From time to time, it can be hard to not feel like things just aren’t going your way. Maybe sales in your business are down, maybe you’re behind on your day-to-day tasks.
Like many thought leaders, you may also be weighing whether or not you’re in the right niche or offering the right products or services. Put simply, you might be feeling misaligned but unsure where or how to fix it.
Here, we’re joined by problem solver, organizational strategist, and humanitarian Steve Fredlund to discuss just that.
After more than 20 years in corporate America – and feeling misaligned in the process – Steve launched a non-profit and ultimately went on a journey to become “unstuck” that took him around the world including four trips to Rwanda.
Today, he’s a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, the founder of Small Small Business, a two-time TEDx speaker, and the creator of The Solving BOX framework for innovation and problem-solving.
In this episode, he breaks down how you can learn from his experiences to un-stick your own life and business and find where you feel aligned and purposeful.
Let’s dive in!
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✅ Interested in learning more about Steve’s work? Check out his website here: https://stevefredlund.com/
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Intro: You know those moments when you’re doing what you love in your business, maybe it’s standing onstage or creating content, whatever it is, you’re totally immersed, and time just seems to slip by? This is called the flow state. At Speaker Flow, we’re obsessed with how to get you there more often. Each week we’re joined by a new expert where we share stories, strategies, and systems to help craft a business you love. Welcome to Technically Speaking.
Austin: All right, boom. We are live. Steve, welcome to the show, man. It’s so great to have you here.
Steve: Oh, it’s great to be here, guys. Thanks for having me.
Austin: Oh, yeah, man, it’s our pleasure. I have to comment too on the background background.
Taylorr: Background, yeah. Beautiful.
Austin: We see a lot of background in this world today, but you usually have some really cool stuff that I’m sure ties into like your story overall, or at least aesthetically it seems so, which listeners hang tight, but great job with the background is what I’m tryng to say.
Steve: Each one of them has a story, right? I’m the safari dude, so I spent a lot of time in East Africa doing different things, and I’ve talked about black rhinos, and so somebody found this tapestry at a thrift store, bought it for me. And so, they’re, kind of, everything here has got a story, most of it is from Africa itself.
Taylorr: Wow, that’s awesome.
Austin: That’s so cool. I love that. your office is, kind of, like a space, you want it to be representative of the ethos of what you do, you know? And I think you really nailed it there.
Steve: Yeah, once the kids moved out of the house, I could actually have a space to do this. Before this I was locked into this little closet area, so now I have a little bit of room to be able to be myself.
Taylorr: Heck, yeah.
Austin: That’s great. Well, I’m fascinated by your background. The pressing question, for me, is, as a Minnesotan and Minnesotans, close to my heart, Taylorr here, obviously being one of them, is very far away from Africa. So, the question is, how does a Minnesotan end up not just going on a safari, but leading a safari? And not even just one safari, but six, if I understand correctly, how and why?
Steve: Yeah. The ironic part is I’d never even been outside of the United States until age 39, never anywhere. And so, what I ended up doing is I, actually, started a non-profit, this is how this whole thing started. I started doing non-profit work in this area here, seeing if we could unite East Central Minnesota to respond to global poverty. And it ended up taking us to Rwanda. So, I’d never been anywhere, went to Rwanda, and then at the end of that humanitarian trip, they were saying, you need to go on a safari at the end of this thing. And I was really reluctant. I was like, no, this is not a vacation, right? This is a working trip; this is about having an impact and I don’t want to do that.
And people were like; you need to go for a few reasons. First of all, you need to decompress from what you’ve seen. It’s a great opportunity to build the team. All of these things. You can support the local economy. And my gosh, it’s Africa, right? It’s a bucket-list thing, you have to go. And so, I, kind of, went kicking and screaming and I just fell in love with the safari, the whole experience, everything about it. And so, they’ve been on the back end of different trips, but, yeah, we’re looking to do more and more safaris because I want everybody, everybody has this on their bucket-list item, and I want other people to experience it. But that’s how it started, through the humanitarian work and now it’s just, kind of, taken on a life of its own.
Austin: Wow, man.
Austin: It’s so cool. That’s the story I have not heard yet.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.
Austin: We’ve heard a lot of stories here on this show.
Taylorr: Yeah. It’s led to your brand too, being the safari dude and.
Steve: Yeah, well, it turned out that way because, as I moved about four years ago to working for myself, and that wasn’t speaking right away, that was coaching, consulting, that, sort of, thing; it became speaking and realized what I’m talking about with people is how do we live our best life? How can we take this life? How can we lean into it? How can we make it more epic? And somebody’s like, that’s like a safari. And so, it, sort of, evolved that way. We’re like, the safari dude, kind of, emerged from the fact that I go on a lot of safaris, but this is, kind of, how I view life. View life as an adventure and how do we make it the top down, wind blowing through our hair, high fives, smiles, and so it just, kind of, merged organically that way.
Taylorr: Oh, those are the most beautiful occurrences in life. And it’s crazy how serendipity works sometimes, you know?
Taylorr: Yeah. So, of course, we like to do our research ahead of these shows, get a lay of the land of your background and all of that fun stuff. And so, you have a background in corporate investments, HR, that segued into safaris and your non-profit. So, what happened in order for those three very different things to intersect with one another and cross paths? What brought you to that point?
Steve: Yeah, it’s been an interesting journey for sure. So, I was in the corporate world, I’m an actuary by trade, so different elements of the corporate world working in analytical-type functions. But honestly, I was in the corporate world 25 years, and I never really felt like these are my people. It was good to me; it was a great career. I did well, but I was just never felt like this is it. But I did it for 25 years still. So, I was always, kind of, looking for things on the side to do to, kind of, I think, fulfill that part of me that wasn’t being fulfilled by that job. And so, things like the non-profit that I started that was just on the side, I started that as a way to, kind of, fill that void in me.
That was part of it, just, kind of, in parallel with everything else, and that’s when the Safari, sort of, emerges and all of those other things, kind of, happened as well. And so, about four years ago, I finally left the corporate world to go out on my own, and that’s where I got into more coaching, speaking, and still trying to find my way. What am I? What do I want to do? I know I didn’t want to work in the corporate world anymore, but what does that mean? What can I do that I love that I can also get paid for? The questions that so many of us have wrestled with for a long time, and in some ways, I’m still trying to figure that out, but it’s been over four and a half years and now I feel like I’ve finally figured it out.
Taylorr: It’s beautiful.
Austin: We’ve talked to a lot of people that hire experts and I would say are probably the best place to go to, to figure out what a true expert really is, since that’s what they trade in. And one of the bureau owners that we talked to, at some point, mentioned how important it is to have somebody that doesn’t just understand the theory, but has the working experience in combination with that of actually applying it, especially in their own lives, not even just for others. And it seems like you’ve really, kind of, hit the nail on the head there, right? This current iteration of your professional life is really grounded in the experiences that you had that you’re now trying to radiate outward to others. Is that a fair assumption?
Steve: Absolutely. Yeah. You don’t know what experiences you have are going to lead to, actually, insights that can be useful to other people in places that you never thought they would be. I have an MBA, I thought, well, that’s only going to be good in the corporate world. Well, now that’s been incredibly helpful to other people and to myself beyond that. But even inside the corporate world, so I worked in HR as an actuary for a while, and I actually looked at 150,000 employees worldwide, studied all of the data, did all of the research to find out what motivates productivity, engagement, and retention, and found out it’s happiness.
And there are a lot of things that go into that, and I thought, well, that’s great for this company; it gives them good insights into hiring and managing and all that, sort of, stuff. Well, now, that credibility or that research and all of those things can be part of what I bring out in the speaking world now. So, now, as I’m talking about happiness, it’s not just this fluff of, Hey, we can be happier by doing this. I actually can use data, which I never thought I’d use outside of that world to say, here’s what the data shows as far as what drives happiness and what doesn’t drive happiness.
And so, yeah, it all, sort of, mixes together, but, yeah, those experiences that I had in the corporate world and all of the other experiences are really things that I can draw from now, either for credibility or for support for my theories or just great stories. There are some amazingly Michael Scott office type of things that happen inside the corporate world.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. I can only imagine. I think there’s a parody of it for a reason.
Steve: There is. Yeah.
Taylorr: Yeah. Would you say that your segue from the corporate world into finding yourself and running your own business and the non-profit, that was your own personal journey for finding happiness? And the reason why I ask is we find a lot of experts, it’s almost like we experience that pain and then we really want to solve that problem, whatever really becomes apparent to us. So, was the pursuit of happiness, for lack of a better phrase there, a result of the work you were doing in corporate? Or was it more of a result of your own personal journey to uncover all of that?
Steve: I think it was push and pull. I really do. There was the pull of this isn’t satisfying me, this isn’t it. And I talk about the good life trap, and I felt like I was living this great life, but it wasn’t really my life. It was the culmination of all of these things that I should be doing and the defaults and the expectations and all of these things. And, again, it was a good life, so I shouldn’t be complaining, but I was like, this isn’t my life, so there’s, kind of, this pull idea of going in search of my best life. And then there’s, kind of, the push side of it, of, ah, I was just, kind of, done doing math.
I’ve been doing this for a long time; capital markets, hedging, workforce analytics, strategic workforce planning, all of the actuarial stuff. I’m just tired. And it, sort of, became a programmer’s game, a young person’s game, where I don’t have the same programming skills, so it’s less about the math and more about the coding and all of those things. And it just, sort of, felt like, ah, maybe it was time for me to go, but also I was being pulled into something else, so I didn’t know what else to do, honestly. Do I just find another job at a different place? Will that satisfy me? I’d always had this piece of me that I’m like, what if I worked for myself? What if? Could I actually pull that off?
And so, I always deferred that for many years as our kids were growing up, and I wanted financial stability, I didn’t want to take that kind of a risk. And so, it’s all of those things and then just talking to my wife and saying, what do you think? And made her nervous, but we came up with a plan of, well, here’s where we want to be in six months or a year and had those signposts to know if this was going to work or not. I don’t know that I met those, but she was gracious and I’m still here, but, yeah, so to answer your question, it was push and pull, it was trying to find myself.
And I think that was even almost more of it was, at the time, I wouldn’t even classify it as I was in pursuit of happiness, even though I was, I think I was in pursuit of who is the authentic Steve? Who am I really? I was 47, 48 years old, and I don’t even know if I knew who I was. That sounds weird to even say, but I think that was, ultimately, the driver is, kind of, going on this great adventure, this quest outside of the corporate world to allow myself to explore who I really am.
Austin: Yeah. Man, that’s so cool. I love that. There’s something to be said too about the fact that the push and pull energy, I guess, for lack of a better term; were in alignment for you. For some people they’re being pushed out for one reason and being pulled in a completely different direction, but it seemed like, more or less, you had a path that you could walk down, but there was still, jumping from a corporate environment into running your own business, that’s a gamble and a risk ensemble. I can’t imagine that you knew in your heart of hearts that, that was going to be the thing that made it work for you. Was there a thing that happened or a thought that came up or something that made you feel like it was worth committing to that gamble?
Steve: That’s a good question. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the same income level I was at in the corporate world. I knew I would take a hit, but I’ve never worked more hours and I’ve never made less money, and I think that’s been true for four and a half years. But I knew that going in, this is not the path for me to gain great wealth, this is not the path for those things, this is a path for me to see if I can find my true, authentic self. And, maybe, that creates a nice income stream, maybe that creates greater happiness and all of those things, so it wasn’t really like that, there are push moments, right?
And I think, at the end, there were some push moments. I actually had a little bit of an anxiety at the end of my work career, which I’d never had before. I had no idea what this was. All of a sudden, I’m in my car at five in the morning weeping because I don’t want to go into work, and I’m like, what is going on here? I had no idea. And so, that has given me a newfound understanding for people that suffer from anxiety and depression, because now I, kind of, get it, at least a glimpse. So, there are pieces of it like that, that are like, this is, sort of, really pushing the envelope like, you need to make a decision now. I couldn’t continue on as it was.
So, is this looking for a new job in the same company? Is this looking at a new company? Is it going out on my own? Is it some combination of adjunct teaching? And I don’t know. So, it did, kind of, push me out in that direction. But, at that time, everything did align, as you mentioned. But there were periods, I think; through my life where there was the push, but not the pull, and there was the pull, but not the push. So, I think the way that you said, it was really good. I think there were, kind of, the undulations, but this was, sort of, the Venn diagram, if you will, at age 48, where it’s like the push and the pull are both there. I don’t have a real great reason not to do it. I have the support of people around me to do it. Let’s give this a shot.
Taylorr: Oh, man, that’s awesome.
Austin: That’s powerful, man.
Taylorr: Took the lead.
Taylorr: For sure.
Taylorr: So, I’m curious, based on the research you’ve done, your own personal journey as well. This might be a hard question to answer, but I’m going to lay it on you anyway. What do you think makes people unhappy, and why is that the case for so many? Even, let’s acknowledge business owners, right? Many of us, we start our businesses and we’re excited about it, and then there are moments where that, kind of, creeps up again, and we get that self-doubt.
And, to your point, we can be living our best life, maybe making the money we want and have the relationships around us and be feeling good, but there can be that gap of fulfillment or unhappiness, even as your own business owner. So, have you identified a pattern or a theme of what makes people unhappy?
Steve: Yeah, no, I talk about this quite a bit and I think, obviously, it depends, that’s always the answer, but it, kind of, comes down to alignment and connection. And I think the same things that make people happy, which are banned. Being aligned to vision, values, mission, being part of something bigger than yourself, when you feel like you’re in that avenue, whether it’s in work or in your life, or in your non-profit or whatever it is, and you’re fired up, right? And when you feel connected, like you’re part of this community, like you belong, you’re Norm at Cheers, right?
When you feel those things, that’s when you’re happy, and I think being misaligned and being disconnected are, ultimately, what causes a lot of our unhappiness. And when I say that, so alignment, for example. When we don’t feel like we are aligned with who we really want to be, it’s like when your back is out of whack, right? It’s uncomfortable, you can’t sleep, you have to go to the doctor. And I think that’s the source of a lot of people’s unhappiness, is when their current experience is not really aligned with who they truly are and what they really want. The biggest issue of that is that most people don’t really know who they are and what they really want.
As I work with small business owners, I work with individuals and we identify this, sort of, alignment where there’s just this feeling of unsettledness or like my experience where it feels like, man, on paper, my life is great, but I’m just miserable inside, what is going on. As we start to explore that, you find more and more people, myself included, didn’t really know who we were, didn’t really know what we wanted out of life. So, I think this weight of, I mentioned before, defaults, expectations, shoulds, all of these things that get heaped on us from when we’re really young, right?
We grow up in a family or in a community, and here’s what you should believe, here’s the default for politics and religion and hunting and fishing and value of education and all of these things, sort of, hey, here’s what you’re supposed to believe. Whether they tell you that outright or you just, sort of, catch it. So, we have that on us, and then we go to our school and they’re like, hey, you know what you should do? You should go to college, you should get married, you should have kids, you should take this job, you should do a podcast, you should go to that conference. We get should on all of the time.
And so, I think there’s all of this stuff that, sort of, just overwhelms us, and depending on your type of personality, we can just be like, well, I’m trying to do the right thing all of the time. I just want to do the right thing all of the time, I want to make the right decision. If I’m supposed to go to college, I want to go to college, if I’m supposed to be an actuary, I want to be an actuary, because I want to do it right. I want to do it right. And I think that’s what the oppressive part of so many, in our culture, are dealing with, is that lives of quiet desperation, we don’t know, but we’re oppressed by always trying to do the right thing. And so, when you’re asked, who are you really?
We give some answer that is, sort of, an amalgamation of all the things that we should be. But a lot of us can’t really say what we really want or who we really are. And so, I think the key to happiness is really doing that hard work and figuring out who am I really? Not who I should be, not what people expect me, not what the default is. Who am I really and what, sort of, life do I want to have? What, sort of, values do I want to be around? And really get to that core. And then once you have that, then having the courage to, maybe, do the unright thing; to do the thing. And I think that’s what unlocks that good life trap, is knowing who you are and then saying, I’m going to do this because it’s what’s best for me and who I am and who I want to be.
And it might not be the right thing by the world’s standards or by my family standards or whatever. And so, long answer to short question, but I think that, sort of, emerged as that alignment with who you are and what you want is the key to happiness in so many ways. And then surrounding yourself with the right people, what I call the right peeps in your Jeeps; surround yourself with the right people who are going to support that. Who aren’t going to support this image of you that is what the world expects you to be, but they’re going to come alongside you and say, yeah, be you, be authentically you, we support that. And so, I think that is what I’ve found, for me, and for the people that I’ve worked with, that has really been a driving force for unleashing greater happiness in our lives.
Austin: Man, what an insight. I think what you’re speaking to is this weird, and I don’t think it’s even that common in the areas of life where it’s relevant, but this juncture between objective reality and subjective reality. Because if you think about, I think school is a common one that gets talked about these days, objectively, if the outcome that we’re seeking, as people in this western world that we live in, is to have a successful life, then going to school is one of the things that objectively will help you do that. All of the data suggests that if you go to school, you’re probably going to have better outcomes in that trajectory.
But the subjective reality to that can be completely different because somebody may not end up happy by following the objective truth and may need to go against the grain to find something that’s more fulfilling, which could also still lead to that outcome, which is, kind of, a strange place to be. So, do you think that could be be one of the root issues, or if I captured that in a coherent way where there’s just this trap between what is objectively true and therefore, we have to contend with that fact while also simultaneously feeling very different than that inside?
Steve: A hundred percent. I love how you said that. I think that’s absolutely true. You can look at the research, you can look at the data and you can say, okay, people that have a college education make x percent more than people who don’t. So, the conclusion is that we should all go to college. Well, look at the people that we know, the people that went to college and should not have, they didn’t belong in college or people that didn’t go that maybe should or whatever. But I think that’s exactly right. What is right for you? What is right for your path? This might be the right answer for the masses, in general, in total, this is a common theme, but what is right for you?
And I think that’s the piece that we have to try to strip away is exactly that; strip away the objective research-based, all of those things. They might very well be true, but it’s not right for me, I’m going to die inside if I go to college, those sorts of things. And I liken it, if you don’t mind the analogy to poker, I’m a poker player too, but there’s this idea of there are the right decisions to make, right? There are always these right decisions to make and you’re supposed to play it this way, that way, this way, that way, whatever. Well, that’s based on the assumption that you’re trying to make as much money as possible, which is what a lot of poker players do, right?
You should play a certain way. You should take all of this time and just be super annoyingly people waiting for you and all of these things, and don’t smile, don’t talk to anybody, put a hood over your face, put the glasses on and do that because you don’t want to give away any information, right? That’s the right way to do it, based on the assumption that your goal is to make as much money as possible. Well, a lot of people play poker because they want to have fun. It’s community, it’s energy, it’s excitement, they want to talk to people. And so, is that the right way for them to play? Absolutely not. Because they’re not going to meet anybody, they’re not going to have any fun, they’re not going to have any joy out of this.
And so, you have to, kind of, go back and say, what is my goal in life? If my goal is to be a creative, independent, sort of, thinker, is college the right thing for you? Maybe, maybe not, but don’t necessarily assume it is. So, maybe that’s reiterating your point, but, yeah, I like the objective or subjective idea.
Taylorr: Well, the thing I’ve been thinking about, as we’ve been talking about this is, and this might be my own stuff, I might be projecting this concern. I’m a skeptical person by nature. I doubt myself a lot, just in general. So, what I’m hearing you say is part of the alignment bit is figuring out who you are at your core, right? And so, if I say in my current state, let’s assume I’m not happy, right? And I want to go down this path of discovering that. If I say, this is what my goal is; this is what I think I want to do in life.
In my head I’m like, well, I thought that was the case five years ago. I thought, well, I had it on lock. 10 years ago, I thought that I had it on lock. How do I know that what I’m deciding on in this moment of what I want to do in life is actually true? Do you have any insight on that?
Steve: Part of it is what you’re doing there; saying, well, has this been your goal for all of these years and it’s not resulting in happiness? What’s actually going on? Let’s have some conversations about what that is. Maybe that isn’t quite it, or it’s it, but you haven’t been surrounded with the right people or you haven’t been in the right situations. So, it’s one of two things, it’s either that’s not really what it is, you think that’s what it is, but it’s not. We might need to unpack that a little bit and see what’s really behind that. Why do you think that’s what it is? Well, maybe you want to do karaoke for a living, right? But you’ve been doing karaoke for the last 10 years.
Taylorr: That was fun.
Steve: And you’re just not satisfied, right? But you’re like; I thought that’s what I wanted to do. Well, let’s dig into it. What is it behind it? What is it about karaoke that you really like? And maybe there’s something totally different behind that, maybe you just like to get together with friends or whatever. So, I think you have to figure out is that really it? And if that is really it, then what else is going on? Why is that not fulfilling you? And it likely is your surroundings; a lot of times, unfortunately, it’s the people who are around you. It’s the naysayers, it’s people that aren’t encouraging you, it’s the peeps in your Jeep that aren’t the right peeps for your mission; those sorts of pieces.
So, we could get into it on air if you want, but I think that’s really what it is, is getting to the core of these long-held assumptions that we have about what we think we want might not actually be true. And that’s where you need a friend or somebody to come alongside of you and say, well, let’s actually explore that, because you’ve been going down this road for 10 years and you’re still not any happier. Maybe we have the wrong set of assumptions here.
Taylorr: Yeah. It’s hard to read the label of the bottle you’re in.
Steve: Well, I love that. That’s great.
Austin: Do you ever find that people in your audiences are having identity crises by the time you get off the stage?
Steve: Well, yeah. Yes. And so, that’s where, as a speaker, your client is really the event planner. And so, when you’re working with them on the front end, you’re like, okay, what do you really want out of this? And a lot of what I talk about is, they just want people to laugh, they want people to be excited, they want people to have energy. So, you don’t really want to depress people that way. But what I’ll hint at is, here’s how we make our adventure great, so rather than focusing on what makes us unhappy, I focus on what makes us happy. So, I talk about alignment and the right peeps in our Jeep and those sorts of things, to inspire people to take that next step toward being happier.
But, yes, I get those calls; I get those emails because I invite people, hey, get ahold of me. And they’re like, man, you wrecked me. You wrecked me, in a good way, but I don’t even know who I am. What you brought up, I’ve been living that my whole life. Because I bring up my personal example of being on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, every lunch hour, pacing back and forth, this great life, I’d just been promoted; I was employee of the year at a Fortune 500 company, for crying out loud. Great marriage, three healthy kids and I was miserable. What is going on here? I don’t know, I was having the crisis myself.
And its amazing how many people will say, I’ve had some version of that, or I’m going through some version of that right now, what do I do? And I feel terrible for them, but I’ve also found that, that can be that first step toward getting the life that they want. But, yeah, I try not to make my talks like I’m going to make everybody depressed or want to quit their job, or those sorts of, that’s not what event planners are looking for. Hey, by the end of this call.
Austin: Yeah, tough sell. It would be a tough sell.
Taylorr: Yeah, very tough sell.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. Talk about going against the grain.
Steve: But you’re trying to give people, I know you can’t transform people through a 60-minute talk fully, but what you can do is start to point them in a direction where they go, I never thought of that. I never thought that maybe I’m living my life by default, rather than living my own life that I actually chose. Because so much of our life, we don’t really choose. We just, sort of, inherit it. We accept it as truth, and then we move forward. And then one day we wake up when we’re 48 years old and we say, do I actually think that; I don’t know. I’ve never even thought about if I think that or not.
Taylorr: Yeah. Man.
Austin: Well, I think something that’s important to touch on this subject is the importance of having labels. I think a lot of people experience feelings and they have this intuition that something may be out of alignment, but they don’t even know what to point at. The thought of questioning those motives isn’t even something that’s in their brain, you know? So, you being able to come to the table and give people labels to these feelings that they have, now all of a sudden they’re activated to be able to do something with it. There’s meat on the bones to bite into, and that’s extremely valuable.
Steve: Yeah. I think the labels is great. And I think the example, sort of, these picture examples too. I use the analogy of your back is out of whack like, hey, you ever know that feeling when your back is just, sort of, not, it’s a little bit misaligned? That feeling of, first, it’s just uncomfortable and then a few days later you’re lying on the floor trying to get it out and then you’re losing sleep.
Taylorr: Your leg is numb.
Steve: Yeah. And you’re getting miserable. That’s what life can feel like when we have an untreated misaligned back. So, yeah, the labels, but also those, sort of, examples of going, this is like when your back is out of whack, people go like, that’s what my life feels like, my back is out of whack.
Austin: So valuable. The power of a really good analogy, and that was a great one. The thought that was bouncing around in my head, especially just there is. What you’re talking about here, not to even risk devaluing it, but it’s not rocket science, these are concepts that anybody can understand once the ideas are planted in their brain. I find that even if that’s the case, sometimes the simplest problems are the hardest to solve. Why do you think that there’s a feeling of being underequipped for so many people to be able to do something about this sense of unhappiness that they may be feeling?
Steve: I think it feels overwhelming for some people. I think there is a good wave of people, and maybe that’s a Minnesota Midwestern, sort of, thing, that don’t feel like they deserve to be as happy as they could be. I think that’s part of it. And so, they just think, well, this is what you do, right? This is what my generations did for. My father and my grandfather did this, they went to the coal mine every day, they were miserable, and then they worked hard until they were 50, watched tv, drank a beer, and then tipped over when they were 55. I think that’s what the life is supposed to be, right?
And so, I think there are these limiting beliefs on either I don’t deserve to be that happy because maybe we have guilt for things we’ve done in the past or whatever, or we don’t think that’s even possible. And so, I think we just, sort of, say, well, this is as good as it gets, right? That movie is as good as it gets. And we don’t dare to dream what life could be, we don’t dare to dream of life being a safari and the top down and the wind blowing through our hair, those sorts of things. So, I think those things get in the way. I think there’s also the piece of, I’ve been there, I’ve tried that, and it backfired on me.
And so, I think people have all kinds of different experiences that limit their beliefs that life can be exciting. Or they hear somebody like me talk or some other people talk, and they think, that’s just somebody blowing smoke, they’re just trying to sell something, they’re whatever, this isn’t even reality. And I think the piece that I can bring to the table, a little bit, is I’m different from other people that I’m not, the three on the Enneagram [Makes Mocking Noise – 29:00], look at me, woohoo. That’s not my vision of life isn’t to be onstage being all excited. Because some people go like, well, I don’t want to be the red hat yellow tie happy person all of the time like that.
No, that’s not what I’m talking about; I’m talking about living your best life. I’m talking about being true to who you are, whatever that is, and to make that one notch happier. And so, I don’t know, I think there are all of these really limiting beliefs and I had them too. When I was miserable, I was just like, well, this is what it is, I have a good life, what right do I have to complain? I’ve done a lot of work in Rwanda, Africa, and who am I to complain about my life after working with all of those people with genocide and AIDS and malnutrition and lack of education and all of these things. How can I possibly complain about my life?
And so, we put ourselves in that bucket and we say, well, maybe this is as happy as I can be. So, yeah, I think it depends on the person, but, ultimately, I think if you really want to pursue that happiness, you have to be okay with the fact that you can be happier and that’s okay.