November 5, 2020
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In today’s society, we have an archetype of the successful leader as a commander; someone who knows what they want and bends the world to their will in order to get it. But so many of us end up elbowing our way into loneliness or controlling our lives into a place we later realize we don’t want to be.
How can we have clear goals and desires while staying in flow with reality? What if accepting the outcomes we’re avoiding makes our desired outcomes more likely?
On today’s episode, we’ll be discussing Impartiality -- the I in VIEW.
Recognizing something that's right, and going with it rather than trying to get it to be your version of right is the practice of impartiality in business, and it is incredibly, incredibly useful.
Welcome to the Art of Accomplishment, where we explore how deepening connection with ourselves and others leads to creating the life we want with enjoyment and ease.
My name is Brett Kistler. I am an adventurer, entrepreneur and a self exploration enthusiast. I am here with my co-host, Joe Hudson. Joe is a business coach who has spent decades working with some of the world´s top executives and teams developing a unique model of human patterns that underpin how we operate with ourselves, each other and the world. A good entry point into this model is a mindset called VIEW, vulnerability, impartiality, empathy and wonder.
Through understanding and cultivation we learn to easefully drop into the VIEW state of mind, deepening self awareness and increasing our connection with the world around us. To learn more about this podcast or courses, visit artofaccomplishment.com
Brett: In today's society, we have this archetype of the successful leader as a commander, someone who knows what they want and bends the world to their will in order to get it. Many of us end up elbowing our way into loneliness or controlling our lives into a place we later realize we don't want to be.
How can we have clear goals and desires while staying in flow with reality? What if accepting the outcomes we're avoiding makes our desired outcomes more likely. On today's episode, we'll be discussing impartiality, the I in view. Joe, describe what you mean by impartiality.
Joe: Yes, my 11-year-old girl yesterday asked me that question. It was cool because it gave me a very different answer explaining it to an 11-year-old. The answer that I normally give is, it's to not have an agenda for another person, at least in the VIEW modality. It means that when you're having a conversation, you're not trying to get the other person anywhere.
That's what it means in that way, but the way I explained it to my daughter was, it's saying, "I trust you. You know what's best," when you're talking to somebody else, right? You're saying, "I trust, you know what's best. I'm going to follow your lead. I think you know what you need better than anybody else could know what you need. You have more information and data to know what you need and I want to explore that with you." That's impartiality.
Most of our conversations are very partial and it would be things like, "I know what you need. Let me give you advice. I want you to be better, I want you to be healed, I want you to be different. I want you to feel like I'm valuable in this conversation." That's the partiality instead of the impartiality. That's what I mean. Particularly in these kinds of conversations, there's other ways to think of impartiality generally and that are really important in one's journey. We may or may not get into that, but for the context of the VIEW conversation, that's what it means.
The reason on some level that this is so important is, because the subtle message behind partiality is, that you think that you're smarter than the other person. I know what's best for you if I can give you advice. You think you know what's up. That's basically agreeing with the essential myth so many of us live with. It's the essential myth that we're not good enough.
If you're telling somebody that, you're also making that true for them, whereas if you are looking at them and in the conversation, you see them as wise. You speak to the wise part of them, the part of them that knows and that's the part that's going to come out and meet you. That's what you get in that conversation instead of the helpless person you get on the other side of the conversation, somebody who's wise, because that's the part that you're asking to talk to and that you're talking to.
Brett: Let's dig into that not good enough part a little bit more. What is impartial about that?
Joe: Yes, there's this correlation between thinking that you're not good enough, and let's call that shame and that there's actions that prevent you from being happy. It's like, you think you're not good enough because you haven't worked out. You think you're not good enough because you still get angry. You think you're not good enough because women don't like you and you think that if you do all that stuff, if you work out enough and women like you or enough men like you or whatever it is, then you're not going to have shame and then you're going to be happy, but the causation is actually the opposite of what people think.
It's far more that shame causes the actions, than it is, that the actions are what caused the shame. Meaning if you remove the shame, then it's very easy for the working out to happen and for people to want to be with you and all that stuff. Shame is kind of like the locks that keep the chains of bad habits in place. I think there's a guy, Adia Shantay who said that. That's what I mean. It's the shame that holds the bad actions in place. I don't want to call them bad, but the actions that prevent us from being happy.
Brett: I like this dual direction of causation. I think it'd be interesting to see it as a loop as well. Our actions and the consequences to our actions can create shame and they can also heal us. But if we're waiting for the impact of the world to do that to us, then that's sort of disempowered when we could actually work on the other side of that loop which is working on our-- seeing our own goodness, seeing that we're good enough as we are and letting that shame dissolve, which then changes our actions to be less producing of consequences that would lead to shame.
Joe: Yes, it's absolutely a dance. It's absolutely a dance. They definitely can feed off one another. What I noticed in the mind of most people, they're not saying "Maybe I should stop being so shame-oriented, I should stop shaming myself." I think that's the most important part to call attention to. Yes, absolutely a dance.
Brett: What is the benefit of being impartial?
Joe: [laughs] It's like a CEO asking the CFO, "What's the benefit of revenue?" Yes, so many benefits. You don't shame people, for one. You're teaching people how to fish, not feeding them fish. You're empowering the people in your organization. You're empowering your husband, wife, kids. You don't have to save anybody anymore. You don't need to be valuable anymore. People are more likely to trust you because you're not trying to fix them, you're just being with them. Deeper levels of connection.
Just keep on going, there's so many benefits from it. There's only one perceived loss that people think they're going to have, is like, if I stopped being partial, then I'm not going to get what I want, [laughs] which is hilarious, because if they were paying attention to some degree, they had realized they've been partial their whole life and they're still not getting what they want in many arenas.
Obviously, you're going to get what you want and not get you what you want with partiality. But what I would say is that look for causation, even look for correlation. I find people get what they want far more when they are being impartial and owning their wants.
Brett: Yes, fascinating. I think it's intuitive to us that being partial often, being overly partial, it doesn't end up getting us what we want and so we learned some weird form of impartiality, which is really just like-- we use it as a way to be non-threatening in a conversation. If we were to turn the partiality all the way down to zero, our behavior would approach random chance and we wouldn't be going in any particular direction at all. How does being impartial help you have productive conversations and achieve goals and get what you want?
Joe: Yes, yes, okay. There's no way I think any mammal, but definitely, humans can be completely impartial. It's asymptotic, meaning that you can dissolve more and more of your partiality, but there's always some partiality. You see this in acting. A lot of the great directors, the way they direct actors is they just ask them what do you want in this sentence or this scene or this moment. It's how we do it.
If you really want to take it apart, every single sentence you have, has some want underneath it. It has some desire. It's a great exercise to-- Every sentence then says, what it is you wanted to achieve in that sentence. There's no way to get rid of partiality. It's as human as breathing or having emotions. I think that's a really important part. I don't think there's any fear that we'll walk around aimless.
I've never seen that in a person. I've seen people stuck, which is different, but that's not partiality. Everybody that I know who's really walking around looks aimless but it's really stuck, they're very partial about trying to get unstuck. The other thing is that goals are fine and wants are fine. That's not what we're saying. We're saying that in a conversation with somebody, you let them have their wants and goals and you have yours and you don't try to influence theirs.
It's kind of like saying, it's like looking at a river and if you're having a conversation with one person and you're looking at the river one way, then you're like, "I want to bend the river to the left." [laughs] A lot of effort and it's a lot of work and it's probably not going to work. It's only going to work temporarily. Whereas if the other one is "Where does the river naturally want to go and how does that work with me?" Or "How is it important to me not to work with that?" is the other way to look at that conversation and being impartial is far more like that.
Brett: What are a few more examples of that, of that metaphor in real life?
Joe: Hiring people. Earlier in my career, I would hire people and I'd be like, "Oh, they're talented. I want to try to get them on board," or I had a vision for somebody and I'd be like, "Okay." I think I took it to the other extreme for a while, which was like, I would just ask people what they want to do, and if it wasn't exactly what I wanted, then I wouldn't hire them. I would far rather work with somebody who is wanting exactly the role that I have to offer.
It's another way of looking at the impartiality is, I'm not trying to convince anybody who's talented to come and work for me. I'm just saying, "It's my reality. This is my world, do you want in? Is this something that inspires you?" Then I know I have them. I don't have something I've convinced to show up.
Also saying no in sales is another great example. The best salesman will challenge, ask difficult questions, will even look at a pipeline and try to get to know as quickly as possible. For instance, I worked with this artist who was having a hard time selling his stuff and I said, "Look, your job is to go and get 50 rejections. I need you in the next six months to get 50 rejections."
After the 10th call that he made, he was in three galleries. Because as soon as he could drop that partiality of trying to convince them, then he was successful at being himself, which is what they wanted, especially particularly from an artist. Anybody who's done a good sales program, they know that getting to a no is just as important as getting to a yes for time, effort and energy.
Here's another way to think about it. Think of your best bosses. Think of the people or clients if you've never had a boss. Who are the people who have been responsible for your paycheck and have been the best to work with? You'll notice what they are is, they're incredibly clear with their wants, this is what I want, but they're not self-serving.
Brett: What do you mean by that?
Joe: It means that they're being impartial. They're saying this is what I want and they're letting you have the autonomy to do the thing. They're not cajoling you or manipulating you or being partial about how you do it, or even partial about what you do, they're far more like, "This is what we need to do. If you don't want to do it, then maybe you shouldn't be here and maybe we can get someone else here."
If you think about those bosses, you just don't feel them as self-serving. What happens in partiality is that when you're not being impartial, the thing that comes up is, you look often political and you definitely feel self-serving to the people around you. Whereas if you just own your wants clearly-- The way this works in, say, a VIEW conversation, is, you can just own your partiality in the middle of the conversation.
It's a very vulnerable thing to do and say, "Oh, I noticed that I'm trying to fix you and I'm so sorry." If you think about it even crazier than that, imagine if you're in the middle of a conversation, you notice someone's trying to give you advice, trying to get you somewhere and they say to you, "Wow, I noticed that I'm giving you advice. I'm trying to fix you. How do you feel about that?" [chuckles]
You think about that for a second. Most people, most of the time, are going to say "Yes, please don't." Yet, we're freaking doing it all the time. That's how it builds trust and connection.
Brett: Yes. Speaking of being political, people all the time, all of us do it. We manipulate by hiding our true intentions and subtly nudging a situation in the direction that we want it to go. This could sometimes be confused with impartiality, but I don't think that that's what you're getting at. What's the difference between actually being impartial and just acting the part in order to manipulate. And how do we tell in the moment if that's what we're doing?
Joe: Yes. You're correct. They're not the same thing. It's true that there's a body sensation that goes with each one of them and impartiality, like VIEW, is really a state of mind, state of being. You know it, when you feel it more than you know it, if you're doing it intellectually. I would say the difference is, it's the same difference as hitting somebody in the face and or hitting them in the back while they're not looking. If you're subtly nudging or trying to, and you're not owning your partiality, if you're not owning your wants in that situation, then you're not being straightforward with them and it's a subtle form of lying.
The other thing is that most people know when you're doing it. Most people-- You know when someone's doing that, most of the time. We kind of have this social contract that says, yes, everyone kind of does that, so I'm going to put up with it, but none of us like it, and none of us like doing it. That's one of the other things is, that if you want to know how it is in your body, it's uncomfortable, [laughs] it's uncomfortable. People can feel it and you can feel it in others, and of course, there's some folks who are intentionally duplicitous. It's definitely not the majority of people, which is a misunderstanding. A lot of people who see someone who's duplicitous, they feel like, of course it's intentional. I find that often it's not, it's like a blind spot of narcissism and other things.
Brett: Lack of awareness?
Joe: Yes, exactly. It's like the only time we really believe those people is, when we want to, when we are trying to fool ourselves anyways. That's the other thing, the thing that you notice about people who are duplicitous intentionally, it always blows up in their face. Sometimes it takes five years, but it hardly ever takes more than five years to do that. Whether you see this on a large economic scale or in relationships, it eventually blows up on you, which is interesting, because you can see people who are not scrupulous, you can see people who maybe do morally questionable things, but they're straight forward about it, and they can actually do it for a long time. When they're not being straightforward about it and almost always blows up, which isn't really a particularly interesting phenomenon.
As far as how it is in the body, it's different for other people. Each person, their body registers things a little bit differently, but all you have to do is feel like right now going into a memory of when you were being subtly manipulative or not subtly manipulative and feel how that felt in your body and then feel how it is when you're being straightforward with your wants. Even if it's scary, you can feel it and that's going to inform you. Your body will know it much quicker than your mind will.
Brett: I feel like a lot of the times that I've done that in the past, it's been more just like an avoidance of even recognizing, that that's something that's in my awareness, but there is a part that's aware of it and it gets filtered out because it's inconvenient for my ego.
Joe: Yes. That's beautifully put. Yes. It's exactly like, even if we don't make the ego the enemy, but there's something that we'd have to feel or look at if we admit that to ourselves, which is, I think, typically the case when we're being manipulative. We have a want that we don't even-- Oftentimes we have a want that we're ashamed of having. We're trying to get our wants met without having to admit that we have them.
Brett: Yes. That points to this whole practice being a state of being, because if you're doing this logically and you're trying to meet the end point of, "Oh, I should be impartial. Impartial will get me better sales, will give me better relationships," and then you're constantly filtering for whether or not you look like you're partial or impartial. That ends up coming from a completely different place, than if it's the state of being.
Joe: Yes. If you want them to see you as impartial, then you're definitely being partial. It's going to be seen. Absolutely.
Brett: Which begs the question, if true impartiality actually requires this state of mind, that is actually impartial and that meaning okay with any outcome, then what can we do to cultivate that true impartiality when we are actually, in reality, afraid of so many things and so many outcomes?
Joe: Yes. I've been just focusing on this a lot, this question of fear of outcomes. Here's my new approach at thinking about this, which is, I don't believe in outcomes. The only way you can believe in an outcome is if you believe time stops.
Brett: What about a snapshot? Believing in an outcome being some lossy snapshot of the future?
Joe: That's exactly the point is, that it had to stop. Reality has to stop for there to be an outcome. It's like this age-old problem of, "Hey, I wanted to see what my future is," and someone shows you your future and you're happy and have a lot of money. Then you get there and two days later you're broke, miserable. Where's your future? Is it the moment where you're happy? Is it the moment that you were sad? What's happening there?
I don't believe in outcomes, because outcomes is the idea that there's some end state and there isn't. With that said, I understand we have our fear, and our fear creates the idea of outcomes. What do you do there is the question.
Brett: What if you're afraid of being in an eternal process of misery that continues? It's not a snapshot.
Joe: Yes. Even that as a snapshot, because it's eternal, what is it-- Is it you've just hit zero baseline. There's no movement ever. Anyway, yes, so one is, there's a tradition that's the Stoic tradition, the Tibetan Buddhists had it, Samurai had it, which is visualizing your own death over and over again to undo the fear of death. You can do this with anything. If you're scared of getting fired, go visualize yourself getting fired over and over again, every step of it before, during, or after. Feel everything that you would have to feel if you got fired, because our fear really isn't about the thing happening. The fear is what we will have to feel if the thing happens.
If someone was like, "You're going to get fired, but you're going to absolutely blissed out the entire time. You're going to find out it's like an absolute joy and pleasure, and then you're not going to have enough money, but that's okay because it's not going to even dawn on you that you don't have enough money. You're just going to be in this place of absolute- loving the situation as it is. Then money is going to come and you're going to be not attached to keeping it." I was like, "Wait, I don’t have any fear of the future. The fear is all in the emotion." Going through the situation in your mind and feeling all the emotions can really free you of the fear, because all of the emotions can be enjoyed, can be welcomed, can be loved.
Brett: That brings up something really interesting. In my experience base-jumping, often before jumping off of a cliff, you visualize the jump and I frequently find myself visualizing all of the ways I could die on the jump, visualizing pushing off in the wrong way. The thing that I ended up actually visualizing was the moment of terror, when I realized that fucked up and had gone past a point of no return, out of control.
By doing that visualizing and encountering that point of terror where I'd fucked up, it made it so that if something went off-axis or off of the plan, that I didn't have to feel the terror when that happened. I'd be like, "This is actually much less off the plan than all of my visualizations were, so it's salvageable. Let's work with this."
Joe: Yes. That's a beautiful metaphor. One of the principles that I work with often is, that the thing that we fear is often something that we are unknowingly, subconsciously inviting into our world because of things that we do to avoid the thing that we fear are often the things that bring them to us. What you're describing there is that you visualize the worst possible thing happening so you're not scared that it's going to happen. If I think about two people who are about to base-jump and one is petrified that they're going to screw up and one is okay if they screw up and they jump off. I can tell you which one of in my experience is going to have the higher chance of fucking up.
Brett: Yes, likewise. I've had a lot of experience in that realm.
Joe: Yes, which I'm sorry for, because I know the consequence of that. Yes, that's exactly how it works but it works with getting fired too. It works with every aspect of our fear. That's the other thing you can do is, just grieve the loss which is another way of feeling the pain in advance. The other thing you can do is just call yourself out for being partial, right. Somehow or other just saying, "Oh, this is the outcome that I want," can relieve you of that want for the outcome.
Brett: How does that happen?
Joe: It's like, "I'm sorry. I notice that I really want to be valuable to you, and that's not the best way that I can respect you or this conversation and I apologize for that."
Brett: Another thing that happens a lot, all of us, we've been in some kind of tense discussion or negotiation where somebody just throws up their hands and they say, "Okay, whatever, I don't care," which is sort of the opposite of a thing you were just getting at, which is like owning a want and then letting the partiality for that want dissolve. It is completely disowning the want, and it's a way of disconnecting. What's the difference between impartiality and this sort of impartial apathy or avoidance?
Joe: [laughs] I'm holding back my laughter so I don't interrupt your question. As soon as you asked that question, it hit me. I remember my daughter, I think she was eight or nine years old. At that time, kids are always like, "I don't care. I don't care. I don't care." She comes home and she goes, "Dad, I think I know what I don't care means." I'm like, "Really, what does it mean?" She says, "It means I care." I just laughed and I'm like, "Yes. That's my experience of it too is, that when people are saying that I don't care, they're saying I do care, but it's hurting so much that I don't want to care."
Brett: "I don't want to feel this."
Joe: "I don't want to feel this." Yes. “I don't care”, to me, is just a strategy. It's either a strategy to get what you want. Like to say, "I don't care," so that someone chases you or to get out of the responsibility or the feeling. That kind of apathy isn't really-- We call it apathy, but it's not the kind of apathy which is like if a stranger came to me and said, "Should I get a BLT or should I get a veggie sandwich today?" That would really be like, "Meh." They would be no desire for me to have that end up one way or another, but I wouldn't be apathetic about it.
Apathy is really just about people not wanting to be hurt from having a want. If you are impartial, you may stop a conversation right in the middle of it and say that it doesn't hold any juice for you. That would be a thing, which isn't particularly apathy either. It's just saying, "Oh, wow, I notice that this isn't inspiring me. How is it for you?"
Brett: Imagine receiving that. If you're trying to sell to somebody and the customer just does that and they are like, "Here's the information about what I'm actually interested in. All that presentation that you were just doing. I don't care."
Joe: Yes, there's a story. There's a guy named Mikey Siegel who has said this. It's on the internet. In our first meeting he was pitching me something when I was an investor, and we were just having a nice connection time and then all of a sudden he got into pitch mode. After about a sentence I looked at him and I said, "I notice my entire body is getting tense right now." That's owning where I am. Having no idea what he's going to say or the consequences. Is he going to be mad at me? It just created such a deep level of connection between us and our friendship lasts. It has been years of close relationship.
Brett: I've seen him tell that story and the recreation of the mind blow on his face at hearing that from an investor and realizing that, "Woah, I'm actually really, really trying to get something right now and it's obvious."
Joe: Yes, and when it went away, we could actually connect and the benefits that came out of our relationship are far beyond whatever the hell he could have gotten that he was after. For me and for him. I hope for him. Apparently, that seems to be the case.
Brett: We've worked through a lot of what impartiality is and what it is not. What are some of the benefits to practicing impartiality with intention?
Joe: It's a much deeper peace of mind. You're more likely to be in flow with a person and hitting that flow state is something we all want. That creates deeper connection. You also find out that, if you don't want to be with somebody sooner so you don't get stuck in a bad relationship as easily or for as long. You usually come up with better solutions. This is the thing that I have to talk to a lot of managers about because they're like, "Wait a second. Hold on. I'm getting paid good money to have a really strong agenda for my entire organization."
It's the same thing, what you're saying is that the organization doesn't want to fucking do the right thing. If that's the case, fire them. Fire them. If they don't want to do the right thing, what the hell are you hiring, why are you paying them? What the hell is going on?
There are people out there who want to do the right thing for your company. If you assume that everybody who is working for you actually wants to do the right thing, then it's just a matter of whether they're capable of it or whether they can see it. You don't particularly need to be partial to educate folks. You can just educate. You can just say this is my vision.
Also, you're missing something. Guaranteed, I don't care if you're Steve Jobs. I don't care if you're Elon Musk. You're missing something. The great leaders know they're missing something. They want to be around really smart people. They want people in the room smarter than them. The only way you are going to find out what you're missing is, if you let go of your agenda for a minute.
It doesn't mean that you let go of your goals. It doesn't mean that you let go of your wants. If you're sitting in a conversation and you're just trying to push people into a particular kind of action. More micro-management level or even macro-management on that kind of thing, what you're doing is you're not getting the best ideas.
I'm constantly seeing, when executives get this idea of, "Oh, right, if we all have agreed on the goal, so I don't have to manage anybody to an outcome. If we've all agreed on that, really, truly agreed on that, then everybody can work together to come up with the best solution. My way is never the best way. It is a part of the best solution."
Also, you're following data more. People when they're partial don't look at data the same way. They don't run the experiments the same way. You get to see what's real, which is a far better way to build a business or a relationship with what's real rather than what you want. Yes, all sorts of other ways.
I think the other thing is that you won't have the same conversation with the same person 10 times. We all have that relationship or have had that relationship where it's just like I'm talking to this person about their bad marriage again. I guarantee you if you're in that, it's because you want them to be different. If you were impartial, that conversation wouldn't come back over and over again.
Brett: Yes, it's like the only thing that could keep you in a stable loop in that way would be that you have some impartiality that is creating a confirmation bias, filtering your information to fit a certain story. Yes, that's really interesting.
How do our personal lives and our professional lives change as we practice impartiality? What happens to us internally and what happens around us?
Joe: You're going to find yourself surrounded by a lot less people stuck in victim scenarios in their mind. You're going to learn a lot more and therefore have better ideas, because you'll spend that time that you are trying to manage people, and learning instead of in management.
You will have to draw more boundaries. That's a really important thing. One of the reasons people are so partial is, because they're not drawing the boundaries that they want or not explaining the vulnerable want that's in their system.
Brett: What's a good example of that?
Joe: It's easier to try to fix your friend, who's dating the same guy with a different name 10 times in a row than it is to say, "I don't want to hear this story anymore."
Another example is, let's say, I have an employee and they're consistently not doing the things that they said they're going to do. I just have to hold a boundary instead of trying to manage them out of it and have partial conversations. I just have to say, "If this isn't happening, then I have to assume you don't want to work here because if you wanted to, you'd do it or you're not capable. If you're not capable, please let me know, right?"
You're far more likely to have to draw a boundary and to say what you want directly. Imagine a manager who sits around the table and tries to get everybody aligned and another manager who starts off saying, "What I really want, what I really, really want is for us all to be aligned, rowing in the same direction with a common set of goals, how do we do that? I have some ideas. These are my ideas. What do you guys think?"
As compared to, "I don't want to have to ask for that. I don't want to have to draw that boundary. I'm going to really want it to happen, but I'm not going to be outright forthright with it. I'm going to be partial in every conversation to try to make it occur." which is a lot of managers.
Brett: Remind me in a relationship of when somebody gets angry about not having something done for them that they didn't ask for. Waiting for somebody to notice what they want and do it for them.
Joe: Exactly. Right, because they don't want to be vulnerable in that want or vulnerable in the boundary. That's right. That's exactly right. That happens a lot less. That kind of thing will happen a lot less in your story.
Another good story that I have around this is that I was doing this workshop in Boston and Cambridge, I think it was. There was a man, he was an older man, had been a successful entrepreneur, had a lot of depression in life, but he was older. Somewhere in that, close to the second day of the thing, he just looked at me and started crying and goes I don't think I've ever had an impartial conversation in my whole life because he just had one. He just had his first impartial conversation in his whole life.
Then he was crying and it was an amazing moment. He kind of looked at me and he goes, "I had no idea the level of connection that I was missing." I think that's the big thing is, that if you think about the people who always have an agenda for you when you talk, how close do you feel to them, how much do you want to be around them?
Brett: How defended do you feel?
Joe: How defended do you feel? If you're a parent, especially of an adult child, if they don't want to be around you, I guarantee you have an agenda for them. I guarantee it. You want them to be safe, you want them to be a doctor, whatever the heck it is. They might be around you, but they don't want to be, and you feel it, you feel unloved because of it.
Brett: We've talked a lot about how this applies to relationships with others. What does it look like to be impartial with ourselves or in relation to something more abstract like our businesses or to a professional career?
Joe: With the VIEW, all we're focused on is being impartial with others. I just say if you're in the conversations doing the course, using the framework, really just focus on being impartial about the outcome for the other person, where they end up. It's a deeply beautiful and powerful practice to be impartial with yourself.
If you think about meditation, there's a saying that goes, most people who are meditating are managing themselves, which isn't meditation, it's torture. Meditation, when you're not managing your experience, when you're happy with whatever experience is occurring, that then it's just bliss, it's just joy.
Learning to not manage yourself in moments is incredibly useful because what it is, it's basically saying I trust my inherent goodness, I trust my impulse, the impulse of life that moves through me. That's kind of the big benefit, because that is the path that leads you to deep self-recognition, but we all have expectations of ourselves that we cling to. They're painful and we're constantly revising them and we're constantly trying to get ourselves somewhere and it causes us a tremendous amount of pain. We have this voice in our head that's just often quite violent and abusive.
A practice of impartiality with yourself is really useful. The impartiality with business is, it's again that really subtle thing about it's good to have wants, it's good to have goals, how you get there is where the impartiality can be incredibly useful. Again, with the film thing is, that when you're a director working with actors, if you tell the actor, "This is exactly how I want it, you're not going to get it," but if you can give them direction and then recognize something beautiful when it comes, you can get that easily and all day.
Recognizing something that's right, and going with it, rather than trying to get it to be your version of right is the practice of impartiality in business and it's incredibly, incredibly useful. I've been in so many-- Everybody can relate to this. It's like, there's this business, it especially happens to big businesses. You get a big business and they say, "I want to do it this way, but I have to check with this person who has." Then another person has to be checked in, it's like six different things because everybody's trying to get to some perfect solution where nobody's going to be mad at them and they're going to be successful.
It's like an ungodly amount of time and energy that would have-- It's so much more useful to do something, get some advice, make a couple of mistakes. It would have been a lot less painful and often a far better result if you can allow that level of impartiality and not try to have to make everything perfect.
Brett: It seems to be maybe a scale or a spectrum of short term partiality and long term partiality. In this state, we're just trying to get what we want right now. In longer-term partialities, we're willing to be more patient and that allows for more slack and flexibility in the how and exactly what it ends up becoming.
Joe: Yes, that's right. I think the short term partiality is far more fear-based than long term partiality. I think long term partiality is far more principles-based. It's like how do I want to be and what's the world that I want be in and what's my vision for the world.
You're watching for how the world wants to provide that for you and taking advantage of those moments rather than trying to force the world to succumb to your will, which is, if it works, it's a lot more effort and a lot less happiness in it. I think that most of the time you can tell the difference, because when people are thinking about long term stuff, they're really not moving from a place of fear, or the same kind of intense fear.
Brett: They're willing to go through a little bit of shit to get to a more global optimum.
Joe: That's right. Yes, they're not less likely to avoid stuff. There's a CEO that I worked with, and he used to say, he had this thing called the kitchen drawer theory, which is basically there's that kitchen drawer that nobody wants to look at, because they're like, "Shit, that's the mess. I don't want to have to fix that" and he's like, "My job as a CEO is to find all the kitchen drawers and go look in them."
If that´s your partiality, if your partiality is to do that, it's a very different thing, because it's not driven by fear that the short term per partiality. It's more of a principle. I have a principle of embracing intensity going into the mess because I know that that makes the life that I want.
Brett: As you practice this, and let's say you're in a high-pressure sales culture, or some other environment where partiality is encouraged and accepted as a norm, what's likely to happen when one person in that group starts to relax their partiality as a result of this practice and what challenges are they likely to face and what tends to happen in those kinds of teams?
Joe: Sales teams are the best for this because a lot of them are that way, so if it's not a short term sale cycle, if there's any relationship that can be built, the person who let's go the partiality gets better results typically because the person who--
Brett: If there is space for the long-term partiality in a relationship?
Joe: That's part of it. Part of it is that, if you're trying to convince somebody of something they can feel it, based on their mirror neurons and it's like being attacked on a cell level, so their brain turns off curiosity. They stop wanting to learn. We have all sorts of evidence that people when they're in fear or feeling attacked, they don't learn as well, so you can't educate them on your product as easily.
If people see that you really care for them and want them to make a best decision for them and that you're following their wisdom, then eventually, you're going to make a lot more sales than the short term thinking.
There's obviously some sales organization where that doesn't work, because it's like a phone bank, you just call people and so aggression works, because there's some people who will do what you say when you're aggressive with them. That's their personality type.
Brett: In the long term, that might not actually be what's best for your company, because you attract a certain type of customer and then your product gets fit to a certain type of a market, and somebody else could do a better job of serving the customer in a more long-term way, and then wipe you out.
Joe: That's actually happening right now. Of all places there's a company that's doing something like this, in credit, in buying bad debt and there's a company out there I can't remember the name but--
Joe: Say it again.
Joe: Debtly, yes, I guess that's it but basically it's the same thing where most of the debt is like, "I will intimidate you until you pay me," and these guys come in and they're like, "I want to work with you about this." Most people want to also relieve their debt and they get a much better result and it's just a perfect example of how that happens.
If you have a phone bank, it's all a numbers game, make a hundred calls so that you can get three or four to work and then aggression can work, but long term it's a bad business model. Like I said, it lasts, generally, about five years at most.
Also, if you start doing it, if it's a really aggressive culture the team will turn against you because they don't want to feel what you're making them feel. The person who does it often leaves, gets a better job, does something better in their life, becomes happy.
Brett: And the person who does the impartiality?
Joe: Yes, yes, they typically get out of that situation, find something that's actually life-affirming. Some people get off on the power of having that kind of intensity. It makes them feel powerful and they really need to feel that power, because they felt so disempowered in their life. If they start learning their impartiality, they just get out of those circumstances and find real empowerment instead of just the short term power. Occasionally you have a great team that has that kind of intensity and the whole team realizes it, but usually, you need a really great leader to see that.
Brett: How can this go wrong or be taken too far? In what situations, if any, would too little partiality be dangerous or counterproductive? Or if somebody is working on their impartiality in a team like that, is there a way that it could be distorted in a way that's destructive?
Joe: If you deny your wants, yes. If you try to pretend that you don't have wants [laughs] and then, yes, it's not good. So you got to own your wants, you got to own your boundaries and your wants. If you're trying to be so impartial that you don't have any wants and you're above your humanity, you start disassociating all this bliss and that kind of thing, which is true. It is all bliss, but if you're denying that your own wants and your own humanity, it'll sap all the joy out of your life.
That's the one way it can go too far, and it can seem like it goes too far sometimes when you stop being partial and then, the savior or bully, the person playing the different roles around you might say like, "Oh, I don't want this relationship anymore." Oftentimes when people say, "Oh, wow, I'm not going to try to fix my friends or make them happy or try to be valuable to them anymore." Some of those friendships don't last, and some of them get transformed into something far more beautiful.
Brett: Let's get a little bit more into the difference between wants and partiality.
Joe: The main difference is, that wants are owned and partiality is not owned, so to own your wants outright in a conversation is quite vulnerable. It allows you to feel exposed, and you're telling people your actual truth and so there's a vulnerability to it. Being partial, you can hide all that stuff on some degree and not take a look at it, and so it becomes implied and I think that's the main difference between the wants and the partiality.
The other thing is, that when you own your want completely, that ownership can actually make the want less intense and allow you to see what the world is like, especially if you add to an apology with it, which is like, "Oh, I want for you to be different than you are and I apologize for that.” It can really relieve you from that pole of trying to make them different and it puts you in yourself. It makes you feel empowered, because you realize that you want them to be different so that you can feel safe or that you can feel loved or whatever that is, whereas partiality is all under the covers. That´s the main thing between the two.
The other thing is that the wants, because they're owned outright and you can see them, it becomes really apparent how your wants, their wants can work together, and you can find something that works best for everybody. The partiality is often not owned, so it can't really be seen as the thing that it might become, which is something that can actually work for everybody.
For instance, if I'm partial that you have a breakthrough while we're having a conversation, that's really all about me. It's under the covers. It's not the thing that's best for everybody. If I see you as knowing, whether you want a breakthrough or not, it's a far more beneficial thing for everybody.
Brett: To summarize all of what we've been talking about for us to practice the impartiality in our view conversations, what are some bullet points, some do's and don'ts?
Joe: Yes. As far as partiality, it's easier to define them as don'ts. It'd be, don't try to fix people. Don't try to get them to a conclusion. Don't try to be valuable, or have them see you as valuable. Don't want them to be different. Don't try to get them to be different. Don't look to convince. Don't try to lead them to a solution. Don't want them to see things your way. Those are the big ones.
Brett: What is an example of a time that you really felt yourself wanting to be partial or being partial, work your way through it, noted it, recognized it, and ended up showing up with impartiality in a way you hadn't before, and what was the result?
Joe: Yes, it was pretty early in my relationship with my wife. I think it was in year four or five. She had invited me to come and do something with her that was really important to her. I had not seen how important it was to her, also didn't want to go, and she came back, and she was pissed.
I remember she was all dressed up for it, so she was incredibly beautiful at that moment and pissed. She was yelling, and we used to yell a lot at each other back in those days. She was just yelling, and I really wanted her to not punish me. I really wanted her to see me for the loving person that I was. I really, really wanted her to know that I loved her.
I really, really wanted her to stop being angry, which was typical in those fights, and there's something just clicked to me, and I was just like, "It's okay for her to be just the way she is." She just got angry and let it out. It lasted maybe like three or four minutes, and then she got angry at me for not reacting, that lasted for like a minute. It kind of wore off with her. She needed some alone time.
It wasn't like this quick fix or anything like that, but for me, it was like freedom. It was like, "Oh, oh, oh, oh, I don't have to be-- I don't have to curb myself. I can be me here. I can be me in the face of this. I can love her, and it was love." It was like, "I can love her just as she is no matter what's happening." The freedom in that was outstanding. It was such a peaceful place to be in.
Brett: That's a beautiful story. Thank you for it, and thank you for another great episode.
Joe: Yes, a total pleasure. Thanks for making the time.
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Mikey Siegel, http://www.cohack.org/