[08:00] Mastin’s Treadmill Desk Setup
[15:00] How Cocaine Affected Mastin’s Brain
[21:30] Why Ben Loves Books by Richard Branson
[30:00] How Mastin Burns Fat and Builds Muscle Simultaneously in the Morning
[34:30] Neural Exercises You Can Do to Hack Your Nervous System and Find Purpose in Life
[37:00] Why You Often Keep Exercising Even if You’re Injured, and Our Inherent Fear of Being Immobilized
[1:04:00] Why Mastin Leads with Service
[1:14:00] Mastin and Oprah
[1:16:30] Mastin and Tony Robins
[1:23:00] End of Podcast
Ben: Yes, yes, yes! I finally got my friend Mastin Kipp on today’s show. This is Ben Greenfield; I have to remember to introduce myself. I’ve realized you might listen to more than just one podcast so I have to remember to tell you this is the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show. My friend Mastin Kipp, he’s amazing. You’re going to meet him in just a second.
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In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“… and there’s a belief or context that’s made that says that, you know what? I’m not enough or I can’t do this or I don’t deserve that. And over the last 10 years I’ve been able to create a type of life coaching called Functional Life Coaching that’s basically inspired by functional medicine and my whole thing is about trying to figure out what’s the root cause of emotional block that’s holding you back. And what’s a very interesting thing Ben, is that whatever pain someone’s been through, is directly correlated to their life purpose.”
Ben: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield and as you no doubt know, if you’ve been paying attention to my anti-aging and my longevity writings of late, one of the things I’ve really talked about is this idea of the Blue Zones and these areas where people live a disproportionately long period of time. One thing that I’ve talked about in some of the articles that I’ve been writing of late has been this idea that they know why it is they’re getting out of bed in the morning, whether it’s, I believe it’s called the pura vida that the Sardinians wake up with, that reason for life, or that ikigai the Japanese call it. This reason that you actually get up in the morning, what your purpose in life is, having that purpose, having that drive, having that reason that you actually live appears to be not only incredibly important for anti-aging and for longevity, but also for happiness and for meaning in life. And, the thing is a lot of people don’t know how to find that power, how to find that purpose. My guest on today’s show is probably one of the world’s best people when it comes to being able to learn how to find your purpose and then not just how to find your purpose, but how to do things like create a strategy for putting that purpose into your life and even hack your nervous system, hack your nervous system, which we’re going to talk a lot about today. And, when you hack your nervous system, be able to actually develop that purpose even more and make it a real part of your life.
So, my guest on today’s show is a guy who I’ve known for a couple of years now. His name is Mastin Kipp and Mastin wrote this book called “Claim Your Power”. “Claim Your Power”. It was beside my bed, I didn’t even tell you this Mastin, for about three months. Its dog-eared pages are turned over, I’ve got all sorts of notes in it. As I do when I get somebody on the podcast, I highlight, I circle, I underline, and there’s a lot of stuff that I want to ask you about this book and I don’t just want to ask you about the book, because obviously people can go out and buy it and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes if you guys want to go to Bengreenfieldfitness.com/Mastin. Bengreenfieldfitness.com/Mastin and everything is in there, but he walks you through everything day by day in this 40-day book.
But, when I first met Mastin, he was actually, and correct me if I’m wrong, Mastin, I think you were writing this book. We were at a health conference and I showed up at the gym. And, it’s kind of ironic at a health conference, the gym seems to be empty every morning except there’s just a very small handful of people in the gym, and one of them was this guy who I see, I didn’t even realize he was attending the conference the first morning I saw him there. He’s walking on the treadmill and he has this elaborate writing desk that he set up on the hotel treadmill and we workout and everything and then I see him the next morning, and the next morning, and eventually I meet him and it turns out to be Mastin. So, were you actually working on this book there in the gym, Mastin?
Mastin: I was and it’s funny actually, so you don’t know this, but I actually set an intention for that event because I knew you were going to be there. And whenever you’re ever in an event, it’s like, “Oh my God, Ben Greenfield, he’s so ripped, he’s always at the gym, he’s there early.” I set my intention to get there before I knew you would get there so that there would be some… how should I put this? Friendly competition. I’m a competitive person by nature, but I like to do it in a fun way. And, I had no idea it would blossom into a great friendship and stuff like that. I just wanted to be the guy that was at the gym before Ben.
Ben: Well, you had my admiration because I thought well here’s this dude, he’s obviously got work to do. I thought you were replying to emails or something like that. I did find out later you were writing this amazing book, but you had my respect for being that guy who appeared to be taking his 10 or 15,000 steps on the treadmill.
What is your desk setup by the way because you had some kind of a special travel deal that you were using?
Mastin: Yeah. Sure and by the way, I’ll tell you this and I know that you know this and you live this and preach it, but there’s a reason why I do that in the morning. I do steady state cardio that’s directly related to regulating the nervous system which we can talk about later. So, there’s a very intentional purpose to it, but the actual desk itself you can just go to Amazon and just google “treadmill desk” and it’s this little, white plastic piece that you get and you can attach it, there’s these holes on both sides, and you can attach it to whatever treadmill you’re on. And then, I get a secondary device that’s kind of like a device that unfolds to different heights and levels and then that goes on top of the desk because the last thing you want to be doing is bending forward and it will mess up your cervical thoracic area because you head is too far forward. Then, you kind of just stand straight up with good posture and you’re there, I’ve got my Blue Blockers on, and get my work done especially because in a health summit like that you’re in it all day. So, I’m just trying to get as much done and scheduled as possible for the day.
But, that’s really what it’s all about and that movement is so important. But, that’s what it is. It’s a simple hack and it’s funny because across the country, there’s this weird gym response because people get in the gym early and they think they’re crushing, but then when they see someone doing that, it’s almost like ‘wait a minute, what happened?’ So, it’s always fun to watch the reaction to it and hopefully more people will do it because it’s a fun way to get both done especially in conferences and stuff like that. But yeah, it’s always funny to watch what people do.
Ben: I’ll find a link to it and put it in the show notes because you mentioned two different pieces, but I think they sell once piece that you can use now, like one done-for-you piece attached to the treadmill.
Mastin: Wow. That’s awesome.
Ben: I think it’s a little more expensive. It’s like 100 bucks, but I’ll find it and link to it. It’s probably even more beautiful than your MacGyver-Inspector-Gadget…
Mastin: I bet it is. If anyone can find a cooler gadget than me, man, that’s you. That’s for sure.
Ben: I’ll hunt it down. Challenge accepted.
So, tell me your story. You have a really interesting story that I think people should hear that leads up to this book and obviously it’s a kind of a long story, but we have time. So, fill me in.
Mastin: Yeah. Let me just put some context into this conversation ahead of time because we will end up talking about emotional trauma and I know this is a high performance and fitness podcast and why the heck does that matter. So, emotional trauma as it turns out, everybody has it whether you had abuse or hurt in your childhood or not, there’s lots of things that produce emotional trauma besides the obvious things. But, if you’re a human being, living and breathing, think of it like emotional inflammation – the environment will create it one way or another, what you’re consuming, who you’re around, relationships, there’s lots of trauma everywhere. And, doing the emotional trauma work and regulating and learning how to hack your nervous system is the most important high performance tool that’s available and it unlocks so many biohacking capabilities, it unlocks earning potential, it unlocks relationship’s purpose, so many other things.
So, that’s the context and, to me, it’s the missing piece of the conversation, especially when it comes to biohacking. Trauma hacking, really to me, is the root, root, root cause. So, just in functional medicine you go look for the root cause of whatever the medical issue is, the same thing is true emotionally. And so, I just wanted to create some context around this conversation because I feel like I have to give a little bit of marketing to get people to want to talk about trauma because it’s kind of like talking about cancer or a horror film, like some people probably like that, but in general it’s like why am I listening to this? Why do I care?
Ben: That’s what I get too. I appreciate you bringing that up because I actually turn off when I hear trauma because I don’t feel like I had a traumatic upbringing. I don’t even really put a great deal of credence into the idea that everybody, when they’re born and pass through mom’s vaginal canal, are extremely traumatize because it’s a horrific thing. I don’t really feel as though nature would’ve actually created a scenario where the very first thing a human being goes through is intense and extreme trauma. But, I’m glad you’re bringing that up because a lot of times I do resist listening in or tune out when someone starts to talk about trauma. So, I’m glad you brought that up. But, delve into your story, I know we’ll get into hacking it later.
Mastin: And we’ll get context.
Mastin: I just wanted to create context first and foremost. So yeah, for me, for the context, my mother grew up in an emotionally abusive household. She had a major injury. She was a horse jumper, jumping over lots of cool things in competitions as a teenager, and she fell and broke her back at L5-S1 and they didn’t discover it until she was about 20, which is about five or six years later. My father was a medic in Vietnam and for three years he served on the front lines in some of the most traumatizing environments out there and they met on a hippie commune in the 70s with no concept of what PTSD is or addiction or any of that type of stuff. You know, 70s communes, there’s all kinds of drugs and crazy stuff happening and I was a product of their relationship and the doctors told my mom not to have a baby because she had a broken back and it’d make her worse. And she said, basically, screw you guys, I’m going to do it anyway. And so, she had me and that was it because her back got really back after that and I knew a mother who was in and out of hospitals my entire life.
She was bedridden for the first 12 years of my life and all the focus was on taking care of her. So, I was trained from a young age to really look at what’s her facial expression, what’s her tone of voice, is she in a safe environment, how is my biology and physiology effecting her, and I didn’t know it at the time, but I was getting really get training to do what I do now because I was so focused on just making sure that she was in as little pain as possible. And, she was in and out of doctors and the thing that bothered me the most growing up, Ben, especially in the context of this podcast, is that there were some doctors where it felt like every time she went to see them, she came back and I had less of my mother that was there. And, she was on prescription-grade Fentanyl since it came out, which I think either 100 or a 1,000 times more powerful than heroine. They combined it with benzodiazepines and Xanax and we had to send her to a treatment about six years ago and do a major intervention. But, that’s how I grew up.
I grew up in an environment that was sort of predating a lot of the #MeToo stuff because there was just so much abuse in my parents’ background and I had a front row seat to the opiate epidemic because my mom has been on opiates basically my whole life. And so, I grew up asking the question “How can I help her? How can I take this pain away?” And then when I move to Los Angeles to get in the music business, I had no emotional resilience and fell right into an addictive relationship with a woman and she did cocaine so I started to do cocaine. I started to feel pretty good actually at first…
Ben: How old were you when you started to do cocaine?
Mastin: I was about 19, 20-ish. Right about 19-years-old. So, that would have been 2001-ish. And, I actually felt really good on it for a period of time and I started to use it because it helped me get more work done.
Ben: For people who haven’t use cocaine, what did you feel like?
Mastin: Imagine coffee times a thousand plus any self-esteem issues that you have are gone and you feel like literally you’re Superman and anything you do will turn to gold. But, it’s only for 15 minutes.
Ben: You’re doing a good job selling cocaine to people. So, what were the downsides?
Mastin: The downside was that it’s illegal, I deviated my own septum, all kinds of relationships fell apart, I mean, the dysbiosis that was created in my body. I’m still working on repairing to this day. And, many years later when I got my brain scanned at Amen Clinics, I told them my drug history and they said that makes sense because I have two or, actually, three traumatic brain injuries and three forms of ADD patterns in my brain and the parts of my brain that aren’t functioning, the cocaine stimulated, similar to Adderall.
Ben: Wow. And, that’s a legitimate brain scan. For those of you listening in, the Amen Clinic, they do a SPECT scan, that’s called Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography and they combine that with blood flow. So, it’s different from… I do the QEEGs at the Peak Brain Institute. They’re kind of similar, but the SPECT scan is almost another level up as far as a really accurate 3D image of the brains. So, they basically found that your brain was relatively messed up. Was it just from the cocaine or was it other things too?
Mastin: No, I had traumatic brain injuries from childhood. I was hit in the head with a baseball bat accidentally at practice, I dropped a big rock on my head, I fell out of bed once, and so, my brain wasn’t functioning. So I was self-medicating and so, in context of what I know today, I was biohacking in a really bad way!
Mastin: In a really bad way back then. But, you know, there’s a whole history of addiction in my past. And, I was an entertainment manager, I worked with a lot of celebrities, lot of A-listers in the early 2000s and that world. My focus was I want to be the most successful person in the music business. I want to have a client, one of my clients that I manage, I want them to win a Grammy and I want to be like a David Geffen type of person.
Ben: Who’s David Geffen?
Mastin: You don’t know…? Okay, cool. So, for context, David Geffen…
Ben: Dude, just to give you context real quick, I am an idiot savant. I know nothing about pop culture or politics or the music industry. I’m a health and fitness and nutrition nerd and know nothing else.
Mastin: I love it. So, okay cool. Yeah so, the idea that there’s something I can teach you about is kind of cool because you know so much. So, David Geffen is one of the classic Hollywood mogul types. He was famous for coming up in the William Morris Mail Room which is an agency out there and he founded Geffen Records which signed, I mean gosh, Nirvana, so many incredible bands, Joni Mitchell. To this day, it’s still a large label. He also started DreamWorks, the SKG- Spielberg Katzenberg Geffen, right.
Ben: Oh, wow.
Mastin: So, he’s a billionaire and he was a badass. And, there was a whole book called “Hit Men” on him and stuff like that, that I idolized at the time, and that’s kind of how I saw myself.
So, I got in working in with this large management company and we were working with all the celebrities, all the bands, we had clients that were selling out 50,000 person arenas in every town and that became the new normal. And, drug use wasn’t overtly encouraged and it wasn’t discouraged, but it was just sort of assumed. It was in the culture and so I did that. And, I was trying to use cocaine and drugs like that to really push myself. And, it all came crashing down. I lost my dream job, I left the manager company, became senior vice president of a Geffen imprint called Flawless Records which was created by a gentleman named Fred Durst who was the lead singer of a band called Limp Bizkit that was very popular back in the 90s. And that was my dream job at the time. I grew up loving Limp Bizkit, loving Fred, and I lost that job a couple of months after being in it because of some political issues I had with the founder of Geffen and it actually wasn’t drug-related. It was actually just I didn’t get along with the main guy. But, when I lost my job, I was working my ass off in Hollywood. First one in and last one out for about three or four years and everything came crashing down.
I felt like I had no purpose and that’s what sort of started me on this personal development journey and the technology was advanced enough that when I bought a book on Amazon or on iTunes the recommendation engines had already begun. So, it’s like, hey you bought this, you might like this. And, I just started to consume personal development like I did drugs and became very interested in it and started sharing it back on Myspace – different quotes and inspiration and stuff like that. That’s how long ago it was! Even Friendster. And, just thought that if I keep publishing or if I keep putting myself out there or if I keep being consistent, maybe I can serve folks and after that developed some other businesses and eventually into what I’m doing now. I had a blog for a long time called TheDailyLove.com and at our peak, I think it was about 8,000,000 views a month that we were getting and this was way before all the personal branding stuff that’s happening today. This was back in like circa 2010.
And so, the more that I started putting myself out there, the more I started to learn that it’s about serving people and caring about people and adding value to people and I attended a Tony Robins Workshop and that was extremely inspiring to me because I love his facilitation style. I’m an instigator and he seemed to be able to make a profession with it and people are just mad at me when I instigated my family. No one wanted me to do that! But, he seemed to be able to get away with it. So, I was like how is he doing that?
Ben: I didn’t even mention this by the way, now you get a chance to hang out with Tony Robins quite a bit, yeah.
Mastin: Yeah, Tony is awesome. He’s amazing. Yeah, we can talk about him. He is a great soul and he’s way ahead of his time, even now with the work he’s doing.
Ben: Later on, I’m going to ask you about Tony Robins and Oprah because I know you’re one of the few people who’s been on the podcast who’s had a chance to hang out with both of those folks and learn a little bit from them. So, I’ll ask you that later, but… So, you went through that, and by the way this concept of buying books to absorb people’s thoughts and then taking immediate action on what you learn, I actually folded over a page in your book where you talk about that because, for example, one guy who I would love to hang out with, right, he’s on my bucket list to hang out with, I haven’t met him yet, is Richard Branson. I just love his attitude towards life and his love for life and his passion for adventure and his business acumen and so I buy his books and I read his books and immerse myself in his books because he’s one person who I aspire to learn from and be like. And, that’s one piece of advice that you have in the book is even if you can’t hang out with somebody, just soak up all their information. So…
Mastin: That’s right.
Ben : So, you, when you got all these books, and you eventually got to this point where you wrote this book, “Claim Your Power”?
Mastin: Yeah, so what happened was I was sort of in this weird in-between where I hadn’t quite fully quit my music business stuff and I hadn’t fully gone into doing inspirational blogging and personal brand stuff and my wish came true. And I had a client that won a Grammy, we won lots of Grammys, we performed at the Grammy’s in 2006 or 2007. It was a band called Gnarls Barkley. They had a huge song called “Crazy” back then and it was like the pinnacle of what I wanted.
Ben: I remember Crazy! I do remember Crazy.
Mastin: That’s good. Okay, good.
Ben: I do know that. “You think I’m crazy” [singing]
Mastin: Yeah, that’s the one.
Ben: I know it. Okay.
Mastin: So, they were like everywhere and I remember helping produce their Grammy performance and when I got on the red carpet and I walked the red carpet with Cee Lo Green, I felt like I was in high school again and I was like this is bulls**t. This entertainment stuff is not for me. It’s vapid, it’s shallow, it doesn’t matter, it’s of the moment, it’s ephemeral, and I went into the restroom to go to the bathroom, Stevie Wonder was next to me and I said if I can stand next to Stevie Wonder in the bathroom and not be happy, this job is not for me. And, I decided to quit basically the next week and dive all into what I’m doing now. And, I had to make sacrifices, I moved back in with my ex-girlfriend’s parents in a pool house that was so far away from their house that there was no internet and I was too ashamed to go close to the house. So, I had to go bum internet from people on the streets without passwords.
Ben: This was before phone tethering or before you could afford it?
Mastin: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I had no money. And then, I would get some hot water at Starbucks to use their internet and my clothes always smelled like coffee for years after that.
Ben: I’ve actually done that before at restaurants. I still, to this day, have walked into coffee shops and asked for a hot water and put FourSigmatic Chaga in there and just use the WiFi.
Mastin: Yeah, exactly. So, that’s the hack if you have no money, right. So, and then I started publishing consistently online and the first book I wrote was called “Growing Into Grace” and I wrote it very intentionally as a biography of what my life had been up until that point because the early days of someone is always the most interesting. Like, how did they make this switch? And, I wanted to write it when it was fresh in my mind with a legacy in mind because I want to do this work for the rest of my life. So, in 70 years, once I’ve added value, 80 years, however much longer I get the chance to be around, 100 years who knows, I want someone who finds me then to go how did this guy get started and be able to have a first-hand account of it. So, I wrote it with a lot of legacy in mind because I knew I’d be doing this for the rest of my life. “Claim You Power” is the first how-to book that I’ve written and it comes from about 10 years of working with clients and essentially asking the question “why?” Why can’t you do that? So, you say you don’t have the money for it, but what else can we do? Well, I can’t do it because of this? Well, why is that? And, I didn’t know it at the time, but I was and have always been programmed to be a root cause person because I was always trying to find the root cause of my mother’s pain. And, I knew there has always got to be a solution. That was always ingrained in me and so with clients, I get so frustrated, you’re not getting the result, why? And what I found was, across the board, everybody had something painful that they went through that sent some signal to them that moving forward is not safe. That’s kind of the bottom-line that I figured out. And, it didn’t have to be something egregious, it could be something very small like my dad was five minutes late picking me up from school. And there’s a belief where context that’s made that says, you know what, I’m not enough or I can’t do this or I don’t deserve that. And over the last 10 years, I’ve been able to create a type of life coaching called Functional Life Coaching that’s basically been inspired by functional medicine. And my whole thing is about trying to figure out what’s the root cause of emotional block that’s holding you back. And what’s a very interesting thing, Ben, is that whatever pain someone’s been through is directly correlated to their life purpose.
Ben: I want to back that up and get into that in just a second, but when you talk about your story, there’s kind of a disconnect for me. When you were writing these books at the point where you were unsuccessful where you quit the music business, where you were living out by your ex-girlfriend’s parents’ house, did you have imposter syndrome or anything like that where you felt like you weren’t really the guy to be writing a book about how to find your purpose in life?
Mastin: I think I still have that to this day. I do have that. I’ve always had that. I have a name for that part of my personality actually. I call him Rod the Fraud and I talk to Rod every once in a while and I’ve kind of come to terms with the idea that the bigger the imposter syndrome, the bigger the integrity of somebody because someone who doesn’t have integrity doesn’t give a [curse word]. They don’t care! Right, they’re just like I’m going to put myself out there and I don’t care about other people. But, the people who really have significant imposter syndrome, I found those people to have the most caring. I don’t know if you’ve seen that too, but I’ve really seen that the ones who care the most are the ones who are worried like that and the ones who don’t care, who are more sociopathic in nature, they don’t tend to have that.
Ben: Yeah, you’re more… I think you’re more contentious and mindful when you recognize that maybe you’re not God’s gift to mankind so much as you’re still trying to figure things out and share with other people as you’re trying to figure things out what’s working and what’s not working for you.
Mastin: That’s right.
Ben: Even before you’ve actually made it.
Mastin: That’s right. And I’ve, to this day, am so transparent about my lack of credentials. I’m so transparent about that! And people don’t seem to mind because what people really want is they want results and they’ll go to where the result is and word of mouth spreads. My PhD, if you will, is my results. Similar to you, I haven’t spent time focused on the inner workings of my physiology as much as I have been focused on the emotional context and nervous system stuff.
Ben: Well, at that conference where we first met, someone pointed you out to me from across the room and I recognized you because I had seen you at the gym. That was the first time I realized that the same guy from the gym was also attending the conference and they said ‘have you met this guy?’ What he can do in terms of taking past experiences that you’ve had and helping to find your purpose and find your power is mind-blowing. The guy has a gift. And at that point, I was very curious and very intrigued about you and what you do and so I think that this is kind of the perfect opportunity to segue into what exactly you do. How you hack people’s trauma and allow them to find their purpose. I realize that’s a loaded question and it’s going to take a little bit of a detailed response, but get into what you actually do for people.
Mastin: Yeah. Yeah, well, I mean, I like to have the deeper conversation with people. I hate surface level conversations. I think that’s one of the reasons we get along is I just can’t stand small talk and there’s a lot of small talk in self-help. There’s a lot of just-think-of-positive-thought, change your thoughts, change your life, use an affirmation, do this type of stuff. And even in the biohacking space, people think that a certain supplement is the answer. I buy your supplements every month, but I also get my ass in my gym. I work out, I work hard, and if I have dysbiosis in my body, I’ve got to figure that out.
Ben: You don’t just smear Kion skin serum on your face and sit back and eat Twinkies?
Mastin: No, I wish! I wish! But, if that’s a recommendation, if that’s your next fat loss hack, I will do it. I will do it faithfully. But to this day, I still do the protocol that you gave me for the morning AM cardio with the aminos. I still do that every day.
Ben: That’s right, the idea of maintaining muscle by doing your fasted fat loss with high blood levels of amino acids so you can burn fat and build muscle simultaneously.
Mastin: That’s right. That’s right and I switched from the pills to the powder because I drink it in some water. I like that powder stuff. It’s good stuff.
Ben: Yeah, lime powder. It’s a little more flavorful. Okay. So, we digress…
Mastin: So anyway, the idea is I like to have the deeper conversations and so what I do is I created a type of coaching called Functional Life Coaching and I help people very rapidly identify the emotional blocks that are holding them back and where that originated from. So, I am a human Quest Labs for your trauma – think of it that way. There’s a lot of diagnostic tools that are coming out these days to help you figure out what’s happening, I know we both love Viome, in your microbiome and stuff like that. I sort of help figure out what is the emotional diagnostic of your past trauma, and it doesn’t have to be something significant. And then, we help you, essentially, if I put it in scientific terms, perform different neural exercises to help your nervous system no longer anticipate threat associated with that event. It’s amazing how that one event can bleed over into everything else because the nervous system is very binary of either safety or threat.
So, we want to create more safety and less threat in someone’s life. What’s very fascinating is when you look at the pain of someone’s past, whatever makes them compassionately angry or something that where time just flies by or the skills that come really easily to them or the cause or mission that they’re serving, there’s always a direct correlation between those two things. And so, when you start to leverage, like, “hold on a second, what I went through helps me serve in this way and the best way for me to heal is to start to serve other people in a similar sense or with similar intentions or contexts,” people change fast. I’ll give you a very grounded example. We had, I think, one of the most extreme cases – we had a woman who joined one of our high-end programs on food stamps. So, she had just got off of food stamps and I was not entirely sure how this person was going to be successful, but this person showed up consistently and she came to one of the retreats where we do a lot of this deeper work and what we found out was is that there was a significant, in her case, a significant trauma history. She had complex trauma which is shock trauma and relational trauma. And, what happened was she had learned a couple of things. One, if I speak up, I’m going to be hurt more because when she would yell out, she would get more pain. But the other thing she learned and made a decision unconsciously is that if I speak out in my business, bad things will happen. So, her body made an unconscious decision that anytime I’m visible, anytime I take up space, anytime I use my voice, I will get pain and she even extended it to her family where she said that not only will I get hurt, but my kids will get hurt too. This is all unconscious decision making, it’s not a conscious awareness, but when we helped her understand that the people who hurt her are still winning by her not speaking up and that her kids are suffering by her not speaking up and that by speaking up, by putting herself out there in her business and by taking up more space and being visible, that’s the best way to get revenge and to take care of your family. Within 45-days, she had $50,000 a month from food stamps.
Ben: So, I don’t understand. What exactly… Can you walk me through the steps that you actually took with her?
Ben: Is there a system that you used?
Mastin: So, and some of this is outlined in the “Claim You Power” book, but what we do is we look at the easiest thing to identify is the behavior that you want to change. So, maybe it’s, I don’t know, I want to do less Spartas every single month because I’m a crazy Sparta racer, I’m addicted to them. Or maybe, it’s I want to stop drinking a glass of wine at night or it’s I want to stop yelling at my girlfriend or…
Ben: Go with the first example because I talked to a lot of people who listen to this show and they identify themselves with their fitness and their body and their physical performance and that is their outlet in life. That is something that I’ve had to fight an uphill battle against. A guy, who I think you know, Lewis Howes…
Mastin: Oh yeah!
Ben: I read his book, “The Masks of Masculinity”, and one of them is the athlete mask, right, where you find your identity, which I’ve done since the age of 14, through being an athlete, through having a body, through going out and doing hard things and that’s to a certain extent, my identity, almost like this rat on a wheel. I don’t want to paint it in full negativity, right, it’s an enormously important healthy part of my life, but at the same time, I had to find balance. I know a lot of people listening haven’t found that balance, so let’s go with that as an example.
Mastin: Sure. Okay, great. So, let me put some context around that then. So, the most important work that’s being done in personal development and human development right now is the Polyvagal Theory by Dr. Stephen Porges. It’s more important than brain health and it’s more important than microbiome health, in my opinion. And, what Dr. Porges found out and is talking about is there are three faces of the nervous system. There’s safety and when I’m safe… think about a stoplight: green, yellow, and red. When I’m in safety, I have social engagement, I have better healing responses, my body has emotional and physical regulation, and I’m digesting well, everything tends to be in balance. Yellow is more a state of hypervigilance or anxiety and red is isolation and withdraw. And what’s interesting is the vagus nerve has an automatic isolation response. So, it’s not just when we have threat that there is a fight-or-flight response, that’s the famous response or [53:48] ______. Fight or flight is very well known, but what’s less known is it’s also an automatic response to isolate. And so, that’s withdraw.
So, if you think about it, we’ve evolved from reptiles. When a turtle is threatened, its head withdraws back into its shell. So, withdraw, isolation, separating, being invisible is also another way that someone can survive. And the other thing is, it’s automatic in mammals. So, sometimes, some people will see blood, they pass out. That’s called vasovagal response. Why we have an automatic isolation response in the presence of threat is that fight-or-flight is only possible if our nervous system believes that escape might be possible. If I can escape this, I’m going to fight or I’m going to flee. If I believe that life threat is eminent, then I will isolate because it’s basically going to… it’s also in psychology, you’re dissociating. It’s another version of isolation. You’re dissociating from the trauma of the event and the reason why we do that is because from a mammalian perspective, who wants to be conscious when you’re being eaten? Right? So, that’s one of the reasons there’s an automatic shutdown response.
Ben: That’s why shark attacks don’t hurt very much.
Mastin: That’s right!
Ben: Because as you’re being eaten by the shark, your entire body creates enough endorphins and enough nervous system downregulation where you don’t even feel the pain.
Mastin: That’s right! And that’s all regulated through the vagus and the unmyelinated vagus. And so, but that has a direct correlation to the conversation on exercise, okay, because mammals have a morbid fear of immobilization, right. If you think about being immobilized, physically restrained, right, trapped, nobody wants to be trapped. And, the thing about fitness, and I’m guilt of this too is, a lot of people who have that sort of athlete mask that we referenced from book, my hypothesis is that they have such a morbid fear of stillness and immobilization that they’re in that yellow where they’re in the anxiety and they’re always moving. They’re moving, moving, moving, moving, moving because stopping is death. Stopping feels like isolation, stopping feels like I am completely immobilized. And the goal is to get your nervous system to a place where you can have immobilization with a safety response in your nervous system.
Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt today’s show. You ever heard of kaniwa? Kaniwa is kind of like that superfood quinoa, but it’s crunchier, it’s tastier, it’s a natural gluten-free source of B-vitamins and minerals, it’s got a bunch of flavonoids in it like quercetin, tons of research behind this stuff. It’s called kaniwa. I’ve you’ve never had the mouth pleasure of consuming kaniwa, here’s what I’ve done for you. I’ve blended it with a whole bunch of other real superfoods: coco butter, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, can I say coco anymore, organic honey, grass-fed gelatin, wonderful almonds, organic rice protein, organic pea protein, organic sesame seeds, sea salts, jam packed with over 60 trace minerals. I have managed to pack all of this into one tiny little wrapper that’s gluten-free, it’s dairy-free, there’s no artificial sweeteners, my kids eat it all the time, I mow down on these things like crazy now. It’s called the Kion Clean Energy Bar. The Kion Clean Energy Bar. It’s literally real food in a wrapper – totally guilt-free. Toss this stuff in your gym bag, toss it in your car, put it in your pantry, I even put them in the freezer and I sprinkle them on top of ice cream. Yeah, you’re welcome for that tip. You’re never going to go back. It’s just a big, tasty punch of mouthwatering chocolatey, salty, coconut-ty goodness. So, you can get it a GetKion.com. I’m super proud of these bad boys. Get K-I-O-N.com and grab yourself a box of the brand new Kion Clean Energy Bar.
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I want to ask you how to do that in a second, but one other person who comes to mind when you describe that, not from a fitness standpoint, but from a moving, moving, moving standpoint is my mom. And, she is very hard to sit down and just talk to because she’s always… it’s always I’ve got to talk to this person, I’m going to go do this, I’ve got this going on right now, I need to walk here, and it’s hard to just get her to stop. I think I get a lot of that from her, like it’s hard for me to sit in silence and listen to that still, small voice. It’s been 10 years of being immersed in a culture that fortunately now is very focused on meditation and breath work and my time sitting in the sauna staring at the sand in the hour glass or the candle. I’ve had to train myself to be still and to listen to that still, small voice in the silence, but I look at my mom and it’s always just go, go. Hey, mom, can we talk? Yes, but I’ve got to do this, and do this, and why don’t you hop in the car with me, we’ll drive here and we’ll talk while we’re driving, yeah. I get it.
Mastin: Yeah, so this is one of the big missing pieces, right, is that no meditation is really going to help you if your nervous system says sitting here, being still means you’re about to get eaten, right.
Mastin: Your nervous system will resist it all day long and this is where you get into sort-of exercise mania. And, you know, movement is fantastic, but there’s a lot of guys that I know who they move too much and then their body sends them a signal in the form of an injury and it’s really hard for them to slow down when they get injured.
Ben: Even though they keep trying, they’ll usually injure something else.
Mastin: That’s right. Exactly. 100%. And so, and the ironic thing is that the great sleep, recovery, and even think about all the things you want in a relationship with a partner, they’re all immobilizing behaviors: love making, cuddling, hugging, all those things, yeah, being present with your partner you’re immobilized, right. So, if you have a fear of being immobilized, if you have a trauma around that, you’re going to not be present in a relationship, you’re going to be moving around really quickly. And, if I may offer some insight, one of the things that may have been a really good part of your makeup and also a part of maybe why you’ve been working on with being able to be still is that the way that you were able to bond with your mother was through movement, right, and that would then mean that stillness would be on a certain level to your nervous system a betrayal to her because she has a hard time slowing down. And so, if you’re going to say “I’m going to slow down,” there might be a part of you that says and then I won’t get my mom’s love. And that’s where we start to really look at, it’s not exactly abuse, but there’s definitely emotional work to be done in a situation like that and we all have it.
For me, my father gave me cinnamon rolls and cinnamon toast in the morning and so, to me, anything sugary and cinnamon-like is love. So, I have a hard time with those flavors. I have no problems passing on chips or whatever and that’s been one of the reasons why I got pre-diabetes is because to me, sugar and cinnamon was love. And Domino’s Cinna Stix was how I coped with being alone and isolated for a long time. So, there was a direct dysbiosis produced because of the emotional issue.
So, when it comes to the athlete as an example, who’s always moving around, let’s just say you’re somebody who’s moving fast and you’re getting injured, but you want to keep moving, right. We would look at that behavior and we’d ask you what story are you telling yourself about this behaviour – why you’ve got to keep moving. “I can’t stop, I’ve got to get after it, whatever the term is.” And then the question I would ask is, “well, how does not getting after it make you feel?” And then, we would drop down into the emotional body and now we’re getting into what’s called “neuroception.” And, neuroception is a great term coined by Dr. Porges and neuroception is the perception of our nervous system and it’s afferent which means it sends data from our body up to our brain. Efferent is from our brain down to our body. And so, we have afferent information coming up from our body from every organ that’s connected to the vagus nerve and they’re all making decisions about what’s safe and what’s not safe. That’s what neuroception is: the perception of your nervous system. So, if the afferent information from your body is saying this is dangerous, you’re going to feel stress, anxiety, all kinds of things to be able to keep you from moving. So, we drop you into the emotional body and we say “okay, how does not going after it make you feel?” And, most people, especially if they’re masculine, will say “I don’t know” and their tone of voice will drop a little bit. And if I push a little bit further, then it’s like “I don’t know, not good.” And if we push a little bit further, eventually we’ll get to a stress and if we push a little bit further than that, maybe we’ll get the anger and if we push a little bit further than that, we might get the sadness. And then, if we get too a deeper emotion, I’ll say, “okay, what do you have to believe about life that not getting after it creates sadness? What’s the context that you’re viewing this?” And, that takes work to get there, but it might be something like, “well, if I’m not moving then my mom won’t love me, right.” And that’s a context and the whole nervous system has been trained. And, then you go, “well, when did that happen?” And you do a regression, and it’s always before the age of ten, and at some point, someone decided, well, movement and…
I have another dear friend of mine, Adam, who has a fast moving mom. He’s a coach, I think you guys have met actually once, Adam Cobb. And, he loves his mom and he also, his whole mindset is movement creates momentum, right. He has an ACL injury right now too and so he has to be still right now. It’s ironic in a sense because four or five years ago, I was not moving and he was getting me to move and now he’s not moving and I’m moving. It’s pretty ironic in our friendship. But, the idea is, we make these decisions about how to survive and our whole nervous system gets on board with that and we get all this information from our body that’s sending up all this information and context, basically through our vagus nerve through the cervical 10 (c-10) nerve, and all that gets interpreted by the amygdala, the hippocampus, etcetera, as what’s the intention of this experience or this environment and that’s why you have a hard time sitting still is because all this information and basically, all these neuropathways say stillness equals no love from my mother. And it’s crazy to think about it because no one consciously makes a decision like that, but when you start to get into the decisions that the body is making without your conscious awareness, there’s all kinds of decisions being made that you don’t know are being made.
And so, I like to get people in touch with that and what we do is we help people revisit those uncomfortable places where there is a moment of immobilization, where they’re back there and then we get them out of that, into more of a movement pattern or dancing pattern or a happy pattern and then we take them back to that hard place and then we bring them back to a happy place and that’s called somatic experiencing and what happens is if you can go to a darker place and then go to a lighter place and then go back to a dark place and then back to a light place, your nervous system will start to just anticipate every time you go to a dark place you will be able to get out of it and it starts to produce emotional resilience and your body starts to realize, well not every single time that I’m still am I not going to get the love from my mother or not every time I’m still am I going to get eaten by the tiger. And, of course, consciously we would never decide that, but it’s all the unconscious systems.
And so, I really dwell in the realm of the body, and not the body as it relates to physical fitness, but the body as it relates to neuroception and the day that it’s being afferently sent up to the brain. And, it’s amazing when you start getting in there, people start to realize they’ve made some very interesting decisions at very young ages that has created a context, a filter, that they’re viewing the world through that’s not entirely accurate. And, here’s the thing about context is that the context you view life from, which is for example, if I’m still then I won’t get the love of my mom, that sends a signal to your nervous system that says that stillness is a threat. And so, anything that makes you still will be interpreted as a threat, even if that’s not entirely true. And so, context is everything because context basically helps you figure out the intentionality of the world around you and if the intentionality of the world around you tends to be a threat, no matter what’s actually happening, you will experience threat in the body. If you perceive the intentionality of what’s around you as generally safe, you’ll experience safety in the body. And so, there’s a combination of making sure your outer environment is safe and healthy and looking at the neuroception and the decisions that’s happening on the inside and going “is that the best choice for me to make? Is that always true?” because our nervous system generalizes all the time and we can get into isolation and that’s the one good thing about movement and exercise is the second you start moving, the second you start doing the treadmill, the second you start doing the circuits or whatever you do, you break that isolation signal in the vagus and you activate the vagal break and you can come out of isolation because it’s impossible to have isolation in your nervous system when you’re moving. The problem is, it’s not just enough to move, you have to feel safe when you’re still too. So, it gets into a lot of nuance when we start talking about the nervous system and hot to regulate it, how to regulate emotional states, and depending on your trauma history, this type of stuff can be either very simple or very difficult to complete, for sure.
Ben: Well, yeah, and I know that it’s involved that’s why there’s an entire book about it that you wrote that walks you through this concept of getting out of that stuck state.
Mastin: That’s right.
Ben: But, really relevant to the topic at hand is this, a lot of people are listening because they know they want to find their purpose in life and they need to get out of that stuck state. How do you go from being in that stuck state to actually finding your purpose in life?
Mastin: Great question. So, let me define purpose first and foremost, okay. And, let me just also tell you this: so there was this study that had 136,265 participants and there was nobody paying for it, it was all self-funded, so there’s no bias. The study was published in the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal of Behavioral Medicine and the conclusion was: possessing a sense of purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events. So, what that means is you can live up to 10 years longer and HDLs improve, LDLs improve, a1c improves, HRV improves, so many things improve when you have a sense of purpose. So, it’s not just how do I find my purpose, but when you have purpose, it literally puts you in a place of emotional and physical regulation as well, and that comes from a very large data set.
Ben: And I can back that up, by the way, because I have found my purpose in life and outlined it along with the help of your book actually even more clearly over the past year than it ever has been.
Mastin: Dude, that’s awesome!
Ben: That, going through the Life Book Course with Jon and Missy Butcher, and I’ll eventually be doing a podcast on that too, and a big part of having your purpose in life is it’s incredibly convenient and gives you this spirit of clarity because you can feed everything through that filter. My purpose in life is to empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life… to empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life and I pass everything through that filter.
Ben: Like, someone recommended the other night that I really get into this TV show, Westworld, and they described it and it sounded intriguing. These people go into a virtual wild, wild west and they get to do whatever they want there and it’s this crazy woven tale of mystery and intrigue and violence and it sounded incredibly interesting and I actually turned it on on the airplane and watched 30 seconds of it and immediately thought “is this empowering me to enable others to live a more adventurous and joyful and fulfilling life?” And the answer was no and so even though I turned it off and I turned to do something which was equally fun for me and potentially not what people might be considered to be productive, which was reading this new fiction book I’m into called “The Earthsea” Series, but by me reading fiction, that actually fuels my ability to be able to write fiction which is something that I love to do and through writing my fiction, I actually do empower people to live a more adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life.
Mastin: That’s right.
Ben: So for me everything, even those tiny little decisions about how I’m going to entertain myself come down to filtering it through my life’s purpose.
Mastin: I love it and that is the whole point of it. Purpose is the emotional immune system of your life. That’s what it is. It is something that can filter out the things that are not supposed to be there. So, that was a great, great, great, great example because in the highest sense it’s the doorway between your inner experience and your environment and you get to choose what you let in basically through that lens, right. So, 100%.
Mastin: So, the technical term for purpose, okay, from the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal is that purpose in life can be defined as a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals, manages behavior, and provides a sense of meaning. So, you just nailed it with how you used it as a filter. I make it way simpler and the way that I view it is even simpler than this because anyone who sets a goal, I don’t care what the goal is, Sparta race, billion dollars, meet Richard Branson, meet Tony Robins, lose 100 pounds, whatever the goal is, you’re going for the emotional payoff of that goal. You want the emotional payoff of the goal. So, everything I do is in the context of emotion and so my definition of purpose is simpler. My definition of purpose is basically this: it is an emotional state that you generate within yourself and express to others in the form of service. That simple. It’s an emotional state that you cultivate within yourself and generate within yourself and then you express it to others in the form of service.
And, there’s a hierarchy of those emotions. You have to focus on making yourself – generating those emotions within yourself; then, figuring out a way to connect with a higher power, and that doesn’t have to be God, it can be nature, but we can talk about spirit in a second; and then also, then serving other people. And most people have it others-focused only and they forget themselves. And so, you want to figure out what are the emotions that you want to feel most of the time and we have a process in the book that helps you figure that out.
Ben: Yeah, it’s a very cool process including things you like to do when you were a kid and your fondest memories when you were growing up. It’s a really cool process for me to go through.
Mastin: Totally. Dude, I really love that you went through it and you can actually give me the details on it because you just do the research, man. I just love that. It’s so cool. So, 100%. We go emotion mining and I could give a list of emotions in the book and just say pick one, but something happens when you really make it a personalized process. So, you figure out what those emotions are and then you look at: “have I been living my life this way where I’m generating these emotions in myself and then serving others with them?” And, if that sounds too woo-woo, if you think about a culture, like in a company, a culture in a company, which is one of the most important things for profitability and long-term success, is basically a group of shared emotional states. When you look at having raving fan clients, you’re transferring the company’s emotional states to those raving fans and the guy who wrote the book on culture, Tony Hsieh from Zappos, literally wrote the book called “Delivering Happiness” which is an emotional state. So, it’s all about emotional states in a relationship-romantically, emotional states matter, it all helps regulate the nervous system, and I’ve never met someone who says “you know what, we’re just always so happy to be together, let’s get a divorce.” No one has ever said that to me, right. So, it’s always about figuring out those emotional states that you’ve got to feel and then exactly as you said, Ben, putting it through that filter and starting to realize, like, for me my top emotion is nurturing. So, the question on ask is “is this nurturing for me and is this nurturing for my connection for my higher power and does this help me nurture other people?” Right. “Does it produce excitement,” which is my second emotional state. So, those are my top two. If I can figure out how to feel nurtured and excited in my business, in my relationship, in life in general, I’m going to have an amazing life. And, if I can focus on helping other people feel nurtured and excited, I’m never going to run out of clients, we’re always going to be growing, our social media will be super engaged, everything that we’re doing will be great. But, that’s the name of the game, so you have to figure out what are the emotional states that you want to feel and then the hard part is… so, that’s called emotional awareness. Then, you need the emotional intelligence to say “how do I feel that way?” and that gets into all kinds of behavior change from what you’re eating, to what you’re consuming, to perhaps relationships that you’re in. It also probably is going to require some type of environmental change because your environment really informs what you’re feeling most of the time.
And then, the hard part, and you’ll get this is, it’s not just awareness and intelligence, the third part is the emotional fitness which is doing this s**t every damn day. And people come to me and they’re like, “how long does it take to change a habit?” And, I’m like okay, it depends on the research – anywhere from 30 to 60 to 90 days. But who wants to change a [curse word] habit? Change your life! To change your life you need to make a lifestyle change every day. Don’t worry about the next 30 days, just worry about today and focus on doing it today.
Mastin: It drives me nuts when people “change a habit in 30 days.” I don’t want to change a habit! I want a lifestyle! And, when it comes to personal development, for some reason, there’s this idea that I can go to mass and a four day seminar and if a year later my life hasn’t changed, the seminar didn’t work, but if I go to Ben’s four day boot camp and if a year later I’m not fit, it’s my fault because I ate pizza for the rest of the time. And the same thing is true in fitness and in personal development is that you’ve got to have that emotional fitness which you earn every single day through your own efforts. And so, it’s just like the gym, right, like the barbell or the kettlebell is not going to lift itself. You’ve got to do the lifting. And that produces new neural pathways, it produces new habits. You have a new environment, you have different ways that you show up in relationships, your tone of voice changes, your facial expressions change, how people perceive you changes, what you’re expressing goes from complaining and victim to more what you want to create and survivor-mindsets.
And so, it’s a big shift and it is a lifestyle transformation. It takes a lot to change your life at that level. You’ve got to have a mentor, you’ve got to really have an environment that’s really encouraging the person that you’re becoming; you cannot think your way out of a bad environment. It’s impossible. Just like you can’t exercise yourself out of a pizza.
Mastin: And so, the environment has to shift and you’ve got to have support. And the most important thing is you can’t do it alone. So many people use social media and these online courses or books as a reason to say ‘I read the book and I’m going to isolate and I’ve got it.’ But, you’ve really got to learn how to do it with other people because one thing that we’re learning about regulating the nervous system is that the mental health world kind of preaches self-regulation, like learn how to manage your emotional states, the problem with that is if you really look at how we’re wired, regulation of our emotional states mean you’re feeling good, how to have mental health, is built into relationships. So, we can only self-regulate if we co-regulate, but the mental health world says you have to self-regulate or we’re going to medicate you. But, we have to learn how to co-regulate together. And so, there’s a whole conversation about who you hang out with, your tribe, all that stuff as well, and your day-to-day environment. But, if I had to sort of summarize all of it as concurrently as possible that would be it.
Ben: Wow. My primary emotion, by the way, was acceptance because one of my earliest, fondest memories way laying in the field back behind our house outside Lewiston, Idaho, staring up at the sky surrounded by all these gorgeous wild flowers that were growing up around me. And I would just lay there as a boy with my boxer, Bruno, sitting beside me and we would just lay there for sometimes an hour or two just staring up at the sky and I remember one of the most distinct feelings that I had was I completely accepted myself in the moment for who I was. I didn’t care what anybody else thought of me. And I would just lay there and be me enveloped in my own thoughts and my own dreams and my own just complete carefree moment of just being a boy laying there.
Mastin: Love that.
Ben: So, one of the primary emotions I wrote down was acceptance where I accepted myself for who I am and don’t allow others to determine who I’m going to be and don’t judge myself based off of what other’s expectations of me are.
Ben: But, going through the process in the book is what allowed me to really dial that in.
Mastin: Dude, that’s awesome. That’s so good.
Ben: One thing I wanted to ask you was can the purpose change during life? Do you find people whose purpose changes during life because, like I said, I want to empower to live a more adventurous, and joyful, and fulfilling life and if that’s different in 10 years, will that mean that I didn’t identify my purpose correctly?
Mastin: So in the context of the book definition, the way that I would describe my purpose because the top two emotions for me are nurturing and excitement, so the way that I would phrase it is the purpose of my life is to nurture myself and my higher power and express the excitement that results while inspiring others to do the same. That would be the technical definition of it and what happens it that the way that you would encourage people or help them live an adventurous life or, in my case, help them feel nurtured, the expression of that might change. There’s many different business vehicles that can produce that experience, there’s many different relationships that can bridge that experience. So, the emotional states don’t really change. What does change is you might refine them over time because, especially if there’s a lot of trauma and or lack of emotional awareness, the more that you get into your body and notice how your body is feeling, you’re going to have more clarified words that are going to work for you and resonate in a different way. Really, what you’re looking for is you’re chasing, everyone’s chasing, an emotional state. So, you have the power, at all times, to generate emotional states within you and when you know when you need to feel that way, then you’re in the state to serve other people and the way that you serve them will always change.
And one of my dear friends and mentors, Caroline Myss, if you ever want to go down a deep spiritual rabbit hole, her book “Sacred Contracts” is like the anatomy of the spirit, they’re just mindblowers. It’s very woo-woo and amazing, but she’s also very direct. And I was talking to her in my late 20s and I said Caroline, I’m the guy who teaches you how to find your purpose and I don’t know what my purpose is. I lost it. And she looks at me and she goes “sweetie, you’re going to ask that question once a decade and if you’re not, you’re not doing anything important.” And so, the idea that how I express my purpose will always shift and change and grow especially because technology is expanding so quickly, but the emotional states are going to more or less… the emotional targets, are going to more or less stay the same.
Ben: Right. Yeah. That makes sense. So, it still scratches that same emotional itch.
Mastin: That’s right. That’s right.
Ben: That makes perfect sense.
Ben: So, since writing this book, you’ve kind of exploded in terms of popularity. I know you’ve shared stages with guys like Tony Robins and you’ve been able to hang out with Oprah, and you’ve been able to get some amazing pieces of life advice and soak up knowledge from some of these people that you’ve been able to hang out with. So, first of all, how’d that happen? How’s you get to the point where you’re such an icon and you have one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes now as well. How’d that happen?
Mastin: Well, I mean, I got on the Ben Greenfield podcast is how it happened. So…
Ben: Of course.
Mastin: This podcast, dude…
Ben: And you started taking amino acids.
Mastin: That’s true. It’s all true. I think, I mean, I’m going to give you a really lame, but important answer and then I’ll get more detailed, okay. It’s not a sexy answer, but it’s the truth. My mindset has always been one of contribution and trying to add value as much as I can. I am the worst at transacting on my relationships – the worst at it. I’m not like Keith Ferrazzi or any of those guys that never eat alone and stuff like that. I’m not thinking about that, relationships or economics, I just don’t do that. I just get around. I’m around people and I always ask “how can I help?” “What do you need help with?” That’s always been my mindset and because I had that early Hollywood experience, like celebrity doesn’t really impress me because there’s lots of famous people who are not nice human beings and what really inspires me is the type of person that somebody is. And, with Oprah, what happened was I just was consistent online from 2006 to 2012 or 11, whenever she found me, and her staff had found me and they reached out. And I thought it was spam at first. There’s definitely not someone from Harpo reaching out to me, that’s definitely from Nigeria. It was spam. That’s what I thought and someone’s going to ask me to send them money for their prince or something like that, you know, those Nigerian emails. But it was a legitimate email!
And I responded and they had wanted me to participate in an online class that she was doing and I did. And then, they wanted me to participate in a tour that they were doing and blog about it. So, I was being of service and I did that. And the way that I was able to get to Super Soul Sunday was a really interesting story. So, I also am very competitive and it was hard for me in the early days of being online to help people and also not be competitive. I had to reconcile that. And when the Oprah folks called me, they said, “hey Mastin do you want to go on tour with us.” I mean, the answer was, “yeah” and they want me to blog and they asked me, they said “do you know anybody else who has a large following online that could blog about that we could ask?” And I knew a couple of people, but I didn’t offer them up right away because I went right into scarcity. I was like, you know what, if I tell them about – this is my inner monologue was, if I tell them about these other people, then they’re going to find out about them and then they’re going to forget about me. I was operating from scarcity at that moment. So, I called a friend of mine who always tells me the right thing to do and I knew what I needed to do, but I just had to call my friend to have him smack me in the face to do it and I said here’s the situation Tommy, what do you think I should do? He goes, “Mastin, don’t be an idiot.”
So, I ended up inviting some of my friends to be on the road, much to my egos demise, but I knew it was the right thing to do. And one of those people was a guy named Eric Handler, he had a Facebook page called Positively Positive with 1,000,000 likes or whatever. And so, fast forward to the last day on tour and we were in Toronto on the Life Class tour and Oprah was speaking, Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robins, Deepak Chopra, there was like two groups of 20,000 people or 10,000 people each. It was like two events in one day. It was crazy. And, after the event, I blogged it and shared about it online and fulfilled my duties and I went back to the hotel and I was going back to my room and Eric, from Positively Positive, was like “Mastin, come here!” And, we’re in the lobby and he called me over and he brought me into the restaurant that was in the lobby and we started talking. And there was a woman there that he was having dinner with and we just started talking and within about 20 or 30 minutes I started to realize that this person is someone who is a part of Oprah’s team who was helping run and coordinate her life. And she basically said, “you guys seem really cool, do you want to come to the after party for this tour?” And, when you get that invite you just say “yeah!” So, we went and I thought it was going to be some big after party with hundreds of crew members, but it was a very small party of probably about 20-30 people. And in the room was Oprah and all of her producers, Tony was there, and Deepak, and everyone was there and then me and Eric. And the thing that you do in a room like that is you don’t go up to anyone who’s well known and start asking them questions, you just kind of keep a low profile and be cool. So I just start talking to a couple of friends of mine that were there and after a while, Oprah came up and we started talking. We ended up hitting it off and we had a really good conversation for about an hour and didn’t ask her for anything. Just conversed with her like a normal person and was fluctuation between “oh my God, that’s Oprah” and just having a normal conversation. And then, we went about our day and I left and she left and everybody left and then went home and didn’t think about it. And about a month later, I got a phone call from Harpo and they said “hey, Mastin, we want to do a Super Soul Sunday with you and some of the young people from the younger generation.” And I kind of just dropped the phone and I was like holy cow. They said, yeah, Oprah really enjoyed her conversation with you and we want to have you on the show. I was like oh my… what?! That’s crazy! There’s no tactic. There’s no strategy. It was just being me.
And back to your point about acceptance. And then, I said okay and they asked me who else should be on the show. So, I said, well my friend Gabby Bernstein and my friend Marie Forleo should be on the show. And they brought Gabby on and then they weren’t entirely sure if they wanted Marie on the show because business and spirit don’t really good together, but I talked to them about how empowering women financially is a really important spiritual thing and important for women’s empowerment. And they said yes and then the three of us were on the show. I just maintained that same service mindset and the same thing has been true when I was introduced to Tony and anyone that I have met. When I met Naveen Jain from Viome, the first time I met him I thanked him for Viome because I hate kale and he told me not to eat kale.
Mastin: And he asked me to say that from stage and I did at the biohacking conference and made him laugh…
Ben: I think mine was corn, by the way.
Mastin: So, you hate corn and you were told not to eat corn?
Ben: Actually, I don’t mind corn. But corn was a biggie for me.
Ben: By the way, I’m going over to Naveen’s house in a couple of days for dinner.
Mastin: Oh! Well, tell him I say hey!
Ben: He has a very big moon rock collection.
Ben: By the way, for those of you listening in, I’ll put a link in the show notes to my previous podcast with Naveen from Viome, very interesting guy.
Mastin: Yeah, I love him. So anyway, the next time I see Naveen I’m at Genius Network event and he’s literally sitting right next to me for a whole day. And we were talking and instead of going up to him and saying “hey can you help me because you’re a billionaire”’ I just said “hey, Naveen. What do you need help with?” And we started talking about marketing and I started giving him ideas for marketing stuff and then, finally, he got so frustrated with me he said “Mastin, you do it.” And somehow convinced me to help him out with marketing and I’ve been doing that for the past seven months and we’ve been working together and I don’t take a dime. I don’t get paid a dime for that work. I’m literally just trying to help him with direct response and stuff like that.
Ben: That’s awesome.
Mastin: We’ve done some webinars that I’ve helped create for them that are coming out soon, I helped script a four part video series with Deepak Chopra that’s going to be coming out soon, I was directing and I was with Deepak making sure that he was saying the right stuff because he can be very hard to get specific sometimes, and the other micobiome stuff is so confusing that I had to be on set to make sure he was saying the right stuff because lay people have a hard time comprehending it and even scientific have a hard time comprehending it sometimes. But like all that came from just being of service. And then, I’ve met amazing people as a result of that, learned so much, and so I’ve been able to add value to that company at a period where they were just getting started. And so, to me, there’s an intangible in that. And so, I just think that that’s always been my mindset. So, whether it’s Oprah or Tony or Naveen or anyone else that I’ve met, I do my best to always lead with service and I’m really bad at transacting on things, and I can probably leave money on the table all the time, but the relationships are there, and that to me is the most important thing. And I believe in relationships that produce transactions, not transactional relationships – they’re too hard to keep up.
Ben: That’s a great piece of advice. Always lead with service rather than trying to determine what other people can do for you. And looking at every relationship from a transactional standpoint which a lot of people, especially when I’m going to freakin’ Masterminds and conferences, I mean, a lot of times when people are apparently following Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone Book” and coming to your table to chat with you, a lot of times there’s that ask at the end that just… It irks me sometimes when you realize that at the end of a relationship, that someone is in the relationship just to get something out of it from you.
Mastin: Yeah, that’s the thing. It doesn’t feel good.
Mastin: And, like, with Naveen, his whole thing is ending chronic illness, right, that’s what he wants to do or making it optional. And, my whole moonshot is ending emotional trauma in my lifetime, that’s my moonshot. They’re so directly correlated that I made the decision to work with him because it fits in with my purpose. That was a filtered decision. And what I’ve learned about the microbiome and being able to speak with them on a regular basis and be up on the data is so relevant to what I’m doing in my work. And so, the money has been there for my company and stuff like that. So, there always is a larger payoff and Naveen is a righteous dude. And, here’s the thing about Naveen too, I’m going to brag about him for a second, just like you, Ben, I know so many entrepreneurs in quotes, right. And these guys and women sometimes, they’ll take forever to get back to you, Naveen writes you back before you finish sending the email.
Ben: Trust me, I know. When you can see the little… I don’t know what you call them on the phone when you message someone and you can see that they’re typing or texting back, yeah. Yeah, I don’t know how he does it. I don’t know how he accomplished everything that he does. I’m actually, when I’m at his house, I’m going to interview him and I have plenty of productivity questions I’ll be asking him. So again, for those of you listening in, I’ll link to that.
I have a couple quick questions I want to ask you also, Mastin. What’s the number one thing you learned from Oprah? The number one piece of advice that you got from her or the number one insight you got from her after hanging out with her?
Mastin: I think it’s sort of a two part piece. Again, she’s probably one of the most grounded people I’ve ever met. She knows that she’s an icon, but she doesn’t really care and she makes you feel welcomed in her presence. And I think that is so incredible because I’ve seen her treat the person who’s serving dinner or lunch exactly the same as her best friend Gail, exactly the same as anybody else, and she embodies it. And she really, really lives that. It’s so impressive to see that because at that point, when you’re someone on an iconic level like that, most people would have license to be not nice to people, but she literally is everything. Every time I’ve met her or been around her, she has literally the most gracious person I’ve ever met and I’m not kissing her a**. I’m being so honest and genuine because it’s just amazing to see that level of presence and that level of she’s-with-you and she’s with you no matter what your role is and to me, that’s huge.
The other thing about Oprah is when she gave me some feedback on my first book. She said it was “okay.” And that was like a stab to the heart.
Ben: Just “okay?”
Mastin: It was a stab to the heart and she said to me, pick up your staff on the next one. And I said “okay.” Because she felt like I was apologizing in that book a lot and that was some really direct feedback that I had to get, but I stopped doing The Daily Love, I stopped doing everything I was doing, and I pivoted my business into I don’t even know what it was going to be, but it’s lead into doing the trauma hacking and the work that I do now. And so, that’s a direct… I’ve actually never told that story. That’s a direct impact on her feedback and it was really hard to hear, but it was so necessary for me to hear it at the time.
Mastin: In a sense, you can think of if it as she told me to claim my power. That’s basically what she said.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Mastin: She said knock off the apology crap, man, and pick up your staff. So, that was… that hit me hard in a really good way.
Ben: I like it. Yeah. What about Tony Robins? Have you learned anything from him?
Mastin: I mean, so much. I think Tony in his facilitation style and what he understands about the human nervous system is ahead of his time still to this day – he’s way ahead of the mental health world. And I think, a couple of things I’ve learned about Tony, I’ve learned some things to do and some things not to do from Tony. As far as what to do, making sure that there is, if you’re working to change your life, focusing on your state – the state of your emotions, the state of your nervous system. Getting into the right state is so, so, so, so vitally important. I’ve also learned that I can take my personality of instigating and use it to break patters in a really healthy way and not just cause relationship problems and push people away, you know, burn things down, but actually lift people up with it because when he does his interventions and he does his work in a room, he can be very irreverent, but he uses it to lift people up. And I’ve been so inspired by that. He also, one time I was at his house in Palm Springs and I was getting some advice early in my career, this was probably about eight years ago, and I asked him “So, Tony…” I told him my story and asked for some general advice and he goes, in the way he does, “Mastin!” in a low voice he’s like “you’re going to be very successful in your life, but it’s going to take you longer.” And, that’s again, not something you want to hear from someone like that. You want to hear “oh man, you’re going to crush it.” And I said, “why is that?” And he goes, “Because you do things the right way and you have integrity and you lead with your heart and it’s going to be longer for you because you’re not going to take the shortcut. But, when you get there you’re going to be a late bloomer, but when you get there, you’re going to blossom bigger and faster than anybody else.” And that pissed me off and inspired me at the same time. And it was sort of like these two truth bombs between these two folks and that really hit me in the heart and I needed to hear it at the time. And, it was also post [1:18:51] ______ because I’ve always thought about that ever since he said that to me directly. So, those have been some very powerful lessons that I’ve learned from Tony.
And then, recently, what I learned not to do is the way that he conducted himself at the UPW with the #MeToo commentary. I think that there was a gaffe there and I think he messed it up. I think he meant well, but he did not produce a very good result there as a facilitator with that woman and with the #MeToo movement. And, the thing that I…
Ben: I don’t know anything about what you’re talking about.
Mastin: You can google it. It’s on Youtube, but there was a lot of backlash a couple of months ago at one of his seminars about how he handled a moment with a #MeToo question.
Mastin: And, one of the things…
Ben: I’ve also never been to a Tony Robins seminar. So…
Mastin: Well, you should go. Date with Destiny is probably one of the most… probably the best seminar I’ve ever attended. It’s incredible. UPW is awesome, but Date with Destiny is incredible. So, but what I learned to not do is to take down the instigation and or the intensity in our seminars and create a lot more psychological safety in the room because we work with primarily women, there are a lot of guys that show up, there are good guys that show up, but there has to be an elevated conversation about trauma and the #MeToo movement and a witnessing of the wound in a different way. And I think he’s going to recover from it for sure, but for me, my dedication is to make sure that every seminar that we do is always a safe place for our people and that they’re never going to feel sort of pushed the way that he did that. It’s not a blame, it’s just I think that that was a moment that was a learning lesson for anyone who does this work.
Ben: Well, there is, first of all if you’re listening, you need to follow Mastin because he’s obviously a wealth of knowledge and what I like about you is you’re transparent and you can admit that whole imposter syndrome piece we talked about earlier and you’re simply sharing what you’re learning along the way and changing a lot of lives as you’re doing it. I love your approach and I’ve realized that it’s few and far between that I get into things like self-improvement on the Ben Greenfield Show versus fitness and nutrition and biohacking and smart-drugs and whatever else, but Mastin really has created a great work with this book. And, if you are trying to find your purpose and you, kind of like me, just want to be able to name it and say what it is, but go through a system to be able to identify what your purpose is, I can’t recommend his book highly enough. And I’ve read it on my volition because it looked interesting and I heard a lot of good things about Mastin and it turned out to be as good as I’d hoped. So, I’m not just blowing smoke, not just blowing smoke, it really is an amazing book.
Mastin: That means a lot.
Ben: So, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/mastin. I’ll put some links to some of the things we talked about even the Amazon treadmill desk that you too can use at five in the morning at a hotel gym
Mastin: I can’t wait to find it.
Ben: Yeah, and I guess I’ll see you in September down in Utah. We’re having an event down there. Yeah, amazing.
Mastin: Yeah, dude, I can’t wait. Well, Ben, thank you so much, man. This has been a great conversation and I really appreciate the tie and the opportunity to share.
Ben: Thanks for coming on the show, Mastin. And again, folks, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/Mastin, M-A-S-T-I-N, and also grab the book “Claim Your Power”. Until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Mastin Kipp signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have an amazing week.
If you’ve been paying attention to my anti-aging and longevity advice of late (such as this week’s article on simple and natural habits for enhancing longevity), you no doubt are aware that one of the best things you can do for yourself is to find your purpose in life.
If things haven’t been going the way you’ve planned, and especially if you’ve felt completely stuck in life, know this: everything changes the moment you discover your life’s unique purpose. Success, love, abundance, health and well-being, and vibrant energy are all by-products of leading a purpose-filled life.
But maybe you don’t know what your life’s purpose is, or you don’t believe you have one, or you thought you knew what it was and you lost it. If that’s the case, then this podcast is for you. In the latest book from today’s podcast guest Mastin Kipp, you’re guided on a 40-day journey, inspired by Joseph Campbell’s model of the hero’s journey, to identify and dissolve whatever’s holding you back, break free from trauma and victimhood, and transform your life.
Mastin is an American entrepreneur, best-selling author, and renowned public speaker and the creator of Functional Life Coaching™. He is the author of the best- selling books Daily Love and Claim Your Power, and has been featured in outlets like Well + Good, Huffington Post, and has appeared on Fox News, ABC, CBS News, and more.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-Mastin’s treadmill desk setup that he used to write the entire book…8:00
-How Mastin felt on cocaine, and what happened to his brain scan afterwards…15:00
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-Why Ben loves books by Richard Branson…21:30
-How Mastin burns fat and builds muscle simultaneously in the morning workout session…30:00
-The neural exercises you can do to hack your nervous system to find purpose in life…34:30
-Why you often keep exercising even if you’re injured, and our inherent fear of being immobilized…37:00
-Why Mastin always leads with service, rather than viewing relationships as transactional…1:04:00
-How Mastin got onto Oprah (and the #1 thing he learned from Oprah)…1:14:00
-What Mastin has learned from Tony Robbins…1:16:30
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
-Lewis Howes’ book The Mask of Masculinity
–Aaptiv Get a 30% discount on an annual membership
–Gainswave How can you get a free treatment? Visit my link to find out how!
–The Kion Clean Energy Bar is a satisfying, real-food energy bar. Stable energy, no sugar crashes! Just a tasty punch of mouth-watering, chocolatey-salty-coconut goodness.