Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author of books on mental strength. Her TEDx talk, The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong, is one of the most viewed talks of all time.
She’s been dubbed the “self-help guru of the moment,” by The Guardian and Forbes refers to her as a “thought leadership star.” Her advice has been featured by numerous media outlets including Time, Fast Company, Success, Business Insider, Oprah.com, Fox News, CNN, CNBC, and Today. She also appears in a Red Bull TV show called Visions of Greatness.
She lectures across the globe to provide trainings, workshops, and keynote speeches that teach people how to build their mental muscle.
Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind with Stefan Aarnio. This is the show where we interview people who’ve achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors, anyone who’s achieved mastery and examined what it took to get there.
Stefan Aarnio: Today on the show, we have Amy Morin. She is a well-known international bestselling author. She’s a speaker, she’s a psychotherapist, and we can’t say “psychotherapist” without “psycho the rapist,” as it’s spelled, like a crazy clown.
Stefan Aarnio: Thank you so much for being on the show, Amy. I really appreciate having you. Respect the Grind. How are you doing today?
Amy Morin: I’m well. Thanks for having me.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. Today, for the people, we have some people on video, we have some people on audio. Now, you’re hailing from a boat today. Tell the people a little bit you’re in a boat. You are down in Florida. How did you get started in what you’re doing?
Amy Morin: I was living in Maine a few years ago, and it’s cold, and my husband and I both work from home now, and we thought, “What are we doing in Maine where it’s cold?” so we said, “Let’s move to a boat to the Florida Keys.”
Amy Morin: I was working as a therapist, and that meant, of course, I had to go to a day job every day and work by a regular schedule, but I wrote an article called 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. It went viral and, after 50 million people read it, a literary agent called and said, “You should write a book,” and it changed the course of my career, allowed me to become an author and a speaker and allowed me to work from anywhere I want, including a boat in the Florida Keys.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Okay. This is like a Cinderella story almost. Obviously, you’ve got the goods. Do you ever listen to Jordan Peterson? You probably do.
Amy Morin: Yes. Yep.
Stefan Aarnio: Jordan Peterson, it’s interesting, like he’s such a huge deal. He’s got a huge book right now, 12 Rules for Life, and I think it’s interesting because he’s huge, but he’s got the good.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, you seem like that, too. You seem like you hit it. You got the goods. Tell me and the people at home, Amy, what was in this article that was so hot that everybody, 50 million people, had to peek at it and read it? Tell me about it.
Amy Morin: I’ve written articles for a while, but a lot of … Most of the articles I wrote were very sterile based on research about mental health, that kind of thing. This one was the first one that I wrote from the heart. I was at one of the lowest points in my personal life. I lost my mother, lost my father and my father-in-law. I lost my mother.
Amy Morin: I lost my husband, and then my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I found myself in a dark place, but as a therapist, I knew that it only takes one or two bad habits in life to keep you stuck and hold you back, and so I wrote a letter to myself about what mentally strong people don’t do, and it was supposed to be a reminder for me about the bad habits that I needed to avoid if I wanted to be as strong as I could be.
Amy Morin: Then when I published it online, it was pretty much a listicle of what to avoid, nobody knew the context of why I wrote it, but it included a lot of things about “don’t feel sorry for yourself,” “don’t give up after your first failure.” I think it was a lot of common-sense advice, but it was given in a different way. There are so many articles out there about what to do and not a lot about what not to do.
Amy Morin: As a therapist, my interest in mental strength initially was about, “Okay, I’m going to teach people how to be mentally strong based on what I learned in college,” but, after a while, my interest in mental strength became personal, and I thought, “I really want to study the people that come in to my office. I want to know what makes some people get better faster. Why do some people go through all of these tragedies and they’re still hopeful and optimistic?”
Amy Morin: I realized that it wasn’t always about what people did. Sometimes, it was about what they didn’t do. You’re only as good as your worst habit. If you get rid of your one or two worst habits, all of your good habits become much more effective, and so I think this article was one of the first ones out there that really focused on what not to do and how do you avoid certain bad habits in life.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. There’s so many things going on under the hood in that story. One of the things that’s really common on this show, Respect the Grind, we have super successful people like yourself, and I always ask them where they started, where their story is, and it’s usually at the darkest point of their life where there’s some major hardship, major things happening like your situation you mentioned where it seems that people … I have a book coach, and she tells me, “On your next book Stef,” I’ve written five books now, she says, “Don’t research a bunch of crap.” She says, “Listen. Listen to the universe. Listen to God. Listen.”
Stefan Aarnio: What happens is when things get really bad, you almost … Do you feel like that article downloaded from a divine source and you just had extreme clarity in that moment? Is that how it was?
Amy Morin: Yeah, I think so. I think, if I would have sat down and tried to write the article on purpose, tried to create something that I thought would go viral, if I would have been really super intentional about writing something that I thought would be able to be turned into a book, it would have been completely different. This is the first one that was … an article I’d written that wasn’t about getting paid views. It wasn’t about what other people were going to think. It was just about what I wanted to see on this piece of paper, on my laptop.
Amy Morin: People will say, “How long did it take you to write it?” Not very long. It was probably less than 30 minutes, but it was just something that I think I had learned over all the year that I’ve been working as a therapist. I’d just never seen it all in one place before.
Stefan Aarnio: I’m a writer myself, and I really appreciate the story and I appreciate how you just let it flow. I think that’s the best writing. It’s the best article. A story that comes to mind is … Do you know the band No Doubt …
Amy Morin: Yes.
Stefan Aarnio: … the one with Gwen Stefani? I heard the story of No Doubt, and I guess they had a band and they were doing some ska music, and it was crappy music, if you heard their early stuff, and then she broke up with her boyfriend, the bass player, and then she wrote … I think it was Don’t Speak, or one of the biggest songs, and in that moment of absolute hardship, it just flowed, and a whole bunch of hits happened from that absolute breakup.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, you’re a psychotherapist. Can you psychoanalyze what’s going on when that happens?
Amy Morin: I think when you stop overthinking, when you stop worrying about how you’re going to be perceived and it just becomes more about what’s going on with you and you just become honest, and it’s raw and it’s really about the struggle that you’re experiencing, not the sugarcoated version that you think the world wants to see, I think that’s when a writing becomes honest, and other people notice that. You can tell when something is written and it’s heartfelt as opposed to the polished version that we might think other people want to read or that will impress someone.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, I’m going on a big writing terror right now, and there’s a famous saying. It’s facts tell, stories sell. Why are stories so powerful?
Amy Morin: It’s what we remember. When you think about a book that you read, there may have been a million studies and facts and exercises, things to do, but, I guarantee, it will be those emotional stories that really drew you in, that you’ll remember.
Amy Morin: When you look back on your takeaways from, if you were watching somebody give a motivational talk, often, it’s the stories that will resonate, and you’ll remember them just because it stirs up emotion. We could see ourselves in the stories. We can relate to them. We could think about how our own lives have been similar or what paths we took that were different from somebody else or what would I do if I was in that situation.
Amy Morin: When we think about things like that versus a statistic of, “72% of people say you should never sleep with a pet in your bed,” you don’t necessarily remember it, but when somebody gives you a story of how they did something different, you just think, “Wow, that makes sense,” and it’s more likely to resonate with you.
Stefan Aarnio: When someone is like, “Yeah, I had my German Shepherd in the bed and he peed and pooed all over the bed, and then I went to work and I didn’t make it,” and now it’s a huge story, Amy, let me ask you this. I’m really glad we connected today because I feel like you’re in the right place at the right time for this conversation. Stories are something that’s so powerful.
Stefan Aarnio: I went to an event on the weekend, and they were talking about how everybody’s a liar. They opened the seminar and said, “Everybody, you’re a fucking liar.” That was the opening line of the event, so, imagine, this was 1200 men in an event, men only. Women weren’t allowed. It was a men’s event. They dressed the men in all black, and the first line of the event was, “You’re a fucking liar,” and everybody was like, “Oh, my God.” They had a German Shepherd and a Navy SEAL barking at you. They had some Navy SEAL torture tactics going on at this thing, and the opening like was, “You’re a fucking liar, and what are your lies?”
Stefan Aarnio: What I took from that was we all tell ourselves stories, “My mommy touched me. My daddy beat me,” and whatever the story is, you’ve invented that story, and that story leads to a belief system, and then the belief system goes and clashes up against other people’s belief systems like religions. A religion is a collection of stories that forms a belief system. What do you think about my statement, that our belief systems are a collection of stories?
Amy Morin: Oh, I think, absolutely, and I think a lot of those beliefs that we hold as adults you can trace back to childhood. Your teacher made a off-the-cuff comment to you, your parents told you something, and it taught you about money. Or your teacher said, “Gosh, you’re not very good at math,” and you hold that to be true as an adult. Or even sometimes the labels that are supposed to be positive, maybe your parents said, ‘You’re so athletic,” so then, growing up, you thought, “I’m not supposed to be smart. I’m supposed to be an athlete,” so I think we hold on to all of these things that can be traced back to just a little something that happened to us, something somebody said to us, and it creates this core belief in us, and then, as adults, we’re stuck to figure out was this true, was it not true.
Amy Morin: It takes a lot of effort to change those core beliefs, but if you’re not careful, those beliefs can limit your life.
Stefan Aarnio: We’re getting deep. We’re going to get deep here. Now, I had a trainer once. I remember I was 21 years old. I’m 32 now, so it was several years ago when I was starting out on this personal development journey. His name is Steven Chandler, and he was a psych-ops warfare officer from the military back in the day and then he was also a sales trainer and a coach, and what he said was, “Words last longer than drugs.”
Stefan Aarnio: It’s like what you said there, what your mommy said to you, your teacher or … My mom said to me when I was younger, “Oh, you’re skinny. You can eat anything you want,” so, of course, I go through my life. I’m eating anything I want. Next thing you know I got unhealthy organs because you can’t eat anything you want. That’s a lie.
Stefan Aarnio: Now, the stories we tell ourselves, Amy, do they … Is it the lies in the story that hold us back?
Amy Morin: Yeah, I think it’s the lies. I think it’s the expectation. For instance, I was a shy kid. I had somebody say to me once, “You’re painfully shy, and you’re probably always going to be that way.”
Amy Morin: Now, I have to reconcile that with I stand on a stage in front of 10,000 people and give a talk, and so, in my brain though, I still go back to, “You’re the shy the kid who doesn’t like to speak in front of people,” and so I have to figure out what’s the truth? Where is the truth in this? If I held on to that belief for 35 years, then who am I? Am I actually the person that that person said I was, and did I grow into that mold, and how did I break free from it? I think all of us have those sorts of things that we held to be true as a kid. Sometimes, it’s a lie. Sometimes, it’s somebody else’s expectation. Maybe it was true, too. I mean, I was a shy kid. That was a fact, but I also grew up living into that label of being a painfully shy person.
Amy Morin: It doesn’t you can’t break free. It doesn’t mean you can’t do something different.
Stefan Aarnio: The statement, “Change your story, change your life,” how does a person, if they say you’re a shy kid … Like I got stories when I was younger, “Oh, you’re tall,” or they put me in the gifted class. They said, “Oh, you’re gifted. You’re gifted.” I remember one year I wasn’t in the gifted class, so the story was you’re gifted, you’re gifted, you’re gifted, then, one year, I wasn’t, and that was a bit of a story clash, right? Two stories are clashing upon each other.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s funny, I’ve taken IQ tests, too. I had one IQ test say 144. I had another one say a 100, so, on one IQ test, I’m a genius up there with some of the smartest people. The other one, I am dead set average. The stories clash. How can someone change the story and change their belief system? What are some ways that people can deconstruct that, because I think that we always hit our limiting beliefs, like whatever those are?
Stefan Aarnio: I’m a coach. I think you’re a coach, too. How do we deconstruct those stories? How do we change the story, change our vibrations if someone goes into a different reality?
Amy Morin: First, I just have to point out your story as a kid is the complete opposite of what mine was. You were told you were skinny, you can eat anything you want. As a kid, I was told I’m big boned and I’m always going to be big, and then, when it came to gifted and talented, in my 7th grade, I was nominated by one teacher for gifted and talented, and my science teacher wrote on a piece of paper, because all the teachers had to agree that you were gifted and talented to be put in the program, and my science teacher wrote, “Zero gifts. No talent.”
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, damn.
Amy Morin: I was so-
Stefan Aarnio: Did you frame that? You got that framed in your house or what?
Amy Morin: I have. I still have the piece of paper at home. I do.
Stefan Aarnio: You should frame it.
Amy Morin: I think … No-
Stefan Aarnio: That’d be a great social media post. It’d be like a relic from … It’s like from St. Amy, the relic.
Amy Morin: It’s funny. I saw him last year. I saw my … the teacher that said that. I went to a wedding, and he happened to be at the wedding, and so I had that moment of, “Do I say anything to him?” I went up to him, and he still remembered me. We had this conversation, and I said, “Hey, can I take a selfie with you?” and he said, “Oh, absolutely,” so I took a picture with him, and then one of my other relatives saw me take his picture and says, “Oh, who is that? One of your favorite teachers?” and I said, “No.” I told her the story, and she said, “Well, did you tell him you are now a bestselling author?” and I, “No. It wasn’t even worth it because I don’t care what he thinks of me anymore,” but I was glad that we had the picture because because I think it does make for an interesting story because that is something I grew up thinking, “I have zero gifts and no talent.”
Stefan Aarnio: That’s-
Amy Morin: Anyway.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s such a [inaudible 00:14:36] story. You’ve got to make that a marketing campaign. That should be a marketing campaign if you take that picture and you put your book and you say, “My teacher told me I would never amount to anything. Now, I’m a bestselling author. Find out why.” That’s your ad. That’s a sick ad.
Amy Morin: It could be a good one. Thank you.
Stefan Aarnio: Yes.
Amy Morin: Back to your question though about how do you get out of these beliefs. I think one way is to just behave like the person you want to become. It sounds simple, but it’s true. Sometimes, we wait. We think you have to wait until you feel differently, you have to think differently, the other people have to see you differently, but, no, sometimes you just change your behavior first, and the feeling and the thoughts come later.
Amy Morin: If you say, “I want to be an outgoing, friendly person,” behave like that, or if you say, “I want to be a successful person,” study what successful people do and then do those things, and then you, too, can become successful.
Amy Morin: My therapy office is always flooded with people who would say, “I don’t feel confident, and I need help feeling confident.” How do you build confidence? By going out and learning new things, by doing stuff and, when you go out there and do stuff, you see that you’re more capable than you give yourself credit for, and the confidence comes naturally after that.
Stefan Aarnio: You’ve got so much. You’re dropping down so many diamonds for the kids at home, Amy. These kids just better take the diamonds, put them in their buckets and run because it’s absolutely money what you’re saying.
Amy Morin: I haven’t gotten any gongs yet.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, damn, we’ve got to give her a gong. You know what, I just got hypnotized by you. I’m sorry. We got to give her a gong. I got hypnotized by the story. I wasn’t even like thinking about it. You know what, let’s give her a couple of gongs there. Yeah.
Amy Morin: Excellent.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah. You know what? That’s the power of the story. You just had me hypnotized and I just forgot about what we were here to do. Yeah, we got to give her the gong. Of course, that means you said some great stuff.
Stefan Aarnio: I took some notes here, and there’s some tremendous things you’re saying. I just wrote a book. I’ve written five books, Amy. I just wrote a new book. Now, I mostly write about real estate and business, and that’s been my thing. I wrote this book. I wrote a book we were talking about in the preview. Now, you got a book about strong mentality. That’s your book, and I just came out with the book Hard Times Create Strong Men.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s interesting there’s a real theme of strength right now. People need strength. We’ve got such a weak society all of a sudden, weak people and weak minds and cry spaces and snowflakes and safe spaces and things, but I … That’s a bit out of my element. Then I wrote another book. It’s not out yet. It’s called Letters to a Scorpion.
Stefan Aarnio: I chased around this girl for three years and was dating her for three years, and she had a boyfriend the whole time, and I found out three years later, so I wrote a letter to her, a letter to her boyfriend, a letter to … I wrote all these letters. I just wrote letters and wrote letters.
Stefan Aarnio: I was so sad for a time, and then I wrote the letters. I wrote a series of them, and I put some on my blog, and people were like, “Hey, Stef, you’re really fucked up. Please take those down,” and my mom was like, “Hey, you need therapy. Stop this,” so I was, “Okay.” I took all the blogs down because it was too vulnerable. It was too raw. It was too fucked up for people, so I took it down.
Stefan Aarnio: Then I had a hard time getting over her. She was haunting me because I really, really loved this girl, so six months went by, and this Letters to a Scorpion just sat on my hard drive and then finally, one night, I was like, “Fuck her. I’m done with her. I’m going to write her letters till she dies,” and I wrote letters and letters and letters and letters, and she started to mutate. She started out as, “Oh, baby, I miss you. You were so sweet to me,” and, “We were in love,” and then it turns into, later, “You’re pretty much a prostitute,” at the end and, “You’re a scorpion. You deserve to drown in the river like the scorpion you are.”
Stefan Aarnio: It’s an interesting piece. It’s like your book. It’s divinely downloaded from that moment of pain, and it’s so clear, and one thing I noticed was the story was static. The facts were static. She had a boyfriend. I was her other boyfriend. We were sharing the same girl for a while, and neither of us knew about it. The story is static, but the story changed on the page. Every letter, it mutates. It mutates and it mutates and it mutates, and it starts out as, “Baby, I miss you,” and it ends up with, “Good riddance. Thank you for the experience. Bye bye.”
Stefan Aarnio: What is going on between point A and point B in those letters, and is that something that people normally do, or is this something that people are stuck and don’t do?
Amy Morin: I think it’s a wonderful skill when we can do that, and not that we need to rewrite our history, but I think, on one hand, to figure out, when you go through a tough circumstance, do you come out on the other side and you’re the victim of something horrible that happened to you, or are you a hero that survived it?
Amy Morin: There’s a story in my book about a kid who was hit by a bus and, for a long time, he was depressed. He saw himself as this kid who got hit by the bus and had all these injuries and now had all these problems, and his parents became fiercely overprotective of him, and part of his therapy was about teaching him, “Well, how did you survive being run over by a bus?” and he came up with a story of how he grabbed on to the bottom of the bus and he swung around he did all this stuff and, in the end, saw himself as, “Gosh, I’m somebody strong enough to survive being hit by a bus,’ rather than, “I’m a victim of this terrible thing that happened to me.”
Amy Morin: I think for a lot of us, if we just flip the switch and look at circumstances from a different angle, we could have the same story, the same set of circumstances, but see it in a slightly different way that helps use see that we’re not always a victim, that bad things don’t always happen, but, instead, we’re survivors. We got through tough stuff and that we can keep going and that we have some skills, some strategies. Maybe we made mistakes, maybe we had problems along the way, but we had some positive aspects, some wonderful characteristics that got us through, and how do you build on those? How do you keep growing and learning from whatever it was that happened?
Stefan Aarnio: Right, so it’s the hero’s journey …
Amy Morin: Yeah. Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: … which is like some basic Joseph Campbell archetypes stuff. Now, let me ask you this. Let me ask you this, Amy. I want to do a book. I got a list of books. My goal is to write 20 books before I do, so I’ve written five, six, seven, whatever it is, and I got one book I want to write. Now, are you ready for the title?
Amy Morin: I don’t know.
Stefan Aarnio: Most people laugh when they hear the title. You might cry. Some people might cry.
Stefan Aarnio: I had a realtor once. I’m a real estate investor, and I had a realtor once, and my realtor was fat. He was pretty fat. There was another realtor who was fatter than him, and so my fat realtor, he said, “Ah, fucking fat Harry. Harry is fucking fat,” and I was like, “Hmm, interesting distinctions. We have one guy who’s fat and he calls the other guy fucking fat,” so I was like, okay, so they’re both fat, but this guy is fucking fat.
Stefan Aarnio: The other day, I was on the plane, coming home from San Diego, and the stewardess said, “Hey, do you want some cookies?” I said, “No, sorry, I’m too fat. I’m too fucking fat for those cookies. I can’t have them,” and I was thinking, “I want to do a book one day called You’re Fucking Fat,” and it’s just going to be straight up a belief clash. Like you think you’re big boned? No. You’re fucking fat, and it’s just a straight up head-on collision of beliefs and collision of stories.
Stefan Aarnio: What do you think that would do to the population or to people when they get an immediate assault on their beliefs?
Amy Morin: I think some people would be inspired by it. I think some people would find it refreshing to say, “Okay, the way that I look at myself or my view of the world isn’t what I thought that it was,” and I think, obviously, no matter what you write, there’ll be a certain population that’s going to be offended or put off by it. I don’t know. I think, right now especially, the kind of in-your-face books are doing quite well.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, they got … what’s the one … It’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and then there’s Unfu*k Yourself.
Amy Morin: Right.
Stefan Aarnio: I should get out there You’re Fucking Fat.
Amy Morin: Right. Get it out there quick while the going is hot.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, don’t steal it from me, okay? Anyways, Amy, tell me about what are the 13 things that strong people do that other people don’t do, because I think this is an important message for society, for people nowadays. I think we lost our strength over the years.
Stefan Aarnio: If you look at World War II, you had 15-year-olds landing on the beaches of Normandy with plastic wrapped over their guns so they could still fire, and they’d get shot down and mowed down by Nazi machine guns and blown up and lit on fire with flamethrowers, and, now, we’ve got 18-year-olds with cry spaces who are like … They need cuddling at university. What’s going on, and why do people need these strong tactics?
Amy Morin: Yes. My book is about what they don’t do, so it’s all about the worst habits that they refuse to engage in, the common habits that most people do, but the mentally strong people don’t do them.
Amy Morin: The first one is that mentally strong people don’t waste feeling sorry for themselves because self-pity only keeps you stuck. It will hold you back. The next one is mentally strong people don’t give away their power. You’re in control of how you think, feel, and behave. Your mother-in-law doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself and your boss doesn’t make you work late. Taking back your power is just about acknowledging that it’s up to you how you live your life.
Amy Morin: Number three is that mentally strong people don’t shy away from change, that your ability to succeed is dependent on your willingness to adapt and get out there and do something different. Number four, mentally strong people don’t worry about things that they can’t control. You can control your effort and your attitude, and sometimes that’s about it. You can’t control other people.
Amy Morin: Number five, they don’t worry about pleasing everyone, people pleasers lose sight of their values, get stuck, have a hard time being successful in life, that they don’t fear taking calculated risks. Usually, we think something must be risky if it feels scary, but your level of fear actually has nothing to do with the actual level of risk, so it’s important to figure out how do you evaluate risk and how do you face fear head on.
Amy Morin: Number seven, they don’t dwell on the past. It can be about forgiving yourself, forgiving somebody that hurt you or just letting go, somehow making peace with whatever has happened to you. Number eight, they don’t make the same mistakes over and over again and, sometimes, over and over and over again.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s an addition. Let’s freeze on that one for a sec. I want to freeze on that. Why do people get stuck in those loops?
Amy Morin: Sometimes because we don’t take the time to figure out why we messed up. We don’t take any time to learn from our mistakes. We live in a culture where there’s so much emphasis on, if you mess up, just keep going or get right back on the horse and try again, but you need to pause for a minute and at least figure out what went wrong or how do you become better.
Amy Morin: The temptation can also be to blame other people. “Well, it wasn’t my fault. The test … The teacher gave a hard test. It’s not my fault that I got the answers wrong,” so, sometimes, it’s about taking personal responsibility, too.
Stefan Aarnio: I got a question that’s bubbling into my mind from listening to you there, Amy. Is it when you’re utterly destroyed, in that moment of utter destruction, where you break your habits and you’re forced to think, and maybe is that where you download that divine wisdom in that moment of utter destruction where you have to stop all your patterns because you have been absolutely wrecked and your belief systems have crashed? Is that what it is?
Amy Morin: Sometimes, I think it is. Sometimes, I think people get to that point and figure out, “Okay, what I’m doing isn’t working. I have to do something different because I can’t go on like this,” but other people I think figure it out. They’re quicker learners than others and they figure out from one or two mistakes, “Okay, this isn’t … I’m not … I’m headed down the wrong path. I don’t have to hit rock bottom before I make a change.”
Stefan Aarnio: Okay, sorry, continue on the list. I’m loving it. Make love and-
Amy Morin: That they don’t resent other people’s success. Of course, in the age of social media, that one can be especially hard to do. Everybody looks like they’re happier, wealthier and doing better than we are. That they don’t give up after the first failure, that failure is embarrassing, it’s hard to tolerate, it’s disappointing, and sometimes we don’t even want to do things where we think we might fail, but failure is often a part of the path to success. That they don’t fear alone time, which is really about being alone with your thoughts, not just about being alone in a room, but sometimes it’s unplugging your digital devices and just allowing yourself to sit and think even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. People are really terrified of being alone with their thoughts today.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s because they don’t like themselves though. That’s-
Amy Morin: A lot of times, yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, I go fasting in the jungle, so I went for 30 days water fast in the jungle, and there’s a whole bunch of people there, and so many people can’t just listen to their own thoughts. They start blabbering, blah, blah, blah, blah, and they start watching cooking shows and they start doing everything but listen to themselves because they don’t like themselves.
Amy Morin: Yep. Yep. I think that’s true.
Stefan Aarnio: A person that’s there, they’re like, “Fuck me. I don’t want to listen to something,” and they just yakking. I find a lot of extroverts are like that. Extroverts, a lot of them have trouble looking inwards because they’re just … all go to other people and then they don’t have any content on their own homepage.
Amy Morin: Yep, I think that can be definitely part of it. Number 12, that they don’t feel the world owes them anything. We live in a world where sometimes they think, “If I put in this much hard work, then I deserve to be successful,” or, “If I’m a really nice person, I deserve to have people be nice to me back,” and you start to keep score. It’s a slippery slope.
Stefan Aarnio: Entitlement. Entitlement.
Amy Morin: Yes, and the last one is to not expect immediate results, because we live in this world where everything happens so fast. You order something online, and two clicks of a button, it’s on your doorstep, that people expect change to happen that fast, or they’re trying to lose weight or they want to go to therapy and feel better, if it doesn’t happen in a week or two, then we’re much more likely to throw in the towel and think, “I shouldn’t even bother to try.”
Stefan Aarnio: You know what, that is a brilliant little list. I mean, that thing needs to be taped up on the wall somewhere in my office I think. Bravo to you.
Stefan Aarnio: Let me ask you …
Amy Morin: Thank you.
Stefan Aarnio: … this, Amy. I want to talk to you for like two hours, by the way. I know we’ve got to wrap up soon, but I think you and I could have a real fun time speaking. I want you back on the show. I think this is an interesting and a timely talk. I got a question I’m going to ask you here.
Stefan Aarnio: There’s always in society, or civilization, there’s always a debate between religion versus logic, like science versus religion, and the Greeks had it. They had a time where the Greek scientists took over the religion and the religion took over the sciences, and it’s a battle back and forth.
Stefan Aarnio: How does faith and religion play into people handling really, really hard, crazy things that they can’t logically put together? How does that play into all this because, often, things happen to us that we just simply can’t explain? I got struck by lightning. You can’t explain that. There’s no amount of logic you can put together in your brain to make that happen.
Amy Morin: I think faith and spirituality can be a huge part of strength, about becoming stronger. Sometimes people will say, “Well, you know, I just … I trust God, and that’s where all my strength comes from,” and I think that that is incredibly powerful, but I also think that you have the power to do exercises to make yourself become stronger.
Amy Morin: If we were to talk about physical strength in terms of mental strength, you probably wouldn’t just sit in a chair all day and say, “Well, God will make me physically strong.” No, you’d still go to the gym, and I think mental strength is the same, that you can definitely believe in a higher power, but at the same time take … be proactive about building your mental muscles, too.
Amy Morin: I come from a long line of spiritual people. My mother was a Sunday school teachers, and I grew up going to church and believing, and that was definitely something that helped me get through the toughest parts of my life was my faith, and so I think it can be a huge part of it, and I also think it’s important to take personal responsibility for saying, “What am I going to do? How am I going to spend my hours? How do I spend my time? What steps am I going to take to help myself as well?”
Stefan Aarnio: One thing I’ve been asking a lot is what does this mean? What’s the meaning of this, like the … man’s search for meaning? The people who survived the Nazi death camps weren’t the optimists. They were lying to themselves, “We’ll be out by Christmas. We’ll be out by Christmas.” Christmas comes. They’re still there. They’re dead. The optimists die. The people who lived had meaning. “I have to see my baby. I have to see my wife. I have to publish my book that the Nazis burned and took away from me,” and that meaning that they gave it made them live. I guess part of it is being, who are you, being, and the other part is what are you doing? It’s being and doing together. Would you agree?
Amy Morin: Absolutely, and I think we all need to know, okay, what’s my purpose for getting out of bed in the morning and, as you say about meaning. If you got to work to earn money, why? What’s the money for or what is your purpose in life? When I work with people who are struggling with depression or anxiety, a lot of times, they’ve lost that, and they feel like there’s no … They have now no reason to get out of bed.
Amy Morin: Your purpose doesn’t have to be about changing the world or you’re going to make the planet a better place. It can be something small. We know that people live longer in nursing homes when they have a plant to water, even if they only water the plant once a week. We need something to do and to feel like we’re somehow giving back to the world.
Stefan Aarnio: I’m giving a gong for the plants. Yeah, I want you to just say that again for the people at home because I don’t know if they caught how hot that one thing is. Tell us again.
Amy Morin: People in nursing homes live longer when they have a plant to take care of because they need a purpose. They need to feel like they’re somehow doing something, that they’re giving back, they’re producing something, so, even if they only water their plant once a week, they know that they’re somehow contributing to the world.
Amy Morin: I think even if we have small reasons that we get out of bed every day, some sort of contribution that we’re making, whether it’s that you’re going to be a great parent to your kids or you’re going to get out there and smile and make somebody’s day a little bit brighter, whatever it is, that we all need to feel like we’re somehow contributing to the world.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s incredible. That’s like the climax. I love this. Amy, we got to wrap it up. I’m very sad actually that I have to wrap this up because I, like I said, I wish we were doing a two-hour show. Maybe we got to make this a bit longer. Some questions I ask every single person on the show, if you can go back to the beginning, give yourself a piece of advice, 18-year-old Amy, what would you say?
Amy Morin: I would say take more risks and face your fears head on.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay. I love that. Fears are often where you need to go. Another one that I love to ask everybody, top three books that changed your life?
Amy Morin: Let’s see, I like Choose Yourself by James Altucher, Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke, boy, a third one, maybe Mindset by Carol Dweck.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. You know what, this is how I know Amy has the goods, because you just said three books I’ve never heard of that are probably all incredibly good. We have some people, like we have a lot of business, they always say Think and Grow Rich or they say Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s like the same three books. Win Friends and Influence People, you’ve probably heard that, How to Win Friends.
Stefan Aarnio: I love it. Amy’s got the goods. A third question, Amy, how many books do you think you read a year?
Amy Morin: If we count how many I listen to as well, because I listen to a lot when I’m on a plane …
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, those count. Those count for sure.
Amy Morin: … I would say at least one a week.
Stefan Aarnio: Damn, girl. See, she’s the goods. She’s the real deal. That’s like CEO level. The average CEO I heard read 60 books a year.
Amy Morin: Wow. Yeah.
Stefan Aarnio: It’s funny that the people at the bottom who make 30 grand complain the people at the top are making too much money, but the CEO reads 60 books. The average person reads zero. Zero versus 60, that’s like infinity, man.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay, that’s fantastic, and one final question, Amy. I ask this to every single person on the show. I think it’s one of the biggest, most important questions for the world right now. What do young people need to succeed these day, the 18-year-olds out there? What’s the advice that Amy is going to give them, someone who’s been there, done that?
Amy Morin: I would say the best advice I would have would be to know that you’re stronger than you think and that your self-doubt could hold you back, that you don’t have to let it, and don’t believe everything that you think. Your brain will lie to you sometimes.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Amy, thank you so much for being on the show. How can people get in touch with you if they want to know more, if they want the books, if they need some psychotherapy, if they want to meet “psycho the rapist,” the clown? If they want that, how can they get in touch with you?
Amy Morin: My website, which is amymorin.lcsw, as in licensed clinical social worker, .com, and my website has information about my books and my resources and TED Talk and all that sort of stuff on it.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. Amy, Respect the Grind, thanks so much for being on the show.
Amy Morin: Thanks for having me.
Stefan Aarnio: Hey. It’s Stefan Aarnio here. Thank you for listening to this episode of my podcast, Respect the Grind. Now, if you love this episode, I want you to check out my book, The 10 Commandments of Negotiation. Negotiation is one of the things that most entrepreneurs struggle with. In fact, many of them fail at it. My book, The 10 Commandments of Negotiation, is going to show you the exact method, the exact steps that people use all over the world for creating massive wealth in real estate or in any other business.
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