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It’s easy to dismiss someone entirely just because you don’t agree with one thing they believe.

I know I’ve been guilty of throwing the baby out with the bath water before. Someone has a belief that differs from you and you discredit them as a whole.

For instance, maybe it’s a marketer who uses a tactic you find spammy, or a business leader who curses when you don’t, or simply someone who has a different point of view of theology or politics.

Ben and I talk today about maturity and being open minded and why it’s actually good for the beliefs we already hold. The alternative is constructing an echo chamber around yourself where you only ever follow or listen to people who confirm beliefs you already have.

We talk about how allowing yourself to entertain ideas objectively and even let them challenge your beliefs is healthy and can strengthen your existing beliefs.

We also discuss how to distinguish between someone who simply has an opposing view, and may be worth hearing out, and someone who is simply spewing pollution.

It’s a very real and raw discussion!

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • It’s easy to surround yourself with people who believe exactly as you do just to reaffirm your own beliefs and that’s not healthy.
  • Open yourself up to receives ideas for the purpose of analyzing them.
  • People and their ideas are two different things—when we see ideas that differ from our own, we tend to reject the people with those ideas.
  • Try to think creatively about situations and ideas that frustrate you and practice empathy.
  • There’s power in acknowledging the potential reasoning on the other side of a disagreement.
  • It takes maturity allow our beliefs to be challenged.
  • Just because someone disagrees with you on one point doesn’t mean that they don’t have other value to add.
  • If you’re approaching a situation with the right mindset, you can always find a way to get value out of it.
  • When you get feedback, a healthy question to ask yourself is, “Could I add more value if I made this adjustment?”
  • Having convictions and talking about them openly doesn’t make you a closed-minded person—it means that you know what you believe.
Show Notes
  • 05:23 Sean: I used to write people off as soon as I observed that they had an opinion that was different than me. “Oh, he thinks cursing is okay in a professional environment. I disagree with that, so I don’t want to listen to anything he has to say.” That’s how I operated. If someone had certain political views, business tactics, etc. I would throw the baby out with the bath water. It’s all contaminated; I wouldn’t want to hear anything they had to say. I’ve grown in the last few years, allowing myself to experience more of what other people have to say even if we disagree on some fundamental things.

Avoid Snap Judgements

  • 06:26 An example of this is that Gary Vaynerchuck curses like a sailor in a lot of his stuff. I wrote a blogpost called Professional Profanity about a year ago. If you stub your toe and use a four letter word, I don’t care. You’re free to do that. When it’s pre-planned, like the name of your presentation includes a four letter word, you’re intentionally weaving these words into your professional presence. I argue that one of three things is true: it’s cheap, lazy, or foolish. It’s cheap because it’s potentially taking away from this message you have. You’ve got all these words you can choose from and you’re choosing a really common one. That’s why it feels lazy to me. It’s also foolish, because you have a wide number of people who are offended by it. You can say that they’re pansies, they’re stupid people, and they’re not your audience, but it’s still cheap, lazy, or foolish.
  • 07:51 The most common rebuttal to that is, “I’m just being authentic, man. I’m being my true self.” I disagree with that, because if you will let loose a loud belch on your couch while watching TV, does that mean you should do that when you’re meeting the president? No. It’s not about being authentic, it’s about context, etiquette, and professionalism. I wasn’t making a moral or ethical case against profanity. This blogpost was about professional profanity, where you’re planning it and weaving it in under the guise of authenticity. This is and was my stance on this. You’ve got guys like Gary Vaynerchuck cursing up a storm during all of his stuff, and I didn’t want to listen.
  • 08:54 I’ve been aware of Gary Vaynerchuck for years, and I tried to listen to his stuff, but this isn’t how I do business. I don’t curse on this show or in my writing; that’s just not how I do things. Gradually, I decided that I needed to not throw out the baby with the bathwater here. Gary has a lot of valuable insights to offer. He knows he’s †urning off people. He’s said before, “I’m losing money by doing this, but this is me being true to myself.” I have my own opinions on that, like I’ve already stated, and that’s fine. We disagree on that point. I’ve been able to get past that and glean a lot of other wisdom from him, because I’ve been able to say, “It’s okay that we have differing opinions.”

Challenge Your Beliefs

  • 09:47 In the past few years, I’ve really tried to open myself up to that. There are certain people who have political views they’re more open about, or swing one way to the left or the right that maybe I don’t agree with. Before, I might have unfollowed them on Twitter, but now I purposefully follow people who have different political views than I do, just to keep myself from being in an echo chamber.

It’s easy to surround yourself with people who believe exactly as you do, just to reaffirm your own beliefs, and that’s not healthy.

  • 10:31 Ben: On the other side of the spectrum, I have a tendency to allow my beliefs and ideas to be shaped. This used to be very true of me. I wouldn’t call myself wishy-washy, but I was very much about keeping an open mind. I would hear some things and add them onto this pile of things I believe. When people put themselves in that bubble, they’re afraid that without some kind of foundation, some list of beliefs that they have, they’re not going to be able to stand and people won’t know what they’re about. It’s going to keep them from being able to be authentic. I recognized that I didn’t want to do that; I wanted people to know what I stood for. I want to just be this wishy-washy person.
  • 11:53 I also couldn’t allow myself to close the doors. I think the people who put themselves in that bubble are ultimately insecure about their own beliefs. Because they feel that uncertainty, it scares them. They don’t like that vulnerability, so they close off those walls and they try to protect this thing. That’s why they’ll unfollow somebody. That’s why they’ll only surround themselves with people who believe what they do. We’re the healthiest when we do keep the doors open.
  • 12:52 In the fall in Texas, it’s actually pretty nice. The weather hovers between 65 and 75 degrees, and in our house, we’ll open the front and back doors. When we do that, the breeze blows right through the house. It’s nice and relaxing, and it cleans out the stale air in the house and keeps the airflow going. I like to think of my mind that way. I’m opening the doors to let the breeze flow through, and the breeze is the thoughts and ideas of other people. Because I have a solid grasp on what I believe, I can afford to let that breeze blow through without causing my foundation to crumble. In doing so, I get to enjoy those ideas and opinions. I get to weigh them against what I already believe and see where I might be wrong or where I might need to tweak or adjust things.
  • 14:01 Sean: It takes a lot of maturity to be able to open yourself up to receive an idea for the purpose of analyzing it and being able to say, “This is not a thing I want to accept.” Maybe you reject this idea, but you’re not putting boundaries up to stop those ideas from even coming in for inspection.

People and their ideas are two different things.

When we see ideas that differ from our own, we tend to reject the people with those ideas.

  • 14:30 Ben: We do ourselves a tremendous disservice when we reject people and don’t allow them into our lives.
  • 15:03 Sean: People change ideas. They let go of old ideas and take up new ideas, but by rejecting the person for an idea you disagree with, you’re basically saying—which is pretty arrogant—“I know you will never reject this idea. I know that I will never reject my own ideas. I know that because you hold this idea, everything else you have to say cannot be valuable to me.” It could be valuable in an objective way that you didn’t expect, or, even if it wasn’t valuable to you objectively and you disagree with it on such a fundamental level, I’ve gotten some of the best topic ideas from people who are on the total other end of the spectrum from me.
  • 16:02 Ben: With the right mindset, that conversation always adds value, whether you disagree with the ideas or not. If you agree or if there’s a part of it you agree with, it can help mold and shape your own ideas for the better. If you disagree, the contrast that provides gives you the fire you need to communicate what you believe more clearly to the audience that will find value in what you’re saying. That’s why we can’t reject people, because the combination of the many ideas of that person, whether you agree with them or not, can add value to your message and beliefs.
  • 16:52 Sean: I’ll be honest. There are a few people I initially rejected and am now allowing myself to be open to learn from again. Gary Vaynerchuck is one. Ramit Sethi is another one; he has a blog and a book called I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which immediately sounds like a scam. You would sign up and he would send you daily emails. Back in the day, I thought daily emails were the worst. I was new to marketing and trying to understand this stuff on a technical and a theoretical level, and a lot of these guys were sending daily emails. I thought it was just wrong, that it was too spammy and that people didn’t want that. That was my belief then, and this guy was sending daily emails, so I thought he was too pushy and I didn’t like it. I said, “That’s enough.” I did that for two years.
  • 17:55 Another example is James Altucher. He has some beliefs I disagree with, but he writes so prolifically. He’s a phenomenal writer, regardless of what you believe or whether you agree with him in his writing. He’s a great writer objectively, and he’s prolific in showing up every day. In a lot ways, I got inspiration from what he wrote topically. It gave me ideas and caused me to reflect, but also, he challenged me. He consistently showed up and wrote every day, tons and tons, and that challenged me. I like putting myself around prolific people because it challenges me. Then, I got an email from him, and he used a marketing tactic I disagree with on a certain level. It’s a spammy tactic, and I thought, “I’m done. I think that was wrong. I don’t like what he was doing there.” So, I unsubscribed and stopped following him.

Practice Empathy

  • 19:19 Aaron was saying in the chat, “I’ve learned a lot about empathy over the years as well. Try to put yourself in the head of someone else, even if you disagree with them. Why do they think that way? What experiences have they had? How do they justify their beliefs?” It’s very mature to be empathetic with other people. You could say you’re giving someone too much credit, but it’s a healthy mental exercise to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Use your creative thinking and come up with a scenario where this might make sense even though you only see a little piece of it. “This guy cut me off. He’s a jerk.”

Try to think creatively about situations and ideas that frustrate you to practice empathy.

  • 20:10 What if his wife had to rush to the hospital, and he was at work trying to meet her, and it seems like an insensitive move he did, but maybe there’s a bigger play going on. Craft these stories. Maybe James was being greedy and he did the marketing tactic on purpose. This is me trying to give him the benefit of the doubt as a though exercise for myself: what if his actual mistake was making a bad hire choice, and he hired someone else who set up that page. They learned it in a book or a webinar and wanted to try this tactic, and maybe James trusts him. I dismissed him and threw him out completely.
  • 21:04 I used to believe that daily emails were bad_they were spammy and terrible. I came to learn that they’re not bad objectively, it’s that the bad emails are the ones we think of when we think of daily emails. We think of the ones we don’t want, the spam, and we reject it. We don’t like it, it’s gross. Anyone who’s interested in anything, though, isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and not be interested in music or design; they’ll consume those things from various sources, look up YouTube videos, read articles, follow people on Twitter and Instagram that like those things, and you are going to consume the type of content you’re interested in from one source or another.
  • 21:51 From a marketing perspective, why not have that source be me if I’m actually providing value? That’s what I did with Learn Lettering leading up to the launch. I sent out daily emails of pure value, pure teaching. Sure, a small percentage of people unsubscribed, but unsubscribers are like people who poke their head in their room and say, “I’m not actually interested in anything that’s going on in here,” and leave. I was getting responses from people saying, “I love this stuff. I know you’re doing this because of your course, but please don’t stop. I look forward to opening my inbox every single day.” It proves that daily emails aren’t a bad thing, especially if the people sending them are providing relevant value.
  • 22:50 Ben: As human beings, we do this thing to be efficient—we don’t dwell on things longer than we need to. There’s already a value in place that informs how we should feel or respond to something, so we’ll run that tape without giving it much thought. We’re encouraging people to slow down a little bit purposefully. Be mindful of those moments when, because of a predetermined set of values you have, you have an automatic response to something. In the example of the emails, the problem wasn’t about the daily emails, it was about the value Sean has surrounding what’s in those emails. Slowing down looks like saying, “Why don’t I like daily emails? What is the experience I’ve had with them? Under what circumstances would I be okay with daily emails?”
  • 24:05 Sean: To add some more questions to that pot, “What about my experience with daily emails makes me believe that it is a holistic one or that it is representative of the whole? What assumptions am I making about this approach as a whole from a limited viewpoint?”
  • 24:29 Ben: I’m not telling you to sit down daily and examine all of your values and ask all of those questions, but when those values come into play through action, it’s a huge opportunity when you notice it. Oftentimes, we don’t. We go about our lives and respond and react the way we do based on our values. But, when we notice it and we can grab that moment and say, “Okay, what’s really going on here?” It allows us to trace those things back to our values and add some clarity to what has become blurry for us.
  • 25:14 Rachel and I have been reading about this approach for dealing with misbehavior with kids. The story we tell ourselves as parents when a child does something they shouldn’t is, “They shouldn’t do that because…” and we have our reasons. The book we’re reading encourages us to tell a different story, to say, “They should do that because…” and list out their reasons. It puts us on the opposite side of the argument, and it allows us to get into their mentality and understand it from their perspective.
  • 26:05 Sean: Someone was saying that was the most valuable thing they got from doing debate in school, because you have to play both sides.
  • 26:16 Ben: My kid should throw a temper tantrum when I tell him that it’s time to do the next thing, because he really loves drawing and going to the store is really boring for an eight year old.
  • 26:27 Sean: That statement is really challenging for me. I want to think, “No, he shouldn’t.”
  • 26:37 Ben: That’s what we do. “He should listen to me because I’m the parent and I know better than he does, and he should know that I know better than he does because I’m older and have more experience and he’s still afraid of the dark. Who does he think he is, that he should have any say in this moment?”

Looking at a disagreement from the other side doesn’t mean that you agree, but there’s power in acknowledging the other person’s potential reasoning.

  • 27:08 You can’t always read somebody’s mind. For the email tactic situation, maybe he just hasn’t made a conscious decision about what his values are around that specific tactic, and he’s just doing something by default. That could be the story. There’s always some story. There’s our perception of reality and what we think it should be, and then there’s the true version. Maybe you won’t discover what the true version is, but I would much rather operate from a version of the story that doesn’t put me at odds or put a wall between myself and another person, because, like we said, we don’t want to reject people. We want to experience people so we can allow their ideas to add value.
  • 28:08 Sean: A lot of times, we are listening for something we disagree with in what the other person is saying so that we can discredit them entirely. We’re not actually listening for something to present new information to us or open our mind a little bit. As soon as I disagree with you on something, now I can discredit you. Now I can write you off.
  • 28:36 Ben: I understand how all of that works, too. The story I want to tell is, “You’re just a closed-minded jerk who’s insecure about your own beliefs, so you don’t want to hear something that challenges those things and causes you to think critically, so you’re just going to dismiss people.” Maybe a better story to tell is, “I don’t want this other person’s ideas to influence me in a negative way and I’m comfortable with what I believe, and it would be easier for me to dismiss them than to have to try to wrestle with whatever it is.”

Just because someone disagrees with you on one point doesn’t mean that they don’t have other value to add.

Challenge Your Beliefs

  • 29:31 Sean: Challenging our beliefs isn’t a default state for a lot of us. We want to reinforce our beliefs, but it takes maturity to challenge our beliefs. Do you actively seek people who have different views from you and follow them? That’s a challenge. I’m not saying that should be the majority of people you follow, because I do subscribe to the belief that you become like the people you surround yourself with, so I’m not saying that you should surround yourself with something you don’t believe in entirely. Don’t create a closed echo chamber for yourself; allow some opposing views in, just to look at them objectively and to challenge your own beliefs.
  • 30:21 I’ve done this on Twitter and other places, like email—subscribing to things where I might disagree with the other person on a fundamental level, but it can either give me an idea, change my mind, or challenge my own beliefs in a unique way which can also make them stronger. A lot of us have beliefs that go unchallenged, and they’re weak beliefs, yet we defend them like they’re gold. You’re putting all of your efforts into building a steel boundary fence around this really weak belief. Why not invest that energy in that belief itself and allow it to be strengthened. If it is a good belief, then when an opposing view comes, you can say, “The reason I don’t believe that is because of this or that.” You’re actually strengthening your own belief.
  • 31:22 Ben: Some of the weak beliefs we hold and defend are a source of security for us. I don’t fault a person for wanting to defend that because I understand that it’s scary to allow certain beliefs to be challenged. The question is, “What if I investigate this and I find out that this thing I believe in isn’t true, valid, or true in the way I thought it was. What does that mean for me? What does that mean for my personal credibility? What does it mean for my relationships? I’m surrounded by people who believe these things, so if that changes for me, does that change the nature of my relationships with these people? Am I going to still be able to be a part of that community?”

There are real world ramifications when our beliefs change and evolve.

  • 32:28 Sean: Especially if we have our identity wrapped into a particular belief. Who are we anymore? I have a print that says, “You are more than what you do. Your title should not confine you. Your job does not define you.” A lot of times, we feel such identity in our job or our title, and those are more tangible things than a belief. Similarly, we may be unwilling to give up a belief because it’s something we find personal identity in, and that’s why we invest so much in our bubble and not allowing anything else in.
  • 33:27 Ben: It’s not just the potential that belief could be wrong, but it’s also the potential that it could be different or challenged in some way. It’s not just black or white, but it could be that there’s work that needs to be done in the grey area. Even those small shifts can have big implications when you’re talking about people who have laser-focused beliefs and ideas and have built a community around that.

Seek Value, Censor “Noise”

  • 34:01 Sean: Sarah asks, “How do you recognize someone who has value to bring you while disagreeing on many things from ones who are just pollution?”
  • 34:21 Ben: We don’t reject people. For example, I might see somebody I used to go to high school with on Facebook. They post stuff that goes completely against what I believe. I’m not necessarily going to seek that person out and have a conversation with them, not because I disagree with what they believe, but they’re not on my path.
  • 34:49 Sean: There’s a difference between not seeking them out and actively censoring them.
  • 35:00 Matt: I’m not going to unfollow them; I’m not going out of my way to keep that stuff from coming into my periphery. I want to practice not rejecting people and allow their ideas to pass through the house of my mind through those open doors. Some ideas I’ll agree with, some I’ll agree with in part, and some I won’t agree with, but I don’t reject the person.
  • 35:46 Sean: I’m very objective about who I follow, so if someone is just spewing noise or pollution, I’m not going to follow them. I’ll follow someone who’s providing value, and the way I challenge myself is, if they are providing objective value, I’m not going to write them off because they have a belief that I disagree with. For instance, with Gary Vaynerchuck, he has a lot of value and insights to provide. Maybe I disagree on a few points, but he’s consistently relevent, on topic, gives quality advice, and he’s showing up consistently—that’s something I choose to follow and it’s a good curation for me.
  • 36:33 If someone’s just spewing a bunch of stuff, I’m not unfollowing them because they don’t believe what I believe; I unfollow people who believe what I believe if they’re spewing nonsense that’s not curated, valuable, topical, or quality—it’s noise, pollution. I’m still looking at it objectively and asking myself, is this providing value? Value can look like a number of different things. You could have different kinds of value from a single person. You could have different people providing different kinds of value.
  • 37:12 Sometimes it’s very objective value: “Wow, this advice made me money.” That’s pretty obvious value. Sometimes, it’s helping strengthen a belief you have already or helping educate you on something you weren’t aware of. That’s value. Sometimes, it’s an opposing view that challenges your belief. That’s value. Sometimes, it’s an opposing view that you don’t even want to adopt, but it gives you an idea or gets you fired up, and you end up writing or creating a piece of content that can inspire others. That’s value.

If you’re approaching a situation with the right mindset, you can always find a way to get value out of it.

  • 38:41 Hannah says, “I can’t be bothered to debate with people who have no interest in hearing what I’m saying.” There’s a lot of people who don’t understand the difference between listening and waiting to talk. I don’t care if you agree or disagree with me, you need to actually communicate. It’s a mutual thing, not a monologue. It’s so disrespectful for someone to wait until you’re finished and then say, “Yeah, here’s what I wanted to say.” Some people are just waiting to drop on whatever you’re saying, and that’s not healthy for either of you. It’s not edifying for either of you. They’re using you to bounce their own ideas off of; you’re like a reflecting board so they can hear themselves talk. That’s not beneficial.
  • 39:50 Ben: When that conversation is happening privately, either in person or digitally, I can see that there’s no point in carrying on that conversation. When it’s happening publicly, though, you can add value to the conversation even responding whether that person listens to you or not because others are watching. That’s what I’ve talked to Rachel about with the people who write hateful comments. You don’t respond to the haters. Don’t respond to the people who disagree and don’t want to listen to anything you have to say. You respond in a way that adds value to the people who are watching, people who may never comment, but who read your article and agreed with you. You can provide even more value because of the contrast with what the haters are providing. In a sense, you want that.

You want people to provide contrast because it can help you clarify your message.

  • 41:05 Sean: In the chat before the show, I asked people if they found it difficult to follow or listen to people if they disagreed on one point, or if they were willing to be open minded and let them in. We got some really good responses. Casey echoed what you just said, “Anything that makes you at least re-evaluate your own opinions and knowledge, whether you agree or not, is healthy.” Bryan says, “It really depends. Usually I’ll keep following their work, but if it’s an essential value (which is subjective), I might not follow them anymore.”
  • 41:49 He went on later to say, “I love talking to people who I disagree with, but it can get out of control depending on who you are talking to. You have to be cautious to not enter a fight with someone who can get over-passionate with a subject, sometimes even yourself. This Community is a safe place for people that disagree with you but know how to disagree with education and respect.”
  • 42:14 Robert says, “There is a distinction to be made here between listening and acting. Like you discussed in last week’s Lambo Goal episode, bad ideas can be the fertilizer for good ideas. If you listen to people with opinions you disagree with, even patently bad ideas can open up your mind to new opportunities.” On this show, I’m very aware that I have viewpoints and opinions that many people disagree with. In fact, you’re in good company, because I don’t know anyone who agrees with every single opinion I have, and that’s okay. This show isn’t for closed-minded people. It’s not for people who believe everything I say; I don’t expect people to do that.

Communicating Conviction

  • 43:00 I don’t expect you, the listener, to agree with everything I say. I expect you to have an open mind, and I hope it challenges you and your own beliefs. I try to be a concentrated version of my values, because I know that people only take away a part of something—if I’m concentrated, the piece they take away can have a good effect. If I’m wishy-washy and diluted and I don’t take a stance or have conviction, I don’t think I’ll be as effective. The issue I run into is that by being very convicted and taking a strong stance, you do run the risk of offending or alienating people.
  • 43:53 It’s the same thing with Gary Vaynerchuck. He’s one of the most intense people out there, and especially when you don’t agree with his views, you can get angry. He’s passionate. He’s sometimes literally yelling because he’s passionate, and if you disagree and only take it emotionally, you can get upset and end up writing him off completely. I realize that the more I speak with conviction on things, the more I run that risk. I also know that people will only take a piece away and that people will come back. We had that one review recently where the guy said, “I took a break from the seanwes podcast and I had to come back, and now I can’t stop listening.” I understand. Sometimes, you need to take a break. I was exposed to Gary Vaynerchuck, and it was two years of awkwardly trying to avoid and overstep content from him before I decided to try it out and see if there was any value he had to offer me.
  • 45:30 Ben: It sounds like you feel the need to be apologetic about that. I understand more where you’re coming from. You really want to be an effective communicator. Maybe I’m imposing my own feelings on you.
  • 45:51 Sean: Before you do that, I can give you a concrete example. In the chatroom, Jeff said, “I would actually like to hear more debate and opposing views on the podcast. I know you and Ben/Matt agree on a lot of things but it’d be interesting to see more pushback and conviction when there are things you don’t agree on.” I like this and think it’s interesting. I’d like to engage more in debate, but I feel like, already, as fiery as I get on things, some people already have a hard time stomaching that from me. If there’s an even more concentrated version, I might be alienating even more people.
  • 46:42 Here was my response to Jeff: “I would honestly love it, but I worry a bit. As an INTJ, that’s my personality type, I start from logic, facts, values, etc, and follow them through to a conclusion. This is where the confidence comes from. However, many people make the false assumption that an INTJ is simply stubborn for the sake of it. What’s not immediately apparent is that an INTJ never cares about being right, he only cares about what is true. If you present facts and arguments to the contrary that disprove the beliefs of an INTJ, he will welcome it and willingly abandon his previous position, for he loves to embrace truth. If people don’t understand this, they can just think I’m stubborn. It’s not that I’m stubborn, it’s that no formidable argument has been made against what I’m basing my argument on.”
  • 47:30 Of course, I put a smiley face here, because, as other INTJs here know, you’ve got to soften it a little bit for people. I said, “There’s two types of people at this point: those nodding their heads and those getting angry reading or hearing this and thinking that I’m arrogant. I can’t do anything about the latter, but I do worry about it when it comes to evaluating whether we should push more. Should we debate more? Should we be even more convicted?”
  • 48:04 Ben: Christopher asked, “Can anyone share an example of a time Sean changed his mind about something?”

Sharing When You’re Wrong

  • 48:14 Sean: This is my own subjective feeling, but I feel like I have shared a lot where I’ve messed up or I’ve changed my mind or done things wrong. I’ve said in the past, when I get passionate it’s because I’m speaking to my past self where I did something the wrong way and I’m trying to help other people avoid it. I speak passionately about it, but I feel like I share with people that I used to have a lot of pride in being a solo-preneur and doing everything myself. I took pride in the fact that I could do so much myself, and I didn’t ever want to hire a team. I realized that what I had was superhero syndrome, and I had chronic perfectionism that was crippling me. It took time to overcome that.
  • 49:10 I feel like I am vulnerable on the show. I do share those things. Now I’m sharing how I used to write people off if we differed on beliefs. Maybe I just don’t highlight it as much, but I do feel like I’m sharing with people as we go how I’m changing my mindset. I’m wondering if it comes back to that mindset of people listening and waiting to hear something they disagree with. If you really listen to this podcast, you can hear me be vulnerable, talk about my mistakes, things I’ve done wrong, and things I want to help you avoid, places where I’ve changed my mindset, places where I’ve grown, places where I’ve evolved. Now we do have employees, now I am delegating.
  • 50:04 That’s the whole 90% thing; bringing down that unrealistic bar of unrealistic perfectionism. I feel like I am vulnerable about these things, so I wonder if people aren’t looking for it or I’m delusional. We were talking about this, and Ben was saying how people don’t like the objective style. They want to see where you’re wrong and where you make mistakes.
  • 50:49 Ben: I like that you’re asking the question about adding debate. It shows your open-mindedness, because it’s not just about whether we’re doing the show wrong or right. Any time you get feedback, you don’t always change the format of your show or the style of your delivery. You’ve got those things pretty well set.

When you get feedback, a healthy question to ask yourself is, “Could I add more value if I made this adjustment?”

  • 51:26 It’s worth sitting down and having a discussion about. As much of a caricature of your beliefs that you are right now, would it be worth bringing in a little bit more debate? It pushes you further into that corner, but in a way that adds to that caricature.
  • 51:52 Sean: I welcome that and it’s not just that I welcome the opportunity to highlight my convictions. If there’s a formidable argument presented, if there’s logic or facts I’m unaware of, I want to be proven wrong. I want to embrace the more true conclusion. On the one hand, I can come across as not caring what people think, and that is kind of true. If I believe I’m logically, factually right, it doesn’t matter to me what someone else thinks. What matters is if they have an argument that disproves what I believe. On the other hand, here I am worrying about being even more emphatic or convicted because people might not understand. They’ll write me off. Maybe I’m afraid, Ben, because I’ve written other people off, so I know people will write me off and say, “I’ve heard his shows. He’s just stubborn; he’s just ‘that guy.'” Maybe I don’t want to be ‘that guy.’ Maybe I’m too scared.
  • 53:21 Ben: Maybe, but I think it’s that you don’t elevate rightness above people. You don’t say, “Me being right is more important than people benefiting from my message.”
  • 53:33 Sean: I think it’s that I know the contrary to be true. I know how it would go if I let myself go even further. I kind of do elevate rightness. That sounds bad to people. They think, “You value that over actual people. That’s not very humane.” I believe that rightness and objective truth is beneficial to people. It’s the order in which you place the sequence of events. If we order it the other way around and disregard objective rightness or truth, then it’s doing a disservice to the people we care about. It’s the order of caring.
  • 54:22 Ben: We’re saying the same thing. I would say that you order it people and then rightness, but it’s close. You’re not throwing out rightness. Rightness serves people. The second part is, I was concerned that you felt you needed to defend that you were showing people that vulnerable part of you where you have changed your mind. You’re right, on the one hand, you have to be this caricature of yourself. You have to take a stand and have very clear beliefs and values that you share openly in order for people to be able to follow you and know what you’re about. Without that, you’re not able to draw that audience and affect change in people’s lives. You use those times when you’ve changed your mind as examples. You are authentic, and that adds to the value people get from you. Your question has more to do with finding a good balance, and you’re concerned that some of the comments are indicative of that being out of balance.
  • 56:10 Sean: I could go even more extreme on it and say, “This is greater objective value,” but if I believe the balance is off, then there won’t be enough people who understand the why and they’ll miss out on the value. I want to temper it enough so that people don’t miss where we’re coming from.
  • 56:40 Ben: There was a question of an example when this person changed their mind about something. A lot of people ask this question: why do they think they’re so perfect? I’m sure they make mistakes. Why don’t they talk about the mistakes they make? Why can’t they show us that they’re a real person? Maybe that’s why people like those National Inquirer magazines and gossip columns about celebrities; they see this elevated version of a person, and they feel insecure about their own life. It’s the same problem with social media: you see a curated version of a person, the times when they’re happy. It’s like flipping through a photo album. You don’t see all those moments in between when there was struggle, wrestling, failure, and mistakes.
  • 57:49 We want to know that those things exist, but sometimes we’re so jealous of another person’s success, or we feel insecure about our own failures, so we need to pull them down a notch. That can’t be satisfied. You can’t satisfy that feeling by actually pulling a person down. You can tell yourself a better story. You can say, “Okay, this person is successful in what they’re doing. But the reality is that that success didn’t come without a lot of struggle and a lot of other failure. Maybe they got lucky. Maybe they had a big break.” I wish I could have a big break. Maybe a part of their story I don’t know is that they spent years living in almost poverty.
  • 58:47 They were just trying to get by, hoping something would work out. There was a lot of uncertainty and fear, and I’m in a much more comfortable place than that. There could always be a different story going on. For the person who wants to bring those people down a notch, get out of that cycle of thinking, because you’re not going to be satisfied. For the people who feel the need to be more vulnerable or open up more, don’t dilute your message trying to cater to the people you can’t satisfy. Let your message be your message.

Having convictions and talking about them openly doesn’t make you a closed-minded person—it just means that you know what you believe.

Look at the Bigger Message

  • 1:00:01 Sean: There’s a good number of people who write off the Lambo Goal show, people that listen to this show, just because of the name. We’ve had people in the chat talk to other people and say, “Hey, have you heard of Sean McCabe?” They said, “Is he that awful Lambo guy?” It’s immediate writing-off. Let’s say you don’t care about an exotic car. That’s fine. Matt and I talk on that show about how it’s not really about a car, it’s that it represents a big goal to us. Our happiness isn’t tied to getting a car; our happiness is tied to the pursuit and helping people. In our minds, we’ve already achieved our goal. Nothing will change.
  • 1:00:54 A lot of people think that’s dumb and write us off. Even if you don’t care about a Lamborghini or you think that’s a stupid goal, if you take a moment to listen, you’ll see that it’s just about having big goals and working hard towards those goals. We’re sharing the steps along the way. It’s a podcast about business, but people miss out a lot.

People miss out on so much just by writing someone off on one little point.

  • 1:01:33 Ben: The reason people might be turned off by the Lambo Goal thing is that it’s not a “necessity.” It’s a luxury. People have a weird relationship with luxury. There’s a lot of contradiction that lives inside us. People might say, “I can’t stand that Lambo Goal guy,” but they’ll still take their two weeks vacation. There are many people in the world who can’t take vacations and don’t have disposable income. There’s no way for them to save money. They live on very little. If you want to follow that argument to its conclusion, you could say that anyone who has any aspiration above the bare minimum of living is seeking luxury.
  • 1:02:42 So, when you write off the Lambo Goal guys, maybe you should write off yourself. We’re so good at looking at other people and recognizing the flaws and the things we disagree with. It’s almost like we’ve gotten into this habit. We do it by default. We grew up in a culture that causes us to seek to discredit somebody first. That’s our default. I want to encourage you to break free from that default. Stop looking for the things you disagree with in people, and realize that there could be real value there if you allow them into your world.
  • 1:03:35 Sean: Do you think it’s because people are associative? They see or hear “Lambo” and they have these associations, triggers, and they have an immediate knee-jerk reaction.
  • 1:03:54 Ben: Absolutely. It’s the whole They’re Going to Put You In A Box thing (Related: e162 They’re Going to Put You In A Box). It gets used against us a lot. The people using this against people are often doing it to their own detriment, because they have a category for somebody who likes exotic cars, and the complexity of that person doesn’t matter because this one glaring thing puts them in this category. Once they’re in that category, I don’t ever open that box. They’re dead to me.
  • 1:04:37 Sean: We all do this with different boxes. That’s the point of this show, to bring some awareness to it so maybe we can fight against that a little bit and not immediately write people off. Just because they have one idea, we shouldn’t throw out the person, and realize there’s more there that maybe you could get something out of. If you’re struggling with that balance, like Sarah was talking about, wanting to be open minded and learn from people but wondering if someone’s worth learning from if they disagree with you on something vs. pure pollution—look at it objectively. Is this person providing value? Even if we disagree on this one point, are they still providing value? Do they have the right motives? Do they care? Are they helping people? That helps me bring some clarity.