Reframe Your Negative Thoughts to Overcome Your Fears w/ Tim Denning

Aug 03, 2021
 
 

Welcome to episode 5 of the Mindful & Driven podcast!

It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams. Episode 5’s guest is the massively popular online writer, Tim Denning. He has over half a million followers across LinkedIn and Medium. His articles have been viewed over half a billion times. He used to work in finance and struggled with mental health his entire life. This included an eating disorder and paranoia but he’s working through that and he’s sharing his lesson and what he’s learned along the way with his readers.

He rarely appears in an interview so I’m honored to bring this conversation to you. Tim introduces us to the idea of how to reframe a situation to change the way you think in a positive way.  

I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels.  

Keynotes:

  • Introduction (0:00)
  • The problem with labels (1:46)
  • Struggling and dealing with pessimism (5:51)
  • “Productivity guilt” (11:28)
  • Getting to know yourself better (14:04)
  • About courage (19:41)
  • “You’re not that far away from, the person you idolize.” (23:44)

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Intro Music:
“Himalayas” by Mona Wonderlick — bit.ly/youtube-monawonderlick
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free download: bit.ly/himalayas-download

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Tim: And I completely rewired and I got this one from Tony Robbins, he told a story once of a great re-frame. He was training with golf trainer and he went to hit the ball and it went nowhere near the tee, like went off to the side and the golf trainer said, all you need to do, if you want to get it into the hole is adjust your swing by about one, two, maybe three millimeters.

So just the tiniest tiniest shift on that golf club, and then when he did that, I went straight next to the hole. And so like, that’s a cool re-frame where you think, oh, this is really challenging. I’m not even close to what I need to be able to do and it’s like, well, what happens if you were really close? You just didn’t realize it, and it’s just one millimeter to the left or the right.

[00:00:42] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is a massively popular online writer, Tim Denning. He has over half a million followers across LinkedIn and Medium. And across the entire Internet, his articles have been viewed over half a billion times.

He used to work in finance and he struggled with mental health his entire life. It’s included an eating disorder, included paranoia, but he’s working through that and he’s sharing his lessons and what he’s learned along the way with his readers. It is it’s rare for him to appear in an interview, so I’m honored to bring this conversation to you, and I really hope you enjoy listening.

Welcome Tim. It’s great to have you.

[00:01:22] Tim: Thanks Amardeep, thanks for having me, mate. Obviously we’re always chatting, but good to do it in a more formal sense over a podcast.

[00:01:28] Amardeep: I think a lot of my viewers are going to love this.

[00:01:30] Tim: Yeah. We’ve got to see more audiences. We’re both in the kind of entrepreneur space, both right online.

Obviously we’ve known each other for quite some time, so yeah, man, it’s good to just to jump on. You’ve got some pretty wacky questions for me, which I don’t normally get asked, so it’s going to be certainly a challenge on my side.

[00:01:43] Amardeep: I guess the first question I ask is, what’s some common advice you disagree with? And I know that from reading your articles and your online presence, there’s probably going to be quite a nugget here.

[00:01:53] Tim: Yeah. I’m a little contrary to a lot of popular opinions, so I had a bit of a think about this. The two that are very contrary for me is one is labels. So people spend their whole day going, am I an introvert?

And am I an extrovert? And then the classical one is, am I an entrepreneur? Am I not an entrepreneur? And I just laugh because they’re all just dumb labels that are just sort of, there’s no, like test that says, you are or you aren’t of any of these. They’re, they’re all flexible. And a lot of it just revolves around a belief system, which is that if you think you’re an entrepreneur, then congratulations, you are.

Cause all it means is that you’ve made more than 99 cents from doing something other than your job. And I think we’ve all done that. So therefore, congratulations, we’re all entrepreneurs. I like to use the one that I came up with. Who’s a medium writer who said that if you get more than one deposit to your bank account, you’re an entrepreneur.

So he sort of says it, like get a second customer. So you’ve got a nine to five job. That’s your customer. Number one, all you need is one more customer, and then you tick the box. That’s the first one. The second one is just around the right. Common advice would be around pessimist. So I really don’t believe in pessimism.

I think it’s a disease and it sucks the energy out of not only yourself, but everybody that you’re around. And I just don’t believe in it. People go, oh, but you got to be a realist. And that’s like, yeah. But then if you’re a realist, you basically focusing on your human programming, which says that everything’s screwed and you’re going to die.

And it’s hard to find food and you’re just basically worrying yourself to have a really shitty experience. So on the opposite, I think you should start as an optimist because pessimism is out default nature, which means if you’re an optimist, pessimism is going to steal a bit of that optimism away just naturally through evolution.

But if you’re a pessimist and then pessimism has already stealing away some of the pessimism, then you end up being sort of outraged, screaming at a screen type scenario. So there are two kinds of common things that I come up in a lot of my articles that I definitely disagree with.

[00:03:44] Amardeep: I think the label thing is really interesting because it’s something I’m going through at the moment where I quit my job.

I guess I’m an entrepreneur. Well, I am an entrepreneur based on your definition there, but I think there’s a lot of pressure at the moment to make yourself easy to understand, where people give themselves these labels as a kind of crutch or this is who I am. But in reality, we’re so much more than any label we give ourselves.

So you might say I’m this, but you’re also a hundred other things. I don’t think we should lose that multi-dimensional aspect of ourselves because it’s what makes everything interesting

[00:04:16] Tim: People want to box themselves into categories. We say it in writing, right? Where people go, what’s your niche in writing? It’s like, I don’t have a niche because they all blend into each other.

People go, do you write about business? I’m like, yeah. And they go, oh, well on LinkedIn, you can’t write about anything. It’s not business. I’m like, well but life is business as well. Like if you go to a job, that’s your personal life and its business. So there are no boundaries. I don’t know. I’m really big on just pushing the boundaries.

I think it’s stupid. I’ve got a, another friend who’s a writer, who’s what do you call it? She’s transgender. So she’s gone from man to woman and people try and slap all these labels and I’m just like, you know what, everyone just shut up, she, he, whatever. It’s just going to be whatever they want to be and they’re going to wear whatever they want to wear. And in the end they’re still an awesome writer and they’re still my friend and I don’t really care what gender they are identifying with.

[00:05:00] Amardeep: With the pessimism side as well. Is that something you’ve always believed or is it something that’s changed over time where you were a pessimist in the past, and then you changed your belief systems?

[00:05:08] Tim: Yeah. So I was a pessimist for most of my life and it led me to like a really kind of traumatic mental health issues. But the problem was, I didn’t know that that’s part of what was causing it. And now obviously I’ve healed from all that. I’ve realized that like living that sort of lifestyle, you’re just naturally going to go into this downward spiral

and your mental health is just going to get worse and worse if that’s how you see the world. So part of the healing was that I started getting coaches and going to different seminars and I learned that even if things are crap, if you can just kind of learn to see the bright side of a each of it, you’ll sort of naturally come out of it.

So it’s more, I would say a technique and a way of life that I’ve adopted, but I definitely wasn’t born with it. Definitely not.

[00:05:47] Amardeep: And was there a particular time where you really struggled with the balance and like the pessimism overwhelmed you? And then what did you do to get out of that?

[00:05:56] Tim: Yeah, it happens all the time. You know, I can think of a few, like if you write online, you’re going to cop a lot of haters. That’s just the nature of how it works, especially as you start to write for a longer period of time. So I had one particular moment where I was writing a lot on LinkedIn and I managed to attract this guy who basically set up like a mob and that would go on all my stuff.

And then he’d get hundreds of people just to write like stuff on there and you might go, oh, that’s innocent. Just brush it off. But they were quite clever. They did their research and they would take like events from my life that were true, but then twist them just enough so that they were untrue. And so people started saying to me at work, oh, did you really do that thing that I read on LinkedIn?

And so it really started to hurt. And so became a bit of a downward spiral. And, you know, you ask, how do I get out of it? I mean, I was a bit lucky there where I had to develop really thick skin really quickly. And I was lucky that that particular platform did eventually sort of kick these people off and banned them because clearly that’s what they were doing, but I just have to focus on something else.

Almost had to kind of unplug and go, alright, LinkedIn is going to be kind of a no go for a little while. I’m still going to be there occasionally, but I’m just going to have to back right off and try and find something else to do. Then focus on that because if I focus on it, I’m just going to get upset and it doesn’t solve anything.

And it’s out of my control. Like I, I don’t know the platform. I can’t tell these people to get off. I’ve tried to tell them that what they’re saying is incorrect and not going to listen, cause their goal is not to speak the truth. It’s just because this is entertainment for them. Right. And there’s a whole backstory as to why they did it.

Like the guy that was waiting ahead, sold his business for like $10 million. And the day after he sold it, the new owners fighting from the business, cause he was a bit of a smart ass. So he basically got stuck a home with $10 million. He was bored out of his brain. And so he just thought, I’ll go on LinkedIn.

And I’ll look for people that I don’t like, who I disagree with. And because I’ve got all this money, I’m just gonna take the piss out of them. And he set up a YouTube channel and he started parroting all these people and like really went into it as a full-time job because he had the resources to do so and the money to do it.

And I just happened to obviously come up at the wrong time and I was his number one target, you know, I just kept saying people that do that eventually are going to come unstuck and he did. And now he’s banned off basically every platform and all of these mob are all gone, and that’s the end of it. I’ve got no ill will towards him. I’d love to jump on a podcast with him someday, just to understand, like, I wonder what the rationale is for someone to do that. You’re going to have empathy, I think, towards people that want to do that type of thing. But then I also look and go, well, like when I was going through a similar phase, I was going on YouTube and leaving really nasty comments on people’s videos.

Cause I was just angry and pissed off with life, so we’ve all I think been at that stage at some point. So if I can see a little bit of myself in what he’s doing, then it helps to take the sting off that really negative situation. Get into other people’s shoes.

[00:08:43] Amardeep: I think it’s quite a common problem now where as soon as somebody puts themselves out there and puts themselves out of their lane, there’s always going to be people to try to bring them down.

And then from friends out of the writing world who do other things as well, it’s really hard for them to deal with because it’s so overwhelming, you don’t really get that in your day to day life, where you’re walking around and somebody just shouts hatred at you, right? Well, you said they’re about, they’re distractions.

Was there anything else you did just to kind of get your mind off things and unplugged? So was it just focusing on other areas? Did you go to people for support?

[00:09:14] Tim: I definitely spoke to a few people like mutual writer friends to say, Hey, have you dealt with this? What do you recommend? You know, a little bit of sort of meditation, like sort of 10 minutes a day of meditation, just to start the day on a calm kind of mindset. I found that emails became a bit of a trigger, cause that was a place where people would sort of contact me and say, Hey, it’s happened again, another blow up that sort of thing. So trying to stay off emails or maybe not wake up to emails, I think was very helpful. And then yeah, just doing other things and what that kind of looks like is, obviously writing in other places and then just doing a lot of reading. So at the moment I’m reading a book, I’m just trying to think of what the name is or the courage to be disliked, because I just thought, you know what? This is a handy skill to have, and I’m not very good at it. If I’m being honest, one of our mutual friends, Sean Kernan, he’s my idol in this space.

The guy has thick skin. You can say anything and you’re never going to phase him, but I’m, I’m just not that good at this. I’m trying to read this book at the moment, see if I can fix it.

[00:10:11] Amardeep: Yeah, and to be honest, even with me, when I’m putting myself out there now I still have this kind of fear that it’s not almost that people are going to come and attack me, but that people are almost talking behind my back being of why is he doing this?

Or he’s not very good. And it’s that fear, which is just irrational because it doesn’t matter what people say. I can’t control it and, there’s never going to, there’s never going to be a case where everybody likes what you do.

[00:10:33] Tim: So there’s different levels. Like there’s, there’s people that won’t like what you do. I personally don’t care

and I just blocked that out. There’s people that leave negative comments, you know, that are quite harsh. Doesn’t bother me at all. I’m past that long time ago. I think that the, the last level though, is like people that flat out just make up a lie and they circulated in these sort of mobs and it’s just not true. That’s the one I have a problem with. Cause I hit your credibility and people start like, I’ll give you an example. I could spread a rumor that like, you’ve got a gambling problem. That’s not true. But if I have a big audience and then I get 10 other writers to all say that Amardeep has a gambling problem, you know, like that really hurts.

And especially if it’s me, cause like I’m someone that, you know, if it’s just a random on the internet, you don’t care. That’s the final stage of the kind of game as I like to look at it. And that’s a hard one. I don’t have any answers on what to do with that.

[00:11:23] Amardeep: You quit your job around the same time I did a couple of months ago.

How are you finding that lifestyle? Are you finding that you’ve got a good balance or you struggling at the moment with any areas in particular? And what’s the kind of thing you’re striving for? What’s success going to look like at the end of all of this?

[00:11:38] Tim: Yeah. Something I spend most of my day thinking about. There’s a lot of productivity guilt, so like I get days where I think I didn’t achieve enough, and what I’m finding is like, I am not as efficient with my time as I was when I had the job. And that’s very frustrating. But then if I sort of take a bird’s eye view, I realized that I probably am a bit of an overachiever and I am trying to do way too much because if I listed all the things I’ve done since I quit my job, I think we pretty impressed.

But for whatever reason, I’m just never impressed myself. You know, what I originally did before I quit was I wrote a note pad file with ideal day, and that’s like all the things that I want to do, you know, just rough time slots, and I really haven’t kept to a lot of that, and I kind of wished that I did and there were different slumps.

So when I first quit the first three weeks, I was like insane, productive. And then I had a few weeks where I really wish we just wasted whole days and did nothing. And then now I’ve got a balance where some days I’m working really hard and other days I just do nothing and just listen to podcasts. So it’s a, it’s a very difficult balancing act.

It sounds like it’s going to be this dream for everyone that’s listening. You’re probably going, yeah, it’s amazing. I would say it’s not as much of a dream as what you think. And actually the lifestyle starts to feel like a nine to five in certain elements, except you don’t have a boss coming in over the top of you.

So I think to successfully do it, you do need a fair bit of self control and discipline, and you probably need some tools like we were discussing before some sort of stopwatch or time tracking tool, I think is important and someone to keep you accountable. So my partner that I live with, she’s always making sure that I’m ticking the goals and doing what I should be doing.

I think if it was just me, things would go out the door. Yeah. It’s difficult, but it’s definitely, I’m glad I made the decision. Like, I’m sure you did. It’s not as easy as it looks.

[00:13:21] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show.

I think you’ve talked twice before as well, Parkinson’s Law where work expands to fill the time you have available, because before I quit, I was like, I’m going to have eight extra hours a day. But I didn’t know that those eight hours have gone because I’m not doing eight hours more work a day, definitely. It’s one of the things, once you get to the other side, you realize like, I I’ve been less productive because you know you have more time because what you mentioned there about the time tracking, that’s how I’m trying to deal with it, where I’m using an app called Clockify.

I can put my different tasks in their stopwatch, and then I stop it once I finished the task and to keeping me much more honest, because I’m realizing how long I’m taking different things, whereas if I start something can, then I start something else and then I don’t finish the first task. It just comes to jump when I don’t actually know how long I’m taking to do things,

and what I’ve found is that makes my planning really bad because I think I’m going to achieve X amount of things in one day, but I’d never do that based on how long those tasks are taking me in the past because I’m going based on my guesses rather than actual data.

[00:14:54] Tim: When you’re mapping out the task, I mean, I did that as well, but I always like put an asterix next to like, what’s the one thing that has to be done today? That’s non-negotiable and if I get the big thing done every day, then I feel really happy. But I have found the Parkinson’s law is probably the most true thing so far. But there is a difference, so, okay. I don’t think I’m as productive as I would like to be, but when I had a job, I was constantly stressed out during daylight hours and I would finish the day in a pissed off mood, which means that when I went to do the work that I really wanted to do, I was doing it in a pissed off mood.

So the quality of that work and the negativity that was thrown into that work was not good. So you can’t just measure it in productivity. It’s also the, by the quality of the work, and I think that energy, so I’ve got much better energy now that I don’t have that sucking all that energy away and I have the control.

Right? And that’s what I want. I want the control of how I do things, cause I don’t want to be constantly told how to do it because a lot of the time in a job, they had to do stuff. They just have no idea, like I’ll work the sales job, you know, without sounding too sort of cocky, I know sales better than anyone else I was working with.

So you’d have people that have never done sales jobs, telling you how to do sales. And it’s like, well, you haven’t done it. Well, this has been my whole life. Just give me the goals that you want me to achieve on I’ll run off and go do them, but you just, you never can quite do that. So, yeah. It’s not just about time spent. There’s more to it.

[00:16:13] Amardeep: Yeah, absolutely. I think I’m happier now than I was before, but it’s not quite been the dream that I thought it was going to be, so it’s my expectation being measured a bit, but it’s a useful transition because now I know myself a bit better and I can make my plans in a way to get the most out of myself while still not overburdening myself.

[00:16:31] Tim: Essentially you’ve taken a big risk or what might look like a big risk. And so by doing that, you get to know yourself better. But there’s the thing that I keep telling people. It’s not really a risk, cause you can always go back to a job. There’s always going to be a job. That’s, that’s what I can guarantee, but there’s not always going to be a time where you may be able to take that kind of risk.

And the thing that people don’t understand is that it takes a lot of courage to do what we’ve done. I’m not trying to talk myself up or sound like Superman. I’m just telling you right now. It sounds easy, but it’s really hard. The courage to actually in the middle of a pandemic, cutoff your job, leave a very high paying job.

To do something that is, you know, there’s difficult and especially writing as well. Like you tell most people, oh, I’m a writer. They think you’ll like worth $5. Like that’s the truth because they assume that you’re a bum. So yeah, it takes a lot of guts.

[00:17:20] Amardeep: Yeah, and with, with that side as well, it’s interesting because you don’t want people to think you’re a bum, but at the same time, you don’t want to humble brag.

Every time you tell people you’re writer so I don’t say, I’m a writer whose got X million views every time I introduced myself. So it’s what you said about labels. It’s working out that it’s not so important how I label myself, because if somebody wants to judge me, then they can judge me. That’s fine.

[00:17:42] Tim: I mean, as a writer, we do have to use a few vanity metrics on our buyers and stuff.

I don’t personally love it, but I’ve just got over it that like, if you don’t sell yourself, it’s very difficult. And it’s, I think just do it with a level of humility. If you’re going to tell people what you do, it’s fine. And it’s okay to talk it up a bit. Like we’ve all got kind of achievements. I think people that are offended by that.

They’re not the sort of people that I want to spend time with. Like I want to be around people that are okay to talk about their achievements and not have to feel guilty. And I’m not trying to make other people feel bad. I’m just telling you, this is what I’ve done as something that I’m proud of. And if you don’t respect or love that, that’s up to you then. That’s cool. But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to wear it as a badge of honor, because it’s something that I’ve done.

[00:18:19] Amardeep: To me, it’s a problem where I think more people should be open about what they’ve achieved because I’ve met so many people, who’ve done incredible things, but then they don’t mention it. So you find that later on that you’ve been sitting with somebody who’s achieved, whatever in their world champion or something and then it’s like, why didn’t you mention that? It’s so fascinating to talk about. It’s the worry about being considered arrogant. If you’re talking to somebody and they’re worth your time, they’re going to want to know about your best stories.

[00:18:44] Tim: Yeah. I’ll give you a great example. I’ve got a friend who runs a Medium publication called Steve Campbell. He runs The Ascent and I’ve known Steve for like many, many years. And we just happened to be chatting. I don’t know, a few months ago, and I found out for the very first time that Steve used to work for Gary. Like he was like his number two employee, worked directly for Gary for a number of years, has met some incredible people,

can tell you some amazing stories. I’ve known him all this time. I had no idea. That’s like, dude, like, why are you not telling people this? This is an amazing achievement. And he wasn’t just working there for six months, he was like a long employee of Gary’s. So that’s a great example of like, you know, it’s okay to talk about what you’ve done.

Otherwise, I can’t feel like I know you properly.

[00:19:28] Amardeep: Yeah, exactly. And it’s making yourself open up to people when some people will think of arrogant, that’s absolutely fine. You can’t please everybody, but then other people will be really interested in what you’re doing and then you’ll have a much deeper and more engaging conversation because you are willing to take the risk of being considered arrogant.

[00:19:43] Tim: Yeah, and it doesn’t just go with vanity metrics. I think the other side that I often like to touch on is I don’t like using the word vulnerability because it’s used way too much, but to be also able to go the other side and talk about like, what are the things where you just completely destroyed yourself.

And again, not to, it’s not failure porn. It’s not to try and sort of make out like you’re hardly done. But if you can also be able to talk about the big things and the really bad things at work, you know, you got divorced or, you know, I’ve got a friend that like lost a baby in childbirth and to be able to stand up and talk about that, not only takes a lot of courage where people get to know you on a much different level.

I don’t see that enough. And I wish I saw it more because people are like, oh, it’s a failure. It’s like, no, it’s not. Just part of who you are. It’s actually very interesting. It shapes how you see the world, people that have gone through that sort of thing are very humble. So I try not to overdo it, but I am someone as well, that likes to sort of add that in as well.

[00:20:34] Amardeep: Yeah, and it’s just being human because we see the curated feeds of the people in Instagram or social media, that’s not what life is like. So everybody has got problems. Everybody’s got something wrong or some battle that they’re fighting in their heads and that’s okay. You don’t need to be ashamed of that. And I know that you’ve talked a lot about your mental health and your writing over the years, that’s a sign of strength that you’re able to express your feelings.

And it’s helped so many people. It’s helped millions of people because they know that other people are experiencing the same thing they are. So coming back to one thing with the mindsets is, is there a particular mindset shift that you think people could make that would make them happier and make them have more balanced lives?

[00:21:13] Tim: Yeah, I think there’s a couple that have worked for me. One is about having a goal to have less, not more. So people keep saying, I need more money. I need a bigger house. I need a better job. If you can somehow try and break that cycle and almost go the other direction and go like, how can I just cut out a lot of things that are a waste of time or what would it be like if I just did one thing with most of my time and not 60 things, I wonder what the depth of focus would be if I did that.

Yeah. It’s a bit of a scary thought for some people. So yeah, it’s kind of minimalism in a way. I think it’s definitely helped. I’m trying to think of what another kind of mindset shift is. I mean, there’s so many I use re-frames is probably the other big one. A re-frame kind of comes from psychology. It’s sort of associated with the concept of neuroplasticity, which is basically that your brain can be completely rewired. And I got this one from Tony Robbins. He told a story once of a great re-frame. He was training with golf trainer and he went to hit the ball and it went nowhere near the tee, like went off to the side and the golf trainer said, all you need to do,

if you want to get it near the hole is adjust your swing by about one, two, maybe three millimeters. So just the tiniest tiniest shift on that golf club. And then when he did that, I went straight next to the hole. And so like, that’s a cool re-frame where you think, oh, this is really challenging. I’m not even close to what I need to be able to do.

And it’s like, well, what happens if you were really close? You just didn’t realize it, and it’s just one millimeter to the left or the right. So these are sort of re-frames that I use on a daily basis to break patterns. So if I’m going through a pattern where something’s a bit negative, or I’m not getting the results I want, I’m like, how do I get out of this pattern?

How do I interrupt the programming? And I like to think of it. I’m a little bit older than most people, but I’m like, CDs or records. So I used to be a DJ. Right. And if someone’s scratched the CD, if I go put that in the CD player, it doesn’t play anymore. The pattern on this printed on the CD is completely interrupted

and it sounds like a different song. It’s completely stuffed. What happens if you could do that with your own brain? And the answer is that you can, you need re-frames and what is a re-frame? It’s just a complicated way of saying basically a quote that you can use to interrupt the pattern.

[00:23:15] Amardeep: Yeah. I think that’s really interesting about the slight shifts that people can make, because I know myself and I know probably many other people as well, listening, that they think they’re so far away from where they want to be and they’re focused on the huge gap of what they’ve got to do rather than to make a few small changes. It could actually make a big difference in their lives.

And it’s this idea of kind of micro habits as well. If you don’t need to create huge change in life to see the results. It could actually be waking up five minutes early to do five minutes of meditation, for example, and that five minutes meditation have a much bigger effects on your whole day.

[00:23:45] Tim: And there’s another way to look at it. Right? So the other one comes around people. So I’ll give you another great example. Well, like a millimeter away from the thing that we, thing that we think we can never have. And I’ll give you a classic one. I had a few years ago, I said to a friend, or I just love to meet Richard Branson. Wouldn’t that be cool?

I said, you know, like he’s worth so much money. I’m not even close to that guy’s circle. And this person challenged me and, and long story short, basically, I worked out that for me to get to Richard Branson, there’s a guy called Mark that I know. He knows another guy in America and that guy in America knows Richard. So actually I got two people and this is completely random and I’ve got two people, and I can actually prove that I got an invite to Richard’s Necker Island thing for an event, because I wanted to prove to myself that, oh, actually I could sit down with Richard Branson.

So seeing the psychology, like I’m just a random guy at that time, working in a bank, making like very small amount of money. And just with a little bit of creative thinking, I worked out that there’s two people in between me and Richard Branson. Most people talk themselves out of it and go, no, I could never do that.

It’s like, well, Richard’s actually not that different to everybody else. I know his brand’s pumped up and he sounds like this amazing guy, but he’s just actually a pretty simple person. I know people that have known him for many years and they say, he’s not that, he’s not the guy saying the media is a normal guy who likes surfing. That’s it. So that’s another way to look at it. Not just results, but around people.

[00:24:58] Amardeep: So in my role as [unintelligible] Entrepreneur’s Handbook, I’ve had a few of these run-ins with people who’ve started this hugely successful businesses where they then sold them for hundreds of millions, and one of the things that’s always surprised me is, they’re just normal people at the beginning, I was so intimidated by them and think I needed to impress them in some way and I was acting unnaturally, but they just want to chat. They didn’t want people to treat them like that because they’re just human. They know that they’ve got their flaws and they’ve got the same problems that we all have.

And I found that really refreshing to know that somebody who started a, so one guy started a company that was worth half a billion, but he wants to have a chat with me, and to me that was incredible. Why did he want to talk to me? Because we’ve all got different skills in life and for people listening, they’ve probably got something that they can do better than most billionaires or most people who run countries because we’ve all got different skills. And that makes us interesting.

[00:25:49] Tim: Yeah. I mean that guy, that’s worth half a billion, another way to look at it and this pisses people off when I say this, but I always look at him and go, so he’s really successful in that area of his life, which is accumulating money, but all the other areas of his life had to suffer to get that half a billion dollars.

That’s the part that people don’t understand. So if you, and I just said that we’re going to be crapping every area of our life except golf you and I would be the next tiger woods. No problem. But the thing is we’re not willing to do that. Normally we spread our focus across multiple things and also it’s like people might worship that guy and go, well, he’s worth half a billion dollars in the end who really cares.

So he’s managed to hoard money better than anybody else. I don’t know, like, does that make him better than all of us? I mean, that’s a subjective thing. I personally don’t care..

[00:26:30] Amardeep: It comes back to the theme of this podcast about how to find that balance because yes, if you give up everything else, you could be really rich, but that’s not really the aim of life because your relationships suffer.

Your family life would suffer. Your, like health would suffer. Your physical health, your mental health, that I think rounds things off quite nicely in terms of what we’re trying to target here. And people who might be much more successful in one area could also be wanting to learn from you in another area. So you’ve always got something to offer other people.

[00:26:57] Tim: Yeah. Well that guy that’s worth half a billion probably wants to learn from you about writing because I’m sure that’s something that he’s not good at. Yeah. You’re not that far away from the person that you might idolize. There’s another way to look at it. But then the other thing that upsets people is I tell them your idols have got dark secrets, too.

Unfortunately, every person you idolize is going to piss you off in one area. And so that’s why I have low expectations on people. I hate cancel culture because essentially we’re canceling people because we’re assuming that they’re going to be perfect in every area of their life for their entire life. But it’s silly because it’s not possible.

We’re all going to make a mistake.

It’s also, if you look at anybody in history, who’s the Titan of the world in terms of Nobel Peace, Prizes or whatever it is, there are all things in their backgrounds that aren’t perfect because it’s impossible, even the greatest humans ever. Nobody’s lived a perfect life.

Yeah, and in fact, I don’t want to meet someone that’s perfect in every area of their life.

To me, that will be boring and I just don’t think it’s simply possible.

[00:27:55] Amardeep: It’s been great to chat to you, Tim, for the people listening, if they want to hear more from you, where’s the best place for them to find you?

[00:28:02] Tim: Yeah. Best place is just my name. So, TimDenning.com and it’s just D E double N I N G. It’s my last name. Normally I encourage people to sign up for the email list. I’m very generous to my email list. They get a lot of free books. They get free courses or they get Q and A’s for free. I also do two free newsletters as well, and everyone keeps telling me I should charge for them, but I don’t. So yeah, if you want more of that sort of stuff, that’s where you go.

[00:28:27] Amardeep: Awesome. What I like to finish up on is, what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy recently.

[00:28:32] Tim: Yeah, one small thing. So I won’t name names, but someone big in the Bitcoin community unfortunately, was exposed a few days ago for scamming people and this person, I don’t know that personally, but I know a lot of people that do.

And I was a bit disappointed when I obviously learned, and it took a while to figure out, but what was really cool was I looked at all the comments and despite this person scamming people and like losing millions of dollars of money, the overwhelming response was we should show him empathy. He’s probably going through a very dark time and we shouldn’t cancel him.

In fact, if anything, we should pick up the phone and say, well, how we can help him, and then what was really cool is one of the people there was a guy that lent him five Bitcoin, which at the time was around $250,000 and this person came out publicly and said, even though he scammed me, I don’t want the Bitcoin back.

I would like him to not repay the debt because he’s going through a really difficult time. And I just watched this. I was like, wow. Normally you would expect that to blow up and like, cancel him. And he’s a scumbag. And it’s like, no, people are like, He’s gone into a dark path, but that’s not who he is, and like, how do we help this person?

So that bought me a lot of joy to kind of hear that.

[00:29:40] Amardeep: I guess there’s a lesson for everybody, isn’t it? We always assume the worst of people and sometimes it’s worth just hearing what’s happened to them because maybe there’s something we can do to help them too.

[00:29:48] Tim: Correct. I mean, this person went from investing to accidentally becoming a gambler.

I argue that it can happen to any one of us and the reality is that if we don’t help this person, what do you think is going to happen? I could tell you all happen. I mean, he’s lost his entire business. He’s obviously completely bankrupt and he owes some pretty nasty people a lot of money, you know, people commit suicide when that sort of thing happens.

So, here you’ve got a community that’s got around and said, you know, we don’t want that person to lose their life. Let’s give them a second shot. That was so awesome to watch.

[00:30:22] Amardeep: And that’s a lovely note to end on there. Thank you, Tim. It’s been great to have you.

[00:30:26] Tim: Cool. Thanks for having me.

[00:30:33] Amardeep: If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes. Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.

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