Momentum Podcast: 15
Lowering Pressure and Noise
by Alex Charfen
There are two ways to create momentum, one is to generate the energy, effort, and focus to go forward and make progress. The second way is to lower the pressure and the noise in your life and you'll automatically create momentum. If you are going to reach your full potential, both are required for your success. The challenge for many entrepreneurs today is they're caught up in the hustle and impression that the only way to create success is to endure more noise than anyone else. This just isn't how it works. There is a path that great entrepreneurs throughout history have taken, it begins with making a commitment to lower pressure and noise.
Full Audio Transcript
Welcome to the Entrepreneurial Personality Type podcast. This is episode 15, lowering pressure and noise. This podcast is for empire builders, game changers, the shot takers, the 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 on creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few, those willing to envision a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We have all heard, "Sit down, stop talking, quit going so fast and making everyone else uncomfortable," but we're just hard-wired differently. We are the evolutionary hunters, the most important people in the world. Entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
In this episode, I want to talk about lowering pressure and noise, because I believe every entrepreneurial personality type has in their heart the desire to become a transformational leader. I've had the ability, the privilege, of being around transformational leaders for most of my career. When I look at the qualities that make those people so magnetic, that make them so able to bend the world around their will, to me the quality that stands forward the most is their ability to be present, to be in the space with you, to be here today and creating the future tomorrow. The challenge for many of us is that we just don't recognize how much pressure and noise we have in our lives.
See, this obsession with lowering pressure and noise is written into the life of almost every great entrepreneur in history. You can see them trying to lower pressure and noise, from Albert Einstein's insistence on wearing the same thing so he wouldn't have to use decision-making capital, Steve Jobs insisting on not wearing shoes so that he would be comfortable. Richard Branson bought an island. The general public says, "Look, how cool. He's wealthy. He has an island." No, he has a controlled destination where he can lower pressure and noise, and knows exactly what will happen. Here's the challenge for us as entrepreneurs. If your days are getting tactically harder, then you are building a house of cards. Eventually, houses of cards come tumbling down. I want to help you avoid the trap of entrepreneurship, the constant hustle, the constant overload, the overwhelm that comes with trying to create the future, by helping you lower the pressure and lower the noise in your life.
First, what is pressure and noise? This is individual for everyone. When I explain pressure and noise, I know that you as an entrepreneurial personality type, that we experience more than the rest of the world. It's just fact. See, when we go into the future and come back to the present, that time travel, that journey we must take to create what we are doing, raises pressure and noise for us. You know by listening to earlier episodes of the podcast, that the other three types of people in the world live in the present. They don't do what we do. They don't create the future the same way we do. They don't go on the hunt with the same drive, with the same obsession, with the same passion that we do.
What is pressure and noise? It's anything in our lives that makes us experience a loss of momentum that creates operational drag. What are the people, the places, the things in your life that are taking away momentum? Because here's the fact. They are either giving you momentum, or they're doing just that, taking it away. It's binary. Pressure and noise is something we have to be very cautious with, because if tactical urgency goes up for us, if in the short-term we feel urgency, our decision-making window narrows. Our ability to see the future comes closer. We have a hard time being who we are. When pressure and noise goes up, this is when we can become symptomatic.
When all the attributes that create superpowers, the rest of our lives, as soon as we increase the pressure and noise, those same attributes become liabilities that can make us look disordered, disabled, and get diagnosed, and even worse. Anything, from minor irritations to too much decision-making, or to having to use our willpower and white-knuckling through something, all increase pressure and noise for us. The challenge is as entrepreneurs, we accept more than most. We succumb to pressure and noise. We've all heard, "Fake it until you make it." What that does is just increase pressure and noise for us when we aren't transparent with the people around us. When we don't tell people what's going on, things just get harder.
Here's the real challenge for entrepreneurs. I know that there's been a time in your life where you didn't have enough, where you had less than it would take to get to whatever it was you were trying to do. You didn't have the resources, the time, the effort, the energy. The cards were stacked against you. Maybe the world conspired against you. You conspired against yourself, and that is exactly where you leaned into that light at the end of the tunnel and created your life. That conditioning causes us to accept more noise, to accept more into our lives.
This is how we systematically, daily lower the pressure and the noise in our lives, because there's two ways to create momentum. One is to create the effort, the energy, the focus, take the time, the investment necessary to create forward momentum. The second way is to lower the pressure and noise in our lives, and this is an equation that works just like physics. It's mathematics. When we lower the pressure and noise, when we drop operational drag, when we let go of the anchors that are holding us back, we automatically create momentum. For you to reach your full potential, you'll have to do both, create forward momentum while you constantly, obsessively, passionately lower pressure and noise in our lives. This is how.
When I look at entrepreneurs, I ask a simple question. If you're not treating your body like a professional athlete, I ask why. You have the earning potential of a professional athlete. You have the affluence and influence potential of a professional athlete. If you believe you can make a million dollars in your lifetime, then you are a million-dollar racehorse. I'm sure if you owned one, we would know it was a million-dollar racehorse just by looking at it. Can you say the same of yourself? This is where we have to get away from today's silly paradigm of doing everything at once, raising pressure and noise, white-knuckling through workouts and diets and everything else that we do, because when you do everything at once to get the highest aesthetic result, it rarely results in long-term change.
See, for people like us, we have to be obsessive about pressure and noise. There are no quick fixes. There are no short-term wins here. We have to hydrate, eat the right foods, eliminate processed and chemical foods. We have to support ourselves, let our body know that there's abundance so it will thrive, not attempt to survive. When we get into survival mode, our body shuts down, holds on to resources, stops our momentum, and prevents us from creating the outcomes we possibly could. It's not just physical. For entrepreneurs, we have to take an inventory of the things in our lives that are creating pressure and noise. What is taking away your momentum? When we look at the people, the places, the things we allow into our lives, we proactively allow them, we can proactively remove them to increase momentum and lower the noise for ourselves.
See, for people like us, it's the routines, the habits, the daily disciplines we have that keep us out of the fight or flight syndrome that people like you and I, the evolutionary hunter, will go into automatically. By pulling back, assessing what is really working, looking at what's creating momentum in our lives, and creating the habits and routines around exactly those things, we set ourselves up for success today, and we allow ourselves to create the future tomorrow. See, for people like us, when we lower pressure and noise in our lives, our attributes become superpowers. For people like us, when we raise pressure and noise, we can look like we literally shouldn't be allowed to move forward, and we are a threat to the people around us. But those of us who are willing to do this, those of us who are willing to put ourselves first, those of us who are willing to finally admit that self-care is a path to true success, and that by putting ourselves first, we can create momentum and change the world, are exactly the ones that do. It doesn't matter what we look like in the present.
My friend Sean Stephenson is three feet tall, confined to a wheelchair. When he was younger and he would sneeze, his bones would break, and there was nothing they could do for him, except for trying to get him not to sneeze or bump around or hit anything. He's endured more pain, more vulnerability, more exposure than any human being I know, yet by lowering pressure and noise in his life, finding his incredible wife Mindie who has completed him and is his first follower and he's hers, they together have lowered pressure and noise to the point where now Sean trains other people how to go out and make presentations and create wealth and change people's lives. He's the person in the front of the room, but when anyone would look at him, they would assume that he was the person who would need help to the front of the room. He's leading the event, not attending it.
See, when we lower pressure and noise in our lives, it doesn't matter what deficit, what disorder, what issue, what challenge we're facing, we can overcome it. That's exactly what great entrepreneurs throughout history have done. Lowering pressure and noise can be personal. I was a consultant for a long time, and I watched the incredibly successful people around me. I watched habits. I wanted to understand how they created the wealth, the success, and the change, the contribution that they did. I can tell you that lowering pressure and noise can look quirky and strange, but it's amazing how often those who are the most successful have eccentricities around this habit that many of us might giggle at until we try them.
I remember being at a hotel with my friend Howard Johnson who built Targus, the computer carrying case company. When we got to the hotel, it was the first time we had ever traveled together, and he was a very important client of mine, incredibly wealthy. He, prior to Targus, had started Aprica strollers. The level of respect that I had for this man was over the top. I remember getting to the hotel and him saying, "Alex, you've got to come up to my room. I want to show you something." Honestly, I was a little nervous. I didn't know him that well, and here was an older man telling me I had to come up to his room so he could show me something.
What happened next, I was standing there thinking, "What is going on?" I walked into Howard's room, and he opened the bathroom door. He said, "Every time you get to a hotel, I want you to do this." He went in and he plugged the bathtub, turned on the shower on as hot as it would go so it would create steam, and then he stood in the door of the bathroom with a towel waving it around like a propeller. As I stood there thinking, "What is going on and what's going to happen next," Howard explained to me that what he was doing was hotel rooms are very dry, and by running the steam and waving it into the room, he was putting positive ions into the room that would make breathing easier. It would hydrate you. You wouldn't get bloody noses at night. You'd wake up feeling more rested in hotels.
He said, "Alex, I want you to make sure, from this point forward, you'll commit to me that every time you're in a hotel, you'll do this." I remember thinking, "I'll do just about anything to get out of this room right now," because I was having trouble reconciling what was going on. I said, "Okay, Howard, I definitely will." Later that night as I was going to sleep, I remembered my commitment to him. I got up. I ran the water, plugged the tub, waved the towel around looking just as crazy as he did, and I had one of the best night's sleeps I've ever had in a hotel. From that day forward, for the past 15 or 20 years, I've done that every time I've stayed in a hotel.
See, even minor irritations that cause us pressure and noise can be overcome when we find the strategies to do so. I know you'll probably do that every time you're in a hotel from now on, because what happens to us is when we can find the hacks, the shortcuts, the ways to create momentum, those are tremendous for us. They move us forward. When we can find those same hacks, the ideas, the solutions that lower pressure and noise, every entrepreneur eventually understands that those move us forward just as fast, sometimes faster. For all of you taking inventory today, ask yourself, where is the pressure and noise coming from in your life? Where are you forcing things? Where is there something that just isn't working out?
One of the most successful men I ever worked was a man named Tony Shalom who owned a company in South Florida, an amazing company. It ended up being over a billion dollars with all the roll-ups and the purchases and everything that happened with CHS and his company, and everything that he did. I remember sitting in his office one time, and I was trying to sell him a product line that he really wasn't interested. I was trying to convince him his company needed it. He said, "Alex, I want to share with you that there's a hat for every head, and when you take the wrong hat and you put it on the wrong head, it's not good for the hat or the head either. It just frustrates everyone. This is the wrong hat for the wrong head." I remember thinking, "I need to stop pushing and stop trying to force it," and he was right.
See, when we move towards momentum, when we create forward progress, when we don't force things, when we allow them to develop, and when we lower the noise in our lives, we can't help but create momentum and change the world. For everyone who is listening, here's my edict, my call, my plea with you. Lower the pressure and noise in your life. You have a responsibility to the rest of your tribe, because when you lower pressure and noise in your life, you have more available to help me and every other entrepreneur who will do the same for you, because we are the small population of human beings that gets up every day, challenges the status quo, asks what could be better, and makes it happen and become real.
To all of you, lower the pressure and noise in your lives. Treat yourself better. Take care of yourself. Hydrate. Eat the right foods. Stop doing things you know that slow you down, because pressure and noise is cumulative. As soon as you lower it and you move forward, you will change everything in your life. You might even change everything in mine, because we are the evolutionary hunters, that small part of the tribe that asks, "I wonder what's over there," that goes out, envisions the future, and demands it become real. We all go forward faster together.
In episode 16, I'm going to talk about a topic that is very personal for me, evolutionary hunter children, and the book I have outlined and I'm already writing and will be coming out soon called Defending Brilliance. If you have a child who can't sit still, wiggles too much, has a challenging class, and only wants to do what they're interested in, you do not want to miss episode 16, Defending Brilliance, because today, society has this equation that if you don't show up like everyone else, talk like everyone else, and walk like everyone else, and learn at the same time, you're a broken person that we might diagnose and medicate. But the fact is, throughout history, the person that doesn't walk like everyone else, talk like everyone else, show up like everyone else, and learn like everyone else, is exactly the brilliant person who changed the world. Don't miss episode 16.
If you're ready to lower pressure and noise in your life right now, start with one of the simplest hacks for evolutionary hunters. Go to getthirstynow.com, and take our 10 day Natural Thirst Challenge. Let us reawaken your natural thirst, and show you how to stay hydrated in a way where you don't white-knuckle, you don't have to work at it, you don't have to try so hard. Let's just use the instincts you have as an evolutionary hunter to create a new level of physiological momentum. Go to getthirstynow.com right now. Start the 10 day Natural Thirst Challenge. I can't wait to hear what it does for you.