Momentum Podcast: 882
Deeper into the Contribution Equation
by Alex Charfen
Welcome to the Momentum Podcast, where Alex dives deep into the stories of successful individuals, exploring the patterns that lead to their achievements. In episode 882, titled “Deeper into the Contribution Equation,” Alex introduces a powerful framework he calls the Contribution Equation—a four-step process derived from his extensive research into the lives of successful people. Join Alex on this transformative journey as he reveals the steps to lower pressure and noise, increase protection and support, allow strengths and abilities to surface, and ultimately make your greatest contribution. As an entrepreneur and visionary, Alex shares insights that can change your life, providing a roadmap to create momentum and make a lasting impact.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
If you know my story. You know, one of my obsessions is reading the stories of successful people. It's something I've done my whole life. It's something that I've really never stopped doing. I read books and autobiographies, biographies, third party accounts, articles. These days, I watch videos. I watch interviews. I want to understand the inside thinking of successful people. I want to see how these people have become successful. And this has contributed so much to my life. Understanding success from a third party account. Watching hundreds and hundreds of successful people and understanding what got them there has been incredible. And what I've seen over the course of my research and study and obsession around this is that there are clear patterns to success. You look at 20 or 30 successful people, you might not see them. You look at 100 or 200, you might see some patterns emerging. But when you've done the type of research I have, you start seeing clear, indelible, repeatable patterns that happen over and over again and show us how success is created. One of the most important patterns I've ever seen, I've turned into a framework called the Contribution Equation. I know this sounds maybe a little egotistical. I don't mean it that way, but I absolutely believe that this contribution equation that I've seen over and over again is the meaning of life for people like us. It's not just the meaning of life. It is literally the four step equation that will allow us to create everything we want in our lives. Like all the successful people throughout history, the people who matter to be remembered, the people who you and I remembered, the people whose names called out to you. I know who they were for me. For me, growing up, it was names like Edison and Einstein and Winfrey and Parks. Just incredible human beings that were willing to stand up and say things needed to be different, that were willing to stand up and change things and cause massive change. You know, I think of just the human beings throughout history who have done the seemingly impossible and been successful. And when I look at those achievements, when I look at those people, there is a clear framework that they used, some knowingly, some unknowingly, that has been repeated throughout history. I'm so excited to share this with you. If you haven't heard the contribution yet, this episode is going to change your life.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be 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 are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.
If you hear a little background noise. That's because this is one of the episodes that I'm recording while I'm walking and I'm actually walking by Joe Rogan's house right now. He lives around the corner from us and he's probably not home because his security guard is not out front. But I don't know why I said that, but it's real. It's the truth. And I wanted to walk for this podcast because this concept is so important. I wanted to walk for this podcast because the contribution equation I absolutely truly believe is one of the most important frameworks or equations or perspectives for people like us. It's a system. It's a process. It's a structure that you can use to change your life now and permanently. It's a process that will help you get unstuck and make a massive contribution and change the lives of the people around you. So let me jump into it before I just spend all my time selling it.
So the contribution equation is four steps. And where this comes from is reading the lives and the histories of successful people and seeing how they created success, seeing what did they do to create higher levels of success. What did they do to create momentum in their lives? And this four step process is relatively simple. I'm going to share it with you. And then I'm going to then come back and explain each one of those steps. So first, successful people lowered pressure and noise in their lives. And when you lower pressure on noise at step one, step two is asking for protection and support. Step three is if you lower pressure noise and you ask for protection and support, your strengths and abilities will show. And if you… and step four is go out and make your greatest contribution, I'll summarize one more time and I'm going to explain: lower pressure noise, increase protection and support, your strengths and abilities will show, and you can go out and make your greatest contribution. Let me explain what I mean.
The first step of the contribution equation is lower pressure and noise. As evolutionary hunters, we are subject to more pressure and noise than the rest of the world. We do things that the rest of the world doesn't attempt. We don't strive for average. We don't cling to the status quo. We are actually put on this planet. We joined this human tribe as the small percentage that is here to change things, to shake things up, to make things happen, to achieve, to contribute to the world around us, to create a new reality. That's who we are. And that is not an easy undertaking. That is not something that's simple for most people. In fact, we were put on this planet to make a massive contribution in a way that changes everything. And when we accept that, that's when we can step into who we actually are. But here's the issue. For most of us, the pressure and noise in our lives is way too high. As evolutionary hunters, it's just how it is. We sometimes allow the pressure noise to affect us too much because we are accepting too much of it. We don't take care of ourselves. We get so excited about outcomes that we let self-care fall by the wayside. We let our health fall by the wayside. Oftentimes, pressure noise is caused by the little things around us, like light switches not working, in doors not being on the hinges. Pressure and noise can also be caused by the people around us who can be by the places, the things that we own. When we allow too much pressure noise to develop in our lives without adjusting and without removing, it's very hard for us to create any type of momentum or create any type of contribution. But here's the magic of lowering pressure and noise in our lives, and there's a reason why we have it. Every one of us, you and I included, has been at that time in our lives where everyone around us is telling us we're in the wrong place. Everyone is telling us we are headed down a tunnel with a train heading at us. But we move forward, move towards what everyone's telling us we can't do. We compare ourselves towards that destination. We achieve it, and that is where we become who we are. So as evolutionary hunters, as entrepreneurial personality types, we are programmed to want to achieve. We are also conditioned by our lives that when there's high pressure noise, we might be moving towards an achievement because that's true. When we achieve, when we create, when we make something happen, we often deal with massive amounts of pressure and noise in the process. It's part of who we are, you know, lowering pressure and noise is really the reason we lower it so aggressively. The reason we focus on lowering it is because we know we're going to experience it. Just trying to be who we are, just trying to achieve what we want to achieve. So when we lower it, we actually create the condition where we can do that. And for people like us, you know, the way that I explain this is if you're in a boat and you want to get the boat up on the water and it's carrying a whole bunch of people, it maybe has some ballast and has really full fuel tanks, you can put that boat in gear. And while boats aren't really getting gear, you can engage the engine. And push that boat to go forward and eventually it will hydroplane and get up out of the water and go at a speed that is fast. You can also just get all the ballast at the boat, remove the people, get everything out of it, and lower all the noise for the boat and the boat offload on itself. And you put the engine to go forward and it'll pop right up out of the water and hydroplane quickly and get into momentum so much faster. This is true with boats, but we don't really look at this as human beings. We don't look at the fact that if we want to go forward first, what we need to do is ask ourselves what we're going to leave behind. Ask ourselves what we're no longer going to be doing. Ask ourselves where can we lower the pressure and noise in our lives? And the way that I always explain this for us is like, do an inventory. Start thinking about it. Look at the people, the places, the things in your life and you ask yourself. Ask yourself “What is slowing me down? What is causing constraint? What is taking away my momentum?” Because momentum is binary. You're either in momentum and the things around you are giving you momentum or you're out of momentum and the things around you are taking it away. And so the people, the places, the things, if you're not getting momentum from them, you need to ask yourself, “Why are they there?” Lower pressure and noise as precipitously as you can, lower pressure noise wherever you can. Because here's what happens when we take ourselves out of the world of pressure and noise. When we start examining our lives and we remove the things that cause us constraint, we remove the things that cause us pressure and noise. It gets that much easier to get into momentum. It gets that much easier to achieve, to make things happen, to move forward. And when we do that, there's this other dynamic that happens when we lower the noise around us. When we remove the things that are causing us constraint, when we remove the things that are taking away our momentum, we actually start to see what we need. We get clarity as to what would really help us as entrepreneurs. We get clarity as to where we need more care, more support, more self-care, more self-love, more self support, and where we need support from the people around us. And so when we lower pressure in noise, we can step into the second step of the contribution equation so much more fully and so much more connected. Because the second step is to increase protection and support.
That means increasing the help you're getting from the world around you, getting the right information, stopping an unintentional consumption, and getting as much support as you possibly can for what you're doing. And so when you lower pressure on noise, you can start asking for the help you actually need. And I want you to know something. If the phrase asking for help, if you felt that phrase, if it made you feel uncomfortable when I just said it, I want you to know. Same way for me. I call it the entrepreneur's dilemma. We need way more help than the average person to reach our destination, to get to where we want to go, to make the contribution we want to make. But any request for help, any time we ask for protection or support from anyone, it leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed. And as a result, we often don't. We don't ask for help, even though there's people there willing to help us. We don't ask for support, even though we may have people in our network who would give us that support. We don't ask for protection. Even though we have a team we deal with things we shouldn't be dealing with. It's just who we are. We put up with more than the average person because we are evolutionary hunters. We have sensitive nervous systems that are geared towards a hunt. But we also have a psychology and a physiology that needs to be on the move and in the hunt. So we just keep going. We push past getting help. We push past getting protection and support, which only causes more pressure and noise. This is circular. See, when you lower pressure and noise and you start asking for protection support, you know what happens? You have pressure and noise goes down even further. And then if you're willing to lower the pressure and noise again and really get real about where the things in your life that are taking momentum away from you are and getting them out of your life, you'll ask for even more protection and support and your pressure and noise will go down again. And when you get into this place of lowering pressure and noise and increasing protection and support, your strengths and abilities just show up.
I've seen this my whole career and it is literally magical. I've seen people coming to our programs. They're stressed. Pressure and noise is through the roof. They're not getting the protection and support they need. They don't have the systems and structures that they need. And we started lowering the noise and increasing the support and lowering the noise and increasing the support. And it's amazing because entrepreneurs go from frustrated, triggered reactive visionaries that are feeling like they want to quit. They're having quitting fantasy where you want to go back to doing it all yourself, or they're having the quitting fantasy where they just want to get rid of all their team and everything else and see what happens. And going back to being small, if you've ever had those fantasies, you're not alone. I have too, and so is every entrepreneur I've ever worked with. And what happens is when we're willing to lower the noise and increase support, this whole new set of strengths and abilities show up. We start getting better at what we do. I get to see this over and over again. I get to witness this massive, incredible transmutation and transformation of visionary entrepreneurs and evolutionary hunters who are in a place of constraint and frustration and irritation, and they lower pressure and noise, increase protection and support. And it's incredible. This light warrior, light worker comes through, this person who wants to help people, who wants to contribute, who cares, who's empathetic, who understands the world around them, who has compassion for the people around them, who really connects with human beings emerges. And all of that leads to a far more successful business. But what's really important is it leads to a far more fulfilling life.
Having a fulfilling life and having a fulfilling day to day existence is so crucial for people like us. It's what we live for. We live for fulfillment and contribution and changing the world around us. We live to make the world a better place. And I've watched this journey so many times and every time. It's predictable, but it feels miraculous. It really does. I've watched such dramatic changes in entrepreneurs my whole career that it's nothing short of miraculous. And it's not that hard to create the miracle. You lower pressure noise, increase protection and support. I know it's hard. I know it doesn't work sometimes. I know sometimes we ask the wrong people. I know sometimes we request support. And it doesn't, you know, we don't get it. But we keep trying. We keep lowering noise for ourselves and asking for protection and support and lowering noise for ourselves and asking for protection and support and our strengths and abilities transform and transmute into what looks like nothing short of magic. Nothing short of magic. And when you lower pressure and noise and you increase protection and support your strengths and abilities show and you can go out and make your greatest contribution. And here's what I mean by make your greatest contribution.
You know, and I know that your whole life you've heard what I call the call of contribution. You've heard this voice in your head that says, “Hey, you can help people. You can do more. You can be more. You can make a difference. You can contribute to the world around you. You can change the world around you. You can improve the world around you. You can. You are here to do something important. You are here to do something different. You are here to change the world. You are here to change lives. You are here to change outcomes for people. You are here to make a massive difference.” You know, and I know you know that. I also know you're probably afraid to admit it. I know I always have been. You're probably afraid to admit just how real and how deeply important that is to you. The fact that you are here to make a difference, the fact that you are here to contribute, the fact that you're here to change lives. I think sometimes we don't share it because it can make us feel crazy. I think sometimes we don't share because it feels dangerous and vulnerable and exposed, but we know that's how we are. And what I've watched in my life through my research of successful people and through my one on one, dealing with hundreds of entrepreneurs and hundreds of businesses and companies and charities and organizations and teams and all types of other things, is I can tell you unequivocally, when we lower pressure and noise in our lives, we become more of who we should be. When we increase protection and support, we believe in ourselves in a totally different way, which allows us to lower the pressure on noise even more. And when we do those things, our strengths and abilities show, which allows us to step into who we fully are.
I just want to pause for a second here. You know, and I know there's more, you know, and I know you're capable of more. You could be doing more. You could be putting more out there. You could be helping more people. You could be making a bigger difference. You know that. I know that we feel that we don't have to have evidence to believe it. We just know that it's there. And I want you to admit that to yourself right now, in this moment, get real with yourself. Maybe for the first time that you are here to change things, that you are important, that you are crucial, that you're part of the future, that you're going to shape the future and become who you need to be. Because that's why we're here. Why would we do anything less? And if we're willing to lower the pressure and noise, increase protection and support. Allow our strengths and abilities to show we can go out and do exactly that. We can make our greatest contribution. We can change the world. We can improve the life of the people we care about. We can show up and be a beacon for hope and progress and momentum for everybody around us. You can do this. And throughout history, here's what's been proven. The individuals who are willing to lower pressure, noise, increase protection and support, allow their strengths and abilities to show will go out and make their greatest contribution, regardless of their situation, regardless of what skills and abilities they're given, regardless of what disorders, disabilities and issues they have, they still will go out and change the world. And here's what I mean by that. When you look at Helen Keller, she was deaf, blind and couldn't speak and still changed the world for people with disabilities. You'll get my friend John Morrow, who I bring up all the time because he's such an incredible example of this, who can only move his face confined to a wheelchair, can't move any part of his body, but runs a multi-million dollar company and the team of medical professionals that keep him alive. You look at my late friend Shawn Stevenson, one of my absolute favorite examples. Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, 2.5ft tall. One of my good friends. God, I miss him so much. Brant ran $1 million company and changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people through his speeches and his videos and the content and information he shared. Even though he was 2.5ft tall, his legs didn't work. Confined to a wheelchair and had a disease that doctors told him he would be dead by the time he was ten. He was very fond of saying that he was 41 years old, and all the doctors that had told him that had died.
See, here's the reality throughout history, is that the people who are willing to lower pressure, noise, increase protection and support, allow their strengths and abilities to show, will go out and make their greatest contribution regardless of what's going on. That's why I can tell you with confidence that not only can you do this, you will do this. Because there is nothing wrong with you and you are not alone. And when I say that, here's what I mean. It doesn't matter what you're dealing with. It doesn't matter what challenges are coming up, doesn't matter what frustrations you have right now. If you're willing to lower pressure and noise aggressively and be ruthless and lower the noise for yourself if you're willing to increase protection and support. Ask people repeatedly for help. And if you don't get the help you need, ask somebody else. Your strengths and abilities will show and you will and can go out and change the world. And so this is an absolute reality for people like us. And I'm glad to be on this journey with you. I'm excited to see you do it. I'm excited for you to go out and lower the noise, increase the protection and support. Allow your strengths and abilities to show. Make your greatest contribution so that you can change the world. If you'd like some help with this, I would love to be able to connect with you. You can go to charfen.com/blackfriday. This fourth quarter, I'm taking a small group of entrepreneurs through our personal operating system, which was designed around the contribution equation and is the strategies and tactics that will help you do exactly what I just talked about. Go to charfen.com/blackfriday. Let me help you lower pressure noise, increase protection and support. Allow your strengths and abilities to show so that you can go out and make your greatest contribution. Because the world needs you now more than it ever has. charfen.com/blackfriday. Thanks for being here with me today. Thanks for being a momentum podcast listener. I appreciate you.