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Chris Do

In part two of this series, we are joined again by Nidhi Tewari and Mo Ismail to continue our conversation about the role emotion plays in decision making.

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Feelings are unreliable (Part 2)

In part two of this series, we are joined again by Nidhi Tewari and Mo Ismail to continue our conversation about the role emotion plays in decision making.

As a therapist, Nidhi points out the importance of processing and allowing yourself to feel strong emotions. Chris counters with the argument that emotions cloud the data, especially in business.

Science then enters the chat to remind us that most decisions people make are rooted in emotion. So, should you listen to your heart or your mind. We think you should listen to this episode and decide for yourself.

Jan 18

Feelings are unreliable (Part 2)

Emotion picks the destination. Logic charts the course.

In part two of this series, we are joined again by Nidhi Tewari and Mo Ismail to continue our conversation about the role emotion plays in decision making.

As a therapist, Nidhi points out the importance of processing and allowing yourself to feel strong emotions. Chris counters with the argument that emotions cloud the data, especially in business.

Science then enters the chat to remind us that most decisions people make are rooted in emotion. So, should you listen to your heart or your mind. We think you should listen to this episode and decide for yourself.

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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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Emotion picks the destination. Logic charts the course.

Episode Transcript

Mo:

Recognize that it's an emotional decision. Recognize the emotions that are happening. Take full accountability whether you're the reason why it's good or bad, and then ask yourself the question, how do I logically move forward to make a better moment out of this?

Chris:

So we've been talking about when should you listen to your heart and your brain, but essentially Mo's seemingly making his life very complicated and he's losing clarity, losing focus, and it's taken us several calls to get him that clarity that he needs. But he's still looking back and saying, "Hey, just for clarity, explain this idea." That kind of gets you caught up to where we're at right now. All right. So what has shame and anger and guilt ever done for you?

Nidhi:

Well, it teaches you something. It teaches you something about... Okay, a couple of thoughts here. So it teaches you something about the situation. And in fact, it teaches you the judgment that you've made about yourself. Because whether we're cognizant or not in these moments that are pivotal, we do make a judgment on ourselves.

So an example would be, you don't get a demo from a client, and the immediate reaction is feeling shame. And the judgment that you make about yourself in that moment is that, "I'm a failure," or, "I'm incapable." But I think that when we don't acknowledge that, or we don't even lean into it a little bit, what happens is that it gets stowed away and I feel like it festers. And what research shows is that when we don't feel into our full spectrum of emotions, including the negative ones, brain scans show that it diminishes our ability to experience joy and excitement.

And Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, who is one of the top trauma researchers in the world, some of you may have heard of his book, The Body Keeps the Score. He's the one that did this research, that found that we really can't be dissociated from our emotional state because it diminishes our life experiences. So typically what I would advise people to do is sure, don't drown in it. I'm not saying you sit there and you wallow and whatever, but I am saying, as opposed to just immediately compartmentalize it, that's not me. We're missing something then.

Chris:

Oh, okay.

Nidhi:

It's being curious. It's just being curious about it. "Okay, I'm feeling really angry about the situation right now. I wonder why that is." Or, "Huh, I'm noticing that I'm feeling really ashamed in this moment." What's that connected to? I think it's the curiosity that I'm getting at. Does that make sense?

Chris:

Oh, yes. And I'm ready to fire back. I would love your professional opinion on this because I think there's such a thing as burying your emotion, not feeling it, not acknowledging it. And I think the word you used was compartmentalizing it, and we're not going to deal with this right now. And I think there's long-term negative impact, long-term consequences of doing this. You might get an ulcer, you might develop sores in your mouth, your hair might fall out, might turn gray, your skin will just... The stress that's coming out of your body, it's going to manifest itself in a way. I'm not talking about any of that at all. I'm talking about resolving it.

So when you say when don't win a project, you feel the sense of shame and then the story you tell yourself is, "I'm not capable. I'm not good enough. I'm not skilled enough. I don't have the right degrees. I don't have the right language. I'm ugly," or whatever it is you say. So then I say, well, at the beginning of all that negative story is shame, I'll just cross shame off the list and I'll process it differently. What else could this mean?

So to me, it's like, okay, you're driving along the road and you were supposed to turn left, but you missed that turn. You take a different turn. Eventually you get to the same place. You don't have to stress out over it. And I'd rather miss that turn on the shame and do something different. That's not helping us right now. What else could this mean? How do you spin gold out of this hay? Let's be like Rumpelstiltskin right now. Let's go make something. Let's make a cloak of gold.

How do we do that? And a trick I've taught people, this is whenever something bad happens to you, say congratulations and find the positive in this so you can move past this in a way that's transformative. And you have to be a little bit of a mental alchemist. You have to make gold out of crap, and it requires a muscle to be able to do this. So I'm not talking about saying burying it and not dealing with it and just pretending like nothing happened, but to totally transform it. Is there a difference there from your perspective, or am I just lying to myself that this is just a way to move beyond?

Nidhi:

No, no. What you're talking about is cognitive restructuring or cognitive reframing. So I totally get what you're saying, and I think that there's absolutely a time and place for that. But I think that sometimes we're so quick to go to the cognitive reframe about something, we haven't even really processed the reaction that led to the distress to begin with. So it's about riding that emotional wave. And I do think, Chris, that there are some situations that I don't know that there is a silver lining. I don't know that you can spin gold from the hay in some situations in life.

An example of that, that we all have probably experienced is loss. Particularly a loss of a pet or a person or somebody. There's no silver lining to it. So I think in those moments you realize that that is the opportunity to really embrace that full spectrum because, and I can speak from personal experience to make it less abstract, that there was a period in my life where I had lost my best friend, and what I tried to do was to try to push past it and reframe it.

"Oh, she's in a better place. It's okay, I can get through this. I shouldn't have to worry about this. Focus on my work." But what ended up happening is that that exact pain showed up in other ways in my life, and it was at the detriment of my relationships, at the detriment of me dissociating from my emotions, and eventually it somaticizing, meaning it showed up in my body and I got so sick. Why? Because I had bypassed it. I hadn't allowed myself the moment to sit with it. And the minute I sat with it and I allowed myself to feel it, that's when it transformed for me.

So even the small moments where I had sat with the grief, it felt overwhelming, so I would push it away, I would reframe it. I was like, "Okay, that's enough of that. Put that away." But I needed to feel it much more deeply than I was allowing myself to in order for it to move through. So I guess that's what I'm getting at is I appreciate it. I totally get where you're coming from with the reframing. I just think that there are some situations that can't be reframed. So then you have to develop a different resilience, and that's in the tolerance of the distress, and that's where the power and the choice lies.

Chris:

Beautifully spoken. I disagree. Really beautifully spoken. So I guess I have not yet met a situation where I wasn't able to reframe. In your example there where your friend passed. The three ways you reframed was she's in a better place, which you didn't truly believe because a better place would be to be still living and hanging out and talking and building memories together. The other reframe was I'll distract myself from work. So neither of these two things actually dealt with the problem. My reframe would sound a little bit differently, and my grandmother, who I love dearly passed away. But the way I looked at it was, my grandmother's an old lady. She's lived a rich life and she's raised beautiful children, my uncles and my aunts, and there's nothing but love here for her. And everybody has a time, and this was her time. And I'm grateful for every day and every moment and every memory that I have of her, and she will live there. And I'm grateful for those moments.

So I think a lot of times what happens, especially in loss, loss of money, loss of opportunity, loss of relationships, friendships, people, objects, things, is we mourn what could have been as opposed to appreciate what was. And I also know this in that no matter the amount of grief and the pain that I feel, none of it will change the outcome. 0% chance. If there was a 0.01% chance that my grandmother will come back to life, I would mourn and do things differently. I cried, but it was crying that I won't be able to see her and hear her voice. But then it was just like, you know what? I have some wonderful memories of her and that's what I'm going to hold onto.

I've lost a lot of money in business. I've been sued. I've sued people. All of it was a very unpleasant experience. But then, I've told people before, and I told you my former sales rep cheated me out of money, and in my opinion, this is a strong word, extorted me to get out of a contract. I don't remember the exact amount of money, but I think it was like $27,000. That is not an insignificant amount of money to me. And I was not happy with this and I wanted to fight. I wanted to send my attorney after her and everything. I wanted to fight it all the way down. I wanted to burn the house down on that one. Thankfully, my attorney said, "Nothing would make me happier to fight this, but it's not in your best interest. I think you need a pay her and we need to just move on." And he's saying, "I think I can even win this for you, but I think you need to move on."

So I could sit there and I could stew over. I could just be angry. I could wish Ill things, pox on her family, the whole kind of thing. But I'm like, you know what? That was a $27,000 graduate degree and learning how to read your fricking contract. Do not accept people for their word, read your contract. And then I thank the misfortune. You know what? I pay people to read the contracts now, and I'm glad. And I'm grateful that was a $27,000 mistake and not $127,000 mistake or a $2.7 million mistake, which would be a much more difficult for me to recover financially. So if I sit there and, "Oh, the check's off in a better place," well, that's not really me resolving it. That's not me transforming it. That's just me burying it and not coming to some kind of closure with it.

Nidhi:

Yeah. That makes sense to me. You got to a solution focused place, and that makes sense from a business standpoint. At some point we have to be able to start engaging in the problem-solving. And you were able to identify that, "Okay, I need to look at this differently. I have to be able to really be paying close attention to what's in writing with the people that I'm hiring and also who I place my trust and loyalty into," in terms of her character and who she is. Yeah, that makes sense.

Mo, I'm really curious to hear your thoughts because I know you do mindfulness. I know that you may have some opinions here. So where are you falling on this conversation?

Mo:

When I'm processing both sides, at the core of what Chris said and what you said, and what I'm learning through, both in personal and professional life is a level of self-awareness and accountability for how you maneuver through certain situations. If I relate it to what I'm experiencing and the things we've been talking about, it's like, am I happy with the outcome that I've decided on? And am I accountable for the outcome? And am I processing it in a way that I've actually grown through versus just swiped it under the rug? Because it's funny how I relate to both sides, but I know personally that I want to continue to grow in a level of accountability for myself. So I try to enhance my logical side because I know that I'm naturally more of an emotional person.

So when I hear this, I'm like, I want to get better at the side that Chris said. And then with you, Nidhi, what you said about if you don't process them, if you don't allow yourself to go through those emotions and they stay pent up, then you're going to be maneuvering in a way later on that is, for a term that you've used, misaligned with what you're trying to do because your judgment is off course because you're overly emotional at that point because you haven't processed.

So I'm somewhat in the middle, not that I'm taking both sides, I'm someone in the middle in regards to I want to enhance the Chris side and I believe in the Nidhi side. I'm just sharing my genuine position. I'm not as good as you when it comes to the way in which you process emotion and you handle things. You handle emotion even with logic. And that's why we have the conversations that we have.

Nidhi:

Yes.

Mo:

Seriously, if we go back to the story about why you took a pay cut during those two years, logically you're not going to let go of the whole team then go win more projects and then not have a team that can do the projects. So yeah, it's an emotional time, but it was a logical decision. So the reason why I said self-awareness is because you're so aware and grounded in your being, your decision-making, your experience that when an emotional, from an outside perspective, a highly emotional situation presents itself because you're so grounded, you're able to recognize that it's an emotional decision, recognize the emotions that are happening, take full accountability whether you're the reason why it's good or bad, and then ask yourself the question, how do I logically move forward to make a better moment out of this?

So I would argue that I don't have as much self-awareness, and I'm not going to speak for Nidhi, but maybe in those moments of real trauma with her friend, those were learning experiences for her where her self-awareness expanded. So that's truly my position on it. My self-awareness is growing, so when I experienced those moments again, I'm like, "Okay." Emotional Mo, "What are you feeling? Why are you feeling it? What's going on?" And then logical Mo was like, "Yo. How can we deal with this in the best way with what's in front of us?"

Chris:

Yeah.

Mo:

I'm going to say one last thing in case I'm rambling because of the way you just said, "Yeah." I do think sometimes because you're so logical when you hear this part of discussions around emotion, the logical side of you goes, "But this doesn't serve me, so why would I allocate any time to it?" And that in of itself is a solution to be like, cool, what was good? Wonderful, let's move on and make progress.

Chris:

Thank you very much, Mo. I appreciate you expanding on that. I think I'm going to say this with full self-awareness and the potential of eating crow here, but my mom and dad aren't that young. And one day my dad will pass, he's a little bit older than my mom, and this whole idea will be tested and I'll have to figure out if these are just words I say out of my mouth, or are these things that one can do. But I have some kind of morbid conversations with my wife all the time, and I talked to her about what happens if I die, who she will marry and what she'll do and what should happen at the funeral, and all these kinds of things. And I just have very logical discussions with her.

I say, so here's the thing, I die. I don't necessarily believe in afterlife. I believe I'm done and I turn to dust. I'm dead. And crying and mourning and feeling sad and wrecking your life and ruining your own personal relationships and living in a dark funk for however long it takes you to get out of this, it's only hurting you because I'm just dust. The dust doesn't feel anything. Okay, I'm wrong about this. There's a soul. I evaporate. I'm floating to something and I look back on it and I care about you. And then you're like, "Well, the way I honor you is to mourn and feel the great sadness in my heart."

I'm like, no, all I've had for you all my life was love. In passing, the worst thing that you can do, the way you can hurt my ever living soul is to be sad and distraught and for the boys to suffer. I've only wanted for your happiness and for your protection, so even in that instance, I wouldn't want you to feel sad. So on the day of my funeral, my death, have a party. Spend the money, celebrate what you remember and what you like, and please do not shed a single tear because that would hurt me if I was still alive in some way. But most likely, I'm just dust and it's just pointless to me.

Now, if you have to go through your own grieving process because it's too much emotion and it's frying your circuit, do what you want. But if that was my wish and you can actually act on it, that's what I would want. Now I will say this though, because it does sound like I'm using logic to out-logic my own emotions. But I do believe there is a time and a place for emotions to work when being irrational is actually the preferred way to go.

A baby is trapped inside a burning building and you're the only able-bodied person. Logically, do not go in that building. The probability of you coming out without dying or having long-term health problems is very high. But that's what the emotion is for, that burst of energy that you're going to get the adrenaline dump, it's so that you can do something miraculous and go and do that. And I have lived my life this way in accordance to this idea too, that when it comes to my children, I love them unequivocally. I express the fullest of my emotions, sadness, joy, and all those kinds of things with them because I don't want to taper that off. So there are times when you need to show that, but the rest of the time, I'm not sure that they serve us really well in business. And I think that's where I'm trying to focus the conversation. It clouds your judgment, it clouds your ability to process the data that's in front of you. You see something good happen and then you interpret that as all kinds of other things and it leads you down the wrong path.

Nidhi:

Yeah. And from a business standpoint, absolutely. I totally agree with you. And I think that you have to be able to really interpret things as they are. And I think a lot of times when you're operating from a place of desperation or exasperation in your business, that's when we change all of the things at once and we haven't done the due diligence to even know and identify what's working and what's not working as we change it. So then how can we possibly know what the solution to the problem was when we threw a million things at it with the hope that something would stick? So I feel you there.

To put a pin in what Mo was saying, I think that sometimes the struggle for people is that we think about our feelings, but we don't necessarily feel our feelings. And there is a difference between that. Thinking about what we're feeling is a very cognitive in our head process, but feeling what we're feeling is very much in our bodies and it's very much in tune with our whole self. So I do think that there's a little bit of a difference there, but on a personal level. But I would say on a business level, I agree with you, Chris. I'm a pretty big advocate of include emotion in the areas where it's going to be your superpower and your strength. And that's going to be in your networking and relationship building. That's going to be in your branding and in your marketing. That's going to be in the conversations and the clarity calls that you do with your clients. That's where the emotions need to be. But when it comes to looking at where you're going in your business and all of that, that has to be grounded in logic.

Chris:

Wonderful. Thank you very much. Jessica, feel free to jump in on here.

Jessica:

Thank you. Thank you all. Chris, Nidhi and Mo, this has been super helpful. I have one thought and then I have one question for Chris. So I hate to pull this back to the data piece, but let me start with my thought first. So emotion. So in my opinion, and I'm happy to hear disagreement, emotion is a really primitive tool for survival.

So the way that I like to think about, it's kind of like it's that CO2 detector at your home that beeps and it's really annoying, but it's associated with, or it's hardwired in us to be associated with danger, both physical and psychological. So I feel like that emotion comes up when I feel like there's attack or a danger in something physical, like I am literally in danger or it's attack on financial safety. A lot of times tribal status because people friend trigger emotion or an attack on your current worldview, and that's part of your self-image. And I think whenever that alarm or that is that emotion comes up, that beep, beep, beep sound, that you're trying to figure out what it is, that's why it's important to process it and to feel it because you have to listen to it and be like, "Well, why am I hearing this alarm? Is this an attack to my self image?" Is it a real danger? Or is it an outdated primitive survival instinct that no longer apply in current day society?"

So you listen to it and you process it. And then I like to do the reframe that Chris is doing and say, is this a real danger? And if it's not, I need to update my operating principle. I need to understand that this is not a real danger and process it that way so it can be productive. So I think it's both. You do have to process that in motion because it's part of your heart wiring, but then you reframe it and say, let's test it against reality. Does this self image still apply? Do I need to update anything? And then you process and move forward that way. And that's how I think about being really productive with emotion.

And the interesting part is you can't, and I've done that before, I rip out the battery in the CO2 detector. But the danger of that is when Nidhi is saying, that you don't hear the alarm at all. And then your house might burn down, your house might not, but you also lose the capability of that detector and you basically lose a tool to truly understand this wiring and this survival instinct that's supposed to warn you about. So that's how I think about it. And that's why I think emotion is really annoying because I'm a very logical person as well. It's super annoying to me, but I'm learning how to process it and work with it for this exact reason. So that's the one thought. I don't know, Nidhi and Chris. I don't know if you want to add anything or otherwise I have a question for Chris as well.

Chris:

I just love your explanation of it. Go, girl.

Jessica:

Awesome. So my second question to you, Chris, is I've been following you since last week. So my question is this. We talk about data, we talk about the brain and the heart. But when you look back at your Blind and Futur, these two companies, the dots can connect When you look back. I think Steve Jobs said that. So it's pretty obvious from your perspective now looking back. But if I listen to your data point, you're talking about Blind was a company that was making three to $4 million, whereas your new company with Jose was making what? $200,000, two years in. So if you transport your back at that point in time, the data is actually showing you that you're putting a pause on a company that's generating three or $4 million and then you're investing a company that you're getting some rejection and two years in with a long-time investment, you're only making $200,000 with a partner that you don't absolutely love.

So I think that's a difficulty at the moment when you're trying to make a decision with data, because I feel like, please add in more data point if I'm missing something. At that moment in time, if you look at data, it's actually not telling you to move forward with this venture. It's actually not telling you both from an emotional perspective and financial perspective, it's not giving you good signals. So I think that's a difficulty in making decision with brain and heart is that is it truly giving you that data point that you are now going back and interpret? Actually, at that point, when the signal is so messy, how do you actually make the quote, unquote, "right decision"? It's not super clear to me just yet.

Chris:

Jessica, my sister from another mister. Coming in with the hard questions, tying into two different conversations together. I love how she's like, "I've followed you for the last two weeks." I like that. I like that.

Mo:

I'm a fan of Jessica.

Jessica:

Just trying to pull some string together because I tried to wrap my head around, this is really important because I'm almost too logical. And then I feel like there's a place for heart. I don't know where that is. I'm like that Tin Man, I'm trying to find my heart.

Chris:

Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back.

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Chris:

Welcome back to our conversation. So the data is actually even worse than what you said. Blind as the company is doing about four and a half million dollars. And the first two years I didn't make $200,000. The first year we made $14,000 and the second year we made $54,000. And when I say make, that was just revenue. We were at a huge net loss. If we actually had to pay for anything that we were using, that was just the revenue that was coming in. And on top of that, because Jose needed the money, he kept 100% of it.

So if you look at the data, it's terrible. I'm paying for everything. I'm making nothing. Why am I pursuing this? And I'll tell you why. Because I have high tolerance for risk. I don't need assurances that things are going to work out. So while the company is running and humming along, I'm exploring other ideas and I'm deeply passionate about creating education and or educational company and trying to shake up the status quo, if you will. And I'm going to do this with or without Jose. But as soon as somebody pops up their and like, "Hey, I'm into education."

Are you like, "Yes, match made in heaven, let's try." And I'm also comfortable with hard work, with doing the work that has almost invisible perception of growth or progress. I'm also comfortable with dealing with very difficult and complex relationships. 25 years in working in advertising will do that to you. This is nothing new to me. There's a famous line from Wag the Dog, when Dustin Hoffman's character, who's a producer, when they would run towards him, the politicians that we have a problem, he's like, "That's not a problem. That's not a problem." So none of this is a problem for me. So I can run in parallel now, and this is where the Mo question is probably coming back to rear it's head again.

I have a company with all the management systems in place, the team, the salespeople, the creative directors, the designers, the animators, a bidding system, all that's been built for 20 plus years. This thing runs on rails with or without me. It can't run without me forever, but it can run for a pretty long time. So I'm not really causing too much detriment to this. I'm leaving maybe a perceived leadership gap. I'm probably sending maybe signals to them that's questioning morale like, is this the end for us? Why is Chris distracted with this other thing? But in fact, I was building another ship for us to climb onto and that's what I was doing.

So the data's terrible, but I believe in the long game and I know this is the future. I also desire creating products and launching products because my logic brain says these things I have control over clients hiring us clients, having a need for a piece of motion design, a video or commercial, I can't manufacture that. How they make their decisions, the strengths of their relationship with other vendors, I could influence that, but I can't control this. But I do know if I control myself, make a product, learn the marketing game, and if the product is good and I get in front of the right people, there's a high probability that they will buy it from me. And I love all those parts to that.

And you're right, I can connect the dots looking back. But this did not look risky at all. It wasn't until we hit $1.4 million I think, or something like that, or 1.7 million that I decided I'm no longer interested in running another company. We're not taking any work, we're going to divert 100% our efforts into the second company.

And the difference between Mo and myself here is Mo's company is nascent. It's still in its pre-puberty stage here. And he's like, "Ah." He can't divert attention away from this. By doing so, there is no one really there to run the company. In fact, if Mo takes his eye off on projects, they start to fall apart almost immediately. He doesn't have the systems built up yet. So there are some strong differences there, and why, this was a calculated risk. I believe in intuition and maybe you're like, "Chris, intuition is emotion." And there's an episode of Sherlock Holmes when he talked about this, and I want to butcher this. He says, "Intuition is your mind just working faster than you can comprehend." That's all intuition is.

Jessica:

So if I can pull that apart, and feel free to disagree, Chris, is that everything about, I have high tolerance for risk. I trust myself, I have a passion about education. These are all emotions which is really fascinating. These are all emotions that you drive forward with it. However, you use logic to give yourself the tool to lower the risk, you have a runway that you know can trust to really pursue this.

And Nidhi, correct me if I'm wrong, I read some research psychologically, we actually all make decisions with emotions. And I think there were some research around when the emotion, emotion center of our brain is damaged, we actually can't make any decision.

So what I'm really hearing, Chris, and please disagree with me if you don't agree, is that you did make a decision with emotion using your passion, but you padded yourself with the right runway and the financial backing to say, "We can do this." But your decision initially was not based on numbers, it was based on your intuition that runs faster than logic. Would that be fair?

Chris:

You know what? I've read the same book that you read, you're referring to a chapter in Chris Voss' book, Never Split the Difference. Yes, all decisions are emotional and when that's damaged, you can't make a decision. Totally agree. And I think we're talking about slightly different things, but yes, you're correct in citing that reference. I don't know if that research is true or not, but you're citing it correctly. Yes. And I believe that too, by the way.

Jessica:

And that's really fascinating because we do have to use both. It's still fuzzy to me when to listen to what. I don't have a conclusion yet, but I appreciate this discussion.

Mo:

Can I highlight something that I keep hearing in just the analysis between the two different scenarios? There was a very strong foundation on Chris' end before taking this big risk, even if it was an emotional one. And when comparing to me, that's a key difference that we keep talking about. Blind, as a business historically, capital wise and operations, it was very stable and he had the network, the team, all of these different things that if the upside of Futur never happened, he could lean on that support, he can tap back into that Rolodex. Blind wouldn't just dissolve. He's 100% right about on my end that the baby is still the service side of my business. And I think, if I'm not mistaken, two calls ago you even said what would be the issue if you grew the service business and it was huge, and then you decided to do the whole program thing where you're even faster at how you get to that end goal that you want to get?

So the reason why I share that, Jessica, is because our community of creatives, if they feel anything like me where they're like, "Yo, but I can just bounce my heart and Sugar Rays can come out and do this. I think that element of strengthening ourselves as an entrepreneur, AKA, the logic piece is where this discussion has been had. All of that said, I just love that you said you only met Chris two days ago and that you're challenging him with conversation. And I don't even want to leave my seat to see if this is going to continue to go in certain areas.

Jessica:

I also think that the interesting part is there's a decision piece and there's an action piece. A decision piece as to, I think in this conversation we talk about as if we make the decision piece with data. I think what I'm hearing, and I haven't really reached a conclusion yet, is the decision piece of really overlay this on Chris' story, and Chris, please push back if you don't agree because I'm putting words in your mouth, is that for the decision piece, you drive it with passion, you drive it with emotion. You're like, "I want to do this. This is what I really want to do. I have a lot of passion for this." But when it comes to the action piece, you actually want to pad it really heavily with logic because then you're talking about runway, you're talking about reality.

You could feel really strongly about something because that's a decision piece, but you may not want to take action because you don't have all the backing that you need. So I think it's really thinking out loud here is that that's where maybe some of the difference happens. It's like you can say, "I'm super passionate about something," you can decide that with your heart, but whether or not you want to pursue it, you really need your brain to make sure that the infrastructure in the real world is set up for you. And it sounds like Chris did a fantastic job on that. But again, I'm putting words in your mouth. I don't actually know.

Chris:

All of it's good. I'm good with any assumptions that you make. It allows for us to have some clarifying conversation and dialogue around this. I'm reticent to use these words like passion and emotion because I think it just muddies it up. To be honest, I don't think what I did was super risky at all. If you think any normal healthy company, and there is evidence of this, I can't cite it, but I think it's in the book, The Brand Flip, where Marty Neumeier writes about this in research and studies where companies that spend a higher percentage towards research and development in terms of gross revenue, the ones that spend more actually do better as profitable companies on Wall Street or whatever. Their valuations are much higher.

So companies like Apple or Google and other companies that are really forward thinking and innovative, they spend a tremendous amount of their money in R&D. So they have these, I forget what they call them, like black ops programs where people just disappear. They do their stuff and if something returns a result, they come back to home base and they say, "This is working and week at 10X, but the runway looks like this." And you look at it like that. And that's how I saw this, except for I don't have a big company and I'm not capitalized by venture capitalists. I just spend my own money. I'm like, "Okay, I can use my time and it's a new business. It's going to require 100% of my attention and focus and I need to do this." And there's a sliding scale. So in 2014 when we released our first video, I wasn't 100% in on this new company. I was like, "Well, let's see." I probably spent 10, 15% of my actual work time thinking about what I was going to do with this new company.

And as we start to hit milestones and we cross certain checkpoints, these are data driven, I'm like, "Huh, I think this might work because the numbers, they're growing, they're moving in the right direction. Slow, but surely they're moving in the right direction. Okay, what's the next small gamble that I can make?" And when it starts to take off... So just for three years, it took us three years to get to $144,000 in revenue. And I could do that making one small commercial in terms of revenue, not in profit, but I was like, "Eh."

So it looks like it's growing and anytime you have something that's going to 3X growth year over year, which is really what it was doing, it benefited from a very modest first year of $15,000. Keep in mind that, so when it gets to $1.5 million in revenue, that's when I'm like, "Time to jump. We're ready." So again, I don't like to use these words like passion and emotion because somebody's like, "Well, I'm passionate. I'm emotional," it should work, right? And I'd like to say to everybody that if I was just to do something on a whim, purely out of passion and joy, I think I'd have more imagination. I'll be a professional video game player. I have no data that supports I can do that. Or let me just be a world traveler and vlog and just make $10 million.

There are other ways to have a fanciful life with full of passion. Let me be a public entertainer or something else. An education company. Dang, that's not that sexy. This is a grind. It's a new grind and it's connected to my mission and my purpose, so I'm okay doing it. And luckily, I don't have financial goals to make anymore. I'm okay. I could sustain myself. So this now just becomes a public hobby that I get to share with lots of people. But that's how I look at it. So I just want to caution using those words because everybody's passionate about something until they're not passionate about it anymore, and then they lose all the progress and they just backslide.

Nidhi:

Something that came to mind as Jessica was sharing and as you were sharing, Chris, and maybe this is a helpful synopsis, is that emotion helps you to determine the destination. But logic helps you to chart the course to get there. So you connect with the things that are in alignment with who you are, and that is what ultimately determines the path that you're going to take. But logic is what drives you in getting there and making the strategic decisions to ensure the success once you're there at that destination. So that was kind of something that I took away from that. So I appreciated that.

Chris:

Thank you very much. I feel like I'm really fired up here.

Mo:

I really appreciated Jessica's presence.

Chris:

Me too.

Mo:

I thought that was great.

Chris:

Okay, Mo. Do you feel like we've exhausted this topic?

Mo:

Yes.

Chris:

Nidhi, just maybe cool this down a little bit because we're running spicy and you threw a little cayenne as you said, and maybe some ghost pepper in there.

Nidhi:

A little ghost pepper.

Chris:

Yeah.

Nidhi:

So if I can, I would love to share a little poem by Rumi. Is that okay?

Chris:

Yes, please.

Nidhi:

Okay.

Chris:

Do you need music to this?

Nidhi:

Maybe we can get some bongos for this poetry slam that I'm about to do.

Chris:

I don't have bongos ready to go. Sorry. I have chill hop.

Nidhi:

So this is speaking to what I had said earlier about a place for all emotions, and it's called The Guest House. "This being human is a guest house. Every morning, a new arrival, a joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all, even if they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house, empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice. Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond."

Chris:

What a way to end it. Thank you, Nidhi. Thank you, Mo.

Greg Gunn:

Thanks for 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 Barrow for editing and mixing this episode, and thank you to Adam Sanborn for our intro music.

If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by reading 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. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit thefutur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.

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