Best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Ellen Petry Leanse joins us to discuss The Ultimate Happiness Hack: How to Take Charge of Your Brain and Program More Happiness into Your Life
Psychology Today reports that the average American (but not you) is being interrupted by their smartphone an average of 85 times per day. The iconic venture capitalist, Naval Ravikant has explained that modern technology is actually making people less happy and less connected than ever before. So what can we do about it?
Thrive Nation on today’s show we are interviewing Ellen Petry Leanse who I first learned about through her appearance on the Megyn Kelly Show. After hearing what she had to say on the Megyn Kelly Show about how to optimize our happiness in the modern world we now live in, I thought that it would be a good idea to check out her new book The Happiness Hack: How to Take Charge of Your Brain and Program More Happiness into Your Life. I then discovered that her book was endorsed by Lynda Wyman the iconic entrepreneur behind Lynda.com who successfully sold the company to Linkedin for $1.5 billion.
Website – https://www.ellenleanse.com/about/
Buy the book –The Happiness Hack: How to Take Charge of Your Brain and Program More Happiness into Your Life
Find her on Twitter @chep2m
Pronounced – Ellen PEE-TREE LEE-ANTZ
Psychology today reports that the average American but not you, is being interrupted by their smartphone and average of 85 times per day. The iconic venture capitalist, naval ravikant has explained that modern technology is actually making people not you, less happy and less connected than ever before. So what in the world are we to do about it? Well, on today’s show, bestselling author, a neuroscience expert, Ellen Petri, Leanne’s joins us to discuss the ultimate happiness hack, how to take charge of your brain and program more happiness into your life. Today is this turn my push notifications off. One second.
Okay. That was hysterical.
Yes, yes, yes and yes. Thrive nation. Welcome back to the thrive time show on your radio and podcasts,
download and chuck as at the time of this recording, we are number two in the world of all categories on the itunes charts and so our listeners deserved to have the best, the best, and so today we thought, you know what, we’re going to interview somebody who is dramatically smarter than me and me, probably the same intelligence as you, but smarter than me. She’s a neuroscience educator. She is a technology pioneer, a bestselling author, and I saw her for the first time on Megan Kelly. That’s how I first came in encounter with her work. So I thought, you know what? I’m going to pick up a copy of her book, the happiness hack, how to take charge of your brain and program more happiness into your life. And then shop. I discovered in the book that her book was, was endorsed by Lynda Weinman, the iconic entrepreneur behind Lynda.com, and I’m a fan of who sold the company for one point 5 billion. And I thought, not only do I like her interview, but she can’t be crazy because Lynda Weinman endorses her light is a gentlemen. Let’s hear it for Ms Dot Ellen a patriot.
How are you man? I am great, thank you. Thank you for such a warning.
Intelligent people out there that aren’t familiar with your work. I’d like to start at the beginning because you’ve spent 35 years of your life working with the leaders of, of apple, Google, facebook, being a stanford instructor. Could, could you share with us the listeners out there about your career and how you first got started in the world of technology?
Absolutely. Thanks for asking. So I’ve. To be honest, I stumbled upon the world of technology when it was a very different world than it is now, but I had been an entrepreneur even before I started working at apple in 1981. Um, I always had a little side hustle that helped me put myself through college and do a couple of other things. I’m making art, making jewelry and selling it. I’m on the side. So the environment and culture at apple back in the early eighties felt very familiar to me. It was really about audacity and ambition and anything being possible and also a very direct correlation between the work that you did in the decisions you’ve made and the success that you’ve found along the way. So I was incredibly lucky to have that very young, scrappy and hungry. The atmosphere of early apple be the, a place it really sets the first steps of my career path and then, you know, over many years I’ve worked with, uh, with companies with at all stages of entrepreneurship and seen a vast difference in that sort of startup mentality, that hustle mentality versus more sort of legacy and operationalized places to work.
And I think you can probably tell through our conversation and getting to know each other so far. Which side of that camp by, um, align with.
Okay. Now I want to ask you this because you’ve worked with apple and Google and Stanford and can you kind of share your role and your time? Like what, what kind of jobs, what kind of tasks, what kind of things you were doing when you worked with apple?
Yeah, for sure. So when I joined in 1981, I was fresh out of college and I did have some work experience. I’m lucky to be, you know, not fully bilingual but merely fully bilingual and also I’ve always been really committed to writing. And so my first job with apple was as an international communication specialist or basically I was working with technologists to take there. It’s sort of a manned machine or machine man, translator, if you will take their ways of talking about features and translate those into, um, you know, functional benefits that anyone could understand
oh, you’re welcome. Well, protesting me, I had some great teachers. I was, I really learned a tremendous amount because my background really wasn’t technological who’s was at that time unless you were some sort of computer scientist or engineer. But um, basically what I would do is I would talk with engineers and product marketing teams and then turn that into information that we could share with our global sales and distribution network to help them explain product features and product capabilities to customers. And I did that for my first couple of years at apple, but there was this project going on that maybe some people have heard about called the macintosh.
And in 1985,
83 thanks to my international experience, I was asked to join the macintosh team as a, believe it or not, a product manager. I’m sure there are many highly skilled project managers listening to this show right now are going, why don’t you know, after two years of experience, a product manager on the macintosh team. I got to say those were radically different times. But yes, I became a mackintosh product manager for the launch for accessory products, international accessory products. So that meant international keyboards, printers, modems and other products that were catered to. The international markets also know manuals and certain things relating to packaging. So you can only imagine what an immersive learning experience that was, um, you know, sort of one of those things where, you know, imagine a knee 30 something years ago with my hair on fire is basically what that looked like.
But then something really exciting happened two years later in 1985 apple had been to a lot of changes and, um, some of our customers weren’t as happy with the way that we were navigating those changes as they, uh, as they felt we would, we should be. And I became apple’s first user of Angela’s charged, which with bridging the divide between who we were as a company, where our product strategy and trajectory was going and what users really wanted. And in the process of, uh, bridging that divide, uh, thanks to the wisdom and generosity of our customers, especially very top customers at that time, I happened to stumble upon the world of bulletin board systems. And that’s opened apple’s first. And some people say the tech industry’s first customer facing node. So in a way on this internet that our customers were using and navigating, all they needed was the rocket fuel of an aligned company to come in and say, hey, let’s start sharing information, uh, generously and openly with each other on this new platform.
And I was the lucky person who took that bold leap forward. Now from there, I set a trajectory of being a digital innovator because this was something that was really pioneering work. No one else in the industry had done it. In fact, audaciously, I even received an award, quite audacious on IBM’s part, but they even awarded me for digital innovation even though they were a key competitor. Yeah, it was quite a shocking honor actually. None of us could believe it happened, but they were so cool. But Apple said lucky work that I got to do with setting the pace for that. But then over the years I’ve worked with a variety of global companies to help them see the potential and the path to this thing that was taking shape that we now call the Internet. And so I helped a number of companies establish their first online presence and then took that digital innovation work to my own entrepreneurship when facebook opened up its platform for entrepreneurship and development. So I developed one of the earliest applications on the facebook platform when it was first opened to app development and then took that work to the role that I had at Google.
You know, one of your colleagues, a Guy Kawasaki has agreed to be on our podcast as soon they’re so excited to have guy Kawasaki kind of got the apple band back together here and an apple. I mean you reinvented the, the personal computer. You reinvented the view of the music industry. You transformed the phone. You guys did so much great work. And I love business. I own multiple businesses. My partner and I, we built 13 multimillion dollar companies and what I’ve noticed is we have a men’s grooming lounge. It’s, it’s like a country club for men’s hair. Ellen and people come in for their haircut appointment and they’ll be sitting there with their son. It’ll be a guy with his son. It’ll be, it’ll be a husband with his son, a man with, with his father, with a son, and at no point will they make eye contact in the sun is like 10 or 11.
He’s on his smartphone and the dad is 35, 40. He’s on his smartphone and you’ll notice the dad, even when he responds to his son, he might be physically present, but no point is he mentally present and we work with a lot of white collar executives, a lot of CEOS, a lot of business leaders who are members of our haircut. A chain because it is like the country club remains hair. It’s a higher end price point. It will see people that get so upset by an email they received. This happens every day or a text message they just got or a social media post that they actually start to get upset when they’re supposed to be having, you know, dad, son time and as a father of five kids, my wife and I are really into this idea of phone time on and there’s time off for the phone when we’re with the kids having dinner.
The phone’s off, the phone’s not present, although I looked into the psychology today, research that showed that the average person is inter interrupted now 85 times per day according to psychology today with text messages, voicemails, voicemails, and so when I heard about your work and the happiness hack and how this technology is now causing people to feel so isolated, even though they have more quote unquote facebook friends than ever, I really, it really resonated with me. It really connected with me and I would love for you to share with us now about your research and about the smart phone and the technology and how it’s not really been a positive thing for most people when it comes to their overall level of happiness.
Wow. Well, it certainly, it’s a fantastic articulation and I couldn’t agree with you more clay. And you know, as I said on the Megan Kelly show, the trick is how do we get in charge of these tools because they are tools. Uh, we are not their tool, they are our tool, but how do we get in charge of them? So they’re not in charge of that. So you know, I’m going to go on neuroscience, see on you, and one of the things the human brain is an ancient technology that we use to navigate the modern world. I mean that’s kind of a, a great summation and one of the things that made this technology so appropriate for the time when we really established ourselves as a species, way, way, way back in the day was our motivation reward system. You know, we are, we are geared as humans to be problem solvers and to use motivation and reward a sort of loops in the chemical loops, primarily reward loops to go through hard things and then you will be rewarded by the things that work really well. You know, the technology that we use today is designed, or at least the applications on the technology we use today are designed to ride in a, in a really powerful and chemically charged way. There’s motivation and reward boots except one thing is missing and that is resistance. There’s only as much resistance in there as the designers put into it to keep you continually motivated and reward it. So it begins to sort of perpetual looping would take from,
because you have one of the smartest, you’re the. You are one of the smartest guest we’ve ever had on the show. And I know we have a lot of listeners. I know our audience. We have on average, we have hundreds of thousands of people downloading every show. We have a lot of plumbers, dentists, a lot of doctors. I think what you said, I want to make sure I’m getting this, is that those push notifications that show you have an update on facebook or a g mail or a text, right? That’s that endless loop you’re talking about, right? It’s, it’s where you see that push notification and you want to make that little jaggedy disappear.
Yes. Well, that’s one expression of the push notification. It’s certainly a visible one, but trust me, even if you turn off all of your push notifications and I highly recommend that highly.
Even if you turn off those push notifications that have foundational level of how many of these products are built, there is an understanding on a neuroscientific level of motivation and reward loops. And what it takes to exploit or ride down. So these things are built in on a foundational level to many of the technologies we use. However, clay, you opened up this question by talking about the many things that apple delivered, some of which I had nothing to do with. Trust me, I, you know, I mean these things happened well after my watch it apple. But here’s the thing is that, you know, there’s been this promise that technology has made that it’s going to make everyone’s life better and more productive and easier and so forth, and we really have to challenge some of those promises because many of us could look at our lives and go, oh my gosh, I actually got so much more done. So not necessarily more done, but more stuff that mattered done before I was spending 75 percent of my day on email
off of the average that many or people are talking for, for an office worker knowledge worker at this time. So we have been looped into these sort of what I would call short bursts of motivation and reward of doing things like clipping things. I’ve heard to do list rather than really focusing on the work that is important and meaningful to us as human beings and trust me when I say that being busy and checking things off of the list has a very different relationship with our sense of purpose, satisfaction, and happiness than actually doing things that matter. Things that are aligned with our purpose. Only three in the world can really make us happy and I’ll give them to your right now.
Nice. If you’re interested. I’m very interested. I’m taking notes. I got my cowbell ready.
Good. Good ring. That bell one. Relationships and connection to being part of something bigger with other people with community, a sense of belonging or even relationships with entities or affiliations. Organizations that we feel deeply connected to so humans are social animals and on a neuroscientific level of biological level, we actually fit into a niche and the environment that is inherently social and so having relationships as part of what gives us context, belonging and a sense of being in a place you know in our lives. It’s a hugely important to our happiness. Now. We may be able to send text messages back and forth to each other all day long. Yes. That may not actually deepen our sense of relationship with the people were texting. It becomes transactional rather than interactive. Furthermore, you even talk about these fathers and sons who aren’t making eye contact with each other or you know, mom’s pushing their kids around and baby strollers. I’ve seen three year olds are mom’s walking around on the baby stroller about the three year old and the mom are talking or playing with their cell phones in some way. This is not relationships, you know, this is not about connecting. Okay. That was nice.
Or what’s going to help my amygdala back to you.
Well, I think you just gave yourself a nice little dopamine jolt.
Yeah. Very nice.
Okay. The next thing, relationships, contribution doesn’t everyone that you know and everyone listening to this podcast feel that they are here to make some sort of a generous of worthy offering to the world. That there is something we are good at and something that matters to us, that the world would be a better place. If we could share that openly, so yes, we want to contribute as human beings, we want to solve problems. We want to make life nicer for people. We want to contribute something of our intelligence and our generosity to others. So contribution also cowbell. Cowbell is something that contributes to happen,
I then I just did the cow bell dance right there. That was the. I sound very boring, but I’m actually not as good
for sure. I’m excited about where you are as you’re like bringing Bruno Mars to the thrive time show. That’s what you are. You are a Cornucopia of enthusiasm. I love it.
I’m on the. If you only knew the boots I was wearing clay, then you’d know I was really ready for all the dance moves. That’d be great. Okay. Then the third thing, the third thing that gives us satisfaction as human beings is broke and heres how I say it, I know every listener out there is going to relate to it. Aren’t we all on a journey of becoming a better version of ourselves in them at all? We want and in fact, if we look at the things that us in our lives or hold us back or frustrated or give us pain or anxiety or any of these things, so the things that block us from being that self, we know that we are, you know, underneath the appearance we have to play in the role. We have to play in the outside world. You know, I was driving down highway 100, one here in Silicon Valley yesterday and I saw a billboard.
This is an unpaid product endorsement. It’s actually a billboard endorsement for the company, uh, evernote. And it was one of the most brilliant billboards I’ve ever seen him. And it said something like this, hey you the real you, the one hiding beneath your to do list. Boy, did that hit home. Don’t all of us have a real us hiding beneath our to do list beneath all the things that we’re supposed to do. And what I want to tell everyone out there in your audience, to your point, clay about what technology is doing this, there is a real you, all of you out there. There’s a real need, there’s a real us that’s out there, but right now the number of things that are mobile technologies are telling us we’re supposed to be doing is actually pushing that wheel you down and my mission, my movement, my belief is in how do we become more aware of it so we develop the tools and the practices that let us push back and many people say we need to build those tools into the technology.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fine, but that’s still one more thing we’re developing or depending on the technology to do. For us. I’m so over them. I’m all about me being more powerful than the technology and saying, what are the practices that I have that are my true human practices about who I really am? Just let me overcome this obstacle that’s being imposed on me through tech, and I sure was fun to do when I first started doing it. I got a big Dotomi jolt out of it, but I’m actually not really that happy about it anymore. What do I do about it? Little step by little step.
Well, let me give an example to listeners this morning and kind of coached me through this because this is a real example. This morning I woke up and what I do is I turned my phone off everyday at basically 2:00 and then I don’t look at it again until the next day, so it’s a tough. And then when I go to
wait, I’m going to go get my cowbell for that.
I’m a father of five kids and I like to hit on my wife occasionally. I like to hold my daughter’s hand and grocery stores, these kinds of things, you know, and my daughter’s 14, so she’s got kind of a guy that’s interested in her and my job is to harass that guy and know. Got a lot going. I got silky chickens, we live on 17 acres. There’s a lot going on. So I turned my phone off right? And then I turn it on the morning and I turned it on the morning. I drive, I’m driving to work and I drive. I know it’s probably too big and probably not approved, but it’s a hummer. It’s a big car. I’m driving to work and then the Bluetooth syncs to it, so I turn on my phone. This happens every morning and when your Bluetooth syncs to your stereo system, all your text messages come in as a sound.
So it sounds like this. Every morning at usually five foot four by 5:45 every morning I’m driving to work. He goes breeding the meaning, meaning Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding. And it’s, it’s crazy. It’s really meaning. It’s usually 15 to 30 text messages and the push notifications are all turned off and this morning we have a guy that applied for a job yet another person who applied for a job at one of my companies who did not get the job and so decided to go on social media. You’ve seen this, I’m sure ellen the keyboard warriors, and he writes online, you know, Clay Clark is a shady guy and boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. You know, and you tag somebody on facebook and all of a sudden it happens. And we’ve had. We have hundreds of employees and this year’s holiday party chip, we’ll probably have 600 people there.
And so it’s a big group of people and I mean you can’t make everybody happy according to Aristotle. The only way to avoid conflict as to say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. So we do something. So we offend some people. But the point is, Ellen, I was, I was mad at six in the morning, like 5:55. I was upset because John, my partner, he shows me, he says, Hey, did you see this? How do you want me to respond? And immediately my Amygdala, my Amygdala almond part of my brain. It goes off and I say, and I look him up, Ellen, I see what he’s saying and it’s not accurate, right? But I don’t want to get into a social media argument with somebody, but took just a little bit of my joy and it took me about four or five minutes to get over it.
But Ellen Petry Leanse, it used to take me like hours to get over it, days to get over it. What would you say for anybody out there who’s listening, who is frustrated with somebody wrote on on social media today on facebook that you know Donald Trump is great or cavanaugh’s terrible or trump is terrible, or Obama’s terrible and they find themselves constantly getting irate based upon the social media posts of other people. Help us calm down, help somebody out there calm down because Ellen Petry Leanse and I used to stay mad for half a day. He’ll help us out there. Help us. What do we do?
Well, first of all, I think you know, if you can answer how you’ve gone from staying married to a couple of days to have half a day down to five minutes, that’s probably worth a podcast in and of itself, but I’ll offer what I have to offer. What you’re describing to me is actually an Amygdala hijack, which is you get triggered and I told you earlier, ancient technology navigating the modern world, the Amygdala is kind of the home of the fight, flight or freeze response and a human body. It’s a chemical response and it really is a a chemical takeover of not only your brain but your entire body that reallocates things like glucose and oxygen to various parts of the body and literally drained the juice out of the highest thinking part of your brain’s basically. It turns your brain singular, not plural. Your brain. It basically takes the turns your brain from a response machine to a reaction machine.
So all you’re doing is reacting. So one of the things that we know is that if the, the, the highest cognition parts of your brain are oxygen, the oxygen flow is reduced to them during an Amygdala hijack. So there’s a really easy thing you can do at the moment where you feel yourself being hijack, like you felt yourself in the car this morning, and that’s just simply take a moment to take a few breaths because you take a few deep breaths. You’re bringing more oxygen into the body and that means that there’ll be a chance for some of that, more oxygen to go into the the parts of the brain that has been no big scientific word coming fast, so constricted through the Amygdala hijack. Now what I want to tell you, first thing, friends, let’s just take this off line for a moment. You and me go one-on-one. Clay, turn on that phone before you plug it into your Bluetooth in the car. Do it before you walk into you. Don’t get that Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding. Because I even heard in your voice when you talked about it, even that sound is elevating your stress.
No, I got my brain’s gonna explode. So here’s the deal. I, I, I literally, the only reason I even have a smart phone is because I, you know, silly one, they’ll sell me this. I’m always trying to get the lowest quality for you. You know this, I don’t use phones, but I would just say that you asked or we’ve talked about earlier, how I’ve been able to be able to get it down to five minutes. You know, my dad died of als about two years ago.
Yeah. And you know, my dad died of als too, by the way.
I heard that. I can’t remember. It was a blog I had read or somewhere and, and that’s Kinda where I feel sort of a connection with you because it’s not, it’s not. I was there when my dad died. Were you there when you’re, when you’re. When they passed.
And unfortunately very sadly I wasn’t, but I was with him very, very shortly before.
And you know what I mean? It’s just soul sucking. It’s terrible. You want, you wish there was something to say, but you can’t. And there’s a Bible verse that I discovered during that time because you’re with your dad and you’re kind of sitting there. You’re not sure what to say. My Dad’s going in and out of consciousness because of the medication. There’s a Bible verse and I’m not getting you into a religious debate with you or anything but matthew five, 10 from the Bible, it reads, bless it, or those who are persecuted because of their righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. And I thought, you know, I’m a Judeo Christian, so Jesus obviously upset some people, but if you’re not a Christian, let’s just say you’re a big Martin Luther King Fan, or maybe you’re a fan of Magellan or socrates or anybody who posed a worldview that came out to be correct later that made people frustrated. People persecute people and on social media, people love to be very bold. And how dare we let someone take our joy as a result of a false thing that they posted. And I just think it’s gotta be. It’s gotta be tough for someone like Megan Kelly. I mean she had you on her show. I think Megan Kelly’s the best, but there are so many people that attack her. I mean, how, what was your coach and Megan Kelly, what would you tell her? I mean, how does, how does someone like that deal with that kind of criticism?
Well, one of the things I sensed when I was lucky enough to meet, do a little bit of work with Megan is that she’s done a really whoever has been coaching or if she’s been coaching herself or she’s been following other wisdom practices. She has learned something that all of us have the capability to learn and that’s what definite steps. It’s what other people think of us is none of our business. Certainly we can look at and listen to what other people think of us, but at the end of the day what matters is how navigate based on our internal principles rather than the opinions are stories of people you know in the external world of people who might think something about us. You know, we can look at the practices you referenced, Judeo Christian practices or any other spiritual, religious or wisdom tradition. All of them share a few common tenants based on my understanding of my experience and that is really the path to happiness.
The only path to happiness, just based on the self and not on opinions. If we are looking to others and in this day and age, others would have would include things like likes on social media or boats, you know. Then if we’re looking to that external validation, we’re never going to get it now and unfortunate trend that technology has ushered him in the past years is that outrage gets a lot of attention. Outrage gets a lot of clicks largely because it contributes to an Amygdala hijack and people get reactionary and they act in modes where they are triggered by things rather than necessarily things that are about, you know, their highest self or like I said, with growth becoming a better version of themselves. So I’m a really good practice that people who find themselves getting triggered or even who find themselves falling into patterns of triggering or escalating outrage on social media.
And I talked to people who do that and don’t feel good about it. You know, I don’t know why I feel like we need to get this attention by saying this stuff. What I do is really tell them to simply drop into a sense of their own presence through, through maybe breathing or taking even what some might call a mindful moment. Just a moment really asking, so what really matters here at this moment when the thing is that sort of action is something that was part of of a human cultural reflection practices. We might say prayer, we might say meditation. We might say stillness. We might even see sort of spacing out or vegging out when we were out in nature over the millennia that our species have lived. You know, we’ve always had built into our days and times some time for reflection and contemplation. Technology is squeezing that out. It’s making a different type of distraction entirely too easy, and that type of distraction does elevate our stress levels at the same time. That not having reflection decreases our wellbeing level. So it’s sort of a. it’s really kind of a losing combination. We’re being hacked from two perspectives and only we can advocate for getting our reflections. Stillness in sense of presence. That
deval rob is a well known as an investor or well known venture capitalist group. This company, Angel List for listeners out there aren’t familiar. Uh, he’s done very well and he went on to say, he says, I don’t think modern science has good answers here. I think that the modern world is actually a really bad. The modern world is full of distractions. Things like twitter and facebook are not making you happy. They’re making you unhappy. You are essentially playing a game that’s created by the creators of those systems and yes, it can be a useful game or tool once in a while. Once in a blue moon, you’re engaging though in dispute and resentment, comparison, jealousy and anger about the things that frankly don’t frankly just don’t matter. Now Ellen Petry Leanse on say, show clay stairs is here with me and he’s been a longtime client of mine, a former school teacher turned millionaire entrepreneur and clay’s battling a cold.
He’s had some copious amounts of dayquil or whatever you’re doing to get through this. So it might be a crazy question, but you’ve seen this work. You’ll work with a client, a very reasonable electrician, Dr. contractor, lawyer, whatever. Very reasonable, and they’re going to get a bad review on Google. Somebody goes on Google and it’s usually written by a competitor or somebody who’s unreasonable. Okay. You know, businesses do my mistakes. The wife of a fired employee. There we go and they’ll go online and write a bad review. And does it not rock the minds of your entrepreneurial clients for at least a week or a month? Sometimes.
Completely does. Clay. And that was a question that I had a at some point that I would love to. Yeah, get out here. It’s just this. I love the phrase, the vasoconstriction that leads to a Mig amygdala hijack. That’s, that’s awesome.
Not that leads to the. Actually the Amygdala hijack actually causes the best.
Oh, okay. Okay. I think that, uh, you know, to bring this around for our business owners that we work with on a daily basis. Ellen, how does this, how does this, how can somebody that is a business owner as you’re talking about here, this is something that is very real. As a matter of fact, I was just speaking with one of my clients this morning, just this morning in shelby, North Carolina, that the very same thing early in the morning, something happens and it just rocks the day. The rest of the day. How can we, how can we, is there a way to avoid the amygdala hijack or is it, is it may not be a way to avoid it, but here’s what you do when it happens.
We have to train ourselves to compensate for it. So couple of things here. First, I love that quote by the and I, you know, he’s dropped some real gems in that is absolutely one of them. What it really talks to, especially in the second part of the quote, it talks about really how it’s him said, how hijack the brain really is. So the brain is extremely hijack Hubble and for a long time that served our survival, you know, and even before we can even look across the animal kingdom and see that, you know, fear is a survival response. Most of us are now getting triggered for things that aren’t really related to our survival, but they are related to the way we go about our day or chief goals. So this is again, that can under both the ancient technology in the modern world. So couple of things I’m going to say first, and I’m going to say to your audience out there throughout human history, there have been events that have either hijacked us or exploited our motivation and reward loops that has been true of our past and it will most certainly be true of our future.
And if we look at the trajectory that things are moving in, I would say there will be even more opportunities for and higher intensities of hijack ability and the time to come. It’s happening. We’re watching it happen. So why not use the challenge we’re facing right now to train ourselves to get really, really good at practicing how to deal with attempts to hijack us. So first of all, you know, we wake up in the morning and the first thing we see as this slew of email or text messages and Yada Yada Yada. Coming, you suck, your world is falling apart and you totally messed everything up. Well, if that is the first thing we see, we’ve given our brain are powerful message that says, hello. This is what your day is going to be light. I boldly declare, hijack the hijack and don’t let that be the first thing you do. Look at any of that. Decide what you want your day to be about. I have an intention, quick religious thing, but I’m going to queue up my music so you can preach because what you’re saying is really good. You are on fire. Here we go.
Can I have my Hallelujah? Hallelujah. Okay, so you decide what your day is going to be about. Don’t let anybody else decide that for you, unless you’re close, loved one, and even if your closest loved one is your beautiful, because I want to tell you, even if you’re beautiful, dodge is telling what you what your day is about, going to be about being the best person you can be, because that’s why that beautiful dog adores he like on fire here. So before you let anyone else tell you what your day is about, you decide, and if that is a three minute journaling exercise, if that is simply jotting a few notes about your day, about what gives you, that is simply saying like, you know, Mark Twain or Benjamin Franklin shattered. So many other people say about like how to really have a great day, that your intention decide what you need earlier in order to feel like I had a great day to day. Do you need to accomplish or contribute? Yeah, hijacked. I’m going to tell you right now, I have three easy steps. Use anytime to get hijacked in. I don’t care how big the check is, it will give you immediate and somewhat lasting relief.
the first thing, do something hard actually get done. Get something done that is on your list of Mark Twain called eating your fraud. Do something hard that you’ve been resisting, unsure how to approach or procrastinating on. Just say, unlock in myself in and I’m going to do it. That’s step one step to do something fun. Give yourself a little treat and you can reverse this with the next thing, like go get a go get a Latte, go, uh, give your dog a cookie.
No, whatever it is I’m working with
the third, or hold your daughter’s hand, whatever it is, and then the third thing, do something to help another person do something of service and generosity to another person. And you know what? I think I actually got number two and three reversed. I think the right sequence would be do something hard, do something helpful, and then do something happy. Do something you feel good about coming back to yourself and say, oh my gosh, look at me. I’m completely, I’m triggered. I’m looking at the bigger picture. Now
you work with so many small business owners. Don’t hijack this interview by the Amygdala over active. Well, that’s kind of. I have questions that I have pre prepared. I will be asking. So you have limited time, but please feel free to ask Ms Ellen Petry Leanse, whatever question you want as fast as possible. Hail, and this is Eric [inaudible] up here. I had a question or we keep hearing this word triggered and I’ve heard it out in the world and and things and I would like if you could tell us or if you know this, what does that actually mean? Like on a scientific level, is that a real thing or is it just something people say?
What it means is that this will be so much fun to talk about for hours,
subconscious, unconscious conditioned or innate biological activity, modular activity, pathway activities, synaptic, you know, pathway activity in your brain. Certain chemical and electric activity patterns are being activated that are causing a brain reaction. So it’s very biological. But you know, we humans are very complex mixtures of both biological and learned a sort of, you know, realities or or, or conditions or whatever you wanna call it. So you have a biological mechanism that is ready to fire to keep you safe and alive, are ready to make decisions to keep you safe in life. But that biological mechanism has learned how it thinks you need to be in order to stay safe and alive. And it’s going to run the routines, a chemical and electric current level that, uh, that, that, that direct you to stay safe and alive. Based on that, you know, I’m making air quotes here based on that programming.
I mean, when you say hijacking, it’s literally that. It’s a follow up question to that. Is there a way to tell if somebody is faking the fact they’re saying they’re being triggered about something or there’s a reason at work they may not be able to do a task. Is there a way to tell if it’s, if it’s a fake hijack or a fake triggering of some sort? Or how would you handle this question?
I gotta be honest. I don’t even really know where to go with that because I don’t have enough influence.
What it this way, if someone is faking the hijab, they’ve been hijacked at a different level,
a professional actor onstage doing their part.
So you know, a person might be declaring outrage and you might be thinking they’re not really outraged about this. Then you know, they’re, they’re simply playing this role. Then we have to ask what other sort of outage or triggering was going on. We have to go underneath that role and into a deeper condition, but now we’re getting into a. Now we’re getting into a different type of thing,
so you wouldn’t view it within a black hole, within a dream, within a black hole, and take us back. That’s where I live. I take us back up to the practical. Okay. Now I want to ask you your book. The happiness hack is, is visually very pleasing. It’s very easy to understand, but you’re talking about things like neuroscience that a lot of people avoid because the word has multiple. Sorry. Right. I get asked you what inspired you to first write this book? The happiness hack.
Oh, to make it very easy to understand how our biology, which you know in specifically our brain, um, which I’ve said time and again, there’s an ancient technology in the modern world, how certain biological tendencies or manifestos tend to shape our construct of what reality is so that we can decide what reality we actually want to live in. I’m a reality. We want to live in, it turns out to be a little bit more trainable than you know. Many things might tell us they are just in a word. This is why people talk about mindfulness practice. It’s really how do we use our brain? How do we work with our brains so our brains simply isn’t running us or running the show? It’s so that we can direct it toward an intentional path that is about who we really want to be. That’s growth. Here’s a phrase we all must remember.
Your brain will do more of whatever it’s doing right now, so scientific phrase that’s used all the time in neuro science communities, and if you only remember one thing about this talk, remember that left to itself. Your brain will simply continue to run the habits of rental alone because that’s all it notes, but if there’s something else we want and we can begin practicing that even in small ways, five percent of the time, you know, one small habit change every day, one new experiment a day to see how we like it. What we’re doing is we are making our brains safe again, air quotes with new ways of proving, hey, I can try this new behavior and still stay safe and alive brain. You’ll be fine even if we don’t always do it the old way, and the book is about giving that awareness to people in a really, really friendly and simple way so that they can decide what small changes they want to make in their life. I would love to share my favorite story about the book and in fact that’s one of my dearest friends said to me when I shared this story with him. He goes, you’re done. Your work is complete. And I said, you know what? You’re right. I wrote the book for this person and now anything else that happened to his graving. Can I show this?
Sorry. I’d love to hear the story.
Great. I met a man at a book signing and if I’m not mistaken, Indiana, and he came up to me and he smiled. His biggest could be, and I could tell this was a hardworking man, maybe not everything had been easy in his life and he came up to me with a big smile on his face and boy do I hope he hears this, the review, because I’ve told this story or this interview. I’ve told it straight numerous times since he. He’s having bought the book and he read it. He stopped smoking and I said, why? And he said, once I read your book, I realized that my brain was my brain loved to smoke because it was a habit, but I and I don’t even know who I am. I actually hated smoking and the next time I craved a cigarette, I said to my brain, I know you want this cigarette, but I don’t.
You can wait a little bit longer. And when I met him, he’d been practicing that for a month and he was down to three cigarettes a day and he said he’d be done with cigarettes in two weeks. Now, I’m not saying my book as a cure all or get anyone smoking, but what I loved about his story is that he realized that, you know, if, if listen to this phrase, I can say, I can’t believe I did that. That’s a really weird face because they’re kind of two people in that aren’t there. I can’t believe I did that. Who is in that conversation? What he realized is, I, well, you know, I can’t believe I’m still smoking. Well, I was someone different than the one who was keeping smoking. He separated those two things and we found a path to stopping smoking simply by letting one voice, the voice of his himself, his true self, and his intention start to override the voice of the habitual brain that said, keep doing things the way you’ve always done them because you’re safe and alive. Whatever you’ve done must be working because you’re here. He said, no, that’s not what I want. I want to override that voice. That’s what my book is about.
This is going to be probably with more heavier parts of the show that I’m going to weave in a passive aggressive threat for all of our listeners and and a shameless passive aggressive attempt to get ellen on the show again is ellen is a wealth knowledge, a wealth of knowledge, and if you read her book, if you read, if you read a book, if you read the happiness hack, you’re going to discover the book, and I’m not exaggerating. If you read the book and you implement what’s in it, I guarantee I guarantee you that you will be a happier person. Now again, if you buy the book and you don’t implement it, you will not be a happier person. Now, chip, I’m not going down. I’m not going to go. I’m not going to go as far as to say is, if you don’t buy the book, you don’t care about your happiness. I would never know. You’re a class act guy. I’m a classic. That’s, of course I would say, you know, other people would be, they lacking the class and care for their own selves to not buy the others, but for you to listen right now, you just buy the book.
Common could Amigdala hijack.
Oh, I’ve been studying Donald Trump and the, uh, there’s the art of the Donald Trump of hyperbole and apotheosis is what I’ve been studying here. So,
but here’s what I want to say. All of us deserve happiness. I mean, we’re really here to feel like life makes sense. Happiness isn’t the shiny object or anything, but it’s a sense of satisfaction. Like, you know, I know I’m going through some hard things. I know there are things I’d like to change. What’s the best I can do? Who is the best I can be in? How do I find satisfaction in it? That’s really the happiness that, that this book is all about. And my deepest belief, you know, grain known to my research, my work, my practice and heartfelt through my life experience is all of us can become more satisfied with our lives and we are. There’s always room to find more, more satisfaction. What I hope the book authors are a few first steps or even maybe a few advanced steps towards finding more of whatever that seek in your life might be.
It does it. The book is phenomenal. And Elena, what’s your breakdown to final quotes and then I have a shameless, shameless little surprise gift for our listeners out there. So Paul Graham, the founder of y combinator, the entrepreneur behind Reddit, dropbox, airbnb, he was asked how can we don’t carry an iphone? And he says, I don’t carry an iphone. He goes on to explain. Basically it’s interrupting him all the time. So the guy behind Reddit, dropbox, airbnb, huge technology companies, doesn’t carry an iphone. You know Bill Bellacheck, the most successful coach in nfl history says quote unquote, I don’t twitter, I don’t my face, I don’t yearbook, which is hilarious. So both of those guys, industry leaders are saying they don’t allow their tool, the technology to make them a tool. They don’t. So for anybody out there, Ellen Petry Leanse, who says, is it okay? I’m very successful. I mean, I met the founder of hobby lobby and he told me he does not use a smartphone or a cell phone because he doesn’t need it to get important things done. Does everybody out there and you’re aligned. If you’re sitting down with a client or sitting down with somebody and they very successful. Does everybody have to have an instagram account or a facebook account? No,
no, no. Gosh, no. And the thing is, as you can have it, if you it, you simply have to decide how you want to use it. What is your intention in using it? So if you are having an intention in using your words, really serving your business or your personal brand or your life mission, then you’re in charge of it and use it in accord with that intention or mission. But if it is using you, then it’s going to be squandering your relationships, your contribution and your growth by locking you into habits that don’t allow you to achieve what you’re really here to achieve. So, you know, I tweet, I probably signed into to know, like look at twitter probably almost every day. Not Everyday, but every now and then you know, someone quoted an article on twitter, you know, if someone sends something that I did a talk last night, somebody put up a beautiful tweet about that.
Like that stuff is really great and it serves my higher mission and I might go in and retweet it or something, but this is going to be me doing a fly by on that for two or three minutes a day. Or even maybe sometimes 20 seconds a day where it’s serving my higher intention, my higher mission. But I know we have to know that every product we’re either using the product or the product is using us. If, if I am using the product intentionally, I’m gaining a benefit from it. It’s worth me being there. But if not, it is using me for Ich intention and I have to understand and accept that you know, I am paying a price for that and the price is going to show up in my relationships, my contributions or my growth. And we have to decide that that’s a worthwhile value exchange. Which it probably isn’t. Or we need to change our habits around it and we all have the ability to do that.
No. The happiness hack is available pretty much anywhere. Books are sold. You can find it on Amazon. If we go to your website, we can find it, but could you recommend. What is the action steps you’d recommend for all of our listeners to take? Do you want me to go to your website? Do you want them to to buy the book? If the listeners could take one action step that you would like that would help them the most, what would you recommend for all of our listeners to do?
Thank you. Well, I suspect it out there in the audience. You have some amazing people who own independent bookstores or things like that, so the first thing I’d say is run. Don’t walk to your nearest independent bookstore and thank them for contributing a wealth of knowledge to your community as you buy the happiness hack. I also noted some libraries have it, which is great, and if not, Amazon is an excellent place and I’ll tell you, I would normally recommend my website, but I actually took a job, believe it or not, I joined a really wonderful silicon valley company that’s looking to bring some of these practices to the way that we lead the growth of the people who work at our company. So I’m a little quiet on my website these days. And then the other thing is do follow me on twitter because I, you know, I, I do use twitter.
I do use a cell phone. Um, I, it’s extremely helpful to me in the work that I do, but I do feel that I’m in charge of it, but I would say get the, read it and then share it with a friend right in the book. Make notes in it, like writing to spark you. And I’ll tell everyone to the readers, you won’t feel so smart after you read this book because you will believe as you read it, you go, oh my gosh, I kind of knew that all along. But now I have the words to describe this and knowing that about yourself, that you already have everything it takes to be a happy and satisfied person. All you have to do is activated is actually really a boost. So go get that boost.
Here’s the thing, I appreciate you so much for being on the show and you are absolutely a wealth of knowledge. I sincerely appreciate your book. I had 38 questions I wanted to ask you. I think we got probably 15 of them. Love to have you on again. Run right now on itunes today. I think we’re. I think as of today, we’re all in the top 10 of all categories. We’re number three for business and, and hopefully we can help you sell some books. Ellen, I thank you for being on the show. We’d like to end every show with a boom. Essentially we do a three, two, one and then a boom because boom stands for big, overwhelming optimistic momentum. And so Ellen Petry Leanse, can we count on you for, for a big boom there from silicone valley?
Oh, you’re going to get such a boom. I’m ready.
Okay, here we go. Are you ready? Are you ready? Here we go. Three, two, one. Boom.
But we’re still back with just a little bit more Marshall. They’re still, they’re still so little
bit more little bonus. No bonus. Marshall, you actually coach with real business owners. That’s right. And one of your clients you work with is a, is a pool company. They install pools. Yes. A company by the name of Sierra pools. Correct. And uh, recently they are sent in a video testimonial, a video testimonial. They sit, a testimonial sharing about how your coaching and mentorship has dramatically improved their lives, their company, and the, the road that, the financial trajectory of their, of their future. So before we play the audio of them bragging on you, I’d like for you to build a brag on your client, Mr Cody and his wife Rachel, and, and just kinda talk about some of the improvements that you’ve been able to help them make. Because the entire reason for this podcast is because we want to help you actually grow a real business.
We want you to practically implement the systems. And the reality is we can’t coach thousands of clients. Okay, we have to cap it at 160 clients usually once a month. There’s an opening a. So if you’re out there and you’re, you aren’t already interested in business coaching, there’s usually one opening a month or so. But to talk to us about the diligence and the practical steps that you’ve taken to help Sierra pools to go from essentially a startup into now a thriving company. So they’re doing a phenomenal job in, in cody has taken on the role of the project manager, but now he’s also doing sales because they’ve created this business that allows a Rachel to stay at home with her there. They’re new kid, they have a, they have a new child. And so she’s taking care of that. But now the business is operating itself and it’s so cool to see cody transition to being able to execute the script.
They’re booking deals. Um, and then also client management, client expectation management. They’re meeting with their clients on a regular basis. So imagine this, they’re contractors, they’re working with the contractors and they’re following up with the homeowner on a daily basis. They have a set time to meet each week to follow up and say, Hey, this is what you can expect us to be doing each week, and they’re on time and on budget and they guarantee their work. They’ve knocked out five huge aspects of business growth that most business owners never knock out. And Steve Currington, I want to tap into your wisdom on this because you’re a mortgage, a business owner and partner, but you’re also a guide that we’ve worked with for a long time and you’ve attended the conferences on. Cody and Rachel first heard about us through the conference. They came to a conference about a year and a half ago and for anybody out there who wants to attend the conference, you can attend the conference for free simply by subscribing to the podcast on itunes.
You’ll leave us an objective review. You can email us proof. He did it to [email protected] That’s input thrive time show.com. Or you can just buy tickets for 250 bucks if you do get a free ticket, it’s $37 for the workbook and lunch per person. But, but Steve, I would like to go through the big five that the goods that the good folks at Sierra pools have been able to knock out. And I’d like to have you break them down one by one, just how huge it is for them and why it’s huge for most, most, uh, small business owners. One Marshall’s coached him through turnkey marketing. They now have a three legged marketing stool that’s generating leads. They wake up every morning and they have leads in their inbox. How huge is that to have inbound leads, potential clients pursuing you? Well, I think it’s huge as long as you call them.
Um, I think that’s, that’s the problem that, that, uh, I think that trying to celebrate wins here, buddy. You’ve got to focus first on the leads. How cool is that? Inbound leads? It’s good. It’s good when you have people calling you, instead of you out there pounding the pavement to try to get people to. Most business owners never get there. You work with so many business owners. You have so many people that apply for a mortgage. They have struggling companies and they never get to a place where they have turnkey marketing. Right? That’s huge. The second you just, you’ve alluded to it, they now have it turned key sales system, meaning they have a process for texting leads, calling the leads, emailing the leads, scheduling appointments. They have scripts in place. How important is it, Steve, to have turnkey sales systems? Well, it’s very important.
Uh, as I said, when it comes time to start being able to call your leads, you need to be able to have a team and a system in place to be able to convert those people into actual customers. Because if you have people come to your website and requesting information and you don’t have a way to convert them into deals, then it’s all for nothing. Marshall, the third, the third, huge. When you’ve helped Sierra to getting well, what is turnkey marketing to turnkey sales? Three is the management systems. You alluded to it earlier, but how, how awesome is it when you see a client that can now proactively manage their staff with set a proactive meetings as opposed to reactive? Got a minute meetings. Oh my gosh. Throughout the day, uh, cody was taken phone calls and we’ve talked about this. He, he was always a slave to the phone.
He always had to answer that next call, but now he has set times to follow up with his team members and it’s provided him so much more time freedom. It’s great. Now the fourth, the fourth area where you’ve really been able to help them, this is just so powerful, is knowing their numbers, knowing the numbers. How, how freeing is it for a business owner, Marshall, when you deep dive and you really help them know the numbers. And I know the math, they know their fixed cost. They know their variable costs, they know the actual numbers of the business. Uh, you got to know the numbers because you got to nail it before you scale it. If you don’t know what those numbers are and maybe you find out that you’re losing a little bit of money on every deal that you do, if you mark it, you’re going to go into the whole very, very quickly.
And so you gotta know your numbers before you start scaling up the business. Final bragging point, there’s so many things you’ve helped them with. I’m just trying to get into the big five chunks. You’ve helped them with work flow, work flow, knowing the workflow workflow is where you make a linear process. You have all these ideas in your head and you turn it into like a timeline, a linear workflow. How important has it been for Sierra pools to now know the process from a marketing and branding to be generating a actual sales to, to, to, to see actually closing deals to d accounting for it to either managing the whole process. How important is that? It’s so important. We’ve actually broken down on a 20, 30 page document of the entire steps from when we start marketing to having a completed pool in a collecting the final payment that’s all mapped out on a checklist and it’s visual so that cody and Rachel, they can see all of the different, the process is going on in their business. Cody, on behalf of the, uh, the thrive nation, the hundreds of thousands of people listening from all over the world. We’re super excited for you. And now without any further ado, back to the testimonial video that you emailed us earlier this week.
Hey, cody was Sierra pools and spas and just a few system wins that I’ve had that Marshall and thrive 15 has really helped me with. Uh, one thing, uh, in construction. I’m a construction manager. I mean, he used to call me all the time. One thing that Marshall implemented that, uh, that are recommended that, uh, that we have a set time that he calls me every day. Um, you know, he’d call me constantly and I never gave him a time like, hey, this is when you can call me kind of thing. So he was probably afraid to call me. Um, but I set a time every day at 11:00 AM that he calls me with all the updates and stuff like that. So that, that’s really helped so far. He doesn’t call me as much anymore. Um, so that Kinda gives them, I made a out of it, you know, that’s kind of like our time that we spend together at 11:00 AM every day that he gives me on the updates.
Another system when, uh, that I just dreaded, uh, was, uh, calling the clients every day to give them an update on their whole process and I don’t like being called every day but some. So I, I really didn’t like this, uh, this idea at first, but I have to say at the end of it, uh, it’s really helped. Um, it’s really helped me feel better about the process and definitely helps them see the vision of, of the project. Uh, and they, they’re always in the know. They always know what’s happening. So, uh, at first I was real hesitant of it, but now they, I, I see the benefit of it. It’s really help help. Um, it’s really helped our process and I don’t have to feel stressed about, you know, the clients are gonna be angry at me. They always know what’s going on. So it’s really helped them a lot.
We do the hiring process to every Wednesdays, the group interviews, this is another thing was real hesitant on doing, uh, just thought it was going to take a lot of time out of our week. Um, but really it’s really been a really good, you know, just kind of winging out the people that we know that we not going to hire you can even show up to a meeting. Um, but, uh, it’s really helped us instead of. I would have been at first if I didn’t know about this system, I would have been frustrated in real stressed out, you know, trying to find time for people that say they can’t make it at a certain time. But no, we just come in and say, hey man, we just do interviews Wednesday 5:00 PM and just kinda leave it at that. Um, another thing we use, um, that’s been really helpful. It’s just putting everything on a calendar. Uh, we put all our, uh, I just put everything that I’m doing for the week or the next week or so. I just put it all on a calendar so I could see everything on there. I wasn’t really an organized person. I didn’t ever use a planner in school. Uh, so this has really helped, uh, s uh, really helped, um, kind of seeing the whole vision of it.