21: Living Happier by Improving Perspective
In this episode, we’re talking about one of Zach’s most favorite things: the #1 reason why your life “sucks” right now—and what you can do about it! Let’s get started…
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1. Reality is objective, but perspective is subjective and may depend upon our frame-of-reference, and so our reference-points influence our perceptions, which influence our happiness.
2. Many qualities like wealth or achievement are relative across time-and-space.
3. Whenever we evaluate ourselves or evaluate others or compare ourselves with others, we should remember that each individual characteristic is merely a tiny part of a complex whole, that each of us usually succeeds better in some ways than in others, and that we don’t normally perceive the entire truth about anyone.
4. “The grass is always greener where it’s watered,” so we should strive to nurture good desires and thoughts, acknowledge opportunity and find hope in it, and persistently learn-and-improve toward our potential, while remembering that some successes may require substantial sacrifices.
5. Whenever we obtain unnecessary material possessions that we want, we then “need” to spend more on maintenance, we tend to grow accustomed to them and may even take them for granted, we may easily want more, and such desires can potentially spiral out-of-control unless we actively curb them while nurturing gratitude instead—but genuine happiness is found not in stuff but in intangible things like self-improvement and experience and service, which reminds us that we’re not the only people with problems.
[01:48] Zach conveys an anecdote about Thomas Edison’s response to his factory burning down.
[02:35] Thomas and Zach discuss how speed is not absolute but relative to a specific frame-of-reference, and how income and achievement and such are also relative, and Thomas asserts that our perspective influences our happiness.
[08:54] Thomas observes that we can fare well in some ways and poorly in others.
[09:25] Thomas notes that, no matter what possessions we may obtain, we normally grow accustomed to them, we may take them for granted, and we can (and often do) want more—but that intangible things are key to happiness, to which Zach adds that experience is better than possessions.
[12:23] Zach asserts that the figurative grass isn’t necessarily greener elsewhere, while Thomas explains that we typically focus on others’ qualities that we lack while ignoring our qualities that they lack, and then Zach cites Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as a personal example.
[15:57] Thomas advises against comparing ourselves with others in general, and Zach emphasizes that everything is relative.
[17:40] At Zach’s invitation, Thomas examines the hymn “Count Your Blessings” and encourages an attitude of gratitude, including for life itself.
[18:50] At Thomas’ invitation, Zach overviews the book “Fables of Fortune” about how wealthy lifestyles aren’t as great as many people suppose, and that true wealth results from minimal “needs.”
[19:43] Thomas recommends curbing our desires for material possessions while focusing our attention on self-empowerment, and Zach similarly advises against seeking ever-more wealth, as each unnecessary acquisition increases maintenance costs.
[23:37] Zach recommends a personal rule of waiting 48 hours before making expensive purchases.
[24:56] Thomas and Zach cite the origins of the aphorism “the grass is always greener on the other side” in an old song about focusing on our neighbor’s blessings that we lack while ignoring the opposite.
[27:19] Zach and Thomas discuss a painting about perceiving potential.
[28:07] Zach reiterates the importance of our desires and thoughts in determining our achievements.
[29:13] Zach and Thomas discuss how outward appearances don’t convey the entire truth, as some people may conceal a darker reality beneath a bright facade, while other people may enjoy far more wealth than their appearance suggests.
[33:43] Zach quotes Richard Watts about the freedom that he enjoyed by “living below the world’s radar.”
[34:34] Thomas and Zach notes that business ownership is the best way to accumulate wealth, but that it comes with a cost of time and responsibility.
[37:55] Zach cites wealthy wrestler Ric Flair that what we have is less important than what we do, and encourages gratitude over unchecked desires for more.
[40:33] Thomas recommends service, including for helping us to see other people’s problems.
[41:03] Zach and Thomas conclude that our perspective influences our happiness, and Zach notes that opportunity allows hope, which motivates us to achieve, but that we shouldn’t allow achievement to lead to stagnation.
[42:39] Zach cites Michelangelo about sculpting David, and Thomas advocates how we likewise need to chisel away those things that conceal how great our lives truly are.
[43:34] Zach and Thomas present this episode’s Projects of the Week.
Zach Smith: (00:00) Funded Today Nation, welcome back to the Funded Today podcast. Last time we had our first episode about “Your Life After Crowdfunding” we got a couple more in the works on that check it out that’s the first of that series it’s going to be ongoing about “Everything That Happens After Crowdfunding” which is probably the most exciting part, if you missed it again that’s episode number 20 and it’s the best way we found to continue to raise money while you're starting your new business. And remember, every Wednesday we are releasing new episode, so make sure you’re subscribed on iTunes or whatever else you like to listen so you don't miss out on our weekly masterclasses. Now today we’re talking about one of my most favorite things and it’s going to sound a little bit crazy “The number one reason why your life sucks right now and what you can do about it”. Let’s get started.
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Zach Smith: (01:14) Welcome back to the show. I am Zach Smith.
Thomas Alvord: (01:17) And I’m Thomas Alvord.
Zach Smith: (01:18) And in our last episode we talked about “Indiegogo InDemand” and “Your Life After Crowdfunding”, if you're looking for the best way to continue to raise money for your new business or idea look no further than that episode lucky episode number 20 and 20 episodes already, we're cruising and remember please rate us, leave us a comment or two on our website and tell us what you like to hear more or less of and what you think about get Funded Today, the Funded Today podcast every Five-Star Review helps us spread the tips, tactics and techniques we personally used to make a lot of money and create great lives for ourselves with you and many others, and we really do love hearing from you. If you listen to the last episode you recall this story, but it's so good I want to start out today's episode with it once more, here it goes. In the early 1900s Thomas Edison's factory burned down this is true story by the way, he sees his life's work going up in flames, without hesitation or any panic he calmly turns to his young son and says go get your mother and all her friends they’ll never see a fire like this again, there’s a whole philosophy and a way of living that encapsulates Thomas Edison’s story and today we want to tell you about it. So Thomas get it started.
Thomas Alvord: (02:26) Very, very interesting story. So how could Thomas Edison be so excited about his whole factory burning down. I want to ask a question to you Zach and all the listeners a rhetorical question which is how fast are you moving right now, you Zach how fast are you moving right now.
Zach Smith: (02:46) Well I’m spinning around a little bit my chair does that count.
Thomas Alvord: (02:48) Sure, we’ll call that like one fifth mile per hour maybe okay. Now somebody on a train or bus maybe 50 miles an hour what’s the fastest you’ve ever traveled Zach?
Zach Smith: (02:59) Probably a jet plane what do those go? 500, 600 miles an hour maybe more.
Thomas Alvord: (03:04) And that's the interesting thing have you ever gone faster than that,
Zach Smith: (03:06) I don’t think so.
Thomas Alvord: (03:07) And I would posit that you’re absolutely wrong Zach because right now you are moving a 1,000 miles an hour because of the spin of the earth. The earth spins at about 1,000 miles per hour, so technically speaking you are moving much, much faster, but if we stop there I would still be lying or not lying, but mistaken depending on your perspective because the earth actually orbits the sun at about 67,000 miles per hour, so you’re actually going much faster than the little spins in your chair or the spin-off of the earth but if we stop there we’re actually still completely mistaken. If you look at our Solar System which orbits the center of the galaxy this is fascinating, we’re actually moving at about 828,000 miles per hour, you actually are cruising at a super fast pace almost a million miles an hour, but if you stop there you're still mistaken because if you look at our galaxy and how fast it’s moving it’s actually about 1.3 million miles per hour, and again if we stop there we’re still missing it because if you look at the galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy that were a part of right and you have the cluster of galaxies, we’re part of the Virgo Supercluster, it's actually moving at 2.2 billion with the B miles per hour, so if I ask you how fast you’re moving it's actually substantially, substantially faster but why is it that we don't tell ourselves this is how fast we’re moving, it's the vantage point that we’re looking at something and it’s everything is relative, it all depends on how we’re looking at. So Zach you are mistaken, you’re actually moving damn fast right now, me too.
Zach Smith: (05:07) I love that Einstein's Theory of Relativity on our podcast today.
Thomas Alvord: (05:10) Just a little bit, but to bring it more into focus if I were to ask you Zach let's say this year you make $250,000 in revenue how would that make you feel?
Zach Smith: (05:24) Well it's a great question, I've thought about it quite a bit right $250,000 I think for most people would do the trick, would probably be more than enough maybe double, triple enough, maybe even more than that, but again since I kind of understand the premise now everything is relative, if I were to make $250,000 this year or next year I probably feel terribly disappointed.
Thomas Alvord: (05:45) Why?
Zach Smith: (05:45) I think it's because of what I've experienced in the past and what I've the expectations I have for the future and just in the sense I've gotten used to making a lot more than that as well.
Thomas Alvord: (05:57) And it's interesting because somebody who say graduates college and go gets a job and maybe they're making $50,000 a year, $250,000 would be insane, it’d be incredible.
Zach Smith: (06:08) And Thomas to speak to that when I was going to school I got my degree in accounting and I remember I was going to go on the law school and I think I thought well maybe if I get my first job, $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 maybe as an attorney $75,000, $80,000, $90,000 or something and I thought maybe I'll eventually make it up in a year or so couple of years five years, 10 years down the road maybe I’ll be making a $120,000, $150,000 a year I’m good, I’m set for the rest of my life so I absolutely do remember those days.
Thomas Alvord: (06:34) But now what?
Zach Smith: (06:37) Yes I don't know, I mean it's been, it's an interesting ride. I had this chat with my private banker and that alone is funny a private banker right and he's like Zach if you made $75,000 this month that is more than the average median income of a family with a couple of people working in it, and that would be disappointing for you and that is ridiculous and he is like and I understand that it happens to all of the clients who have obtained significant amount of wealth or have experienced other sorts of things like this in their life, but it’s like its wrong and you have to continually remain grounded, you have to remember where you came from and you have to remember those same feelings you have when you were going to graduate school or when you're even younger or when you wished and hoped for things you thought you could never achieve that are now as easy as writing a cheque to somebody.
Thomas Alvord: (07:23) Yes it’s so interesting right because the reality is you're neither rich nor poor, and you are both rich and poor. It sounds just philosophical, but it's true right our perspective in how we view something is going to change how we feel, this wasn't anything we talked about in these notes but I in the past I’ve thought about this, what if somebody came to your door knocked on your door and there's a police officer and says hey your spouse was in a car accident and your spouse and kids died right, how would you feel. It doesn't even matter if the police officer is somebody who is actually just dressed up and he’s telling you a lie, if you actually believe that and thought that was the case you would be really sad and distraught and probably would be beside yourself, but it’s simply because not of anything that true but just because of what we perceive and what we think, and so anyone who is listening to this podcast literally is rich, if you go compare them to somebody who might be and say Africa or India or somewhere where they have absolute abject poverty Zach I know you're utterly wealthy, I don't care if you have even no pairs of shoes, if you just have a shirt on your back its like dude you’re wealthy, but for other people it might be like it doesn't matter how wealthy you are, you're so poor compared to Jeff Bezos right like your income for your whole life might not even be enough for what he does in six months who knows right.
Zach Smith: (08:53) Absolutely.
Thomas Alvord: (08:53) And so to the point is, it's all relative. What if you are financially wealthy, but you have a horrible marriage or a horrible relationship with your partner. What is the wealth even matter even if you are wealthy or what if you have a great, great marriage or a great relationship with your partner but you have horrible health, does it even matter right or what if you have great health but you’re financially poor and so again what are we focusing on, what are we looking at and what's the perspective because your life sucks Zach and your life is actually amazing, it just depends from what vantage point you're looking at it and how you want to look at and what you decide to look at and the difficulty is we become accustom I think to whatever we obtain it is flashy, it's exciting, but then after a while it actually just becomes calm. I think I shared this with you before why my wife and I instead of trying to buy things we try to actually buy experiences, vacations, go travel.
Zach Smith: (09:59) I’m the same way for sure.
Thomas Alvord: (10:00) Because and I forget who did the research, but they found that people who consume and purchase items for the first little bit they like it, it brings them increased happiness or joy or whatever but then after a while it becomes common, so there's not even any joy that comes from it right, it’s like it just is. Whereas people who take trips or vacations it’s not something tangible you only retain it in the memory, over time as you look back and you remember those memories they actually become more fond and you remember them better.
Zach Smith: (10:41) I can speak to this personally I climb to Kala Patthar in Mount Everest which is extremely difficult, it took more than a month of our time away to go and hike Mount Everest then. Quite frankly, I'd say 90% of the time I did that I remember distinctly telling my wife Courtney we need to go back, we should not be doing this, this is dangerous and other times this is terrible, let's never ever do this again no matter what anybody ever says, and literally I don’t even think it’s been a year we’re already talking about how amazing that was looking back at the pictures and wondering I wondered we definitely want to do this again and I think that it’s anecdotal for sure but it proves the point enhancing our life with experiences rather than things is absolutely one way to improve that relativity in terms of feeling like your life is better, happier, more successful whatever as compared to anything else that you want to compare it to.
Thomas Alvord: (11:37) Everything is relative, it's so true I even look back five, six years ago we were renting an apartment somewhere and we had two cars there is only what would you call like where the it’s not a garage but there's just an overhang right, and I remember thinking man it'll be so nice once I have a garage to put both cars in and now I have a garage with two cars and what the heck do I think now man it will be so nice if I build a house or we get to another house in the future that has a three car garage right it's all relative whereas before when I was in college it’s like dude it would be so nice if I had a car you know again it's all relative.
Zach Smith: (12:23) And I think that’s a perfect transition into kind of where I want to move next Thomas. The grass is not green where you stand, where you stand the grass is not greener and yet paradoxically it's also greener where you stand then where it is elsewhere, it literally is both it depends on your perspective.
Thomas Alvord: (12:43) Here's an example I had heard somebody shared before which I thought was really insightful, they said look you're not fair to yourself and I’m just going to use you as an example Zach and I'm talking to you. Zach you're not fair to yourself because when you look at yourself, you compare yourself to the best person you know in each category in which you could compare yourselves. So you might compare yourself to one of your college colleagues or high school colleagues and think man look how successful they are and I've only obtained X and then you might look at a neighbor or somebody else from high school who knows right and think man lucky dog, that guy has got so much hair, he is so good looking, he is so fit I wish I was more attractive like that and anything man I wish I had a family like this family, they seem to get along so well, their kids are well behaved, man I wish I had a family like that and then you think you know what I wish I had a house like this neighbor, you compare yourself to the very best of each individual but that's not really fair right because if you wanted to compare yourself which isn’t a good thing compare yourself to yourself really but if you were to compare yourself to the person who has the good looks, who is attractive, who you wish you look better well, how is their marriage, how is their business, how is their work, how is their health right and we never do that, we always compare ourselves to the best people so we cherry pick which is absolutely not fair.
Zach Smith: (14:19) That’s powerful, it makes me think again and I mean since this podcast is live and we’re talking about current events I think of Jeff Bezos right it's easy for me as an entrepreneur of a successful company and maybe yourself to say well Jeff Bezos he’s the standard Amazon but look at all the craziness he's dealing with now largely because of his own choices and his own actions he's likely getting divorced, he is dealing with even worse than divorce because of some scandals and some cheating and some affairs it sounds like and he’s had people try to blackmail him with sexually explicit pictures and you ask yourself yes he is probably one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time and Amazon is if not the most successful company ever it's at least up there, and so as an entrepreneur, I say well I want to be Jeff Bezos but then I think well do I want a marriage like that, do I want the publicity like that, do I want the pressure like that, do I want whatever is going on in his mind to have it all and yet lose everything that I feel like is important and it’s easy to do that and that’s why I grabbed the example of Jeff Bezos because like you said Thomas we are unfair to ourselves, I want to be Jeff Bezos as an entrepreneur, but I want to be the Dalai Lama as it relates to loving other people and I want to.. you know what I mean so
Thomas Alvord: (15:41) Under this analysis that we do literally our grass is not as green as anywhere else, our grass is yellow, it’s brown, it's dying, it just sucks.
Zach Smith: (15:53) Everywhere.
Thomas Alvord: (15:54) Everywhere. But here's another thing I think for most people if you compared yourself to just somebody randomly you would be like dude my job is better I’m in better health I have better looks whatever you might compare yourself to right and again really we shouldn't even be comparing ourselves but we naturally do that and we don't even realize what we’re doing and I think to myself how do I do this, how do I step back and remember the comparison right. I remember when I move to where I live now, I always wanted a pond in my backyard and I happen to live on a golf course and there's a pond literally like right on my backyard, so I got exactly what I wanted right and the mountains there's no really houses on my backyard and I remember being so grateful and even praying and I would call my mountain a resort but then after a month or two it just became common, I wasn't comparing it to what I had before and now I think oh man it will be so nice to have this and have this and at the end of the day and this will be in our next podcast some of these other items but really right now we’re kind of talking about relativity from what perspective are we looking at things, we got to remember that everything is relative otherwise, we’re always going to think our life sucks because in reality it does suck and in reality it's amazing it depends on your perspective.
Zach Smith: (17:10) And again this is not theory you’re listening to two very successful entrepreneurs who had pretty much everything they ever wanted and more we’re telling you this so that if you are in a position that we’re in great learn maybe you're going through some of the same things and if you're not start thinking about these things now so that one day when you get there and you will get there whatever there is, whatever you dream it happens quicker than you’d imagine I swear things happened even faster now than they ever have in the history of mankind get these things right in your mind now though so that when you do get there it all makes sense. Now Thomas you have a way of kind of centering yourself around relativity and I was told you might sing first, you might give us a line or two are you going to do that.
Thomas Alvord: (17:53) No I don’t think so.
Zach Smith: (17:54) Now tell me about this count your blessings then.
Thomas Alvord: (17:56) As we were discussing, I’m thinking about some of the things we might share I remember the Hymn “Count your many blessings” one of the pieces in the Hymn says “when you look at others with their lands and gold think that Christ has promised you his wealth and told count your many blessings money cannot buy your reward in heaven, nor your home on high”. And in relation to this conversation I would even add when you look at others with their lands and gold you might also think and remember all the hidden things that you don't see that actually kind of suck in their life, so don't think they have the most amazing life.
Zach Smith: (18:32) Remember all the things in their life you cannot behold there’s some rhyming.
Thomas Alvord: (18:36) There you go see you're the poet Zach the poet thank you Zach. So that really is what we got to remember, our lives are amazing I mean the fact that we’re even alive that there is this life in existence is absolutely amazing. So that alone we should be grateful for. Now going back to what you had said yes you obtain more and then, then what right you always want more, you shared with me in the “Fables of Fortune” book that you recently had read right.
Zach Smith: (19:04) Yes I love this book by the way it’s “Fables of Fortune”, what rich people have that you don't want. It's basically this guy his name is Richard Watts, he wrote a book after having been an attorney for some of the richest most powerful people in the world about their lives and why although everybody is aspiring to have that life, to have that private jet, to have the yacht, to have the money or maybe just be a millionaire whatever it is, why you might not actually want it I love the phrase that he gave in the book and I’ll probably share quite a bit in this episode on this but he says a lot of what we think we need we don't, the richest person is not who has the most but the one who needs the least.
Thomas Alvord: (19:46) That is so powerful, I shared this with you the other day and I love this idea of empowering myself right and that's why I take freezing cold showers now, I do other things because I want to see how much can I push myself, what am I capable of achieving and it was in a way almost this breakthrough idea to know wow instead of trying to obtain more money, more wealth to buy a beach house or whatever it might be what if my focus was to actually obtain a place where I don't have desires for more or maybe I have them but it’s not at the forefront, it doesn't even matter at all and you literally become free then, its empowering.
Zach Smith: (20:40) That’s interesting, and you're someone who basically has it all, so it's interesting to hear you say that.
Thomas Alvord: (20:46) It's interesting right because I used to think okay yes if I had this much to live off things would be great and then once you get there it’s like oh well there’s this and that, that would be nice. And I used to think okay the more you make your desire for consumption will change, but the ticket items become bigger and I've learned oh the people who are really wealthy well they’re looking at buying a yacht or a jet and that might be $30 million, $40 million, $50 million and then I realized wow look at the wealthiest people and this is a generalization right, but some of the more common ones the more wealthy you become you actually have different expenditures that are actually just different, look at Jeff Bezos, if I'm not mistaken with his space program I believe he's putting $1 billion a year into it and I realized looking at him and others as well as myself it’s like oh man my biggest expenditures are actually new business ventures because they’re exciting for me and exhilarating and so you’re always going to have more you're going to want to spend money on and so you really got to learn how do you just curb those desires.
Zach Smith: (22:00) And mark my word this is true for everybody. I absolutely remember saying in fact they wrote it down it was an Instagram post or a Facebook post I made of all my goals and I did this when I was fairly young, maybe 15, 16 I was kind of maybe weird go back and listen to the episode on Goal Setting if you want to see how Thomas and I set goals and anyway I wrote down all these goals and then I achieved those goals, and literally this last year I think every single thing I ever wrote down from when I was young and what I wanted to achieve now it has a green check mark by it they’re 100% achieved, there is nothing I ever wrote down that I wanted, that I don't have now and the crazy thing is just like Thomas said when you say I want to be a cash millionaire by the time I'm 30, and then it happens well suddenly you want to make you want to be worth $10 million, and then $10 million becomes $100 million, and $100 million becomes $500 million, and $500 million becomes a billionaire and it's this constant search for more and more wealth simply for the sake of having more wealth and really nothing else aside from the fact like Thomas mentions the more money you have, the more things tend to control you and so you need more money to support a lifestyle you never even knew you wanted and so determine your lifestyle now and then be happy once you get there and don't change and that's one of the happiest things you can possibly do. I love this again from the book Fables of Fortune and will link to this in the show notes so I think everybody should read it even if you're not there yet just because it will help you get the mindset right so when you get there you will be more prepared than we were. Every time we exercise our right to acquire something else we want but don't necessarily need we increase the financial requirements for maintaining that lifestyle, wants, commits crazy right.
Thomas Alvord: (23:42) It’s absolutely true.
Zach Smith: (23:43) So true. One bit of advice that I'd probably give on this if you can buy everything or if you can buy most of what you want just wait, this was really hard for my wife to understand but now she loves it. If anything costs more than $500 for us we do not buy it, even if we really, really want it we give ourselves a 48 hour rule, we go home we sleep about it, we think about it we wonder if we really need it we research, we see if it is exactly what we want and then we determine if we want to buy it or not. If you’re really wealthy do the same thing for cars but maybe give yourself a month or two in between, if it’s houses and you are buying towns and villages whatever else it may be second homes, vacation rentals whatever give yourself a year. Really, what is that in the grand scheme of things, it's not very much, but it’s a powerful thing so that your wants and needs don't become confused and it mashed together into something that is terrible, don't let your wealth control you and don’t let your poverty control you and I think if you can apply that principle now or if you're where at or even further along on that wealth spectrum than we are if you can go back and fix some of these things before it becomes too late I think you’re going to have much more happiness then by kind of figure it out the hard way down the road.
Thomas Alvord: (24:58) Well and it’s all about as we’re talking about our perspective, the relativity where are we looking at it from, if we don't have something yet yes it might look like it might make us happier, it might make the grass greener and it may but then our perspective changes and then it’s not so green and here’s actually a fun pack I don't know if you know this Zach the grass is greener on the other side that phrase actually came from an American song written in 1924 well “The grass is always greener in the other fellow's yard” we don't really use that phrase anymore I pulled the chorus up here it says the grass is always greener.
Zach Smith: (25:40) Wait a sec are you going to bypass singing on one more time today Thomas.
Thomas Alvord: (25:43) You really want me to sing?
Zach Smith: (25:45) I don’t know I’m afraid you got a nice voice but.
Thomas Alvord: (25:48) I'll forgo this time maybe we’ll sing a duet sometime.
Zach Smith: (25:50) Okay. So the grass is always greener in the other fellow's yard the little row we have to hove a boy that's hard but if we could all wear green glasses now, it wouldn't be so hard to see how green the grass is in our own backyard.
Thomas Alvord: (26:06) I love that.
Zach Smith: (26:07) That's exactly what we’re trying to say right. A couple of years ago I was thinking about this and I was thinking man I would like to create a picture where it's like somebody who's looking over at his neighbor right it kind of like farmland or something and he is kind of looking over at his neighbor and he’s seeing his fields that are all green but from his vantage point he can't see that behind his barn his fields are all torn up or maybe dead or some pests had come and destroyed it. And yet that person who's looking across over his neighbors yard and just seeing all of his green grass if he but turned around or look to the side he would actually see he has green grass too, but he's just not looking at it, he’s just seeing the yellow grass of his front yard and the green grass of his neighbor's front yard but if he looked in the backyard he’d realize oh my backyard is actually green and my neighbors backyard is actually yellow and you realize oh well actually not that much different it all kind of evens itself out. I love that chorus because if we look at life with a different perspective with those green glasses as Raymond Egan and Richard Whiting say they’re the ones who wrote that song, we’ll recognize we actually have our lives pretty good ourselves already. I kind of think of a perspective too Thomas and maybe this is an exactly in line of what we are talking about but you shared with this with me maybe a year or so ago and it's the painter who is looking at the egg but then painting something great.
Thomas Alvord: (27:32) Yes so I had seen this picture probably 15 years ago and he’s basically a painter if you Google like painter painting a picture there is an egg and a painter is looking at the egg but then he has his brush or pencil I forget what on the canvas or the paper and he's drawing I forget if it was a chicken or what it was right but he basically was seeing the potential of that egg he wasn't drawing hey here’s the egg he was drawing what was in the egg what that egg could become.
Zach Smith: (28:05) We’ll get this for you in the show notes to see if you can look at it but it's pretty beautiful and it just shows that really with perspective you can achieve anything you want to achieve and I know that’s kind of like fu-fu in crazy out there but quite frankly the longer I live the more I believe our minds control everything I have a Maxim that I live by its James Allen in his famous work as a man think of and he says whatever your present environment is you will fall, remain arise with your thoughts, your vision, your idea you will become as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration and the longer I live like I said, the more I find that to be true. And I think that's why Maxim stand the test of time it’s not just because they’re trite phrases that everybody says it's because everybody does say them and they have lasted through the test of time why because they work and because they work is why they last and that's why it's so important to listen to people who have come before and to learn from history not just so that we don't repeat it but so that we can have an entirely different history that we have a lot of control over which I think is very very powerful and again I want to kind of switch topics for the last section, we want to talk about today and this one is kind of cover everything into a shift Thomas, the grass is likely not even greener where you think it is greener.
Thomas Alvord: (29:28) Just a few months ago maybe six months ago I was meeting with somebody, a friend of mine here in the neighborhood and I had met at his office and they’re a company that sells phone cases and they do about $50 million in revenue a year which I thought man that's pretty good, right that's nice and yet here he was saying we’re wanting to launch a Crowdfunding campaign and get into the bag industry like shoulder bags and backpacks and stuff because for him he was saying yes we need to pivot because our margins are becoming less and less, retail at Verizon and these other phone companies where we do the majority of our sales don't take 70 points, so if the product sells for $10 they're taking 70% of that, he was just saying how they wanted to pivot and go to something else. So even though you have this company that's making $50 million in revenue plus in a year it wasn't actually that amazing because their margins weren’t that good. And so it's interesting because it actually looked green, but it wasn't that green. I think we may have shared this already Zach, but where are campaigns on Kickstarter that have raised $1 million and they literally have spent half a million, $800,000 or even $1 million to raise that and literally their profit is negative so you might think man lucky dog look at him, he launched that campaign, he must be rolling on the dough, he must be so happy but you don't realize actually what is going on behind the scenes and that is really what matters because that's really telling you what's happening, so you can't look at something and think man they make a lot of money or one other example I was just chatting with somebody and we were talking about one of their friends, and they’re like they’re pretty well-to-do, they got a really big house like a 10,000 square-foot house, he has like five cars, he has a Porsche and I forgot what other cars and I was like yes maybe the guy is well-to-do or he may be in a tone of death I don't know which it is and it doesn't matter right it’s not for me to judge, but it's not for me to feel bad that I don't have that if I don't have that because you have no clue what's behind it.
Zach Smith: (31:48) And if you do want to compare and if you do want to judge your story is pretty tiny Thomas because again I was I had a meeting with my private banking team a couple of days ago and he said you will be surprised, he is like I can't say names or anything but I can’t get percentages it’s like 85% of these people who have good businesses and they’re making money have a $1.5 million house with a $2 million mortgage and couple hundred thousand dollar cars that they owe $90,000 on and all this wealth and all of this luxury and all of this stuff is actually a façade.
Thomas Alvord: (32:22) He kind of said the same thing the whole perspective thing. My banker I was chatting with a while back and Zach and I don’t live in the same city, we’re about an hour of course so we don't have the same banker, but he was sharing and this was actually not my private banker but the teller and we were just chitchatting and talking I forget what I asked him but he shared a story he is like what, it's so interesting, he is like one day I had this guy coming he was younger, he had a super nice car, super nice clothes, so rude, super rude the guy was ticked off because his cheque had bounced right, the guy had not a penny to his name but he looked like he had it all and then he said later in the day this guy comes who had like a paint truck I think it was or some work truck that was totally be paint chip coming off everything and the guy right didn't have a presence about him that made you think he was super wealthy or anything right just super simple and he is like dude I obviously can't tell you his balance or who he was, but he had a ton of money in his account like you would have never guessed this guy had that much money, so it just goes to show whatever you perceive don't think that's the case and if anything whatever you perceive could very well be just the opposite.
Zach Smith: (33:47) Richard Watts say it this way. Living below the world's radar allows you freedom to explore, to make mistakes unnoticed, to take yourself less seriously and to create your own life story without uninvited social editors I think that illustrates a good point, the painter and the beat up paint truck and everything and it was kind of free to go about and live his life and the other guy wanted everybody to see it and no one drew attention to him, but by doing so his life was limited. Sometimes Thomas and I joke that we kind of have the best of both worlds because we’re only really celebrities in the Crowdfunding space in terms of worldwide fame and recognition and yet we have a lot of the advantages and luxuries of Hollywood celebrities, but the difference is the uninvited social editors that we are very grateful we don't have in our own life and I think we both count our blessings on that to paraphrase that song from earlier.
Thomas Alvord: (34:38) And some people might think it's ironic, but sometimes when people tell me yes I want to start my business or I really need to get going, sometimes I ask why, why do you want to start a business. On the one hand it is a truism that the easiest way to make money if you want to be wealthy is to own your own business, the easiest way to get wealthy.
Zach Smith: (35:04) Not to make money but to get wealthy.
Thomas Alvord: (35:08) And if you look at the top sports players if you look at the top actors, if you look at the top anybody and how much money they make it always pales in comparison to how much the top business people.
Zach Smith: (35:23) Even the Hollywood celebrities they get all the fame, the producers are the ones who are making all the money on those movies when they succeed, even though you might see Leonardo Dicaprio made $5 million on this movie, well the producer made $100 million.
Thomas Alvord: (35:34) I ask why do you want to start your own business because again yes you can make the most wealth but at the same time, there's a lot of drawbacks when you pick up a stick you got to pick up both hands, you got to pick up the pros and the cons yes you got to choose your own hours it's called 24/7 right.
Zach Smith: (35:55) What do people say about entrepreneurship Thomas what's the joke an entrepreneur is the only type of person who will quit his 9 to 5 40 hours a week so he can work 120 hours for himself or 80 hours himself or whatever it is.
Thomas Alvord: (36:08) Yes, exactly.
Zach Smith: (36:09) Let’s treat to that.
Thomas Alvord: (36:11) I've seen so many business owners oh I want to get into that market, I want to get into that market and it's like why is it really going to be that much better.
Zach Smith: (36:19) It's compression Thomas. Again Richard Watts talks about this in his book but and it starts with your question well would you be happy if you made 250 grand this year. I’d be happy I guess but it's the fear mindset, these business owners are just like everybody else, if they have a year that's not as good as their best year well they’re comparing it to their best year and then they’re like well the market is dying, well this is bad and we’ve talked about markets before, we talked about 80-20, we’ve talked about those are things in other episodes and you should listen to those, but in reality anytime you feel compression Richard Watts gives the story of this guy is worth $100 million, he lives in Florida and he suddenly notices a little bit of a downturn in the market, it doesn't hurt him that much I mean maybe he’s making a couple of less million a year or something but he is worth a $100 million like cash $100 million. He starts taking the back roads so he doesn't have to pay for all the Florida tolls for a dollar or $2 or $3 a pop and this is the guy worth a $100 million. People again when they feel compression instead of expansion, even the richest people in the world will tighten things up sometimes they will tighten things up more than people who are not wealthier, people who are poor just because of that fear and again why you want to be an entrepreneur when that fear is going to be with you. If you can work for somebody else and you can go home at five or six whenever it is and be done and call it quits there's a lot of joy to that, there's a lot of joy to been able to not be on call 24/7, to be able to let go and to wake up the next day with what you need to do and here’s all I need to do and then I can clock in and clock out and I can be done. And there's something to be said for that but we don’t really talk about a lot as entrepreneurs, we always glorify the entrepreneurial life style I don’t think anybody talks about the two ends of the stick as you call it Thomas. Last thing we want to hit on I recently watched in ESPN 30 for 30 Documentary on Ric Flair, again I don't really like WWE, WWF all that stuff it's basically the fake wrestling, they don't really hurt each other but it’s more dancing and ballet, but it was interesting and Ric Flair was a personality and a celebrity still is 70 years old now. The quote goes like this from Richard Watts “Your legacy will be shaped by what you actually do rather than what you have with no kingdom to run you will have more time, no business to run, you have more time, with no whatever to run you will have more time” which is the real treasure in this life. Your descendants will remember you as father or mother rather than king or founder I really like that I had read this book and then I had watched this documentary and Ric Flair by many accounts was the greatest entertainer of all time for wrestling. Millions of people loved him, he had 21 titles and all those different stuff and he could sell out any state in he was ever in because he was such a good personality and he was always in extreme shape, but he lived a very crazy life he had been with 10,000 women by some accounts, and by his own, he had a couple divorces, lots of bad things happen, he drank like every single day and somehow still has a liver and we’re talking like 10 beers a day and five to six mixed drinks and again he’s had many of these things and telling me he did this over a period of 27 years or something. At the end of the documentary all this to say they say Ric what do you want to be remembered as? And he’s crying at this point because he’s had a good life but it’s pretty messed up life about the things that matter and he says well I would love to say I was a good father, good family man, good husband he is like but quite frankly, I have self-awareness I can possibly say that and he said so I guess I'll just go down as being one of the greatest wrestlers and entertainers performers whoever lived. And you could tell he had sadness in his heart when he said that this is the guy who has made millions of dollars one time he brought his family over to his house and he paid a couple a million dollars for his mom and dad, his dad specifically was like what are you doing Ric, and he is like I was hoping he’d be all happy and impressed that here I am this guy Ric Flair who has done all this and I’ve paid cash for this house and all those stuff and the dad kind of knew and now Ric knows that really what matters in life is generally not what you think matters at the time you need to be grateful for what you have, you need to count your blessings and as soon as you start being grateful for those things and wanting more and ever going after the pursuit of more say simply for the sake of wanting more I think that's where you’re into a lot of trouble and in the case of Ric Flair you can really spiral out of control.
Thomas Alvord: (40:37) And if you look at all of this and my dad actually was the one who I first remember hearing this from and learning this he said look service is the remedy to all of this, it helps all see that our lives are actually good because you get, you see other people's problems and difficulties and trials and you realize man however bad I have it it's not as bad as this person. And so in a way a remedy is to serve other people whether it’s your neighbor, your family members your friends.
Zach Smith: (41:08) And again that’s not just some kind of Maxim or anything actually go out and do it and you'll find it works, your life really really doesn’t suck, it's bad because you perceive that it's bad depending on how you look at things, your perspective changes, what’s your Henry Ford quote you always like to say Thomas?
Thomas Alvord: (41:23) “Whether you think you can or you can't you're probably right” and you can probably say kind of a corollary to that, whether you think your life sucks or doesn't suck you're probably right if you think it sucks you’re right.
Zach Smith: (41:36) That’s great.
Thomas Alvord: (41:37) If you think it doesn't suck, you're right.
Zach Smith: (41:38) And again, our satisfaction is ephemeral, it's fleeting. A lot of times I found this to probably be the hardest struggle ever full transparency Richard says it this way again we’ve quoted this book quite a bit in this episode he said as long as we have opportunity we have hope and when we have hope we become motivated to achieve our goals through hard work and persistence, satisfaction and contentment our idea is to be chased, the very act of reaching our goals and cause the beginning of personal stagnation and like I said I achieved every goal I ever set out to achieve when I set my goals, when I was younger and now the personal stagnation starts to set in and I have to ask myself what do I want now, what do I want from my life, where else can I go because you need something to look for, you need to have hope, you need to create an opportunity for yourself because when those go away your motivation goes away and when your motivation goes away personal stagnation sets in and when personal stagnation sets in and that’s where you get into the really scary stuff, oppression, suicide the terrible things of life and you can't let that stuff happen. Yes I think to close this episode the most beautiful illustration we can possibly do is Michaela Angela. One time Michaela Angela gets asked how he had envisioned his masterpiece David within this giant hunk of marble they had one and he responded like this. “David was inside the rock all along, my only job was to remove the unnecessary rock from around him, so he could escape.”
Thomas Alvord: (43:07) Truly interesting. In a way we could look at all of our own lives individually and your life and everyone listening your life is actually beautiful and wonderful and great, it's sitting there as a masterpiece, but in a way it's kind of like enclosed and hidden from view because certain perspectives that we have they don't allow us to see how amazing our life is and we got to chisel away our stubborn perspective and we can see the glory and the wonder that we are.
Zach Smith: (43:39) And that is our show today. The Funded Today products of the week kind of excited about these. Mine is a particularly special one it's one of those things that for me I would personally be very interested in because my wife is a movie buff like no other. I mean she knows the names and the actors and actresses and directors and credits and she’s seen like every movie ever made to like it is no joke, do you ever want to get into talk about movies you need to meet my wife Courtney. Anyway the product that I have selected is “Red Text” they are launching in early March 11 and Red Text works like this you’re in a movie theater, you’ve hired a babysitter, you're at a public event everybody says silence your cell phones, problem is your kid has a problem, the problem is you get an urgent call from somebody about a business deal that needs to happen right then, it happens to me a lot, it may happen to you well you can’t check your phone, because you’re going to anger all the people in the theater right lights all this other stuff right or you missed that business meeting and you might have missed a huge opportunity for something in your life that’s a problem Red Text solves this Red Text is an app you can download on your phone that makes it so that all of your phone becomes red with a black background and by doing this it doesn't shoot up any light, no one’s even going to know you’re on your phone and you can handle all those important text messages or you can exit the theater or get on a call or pay attention to things without having to turn your phone off completely or to silence things, or to do the unthinkable and offend people in the movie theater and have issues with bright lights or interrupting the movie for everybody else or at a public event or listening to a speaker at church or whatever Red Text is the perfect app to still have access to the important notifications you need so that you know your kids are safe, so you know you’re not missing out on any business opportunities or anything like that while being courteous and polite to everybody around. Check it out Red Text launching March 11 on Kickstarter.
Thomas Alvord: (45:47) My product of the week is called the Onli Travel System and that’s spelled O-N-L-I Onli Travel System and this is actually maybe one of the coolest backpacks I've ever seen and it’s not quite a backpack it's actually a minimalist travel bag or travel system there is a middle compartment, a front compartment and a back compartment and the back compartment can unzip, you can use it as a backpack and then if you want you could use just the middle compartment as a -- like a carry-on bag that has wheels or you also have the front compartment that will attach for example, on an airplane so you have a workstation and you can actually attach the back and the front into its own pack. So basically it's super functional, it's minimalist, but it’s almost like a Swiss Army knife but on steroids and forbade that's the best way I could explain it, you should check it out, especially if you travel or use a bag in your day-to-day it's the Onli Travel System again that’s O-N-L-I the Onli Travel System.
Zach Smith: (46:58) I love it. So now the question. How much longer will you waste time comparing yourself to other people their lives are no greener, your life is beautiful, your life also isn't beautiful it just depends on how you look at it. So look at your life from the best possible vantage point and perspective imaginable look at it from the perspective of the Virgo Supercluster moving at 2.2 billion miles per hour because whether you feel your life is beautiful or not you're probably right. And next time we’re going to share my Zach and Thomas's take on Stoicism with we might butter it, it might be the greatest thing ever hear and if you don't know what stoicism is you’re in for a treat. Tune in next Wednesday and remember don’t wait until tomorrow, get Funded Today.
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References and Resources
- Funded Today: Podcast: “Freedom in Time, Money, Body, Mind, and Spirit”
- Walmart Museum: Sam’s Truck
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