The Art of Thinking Big (FS174)

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Episode 174: The Art of Thinking Big (FS174)

We probably all have one of those friends in our lives who thinks too big. Or those who once thought too big. Maybe now they’re angry at the world, jaded, cynical.

There’s a danger to thinking too big. It can burn us out, burn us up, make us miss all the amazing that’s happening right now.

There is also a danger of thinking too small. You keep doing what you’ve always done because you’ve always done it and then one day it doesn’t work. The market and the world has moved on.

That danger could hurt you financially. You could also get hurt psychologically by thinking too small. Not a single one of us wants to end our careers thinking, “dammit I wish I would have been more brave, saw the bigger picture earlier on.”

So, there’s an art to thinking big, and that’s what we explore in this podcast episode.

We have no books to sell. We’re not gurus. We’re just a couple people who’ve been trying to think bigger (without toppling over) for about a decade with some success to show for it.

I hope you love this episode. Enjoy!


How do you set those dream big goals Corbett when the future, it just looks really hazy? What does that mean to you? You’re setting those big dream goals, but the future just looks kind of hazy, you know what I mean?

Yeah. This came actually out of the forums, and the question is really based on this idea that feeling like what’s holding you back in your business is struggling to think big, because it’s hard to imagine your life more than a year from now, especially when you’re building a business and everything is just so shaky. You just feel like everything you’re doing is on shaky ground, because there’s so many unanswered questions, you don’t even know if you’ll be working on the same business a year from now, let alone how successful that business might be.

I think that the big question is, just how do you dream big? Beyond that, how important is it to dream big I guess would be another way to think about it. Because this question assumes that it’s important to dream big, and that if you’re not dreaming big, that, that is somehow holding you back.

Yeah, I love this question, this comes from Claire who actually is going through a lot of life stuff right now, moving, brand-new baby, and I could totally imagine how it feels very much like … You know those stages of life where it’s like the chapter is turning, it’s about to turn, or it’s turning right now, and we’re in a different chapter, if not a whole new volume? I love those times, because to me, I like it when everything gets shaked up, I get really scared when things feel like I’m a prisoner, I’m trapped in some role, or some thing, like there’s no creativity, there is no dynamism, business partner [crosstalk 00:06:31]. All of that stuff, it’s just such a trapping-

White guy.

White guy for sure. That’s the only one I’m exploring around, going like, “What else could I be?” We get trapped in these roles and we grow. Alan Watts, again, on the morning walk this morning he said, “Imagine this rope, and you’ve got a rope that’s made of … it’s cotton, and then it turns into a little bit of silk, and at night it turns into …” I don’t know, what’s another fabric … Metal-


Chain, but it’s all one piece you see, it’s all one thing, now I tie a knot in it, and now I’m moving that knot along the rope. Is it the same knot as it moves from cotton to silk to chain mail, to all these things, is it the same knot, or is it a different knot? Because, you see, the material underneath is different, and it’s changed you see.

This is something that philosopher’s been working on for years. I like that because I think it’s a great little picture of like, yeah, we change, we totally change, we go from cotton to silk to … We’re going from all of these different things in our life, and we’re learning different stuff-

We have all new cells every 7 years.

Every 7 years, you know what I mean? That liver, all new. Yeah, it’s fine, all new. I mean, all your bad cells kept reproducing bad cells, but anyways, the point being you get … I just don’t think our society has made room for that, for you’re not supposed to change, right? When you’re a sales guy, you’re supposed to get the job, get the promotion to be the head of sales, the thing, and then you become the district head, and you’re supposed to stay in the place, because that’s what makes you reliable and trustworthy, and all of the things.

Yeah, and I think the worry is that there is this unthinking mode that we all get in, because if thinking in changing is painful, right? Change is painful, and reconsidering everything about your life and your future takes energy, and so the default mode is, once you’ve got stuff figured out, you want to kick back and relax, and enjoy your life, and just kind of get in that groove that you’re in. Most of us and up in a groove, and if you’re not careful, 5, 10, 20, 40 years can go by, and-

You just been grooving the whole time. It’s like a bumper sticker on your VW, funkin’ groovin’, or whatever.

Yeah, you look back and think that either you never consciously stepped back to say, “What do I want for my life, what could I do different?” Or you may have thought about it several times and never took action on it.

Yeah, so I got this idea that, and I’ll do it in an Alan Watts voice just so that you take it more seriously, but it’s my idea. You see, I think a lot of us are sort of … We spend our lives making sand castles, and we’ve got this little plot of land, and sand, and we’re making the sand castle. You’ve seeing these kids on the shore making sand castles I’m sure. I’m not finding it, he’s like a smoker, so you hear this little rasp when he laughs, you’re like, “Oh, Alan …” Yeah, exactly.

Anyways, if you like a lot of our life, you can liken our career, we’re making plans for the … We’ve got these dreams about, I want to design the future, I want to not have to worry about money, I want to have a nice place to live, I want a family, I want to be close to my family, I want to spend the time in my days not stressing about this, that, and the other, not running people all over from soccer camp to piano lessons, not stressful and anxious about stuff, I want to be peaceful, I want to be restful, I want to do it my way.

We start planning about the future, and those plans are like the sand castle that we’re making, we’re making the sand castle, and I’m doing this, and I’m meeting this lady, or this guy and all that stuff. We’re making the sand castle, and it’s like we have no idea that this wave is just on its way up, we didn’t even stop to look around at the idea that the tide was going to change, or that anything, and then this wave just comes and wipes it all away. That looks like your spouse gets cancer, and now whoa.

Or, your mom and dad dies, like that’s … Or you, something crazy happens to you healthwise. Life happens, because this whole thing, this whole civilization is a mirage about how advanced we are, when really, we don’t get to control when we live or die, we can’t bring something into existence and choose which one it is, and so we don’t get to choose to stay alive when basically everything conspires to make us not be.

Thank you for taking that to a very dark place, sorry-

I love the dark, I love those places.

My initial thought on this was totally different. Mine was, your building the sand castle, but you never look up to think what other kind of sand castle could I build, and is this the one that I even want to? Not that it’s going to get wiped out, and sure, that happens.

What you’re saying is the same thing. It reminded me of those when you said before, like we’re not really looking up and going like, “What could my life look like? How could I do this?” We were inheriting all these ideas and assumptions-

Sure, and to be fair, sometimes when one of those waves comes up and wipes out your sand castle, that’s exactly what sparks you-

That gives you an opportunity to do the revaluation. Dude, I just listened to the great BJ something or other, he works at Zen hospice on Tim Ferris’s show, he just helps people pass their final days, that’s it, and takes care of the remain, and he did a great Ted talk, he is an amputee, 3 limbs, because when he was a college student at Princeton, he got up on this bus to look around, and it was an electric bus, and bam, 1 billion volts of electricity shot through his body and send him flying. He has one arm I think, and then everything else was fried internally, because it sent the electricity out of those limbs.

That was the moment. How many stories have you ever heard, where it’s something gnarly, or something crazy that happened, and that’s when you finally look up and go, “Why have I been making this sandcastle? Why have I been stuck on this little plot?” In some ways it has to be something that’s difficult enough, it’s difficult enough for you to go, “I am so committed to this thing, I didn’t even know it, I’ve just been so blind to other options.”

Sometimes it just has to be difficult, sometimes maybe you can really just get inspired, maybe you can just come across a Deepak Chopra video, or a Tony Robbins seminar, or something, and just get woken up to this thing. That language of woken up is always being used from the 70s on, probably much further back than that. This idea of dreaming big, how do we dream big, how do we think bigger? To me brings up ideas of this, because, I have the sense that … What I mean is, it takes me into this world, because this world I spend a lot of time in. I wonder how much of the things that I think are just inherited by rote of living in the world? They’re just like, this is how you’re supposed to think, it’s America, and this is what we think like.

You’re upbringing-

You don’t even know that you know, you can’t even watch the ways your mind is working, the assumptions that you’re making, the blindnesses that you have. A lot of us are waking up to that right now as we realize just how unsafe and unjust it is to be a black person in America. A lot of us are waking up to the fact that like, “Dude, this is completely unfair, I had no idea it was this bad, it’s still.” We see this all the time with the police stuff now. That’s a blindness that we’ve had, it’s been like this for forever you guys, the poster boy of just waking up to it.

Anyways, I think we could do the same thing with what we want from life. When I think about thinking big, I think in some ways, the best way to think big is when you’re kind of bummed that it’s happening to you, because something gnarly happened, something very, very difficult is going on, and now you’re forced to think differently.

It’s also the sense I have that, what got you here won’t get you there. Everybody was coming up right now and they want to be a blogger let’s say for example, we’re very successful bloggers, and you Corbett wrote the book on blogging basically, Start a Blog That Matters logging courses online. I remember reaching out to Jeff [inaudible 00:15:09], like hey man, we’re relaunching this thing, would you be open to sending an email to your list or something like that? He’s like, “Of course, I started with Start a Blog That Matters.” You know what I mean? It’s like, yeah you did, that’s amazing.

A lot of people are coming up, they want to do the blog thing, and that course which we have in Fizzle, if you’re interested at all in blogging you should for sure take that course. That course is going to get you through all the foundations without having some of these holes in your votes, you’re not leaking. You won’t and up a year from now going like, “Oh, I totally did this the wrong way, I built my sand castle in the wrong spot basically as a blog.”

At the same time, as we been talking about in a few episodes now, this idea of promoting your blog is probably going to come about in a way that’s somehow unique to you and your audience, you’ve got to be dancing and creative about this using basic, classic ideas of motion that we’ve taught you through, in episode 170, and in the corresponding blog post. All I’m getting at is the sense of like, if you’re thinking like everybody else, you’re not going to have that big thinking kind of thing.

The question is, how do you set these big goals, how do you think about the future in a really big way when everything around you is chaos because you’re in a life transition right now? The other thing that I’ve observed is, you get to know people, especially if you’re in some sort of ambitious field like entrepreneurship. I have gotten to know, I’d say, a dozen, maybe 2 dozen people who clearly, now looking back on it were thinking so much bigger than I was in so many ways.

That’s what I’m always trying to get to.

Part of this inherent in this question I think is, the difference between seeing your next move, and seeing your next 5 moves. I get in this mode where it’s very comfortable just to worry about what my next move is, and usually the next move is no more than 6 months in the future, and it’s just a really easy place where you get to balance living your life enjoying it now, with a little bit of growth.

Do you know what I think is such a big deal about it? Maybe one of the more powerful forces in the world is maybe boredom is what I’m thinking of? It’s when you do the same thing enough times, like for us, we have to write blog posts, we have to make podcast episodes, we have to do this every single week, 1 of each. We have to get people in the door at Fizzle, we have to keep people that are in the door really happy, we have to change people’s lives, then we have to go find more people to get to.

All the stuff that we have to do over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, add in finitam, right? That’s part of our strategy, that’s one of the things that we are really good at, and what’s worked really well for us. That’s the strategy that’s working. When you get bored with it and go, “All right, I have to write another blog post.” When I get bored, that’s when I think up a layer, when I realized that there’s a pattern, there’s a category, and then I looked, and it’s not about, can I blog? I already know I can blog, I already know I can write, I already know I can talk in a podcast, I already know I can do YouTube videos, I can make anything I want, I can do the things that I know how to do. I’m comfortable enough in the skills I have that way. It used to be about can I do that? Now that’s sort of changing, it’s changing in 2-

Now it’s like do I want to do that or-

Or not even that, like, okay, so I need to do that, so how do I do that with the least possible work? How do I make something that just nails it? I don’t have to impress anybody anymore, I don’t have to impress anybody, now I just have to do my job, now I have to do my job, so that’s my goal like, what’s a blog post? Well, a blog post takes these 5 shapes.

What’s a blog post in our niche? Well, it’s about these 25 categories, that’s basically it, these topics are the way, and every other topic lives inside of these topics. You start breaking it out that way, and categorizing, and seeing things, and you’re like, “Oh, I got it, so now this is just what I have to do. I got the shapes of the blog post, I pick one of those, and I’ve got these topics, and I pick one of those, and I smashed those together with everything that I know right now, and it’s going to do what a blog post needs to do.” I love that. Let’s hear it.

That pattern of, I’m slightly bored with what I’m working on, how do I make this into something that’s easy to handle so that I can move on to do other things, or just how do I think another level? This isn’t dreaming big, this isn’t going to get you to some magic transformation. The people that I’m talking about that think dramatically bigger are the kinds of people that you don’t hear from for a few years, you get a little rumbling, and then suddenly you see that they’re on a freaking huge TV show or something, or they’ve written a best-selling book and you didn’t even know they were an author, or the visited every continent in the world, and got married, and did all these crazy things-

What I would argue is that they didn’t get to that from just going into a black box and … One of the things that should be said here is you think as big is you’re capable of thinking. Claire who’s asking the question has the capabilities right now to think probably bigger than she’s currently thinking, but not as big as maybe she needs to think yet. There’s reading a lot of books and seeing what’s possible, but really it’s a law of what your experience and intellect is at any given moment with the world and the things that you’re heading towards.

The boredom thing, or the pattern recognition of, this is what these things are, then you’re like, “Whoa, what are we trying to do?” It’s realizing and accepting that, like we need to be really big bloggers to be really successful, we need to make content that works really big in order to succeed.

Well, you’re talking in this same box, what I’m saying is, you can incrementally think a little bit bigger every 6 months or whatever when you get bored, but that’s this trajectory at this 20 degree angle or something. The question is, what’s the difference between somebody on that 20 degree angle trajectory, and somebody that’s on a 45 degree angle-

What you think? What are the ways that you get there for example?

Well, I’m not saying that I do, and I’m not even saying that you need to get on that trajectory, Claire is saying, maybe I’m not thinking is because I need to. That’s a big question mark to me, because it depends on what kind of life you want to live. The fact is, if you want to become president one day, there’s a lot of [inaudible 00:21:44] that you have to get done between now and when you’re 50 years old, 60 years old, or 72 like our current candidates, whatever, if you’re going to put yourself in that position.

Most of us are just not on that trajectory at all. The people who end up seeking the presidency work, and at some point in their life they decided, this is how big I’m dreaming, I want to be a senator one day, I want to be a Supreme Court justice one day. I know people who think on that scale, I’ve met people like that, you know people like that-

I think the one guy in particular and I’m just like, but how many times when that person says, “Yeah, I think I’d like to have a shot at presidency so I’m putting all these balls and play.” What’s a great example of that going bad? Frank Underwood of-

Fictional character?

Yeah, fictional character of …

House of Cards?

House of Cards, right?


Again, another Alan Watson, it’s like, “Yeah, people who are planning all the time are never actually getting there.”

Yeah, and I’m not saying that ambition is good, blind ambition isn’t necessarily good, but if you want to achieve something massive, you have to put yourself on that path, you don’t just start Charity Water because you’re writing a blog one day and then you …

Stumble into it, yeah.

Stumble into it, or you build 1 well or something.

What I’m looking for is practical ways to think bigger, and I think biographies, or learning the stories of something, of someone doing something that you feel is big, something that, this is the shape I would like my like to take, then you’re like, “Okay, how did they start thinking?” Because I think through biography, through learning, learning specifically about other people’s stories and how it happened, you see a lot more of what’s possible for you, some of the skills fall off of the eyes, right?

I think looking at what’s his name from Charity Water, and reading his story, somehow ingesting everything you can about it, or identify someone else that you’re like, I love the life that this person’s taken, I’m going to learn everything I can about them, and then try to think the biggest I know how. There’s this balance between, I’m thinking big, but I’m thinking big and it’s likely this can happen, do you know what I mean?

I think the biggest influence … If you had to rank the influences that are going to determine what sort of trajectory you end up on in life, and how big you dream, and what you achieve, it probably comes down to something like your biology, that’s probably the biggest influence. Genetics, and how ambitious you naturally are.

2nd thing is your upbringing, who your parents are, what they achieved, what the people that you knew growing up achieved. 3rd is going to be the people that you meet in life, and that you spend a lot of time with. This is that Jim Rohn quote again about, you are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. I’ve seen this where people make new friends, these are the ambitious friends, the growth friends, the people that are doing more than you’re doing, and then naturally becomes part of your universe. Reading an autobiography and that sort of thing, and learning more about the world and travel, I think that actually comes after people that you know, and people that you surround yourself with. It is an influence.

To me in thinking big, I feel like Scott Dinsmore is one of the bigger examples I’ve ever seen in my life of someone who just kept … He had all the genetics, all the upbringing, all of the things were there, so he knew he was capable. Then the systematic decisions that he made about how he was going to get closer to the people that he felt would help him get to where he wants to be, and, the fact that he was going from the hedge fund world into the blogging world.

I feel like something about that was the part that made it all very realistic, or very different. I feel like there’s a lot of bloggers would maybe go like, “Yeah, I’m going to make in the hedge fund world because this is big money.” He’s going the other way. I thought that was some really unique element to him, he was really chasing something that he was captivated by.

Yeah, there’s a philosophical, do I need to dream big, and what’s it like, and so on, but then there’s the practical. How do you actually dream big? And how do you make it stick?

Hold that thought for a second on the practicality, I just want to clear up what I was talking about with Scott Dinsmore if for people who don’t know, he made a decision to move to San Francisco, basically to be closer to Corbett and Leo in some ways, he wanted to spend more time, when he was already in the marina. Where I met Corbett was at a conference, it was called Blog World, and that was 2nd maybe, or 3rd of those that I’ve been to, and why did I go to my first one?

Because I was designing sites on thesis and I kind of knew Chris Pearson who was like a kind of somebody who made that thing, and I was just like, well, I’ll go down, I’ll just try to meet some people. I didn’t have any huge plans, but that turned into … I became fast friends with guys like Pat Flynn, Corbett Barr, Derek [Helpern 00:27:08] because I had 1 in, and I was really talented at both the design site, and just the conversation site, right? It was just an accident that landed me with a business partner that has changed my life forever.

Meeting people is the thing that often changes your-

The question is like, okay, one specific thing you’d do is just conferences, what’s one conference that’s like, yeah, you might be thinking of being a blogger, okay, if being a blogger is the biggest thing you can picture right now, then go to the blog conference, whichever one that is. Who are the people that inspire you? Maybe you want to be like one of these thought leader Malcolm [inaudible 00:27:47] types. It’s like, where are they? No, not just the ones that they’re speaking at, the ones that they would be maybe going to.

You just go, you just go, say screw it, we’ll see what happens, this is the kind of person I want to be in 10 years, so I’m going to just go to this thing. I’m trying to take my own advice there, when was the last time I went to a conference that was for me? It wasn’t something we were just speaking at, or hosting an event at? Going back to the practical thing then.

Yeah okay, so getting into practicality, how do you dream big? We talked about a couple of things on the list of factors that influence your ability to dream big, or how big you’re going to dream, the 1st being to genetics, the 2nd being your upbringing, you’re not going to change those. The next 3 I would say would be, again, people you surround yourself with, the experiences that you have in the world, and then probably goalsetting. Productivity systems in general, and learning how to influence you to do big things.

All right, we just talked about how do you surround yourself with people who are doing bigger things, like for example, if you want to become a faster marathon runner, then hang out with people who run faster marathons than you, and is going to become part of your norm, they’re just going to be talking about things, their training plans and all that kind of stuff. Figure out where those people hang out, and often times conferences, local Meetup groups, those are all great places to meet people. Bonus if the people you’re going to meet our people that you are going to like, and enjoy hanging out with because, for us it’s been easy-

For me that ends up being really huge, that’s why you and I stood outreach other so much at a blog conference. Very few other people we’re having great conversations with where we could just roll and cultural things, and lifestyle things, and there’s very few people that we had the same language or frequency as.

Totally, and there are people in that world that we met at that conference, or other conferences who I still consider friends, but we talk every few months or something, and mostly it kind of a businessy … A colleague sort of relationship more than it is a friendship. Bonus if you can find a group that you actually really click with because …

Life’s too short not to, that’s been the most important thing.

Yeah, and getting back to the philosophical language is, what’s more important? Dreaming big or enjoying your life? How do you do both at-

Because you particularly is such a great example of mixing both of those, because I see you Corbett … We’ll get back into more practicalities here, hold on, but I see you as someone who does 2 things really well, first of all you kind of see the rat race, you see … You’ve lived in a situation you don’t want to live in again how do I get out of this? The engineering kind of mind that you have, looks at, what are the options? Figures some things, and does it. You keep that engineering mind whilst also optimizing for the lifestyle things that you want.

At the same time though, you know you’re drawn to, you want to do something. Would you say that you want to do something big so much as you just want to support your life?

Right, this kind of bleeds over into the practical side which is, some people who dream big literally have one giant goal, like, I want to host a talk show on a major network, or want to be a senator, or I want to own the Jets one day. That drives people. Some people are really driven by that. Others, I think like myself, I don’t have one specific big goal, and sometimes I feel lost because there isn’t that one big goal-

How much am I jealous of Gary Vaynerchuk, not that he came up with an idea of owning the Jets, but that he actually seems to really want that. Like a 4-year-old kid, just like, “That would be the coolest thing, I just want to do that.” He probably looks at it and he goes like, “Okay, what’s the average age of football team owners?” or, “What’s the age I think I’d be able to really nail that.” You go like, “Okay, 50 is probably a good age. What do I do for the next 10 years?”

That’s a cool goal because, not that I really care about being a billionaire, not that anybody really should, but it’s an interesting goal because it lasts so long is going to get so much satisfaction out of it, that even if once he gets there-

It adds so much meaning to what he’s doing right now. I think the whole trick of this thing is looking at everything you are doing right now is it’s just moving upon. Okay, if you want to think bigger the biggest step that you … Success that you are looking for right now. Where you are right now, if you’re trying to start a blog the next step for you is to be really successful blogger. All right? That is the first pawn move of the game. Right? That’s what thinking big kind of seems like.

Yeah, but what happens to most people is that we get trapped on one rung of the ladder, and it’s either because we get comfortable, or is more difficult than we thought-

Or it is because we didn’t know this bigger thing, we didn’t yet know it right?

Or we lose sight of it somehow. Now, the big question, big philosophical question is someone like Gary who has this big goal 20 years from now going to look back and regret not having enjoyed the life that he was living at the time, because he always had his sights on the future instead of just recognizing today for what it is. There is a balance they are that I think is potentially dangerous if you are on one side or the other too much. We talked about meeting other people, you brought up this idea of autobiographies, and learning about other people’s lives, but I think also you can lump into that experiencing other things in the world.

Traveling, and meeting new people that you don’t necessarily become friends with, but listening to other people, talking to other people, attending other kinds of events, opening your mind up to arts and music, and other things that matter in life. Those are good ways to start to understand that there are other possibilities in life that you may not have known about before. Then learning about the people who have achieved things to find out what was their background like, and could I walk in their shoes. Realizing that a lot of times people who achieve these related things aren’t so special, they were just dedicated, or maybe they had a upbringing or something that told them they were capable of that sort of thing, so they just took it for granted, and used that.

I was just making notes on all of those, meeting other people, experiencing other things in the world, autobiography or going deep on some other people’s stories to see what their situation was. I think there is something to this trick, might be practical for some people to … This thing that you want to do right now, what is it? Write it down on paper. You are listening to the Fizzle show because you are like, “I want to start a business.” The skin more specific. You’re like, “I want to be blogger, and I want to make $200,000 a year.”

Those are my two goals, right? I don’t know when I’m going to do it, but that’s my goal. I know I want to be a podcast or and I want to make $100,000 a year. I want to start a [SAS 00:35:05] company or I want to who know what. Whatever it is, I want to make this much per year, potentially. That is your goal right now, that’s what you’re trying to get to, and now your game is getting to their is the first step in what big goal? And what big game?

Gary Vaynerchuk is whatever, creating a Wine media company, and then- That is the first step in owning the jets. You know what I mean? What was that that? Well we need to make more money, build a bigger company, a personal brand, and then it was holding a social media company. Right and you can see that, and then you’re like, “Okay, what’s next?” The thing that is always true for when I meet those people that have that big goal, is they know exactly what they’re doing, and even if it’s going to take five years this is the next step, and they know what is coming after this. They already know what is coming after this. I don’t know what’s coming after this. Would you say you know what’s coming after Fizzle?


This is a game we can play about getting Fizzle to some level of success, where like, “Yes, we did it.” That’s moving a couple of pawns up towards what bigger game?

Philosophically you can debate whether or not it matters to have these massive goals were not, but in terms of your productivity and output I think it will be pretty clear, but in terms of your spiritual well-being, I think it may also be pretty clear in the negative sense.

It has shown that humans are happier in pursue of modest goals at least. I think you can’t burn yourself out on … I feel like this has been the story of my life, is just being burnt out on knowing I am capable of it, but not having achieved enough. That’s why it’s been such a revolution for me to be gentle on myself, to have some compassion, to have found that both in the Jesus church, and now in the sort of Buddha, just mindfulness stuff.

That’s why it means so much to me. There might not be a grade at the end of this thing, you might be like, “You’re already as significant as you are ever going to be. You either exist or you don’t, and so enjoy yourself. Because no matter what you do, no matter who else nets the jets, in 500 years that won’t matter, let alone another billion years.

Yeah, totally. I think the question is, if the point is early to enjoy yourself, the question is what is going to help you enjoy it? In enjoyment I don’t think we necessarily mean hedonism, like smoke weed and play video games every day.

That’s fine too.

The question is, what is going to give you a deep sense of ongoing fulfillment?

Yeah, totally.

I think when you geek out on enjoying yourself even if it starts with a small I think he ends up getting deeper and deeper fulfillment. You realize, “Yeah, I had my third milkshake today, and it’s actually stopping being good.” It’s like not that great anymore. Whereas for some people at the pursue of some sort of ongoing big goal will lead to greater day to day fulfillment, because they feel like they are serving a higher power even if it is a selfish one.

Even if they never get there, I think that’s part of those kind of goals you can point out and go, “I know you don’t actually care much about it, because …“ It’s important that you just care enough to keep going, and yes sometimes you’re uncomfortable with the but you are never throwing your complete body in the gears and levers of this machine. Right?


Few people live that way, and I always respect people who live like that as long as their goal is interesting. I think maybe Trump has a cause or a goal that he’s throwing. I don’t see him throwing his body in the gears and levers of a machine, I think he’s burning it. If anybody is doing his body in the years and levers of a machine trying to save our country. You know what I mean? Very few of us go deep and hard on life, because why?

Because actually life is pretty great. You know what we’ve got sex, we’ve got relationships, we’ve got the business of just keeping kids alive, we got food man. We’ve got food. We are just tubes walking around putting stuff in one side getting stuff out the other, but we get to make so many decisions about those things on the front end. I feel that we should bring this town to close here because I like the shape this has taken, and this big questionable how do we think take? We went all over the place philosophically, conceptually, and actually got to end on these really really practical things you can do. You know what I mean?

Yeah, and we were listening then in order of the impact that they have, but if I had to give someone a map of how do I think big, and then carry out those big dreams, I would say first of all you need to have experiences in life, and you need to learn about a lot of different people, and look into their background. All of that stuff we talked about researching people, listening to autobiographies, going to hear people speak, traveling the world, meeting all kinds of different people, that’s step one to me. Because if you don’t know things are possible, then how can you-

That’s on ongoing maintenance thing. I mean? That just keeps you fresh.

Keeps you fueled. The second thing would be then to set the goals for yourself. I think that you can set some big goal and then have that philosophy that you said even if I don’t make it it’s still worth the journey, that’s the kind of goal you should probably set, but if you set a goal for yourself 10 years on the road even if it sounds crazy, set that and then just work backwards and say, “Okay, if I want to be there I’m not going to worry about that stuff for now. What do I need to be doing tomorrow to help you get there?”

Once you know that, and the direction that you want to go, the sort of thing that you want to achieve, if you want to be an author, or a Olympic athlete, or whatever it is, then you have to start finding people who have already achieved that who can act as mentors and peers who are just a couple of steps ahead of you so that you start embracing this level of possibility, soak yourself in the possibility, and it just starts to become your reality.

As you mentioned Scott Dinsmore earlier, this was his core philosophy. He took that advice from Jim Rohn about you are the average of the five people you spend most time with two heart, and implemented ways for himself and other people-

Which is the most practical thing in some ways is the most practical thing you can do.


Right? Another game I’ve been playing is what if I don’t change it off from where I am right now. What if for the next 50 years I basically want the same exact things that I want right now? I’m change all the time in little ways, but now my son is seven, and … Again, someone who has been further down the line is looking at me and going like, “You are an idiot, you have no idea in how many ways you’re going to change.”

But, play the game that you are not going to change over the next 35 years. What you know right now that you like? What you know right now that you enjoy? What you know right now that you want? What do you know right now that you admire in other people, or about other careers or something like that? What if it never change? Even if it does, you can always course correct on the way, boy do know right now, and look at that and the light of this isn’t going to change maybe. I always looked at and I think I assume, “Yeah, but I won’t feel like that in five years.” That served me well, because I’ve never clinged to anything long enough to have made a mistake. You know what I mean?

We’ve been talking about dreaming big in the traditional American sense, which is all about accomplishment and attainment, whereas I think you and I clique really well because at least half of what we strive to achieve in life is just living big, and enjoying the moments that we have. We are never going to turn down sitting around a campfire drinking beer, and smoking a cigar, and having conversation for some project that we want to achieve at work.

If I am a mainstage speaker at some big event and I hear that you and a couple other dudes are sitting around a fire drinking beer, or cheap beer like [inaudible 00:43:16], and smoking cigars, like bad cigars even if it is raining, it is cold, but you are doing that, I’m pissed about my life decisions? Do you know what I mean? That’s definitely something that I feel.

I think this has to be balanced, like you can strive to attain things in life, big goals, but you should also strive to live a big openhearted life. If that’s your goal, and you talk about how surrounding yourself with people who have done things or whatever is a good way to achieve something yourself, then you also have to surround yourself with people who just live big, and enjoy the day today, and aren’t freaking stressed all the time because they are trying to accomplish some sort of goal.

Then again, in closing I think you are somebody Corbett who mixes these things really well. This realization that … Whatever, none of this matters, or that the things that matter are the small things. Is I think what I really mean when I say that. What matters most is the smell of fresh baked bread, don’t kid yourself. That’s what matters most. A fresh sourdough role that’s been handmade, that’s the only thing that matters.

The small things, that’s the stuff that matters most, that’s the only thing that you’re going to remember. Don’t kid yourself, but you are also really practical about those things. You need to be able to fund those things, and you are practical about that anyway that I think … I have this realization that it’s the small things that matter, it’s living peacefully and bighearted that matters most, and I want to go be a monk. Like immediately, I am zero practicality right?

Through you, and my wife [Melissa 00:45:01] who is very much like you, I naturally have some of these impulses now, I can see the practicalities that need to take place. Yeah, but life isn’t only Hokas, or [inaudible 00:45:14] FiveFingers, right? There are shoes in the middle for anybody who is not into deep running space, Hokas are these huge maximalist running shoe, and FiveFingers are these minimalist finger shoes basically.

You are saying it’s not one or the other, it’s this whole spectrum?

It’s not always one or the other.

I have been Allen Watts, and I have been Chase Warban Reeves. Thanks Allen for joining us today, it’s been very fun.

I’ve been Corbett Barr. We will see you there, or we will see you on another time.


4 ideas for bigger thinking

1. Spend more time with people who inspire you towards the greatness that feels right to you. Jim Rohn’s famous quote applies: “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” When you intentionally impact who those people are, you can affect the outcome, namely, what you at average looks like. Friend of the show Scott Dinsmore was one of the single greatest success stories Corbett or I had ever heard in this regard. His wife continues the mission of Live Your Legend, and Scott’s course on this very subject — connecting in meaningful ways with anyone to adjust who you are at your average — is always available in the Fizzle Course Library. Attending conferences is something both Corbett and I cite as an important influence on our lives for this reason as well.

2. Experience surprising things in the world. When you travel, even when you know about the cultural differences you’ll find at your destination, there are always things that surprise you. “I can’t believe they do it like that!” These are new experiences that confront your existing model, stretching it out to make more room for your own experience. This is a sure-fire exercise for seeing things differently. Don’t believe me? Spend a few weeks in a place you’ve never been, like India for example, and see if it doesn’t change your life. (Actually, don’t hold me to that, I don’t know how you travel 🙂

3. Read biographies and go deep on the experience and stories of other people. Similar to #2 above, your mental model of what’s possible can be updated and enlarged by the stories of others. This could mean reading biographies (because by and large there’s more preparation and forethought in biographies than there is in a podcast interview) and watching documentaries, but don’t be afraid to get the stories first hand and ask some people you admire about their lives. Who knows how many ideas mindlessly swimming in your worldview can be brought into context by one of these conversations.

4. Exercise: make your current goal the first move in a longer game. Here’s how you play: 1., write down your current goal with the most accurate, honest words you can find. 2., imagine that accomplishing that goal is just the first step towards a bigger goal. 3., imagine what that bigger goal could be. What I love about this game is it gets us thinking about what bigger things could this current goal lead us to. It’s almost like this thing you’re working so hard to accomplish right now is just the first pawn move in a game of chess… it begs the question: what’s next?

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Claire Pelletreau

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