Not All Friendships Will Matter... (w Ken Coleman) Pt. 2 Nov. '22 Ep 471

Summary Notes


In a candid discussion with Ken Coleman on the Dave Ramsey network, the host delves into the importance of relationships and their impact on success, referencing Harvard's study that ties 95% of success or failure to one's closest associations. The host, Alex, shares his contrarian view on relationships as transactional, emphasizing the necessity for a high positive exchange ratio and his selective approach to friendships, which aligns with his goals. He recounts his personal journey of defying his father's expectations to pursue his entrepreneurial vision, a decision that strained their relationship but ultimately led to the success of his company, Furthermore, they address a concerning trend of 7 million American men opting out of work, attributing it to shifts in masculinity and societal expectations. Alex advises his core demographic of 25 to 35-year-old males to commit to their goals with such intensity that failure becomes an unreasonable outcome.

Summary Notes

Unique Interview Experience

  • Alex considers the interview with Ken Coleman as one of the best or top three he's done.
  • The interview covered topics Alex hadn't previously discussed, adding to its uniqueness.
  • They discussed the larger economy and current opportunities.

"This was probably the best or one of the top three interviews that I have done to date."

This quote emphasizes Alex's view of the interview with Ken Coleman as a standout experience in his career, highlighting the unique and engaging conversation they had.

Economy and Opportunities

  • The conversation included discussions about the current state of the economy and existing opportunities.
  • Alex believes the content of the interview will provide value to listeners.

"We talk about the larger economy at large, different opportunities that are existing right now."

The quote indicates that the interview provided insights into economic conditions and potential opportunities, which could be beneficial for listeners interested in these topics.

Personal Determination

  • Alex expresses a strong personal drive, preferring to risk failure over admitting defeat.
  • He equates not succeeding to becoming a "slave" for the rest of his life.

"I would rather have died than let him be right."

This quote shows Alex's intense determination and unwillingness to accept failure, which is a significant aspect of his mindset and approach to challenges.

Business Perspective

  • Alex views business as a game and likens wealthy individuals to players in this game.
  • He discusses his journey of building and his goal of reaching a billion-dollar portfolio.

"The wealthiest people in the world see business as a game."

This quote reflects Alex's perspective on business as a competitive and strategic endeavor, similar to a game where the aim is to win and achieve success.

Influence of Relationships on Success

  • Ken Coleman references a Harvard study on relationships, indicating their impact on success or failure.
  • The study suggests that 95% of success or failure is related to the people one spends the most time with.

"The study proved to them, with data that is indisputable, that 95% of our success or failure in life, Alex, is directly related to the people we spend the most time with."

Ken Coleman's quote underscores the critical importance of relationships in an individual's success, as supported by long-term Harvard research.

Alex's Approach to Relationships

  • Alex is selective about the people in his life and views relationships as transactional.
  • He believes relationships should add value and align with personal goals.

"I am pretty ruthless when it comes to the people that I have in my life."

This quote captures Alex's strategic and selective approach to maintaining relationships, prioritizing those that are beneficial to his personal and professional growth.

Reinforcers and Punishers in Human Behavior

  • Alex discusses the concept of reinforcers (carrots) and punishers (sticks) in human relationships.
  • He explains his willingness to wait for positive reinforcement from long-standing relationships.

"If we think about human behavior in terms of reinforcers and punishers, because those are the only two things, sticks and carrots."

Alex's quote introduces the idea that human behavior and relationships are influenced by positive and negative reinforcements, which shape the dynamics of interactions.

Cutting Off Unproductive Relationships

  • Alex actively cuts off relationships that do not contribute positively to his life.
  • He shortens the time he allows for a relationship to provide value before deciding to end it.

"If I feel like I am overwhelmingly giving in the relationship, and there's really not much that comes back over an extended period of time, my time to cut the relationship has just decreased over time."

This quote reveals Alex's approach to managing his social circle by eliminating unproductive relationships, ensuring that his time and energy are invested wisely.

Learning from the Elderly

  • Alex values the perspective of elderly people and their approach to relationships.
  • He cites a happiness curve study that suggests older people prioritize fulfilling relationships.

"I like studying elderly a lot, because I think that they have some perspective."

The quote shows Alex's respect for the wisdom of the elderly and his interest in learning from their life experiences to inform his own decisions.

Definition of Friendship

  • Alex defines a friend as someone with whom there is a high ratio of positive exchange per unit of time.
  • He values efficiency and positivity in his friendships.

"A high ratio of positive exchange per unit of time."

Alex's quote succinctly defines his criteria for friendship, emphasizing the importance of a beneficial and efficient relationship.

Size and Quality of Social Circle

  • Alex has a small circle of close friends, numbering around three.
  • He does not place value judgments on the size of his social circle, focusing instead on enjoyment and fulfillment.


This quote indicates the small number of close friends Alex has, which aligns with research suggesting that most people have a limited number of close relationships.

Seasonal Nature of Relationships

  • Alex acknowledges that his relationship approach may be specific to his current life season.
  • He emphasizes the importance of not ascribing positive or negative labels to the number of friends one has.

"And this might also be a season of my life that I'm in."

The quote reflects Alex's understanding that his relationship dynamics may change over time and that the current state is just one phase of his life.

Friendship and Reciprocal Benefit

  • Alex discusses the concept of friendship, likening it to a reciprocal transaction similar to capitalism.
  • He emphasizes the importance of both parties in a friendship benefiting from the relationship.
  • Alex believes that friendships should not be one-sided; both friends should feel they are better off because of the exchange.

"That in an exchange with a friend, it's my hope that both of us are better off. It's not just like Alex taking, because then they would be justified in saying that I would say, you shouldn't be friends with me if I'm only taking from you."

This quote highlights the idea that friendships should be mutually beneficial, with both parties contributing and receiving value, similar to a fair market exchange.

Tension with Family Over Personal Goals

  • Alex addresses the issue of tension with family members when pursuing personal goals.
  • He defines love in terms of sacrifice and suggests that one may need to prioritize their dreams over family expectations.
  • Alex presents different scenarios to consider when making decisions about following dreams versus family expectations.
  • He suggests that pursuing one's dreams may lead to initial disapproval from family but could eventually result in respect and acceptance.

"So I say, first we have to define some terms. So the first one is, at least for me, is that love is defined as what you are willing to give up to maintain something as I define it."

Alex defines love as the willingness to sacrifice for something, implying that pursuing personal goals may require giving up certain family expectations.

"And so if you have people who I like fast forwarding because I'm a big frame guy. So it's like, if we're 85 years from now and all the people that were in your family who are older than you are now dead, because they will be, and you have not realized the dreams or even attempted to because of the fear of their judgment, how would you feel?"

Alex encourages considering the long-term impact of decisions on personal fulfillment, suggesting that fear of judgment should not prevent one from pursuing their dreams.

"And so, for me, I am ruthless in terms of what I am willing to sacrifice for my goals, because I do, at least in my opinion, in my worldview, if I provide enough value, I will always have access to those people if I desire it."

Alex expresses his personal philosophy of prioritizing his goals and believes that success and providing value can lead to reconnection with family members.

Choosing Personal Fulfillment Over Family Expectations

  • Ken Coleman agrees with Alex's perspective on choosing personal fulfillment.
  • Ken suggests that temporary disappointment from family is preferable to long-term resentment.
  • Alex agrees and shares his personal experience of following his father's expectations and then choosing to pursue his own path.

"I agree. I couldn't agree more, because I think what happens is if we choose temporary disappointment of the family member over long term resentment."

Ken Coleman concurs with Alex's view, highlighting the importance of avoiding long-term resentment by pursuing one's own goals despite potential family disappointment.

"And I think you said it way better than I did, by the way. I did everything that my dad told me to do."

Alex acknowledges Ken's point and relates it to his own life, where he initially followed his father's path before deciding to follow his own aspirations.

"And so when I did make that move, and this is for everybody who's looking for the happy ending, it did make a huge fisher or a huge gap in our relationship."

Alex shares the consequences of his decision to pursue his own path, which initially caused a rift in his relationship with his father but ultimately led to respect and success.

The Impact of Material Success on Family Dynamics

  • Alex reflects on how material success can change family dynamics and lead to respect for one's achievements.
  • He emphasizes the importance of living for oneself and not just to fulfill someone else's dreams.
  • Alex shares that it took nearly a decade for his father to respect his decision to start a business and achieve success.

"And it was only after, not only that, I had made more money and then made more money than he'd ever made. Did the dynamic shift to one where he respected what I had done."

This quote illustrates how achieving material success can influence family members' perceptions and lead to a shift in respect for one's decisions and path.

"And it was his dream of what he wanted for my life as it reflected on him as a parent. And I get where he was coming from. So it's like you can understand why they have this belief and then yet also disagree with it and act in accordance to your be"

Alex explains that while he understands his father's perspective and dreams for him, he chose to act according to his own beliefs and pursue his own path.

Parental Influence and Personal Decisions

  • Alex's hardest decision was going against his father's wishes.
  • His father had a significant influence on him, which is highlighted by the fact that Alex only informed his father about his departure when he was already far away.
  • Alex's father initially thought he could talk Alex out of his decision, but when he realized Alex was serious, his attitude changed.
  • The fear of proving his father right was a strong motivator for Alex, driving him to succeed at all costs.
  • Alex perceived failure as becoming a 'slave' for life, which fueled his determination to succeed in his chosen path.

"It was the hardest decision in my life was disobeying my father." "I would rather have died than let him be right."

These quotes illustrate the internal struggle Alex faced when defying his father's expectations and the pressure he felt to not fail and validate his father's doubts.

The Role of Fear in Parenting

  • Ken Coleman emphasizes the potential negative impact of parental fear on children.
  • He suggests that while Alex turned the pressure into motivation, not all children are capable of doing so, which can lead to severe consequences like depression.
  • Ken advises parents to be mindful of the pressure they exert on their children to avoid inadvertently crushing their spirits.

"The parental fear can turn into a nightmare for our kids." "There are a lot of kids that aren't wired like Alex, and that can destroy their life."

Ken Coleman highlights the importance of understanding the individual nature of children and the potentially devastating effects of imposing too much parental pressure on those who may not be as resilient as Alex.

Understanding Motivations and Perspectives

  • Alex discusses the importance of understanding the motivations behind the advice and pressure from influential figures, like parents.
  • He acknowledges that while his father wanted success for him, they had different methods of achieving it.
  • Alex felt that his opinion mattered more since he was the one who had to live through the consequences of his decisions.
  • He stresses that recognizing that influential figures are not adversaries but rather have the individual's best interests at heart can be helpful.
  • Alex cites a survey on political beliefs to illustrate how little we may know about the beliefs of those close to us, emphasizing the importance of open communication.

"I think understanding the motivation of the person who's influencing you to stay put is useful." "To understand is to forgive."

Alex points out that by understanding the motivations of others, particularly parents, we can better navigate our decisions and forgive any perceived pressures or misunderstandings.

Workforce Participation and Societal Implications

  • Ken Coleman expresses concern about the 7 million American men aged 25 to 54 who are choosing not to work.
  • He views this trend as a crisis, potentially reflecting a deeper issue at the soul level for the majority of these men.
  • Ken seeks Alex's thoughts on the matter, given Alex's analytical perspective and the significance of the issue in the context of societal contributions through work.

"I think it's a crisis. I think it's a soul level crisis for the majority of those 7 million." "7 million american men aged 25 to 54 are not working."

Ken Coleman is alarmed by the large number of men opting out of the workforce and is seeking to understand the underlying reasons, which he believes may be rooted in a crisis of purpose and identity.

Exploring the Reasons Behind Workforce Disengagement

  • Alex is curious about the psychographics of the 7 million men not working and suggests there may be different subgroups within this demographic.
  • He questions whether these individuals are receiving unemployment benefits or being supported by other means, such as family or a spouse.
  • The conversation hints at a need to understand the various factors contributing to this disengagement from the workforce.

"So I think I would love to know the psychographics of the 7 million." "They're either being supported, if it's not through government, then they're being supported by family or spouse."

Alex expresses a desire to delve deeper into the characteristics and circumstances of the men not participating in the workforce to gain a clearer understanding of the issue.

Masculinity and Changing Gender Roles

  • The traditional link between masculinity and the role of provider has shifted.
  • The rise of breadwinning moms and stay-at-home dads is an example of changing gender roles.
  • Alex expresses a personal conservative stance on the provider role, influenced by his upbringing.
  • There is an argument that men are innately built to work.

"Being a man and working and providing 30 years ago, 50 years ago, were inextricably linked. Being a man and providing for your family were one and the same." "I think men, based on my experience, men are built to work."

Alex reflects on the historical association between masculinity and the role of a provider, suggesting that men have an inherent inclination to work.

Disenfranchisement and the Perception of Male Privilege

  • Some men feel hopeless and believe the system is against them.
  • There is a narrative that men are born with inherent privileges.
  • Alex argues that human suffering is subjective and pain is felt equally, regardless of circumstance.
  • Disenfranchised men may opt out of trying to avoid the pain of failure.

"I think that there's an entire subset of men who feel completely hopeless and disheartened and feel like the system is out to get them." "Human suffering feels the same. If you were the one suffering."

Alex discusses the feelings of disenfranchisement among certain men and the subjective nature of suffering, emphasizing that pain is a universal human experience.

The Need for Personal Responsibility and Respect

  • Men, especially younger ones, need support and are often angry.
  • Characters like Andrew Tate give a voice to disenfranchised men.
  • Respect must be earned through actions.
  • The world does not offer unconditional respect; individuals must work within its boundaries.

"Someone needs to start the flame to say, if you want the respect, you have to do the stuff that gets you it." "Rather than lamenting the way the world is, we can see it for what it is and then play within those boundaries."

Alex highlights the importance of personal responsibility and the need for individuals to earn respect through their actions.

The Fear of Failure and Overprotection

  • Children have been overprotected, exacerbating the fear of failure.
  • The first 20 hours of learning a new skill yield the most improvement.
  • People delay starting due to fear of not being good enough and expecting ease.

"It takes about 20 hours to become. You get the most amount of gains in a new skill in the first 20 hours, like of learning it." "The problem is that people will wait years to start the first hour."

Alex discusses the impact of overprotection on the fear of failure and the importance of starting the learning process to gain skills.

Addiction to Dopamine and the Role of Video Games

  • Humans have various addictions; the key is what they are addicted to.
  • Alex is addicted to the rush from hard work and payoff.
  • Some men are addicted to non-prosocial activities, such as video games.
  • This addiction is enabled by parents who subsidize their children's behavior.

"I am addicted to the dopamine rush that I get or the serotonin whatever from lots of grit and then payoff." "They also have an addiction, but they got addicted to something that was not pro social or was not pro work."

Alex shares his perspective on addiction, including his personal addiction to the rewards of hard work and contrasts it with the addiction to video games among some men.

Alex's Core Audience and Message to Young Men

  • Alex's demographic is primarily 25 to 35-year-old men.
  • He emphasizes the importance of setting a goal and working unreasonably hard towards it.
  • Starting the work is crucial, and overthinking can delay success.

"You must pick a goal and do so much work that it would be unreasonable for you not to succeed." "But you have to start, and you have to start that first hour and not a decade to get."

Alex defines his audience and shares a motivational message about the necessity of hard work and the importance of beginning the journey towards success.

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