How to Change Your Life with Sam Cawthorn
Host: Conrad Francis
Drink: “Brainbooster” juice from Nutt Leederville
Welcome back! Today we have a very special episode in store for you guys. Conrad is the host and, being Conrad, decided out sourcing his efforts to someone else was the best way to go about things. As a result, Simple Minds has been lucky enough to have the one and only Sam Cawthorn on the show!
As this episode wasn’t recorded on a friday but on a Wednesday, todays drinks are non-alcoholic (At least that’s what the guys told us) with Conrad bringing in some Brainbooster juice from Nutt Leederville.
This weeks episode goes in a bit of a different direction to previous outings, with a spotlight on special guest, Sam Cawthorn and what he has to say about his life, career and observations.
Sam Cawthorn, for those of you who somehow aren't aware, is a best-selling author, success coach, motivational speaker and CEO/Founder of Speakers Institute and Speakers Tribe. He's also been described as "pretty cool" and "an alright bloke" by Conrad. High praise indeed.
This fruity round is on Conrad “President of the Sam Cawthorn Fanclub” Francis with the support of Matt Hanham, Justin Bourn and Jacob “Silent but Deadly” Moffit. The Simple Minds Podcast unravels topics such as personal development, philosophy, life and business - one drink at a time.
- How to find your purpose and set your destiny [0:00]
- How to apply life lessons to business [48:28]
How to find your purpose and set your destiny [0:00]
Sam is a father, a brother, a son, a business owner and public speaker. Throughout Sam’s career, he’s shared stages with the likes of the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton and His Airness himself - Michael Jordan.
Sam focuses on the idea of having what he calls a “Kairos” Moment. Sam elaborates by describing a Kairos moment as being “A moment within a moment” whereby we go through a period of drastic change, usually in the form of a change in mindset. Usually, this takes place during a period of great adversity or shock. For Sam, this came in the form of the night he lost his arm and the functionality in his one leg from a car crash he suffered 11 years ago.
“Kairos” is of course an ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical or opportune moment. So Sam’s got the right idea when it comes to naming things.
In these Kairos moments, what becomes clear is the need or desire to make a decision that could be potentially life changing, what is essentially a point in your life where, rather than saying “fuck it, I’ve had enough” you make a conscious choice to follow a purpose and grab life by the balls. These sorts of points are important as they allow us to readdress our vision for who we wish to be and how we can get to that point that we desire.
Often times, this choice can be difficult, either to make or even become aware of, thus often requiring such moments to occur to give us the right oomph to resolve with ourselves what we need to do to be happy.
No coincidence then that, as Sam points out, the word “decision” comes from the Latin word “decisionem” which literally mean “to cut off or kill”. Giving credence to the idea that these choices we make in our “Kairos Moments”, whilst sometimes difficult, are key elements to focussing our efforts towards our sense of purpose or even destiny.
Sam takes care to specifically mention his faith in this regard, whereby his religious beliefs are far more amplified and vindicated through these Kairos Moments, which Sam believes has allowed him to be more connected with his own beliefs, purpose and sense of destiny.
Proximity is a major player in the journey towards success, there’s a reason people always use the old cliche in real estate of “location, location, location”. Surrounding yourself with the right people, those who can be mentors or bring out the best in you can be a major pillar in self-improvement and development.
A lot of this can be achieved by a process of retaining our own sense of humility. Through a process of allowing ourselves to be students once again and learn from others without the insecurity of feeling lower in status or respect, we can achieve far more from others and their own mistakes, rather than allow ourselves to fall into problems that otherwise could be avoided.
Ultimately, there are three ways to learn:
- The Easy Way: Learning from the mistakes of others
- The Hard Way: Learning from our own mistakes
- The Tragic way: Failure to learn from either ourselves or others.
As a helpful hint, it’s important to avoid the third one and try to aim for the other two. Just a suggestion. You do you boo.
Often what comes hand-in-hand with the concept of humility is forgiveness. Through our ability to forgive, we can more accurately reflect on our own attitudes, paving a way towards greater self-improvement. This sense of forgiveness is key and difficult to achieve in many cases as Sam argues the range of this ability to forgive must become wholly intrinsic within ourselves. We must believe within ourselves to truly hold no ill-will towards others, having forgiven completely and subsumed this idea within our mindsets. Holding grudges, as Sam elaborates, can achieve nothing beyond stunting our own personal growth.
On that point, we find that offense, the nature of being offended by something or the actions of others, is a key player to this idea. In a society that, more recently within the past 10-20 years, has encouraged people to take offense more readily to things happening around them, in what is often termed as “Outrage Culture”, it’s important to retain a sense of openness in thought and forgive more readily before we wish negativity towards others.
Though, in saying this, it’s necessary to not achieve a sense of apathy towards the thoughts of others. Whilst there are many who have become successful in the world by simply refusing to care what others think about them in a negative sense, Sam argues that this sort of attitude can often be too negative or even myopic in approach. Rather, we should care what others think of us, but only in the mode that we care about how much value we can give to others.
Makes perfect sense. Right?
What’s important to remember is that, ultimately, there is no such thing as “true altruism” no matter how much your Mum tells you otherwise. When we commit positive acts on others, we ultimately are dealing in a different, less literal currency - our own perception of self-worth. By helping others, we improve our own attitudes of ourselves in what we might argue as being a self-serving act.
In short, we help others because it makes us feel good, which by nature, goes against the very idea of true altruism in the first place.
Finally, getting back to the idea of making choices and decisions, Sam argues that happiness, as a concept and practice, is something we can choose to be, and unfortunately, it’s a choice we seem to be making in increasingly less numbers. As Sam points out, the rate of depression today is 10 times higher than what it used to be during the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 30s. Which, by the way, in case you didn’t gather from the name “The Great Depression”, was a pretty fucking bad time for a lot of people.
Furthermore, the average age for the onset of depression 10 years ago was 29, nowadays it’s the ripe old age of 15! In an age of unprecedented connectivity, it seems the major problem is that people seem incapable of finding themselves amongst the constant wave of information they’re experiencing. From being so heavily connected to others, our emotions and validation is becoming quantified through social media, which has seen depression amongst young people grow to unprecedented levels.
This, as a more damaging symptom than any other, leads to a far greater number of people believing that happiness is a result of success rather than being a major contributor.
“Happiness is before success, not after it.” - Sam
To combat this spectre of disconnection, inadequacy and nihilism in an increasingly huge and unrelenting world, it’s important to find what is referred to as a “3rd Space” or a space we spend with ourselves that isn’t in a professional or even personal context. This time is just for us as individuals, and allows us to recharge our energy as we go on to face a new day or event. (For reference, going off and having a cheeky wank does not count as finding your 3rd Space, so it’s best to find something else to do.)
How to apply life lessons to business [48:28]
Moving on, having heard enough on the philosophy of acquiring purpose and having Kairos Moments, it’s time to get down to business.
More specifically, the business of BUSINESS.
Even more specifically, how can we use these lessons in purpose, proximity and forgiveness in the landscape of business to not only survive in the world, but thrive professionally?
First of all, despite what we’ve been taught by characters like Frank Underwood in House of Cards or Ray Kroc in The Founder, forgiveness is a key component in business practice. This comes in the form of grace, which, as Sam describes, is the idea of “forgiving before any offence has occurred.” To elaborate, it’s probably best to remember that, while things often get heated during particularly intense meetings or projects, it’s best to maintain a level of grace, where even if things get frustrating you can still maintain your connections and friendships by checking your own ego.
In essence, it’s best to go about your business like a Nevada prostitute and remember that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
Carrying on from that, looking forward towards our businesses futures is remarkably something that not many people seem to do enough. We do it with our kids, seeing which schools are best, which universities are feasible and what kind of home we’d like to create for our children as we worry about how they’ll take shape in the years we have them, yet curiously this mode of thought is a rarity amongst business owners. If you haven’t thought about it yet, it’s probably best to get a plan together to see where you want to be and how you're going to get there in the time limit you’ve set yourself. Try and figure out a plan for your business to grow now, regardless of what that business is. Even the mighty millennial barista can benefit from figuring out where their business is going in terms of future growth, even if it is just to make less White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccinos.
To elaborate, molding our businesses for what the future holds can be easier if we know what to expect. As it currently stands, content creation seems to tend towards a trend of becoming smaller and smaller, with videos, blogs and even TED Talks shrinking in size as consumers become less patient to wait for a point to be elaborated on. Furthermore, the speed of this content delivery is growing faster, meaning people respond to smaller sizes of content being consumed frequently rather than vice-versa.
Much of this can be attributed to the rise of smartphones and the cyborg-like relationship we have with our favourite radiation emitting devices. We eat, sleep and poop usually with our phones no further than an arm's reach away. (Watching cat videos on YouTube while pinching a loaf on the porcelain throne is one of the greatest joys of modern life.)
In the landscape of YouTube, they refer to a phenomenon as the “10 Minute Rule” where even the most popular content creators of YouTube rarely, if ever, feature content on their channels that’s more than 10-15 minutes in length, for fear that viewership of their videos will drop off. Go now and look at the major channels of Youtube like PewdiePie, DudePerfect and Logan Paul (Ask your kids or Google if those names confuse you) and see if you can find videos that break the 10 Minute Rule. Go on, we’ll wait.
See? The times are a changin’.
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Have you ever had a Kairos Moment? How has that helped you change your mindset for the better?
Mentioned in This Episode