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Chris Do

In part two of our discussion about detachment, Chris and Anneli dive deeper—and more personally—into how practicing detachment benefits your life.

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The Art of Detachment Part 2

In part two of our discussion about detachment, Chris and Anneli dive deeper—and more personally—into how practicing detachment benefits your life.

It's easy to attach your value and identity to your work. But that attachment then often becomes the root of your unhappiness. If your work is undervalued or criticized, then you feel personally undervalued or criticized.

In this conversation, Chris shares his steps to practice meaningful detachment and explains key concepts that he follows. If you struggle with criticism, perfectionism, or taking ownership of your response in a situation, this episode might help.

Sep 14

The Art of Detachment Part 2

In part two of our discussion about detachment, Chris and Anneli dive deeper—and more personally—into how practicing detachment benefits your life.

It's easy to attach your value and identity to your work. But that attachment then often becomes the root of your unhappiness. If your work is undervalued or criticized, then you feel personally undervalued or criticized.

In this conversation, Chris shares his steps to practice meaningful detachment and explains key concepts that he follows. If you struggle with criticism, perfectionism, or taking ownership of your response in a situation, this episode might help.

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Greg Gunn

Greg Gunn is an illustrator, animator and creative director in Los Angeles, CA. He loves helping passionate people communicate their big ideas in fun and exciting ways.

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How to separate yourself from your work

Episode Transcript

Anneli:

Haven't you done a lot of prototypes and tests? Yes. What did people feel about it? They liked it. I knew that. And still, my anxiety just builds up for every day and every day, and it's almost to a point where I can't breathe and almost panic attacks because I feel what if I launched this and no one wants it? That means no one wants me.

Chris:

One of the things that you asked at the beginning of this conversation is how do I detach from my work?

Anneli:

Yes.

Chris:

And I think that's something a lot I've creative people can relate to and identify with. And I'll talk about that. Okay?

Anneli:

Yes.

Chris:

Here's what we have to ask ourselves. When you create a piece of work, is the work you? Because when people comment on the work, good or bad, what is your emotional attachment to the work? Let's try and break this thing down in simple ways, at least as far as I can do, simple ways to understand. Anneli, if you make a marketing campaign back when you're working with clients, what is your relationship to that piece of work? Can you describe it?

Anneli:

Yeah, I do feel often that I have an unhealthy, strong relationship to my work and I put way too much... It's almost like if people don't like it, they don't like me.

Chris:

The work is an extension of you.

Anneli:

Yeah, it is.

Chris:

An extension of your creativity-

Anneli:

[inaudible 00:02:01].

Chris:

... of your intelligence, of your taste, of your understanding.

Anneli:

Yeah. Yeah.

Chris:

Okay, perfect. For some reason, when you create a piece of work, whether it be a website, a logo, or a marketing campaign, you identify with that in some way. Let's just park it there. Now, let me examine a couple other things here before we get into this. When you cut your hair and the hair falls on the floor, is that hair you?

Anneli:

Yes.

Chris:

It is? When they throw in the trashcan, you feel like you've been put in the trash yourself?

Anneli:

I would maybe feel that way if someone forced me to cut my hair, but if I do-

Chris:

Well, no, just follow the words. No one force you, I'm just saying when you cut your hair, are you the hair and is the hair you? Is that your children? Is this you?

Anneli:

Yeah. Yeah.

Chris:

Really?

Anneli:

Yes, it's a part of me.

Chris:

Oh, okay.

Anneli:

Part of my body.

Chris:

Do you save all of your hair, then that you've cut over the years?

Anneli:

No.

Chris:

I don't know why you're answering the question this way. This is really strange. You blow your nose and snot comes out, is that snot you? When you sweat in your armpits and your back and you wipe that away, is that you?

Anneli:

Yeah, I think it's part of me, but maybe there... Of course it's part of me, but doesn't matter that I care about it because it's part of me, but yes, it's part of me.

Chris:

In what way is it part of you? I'd like to understand this.

Anneli:

It comes from my body, and my body is me.

Chris:

Is it really?

Anneli:

Yeah.

Chris:

Let me ask you something.

Anneli:

Otherwise, you will just be yourself.

Chris:

Okay. I'm going to challenge you right now. Okay, so if it's a part of you and you lose a part of you every time you cut your hair, are you less you than you were before you cut your hair?

Anneli:

Not if I decided to do it myself, but I would argue that if I lose my hair and I don't want to lose my hair for some reason, that I would probably feel that I'm losing a part of me. Yes.

Chris:

Okay. I see how your brain is working. I think I'm asking you a very clear question with very clear parameters, but the way that you hear it, you add other parts to the story that I didn't even introduce, like forcing or losing your hair. I'm just talking about once a month, you have your haircut voluntarily and you pay people to do this for you. That's what I'm talking about. When you have your hair cut that you pay money for people to do, you've lost a part of you as your definition, so are you less than you were before you walked into the salon?

Anneli:

If I say it from that perspective, no.

Chris:

No, I can't be. Let's say one day you're in the kitchen and you cut a part of your finger off that cannot be reattached. Are you less Anneli with a little part of your finger removed?

Anneli:

I want you to say I know that you want me to say no now, but I would say yes.

Chris:

Tell me how. You're less intelligent, you're less creative. How are you less? I'm just curious.

Anneli:

We have a body and we have a soul and we have a self, and I think my body is part of me so I think that's more about how we see that, if it's part of you or not. I'm not logical if I say yes sometimes and no sometimes.

Chris:

Right, right. My vision is getting worse and worse because I'm nearsighted. Right?

Anneli:

Yeah.

Chris:

And because it's less than the way that I was born, you would say I should feel less of me. And in fact, I do not because what am I, really? I'm a person who has thoughts. And if I can continue to think and to express myself, I don't feel the way that you do. You have strong attachment to lots of things that I'm just questioning. Right?

Anneli:

Yeah. Yeah.

Chris:

Okay. Have you looked into this as to why you have these attachments?

Anneli:

No, actually not. Interesting.

Chris:

Okay. Let me ask you another question.

Anneli:

I bring the-

Chris:

Right, let me ask you another question here. Did you see Vanilla Sky with Tom cruise?

Anneli:

Yeah, I know the movie, but I don't remember it.

Chris:

Okay, no problem. I'll remind you. Tom cruise is a really good looking guy. He's rich, he's part of a publishing company, and one day he gets into a really bad car accident and he's in a deep state of depression. And in order to help him go through the depression, they invent some crazy narrative for him until he realizes he didn't walk away from the accident, he's actually been severely injured as a human.
And so when we see this, we see, oh my gosh, why is he in such a dark mental state? Is because he has strong attachment to his physical self, like you say, your body versus what he has left, which is his mind, his ability to love, to create, to express himself. And so we see this in a fictional portrayal, but then let's take it into the real world.
If I got into an accident tomorrow, Anneli, and I lost half my body, my leg and my arm, I still have one good leg so that means I can still get around a little bit, and I still have one good arm, but nothing else is damaged. And I told you, "Anneli, I'm not myself anymore. I don't want to talk to people. I'm done. I don't want to create, I don't want to write, I don't want to produce," what would you say to me then?

Anneli:

I know I'm not logical now because I would of course say that you are not just your body. But I know if that would happen to me, maybe I wouldn't feel the same way. Maybe I would feel half and would have a really problem with it. And I don't know why.

Chris:

What would you say to me?

Anneli:

I would say that, Chris, you are still the same person. You have not lost yourself because you lost part of your body. I know it's not logical. I would say that to you.

Chris:

Okay, so again, one of the problems that we have, and me being as logical as I am and being as analytical as I am, I'm able to see things very clearly and describe them to myself and then to make decisions where I don't have two sets of rules, the rule for me and the rule for everyone else. Because in my mind, in my world, in the way that I order the universe is if it's true, then it has to be true all the time, or then it's false. If we use the scientific method, right?

Anneli:

Yeah.

Chris:

It's like, if you can disprove it once, then the whole thing is false. But if you can't disprove it, we'll accept it as a theory and then eventually move into law. And so you and I have never met in person before, so all you really know of me for the bulk of how you know me is through my voice and pixel interpretations or impressions of who you think I am across the stream. For all you know, I could be using some very powerful computer to generate a CGI image of myself talking to you.

Anneli:

I know. It's scary.

Chris:

Right. I don't think it's scary. I'm just trying to see what the possibilities are without jumping to that conclusion. All you know of me, really, is my voice and some reflection of an image. And so if that image changed, for example, if I got older, which I do every single day, we all grow older. And are you going to say, "Well, you're less you"? In fact, you might say, "You're more you the more you live and the more you experience. Physically your body's moving in the wrong direction, but intellectually, spiritually, you're experiencing more and becoming more of yourself." Are you following me so far?

Anneli:

I follow you. I follow you. I'm thinking. Yeah.

Chris:

Okay, this is good because then... I've noticed a certain pattern of thinking so far that I want to just quickly point out to you in case other people are feeling what you're feeling. Okay?

Anneli:

Mm-hmm.

Chris:

Observation number one is when you're presented situation where it's an uncomfortable observation, a potential truth you don't want to hear, you change the parameters around the situation so that you don't have to answer the way that you know is true. And you did this several times. Did you notice this?

Anneli:

I notice it.

Chris:

Okay. And so why do you think you do that? Do you have any idea?

Anneli:

No, I don't. I get a little bit nervous when we talk like this because I feel like I'm always... You're super logical, and because my brain doesn't work this, it's like I'm Bambi on ice. I'm like, whoa, what's going on here? Because I'm not used to thinking like this. But I can totally follow you and I can see when I'm not logical, it's just that I don't see the world like this. It's a new way for me. I feel things. I don't think this logical way that you thinking,

Chris:

Hold on, hold on. Remember how early I said is the assumption that I don't feel when you say I feel things?

Anneli:

No, you feel things too, but you're in [inaudible 00:10:53].

Chris:

Right. Why do we make a point to say, "I feel things"? It's like saying, "I breathe," Chris. I feel things, too.

Anneli:

I know. I feel but I don't maybe have that way of seeing things like you. You always talk about prove or disprove and it's a theory, and my brain doesn't process things like that.

Chris:

Again, I think there's a tendency. I might lean more towards logic and you might lean more towards emotion, but that doesn't mean that that's your destiny in life. I think we were previously established-

Anneli:

Yes, this is good.

Chris:

Right?

Anneli:

Yeah. Mm-hmm, yeah.

Chris:

That we can be whatever we want to be. I can't be taller, but I can think what I want to think, I can behave the way I want to behave. And I have to choose every single day. And so when we see people that we admire, when we see enlightened beings, people who seem to be all together, do we automatically assume it's easy and doesn't require work and then we take away the credit from them from putting in that work? We wouldn't want to do that, would we?

Anneli:

We don't want to do that.

Chris:

I don't want to do that. You rob people of they're hard work and their credentials and their accomplishments. We wouldn't want to do that. We have to stop doing this, Anneli. We have to stop saying to ourselves, "I don't think that way. I can't do that," because you absolve yourself of the responsibility of actually choosing not to do something.

Anneli:

Yeah, I see what you mean. And I'm here because I want to learn, so it's really good that you pointed out because maybe this is very... It's really difficult for me to grab this because I always felt that I was so driven by emotion, so I never even questioned that that was a bad thing. And now I need to start it's not good or bad, but it's both. And I just need to be very aware of what I'm doing and take ownership over that. Because I think the other way around is saying, "I don't want to change at all. I don't want to grow." But I don't want to spend the rest of my life in this emotional rollercoaster and have a lot of feeling of stress and anxiety. And I don't want to be there, yeah, that's why I'm here. I'm trying to learn, I just don't know how to do it.

Chris:

Okay. I also want to say that I'm not an advocate for people to purge all emotions from their body. I think we all should feel everything that we can feel, both the highs and the lows, but take a moment to observe those feelings and choose how we want to respond because we can say like, "Oh, did you meet that guy? He was so emotionally distant. It was like he didn't care about anything." And that's not a good state, either.
Earlier today, I came down after a webinar. I came down and I was looking for my wife, and she was busy on a call, so she comes back upstairs and she goes, "Were you looking for me? Was there something going on, honey?" I said, "No, I just wanted to honor you, to celebrate you." And she goes, "Celebrate what? What happened?" I'm like, "No, just to celebrate you because I'm in love with you." That's an emotional expression. I don't want to dampen my ability to communicate feelings and to feel the feelings that I have. Not at all. I'm not an advocate for that.
And so I don't want you to confuse today's conversation with me saying all feelings are bad; die feelings, die. I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying is first we must accept that we choose to live in a world where we have choice and control over the things that we think, say, and do. Some of us have larger hurdles to overcome, but that doesn't mean it's undoable. And it also doesn't mean that people, who seemingly have a really easy time, haven't put in the work, because I promise you I've put in the work. And the reason why I say that is because it's my feeling. This is a feeling that if I can do it, you can do it. The day that you wake up and decide I have agency over my feelings, my thoughts. I'm responsible and accountable for my actions, your life will change.

Anneli:

Yeah. I think I am there right now because I really want to change. And you know what? I just want to confirm that with you. I know I said this to you thousand times, but every time you say a robot or you say you spoke, whatever you say, that's not really how I see you because I do think and feel that you have a lot of emotions. And if you were that robot with no emotion at all, just a super, super logical person without emotions, I wouldn't even be here having this conversation and ask you things. I have so much to learn, and I don't think it's so different. That's the only thing I wanted to say, because I can see that you do have put in a lot of work in it, and I can see that you feel things. It's just very impressive to see how you always pause and not go there.
And I have had reactions on you that was really unfair and you didn't even go there yet. You could have been exactly the same way back, but you chose to not do that. And I really respect that. And I feel like I want to be that person. I want to be like you are.

Chris:

Yes. Step one and changing anything in your life is to accept that you can change it. And you've made a choice in your life. This is about the relationships that you have, the body that you walk in, and the emotional reactions and responses that you put out into the universe. And for the thoughts that you write and the videos that you produce and the podcasts that you record, you have control, you have agency. We have to accept that first before we can move on because without that, there's no point in talking about anything else. And if you accept that you don't have control, then you also have to accept no one has control, and therefore no one's responsible for anything, for all the good that they do in the world and also for all the negative that they put out in the world. And we don't accept that kind of world, I don't think.
Step number two is to realize you are not all these things that you think you are. You're not your hair, you're not your body, and so you can lose a lot of things before you actually lose yourself. If you lose the ability to think and to communicate and to express yourself, you may actually be less yourself than you were before.
But you know this, Anneli, I've lost my hair. I've lost 0% of who I am. And so it's your attachment to these things that become the root of your unhappiness. When you create a piece of work, which you would argue is less you than your hair, less you than your body. And if you can lose parts of your body and still be you, we then have to accept that the work is not you. It's like you shedding, losing some skin cells, you sweating. I don't want to get gross, but there's other things that you lose every single day that you don't cry over that you expel out of your body.
If I create something, why do I define that thing as an extension of me? It's not. Just like that book report that you wrote in third grade, that's no more you than the thing that you made yesterday. It's just a moment in time. That's all it is. It's a snapshot.
And so what happens is when we create work and we attach ourselves to it, we lose our ability to be objective and to be neutral and to see if the work is good or bad to see how we might improve it because we're so emotionally attached to it. I would say it's imperative if you're a creative person that you have objective distance from the work that you create at some point.
The thing that I would tell my design students is when I create ,I'm subjectively passionate in the work and in the creation. But the minute my brush leaves the canvas and I lay down the brush or my finger leaves the mouse, I need to become instantly detached from the work. It's not possible, but I strive towards that. Some people might take a week, a month, a year to become detached. I say that the quicker than you can become detached to the work, the quicker you'll grow as a creative person because you'll be able to hear your recording. You'll be able to read your writing without detachment of you in it so that you can say, "That opening sentence and paragraph doesn't work. The closing paragraph to that story isn't hitting the emotional note that I want, therefore, I need to change it."
I also have this belief that the prolific geniuses of our time, the artists of our time have an incredible ability to be super passionate about the work that they're creating and to be able to step away and look at it and say, "That's not working yet, and I know how to fix it," so that they're not just bumbling around in the dark once in a while creating a hit here and there. They have deep understanding of the process, even if they can't articulate that to themselves that they have this. When we talk about looking at work, the standard to strive towards is to become detached from the work.
And I learned this lesson relatively early on in my design career. I'll take you back to third term art center. I think I'm 20 years old, maybe 19. I'm in a typography class. Incredible instructor, Simon Johnston, still teaches there today. He would critique work, and I would see people responding emotionally to it. They were distraught if the critique was not good, and they were on cloud nine if the critique was great. But I noticed then that when he gave a critique and he talked about what wasn't working, instead of people listening, they were reacting. He would say, "This block of type isn't working because of these reasons." And they would say, "Well, there's a reason why I did that." And they would justify and defend, justify and defend. And so inevitably what would happen the following week is they would do the same thing again.
The point of creation and critique is for you to learn what works and what doesn't work so you can do less of what doesn't work and more of what works. I could see that immediately. I could also see that people were so attached to their work that when it came to critiquing other people's work, they were not interested in hearing it at all. "That's not my work. I don't really care." What I started to see is there were students who listened, who opened themselves up, who were totally objective listening to it, making adjustments, absorbing what other students were doing in terms of the critiques that they were getting. And their rate of growth was exponentially faster, that the work was drastically better by the end of class than the students who were stuck in that place of attachment to the work. Now, Anneli, when I tell you that, can you emotionally and logically understand that?

Anneli:

Yeah, I can.

Chris:

Okay. If we say why do we create anything? Why are we in this business of creativity? I think some of us would answer to get better, to be the best at some point, if we can, even from your 12 year old hyper competitive self. If we say that we want to be the best that we can be and we can see in an example here how we could slow that process down or how we can accelerate that, then we logically should choose one path versus the other. Are you okay with that, Anneli?

Anneli:

I'm totally okay with that, I'm totally okay with that. Why I'm a little bit quiet, I'm thinking because I'm with you, I think it's logical, I understand it, and I'm just trying to understand a little bit why I have so strong connection to what I do because it seem to be connected with a behavior that when I do good things, I get appreciated or someone like me and I get to hear that I'm okay and I'm good. And when I don't do good things, I don't get to hear that. I can totally logical here what you're saying, so the problem is something else here.
But that is where I am right now. I'm so strongly connected to... For example, a year ago when I launched my first course, logical, I knew. When you asked me, "What proof do you have? Haven't you done a lot of prototypes and tests?" Yes. "What did people feel about it?" They liked it. I knew that. And still, my anxiety just builds up for every day and every day. And it's almost to a point where I can't breathe and almost panic attacks because I feel what if I launched this and no one wants it? That means no one wants me. I'm not accepted and I will never have another chance again. What is going on in my head when I think like that? Because isn't that a typical example of that I'm really attached to my work or the outcome of my work?

Chris:

I think that's a complicated scenario. And I'll explain to you what I see happening. And it may not be real or may not be truthful, so you can correct me as you see fit. This is a pattern of behavior of you needing and seeking the approval of someone else that's in control of your emotional state.
Previously, you mentioned your father. I don't know if creating a course would be a thing that you would care about his opinion, but you're in a state where you're always seeking the approval of someone or something. It could be a group of people or it could be specific individuals. And so we have these expectations. And you repeated this several times, that second place is first place for losers. And so for you and me, we'd never want to be seen as a loser, and so we'll do anything we can do to avoid putting ourselves in a state where that can be validated and confirmed. And this is part of perfectionism.
And now we're drifting away from the art of attachment, but I'll continue this thought. We're afraid of creating and releasing a course because then, objectively, the data will come back, it will sell a certain amount of units or it won't. And you won't feel good if it doesn't hit a certain number. And so what do you do? You procrastinate, you make up reasons. And I hate to be so harsh with this, but all of them are just excuses as to why you can't finish something, as to why it can't be released. And we need to rewrite the marketing email because it's not perfect. And if it doesn't work, that's why. We're pre-building excuses for ourselves in case it doesn't work out.
Now, objectively stepping back, you can say probably that's probably not the most healthy narrative to tell yourself, and it's probably because of the way that we frame these experiences. I learn from doing. I don't know about you, but I learned learn from doing. And when I do something that works, I understand, okay, all right, I understand some things. But I learn even more when things don't work like, oo, that was bad. How do we course correct? I don't get into the habit of saying, "Well, that didn't work. I'm a loser. I'm a failure. No one wants it and no one loves me." I don't default that response because that is going to be crushing to my creative soul if that's the way I thought.
Anneli, I think you're still having to resolve some of these behavioral patterns that have not been addressed properly, so they'll continue to live and they'll rear their head up throughout the rest of your life. Now, you may or may not know this, right?

Anneli:

Yeah.

Chris:

I've released over 1,600 videos on YouTube. Now, I want to ask you something. Of the 1,600 videos, how many videos have gotten more than a million views?

Anneli:

10?

Chris:

I think you're about right, give or take. Imagine if every single time I went to record, edit and release a video if my expectations were if it doesn't hit a million views, I'm a loser and I should never create a piece of content again. Would you say to me I'm being a sane, rational, healthy, emotional, creative person?

Anneli:

No.

Chris:

Right.

Anneli:

I wouldn't. But that drastical, but no, I wouldn't.

Chris:

Right. But then you set yourself up in the exact same way. What right do you have to say, "When I create a course, it's going to be a best selling course"? That sounds a lot like entitlement. Say that just because I do, it should be great.
And I like to tell people this part is on most social platforms, I'm doing really well. On TikTok, I suck. I produce a video, sometimes it gets 60 views and I'm like, oh my God, I'm such a loser. And it's great reminder to me that I should expect nothing from anything. Just because I've done something somewhere else doesn't mean I'm guaranteed success on a totally different platform. I have zero expectations that because I've done clubhouse calls or Twitter spaces calls that when I create something on LinkedIn, it's going to be a hit. Right?

Anneli:

No, but I totally follow you and I totally agree. I think maybe that is a little bit deeper reasons to why we feel this way, or I feel this way, because it's also connected to a fear. And maybe the detachment or to being attached to something is connected to a fear all the time.

Chris:

Yeah, but you and I, we're not that different in age. Our best years might be behind us, so we don't have a gazillion years ahead of us, okay?

Anneli:

Probably.

Chris:

I hate to say that. My body's falling apart. Let's just be honest, all right?

Anneli:

You're right, you're-

Chris:

Right? How long do I want to continue living and making decisions based on fear? How long do I want to live-

Anneli:

I just want to stop it right now. That's why I'm so-

Chris:

Right, right, right. Hold on.

Anneli:

I'm tired of it.

Chris:

Let's talk about this. See, I also don't love when people say, "I want." A want is an expression of something that is yet to come to fruition. You could just say, "I am."

Anneli:

Okay, that's true.

Chris:

We want to eliminate the word I can't because that excuses you from having responsibility, and I want. You either are going to do it or you're not. Saying, "I want to exercise," says that I get the endorphin hit of setting a goal and being strong and being powerful, but then I don't actually have to do anything about it. "I want to lose weight." Just lose the weight, then. Tomorrow I will eat a little bit less, I will choose healthier options for my body, and I'm going to hit the gym versus I want.

Anneli:

Are you saying that maybe I'm not taking responsibility?

Chris:

Yes.

Anneli:

I just think things because it makes me feel better?

Chris:

I'm sorry to say that, but yes.

Anneli:

I think you're right.

Chris:

I want to be a programmer. I want to speak three languages. And then you can call me right to my face, "Chris, what steps have you actually taken to learn another language?" Zero, aside from saying it. That's why some coaches, they forbid their clients from having these projections, all these dream boards and being able to declare their goals and goal setting because you know what? You actually just have to do the work. Let's put the plan together and just do the freaking work.

Anneli:

Yeah. You're so right. It is a big difference saying, "I am." And that's really taking ownership. I think that's my big problem; I don't take ownership. And maybe I just hide behind that. Oh, it's old stories, and I'm so emotional, and so much things happen to me in my life. It's just a lot of excuses for not taking responsibility.

Chris:

Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back. Welcome back to our conversation. Here's an exercise. I'm trying to be a better teacher, and one of the things I read recently was when you have a talk or a lecture or workshop, make sure you give people clear, actionable steps. Let's do it together right now. And I'm going to just borrow this exercise and modify it a little bit. I'm doing this in real time. It might not come across perfect, but let's work on this.
We're going to make a list, a column. On one side, we can talk about all the excuses we have, the reasons why we can't do what we do. And you can list in there there, well, my father created this competition spirit in me. All those are excuses, reasons why we can't. And then on the right side, we can write all the reasons why we can do something. I have my health. I desire this outcome. I want this for myself. I have the tools and the resources. I have the time, I have the freedom. And then you get to make this decision. When you believe one or the other, you can actually recognize one is an excuse and the other as a statement of empowerment. If I don't like something about my life, I decide I don't it, I make decisions on how to change that state, and then I act on that. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

Anneli:

You're so right. You're actually better than my therapist.

Chris:

I'll send you the bill.

Anneli:

This is really clear, Chris. Please do. But this is actually really, really clear. And the thing is it hurts-

Chris:

I know.

Anneli:

... to actually realize that, shoot, I'm making all this decision. That's why I'm thinking sometimes that I'm like, oh, so all those old things like the reason I told that from start was, yeah, I do think that my dad put something in my head that I need to win, otherwise you're not okay in people's eyes. But it's still an excuse. Or I couldn't speak English in front of people two years ago, and I still hide behind that. It's still an excuse. I have so many stories. And maybe that why I think it's difficult to tell stories is because I realize now that maybe my stories are just a lot of excuses for me not having to take responsibility.

Chris:

I think so.

Anneli:

Yeah. Why should I tell that old stories, then?

Chris:

I don't know. Because they allow you not to take action. They allow you to create a narrative where it's okay for you not to have the life that you want to have. Look, as much as our parents love us and try to do what they can to raise us in some ideal way, they're going through their own BS too. They were also raised by imperfect parents. We're not 15 anymore and we're an adult and we have our own lives. We have to get away from constantly referring back to, well it's because my mom did this or because my dad said something. At some point, you got to own your own stuff because you already know that you would not listen to that piece of advice today. You would not even tolerate it, you'd just walk away, "Dad, you could feel whatever you feel. I don't believe and share those same ideas." And you would just walk away. Every time we continue to point back to one of those reasons I'm an emotional person. I was raised to think this. And English is my second language. It's just all in a column of excuses. Take a thought, a belief that you have, put it in either column A, which is an excuse, or put in a column B, a statement of empowerment, and decide which one you're going to follow in your life.

Anneli:

Oh my God, I have so many excuses.

Chris:

I know. And you said it hurts.

Anneli:

Yeah.

Chris:

And you know what? That's a beautiful motion if you learn to channel it. Before I said we have to be mindful of our emotions because they're not reliable indicators of what's going on. But when you feel an emotion like this, it's your body saying to you, "I don't like the way this feels." And it's used to protect you. I don't like the way that I've been making excuses, and that I actually have the power to change my life.
Now here's the good part. Don't drown that feeling. Live that feeling to its extremity, and then say, "What do I want to do about this?" Because I'm tired of feeling that way. My body sent the signal. It says, "I don't like this." And if you feel that pain deep enough, it's not just a little pebble in your shoe anymore, it's actually a raging blister, you will stop and you will deal with it. Today could be that day. It could be the beginning of a new chapter in your life where you're going to address and say, "This feeling sucks. I don't want to feel this anymore." And then take massive action towards correcting that.

Anneli:

Oh, you're so right. Oh my God. I really had a physical reaction. I'm just glad we're not on YouTube because I'm crying and I'm like, oh my God, this really hurts. I don't care. And I think it's good because I didn't understand it. And I really wanted to understand it, really. Can you just give me the steps? Why am I so attached to everything? I thought it was, I don't know, another way of solving this, but now I'm really realizing that I don't take responsibility for things.

Chris:

You right. You used to not do that. We're in presence state now so we're going to move to future state. I used to not take responsibility for my feelings and emotions. I used to believe these things. I don't believe those things anymore.
The reason why sometimes I get a little insane about the words that we use is because the words we use shape our reality, they shape our experiences. If you use positive words to describe something that happened to you, you have a positive memory, something that warms your heart that makes you smile in your old age. And if you have a negative experience and you use negative words to describe it, well now you're going to feel bitter and resentful of that moment, and it's going to cause you emotional pain. It's why I try my best to use neutral, objective language in describing other things so that when I go to describe myself and experiences that I'm having that I don't change what I'm seeing and I can see things a little bit more objectively and I can be a little kinder to myself without using all the judging, violent language that people tend to use.

Anneli:

Yeah, I do that because of course I judge people because I judge myself really hard, you know?

Chris:

Right. Because we're pretty consistent about this stuff, right?

Anneli:

Yeah, we are. And now I can see all those things that I wanted you to help me with are connected to each other because the detachment from my emotions is... And then it's the detachment from the old stories and then detachment from my work and the result I have. Everything is connected with each other, so I thought it was three different questions, three different answers, but...
Okay, so one thing that I just want to ask, because this is something I do still think it's difficult is that what if it's not in my control? And here maybe it comes my control issue, but when it comes... Because you said, okay, when it comes to your YouTube or your course or whatever it is, you're still very much in control over your whole situation because it's your own brand, it's your company, you own that situation. I think this is where it's get tricky for me and where I bring in my history, but I don't want to do, it's that I have such a big need of feeling trust. If I really know that, Anneli, if you just mess up, if you're making a fool out of yourself, if you're making a course that don't sell, it's not the end of the world. It's not the only chance you will get. If I knew that, I think it would be much easier for me. I make all things so drastic. I just have one shot. If I don't make it now, it's over.

Chris:

Yes. There's an exercise that you can do that will help you with this. I think we all, to a degree, strive to be critical thinkers. And to be critical of thinker, you have to criticize your own thinking. And the great way to do this is every time you have a thought you're not quite sure is ask yourself do I have evidence supporting this? And do I have evidence that will disprove this?
And I'll tell you a little short story, and then I think we need to wrap up pretty soon here. I recently was hanging out with Mo. And whenever I get together with Mo... And many of you guys know Mo Ismail, he's part of the Future Pro community. He's almost always my sparring partner when it comes to these role plays. It's late at night, we've finished going to dinner or whatever, and we're sitting in a room, there's a bunch of us sitting in a room in our Airbnb. And Mo's like, "Chris, I just don't feel like I'm achieving my potential. I'm not where I need to be. And it's frustrating, man. Can you help me?"
And another Future Pro member was sitting in the room, and his name is Peter, and Peter was asking Mo all these kinds of questions. It was seemingly going nowhere. There was no conclusion to this. And I said, "Hey guys, let me just butt in here. Mo, you don't feel like you're where you're supposed to be, right?" He goes, "No." I said, "What evidence do you have of that thought?" And he turned his head. He gave me that look like you dirty rat, and he goes, "I have no evidence of that." "And yet you are here sulking in your success saying you're not where you're supposed to be." "Well, I have evidence of the opposite." "What'd you bill last year." And he said some number. "What are you billing this year?" And was like, "Oh my God, it's way ahead." "What clients were we were you working with last year? And what clients are you working with this year?" All the evidence would seemingly go against the statement that you're not where you're supposed to be. I don't know what this imagine supposed to be state is, but all I can tell you is looking back, you're doing so much better than where you were, yet your brain is trying to tell you something else.
And that's when I came to this conclusion. I said, "Mo, you're not a grateful person. You're not grateful for the things you have. The fact that you can make social media content and people give you money to do this thing, that you get to practice being a communicator and you get to coach other people, you're not a grateful person." And he was offended that I said that because he doesn't see himself as not being grateful.
And then I asked him, "You just recently hit 100,000 followers on Instagram, a number you probably didn't even think you could hit within years. You hit it in a couple of months of working on using reels content, yet you didn't even sit down and take a moment to acknowledge that you did this and to celebrate this accomplishment." He goes, "Man, you're so right about this. I just zip from one goal to the next. I never take a moment to savor what has happened and to acknowledge and appreciate anyone and everyone who's had a small part and a big part in this success."
No wonder you feel this way. This is why your feelings are not super reliable sources of information, because somewhere in there is a narrative that he's telling himself, probably from his childhood, you're never good enough, you got to do better. You got a 4.0 GPA. You got to have a 4.2 GPA. Oh, you did 1700 on the SAT? Well, why wasn't it perfect? You got into this university? Well, you should have gotten to that university. And it goes on and on and on.
Like I said to all of you, one day you're going to feel an immense amount of pain. I'm going to ask you, instead of numbing that pain, to go all in on that pain, to recognize what's creating hurt in your life, and to get fed up with feeling this way.
To me, I'm highly sensitive to this negative pain, so when we stagnate as a company, when our campaign doesn't work, I feel that pain immensely. And I'm like, you know what? I don't want to feel this way again. I need to learn. I need to try new things. I need to figure out something else because this isn't working. And that's how I learn, that's how I grow.
There's good news and there's bad news here. If you are the cause of all of the problems that you're experiencing right now, that's the bad news. Then you're also the solution to all the problems that you're feeling right now. And I just want you to imagine yourself here. There's a neutral baseline of where you're going to be. And you're pulling that baseline down like a slingshot or like a bow. And when you realize it, that this is what you're doing to yourself, that you're pulling yourself down, you also have the power to release yourself. And when you release yourself, you fly forward, past that baseline, into a future self.

Anneli:

I want to thank you so much for having this conversation. It was maybe a little bit unstructured from my side, a little bit messy, but I think it's because also that I don't really understood it. I just feel like this is a problem that I can't detach. And I see how you do it all the time, and I'm like, I really want to have that control over myself. Why can't I have that control? And now I realize it, that I had just haven't taken that ownership over it. I just put myself as a victim all the time, and that's not the way I want to live. Thank you for helping me to realize that. And yeah, I will take action on that.

Chris:

Wonderful. Thank you very much. I've hoped you've enjoyed this conversation. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, evening or wherever you're at.

Greg:

Thanks joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Futur Podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barro for editing and mixing this episode, and thank you to Adam Sanborne for our intro music.
If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by rating and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to thefutur.com/heychris and ask away. We read every submission, and we just might answer yours in a later episode.
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