072. Breaking the 'OK' Barrier: Embracing Discomfort for Authentic Growth – Be Relentless
On today’s Thought Expedition, we delved into the transformative concept of embracing pain or discomfort to break the chains of complacency and rejuvenate our sense of existence. We reflected on how accepting and integrating our painful experiences can propel us to venture beyond our comfort zones. We introduced the concept of the “band of ‘OK’”—a metaphorical space where comfort and routine dominate, stifling growth and novelty.
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Episode Transcript Click Here
Jon Mayo: 0:08
Oh boy, well, howdy-dowdy everyone, welcome back to Be Relentless. On today’s Thought Expedition, we explore the concept of I’d rather be hurting than numb, and how that is a great first step towards freeing oneself to experience both the benefits and pains that can come when living life with great intention in pursuit of our ideals. We’re going to keep this one nice short and to the point. On the intro side, however, I do want to mention, or ask rather have you heard of iron front solutions? If you haven’t, which is highly likely, stay tuned. And if you’ve not tried C-SUS, stamina performance evolved. Yet we do have free samples available on our website, ulauniversecom now, and a just send it guarantee where, if you commit to a full bottle and don’t love it after trying it for five days, we’ll give you a full refund every time, as long as it’s your first time, of course. If you do go over and do that, please use Be Relentless at checkout to save 10% and support the show. Without further ado, let’s dive right on in.
Brandon Seifert: 1:33
Today, on Thought Expedition, we are cooking with a couple different concepts that I have been wrestling with this past week, as always. Starting one with I was listening to a Jordan Peterson video. I’ll send it to you later, because I listened to it probably 15 times yesterday but part of it that I kept getting stuck on was the idea that some people quit their jobs due to a lack of mental stimulation, because that overflows into their life and also just lack of mental stimulation will also lessen their happiness. Because we are made to be challenged. I know that John Mayo has a big brain and with that big brain, john Mayo, have you been in a situation where you have had a lack of mental stimulation from your career or a different aspect of your life? The reason I’m asking is I believe that I am not being challenged. I enjoy the here’s the issue, fix the issue, mentality and right now, in my current position not bashing it there is not much challenge mentally. It’s more of just do this job, it gets done and everyone’s happy, but I’m not solving a problem. And when I was in my last role within the company, I was more happy because I was trying to solve issues. So do you have any context or any idea of how that has affected your life as well.
Jon Mayo: 3:26
Yeah, I think there’s a good amount that we can explore in this one. I don’t know if I have a big brain, but we can give it our best shot. So I saw this quote probably in high school, maybe college, I’m not sure. It’s been a while. It’s quite a while ago and therefore it’s a bit fuzzy in my mind. But the premise of it was that boredom is the sign of unintelligence. And I’m not saying that you’re an intelligent, but it really struck me. And the reason being you have like a picture of a gentleman right from like the 60s sitting in a library reading and it I kind of found it annoying because I was bored all the time when I read it and therefore I was like, well, what the hell is this? And then, over the years, I came to realize that it’s not so much a matter of intelligence so much as a matter of empowerment. If we feel trapped, right. So run with me for a second. If we feel trapped or victimized or like we do not have a sense of control or sovereignty in our lives or in a situation, then we’re stuck with just one means of stimulus as a means of entertainment, right or interaction, fulfillment, you name it. In this case we’re talking about work, right, so the job and like. So, if the job is no longer entertaining, it becomes easy. You can just kind of, you can exceed expectations in completing the job, and that leaves you still with a lot of mental bandwidth, or just overall bandwidth to give right, and there’s no other outpouring for that bandwidth, then yes, it’s a form of hell on board, but that’s I don’t believe that’s the case. I think that there’s an infinite number of outpourings that we can do, even when we’re creating provision through a job that does not require everything from us, and I think that it’s actually more luxurious and more likely the case that the jobs that we do will not require everything from us. So then the question becomes how do we pursue entertainment, not in the form of like watching TV, but like mental stimulation and growth and how do we pursue significance if the job that we’re doing does not provide it? And one caveat on that If you’re absolutely miserable at your job for reasons beyond this, or because the manner which you’re spending your time at the job is painful and there’s no way to mitigate that, then perhaps it’s time to find a new job, right? But if the day goes by well enough and you’re okay with it. And it’s meeting you know it’s meeting your needs for survival and position enhancement and things like that. And then it’s in addition to alongside and external to that. Then I think that there’s a lot of room to play while potentially maintaining that job. So I think that there’s a lot of gray in there as far as what will make sense to each person, and I was just having a significant amount of conversation with a group of friends around the idea of I’d rather be burned out than bored, right, and that spun into an entire conversation on well, I’d rather not be burned out, because that means I’m misallocating my resources and not tending to myself appropriately, and I’d rather not be bored, because that means the exact same bloody thing. What I’d rather be is worn out, dead, tired, exhausted, when my head hits the pillow every night from pursuing and expending myself in the pursuit of significance, purpose and value and every arena feasibly possible. And that cat, this kind of, brings a full circle. You add to that the concept of choosing your regrets and choosing your opportunity. Costs right, these and pain. Would I rather have the opportunity of having this job that’s more stimulating in addition to these other things right at cost of perhaps more time being spent on that job. Or would I rather have the opportunity of more time outside of this job at cost of while I’m at this job? It’s less stimulating, right, and where your unique value proposition is like how you value time and what regrets you’re willing to accept as an individual. Those things allow you to make that decision more informed way. And two quick examples buddy of mine just had a baby. He’s in a job that bores him to tears. You know he’s learned how to do it. He checks the box. He can succeed without much effort. Because of that, he’s able to finish his days pretty early and exceed requirements, make sure everything’s taken care of and earn back a significant amount of time. It is more in line with his values to have that time to then invest in rock climbing and biking and walking with his infant right. Well, he doesn’t do all of those with his baby. But to do those things or to spend very intentional, curated time with his child, building that relationship, building memories with his son, then it is for him to have a job that would require more time with him. So therefore he would rather have the regret of being bored at work or checking the block at work, so that he has the opportunity of time to be with his son, because the regret of not being with his son is a regret he’s not willing to live with. He’d rather have the opportunity of the time with him, right? If someone is in a different situation, they may say I want to spend my days from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed in a way that’s stimulating and I’m creating, I’m building and I’m doing things in a different manner, in which case they may make different choices.
Brandon Seifert: 10:24
So that is something that I’m going to have to wrestle with, because right now I am fairly bored in my job and I know that I’m not going to eventually be doing the 10 to 12 hour days because I’m training someone up to take on the responsibility of a team member that we have lost, so I will get back down to the eight hours, which is hopefully going to happen in the next month or so. This kind of goes into a concept that I brought up yesterday in the forge and it’s basically about the concept of wanting to hurt. We were talking about what our five year goals were and there’s the physical, emotional and mental and spiritual and all that other kind of stuff. But my overall basically just said and I actually wrote it down so I can read my cliff notes here but it’s toying with the concept of hurt, not like a sad or emo or whatever kind of way, but the way that I’ve just been avoiding life, and I feel like this work issue goes with that, where right now I’m just checking the box, I’m saving myself because it’s sustainable. Right now my life is sustainable. I’m not happy, I’m not sad, I’m not taking risks, I’m not. I’m picking the safe option that involves all right. Do I take the time to go rock climbing or do anything else? No, because it’s safer and easier to sit at home and pretend that I’m super busy with the things that I have, when I could be out there experiencing life. I could be done complaining with how single I am and go work on the things that make me stay single. You know all of the insecurities, the lack of actually going somewhere and talking to people. I’m in a comfort zone and all of a sudden in my mind, because of that, my mind just said I want to hurt, I want to start feeling things again. I’m tired of being numbed out and I don’t know if this is almost like a midlife crisis, but it hit me very strongly and I, like I said, I don’t want to be numb anymore and I keep pursuing the things out of habit, that numb who I am. So, yes, I’m finding more life through the intentional living that I am doing, but now it’s like when you give a dog like a small treat of like a hamburger, and that dog goes crazy and it starts wanting more. It’s like I’ve had that small treat and now I understand that there’s a lot more that I could be doing and I want the rest of that, and the hamburger was not a good choice because one of the things that I just said was I want to lose weight and be healthier, but I hope that’s making sense.
Jon Mayo: 14:00
Yeah, hamburgers are delicious, yeah. One concept I think that would be beneficial for all of us to divorce ourselves from is the idea that when we’re working, we’re not experiencing life, because we are. We’re the same human, the same person, the same creature when we’re working as when we’re playing, and work is such a fundamental element of life that I do think we need to be very careful to think of them as two separate buckets, which goes into the regret and value judgment calls that I was talking about a minute ago. If you’re in a and, by the way, I’d call that equation a super shitty one but if you’re in an equation where would I rather have a boring job but the freedom of time to invest with my kid right, and therefore I choose that because it meets my needs and then I have more time with my kid I still, I still hate that equation. To be fair, like to be very clear I think that’s a super shitty equation because you’re still alive at work, you’re still investing your precious time, which you’ll never get back in an exchange for that money. So I would still be asking how do I make it so that my work that sustains this lifestyle and gives me the time with my kid is fulfilling and that is possible. It’s just bloody difficult, which is why so many people give up and throw their hands and say stupid things like oh, that’s just life. So just to be very clear on the stance there just because we may make those decisions, trade off or changes does not mean I advocate them or I think that they’re ideal or should be accepted as the standard. I think they should be challenged and challenging and questioning and creating. We very well may find ourselves creating existence in which we both are making our livings through a purposeful, challenging, engaging line of work and creating the freedom of resources, time, money, etc. To pursue the other things that we also value and therefore our lives are better spent With that in mind. You talked about you want to hurt again, and I think that that is an incredibly important thing, because if you’re not willing to accept pain, then you won’t be free to pursue things that are outside of your comfort zone, because the minute you say I could stop complaining about being single and start pursuing something, you are accepting the fact that you may very well be hurt and rejected, maybe many times, likely many times, in the pursuit of finding someone that is a good match for a partner. And the second you say, okay, I want to do rock climbing. The second you say, I want to really pursue what I can do with this podcast. As the producer, or you name the pursuit, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility that you can be an abject failure. So it’s good that you’re ready to hurt, because, likely it is, we will fail many, many times in every single pursuit. But if we, you know it sounds like semantics and people laugh at it, but you can keep the alternative I’m not successful yet. It is a different way of looking at failure. That, I think, does a very good job of cracking open the shell of the nut and allowing the reality of that. If it didn’t kill me, I just learned and I hopefully learned something valuable and if I’m not an idiot and I paid attention, maybe I can apply what I just learned to fail differently or not yet be successful differently on the next iteration and then continuing forward. I can earn the success or the outcome that I desire by continuing to strive forward in learning Right. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt man. Yesterday, at around 11 o’clock I had spent, I had woken him at 3 am and worked till 11, and I had spent about eight hours on an initiative the day before, also right up until it was time to shift, do supper bedtime, pass out, wake up and do it again. Right, and, by the way, when I shift and do supper bedtime and then pass out, like those are beautiful golden hours for me. So I don’t rush through that because that’s my time with my children and my wife. But so I invested like four normal working days, three normal working days in that span of time, to realize that about 11, that every second of time I just spent my initial analysis, research and continued exploration was misleading and that it had become a sunk cost and I had to kill it and shift gears immediately. And it knocked the freaking wind out of me Like bad, like. I was very upset, so I broke away, I ate. I hadn’t showered yet after training, so I showered and then I meditated for a little while and then I concluded that the only possible solution, at the point that I finished meditation, was to get back to work and allow the work to be my medicine and allow my action, allow my mood to follow my new action, despite having zero desire to reengage and having, like just the blow to confidence, the doubt, the feeling of loss all those things plague Because the projects I’m working on right now, time is extremely critical, so to lose, you know, two days on the effort and over and close to 20 hours of effort was really painful. But I learned, and I learned a lot from that, and thankfully I didn’t shut myself off to continue to explore, because later yesterday, after going through and this is just a very mini cycle, right to talk about what we’re doing After going through that, I came across a new platform that, had I allowed myself to like be burned and have scar tissue, I’d have been like no, I’m sticking with what I know because it works right. And instead I was like you know what? I’ve seen this pop up three times now as I’m building this thing, I’m going to take a quick look at it. I took a quick look at it. I did a much more intelligent analysis. I jumped on with one of their actual representatives, asked them about 50 questions to ensure that I wasn’t making the same mistakes that I made literally the day prior and that that same day Verified every concern that I could possibly think of and switched platforms from a platform I’ve used for years and continue to use for other initiatives, but that I’m now using a new one for this. It’s cut my operating costs for this project in half and it should significantly streamline my efforts. And from what I’ve seen so far and who knows, maybe this is round two of the pain train, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s an incredible step forward that’s going to help me get to where I’m wanting to go a lot more swiftly, effectively and cleanly than what I had before. And once again, that goes up. Are you open to being hurt? Right, because, like, even in that little cycle, like I got punched in the face by, you know, false promises and stupidity, my own included, and, instead of closing off, was able to explore the next opportunity as I was working and presented itself. Right, and in the same way, when we’re looking at just, I want to hurt. Yeah, hurt is great because it’s things are like the light is only light because darkness back like counter accent. Right, and pain is a beautiful emotion because it gives so much vibrancy to joy, you know, right? So the good thing with being like, the good thing with being ready to hurt because at least if you’re hurting your feeling and if you’re feeling you’re alive is that by accepting that there will be pain, or opening yourself up to that possibility, you allow yourself the freedom to put yourself in positions where you can actually experience the opposite as well.
Brandon Seifert: 23:16
Yeah, and that’s, that’s the entire thing. I would rather be in pain and feel after being numb so long, you know, I’d rather not continue with my safe life After doing that for the past. Well, let’s give it 10 years, which has just been safe after safe decision. Yeah, I need that contrast. I want that contrast right now. So I’m pushing into it and I realize I have to be careful. Still, I’m pushing buttons at work and there’s only so far that I can go without making a further decision. But I think it was perceived well, but it’s the things that I’ve wanted to say that I’ve been too scared to say. So I’m finally starting to say things and kind of push into those. I’m adding it to my list that I tried to tell myself of who I want to be and I want to live that more vibrant life. So is there anything that you could share or tell someone that is saying, oh, I’ve been stuck in this very safe cycle of my life for a very long time and I’m tired of it and I want to push out and I want to go experience happiness again because I’ve been just numb for such a long time and I understand that there’s also going to be pain when I start pressing into living life more vibrantly. Is there anything that you could experience or say to help that person either make that decision? Or is there something that you could general guideline? Because me initially stepping into this, like you said, I started mouthing off a little bit too much and I got a real back. I understand that after reviewing my day, but I don’t know if there’s an out on there.
Jon Mayo: 25:31
Yeah, two things are coming to mind, at least specific to our conversation, and one of them is, like the pill analogy. Right, most people are familiar with the matrix and the red pill blue pill. Right, the blue pill represents, like naivety, comfort, moving through life and enjoying some sense of stability because you’re choosing to right. And the red pill is, in this instance, synonymous with opening your eyes and taking a better stock of your surroundings and realizing that you have extraordinary sovereignty over your life and that your choices will influence and dictate how you live and what influences are at play there, right. And then there’s also, more recently, talk of a black pill, which is like the blue pill, but add a nihilistic, self-defeatist, dark twist to it. So it’s like the blue pill, with existential crisis consistently, and nihilism. And so that sounds fun, because now you can’t even enjoy the simplicity of choosing to ignore that which is around you. Right Now, you’re miserable doing it. I’m thoroughly a red pillar and believe that we’re all better for opening our eyes and living with extraordinary tension and embracing everything that comes with that, the rewards and the consequences, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about. And there’s this concept of the band of OK and like, if you visualize two parallel lines and within it, everything’s OK, everything’s good enough, but the concept is that that is the worst possible place you could be, because if you go above the band, everything’s great, it’s fantastic, it’s drawing you forward, it’s intoxicatingly cool, right. And if you go below the band, it’s so bad that it’s likely to invoke some level of change. But within the band, it’s not good enough to be great and it’s not bad enough to evoke change. And the reason that the band of OK is so dangerous is because it’s the place that dreams and ambitions and desire go to die. And essentially it’s what you’ve been talking about for the last 10 years. It’s the safe, it’s what you’re describing as safe and boring. Right, you’re ready to feel pain again. You’re ready to put yourself in pursuit of breaking above the band. You’re ready to go below it as necessary and travel the distance, right From the highs to the lows that come with it, until you’ve created a level of consistency that pursues that, as opposed to being in a band of just numbness and OKness. Right, and the thing that comes to mind is, if a situation is true, like, but if you’re in a position that puts you in that band, then like the choice has to come of. Am I going to continue to tolerate that? Right? Because you made the comment that you, like, checked yourself and very well, maybe you were completely out of line and that needed to occur, right? Maybe you’re wrong, maybe you’re right, maybe it did precisely need to occur. I obviously don’t know and I’m not interested in exploring the details of that situation, but sometimes you have to do in pursuit of doing what’s right or what will help to create the correct steps. You do things that require you to lose something, like like I just don’t want there to be this idea that it’s one in the same to say, oh, I pushed the envelope too far. Well, if you push the envelope too far because you were being a dick and a half, then yeah, you’re wrong, stop. But if you push the envelope pursuing something that needs to happen after careful analysis, because neglect of it is hurting something, then why the hell would you stop? Right, you know, like, what is the cost? What you have to get a new job oh dear God. You have to move. Oh dear God, right, bike. I’ve had a unique opportunity over the last couple of years to continue to walk into exceedingly more interesting and dynamic situations based upon making decisions that pursue a certain set of ideals, and each one that I thought would kill me yet has yet to. In all the worst case scenarios I thought I would be experiencing have not been as bad when I’m actually living them in the moment and able to respond to them accordingly. And it comes back to the premise of, or it comes back to the initial questions of like, if we want to pursue a life in which we are maximizing the value proposition and choosing the regrets that we’re willing to tolerate, then that may mean significant change in how we’re spending our time, whether it’s location, how we’re living while we work, where we work, what our extracurricular pursuits are, what we allow ourselves to do. And, by the way, like, if you’re saying something that’s right but that goes against the status quo of whatever social group you’re in, in any circumstance, it’s going to be unpopular, and it’s either A going to invoke change, well, no, and it will invoke change period. The question is, what will the change be? Will it be to the group or will it be to you? And at the end of the day, if it’s properly aligned with ideals and such, then I think that that change is likely going to be better than if it didn’t occur, regardless of if it just affects you or affects the social group. But the social group will never change if there are not people who are willing to stand in the breach, stand in the gap and call attention to the fact that everyone is sitting in shit.
Brandon Seifert: 32:12
Yeah, hard deliberation of what I did and also sitting with that right now. I could have wordsmithed it better, but I stand by everything that I did say and have been saying in the past few weeks. So I don’t regret anything that I’ve done because it’s in line with the person that I want to be. Then why would you call it?
Jon Mayo: 32:49
Right. I mean, on one side we get it right. Cooling oh, I need to cool it because I could lose my job. Well, maybe you fucking need to Right and not just looking at you, but universally right. There’s this interesting phenomenon like wolves. We’re going to do a hard pivot for a second, but let’s look at wolves for a moment. We can also look at chimps, but there’s two kind of differences. One with wolves when a young male wolf begins to come to age and begins faffoing too much, there’s a point where they get expelled from the pack and sent into the wilderness and they have to form or join another pack based upon those experiences. A lone wolf is actually a wolf in crisis. Everyone idolizes this idea of a lone wolf. You’re fucked. Try taking a caribou down by yourself right Run into a hostile threat. You don’t have your buddies to help you. You’re screwed. It’s not a good thing being a lone wolf. They live significantly shorter lives and, when tested, have significantly higher levels of wear, tear, and I’m pretty sure cortisol is the same stress hormone that affects animals as it does humans. If I’m wrong, forgive me, but whatever those biological markers are, so it’s really not a good thing. But they get pushed out. And in that getting pushed out, what can happen? Well, they can die, right, they can die. Or they can adapt, learn and start their own pack. And what would happen if they don’t get pushed out? Well, you know, it can destroy the pack that they’re in, right. They can get killed because they’re acting a fool and they don’t have the ability to follow through, right, but the in-getting kicked out. It also opens up the possibility and the opportunity for them to create their own family and create their own ecosystem and thrive accordingly or die, based on the choices they make and the circumstances that occur once throughout. In the same way, if you look at chimps, if a chimp begins to act out too much or too strangely, not only can it be killed, but sometimes it can be ostracized. Grooming is a critical function in chimps. One, it’s a social commutative structure, it’s a political activity, it’s incredibly important for these tribes of chimps, right, and who’s where on the hierarchy and health and everything. But the other thing is it’s just a biological health thing. And if a chimp is not groomed and does not groom, then they begin to get infected with parasites and can literally die just from lack of grooming because of the environment they live in and how important that grooming is in keeping them healthy and clean. And if you’re acting out, you can get pushed out. And then that isolation can kill you because you’re not being groomed, so you can get sick and die. And if you don’t start acting right, that truck, that troop, may never let you back in, right, so you may be able to find another one, but then at that, or you can change your behavior and rejoin it, right, but in either instance it would it. In either instance and the reason I bring these up is this concept that I think it is oftentimes better to be expelled than it is to stay. And what’s different from wolves and chimps is in those instances they’re oftentimes just weird, you know. They’re weird by the social constructs of the groups they’re in, or they’re becoming aggressive because they’re coming of age, right, so they’re acting like assholes, so they get pushed out and then they kind of they get tempered and learn and grow and go from there right. What’s different with humans is typically, you know, we have another variable at play, which is is what’s happening correct or in line with my ideals or my belief systems, right? And what makes that different for us is it gives us a whole another reason to walk away from or be expelled from a group. It’s not just am I following the order and contributing to our survival, because we also have these ideals we get a wrestle with. And with that in mind, I think that when we’re pursuing something that’s right and we’re in an environment in which pursuing something that is healthy or good is not rewarded, then being expelled from that environment, by choice or by force, is likely one of the best possible things that can happen for us, because the fear is that we’ll die. In leaving right, We’ll lose everything. We have, all that jazz, but the opportunity is that we’re able to, with the reclaiming of that time and everything else, actually strike forth in the direction that we want to. That allows us to more vibrantly live. Thank you for listening to another episode of Thought Expeditions on the Be Relentless Podcast. 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