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Not Bad Advice
16 minutes | 7 days ago
How To Achieve A Goal Without Punishing Yourself
You can do things the hard way or the easy way. You’re probably choosing the hard way. Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m @Pamela_Lund… CK: [00:19] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:21] And we hope that after listening you’ll think, “hey, that’s not bad advice!” We tend to think that achieving a goal has to be hard. That you have to suffer to get anything worthwhile. And that hard work and sacrifice are the only ways to get things done. [00:47] At the same time, we’re always looking for shortcuts and quick fixes because suffering and sacrifice suck. You might be able to punish yourself into achieving a goal, and you might be able to find a shortcut that will get you there faster. But if the thing you’re trying to achieve is something that you’ll need to sustain longterm, suffering and shortcuts will both sabotage your success. But there’s a smarter way to achieve sustainable results that will make you happier and healthier at the same time. [01:15] I’m going to use weight and money as examples throughout this episode, because they’re fairly universal and simple, but you can apply what we’re talking about to anything you’re trying to achieve. [01:26] So I want you to try and think of something that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Ideally, something that you’ve tried to do multiple times, but were never able to stick with your plan long enough to actually achieve the goal. [01:38] Now, think about how you try to achieve the goal. If you’ve tried multiple times, you can think about all of the different things you’ve tried. And whatever you tried, it probably required you to do something or prohibited you from doing something. And likely both at the same time. [01:56] For example, if you were trying to save money, you might have put yourself on a budget that didn’t allow you to go out to eat, and so you had to cook at home. Or, if you were trying to lose weight, you might’ve put yourself on a diet that didn’t allow you to eat sugar, and you had to work out. [02:11] With any of these strategies you’re taking away something that you enjoy and adding in something that you probably don’t enjoy, and then expecting to succeed. Then, whenever you do the thing that you’re not supposed to do, or if you don’t do the thing that you are supposed to do, what happens? You beat yourself up. You punish yourself for not doing things that suck. [02:35] So your choice is to do something that sucks and feel like it sucks for months on end to, maybe, achieve a goal at some point in the future, or to do what you want to do right now, get the immediate gratification, and then feel like shit about it for a little while. Neither one of these achieves your goal and neither feels good, but one requires hard work and change. [02:58] So, of course, you’re going to keep choosing the immediate gratification, even when it sabotages your plan. Why wouldn’t you? Then you end up feeling like a failure because you couldn’t stick to whatever plan you had. You feel like you have no willpower… you’re lazy… you’re weak. And over time you develop a story about how you can’t do certain things. [03:19] You can’t save money. You can’t get in shape. You can’t write a book. You can’t learn to cook. Whatever your thing is, you’ve tried unsuccessfully so many times that you have all of this evidence that you can’t do it. So you believe that you can’t do it, and you quit trying. [03:34] This happens time and again, because punishing yourself into success just doesn’t work long-term. Humans are terrible about thinking about the future in tangible ways. It’s just how our brains work. We put much more value on what we need and want right now than what a future version of us will need or want. [03:53] That’s why it’s so hard to do anything that requires work now and it pay off in the future. [03:59] Once you know that and know that you aren’t just lazy or unmotivated, you can let go of those criticisms and stories that you’ve been beating yourself up with. Like, really just let that shit go. It’s not helping you. You are just like everyone else. So stop fighting it, and work with your brain instead of against it. [04:18] So in order to succeed at something long term, you need to get an immediate reward for doing the daily work towards that goal. And I mean immediate. Even our reward later in the same week is often too far away to keep people motivated. We are wired for immediate gratification. [04:36] So take dieting again, for an example: If you have a planned cheat day every weekend, you might be able to stick to a restrictive diet that you aren’t happy on for the first week. But after that, as you feel less and less satisfied by the diet, and because you are not seeing immediate results on the scale, the weekend cheat day is not going to be tangible enough for you to stay motivated for six straight days. [05:01] You’ll find yourself making concessions more and more frequently, until you’re no longer on the diet at all, simply because the timing of the reward didn’t match the timing of the effort. But the good news is that the reward doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be meaningful to you and done frequently enough that your brain starts to associate a success with that reward. [05:24] The reward can be related to what you’re trying to achieve or totally unrelated. It could be a food reward every day that you eat on plan, or it could be adding $5 to your clothes shopping budget every day that you skipped spending $15 on takeout lunch, or it could be watching an episode of a guilty pleasure show every day that you work out. [05:43] It actually doesn’t matter what the reward is, as long as you like getting it and you directly associate getting it for doing the thing you did that day. [05:54] The reward concept is actually so loose that just checking off that you did, the thing can be enough. You don’t even have to come up with any sort of reward if you use a habit tracker – and this is basically just a list of things you want to do daily or on most days, and every time you do one of the things you mark it off. [06:12] I know it sounds crazy, but marking it off is the reward. And if you think of it that way, your brain will want that reward. It will actually compel you to check off everything on the list. And you can use an app, there’s plenty out there, but I find that this is one thing that is really best done on paper, physically checking off the item each time you do it is oddly rewarding. And you get a visual representation of how much you’ve done. Like, how far you’ve come towards your goal. [06:41] I recently started using a printed monthly tracker – I’m in my third month using them right now. And I mark off things in green when I do them, and red when I don’t. And seeing all the green squares adding up is bizarrely motivating for me. [06:55] So if you’re motivated by closing the rings on Apple’s activity tracker or getting a certain number of steps in per day on Fitbit, a habit tracker will definitely work for you. CK: [07:06] There’s the notion of not breaking the chain, too. They use that phrasing when referring to habit trackers So when you see it visually and you see that you’re marking off something every day, you don’t want to break that pattern. So it’s visually pleasing to mark it off every day. So it’s, therefore, rewarding. Pam: [07:27] Yup. Absolutely. And to piggyback on that, if you do end up breaking the chain, they say to not break it two days in a row. So like, just because you missed one day in your chain, doesn’t mean that you give up for the rest of the month. Just make sure that you get back on track tomorrow. CK: [07:46] Yep. Pam: [07:47] So, that’s a good point. CK: [07:49] So when it comes to habit trackers, it also allows you to kind of externalize your motivation because people have different tendencies and different motivations, and two sides of the spectrum of that could be intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. [08:09] So some people are internally motivated and can self-assert their motivations, and others need motivation from external sources. And so using something like a habit tracker can kind of combine internal to the external. Pam: [08:28] I think that that’s great point because I mentioned that I use to habit tracker and I am very externally motivated. That’s why I have a trainer. That’s why I have a performance coach. I need someone else to be accountable to. And so I didn’t think that a habit tracker was going to work for me because it’s really just me being accountable to myself via a piece of paper, but having that piece of paper does make it external somehow it does. So, it really works for me. CK: [08:58] Yeah, ’cause I mean, it is outside yourself and you see it outside yourself. And on that point, you don’t have to be thinking about it all the time. You can let your brain do other things and not have that take up your bandwidth and then you get that external cue from outside, and that can motivate you. Pam: [09:18] Yeah, it’s definitely motivating. That’s why I keep it hanging in our dining room, so that I see it constantly throughout the day. because I’ll forget. Even though these are five things that I do every single day, I still forget to do them. And so I will see it there and go, “Oh yeah, I need to go do this thing. [09:35] Or, it’s the end of the day and I have two left and there’s one that I really don’t want to do and one that I do. So I’ll do the one that I do want to do. And then I’m like, “well, now there’s only one left.” [09:44] I have to do the thing that I don’t want to do. It’s very motivating. [09:49] So, you’re very internally motivated, I think. [09:52] Do you find that habit trackers are beneficial for you or is it not necessary for you to develop a habit? CK: [10:00] Yeah, I kind of go back and forth with them and I think it just depends on what I’m using it for. And a lot of times I like incorporating habit trackers when I’m starting out a habit or I’m in the beginning of experimentation for some new protocol. And so that will help me get into the groove of maintaining the habit. [10:25] And then sometimes I may find that I won’t really need it to sustain the habit, or there might be some other strategy that works out better to help me sustain the habit. Pam: [10:36] And we’ll do a whole episode on habit tracker soon because they’re really such a great way to stay consistent with anything that you want to do. CK: [10:42] For sure. Pam: [10:43] So there’s gist here is to break down the thing that you want to do into smaller steps and reward yourself every time you take a step, which is essentially creating a habit. And we tend to think of habits as trivial, but everything you do without thinking is habitual. [11:01] If you eat lunch that aligns with your health goals without thinking about it, because you’ve eaten a lunch that aligns with your health goals everyday for the last six months, you have a habit of eating a lunch that aligns with your health goals. It’s just a habit, and anything can be a habit. And habits are what result in success long-term. [11:20] So you come up with a habit that you want to build that will result in you achieving the thing you ultimately want. And then you reward yourself into developing the habit until eventually doing the thing is rewarding enough that you do it without thinking about it. And that’s really the goal because ultimately you need to learn how to enjoy doing the thing you need to do every day to achieve the bigger goal. [11:44] If you don’t enjoy taking the steps that you have to take every day, you won’t do them over the long-term. You will start and stop over and over until you give up altogether because you’re tired of failing. [11:56] And I know because I’ve been there. We all have. It feels terrible. And that’s why I want you to stop trying to punish yourself for being human and start rewarding yourself into better habits that you enjoy maintaining. [12:10] Developing this new approach to behavioral change will not only help you achieve more of your goals, but it will also help you heal old trauma around failure and help you change the stories that you tell yourself about what you’re capable of. [12:25] All right. So let’s transition to the part of the show where I shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and pull a card to see how that card can relate to what we talked about today. I like doing this because it gives me a visual to associate with the topic. And when I have a visual, it makes it easier to remember the perspective and integrate it into my day. [13:08] So let’s see what the Nocturna Oracle deck has to offer as a visual for being kinder to ourselves as we develop new habits. [13:37] So I pulled the scallop card, which is a card that I pull very, very frequently. I do these p every day and I get the scallop a lot. So it’s a card that has a lot of significance for me, but there’s a lot of different meanings in the card. [13:56] And if you think about a scallop shell, I mean, it looks like an oyster shell, so it’s got the ridges that all go down to the hinge of the shell. And a lot of, meaning in this card is that those ridges all, symbolize a journey. So, the scallop is also associated with pilgrimage and travel in a lot of religions. [14:24] So with this card today, I want you to think about how anytime you’re trying to change, you are going on a journey. This is not thing that you’re going to do for one day. If it’s something that you really want to achieve, if it’s something long-term that you are trying to get to, you need to make it part of your long-term. You need to go on this journey with yourself and you need to work on ways that you can enjoy the journey and enjoy the process and understand that this is going to be with you for awhile. [15:01] These changes are something that you are going to be carrying on your journey. So choose to do it in a way that is kind to yourself rather than a way that requires you to beat yourself up and feel like a failure. CK: [15:16] Make it rewarding for yourself. [15:19] Make it rewarding. Enjoy the journey. CK: [15:22] There you go. Pam: [15:23] If you found yourself thinking, “hey, that’s not bad advice,” while listening today, we’d love it if you shared the episode with your friends and rated it in iTunes. It really does help. [15:34] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. To find us on other platforms, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice. There, you can also contact us if there’s anything you need advice about. We’d love to hear from you.
14 minutes | 14 days ago
How To Feel Calm When You’re Not In Control
Trying to control the future is exhausting. It’s also impossible. Learn how to feel calm even when things are out of your control. Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:00] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where we provide advice on topics all over the spectrum. Our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:15] I’m Pamela Lund… CK: [00:16] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:16] And we hope that after listening you’ll think, “hey, that’s not bad advice.” [00:27] Whether you think you’re a control freak or a go-with-the flow kind of person, your brain is constantly trying to feel in control. You probably don’t even notice the majority of the things that it’s doing to make the world around you seem like a cohesive place, but our brains are constantly predicting patterns in everything we see and hear to make things make sense. [00:58] If our brains didn’t do this, we’d have to think about what we were seeing every single time we saw a tree or what we were hearing every time we heard a bird chirp. We would spend so much time trying to figure out what was going on around us, that we wouldn’t be able to do anything else. [01:15] In order to not go crazy, we need to feel like everything going on around us makes sense and that we have some control. But our brains can’t actually see or hear. They’re just taking electrical impulses and pattern matching that information to essentially guess what’s going on around you. [01:35] The fact that our brains use patterns to predict what we’re seeing is why optical illusions work and also why we can’t see that they’re illusions. [01:45] Now, optical illusions are harmless fun, but today we’re going to talk about how this need to predict what’s going to happen affects our day-to-day lives in ways you might not realize, and strategies to feel calmer when you’re in a situation that you can’t control. [02:01] So CK, you and I have both worked for ourselves for over a decade, but do you remember when you had a boss? Did they ever ask to speak with you without telling you why? And do you remember how that felt? CK: [02:15] Well, I can’t really think of a situation like that right now. I’m sure it’s happened. But I can relate to it with a recent episode with an old high school friend who called and left a voicemail and said, “Hey CK, call me. I need to talk.” Pam: [02:37] Oh, that- yeah, the “we need to talk” is one of the worst phrases ever to hear. CK: [02:42] Yeah… And those might not have been the exact words, but the gist of it was that I had no idea what they wanted to talk about. So, you know, there’s the notion of “when should I call them?” “What are they going to want?” “So do I want to call them now and have to deal with it now?” [03:04] So there’s a lot of uncertainty. Pam: [03:06] Yeah, you go into a lot of thoughts about, you know, “what is this?” “Why are they calling?” “Is it something good?” “Is it something bad?” You have absolutely no idea. [03:15] Right. [03:16] And that happens with bosses, that happens with your significant other. That’s the kind of cliche phrase with a relationship, right? Is “we need to talk,” and you’re like, “oh my God , what are we going to talk about?” And it could be nothing, but it could be a breakup. It could be this whole spectrum. You have no idea. [03:30] Exactly. [03:30] And you want to know why they want to talk to you so that you can prepare yourself. So that you can feel more in control of the outcome. [03:38] But you can’t control that outcome any more than you can read their mind, so you just spend time spinning out and trying to figure out what they want, what you did wrong, if you’re getting fired, if you’re breaking up. Like, on and on and on. And you might even settle on what you think that they’re going to say and convince yourself that that is definitely what’s going to happen. [04:00] That need to feel in control sends you into a tailspin, trying to have control over the situation in the future that you have absolutely no influence over. And like we just said, the situation happens in all kinds of different ways all the time. [04:16] For example, my dad was recently taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital. And I live 1400 miles away, so I couldn’t be there and I would get infrequent updates maybe once or twice a day. [04:28] And before he was stable, it was really hard to not be able to do anything. I would be working, and I would start thinking about all the possible outcomes and what I would do in each situation. It didn’t do anything to alleviate my anxiety. It made it worse. It ended up being a complete waste of time anyway, because he was fine. [04:47] But this is what we do when we feel out of control, because our uncertainty and lack of control feels dangerous to our brains. It makes us very uneasy and we feel stressed and anxious. [05:00] And this happens to everyone to varying degrees, whether they realize it or not, and whether they think they’re a person who needs control or not. It’s a completely normal and natural thing. [05:12] Uncertainty bothers us so much that we tell ourselves stories that make us think that we’re in control or that at least make us feel comfortable without having control. [05:23] That’s actually a lot of what religion is. It’s a way to soothe our need for control by giving control over to another being that you believe has your best interest in mind. Like, if you can’t control something, at least whatever deity you worship is controlling it for you. [05:39] But outside of religion, the irony of these stories that we create in our own minds to make it seem like we’re in control is that they are usually what fuels our anxiety. [05:50] Just like in the example of my dad being in the hospital or your boss unexpectedly asking to meet with you, that thought spiral creates more anxiety than just sitting with the reality of the situation. [06:03] And we do this constantly, even though it doesn’t help. And it doesn’t even make us feel better. We’re always trying to control things that we can’t control, but we spend a lot of time in situations that we have no control over. And the more you try to control them, the more stress that you’ll feel. [06:19] And when you’re stressed, you aren’t able to think as clearly. So you’ll make decisions that are not in your best interest or that actually make the situation worse. Not only does it cause more stress, but trying to change things that you don’t have power over simply isn’t worth your time and energy. [06:40] You have much bigger and better things to do with your resources. And the more that you believe that, and the more mindful that you can be, the more you can train your brain to let go of the things that are out of your control. [06:53] And this need for control will never go away no matter how much you work at it. But having the awareness that this kind of anxiety spiral is actually an attempt for you to feel in control can help you step out of it. [07:09] I actually visualize it like that sometimes. Like, I see myself in a thought spiral, and when I recognize that’s happening, I picture myself physically stepping out of it – physically moving away from it. And that visualization kind of helps me create a separation between the thoughts that I’m having and my reality. [07:30] So the basic concept that we’re talking about here is one that you’ve probably heard, which is that if you can’t change your circumstances, you have to change how you think about them. Those are really your only two options. [07:42] You know that you can’t control the outcome and have no idea what’s going to happen. So rather than spinning out on it, you have to stay in a constant conversation with your brain. To change how you think about a situation, you have to have this conversation with yourself over and over. You can kind of think of your brain like a child that keeps asking questions and you have to keep responding to get them to leave you alone for a little bit. [08:07] But the same response won’t work every time. So you have to mix it up until you find what does work for the toddler in your brain. So every time you start to spin out, you can use one of the following approaches to talk yourself down. [08:20] The first is that you can try compassion. You can say to yourself like, “hey, I know this is scary and I know you feel threatened, but let’s not make it worse.” “We can’t do anything about it, so let’s focus on something else.” [08:33] Just be kind to yourself. And that won’t be magic. You’ll have to do it a million times, but if you can stay with that thought and not go into an anxiety spiral, you’ll feel better than you would if you spun out. [08:45] And if compassion stops working or didn’t work in the first place, you can try being rational. You can think of examples of times when you went into a thought spiral over something that you couldn’t control and consider, how often did your worst case scenario actually happen? How often did something totally uneventful or totally the opposite of what you were afraid of happen? How often was all of your fear and anxiety worthwhile? Probably not very often. You will likely find many more examples of when you spun out for absolutely no reason. [09:22] And if that doesn’t work or if it stops working, you can just try being factual. State what the situation is and how you feel about it, but not what you’re projecting. You can say, “I’m waiting for the results of a medical test and I’m afraid it will be bad news.” “I can’t change the outcome or do anything to speed up how quickly I get the results, so I’m anxious.” Saying it out loud can actually help. And just giving yourself the permission to not be in control can relieve some of the anxiety. [09:53] You might need to try all three of these angles. You’re going to have to repeatedly call your thoughts back to the present. And changing how you think about something isn’t like flipping a switch. It takes work. But so does being stressed out. It’s exhausting to try to predict and control the future. [10:14] So, let’s transition to the part of the show where I shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and pull a card to see how it can relate to what we talked about today. And I like doing this because it gives me a visual to associate with the topic. And when I have a visual, it makes it easier to remember the perspective. [10:53] So let’s see what the Nocturna Oracle deck from the Creeping Moon has to offer us as a visual for staying calm and present when our brains try to control something they can’t control. This card really loves to come up during these recordings. [11:31] So I pulled the slug again today, which we got last time we talked about slowing down and being intentional. So slugs are, if you’ve never seen one, basically gigantic snails without shells, and they move very, very slowly and calmly. I don’t think they have the ability to panic and run away. Everything that they do is very, very slow. [12:03] So, keep the slug in mind, when you start feeling like you’re going into an anxiety spiral. Can you embrace your slugness and bring yourself back to a place of calm and slowness and presence and know that wherever you’re going, you’re going to get there. And you’re not going to change the outcome of any situation by trying to speed up or trying to control what is happening. You will only get there when the time is right to get there. [12:41] And you will have the best outcome and you will feel the best about it, if you stay present and stay calm and don’t try to control any outcome that you don’t have control over. Stay in your strength, stay in your power, and stay present and slow. CK: [13:04] Slow and steady like a slug. Pam: [13:06] Exactly. CK: [13:06] I kinda want to see a slug panic and run away though. Pam: [13:12] Yeah, actually that would be pretty fun. [13:14] All right. So if you were listening today and you thought, “hey, that’s not bad advice,” we would love if you shared the episode with your friends and rated it in iTunes. It really does help. You can also get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. [13:31] To find us on other platforms, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice, and there you can also contact us if there’s something you need advice about. We’d love to hear from you.
21 minutes | 21 days ago
How To Make Social Media Suck Less
Social media sucks. It sucks your time and your energy. The people you follow probably suck, too. Find out how you can still use social media but make it suck less. Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:00] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice where we discuss one good idea that you can use right away, no matter who you are or where you’re at in life. We cover topics all over the spectrum with the simple goal of offering you a new perspective. I am Pamela Lund… CK: and I’m CK Chung… Pam: and we hope that after listening you’ll think, Hey, that’s not bad advice. [00:36] I just read a stat that said in 2019 people in North America spent over two hours a day on average on social media. I bet it’s more. I’ve seen other studies that said that it’s three hours a day, and I believe that. Like most people have their phones in their hand while they’re watching TV. And Americans – this is another surprising stat. I think…or maybe not! Americans watch an average of four hours of TV per day, not counting other video, like YouTube and whatnot. So I wouldn’t be surprised if social media usage and TV usage are similar. [01:11] I checked my usage this week, and I averaged just over an hour, a day between Twitter and Instagram, which on one hand, I still felt like it was a lot, but I was also pleasantly surprised it wasn’t more. But it’s actually not the actual time that I’m concerned with. [01:28] The time is obviously an issue if you’re spending hours doing nothing but scrolling through feeds, when you have other valuable things that you could be doing. But today I want to focus on the impact the time on social media is having on our mental health. [01:44] If you have two hours a day to spend on social media and it’s not having a negative impact on you, that’s great. I’d argue that there are better ways to use that time anyway, but it’s your time. [01:56] However, if looking at social media is negatively impacting you, it doesn’t matter if you look at it for 10 minutes, the impact is still affecting you. And if something is negatively affecting you, it’s worth putting some energy into changing. [02:11] So I’m going to share some tips to make social media, a better experience, and one that doesn’t sabotage your mental health or derail you from your goals. And these aren’t hacks to force you to use apps less. [02:24] I’m not going to suggest using an app timer or a scheduler. Maybe they would work for you if you need a time limit on usage, but I want to focus more on things that you can do that will make your brain actually crave social media, less. [02:37] Now real quick, I know CK, you use an app timer to prevent you from using social media more than whatever limit you put on there, and um, I was wondering why you do that since you hardly use social media at all. CK: [02:49] Yeah. [02:50] I think maybe that’s why, because I do hardly use it. And when I do, I may get caught up in it because I’m so not used to using it. I don’t know if that makes sense. But then that little signal of the timer going off will alert me of my usage. So that’s like a quick and easy method to be mindful of your social media usage. [03:14] And it might be more effective for me because I don’t use social media very much. So I don’t know how effective it would be for people who are, you know, on the side of the spectrum of being addicted, if some kind of timer notification’s going to help them out. Pam: [03:32] Yeah. I think that’s a good point because even for me, when I’m, even though I’m cognizant of how much I’m using social media, I tried the timer on my iPhone, just like native one CK: [03:42] Yeah. That’s what I use. Pam: [03:43] Okay. So when the notification would pop up, that I had spent my limited time or whatever, I would just disregard it, like, I don’t care. [03:49] Like this is some arbitrary limit and I want to look at Twitter right now. CK: [03:53] Right. Yeah, for me, it’s more like, okay, it gives you the option of ignoring it or adding like another minute or something like that. So I’ll just add on another minute and finish what I was doing. And then I’ll feel like, okay, that was my social media time. And it’s more about being mindful, I guess. [04:13] So if I’m using social media mindfully, then I may go back on and ignore the time limit. But usually, you know, I’ll start using it mindfully and then I may get sidetracked or just start scrolling. And then that’s when it’s useful that, okay. I’ve been on Twitter for 20 minutes. I’ll just finish up what I’m doing and then Pam: [04:36] Yeah. And that’s a good transition to what we’re talking about today. We don’t look at social media because it’s really enjoyable. There are fun moments and funny pictures and whatnot, but overall, when you’re scrolling through social media, it’s not super fun. It’s not exciting. [04:53] And oftentimes it’s not even that interesting. When you see other people that are scrolling on their phones, they don’t look happy. They’re just zoned out, and you look the same when you’re doing it. [05:05] So we don’t look at social media for enjoyment. As odd as that may sound. It’s true. We look at it because it’s rewarding to our brains. [05:15] When you have a reaction to anything, it’s a stimulus for your brain, and our brains love stimulus. If you get mad at political posts or get annoyed by that person that’s trying to sell products from an MLM, or if you judge the person that posts like thirst trap selfies… whatever it is, every reaction you have to something in your feed is a signal to your brain to keep looking, to keep scrolling. [05:43] And scrolling through social, lets you like judge the hell out of everyone else with no repercussions. It’s like this huge gossip circle you can just scroll through and be like, you know, “she’s dumb… he’s ugly… they’re ruining their life… what an idiot.” And you feel superior. I mean, not you, right? You would never do that. [06:05] So all of those reactions, they’re just, they’re constant rewards and constant stimulus for our brain. [06:11] And before I give the next example, I want to clarify what I mean by social media being rewarding for our brains. A reward is not inherently good. If you reward a dog for bad behavior, you reinforce bad behavior. And getting in trouble could also be a reward if you think about kids that act out for attention. [06:32] So rewards are just a response to an action. So when I say that social media rewards our brains, I don’t mean that it gives your brain something positive or something good. It just gives your brain feedback and your brain will keep doing whatever it can to get more feedback. That’s its job is to gather information. [06:50] So another one social media rewards your brain or gives it this feedback is by showing you all the ways you’re not stacking up. You see pictures of all the highlights of everyone else’s lives and you know they’re just highlights, but you still feel like you’re missing out or not doing enough, or you don’t have enough or whatever. That is feedback to your brain, and your brain will actively seek out more of it. It will tell you to go look at pictures of that person that makes you feel less than, or to look at your ex’s new wife or whatever it is that makes you feel bad. [07:28] Brains are jerks like that. They want this constant information and constant feedback, no matter what it is. And you likely know everything I’m saying, but you look at social media anyway. I know everything I’m saying, and I look at it anyway. There are entire books and apps and courses dedicated to helping us use social media less, but we are still doing it more and more. [07:56] We have to regularly be reminded to use social media less because it is constantly pulling us to use it more. And the tools that they have to hijack your brain are so much more powerful than anything you can read in a book or hear on a podcast. [08:14] It’s more powerful than the rational part of your brain. So you have to be vigilant and you have to get this message over and over and over. CK: [08:25] That’s such a great point. So we have to remember that these social media services. No how our brains work, basically, and they’re intentionally hijacking our minds in order to get more views on their own platforms. Pam: [08:39] Absolutely. That translates into advertiser dollars. They are intentionally trying to get you to spend more and more time. If you look at their investor reports, they report on how much time people are spending on their platforms and they have to increase that constantly. CK: [08:57] Yep. Pam: [08:57] So you’re battling against that. [09:00] Okay. So let’s get into the tips. So the first one seems pretty obvious, but you would not believe how many people don’t do this. And it’s because of that reward system that I mentioned. So it’s just to unfollow people that post things that make you feel anything you don’t want to feel. Political posts, hurtful things, whatever. If you wouldn’t listen to a person saying it to your face, don’t read it on social either. [09:28] Picture this next time you’re scrolling. Would you let this person stand in your living room and say out loud what they’re posting? Like Can you imagine sitting down on the couch to relax after a long day and letting someone bark political points of view or hot takes at you? [09:47] Thinking of that makes it really, really easy for me to unfollow people. The more people that you follow, the more time that you’ll spend scrolling, simply due to the sheer amount of content. You don’t have to follow the person that you went to high school with that you never interact with. You don’t have to follow your old boss that you’re not friends with anymore. You don’t have to stay connected to anyone. It’s your life. It’s your social media. It’s your feed. It’s your mental health. [10:17] And if there’s someone that you absolutely can’t unfollow or unfriend or whatever because you feel obligated to stay connected. You can still mute them. They won’t know, and it will get them out of your feed. [10:29] Second tip is to unfollow celebrities, news outlets, and other really popular accounts. Like these celebrities are not your friends. I know it feels like you get to know them because you’re. Seeing everything that they post, but like, you’re not going to reply to their tweet and have them invite you over to their home and become their new best friend. [10:50] It’s just not- CK: [10:52] What?! Pam: [10:52] Maybe you, haha… [10:55] And you’re not going to be uninformed because you don’t get a fire hose of content from Twitter or Facebook. Like You can read the news on your schedule and consume consciously. And these really, really popular accounts, they have so much engagement that you’re going to get sucked into the comments. You’re going to see troll replies that immediately put you in a defensive mindset or some other like low value thought. You know, Even if you just think like, “Oh, what an idiot.” That is a, a negative or. You know, a low value thought that you don’t want to put yourself into that mindset for something so unimportant and so not relevant to your life. [11:32] Or maybe you’ll see something that actually makes you mad and it completely changes your mood. It’s like just enough to like change the flow of your entire day. All because you looked at the comments on a news article. [11:46] And if you get sucked into the comments and you reply to someone that you disagree with, that’s going to be even worse. Like You’re going to end up in an internet argument. And like in general, just like don’t argue on the internet. Really. You are not changing anyone’s mind ever. [12:04] So before you comment on anything, really, ask if it’s worth your time. I Honestly, do you want to have this conversation? Is this important to you? Is it adding any value to your life at all? It’s probably not, especially if it’s on social media. [12:23] So the third group to unfollow is brands. I’m guilty of this a lot on Instagram – I follow brands that I , um, am shopping or keeping an eye on or whatever, but , um, I go through phases where I have to go and unfollow all of them. Cause I realized that I’m shopping too much. Um, So unfollowing brands has the added benefit of reducing the chances that you’re going to spend money that you didn’t intend to spend. [12:51] One of my reasons for following brands was that I wanted to know when they would post about sales, but we know when companies run sales. Like this is not a surprise, right? They happen on holidays, always. So if you’re planning a purchase, you can coordinate it with the holiday. Maybe you follow brands around the holidays when you know that they’re going to be posting these things, but you don’t need to follow them all year and get sucked into wanting to buy things that you don’t need, or weren’t planning on. [13:20] Or if you see a discount when you weren’t intending to buy, it makes you spend money that you weren’t planning. So if you’re on a budget, following brands is really, really dangerous. [13:29] And I find that with some brands, I follow them because I believe in what they do, I believe in their mission. And so I’ll feel guilty about unfollowing them, and , uh, it feels like, you know, following them on social as a way to show support, even if I can’t spend money with them. [13:47] But you have to ask yourself if your time, health, and budget are more important to you or if helping them achieve their goals is. So when I put it in that frame, it’s a no brainer for me to unfollow. [14:01] And with all of those three tips of, of groups to unfollow, you can always refollow them. If you miss them, this is not like a permanent you hit unfollow and you can never follow them again. So test it out, unfollow a bunch of accounts, and see if your feeds are more enjoyable or if you feel less drawn to scrolling. [14:27] The fourth tip is just don’t post. Don’t comment. Or only do it when you have the time and want to spend the time checking on reactions and replies. Because as soon as you post or comment, anything, your brain starts going like, “Oh, did somebody reply? Did anybody react to that?” [14:47] And you start And you get pulled back even if you post and then set your phone down and walk away, you’re constantly being drawn back to see if there was any reaction or comment or any additional reward that you can get from that post. So, So if you’ve got something that you’re supposed to be focused on, this will majorly derail your brain. So just keep that in mind. [15:12] And on top of that, there’s all sorts of weird psychology that happens after you post something. You start wondering you know, why this person didn’t respond or what this person thought, and it activates that awkward teenager stuck in your brain and it sends you into this approval seeking mode. [15:31] So, if you’re trying to break a social media habit, taking yourself out of the conversation is a key step, even though it seems drastic. If you’re not commenting and posting, like where’s the social part of social media? But I think we need to stop thinking that social media is actually social. It definitely can be social, but most of how we use it is not. [15:54] And like we don’t act on there like we would act in a room full of the people that we interact with offline. So before I post or comment, I like to ask myself two questions. The first one is: is this adding value? And value can be anything from making someone laugh to informing them to asking a question you need help with. There’s There’s tons of ways to add value. You’ll know if you’re adding value. Um, And also like ask if you would say this to the person in-person and if not, it’s probably not adding value. [16:29] And the second again is: is this worth my time? I’ll start replying to someone, you know, commenting or I’ll start posting something. And then I’m like, “what am I doing? This is such a waste of time!” [16:41] Okay. And last, but definitely not least, be mindful. Check in with yourself. This is something I think I’ve recommended in every episode we’ve done, but that’s because it’s so important and it’s really useful in any situation. Building a habit of noticing when you’re not acting intentionally, and checking in to see what’s going on, will help you stay aligned with what’s best for you. [17:08] When you realize you’ve been scrolling for a bit, just stop and ask, how am I feeling? Does this feel good? Is this really what I want? And the answer will probably be no. And then you can shift your attention to something that you actually want to engage with. [17:24] When I check in like this after scrolling, I’m usually like, “what am I doing?” But it’s just habitual. And the apps, like we said, are so perfectly designed to take advantage of the way our brains crave constant input. So even when you’re aware that they are designed to suck you in, they still do. You have to build that mindfulness practice. [17:47] So you’re always checking in with yourself to see if you’re feeling the way you want and doing what you want to be doing. CK: [17:54] Great tips. Pam: [17:55] Thank you. Now. I need to make sure I put them all into practice. It’s a constant battle. [18:03] All right. So we’re going to transition to the part of the show where I shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and pull a card to see how that card can relate to what we talked about today. And I like doing this because it gives me a visual to associate with the topic, and when I have a visual, it makes it easier to remember the perspective. So let’s see what the Nocturne Oracle deck from the creeping moon has to offer us as a visual for being mindful about social media. [19:10] All right. So today we have the shark, and sharks they are are a sign of confidence and forward motion. You never see a shark going backwards. So with this, I want to actually want to give two visuals with this. One is to think of the social media networks like sharks. They are big, scary things coming to eat you. If you’re scared of sharks, I’m going to give you that visual. [19:52] They don’t have your best interest in mind. They are trying to take your time. They’re trying to, to, bite your arm off. They want it, They want to draw you in. Um, But the other visual that we can think of with the shark is this forward motion and being mindful about where you’re going. [20:12] And if you are being sucked into spending a lot of time on social media, you’re not being mindful of your forward motion. You are not moving in the direction that you should be moving. You’re not in your strength. You’re not in your power. You are achieving someone else’s goals. So think about the forward motion of the shark. Think about not going backwards and staying in your power rather than being drawn into what the social networks want you to do. CK: [20:51] Don’t let social media hijack your forward motion. Pam: [20:55] There you go. All right, so if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, please share the episode with your friends and rate it in iTunes. It really does help. You can get in touch with us on Twitter. It’s funny for us to mention this today, but you can, you can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. [21:16] You can also visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice to connect with us. If there’s something you need advice about, we’d love to hear from you.
24 minutes | a month ago
How To Deal With People
You have to interact with other people so you might as well make it more pleasant (for you and them). Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:00] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice where we discuss one good idea that you can use right away, no matter who you are or where you’re at in life. We’ll cover topics all over the spectrum with the simple goal of offering you a new perspective. I’m Pamela Lund… CK: [00:25] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:27] And we hope that after listening, you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice.” [00:36] On the last two episodes, we focused on trying new things and moving out of your comfort zones. So today I want to shift gears. We’re in a period right now, where the way we interact with others is changing, from our coworkers that we have to have video calls with, to people standing too close to the grocery store, to your family that you’re stuck in the same house with, or maybe that you’re missing because you can’t see them. [01:01] Every relationship that you have, no matter how superficial or deep is being affected in some way and a lot of your relationships might feel more strained or difficult. So I want to talk about how to make them a little bit easier. Sound good? CK: [01:15] Sounds good to me. Pam: [01:17] The ironic thing is that I didn’t feel like recording today. I almost told CK that I wanted to skip it because I was feeling really off. Like, mentally really off. [01:27] But the reason that I was feeling off was because of an interaction I had yesterday that was lingering in my subconscious. The universe being the way that it is, the interaction was a perfect example of how not to act. And it felt really inauthentic for me to tell people to behave one way, when I had behaved exactly the opposite way. So let me tell you what happened. [01:53] We were going into a condo complex yesterday – and we don’t live there, we were going to see family for a physically distant mother’s day – and we pulled up to the gate. And it’s the type of gate where there’s one entrance for the residents, and they have like a clicker and they can go through. And then there’s an entrance for guests, and you have to use a call box to get buzzed in. And you can only go one car at a time. There’s a gate that will come down, and it only allows one car in at a time. [02:21] So when we pulled up, there was a guy in a pickup truck sitting in front of the guest entrance. So, we couldn’t get in because he was blocking the entrance, and he couldn’t get in because he didn’t know how to use the gate. So I needed to communicate with him that he was in the way, and the only way that I could do that was by yelling at him from our car. [02:43] So like right away, that is not a good way to interact with someone yelling from your car to their car. So I yelled at him that like he needed to get out of the way and his response was to call me a princess and say “fine, I’m moving princess” or something like that, which immediately made me angry. [03:01] So I responded out of anger and he told me that he was trying to make a delivery. And immediately when I realized that he was a delivery person, I felt. Really bad because delivery people right now are under a lot of stress and they’re trying to get food to all of these people that are quarantining in their houses for this pandemic. [03:22] And by that point, there’s no way that this interaction could have turned out positively. I tried to tell him, I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be a jerk. You can just only have one car at a time. You have to use the call box, but he didn’t want to hear what I had to say. And we’re still yelling at each other from our cars. [03:37] So the interaction went exactly the opposite way of how I would want to interact with someone who’s working in a stressful job right now, or really anyone. And so we left each other, me thinking he was a jerk because he called me a princess and him probably thinking that I was this bitch that lived in this expensive condo complex. [03:53] I was coming down on him trying to do his job. So it didn’t go the way that I wanted it to and it didn’t have to go that way. And it was really on me. I was the one that started the interaction. So it really stuck with me until this morning when I almost called off this recording session. [04:09] And then I realized like, Of course, that is exactly why I needed to record this today because the feeling’s really fresh and I want to help other people avoid feeling that way. [04:21] And as soon as I realized that and I started working through what happened in my head, I started to feel better because when we’re stressed is exactly when we’re prone to behaving in ways that don’t feel good. [04:32] It’s really easy to act the way that you want to act when you feel good. You’re in a positive mental space, [04:37] you’re really present, there’s not a lot of stress going on so you act the way that you think that you act all the time. And it’s really easy to behave in the way that you want to behave in reality, in the way that’s aligned with who you think that you are. So we need to practice reacting and acting in ways that reflect who we want to be and how we want to feel so that those reactions become our default reactions when we are stressed [05:01] and so it doesn’t take as much work to be cool when you’re stressed. So I’m not perfect. No one is, but I can get better. I can learn and so can everyone else. So let’s talk about what we all need to practice. CK: [05:15] I think that’s a great story and a great example of an experience where you realize you’re caught in the emotions of the circumstances. And when you realize that you can see how to separate the emotion from the circumstance and see the circumstance for what it actually is. Instead of having your initial emotion affect your reaction to the whole situation. Pam: [05:43] Yeah. And that’s something that can carry on for a longer period of time. And we’re going to get into how that happens and why in a minute. CK: [05:50] Perfect Pam: [05:51] So before we really dig in, I want to be clear that this has nothing to do with being nice or being a people pleaser, or making other people happy at all. What we’re talking about today is making you happier by improving interactions that are negatively affecting you. [06:07] This is all about reducing friction, so you can have fewer stressful interactions. This is entirely about how you feel. It’s great if other people walk away from interacting with you feeling good, but what we’re really talking about today is what happens in your head and how you process things, how you react and how you feel when you walk away from those interactions. [06:30] I want to be clear with that because I don’t want people to walk away from this thinking, “Oh, she’s saying I have to be nice.” There’s nothing here about having to be nice. This is a hundred percent about yourself. CK: [06:41] I think that’s a good point to clear that up because oftentimes we don’t think about how we think- or this metacognition, per se. You know, we just react and go through our processess like we go through them and think that’s it. But there’s a space there where we can evaluate our thoughts. Pam: [07:03] Yup. Yeah, that’s huge. The, the idea of there being space or that we need to create space for that evaluation. So there’s a few reasons that interactions can feel stressful, but they can be grouped into some broad categories. You know, People may be rude, inconsiderate, or hurt your feelings in some way. They may say something or act in a way that doesn’t make sense to you, so you’re left feeling like, “what the hell was that?” Or they act in a way that disappoints you or lets you down. Or they’re asking or telling you to do something you don’t want to do. I’m sure there’s others, but those four categories really cover the interactions that we’re talking about here today, and that leave you feeling discomfort or stress in some way. So there’s two cognitive biases that play major roles in how we react to other people in these situations. The first one is called consensus bias. It’s also known as false consensus effect. And all that means is that we think that the way we are is the way that everyone else is too. [08:07] So we think that everyone else thinks the way that we do. We think that everyone else has the same values that we do and that they should come to the same conclusions that we do. And therefore act the way that we would act. In other words, we project ourselves onto other people instead of putting ourselves in their shoes. [08:25] And that’s just the way humans are wired. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s no judgment in this. This is just the way people are. So it think it’s really important to know that this is natural and everyone does it. So when you can become aware of it and you can just see it kind of like creating that space that you were just talking about CK, when you become aware of it, you can go, “Oh, that’s consensus bias” or, “Oh, that’s totally natural that this is happening to me”. [08:50] So we think that everyone is just like us and why wouldn’t we? We’re pretty great. Right? And so when that happens, though, even the people that you know best will act in ways that don’t make sense to you because you know them through your lens. You see them the way that you see them. You’re not actually seeing what’s happening inside their heads. [09:11] And we also think that people know what we know and can see a situation that we do, which they don’t. So taking that example with the delivery guy yesterday, I didn’t know that he was making a delivery. I didn’t know what he was doing. And he didn’t know that I couldn’t let him in. There was no way for me to let him in, but he probably thought that I lived there and had a clicker. [09:33] So we were both coming at that situation from a completely different sets of information and assuming that the other person knew what we knew, because we don’t have the perspective of seeing what other people know and getting inside their heads. [09:48] So when someone acts in a way that doesn’t make sense to you, it creates a conflict in your head. It creates stress for you because you can’t understand why they’re acting that way, and you can’t see things the way they do. You can’t understand why they don’t see things the way you do. So you get angry or annoyed or offended because they didn’t act the way you think they should or the way that you want them to. [10:11] So this bias, this consensus bias causes us to start thinking that there’s just something wrong with them to reconcile that stress and that conflict between how you think they should act and how they actually do. Because if there’s something wrong with them, then, of course, they’re going to act in a way that doesn’t make sense to you. That like solves the problem. [10:31] If you watch somebody do something that doesn’t make sense to you and you can go, “Oh, well they’re just an idiot,” then that immediately resolves that conflict in your head. Because if they’re dumb, you’re not dumb, so the way that you think they should have acted is still the right way and what they did was wrong, cause they’re just dumb. Of course, that’s not true, but we’re going to get back to that in a minute. [10:53] So the other cognitive bias that we want to talk about is fundamental attribution error, which I know is one of CK’s favorite biases. Do you wanna take a crack at explaining this one? CK: [11:06] Sure. So, fundamental attribution error basically means that when judging why a person is acting the way they are, people put too much weight into who they think the person is and not enough consideration into what the person is dealing with at the time. So it’s kind of like a person versus situation debate. Pam: [11:30] Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. So we can take an example of someone cutting you off in traffic. When they do that, you just automatically think the person is a rude jerk and that cutting you off wasn’t an accident, that they’re just always a bad driver. Someone cuts you off. You’re like, “Oh, that person’s just a bad driver. He’s a jerk.” [11:47] You don’t consider that they might have a reason for cutting you off. So the situation was that they’re cutting you off. Maybe they just made a mistake. Maybe they are rushing to the hospital. You know, you don’t know what’s going on in their world. But you don’t consider that you just go “that person’s a jerk.” [12:03] But on the flip side, whenever you cut someone off in traffic, You expect that they understand that it was a mistake and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry”. [12:13] Meanwhile, that person is thinking that you’re just a bad driver and always a jerk. So this is something again that everyone is doing. It’s happening all the time. It’s natural. These are biases that everyone has. But being aware that they’re happening is the important thing. And you don’t have to remember the names of consensus bias and the fundamental attribution error, or even really what they mean. [12:35] I just mentioned them because it’s important to know that the way your brain works and the way it makes decisions about other people’s behavior is exactly the same way other people are thinking about you. Other people don’t understand why you act the way that you do. And they think you’re an asshole when you cut them off in traffic. [12:52] And that perspective always, really helps me reset my judgment of other people. I guess. I’m just trying to get like a little judgement karma. Okay so, after someone does something that affects you negatively – and quick sidebar here, there are no negative emotions, all emotions are just emotions, but I’m saying that it affects you negatively because it’s just the easiest and most concise way to say it. [13:17] But I want to be clear there that feeling a certain way is not negative and another way isn’t positive. Emotions don’t inherently have value one way or another. [13:26] Okay. So, after someone does something that affects you negatively, the natural reaction that most people have is to stay with that first feeling like you get angry or offended or disappointed, and you just stay in that. [13:39] Right? You don’t take the time to create that space that CK was talking about earlier to step away and be like, was this actually the reaction that I want to be having, or that I should be having, or this situation warrants. And if you want to be mad or disappointed a lot, like by all means, keep doing that. You do you. If you keep listening to that first reaction and believing it, then you’ll continue to feel that way and that’s your prerogative. [14:02] But if you don’t want to feel that way so often there’s actually a pretty simple way to stop. And notice that I didn’t say easy, I said simple. Because changing thought patterns is not easy, but the fix is actually simple and the fix, well, it’s just empathy. But when you say empathy, most people either roll their eyes and shut down, or they’re like, “I’m already empathetic I don’t need to hear this”. [14:27] So if you had either of those reactions, hang tight, because I’m going to change your mind. So empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings. That’s really all it is – being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. So practicing empathy means actively pushing back on those cognitive biases. [14:49] I mentioned earlier on those natural reactions that we all have. So when someone does something or says something that makes you react negatively, just notice what you’re feeling. Take a second to think about their perspective. What are they going through that made them act that way? What are they feeling? [15:10] What might they know that you don’t know what happened to them right before that interaction? Or where are they going? That is impacting how they’re feeling right now. All of those things are information that you don’t have readily available to you, but you can think about it. You can make assumptions about it. And you can just take a second to think that, “Oh right… I’m coming from my perspective… they have a different perspective.” [15:37] And a really simple example of this that I mentioned earlier is getting cut off in traffic. When you get cut off, you get mad, maybe like flip the person off and you get all worked up about it. [15:46] And maybe you even follow the person for awhile and you get really ragey about it. And all you’re accomplishing is putting yourself in a bad mood and maybe raising your blood pressure. You aren’t actually getting any value out of acting like that, but it’s your first reaction. So you stick with it and you can choose to stay with that reaction. [16:03] Or you can take just a second. Think about like maybe the last time you accidentally cut someone off and how you were so sorry and hope they didn’t think you were a jerk. Like actively put yourself in the other person’s position. I had to do this with CK a few weeks ago, actually, I was kind of doing some stuff around the house and he was on his computer in the living room and he suggested that we put on a documentary in the background for us to watch. [16:25] So I put on one on Netflix called American Factory, and I didn’t realize that a lot of it would be subtitled. So after about 15 minutes, CK was like, “this isn’t going to work” in this tone that seemed like an overreaction. So my immediate emotion was to be annoyed. I’d gone through the effort to find something for swatch. [16:46] And he was the one that wanted to watch it in the first place! And now he was being so bitchy about me choosing one that wasn’t what he wanted to watch. So my first reaction was kind of like, you know, “screw you, you find a movie then”, but then I remembered that he hadn’t slept well the night before and he was just tired. [17:06] He wasn’t trying to be a jerk about something insignificant, and right as I realized that he was tired and that’s where that was coming from, he got up and said he was going to go take a nap. So I could’ve said something bitchy back right away and created this bad interaction between us over something so stupid. [17:24] If I hadn’t taken that breath and tried to figure out why is he acting the way that he’s acting. And CK, you actually came back and apologized later. I had completely forgotten about it. And you came back and you’re like, Oh, I’m sorry, because you knew that you were feeling that way. But I didn’t at the time. [17:41] So that example might seem really minor and unimportant when I’m telling it, like, that’s not a fantastic story. It’s a super tiny little interaction, but those little interactions, those little slights are ones that can actually turn into fights before you even know what happened. I’m sure everyone has had that where all of a sudden you’re in a fight and you’re like, where did this even come from? [18:01] Like, I have no idea how this even happened, or maybe you don’t get into a fight, but they just kind of like build up into grudges and bigger feelings and they expand beyond what they really are because individual moments don’t exist in a bubble. They are part of our broader experience and they add up and the overwhelming majority of real life is actually small moments and those are what relationships are built on. [18:28] So we can take a look at a work example. Maybe your boss is suddenly micromanaging you, or they’re asking for a ton of reports that you feel like you’re wasting your time on. So you can get mad about it and complain and make yourself and everyone around you miserable, or you can put yourself in your boss’s shoes and try to figure out what their motivation is. [18:49] Like, is your boss’s boss putting pressure on them? Did your boss’s spouse get laid off, putting financial pressure on them? Find something your boss’s life that is maybe affecting their motivations for acting the way they are. Can you put yourself in their position? [19:05] And it doesn’t matter if you’re going through the exact same thing that your boss is going through and you’re like, “I feel stressed about this too, so why is he or she acting this way?” Just because you’re stressed out doesn’t mean that other people don’t get to be stressed too. Just because you’re all going through the same thing doesn’t mean that they don’t get to act differently than the way you are or the way that you would in that situation. [19:32] The process here is really about removing yourself from the situation so you can see why the other person is doing what they’re doing. So, if you can figure out what might be motivating them to act the way they are, then you’ve got a couple of options. If it’s within your power, you can say, “hey, like I know this thing’s going on and here’s how I can help.” [19:50] Or you can ask them if there’s something going on that’s making them behave the way that they are. That may not be in your power. If it’s not, just using that empathy to understand where your boss is coming from can change your perspective on how they’re acting, and you can see that it’s not actually about you in most cases. [20:08] And when you take yourself out of the situation and empathize with where your boss is coming from, you feel better. Maybe your boss is still a jerk, but you feel better. It doesn’t matter. Your boss has to do his or her own internal work. You don’t own that. You can only own how you feel. So learning to actively practice empathy is what we want to do here. [20:32] And that takes time…building any muscle takes repetition. It takes practice, but it gets easier with practice and you can retrain your brain to default to empathy first (most of the time). It’s really hard when you’re in a stressful interaction, but the more you practice it, the more you work on it, the more you can make that your default so that when you are in that stressful situation, at least you’re able to create that space that CK was talking about. [20:56] You can take a second before you yell at the other person in the car. Before you react, you can just take a breath and be like, okay, what’s going on here? What is really happening? And when you default to empathy, you spend a lot less time being mad and a lot more time feeling connected to and compassionate for other people, which feels better than being mad CK: [21:18] For sure. Pam: [21:43] And speaking of feeling connected, let’s transition into the part of the show where we get a little more intuitive with our advice. I’m going to shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and I’m going to pull a card to see what perspective we get. And just remember that even if you’re not into the idea of intuition or wisdom from the universe, don’t go anywhere yet. You don’t have to believe in any of it for the perspective to have value for you. Like any of the advice we give here, all you have to do to benefit is listen, see what resonates for you and apply it to your life, where it feels right. As usual I’m using the Nocturna deck from the creeping moon designed by Megan over there. Shuffle real quick. [22:41] Okay. So this is really funny. The card that I pulled is the slug. Which if you’ve ever seen a slug, you know they move really, really slow. So this card is asking us where we need to slow down… where in our interactions do we need to be a slug? Chill out? Know that you can take a minute. You don’t have to get there fast. You don’t have to be the first to respond. You don’t have to be the first to talk. [23:17] You can channel the slug. Take a second. Take a breath. Slow down and approach your interactions with a little empathy. CK: [23:31] How appropriate. Pam: [23:32] I love it when it works out like that. Right? CK: [23:35] Yeah, absolutely. Pam: [23:37] All right. So if you found yourself thinking, “hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, we love it if you share the episode with your friends and rated it in iTunes. You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK @cKdisco. To find us on other platforms, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice, and there, you can also contact us if there’s something you need advice about. We’d love to hear from you.
25 minutes | a month ago
How To Expand Your Comfort Zones
Most people are okay spending their lives thinking they are in the “Good Place” and staying in their comfort zones. And that’s fine for them, but a year from now, or five years from now, do you want to be in the same place you are now? If not, you’re going to have to get uncomfortable. Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:01] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice where we discuss one good idea that you can use right away, no matter who you are or where you’re at. [00:19] We cover topics all over the spectrum with the simple goal of offering you a new perspective. I’m Pamela Lund, CK: [00:25] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:27] And we hope that after listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:37] So, today we’re talking about comfort zones. And, yeah, we’re going to talk about this while we’re dealing with a pandemic because this isn’t going to last forever. And while some things will be different on the other side, a lot won’t. [00:50] Most of us are eventually going to return to essentially the same life we had before. We’re going to go back to the same or a similar job. We’ll go back to the same habits and the same routines. We’ll go back to what we know. To what’s familiar to our comfort zones. [01:07] But the phrase comfort zone is kind of a misnomer. The word “comfort” in it makes it sound like a comfort zone is a place where you’re happy. [01:15] But it’s not always. You can be in a comfort zone and be unhappy. You can be in a comfort zone and just being numb. [01:24] Sometimes comfort zones are like that show The Good Place where you think you’re in the “good place,” but when you look deeper, you realize you’re actually in the “bad place.” [01:34] And most people are okay spending their lives thinking that they’re in the good place and staying in their comfort zones. And that’s fine for them. But a year from now, or five years from now, do you want to be in the same place you are right now? If not, you’re going to have to get uncomfortable. [01:54] In my experience, the best advice comes from people who’ve actually gone through what you’re going through, which is great news because starting this show and putting myself out there, and especially doing the on the fly card readings at the end has been super uncomfortable for me. [02:09] And I know starting our other podcasts practice with CK was super uncomfortable for you to, CK. So we are very qualified to talk about getting uncomfortable. Don’t you think? CK: [02:20] Yes, I do think. Pam: [02:21] Okay. CK: [02:22] I’ve been getting uncomfortable every weekend for the past nine to 10 weeks. Pam: [02:28] And you’ve been getting better at being uncomfortable. CK: [02:31] Exactly. I’ve been getting less and less uncomfortable and more and more uncomfortable. Pam: [02:35] Perfect. But like in the “good” way, not in the comfort is “bad” way. In the comfort is good way. CK: [02:40] Exactly… and the comfort is “learning and things are getting easier” way. Pam: [02:45] There we go. [02:47] So, everyone has comfort zones. We’ve all got the parts of our lives, where we need things to kind of be status quo most of the time. And that’s normal and it’s necessary, and we can’t push the limits everywhere all the time. That would just be exhausting. [03:00] So today what we’re talking about, this isn’t like a call to blow up your entire life and make everything exciting. But on the other hand, like some of you might be thinking, well, my life is already super exciting. I’m not stuck in comfort zones. Like, I go skydiving or base jumping or whatever… but you can do scary things in your life and still be stagnant in important areas. [03:22] And I want to make sure to say that there’s absolutely no judgment here. This is not a statement on anyone’s worth or value or quality of life. We all have to live our own lives and do what we have the capacity to do at the time. But we also have to realize that lives are cyclical. So maybe you are not in a place right now where you can push yourself, but you will be. [03:46] So even if you’re listening and you’re thinking like I’m not ready to move out of a comfort zone, you will at some point. You will have the capacity. [03:56] So we’re going to talk about how you can take small steps that lead to big changes. So I think there’s going to be something valuable here for everyone. CK: [04:04] Sounds good. Pam: [04:06] So, first let’s talk about what happens when we’re in these comfort zones that are actually making us uncomfortable, unhappy, unfulfilled… you know, many other words that start with “un-.” [04:18] When we are not pursuing things that are fulfilling or challenging in a productive way, our attention and our priorities shift outwards. So when you don’t have something that’s internally fulfilling to focus on you start caring more about the opinions of others and getting their approval. Or you start meeting other people’s goals instead of your own. [04:40] So some people will latch on to like other people’s drama – celebrity gossip, or Twitter feuds, or you know, wherever they can find excitement that they’re missing in their own lives. [04:51] Or we see this a lot with people who, like their identity starts to become overly externally influenced. So this happens with people who over identify with a political party or any group, really. You can over identify with that group and you become less attuned to your own thoughts and opinions. [05:10] You start spending your time achieving everyone else’s goals. You buy what advertisers tell you to buy. You watch on TV what everyone else is watching. You care about what you’re told to care about. [05:22] So the less we exercise critical thinking and the less we check in with ourselves about what we really want and not what we’re really told to want by society or advertising or what other external influences we have in our lives, we become detached from our actual needs and feelings, which leads to over consumption of everything – TV, food, alcohol, everything. [05:46] And I know I went through this in my life. I definitely had years where I was really disconnected from what I needed or wanted. And I would spend my weekends just like laying on the couch, watching hours and hours of shows that like, I can’t even remember now. Cause they didn’t matter. CK: [06:01] I think we could all relate to that somehow. Pam: [06:03] I think that’s what our twenties were for. Right? [06:07] But when we’re doing that, when we’re bingeing, we’re actually out of touch with our actual needs or what we’re trying not to feel, but what we actually do need to feel. So at some point you need to look around and then you’re like, “Oh shit, like what happened in my life?” And at that point, you have a choice and you can keep doing what you’re doing, or you can realize that it’s more uncomfortable to stay where you are in that comfort zone. [06:33] And honestly, most people choose to keep doing what they’re doing. There’s been many times in my life where I chose to stay in an unhappy comfort zone, or I made a half-assed attempt to change before giving up. [06:44] I’ve stayed in jobs that were miserable for far too long. I don’t know, CK, if you can think of instances where you were stuck in a comfort zone and didn’t get out when you maybe should have? CK: [06:54] Yeah. I mean, it’s easy to stay where you are. It kind of goes hand in hand with the first law of motion. Pam: [07:03] What is that? CK: [07:04] That an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest. So it’s a concept of inertia, basically. Pam: [07:13] Sure. So if you’re stuck, it’s easier to stay stuck. CK: [07:16] Right. Pam: [07:17] Yeah, and change is hard. It’s really scary. And fear is a really, really strong emotion. You have fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of judgment… I could list fears for days. The list of fears is unlimited. [07:31] But fear limits your imagination. It limits your ability to see what’s possible. [07:37] So you have to practice really being present and aware of how you’re feeling, rather than numbing out or focusing externally. And when you do that, it starts to become really uncomfortable to stay comfortable because you start to ask yourself, “Do I want mundane and ordinary? Do I just want to consume or do I want to create? Do I want to be above average, or maybe even great?” [08:05] So, the way that I have found that is the easiest to start to find where you are in a comfort zone and to see where you can kind of test the water, see where you can find the edge, is to employ curiosity in your everyday life. Start asking yourself, “Can I do this?” Or “What if I tried that?” [08:28] So an example of this was in December… CK mentioned that he thought that I could run a trail race, and I am not a runner. Like I’ve always made the joke that if you see me running, you should also start running because something bad is coming, but he kind of dropped that little seed that I could do this in my head. [08:47] So we tried to go to the trails just for a hike one day and the trails were closed because of rain. So we were just going to walk around on the city streets, and I was like, “Well, do you think I can run a mile? Let’s see.” [09:00] I had literally never run a mile in my life. Even in elementary school, when you’re supposed to go out and do a mile run fitness test, I wouldn’t run. I would walk the entire thing. I was a terribly lazy kid. [09:13] But I said, you know, “Let’s find out. Can I run a mile?” And much to my surprise, I actually did it. It was awful, but I got through it. And then it was like, “Okay, so you were able to do that. Can you do it again? Can you do it again?” And it just became habit where once or twice a week, I would go out and say, “can I do this today?” [09:36] And it wasn’t something where I felt like a lot of pressure because I was just. Being curious, “Can I do this today?” And now with practice and CK’s help on my runs, I’m up to two miles. So if you had told me a year ago that I was going to enjoy going out for a two mile run on Sundays, I’d have told you that you are absolutely crazy. [09:56] And CK has witnessed this shift. I’m sure it’s been pretty eye-opening to see me go. CK: [10:02] Yeah, absolutely. Pam: [10:03] Yeah, so if you just employ this curiosity, just ask yourself, “can I do this?” Or, “what if I tried?” And, if you don’t. Do it, it doesn’t matter. There’s no risk. You’re just saying, “Can I do it? Yes. No. Okay. I’ll try again.” [10:19] But we put a lot of fear and pressure onto making these kinds of changes because when we’re moving outside of our comfort zone, we’re actually changing who we are at our core. We have to become a person who writes a book and deal with all of the criticism and judgment and fear, if we’re going to write a book. [10:41] Or if you want to become a singer or get in great shape, you have to become the person who learns to sing. You have to become the person who sings. You have to become the person who goes to the gym when they have absolutely no idea what they’re doing there. [10:56] It doesn’t actually matter what the thing is that you’re trying to do, to do it, you’re changing who you are. You’re becoming a person who does that thing. So rather than having all of that pressure in your head of, like, “I have to become a person who writes the book,” employ that curiosity. Start out with something small on day one. [11:17] You don’t have to become the person that runs a marathon. You start by running a mile. If you’re trying to write a book, you can start by being the person who writes for 30 minutes a day. Not trying to be the person who writes the book, be the person who writes for 30 minutes a day. [11:32] And trust me that just writing for 30 minutes a day is uncomfortable enough to push you to your limits, if you don’t already have a daily writing practice. I use this strategy for our scripted show, Equanimity, that I’m working on. And I struggled for over a year to put the time into it because it felt like such a big overwhelming project that I didn’t know how to do. [11:55] I didn’t know how to write a podcast about our relationship. So I was only working on it sporadically because it felt so hard. I wasn’t the person who could write a scripted podcast. [12:07] But then I made a commitment to working on it for 30 minutes a day. That was it. Just 30 minutes a day. And I looked back and in February, I only spent two hours on it in March, I spent seven hours on it. And then in April with that 30 minute a day commitment, I spent it for 14 hours writing on it and just made crazy progress just with that little commitment. [12:31] And now I can see being the person that has a finished, scripted, produced podcast. That was pretty cool. CK: [12:40] That’s very cool. It seems like using curiosity as the portal into the process itself is a great strategy versus just thinking about the end goal and being so tied up in the end result. So I liked the aspect of using curiosity and asking yourself questions and using that as a conduit, into getting yourself into the process, rather than just straight up thinking about the hard and fast end goal, which may paralyze you from the process. Pam: [13:23] And it also changes it from, “I have to do this…” to “Can I do this?” Which for me is a huge change. I hate doing things that I feel like I have to do, but I like being challenged. CK: [13:37] Right. Pam: [13:38] So yeah, that definitely is a good shift. If you’re trying to do something CK: [13:43] Yeah, exactly. It’s like you’re kind of experimenting on yourself instead of having to accomplish something. I like it. Pam: [13:53] Cool. So once you get comfortable doing that small chunk, whatever you’ve committed to as, you know, “can I do X…” then you need to make it a little bit more uncomfortable. So, “can I do Y?” So if you started writing for 30 minutes a day and you get used to that, and that feels like it’s going really easily, then you could start writing for an hour a day. [14:15] But this also doesn’t have to just be for creative projects. This could be for anything that you want to change in your life. If there’s another job that you want, you don’t go quit your job, and then hope that you can get the new job, if you have no skills or training for it. You take a class, you ask someone who has the job that you have – if you can intern or be their mentee or whatever. [14:36] You take incremental steps and make them a little bit harder, a little bit less comfortable on a consistent basis and before you know it, your comfort zone has expanded and you become the person that’s doing the thing that you wanted to do, and it’s going to be hard, but it’s also going to be rewarding. [14:54] And there are two phrases that might performance coach and I came up with to help me stay okay with things being hard, because that’s something that I really struggle with – is when things get hard, I kind of want pull away and quit. [15:08] So the two phrases – they’re very similar, but they have a little bit of different connotations. So the first one is, “Yes, this is hard, and I can do it.” So it’s more of like a positive affirmation, that I’m doing a hard thing, but I can. Like, I am capable of doing this hard thing. [15:25] So I use that one sometimes, but my favorite one = and this one I use when we’re running, I use it when I’m writing and I’m kind of like stuck – and it’s just that “Hard things are hard.” [15:35] And it sounds so simple, but every time I think of that, every time I think “Hard things are hard,” it takes me out of that kind of self pity of like, “Oh my God, I’m doing this, and it’s so hard.” And I’m like, “Oh yeah… of course. Hard things are hard. They have to be hard.” [15:48] If they weren’t hard, there wouldn’t be the payoff. There wouldn’t be the amazing results that you’re going to get for it. And if it got easy, you would need to make it harder. So, “Hard things are hard.” [16:00] The other thing is that we tend to look at people who are doing the things that we want to do, and we think, “Well, it’s easy for them.” But it’s not. Maybe some aspects have gotten easier because they put in the work to make it look easy, but it’s just as hard for them. [16:16] Stephen King doesn’t sit down and like happily type out a new novel. It is a process and it’s a struggle. All writers talk about this. They have to sit down and birth this book or this project. It is hard for everyone. So you can’t look at someone else that you think is just floating through and say like, “It’s easy for them.” [16:36] That’s just an excuse. CK: [16:37] Right. We have to realize that what we’re seeing from them is the end product. We don’t see the process that they go through and all the work that they put in. Pam: [16:45] Yeah. If we did, I don’t know if any of us would ever create anything. CK: [16:49] Exactly. Pam: [16:51] So, if you need help doing the hard things, one of my biggest tips is to pay someone like a performance coach. CK and I have both worked with performance coaches of different types. I’m working with one right now and just having a call with her every two weeks- just having like a sounding board, someone to talk through, the hard things that you’re doing is really beneficial for me. [17:12] I think that you had the same experience with your coach. CK: [17:15] Yeah, absolutely. I’m actually between performance coaches right now and kind of self-coaching… myself… in terms of performance. And a lot of coaching is stuff that you already know and you know, that you should be doing, but like you said, it’s good to have a sounding board and get feedback from someone else and have someone else help you get a different perspective on how you’re going about things basically. Pam: [17:40] Yeah, I think that’s a good point because I have that experience with calls with my coach, with conversations that you and I have, and I bet people who are listening to this show are having that same experience = so they’re like, “I know this,” like, “I already know this,” = but you have to keep hearing it or hear it from a new person or have it put in a different perspective or you forget about it. [18:02] Like constantly having the repetition of the message is really important. CK: [18:05] Right, and different people have different ways or motivations going about things. And so things may stick differently with different people. Pam: [18:15] Yeah. So yeah, pay somebody, get some help, have an accountability, buddy. If you can’t afford a performance coach, have a friend – CK definitely helps keep me accountable. You can just have a friend, a family member, whoever… you don’t have to do it alone. [18:29] And the other thing that I want you to think is if you try this, if you get curious, if you say, “Can I do this?” And you don’t, like, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? I want you to really, really think about the thing that you want to do. And then think about the worst possible scenario if you start taking steps towards it. The fears that are going to come up are failure or being judged or failing and being judged for that. [18:57] So are those fears that you come up with really enough to hold you back from getting what you want out of your one shot at an amazing life? Are you going to let fear of failure or fear of judgment hold you back from doing the thing that makes you feel the most alive? I hope not, but , who cares if you fail? [19:17] If you fail the first time… you fail a fifth time… every failure teaches you something. I know CK, you’ve got an acronym for fail that really puts that in perspective. CK: [19:25] Yeah, I came across this somewhat recently and I really like it. So FAIL can stand for first attempt in learning. Pam: [19:34] Perfect. Yeah. So keep failing, keep learning. CK: [19:38] There you go. Pam: [19:39] So try again the next day and the next, and eventually you’re going to be doing the thing that you want to do. Or along the way you’ll find out maybe that thing isn’t what you want to do, but you’ll discover what you actually want to do. That incremental effort will add up and you’ll consistently be doing more than you could when you start it. You’ll become the person that is doing the thing you want it to do. [20:02] That’s actually what manifesting is – it’s thinking about achieving something and then putting in the effort to get the outcome. You can’t just think about it. You have to be active. [20:14] So speaking of manifesting, let’s transition to the part of the show where we get a little more intuitive with our advice. [20:47] I’m going to shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and I’m going to pull a card. See what perspective we get. Maybe it’ll easily relate to what we discussed today. And maybe it won’t, none of this is planned. None of it’s scripted. So we’ll see how it goes today. Even if you’re not into the idea of intuition or wisdom from the universe, stick around, you don’t have to believe in any of it for the perspective to have value for you. [21:09] Like any of the advice we give here, all you have to do to benefit from it is listen. See what resonates for you and apply it to your life and like with anything in life, you have to be discerning and critical of the information you’re offered, but you also have to be open to hearing something new and ready to show up for yourself. CK: [21:30] Sounds good. Pam: [21:32] As usual, I’m using the gorgeous nocturnal Oracle deck designed by Megan at the creeping moon. Okay. So I pulled one of my favorite cards. It is the cactus. [22:07] And the cactus for me, brings up that we have defense mechanisms that we build based on the environment that we’re in. So if you think of a cactus, the spines are actually just leaves, but they have evolved to be spiny little defense mechanisms. They also have evolved to cool the cactus. It doesn’t seem like it because they’re tiny little spines, but there’s like thousands of them on the cactus. And in aggregate, they do, they shade the cactus. [22:40] So, with this card. I want you to think about what defense mechanisms you have developed because of your environment, because of criticism that you’ve gotten from other people. When you try to move out of your comfort zones in the past, maybe you had an unsupportive partner or a terrible boss, or any of the many, many things that we go through in our lives, and we build defense mechanisms around those. [23:10] But at some point, those defense mechanisms don’t serve us any longer. When we’re not in that situation anymore, when we don’t need them, we need to be able to shed our spines = not our actual spines, our cactus spines. We need to be able to reevaluate whether the defenses that we have put up are still serving us, or if we need to let them go so that we can do the really great things that we want to do in life. [23:40] So we can have the relationships that we want to have. So that we can create the magic that we want to create in our lives. So think about what defense mechanisms you have built and whether they’re serving you anymore, and how you can maybe start to let them go a little bit so that you can try something new and get out of your comfort zones. CK: [24:04] Perfect. Love that. Pam: [24:07] Yeah, definitely one of my favorite cards. It always makes me smile and I get it. [24:12] So, if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, we’d love it. If you shared the episode with your friends or on social media. You can tag us on Twitter where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. [24:29] To find us on other platforms, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice. There you can also contact us if there’s something you need advice about. We’d love to hear from you.
17 minutes | a month ago
How to do things that scare you.
Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, that thing that scares you and excites you. Write the book. Start the business. You might fail, you might succeed, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. I’m doing the thing that scares and excites me by creating this show. Subscribe so we can become better together. In each episode, we’ll help you become more mindful, happier, and meaningfully productive. Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:01] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice where we discuss one good idea that you can use right away, no matter who you are or where you’re at. [00:19] We cover topics all over the spectrum with the simple goal of offering you a new perspective. I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:25] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:27] And we hope that after listening, you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:38] This is the inaugural episode of Not Bad Advice – a show that has really been a lifetime in the making, even though the actual idea for the show only came to me a few weeks ago. CK and I took this show and a few other creative projects under our umbrella brand, Forces of Equal, from idea to launch very quickly. [00:58] We just decided to start creating things that we wanted to share with the world without knowing what the end result would be. And that’s exactly what I want to talk about today. That you don’t have to have a complete vision or a concrete business plan or perfect circumstances to start something new. [01:15] If you wait for those things, chances are, you’ll never start. So CK, you are really the driver behind this shift for us. When you launched another podcast called Practice with CK, what was the impetus behind that? CK: [01:29] Well, somewhat complex. There’s a lot of different factors. [01:34] So one of them was just my fascination with podcasts. I’m subscribed to over 200 and I listened to podcasts 15 to 20 hours a week, if not more. And we’ve both been mulling around the idea of starting our own podcasts for the past few years. So the interest in podcasts and wanting to start my own was one of the factors. [01:59] And then also I want to learn how to converse better and be better in speaking and talking and conversation so that I can be more articulate with my thoughts and be more present in conversations. And also just the whole notion of practice and learning from the experience, and progressing incrementally. And putting myself out there. [02:30] And, you know, it had to do a lot with how I want to assert my self and my knowledge and my identity, but also be in tune with the systems outside of myself and society and friends and acquaintances and whoever I’m talking to. So, yeah, it was just a combination of a bunch of things and me wanting to improve myself. Pam: [02:56] So, did you have any idea what the end result was going to be that first day that we recorded? Or was it a spur of the moment decision? CK: [03:06] Yeah. I mean, of course the goal was to improve with speaking and figuring out this whole podcasting stuff and be able to produce a good podcast. But yeah, I mean, I didn’t really have any solid goals or ideas of where things would be going from doing a podcast. Pam: [03:27] And could you have envisioned how far you came in the last two months from day one to the eighth episode that we recorded and all the changes that have happened for you in that time? CK: [03:37] No, not even close. And I’m still processing all the progress that I’ve been making, and it’s just been like a force multiplier for me. And it’s infiltrated all the other projects and pursuits that I’ve been making, and just improved everything overall across the spectrum. [03:56] So yeah, I’m still trying to figure out what it is that went into it and why I’m so motivated and productive now. But yeah, there’s definitely something with this whole process. that’s kind of catalyzing everything else. It’s crazy. Pam: [04:13] That’s great. So I think that’s one of the big messages here is that the great things that we do in life, we look back and we didn’t know they were going to be great when they started. You don’t go on a first date thinking that you’re going to marry that person. Or when kids start playing musical instruments or sports, they don’t go into it with the intention of becoming professionals. That would put way too much pressure on the beginning of whatever it is. [04:43] But we put that pressure on ourselves with other things in our lives. So if you want to be a writer, every day, maybe you think about how you need to write a book. So you put all of this pressure on yourself to write a book, and then you get paralyzed with that big goal of writing a book. So then you don’t write anything. [05:02] Or maybe you have a business idea that you talk about to all your friends and it makes you feel alive when you talk about it, but you don’t exactly know how you’re going to take it from the idea to, you know, being your full-time job or even making money maybe. So you never pursue it because you get stuck in that, like, what’s the end goal for this going to be. [05:22] So you never start because you’re so paralyzed on the end result. And building a business or creating art or anything like that, it’s not like building a house. You don’t have to have a perfect blueprint to start. You know, you don’t need to know where the bathroom is going to be. [05:40] It’s not, it’s not like that. So if you’re waiting for things to be perfect, they’ll never be anything. You can get stuck in this planning mode as a defense mechanism, because you’re scared or you have all of this pressure on yourself to create something great. So my advice here is to just start. To try to adapt and adjust and be flexible. [06:10] And don’t think about what is this going to be at the end? Where does this have to end up? I want you to think about what you could do if you didn’t need to know how something ends. Like, what if you just start out doing something that makes you happy. Can that be enough for you to start? [06:36] And one of the big principles that helps me is the principle of “yes, and.” Using that framework in your life saying, “yes, I’m scared, and this will make me happy” or “yes, this is imperfect, and I can do it anyway.” [06:55] So if you use that, if you can find the duality in your situation, then using “yes, and” can really help you get over whatever the yes is. You know, “yes, this is the situation, and this other thing can also be the situation.” CK: [07:11] Yeah, that’s great. I like that. So it allows you to recognize what’s holding you back. That big picture end goal that’s occupying your mind. Saying yes, that is there and that exists allows you to recognize that. But then the end of that, and reflecting on other aspects or other perspectives can help you get out of that single track mindset of that one big picture end goal and help you see things in a expanded perspective. Pam: [07:45] Yeah, I like that. It could be, “yes, I want to write a book, and I can start with the chapter today.” CK: [07:52] Yeah. Pam: [07:53] That’s good. So it’s great to have goals and goals give you direction when you’re starting new things, but you can’t expect to know exactly where you’re going to be in five years or have a perfect roadmap for how you’re going to grow when you start this new thing. [08:11] I think that’s been really one of the amazing things that has come out of the last two months since you started Practice with CK, which is that we’ve changed so much and we’ve learned so much in that short period of time, simply from doing. And you’re going to learn so much once you just start the practice of doing whatever it is. [08:33] And when you go through that change, when you learn new things, when you become better at what you’re doing, when you develop new processes… all of those things change your trajectory. So if you had this really focused single outcome goal in mind, you can become too focused on that and you can miss opportunities that come along as you’re doing whatever it is – whatever you’re trying to build. Or you don’t appreciate what you’re learning, because you’re so focused on this other path. [09:07] Or you end up going down that path and you haven’t done the groundwork to make it successful. You didn’t learn all of the things that you need to learn to get to that end goal, because you jumped right from start to finish and you didn’t go through this process of discovery and of learning. [09:26] And you may even just like start and find out that that big goal that you think that you are going after isn’t actually the goal that you want anymore because you’ve learned so much and you have discovered something new through the process of doing. [09:40] So if you have this huge goal that you’re working towards, try not to be too focused on that. You don’t need to have that be the only thing. You can stay in the day-to-day practice, the process of learning and doing. And doing small pieces and just see where that takes you. CK: [10:03] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It’s like, if you are too hyper-focused on that end goal, that big picture, you get too narrow-minded and you get rigid in your process. So even just the process itself can broaden your perspective on how you’re going about things. And like you said, you know, as you’re going along and you’re producing, your outlook can change and therefore, you know, you’ll adapt and you’re a goal at the end may be different from what you started out with. [10:37] So, yeah, I also like how you said that, you know, you should ask yourself, what would you do if you didn’t need to know how it ended? And on top of that, what if it starts out as just something that makes you happy? [10:51] And I think that’s a big factor that you need to consider because also a lot of times, if you’re just hyper-focused on that end big picture goal, you lose sight of the reasons why you’re pursuing that. Pam: [11:05] I think that’s a great point. CK: [11:06] And so if you think about the process and how the process makes you feel, and if the process is making you feel fulfilled or challenged, and then you can adapt throughout the process and eventually figure out how to get to the end or what that end goal needs to be, or how that should change, rather than have like a rigid, hyper-focused goal that may end up making you unhappy during the process. Pam: [11:36] I like that. I like the idea of framing the goal as feeling or not necessarily like I want to build a business, but I want to have a business that makes me feel fulfilled, and staying on that path of checking in with yourself and saying, “is this making me happy? Is this what I want?” [11:58] Rather than being so singularly focused on making money or building a certain kind of company. Staying really in tune with what you’re feeling as the process goes on. CK: [12:08] That makes sense. Pam: [12:10] So I think that’s a good time to transition into the part of the show where we get a little more intuitive with our advice. So I’m going to shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and I’m going to pull a card to see what perspective we can get. Maybe it will easily relate to what we discussed today. Maybe it won’t. None of this is planned or scripted. It’s just an offering of advice from the universe. [13:00] So Oracle cards don’t predict outcomes or tell the future. They don’t tell anything. They invite us to think about things differently. They simply offer perspective. So even if you’re not into the idea of intuition or wisdom for the universe, stick around, you don’t have to believe in any of it for the message to have meaning. [13:20] Like any of the advice we give here, all you have to do to benefit is listen, see what resonates for you and apply it to your life. So today we’re using the nocturnal Oracle deck. It’s designed by Megan at the creeping moon. And as the name implies, these cards feature mostly plants and creatures that are nocturnal or active at night or things that we associate with nighttime. [13:44] Interesting. That’s a beautiful deck. I love the gold on the edges and illustrations. So we’ll start posting photos of these on Instagram. Okay. So let’s see what the cards have for us today. Yeah. [14:07] Okay. So I pulled the snow card. And if you grew up in the Midwest, like CK and I did, you know what a fresh blanket of snow is like. You walk outside in the morning and everything is quiet. Everything is calm. And there’s not a lot of movement. There’s not a lot of activity going on. It’s calm, it’s solitude. It’s fresh and new. [14:37] So, for me, this card is telling us today to be quiet, reflect, think about what could be fresh and new. Think about if you take a step back from the noise of your life. If you can take some time away from the email and notifications and texts and social media and all of the noise that we have around us at all times, all of the distractions, all of the things that we’re bombarded with. [15:26] If you can take a step away from that and find some quiet. Find some peace and reflect, see what comes up for you. See what new messages come through for you. See what new insights, new ideas, new things that you want to start. See what comes up and see if there are things that you want to start without knowing what the end goal will be. CK: [15:58] That’s perfect. Pam: [16:00] So, if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, we’d love it if you share the episode with your friends or on social media. You can tag us on Twitter where I’m @Pamela_Lund, and CK is @cKdisco. [16:17] To find us on other platforms, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice. There, you can also contact us if there’s something you need advice about. We’d love to hear from you.
4 minutes | 2 months ago
Here’s how you can get some Not Bad Advice
Not Bad Advice Trailer The first episode will launch on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. Listen to a preview with some clips now! Can you make your life better in 30 minutes or less? We think so! In each episode of Not Bad Advice, your hosts Pamela Lund and CK Chung will offer you a new perspective that you can use right away to improve one aspect of your life. Feel happier, more confident, and less anxious no matter who you are because good advice is universal. Think of us as the friends who always give you good, practical advice when you need it (even if you don’t know it yet). After listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/
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