There was a time when the only word I said was “no.” I think that was the best time of my life.
But I can’t remember it. My memory sucks.
It was “the terrible twos.” A defining age. You tell your truth. But everyone says you’re a terrible person. And somewhere along the way you start listening to them.
They make up rules. And send you to school, where girls wear white gloves and can’t blow their noses in public anymore. I guess that’s why they think it’s cute when babies snot on themselves.
I went to Cornell, studied computer science, got a job at HBO, went back for remedial school because my degree wasn’t up to industry standards. Then I tried another job. And another job. I ended up on Wall Street. I lived there.
But that didn’t stop me from losing everything. I had millions of dollars in debt.
Not one million.
I thought my only option was to kill myself. Because I knew this for sure: I couldn’t obey any longer…
Imagine talking to someone for years. And everything you say gets ignored. You’re going to hate that person.
I ignored myself.
So that’s who I hated…
I ignored my gut. For 20 years.
Your gut reveals itself every time you say how tired you are or some BS like “Happy Friday.” It’s asking you to sleep, quit your job, be creative… to say “no.”
Information is power.
So even if you make decisions off influences, don’t you want to know what the components of your decision are?
So I asked an expert…
- What are the forces that influence me?
- And how I can cleanse myself of the negative ones?
I interviewed Jonah Berger about his book, “Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior.”
He’s a Wharton School professor, a New York Times bestselling author and social influence expert. Google is one of his clients.
We talked about:
- Mirror neurons
- “The power of mimicry”
- Why I won’t let my daughters win at checkers, chess or any game at all. Ever.
- How to predict upcoming trends
- What influences could be holding you back
- And what steps you can take to be “one of the lucky ones…”
I was picturing businessmen who ignore themselves everyday. Who don’t drink water when they’re thirsty. Who just do the same routine. They have no idea they’re on autopilot. And it’s killing them. They’ll get a heart attack one day and never know what hit them.
That was me. Until I chose myself.
Here’s 3 steps for uncovering the invisible influences in your life. And how to change them:
1. Find your influences
What’s your day, week, year look like? And why? My friend doesn’t do outdoor activities. Her husband doesn’t either. But he used to. That’s the invisible influence of love.
Jonah gives 20, 30, 40 more examples in this podcast. He helps you figure out the positive and negative influences impacting your life. Things you’ve never considered.
2. Check your gut
Picture your insides. Your meaty heart. And the stream of blood keeping you alive.
It already knows the answers to your questions …
But you have to check-in. Because sometimes it’s so quiet. It’s used to being ignored. Listen (in the shower, on a walk. Wherever.) And notice.
3. Then lean into it
Start with small changes. Go to the bathroom when you need to. Stop eating when you’re full. Linger a little longer. Give yourself space.
When your gut knows you’re listening, it gets louder. And more powerful.
I’m still learning to choose myself everyday. And sometimes my gut disappears.
But at least I know where to find it again.
Listen to my podcast with Jonah Berger here.
Links and Resources:
- Read Jonah’s book, “Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior“
- Read Jonah’s New York Times bestselling book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On“
- Follow Jonah Twitter and check out his blog