010: Jim Harshaw, Conversation 2: The joy of overcoming challenges, full transcript

January 1, 2018 by Joshua
in Podcast

Jim Harshaw

In the last episode Jim had a plan. Here we hear how Jim’s plan works out. I also want to put out at the beginning Jim and I finally met in person so we begin with some friendly conversation. You will hear about how he lost 23 pounds in two and a half days as a wrestler. That’s incredible. But mostly you’ll hear how he did his challenge more than he would have been able to before. And you’ll hear how he likes it. This is community building, family building, bonding and things like that, that is a trend that happens over and over again when people take on these challenges. It looks hard, they’re not sure how to do it but when they get down to it, it builds community, it connects with people. That’s what happens when you live by your values. That’s what value means, value better or worse. When you live by values it means you living by what’s better for you, not my values but by your values. So let’s hear Jim talk about it.

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Jim: Hey, Josh!

Joshua: Hey, how are you doing?

Jim: Good. How are you?

Joshua: Very good. And ready to start like recording as we are?

Jim: Go, yeah. Ready to roll. Are we on?

Joshua: Yes.

Jim: Great.

Joshua: And now people get to hear and actually it’s funny because…

Jim: Yeah, from the beginning.

Joshua: Yeah, starting from the beginning and what people don’t know is that you and I actually met for the first time face-to-face.

Jim: Yes, we did. We are real people. We confirmed each other as a real person.

Joshua: Yeah. And it’s funny because you put me in touch with someone who works at a great organization that I really like called Generation 180 in Charlottesville, Virginia. And I was supposed to go talk there and then you and I were supposed to meet but then that meeting ended up going so well and I hope it was okay with you like you joined the meeting and participated in.

Jim: Yeah, so for the listener, we were just like Josh said, he came in and he connected with a friend of mine at the company, they invited Josh to come down and speak and Josh said, “Jim, I’ll be wrapping up at such and such time, why don’t you come by and we’ll go grab a drink or something”. So I came by their office, the Generation 180 and Josh is still sitting there talking with the CEO and a couple others and they just kind of invited me in the conversation. And then you know, I don’t know an hour and a half later I was like, “Hey, I got to run, you know, I got to pick up my daughter from gymnastics”. So that was our, we didn’t get to sit down one-on-one but I was thrown into this conversation. It was fascinating, it was this incredible conversation.

Joshua: What’s a big piece of what’s going on with this podcast, I hope is that it’s creating community and one of the big things I want for listeners to get is, that you are not alone in thinking, can I do something and if I do something won’t make much of a difference because all these people alone thinking I’m not going to makemuch of a difference but actually when you start doing the stuff you start connecting with other people. And the reason that meeting went so long was that it was really fascinating and incredible because multiple times, I don’t know if this came up while you were there, but multiple times we asked each other, “Is anyone else doing what we’re doing?”

Jim: Right.

Joshua: Meaning is anyone else trying to influence people to enjoy changing their behavior, not just to pass laws and tell other people to change, not just to spread doom and gloom or to educate. Those things are important maybe not the doom and good stuff. Well, I guess we need to know what’s going to happen but none of us could think of anyone else doing that. I hope that we become swamped at many, many people doing that.

And before you got there, Jim, we talked about you as someone who has taken on a personal challenge. You heard this when it came up when you were there that you know you took on a challenge and then it was, you couldn’t do it. There were things… Like what you anticipated wanting to do was a challenge and I think a lot of people think, they think, “Oh, I’ve got to change my behavior for the environment” and then like something comes up, they can’t do it and give up on it. But you didn’t give up, which is our one and a half conversation before this one is our second conversation and I hope people get that once you start doing this, like you heard how Jim describe this conversation, it was really enthusiastic and fun and rewarding and that’s what happens when you do that. Also, just know Jim because you will connect you with people who are, I don’t want to swamp you with e-mails now but everyone, listen to the podcast…

Jim: Reach out, I love connecting people.

Joshua: So know Jim, connect to Jim and you’ll meet people who are valuable.

Jim: As long as you’re a good human being.

Joshua: Yeah. So I’m going to tell you what I did after that because it was this meeting about Leadership and The Environment. I just come down from D.C. to give a talk there and then I didn’t have to, you and I were supposed to get some food and had food before my train ride back so I asked them where there’s a grocery store. So I go to a grocery store. This is now me being, it would seem kind of weird but now I’m deciding that it’s not going to seem so weird to me, is that I went to the store and it’s like a grocery store and it’s all packaged foods. I’m like, “What am I going to do?” I’m really hungry and I’m prepared to get nothing because I was kind of hungry than before in D.C. I couldn’t find anything so I had a very light dinner, basically the fruit I brought from home. And so what did I get for the train ride back to New York, I bought three zucchinis and a mango. And I was like, “Look at them. Is this food?”, like people are going to see me eating this and I thought, “Is this too weird to do?”. And I thought, “Wait a minute”, I’ve been to plenty of wine and cheese events where there’s crudités and you know like they would have zucchini and you like dip in hummus or whatever.

Jim: Sure.

Joshua: And no one would say that’s weird to eat it and you know I washed it off and mangoes, I’ve known this for a long time, the skin is edible and healthy and then I got on the train and sitting next to me, actually waiting for the train when we were sitting next to each other, there was a young woman getting her Ph.D. in History at UVA and we went on talking, my dad is a history professor and I told her, “You know, I got the zucchinis”, she was like, “Go ahead, eat it. I don’t think it’s weird at all”. And I don’t know if people know what it’s like but for me as a straight guy it’s like one of the things you want least in life is embarrass yourself in front of a pretty girl. And this is the opposite. It was a friendly engaging or endearing thing that came, so now I’m like more comfortable eating zucchinis on a train.

Jim: You just got to do it once. The first time is the hardest.

Joshua: Well, yeah, I think that’s part of leadership is sometimes you get to be the first and maybe in the future more people eat zucchinis in public. Or I’m losing listeners at the moment.

Jim: That’s what this campaign is about really.

Joshua: I mean it doesn’t even mess it at all. In fact, you know I was kind of surprised, I didn’t realize it when I as a kid I really didn’t like zucchinis but I didn’t realize how sweet they are. I mean these are really sweet zucchinis, like almost like candy.

Jim: And it’s interesting whenever you know there’s like a delicacy if you start cutting out sugars in your diet which we know is unhealthy anyway, you start eating more fruit or more vegetables. I mean those things, they taste so much better you don’t even have to put stuff on them, you know. And I actually just started watching a documentary called What the Health. Have you seen that, Josh?

Joshua: I haven’t seen it yet.

Jim: Oh, man, you’ve got to watch it or maybe you shouldn’t. It’s pretty extreme but they talk about basically you know it’s more or less, I mean very simple [unintelligible] terms it’s so we should just go on a diet of fruit vegetables and just about the carcinogenic effects of meat you know whether it’s white meat, red meat etc. but it will really turn you away from meat and towards a diet of fruit and vegetables. It’s a pretty fascinating documentary. It’s caused some controversy because I think I’ve done some fact checking on it and there are some things that are maybe some inferred things that they put in there that are based off of incomplete research, they are just making inferences and stating them as fact. But there’s a lot of truth involved in the documentary that will really impact your thoughts about eating meat which, you know we talk about minimizing our carbon footprint, well red meat has a huge carbon footprint as compared to vegetables.

Joshua: Yeah, well I haven’t eaten it for decades, so no problem for me to watch it. And you know this is more stuff of like the more you get into this, the more it’s just second nature. It’s a lot of people think of changing our behavior for the environment is like so hard and to start it maybe, but you know all these people I’m talking to it’s not that hard. Oh, and also you’re talking about sweetness and I actually had to pause between the zucchinis because they were so sweet and I had to let my taste buds like get used to it. Although I’ve been putting it is that… If you eat a lot of Ben & Jerry’s and apples aren’t very sweet but if you don’t eat much Ben & Jerry’s they are too sweet, I mean I can’t eat one. It’s hard for me to eat the whole one. I usually put peanut butter on it to kind of make it less sweet. And the way I put it is that, I have less sugar in my diet than I used to but I have more sweetness and frankly that’s the way I want it. Yeah, more sweet, less sugar.

Jim: I actually had a conversation with my boys this past summer. It was in July and we were talking about, I was just telling them about the ill effects, we were just having a bowl of cereal probably loaded with sugar and I was telling them about the ill effects of sugar in your diet and I said if you know some people, I was talking about some friends of mine who had gone on sugar fasts and just the benefits of it and you know in terms of the ability to stay focused longer and just health benefits, et cetera, and my eleven-year-old at the time said, “I want to do it.” I was like, “You want to do what?” and he was like “I want to go on a sugar fast.” I’m like, “I wasn’t suggesting you do it, I’m just trying to educate you” you know and my nine-year-old at the time, both had birthdays says he is, “I want to do it too.

I’m like, “Wait, wait a second. I guess, I have to do it then too”. And this was ten days before my nine-year-old’s birthday. I said, “OK listen, if you guys want to do this we’ll do it for ten days because [unintelligible]’s birthday is in ten days. So let’s just make a set of you know a finite goal of doing this for ten days” and it was amazing, it was incredible. We didn’t even talk about it for the rest of the evening. I woke up, I went to work, we didn’t talk about it and my wife calls me and she goes, “Hey, what’s this about the boys doing a sugar fast? They tell me they can’t eat this and eat that” and I’m like, “Well, you know like it was totally their decision”.

But my point is, you Josh, and for the listeners, is once they decided it was, we decided to make this change, it was easy. We made this decision and it was easy. So for me every day after dinner I feel like I have to have some kind of sweet. I just have to have like a cookie or a piece of chocolate or something. You know I just have this craving and so I just changed it to, now we were, we did allow ourselves to have sugar, we couldn’t have food that had added sugar so we could have fruit. And so that’s what I would do. I would eat like a piece of fruit or something else that was just naturally sweet and it totally satisfied that craving and it was just a decision I made. Like we just made a choice and said, “OK, this is what we’re going to do” and it was actually quite easy.

Joshua: You know, this is one of the big things that I’m finding, is that community is as big a hurdle to overcome. Like if you freaked out about eating different types of foods in a community that you know for me it was eating these orange peels for the first time was like kind of, I was like, “That is really weird”. But when you get people who support you like you and your kids then it becomes the opposite. Community makes it easier.

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Joshua: And you’re talking about eating and it’s all these things about bringing a bag with you to the store or you know, taking the train instead of a plane or something like that, it just, like the more that you live by values, the more the people around you are people also living by their values.

Jim: Yeah.

Joshua: And you know you are going to lose friends who are like insist on getting chocolate cake every time and you are like, “I’m sorry, I’m not doing that.” Well, you get to spend a little less time with that person. But you’re not going to spend less time with friends. Overall, just it’s going to shake up a little definitely.

Jim: That is just going to be different people and different amount of time spent with different people and that’s actually a core part of my program which is actually based all upon my career as an athlete, as a wrestler. It’s like I had to put myself through absurd things that people would never even, couldn’t even relate to. I mean most people they… I’ll tell you one extreme example.

Joshua: Yeah.

Jim: The risk of making wrestling sound like a terrible sport. This is actually a thing of the past but the way and rules have all changed since I was in college in the 90s. But some people are going to roll their eyes and not believe me but I lost 23 pounds in two and a half days once, I lost 23 pounds in two and a half days.

Joshua: I’m sorry, I thought, did I hear you say 23 pounds in two and a half days?

Jim: You got it, 23 pounds in two and half days.

Joshua: And like all your limbs are still intact?

Jim: Oh, yeah. I mean [unintelligible] or anything. And I actually competed the following day. What I had to go through to make it the way it was, was absurd. I couldn’t have done this without, number one, having a goal that aligned with my values. OK. So my values were around wrestling and around you know, not letting my team down and loyalty and being the person that I set out to be and you know having these lofty aspirations for the end of the season and making way at this particular event you know I had to make way in order for me to achieve those goals. So my goals were aligned with my values. But I also had a team of like-minded people around me who supported me and helped me and otherwise I couldn’t have gone through this absurd, this extreme experience without having people around me. So we’re not talking about it in that extreme of an experience by you know eating fruit or bringing your bags with you to the grocery store or carpooling or using public transportation, these aren’t as nearly as extreme as that, you know two-and-a-half day experience of mine, but inquired me being around the right people, having the right people in my life but also having my goals tethered to the things that I valued most. It was a trip, so I’ve made way basically just not losing any fat. You’re losing, you’re just ringing the water out of your body.

Joshua: That’s what I…So you’re just sweating and sweating and not…

Jim: Working out and sweat, it’s all waterway, just sweating and sweating and not eating, not consuming anything and or consuming very little just enough to kind of give you the energy to do another workout. And in those days you weigh in before, you would weigh in the day before you compete. So I didn’t compete till the next day, so I was able to rehydrate, refuel and everything, get a good night’s sleep, etc. I still wasn’t a 100% the next day. I actually wrestled terribly but the point is, you can put yourself through extreme things if you have the right values identified, if you have the right goals that are tethered to those values and you have what I call the environment of excellence, the right people around you. Then you can do these things that are out of the norm, out of the average of society, you can step outside of the average and do things that are hard to do.

Joshua: So I think and I hope that people who listen to this, some might listen to you and think, “Oh well, he’s got that experience, he can do things that I can’t do” but I hope that they listen and think, “OK, I can use this as an opportunity to be able to do things that I didn’t think I could do before” because in your case here you go to community and support, was your kids and your wife.

And let’s switch that. So when last we spoke you had switched from public transportation to carpooling and working with your family to work together to figure out how to do something that at first seemed doable but then wasn’t quite doable. And so, what did you come up with? What was your personal challenge?

Jim: Well, the personal challenge just ended up being a lot of smaller things, a handful of smaller things to replace the you know the essentially four big things, the four carpools, the four public transportation trips. So we did four carpools, even more than that actually by now, but we did four plus carpools to my daughter’s gymnastics so there was a friend of hers who pretty much had to pass our house to get to gymnastics so she would get dropped off and we would just drive her to gymnastics. So it was fewer miles driven by cars you know, like so we had this conversation with my kid like, “Hey guys”, you know here’s what I was trying to do but it’s going to take me out of alignment with my values in terms of time spent with my family. So how can, you know, what are some other ways that I can do this?”

And we had this discussion and at the end of the day the more powerful thing that happened is not that these four carpool trips happened and not that I failed to have four trips on public transportation but that my whole family, six of us became mindful of our impact on the environment just through a regular daily life. So we had this discussion, I talked to, you know, we ended up talking about pollution for example as using fewer sandwich bags. You know, we use like so many sandwich bags and packing snacks and food and lunches, we pack the kid’s lunches every day. And so we use fewer of those, we started buying things in bulk, Sam’s Club that were not individually packaged like some crackers and snacks and things like that that we could put into Tupperware, in reusable containers so we were just minimizing the amount of plastic made, plastic going into the landfills. We talked about shorter showers, taking shorter showers. I talked to them about using hot water, because sometimes kids are just they’ll turn the water on and they’ll turn the hot water on and wash their hands, then turn off the water, hot water comes out the faucet and I said, “Well, that’s wasteful”. Here’s why you’re running hot water out of a water tank that has to be…Fossil fuels had to be burned to heat that water, it’s running through the pipes and it turns into cold water. So you just turned hot water to cold water and never even touched your hands and it was just basically wasted impact on the environment.

And then the discussion about red meat and minimizing red meat which we’re actually doing. We’ve actually already started cutting on all meat in general. We’re looking at some alternatives to the meat, cutting back on meat in our diet and that was actually, there are multiple motivations there. Not only the impact on the environment but it’s like now we’re like, “Oh, my Gosh” these things are, this is like a level one I think it is or whatever the tears are, like at the top-level carcinogen. If you go to the American Cancer Society website it will tell you meat is a carcinogen. So there’s the multiple motivations there but in the end what happens is not just for trips, for public transportation trips but a mindset and in mindfulness around the little things that the six of us do that impact the environment. That’s going to carry on for forever. I mean this conversation is not going to stop you know, just because you know is part of how we think anyway. Having these conversations and having a group of people an environment of excellence, my family, to help us through this, we’re all kind of like-minded people in this way now, and we are all going to make different choices around our impact on the environment.

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Joshua: It’s almost like, this is like something that was waiting to happen. It feels like I can’t help but talking like science terms but like the [unintelligible] feel like, do you know, like if a flue is supersaturated, like when you put, when you make rock salt, you know you keep putting stuff in and it’s like if you heat water up, you can absorb more into it than when it’s not heated. When it cools off like it wants to jolt into you know making crystallized. I feel like that’s what happened with you guys, like you were waiting to have this happen, you just needed something to get you going.

Jim: Yeah, sure. And it wasn’t hard, not of it’s been hard. Some of it’s been easier and better.

Joshua: You know, the one I decided to talk about is, it’s like if you step in a puddle first thing in the morning or you walk out and it’s raining in the morning and you get wet socks on all day. Have I said this one to you before?

Jim: No, but I heard you referenced that a couple of times in the discussion at Generation 180 but I missed the initial part of it so I just kept hearing you talk about a wet sock and I didn’t know which you were referring to.

Joshua: It’s that if you walk out in the morning and you can get wet, you might not think about it. Like, you see you’re in a hurry, you step on a puddle or it’s raining when you first got in the morning, your feet get wet and then you’re busy and you don’t really notice it but your socks are wet all day long and I think that becoming more aware and acting on the environment, on the things you care about, whatever your values are when you are aware that you’ve been, it’s more convenient not to, like to stop and take your shoes off and so we really do it but then at the end of the day you come home, you take your shoes off, you take your socks off and like, “Oh my God, I feel so much better. I didn’t realize how miserable it was making me all day”.

And I think when you live inconsistently with your values, it’s like having wet socks on and doing what you’re doing is like taking them off and realizing, “Man, that was really bothering me.” And what most people are doing, instead of stopping and taking their socks off, is they’re like doing stuff to occupy their minds so they don’t really notice it but it’s still there. So maybe if you’re someone who eats a lot of meat and you’re like, “I just like the taste of meat” but you really actually want to stop and I’m not saying some people don’t want to stop. I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about people who really want to stop but everyone has got something that they want to do but it’s a little more convenient not to.

Jim: Easy to do, easy not to do.

Joshua: Yeah. And if you do make the switch, not only, like, one, it makes you more comfortable and if you don’t make the switch, you kind of… A lot of people cover up, they like, they do other stuff to occupy themselves. It doesn’t make that misery go away. It’s just now kind of covered up. And you might be good at that and do that your whole life and not really have to deal with it but if you just take it off… See you take them off and you realize, “Oh man, my shoes are wet” and maybe your underwear too and now you realize, “Oh, man, I’m wearing wet underwear” and if you change out of that, you know maybe stop by and get some new underwear or something like that. I’m carrying the analysis too far. But you might realize it is other stuff that’s messed up too. And it’s only as big a deal as it is, mostly things like mentally, at least in the beginning as you take on bigger and bigger challenges, they may be harder. Like with me not flying, you know it’s like, I just signed this contract to do talk in Salt Lake City next year and this can be a pain. I’m going to need to take the train to Salt Lake City from New York, it’s kind of far, I had to negotiate the contract differently to make sure that like the original contract said like, “We will reimburse you for flying”. I got to make sure that… Anyway, all those little details you have to work out but they’re not that hard.

Jim: Yeah.

Joshua: With some people it’s hard. And they look at me and they think it’s hard, if you haven’t made the mindset shift that you described, it’s as hard as your mind makes it.

Jim: Yeah, it is as hard as your mind makes it, I mean you know people think about losing 23 pounds in two and a half days. Was it hard? Yes, it was absurdly hard. But it wasn’t that hard. It wasn’t as hard as you think it was. Most people think it’s possible, right. It was not impossible. But I was able to do it because it was important to me, right, and so you have to think about what’s important to you. You know, you have to really think, I mean some people they really have to think about what’s important at the end and you know you forced me, Josh, to think about the environment more than I already was. And I know this is something that’s important to me. Why? Well, they’re, you know, just because it’s you know, something I value is the environment and the outdoors and the food that we eat and I want my children to grow up and not breathe polluted air and you know, et cetera, et cetera. So these things are important to me. So therefore it was easier for me to do some of these things and have these conversations with my family etc.

But the other level is there was also some accountability there, right? Like basically, I’m talking to you, who you’re part of my environment of excellence, Josh, you hold me to a higher standard whether you know it or not, I feel, you know, you’re somebody who is within my sphere of influence, who holds themselves to a high standard so I feel like I have to hold myself to that same high standard. So that raises my standards and there’s an audience listening, who I feel like I’m part of that as well, you know they’re part of my environmental excellence as well because I feel like I have to raise myself that standard too, right, I have to hold myself to, I’m being held accountable essentially by this audience, I’m not going to meet or see them necessarily but it’s important to have these people in your life who hold you to that high standard.

Joshua: First, thank you, I really appreciate that. And you’re the one whose email signature that says, “You have to have people in your life who hold you to a high standard,” is that right?

Jim: Yeah, that’s right.

Joshua: OK. So you advertise to the world, you’re basically saying that people like hold me to a high standard. And so you’ve made that part of your environment, you invited that from people. I think I even referenced it, I think there was a notice because when you said you had initial trouble that I think I might have referenced in an e-mail to you.

Jim: Yeah, you did. That’s right.

Joshua: You talked about the values. Can you say a bit more about the values and is it safe to say that what began as you doing something, does the external stuff of what you do, which is carpool and reuse Tupperware instead of disposal bags, what were you doing internally? Like what are the values? I mean you talked about it but I’m curious if you can go into more depth.

Jim: Yeah, absolutely. I mean so my values are faith, family, fit and fun. OK. They’re all pretty self-explanatory. [unintelligible] Fit has a dual meaning to me, it means fitness but also having an occupation that is good fit for me and my personality, what I like etc. So the environment’s not necessarily in those so it will maybe be a secondary value, I mean I majored in environmental science, I’ve been a proponent of the environment [unintelligible]. And maybe it should be added, maybe that’s something that should be added to my core values. It doesn’t start with a ‘F’ word so I need to figure out, figure out how make them all start with F and kind of find words that that work, that all start with ‘F’ so I can remember them easier. I think that’s important for people to do to be able to articulate what specifically those values are. But because the environment is not one of my stated five core values it’s certainly you know, look, they don’t have to look very far to realize that the environment is something that I value very highly. Maybe it’s not core value, maybe it’s a secondary value. But to be honest it may be tethered to, and it is now that I’m thinking about going deeper inside of my head and thinking about like, I want my kids and grandkids to, this is part of family, I want them to have a good, a healthy planet Earth to live on.

Joshua: Sorry to interrupt but how about future?

Jim: Yeah, there you go. Love it. Future. I’m writing it now.

Joshua: Once you said I was like, my brain is like I’m listening to Jim but also ‘F’ words, yeah.

Jim: You’re looking for a word. Yeah, awesome, love it. So then, and here’s another one – faith. You know I believe in God and I believe that he gave us this planet and this earth. And I think we have to be good stewards of it. I think it’s a sin not to. I mean it’s an amazing beautiful place and we can’t desecrate it. So, faith, family, fit [unintelligible]. Fitness has to do with my health. And it’s like, I know that, you know, when my wife was pregnant she couldn’t eat canned tuna. It’s a healthy food that you can buy off the shelf. But you know what? Pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat it. There’s too much mercury in it. You know, it could impact your health. And for me fun you know, outdoors is a part of my fun whether it’s fishing or whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, etc. that’s all outside in the environment. So, this stuff very much aligns with the…I want to go on hikes with my kids, if we see a piece of trash on the ground we’re picking it up, you know. So, all this stuff very much aligns with my values. So, it’s easier for me because I’ve done that work to say, yeah, let’s use fewer bags. You know, that’s, let’s use less packaged food, let’s take shorter showers, etc.

Joshua: So, it sounds like these baby… You start with baby steps and they’re growing and growing. And do you see giant steps down the road?

Jim: It’s a good question. I still want to use more public transportation. I think that’s just something that would be good for me. Again, multiple motivations, if I like can get work done instead of driving I could actually, you know, be working while I’m traveling. But that’s a good question. I don’t think it is out of the question. I think my wife’s value is very much aligned with future, you know, as well as the environment. So yeah, potentially, I don’t know when that would be just yet. But I think now that just like whenever you buy a Subaru Forester and they all suddenly today buy a Subaru Forester, from then on after you see Subaru Foresters on the road everywhere you go. Your radar is just your subconscious is, subconscious antennas are up and looking for them and now, you know now the more mindfulness that we have around our impact on the environment, the more our antennae are going to be up for ways to minimize our impact. And that’s what you’re doing and that’s what Generation 180 is doing is making us more mindful of the little things that impact our environment. Like when you walk in front of a store in a mall, outdoor mall that has their doors propped open on a 95-degree day in the summer in Virginia and they’re letting the cold air conditioning pour out onto the sidewalk to entice people to walk into their store and they want to fight those, those businesses.

Joshua: Yeah, that’s one of their initiatives. So, you can get out your the cell phone and tell them about it because that air conditioning is using a lot of fossil fuels to do and if the doors are closed, they’re not burning as much fossil fuels. In New York City that’s against the law.

Jim: Oh, is it? In New York City?

Joshua: Yes, it’s against the law. I told them about, there is a page in New York where you can go on to the government, it is something like that www.nyc.com where you can report the stores. And so, they’re thinking about making… They’re connecting with the New York City government in other places where it’s against, I think New York state government actually to report on that. I wanted to say so, if you’re in front of a store that has violated this enough time, then it will tell your cell phone walk 100 yards away and use a competitor who doesn’t do this and you can go to the competitor’s store instead of this one. And of all the different things you can weigh of which is choosing which one you want to use, that’s one of the factors because that’s what people list and that’s part of your community. If you’re like trash in the community by polluting unnecessarily, I think people will want to react to that. And you’re also already affecting your, this other family that you’re carpooling with, you’re interacting with them so maybe influencing them in some way. How’s that interaction going? Were they like, this is great or this sucks or what?

Jim: No, actually that’s the family that turned me onto the movie What the Health. So, they’re very like-minded and this was an easy thing for them to be like, “Yeah of course, let’s do that”. You know and there was a win-win there too. You know I was carpooling, saving fossil fuels but also saving time and money for everybody involved so it’s like when you find these win-wins it’s even easier. And that’s the thing, you got to keep your eyes out for these kinds of win-wins.

You know, going back to the store with the doors open, you know like now that I think about that, I never even really thought about this that much. But, again, this is you know Generation 180 having this sort of campaign to make me aware. To me that’s almost like somebody blowing their second-hand smoke in my face like, “Why would you do that? Like who does that?” You know, like that to me that when I walk past a store like that I’m certainly going to think less of that store of the proprietor. Subconsciously in my head there’s going to be some small trigger that’s going to make me think less of that store and I might even speak up to the manager if we do go into that store for some reason, I may go into say something to them anyway, it just to me it seems ridiculous that somebody would do that.

Joshua: Yeah, these changes keep building and building. For me, like I not eating packaged food, like I got in the past two and a half years I’ve had one canned food. And I said, “Why did I…” I wanted some tomatoes and I asked my friend if he got canned tomatoes and I was like “Why did I melt aluminum so I could have a tomato that’s not even as good as fresh?” I don’t even need this thing. And so, I was, I have tons of tomatoes, I don’t need more cans.

Jim: Yeah.

Joshua: And then all of these little changes happen and you don’t even… People come over and I keep telling them how I’m not polluting, my landfill garbage, I empty this little canvas bag once every six months or so and they are like, “Wow, that’s really good!” And first of all, they think it’s amazing, I’m like I didn’t try to do it, it just happened. You know, I was just trying to avoid packaging for a while and it turned out it made my life better, so much better that I kept at it and every time… Exactly we’re talking about with you. Like you do one little thing, you do the next thing, you do the next thing, and the next thing you know, you just look at packaged food like, “Why was I doing that? That’s horrible.” I mean I still have packaging. It’s just a lot, a lot less than before. Like I got a jar, a bottle of vinegar that’s, and it happens to be right here. And I don’t really know how to get vinegar without packaging. Actually, I’m going to find out how to make it from wine but then I have to get the wine.

Anyway, so but here’s another thought, I’m changing the topic a little bit. I thought of people keep saying, “Thank you for not having so much garbage” and I’m like I still have a lot of garbage and I found a word to describe throwing out your garbage once or twice a year.

Jim: What is it?

Joshua: You know what? It’s disgusting because I’m still producing garbage that other people have to deal with and it’s going be around for thousands of years some of this garbage. And just because someone else is producing more or that I used to produce more doesn’t change I’m leaving my garbage for other people for thousands of years. And I want to have less of it. And as it turns out the best way to produce less of it is to have more delicious food. Works pretty well.

Jim: There you go. It’s a win-win, that’s the fun thing with the win-win there.

Joshua: Yeah, that’s values, living by your values and having people around you who live by theirs.

OK. So I’m kind of curious, not to give you another personal challenge, but would you be interested in following up another time, like maybe in several months from now to hear how things have evolved?

Jim: Sure.

Joshua: I’m trying to think if we should schedule it now or just kind of keep in touch and schedule it later because I’m sure we’ll be in touch in the meantime anyway.

Jim: Yeah, I think either way. I think you and I could probably be in touch about it.

Joshua: OK. So we’ll just leave this little teaser, we’ll give ourselves a kind of ability that maybe sometime in the winter, it’s September now so sometime in the winter we’ll do another conversation to see and hear how things have evolved.

Jim: Yeah, that would be great.

Joshua: Anything else to share about this one? Otherwise, I will probably wrap up.

Jim: No, you know, I’m just already thinking about the winter, it’s like what could we do, we can turn the heat down, wear warmer clothes, get everybody a pair of slippers that doesn’t have one, you know, put your sweatshirts on. All these things, all these opportunities you know weather ceiling and weather-stripping and things like that around the windows and doors and cracks and things like that. So many opportunities, it’s just this just another level of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the big you know, the hot topic these days and mindfulness around our environment, it fits right in.

Joshua: It’s such an easy access point to it, yeah. And then community is the… Oh yeah, Did I talk to you about the Victoria’s Secret model?

Jim: Yes. At Generation 180 event.

Joshua: So we haven’t recorded it yet but it looks like that’s going to happen and that’s led to me meeting very high level person at Victoria’s Secret. It might lead to more of them and I’m realizing scientist… I got to say… I was in this thing at NYU, this author, a woman who used to teach at NYU and now is at Harvard and she was talking about how these scientists come in and they give us all this data but they didn’t make it so that we could act on it. And it’s really unfortunate that we’ve had decades of scientists giving us information but not effectively and I’m like, “Once they publish everyone…” I raised my hand and I said this in this talk and I said, “Everyone had access to that science, anyone, everyone could have done something and it’s not the scientists, they’re not trained in influencing other people.”

And it hit me that we all could have acted on the science any time, the science has been on for a long time and then I realized why are we looking at, I’ve kind of asked this before but like, “Why are we looking to scientists for leadership?” Scientists aren’t trained in that, that’s not what they do. And to put it all on them is just abdicating our own responsibility that anyone could have spread that knowledge once it was out there and they’re not hiding it. And then I thought, every time I’ve been mentioning the Victoria’s Secret model everyone’s like, “Wow, that could be really great show.” I’m like they’re really influential and they’re going to reach people that I never would reach. And why weren’t we looking to celebrities before? Why do we think it should only come from scientists and politicians and… Anyway, so I’m expanding my reach of…

Jim: Yeah, the scientists provide us the knowledge and the information but knowledge isn’t power if it’s not acted upon.

Joshua: Yeah, and actually they’re not acting on it that much but anyone could have acted on it. And so I want to bring very well-known people and very influential people and that includes Victoria’s Secret models if necessary, to share their experiences and hopefully they’ll have experiences like you’ve had. Maybe they won’t. I’m not sure.

Jim: You have your interest to see how it plays out for different people.

Joshua: Yeah. So let’s wrap up and then I’ll talk to you again for everyone to listen to in a couple months or a few months. And I’ll keep in touch with how things are going at Generation 180 just a plug again another organization I think is doing a great job.

Jim: Yeah, awesome.

Joshua: Thanks a lot and talk to you soon.

Jim: Great talking to you again Josh, likewise. Bye.

Joshua: Same here. Bye.

***

He achieved a personal challenge and got his whole family involved and got the neighbors involved. And more importantly to me, instead of what a lot of people rely on is more willpower, “I will do whatever it takes to make this happen and try to go on it alone,” he asked for help and he got help. That’s leadership in the style that I believe that I practice and teach and I hope this podcast promotes. It’s not about telling people what to do or “I will do it harder or better than anybody” but it’s about knowing your values and the values of the people that you lead and acting on those values. And when you do that it ends up being something that you enjoy doing with people who enjoy doing it with you. I love that he’s still going for more, he’s going to take on others. I’m sure we’ll have him back here again. And, for you listeners, I hope that this is as inspirational for you as it was for me that he’s going to do things again, so I look forward to seeing your personal challenge on the list.

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Initiative leadership spodek

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