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When you have a supportive family, it’s hard to imagine things any other way. If your family supports you in what you do, consider yourself blessed. I know I do.
I get a lot of emails from people asking how to pursue their passion or do the things they love to do when their family or parents don’t believe in them. They say they’re not “rational” or they’re being unwise simply because they’re not choosing the common 9-to-5 path.
On the surface, it’s heartbreaking. You’d think your family would be the most supportive of everyone! While initially it seems disconcerting, we dig into the deeper meanings of why they might be offering contrary advice (hint: it often stems out of caring).
Regardless, sometimes you need to just say, “You know what? Screw being rational!” Rational is what is proven. Rational is mediocrity. If you want to be average, be rational. I’m not satisfied with rational and I don’t think you are either.
In this episode, we talk about taking risks. We talk about the facade of safety and how tenacity is the only kind of job security you’ll ever have. If you’re struggling with people believing in you and you’re feeling the pull to follow the status quo and you’re wanting to break free: this is for you.
- Sometimes Family Doesn’t Know Best
- 08:03 Sean: For those of you who didn’t hear the last episode yet where I did a solo show (Related: e131 Living in the Now), I talked about not caring about what other people think. That’s the obvious advice, right? Everyone says,“Don’t care about what other people think,” but the twist was I said,“Especially when it comes to your family.” A lot of people don’t think that way, they think “It’s my family, I need to care what they think!”
- 08:45 It’s easy to dismiss what other people think about us but when it comes to our family, the opinions and the thoughts they hold affect us to a greater degree. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to them, but you just need to be all that more wary—especially when it comes to your family because they can have such a huge effect on you.
- 09:18 Ben: “When you’re trying to be more present and focused on what you’re capable of doing now, you forget about your past self and your past failures. It’s not that you don’t learn from those things but if anyone is familiar with who you were and the mistakes that you made, it’s your family.
- 09:40 They’re so familiar with your past self and really good at serving that up to you in those moments when you feel like you’ve got doubt or you’re apprehensive about doing something that’s new. They’re the ones that are most equipped to show us that picture of who we used to be and that spooks us.”
- Not Everyone Has Their Family’s Support
- 10:04 Sean: The reason I wanted to talk about this today is because I get a lot of people writing in saying they don’t have the support of their family. Not everyone is blessed with a supportive family. Not everyone has people who will believe in them. Maybe their family doesn’t believe in them. Maybe they think they’re being unwise by trying to make their own path instead of following the tried and true 9-to-5 grind. They say they’re not being rational.
- 10:45 Today, I’m saying “Screw being ‘rational.’” The reason I have it in quotes is because I’m talking about the kind of “rational” that people want to hold you back to. I’m not talking about being rash. I’m not talking about being reckless. I’m talking about the rational that is holding you back. Rational is average. Rational is safe. Rational is poor person.
- 11:24 Ben: “Wait, what did you just say?”
- Parents Give “Safe” Advice Because They Care
- 11:34 Sean: A lot of kids want to do something different and try to make their own path and parents will often tell their kids not to try to do their own thing. I do get it. I get why and I think that’s very well-meaning advice because parents want the best for you. I’m not saying don’t listen to your parents—don’t get me wrong. I’m saying you need to think about this objectively and take into captivity the thoughts that other people have for you.
- 12:16 Parents want the best for you. They want you to be safe. They would never subject you to harm and risk implies the possibility of harm. Safety is what is proven. It’s the beaten path. It’s what works. You are guaranteed mediocrity—which is appealing if you’re only comparing it to potential despair.
- 12:52 Ben: “As a parent, one of the things that’s really difficult for me is not to overstep the bounds for being protective of my children. I feel like it’s my job to keep them safe, to make sure they don’t come to physical or emotional harm. If I’m not careful, I might project my own experiences—of the dangers and hurts that I’ve faced—onto them.
- 13:40 On the other side, when someone like your parent shares theirthoughts, opinions, or beliefs, it’s really important not to dismiss them. Make sure to listen to them but allow what they say to run through your filter, you don’t have to accept others’ thoughts as your own.”
- A Lot of People Struggle With This
- 14:21 Sean: There are a lot of good things coming through the chat right now. It sounds like this is really resonating with a lot of people. Kevin says:
- Your family still relates to the past you.
- 14:48 That’s an interesting angle, I really like that. They know the past you. They don’t know where you’re at now, they don’t know your aspirations now.
- 15:02 Alice says her family uses the phrases, “Are you sure that’s wise?” and “Do you have time for that?” whenever she tries to explain the project she’s working on.
- 15:10 Ryan says a lot of people give the advice that says, ‘Start with working at a firm. Start taking whatever projects you can get.’
- 15:32 Ben: “It’s funny, those questions are posed as questions but they really are meant as statements implying that you’re not being very wise.
- 16:18 “I want to go back to defending the parents. What they’re saying may not be valid, but you have to look to the intention of their hearts. They really do mean well and they’re trying to give you the best advice they can based on their personal experience. That is their experience though. It doesn’t have to be yours.”
- Their Heart is Probably Right Even If Their Words Aren’t
- 16:46 Sean: Is it a matter of acknowledging the intentions and acknowledging their heart but looking at that as separate from the advice that they’re giving? They want me to do well and their advice is based on their best understanding of how that can come about.
- 17:10 Ben: “Yeah, it’s based on their own struggles, failures, pains, and successes. Times are very different now than when our parents were entering the workplace and trying to build their careers. You don’t need a whole list of reasons why you shouldn’t consider the validity of your parents suggestions or thoughts but you do need to run it through that filter first.
- 17:50 You need to look at it objectively and ask yourself, ‘I recognize that they care about me and that’s why they’re saying these things, but how does this advice really apply to my situation? How does it apply to what I’m trying to do and to the current reality in which I live?'”
- Everyone Wants You to Follow the Status Quo
- 18:08 Sean: Applying that to the definition of rational—rationality is based on conventionalism. When someone says you are being irrational, it’s to say you are acting in a way that is incongruent with reason. There are certain things that are known to produce certain outcomes. You go to school to get a degree. You get a degree to secure a job. You get a job at a company. You work at a company to get a steady paycheck. You get paid a steady paycheck so you can reliably pay a mortgage. You have a mortgage so you can live in a house to shelter your two kids. You do have two kids right? Certainly not none, certainly not six. Let’s not be…”unreasonable.”
- 18:57 Ben: “No, it’s got to be like two—maybe three at the most. If you have more than three it’s like, ‘What are you doing?'”
- 19:17 Sean: All of these are precedents set under the predisposition of reason:
- Why would you not go to school to get a degree?
- Why would you not get a degree to secure a job at a company?
- Why shouldn’t you work at a company where you can get a steady paycheck?
- Why would you work for yourself when no paycheck is guaranteed?
- How will you afford your mortgage?
- What do you mean you don’t have a mortgage?
- How will you support your two kids?
- What do you mean you don’t have kids?
- What do you mean you have six kids?
- 19:53 Ben: “It struck me that the word rational has the word ration in it—I don’t know if there’s an actual connected root word there but I looked up the definition of ration:
- 20:23 “In order to make sure we act rationally, we make decisions based on rationality to ensure there is enough to go around because there’s scarcity here. There is a finite amount of whatever commodity it is that we’re trying to fill our lives with.
- 20:48 That commodity looks like a lot of different things—it could look like a certain type of lifestyle, it could look like an idea of what the American dream is to you, it could look like a a specific number of kids, it could look like material things—but the idea is if I don’t follow this tried-and-true path then I’m not going to get my piece of the pie.”
- Even Rations Are An Illusion
- 21:17 Sean: I’m glad you brought that in. I’m picturing a country going through some sort of famine and there are allotments and rations of food set aside for specific people. A certain amount per individual is guaranteed if you subscribe to the system. However, if you go out to explore and try to make your own path there could be untold riches and rewards that are many factors of whatever the ration is.
- 22:00 Ben: “You could find some arable land and actually yield a crop which would be way more food than you could ever get subscribing to this existing system”
- 22:10 Sean: The system says there’s a famine right here, everyone needs to be in scarcity mindset. The system says the economy is bad and that you need to take on whatever work you can get: you can’t afford not to take on the wrong type of jobs. But if you’re an entrepreneur—if you’re a person who makes your own path and builds businesses and solves problems—you could go out and solve the problem that everyone else in the commodity-ration-scarcity-mindset has. You could solve a problem they have and make a better living for yourself.
- 22:54 Ben: “In order to fix scarcity and economic depression, those problems need to be solved by someone who thinks outside of that mindset, not from somebody who is subjected to it. Instead of putting ourselves inside the box of conservation, rationality, and staying-within-our-means when we encounter these problems, what if we busted out of that mindset and put ourselves outside of the problem to look at it from a different angle?
- 23:45 That’s when we need to exercise our creativity. Scientifically, the creative part of your brain becomes non-functional in scarcity situations. It’s only when you rise above that fear and that scarcity that you start to think creatively about the problems you are experiencing.”
- 24:05 Sean: You mentioned mindset a few times and I think that’s dead on. Rational to one person is not rational to another.
- 24:16 Rationality—a ration—is what is guaranteed. Yes, you can be sure that you’re not going to go without when you accept the ration, but you can also be sure that you’re not going to get any more than that.
- 24:45 Ben: “That assurance really is an illusion in and of itself because somebody else controls it.”
- Learn to Build Your Own Fortress
- 24:55 Sean: That’s a good point. In tv020 There’s No Such Thing As Job Security, I gave the example of a fortress. When you work for someone else, when you subscribe to the system, when you accept your ration, what you are building is the habit of finding someone else’s fortress.
- 25:26 You’re taking up refuge in someone else’s fortress and they are offering you protection, they’re offering you “security,” but really it’s a façade. They’re on the outside, facing all of the elements, the dangers, and the threats and when that fortress goes down you are equally screwed.
- 25:50 Ben: “I would say even more so because they’re probably going to protect their own interests before they protect the interests of the people who they’re sheltering.”
- 25:58 Sean: Yeah, 100%. What you’ve been left with when this fortress that belongs to someone else goes down and you’ve taken up refuge, all you have left is the ability to find fortresses. You now need to go find refuge somewhere or you could be the person that builds their own fortress.
- 26:23 Yeah, it’s scary, it’s hard, it’s long-term, it’s uncertain, it’s going to take a lot of effort. Your first fortress might even fall down on itself, but when you build your own fortress—when you build your own business—what you have is not only a fortress, but the knowledge to build businesses. If and when it goes down, you have the ability to build another one.
- 26:49 Ben: “Yeah, and I want to get away from this whole need for security. I think that is most crippling because the people who want to do the conventional thing are doing it because they think they need that security. I also think the people who do their own thing need that security too but that ends up potentially destroying them when they fail. When that Castle ends up crumbling, they think, ‘Well, I guess I can’t find security in this either so why try again?’
- 27:43 The thing is, the potential for security is the same in either case. Wouldn’t you rather just continue getting better and better at rebuilding that thing? I think that becomes a security in and of itself.”
- 28:23 Sean: In tv020, this is exactly what I talked about. It’s about the tenacity that you build and acquire when you consistently try and fail when you make your own thing.
- Don’t Expect People to Believe In You
- 29:05 Sean: When you go against the flow, when you try to make your own path, don’t expect people to believe in you. They’re not going to. They’re not going to get it. Even the people that are most supportive of you will be supportive because that’s what they do—not necessarily because they believe you’ll make it. They’ll be there for you matter what, but unless you are positioning yourself around people that are entrepreneurs, they’re not really going to get it.
- 30:33 Ben: “The people who believe in you might stick with you through your first failure, they might even stick with you through your second failure, but nobody is going to stick with you as long as you would be willing to stick with yourself. This is why you can’t rely on the belief of other people in what you’re doing to fuel your drive.”
- 31:05 Sean: Unless you’re around people that are doing it most people aren’t going to believe you.
- The Lambo Goal
- 33:07 Sean: What comes to mind is my Lambo Goal. I actually broke my own rule about not sharing big goals publicly so now people know about the Lambo Goal. But unless you’re around people that are doing this—day-to-day in the thick of it, making their own path, being entrepreneurs, building businesses, or you’re in the Community, no one is going to get it. People in the Community use the Lambo Goal as a way to say they’re dreaming big now. It’s not about buying a Lamborghini, it’s about setting goals that are bigger than big.
- 35:20 Don’t share your big goals with people who aren’t going to believe in them. That might mean not sharing your big goals with your family. I broke my rule of not sharing big goals and I shared my big goal because I want to make a point of it. I want to inspire you. I choose to believe that you’re the type of person who won’t try to discourage me from my big goals.
- 35:31 My good friend Matt is adopting the Lambo Goal alongside me. He’s actually coming over to shoot a video with me about it. We plan on documenting the journey along the way: the mindset, the goals, the hard work, the struggle, the sweat, all of that. Every month or every quarter we’re going to record together until we get to that goal. We’re going to get haters for making our big goals so public, but I don’t care. That’s not who I’m doing it for, I’m doing it for the people that believe in themselves, believe in me, and believe in dreaming bigger.
- It Doesn’t Matter What Other People Think
- 37:05 Sean: Here’s something that’s interesting to think about: how much time does someone close to you spend thinking about you? We’ll use the example of the person who is closer than any other person in the world: your spouse. If you’re not married, skip to the next closest person.
- 37:55 Let’s break down a day. Say you sleep 8 hours—that leaves 16. Say you work 8 hours—that leaves 8. Say you spend 1 of those hours commuting a day and 1 of them eating, that leaves 6. Say you spend 2 of those other hours watching a tv show or browsing the web on your phone—that leaves 4 hours. Now, let’s be generous and say that every 10 seconds, this person thinks about you for 1 second. That means for those 4 hours—those 240 minutes, they spend 24 of them thinking about you.There are 1440 minutes in a day. That means they spend 1.6% of their day thinking about you. That other 98.4% is all you.
- 39:10 The closest person to you will spend 1.6% of the rest of their time on this planet thinking about you. Let’s say you hang out with a group of friends once a week (which if you’re keeping up with friends that well, kudos to you). Let’s say you hang out for 4 hours in the evening. Generously, we’ll say they spent 10% of that time thinking about just you. That’s 0.23% of their time—less than a quarter of a percent! These are your closest friends! Here’s the punchline:
- 40:09 Sean: When we’re talking about the very closest people to you in the world, it’s a matter of about a percent. I’m not saying don’t ever listen to them, I’m just trying to put things in perspective for you here because I know a lot of people are not living like the closest person to them spends 1.6% of their time thinking about them.
- 40:27 They’re putting a lot more stock in what other people think about them—and not just the close people but anyone else. Strangers, acquaintances, Internet anonymous people, it’s absurd! These people have a fleeting thought about you and that’s it. Then they go about the rest of their 98.4% of their day.
- 40:50 Ben: “Yeah, sometimes that fleeting thought can feel very meaningful as if it holds a lot of weight in your life. For that person who left a comment or replied or said something about what you’re planning on doing, that thought makes up an even smaller percentage of the amount of total thoughts they think about you within that 0.23%.”
- 41:27 Sean: That’s a good point. Of the small fraction of time they spent thinking about you, most of that time is them thinking, “I love that guy. That Ben, he just makes my day.”
- 42:36 People are not laying on their deathbeds wishing they gave more of a crap about what someone else thought. They’re wishing they lived a life truer to themselves.
- 42:48 If you want to do something different from what everyone else around you is doing and advising, just go do it. Don’t expect people to believe in you. Just go do it.
Do you want to dream rational or do you want to dream big?
But when you guarantee mediocrity, you also guarantee no chance of the exceptional.
You ensure no possibility of phenomenal.
“A fixed amount of a commodity officially allowed to each person during a time of shortage.”
It reminded me a lot of scarcity.
Screw being “rational.”
I don’t want to be reasonable, I want to be extraordinary.
I don’t want to be rational, I want to be unprecedented.
Tenacity is the only kind of job security you’re ever going to find.
You want people to believe in you? Then be average. Be mediocre. Most people believe in something that’s safe. They put their stock in safe bets.
The safest bet I know is mediocrity. If you settle for average, people will believe in you all day long.
But if you want to do something greater, if you want to do something unprecedented and if you want to experience the rewards from sticking your neck out there and risking failure, then don’t expect anyone to believe in you.
You are the only one who lives 100% of your life.