MGU 155 | Giving Up On Dreams

 

When the world tells you to keep pushing towards making your dreams come true, giving up can be difficult, most especially if you felt that that very dream does not serve you anymore. How do you know whether to keep going for it? Is it okay to be average and give up on your dreams? Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen tackle this uncomfortable dilemma that many of us face. They dive deeper into the systems that make it seem wrong to become average, the capitalistic mentality around it, societal conditioning, and the subconscious belief systems. Through it all, Jason and Whitney remind you that it is okay to be where you currently are now, even if that means giving up on your dreams. As Terry Crews once said, “Sometimes your greatest dreams must be destroyed to make way for something better.”

Listen to the podcast here:


 

What’s Wrong With Giving Up On Your Dreams And Being Average?

I am bringing back a subject that has been teased for a long time now. Any longtime follower of the show will know what I’m talking about. I tend to foreshadow and tease like the best directors out there. For a little time, I wanted to be a director in my life, Whitney. You and I have a shared film background from school. With the foreshadowing I’m talking about, it’s something that’s been on my mind for a long time. I keep getting interesting quotes, perspectives, seeing interviews and videos pop up. It’s interesting in life sometimes when you have something that might be brewing in your subconscious or something that you’re daydreaming about, and you see the serendipity of life reflected back to you in many forms.

I had the pleasure of seeing a quote. I’ve never quoted this person on the show before. There is the first time for everything. It is the actor Terry Crews. He said, “Sometimes your greatest dreams must be destroyed to make way for something better.” This has got me ruminating a lot. We’ve talked about dreams in the past. We’ve had this subject interspersed naturally through our conversations with some of the amazing artists, content creators, and entrepreneurs we’ve had here on the show and their journey. This idea of dreams is interesting because it’s a double entendre for me.

Number one, in the context of what I’m talking about with Terry Crews, it’s this idea of these visions that we have. His intentions that we want to manifest, this version of our life, that we hope to create one day and that one would categorize under dreams. Actual dreams that we have while we’re sleeping is also a super fascinating subject. I want to dive into that because I’m in a curious place where sometimes I wonder and I want to throw the ball back to you, Whitney, because this is maybe a good way to kick this off. There’s a lot of rhetoric out in the world when it comes to success coaches, mindset people, life and wellness people. The people you and I tend to associate with like, “Never give up on your dreams. Keep going. Goonies never say die.”

There’s a whole lot of phrases out there why we should never give up on our dreams, but maybe there are times when it is appropriate to give up on our dreams. The question to me becomes always, “How do we know whether to keep going with something in life or whether to give up?” Giving up has this negative stigma around it. There’s so much negativity around like, “Never give up. Don’t give up. Keep pushing until you make your dreams come true,” but maybe sometimes it is appropriate to give up. I’m curious how that hits you in terms of how do we know whether to keep pushing and keep striving versus, “This is not my thing anymore. Maybe it wasn’t ever meant to be my thing. Maybe I’m not going to make it to the NBA,” says the fifteen-year-old Jason and walks away.

I know that you’ve been wanting to talk about dreams for a while and I thought that you meant dreams like sleep dreams. It’s interesting to hear you talk about this and I’m glad that you finally feel like you can because we’ve had a lot of more curated episodes as we went through the whole Take Charge! series to talk about The Consistency Code and all of that. It is fascinating to reflect on this while we’re in the midst of promoting The Consistency Code as we have been on social media. I’ve been thinking about different ways that we can explore what it means to be consistent. That often leads me to examine people’s relationships with the things that they’re doing and why they’re doing it, because there are different ways to look at our choices in life.

Sometimes we feel like we don’t have a choice. Sometimes we feel like we do have a choice. Sometimes we have big goals and we think if we work hard enough, we’ll get them. Sometimes we have big goals and no matter how hard we work on them, the chances of us achieving something are very slim. Sometimes that’s simply because the odds are working against you for whatever reason, whether there’s a lot of competition in something or perhaps, the requirements make it impossible in some cases. Your age could be a reason why you could or couldn’t do something. If you’re too old, you’re never going to get that chance again. Unlike when you’re too young, you just wait your turn.

It’s interesting to examine this during COVID because one thing that’s fascinated me is on TikTok, a lot of younger people that are in college have been talking about how incredibly challenging it has been to go through a pandemic at that age. This is the time of their life that they’ve been looking forward to for so long. This is the time where everybody’s been telling them, “Wait until you get to college. College is great. You can finally do what you want and have your freedom.” Suddenly, the college experience has changed so much. Some of these kids are thinking, “It’s being taken away from me. I may never be able to have that experience I’ve been looking forward to my whole life because the pandemic changed everything.”

That’s also the case for a lot of people examining how the pandemic changed their travel plans, their relationships, the holidays, and the way that they were doing things. Maybe some people set themselves up for success. My heart goes out to people who opened a restaurant right before the pandemic hit. How are they possibly going to succeed? Some of them have made it through. Some of them have held on or some cases even thrived.

A great example is I got takeout from Pura Vita Pizzeria, which opened during COVID. It was so busy. They were ten minutes behind my order. There are all these people eating outside. There were all these takeaway orders. It was unbelievable what they have done. Granted, they already had established themselves with their restaurant, which is next door to the pizzeria, but still even to see that they have two businesses and they’re vegan, they are thriving. That’s exciting.

There are certainly examples of how people can overcome all the odds and get what they want. Some people feel like they’ve been waiting their whole life for something and it doesn’t work out for them for some reason. You see things like Olympic stories. People that have been working their whole lives to get into the Olympics, and then one false step causes them to lose their chance at the Olympics. Because of how infrequent the Olympics happen, they may never get a chance at that again. There are certainly examples in life where we can’t control whether or not our dreams come true.

There are also times where we might feel like we have control, but no matter how hard we try, it’s not working out the way that we want to. We start to internalize that and get into a place of self-blame. The question becomes, whatever circumstances led you to this point of wondering, should you give up on your dream or do I have to give up on my dream? It’s such an individual decision. There’s no right or wrong choice there. You have to decide as a person, “Are you okay with that?” If you are forced to give up on your dream, then maybe it’s a relief. Maybe you go through that mourning process and you say, “For whatever reason, this was taken away from me and now I have to deal with it and pivot my life.”

It’s interesting this idea of failing at your dreams to only have something better come along. It’s almost like a slippery slope to me. The two examples I can think about that I have seen come up online is Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, talking about his original dream, which was to be a successful NFL player. He played college football at the University of Miami. I believe Dwayne Johnson also played a little bit in the Canadian Football League if I’m correct. In 1995, he made his debut in the World Wrestling Federation, WWE, and the rest is history as they say. His post on his Instagram account was this whole thing of like, “I never made it to the NFL and my dream never came true.”

He’s talking about how life redirects you and now he’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars and he is the most famous action star in the world. It’s like this thing may crush you, but on the other side of it is something incredible and amazing beyond your wildest dreams. It was the nature of his post. I’ve also seen Lewis Howes’ posts of similar things of him being injured, having his dream as a professional athlete, sleeping on his sister’s couch and having no money. Now Louis is a millionaire and a successful host of the School of Greatness Podcast and all the things he does. These examples of Dwayne and Lewis exist in a narrow vacuum of people that can say, “It’s cool that your dream didn’t come true and you might be devastated for years. Look at me, I’m rich, famous and influential. It all works out.”

If we're using our stories in some way, we're telling the person who's reading that it can happen to them too. Click To Tweet

Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t, in the sense that maybe there are people who put years or decades into a dream and they don’t accomplish it. They have to work at the neighborhood convenience store or drive for Uber and not have the result that a Dwayne Johnson or Lewis Howes get. Some people’s dreams maybe die and there is not this proverbial pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. It’s not a disingenuous example because it happened to them. It’s almost like there’s something amazing coming, but sometimes when your dreams are dying and you give something up, you can’t count on like, “For all of this suffering, I’ll be rewarded someday.”

That’s the heart of this. That’s a dangerous thought and I’m saying it because I’ve thought it too. Through all of the pain and suffering I’ve been through with injury of like, “Maybe karmically, because I’m suffering so much, God, universe, spirit and life will reward me for my suffering.” I feel in some ways the messages that Dwayne, Lewis and people like that put out there is like, “Don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded for your suffering and your dream dying,” but there’s no guarantee of that.

My first instinct is that in some way, as Corbett Barr said when he was on our show, one of the things that he said that resonated with me is how it benefits somebody like Lewis Howes to tell you that, “Don’t worry if things don’t work out the way that you planned because that means something’s better for you is coming.” It benefits him because you’re comforted by him, number one. Many of us want to be comforted when we’re going through something challenging. Secondly, that’s a great marketing strategy because he can say, “I’ll show you how to pivot. I’ll show you how to do what I did and all of that.” The cynical side of me sees it that way. It’s a marketing tactic. It’s nothing to do with Lewis as a person. This is something many people do.

You and I have done this too, Jason. We share our stories and we explain how we overcame them. We share that as proof that we’re a good teacher for this person. It’s a classic marketing strategy. It can be genuine. We do have to be honest that if we’re using our stories, in some way, we’re telling the person who’s listening that it can happen to you too. That’s not a lie. In some cases, it’s rare. One of the things that I want to do moving forward in my marketing, whether we’re talking about courses like The Consistency Code or Wellness Warrior Training is not to lead with this idea of like, “Since we did it, that guarantees that you can do it.”

None of us can guarantee anything, or in some way it implies that it’s more accessible than it actually is. That’s more authentic to say, “I’m not going to promise you anything.” Nothing is promised to any of us and I’m not going to say that if you follow my steps, you’re guaranteed results because that’s not fair at all. I’m not going to shame people for not getting results if it doesn’t work out for them. Perhaps, this is more of the way that I want to coach. It feels better to be there for somebody, help them along the way and cheer them on no matter what happens.

Based on my experience with a lot of clients over the years, I wonder when somebody gives up, are they giving up because they feel shame? Are they giving up because it didn’t work for them? Are they giving up because they’re feeling like a failure, and there must be something wrong with them as a result of this? That’s something that I’ve felt before. I think about the number of courses that I’ve taken and how I expected a certain result from them because of the way that the marketing was positioned. It was saying, “If you do this, then you’ll get that.” When I did those things but didn’t get that, I felt like a failure. That’s why someone like Lewis Howes telling those stories, I immediately have a little flag that goes up to where it’s not personal to him, but I don’t trust it when people say those things because the number of times I felt let down.

That’s not to say I’m not taking personal responsibility and blaming someone like that. That triggers me to feel like, “I don’t know about this.” The last time I trusted somebody’s word say like, “I overcame this and so can you,” it’s almost like a weight-loss story too. That’s another classic example. We see the before and after photos. My entire life, especially when I was a little kid, I was super susceptible to those things. I would buy the product, do the program, buy the equipment, buy the foods, and buy the online service or the VHS tape way back in the day.

I’m thinking, “I’m going to do these same fitness moves as them. I’m going to do them for as long as they tell me to do them, and as frequently as they tell me to do them. I’m going to get those results.” I never got those results. I had been carrying that burden of shame for most, if not all of my life since then, because I thought, “How did they lose weight? How did they get those before and after photos? Why doesn’t my before and after look like theirs?” That’s a huge issue if we’re talking business, personal fitness, health, whatever, to try to use our stories as if that’s a guarantee someone else is going to get that same result.

What we’re talking about is at the core, these marketing strategies that are as old as consumer products. If we look at the arc of advertising and marketing over history, it’s very much rooted in, “We know you’re unhappy, you’re not living the life you want, and your dreams aren’t coming true. Here is an appliance, car, clothing, perfume, a course and book to help you get to this place you’re not in because we know you’re unhappy.” If people were more content in their lives, there would be industries that would collapse completely because they’re predicated on making you feel some inadequacy or not-enoughness to sell you something to cure that or as an attempt, even though we know deep down, it’s not going to. As human beings, right at the core, we know this thing is not going to cure it for us or give us the life we want.

It’s not to say that wisdom, insight, experiments, practicing, and trying new things are not valuable. Of course, they’re valuable. It goes back to this conversation of dreams because in some way it’s like, “My life used to suck too. I used to be exactly where you were, sleeping on a couch, sleeping in my car or doing whatever.” I also realize that a lot of the training we’ve been to have focused around emotional manipulation in some ways and it leads me to another question of, what’s wrong with being average?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. There’s this script we have in our American culture in particular of the material metrics of success, “You need to hit six figures. You need to hit multiple six figures. You need to go to seven. You need to go to eight.” It’s the rhetoric, the 10X-ing, the 15X-ing of everything is everywhere. It’s like, “You need to strive for greatness. You need to strive for success. You need to strive to make your dreams come true.” As an antithesis to this idea, what’s wrong with being average? What’s wrong with living in an average house or renting an average apartment? What’s wrong with watching your average Netflix shows or getting average grades or driving an average car like Mazda or something? Why do we glorify this idea of you have to be this grand success and reach some pantheon of your existence or it’s meaningless? I want to go on record and say maybe average is cool. Maybe average is okay. How does that land when I say that? Is that irksome, when I talk about being average. What’s your reaction when I bring up that word?

I read something about this. I believe the point of whatever I read whether it was an article or a book on the subject matter was that there is nothing wrong with being average because the whole point of being average is that’s what the majority of people are. When your “average” that is defining you as not being alone. That’s defining you as being amongst many other people. There’s only room for one person as the winner or to get the gold medal. It’s rare that multiple people get gold medals. It’s rare that there are winners in the sense of like number one. That’s the whole thing. Most of the time, unless you tie with somebody, there’s one person that’s considered the best and at the top.

The same thing is true where there’s one person that performs the worst, one person that comes in last. That too has been a huge fear for many people. It is that, “I’m afraid of being the loser. I’m afraid of coming in last.” We looked down upon that, but there’s always going to be somebody who’s last. There’s always going to be someone that’s perceived as a “loser.” In a way, being in the average position, there’s truly nothing wrong with it. It’s a marketing tactic like we’re talking about. It’s a capitalistic mentality. If we train people to be afraid of being average, they are always going to be trying to be the best which might serve us in some ways. If we are at this point where we think we have to be the best and we can’t settle for anything less than that, it puts a lot of pressure on us because sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control, circumstances that are so incredibly challenging that it would take everything within us to win, be the best or be number one. Is it worth it?

In our newsletter that you wrote, Jason, you talked about how success is boring. We’ve talked many times about how a lot of people can get to the top of their game and feel lonely or feel incredibly depressed because now they’re at the top and there’s nowhere else to go. Now, they’re trying to seek another height and wonder like, “Is this all there is?” We have been programmed to want something without realizing that maybe what we have right now is truly good enough. It’s a matter of perception. It’s not about settling. It’s about being grateful for what you have and where you’re at. It is helpful for us to push ourselves and experiment with going beyond our limits and notice how we feel. If it feels good to do that frequently, then do it.

MGU 155 | Giving Up On Dreams

Giving Up On Dreams: What’s wrong with being average? What’s wrong with living in an average house or renting an average apartment? What’s wrong with watching your average Netflix shows, or getting average grades, or driving an average car like Mazda or something?

 

I was thinking about this in terms of the bundle sale that we’ve been participating in. One thing I cringe over is when these bundle sales share the metrics about who’s on top, who’s the best performer? Mainly because I fall into the comparison trap. It is interesting because sometimes they’ll share these numbers and you’re like, “That person must be influential because they’ve sold so much.” There were some people that I am familiar with enough that when I saw they were at the top, I was like, “That’s impressive, good on them.”

I had to be conscious of not thinking, good on them, but not good on me. I thought instantly afterward, there was a gut feeling based on what I’ve seen about them on social media, which is all my perception and isn’t truly the reality of who these people are, but it doesn’t seem like they’re that happy. To me, it sounds awesome to be that successful. It sounds great to get those results. I don’t need to be number one, but I wouldn’t mind being number 2, 3, 4, or 5, etc. Being somewhere up there on the top sounds good enough to me. I’d be thrilled to get those results.

I then started thinking about how they’re used to getting results like this, or possibly those results might not even be great to them relative to what they’ve achieved in the past. It’s that relative perception thing because for them, that might not be that exciting, but for me it is exciting. That’s the other thing that we need to reflect on is in this case, I’m underperforming somebody. I might be either the average or potentially even below average in this circumstance, but I’m okay with that.

I’m not sitting around feeling unhappy. I know that if I were to strive for those same results, it’s either I would never get them because I’m simply not at that place yet where I could get them in the amount of time that this person has achieved them. In order for me to potentially get those same results as this other person. I would have to work probably a minimum of ten times harder than I am. It’s not worth it to me to work that much harder. I want to sleep as I did now. I want to take breaks as I did now.

I want to spend time with people I care about whether it’s on the phone or in limited cases during COVID, in person. I want to be able to go on a walk with my dog. If I were to work ten times harder, I wouldn’t be able to do those things. I would be getting less sleep. I would be spending less time with people, my dog, and exercising. I probably wouldn’t have time to make food. If I look at my day and add ten times more work into it, that sounds miserable to me. I’m not willing to do those things in order to get the results that somebody else is getting because they’re not that meaningful to me. That’s a huge part of this equation too. You have to examine, is it okay for you to be average or even in some cases, under average? Simply because you prefer the lifestyle that you have, and you’re not willing to do what it takes because you don’t want to give up what you currently have.

It’s almost trading one pain for another. It’s the pain of staying “stuck” versus the pain of the effort required to get you unstuck and into the next chapter or phase of your life. I’m not saying all life is pain. I’m not that darker nihilistic. Maybe sometimes I am but not on the regular. It brings up this idea of a lot of layers to it. Are you genuinely content where you are? If so, then where does the motivation come to change or evolve? Maybe it’s to be of higher contribution. Maybe you want to expand your being. Maybe you want to learn for the sake of learning.

It reminds me of a book that I read. The book is called Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse. In this book, he talks about the difference between finite and infinite games, in the sense that here on Earth, humans are obsessed with finite games. There is a definitive winner and a whole bunch of losers or people that didn’t win. One person gets the gold medal or MVP. It’s very much a structure of human entertainment, sport and commerce that we set things up to have a few winners and a lot of losers. His justification though is if we can evolve into looking at our lives in a sense of infinite games where the point is not to win but to play, experience, feel and grow.

We’re not doing it to win. We’re playing a game that is creating our being or making a soul. You’re creating your soul. You’re creating your being as you’re here. It’s a great book because it helps me mentally back off from this competitive idea that I have to win. Somehow, my virtue is tied to how much of a winner I am, and that’s a big thing. We go back to societal conditioning and subconscious belief systems, which you and I love to break down here. I think about the attitude toward getting a C, B or B minus.

It’s not that my mom or my family was hardcore of, “You need to get straight A’s.” I didn’t grow up in a family like that. It’s the general attitude if you got a C in school. What the fuck is wrong with that? It’s passing. It’s an average grade. It’s me deconstructing in real-time this conditioning of, how much of these success parameters and making our dreams come true, which are very much tied together, are desperately tied to our desire for attention, approval, significance and fame? These things that we want to fill ourselves up with. If I make my dreams come true, what does that even mean about you as a person? You’re a person who made their dreams come true, so what?

Does that mean you’re a better person or a more virtuous person? We raise people up. We celebrate this idea in our culture that there are few people who make it to Hollywood, make it into professional sports leagues, and get to host the Grammy’s, Emmy’s or Oscars. There are these vaunted categories of like, “If you make it there, Holy shit.” We deify those people. We treat people that reach that level of success and make their dreams come true as if they’re gods. We do that where they almost stop being human and they become demigods. We treat them that way. It’s fascinating that part of our culture.

This also reminds me of an Instagram post I saw that goes, “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of yours.” That’s another side of this conversation too. I hope it doesn’t come across like either of us are trying to talk you out of dreaming. That is not the case. The message here is not to put pressure on yourself and feel like a failure, and to step out of this capitalist perspective on things. Going back to your point about our school systems, we have to remember that our school systems are designed to train us for our work careers. They’re training us to wake up at certain hours. They’re training us to listen to our bosses, which in our school are our teachers and our principals, etc. We’re being conditioned into that way of life. Things like our grades are teaching us that if we don’t do things the right way, then we will be shamed, embarrassed, we will feel like a failure towards ourselves. We’ll feel like a failure for our parents or parental figures.

There are many things about our school systems that are messed up. The whole thing about popularity and the issues of bullying. There are many challenges at school that unfortunately, because of how susceptible we are when we’re kids and teenagers, that can be traumatizing. It can cause us to feel triggered throughout our lives if we’re not mindful of it. Generally, kids and teenagers don’t have the tools to be mindful. They might not have great parental figures in their lives. They might not have great teachers and the tools to move through that. They’re carrying not only that conditioning but a lot of emotional weight throughout their whole lives.

It makes me sad. I talked about this on an episode when I was in Massachusetts. I had gone to my high school and walked around the halls with one of my high school friends. I saw somebody that worked at the high school who’s still there. It was so fascinating to reflect on things that were happening and how things have changed, and how things have stayed the same. All these memories were coming up for me and thinking about how I’m grateful not to be that young anymore. It’s nice when you feel like you’re “getting old” by society standards and you have a moment to say, “I’m glad that I’m this age. I don’t want to be that age anymore. That was hard.”

I didn’t have it that bad. I had a relatively privileged life. I had a stable family, loving parents, a great sister and phenomenal teachers. I lived in a wonderful town. Even with all of those things working to my benefit, I still struggled. I can’t imagine the struggles that people go through when they don’t have all or most or some of those things. Going back to the grades, it affected me and Jason. It traumatized me, the shame that I felt when I didn’t get certain grades and also the consequences of that for me were not getting into the college that I wanted to go to and feeling like I screwed this up and I don’t have an opportunity to make it up.

Sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control and that are so incredibly challenging, it would take everything within us to win. Click To Tweet

I had a dream of going to a specific college because I thought that college was going to help me make my dreams come true. When I got my rejection letter from that college, I was devastated. Granted, everything seemed to work out, ironically. I did go to a different college. I ended up feeling like a good fit for me. I made the most of it. I went and pursued my dreams, and then decided I didn’t even want those dreams anymore. It’s not that big of a deal I didn’t get to go to the college I wanted to, but at the time it did feel like a big deal. I felt a lot of shame and sadness for not getting good grades because I thought maybe if I had gotten those grades, I would have gotten into college. A lot of that stuff probably is still buried within me and conditioned me to feel that shame, embarrassment and regret anytime I don’t live up to whatever standard or metric I’m trying to reach.

When did you know that your dream to be a filmmaker was dying? I know it probably wasn’t a moment or maybe it was. We never discussed your thought or your heart process around it. You’re focusing all of this creative energy, intention and vision on filmmaking. What was this longer thing of like, “I’m noticing my interest or my passion is decaying a little bit?” Did you try and cling to it? Were you graceful in finally letting it go? That process of knowing you didn’t want to do it, it wasn’t your dream anymore. Was it painful? Was it you gritting your teeth and trying to claw your way through the feelings? Was it a loser and later like, “I’m done with this?”

It would say it was loser and later. I don’t like the term decay or dreams dying because it didn’t feel like that at all. I don’t have good connotations with those phrases and words but I know what you mean. It was more of a pivot and a transition for me. It’s where I’m at with transitioning away from being known as an Eco-Vegan Gal. I don’t resonate with that name anymore. I also recognize it’s going to take me a long time to move away from that. In terms of my filmmaking career, it organically moved into something else. I still enjoy elements of the industry and I’m grateful to know people that work in the industry. I have opportunities to go to sets of TV shows and movies if I want.

I meet incredible people living in Los Angeles all the time. I still feel I can dip my toe in if I want to again. Sometimes I think it would be nice to go back and work on set. Sadly, somebody I know is working on a television show that I can’t go to set for, even though this is the greatest access I’ve had to production in a long time, but because of COVID, I can’t go. It’s annoying timing because I’d love to go onset. That was one of the things that I loved about working in the production world. It is being around creative people and watching the whole process. There’s so much magic in there.

Where it didn’t feel good was that in order to make things work, the film industry is intense. It’s not just the film, it’s television, video production, and film production. It’s all the medium of watching something. I have been blessed to have worked on a ton of productions since I got passionate about it. The year 2000 was when I first started getting into production. I spent many years heavily involved in commercials, music videos, TV shows and films. I was in all these different offices and production centers. I was going to set and doing all of these things. I saw it from many different angles.

Our first episode of this show was an intro to the show, but our second and third episodes were about our lives. Jason had an episode about him and I had an episode about mine. In my episode or somewhere in one of our early episodes, I talked about how the film industry felt sad. It didn’t have the happy feeling that I associated with production. I had been making short films for many years before I made it my profession. Before college, in high school and elementary school, I was making short projects and short films similar to what kids these days would put on YouTube or TikTok.

Those little silly things that you do with your siblings and your friends. Constantly, that was my life. That’s why I wanted to make that my career because I loved that more than anything else. It came naturally to me. I liked coming up with ideas, running productions, I loved the equipment, and I still love a lot of that. When I started working on productions with other people in the year 2000, I quickly started to realize like, “This is hard. This is complex. This involves a lot of collaboration and working with all different personalities. This involves a lot of time and energy.” I remember when I was in the summer program in the year 2000. Here I am, still young figuring this out and thinking like, “I’m barely sleeping. I don’t like this.”

I was waking up crazy hours and staying up all day, working on these projects and you get so drained by it. It was still so new to me at that time. I had the energy for it but over the course of the next ten years, I started to feel a little burnt out. I also noticed that a lot of the people that work on productions didn’t seem happy. They too seemed burnt out. One of our favorite words that Jason says often is curmudgeons. You go on these sets and people would be in horrible moods. Not to mention working as a woman in production has also been incredibly challenging. It still is years later, even though I haven’t done much in the industry since 2010. From my experience from 2000 to 2010, it was hard being a female filmmaker.

I was usually one of the only female filmmakers in my classes in college. I was one of the only ones that wanted to direct, and knew how to edit well. A lot of the top tiers of that field did not have a lot of women in them. Women tend to be producers. There were a good amount of female editors that I worked with, but directors were rare. There were a lot of female actors in various other roles, but in terms of strong executive-level people, they tended to be producers or something like that. I worked in all these different offices and all of these different productions.

I remember strongly how unhappy people were and how I felt discarded a lot. I don’t know if that was because I was a woman. People are not taking me seriously and not caring about my feelings. I’m feeling like I was being taken advantage of. Luckily, I did not have many experiences from #MeToo standpoint. I had a few of those. None of them were extreme, but moments of feeling like men were trying to take advantage of me. I did not get into bad situations, but they were on the cusp of that. That general feeling of, “This feels emotionally too hard and unpleasant.” That was sad. It was sad to have such a deep desire and a natural talent for it, not to pat myself on the back, but some of us are born or raised with natural talents, and mine happens to be making video content.

That’s why I still do it. Going back to your question of the dream dying, I never felt it fully died because I started doing YouTube. I’m still doing a lot of those things that I’ve always done. It’s just that I got to do them on my own and that felt much better to me. That felt like, “I don’t have to deal with all of these curmudgeons, unhappy people, people trying to take advantage of me and not taking me seriously.” I got to pave my own path. A lot of people enjoy that. At the same time, it’s nothing like being on a big set. The feeling and that rush that you get when you walk onto a set of a TV show, movie, commercial or music video, it’s awesome.

I have had the blessing of combining these worlds a few times. A few years ago, I was hired to be the social media director for a TV show. That was being run by one of my friends. I got to be on set and I loved it, but the hours are absolutely crazy. Going back to what I was saying earlier about, do I want to work ten times harder and not sleep as much as I want to? Not really. I like sleeping. If you work in production, you have to give up sleep for a certain period of time. That’s the way that production is. Someone I know got up at 5:30 in the morning, thirteen hours later, this person still has not returned back from the set. Those are the common days where you wake up at the crack of dawn, you don’t get home until it’s late. You have the energy to eat something, the you crash and go to bed. You wake up and do it all over again. Do I want to live that way? No, I don’t. It’s not worth it to me in my life.

Thank you for such a deep detailed and valuable answer to that question. There were many points that popped out but this idea of, “You have the talent or the ability to do something well,” but that also doesn’t guarantee anything either. You can have the advantages, privilege, status, ability and talent, but it goes back to this idea wrapping back to dreams coming true. There’s no guarantee of anything. Back in the ‘90s, there was a documentary that was covering the explosion of the Seattle music scene. Seattle had always had a good jazz scene. Quincy Jones came up from there. Ray Charles was in Seattle for a while, and Jimmy Hendrix. Seattle had always had good musicians there.

In the ‘90s with the Grunge and the big bands that came out like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains, there was a documentary talking about how this scene had coalesced the people who had given birth to it. There was an interview segment where Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam was on a couch and someone had asked him, “Why do you think you guys made it?” I thought all these years later and it’s such an eloquent and honest answer. He’s like, “We’re no better or worse than dozens and dozens of bands in the city.”

MGU 155 | Giving Up On Dreams

Giving Up On Dreams: The whole point of being average is that’s what the majority of people are. When your “average”, then you’re not alone and amongst many other people.

 

He was listing off people they had toured with and people they’d opened for, which was nowhere near the level of success of Pearl Jam. He’s like, “All of them are deserving to get to the level we’re at.” Musically there is talent, the songwriting, and all those things, those bands never became Pearl Jam. His point was like, “Why was us? How should I know? Any of these other guys are as amazing. I think back to the musicians I’ve played with,” and some in particular was like, “I can’t believe how good you are.” A level of mastery on bass, guitar or piano that you witness and you’re like, “It stupefying, transmogrifying, and transcendent how good these people are.”

Did they “make” it to that level? No. My point is we can have all our proverbial ducks in a row and it still doesn’t guarantee we’re going to get to that level even if we have all of the mechanics, talent, and advantages in place, which is maddening in a way. If I practice my ass off, make the right connections, meet the right people, get the right manager, and get on the right record label, there’s a quadrillion example of all of those things being in place and the thing you want still not happening. It goes back to maybe we have no idea why things happen or why people get certain status, riches or placement in society when there are other people as talented or deserving as them. Who knows? There’s a spiritual or mystical element to all of this. We can’t explain of why certain people become successful, influential, famous, and other people don’t, that are as equally talented or amazing. It’s beyond explanation. Do you have any reflections on that?

I don’t, if I’m not saying anything.

Whitney and I have a chat box here in Zencastr, the program we use to record this show. There’s a chat functionality at the bottom. Sometimes when one of us makes a comment, we’ll wait for the other person to respond and if they don’t, we’ll type in the chat box, but I’m only one-handed. It takes a long amount of time for me to type anything, one-handed on a keyboard. I’m like, “Am I going to attempt to take five minutes to type something?”

We work with what we’ve got and the fact that I’m walking through life one-handed is frustrating. Part of this conversation may be, is like, “My life’s being put on hold.” I’m not being able to do as many things as I’m normally able to do. I’m not able to teach guitar lessons, play the guitar, work on music and workout. I was talking with my mom who broke her leg. We’re both healing and have extra metal in our bodies. It’s extra challenging because I’m not able to do a lot of the things that bring me the joy of music, playing an instrument, even working out, or being as physically into movement as I normally can because my body won’t allow it. It’s a little bit extra tough mentally for me to pursue things or do things that I want to do because I’m not physically able to do them. That’s an offshoot of this dream conversation, but it’s been challenging to be like, “We can’t do that right now.” Get good at using your left hand. Do we have any product shout outs for the week? Anybody on the top of your mind that you want to give some love to?

I wasn’t prepared because we got out of the flow with that during the promotion of our own course. We took a little break from promoting other products so we could promote ourselves. The ads that we did are no longer there anymore. We can still remind people of The Consistency Code, our course. It’s no longer on sale. It could be depending on when you read this, but we run sales on The Consistency Code once a year and maybe twice. It is still available for you to purchase at full price. I’ve gained a greater appreciation for our course. It was fun to give it some more love and attention.

In terms of other brands, I have more products to shout out than I know what to do with. It’s not usually a matter of if I have a brand I want to promote but more, which one do I pick? If I’m not prepared, I get a little overwhelmed. Luckily, one that immediately came to mind based on their massive generosity, I got a heavy package delivered of six cartons of oat milk, which was very exciting to me because oat milk feels the biggest indulgence since I started experimenting with the vegan keto diet a few years ago. It was in mid-2018. I put it on pause in 2020 during the pandemic because I wanted to eat so many carbs. That made me a feel-good during days where I was feeling drained by the intense energy of the year.

I started giving myself permission to indulge in oat milk again, which is higher in carbs and the reason I hadn’t had it in a while. I have so much appreciation for good oat milk. I have tried a lot of them over the last few months, mainly in coffee. I got sent this case of six cartons of Minor Figures. One of the things I love about them is the simplistic packaging and it’s creative at the same time. It’s a person, I don’t know if it’s a woman or a man, this person has long hair, wearing sunglasses and they’re in a duck costume. I’m not quite sure why? I want to go to their website. They have phenomenal oat milk.

I remember vividly trying it at the Los Angeles Coffee Festival that I went to in 2019, which was so much fun. One of those things that I feel sad that I don’t get to experience during 2020 when all these events have been canceled. I tried Minor Figures and I loved it. They reached out to me and asked if they could send me some oat milk. I thought they were going to send me one carton of it. They were insanely generous and they sent me six cartons of it. I had a moment where I thought, “I’m going to give Jason one of these cartons of oat milk,” and then I selfishly decided I’m going to keep it all to myself. Did they send you some too?

They did so I’m good.

You’re caught in not sharing it with me either.

It’s COVID, you couldn’t have come over anyway.

As if that stops us. We found creative ways to share products during COVID. I’m glad that you got some too. You can back me up. I’m amazed that you didn’t jump in as soon as I started talking about them to rescue me from my brain fart.

We have been programmed to want something without realizing that maybe what we have right now is truly good enough. Click To Tweet

When you said you had trouble pronouncing it, I thought it was going to be funky.

I said that I was afraid that I was going to say the wrong name.

I thought that it was going to be something more complex than Minor Figures. Their oat milk is good. I got to give them props.

You can see what I mean that Minor Figures doesn’t seem the name of an oat milk. That’s why I was second-guessing it for a second on my head.

It’s like an indie punk band from Baltimore.

That’s a great way to describe it. If you go on their website and look at their about page, the staff does look like members of an indie band. They nailed it.

Props to Minor Figures for hooking us up with gallons. You guys make good stuff. It’s nice to see it. I’ve used it hot, I’ve used it as a base for smoothies, and in both applications, it seems to thrive. The mark of good milk, culinarily speaking is the taste, body and mouthfeel. The actual experience of it, but how it performs like, can you make a roux with it? Can you make a stew with it? Can you bugaboo with it? Can you make a smooth? How versatile is it is what I’m saying. Are you done gushing on them? Do you have anything else to add?

I’m grateful for it. I keep trying to think of things that I can do with it besides putting in lattes. I’m not as creative as you but mainly, I just want to use it for drinks. I am slowly but surely working on my coffee eBook, which I’ve been dragging my feet on for some reason. Our little teaser here that I do intend to complete a book about coffee and different recipe and different milks. I’m getting way too in my head about it. I’m trying to get a little bit more simple and get it done, then expand upon it later. I have a tendency to get into analysis paralysis or into this perfectionist trap where nothing ever feels good enough. I think too big in terms of my dreams to tie it back in. Because I love this milk so much, sometimes after my coffee cutoff time, which is usually 4:00 PM, I feel sad that I can’t use it until the next day. I’ve been trying to think of other drinks like, should I make tea lattes with it or hot chocolate? Talking about it right now, makes me want to go whip up something after we finished recording.

You reminded me of an Usher song, “You make me want to whip old milk, start a new beverage with you. This is what you do.” Shout to Usher. We’ll have you one day, bud. We’ll share our Usher secret with you, our celebratory Usher song and dance. We’ve talked about that before on the show, haven’t we? The Usher thing or we never mentioned it publicly?

I don’t recall.

Every time we get a big win in life, we send each other memes of Usher, often accompanied by his number one hit, Yeah! with Lil Jon, or we will call each other up and leave each other random voice messages. We know that it’s code language for something good has happened. When something good has happened, Usher is brought into the conversation. That’s all you needed to know. Speaking of good things to entering the conversation. I have a shout out. It’s an old friend of ours that has come out with something new that I am pleased with. I have been eating too much of, Outstanding Foods. We’ve talked about maybe on the show. I can’t remember what the hell we say. We’re 155 episodes deep.

I have to say that this is one of those products that I was annoyed that you didn’t share with me.

I have some here.

I would like to acquire some of this.

MGU 155 | Giving Up On Dreams

Finite and Infinite Games

You know where I live.

As you said, there is COVID.

I can leave them in the mid-gate with the wall.

We can meet in the middle.

I can just toss it to you with my left arm and see how far it could get.

We could meet in the middle because you live far aware from me.

I can’t drive.

I didn’t know that you couldn’t drive.

No. I have stick shift. I can’t use my right arm to shift so I can’t drive right now. It’s the only time I remember having a stick shift. If I have an automatic, I could drive.

It’s time to get that Tesla or time to request that your lovely girlfriend drops off some of these crunchy snacks you’re about to talk about.

They’re called TakeOut. Their version of a healthy superfood Cheeto. They’re shaped like Cheetos. They have a crunch and a mouthfeel like Cheetos that snappy, crispy, light, and airy Cheeto thing, but they have incredible flavors. I will go on record and say, “I like these better than the PigOut chips personally.” I love the fact that they have shiitake mushrooms, broccoli and kale. They’re high in protein. They have your recommended daily requirements of magnesium, vitamin D, and iron. Their nutrition profile is quite impressive. They’re marketing it like if you had to miss a meal, you could eat a bag of these, and get your nutritional requirements.

It’s like a superfood healthy vegan Cheeto. They’ve got four flavors that I’ve tried that are so good. They have the Chill Ranch, Hella Hot, Pizza Partay and White Cheddar. I have been plowing through bags of these. I do have open bags to share with you, Whitney. They’re my absolute favorite products that Outstanding Foods has released. I hope that they’re going to be successful with it because it’s a great product.

Even better than the OG chips that they had. The pigless pig rinds is not as good as the OG. Do they even make those anymore? What were they called?

They were made from king oyster mushrooms. What happened was the process of making them was either too difficult to scale to millions of bags or it was somehow cost-prohibitive. I don’t know what the actual story is. I haven’t signed an NDA either. I hope I’m not sharing any trade secrets, but I think they moved away from mushrooms because it wasn’t scalable. It is what I heard. I do miss those original chips. I remember when you first brought those to YouTube Space. Whitney was organizing an incredible creator’s mastermind for about a year at YouTube Space LA, which is an amazing production facility. If you’re a YouTuber with a certain number of followers and you go through the course, you can have access to this space. We have not been in a long time #COVID. You brought those there, Whitney, when we had those groups. I remember people losing their shit when you brought those chips.

'Don't let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of yours.' Click To Tweet

Except for one of our friends who remained nameless complaining that they are too salty. I was like, “Are you kidding me? These are so good.” They had a name but I don’t know what it was. They’re like bacon chips but that’s not where they were called. They tasted like dried bacon but were completely plant-based. They were magical and it’s exciting to see that they have added another product to their line. I can’t wait to try them. I hope that you save time for me and we find a way to coordinate a pickup.

We’ll figure that out before I figure out my transportation future.

Speaking of dreams dying, you had a dream way before me of getting a Tesla. Has that dream died? Is it on hold? Would you rather wait and get a different Tesla than they currently offer? Do you want a completely different car? I’m curious where you’re at with that because you’ve also talked a lot about selling your current car. Is life now presenting you with an opportunity to sell your car and your motorcycle and in that case, do you think that you’d be able to make a Tesla finally happen even if it was a used Tesla?

Is the dream of owning one over? No. Do I feel as much of a sense of urgency to have one as I used to? I do not. Do I feel like my sense of self-worth or proving to other people that I’m this great success because of the car I drive, which was intertwined in that because of my conditioning of growing up in Detroit and the family I did like your car defines you type of thing? I don’t feel that. It’s like, “If I get one, I get one. If I don’t, I don’t.” Am I going to have a great life either way? Am I going to have a life filled with love, companionship, sweetness, connection, pain, suffering and every other human emotion? Yes.

It’s weird for me to say this as someone who loves cars, the art of automobile design, the art of performance, loves driving cars and taking cars to the track. That’s my material obsession. I don’t give that much of a shit about much else materially speaking, but I love cars. I’m at the point where I feel I’m less obsessed with this idea of having a certain car than I am like, “When the moment comes when I need something new, I’ll evaluate what my desires and my passions are then.” Rather than thinking about it now, the reality is I was barely driving before the motorcycle accident. Now I’m not driving at all. I do not know when I will be able to drive my car again because of the use of my right arm being limited.

For me to sell my car and my motorcycle, could I get something new? Yes. Should I get something new? No, I’m barely driving. For me to justify a sizable car payment on a Tesla or something else, it doesn’t make any financial sense for me to do it because I wouldn’t be utilizing it. The thing I would be paying for would be sitting in my garage more than it would be being used. That doesn’t sit well with me. When and if the time comes that I want something new, and it’s practical and makes sense because of the amount of driving I’m going to do then absolutely. The long answer is I haven’t given up the dream and it’s not that important to me as it used to be. For me to get something brand new makes zero sense because I barely drive and don’t know when I’m going to be driving regularly again.

Fair enough. It’s interesting that I was not super excited about Tesla. The reason I started thinking about getting a Tesla was because of you. You also convinced me in some ways to get a Fiat, which was my first electric car. I loved that car. It was great. I wish that I could combine that Fiat with a Tesla because that would be my ideal car. I love my Model 3, but I enjoyed having a smaller car except on my road trip. My road trip was amazing in the Model 3. I started to get envious of the Model Y and was lusting after getting that car until a report came out saying that the Model 3 is a safer car. I’m like, “I’m good with my car for now,” but it is interesting how you were gung-ho like you were committed to getting that Model 3, and then that dissipated for a little while.

I fully support you. It’s a big financial decision. One of those interesting things for me where I don’t think about it that much, it’s just part of my bills. Even though it is expensive, my brain has adapted to it. It’s part of my monthly expenses. Sometimes I think like, “It certainly would be nice not to have this expensive car,” but I love that car. I hope that one day, you do get one if you still want one because you would love it too. It would be so fun to share that Tesla love with you and finally see that happen for you.

Maybe it will happen one day. We have no idea what’s coming or what’s waiting for us. That is one of the things we like to talk about here on the show. Getting uncomfortable with our lives is admitting the uncertainty of life and not knowing what’s coming for us. It may or may not happen. I don’t feel as strong of an attachment to it happening. For me to take on any expenses in life, I’m in the mindset of, “Is it useful for me to do that right now?” When and if the time comes, when it is useful for me to take on another car payment of that size and scope, I’ll do it. You know and I know that the right car at the time will present itself to me.

It’s also too that I’m not super on fire about making that happen in my life. I know that there is a level of focus, will and energy that I have noticed in my life as we wrap up this episode, that when I’m super connected to something, passionate, feel it in my heart and feel a sense of deep unbridled joy, that thing tends to manifest in some form. Maybe not the exact form I intended it, but I’ve noticed that for me to put the energy into a life that is required to magnetize or bring things to me, if the heart, passion, connection, and excitement for the thing isn’t there, it’s hard to make it happen. We go back to this original point of this episode being about dreams that it requires effort, consistency, experimentation, willingness to get the shit kicked out of you, get back up, and get your shit kicked out of you, and get back up again, persistence, determination and willingness to change and evolve.

Whatever we’re talking about, a personal, professional and spiritual goal, it’s going to take work. We’re living in this bizarre society that tells us if we don’t master something after ten tries, then we failed at it. It’s not true. The right car and the right thing or whatever’s going to come along when it’s time, and I’ll know it when it comes. I’m done trying to force things and I’m done trying to prove to other people how important, significant and worthy of the love I am. Part of my transformation is letting go of all that. It’s affecting my choices in a lot of good ways. I want to simplify my life, minimize my life and not be so obsessed with material things. I don’t know where it’s all leading, but none of us know where anything’s leading. That is the point of this show.

Dear reader, we are here at the finish line. We want to thank you for always diving into the deep end with us because we don’t know where we’re going with these conversations. We’re exploring, experimenting, and sharing our souls in real-time with you. We appreciate your willingness to navigate these unknown waters with us. If you want to go deeper, you can go to our website Wellevatr.com. We have free resources for you.

There are some incredible eBooks, guides, and two of our flagship programs that Whitney mentioned, The Consistency Code and also the Wellness Warrior Training. We’re posting a lot more on our Instagram account, TikTok, and our social media handles. Check us out @Wellevatr and if you want to hit us up directly, our email is [email protected]. We’ve got a lot more incredible guests coming for you soon. If you’ve not subscribed or left us a review on Apple Podcasts, please do so. We always appreciate that. We’ll catch you with another episode.

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