156. Neal Allen – Shapes of Truth: Discover God Inside You

Neal Allen describes himself as pink, fluffy, love. He’s written a book called Shapes of Truth: Discover God Inside You, which is an interesting book to write for someone who declared himself an atheist at the age of 14. In this conversation and in the book, he lays out some interesting ideas about how we can really get in touch with what’s truly inside us and what’s not. Neal worked for many years as a journalist, and he entered the corporate world where he worked as an executive. Ultimately, he left that to explore a life of coaching and service. A lot of his work has involved looking at the identities we live, how we can dissolve those, and how we can create new and more empowering ones.

In this interview, Neal describes two of the most shaping periods in his life – the “stop believing my story” period and the “burning down the house” period. We get a taste of his transformation process as he takes Brilliant through one that he describes in his book, where we can go deep into an aspect inside ourselves. Neal also takes Brilliant through the enlightening lightning round with him. So not only will you hear his answers in this interview, but Brilliant’s as well. This captivating interview provides techniques to discover ourselves and make the best of who we are.

“When you give yourself the right to look at something like deficient emptiness… it feels like it has actually been seen through… it waves goodbye and disappears.”

This week on the School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Bridging the gap from atheism
  • Bob and the work he did with Neal – The “Stop believing my story” period of life
  • Dissolving self identities – The “Burning down the house” period of life
  • Brilliant “discovering God” inside himself
  • The “I don’t know” approach
  • Brilliant joins Neal for the enlightening lightning round

Resources Mentioned:

Connect With the Guest:

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Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the School For Good Living Podcast, I hope you found it as insightful as I did! If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to head over to goodliving.com and sign up for our email list to receive special reminders and exclusive content sent right to your inbox. Explore our website to learn more about the many services I offer, like my Transformation Coaching Program, Coach Training Program, and my catalog of quotations to help you live a good life!

155. Steven C. Hayes – A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters

Steven C. Hayes is an amazing thinker. He has written nearly 50 books, and hundreds of articles. He is an originator of ACT therapy and RFT (Relational Frame Therapy). Google scholar data ranks him among the top fifteen hundred most cited scholars in all areas of study, living and dead. His career has focused on human nature, language, cognition, and the application of this to an understanding and alleviation of human suffering. His latest book, and topic of our interview, is called “A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters”.

In this episode, Steven C. Hayes talks about psychological flexibility, what it is, how we can cultivate it, why it matters, and how it can change our lives. We talk about something in this interview called “The Dictator within”; how to give distance to and how to get distance from it, to not let it run our lives or ruin our lives. We talk about awareness and attention. We talk about the idea of evolving on purpose, and so much more. Finally, we get into a little bit about writing and how Steven has written over a million words. We also talk about how Steven’s large volume of content has quite literally changed our world.

“Love isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

This week on the School for Good Living Podcast:

  • The dictator within
  • Evolution and being ‘average’
  • Diffusion from our own mind
  • Psychological flexibility, emotional openness, and mindfulness
  • Authoritarian Distancing

Resources Mentioned:

Connect With The Guest:

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Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, I hope you found it as insightful as I did! If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to head over to goodliving.com and sign up for our email list to receive special reminders and exclusive content sent right to your inbox. Explore our website to learn more about the many services I offer, like my Transformation Coaching Program, Coach Training Program, and my catalog of quotations to help you live a good life!

146. Michael Moss – Hooked: How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions

Michael Moss is a Pulitzer prize winning reporter and author of Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions. Michael is known for his work as an investigative reporter and his time spent digging into the food industry and their questionable tactics. He has been a reporter for the Wall Street Journal before joining the New York Times in 2000. He has been a guest on various talk shows, including The Daily Show and CBS This Morning.

Michael joins me today to discuss the life of an investigative reporter. We talk about some of his greatest discoveries and how he dug them up. We also talk at length about the food industry and how they have adapted their products to play to our natural inclination towards sugar. He details to me a dilemma between the “go” brain and the “stop” brain; and how sugar can confuse the two. We finish by talking about the creative process and how it differs for investigative reporters.

“You can’t jog off junk food.”

This week on the School For Good Living Podcast:

  • Addiction, what is it?
  • Memory’s influence on addiction
  • The faster the substance is processed, the greater the impact
  • How fat impacts our ability to process information
  • How to tell good stories

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Michael:

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Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the School For Good Living Podcast, I hope you found it as insightful as I did! If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to head over to goodliving.com and sign up for our email list to receive special reminders and exclusive content sent right to your inbox. Explore our website to learn more about the many services I offer, like my Transformation Coaching Program, Coach Training Program, and my catalog of quotations to help you live a good life!

145 Boyd Varty – The Lion Tracker’s Guide To Life

Boyd Varty is an experienced tracker, a skill he gained from a growing up on the Londolozi Wild Game Reserve in South Africa. He spent his early years exploring the terrain and learning the trade of a tracker, before taking over the reserve that his grandfather started. It was there that he met a particular woman who opened his eyes to the more important things in life. He has since ventured to do the same for others, striving to help them “track” their lives and discover their true purposes. He has written two books in this effort, The Lion Tracker’s Guide To Life, and Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home.

Boyd joins me today to talk about his unique journey through life, including what it was like to grow up on an African game reserve, and a higher calling he found that urged him to leave. We talk about the skills that an experienced tracker must gain, and how they apply to coaching. He also sheds a very unique and naturalistic perspective on what it means to live a good life.

“Let go of the outcome and just do the next thing that feels good.”

This week on the School For Good Living Podcast:

  • Finding your inner harmony
  • Life on the Londolozi Game Reserve
  • A change in life paths
  • Skills of a tracker
  • Finding your path
  • Clean fear versus dirty fear
  • How to become a good storyteller

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Boyd:

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Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the School For Good Living Podcast, I hope you found it as insightful as I did! If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to head over to goodliving.com and sign up for our email list to receive special reminders and exclusive content sent right to your inbox. Explore our website to learn more about the many services I offer, like my Transformation Coaching Program, Coach Training Program, and my catalog of quotations to help you live a good life!

143. Pam Mandel – The Same River Twice

Pam as worn many hats in her time, but above all she is a traveler and a writer. Pam has lived a very eventful life, starting with her senior year trip to Israel just as they entered a war. She has hiked across the Middle East, relying heavily on the help and kindness of strangers. She has survived abusive relationships and talks heavily to the value of being listened to. She shares all these lessons and more in her new book The Same River Twice.

Pam joins me today to discuss the various powerful experiences she has been through in her life, and the wide range of life lessons she gained along the way. We discuss the many amazing strangers she met along her journeys, and why she trusted them so much. She tells me about her history in writing, how she got started and why she still writes today, as well as how her writing has evolved over time. We also talk about what inspired her to write it these lessons and experiences down in her new book The Same River Twice.

“I know why you are silent. I know why you stayed. It is never too late to tell your story. You deserve so much better. I believe you.”

This week on the School For Good Living Podcast:

  • The power of breakfast
  • What it is like being a teenager in the middle of a war
  • Understanding and getting away from bad relationships
  • The influence of kind strangers
  • Friends have powerful influence
  • The evolution of a writer

Resources Mentioned:

The Same River Twice: A Memoir of Dirtbag Backpackers, Bomb Shelters, and Bad Travel

Connect with Pam:

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142. Jim Davidson – The Next Everest

Jim Davidson is a lifetime climber and expedition leader, spending over thirty years of his life pursuing the tallest peaks this Earth has to offer. Jim has summited Mount Everest, where he survived earthquakes, avalanches, and he’s even escaped alone from an 80 foot deep glacial crevasse. He was hiking Everest in 2015, when a record-setting earthquake shook the mountain, trapping dozens of hikers in the snow. After miraculously surviving that day, he returned in 2017 and summitted the mountain. This experience, and what he learned from it, has been the main inspiration for Jim’s recent book The Next Everest.

Jim joins me this week to talk about his life-long interest in hiking, and his endless search for “awe”. We also discuss Jim’s fascinating view on time and how he uses it help maintain a healthy lifestyle. We talk about the physical and mental strain that affected his body as he hiked Everest, and the methods he used to combat both. Jim is especially good at goal setting, which we dig into a little bit as well. I hope you enjoy my interview with my new friend, Jim Davidson, and appreciate his unique views on what it means to live a good life!

“Pick something that speaks to you and strive for it.”

This week on the School For Good Living Podcast:

  • Doing the best with what is handed to you
  • Surviving the deadliest day on Everest
  • Rebuilding Nepal
  • Making sacrifices to experience life while you’re young
  • The power of leading by example

Resources Mentioned:

The Next Everest: Surviving the Mountain’s Deadliest Day and Finding the Resilience to Climb Again

goodliving.com

Connect with Jim:

Professional Page

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Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the School For Good Living Podcast, I hope you found it as insightful as I did! If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to head over to goodliving.com and sign up for our email list to receive special reminders and exclusive content sent right to your inbox. Explore our website to learn more about the many services I offer, like my Transformation Coaching Program, Coach Training Program, and my catalog of quotations to help you live a good life!

141. Avi Loeb – Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

As the TIME’s magazine “most influential person in space”, Avi Loeb is at the forefront of all things interstellar. Avi is the longest standing chairman over the Harvard Black Hole Initiative, and has served as the lead advisor for space at the White House. Avi has spent the vast majority of his life studying the stars and pioneered research into the first stars that came into existence in our universe. Avi’s latest efforts have been focused on the young people, trying to motivate them to pursue their interests in the field of science and continue the ongoing research into the mystery of space.

Avi joins me this week to discuss his latest book, Extraterrestrial, and the amazing interstellar discovery that formed the foundation for it’s climb to number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. We discuss the possibility of alien life, and the possible source of the remarkable space anomaly Avi and his team discovered in 2017. Avi shares with me his passion for the sciences and his disagreement with the current trend of the community. He hopes to reshape the future of science, and has been focusing his recent efforts on motivating youth to pursue an interest in the universe around us.

“The study of science is meant to be a discussion with nature, not a monologue.”

This week on the School For Good Living Podcast:

  • We should all be focusing on furthering the human race as a whole
  • How they first identified the asteroid Oumuamua
  • The vast array of implications of such a discovery
  • The future of the science community
  • Inspiring a love of science in children
  • The enlightening lighting round from an interstellar perspective

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Avi Loeb:

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Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the School For Good Living Podcast, I hope you found it as insightful as I did! If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to head over to goodliving.com and sign up for our email list to receive special reminders and exclusive content sent right to your inbox. Explore our website to learn more about the many services I offer, like my Transformation Coaching Program, Coach Training Program, and my catalog of quotations to help you live a good life!

140. Roman Krznaric – The Good Ancestor: Long Term vs. Short Term Worlds

Roman Krznaric is the author of the book The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking, which shares six practical ways we can retrain our brains to be future-focused. He guides us on how we might shift our priorities to saving our planet and the quality of humanity beyond ourselves now. Roman is also the founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum, a founding faculty member at School of Life in London, and an empathy advisor to organizations including Oxfam and the United Nations. Both his book and life experiences offer advice on how to live in a way that impacts future generations for the better.

In this podcast, Roman shares his own life story and journey to discover the true importance of what it means to be a good ancestor and to think of future generations rather than only yourself. Listen as he shares his own personal experience and advice on how to live this out, how to set goals with the future in mind, and how to be a good ancestor.  

“We discover ourselves through looking outside ourselves; through outrospection as much as introspection.” –Roman Krznaric

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • The purpose of life and how to live to the fullest
  • How Roman’s role as a gardener has taught him new things
  • The most important question of our time
  • Thoughts on being a good ancestor and what it means to look to the future
  • The importance of asking yourself what legacy you are leaving  
  • The inspiration behind Roman’s book and what he wants people to get out of it
  • What it means and looks like to colonize the future
  • Different ways to think long-term
  • How one person can make a difference
  • Chalk festivals and cultivating important rituals
  • How to incorporate younger generations into politics and citizen assemblies
  • The role of empathy in looking to the future
  • The importance of being interested in others and not just yourself
  • Roman’s favorite books and biggest influences
  • Some of Roman’s best travel hacks
  • How to build relationships
  • How to connect with Roman
  • Roman’s journey into writing and his current writing routine
  • Challenging and rewarding aspects of writing
  • Advice and encouragement for other writers
  • Roman talks about his TED Talk
  • Roman Gives some of his best writing tips

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Roman Krznaric:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. 

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential. 

139. Héctor García – Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Healthy Life

I lived in Japan for a period and love the country, culture, and language. It is what drew me to read Héctor García’s book, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, co-authored with Francesc Miralles. In my conversation with Héctor, we discuss how the book takes some Japanese concepts and combines them with other Eastern thought, Western philosophy, and practical philosophy.  Perhaps this melding of ideas is why the book has sold so well. Its influence has been far-reaching and remarkable – translated into at least 58 world languages and is the most translated book to have originally been written in Spanish.

As Héctor explains, the term “ikigai” roughly indicates one’s purpose in life (technically translating as “a reason for being”). To use Héctor’s own vivid explanation, it is what wakes you up with excitement in the morning. Héctor’s insightful exploration of this profound theme shapes not just the book bearing its name, but also Héctor’s other works. He is the author of The Book of Ichigo Ichie, Forest Bathing, and A Geek in Japan (which shares a title with his long-running blog).  His most recent book, The Ikigai Journey, offers action steps to accompany the philosophical ideas in Ikigai, and his soon-to-be-released Ikigai for Teens offers to help younger readers navigate questions of purpose. 

Héctor is a thoughtful person whose life experience spans countries and cultures – from his Spanish hometown to his many years in Japan – as well as fields of study and engagement.  He was training in computer science when he realized his affinity for writing, and even now he combines working in IT with his ventures as a writer and self-styled aspiring philosopher.  I find his ideas to be inclusive and compelling.  Any listener can learn from Héctor about living deeply and well, and aspiring writers are sure to be intrigued by his unique writing process.

“I’m aspiring to become a better thinker, . . . to have clear thoughts about what all this is about.” – Héctor García

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • How the purpose of life can be conceived of in terms of a two-fold search – plus having fun!
  • How Héctor believes people can learn about themselves
  • Héctor’s tendency to become obsessed with things and the new interest he wants to pursue
  • Héctor’s photography and why he considers himself an aspiring philosopher
  • Thoughts on why Ikigai resonates with so many Indian readers
  • How Héctor and his co-author arrived at the model on the back of their book
  • What ikigai is, what holds people back from living it and whether or not it changes over time
  • Why compasses are to be preferred over maps and what makes for a bad ikigai declaration
  • Thoughts on action steps, laying aside expectations and universal realities
  • What life is like and the fact that people can achieve greatness in most areas with effort
  • Hêctor’s “Do It” shirt and accompanying advice to would-be writers
  • Who to read and why travel is better with a physical book
  • Héctor’s story of how writing brought healing and of finding himself by removing things
  • His reflections on the US culture’s sense of being the center of the world
  • What four pieces of insight Héctor has found to help his relationships work
  • How to think about emotions tied to money
  • When Héctor first realized he was a writer and how he persisted in the face of rejection
  • The way in which Héctor thinks about and has used personal connections
  • The place of proto-ideas, ongoing books, green tea and more in his writing process
  • How co-writing has worked and the persona being developed now
  • Remembering that great authors were once children can be helpful to new writers

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Héctor García:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. 

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential. 

138. Bernard Roth – The Achievement Habit: Take Command of Your Life

My guest today joined the Stanford Design Division faculty in 1962. He was the youngest member of the university faculty and now decades later, he’s the oldest faculty member.  His name is Bernard (Bernie) Roth and he is the author of The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. As one of the founders of Stanford’s d.school, he remains active in the d.school’s development and currently serves as the Academic Director.  Bernie’s primary intention as both an educator and a person, is to empower his students, family and friends to have fulfilling lives. He’s the kind of teacher we all want, and some are fortunate to have in their academic careers. 

In 2003, Bernie joined a group of colleagues looking to bring more cross-disciplinary collaboration into education. This was the genesis of the d.school, and it represents the sense of well-roundedness and personal integration that Bernie exudes.  He is a person whose philosophy and commitments mark all he does, from the classroom to the home and whose consistency in denying fallacious crutches in our beliefs, is rivaled only by his consistency in trying to live and be as best he can.  Bernie’s work is perhaps epitomized in the way he encourages his students and others to take concrete action to either produce a result that matters to them – something they have always wanted to do but haven’t done – or resolve a problem in their life. 

Bernie’s insight is fascinating and counterintuitive.  His ways of conceptualizing the world and the ways people and events engage in it made me think. I have no doubt they will make you think as well.  I found myself challenged by Bernie’s differentiation between trying and doing, along with his charge to trade contemplation for action.  I was grateful to be able to speak with Bernie and I hope that the conversation, and Bernie’s work, are useful and inspiring to you.

“The best thing in life is to just say what you do or what you don’t do without worrying about why.” – Bernie Roth

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Bernie’s belief that life is about itself and that the rest is all made up
  • What Bernie means when he says he’s dedicated to living
  • How two improbable and unplanned events led Bernie to work at Stanford
  • Why Bernie thinks our behavior is automatic and our so-called reasons are excuses
  • The complexity of our motivation and the driving force of self-image
  • How we should focus on what we do and don’t do, not on the question of why
  • How we can change our attitude and self-image and Bernie’s story about timeliness
  • We can change things and life is basically a problem-solving activity
  • How we impart meaning to our lives by where we start and stop a story
  • What Bernie’s class called “The Designer in Society”
  • How a course project has led to concrete change and stories Bernie is proud of
  • How this course and the d.school have changed over time
  • Why Bernie believes people need to differentiate between trying and doing
  • Life is like a crap shoot and most big things happen accidentally
  • Bernie’s thoughts on presence, living day by day and being able to say, “I am here”
  • Thoughts on traveling light, spending sabbaticals abroad and shedding a critical outlook
  • How Bernie thinks Americans can best think about American “specialism”
  • Don’t over-rate or under-rate money and know some of our money-mindset is inherited
  • How Bernie’s two books differ and what his most recent book writing process looked like
  • How writing the book and connecting with his agent involved accidental happenings
  • Why Bernie says writing a book is a living process and his advice to aspiring writers

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Bernard Roth:

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Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the School for Good Living Podcast, with your host, Brilliant Miller. If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to Apple Podcasts to subscribe and leave us a rating and review. 

Don’t forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. And be sure to share your favorite episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to inspire others to improve their lives and reach their full potential.