The Stoic Handbook by Jon Brooks

The Art of Self-Reflection: Justin Noppé on Happiness, Leadership, and Perspective Shifts

April 11, 2023
The Art of Self-Reflection: Justin Noppé on Happiness, Leadership, and Perspective Shifts
The Stoic Handbook by Jon Brooks
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The Stoic Handbook by Jon Brooks
The Art of Self-Reflection: Justin Noppé on Happiness, Leadership, and Perspective Shifts
Apr 11, 2023

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In this episode, Justin and I discuss:

  • Justin Noppe's background and expertise
  • The six positive emotions that contribute to happiness: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, pride, and excitement
  • The role of Stoicism in emotional mastery and mindfulness
  • The benefits of journaling and self-reflection for emotional growth
  • The power of anticipation in experiencing happiness
  • How to implement Stoic principles and practices in our daily lives
  • The importance of resilience and adapting to life's challenges
  • The relationship between physical health and emotional well-being

About Justin Noppé

Justin is an expert in leadership development, specializing in helping leaders, founders, and managers of small, successful companies navigate their way from overwhelm to a life filled with excitement and capability. 

With his integrative approach, Justin empowers clients to become emotionally stable, productive, and more humane with their teams, ultimately transforming them into the effortless leaders they aspire to be.

In our conversation, we delve into the learnability of leadership, discuss how to lead with social anxiety and examine the value of fostering positive emotions. We also touch on essential resources for anyone looking to develop their leadership skills further. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from Justin's wealth of knowledge and experience.

Important Links:

  • Justin's Website: https://thewayoftheleader.substack.com/
  • Justin’s Insight Timer Library: https://insighttimer.com/justinnoppe
  • Enneagram: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
  • The Broaden and Build Theory by Barbara Fredrickson: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122271/

Support the Show.

Resources

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode, Justin and I discuss:

  • Justin Noppe's background and expertise
  • The six positive emotions that contribute to happiness: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, pride, and excitement
  • The role of Stoicism in emotional mastery and mindfulness
  • The benefits of journaling and self-reflection for emotional growth
  • The power of anticipation in experiencing happiness
  • How to implement Stoic principles and practices in our daily lives
  • The importance of resilience and adapting to life's challenges
  • The relationship between physical health and emotional well-being

About Justin Noppé

Justin is an expert in leadership development, specializing in helping leaders, founders, and managers of small, successful companies navigate their way from overwhelm to a life filled with excitement and capability. 

With his integrative approach, Justin empowers clients to become emotionally stable, productive, and more humane with their teams, ultimately transforming them into the effortless leaders they aspire to be.

In our conversation, we delve into the learnability of leadership, discuss how to lead with social anxiety and examine the value of fostering positive emotions. We also touch on essential resources for anyone looking to develop their leadership skills further. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from Justin's wealth of knowledge and experience.

Important Links:

  • Justin's Website: https://thewayoftheleader.substack.com/
  • Justin’s Insight Timer Library: https://insighttimer.com/justinnoppe
  • Enneagram: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
  • The Broaden and Build Theory by Barbara Fredrickson: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122271/

Support the Show.

Resources

Justin, it's an honor to have you here. You have the Substack publication, The Way of the Leader, where you talk about different leadership strategies and tactics. You come at it from a slightly different approach from most types of leadership teachers that I've seen, and I'm sure you'll talk more about that during this conversation. definitely important in Stoicism. Many of the famous ancient Stoics like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca were leaders in their own way. Seneca, a leader as a teacher to other leaders like emperors and so on, so they had quite a lot of political power. Marcus Aurelius, obviously the most powerful person in Rome as the emperor. You had Epictetus who was so leading often wealthy students who would come into his lecture area and he would be guiding them. Leadership is a really important topic, but I don't feel like I've got any really clear grasp on how one should approach the topic of learning to become a leader. It's usually this thing where it's like you either have this leadership quality, this charisma, this confidence, this swag, or you don't, you're a follower. So yeah, I'm just curious if we could stop there on how learnable is leadership? And what if you don't feel like you're a natural leader? Is this something that you can learn and it would benefit you to learn? 100% and yeah, let me start by saying thanks for having me on, Jon. It's my honor. I really love conversations with you. And yeah, you know, it's interesting because although on the surface it seems that I talk about leadership strategies, actually, you know, the primary focus of this is that human beings are social animals. And if we take that social approach, the idea is that you are already a leader in some contexts. In some contexts, everybody is a leader. And so if you look at it through that lens, like who are you comfortable leading already? So, you know, let's say you're an 18 year old who doesn't really know much about the world and you're very anxious and nervous to kind of go out into the world. Well, if I put you in a room full of nine year olds, you will naturally become the leader for that group because your experience, you know, your traits, et cetera, outrank theirs very, very naturally. So naturally speaking, we, as humans. We create hierarchy automatically and You know what you were talking about before to say, you know, you've got these traits This is something called natural leadership or trait based leadership where they're like, oh, no, you're just born with these qualities And that might be true. You could be born just like with more inclinations. But my personal belief is that everything is a skills-based approach. And it's just a little bit about practice. And it's the same as, let's say, we take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You might be a natural, but if you don't put in the work, you're going to get outworked by someone who's not a natural, but who has the passion for it. And so ultimately it comes down to that kind of consistency of, well, what is your vision? So in terms of going back to that original question that you asked, which was how do we develop these traits? Well, it starts very simply put by saying that we need to create a little bit more strength in terms of your sense of value and your sense of worth. This is point number one. And with a lot of the leaders that I actually coach, they've got these natural leadership qualities, but they're still dealing with a lot of their own ego and that comes out under stress, they just become terrible leaders. They're pretty much a lawsuit waiting to happen. Or they believe that pressure is good, we all thrive under pressure, and then they keep the pressure on for nine months of the year and wonder why their staff are leaving and things like that. So step number one is always we've got to get out of our own way. We need to be able to see what our resistance is. What is the resistance that we have inside of us? After that, I start working on positive emotions. So this is step two, positive emotions, because there's a lot of positive emotion research that's out there that actually shows that positive emotion practice, as in like training those muscles, will increase your resiliency as well as your resources, internal resources to deal with problems. And then after that, once we're dialed in with your positive emotions, what you like, things like that, we know what your values are. We know what your interaction patterns are. That's unclouded by your internal critic, your resistance. And that's when we can start making strategies for how do we develop your creations. And it's not about you now, it's about what is your contribution to the world? What do you really want to manifest and create and become the emperor of your own kingdom? So in this three step process, we're literally moving away from I am not a leader, I am just a person, and we get through that space, finding your value and finding how you want to contribute. And then we exercise these skills of leadership, which are, you know, things like clear communication, you know, responsibility. The, you know, recognition is a big one. Recognition, just being able to recognize someone and say, like, I appreciate all the work that you have done up to now, this has been fantastic, thank you very much. And I see you for that. It's amazing to, you know, and that's not even really a leadership skill. That's just a human being skill for good relationships, I would say, but it particularly comes out in leadership to recognize your team so that they see, sorry, they feel seen and heard. And it inspires loyalty, it inspires a lot of trust as well, and it creates a safe environment for them to want to you know, by increasing the skills and moving through these three phases, we eventually get to a place where all of a sudden you've got this grand plan of what you want to create and it matters to you. And so that's pretty much my answer to that. Yeah, I love that. And it's interesting what you say about like some of your clients, they are like one outburst away from a lawsuit or something where they have these traits, these qualities, but maybe the shadow side to these traits might be just like more passion, which can come out as anger or something along those lines. One of the connotations I have with leadership has this element of competitiveness. You know, like if you say to someone in a group, I'm the leader right now, it sounds almost like you're saying I am the top of the pecking order and you are subservient to me. And it kind of creates this strange feeling for me when it comes to leadership. It's like a dirty word, like I don't want to tell people I want to be the leader here because that means that I'm kind of telling them that I'm going to be above them. Maybe I just have the wrong idea about leadership and I'm talking about like dominance or something But like how do you like what is yes? How do you? Okay, so there's a there's an interesting way to kind of To look at this. So I sometimes get called that I'm like the the mr. Wolf of perspectives because I can come in and I'll Sort out your your problems, you know, like mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction, you know, like hey, you got coffee cream Okay, cool scoop out the brains, you know, let's make it look good. So, you know, the idea right here is that, you know, the foundation, the framework that you're using to understand leadership, yes, it is combative. And so how do we change it so it's non-combative? Well, we can just use a good example of leadership like the Navy SEALs, which is kind of like you have one leader who's the overall team leader in terms of the communication of orders and things like that and the structuring. But then you have this concept, and I'm going to use the phrase situational leadership, although that's a different sort of leadership in and of itself. That's like copyrighted the name, but just context-based leadership. So in certain situations, a different person inside the team will take the lead. They will tell others what to do because they are specialized in that context. And so good leaders also know how to follow. Good leaders create other leaders. And so following and leading are almost, you know, it's two sides of the same coin instead of fighting for leadership, right? So if you're fighting for leadership or if you view leadership as competitive, there's something in there about like value and worth of I want to be the leader because I feel it's a more valuable position where true leadership is the idea of like, well, I'm the leader, but we don't have consequences or stakes right now, so I'm going to give leadership to you and see how well you do so I can help you develop. And it's very much like this mentor type of position. Now like I said, the Navy SEALs one, these are highly skilled guys and these are always high stakes. person is trained into whatever is their specialty and they will take temporary leadership for that situation because in those situations they are highly specialized and being able to instruct others and tell them what to do. So if you imagine leadership as a context-dependent thing, then you could see it in your own life as well. So in some situations, let's say who's the matriarch or patriarch of your family, you're going to follow their lead. But when you're just with your own little family, you become the leader. You know, if emergencies come up, I absolutely take control in my family. You know, I'm comfortable, you know, processing information. I don't freak out. And I have the scope to think of everyone in emergencies. But when it comes to planning, I know I give that leadership up to my wife and I'm like, whatever. I couldn't care less. You know, it doesn't it doesn't bother me at all. And you could say, oh, you're being lazy or irresponsible or whatever, but it matters more to her. And so I just support her and I try and be a good a good follower, a good supporter in those cases. And so just in our own lives, we're probably able to see where do we follow and where do we lead? There's at least 15 to 20 different cases where you can find where you follow and where you lead. Yeah. So what I'm hearing is an intelligent, wise leader recognizes the areas that they are best suited to lead and doesn't just say, I'm going to lead absolutely everything in my life because I like leading. It's like recognizing where they're competent. It's almost like this view of serving the greater good or serving like something bigger than themselves. Like if someone in the Navy SEALs recognizes that they're less skilled at a certain kind of operation, then they would be sabotaging their people by trying to lead that instead of someone else. 100%. Just like if I took control of planning away from my wife, like I would be sabotaging our trip because I don't plan as thorough because I don't really care about it that much or whatever But I'm just interested in having a great trip and I know I trust that she does a great job because you know She's done it before so typically when I start with clients, I will do a personality assessments as you know, it's the Enneagram It's nine personality types. Now. I'm not I'm not someone who believes too much in the woo-woo, but I believe in asking questions to find out a person's beliefs or attitudes about things like this. And there are one or two types that are naturally attracted to leadership, because it proves that they are valuable. And so like I said, in my first answer, step one is making sure we're not interacting with this resistance. And the resistance is that inner critic that tells us we're worthless. And in order to be worthwhile, we have to do X, whatever X is. And for some people, for two out of those nine types, it is, I need to show others that I'm in control, that I'm the leader, that I'm the dominance. And those people are the people that are naturally drawn to leadership and they'll have those natural qualities. But those people will also, as soon as leadership starts to escape and slip through their fingers They will assert a lot of strength and dominance You know to be able to maintain control and that's like a good example of that is like fast and furious You know if you if you remember Was it like fast and furious 6 where the one the bad guy kept his family because of loyalty, you know, and it's two different qualities there. You know, he's almost like the, the hesitant leader, the reluctant leader. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So on this topic of, you know, when people feel their leadership is the thing they might kind of, depending on the individual, of course, feel like this more kind of dominant side come out. One of the experiences I sometimes have when interacting with leaders is this almost like this feeling of resistance in disagreeing with them or something like it's almost like they are so deeply entrenched in this dynamic of the leader. And you see this in martial arts, you know, like the dojo coach or something, you might have a better idea in your mind about what the right technique is, but you find yourself kind of agreeing with them because of the social pressure and the fact that they are clearly the leader and the top of the pecking order in the hierarchy there. I'm just wondering what you think about that. Do you ever encounter other strong leaders and feel that temptation to kind of agree with them? Or do you recognize that in yourself and have tactics to deal with it? Or what happens when two leaders meet and they both have strong views? Absolutely, no, it's very typical that, you know, it's very natural that we do this. You know, we have a social brain and so we'll be pressured. Our brain will do things that we don't agree with. We're like, why did I shut up in that class? I should have absolutely, you know, spoken my mind or whatever. Why was I influenced so much by the social setting? But the thing is that we're a social animal. We're made to be around others and we're made to organize into groups and that's part of that programming. So we have all these biases inside our mind that'll feel pressured not to speak out. You know, we'll have to resist a lot of our natural kind of like, instincts to be able to speak out. Some, some of us, some of us will naturally speak out because we just don't read the room or whatever, you know, there are different types, like I said, but for the most part, you know, most people have that social bias of not speaking out. So I would say there's a couple of things here, which is number one, a good leader invites alternatives, challenges, things like that. A good leader will create a space so that people feel safe to speak out against the ideas that are there. And this is how we bring this element. I know that for years you've been, in your mind you're like, how do we bring the life-sparring, pressure-testing nature of Jiu-Jitsu into philosophy so that we can put it into our lives. A great way to do this is to invite challenge to your ideas as well and temper your response. That's a great way to practice a leadership quality and also seeing which leaders actually invite that challenge and say, all right, who disagrees with me? Because then you get to connect with people. You create a safe space for them to actually raise an objection and they learn to trust you that you're not going to just like explode, laugh at them, ridicule them in public and use your leadership status against them. And that creates a sense of security within the group, which is very important for people to actually be truthful and honest and feel that sense of belonging and feel a sense of loyalty as well. So knowing the listeners to this little camp book, I can kind of group people into two broad categories when it comes to leadership. And there's going to be one group that they are already leaders. They already run a team, maybe a team leader, entrepreneur, business owner. They already do a good job at leading people, except they know they could do better. And they make decisions based on like impulse or they get triggered and they get angry and they blow up. They have to bite their tongue and it's just, they feel volatile. They know they're capable of being a great leader, but they feel volatile as one group. And then the other group would be someone who feels like they're destined in some way for greatness. They have a lot to offer the world, many great ideas, but they are just stuck in something that looks something like social anxiety. So the idea of becoming a leader of other people seems like something that's really far off. They're living in this, and this is me as well, living in this kind of state of, I would be a really good leader if only I could get my emotions in a place where I could actually like socialize and be free. So what are the highest leverage moves that both types of individual, what we can do it one at a time can start implementing to start making some change in that direction? Probably the highest leverage one is to challenge the way that they frame the situation in the first place. Saying something like, I know I could be a great leader, but I feel like I'm exploding half the time or whatever. It's just a simple matter of, okay, cool, let's reframe that. In particular, the second one where if only this social anxiety were to get out of the way, I'd be a great leader, I've got so much to offer the world. And it's remembering rather than learning. Remember that you are already a great leader in some contexts, and what's happening right now is stress is kind of jumping in the way. So how do we deal with stress is a better way to kind of go about bringing out this person's leadership. So a good way to do it for confidence is to note all the ways that you have already done what you're trying to do. But not in the same context, but in different contexts. So if I'm saying something along the lines of like, I'm not socially anxious. I have in the past Shown many many many cases where actually I haven't just Demonstrated social anxiety. What are those cases? What are the situations? What is it really about this? That's triggering me to stress and creating the perception of social anxiety now you know the this is very simply put, like if you are in, one of the frames that I use is core energy coaching, which has seven levels of energy. And if you are in level one, me asking you or inviting you to think about the fact that you are already a leader, you're gonna refuse it, right? Because at level one is the victim thoughts, you know, the feelings of apathy, of despair, of I can't do anything, the woe is me. And that energy level is good, it protects us. There are no bad energy levels and for some people they need to be at this energy level in this case. So what is appropriate to do in that case? The person who's in a conflict case, they persecute, they want to say this is good and this is bad, I want to be the leader, you can't be the leader. There's a win or lose mentality there. That's a different thing. And I would say that to get out of those cases, let's talk about first the victim mentality. What is like the high level best thing that you can do to get out of that is to start getting angry at someone, something. To pull you out of apathy, you know, use anger to raise you up to that second level and get pissed off about stuff. So biggest problem to people doing this is usually they explain away or they positive spin way too early. You need to be able to see the silver lining. You need to be able to say like at least I can do this as well and positive spin these types of things and look at the bright side. But that doesn't help you get out of apathy. So while you're in apathy, it's not the right time to positive spin, get pissed off. And it's okay to be pissed off. You know, if you feel like you're being a victim at the moment, that's okay. It's okay to be that. Be that for a while. And when you're tired of being that, how do we get out of that? Like start getting pissed off? Yeah. And then naturally, you'll fill with more energy. And then we go up to level two. And then level two to get out of that. What do we do is we start saying, Okay, are you tired of being pissed off now? How tired are you? Are you tired of fighting? Because it burns so much energy to be at that kind of level, to have those kind of mentalities. How tired are you? And we're usually looking for like an eight out of 10 on tired of being like this. For both cases. Most of the time when I coach people, unless they are an eight out of 10, in terms of want to change, desire to change, I don't touch it. I do not touch it. Because as much as they'll entertain me, they're not interested in going for it. Yeah, very good. Very good suggestions there. And when we close out this section on leadership, what are some resources that you'd recommend, including the things that you're working on? I mean it depends on if a person wants to be a mechanic or just a driver. So the resources that I know and I use and I recommend to people are all for mechanics. So you want to know how the car works, check out these resources. But if a person just wants to drive and they just they don't necessarily need to know the ins and outs of their own psyche, they just want to get to a place, which is unfortunately to say the types of people that I attract. So I love going into it, but I'm like, this isn't benefiting the person. And they're saying, like, give me the three things that I can do. I'm like, well, it's a system of things. So if they want to be a driver and just enjoy the ride, that's a different thing. So the resources that I highly, is a type of practice where you take time, let's say on a daily or a weekly basis, to perhaps, I think you called it mindful journaling, but it's any type of stillness like this where we investigate our opinions and attitudes towards things. And one of the biggest things is to remember, I am already this. So the way that we frame a question, it can be damning. So if I say, like, I want to be rich, you know, I want money. How can I make money? This frames that you are currently in a lack, a lack of money. And that can, that comes out of a weird place. But like, obviously, when we think about it, we're like, well, I don't have money. Desperation starts to creep in. And instead, we say, like, how can I bring in more money? There's already money. How can I bring in more money? To say that you don't have money is ridiculous. Everybody has money, but they probably don't have enough to a satisfactory amount. So I would say that the journaling is the resource on a regular basis, investigating a particular belief or thought and remembering that some of this already exists. But maybe it's a 1 out of 10. And your question is not how to take it to millions and 10 out of 10, but your question is how do we take it from a 1 to a 2, from a 2 to a 3. Is it possible to take it from a 1 to a 10 in one step? Or is your belief more that I could take it from a 1 to a 3 at most? Because your feelings, your confidence, your belief around that would be the strongest obstacle for you to overcome. So don't challenge that for now. You need to prove to yourself and create a track record for yourself. And also, you continue to produce podcasts and articles on leadership that people can listen to and kind of get those like driver tactics like, you know, in 10 minutes, you can start applying this today, and you'll notice like a shift in your perception. Yes. So we'll- Absolutely, yeah. I think if I can plug something, the biggest thing that I would plug is, there's something called the Broaden and Build Theory by Barbara Fredrickson. And I think that that's probably gonna be the, the highest leveraged practice that anyone can start. So I'm going to be releasing journaling meditations on Insight Timer for this. I'm also going to be releasing, obviously, the content on YouTube and podcasts to kind of point people at that as well. But the simple thing is that there are six emotions, and journaling on these regularly, as regularly as you can. The data suggests from the science, from the research, that actually these six emotions, any positive emotion is good, but they nailed it down to three and I increased it to six. And there's data to suggest that the other three, in my opinion, could be very, very valid. Yeah, so it's very interesting. So the first one that I would say is going to be curiosity, and the verb to go with this is exploration. And all I want you to do is ask yourself the question of how did I in the last week explore or in the next week, what am I making time to explore? And the exploration is not for a result like, oh, I'm going to explore this topic because it's going to give me a promotion. I'm going to explore this random topic for no purpose. There is no ROI on this topic except for my pleasure, my enjoyment. Go down the rabbit hole and go and get curious about it. Just ask yourself, huh, I wonder if. You'll be surprised at how much that changes enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is one of the greatest drivers of team leadership, actually, which is very, very interesting in terms of creating inspiring work from others. And leaders that are seen as enthusiastic also get much more positive reviews. So literally a great leader with low enthusiasm, deceived enthusiasm, would actually get terrible reviews. So that's what they found, which is quite interesting. So the first one, curiosity, and you do the verb of exploration. The second one is enjoyment or joy and the verb here is to play. So I want you to think about playing where you lose the score, you don't care what the score is. Like playing fetch with a dog, do you think that the dog counts how many times it's brought it back and be like, haha, I'm winning, you haven't thrown it far enough yet or something like that. So think about like when you've played football against your friends and you know it's just a fun game and you're you know like the insults are flying and everyone's laughing and no one cares you know there's no bad feelings and you just get that good camaraderie coming out of it like really good feelings no one cares what the points are because everyone is enjoying themselves and that's a great way to really ground yourself in the present moment and help connection. Play is a great one. You can experience this very easily with animals because they are so much in the moment and they appreciate so much of your presence to play with them in the moment. And kids, kids is easy as well. Play with your kids. Your friends, randomly, adults enjoy play. I still remember having a game of tag with a bunch of 30 year olds in the middle of Estonia, you know, in Tallinn, in the town center, and everyone else was like, what the hell is going on? And there's, you know, all these adults playing a game of tag, and of course we were out of shape. We played for five minutes and we were all dead, but the gratitude works differently. Gratitude is such a misused term in my opinion, and I've got my own thoughts on gratitude. I've got content on gratitude. I'm going to put out more content on gratitude because I think that people do it incorrectly, and they're like, oh, I'm grateful for the roof over my head, and like all the basics. And the thing is, is that that doesn't create really strong feelings for most people. What does is where you say, okay, in this moment, in this memory, what are the top two things that I'm really enjoying, that I'm savoring the taste of, that just me being present and taking a photo, it's the two things that I pay attention to, or the three things that I pay attention to that I'm like, oh, that was a great memory because of... Right? So right now, this is a great memory for me. Why? Because of you, Jon Brooks. You know? You're a friend of mine, and I love you very dearly. And spending time with you and talking like this, I thoroughly enjoy it. Number two, I've got my dogs around me, you know, being all cute as hell. And so, like, those are two things that I really... I imagine if this moment were a food, I'm putting it in my mouth and I'm just enjoying the flavors in my mouth and being like, mmm. So true savoring of moments, okay? And that stops you, it makes you more present, it pauses, you think, and you start to pick out things that you enjoy about stuff. Now the better that you get about this, the more you start savoring really difficult moments like when someone's got you in a head crank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or something like that and you're like, aha, this is an opportunity for me, oh I'm really enjoying this because now I can see movements out. And the more you play, you see opportunities to play in difficult moments. And the more you're curious, the more you get curious in difficult moments as well. And so it's really about practicing these muscles of positivity. So the three that I added would be sharing. By either experiencing one of these three together with someone else or by reporting it to someone else. The sharing aspect of it makes us feel connected. It connects us to people and it communicates who we are because we communicate and we share, excuse me, we share our curiosities and that helps someone understand and appreciate who we are. We share our joy and they understand what makes us happy. And we share what we're savoring in the moment. And they know what we pay attention to. So by promoting sharing as well, we feel connection to our groups. And we let people know who we are. And that's a very good thing. The last two, the final two are connected with time. The first being pride, that feeling of I'm proud, right? And pride has to come with challenge, with something that was an accomplishment, which it was a project or something that tested our skills to an appropriate level for us to accomplish that thing. So accomplishment will lead to pride and for accomplishment to happen, we need an appropriate amount of challenge to happen as well. And so that means that the more that we think about pride and accomplishment and then we can share our accomplishments as well, the more that we do this, the more we're actually putting ourselves into these positions of I have to challenge myself in order to. So I'm planning to challenge myself moderately and we start to get a sense of actually the evidence that can show us what we're capable of doing, which is a big deal as well. And then the final one is excitement, right? By creating an event and we start to anticipate the event. And it's subtle. This one is subtle. It's just this idea of what are you looking forward to? I'm sure you're familiar with the study that said that the anticipation of a holiday actually is more gratifying than the holiday itself. And so walking into anticipation knowing that, knowing that the anticipation and talking about the thing is probably going to be a bigger payoff for you than actually getting there. So there is a subtlety with anticipation that I usually run my clients through with making sure that they're not going to raise their expectations beyond belief so that when they arrive there, they're disappointed, but rather coming at this from, okay, I went to Hawaii and what was I excited about? Well, I was staying with five other people. I was excited about waking up in the morning and seeing people and having cups of coffee and good conversation. It had nothing to do with the weather, it had nothing to do with Hawaii, it had to do with what could I control for the day. And of course I know as a stoic philosopher we talk about the elements of what you can control and what you cannot control. And my responses and my reactions to people I could control. Or I was looking forward to lying on the floor of the Airbnb and stretching every morning because every morning when I wake up here I'm responsible for animals and getting the day started and putting on the coffee and making sure the wife's woken up and out of bed and you know like I'm the starter of the day and I was I was really looking forward to not doing that and just having a break from that and Anticipation and fulfillment both of them came through a hundred percent and I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday without all the beaches and the beautiful weather and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I love this. I love the six different emotions to reflect on. And as I hear you talk, there's a lot of overlap between your views on I guess you'd call it like therapy, or like, you know, like philosophical therapy, or, yeah, kind of cultivating, like a wise approach to life and the Stoic view. Now, while you may get into the weeds with a Stoic philosopher about what is the nature of good and breaking down what is wisdom and what are the most important values, in terms of how to actually manage your life for happiness, there's a lot of overlap. The idea of your approach to gratitude. One thing that came up there is the Stoics kind of saw emotional mastery as a kind of game, as something to look forward to improving at. So when something difficult would happen, it'd be like, oh, opportunity here, like similar to being caught in that front headlock. Ah, interesting. Like, what am I going to do here? And how can I navigate this in a skillful way? And there's a quote by Marcus Aurelius where he essentially says that there's no such thing as bad fortune. To bear bad fortune nobly is good fortune. So to be able to respond to bad fortune in a wise way, there's nothing better than that, which kind of cuts through the whole bad luck and externals. So I'm inherently good at that. Also, one of the most important techniques recommended by the Stoics was this kind of philosophical journaling, this introspection, this look at our thoughts and our values. That's what Socrates did, right? That's the main thing he did, was just question things, question what does it mean to, what does justice mean, and what are my views on this, and how do you know that's right, and how do you know that's right? And how do you know that's wrong? And just kind of break things down. And you're recommended doing that with a journaling practice. I suppose my follow up question to you would be more about the practical side of cultivating this journaling habit. Like what could someone do who's listening to this going, that sounds great. Like, where do I actually start? Is there like a morning practice I can do? Is there a certain question I can ask myself every day? And I know that you can go very deep on this and you're gonna be bringing out systems that kind of walk people through all The different facets of it, but what's a good way people can start using this? in their life, yeah, I think the Place that I would start someone is to ask yourself those six questions every day in a time-forward thing. How can I explore today? What am I going to explore today? How am I going to get curious today? And try to answer that question. You will naturally start thinking and using the neurons that are going to fire to be able to say, let's pay attention to opportunity to get curious today as well. So, there's always going to be a forward thinking time where we're planning, and then likewise there's going to be a reflection time. And so, those are the two points that I would say. Even any kind of question that you're asking yourself, you need to say, how did that work in the past, and how am I going to do this in the future? And so, you do need a thinking time, a stillness practice, a journaling or meditation practice practice where I'm asking myself at the beginning of a time period, what are my plans for doing and enacting this? And at the end of a time period, how did that go? And so I would say, let's say even if it's once a week, you're doing a forward thinking. In the next week, how am I going to play? What opportunities do I have to play? Have I actually programmed in play into my week. And then likewise we do the same thing for the opposite way around. At the end of our week we say, how was my play? What else can I improve in my play? What was great about my play? What did I enjoy? What would I like to experiment with then next week? So we use this idea of reflection as part of a feedback loop for our future prep and we get more and more dialed in. So whether or not someone wants to use this as a daily practice or whether or not someone wants to use this as a weekly practice, that's up to them. Now the caveat to say here is that everything depends on context. So even if we're talking about like, oh I want to get big muscles, okay we'll go and lift weights. Well that depends. Which muscles do you want bigger? How does your body naturally respond? What's your experience? What's your access to gym equipment, to weights? What feels good for you as well? How many days before you feel ready to go again? So again, it comes back to context. And the more you can contextualize, the greater the results that you'll get, especially the results that you care about. So there's always going to be another thing that we can plug into the system to really help it accelerate. But I think that that's a great starting point, just this one concept of planning for the future and think about those six positive emotions and then reflecting on the past and asking the question, how did my plans go? How did my six emotions go? What did I really enjoy? So I think that that's, that's a great starting step for anyone. Justin, there's so much more that I could talk to you about. There are topics like health, that I think is really important for people interested in philosophy often. It's not taken very seriously, but Socrates was a big proponent of, you know, healthy body, healthy mind. So this is a lot. Resilience is another one that I'd like to talk to you about. Mind-based therapeutic interventions, learning, there's just so many different topics that I want to talk to you about, but we're going to call it a day there. And I look forward to continuing the conversation. Thank you for your time. And once again, if you want to mention where people can find out more about you and dive deeper down the rabbit hole. Let me know. Absolutely, Jon. Thank you so much for having me on. I can't wait to have more conversations with you. And yeah, the easiest place for people to go and interact with me, if you want to find myself and stay up to date, is going to be thewayoftheleader.substack.com. And everything that I do, all the content that I put out, is going to be released there, as well as, you know, you can reply to any of those messages as well, and we can start a conversation. Thank you. Thanks, Jon.