A year of intense self-discovery with Ryan Robinson

Today I’m talking with my good friend Ryan Robinson, one of the most disciplined people I know, and also one of the most prolific content creators. But that’s not what this conversation is about. 2020 has been an intense year for Ryan, a lot of personal transformation, and I saw many parallels to changes and realizations is in my own life.

2021-02-06-8484-Intro Ryan
Welcome everybody. This is another special episode of the inner work podcast today. An interview with my good friend, Ryan Robinson, Ryan is one of the most prolific writers and content creators that I personally know his work with me, and it closed for a number of years creating some of the most Epic content together.
[00:00:19] And Ryan is also one of the toughest work and the most disciplined people that I’ve ever met. The reason why I invited him though, is that in 2020, Ryan went through the most intense transformation that I’ve seen amongst all my friends and my peers. And I wanted him on the inner work podcast to talk about that transformation.
[00:00:39] I guarantee you than to learn a thing or two on this. Uh, enjoy the interview with Ryan.
[00:00:43] There you go. 10 minute plank. First of all. Fuck you, sir. You know? Uh, Jesus 10 minutes. Yeah. I’m like feeling like the most core strength I’ve ever had, which I don’t think is a coincidence. Uh, no shit.
[00:01:02] You’re doing 10 minute plank. What did you expect? How did this whole thing come about? Like when did you, I remember like, what was it a year ago? Two years ago. When was it when you first did the whole, like five minute plank challenge on Twitter or something? I think I honestly started more like four years ago and I think it was just like, I, I, someone shared with me the world record and it dude, it’s like eight and a half hours or something super fucked up and sadistic, but, and this guy looks insane.
[00:01:34] He’s like an ex Marine he’s shredded, there’s zero fat on his entire body. But anyway, I was like, okay. Five minutes doesn’t sound hard. And so I just tried to do a five minute plank. The first time I tried blinking and it was like maybe a minute, I think is what I got to and was like, damn, I wonder if I could get to five.
[00:01:54] So it was really just like a personal challenge, more than anything. And then. Slowly, but surely got there. And what, what, what were you doing? Like just once a day, you’d do it. And you’d just tried to beat the time before by anything or by a specific amount, just 10 seconds more every day. Like, how the fuck do you do this?
[00:02:11] I started honestly like just personal challenge, five seconds every time, not like a huge goal to be like. Mentally like, all right. I did a minute. Last time I can do a minute and five seconds. Right. That sounds so fucking easy. Why not? And it just became a game of adding five seconds every time. And sometimes I’d be really feeling it I’d add 10 seconds, 15 seconds.
[00:02:36] Um, but yeah, today I went from, I went from eight minutes on Monday to 10 minutes today and I think I, I really just had this like moment of mental clarity where I was like, If I can do eight fucking minutes, I have the core strength to do 10. Like what, what what’s stopping me. And it was like, it was totally, uh, getting out of my own way kind of experience where I just had, I wouldn’t even call it a mental block, but I hadn’t pushed myself in the way that I know I could now.
[00:03:09] There you go look at you, Goggins ride Goggins, you know, all right, enough about your personal triumphs and pale comparisons. This is one of those funny things where I’m very curious, but I have no interest in participating in this. I’m like, not right now. Fair enough. She choose your things. Yeah, I can’t do all the things.
[00:03:32] Um, but dude, I’m super psyched to be, uh, to be chatting with you. Here’s a funny fact, like I’ve, um, you know that me and Remi we’ve been working on the, on the inner work podcast for a while now. And it really started off as my desire to have an outlet for creative storytelling and content. But also I would say more vulnerable.
[00:04:01] Showing my thought process and the challenges I’m going through and the things that interest me as I’m going through them versus what I usually have always done, which is I go through through these, um, inner journeys and outer journeys. I have all these experiences, I tell stories and when they work, I tell them again and I refine them.
[00:04:23] And then, you know, eventually TETA, I have like a finished product that could be. Yeah, you know, a 10 minute story or a keynote speech or a blog post or whatever. And then it’s at that point, it’s pretty on-point and polished, you know, the results, you know, the timing you, you know, it works and. That’s what I’m comfortable with.
[00:04:47] Right. Usually, uh, and I wanted to do something different and like experiment with just more showing the weight all the way towards it and just have something that’s just more raw, more kind of in the moment. It took us a long time to figure out what it is. The nucleus of the idea of what I want to do and what I want to, you know, most talk about.
[00:05:10] And then a year ago, I thought once in a while, maybe I’ll, I’ll want to talk to somebody about stuff. And I remember making a list of all these like amazing people, some of them that I knew, some of them that I didn’t know personally, I’m like this would be a kind of kick ass list of people to interview.
[00:05:30] But one of the core, um, Mission statements are the, the, the guiding star that we had set from day one with Rameen was, this is not going to be another to-do item. I don’t want this to be work. I want this to, at the end, anytime I engage with creating stuff for this podcast, I want to feel energized at the end and not depleted.
[00:05:56] Right now I’ve given amazing keynotes. I’ve created lots of videos that I like, but there were work. Right. And. As that like every few weeks or so, I would have this kind of voice in my ear that would say, maybe you should interview somebody, look at that list, look at how amazing these people are, get somebody on the podcast.
[00:06:18] And then I would be like, well, do I want to talk to them right now about inner work or anything else? And the answer was always not really not really, really. And so then I had to say, convince myself to. Don’t do it, then do it whenever it feels right. Your name, the reason why I love chatting with you today is because your name is sort of like fell from the sky or bubbled up from my, from my intuition, because we had a catch-up call after a long time, over a year that we hadn’t spoken.
[00:06:53] And that call was so fun. And your transformation was so profound. You know, we are friends, but you know, a few weeks later it popped in my head. I was like, talk to Ryan and I’m like, fuck. Yeah, I want to talk to Ryan. Like, this is actually somebody I want to talk to about this. So this is what led us all the way to the conversation.
[00:07:16] So my, so he used the deal. Well, I have lots of theories and we know each other really well. Right. But. Your transformation has been one of the most profound ones I’ve seen. Lots of people have changed, especially in the past year. Lots of life has happened. It’s been an intense year. Um, But I cannot think of anybody else except myself who, you know, has done and more intense in a plank than you, you know, just, just hitting a totally, totally new milestone in terms of the kind of inner work that you’ve done.
[00:07:54] And let me ask you right off the bat like today, and I mean, you chat with lots of people. I’ve seen that you catch up with people, um, and. When w when you, if you had to describe to yourself or to somebody like me, Hey, this is kind of the biggest thing that changed within me in the last year. Could you pinpoint it or is it many, many things or does it feel like one big thing?
[00:08:22] Like one, this is the thing that really transformed within me. How would you, how do you think about that?
[00:08:31] That’s a big question. I think, uh, my mind goes in a couple of different directions first, but I think one of the biggest things that I really could boil it down to would be that I see people in a different way than I saw people before. And. Let’s throw that C and like all caps and quotations. Um, because I think there’s, there’s so many different meanings to what it could be to see someone, right.
[00:09:03] You physically see someone in front of you, but I’ve been finding so much greater depth and purpose and. Building much more meaningful relationships with the people that are already in my lives, to be honest. And I can identify friends, family members who, you know, I just see so differently as they’ve put in inner work on themselves, and they’ve done a lot of self discovery.
[00:09:32] They’ve done the hard work. And in hindsight, I can see little hints that they’ve tried to have deeper conversations with me and the older Ryan. I think this goes back to your, and I relationship to like the older Ryan. Wasn’t as perceptive of those little probes to invitations rather to have deeper connection.
[00:09:54] And I’ve just found that the switch that kind of flipped for me was finding so much more purpose and meaning through building deeper relationships with the people that I really click with. Right? Like it, it’s not a reasonable expectation to think that every person you meet every day, you’re going to find this crazy deep, meaningful connection with, but.
[00:10:16] Yeah, that’s been the biggest one and a really close second place though, would, would have to be like learning that I need to treat myself with the same kind of empathy. And care and consideration that I so naturally, thankfully, so naturally bring to other people. And it’s something I’m super grateful for that I was really imprinted on heavily by my parents and, and learned so much too from people that have been in my life throughout the years, but I was never.
[00:10:51] At a place where I gave myself the same kind of empathy, consideration time and space to really just feel things I always had to have this. We talked about, you know, a mask on, right. I was, I had this mask on of. Of this type of person who’s, you know, quote unquote successful in some ways and, and impervious to defeat and have to show up at 4:00 AM and hustle, hustle, hustle.
[00:11:18] Um, but I I’ve come to the realization that that mask is not who I really am and that I actually benefit a lot by taking the mask off and showing the real Ryan to the world. So that’s who I’m showing up as there you go. I mean, that makes a lot of sense because. Seeing others, it’s hard to see others when you, you’re not willing to see yourself fully.
[00:11:42] Right. What would you, what has been the most surprised or what’s something you see in yourself now that you are never willing to see? And that has like enriched your life? I’ve seen that I’m actually a really sensitive person and it blew my mind when I had this realization of like literally a ton of bricks hitting me over the head.
[00:12:11] And this goes back maybe a couple months ago where I just realized like, I felt like crying tears of joy after, you know, after like our conversation that we had a couple of months ago and found that when I’m finding this kind of deeper connection with the people that, that have been in my life for so very long, it just made me so happy and so fulfilled and like really just filled me up so much that like, I realized just how much that I had been afraid to feel and allow myself to be just kind of like washed over with emotion really any time.
[00:12:50] And, and that’s led to things like processing the passing of my father more in the past few months than I have in, in the couple of years since that happened and just allowing myself to be sad and to feel these feelings that. That I, you know, unintentionally suppressed. Yeah. There’s something magical, you know, about, I think almost anything like one mental model that runs through my mind.
[00:13:22] And when I tested in terms of seeing how right it feels, um, it almost always, if not always. Rings true is that, you know, when I go through a situation like you just described and I go, wow, it’s so beautiful to connect with people and to see them fully, then I ask myself, how does it feel to be seen fully myself, right.
[00:13:48] And in some way, everything we love about others. And everything I’ve experienced joy in or connection with, with others. It is the reflection back to myself. That’s creating the feeling. It’s the fuck. I’m finally ready to relax and show who I am. And it feels fucking amazing to be seen and loved and recognized for me, right.
[00:14:13] For who I truly am in this moment versus, you know, no matter how much admiration you get. Or money or opportunity or time or attention, if it is for a projection of an edited version of yourself, it’s very hard to, to be like, wow. Yes. I feel incredible because I’m amazing. This is, you know, They love someone or they give money to someone or they give attention to someone or they just spend time with someone that is related to me.
[00:14:47] But it’s not me. It’s not really me. It’s like a and edited comical movie type version of me. And that’s the thing, you know, with you and I, when, when we started working today together a couple of years ago, very quickly. It was clear to me that we connect on many levels, right? You, I mean, we’re very different people, but we’re also fairly same in many areas.
[00:15:15] And I could tell from the get go mean, you were like this insanely disciplined person you were in that I think will connected you with this incredible drive and work ethic. And that way we connected you also the kind of person that was just, you know, no matter what happens. I will take a deep breath, then I will organize.
[00:15:34] Then I will execute. Then I will proceed with life. I remember like we, we were working together and we w when, you know, your father died and the, see how you manage that situation and dealing with everything in life, just sort of the person that is because you. So competent and you’ve pushed yourself to be very, very proficient and competent, more and more things are being added to your shoulder, or you add things to your shoulder naturally.
[00:16:03] You’re like, I can deal with this. I can also deal with that. I can probably also deal with that. And you just proceed and people love people like that. Right. We all benefit from people that are, you know, skilled and can get things done and are reliable. Um, And we admire these people because it’s tough sometimes to be all these things, we all struggle.
[00:16:24] But the one thing I always remember, we struggled with so many conversations and I could sense there was a. You want it, that you just didn’t know like what it means or how to get there. And we had so many conversations about dude, just relax. You’re always the perfection, just like everything is always just smiling.
[00:16:44] There’s a certain tense stiffness of like, yes, I can do it. Yes. This is also good. Everything is fine. I was like, dude, it would be cool to relax and like just, you know, see you more fully. Um, and then we hadn’t spoken in a year. And we get on the call. And from the first, second, first of all, the first thing you told me was like, my engagement is all for something.
[00:17:09] You know, my relationship was just, uh, it didn’t work out and that would never had been like a personal piece of news. Like that would have never been at the hello stage of you, but just your facial, the. Level of expressions, um, went from, went from Ikea. You know, I saw two facial masks of Ryan to then having a conversation with you where I saw like a whole breadth and depth of like emotional communication.
[00:17:35] Just like the feeling that we’re much more relaxed. And like here, I want you to see me Steli and I want to see you the fuck. Are you even like I had a mask on, I couldn’t really get a good look on you. Let’s chat. Um, It’s truly, truly beautiful. Well, You know, I know that you’ve always worked on yourself. I mean, you don’t get to the point where you were, where you have this incredibly successful blog.
[00:18:01] You have this huge podcast, you have this writing career, you are a thought leader. You have so many people reach out to you that want to work with you. For whatever reason, I got into some database. Somewhere by mistake. So every week I get like one email, but somebody that wants to publish on your website and is asking me for, I remember I used to send you these.
[00:18:22] I’m not sending them anymore. I’m just like deleting them. But yeah, there’s a lot of you get a lot of attention, a lot of love, a lot of, um, you know, uh, a lot of people want to learn from you and admire and want to accomplish what you had accomplished. So you’re always were working on your image on your skillset and your ability on your audience or your projects.
[00:18:42] When and how did the inner work kind of take over maybe as a bigger priority or yeah. A bigger priority than the external work you were doing, you know, w w when did that shift happen and why? The win is a very pointed date, actually my birthday, my 31st birthday last, last year. So October 1st, 2020, um, that was the day that my ex fiance and I decided to split up great timing birthday, by the way, highly recommended great day to do this, but, but it was.
[00:19:26] It was honestly a very, very good thing in hindsight, that, that we decided to part ways. Um, and also that it happened on my birthday because it forced me to talk to all my friends and family, which I was going to already do that day. Um, and it was very uncomfortable. I had to step outside of kind of the old Brian in that moment.
[00:19:49] And I just had this realization of like, Damn, this is a humongous shift off of this life path that I’m on currently. And if I don’t fully communicate that to my friends and my family, then I’m not going to have a real. Relationship with them moving forward. And obviously news like this, they’re going to find out anyway.
[00:20:16] Right. But a, I wanted to share it right away when it was fresh and when I could kind of just be super vulnerable and telling him how I feel about it too. Um, and it took a lot of unpacking of course, um, with the aid of highly recommend therapy. Um, so I’ve been talking to the therapist once a week since.
[00:20:37] Uh, about a year now. Um, and this has been super helpful, but, but I really truly believe that my shift to inner work and over the past several months, really away from working so much in my business has been. Kind of necessary to experience the death of my past relationship first, I think without losing that relationship, I wouldn’t have had the right sequence of events, the right conversations with people, the right types of things that came up in my therapy sessions that kicked me over the edge into this kind of.
[00:21:21] You know, freefall where I’m now, like I’ve got a parachute on, but I’m cool. I’m out of the airplane. And I spent 31 years in the airplane with this external mask on. And so it feels really good to be out and yeah, sharing who I really am with my friends and. It just wouldn’t have happened without the difficulty kind of the depths that I had to go through in that first couple of months, um, where there were plenty of lows and plenty of doubts too.
[00:21:54] Like, Oh my God, did I make the right decision? Like I went through the whole kind of roller coaster, um, that I would hope and expect most people go through, um, in something like this, but yeah, emerged on the other side and. Have honestly been living some of the best days of my life right now, which is incredible.
[00:22:15] Something I’m really, really grateful for and finding so much fulfillment and ways that I just wouldn’t have even imagined before. And so much of it is. Is a function of being more comfortable with myself and seeing the way that the people in my life show up to me, by me arriving fully present to them.
[00:22:39] That’s been probably one of the best things I think you hit that is like, why do you think that people that you’ve known for a long time that have known you. You know, you, you start opening up, maybe you’re more sensitive, more vulnerable with them, sharing things with them about your life that you would withhold before, um, or maybe edit in the way they, you shared.
[00:23:05] Um, Why do you think that it had such a meaningful impact? How did that, what do they do differently now with you? That you’re like, wow, this is, so this is very different from what I got before. And I like this much more than what I was getting before. Well, I do have to say that not everyone, friends, family, um, Have reciprocated and have had that kind of rising to the occasion moment with me.
[00:23:33] Um, so I think you can put people into different buckets, I guess, not, not the best analogy to use for people, but I have some friends where me showing up as this like really raw, vulnerable version of myself. Um, I think I had kind of the reaction of them being afraid of that or them finding some sort of like, Discomfort that maybe they can’t put words to or feelings too.
[00:24:01] Um, but I think it’s just a little bit more reflective of like, okay, that’s where they’re at in their journey. And they’re not, not yet ready maybe, um, to have the full, full kind of relationship, um, with me. And so I’ve had this experience of like, Yeah. A handful of my friends growing in like significant, great depth and quality of relationship and, and closeness and the ability to share anything with.
[00:24:30] Um, and I’ve had some friendships where I wouldn’t say they’ve become less friends, but like, I just kind of know, all right, this is the kind of friendship this is for now. And I’m here, you know, anytime there’s, you know, signs of like, let’s go deeper. Like I’m here for that. I’m willing to. To invest in that.
[00:24:48] But yeah, there’s a really like clear effect. I think that once you switch of being a person with a mask on and showing up without a mask to people in your lives, I think it’s a really palpable reaction that happens. And the way that I’m interpreting that with friends and family and. I mean, even some strangers that I meet, like someone who works at a coffee shop or like have a really cool connection with randomly.
[00:25:18] Um, but I think what’s, what’s really happening is that. When people see you showing up as vulnerable. And there are some words that I think are kind of markers of that. Um, you can, you can drop out hints as to, you know, the depth that you’re wanting to go in a conversation. Um, but I think when, when people really see you showing up as vulnerable, more than anything else, They naturally want to reciprocate.
[00:25:48] And I think that that is the human condition. Like we are, we are such social creatures. We’ve been rewarded over the course of long, long history by building closeness and trust and community. All these things that I think are so much more meaningful when, when you are your full present self with other people.
[00:26:10] And so I think that, you know, someone who’s on the same, you know, Path or journey of self discovery and doing some inner work on themselves or emotional intelligence, whatever you want to call it. I think there’s a lot of different ways you can describe it, but, um, real recognize real is kind of one way that I’ve been thinking about it, where when you show up fully to someone else who’s showing up fully and are on similar pages, um, there’s just some sort of chemistry there.
[00:26:39] That’s, that’s almost hard to put real words to, but. Generally, when you share vulnerability, others want to reciprocate or, or feel some sort of desire to be closer to you. And I’ve just recognized that so many people in my life, as a function of me, Showing lots of vulnerability to them want to connect with me a lot.
[00:27:02] I feel, I feel very like full and grateful, um, to be like wanted by so many people as like a closer friend in so many ways, which is really like indescribable, uh, magic to something like that. One interesting thing is I think vulnerability as a word and as a concept. Is more palpable to man today than it used to be.
[00:27:28] Right. It used to be something that men didn’t want to engage with. I think it’s gotten better. There’s still something to it though. Like sometimes I wonder if openness is oftentimes the better word for it because sometimes. Like, I think what makes the difference between being vulnerable or being open is how.
[00:27:55] How much in that moment and negative response response to what you’re sharing would affect you. Right? I could, I could talk to you and say, Hey, I had, you know, whatever dream about my, uh, that father last night, I woke up and had to cry. It’s crazy. I thought it was over with this happened when it was six, but I’m super effected by this today.
[00:28:17] And you could say, well, that’s dumb, like crying is for girls. What’s wrong with you? I, you know, let’s do business with the boy. I don’t, I don’t care about this shit if that hurts me. And if I knew that there was a real possibility that you will hurt me, like it will hurt me to share that with you. Then I was truly vulnerable.
[00:28:39] I was like, here’s my heart. And he has a knife in your hand. And you put in, I think there’s a 50, 50 chance. You’re going to like stab it through that sucker and it will hurt. But if I am. If it’s a situation where I’m actually, I share openly, but if you say you suck and you’re a little girl and who cares it doesn’t affect me at all.
[00:29:02] I just go, all right, let’s talk about business then. And I’m not affected by this. Then the word that seems, uh, more connected to that state or that kind of an attraction. Like real openness, radical openness where open up and I’m like, okay, with whatever the reaction is, because I’m going to show you my true self.
[00:29:25] This is something by the way, I had to learn from a, from a good friend, because oftentimes I would engage, especially when it was like with new people, people, I didn’t know. I used to be, it’s still am today to some degree. Very, very critical, very quickly to analyze. Is this somebody that could belong to my tribe and I would set very high standards and very quickly I would find some flaws in a new person and it’d be like, Nope, then fuck them.
[00:29:55] Right? Like I’m not interested. I’m going to do, I’m going to stay as superficial as I can. And try to like waste as little time as possible on this human. And then I, there were a few situations where pretty, you know, pretty kind of loving, open, you know, positive mindset obviously. And then. At one of my friends, I would always be in awe where he would meet total strangers and tell them things.
[00:30:20] I would not have told them in a million years. Right. He just like getting in a cab and the Capitol, I would be like, how’s it going? And he’s like, you know what? I was crying all morning because I dream of my father and I don’t fucking know we’re on our way to get some LSD. How’s your day going? You know, we want to trip today.
[00:30:37] And then, you know what, the interesting thing that I observed with him was that. Maybe two out of 10 times two or three, three out of 10 times, it would lead to the, an awkward reaction. No, no good reaction whatsoever, whatever. But a surprisingly high amount of times it would lead to incredible conversation.
[00:30:57] The person would be like, what? Yeah, my mom died last week. I’ve never taken those deep, but I’ve always thought about taking. Let’s see. And you know, I had experienced with this other drug when I was a child, but my therapist is. And then it would lead to this incredible conversation. And the, that stranger, that to me at first seemed uninteresting, you know, and not, not worthy of investing and being open to all of a sudden was a super interesting human being, you know, and I could see the humanity or I could learn something or something interesting could come out of it.
[00:31:28] And I observed that so many times until eventually I was like, maybe I should try that and see what happens. And it’s been, uh, it’s been pretty amazing. It’s so many, so many situations where I was like, this conversation is boring. I’m dying here. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to talk to this person.
[00:31:47] And then it was like, all right. Steli what would be an interesting conversation to you right now? What do you want to talk about? I’m like, no, I actually really just want to talk about. X, whatever it is, it might be psychedelics and kind of the benefits that I’ve gleaned from them. And I’d be like, you know, you know, I’ve done some secondaries recently.
[00:32:02] It’s been super interesting. What’s your point of view. And when it comes to like this topic, a hundred percent of the time, it got an amazing reaction and then a more open, more interesting, more connected conversation. I’m like, huh? Who would have thought this was a good idea. Um, so as I can very much relate to this, uh, to this idea of encountering the world open and having risking being vulnerable or being judged, um, or being dismissed.
[00:32:36] And what kind of a powerful impact that has, and, you know, I mean to a large degree, it’s because it’s so rare. Like we all are interacting all day with so many people and never feel connected to anyone. And then when somebody gives out an invitation and has the courage to open up completely, we’re almost like.
[00:32:55] We’re so starved for that, that people just throw themselves at you. It’s just like Jesus here. All right. Let me tell you everything. I wanted to tell the human, but nobody was open enough to hear me or see me fully. It’s crazy. I had the same kind of experience going to a Wells Fargo bank branch to send a wire transfer a few weeks ago and had no intention of having like a long interaction or a deep conversation.
[00:33:22] But. It just ended up sitting there for 45 minutes with this banker. And we talked about like, yeah, I mean, it all started by me sharing, like, yeah. I recently moved to LA after breaking up with a time partner and he was just like, Oh my God. I moved here a year ago after breaking up with my girlfriend. And so from there, it was like, you know, we both love mountain biking.
[00:33:43] We both love hiking running. Like there were just so many things we talked about for, for like 45 minutes, just sending a wire transfer at the bank. And I’ve like, kept up with them over email and stuff too. And he’s like recommended hikes to do. And so, I mean, I think it all comes down to, as you said, like openness and I do like the distinction of openness versus vulnerability, um, showing up as fully open to receiving other people and also yourself in the same way that there’s such a difference.
[00:34:14] And. Even just micro interactions. Right. And it’s not every day that I have time to spend 45 minutes at, at the bank saying like the experience can be so overwhelmingly positive that you’re just like, you just want to exist in the moment. And there’s no, there’s no distraction worthy of taking you away from something that feels so meaningful at the time.
[00:34:40] And I’ve experienced that so much lately. Let’s talk about the, the downside or cost of it because nothing in life is fully free. Right? Even the most beautiful things we receive, come with a price tag, right. It might not be money, but it is something, um, So I wonder, you know, when you have, when you are, let’s talk, maybe not even about external perceptions of you and your kind of personal brand, but first about just the.
[00:35:13] Though the momentum of your life, you are one of the most prolific people. I know when it comes to your work product, I mean, you are writing very 5,000 word blog, post pieces, like it’s nothing. Right? I know that it’s not nothing. I know that it takes a lot of energy from you to do it, but you are, you are a workhorse, right?
[00:35:33] Just like. Hustle through it just, no matter what I said, I’m going to do it. I’m going to sit here. I’m going to churn out this fucking thing. Um, and work has always been in kind of maybe both an outlet, but also a refuge. Right? I got a I’m I’m I’m a distraction. A I’m. You know, running away from all these things I don’t want to face in the work is an accepted place, a productive, a a, you know, an encouraged, a, you know, a plotted place for me to be, you know, spending all my time and all my energy in.
[00:36:14] And so you’ve always worked so much and so hard and so focused. This is very much part of your personality. I would assume. And then you start on this journey of seeing yourself more, showing yourself, showing up more vulnerable, more open, connecting, more, spending, more time with people that comes with a cost.
[00:36:38] I would assume of you have not been working more hours a day than you’ve ever worked before in your life. Right now. That’s just a guess. We never talked about work, but this is my, my wild guests. Uh, tell me. Tell me how that has felt. Uh, I’m sure it could. It could be that it’s just fun and freeing. It could also be that it comes with anxiety or fears at times.
[00:37:02] Oh my God. Am I throwing away my life? Am I, you know, am I becoming a hippie? That’s going to be homeless when they’re like, just tell me about the, the flip side, the anxieties, the fears, the discomforts that have come with changing some of these big aspects of your life over the past couple of months.
[00:37:19] Well, you are right in your observation. I pretty much November and December. I, I, I didn’t really work like I a few hours a week. It’s mostly just kind of keeping the wheels, uh, bolted onto the car. So the car continues moving really quick. Have you, had you ever worked as little in life before? Oh, never. No.
[00:37:42] Like literally never, ever worked. I worked significantly more, even when I was like in school and playing sports and pouring concrete with my dad. That was my summer job. Very not fun. Uh, but yeah, it was, I mean, I just had this experience of, I think the way that I’ve been kind of holding this in, in my hands and turning it around and observing it is that I spent.
[00:38:12] Let’s call it 20 years, 15 years of my life investing 100% of my time energy thought effort into the work, Ryan, the public facing Ryan that you see on my website, right? Like that, that person on the homepage with a nice big smile. Um, and I invested everything into that. And I just had this realization as I started doing this inner work on myself and came to a very clear moment of like, Holy shit, I need to stop everything I’m doing.
[00:38:49] Work-wise and. Begin the process, which will be a lifelong process of rebalancing myself and giving attention to these deeply important areas of my, myself, who I am on the inside that, that I just never gave attention to. I didn’t even know that you could work on yourself as, as a way to spend time and effort and be intentional about.
[00:39:15] And so, yeah. That’s been a huge cost as far as, you know, does my business earn what it’s earning like four or five months ago when I began this? No. And I’ve been largely okay with that because I feel like I’m getting so much out of the person that I’m becoming as a result of basically redirecting my quote unquote work.
[00:39:42] To the person I am on the inside. And I had this like really crystal clear realization a few months ago to where. It just hit me over the head again. Like I keep having these moments where I’m like, Oh my God. And I came to the realization that my best work lies ahead of me because I’m opening myself up.
[00:40:07] I’m learning more about myself. I’m, I’m going to be such a more full person as a result of all of this inner work that I’ve been doing on myself that I know. Out any doubt that all the best shit I’m going to create and build and do lies ahead of me because I am such a different person. That’s so much more capable and equipped and attuned to other people also, um, That’s so much magic is already coming from that.
[00:40:38] And if it means earning less today, like I’m so okay with that. And, and there are, I will say a lot of built-in privileges and caveats to that, that I’ve had a business that has done very, very well for many years. And I’m not a huge spender. I never like lived beyond my means. And so I I’ve, I’ve saved and, uh, feel very comfortable and.
[00:41:03] Revenue is also not at zero, right. That’s a big difference too. It’s just, you know, I had months where I was earning more than twice what I’m earning right now and in recent memory. And I also have a high degree of confidence that I can get back there and grow as a result beyond those kinds of points and in very different ways too.
[00:41:24] And I’m just finding so much. Gratitude for this redirection of my effort that I honestly couldn’t care less about the money I’m earning today. Um, because I know it’s not disappearing and I know that I have a path to, you know, getting back to where I want to be eventually when it’s the right time. Yeah.
[00:41:44] This, uh, this reminds me of a recent episode where talked about this quote of if my, all my money goes away, it takes nothing with it. But itself, right? And like the meaning of truly being rich, like my career, my work, all these things are part of how I participate in the play of life. Part of how I create part of how I am creative, part of how I am valued and create value, but it’s not who I am.
[00:42:16] And if you take these things away, I am not nothing. Right. Yeah. I could totally see, like you, you have hundreds of thousands of people that are like, I want to be one day, like Ryan and have a blog that’s as big and earns as much money. And I have the same thing on, you know, the startup world or the sales world.
[00:42:36] And I could see people listening to us and getting excited, you know, what this does and thinking, Oh my God, The, you know, he’s going to lose everything and then he’s going to be a nothing. And I can’t afford to open up. I have reached the kind of level to then lose everything and still be okay with it.
[00:42:55] Um, anyway, it’s funny because you know, you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. And one game that you can play that stupid is the game where. If you don’t accumulate more and more and more external success, you feel worthless and you feel like you can’t be loved and nobody will accept you because the truth is this is coming out from people that have experienced some amount of that.
[00:43:22] Is that. Nothing will ever fulfill you externally, like no thing in your external life will ever, you hit some milestones where you think, you know, once I, once I raise a million dollars, once we make a million dollars in revenue, once I’m a millionaire, once I have 10 millions and eventually you realize.
[00:43:42] Jesus. No, not none of these things ever does anything. Right. And you’re all living. You’re not living. And there they’re all nice. They’re great blessings, but only if you know how to live and then utilize them. Um, remember, um, Hickson, Gracie, who’s like a legend of martial arts and all the martial arts gentlemen from Brazil.
[00:44:04] Um, most people won’t know. I remember him being on Joe Rogan podcast many years ago and talking about life and this, that, and the other, and Rick Hixon, Gracie is like really an OJI legend, but you really have to know, you should to know even who he is, but the people who know know, and they were talking about all kinds of things.
[00:44:21] I don’t remember. Most of the conversation was not that memorable to me, but there was a, a part of the, in the interview where Joe had brought up bill Gates, for whatever reason, I don’t remember even why. Maybe I saw a documentary about bill Gates recently or something. And he was like, wouldn’t it be crazy?
[00:44:39] Like, would it be crazy to live a life like this crazy billionaire guy, you know, bill Gates. And I remember Hickson’s response was mind blowing to me because Hickson was like, I don’t know. No. And he was totally disinterested in this line of thought. And then Joe, you know, when, when, uh, you know, went deeper into it and said, well, why, you know what?
[00:45:02] You’re not interested in like being a billionaire. Wouldn’t that be cool? And Hickson goes, well, I don’t know, bill Gates. I don’t know how happy he is. I don’t know how horny he is. That’s that, that was, that stood out to me. I was like, I’ve never thought about it. I’ve never evaluated the quality of a man’s life by how horny he is, but it elicits an interesting and interesting.
[00:45:26] He’s like, I don’t know how happy he is. I don’t know how horny he is. I don’t know how his relationship with his children. I don’t really know anything about who he really is. So I don’t know if it would be interesting or not interesting to be him. And that stood out to me, especially the horny thing was really surprising.
[00:45:42] I’m like, I’ve never thought about, I’ve never evaluated somebody’s quality of life by then, but then think about it. Like if you think of somebody that lived a full life and they had passion and they, they, they experienced, you know, They’ve been central and they’ve been passionate that, that seems like a really rich life versus somebody that’s like, well, you know, the last 30 years, um, I only talk with my wife via text messages and we never have sex and I never kiss and I never feel anything.
[00:46:11] And my children and I are not connected. What would it even matter? You know, no matter what you have, you really do, you know, would that really be desirable life to live? Like, you know, the way you want to spend your life, not to say that bill Gates is that way. Nobody really knows, like, except bill Gates.
[00:46:26] Right. And the people close to him, but not living fully at all, not living full. Right. And so when. People like I know as I came up in my career and as I started becoming friends, as I started becoming more, more successful and people started admiring me and making me their role model. Right. I realized, huh.
[00:46:51] You know, you know, yes, I have some skills and yes, I’ve done some things, but I’m not fucking Superman. Like what you’re. Yeah, our versions of these humans are distorted, but then also as I met these people that became billionaires and I, and there are people that are very famous that I know really well.
[00:47:10] I’m like everybody’s full of shit. Like that’s just the bottom line. We are all full of shit. We’re just all humans. I don’t really know. Like, I don’t know. Um, I can judge somebody’s work or some, the way somebody has lived their life in some markers might be inspiring, might be stimulating, might be we can learn and be taught things and being inspired, but attributing that someone lives the kind of love that’s better than yours or the kind of love you want.
[00:47:40] It’s very hard to do from the outset when you don’t really know who they are fully in the inside. Right. So, yeah. When you, if you had, if you had to talk to who do you, okay, let me ask you this. Do you think if today’s Ryan could have talked to five years ago, Ryan, you could have had any words of advice or wisdom that would have imparted what, you know today.
[00:48:07] On your younger self earlier or opened your eyes early, do you think there was something that you could have shared with you that would have had an impact? Or did you think you had to go through all the things and you wouldn’t have listened to yourself? Well, I think the latter is probably closest true the truth, um, because I, I have a pattern of liking to learn things the hard way through my own experience.
[00:48:30] Uh, but if I were to try, I think the biggest key that I’ve kind of unlocked in myself is. I think just the really stark realization that is to feel and it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry. I was afraid of emotion. For, you know, so, so long and I never even realized it. And, and I think that if, if I could have allowed myself to kind of open that door earlier in life, I think I would have started the process of becoming the more full person that I am, uh, much earlier.
[00:49:12] And. It’s all to say, who knows what would have happened, like with my career and work and you know, my blog and stuff like who knows. I mean, those are all things that happened the way they happened. And I’m grateful for the things that I do have and the, the things that the old Ryan did. However, I think I would have done, you know, a lot of this work of realizing earlier in my life, the full person I am and.
[00:49:41] As I said already, like, I know that my best work lies ahead of me today. And so to have had that kind of clarity five years ago, I would give up everything I have right now, because I think I could create something so much more, not financially rewarding, but like deeply meaningful and rewarding on a daily basis because I also.
[00:50:05] Going back to like trimming a lot of my quote unquote work time out lately. I’ve come to the realization too, that I’m pretty tired of blogging about blogging and always talking about marketing. And, you know, it was a large portion of who I am and writing as, as a tool has helped me to not only build a living for myself, but also to unlock the person.
[00:50:31] I am journaling as a, as a really large part of my day. Lately, and that doesn’t get published anywhere, publicly for the world to see. But that writing that I do is so much more rewarding than writing about, you know, 10 blog tips to skyrocket your traffic this year. Um, so I I’ve identified, you know, that, that I’m at.
[00:50:54] A little bit of friction with the business. I find myself in today. So I’m working to reinvent that in ways that, you know, it doesn’t just explode it because I’ve created something cool that I’m really grateful for. But I think that this new fuller version of myself will be able to show up in this business in ways that I could never have even imagined before.
[00:51:17] So it’s going to be cool to see where it goes over the coming months and years. And. Um, yeah, I’m just keeping a very, like a very open heart. I would have said open mind last year, but keeping a very open heart to following the direction that I need to move in. Beautiful, you know, you and I, uh, we also share a love for storytelling, right?
[00:51:45] Yeah. Your outlet was always writing. My outfit was more talking. Although writing has taken up a bigger part of my life, lived in, I immensely enjoyed it. Journaling is one of those things, but just writing in general. And then, um, you are one of the, you know, one of the first people that I screamed at, you have to redo, right.
[00:52:10] Um, there’ve been a handful of people, uh, so far, but, uh, but let’s maybe. And on that note, I’m curious, you’ve been reading dune, uh, just, uh, what was it yesterday? Two days ago or so I read the tweet that you had about it. Um, did you finish the first book? Are you, where are you? Book one? The beginning of the book, one.
[00:52:32] Beautiful. Oh, beautiful. I am the you, because it only is gonna get better for like the, the, the, the second half is just going to escalate everything that has happened up until this point. How’s the, how’s that book been for you? Um, tell me, what’s your, kind of your current takeaway where you, somebody asks you, you reading, do you like it?
[00:52:52] What do you think of it? It is completely mind blowing to me. Um, Because I have such an admiration and respect for writers, um, in general, but Oh my God, Frank, Herbert unreal. The guy, the mind that created this book is just ridiculous to me. And, and this book has been. And I do plan on reading them all. Now, I, I like really hit my stride where I’m just so engrossed in it that I like find all read for a couple hours at night and the time just disappears, but it’s been a really good companion too.
[00:53:31] My own self discovery process, because without giving anything away, the main character goes on kind of a self reflection journey and has kind of a, a personal revolution. And I’m sure that continues to unfold in some really cool ways. But yeah, I’m at a point in the book where he’s kind of unlocked the full person he is, and he’s.
[00:53:54] Realizing it, and I feel like I’m also on this similar path, obviously I don’t have magic foresight or anything crazy, like in the book, but there are so many just very impressive and like things I’m finding meaningful parallels to real life and to my life in particular. So, I mean, I think anyone who’s interested in investing time and discovering themselves in a deeper level, like.
[00:54:24] This book might just help crack some of those, like. Insights open for you. And I also highly recommend reading it on Kindle because it’s such a huge book that the paper back, I, like, I got it. And I was like, Oh my God, this is too big, too clunky. I’m going to get a Kindle. So I got a Kindle and that unlocked my reading and.
[00:54:45] As a positive little side effect of being on Kindle, you can see what other people highlight throughout the book. And I often find that I ended up highlighting the same things where I like, I read them more intensely because you know, 10,000 people found this insight to be really powerful. Like, Ooh, let me sit with this.
[00:55:03] Let me think about this. And I find that I often journal after I read this book too, because I just get so many great tidbits of. Ways to think about the self. I would say beautiful dude. I love that book so much. Um, to me really, I mean, everything you say, I, you know, I can only agree with, and then on top of it, I think for somebody that loves, you know, as humans, really stories and storytelling is how we make meaning of life is how we try to.
[00:55:42] Grasp with reality and, and order it and learn from it and put ourselves, find our place within it and writing a story on that scale, touching on topics of such monumental significance, like in tackling, not one of them, which would be enough for, for a whole book, but tackling all of them at the same time.
[00:56:11] And developing these incredibly rich nuanced characters, and then also being so artful in the way he plays with words, he writes in a way where I felt like more so than ever before. He like, he makes the reader an instrument and he plays you so artfully, he can make you feel things. He can speed up the temple when you read and he can slow you down.
[00:56:36] And. Nothing is a mistake. Everything is a perfect note in a symphony. Um, and then it’s so wise, like it’s incredible. How many, like that book alone, if nobody has ever written a quote in the history of humanity that book alone could provide us all the quotes we could ever need to find wisdom about anything.
[00:56:56] I mean, it is, it is. A profound work of art. It really is. Um, the amount of meaning that he packs into one sentence sometimes just completely explodes my mind. And I, I almost can’t believe that like one person wrote this. It’s just ridiculous. I mean, many times I had to put that book, I read it on the Kindle as well of the Kindle, but I, I would have to.
[00:57:22] Put it aside and go, how the fuck did he even attempt to write this? Like here I am. Like most people struggle to just write the 10 reasons why you should blog or do a sales call or something. And then finish that from thoughts to, how did he even get started with this? I mean, it just blows my mind. I have a feeling that, and this might be totally off, but I have a feeling that.
[00:57:49] You can’t start out thinking that it’s going to be as monumental as that. Otherwise you would just psych yourself out. Like, I really wish that I could ask him, you know, did you know where this was going or where you wanted this to go when you started? If so then Holy shit. Now I gotta be the deepest, most brilliant guy ever.
[00:58:13] I don’t know, like I, as I do often, I did a very deep dive on him, uh, and, uh, have watched all the video material and audio interviews that are available and, uh, started, I haven’t finished it. I have read half of his, um, biography that was written by a son, um, from what I gathered and no, I mean, he, he was, uh, he was a very unique dude in terms of just like, very curious, It’s a bit of a brainiac, you know, in an intellectual for sure.
[00:58:46] Right. Um, but then also the kind of person, like the dude started as a book because he got interested. He read some article about some. Desert somewhere. And he got interested in some of the ecological things that were going on there. So he started collecting a file on like, how do deserts work? And wouldn’t, you know, how do things survive in deserts?
[00:59:06] And I think he did that for almost a decade before he sat down to write dude. Right. So he had like this. Massive plethora of like knowledge about the desert. And, um, and I think, I think the desert was not just one of those things that he was like super curious and would keep these like private files with interesting information.
[00:59:25] But there were many other areas in life that it was similar. And yeah, I think from, from what I remember. He did not sit down to write like the definite, you know, Saifai saga of all sagas. Um, but there was something in his water. There was something in like in the air, something that is not normal that made that pour out of him.
[00:59:48] I mean, it’s just, it’s just, uh, uh, in, in its fullest form. Uh, amazing. It’s an amazing piece of art. So it’s, you can tell I’m not a big fan. You’re not really liking it either. So I’m finding it to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. And. It makes me really nervous because they’re making a movie about it right now, or at least about the first book maybe.
[01:00:18] And I just there’s, there’s just no way I appreciate that they’re doing a movie about it, but there’s just no way that it can possibly be as nuanced and deep and meaningful as, as the book it’s going to be. Pray and action thriller, right? Yeah. I mean, they, they did a movie many years ago in 83 and that is a catastrophe of a movie, in my opinion, like I’ve watched it and it’s it’s, it has many problems for many, many reasons.
[01:00:45] Right. I mean, for all reasons, just, it has only problems. Um, but yeah. You know, what’s interesting or funny, uh, is he was very involved in the, in that movie as kind of a consultant. He was constantly at the set and just hanging out with people and everybody was describing him as. Just full of enthusiasm and just being like, isn’t it great that we’re attempting to do a movie?
[01:01:11] Like, isn’t it fun? And then even the director who was talking to him and was like, listen, there’s so many things in this book, we just cannot put on film. Like it doesn’t work. And he would be like, dude, just change whatever you want. Just fuck around with it. It’s not the book. You cannot like capture it, just do your best.
[01:01:29] And the movie came out and it was a huge flop for many reasons. It was a disappointment critics. Didn’t like it, this, that, and the other. And apparently he never lost his enthusiasm and his, like, this was a great experience. I’m glad look at all these talented people that work together and try to make this happen.
[01:01:45] Like he never lost his zest for it where I’m like, if this was my book, And it would be sitting there with anxiety and criticism. Like if they don’t treat like this, my piece of art, like my fucking, the symphony of my life. And he didn’t in the filmmaking process, at least he didn’t have that at all, which makes me like the guy more I’m like, that’s dope.
[01:02:06] You just had fun. He was just so excited that anybody would ever make a movie about one of his books. He didn’t even care. Like sounds like a very fulfilled person. Right. I think having who knows, but, uh, hopefully, I mean, whatever he was. He was a genius writer. Like that’s for sure. That is for sure. All right.
[01:02:26] My man, um, well, you know, I’m glad that I had, uh, we had a good, uh, additional reason to catch up sooner than we, than we would have thought. Right? I mean, this is, this two conversations are on a really deeply enjoyed it. Thank you so much for. Being open and showing up here and sharing your truth, you know, and the way that you did, I really, really do appreciate it.
[01:02:50] Um, and man, I’m so excited for you. I mean, I’m excited for me as well, you know, on my own little journey, but I’m really. Um, I’m really thrilled for you and I’m really happy. Uh, and, uh, our friendship and relationship has gotten a lot closer, a lot faster already, uh, even with the distance. And the, the, you know, the global craziness that’s going on.
[01:03:15] Um, but as a, as you said about your work, I feel like our friendship is only beginning of this, probably a lot more there in our future, and I’m grateful and excited about it. And I can’t wait to chat with you again. And you know, who knows a couple of months in here, what things have happened and you know, what is going on in the life of Ryan?
[01:03:34] Um, my man, uh, thanks for doing this. And, uh, Keep in touch and enjoy all those, all those feelings and all that in a work that never really ends never really ends. I love it. Thank you.

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