There’s a lot of white noise in our lives, the din and static of society with its myriad voices, all either impelling us to do or be what we’re not, or to ignore our instincts about what is right and wrong. Many times this white noise can overwhelm our common sense and take away our inner peace about the course we’ve determined our lives should go, especially those of us in the self-reliance community.
Perhaps our top resolution in 2013 should be to cultivate gratitude and thankfulness in the garden of our minds first and foremost. When we begin with an attitude of thanksgiving, when we set the stage for successful thinking with gratitude as its base, we are equipping ourselves to not just be prepared for any challenge we (or our families) might face, we’re preparing ourselves to help others as well.
Please join Bill Heid and Brian Brawdy as they discuss Brian’s upcoming book and new venture of inspiring people to work out the psycho-flab of their minds, teaching them to cultivate gratitude and thankfulness in all areas of life.
Off The Grid Radio
Release Date January 3, 2012
Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Off The Grid News—the radio version of www.OffTheGridNews.com . I am Brian Brawdy, here as always with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, I have to start by wishing you a very happy New Year.
Bill: Well Brian, thanks.
Brian: You’re welcome, my friend.
Bill: Happy New Year to you as well. It’s 2013. A lot of people never thought… Well, they didn’t think we’d make it but I think that’s a different…
Brian: I never think you and I are going to make it…
Bill: That’s a different thing from thinking that you’ve lost yourself in a fiscal cliff or a Mayan prophecy or a combination thereof. But here we are in 2013. Life does in fact go on and not only does it go on, it presents a lot of awesome opportunities—amazing opportunities, as we were discussing before this show—just being alive, just having… And a lot of people say, “Stop that. We already know those.” No, no, no, no, no. This is amazing stuff. You’re alive. You’re eating. You’re taking fluids. You’re thinking. You’re in the world and so incumbent upon that is a sense of responsibility too. So I think we can’t just say, “Well, we’re going to take the grace that we’ve received and just try to store it up in a “my precious” box—everyone’s probably watched The Hobbit so we’ll make some references and I thought that was a pretty good movie as well, with some great themes that… things that we talk about a lot, Brian, in terms of the little…
Some things are out of your control and I think we spend a lot of time just maybe studying the news. And maybe that creates a sense of anxiety that Jesus might not have always said, “Oh yeah. Why don’t you go watch the news every day?” He didn’t say that. He said something quite different about anxiety and being anxious and so that’s part of our show today—what we want to talk a little bit about as 2013—how to prepare. Now Brian, I could reverse the introduction by saying Brian Brawdy, author of The Power of Instinct. And your new book is amazing and so here…
Brian: Thank you.
Bill: Yeah. Here we are and I love the sort of sub-line that says, “Betting your life on that bold little whisper.”
Bill: Yeah. And we’ll talk about your book in detail maybe in the following show or something but I…
Bill: What I wanted to do is take the concepts that maybe undergirded the book, which are all about moving forward in your life effectively and graciously and making some strides. This time of year a lot of people set goals and while we both sort of have different ideas about maybe goals, I think just setting goals maybe always isn’t the right thing to do in that sense. So people ought to have self-reliance goals. They ought to have off the grid goals, survival goals—whatever you want to talk about—financial goals. Here we are. It’s the New Year. How do you…? Based on the research that you’ve done—and I don’t know of anybody that’s done any more research on a book than you’ve done for this—how do you accomplish…? Let’s talk about accomplishing goals in a general sense because I think there is a little bit of… If we chase the goal, we don’t end up… Sometimes we lose… The goal becomes “my precious.”
Brian: My precious. Sure.
Brian: Great. Well, I would say Bill—and also when I said thank you, I want to thank you for giving me the time over the last year to really focus on all the study—and it started for me 25…27 years ago now when my father took his own life, committed suicide. I was a cop at the time so the only formal education… If you’ve been listening to this show for a while, it won’t surprise you at all that I made it about a semester in college. My only formal education was as a police officer and a military weapons specialist—a police officer. So when my father took his own life, I fell back on the only thing I ever knew, which was being a detective. So in almost three decades now I’ve studied everything I could about why a human mind would become so vexed with life that it would turn against itself.
And another… And in addition to thanking you, I wanted to make mention of something, when you talk about “news.” Last year… I commute into the studio whenever you and I have the opportunity to hang out and over 900 people just on Illinois toll ways—just on Illinois toll ways—900 people were busy rushing to their next goal and didn’t make it. I watched throughout the year as 10 people had died, 20 people had died, 100 people, 600, 700, 800, 900—I was on the highway when 900 hit the over… the highway billboard. Here is a ton of people rushing to get to their goals and for those of us that made it to 2013, in order to be effective you have to look at life with a bit of gratitude and go, “There but for the grace of… There but for divine providence, go I.” Just as easily Bill, with the amount of time I commute, I absolutely could have been one of those 900 people that didn’t make it to where they were busy running to, didn’t get to the carrot at the end of the stick.
So for me, the operating mindset in 2013, the ability to cultivate or re-cultivate that relationship with your power of instinct, with that bold little whisper is a sense of gratitude, a sense of thankfulness. You and I talk most every… a lot of mornings when we first get up—we’re on the phone, we’re hanging out together—for me, every day I wake up my prayer is just thanks. “Thanks for leaving me here for another run at a solid eight.” And that’s how—for me—that’s how to rekindle the connection with that still small voice from 1 Kings—to rekindle that connection, that communication chain, if you will, with that bold little whisper. The operating mindset is one of gratitude in the human mind.
Bill: I really concur and I think Brian, it seems like people have an off and on switch and they’re either… They say if I’m responsible… If it’s my responsibility, then I’m going to race on like a banshee and I’m going to drive however I’ve got to drive. In other words, if I say, “Look, I am my own god and it’s incumbent upon me in every situation in the world to get from Point-A to Point-B,” then I’m always in charge and there’s no sort of sense of destiny to my life. And so we’re running and running and running. Or people seem to take then the other more maybe escapist route. They say, “Well, God’s in charge. I don’t have to do anything,” right? Isn’t that the ditches on—you used the toll way metaphor—so aren’t those the ditches on both sides of the toll way in some sense?
People want to escape. They don’t want the responsibility of having to do something. We were just talking about Stonewall Jackson’s theological quip, which is so short but so powerful, which is “Duty is ours. Consequences are God’s” and your book kind of sort of encapsulates a lot of that kind of thinking because life isn’t like that. You have a responsibility and yet you… You have a duty, as Stonewall would say and yet things like… Let’s face it. If I’m a little hobbit, there’s maybe a war going on in the world larger than me and I don’t have a big enough sword, a strong enough stick. I’m not a wizard. I’m not a politician. I’m just an ordinary person.
Bill: You know? And so I think it’s… What’s good about The Power of Instinct, in this case, is what is the instinct that that person has? Because that ordinary person has to make decisions in his or her life. They have to make them over a period of time. They have to make good choices. And just how do you find out…? I mean how do you listen to that voice? And then let’s get specific after that and talk about how that relates to self-reliance and to being sort of being able to put yourself in a position where you can help others in 2013 because I see this as another crazy year unfolding. And even though it’s not necessarily fast—it’s kind of slow—but it’s unfolding like a flower. The fullness of time is a phrase in the Bible and something… and things don’t happen until they’re supposed to happen and we haven’t had all of the evil in the world that we could have so we’re still sort of in pretty good shape grace-wise.
Brian: And I would say Bill, that everyone listening, everyone not listening, everyone alive today started out as a self-reliance expert. If you think back—and you can’t… Most people can’t make it all the way back to this particular time. But when you first learned to sit up, you first learned to crawl, you first learned to pull yourself up and then walk, your parents were probably there cheering you on. Maybe you did it in your crib the first time. Maybe they weren’t there for the maiden voyage. But we all had to listen to our gut instinct or we never would have rolled over, we never would have sat up, we never would have pulled ourselves up in our crib, we never would have crawled, we never would have walked, we never would have asked for our first toy.
So when I talk about re-cognizing—recognizing—when I talk about rekindling, when I talk about remembering, it’s because in my estimation, the greatest disease, the greatest illness we face today is amnesia—an existential amnesia. We have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten that relationship with the still small voice. We have forgotten our relationship with the gut instinct that made us walk in the first place, right? So when people say, “Oh Brian, I could never be like you.” Wait a minute. You could never re-be like me? You could never re-be? You can’t go back to your original operating system, which was the very first voice you ever heard that said, “Crawl,” right?
Bill: Go from Point-A to Point-B.
Brian: Point-A to Point-B. Now people argue and go, “Well Brian, we know how you are about goals.” They’re going to say, “Well, they still had Point-B.” Not if you…. If you interview the best athletes, you interview the best coaches—either alive today or in the past—they’ll tell you… And people are going to laugh when I say this but you know it coming in. People are going to say, “Oh Brian, it’s all about winning the game.” Well, the greatest coaches in football, baseball, basketball, the greatest athletes say it’s not about winning the game. It’s about where I am right now in this instant, which is why I go on in the book about 20-minute victories. What can I do right now for the next 20 minutes to rebuild my connection with that bold little whisper?
For me, when we talk about in the book that you want to have the best 2013 ever? Make your New Years resolution no New Years resolution at all. Don’t set those goals. What I’m suggesting to people is be—and you helped me with this term Bill, over the course of my studying and in my writing for this—but when you say, “Oh, he’s a very instinctive athlete,” right? “He’s a very instinctive athlete.” Well, I went out and started interviewing some of these instinctive athletes. I went out… I was very honored to have a chance to talk with Coach Dungy. And I’ve read the books and the biographies of these great coaches that go “Look, we focus one yard, one footstep at a time. We… What makes us instinctive athletes is that we’re not worried about winning. We know if we listen to our instinct, the game will take care of itself.”
Bill: And so they’re always managing small things and I think that plays in quite well with… Well, let me go backwards before we even bring that up is defining what a win looks like is an important thing as well and then I think some teams… Let’s just take football, since the football season is going to come into a close. Some teams have to define “It’s a rebuilding year,” right?
Bill: And so a win for them is five wins because they know what they’ve got for talent, they know what’s competitive, they know what the world is, they know who’s got draft picks coming next year and so their win is something different than a premier team. And premier teams cycle. They come and go. As we know, things change. So people have to decide you can’t land on the aircraft carrier and say, “Mission accomplished” if the mission hasn’t been accomplished. You can’t set goals that are wacky, sort of… What’s the right word that I’m looking for? Just an unreasonable expectation of what a goal would be—but you have to set a real goal. And then what does a win look like? I’m thinking is the win for some people saying, “My precious and I’ve got a storage of food and I’m not going to help anybody and so a win for me is just having enough food for me”? Or is there an adventure along the way and a win is not unlike The Hobbit, where there’s a life lesson? Isn’t that the theme of these movies, that you become something different than you were?
Brian: You absolutely do Bill and I would offer that if you look at what Coach Wooden said in college basketball or you look at what Coach Dungy would say in football, some of their greatest games they lost. Some of the games that are the most memorable in their minds, when they felt the best—you ask them, you study what they wrote—and they’ll tell you “The best games were where our fundamentals were flawless. Just wasn’t our time to win but we didn’t make a single mistake.” And that’s why the power of instinct—I call it “magnify the moment.” What can you do right now in the moment that you’re in? Now people will go, “Oh Brian, great philosophy.” I wish it were just philosophy, Bill, right? What I’ve found in the studies of neuroscience, of quantum physics, of neuroplasticity… We had talked earlier in our last show about your friend from Visual Latin and what it means for the mind. I call them “mind-ups” just like pushups or sit-ups or pull-ups—how you can build strength but at the same time use those aerobic exercises for your mind to burn off and to shed some of the psycho fat and flab that we all have.
But when you look at what it takes to magnify the moment scientifically, neuroscientists tell us now that when you hone a skill, when you become good at something, your brain is actually laying down myelin, right? You know, as I know you’re a fan of studying the brain, you have the neurons, you have the axons, the dendrites, you have the way they communicate. Every time you work to hone a skill your brain secretes myelin. Now technically, it would look like the outer covering, Bill, of an electrical wire—that plastic covering. I equate it to the times that I’ve spent say in Yellowstone or Alaska—let’s use Yellowstone during the winter—20 feet of snow up on both sides of me but there is a trail where the bison have gone through and they’ve plowed it and plowed it and plowed it to where it’s a game path. Well, if I’m taking an animal’s point of view, why did they use a game path? Because it’s easier to get from A to B.
Well, the mind—that game path is myelin. It continues to secrete myelin in between the neurons so that when it comes time to repeat a skill, you’ve got a game path. You’ve done it to such a degree that magnifying the moment, paying attention—that deep practice—that deep philosophical prayer, that focusing right now on nothing else but that still small voice, learning that skillset—chemically, that’s how your brain memorizes. That’s how your brain creates a skill and it doesn’t matter what that skill is. Self-reliance—when you lay down the myelin of self-reliance, that’s what etches it in stone. That’s what engraves you. And doctors are also telling us Bill, that you can’t un-myelin. You can’t take myelin off of the human brain. Some people go, “Oh, I’ve got to break that habit” and all they do is focus on the negative habit. Well, when they focus on that negative habit, they’re laying down more myelin. They’re just….
Bill: Well, another game path…
Brian: Another game path. They’re ingraining the game path even more.
Bill: It’s like somebody that smokes ends up taking the same path to stop smoking as they took to smoke, right?
Bill: And it inevitably just is a feedback loop for them and it becomes a very difficult thing. Relate that back to how do we create little victories and little feedback moments for becoming more self-reliant? In other words, we’re all different and we all have so much money, so much time, so much family—maybe our family agrees with us or disagrees—there is just a lot of variables and contingencies so people have to set in their mind what’s realistic to shoot for and then what can they do to…? Once somebody does that and says, “For me, a realistic expectation is this.” You should know about Doomsday Preppers, right? A real expectation… 100 points is not a realistic number that you’re going to get in that. No matter how well you do, they’re just not going to give you 100 points. So let’s say you’ve got 50 points and you see that your balance is… You need to improve in these areas. How do you move towards it and how do you create feedback loops that help you move towards these things?
Brian: I would say to you Bill, it’s a lot like… Let’s look at it as going to the gym. I know you work out in your home and you work out outside in your yard but imagine you go to the gym and you want to get some base training, right? You can’t run a marathon your first day. So you start running 100 yards, this or that. When it comes to the human mind, the base training is always gratitude. When people say, “Oh, oh, oh. I’m going to set these resolutions at New Years because I want to change this about me,” what happens automatically Bill is that without that sense of gratitude, their mind doesn’t get it right out of the box. Their mind’s already setting themselves up for some other crapshoot. There is some gamble about whether you’ll achieve that goal.
So the basis is to start out every mind-up with a sense of gratitude—being thankful that you’re here, being thankful that you have a mind, being thankful that the particular trait you want to change has even registered on your radar. That’s the warm-up, right Bill? Like you would do before you go to play basketball—you warm up. You get some blood flowing. Well, the blood flow in the human mind is gratitude—the fact that you’re here. Now you say, “Okay Brian, I’ve warmed up. I’ve got the blood pumping. What’s my first exercise going to be?” I would say to you the first exercise, the first portion of the mind-up outside of the gratitude is magnifying the moment. What can I do right now to identify those traits that if I worked on those traits alone, the goal—like a football game or a basketball game—the goal will take care of itself? And I’d ask for people that may want to smoke or people that may want to overdo anything—overeat, over-shop, over-gamble, overdrink, whatever it is—ask yourself “What is it that that particular thing gives me?” If you smoke, you’re not smoking because you want to get lung cancer, Bill, right? You’re smoking because if you smoke, then it gives you something.
And the second part of the mind-up—what does that give you? And wait for the answers to come. I have on the site—you can order what I call The Great Big Book of You. It’s just a workbook—all these different quotes, these lines, these bubbles—Great Big Book of You. Write down in your journal “What does it give me to do this particular thing that I want to change?” and then be quiet. Wait for the bold little whisper to answer you. “Well, if I overeat, it gives me ga-bing-ga-bing-ga-bing.” Write them down. Grab the pen. You’ve taught me this. Don’t do it on the computer. You can’t be creative. I love the way, when you write, you grab a pen, you grab a stack of legal pads and you’re writing away. Rely on yourself. The pen, the pad and the mirror. Ask yourself “What does it give me to do this habit?” and then wait for that still small voice to answer and write it down.
And then the next question that comes out of that is that “Okay, this is what it gives me. If I could find a way of achieving that thing”—and I don’t know what it is; your whisper is going to tell you—“If I can find a way of achieving that thing without using what I’ve done heretofore to get there”—like you said, the feedback loop—“If I could achieve that sense of contentedness or relaxation or connectedness without doing something that ultimately is going to derail me, would I be interested in that particular thing? Could I talk myself…? If it’s me and the bold little whisper, it’s me and the rushing wind, it’s me and that still small voice, are we enough of a tag team to get what I thought this habit was giving me but do it in a healthy, more self-reliant way?” Because suppose something happens where you’re never going to be able to buy a cigarette again. Suppose—heaven forbid—something happens and the market collapses and cigarettes aren’t being transported anymore. Are you going to be able to self-sustain? Are you going to be able to give you what heretofore the cigarettes have given you?
If you do this, if you create the Great Big Book of You, if you write down in your journal what it is that you hope to achieve and then wait—like any other muscle in your body, Bill—we’ve had it since day one. The connection with the still small voice—it’s like doing pushups or sit-ups—the more you build it, the stronger it becomes. And the stronger it becomes Bill…you’re not listening. As you said earlier about society—you’re not listening to all that outside static, right? The stronger that connection becomes with your still small voice, you’re more inclined to go with your gut than go with the gang, right? It’s about what’s going on in your brain—not all the bling that the outside world offers you. That’s the basis. Start in gratitude. Ask yourself to magnify the moment. Ask yourself powerful questions. Write them down in your journal—in the Great Big Book of You. Reread them to yourselves because this is all about a dialogue. If you can rekindle the dialogue between yourself and that still small voice—dialogue at the gut level—if you can remember who you ultimately are, goals then become a piece of cake.
Bill: So what I just heard you say was—what I think and I’m sort of interpreting—but you’re going to end up with, if you listen… if you don’t listen to the still small voice… And what I think… So many people that I talk to, there is something inside them, a sense… They say things aren’t right. They say things… They just don’t feel good about the economy, about the cliff, about whatever it is. There is something inside them that says, “Hey, take cover” in some sense and we have varying degrees of our ability to do that. One of the things that I think mitigates against that is what you just said—is psycho flab. If you’re listening to… Once you make a decision to do something and you keep allowing white noise—outside world… Talk a little bit about the environmental factors.
In other words, I think there’s just a lot of people that don’t see it this way. They’re tuned into a white noise. They see it as the matrix, as the reality. And you’re saying leave this matrix and start your own journey. So it’s not an easy thing in some sense because people… The world is racing kind of against you and I don’t know that the world is trying to do this intentionally but the world is kind of saying that and your wife may be saying that you’re nuts, the media might be saying your nuts—whatever it is—your obstinate brother-in-law, all of those kinds of things that go through. So how do you be polite to the world and yet sort of maintain this disciplined sense of purpose?
Brian: Oh, great question Bill and I will tell you that… You say that they may not be doing it intentionally but the world… And it doesn’t have to be any farther out than some members of your own family perhaps—some of the people you work with, the people you hang out with—they don’t want you listening to the still small voice. They don’t want you betting your life on that bold little whisper and do you know why? They want to hold the committee vote. They want to tell you how your…
Brian: And if you look at these people—and whether it’s the government of your family, of your neighborhood, of your state, of your country, of the world—whatever that outside voice is… I call it “chatterdom.” I call it the “din and static” of the committee vote. They don’t want you listening to your bold little whisper. Now intuitively people go, “Oh, that’s great,” which is why we treat politicians and movie stars and athletes like rock stars, right? Because in order to get to those positions they’re sure listening to their bold little whisper.
Bill: Oh boy. What a great point.
Brian: Aren’t they? So they’re listening to their bold little whisper. But let me say this to you Bill—and this is another thing that I’ve learned throughout our friendship—your brain is in the battle of its life. It’s poised between the polarity… what I call—in The Power of Instinct—what I call the “marrow of your mind.” That’s where that bold little whisper lives. And at the opposite end of the cognitive spectrum, if you will, the shallow end. But if you think about going to the ocean… or for that matter, going to let’s say Lake Michigan. The deepest waters of Lake Michigan are never disturbed by outside storms. Where is the murkiest, Bill? Where is the cloudiest, the murkiest? Where does the water all get kicked up when Lake Michigan’s having a pretty big windstorm? Right in the shallows, right?
Bill: Oh yes. Yes.
Brian: Hurricane blows in. You think 25 miles out in the ocean cares if a hurricane is coming? Who cares about the hurricanes? The shallows. So when we hang out in the shallow end, in the periphery of our mind where chatterdom can go… And if I can use a biblical reference real quick—for me, my interpretation, my bold small voice—that tiny bold whisper—tells me that the first one of these whispers was in the Garden of Eden. The genesis of the still small voice was in the Garden of Eden. And to me, I equate it… Adam and Eve both knew what was right, right? They heard the bold little whisper. And what did they decide to do? They decided to listen to someone else tell them “Don’t worry about God. He’s meshugganah. You can eat from this… You can eat this piece of fruit,” right? That was the beginning of listening to the outside voice, of listening to chatterdom, of listening—as you say—all the din and static of society but Adam and Eve knew. And you know how I know? You know how you know? You know how everyone listening knows they knew? Because as soon as it happened Adam reaches for boxer shorts, right?
Bill: Underwear for everybody.
Brian: Underwear for everybody. I’m buying. I’m solid today. I’m buying. They knew. They discounted the bold little whisper. That still small voice. They listened to the outside forces and look where it got them. Just look where it gets all of us when we listen to those outside voices. So I think you’re right Bill. When it comes to self-reliance and the people that are passionate about it, I think they have a gut sense and if you look at the people around you… Power of Instinct—“Oh Brian, is that a book about some type of hedonism? Is that a book about some kind of animalistic parties that you throw or whatever?” They’re doing everything they can, my friend, to slam the power of instinct—the concept of instinct.
Now some will kind of…. They’ll put some lipstick on the pig and they’ll go, “Oh, well he’s a very intuitive being.” Baloney. Has nothing to do with intuition. I’m talking about the instinct that came with you. I’m talking about the instinct that Adam and Eve had when they go, “I probably should eat something else other than this piece of fruit” but they listened to an outside voice. Look where it got them. Look where it gets us. When we let chatterdom call us into the shallow end and we go away from the marrow of our minds, we go away from that bold little whisper, look at society now. Look where it’s gotten us, my friend.
Bill: I’m glad you made that distinction because I think for a lot of people, especially our listeners—a lot of them are sort of theologically astute—and what you’re saying is we’re talking about a pre-fall instinct here that needs a redemptive motif to get back to and I think…
Brian: God’s counting on it.
Bill: Yeah. I think that’s the main thing. In other words, we’re not appealing to one’s baser instincts.
Bill: We’re appealing to something that was once a trait of mankind early in the game that was dissipated—it didn’t last too long—was dissipated yet we know it’s there. We have record of it and we have a Bible of sort of a trail back home. It’s almost as if God was sort of going through the woods and leading you… People break branches and stuff so they can find their way home. God’s saying, “Look, I’m leaving you all this body of literature and whatever and you should try to find your way back home. I think it would be a very good thing for you to try to find your way back home. It’s better than not finding your way.”
Brian: Yeah. Remember that old Back to the Future—“Hello? McFly?” They knock on his forehead? It’s God going, “Hello?” And on the website I have pictures of cairns. You know how people stack rocks in the mountains so that you can kind of use that as your bifurcation point, as your way back home, as you put it. I would say to you that that’s exactly the way it is and it’s why so many people today want you listening to the din and static, right Bill? Because if you’re truly self-reliant… And you go back to
Genesis when it talks about God breathing the breath into Adam and in the original languages, the word is “ruah.” And I know you study this as well as I have so you know that it’s either breath, spirit or wind. The word “ruah” means breath, spirit or wind.
So when you and I talk about self-reliance, I’ve often felt that each of us is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandchild of God. So you still have that breath. You still have that wind. You still have that spirit in you and that’s the spirit of the power of instinct. And when you rekindle that relationship, that’s a heck of a tag team. I’ll be self-reliant all day long if I can look up and go, “Gee, thanks. I appreciate it. Thanks for leaving me here another eight and thanks for giving me the presence of mind to listen to that bold little whisper.” And for me, that… When you can look at 1 Kings, Bill and it talks about “and the Lord moves” and it’s “not in the clashing rocks” and it’s “not in the lightning” and it’s “not in the thunder,” it’s “not in the wind,” the fire passes by, what’s left behind? When all of that goes away, what’s left behind?
Bill: Well, a very still small thing.
Brian: And that’s the bold little whisper. That’s the power of instinct. It’s why Jesus goes into the garden of Gethsemane by himself. It’s why some of the greatest moments in humanity have come when the individual is alone in nature, right? Moses on the mountain—by himself. Jesus in the desert—by Himself. Abraham in the desert—by himself. Jacob… The Bible makes it very clear. Jacob sends everybody away because he knows the wrestling match with the angel is coming, doesn’t he? So when they talk about Jacob, why does he send his family away? It’s because when you’re along—and whether it’s in nature… A lot of these texts were written where there was a lot of nature. But when you’re alone in the wilderness of your own mind, that’s when the still small voice comes. That’s when you’re able to hear it. And that’s why throughout the Bible you have these incidences.
And if you look at some other faiths after the fact, if you looked at Mormonism, Joseph Smith is in the woods of Palmyra New York. And you’ve heard me say before if the divine can come to you in the woods of Palmyra New York He can come to you anywhere. But Joseph Smith is alone. He is alone in the wilderness, outside of the din and static of chatterdom. That’s when the bold little whisper goes, “Bill, this is your call. Here’s your…” You hear Christians talk all the time about their calling. Well, what’d they get, like a FedEx package? Pick up their cellular phone one day or they’re on their tablet and they get an instant text message? That calling is the bold little whisper, right?
And you asked me earlier “Well, what happens if you ignore that call?” Everything we see in society happens when you ignore that call, Bill. Look at what’s happening to us as a people, as a country, as a planet where everyone’s busy chasing after the bling. Everyone wants a hand…. Everyone wants something other than a relationship with that still small voice. And that’s why… I hear people say all the time “Oh…” And I know we’ve done it on the show so for those of you listening that do it, God love you. For me, “Oh, we’ve got to get gold.” Great. In addition to that you’ve got to be bold. You’ve got to be bold. To be self-reliant means that you’re bold enough to ignore the static, right? You’re bold enough to tune your radio…
If I was talking to your dad he would talk to me about shortwave radios and how you have to tune in so that it can knock out all the other static. You tune in to that bold little whisper. That’s the definition of self-reliance. It’s been with you since you were born. It’s been humanity since the Garden of Eden. And when you tap into the power of instinct… If I could quickly… You also said earlier about “You’re not talking about going back to our baser instincts.” Oh, I’m talking about going back to our baser instincts but when you start the relationship with that bold little whisper, the intellect tells you what baser instincts are the ones that you should follow. We could interpret… Because we hear “Oh, it’s the baser instincts.” It’s the baser instincts without the guiding light, without the signpost of the bold little whisper, right?
Bill: Well, without a doubt. And there’s, I think… You make such a good point about people knowing and I think even the people that don’t know the Bible says, “Do,” they do know. But yet they suppress the truth and righteousness and I think that’s the difference too, as we say. So when you’re feeling something, that something’s not right… Maybe husbands and wives are so tuned in… Dogs are tuned in to their masters and they have a still small voice as well and they feel… They know when something’s not right. They know. My dog used to know—before I lost Max—would know… If I was going on a trip he could tell before I packed any bag. He knew where I was going by just little, subtle, small, small things because he was sensitive, he was a listener, right?
Bill: He was looking for the kinesthetic… the body language, how I…. the tonal qualities of how… I wouldn’t “Hey Max, I’m going to Germany.” I never would say that but he knew I was going to Germany as soon as I walked in the door. So husbands and wives understand when something’s wrong, right? “You’ve lost that loving feeling”—you remember that song? When people know—“You never close your eyes anymore.” Oh, little things and even more subtle than that go on and I think in this world of self-reliance, little things like that… If you’re hearing this voice… If you’re hearing this—not just my voice—but if you’re hearing this little voice that’s saying something’s not right and you don’t act on it, we all know how terrible that is to then reap the consequences of not acting upon something that we knew and we felt intuitively or instinctively, as you say in your book. And so I just would say to people if you don’t feel like something is right, start taking these small steps. First by the grace idea—knowing that you have… that you’re here for a reason and that you’re… That in and of itself is a good thing. And then you have to start doing the stuff that you’ve been talking about.
Brian: But Bill, you already… Everyone listening here knows it because I’m telling you, as an infant—they didn’t jump out of the crib, right? They didn’t do a three and a half gainer out of the crib and run to the mailbox, right? They took one step. They fell. They got back up again, which is an absolute testimony. If you want to learn how to train your mind go back, remember, re-cognize how you were as a little kid. You took your first step. You know what helped you take your second? Your fall. Scientist now tell us…
Bill: A feedback loop is helpful.
Brian: Feedback loop. Exactly. So you’re absolutely right. If you want to start listening to that still small voice… Bill, if you could teach your favorite listeners… Let say a favorite listener came to the studio right now and you were going to teach them to do the perfect pushup, right? You’d teach them the mechanics. You’d tell them where their elbows go, how you stabilize your core—all of that. They couldn’t leave here and do 100 tomorrow morning. So your point is a brilliant one. Start slow. If you’re going to rekindle the connection to that still small voice, that bold little whisper, you’ve got to start slow, right? Because surely the progressive atrophy that happens to a muscle—the more you ignore a muscle, the more it fades away—well, for many of us, we’ve been ignoring the bold little whisper for so long it’s starting to fade away.
So if you’re… Let’s say you’re in a skiing accident. Let’s say you’re in a basketball accident. You break your ankle. Doctor puts you in a cast. You’re not going to get to take the cast off and then play five hours of basketball the next morning. You’ve got to start back slow, right? Well, training your mind is like any other muscle in your body and that’s not philosophy. That’s not Bill and Brian telling you. That’s the latest. And I mean the latest in neuroscience, in neuroplasticity, in quantum physics. So you’re absolutely right to tell people, Bill, to go slow just like you would a broken bone, a bad muscle. You have to rebuild after the effect of that atrophy. Doesn’t mean that the muscle isn’t there. Doesn’t mean… People are going to go, “There’s no still small voice in me.” I promise you there is. It’s suffering from atrophy like any other muscle that you haven’t used.
Bill: And white noise.
Brian: And white noise. Absolutely. The white… I love the fact that you use white noise as the cast. “Oh, let me put a cast on. Let’s use on the outside. Let’s get some outside force to help rebuild that muscle.” Well, that’s great. You and I aren’t saying never again pay attention to outside voices, right? I mean when you stop and think about it, how many 55 year olds do you know that ride a bicycle with their training wheels still attached?
Bill: A couple but…
Brian: Well, you told me you wouldn’t bring that up about me. When you and I go to a public pool, you always make fun of me because I still have my water wings and my floaties on when I jump in the deep end. We can’t go cold turkey. We can’t just go, “All right. I’m going to get Brian’s book and I’m going to follow that bold little whisper.” You’ve got to start back slow like you would any other muscle. You listen to those outside voices to the degree that they originally helped you—like training wheels or water wings—they helped you get that balance. Now you’re going, “I’m going to be self-reliant. I’m going to listen to the bold little whisper. I’m not always going to rely on outside static. I’m going to ask myself what’s right, what’s wrong. What do I believe? What’s my something to believe in?” And the more you do that Bill, as you say, in small, little steps. I call it “magnify the moment” at the 60-second level and I call them “20-minute victories.”
Bill: Here is an example. If you find yourself watching some lame game between… Who did…? Let’s see. I’m trying to think of some Thursday night game or something that has no relevance. And you’re sitting there. I’m just… I’m saying this because this has happened to me before. Just because I’m tired from the day. And I say, “Wow. This serves zero purpose whatsoever. There is nothing that I’m gaining from this.” I turn the TV off and then go do something that can help you gain somehow. Maybe it’s spending time with another human being. Maybe it’s writing someone a nice letter—whatever it could be…
Brian: Can I give you one that you can do for the next 60 seconds whenever it hits you?
Bill: You bet.
Brian: Say thanks. Say a prayer. Say “Thanks for the ride.”
Bill: Yeah. You’re better off stopping and saying a prayer and saying, “Thank you for letting me be here” than you are watching Mark Sanchez throw another interception—or whatever—I’m not picking on Mark. He probably needs you.
Brian: Well… And I mean I’ve worked with plenty of professional athletes but I will tell you that when you stop for that 60 seconds and you magnify the moment… As Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will suffice.” So I tell people in the book, set a timer on your watch to go off at weird times during the day and no matter when that timer goes off—unless you’re driving a car; don’t do it while you’re driving a car—when that timer goes off I want you to close your eyes for 60 seconds and I call it the “thank you mantra” because I believe it’s the underlying operating system of the human mind. I call it the “thank you mantra.” For the next 60 seconds inhale… As you inhale, say thank you and as you exhale, say thank you. Just thank God for the run that you’ve been given and then go back to your normal, everyday life. As you start to build that sense of gratitude—right Bill? You start to open those neuro-connections—the bold little whisper. This will blow you away. I know you think it’s too mysterious to be true. I know you know this. For our listeners going, “That’s way too crazy,” that whisper will start to reinsert itself in your life. When you at random times during the day go, “Thanks for the ride…”
Bill: And you reinforce it when you do that and you build a game trail through the snow that it is, the clutter that is in your life, right? So…
Brian: You know the cool thing about it? God’s waiting at the other end, tunneling towards you, right? Game paths go both ways, my friend, right? So to the degree that you go, “All right, great”—and we’re not going to get into the quantum physics of it now. If we would, we’d talk about transactional interpretation, where you send a thought into the future and the future sends it back to you, right? There is a transaction. You shake hands… but the divine is at the other end. This isn’t a one-way tunnel gig, right? That bold little whisper, like you said, it wants out. Well, it’s tunneling through all… I love Michelangelo—when they asked him “What did it take to carve the statue of David?” He said, “I didn’t carve the statue of David. It was inside the stone. I simply chiseled the excess marble so that the statue could come to life.”
Bill: He saw it there.
Brian: He saw it there. And it’s in everyone. I see it in everyone. You’ve just got to chisel away, one chisel at a time—not going to take a jackhammer. Like you said, go slow. Not going to use a sandblaster.
Bill: So you don’t have to… In other words, in order to sort of not be anxious—and to use Jesus’ language—you don’t need a five year supply of food today. You don’t need everything today. But being on the journey of getting your bills paid off, being on the journey of just starting to do some of these things and the more you do, the more you do. And it just seems to leaven your whole persona in that sense because you’ve planted a seed that then starts to grow and you’re nurturing that seed and it grows and grows and grows. And I know this is being a little abstract for people in some sense but as Brian says, I don’t… I think it has applications for almost every area of life—how you raise your kids. In other words, when you go to raise your kids, stop picking them up. Let them fall down once in a while.
Brian: That’s how they learn to first walk.
Bill: Stop it. Stop pulling…
Bill: And it’s true for an entitlement class. You kill your kids and you kill an entitlement class by constantly picking them up and if someone is really at the end of their game and they’re on their last leg, I think there is a place for the church to help that person out, a place for individual charity. But for government to sort of be a nanny that never allows you to walk… Because… And I think people say, “But I don’t want to walk. I want to… I just want you to carry me because that’s the easiest thing.” I think we’ve all been there, right? We’ve all not listened to a still small voice and we’ve said, “Wouldn’t it be easier to take a shortcut?” And again, don’t we all reap the whirlwind when we take a shortcut? Don’t we always get…? There’s a cause and effect to the universe. God made it this way—that when you make a bad choice… But it seems like we just keep… You hurt the feedback loop on kids, employees, entitlement class folks—good people who don’t get a quick feedback loop—you’re… I think you hate them when you treat them that way, when you don’t give them…
Brian: I do too.
Bill: I think it’s a hatred and it’s insidious is what it is.
Brian: It is because… And why… In terms of being specific, why is it insidious? Because it’s another nail in the coffin of that bold little whisper. Every time—think about it Bill—every time we go outside of ourselves and we ask someone else to give us our native equilibrium, what happens? Right? That equilibrium starts to go away and then you’re giving it to outside forces. I could not agree with you more—that at the macro and micro level, when you work with the bold little whisper in the marrow of your mind, when you magnify the moment, when you have a sense of gratitude then the noise of the outside—“Hey, eat this piece of fruit. Eat this piece of fruit. Don’t worry. I’ll tell you, everything will be okay. Just follow me. It’s all going to be good. It’s just more bling. It’s only a piece of fruit. Who would say that to you?” And they ignored that bold little whisper and that’s what happens.
And if I could quickly also say that you say, “Oh, this might be too philosophical for us.” It is cutting edge neuroscience that says that if you want a mind, if you want a brain to operate optimally, you have to challenge it. Do you know there’s studies out now, Bill, that say one of the surest ways…? I shouldn’t say “surest ways” because they’re thinking about going back. They looked at people that had really tough upbringings—people that were hungry, people that come from divorced families, people that were beaten, people that had a really tough life—and you know what they found in the studies? Those people don’t have Alzheimer’s. Those people, because they were challenged when they were very little and they laid down your game path in their minds, that look, life is a part of a struggle. You’ve got to pick yourself up. You’ve got to keep moving.
As recently as last month neuroscientists are saying, “That was really wild.” People that had children that had lower caloric intake, children that came from troubled homes, children that had to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps. The levels of dementia, of cognitive decline, of Alzheimer’s—through the floor because those minds very early on… George Washington Carver. Let’s go back to a huge guy we’re both fans of. It wasn’t all roses and crumpets and tea for him and look what he was able to amass, as you always remind me, with a pair of pants and six small stones. Well, neuroscience is now saying that’s the way the mind works.
Bill: But it was the scar tissue, wasn’t it?
Brian: Well… Well, it was… Yes.
Bill: I mean it’s the broken glass of our lives that create that vigor, that strength, that strength yet elasticity, that bounce back that all great people seem to have and every great person has experienced adversity. We know that and I’m segueing a little bit but we know that just in having a conversation. If you have a conversation with somebody that’s been through a lot, it’s a lot more fun, isn’t it to talk to somebody that’s really had some adversity and have really figured out a way to adapt and adopt and to sort of… They’re rarely are they bitter. Rarely do I find someone who has been through a lot who is bitter. Isn’t that amazing?
Brian: Right. Well, Bill it goes back to my…
Bill: Wouldn’t they be the most likely candidates to be bitter?
Brian: Wouldn’t you think? It goes back for me, when… You know how I believe about everything happens for a reason. My first ever public speech was in sixth grade and it was at a Methodist church and I had memorized and stood in front of that congregation and said, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me,” right? So you find people that have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, that have cultivated that relationship—“Thou art with me,” right? They’ve cultivated that relationship with that bold little whisper. Like I say all the time, I’m bulletproof until God decides otherwise, right? You get to that point where you’ve struggled and you’ve strained and you’ve done everything that you can to be able to survive.
Well, neuroscientists now are saying, “Brian, you were right to tell people that. You were right to read the 23rd Psalm,” right? “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil.” And you’re absolutely right. When you speak to people that have struggled, when you study their biographies, their autobiographies and now cutting edge neuroscience… When we throw ourselves, when we drink life with a thirst, when we throw ourselves into the battle instead of like you say desensitize ourselves with all the white noise, our brains love us for it later in life. Think about that.
Bill: Well, and why are we…? That’s really profound. Why are we saying all this? Why are we going to great lengths to talk about this today? Because here we are in the New Year. It’s a time to be enthusiastic. But it’s a time to be realistic as well because I think what Brian and I both see is 2013 and for the next couple years being extremely challenging years and so if we don’t tell you, our still small voice is telling you what’s really in our hearts. And if we don’t say what we really believe about the nature of the economy, the nature of the zeitgeist of the takers versus the givers—all the things that we discuss—if we don’t lay this out then what’s…? Why are we here? I feel like to some degree Brian, we are here to sort of do the same thing that you’re talking about. And it is a burden for me to try to make this real to people because they don’t… If something doesn’t happen on some predicted day, they say, “Well, I guess I don’t need to do anything” or “This is getting old and so I’m just going to forget about it.” But I think that we’ve come to the place in our society and in our culture with everything that is going on, that we have to be diligent. Even at a time when a white noise might be nothing’s happening—that can be psycho flab.
Bill: There’s nothing going on so I’m going to go to sleep. I’m supposed to be a century postman, right? And I’m going to go to sleep because I don’t see anybody. Don’t be too sure.
Brian: Don’t be too sure.
Bill: Don’t be too sure.
Brian: And that’s what I love about 2013. When you said about over the next two or three years, Bill, the trying times, I watched you kind of chuckle when I got this huge smile on my face because it’s the trying times that hone your mind. Look, all you and I are saying—all I attempted… All you do with your company and all I’ve attempted to do with The Power of Instinct was throughout the book remind people that the future is going to be a cold and cruel place for those that haven’t reconnected with their bold little whisper. For those that aren’t self-reliant, for those that don’t go, “I’ve got a heck of a tag team going here—me and the voice of the divine within me,” it’s going to be a tough place in the future. So you and I are just talking about preparation. We talk all the time about the pieces of gear that we can get to be self-reliant and today what we’ve really been speaking about additionally is how to be mentally self-reliant, how to beat back the amnesia that everyone around you wants you having, right Bill? They don’t want you to know that you’re a rock star. If you’re not living life so that it just grabs your face and puts a smile on it every time you look in the mirror, you’ve forgotten who you are.
Bill: Either it’s an amazing adventure or it’s nothing at all.
Brian: Well, it is nothing at all if it isn’t an amazing adventure. You’re absolutely right because if it isn’t an amazing adventure… I’m going to use that. I’m going to… You know what? I’m actually going to write that down. I’m going to use that in the intro.
Bill: Another line.
Brian: Another line. If it isn’t an amazing adventure—if my life isn’t an amazing adventure, Bill, what can you tell me about me?
Bill: It’s nothing at all.
Brian: It’s nothing at all. I don’t hear the still small voice, do I? Because if I did, we’d look at life as a gift. We’d look at life as an amazing adventure. But if I don’t look at life that way, still small voice is so caked, so covered over—to use Michelangelo, right—I let the angel out of the stone. It’s so encased with the white noise, the din and static of chatterdom—it’s too late to get it back.
Bill: And as just an aside, this has applications to not only your self-reliance life, it has applications to what’s your still small voice saying about how to love your wife, about how to love your family, about how to educate your kids? What’s it really saying? Is there something that you feel guilty…? Is something nagging at you? If it is, then act in terms of what we’ve been talking about and make 2013 a year where you say, “No more regrets.”
Bill: Because you know what? You could be 901 on the toll way.
Bill: And you don’t want to see that car coming head-on, do you?
Bill: You… I mean if it does, it does. But you will have wanted to do everything Stonewall Jackson said—duty is ours—and you don’t want to say, “Oh no, I didn’t”—smash.
Brian: Absolutely. And Bill, it could happen to me today. It could happen to me today going back but you know what I’ll think about if that happens and the divine decides that’s my fate in life? I’ll look in the mirror right before I go and go, “Up until this very moment, thanks for the ride.”
Bill: Thanks for the opportunity.
Brian: Thanks for the opportunity to use a brain. You gave me… Endowed by our Creator, which is why you and I are such huge fans, right? When you think of the Bill of Rights and the preamble to the Constitution and everything our country was founded on. Endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, right? Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Pursuit of happiness? That’s a neuroscience term. You want to be happy? You have to… Your mind has to work to release that happiness in your life. It’s not some exotic location. It’s not some foreign adventure. We’re talking about an excavation. You had that happiness.
When people say all the time “Oh, I’ve heard what Jesus says and when He talks about ‘Let the little children come to me for such as these is the kingdom of heaven.’” Why is that? Because they were still intimately connected to that bold little whisper. “Oh, if we could only have the joy of a child.” Well, what specifically is that joy? It’s magnifying the moment. Kid isn’t going, “Well, I would like to think that my 401K…” The kid’s like “Give me some more pie!” Right? They’re magnifying… Look at the smile on your face. They’re magnifying the moment. They’re right now… And what quantum physicists tell us is the only time ever since Einstein… There is no past. There is no future. When you look at the quantum level, this moment, this now, this magnify the moment is the only one that counts. And that’s what little kids do, my friend. Look at them. Look at your grandkids. Look at the couple weeks back—almost a month now—the Christmas party. Look at the joy on Marika’s face. Look at that. That’s a connection.
Bill: Yeah. That wasn’t this business of being someone had to say, “Hey, don’t be anxious for today.”
Bill: Or tomorrow, rather. Tomorrow has its own gig. All you’ve got is right now and right now are those moments that have to be sort of amplified and magnified, as you say. And so I think as we close down here Brian, I think that really is the thing because you’ve got to get in touch with what it is. You’ve got to follow that voice that you feel most compelled to chase after. And then it becomes playful and fun and then if you do get hit by a truck or a car or something and sad as that sounds, people can go to your funeral and they can laugh and they can cry and they can hug but they’ll know that you gave it everything that you had and that’s enough.
Brian: That you lit a candle as a psalm, right? That you drank life with a thirst. That you beheld the boldness that is the original operating system endowed by our Creator—the original operating system. You drink life with a thirst. If it happens and you come to my wake, I know you’ll be able to say, “Look, Brian’s on his way but he wanted me to let you all know that he was having a riot right up until the very last second.”
Bill: And I’ve had a riot today, Brian, just discussing this with you, as we run out of time.
Brian: Thank you so much.
Bill: You know what? I really appreciate you pouring out what I know is such an important thing to you—what you’ve sort of… Your still small voice—what you’ve really spent a lot of time researching and just making it available to not only our listeners but to me as well. I was actually taking notes when you were talking.
Brian: Thank you, my friend. Thank you.
Bill: I don’t have a copy of the book in my hand at this point yet but I kind of know the book already because of all the things that we have been talking about. Imagine me sitting here—I’m supposed to be doing a show with you and I’m busy taking notes about how to get better at what it is that I try to do as well. So thank you so much.
Brian: Turnabout is fair play, my friend. I’ve taken countless notes, as I hope you see in some of these writings and I’m going to leave, if I can drop one other name—it’s Paul Alfred Brawdy—who in January of 1986 jumped from a 13 story building in New York because he called out to that still small voice and it had been anesthetized for so long in him, it didn’t tell him “Don’t jump.” So for me, when people say, “Well, why did you write this?” he took his life because he couldn’t establish that connection with that bold little whisper and for me, there is no greater definition of hell than to call out to that voice, that grace and think that it didn’t answer you because your ears are so packed full of chatterdom. It tried screaming and you didn’t hear it. So thank you for the opportunity.
Bill: You bet, Brian. And here you are, sitting at the other end of this as being someone who that… Can I say something else?
Bill: I know we’ve just got like one more minute but here… We wouldn’t be talking about this today—and I know you are a little choked up about this—but we wouldn’t be here talking today about this if your dad hadn’t in some crazy, circuitous way started a path for you.
Bill: So imagine saying to someone—your one of my best friends—a gift that was your own father’s suicide turns into a blessing. Now that’s redemptive history. That’s healing. That’s what’s supposed to happen.
Bill: You’ve taken something bad and you’ve turned it into something good. And I applaud you as my friend and I applaud you professionally for it and I think it’s going to be a great success. So…
Brian: Thank you so much.
Bill: I know you are a little busted up so I’ll give the close. How’s that?
Brian: Sounds good. Thank you, Bill.
Bill: Thanks so much. You bet, Brian. Thanks so much for joining us today, Brian. Thanks for your time. And to our listeners, we’d also like to thank you. We know your time is valuable and we’d just like to say thanks for spending it with us. Happy New Year.