13th of July 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 24


This week is our second episode of Helping Joe with four people on the mics (Tucker, Charlie, Nils, & Joe). This episode picks up where the guys left off in Episode 23.

Joe starts by reading the crazy (but hilarious) inner monologue he has with himself, that we told him to keep track of the week before. We help him figure out why he has these thoughts and reactions by exploring events from his past. Joe shares stories from his childhood, and we explain how everyone is dealt a different hand at birth and in life. His job is to figure out what his cards are so that he can live a good life with lots of great women and relationships in it.


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Joe’s Thoughts and Takeaways From This Episode:

Hey this is a running commentary of random thoughts, notes, and takeaways I had during or after this episode. – Joe

@Beginning – I read my self-loathing thoughts

This was the assignment from last week at the end of Episode 22

I knew these were ridiculous, but I didn’t think it would be this funny.

They were laughing uproariously and this was the hardest that Charlie had laughed on the podcast. He was dying.

It did feel good to get this out and see how ridiculous some of these random thoughts that I have throughout the day really are.

@6:00 – What is a 5/5 ?

Nils asked this and I tell him that the post office story from the end of Episode 22 was 5/5 for me because for about 10-15 minutes I just lost it and was fucking angry at myself for forgetting my wallet and not having $1 to send something. Monkey fight in my head all the way home.

Nils explains why this was a 5/5 for me, “You know why that’s a 5/5? Because that [mistake] exposed you to what you perceived as judgment of your value or status by someone who you perceived as lower status.”

I don’t think they were lower status or lower than me, but I did feel like they were judging me in a bad way because I made a mistake.

“So when other people [make mistakes] you don’t judge them and are kind to them, but when you do it, you fucking come down like a hammer on yourself.” – Tucker

Yep… Maybe I have higher expectations of myself than I have of other people. I don’t know.

“He has such elevated expectations of himself that he can’t get anything done. It cripples him from doing anything.” – Tucker

I think he’s right here, but why would I do this? This sucks.

@11:00 – Expectations and OCD tangent

Tucker and Nils talk about smart people they know who were crippled by their own high expectations.

“She couldn’t find the perfect door knobs so her [dream] house existed without door knobs (no locks) for years. Her expectations for this perfect house were so high that she didn’t give herself the time or energy or focus to achieve it so she checked out and went with a closet hanger with a hook.” – Nils

This totally sounds like my room situation and maybe even the food (chili) that I make. I just don’t do anything to improve it even though I know that I need to and I should.

It’s one reason why wantrepreneurs don’t ever become entrepreneurs. We talk about this here. Great comparison…

@13:30 – Why you feel like shit and are tired all the time

“A high level of expectation and then a really critical interior voice… that’s very demotivating. If you showed up here and I said, ‘You’re fucking failing, not doing anything right, would you come back here? Of course not.’”

“If you have those negative thoughts running in your head, that’s a hard battle to fight all the time.” – Charlie

“You wear yourself out.” – Tucker

Yep… and I don’t even realize this most of the time. It’s just my life and how I walk around and carry myself. At least I’m recognizing this now so I can try to catch myself as I do it.

@15:00 – Understanding the relationship with my parents and how it impacts me now

“Your model for how to treat yourself was [your mom] who was hyper-critical of herself.”

Tucker makes a good point here about why it’s so important to understand that how you grew up effects how you are now. I always thought this was kinda bullshit and I was my own person (different from my parents, not them) and that I shouldn’t blame my parents for problems that I have now.

On the one hand, that’s right. I shouldn’t blame them because these are my problems and I have to deal with them. But on the other hand, it helps to understand where these problems are coming from and how they got there, what past experiences or relationships or whatever might have caused these emotional problems that I now have.

We’ve talked about this in the last episode about how a few shitty experiences with friends when I was 12-13 years old still have an effect on me today: I’m on edge when people make fun of me and I have trouble playing because of some shitty things that happened years ago and the pattern I just got into after.

I told a story here about my mom leaving a McDonalds because she was embarrassed of my brother and I. It showed her self-consciousness of what complete strangers thought of her, her lack of self-control or emotional self-control, and her reaction of withdrawal. She didn’t say anything, just turned and walked away or more like ran away to the car and we froze then ran after her.

“I wish there was a light and a bell I could ring… That’s an imprinting story. Her fear of judgment and sense of shame was so profound that she abandoned her children! It overrode her maternal instinct, one of the most hard-coded things in the human species.” – Nils

Haha, yea that’s kinda fucked up. I remember this story so vividly. The words I said, the reaction she had (silence, embarrassment, then left), and what happened afterwards (she told my dad then my dad got on us for behaving badly, whatever). It’s weird.

@18:00 – Talk I had with my mom, her past growing up and going to therapy

She had problems with her dad who was tough on her and told her she was wrong for feeling certain things (anger, sadness, whatever). Her mom always took her dad’s side so my mom just always thought she was wrong for what she felt and didn’t know why and carried that awful feeling of “my emotions are wrong” around in her adult life. She went to therapy in her 20s when she was depressed and it helped a lot.

Nils talks about how his mom was the same way and how issues with her cropped when he was 29-30 and he had to go therapy for it. It helped him regulate his behavior (anger) and his inner monologue.

“Your mother did the best she could with what she knew how to do but it wasn’t enough or it wasn’t the right things. You can’t change that. Now you have to figure out what type of relationship you want to have with your mother and what is possible with her knowing who she is.” – Nils

“You need to understand that their experience with their parents shaped who they are and yours with your parents shape who you are. Figure out what cards you are playing with.” – Tucker

This is kinda interesting to dive into, especially on my dad’s side because I know he has issues with his parents (my grandparents) even though they are good people.

@21:00 – You need to figure out what hand that you were dealt parents

I took a lot of notes about what they said here because this stuff kind of blew my mind because I had never really thought about any of it. I always knew it was there. The only genes I have are from my parents so in some ways I’m a reflection of them. But I don’t really think about my strengths and weaknesses a lot or take them into account when making decisions.

“Some cards [from them] were good, some were bad. You need to understand your hand so you can know how to play it in your adult life.” – Tucker

“Some hands are not possible… it’s understanding what’s possible, figuring out what you want, and where those meet in the middle.” – Nils

His point was that there are some things I will never be able to do because of the hand I was dealt. First thing I think of is that I will never be the most attractive, outgoing guy at the bar. I will never have a great online dating profile because I’m not that attractive. I’ll never get a lot of Tinder matches haha. Neither my mom nor my dad were every that outgoing or popular or successful in their dating lives. I’ve picked that up from past conversations with other family members and just by observing how they act now.

“And understanding what to do, what not to do, problems to avoid, etc… It makes sense you have trust issues in relationships when an imprinting memory from your childhood is your mother abandoning you… That memory is part of your biology now, coded in your unconscious, and how you interact with the world is shaped by that. You can’t change that past event but you can how you interpret it and how you relate to your emotions.” – Tucker

Yea this sucks. I don’t have regret, but just sadness that this happened and I took it in a hard way (didn’t have a choice at 8 years old) and now it’s probably fucked up a lot of my life because I tip-toe around people so they don’t have a negative reaction and bolt like she did.

“You were sitting there in McDonald’s you had no idea why she left. Now you have to do everything right so that she doesn’t leave [again].” – Nils

“It makes sense that an 8 year old kid who gets abandoned becomes an adult who feels that he’s responsible for everyone’s happiness… or making all the right choices… it’s crippling because that perfectionism is impossible to reach.” – Tucker

I don’t know. This makes sense but it’s not 100% right on because the more I think about my parents behavior and how I modeled it, the more I think of my dad who is always trying to please everyone, take care of everyone, make sure everyone was happy, and paying for stuff he doesn’t need to pay for so he can be the good guy. I think that behavior of taking responsibility for other people’s happiness really comes from him being a nice guy or a people pleaser and that behavior probably came from his parents because my grandma was totally like that. And I know he had issues with both of them (his parents, my grandparents). Also, I don’t think it was just this experience, there has to be more than that has caused this pattern my whole life.

Their advice here to “figure out your hand: Bring this stuff up and talk about it with people that you know and trust, and sort through it.”

“[My hand] took me 2 years to figure out… and on the list of 50 people I would go to for advice in my life, my mom & dad are 49 & 50 on my list… I will never have a perfect family life so now I’ve spent the last 6 years figuring out what hands are possible for my life. It’s my responsibility to play those hands and put myself in a position to cash in when the cards turn.” – Nils

“Any hand in life can be turned into a winning hand. You just have to understand your cards.” – Tucker

This is kind of inspiring, but I was kind of getting sick (stomach started hurting) these last 10 minutes bringing this stuff up about my mom and that past memory and how it fucked me up now, but this was really hard for me to swallow for a couple reasons:

1) I don’t know what my cards are, what my emotional advantages or disadvantages are, even what life/job skills I’m good and bad at I don’t know because I just think I’m bad at a lot of things, good or average at some things, and not great at much. I can look at my past and guess, but I don’t know. And it’s painful because it’s realizing how bad you suck and how your self-identity or expectation or hope for what you want to be doesn’t match up with you who are.

But it’s also encouraging in a small way because if I can figure this out then I at least can stop wasting my life and move in a direction where the odds of success or finding happiness or whatever are much higher because I’m playing to my strengths.

2) I think I have fucked up expectations and want to be or do things that I will never be able to be. I think I’ve always had this. I don’t know where it came from, probably from messages around me, peers, culture, I don’t know. And that’s one reason why I’m unhappy a lot of the times or why I’ve been unhappy in different periods in my life.

“One of your cards is a lack of trust… You’ll feel like you have 100 cards when really 50 of them are under one card, like trust.” – Nils

I am going to go back through this whole podcast and write down what my cards (problems, strengths, weaknesses, blindspots) are or what they might be and bring it up later in the podcast. I am very grateful that I have 23 hours of material to work with here. They have given me a good start.

@28:00 – First identify the issue. That’s 80% of the work and fixing it.

Identify and emotionally connecting to the issue.

The issues in your life that you don’t identify are the ones that fuck you up.

Tucker gives a great example of one of his issues, anger, and how he identified it and stays on top of it in his company.

“The problems you know are the only ones that you can fix.” – Tucker

@31:00 – My improvements and progress over the last 6 months

Tucker lists all the stuff that is going right and progress I’ve made on Helping Joe.

“What do you do? Keep doing what you’re doing. This is great. Have the courage to go into the hard parts. Think about the things that are uncomfortable. It’s a process.” – Tucker

Yep but I still want to figure out an easy way to do it or a checklist of stuff I can knock off.

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