Andrew: Three messages before we get started; first, you might have noticed that many sites are using video, here it is on SnapEngage underneath the ‘Free Trial’ button. You might have noticed they are using video to increase conversions, here it is on Freelancer.com. What do you do if you want to try video on your site, but you do not have production capabilities in house? You go to Revolution-Productions, that is the company that created the two videos I showed you and many, many others as you can see on their portfolio site. Go to revolution-productions.com, talk to them about having your custom video created.
Second, if you need an online store, who do you turn to? Of course, you turn to Shopify. What happens when your friends need stores? The people at Shopify know that if you are listening to Mixergy, you are the influencer that all of your friends turn to when they have questions like, what platform should they build their stores on? They are suggesting, and I am suggesting that you refer them to Shopify. As you take a look at all of these beautiful examples of the kinds of stores that your friends can create on Shopify, I think you will agree that they can have a beautiful store and you know with the Shopify platform, they will have a platform that is made to increase sales; Shopify.com.
Finally, if you need a lawyer, who do you turn to? Of course, I am going to say Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law because I have been friends with him for years and he has been sponsoring me for months and months. You do not have to take my word for it, check out what Jason Calacanis, Neal Patel and many other entrepreneurs who you trust, they all say the same thing; Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law is the lawyer you turn to, especially if you are a startup tech entrepreneur. Walker Corporate Law.
Here is your program:
Hi everyone, I am Andrew Warner, I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. How can entrepreneurs turn fear and doubt into fuel for brilliance? We have talked about that here on Mixergy. Everyone talks about how great it is to be an entrepreneur, how you get freedom, how you get to do whatever you want, make tons of cash, but meanwhile, if you are a real entrepreneur, you know that there are down sides that we do not talk about. The days of fear, uncertainty, of feeling like we are going to lose it all, those exist even though the Wall Street Journal does not cover them on the front pages, Forbes and Fortune magazine, everyone else does not talk about them. It is not the fun part of it but it is the real part of it.
Jonathan Fields has a framework that I think can help you when you are at your lowest. He is the author, he is a serial entrepreneur, which is why we have him on Mixergy, and he is also the author of this book, let me see if I am holding it up right because I want the audience to really a sense of it and to see myself, the author of Uncertainty, Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.
Jonathan, I read the book. I love how it is full of examples. I love how it actually has tactics that my audience can use, not just great ideas that do not help us when we are at these lowest moments. Let us give people an example of what is possible if they could overcome, get past or not be locked in life to fear and doubt. Give me an example of someone who has done this really well, handled uncertainty really well?
Jonathan: Yeah, absolutely and there are a ton in the book, but one of them really stands out, leave the book with, and somebody that is probably pretty well known in your community, which is Randy Komisar. Randy started out in the first [??] as a tech lawyer in the valley. He was pretty soon tasked to head up Lucas Arts. He was on this tremendous trajectory, really cool company, he is heading it up with [??] Dynamics, he is really on this trajectory to become very likely, a multi-billion dollar CEO, a CEO of a huge company.
What he finds is that he is getting less and less happy in a job that is making him more and more successful by other people’s terms, and he reaches a point where he decides, you know what, the path before me is pretty well laid out. It is not certain, but it is fairly linear, he really sees where it is going. He did not want to go there. So, in his words, what he said was, he literally stepped out of a perfectly good airplane. He completely abandoned that and decided there were things that he wanted to do that did not exist. There was no roadmap, there was no path but he had this sense of what he wanted to accomplish in the valley, and he literally created this job out of thin air, that he called “the virtual CEO”.
What he saw was in the valley that time, there were a lot of people who were starting companies without a lot of senior level experience in the companies, and he felt like he was somebody that could play the role of a shadow C.E.O. of a bunch of organization and just sit-in and help them.
Since then, there are similar people that have done that, but he was the original guy who did that. The roadmap did not exist for that. There was no job title like that anywhere, even though he came up with the Virtual CEO. He went to this place where it was completely uncertain; he did not know what was going to happen next. He knew he was leaving something really lucrative, really powerful, and really prestigious, but he has no clue what was going to happen next. And in doing so, he started on this path which created astonishing things in his life, he became very well known. From that came an offer to write a book for Harvard, called, “The Monk and the Riddle”. Which became a huge international best seller. Which then led to a role as a professor of entrepreneurship at Stanford. And now in his current reincarnation, he’s VC at Kleiner Perkins, essentially doing a lot of the same stuff. But had he stayed with that first lineal path. Had he said, “I’m just going to stay on this line, and not take this big leap of faith”, he would be leading a life, where he would be very likely to be considered successful on the outside world, but miserable on the inside.
And it was his willingness, when I talked to him, I said, “What was it that allowed you to do this?” And it was a willingness and ability to go to that place every single day, where he didn’t know how things were going to end. Where he had to make decisions, take actions in the face of often huge uncertainty, huge amounts of fear and anxiety and just lean into it, and trust that it would work out the way it needs to work out.
Andrew: All right. That was possible if you can overcome your fear of uncertainty and really jump into it, and build what you’re meant to build.
I’ve got to tell you that I had an opposite experience, where some people in the audience know that Mixergy started out as a couple of different things before it’s become what it is today, home of the ambitious up starts, as I say, when I have people like you on to teach an audience of ambitious entrepreneurs.
I started out with online greeting cards. And I paid for a full-time developer, great guy, good friend of my, and even though I paid him for full time development, I couldn’t send him projects, because I kept saying, these projects aren’t going to work out. What if I have him spend all these time on it and we still fail. So I was really immobilized, by my uncertainty and by my fear. And as a result, I was wasting both time and money on a project.
I wanted to find a way out. I just limped along until I finally had to shut it down. You now had a process here that works. We’re not talking about magic, but we’re talking about a process, that has worked for many people. Including Randy Komisar, I want to come back and ask you questions about him, later on to find out how he did it. Because he’s not just a magical person, is able to embrace fear, he’s worked on it, we’ll talk about that.
The first thing you said though is, ‘Guys, find your certainty anchor’. What’s a ‘certainty anchor’?
Jonathan: Yeah. I suppose it’s fascinating.
I’ve interviewed a lot of people across a lot of different fields and one of the interesting things I start to see patterns. Very often people don’t even see it in their own lives.
And what I found was, there is a huge amount of ritualizing going on in the life of a lot of high level entrepreneurs and creators. Sometimes it’s intentional but very often they didn’t even realize they were doing it. And it happened on two levels. And this is what I’m talking about by certainty anchors. You’re really creating moments throughout the day, sometimes big ones, but very often is hundreds of little ones. We removing the decision making part of it, we removing any uncertainty from these tiny little touch points through out the day. And in doing so, it’s like you’re dropping little certainty anchors, all day long.
So that when you go to the work, when you go to that place where you’re trying to hitting a new paradigm, a new platform, a new business model, and you really don’t know how it’s going to work, and you have to go to that place where you feel the butterflies, you know you have all those little certainty anchors, and that give you a sense of stability and normalcy, out side of that window. So some basic examples, fundamental examples, some people do it within the work themselves, they come to work, they work at the exact same time, same day, doing the same task, and they work in sort of like these lineal windows of opportunity. But what I find really interesting is that a lot of people actually do it, not with their working life, but with everything, but their working life.
So everything that happens, all the mundane stuff in their life around, they created a process, it becomes completely ritualized. They drop certainty anchors left and right. They wake up the same time, eat exact same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they wear the same cloth, they work out the same time, listening to the same music. And it creates this sense of, “OK. I know there are enough things in my day that I can count on being, I know what they’re going to be, so that I can go to that place in the work, where I don’t know how it’s going to end up”.
And, when I talk to people about this, a lot of them realize this, they’re doing this unintentionally but it was something that became, it was like a chance to touch stone in their lives. Where they felt like they can come back down and it would always be there, give them a sense of grounding that, they felt allowed to go to that place. Where in the work, they couldn’t really create on that level.
Andrew: Darren Rowse the blogger of the ProBlogger.net, what did he do to give himself that certainty anchor?
Jonathan: I mean, Darren is a pretty ritualistic guy also. And he writes on a pretty regular bases. So one of the things he does is he pretty much goes to a Cafe, one of the few select number of cafes, every single day, around the same time. And just sits there and writes, and a simple work based ritual like that can have a huge impact on your ability to actually create work, and sort of create on an additional level.
Andrew: What about the author of “The War of Art”, what a great book.
Jonathan: Yeah, Steve Pressfield. So Steve is interesting, too, because he’s a guy who is an extremely well known author, and he’s the guy who kind of wrote the book on this thing called the capital R of Resistance. That’s when we sit down and all of a sudden, it’s Twitter time, I’m going to go check Google+, and all of a sudden we fabricate all sorts of distractions when in fact it’s basically our brain trying to taunt us away from that place when we actually have to actually really lean in and take risks and go to that place to create great, great work.
What Pressfield really wrote about, and this is what he does in his own life, is he completely ritualizes his actual working process. So he sits down at the same time at every day to write. He lays his desk out the exact same way. He incants The Muse from Greek mythology every time before he writes. Then he writes for a fixed window of time. Which is kind of fascinating, too, because I’m sure a lot of people listening in [??] will let you know. The Muse doesn’t strike me, in a formulaic, systematic ritualized base. Because if I’m coding, I don’t know exactly when you get a big honking idea when it’s just like, that’s it, I need to bang that out right now.
I asked Steve about this with his writing, I’m like, Steve, are you telling me that in the 3 or 4 hours where this is your writing time, that’s where the magic happens. But what he does is, wherever he goes outside of that time, he actually brings along some sort of idea capturing device. Whether it’s a little voice recorder, these days most people just have an app. So if he’s out walking on the street and lightning strikes, he sits there and actually records it. He records enough of a nugget, so that when he goes back to work the next day, it’s there, and what’s fascinating is he actually doesn’t listen to it. He doesn’t do anything until the next day when he sits down. What he told me is that he feels like just getting the idea down and then literally giving it time to incubate allows him to build around it expand it the next day in a way he would have never been able to if he had acted on it immediately.
Andrew: So, build rituals, and they give you something reliable, something certain in an uncertain world. That helps build your confidence for the rest of the day.
Jonathan: Yeah and it changes the underlying psychology for innovation and creativity. One of the things that we know now is that there’s an inverse relationship between anxiety and creativity. So you’re ability to tolerate fluidity and uncertainty is inversely related to creativity. So if you can’t tolerate being in this place where you don’t know how things are going to end, it literally stunts your creativity, your ability to problem solve and innovate. So one of the things you want to do is create these tools in our lives that allows more of a sense of baseline calm, and give us the ability to tolerate, to be in that place and even invite and amplify it the name of being able to access greater levels of creativity.
Andrew: All right. Next tactic is, build your hive. What do you mean by build your hive?
Jonathan: So this is really fascinating; I’ve spent a bunch of time studying it. I’m just looking at [??] and [??] and just sort of the generalized heat accelerating model these days. I’m looking at the teams that are coming out of that, and the companies coming out of that, and the funding rates. Granted, we all know that funding is not necessarily the end-all be-all, but the sign post of some level of success. I’m thinking to myself, what is allowing these teams to get to a place so dramatically, so rapidly, that so many teams outside of an environment like that have so much trouble getting to.
So we start to break down. What are the elements that may make this come alive? One of the things that I have discovered is that the fear centers in our brain literally light up when we are faced to make decisions and take actions in the face of uncertainty, but it’s not just that, it’s actually, there’s a social context to it. We’re actually not just afraid of making decisions and taking action in the face of uncertainty, we are terrified of being judged for doing that and being wrong. There’s really interesting FMRI based researched that rearranged the experiment where it moves the judgment element from sort of that equation, and essentially eliminates the bias away from our uncertainty.
So social context and judgment is a huge thing, so what’s fascinating about the [??] or the [??] accelerated [??] model is they’ve created this hive environment where they’ve literally changed the social dynamic within the environment. It’s the complete opposite of what the normal social dynamic around creativity and entrepreneurship would be. It’s not as [??] anymore. It’s what [??] would call it, zillion sum [??]. Everybody is there for the same reason, and one person getting funding does not mean that the other people won’t get funding.
The mentality in the hive is a couple different things. One is: experimentation is exalted. So everyone is there expecting to do things that have never been done before. Two is: pivot is expected, so you don’t go in the assumption that I know what I know and I just have go by what I know. This is a very strong expectation, that we will have to completely obliterate what we came with, and change the model, change the product, change the service, change everything about it, and that’s not only OK, but it’s actually to a certain extent expected. The other side of [??] it doesn’t work like that very often. Then you change the dynamics so there’s this normalizing experience where everyone in the hive is in the same boat. So, you see people doing all these things, and they are all sort of in that same place, they are all terrified, they’re all leading into uncertainty taking action in the face of fear.
The fact that everybody is doing it in the same environment creates a normalizing experience, which allows you to re-frame it, not as something that is bizarre and terrifying, but is something that everybody around you whose like minded, everyone is doing this. It really changes the underlying psychology, and one of the really fascinating elements, too, is that in each one of these environments there’s a weekly presentation, and nobody is spared, you know that every week you’re going to have to step up and say “this is what we’ve done, this is what’s worked, and this is what hasn’t worked” and everybody is going to have an opportunity to offer feedback, and offer criticism.
It’s done in a way where it’s not about voting you off the island or kicking you out of the opportunity for funding. It’s done in the name of everybody trying to allow everybody else there to build something better. Then the final element of the hive which really adds to the change in psychology, is the regular access to mentors. That has a huge impact on people, being able to access people who have been where you want to go, on a regular basis. Bring all these different elements together in one physical setting, and it pretty profoundly changes the underlying psychology of uncertainty, the underlying psychology of creativity and innovation, and a willingness to take action and make decisions skyrockets. It’s pretty amazing how that happens.
Andrew: So I’ve actually heard, of course, the concept of build the hive. People call it mastermind groups, or other groups. We know that entrepreneurs or anyone facing uncertainty needs to huddle together with others who are in similar situations. What I always thought was, the goal was to keep people exactly on track. In fact, when I’ve done masterminds in the past I would always say, we’re going to set goals for the next week, then we have to hit it, and the group then tries to make sure that everyone makes their goals.
You’re saying, or your book’s helping me understand that’s a big mistake. You want to enable people and encourage people to pivot and experiment, not aim to do what they promise to do from week to week, to explore from week to week. The other thing is that you say that it’s the feedback that’s important, but the softening of the feedback blow, so that they can keep [??] in the bunker as they call it, keep getting feedback from other people, but do it in a way that’s supportive. Do it in a way that encourages them to use that feedback. Am I picking up on the right lessons there?
Jonathan: Absolutely. A lot of people when you talk about being judged, they get terrified. When you parse it, judgment, what’s judgment really? It’s data plus emotion. If you create an environment where you’re able to actually process the data and disarm the emotion, any destructive aspect of the emotion, that’s like manna for entrepreneurship, you know? We need data, we need feedback, I mean it’s the whole idea behind lean methodology and adding to the [??] is that we want to accelerate the information process, and to do that we need feedback.
So the more that we can bring that into the process on a regular basis and have it not destroy us but enable and facilitate action and decision making, powerful, powerful experience. So environments like this do that.
We also brought up this fact that, the mission may not be in fact be to hit your exact goals you came in with. In fact, I talk about visualization in the book, and traditionally people say, OK, create a vision board, or create a very precise target of where you want to be and just march towards that, and there’s a plus and a minus to that. The plus is you very likely will hit that precise target more quickly if you make it really, really clear in your mind. You will also very likely overlook any number of opportunities and paths along the way that might have made your eventual end result, your eventual output, ten times better had you actually been open to the fact that this does not have to be a linear process.
There’s a fascinating experiment by Richard Wiseman where he took a bunch of students and he showed them a newspaper and he said, OK, I want you to count every picture in the newspaper. Go. Before he did that, he split the students into two groups. One considered themselves extremely lucky. The other considered themselves extremely unlucky.
The unlucky students finished it in about 3 minutes or so and counted 42 images. The group of lucky students, on average, finished it in like, 3 seconds, and counted the exact same number of images. The reason why, is on the inside front cover of that newspaper, he had taken a half page with two inch block letters that said “Stop reading now, there are 43 images in the paper,” and the people that considered themselves unlucky were so linearly attached to just the instruction and only the instruction. They didn’t even see it. They literally blew threw it. So [??] lucky, may actually have a lot to do more with being open to exploring past opportunities that weren’t really part of that original linear paradigm.
Andrew: OK, number one, find your certainty anchor. Two, build your hive, get those community people who are going to help you, and you talked about how they can help you. Next is socialized creation. By the way, how do you feel about me just basically ripping through every chapter of your book and bringing it up and having it discussed right here? Are people going to even need to go out and get Uncertainty after I [??] to your book?
Jonathan: You know what, I love it, and honestly, if you want to the buy the book, just to support you, support me, that’s fantastic. If you want to get it at a library, do it that way. Me, I’m much more attached to the ideas being out there and helping people than I am to people having to go and buy the book, you know?
Andrew: My goal is to make sure the audience gets a ton of value in this next hour. So, I’m glad that you’re okay with that. Number 3: Socialized Creation. What does that mean?
Jonathan: Yeah, so this is kind of fascinating, and we just started talking about it a little bit. I had the chance to speak to Eric Reeves for a little bit when I was putting this together, and I was really curious at how we methodology and [??] and variants of that change the underlying psychology of innovation. It’s clear that they change things on a process basis and on a productivity basis. But what do they do to the underlying psychology? What’s fascinating is that by taking on a more iterative process, and bringing your eventual end user into the process a lot earlier, you’re literally able to bring a much higher level of certainty into the process at a far earlier point, If you’re willing to go out there and expose yourself to those potential end users. Also, if you are willing to elevate them to the possible role of co-creator.
I realize that brings up all sorts of other big questions and issues in the world of co-creation and crowd sourcing and stuff like that. One of the reasons that that whole paradigm works so well and so many people are docking into these days, is not because it changes the actual process, but it changes the experience of bringing a business to life. It changes the experience of creating a product and launching it, because it allows you so much more direct feedback earlier in the process, that you’re much more comfortable. You don’t feel the butterflies nearly as much, and when you do, you can go out and reach out and immediately find out, “OK, am I on track, or am I not on track?” In a purely artistic [??] that’s completely bastardizing what’s going on. But we’re talking about entrepreneurship here. We are creating something because it’s cool for us, but also because we want to in some way serve other people. So, to me, if you wanted to bring them in, it’s a powerful, powerful change in the process.
Andrew: I see. A lot of entrepreneurs, I think, feel that bringing in customers or users early on in the process adds to the uncertainty, because what are they going to say about this half-finished product? What are they going to say about my idea? What are they going to think about what I’m trying to do here? All those are opportunities for disappointment from the end user, from rejection by the customer. You’re saying, no, if you bring them in earlier, you reduce disappointment, you reduce uncertainty, and you feel like you have a team you are working with. In fact, you had a great example, in Ben Kaufman. What’s Ben Kaufman’s company name?
Jonathan: So Ben Kaufman has a company called Quirky. He started out, basically he was the guy who invented Mophie for the iPhone. He reached a point where he was kind of wasn’t really sure what to do next.
Andrew: Mophie is that battery backpack that sits on the back of the iPhone. I love that thing.
Jonathan: Yeah, lifesaver, right? So he wasn’t sure what to do, this was a couple years back, for his next product. So he literally slapped together at a Macworld show or something like that, and had people just write down anything. He sort of crowd sourced live in person, OK, what do you want us to make next? He realized that he had a process, that really fascinates me. He created quirky.com, which is an invention platform that allows people to submit ideas, and it does it in a way which also sidesteps a lot of big complaints about crowd sourcing these days.
What he did was he allowed a lot of voting in the process. He allowed basically all scientific community to participate in the process. Then the would pick particular inventions that get the highest votes, and literally his company will then turn around and take on the burden of manufacturing these and bringing them to market and seeing what happens.
So, it’s really interesting, what you said about people saying “well, you know, it adds to uncertainty when you bring people into the process earlier,” that uncertainty is going to be there any time. We want to know it earlier. We want to know when you’ve invested the minimum amount of time, money, and energy, rather than after you’ve gone and spent a year in development, blowing millions of dollars, and your VCs are banging on your door and then all of a sudden you discover that you were just dead wrong.
Andrew: What Ben has done, as you’ve said this, he has his audience suggest the inventions, his audience then votes on what gets built. What he’s done as a result of that is create these fantastically beautiful products. Like everything I feel the Sharper Image inspired to do, [??]. com is doing right now. It’s beautiful stuff and it’s all because of co-creation. Darren Rowse, real quick is another example of someone who creates with his audience, the guy from problogger.net, how does he do that?
Jonathan: Yeah. Pretty much anything he does before he creates anything substantial, he tests it on his blog and he’s enough, it’s hard to call what he does blogging these days because he’s really a publisher, he’s a digital publisher. He’s got Pro Blogger, which is what a lot of people know him for. His real [giant property] is actually something called digital photography school, which is a huge digital photography resource and they also sell product, they sell eBooks and stuff like that. Basically what he does the same thing, he’s constantly putting out content, but not just because it’s valuable to people, but as tests for ideas for potential products, potential solutions, potential info products.
He’s constantly trying to mine his existing community, which is huge now and find out what do you want? What do these people want. It really changes the dynamic. He says, he essentially doesn’t do anything until he’s relatively sure, after he’s tested and prodded that the people out there really want it. Then even when he puts it out he can tune it especially in the digital world. We’re constantly tuning and tweaking and evolving. He’s a guy of a [??] and a one person operation, maybe more, two people these days, but when you get a big enough audience you can bring them in at a pretty high level.
There is one [??] to, which that you do risk losing control of something. So when you decide to bring people into the creative process, when you decide to make it more of a co-creation process you also have to assume a very strong leadership and vision burden. You have to be willing to actually step up and say, ‘You know, even if this is the best that the co-creation process is giving me, I still believe in my heart that we’re off track and there’s something that none of us have seen right now that’s substantially better. I’m going to break the whole thing and start over.’ You have to be willing to actually do that. You never completely yield to the voice of the crowd.
Andrew: OK. Socialize your creation is another way of reducing uncertainty. Next is Train Your Brain. This is the one I wanted to use Randy Comisar as the example for, what do you mean Train Your Brain?
Jonathan: Yeah. What’s fascinating to me is that so many people who want to succeed in business spend all their time training in a particular field that they want to succeed in. Training in how to code. They’re training in the world of entrepreneurship, business and marketing. They devour information about that but they spend almost no time actually training their mind-set with the tools and strategies to be able to succeed. One of the biggest limiting factors in success in business is not an inability to actually, a lack of knowledge on a field specific content, but it’s the inability to take action.
When I say, Train Your Brain, it’s really focused on that. It’s also developing a set of daily, personal practices that change again, change the psychology of creativity, innovation, and action taking. Randy is a great example, we talked about him at the start of the conversation. Randy has done things that would consistently [??] that would terrify most people. He keeps jumping. He keeps changing. He keeps doing it. When I start to [??] and say is there something in your life, is there a daily thing that you do that allows you to keep going to this place and not lose your . . .
Andrew: Before you answer that, I’m seeing that our connection is going, it’s getting a little funky here, let’s give it a moment here and the question that you asked him was, ‘Is there something in your life that you do that help you deal with this uncertainty,’ and what was his response?
Jonathan: Yeah. His response was, yeah that basically every single day he has a mindfulness practice, which is a form of meditation. He calls it his spiritual practice. It’s not a dogmatic or religious oriented practice. It’s literally just a meditative practice that he does every single day, like clockwork. He described it as a place where he touches stone. It’s his [kiln] is the word that he used [??] to constantly go to this place where he doesn’t know how things are going to end, is that he has this practice, which is a huge grounding force, his life, and it keeps bringing him back.
You used to have to be crunchy to buy into stuff like this, but over the last 15 years the body of research around meditation and mindfulness is astonishing. Peer Review published research that shows it not only affects your stress and anxiety levels but really enhances cognitive function, creativity, [??] your ability to perform at your highest levels. It’s pretty pro-founding affect. When we bring all these things in, not only does it allow you to operate on a higher level, solve problems better, and you’ll build better businesses, but it changes that level of baseline calm so that persistently you just feel like you are in a much better, more balanced, calmer place.
So when all these things happen that you have no idea – you know, things are flying at you in the world of entrepreneurship all day long and very often all night long. And what would kill most people, or just make you constantly anxious, fearful and agitated, a mindfulness practice (specifically a meditation practice over time – this is not an intervention, it’s an over time thing) can establish a level of baseline equanimity in the way that you sort of live in the world that really changes your experience with these things and allows you to lean into it, and to be in a place of uncertainty long enough for the really good stuff to come, instead of getting terrified and shutting down before the really good ideas and actions happened.
Andrew: So let me make sure that I understand this. I want to understand what exactly happens, what these benefits are, and then I want to understand how to meditate to get those benefits.
Andrew: So first of all what’s in it for us specifically? You’re saying that it gives us a moment of calm in our day.
Andrew: But so can having a cup of tea somewhere.
Jonathan: So it’s not about that.
Andrew: What does that do for us?
Jonathan: It’s really not about that moment of calm, it’s about two big things. One is: it resets us so that persistently every single day on a sustained level we have – you know, the anxiety and the unease, the butterflies that come along with creating anything really substantial (and they’re there, we’ve all felt them repeatedly, they often don’t go away). For a lot of people that part of the equation cripples them. It either makes them not move forward or it makes them race forward so quickly (because they don’t like the feeling of being there) that they ignore all sorts of really cool opportunities.
So what this practice does is over time it elevates your level of baseline calm. It elevates your ability to be OK in that place and handle the uncertainty so that you’re not nearly as anxious, you’re not nearly as fearful. And it makes you much more peaceful in that place. It gives you – and I love Randy’s quote to me: ‘Equanimity is a powerful muscle to flex when you step out into the ambiguous void.’ And that’s always stayed with me because it’s very powerful.
Andrew: I see. What you’re doing is you’re practicing to get equanimity.
Andrew: And then in the real world when you need equanimity you’ve already practiced in the comfort of your quiet area, and so you’re able to retain that and to return to that point of equanimity.
Jonathan: Yeah. It’s not so much a momentary intervention, it’s the fact that when you practice every day it literally changes your brain chemistry on a persistent level, so that you wake up in the morning, you move throughout the day and you go to bed at night with a much higher level of baseline calm. And your ability to handle all sorts of crazy things that come at you throughout the day is increased pretty dramatically. That’s one part of the equation.
The other side – and this is where some of the really fascinating research is coming in now – is that it literally has the ability to promote new brain cells and to expand areas of the brain that are responsible for increased creativity and cognitive function and problem solving.
So not only does it allow us a much stronger ability to just be OK in situations which would scare the pants off most people, it’s almost like it allows us to tap a previously unaccessible wellspring of creativity and information.
Andrew: I’ll tell you what’s happened for me when I started learning to meditate. I used to have this – for me it was voices, I guess for other people it might be images – that would just be persistent in my head. I’d go to do something and I’d hear frenemies insult my idea. I’d project myself two months later when I bumped into a friend in the road or on the street somewhere and he would tell me, ‘What are you doing?’ And I’d tell me what I was doing, and he’d go, ‘Ugh, really? You’re still doing that?’
Andrew: All those little voices and scenarios would just keep playing in my head. By learning to meditate where I’m forced to shut out all the voices and just concentrate for an extended period of time, I was training myself to shut out all voices. And then when those voices came in, the ones that were negative during the day, I was much better at redirecting my brain away from them and back to what I wanted to do. And that to me was the big benefit of meditating.
Jonathan: Yeah, and there’s no doubt. And especially the form of meditation that Randy practices and that I practice also which is mindfulness, is essentially the practice of dropping story lines. So you know, the entire time that you’re sitting (and I may be sitting for 20 or 30 minutes, which is long for a lot of people; you usually start with just a couple of minutes), as thoughts come into your mind essentially you acknowledge them, and then you essentially say, ‘Can I drop this?’ and just return to my breath.
So you are repeatedly practicing. This practice of repeating dropping story lines – and it’s exactly like you said – the long-term effect of that is that as all these things come flying into your head on a daily basis then, you’ve developed this ability to say ‘I can let go of that.’ You know, that’s one story but actually, I’m going to tell a different story about where I am.
Andrew: Let me see if I understand this. Would you sit in your chair like you and I are sitting right now, or would you sit on the floor, cross-legged like a [??]?
Jonathan: I’ll literally show you. You can probably see that giant Buddha on the back of my office wall, but if you look down here . . . I wake up every morning. There’s just a little cushion on the floor, right? And the first thing I do before I do anything else, I have an iPhone app, which is a little meditation timer, which is a counter-intuitive. I set it so it gives me a little chime every five minutes so I know how long I’ve been there and I just sit and I sit. The style of meditation, mindfulness is an open eye meditation practice. It’s not about eliminating everything from your mind. It’s more about allowing things to move through and experiencing thoughts, sounds, sensations and ideas. The practice is letting them go and refocusing.
If a thought comes while I’m sitting there and I focus on my breath, maybe it’s the sound of my breath or the sensation in my body and then, literally two seconds later because this is the way our minds work, like a puppy dog just running around crazily, a thought comes spiraling in saying, I’ve got to do this today. Then you learn how to say, almost pull back and become an observer and say, oh, I’m thinking now, literally label it. I say to myself “thinking” and I let that thought go and deliberately refocus on my breath.
Andrew: I might picture myself setting down there and I think, oh man, I forget to email, Suzanne. I better write myself a note to that. You’re saying that you’d just be aware that you thought. Say, oh, I’m thinking that. You wouldn’t make a note to remember to call Suzanne back, you’d just instead say, can I let that go and you go, yes I can I let that go. Now another thought comes in your head that’s similar to that like I forgot to buy coffee now I’m not going to have coffee for breakfast, you’re going to let that go. Is that what you’re saying?
Jonathan: This is where it gets really interesting. The classic teaching is yes, that’s exactly what you do. As an entrepreneur and a creative – I call myself an idea terrorist, it is a brutally hard thing to do because one of the things that happens when you develop a sitting practice like this is the most incredible ideas for businesses, ideas, and products and services start to come flying into the space you create. The idealization time that I have while meditating is mind blowing. I would start to ask my teachers the same thing, I can’t let these things go. It’s not that I have to go buy milk, some astonishing good idea just came flying into my head and they would tell me, essentially I would have to let it go.
I have actually tried to figure this out, right now. I’m trying to figure out can you stay in that meditative place and somehow keep a little pad next to you where just for a moment write down a single word so that you know you can return to it. I’ve actually been speaking with a developer about this because I have an app, -which is the meditation timer and I’m thinking to myself, can I take this app and I can I build on it a voice activated recorder where it kicks on, purely by my voice and only stays on for a second-and-a-half. I can’t actually have a conversation, but if an idea for a business comes to me, I can sit there, and I’m breathing and I can just say out loud, new content and it just automatically records it. I know it’s there and I can let it go completely and focus back on my breath.
Andrew: What you do now is you allow that thought to go. You allow the thought that you need to buy coffee later go. You leave the fact that you just remember all of a sudden that you insulted someone five years ago and you’re feeling guilty about it, you let that go. You just let them all go or you say, that’s a thought, I’ve labeled it, letting it go and by training yourself to do that you allow yourself when it’s time to be productive and negative thoughts come in and like, what is Andrew going to think of my book Uncertainty, you allow that to go because you’ve trained yourself to do that before.
Jonathan: Exactly. What I find also, to be honest, is mostly the really good stuff, even if you forget it by the time you’re done with the meditation, within a very short period of time it comes flying back to you. That’s exactly what I do, it’s become an astonishingly powerful power of my creative practice.
Andrew: OK. Next is Seed the Forest. What do you mean by that? By the way, usually what I do is I get a book like this, and thank you so much, you sent me your book when you published it. You sent me a nice card, can I show people the card?
Jonathan: Yeah. Sure.
Andrew: There’s nothing like super private on it, you sent me this nice card with it and this is your hand writing or you had an assistant to it.
Jonathan: That’s my hand writing.
Andrew: Would you tell me if you had an assistant?
Jonathan: I would.
Andrew: OK. You sent me the book. Usually what I do when I get a book like this is I have to sit down and I have to break it down into tactics because I don’t want to have another program here where people learn big ideas. Big ideas are all over the place. I want people to hear you say, think about training your brain. Hear you talk about how to meditate and then boom tomorrow they go meditate or maybe they pause it right now and they sit down in their bedroom or their office somewhere and they try meditating the way we talked about.
That’s why I’m so into the tactics that we can use right now. That’s why I apologize for blowing past your idea for an iPhone app, but I said, they can’t do it later on it the day, we have to come back to that another time when the app is up maybe. That’s the thing I usually do, I look for these ideas. With you, you just did something that makes my life really easy. You labeled your chapters based on each of these tactics and you made the chapter titles just intriguing enough that I can toss it out there without revealing the point, but get people curious. Here’s the next thing you say, See the Forest, one of the chapter titles, one of the tactics, what does that tactic mean?
Jonathan: It’s really about pulling back and not getting completely and utterly lost in the process. This can happen to so many of us. When you become fully absorbed in trying to create something that initially you lose the rest of your life. This is one of the big things and I’ve seen [??] guys write about this, [Jess] wrote a piece about it, essentially how this process can be absolutely all consuming. The question is does it have to be. One of the big questions that people ask me all the time and I’m sure you’ve explored it, every entrepreneur explores, is when to hold and when to fold.
People would tell me when you’re getting to that point where you feel the resistance and you feel the anxiety, you feel the fear and you keep trying things. How do you know that’s butterflies, that feeling inside you is a sign that you should move forward or that finally you should pack it in, it’s just not going to work. I started to ask those people, how do I know. They would say, you just know, you just know. I would say, no, I don’t think you really do just know.
Andrew: I hate that answer, you just know. What am I supposed to do here?
Jonathan: Right. I started thinking, is there some sort of, maybe there’s not a standardized answer or process you do, but are there at least a set of intelligent questions that you can ask to try and figure out whether you should [??]. I started to try and break it down and try to list a whole bunch of questions that would help guide you in the process. The first one is like a really big split, which is do you feel like what you’re doing is to serve your current project or is it a calling? Do you feel like this is the thing you can’t not do? Your answer to that it will have a really huge impact on what you do next.
If this is something that you can’t not do. This is what you’re being called to do, you may very likely give up a whole lot of stuff and just go down the road until you can’t go anymore in the quest of honoring that calling. If it’s not then what happens, we all do this, we start out with an endeavor with largely a whole bunch of ideas and assumptions and over time a hunch becomes replaced by fact. A lot of times we don’t want to listen to the fact. If you’re not being called to do something, then what you start to do is ask questions which allow you to benchmark much more intelligently.
OK. Let me, on a regular basis, set up mechanisms where I can fully understand. As fact is replacing hunch, let’s check in with this on a really regular basis and let’s see, does it make sense for this to keep happening. What is the data really telling me? Then, circling back to that one question, that we talked about in the beginning, even if we get to a point where the data is now telling me that I’m dead wrong, but if I change it this way, the market very likely will adopt it and it will be insanely successful. Will doing that [??] what brought me into this in the beginning that I’m no longer personally fulfilled by it?
That’s a question that so few people don’t ask and they end up sitting on top of companies that have succeeded that they’ve scaled and they’re miserable sitting at the helm. I really want to go deep and ask about it and walk people through the process of exploring those questions.
Andrew: All right. I’m going to give the example of how I did this and I’ve done this a couple of times — do I have one of my notebooks here for it, no — the example I gave earlier where I felt like I was just in an uncertain place, I couldn’t even pass requirements, spec requirements to my developer because I was so unsure of what was going to happen. Anyway, I sat down and I said, “How does creating this software,” which was online invitation software, “Really further the vision that I had? What am I here to do?” I thought, “No, I know what I’m here to do that’s not really going to get me there, it’s this side track that I got on that just makes no sense really. If I were to step back in time and say do I want to be here? Would I want to be here? If I were to project myself forward and say, if this didn’t work, would I want that life?” I said, “No.”
It was really hard, but eventually that’s what got me to step away. I had a similar issue when I started doing interviews on Mixergy and it was getting tough, one a day I was pumping out there, I was spending a lot of time doing, you know, just to pick this interview we spent, we went back and forth a lot by email and that’s nothing for me. I want to sharpen that intro that one topic that we have here of how can entrepreneurs turn fear and doubt into fuel for billions, we went back and forth in trying to find that one thing that’s really going to speak to my audience. I spent a lot of time going through your book making sure that I picked out the key stories for my audience.
I was doing that a long time ago and not getting any feedback. My audience wasn’t growing. People didn’t seem to really care about it. The guests we’re a little bothered that I would put them through so much work before an interview. I said, ‘Do I really care about this?’ and I said, ‘Yeah. This is what I care about. This is what I’m here to do.’ I said, ‘I’ve got to just keep going and keep going.” I think once I understood, this is what I’m here to do, it started coming out in my conversation with people and maybe you saw that in our pre-interview that I wasn’t just here to push you because I’m a bully or because I feel like I have to get you to say, what I want you to say to my audience. There is a bigger vision at play here and that was a huge help. I wish that I would of read that chapter alone, maybe five years ago.
Jonathan: Yeah. No doubt. The reason that I sold my last company was because it was very successful, one of the most successful of its kind in the country. I had to change it so much from my original vision that it really wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do for me on a personal fulfillment level anymore, so I made this other call and I sold the company so I could focus on things that really would fill me up.
Andrew: What was that other company? I alluded to it in the intro when I called you a serial entrepreneur, but these days everyone calls themselves a serial entrepreneur. The audience just files that away as “Yeah, he’s one of us. He’s an entrepreneur.” But, I’m sure there’s a curiosity. What was that business that you had?
Jonathan: That was a business that I actually started in the shadow of 9/11 in New York City. I signed the lease in [??] Manhattan on September 10th, 2001. It was one of the largest yoga centers in the city and yoga teacher training schools in the country. I grew that over seven years and sold it. That was a business where I had a vision for it in the beginning. It changed and it evolved. It changed in a way where it just wasn’t giving me a lot. It wasn’t giving me what it brought in the beginning. So, it was time. We had a staff set up and everything was really rock n rolling with it, so it was a fairly easy company to move on from.
Andrew: Gina Trapani is one of the examples in your book that you give of a woman who stepped back and saw the forest. What did she do and how did she step back to see the forest?
Jonathan: I first talked to Gina about this back when I was writing my last book. This is where the phrase “It was something that I couldn’t not do” came in. She was kind of the one that first used it. Since then I’ve heard it so many times. I was asking originally, “What started you from leaving just [??] and becoming the founding editor of Life Hacker.” Her answer to me was, “I love to write.” For me, this was the thing that, at that point in my life, that I couldn’t not do.
This is the thing that I was being called to do. She rode that for a number of years until her more recent incarnation where she pulled back from that again, and she made a similar assessment. She said, “It’s super successful. I’m really well known.” But, now she’s starting to feel like that the things she can’t not do is write on her own. She has it real deep and I love that. She wanted more time to do that and more time to write what she wants to write. It’s an evolutionary process. It’s important to also [??] these questions on a pretty regular basis because, especially in our world, things shift really quickly.
Andrew: The phrase was, Jonathan, “Do what you’re called to do.” Did I get that right?
Jonathan: It’s “Do the thing you can’t not do”.
Andrew: Do the thing you can’t not do. Now, I feel like I was born knowing where my life was going to end up. I remember, even as a teenager, knowing where I would be when I was forty or thinking I knew. I was wrong. I’m haven’t been forty yet, but I had this vision. I saw a lot of people who didn’t have that and I thought that strange. As I’ve become an adult I’ve noticed that there are people who go their whole lives not knowing what that thing that they can’t not do is. What happens if the person in my audience right now doesn’t know what she was put on this Earth to do or he can’t not do.
Jonathan: I think you’re right. I think that’s actually the vast majority of people. I think you’re very unusual in having a strong sense of what it is. But, I also think it’s a huge mistake. There’s this whole thing out in the world of personal development, and to certain extents sort of [??] into business these days in trying to identify your life’s purpose. I think that’s a huge mistake, and a lot of people disagree with me, but it’s a big word that terrorizes, terrifies, and paralyzes most people. It’s one of those things where I really don’t think you understand something like that until you’ve lived a serious chunk of life and you start to look back.
What I think is a much more constructive thing to do is to chunk it down and say, “OK, in my life, what more could I have done to date? What are the things that made me feel completely absorbed and alive? Who are the people that I like to be around and when I’m around them I can’t get enough of them? What are the processes, tasks, and activities that make me feel alive? What’s the culture that I’m in? What’s the mission that’s overriding it? What about the physical setting?”.
So, you break it down into individual elements, and rather than saying “What’s my big purpose here in life?” just say “In each one of these little areas, looking back at what I’ve done to date, what are the moments where I feel completely absorbed, fulfilled, and alive and what was I doing? Who was I with and what was the type of culture that I was in?”. Then look for those elements in whatever work that you’re applying yourself to now. What most people find is that when you start to find alignment with all the individual elements you may be equally happy doing 20 different things, but it’s more the underlying qualities of work that are really important.
Andrew: I see, so think about, do you prefer to work in an office full of people, or an office by yourself. Do you prefer to be plugged in all day, or do you need to be unplugged and outdoors. Through those small answers, you’ll get a vision of what the bigger answer or the bigger picture is.
Jonathan: Yeah, I mean, look back at the experience that you’ve had to date and you just say, “where are those moments where I’ve just felt like I’m completely inarguably[sp] in the zone?” I go through those things: People, culture, setting, mission, processes, and tasks, and say where’s the alignment there?
Andrew: Alright I’ll say this to the audience. I usually don’t like to say “sit down with a pen and paper and write things out” because who wants to assign homework? I hate homework and I always did, but I do think that this is an exercise that if you were to just step back and whether you did it on paper or did it in your head and just ask yourself, what’s the bigger vision here? Where am I going with this? How does this fit in?
I believe you’ll see why you’ve started what you’re uncertain about right now, and I believe through that vision, through the process of thinking about it you’re going to get excited about it again. You’re going to feel like, oh yeah, that is worth fighting for, that is worth suffering for, even if I have to eat ramen for another year. I believe in most cases, you will, and in the few cases where you go, wait a minute, no way, it’s much better to sit down and really have that conversation with yourself and discover it quickly.
I also want to talk about the women who created the movie “Crazy Sexy Cancer” but I think we’ll have to leave that for people to read the book for. I’m actually leaving them a reason to read the book. That’s one of many.
I’m pulling out just the key stories here that I think will apply to the audience. You guys can go out and get “Uncertainty” for yourself if you want to pick it up, if you want more depth to any of these topics.
Alright, the final one that I want to talk about is: own the storyline. What does it mean to own the storyline?
Jonathan: Yeah and this is something that we talked about when we were talking about meditation but it’s something that really, is super important here. It’s exactly what you said. The outcomes in our lives and whether not we succeed or not in business is generally not about the circumstances but it’s the way that we frame the circumstances and respond to the stories that we tell about them. Behavioral therapists call this something called “re-framing” or “cognitive reappraisal.”
It’s essentially, when we reach a scenario and look at the circumstances we say, well, this is basically doom and gloom, and a lot of things that stop people is they look at an opportunity and are like, well, what if I fail? When you ask the question “What if I fail?” they are painting a doom and gloom storyline which basically it’s a doomsday storyline [??] and it stops us from actually taking action to do things that we very likely could do, and do very well and succeed at, and build amazing things in the world.
So it’s a process of stepping back and saying, is there another storyline I can tell around this particular set of facts or circumstances? Fear of failure is a huge one. So just focusing on that process, instead of just saying “What if I fail?” answer that question. Instead of creating a crazy doomsday scenario, answer it realistically. Then answer another question which is “How will I recover?” Create an equally vivid story around that.
Then ask two questions which nobody asks which are mission critical to allow yourself to move, and that’s “What if I do nothing?” which is very often the most horrific scenario, because if you’re not happy or you’re not getting what you want now, there’s no sideways. If you just keep doing it, it’s just slow bodily decline. If you get really honest about what that storyline looks like that becomes a story that you almost want to avoid the most.
Then you ask one final question which is “What if I succeed?” and create an equally vivid storyline around that. It gives you opposing stories that, instead of being obsessed with this doomsday scenario that you’re spinning your head in and completely shuts you down, you actually create a realistic scenario. You create a very realistic scenario where you actually recover, and you create, OK, an equally powerful, if not more powerful story of “What happens if I succeed at this?” You turn that experience from telling stories that shut you down to telling stories that allow you to re-frame the circumstance and actually enable action rather than destroy action.
Andrew: How do you make those stories? How do you get to those stories?
Jonathan: Essentially one of the most powerful ways to do it is through meditation practice. It gives you the ability to pull back and become more of a neutral observer in your circumstance. One of them is, owning the fact that the circumstance that’s in front of you right now, the actual fact is not the determinative of your success or your failure. It’s what you’re telling yourself about that fact which will determine how you move through this moment in time.
It’s not just BS, sort of like personal development stuff, this actually comes through a lot of research [??] therapy. It’s a highly effective tool. The reason is because our brains operate on the fact that we have a belief system where whatever we repeat in our heads becomes our reality. So, if we are constantly repeating the storyline where there’s a fact in front of us, and the story we create is “Well, if I act on this, it’s going to be absolute destruction” then we repeat that in our head and that becomes our reality and we shut down. Whereas if we say, well there are five different ways we can go about this, and two of them are potentially a huge opportunity, and the risk of failing is actually substantially outweighed by the potential opportunity here, it becomes a much more enabling way to approach a problem. You start to realize that fact is not what determines our success or failure, it’s the way that we frame it. When you get into the process of stepping back and saying, “Can I frame this fact situation differently?” it opens a lot of opportunity to you.
Andrew: Do you have an example, I was going to ask you about Deb Ng of Blogworld, but I’m not sure that there was enough depth in her story for this example. I don’t remember. Do you have an example we could use to illustrate that?
Jonathan: Yeah, so I had a past life as a lawyer also. So, when I was a big firm lawyer in New York City, and I had to do something similar to what [??] did in that I reached a point of my life when I said, you know what, this is not worth me. So, I turned around, and I walked out of a six figure $2,000 Armani suit, power prestige job, one of the biggest, baddest firms in the world. When I was leaving everyone was asking me, everyone’s sort of hush talk around the office was – and I literally sent a memo around saying “I’m leaving the law to go and lead people up mountains and become an entrepreneur in the wellness world.” Everyone around sort of at my level was saying, “what a shame”, and the question they were all asking was, “How can you leave so much behind?” You’ve got six figures on everything, and a job that everybody wants, how do you walk away from that?
When you ask that question you create a story where it’s really hard to justify. But then I said, you know what, you’re actually asking the wrong question. Here’s the right question. A 30 years old, how could I ever justify limiting the next 40-50 working years of my life by what’s happening in the last 7? When you ask that question, it allows you to tell, it allowed me to tell a very different story where I literally couldn’t justify staying in the law anymore, whereas when they asked the question that they were asking, identical fact pattern, but they made it so that they couldn’t understand what I was doing.
So it’s a matter of changing the questions you ask in the identical fact pattern that allows you to view what’s ahead of you as opportunity rather than doom.
Andrew: I see. And you know what, and I’ve allowed those stories to just happen in my head at times, and just live in my head as if they were facts. Stories of, as I gave you one earlier, I’m going to run into someone down the street, in fact, I knew exactly what street I was going to run into them on, and they were going to ask me what I was going to do, and you know what, we make those stories up. You’re saying take control of that, frame it properly, and come up with your own story. Don’t allow your monkey mind or other people to come up with stories that then become true in your head.
Jonathan: The first move that I made when I left the law, I went from doing that to making 12 bucks and hour as a personal trainer, because I wanted to learn it straight from the ground up, and that was evil. So one of the stories that I told myself was, what if I’m in the middle of central park, lying on the grass, stretching and climbing, and one of my former mega-firm clients comes walking by me, and they look at me they’re just thinking, “what’s happened to him?” and I’m telling that story in my head.
Then I’m like, you know what, I need to stop, because what’s going to happen is that I’m now actually learning an industry from the bottom up, I’m still going to turn around, make just as much money, and build my own companies. Then when they look at me 18 months, 2 years down the road they are going to say, “How did you do that?” and in fact many of them started to come back to me and ask that very question.
Andrew: Alright, let me tell the audience one thing. Then I want to ask you a big question here, and I’m going to ask you to be real honest with this answer. Guys, if you like the way that I lead this kind of interview, I mean this interview is not for everyone. Charlie Rose I think would be a gas, and I would script out where we are going with this interview, and we would know exactly where we’re going, and then I would just keep pulling for information that would be useful, and not necessarily enlightening but actionable, and I believe if you get action then the enlightenment is going to come afterwards.
If you do, we have a series of courses on mixergy.com/premium where I get even more tactical, where all I do is I say to an entrepreneur, show me your computer screen, and now show me what my audience needs to do to get the results that you get. I had Louis House [sp] come on recently, he’s the guy who’s the LinkedIn expert, and I said, Louis, break it down for me. Show me, first of all, proof that you get customers from LinkedIn, because I’m not in LinkedIn just for the fun of being LinkedIn and connect with friends. I’ve got enough friends. Jonathan and I are now friends.
I make a new friend every day in these interviews. I said, show me how you get customers, and then break it down, show my audience step by step how they can do what you do on LinkedIn without having it take up all day. Not only did he say it and show it, but he said “look, watch the video of this course on one side of the screen, have your LinkedIn at the other side of the screen, and follow along, and if you don’t get the results, then blame Andrew.
That’s the goal. The goal here is to show you results. If all you did was go through the exercise, than I’ve failed you. That’s what we do with course after course on mixergy.com/premium. People love it, they say that they sign up because, first of all, because I let them know it exists through these interviews. I used to say, they will discover it on the website on their own now that I am talking about it. People know about it. And also they say, Andrew, if you are talking about it and your telling us to trust you. We’ve watched hundreds of interviews with you. If you say trust you, they tell me they’ll trust me. And I really appreciate that.
I’m not just saying this because I want you to sign up. I’m saying this because this because I know this is helpful. So thank you for letting me make that statement.
Jonathan, here’s the big question– You wrote the book about uncertainty. You’re now the guy who teaches people how to deal with uncertainty. Hand to God, hand to Buddha, whatever your personal religious beliefs are, do you get uncertain?
Andrew: Even though you have the solution right here in your book? And even though you have the same outline that I just read to my audience?
Andrew: So what do you do?
Jonathan: It’s not about eliminating risk. It has to be there. It’s a signpost that what you are doing matters. Certainty kills innovation. If you’re certain, essentially, it’s the functional equivalent of believing you have all of the answers. There is nothing more destructive to the desire to build something from nothing than believing you know everything going into it. So you have to have uncertainty. You have constantly bring yourself to a place where you’re in uncertain waters. You know, the challenge is not to remove uncertainty from the equation. The challenge is to learn how to process it differently and now allow yourself to shut it down. I am constantly in a place of uncertainty. In fact, I go out and I seek, I invite and try to amplify uncertainty in the name of creating even better stuff.
Andrew: All right. Well, that’s an honest answer. I appreciate you saying that. Let me give people a quick break down since I have it so nicely in my outline. Find your certainty anchor. Pillage your hive. Socialize your creation. Train your brain. See the forest. Own the storyline. Those are big topics that we handle. There are even more if you go out and get this book, Uncertainty. I’m selling this like I have a commission check coming to me from doing it but it’s a really good book. I appreciate all of the stories in here. I appreciate the work you have put in here with me to make this interview as solid as I know the audience is going to find it.
Guys get the book. Use the book and let me know what results you are getting. And, as always, if you found any of this useful, go to Jonathan Fields.
Jonathan, where can people connect with you so that my audience can say thank you to you directly? I always say, don’t just be a passive observer. Be active if you saw someone whose ideas you like. Just shoot them and email and say thank you. How can they do that?
Jonathan: Excellent. You can find me at www.jonathanfields.com or the book as its own website at www.theuncertaintybook.com. So either way.
Andrew: www.theuncertaintybook.com. www.jonathanfields.com. Thank you all for watching. Go out there and use it. Bye.