James Swanwick: Creating Accountability, Affirming the Truth vs. Becoming Delusional, and Tailoring Communication Styles

Spread Great Ideas
Spread Great Ideas
James Swanwick: Creating Accountability, Affirming the Truth vs. Becoming Delusional, and Tailoring Communication Styles
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James Swanwick Podcast CoverJames Swanwick is an Australian-American entrepreneur who owns three successful businesses all designed to help people improve their lives, a former ESPN Sportscenter anchor, a fascinating conversationalist, and a well-rounded self-made man with a big heart.  

Our chat ran the gamut. We covered relationships, politics (including Trump!), business, philosophy, self-help courses we recommend (and those we don’t), our thoughts on living in California and Bali, the best ways we’ve found for creating accountability, affirming the truth vs. becoming delusional, how to tailor your communication style for men and women, people’s quest for identity in a post-religious world, and what is (and isn’t) your responsibility.

This was a really fun, wide-ranging discussion.

Favorite Quote:

“I’m trying to avoid the pain of mediocrity, which is the most painful thing for me ever…I have an absolute disdain for knowing what I could be and am not.”

James’ Links:

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Transcript:

James Swanwick 0:30
Hello, everyone. I am James Swanwick from the James Swanwick show, and this is…

Brian Crane 0:38
Brian David Crane from Spread Great Ideas.

James Swanwick 0:41
There you go. We’re actually co-hosting each other’s podcasts today. So Brian’s listening and going, “What the hell was that weird Australian voice; who just introduced me?” So we are sitting in Ubud in Bali, at the moment, Brian and I. We’re sitting in Brian’s… What do you call this place?

Brian Crane 0:58
It’s like an office.

James Swanwick 0:59
It’s an office!

Brian Crane 1:00
It’s a proper office.

James Swanwick 1:03
But it’s really a villa. I mean, we’re looking out of the window. It’s about 4:07 in the afternoon, and there are paddy fields, I see a local Balinese man, that’s… what looks like palm trees. You have this beautiful waterfall or fountain here. I mean, it’s kind of like a paradise here at the moment, but let me introduce you to my listeners and then you can introduce me to yours; I’ve kind of hijacked your podcast. So yeah, Brian David Crane has been a great mate of mine for probably about seven or eight years now, I think and we met through a business mastermind group that we are in. And Brian likes to think of himself as an aspiring polymath, which is a word that I just discovered just before we hit record, actually, and that’s someone who wants to be knowledgeable or is knowledgeable in multiple areas, and not just a jack of all trades, but someone who actually goes deep in those areas. Is that right?

Brian Crane 1:55
And that’s why I said aspiring because I don’t necessarily think I am, I just would like to be.

James Swanwick 2:00
I see. Well, we’ll let my listeners be the judge of that.

Brian Crane 2:02
Sounds good.

James Swanwick 2:04
So Brian is actually very knowledgeable in history, philosophy, ethics, psychology, digital marketing. He’s a digital entrepreneur, lifestyle design. He’s 37. He’s from a small town in Tennessee. But now living between where we are now in Bali, and a little bit in the states and a few months of the year in Europe as well. He’s traveled to 40 something countries. He was a self made millionaire by the age of 30 by launching ecommerce brands. He currently has a software company, a clothing company, his podcast, of course if you’re listening to his podcast now is Spread Great Ideas. And he’s kind of like the character Red in the movie Shawshank Redemption. He’s kind of like the guy who knows how to get you things. You know the character played by Morgan Freeman in the prison and Morgan Freeman is always the go-to guy when people want to like, sneak things into the prison? And Tim – is it Tim Robbins, that actor?

Brian Crane 3:01
Yeah.

James Swanwick 3:02
Tim Robbins goes, “I hear you’re a man who knows how to get things.” And he ends up getting him a Rita Hayworth poster and like a little rock, rock hammer and things like that. You’re that guy to me. You are ready, because every time I come to Bali, I’m like, “Hey, I need a masseuse.” You’re like, “Yeah, go to this guy.” “Hey, I need some green juice.” “Yeah, go here.” “Hey, I need to find a gym.” “Yeah, here.” “Hey, I need to go to a naked sauna.” And today, we’re gonna just be having a friendly chat talking about a whole lot of things to do with lifestyle, design, business. We’ll throw in a little bit of controversy. We’ll talk about Donald Trump.

Brian Crane 3:22
Yeah, relationships, probably a little bit.

James Swanwick 3:39
Relationships a little bit. And I just couldn’t be happier to be here in Bali with you. Brian is someone I’ve known for, like I said, seven or eight years and this is gonna be really fun. So there’s my introduction to you.

Brian Crane 3:51
I mean, that was an amazing introduction. Yeah, it’s gonna be hard to follow on to that one. Well, first and foremost, one of the reasons is gonna be hard to follow is because you were a sports center anchor on ESPN. So you’re used to presenting other people. And you certainly have the tone of voice and the animation to do it. That was super impressive. James nowadays has a couple businesses both centered around wellness and essentially making people feel better and be healthier. One is around how to quit alcohol. It’s called 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge. The other one is Swannie Sleepwear. I think that name is correct. It’s sleep glasses and other accessories that go along with ensuring somebody has a good night’s sleep. Your journey into the states; you’re originally born in Brisbane or outside of Brisbane in Australia, but have become a naturalized American citizen and the path through doing that took you… I think to New York, to LA, to Oklahoma City, to quite a few different places and one does not want to get in the way of James Swanwick when he focuses on a goal because he’s very, he’s very like gonna bust through walls and break through windows to get there. And I think the US is better off for having you. And…

James Swanwick 5:12
Thank you.

Brian Crane 5:12
Yeah, it’s funny that I say that because we’re both somewhat, like you said, nomadic, but also somewhat expats. Because you’re an expat of Australia, but also somewhat of an expat of the States because you’re not in the States year round either. And, like you said, I am not necessarily in the US more than about three months out of the year. So… yeah. And so while we’ve been here in Bali, a couple of the things that we’ve touched on, I think people would find interesting we talk a lot about relationships. James is looking to become a father; Ubud in one sense is a living laboratory of relationships. One thing that I have noticed here is I think if you picture AI and robots taking over and giving us so much free time, Ubud is somewhat like that and that you have people who sit around with essentially no demands on their time, psychoanalyzing themselves and psychoanalyzing others, and looking at their feelings and unpacking things left and right. And so, in one sense, that’s an amazing phenomenon, but in another I think you tend to see that without a bit of purpose. It can be very… again, it can lead into like, just like a self referential cycle that you never really break out of. I think you’ve met people like that here as well.

James Swanwick 6:33
Yeah, you go down a rabbit hole of it’s almost like narcissism I would call it, because you become so self obsessed that… it’s hard to get out of it.

Brian Crane 6:44
Yeah.

James Swanwick 6:44
And this environment here in Bali, and especially in Ubud, really fosters going inside and thinking about yourself and, and I think also, you know, when you’re not here and you’re elsewhere, like in the States or Australia, wherever you are, you do tend to numb yourself with other with other friends or Instagram or work whereas here the idea is to disconnect from that. And so when you do disconnect from that and you stop doing the things that you were doing back in your other life, there’s just you and your thoughts. And then this community here fosters, you really fosters, you being with your thoughts and going into workshops and… and not just thoughts; feelings as well, right?

For sure. Which that’s a beautiful thing. The challenge with it is, is that it’s wrapped in spiritual jargon and spiritual lingo, which makes it very hard to say stop. There’s like no point at which you go, “You’re acting tyrannical or you’re acting, you’re being narcissistic. And so you need to quit doing this.” Because, in some sense if you are working on yourself, or you are speaking your truth; I’m trying to think of some of the phrases that I’ve heard here. How do you contradict that? How do you like, and this is an open question to you is like, how do you say, “Okay, I’ve had enough of this,” or let me… let me not make it self referential, you’ve had enough of this. And now you need to go out into the world and actually put into effect some of the stuff that you’ve learned.

Yeah, because you can just be a knowledge junkie contrary, like going from workshop to workshop and, and thinking that you’re always broken, that you’re naturally broken, and that you somehow have to fix yourself. Whereas I believe that none of us are really broken, we’re just who we are. And we’re looking at ways to make ourselves better. But a lot of the teachings here I find, kind of reinforce this idea, like, there’s something wrong with you, and you need to fix it.

Brian Crane 8:45
And not only is there something wrong with you, but it’s something that happened when you were a child, and that you didn’t have any control over. And so therefore, it kind of perpetuates a victim mentality as well. It can.

James Swanwick 8:56
It can do, yeah. I think it’s too much of a generalization to say that it’s all like that. I mean, two years ago, I had a bit of a meltdown, existential midlife crisis, I guess you would call it, it was exactly two years ago now and stuff that I hadn’t dealt with, to do with my relationships with family, like my mother and father and my brother. Former romantic relationships, decisions I’d made, choices I made, they all kind of came to a head. And in the space of about eight weeks, I did a pretty famous self development program named Landmark Forum. So the Landmark Forum, which is the first level of it, and then I went straight into another self development program, three days later called ELC, Elevate Leadership Community, and I did that in… sorry, I did Landmark in New York City and then I flew over to the west coast and did ELC in Irvine, California. Then I went did the advanced version of Landmark in Los Angeles and then literally on the graduation night I got an Uber back to Irvine to begin the advanced of the next program of ELC the next day. So I was like, deep in it and I was crying in front of people and we’re doing these weird exercises where they’re making me bang a pillow and they’re making me have fake conversations with my mother and father and, and then… You know, it was brutal, like it was brutal, emotionally very draining. And I have to say, though, that as draining as that was, and it was hugely beneficial for me. Now, I can say that two years later, because I did resolve childhood, quote unquote trauma. I did, in some areas. And it also opened me up to be not such a, I don’t know if hard ass is the word or… I guess I wasn’t particularly empathetic. I’m more empathetic now. And that’s still an ongoing challenge that I have. So I have to say that that helped. That process was terrific. And I also knew when to get out. After those four seminars, I remember I went to the A1 Supermarket in Venice Beach the next day and I sat down, I was exhausted and drained. But I felt amazing. And I was like, I’m not doing any self development for like six months or a year. And so that felt right.

Brian Crane 11:19
And what led you into that? Was there… what happened right before the start of this, these four classes or these four seminars or four events?

James Swanwick 11:31
Yeah, well, I think there was stuff that I’d been suppressing and not dealing with most of my adult life. And then around that time, I ended a romantic relationship. And that was really the catalyst for going into a deep despair, I guess. Well, I wouldn’t say that I was… Maybe deep despair is an exaggeration. I wasn’t, I didn’t… In hindsight, I don’t feel like I was suffering from depression. I just got very, very sad and I started questioning all my life choices, like I should have married this woman back in late 1990s. And I didn’t, now I’ve gone and traveled the world and been to 40 countries. And it was kind of like a sliding door thing: What would my life have been? And I was 42 at the time. And so I was doubling 42 to make 84. And I was thinking, I’m probably halfway through life, and all of a sudden you start getting existential. Who am I? What is the point of all this? What am I doing? And then the relationship breakup, even though it wasn’t devastating, it was a relationship breakup, but nevertheless, I did entertain the idea of having children with this woman. That ending kind of like, fueled the fire, so to speak, to then all of a sudden face all of my issues that I hadn’t been dealing with for many years. Have you ever experienced anything like that?

Brian Crane 12:46
Yeah, yeah, I’ve gone through dark, dark nights of the soul. I mean, and I’ve done the Landmark, not as much as you have and I through a couple of the other self development courses I’ve done, Source being the one that I remember the most, they do a lot of anger release therapy, which you talked about hitting pillows. I still swear by that one. I don’t know if it’s the same modality, but even here at my Villa, I put music on in the mornings kind of rage music – Tool, Pantera that sort of stuff – and get a pair of… I have a pair of like, poles, metal poles and get into the pool and just beat, like really get into like a sense of that anger that kind of can can can kind of stew and permeate. And I notice it because some mornings I wake up and I’ll be in a bit of a funk, or it just… I don’t know, like there’ll be something off and I know that I need to move it so I will always be thankful from… And the self development that I did was called Source and Source Seminars and it was intensive. 7-10 days, but the anger release therapy is one of the things they taught us there. And that was something that I really adore. And it’s actually something I wish more people did in Bali or in Ubud. And the reason is, is that I think there’s value in talk therapy, there’s value in exploring the emotional landscape, but and there’s also value in just physically getting stuff that is pent up, out of you. And that especially, maybe as as a guy, it’s more socially acceptable to do so. But I’ve had friends come over and get in the pool and we put on music and just do it as well. And it, there’s… it’s very cathartic in a way that I think talk therapy can’t be and yeah, I’d looked at buying a series of beanbags here and doing it at the villa and that didn’t happen for a variety reasons, but yeah, I’ve definitely gone down those paths. And I think you touched on something earlier when, at the end of the four self development workshops or intensives that you’ve done, you felt like you were done with it. And that’s, we have a mutual friend Mark Manson who’s written about kind of self help junkies versus insight and really self help junkies, it’s somebody who’s constantly doing these versus using self help as almost like, you take your car to the mechanic, you get the car fixed, and then you go on and keep driving it that you should look at it as much more like a mechanic and that you go in, you do some work on it. And the goal is not to keep going back to the mechanic all the time, right? That it’s like you need to basically do the tune up, you get fixed, to whatever degree you need to so that the car keeps functioning and then the car takes you where you needed to go. Right? It shouldn’t be consistently in the shop, always looking for, you know, whatever… pistons to be replaced, tires to be replaced, whatever, right? And I’m blending a couple different analogies there. But I do think that that’s something that I… That has been helpful for me in the anger therapy. But then also, and again, I’ll tie it kind of just back into Bali briefly, which is that people who are living here for too long, I find I don’t get along that well with them because they can… It’s almost like I get along better with people who come in, are here for a couple weeks, doing the tune up, and then leave because they’re kind of coming through with a purpose, as opposed to saying, “The only reason that I’m here is because I’m broken and I need to fix myself.” In a deeper way, right?

James Swanwick 16:42
Yeah.

Brian Crane 16:43
Because, and it’s something I’d love to get your thoughts on. I have a couple friends here who are life coaches. And one of the big things with life coaches is this belief, is to try to attack limiting beliefs and I was talking here in here in Bali, this is last with a friend of mine, who is a life coach, and saying that she helps people with limiting beliefs, and I said, “When do you ever decide that that person is fixed?” Right? Like, when does that person ever graduate from no longer needing to work on these limiting beliefs? And the answer was, I didn’t really know what the answer was, she didn’t really have one. She was kind of like that, you know, like, even me questioning whether or not there was an end to fixing limiting beliefs was a limiting belief. And I was like, but it’s a bit of a sleight of hand because it’s like, you never get out of this circle, right? It’s like impossible to ever say, Okay, cool. You got what you needed to now you need to go on with it. Right?

James Swanwick 17:36
Yeah.

Brian Crane 17:36
And so one of the hacks that I’ve used when I’ve met people here, and when it comes to them being life coaches, I tend to ask them, like, what is the format by which you coach people and the ones… I had a friend of mine who said, I say to somebody, you’ve got six sessions, they buy the six sessions, and at the end of six sessions, either I’ve helped you or I haven’t, but you, that’s the amount of time you get with me and I find that To be a much more honest way of dealing with people much more than where you get them into a coaching program that’s seemingly never ending and that you’re convincing them that there’s something deeply wrong with them consistently. And some people, there is some stuff that’s consistently deeply wrong with them. But there’s also if the incentives are such that they don’t ever want you to actually get out of being coached with them. And that ties back I’ll circle this back around to something you and I were talking about at dinner the other night, which is you and I have both signed up for coaching programs that are either expensive or they’re designed to have some negative penalties to get us to take action on things. Yeah, but we’d both done it for a period of time to hit a particular goal, and then we’ve stopped them.

James Swanwick 18:51
That’s right. Yeah, I mean, just to specify that: about in November of 2018, I enrolled in a program which charged $7500 a month to be in, specifically designed to help online entrepreneurs like myself to design and sell high ticket programs, which I do, I designed a high ticket program for my quit alcohol business. It’s called Project 90 and it’s helped about almost 100 people last year and it costs thousands of dollars to do it. Now I had that idea in my head for probably two years to build that program. Up until that point, I just had this, you know, standard program which was the 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge. It’s $67 you go online, you buy it, you get 30 videos, 67 bucks, you’re done. Right? And that had been very successful over the years, but I had imagined this higher ticket – by higher ticket, for those maybe listening who don’t know what that means, it just means like a higher priced program, more intensive, more coaching, one on one. And so I launched this $5,000 program and it did incredibly well last year in 2019. And the reason that I built it and I did it was because I was paying the $7500 a month. Now, truth be known, I don’t think I learned that much from the $7500 business mastermind that I was in. Not much more than what I already knew. But the fact that I was paying the $7500 every month and I knew what day my credit card was gonna get hit every month, it spurred me into action. And so I wrote a landing page, I actually got a salesperson, I got a coach, I built the damn thing. I started selling it. And a year and a bit later it, I mean, I have to say it was wildly successful because of the return on it, return on investment, I put in almost 100 grand and as it stands, you know, in 2019, it made me almost half a million dollars in revenue back. So that’s good… That’s good odds, right? It’s like 5:1 ROI. Yeah, and I could have done it on my own. But I hadn’t. And just like you listening you could do it, but you haven’t. So you can’t, until maybe like you have something that drives you and spurs you into action.

Brian Crane 21:14
Yep.

James Swanwick 21:14
And you’re you had a penalty. Right?

Brian Crane 21:16
I did have one. I had one at the end of the quarter, the end of the fourth quarter, which was I had to donate $1,000 to a politician that I really don’t like and that I had to publicly announce my support for that person. And whatever I can tell you, it was AOC. Who is…

James Swanwick 21:33
Explained who that is as well.

Brian Crane 21:34
Yeah. AOC is a… she’s a junior Congresswoman from the Bronx, or Queens. She’s from somewhere in one of the boroughs in New York. And in my opinion, strictly In my opinion, she’s just the quintessential “knows everything, doesn’t listen.” Very clever with sound bites. Not particularly well thought out or well thought of, but very good at social media, and highly convinced that she’s right and quite righteous in that conviction. So anyways, that’s a long way of saying I don’t particularly care for her, I really didn’t want to support her. And I’ve made a bet with a group of friends that was if I didn’t get a project launched – this podcast is part of that project – but if I didn’t get the product launched, by the end of the year, I had to donate to her and really do it publicly and say how much I liked her. And there was a whole script that was written and there was a point between Christmas and New Year’s when I flew back here and got back to my office and just shut the phone down for like two days and just worked because I was like, I do not want to do this. And I needed that penalty to basically push me to get me to do the things because I’ve been thinking about doing this for… yeah, a couple of years, like you were with your high ticket coaching program. And it was.. I needed it. Yeah, I needed it. And I think I will want to do another one for this first quarter, because it’s almost like you talked about that like, I know that I needed to do it even though like I can rationalize and be like, yeah, I didn’t actually really need to make that bet to make myself move, but I hadn’t moved yet. So therefore I needed the bet. So maybe I need to do another bet this quarter around some other stuff that I want to get done. And I don’t know what that bet is. So don’t put me on the spot. Because I know you had said you’re getting ready to sign back up for…

James Swanwick 23:29
I did yesterday!

Brian Crane 23:30
Okay.

James Swanwick 23:30
I enrolled in another program. Thankfully, it’s a bit more cost effective. It’s $2400 a month. But I…

Brian Crane 23:37
Still spendy. It’s still…

James Swanwick 23:39
It’s 30 grand a year. Yeah. So I enrolled yesterday into another program specifically designed to help me polish the existing program that did so well last year, in its first 12 months. So it’s so funny, as soon as I process my credit card yesterday, I was like, right, I’m zoned in and I’m like looking at the content that is delivered to me. I’m ready to have my onboarding call. I’m now thinking about my program again. Whereas the last couple months, I’ve been kind of, you know, I’ve been thinking about it, but not to the degree with as soon as that credit card was hit, I was like, Okay. And I’ve always said this, it’s a catchy little phrase, but when you pay you pay attention.

Brian Crane 24:21
For sure. Yeah.

James Swanwick 24:22
And likewise, it’s funny because human beings are either running towards pleasure, or reward, or they’re trying to avoid pain. And in your case with AOC, you’re trying to avoid pain.

Brian Crane 24:34
Yep.

James Swanwick 24:35
And for me, I’m also trying to avoid pain. I’m trying to avoid the pain of mediocrity.

Brian Crane 24:39
Yeah.

James Swanwick 24:39
Which is the most painful thing for me.

Brian Crane 24:41
Yeah.

James Swanwick 24:42
Ever.

Brian Crane 24:42
Yeah.

James Swanwick 24:43
I’m not sure what it says about my personality. But, I mean, I’m sure no one likes to be mediocre, but I just have this absolute disdain for knowing what I could be. And I’m not.

Brian Crane 24:56
Dude, there’s a famous quote from Jim Rohn, which is “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” I love that quote and it’s exactly what you’re talking about.

James Swanwick 25:16
Yeah, I love that as well and if you’re listening, what regret do you have about something you haven’t yet done but you know you want to do it but you just haven’t done it yet? Send me a DM on my Instagram which is at @jamesswanwick and send Brian… where can, Brian, where can your listeners to send you –

Brian Crane 25:32
Email me at [email protected]

James Swanwick 25:35
Yeah, email Brian at [email protected] and just tell us like, what’s a project or something in your life that you want to do, you know you can do it, but you haven’t. And maybe by paying or inflicting pain on yourself if you don’t do it.

Brian Crane 25:52
It could be public shame. That was part of it.

James Swanwick 25:53
Could be a public show.

Brian Crane 25:54
Yeah.

James Swanwick 25:55
I know that every month that credit cards getting hit $2400 bucks. So I’m focusing.

Brian Crane 25:59
Yeah.

James Swanwick 26:00
Because I know I’ve got to make more than $2400 otherwise I’m just… I’m in the red, right?

Brian Crane 26:05
Pissing the money away.

James Swanwick 26:06
Pissing the money away.

Brian Crane 26:07
Yeah.

James Swanwick 26:07
Yeah. So yeah, I’d love to hear from you! Send me a message or send Brian a message and let me know. Let us know what… you know, what’s a big project has been playing on your mind. It could be for months, could be for years. And we can publicly shame you if you like.

Brian Crane 26:21
Yeah, yeah, I mean, the… you know, Peter Shallard, he’s got this whole project of Commit Action, which is designed to basically take the fight to procrastination.

James Swanwick 26:33
Yes.

Brian Crane 26:34
And part of the psychology of commit action is you’re just paying someone to have essentially like an accountability partner every week who calls you and says, “James, did you do what you said you were going to do last week?” and you say yes or no and whatever. But what I always found interesting about Peter’s business, and I don’t know if this is still the case, but at the time, he was only hiring personal trainers because personal trainers were very good at basically, always being able to kind of hold somebody’s feet to the fire while still being pleasant and upbeat about it. Right? They could basically be like “James, you haven’t done your 50 pushups, but I believe you can,” right? That kind of dichotomy or that balance between the two because it’s… you need both right? You need somebody to be like “You haven’t done what you said you were going to do. And I still believe you can do it.” Because otherwise it becomes… you start to avoid the person, right? You say, “Oh, yeah,” banging on you and you’re never getting anywhere.

James Swanwick 27:28
And I found that in my coaching programs around helping people quit alcohol. In Project 90, for example, the high ticket program I was just referring to, there are different personalities, right, of client who can come into that. And some, mostly men, love tough love. They love tough love. So I call them out on their BS, I challenge them, they might push back, I’ll push back with them and I give them tough love. Just speak to them directly like… but then when I’ve seen given tough love to women in general it hasn’t been appreciated as much. Not all women, but what I’ve certainly found is that to get a positive response from that type of personality, it involves understanding and listening and being empathetic and putting yourself in their shoes and lovingly supporting them. And language is, you know, loving language and supportive language and that tends to get better results than giving that type of person the tough love. It’s kind of like know your audience, right? And it’s in sales as well, like whether you’re doing phone sales or digital marketing or are you’re trying to charm a man or trying to charm a woman depending on you know, the circumstance? You have to know your audience and speak to them in a language that they understand.

Brian Crane 28:57
That’s receptive? Yeah.

James Swanwick 28:58
Yeah.

Brian Crane 28:58
Yeah, and that’s a skill of yours, I think that I admire and use. I think you’re a very good communicator and that you’re very intentional in how you communicate and what you say and it’s something you’ve worked on as far as being more powerful, and I mean powerful with air quotes because it’s not necessarily yelling at people, it’s more how do you get your message across and across to multiple, like different types of people or different audiences, right? Is that something that you’ve studied?

James Swanwick 29:30
Yeah, people skills. NLP. Best book. My top three favorite books is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. And then, you know those self development programs, as well. Being empathetic and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Thank you for the compliment. It’s funny because I do consider myself to be… I’ll accept the compliment and agree with you most of the time, but I will say this: I’m horrendous at it and horrible with it with my own family.

Brian Crane 30:03
Okay.

James Swanwick 30:03
It’s like, my brother who’s my business partner in the Swanwick Sleep business, he and I trigger each other all the time. And it doesn’t matter how much self development he does and how much self development I do and how much self development we’ve done together. I may as well be speaking Mandarin to him in emails, we’ll be speaking, I dunno… like Swedish.

Brian Crane 30:24
Yeah.

James Swanwick 30:24
Some foreign language to me. You know? Like, it’s extraordinary. So some people, I have found, no matter how hard I try, and even though I logically know how to communicate to that person, I still want to actually say to them, go fff… yourself. You know.

In fact, I remember just to paint an example of that. I remember having an argument with my brother on a FaceTime call about 18 months ago, and he’s calling me like… C-word And I’m calling a F- and C-word and blah, blah, blah. And then there’s a knock on the door, and it’s my assistant who’s lovely. And she comes in, and I go, “Oh, Hi, Sarah, how are you? So good to see you. Great. I’ll just be a second!” So I put on this charm offensive with her. I said “Can you just wait in the next room for a second?” She goes to next next room and I come back onto the call and say [angry screaming] over the phone, you know what I mean? So it’s like… I’m a bit of a hypocrite in a sense.

Brian Crane 31:32
I don’t- I mean, there’s a phrase my grandmother always said, which is “The good Lord gives us family so we learn how to tolerate people we wouldn’t choose to associate with.” “The Good Lord gives us family so we learn to tolerate people we wouldn’t choose to associate with.” Yeah, I think that… I… yeah, that you know, there’s a lot of stuff in the spiritual community. There’s Ramdas who’s always said – he’s quite famous in spiritual circles – of, if you think you’re enlightened, go spend spend a week with your family. I mean, it tests you, it really… It pulls a test. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Feeling zen? Go for it. You know, go step in there. Go talk to your brother, go talk to your sister, go talk to your parents. Yeah.

James Swanwick 32:18
The funny thing is, is that I when someone who is coming across as being all spiritual and good and pure, and peace and you know, those those types of people live that and embody that. I wish that I could just believe them. But my BS factor, or BS radar starts to kick in. And I wish it didn’t because I just want to be open and loving and supportive, but I must concede that I’m skeptical. Because as much as I get praised by others, and as much as I feel like I have done immense self development work and I do walk the walk and talk the talk. There are still times, like we were talking about with family, where it just falls apart. And I do the exact opposite. So when someone’s standing in front of me and telling me and almost like, lecturing me with it, what I consider to be like pompous…

Brian Crane 33:18
Holier than thou?

James Swanwick 33:19
Holier than thou, pure, kind of, you know, whatever it is that you’re talking about. I do get skeptical. I’ll give you one example. I was in Byron Bay, which is kind of like the Ubud, Bali equivalent in Australia on the east coast of Australia, about two hours south of Brisbane in northern New South Wales. Chris Hemsworth, the Hollywood actor, lives there, just for context, has a beachfront home there. And I went to this really woowoo Byron Bay party, like on a Tuesday night over someone’s house, they’re probably about 25-30 people there. And I walked in and this woman who I’ve never met before, she was probably like, 20s opens the door. She’s like, “Oh my God. Hello! It’s so lovely to meet you!” And she goes to give me this big hug. I’ve never met this woman before in my entire life. And so I hug her. And she holds me for like, five, seven seconds. That’s a long time. When you don’t know someone.

Brian Crane 34:15
Yeah, yeah.

James Swanwick 34:16
When you don’t know someone. And she’s like, as she’s holding me. She’s like, “Mm. Mm.” Alright? Complete stranger, complete stranger.

Brian Crane 34:26
There’s so much spiritual virtue signaling. That’s what I call that, spiritual virtue signaling, right? Yeah. Yeah, sorry. Go ahead and keep continue with the story. I didn’t mean to cut you off.

James Swanwick 34:36
So I walked in, and most people were like this, which is fine. That’s the culture. And you know, and I’ve done that before. I’ve hugged but not for five seconds and done a big “mm”, you know. Anyway, about an hour and a half later, I’m in the kitchen with this woman, the woman who hugged me, and she was presenting herself as like, this happiest person. Nothing could, you know, knock her off her perch. She was just, she’d done so much self development work, she’d done all the pure stuff. She’s does the breath work, she does the yoga, she’s in Byron Bay, she eats well and always… Lots of things to admire, like really, a lot of things to admire about this woman. And at the same time, I asked her this, what I thought was a seemingly innocuous question. And I said “So what does upset you? Like on those rare times where you are upset? What or who? Who triggers you?” And her whole face just went white. It just, her whole demeanor changed.

Brian Crane 35:35
Because the wall was breaking.

James Swanwick 35:37
Completely broke. And I looked at her, I didn’t say anything. I was like, “Did I say… I was… Did I say something offensive?” I wasn’t sure. She said “Uh… Probably, I have a situation with my mother. I have a bit of a weird relationship with my mother.” And then she started to speak like that. Like so she went from like this joyous 9/10 high energy. I’m a spiritual master, to in the space of 10 seconds, right in front of me. I perceived her to just be like crumbling at just the question that I asked her, and her thinking about her mother and her relationship with her mother. And I was like, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t bring, like, I’m sorry, I seemingly upset you.” And she was like, “It’s okay.” And we spoke for another like two or three minutes and then she exited the conversation but with her like shoulders forward and almost like she was she was broken. It seemed to me like she was broken. Now I share the story for two reasons. One, it kind of… It felt good and it felt bad. I’ll tell you why. It felt bad for me because this woman was such in high spirits. And now she wasn’t and it felt good in an egotistical kind of way for me because it confirmed my suspicion that she really wasn’t as happy and connected and spiritual and… as possible, and, I even now, verbalizing the story back to you, I don’t like it about my personality that in the moment, I did get a level of satisfaction at, you know, kind of subconsciously calling her out on her BS. And then also I get it fuels my ego to know that my suspicion was correct. And I don’t like that about my own personality. So I’m constantly in the inquiry in that as to why I got satisfaction from it, and why I feel the need to be skeptical and why I can’t just like, observe and everything’s fine and just open and loving the whole time. Any thoughts on that?

Brian Crane 37:45
Hmm, I think on this, the skepticism part is, to me it’s understandable because implicit in her behavior is… she’s saying that she’s somehow better than you. That’s implicit. She might not explicitly say it, but it’s implicit in how she’s carrying herself. And in her languaging, and the long hug and this sort of stuff, and obviously, this is my own biases, but so that’s implicit there. And so when you find out that that’s actually not justified, that’s quite redemptive, in a way, in my opinion. And then the second thing, which I think is kind of a deeper thread is maybe the… I think there’s skepticism around… I’m skeptical around people who always claim to be happy because I just find it to be… I just find, I don’t know, like that the range of emotions that people, the healthiest people that I know are ones who have essentially made peace with their darkness, who know it. Understand it. Can dance with it in a way that is healthy, let’s say and that don’t let it consume them but also don’t pretend that it’s not there, right? And so some of the, when I come across people, maybe like this woman that you’re, describing, it’s… I don’t know there’s like a tendency to want to say “Does this person actually know their shadow?” Right? And not only do they know it but have they integrated it into their larger being, right? And when they haven’t I think there’s a part of you and maybe a part of me as well which is like, kind of like wants to poke at that and say, this is something that you need to work on, right? Like this is not a healthy… Because if you’re going to present yourself as knowing more, being better than someone else, like you need to make sure you have your house in perfect order and actually paraphrasing, because that’s a line from Jordan Peterson’s book “12 Rules For Life,” which I think the sixth one is, make sure your house is in perfect order before you criticize the world, make sure your house is in perfect order before you criticize the world. And so that tendency to implicitly want to criticize the world, to implicitly want to criticize you, because you’re not as happy as this person or whatnot. And then you start testing and be like, okay, is your house actually in perfect order? Is your house actually in perfect order? And a lot of times it’s not, right? And that’s…

James Swanwick 40:30
Yeah. So you seem to be saying that me asking that question of that woman is justified?

Brian Crane 40:37
Yeah, I do think it was. And it wasn’t malicious, your question?

James Swanwick 40:40
No, it wasn’t malicious. But I but I do judge myself for the satisfaction that I got from my suspicion being confirmed. And so that’s…

Brian Crane 40:49
Watching her downfall?

James Swanwick 40:54
Seeing her downfall, like I said, like I was trying to articulate before was, I felt bad. And I felt love for her. And at the same time my ego was telling me it feels good to see her like that because it fed my own ego, because my suspicion was correct. So, I don’t know… Yeah, I struggle with it. Because I… You know, I wear a bracelet around my left wrist, my intention bracelet, and it says Powerful, but I used to have one that said Love. And so it’s a reminder, I look at this word at the moment. It is Powerful. And I’m like, I am a powerful man. And I remind myself that every day and I’m an open man, and I remind myself of that every day and I’m a loving man and I remind myself of that every day and yet my actions sometimes during the day, don’t square with that. It’s like my intent is to be powerful, open and loving. And I think that I feel like I’m that way probably 80% maybe even 90% of the time. But it’s the 10 to 20% of the time that I still haven’t mastered or eradicated.

Brian Crane 42:06
But I think the distinction in what you just said right there is, initially when you were looking at the bracelet, you said, I am a powerful man. And then you rephrase that slightly and said, I aspire to be a powerful man. And maybe the rephrase is actually more… I think it’s more forgiving in a way, right? It also is more accurate. Because this is what you aspire to be. And if you I think if you don’t affirm the truth, it’s a very quick road to delusion. Like deep delusion. You know, so. And that’s part of we can talk about the secret and some of this stuff, like, you know, people say like, you know, they sit there and they basically, and I’m not accusing you this, but they say I’m a millionaire, and then, you know, they’re not, and, but they, they affirm it, and they have this belief of it. They embody that affirmation and feel it that it will then come. And there’s something, I think, deeply troubling about that psychologically, because it’s not actually true. You’re like telling yourself something that’s not 100% true, consistently. So by saying, I aspire to be loving, or I aspire to be open, or I aspire to be powerful, that resonates more with me. Yeah.

James Swanwick 43:32
Then there’s the school of thought that it’s your way of being, so be powerful, be open, be loving, remove the aspiring to and just have your way of being always be, in this example, powerful, open, loving. There’s no aspiring to anything. It’s kind of like people who say I take responsibility. No, don’t take responsibility. Be responsible. There’s a difference. People say I take responsibility for my mistake. No. You’re responsible. Whereas taking responsibility means you kind of like reaching outside of yourself to grab something and bring it in as opposed to your way of being as you’re responsible.

Brian Crane 44:10
Mm. I like that. Yeah. I mean, I like that. I… I don’t have much more to add. Like, I think you’re responsible. That’s, that’s something that actually reminds me of a mentor, both of ours, which is Tai, who…

James Swanwick 44:33
Tai Lopez.

Brian Crane 44:33
Tai Lopez, he always had a phrase, which was, he said, everything is your fault. That was his big one. And he would say, he might have changed how he says that now, but that was a big theme when I was around him six, seven years ago of everything is your fault. That would be on his billboard as one piece of advice that he wanted out in the world and I think the be responsible is…

James Swanwick 44:54
That’s right.

Brian Crane 44:55
Yeah.

James Swanwick 44:55
Yeah.

Brian Crane 44:56
Yeah. It’s another manifestation of that.

James Swanwick 44:58
Gary Vaynerchuk, who’s a famous social media influencer, his version is similar. He says that he lives his life like he is responsible for everything. The clouds in the sky today, he’s responsible for. And so when he when he’s doing it on that level, every little micro thing that’s happening in his day, he’s responsible for that. He feels powerful because of it. Right? So if he’s not hitting a revenue target in his company, and it was because someone in his staff messed up, he’s still responsible, because he hired the person in the company, right? The fires that have been going on in Australia. Recently. Devastating fires in my native country of Australia. I’ve been trying to use that Gary Vaynerchuk thing and feel responsible for the fires, like I am responsible for the fires. Now I didn’t like the flame. But I could have done more to ensure that Australia wasn’t as dry as it was. That there were things in place to prevent people from lighting matches. I could have donated ahead of time to the fire service people. Not waiting for a disaster to happen I could have just proactively donated to the fire services in Australia. So they were better manned and better equipped and who then could have put these fires out on day one versus like two months that they’ve been going on as we’re recording this? So that’s what I mean by like being 100% responsible not just for your life, but for actually everything else that’s going on in your life. In the recent news, there was the Iran issue where you know, Iran’s sent missiles and damaged some US military bases in in Iraq. I was thinking this morning, like, how am I responsible for that? And… do you want to have a go at figuring out?

Brian Crane 47:01
Yeah, sure.

James Swanwick 47:01
How I might be responsible?

Brian Crane 47:03
I have no idea.

James Swanwick 47:03
You have no idea?

Brian Crane 47:04
Yeah.

James Swanwick 47:06
Well, I’m responsible because I am a, even if I wasn’t a US citizen, but I am a US citizen. So I could have lobbied or done more on my social media or created an organization promoting peace in the world. I could have been more interested in politics, I could have somehow infiltrated the US political system and made a difference to affect, you know, US foreign policy. I could have, you know, created a Kumbaya circle with a whole bunch of strategic people who are in that region, and fostered peace, like… There’s all these things I could have done, right? And as unlikely as those things seem. Because I was born in Australia. I was raised in Australian citizen and was only recently, I became a naturalized US citizen. As unlikely as it seems that I could have influenced US policy overseas, I could’ve. Like I could have, and that’s where being 100% responsible comes in for me. I am responsible for the choices I make. If I buy something with plastic, if I buy a plastic container versus a glass container, then I feel that I am responsible for climate change, for example, right? Like you can play this game more in an intricate way and going down a rabbit hole infinity. But I like to think like that, because then when things are happening in my own life, it brings me back to I’m responsible for everything. For everything that I’m generating right now. But look on your face, you disagree.

Brian Crane 48:43
Well, I got a couple thoughts. Yeah, I mean, I think that… The one thought that comes to mind is that when you take responsibility for things like the fires in Australia or things like, the… what Iran is doing in Iraq. And then you actually don’t do anything about them, the dangerous part there to me is that it sort of allows a muscle to atrophy which is that you actually can influence things. Not just take responsibility for them but can influence things that are very close around you that are within your sphere of influence. So when you take a meta issue like the fires in Australia, it’s so far outside of your ability to affect, you could argue that yes, you could have donated to the fire services, yes, you could go back, and maybe become a volunteer firefighter so that in the future, this doesn’t happen again or something, but they’re so far removed from your day to day choices that I think that the more and more empowering way to approach it is more what you said at the tail end, which is that like, did you choose to buy a bottle that was made from plastic or made from glass, let’s say, right? That’s much more with inside the realm or the sphere of things that you can influence, then these sort of meta catastrophes or tragedies in the world. And the reason I take issue with it is that like, when you measure yourself against these meta catastrophes and things happening in the world, it winds up almost becoming debilitating because you you don’t actually do anything about it, right? Like you don’t do anything about Iraq and Iran. You don’t do anything about the fires in Australia. So therefore, it kind of creates a narrative in your mind of that… One side says I could affect change anywhere on the planet. And the other side says, I’m not doing anything about these things that I’m measuring against. So it’s much healthier to actually say, “I should measure myself if I’m taking action with inside of this area in which I can actually have some kind of influence,” because if you’re not, otherwise you become debilitated effectively, right? Like you just you basically go like, well, it’s all hopeless. Like I mean, you know, I just I don’t have the power to really… like, you believe that you have the power to act and then you don’t and then you become self referential in a very negative way and think, like I could, I didn’t, what’s wrong with me? The world’s going to shit, right?

James Swanwick 51:26
I think the greatest lyric in musical history – well, that’s an exaggeration – an outstanding line… let me start again. An outstanding lyric in a song is Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror.” And it’s very simple. It’s been used over and over and over again: “If you want to make the world a better place
/ Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.” Right? I don’t even think he wrote that song. I think it was R. Kelly. Isn’t that crazy?

Brian Crane 51:57
Really?!

James Swanwick 51:57
R. Kelly, I think… I think! Well maybe it was another song, but R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, two, you know, musical geniuses who have both been accused of essentially pedophilia.

Brian Crane 52:09
Yeah.

James Swanwick 52:09
Right?

Brian Crane 52:10
Yeah.

James Swanwick 52:11
I think it… I was watching Surviving R. Kelly. And I know he wrote one of Michael Jackson songs and I think it was Man In The Mirror. I might be wrong. I’m sure a simple Google search will answer it. If you know the answer, send me a DM to my Instagram right now. And tell me, “James, you are completely wrong. Shut the hell up,” or “James, you nailed it. Well done.” But anyway, coming back to the point, like if you want to make the world a better place, you got to look at yourself and make the change. So therefore, not to disagree with your disagreement of what I said. But doesn’t that mean that I can influence US national policy by making the change myself? Like I could have done stuff within my sphere, which then if more people in that sphere, kind of do more things that somehow trickles to the White House and trickles to you know, international policy.

Brian Crane 52:58
But you can’t control those other people. That’s the rub, is that you can argue that you should think globally, but act locally. That’s the rub. Think globally, act locally.

James Swanwick 53:10
But isn’t that acting globally by thinking locally?

Brian Crane 53:13
No, act locally…

James Swanwick 53:14
Sorry, but isn’t acting locally… Doesn’t that have the potential to affect change?

Brian Crane 53:22
At a global level? Possibly, yeah. But you’re not hinging your outcome on it being… like, at a global level, you’re just saying like, I don’t want to drink things out of a plastic bottle, so I’m gonna stop doing it.

James Swanwick 53:39
Got it.

Brian Crane 53:39
Yeah. And hopefully, we figure out what to do about the plastic in the oceans. But the the change that I can affect is simply, I’m not going to drink things out of a plastic bottle. And as opposed to kind of like, bemoaning the situation, the oceans, bemoaning the fact that people throw trash away and don’t recycle or whatnot. Like it’s super easy to sort of go into odearism and lose that momentum to act locally. That’s kind of my meta point.

James Swanwick 54:16
Got it.

Brian Crane 54:17
Yeah.

James Swanwick 54:17
I actually found out while you were saying there, I just Googled it and R. Kelly did not write that song, but he did write You Are Not Alone.

Brian Crane 54:27
From Michael Jackson? Okay.

James Swanwick 54:28
Yeah, so I got that wrong. So yeah, he wrote You Are Not Alone. Yeah. Yeah… Shall we talk about Trump? Let’s talk about President Donald Trump!

Brian Crane 54:38
Sure.

James Swanwick 54:39
For my American listeners and Australian listeners says let’s try and go controversial. I mean, just the fact that we’re even going to talk about it will trigger some people.

Brian Crane 54:48
We can talk about that as well, yeah. How you gonna get triggered from a podcast?

James Swanwick 54:56
So let me kick it off. What do you think of Trump?

Brian Crane 54:59
I like a lot of the things he’s doing. There’s some things I don’t like that he’s done, and I think that by and large, it’s been interesting the fact that he has not been able to change the trajectory of things like the national debt, things like the size of the federal government, which he arguably was elected to do. That was part of his meta goal of I’m going to drain the swamp, and we’re going to build this wall, right? And on both of those metrics, he hasn’t… He’s one man, but he hasn’t really been able to effectively drain the swamp. The federal government is as large if not larger, nowadays, than it was four years ago, and very little of the wall has actually been built. He’s tried. I’m not critiquing him for the effort. I just think that it’s symptomatic of how deep some of the power structures are that are fighting against him in a way.

James Swanwick 56:05
Hmm.

Brian Crane 56:07
What do you think?

James Swanwick 56:08
It’s interesting how you answered that. Well, I think he is a genius marketer. I think he’s… right now when it comes to marketing, I think he’s the world’s greatest marketer. And I love the story of Trump. I was saying this to you at dinner the other night and people in my circle, because I live in Venice Beach. I’m here in Bali. Like…

Brian Crane 56:34
Very left wing.

James Swanwick 56:35
Very, very, very left wing. The fact that I say that I love the story of Trump, as opposed to I love Trump, like I love the marketing machine and I speak about it with a smile on my face. I get some horrendous reactions from people. Like how can you possibly admire anything about that man and…

Brian Crane 56:56
The cancer cell.

James Swanwick 56:58
Yeah, the inferences that I’m I am someone of poor moral fiber that I could find anything redeeming about him. Now, I was talking the other night. I didn’t grow up in the US. I’m a naturalized US citizen. I’ve been there as either a green card holder or citizen for 15 years, 14-15 years. So I’m not as well versed in American politics as you might be you grew up in Tennessee, right?

Brian Crane 57:26
Yeah.

James Swanwick 57:26
And is that a left wing or right wing state?

Brian Crane 57:29
Right wing.

James Swanwick 57:29
It’s right wing.

Brian Crane 57:30
Yeah.

James Swanwick 57:33
But I one of the games I played in 2018 was I had the CNN app on the left side of my screen, and I had the Fox News app on the right side of my homescreen to represent cnn left and Fox News, right. And for the for all of 2018 I almost obsessively would read the same stories on CNN as Fox News, just to monitor and kind of to fuel my own curiosity on the ridiculousness of the media in some cases and the ridiculousness of partisan politics. And it was shocking. I have to say it was shocking to see how leftist CNN was. And it was shocking to see how right Fox News was. And I was always trying to find the truth. And I tried the Wall Street Journal which I think was pretty close to it as far as going straight down the line. I couldn’t read the New York Times because it was too far left. The Washington Post I couldn’t read that, it was too far left. And then I tried to watch the Fox News presenters and then listen to people at Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and stuff like that. And it was it was like too far right. But it was entertaining as hell. Like I loved it. And it was it was like a soap opera like Game of Thrones was the big TV series of the last seven years right? Which last year in 2019 finally ended. And that just captured the world’s attention. US politics is better than any Game of Thrones storyline. So when I light up at the, at the name of Trump, I’m lighting up at the soap opera of how it triggers people, how it triggers my left leaning friends, how it how my right leaning friends get really behind them, how people get agitated and irritated and frustrated and accusatory and combative. I actually really, really enjoy that.

Brian Crane 59:32
You made a point when we were at dinner, because some of the people that you’ve come across recently, they talked about some of the immigration policies in the states and they are, I would argue, de facto in favor of open borders. And they’re appalled at what’s happening at the border with immigrants from Central America, and the separation of kids from their families and whatnot. And when you had talked about that you couldn’t really disagree with them even though you had gone through the process of doing the paperwork paying for lawyers, XYZ. I mean, I don’t know all the paperwork that goes into becoming a naturalized US citizen, but for sure, it’s expensive and challenging and you had to wait in line and follow certain rules. And…

James Swanwick 1:00:23
Seven years, I had to wait seven years.

Brian Crane 1:00:24
Seven years for that!

James Swanwick 1:00:25
It was two years to get a green card and then another five years to become a naturalized citizen. And at the time, I spent $7,000 to a lawyer to go through the process. I think it’s like, double or three times that now but this was 2000 and late 2000s. So yeah, and jump through hoops and paperwork and you know.

Brian Crane 1:00:45
Go through a background, check go through, I mean, all these… and what was upsetting to me with some of the arrogance of somebody looking you in the face and saying that you have a… That you’re ignorant in some form or fashion for supporting Trump or finding the story fascinating. And then also almost belittling the amount of time and energy it took for you to become a US citizen. Because in one sense, they’re looking at you and being like “You’re a sucker, you should have never spent the time and energy to become a US citizen. Because in my mind, what you did was a waste of time, because I support policies over here that say, these people who don’t do the things that you’ve done, deserve to basically get in front of you in this line, and that your efforts are moot, that they shouldn’t really matter.” Right? And, to me, I think it’s a really bad message. I mean, I grew up in Tennessee, but I had a lot of friends who were either naturalized American citizens or they were, you know, they were they were on green cards, this kind of thing. And the amount of time and energy to get it done. It’s no joke, right? Like it’s a real process to go through and personally, from a political level, I wish the US had many more legal immigrants and was much more in favor of bringing in many more people. We need a lot of people to compete with the likes of China and India. But the same time, or maybe a precursor to that, is you have to deal with the problem of illegal immigration in the States, because illegal immigration, the States is implicitly saying, we have a group of people who don’t follow any of the rules. So you, and this is true, especially in California, where, you know, if you don’t wear a seatbelt, it’s a $250 fine. If you don’t, or if you don’t throw something away, or you walk on the beach with your dog, or your dog poos in somewhere where it’s not supposed to, there’s fines and regulations for every single thing. As a US citizen, or as a California resident, you were on the hook for those things if you have any money, but if you’re here illegally, we don’t care about any of those things. And we’re not going to prosecute you for them. And we’re going to look the other way. Right? It’s like such a double standard and a really nefarious, like a really bad double standard, because it basically sets the context of the people who have money are going to get hosed by the states, by the state, in particular, California, and the ones who don’t, we’re going to almost treat them as if they’re noble savages, we’re going to treat them as if they’ve like, they’ve somehow sacrificed all of this and that it’s noble. And the noble savage myth is like such a pervasive one. It’s part of the reason why these like homeless people that don’t want to move them out of LA or San Francisco, is because they treat them like they’re noble savages. And it goes into this, like, you know there’s reasons why people don’t want to be living next to homeless encampments, right? They don’t want to see people pooping on the street, they don’t want to see them shooting up drugs. And if you have kids or you have a family or you have somebody you care about, you don’t want to walk them by these people. And yet you can’t in polite company nowadays, basically say like, this is a problem and these people shouldn’t be here, right? And Trump, for better or worse, man, he says the stuff that everyone thinks and doesn’t want to say publicly. Right? He goes right out there. He puts it out in very crude and blunt language. But a lot of times people are like, finally somebody said this thing, right? And that’s what I think is so redemptive about him. In some senses, people go, this guy talks like I talk, this guy thinks what I think. And he’s not ashamed of it, and he’s tired of being belittled and bullied about it.

James Swanwick 1:04:21
Well, somewhere between 49 and 51% of the US population feels that way.

Brian Crane 1:04:26
Yeah.

James Swanwick 1:04:27
Right?

Brian Crane 1:04:27
Yeah.

James Swanwick 1:04:29
But then 49 to 51% of the population feels the exact opposite.

Brian Crane 1:04:32
I don’t know if they feel… I think, like… Trump is not as… I don’t think he’s so bipolar, like love-hate. I think there’s a lot of gray in between… What I think… In my opinion, what I see is that, like the at the ends, he’s like very much a lightning rod when you have somebody who really likes him, they are deeply passionate about him. When you have somebody who dislikes him, they are deeply dissatisfied with him. But then you meet a lot of people in the middle who, they like some things he does, they dislike some other things. And he’s not quite as polarizing. But I think in circles where, and this is one of the reasons that I actually like being outside the States is that you’re not inundated with politics, it doesn’t touch every single thing. It doesn’t come up in every conversation. And you’d said this sometimes in Venice is that literally you’ll be out with friends, you’ll be having a great time, and then they’ll bring up politics and it’s like, it’s always kind of beneath the surface. It’s always this sort of third rail that is looming, and when I go back, a lot of times, you know, there’s TV screens everywhere, there’s news like constantly, it’s kind of infotainment news, you know, like in the gym, whatnot, there’s just constantly, like, pushed at you. And I think that helps contribute to the polarization, honestly, it’s because like, people are constantly fed it, right? Like are you for or against, are you for or against, black, white, red, blue which team are you on? Right?

James Swanwick 1:06:01
Khaleesi or Jon Snow.

Brian Crane 1:06:04
I don’t know who those people are.

James Swanwick 1:06:05
Game of Thrones reference.

Brian Crane 1:06:05
Yeah, sorry. Yeah, I should know that but uh, yeah.

James Swanwick 1:06:09
Are you for the North? Are you for King’s Landing? Game of Thrones.

Brian Crane 1:06:14
It’s binary, right? It’s reductionist since binary. And that’s a really bad way to… Like, being reductionist and being binary, in general is kind of a rough way to get through difficult problems, because it doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility to say, there’s extenuating circumstances. Maybe 20% here, 30% there. And you had talked about one of the things you like about Trump is that he always closes his remarks with “We’ll see.”

James Swanwick 1:06:45
“We’ll see what happens.”

Brian Crane 1:06:45
“We’ll see what happens.” That’s what he’s famous for. Right? Yeah.

James Swanwick 1:06:48
Yeah. So he never he never doesn’t seem to ever guarantee anything. The economy’s like, we’re gonna do this. We’re gonna do that. But really, no, we’ll see what happens. I’ve noticed that a lot. He said that about Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, he’s like, “Yeah, he likes me. I like him. You know, we’re signing this peace treaty. We’re working towards peace, but who knows? Who knows what’s gonna happen?” You know? We’ll see what happens.

Brian Crane 1:07:11
And it gives him room to run, and room to negotiate. You know?

James Swanwick 1:07:14
Yeah, I think so. But I guess some, the fact that you and I can have this conversation, like I don’t, like I am not emotionally invested in Trump, or Obama, or Bernie Sanders, or whatever, like, I’m just not emotionally invested in it, even though I am a naturalized citizen. But I am invested in the story of how partisan it is and like now, black and white it is. It’s just such a fascinating study of human nature, I think. That’s what I find fascinating. And so…

Brian Crane 1:07:47
Yeah, but do you see the same amount of polarization in Australia?

James Swanwick 1:07:50
No.

Brian Crane 1:07:50
Okay.

James Swanwick 1:07:51
No. And in Australia, growing up, people hardly even talked about their politics. In fact, I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles at the end of 2002, I was at a party. And I was shocked that everyone at the party was all just like, “Eff Bush and blah blah blah.” And I was like, “Whoa, people talking about politics here. That’s so, excuse me, that’s so peculiar.” And so the first nine or 10, 11 months I was in LA, it was just all left democrat talking and it was so surprising people even shared their politics. And then I remembered…

Brian Crane 1:08:22
We shared it on the first date, let’s say, right out the gate.

James Swanwick 1:08:25
Yeah! And then I remember later on that year, I got sent out to just outside of Louisville, Kentucky, to the world’s largest machine gun festival at the place called Knob Creek and I was a journalist at the time for a British magazine named Loaded Magazine. And they sent me out there to go and do a two-day story on what it was like to be a machine gun festival. And I remember walking in there and everyone was wearing Bush Cheney shirts, and caps, and things like that. And I’ll never forget this woman who was there. She was kind of like supervising this machine gun that I was about to fire at a disused truck or car that was in the field.

Brian Crane 1:09:06
Filled with tannerite ready to blow up?

James Swanwick 1:09:08
Yeah, I was like, “Oh, when do when do I do this?” She goes, “Oh, we’ve just got to wait for those Orientals over there to finish.” There were a couple of Asian people over there. I was like “Orientals? That sounds really racist.”

Brian Crane 1:09:21
Yeah.

James Swanwick 1:09:22
And it was like, “Whoa, I’m like, in the complete opposite of where I was at the time in Hermosa Beach, California.” Yeah, I’m like, I’m not in. I’m not in… What is it? Not in…? Where is it, anymore? What’s the saying from the Wizard of Oz? Kansas! I’m not in Kansas anymore. And that was just incredible that eight, nine months had been in the blue state of California. And then the two days I was in this red state where people were like Bush Cheney, and describing Asians as Orientals. That was when I really realized that America was just, it’s like the coastline or left leaning democrat thinking and then there’s everything in the middle, which is…

Brian Crane 1:09:58
The flyover country.

James Swanwick 1:09:59
Yeah.

Brian Crane 1:10:00
Yeah, as it’s disparagingly called, yeah.

James Swanwick 1:10:03
As it’s disparaging called?

Brian Crane 1:10:04
Yeah, it’s not like that’s a loving term for this area. It’s just the distance we need to travel over. So we get back and forth between LA, New York, and San Francisco.

James Swanwick 1:10:12
Yeah. What I find interesting about you, Brian, is that you, would you just I mean, if you care to share what your political leanings are, I don’t think you’re either left or right. You described yourself as a…

Brian Crane 1:10:24
I’m libertarian.

James Swanwick 1:10:25
Libertarian. Could you explain what a libertarian is? Or believes?

Brian Crane 1:10:30
Yeah. So effectively when I say libertarian, what I mean is that economically, I’m a capitalist. I believe in free markets and free people, and then socially. I’m quite liberal and effectively like a classic liberal. So when I say socially, I’m liberal means that I don’t want the state telling you what you can and can’t put into your body, who you can and can’t associate with, what you can and cannot say, those sort of things. Like I effectively say that state power should not be used for those things, we shouldn’t have a drug war, we shouldn’t have… Like effectively like that your body is your own personal sovereignty and what you do with it is up to you. Now you have that right, in my opinion. And along with it comes quite a bit of responsibility, which is you need to take responsibility for what happens or you need to be responsible for what happens to your body if you decide to do heroin, if you decide to do cocaine. There’s going to be consequences. And you need to be willing to bear the consequences of those decisions. But yeah, I’m not… I don’t really identify… I certainly don’t identify as a Republican or as a Democrat, I just… But I do identify as a libertarian, like my ideal political candidate in the past 10 or 12 years has been Ron Paul. And he was very much in favor of the decentralization power, which is the core theme, is effectively is that like Washington DC has become almost like the Capitol city in the Hunger Games, all the money, all the power has coalesced there. And in my opinion, that is antithetical to humans flourishing. But it also results in I think a lot of the political polarization. One of the reasons why Australians aren’t so politically polarized is that in a nation of 330 million people, if you feel like this one person, Trump can either do something you like or dislike, and then you don’t have any kind of say to affect it. You become very disenfranchised and get very upset and in a nation of Australia’s like 28-30 million people? 24 million people. So the unit of influence that you have as an Australian citizen, to influence the federal government on a particular policy is higher than I would have as a US citizen, given that there’s 330 million of us. So the solution, therefore, is not necessarily to say that we need… like one solution is you could say you need a smaller country, or you need a country with fewer people. But I don’t think that’s what it is. What I think it is, is that you just need to distribute the power out from Washington back to the states, back to the local level, so that people feel like they actually have some influence and control over what happens in their backyards, let’s say, and I think Australians, by and large, from the couple times that have been to the country, they feel like their government is quite responsive, and that when something is not working, the government takes action to fix it, and that when they petition the government about certain things, the government listens to them and corrects course. And I think that’s not the case in the States, is that people feel very disenfranchised. They basically be like, the state doesn’t listen to what I say. You know, the drug war doesn’t go away. The spine doesn’t go away. The prison system doesn’t get any better, like number of people in the US locks up. There’s a litany of things, right? US sells weapons to places that I don’t necessarily agree with. There’s all kinds of things, you can pick 100 of them. And so there’s a real sense of just being like… Yeah, just want to disconnect from the whole thing. Because it’s like, you don’t feel like you can affect any of it. Right? And so some people just to choose to totally check out and some people get really upset. And they look at you, James, and they’d be like, I want to kill Trump, that’s their Modus, MO, basically, and you represent that because all of a sudden, they’ve been looking for someone who likes the guy. And so they just feel like, they want to take it out on you, right, because you’ve seen this in their eyes. And I think you would agree with me is that you’re at a dinner party, you’re at a conversation where everyone agrees around one particular topic and then you don’t want to say anything. Because you know that if you brought it up and you disagreed, you are going to be not necessarily heard and respected and considered for what you said, you’re just going to be the lightning rod for all of that energy that’s stored up and they just cannot wait to unleash it on you. You know what I’m talking about. Yeah. And that’s a dangerous situation to be in. So then you wind up just being very quiet at the table, or you do kind of self effacing maneuvers to kind of hide your position. Yeah, you’re not in…

James Swanwick 1:15:20
I don’t even say that I like Trump. I say I like the story of Trump. I like the drama of it. And then I get massively accused of, you know, being a Trump fan, which I’m a fan of the story of Trump. I’m not a fan of Trump. But I’m a fan of the, of the way that he seems to trigger human beings in general, because for me, like I said before, it’s just a fascinating study in human behavior.

Brian Crane 1:15:46
Mm… hmm. You wanna keep going on politics?

James Swanwick 1:15:49
No, I don’t think so. For all complaints please email [email protected] right now. Do you agree with what Brian just said or what I just said or disagree? Send me a DM on my Instagram at @jamesswanwick or email Brian.

Brian Crane 1:16:07
[email protected]

James Swanwick 1:16:07
Brian was having to come out of the gate with lots of listeners for his Spread Great Ideas podcast and now he’s just lost about 10,000 of them.

Brian Crane 1:16:17
Killed 50% of the audience right there.

But the last thing I’ll say on polarization is just that there’s also a phenomenon taking place, which is that social media, the rise of Facebook, the rise of Twitter, these things are helping contribute as it’s so interesting because what was originally believed to be this like force for democratizing information and for giving more people voice. What’s happened is that the creators of Facebook in particular, have known that if they create an algorithm that feeds you more of what you already interact with, that you will stay on the platform longer and that you will be more engaged and therefore more valuable to them. So they create these echo chambers and these silos. And I don’t necessarily think it’s malicious. I just think it’s a second order problem from social media in general. It’s like we need people to be on. The goal for social media, the goal of Facebook is we need people to be on the platform, and we need them to interact when they’re on there so that we can better serve ads to them, right? So if I show to, I don’t know, James, something about a topic that you were really passionate about, and you were liking it and sharing it, I’m going to give you more of that because you’re on the platform, you’re engaged. And it creates an echo chamber and that’s one of the reasons that polarization has happened is that you have people who don’t ever really interact like you were doing You and I are doing right here face to face and can see one another. It’s just spread behind a computer screen, right? With zero consequence. With zero consequence. They can trash, burn, mail, yell at people behind a screen and they don’t ever have to deal with the consequences of something being like, that’s not cool. That’s disrespectful. You were rude to me. Whatever, right? Yeah, you’re nodding along a lot.

James Swanwick 1:18:05
It sounds like my online trolls because I run Facebook ads to help people quit drinking. And I get abused by… not everyon,e by a small section, but the abuses just always comes. I get accused of being a snake oil salesman, that I’m charging to help people quit drinking, that I should be doing it for free. This is outrageous. Just go to AA, it’s free. You’re a disgrace. You’re an effin blah blah. Well, here we go. Look at this guy. I won’t say the last name of this guy. You don’t need to pay him just don’t drink. Well, that’s not really, it’s not really abusing me there but I’m trying to see if I can find one just looking at my Facebook comments here. But anyway, I probably won’t be able to find it. It might take me a couple minutes. But I get abuse. I get people like, who I’ve never met before my entire life who sit behind a computer. They see one of my Facebook ads, they don’t like it. It triggers them. They just abuse me with the most horrendous language. And like just come at me. Now a lot but it’s a small section. Most of the comments I get are very supportive, and there’s clicks and some of the people – wellmany of the people end up being clients of mine. And I help them. I can’t take all the credit, but I helped them to transform their life by quitting drinking. But back to your point. There are people who are reading this getting triggered by it and they’re like, reply: you’re a scumbag. Reply: You don’t know what you’re talking about. Reply: blah, blah, blah, blah. And I used to get kind of upset by it. Now I’ve trained myself to be… I don’t enjoy it, but I… impartial, is that the word? Or… it doesn’t affect me. I just kind of like observe it. Oh, that’s kind of interesting. You know, I try to take that kind of feeling towards it.

Brian Crane 1:19:53
What do you think of the ethics of blocking people?

James Swanwick 1:19:57
You mean blocking someone who abuses me on Facebook post? Just like that?

Brian Crane 1:20:01
Yeah.

James Swanwick 1:20:02
If someone swears, I block them. If someone criticizes me, but there’s no swearing, I let it go.

Brian Crane 1:20:10
Is this public on something that other people can see? Or they send you private Facebook Messenger?

James Swanwick 1:20:16
Public so other people can see it, yeah. So if someone swears in a comment on one of my Facebook ads, because I run Facebook ads to generate clients and customers and members. If someone swears? Ban. If someone, you know, doesn’t swear it calls me something.

Brian Crane 1:20:34
Yeah, it’s a personal attack.

James Swanwick 1:20:36
A personal attack? Ban. Someone says I disagree or this is not right, I’ll accept it. And sometimes calls me a snake oil salesman, I have a copy and paste in my my phone notes where I respond because I get called a snake oil salesman all the time. And I get accused of charging for something that people could do for free all the time. And when that happens, I just go into the notes app in my phone, and I type in trolls. And look, I’ll show you trolls that comes up here. And depending on what the abuses… like here, this one, “this should be free, can’t believe you’re charging!” I just copy and paste my response which is “Thank you for your feedback. For five years I’ve given away 95% of my content free on hundreds of YouTube videos, podcasts, episodes, TV and radio shows, on free coaching calls on stages and in newspapers and magazines. For those who have wanted additional and ongoing coaching support, I have offered two paid programs: the 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge, and Project 90. If this makes me a scumbag in your eyes, that’s fine. So be it. I’m continuing my mission to help 1 million people quit or reduce alcohol. Thank you again for your feedback.” So I just copy and paste that. And then..

Brian Crane 1:21:56
Do you hear back from people when you use it?

James Swanwick 1:21:58
Yeah, I do. Some people, full credit to some people, like one woman was really mean. And I posted that she goes, “Oh, well, maybe I was misinformed. I had a look online and thank you for the good work that you’re doing for people” was to that effect. I’m like, Wow, that’s amazing. I actually really respected the fact that…

Brian Crane 1:22:16
Yeah, she changed her mind.

James Swanwick 1:22:17
Completely changed her mind. And then there are people who actually go to AA who’ve been in Alcoholics Anonymous for many years. They are hilarious. I’ll tell you why. Because they are the most abusive. They’re saying, because part of my ad, one of my Facebook ads is “Quit drinking without AA.” And I’m targeting people who don’t want to go to AA. Which is about 99% of the world’s population or people who drink, right? No one wants to go to AA, but they take it as like a “Oh my god, you’re criticizing AA.” And so they abuse me. And then funnily enough in AA’s Big Book, they have this kind of like Bible, it’s called the Big Book. It’s been going since the 1930s. One of the things that the Big Book says, and this is on page 84, right? Because I’ve researched it, right? Page 84, it says “and we have ceased fighting anything or anyone.” On page 84 again, “love and tolerance of others is our code. Never talk down to someone from any moral or spiritual hilltop.” And so I post these things to them and also an AA spokesperson said online in a New York Times article about three years ago, said the AA fellowship does not develop or offer opinions on any other organization, cause, treatment, medications, legislation, housing, sober bars, non alcoholic beverages or the alcohol industry. That was what a spokesperson said. So then I posted that comment and then I say, “Curious why you’re therefore publicly offering a critical opinion on my program, which helps people reduce or quit drinking. AA’s culture seems to promote friendly, supportive, inclusive, open minded and positive discussion, yet your message seems to me to be hostile, accusatory, and negative.” So I just, you know, put that out there.

Brian Crane 1:24:16
So I think that what you’re experiencing with people who are in AA ties in with the polarization, which is, and you and I talked about this at dinner previously, which is that like, I think Americans in particular are looking for a cause to align themselves with deep down and I think that… I want to hear your thoughts on this because I think that there’s… that Americans as a culture is, like, deeply disturbed about, let’s call it the death of God. Like in a post-religious world or in a post-religious society, what fills that vacuum? And I think Americans probably by and large, have a more… they’re like more keen to… like more religious in a way than maybe Australians are from what I’ve seen, and so as a result of that sort of natural tendency to be religious, when you take away the Judeo-Christian framework, and instead you replace it with AA, you replace with climate change, you replace it with politics, like people become hyper attached to it. And the way that they talk about it is almost in religious terms. And you and I were at another dinner the other night and a friend of ours was talking about climate change. And the way that he described his belief in climate change. It was a religious conversion. It was like “I saw the light in my early 20s. I started to read about it,” as if he’d gotten a hold of the Good Book or… whatever the book is called, the Big Book and a, and all of a sudden the world had been revealed to him and he had his mission and what he was aligned for and where he was going. And it was very religious, a lot of the language that he used and I think if you ask him if he considers himself religious, he probably be like, I’m not religious. I don’t think that I think that organized religions have like, whatever, have something negative to say about it. And then you look at like, how he treats climate change. It’s very religious in a way or how somebody treats politics, whether it’s like, red team, blue team, or whatever. Like it’s very religious in a way, it’s almost like Catholics and Protestants in Ireland during the Troubles or any other kind of like sectarian group where you’d basically be like, I just dislike this person because they have this.

James Swanwick 1:26:46
Yankees Red Sox in a baseball analogy. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, football club and English soccer. Celtic Rangers. Yeah, yeah.

Brian Crane 1:26:54
Yeah. That tribalism.

James Swanwick 1:26:59
That’s a good word for it. Tribalism. But you’re saying it’s tribalism in the absence of religious fervor?

Brian Crane 1:27:05
Yeah, I do think so. Yeah.

James Swanwick 1:27:06
So religion has fallen by the wayside. And so people still feel a sense to belong to a tribe. And so…

Brian Crane 1:27:12
They’re looking for a sense of identity.

James Swanwick 1:27:14
Looking for a sense of identity. Yeah. As you were saying that I was thinking I’m, I must be religious too like, I’m not religious in the true sense of, you know, what we know religion to mean, but in the analogy that you were putting forward, I’m religious about the lifestyle that I lead. Like, I’m religious about being an entrepreneur and generating my own money and wealth in entrepreneurial endeavors, rather than having a boss or having a job, you know, so I’m very black and white on that, like, I’ve had a job and I’ve been an entrepreneur, and I like to live my life traveling the world and being in different places and having a location independent business, and that type of lifestyle I feel quote unquote, religious about.

Brian Crane 1:28:00
Did you read a book that was the come to Jesus moment?

James Swanwick 1:28:04
I mean The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss was the was the first time that I realized it was possible. And because of that book, I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the end of 2009. Because Tim Ferriss always spoke about living in Buenos Aires. And when I was there, I kind of practiced what he spoke about in the book and…

Brian Crane 1:28:24
Tango dancing.

James Swanwick 1:28:25
I did Tango dancing. I took Spanish lessons and everything. And so, you know, look, 10 years later, a decade later, 10 and a half years later, I’m living that lifestyle. So that was the catalyst. And now I’ve just, I believe in e-commerce, because you’ve got an e-commerce businesses and I’ve e-commerce businesses, and I will, I don’t want to say never, but I can’t see a time where I’m going to build a location-based business at all because I’d like to be nomadic and travel and have that that location flexibility and so I guess you could say I’m religious about that.

Brian Crane 1:29:02
Yeah, I think you… Yeah. I don’t know if I would… I don’t know if that would be at the, um… If it’s like dogmatic for you because if somebody is not entrepreneurial, you don’t dislike them.

James Swanwick 1:29:21
Oh, you’re right. Okay.

Brian Crane 1:29:21
Y’know? Like, that could be your code that could be like your truenorth in a way, but it’s not…

James Swanwick 1:29:29
You’re quite right. It’s not really combative in a nasty vicious kind of way. Like there’s no opposing tribe where you’re like fighting about it, because

Brian Crane 1:29:36
That this person is morally wrong, right? Or that there’s something wrong. Yeah. And…

James Swanwick 1:29:42
Thanks for calling me out. I don’t… Good coaching. Are you one of my coaches? Hey, you want a job?

Brian Crane 1:29:49
No, I have enough stuff to do. Thank you. Yeah, like plus you’ve… yeah, you get a lot of access to a lot of like pretty amazing people who can… who are you working with? You were working with a dating coach for quite a while who you told me a lot about and how it’s a female right? It’s a woman? And she was working with you on languaging and how you phrase things. Yeah.

James Swanwick 1:30:14
Yeah, Lynne Sheridan is her name. She spoke at my Maximum Life Summit which is my annual conference in Venice Beach. And she’s actually speaking at the next one. It’s March 26 through 28th at the Hotel Erwin, and putting a little plug in here. The Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach. If you’d like to come to the Maximum Life Summit go to jamesswanwick.com/live event. We should have put like some music on either side of that to make people realize that it was a commercial. Lynne Sheridan, she’s been in relationship counseling, like coaching people I mean, for 30 something years, studied at Dr. John Gottman. John Gottman is probably the world’s most famous relationship coach, Gottman Institute, he and his wife. And… yeah, I hired her at the referral of a friend of mine, a guy called George Bryant about a year and a half ago. And on average, I probably speak to her once every three or four weeks on a one on one call. And it’s been hugely beneficial to me and how I relate to women and how I relate to colleagues and how I relate to family even though I still want to tell my brother to F off half the time like it… It’s now not all the time. So yeah, I’m a massive believer in hiring coaches and working with coaches. Same thing, if you pay a coach, you pay attention, right? Because stuff that she’s doing teaching me I could have read in a book. I could have read in a book or I could have watched on YouTube, but the mere fact that she’s telling me and I’m paying for her time, I value it a lot more and so I take the action.

Brian Crane 1:31:53
Me too. Yeah, I mean, I think that when people critique you online about that people can Just quit drinking for free. They don’t need to pay for it. There is, and I don’t know the psychological literature off the top of my head, but there’s science behind that you literally pay attention to what it is that you pay for. There’s a phenomenon and I don’t remember what the name of it is. But…

James Swanwick 1:32:17
I was just gonna say that there’s a psychological issue that when one makes an investment, one is more inclined to keep one’s commitment to that investment.

Brian Crane 1:32:26
Is there a name for that?

James Swanwick 1:32:27
I don’t know the name. But, um, but yeah, it’s true. You know, if you could have quit drinking, you would’ve? You haven’t. So you can’t. So you know what, as soon as you pay, whether it’s the $67 or the $5,000, guess what? You’re going to quit drinking. My my way has an 87% success rate.

Brian Crane 1:32:48
That’s impressive.

James Swanwick 1:32:49
You know what, AA’s is?

Brian Crane 1:32:50
No.

James Swanwick 1:32:50
Between 5 and 10%. You know what inpatient treatment centers are, like passages in Malibu, you know how much they cost?

Brian Crane 1:32:57
No.

James Swanwick 1:32:57
Most of all. $110,000. Right? To do it, and they have…

Brian Crane 1:33:01
For alcohol?

James Swanwick 1:33:03
For alcohol and substance abuse and things like that. But for alcohol, the passages, one for alcohol, right? $110,000 for for a 30-45 day stay somewhere around there. And the studies show that it also has less than a 5% success rate.

Brian Crane 1:33:19
So let me ask you on that: is that due to the fact that the people that are attracted to your program are more casual drinkers? They’re not at the point of being like hardcore alcoholics?

James Swanwick 1:33:31
Correct.

Brian Crane 1:33:32
Yeah. Okay.

James Swanwick 1:33:33
I call them problem drinkers.

Brian Crane 1:33:34
That’s who’s kind of in your sweet spot. Those are who you can help.

James Swanwick 1:33:37
Yeah, yeah. The problem is, though, is that those kind of people who are not necessarily alcoholics and who are instead problem drinkers, they’re not forced to but they only option really available to them is to go to AA. Because AA’s always talking about, you know, AA has been around for seven decades. And it has helped 10s of millions of people. That is true, but it hasn’t helped hundreds of millions of people. That’s all I keep trying to get through to people like it’s helped 10s of millions of people, because people have really thought that that’s the only way to really break the chain of drinking. But the actual statistics are horrendous. I mean, would you put your life savings on a horse that was playing 5% odds?

Brian Crane 1:33:51
No.

James Swanwick 1:33:51
What’s five… you know what I mean? Like, you got five chances out of 100 that that horse is gonna winand you’re gonna win. Why would you do that? Why do you go there and spend your time and not only that, bringing this full circle back to the beginning of the conversation. They tell you that you’re a victim. It keeps you stuck in victimhood. It keeps you stuck in being broken. They tell you that you have to surrender to a higher power and that you are powerless over this disease that you have. And I call BS on it for most people, not for some people, because some people do have a chemical dependency on it. But for most people I call BS. And what I try to do with my program is make it fun and aspirational. You’re not broken. You’re actually a peak performer. You just have this thing: attractively packaged poison, which we call alcohol, in the way of you performing at your peak. And so I help you remove that in a fun aspirational way. Versus “Oh my God, I’m broken. I can’t believe… I have to quit. I have to quit. I must quit. My life is so terrible.” I don’t relate to that at all. I relate to like, what do we get to create in your life over the next three months by being alcohol free? I’m going to show you how to do it and we’re going to do it in a really loving, supportive, fun, challenging kind of. That’s the difference. And I’ll tell you why I have an 87% success rate. Part of the reason is because you pay. You pay for it. Guess what? AA is free and has a 5 to 10% success rate. Mine costs a lot of money if you do the $5,000 program and has an 87% success rate. That’s all you got to say but people still want to push back on that.

Brian Crane 1:36:00
So have you tried a similar methodology to something like smoking or with another…?Another vice that people want to kick?

James Swanwick 1:36:12
It works for other vices. I just happen to quit drinking. And that’s the topic that I that I focused on. At some point, probably when I, you know, publicly shamed myself if I don’t do it, I have to pay something. I will actually create it as a something to get off smoking or porn or shopping or love addiction. Or anything that people are addicted to.

Brian Crane 1:36:33
Yeah, just a breaking of habits. Yeah. That’s one of the things that I like in Ubud is that it’s culturally not really acceptable to drink.

James Swanwick 1:36:44
Yeah, isn’t it?

Brian Crane 1:36:45
Yeah, and I think that’s part of what you do in 30 Day No Alcohol Challenges. You create a support group around people, and you basically, like there’s other people who are doing this along with you. And in one sense, maybe not a great analogy. But in one sense Ubud is a bit like that because it’s as if you say, everyone else around you is not drinking; they’re drinking green juice or drinking coconut water. So you socially are either well contained to not drink, or you’re socially ostracized if you do drink if you show up to an event and you’re drunk people were like, “that’s not really the code of ethics for this place.” Right? And so, yeah, I think that’s partially what you’re doing with your program and your group is that you are creating…

James Swanwick 1:37:28
It’s a community of like-minded people. It’s funny you were saying, I was imagining me going out to the to the local restaurant, just up the road from where we are now. Alchemy, and walking in with a cigarette in my mouth and eating a Kitkat or eating out of a bag of crisps. I mean, I would just be ostracized. People would look at me going, what the hell is that guy doing? Yet in other areas of the US? That’s completely the norm. Everywhere in the world. You know, believe it or not. So yeah, it’s creating a supportive community of like-minded people. In fact, Charles Duhigg wrote The New York Times best selling book The Power of Habit. And he said that change occurs amongst other people. So you try to change on your own using brute willpower? Setting yourself up for failure. But if you try to change in a group of like minded people who are encouraging, supporting and who are like minded like you in the same journey? That’s when change becomes possible. Yeah. So it’s pretty powerful. We’ve been talking a while.

Brian Crane 1:38:28
Yeah, maybe we end on that note, that was a powerful one to stop at.

James Swanwick 1:38:31
Okay. I like it. Thank you, Brian. I definitely appreciated having this conversation very much. It definitely has been a lot of fun. Like I said before, if you’d like to direct some complaints about the Trump conversation, please email [email protected] Send me a DM at @jamesswanwick. Brian’s email address?

Brian Crane 1:38:52
[email protected]

James Swanwick 1:38:54
And you can swear and send us vulgarities. We can’t actually block you. Actually, we can block you on Instagram but if you send me an email… I guess I can block someone on email as welln can’t I?

Brian Crane 1:39:02
Yeah, you can set up a filter afterwards to just delete it. But not… Yeah. Yeah. But I don’t know if you would get so angry emails as you would publicly… I think there’s something about doing it publicly on social media that people feel like…

James Swanwick 1:39:18
They can abuse you more. That’s interesting.

Brian Crane 1:39:20
In some sense, maybe, I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong about that. But yeah, so just to close, I think one thing is, James, you’re just restarting your podcasts. I’m getting mine off the ground. If you do like these podcasts, please go leave us reviews. Yeah, on our respective platforms, so on iTunes, or on Google Play or Spotify. I don’t know if you can actually leave a review on Spotify. But…

James Swanwick 1:39:48
Yeah, to my listeners. Brian’s podcast is the Spread Great Ideas Podcast. So it would mean the world to me if you found it in iTunes and subscribed and then whatever you write as a review for this episode on my podcast, let me just copy and paste it and go and put it on on the same in Brian’s as well that would mean the world to me. Thank you.

Brian Crane 1:40:08
Thank you.

James Swanwick 1:40:08
Thank you so much. Yeah. And yeah from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Let’s go and get a packet of Marlboro lights and some Doritos chips and walk into Alchemy. We can make America great! See you later! We’ll see you on the next one.

Brian Crane 1:40:30
Hi, again, folks. If you enjoyed that show, would you please go leave a review in iTunes or whichever platform you’re listening to this podcast on? That would help us immensely. Also, tell your friends tell your family if you didn’t like the show, if you’ve got feedback about it, please send an email to [email protected], we’d love to hear from you. Again, if you liked it, please help us out by spreading the word. If you didn’t like it, let us know what we can do to improve it. Thanks a lot and see on the next one.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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