071: Jordan Harbinger, part 1: The value of coaching (transcript)
Jordan Harbinger is one of the world masters of practicing and teaching social and emotional skills. We start by talking about the stew that I just made him, how Iâ€™ve been doing open mic stand up. We are actually in my kitchen. I’ve known Jordan for about ten years, maybe a little more. And when I first met him he was already doing extremely well, he had started his podcast by that point and he’s only taken off since then. If you’re going to learn from anybody, learn from Jordan. Come to think of it, we didn’t talk about North Korea which is somethingâ€¦ He and I spent a couple of weeks in North Korea a couple of times. In any case, then we really get him to talking and we get his views on how he improves his life, things that he does… Getting coaches for example, things that he does and he says not to bother with because there’s a lot of snake oil people out there in the world of personal growth. Then we get into the part about nature. He picks a personal challenge. It’s really personal and he’s not waiting to figure out, â€œShould I do it perfectly?â€ or whatever. You’ll hear that the dives in even though he doesn’t really know about. So let’s listen.
Joshua: Welcome to the Leadership and the Environment podcast. This is Josh Spodek. I am here with Jordan Harbinger. Jordan, how are you doing?
Jordan: Good man. I’m full of vegetable stew. Thanks to you.
Joshua: So this is a reference toâ€¦ I just cookedâ€¦He is over at my place and I just cooked one of my special famous stews. Thank you.
Jordan: Yeah, of course. But things are famous because you tell everyone that it’s famous and they just start to believe that itâ€™s famous and they come in and eat it and it becomes famous. Itâ€™s the self-fulfilling prophecy.
Joshua: How do I put it? It may sound like I’m bragging but I also feel like there’s a bit of promotion thatâ€™s kind of necessary to make stuff like that happen. I was scared to do it before and now I’m comfortable doing it because of the effect that you described. This will probably come up but someone found some articles that Iâ€™ve written and it was like, â€œWe have this trade association and weâ€™d love you to be the keynote speaker.â€ And it was a big amount of money. I thought I can’t do it for that amount of money. I’m not there yet but it was also something like nine months later. So, I said all right, I’m going to sign this contract, do this thing nine months from now, use that to give me confidence to do [unintelligible steps. So I used the thing that I couldn’t do to enable me to do stuff to make myself able to do that things. And then I did it and they were like, â€œGreat job. We love what you did. [unintelligible].â€ So I thought it was really great.
Jordan: Yeah. So it’s like OK, step 1, throw yourself into the deep end, â€œYeah, I am going to do a keynote for 13 000 people. Oh, crap I got a keynote for 13 000 people in 10 months. Maybe I should take a speaking class and then go practice a bunch.â€
Joshua: Yeah. And that forced me to do things that I wouldnâ€™t have gone otherwise. And actually, yesterdayâ€¦ I am going to pause this thing up becauseâ€¦ I wouldn’t call it a bucket list thing but it’s something I really wanted to do. I did stand up for the first time.
Jordan: Oh, wow.
Joshua: Yeah. So it was like me, a microphone, all the lights. And I practiced and I practiced, like I said this thing maybe a hundred times. And you get up on stage and I knew what would happen. It’s like the lights are on your face, you can’t see anything. I knew everything I could get or I forget everything. But I also knew if I just learned the first couple of words, I have done it enough times, then the first couple of words will just kept me doing what I practiced. And so there were a few things that I forgot but I think it went pretty well.
Jordan: That’s great. I think that’s really hardâ€¦ Stand up is hard. It’s an exercise and rejection. You can’t really just practice at home. You have to go up and try it because you’re required to get audience feedback on your work and on your material.
Joshua: Yeah and there’s no substitute for it. It’s one of the few fields where if you’re a musician, chances are someone wrote something that you’re playing. If you’re an actor, youâ€™re reading what someone else wrote. Stand up is one of the few places where you write everything yourself. You do everything. I think corporate speaking is one of the few other places where itâ€™s also the same thing.
Jordan: Yeah, except in corporate speaking I would go, â€œYeah, that was good. Don’t hire that guy next year. Have a good trip.â€ Yeah. Stand up, that isâ€¦. They’ll either boo you if it’s a tough crowd or they will ignore you and you will not get back up on the stage.
Joshua: And this actually gets to what I wanted to talk to you the most about which is that you teach and you coach people in social and emotional skills and things like that. I use the term leadership. Do you use the term leadership orâ€¦?
Jordan: Not really. I mean I usually say emotional intelligence or soft skills although now soft skills it’s like one of those meaningless soapy words that doesn’t mean anything or starting to slowly become that type of word which is a bummer because there’s no other term that I know of that is replacing it.
Joshua: There is a word missing in English to describe this stuff like social dynamics and things like that and to me I just… You heard me play the recording that I did of you and your now wife, then fiancÃ©, speaking onâ€¦
Joshua: Yes, [unintelligible]
Jordan: No, it was something about proposals or the marriage, some sort of marriage. It was a long time ago.
Joshua: So you were on this podcast and she was talking, your now wife was talking about meeting you and she knew that you taught this stuff and the guy doing the interview asked, â€œMaybe he was just getting these techniques on youâ€ as if that implied it was going to be not you. And I think people who don’t get it think like reading a script or doing what other people say, practicing a rehearsal makes you not genuine, not authentic and I think I found that to be the opposite. I’m really interested in your views on this because youâ€™ve been doing it for a long time.
Jordan: Sure. I mean I tend to agree with your perspective in that all high performers in any area are doing copious amounts of rehearsal practice in a given skill and it doesn’t make for anything less authentic. In fact, it becomes more authentic because you don’t have to think about the mechanics of what you’re doing. So people who speak really well or you look at a TED talk with a really good speaker, not all of them are good speakers but a lot of them are, you’ll look at a TED talk and people go, â€œWell, look at those people with their movements and everything, this is all rehearsed.â€ Yes, it is. It’s rehearsed so much that it looks natural and maybe there’s like a 10 percent add lip factor in the way that they’re moving. Maybe they don’t go, â€œAnd then I step over here and I look that way and I point out my left hand out to the audience, then I step over to the right and do the same thing over.â€ Maybe they just kind of do left, right, right, left, it doesn’t matter. But that’s still rehearsed, it’s still planned. You can tell when somebody has not rehearsed enough because it looks more mechanical, not because it looks over-rehearsed. Over-rehearsed actually just means under rehearsed.
Joshua: Yeah, okay. So the reason I am asking is because I presume a lot of people are listening this is there is the word leadership in the title so they want to prove as leaders. Can you just do it on your own? I have an exercise that I give my students called the Authentic Voice Exercise and it helps you develop an authentic voice. And then I found that the more public I go, the more authenticâ€¦Either you have to put on a total persona and fake it or you just got to be yourself. Something in between it’s like I feel like you get caught up trying to make up stuff that doesn’t work.
Jordan: Yeah. I can see that. When you say authentic voice do you mean literally an authentic voice or like brand voice?
Joshua: Just to sound on the outside more like you sound on the inside.
Jordan: Sure, yeah.
Joshua: Itâ€™s an interesting question, I’ve been trying to explain it but I can tell you that the effect on the students afterwards they are likeâ€¦ I started saying stuff that I never thought to say before and then people started saying back to me stuff that I’ve never heard from them before. Even when those people have known for a long time and they really liked it. And I pointed out to them thatâ€™s leadership, you by being authentic, you by not being so guarded enable them to feel not so guarded, they can lower their protections as well.
Jordan: I totally agree with that. And at my company Advanced Human Dynamics which is probably in some way similar to what you’re doing what we call that is authentic vulnerability and you find, especially in places like L.A. where there’s all these like new agey things going on, you find a lot of what we call like strategic vulnerability. So without throwing anyone under the bus because there’s a well-known author he has these dinners that are like networking dinners or whatever. And you’ll go to this thing and it’s supposed to be all these great people and then the host will say something like everyone say, â€œWhat the worst thing you’re dealing with right now. Like the thing you’re most afraid of right now.â€
And the problem is his answer is this BS rehearsed thing that he’s used like 80 times that’s like making him sound better. You can just tell, it’s an affectation to the max. You know, â€œI’ve sold millions of copies of my book. Is this my peak? What more do I have to offer to the world? That’s what keeps me up at night.â€ It’s like no, it doesn’t. You’re saying that for a reason and then everybody goes in line and goes, â€œOh, yeah, this thing’s happening in my life.â€ And then I remember when I was at this dinner I go, â€œYou know this is actually just super uncomfortable for me. I don’t really want to share anything right now.â€ I thought I was going to get one [unintelligible]. At the end of the meal, everyone’s like, â€œDude, I didn’t know that was an option. I totally would have done that. Now I’m talking about my mom’s cancer, super awkward, uncomfortable downer.â€ And another person’s like, â€œI just made mine up because I don’t have anything to share.â€ And I was like, Yeah. So we all just built a wall in this dinner where we could just have been normal people. And it would have worked a million times better.â€ So that strategic vulnerability is when I go, â€œI’m going to tell Josh about this thing I’m struggling with to get him to open up about this thing he’s struggling with.â€
It doesn’t really work because one of us or both of us just puts up a wall or a facade and then we have to like lean into that because we said it and now we’re committed to it whereas authentic vulnerability can be like you know, â€œI hate sharing stuff like this. I always feel like I just have nothing good or interesting to say and it was going to bore everyone.â€ That’s true and better but you can’t go, â€œAll right. Tell me this thing that you’re afraid of right nowâ€ to get everyone else’s flood gates to open up. It will work for a second but then everyone just kind of recoils and if you do strike gold and get someone to open up about something that’s really vulnerable for them and then they regret it because it’s just the strategic structure, they often will reel back in. It’s like this buyer’s remorse where they’re like, â€œOh, crap. I really didn’t want to share that with the group. Now I feel awkward and I want to go home.â€
Joshua: Something I wanted to ask you is to learn this stuff. The reason I’m interested in having bigger audiences forced more authenticity isâ€¦I think you answered to this actually, is do you need a big platform? Do you need a teacher or can you practice on your own and develop it on your own?
Jordan: I mean, letâ€™s see. I suppose you could practice anything on your own but I always get coaches for everything because well, first of all, I love when people go, â€œOh, you know I listened to the Jordan Harbingerâ€™s show. It’s great. You’re so talentedâ€ and I’m like, â€œNo, that’s not true at all.â€ Probably zero or even less than a normal person’s level of natural talent when it comes to speaking in front of groups, in microphone interviews, definitely nothing special. What the difference is I have a voice coach. I have a broadcasting coach. I have a production coach. I have an interview coach and I have hired these people for years, from news outlets and journalism schools and acting school to teach me these little subsets and give me feedback on everything and then my producer gives me feedback and my wife gives me feedback and my team gives me feedback. My freaking mom will listen to the show and give me feedback. And then I spent years discarding things that I think are not valid feedback or not constructive and then take the rest and try to develop internal processes to practice these things. That’s why stuff sounds good because you don’t see the scaffolding that’s been around it for a decade and change.
Joshua: Okay, so now listeners, and when I say listeners I mean me, is this hard to find them? Isn’t it expensive? Is it time consuming?
Jordan: Yes, and yes. Yeah. But it’s also the most important thing you can do. So people go, â€œMan, you do three shows a week while I only do one.â€ Well, okay. I want to do three shows a week because I want to produce that much content. Well, couldn’t you just do less work and do one and have the same amount of listeners? Maybe, I don’t know. That’s not the point though. It’s like I want to deliver more value. Yeah, it’s expensive, it’s really expensive. So what’s more important to you? Being kind of okay at this thing that you dedicated your life to or do you want to be like the best at it? Well, if you want to be the best at it, you have to hire really expensive people who are also really good at it because that’s what their time is worth and they’re going to teach you things that are going to cut years off your learning curve. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s hard to find.
I had to track down this Columbia journalism professor who is a CNN anchor and pay him just obscene amounts of money so that he would just even pay attention to what I was offering or what I wanted to get from him and then schedule the appointment and he’s busy because he’s traveling, he’s doing coverage, it’s like the last priority that this guy has. But finally, I convinced him that I was serious and hired him as a coach. You know and getting a vocal coach and doing that every week for a really long time and then getting all these production coaches and hiring consultants. Yeah, it’s expensive, they’re hard to find but I don’t know. There’s some saying like, â€œNothing worth doing is ever easy.â€ Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Yeah, it’s tough but it’s kind of like going, â€œOh, man, being fit is so hard. You know you have to go to the gym, you have to eat right, you have to buy high quality food. Yeah, that’s what you have to do.
Joshua: Actually, now that weâ€™ve been talking leadership stuff I’m going toâ€¦ Maybe this is a big shift but I want to talk about environment. Leadership and environment. What does it mean to you? Is it something that you [unintelligible]?
Jordan: I think that it makes sense to focus on our natural environment just as well because obviously we’ve evolved to survive and live and thrive in that type of environment. So when you try to change that too much, to tweak it, you’re really not doing yourself any favors.
And so when you look at things like pollution I mean I came out of the subway today to come here and some, I say a whole, but really just some normal person had just left their car idling for probably like half an hour because they were loading it and I inhaled this cloud of gross gas fumes that was already seeping down into the subway and I just thought you know how different would this whole city be if all the cars were electric? You know you’d have a power plant somewhere up in northern Bronx or Queens or something like that’s from 1950 and it’s generating the electricity and there would be charging stations and stuff like that. But imagine, just imagine how different everything would be. Or you were just talking about a highway. I don’t know if you’re going to edit out that part but if you, imagine if you just didn’t need that because people rode the freaking train, walked and biked everywhere you could fit so many more bikes on these roads if you didn’t have taxi drivers driving 90 miles an hour to try to get from Wall Street to midtown for a meeting.
Joshua: Now there are Uber drivers.
Jordan: Now there are Uber drivers, yeah. But it would be completely different. And so that step is important because when I go to other countries where they’ve actually accomplished things like that or they have bike area or pedestrian only areas it’s just a lot nicer, people are healthier, they’re happier and that kind of quality of life difference should be hugely important to pretty much everyone.
Joshua: The reason for this podcast is for me having realized that I’d like one of those changes. It makes my life better. Even in a world where the taxis are going really fast, I still prefer walking places and so forth. And so what I ask people if you offer this and this is voluntary is to find something to live by the values that you’re talking about. But here are some things that I give people certain constraints and certain loosenings. So one is that you don’t have to solve all the world’s problems all by yourself overnight.
Jordan: Ok. That’s good.
Joshua: But it has to be something you’re not already doing and it canâ€™t be you telling other people what to do. You are changing something yourself. And there has to be some measurable difference so it can’t be â€œI raised my awarenessâ€ or â€œI increased my knowledgeâ€. So it has to be some behavioral change that other people can measure something. And it could be as small or big as you want. It can be long or short.
Jordan: Yeah. I’m trying to think of what because we’re prettyâ€¦ I mean I live in California and Silicon Valley. It’s like a competition to who can be like low carbon footprint or whatever. I don’t have to think about what I can do. But I agree with your core point which is when you try things you like to change it. So for example I got an electric car and I thought, â€œOh, well this is a big change but I [unintelligible] change.â€ But then it was like, â€œWell, wait this car is more expensive. Maybe I’ll just share a car with my wife. Oh my God, how am I going to share a car? What if we need to go somewhere at the same time, we’re going to have to use Uber all the time. It’s going to be more expensive.â€
I can count on one hand the number of Ubers I’ve had to take because my wife was taking the car somewhere in the history of us sharing a car which has been I think four plus or five years now. I’ve had to use an Uber like twice or three times because she had the car and I needed to get somewhere in a car.
Joshua: So compared to having two cars 0% costs.
Jordan: Right. Yeah. I will never have new cars again. There’s no reason to ever have another car. I don’t understand why I wouldâ€¦ There’s nothing that would compel me to buy another car unless I had teenagers in the house that were driving and they were all over the place all the time. Maybe they would get a car but there would be a parentsâ€™ car and there would be a kid car. I’m not going to get a car for myself. I cannot even imagine a situation in which I would need a car and my wife would need her own car.
Joshua: To me is not what you do. Itâ€™s do you do something. Because if you do something that at leastâ€¦ Like you discovered turns out I donâ€™t need the car. It is very rare. Like a few times in a year. And that lead you to take the next step and the next step and the next step. Letâ€™s go back toâ€¦Anything coming to mind?
Jordan:. I’m sure there are. I am trying to think of what I do in the morning. You know what? I take too long of showers. I should try to limit the amount of time. I should time how long Iâ€™m in the shower and keep it reasonable. But what’s a reasonable amount of time? I have no concept of how long Iâ€™m in there? I guarantee you it’s 2 to 3 times probably twice as long as I need to be in there most days because if I’m not shaving which I also don’t necessarily need to do in the shower I bet you I’m in there just like, â€œOh, the water feels really good on my backâ€ and thinking about something completely worthless.
Joshua: Now showers are pretty tough. It’s a very pleasurable experience.
Jordan: It’s really nice. I tell myself all the time. Yes, this is a long shower but I recycle. I do like the moral licensing thing. But I share a car with my wife I have. You know I turn the faucet off when I brush my teeth. But you’re wasting gallons of water. Hot water nonetheless.
Joshua: I want to make sure if youâ€™re doing it because you think you might help other people but not yourself thatâ€™s probably not going to work very well. But I hear you saying itâ€™s more than you think you should.
Jordan: Oh, yes, itâ€™s definitely more than I should. It’s just sort of a guilty pleasure.
Joshua: So now, when someone comes up with something I say, â€œCan you make it a SMART goal?â€
Jordan: Yeah. So what I have to do is measure my current shower and go, â€œOK, this is 11 minutes.â€ I bet it’s even longer and it might even be longer. Actually, I have no concept. It’s mindless. I’m mindlessly consuming water or wasting water, I am not consuming, I am not drinking water from the shower. And then going, â€œOK, why don’t I just cut this in half?â€ And then I am going to have to figure out well, in order to do that or maybe I have to turn off the shower while I shampoo my hair as I’ve been just letting it run. So maybe I only time when the water’s running. So I can sit in the shower as long as I need to but I can only have the water running for a certain amount of time. Or maybe I don’t even need that. Maybe I can just actually just focus and get it done while the water’s running and turn it off and figure out what I need to do. Like maybe when I’m shaving I do what they did back in the day which is wipe the razor off in a glass which is just as easy.
Joshua: A lot of people think they have to have all the answers. But you are saying, â€œIâ€™ll figure it out.â€
Jordan: Yeah, I will just figure it out.
Joshua: And that will be a joy, that will be something likeâ€¦Thatâ€™s where mindfulness comes from. You donâ€™t get mindful from following other people [unintelligible].
Jordan: Iâ€™d be interested to see how long my current showers are and I think cutting it in half might be easy. I’ll say I will play by ear and then if it becomes, if it’s really easy to cut it in half like if it’s just too simple then I’ll try to cut it into a third.
Joshua: Or it might be hard. [unintelligible]
Jordan: Yeah. It might be really hard. It’s really hard to say because I’ve completely no idea at all how much water I am using or even how much time I’m in there. I do remember that when I’m supposedly in a hurry I still find it hard to get in and out of shower in ten minutes. But it’s not because I’m doing everything really fast. It’s because I’m just so used to go, â€œI can be [unintelligible] this. This feels really good.
Joshua: Yeah. You can change your values pretty quickly. Do you [unintelligible] showers?
Jordan: We have a choice. North Korea or showers.
Joshua: Oh, North Korea. I remember that we’re in a hotel that when the power went out. [unintelligible] There is a lot of stuff about North Korea.
Jordan: North Korea is a weird place. What can I say.
Joshua: They didnâ€™t have hot water so they gave us this heating elementâ€¦
Jordan: Oh, yeah. Imagine putting a curling iron into a bucket of water and then plugging it in and that was how we did hot water and it was like it just seemed ridiculously unsafe.
Joshua: Although my mom grew up and spent a few years on a farm. She grew up with an outhouse and years later when she [unintelligible] bought a house together they had to have outhouse for a while because they were doing the plumbing all by themselves and it took a little while. And everyone was like, â€œHow can you live with an outhouse?â€ She was like, â€œThatâ€™s how we grew up. No big deal.â€ And then she would say that they would have a pound of meat each week for six people of which the father had the most of it.
Jordan: Oh my God.
Joshua: So I was vegetarian and desert was apples sometimes. And I was also hiding myself because I used to eat a lot of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and stuff and now the fruit tastes sweeter than ice cream did. And I think I actually love fruit. I’m not going to stop eating fruit I think. But she [unintelligible] from having an apple sometimes. And that makes the apple tastes better.
Jordan: Yeah. I remember my grandma used to love dates. I thought these were disgusting and now I’m like, â€œOh, these are so good!â€ You can’t make candy tastes as good as the date. Itâ€™s impossible.
Joshua: They’re trying. The best thing you can do is to get it so people donâ€™t eat dates and then the candies will tasteâ€¦
Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. That’s why kids are like candy. But if you look at healthy families they give their kids fruit and the kid loves the fruit. He doesn’t eat gummy bears.
Jordan: Should we wrap with some…
Joshua: Yes. All right. I’ll give you two tips that I give everyone which Iâ€™ve learned through experiences is that two things that usually make it pretty hard although showers are like a solo thing. But usually the challenge comes from when you travel and things arenâ€™t in your control, although I donâ€™t think that will be the case with the shower. Like if people say they are going to cut their meat consumption and when they travel things get different. The otherâ€™s the people which also I donâ€™t know how much you shower with other peopleâ€¦
Joshua: So those are things youâ€¦You know things happen that you can’t predict. And I find it useful for people toâ€¦Are they going to say, â€œNo matter what, I will stick with the planâ€ or I will forgive myself every now and then.â€ Or figure out what happens but that’s something repairable. I find it useful to prepare people for things will happen that you canâ€™t prepare. Like, â€œOops, I just took a one-hour showerâ€ or something like that. Things like that will happen. I think most of the world says, â€œOh, this is too hard. I canâ€™t do it.â€ And then you figure out how you can handle that.
Jordan: So yeah. I mean what I’ll probably end up doing is going to the shower, not in the shower, in the bathroom with my phone setting an alarm that counts down and when it buzzes I get, ideally I do not have shampoo in my hair, if I do, I will immediately wash all of it off and then go and you know turn the shower off. If I havenâ€™t shaven yet, well I guess I’m shaving with the sink you know with not leaving the water running you know trying to figure out how to do that. But you’ve got to avoid whatâ€¦ My friendâ€™s wife is a dietician calls the What The Hell rule and the What The Hell rule is when you go somewhere and they are serving fries and there’s no other option, you have to eat the fries and you’re starving so eat the fries and then you go out to dinner and you can order a salad but what the hell, you had fries for lunch so just get a pizza because that’s what sounds good to you. You have to avoid that. We’re like, â€œOh, crap, I took an hour-long shower because it was mindlessâ€ or â€œOh, I don’t know what my phone is downstairs so I tried to time it and I ended up taking a 20-minute shower. Oh, screw this. This is too hard. I’m just going to not bother with it anymore.â€ You just have to give yourself permission to fail occasionally and not just fail when you want to.
Jordan: Why build the habit out of this? It’s too hard. Why build the habit out of this? Everyone else is doing it. Why build the habit out of it? I keep screwing it up.
Joshua: You were just talking about your friendâ€™s wife but you are also speaking from experience.
Jordan: Oh, yeah. I mean she just came up with the What the Hell rule which is what she tells her clients not to fall prey to you.
Joshua: I read some statistics that a significant percentage of casinos earnings are the last bet. Iâ€™ll just put it all downâ€¦
Jordan: Oh, I’ve got four hundred dollars left from my flightâ€™s leaving so I am just going to blow it all right now. Yeah, that’s ridiculous.
Joshua: So any last words forâ€¦ Before wrapping up, anything to the listeners that comes up?
Jordan: I would say that one thing that I’ve learned throughout 11 years of interviewing some of the most amazing people around is that everybody kind of starts with the same raw material. I mean sure like [unintelligible] athletic. But we all kind of start with the same raw material mindset stuff and there’s plenty of people that grew up as kids watching six hours of TV, eating Fritos for dinner but are now world class at what they do. One tiny habitat at a time.
So it’s never too late to sit around and go, â€œWhat can I shave off of my shower time?â€ or â€œWhat sort of habit can I replace television with?â€ And that’s something that I’ve taken great pleasure out of doing over the last 10 plus years is building up Jordan Harbinger show in a way that I think and hope is great. But also building myself up in a way that I hope is also great. Like I said I weigh what I weigh now. What I weigh now I weighed in high school. That’s highly unusual for somebody who’s 38 years old.
I wasn’t fat between then. In fact, I thought I was in decent shape. I just wasn’t because it was the culmination of all these bad habits. And I went, â€œIf I lost 30 pounds, I look like a cancer patient.â€ I remember saying that when my doctor told me that I was slightly overweight. I was like, â€œThat’s completely ridiculous. 30 pounds is so much!â€ Slight tweaks and habit, taking phone calls outside while walking and not ordering fried chicken when I can order a salad, do the same thing that culminated in thirty-five pounds lost. It was not something I had to focus on. Quote unquote, it just happened much like other people who find themselves a way it just happened. So habits can go in both directions. And I think people tend to look at bad habits as the only thing that can happen mindlessly but you can actually mindlessly get into really good shape too. And I think that’s an important realization.
Joshua: Can you apply this also toâ€¦ Somebody might be listening and say you’re taking small showers, we’ve got a planet… It just doesnâ€™t make a difference. You are kidding yourself.
Jordan: Yeah, but the reason that they have recycling in many states and so many cities and locales is because people collectively didn’t decide, â€œWe all need recycling.â€ It was because one family was like, â€œWe’re wasting a lot of stuffâ€ and the kids said, â€œI don’t want to do this. I want to recycle theseâ€ or â€œI don’t want to buy Styrofoam cups when you can just reuse the other ones.â€ And slowly over time people wonder, â€œWhy the hell don’t we recycle? This is ridiculous. Of course, we need to do thisâ€ and then they make a lot of it. They generally don’t make a law and go, â€œAll right, everybody has to do this now.â€ And everyone groans and reluctantly complies. It’s usually the other way around.
Maybe things like the plastic bag law in California are different where you just kind of can’t do those things. But mostly it’s a reflection of values that you build individually. You don’t just sit around and go, â€œAll right. We had a meeting and everyone decided now that gay marriage is OK.â€ People just decided to stop giving gay people a bunch of crap for partnering up and then it became law in a lot of different places.
Joshua: Yeah. I am going to add, tell me if this is consistent, the people who started it off and are happier, like they are the ones who win. Not win in the sense of competitive but like the [unintelligible] people who took the risks, they are the leaders.
Jordan: They’re leading the movement and in a way there’s a little sense of sort of being on the right side of history, I would think is also a nice feeling. And especially when you’re not holier than thou about it but you show other people why it benefits them to do these things, you become an influencer in your own way instead of just a hipster that economizing on water. Not that there’s anything wrong with that either.
Joshua: Well, thank you very much. After we close, weâ€™ll scheduleâ€¦If you are willing toâ€¦.
Jordan: Oh, yeah, sure.
Jordan: Yeah, it’ll be fun. It’ll be interesting. I’m going to definitely have to figure out the shaving thing. I take forever when I do that. But I think it’s definitely doable. I know now that I’m wasting tons of time in there and therefore tons of water. So I don’t think it’s going to be impossible by any stretch. Itâ€™s just something I need to actually think about for more than five seconds.
Joshua: So now probably this is like the technique of leaving them always wanting more and more.
Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. Leaving wanting more and more.
Hearing Jordan just take off with this challenge reminds me of my starting my first challenge of the not eating packaged food. I did what school had taught me to for most of my life which was to analyze and plan and figure out how to do it perfectly. It’s what school taught me but totally ineffective because it took me six months of planning and analyzing before I realized this wasn’t going anywhere and I just had to start. And Jordan does the opposite. And I think this is something we can all learn from. Certainly me. He doesn’t know how long his showers are, he doesn’t have all this information. He doesn’t need it to get started. He starts the challenge. No delay. I’m still learning how to do this. I love hearing that people do this so effectively.
As a podcaster, Jordan is as natural on the microphone as anyone. A lot of people who are new to this, probably me, they speak very generally. I think by speaking generally they think that they’re going to reach more people by being very general. Jordan does the opposite. He shares details about his life being vulnerable. And I think people connect with that more. I think in storytelling and sharing stuff about yourself, that kind of detail, I donâ€™t know how to do that more. I think of Jordan all the time when I’m preparing for podcast interview because sometimes I’m interviewing an author, I’ve got to read the book cover to cover because that’s what Jordan does. And I think that’s just one of the details that gets him the depth, the friendliness, the openness in the conversations that he has with his guests. That kind of integrity I think that’s fundamental for leadership. I think it’s fundamental for great life. So I’m looking forward to hearing how that translates into his challenge.
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