014: Joshua Spodek: My friend’s anger and why I’m doing the podcast (transcript)

January 13, 2018 by Joshua
in Podcast

Joshua Spodek

Yesterday a friend called me and he said, “Josh, I can barely listen to your show. It makes me so angry.” So I said, “What’s the big deal? What makes you really angry?” He said, “In today’s day and age if people don’t know to bring bags with them to the grocery store, if people don’t know about carpooling, then we’re lost. Then there’s no point in even trying because people should know this. And if it’s a big deal for people that they bring bags with them to the grocery store that’s…” It’s like…. He was angry.

I want to share with people what a lot of what this podcast is about for me. One of the main things I told him is that… First I said, “If that’s bad, if you think what people saying on this show is bad, then there’s a lot worse out there.” I also said what this show is about… First of all, I’m not trying to tell people what to do. I hope I’m pretty clear with that. When people are on the show I don’t tell them, “Here’s what you should do.” You know, I did a search on this on the internet. I looked up “environmental tips” and I got something like 16 million responses back. If people aren’t doing things, it’s not because there’s not someone telling them what to do. If they’re not listening to what people are saying, it’s not because it’s not there. And so, adding another voice saying what to do – that’s not going to help.

Also, a lot of these things really don’t look like they’re making much of a difference to me too. On an absolute level, yeah, bring bags to the grocery store. For somebody to act like that’s a big deal to me is really hard to fathom. On the other hand, I find leadership is more about the other person, not about yourself. So I have to go where the guest is and start from where they are, not where I think they should be or you think they should be or where they ought to be or whatever but where they are. And if it’s hard for them to do something small, it’s hard for them to do something small. I know that when I got started. For me now to get food packaging is like a pretty big deal. It would be hard for me to get a lot of food packaging. I get some. I’m not going to lie. It was really hard at the beginning but it’s not hard now. Something I have to figure out is how to bridge that gap. I’m starting where people are. I hold my tongue when they say something like it’s a big deal for them to do something that I think is really trivial.

The other thing motivating me and this is a big thing motivating me is Victor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning. I’m sure I talked about this on several episodes but Victor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning talks about… If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Routinely rated one of the top 10 books of the 20th century, routinely rated one of the great books of all time. It talks about Victor Frankl living through Auschwitz, living through the Nazis torture. He talks about how they did not have enough food to live on. You’re given a hunk of moldy bread to live on per day and it’s not enough to live on. But some people saw that others had less than them and they would take a little bit of their bread and give it to someone else even though they didn’t have enough to live on. They were giving up almost life because that’s where meaning comes from. Meaning comes from many different places. In that case it’s from helping other people. Because when Viktor Frankl talked about his experiences there he talks about love and bliss and things that you wouldn’t imagine but that’s what he created meaning for himself. And for me what creates meaning… I don’t know if we’re going to make it out of this. But if there’s something we can do about it, I want to do something about it. That’s what’s meaningful to me.

And on top of that, when I’ve made these… This is what gets me and it’s hard for me to fathom is that when I’ve made these changes they have made my life better that I’m living by my values. So I have that internal sense of emotional reward of creating meaning and value and purpose and my life is better. This is what I want to get out there is that my goal is not to get people to do what I want them to do. There’s not what I want them to do but I’m here to do is help people realize their values and if they’re not living by their values, to help them live by their values. That means improving their life. And that’s what this is about for me. Something that I’m struggling with that I hope will happen over time is…Well, one thing is that I hope that we move from people saying I’m not going to get disposable coffee cups. Yeah, that’s nice. But if the whole world stops getting coffee cups, disposable coffee cups and switches to mugs, we haven’t really changed the world that much. So colored people got into cars and now we’re looking at some kind of big things. And if the whole country got rid of their cars or made major shifts, that could be a big shift and that’s what I want to happen over time is to get to bigger and bigger changes.

And the other big thing, I don’t know if I’ve talked about this that much is that I want to get increasingly influential people on the show because they influence more people and they influence people more. I think that if you get someone like a Sergey and a Larry of Google. I read that I think of something like the top five executives at Google have eight jets between them. If people like that get rid of their vehicle, their 767 or their 737, that makes it a lot easier for… I think that as long as Sergey and Larry, just picking you know they happen to be two of the richest people in the world and rich is not better or worse but it makes them pretty influential. They can build Google carbon neutral which I hope they do and I think that’s a goal of theirs. But as long as they themselves live having more means getting more, then the rest of the world they may say we hope Google’s carbon neutral but they still want to be like that. Because those are the people that are influential.

And I would like to have on the show eventually people who if… See, if the people with ten billion dollars or a hundred billion dollars, that’s how much the richest people have, if they start maybe paring down their jet planes, maybe paring down their several 50-75000 square foot mansions and they dropped down to only a few 10000 square foot mansions and maybe fly first class instead of having their jets. I think then if the people with 10 billion start living like less than the people who have 1 billion, it’s going to look kind of funny for the people with 1 billion to have more, to be showing off more. And so I think they’ll have to start paring back. And if they start paring back I think to people with 100 million will start having to pair back and so on and so on. There’s already people giving away their billions. There’s some billionaire pledge or some something like that. That’s giving away their money, not giving money but donating away their money. This is more about the material things.

And the goal is not for them to give stuff away or for them to stop doing things that they like to do. It’s for them to discover what they enjoy, what they value and if that’s consistent with getting rid of things and they’ll get rid of things, it may start off as a personal challenge. But I’m here for it to become for them that they enjoy the change more. It’s not getting rid of an airplane, it’s spending more time with their family. They can get on the plane and they can go have dinner in Thailand tonight if they want Thai food and be back tomorrow for work. The point is not that they can do that. Once, you can do that. OK, you can do that. I think they’re going to enjoy life more if they learn what the local farmers are producing and learn how to make it themselves or learn how to make stuff, how to spend time with the people around them, not doing these big things. Yes, they can do it. Does that really make life better? I think that it doesn’t in the long run when you really get to know what you’re about.

That’s what I want to share. How to get from people that I know not getting coffee cups, disposable coffee cups to the top people the Sergeys, the Larries, the Oprahs, the Jay-Zes, the Barracks, the Beyonces. How to get there I’m not sure but that’s one of the main goals. And it’s to follow in the footsteps of people like Victor Frankel to enjoy, to find value. And I think also enjoy life more, even get the more physical pleasure. I wanted to make it clear. Yeah, I know a lot of the stuff that’s going on is not really big deals but I want to go back to some of these people and say later, “Alright, you did this one thing. Let’s go for more.” And hopefully also people do more. And if you’re listening to this at home and you haven’t done something yourself and you think… Oh I got to go back to my friend who called me and said he got really angry because later on in that same call he says to me, “You know, Josh, over vacation all that flying I started feeling really guilty.” Guilty over flying. First of all, this show’s not about making you feel guilty. If you like flying and that’s a value of yours and you have no competing value, that’s your deal. But if you don’t want to, and he was like, “Yeah.” And I said, “Well, I hope that the joy that you got from flying was greater than the guilt that you felt from living with your values in conflict.” It didn’t add up.

I’m sure he’s going to hear this. I hope that he’s thinking more seriously about why and what he’s doing and criticizing, not criticizing others. But if you listen to this now and you think, “Oh, this is kind of a fun show,” act on it! I wanted to share a lot of what this is about. I’m going to do more of these me-talking-and-sharing things about because there’s a lot of things that people talk about and they say, “Josh, you got to put this on the show.” And so I make solo recordings like this. Let me know how it sounds to you. Look forward to talking next time.

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