Happy Superhero Friday! This week we welcome back the Mad Scientist and guarantee we'll either better your life or waste your time, but we sincerely hope to do both. We've got more on the Nintendo Switch, we'll dive into some music and gadgets of the week, and we'll also talk about variety.
You've heard the adage, "variety is the spice of life"? Because Brian brings it up and expresses his opinion on the matter, I thought it applicable to dive a little bit into the adage. Idioms are funny beasts; they become so much a part of our language, unfamiliar to foreigners or even untraceable in certain cases, that we don't often know where they come from or why they became so popular. This idiom comes from a poem called The Task by William Cowper. (If you're super interested, you can read the whole thing here.) The idealism extends back much further, but the phrase it this form is mostly attributed to William Cowper.
Variety’s the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour.
There is another interesting line shortly after this one, which says: "We have run through every change that fancy...and, studious of mutation still, discard a real elegance, a little used, for monstrous novelty and strange disguise." Weeding through the 19th Century verbiage, I interpret this quite simply; in our pursuit of spice, we discard things that are truly pleasing for something that is not so familiar.
I'm terrible at trying new things. I love the things that are familiar and that I can rely on; after some reflection, I believe this is attributed to being disappointed by new things. I go back to what I know because even if it isn't a "real elegance", it is trusted and I know what I'm getting. With new things, unfamiliar things, I don't know what I'm getting. For me, variety is less important than trusting what I'm getting.
That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a healthy variety! Without people who take risks on new things, we would not have much of an economy, much less a society which innovates itself into the future. What I love about Cowper's poem, however, is that he shows us the good and bad of variety all in a couple lines. Variety's the very spice of life, but don't shed something that is familiar just because it isn't a novelty anymore.
There's a lesson for me in this, too. Reading between the lines rather than explicitly stated in Cowper's poem, I believe he's trying to draw attention to a balance and discernment between what is new and what is familiar. Hold onto what is elegant, but the spice of life can be found in variety.
Join us in welcoming Mishael Morgan to The Real Brian Show! If she looks familiar, you need go no further than the Total Recall reboot or shows like Supernatural, Beauty and Beast, and Covert Affairs. Currently, Mishael stars as Hilary (Curtis) Hamilton on The Young and Restless. In this fantastic interview, we hear the incredible story of Mishael's recovery after breaking a neck bone and how her journey as an actor and artist has changed her life in so many ways.
Two weeks ago we heard from Mishael's associate, Andrea Drepaul, who were both introduced to Brian through author Lee Stephen. Andrea and Mishael joined forces to work on their project, The Awakening. Early in life, acting wasn't even on her radar, but in this interview you'll get to hear how a broken back and an influential high school drama teacher transformed her ambitions to become a lawyer into something else. It's a great story about having goals or desires that simmer on the back burner and eventually become necessary to confront and take seriously.
We talk a lot about mindset on this show. Mindset and attitude. A couple weeks ago I wrote a bit about how the inner life influences the outer life; what we put into our minds and bodies will eventually reveal itself on the outside, and also how we allow ourselves to think about the world and ourselves affects the way we behave. One aspect of this we often overlook, myself included, is the fact that positive thinking doesn't always mean making less out of a troubling situation.
External influences, i.e. other people speaking into our lives, affect our inner mindset whether we want to admit it or not. Did you know that a significant physiological aspect to balance is a system in our inner ear? The eyes, the ears, and our sense of space play important factors into allowing us maintain our balance. Sensory information we collect naturally through the incredible automated processes in our body is sent to the brain so that it can respond to other actions propagated by the muscles and nervous system. I find this detail fascinating because it makes a figurative concept nearly literal, in that what we hear can affect our fundamental processes. It's not just a metaphor, it's really happening.
If what we hear is affecting our balance, both literally or figuratively, we take precautions to protect ourselves. It isn't good enough to suppress what we're hearing or run away from what is happening, we've got to take even the most troubling circumstances and understand what value we can derive from what can be considered constructive and discard what was destructive. It's not easy, in fact it may be one of the most difficult inner struggles we could possibly undertake, but it is a cognitive practice that strengthens us the more we use it.
LIVE Until You Die! Don't live with one foot in the grave. Embrace life and get rid of that negative attitude holding you back from living the life you want.
Every man dies. Not every man really lives.
Have you heard that quote before? I've played it before, considered it before, but I don't know if I've ever heard it presented in a way emphasizing live until you die. Don't live with one foot in the grave.
I've been hearing it so much lately: "I'm getting old." The attitude and lifestyle that traps us in the negative, sad, fearful and boring life stemming from this perspective, of getting older and thus less capable or less able, is robbing us of truly living. Life is short, dang it!
I talk a lot of mindset on this show because it has significantly changed my life and I am passionate about it. We all have a backlog of experiences that fall into the negative, sucky, bad, or heinously traumatic categories. No one has it easy, but with that in mind we are ultimately confronted with two types of people:
A) The person who focuses on fear, negativity, failure, and everything that's wrong.
B) The person who focuses on joy, positivity, peace, success and things that go right.
Which person really LIVES? Person A or Person B? And which of these people are you?
I'm here to encourage you to live, friend. Live fully! Enjoy each blessed day because it is a gift. While you are still here, while you are breathing and moving about, your purpose on this Earth is not yet fulfilled and only YOU have the ability to fulfill it.
So live! Each moment.
Happy Superhero Friday! We're excited to welcome back CJ Thunder to this anything-goes conversation. If you missed Carl's first appearance on The Real Brian Show, you can listen here! Brian and Carl have a lot to talk about this week, from Zelda and the Nintendo Switch to bullying and suicide prevention, and of course their preferences of the week - everything from food to YouTube videos!
Thunder! Thunder! I was caught in the middle of a railroad track. I looked round and I knew there was no turning back.
It's hard to believe this song isn't yet 30 years old, and also that it's as young as it is! The opening guitar riff has got to be one of the most recognizable in classic rock (I mean, after the likes of Smoke on the Water, Whole Lotta Love, Satisfaction, and even AC/DC's own Back in Black). I remember reading an interview with Angus Young a long time ago and he compared the intensity of the opening riff of Thunderstruck to power and, thus, the title of the band (AC/DC = power). It packs a lot of power.
Personally, I could listen to the riff in Sweet Child O' Mine over and over, and generally prefer the incredible voice of Axl Rose over most other rockers. But to anyone who's ever learned guitar, if one of the first riffs you learned wasn't Smoke on the Water, I'd be surprised! Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water and ZZ Top's Bad to the Bone, those were the first riffs I learned on the guitar.
We have a wide array of musical taste here at the Real Brian Show, though! We love the classic rock, but we also love Lecrae. Do you enjoy rap? Lecrae's River of Jordan, the one Brian mentions on the podcast, is a great way to determine whether or not you do!
Only in the last year did I start getting into the band M83. I first heard the song Wait and just had to check out more of their songs. The other artist Brian mentions is Zayde Wolf, so you'll want to check him out too!
Brian doesn't like country music, but I'm rather partial to it. I love country music because it just sounds like the artist had such a fun time composing the song, everything from the rhythm to the lyrics. Like Trace Adkins' I Left Something Turned On At Home or Travis Tritt's Here's a Quarter [Call Someone Who Cares]. I'll listen to pop country and I'll listen to classic country, I don't really care. Lately, I've been digging Eric Church's Like a Wrecking Ball and Jackie Lee's Getting Over You.
Meet Mabel! Author, speaker, self-proclaimed inspirational junkie. On the road of self-development, there is one vital truth: if your attitude is right, you will succeed. Mabel has an incredible story about her journey through self-development and the transformation it made in her life.
If I want to get better, I have to get real.
The hardest part about getting better is simply asking for help. In order to avoid asking, we often do things that, intentionally or unintentionally, put us in the viewing frame of someone who knows how to help us. Meanwhile, we're overwhelmed with the feeling that people around us are more interested in fixing a problem versus healing a person. When help comes in a wrong form, we react poorly, reject it, and it validates our anger.
No one can take the first step toward self-development, toward healing, but the person who needs it. Others can guide us, make suggestions, and offer advice until the cows come home, but ultimately it is a choice of the person who needs healing to take that first step toward accepting help.
Self-development is one of the most grueling, and rewarding, processes a human being can experience... and no one experiences the same process as someone else. Part of the process, for me, over the last couple years is to limit instantaneous reactions to comments people make and first try to figure out what they meant before reacting emotionally. Usually I can do this through asking them directly, but if that isn't possible, then sometimes it will take the form of sitting quietly and reflecting on that person as a whole, trying to understand the context and motivation behind the comment.
The process can be as vague or as granular as you want it to be, but they key to self-development is identifying what it is in our life that is causing us to live "broken". In Mabel's case, her self-worth was derived from her physical appearance, and her attitude and mentality was wrapped up in that. Removing our talons from what we perceive our self worth to be and redirecting it to where our worth actually comes from requires an attitude shift. And when your attitude is right, anything is possible!
Get to know Mabel better by visiting her website!
Photo credit: Denys Nevozhai
Happy Monday! In today's Monday Experience, Brian talks simply about simplifying and how he didn't even realize the effect it was having on his life. His frame of reference for simplifying was being on time; after receiving a ton of negative feedback and criticism for always being a few minutes late to things, he found that after in his somewhat-separate efforts toward simplifying his life... being on time to things was a natural side effect. Pretty cool!
Simplifying doesn't seem simple when life has so many layers. Have you ever found yourself wondering, "Why is this so hard? It shouldn't be this hard!" I've been asking myself this a lot lately, actually. I'm trying to find a place to live, so in one hand I have an ideal cap to my budget and in the other hand I have a list of things I want. Why is it so hard to find something? This week I went from considering a place that had a beautiful wall of windows that let in plenty of sunlight, but was a little higher in price than I wanted and a little too far west, to considering a place that was in the perfect location, but didn't quite let in enough sunlight.
Part of the stress that goes into finding the perfect place, I am quite certain, is just the pressure I'm putting on myself as a result of all the moving pieces in my life. At an initial glance, I don't feel like my life is too complicated. Work, family, hobbies. But the more I break it all down, I do realize how many moving parts there are. For me, they are moving parts that I enjoy working around. Making time for my large family, helping out friends, like Brian, with some side tasks. And then the things that come with the circumstances I'm in: looking for a house.
My scenario is obviously very different from Brian's, so our methods or needs for simplifying will also be different. But he draws out such an important aspect to the effect of simplification; there are always two sides to respect - how we understand our own mindset to be and how our attitude is perceived and interpreted by a second party. He was getting a lot of flack for how being late to things was perceived by others, even when it is a top priority in his life to respect others. And perhaps those who gave him this feedback were being unfair, but we can't control how other people think, right? No matter what we do, we will likely piss someone off! But as Brian started to simplify, he found that he could be on time to appointments and meetings because there weren't so many moving pieces in his life to try and manage.
So what could simplifying do for me? What could it do for you? Maybe when we'd expect it to do is different from what it'd actually do! I think, personally, I would expect simplifying life to mean that I'd just be doing less, but I think the results would yield benefits like better sleep and better overall patterns that go into healthy living. Simplifying doesn't necessarily mean doing less... it just might mean doing more in a better way.
Happy Superhero Friday! Brian's guest today may sound familiar to you... and if so, then you are definitely one of us; if not, please, please go check out his podcasts! You can hear him on The Packers Fan Podcast and The Blacklist Exposed, as well as others (which we will definitely be talking about in the episode). We first connected with Troy while podcasting for TV Talk, and continue to enjoy his friendship through a handful of networks.
It's interesting how context and environment can change the way someone sounds, isn't it? Troy's story of getting the crap scared out of him when Brian's voice comes on in the car is a perfect example of this. A voice can sound so different when it's whispering versus yelling, different in a small room with no one in it versus a large open room with no one in it.
It also changes because of what we're expecting, though. Like when you get in your car expecting the radio to come on but instead your ears are met with Panic! At the Disco blaring from the CD player (this may have happened to me this week). Expecting one thing and getting another can make an otherwise ordinary circumstance set your nerves on edge!
We never intentionally try to scare you on this show, but we take what we can get when we can get it!
Science Fiction is awesome for many reasons. All stories make caricatures reality in some way, either to draw parallels or to exaggerate points in order to draw out differences. But science fiction, for me, is different and more poignant because it is capable of showing simple truths on epic scales.
Unfortunately, this is the only clip of the scene from 12 Monkeys I could find: Jennifer's speech to the daughters. If you've never seen the show, I'll briefly recap: Jennifer is nuts. But she's not nuts for no reason. Time is like gogurt in her brain and she sees and supposes things well outside the normal, linear timescale that most humans do. Regardless of her knowledge of the past and present, she's come to care about, in her own Jennifer way, that Cole and Cassie succeed (the time travelers trying to save the world).
In the darkest and grittiest of times, she demonstrates to her followers what she calls the most important rule of all: "Be excellent to each other." I love this on so many levels, and not just for what it represents at this stage in the show... but on the granular, human level. Pluck her out of context and you see this crazy, ragged woman trying to rally a bunch of women you know don't respect her; backdrop of the scene looks grim and dark. But it's not actually her speech that inspires her followers, it's her actions.
Every day we have a million choices to make. What to eat, wear, how to respond to emails, which projects to pick up and which to set aside, what route to take home from work. But hidden within each choice is another decision, and that's how we choose to behave while we're making those choices. Do we make decisions and say things at the expense of others, or make them in order to make our immediate surroundings a better place? Maybe one day it seems more appropriate to skip lunch so you can talk with a colleague who seems to be struggling, or sacrifice work on your own project in order to help someone else who is falling behind.
Be excellent to each other. Look for the hidden decisions in the obvious decisions.
In a world swimming with selfish ambitions and entitled attitudes, we are incredibly excited to bring you a breath of fresh air in the form of Andrea Drepaul. You may have seen Andrea on shows like Covert Affairs, Beauty and the Beast, or The Expanse, but how much do you really know about the Canadian-born actress? As both a woman, and a woman of diverse ethnicity (she's of Portuguese and Guyanese descent), she is becoming a huge voice and advocate of diversifying Hollywood while helping to change the perception of actors by modeling leadership in her field.
Imagine how your perception of a day could change by waking up and, before anything else, bringing 10 things to mind you are thankful for. Big things, small things, the things that often go overlooked.
Did you know that being grateful can actually alter your brain chemistry? Exerting gratitude, if you want to put it in such terms, activates regions of the brain associated with dopamine. Dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers, regulating emotional responses. When dopamine is produced and is dispersed throughout the brain, it literally acts as a positive reinforcement and is vital to driving us to action.
Like most things in life, gratitude must become a habit in order for it to be effective. It doesn't do our bodies any good to work out intensely once every month or two; muscles need a constant cycle of conditioning and rest in order to tone and grow. The brain is not exactly a muscle, but it behaves like one - especially when we treat it like one. Physical activity produces more brain cells, gratitude spawns physical activity... there is a distinct cycle, a distinct interdependence.
We hope the interview in this episode with Andrea encourages you and inspires you to become a leader in your own field. In the words of William Shakespeare: "Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" (from Twelfth Night). Even when it seems like someone else outranks you or outshines you in some way, greatness is representative of the life we want... not of the life we have.
Happy Monday! Can I ask you something? Are you content in your life? Do you feel satisfied, joyful, happy? Do you have purpose, and is that purpose increasing the value of the lives around you? I know why I get out of bed every day, and I know that today will be the best day ever. What about you? Can you answer my questions with confidence and share in my optimism about today?
Let me break it down for you. When The Real Brian Show started, my slogan was Embrace Your Inner Nerd and Unleash Your Superhero. The concept wasn't as well received as a I'd hope and people were confused as to what it meant, so I dropped those slogans. In thinking about this, recently, it occurred to me that this might've been a bad move. These concepts are what The Real Brian Show is founded on.
I love chatting about embracing your inner nerd because it is unique for every person. You and I can nerd out about the same things and different things. It can be anything that we passionately love. But it's a new enough concept that I realize I need to explain it more often so that others can catch on. Conversations on Wednesdays often emphasize this topic and I get to ask my guests what they nerd out about.
But I haven't done much with unleashing your superhero. What's that all about, anyway? I want to step further into this topic because, like embracing your inner nerd, it is such a vital component to individualism! Bryan and I talked about this concept on Friday without really giving it a name, but it heavily contradicts this recent kick right now people are on with declaring that "we are all the same". I don't agree with this, at all. We are not the same... that would suck! Each of us is wonderfully unique. Each of us has a set of talents and gifts that is unique to us because each of us has a different set of experiences.
Our superpowers are found in our uniqueness. We learn about what our giftings and talents are so that we can understand them and become masters of them. But, most importantly, after we understand and master them, we need to unleash them! Using our uniqueness in this way makes us superheroes. Superheroes, the classic ones we know and love, aren't superheroes simply because they can do extraordinary things. The things they do are extraordinary because they know how to utilize their incredible giftings.
My encouragement to you today is a reminder that you do have talents, gifts and strengths that make you a "superhero". You can use them to better the lives around you and attract the things that will bring you happiness, in whatever form that means for you. I'm not promising any results, here, but I have a good idea of what people want because we are all so quick to talk about it. Our attitude is a reflection of the inner mindset, remember? It affects who and what we attract.
So embrace it. Unleash your superhero.
It's Brian vs Bryan to ring in Superhero Friday! The culmination of 16 years of friendship spills out in explosions of heinousness. We've got a full lineup for you... including Final Four, Black Insomnia Coffee, the difference between equal opportunity and equal treatment.
You know how it is when you are around one of your oldest friends? The inside jokes, the ease from familiarity, the shared memories. As an introvert, these are some of my favorite conversations to listen to because I can sit back and just let them do all the talking while I absorb the dynamic and chemistry between two people. That's definitely what Brian and Bryan bring to the table, here.
I have this sort of rapport with most of my family, believe it or not. We spend a lot of time together, so it stands to reason I'd have a similar punchy ease with them as the Bri/yans do. Part of the problem, if you'd qualify it as a problem, is that most of the women in my family are really quick with a laugh (a fairly genuine laugh, too). When we're around each other and they get me going, we're the loudest, laughiest bunch you'll ever meet!
After exposure to my family in this capacity, a friend once told me: "Your family laughs too easily. Some day you'll get out into the real world and discover you're not all that funny." This comment has been the premise of our easy rapport for near on a decade now! I don't think my friend meant anything malicious by it, but I think she was right that being around my family gives me a greater confidence in my wit. Whether that wit is truly as refined as my family makes me think it is... well, I guess you can all be the judge of that. I take no offense either way.
The word same is overused in our culture. Same, literally, means identical. I'm glad that the Bri/yans broached this topic because it's another opportunity to define terms and wrap our brains around the words we toss around on a daily basis. A couple months ago, I produced a podcast for Stuff I Learned Yesterday about being no one but myself. The idea came from something once said by the poet e.e. cummings: "To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
Society sends a horrible mixed message about individuality. We're supposed to be the same, but different. We should all be treated the same because we are the same. No. No, no. Words do matter, as we say over and over. I, Brian, and Bryan have nothing against a pursuit for equality - for showing each person love and respect and providing people with an equal opportunity. But because we are all unique, because we all have different skills and interests, we do not perform the same tasks in the same way and, as such, can and should be considered differently in different situations. This is far from being a bad thing, it should be a good thing. We should be celebrating the fact that we don't all have the same skill sets and, thus, pursue opportunities that play to our strengths.
Sometimes we fall prey to society's misconception about equal opportunity. There is this mentality that because we provide equal opportunity here in America, it will naturally translate into equal treatment. I think this is a dangerous lie because it makes many people launch from a bad starting point! And when we don't start right, how can we hope to end right? We need to fight to be different, to avoid sameness, because we are not identical. Don't run from it, embrace it!
In this installment of The Real Brian Show, we welcome author, speaker, and entrepreneur Cardiff D. Hall. His book, Tide Turners, was just published in January! We're so excited to share this interview with you not just because Cardiff is a gifted storyteller, but because of how encouraging and inspirational his experience is. After you've listened to the interview, please check out his website and, perhaps, buy his book!
Those of us who don't run our own business have likely had the nightmare, literally or figuratively, where we are unceremoniously fired from our job. Perhaps the reason, in our nightmare, is a self-concocted, far-stretching reason, or perhaps there is no reason at all. We sign that employment contract and promising to give over 40+ hours of our life to a company that will, in turn, give us a bit of money to live on, and become beholden to that entity. Ideally, of course, that relationship isn't so bleak that we consider ourselves slaves to their system, but in capitalist America the bottom line is that business will trump relationship. To expect it another way is asking for pain.
This mentality has changed so much in the last fifty to a hundred years, hasn't it? Loyalty to companies isn't the same as it used to be, people aren't staying at companies as long as they used to. And, as such, companies have had to restructure some to account for higher turnover. It's not so much that we live in a constant state of uncertainty, rather that the unexpected can and will happen. How can you prepare for something you don't know is going to happen?
I enjoy interviews that help us explore different facets of mindset and attitude, because even though it's one of our favorite topics here at The Real Brian Show... there are so many discussions to be had. There are so many requirements from mindset. Being fired, for whatever reason, or encountering professional instability (translate for yourself if you're an entrepreneur!), can bring out the absolute worst in us. But developing habits that enable us to take action and take control of situations can help us react better when the upheavals come.
Yes. When they come. Because upheavals will come! Being prepared doesn't necessarily mean that it will make a bad situation better, but bad situations can feel a lot less worse when we have the right attitude and have trained ourselves to respond well even under stress. It's a process, and no one is perfect, but after this interview with Cardiff I expect you'll want to pick up his book!
You've got a "Good" card in your hand, I've got a card in my hand, and there is still one card face down in the deck. Do you pick from my hand or Go Fish? Luckily, we have much more control over how we accomplish our tasks, but when we want things to be good, we need to understand the implications of our next decision. In this installment of The Monday Experience, Brian dives into a lesson that has served him well and helps to illuminate difficult decisions.
There are millions of little decisions to make when accomplishing a big task, but those decisions change fundamentally when we've chosen a certain path. That path is controlled by picking two of three options: good, quick, and/or cheap. Any which-way you pair these up will lead to different outcomes and different efforts. None are inherently bad, but some are likely better than others.
When you sit down to start a new project, do you think: I don't care what crap I come up with, I just want it to be quick and cheap? Be honest... hardly ever. The problem with quick and cheap, whether it's a personal project or the food we put into our bodies, is that it's only quick and cheap now. Down the road we will end up paying for it later; a quick and cheap project (maybe the fastest and most inexpensive contractors to do work on your house) will degrade or wear off quickly and you'll end up spending more money to do it all over again.
It is our prerogative to choose whichever combination suits our needs, but using this idealism as a means to breakdown any project. When you are frustrated by the cost, consider the alternatives and the repercussions of the alternatives. When you are frustrated by the time and effort, consider the implications of sacrificing quick for either "good" or "cheap". Sometimes all the planning in the world won't yield the outcomes we want, but you'll be far more prepared for variations and deviations when you've considered what it might mean to sacrifice X for Y.