Super U Podcast | The Not So Simple Art of Doing Less
5x #1 Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in over 55 countries and reached over 50 million people this past decade. He was voted the 2nd Most Likable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling.
Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from the episode.
Super U Podcast | The Not So Simple Art of Doing Less:
[5:27] Things Happen For You
“Interesting enough is that things happen in life for you, not to you. And this is a case of that. That’s exactly what happened is a magazine wanting to do a photoshoot and they said, “Hey, we want to have some fun with this cover. Do you mind if I give you some Clark Kent-like glasses, since you have a name equalman, it sounds like a superhero?” And at this point in time, just that’s just my website equalman. And I go, yeah, we can do that. And they go, “Well, it’s our St. Patrick’s Day issue. Do you mind if they’re green?” I go, “Let’s rock them.” And they bring them out, like, “Whoa, those are really bright.” And I really didn’t think much of it.
I flew to Kenya a couple of weeks later for a keynote and the night before I was gonna adopt a baby cheetah from a rescue shelter, not to take home, but just to help the local area… But on the ride over to the shelter, the lady that I was with said, “Hey, you know, the Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt was here a couple of days ago, and he adopted from the same litter that you’re gonna adopt from. Do you mind if we film you, because we’re gonna marry this film footage together and just raise money for the shelter?” And I go, “Yeah, that sounds like a wonderful idea.” And then she pauses and looks at me and goes, “But obviously, when we’re filming, we want to make sure you’re wearing your green glasses,” then I kind of look back at her, I go, “Oh, I don’t wear those all the time, I’d look like an idiot walking around wearing green glasses all the time.” And then the look on her face, I never want to see that look again.
So it kind of just something happened for me. It’s like, “Alright, I’m gonna be rocking these green glasses.” And it’s not something that was easy, because we actually lost speaking deals because of it. Because at the time companies go, “We don’t want him, we want something serious. Like we want to talk about digital and digital transformation… And so stepping into your story is often the hardest thing to do. But it’s the best place to live long-term. So short term, it’s going to be uncomfortable to actually step into your story. But long term, it’s the greatest place to live. And it’s the best thing that’s happened for me. So as you mentioned, all of a sudden it becomes a market.”
[15:31] Focus Animals
“There’s four [focus] animals, and you’re gonna be able to identify with all four but there’s one that I say you major in, and one that you minor in, but you’ll have tendencies of all for most of us do, but it’s just you major in one and you minor in another. And I’ll put you on the spot and figure out which one you are what your major is. But we look at it, you’ve got the squirrel, which we talked about at the intro, the squirrels really good at starting projects. And they’re really good in sales. I know the trendiest restaurants are like, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. So a lot of these there’s positive aspects of the [squirrel], but then they have a tough time completing that project, because they’re looking at the next shiny object and go, “Oh, I want to move on to that thing.” And so they move on to that. So a lot of us that’s what we are spirit animals, a squirrel, then the other one’s a hedgehog. And I kind of minor in this a little bit. When you look at a hedgehog, they curl up in a ball when they feel like there’s fear out there, there’s some some predator, but what that looks like in the modern world is that you might precrastinate or procrastinate, most people know about procrastination, but precrastination is you’re answering email, you’re working. But you’re not really working on the big thing. You’re doing the busy stuff, you’re just nailing it. Because you’re you’re worried or you don’t complete a project. So sometimes I wrestle with this where, I’m like done with a book, basically, except for that last sentence for months. And it’s like, why don’t I push it out, because I’m afraid I might fail. I’m afraid that no one’s gonna like the book. And so that’s what hedgehogs do. Chameleons, they’re great people, like they’re people pleasers, which is great. Like when you think about thousands of years, you assimilate to the tribe, you’re putting others first, the issue becomes the chameleon is when they’re in a job because they think, “Oh, my parents would like me to be in that job, or I’m doing this and they [get] confused and say, “Oh, once I get through this season, then I’ll do the big thing.” And then that season never comes. It’s never gonna be like, here’s your swath of empty time to attack that big thing. And so that’s what chameleons wrestle with is they put others first, people pleasers, but they take it to the extreme. And then last but not least, if you look at it, you’ve got the army ant. And this what I major in, so the army ant can carry 5000 times its weight, but that doesn’t mean they should, because they get back to the anthill and they can’t get all that stuff into the anthill. But what it looks like in the modern world is that you start parallel processing things all at once. And so for instance, in my case, I might say, “I want to write this book, I want to produce this video, I want to do this podcast and I want to do “this”, and then you parallel process those things. And it takes you five times longer than it would be if you attacked one at a time systematically, and the quality dramatically improves when you do that you’re happier and also healthier. And so that’s what an army does. They take on too many things at once, and they’d be better off doing one thing at a time.”
[23:02] The Most Challenging Chapter of The Focus Project
“So the one I struggle with the most was Mindfulness. Because a lot of us, we’ll sit there and try to carve out 20 minutes. They’re gonna lay down a yoga mat, I’m gonna turn on some nice calming music, maybe some trickles in the background of some water, and meditate. And I’d always think I didn’t have time for that. And, I mean, life happens, right? And so that was a learning that you got to strive for progress, not perfection. So this is before the pandemic, so I was flying a ton. So I learned this a little bit from Arianna Huffington, I learned to meditate on the plane. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than zero. And so it helped me even during the delay, I’m like, cool. She’s flipping that mindset like Judo flip. It wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns, but I’d say, “Great, we’re delayed more time to meditate here while I sit in the seat, this middle seat,” and then go from there. So that was the hardest one for me, just because it’s tough for me like a lot of us to turn our brains off. But I got better at it and that month also was journaling. journaling is so powerful. I’m so much better at it. But I’m not even close to some of the best at it. And so I just realized, okay, one sentence is good enough. So just trying to do that. So it’s a little bit and then some days when you have the time to write for 20 minutes and you got a full page, great. But it’s really about just doing that, that one sentence. And so that was the hardest month for me that mindfulness. The most rewarding was family just what I dedicated time was Cognizant, okay, this is what we’re gonna do around the family. And so whether it’s writing notes, whether that’s just little notes to the kids, but just doing that was the most fulfilling for me.”
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The Super U Podcast is hosted by #1 bestselling author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman.