear and Dr. Harpham shines a bright light on a very dark thing; she gives hope.

To those of you who do not have cancer. There are many reasons I think you should listen to this podcast but here are just three.

  1. Statistically, one out of two of you reading this will likely hear “you have cancer” in your lifetime.
  2. You probably know someone who has cancer or was recently diagnosed.
  3. Cancer doesn't own the bad medical news category. This is a lesson in dealing with any severe life challenge.


I felt unqualified to write a post about this show so I'll keep it short. To see a long form post visit and read another cancer survivors perspective from my good friend, Ron Sparks where he shares his thoughts about the episode.

Jul 25, 2017

If you haven't noticed, Stoicism is getting popular these days. Google it and a raft of influencer and popular thought leader articles appear touting the philosophy's benefits. As Nassim Taleb ascribes to the stoic sage in his book The Black Swan:

“Someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.”

I want that. I talked with scientist/philosopher Massimo Pigliucci to get it. 

Massimo is the author of How to Be A Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life. He is also the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. Prof. Pigliucci has published in national and international outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Philosophy Now and The Philosopher’s Magazine, among others. At last count, he has published 152 technical papers in science and philosophy as well as the popular article on Stoicism that appeared in the New York Times.

This is no boring philosophy discussion. The majority of our conversation is on Stoic practice and it's practical use in dealing with life's ups and downs including an interesting discussion about overcoming the fear of death. 

Here is just some of the discussion. 

  • Misunderstandings that people have about stoicism.
  • Stoicism origin, its influence on religions, modern psychology and it's resurgence in culture of late
  • On prison testing the philosophy, Nelson Mandela, and James Stockdale
  • A comparison of Stoicism and Buddhism
  • On Stoic meditation
  • On dealing with setbacks
  • Internalizing the dichotomy of control
  • Dealing with the fear of death.
  • On indifference

If you're new to Stoicism and want to know what all the fuss is about, here is your lesson.

Jul 17, 2017

Is everything you know about “success” wrong?  

Well, maybe not everything but a hell of a lot of what we’ve been taught about achievement is, at best, simplistic and at worst, just wrong.

ERIC BARKER is the creator of the blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree. Almost 300,000 subscribers. His work has been mentioned in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Time Magazine, The Week, Business Insider. His recent WSJ best seller of the same name, subtitled, The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong is the topic of this podcast.

The good news is there is much you can do to to up your odds at succeeding in life, whatever that means to you. That’s a hint BTW.

There are things that separates the extremely successful from the rest of us and Eric talks about it. 

Here are just some of the show notes on things I learned by talking with Eric. Give it a listen.

[00:05:18] Some myths about success that we all heard growing up

[00:10:04] The Faustian bargain

[00:14:07] The importance and power of context

[00:16:33] He talks about his most surprising findings (regarding success)

[00:17:07] On extroversion and introversion

[00:19:54] What we get wrong about the topic of success

[00:23:53] “Quitting” and success.

[00:25:22] The value of pretending

[00:31:16] Why confidence is problematic.

[00:37:59] Is college necessary to be successful?

[00:43:11] On “intensifiers” and personal success

[00:50:26] What to look into if you're failing or unhappy at your job.

[00:51:16] The real power in positive thinking

[01:01:01] The story of Martin Pistorius





Jul 09, 2017

On the 31st of May in 2014, on a public holiday in New Zealand, Lucy Hone’s 12 yr old daughter, Abi, was killed in a tragic car accident along with her best friend Ella and Lucy’s best friend Sally.  Lucy said her life was smashed, as she put it ...

I mean your entire life scheme - your life story your identity - has been smashed to smithereens…It's like someone had taken a mallet like a croquet mallet to life and smashed the entirety so it just no longer exists.

How do you pick up the pieces and put your what’s left of your life back together?  

In the months following the loss, Lucy turned to writing to help order her thoughts. You see, Lucy is a practicing academic in the field of resilience and wellbeing psychology at AUT University's Human Potential Center in Auckland, New Zealand and at the time of Abi's death working on a PhD in public health and wellbeing sciences.

Combining research and personal insights she first wrote a blog which attracted a large international audience and led to her book “Resilient Grieving.” It quickly became a bestseller. While she says learning to live without Abi is still very much a work in progress she acknowledges the work she does to support others to inform them that they do have choices in how they grieve has gone some way to make sense out of the senseless.

Let's be clear, grief should be felt rather than immediately treated as a problem to be solved and done away with. That said, what, exactly, is the grieving process and how do we manage it before it manages our lives ever orienting all else around loss?

On the podcast Lucy discusses the research that tell us there are some grieving models that can help one through it, grieving experiences that are common to everyone and common myths about the grieving and grieving phases.

If you have suffered a loss, listen to this podcast. If you have not suffered such a loss others in your life probably have, listen to the podcast and learn how to help them.

For show notes and more visit

Discussed on this episode

  • On preparing for loss
  • Whether certain grieving processes can weaken us
  • Lucy tells her story, the loss of Abi
  • On sudden loss vs. prolonged loss
  • Defining resilient grieving
  • The truth about the five stages of grieving
  • On ambush grief
  • On secondary losses
  • How can you help others who are grieving - and what not to do
Jul 05, 2017

Dr. David Burns, MD is the author of the best-selling, "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy," which has sold more than five million copies worldwide. Feeling Good is the book most frequently “prescribed” for depressed patients by psychiatrists and psychologists in the United States and Canada. Surveys indicate that American mental health professionals rate Feeling Good as the #1 book on depression, out of a list of 1,000 self-help books.

People are not disturbed by things, but by the views, they take of them - Epictetus

This is the basic premise of CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) Dr. Burns popularized in Feeling Good. The way we think about things create all of our emotions, positive or negative. A simple idea some 2,500 years old tracing even before the Stoics to the time of Buddha.

Yet, it’s so obvious that very few people grasp it or understand how to use it and many frankly just do not believe it. The concept that horrible things do not cause negative feelings seems untethered from real experience. “A” happens, and I feel “C.” They miss the  “B,” a belief or interpretation of “A” that then leads to “C.”

On our podcast, Dr. Burns tells the story of a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer, and she became extremely depressed but she didn't want to spend the last two years of her life feeling worthless so enter Dr. Burns. Dr. Burns ascertained that she had two chained thoughts, “I'm letting my family down, they won't survive without me” and “it's my fault that I got cancer and It was those specific thoughts rather than the diagnosis that was causing her extreme emotional distress. Yes, sadness is normal in this case “but you can you make it worse when piling on irrational negative thoughts.”

Most of us do this to ourselves that we're not are not aware of it.

Dr. Burns says that depression is the world's oldest con and that when you are upset most of the time the thoughts that upset you will be distorted. They're a fraud.

Depression is the world's oldest con.

“We can put up with almost anything if we think it's it's going to end. There's something weird about depression that it cons you into thinking it will be like this forever, you're no good, and you'll always be no good and your problems will never be solved, and it just seems overwhelmingly valid.”

Listen is as we discuss CBT and how you can apply it to help you manage your thoughts.

This is life-changing stuff, you need to hear it.

Show Notes

[00:14:15] His discovery of CBT when doing brain research on chemical imbalances

[00:16:30] How difficult it was to publish Feeling Good

[00:19:34] How much significance should one put on one's either past or childhood

[00:23:40] The cause of negative feelings

[00:24:02] The physiology of depression vs pathology of depression. 

[00:25:41] Genetics of depression and happiness.

[00:26:17] Why Dr. Burns loves to treat anxiety disorders

[00:27:12] As a Doctor how Dr. Burns cured himself of blood phobia.

[00:32:45] The four models of anxiety.

[00:39:26] His view on medication / psychopharmacology

[00:42:33] The key cognitive distortions warping your thinking

[00:47:37] What really leads to suicidal urges

 [00:50:24] The issues with “self-esteem”

Jun 30, 2017

When you open Scott’s book you get this: “WARNING! No one should attempt any of these methods or practices without appropriate experience, training, fitness level, doctor approval and supervision…” You quickly learn why. The book contains examples of people practicing techniques in extreme conditions that push physical limits and Scott, an investigative journalist, is out to prove that the man (Wim Hoff) teaching this stuff is a charlatan and his techniques destined to kill people.

Instead, Scott winds up climbing a freezing Mount Kilimanjaro practically naked (where between 5 and 10 people a year die trekking up WITH clothes) among other things and helps put Wim Hoff on the US map as the guru he is today.

On this podcast Scott talks about his experiences meeting Wim and what he discovered about his own physiology.

Scott Carney has worked in some of the most dangerous and unlikely corners of the world. His work has been the subject of a variety of radio and television programs, including NPR and National Geographic TV. In 2010, he won the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for his story “Meet the Parents,” which tracked an international kidnapping-to-adoption ring. Carney has spent extensive time in South Asia and speaks Hindi.

His new book, and the topic of our conversation, “What Doesn’t Kill Us” is a New York Times bestseller.

Here are just a few things I learned from talking with Scott:

1. It’s more than cold exposure, it’s about exploring what you’re capable of.

Although he set out as a skeptical journalist,  he wound up not only proving the methods work but also that he could do more than he thought he could. Limits are, for the most part, self-imposed and should be doubted within reason

2. Mind over matter works and rehearsing is the key.

One of the more interesting phenomena that we talk about is what Scott calls “the wedge.”

“So let’s say the cold, this could also be heat, this could also be altitude, this could be a number of different factors, and knowing in advance what sort of reaction that your body is going to have to that response, and then what you do…you resist having that response….you’re putting this sort of wedge between the environment and your autonomic functions by using your conscious thoughts”

3. We can get to our minds through our bodies.  

The mind-body connection runs both ways. Because you’re not used to doing things that push you out of your comfort zone your mind resists and starts ringing alarm bells very very early.

We can use the environment on our bodies to send signals to train our brains that we can handle stressors, we can take it. As soon as you start voluntarily doing difficult things, everything else in life can get easier.

It’s a fascinating book and Scott’s an interesting guy, give it a listen.  

You’ll really enjoy this one.

Show Notes

[00:05:01] His background in hardcore investigative journalism. what led to the book

[00:06:34] He talks about Wim Hoff’s superhuman feats

[00:08:57] The first thing he saw that blew his mind.

[00:11:15] Meeting Wim Hoff, what he’s really like

[00:13:01] Hiking up a mountain, in his bathing suit, in 2 degrees Fahrenheit  

[00:15:52] How modernity is lowering our physical resilience

[00:16:49] Key aspects of the Wim Hoff training method

[00:17:11] How to “hack” your body for greater breath control

[00:26:26] The story of Wim consciously fighting off the effects of an endotoxin

[00:31:04] Fighting off rheumatoid arthritis

[00:45:01] The third pillar of human health

[00:54:11] Scott talks about The Wedge, the heart of the method



Jun 30, 2017

Isaac Lidsky’s TED talk was viewed more than a million times in its first 20 days. It has a mid preso reveal I’ll spoil for you here - he is blind, and when revealed, it’s a surprise, if you didn't know Isaac. He looks and presents like he’s seeing you, but make no mistake, he is not.

Isaac was diagnosed with a blinding eye disease when he was 12 years old and he slowly lost his sight over the next 12 years. In spite of that, Isaac graduated from Harvard College at 19 with a degree in mathematics and computer science, he founded an Internet startup that later sold for $230 million. He returned to Harvard, graduated Harvard Law with high honors, litigated appeals on behalf of the United States as a Department of Justice lawyer and he became the only blind person to clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court when he worked for Justices, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Going blind really was at the end of the day one of the best things that ever happened to me. WE are the creators of the realities, WE experience the circumstances. WE confront the things that are beyond our control.”

Isaac is the New York Times bestselling author of Eyes Wide Open. Overcoming obstacles and recognizing opportunities in a world that can't see clearly.

On the podcast, we talk about his story told in his new book “Eyes Wide Open. Overcoming obstacles and recognizing opportunities in a world that can't see clearly.”

We talk about when he was first diagnosed and the resulting panic and depression he felt, the gripping fear that he had to deal with. We talk about what blindness taught him.

Isaac talks about how true reality isn't something you perceive, it's something you create in your mind. 

"We have a very useful and very rich and immersive experience of sight that has nothing to do with the world around us and yet and here's the fundamental contradiction. We experience what is truth. So we literally create our own truth and believe it." 

There is the McGurk effect, The Ponso illusion, sight even affects how you taste food. Add to it all your cognitive biases and you create your own subjective reality. Sight starts becoming a disadvantage. Isaac helps me "see" that, I think he can help you too.

Show Notes

[00:07:22] Why his Ted talk reveal was such a surprise

[00:09:59] Why he says going blind was one of the best things that ever happened 

[00:15:50] His story, the diagnosis and learning to live with blindness  

[00:16:04] His description of the disease's progression

[00:17:26] Hi emotional reactions and future predictions when first diagnosed

[00:29:02] The bounce, the moment he knew he could thrive


Jun 30, 2017

In times of extreme upheaval, why do some people, communities, companies and systems thrive, while others fall apart?

Andrew Stolli answers that question and more. 

Andrew is the author of the best-selling book “Resilience, Why Things Bounce Back” published by Simon and Schuster in the U.S., and in many other languages and territories around the world. The books is his research on the dynamics of resilience in many contexts, people, systems, communities, and companies.

Resilience forces us to take the possibility even necessity of failure seriously - Andrew Zolli

On this podcast we talk about

  • Why he wrote a book about resilience
  • How organizations and people bounce back
  • Social media and resilience, does it help or hurt
  • Society and whether social safety nets make us more fragile
  • The impact of faith on resilience - it’s not what you think
  • What he learned about organizational resilience in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
  • and much more 

I would love to follow Andrew around for a few days and as he is involved in a lot of very interesting projects. For 11 years, he was the creative force behind PopTech, a renowned innovation and social change network. He served on the board of the Garrison Institute and Blurb. He also serves as an advisor to PlanetLabs (a revolutionary Earth-imaging company), DataKind, which is bringing data science to the social sector, and The Workshop School, an experiment in what a public high school can be. He served as a Fellow of the National Geographic Society. He advises governmental organization, startups, cultural and civil society groups including leadership teams at companies like GE, Nike and Facebook.

Show Notes and Resources 

[00:07:57] Where we discuss the forces that likely put Trump in office

[00:13:53] Resilience and the inverted

[00:22:05] Resilience as a skill

[00:23:33] An example of organizational resilience in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

[00:32:59] What makes organizations resilient

[00:32:59] Middle management and organizational resilience 

[00:34:20] Social programs and resilience

[00:43:40] The 10 factors that encourage personal resilience

[00:44:35] I ask if Facebook making us stronger or weaker

[00:50:52] Intentionality and emotional control


Jun 30, 2017

An undefeated mind isn’t one that never feels discouraged or despairing; it’s one that continues on in spite of it - Alex Lickerman

Over the last twenty years Dr. Alex Lickerman has watched thousands of patients struggle with sickness and issues from colds to cancers. He has extensive experience treating the sickest of the sick at a renowned academic medical center located in the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. Caring for and observing his patients he says taught him the most important lesson he’s ever learned:

That our capacity to suffer may be immense, but so is our ability to endure it—if we've taken effective steps to develop our strength.

Alex Lickerman is a former assistant professor of medicine, director of primary care, and assistant vice president for Student Health and Counseling Services at the University of Chicago. He currently leads a direct primary care private practice called ImagineMD in Chicago.

Alex’s first book, The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self. Alex has been quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business, Playboy, The Chicago Tribune, Men’s Health, The New York Times, and TIME, and has had articles appear in Psychology Today, Crain’s Chicago Business, USA Today, Slate, The Huffington Post, Counselor Magazine, and Medicine on the Midway. He’s also been a guest on NPR’s On Point.

I loved talking with Alex. He reminded me of Sam Harris. Smart and articulate. His message is a simple one and a reality check for all of us.  

Stop hoping for easy lives and instead to focus on cultivating the inner strength we need to enjoy the difficult lives we all have.

We talk about this is in detail on the podcast. How does he cultivate inner strength? How do we cultivate it?

Alex thinks your purpose is not an endowed one but rather an evolved function. He says eventually you find all reasons lead to the same place, to the one core reason for living, the reason against which we measure the value of everything we do: 

To - Be - Happy

Want to find out more? Give the show a listen, you’ll be glad you did.

Show Notes

[00:05:38] On concierge medicine

[00:10:30] How he came to write the book “The Undefeated Mind”

[00:13:35] On Nichiren Buddhism

[00:16:54] A discussion about chanting, it’s benefits, differences from meditation.

[00:23:49] Summarizing what chanting does for him personally.

[00:35:29] Turning poison into medicine

[00:39:34] Dealing with loss and grief

[00:45:07] On the ultimate goal of human development

[00:46:00] Why happiness supersedes the goals of survival and reproduction

[00:50:55] On the benefits of adversity

[00:55:52] On dealing with discouragement and the writing exercise


Jun 30, 2017

How difficult would your day-to-day tasks become if you were missing just one of your arms? How about both? What if you were missing all four limbs? Now, after you surmount your everyday challenges regarding getting dressed, feeding yourself, typing etc (without prosthetics mind you), go compete in football, excel at wrestling, then go climb (check that, bear crawl) up a mountain, wait, make it Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Yeah, this is just SOME of what Kyle Maynard has accomplished.

Listen as I interview quadruple congenital amputee Kyle Maynard, who has conquered more physical-related challenges and obstacles than most people able bodied people,

Kyle is an entrepreneur, speaker, best-selling author of the book No Excuse, he was the focus of a moving ESPN documentary called “A Fighting Chance.” has appeared on Oprah, HBO Sports, ABC's 20/20, He was on the University of Georgia wrestling team, he is an ESPY award winner, the first quadruple amputee to climb to the top of the highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet, and the summit of Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua at 22,838 feet.

Find out how the environment Kyle grew up in affected his positive mindset despite his physical setbacks. Kyle talks about how his parents “Jedi-mind tricked” him into believing that he was capable of doing the same things his able-bodied peers could do. Their confidence in him was a key ingredient to the success and independence he steadily built.  

In the interview, Kyle describes some of the darker periods of his life when he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue on. He says, “I’m fortunate and lucky at the fact that I didn’t make a more permanent decision to end my life at that point.”

Every day we’re faced with a choice– do we want to live within the confines we’ve set for ourselves or do we want to try to surpass them?

“If we’re fixed to what we know, we can’t grow,” Kyle says.  “I used to say anything is possible, but I don’t really believe that,” he continues. “I believe a better way to state that is to know your limits but never stop trying to break them. But that only happens by, ironically, not knowing your limits.” 

Kyle’s story serves as a reminder that we so often define our lives by what we don’t have. Perhaps instead we should start focusing on what we do.     

Show Notes

0:05:28 How he types 50 words per minute ...without hands

0:06:43 Kyles 1st experience with resilience as a kid

0:06:48 Hie parents jedi mind trick to get him tough

07:39 Learning how to wrestle, an education in failure

09:57 His first goal in wrestling

11:39 For BJJ grappling nerds only.

0:13:48: The power of belief

18:25 Why no arms and legs is his greatest strength

23:47 His parents “bounce” moment

26:23 Great story where he talks about the first time dressed himself

34:09. The “bounce”. When the worst periods in life turn into the best periods

Jun 30, 2017