16th of November 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 39


This week on Helping Joe, Nils and Charlie continue to help Joe fix his faulty mental models. They talk about miserable people from the Midwest (Joe’s from Ohio), pursuing a job that makes you happy, and the book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by their friend Kamal Ravikant.

They also go through another list of companies Joe wants to work for, but he still doesn’t get this right.


You can click here (right click, then click save as) to download the episode directly.


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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 – Helping Joe children’s books

Story that Charlie & Nils put together was hilarious. They did this on a thread of our Slack channel.

I put them all here in a google doc here

Ginger Joe Children’s Book

“I spent an entire cross-country flight talking about this.” – Nils

“I was crying laughing.” – Charlie

This was a little embarrassing and mostly hilarious. There was one depressing pic where my neck was across a railroad track.

@8:00 – Style update

Criquet might sponsor the show and I went down ot their offices in Austin to talk to them and they gave me some great shirts.

These 2 were my favorite shirts and I wore them over the weekend after this show and got a like 5+ compliments in two days when I went out with these on. They look great and feel great. I was surprised by the compliments but it felt good. I was like “man yea I you’re right I do look good.”



Nils goes with James Perse polo shirts which are even more expensive and high quality

I don’t have e belt. I used to but I’m not sure what happened to it. This is also embarrassing. I don’t know why I don’t have a fucking belt.

@15:00 – Growth mindset with improv

I went back to Level 1 of improv to have fun and meet more people.

I’m realizing how far I came from being a nervous, tense, self-judgmental person in that room to having confidence and not caring about how it goes.

It was just an great case study of how this one big thing was outside my comfort zone and I sucked at it, then I worked on it and got better over 6 months and now I’m not nervous or anxious at all because I’ve done it so many times and I know I’m good at it.

@17:00 – Growth mindset stuff

The 2 graphics I went over and was talking about here.



“Nobody is 100% growth mindset. Those people are called Buddha. Everything is a challenge. We all have doubts. It’s just having a framework for when they arise.”
– Nils

“We tie our identity to what we do and how we doing things. One of the things that is helpful is to step back and take an objective analysis. If you really sucked as a person, we would not be talking to you… You’re a good person. You’re just struggling with models that don’t work and behaviors that are self-defeating.” – Nils

“You have to tell yourself that over and over again until it sticks. You have to believe it.” – Nils

“That’s why we are trying to get you to reinforce your own gratitude and loving toward yourself rather than whatever we say or anybody else does. You need the daily dose. It’s a practice” – Charlie

@23:00 – Miserable people from the Midwest

We talk about being from the Midwest and having this work ethic where you suffer a miserable job just to take it to the pot of goal that is retirement at the end of the road.

A lot of people I know from back home are like this, my parents especially, and I am terrified of being that way when I get older. Terrified of doing a job that is a lot of drudgery and then retiring and either being too old to do stuff or not knowing wtf to do once I retire. That sucks

“You have to live life and not it live you.” – Nils

“Its’ this old blue-collar union mentality, ‘You should just be happy you have a job.’ We’re not in that world anymore, but the tentacles of that mindset still exist and where they exist most toxically is in the relationship between those people and their kids. That’s exactly where you are.” – Nils

Yea I feel myself thinking that or saying that to myself a lot here, “Just get a job and shut up. You should just go get a job and go work and quit trying to find the perfect thing or be happy.”

“The work is the hardest because it’s deprogramming the stuff you grew up with.”
– Nils

Yea I don’t even think recognize this stuff or this mindset. It’s just a part of me and I have to figure out how to recognize it and get rid of it.

@28:00 – Pursuing a job based on your own happiness

Charlie calls me out for regurgitating bad advice I heard online.

“You’re right in that happiness is not the only variable to take into consideration, but it’s almost like you have this resistance to the idea that you could be happy and passionate and that those are ok things to focus on.” – Charlie

Yea I do because it hasn’t gotten me anywhere and I think it’s selfish and I see some people who talk about living their passion and “my passion is” xyz and those people generally suck. I don’t like them.

“You can and should do things that bring you joy because then it’s sustainable.”
– Charlie

“I wouldn’t be shocked if you found a sales gig in Austin that has a team of 12 cool people where you were making 42,000 thousand dollars a year and you’ve increased your happiness by 100% because you’re in a group of people with a tribe, not isolated and you’re making things happen.” – Nils

Yea that would pretty awesome.

@31:00 – Regrets of people at the end of their lives

– “I wish I had let myself be happy”
– “I wish I didn’t work so hard”
– NOT “I wish I made a little bit more money”

“It sounds like you’re bitter or have sour grapes that things you did in the past didn’t work out.”

Yep that’s fair and probably right on.

@33:00 – People live portfolio lives nowadays

I don’t look at my life and things I’ve done this way, as a portfolio.

I kinda look at them as a series of things that aren’t good enough to mention or talk about or things that just didn’t work out.

It would be a lot better for my soul and sense of wellbeing if I was like Charlie and just looked at these things as a series of adventures or fun jobs I had which most of them were.

“They kind of did workout though in terms of skillset, but it doesn’t sound like you believe that.” – Nils

Nils’s point was that I learned a lot and developed skills in these jobs but I don’t see them that way. I just look at most of them, more specifically the last 2-3 jobs, as disappointments.

“To say ‘I’m going to have a stronger resume and that will make me happy’ is total nonsense. You’re already there. You choose not to allow it.” – Charlie

@36:00 – The Recency Effect / Bias

“The last thing that happened with these companies wasn’t what you wanted or expected. You could just as easily revisit the good days or fun lunch breaks, but you don’t.” – Charlie

“You re-litigate the end of that because you are looking the explanation [to why you were fired] because you blame yourself. That’s a weird narcissism. In the absence of complete information, you fill the void with your worst-case scenario. When you combine that with a tendency towards narcissism, you are searching for answer that explains your role in your own demise when in reality, it’s independent of you. Your thing ended because they were idiots and it had nothing to do with you.” – Nils

“That’s what having friends is for, staying socially grounded in reality.” – Charlie

I said “whatever” like I didn’t care and they call me out for it and Nils said, “Contentment is for faggots,” and it was so fucking funny.

@40:00 – BOOK: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

I feel goofy reading or talking about this book and loving myself.

“You have resistance to it because it’s not cool. That’s how you look at everything.”
– Nils

We talk about my old clothes choices and trying to look cool. Nils said something very insightful:

“All these people you wanted to think that you were cool… how many of them did you think were cool? I’m going to go ahead and say 0. That’s what you need to grab a hold of to pull yourself out.” – Nils

Nils talks about Kamal Ravikant, the author of that book and why everybody loves because “he is an authentic person who is comfortable in his own skin and will be vulnerable to you. He creates indelible connections with people”… and that started with loving himself, hence the book.

“There is no positive ending to trying to please some external, validating source who isn’t interested in validating you. They are interested in only themselves.” – Nils

“You understand logic and objectivity but it gets trapped inside your head where the monkey fight takes over and that stuff gets bastardized by subjectivity and emoition that you don’t have a handle on.” – Nils

The answer is to the daily practice to “calibrate your emotions against something concrete and get that shit out of your head.”

“You can think yourself into being a loving, happy person, but you have to do the practice.” – Charlie

“It will seem awkward at the beginning and uncomfortable and youre not going to want to do it. But eventually it will not seem awkward and it will seem normal. Then after that you’ll actually start to feel it.” – Charlie

@48:30 – “Yea but how long will it take?”

This wasn’t the right question to ask but it was funny.

My thing was: Ok if I keep doing this eventually I’ll get better, but when? How long do I have to keep doing this before it works? I don’t like doing this, I just want to get to the end and be fixed. When will that happen?

@49:30 – Target list of companies

We talk about these a few minutes each. My favorite is GA

1. General Assembly in Austin
2. Compost Pedaling
5. 3d printer
6. Sick backpack
8. BeSomebody
9. theChive
10. Whole Foods
11. Old people watch
12. Smart dog collar

@54:00 – Does the size of the tribe matter?

I thought I should be looking for a smaller team to work with and be a part of building a tribe rather than joining one.

Nils made the point that in bigger companies there are tribes within tribes and how I’m making assumptions here.

@57:00 – What’s cool VS Who can pay

Making a certain amount of money to live a certain lifestyle with specific criteria for the job.

“You seem fixated on the social proof of these companies. Whether or not this company has a sick backpack doesn’t matter. Your goal isn’t to find a startup that you can be a cofounder in. You are looking to validate your job by how cool their product is.” – Nils

Absolutely that is what I was doing. Just looking at cool companies where I would get social proof or status from and something where I would want to sell their product.

“It’s nice to work for cool companies. It’s even nicer not to eat poverty chili.” – Nils

He was talking about a balance between getting paid and finding meaning or working on something cool.

“You have shit that you want to do with your life. Put yourself first.” – Nils

That is something that I have rarely done in a work relationship and in most of my romantic relationships too. I think that’s evident listening to this podcast. I put other people’s wants, opinions, judgments, needs ahead of my own and it’s kind of led me to this place of being miserable. It doesn’t work because if you don’t put yourself first no one else will.

“Talk to them through the lens of what your goals are. You have a strong resume and shit you are bringing to the table. They are not doing you a favor by giving you a job. It is an economic exchange where they get the better end of it.” – Nils

Fuck most of the time I feel like they are though. I feel like a fake walking into a place and asking for $80K because I’ve never done that before and I don’t know if I could make it work. I feel like I would be really lucky (not deserving) if I found a job right now that hit all my goals. I wish I had as much confidence in myself as they had in me. This is why working on the mindset stuff is so important.

“You getting 80,000 dollars for it is very possible at a lot of companies, and they are getting a good deal.” – Charlie

“Go to the Chamber Of Commerce and get their list of small businesses.” – Nils

“You have to adjust your filter” go from “what’s cool?” to “who can pay me what I want?”

“If your goal is to get to 80 grand a year and you’re looking at startups, you will continue to eat poverty chili.” – Charlie

@1:05:00 – The startup space and making it is really just luck

The point here was that it is very rare to make a lot of money working at a startup. They can’t pay a higher salary and getting equity is cool but it will rarely pay out with anything significant. Most startups fail.

Their point that investing in startups is hard enough were you can pick 100s and hope for 1-3 winners. The odds of hitting it big by picking and working at just one startup are astronomical.

“Do you think that the girls that you date are going to give you a pass because you for a cool company but make $26,000 a year and working 20 hours a day?” – Nils

Yea this was a really good point. Women aren’t attracted to workaholics or guys who are at cool companies.

“Approach this with, ‘I deserve to be paid what I’m worth, which is a lot.’ Look at the Chamber of Commerce.” – Charlie

“There are so many businesses that don’t advertise because they don’t need to. They are 10 or 12 man shops who have massive clients so they don’t need to advertise.”
– Nils

Yea this is sad but true that I have mainly been looking a company’s online presence (website, social media, etc.) to figure out if it might be a good place to work. There could be a lot of great companies that hit all my criteria that are killing it in their respective fields that don’t give a shit about having an online presence because they don’t need to. The person who shouts the loudest is usually the one that gets heard the most but they might not be the best or any good. Their point was that there are companies out there who are just going along, making a lot of money, that don’t need to shout about it online or tell people how cool they are.

“[The companies that you looked at] need to get as much attention as possible because they are on life support.” – Nils

“$480K, you take away 30% [kickstarter fee], that’s $340K for 5 people, plus marketing, productions, shipping the product. You won’t make a lot of money. They will be VERY protective of the money they spend. They won’t get a steady paycheck.” – Charlie

Yea he’s right. I should be looking at places where money is not an issue where they can blow that money on a sales guy because their ROI will be higher. Instead, I just looked at cool companies and products.

I ask: “Should I be shooting for 80K in the first job?”

Charlie fairly answers: “Why not?”

I say I don’t know but after thinking about it, I think the real reason why I was hesitant to be asking for that amount of $ was that

1) I’ve never made that much before,
2) I don’t know if I can do this,
And 3) I’m afraid of getting in there with all these expectations and promises then fucking up or failing because it’s been a few years since I’ve done this before and I don’t know if I can sell at this level. Fiddlesticks


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