Why I Don't Follow My Feelings Ep 409

Summary Notes


In a candid discussion, Speaker A challenges the conventional marketing approach that attempts to reverse engineer a consumer's mental process, emphasizing the importance of observable, actionable outcomes over speculative internal thoughts. The conversation then pivots to a philosophical exploration of meaning in life, with Speaker A advocating for the freedom to create personal significance ('little m meaning') in the absence of an absolute, universal meaning ('capital M meaning'). This perspective allows for flexibility and adaptability in beliefs, which Speaker A prefers to view as assumptions, thereby reducing ego attachment and fostering greater openness to change. The dialogue also touches on the liberating aspects of discarding societal 'shoulds' and 'musts,' promoting acceptance of the full spectrum of human emotions as natural, rather than labeling them as inherently good or bad. Finally, Speaker A encourages listeners to support the podcast, which aims to assist entrepreneurs without relying on advertisements or product sales.

Summary Notes

Marketing and Sales Tactics

  • Marketers and salespeople often discuss the internal thought processes of consumers.
  • They tend to create hypothetical steps a consumer might go through without evidence.
  • Speaker A criticizes this approach as reverse engineering without real insight into the consumer's mind.

"They need blah blah blah. And then they need. And so they're basically, they just make up, they reverse engineer fictitious steps of someone's mental thought process when they have no evidence to support what someone's thinking at all."

This quote highlights the skepticism towards the method of inferring consumer thought processes without empirical evidence. It suggests that marketers often fabricate steps without truly understanding the consumer.

Business Strategy Focus

  • Speaker A emphasizes the importance of observable, actionable, and measurable strategies.
  • They argue that feelings are recognized but do not aid in adjusting business activities.
  • The focus is on creating outcomes and establishing feedback loops to improve business processes.

"I don't find it useful because it's not useful. Like what are the things that are useful are the things that are observable that we can drive action towards, that we create an outcome and then we have a feedback loop."

This quote conveys the idea that practical business strategies should be based on observable and measurable factors rather than unverifiable internal feelings or thoughts.

The Search for Meaning

  • Speaker A discusses the concept of meaning in life and how it relates to personal freedom.
  • Differentiates between "capital M Meaning" as a universal truth versus "little m meaning" as a personal construct.
  • Suggests that the absence of a universal meaning allows people to architect their own lives and find their own purposes.

"Because if we don't believe in a capital M meaning, which a lot of people disagree with, that's fine. But if you don't believe in a capital M meaning, I think that's very freeing because then you can create little m meaning for whatever you want."

The quote explains that rejecting a universal meaning of life ("capital M Meaning") can be liberating, allowing individuals to find their own personal meaning ("little m meaning") in life.

Nihilism and Meaning Creation

  • Speaker A introduces the concept of nihilism and its misunderstood negative connotations.
  • They explain that a personal belief in the absence of inherent meaning ("capital M Meaning") can be a meaningful stance in itself.
  • This belief empowers individuals to create and destroy meaning in their lives as they choose.

"That's my capital M meaning is that there is no meaning. What's the implication of that? It means now that we have meaning make machines in our brain, and so we get to create and destroy meaning."

The quote suggests that acknowledging the lack of an inherent meaning in life doesn't result in meaninglessness but rather gives individuals the power to create their own meanings.

Personal Meaning vs. Capital 'M' Meaning

  • Personal meaning is subjective and can be ascribed to goals that individuals find interesting or energizing.
  • Capital 'M' Meaning is likened to religion, providing a set of rules or guidelines.
  • Personal meaning can change over time, adapting to new seasons of life.
  • Without a prescriptive set of meanings, individuals must reason and come to their own conclusions.
  • This process is seen as more challenging but more rewarding.
  • Flexibility in belief allows for adaptation when presented with new data or evidence.

"And what's nice about not having capital M meaning is that that can shift."

This quote highlights the flexibility of personal meaning as opposed to fixed meanings often found in religious or other structured belief systems.

"But I think it's more difficult, but ultimately more rewarding if you have reasoning behind why you believe what you believe..."

The speaker suggests that while lacking a prescribed meaning is challenging, it is ultimately more fulfilling to have personal reasoning behind beliefs.

Beliefs as Assumptions

  • Beliefs and assumptions are considered similar, with the main difference being the terminology used.
  • Referring to beliefs as assumptions can reduce their tie to one's identity, making them more malleable.
  • This linguistic shift can lead to less ego investment in beliefs and promote flexibility and openness to change.

"What's the difference between belief and assumption? Not a lot, right?"

The speaker questions the difference between beliefs and assumptions, implying they are fundamentally similar.

"And so I would say that beliefs are just assumptions, but when you call them that, they become less tied to your identity."

By framing beliefs as assumptions, the speaker believes they become less integral to one's identity, allowing for more adaptability.

The Value of Sharing Personal Views

  • The speaker shares their personal viewpoint passionately, despite facing criticism.
  • Their motivation for sharing is to help others who resonate with their experiences and perspectives.
  • The speaker emphasizes that their intent is not monetization but to provide value to entrepreneurs and their communities.

"I feel passionately about my viewpoint of the world, mostly because I struggled and I was in so much pain for such a long period of time."

The speaker's passion for their viewpoint is rooted in personal struggles, indicating a deep connection to their beliefs.

"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 make more money, feed their families, make better products, and have better experiences for their employees and customers."

The speaker's request to the audience is to share the podcast to support entrepreneurs, highlighting a desire to contribute positively to others' lives.

Support for the Podcast

  • The speaker does not run ads or sell products through the podcast.
  • They request support from the audience in the form of ratings, reviews, and shares to extend the podcast's reach and impact.
  • The goal is to help entrepreneurs and their ecosystems through the content provided in the podcast.

"I don't run any ads on this, and I don't sell anything."

The speaker clarifies the non-commercial nature of the podcast, emphasizing the focus on content and value rather than profit.

"So the single thing that I ask you to do is you can just leave a review. It'll take you 10 seconds or one type of the thumb."

The speaker asks for a simple action from the audience to support the podcast's mission, emphasizing the minimal effort required for potentially significant impact.

Meaning and Language

  • The speaker discusses the liberation from expectations when one dismisses the concept of an absolute meaning.
  • They argue that the absence of a required meaning eliminates the pressure of "should," "must," "need," and "have to."
  • This perspective allows for more freedom in decision-making, especially in business, where actions can be taken without adhering to traditional expectations or judgments.

When there is no required meaning, then a lot of language changes, which is should, must, need, have to. Like, all of these things no longer exist because there is no capital m meaning.

This quote emphasizes the speaker's viewpoint that the lack of an overarching meaning in life can change the way we use language, particularly in terms of obligations and expectations.

Because there are no rules. Which is why that was the preface to the book is like, there are no rules. We can live our life whatever way.

The speaker suggests that life can be lived without following any set rules, implying that individuals have the freedom to choose their own paths.

Acceptance and Emotions

  • The speaker highlights the importance of accepting oneself and one's emotions, including sadness and anxiety.
  • They argue against the societal pressure to conform to a certain emotional state and the unnecessary pathologization of natural human emotions.
  • The discussion leads to a critique of the tendency to label emotions as good or bad, when in fact they are all part of the human experience.

I think that there's just so much power in acceptance. It's like so many people make themselves miserable because they think that they shouldn't be who they are and they shouldn't feel how they feel.

This quote underlines the speaker's belief in the power of self-acceptance and highlights how societal expectations can lead to personal misery.

Why do we feel like someone shouldn't be anxious? They are human. Why do we feel like we shouldn't feel sad? We are human.

The speaker questions the rationale behind the societal expectation that people should not feel certain emotions, reinforcing the idea that all emotions are part of being human.

And so I think that if we just accept that and accept ourselves and accept the feelings that we experience as things that we experience, like rain and weather and sunshine, it's not like rain is bad, not like sunshine is good. It just is not like happiness is good or happiness is bad, or sadness is bad or sadness is good. We just label it that way.

This quote draws an analogy between emotions and weather, suggesting that emotions are natural occurrences that should not be judged as good or bad, similar to how we perceive different types of weather.

The Human Experience Spectrum

  • The speaker introduces the concept of a spectrum of human experiences, with emotions and states of being both above and below a median line.
  • They challenge the idea of ascribing value judgments to emotions, advocating instead for a neutral acceptance of all experiences as inherent parts of life.

And so I think it's one of the most interesting things or phenomena where, if you have a line which is the normal human existence. And you have points above the line and points below the line. You have the median right, or you have the middle point, and people want to not feel the things below the line.

The speaker presents the notion of a "normal human existence" as a spectrum, with people generally preferring to avoid emotions that fall below the median, which are often labeled as negative.

And then we ascribe or label the things below the line as bad and the things above the line as good, when all of it is.

This quote criticizes the practice of labeling emotions as either good or bad based on their position relative to a perceived median, suggesting that all emotions are simply part of the human condition.

Dealing with Sadness

  • The speaker shares their personal approach to dealing with sadness, which is not to dwell on it or attempt to change it.
  • They critique the tendency to overanalyze emotions, which can lead to further judgment and labeling.

No, I actually don't think about it much. I think a lot of people spend a lot of time and effort trying to figure out how they feel because they want to then judge or label.

The speaker explains their own method of handling sadness, which involves not overthinking it, and they comment on the common habit of people trying to dissect their emotions in order to categorize them.

Importance of Feelings

  • The conversation starts with a debate on whether feelings are important or not.
  • Speaker A is skeptical about the importance of feelings, especially in relation to accomplishment and fitness.
  • They propose that feelings might be more significant when it comes to love, which is also an emotion.
  • The importance of emotions is tied to how much one has conditioned themselves to accept something, like staying married.

"I don't think they matter at all. What would the case for feelings mattering be then?"

Speaker A expresses doubt about the significance of feelings in general, questioning what argument could be made for their importance.

"If it's for accomplishment, not very important. For fitness, not very important."

Speaker A suggests that emotions are not very important for achievement or physical fitness, implying that they may not have a practical impact on these areas.

"If we're saying, how important is emotion for love, which is another emotion, right? It becomes like amorphous, trying to go to amorphous."

Speaker A acknowledges that assessing the importance of emotions becomes complex when discussing love, which itself is an emotion, indicating a more abstract and less concrete evaluation.

Perception of Emotions

  • Speaker A discusses the subjective nature of emotions and how they are experienced differently by individuals.
  • They compare the experience of emotions to the perception of color, suggesting that each person's emotional experience could be unique.
  • The discussion touches on the difficulty of defining and measuring emotions objectively.

"It's like seeing green and I see green and you see green. What if all of our greens are different?"

Speaker A uses the perception of color as an analogy for emotions, highlighting the possibility that each person might experience the same emotion differently.

"I mean, it gets very interesting like that. But I think that I experience something, and if we were to just measure it based on brain activity and heart rate..."

Speaker A contemplates the idea that emotions could potentially be measured by physiological responses, such as brain activity and heart rate, suggesting a more scientific approach to understanding emotions.

Defining and Measuring Emotions

  • Speaker A enjoys the challenge of defining and measuring abstract concepts like emotions.
  • They believe that people generally find such discussions boring, which is why they don't often talk about it.
  • Speaker A also mentions that their ability to get out of difficult situations is partly due to their habit of redefining terms and accepting circumstances.

"I think trying to measure and define things is what I actually geek out on."

Speaker A reveals their interest in the intellectual exercise of defining and measuring abstract concepts, which they find personally engaging.

"A lot of it is because I believe that I will redefine terms and so we'll have some instance or something that I should do and I will redefine it, or I'll say, I don't should, I can just accept it."

Speaker A explains their coping mechanism of redefining or accepting situations, which helps them navigate through challenges in life.

Mental Wellness and Acceptance

  • Speaker A emphasizes the importance of acceptance for their mental wellness.
  • They mention a personal mantra that helps them deal with unwanted obligations or situations.

"And that's why the biggest refrain that I have in my head for my own mental wellness is just like, and that's okay, period."

Speaker A shares their key phrase for maintaining mental wellness, which is a simple acceptance of whatever situation they face.

"I don't want to go to that thing. That's okay. Close."

Speaker A concludes the discussion by reiterating their mantra, showing acceptance of their feelings towards not wanting to engage in a particular activity or event.

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