Momentum Podcast: 22
An EPT and The Holocaust
by Alex Charfen
We've all heard, “Sit down, stop talking, quit going so fast and making everyone else uncomfortable,” but we are hard wired differently. We are the evolutionary hunters, the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
On a Saturday afternoon in Southern California I recorded a podcast with Daniel Gefen who was on the other side of the world in Israel. Even though we have never met before, in the hour we spent together we recognized we were brothers and we had more than we could ever imagine in common. During our podcast, Daniel explained to me how he felt complacent and was having trouble getting motivated to continue to grow his business and make more money. We pick up where I share with Daniel what motivates me even though I enjoy a very high level of financial security and success. What followed felt magical. I shared my true feelings with Daniel and everyone listening, and he shared an extraordinary story of his grandfather and the Holocaust and the realizations he had about being an Entrepreneurial Personality Type. This is a conversation I will never forget.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Entrepreneurial Personality Type podcast, that was created for game changers, empire builders, world makers, those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and obsess about creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. We are the minority, the few, those willing to envision a better future, and instead of just daydreaming what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.
We've all heard, "Sit down, stop talking, quit going so fast and making everyone else uncomfortable," but we are hard wired differently. We are the evolutionary hunters, the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
This is episode 22, an Entrepreneurial Personality Type, and the Holocaust.
A few months ago, I was in southern California, and I recorded a podcast with Daniel Gefen from Can I Pick Your Brain. I was in a rental house where there was no air conditioning. Southern California was in the middle of a heat wave. We had made a tragic mistake in our reservation making, and I almost canceled this recording, but I'm so glad that I didn't, because within minutes of talking to Daniel, who was on the other side of the world in Israel, I realized I had met a kindred spirit.
He and I had an incredible conversation that lasted about an hour, but everyone who's listened to the podcast told me that the last 15 minutes were magical. I've gone back and listened to them myself, because I didn't really remember what was said. I just remembered feeling an amazing connection to my brother on the other side of the world that I had never met before, and I want to share the close of that podcast with you.
Here's the set up. Daniel and I had been discussing how he felt complacent, and how he felt like he just wasn't motivated anymore, and how he had created a level of success that had made him comfortable, had created safety, and he just didn't feel compelled and driven as much as he used to be, and it was frustrating him. We pick up where I share with him what drives me, what compels me forward, and what pushes me to do even more every day, even though I'm in a similar financial and stability situation.
Here I share why entrepreneurs, especially those that are successful, get up every day, demand the future change, come back to the present and make it real, and put up with the vulnerability and exposure that it takes to do exactly that. Daniel Gefen, Can I Pick Your Brain. I hope you enjoy this.
You know, about four years ago, I went through a similar awakening. I was writing a book called Constructive Company, and really, as an effort to help entrepreneurs, because this has always been my tribe. I was always the weird kid in school, and the older I got, and the more I worked with successful people, the more I realized, they were all the weird kid in school. I started to realize that my tribe-
Daniel Gefen: Yes, yes.
Alex Charfen: ... right? That my tribe was the people who were running businesses, and who were doing things. So I was going to write this book on how to run a business, and I got to the part for the book proposal, where I wrote about my client, and it became 25,000 words in a weekend.
Daniel Gefen: Wow.
Alex Charfen: It spilled out, and I realized that the people I want to help are the people who have always been told there's something wrong with them. You know, growing up, I went from special education in school, which means that you're getting additional help, to when they did testing, I was put in advanced classes, and then I got put back into normal classes, then back to advanced classes, and I was completely confused as a kid. I didn't understand social situations.
Daniel Gefen: Wow.
Alex Charfen: As an adolescent and a young adult, I was told I had ADD, and ADHD, bipolar, I was depressed, I was manic. I had teachers tell me I had learning disorders. I was dyslexic, dysmorphic, dysgraphic, all kinds of shit, and by the time I was in my mid-teens, I think I had heard so much negative, that I decided, "Wow, everywhere I turn is negative, so I better figure this out on my own."
I felt like I was so separated from success that I couldn't even see it from where I was. So, as a kid, I obsessively read books. I started with self-help, and the problem was, by the time I got to the 10th book, it started contradicting the first one.
Daniel Gefen: Yes.
Alex Charfen: You know what I'm talking about? And it just confused the shit out of me.
Daniel Gefen: I know exactly what you're talking about. You're literally describing me. It's quite funny. The whole thing, the whole thing from being in school, and everything, from being alone and realizing you've got to figure this out yourself, because nobody else gets you, and ... literally, it's scary.
Alex Charfen: It's not scary, Daniel. We're brothers. We just didn't realize it, because our whole lives we were convinced we were different, because when you look at the systems in the world, they might work for everyone else, but they break people like us down, and over time, we are convinced that we are isolated, alone, and a party of one.
What happened to me was, I started reading about successful people, because self-help was confusing, and so I just wanted to learn ... I instinctively started looking at examples, and I expected to find something different. I expected to find something that I didn't have. I expected to find some magical power, and here's what happens if you read 10 biographies, it does seem that way.
Daniel Gefen: Yeah.
Alex Charfen: But then I was obsessive, and even though I'm dyslexic, when I'm alone and I'm not bothered, I can read really, really fast. I kind of get into a zone where I can absorb quickly, and I've read thousands of biographies of successful people, and here's what you find.
They were all disordered. They were all different. They were all told they weren't good enough. They were all pushed down and shoved down, and had to overcome, and the more I read about successful people, the more I realized, they were just like me.
Daniel Gefen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Alex Charfen: And for anyone who's listening, who has felt like me, like you've been alone, like you're different, like there is no place for you, one, I want you to think about building a business, because you don't need insulation, you need an empire, because the rest of the world, they're out to get us. And two, I want you to think about anyone throughout history you remember, anyone who matters to be remembered, anyone who's ever inspired you, or whose names made you think twice, or who you've felt like, "I want to be a little bit like them," what I want you to know is that that is your club. That is who you are. That is your tribe, and you're part of the most important group in history, and you are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you.
Daniel Gefen: Wow. That's incredible. We hit a nerve, huh?
Alex Charfen: It's a raw nerve.
Daniel Gefen: Why? Why do you think it's so raw?
Alex Charfen: Because I have been in the room, and on the plane, and at the resort, and in the helicopter with the person who has dedicated their lives to creating the company that serves the world, and I have watched the aggressive attacks and pursuit and criticism that they endure because they're one of the few people in the world who's brave enough to stand up and say, "It can be better. It can be something new. It can be something different, and we can make this world a better place."
They're one of the even fewer that is willing to go out and get the leverage, be vulnerable enough, expose themself enough, and insist that the world changes. I think every person listening to this podcast not only has that capability, but is exactly that person. I don't want any of you to ever feel like you can't because the rest of the world says so, because you can, and throughout history, the person who didn't have everything it took, the person who was broken, that didn't speak like everyone else did, didn't learn like everyone else, read like everyone else, grow up the same way or even look the same way, is exactly the person who went on to change the world, and I don't want any of you to forget it.
Daniel Gefen: Wow. That's incredible. You know who the one person that kept showing up in my mind while you were saying that? It was my grandfather. It's wild. My grandfather was in the Holocaust, and he was about 14 years old, and he watched both of his parents get shot in the head in front of him, and eight of his siblings. All of them, murdered. When the bullets were flying, one bullet hit him in the shoulder, and he lay down amongst all the bodies, and he knew that if he got up, they would shoot him again, and he could die.
So he lay there until it got dark, and then he climbed out. Then they caught him, and they hung him, twice, because the first time, the sirens went off, and he managed to escape, and the second time, the sirens went off again, and he escaped. Another time, he was by the gas chambers. He was about 16 feet from the gas chambers, and a Nazi was standing right next to him with a horse, and the horse made on the Nazi's boot, and the Nazi turned around to the person closest to him, who was my grandfather, and he said, "Come out here, you dirty Jew, and clean this up." My grandfather bent down and cleaned up the boot, and the Nazi said, "Get out of here."
When my grandfather was liberated, he had every right to give up on life. He literally watched life just die. He just saw death all the time, and how many people just drug themselves up, and how many people just committed suicide, and how many people just gave up, and they had every right to give up. But my grandfather, for whatever reason, and I think it's because of this fact that you're talking about, he saw a better future, and he rebuilt himself, and he built up his family, and because of him, I'm alive today.
That's who I think of when ... He passed away two years ago at the age of 83, but he was the epitome of ... I can't even say the word entrepreneur, because it's just so abused, and how can I ... that's not the word. It's ... a hero-
Alex Charfen: He was an evolutionary.
Daniel Gefen: He was an evolutionary. He was a hero. He was a hero.
Alex Charfen: Yeah. Yeah. See, Daniel, that's who you are. When you feel that complacency, it's just a reconnection to who you want to serve. Meditating and thinking about and writing about that person, that will change everything for you. If you take the next couple of days and think about it, and give yourself some space, and take some long walks, and drink a lot of water, and eat some healthy foods, and start thinking about who it is that really matters to you in the world, you, like every other evolutionary entrepreneur throughout history, will connect to a tribe and go change the world.
Daniel Gefen: Wow.
Alex Charfen: [inaudible 00:14:14]
Daniel Gefen: Alex, it has been really ... I'm so honored to have had you on the show. I'm so glad that we got to meet.
Alex Charfen: I'm also so glad that Daniel and I had to opportunity to meet and did record that podcast, and each time I listen to that closing sequence that you just listened to, I get emotional, because I don't believe anyone truly speaks for the entrepreneur. I don't believe that anyone speaks for the most successful among us financially, who are the most exposed among us, and the most vulnerable among us, to the world.
When I look at the history of humanity, it's often the person who is willing to stand up, declare things must change, call out the incongruencies in the world, and demand that they are different, that becomes the most successful due to the incredible contribution they're making to the world around them. I believe that you, listening to this right now, have that same capacity, that same capability. If you're listening to me, you were born to go do that, and I'm glad to be a part of your journey.
If you have a minute, take a second now, subscribe to this podcast, and leave us a review. Let us know what you think. If you'd like more information on the Entrepreneurial Personality Type, and you haven't done it yet, download a copy of my book at freemomentumbook.com, freemomentumbook.com.
Join us on our next episode, 23, where I will share why morning routines create momentum, and how you can create a scientifically supported morning routine that will change every day, and it will change the rest of your life.