Maybe You Should Talk to Someone with Lori Gottlieb
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ay. Very excited. This has been a long time coming. Um, our guest, Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and author of The New York Times bestseller. Maybe you should talk to someone, which it's worth noting is also being adapted into a television series. Um on I think it's ABC will get cleared and then a second, but it's also the Oprah magazine's best nonfiction book of 2019. A People magazine. Book of the Week. Apple Books Best pick for April. The number one Audible nonfiction Book of the Year. NPR Saver Book of the Year. Time magazine must read you. You get the picture. And in addition to being an author in her critical clinical practice, Laurie writes the Atlantic weeklies quote Dear Therapist quote, Advice column and contributes greatly to The New York Times and lots of other publications. I just finished re watching her Ted talk for the umpteenth time. And it's not a surprise, then, that this is one of the most top of the top 10 most watched Ted talks of the year. She's a member of numerous advisory councils. Ah, sought after expert in media spending. They show of Good Morning America, CBS all over the place. Just type her name and you don't need to finish. You can just l o r I g And then it populates and you could click on that video and get lots and lots of information. And her new I heart radio podcast, dear therapist is incredible. Produced notably by Katie Couric. So it brings me great now that we're, like, 45 minutes into her bio, because it's so, um, um, impressive. I couldn't be happier. And please, wherever you are in the world, tell us where you're coming in from in tap your desk or taps some keys, whatever works to welcome Lori Gottlieb to the show. Laurie, thank you so much for joining us. Oh, it is such a pleasure to be here. I'm really looking forward to chatting with you. Ah, well, we in this community, as I was sharing before we're going live were a creator. Ah, community of creators and entrepreneurs. And I largely throw us into two buckets. Um, those of us who identify as creators and, you know, wear like a badge of honor and think of you know, whether our next art project our next book, our next film, our next business that we're building um is that's just are right. And it's our vision that we have for ourselves. And there's a whole other population that is a part of this community, which I call creative, curious. And at the center of either one of those communities is mindset. And I often say that the most important words in the world are the ones we say to ourselves. And yet you, you've, um you've published a book called Maybe You Should Talk to Someone Which Is Not Yourself. So help us understand and maybe give us a little bit of background with your work as not just a writer but as a psychotherapist, because, God knows, we all could use your help. Yeah, well, first of all, I just want to say something about, um, you know how we talk to ourselves, because that's that's something that I think a lot of us don't think about. So when I'm doing public speaking and I'm on stage and I'll say to a big audience, who is the person that you talk to most in the course of your life? Is it your partner? Is it the person at work? Is it your child? Is it your parent is that your sibling is your best friend, right? I get lots of hands for all of those. But what I don't get is that the person that you talk to most in the course of your life is you. People don't realize that. And what we say to ourselves isn't always kind or true or helpful. And I think that's really important because we don't realize how much that voice is is playing in our head. It's like we're listening to a really unpleasant radio station, you know? And it's like all we have to do is change the station, but we don't leave it. And so I have patients who didn't believe me when I was telling her how self critical she sounded to me. And so I said, I want you to write down everything you say to yourself in the course of a few days and bring it back to me. And she came back the next week and she said, I am such a bully to myself. I can't believe that I talked to myself this way, things like, Oh, you made that mistake. You're so stupid, right? Just these, you know, you would never say that to somebody else, not because you're trying to be nice, but because you actually wouldn't believe they were stupid if they made that same mistake. So, um so it's a very long way of starting off and saying, Oh, it's even though even though the book is, maybe you should talk to someone I think we first need to start with. How do we talk to ourselves on what I mean by Maybe you should talk to someone is that it doesn't necessarily mean you should talk to a therapist, although that is often very helpful. But it means that we need to talk more to one another. And I think we talk a lot about in this culture kind of individual ism and really succeeding and independence. And I don't think we talk enough about interdependence and how important those connections are for us in helping us to grow and transform. It's absolutely true, and you understand, having read the book and consumed a lot of your material, uh, you you describe psychotherapy in an interesting way. First of all, I'm wondering if you can tell us, uh, what is a little bit like something I find that fascinating. First of also start us off there and then talk to us a little bit about, um, the perspective that you approached this book from. Yeah, in the book, I say that psychotherapy is a little bit like pornography and that, like, a lot of people use it. But they don't necessarily, um, talk about the fact that they do it, Um, and that there's not this kind of shame, I think, in stigma around it. Um, I think psychotherapy is. It's just like getting a really good second opinion on your life from somebody who isn't in your life. On in the book, I talk about the difference between idiot compassion and wise compassion, and so our friends will offer us idiot compassion. Right. So you say this this happened, This person did this and you say, Yeah, they're terrible. You're right, their wrong. You know, we support our friends in that way, but it's not necessarily that helpful, because a lot of times what'll happen is you'll notice that your friend is basically telling the same story, but with different characters over and over, right, So they keep getting into these kinds of situations and every time we say yeah, that's terrible. You're right. Um, it's but you know, we don't say to them If a fight breaks out in every bar you're going to, maybe it's you which doesn't know this pattern right? It was like they have a role in this and the thing that keeps happening wise compassion is what a therapist will dio. A therapist will hold up a mirror to you and help you to see yourself in a way that maybe you haven't been willing or able to dio, and it has the word compassion in it because it's done in a very compassionate way. But it has the word wise because that's where wisdom comes from. That's where a movement can happen is when you're able to stay. Oh, that's me. I didn't realize I was participating in my own stuck nous. I'm you were asking about my sort of kind of journey to psychotherapy. Um, and it's a very it's a very circuitous I think I took the most nonlinear route in the world of how somebody becomes a therapist. We in this community love nonlinear, and I think that you know that the story that things are linear is is actually a toxic one. Because I know so few people that, you know, that bought the map that they were sold. That said, if you go toe, you know, if you grow up like this and you go to this school and then you get these grades and you get this job and and it just doesn't look like that So I would love for you share your story and make all of us feel better about hours. Yeah, um, you know, it's funny, I think, in your twenties, and a lot of people experienced this where they, you know, they had their lives sort of programmed out for them. Right? So you know what you need to do in school And you know what? You need to dio to get into college gym. And you know what you need to do when you're in college, Although it gets a little bit, sir, but still, you pick a major and you pick your extracurriculars and you know when you need to be in class and those kinds of things, right, and then all this and you graduate and you have the whole world there and you don't know what to do. It's like paralysis right on, and people are so worried that they're going to make a wrong or right decision. And that's why I think my, um, pathway to becoming a therapist is interesting because so many people thought I was crazy when I kept switching and making all these different decisions. I started off after college working in the entertainment business, and first I worked in film development. And then I moved over to network development and I were to NBC, and when I got to NBC, I was I was a junior executive, and that shows that we're premiering that year with these two little shows you may have heard of. One is called E. R. And the other one's called Friends. And, um, I remember when we were working on E. R. There was a physician who was our consultant, and he was a really our doctor, and he made sure that everything looked accurate on the show and I would spend a lot of time in the ER with him. Originally, it was to do research for the show, and then it became sort of an obsession, and he said to me one day, he said, You know, I think you like it better here than you like your day job. And I was in my late twenties at the time and and he said, You know, maybe you should go to medical school And I thought that was the most hilarious thing anybody could have said to me. I was a French major in college, and I mean, I was It was very sort of math and science E, but that wasn't I. Was I in school, I did the humanities, but I was definitely, like, you know, in high school on the Mac team and doing science bowl and stuff like that. But in college, not at all. And so, um, and I had this great job at NBC. Why why would I leave that? But eventually I realized he was right, that that I really liked the fictional stories that we were telling on ER and they were done so well. But there was something about the human condition that I was seeing in an e. R. Because nobody goes to an emergency room when they expected something to happen. It's always an inflection point, and I thought that was so fascinating. These inflection points in life like what happens when there's a big plot twist? What do you do? Um And so I went up to Stanford for medical school, and, um, when I got there, it was it was so Silicon Valley 1999 2000 right, the boom right before the bust and everybody was saying, um, first of all, the medical field was changing. Managed care was there. I wouldn't be able to spend time with my patients the way that I had envisioned because I loved the whole human condition and story element, um, and and really making meaningful change in people's lives. And so between first and second years of medical school actually went and worked in a dot com not because I was gonna leave medical school. Um, and it failed just in time for me to go back to second year of medical school, which was fortuitous on then. And then I realized that that I just I didn't want to do the kind of medicine that I thought I would have to practice in the new model. Andi. I started writing and I wrote enough that I started getting published and I left medical school to become a journalist so people would think just from these steps alone, right? You leave this great job at NBC to go to medical school at almost 30. Um, and you're not a science person, right? And then and then you're in medical school at a pristine medical school, one of the best programs in the country. And you leave to go become, what, a freelance journalist. Um and so I So I love to become a journalist, and I really loved it because I felt like I was now delving into those stories and and into the human condition in a way that I really couldn't dio or felt. I couldn't dio as a clinician on and, um, and about 10 years into that, I was now in my late thirties, I had a baby, and I love my child dearly. But when, uh when he was first born, I was dying for some adult conversation during the day. And so because you get all these deliveries when you have a new child, um, the UPS guy would come every day, and I would detain him in conversation and hated that he would literally back away to like the big brown truck, right? I was studying. I'm like, trying to get away from me. And then he started tiptoeing to the door and gently placing The package is down so he wouldn't have to ring my doorbell and I would not talk to him. And so I thought, Okay, something's wrong here. So I called up the dean of the medical school, and I said, Maybe I should come back and do psychiatry and she said, You're welcome to come back But here's the thing You would have to go through internship residency with a toddler, right? And you would be a lot of psychiatry is medication management and prescribing, you know, antidepressants antianxiety medication in 15 minute intervals. And you always loved the deeper work. Go get a graduate degree in clinical psychology and do the work you want to dio, and it sounds obvious in retrospect. But it was one of these ah ha moments, and every time I made one of these changes, people thought I was lost, that I was like a lost soul. But really, and and the joke at the time, I would always say, You know, I'm either very versatile are very confused, probably a little bit of both. But in the end, I feel like it all made sense. And you don't sometimes no, the narrative when you're going through these changes. But you know what's driving you? And I knew what was driving me, and it was always story and the human condition. Whether it was telling fictional stories at NBC or, you know, delving into real stories in medical school and then tell helping people to tell their stories is a journalist's and now is the therapist helping people to change their stories. I feel like I use my work is a journalist all the time in the therapy room because I'm helping people toe edit these faulty narratives that they come in with, and so it might look like I took this very odd path to becoming a therapist. But I think every single step is very intentional when you see the threads that tie them together, it is interesting how we can connect the dots looking backwards and realize that no efforts ever wasted in our life and that it all contributes to, um to where we are right now. Um, the subtitle of your book is a therapist, her therapist and our lives revealed. So for the people who are new to your work, peel back that layer of the onion and share with us how you found some of your most profound insights. Um, and large parts. By being incredibly vulnerable. Candor in your book is just amazing. Ah, and but yet that required this extra layer of, um, introspection and sharing what you found. I'm wondering if you can talk more about that. Yeah. So at the very beginning of the book, I say that my most significant credential is that I'm a card carrying member of the human race and that is a theme that's woven. I think throughout the book that we're all more the same than we are different. I didn't want to be the expert up on high. So in the book, you know, I follow the lives of four very different patients as they go through their struggles. And then there's 1/5 patient in the book who is me as I go through my own struggle and go to my own therapist, and it sounds like it's a book about therapy. But it's really a book about humanity and about the human condition and how we, uh, you know, get in our own ways and how we can get on stuck. And I think that a lot of people wondered, You know, why would I reveal so much of myself in this book on the truth of the matter is that, as you see in the book I talk about, there were some other books I was supposed to be writing that people wanted me to write cause they thought they were very commercial happy. One of one of one was the happiness book, and it made me depressed. I called it the miserable, depression inducing happiness book because I felt like it couldn't. It could barely scratch the surface of what I was seeing as a therapist in terms of the richness of people's lives and how much we can all learn from that, because I really feel that we learn the most when we see ourselves reflected in other people's stories. If you say to someone you know you do this or you're like this are sort of natural, response is No, I don't I'm not like that right? But if you see yourself in another person's story, you say for yourself Oh, wow, I'm kind of like that, or I kind of do that right. It's a different way of discovering something about yourself. So I canceled the happiness book, and when I canceled the happiness book, um, you know, people said, Oh, nobody's gonna read this book. Nobody wants to, like, sit in the therapy room. Nobody's gonna be this book on, So I just let it rip because I was like, No one's going to read this book. That's fine. I'm going to write the book that I want to write that I feel is meaningful and important. It can change the lives of the three people who will read it rather than write a book for, you know, lots of lots of people that, um, that won't be is meaningful. And then, of course, I turned it into my publisher and they started passing it around like candy, and everybody was saying, you know, like, Oh my God, this is transformative. And all the ways they laughed, they cried, you know, whatever it was, and everybody is passing it around. And I thought OK, well, maybe like 300 or 3000 people will read it. Maybe I should clean myself up a little bit, right? You know, cause then I was done. You feel more exposed. Um, but then I didn't clean myself up. And of course, you know, now it's it's been on The New York Times best seller list for over a year, and I feel like the reason that so many people are reading this book is because I didn't clean myself up is because it was so honest. And I think that that's how people I learned the most about themselves is when they're in an environment where there's all this candor. And so I think there's a difference between sort of candor and vulnerability, right? And so vulnerability is not, um, going on social media and saying, You know, I've never shared this with anyone before, but I'm going to share it with all of you. You know, there's a certain amount of vulnerability required there, but really vulnerability, I think, is when the stakes are hot, right, when when it's like you are taking off the mask and I don't mean the mass that we're all talking about right now during Cove it. But the emotional mess right? You take off the mask and, um, and you reveal something difficult about yourself, some truth about yourself, to someone where it counts, where the stakes are high. Um, and so when I think about what that relationship is like between me as a writer and the reader, I feel like there is a level of vulnerability. But it's not the same as as being face to face with somebody. At the same time, I do feel like it really helped people to look at themselves in a more honest way because I was being so honest. If you are just joining, um, wherever you're joining from, I want to say Welcome, chase it down with Lori Gottlieb. Ah, amazing psychotherapist and most recently, the author of Maybe you should talk to somebody an incredible work, and, um, I'm seeing that we've got folks tuning in from every corner of the globe. It's the middle of the night in Europe, yet we've got we're seeing people from Poland and London, and I don't I don't know how to pronounce that city in Italy, but people charming in from all over the world, saying thank you for taking your time to share with us. And so, in service of this global audience, the number one question that usually is on the lips, hearts and minds of those watching is is about getting unstuck. There's so much paralysis, especially in the Creator in the entrepreneur community. Ah, it often feels like it's It's never a choice of the smart, easy thing or the dumb hard thing it's like, which you know, which hand do you want to cut off, conceptually speaking in, you know, in entrepreneurship or, um, struggling with your identity as an artist? Or how do you find your voice? And and it leads to a lot of paralysis. And you described earlier in this conversation about helping people get unstuck. And so you know, what if we were sitting in your chair, the collective a few 1000 of us that are watching right now, What advice would you give this community for getting on stock since it's such a prevalent problem in our community? Yeah, I think there are two things I would say about that. The first is that change is really hard, right? So when we want to make a change in our lives. We don't realize that even if it's a positive change, that change comes with loss. One thing that we lose a certainty. When we were in the former position, right, we were certain women liked how things were. But at least we knew what to expect. It was very predictable, and I think that humans in general don't do well with uncertainty. And sometimes what we do is when there's uncertainty. We feel in the story with something negative that's going to happen. You know, we don't focus on here all the positive things that might happen. And we don't take into account the fact that when you go into uncertainty, it opens up all these possibilities for things that you might not even thought of yet. So you can't even imagine what those are because you aren't in that situation yet. We know if we stay where we are, things won't change. But there's there's a real fear of that risk of you know, what if it doesn't work out? Or what if I make a mistake not realizing that you will learn something no matter what you dio right? If it works out, it doesn't work out. You will learn something, Um, and change. I think it's hard because it we cling to the familiar. We want to do the familiar thing, even though we say we don't. So there's a difference between what we say and what we dio all the time. And if you can close that gap, that's the work of therapy. A lot of the times is closing that gap between what you say you want and what you're actually doing. So so many people will say, like I want to change and then they don't do anything to change. Aside from therapy, I think they're therapy is you know, obviously you being a therapist, this being center of central topic of your work. The book. Um, I'm wondering if there let's say we check the box for therapy. I don't know if I'm speaking for everybody, but let's just assume that that's a box that some subset of us who are listening right now I've checked There certainly are other things that are whether those air reinforcing behaviors mindset drills like, what are some of those things that you could prescribe again if we're in your chair. Um, assuming we're we've checked the therapy box and we do want to change, and we recognize that you have negativity bias. You recognize that we're saying one thing and doing another, but we've come to you, Laurie, to help set us straight. Give us some more tools for a toolbox. Well, I think one of the things that gets in the way of change is is again going back to those stories that we tell ourselves. And, you know, I think that a lot of people feel like, um, like, when they come to therapy, they feel like, Well, if I just get to know myself better than I'll know what I want And then I'll know what direction to go. It, um, and partly that's true, right? But I think therapy's also, um, a process of unknowing. So it's it's letting go of those stories you've been telling yourself that are keeping you stuck in some of examples of those stories or things like nothing will ever work out. For me, everything is working out for everybody else. Um, I don't trust myself. I don't trust other people. Um, you know, I'm not good enough um, you know, whatever it is, and sometimes you don't even realize that those are the stories that you're carrying around, and so it's really important to to know. You know what? What are you saying to yourself and what are these stories and how did they get in the way? Um, I see that all the time with people. I also see another thing gets in the way of changes expecting other people to make the change for you so so, so many times, right? I mean, so I had I'm sorry to laugh. I'm It's just cause it's so obvious. And yet it's everywhere. Like if you just were, you know? Yeah, well, so people come into therapy all the time, and the first thing they say is I want something to change, But usually what they want is they want someone else or something else to change. And that doesn't mean, by the way, that there aren't difficult circumstances out there that might be getting in your way. Or there aren't even difficult people that might be getting in your way. I remember when I was doing my clinical training, supervisor said, before diagnosing someone with depression make sure they aren't surrounded by asks holes, right? So it's like, Yes, it's really like, you know, difficult People are real and they are really obstacles in your way. That's true. But at the same time, you know, what are you what is your role in this? And I remember, you know, when I was in therapy, my therapist said at one point, cause I was going through all the reasons why I couldn't make a certain change And he said, You remind me of, Ah, cartoon and it's of a prisoner shaking the bars, desperately trying to get out. But on the right and the left, it's open. No bars, Right? So so that's most of us. We feel like we're trapped. We feel like we can't make the change, but all we have to do is walk around the bars that's on us. But we don't do it because with freedom comes responsibility. So if you walk around the bars now, you're responsible for what happens. You can't blame it on this circumstance or this person, and I think that scares people from making changes because they feel like they feel the burden of the responsibility of making a change in having it not work out. And I think that if we could be more focused on process instead of outcome, if you can be more focused on the process of making the change on DWhite, that will do for you how that will help you to grow as a person and how that will help you to grow personally and professionally. Then I think it feels less loaded. It feels like I am doing this thing. It's going to be a process of growth no matter how it works out. And I'm gonna learn from it and we learn a lot about myself. And I also, I always tell people in their twenties never take a job if you don't if you want a little bit scared like you should always be a little bit scared of the next big step, right, because otherwise you just your complacent you're not going to make change. So you always want to be on that edge of, um, kind of enough, enough of a stretch that you feel slightly uncomfortable, but not so much of a stretch where you really you're not ready for it, and I think that changes like that to some people will try to make these huge changes that they're not ready for. And it's kind of like you want to take these small steps and see what happens. And so, you know, I always say that that, um, most big transformations come about from the hundreds of tiny, almost imperceptible steps that we take along the way. And so, if you're afraid of change, what is a smaller change that you could make as an interim step? Yeah, beautiful. Now I'm gonna ask you to so 20 years of experience into a single response, So it may be a little bit of a heavy question, but certainly there are some threads of consistency between, you know, the problems that have been presented to you by your patients and the the path to success. And I'm wondering what our foundation lee the most common threads to success that you've found over, You know, surveying in your in your clinical research and you're just, um ah, you know, just your day to day you see so many cases and presumably you're recognizing patterns along the way, and I'm dying to know, as are the people who are watching right now. What are some of the most common things where people go off the rails and what do you prescribe as a solution? In terms of people not being able to move forward? I would say a lack of flexibility. So, you know, they come in with a very rigid idea about something, usually about themselves or about other people, um, and the world. And they don't have a lot of flexibility. They don't make a lot of room for more versions of that story. So you see that you see that in personal relationships, you see that in professional relationships, where people assume a lot of things about other people and and that person's effect on them, and they and I always give them an exercise. And I say, I want you to write this story from the other person's point of view, I want you to take their point of view and argue it for them, right? And when they do that, even if you don't you have to agree with it. You don't even have to like it, but I want you to get into their mind and imagine if they were sitting on my couch what they would be saying to me, what that would serve the stream. It's unlike, and usually what happens in that exercise is it doesn't necessarily change their mind about their perspective. But what it does is it. It gives them more flexibility with the problem at hand. So it's kind of like, Oh, actually, maybe this is also going on that I didn't realize. Or maybe I'm doing this That is adding Teoh, part of the reason that we're both backed into our corners and we can't move forward or I didn't realize maybe that, Yeah, I kind of am contributing to the problem by doing this. Or they may believe that I am acting this way, even though that's not my intention, right? Do you learn a lot by just opening your mind? Teoh writing the story from a completely different perspective than your own so that that I think it's just something we need to do in every aspect of our lives. Oh, very powerful. I know I hate doing that, but that's where the three answers are in flipping, You know, the other side of the same coin, and recognizing that most people aren't angry, hateful, mean people who are out to do you wrong. And if you can try and rewrite your understanding of the story from their perspective, Um, yeah, we call that sort of rotating. The problem is how we term it. It's like you want to take the problem. Initially, rotated a little bit. That sounds a lot better to me than confessing that I'm wrong rotating their problem here nuts. It was usually problems are really complicated, right? They're not as buying areas we think they are on. An example of that is this, so this might sound unrelated to business, but I think it's very much related. So a lot. I see a lot of couples in my practice and often what'll happen is, let's say that I'm seeing a man and a woman on the woman says to the to the guy, I really want to understand your inner life. I really want to get to know you better. I want you to share more with me. I feel like I can't really get to know you, you know, right? So then he does. And let's say he starts crying right, and all of a sudden she looks at me like a deer in the headlights. Like, what do I do with this, right? You asked for that. You wanted that. You said that you wanted Teoh experience more of his intellect, and he's giving you that. And then what happens is she actually isn't sure that she wants that right. So when When we have positions. And I think that's a great great example, because when we take certain positions, we don't realize that maybe we have ambivalence about our own position. We never consider that were like, You don't share your life with me. And she could She could be railing about that for weeks. But does she really want him to or does she really want him to in that way, or what is going on with her? Did she have some ambivalence? So I think we need to examine our own, you know, positions and and how much new new once there might be to our own positions and then acknowledge that the other person probably has a lot of new once to their position to Yeah, that's the challenge rate or so much nuance. And without the ability to communicate, um, thoughtfully in tough moments. It's very hard to communicate across the the so much new ones. That is a human relationship. Um, you know, speaking of rotating, Ah, the conversation. I want to rotate our conversation. Ah, a little bit more away from the psychotherapy and a little bit more toward your creative process because you wrote, ah, book that I'm looking at Good reason or 10, ratings and thousands of reviews, which is virtually unheard of and that you mentioned being on The New York Times best seller list for over a year. That is a huge feat in in the creative endeavor of writing a book, and you are renowned for your vulnerability. Offering yourself up is that fifth patient and so I'm dying as so many creators and artists that are listening and watching right now, they're constantly programming one another. I think justifiably so that your work will be stronger than more. You're more of yourself that you put into it. You know, that is where you get your voice and that his personal style and that s so money. You know, there's only one you how from a creative standpoint. Did you approach writing the book such that you could you could be so masterful at at getting yourself, you know, turning yourself inside out for for the art, what was your process? I think first and foremost a process was to be honest. And I think that, um, you know, with if my patients were gonna be that vulnerable, then I felt like, um, I needed to be as vulnerable as they were. And, you know, the difference is that their names aren't there in my news. So maybe maybe my mind was a little riskier, but I really felt that that was important. And I also felt like because we are also similar, and I I purposely picked people who looked very different on the surface, right? So if you look at the people that I have picked different ages, different genders, different personalities, um, the first guy that you meet, you know, has a Samaritan unique personality. Right here, Um, you know, is very insulting to me at the beginning and very abrasive. And then, you know, you come to love him. Um, I I really wanted to show that no matter how we present underneath it all, we're very much the same in terms of our fears, our anxieties, the things that that trip us up the ways we get in our own ways. Um, how we how we get stuck in life, Um, and how we all feel so alone in it. And that was the big piece of it was like, how we all feel so alone in it. And so I think that every chapter is in conversation with every other chapter. Um, meaning that, um, you know, I think that the themes are woven throughout the book and they relate to every single person I should say. Also, you know, I write the Deer therapist column for the Atlantic, which is a weekly kind of non advice advice column in the sense of I say not advice because I don't give prescriptive advice per se. But I help people to think about their stories a little bit differently so they can figure out what they want to dio. Um and I think that in both of those writing processes, it's really important. Teoh, just the human. You know, I'm not talking at their Mr People, and I'm I am a therapist, but I'm not talking sort of as a therapist might in the advice column. And I think in the book again, I'm just I'm just being human. And I think that in anything we do in life, the more human you are. Um, the more the more traction you're going to get, people are going to want to hear what you have to say. People are going to be interested in you because you know they feel some kind of connection to you. You heard it here. It's I think it's amazing wisdom, Um uh, continuing to turn the page on our conversation because there's your work is so vast. Ah, what's this Netflix Siri's you've got on Corona Virus? I didn't have a chance to go deep on this, and I just I just stumbled on it. And, um, we are in the midst of a pandemic and that you are, um, advising us in this this series on Netflix Tell us more. I I'm dying to know work because I don't often walk in without having the full picture of or what I think the what. I consider a full picture of my guests that I can talk him about about the whole range of things that they're doing. And this was just a whiff. I came, came across my desk. Too little, too late. Tell me about it. Yeah, So Netflix's has the Siri's. They explained Siri's and they did, the Corona virus explained. And they asked me to be a part of that miniseries where I talk about coping during Cove it. And so I was I was really able to participate in that. Can you can you share? Because we last time I checked, the numbers were flat or up in a lot of places. So yes, you know us. It seems very American to like, Okay, we've been doing this for three months now. We're done and we're moving on. Yeah, that's not It's not bad at all. It's No, it doesn't. We are still very much in the midst of Copan 19 and, um, you know, it has been very hard. It's probably the first time in most of our lifetimes that we've had a collective experience of having the same stressor that is affecting everybody, and yet people are going to be affected in their own unique waves. And so what? What I see is a lot of um, you know, a lot of anxiety, a lot of grief, a lot of loss. A lot of, um, you know, difficulty coping. But I'll tell you something. I see something really positive to and I don't mean that the virus is in any way positive, but I see something really positive about humanity in this on What I see is that if you had said, like, four months ago, right when we all started needing to shelter in place, if you had said Okay, so in, You know, in a few weeks, everybody's gonna be staying at home. Um, you know, you're gonna have to wash your hands a 1,000,000 times a day. You could get this deadly virus just by talking to somebody. Right? Um, you can't go anywhere except for a grocery store, a pharmacy with a mask on and gloves on, like, you know, like out of a science fiction movie. If you do decide to go outside and take a walk. Um, no, you can't even see your neighbors smile. You are because you have a mask on basically everything that made us feel. Humans seem to have been stripped away. And if you have said to us, Okay, that's gonna be the situation. And by the way, it's gonna go on indefinitely. It's not like this is gonna be two weeks of your life, but it's gonna go on for months and months indefinitely. I think many people would say, Oh, I can't cope with that But look at how we're doing. I mean, people are coping. I think that it shows that we're so resilient, were so adoptable. We are so flexible. Not that we're happy about it. Um, you know, But I want to say something about two things I think are really important about coping with the Corona virus. One is the both and of the situation. And that's that On the one hand, we're in the midst of this, this horrible suffering right? Andi suffering in different ways. There's there's loss of life. There is loss of health. There's loss of income, loss of jobs, right, But there are. There are other losses that I think we're afraid to talk about, and we won't talk about them because we feel like there's this hierarchy of grief, you know, like it's the grief Olympics. And if you don't, if you don't have one of those one of those ones that rates, you know, the highest, then you can't talk about it. And yet we need to talk about the other losses. The loss of, you know, the normal routines of daily life, the loss of this illusion of certainty or stability that I think a lot of us had, even though it's very much an illusion, the loss of all the things that do feel like they make us human. But at the same time, um, we're afraid to say, like, I'm really glad I don't have to commute now, and I have to work every day. Right? Um, I get to read a book now or I get to see my child more. Who was home doing remote learning? Um, and so now my 14 year old will talk to me, right? I mean, so it's It's both Aunt, um, and they think that that's people have a lot of trouble with both, and they want to see something as one thing or another thing. So just in life, I think, as we emerge from this is when whenever that happens, um, I think there are things that we can learn from this experience and take with us, Which is how do you live in the both and how do you live in uncertainty? How do you experience joy in the midst of suffering? Because that's really what life ISS And I think the other thing is about how we talk about our feelings, that we have this idea that there are negative feelings like anxiety, sadness, anger and then they're positive feelings like joy, you know, whatever it might be. And I always say that there's no such thing as a negative feeling. Your feelings are like a compass. They tell you what direction to go and even envy, Right? People always say, I don't want to feel envious. And I always say, Follow your envy. It tells you what you want. You're envious of someone great that tells you what is your desire. And then what do you need to do to pursue that desire instead of sitting there going? I'm so envious and I'm gonna try. I'm a bad person for feeling envy. So I'm gonna try not to feel envious. No, feel it, feel it a lot because that's gonna fuel your desire and say, Oh, I want. This is what I want. This is my desire. Maybe it's not even the exact same thing, but it gets you to pursue it as it gets you to take action. The same thing with anxiety where we feel like, you know. Oh, I don't want to feel anxiety there. Two kinds of anxiety and And during Cove, it is particularly relevant. There's productive anxiety, which is anxiety when you're reasonably worried about something and it motivates you to take action to keep yourself healthy. Right? So, um, productive anxiety is protected. Anxiety outside of covert is I have this big project. You should be anxious about that because you want to do well. So it motivates you to really put in the effort. If you're like, yeah, I don't really care. You're gonna phone did it during coronavirus. Productive anxiety is there's this virus out there and it's dangerous. So I'm going to take measures to protect myself. I am going to wash my hands. I'm gonna wear a mask and stay inside all of those things. If you were not adequately worried about this, you you would put yourself at risk and put others at risk so that's productive Inside you, anxiety could be incredibly productive. Unproductive anxiety, on the other hand, is obsessive rumination. It's what we do a lot of right. We all do this where you're checking the latest headlines. Um, you're thinking about something that might happen next week or the week after. That's bad. Something its future rising catastrophe izing something that hasn't happened yet and may never even happen. And yet you're spending a lot of emotional real estate on it. Um, that's not helpful because it's not helping you to move forward or to protect yourself like the washing of the hands or like doing well on a project. That kind of anxiety just keeps you stuck in place. So and so I think that what the reason that people go into the unproductive, you know, that's a obsessive rumination is when they're feeling feelings that they don't want to feel because they're afraid of the feelings. And yet, in reality, our fear of feelings is scarier than the feelings themselves. And so what do we do when we don't want to feel feelings? Well, too much food, too much alcohol, too much mindless. Rolling on the Internet, which a colleague of mine called. She said Thean Internet is the most effective short term, non prescription pain killer out there, right, but it doesn't actually kill the pain. What it does is it numbs you out. And so if you're not, if you're not aware of your feelings, it's like walking around with a glitchy GPS. You don't know what direction to go, and you don't know what you want, so it's much more productive to feel your feelings and say, Oh, I'm anxious. What does that tell me? I'm sad. What does that tell me about what's not working and what I can do about it, right? If you do nothing, it's not going to change. Even if you try to cover it up with you know all of these behaviors, it'll come out in, ah, short tempered Nissen, insomnia in a distracted nous and a lack of focus. It's not helpful to not to try to not feel your feelings wisdom. Spoken like we've got ah, Tina from Facebook. Laurette, your book was amazing. Thank you so much. I loved it. Quiet Storm Andy Graham Ah, Ashley Lewis. So many folks being expressing gratitude for your work really interesting question came in from J. D. Smith around your ah, the lens that you just put on the Corona virus. And J D. Says, I'm honestly very scared of losing one huge aspect of being human. That's physical contact, Phil. People going to be less likely to shake hands or hug coming out of this. And it seems like from that experience of what it might be losing more and more of the connection that it means to be human, he says. I hope I'm wrong. And, um, what? What would you share to that if JD was sitting in your chair? Yeah, so that's absolutely true. In fact, there's a term for which is skin hunger. And so what we're experiencing is skin hunger in the course of the day. I don't think people realize how much they actually touch other people in normal times. So maybe you like, shake hands with someone you give someone a hug or giving the high five for, um, you know, you're just always touching people, even like, you know, in Starbucks, like you might, you might end up like touching the hand of the person who handed you the your lot, right? Um, there's a lot of physical contact in our daily lives that now has has, you know, we've temporarily suspended and it's really hard. We need it. In fact, when you look at, like, babies in orphanages, right, if they don't get that, you can feed them. You can give them everything they need to survive except holding them the physical touch and they don't develop properly. They actually don't meet their developmental last. Also, as humans, we are wired for physical touch for physical connection on. So I think that part of how we might cope without right now is to I think we can't sort of future rise about that. We can't say, Oh, how much longer is it going to be in all of that? I think we have to focus on What can I do today that will give me some sense of connection? It might not give me the physical connection, but that will give me some other sense of that Will hit sort of some of those same neurological pathways, um that are that are adjacent to physical connection and and that will sustain me in the meantime. And so that means I think one of the silver linings of of this period has been People are really noticing their priorities. Who is important to me? What is important to me? Where am I spending my time? Where am I focusing my attention? And what are the things that have been dropped? That actually I don't need to come back to because they were not nourishing me? And so you know, who are the people that now you can have longer conversations with who were the people that you can connect with in other ways in a much deeper and more meaningful way than you ever have and cannot sustain you? In the meantime, as we go through this period of needing to be physically distanced? Uh, thank you. JD's thanking you right now, as are lots of people from around the world. Ah, I want to pursue one last thread, Aziz. We wind down our conversation. It's one that's near and dear to me and at this community, and we talk about creativity as, um, as a habit, a za muscle that we develop. It's a way of operating Aziz. John Cleese once said, Um, and if you buy the argument that as a core argument from M L creative calling. If you buy the argument that we're all creative and that creativity is a muscle, let's just take that for a second and map that, too. We're all human. And what muscles should we be working to strengthen in order to be our highest performing himself through the lens of psychotherapy and your work? What are the core skills, if you will? Or habits that a healthy, well adjusted, um, human being to use your card carrying member Um, analogy. What what are the What's the muscle that we should work to build in order to thrive? I would say the self compassion muscle, and I think that's because a lot of us feel like, um, if you have compassion for yourself, you're not gonna hold yourself accountable and you're not going to make things happen. There's this this big disconnection between being kind to yourself and having compassion for yourself and feeling like you're letting yourself off the hook. That's not true. A lot of people feel like they need to self flagellating to motivate themselves. You know, like if you're really hard on yourself, if you could be a taskmaster if you can. You know, be that critical voice You're gonna motivate yourself, right? And the opposite happens. The self flagellation prevent you from being creative. It prevents you from taking risks. It prevents you from going anywhere outside of your comfort zone or anywhere where you might not know that you're going to automatically succeed. Self compassion is not only healthy for yourself in terms of motivating you, you're actually gonna be much more accountable to yourself. If you could be kind to yourself and say, you know, even the way that you would even talk to a kid like let's say that they weren't doing what they needed to do you would be incredibly compassionate with them and also be asking them the good questions about what happened. Why did Why did you not do that right? You could do that in a compassionate way, which which opens up the space for people to self reflect and really be honest with themselves about what happened instead of making up an excuse. That might be the thing that placates somebody in the moment but isn't the real answer when I think the other part of self compassion is self compassion breeds compassion in others and for others. And so if we have ah, world that is more compassionate, there is more room for creativity. There is more room for experimentation. There is more room for doing things that you know, coloring outside the lines a little bit. Um, people often feel really safe when their coloring inside the lines, because it's like we all know that. And people get a little bit anxious about people who color outside the lines. And so if we have more compassion for one another, we see again going back to our conversation about nuance. We see the nuances, and when we see the nuances, we relax a little bit, and we are more willing Teoh to look for those places where people are coloring outside of the lines and to really embrace that. So I think it really starts with a place off of self compassion and compassion for others. And, you know, people always ask me when I'm like creatively when I'm writing what happens when I'm stuck when I'm really in this place of not being able to get anywhere and I always say that I just I get really kind to myself. And I say, you know what? You need a break and you need to walk outside right now. And you need to see trees. I live in l A so I could do that Hands and no matter where I like and I can see trees. And so, um, I I will walk around the block and just doing that, just that act of kindness and saying instead of like sitting there at the computer and like, wringing your hands and pulling your hair out and telling yourself, You're a terrible writer and you can't figure it out on all those things just go be really kind to yourself. You know what? You know what? You just need a break right now, that's all. It's the kind of thing I could do for myself. Just go take, you know, instead of the self flagellation. You don't deserve a break cause you're not. You're not producing anything right now. It's the opposite. It's like because I'm not producing anything. I need to go outside, need to be kind to myself. I need to see some trees on. They need to, like, just decompress. And then I've never had a situation where I have taken a walk around the block and come back and been a stuck as I had been before. Never has that happened. That's the empirical evidence that it works there anecdotal. But it works for me and I I recommend to my therapy clients all the time, and, you know, whatever works for them, it might not be the walking around the block for them, but whatever the kindness looks like for them to disrupt that, um, you know that loop that they're in that kind of self flagellation, Luke, if you can disrupt that, that's where the creativity comes from. Ashley Luit Lewis from Facebook says your spirit is so healing and you have found the perfect profession for yourself clearly and must. Thank you, Um, Tina again complimenting your book. Maybe Steve's already begging for a rewatch of this video on behalf of the community and creativelive. I just want to say thank you so much for providing, especially that last nugget of, um, self compassion and kindness. Um, helpful, knowing that that is a tactic that you use on yourself in moments of creative block. Thank you so much for being on the show. I know you're working on a handful things, including its ABC, Right? That's doing the television show. Well, it's in that family. We aren't sure yet. Okay. Okay. Um Well, congratulations. Can you give us any, um, any update on what's coming next or where we should? You know, you got the column. You've got the podcast with Katie Couric. You've got TV stuff coming. And there's so much, um, on the horizon for you. Where do you want us to keep our eyes? Focus. Besides on your book, which, if you haven't read it yet, it's a must read. But any other guidance, you'd you'd, ah, point us in the right direction for finding more of your work. Or where would you want her? You know, I think that the Ted talk is ah, you know, really useful. Especially for creative people or people who are entrepreneurs in terms of how do we How do we change those stories? And how do we become aware of maybe some of the stories that we don't even realize? We're telling ourselves on how to kind of unlock that? Um I think my weekly column in the Atlantic, dear therapist. I you know, I write that with an eye toward not specifically answering the question that comes in, although that's what I'm doing. But I really write it with an eye toward having every single reader see a piece of themselves in the solution. So people find that helpful. And I think in the podcast, which launches next month, you know, we're trying to do the same thing and what's exciting about the podcast, Um, which will be with I heart? And as you said, Katie Couric, I think what's really exciting about it is in my column. You don't get to see what happened after I wrote to that person right after I answered their question. But in the podcast, I'm doing it with Guy Winch, who was also a Ted talker, that a lot of people might know. He's fantastic. We have We have the person. Come on. They tell us what their issue is. We talk about it, the way therapist talk about it, and how do we conceive of a problem which is very different, I think, from how people out in the world think about the problem. We go back, we give some suggestions they try them out, and then they come back and tell us how it went on. When we talk about creativity, I think that one of the hallmarks of creativity is being able to say, Let's let's consider this an experiment, like everything you do is an experiment. And just like a scientific experiment, you don't know how it's going to work out. You can have a hypothesis about how it works out, but you don't know until you actually do the experiment. And so these are like human experiments. And so we say to people, Go try it and you're gonna let us know how it goes. And then we're gonna learn as much from what didn't work as what did. So we're really excited, Teoh to bring that to people so excited for that. Thank you so much for being on the show again. People all over the world, um, shouting and high fiving and fist bumping. And I forget what this emoji is when you put your hands in the air. But, um, thank you so much for being on the show. Congrats on all of the success of the book. It's spectacular and, uh, thanks for being on this show. Appreciate it. Thank you so much. I really enjoyed the conversation. All right, everybody signing off until, uh, your next episode here, Creativelive. Hopefully tomorrow.