Jim Kukral | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 2

All Posts by Jim Kukral

Why People Make Decisions & How Understanding Them Will Make You Happier & More Successful In Life & Business

?Why People Make Decisions & How Understanding Them Will Make You Happier & More Successful In Life & Business

Let’s switch gears a bit this week and talk about something else entirely, sort of. Today I want to talk about why people make decisions. You know, like why they vote, and why they buy/choose. 

Because this is important stuff to know as you navigate your life. 

You may not own a business, or you may not be running for office, but you do influence people every single day. Could be your kids, or a co-worker or a family member or friend. Could be your boss or a person you’re on a job interview with. 

We persuade, or attempt to, every single day of our lives.

It’s also very important in life to know WHY people make decisions, because it can not only help you understand people who disagree with you (and keep you sane), but it can help you persuade people when you need to do that.

Let’s start with a political example to make my point. This is NOT a political argument. I don’t care if you’re left/right/middle. Doesn’t matter. If you follow the United States political scene, you’ll know right now the Democratic party is in the middle of trying to decide who will get the nomination to run for president in the fall. 

Super Tuesday happened and everyone thought that Bernie Sanders was going to win big. But, Joe Biden came out of nowhere really and won the day. Why?

Well, if you look at Bernie’s supporters, a lot of them are younger. They have passion for a cause. They are driven to want change. But, guess what? They didn’t show up to vote. Again, why? Because younger generations don’t like the voting process. It’s antiquated. It’s “too hard”. It means they have to go to a polling location and deal with people. 

So they didn’t show up. And they won’t show up, ever, in greater numbers because they don’t like the system we’ve given them. They want it their way, which is, if we allowed them to vote by their phones, it would be a landslide “show up” rate for them.

Meanwhile, older voters who are indoctrinated into the current archaic voting methods DID show up, and those people are for Biden.

So what have we learned? We’ve learned that if you want to persuade a certain group of people, or one person, to do something, you have to make it easy for them to do so, and you have to allow them to do it the way THEY want to do it.

This is the world we’ve created. A world where the consumer is in control. 

Trying anything else, in any other way, means you lose. Period.

But you might say, “this is how we do it and this is how it’s always been done and we’re sticking with it!” 

Ok, terrible plan, but ok. Watch as you keep losing, over and over, in business, and in life. Losing arguments with your kids/spouse. Losing a job you wanted. Whatever.

So the first step for you today is to start understanding WHY people make decisions. Then figure out HOW they’d like to make the decision. 

Then give them the easiest path to make that decision. THEIR WAY!

This will work well for you in not just business, but in life. Ask yourself…

WHY does my Uncle love “insert politician here”?

WHY do my kids never listen to me when I ask them to take out the garbage?

WHY did my customer choose to buy from my competitor over me?

Until you know that, you’re lost. 

Understanding WHY people make decisions also will keep you sane. Because you’re spending your life wondering why everyone doesn’t think like you, and that is maddening, and will only bring you strife.

So text me now and let me know how you’re going to try to understand WHY people make decisions. Give me an example if you wish. 

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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The Planned Obsolescence Of Our Own Lives

The Planned Obsolescence

Of Our Own Lives

In the 1930s, a single light bulb could last for up to 25,000 hours, but the Phoebus cartel changed all that, and all of our lives forever. 

In short, the cartel forced all companies to produce bulbs limited to a maximum life of 1,000 hours in order to increase demand. How? Essentially, the cartel prevented technological advances that would produce longer-lasting light bulbs, for the sole purpose of generating repeated sales and maximizing profit.

This marked the dawn of planned obsolescence.

If you are unfamiliar, planned obsolescence is a production technique that compels people to buy more and more stuff unnecessarily, by providing people with products of short lifespan. Just like the light bulbs scam.

Think about it. Your toaster breaks after a year. You don’t think twice about buying another. Your furniture only lasts ten years when the old school, well-built stuff lasted generations. This sucks!

Technological advances in the early 20th century, you know, the industrial revolution, resulted in the production of higher quality goods at a quick pace. That was great! But because the stuff we made was good quality, we didn’t need to buy as much stuff (because it lasted longer, duh).

You see, our economic system is really based on consumption which means that the more we buy stuff, the more of our hard earned money moves back into the economy, which keeps it growing. Pretty easy formula.

Look at it the other way. If we stop buying so much stuff, then the economy collapses. That’s bad. Really bad. And the people who run the world aren’t going to let that happen.

So, the “solution” given in the 1930s was to make it legally mandatory for all industries to produce goods of lower lifespan, which was believed to help reduce unemployment and increase consumption.

And it worked. And it’s still working. 

And it’s destroying us little by little.

Because we’ve been conditioned that “stuff doesn’t last” and “we can just replace it.” We all accept this blindly.

Advertising says: You NEED this. You WANT this. You MUST have this.

But here’s what they leave out. 

What your buying is crap on purpose, but don’t worry, when it breaks, you can just BUY MORE of it!

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, is the eighth richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $58.7 billion. IKEA’s entire business model is built on the premise of “we’ll sell you cheap stuff that looks nice, but it’s not really of the highest quality.”

WalMart rose to the top of the food chain on a similar platform. Here’s a ton of cheap shit from China that will make you feel good for saving money. But the reality is that those socks you bought for $.99 will last about a year then you’ll be back buying another pair.

Fast food does this as well. Low quality food is cheap as hell, but try to get some healthy food and you’re going to pay out your ass for it. Counter point: Whole Foods, on the other end of the spectrum, has got this system down and is making billions selling expensive stuff to wealthy people.

Ok, ok. So what Jim? I like my cheap shit.

So do I. This isn’t really about buying stuff; this is about your life. Here’s the point I’m trying to make.

Your life doesn’t have to be driven by planned obsolescence.

In fact, it can’t be. Because you’ve only got so much time to live it.

How many years do you have left? Father Time is undefeated my friend. Ask yourself right now. How are you going to spend the rest of your life? 

Are you going to spend it focusing on fostering low quality things like bad relationships?

Are you going to keep spending your time on low quality experiences like working in a shit job you hate? 

Are you going to spend your time just wishing you were happier instead of taking some kind of action to fix that?

Because newsflash, you don’t have more time and you cannot buy more time. Very soon, you’re going to wake up and POOF, the clock will have run out.

In previous SYCS thoughts we’ve talked about how a pill can’t fix you, and just living your life carefree like Bill Murray might be the answer. We’ve even discussed how maybe taking magic mushrooms might just be the way to change your mindset.

Sensing the common theme? It’s time to fix your shit, before it’s too late.

So text me now. Tell me what you’ve been waiting to do to fix your life, and why you haven’t gotten it done yet.

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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Who Gave You Permission To Be A Jerk? It’s Not Ok, Ok?

Who Gave You Permission To Be A Jerk? It’s Not Ok, Ok?

The world has changed, a lot for the better, and a lot for the worse. Our society goes through ups and downs, but change is the constant in how we think, feel and act to each other. 

Right now, in 2020, we’re at a low point in how we treat each other. 

Why? Because we’re the unhappiest generation of humans that have ever existed. We’ve changed, and not for the better. My time in politics made this crystal clear to me. Also my time coaching youth sports. The amount of disgusting, vitriolic hate coming from people these days is mind numbing, and I fear it’s going to get worse, before it gets better, if it ever does.

Blatant promotion, I’ve got a new book out. It’s $.99 cents today if you’re feeling like splurging you big spender. The book is called The Unskippable Handbook For Dealing with JERKS, IDIOTS & TERRIBLE People. I wrote it with my friend Lisa Picarille.

Disclaimers:

  1. It’s a short read. 
  2. It has swear words. 
  3. It’s super snarky, but super fun.

You probably shouldn’t read it if you don’t like fun, and you don’t like swear words, and you are easily offended. But, if you do like all those things, you will love it. Please review it after if you like it.

At the end of the book we have a chapter called, “Maybe You’re The Jerk, Idiot Or Terrible Person?” In that chapter I make this conclusion.

Stop Saying, “I’m Just Honest”?

This is quite possibly the biggest, and most jerkiest, response that all a**holes give when justifying why they act the way they act. They say…

“I’m not an asshole, I’m just being honest.”

Honestly? No, you’re just being a dick. 

Honesty is a valiant thing and should be commended. But you can be honest, and still NOT be a jerk. You don’t have to say every thought that comes out of your brain. You can filter yourself.

What you’re saying when you say, “I’m just being honest” is essentially, “I can say whatever I want regardless of anyone else’s opinion or views because that’s my view and people can shove it if they don’t like it, because that’s who I am.”

Fine, you’re right. But that is extremely arrogant, and self-serving. 

Yes, I disagree with a lot of people, just like you do. But that doesn’t mean I have to tell them. That doesn’t mean I have to be a jerk about it.

Social media is a perfect example of this. A friend or family member posts something that you disagree with, and you have a choice of either jumping in and counter pointing it, or you could just walk away. 

So here’s my challenge to you this week. Attempt to NOT get into an argument with someone about something. Then text me and tell me about something someone said or did that bothered the heck out of you, but you decided NOT to respond.

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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If I Could Be Anyone Else It Would Be Bill Murray, And Here’s Why

If I Could Be Anyone Else It Would Be Bill Murray, And Here’s Why

Like a LOT of people I’m fascinated with Bill Murray, the legendary actor and all around just probably one of the most liked people on the planet. If you don’t know the legend of Bill Murray, start here. If you don’t like, or don’t know who Bill is, this entire thing is probably not going to make sense. Click that link, go read some stories, then come back.

Here’s the thing about Bill Murray. When I look at him, and read about him I think to myself, “Self, this guy is everything that you should be. Carefree, fun, adventurous. Just present in your life.” Because that’s what he is. And who doesn’t want that? You might not think you do, but be honest with yourself, it would be pretty amazing.

There’s a great book I read about these stories and his career that I highly recommend. There’s also a Netflix movie about all of this. And countless other articles and stories you can read about building his legend. Just use the Google.

My favorite is when Bill walks up to people, does something to them, and says after, “No one will ever believe you.” Like the guy who said he was eating his lunch at Wendy’s and Bill walked up, grabbed fry from him, ate it, then said that and walked away.

He’s right. Nobody is going to believe you. But it happened, and he does stuff like that all the time.

Some people might think that this is him just being a clown or putting on a show when he does things. It’s not. He lives his life this way and it’s fucking awesome. Bill just isn’t being “wacky”. He isn’t doing “stunts” or “skits”. He’s, through his carefree actions, teaching us how to really live. How to get fully engaged and be mindful of the world around us. 

To embrace the moment and just, fucking, live.

How many of us don’t enjoy life? I mean, even the smallest of things. Joining a kick ball game you come across at the park? Walking into a house party and just hanging out with some cool people? Offering your extra ticket to a World Series game to a random stranger you met on the street? These are all Bill Murray stories. Most of us don’t think that way though. We’re guarded and worried and hesitant. Social media has made it even worse. We connect with each other even less now on a real, face-to-face, human being level. 

But not Bill. He comes into people’s lives randomly, reads the room, and makes everyone feel special. We all want to be better versions of ourselves because of him.

Look at his films. A lot of the themes in most of his films are about letting go, enlightenment, and moving on. Living life at its fullest. From the famous line, “It just doesn’t matter” from the movie Meatballs. To the Razor’s Edge where he sees death and war and pain and decides to live a life the opposite of that. To Groundhog Day where he lives the same day over and over and eventually learns how to be a better person and be present every day instead of wasting your life doing the same thing, every day. Scrooged is ultimately the same story as well.

Here’s what I take away from Bill. Good things can lead to bad things. Bad things can lead to good things. If you win, or if you lose, it just doesn’t matter. Because life is going on either way. 

The question is, are you going to be present in it, through all the good and the bad, and experience it and live it, or not? 

Are you going to wake up every day like it’s Groundhog day and live the same experience over and over, and change nothing then die?

Because isn’t that what we’re all doing? Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over and over. A friend calls and asks us if we want to go see a band we’ve never heard of. We say no because “we just don’t have time” or “never heard of them so why would I do that?” You see a flyer on a telephone pole about how to learn how to play piano but you decide you’re too old or you don’t have time to try that even though it’s been a life-long dream.

Think about that. That’s how most of us are living our lives. I’m guilty. Are you? Probably.

What must it be like to wake up every day and be Bill Murray? Experiencing new things and just living the life you’ve always wanted?

So what’s stopping us from living the unlived life like Bill Murray? Money for one. Bill’s rich, I get it. He doesn’t have to work. He can go anywhere, anytime and just randomly walk around and do fun stuff and experience things. We can’t. We have jobs and responsibilities. He’s also famous, so he can walk into your party and start washing your dishes and nobody is going to stop him. Or he can walk behind your bar and start bartending and they’re not going to call the cops.

But other than that, what is really stopping us? Time? Bullshit, we have time. How much time do we waste watching mindless television shows? How much time do we waste arguing with people about politics on Facebook? 

You have time; you just choose to use it the wrong way.

Bill doesn’t. And that’s why we should all aspire to be like him.

So text me now. What’s your favorite Bill Murray story, AND, what are you going to do today that is different than the same thing you do every day?

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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Stop Saying You’re “Too Busy” To Connect With The People Who Mean The Most To You

Stop Saying You're "Too Busy" To Connect With The People Who Mean The Most To You

Today is a quick assignment. But first, I wanted to remind you that the entire point of this is that you text me after you read this. If you recall when you signed up, I'm trying to create true engagement with you. So... if you are reading this, please text me after, my direct number is below.

If you don't want to do that I'm 1000% cool with you unsubscribing. I won't be offended. Slightly annoyed, but not offended. :)

"Cutting people out of your life is easy, keeping them in is hard?."

- Walter Dean Myers -

So let's make this quick and easy today. I have an assignment for you.

I want you to think about the person you appreciate the most in your life who you don't connect with as much anymore. Someone who was/is always there for you but you lost touch with on a personal level. You know, before social media, when you actually talked to people, in person.

This could be a sibling, a college friend, a long lost lover, a former co-worker, a mentor, whomever. Somebody who you used to be close to. Someone who means something to you that you lost touch with for whatever reason.

Now I want you to call them, not text them, not Facebook message them... call them in the next three hours or less. And I want you to say something like, "I was thinking about you. We never talk anymore because we're both so busy. We never get together. Let's rectify that. Are you available for coffee, or a drink or lunch later or tomorrow or this weekend or tonight? Just wanted to reconnect, even if it's for ten minutes."

If they're not local and you can't meet with them, a phone call is just fine.

They're going to say they're too busy to meet, even for ten minutes. Do NOT let them off the hook. Go to them if you have to. Pick a coffee shop or restaurant close to their home or office. Make it easy for them so they can't say no.

After you make the call and set it up, I want you to text me and tell me who you contacted, and why this person means so much to you and when you're meeting.

That's it, simple, yet oh so hard to do, right? Can you do it? Will you do it? What could come out of it? A rekindled friendship? A new relationship? A new career? What "could" happen? Find out.

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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Hello Newman! How To Make Peace With Your Nemesis

Hello Newman! How To Make Peace With Your Nemesis

Everyone has a nemesis. Jerry had Newman. Oscar had Felix. I’ve got a bunch of them in my own little world in Cleveland. Unless you live in yurt in the middle of nowhere, and even if you’re just the most super likeable person on the planet who gets along with everyone, then you have someone in your life who is your nemesis, probably. If you don’t, you’re perfect, congratulations!

As an angry young man I treated my nemesis with contempt. Don’t get mad, get even! That was my mantra back then. Years later, and as the grey hairs show up more and more, I tend to look at things much differently. 

In fact, I’ve got a guy who I have been feuding with for years now. We don’t like each other, at all. I won’t go into the details because who cares, but suffice it to say he is definitely the person when I see walking in my direction I used to have thoughts in my head of either punching him in the face, or a throat punch, or worse. Of course, thoughts are thoughts, I’m not a violent person at all. We all have those thoughts. The difference between people who act on them, and who don’t act on them, is jail time and the path to becoming a sociopath. 

So I’m older now. This guy, this nemesis of mine, I am softening on him. And here’s why. 

You know what? F*uck him. He’s not getting in my head anymore. He’s not taking up ANY space for negative thoughts in my brain ever again. When I see him now I smile and move on. He does not get to control my thoughts and feelings. 

But can I do better than that?

I’m trying to be a better human being. And part of that is examining the reasons why things are the way they are in my life so I reach enlightenment, if that exists. Being introspective takes work and is not easy. Is it me that caused this problem? Shit, maybe it is? Probably not, but hey, I’m open to the idea of that at least. I’ve actually gone as far as thinking about ways to repair the relationship, even though I don’t want to (just being honest with myself). 

But how? How do you let go of the hate like a Jedi? How do you make someone like you?

Maybe Ben Franklin has the answer? 200 years ago, he wrote in his autobiography…

"He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged."

Translation? If you’re trying to make nicey nice with someone, do them a favor because they won’t expect it, then they will soften on their issues with you.

In his autobiography, Franklin explains how he dealt with the animosity of a rival legislator when he served in the Pennsylvania legislature in the 18th century:

Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of pursuing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return'd it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

Boom! Now the question I have to ask myself is this. Do I have the balls to do that to my nemesis? Would you? Would you suck it up and ask them for a favor and express an interest in something they are passionate about in order to try and get them to think of you more favorably?

I’m going to try it. And this is going to suck, man. But I want to be a better person. I want to end this rivalry. It is doing me no good at all. It is a poison that only erodes my life, not enhance it, and I simply don’t have time for that any longer.

I’ll report back in the future with my results. Wish me luck.

Modern science backs up Franklin. Repeated studies have found that because the human mind hates cognitive dissonance (holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time), it will try to resolve the conflict between kind actions and unkind opinions by shifting its opinions to be more favorable. 

In essence, if you do something nice for someone, your mind concludes you must at least kind of like them, and you proceed accordingly going forward.

So would you try it? Text me and tell me about your nemesis and give me one thing that you think you could ask a favor of them to try to fix the problem?

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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The Ultimate Wisdom of Chuck Palahniuk

The Ultimate Wisdom of Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club, written by Chuck Palahniuk, is a wonderful, violent and meaningful story if you read between the lines and pay attention to the messages it gives. So today we’re going to examine some of the famous quotes from the movie and talk about them together. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, it’s ok, we can still discuss the quotes on their basic level without the story context.

But you really should read the book. The movie works too. And in my opinion, it’s one of the only movies that is actually, possibly, better than the book. My other picks that fit that bill are Dances with Wolves and Wiseguy (Goodfellas). 

Now on with the quotes from Fight Club. Remember to text me after and “fight” me. :)

“You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.”

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

Materialism: This is an epic smack down on it. As harsh as this quote screams at us all; it’s dead on. Yet here we are, a society of people driven by our possessions. Directed like cattle through the chutes of advertising and marketing sales funnels. Our lives are more meaningful when we achieve more possessions that create not only the dopamine hit our brains require, but also give us social status and sense of self worth.

Don’t believe it? How’d you feel when you bought that iPhone 11 you’re reading this on right now? Or how’d you feel when you bought that new, fancy car and collapsed into the leather, heated seats? When you walked into the office with that Prada handbag; you’re telling me you didn’t want people to notice?

You felt good; don’t pretend you didn’t.

Look, you’re not an asshole because you like to buy stuff and accumulate stuff, that’s not what I’m getting at. I’m just saying, we like our stuff, but it’s owning us, and not the other way around. Our possessions, and the pursuit of more of them, keep us in bondage away from the life unlived. The life that we all deeply want to have, where we don’t have the pressures of money and the worries of every day normal life like bills and relationships.

Because that’s what we all really want; to live without pressure/worry, and too much stuff. You may not be open to hearing that, or believe it, yet, but deep down if you had the choice to forgo all the “stuff” in your life for true happiness and a pure sense of meaning, you’d take it. Probably.

Here’s a really, really obscure book I once read that I really dug. It’s called The Pots Of Gold: Memoirs Of A Modern Prospector. It has a massive 16 reviews so you know it’s super popular. One of them is mine from 2012. It’s a saga about a regular guy who did something highly irregular. He turned a two-week vacation into an eight-year adventure in the heart of Gold Rush country of Northern California. He made his own shelters, stayed in cabins, lived in caves, or slept under the stars as he prospected year-round in the High Sierras.

“Anyone who has ever dreamed of leaving the modern world behind for even a short time—no mortgage, no bills, no telemarketers, will enjoy this rousing tale of one man’s journey as he retraces the path of part of America’s history. Self-effacing, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and always compelling, Memoirs of a Modern Prospector will make you think seriously about loading up your backpack for an adventure of your own. For those of us who can’t take off and follow our dreams just yet, this may be the next best thing. His story is part how-to manual and part introspective, a tale that makes us envy his audacity and love of life.”

I’d do it. Would you?  

"I don't want to die without any scars.”

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

Sometimes I look at my children and feel terrible about how much I have protected them and kept them safe from the harsh realities of the world. Now don’t get me wrong. We (my wife and I) don’t wrap them in bubble wrap, and we don’t shelter them from the news. But honestly? Yeah, they’re soft, and it’s my fault. They’re soft in a way that they have never wanted for anything, or experienced any real life challenges beyond the normal suburban, middle-class nonsense. 

So in a way, by protecting them, I’ve failed them, and I realize that. Of course, in a way my failure is also a success. It just depends on how you view it.

Heck, I’ve failed myself in this regard. I have a few scars (my time in politics), nothing big, but certainly no “witness” moment. Like me you’ve met people who have amazing stories of life. Addictions, loss of limbs, disease, etc… Those are terrible things, yes. But they also shaped their lives and gave them experiences that most of us won’t have. An argument can be made that your scars make you stronger or more experienced, and possibly then, you might have lived a more fulfilling life? Seems logical. 

"We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.” 

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

We’re all soft. The previous generations went through some heavy shit. Yeah, we had 9/11. We had a housing crash that messed with the banks. Those were terrible, terrible things. But they weren’t anything like WWI or WWII. 

Our grandparents and those before them dealt with some serious possible world ending shit. The Great Depression had people living on the streets and on breadlines. When the housing crisis struck in 2008, sure, lots of people lost a lot of money. Lives were ruined, yes. But you probably still had a cell phone, and you ate every day, even if it was fast food.

If any of that stuff (Cuba Missile Crisis, Nazis trying to control the world…) that happened way back when happened in today’s world, we’d poop ourselves, right after we Tweeted about it.

Mental illness is at a record high. Suicide is as well. Organized religion is trending down. The American Dream is slowly draining through our fingers like sand in an hourglass. We’re depressed and frightened, more than ever. 

Spiritually, today, we’re simply just not sure what to think. At least in earlier times it was more black and white. Now we don’t know what to believe in, if anything at all.

“If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?”

- Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club  -

Obvious answer: You’re dead, you wouldn’t feel anything. But you get the point. 

My advice? Today is a new day. Take a goddam risk this week. Do something stupid, or fun, or fun and stupid that you’ve always wanted to do. Chuck Palahniuk demands it.

Now text me and let’s fight about it. Which of these quotes stood out to you? Did anything you read today make you feel better, or worse about your life and where we are all going together as a society? 

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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Take This Pill, It’ll Make You Feel So Much Better?

Take This Pill, It’ll Make You

Feel So Much Better?

As a child of cable television and pop culture (born 1971), most of my early knowledge of the world around me came from watching movies and television, and to a lesser extent, books. I mean, I certainly didn’t learn much from those Encyclopedia Britannica's my parents stuffed in the closet. They were excellent for writing papers on the Kangaroo from Australia or the Medieval period, because, well, the Internet didn’t exist!

I remember learning about space and the stars when I was six-years-old when I saw a movie called Star Wars - A New Hope. Should a six-year-old really have gone to see that movie at 10pm at night at the mall with the neighbor? Probably not, but hey, it was the 70’s. We didn’t helicopter parent back then, and it was amazing, both the movie and the time.

At that age I didn’t know what science fiction was. I mean, I didn’t really think Star Wars was real, but I had never really experienced something like that. And it moved me. It made me want to know more. It made me want to think bigger. It expanded my view.

Then came Indiana Jones who also taught me to dream big, and also gave me insight into how big the rest of the world was outside of suburban Cleveland Ohio. The 80’s didn’t offer much in terms of quality movies but I will say that I can still watch Police Academy and laugh my butt off from crude jokes. There were also some great nude scenes in the movie and what can I tell you, I was in eight grade. Good stuff man.

Fast forward to 2011. I watched a movie called Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper. The plot goes as follows. “With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access one hundred percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.”

The movie was good, not The Godfather good, but good. I didn’t really care for the violent parts because that’s not my thing. What I loved was the concept of being able to take a pill and become smarter and then accomplish amazing things. Like perhaps, write an amazing book that changes people’s lives. Or develop a cure for a disease. I didn’t like the plot line in the movie where he used his new brain power to get rich, but I get it, that’s what most people would do and it made for a better movie probably.

So here is the question I have for you today, and I’m looking for an honest answer. 

If you could take a pill that gave you 100 times the brain power you have now, what would you do with that knowledge?

If your answer is, “I would use my brain power to become a billionaire Jim,” then I won’t judge you for that, I promise. If you have another answer, I’d love to hear that too. Finish reading this then text me your answer.

But before you do that, let’s talk about how this could eventually become a reality, and more importantly, why does this kind of stuff work on us?

This is a real product. It’s a supplement called QUALIA that is sold by a company called NEUROHACKER Collective. I found out about this through and article on Scientific American

QUALIA is a supplement that is designed to target the whole system and bring about "radical cognitive enhancement.” It’s all based on something called Nootropics. Here’s what Wikipedia says about Nootropics.

Nootropics (/no?.??tr?p?ks/ noh-?-TROP-iks) (colloquial: smart drugs and cognitive enhancers) are drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. While many substances are purported to improve cognition, research is at a preliminary stage as of 2020, and the effects of the majority of these agents are not fully determined.

The use of cognition-enhancing drugs by healthy individuals in the absence of a medical indication spans numerous controversial issues, including the ethics and fairness of their use, concerns over adverse effects, and the diversion of prescription drugs for nonmedical uses, among others. Nonetheless, the international sales of cognition-enhancing supplements has continued to grow over time, exceeding US$1 billion in 2015.

Yep, this kind of stuff is a BILLION plus business, every year. 

From the article, about QUALIA…

I tried it. Personally speaking (and of course I can't speak for the experiences of others), when I took it, I felt as though I could focus for a longer stretch of time, hold more in my working memory, and connect lots of dots at once. Also, my thoughts felt as though they were flowing faster, there was a lifting of my brain fog, and my anxiety was basically non-existent for the entire day.

Let’s not get into the debate over whether Nootropics and the products that NUEROHACKER makes. This is not science like real cures for diseases or anything. These are supplements. Buyer beware. I must admit I do take a supplement. It’s pure bee pollen and I’ve been taking it for ten years. I don’t know what it really does for me, but I’ve convinced my brain it makes me feel better and give me energy. My point is I’m quite possibly just as much as a fool as the person who takes something like QUALIA. 

So yeah, let’s instead talk about the concept of the term radical cognitive enhancement, because that is far more interesting don’t you think? In 2012 The Atlantic published a piece called “Why Cognitive Enhancement Is in Your Future”. 

Cognitive Enhancers are not new to our society. Caffeine and nicotine are largely accepted as legitimate ways to help us be more focused, stay awake and be more productive. But meditation, yoga and a good night's sleep are also things we could do to enhance our performance. So it’s not just drugs and manufactured supplements is my point.

There are other ways too. The guy selling adderall out of the pizza shop on campus can probably hook you up and that will “cognitively enhance” you to write that term paper overnight. You “cognitively enhance” yourself every day when you drink a pot of coffee. So most of us do it in one way or another.

The question is, why do we feel the need for this type of thing in our lives? 

We all know why. Because at the core of our soul we all want to be better. Live better. Feel better. Be happier. Be healthier… and so on. And there is nothing wrong with that.

So we reach for something to help us get there, and that’s where the billion dollar business comes in… 

Because it’s much easier to take a pill than actually do the work to be better. And that is the core issue that created this marketplace.

When you really think about it, a lot of the greatest marketing and products and services come down to this one core message. “We make it easy for you.” I remember working at a convention about twenty-years ago and I was able to meet and spend the day with the late, great Billy Mays (RIP). My boss produced Billy’s commercials so that’s why I was there. Billy was a pioneer of late-night infomercials. He was quite probably the greatest television salesperson that has ever existed selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of products.

During a break in the action when the crowd has disappeared to lunch, as I was standing next to Billy I asked him, “Billy, what’s the secret to all this? Why are you so successful?” Graciously, he pulled me aside privately and demonstrated the secret. There was a bowl of water on the table. He took one of his products, I forget what it was called, like a Shamwow or something. (For reference a Shamwow is an absorbent towel.) He dipped the Shamwow in the bowl of water, lifted it out and said, “Jim, watch my face as I squeeze the water out of this.”

He proceeded to give me a line from the commercial while he rung out the Shamwow. When he was finished, he said “Did you watch my face? That’s the secret. Never show effort.” He was right, when he rung it out he purposely did not contort a muscle on his face. It looked like he was squeezing warm butter. Zero effort.

Mind blown. In that moment Billy told me everything I ever needed to know about marketing in 30-seconds. And that is…

Easy Sells.

So that’s why supplements work. That’s why products like my bee pollen and QUALIA work and produce billions of dollars in profits. 

And that is why we all wish we had a pill to make us better.

***

So let’s get back to the original question. 

If you could take a pill that gave you 100 times the brain power you have now, what would you do with that knowledge?

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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Money, Happiness, Mindset & Psychedelics (Welcome to 2020)

Money, Happiness, Mindset & Psychedelics (Welcome to 2020)

There's a pretty famous, really rich guy who has written a bunch of books who is full of sh*t. Don't get me wrong. I like his books. In general, I like his content overall. He helps people in a specific way in his industry.

But he lost me with just one stupid video he posted. (No, it's not Gary Vaynerchuck who I think is great.)

The video in question was him walking through a very crowded area talking about why he's successful and why others are not. Essentially, what he said in the video, and I'm paraphrasing, is this.

"See all these people having fun, and hanging out with friends, going to brunch, and in general just loafing? Yeah, they're losers, and the reason I win, and you're going to win, is that you are going to be like me and instead of enjoying your life you're going to keep working relentlessly like me because I'm going to work now, and they're not."

At least that's how it came off to me.

My first thought? F*ck you.

My second thought? How sad.

My third thought? F*ck you, again.

Look, if you buy into that kind of thinking from the fellow I called out above, I get it. You're not a bad person for believing it, and I'm also not a bad person for thinking it's horseshit.

But one thing is for sure, it's part of a systemic problem society faces of the age old question of "Does money equal happiness?"

Because when people talk about success that's what they really mean. Getting rich.

As Mae West once said, "I've been rich, and I've been poor; believe me, rich is better." Now many of you are asking yourself, "Who is Mae West?" Exactly. I'm 48 and I'm just slightly old enough to know who she was, barely. If you don't know her, don't bother Googling it. She was famous a million years ago when your grandparents were teenagers. There are no memes to search.

But is she right? Is being rich better? I went to the Google to find out because that's how Gen X'ers like me solve life's most pressing problems.

My first hit? An article by a PH.D on Psychology Today. This little tidbit stood out in the piece.

"In 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they measured brain activity while research participants were drinking wine. Regions of the brain responsible for the registering of pleasure were more active when the wine was identified as expensive as opposed to inexpensive. The punch-line: It was the same wine in both cases."

The plot thickens. We "perceive" more expensive things as better, and when we are allowed to experience those things (which most of us can't because we're not rich) they trick our brains into being happier.

Is this our fault? I don't think so, because this is how we have been brainwashed since birth. Commercialism and materialism have mutated our brains into believing that wealth and luxury are what we must have to be happy. Disagree? Well, I just found an article online that says it's true so how dare you tell me it's not.

What's Your Satiation Point?

In 2010, the Nobel prize-winning duo of economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman, famously found that the satiation point for US households was about $75,000 (about $84,000 in 2016 dollars).

Hold up, Jim. What's the definition of "satiation point?" (I didn't know either. If you did, you can feel superior to me.)

Satiation point in economics is the point of maximum satisfaction or bliss point that can be achieved by a consumer. Here's a better, less egg headed explanation for those of us who don't solve complex math equations at MIT while working as the night janitor.

According to a recently released study in the burgeoning field of happiness research, the two higher-earning women are likely to report more satisfaction with their lives than the one who makes $40,000. But, perhaps surprisingly, the psychologists who conducted the study find that the one making $200,000 is probably no happier than the one making $120,000. This is because both the $120,000 and $200,000 women have incomes above $105,000, which according to their research is the point at which greater household income in the US is not associated with greater happiness. The technical term for this cutoff is the income "satiation point."

$105,000. That's the updated satiation point number in the United States of ‘Merica. That's it. Wouldn't it be easier if we just started teaching our kids in school that if you just make $105,000 you will achieve happiness? I think it might. At least we'd have something reasonable to shoot for instead of being taught to chase millions.

***

"Wealth is the ability to truly experience life." -- Henry David Thoreau, author, poet and philosopher (1817-1862)

The perception of happiness. This is what it all comes down to in my opinion. And the wine example from above proves my point.

Jim's hot take: Wealth creates the opportunity for more/better experiences, and it is those experiences that create the perception of being truly happy.

Think about it. If you have more money, you can experience more stuff. Fun stuff.

If you have more money, you can stop worrying about a lot of stuff.

In summary: Less worry, and more time and money to do fun stuff = perception of happiness.

Is there satisfaction in your brain when you experience something unique or previously unattainable? Of course there is. If you grew up dirt poor, you certainly took an endorphin hit the first time you were able to get on a plane and travel someplace, or the first time you were able to afford a home.

This is the same type of endorphin hit your brain produces when you win big on a slot machine in Vegas, or sadly, when you post something on social media and you get a bunch of likes on it. This is the dream we're all chasing. This is the drug that we all crave, and the one that we can't quit, because admitting otherwise would surely mean we have failed.

This line of thinking has changed the world in ways that many people would argue is bad, and in a general sense, I would agree. But fear not, things are changing.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 25% of people with college degrees don't have a job and don't want one.

Why? Has the pursuit of happiness become so unattainable that they have just given up? And if so, maybe that's progress? It's a real argument that I just made up.

If you're a Star Trek The Next Generation (TNG) fan as I am, you know about the futuristic storyline of a future world where human beings finally woke up one day and decided to pursue things other than money or power, and instead focus on self-improvement and exploration and the betterment of the world. You can read all about this one specific episode here.

In the first season TNG episode "The Neutral Zone", the Enterprise happens upon and picks up three cryogenically-frozen humans floating out in space. These people are from only a few decades in our future, and thus in the Enterprise's time are three hundred years out of date. They understandably find it a bit difficult to blend in. When asked what is different about life in the 24th century, Capt. Picard explains that the very meaning of life has fundamentally shifted:

A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We've eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We've grown out of our infancy.

Picard explains that in his time, focusing on accumulating wealth and possessions is no longer the norm. In fact, in his future, "things" like money are viewed pejoratively. According to Picard, we are now living in humanity's "infancy", and struggling to escape it. For him, our present must seem as barbaric as the Middle Ages do to us.

Are we seeing the very beginning of that happening now?

Why are there so many young people in the world who don't want to work, and don't want a mortgage, or a job, or car payments/insurance, etc...

Stop with the, "they're just lazy, Jim" stuff. That's not it.

An entire generation, the Baby Boomers, who were taught to value possessions over experiences, and religion over logic, are about to disappear off this planet and will be replaced by a new generation of humans that have different ideas about how they want to live their lives and how they want the world to work. Oh, and how they perceive happiness.

There's no stopping it. Eventually, it's just going to happen. Trust me. Star Trek is never wrong.

***

If You Want To Be Happy in 2020, Just Eat Some Mushrooms

I read this and said, wow. Here's the summary. A successful corporate woman with a six-figure salary who admittedly was brought up to play the game of "go to school, get a job where you make a ton of money and pay your taxes", decided to take some mushrooms one day with a shamen and six hours later decided to change her entire life. During her trip, she got clarity on her big idea and has never been happier.

Guided by a shaman (who denounces the title of shaman, as shamans do), I was led through a six-hour sound meditation with nothing but an eye mask, hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms, and an open mind. In complete darkness with melodic sounds of gongs and sound bowls enveloping my senses, I surrendered to the psychedelic trip that would ultimately be the push I needed to leave my job.

During my journey in some other parallel dimension, I had an out of body experience, as one does. I was suddenly transported into a scene that resembled The Last Supper, except there were women decadently dressed in white gowns around the table. One of the women came up to me, radiating in light, and passed me a chalice. She looked me in the eye and said: "You have to stop giving your power away. You have a big job to do. We are passing this responsibility off to you."

As if I was the last in the relay to carry the baton home, I got the download loud and clear: It was time. I have a calling, and I needed to actualize it.

When the ceremony was over, I had an overwhelming sense of "knowing." To this day, I still can't quite put it into words, but it's a feeling that I have a mission that's bigger than me. It's that very feeling that gets me through the hard days — when I don't know how I'm going to make rent, or when I feel the anxiety of not being able to fill my boot camps, when I question if I'm crazy for leaving a secure paycheck. That's been the hardest part of it all — to have a deep internal trust, even amidst the external chaos and challenges.

Now here's the even more interesting part of this story, as if the mushrooms/shamen part wasn't enough. She follows up her argument with the realization of this.

Instead of my default, fear-based thinking of all the reasons why I couldn't do something, I started to get in the habit of asking myself a different question: Why the fuck not.

And there we have it. Why, the, fuck, not?

This is what's stopping you from living the life you want and being happy. It's just fear. You know it, I know it. I'll spare you the motivational diatribe about overcoming your fears and "just go out there and crush it" because well, that's played out. In my experience you are either going to figure out a way to overcome your fear and be happy, or you're not.

But maybe you just need to eat some mushrooms in 2020 to get it done? Think about it.

***

So what have we learned here today? Can money really buy happiness? Or is it just the perception of happiness? And can you change your mindset and become happy by taking psychedelics?

What's your take? Now is the time you need to text me and talk with me about it.

Remember, this is a requirement for being part of this email list. My number is below. This is a private text, directly to me, and you are not added to any mass texting list or anything.

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

Jim Kukral 

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The Hard Truth of Hanging Around Industry Rockstars

The Hard Truth of Hanging Around Industry Rockstars

One thing you quickly learn once you begin to attend conferences in your industry, and actually meet industry leaders… is that…

You’re never going to be a rockstar/leader like them unless you stop settling for being average, and instead make strides to take your stuff to the next level.

Probably my most shared post of all time is 13 reasons you’re not as successful as you should be. Most of those reasons cover what I’m talking about here today. There are usually a lot of reasons why you’re not kicking as much ass as the superstars in your niche.

But when it comes down to it… YOU are to blame. Because frankly, you’re just not kicking enough ass to get there.

Nobody is going to hand it to you. Every one of those industry rockstars have worked their ass off to get where they are. Believe it.

What? You just expect to make it to their level just because you worked an extra hour past 5 last night? You think you can continue to create mediocre content and business models and products and services and dominate with them?

Unfair? Not really. They worked for it. Hard. Did you work as hard?

Get to work. Quit whining and take your effort to the next level, or don’t. Just stop thinking it’s all just gonna fall into your lap.