In the world of personal and professional development, the pursuit of exponential growth and success is a common goal. But how do we truly achieve it? In a captivating discussion, Kristen is joined by Dr. Benjamin Hardy to explore the profound concept of 10X growth and its transformative power in entrepreneurship.
This thought-provoking conversation will give listeners invaluable insights into how exponential growth can be achieved by focusing on quality over quantity.
Listen as Kristen and Ben talk about:
- The concept of 10X growth challenges our conventional understanding. It’s not just about achieving ten times more of what we already have; it’s a profound shift in mindset and strategy.
- 10x is about delivering exceptional results, producing high-value work, and creating outstanding experiences.
- You must focus on expanding what he defines as your four most important freedoms – time, money, relationships, and purpose.
- 10X doesn’t mean relentless hustle. It’s also about recognizing when to rest, rejuvenate, and recharge. A well-rested mind and body are essential for maintaining your mindset and sustaining exponential growth.
As you let your future self shape your present actions and choices, you’ll discover that 10X is a path to lasting success, fulfillment, and impact in all aspects of your life and business. Embrace the 10X mindset, and watch your life unfold in unexpected ways.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy is an organizational psychologist, keynote speaker and best-selling author who focuses on the psychology of exponential growth and transformation, future self science, and entrepreneurship.
Ben’s new book, 10X Is Easier Than 2X is now available for purchase at https://10xeasierbook.com.
Subscribe to Ben’s newsletter – https://benjaminhardy.com/
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Transcript for Episode #184: 10x is Easier than 2x with Dr. Benjamin Hardy
Kristen Boss (00:03): I see you with brand new eyes. No, I’ve never been so sure. Take my, you are listening to the Kristen Bos podcast. I’m your host, Kristen Bos. As a bestselling author and performance coach, I’m on a mission to share about sustainable and purposeful approaches to both business and life. Each week I bring relevant topics that I believe are necessary to create a life of purpose, significance and meaning. Entrepreneurship is about so much more than growing your bottom line. It’s about who you are becoming in the process and building a life that is truly extraordinary. Entrepreneurship is really just the beginning.
Kristen Boss (00:57): Hey, bosses. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This week I have quite the treat for you. I have been wanting to interview this particular author for quite some time. So I’m finally thrilled to interview Dr. Benjamin Hardy on my podcast. I have been a fan of several of the books he has co-authored with Dan Sullivan. You might’ve heard the book The Gap in The Gain, who Not How, and today on the podcast we’re going to be talking about the book 10 x is Easier than two x. If you don’t know who Dr. Benjamin Hardy is, he’s an organizational psychologist, bestselling author, and keynote speaker. He’s an organizational psychologist and author of eight books which have sold over a million copies. His work specifically focuses on psychology of exponential growth, transformation, future self science and entrepreneurship. So this conversation is going to be a real treat for you. Take notes, you’re probably going to listen Again, enjoy. Ben, I’m so glad you’re here joining me on this podcast episode. I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. I’ve been like, how can we get Dr. Benjamin Hardy on this podcast? I recommend your book all the time. I’m a huge fan of who not how the gap in the gain. I’m always talking about those concepts. So I’m delighted to have you on the show and it’s a real treat for my people. So thanks for being here.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (02:13): I’m happy to be here. I love your people, obviously entrepreneurial love entrepreneurs, and just people who are interested in growing. So yeah, I’m very happy to be here.
Kristen Boss (02:23): I love the conversation we’re going to be having about your latest book. 10 X is Easier than Two X, even the title and the concept of that. I can see people even struggling with the title and believing that to be true because oftentimes people when they think 10 xing something, they think about the workload or even to echo back to your other book, how they get stuck in the how, not the who, or they think, oh, 10 Xing my results, 10 xing my outcomes, then I’m going to have to 10 x my workload. And we think about it differently. And so I love how you present what 10 x actually is in this book. And I will tell you, I just ate up the entire book in a single session. It was so good. I recommend it to everybody. So friends in the show notes, we’re going to link the book, but talk about this concept of 10 x being easier than two x because sell my audience on this concept.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (03:22): Absolutely happy to do that. I’m going to give some quick distinctions on the difference between 10 x and two x and then obviously we’ll go deep into the strategy as well. But I, well, so I’m going to keep this super simple. As a psychologist, I look at time probably differently than most people do. I look at time as an operating system. So what I mean by that is who I am in the present is based on my relationship I have with my past and also my relationship I have with my future. And so one of the key important differences between 10 x and two x is that if you’re going to go for two x growth, and this is a very common approach, that’s very linear, meaning you’re taking what you’ve accomplished and done in the past and present, and you’re using that to create your future.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (04:09): And so this is a very much an approach of life where you take the present and you use that to create the future. And that’s very common even from a psychological standpoint. Most people, when they’re thinking about their future self, they use their present self as the base for doing that. And so that’s a very past present way of creating the future. And what I’m definitely saying is that’s not very effective. If you want massive growth, massive growth and massive growth actually simplifies things. I’ll go into the why it simplifies things in a second. But rather than letting the present shape your future, you really want to take your future and you want to make it really big, that’s 10 x and you want your future to shape your present.
Kristen Boss (04:47): Yes.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (04:48): And so that’s really the key is rather than moving forward, you want to create backwards, have a massive future and reverse engineer it, have the future be the filter. And so this is where it starts to become a lot easier is that when you’re going for two x growth, because you’re letting the present dictate the future. And because two x isn’t very different from the present, whether you’re trying to two x your income or two x your podcast downloads or whatever it is, most of what you’re doing in the present will get you to two x over time. You just have to work a little harder. It’s a little bit more brute force. So we use the 80 20 principle to show that if you want to go for two x, you can keep 80% of yourself, you can keep 80% of your strategy because mostly it’s a continuation from the present.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (05:33): Whereas if you want to go for 10 x because it’s so big, most of what you’re doing right now won’t get you there. And so it actually becomes a really nice filter. It really, I mean, it’s not an easy filter, but it forces new changes and it forces you to let go of 80% of what you’re doing now. And so you only can focus on the few things with the massive upside. And that does lead you to who, not how it leads you to finding and doing things that are different from what you were doing in your past. And so I’ll say in really simple terms, and then we can go wherever you want with this. 10 x is about the future, whereas two x is coming from the past, 10 X is about quality, whereas two x is about quantity, 10 X is about less. You got to do less but better. Whereas two x is about just doing more of what you’re already doing and then 10 x forces you to go with who. Whereas two x is really probably focused on how. And so those are key distinctions, but we can go wherever you want with them.
Kristen Boss (06:25): Oh, that’s so good. There’s a couple places I want to go with that, but the first thing that comes up is there’s a section in your book where it talks about 80%. It’s because it’s what we’re currently doing now, which means that’s our comfort zone. It’s where we live, it’s where we’re like, especially if it’s like, well, 80% of my revenue comes from doing this, but don’t just talk about it in that sense. But you also talk about it at an identity level. And when we’re talking about letting go of the 80%, while we can say, technically that doesn’t sound so terrible, but you even say this in the book on the emotional level, it’s actually quite intense because you’re letting go of your present self and you’re being willing to invent your future self. Really, I like to say it as you have to start living as somebody you haven’t even yet met, but you have to let go of your current version, which emotionally, let’s talk about the emotional load of that because you and I can say, okay, just let go of 80% of what you’re doing and embrace the 20% and live as your future self.
Kristen Boss (07:27): But why don’t more people do that?
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (07:31): Again, most people, they operate in time where they let the past and present dictate who they are and what they do in most people’s identity, their story. So your identity is two things. It’s your story and it’s your standards and your standard is, and how we talk about in the book is it’s actually your minimum standard. Your minimum standard. Is that what you say yes to? So if you spend three hours a day on Facebook, that’s obviously your standard because you can see it because what you’re doing. But in your business as an example, you can know your minimum standard by where you focus your energy, where you focus your time. And so because most people’s identity, their story and their standards, and I actually prefer it to say you’re framing and you’re filtering story can be how you frame things and your standard is how you filter things.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (08:15): The filter’s just not very strong. And so the beauty of making it 10 x and making the goal 10 x, and I learned a lot of this from Dr. Alan Bernard and also studying constraint theory. And it’s really around the idea of say you’re going for small growth, you don’t really have to, it’s not a really hard filter. You don’t really know where to focus. You don’t know what the 80 is in the 20 is if you’re not going for massive growth. But if you make the goal really, really high, the beauty of doing that, and one thing I think is really important for people to know on the psychology side is that the past and present are simply tools for operating in the present, sorry, the past and the future are tools. And so if you don’t have a really good relationship with your past, say you’ve got a lot of unresolved trauma or things like that, of course that’s going to negatively impact you in the present.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (09:02): If you don’t have a really clear future or if your future is call it two x or small, then that future is not a really powerful tool or filter for making big smart decisions in the present. And so when it comes to the emotional side, which is what you were bringing up, there is a lot of research on this, the importance. So one thing is think about a growth mindset. A growth mindset by nature is that you’re not overly identified with your present self. If you’re overly identified with your presence self, that’s a fixed mindset where you’re like, this is who I am, this is who I must be, this is who I always am. And that leads to fragility. That leads to your fearing of failure. And so what you really want is you want a flexible identity. And part of that comes from continuously using the gap in the gain as an idea, always recognizing and appreciating how far you’ve come.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (09:53): And for me, I always want to recognize how different I’m from my past self. To me, that’s super important. I want to recognize that I’m not the same person I was even a week ago. And to make that clear, and I can just do that through reflection. I can do that through journaling, say, how am I different from my past self? This allows me to see that I’m not, I’m changing, which allows me to recognize that my future self will also be different. It also leads to not needing to be right. That goes to the idea of reframing that right now I just have a view. I don’t see the world as it is. I see the world as I am, but I also know my future self will see the world very differently and they’ll have different priorities, different wisdom and different knowledge. So you really want to get connected to the identity of your future self.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (10:33): You want to get clear on who you want your future self to be, and also know that your future self can be massively different than you are now. You’re different from your past self, but your future self albertine sense of imagination is more important than knowledge. And so when you start getting connected to your future self and start letting that be the filter, then you start making very different decisions in the present. Lot of the, especially with big goals, a lot of what you’re doing right now, we’re calling it the 80%. 80% of what you’re doing right now is what got you here but won’t get you there. And so I just wanted to give that foundation. I think from here, if you really want, we can go back and forth definitely talking about the emotional piece. It can be pretty gnarly to let go of your past self. And so is there anything you want to, I mean, I think we could spend five, 10 minutes there because I think it’s really worth
Kristen Boss (11:17): It. Oh, yeah.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (11:18): Or more. But let’s talk about this part. Where do you want to go with this? Let’s
Kristen Boss (11:21): Where my people are. I know that they have big goals, but it is the idea of the letting go of what I know and almost like instead of operate using the past as a tool, they weaponize it against themselves of why they can’t. And you bring this up in the book, and I am going to quote you because it’s so good. It’s elevating your identity and standards is primarily emotional and thus qualitative, which is why psychological flexibility is so crucial to 10 Xing, and I love this to be psychologically flexible. You become increasingly comfortable and adaptive to situations and challenges, which were initially uncomfortable to you. This is key, but we have to be willing to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations on purpose. I’m going to call it discomfort that happens as a byproduct to some things we’re doing. But then there’s intentionally putting ourself in the way of discomfort on purpose is a completely different game. And that’s the 10 x game. The 10 x game is like I’m willing to feel uncomfortable at whatever level on purpose.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (12:29): Totally, totally. Yeah. So there’s one thing I want to say, and the reason I’m hitting pass off present self, future self so much is because I feel like being aware of how these different modes work is really important. So one of the things that Dr. Daniel Gilbert said, he is someone who’s been studying this a long time. He gave a really beautiful TED talk for anyone who wants to hear, it’s called the psychology of your future self. But one of the things he says is because most people take the present and they use the present to create their future self, most people don’t think that their future self will be very different. It’s much more powerful to really imagine who your future self wants to be. And then rather than having a two x future self, you have a 10 x future self, meaning they’re really different.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (13:06): And then you use that as the tool for what choices you make in the present. A bigger goal is a better filter because most things won’t get you there. If the goal is really high, then what we’re saying is that 80% of what you’re doing right now is going to get filtered out. Most things don’t get you to a really, really big goal. And so it forces you to find those few things that matter. But one of the things that Gilbert said is he says, who you are right now, your present self is as fleeting as the present moment. So why I say that and why this is so important when it comes to emotions and when it comes to letting things go, is that like I’ve already said, and I’ve acknowledged you’re not your past self even a week ago. And so when you’re looking at your life right now and you’re using a really intrinsically motivating future, this is something that’s really important as well, is that 10 x is about what you most want and being really honest with yourself, and also it is qualitative. I’ll give a major example on this. So I heard this recently and I thought that this was amazing, is that back in the day when Apple had the iPod, of course there were different versions of the iPod. There was iPod, but I’m talking about before the iPhone came out, and when I say qualitative, the transformation from going to iPod to iPhone, that’s the true 10 x.
Kristen Boss (14:24): Oh yeah.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (14:25): Because that’s the qualitative change going from an iPod to an iPhone, those two things are incomparable. But the thing is they were focused on their next leap, which was like, what’s our next level? Not like, how can we make the iPod 10 times better? It’s like, no, what’s the next transformation, which took them into phones? Well, the reason I bring this up is that Microsoft was going very two x Microsoft, I dunno if you’ve ever of the concept called the Zune. No, I think it was called the Zune. It was their version of the iPod where they were really trying to get into the MP three space. And because they were hyper competitive, they did not have their own future self. They were instead trying to be better than Apple because they were focused on competition rather than on their own future self. They were like, we’re going to make the best MP three ever. And they actually did. They actually made the zoom that they made, which actually now that I think back, I remember
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (15:19): Friends, one of my friends had one, most people don’t even know what it was because they were innovating it so much that eventually they did make something that was better than the iPod. And Apple didn’t really care because they knew where their future was. Their future was not on MP three players. They were going to a different level, a different transformation. And so they weren’t worried about what Microsoft was doing because they knew that honestly their future, which was phones, was going to make iPods essentially irrelevant. And so weren’t how I look at two Xs. Well, one important thing is 10 x being qualitative, 10 x is going from crawling to walking, whereas two x is how can I crawl faster?
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (16:03): And so you’re really doing the same thing, but trying to be more intense. This was really funny by the way, because I have twins and one of my twin girls, they were Zora and Phoebe, but Phoebe started walking three or four months before Zuora. And so she really was walking and she could do all sorts of things, and Zora was like, but that’s really I think an important view is that if you’re going two X, obviously you’re probably competing with other people. You’re letting the present and the current conditions dictate what you do, and it’s just going to be more of the same. Whereas 10 x is a new identity. It’s like equivalent from going to iPod to iPhone. These are very different things with very different possibilities. It’s like going from horse and buggy to car, going from crawling to
Kristen Boss (16:45): Walking. I was just going to say, I feel like two X is optimizing, whereas 10 X is innovating.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (16:52): It is. It’s innovating and transforming.
Kristen Boss (16:53): Correct. And I was just thinking another large corporate example that everyone would know of is Blockbuster, Netflix. Exactly. Netflix was in the future of streaming.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (17:03): And then Oh, yeah, exactly.
Kristen Boss (17:05): That’s a beautiful example then. Yeah, and they went bankrupt and they even had the opportunity to buy Netflix for, I think it was, what was it, $50 million? And they’re like, nah. And then they came out with their D V D by mail, but Netflix was already, we’re going here, we’re streaming. And then just shortly after 2009, blockbuster.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (17:23): So that’s the reflection of the qualitative change that now leads to infinite quantitative potential.
Kristen Boss (17:27): Yes, precisely. And so another example of this, your future self being used as a decision filter. I know for me that was how I had my quantum leaps where people are like, oh, you kind of came out of nowhere, a lot of overnight success, and it was just a lot of struggle until I decided to actually, and I didn’t know it at the time. I stopped playing the two x role and was like, I’m going to play 10 x. And I went away in the mountains and I created this in my mind, I wrote down what would this crazy version of my future self look like? I’m like, okay, I have a published book, I have a podcast. I have a program with thousands and thousands of students. At that time, I had zero students, I had nothing, and it was so outlandish to me, but I was like, okay.
Kristen Boss (18:15): And then I took that version and I got to know that person. I’m like, okay, well how does that person view? Would that person tell me to go download free things from everybody and piece it together on my own? Or would that person say, oh, look at where we’re going. Why wouldn’t you invest and work with a mentor so that you can go there faster? So it was an investment decision filter. It was like a positioning filter. Okay, how does that person show up on social media? And I remember when I hadn’t even made a dime and the most outrageous income I could possibly wrap my mind around at the time was 20 K a month because a million dollars. My brain had a really hard time picturing that, but 20 k I could start imagining. And so I wrote down what my day looked like, and I still have that note to this day.
Kristen Boss (19:02): What’s really funny is I think, oh, that person was so naive, but I showed up differently. It informed my decisions. I’m like, okay, this person puts their hair ready, their makeup done, so that they can develop content on a whim. As soon as it comes to them, they’re ready. They’re ready for sales calls. I remember wearing heels under my desk when I was creating content just to sit with that future self of that person wears heels, that person dress up, that person shows up for the job. And it happened six months from when I decided to create my future self. Then it was a 200 K income is what happened that fast. So we’re talking like this idea of quantum leaps. It informs your decision making. And what was really validating about your book was I realized that these were some practices I do in my business where, for example, if we have an event we’re doing and we’re like, okay, what’s the target of how many people we want to bring in? And we’re like, okay, the target is 200 and I can sit there and solve for 200, but I don’t get very creative. What we do is we’re like, okay, now solve for a thousand. And my brain comes up with completely different solutions and I come up with ideas I never would’ve thought of if I was actually solving for the target. And because of that, we’ve never missed a target because we always solve above and beyond. And it’s like, okay, but I wouldn’t have those ideas had I not gone into the 10 x thinking, right?
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (20:27): So that’s exactly right. That’s why you want the future to be a filter. So in your case, solving for a thousand is a much better filter than solving for 200 because to get a thousand, you can’t do exactly the same thing as to get to 200. And so that’s the main idea, is it gets you out of what you were doing before and it helps you find the few things that really, really matter. It gets you strategizing in a different way. And so that’s really how you want to operate in time is you want that honestly. You want an impossible goal. You want an impossible future self because only once you believe it to be impossible will you stop operating from the assumptions of your past, and then you’ll start strategizing like you just did for the thousands in your case, whatever it is, making the goal impossible forces you to ask the hard questions.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (21:13): If we were to get a thousand people to this event, how the heck would we do it? You start having to figure out and find new opportunities or solutions that are different from what you were doing before. I think it’s really important that we do discuss the stripping away of the 80% and what that process feels like and what it looks like. Let’s talk about it. So again, taking the time to identify and clarify whatever your 10 x is for you, 10 x being whatever is your next level, whatever that quantum leap is, and it’s going to be personal to you. For me, back when I was getting into a PhD program was a 10 x for me, and that took a lot of focus and letting go of a lot of things. But then from there, it was not just like become a professor, actually, I wanted become a professional author. And so again, you got to kind of get connected to your future self and then you want to make it 10 x and 10 x doesn’t always have to be in numerics, although it can for me, getting a massive book deal and being able to provide for my kids and becoming a professional author was a 10 x. And so I think just getting really connected to what you most want
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (22:15): And not needing to have people agree with it or validate it. Like me as an example, just being transparent and honest. I am not writing any more books with Dan, even though it was phenomenal and it was amazing. It went from 10 x for me to two x, meaning it stopped having that huge 10 x upside. And if I’m always letting the next level future dictate what I do in the present, then that sometimes means filtering out some of the best of what got you here. And so now I’m just using myself as an example. But then we can talk about just dropping the 80% and doing that bit by bit. Sometimes. By the way, an impossible goal can be letting go of something that you feel is impossible to let go of. Oh, preach been there. There’s certain things where you don’t think you can let it go. It might be an addiction. That might be something that’s being filtered out by your future self, but it might be certain like a job or a relationship
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (23:13): When you’re letting your future be a filter and it’s a really high filter, a lot of what got you here won’t get you there. So even me writing books with Dan did get filtered out, and now I’m becoming a lot more honest about the future that I want, and it’s forcing me to say no to really cool things. And it can be scary because the tendency over time, so the 80% of your life right now that the 10 x filter disagrees with, basically it’s just these are the things that you’re doing right now that won’t get you to your goal anymore. If the goal is that high, those are the things that you maintain because you do know how to do them well. They’re the things that you’ve invested a lot into. That’s why it becomes such a big part of your identity is you’ve put a lot into this.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (24:01): You’ve gotten really good at this. Maybe you’ve built a business into this, maybe you’ve really invested in this relationship or it’s just your current coping mechanism. It’s just your habits. It might just be part of your daily process that it could be social media, it could be certain friends, it could be certain habits. A lot of that’s, or honestly just where’s places where you’re spending your time. In my case, writing books with Dan or writing my books with other people. I mean, one of the things that’s getting filtered out for me as I’m being a lot more honest with my future self is I was going to jump into another collaboration, but as I’m being a lot more honest with myself, I just decided, you know what? I’m not going to jump into any collaboration unless it’s life changing. And instead I’m just going to write the next series. It’s just going to be my own books. But that’s requiring me to actually say no to some really cool opportunities right now.
Kristen Boss (24:50): Usually it does.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (24:52): Yeah. So that’s part of the 80% you got to let go of. But I think one thing that’s really important with this is that you want to have massive empathy and compassion towards your past self because your past self isn’t you. There’s no reason to be mad at your past self. You want to be really grateful for your past self, even if there’s many aspects of your life now that are different and that you would not do things the same way. Well, the same is true of your present self because your present self, large parts of it are going to be filtered out. And so you’re letting your future self dictate the present. And a lot of your present life, your present habits, your present attachments are going to go. And so a big part of it is that this is a big part of psychological flexibility is that you want to be really compassionate and flexible with your current self.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (25:35): You don’t need to be a robot and you don’t need to get rid of it all at once. But I love the quote, all progress starts by telling the truth. And so if you have trusted people, say a mentor, coach, teacher, or just close friends, one thing that I have found is just telling them these are some of the things that I know I’m going to need to let go of at some point in time. It could be an unhealthy habit, it could be this business opportunity that’s hard for me to say no to. Or even as an example, one of the things that I’m filtering out, which is tough is my coaching program that I’ve had for four years that makes up 70% of my income that’s going away at the end of this year.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (26:11): And so literally 70% of my income is going away. And I’m like, I still don’t have the answer yet of how I’m going to replace that, or I know where I want to go deep on my new 20% so that I can go big. But it forces you to deal with some hard questions. But I think the beauty is you don’t have to get rid of it all at once. You do it in phases. I can even say this week, I’ve let go of certain things that I felt were impossible to let go of, and I’m now learning how to adapt to less but better.
Kristen Boss (26:45): Oh my gosh, thanks for being vulnerable and transparent about that because I think my audience, some of them have been in entrepreneurship for a long time. Some are just getting started, and I think there can be this story they start to believe of when I get there, I won’t have to do this again. And it is,
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (27:04): It never stops,
Kristen Boss (27:05): Never stops. If you’re
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (27:06): Going to let the future be the filter for the present, it never stops.
Kristen Boss (27:10): It never stops. And I think now, okay, now I’m going to throw doozy at you. Okay, we’re going to let
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (27:16): Throw some serious doozies. Let’s go
Kristen Boss (27:18): Hardcore. Go wherever you want. Let’s go hardcore. Okay. Go to the future, live with your future self. Let that be the decision filter. But how do we not let the future self throw us into the gap? Now, I’m going to give a little context to my audience if they haven’t read the gap in the game, and this is often when you tend to look at where you are going and where you are now, and you see the massiveness of that gap and it doesn’t become empowering. It becomes discouraging. You’re like, oh my God, but look at how so far I have to go. And it becomes defeat. And we tend to look back. We don’t look back and look at our gains. So how do we love and really have that future self inform us without it throwing us in the gap and us being in this place of how and the panic and the, I’m going to call it the lack and the scarcity of the, I have not yet gotten there.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (28:11): So this is where things get really interesting and fun is that, as I said, you and I are only living in the present, not but sorry. The past, present and future are all occurring psychologically for us right now.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (28:28): What I mean by that is that you’re always carrying your past with you and you’re always carrying your future with you. And those things are informing who you are and how you’re operating. They’re informing what you’re filtering for what you’re noticing what you see. And so the beauty is that we have such power as human beings to continuously transform and reframe and honestly improve upon our past. And this is a key thing in psychology that it’s not the past that determines the present. It’s actually the present that determines the past.
Kristen Boss (28:57): Yes,
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (28:58): Psychologically it’s the present that always determines and shapes the meaning of the past.
Kristen Boss (29:02): Yes.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (29:03): And so when we’re talking about getting connected to your future self and using that as an amazing tool, you’re doing that in the present.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (29:14): And so getting connected to your future self and then using your future self as the filter for operating in the present is simply a tool for operating powerfully in the present and for letting go of things that no longer fit that filter. So you’re doing that in the present, but also continuously you are letting the present dictate the meaning of the past. And so in the present, you can continuously see and appreciate and value your gains or your growth, which is what I was talking about earlier, that you’re not the same person as your past self and you recognize and you appreciate that
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (29:46): You still do have massive goals and you want those goals, but you’re continuously referencing and appreciating in the present how different you are from your past and how great that past is and how far you’ve come. And that’s now the past you’re bringing with you in the present. And so living well in the present means you have a past that you appreciate, that you value even the hard things and that you’re continuously recognizing and appreciating how much you’re growing from it, but you’re also utilizing it as a tool, but you’re also have an amazing future that’s helping you be intentional, be thoughtful. And so I just think it’s important to realize that you can be massively connected to your future self and let your future self be the operating system for who you’re being right now and also for the choices you make. Oh, I really, really want to be healthy. Okay, well then do I eat the donut or do I not?
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (30:37): Sometimes you do if you’re in the situation where you want to have fun, but you’re letting your future self help you make some decisions both mundane and big. Do I stop this? Yeah. So you let the future self help you in the present, be powerful, be bold, or even just be thoughtful. What kind of relationship do I want to have with my kids? So you can do both. You can let your future self be your operating system while at the same time you’re always living in the gain. You’re always seeing the difference between your current self and your past self. You’re always taking the time to appreciate your progress. And I would say over time, your progress becomes monumental. Where honestly, even if I’m just looking at September or if even I’m just looking at the last five days, the amount of transformation is insane
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (31:26): To where I was even a week ago. It’s shocking. Some of the things I’ve let go of. Like I said, I’ve let go of some things that I thought were impossible, but I’ve also changed certain things that my past self would’ve not thought were possible. So I think it’s beautiful to continuously use the future in the present and in the present, continuously reshape the past.
Kristen Boss (31:43): Oh, that’s so good. I feel like I’m catching you at the golden time when you’re like, oh, I’m doing my own. I’m following my own 10 X right now, letting go of my 80%. And there have been multiple times in my business where I’ve let go of my 80% and I think it’s like I’m coming up on another season of that. But to touch on appreciating growth and the gains, I was actually just talking with my therapist yesterday and there was a situation that happened in my company and that required me to go full c e o. At the end of it, I told my therapist, I was like, wait, hold on, hold on. I just want to take a moment and acknowledge my growth because in this instance, had this happened a year ago, I would’ve been spiraling and a mess for five days. I wouldn’t have been able to function. My nervous system would’ve been so dysregulated, my husband would’ve been like, oh, it was a mess. And I was like, do you know how long I was dysregulated? Five minutes. And then I got work, and I’m like, to me, that was,
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (32:41): That to me is what I call massive increase in psychological flexibility.
Kristen Boss (32:44): Yes, that was precisely what it is. And to me, you’re
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (32:47): Way more flexible.
Kristen Boss (32:49): And to me, I was just like, oh, that was an amazing game for me to see. And I’ll never forget, I was meeting with a friend, he consults my company and he sold his recently for a hundred million, and he had a $40 million a year company just really, really gifted at what he did. And he told me something where I was just giving him some of my c e o woes where I’m like, oh, I didn’t want to be a C E O. I just want to be a coach, and how did this happen? And I have a company. And he’s like, okay, you have a company. This is amazing. But he’s like, I’m going to give, you have two options, Kristen. And he said, one, you lower your goal, you lower the standard for yourself. And for me, who was a hardcore achiever, I was like, that is terrible.
Kristen Boss (33:29): No, will not take that. He’s like, or two, he’s like, you have to increase your tolerance for pain, which is really psychological flexibility. And he’s like, you’re going to have to increase your tolerance for emotional and mental pain and stretching. And I had to sit with that for days and I’m like, oh, signing myself up for being willing to be stretched, emotionally stretched mentally, or lowering my standard for myself. Both don’t really sound very palatable to me. However, I do know that eventually what is incredibly uncomfortable to me now will become a new comfortable to me later. And so we have to just opting into that of just opting in for discomfort on purpose. And that’s really I think why people fall into the two X and don’t live the 10 x life because they look at the price of 10 x and they’re like, Nope, nope.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (34:26): Yeah. And the price is fundamentally psychological, which is why we’re talking about identity. There’s a lot of psychological pain, mostly due to letting go of your attachments of your past self and comforts and also learning in general. It doesn’t necessarily have to be painful, but it feels painful when your brain is making new connections. Even just that overwhelming filming is literally your brain transforming and developing those new connections. If you’re thinking about being in a hard math class or something, and honestly, you don’t get it. Your brain is forming new connections and that’s what it feels like. But I think that one thing that I would say is that maybe you don’t want to be the ceo, and maybe you’d be best, maybe the 10 x move for you would be actually hiring the C E O, right? Dang, seriously.
Kristen Boss (35:10): Dang. I to say that you had to say that
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (35:13): Rather than you going through the, I didn’t
Kristen Boss (35:14): Want confirmation today,
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (35:16): Rather than having the pain of putting yourself through a role that you don’t want, right? No, seriously. There’s a company. So one of the things I do these days quite a bit is I advise and honestly train companies that are doing over a hundred million to get to a billion sometimes. I actually am coaching a few CEOs and stuff that are on billion dollar companies, but there’s one who is one of the fastest 10 x thinkers. I know this is a company that five years ago, even four, four years ago, they were at 5 million in revenue four years ago.
Kristen Boss (35:45): Oh my gosh. So
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (35:46): This was in 2019.
Kristen Boss (35:47): Yep.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (35:48): In 2019, they were at 5 million in revenue. Now they’re at over a hundred. And the c e o who got them there, he came in right around that time and just really exponential. But he now wants to get to a billion in two years. And one of the things that hit him hard, and I think that this is one really important point, is that if you’re letting the future be the filter, the filter is very different now, for the company to go from a billion, the filter now is a billion and they’re at a hundred million, and it can’t be the same filter that got them here.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (36:20): To get to a hundred million from the 5 million was a different filter. Now it’s a totally different filter. And what he realized, and this shows me his psychological flexibility is he’s saying, you know what? I might not be the c o that gets us to get us to a billion, see, because he’s just being honest that he might be, but he’s also open to the idea. So this shows me psychological flexibility. And his part is that he doesn’t have to be, if the future’s the filter, he might be open to the fact that if they did get a better c e o, someone who’s already done that before or someone who can do that, not that he can’t, but he’s open to the idea that it might not be him, and he’s someone who was in that role and loved that role. And so I just think who not how is really powerful. And I think we instill a lot of pain upon ourselves unnecessarily
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (37:10): By being a who that isn’t the who instead of you do the role that you would love and that fits with your future self rather than forcing yourself into something you don’t want. Now, if this is the role that is part of the transformation of you becoming your desired future self, that’s different. I mean, definitely even just to write that book, there was a lot of psychological pain to swim that deep and to honestly write a book at that standard, the standard of that book was much higher than the standard. And back to the idea of identity, it’s story and standard. So yeah, I dunno, my only in my initial gut just listening to you is you might not be that who, and rather than trying to force yourself to be, maybe you go deeper into your own 20% and get a c E O, that’s way better than you
Kristen Boss (37:59): There would be.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (37:59): You know what I mean? Yeah. Get a CEO O, that’s way better. And you go deeper into your own mastery. You go deeper into your own superpower, which may not be being in that role.
Kristen Boss (38:08): Well, it’s the idea of in the 10 x, are you willing to fire yourself from that role? Are you willing to let that go and fire myself in order to hire somebody that’s better at me than this? And I’ve done this in almost every role in my company, just for our entrepreneurs that are starting out. If you’re like, but I’m not a C E O. I can’t fire myself as a CEO and hire, the very first person I fired was myself with social media and I hired somebody to actually, no, I fired. I fired myself.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (38:40): Every time you hire someone else, you’re firing yourself from something, you’re
Kristen Boss (38:43): Yourself. That’s exactly it, which is really outsourcing, but it’s like, and when we’re talking about honoring our past self, and this ties in so nicely is like I have to show a lot of compassion for the girl who was so broke, so scared and was like, I call her bootstrap boss, who is bootstrapping everything, just scrounging and scrapping and she could make it happen. And I haven’t needed bootstrap boss for years. And I remember they’re getting to a point where I had to, I wrote her a letter and I thanked her. I was like, thank you. You got me here. I’m really proud of you. You got us through a time when we built a business
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (39:19): That’s a beautiful past by the way to carry, right?
Kristen Boss (39:21): And I’m like a
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (39:21): Beautiful frame. It’s a beautiful frame.
Kristen Boss (39:23): I thanked her. I was like, oh my gosh, you got us through a season where your husband was unemployed. You held two jobs, you raised two kids under two. You were so scrappy. You did it. You made it happen. And I had to tell her she could rest. I’m like, you can rest now. We’re doing something different now. Thank you so for how hard you fought. But I think sometimes she likes to sneak back up and be like, oh, it’s me. I can bootstrap this. And I’m like, no, but we’re doing it different now. So it’s like we tend to want to bootstrap in our own companies too. And so I’m getting there as well with this idea of I can do C E o, I can be a great c e O, but is it, I didn’t get up out of bed one day and say, what sounds really good? Do you know what I really want is I want to run a company? No. So I’m in that, oh gosh, of course this has turned into my own coaching session being like, oh, I’m seeing my 80% thanks, Ben.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (40:16): I mean, I think it’s really good to catch, I mean, it’s really good to catch when your old self comes back and starts trying to drive the ship again and their old tendencies and their old views and their old attachments and stuff like that. And that’s when you’re essentially triggered and you’re kind of scared or nervous, and so you’re reverting back to your old ways rather than letting the future rising to the future self and letting the future and making the decisions that your future self would make, which are going to be very different. And to the idea going for a thousand versus 200, very different strategy, very different identity, going for a thousand to your event. Just using that as another analogy, it requires again and making massive decisions. But even me, and I think that this is part of the mastery of the past is celebrating your past self and where they were at, but also acknowledging where you would do things, where you are now doing things differently.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (41:08): You’ve, as an example, having a five minute refractory period versus a five day refractory period in terms of emotional instability. So recognizing the difference, and I think celebrating that difference, when you recognize and appreciate that difference, that’s what’s called integration. And so when you sleep, those differences become even more pronounced and you really are evolving faster. But I’ll just give an example of myself. So when I left the collaboration, Dan, I thought I would just jump fairly quickly into the next collaboration, but I decided not to do that. That’s what my past self would’ve done out of a need for security.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (41:45): And that’s really what the 80% is, is a need for security and safety versus exposing yourself kind of like a crab, going from one shell to the next. You have to expose yourself to the elements and expose yourself to not having all the answers. That’s part of letting go of old assumptions and pursuing the next level of impossible goals is you actually don’t know the answers and you don’t need to quickly jump into the next shell that you find to protect yourself emotionally from exposing yourself and from learning and from growth. And so there’s a quote that I really love from Aristotle where he said that nature pours a vacuum, and so the vacuum is empty space. Nature doesn’t like that. It’s going to fill that space with, if you’ve got five minutes, it’s going to fill it with social media or some form of distraction rather than just keeping it empty and just dealing with the emptiness.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (42:35): And so what I have found in myself is in the past, I would’ve quickly jumped to security, whereas now I’m a lot more comfortable staying in that vacuum, and that’s stretching me massively, which is flexibility. I’m becoming a lot more stretched. And that fits with what you were saying, which is what used to be really uncomfortable to you, and now you’re very comfortable with what used to be a heavy load for you now you can easily bear. And so you become a lot stronger and a lot more capable and a lot, you’re a lot more anti-fragile versus your former self being a lot more fragile. They couldn’t have handled it. It would’ve shattered them, it would’ve broken them.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (43:16): So I think it’s really good and powerful to watch yourself do things from your future self and to not let the reactive, your old former self get freaked out by the new situation, but also to make non-linear decisions to make decisions that are really wise and different from what you used to would’ve done in the past, and to apply new perspectives, new filters, new insight. Even as an example, one of the things like even me in certain situations, even if I’m potentially thinking about being in a collaboration with someone, I would go into some of those situations and try to negotiate for myself and then saying, what am I doing? I should probably just get a who for this, right? They go, I’m setting myself up for disaster here. And so quickly filtering my own self and saying, okay, I’m going to apply a higher principle here. So I think you get better and better at it.
Kristen Boss (44:13): Yeah. I was even going to say just, and as you move into this stretching space, one of the things I noticed is that with, and you talked about a little bit in your book, and we’ll wrap it up with this, but this concept of when you’re playing 10 x, the level of thinking you’re doing, it requires a much higher level of thinking. It’s like you’re solving for higher math problems. You’re going from algebra to calculus. And so I’ve noticed the cognitive load increases when you play at that level, and therefore the recovery has to match the cognitive load. For me, I was very naive when I got into entrepreneurship where I was just like, oh, when I scale it to millions and all these things, I’m not going to be working very much. Oh, that was so naive. It was more like, yes, but also the cognitive load. I have to have way more rest days built in around the mental gymnastics I’m doing solving at a higher level. Would you agree with that as well? Being like, okay, we got to have those recovery days. You talk about that in your book too, about 150 free days.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (45:22): Yeah, I think so. I think that we, because we’re so adapting to what we’re doing, we don’t realize that the things we’re doing, like the complexity and the challenges that we’re taking on are our past self would’ve been destroyed under that weight. And so yeah, to go 10 x, you’re solving much deeper, bigger problems, and it’s about quality, quality, not quantity. And so I think a lot about the difference between cheap flow and deep flow. And cheap flow is about doing a lot, knocking off 50 things on your to-do list, but ultimately making no progress. You’re busy but not productive. You’re focused on effort rather than true progress. And deep flow is very different. It’s transformation. I mean, that’s really what progress is. That’s what focus is, is you can know you were focused if you transformed, not because you sat and did something for 10 hours, you could be doing something for 10 hours but not really have accomplished anything.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (46:19): And so going deeper definitely does require more transformation, and a lot of that transformation does happen while you’re in a recovery state. It’s really about getting to higher and higher levels of mastery and performance. So yeah, rather, again, back to cheap flow. Cheap flow is about how much you can accomplish in a day, whereas deep flow is how much can you accomplish in a year, or those two things are very different. Rather than trying to do 50 things in one day, if you start thinking about what are one or two big things I can do this year,
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (46:47): It really changes how you start designing your months and your weeks and on a weekly basis, you start really designing holistically. You design systematically such that maybe this week or even this month, this month, if we’re really just trying to accomplish one or two massive things that have huge impact, maybe that we probably should take a week off
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (47:05): This month, there should be a recovery week this month, a recovery week, this month.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (47:13): When you’re designing your weeks, it’s like, well, maybe given that I may go really deep for two days, there probably should be a recovery day or two in there. And what people underestimate, number one, the value of recovery for you being in flow, there’s so much research on this that if you unplug and take that time off, then when you go back in, you can go deeper than you went before. And if you never do that, then you actually don’t know what it means to go in deep flow. You are operating in cheap flow.
Kristen Boss (47:40): Yes.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (47:41): And so when you take the time away and you catch your breath and you recover, your muscles just get a lot stronger, your lung capacity gets stronger. Just using the water analogy, you can go deeper and deeper and deeper, and you’re experiencing more capacity, but you won’t get more capacity if you’re not taking the rest and recovery and if your rest and recovery doesn’t become as powerful. But also the thing that people underestimate with taking time off is that that’s often where the transformation occurs. That’s where the ideas gel, and you get that aha moment. There’s a lot of research now on sleep that when you’re sleeping, that’s really when your brain’s transforming and when your identity, your new identity is forming. But if you’re not getting that deep sleep, no matter how much you’re grinding, you’re not transforming as much as you could be. And so designing recovery time and time off, even if it’s that week off or even maybe a few times a year, you take a month off, you’ll be shocked at how much that does for the time when you are focused, but also while you’re away, you’ll be shocked at how holistic your whole thing transforms and changes as well.
Kristen Boss (48:46): It’s true. I took an eight week sabbatical this summer totally away from my business, and it was like a test of our systems, a test of our team, a test of like, Hey, how well is our company running? It was a amazing, beautiful test, and even my C o O was even able to take two weeks off the same time I was gone. So the fact that we were huge, we were like, how good are our systems? We won’t know unless I leave. And so we had done small tests like five days a week, but we’re like, let’s go eight weeks and see how it goes. And it was great. So my team was getting that, and it built belief in my team. My team was like, wow, she trusts us to run this without her. So it improved morale. It showed us where we needed to clean up some things. I had so much rest. I was in our mountain home over the summer. I was outside hours every day, walking every day. And what it did for my mental health, what it did for my rest, my recovery, the ideas I had getting back,
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (49:37): I bet your whole vision was different when you
Kristen Boss (49:39): Came back. Oh, the perspective. It was shocking. And I think that’s when I started realizing the CEO role. When I came back to the c e O role, I was like, oh, we might have to revisit this. Where I never would have thought that had I never left and come back and had my own kind of systemic shock, like reentering as a C E O, and I was like, oh, no. So yeah. Yeah,
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (50:05): They actually call it reverse culture, which is actually a good thing to experience when you go out, have a peak experience, and then you come back to your old shell, you don’t fit in anymore. And
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (50:14): I mean, I had that experience when I served a mission for a few years. I came back and I was a fundamentally different person, but all my family and my high school friends talked to me like I was the same person. And I’m like, okay. It was reverse culture shock, and I knew I didn’t fit in that old shell. And so I think sometimes when you go out and recover, I did something similar. I was gone for six weeks in Europe last year, and that’s actually, I was in Italy and stuff, and it totally influenced and shaped the book that I ended up writing. 10 x is easier than two x, but when I came back, I had this fresh energy, this fresh slate, and then I came back and you can see it with new eyes. And so then that’s usually when you get the big strategic shifts, the big vision shifts that end up really helping the quantum leaps. Whereas if you don’t do that, you’re kind of just grinding faster. You’re low on energy, but also you’re low on creativity, and so you’re just grinding, grinding, grinding rather than taking the breaks continuously transforming and evolving the direction.
Kristen Boss (51:12): Yeah. So good. Dr. Benjamin Hardy, this was the best conversation. My people are probably going to listen to this on replay several times, and you asked this just amazing question in the book that I’m just going to leave the audience with is, are you living exponentially or are you living linearly? And too many of us, too many people are out there playing safe, playing small thinking linearly, and we want to invite you and challenge you into living exponentially. So where can my people find you if they want to learn more about you and just get more of your goodness, because there’s a lot out there.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (51:46): Awesome. I will say operating linearly is a false assumption of time. Truly, it’s letting the present dictate the future rather than letting the future dictate the present. It’s also letting the past dictate the, it’s also letting the past dictate the present when you want the present to dictate the past. So it’s just really a false operating system going from a linear mode. Whereas if you’re letting the future self shape the present, of course it’s going to be exponential. So I just love that question. Thank you for doing that. Are you operating linear or exponentially? Benjamin hardy.com is my website, benjamin hardy.com. Obviously check out the book. The audio book has three hours of bonus interviews between me and Dan Sullivan.
Kristen Boss (52:24): Love it.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy (52:25): And I would just say YouTube if you just type in Benjamin Hardy or Dr. Benjamin Hardy, that’s kind of where I’ve been kind of playing these days.
Kristen Boss (52:32): I love it. Alright, friends, we’re going to put all of that in the show notes. Thank you again so much for joining us. This was a total blast. That’s a wrap for today’s episode. Listen, if you love what you heard here today, I would love for you to leave a real quick rating and a review. This helps the show get discovered by new people. Be sure to take a screenshot of today’s episode and shout us out on Instagram. We’ll shout you right back out. If you’d like to find additional resources or discover how to work with me, head to www.kristenboss.com starts right.