MGU 61 | Power Of Storytelling

 

Everybody has stories to tell. This, in itself, shows why stories are one of the most powerful things there are in the world. It has created and preserved cultures, and has been connecting and helping us in more ways than we give it credit. In celebration of the National Tell a Story Day, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk about the impact of stories and the power they hold. Sharing stories of their own, they reflect on the timelessness of the wisdom and lessons stories contain. They showcase how it has given people comfort, perspective, and hope. Going further into the top medium for storytelling, Jason and Whitney talk about the pros and cons of reading books as well as how the experience differs from reading book summaries. They then discuss how stories affect decision-making, reflecting on Tim Ferriss’ vow not to read new books published this 2020 and what it means for us in the way we spend our time and even shape our lives. Ultimately, this episode will show you how the power of stories is in the way we give meaning to them.

Listen to the podcast here:

National Tell A Story Day: In Praise Of The Power Of Storytelling

It is National Tell a Story Day. This episode is going to take a little bit of a tangent from that. Unless Jason has a story that he’s dying to tell. Let’s say you were sitting around a campfire and everybody was telling stories and you were put on the spot and you had to share the first story that came to mind. What would it be?

The time when I realized my penis was different than anybody else’s.

Are you serious?

That’s the first one that came to mind. I remember when I was a little boy. You’re very innocent when you’re little and you don’t have this idea of differences, and you don’t see skin color. When you’re little, there are no boundaries. I remember in particular, there was this one moment where I was playing with some friends of mine. We were playing soccer in the backyard and we all went in to take a bath or whatever. I remember looking at all the other little boys and being like, “Why is mine different?” I had to have this whole conversation with my mom at a young age where she explained why mine was so different. I don’t know why that was the first one that came to my mind but you asked. That’s the first story that came to my mind. This is what happens when you put me on the spot. It’s like, “He’s going to tell about the story about the time he realized his penis was different than all the other little boys.”

It made me a little uncomfortable but more as an uncomfortable joke. This is not the first time that I’ve heard that story.

I don’t recall telling you this.

On this topic, I don’t know if we’d ever do a whole episode on this.

About circumcision?

Not circumcision specifically, but I was thinking all the different ways that we feel our bodies are different from one another. 

That’s so much broader topic.

That could be an interesting story. It is interesting to me because women struggle a lot with that, but men struggle with their body image more than our society likes us to believe. I know people that felt awkward because they weren’t circumcised. Jason and I have a mutual friend who feels sad that he was circumcised.

There seems to be a massive archetypical death and rebirth of our human society taking place at once that the power of stories serves as a perspective and a comforting thing. Click To Tweet

He wishes that he could grow it back. On that point, Whitney, I’ve heard about techniques specifically using small weights that one can attempt to not necessarily regrow it, but have an effect that it almost looks foreskin by using weights to pull the skin back over it. There are a lot of interesting ways I’ve heard of people dealing with this.

I wonder as a reader, if you’ve ever reflected on this, especially because most of our audience are women, but it could be an interesting conversation with any men in your life that you feel comfortable talking to about this. I feel maybe men don’t even want to talk about it with women. 

Is it our body-shaming issues in general?

No, not general body parts, but circumcision specifically is an interesting topic and some people feel indifferent to it. That’s the way it is depending on where you grow up, what your culture and religion is and all that. We can do a whole episode on this and we could even ask our mutual friend if he would come on our show and talk about it. 

It’s a great idea because he would be a fascinating guest in general.

We’re not going to say his name, but we will ask him and see if he’d be comfortable. I bet you he would. I’m not going to make any assumptions but if I was a betting woman, I would say he would want to talk about it because he talks about it to us very openly. That could be a fascinating subject. 

I’m seeing him, so I can broach the subject with him.

How are you seeing him?

Our mutual friends Nicole has a thing that she started called the Martha Project here in Los Angeles, where she’s getting food donations and creating 300 home-cooked meals to serve the homeless. They go out with masks, gloves, protective equipment and serve these meals to the homeless because they are one of the most at-risk populations here in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 crisis. He’s going to be there volunteering to make the meals and deliver them to the homeless population in LA. I may go do that because you know how much I love doing that. With my father having battled homelessness at the end of his life, it’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart. I like to volunteer whenever I can.

For the readers, since a large part of this episode is about stories, if you’re curious about Jason’s story with his father, I believe you talked about that. If you do want to know either one of our stories, we each did an episode, episode 2 and episode 3 of this show. We shared a lot of personal stories there.

The things that we don’t talk about necessarily on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. I felt that in this show in general, we’ve been sharing a lot more vulnerable, deep aspects of our lives I don’t think that I’ve shared necessarily on other platforms up until now. This show is so precious to me and so wonderful because I’ll say we have gone deep in ways that perhaps previously we haven’t.

MGU 61 | Power Of Storytelling

Power Of Storytelling: The power of stories is that it gives us comfort, perspective, and hope.

 

That is a big part of our show is going deeper and having conversations with ourselves and other people that we bring on as guests to discuss things that they may not normally talk about. I love Miyoko’s episode when she talked about her backstory as a singer and things that she doesn’t talk about in her professional career. What would you call her?

Plant dairy.

Is that what she calls it, plant dairy? 

That’s the colloquial industry term that I’ve seen thrown around a lot, plant dairy and plant-based dairy. I don’t think that it’s a trademarked thing.

The dairy industry is very sensitive and Miyoko has been at the center of a few challenging experiences with the dairy industry. One of my favorite apps is called Overcast. It’s a great app for listening to podcasts. I haven’t researched many competitors, maybe there’s another one that does something similar. I like Overcast because you can go and create playlists and queue up episodes, so that’s been handy for me. I don’t know if you can do that in the other major podcast platforms, but there are so many that you can use. I like to bookmark episodes that I want to listen to in the future. We would recommend doing that.

This thing of storytelling, Whitney, that you’ve brought up is interesting. You created this evocative imagery at the beginning of this episode about sitting around a campfire and someone puts you on the spot. The art of storytelling in our culture is something that I thankfully am seeing preserved in certain mediums. The Moth is one thing that I absolutely love that I’ve been listening to on and off for the past years on NPR. I have gone here in LA to see some Moth StorySLAMs where people get up, there’s a subject and they tell stories about them. When I think about how I have discussed certain things in the wellness industry, when I’ve talked about my story and my struggles with depression, mental health, suicidal ideation and anxiety, whether it’s been on a stage talking to people and you’ve been there for a lot of these talks the past few years or it’s conversing through email.

The power of story, being vulnerable, and sharing with people, not our triumphs, not the winds in life, but what we’ve survived through, what we’ve learned, the heartbreak, the loss, the re-emerging from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix, which I feel culturally is happening everywhere. There seems to be such a massive archetypical death and rebirth of our human society at once taking place all around the world that the power of these stories serves as a perspective and also a comforting thing. As I’m on this riff, when we first got the shelter in place orders or when the quarantine was first starting, I had a lot of anxiety. I was talking to my mom, Susan, and she was relaying to me about when she was a young girl in Detroit, Michigan and how the polio crisis was massive. There were literally tens of thousands of kids dying or being horrifically disfigured from polio.

The fear, the stress and how everyone was gripped by like, “Is my child going to get polio?” Her as a child and her brothers and sisters, “Are we going to get polio?” She’s like, “We survived that as a human race and we’re going to survive this.” Her telling me with such vivid imagery of her growing up in Detroit during the polio crisis, it gave me comfort but it also gave me perspective with what we’ve all been dealing with COVID-19. The power of story historically gives us comfort, perspective and dare I say hope. That’s what I got most out of the conversation with her when she was telling me which is hope. We’re going to not just survive this but we’re going to be strong, abundant and healthy. It was a very soothing thing when she got into that story of her as a little girl.

It is such a big way that we, as human beings, connect with one another and learn about each other. Storytelling is something that these days we reserve it for childhood and is a reminder that that’s why we love to listen to podcasts, watch TV shows, movies and read books. Those are all stories but I don’t know if we consider them storytelling unless we step back and examine it. One thing I did that I was proud of is I read a fictional book, which I think was a good decision for me. I normally read nonfiction and go through at least one book a week if I can. I’m often reading multiple books at once or listening to some audiobooks. I love books. I was on TikTok and I came across this one TikTok where the creator was listing out her favorite books and books that had made a big impact on her. She shared five of them. In the comment section, all of the top comments were about this one book called We Were Liars.

It was such a great example of the power of social influence and when you hear enough people talking about something, you start to get curious. It definitely happens with TV shows and movies, but I don’t find that it happens often enough for books, especially fictional books unless it’s something that’s huge like Harry Potter for example. I went and looked up this book, We Were Liars, and I got the Kindle version of it. It was so good that I finished it in three days or faster than that. It wasn’t that long of a book and it was digital. I don’t know how many physical pages it was, but it was very short chapters. It was broken up into 3 or 4 sections. I wanted to finish it quickly because what everybody kept talking about in the TikTok comments was how the end of the book was shocking. I couldn’t wait to get to the end, which was such an interesting experience because I knew there was a twist coming.

It’s always interesting when you consume some story, whether it’s a visual story, an audio story or a written word and you know something is going to happen, but you don’t know what it is. That made it a little less enjoyable because I felt I was in a rush. I was so curious what was going to happen and if it was going to shock me. It did shock me even though I knew there was going to be a twist. I knew a twist was coming, but I didn’t quite expect what it ended up being even though throughout the entire book as I was reading it, I kept trying to guess what the twist would be. It was interesting. I’m not going to give it away, but it was something that I’ve seen done before. If you read the book or you have read the book, it can remind you of some other popular stories which I’m not going to mention because then I would give it away immediately. It was enjoyable and I kept reading the book thinking, “I don’t know if I like it that much.” 

Making too many decisions is often symptomatic of poor systems or processes. Click To Tweet

I wasn’t feeling into it, but I was committed to it because everyone kept saying it was good. It was one of those things where you consume some story because people are raving about it and you have all these expectations. There was a part of me that was afraid that it wasn’t going to meet my expectations. It was such an interesting experience. It was also interesting simply because I don’t read fiction that often. This inspired me to read fiction more regularly. Try to go every 4th or 5th book, read a fictional book once a month or once every other month and see how it affects me. I noticed with a lot of the nonfiction books that I read, they activate my brain in such an intense way because most of the books I read are about business, personal development and health. I’m learning versus a fictional story of any type. You could say the same thing about podcast.

If I’m listening to the Serial Podcast for example, even though that was a true story and you got invested and there were a lot of true crimes side of it, it still felt the story’s lain out for you and you could relax a little bit more than when you’re listening to an educational or informative podcast. It’s such a fascinating thing and each of us needs to do that every once in a while. A lot of people do that through TV and movies, but I would encourage people to read a book and even get a physical copy. I know you love physical books, Jason. I’m more of a digital reader because I like the convenience. I like having a small little device that it’s on. I like the fact that it wastes less paper and that I can highlight it and there’s a search for words and things like that. I like that process. When I was reading We Were Liars, I wished that it had been a physical book to have the smell, the texture and that whole experience. You feel you are getting more into the book when it’s in your hands in that way.

That’s the tactility of a physical book, as you said, the smell, the feel and the turning of the pages. According to my mother, I started reading at an abnormally young age like a year or a year and a half sooner than whatever the baseline age is most kids start reading. I had this deep love for reading, the written word and writing my entire life. Around the same time, I wanted to be a paleontologist. I remember wanting to be a writer too. I would fall asleep with books in my bed as a child as if they were stuffed animals. I would bring books to bed and cuddle with them, which is shocking that I wasn’t getting more paper cuts as a kid sleeping with books. The point you made about this book you’re reading and how it reminded you of some elements of other books or other stories. One of the things that I’ve been obsessed with my entire life, speaking of childhood, was mythology.

I remember growing up and reading the Greek, Roman and Egyptian myths about the Gods, tales, the adventures of Perseus and Hercules and Amenhotep. Those three specifically, Greek, Roman and Egyptian, I was crazy about as a kid. As I got older and started reading, we’ve referenced to many times, one of my favorites is Joseph Campbell, who is so brilliantly has taken the myths of the Bible, Koran, Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and all the ancient mythologies. The Sumerian mythologies and how those archetypes, those story elements are very much the same plot points, story arcs, good versus evil. They’re the ethical quandaries, the quandaries of love, duty and obeying God. All of these elements we still see in our modern movies and TV shows. Joseph Campbell’s point was, these are nothing new at all. The story arcs, plot points, character dramas are things that were taken from thousands of years ago from Sumeria, Rome, Greece and Egypt.

As a kid, I didn’t realize that. I remember the first time I became aware of it was when I got obsessed with Star Wars as a kid growing up in the ‘70s and I remember George Lucas talking about how obsessed he was with Joseph Campbell, the hero’s journey, and these ancient story archetypes. If you look at Star Wars, in particular Darth Vader and his arc of fall from grace, redemption, going back to the light and all of those things, these are ancient stories. There’s nothing new about them, the characters, the settings, the fashion, the dressings if you will are new but we’ve been telling these stories forever. Joseph Campbell has an amazing book about this very thing called The Hero with a Thousand Faces. It tracks these story elements throughout our history. We’ve been telling the same stories with different characters over and over again for thousands of years.

This leads me to my next point, which is something that I’ve been contemplating. I heard about this and then I decided to look into it more in-depth and take some time to reflect on how I felt about it. That is this blog post that Tim Ferriss posted. Do you know what I’m about to say, Jason?

I have no idea. I don’t think, to this point, we’ve referenced him on the show. This is the first time we’re bringing him up. I don’t know what you’re going to talk about.

It’s interesting how you go through phases. There have been times where I’ve been into Tim Ferriss’ work. I’ve read his books and I would listen to his podcasts a lot and I haven’t lately. I saw a reference to this blog post, which came out in January 20th, 2020. Some other newsletter that I’m subscribed to mentioned this and I read the little summary of it and I thought, “This is interesting.” I took the time to read Tim’s post and it’s good. I want to go through it and bring up a few points from it. Let me give you the summary. Tim is an incredibly thoughtful person. I respect him for his perspectives on life. He’s a life hacker. I don’t know if he uses that term for himself, but he’s definitely into figuring out things, experimenting, seeing what his brain does, how his body responds and all of that.

I’m always super interested in that. He started off this blog post by referencing a public statement from a renowned Mathematician named Donald Knuth. Part of this statement, he said, “Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things, but not for me. My role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration.” I thought that line about email is interesting and we can talk about that at some point. It goes back to about setting priorities, which is a little bit of the theme of this blog post, but there’s a bigger theme here, which is about making smarter decisions.

After quoting him, Tim goes on to talk about how he wants to make 2020 the year of smarter decisions. He was pondering how to specialize in speed versus finding targets that don’t require speed. That was why that line about email stuck out, specifically the line that says, “My role is to be on the bottom of things.” Tim started reflecting on how he has made many good fast decisions but has never nearly made good rushed decisions. I will point out one of the most interesting things about human behavior is a lot of us will say things like, “I need X amount of time to get things done.” Here we are in quarantine, we are mandated by the State of California and most people in the world have gone through some type of quarantine period. For us, it’s been over a month and yet have we done all of the things that we wanted to do if we had more time on our hands? 

Probably not.

MGU 61 | Power Of Storytelling

Power Of Storytelling; What makes stories the juiciest is when you have characters that have both “good and evil” in them, which is a very human thing.

 

It’s rarely time that gets us to take action. It’s about setting some priority or finding motivation. I’m sure this will also come back up in the topics of decisions. Jason’s song, the decision song, is referenced in one of our previous episodes, The Power Of “Yes” With Justin Polgar. We posted this somewhere. I remember editing a clip or something. I don’t know where that went.

Isn’t it on our Patreon page?

It might be there.

For all of our Patreons and if the audience is interested in helping us keep this podcast going because we need money to do it, Patreon is a great way to support this podcast. We have exclusive BTS, that’s Behind the Scenes clips and videos and exclusives on our Patreon account.

Tim’s very interested in making better decisions and he says that, “Fast decisions can be made from a place of calm whereas rushed decisions come from a place of turbulence and blurred judgments,” which I thought was an interesting statement. He’s asking himself, how can you create an environment that fosters better often non-obvious decisions? He started to notice a pattern within himself. He looked for single decisions that remove hundreds or thousands of other decisions. A lot of us get into this place of decision fatigue because we make one seemingly simple decision but that leads us to having to make lots of decisions as a result. It creates this domino effect. If we can strip it away and make simpler decisions or take things out of our lives that cause us to make a ton of decisions, it can add a lot less stress and take away some of the exhaustive mental energy.

Does he give specific examples? As you’re saying this, Whit, my mind starts tumbling into a myriad number of scenarios of making a decision that eliminates hundreds or thousands of other decisions. That’s a very weighty, dense statement. I’m curious if any examples are given for that.

There’s a big one here, which tie into the theme of this episode. He had to ask himself, what can he categorically and completely remove even temporarily to create space for seeing the bigger picture and finding gems? He decided that he was not going to read any new books that were published in 2020. Here are his reasons why. First of all, this statement blew my mind. This is a little on the morbid side. His first point, his first reason why he’s making this decision is we don’t have that much time left to read. He references somebody that calculated that we might only read another 300 books before we die. If you’re around Tim’s age, which is mid-40s, he’s calculating that he could only read about 300 more books before he dies. 

That’s frightening. It’s also frightening because I’m looking over at the stack of unread books staring back at me and going, “There might be 100 right there.”

I remember my grandfather said this to me or might’ve been my dad. Maybe I made this up, but I’m attributing it in my head to my grandfather who told me that he felt sad because he wouldn’t be able to read all of the books that he wanted to in his lifetime. There was always another book that he wanted to read. It’s so interesting because we take books for granted, especially growing up when in most school systems we have all this required reading. I was thinking about this too, how in high school you would have to read certain books and do reports on them and how so many people would end up doing the CliffsNotes or whatever because they didn’t want to read the book. They decided to get the summary so they could complete their homework assignments. I’ve seen there’s a bunch of adult versions, not that adults can’t use CliffsNotes but more modern versions of it. There’s a couple of websites and applications you can download.

One of my favorites is called Blinkist. It’s a great resource. It summarizes the books in both written and audio form. You could read a summary of a book in ten minutes versus spending 3 or 5 hours reading a book, however long it would normally take. Those are handy because that allows you to get the concepts of books, but I have shied away from using services like that because I don’t find them nearly as rewarding. That’s not the reason that I read. I read for all of the nuances and the quotes. As I said earlier, I love highlighting books and pulling quotes out of them. I’ve started up systems for myself with nonfiction books, where I will highlight and I will try to implement the things that I’m learning or put them into things that I’m teaching, especially when I’m coaching.

A lot of the things I read in books end up being quoted in my coaching courses. The one I’m working on, Pod Impact, I took a ton of advice that Seth Godin shared in one of his books about marketing. I was able to share that with my students and that was rewarding. Jason and I did this with The Consistency Code and Wellness Warrior Training, our programs. You could pull some of that data out of an app like Blinkist. There was another one called Summaries.com or something like that. If you are interested, they’re great depending on your reason for reading. I love getting deeper into a book and finding my own quotes. It’s not just the points, it’s about the actual words that the author uses that I enjoy. 

Sometimes, we go through the motions or do things because of pressure and fear. Click To Tweet

I also want to make a point that when we use something life CliffsNotes or Blinkist, for the record, I always disliked CliffsNotes growing up. I remember seeing other people use them. You get a plot point, you get a structure of the flow of the book but to back up what you said, Whitney, the nuance is lost. I believe that the gems that we talk about, those a-ha moments, when I’ve read summaries of books, I’ve never received a big a-ha moment or a revelatory moment as they call them of like, “This is some life-changing information.” To your point about fiction books, when I look at characters in fiction books in particular, I see myself in the heroes and the villains. That’s what makes it the juiciest is when you have characters that have both “good and evil” in them or there’s some natural energetic or intentional conflict within these people, which is a very human thing. With CliffsNotes and Blinkist, I don’t feel the nuance, those gems or those moments of reflecting and seeing ourselves in the characters, those things are not present. That’s the issue that I have with those things.

You could use a platform like Goodreads, which is my preference although I don’t use it to look for summary or anything but Goodreads has so many great quotes. I would say that I don’t know if they’re connected. You can connect to them but I don’t know if Amazon is associated with Goodreads. Goodreads is a summary of all the different top quotes and it’s a cool platform. It’s a social network because it’s designed to help you figure out what to read next, see what your friends are reading, you can rate things, you can have book clubs on there. It’s cool and I use it off and on. I haven’t gotten that into it but every once in a while, I go in there and update it when I think about it. It is great for finding quotes or looking up a quote for a book or determining if you do want to read it based on the quotes.

I don’t see any indication that this is associated with Amazon. One thing I do like about reading Kindle books and I do this through the Libby app. I don’t know if this is an international thing, but it’s definitely true in the United States. You can use your library card digitally login to Libby and borrow books, either Kindle versions or they have a non-Kindle version of certain books, but I much prefer the Kindle version because of the abilities of the app. You can also download audiobooks on there and you get them for up to 21 days, which is usually plenty of time as long as you’re not trying to read too many books at once and you stay on track with it.

What I like about Kindle, which you can use on a non-Kindle device, you can get the Kindle app on a Mac computer. You can get it on your iPhone or iPad, whatever you have. There’s a Kindle app for it. In the Kindle app when you’re reading a book, they will highlight popular quotes. I believe you can turn this off if you don’t want it, but I have it on because I find it interesting to see what other quotes people are paying attention to. Not in terms of swaying me towards a group mentality of, “They like that quote. I should like it too.” It’s more out of curiosity and then I’ll find myself reflecting on what is it about this line that so many people highlight it. You can sync up your quotes with the system and then Kindle will then find the most popular quotes of the whole book and highlight them throughout the book. It puts you into other people’s heads a little bit.

I want to say I’ve attempted to read on Kindles before. Not for any extreme length of time.

An actual Kindle device or you mean using the app on another device?

Picking up a Kindle and using it along with an iPad. I find that I’m able to read for longer, more focused periods of time with an actual physical book because I don’t get the same level of eye fatigue or eye strain that I do by staring at a screen for that long. That’s my personal thing is I find I have more stamina to keep reading longer by doing a physical book. That’s one of the reasons other than the tactility, the smell and the feel that I prefer doing physical books. I feel myself like my brain and my eyes getting tired when I use tablets.

That’s why I was asking if you use an actual Kindle because the iPad and the Kindle are designed differently. The Kindle has always been about reading books whereas the iPad is a device that happens to be able to read books. The way that your eyes respond to the iPad technically is very different because of the different lighting structure and the design of a Kindle which was always made for reading books. 

For me, it’s one of those things too that my cranky old man comes in here and goes, “Everyone should buy vinyl records, drive stick shifts and everything’s digital.” There’s part of that too.

I would say a happy medium is also to use blue blocker glasses, which is when I’m on my best behavior. My ideal is to wear my blue blockers whenever I’m reading from my iPad, especially when it’s at night because I love reading before I go to bed almost every single night. I read for about an hour or so until I get sleepy. It helps me fall asleep and it’s a nice way to end the day, keeps me off other devices and your brain will continue to think and process information while you’re sleeping. It’s always interesting to see when I wake up if I’m still reflecting on things, if I have a-ha moments or I was able to take in the information differently or if it impacted my dreams. I don’t know if I have that experience with the fatigue. That’s something I try to notice. It’s all personal preference. I don’t like having a ton of books on a shelf picking up dust and all that. I went through it. I talked about this in another episode, but I did the Marie Kondo life-changing magic of tidying up.

One of the big experiences I had through that process was going through all my books. You pick up each one and you ask yourself if it brings you joy. You ask yourself, “Are you going to read it again? could you give it to somebody? Would you loan it to somebody?” Going through that whole process, it’s so interesting how sentimental books can be. Through that process, I was able to go through my books and weed out which I wanted to keep the physical copies of. I also think I mentioned this but I’ll say it again since we’re talking so much about books is that I took any book that I was on the fence about and looked it up and Libby, borrowed it, then highlighted all the important parts. It took the time to go through each book I had page by page, find my highlights in the physical book, and highlight them in the digital book because you can sync your highlights to your Kindle account on Amazon. Your highlights are stored online for you to access any time. That made it easier for me to let go of books that I was keeping because of all my notes. 

MGU 61 | Power Of Storytelling

Power Of Storytelling: Fast decisions can be made from a place of calm, whereas rushed decisions come from a place of turbulence and blurred judgments.

 

It was a process. I have this memory of taking a stack of books to the laundry mat with me. Where I was living at the time didn’t have a washer and dryer. I would go to the laundry mat every once in a while and be sitting there for 45 minutes at a time in between the cycles of laundry. I took a stack of books with me in the laundry mat and highlighted them as I was waiting for my laundry to finish. It took at least 10 to 20 minutes per book to go and sync up all the highlights. It was neat because it also got me to reread them and see what has changed over time, which highlights still had meaning for me, highlights have I forgot about, highlights I was thinking about differently. I enjoyed that process. I’m such a person that enjoys researching that having all that data digitized is helpful because I like to go back and re-reference it. Having to go into a book and try to find the page that something was on is not a process I enjoy but by having it digital where you can type a keyword into your Kindle notes, it’s awesome.

I enjoy that part. The process of tidying up gave me an opportunity to reflect on which books did I want. We should go back to Tim’s blog post anyways because there are some good points in here. He said that he received typically dozens of unsolicited books every week and he would donate all of these books to libraries, but it was waste of trees. It was consuming energy of his own and the transportation. He had to go to each individual publisher and ask them not to send books anymore. I started thinking about that with myself. I get offered a book once a month and nowhere near the frequency of Tim, but people will approach me asking me to review their books. Honestly, I’ve been sent a lot of books that I still haven’t had a chance to read or only read part of it. I ended up never doing a full review or it took me a long time to do it. It did feel a bit of a waste to me. It also isn’t quite fair to the publisher either. That was something I reflected on. Do you still get offers to review books, Jason? What do you say to them?

I still do get offers to review but also endorse books. That’s another thing that I get is book endorsements more frequently. I don’t get as many as I did when I had the TV series on. I remember that on Cooking Channel when I had How to Live to 100. I was getting a deluge of offers to review an endorse books, but a handful, maybe 5 or 7 a year now at max.

That was another thing that Tim wrote about in here, which he’s had a public policy of not blurbing books because it was too hard for him to pick and choose among friends. He had to have a blanket statement about not only was he not blurbing, but now he’s not reading them. He said in here, “Things can and do get uncomfortable.” He’s still asked in a weekly basis to blurb books. It’s so interesting to see what other people go through and put things into perspective for our own lives. Another reason that he decided not to read any new books in 2020 is, he’s susceptible to the fear of missing out aka FOMO when it comes to new and popular books. He’s always found refuge in books, but being wedded to the identity of the well-read guy can breed keeping up with the Joneses consumption. Taking new books off the table for 2020 also takes that type of FOMO off the table. He can’t compulsively scratch the itch of new, so he’s better able to calmly use other criteria.

The part that jumps out at me, in particular, is the aspect of the FOMO and his perception of himself as being someone who is regarded as well-read. This is so wonderful. It hearkens back to the episode we did about titles and identity. It’s one of my favorite episodes that we’ve ever done still to this day. It hearkens to this, at least what I’ve been feeling during this shelter at home process that, “You’re an entrepreneur. You should be productive. You guys should be scaling the podcast. You should be getting a lot more sponsors. You should be making this kind of money. You should be seeing this as an opportunity to reinvest your wealth.”

My version of this, if I can go on a small tangent is, “We’re entrepreneurs in the wellness field, so we ought to be doing X, Y and Z.” Are we being productive? Yes. Are we moving the needle forward? Yes. Are we being psychotic about it? No. I go back to this thing he said of being perceived as someone who’s a well-read person. I believe that this part of identity and perception especially as an artist, a creator, an entrepreneur during this whole shelter at home thing has been magnified of like back when the black plague was happening, that’s when all of these magnum opuses of humanity were written. It’s like, “I don’t feel like writing my magnum opus.” That was a tangent, but to me in my head it made sense.

That’s an ongoing theme when it comes to our personal and professional lives. Just like Tim said, it’s keeping up with the Joneses and trying to be perceived as a certain type of person. That fear of missing out is huge and it’s also status anxiety. It’s this feeling that if you don’t measure up to other people or you don’t keep your status, then you’re not going to be relevant, important, loved or whatever else your status is attached to. It’s always interesting to reflect on your own behavior and the behavior of other people. I get excited about books. I read a lot and whenever I read a good book, I want to talk about it and I want to encourage other people to read it. I find that the majority of people that I talk to are not as into reading as I am. It’s on the rare side or rare in terms of the people that I’m around.

Can I bring up one thing and we’ll get back to the Tim article? Why is it that in terms of our colloquialisms, how we speak, we always hear, “He was very nonchalant about it.” We never hear, “He was a little too chalant for my taste.” Is chalant even a word? It is a word. Chalant is a word. Chalant would mean to be careful, attentive or concerned as in nonchalant would be not being careful, unattentive or completely disconcerned. Apparently, chalant is a word that no one uses, “I like him. He acts very chalant around women.”

That sounds a word that you would use, Jason, in your vocabulary.

I hereby declare on This Might Get Uncomfortable that chalant will be in my vocabulary from this point forward.

It’s a nice-sounding word too. I like that word. I thought you were going to say, when we see accidents happening for some reason, that’s one of our favorite types of humor as a society. We talked about this before, we often reference that video of that guy falling down the escalator and it looked like it hurt but he got up and he was completely fine. That made it funny. If he was hurt, it wouldn’t have been funny. When we see accidents that look like they’re going to be bad and then end up not being as bad. It’s funny and it’s so interesting. What is it about the brain or human consciousness where we like seeing accidents happen? Is it laughing because it’s a form of release or relief where, “It didn’t happen, now we can laugh about it?” It’s like when you trip and you don’t fall. You almost always laugh afterwards. That’s also partially embarrassment. Is it second-hand embarrassment? Is that why we’re laughing?

Learning how to make the right decisions for ourselves is a huge life skill. Click To Tweet

I bet there are studies about this.

If you think about it, a lot of the stories that are in our heads have some experience like that. There’s either a tragedy, something that was scary or something that was a close call. I don’t know if we’ve ever talked about this in the show. I feel like we referenced it once, Jason. We’ve told this story so many times to our friends, but our trip to Utah where we got lost and we were all alone in the National Park. We didn’t know if we were going to have to spend the night in that park. Should we tell that story or should we say that for another time? Should we get back to Tim? Part of me is bored telling that story because we’ve told it so many times. Have we ever publicly shared it? 

I have an idea. Why don’t we save it for another one? We can talk about times that we thought we were going to die but didn’t. That’s a whole another episode.

Do you really think that we were going to die? 

We’re teasing them.

That’s good. That’ll makes them want to stick around for the podcast. 

Take tune for our not near-death episode, we’ll call it not near-death experiences. I was thinking about covered by scorpions. I was thinking about waking up with a scorpion in my mouth. I wasn’t thinking about death, but you’re going to wake up with baby scorpions all over your body.

I wish we could have known what was around. That was the most interesting thing of that experience was that since it was pitch dark, we had no idea if there was anything even threatening us. We could have potentially been stocked by some wild animal, some crazy bug of some sort creature or even another human being. A lot of things could have happened to us out there. 

I was thinking about creatures, to be honest. If we go back to two things, number one, the laughing at accidents and going back to Tim’s article, we’ll put a pin in this near-death experience because it is a great story and I would love to tell it. There is a psychiatrist from Stanford who talks about this thing of why we find it funny when we see people falling down or having an accident. His name is William Fry. He’s a laughter researcher and clinical psychiatrist from Stanford. He says, “Every human develops a sense of humor and everyone’s taste in humor is slightly different but certain fundamental aspects of humor help explain why a misstep or accident may elicit our laughter. The first requirement is something called a play frame, which puts a real-life event in a non-serious context and allows for an atypical psychological reaction. These play frames explain why most people will not find it comical if someone falls from a ten-story building and dies.

In this instance, the falling person’s distress hinders the establishment of a non-serious context. If a woman casually walking down the street trips and flails hopelessly as she stumbles to the ground and brushes herself off, the play frame may be established and the observer may find the event amusing. Another crucial characteristic is incongruity, which may be seen in the improbable or inconsistent relationship between the punchline and the body of a joke or experience. People falling down are incongruent in the normal course of life in that they are totally unexpected. You don’t expect someone to fall down in the middle of the street. Despite our innate empathetic reaction, “You poor baby,” our incongruent instinct may be more powerful than that, provided that the fall event establishes a play frame, in a non-serious context, laughter will likely ensue. Play frames and incongruity are psychological concepts. Only has our study of the brain and neurobiology caught up with them in the early ’90s.

The discovery of mirror neurons led to a new way for us to understand the incongruity aspect of humor. When we fall down, we thrash about as we try to catch ourselves and stop the fall. The neurons in our brain control these physical movements. When we observe another person stumbling and falling down, some of our own neurons fire as if we were the person doing the falling. These mirror neurons in our brain are duplicating the patterns of activity in the falling person’s brain.” My hypothesis, the researcher says regarding the relevance of this mechanism for humor behavior is that the observer’s brain is “tickled” by the neurological ghost created by the mirror neurons. The observer experiences an unconscious stimulation from that ghost’s sensation, therefore reinforcing the incongruity perception. We assess whether it’s serious or not like a person falling from the top of a giant building, you’re not going to laugh but a person being like, “Oops, I spilled my Frosty.” I’m like, “Ha, you spilled your Frosty. Sorry, bud.”

MGU 61 | Power Of Storytelling

Power Of Storytelling: The fear of missing out is about status anxiety. It’s this feeling that if you don’t measure up to other people, then you’re not going to be relevant, important, or loved.

 

You wouldn’t have thought of that. It was more of your voice. You’re good at that and also why did you say Frosty? Of all things a person could have spilled. Why was it a Frosty? 

I imagine the consistency of a Frosty making an amazing splatter pattern. The Frosty is everywhere. It’s where my mind wants.

This is a good time to give a quick little plug for the brand Space Shake. If you’re looking for a less processed sugar-free or no sugar added, whatever the right term is, it tastes great. It’s by some people that we’ve known for years. We’ve watched this company evolve over time and they have three flavors, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. At least one of them tastes a lot like a Frosty. Jason, you’ve had them. You gave me the coffee flavor perhaps.

I gave you the chocolate flavor. It is the chocolate flavor that tastes the most a Wendy’s Frosty.

They’re quite easy to make at home. It doesn’t get exactly right much like many products out there. They often taste better in the package because the people making them have spent a lot of time developing their recipes and processes. If you would prefer to make it at home, you could combine coconut milk and a sweetener of choice. It’s that simple. You could add in vanilla for the vanilla flavor, coffee for coffee or some cacao powder to make it chocolatey. If you blend that together, it tastes very similar to the Space Shake and very similar to a Frosty. A little tip for you there because if you’re like me and used to love Frosties before you started being more concerned with what ingredients you consume, there are times that I wish that I could have a Frosty. Have you had a vegan Frosty alternative that was designed to be a Frosty, Jason?

I have not. I’ve had many forms of non-dairy milkshakes, malt and other classic beverages, but never have I found something that was trying to create a vegan dairy-free version of a Frosty. There’s maybe a very small niche market for that.

There could be. This is a good time for the readers to chime in. Maybe you have a great recipe that you found. You’ve been to a wonderful restaurant or cafe that has a plant-based unprocessed alternative to Frosty. We would love to hear it so you can chime in at the website, in the show notes section at Wellevatr.com. Before we wrap up this episode, I do want to finish out Tim’s article here and see if there were any other points that I wanted to bring up. It’s a great article. Tim has a great website, podcast, books and he was a wonderful man. I’d never met him but I would assume based on his online persona, but who knows if that’s true. 

He’s prolific. He lives in Austin, Texas. In case anybody wants to go meet him.

He said this last reason for not reading a new book that was published in 2020 is that he’s prone to procrastinating via reading. “It’s a socially acceptable form of avoiding things, but let’s make no mistake. Reading is often used to avoid things. If I want to write more, for example, it behooves me to dramatically limit the types of book I’m allowed to read.” What are your thoughts on that, Jason? 

Dramatically limits the types of books.

Meaning he’s saying he procrastinates by reading and I think I do this too. I procrastinate via research which is usually done by reading something.

It's not the stories that we consume, it's the stories that we think. Click To Tweet

I was about to say that I have observed that there is a form of justification that I will employ when I do a lot of reading which is, “I’m expanding my being and my knowledge base. I’m becoming a better person so take that list of things to do for work and my two businesses, take that. I’m growing. Did you hear that to-do list? I’m growing.” I have this weird mental justification that I use. I’ve observed that within myself.

The next part of the blog post is a lovely quote that is something else I’d love to hear your thoughts on, Jason. It’s from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

That’s deep and I feel very poignant to a lot of things happening in our society. What comes up for me is that there is a lot of systemic inequality financially in terms of our healthcare, in terms of a lot of cultural support or governmental support. I feel like the image that I get of someone falling into the river, it brings up a lot of the things that we need to address in our society, in the inequality in resource distribution. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind. That’s a deep quote.

I wasn’t entirely sure why Tim was using that. This is the next line. I assume this is him explaining that quote, “Making too many decisions is often symptomatic of poor systems or process,” because that’s where he’s getting too exhausted from things. He also had a quote related to guilt from Maria Popova who said, “Guilt is the flip side of prestige and they’re both horrible reasons to do something.” Tim started to ask, “In his life, where am I making decisions or saying yes out of guilt? Can I create a blanket policy that makes it easier for me to say no? In what areas am I making lots of decisions or sending a lot of communication? Are they concentrated anywhere? Can I create a blanket policy that makes it easier for other people to make those decisions? In what areas am I making a lot of decisions or sending a lot of communication? Are they concentrated anywhere? Can I create a blanket policy that entirely removes the need to make those decisions?”

That’s his reasoning for vowing to focus on no new books so that he will be able to have more time freed up and do less procrastinating and not feel the need to blurb books, read books or manage his time, feel like he’s missing out all these different reasons. It’s definitely given me a lot of food for thought because I haven’t viewed books that way. It’s an interesting perspective and it’ll bring more awareness. I don’t feel quite ready. It scares me to think of not reading books, but I want to reflect on why I’m reading it. What are my motivations? What do I feel around it? That’s something that I’ve been doing a lot of is tuning in to why I make certain decisions. I had a couple of interesting experiences on two ends of the spectrum. For my personal brand Eco-Vegan Gal, I was approached by a few different sponsored opportunities. Sometimes they come in different forms and a couple of them came with so much ease and grace.

It was easy for me to make a decision about whether or not to do them. There was this one opportunity that was tough for me to make a decision on. I realized it felt hard because of the fear of missing out. I was afraid that I would miss out on some related opportunity. The opportunity at hand was not that appealing to me and I had to evaluate it before I said yes or no to it. I had to step back and think like, “Would I enjoy this? Would this have a ripple effect that was greater than the actual process? How much time would be involved? Did this feel in integrity and alignment with who I am?” A lot of me was saying no to those things, but I still wanted to do it. That was because of the fear of missing out. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this, but sometimes we do things that we don’t enjoy because of what can happen in the future. 

The perceived reward.

Yes, or the long-term benefit.

For the perceived potential of a reward, not a guarantee.

I find this too with readings. This happened now that I think about it. I was listening to an audiobook and at first, I enjoyed it, but then I found myself listening to because I wanted to finish it, not because I was continuing to enjoy it. That’s something that’s shifted a lot over the years is sometimes you start reading a book and you don’t finish it because it’s not what you thought it was going to be. I struggle with that because I like to finish things. I don’t like that feeling of not finishing a book, but reading a book takes a lot of time. The average audiobook is at least 3 to 6 hours long and that’s a lot of time. Even if I’m listening to it while I’m driving or while I’m taking a walk, there are other things that it could be doing during that time. Other things I could be listening to, I could be having conversations. I could be doing my own version of a meditation. We have to be mindful of how we spend our time in tapping into those feelings of, are you doing these for the right reason? That’s such a great point that Tim is making here is that sometimes we go through the motions or we do things because of pressure and fear.

If we tap into it, we can more easily make decisions. For lack of a better term in this moment like a muscle we need to work on is listening to our bodies and having greater self-awareness about our motivations. A lot of times, we make decisions based on things that don’t feel true to us. If they don’t give us a great enough reward overall, whatever that reward may be, then they can feel like a major waste of time. Going back to one of Tim’s original points about only having the literal time in your life to read 300 more books, which may or may not seem a lot. The point is that we don’t have as much time as we think we do. We have to be very mindful of what we decided to do with every moment. Learning how to make the right decisions for ourselves is a huge life skill. One of the greater lessons that I have been working on myself and it’s interesting how that has a big theme in terms of book reading, which feels like a big part of my life.

MGU 61 | Power Of Storytelling

Power Of Storytelling: A huge part of self-awareness is paying close attention to how you react to people socially.

 

It’s such an interesting topic because this idea that we have to do things we don’t enjoy or suffer through the experience of something for the potential possibility of reward afterward. That’s deep, that hits me because that’s something that I still engage in. One thing that you and I were talking about through tax was the idea of making decisions out of distress or desperation. In particular with the COVID crisis and shelter in place and the economy grinding to a halt, I’m observing myself in moments of projections of fear, panic or lack, wanting to make desperate decisions. I’ve thankfully garnered the presence of mind to observe myself feeling, desperate, anxious and fearful and going like, “You don’t want to make a decision from this place.” Whether that’s work or I was like, “I should sell my car. I need the money.” There have been a million versions of this. It’s so interesting you’re talking about this because there’s this idea that if I endure pain or something horrible now, I’m going to get rewarded for it later. That’s a deep psychological mechanism for a lot of people, myself included.

It’s interesting that this topic of reading books and stories, all of this also applies to any type of input generally for entertainment, but also for knowledge. There’s so much information out there. You could apply this to watching TikTok videos because TikTok videos are storytelling. That’s somebody sharing a story of their lives trying to entertain you somehow. Entertainment is a huge part of our culture and in our lives as human beings. We thrive on it. We crave it and we can also become very addicted to it. We can become addicted to watching TV, watching movies, reading books, listening to podcasts and audiobooks and creating stories. It’s a huge role in our lives. The more that we step back and examine it and the purpose that it serves in our lives is key.

I have to reflect on my usage of social media and I notice a lot about myself through that, especially with TikTok. I have a lot of different reactions to it. I find it’s mostly pleasurable and stimulating in a positive way. Every once in a while, I had a couple of moments where I was spending time on TikTok and I spend a lot of time on there more than other platforms. I don’t know if I mentioned this in the show, but I used to watch YouTube fairly frequently. I’ve spent a huge part of my career creating content on YouTube. I used to spend a lot of time on Instagram, but now I spend all of that time on TikTok instead. I do that because I’m fascinated by it. I do that because I enjoy seeing other people’s lives. It has been a very positive experience. Every once in a while, I get triggered by it. I get into the comparison trap from it and it brings up intense emotions that I have to navigate.

If you’re not aware of the role of storytelling, it can have some negative effects on you. You can watch a scary movie and have nightmares. You could watch a reality TV show and feel like it was a waste of your time or you getting to the comparison trap. A lot of those shows are highlighting incredibly good-looking people or you could watch it and start to feel resentful. I feel that way sometimes with reality TV and I see these people that don’t feel they’re making, in my opinion, a positive or not playing a beneficial role in society, which is such a major judgment. I’ll be honest in that I feel that way sometimes. You watch these dating shows, for example, there’s this show on Netflix I watched for entertainment purposes. It’s a new dating show that they have. They’re highlighting how these women are more beautiful than they are intelligent or at least that’s what they want you to think by watching the show.

It’s so easy to get into that judgment place of, “Why are these people on TV? They’re going to make all this money and become famous from it. They’re not even contributing anything of value.” That’s a big, for lack of a better term, judgement that we place on people that we see in entertainment. If you step back and notice how you’re reacting to things and all the different assumptions that you make, it shows you a lot about your perspective on the world and what you think of is valuable. The very people that make these judgments, myself included, find a lot of enjoyment watching those people. It’s this bizarre relationship where sometimes you hate-watch things. I’m only watching this because I don’t like it. I’m only watching it because I want to have an opinion on it. I’m only watching it to make fun of somebody. That evokes a lot of very uncomfortable feelings for me and yet that’s a huge part of storytelling in our culture.

It’s so interesting you bring it up because you said hate-watch. Jackie Sobon, of Vegan Yack Attack who shot my book, Eaternity, and has had several best-selling cookbooks. She was talking about hate following people on social media. I was like, “What is hate following?” She’s like, “They annoy you or you love to bash their shit so you follow them.” I’m like, “I wonder if low key, I’m hate following anyone and don’t know it.” If I think about who I follow on social media and I’m going to be a broken record here. I’ve been meaning to do a social media purge for a while and have thought if I unfollow twenty people a day over the course of this lockdown, I’ll get it done. When she said that hate following people, I’m like, “I don’t have any enemies.”

We talk about storytelling and about the whole thing we have around the archetype of an enemy or an evil one and, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” that classic quote that we’ve all heard of. If I think about it, I don’t have any enemies or adversaries. That is such a huge part of the archetypes of storytelling. We see that in Hollywood. We see it in our professional sports the adversaries, rivals and enemies. If I get down to it, Whitney, I don’t think I have any enemies or rivals in my life. I don’t think that those archetypes exist for me, which is very interesting to see that because that is such a deeply embedded part of our psyche as humans in our storytelling.

I try to reflect on that too. A huge part of self-awareness is to pay close attention to how you react to people socially. I’ve noticed that within myself. Sometimes I will go and check in and somebody on social media, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or TikTok because I use that so much and I’ll find myself checking in to see if there’s anything that triggers me. It’s like, “Have they done anything that I can judge?” That’s more of it. Whenever I catch myself doing that, it is a humbling experience because that’s not something that I feel proud of by any means. Those are the things that I’m afraid of other people doing to me. A lot of the times when you are thinking that somebody is going to think something poorly of you, it’s a great time to ask yourself, “Do you think that way about other people?” Likewise, when you catch yourself doing that to other people, are you doing that because you do that to yourself a lot?

If you’re body-shaming somebody, are you body-shaming yourself a lot or vice versa? Are you body-shaming yourself and thus, shaming other people so that you can drag them down to your level? A lot of our entertainment is based around feelings like that. Are these archetypes on reality TV shows, for example, created simply so we can feel better about ourselves because there are sides of humanity that we don’t agree with. That’s a huge part of human storytelling. The Joseph Campbell story structure and also religion too. If you look at the stories in the Bible, the lessons there, what they teach us about how to live and whether we view things through a lens of right or wrong.

A lot of entertainment is based on evoking strong reactions. We look at that show Tiger King on Netflix. That had a massive flood of reactions and how it creates a conversation. People start watching things because they want to be part of the conversation or they don’t watch it because they don’t agree with what happens or what they think happens in it and they don’t want to be part of the conversation. No matter what a story like that is having a huge ripple effect, whether you consume it or not, you still have some opinion on it. That story is played a big role in our lives no matter what.

There’s also this deeply fractured part of our value system in our human society. It is this. When you talked about looking for ways to judge people and a mirror of how we make those same judgments about our self. Celebrity, fame and wealth is one thing that I’ve seen a lot, especially during this crisis of shaming people for their wealth and their privilege. Examples of that, specifically about Ellen DeGeneres, David Geffen, some of these people that have been publicly skewered for some of their quote insensitive comments or insensitive ways of being during the COVID-19 crisis and being on their yacht in the middle of the ocean or in their $45 million mansion, whatever it may be.

Ultimately, the power of stories is in the way we give meaning to things. Click To Tweet

The point I want to make is it’s a little bit mixed signals and it’s a little bit of a convoluted value system in our society encourages us to chase material wealth, celebrates, deifies fame, celebrity, professional athletes, musicians, actors, entertainers, especially when they’ve done well. During this crisis, I’ve seen a lot of privilege shaming. On the one hand, it’s like, “Let’s celebrate them because they’ve made a bunch of money and they’re famous. They do their art and we all celebrate them.” It’s like, “Don’t you flaunt it. No. If you flaunt it right now, fuck you for flaunting it.” It’s a bit psychologically twisted and a little schizophrenic because it’s like, “We celebrate you and you’re amazing and we’re going to give you all this money and privilege, but don’t you flaunt that privilege, not like this and not right now.” It’s very strange. I’ve been observing that the past month and a half and it’s so interesting to watch people shame famous and rich people.

This conversation is definitely bringing light to the fact that storytelling is a much bigger part of our lives. We realize because it’s not the stories that we consume, it’s the stories that we think. The reference to the Bible is a big point too. The stories that were told about how to live right, how to live well is perceived as bad and wrong. All the different interpretations. Human beings are playing an endless game of that telephone game we played as a kid where one person hears something or says something and then everybody else has their different interpretations based on how they heard it and how they’re passing it on. It gets very convoluted. We have to step back and examine what stories have we been told and how are we interpreting them and then how are we telling those stories to ourselves and other people. What role are we playing? What is true?

Is anything true? Is there anything that factual or is it all a matter of perception? Even if we don’t think that we story tell very much, we do a lot more than we realize and we’re also greatly impacted by stories. That’s something I spend a lot of time reflecting on is what stories have I been told and how has that impacted my outlook on the world, for better or for worse? If you step back and say, “I don’t need to believe this story, is this story serving me?” That also ties back into Tim’s point here is are those stories that he was reading in a book, whether fictional or nonfictional, were those serving him? Were they helping him make the right decisions for themselves? That’s the biggest point. If we tie everything into a nice little bow if we can step back and ask ourselves, what are we consuming? What are we putting out there? What is our input and our output? How is that shaping our lives and having a ripple effect in all the lives around us?

It’s a wonderful bow and ultimately the power of story in the power that we give meaning to things. That’s a big part of how we interpret stories. Stories around what has happened to us or what we are currently experiencing. The stories of other people’s lives that we read and perhaps be become inspired by, disgusted by, reviled by or celebrate. It’s about the meaning because the stories themselves are words, concepts, story arcs, and characters. As we interpret those stories, give meaning to them or don’t give meaning to them. We want to thank you for joining us for this episode talking about the power of story and meaning in our lives.

We have some great free resources like You Are Enough and also our book From Chaos To Calm. I’m talking about how to battle anxiety so great resources. We’ve got great programs and always releasing new content for you to live your best life mentally, physically and spiritually. Stay tuned for another episode coming soon. Again, we will have some great guests to help you thrive in all areas of your life because that’s something we are incredibly passionate about. Thanks so much for listening and we will catch you with another episode soon.

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