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Ep. 140: How this nomadic podcaster and entrepreneur awakens his curiosity with travel with Sam Harris

In this week’s episode, I speak with Sam Harris who is a nomadic entrepreneur and host of the Growth Mindset Podcast

He hosts the Growth Mindset Podcast where he interviews amazing individuals such as billionaires, Olympians, and even a hitman. Sam has hitchhiked across Kazakhstan, lived in the wilderness of Tasmania, cycled the length of Britain and even visited North Korea.

He is interested in behavior change, fixing the planet and finding purpose if there even is one. Mainly he is just curious about everything.

Listen on to find out how Sam has been able to explore the world as a nomadic entrepreneur. 

Listen Below:

 

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Transcription :

Debbie:               

Hey everyone, thank you for joining us. I’m so excited to have Sam here. Hey Sam, how are you?

Sam:

Great Debbie. Thank you. How are you?

Debbie:               

I am wonderful. Thank you for being here. So before we get to all of the things you’re going to share with us, can you tell us a little bit more about you and why you live an offbeat life?

Sam:     

I swear we just had to wait in the opposite order of you are going to say everything about me and then I’d add some more. So I’m a bit surprised and I’m very happy to talk about my offbeat life. I feel like I was never onbeat and I’m just a bit deleted by people who have an onbeat life if there is such a thing. I just don’t really like having people kind of enforce what you should do and maybe ’cause I’m quite dyslexic and I never learned in the same style as other people but I found that I did really well if I taught myself how I wanted to. And I guess it’s the same with making a living. People try and make me sort of sit in an office all day long and it’s just chaos whereas if I do things in my own way, it works really well. And that’s my thing. So I just do it. And does that make sense?

Debbie:               

Yeah. Well, you’re definitely a role. Great. You don’t like to be what everyone expects you to be and that definitely shows with everything that you have done with your life. So one of the things I read up about you is you actually started a company when you were still in college and you were busy doing all of these things. How were you able to do that and actually keep up with everything?

Sam:

Yeah, that’s a good question. It didn’t go brilliantly well to start with. Like I would have given the option, I would have taken the year out, but they wouldn’t let me. I finished my first year and then over the summer holidays, I started a business ’cause somehow, for some strange reason during the first year, they tested this method of doing our exams online. So obviously we sort of cheated and so I’d passed all my exams before the summer had even arrived.

During the time when everyone’s studying for exams, I had nothing to do so I started writing business plans instead. Then it got through the Summer holidays and I actually started executing on them. And by the time we came back, I kind of had a business that was running. And so I had my whole second year where I was running this logistics company, but without any texts, I was kind of constantly running out of that, just to take calls and like organize people doing deliveries and things.

And it was a bit chaos and I did really badly in my second year. And somehow just about scraped three, we getting some help from some friends who are already useful. I had to sit in a flat with some really cool people and I literally spent no time with them at all. They’re great friends but I think I spent more time with them the rest of my life than I ever did in the year that was actually living with them. Which is perhaps a bit sad. So I would recommend starting a business but maybe not logistics one that requires lots of your time perhaps in your second year. But by the third year I got a business partner, I was really lucky. I wouldn’t say I know that much about finding business partners.

I kind of gave up on running everything in the summer Holidays of the second year and just took a one way ticket to Abifa – I hated. And I left out the two days. I went to Germany for a month and just like hiked around mountains and that was lovely. But when I got back, there was this guy who I interviewed just before I left who was just meant to be a writer but because no one was organizing things, he ended up organizing it all and I got back and he was organizing my business for me. So I just let him become my business partner and do all the organizing side of things. I just moved into sales and growth. It’s not like I was some genius plan to do these things. I was very lucky – the right person at the right time.

I guess things kind of happened by fate or something. And so I ended up having a business partner. So for my third year, I ended up kind of getting a first but overall ended up being like a very good two-one, which is quite frustrating ’cause I could’ve done a lot less work in my third year and still got the same degree. But that’s life. I would recommend trying entrepreneurial things in your university if you can. There’s a great place to fail but if you can take a year out, if you really want to go hard in it, that would make sense ’cause maybe your studies won’t go so well.

Debbie:

Well, you definitely found the right person to help you with it but don’t say that it was just luck because you also did so much work to it and I can’t believe you created such a successful company. I mean you definitely had your ups and downs and your setbacks, but at the end of the day, it was something that really got you through everything. And would you say you learned more from creating that company than actually being in school?

Sam:

Yeah, I would say I have a better business degree from doing that than I do like a biology degree from 13-Biology I guess. What’s interesting is actually we started doing basically delivery style things. This was quite a long time ago before Uber delivery. And I actually had to stop that part of the business ’cause it was being too successful and I was definitely gonna fail my degree if I carried on with it and that running. Maybe if I dropped out, I’d be like the story of like the person that started delivery and barely in that job, however his “colleged” to become rich. And for some reason I didn’t do that, which is a bit stupid. But hindsight…

Debbie:

When you were finally able to graduate college and you still had this business, how did you prepare for your next journey to going off into the real world? I mean, you have been doing it even when you were in school and I know you actually sold that company, right?

Sam:

In the university, they had like a business incubator for students running companies. And because I basically had the most experience out of the students that had just graduated, they always try and hire one student to then run this incubator. So I was the one selected to do that. I ended up running a business incubator for a year at the same time as I still do my company. And that was really fun because I got to help loads of other students running businesses and got to connect with lesser fun things.

And so that kind of really helped me bridge the gap between being a student and being a business person I guess. Then, I got to the point where I, sort, got the company to a situation where the next step was going to be like a really big scale up with tech but my business partner wasn’t so keen on doing that. So it was doing really well but I was like a spare part by that point because I couldn’t really do any more sales for them to cope with. So I ended up doing quite a lot of traveling and sort of fun things and taking on some other random projects after I’d finished running the business incubator. It became clear over that year that I wasn’t really that involved with the business which is why I then sold my half of the company.

Debbie:

Was that hard for you to finally let go of that company and do something completely different?

Sam:

Yes, I should have done it the year ahead when I first became spare part and wasn’t really doing things but it took the whole year feeling like I was involved but not really doing anything. Sort of muddying the waters and just being like an awkward person to really get to the conclusion and be like, “Actually, I’m not really helping at all.” And it would be better if I wasn’t there. In hindsight, it’s really obvious that I wasted that time for a year and didn’t help. But at the time it wasn’t somewhere I could really sort of conceive of. So yeah, it was quite a hard process and especially something that you already care about.

Debbie:

You were going through a lot of transitions too, right? You just left college, you’re selling this company that you had built up essentially in the beginning on your own and now you realize that it wasn’t right for you to be there anymore. We all have this “what now?” moment. What was yours like throughout all of these transitions?

Sam:

Oh, I think I missed the essential word there. What was my something like within the transitions?

Debbie:

What was your “what now?” moment? I saw a lot of us have that.

Sam:

I guess it was a hard one to know exactly ’cause all your friends are getting jobs, doing normal things. My parents were always proud of what I’ve achieved entrepreneurially. I had a gap year before university and they’re quite proud when I got back from it. But beforehand they were very against it. And again, every time I sort of say I might start a business, they’re always like, “Oh, that’s really nice job with IBM if you go into Sam…” – or something. They never really pushed me to do something scary, adventurous direction. And so I guess everyone was doing something normal and it did feel that’s what I should be doing. And so yeah, I was a bit confused and I kind of went around for a bit, did a bit of odd contracting and I decided that I guess the thing that had been preventing me from scaling the business was like tech knowledge.

Sam:

So I decided to try and get a job as a product manager just to get a better understanding of tech and things, which there was quite fun. I ended up working for an AI company that recognizes human emotions and I was a product manager for them and that was a really, really fun time actually. A startup still, but getting much more involved in tech and I understood how developers work and doing these kinds of things. I sort of got a bit of a direction. Yeah, I found some purpose like having a direction of trying to learn tech and then I kind of got frustrated after six months just telling people what to do not actually understanding how to code. So I then started learning more how to code, which is what I’ve been doing over the last few years; learning to code and then run an agency and went around the world traveling again whilst working on building apps for people. And so that’s kind of what I’ve been doing since then.

Debbie:

You are definitely a constant student you love to learn and you start implementing them. How did you exactly transition into becoming a remote and nomadic entrepreneur?

Sam:

Yeah, it’s hard when you’re talking about your disability to everything. I could broadly say I’ve done three major things. But then if you look at anything there’s like fractal pictures where you look at it there are a few things and you should look closer. There’s like, “Oh there are many things than the smaller picture,” and then you look closer and it’s like, “There are many things in this tiny, smaller picture.” It’s kind of like that with my life. Like I guess at one point I was running an adventure business and that was really fun. I had about like 10,000 people join and I basically would run like skiing holidays or kite surfing holidays and things and they just put like a chalet or something for like a grand and then try and get 10 people to pay me two to 500 pounds.

I ended up making a bit of money for all the expenses and everything and they got to go on holiday for free and do like “adventury things”. I kind of realized you could make money while I was traveling and having fun but I decided that I didn’t really want to be hosting and constantly being caring for people in dealing with their problems and stuff. I like having people around to have fun with whilst I’m traveling but it wasn’t quite so much fun for you. So I then kind of moved more into doing some work like run a business like an Amazon fulfilled business or contracting or something where I can kind of enjoy myself a bit more and just do things on my own time rather than constantly being sort of forced to do something.

So, I don’t like having to do something at a specific time I guess. Whereas with that sort of travel star business, users are very forced into what you have to do. So I like having the ability to make a decision on my own terms kind of thing. And so I’ve just done different stuff since then. It’s allowed me to travel and so I’ve had the intention of starting like a fulfilled by Amazon business but haven’t got around to doing that. But I’ve done other things instead. The podcast has been a really fun one to start building. Also, I’ve been traveling and they think it really describes the exact like a normal pathway to just become a remote person. I just sort of accidentally did it at some point. I just sort of found myself doing it.

I think the very first thing I did was I went to Mexico for two months and I worked on some contract engineering stuff and I spent each morning building some databases for someone and every afternoon I just did like salsa classes and Spanish classes and that was like a really nice month. And that was before I’d ever really heard about nomad entrepreneur. I just sort of happened to be doing it. Then, I think I read Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week and I was like, “I think this guy had written down all my thoughts for me and this is nice. Thanks, Tim .” It’s a funny one to read and it’s like, “Ah, you’ve organized what I’m trying to do and then made it sensible for me.”

Debbie:

Yeah. I think that’s definitely the go-to book for a lot of people. Whether it changes your life or you’re already doing it and like what you just said, Sam, “Oh wow. It’s actually written and this is what I’ve been doing,” which is really, just saying, it’s so funny and that book has definitely also changed my life and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to on this podcast who definitely mentioned that book as well. Now it seems like Sammy, everything that you have really touched, you have like the Midas touch, right? Because it has become really successful and you just kind of go by your instincts and you just go and find out what you like. You try it out. If you don’t like it, then you move on to something else until you figure out what really works for you. What do you think is your secret sauce in making each of these projects successful?

Sam:

I guess quickie cleaning up after the ones that don’t work and then you just never really hear about the serious ones like the travel wasn’t science cool, but actually a bit of a nightmare. And so I think that kind of needed like four things and was like, “Okay, this isn’t for me.” But there are lots of things like that that you sort of start. And so I guess after the first one, I think I just got really lucky with the first one, to be honest. I did work hard in that but statistically speaking, like a lot of things happen just by chance and always I just get to the way it was structured, I couldn’t stop doing it if you know what I mean. It had people needing something delivered and I had guys that needed work and I kind of kept on matching them and there was always stuff ahead of me so I couldn’t really stop and same with the podcast like I’ve interviewed a bunch of people so I’ve got like 20 podcasts more to release. I can’t stop releasing them.

By the time that all finished, I’ll have interviewed some other people ’cause I was curious and I’ll have to carry on releasing it so you can’t stop. Whereas if you try and write a book or something if you stop after writing really well for a month, no one’s gonna make you write that fifth chapter. So you’ve never seen me publish my book ’cause I haven’t finished it but you wouldn’t think that I failed. But I guess currently I’m in a status of failure in my book kind of thing. And so there are lots of things that I’ve started but just haven’t had the passion or because something else has distracted me. And I wouldn’t say it’s purely Midas touch exactly, these are the things that have worked.

You can kind of hear about how they’re cool and there are lots of things that are just a bit of a mess somewhere that hopefully maybe I saw at some point. So yeah, just try lots of stuff I guess. There’s a 10,000-hour rule and also the 10,000 experiment rule. Like if you just tried 10,000 things, one of them will be a huge success. – just keep them going. I obviously don’t give out straight away but l accept if something isn’t quite right for you or isn’t perfect and just try something else and don’t give up.

Debbie:

I love the fact that you’re using failure as a way for you to actually learn from each one of them and you’re just building up to do better in the next project. But you also said we don’t see a lot of that and you’re so right. I think a lot of the times we just feature things that are doing really well but they don’t see the back end of it where you’re struggling so much and you’re tearing your hairs out and it’s just a horrible experience.

Sam:

Yeah, definitely. It’s the same with anything like on Facebook. I went to Bali for like two weeks. You don’t see the plane delays and just getting really bored or like queuing for two hours to go look at some waterfall. They spend like five seconds actually taking a photo of before they have to engage in some other cue. It all looks lovely but I don’t know if it was even worth the effort and the thing. Entrepreneurial-ism looks awesome if you sort of just see someone when they have the success but there’s lots of hard stuff to gaze into it.

Debbie:

Well, let’s talk about what setback you’re currently experiencing right now as an entrepreneur, Sam. Is there anything that is really giving you a step back and maybe analyzing certain things and what you’re learning from that?

Sam:

Yeah, there are always things I guess. I was always really good at math – I’m not stupid, but I think it’s taken me a bit longer to learn to code ’cause I’m not very good at languages or remembering words. It took me a long time to even learn to speak English. Coding is has taken me quite a long time to actually get “no shit”. It’s not like I actually need to learn how to code to sort of make cool ideas happen, but it hasn’t stopped me from doing a lot of other things, the amount of time that I’ve put into it. I’m currently sort of thinking about getting a real job for like six months to sort of just solidify my learning of it.

But I probably didn’t need to, it’s just been like slightly obsessed with mastering something which I guess pull me back from actually doing as much as I could otherwise. And the other thing I guess is like I said about I kind of having the control to do things when I feel like it. I’ve haven’t been so brilliant at off handing things and so I’ve been able to do it with some of my staff in the business, but sometimes I think I have been limited by wanting to do everything myself.

And certainly, with my podcasts, I could really have a personal assistant to help me with doing some things. I could get like a lot more podcasts out and do cool stuff with it and just generally be a more productive human if I was better at like off handing some of the things I do. And so I think that has limited me on like the amount of stuff that could be getting done. I find it hard to explain what I want people to do and I get a bit frustrated if it isn’t perfect when actually it’s 80% as good as what I wanted. That’s still great because I could be doing like five other things in that time instead of wasting endless hours doing some stuff that’s a bit fluffy.

Debbie:

Yeah. I think it’s really hard for a lot of us to really give control to someone else, right? And especially when you have that type of personality where you’re very hands-on with your business and your tasks. I can definitely understand that and I had to learn to do that too. It’s very type A in a lot of ways because you just want complete control and feeling like it’s not going to be done the right way or perfect if you’re not doing it yourself. So that’s a really hard thing to do. But at the end of the day, as you said, you could do so much more with that time to build up your business and your podcast and all of these different things that you’re doing as well.

Sam:

Yeah. I guess the other thing that’s been holding me back a bit is that after my first business, it took so much energy to be relentlessly doing that. I haven’t properly committed to anything. I’ve been quite indecisive and I dated a lot of ideas instead of sitting how they would go and be like, “Okay, maybe this isn’t for me.” There are loads of things that I could’ve done but I just didn’t feel like I wanted to do it for like four years and I haven’t wanted to commit to anything. So I’ve been a bit noncommittal. The podcast is anything that I’ve actually permanently done for like two years is like my side hobby, but everything else has sort of started for a bit and then been like, “Oh, doing this for three years.” Seems like the effort is my full stuff. And so I’ve kind of been limiting myself to actually really master something, whether it’s writing or starting a different business without like fully committing into it. And it’s just been a bit like very fiery in some ways.

Debbie:

Well, that happens to me too in a lot of it I think is like shiny object syndrome. You start one and then you have another idea and then you started on that one, then you get another idea – it’s never-ending.

Sam:

Yeah, exactly. I’m trying to get some direction and my shiny object, for now, has to be putting a team around me to allow me to chase shiny objects, but know that they’ll be able to make them actually work in the long term. Like today, Richard Branson, he just does things that are really cool because he got an amazing team at Virgin that kind of sort things then goes and delivers on the rest of it. He can have a couple of ideas and just be like blue-sky thinking and make them happened. Obviously executed a lot initially, but you can’t just go and be Richard Branson straight away. You actually have to do the hard work first of putting the team together to do that stuff.

Debbie:

Yeah, he’s amazing. But it definitely took him a long time to get to where he is and I’m sure there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into that that we don’t even know about.

Sam:

Yeah. You see people doing cool things and expect to have that incident. You have to to do the hard part together.

Debbie:

I think we all want to skip through the beginning and just want to go to the middle and the end of it or the best part of it, right? I think that’s what a lot of us are. We definitely think about that stuff and we just want everything to go so well in the beginning and then we don’t realize that it’s so hard.

Sam:

Yeah, definitely. But I guess if you have business partners that are going to be committed, it forces you to carry on and stuff. Have you done it?

Debbie:

Really big check.

Sam:

With your projects, have you done much stuff with other people or have you done a bit more as a solo founder?

Debbie:

Yes. So, I actually have assistants that do help me. ‘Cause honestly I was definitely like you, Sam, for probably like the first year of my business. I was doing everything myself. And for six months of that, I was also doing my day job, so I was working eight hours a day and then I would come home and then work another like six to eight hours. And it was just really taking a toll on everything that I was doing personal-wise – everything. So I had to learn to just give up power in a lot of ways. And now it’s kinda interesting because I feel guilty when I don’t work as much because I remembered how much more time I was spending on certain things. And then, there are certain days where I don’t work at all and I feel really guilty and then I realize that there are actually people who are helping me with it. So then I’m like, “Okay. It’s taken the job even though I’m not there.

Sam:

Yeah. That’s really empowering that you get it sorted.

Debbie:

Yeah. And it took a long time. Even just hiring somebody, that was a huge process for me because I had to learn how to interview someone, what type of skills I was looking for and also especially training them, that’s a huge thing. It was really hard. I had to learn that as well.

Sam:

Yeah. When you’re used to moving fast, it’s something you have to slow down to move faster, you got to definitely step backward and there’s a risk that you have to train them and stuff and then they walk out and you just wasted your month. Like doing everything slower to then not even have the thing that you wanted. But it’s like you learn to work with people better and empower them faster by doing it, not by thinking it’s going to take too much of your time too much, you just have to like jump in and do it basically.

Debbie:

Yeah, absolutely. And I have spoken to a lot of different entrepreneurs about this after the podcast and that was one of their biggest issues too: like hiring somebody, training them, spending all of this time. And then, they either leave or it just doesn’t work out. And then there are certain systems you can do like doing videos of it so you don’t have to keep doing it over and over again. There are all different tricks that you can do, which are really good to do that will save a lot of your time. Even if you have to rehire someone or you have to do it some other way.

Sam:

Yeah. I’ve really enjoyed helping some people that are quite entrepreneurial and came in as interns maybe want to see something longer term and like really helping them. But they were really excited to learn how I do things to the point where they kind of just like the job of doing my boring things and then they obviously don’t want to carry on doing that but they know how to do the exciting things that I do so they just go off and do that. It’s is nice to have taught them how to do it. But it has taken a lot of my time maybe that wasn’t the most sensible thing to do. Perhaps I should just like to go and find someone out but they genuinely want to be an assistant for a job rather than teaching entrepreneurs to be cool entrepreneurs that take all my time. So, it was really good to mentor people and stuff. So I still do that anyway.

Debbie:

That’s so true though. I feel like there are different types of people. There are people who want to be an entrepreneur and people who want to be there to support you with it, right? And like you said, the people who are going to be entrepreneurs at some point or another, they’re going to leave you to start their own because they’re doing this as a learning thing for them, right? They’re learning from you. But it’s also like you said, it’s hiring somebody who’s going to be in full support of you. And it sounds bad but they don’t have goals to have their own businesses, but they just want to be there to have a paycheck. And there are people who are doing that and who are very good at doing that. I think that’s the hard part, right? It’s really finding good people to support you fully and not going off to be their own entrepreneurs.

Sam:

Definitely.

Debbie:

So now, Sam, let’s fast forward to 50 years from now and you’re looking back at your life. What legacy would you like to leave and what do you want to be remembered for?

Sam:

Interesting. I had been thinking about some of these things a bit. I was in a social entrepreneurs sort of summit thing. And on the last day, we sort of went through the things that we want to become and we write like an obituary in 50 years’ time – what we want people to remember us for. And then, the next day I almost killed myself and I was in the ambulance thinking I might be about to die. And I remember that I’d just written them all my notes in my obituary and I was like, “Oh, it doesn’t matter when they get to the funeral, they know what to say.” At that point, I guess people should remember that I made them feel comfortable, happy, and sort of not scared ’cause some people could make you feel stupid or something when you ask for help.

Just always make them feel safe in your sphere of environment or whatever. I really like people that l enjoy being around them and you just felt you’re in a safe place when you’re there. So I just want to make people feel like that when they’re with me. And then in terms of more general changes in the world, I would like to have an impact on the environment and really help things like that. And we’d like to change maybe some of the ways people think about stuff ’cause we’re quite selfish on things and I think we could be a lot more sharing and like actually have a better life ourselves if we were. Kindness and stuff actually increase your actual happiness and well-being infinitely and things like tech and stuff messes with our brains and makes us want the wrong things.

There’s lots of stuff that can be changed. So I’ve been doing a lot of psychology that would sort of help people with, but it’s really hard to know on the 50th time cause it’s more like three or five year goals. And if you think, in 50th time, maybe we’re stuck in a virtual world anyway and how everything is so meaningless in the big picture. More core things about my personality like people sort of feeling happy and better for knowing me is the main goal I guess. Like whatever happens out in the world, maybe the world gets destroyed anyway, would it really matter? All these things it’s just like, “Yeah, well, whatever.” You can get into things and just work hard and try and do the best that you can and then not like beat yourself up about it really.

Debbie:

Yeah. I mean one of the things that I always remember somebody telling me is it doesn’t cost you anything to be kind. So if that’s one of the biggest goals that you have to be remembered by, I think that’s a pretty good one.

Sam:

Yeah, definitely. Even money and stuff don’t matter too much. You can always add more money; you can’t get back more time on friendships that you were in. If you’ve read much like philosophy and things like Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life. It talks about people that got frustrated about like some of their land being stolen or something and they’re like, “Well, you can earn more of it.” If you waste a whole week getting pissed off and start a war with someone – it’s a bit silly. There are just so many ways that you can waste your time getting annoyed about things that you already don’t need to. And it’s kind of silly, the way the human brain works. I just remember what I did in the last year where I then made sense of some things that maybe didn’t make sense before.

I stayed with this nice guy in Malaysia and goes kind of couch surfing with him. I had met him once before, we hiked to a temple or something and he was like, “Oh I live in Malaysia if you’re coming, come stay at my house.” And so I did with a friend and when we arrived he’s like, “Oh here are my keys to the car and mess around with the house, it’s new.” And we’re just like, “Okay that’s a bit nice and really cool.” So anyway, we had a nice time, a few weeks later my friend was making me some like bean burgers or whatever. So we were like boiling these beans which were taking forever. And then we went to a movie with our friend and when we came back, my friend that was cooking the beans thought that I turned them off and I thought that he turned them off ’cause he the one cooking them.

Neither of us has turned them off and they’d over boiled and all the water had gone and they’d like cremated into this pan like this weird, horrific sticky bean juice gone all over my friend’s nice white kitchen and like under the floorboards and it smelled burnt. It was the most horrific thing, it was awful. We thought our friend gonna shout at us or something ’cause we just ruined his new kitchen and he was like, “Oh, dear.” And then he went to bed and was like, “I’m going to get it back, guys. I’ll work it out tomorrow, I’ll see you tomorrow evening.” And we were there like, “Is he retarded or something? What the fuck?” Anyway, we cleaned this kitchen and we bought him some presents and we did the best job – we shifted a lot and he was totally fine about it and he didn’t put himself through any stress or anything.

And then I remember a few months later, I went to stay with my sister who also had just bought a new house. And she just made me feel quite uncomfortable about the fact that I was in her kitchen maybe making stuff like sticky or dirty and constantly like telling me about anything I had done wrong and I remember feeling quite uncomfortable the whole time. And then I went to my Vipassanā and then I said, “I bought back both of these things.” I was like, “Wait, my friend, by all accounts you should have got angry and pissed off but he didn’t stay up all night shouting at us, he would have ruined the relationship with us. He would have had a horrible time and then he’d have also been grumpy the next day at work. He wouldn’t have got enough sleep and he’d be stressed, but instead, he just didn’t bother with getting stressed and he just like fast forward to being happy again without being annoyed.”

I was like, “Fuck, that’s genius.” Why bother getting annoyed if you can just go back to the thing that you want, which is the end goal of being happy and like we just get pissed off about stuff we don’t need to get pissed off about – it’s ridiculous. So yeah, I guess I’d like to help people to spend more time being happy and not wasting their time getting angry and ruining things that they don’t need to. Long story, which is quite a nice example I guess.

Debbie:

I love that it’s all about perspective. It’s really how you look at things and how you look at life and your friend is definitely good with that kudos to him. You learned a really big lesson from that, right?

Sam:

Definitely.

Debbie:

I do that too. Like I try to have perspective, but sometimes it’s just so far.

Sam:

Oh yeah. It’s pretty hard in some moments. Definitely one of those hindsights – really easy to say.

Debbie:

So your friend seems like super Zen and we need to do that. We need to like meditate more to get to that point to where he is naturally probably.

Sam:

Yeah, definitely. He does Vipassanā as well. When I was traveling, I met three people, probably the coolest people that I’d met over that year of traveling had all done Vipassanā. So the first one I met told me to go do it and I was really like, “Yeah, that sounds a bit weird. 10 days of sitting silently – Nah.” With the second I was like, “Yeah, maybe…” But with the third one was, “Yeah! All the coolest people I know have done this, I have to do this.” But it just seemed bonkers – sitting and doing nothing for 10 days. It’s someone that like does shit all the time and I was like “I can’t just sit and do nothing.” The first few days of sitting there, it was really, really hard.

You’ll be like, “Wow, 10 days of my life off and I’m not answering any mails, emails or doing anything. I could do so much with this time.” Suddenly I’ve made sacrilege. And then the thing that’ sort of settled me was like, “Wait, I can just book a different 10 days where I can go and work like fuckloads and not talk to anyone if I wanted. If this is such a cool idea that’s attractive to me. So I can try and sit and do this thing but I’ve booked it ’cause I’m here.” And I’m so glad that I did stay because after the fourth day it became like the favorite thing I’ve ever done, just endlessly fun and amusing to myself in my own world – it was already weird.

Debbie:

I don’t think we do that enough though just to sit down and just listen to ourselves and what we’re feeling and thinking. So we definitely need more of that.

Sam:

Yeah. Listening to what I was saying about tech and stuff as well. As someone that runs a podcast, I’m still like anti-podcast a little bit in some ways because I think there’s a scale of productivity and effectiveness. So if you use your phone, obviously if you’re on Facebook and stuff the whole time, we all know that’s a waste of time and you can be listening to like brilliant podcasts such as your podcast and stuff. And then you getting smarter all the day – all your spare moment you’re listening to podcasts.

If you don’t have any moments in your life where you’re not doing something with your own thoughts, sort of, you’d never actually improving. So, if you listen to a podcast then instantly the next thing you listened to is another podcast, you didn’t actually digest the one you’ve listened to. You didn’t ask yourself the questions about what you thought about and what was useful for you. And it’s sort of goes in and when you get to end of the day, if you listen to five podcasts, you kind of remember you couldn’t even list all five of them. It’s sort of a bit pointless.

You just sort of entertained your brain for a bit and then forgot about it and it’s not actually that useful. Whereas if you sort of stop and you go, “Okay, what was like the most important thing I learned from this podcast?” And you actually make yourself speak it and then you sort of think about some other things like, “Who should I tell about this?” – like a piece of advice. You actually digested it and it sort of becomes a bit more real or you made some notes, that kind of thing. If you have a phone for like every single moment of your life just to entertain you, you never actually think about what’s going on in your brain. It’s a bit pointless – you can’t even go to the toilet without a phone in your hand.

So we should learn to actually use our brains a bit. When your brain is a bit like, “Oh, I’m not doing anything,” the default reaction is to get your phone out and just amuse yourself and stop yourself from trying to actually think about what to do. Like all you do is like, “Oh my phone will sort of give me something to do now,” and like you’ll read a blog post or check your email.

Debbie:

It’s definitely overload. There’s so much stuff and you’re right, we never take anything in. We’re like inspired for two seconds and then we move on to get inspired by another thing – it’s horrible. So now, Sam, what are you currently working on that is really exciting for you?

Sam:

I am looking at some jobs at KBC, it’s kind of exciting because I’ve got to the point of being kind of mid-level developer and might be doing some pretty cool things at different companies depending on which one I end up at, which is kind of exciting. Just to sort of getting the experience of working in a big company because I’ve never actually worked for big companies and like I say “You should always do it.” Let’s just say, just to be curious and see what the hell are these people do and like, what the majority of the world spend their lives ’cause most people, just by statistics, work in a bigger company and I’ve never done that – so curiosity of it, it’s kind of fun. And otherwise, growing my podcast has been stupendous ’cause initially, I kind of did a podcast every two weeks but this month I’ve been releasing like three a week and if you can do that much – it’s insane.

I’ve read about 80 books this year and when you read at that high level, you suddenly just have so much more information in your brain to make connections with. You just learn so much faster. It’s the same with the podcast, like finding really interesting, inspiring people to learn from. But like matching all of these, like the best lessons from them, when you’re constantly getting this sort of information overload coming in. It’s really kind of swimming in all this cool information and coming up with like conclusions from things and parallel lines about stuff. So yeah, I guess it’s just exciting growing my output of things. So like I said, I’ve been trying to work on having people help me do things faster. I’ve been kind of getting to the points of actually having the fruits of that and stuff and it’s been a lot fun.

Debbie:

That’s definitely a new project for you to work on, right. Getting a team together. So that’s going to be really exciting. Now, if our listeners want to know more about you, where can they find you?

Sam:

So yeah, my podcast, which really alluded to is the Growth Mindset Podcast at growthmindsetpodcast.com or any podcast player have it. Then I have a blog, which some of the things I’ve spoken about I think I’ve written down as blog posts – are sort of more sensible. So that’s samwebsterharris.com because Sam Harris is kind of a famous person. So, add the middle name in there, say samwebsterharris.com. Otherwise, I think I have a Twitter and Instagram: @samharristweets and @samjamsnaps. But yeah, probably people aren’t even writing things down a pen so, look at your show notes.

Debbie:

Perfect. Thank you so much, Sam, for being here with us. I really appreciate all of the stories that you gave us.

Sam:

My pleasure. Thanks for having me. It’s been a lot of fun. Looking forward to having you on my own podcast ’cause you’re a pretty fun person.

GET THE EXTENDED INTERVIEW WHERE SAM SHARES HOW TO GROW A REMOTE BUSINESS THROUGH DEEP CONNECTIONS.

 


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Show Credits:

Audio Engineer: Ben Smith


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