Leveraging Your Dark Side Ep 466

Summary Notes


In this candid episode, the host reflects on the misguided pursuit of passion and purpose, advocating for the power of negative emotions as a driving force in achieving success. He shares his personal journey from an angry teenager to a successful entrepreneur, emphasizing that progress comes from action, not the search for happiness. The host debunks the myth that passion is necessary for wealth, revealing that the most successful individuals often use pain and anger as motivation. He encourages embracing the 'dark side' as a catalyst for hard work and argues that negative experiences can be transformed into positive outcomes. His ultimate message is that you don't have to love every aspect of what you do; you just need to harness whatever emotions fuel you to push through and do what's required to succeed.

Summary Notes

Personal Reflection on Past Mindset and Growth

  • Speaker A reflects on their personal growth journey, from being an angry teenager to realizing the fallacy of pursuing passion and purpose as the only path to success.
  • They initially believed their anger and issues were problems to be overcome.
  • College experiences and exposure to tenured professors' advice led Speaker A to pursue passion and purpose, which resulted in no progress.

When I was 1516 1718 years old, I was a pretty angry kid. And I thought that I had all these issues. I would tell people I have these issues, I have anger issues. I am not a nice person.

Speaker A describes their self-perception during adolescence, marked by anger and self-identified personal issues.

And in college it's all propaganda of people who are teaching, who've never actually done real work in a real economy, ever. They're all tenured. They don't live in reality. And they tell everyone they should pursue their purpose and their passion and the things that they love.

Speaker A criticizes the college environment and the advice given by professors who they feel are disconnected from real-world experiences, pushing the narrative of pursuing passion and purpose.

Embracing Negative Emotions as Motivation

  • Speaker A advocates for using negative emotions such as anger and pain as a source of energy and motivation.
  • They argue against the idea that negative emotional experiences are inherently bad.
  • Speaker A believes that accepting and harnessing negative emotions can be advantageous.

You can embrace the fact that you are angry. You can embrace the fact that you feel like you are in pain. And you can use that to make the life that you want.

Speaker A suggests that accepting and using negative emotions can be a powerful tool in shaping one's life.

But half of your life is below average by definition. And so if you are not using the half of your life as energy or motivation to create the life you want, then you're at a huge disadvantage.

Speaker A posits that since life inherently includes below-average experiences, not using these as motivation is a missed opportunity.

The Power of Pain as a Driving Force

  • Speaker A compares the motivation derived from a positive vision for life to the motivation spurred by a threatening scenario involving family.
  • They explain that pain can be a more immediate and powerful motivator than positive emotions.
  • Speaker A reflects on their past mistake of viewing pain and lack of passion as disadvantages.

And to give you an example of this, imagine, for example, you have this big vision for your life that you want on this side and on this side your family gets kidnapped, and if you don't do something, they will kill them all. Which of those motivates you more right now? Probably the one with your family getting kidnapped.

Speaker A uses a hypothetical scenario to illustrate how pain and fear can be more compelling motivators than the pursuit of a positive vision.

The Illusion of Passion and Purpose

  • Speaker A regrets the time wasted chasing the illusion of needing to find passion and purpose.
  • They wish they could have skipped the pursuit of passion and instead accepted their anger as a part of their identity.
  • Speaker A's current perspective is that embracing one's true emotions, including negative ones, is more authentic and productive than chasing an idealized sense of purpose.

I saw it as something that I had to overcome, that I didn't have this big purpose. I didn't have this thing that I loved. I didn't have this thing I was passionate about. And if I could have just skipped all of that and started the moment, I accepted that it was okay to be angry and what wasn't

Speaker A reflects on the false belief that they needed to overcome their lack of passion and instead suggests that accepting their anger earlier could have been beneficial.

The Myth of Passion and Happiness in Success

  • The speaker discusses the misconception that passion and happiness are necessary for success.
  • They emphasize that success is about doing the necessary activities, regardless of how you feel about them.
  • The speaker suggests that negative emotions can be powerful motivators.
  • They challenge the idea that good intentions are always the path to positive outcomes.

"They're believing that they have to be happy. They have to have purpose. They have to have passion for what they're doing in order to get out of their situation."

This quote highlights the common belief that one must find joy and passion in their work to be successful, which the speaker refutes.

"You are poor because you're not doing the activities that makes you rich, and you can fuel those activities whatever way you damn well please, period."

The speaker argues that financial success is the result of specific actions, not the emotional state one has while performing them.

The Role of Negative Motivation

  • The speaker argues that negative experiences can be a strong source of motivation.
  • They cite research on Olympic medalists who are motivated more by the fear of losing than the joy of winning.
  • The speaker references Steve Jobs and suggests that his difficult personality contributed to his success.

"They interviewed the top Olympic medalists, and they found that they don't actually love winning. They hate losing."

This quote supports the idea that aversion to negative outcomes can be a more powerful motivator than the pursuit of positive ones.

"Steve Jobs... was a tough dude to work for. From all accounts of everyone who was around him. But he created something beautiful from that pain, right?"

The speaker uses Steve Jobs as an example of someone who channeled their negative experiences into creating something valuable.

Personal Experiences as Motivational Tools

  • The speaker shares that they use painful past experiences and imagined future scenarios as motivation.
  • They describe how they use the memory of a negative experience to push through tasks they don't want to do.

"I have painful experiences in my past and made up experiences in the future that I don't want to go through. And I use those on speed dial in my head whenever I don't want to do something."

This quote reveals the speaker's personal strategy for motivation, which involves recalling negative experiences to propel them forward.

"What fuels me is the feeling I had when I felt stupid in front of the camera because I didn't prepare, I didn't do the work."

Here, the speaker explains how the memory of a specific negative experience serves as a more effective motivator than positive intentions.

Call to Action for the Audience

  • The speaker concludes by asking the audience to share the content to reach and help more entrepreneurs.
  • They mention that they do not run ads or sell anything, making the spread of their message dependent on the audience.

"The only ask that I can ever have of you guys is that you help me spread the word so we can help more entrepreneurs ma"

The speaker makes a direct appeal to the audience for support in disseminating their message, emphasizing the goal of aiding entrepreneurs.

Importance of Podcast Support

  • The speaker emphasizes the significance of audience support for the podcast's success.
  • They request that listeners leave a review to help improve the podcast's reach.
  • The act of reviewing is described as quick and easy but potentially impactful.

"And the only way we do that is if you can rate and review and share this podcast. So the single thing that I ask you to do is you can just leave a review."

This quote is a call to action for listeners to engage with the podcast by leaving a review, which the speaker believes is crucial for the podcast's growth and success.

Harnessing Pain as Motivation

  • The speaker discusses utilizing pain as a source of motivation and energy.
  • Pain is framed as an advantage when transformed into something positive.
  • The speaker has personally used pain as a motivator in their life.

"I spent so long trying to get the right motivation, the right energy to do what I was supposed to do, rather than accept the energy that I had overflowing from me, which was pain."

The speaker reflects on their past struggles with finding motivation and how they learned to channel their pain into a driving force for their actions.

The Journey from Dislike to Joy in Work

  • Initially, the speaker disliked their work due to a lack of proficiency.
  • They discuss using negative motivation to persevere through challenging periods.
  • Over time, as skills improved, the speaker began to find joy and purpose in their work.

"But the thing is, you can use the negative motivator that you have now to get through the periods of suck because the pain that you experience sucked more than the suck that you have in front of you, the work that must be done."

This quote describes how the speaker used their pain as a negative motivator to push through difficult tasks, ultimately leading to improvement and enjoyment in their work.

Evolving Vision and Purpose

  • The speaker's initial vision was to overcome poverty.
  • With acquired skills and experiences, they now aim to help others avoid similar struggles.
  • The speaker admits to disliking certain aspects of their work but finds it preferable to the alternative of failing.

"The big vision for Alex's life until maybe four years ago was don't be broke. That was the big vision for my life."

The speaker shares their past primary goal, which was to escape financial hardship, highlighting the evolution of their personal vision over time.

The Drive to Maximize Effort and Avoid Regret

  • The speaker hates the feeling of not trying their hardest.
  • They express a strong aversion to the idea of potential underachievement.
  • This fear of underperformance fuels their dedication to their work, such as writing a book.

"Like there is no feeling I enjoy. That makes me more sick than the idea that I could have done more."

The speaker conveys their intense dislike for the feeling of not having given their all to a task, which serves as a powerful motivator for them.

Motivation Behind Perfection in Creative Work

  • The speaker expresses frustration with their previous book's success and fear of not meeting expectations with their next book.
  • They emphasize the importance of exhaustive effort to ensure their work is the best it can be, fearing criticism for lack of effort.
  • The speaker is driven by the idea of maximizing their potential and avoiding the pain of underachievement.

"Though the book that I made last year sold two times more than half the fucking books, New York Times. I know that it pisses me off, but you know what pisses me off more? The idea that the next book that I launch, people say, you know what? I liked his first book a little better."

This quote reflects the speaker's concern about their audience's perception of their work and the pressure to surpass previous achievements.

"But the pain of the idea of that book not doing well or that book leading to people being like, I don't think he tried as hard. That is the thing that hurts so much more than going from the top yet again to make another video, to make another article, to make another short, to make another fucking chapter revision yet again to make it better."

The speaker is motivated by the fear of being perceived as not trying hard enough, which drives them to continually revise and improve their work.

The Pursuit of One's True Best

  • The speaker differentiates between doing one's best and doing what is required, suggesting that true effort goes beyond perceived limits.
  • They discuss the concept of pushing oneself to the absolute limit to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • The speaker encourages using whatever motivation is necessary to bridge the gap between current efforts and one's true potential.

"And the difference between what your best is and what is required is the difference between what you think your real best is and what your actual best is. And there's a fucking ocean between those things and what your actual best is, is the thing that you would do to prevent everyone you know from dying."

This quote highlights the disparity between perceived effort and the extreme lengths one could go to when the stakes are highest, urging the recognition of one's true capacity for effort.

The Reality of Outcomes and Perceptions

  • The speaker stresses that outcomes are what matter to people, not the intentions or motivations behind actions.
  • They highlight the importance of focusing on the end product and not getting caught up in the need for external validation or constant happiness in the process.
  • The speaker acknowledges the internal struggle and the use of personal motivators to overcome challenges.

"Because the road to hell is not paved with good intentions. What people care about is the outcome people care about what you put out in the world now, why you do it, what fuels you, is purely internal to you."

This quote suggests that intentions are less significant than the actual results of one's work, emphasizing the importance of focusing on producing tangible outcomes.

Overcoming Personal and External Doubts

  • The speaker reflects on their journey, citing disdain for their past circumstances and the fear of proving doubters right as key motivators.
  • They discuss embracing difficult tasks and persisting through challenges to avoid the pain of failure.
  • The speaker's personal experiences with rejection and hard work illustrate their determination to succeed against all odds.

"So the thing that got me through it was realizing that I hated my current circumstance. And I hated the idea of my dad being right. And I hated the idea of people saying, I can't believe he quit his job to do some stupid thing and not win."

The speaker uses their hatred for their previous situation and the prospect of others' doubt as fuel to drive their relentless work ethic and refusal to accept failure.

"But the idea of failing was so much more painful for me that I was able to embrace the suck faster."

This quote conveys the speaker's willingness to endure hardship and discomfort to avoid the greater pain of failing to achieve their goals.

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