Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Mr Eric Maisel
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Introducing Eric Maisel
Eric Maisel is todays guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
He is a man who has for many, many years preached the benefits of bringing creativity into all forms of our lives.
Through his keynote addresses, coaching sessions, appearances all over the media, and through the 40 plus books he has written.
Mr Eric Maisel, was born in the Bronx, New York, where he lived until the age of 5, but grew up in the Brooklyn area of New York City.
Education and the desire to learn and develop seems to be an inherent part of his personality as after 1968, after a three year stint in the military, unlike many people who have had enough of education as children he returned once again to the classroom.
He attended Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, where he received a B.S. in philosophy.
How The Dots Joined Up For Eric
After this Mr Maisel earned a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University while ghost-writing mysteries and nonfiction and self-publishing fiction.
And then if this wasn’t enough in the ’80s he returned to school and earned a second bachelor’s degree in psychology, a second master’s degree in counselling, and a doctorate in counselling psychology.
So what is creative coaching?
And can we all bring this into our lives, if so many of us are in fulltime employment, and generally feel that we have little time for anything else?
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Eric Maisel.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Eric Maisel such as:
Why you can’t predict how hard a task is going to be until you undertake it!
How at 67 years old our guest still doesn’t have a plan to his life!
How he tried to dodge going to Vietnam, by enlisting and going to Korea instead!
How just three degrees either way can be the difference between success or failure!
Why most people would rather not start something than actually start something new!
Books By Eric Maisel
How To Connect With Eric Maisel
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Eric Maisel Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:24]
Yes, good morning to you wherever you are in internet land. I feel fine because it’s Episode 39. I hope you’re good. And I hope you are ready for a bout of fantastic conversation because we’ve got a great guest today. Today’s guest has been many many years, preached the benefits of bringing creativity into all forms of our lives through his keynote addresses, coaching sessions, appearances all over the media and through the 40 plus books he has written. He was born in the Bronx, New York, where he lived until the age of five, but grew up in the Brooklyn area of New York City. Education and the desire to learn and develop seems to be an inherent part of his personality. As after 1968, after a three year stint in the military, unlike many people with, quite frankly had enough of education, his children, he returned once again to the classroom. He attended Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, where he received a BS in philosophy after BC and a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University, whilst ghost writing mysteries and nonfiction and self publishing fiction and benefits wasn’t enough in the 80s he returned to school and earned a second bachelor’s degree in psychology, a second master’s degree in counselling and a doctorate in counselling psychology. So what is creative coaching? This is the bit I want to talk to him about today. And can we all bring this into our lives? If so many of us are in full time employment and generally feel that we have little time but anything else? Well, let’s find out as we start Join Up Dots. When the one and only Eric Mozelle, how are you today, Eric?
Eric Maisel [2:04]
Hi, David. Well, I got exhausted hearing about myself. But otherwise, I’m wonderful.
David Ralph [2:09]
You had worked hard, haven’t you? I I was reading that. And I wrote it a couple of days ago. And I’ve sort of done a little bit of stalking and research on you. And I couldn’t do that. Eric, that that’s just seems too hard.
Eric Maisel [2:22]
Well, if you were a client, I wouldn’t let you say that you couldn’t do that. That would not be permissible. We would you would you knock me out of
David Ralph [2:29]
the room instantly for saying that
Eric Maisel [2:31]
I would knock you out of the room with a with a short left jab and an overhand right hook.
David Ralph [2:36]
So I’ve started the episode in a good way. So we’re going to have a Sparky conversation. So what what is it about me saying that, but you wouldn’t allow to say
Eric Maisel [2:47]
people tend not to think thoughts that serve them. And they may well think thoughts like I can’t possibly do x. And whether it’s true or false, just as with your join up the dots, theorising here that we can’t know beforehand what which way to go and what to do. But we have to trust we also have to trust that we can do the things that we would like to do. And I think we can also trust that the things may be a little easier rather than harder, we typically predict hardness. I have lots of clients who have it in their mind that their novel has to take them two years to write, or three years to write, or four years to write. And I’ll bring up the Belgian novelist seminar who wrote all of his novels in three weeks time, not to demand that they write their novels in three weeks time, but to remind them that things can take less time, rather than more time, and that our mental models may not be serving us.
David Ralph [3:48]
I believe in something called Parkinson’s Law. If you were a Parkinson’s Law,
Eric Maisel [3:53]
I probably will get mixed up with all the other laws I know. So tell me what it is.
David Ralph [3:57]
Well, Parkinson’s Law is if you give me a tonne, ask and allow me six weeks to do it is going to take six weeks. But if you give me the same task and say you’ve only got one week to do it, it’s going to still come out at the end of it, you know, expands to the amount of time that you’re given to do a task. So
Eric Maisel [4:14]
with That’s right, so with
David Ralph [4:16]
the chap who wrote a book in three weeks, do you think it was of the same quality as if he gave himself six weeks?
Eric Maisel [4:24]
Absolutely, he didn’t write a book. In three weeks, he wrote 500 books each in three weeks. He wrote the whole McGrane mystery series, etc. So this was not a one time affair. This was a lifetime way of working. But absolutely, were he to give himself more time, it wouldn’t produce more quality. In fact, he was always pestered about why don’t you write your big book? And he would say, Well, my big book is the mosaic of my small books, he liked his books. So I agree if you if you are saying that, if we expand the time, will we expand the quality today, I agree that we will not necessarily expand the quality at all. Much of what I have to make clients do is show up. In that six weeks scenario, they haven’t shown up for the first five weeks, you know how that is, you procrastinate for the first five weeks, if it’s a term paper in college, you don’t do it, you don’t do it, you don’t do it. And and you do it in 48 hours or three hours. So so much of what I require of clients is the simple showing up. And the connects a lot to I think what you’re wanting to talk about in your show, let’s say that you have one path going, let’s say it’s an entrepreneurial path, or an academic path or something you don’t yet know if it’s going to work, and maybe you have doubt that it will work, but you haven’t going. But let’s say that you also wonder if if a creative life might also work for you, your novel or your painting, or your music making? Well, given that you’re your first life is going to take plenty of time, it’s your day job, it’s going to take most of your time, in order to get that other thing, most people can’t get that other thing done, they don’t get their novel written. The only way to do that, from my point of view is to institute what I call a morning creativity practice, namely, to carve out an hour before your real day begins to work on this other life to see if this other life might prove valuable to you to use my language to see if it might be a meaning opportunity for you something that’s meaningful for you. But the only way you’re going to get to know is if you do this very mature and difficult thing of getting up an hour earlier, and working on your creative life for that hour before your real day starts.
David Ralph [6:55]
And the key thing to that is once you find out that it is something that you enjoy, he’s not hard getting up an hour to use it.
Eric Maisel [7:03]
No, it is still hard. Unfortunately, Darren, I, I’ll try to agree with some of the things you say but not that one. Because for the let’s say 362 days it takes to write your novel on 242 days of that time, you’re going to be hating it. That’s one of the truths of the creative process is that we we have difficulties with our own work. And we’re not liking the thing we’re working on a lot of the time. So unfortunately, we have to get up that hour early, even on the cranky days, when we’re not liking our book and don’t believe it will ever turn out right and don’t exactly know why we’re doing it. It’s really much more about showing up rather than hoping for the right motivation. The motivation has to be that intrinsic motivation of I’m showing up whether or not irrespective of the fact that I’m enjoying this enjoyment can’t be the criterion. Because if if you try to wait for enjoyment to be the criterion, you’re not going to do the work as a kind of parallel note or a side note. Tchaikovsky said I’m inspired every fifth day, but I only get that fifth day if I show up the other four days. And I think that’s a truth of the creative process. Maybe On the fifth day, we’re really happy. But we don’t get that day, unless we’ve shown up on the four days when we weren’t happy.
David Ralph [8:25]
Yeah, no, I agree with that. But I I personally think that it, it does get easier. You know, when I started this, first of all, now we’re we’re live and I’m getting feedback and emails coming through and, you know, positives, and a few negatives as well, you know, you got to get the negatives. I’m finding it so much easier to stay up till stupid hours, because because of the time difference. Well, I’m talking to people about I was at the beginning, when I was just recording and thinking, is this ever going to go live? Is this ever going to, you know, create a path for me and other people, I find and I’ve said this numerous times in episode, but it’s like a drug to me now. And I literally, it doesn’t matter how tired I am, I can go up there to my office, put the mic on and bang, I’m ready to go again. And I love it. And so for me has got easier even though I had to go through those days, as you were saying, step by step by step when I didn’t know that anything was going to come out of it.
Eric Maisel [9:26]
It can get easier in that sense, it gets easier with mastery and repetition in a certain sense. But the reality of process is that only a percentage of our work actually turns out well. Now that may not be the best that may not be the case in what you’re doing. But you know, pundits who will claim to know will say that Beethoven’s first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth symphonies are better than a second, fourth, sixth, and eighth. There are there are variations in the quality of work, but you can’t do nine without eight, you can’t do it without seven, you can’t skip the things that don’t work. And that is an artist fondest dream is to skip the things that don’t work. So while I agree with you that in one sense, it gets easier. There’s a huge trap there in believing that it ought to get easier or actually wanting it to get easier. Because one of the ways we manage anxiety and there is anxiety, threading throughout the creative process. One of the ways we manage anxiety is to repeat ourselves. You know, let’s say we do a beautiful job of painting pumpkins, well, then we realise that the way not to experience anxiety is to keep painting pumpkins. But that prevents us from you know, also painting broccoli and artichokes, which might make us anxious because we don’t know how to paint them. So I’m not sure that a goal is to have it feel easier, I think a goal is to keep growing, keep setting the bar a little bit higher, because I think that’s what our meaning needs require. Probably after you’ve done this show for X number of times, you’re going to want to make it more complicated, more difficult. And then again, you won’t quite know if you can pull it off. But that’s that’ll be exactly what you want to do.
David Ralph [11:06]
Yeah, I think I think you’re right, they’re part of me, even now. You’re Episode 39, we’ve actually recorded about 54. I’ve got that internal dialogue of Should I change it now, you know, is the beauty of it that people understand what they’re going to get? Or is it the fact that I should change it around to keep it fresh? And I had that internal dialogue going? On a daily basis? Really, at the moment I’m keeping exactly the same? Because I don’t, I don’t think I’m experienced enough to need to change it. I’ve got enough on I think
Eric Maisel [11:37]
that’s exactly right. When a person’s writing her first novel, she just has to write her first novel, she can’t be thinking, should my third novel be approached in a different way. So I entirely agree. But when you you know, it’s a very classic case, in the arts, where you have a success with your first thing, then your second thing becomes enormously hard. Because now you have an audience that you never had you to when you were weren’t doing your first thing, you have people counting on you. And you’re faced with this really odd prospect of people wanting you to do exactly the same thing, your signature work, and also change on top yourself, which is really a crazy agenda. And most creative people don’t know how to respond after their first success because they understand both things. People want exactly the same thing from them and something different. So you’re, you’re happily in the beginning stage of project number one and and then project number two is going to is going to produce its own sorts of difficulties and conundrums.
David Ralph [12:40]
It is a strange, though, you know, as you’re saying that I’m thinking yeah, but difficult second album that artists have when they come out with something big. And then we kind of want the same thing. And the films The films that get you know, the Rockies and the lethal weapons. You you almost want the same storey over and over again, don’t you? But it makes no sense why you want to see the same thing over and over again.
Eric Maisel [13:05]
Well, in a way, it does make sense because you enjoyed it. I mean, in very simple minded sense. It makes sense. Why you want to see it. It’s you know, when we when we find our favourite detective novelist, we don’t need anything to change, we need his sidekick to be the same person, we need his mannerisms to be the same. We need the same setup where the least likely suspect is of course, the one who did it. We want to all of that because we enjoy it. And we’re actually upset if the author tries to do anything different and we’re upset if the author tries to get out from under his formula. I think the the classic example would be Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. As you know, Doyle hated that his novels were not respected or read and hated it that Sherlock Holmes was so popular hated it that people so in fact, you may know that the word fan comes from followers of Sherlock Holmes, the Sherlock Holmes storeys. So he had his fans, and he hated it. So what did he do? You know, he tried to kill Sherlock off. And that’s so didn’t work. It was such an outcry from his publishers and his fans, and everybody involved, that you also know what happens next he bring Sherlock back, oh, Sherlock didn’t really die, he was only badly injured, it was all a mistake. This is the kind of pressure that creators are under, when they have a success. And when people want something from them, they really want that something from them. And it’s very difficult for a creator to get out from under.
David Ralph [14:46]
He’s fascinating, isn’t it? why that is the case. You know, you start in a room with a blank sheet of paper, sitting by a piano or an artist is all or whatever, and you crave success, don’t you you can trying to change your life you crave to bring value to the world. And then once it gets to a point where it’s almost running away with you, is it a control thing? Do artists want to have that control of only being able to produce content when they want it?
Eric Maisel [15:18]
They there is that but but the deeper level, that’s an important point. At the deeper level, it’s a meaning crisis. Because the the artists believed that his life would prove meaningful when he had success. He’s been putting a lot of eggs in that basket his whole life. He may not believe he’s very great relationships or one thing and another. But what he believed was, well, when I have my best seller, everything will change. And it turns out that yes, some things have changed. But fundamentally, nothing has changed, that he’s still stuck, a needing to do the next book be needing to deal with editors and publishers see needing to deal with his audience. D now needing to deal with new perks of his position like drugs, and what have you all the things that come with success. So he discovers what’s what’s actually a hard lesson to learn, he discovers that his life hasn’t turned around beautifully by virtue of success. He has new mature work to do to survive his own success.
David Ralph [16:24]
Because says, Can somebody be creative? So in the introduction, I was saying, How can we bring creativity into our lives, if so many of us are in full time employment. And obviously, when you talk about creativity, you do instantly think about musicians and artists and writers. But can people in a in a sort of corporate job, can we bring creativity into their life, to make it more their
Eric Maisel [16:45]
lives or their jobs into their jobs? typically not. Because most workplaces are not interested in creativity, in the sense in which you and I were are describing it. Creativity has three meanings. And in the corporate word, it corporate corporate world, it means the first of the first two of these three. in the corporate world, it means innovation and problem solving. So businesses want that they want their problem solved. And they want the innovations that will prove profitable. The third meaning of creativity is self actualization. That’s the deeper meaning it’s the way we bring our human resources together in ways that satisfy ourselves. That’s not what they mean. corporate world does not want a room full of a van Gogh’s and Beethoven’s and Gauguin’s and you can name them, they don’t want the room full of difficult people trying to self actualize themselves. So it really depends on what we mean by creativity as to whether the corporate world wants it or not. And what what we typically mean when we talk about artists, that’s not something the corporate world actually wants. That means that the worker bee probably can’t get his creative needs met in the workplace. And that’s why he probably has to create a another meaning opportunity, whether it’s working on his novel or working on his suite of paintings, or what have you, another outlet, where the self actualization is possible.
David Ralph [18:21]
I was in corporate land for many, many, many, many years. And for many, many, many of those years, I was a trainer. So I used to stand up and do training courses. And I’ve told the storey numerous times through the episodes, but I’m obviously creating training courses and entertaining people, and teaching them in a way that is memorable. Obviously needed a certain amount of creativity. So I would do the courses in in slightly wacky ways, which hopefully the guys attending found fun, but then they gain something from it.
Eric Maisel [18:53]
You did them in Italian, did you? I did. Yeah.
David Ralph [18:55]
Absolutely. And I used to get cold. Oh, you’re a maverick, or you’re a loose cannon. And by the managers and the sort of the board of directors, and it used to really get up my nose. I’ll be honest, Eric, and I used to think,
Eric Maisel [19:10]
and you were hardly a loose cannon, you were playing inside the lines beautifully. You were playing their game. But even that was intolerable.
David Ralph [19:18]
Well, yeah, that’s why I was doing a job as well as I possibly could, and in many ways better than I possibly could. Because, you know, I didn’t have funding, it was all out of my own creativity that I used to do this. And as I say that, that Maverick usually really, really sticking me. Now I’ve left corporate land, and I’m doing this for a living, I actually think No, I should have worn that with a badge of honour because they couldn’t quite grasp what they had when they had it.
Eric Maisel [19:49]
Does that make sense? Well, that’s nice if you can pull it off. But most people in the workaday world understand that they’re not being utilised particularly well, that they have to agree to all kinds of rules and principles, including selling something that made that either they may not be interested in or that may actually repulse them. So it’s very hard to keep your equanimity. Keep a smiley face in the workaday world. It’s why so many people are looking to entrepreneurship as a way out of the corporate environment, way to not be a rat in that race, of course, then you’re, you know, half a rat in your own race. There are many things you have to do, that you don’t love to do if you’re an entrepreneur. But it’s it’s the reason why so many folks are trying to carve out their own way of being in the world, because being in somebody else’s enterprise typically doesn’t work very well.
David Ralph [20:48]
So if we start going back into your life and joining up the dots in your life, did you always have a plan? Because it seems to be that education, and has been being a sort of a line all the way through your life? Did you always want to be a teacher, a counsellor? Or was this something that kind of just tripped you up at some stage in your life? And you thought
Eric Maisel [21:12]
I don’t have a plan yet?
David Ralph [21:15]
And how old are you, Eric? How about you? Say again? How old are you at the moment? 6767. Now, I think that’s a fantastic thing to say, because so many people don’t have plans. But
Eric Maisel [21:30]
I know that I have things that I have things to do. But let me let me answer your question more concretely, back then I started out because I could do math and science, I started out believing I ought to do math and science. It didn’t really exactly interest me big numbers interested me just because they were big numbers and long distances interested me. So I thought that astronomy interested me just because of the big numbers and long distances. And I I went to a special Math and Science High School in New York City. didn’t really do any of the work. In fact, I would come to school on the subway with my friend Lou and he would do the homework because he was far more diligent than I was. And I would copy his homework. And so I would get sort of traditionally bad grades because I had never, you can’t really get through calculus without studying. But I came as closest was humanly possible. And so no, I had no plan. Then I claimed to be in math and science, but I wasn’t really. I went off to college at the age of 16, which, of course, is too young. But it was a very usual thing for New Yorkers to start college early. Because New York had a system a programme called the special SP special progress programme, where you could skip eighth grade, kind of if you wanted to. So everybody I knew had skipped eighth grade. And we’re all starting from at 16. And I had no idea what I was doing, I claimed still to be in math and science. But to tell you the absolute truth, what I enjoyed doing at 16, and a half was marching. I joined the Air Force ROTC, which was, I guess, a kind of club or what have you on campus. And I just really like to March, which, you know, looking back, I don’t even know what to say about that. But
David Ralph [23:23]
I don’t I’m lost for words on that one, I was trying to think of a hang on, there must be an angle to sort of chip in with it. And it’s not as if
Eric Maisel [23:30]
it was something about just the physicality and the the precision was kind of a beautiful thing to watch our truth. You know, as I say, it’s not unlike Tolstoy, the pacifist Tolstoy watching some, you know, hustlers passing some Cossacks passing and saying, Wow, they’re pretty gorgeous. Oh, there’s something about that for a boy. That was attractive to me so much so that after I flunked out of college, which would have been about a year and a half later, and I spent most of my time in college, you’re learning about girls and ping pong. That’s what college was. And that was fine. I completely enjoyed that. Except, of course, I flunked out. And then I was stuck with the Vietnam War facing me in the face. This was 1965. And I knew I would be drafted. And so I concocted a crazy plan, which actually, you know, talk about Join Up Dots. It was a crazy plan, I decided to enlist, and to enlist to go to Korea because my background in physics taught me that I couldn’t be in two places at the same time. And that if I was in Korea, I couldn’t also be in Vietnam. So the plan ultimately worked. It was a crazy plan, because there was no reason why they couldn’t send me to Vietnam after Korea, but I didn’t think it that far through. At any rate, I enlisted at 18. And I loved all those toys again, you know, looking back, nothing much I want to say in praise of who I was. But I love firing weapons and driving armoured personnel carriers was perfect boys stuff. You know, if we’re ever going to get rid of wars, we’re gonna have to deal with how boys enjoy them. You know, that’s going to be a piece of our learning about how to deal with wars. At any rate. This is a long, long winded way of saying you will not see a plan in any of this. And we can go on through the decades. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a plan in any bit except that at 24, I started working on my first novel, and I think I knew in that split second that I would always be writing.
David Ralph [25:40]
So that was your key dot. That was your big dog where your life started to spin into a direction based around right? Yes.
Eric Maisel [25:48]
And there was some probably big dots before which were reading dots if the writing doc was the big dot, then reading Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy and the classics, which I was doing it, you know, from in my teen years, and all through the army. Fact I had a job. It’s called armourer in the army, and that’s the person who watches the arms room takes care of the weapons. Well, in Korea, the weapons because there’s a monsoon season, the weapons will rust instantly if you don’t take care of them. And so I sat there in my arms room reading Crime and Punishment, and the weapons around me were completely rusting. I. Needless to say, I was fired from that. I was lucky. I wasn’t court martialed, but I was fired from that job. I was not the perfect person to watch the weapons. I was far too busy reading. But I would say that my dogs have been reading have been books, and they naturally led to the writing of books.
David Ralph [26:43]
And if we went back to sort of the five year old in the Bronx, were you in like a reader and a writer? Was books, something that was big in the little Eric’s life?
Eric Maisel [26:55]
Yes, not quite five, because I have I would have trouble going quiet two, five, but by seven or eight or nine, absolutely, I had what we think was rheumatic fever. Kind of hard to know, diagnosis was not wonderful back then. But I believe I was in about the second grade, which would make me I think, probably about eight years old. And I woke up one morning and my left leg was paralysed. And a doctor came and diagnosed it as rheumatic fever. And there was nothing to do for it, except to take penicillin and hope you survived, hope you lived and also hope that the paralysis would go away. So I was in bed for probably two or three months straight in mobile. And I wrote wrote, you’ll see what I mean by right in a second. But I wrote a huge book, which was the history of everything, which was actually just me cutting out articles from the National Geographic magazines that I had, and ordering the articles. So that you know, it might be start with, you know, astronomy and go on to zoology. So my first book was one of these fat loose leaf books of cut out articles from the National Geographic. And it was already my intention to cover everything there was in the universe. So maybe had had I been able to look down on me, I probably would have understood where I was going. Yeah.
David Ralph [28:21]
You know, because the tagline for this show, is connecting our past to build our future. And I, even at the beginning, before I started doing these shows, I had this this vague kind of feeling in my head. But we all know our path, we just don’t spend time reflecting on the things that we’ve enjoyed, or we were naturally good at. Because once we leave college or university, whatever, you got to get a job, and you just kind of fold into a job, because
Eric Maisel [28:46]
I agree with you. And let me piggyback on that I know I’m interrupting you. But I want to piggyback because folks may not know that there are two completely different theories of human development that underpin all of psychology, and they’re contradictory. One is the Freudian view. And the typical view that we develop. The other is the young, the young Ian view, which is that we start out whole and undeveloped, that we start to lose ourselves, the Freudian view is we start to become ourself. And the union view is we start to lose ourselves. I’m in this sense of union, because I think I was completely whole at 234, and five. And as you say, could have, if there was some way to do it could have understood my destiny. So I’m really agreeing with you that I think there’s something we know deeply, including, we know what we fall in love with. I think everybody who’s been in a darkened theatre at the age of five, or read a book or listen to music, they know what that falling in love feels like, whether they’re also going to be a musician or a painter, or a writer is something else again. But that’s an awfully pure experience that falling in love at that age.
David Ralph [29:59]
He’s your unique self, isn’t it? That’s what we’re tapping into. You know, if you looked at my school reports, when I was like five 610 11, it was always babies more interested in having a conversation been paying attention. David is always taught you ADHD. I don’t know what it was at the time. But we’re not joking. I’m joking. But it might have been, I really don’t know, you know, at the time, it was just the fact that I like to talk. And when I went into corporate land, and pretty much I spent my next 20 years talking, you know, but in a structured environment. Now I’m here, and I’m having the greatest conversations on a daily basis. And I kind of think, as I’ve said numerous times on this earlier, I should have done it, but I just wasn’t ready. I just I just couldn’t see my time. Exactly. But now
Eric Maisel [30:46]
I’ll tell you, so don’t worry about I’ll tell you a storey about my coaching life about that I should have been aware that I was going to do this when I was six. But of course I wasn’t aware. So my mother I am grew up alone with my mother, I had two siblings who were much older than me, and they were already out of the house. So essentially, I was an only child, although I had siblings. And so my mother would tell me the storeys of I was maybe six or seven or eight years old, my my mother would tell me the the crazy storeys of her friends marriages and what was going on. And I remember she told me well, that a co worker of her of hers, and the co workers husband were fighting over the open window, that is one wanted to sleep with the window open for the air, and the other one of the window closed because of the bugs. And so I listened to my mother storey and I said, screens.
Unknown Speaker [31:42]
That was the solution. But that’s perfect. And that
Eric Maisel [31:46]
was perfect. It was just it was just taking the situation, not getting worked up not trying not getting it invested in the drama of these two people, and going directly to problem solving. And I think that’s why I like coaching so much better than therapy. And I’ve done both. I’m a therapist and a coach. But I like going to the What should we get done this week, as opposed to please tell me again, the whole history of your life.
David Ralph [32:11]
You probably saved my marriage. Did you know that because every night, I want the windows open. And every night my wife says no. Because of bugs, screens, screens. Wow, it still works, it does still work doesn’t need a mosquito net over us, which actually probably won’t go with us at this point of the show. This is when we’ve touched enough on your path to realise but that there’s no plan. There’s no structure, it is mistakes and stumbles and successes and failures. And I didn’t want to play you the speech which we do generally at this time. This is when Steve Jobs back in 2005 stood up and had a commencement speech to a load of students leaving University. And this is what he said. And it is the theme of the show Join Up Dots. Once it finishes. Erica, I just want to know whether you think this is truly relevant not just for your life now. But through your whole life.
Steve Jobs [33:10]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [33:45]
What do you think, sir? What do you think about those words?
Eric Maisel [33:49]
Well, I partially agree. And I partially disagree. I don’t think that we actually can trust that the dots will connect. They may never connect up which is which is a sad storey, but also the truth about human affairs. I think we do have to trust in ourselves though. And trust in our ability to make sense of life at any given moment and make our next life purpose choice and sees our next meeting opportunity. I think the trust is in us rather than in the in the dots connecting up. Because you can do an honourable job of writing novel after novel and still never either get published or have a successful career. In a certain sense. The dots may never connect up the way you had hoped they would. And you may be sad, even despairing that whole time. But if you can trust in yourself, then maybe you can figure out the next thing to try that will serve you. So it may be sort of splitting hairs to to disagree about trusting the dots connecting up. But I but I but I think it is a difference of opinion. I think what he’s really saying is you have to trust in yourself. And that’s its own difficult concept. We know that Steve Jobs was an incredibly difficult man, some would call him an expletive deleted, Panda, and I know people who have been in his presence and in his life who despised him. So we hold him up as a certain kind of innovator with wisdom. But he was also arrogant, the narcissist and a grand grandiose, and maybe we need that. Maybe we need that for ourselves, obviously balanced against humanism, compassion, and some other things. But we may maybe need to be a little more arrogant, narcissistic and grandiose than we like to admit, in order to be able to stay on our own path and follow our own devices, it’s not so easy to stay on your own path. And if you throw yourself away, if you if you’re if you regularly give yourself away, you’re not going to have a chance to figure that path out.
David Ralph [36:12]
Yeah, you know, I listened to that. And I listened to it at the moment, about five or six times a day while I’m doing these interviews. And every now and again, I hear it with different ears. Sometimes I listened to it. And I think, you know, oh, it sounds like what he’s saying is, you know, don’t worry about it, everything’s going to turn out wonderful. You just have to sort of them you go go with what you think is right. But other times I listen to it. And I think to myself, all he’s saying is get off your backside and try. Because unless you try, you’re never going to get what you totally dream for.
Eric Maisel [36:48]
That’s right. And I think I would have loved it to be more clearly said the second way. Because the fact that it can be heard both ways is probably a problem in the present.
David Ralph [37:02]
I like the Get off your backside, Eric. That’s what I’m saying. I say that to all the listeners out there, you know,
Eric Maisel [37:07]
that’s right. And my way of saying it is just like yours, it’s about showing up. But for me, I always append the following and that show up and try not to attach to outcomes. Because people do attached to outcomes too readily. They get too invested in the thing in front of them. And all we can do is show up there, there are no guarantees that the thing we’re going to do works, it’s wonderful that your show is working for you. But Had it been sort of three degrees off centre, then you would have needed to notice that and make the changes you needed to make so that it works. And you would have needed to accept any mistakes and message you were making, etc. So it’s really important that we get the two parts of this dance correct. The showing up part and also the not attaching to outcomes part.
David Ralph [37:54]
Yeah, no, I agree with that as well, because there’s certain parts, you know, we were talking before the show about sir, some parts of this this show that when I started doing it, I kind of thought, should I do this? Should I not? Or don’t know, is it a bit cheesy, whatever. But now, just from the feedback, it’s like I’ve touched upon something, which I didn’t I hadn’t quite perceived at the beginning. And now I think oh, brilliant. I’m not going to change this in any shape or form. This is what I’m going to keep and steady with. But at the beginning, I didn’t know which way to go. So it is three degrees. And they free two ways either way, and you’re successful.
Eric Maisel [38:28]
process. That’s right. I believe that process is a powerful word. And everybody pays lip service to Oh, sure. I love I love the creative process. I love process. Most people can’t tolerate process. They can’t tolerate the idea of spending two years on a novel that then ultimately doesn’t work. That’s the reality of process. Maybe book one doesn’t work. Book Two does work. Book Three doesn’t work. Book four does work. That’s the reality of process and we have to tolerate books one in three not working. That’s very hard to do. You want the line to just keep on going up, don’t you? You know, on the park, you want everything to work? Yeah, he didn’t want it. Human beings wonder, you know how many of Bob Dylan’s 5622 songs are brilliant. At 119. He knows that he’s just going to do the next song in the next song in the next song and one will be brilliant and 43 won’t.
David Ralph [39:22]
If you speak to my wife, nothing
Eric Maisel [39:24]
actually does the work understands that only a percentage of their work is going to be wonderful.
David Ralph [39:30]
How do you overcome that? You know, how do you? How do you stop that? That inner dialogue that beat yourself up? Because we all have it, don’t we we all do a speech and we think oh, we should have done that slightly better. Where everybody in the audience is going, Oh, that was great. It was fantastic. But inside you kind of think, oh, it could have been better. How do some creative people overcome? Well,
Eric Maisel [39:53]
there are many there are many pieces, the many steps to that solution. The first is the showing up today. If you mean to be a creative person, you need to institute a regular routine that’s to use loose language sacred to you that you don’t that you don’t violate, you actually show up to your work every day, seven days a week. And I mean, seven days a week because I don’t think our meeting needs stop on the weekends. I think we have our meeting needs every day of the week. So we go and do our work every day. That’s a be is we only think thoughts that service. That’s the Buddhist high goal to get a grip on your own mind. If you hear yourself having a thought like, wow, I don’t think I have talent or this or I’m too old is too much competition. You have to dispute that thought nobody else can help you there inside. You have to dispute that sort of thought and say no, no, that thought is not serving me. By the way. Let me say a little sideline, important point here. Folks are often held hostage to thoughts because the thoughts are true thoughts. And they think that it’s a true thought must be countenance. For instance, let’s say you ever thought like there are a lot of writers out there. That is a true thought nobody could dispute that its veracity. However, that’s not a useful thought to a writer to be thinking that it’s not a thought that serves him. So if you hear yourself saying, boy, there are a lot of writers out there, you’ve got to say instantly No, not No, that isn’t true. But no, that isn’t the thought that serves me. Because what happens if you don’t dispute that thought? You won’t notice anything on Monday, and on Wednesday, you’ll stop writing, and you won’t even know why you stopped writing. And you stopped writing because on Monday, you heard yourself say, Boy, there are a lot of writers out there. So we have to do a much better job than we do have only thinking thoughts that actually serve us.
David Ralph [41:49]
You hit the nail on the head with certainly with myself, I feel like I mean, I’m in counselling at the moment, actually, as you’re saying that. Because before I started is I had the idea to do a podcast and it smashed me in the head. And I thought, this is it, this is what I should do brilliant. And then it was almost like I was the first person to ever have that fault. And I thought it was perfect. You know, I’m going to have these conversations with people. And no one’s ever heard this before. But once I started sort of delving into it, and I’d never thought of doing a podcast in any shape or form. So I had no idea how to do it. It was just an idea that came into my mind when I realised there was thousands of people doing out there. And I went through about two weeks of a real roller coaster thinking, oh, there’s no point, everyone else is doing it. And being only so I’m going to do it and then always no point. And I’ll just went up and down, up and down, up and down. And all I managed to do was just stop listening to other people’s podcasts, basically, because it felt like there was only maybe three of us doing it. And I had more of a chance of success.
Eric Maisel [42:49]
You were talking yourself into just showing up and not worrying about what anybody else was doing.
David Ralph [42:58]
Yeah. Is that the way to do it?
Eric Maisel [43:01]
Yes, absolutely. I try to have my clients not show their work too much. not take too many workshops, mine, my own included, just go do the work and and not do what they often called research. And research is often the way both to not get the work done. And to make sure that you don’t feel good about what you’re doing.
David Ralph [43:24]
It’s crazy, isn’t it. It’s crazy how we we sabotage ourselves even though we’ve got all the passing passions and all the dreams to do you know amazing things in our life. We we stopped ourselves before we hadn’t started
Eric Maisel [43:37]
yet. Let me give you a big headline as to why we do that with respect to creating. One of the one of the truths about creating is that creating is a series of choices. Put the blue here, put the red there, put the take the comma it take come out, put the comment, send your character to Paris send your character to Zanzibar one choice after another. That’s what the creative process is. and choosing provokes anxiety. The very act of choosing provokes anxiety, if you just think about, you know, should I eat the good tasting cereal or the good for me cereal or any kind of small choice we make in life provokes a little anxiety and us the creative process is a continual stream of choices. And folks don’t realise that. And they don’t realise that. Because it makes them anxious to make these choices. they flee the encounter. That’s the number one thing we do to avoid the experience of anxiety is to get the heck out of there. So most people are avoiding getting their creating done for just this reason that they don’t want to find. They don’t want to face the anxiety of choosing
David Ralph [44:49]
is easy. As simple as that, though. Always it just Yes, it is as simple as well,
Eric Maisel [44:54]
not Not quite. But as a headline. That’s not a bad one. The second headline is that you we’re going into genuine darkness where you genuinely don’t know. And people don’t like that either. So those are two huge sources of anxiety, the anxiety of choosing and the anxiety of let’s call it a dark room.
David Ralph [45:13]
Point. So if someone’s listening to this, Eric, and I hope somebody is listening to his voice, I’m not doing very well. But I’m if I Oh, and I’m out there and I thinking that wasn’t the thought that served me wasn’t was it? I don’t know where that came from. Okay, there’s millions of people out there listening to this
Eric Maisel [45:28]
millions billion, the whole human race,
David Ralph [45:30]
it would be good, wouldn’t it? It would be good if a million people and a few animals thrown in as well, too. So listen to it. If they’re listening out there, and they they’re, they’re in a job, but they are not happy with. And they’ve got this thing going on in their mind where they think, Oh, I would like to do this. I would like to do this. And I’ve got all these these dialogues going on in their head. How can they you know, what was the first thing? What’s the most simple thing that somebody can do the very beginning to start making momentum in their life?
Eric Maisel [46:00]
Well, I think it would depend a little on on what sort of thing you were thinking of whether it was starting your novel or starting your online business, or there would probably be different first steps, depending on which sort of thing you were meaning. But one of the first steps would be to rekindle desire. Because we are not your culture and our culture. We’re not particularly passionate cultures, we don’t countenance a lot of passion. And most people in their lifetimes learn to not be very passionate, they learn to be merely interested in things, not really productively obsessed about them. So a person who’s hoping to do the thing you just said probably isn’t sufficiently passionate about the thing that they’re thinking about. They’re merely interested in it. So one thing that we have to do is fall back in love with or fall back and fall back in love for the first time with the thing that we say we mean to be doing. Pavarotti as a quote I like, which is people say I’m disciplined, but it’s not discipline, it’s devotion. And there’s a big difference. And there is a big difference. You need to be devoted to the thing you want to try, you’re not going to white knuckle it through discipline, it’s not possible to write 17 novels in a row via discipline, only you actually have to care about them, you have to be interested in them, you have to love them. So that would be if I were to name one sort of regrouping procedure, it would be to fall in love with the thing you claim to be interested in.
David Ralph [47:30]
What about the burning your bridges, because I know that I have taken more action in my life in the last six months since I quit my job. And I quit my job with just enough coming in to pay the bills and nothing more. So it was it was a big drop in salary. And I think that was the making of me. Because from that point on, I was thinking, Blimey, I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to do something. Otherwise, this is the worst mistake in my life. And I started flexing my my hustle muscle and developing on a daily basis and is burning your bridges. So you’ve got nowhere else to turn our band towards the thing you want to do good as well.
Eric Maisel [48:10]
I would be a little leery of it. It’s wonderful that it worked for you. But I would be a little leery of it. And let me give you one storey example. So James Jones, who wrote to From Here to Eternity, and other well known novels of that era, made a lot of money. And his friends pestered him and said, Well, if we had your time and your money, we’d write novels too. So he gave them time and money, and none of them wrote, because they hadn’t been writing. So I would say that before you quit your day job, you better prove to yourself that you’re actually doing the work already, I would want you to, you know, do a novel or two or three, or you know, I want you to have some real muscles in place for that burning the bridge moment. Because very often, people may provide themselves with time, get the time they need, but because they haven’t been doing the work previously, they don’t do it, then I think a great example of that are teachers who claim to work that they will work on their books during summer vacation, because then they will be free and have all the time in the world. And virtually none of them do that writing during that time. So I would be a little careful of burning your bridges before you’ve actually proven to yourself that you’re actually willing to do the work.
David Ralph [49:30]
What is your work? And all the things that you do? Obviously, you’ve you’ve been a writer, you’re a counsellor, you you study psychology and counselling? What’s the thing that you would say if you was in a bar or a pub? And somebody said, What do you do for a living? What would you quote,
Eric Maisel [49:48]
it’s actually pretty easy, it would be telling truth to power.
I don’t know if all of your listeners know that phrase. But it’s the idea that the team is old fashioned language, the power elites, that that the world is set up, to not tell us the truth very often. And so I see as one of my jobs to tell truth to power. Currently, I’m in the actually it’s it’s, it’s a British movement, the critical psychiatry movement, we don’t call it that in the States. fact, we don’t have a name for it in the States. But it’s that movement that disputes the way mental health service provisions are currently done. And what the mental health establishment is doing by creating new mental disorders all the time, right and left, just by folks sitting around the table saying, let’s have this new mental disorder, and let’s have that new mental disorder. So I it is my job to dispute those things which are established that I believe are false.
David Ralph [50:55]
I really wasn’t expecting that answer. I’m quite surprised by that. I was expecting something that yeah, it’s counselling that really gets me going. Or is the writing? Have you always been a truthful person? And or is this something you’ve developed? Because I’m
Eric Maisel [51:10]
sorry, I don’t mean to give that impression. I can live with the best of them. I think telling truth to power is different from being a truthful person how I don’t want to set the bar in that crazy place where we aren’t all little bit liars. I think we are I think that’s part of our repertoire. So have I always been a truthful person, I’ve always told truth to power. I’ve told pretty big Whopper lies, but I’ve always, even in the army at the age of 18. I’ll tell one or two storeys there, if we have a moment. I’m not sure if you I’m not sure if you know what a buffer is. It’s a machine to wax the floors of Barack Yeah. So now we just to recruit I was probably in the army seven days at this point in our platoon leaders said that, since our buffer had broken, we recruits had to chip in and buy a new one. And I knew that that couldn’t conceivably be right, that soldiers had to buy their own buffer. So I, so to speak, raised my hand and I said, you know, is that really a lawful order? And so I was instantly in trouble. In fact, the next day, I was jumping up and down in a big garbage can because that was my punishment for speaking truth to power there. But yes, all along. If I hear something like that, I’m going to say, I don’t really agree with that. I don’t believe that.
David Ralph [52:39]
And that’s held you back? Or is that progressed your life?
Eric Maisel [52:43]
Well, absolutely. If you’re not an insider, you don’t progress as well as if you are an insider. And I’m not going to be inside of very many institutions.
David Ralph [52:54]
But I like that I like I like the fact that you you’re standing up for those those moments when you just think No, it’s wrong. You’re the non silent minority.
Eric Maisel [53:06]
Yeah. And I pick and choose, a moment arose not so long ago, where I didn’t feel like fighting. There was a there was set of circumstances here in the state of Texas, there were a series of church fire bombings. And the FBI, arrested, the folks they thought were the culprits. And the FBI made a decision, a very interesting decision to announce that on the shelf of the culprits was a certain book, my book, the atheist way. Now, of course, on that show, for it was also the Holy Bible and lots of other books. But the FBI decided to announce that these church, fire bombers had the atheist way on their bookshelf. So my public when this came out, and there was like, 1000, new storeys, and like one split second about this. So my publicist called me and said, do you want to do interviews around this? And I said, No, I did not want to defend these folks, right? To have the atheist way on their shelf, I couldn’t find the right talking points, in my own mind, to get involved to get embroiled in this piece of craziness. So I skipped that one. So like everyone, I do choose my battles. And that was one I didn’t feel like fighting.
David Ralph [54:28]
Well, let’s get to the point of the show now and see how truthful you are when I bring you on to the Sermon on the mic. And this is the part of the show where I send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And you can choose any age of younger self, it could be the Eric in the in the military, it could be the Eric, in the Bronx, whatever he won, but I’m going to play the music now. And when it fights off, I’m just going to sit back and listen, as you go on the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [55:01]
Here we go. With the best beer on the show.
Eric Maisel [55:19]
Without as I was saying about Steve Jobs before, I believe he was an arrogant, narcissistic grandiose guy. And so as I in my youth, and I think that serves us and doesn’t serve us. And if I was going to speak to little Eric would be a pretty big little Erica be the 28 year old Eric, there was a moment where I was showing my first novel to a literary agent, and she actually loved it, but she wanted certain changes. And the bristling non accommodating Eric told her to go to. And I wish that I could have modulated all of those things, which I think are necessary, all of that. All of that self interest is necessary, but I wish I could have modulated it, in certain circumstances, to have better played the games that are necessary. In the real world. I think I’ve lost certain opportunities by being a little too vehemently. self righteous sometimes. But that’s not a big deal to me. If I had to give the short answer. There’s not a lot I would change because I’m happy where I’ve arrived and to imagine changing something I think implies that you’re maybe not so happy with where you’ve arrived. So because I am happy to be here. I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve operated.
David Ralph [56:57]
Me before you leave today, how can people get in contact with you?
Eric Maisel [57:04]
The best way is to visit my website which is my name.com that’s Eric mais elle.com er IC, ma I SEO com or to drop me an email at Eric mais firstname.lastname@example.org again, that’s er IC, ma I CL I am on Facebook and Twitter on Twitter. I’m Eric mais l and on Facebook, I believe I myself also,
David Ralph [57:30]
with all the links will be on the show notes today. And just before you go, I just really like to thank you for being so open, generous, and of course, talkative today. It’s been fascinating. And it really has been fascinating. And I say this literally every episode. But I tried to keep him to an hour but I could go on for two or three hours because there’s so many areas I want to touch on, but we sort of need to hold it in. But if you ever get a chance, please drop us a line and come back on the show because I’m sure there’s so much more to your past that we haven’t touched on and of course, your future as well because I believe that our futures continue to progress and continue to have dots to join up. And by joining up the dots and connecting our past it really is the best opportunity we have to build our future. Eric Moselle. Thank you so much.
Eric Maisel [58:19]
Thank you, David great being with you.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up Dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.