422 | A Disciplined Inner Dialogue

Have you ever noticed yourself getting stuck in some kind of a mental rut? Today we’ll take a look at how having a disciplined inner dialogue is a game changer.

Everyone has to deal with old negative loop tracks that are set on repeat, and we’ve talked about that plenty of times before. But what about the random self-talk that leads us nowhere, and maybe just leaves us feeling angry or frustrated? 

What about the fictional dialogues that we create in our minds? It reminds me of Don Quixote tilting at windmills. Here’s a poignant line from that 400 year old novel:

In this episode, we discuss the idea of self-sabotage, how we can trip ourselves up, and how we can be our own worst enemies. We can get so caught up in “nonexistent” mental fiction that we end up losing time, energy and resources meant for the actual life that we’re living.

It’s easy to get so far down the wrong path that finding our way back takes someone to guide us. Dante’s first lines from The Inferno are a unique glimpse into the human condition:

Midway upon the journey of our life

I found myself within a forest dark,

For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Maybe that’s you today, lost in the dark forest of your mind. I mean, if you’re lost in a real forest, then I don’t know that this episode will help you much! But seriously, if that’s you today, I think you’ll discover how a disciplined inner dialogue can get you back on the right track.


people, conversation, discipline, spend, argument, waste, battle, win, control, process, thinking, brain, daydreaming, episode, feel, life, internal dialogue, quote, desire, head


Chris LoCurto, Brian  Alex


Chris LoCurto  00:10

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. You're welcome to the show, folks. We hope you're having a fabulous day wherever you are. We got kind of a dreary, rainy, overcast. Well, it's actually not raining anymore. But it's still a great day. And it is a great day because joining me in the studio is Brian Alex. So today we're doing something a little bit different. This is 1,000%, unscripted, unprepared as I smack my mic. Look at that. Even that's unprepared. Brian has a question. And so today's episode-


Brian  Alex  00:57

Chris, I've got lots of questions.


Chris LoCurto  00:59

That's true. Today's episode is, conversations with Brian Alex.


Brian  Alex  01:05

I think our ratings just plummeted. Right there, boom.


Chris LoCurto  01:09

Whoops. Oh, well, yeah. So here's what we're gonna do. We actually sat down to cut another episode. And you asked a question. And I'm like, you know what, let's just turn on the mics and have this conversation. Because I think it's a great question that a lot of people need to hear. And it's a different angle from a lot of the stuff that we've talked about. So let me turn it over to you.


Brian  Alex  01:32

Yeah. So, you know, going back through some of the podcasts that we've done over the years, and things that we talk about here in the office all the time, and in Next Level Life especially, is the idea of self-sabotage, and how we trip ourselves up, we're our own worst enemies. And I was thinking about this week, I read a quote, I'll say the quote, and and then we'll get into a little bit of, how does this actually function in everyday life? But for the for the context, here's the quote, it's actually from Enneagram, which is another take on personality styles. And it's targeted, you know, to certain aspects or certain angles on that. But I think it's pretty universal. And maybe you'll connect with what I'm saying here. Here's the quote, "We're given more than enough energy to transform ourselves every day." Okay, but what happens? But we waste 99% of it on tensions on emotional reactions that are unrelated to what's actually occurring, and on daydreaming and mental chatter. And I have to tell you, I was just pierced right to the heart, because I thought, "Man, that is me in so many ways."


Chris LoCurto  02:55

Yeah, absolutely.


Brian  Alex  02:56

So I'm looking at that and going. Okay. I know, we've dealt with self-sabotage. And, you know, we've we've got several episodes, great episodes, in 2020 alone on negative self-talk, and how to get out of those patterns. But the kinds of things that hit me was the emotional reactions unrelated to what's actually occurring. And so where my mind went was, I take a walk every day I try get outside in nature and you know, just let my brain unravel a bit despool, you know, I'm a tightly wound D, C. And so I got to have this, you know, a little downtime, and I notice that my mind will start concocting imaginary conversations, imaginary arguments, and I'm wasting a lot of emotional energy and I'll come back from a walk sometimes, I'm actually more wound up then I started out and  I'll catch myself on a good day and I'll you know, go right to my thinking and go, "Okay, this is completely non-factual. None of this has happened. You're just spooling yourself up in your mind. Just stop, just cut it out. Stop." And I kind of catch myself, right? But how many times a day do we do this kind of thing? I mean it's a striking comment; 99% of our energy to change to transform to grow, gets wasted on these tensions and emotional reaction. So let's unpack that a little bit. First of all, I want to hear, "I'm not crazy."


Chris LoCurto  04:38

Well, you're not going to get that on this show, Brian. Boy did you come to the wrong studio. You're not crazy. I'm going to push back on one thing, and I'm sure the number 99 and is used for effect purposes. So do I believe we waste 99% of our energy? Not everybody. Do I believe a large part of our population wastes 99% of their energy? Yes, I actually do. I believe there is a lot of people out there that would rather live their life not bettering themselves. But instead spending time with you know, and we'll go through each one of these, you probably have to have you remind me of which pieces, but like just taking the the concept of the the negative self-talk the preparing yourself for arguments or battles and things inside of your head. We talk about that a lot here, we talk about what fear actually is, you know, we've had a lot of episodes on fear, where we've talked about what is fear, fear is assuming or presuming or projecting something that's going to happen, that's not happened yet. It's focusing on something as if it is going to happen, or could happen or might happen instead of the fact hasn't even happened. Now, if you think about it, like you said, tightly wound D, C personality, I love that comment because there's a part of you, you can go from processing incredibly fast to processing incredibly slow, right?


Brian  Alex  06:23

I like to say that the gears move slowly, but they grind finaly.


Chris LoCurto  06:28

Yes, yes, it is a fine grain. So the concept, or actually, what I'm saying to that is that you have the ability to think fast. But when you're stuck in that slow processing mode, what happens is, is you can get behind like, so if you're assuming an argument, while in arguments with another person, which means that in that walking time, you're coming up with this thought process of, "Well, when I faced so-and-so next, here's what could happen." Or, "Here's what they could say." Or, how many times are you now having an argument post a disscussion?


Brian  Alex  07:15

That's the George Costanza syndrome, right? Because he would always come up with the best response-this is Seinfeld for all of you who don't know-but he come up with the best response after after the argument was over, he'd just kick himself.


Chris LoCurto  07:28

Right? As a classic high C and even high S process, right? And why is that the thing? Because the processing is so much slower, that usually your hate, you're trying to handle the situation that's coming at you instead of pausing. Because like if you're dealing with a high D or a high I that's pushing, then you may not know that you have the ability to go, "Stop, slow down. Let me think about that. What is my answer? What should I think?" Right? And so for me, I'm a really high S. And so I have that same processing, I can process really fast because I use the tools that we teach, which changes the way that I think, but I still end up thinking about, "Oh, you know what I could have said? I could have said this." Right? But the key is, that's usually only happening when I'm feeling out of control in a conversation, which if I am not getting my worth from God, and I'm all of a sudden gaining or losing worth by another human being, that's where I'm going to be. Well, that's 100% of the people on the planet. Right? So when you look about at those conversations that you're having, or you're feeling behind the eight ball, then what happens is, is you walk away knowing that you're unsatisfied, that you still feel out of control that you don't feel like you said the best things, that you could have done something differently. And all of a sudden, that tape starts, "You know you didn't do that as good as you could have. You know, that you gave away some ground." You know, and all of this crap and lies start happening, where you know, you're not good enough, because you didn't have a good enough conversation, you didn't win that conversation, you didn't control that conversation, you let go of control, you were frustrated, whatever the the negative, you know, self-talk is. So later on, when it pops up, what we tend to do is walk through, what could I have done? Now that my brains able to process, and I don't have the pressure of the conversation, what could I have done? And we start going through all this junk. I will tell you most of the time, it's a waste of time. Because most of the time, what are you bent on doing? How could I have won. Instead of, so I am just like everybody else, I will have that moment. But instead of focusing on, how could I have won that? Winning is not my focus, what would have been a healthier version of that conversation? What could I have said not said, and I will spend time in prayer. And this doesn't happen a lot. But when it does happen, I will go, "Alright Lord, help me to see what I should have said, helped me to see.." Instead of, oh, here's what I could have done, or, I could have swung this harder I could have said this, whatever. Instead, I'm going to God saying, "Lord, what was the right conversation? If that wasn't 100% right, what am I missing? Teach me, grow me." Because what's the alternative? It's the very thing that you read in that comment, the alternative is to stay wasting my energy on figuring out how I could have won a conversation. It's such a waste of time.


Brian  Alex  10:49

It's exhausting. And it's a spiral. I know, one of our podcast episodes that we had, gosh, this would have been, it's Episode 269, how to break the self-sabotage spiral. It is like that, and it has this centrifugal force that keeps you in this little Eddy just spinning round and round and, and at the end, you're exhausted. So if I'm hearing you correctly, there's some self-awareness that we need to understand, "Okay, what what's happening in my head right now? Why am I feeling this way?" And we judge it with the lies and the truth to understand, okay, is this fact or is this fiction? And if it's fiction, it needs to go. Because we're just creating these episodes in our minds, but then and getting exhausted in the process. But it's not a helpful process. Like we talk a lot about failure and learning from our failure. And we have a process for that. And we walk through that process, not to just beat ourselves up about that we failed. But we comb through those things so that we understand why it happened, how it happened, and how to make sure it doesn't happen again. There's there's some growth and some benefits, some fruit that comes out of that kind of self-awareness. So how do I get there, with getting stuck like this, I need that self-awareness, first of all, and there's this battle of truth and lies fact and fiction. I'm going to get rid of the fiction, I'm going to stick to facts, "Okay, this is what happened or not happened or hadn't happened yet." But from there, I don't want to say 'stuck'. And I'm emotionally charged at this point, because it's just been going through my head, I tell myself to stop. And I like what you said about making sure that we're rooted in our identity. That's, maybe that's a first kind of step of, "Okay, hold on. I'm getting way too emotionally invested here. I'm getting exhausted. Come back to let's call this truth and reality. I'm a child of God, I am loved, I'm accepted, I find my worth in him. And if my worth has been extended out to winning this battle with somebody else, or something else then I'm way out of line, I got to pull myself back into my own boundaries now."


Chris LoCurto  13:10

So a couple of keys to that. One is, you have to recognize the adrenaline response inside of your body. Right? The moment you, that's, that is such a huge red flag, "I'm struggling."


Brian  Alex  13:27

This is this is where you would call it out of control. For us C's that don't like comment, C is for control. That's why I'm always in control. No, but understanding" Okay, that's me feeling out of control." And just recognizing that, that's very helpful that's, self-awareness.


Chris LoCurto  13:44

And it's such a great thing, like you say, to point out for high C's, if you say to a C, "Do you feel out of control?" "No." "What do you feel?" "Frustrated." "Okay, well, why are you frustrated?" "Because these things happen and I can't do anything about it." "So you're out of control?" "No." It's all definition to the person. Right? It's recognizing, "Oh, maybe I do feel out of control." So when you can see the physical response, that's your first biggest red flag. "I'm struggling with adrenaline. I'm struggling emotionally. I'm struggling with wanting to battle." All those pieces. Here's the key the whole point if correct me if I'm wrong on the comment. I don't have it in front of me. But correct me if I'm wrong, the beginning of this as to say instead of spending time bettering ourselves,


Brian  Alex  14:34

Right, yeah, it was, we're given more than enough energy to transform to change to grow ourselves every day.


Chris LoCurto  14:42

And here's what we spend time doing in that scenario. We spend time trying to figure out how to win a battle against another human being.


Brian  Alex  14:51



Chris LoCurto  14:52

So just think about that for a second. Right? What am I doing? I'm now spending time, "How could I have said that better? What could I have done? What words could I be How can I push back? How can I..?" All this stuff-


Brian  Alex  15:03

Because then I'm gonna feel better about myself.


Chris LoCurto  15:05

Totally, "I will feel so much better if I win the battle."


Brian  Alex  15:09

What a lie.


Chris LoCurto  15:10

Oh, it's such a crazy lie. It's such, you know, terrible bs, right? So for example, I was using a vendor. Recently, and I'm not going to give you the name of who it was, but I was trying to get this Wi-Fi hotspot thing to work out. And so I went to this place, and I had a conversation with the store manager. And one of the team members, I started out with one of the team members, and then the store manager jumped into the conversation. And so I'm asking the question, "Will this get a certain level of speed?" I had a one gig hotspot and I'm like, you know, "If I go with you guys, can I get up to the speed?" He's like, "Well, you know, I think ours is really good. You can use our unit, but that one should do really good." I'm like, "Well, what should yours get to?" He goes "Oh like 300 gigs." And I'm like, "Okay, so I should be able to get to something around 300 meg's?" I said, "So I should be able to get to something around there?" He's like, "Yeah, absolutely." So I go, I test it out, not even remotely close. And so I come back to have the conversation. I'm like, at this point, maybe I don't have the right plan. Maybe I had messed something up. So I come in to say, "Hey, you know, I was talking to a week and a half ago, you know, I got this unit here. And I got the card from you guys. And you know, we were talking about speed. This is a one gig hotspot. And we were talking about speeds." He goes, "I didn't tell you to get a gig." I have not even finished what I'm going to say, "I didn't tell you to get a gig." I'm like-


Brian  Alex  16:44

You haven't even started your question yet.


Chris LoCurto  16:45

Yeah, not even started. I'm like, "Well, we actually had a conversation-" "I did not tell you that." And he starts this thing. And I just stand there. And he goes on, just railing about how he did. There's no way he would ever tell me this, this, this, this, he still doesn't even know what I'm going to say. Which the conversation did get to that we should get around 200 to 300 meg's, which that's neither here nor there. My ultimate thing that I was going to say is, "Do I have the wrong plan?" We never get to that. So I'm just standing there in this guy is just going off. Well, here's the deal. What do we do in those situations? We immediately start preparing our battle, right? We immediately start our argument, everything's going on, and this guy's going and going and going, and I'm just standing there. I've already moved past this conversation in my mind. Why? Because I'm not losing worth. I have no plan on battling him. Why? Because I would be wasting my energy and my time, in an argument with somebody who still doesn't even know what the crap I was gonna say. So instead, now I'm just done with your company.  So he's going and going and going and going and going and going, and he stops for a second I look at him, I go, "Are you okay?" He just kind of wasn't expecting that. And he shakes his head, he goes, "I just don't like being accused of saying something." And I still do not jump in and go, "Well, I wasn't going to.." I don't have to be right.


Brian  Alex  18:18

This is what we talk about in Next Level Life, right? About fighting in a wet paper bag. This is what he's doing. And he's just unraveling right there.


Chris LoCurto  18:26

He's unraveling. He's so out of control in this moment. Well, if I emotionally handcuffed myself to this, it's not even an argument because I'm not arguing. I'm not participating in this. But if I emotionally handcuff myself to the situation, I will battle, I will argue, I will come up with something as I will say, "You're not even listening to me, man, you don't even know that.." you know, whatever the thing is, and instead, I'm sitting there going, do I want to waste my time with this? No, I do not. I absolutely don't want to waste my time with this. So instead, I just go, "So can I get a refund?" Do what he's like, just stunded, how am I not getting in the ring and battling with them? He's like, "Well, you know, yeah." And so here, I'm standing there waiting. And I'm like, he's going to explain himself at least two more times. Because here's what he's just experienced: Why is this guy not fighting with me? Why is he not arguing?


Brian  Alex  19:19

I try to justify myself, he won't give me that justification. So he's got to come at it again.


Chris LoCurto  19:23

Well, what he's used to is somebody who wants to jump in and argue and be right. And I'm not pertaking any of this whatsoever. Because I have no need to, I have no desire to. So instead, I just go, "So can I get the refund on that?" He's like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah, absolutely." And I'm thinking in my head, "He will explain himself two more times." And sure enough, two more times he goes, "Hey, sorry about everything. But you know, I just, you know, I don't like being accused." He still has no clue that he's not been accused of anything yet. And then he blames it on the team member, he justifies it a second time by blaming it on the team member who's not even there. You know, "So maybe he, you know, he's probably the one who told you that." He still doesn't even know what I was gonna say. And now he's throwing a team member under the bus. This is a leader, he's throwing one of his team members under the bus because he's so out of control. And for me, I'm just like, I'm just ready for my refund. I'm ready to take my business elsewhere. Why? Because instead of wading into that battle, and trying to figure out, it would not have been difficult to win that battle, it would have been very easy to just go, "You don't even have a clue what I was going to say. And you've just treated me like crap as a customer by losing your stuff. And what I was going to ask you is, 'Do I have the wrong plan?' Which would again, you know, made him feel like crap, because it was realized, oops, while that was stupid, but there's no point. Yeah, at this point, I'm just done, right? Because I don't want to partake. Instead, I want to keep myself cool. I want to keep my worth intact. My worth is in God, it's not in this guy losing his stuff. I want to make sure that I'm I'm not cranking up my blood pressure and you know, everything. So it's not something that I need to partake in. The problem is we spend so much of our time working through instead of making ourselves better instead of growing ourselves in, Lord, what could I have done in that situation? We spend so much of our time going, how could I have won the battle? That is one of the big keys you've got to want first red flag is, how are you? How is your body responding? Most likely, adrenaline is up, blood pressure's up. All this is going on to big flag right there. The second thing is, what is my intention with processing through this? And if my intention with processing through it is to win, then I can promise you, I'm gonna win.


Brian  Alex  22:02

That's great. Alright, what is the cost of getting unstuck in these areas and getting to freedom, coming up right after this.


Chris LoCurto  22:14

Hey, folks, if you're feeling stuck, anxious, not good enough or held back in life, then you need to go through our Next Level Life. That's why we created this two day event process. The power of Next Level Life is that it helps you discover your specific root system, why you believe what you do, how you make decisions, and why you are where you are in life. You'll learn the things that are holding you back in life and how to overcome them. You'll come away having found healing, and ready to start living with purpose and authenticity. So if you're ready to stop struggling, if you're ready to find greater peace, then head over to chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife, the Next Level Life is waiting for you. That's chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife, today.


Brian  Alex  23:06

Alright, so coming back around a couple of pieces just to kind of capitalize on so that we don't lose them here. I loved how practical that is, Chris, where there's some self- awareness going on, we're checking in with the body because that's a good indication of what's going on internally. Some of that internal dialogue and even the unspoken, because sometimes if I'm in that grinding the C mode, I don't really cognitively know, or wouldn't be able to articulate exactly what I'm feeling or why. And so I'm having to pause and this is where learning some self-awareness is super helpful. And sometimes we have to slow down, just like you said, and go, "Okay, why am I feeling this way?" I'm feeling you know, just generically happy, sad, depressed, whatever. But then understanding why, and then what's my intention? That was excellent. What's my intention with processing through this? I love this quote by Jordan Peterson. He says, "Virtually every freedom you have in life is purchased at the price of discipline." And so thinking about these other little pieces here, from that original quote, talking about how we waste our transformative energy, our growth, energy, our change energy on all these other little things, imaginary and whatnot. Some of the other little pieces were about daydreaming and mental chatter. So wow, where do we go from here? How do we build in that discipline to get to the freedom and away from just this, all of the blur of social media and all the mental chatter that goes on inside of our heads, all daydreaming?


Chris LoCurto  24:49

So if you think about Jordan Peterson, here's a guy who puts himself you know, in situations where people just attack him. I mean, he literally puts himself in interviews and debates and things where people-I'm sorry, but sound like idiots, they're coming at him with stuff, and it's just like, do you hear what you even just said, right?


Brian  Alex  25:14

And I'm sitting there watching him, and I'm crying going, "This dude is my hero. Look at how he is maintaining his composure. He's sticking to the facts." And I'm thinking, "I want to do that. I want to be like that."


Chris LoCurto  25:26

Well, the discipline that he's speaking to is exactly how he got to that place. When you look at what a lot of the general public is doing nowadays, they're choosing to jump on bandwagons on a consistent basis. If you just open up social media for five minutes, what you'll see is, a lot of people that are jumping on this bandwagon of "Oh, this thing is right. Oh, this thing-I should say this, too. Oh, I believe this." Instead of actually asking themselves, what do I think about this? What do I feel? Do I have all the information? Do I have enough perspective, right? So when our society is moving in this direction of grab ahold of something, you know, jump on that bandwagon and start, you know, pick up a megaphone and start screaming at the top of your lungs as well, then it's not surprising that people aren't disciplined enough to have a conversation.


Brian  Alex  26:24

There's no filters anymore. No process of thinking through our response.


Chris LoCurto  26:28

Yeah. So when you see the folk like, if you just watch the people who ask questions of people like Jordan Peterson, you know, some of these folks that do this, you know, get out there on these campuses and do these debates and all that kind of stuff. Ben Shapiro a fantastic one, he's now in Nashville, we got a lot of folks that have actually moved this direction, Candace Owens has moved this direction, bunch of people have. So when you look at that process, if you watch the person asking the question, you can see a couple of things happening. But one of the major things that's happening to the person asking the question is that they're feeling out of control in their question, and they're trying to control Jordan, they're trying to control Ben, they're trying to control Candace. They are saying that, "Well, you said this, and you believe this." And they're setting realities, right? And almost every single time you'll see the person come back and go, "That's actually not what was said. That's out of context, you missed this piece." And the person who's trying to win is choosing to take this controlling tack to say, this is where you are, let me first put you in your place. I'm gonna frame it up, I'm gonna set your reality. This is what happened, how you going to dig your way out now? Right? They feel so intelligent, they feel so good. And that is like that's actually not what was said. And then what happens is now they're in this you know, backpedal struggle. Why is this happening? Why do we do this type of stuff? Because instead of proactively focusing on, how do I better myself? We spend too much time focusing on, how do I win it? How do I control stuff, right? So with the rest of the comment of you know, we spent a lot of time daydreaming and all that. It's not that that's horrible. You know, that I need time to daydream, I need time to just think through stuff and decompress. But as Jordan speaking to, if you're going to be in a place where you can have your composure, you know, we speak about it all the time from the side of worth, if you are actually truly getting your worth from God not saying that you do, which most Christians say, Oh, yeah, I know my worth. No, you don't, you got to actually get in and find out and see what he truly says. And then you have to live that out. You have to practice, what does it mean to be a citizen of heaven and not a citizen of Earth? What does it mean to be a son or daughter or the most high king? What does it actually mean, to be obedient to your father because he's asked you to be? Not living your life and saying that you're a disciple of Jesus, when you're the furthest thing from it, right? What does it mean to actually walk those things out? All of that is discipline, every single bit of it is discipline, right? So if you're going to better yourself, you have to ask yourself the question, what's holding me back? What's keeping me from doing this? So for me, a lot of times in my thought processes, I will ask my own self, what am I trying to accomplish right now? What is it what is my struggle? What am I experiencing?


Brian  Alex  29:49

Those are great clarifying statements that we use a lot. When we're talking with other people, we've dealt with that on several episodes, about gaining perspective, but even asking that of ourselves in our internal dialogue is helpful, clarifying. It really helps us to focus when we ask ourselves-when I asked myself, "Brian, what are you trying to do right now?"


Chris LoCurto  30:14

Yeah. Because what you have to do in order to do that is answer the question. If you really truly are not focused on a desire or reward, right now, we talked about this and, and the willpower episodes, the self-control episodes, you have two major areas of the prefrontal cortex, you have the decision making area and or what I like to say the better decision making area, and then you have the desire rewards section of your brain. When we're out on a walk, and we're trying to figure out how we can battle something that hasn't even happened yet. We're in that desire reward. As long as we're in that desire, reward, willpower, self-control is out the window, which is why you show back up after your walk going, "I feel more stressed than I did when I left." Why? Because in your brain, how do I win? How do I get the reward? How do I get the thing that I desire? How do I make the thing happen? Self-control is out of the way. So growth is out of the way. So being able to be disciplined is another way, because you're emotionally focusing on the desire. If you're able to go, desire, desire, desire, desire, What the crap am I doing? Why am I whoa? Why am I thinking this? Why am I focused on this? Why am I building this up? Why am I having an argument about something that's never happened? Now, all of a sudden, you're able to shift over into that better decision making mode, and go oh, wow. Okay. Take a look at what you're doing, man. You're working yourself up. You're stressing yourself, you have this negative self-talk. Let's discover why. Why? Why am I saying those things? Why am- I'm obviously losing worth. If I wasn't losing worth, I wouldn't be having a argument in my own head, you know, preparing an argument, a battle for the future. Unless I'm already losing worth, why am I losing worth? Because this thing happened, why did I lose worth there in that situation? You know, where does my worth actually come from? And so then you start battling the lies with the truths, the negative self-talk with the truths. And if you can become honest with yourself, wow. I sucked in that debate. You know, I sucked in that argument, or wow, that wasn't actually even an argument. Somebody was just trying, I'm not a victim. You know, that's one of the things that whenever if I ever get in that that mode, if ever, let me say I try every single time. I'm sure there's times that I miss it. But when I get into a victim way of thinking, I will say and I've shared this before, knock it off, or shut up because I have to shock my brain in a jar you exact jar me and go, you're not a victim. Not got this victim thinking. You're not a victim, solve this, do something, fix this. That discipline is what's allowed me to live my life doing this. So understand the first half of my life was that desire reward, was that battle for better argument, was that battle to win? and not a lot. I mean, I was a super huge people pleaser. So really, it was more how could I have won that person over? That was more my way of how could I have won that person over? What could I have said that would have won him? That was more where my brain stuck.


Brian  Alex  33:34

My dad was always the opposite of that, you know, the Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People. He my dad who's probably not listening because he's in a foreign country and doesn't know how to do podcasts. That's the only reason I'm saying this. He would he always used to frame it in terms of I'm not here to win friends. I'm just here to influence people. Which helps us understand this whole battle of worth and self and all of this kind of thing. Yeah.


Chris LoCurto  34:01

Yeah. The the truth-nd the amazing thing is, it's technically a really good statement. Right? Because now, if we look at the intention behind the statement-


Brian  Alex  34:12

I'm still dealing with that intention in my root system, right?


Chris LoCurto  34:17

It is probably not the best intention. But really, what's the concept if you can actually remove the you know, the puffing up of, "I really don't care about what you think about me." Yes, you do. Yeah. Otherwise, you would have never said that right?


Brian  Alex  34:31

It's a ditch on either side of the road.


Chris LoCurto  34:33

No matter what, right? But if you look at it from the literal aspect of if you're trying to win friends, you're gonna fail. But if you try and influence then maybe you can help somebody. So for me, I don't look to win friends. I love what Zig said. You know, if you go out to find friends, you'll find few. If you go out to be a friend, you'll find many. Now. All of my fact checkers out there. I screw up Zig quotes and everybody's quotes all the time. It's pretty darn close to that. So but the concept, you know, is, if I'm going to go and try and find friends, well, what's the problem? That's all about me. If I go be a friend, that's a different story.


Brian  Alex  35:13

And it's that motivation, just like you're saying, because the high S can go out there to try to be that friend, because they want the approval because they want the validation in that relationship. So like I say, there, there are ditches on both sides of that, and it comes back to our motivation of what's propelling me here, what's driving me here, either to win that argument in my head, or the people pleasing on the other side, wherever we're at, we need to say; how do I come back to a balance to a middle of the road to a place of being in control in the sense of I'm controlling my own thoughts and faculties and I can arrest those thoughts that are just that mindless chatter or the daydreaming that's just going to drift into those unhealthy places of having these arguments and the fiction and all of that.


Chris LoCurto  36:06

I agree mostly, you know, I wholeheartedly agree with Jordan's statement, but I'm going to say-


Brian  Alex  36:15

It's kind of a Jocko Willink to with the whole idea of discipline equals freedom.


Chris LoCurto  36:20

Oh, right. Yeah. So here's my thing. Freedom, so the reason why we always used to say, you know, it wasn't called financial freedom, it was called Financial Peace. Are you ever gonna have financial freedom? No, you're never gonna have financial freedom because that can always change right? Anything can change, and by far if you take a look at Ecclesiastes, he is we see Solomon saying, you can have as much as you want any moment God's can take it away. So is financial freedom actually tenable? No, but you can have Financial Peace, right? So when you look at the freedom side of it, I completely understand and agree with where Jordans going, Jocko is going, here's where I want to make a slight adjustment. The discipline will get you to some freedoms. But even when you have the discipline, so what do we teach in Next Level Life? We discover the lies that people tell themselves because they think that they don't lie to themselves. And then we have a whole sheet full of them, because we all do it. And then we discover not the truth is the opposite of the lie. Instead, we understand that we've got to find out why we tell ourselves the lie. And then we go to the truth to that why that's the bigger piece, right? And obviously, it takes a process to walk through that. But it's very powerful and somebody gets it. Does that mean that I'm going to be free of negative self-talk? It does not. What the discipline means is that I will be able to control the negative self-talk, which gives me freedom. I will be able to control the lies, which gives me freedom.


Brian  Alex  38:06

Because you've got the tools to handle it when it comes.


Chris LoCurto  38:09

And the practice. You know, we tell people when they're leaving Next Level Life, you're not changed. You got to go practice this, right? You've got to actually implement all these tools, and some people have huge change and a day and a half, two days, right? But then there's the practice of it, because you can have a huge change. But then if you don't practice it, it can go back to normal or worse, right? So here's the piece of the discipline that I believe they're trying to say. And you know, I'm gonna put words in their mouth-


Brian  Alex  38:42

Correct us if we're wrong, Jordan or Jocko.


Chris LoCurto  38:44

Jordan, Jocko, please, you know, email or come join us on the show. If I'm disciplined, then because I'm disciplined, it doesn't mean that the things aren't going to come up. It means that I will be able to work through the thing that affords me to be freeer on the other side.So in other words, let me rephrase it. I'm never going to be free of negative self-talk or lies until I transition from this life to the next. It is here. God is very clear. From the moment of our awakening, we have evil inclinations, that crap exists. So, since I will never be free of it. What is the smartest thing for me to do? Practice, practice, practice, discipline, discipline, discipline, learn how to get over it as fast as possible.


Brian  Alex  39:35

Yeah, I love that. And you've said that before that you've worked through this so many times. And you're so familiar with those same routines that you get, you get through it faster and faster each time. So I think the hope there is that as we employ the tools that we were talking about today, and that we do in Next Level Life, what we talk about on the show here day in and day out. When we employ those tools, our skill set grows our capacity grows, our speed at getting to that, let's call it that free place improves over time. And I think that's wonderful I, I love that we hit on the episode or the scene rather where you were at the vendor and have that conversation because that actually segues into a companion episode that I'm really excited about. I don't know where it's gonna fall either before or behind this episode, but we'll see. But you'll want to get the both angles here, because in this episode, we're talking a little bit more about the internal dialogue and how to keep ourselves in check. In the next one, which is going to be called Confrontation, Conflict and Control, we're actually going to deal with more of the exterior side of this, and how to deal with controlling people. Because conflict is pretty much unavoidable. And yet, it seems that it just gets more and more and more opportunities to be confrontational in the world that we live in. So I love that we're dealing with both of these, both the internal side, keeping ourselves at rest in a place of peace or a place of freedom. But then also we're gonna learn, how do I deal with these people that are out of control? But I still have to live here, I still have work to do, you still had a goal in mind, which was either resolve the issue or get the refund, you know, and how did you maintain your composure and all of that? So we're going to get into that on that companion episode.


Chris LoCurto  41:29

Absolutely. So I want to go back to the quote guide and read the quote again, if you would.


Brian  Alex  41:34

Yep. So we are given more than enough energy to transform ourselves every day, but we waste 99% of it on tensions on emotional reactions, unrelated to what's actually occurring and on daydreaming and mental chatter.


Chris LoCurto  41:49

We literally could spend another hour talking about I mean, there's so many pieces we didn't get to right? It's such a great quote, again, and I'm gonna push back on the 99. But not everybody is that way. So the last thing I want to hit, is, again, it's okay to have times of day dreaming. It's, it's like a balance. If you want to better yourself, then you have to parse your time out of what you do with your brain.


Brian  Alex  42:24

Yeah. So where is it keeping me from change and transformation and growth? Those are the questions have to be asked


Chris LoCurto  42:30

Exactly. Just take a look at how much time you spend on your phone, your computer, TV, just get some decent average in your mind. And ask yourself if I just cut that in half. Right? What does that give me time to do?


Brian  Alex  42:51

Or first of all, is it worth it?


Chris LoCurto  42:54

Right, exactly.


Brian  Alex  42:55

For whatever X amount of hours I spent last week on social media, my phone TV, what have you, was it worth it? Right? What did I get out of that?


Chris LoCurto  43:04

Yeah. How does that better me? Right? I think we've heard a lot of people say how much they've unfriended people negative. I mean, I went through and  people I love but man, there's so much negative crap, I just got to get rid of it. I can't have that influence in my brain. Why? Because it's now influenced my brain.


Brian  Alex  43:27

And keeping us back, keeping you back and me back.


Chris LoCurto  43:29

Yeah. So instead of the desire or reward of jumping on their bandwagon for me, I'm going, "I just don't need it." You know, just remove it, just make a smarter, better decision. So if you take a look at the time, if you cut it back, and I'm not saying that you can't have time, that is not what I'm saying. I'm not saying you can't sit down and watch a movie. I'm not saying that. There are times we run so hard, that there's time's my brain just needs to stop sizzling. And I just need something to stare at just to keep from thinking, you know, which doesn't happen. But anyways you get the idea. The point that I'm making is, is all of those times we're choosing that and it's not a therapeutic process. Right? We're doing it because it is force of habit, stay on my phone, watch TV, screw around on my computer, whatever the thing is, that instead of doing something, or spending time with friends that aren't actually growing me in any good quality direction, right? Having conversations that are just complaining about people. All of those things are choices that I'm actively making right now, to not grow myself. So if you pull all of that time up, what do we do? We always complain about how many hours I work at work, right? And then we don't recognize that if it's eight hours at work. What are we doing with the rest of the day? Right? Chances are, you're up another eight hours. Doing something, what is that time filled with? If it's not filled with growing, you are doing something well, you know, better discipline than what is it being filled with? So you have to once again, I'll point back to my youth, where I was a people pleaser. So I spent a lot of time in that reward desire. If I can make people happy, then I'll be a good person, right? A lot of times I was the problem for somebody else, even though I had absolutely nothing to do with their thing. I'm just the one that got blamed for it in the process, right? So for me, I'm always trying to figure out how do I fix? How do I solve? How do I duck? You know what, they're all different types of stuff? When if instead, I was spending time on the better decision making side of, well, that's not where my worth is? What could my life-how could my life look better? Why do I keep allowing people to talk to me this way? treat me this way? Why do I keep putting myself in situations like this, while I'm not actually a victim to this situation, I've allowed this to happen. If I would have spent more time there, then I would have grown faster earlier. So it makes sense what I'm saying?


Brian  Alex  46:12



Chris LoCurto  46:13

 So when you look at the opportunities you have, every single day, I guarantee you, you can find an hour right now, in every single day that you have to grow you. Even if it's the discipline of controlling your thoughts, the discipline of controlling the negative self-talk, the discipline of controlling the lies. But if you don't put the tool in place, then it's not going to work. So if you want a better version of you two things I feel like you have to do, you have to recognize the thing that's holding you back. And then you have to ask yourself this question, am I willing to get out of the desire reward part of my brain and move into that better decision making area? If I'm stuck in the desire, reward, self- control goes out the window, willpower goes out the window, better decision making is gone. If I can stop focusing on the desire and reward area of my brain, you know, what is this gonna get me? How can I win this conversation? Oh, I need to control this person, I need to control the situation. If I can get out of that, then I can make better decisions. So when I see and we'll talk about this in the other episode, somebody who's struggling with control. Instead of me getting emotionally handcuffed to it, I can back up, watch it, like a movie know exactly what's going to happen. And then make better decisions. Like, I don't want to be a part of this. I'm going to step up.


Brian  Alex  47:37

We have a choice.


Chris LoCurto  47:38

 We have a choice.


Brian  Alex  47:39

Well, I love and I think we can wrap up on on this one thing that you said, just to tease that back out, you know, we have if we factor in eight hours of sleep, eight hours in the office, we have another eight. We have eight hours what you know, you get up before you go to work, and all that time is yours. It's all personal time. And, you know, just by that quote that started this whole conversation off today. How much time do we waste, either in fruitless endeavors that don't really give rest that don't really replenish that, you know, don't feed back into our emotional pool and well being. And instead we're spending those energies on things that just ultimately bring more frustration and more negativity into our lives. So I think this is super, super helpful. Today, if we'll employ what we're talking about these tools to arrest those things in our minds and redirect that energy into transformation. How much farther down the road? Can we be by this time next year?


Chris LoCurto  48:48

Yeah. What does your walk look like this evening? What's the conversation in your head this evening? What's the change? And again, I'm not saying go spend the other eight hours getting a master's degree on this. But choose a percentage of it. Have fun, go live life, but choose you know, everything you say yes to your saying no to something else.


Brian  Alex  49:12

Well your quality of life goes up. I mean, I've wasted so many of those 30 minute walks in nature and it was so beautiful out but because of what was going on internally, I didn't enjoy it.


Chris LoCurto  49:24

Crap, alright, we're not wrapping up yet.


Brian  Alex  49:28

That's the problem with those rambling.


Chris LoCurto  49:31

So here's the deal. Married people. Think of how many times you have fought to be right in your marriage. Think of the hours you've spent arguing over being right. Think about the hours you've spent arguing over not being wrong. Think about how much time you've wasted right? There's an amazing thing. I love my wife to death. She's the most amazing person Is she right all the time? No, am I read all the time? No, do we have opportunities to struggle all the time. But there's an amazing thing that happens when you utilize these tools, I care more about loving my wife than I do being in a fight. I care more about loving my wife than spending time not connected to her because we're instead of being one in being unified, where, you know, in the opposite ends of the spectrum right now, because we're upset at each other. So how don't even have the time to go through information in First Peter about what a husband's job is? A lot of times it's to reconcile even when you're right. And the reason why is because there's a safety trigger inside of women that when a man will, even if he's right, we'll just reconcile the situation. It kicks that safety and they feel safe again, in this process, right? And so it's just powerful. And, again, you have a decision. "Yeah, but I'm right." Okay, well, then just stay in conflict with your spouse. "Yep. But I'm right." Well fine then stay there, right? Or, screw this. I'm going to I'm going to fix this. I'm going to grab her hand, I'm going to hold her I'm gonna kiss her on the cheek, I'm going to tell her I'm sorry for my part of this. And then I'm gonna move forward. I'm not gonna sit there and wait for her to go. "Well, I'm sorry too. Well, I was wrong." You know, I'm not waiting for that why?


Brian  Alex  51:31

 Reconciling is right.


Chris LoCurto  51:32

It's just right. Here's the deal. I just turned 51 years old. I don't have time to waste. I want to enjoy love. I want to enjoy being connected. I want to enjoy joy. You know, I want to have those things in my marriage, that waiting around and arguing and fighting is just not going to solve. So the sooner you can put these tools in place. And again, if you've not been to Next Level Life, you've got to get all the tools, get all of it, because it changes your marriage, it changes your family tree, it changes your relationships, right? The sooner I plug the tool in place, I'm happy. You know, I'm experiencing joy. My wife is happy, our relationship is strong. It grows incredibly well, all of that stuff, which is a way better investment than spending time wanting, desiring the reward I tell myself I will get by being right. There. Now. Let's wrap it up.


Brian  Alex  52:33

 Now it's good.


Chris LoCurto  52:35

We can still we can still go on for hours. But yeah, so yeah. How about you close this thing out?


Brian  Alex  52:42

Well, I hope this has helped you folks. Take this information, change your leadership, change your business, and change your life. And we'll see you next time on The Chris LoCurto show.


Chris LoCurto  52:53

There you go.

Referenced Podcasts:

Episode 269, How to Break the Self-Sabotage Spiral


Episode 405, You Don’t Have As Much Willpower As You Think (Part 1)


Episode 408, You Don’t Have As Much Willpower As You Think (Part 2):


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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.