283: Subtle Shifts in Thinking for Tremendous Resilience with Charlie Harary

By April 6, 2018Podcasts

 

Charlie Harary explores how to adjust your recurring thought patterns to find your greatness, enhance emotional wellbeing, and enjoy work more everyday.

You’ll Learn:

  1. How to react to the world in a more empowered way
  2. Two innate needs you must fulfill to be satisfied
  3. Approaches to growing more everyday

About Charlie

Charlie Harary is an author and internationally known speaker sought out for his lectures, seminars and keynote addresses on business intelligence, performance management and personal empowerment. He is the Senior Director of Capital Markets at RXR Realty, a multi-billion dollar real estate company based in New York. He hosts a weekly radio show on the NSN radio network and the Unlocking Greatness podcast. Upon its launch in 2015, Unlocking Greatness made it to the Top 10 on iTunes’ New & Noteworthy Business Podcasts list. Harary is an adjunct clinical professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School where he was awarded the James Kent Scholar and the Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Charlie Harary Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Charlie, thanks so much for joining us here at How to be Awesome at Your Job.

Charlie Harary

Thanks so much for having me. It’s an honor to be on your show.

Pete Mockaitis

I think we’d have a lot of fun in reading through your book here. But first I want to get your take on it. You say that you live on almonds and black coffee. Is that exclusive or to what extent is this true and how is this possible?

Charlie Harary

It’s not exclusive. I do consume other things as well periodically.

This all started a couple of years ago when I met a friend of mine who was – I would call him the biggest carnivore I’d ever seen in my life. He explained to me that he just sort of found this new thing called being a vegan and it changed his life. I sort of didn’t buy it. He dared me to be a vegan for a month and I ended up being a vegan for two years. It was such an incredible experience for me personally.

But I travel a ton and when you’re a vegan, you don’t get a lot of options. When you’re traveling and things are perishable and you’re trying to be healthy, you really don’t got a lot. So I started getting into these almonds, raw almonds, I would take them basically like in the bag and just take bags and bags. Without milk I started drinking coffee black and before you knew it I was just basically waking up in the morning and drinking black coffee and eating almonds all day.

Now one of the things we talk about in the book is this idea of neuroplasticity and how your brain creates connections. One of the connections that it creates is things that you do at the same time. What happened over the course of a year, every time I bit into an almond I’m like, “I could use a cup of coffee.” Every time I had a cup of coffee, I’m like, “You know what this would go great with? Almonds,”

Basically I spend most of my day traveling drinking coffee, and eating almonds. That’s sort of the staple of how I survive.

Pete Mockaitis

That sounds simple in terms of you don’t have to think too hard or get hungry. So you’re not tired of almonds. How long has this been going on?

Charlie Harary

At least two to three years.

Pete Mockaitis

Okay, and that’s … thing.

Charlie Harary

I actually graduated into almond butter, which is awesome, which is a whole other world unto itself that I almost feel like I’m indulging too much in. They don’t let you take it on an airplane, so it has limited capacity for me.

Pete Mockaitis

It’s counted as a liquid, gel, aerosol?

Charlie Harary

Yeah. They come too large. Usually the almond butter-

Pete Mockaitis

Oh, the size.

Charlie Harary

Size, exactly.

Pete Mockaitis

Speaking of fun images you’ve earned a moniker, the Malcolm Gladwell of Emotional Wellbeing and that makes me – I love a good metaphor because you can interpret it in so many ways. Does that mean you have wild, curly hair? How would we read this?

Charlie Harary

Well, when someone first told me I’m like, “I guess I’ve got to sort of curl my hair.” But what happened was when I wrote the book – I’m a lawyer by trade. I’m not a psychologist. A lot of the book is based on psychology, but I see it mostly as research and the narrative being around the human being. That’s what lawyers do, we digest lots and lots of research.

I sent to a lot of psychologists and academics and professors, say, “Hey, listen, read this and tell me if this reads right,” and they would come back with a very similar line of, “Hey, this is like Malcolm Gladwell. Are you the Malcolm Gladwell of emotional wellbeing?” I got that more than once.

I’m like, “What do you mean by that?” The way they described it was usually – I mean Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. Just even thought to be – for someone else to say that is the greatest honor. A lot of what he writes about I think are like societal issues and socioeconomic issues and things – tipping point, success in sort of a broader society type way.

This is sort of – what I think they were getting at, this sort of has the same style of a story-based research, but as opposed to it being explaining some phenomenon in society, it’s explaining how you can be better as a human being, how you can increase your emotional wellbeing. That was sort of the response that I got from some of my colleagues and friends.

I’m like, “All right. Thanks so much. I appreciate it. I hope that you buy a million copies and then you can really continue the metaphor.”

Pete Mockaitis

Yes. If I’m Malcolm Gladwell, then I need Malcolm Gladwell level of book sales please.

Charlie Harary

How about you put your money where your mouth is?

Pete Mockaitis

Yes, that’s good.

Charlie Harary

Start buying.

Pete Mockaitis

So we’re talking about wellbeing and being better. You’ve got the word greatness in your book, unlocking greatness in your podcast with the same name, Unlocking Greatness. What exactly do you mean by greatness here?

Charlie Harary

When I’m talking about greatness is a sort of emotional feeling. It’s an intangible sense of empowerment. That somebody feels that they’re doing what they should be doing and as a result there’s like an internal feeling of greatness that I feel like I am living a life that’s not just average, I’m living a life that’s not just survival or good. I’m living a life that I am feeling that great feeling inside me. It’s sort of intangible empowerment feeling. That’s what I’m getting at.

It’s not – though the book we try to make the case that greatness isn’t necessarily what the world tells you you are. It’s not the medal they put around your neck or the grade they give you after your name. It’s your own approach towards life. It exists in a much more of a micro perspective. But what I’m trying to get at is a certain feeling of empowerment that people have that they need to tap into and unlock as a way to live their lives in every day of their lives.

Pete Mockaitis

Okay, so this notion of doing what I should be doing, that is nice when you have those moments and so please, do tell how does one have more of those moments?

Charlie Harary

A lot of it comes down to an approach towards life. It’s understanding what you have in your mind. Understanding that a lot of what you’re feeling is really not based on the world around you; it’s based on your perception of that world. Schema, if you will, is a way in which you process the world.  A lot of what we’re experiencing isn’t directly affecting our feelings. It passes through our perspective, our schema.

And when you take control of that – first, when you know it exists and how it happens and how it works and how your mind works, and you learn how you can manipulate and move and train your mind to make life and your goals more accessible, and also going deeper, you learn about aspects of spirituality and the metaphysical and what giving means and what it does for that intangible thing that many call the soul, you can start to realize that the feeling of greatness is really the opportunities that are in front of you and how you react towards them and your perspective on what’s in front of you.

That sort of way of life and then you sort of couple upon that your way your brain works, starts to condition people to see opportunities as – or see challenges as opportunities and see things that are in front of them as ways to grow and get better in small micro ways, which then conditions that behavior, which then allows them to feel more empowered, which then sort of creates the cascade of feeling great on a daily basis.

Pete Mockaitis

Okay, I’d love it Charlie, if you could sort of zoom right in. We got the schemas, and perspectives, and interpretations, and decisions, and how we’re choosing to engage with the stuff around us, so if you could zoom right in for let’s say there’s professional, there’s experience in the workday, and something happens, what would be maybe a typical mental response that is sort of common yet suboptimal versus maybe an outstanding interpretation mental response to that same set of circumstances.

Charlie Harary

Sure. So a professional sitting at a desk and they are – they feel subject to the whims and the feelings of their boss or their customers, so their day – basically they’re like a reed. Depending on what’s going around them will affect their day. Then their whole internal situation will be impacted by everyone around them, so that’s a very difficult way to live your life.

When that person sits at their desk and at first before they even sit at their desk, there’s a certain level of visualization and intention as to what they’re doing there and the desire to get a little better. There’s an intention to take their activities and their jobs and to adjust it to grow in whatever way

they can that day. It’s not just get through the day. TGIF, right? It’s today’s a day to be better.

Whenever they feel disempowered, what they should be doing is – let the feeling go through the mind. Don’t do it on the spot, but ask themselves the following question, what in my belief systems, in my mind cause me to be disempowered?

There’s a whole host of things that can cause that. I’m insecure with who I am. I’m threatened by someone around me. I think I’m not great at my job and so I may be fired. I am looking for someone else to validate who I am. There’s a whole bunch of beliefs that cause someone else’s bad moods to impact my mood.

When they just do that just for a few minutes, they just think through what their beliefs could be, what happens is they start to realize that whatever goes on around me doesn’t have to impact what’s inside me. If they just practice if they can every single day a period of time where they are going to act empowered no matter what, what they’ll do is they’ll start to condition their minds to react to the world in a most empowered way and that will start to feel more natural.

Sitting at their desk over time, this doesn’t happen in a day, over time they’ll actually be more resilient and be able to address whatever is in front of them with more empowerment. That will make them better at their jobs. That will make them better in their offices, but more importantly, it will make them feel better as human beings.

Pete Mockaitis

Okay, so I’d love for you to expand upon what I feel as empowered. It sounds your use of the word as empowered is a little bit broader than, “Oh, it’s out of my control,” but you’re like – tell me more about disempowered.

Charlie Harary

Disempowered is the feeling of lack of desire. Disempowerment is a whole host of feelings that make you feel like you want to act less: sad, frustrated. In each of these things there’s an empowerment aspect and a disempowerment aspect. But whenever you’re feeling disempowered what usually happens next is you have less energy. You have less desire. You want to disengage from the environment. You want to give up.

Now when you go to work without any of the pre-work that goes on in your mind, without knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, without trying to focus on being better at what you do, what happens is the lack of independence of your actions allow you to be much more subject to everyone else’s whims because you’re only there to get through the day. That already before you even sit down at your desk is a total mind shift that makes you vulnerable.

Whenever something happens that doesn’t give you the validation that you’re looking for, it disempowers you. It makes you feel like you what to try less. It makes you feel like you want to disengage, give up.

That feeling is just your mind. That has nothing to do with people around you. For every person that feels that way, someone else says, “You don’t like what I did; I’m trying harder. You don’t like what I thought; fine, that’s your opinion.” And this happens everywhere.

If you look at great people’s lives, from academics to theologians to athletes, you will find along the way lots of people have tried or unintentionally to disempower them and what got them through it was

the feeling of “I am in control of my feelings. I’m going to push through whether you like it or not.” That empowerment in difficult times, more than their natural capacity, usually is what makes great people achieve things that we all know and recognize.

Pete Mockaitis

Yes. It feels like we’re really onto something here it’s like this is the nexus or the nucleus or where the rubber meets the road for a huge cascading set of events or dominoes that can go in one direction or another in terms of –

Something happens, like I don’t know. Let’s say that you were in charge of something and then all of the sudden, someone else is doing that something, so you’re kind of knee-jerk reaction could be like, “What the heck. That’s bull crap. They don’t trust me with this. Someone thinks they can just take over my territory,” whatever.

I guess we would call that being in the place of disempowerment. We’re just ticked off. We’re irritated. We have a sense of being dissed. We don’t like it. Then you’re saying right then and there, the key is to not ask yourself the question “What the heck is wrong with everybody?” but instead to ask the question, “What is it in my beliefs or within my mind that leads me to feel so angry about this situation?”

Charlie Harary

Yeah, and I don’t mean in any way that people should sort of make themselves into like a mat on the floor that people can just step on whenever they want.

It’s a great example you brought up. You sit at work and someone takes over a responsibility for something let’s say and you’re like, “That’s crazy. That’s ridiculous.” Then the whole day it’s, “They don’t appreciate me. They don’t like me. I’m not good at my job. This person’s take-“ and that’s it. That’s it.

You’re whole day is hijacked by a whole host of insecurities that come to the service that make it impossible for you to be the one to be in charge now and then only make it hard for you to go to work the next day, the next week, and then it just adds and adds, and adds. Wonderful.

That happened because of two reasons. Number one, most of the time you’re not working on yourself or the person is not working on themselves. Right? Usually insecurity comes because you’re not putting in the effort. You’re not putting in that level of “I’m the best at my job. I did everything in my power to show the best that I can be and I am fully confident that whether I win or I lose, this is the best that I have inside me.”

Usually at work it’s, “I did the best that I could have. I got by and someone else came in and I don’t want anyone to expose that I’m not the best at this.” But let’s assume that’s even the case, the end of the day, if you’ve been in the business world for a few years, you know that life is long and if you’re good at your job and you’re in a normal, healthy environment, you will most likely be rewarded for it. If not, there are other places that will reward you.

The business world is much more dynamic than one person in one place. When your reaction is disempowering, you become worse at your job.

What you do is – this is what’s – same thing with people that hurt you, right? Someone gets hurt, right? So what do you do? You hate them. Every time they pass by, you feel bitter and you resent them. This is what some people think.

What do you do? They hurt you and do you know what you give them for hurting you? You give them the benefit of feeling pain every time you’re in their presence. That’s how we get back at people by allowing us to feel pain and disempowerment when they’re in our presence. They get to hurt us twice.

Yeah, someone was hurt, so as opposed to thinking, “Okay, what’s in my belief system that makes me think that I can’t allow someone else to get this credit necessarily. And two, what did I just learn.” This is in the book later on. It’s called deliberate practice. It’s work by a man named Ericsson. It’s a lot of Gladwellians thinking. The 10,000 hour rule is based on the research by a man named Anders Ericsson, who speaks about life as just one huge process of deliberate practice. Every failure you have is an ability to round out what you’re doing to become more successful.

So you have two people. One person is just, “This is it. I’m out,” and they’re just filled with resentment, rage and hurt, and frustration, insecurity. One person is working on themselves to be more of a giver, to figure out where they can be better at their jobs, to understand what caused this to happen and is empowered because they know that life is long and they’ll get their eventually.

They’re totally diametrically opposed viewpoints that are based on your schema. And to be honest although the first one seems like it’s more just, the latter one makes you win in the long term nine out of ten times.

Pete Mockaitis

Yeah. This is just powerful stuff in terms of just the implications and it’s like so subtle. It’s like you could go by your whole life really and just not even be aware that you have a choice. It’s just like autopilot hijack, “I am the victim to this bull crap and I hate it.” It’s like you could totally go down that route readily.

Then as opposed to asking the question – I guess I’m wondering. When you ask that question, “What is it in my beliefs,” and then you discover something. It’s like, well what it is is, “Hey, I’ve got a little bit of a sore spot that I’m actually not good at spreadsheets,” whatever.

“I’m concerned that really I’m not good at this element which has now been handed off to someone else and I feel kind of like a loser because it has been sort of snatched from my area of responsibility and I’m wondering just to what extent I really have a future here if folks are giving away my responsibility and other stuff,” so that’s just an example.

Charlie Harary

Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis

“I’ve done some self-exploration. What is it in my beliefs and what caused me to react in such a way. I got some answers. What do I do with those? Those are kind of hard to fix.”

Charlie Harary

Yeah, I’m so happy you’re doing this. Thank you. You’re listeners are so lucky, honestly to have you.

Pete Mockaitis

Oh shucks.

Charlie Harary

Because this is great stuff. I mean it. This is great stuff. This is real – the questions you’re asking are good questions and I appreciate and I’m honored to be on this. Let’s continue this scenario. This is exactly right. This happens every day, right?

You go to being a victim in your mentality and as opposed to figuring out how I can grow or to your point getting underneath the surface of “I’m not good at spreadsheets,” and that’s part of being a human being, not being good at everything. It turns into the victim mentality. You talk to your friends about it and of course they’re going to validate you because they’re your friends.

Pete Mockaitis

“I can’t believe she did that.”

Charlie Harary

Yeah. It only creates more neural connections that you’re the victim and people are bad.

Here’s what happens. You ready for this? Your schema starts to see everyone around you as out to get you, so now what happens next week? A new project comes up where there’s a new one that you are good at, but your schema doesn’t show it to you because you’re so focused on being hurt that the next opportunity that comes by your desk, you totally miss.

As opposed to volunteering or taking on or feeling responsible or coming in with a certain level of confidence everybody can sort of smell and be aware of, you come at it from a “So you’re going to appreciate me now,” perspective and then just people sort of feel differently. And without you realizing anything, you’re just heading yourself down the road of less. As opposed to saying to yourself, “Okay, this happened. Wonderful. Where’s my beliefs.”

Someone once told me – I’ll never forget this. When I was doing the research. I forgot who said this but it was a mentor of mine said, “Whenever you have a bad thought, see yourself like a plumber. You walk into a house and there’s a leak. The plumber wants the leak because when there’s a leak you can find the problem. If there’s no leak, it’s in the walls. Everything may burst at some point, right”

That’s life. You’ve got bad beliefs. It’s part of humanity. Guess what? Not everyone grew up in like the perfect environment. Not everything is perfect. People come up and things are tough, so they develop these bad beliefs and insecurities and this and guess what happens? You have a bad thought. You’re disempowered.

If you don’t see it as a leak that you can figure out where the source is from, at some point you’re going to burst. You can burst by either quitting or disengaging just engaging in entertainment your whole life. You can do it by just counting days until Friday and then vacations and just of using most of your adult life as just sort of waiting to escape from your daily job. Whatever it is that is a manifestation of that.

But as opposed to saying, “Hey, wait a second. I’m disempowered. How come? This is an opportunity. What’s causing this? Oh, is it this? Is it that?” and getting some self-discovery because if you get some self-discovery, you know what you can do in today’s day and age? You can learn spreadsheets.

Pete Mockaitis

Yeah right. LinkedIn learning baby. Former sponsor. Come on down.

Charlie Harary

You know who does this so well? Football players. Right? You ever watch football? Football, every time they do anything, they spend hours on game tape. Why? Because they’re like, “We’re going to win games and you don’t win games until you analyze and over analyze every single play.”

You go to an office and no one’s analyzing anything. We’re just doing. Maybe on a spreadsheet, maybe on a project if it’s sales. But can you imagine if we treated our lives as important as someone treats a football game. Can you imagine if the effort that goes into winning a game in a college football season is applied to winning at my life. We would be superstars, all of us.

Even if nobody knew our names, we would know. We would go to bed knowing that I’m living a different type of life. And the empowerment we’d feel by getting up every single day and know that if I get ice cream, I’m going to love it and if I get something that’s bitter, I’m going to learn from it. That’s life. It’s addictive. It’s awesome. You unlock your greatness. You don’t wait for the boss to tell you you’re doing well to feel like you’re doing well.

Pete Mockaitis

Charlie, this is potent stuff. I’d love to get your take on some potential objections here. Let’s say – you mentioned a bad thought being disempowered. I’m thinking there’s some who would respond, “Hey, all emotions are telling you something and should be honored and don’t repress yourself and don’t sort of push through the bad stuff. That’s part of life. It’s okay to be human and have these feelings.” How do you respond to this?

Charlie Harary

I think they’re right. It’s absolutely okay to be human. This is the joy of humanity and you should definitely not rush through it. I’m the other way. I’m saying you should analyze it. I’m not saying to rush anything.

Pete Mockaitis

Okay.

Charlie Harary

The people that are rushing through it, what they’re doing is they’re feeling it, they’re running to the coffee station and they’re talking about it all day. I’m talking about totally feeling it.
In fact, feel it to a level to which you can understand where it comes from.

Absolutely bad thoughts is the beauty of life in a way. Obviously I’m staying away from the margins of crisis and trauma. I’m not talking about that. That’s outside the realm of this. I’m talking about the everyday disempowering thoughts that we have are opportunities for us to become greater at our lives. If we see it that way, there’s a different way we look at things.

Pete Mockaitis

Okay, that’s great. All right, so we talked about sort of in the heat of battle, something happens and then sort of afterwards you want to sit with it, you want to feel it deeply, get to the root of it, and it sounds like you’re saying, “Don’t rush it. It may take maybe multiple days to really zero in on what’s going on there.” Is that fair to say?

Charlie Harary

I would say sometimes weeks.

Pete Mockaitis

Sure.

Charlie Harary

I’ve got to tell you personally. I keep a journal. I write a journal every day. I spend lots of the pages in that journal analyzing this stuff. It takes me sometimes weeks to figure out, “Hey, wait a second. This is why I’m feeling this way.” There’s no right and wrong answer.

But this is part of the joy of growth that you delve into yourself and you get more honest with yourself and you come face to face with your greatest insecurities and you’re okay with it. When you’re okay with it, it makes you go through life in a much different way.

Pete Mockaitis

I’d like to hear about that a bit when it comes to getting okay with your greatest insecurities. Let’s just say we’ve zeroed in on an insecurity that’s greater than being bad at spreadsheets. It’s like, “I feel that my worth as a human being is contingent upon my usefulness, my productivity, my to-do list checking sort of thing.” That’s something that I’ve heard some listeners articulate in different ways at different levels of candor or depth. So let’s say, okay, we’ve got a big, juicy, insecurity that’s deep seated, what do we do with that?

Charlie Harary

Yeah, that’s big. My worth as a human being is conditioned upon a certain level of usefulness.

Pete Mockaitis

Yeah.

Charlie Harary

Or popularity.

Pete Mockaitis

Sure. Or attractiveness. You can fill in the blank.

Charlie Harary

Or wealth, right? If I don’t get this level of – if I don’t get into this college, if I don’t have this net worth, if I have these many listeners, if I have these many viewers, whatever it is that we’re doing, right?

Okay, we come up with it. If you’re writing a book, this is the game. I think my work is great and when we went around looking for a publishers and we got “No, no, no,” when you get lots of no’s you’re up against, “Is there something wrong with me?”

When you have that feeling, you’re choices are either “I’m not enough. I’m disengaging. There’s something wrong with me and I’m going to feel disempowered,” or it’s, “What am I doing this for? Why do I need someone else to validate me? What is it about me that needs these many listeners, viewers, net worth? Why? Where’s it coming from?”

Again, there’s no right answer. There’s no – That’s why the title is The Unexpected Journey. You don’t come to an answer. You just walk the journey your whole life. The journey is, “Well, where did I get this from? I’m out there giving value, trying my hardest, where did I get that unless someone else seems to validate it, it’s valuable.”

“Why can’t I just go out there and just do my best and go to bed knowing that I ripped every day a micro tear at my muscle or that I gave more value than I ever took. What don’t I think this way for?” You start to delve into yourself. “Why do I need the world to tell me how good I am? Am I worried about my livelihood? Are they going to fire me? Is it because I’m competing?”

You start to uncover things about how you think. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. But along the way you start realizing, “This is ridiculous. I just made this up. This is not real.”

Pete Mockaitis

Okay, that’s the end of it when you unravel it. It’s like, “This is ridiculous. I just made this up.”

Charlie Harary

Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis

That’s when you’re done with that issue of the day until another one shows up.

Charlie Harary

A lot of the way that’s how it works. A lot of what we’re doing is we pack ourselves into this – we create our tension. A lot of our lives is self-focused attention because we’re so insecure versus this sense of I have something valuable.

This, by the way, is one of the key, core aspects of the book, is that greatness is not something you become; it’s something you reveal. What you have inside you, the metaphysical part of you, is greater than the physical part of you. And you know it because when we’re pushed against the wall, we feel like we have the capacity to dig into a deeper place. We know it when you give. We have a piece of us that’s beyond ourselves.
When a person goes through life realizing that they have all the greatness that they ever want inside them and their job in life is to just reveal it, to bring it out, to bring that which is inside them to the outside. You’re not waiting for the world to validate you; you’re just waiting for opportunities to push yourself to places that you’ve never been before.

It’s another way of living, another way of pushing and when that’s your schema, when that’s your perspective, you just act differently in the world.

Pete Mockaitis

Yes. This is good.

Let’s talk about – I think we talked about in the heat of battle, what happens, how you react and how you should think about it alternatively. We talked about sort of the after action with regard to analyzing it and asking those great why-type follow up questions that get to the heart of it.

You also highlighted earlier a bit of the pre-work before you sit in that office chair to begin with associated with the why and having a commitment to growth. What are some of the practices there to get that frame or that priming going in your favor before stuff even starts happening.

Charlie Harary

Right, so this is based on some of the work done by Deci and Ryan and their Self-Determination Theory, where they speak about innate needs. We speak about this in the book a lot, but there’s sort of two out of the three innate needs I spend most time on. One is confidence or mastery or significance and one is connectedness or relatedness.

Unless you’re fulfilling these two needs – if you’re not satisfying these needs, you’re not satisfied. That’s a lot of life.

When you go into anything, a job, anything you’re doing, you have to come in with two frames. One is “I’m using this activity to get better, just to get better. I’m sitting at my desk. I’ve done this 50 times. I wanted to get 1% better.”

There’s a great documentary out there called Tom Verses Time on Tom Brady. Last year he had hired some throwing coach to help him throw like 1% better and he figures out the technique and you see him on the screen like go nuts. The guy’s like, “What was that?” He’s like, “I just got 1% better.” Like you saw. This coach turned and looked at him and he goes, “That’s what it means to be a world class champion that you get so excited at getting 1% better.”

You’re at your job, you’ve got to every day getting 1% better, every day. Even if you’re doing the same thing every day, get better at it because getting better at things fulfills you and allows you to feel like you’re moving in a direction.

The second is connectedness. You’ve got to be connected to people. You’ve got to be giving to people. You can’t be taking. When you’re working, you’ve got to be giving, giving to your boss, giving to your colleagues, giving to your customers.

When you walk into that day, if you’re focused on how do I get more connected and how do I get better at my job, you come in with the intention of success. You’re not vulnerable. You’re not a sitting duck. You’re not waiting for the day to be over. You are excited and you’re fulfilling your inner needs of what you need to do throughout that day and you’re using work as a mechanism to fulfill your needs.

That mentality is what moves people to excellence and that’s the mentality that everyone should have no matter what you’re doing at anything you’re doing. It’s usually in those areas. Then that’s how you grow and get better and be more resilient when things don’t go your way or more positioned to take advantage of opportunities of success.

Pete Mockaitis

Yes. What I love about all of this is that it’s all just in between your ears. It’s like-

Charlie Harary

Yup.

Pete Mockaitis

You don’t have to say a word. You know it, but people will see just based on sort of like the fruit that grows from what’s there deeply.

That’s intriguing. I’d love to get your take sort of practically tactically speaking, in terms of getting better at things and being more connected, do you have any sort of favorite tips and tricks here. I guess I’m wondering specifically for getting better at things. If it’s like, “You know, I’ve done this 3,000 times and I’m frankly kind of bored with doing it and I think I’m doing it about as well as it can be done.” What are some ways you can figure out how you can continue to get better.

Charlie Harary

There’s two ways. One is proactive and one is reactive. Proactively, exactly your point. Whenever you’ve done something a million times, you have to proactively look for things that are harder, that move you down the path.

If I’ve always done this job, okay, what else can I do to take on more. If I can’t do it at my work because nobody cares, what I can do when I get out of work. What I can do every single day to take on something, to learn something, to try something, to get good at something because I need to spend my days getting good or better at something to feel good about myself.

When it comes the same thing to people. I’ve always treated my wife this way. My kids, this is who I am. This is the dad I am. Well, no, that’s not true. How do I wake up in the morning and see my family, friends, whoever, and try to be better to them. That’s the proactive approach.

The reactive approach is the recognition that any time you’re going to grow, growth is packaged usually in pain, small pain. Growth is threatening and growth is painful. It’s uncomfortable. When opportunity comes my way that’s uncomfortable, usually, it’s just the garment of growth.

When that kid calls me with this and I don’t want to deal with it or my friend says, “How you doing?” and my friend says, “Fine,” and I know even if I say, “Are you sure?” I’m dealing with it. Or that opportunity comes down the pipe to work on something harder and I’m like, “I don’t have to do it. I’ll still get paid.”

When things come your way that seem uncomfortable or painful, before you pass, look at it closely and what you’ll find is that lots of your growth is nestled in that. When you get through that discomfort – because greatness is the product of deliberate discomfort. That’s what greatness is. Greatness is uncomfortable.

When you see your life and you start to be comfortable in the uncomfortable and you start to choose greatness over comfort, you start to push yourself in small ways. I don’t mean to do anything massive, push proactively and then respond more empowered reactively.

Pete Mockaitis

Right. Excellent. Thank you. Well, Charlie, tell me, anything else you really want to make sure to highlight before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things.

Charlie Harary

I think it’s just that concept that greatness is micro

And when you’re focused on the micro moments of your day to get better and more connected, you won’t even realize how much you’re going to grow and how much your brain will condition you for feeling that empowerment feeling.

Pete Mockaitis

Awesome. Thank you. Now can you share a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Charlie Harary

My favorite quote is from Albert Einstein, “If at first your ideas are not considered absurd, they have no hope.

Pete Mockaitis

All right. Thank you. And how about a favorite study or experiment or piece of research?

Charlie Harary

My favorite real study and I started with it in the book. It’s 1960’s but it’s so pure and so perfect. It was the Rosenthal Effect.

It’s Robert Rosenthal walking into a room of teachers and basically randomly picking out students, having teachers believe that the students are smarter than they actually are and then that mistaken belief changes the students’ performance.

It’s like the foundation of so many more sophisticated research studies, but to me it goes back to that all the time. It goes back to that simple study that shows that, like you said earlier, it’s between your ears. It’s between your ears. When you fully digest the power of your mind and your beliefs and you believe it and you buy it –

That’s why when I wrote the book, I tried hard to stick in as many studies as I can. I didn’t want people to sort of skim through it and see it as a some maxim that sort of promises that their beliefs shape reality, but they don’t know how that works.

I teach this course at a business school and it takes me nine hours of class time to go through all the studies. That’s only just the tip of the iceberg. When you fully appreciate the power of your mind, it’s exiting. It’s exciting. It’s daunting, but it creates an empowerment to how far you can push your life.

Pete Mockaitis

Excellent. Thank you. And how about a favorite book?

Charlie Harary

One is Gladwell’s Outliers. I love that book. I love his approach towards success and how he sort of goes through it. My other one is a book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Flow. I love that book.

I actually bought two of them believe it or not and the first one I have and the second one I just ripped out pages and highlighted things and scanned things. I didn’t know what to do with myself halfway through that book. It was so enlightening.

Pete Mockaitis

Beautiful. Thank you. How about a favorite tool?

Charlie Harary

I think my favorite tool is really my phone, my iPhone. Without it I don’t think I’d survive. When I walk out of the house, if I forget to charge it, I have like that panic of I may exist without a phone. I think we all sort of feel that same way. But I think it would be my iPhone.

Pete Mockaitis

All right. How about a favorite habit?

Charlie Harary

My favorite habit is writing. I took this on years ago when someone told me that if I would write three pages a day it would change my life. I didn’t believe them and I bought a notebook and I started doing it every day. I’m writing maybe a page or two of my own handwritten thoughts.

To me that’s sort of my favorite habit. It’s a sort of to me like a little bit of writing introspection, sort of like a prayer almost. When I’m writing things I’m sort of figuring myself out and able to sort of articulate what I want, but spending the time every day writing what’s going on inside you and trying to figure out how your mind works, it’s life changing.

In many ways I find myself whenever I have disempowered thoughts, I find myself grabbing for a pen and working it through in my head through the paper.

Pete Mockaitis

Tell me is there a particular nugget you share that seems to really be connecting and resonating with folks?

Charlie Harary

I think I’ll say three quick nuggets I think that are resonating the most. One is that greatness is inside you. It’s not anything you’re ever going to get. I would even say it differently. No one is giving you a feeling. That feeling that we all want, empowerment, no one’s ever giving it to you and you’re never getting it from the world.

That’s how it is. It’s not how the world works. It’s always the next thing. It’s always the next thing. It’s inside you and you’ve got to bring it out.

The second thing is the idea of micro greatness and recognizing that greatness is in the small moments.

The last one is the idea of rituals that if you really want to change your mind all you’ve got to do is change your rituals and stick with them. Rituals can be really small. Someone could actually do a ritual for five – ten minutes a day and over the course of the year, literally change their mind and their life.

Just the idea that you can change your life through rituals in a micro capacity and that will have major implications is empowering I think for myself and people have told me is empowering for them as well.

Pete Mockaitis

Now, you say you can change your brain and life five – ten minutes a day ritual. You’re saying not a particular ritual, but any number of rituals will kind of rewire some brain neuroplasticity action?

Charlie Harary

Yeah, absolutely. That’s where people get things wrong is that they live their lives in resolutions and they just assume if I resolve something, I’ll just have the will power to get done. This great work by a man named Roy Baumeister who speaks about ego depletion, about how you just don’t have enough will power to get through anything that your brain doesn’t do already.

If you really want to make a change, you’ve got to actually change your brain. You change your brain through repetitive action that will change your neuroplasticity, that will change your connections in your mind.

Just that idea that if I want to actually change something, I don’t have to sort of like hunker down and kill myself. I just need to expand my timeline and just create rituals around things I want to do and then overtime my brain will adapt it, to me is life changing. It’s changed my life for sure. I found that people found it to be empowering.

Pete Mockaitis

Beautiful. Thank you. Tell if folks want to learn more or get in touch where would you point them?

Charlie Harary

Sure. It’s either my website CharlieHarary.com, H-A-R-A-R-Y. Or Unlocking Greatness book. If you go to UnlockingGreatnessBook.com, we’ve got the book, I have a podcast on this and a newsletter and there’s stuff that you can download, the workbook for free that we built. There’s a lot of stuff there if anybody’s interested in more.

Pete Mockaitis

And you have final challenge or call to action for those seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Charlie Harary

Yeah, I guess the real challenge would be to push yourself to be empowered when you feel most disempowered. When you take responsibility for your feelings and tell yourself I’m going to figure out how to be empowered in moments that have otherwise disempowered me, you will figure out how to do all this stuff.

Once you take responsibility for your feelings and you don’t advocate that to the world, you will find yourself more creative and resourceful to getting it done and feeling this way.

Pete Mockaitis

Awesome. Well, Charlie, this has been a whole lot of fun. Thank you for taking the time and I wish you lots and lots of luck and empowering thoughts and goodness in your book and your teaching and your real estate and all you’re up to.

Charlie Harary

Thank you so much. An honor to be on your show and thanks so much really.

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