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Transcript – 6 Ways to Bounce Back from a Setback
Shawn: Hello BioTrust Nation! We are back with another episode. And I’m really excited, yet again, because I’m sitting across from my co-host, Tim Skwiat, who is just one of the best human beings on the planet, absolutely.
Tim: One of the best human beings in this room, that’s for darn sure. There’s only two of us.
Shawn: [laughs] I like it. And in this episode, we are going to talk about setbacks to comebacks. And it is kind of a stoic mentality that we’re going to get into. You know we’re big fans that here. And we even have a question from the listeners that aligns well with this episode. So, we’re all about mindset here. Every episode we feel tracks back to mindset. We’ve talked about keto, we’ve talked about paleo, we’ve talked about intermittent fasting. We’ve talked about all kinds of stuff, like what’s the best diet techniques, what’s the best workout techniques.
Our episodes are quite amazing. I actually love listening to them. And we always get great feedback on them, and we appreciate your feedback. So, if you can jump on iTunes and give us feedback, that’d be great.
But we’re going to cover setbacks and how to turn those into comebacks and reframe. So, I love this topic. I’m a huge fan of this. Everything is about mindset. I feel like mindset is probably 90% of success, and skill is about 10%. Literally, I feel like it’s that important. The people that are out there succeeding, it’s because a mindset. It’s not because they’re smarter than you, because they have more tools than you. It’s literally because they have a will to succeed, that nothing is going to stop them, that when adversity comes up they’re all about it. Then it just reinforces their resolve and they’re just on it. So, we’re going to get into that.
But first, Tim is going to talk about the review that we got from iTunes, and we always appreciate your reviews.
Tim: Yeah guys. Taking the time to leave a review on iTunes is a super helpful way to get the good word out about the show. And we want you to know we really appreciate your kind words, all these 5-star reviews. It’s huge and humbling for us to hear from you.
So, today’s 5-star review comes from Dr. Ashley Holly. And the title of the review is HIIT, as in high-intensity interval training. HIIT for the mind, body, and soul. And so, Dr. Holly says, “BioTrust Radio is a HIIT for the mind, body, and soul. Invigorating and enthralling. Shawn and Tim are true assets to the scientific community.” Thank you so much, Dr. Holly. That is awesome. I love that metaphor.
Shawn: It’s nerdy and it’s awesome.
Tim: It’s cool, it’s cool.
Shawn: I love it.
Tim: That’s really touching, and it sounds something I would have said myself. [chuckles] But I didn’t, I promise. But Ashley, if you want to email us at [email protected], we will send you a free product of your choice. And if you have any questions or topics that you’d for us to discuss, let us know those, too, because we want to make this about you, and we appreciate our dear listeners yourself.
Shawn: Yeah, we might have you on the show, Dr. Ashley, so thank you. And speaking of free products, when we read something on the show, a question from a listener and a contributor on BioTrust. What’s the question?
Tim: This comes from Kimberly Gray from our Facebook VIP community. So, that’s BioTrust.com/VIP. We know the importance of community, so we want to have that social support and accountability available for people. So, Kimberly says, “If you could give one piece of advice for someone starting their health and wellness journey, what would it be?”
Shawn: Wow. Um, one piece of advice. Let me think about choosing well, because there’s a lot of pieces of advice that we give on the show. My piece of advice would actually be this, would be what I was just talking about; that’s reframing. That people that are successful know how to reframe. And there’s people that reframe actually quite negatively, that make things more dramatically worse than they actually are. That the sky is falling, to quote Chicken Little. And everything, everything’s bad, like, “Oh, this too. Oh my god. I can’t believe this came up. This is the worst day ever. And it just sets a tone for you to manifest the worst day ever.
And I believe manifestation. You know, some people get really deep on the spiritual side of things, or they talk about The Secret, the Law of Attraction, and you kind of create your reality. I think those things are true. To whatever degree, I don’t know whether it’s in the quantum realm [chuckles] or spiritual realm, or what it exactly is. But I think, scientifically, I know it’s at least this. That it’s about reframing and it’s about perception. And when you perceive something, that is your reality. It’s that simple. What you perceive is reality. And your reality therefore is different than someone else’s reality; even though you’re both living and interacting in potentially the same place, it’s different in how you perceive it.
So, success, to me, which I define not as dollars and cents or job title, or famous‑ness. I define it as joy. That’s how I define success. Now, those things may help you achieve joy. They may or may not, it depends. But it’s about joy. And reframing is critical, absolutely critical. We’ve talked about this, that Tim Ferriss has distilled down these two key elements from all successful people, that they have a morning routine that usually involves some type of meditation or prayer, and gratitude and realigning yourself. And then they also have this mentality that there is no failure. That failing is better said as “experimenting.” And that’s all they’re doing. And they’re finding their way towards success. No one just happens on success. No one’s on the fast track to success. Success takes hard work and it takes experimenting. And stop looking at it as failure. You have to look at it as the way forward. And this is I know now what it’s not, so let me cross that one off the list and keep moving.
So, it’s not a failure. It’s a learning experience and you’re not going to follow down that path anymore, so now your path is more well-lit, more clear. I think that’s just an important way to approach life. And instead of saying, “Man, everything sucks because this one thing happened. I knew it. My whole day’s crap.” Instead, when something happens, you say, “You know what? There’s a reason for that. You know what? I learned from that. You know what? I’m stronger now for that. You know what? My day is going to be great because I got that thing out of the way. You know what? I’m going to take that bad thing and help someone else because I went through it and I don’t want other people to go through it. You know what? That thing now defines me and makes me unique; therefore, it’s now my story and it’s no one else’s story. And this trauma that’s happened to me, now defines me in a good way. Because now I’m special.”
I wouldn’t want to be the person that has no traumas, that has no down days, that has no “failures,” because they’re not special. They’re not unique. They have nothing to teach anyone. So, that’s what I’d tell her.
Tim: Boom. [laughs] I mean, that’s awesome Shawn. I hate to make light out of it like that, but I’m just very enthralled with what you had to say there. I think it deserved a moment of silence to let it sink in. And if I’m listening to this, I’m actually going to rewind and listen to that again because that’s life-changing lessons right there. Because to me, the word that came to mind was “perspective,” and how we view things. And man, when you start to that shift, it’s a paradigm shift. It’s not a switch that you flip on and off. Or maybe for some people it is. For me, it’s not. I still have to be mindful about catching myself, getting into that negative pessimistic mindset. But then realize that I have this growth mindset, not a fixed mindset, where I actually can use these experiences.
And we’re going to get into this more with the setbacks, because I think that we’re going to talk about how we can get feeling bad about feeling bad and things like that. So, super powerful. Love that. And there’s so many things there, man, I would just like to just expand on that. But going back to Kimberly’s question, real quick, about one piece of advice. To me, the answer is it depends, because I don’t know where you’re at in your journey, and what your goals are, and how thoroughly you’ve gone into it.
So really, the first thing that comes to mind for me is to hire a coach, because I think we all need coaches. Coaches need coaches. Not only to help us formulate the plan. The plan is part of the deal, but you need to have the accountability, you need to have the courage in ourselves, or the confidence that a coach can instill. Like I am doing the right things; all I have to do is act on them. The coach can help guide you, based on where you’re at.
That’s the definition of a coach is to guide you from point A to point B. Not necessarily just to tell you what to do, but to help shine the light on the things you’re doing really well, the things that you may need to improve on. I think the accountability is a really important one. And then it’s a layer of support, but I think the support that you find in a larger group is a big one, too. But anyway, that would be my suggestion would be to consider hiring a coach.
Shawn: It’s massive, and that’s one of Tim Ferriss’ other lessons about. Who said that originally, about the five people? You’re a product of the five people you’re around?
Tim: Jim Rohn.
Shawn: Jim Rohn. That’s right. Man, it’s massive and I’ve found that too, Tim, that picking up coaches, picking up positive influences, like you are on me, quite frankly. But, going to these Masterminds has been helpful for me. I’m spending a lot of money on coaches and Masterminds and those things. And at first I was very reluctant, but I’ve found it’s 10x for me.
Shawn: It’s not only financially, and it’s definitely helped me financially. It’s networking, and I could get very matter-of-fact with the ROI, the return on investment. But quite frankly, it’s just making me happier.
Shawn: To have people reframe my perspective. And when I have that, my approach to life and business and everything, my relationships, is changed. And I would agree with that so much, Tim. That that is a phenomenal point about coaches. And you’re right, almost everyone in these Masterminds, even Lewis Howes, has coaches.
Shawn: People, like you said, that are coaches. And then there’s people that Lewis Howes is teaching that are coaches in our Mastermind that have coaches. And it’s goes down the line. It’s really important to have these people.
I was just at Unfair Advantage with Chris Winfield and another Mastermind I’m in. And there was a quote from one of the speakers that said, “You can’t read the label from the inside of the bottle.”
Shawn: And it’s so true. I can help people, and I think you and I are very helpful to a lot of people, but it’s so much harder to help yourself.
Shawn: And we’ve talked about it and it’s kind of weird. I listen to these episodes and it’s this out-of-body experience where I listen to them and they’re extremely helpful to me.
Shawn: Because I don’t talk to myself the way that I do on the show, and then I can listen to the really good advice that you give and even I give. And it’s nice to listen to and it feels like I’m listening to someone else, but I’m listening to the best advice I could give because I’m really giving myself advice when I’m talking on the show, when I’m talking to you, the listeners. A lot of it’s coming from my own learning, so who better to teach. But it’s hard to give yourself advice. And it’s hard that you might even listen to your own advice. So, it’s so helpful.
Quite often when you work with a coach, when you work with a mentor, you hear, “I was thinking that, but thanks for reinforcing what I was thinking.” I’ve said that a million times. I’ve heard other people say that back to me, too. So, it’s funny, like you need permission sometimes to do what you know is right.
Shawn: But you get clouded because of all the things that are going on in your life, and you make things much more complex than they should be. And an outsider just comes in and says, “Oh, well it’s this,” and you’re, “Yeah, I guess but.” And they’re like “No, it’s this,” and you’re like, “You’re right.” [laughs]
Tim: Yeah, yeah.
Shawn: And it’s that simple sometimes, but you can’t see the forest through the trees, kind of thing.
Tim: Right, exactly.
Shawn: So, yes, I mean that’s a huge one. I would definitely recommend that people listening, you get some mentors, you get some coaches. If you have to pay for them, pay for them. Some of the best people that give the best advice, have the best knowledge and learning, they’re worth it. And think about where you’re spending your money. I mean, even someone who is tight with money, there’s room in there to work with good people. I really believe this because you can drastically impact your career, your education, your relationships, your finances when you have more clarity when you have more resolve, when you have more joy, when you have more peace. And you start achieving more. And it’s just that simple. So, love it, and it really ties in well with our topic.
Shawn: So, The Struggle with Setbacks. And this is by? What’s the name of this guy?
Tim: This is Leo Babauta, who we’ve mentioned his name several times in the show. The book, which will link in the show notes, The Power of Less.
Tim: He’s actually coaching people, like we’re talking about, based on his experiences with his difficulties with behavior change.
Shawn: Yeah, I love this right here. He says, “I’ve had bigger setbacks before getting a divorce, losing a job, having all my possessions wiped out by a typhoon, failing to make ends meet because of crippling debt, deaths in the family, unable to quit smoking, or start exercising. Interestingly all these setbacks felt very similar to this much smaller setback for me, mostly because I was burdened by several things during each setback.” And he says here, “My ideal didn’t materialize.” Man, this is a big one that we talk about a lot, the expectations.
Tim: Unmet expectations.
Shawn: Unmet expectations. You’ve talked about this, Tim. Since this is your thing, you’ve mentioned it several times, and it’s been a phenomenal learning for me, I’ll let you jump on that.
Tim: Well I’m giving credit where credit’s is due. This comes from my wife, who is a therapists, and she talked about this before. And I think we’re all familiar with what he’s talking about here. We have this, whether we’re starting a diet or whatever we’re doing, we have this idea of how things are going to work. And when things don’t go according to that plan, we start to get a little frazzled, and it’s basically this setback. And what that is, is it’s unmet expectations.
Now this can happen in a relationship. And this is one place that we’ve talked about it before is that I may expect certain behavior from you. But if I never communicate that to you, how can you possibly know exactly what I expect from you. And so, unmet expectations, in terms of that, can be a communication gap. But when you have this ideal in your mind’s eye and it doesn’t go according to plan, this is exactly what you started talking about is that we run into these challenges. Not very often is the path straight and linear. It’s often there’s twists and turns. There’s obstacles in the way, as Ryan Holiday, as his book is called. But the Obstacle is the Way because like you said so perfectly, those things that seem challenges or obstacles in the present moment actually are going to shine the light more clearly down the path. Maybe it’s our path that it’s shining a light on, or maybe it’s someone else’s path whose life we come into contact with in at a later time, and we get the chance to be the coach or the mentor, which we’re basically guiding people a lot through our own experiences here that way.
So, that’s kind of the idea there is that we have these certain expectations and they are not met according to how we plan. And most people tend to have a negative response to that, and that can lead to a downward spiral.
Shawn: You know, I like too, I like that you talked about that maybe it’s not just us and maybe the importance is that we shine the light on someone else’s path and we help someone else; that we’re the coach, the mentor. Because here’s the thing. I like always talking about evolution and our past and what our link is and why we are the way we are. I get the Maslow’s Pyramid, right? Where you have at the base the most basic things that you need like food, water, procreation, sleep, etc. And at the top you have self‑actualization, which means kind of finding your purpose.
But I believe, if you look at evolution, yes, that survival of the individual is extremely important. This is why we do so many of the things that we do, to protect our lives first and foremost. But survival of the species actually trumps survival of the individual. And I think we stand on the shoulders of giants, our teachings. I really believe our true purpose is actualizing others, helping others find their purpose, plugging them in and moving the species forward. Protecting the species through learnings, through knowledge. Therefore, they don’t die as quickly. They know which plants to eat. They know where to get water from here. They know. “Oh wait, this is how we can do farming and agriculture. This is how we can build a structure that will keep us safe from the elements. It’s about us helping each other. It’s about passing on knowledge.
It wouldn’t matter if we learned all these things in a vacuum, as an individual, and then we died as individuals, and no one passed anything along. We would still be in the Stone Ages. But because knowledge is transferred, because we have shared, because we build off each other and help each other, society moves forward, the species moves forward. And that’s where we, as a species, are now atop all the other species on the planet. And it’s because of our ability to share and learn and pass on.
And so I think it’s extremely important that we help others, and I think that’s where our true, deep down in our DNA, where we have our purpose, where we feel actualized, where we feel like now I know my importance here on the planet, and my importance was to help others. And I feel that’s why it feels so good to help others, because we’re actually protecting our species. We’re helping them survive.
Tim: That’s awesome. That’s powerful. It does feel good to help others. And I think something that we’ll actually get into that here as one of the [chuckles] one of the solutions to setbacks is to look outside of ourselves. But I’ll let that be until we get there.
Shawn: Yes, so the next one that he brings up, “Self-doubt. The setback inevitably causes me to doubt myself. Why am I doing this? Is it worth it? Am I strong enough or good enough? Am I worthy? This self-doubt never feels very good and is an additional setback on top of the setback [chuckles] I’m already facing.”
Shawn: That’s a great way to phrase it. I love how he did that. Again, this is reframing in the negative way. And this is where you’re letting this insecurity creep in because to the point of my favorite book, Four Agreements, where we’re making these agreements with ourselves. We’re allowing this negative voice to take over and then we’re agreeing to say yes that voice is correct. And it’s not correct. It’s not correct. You’re listening to the most negative voice. And I love that one quote about, “If anyone talked to you the way that you talked to you, you wouldn’t be their friend.” [chuckles]
Tim: No way. Exactly.
Shawn: And it’s crazy that we’re the worst influence in our own lives. You need to have more self-affirmation. You need to have a stronger voice in your own life. A positive voice in your own life, about that you can do anything, about that you’re limitless. And it’s true. What you perceive is your reality. These people that feel they can’t lose, to some degree they’re right, because they perceive even their “losses” as successes, so they never lose.
Tim: Two quick points just to piggyback on all that beautiful wisdom you just imparted, Shawn. One is that Leo’s talking about self-doubt as a consequence of the setback, but I also want to point out that self-doubt can be the cause of the setback.
Shawn: Totally. That’s a great point, Tim.
Tim: I also want to mention that that is something that I’m seeing in my own life, as a father, is that self-doubt can creep in very early, not on your own volition. And what I mean by that as I’m listening to people talk to my daughter, including myself, there’s a lot of, “No-no-no, don’t touch. No-no-no, don’t do that. No-no no-no.” There’s a lot of no’s being put out there. So, we’re kind of shying or putting a restrictor plate, essentially, on our natural curiosity, and our natural confidence, to figure things out on our own. But I think that’s a part of self-doubt. So, I actually talk to my daughter and we talked about, “Yes, I can. Yes, you can. You can do these things.”
Now, obviously there’s things like you don’t want to put your hand on the hot stove, but there’s no problem with picking up a glass of water and dropping it, if it’s a plastic glass. So you can see what happens when you do it. You don’t need to be saying no to someone all the time. Some people need to learn these things and figure them out for themselves.
And again, my point of all that is just saying that the self-doubt may not be your fault. That may have some very, very deep roots. And along those lines it may need some kind of talking through some things with a professional.
Shawn: That’s a great point. And it brings up that quote. I don’t know exactly how it goes, with Einstein, about the fish not feeling like a genius because they’re telling him to climb up the tree.
Shawn: And he’s not doing what he’s supposed to be doing. Let’s say when a dog barks when you come home, and you’re like, “Stop barking.” This dog is doing what’s in its DNA and you’re telling it “bad dog” and it’s literally what it’s supposed to do. It’s the thing it feels, like this is my purpose on the planet is to protect, to alert, to protect my tribe, my pack.
Shawn: And we’re “Bad dog. Bad, bad, bad. You’re making noise.” You’re doing what you’re supposed to do, what’s in your DNA.” And we do that with people, right? The people that are just doing what’s in their DNA, what’s their purpose. And because it’s not our purpose, because it inconveniences us, we tell them, “No.”
Shawn: And it’s terrible. It’s terrible to do. We need to sometimes reframe outside of ourselves and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and think about why they do those things they do and what the purpose of it is, and is it good for them. Not is it good for you; is it good for them?
Tim: Right, exactly.
Shawn: “Helplessness. Usually I feel less in control, less able to affect change in my life and the world around me. If I can’t make it through this challenge, can I do anything? Often I feel I can’t, which is yet another setback.” So, this one, yeah. There’s so many times people just, “Can someone do this for me? [chuckles] Who’s going to come in and save me? I just can’t see my way out of this. I just feel helpless. It’s just too much. I don’t know. It’s overwhelming.” I think overwhelming and helplessness kind of go hand-in-hand. And to me, these are the scenarios where that inner drill sergeant [chuckles] needs to come out. Not your inner negative voice, but the inner drill sergeant says, “All right, dude, one foot in front of the other. Let’s go. Let’s go.”
Like yes, you can’t figure out the hundred things right now and it’s a massive task maybe in front of you, but you can figure out what the next step is. And even if you can’t figure out what the next step is, just take a step forward.
Shawn: And just start moving. Because win lose or draw, you just need to start moving. And nothing’s going to happen if you sit here, so let’s go.
Tim: Right. I think the challenge here is how you handle the helplessness. Again, I think we’ll get into the solutions here in just a second, but dealing with it in unhealthy ways makes things worse. And maybe asking for help is the right way to progress forward. Ask, “Show me how to do this,” or “Show me what the next step is,” and it’s also empowering to someone else. But I think, for me, learning how to deal with feelings of helplessness in a healthy way is very important. Because natural instinct is to get frustrated or to feel bad, and to kind of cope in unhealthy ways. And I think it’s just important to be mindful of what your natural reaction is.
Shawn: Absolutely. This is the last one and then we’ll get into the way out of all these things. “Feeling bad about feeling bad. As I get all of these bad feelings, I feel bad [chuckles] that I even have them. I want myself not to feel bad. I want to squash these bad feelings, so that some of what I go through during a setback, and I think lots of people feel similarly.” [chuckles] Yeah, that’s funny, that we get down on ourselves about feeling bad. But it’s okay to have emotions. And you have to, again, reframe on that, that I am human, I am experiencing something that I need to process and deal with, and recognize and appreciate, and now I’m going to take that step forward. But look, bad things happen. And I’m not saying everything bad you need to turn into somehow, it’s instantly good in that moment.
Shawn: But there’s a quote from Steve Jobs that Chris Winfield at this recent Mastermind told me about that one about you can’t connect all the dots looking forward, but when you look back, you can connect those dots and there’s a purpose for all those things. In those bad moments, if you want to call them that, they’ve led you to where you are. And so they’re not bad things. I mean, you wouldn’t have met that certain someone, you wouldn’t have gotten that job, you wouldn’t have moved to this certain place. Like certain things wouldn’t have happened. It’s that butterfly effect, so to speak. Each thing begets another thing, and the series of things happened and were set forward into motion. And so the bad thing isn’t always so bad. And you can only see that when you’re looking back, you can connect those dots.
Tim: And I think that’s super insightful and powerful. And the challenge then is getting there faster, to that point where you can get where you can find where that dot connects next.
Shawn: Yeah, exactly. That’s great, 100%. That’s a great summary of that. So, the way out, as Leo points out, “Looking back on how I’ve got out of my past struggles, it’s instructive in my current struggle. I’ve always gotten out, and these are some things that worked. Embrace reality. So, my ideal fantasy didn’t materialize. So what? The reality of life has always been perfectly fine; great even. Only bad if I compare it to the fantasy. [laughs] An example, my grandfather died, which is immensely sad for me. But actually the reality of life with him no longer alive wasn’t bad unless I compared it to the impossible fantasy of him still being alive. The reality was that I still had my life and my health, and a job. I had wonderful kids and a great wife. I have my amazing grandmother, mom, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and that’s just the start of how amazing the reality is. Now, reality isn’t always full of hooray. Sometimes it has unpleasantness, but you can embrace that too, rather than wishing it matched up with your fantasy.”
Tim: Yeah. You pretty much sewed that up pretty tight.
Shawn: Yeah, it’s awesome. That is awesome.
Tim: What I could take away from that is that practicing gratitude.
Tim: Which we’ve talked about so many times. It’s like if you take a minute to look at everything that kicks ass in your life, you’re going to find a lot of good stuff. But it’s just that we get so pinpoint-focused on that one little negative thing and that just consumes our world. But there’s all these other stars in the solar system that we really need to hone in on.
Shawn: Yeah, one of my superpowers, and therefore super weaknesses, is because it’s always both, it’s perfectionism. I can make something great because I focus and sometimes details, and I hone in on those details. And this is this is a great point, that I deal with as well is I get caught up in those things and I don’t celebrate my wins when 95% has gone right, and gone amazingly right. But I’m focused on that 5%. “Why can’t this be better? Why can’t I fix this?” And look, sometimes that makes for something truly special because I can hone in. But man, I need to do a better job of this as well as just appreciating so many of the things that I have in my life that are blessings. So, he really put that well.
“Embrace who I am.” This is acknowledging the self-doubt. “Self-doubt plagues me because I desperately want to be somebody I’m not. I want to be perfectly disciplined, for example, and doubt my ability to be that person. Well fine, but the person I actually am is pretty great. [chuckles] I just need to see that and embrace the reality of me. I’m not disciplined as I’d like, but I’d have I’ve had some successes. I am kind and loving. I am human and I make mistakes. I get angry, but I make amends. I struggle, but learn. I ache, I play, I read, I cook, I run, I lift, I get tired. All of these things are me and they’re not all good. The reality is they’re me, and I embrace them.
And I love this because we talked about this one quote about just being yourself and that when you’re trying to be someone else that you worship, and you just want to emulate them. Let’s say it’s The Rock. Let’s say it’s—I don’t know—some athlete like LeBron James. I want to be exactly who he is. But they are being the best version of themselves, and the best way to copy them is to not be them, because you’ll never be them. You’ll never be as good as them. You have to embrace what they embraced in being the best version of themselves, and finding out who that is. And if you want to copy LeBron James, copy The Rock or whoever, you have to embrace the best you, whatever that is, and not try and be them.
Tim: Right. And not necessarily LeBron or The Rock, but a lot of times people we might aspire to be, we’re really aspiring to be just a very segmented portion of them that we see publicly.
Tim: We don’t see the whole picture. Just like in this instance, we’re not looking at the whole picture of ourselves. We’re looking at a very specific imperfection. So, if we were to look at their imperfections, we might see that they have those too. And I think along these same lines, that this might be an instance where having some kind of coach or some kind of accountability partner, or some kind of therapist that can help us provide that encouragement. Not to baby us or anything that, but just say, “Dude, you’re a pretty good guy.” Let’s look at this objectively, because you said, we can’t see that label from the inside. We need someone from the outside to read it to us better, so to speak.
Shawn: Yeah. So, “Embrace feeling bad.” [laughs] “But not wanting to feel bad, I make my bad feelings worse. By allowing myself to feel bad and realizing we all feel bad sometimes, I give myself space to feel this way. I give myself permission. In fact, I embrace it as part of being human. Too many people want to feel happy all the time, positive 100% of the time. But that’s not reality. We all feel bad sometimes, and that’s okay. When you give yourself this space and embrace the suck, you aren’t fighting with it. It happens. Then it goes away, like a cloud.” That’s powerful. [laughs] He’s dropping some bombs here.
Tim: That’s really good. [laughs]
Shawn: “Embrace the suck,” who’s that from? It’s from a Navy SEAL, right? I think that’s from Rocko.
Tim: It’s Jocko.
Shawn: Jocko, sorry. [laughs] Jocko Willink, sorry. Yeah, I think he says that, “Embrace the suck,” that’s a thing that Navy SEALs talk about as part of adapting to the pain of training. [chuckles] You know, when they’re lying down in the freezing ocean and the waves are crashing over them and their bodies are shaking, and they’re basically hypothermic, and they’ve had two hours of sleep over the last 3-4 days, and they’ve been training crazy. They just embrace the suck. Instead of whining about it and saying, “When will this end?” you have to get to a point where you just embrace it and say, “This is my reality and I am getting reshaped by it.” Just like The Obstacles the Way, that stoic mentality. It’s not just in my way, “Gosh, that sucks,” or it’s in my way; I go around this. It’s in my way; how do I go through this. No, it’s in my way. Thank god it’s in my way.
Shawn: I am becoming something better through this.
Tim: It reminds me of a couple things. One, a quote, “Wherever you are, be there.” So. just being present. [chuckles] Another thing it reminds me is again, my daughter. She’s obviously a very important piece of my life. But she was sick recently, and most people know when little kids are sick they don’t sleep well. They need more affection. She was waking up during the middle of the night and she just wanted to be rocked and held, and I’m just like, “I’ve got stuff to do, dude. I’ve got stuff to do.” I can kind of sense myself getting frustrated. I’m like what are you what are you thinking right now? This moment will only be here now. How much longer in her life is she going to want me to rock her, to hold her, to comfort her? That’s not going to last forever, so that was something that resonated here with me when we were talking about this.
Shawn: Yeah, that’s awesome. That reminds me of a quote. We tend to think of life as an inexhaustible well. It’s from Paul Bowles, “Death is always on the way. But the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet, everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood? Some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it. Perhaps four or five times more; perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20, and yet it all seems limitless.”
So you want to talk about perspective on life and appreciating the moment and how few times we really have of things like that.
Shawn: Yeah, really powerful stuff.
Tim: Taking things for granted, for sure.
Shawn: You can read the next one, Tim.
Tim: So, next up om the list is, “Realize it’s just temporary.” That’s kind of along the same lines of that passing cloud. Leo says, “Setbacks have the inevitably of being short-lived, in my experience. They happen for a day or two. Maybe a week or two, but never forever. “Even when I was going through a divorce and feelings of depression would come off and on for months, that went away. It would come and go on a day-to-day basis, so each little bout was temporary. It’s easy to get caught up in a bad situation and think, ‘The world is over,’ but actually this bad feeling, this bad situation is just a passing cloud. It’s just part of a constantly changing experience. And while it’s not always pleasant, it will pass, like everything else has passed.
Shawn: Yeah, I love his metaphor of the cloud.
Shawn: My grandfather was Jewish and spiritual, and he’d always given me this advice from the Old Testament, that “This too shall pass.” And it was just so profound for me. That was one of the reframing things. Look, no matter how bad you think this is right now, like a bad grade in college was the end of the world. My world was crashing down because I got a 75 on a test, or something. And I think about where I am now and how much that test really matters. [chuckles]
Shawn: It doesn’t really matter. I’m not saying don’t try and do well, but you have to reframe and this too shall pass. It’s okay. I mean, yes, like e says you have to acknowledge it, but that cloud is there, you recognize it, and it’ll be gone. It’s a passing cloud. So, [laughs] realize it’s just temporary. I love that cloud metaphor. I’m going to think about that a lot moving forward. “Find gratitude.” We love this one.
Shawn: This is one we’ve talked about a lot. And if you guys don’t have a gratitude journal or a gratitude app, or something along those lines, you need to invest in that, you need to do that. It’s the ultimate reframing, because you are beyond blessed. I’ve said it before, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re better off than 90% of the world, that doesn’t have phones, doesn’t have money, doesn’t have a place to live, doesn’t have food, can’t read, doesn’t have access to the things you have access to. Maybe he’s in a war zone, maybe he’s in sexual slavery. There’s so many things that are going on right now and that you’re probably not dealing with. You have your problems, for sure. We have our problems, but man, they could be so much worse. And there’s people that probably have a better attitude about their problems that are much worse than ours, and we need to recognize that. We need to put things in perspective and recognize all the blessings we have. And there’s many.
So, he says here, and this sounds corny, “Espousing gratitude is a solution, but it has always worked for me, every time. I often make a list of things I’m grateful for, going from big things like being alive and having loved ones, to little things I’m glad I can smell chocolate or see sunlight shafting through the windows, or read Hamlet, or have a computer with access to the Internet. Holy crap, life is great.”
It reminds me of a Louis CK where someone’s saying, “I can’t believe my plane is delayed. We’re sitting here on the runway, and oh man, these seats kind of suck, and I don’t have the food on this flight.” And someone else is, “You’re flying through the air to get to somewhere [chuckles] else. This is amazing, how that’s even possible. I love to look at planes just in the sky. I have sense of child, like even birds as well. It’s just flight is amazing to me. It’s just one of those miracles that I’ve never stopped being in awe of. And life is great when you have awe, so I don’t want to ever stop being in awe of it. It’s just how does that thing—like sometimes a plane looks it’s moving so slowly, and I’m like how does it not fall out of the sky. And I know about thrust and lift and all these things, but it’s still incredible. It’s just hanging there. And sometimes birds just look they’re just floating, riding some of these vents, these thermal vents and stuff, and they’re just hanging there, just not moving, essentially, it’s just, it’s incredible. Life does have so much beauty in it.
Shawn: And I that he’s not just thankful for all the great things in his life.
Shawn: But all the things that are beautiful around him.
Shawn: That’s worth recognizing, too. There’s just so much beauty in the world. You should be thankful for that.
Tim: Let me just add one thing to that, too, if you don’t mind, Shawn, but looking at the people around you and recognizing all the beautiful qualities that they have, physical, or the gifts that they share with you, that can be really especially helpful if these setbacks or the challenge involves someone else that you’re upset with or didn’t come through, or something like that.
Shawn: Even yourself.
Tim: Like inside of you, be grateful for the things that you do well or certain attributes about yourself.
Shawn: Yeah, I’m feeling like I’m talking about Tim Ferriss a lot on the show, but he’s a great guy and you should definitely listen to his show. But we’ve talked about this on other shows, that Tim, when he’s frustrated at someone—an enemy, so to speak—he thinks about what they do great. When he’s feeling anger towards them, which does no good, that he thinks about well what’s one positive thing I can think about this person. And at the very least, it removes your anger. It changes your mind state to say you know what? There is good in this person. I’m not going to make someone into a cartoon where someone’s just horrible and someone’s great. We’re so bombastic, we’re so over-the-top, hyperbolic. We’ve talked about this 1-star and 5-star; everything’s zero and 10. Everything’s amazing and it’s horrible, amazing/horrible.
Any restaurant, ask someone how restaurant is. They’re not like, “You know, it’s pretty good. I’d give it a four.” Most people are like, “It’s the best restaurant ever!” or “I hated it. It’s gross.” [laughs] And it’s just we’re over the top. And I think that has to do with attention. That we feel insecure and we need attention, and that’s a way to get attention.
Anyway, the last one, “Help someone. My setbacks are usually about me wallowing in self-pity. That doesn’t sound great, but we all do it. Even every day, in small bits, without noticing it. I don’t wallow in self-pity a lot these days, but it does happen. And when I see it, I now know the best antidote is to get outside myself, stop being self‑centered and become other focused.” To your point, Tim, you just made. “I try to find a way to help someone else. It inevitably, infallibly, makes me better.”
Tim: Yeah. I think kind of in the same line as gratitude. How can we serve others. We just talked about it on a different show. We get joy as a human race, or at least I feel like you and I do, by helping, by serving others.
Tim: It’s it feels selfish almost, because it feels so good to do something for someone else. But yeah, this wallowing in self-pity thing really resonates because I think that’s what we do. We really get kind of tunnel vision, kind of just feeling bad about feeling bad or feeling bad about ourselves if things didn’t go according to plan. And when you can get outside of yourself and find one other person to serve in a healthy way, can make everybody feel better.
Shawn: Let me ask you this, for the people listening. What is your gift? You have a gift and you’re not recognizing it. And what if you didn’t share that gift? Think about Adele’s voice or Bruno Mars, or some great singer. What if they only sang in their house, alone, and they never shared that voice. What impact would that have on society? What if Edison was playing around with experiments and the light bulb, and you know what, he decided to never share that. What if Einstein never shared all of his experiments and his brilliance? What a Da Vinci never shared the learnings he had on the human body and on architecture, on art, on all the things that he did that profoundly changed society, dramatically. I mean, just amazingly. And what if all these gifts didn’t get shared?
So, what gift do you have that you’re not recognizing and not sharing, and therefore depriving the world of. It’s your duty. If you’re blessed, if you have some gift to share, it is your duty. Think about all the things that you get out of life from everyone else’s gifts. You can’t deprive the world. It’s unfair if you deprive the world of your gift. You have to share it.
Shawn: Thanks. And I think we can wrap there. And I hope you appreciate this episode. We appreciate you. We love you. And Tim and I really do get a lot out of one, sitting here talking to ourselves. It’s a joy. We really love each other, as men. And I can gladly say that. And I love helping other people and getting some of the reviews we’ve got that say thank you for changing my day, changing my life path, helping me see things in a different light. And man, that makes me feel good. That keeps us going. So, those reviews help the show do better, and we appreciate that. But if you appreciate Tim or I, I would appreciate just getting some of those reviews or emails, or whatever way you can give us feedback. And it means a lot to us to hear from you, if you’re hearing our voices and they’re having an impact on your life. So, thank you for everything you guys are and check out BioTrustRadio.com for the transcripts and everything we’ve mentioned here, including this article. Great stuff by Leo Babauta, right?
Tim: Yeah, exactly.
Shawn: And we will definitely talk to you soon, so thanks a lot guys.
Tim: Thanks, guys.
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