(Breather) Four-time podcast guest Dave Rossi has a unique approach to spirituality and happiness that leaves a lasting impact.
Enjoy our previous shows (like the episode about his book, The Imperative Habit, and Overcoming Fear and Anxiety With Values and Vision) and this Breather show about dealing with fear by using a methodical and effective process. Dave also puts an interesting spin on happiness by urging us to view happiness as our default state once we eliminate all the things that make us unhappy. Hint: most of them are ruminations in the mind about the past or the future!
This episode walks you through the four steps you can take in order to truly overcome fear and anxiety. And the way Dave frames things that we too often deem as negative, like failure, will open your eyes to a whole new perspective, which helps when making adjustments to the way we handle negative emotions.
The first step when you’re feeling anxious, scared, or anything unpleasant, is to Stop. First, become aware of what emotion and feeling that you are feeling. If it is fear, then call it out. Say, “I am afraid that…” Consciousness is not acting happy, so we can feel happy when we can act happy. Instead, Dave says it’s like, “Shining a flashlight on the deep dark parts of our fears and vulnerabilities and touching them, seeing them, exposing them, and shining them with light so we can feel great all the time.”
It’s important to get the difference between the two ― I know I’ve definitely been that overly positive guy that essentially is in denial then! And it needs to be said that it is ok to have fear. It’s normal, we all experience it, but the issue that arises out of fear a lot of the time is that you have to decide what to do with it. And acting on any emotion is not advisable ― certainly not fear. “Fear inhibits clarity, full stop.”
The next step is to Process: Where is the fear coming from? Danger? Fear of loss, fear of results, fear of failure? Processing the emotion usually leads back to either a belief or ego. Dave says, “Using intelligence and thoughts, reason to find solutions to the issues without fear. This will give us greater intelligence and great power to choose.” I love this point of Dave’s because overcoming fears of failure happened to me by both working hard AND smart.
I think of my son now: a college grad, out in the real world now….and real life is scary and discouraging. But if you turn to your values and vision, as Rossi says, you can take action by applying some of that mindset training to envision your path clearly. And that is when you give yourself your best shot.
“Tell yourself you need to make the analysis and choice without the fear, but understand the issues surrounding the initial feeling. Dealing with fear is facing the things you need to do, to make something work,” Dave says. “Doubting your ability can be real, more real if you doubt it without fear and without ego. Then you can objectively assess your abilities – not your abilities fogged by fear or ego.”
The next step is to Decide: “Decide authentically, with a feeling of love and joy for the task. Decide without fear.” To do that, the key is realizing that any outcome is the outcome that it is supposed to be. We have much less control in our lives than we think we do. Here, Dave uses the example trying to parent your kid into being a “success.” I love this reflection because kids really are on their own path from a very young age, and your job as a parent is unconditional love and support. Like being the caddy to a golfer! You can give advice, but don’t overly orchestrate things, and don’t try to shield them from struggling and failure. There’s so much to be learned there. Dave says failure is supposed to teach us something. That it’s a growing experience. And if a venture fails, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Dave says, “Failure is not good or bad, we only think it is bad.”
We all know this is true, it’s just hard to swallow. Can you reference any times in life where failure led to something greater? I’ve written about my failed college running, and I’ve also noticed lots of divorce happening in recent years including myself. You have to see it is a good and necessary and worthwhile run, instead of a failure…..but, use intelligence and thoughts to plot your future.
Jordan Peterson says that the reason we have memory is so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. Re-framing it this way is to think that nothing is actually a failure, but a lesson. John Wooden said: “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
And the final step: Happiness. Choose knowing you can fail, but because you want it and love trying it. Not for money or success, but because it’s the right thing to do. And it is also the highest expression of your passions and talents. But….when we get old, we have more responsibility and the stakes are higher. Or are they? We only think they are. We all deserve the clarity and freedom of the young athlete who quit his accounting job and became an athlete. Choose happiness!
To get rid of that state of fear and anxiety, the first step is to slow down and acknowledge what you are feeling. [02:23]
The next step is to process it using intelligence and thought. [04:47]
Decide authentically with the feeling of love and joy for the task. Brad applies this to parenting. [09:25]
If we fail, the failure is supposed to teach us something and thus become a growth experience. [11:43]
The reason humans have memory is not for nostalgia, it’s so don’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. [15:27]
Get all the stuff that makes you unhappy out of the way, and you’re left with happiness! [16:01]
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Brad (1m 27s): Hey, how about a breather show honoring the wonderful teachings and philosophy of Dave Rossi? One of my favorite podcast guests has been on three times. I think four times. If you count, when he turned the tables and interviewed me for a podcast episode. He is the author of the Imperative Habit. You got to grab that book off Amazon. It’s filled with wonderful insights about how to live a happy life. So we’re going to call this one overcoming fear and backing into happiness with a one, two, three, four step approach. It’s going to be lots of fun. I believe this content emanated from an email that he sent to me. Brad (2m 12s): Maybe it was notes from a conversation, but they call this guy the hurricane for a reason because he will just blast with insights at full speed ahead, gas pedal down. You’re going to love it. And it’s going to give you some great practical steps to get out of that state of fear and anxiety that we can so easily step into these days. So the first step is to stop. That’s right, slow down, come to a stop and be aware of what emotions and feelings are happening right now. If it’s fear, then you need to call it out. You need to say, I am afraid and be specific. Brad (2m 55s): What are you afraid of? I am afraid that the quarantine shutting down my restaurant will leave me in financial ruin. I am afraid that I’m not going to pass my classes. Won’t be able to transfer to a four year school. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to get a job and won’t be able to pay my rent, et cetera, et cetera. So call it out. Acknowledge it and understand the difference. This is important for me, really hit a home, understand the difference between just acting happy so that you can feel happy when you act happy versus being fully conscious and being aware of the things that are causing you, pain and suffering. I’m really good at keeping that smile on my face and sort of compartmentalizing things to the extent that I ignore them. Brad (3m 38s): And the whole thing is turning out to be the opposite of the intended effect when you’re not acknowledging these things. So, as Dave says, it’s shining a flashlight on the deep dark parts of our fears and vulnerabilities and touching them, seeing them, exposing them and shining them with light. So we can have a better chance at feeling great most of the time, right? Instead of always having this thing in the curtain, behind the curtain, in the closet that can rear its ugly head when you’re having a down moment this is so important for me to understand that distinction, that difference and not living in denial, but actually living with that consciousness and being able to shine the flashlight. Brad (4m 22s): So, okay. It’s okay to have fear. We all do. The issue is what you’re going to decide to do about it. Acting on any emotion is not really advisable, certainly not fear. Fear will inhibit clarity full stop. So okay. You’ve taken that first step. You have gotten in touch with your emotions and feelings. You are calling things out. The next step is to process it. So where is the thought of fear derived from? Is it actual true danger? Are you afraid when you jump off the cliff into the ocean below that something’s going to happen, you’re going to tweak your rotator cuff in your shoulder if you don’t put your hand, right? Brad (5m 6s): That’s valid. That’s legit. Are you afraid of loss? Afraid of results, afraid of failure? So we’ve got a process and guess where it’s going to head back to when we process it, it’s either going to come from emanate from a belief or from your ego. When we determine the cause we ask ourselves what metrics, what issues surround the feeling and thought of fear in this example? Are they valid fears? How do I buffer up against the fears? Hmm. Do we need a partner? Do we need more rope? Do we need a better co presenter? What do we need? Brad (5m 46s): Using intelligence and thoughts we apply reason to find solutions to the issues without having the fear overwhelm everything. This will give us greater intelligence and greater power to choose. I love this insight of using intelligence and thoughts and not having the fear because I think a lot of times we are compelled inspired to just grind away and that hard work will pay off and answer and alleviate all our problems. And it doesn’t really work that way because you have to work hard and you have to work smart. You can’t just grind away when you have a problem and expect to magically manifest results because you get a smiley face for working so hard. Brad (6m 33s): So when you’re processing things and thinking it through and thinking about your approach and what’s flawed with your approach, that’s when you can start to make real progress. I’m thinking back to my time as an athlete, when I would train harder and harder in pursuit of success, and maybe I was afraid of falling off the rankings or not being able to make it as an athlete. And so sometimes my response would be to just push myself harder all the way into burnout mistakes. And in many cases manifesting my worst fears. When I was able to train smarter and harder, if necessary, right? You got to get off your butt. If you’re experiencing fear, you got to get out there and do something about it, but you have to do it, apply your effort in the right direction. Brad (7m 17s): And that’s when you can make real breakthroughs. So many other examples of this, Oh my gosh. You know, I’m thinking of my son. Now he graduated college. Now I need to find a job, a place to live and face real life. Really for the first time. It’s very scary, brings out a lot of fear and it can also be discouraging. But if you listen to Dave and his template advice to anytime you experience fear and anxiety, turn your attention, return your mindset and your thoughts to your values and your vision. Use your intelligence and your thoughts put those to good use. And that’s when you can go take action and take the proper steps, the proper protocol to find the things that you need to achieve your goals. Brad (7m 59s): And that’s a much better than the aimless and desperate attempts to make things happen without using that intelligence factor without putting that into the mix. Okay. So back to Dave’s comments, tell yourself you need to make the analysis and the choice without the fear, but understand the issues surrounding the initial feeling. Dealing with fear is facing the things that you need to do to make something work. Doubting your ability can be real. And it’s much more real. If you doubt it without fear and without ego, then you can objectively assess your abilities, not your abilities, fogged by fear or ego, get what I’m saying? Brad (8m 43s): So if you want to run for Congress against the nine term incumbent, and you don’t have any money, but you really dream of making a difference in politics, okay, that might bring up some fears that you’re going to get your ass kicked and swallowed before you can even get on the ballot. But you can at least objectively assess your abilities. If you get rid of fear. Get rid of ego and realize, hey, maybe I should work as an aid in a congressman’s office before I put my name out there and make my first poster. Okay. So Dave asks, is this a relative reality instead of ultimate reality and an ultimate fear? Can the belief causing the fear to be changed? Brad (9m 25s): Next step after processing, it is to decide, decide authentically with the feeling of love and joy for the task. Decide without fear. What helps? Well, guess what? Any outcome is the outcome that it’s supposed to be. We have much less control in our lives than we think we do. And Dave gives me an example of being a parent and pursuing this goal of parenting your kid all the way into becoming a success. We have much less control in our lives than we think we do. What a great example, because when I reflect back now that my kids are adult age, and if you’re listening to kids of the childbearing age, realize that you might realize or pay attention to the idea that I’ve come up with that, or the reflection I’ve had, that the kids are on their own paths from a very young age. Brad (10m 19s): And there’s a lot you can do to try to interfere, but they’re, they’re more self-determined than we give them credit for. So I think the best job for a parent is to show that unconditional love and support and be a caddy carrying their golf bag. So the caddy/player relationship is so interesting because the, the caddy is never hitting a shot for the player, right? They’re giving them all the information they need. There may be helping them with club selection, but especially on the, on the pro tour, the golfer always makes the final selection because he’s the one or she’s the one that has to be confident with that seven iron in their hands. Even if the caddy suggests an eight iron, the player says, you know what, I’m going to go with seven and I’m going to ease, ease up a little bit or whatever they’re confident messages to themselves that they’re totally accountable for what happened. Brad (11m 7s): So the caddy never overstepped their bounds and tries to strong arm the player into doing something that they think is right, because the player’s the one navigating the course, and they’re the ones making the big bucks playing on the pro tour. So they know what they’re doing. So as a parent, I love that analogy because it’s so easy to step over the line and say, here, let me show you how to hit this shot. No one will notice and I’ll put it right on the green for you. And then you can putt. You think that’s a funny analogy? What about the college bribery scandal, where the parent is behind the scenes, getting their kid admitted into the college when they don’t deserve to be, or when they didn’t even have their own chance to do it. So it’s a great goal to never orchestrate things, overly orchestrate things for your kid, push them too far into one direction because you do have that power and that influence, but it’s not going to come out well. Brad (11m 55s): That great therapist that I forget the title of his book, Dr. William Hughes, he’s from Sacramento. He says anything that’s a parent’s idea is oftentimes not turning out to be a very good idea? And anything that’s a kid’s idea usually turns out to be a great idea. So don’t orchestrate things too much, and don’t try to shield them from struggling and suffering and failure because there’s so many lessons to be learned from those dead ends. And, Oh my gosh, back to Dave, he says, if we fail, the failure is supposed to teach us something and thus become a growth experience. Maybe we chose something for the wrong reasons. And then we feel like we failed, whether it’s a marriage or whether we spent those years in law school and embarking on a law career that didn’t really work out for us. Brad (12m 40s): We didn’t like. So if a venture fails, it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. If you lose a race or an election or whatever it is, a lot of times that can alter your path to turn into something that’s bigger and better and more suited for what your true calling is. Failure is not good or bad. We only think of it as bad. Whew! That’s heavy. I like that. I mean, we know it’s true, right? It’s just really, really hard to swallow, especially in real time. And I’m sure you can come up with a lot of counter examples of when you sold your stock when you panicked, when the market crashed. And that was a big fat failure because you lost 38% on your investment. Brad (13m 22s): But wait a second. Can you reference other times in your life when failure led to something greater? What about the incredible lessons that you’ve learned that have made you a better investor today or whatever the example is, if you look on Brad kearns.com, I have my meet Brad link, right? Talk about kind of my life story in detail, especially with emphasis on my athletic career. And I talk about how my college running career and my big, huge dreams of being a runner in college and forming my identity was, was a horrible failure. And I kept getting injured and sick and spit out the back of the machine that was the division one college running experience. But guess where it led me? Brad (14m 2s): It led me to a triathlon career that was vastly of greater magnitude, greater satisfaction and more success than I could have had as a runner. Same thing with divorce, which Dave mentioned as one of the ideas. And there’s been a lot of divorce happening in my world in recent years, including myself and you, it’s just, you’re obligated. You’re compelled to see this as a, a necessary and worthwhile experience. You have to think of it as a good run. That was your destiny and the lessons that you needed to learn and all the good things that came out of it. Instead of thinking of it as a failure, because it didn’t hit some arbitrary finished line of the graveyard. I mean, I know we’ve been socialized to think that, and in the old time marital vows, which I believe have now transformed, they don’t usually say that the wife is going to obey the husband anymore. Brad (14m 52s): And I don’t think they’re all big on saying till death do us part. I love that take by many people who recommend that you should maybe consider renewing your vows every morning or renewing your commitment to the marriage every single day when you wake up, Hey, you want to still be married. Yeah, sure. Let’s do it. Let’s talk again tomorrow. Instead of taking things for granted and having kind of these, these implants in your mind that anything less than, you know, full term is a failure. Failure’s not good or bad. We only think of it as bad. Oh, okay. All right. Except it, here we go. Learning from the experience. Good point. No such thing as failure. Brad (15m 33s): If you always think of it as a learning experience reminds me of Jordan Peterson’s comment. He says the reason we have memory that humans have memory, the ability to have memory is not for nostalgia, it’s so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. There we go. So nothing’s really a failure. Just a lesson. Johnny Wooden, the greatest basketball coach, said, quote, failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be . Okay Back to Dave Rossi and his final step toward happiness. Choose, knowing that you can fail. But because you want it and loved trying for it, that’s the reason it’s not for money or success, but, but because it’s the right thing to do the highest expression of your passions and talents. Brad (16m 20s): Oh, but wait a second. When we get older, we have more responsibility and the stakes are higher. But are they? And we only think they are Mark Sisson talking about his entrepreneurial journey said, you know, I have the same stresses and thought processes and fears and anxieties. It’s just that there’s more zeros added to the, the numbers at hand than when he was a young entrepreneur painting houses or whatever he was doing. So we think the stakes are higher. That’s only because we form a belief accordingly. We all deserve the clarity and the freedom of the young athlete who quit his accounting job and became a triathlete. Oh, he’s talking about me there. Brad (17m 2s): How about that? So getting all the stuff that makes you unhappy out of the way, and you’re left with happiness, that’s, Dave’s big insight. I love that. Instead of pursuing happiness, by going on another rollercoaster ride or taking vacations or shopping until you drop on amazon.com. Just remove the things that make you unhappy and you’re left in a state of happiness. Great quote by Tony Robbins here too. He says the most important decision of your life is deciding whether you’re truly committed to being happy no matter what every single day. Good stuff. Thanks for listening. People go out there and make it happen. Brad (17m 42s): Take those steps. First, if you’re feeling fear, stop, be aware of those emotions and feelings. Next process things using intelligence and thoughts. Next decide what you’re going to do. Remember that any outcome is the outcome that’s meant to be. We have much less control in our lives than we think we do. And finally, for happiness co push through things for the right reasons, I think is what Dave’s saying here. Not for money or success, but it, because it’s the highest expression of your passions and talents and get those things out of the way that make you unhappy. And you’re left with happiness. Thank you for listening to the show. Brad (18m 24s): I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, suggestions, and questions for the Q and shows, subscribe to our email list of Brad kearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bimonthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks when you subscribe to the email list. 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