In this podcast, I talk with Dr. Flint McGlaughlin about marketing, which is something he knows quite a bit about. In fact, I’ve known about Flint and followed his work for over a decade now, so this was a treat for me.
In case you’re not familiar with him, Flint is an academic and business leader who served as the Director of Enterprise Research for Transforming Business at the University of Cambridge (UK) and is the founder of the MECLABS Institute, a marketing research institute dedicated to figuring out how people make choices and what influences those choices.
Not only has Flint written and edited hundreds of articles and texts and won multiple awards, but he’s patented ten offer conversion-related heuristics, conducted large-scale research projects in partnership with companies like The New York Times, Google, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Royal Bank of Canada, and has lectured at conferences and universities around the world, including New York University, Columbia University, Oxford University. He has also delivered keynote addresses for companies such as Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft, and Google.
To put it mildly, this guy knows his stuff, and as you’ll hear in the interview, he’s also an extremely interesting guy. In our conversation, he talks about . . .
- The concept of “metanoia” or changing one’s mind
- Individuation and becoming who you really are
- How marketing is the essence of entrepreneurship
- Why the skill of marketing should be your priority if you want to go into business
- The blinding power of self-interest
- And a lot more . . .
We also talk about his book, The Marketer as Philosopher, which condenses his findings from 25 years of investigating why people make certain choices and take action. I read the book before the interview, and I really enjoyed it. In fact, it was one of the more enlightening marketing books I’ve ever read, and I’ve read quite a few.
So if you’re interested in marketing or business, you definitely don’t want to miss this interview.
0:00 – Pre-order my new fitness book now for a chance to win over $12,000 in splendid swag: www.muscleforlifebook.com/
10:16 – Marketing and NFTs
13:02 – Instead of obsessing over doing the thing right, you have to do the right things
15:00 – Concept of individuation
18:41 – First principles approach
20:35 – What is a value proposition?
25:11 – Truth, beaty, and goodness are identical
26:09 – How do you spot “good”?
27:48 – What does “thriving” mean?
32:41 – How do you examine decision making and influence?
40:26 – What are the most destructive common entanglements?
53:45 – Your life is a message and you’re the messenger
56:06 – People judge the person and whether they trust them in order to decide if they want the product
56:45 – What is the initial offering that creates trust?
1:00:04 – What is a brand?
1:02:29 – What do you mean by “individuation”?
1:17:34 – Why do you have to experience a conversion and be customer-centric to convince others in your marketing?
Mentioned on the Show:
Pre-order my new fitness book now for a chance to win over $12,000 in splendid swag: www.muscleforlifebook.com/
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: First, have you pre-ordered your copy of my new book, muscle for Life yet and entered my giveaway of over $12,500 of Splendid Fitness Swag. What, why the devil not? Do you hate fun? Well, look, if it pleases your grace, go to Muscle for Life book.com, muscle f o r life book.com now, and pre-order a copy of the book and enter the giveaway.
Let’s remedy this scandalous state of affairs, and I would counsel haste as well because my big book Launch Bonanza ends in a couple of weeks and then the winners will be chosen. So anyways, let’s shift gears quickly and talk about tracking body weight, which is. More fiddly than people realize because one of the easiest ways to drive yourself to distraction in your fitness journey is to obsess over daily shifts in your weight, which often have nothing to do with gaining or losing fat or muscle.
So for example, even slight swings in fluid retention, glycogen levels, that’s a form of carbohydrate stored in your muscles, primarily in your liver as well. And bowel movements can produce pretty noticeable ups and downs in your body weight. And so a much better way to measure and to track body weight is to look at longer range.
Averages. Those are less erratic, and those better register the stuff that we actually care about, which is fat and muscle. Now, if over the course of weeks and months the averages are moving down, then you are clearly losing weight. If they’re moving up, you are clearly gaining weight. And so here’s a simple procedure.
Weigh yourself every one to three days, first thing in the morning, naked after the bathroom, and before eating or drinking anything. And then record those numbers. Some are accessible like an Excel file or a Google Sheet or a Notepad app in your phone. And if you wanna take it even further, some people like to graph the numbers in a spreadsheet, and then every couple of weeks, every 10 to 14 days, add your weigh-ins together and then divide the sum by the number of weigh-ins to get your average daily.
For that period, and then record that as well. And so here’s how this might look for somebody who’s cutting. Let’s say on Monday they weigh 163 pounds on Thursday, 164 on Sunday, 1 62 on Wednesday, 1 61 on Saturday, 1 61 on Tuesday, one 60. So the average daily weight is 162 pounds. We add up all of those weigh-ins, 808 pounds.
We divide by six, the number of weigh-ins for 1 62, and then repeat that process. And let’s say the average is 1 61, great. If they’re cutting, that is a good sign. If it is 1 63, . That is not necessarily a bad sign. It depends what is happening in the mirror, what is happening with their body composition. But if after several rounds of six weigh-ins, the weight is going up and the waist is getting bigger, for example, body composition is not getting leaner in the mirror, then that just means they have to make some adjustments.
So that’s a simple process, it’s a clean process. And if you want more of my wisdom on how to measure and how to improve your body composition, pick up a copy of my new book Muscle for Life Today. Go over to Muscle for Life book.com and pre-order your copy. It comes out on January 11th, and then enter the giveaway instructions are on the page and you can win all kinds of glorious fitness goodies.
Again, I’m giving away over $12,500 of stuff, so go check it out, muscle life book.com. Hello there and welcome to Muscle for Life. I am Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. And if you haven’t already, please do take a moment to subscribe to the show, assuming you like the show, because then you don’t miss new episodes and you will help me because it boosts the ranking of the show in the various charts.
Now this episode is a little bit different. This episode does not have to do with health and fitness, but one of my other favorite topics, marketing. In this podcast, I talk with Dr. Flint McLaughlin and I talk to him about marketing, which is something he knows quite a bit about a lot more than. No, and you know, I’ve actually known about Flint and I’ve followed his work for at least a decade now.
Maybe 15 years ago is when I first came across his mech labs and experiments. He was running conversion rate experiments and I immediately knew this guy was smart. And this guy knew what he was doing and I should pay attention to what he is doing. And so this interview was a treat for me. And in case you are not familiar with Flint, he is an academic and a business leader who served as the director of Enterprise Research for Transforming Business at the University of Cambridge in uk.
And he’s also the founder of Meck Labs Institute, which is a marketing research firm dedicated to figuring out how people make choices and what influences those choices. And Flint’s resume goes on and on. He has written and edited hundreds of articles and texts. He has won multiple awards for his work.
He has patented 10 offer conversion related heuristics. He has conducted large scale research projects in partnership with big companies like the New York Times, Google Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Royal Bank of Canada. He has lectured at conferences and universities all around the world, including New York University, Columbia University, Oxford.
He has delivered keynote addresses at Cisco, Microsoft, and Google and elsewhere. Very, very accomplished and very knowledgeable, and as you will hear in this interview, he’s also a very interesting guy. In this conversation, Flint talks about the concept of Meno. And how it relates to changing our mind. He talks about individuation and becoming who you really are, how marketing is the essence of entrepreneurship, why the skill of marketing should be your top priority if you want to go into business.
The blinding power of self-interest and much more. And we also talk about Flint’s book, which is called the Marketer as philosopher, in which he condenses his key findings from 25, if not 30, might be close to 30 years of investigating why people make certain choices and take certain actions. And I actually read this book before doing this interview.
I really enjoyed it. A lot of highlights, a lot of notes. And in fact, it was one of the more enlightening marketing books I’ve ever read. And I’ve read quite a few. So if you enjoy marketing and if you are not a newbie, it is not a book for newbies. If you have a fair amount of marketing experience, let’s say if you are an intermediate or an advanced marketer, the marketer as philosopher, read it.
Hey Flint. Thanks for, uh, taking the time to do this. I, I guess you, you don’t come on many fitness podcasts. Uh, this is probably, well, that’s
Flint: because I’m, uh, so unfit .
Mike: Yeah, right. We, we’ve been, we’ve been talking about, uh, you’re very into fitness actually, but we’re not here to talk about fitness. But it’s actually probably is something we, we could, we could talk about.
Flint: my workout logs are, I’ve gotten, I’m going back over 40 years. That’s
Mike: great. They’re, um, it’s funny. The, one of the guys who first turned me onto, he turned me onto energy balance, understanding calories in and calories out. Yes. Uh, he, hi, his name was Steven and he was a longtime, bodybuilder and power lifter.
And he also had, I don’t know, decades of training logs. And he of, of course it was old school pen and paper. And for fun he would tell me, you know, now, and then he would just go back through his old training logs just to kind of reminisce. Uh, oh yeah. Because he had, oh, yeah. Just, just how far he had come, you know, ,
Flint: well, mine go back to trying to gain an inch and a half reading Arnold’s old on concentric workouts.
Nice. And, uh, And it’s interesting because in those days we didn’t understand that some of the people we admired the most were doing things we didn’t understand. And then suggesting workouts that were so brutal they’d kill you. So I just, that’s
Mike: Arnold Encyclopedia. . I remember when I first got that. Yeah, well I was like probably 18 or 19 thinking, okay, uh, it’s Arnold, maybe it’s a bit much for me, but there’s gotta be something in here.
And I remember even the beginner programs just beating the absolute shit out of me. .
Flint: Yeah. I remember a day and a half where we were supposed to gain an inch and a half with a series of workouts that lasted all through the night and lots of cottage cheese. And the executive producer from my team, uh, cliff Rainer.
Overseeing the audio on our side of this, he was there with me doing it. And uh, they were brutal. And we tried very hard to look in the mirror and see that inch and a half when we were done. .
Mike: Yeah. Especially when you pay that price. I think
Flint: it’s there. mostly. I saw cottage G No measure. Yeah. Mo no measuring tapes.
Let’s, let’s just tell ourselves that was worth it. Yeah. Well, you know, somebody know the So go ahead. Go ahead. Well, even if it didn’t gain the concentration, the relentless energy and uh, the motivation that drove it was still valuable in the years to come. , we just had
Mike: temperate and, and you have a cool story to tell not too many people can say they did an all night workout eating cottage cheese, try to gain an inch and a half
Flint: I couldn’t afford any other way to get my nutrients. .
Mike: Hey, cottage cheese is good. Yeah, I still eat it from time to time, so Oh yeah. Great source of relatively low fat and inexpensive protein. Pretty tasty too. Yeah. But, uh, but let’s segue to, to what are we here, what, what we’re here to, to talk about. And I wanted to talk to you about marketing, which isn’t, isn’t a surprise.
And for people listening, Flint, your, your book is not out yet, right? Or the
Flint: pre-published edition is, we actually released 500 copies and we had thousands sold by word of mouth. Yeah. But we have not done the major release yet because we were testing, we tested 60 versions of the book. The version you hold Mike is sort of the final version.
Yeah. But um, you know, we’re getting ready to list the N F T and then the main publishing event. Oh,
Mike: interesting. What are you doing on the N F T front a version
Flint: of the book? Right now there are numbered pre-printed editions, and so those that have the numbered editions, those are already going up in, in value.
I’m not interested. Uh, we had a large publishing deal that I turned down because I felt, uh, I’m more interested in the right people reading in at the right time. And I remember speaking with a publisher about the book and he said, we need to sell. The goal was 500,000 copies the first year. And I said, you’re worried about year one sales?
And I’m worried about year 50. . Yeah. And, uh, so it’s just a different approach. You know, this
Mike: podcast, they wanted to go
Flint: mass market. Yeah. And I, and the book is an experience. You, you, you know, it’s leather. And I’m not selling the book on this podcast, but you know, you’ve seen it. It’s handmade leather is one version, and the other is the field edition as another special, the way it’s all published and print printed every detail of the experience.
When we send it out, it’s in a sealed envelope with a candle wax. And I’ll show people and, uh, I still have it.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. I’m gonna, I’m gonna post the video. So that’s the Oh, cool. And then, and then the book is here.
Flint: Yeah. Uh, I
Mike: see you’re young. Yeah, I loved it. I loved the, the, the quality high quality paper.
Flint: Um, the top. I couldn’t do mass paperback. Yeah. I couldn’t do mass paperback for this kind of a book because it’s a reflection experience. Our, our problem, and this goes way beneath marketing, is we’re so busy asking how, that we never get to the why beneath the how. And so we never tap into the motivation.
And this is true in fitness as well as it is in any aspect of marketing as it relates to persuading or, or influencing a conclusion. Until we get to the why, we can’t derive enough of the essential force. We need to apply the how, which is why so many people start fitness programs. They don’t complete, uh, we, we pick up the how and with minimal inspiration we charge, but nothing really changes until we connect deeper with the Y I’ve spent 30 years in a laboratory trying to understand that.
In fact, you know, you could summarize my work in one question. Why do people say yes, but not any? Yes, the yes. That leads to, uh, what the grease call mea. A change of Stacy’s a conversion, a transformation.
Mike: And there’s something that you, that you say in the book that stuck with me. And it’s this idea that, uh, instead of obsessing over doing the thing or things right, you have to make sure you’re doing the right things.
And, uh, I think that that, that, that’s very true in every domain and activity. Something,
Flint: I think Peter Drucker saw that in business. I think he said something to
Mike: that. Those are, you got some great quotes from Drucker. I’ve read some of Drucker’s stuff, but I, I hadn’t come across and I, I made a note for this interview.
He’s the greatest business
Flint: philosopher of all time. I think Peter Tills is successor, uh, in the sense that he thinks deeper and gets beneath it all. But Drucker’s book on Managing for Results, his book on the effect of executive written over 50 years ago by the. He wanted to name that book with the word strategy.
And in those days before the strategy industry, the publisher told him that’s about military matters that will never sell. Hmm. But in the end, Drucker was always about strategy. And in many ways, Mike, I think your work is also, if you really abstract beneath it all, it’s the, it’s the energy and the strategy that produce the result.
This is true in marketing. This is true in building a holistic body that’s capable of performing,
Mike: building a life. Yes. There’s so many, so many things you can do and you can do them well, and you can end up with, uh, not a great life. Well, that is if you’re
Flint: not doing the right things. Yeah, yeah. Doing things right, uh, is a seduction.
You do it and you see that you’re doing it right and it’s reinforced by your peers and it produces a cultural success, but not the internal success. That can only come with you’re when you’re aligned with doing the right thing. And thus we find ourselves veering off course. And if we veer slightly in the beginning, the more successful we are, the wider that alliances geometry, we get further and further off the course.
And geniuses like Carl Yon or even Campbell, uh, and there are others, even the, uh, hated nietzche who’s totally misunderstood. They’re thereafter something what young called individuation become, becoming who you really are. And it seems to me this is so true in the fitness business. Everything in culture is trying to pull us off.
Course. The industrial food complex, the, the lie that was, uh, foisted on us by those who were, uh, overindulging and I, I wanna be careful about that, but overindulging in drugs to the extent where they gave us a book with exercises, but they were taking, you know, so much steroid based augmentation that you couldn’t even duplicate what they were doing.
Yeah, I remember that. You couldn’t
Mike: recover from it, let alone No, no.
Flint: Yeah. Progress and I, and I, you know, I watched leg. by some of these guys. And I, I remember one of the great well-known bodybuilders took me aside and said, Flint, these guys, he took me to a natural bodybuilding magazine and he showed me which ones were on when str, you know, you can see the, he showed me which ones Everybody was on drugs.
Yeah. And we didn’t know. I
Mike: joke with natural body building it, it’s pretty easy to, to spot the quote unquote cheaters because they’re the ones who look really good that that’s about it. , the guys who look natural, you immediately go, or the guys who are natural, they look natural. You immediately go. Well, yeah, he looks good, but you know, not that good.
you know, I’m, that’s the natural
Flint: bodybuilder. . Well, and, and we have, uh, the world is always lying to us. And you know, you can, there’s a wonderful poem called The Lie. You can believe that lie or you can get beneath it and find out the truth. But when you find out the truth and you have to face it, and when you face it, you may not like what you see.
I mean, the greatest enemy we have when we train or when we market is self-deception. Haven’t you seen the guy in the gym who does not look like he thinks, he looks like he sticks his arms out too far when he walks, he goes by the mirror wearing the wrong outfit, uh, because he thinks, you know, it makes him look good.
And you wonder how self-aware is this person? How can he not see that that doesn’t work? But he doesn’t. And when I see that guy, unfortunately, Mike, I see myself. How many years, even as a leader, did self-deception distort my understanding of who I was and what I was doing? You know, until we, the Greek word for wisdom and understanding, there’s two words, Sophia and Sinis.
One reminds me of Elon Musk. It’s called the understanding of first principles, which is what Elon says is at the root of a success. And the other is right seeing it’s sinis in the Greek. And I’ve noticed that B, before we act right, we have to see, right? And we just can’t see, right? Because of our own deception.
I mean, you’ve probably been in meetings with other leaders because you’re very successful and listened to them and thought, don’t you see how wrong this is? I’ve sat on boards, chaired universities, and listened to them talk and thought to myself, I don’t belong here. The way I see the picture is so different than everyone around me.
Now you can say that with an elitism that blinds you again dear, your own weaknesses because I’m still battling self-deception, but least being aware of it is a step towards becoming who you should be, who you are, who you can be
Mike: in your Speaking of first principles, it’s one of the things I really liked, uh, about book, which I don’t think I mentioned the title, it is, uh, the Marketer as Philosopher.
Um, and one of the things I really liked about the book is it is a first principles approach to marketing that, like you’ve mentioned, gets beneath marketing and uh, I think really speaks to. The, some of, some of the, the essence of, of just what it means to to, to exist and, uh, to, to be a human being. And, um, I, I get people who reach out to me fairly often asking for business advice, rarely marketing advice, but business advice.
People who have either recently started a business thinking about starting a business, maybe they have already started a business and they’re trying to get it to the next. , and they ask, they ask if I have any general advice, or maybe it’s, uh, sometimes it’s, it’s, uh, you’re very successful, relatively speaking.
I mean, there’s always somebody who has done a lot more. So, you know, I, I don’t think of myself, uh, maybe in those terms. Um, I, I don’t also consider myself, I don’t care to have attention. I don’t consider myself particularly, Sp I don’t think about myself very much. Let’s just put it that way. Um,
Flint: but that’s unusual in the fitness business.
And I used success by the way, in, in the, it’s one, the things I don’t like about the
Mike: fitness, I don’t like. I understand. It’s one of the things, one of the reasons I, I was reluctant to get into it. I, if you rewind to the beginning, I published this book, bigger Than or Stronger, it goes Well. And I was thinking at that time that I would not go all in on fitness because a lot of it doesn’t really resonate with me.
I mean, just start with obsessing over the body. It, it doesn’t resonate with me. I’m not that person. I’m just not. I wanted to continue writing books and start a publishing company where I’d published my own stuff and other people’s books. Uh, but I looked at the opportunity and decided that if I could do fitness in a way that was maybe more in alignment with, with my personality, so to speak, then.
That was interesting to me. But the, the, that’s
Flint: your value proposition. To go back to the book though, that’s where your voice comes from, Mike. Hmm. The best fits are the misfits. We call them originals. That’s what Adam Grant calls them. And you are an original in your space because you didn’t approach it in the way that others do.
Hmm. And it’s one I
Mike: didn’t read, I didn’t read. Uh, that was one of grant’s more, was it his last book? I don’t, it’s one of his more, one of his re I know, I know what you’re referring to. Yeah. But I didn’t, I didn’t read
Flint: it. I, he didn’t say that quote. But it’s a summation of much research I’ve done in so many disciplines.
Warren Buffett was a misfit Graham, you know, value investing. His, I could go from discipline to discipline, but the best fits are misfits, at least in the beginning. And, and, and in the way the culture sees them and why it’s true in marketing, the essence of entrepreneurship is marketing. The essence of marketing is the value proposition.
The essence of the value proposition is something I call the. Well, let me change that. I think I missed a principle. The essence of marketing of entrepreneurship is marketing. The essence of marketing is the message. Mm-hmm. , the essence of the message is the value proposition. That’s, uh, not the way people view it.
They run around and buy more traffic. They, they concentrate on the more instead of the better. So they concentrate on the channel instead of the quality of the message. And so their average customer value is, uh, challenged by their average cost per customer acquisition. And you could take that as a, as an allegory or a metaphor for the same problem we have in the gym.
In fact, I used to say I was teaching a group of, uh, private equity leaders. I said that sometimes too much capital is, Too much steroids, , we, we get bloated and big. Yeah, we think we look good on the surface, but we’re unhealthy on the inside. And
Mike: you start doing all kinds of stupid shit in the gym and anything works.
So you think you have it figured out. Yes.
Flint: And then on top of that, and I mean this, I say this carefully, respectfully, but in some of the places where you want to perform your best, such as the bedroom, you can’t perform at all. And so what’s the point of strutting down the beach? Swollen and unhealthy and uh, and incapable, this reminds me of the American dream exhibited in the lust for scale that builds businesses beyond the skill at which they can be their best.
Hmm. It’s a lovely book, old 20 years old called Small Giants that focuses on those businesses. I think it was, uh, Bo Yeah. Yeah. Burlington or something. Yeah. Beau Burlington that focus on the quality of the enterprise, I suppose, beauty over scale. This is a 4,000 year old problem. You could say six depending on how far back you want to go.
But if you bring into the fitness business a priority over wholeness, which is a form of beauty. And in my work in philosophy, for those of you that don’t know, my background is philosophy. I train with the Jesuits and uh, I’m not a Jesuit, but uh, a University of London and then, uh, was on the faculty at Cambridge.
And my, not that I’m a scholar, um, but the point is beauty is the right prioritization of elements. This is the summation of eight years of work I did on trying to understand beauty. Think about that in fitness, asy. is the prioritization of elements, but internal beauty is more important than external beauty.
So within the, let’s take the health of the whole, the inside of you, your organs, and the way you know, your circulation and all those components that produce that health. That’s even more, more of a priority. If you don’t know that yet, you will as you age. Yeah. And yet within that is an deeper beauty, and that’s at the level of your spirit.
And so if I were to, if I were to take 2000 years of debate and try to cut through them, I would say, uh, that, and this would be my position in an argument that’s had many sides between extrinsic and intrinsic beauty. But ultimately, beauty is the right prioritization of elements. And I know since Mike, your work brings some of that prioritization.
People feel it, even if they don’t understand why they connect to it, because we all need that beauty. The transcendentals, uh, these are the medieval scholars they sent that, uh, be, this is really interesting to me, but then I’m weird. . They say that truth and beauty and goodness are identical. Think of that.
Think how powerful that is. I was a, I was teaching at the Harvard Club, uh, with a bunch of professors and uh, and financial leaders, and I said, what is a good business? And I listened to, uh, so much dribble and horrible answers, . And then I argued that the good business is the beautiful business. The beautiful business is the true business.
And I laid out the argument, and I would say the same can be said of the person in marketing, but also the person who is pursuing fitness. If you can see it through truth and beauty and goodness as identical. As great thinkers, thousands of years perceived. This keeps you from straying into those things that are actually diminishing your true health, your true beauty.
Mike: And to look at that, then what’s true is also beautiful and good.
Flint: That’s correct. Yeah. In fact, one of the ways to spot good is to spot true beauty carefully worded there because there’s artificial beauty everywhere. But if you spot true beauty, you’re probably seeing goodness.
Mike: And what is that in a business to you?
Flint: Business is a community of communities. And when all communities are in harmony, that’s the vendors, the customers, the employees, the business prosperous. If one, in fact, I’ve written principles, it’s like asthma on robotics. There’s two or three fundamental principles that help, you can see this, but I’ll just touch one.
If one member community thrives at the expense of the other, all of the community suffers. So when Walmart said, the customer’s always right. Sam Walton, he was wrong. And after he died, they changed that. He had the right idea. Though it was a corrective, like Lutheran works. It was a corrective and it needed to be there, but it wasn’t Many times Correctives are overcorrections even in training.
Yeah, right. So there was an overcorrection. On the other hand, I have seen airlines owned by employees were the service was abysmal. And I love the opportunity in front of the world to say, I hate how you run your business, cuz you run it for yourself and the customer suffers. So this can be said too.
Think about shareholders. Everybody said shareholder value. Have you ever seen shareholder value become abusive? Yes, we have. And so in every case, I think the beautiful business is the right prioritization of elements, which is reflected in a community of communities where the whole is thriving.
Mike: When you say thriving, what does that look like?
Flint: Well, I don’t have good English words and I don’t think in English, but I’m gonna come to the closest I can think of. Uh, in fact, I was working, uh, this weekend through the wor and I’m not trying to sound pretentious or clever, but I’m telling you there’s a scholar named Crispin Fletcher Louis, who is just an absolute brilliant genius.
And I was working through his next book, it’s not published yet, 350,000 words. And I was looking at these words in the, all the classic text in the ancient Greek, uh, and the word he studied there was the difference between being and becoming. And I won’t get into all of that except to say, I think that one way to try and put together an English word that suggests what thriving is, is the word wellbeing being, is ontological.
Our life is predicated and. Predication is like, think of a sentence. Uh, a sentence is the basic building block of, of all existence, the subject predicates. And when you do that in a way that brings wholeness to the being, then the doing and the being both are good. So I’ll simplify that again because I know it’s but a bit esoteric.
You know, somebody says that, um, well, in American culture we focus on
Mike: doing and, and sorry, but when you say, just so people listen, want them don’t understand the subject, predicates meaning the subject is the agency, is is the agent of action. The subject does.
Flint: Mm-hmm. , just like a sentence. The noun and the verb, all of life can be reduced.
That’s the molecular unit of meaning. It’s the molecular unit. Meaning, and by the way, yeah, this is how I figured out how to train. So this is very practical in its end. I’ll give you an example. Doing cannot be separated from being, we try to say that. We try to say like, for instance, business is just business.
It’s not personal. No, it’s a person. in the business. Yeah. Business is always personal. And the doing and the being are so tightly connected that when we do in a certain way, we impact the, our ontology, our being mm-hmm. . And so that sense of wellbeing means that the doing, the being are aligned. If I could imagine, and this might sound, uh, forgive me if this sounds patronizing, but when I think about someone like you, Mike, who’s growing, constantly growing, hungry to grow, what excites me is thinking how that doing and being become more and more aligned inside until the force that drives who you are is so powerful and so rich.
It produces impacts everywhere and in a sense, And by the way, I’m not, you know, I’m not selling books by the, you know, for those of you, you know, you can get a book, but , I’m not, I I have no agenda here when I say this. No, I don’t wanna flatter you, is what I mean, Mike, but I use you an example because I wouldn’t be on most of these podcasts because the energy’s wrong.
Wouldn’t interest me about anyone who’s following the path you’re trying to lay out in fitness. Is it? If you think about it properly, you’re not willing to sacrifice the being for the sake of the doing. And that is the easy way out. And if you walk through a gym, you’re going to see it. I often said, I at a production company in California, I said They should do a reality show just on a gym.
What have to do is put up cameras and you could literally entertain the world. Cuz every gym has the same set of Sure. That’s true.
Mike: It’s actually a, there, there’s probably a a, someone should take an idea. An idea in there, because I think of, uh, I, I can’t say I’ve even seen these shows, but I know it’s a thing where they have like a celebrity chef of some kind, right?
And he goes to the different diners all around the Yes. The country. So you could do that in gyms. You could find a lot of wacky gyms full of all kinds of wacky shit.
Flint: Oh, absolutely. And I, and I’ll tell you something, this is a, you know, the kind of conversation that I like because it’s eclectic, but marketing for me is understanding how I predicate.
Because to live in a social dynamic, you must influence conclusions. And the great marketers influence conclusions. As Peter Drucker said, they make sales redundant. If you influence conclusions, you influence decisions. , and you do that by controlling the signal sets. You control the signal sets, you influence the conclusion.
With the conclusion, you influence the decision. And of course then the behavior. And I say that to say that you can follow that line in order to accomplish something in society, but you can invert it to figure out what happened inside of you that produced all that self-deception. I have used marketing for 30 years to untangle myself to understand why I said yes to the wrong thing.
I’m not really interested in marketing. I’m interested in the, yes, that changes everything, but I realize that most of my yeses were influenced. So how do I go back through the influence to see what’s at the essence and live a life that matters? .
Mike: And what does that process look like for you? Is it like, something that has been useful for me, uh, is if I want to expound on something, for example, is to basically have a conversation with myself and, uh, ask myself questions, then have to answer those questions.
And then often it’s then kind of rebutting my answers with more questions and just going ping ponging back and forth and, and, and seeing what comes of it. Right?
Flint: It’s very Socratic of you. Um, you can take, it’s,
Mike: it’s something that I, I just found it useful. . Even, even, even as a writing prompt. No, it is. If I just need, if I need to start getting my mind going and start putting words down,
Flint: well, I was that little boy.
I began to separate out my thinking styles from learning, solving, deciding these are, these are, there’s only about four, but these three I realized were, I engaged in constantly. So, uh, to. To understand how I was traveling down those trails. I would, uh, I created a little code for a question and another little code for an answer, and then I would question and answer myself in the same way that you said and do it in writing.
Now, some people are not writers. You don’t have to follow our way. Be aware of anybody that tries to be the substitute for your own spirits guidance. And I don’t mean spirit in a sketchy way, I mean the essence of who you are. But the point I’m trying to tell you is yes, that is one way to do so, but I think we have to start with negative outcomes in our life.
This can happen in the gym. I’ve seen guys overtrain, overtrain, overtrained. They’re constantly getting injured. I’ve seen people who train for a year. Nothing ever changes. These are all examples of negative outcome. Why do I like physiology or athletics? Uh, I’ve, I’ve been in the martial arts 50 years. My dad was a judo champion.
Uh, that’s another form of. Of being able to see into yourself with a dynamic. So a negative outcome can be traced back to a negative decision, can be traced back to a negative conclusion. Then you can start to say, how is that conclusion influenced? And you might say, oh, my church did that, or My, my parents did that, or, this, this, this partner I had did this or, and that’s when I started to see, oh, I’ve been married 34 years and I’m still old school.
So forgive me if you see the world differently. But I was probably married 15 years before I realized I was a complete idiot and did not know how to talk to my wife. Hmm. I mean, the great, great insight was Flint, you’re an idiot. You’ve studied communication for 20 years and you say something that you hear something else, and you’re not even following that trail to understand what’s wrong now, 34 years later, , there’s some gold in that relationship.
We mind for it. But ultimately I go back with the outcome. I don’t want that trail to the decision preceded by the conclusion, preceded by the influence. Hmm. And when that happens, you know these, it’s like pain. If you do something wrong in the gym and it hurts your body says stop. I don’t mean the kind of healthy pain, but I’m talking about negative pain.
You touch a stove, you burn your hands, you don’t wanna touch a stove again. I live on a ranch in the back country, off-grid. In Montana, we don’t even have power. We built our own roads. I’m near the continental divide and there’s a lot of things if you do wrong there, you will instantly get feedback. Cuz if you don’t fix that feedback, you will die.
I like a world like that. And, and physical training is a, is a version of that. So is martial arts. And so negative feedback is that opportunity in my mind to discover where I wanna astray. And the tragic truth, don’t say this to feign humility. Uh, the tragic truth is, oh, how I underestimated how many times my conclusions were influenced, and thus my decisions were wrong.
The behaviors accompany then produced the wrong outcome, and I was in a bad place in my marriage, in my business. Five years ago, I produced, I wrote an article called The Five Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made as a Leader. I wrote it for my kids, and then I thought, you know what? I’ll just put it out there because maybe it’ll help someone else.
It was an attempt to sound humble. I made those mistakes and I’m embarrassed by them. But embarrassment is the price of wisdom. And
Mike: what are, what’s, what’s the biggest mistake of the five? I’m curious.
Flint: Hmm. I don’t know that I can answer that well, but I can give you a, a reasonably 10, a reasonable answer.
That might be correct. I once wanted to write a short story. I, I do a lot of writing fiction in order to work through my first work on the value proposition, which I can send you. Mike was a novella. Interesting. Mr. Smith’s won true talent. Um, and, uh, and I, anyway, I wrote this, uh, I designed this story, which I never wrote.
I, I did. Cause I, I only did it from me, Mr. Smith. I wrote, uh, but this story was about a man who was cursed by the guards and the curse was make him good at many things. That way he cannot focus on one. And I worked this whole story outta my mind and let the impact of it hurt me till I’m hurting. I’m probably not learning.
And, uh, I realized that in my life, and, and by
Mike: hurting, what is it, by facing the hard truths, is that the things that
Flint: mm-hmm. , that sounds so noble when you say it that way. Yeah. That’s the second stage of hurting. The first stage of hurting. It’s just hurting, you know, you say something to your wife and you go away inside, you’ve hurt her and she’s hurt you, and you’re just hurting.
I haven’t faced anything yet. I just feel the pain. Now, I’ve done that with my kids. My best friend is my dad, who’s 88, and my son, who’s 27, really, truly my best friends. But, uh, I used family in relationships because they’re, they’re my spiritual discipline. Uh, I don’t need to follow the desert aesthetics, uh, or get your relationships right.
And that becomes a spiritual discipline. Right. So moving back out of that to the, the broader question. I, I think in the early years I tried to do too much because I could, I’m not saying I was greatly talented, but I was interested in all these things and I diffused my energy. There was a single month Cliff knows my best friend, apart from my family is on the phone 40 years.
We met in a fight 40 years ago. I say the phone, you know, this podcast, he’s the executive producer, works at my company. We’ve worked together for 40 years, but we met in a fight and then we started training together, martial arts, working out the gym, and of course the famous cottage cheese, you know,
Mike: uh, the bonding moment, cottage cheese,
Flint: physical turbo boost.
Uh, anyway, the, the, the reality is, uh, that I, I did, I, in one single month, I, I resigned. I was the chairman of the board of Westminster Theological Seminary Chairman, you know, chairman of the board of ssu and a bunch of other, I, I, I, I resigned from everything. Boy, that was a good move because until I.
untangled myself. I couldn’t retie the wires. Right. Yeah. And we are all tangled. Everything around us is conspiring to tie us in a knot and keep us from that optimal connectivity with who we are and who we can be.
Mike: What are some of the common, uh, entanglements that, that you see that stand out as maybe the, the most destructive or at least distracting?
Flint: Well, I can tell you the common cause, and we can talk about scenarios, but the common cause is the failure to say no one yes equals 10,000 nos. And the bad news is you probably have to say the nos first. Now after you say the yes, that’s another 10,000 nos. But I have said yes too many times and this has left me with.
A, uh, diminished energy for the yes that matters. By the way, that same problem destroys families, hurts lives in many ways, but not just there. In business, it’s absolutely the problem. Hmm. We, uh, we copy the patterns around us, and thus we get entangled in the same way that others around us are, which is why misfits are sometimes best fits because they, they just look at everything different and say, why.
One of the most important things you can do is take that shovel that spade, why, and dig down deeper and say, why am I doing this? Because we end up repeating a pattern that already produced a negative outcome. But you see in, uh, in the era of social media and celebrity, everything from politicians to athletes, to scholars to professors, even.
God forbid, in an area of, we have learned to gloss over the truth and produce an image that is in itself a lie. And then we seduce a younger generation or someone earlier in the pattern, they follow our pattern, but they don’t yet see the negative outcome we are sowing and that we shall reap. So we need to be careful.
Now, this is so true in the gym, by the way. I know this is, you know, we’re talking about life and your audience is probably complex with many interests besides working out. But the gym’s a microcosm of the whole world. You know, it is, uh, a temptation to pretend to be where you are, not to take the shortcut, which doesn’t produce the true result you’re after to, uh, To take the prioritization of elements that is true beauty and distort it for artificial beauty.
I mean, how many times really go to the gym and see who in there is being true to who they are and finding the way forward to who they want to be. Now, I can only say this because I’ve done every mistake I’m telling you I’ve made, you know, that’s why they surround you with mirrors , so you can, you can focus on the wrong.
Mike: which is often the thing that gets them in there in the first place. Yes. Which, yes. Which is, which is good. It’s useful. I’ll talk about marketing. Right. Uh, but, but I, I, at least in my work, I, I try to move away from that and acknowledge it. It, it always is, is a factor. And anybody who who works out regularly is happy to look a certain way, maybe because it doesn’t necessarily, uh, have to represent pure vanity.
Maybe it’s there. There’s a, I mean, talking about beauty, right? There’s something, there’s something to be said to have a beautiful body. Absolutely. And I think that there’s value in that and, and not, not in a, again, moving away from narcissism, but more just in embodying some of this Absolutely. Stuff that you’re talking about.
I think actualizing
Flint: you said right, could be individually right. Some of that is, gets very physical. . Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. But again, you, I think you put your finger on the important thing when I walk in the gym, I remember my earliest temptation was this. Am I right now solely focused on producing the result that I came here to produce?
Or is my energy focused on those who are watching me and how I look to them? And I’m telling you, it’s so hard. I wonder, could 80% of the injuries in the gym be avoided if we weren’t doing the extra rep because someone walked by that we wanted to impress. Yeah. Or we threw on the weight that we weren’t, you know, and by the way, I still love.
That we’re all broken people. That’s not popular. But we are, and we’re trying to get well and better and we can. So those people who are coming to the gym, I, I’m not condemning people who are trying to be seen. We’re, we all start somewhere . Yeah. And you know, if quantum physicists are to be believed, uh, your consciousness may go far beyond anything you understand it present.
And I’m not talking about, uh, Hinduism or the new age movement. I’m talking about Penrose and some of the great physicists of all time. We’re starting to understand that the universe is more complex than we originally gave it credit for. And that consciousness has a higher priority than we can fully grasp.
And so I say that to say you may have a longer time than you realized to grow up , and we all need to grow, especially me. Uh, so, so, you know, it’s. I think it’s just as bad to go into the gym judging everyone around you and thinking I’m doing it right and they’re all doing it wrong. Remember that prioritization of elements, that’s just, that’s, that’s another form of ness on the inside.
Mike: a phase that a lot of, a lot of us went through. I went through, of course, I, I understand, of course, .
Flint: And you know what, it’s, it’s frankly, peop people
Mike: often ask me like, oh, does, does it drive you nuts to see so many people doing so many stupid things in the gym? And no, no, it doesn’t. Uh, I have reframed that as, hey, they’re, they’re here and they’re trying.
And that’s, that’s, that means a lot of people, a lot of people can’t say that they, they are not. There and they are not trying. Yeah.
Flint: That means a lot. Yep. That’s Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy. Get in the ring. Right. And you know, we’re in a, the man, in
Mike: the man in
Flint: the arena. Right? Absolutely. And we’re, we’re in a culture right now where it’s become very popular, uh, to, uh, demonize anyone that’s different and to differentiate yourself by, by putting the other party down.
And that is at the root of a different kind of insidious evil that will eat a hole in your soul. You may feel this elitism produces something, uh, in you that, uh, makes you better than the other person. But in the end it will get you. And I was, uh, being interviewed somewhere, I don’t know where, I think it was on one of our podcasts, but I, I said, you know, the marketer doesn’t need to be humble.
They need to be honest, and the humility will take care of itself. Because if you’re running these experiments and you’re really trying things Yeah. And this is true of life in general. You
Mike: learn quickly. Yeah. You, you have these ideas. You’re like, this is a, this is a grand slam. And, and yeah, it’s down 20% and you just go, uh, okay, you
Flint: release this podcast that I’m on right now, and 23 people watch it because nobody cares about what I’m saying.
It’s, it’s, it comes down to, to something that I think we have to do. And we’re in the gym. If we’re honest enough about ourselves, we won’t be looking down at the next guy. We’ll be trying to work on what’s wrong that we can do that’s in our routine. And, uh, you know, I’ve talked so much about, I mean, I spent 30 years studying that one single Yes.
That produces mea whether that’s you, whether that’s in marketing in a, uh, where you become from prospect to customer or in some of the discipline where you. Go from unbelievable believer or whether in the gym you tried all these things for years to get sh you know, you know, and not just in the gym, but overall in your life and your diet and so on.
And then suddenly it clicks and you really start to experience transformation. That’s what interests me, and I’ve noticed that it’s always preceded by a stark moment of self honesty. Hmm. You know, I may not know everything about ultimate truth, but I can sure learn something about personal truth and they only path the ultimate truth if there is one.
And I believe there is, is through personal truth. It could start in the smallest place. The gym is a good place and so, you know, you don’t have to go in there and think about, well, not looking down on others. You just need to look at yourself honestly, and the rest will take care of itself.
Mike: There’s a lot to improve there for all of us.
There’s that idea that, uh, if you wanna change the world, change yourself. Did you know that right now I am in the middle of a big book Launch Bonanza for my new fitness book for men and women of all ages and Abilities, muscle for Life, which is releasing on January 11th and is currently available for pre-order over at Muscle for Life book.com.
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So again, to get all of the giveaway sauce, go over to Muscle for Life book.com. Muscle f o r life book.com. Yeah, I, it is funny. I was actually, I don’t know why I was thinking about this, but, uh, it, it, it’s to, to your comment about right now, it’s, it’s very trendy to, to criticize and oh, to, um, to, to, to join in the, to be a, to be a part of the peanut gallery, I guess you could say.
And, um, it, it’s interesting though that, you know, when I, I have a, a simple heuristic that I’ve, I’ve used throughout my life, and it’s, if I look at someone and I look at, let’s see how well they are thriving or flourishing in their life, and we could look at the, maybe the different spheres that we could judge ourselves and others in, we could look at body, we could look at mind, we could look at, mm-hmm.
uh, uh, spirit in different ways. Mm-hmm. , and then we could, we could look maybe a little bit further and look at their work and look how they spend their time and maybe what kind of hobbies they have, and then look at their relationships and just go outward. Right? And so if somebody, if, if they, and everything they encompass is a, if they are just a complete mess, if I were to look at someone, and then if I were to say, I, I joke about this sometimes, that if Zeus were to come down right now and he were to say, all right, Mike, you have two choices, one, I’m gonna strike you down with a lightning bolt.
You’re gonna die and you’re gonna see what happens next. Maybe you, uh, maybe it all goes black and that’s the end. Maybe you go and you’re judged by a God and you go this way or that way. Maybe you reincarnate, you’ll find out I’m gonna kill you right now, or you’re gonna wake up tomorrow as that person.
You’re not gonna remember being you. You’re just gonna be that person. Kill me right now. Just kill me. I will take death over so many, uh, over , waking up, uh, as, as so many people, right? So if I look at someone and I’m like, I really would do, would not want to be this person. This is just dysfunction everywhere, then I really don’t care about, I basically will dismiss all of their ideas.
Like, why would I listen to anything this person has to say? Why would, uh, why would I, uh, want to model anything in myself after that kind of person?
Flint: Mike, we’ve done a research project where we discovered that, um, see, I use commercial application to get into spiritual application because you can, because life’s signatures are sewn into the essential d n a of every aspect of existence, including the way you write, you know, your handwriting, everything.
So, you know, you, you’re constantly leaving a signature. And I, I would just say this, when I’m trying to judge a product which I’m not qualified to judge or with, let’s say I don’t have enough data to judge it. Do you know what the human beings default heuristic is? They form a judgment of about the person offering the product.
You have to Same
Mike: thing goes for the for, for a message, right? Oh, totally. In so many ways. The messenger is the message.
Flint: And so that, and well, that’s exactly the point. That’s why life is predication. Your life is a message. And you are the messenger and so mm-hmm. coming from that understanding, you know, in every sense where we don’t know what to think about the doing, we think about the being behind the doing.
And that’s really what you saying. And
Mike: do you think that’s a useful, a useful heuristic? I mean, I think it’s useful because even my logic is if you miss out on maybe some value that that could come from associating with this type of person or exploring their ideas about how they should live, how society should work, whatever.
We only have so much time. and most of it is, has produced, uh, talking about this, this, uh, you know, you living in a world where if you mess up, you die . So you, you can’t that, that, it’s hard to maintain self delusion in an environment like that, right? So yes, we’re looking at someone, alright. Their ideas, their beliefs have led to conclusions and decisions and actions that have produced something that is highly dysfunctional.
Yeah. So, Well, I don’t want, I, I’ll just, I’ll just miss out on whatever little bit of value I can extract maybe, and I wanna find somebody where it’s the other way around where I see a lot of harmony. I see a lot of function that I would like to have, and that person, I’m very interested in how they see things and in the decisions they’ve made and so on and
Flint: so on.
Well, in academic circles, it’s very unpopular to connect the individual’s life with their thinking. In fact, you’re told, you know, to separate the two. I totally disagree. I can only understand at least the interpretation of your thinking as it’s interpreted and translated in your life. There may be independent value there, but I don’t know how to separate it, number one.
But number two, let’s just turn the whole argument in a different way. Your entire enterprise, all that you have produced, whether it’s your personal training, Or, uh, I’ll brag about you somehow. Some way you have something like the largest all natural supplement business. In the country. I’ve heard something like that.
And and that’s sports nutrition. Sports nutrition. You define Yes. Sports nutrition as opposed to supplement. And, and, and that means they’re, you know, the categorizations important. But anyway, you look at it, there’s a lot of people that would like to trade places with that success. Here’s my point. People coming in from the outside, Mike, they don’t know whether your supplements.
Yeah, sports nutrition works. They’re judging it because they have trust in you. They’re judging the offering by the, they make conclusions about the offering, which we call tentative observations in my research based on their observations about you. And one of the reasons you’ve been able to achieve, I would say, critical mass in your business is because there was something about you that people found, uh, trustworthy, trustworthy enough to at least get into the, what I call a trust cycle, the initial trust cycle with your offering.
Mike: that’s produced. What is that thing? What do you, what is that initial observation that makes us inclined to, to want to trust somebody? Because many people, they trust the wrong people. They, um, see. True. Maybe it, you know, maybe it, maybe it, it is that, uh, but, or maybe it’s a, it’s a negative harmonic of that, you know, well, here’s how this
You know, you first have an observation, but it’s very tentative. It’s a series of typical incomplete data points, and from that observation, you draw a tentative conclusion. And from that tentative conclusion, You have to make a decision. This is how we buy things every day online or in store. Mm-hmm. , that tentative conclusion is followed by a decision.
You know, the conclusion drives a decision. There are four behind the purchase of every product. If you don’t understand these four, you’re already leaving money on the table. But we won’t go there. The decision then comes with an expectation set. So let’s suppose I, let’s go to your personal training business cuz it’s very practical.
Let’s suppose you go to the personal training business and you, you see some things that you’ve said on the website, some things you might have read in a book that you’ve written or seen you on a talk show or something from there, that tentative set of observations, they draw a conclusion. That conclusion powers a decision.
That decision comes with an expectation set. So then that expectation set is what motivates the purchase. And they buy something from. Now at that moment, the experience of the product replaces the initial, the initial observation set. Now they have a better observation set. It’s not as tentative. They’re experiencing the product.
If you fail to meet their expectations, you fail the trust cycle. And your business, I know it’s rough size, Chris, we’ve talked, and my point is it would be a fraction of its current size had you kept filling those trust trials. But what’s happened for you, and by the way, this is how a man should become president of the United States.
I did an article in Washington Post about this some years ago when that was, I think, Romney against Obama. Uh, and I thought Romney was gonna lose. And I said, so, uh, here, here, here’s my point. Coming back to the fitness business, Mike, what’s happened for you is you’ve passed a whole series of these trust trials and they continue.
Provide an equity, a trust equity in the bank of your customer’s minds. And that equity can be cashed in until you disappoint the expectation set. And when that happens, everything you know starts to unravel. Now, this is true in a marriage. This is true in a relationship with your children. This is true in a friendship, and this is true in every form of relationship business.
Listen to me, it’s not like a relationship. Business is a relationship. Hmm. And so the rules of relationship apply and uh, I would just suggest that there’s something about some people that, uh, produces a natural, sort of an organic pret, trusts tentative trust. And then it’s up to you as a human being.
We’ve all seen people fail. To deliver on the expectation they created within us. But if you continue to pass those trust trials, do, believe it or not, you’re building what Ogilvy understood was a brand, but which has now become some abstract way for agencies to generate billions of dollars in useless exercises.
Your brand is nothing more than the expectation set created in the mind of those who’ve experienced or been exposed to the experience of your value proposition. It is the aggregate experience of the value proposition in the marketplace. That’s why, that’s why your nutritional business is growing, because the experience reinforces the trust.
Now, by the way, you can, you can scream real loud and make lots of white noise in the market, but clarity trump’s persuasion. In the end. People who don’t have a true value proposition and can’t deliver on the expectation set, they’re trying to overcome that by yelling louder. That’s why you get so much garbage in your inbox.
But when you have something to say, clarity trump’s persuasion and your business is you saying something to the world, it
Mike: truly is. And that’s, that’s how I, that’s how I’ve approached it from, from the beginning and from the beginning. For example, I’ve written all of the copy everywhere. Actually every email autoresponder was written by me.
Every word on the website was written by me. Originally, the blog was only me. Now I have a couple of people who work with me, who also, they don’t write for me, they’re writing their names. But, um, and, and so I’ve, I’ve approached it. That way from the beginning. And that’s just how I’m oriented, I think, as a person.
Uh, because I like language, I like communication, I like persuasion. And I, I generally don’t like to talk unless I have something to say, unless I’ve thought about it and there’s something interesting to me. Or I’d rather just not waste the, the breath. I’d rather think a little bit more about it, you know?
So it’s interesting for me to reflect on, uh, the, the journey so far through, through that lens. The interesting thing
Flint: about you, for me, an audience, if you’re listening to what we’re saying, this isn’t about Mike, this is about you. I’m just using Mike because he’s the, he’s the metaphor in front of me. It’s reality, but it’s also, uh, I’m the dancing
Mike: monkey ,
Flint: it’s so much it applies to you.
What’s interesting to, to me is that I don’t think you can stand to do whatever you’re doing for the rest of your life unless the impact is reinforcing the individuation that you need to do. Experience yourself. and the minute your business diverges from that, you’re going to lose interest and you should.
It’s a safety And
Mike: what, what does that mean exactly? What do you mean by that? Well, because you used the word individuation, you had mentioned that earlier in the context of young as an Yeah,
Flint: yeah, as a, as an individual. I remember when they tried to write a biography ago, and he was in his eighties, he says, I don’t need a biography.
I don’t want it. They pursued him and he said, no. But finally he wrote, he, he said, I’ll write sort of a, a biography of my thinking, of my spiritual journey. And in it, in the introduction he says, you know, I’ve, I’ve become who I, who I am, so I don’t need any of the rest of this. And they couldn’t, they couldn’t get him to do all the things they wanted him to do cuz he no longer needed those things, nor did he need them to need him.
Now, in your case, uh, as you become more true to the core, What you are about and who you are to your, as you’re doing, your being, get tighter and tighter aligned. You, you do something he called individuation from the word individual, becoming not one of the mass. By the way, all this talk about community misses the point.
There is no community, there is no unity. You can’t have community without individuals. I mean, think about it chemically. It’s no longer a collection of united singles individuals, ones, it becomes a massless blob of undefined essence. That’s not community. So even in the community that you live in, the fitness community and in the world, community and in other communities that you participate in, you, you will serve the community better, not by becoming like the community, but by becoming who you are.
and uniting with the community. We need to understand that right now. And all of our talks about diversity and racism and, you know, all that’s hitting the political theater, but I say it to you because I suspect that your businesses, the dynamo, the force, the energy powering it is growing out of who you are.
But if, let’s suppose you sold a big stake in your enterprise to someone else and they began to twist it into something, you’re not, you’re not the kind of person who can stand that for too long, and that’s what I like about you. Others, we try to justify. Many of you listening to me right now should quit the job you’re in.
I mean, that get away from this poison that is slowly polluting your soul and find a way. Take the risk, become who you could become, and it’s not gonna happen when you’re in the Borg. Assimilated and, and, uh, all of that was said to say, I think what’s interesting about people like you and hopefully people listening to me, is some of us can’t stand to be pressed into a place that isn’t who we are.
And the world needs you. The world needs people like you stand up and say No, no. And uh, in the end, they are always the ones who produce the impact. They’re always the ones. There’s a wonderful classic I was teaching, uh, with Theo Harris. Theo Harris at Harvard. They’re classics using the book. By the way.
We, we did a course on classics using the book to predict behavior of characters. And uh, there’s a famous sea captain and his name is Captain Briley, and there is a man being charged with cowardice. But he’s truly brave. In fact, brave enough to show up for his cha for his charges. Everyone wants, Lord, his name is Lord Jim in the book.
Eventually they called him Lord Jim cuz he’s consigned on an island. The interesting thing is, Lord Jim doesn’t know it, but he’s the bravest guy in the book. Captain Barley has the bravest reputation on the sea and he tries to talk this Jim fellow into not going to trial and not standing himself up for the charges of cowardice.
But he, Jim, who thinks he probably is a coward, will not avoid the trial everybody else has in the end. Briley suicide. I love that scene. And the reason I love it is cuz you have a choice. Do you wanna be Captain Briley or do you wanna be Lord Jim? The fitness world’s full of Captain Burley’s, so is politics and religion.
The martial arts or are you so focused on the essence of, of what it means to be who you are that you would rather be tried as a coward? Bravely. That’s a hard call, but it’s the difference. It’s the difference in a life with true impact and the life that just looks like a life of impact. What a strange conversation we’ve had today.
Mike: That was a great one. I mean, this is, uh, this is, this is fun. This is fun to me and it’s fun. Uh, I, I, I know that I, I have a, a buddy, his name’s Pat Flynn, and I bring him on the show and we talk, uh, I mean, it’s mostly him. I’m interviewing obviously, but it’s on the, on the topics of sometimes it’s current affairs, sometimes it’s philosophy, sometimes it is religion.
And so this is, is in a similar vein and I always enjoy it and I know a lot of the listeners do. Uh, I wanna be respectful of your time, but before we wrap up, I, I wanted to touch on one quick marketing related thing. Sure. That just is, is, is very important because it is something that I have been telling people for some time who reach out to me for business advice.
Uh, but I didn’t, I hadn’t read what I read from Drucker in your book and from you, that is just how important. Marketing is that It is, you had mentioned it already in the podcast, that it’s the essence of entrepreneurship. And how I would tell people when they reach out to me is, especially if they’re just starting out and they want to know what skills should they be looking for, uh, what should they be developing, what type of business works and what doesn’t?
And, uh, I’ve always emphasized, and sometimes they would ask me to kind of reflect on my success and what are the key factors. And my, I’ve always went to, to marketing as one of the most important elements of business. And, uh, I would, I would share that in the context of my success and something I’ve been good enough at and I’ve gotten better at, but good enough at, to at least reach that very critical mass is marketing.
Right. And that’s something I’ve, I’ve also really enjoyed and I’ve, I’ve told people that, you know, um, basically what I’ve told people is, if you don’t like. Marketing, you’re not interested in it. You try to learn about it. It doesn’t click for you. Your mind is wandering all over the place. I I, I wouldn’t recommend getting into business for yourself.
I wouldn’t because I, I just don’t, I I, I would just, you’re right. Tell ’em I don’t see how it’s gonna work. I just don’t see how it’s gonna work. Because, uh, to me, you have to, and you have to be able to understand people. You have to understand their wants. You have to then be able to come up with products and services that they might want, and then you have to understand how to persuade them to, to, to buy the products and services and all of that comes under in, in my mind, comes under the, the heading of marketing.
And so if all of that is, if you don’t like that and, and because marketing is a creative thing, and, and, and I’m, I’m kind of rambling here, but I’d obviously want your thoughts on all of this. I also feel like. , sure anybody can learn the mechanics of it, but like any artistic endeavor, just because you can learn how to move your fingers correctly to play the piano doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to be a virtuoso.
Doesn’t mean that you are going to be brilliant at playing the piano. Uh, and and I feel like marketing is similar in that the great marketers that, that I’ve known, they’ve, they, they love it. They, they’ve really like it and they’ve really pursued it with, with passion, not just to get rich. They like it for itself.
And if somebody doesn’t like it, I also have told people, you might be able to figure out how to make some money and make a business go. Um, but I, I don’t know how far it’s gonna go because of how important I think it is to really be into this.
Flint: Well, marketing is the single most important force. It’s the elegant force that ruled the world.
It’s the key to changing the world in a social dynamic, especially in a place in a time when choices multiplied the ability to influence choice is a power. Now, you could say, I was on Jeremy Slate’s podcast and we talked about ancient Rome, and I said Rome was not ruled by the legions. In fact, somebody had to persuade the allegiance to support the Caesars, and often the legions would support them for a year and then double cross them and then sell it again.
In the end, the power of the gun is ruled by the elegant force of marketing. It reminds me of the martial arts, that hard style martial arts that you see. And ufc there is a soft style and don’t underestimate its force and its power. In the end. That soft style like water is stronger than stone. And, and marketing is like this.
Drucker said, marketing is not a division. It’s the real job of everyone in the enterprise, everyone in the business. Because the goal of a C, in fact, the job of a CEO e o is to create a customer and keep ’em, and that’s only done with the marketing instinct to field the value pro. Yeah. And, and by the way, there’s a lovely article written on this, and you can read Thomas Koon’s, the, you know, on Scientific Revolution, or you can read some of my work.
But even scientific theories are marketed within the academic community. Our problem is this. We let the, we let the word container blindest to the essence within the container. Many words need to be redeemed, rescued from the, from the connotation in our culture. Marketing is a high, a noble art that for one to aspire to is, uh, a gift and a rich way to focus your life.
Mike: I think, uh, I think it’s that that’s the message to, to end the today’s interview on. Um, and, and I, and I completely, I completely agree. And for people listening again, um, if you are in business thinking of, of getting in business, then marketing and the, the, the skill of marketing should be, I think, your number one priority because again, that encompasses creating products and services that people want, and that will meet expectations.
It doesn’t mean just getting people to buy stuff and forgetting about them and not delivering on promises. A good marketer, like Flint has said, is somebody who, uh, creates expectations and then delivers on those expectations. Right.
Flint: Mike, I’ve, I, I took, uh, 30 years of our work in all of our certification courses.
And by the way, you’re not hearing there, there’s no cost involved, so I’m not setting up. You know, the sort of the, the, the ending pitch, so to speak, , this is not it, but I decided to take all of it, make it free, underwrite it with my foundation and with my company. And we are offering, uh, it’s, you know, our lab is Meck Labs, me, C l a b s like Mary Echo, Charlie, l a b as in Bravo, labs.com.
But if you just put that in, in slash course, you’ll see that we’re putting it all of it. Now, for the first time for free, I teach, uh, a fast class. That’s a 40 minutes of video within 10 minutes, 40 minutes of content within 10 minutes. And then we have a podcast and livestreaming, and you can just go take it.
It’s free. There’s no upsell. You don’t even have to register for the class. Somebody said, I don’t know how to sign up. I said, why would I want you to sign up? Why do I need to control you? Take the course. Use it if you can. And I say that to everyone on here. If you want to think about your life or you want to think about your business, go to that course and check it out and see if it helps you.
If it doesn’t help you, don’t worry about it. If it’s not who you are, it’s okay. I don’t even get on the YouTube and say, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe. It’s like if they, people are not sheep, if they wanna subscribe, they can subscribe. And if not, I don’t mind. I’m not looking for everybody. I can’t.
Mike: And you, you might say that the people who need to be told to subscribe, to subscribe, you’re not the ones you want.
You don’t want that
Flint: message. You don’t want that message back to, you know, you know, it’s like Tim Ferris, who I, you know, I worked with in the early years and helped him with uh, brain Quicken. He recommended that wonderful piece. A thousand True Followers. We don’t need the world. We need the persons in the world.
We can help. So, you know, some people may listen.
Mike: That’s something that, uh, I would say our enemies have understood well is the power of leverage for, for some time now. You don’t need to influence the masses. You just have to influence the key people whose influence trickles down to the masses.
Flint: Yeah. And or I’m happy to go down right there at the bottom of the masses and just help the person I can help.
Yep. What you said is very strategic and I I value it. Strategy.
Mike: Well, I, I mean that more from, uh, again, a neg in, in a negative sense of, of the, the power centers of the world. Oh, yeah. This is something that they’ve understood as, as the art of propaganda has, uh, has evolved to its very sophisticated state today, but they’ve understood Oh, yes.
Um, I’m sure you’re familiar, familiar with Carol Quigley. Sure. Uh, tragedy and Hope and Amer, uh, angle American establishment. And it’s something that he, um, It, it became clear to me just, just reading his work is, is how clever some of these people were just influencing the right circles of people. Oh, absolutely.
Talking about academia and finance and, and again, they were solely focused on influencing those people. They could care less about, uh, uh, Joey Bagga Donuts because they knew that if they controlled here at the top, the small circles of people who, whose influence trickled down to, let’s say maybe the newspaper or the source of information that Joey gets his information from.
Um, that’s just, that is, that’s, that’s the
Flint: way to do it. That’s subversive marketing. This is a superpower. You can use it for good, you can use it for bad. I’m seeking only the seekers. I like those people. Yeah. And, uh, I don’t care how much power you have, I’m gonna die. Well, I care then. I’m interested in lives that are transformed now.
And by the way, this is probably the, let me, let me close my side, Mike, by saying this, the key to transformative marketing is a transformed marketer. If you want to experience in your business or your life maximum conversion for your offering, then first you must experience a conversion in your own spirit.
And that’s, that’s contrary to the popular doctrine.
Mike: But, and is that because you have to become, you have to become the type of person who’s capable of that? Well, first of
Flint: all, we, um, we are so blinded by our, you know, everybody tells me I wanna give you better eyes to, you know, I wanna help you see better.
I don’t wanna see better. I need to see with new eyes. And in business, you need to see with the customer’s eyes. Company-centric logic is your enemy. Customer-centric logic is the way. and
Mike: you can’t, we’re self-centric. I mean, that’s, I’ve seen. So yeah,
Flint: it’s the same thing. Yeah. Self-interest is the blind spot.
Hmm. And so without that, what do
Mike: I want to say? What do I think about this? Oh, oh yeah. What do I want them to think?
Flint: Oh, yeah. And it always begins, we’ve tested this in our lab, even in headlines. Headlines that begin with what the other person gets outperform the others. By 46%, thousands of them tested 10 different variations.
I could show you how in these little microcosms of real life, you see the pattern of life unfolding. We always begin with us instead of them. Begin with yourself. When you’re talking about transformation and change, change yourself, begin with the other. When you’re thinking about giving, give to them first and the rest will work its way out.
We’re so, we’re so blinded by self-interest.
Mike: That’s something you talk about in your book that resonated with me and, and maybe explains, explain to me a little bit of what I’ve been, uh, de decent at. Again, good enough to get as far as I’ve gotten done. Well, being able to put myself in somebody’s in somebody else’s shoes and have some empathy and enter their mindset, so to speak, and then figure out how to communicate in a way that would appeal to me if I were that person, if that makes sense.
Flint: Well, that’s how you, that’s at the beg, that’s the beginning of wisdom in this space. I mean, the, the goal here is customer wisdom, sustainable competitive advantage is rooted in customer wisdom. But I promise not to say more. And I, you’re, you’re drawing me down another interesting path. Maybe. I know, I know.
Maybe another podcast. Um, and, and, uh, yeah.
Mike: Yeah. I would love to do another one. And this, this is, uh, again, very generous with your time. I really appreciate it. And again, for, um, the, the people who are still listening, if you’re still listening, you’re probably gonna like the course, meck labs.com, uh, slash course, right?
Yeah. And they can, they can see where this rabbit hole goes. Alright, my friend. And then of course there’s your book too. When, whenever it is available, you can, you can get it.
Flint: Just type, you know, just go to that course in the store or type it in. But you can only get it from us, the number, you know, we haven’t released it to in the major press yet, but you can, you can still get it.
We we’re out of, we’re on our fifth printing our little test. Cool. Turned into something else. Cool. But, um, I doesn’t, you know, you don’t have to buy the book, you don’t have to take the course. You know, if you feel drawn in that direction, do so, but think deeply about the part of this podcast that bothered you the most.
That might be a starting point into insights.
Mike: Hmm. I like that. We’ll end on that, and I look forward to the next one. All right. Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.
And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have, uh, ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f o r life.com, and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.
I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.