Stop waiting for the perfect moment to start. Joshua Spodek is back on the show to share how to achieve sustainable success through taking the leap of faith and taking action.
Are you someone who has big dreams but struggles with taking action? Do you find yourself constantly waiting for the perfect moment to start something, only to realize that moment never comes?
Join me and bestselling author Joshua Spodek in this episode of the Success Through Failure podcast as we explore the power of just getting started, even when success seems uncertain.
With a PhD in astrophysics and an MBA from Columbia, Joshua has accomplished many impressive feats. He’s the host of the award-winning podcast, “This Sustainable Life,” he’s a 4x TEDx speaker, he’s a professor at NYU, he has five Ivy League degrees, and he’s been published in The New Yorker, Time Magazine Inc., Psychology Today, and has been called the “best and brightest” by Esquire’s Genius issue.
These achievements were only possible because he took action and didn’t let fear hold him back.
Through the lens of sustainability, Joshua encourages you to live by your values and start small, and that success is the byproduct of taking action and learning from failure.
Discover how to overcome analysis paralysis and start living your best life— sustainably! Tune in now.
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
[00:00] Joshua Spodek: No one lived connected to an electric grid more than a century ago. And most of the world doesn't know. So I just kept saying to myself, 300, 000 years, people lived without this stuff. 10,000 years on this Island of Manhattan. Why should technology make me more dependent?
[00:19] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Welcome to another episode of success through failure, the show for successful people, and for those who want to become successful, the only show that reveals the true nature of success. Today, I bring you Dr. Josh Spodek. What can I say about Josh? He's been on the podcast. Now, this is his fourth time on the show.
[00:42] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: He is the host of the award winning podcast titled This Sustainable Life. He's a four time TEDx speaker. He's the best selling author of two books, Initiative and Leadership Step by Step. He's a professor at NYU. He has five, yes. Five Ivy league degrees, and he's been published in the New Yorker time magazine, Inc psychology today.
[01:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: He's been in the New York times, wall street journal. He's been called the best and brightest by Esquire's genius issue. He's been called a rocket scientist by Forbes, and he's just an incredible guy. I mean, he's visited North Korea twice. He's swam across the Hudson river a couple of times. He's done burpees every day, every day since get this.
[01:30] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: 2011, I haven't done burpees every day this week. So incredible guy, but that's really not what this episode is about. This episode is about mindset. This episode is about just getting started doing the thing, not overanalyzing. This episode is about starting with no expectation of success. And this episode is about living by your values.
[01:55] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: We attack all of this through the lens of sustainability. Now, sustainability can be a political hot button, and there are so many different perspectives to look at sustainability through. And we address this. We actually address this. Head on it's a really interesting conversation about all those things.
[02:14] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I just told you about, as well as about Josh's just fantastic, interesting story about how he's gone off the grid, living completely off the grid in New York city. By the way, in this episode. Josh and I talk about the challenge that he's going through and the, and one of the things that he's doing, I called it like a misogy, which is a concept from Michael Easter in his book called the comfort crisis.
[02:41] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And I mentioned in the episode here in the interview that I would tell you what episode that is. That was episode 312 where I interviewed Michael Easter and we talk about a misogy anyway, you're going to hear more about that. Shortly here in the episode in my conversation with Josh. So episode three 12 is a great episode to go back to after you listen to this one.
[03:02] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: All right, let's get to it. My interview number four with Dr. Josh Spodek, this experiment started off with a month off the grid. That was the goal one month off the grid. First of all, why, and then I want to kind of unpack how this month turned into a
[03:22] Joshua Spodek: year. Can I give you some background before the month, because the month didn't come out of nowhere itself.
[03:29] Joshua Spodek: So last May 22nd, I had bought, used off of Craigslist, a portable power station and solar panel. So solar panels provide power, but it doesn't store it. So you need a battery. So they call them power stations. I didn't know anything about this. What I knew was that. I wanted to see if I could go for a month off the electric grid.
[03:51] Joshua Spodek: I had no conception of making it past a couple of days, but I also know that you can only get so far without just doing it. So on May 22nd, I unplugged everything and then I realized it's actually two of my outlets have this little green light, the ones by the sinks that show that like you haven't shorted something because of the water.
[04:12] Joshua Spodek: So then I went and unplugged the, I went to the circuit for the entire apartment, disconnected it. So my apartment is now physically disconnected from the electric grid. Now, I wasn't trying to solve all the world's problems, yet. I was just trying to see what I could do. This is an experiment, a personal thing.
[04:27] Joshua Spodek: So, I wasn't trying to do things perfect. Like, the solar panels are 200 watts. And the battery pack is 576 watt hours. Is that a lot? A little? I had no idea. I have a window that it's Southeast facing. So I get nice morning light. Can I put the panels in the window sill? Will that work? Can I stick them out the window?
[04:45] Joshua Spodek: But I plants over there and I've like, you know, whenever it rains, there's always all this after like clean the windows, I have no idea. And plus every month, like the sun changes its, its angle in the sky. There's clouds, there's buildings across the street that are blocking it. Like I can't calculate. How much sunlight I'm going to get and so forth, just got to do it.
[05:04] Joshua Spodek: So actually before I started, it turns out that if I put the solar panels on the floor of my apartment with morning light, it will take something like four days to charge the battery. So how much battery pack does that use? Like how much power does five and 76 watt hours? Is that good for? It turns out that my main use now I know is my pressure cooker.
[05:24] Joshua Spodek: If I filled it the whole way. And cooked my usual amount when I plugged into the wall, it would drain the battery and not finish cooking. But if I put in something like two thirds, definitely half, maybe two thirds full, then if it's a hundred percent full, it'll drain the battery completely. So it turns out by accident, the amount of power that I bought used off a Craigslist or the energy storage was just enough to eat it out.
[05:47] Joshua Spodek: But it's really not enough to live the way I was living before.
[05:51] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I love what you said a couple of minutes ago when you said you can only get so far without actually doing it and you, you pulled the trigger and you did this. And okay, so now you've got battery power to make not quite a full pot of stew or in your, your pressure cooker, but maybe a little bit less than that.
[06:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Somewhere less than that. Okay. So you can make stew.
[06:11] Joshua Spodek: Yeah. So I guess that particularly that I'd gone up the day before and charged it on the, so if I go up to the roof. It charges in bright sunlight about three to four hours, which it turns out if you do the math, 200 watts, 560, 76 watt hours, it works out.
[06:25] Joshua Spodek: So I come down and I made my stew that morning of the 22nd. Here's what happened. I was thinking to myself, all right, I know that I have some stew here that'll last me a couple of days because two thirds full gives me about three, four meals plus not everything I just do, you know, for breakfast I have cereal, which by the way is not cereal from boxes and stuff.
[06:43] Joshua Spodek: It's like actually just go to those, the bulk section and get grains and things. So those don't require cooking, but I knew I could make it a couple of days, but I didn't know anything past that. But also. What about the other stuff, the computer, the phone and things like that.
[06:55] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And I know what the listener's thinking right now.
[06:57] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Like, can't just go put it in your refrigerator. Cause your, your power's
[07:00] Joshua Spodek: off, right? So that's why this didn't come out of nowhere. Let me say what got me started. And then I'm going to go back to what brought me to where I would try to pull off something like this. So I thought to myself, all right, the computer is going to use power.
[07:13] Joshua Spodek: The phone's going to use power. Do I need a floor length? I don't know. Oh, also I thought, should I wait for my Con Ed bill to the power bill? To roll over so I can start on the day that my power goes so I can get one clean month and then notice myself Analyzing planning and I learned from my experience.
[07:31] Joshua Spodek: I'm not gonna die If I'm not going to die, just go, just start analyzing and planning means delay. It's what school taught me. School is very good at getting me to write papers about things like that, but I'm not trying to write a paper on this. I'm trying to see what I can do. So this other voice inside my head said, I think you just started.
[07:48] Joshua Spodek: And then I realized I just started from past experience. I knew like, just quit with the analyzing and playing, just go. And the best way to describe it for those who've run marathons is. You know, you're like, you're 13 miles in and you're like, I got to give up. And you're like, okay, one more mile. I can go one more mile.
[08:02] Joshua Spodek: Right. And then you do the mile. You're like, okay, three quarters of another mile. And then, okay, just another block, just, just that tree. And you just keep saying, I'll just go a little bit longer. And somehow days turned to weeks, turned to months. And then I just kept learning trick after trick after trick, but they're not tricks.
[08:19] Joshua Spodek: No one lived connected to an electric grid more than a century ago, and most of the world doesn't now. So I just kept saying to myself, 300, 000 years people lived without this stuff. 10, 000 years on this island of Manhattan. Why should technology make me more dependent?
[08:35] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Quick interruption. Hey, if you like what you're hearing, be sure to get the notes, quotes, and links in the action plan from this episode.
[08:42] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Just go to jimharshojr. com action That's JimHarshawJr.com/action to get your free copy of the action plan. Now back to the show. And those people didn't have a building with four walls that keep you dry when it rains and, you know, keep the weather out and all the things you have, even if you don't have power, you have a lot of amenities that people for many, many years didn't have.
[09:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And
[09:08] Joshua Spodek: I looked this up afterward. Cause I could find out in my browser history that I happened to read that morning. Do you know Sebastian Younger's book, Tribe?
[09:17] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I know his, him as an author, but I don't know that book.
[09:20] Joshua Spodek: Okay. So his book, Tribe, one of the things it starts off talking about is how in colonial times There were lots of Europeans who ended up for whatever reason living among Indians and there are lots of Indians who lived among colonists and even went to Europe.
[09:33] Joshua Spodek: And it starts off by quoting some people that pointed out that, including Benjamin Franklin, who said that colonists who went to live among Indians often stayed and nothing could persuade them to come back. But there are no known cases of Indians who lived among colonists who went to Europe who stayed.
[09:49] Joshua Spodek: They all went back. Wow. So there's a one way flow. And I mean, people fought to stay, like when families were separated and they lived among the colonists lived among the Indians, and from the colonists perspective, this is, they chose savagery over civilization. And it seems like, how could that be?
[10:04] Joshua Spodek: Then I started learning a bunch more anthropology and it's very common when people really know both systems, they tend not to choose. What we would call a civilized. So I started learning much more about other cultures. And I don't mean other cultures like France and Japan. I mean, other cultures like hunter gatherer, immediate return cultures.
[10:23] Joshua Spodek: And my preconceptions were way off that they were living in the stone age. That the reason, you know, no one taught me explicitly, why don't they live like us? Why are there still some of them left? And what no one said out loud was cause they're so stupid and ignorant. We got to teach them civilization so they can be like us.
[10:43] Joshua Spodek: But they're sophisticated. They're not living in a stone age in the sense of like, they don't know any better. And some listeners are going to be like, Oh, noble, savage, trope and stuff like that. No, the more you learn, the more it's not that. And I started learning this. A lot of them look at us and say, we see your technology.
[11:01] Joshua Spodek: We see your longevity, but our step down from equality. And community and family and mutual support that it's not worth it to them. And we live in this very, it's a very, there's a lot of dependence and addiction in our culture. So I started feeling much more free, much more independent, the opposite of dependency, opposite of addicted.
[11:25] Joshua Spodek: And yet I'm still living in society. You know, I got to make money. I got to put food on the table and I got to show up on video calls when the call is scheduled and if power goes down, I got to figure things out. And I teach at NYU, there's a level of professionalism expected of me that if I don't have, I'm going to get kicked out of my apartment.
[11:44] Joshua Spodek: I'm not going to, I'm going to go hungry. So it's not like I'm sitting around with like, Oh, you know, I was just having a little extra money. I'll just do whatever I feel like. No, I don't have savings. So I mean, I have a couple months to fall back on if I need it, but that's it. I might have a support system.
[11:58] Joshua Spodek: I mean, I got family. If I get kicked out of my apartment, I'm not going to like, my family will put me up. All right. So this is my situation and I just dove into it with no expectation making it past a couple of days. No one is more surprised than I am. Oh, and I got to tell you what really put the cherry on the, on the top was that.
[12:17] Joshua Spodek: Eventually stories got out and some people started following me. So the New Yorker sent a reporter over in October to do a story on me. And I don't recommend the story because the guy is like, I told him what I'm doing is mission driven. This is not for me. This is not me doing some trendy things. This is it's sustainability leadership.
[12:34] Joshua Spodek: And I'm practicing my scales in order to play. In the orchestra and you're going to see what I'm doing, but I know a quirky guy cause I know that the, for those who read the New Yorker, the talk of the town is like, where they, Oh, look at this quirky person. I'm like, the story is not me being quirky. I am quirky.
[12:50] Joshua Spodek: Yeah, but that's not this. And he's like, of course, of course. And then he comes over and I tell him all about, this is about sustainability leadership. If you don't practice what you're trying to teach, you don't know what you're talking about. I mean, I think of you as a wrestler. I mean, I doubt you've wrestled lately, but can you imagine someone who never wrestled and just read books about wrestling, teaching wrestling?
[13:10] Joshua Spodek: How far is that going to go? How sustainably and are saying, Oh, everyone has to live sustainably. I think most environmentalists, they're f g lose their shit if they had to live sustainably. And yet they're telling everyone that's what we have to do and they don't know what they're talking about. The challenge of living sustainably is not just what technology to use or more likely what technology not to use, it's what do you do when your friends are like, Oh, you can't do that.
[13:34] Joshua Spodek: What do you do when you feel like giving up? What do you feel like when you don't know how to do something? It's the same as like, if you're lifting weights, you got to learn about diet and sleep and what do you do when you, when you're injured. Those are the things that the hard parts and that only comes through experience.
[13:49] Joshua Spodek: All right, so now I'm going to go way back to the beginning. So 10 years ago, I looked at my garbage and I thought at that time I wasn't doing anything on sustainability. Didn't know, didn't care. It's not that I didn't care, but I felt like individual action couldn't make a difference. Only governments and corporations could act on the scale that we needed.
[14:08] Joshua Spodek: And, you know, I got a PhD in physics, so I'm thinking fusion is the answer. Well, that's what we really need nuclear first and then fusion eventually. And anything else is just not going to really make a difference. So, you know, I had faith that the market or some smart people would figure it out. In that context, I noticed that my own garbage in my kitchen was overflowing.
[14:28] Joshua Spodek: I emptied my garbage at least weekly at the time. And I thought, well, this plastic stuff. It's poisonous and no one else can take responsibility for it, but me, but I can. So I challenged myself to go for a week. Could I go for a week without buying any packaged food? And that experiment, like in principle, I knew that I could.
[14:48] Joshua Spodek: I mean, plastic hasn't existed very long and people have been eating without plastic forever, but I didn't actually, actually know what to do. So I began analyzing planning and six months went by. After that six months, I said, I'm not going to die. Just start now. That was my first experience doing that.
[15:03] Joshua Spodek: And it turned out that when I'm analyzing and planning in the abstract, I have to think of every possible problem and every possible solution for every possible problem. And I never get started. But when I actually just go to the store, I'm like, what can I get? I'm like, well, I got vegetables and produce.
[15:17] Joshua Spodek: And because I bring my own bag, I can get stuff on the bulk section. So I'm like, I guess that's what I get. And then over the course of the next several weeks and months, I learned how to cook from scratch. Like for the first time in my life, I got dried beans from bulk, put them on the stove and boiled them.
[15:30] Joshua Spodek: So I'm like in my forties. This
[15:32] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: is success through failure, by the way, this is just getting out there, pulling the trigger, trying it, succeeding, failing, figuring it out along the way.
[15:39] Joshua Spodek: Yeah. I skipped over this one step of when I'm at the store and I went in like on autopilot to this shelf where I normally start.
[15:44] Joshua Spodek: I'm looking for the first time and I actually couldn't see food. I could only see boxes and cans and things like that. And I felt like I got Ivy league degrees out the wazoo and I've started businesses and I can't eat, which is to say I can't live without hurting people. There's like this understanding, like dumbfounded feeling horrible.
[16:05] Joshua Spodek: Oh my God. My entire life, every time I've eaten, I've punished people putting pollution in their backyards. But as I learned to cook people, boiling beans, like I think most of the world probably starts doing that when they're like five years old, I'm in my forties. So I'm very dependent and realizing this.
[16:24] Joshua Spodek: So after about six months, I start making really good meals from practice and start developing my own cuisine. Then that leads to, I'm going to skip over a lot of stuff here, but I started thinking, what else did I think would be terrible? Might also be awesome. So I challenged myself to go for a year without flying immediately thinking, Oh, my family is going to disown me.
[16:44] Joshua Spodek: I'm not going to be able to make a living and it's good to fly. And then a couple months into that, I was like, after I got through with the withdrawal and the detox, then I realized it was, my life was better without flying. And by exactly, exactly the things that I thought I was losing out on, I was gaining more.
[17:00] Joshua Spodek: So that led me to. expect that if I acted on my environmental and sustainability values, I came to expect probably I'm going to go through a period of withdrawal and then I'll like it later. I mean, no one flew before 1903 and why should I still be, be so dependent? So then I was reading this article on how other countries, this is about Vietnam in particular, but other places don't refrigerate as much as we do.
[17:24] Joshua Spodek: They, they ferment and have different food systems with less waste, more health. And Vietnam has like pretty good tasting food. So at that point I looked over at my fridge and I thought, well, that's my most, the source of my greatest pollution. And I thought, I wonder if I could go without a fridge for a little while.
[17:41] Joshua Spodek: And I started thinking, well, what would I do? I'd have to learn to ferment. And I was like, right. I caught myself with the analyzing and planning before I could stop myself. I walked over and I just unplugged the fridge. So just do it, right. I'm not going to die. I can always plug it back in again. And just
[17:56] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: for the listener, like, you know, whether you're thinking about, you know, following in Josh's footsteps, or it may be in some small iterative way, or it's just something else, whether it's the business or something in health and wellness, I'm trying to figure out how to run a marathon or how to run a 5k just.
[18:15] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: That's a big part of the lesson here, but sorry, Josh, go ahead.
[18:18] Joshua Spodek: Yeah, I do put the caveat if, if there's a risk of death, you know, that's it. It's like, I'm not going to die. Right. So if it's like, Hmm, I wonder if I can tighten rope across the world trade center buildings, which someone did, but there are very few things like that.
[18:31] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: For the listener. If you've listened to the episode with Michael Easter, Michael Easter talked about the Misogi, this concept of Misogi. It's like doing something really hard where you have. A 50, 50 chance at success. Nope. So rule number one is you have a 50, 50 chance of success. Rule number two is don't die.
[18:51] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: So this is kind of like a Masoji.
[18:54] Joshua Spodek: It's, I mean, it's all there and no one's doing it. Everyone's like looking at sustainability and being like, well, I guess this is reactive to have to make nuclear reactors and. Not realizing where that leads. So I unplugged the fridge and a lot of stuff I just ate right away.
[19:09] Joshua Spodek: Then some of the stuff I, so I learned to ferment first the sauerkraut and then other things. And once you start learning, you start telling people about it. And then people start telling you, like you just start tapping into community. I, my family didn't grow up, we never fermented anything, but now like right now I've got a whole bunch of sauerkraut and chutney going on over there and some kombucha and I do it without thinking about it now, but I never did any of that before.
[19:32] Joshua Spodek: Although my, my masterpiece there was that I had a bunch of oranges in the freezer because some school nearby was throwing a bunch of oranges away as I was walking by. And I was like, all right, I'll take them. If you're going to throw them away. So I had all these oranges in the freezer. I put them in vodka and it's delicious.
[19:46] Joshua Spodek: Never buy orange flavored vodka, just get regular vodka and just drop oranges in and it infuses it. It tastes really good. So I had all these like simple successes and I made it three months with my fridge unplugged. And it wasn't that I had to plug it back in again. It was that I, the pandemic hit and I went outside the city.
[20:03] Joshua Spodek: And say it was December and I could use the windowsill, it was cold right by the window because it's December in New York. The following year I started in November and I made it farther into the spring when it got warmer. But you know, Vietnam is hot and humid, so I know that they're not using cold techniques to keep their stuff fresh.
[20:20] Joshua Spodek: And there's also a lot of like buying things differently. Like frozen pizza you can't do, which I wasn't getting because I'm avoiding packaged anyway. But fruits and vegetables, they're pretty fresh. You know, a tomato will stay fine for a week or two, apples longer, potatoes, beets, carrots, these things will take a long time.
[20:38] Joshua Spodek: And lettuce, you put in water, it actually grows. The longer I wait, the more lettuce I get. It gets cheaper. I didn't know any of this. So the following year, I made it six and a half months and I started getting farther and farther into the spring with fermenting and shopping differently and shop seasonally.
[20:55] Joshua Spodek: That's another big thing is. . That makes it a lot cheaper too. So the following year, my goal, I started in September and my goal was to make it eight months. So my fridge was unplugged, my electric bill, right? There's $18 I can't touch because that's just being connected. But the rest of it was like a dollar.
[21:12] Joshua Spodek: My electric bill's like a dollar, $2 a month. And I'm thinking, I wonder if I can get that to zero. That's what got me thinking, I wonder if I can get it to zero. So, one day, I said, I'm going to go for 24 hours, I'm going to unplug my apartment. So, before the one I talked about earlier, I just said, what, can I do for 24 hours?
[21:30] Joshua Spodek: I was kind of thinking, you know, if I hold my breath, the oxygen that I skip there, I've got to make up. I've got to breathe heavy afterward. So if I don't use power for a little while, am I going to use extra power later or not? I don't know. So this one 24 hour day, I just unplugged. That's the first time I went to the circuit and unplugged it.
[21:46] Joshua Spodek: And my girlfriend at the time, we just rode her bike to Brooklyn and had a great day outside. 24 hours later, I plugged back in. No problem. So I thought, h I wonder if I can go longer. So I had these 1 a month electric bills. I had a 24 hour period with no repercussions. I went on my blog and said, does anyone know about solar?
[22:05] Joshua Spodek: Maybe that would be a piece for this. No one wrote back. If you know me, I'm only going to get the stuff used. So I go on a Craigslist and I don't know what's available. What's not. So there's solar panels that can do a permanently on the roof, but I live in a, a big apartment complex and my co op board will never allow a permanent installation up there.
[22:24] Joshua Spodek: So am I going to wait for their permission for that's never going to come? No, I'm not going to do that. So. I keep looking and I see that there's these portable solar panels, which I think are designed for people whose idea of camping involves still watching TV. Well, there's a lot of preppers who get this stuff too.
[22:39] Joshua Spodek: It's funny. People look at sustainability as this, as this really liberal thing, but preppers actually believe that you can live sustainably. They're role models in a certain sense.
[22:49] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Let's talk about the politics of this. And you and I have talked about this offline before, but as I learn more and more about politics and I see the world being more and more divided, I'm becoming a little less political, I think, because I see the BS and the hypocrisy on both sides.
[23:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And I think that people agree much more than, than we'd like to believe, or I guess maybe the media would like us to believe, but I don't want to go down that rabbit hole so much as your take on. Sustainability being, you know, certainly in politics, it's a liberal thing, but what is your take on
[23:26] Joshua Spodek: this?
[23:27] Joshua Spodek: It's evolved a lot, especially because of this experiment of being off the grid. The roof is 11 flights climb. And if it's up there for four hours, that means I'm not going to stay up there for four hours most of the time. So I got to climb 11 flights, come back down, go back up again, 11 flights, come back down.
[23:44] Joshua Spodek: I live on the fourth floor, fifth floor. So this, if I go down on the street a couple of times. Typically, I've been going up and down 30 flights a day, three or four days a week for just about a year now.
[23:53] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And by the way, that's a really healthy, good, positive thing. It's not going to the gym. It's not getting on the, on the stepper at the gym.
[24:00] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: You're actually doing it. And this is, this is the way humans live for thousands upon thousands of years is actually moving our bodies to do the things that we needed to do on a regular basis. Yeah. And
[24:11] Joshua Spodek: I think the panels probably weigh about 15 pounds and the battery. Wait, it's probably another 15, 20 pounds.
[24:17] Joshua Spodek: And then in the winter I'm wearing winter coats and stuff. So like, I'm carrying like 50, 60 pounds worth of stuff up with me. It's much easier to get it down the climb up later. It's like, I'm like, Oh, this is so easy. And I've turned 51 during this thing and I had this knee injury that kept popping up.
[24:31] Joshua Spodek: Anyway, so it's not like trivial. And I'm not saying this is like a gut check moment. I'm not like taking fire, like a Navy seal or something like that. But it's a bit of a challenge. I can't help but ask myself, why am I doing this? What's motivating me? And what's motivating me? At first, you know, I could say, well, I'll just do a little less cardio.
[24:49] Joshua Spodek: It's not actually taking any extra time. So it's, it's no, no extra motivation required. But then I'm like, that's not it either. And that's not thinking I'm doing it for like, it's a ritual. Like it's like meditative, like, well, that's kind of nice too, but it's doing it for other people. It's doing it to alleviate suffering, but I'm also starting to think of like why people do these things and different people have different reasons.
[25:08] Joshua Spodek: I've, and I also had to go into some deep dives into, there's a book, the moral case for fossil fuels. And that guy did a debate with Bill McKibben, who's a big environmentalist. And so I read that book, I don't know if you know Julian Simon or Milton Friedman, certainly Ronald Reagan, actually Reagan was very pro environment, especially as governor of California, same with Barry Goldwater and William F.
[25:31] Joshua Spodek: Buckley, these really stalwart Conservatives, up until about the 80s, were very, did a lot of very, what would now be called pro environmental things. But even all of them, it was generally to preserve nature, to preserve this beautiful, beautiful country. Nature is just stunningly beautiful, and I've, I've definitely increased my appreciation of it.
[25:54] Joshua Spodek: Stuff about the indigenous cultures and their freedom and equality. Got me realizing, when I think of conservative and libertarian thought, I gotta go back for some more context. In today's world, I think most people view sustainability as a liberal issue. And I think we live in tribal times when people stick with their tribe more than they examine their own values.
[26:18] Joshua Spodek: And I think a lot of conservatives, as a reflex of like owning libs, it's like they're against Environmental things or against they would, I think they would put it as against regulation, owner's regulation that prevents businesses growing and flourishing. My understanding of some of the deepest conservative and libertarian values, and I can give you a quote from, I think Milton Friedman saying that government has a role.
[26:43] Joshua Spodek: He's not saying no government and it's to protect life, liberty, property, and the peace of happiness. These things are in the declaration of independence and Also to create a level playing field so that businesses can thrive and flourish and resources can be allocated to the problem solvers to make the world a better place.
[27:03] Joshua Spodek: Well, life, liberty, property, pollution, fundamentally destroys life, liberty, and property. And as for level playing field, find me a government that has not been infiltrated and corrupted by fossil fuel interests or uranium interests. If you want to go for something later, we do not have a level playing field.
[27:19] Joshua Spodek: It's not even remotely close. It's a very controllable resource. And we have a resource that can be controlled because of, you can control the access through property, through physical, you know, who, who can drill for the oil. Then you can create a dominance hierarchy in which one group can force the other to, it can win.
[27:38] Joshua Spodek: Well, this is against the principles of, of smaller limited government. It's against the principle. It's terrible for national security to have this dependence on oil to say independence on foreign oil misses they act as if the keyword is foreign. The keyword is dependence. So our national security is like falling through the floor.
[27:53] Joshua Spodek: As for personal responsibility, which I associate also with conservative libertarians, where's the personal responsibility? Forget if you can change anything else. If you're paying for something that pollutes, that hurts others life, liberty and property, take some personal responsibility for the consequences of your actions.
[28:08] Joshua Spodek: And that's what I, that's exactly what I was doing. I wasn't waiting for permission to put the panels on the roof. I got the portable ones and I can do that. Also, I should say that without the power, I'm doing a lot of things that don't require a lot of power. So I read like all these like six, 700 page books.
[28:22] Joshua Spodek: And I just want to make
[28:23] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: a quick point. Like what you're saying is like, this is not a criticism of liberals or conservatives. You see this from both sides. You see this from both. So this is not a one side of the aisle or another side of the aisle, but you see this as an issue that we all. Are dealing with and facing and there's even, I've even heard you criticize liberals on this and I know you're, you've been on a podcast with a, it was a very conservative podcast and you were on that podcast because you agree, you agree with these guys and you agreed so much with, with that side.
[28:53] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And so I just think your politics on this. Are not even politics. They're just what you said. I actually wrote this down earlier. You said we're so tribal. We tend to side with our tribe more than we actually analyze our values. And I think that goes with with both sides.
[29:09] Joshua Spodek: That's why I mentioned the climbing up and on stairs.
[29:11] Joshua Spodek: Just like what are my relevant values here? And not what people tell me to think or something, things like that. So if I look at my values of, I agree, government should protect life, liberty, and property. So if we have a government that's charged to protect life, liberty, and property, to protect your life, liberty, and property, and my right to do something that destroys your life, liberty, and property, in Lincoln's words about a slightly different situation.
[29:38] Joshua Spodek: A house divided against itself cannot stand, which I think actually he was quoting the Bible. We have a fundamental contradiction that we have had in the past before this nation, where it said one group of people can do X and prevent other people from doing exactly that. It seems to me that, well, the, I mean, the framers could not possibly have imagined in 1787 when they wrote the constitution, they could not have imagined fossil fuels and uranium and the situation we have now.
[30:03] Joshua Spodek: Heating the world, putting more plastic in the ocean than fish. That was inconceivable to them. So it's not like that they left it out. They couldn't possibly have imagined it. And yet we live in a world in which if we look at our values, it's undeniable. We have an internal contradiction. Actually, another big thing from Lincoln was he said, the most damaging thing you can do to yourself.
[30:23] Joshua Spodek: It's to do something that you believe is wrong. And this has become the touchstone for me because notice he didn't say to do something that I believe is wrong or that's absolutely wrong or to own slaves. It's to do something that you believe is wrong because when you do something that you yourself believe is wrong, you have an internal conflict that you cannot run away from.
[30:43] Joshua Spodek: And if people pointed out to you, you will get mad at them for making you feel guilty, but they didn't make you feel guilty. You are acting against your own values, your own beliefs, what you believe is wrong. That's where the guilt comes from. The emotional discomfort that comes from doing something that you know and believe is wrong is brutal.
[31:01] Joshua Spodek: Guilt and shame barely scratch the surface. Helplessness and hopelessness and futility and we become incredibly vulnerable. And we will do whatever it takes to avoid facing those feelings. We will lie, we will suppress, we will deny. Anything but facing that. And so when people bring up these problems, we'll say, Oh, stop getting blah, blah, blah, blah, stop making me feel guilty.
[31:22] Joshua Spodek: But the problem is the only way out of it is either you can change your beliefs, what you believe is wrong, or you can change your behavior, but no amount of anything else will resolve that conflict. And when the beliefs are, you know, even deeper than protecting life, liberty and property for government is do unto others as you would have them doing, do unto you, the golden rule is as far as I know, in every culture that we've ever looked, live and let live.
[31:46] Joshua Spodek: Which I'd call it common decency and leave it better than you found it stewardship. These are gone from American culture and you know, not just America, but this is where I live as we, and not everywhere, just in, as regards how we treat each other when mediated through the environment, we've just abandoned those.
[32:02] Joshua Spodek: So if you want to resolve that conflict inside of you, if you're doing something that you believe is wrong, if you were violating do unto others, as you would have, as you would have them do unto you. And do you want people dropping their garbage in your backyard? Well, if we're dropping our garbage, it ends up in other people's backyards.
[32:16] Joshua Spodek: It seems to me violating doing to others. I mean, and that's to say nothing of things like carcinogenic things and things that cause birth defects and things like that, which are like, we have an area in this country called Cancer Alley. We have areas called sacrifice zones. It's just triage. We're like, Oh, we can't do anything about that.
[32:31] Joshua Spodek: People live there. People live there. And we, our taxes pay for this. And when we fill up our gas tank, we pay for this. Okay, so you can face it or not, but if you don't want to live in Cancer Alley and you're paying companies that cause Cancer Alley to become Cancer Alley, you're doing things that you know that you believe they're wrong.
[32:49] Joshua Spodek: So you can either change the belief. Alright, so drop doing to others. I don't see that happening. All right, so you got to change your behavior,
[32:55] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Josh. It's so hard because that stuff is so hidden from us and we're just around people who are doing what we do, polluting and driving and you know, we're not around you, right?
[33:09] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: We're not around. We don't live next door to Josh. We don't spend all day with Josh. And so, you know, we're spending time. With everybody else who is kind of going through the world, operating like this, you know, we talk about the environment of excellence in my coaching program. And, you know, when you're around other people that are doing this stuff and it's just normal, then you tend to do it too.
[33:30] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: How
[33:30] Joshua Spodek: do you overcome that? What's around us is what we choose to see around us. Me, now, wasn't there before this, and I really had no expectation of success on this. It took me a while to look back, my first experiment with avoiding packaged food, I actually wanted to fail. I wanted to find out that if the cure was worse than the disease, then I could stick with the disease and say, Look, I tried, but what can I do?
[33:54] Joshua Spodek: What have we replaced doing to others, the golden rule and stewardship and common decency? What have we replaced them with? Abdication, capitulation, resignation. That was me. That's American culture today with regard to the environment. And well, who are my role models? Who am I thinking of when I'm going up and on these stairs?
[34:13] Joshua Spodek: Well, first of all, there's Nelson Mandela. There's Gandhi. There's Martin Luther King. And they've always motivated me. But going up and down the stairs, one of my favorite videos online, I've never watched it all the way through. It's like an hour of LeBron James practicing with a coach. And it's technically an advertisement for some water, but all he's doing is like taking foul shots, doing a few stretches.
[34:32] Joshua Spodek: It's boring. He's practicing the basics. Does he practice the crazy spin moves? No, but he practices the basics and that's where the crazy moves come from. And I'm thinking about the amount of practice that he does or Michael Jordan or anyone who succeeds at anything. What I'm doing is nothing compared to that going down the stairs, like going up and down 30 flights, three or four days a week.
[34:52] Joshua Spodek: Compare that to an, an NBA practice, I'd be kicked out of the league, right? If, if I was like, look how much I'm practicing, it's nothing. So these are my peers. Why should I look at my neighbors who are polluting and say, that's my peer? I'm looking at Michael Jordan and being like, this is so nothing compared to what he's doing.
[35:09] Joshua Spodek: And here's something I got to get across that people don't believe. My mom doesn't believe me on this. It's better. Like I'm eating more fresh food. I'm saving money. I'm spending less time on things that I don't care about. There's a reason behind this, but exactly, you tell me what you think you're going to lose when you kick an addiction and I'll tell you exactly what you're going to get more of.
[35:30] Joshua Spodek: So we know it. If someone takes meth, they think that they're full of energy and they are for that brief jolt. But most of the time they have less energy. Gamblers think that they're winners because every now and then they win. So it's jolt of feeling like a winner, but they're actually losers. That's why they're, you know, they got to borrow money from everyone.
[35:45] Joshua Spodek: And you may choose to see it or not, but we're addicted to the things that pollution brings us flying and comfort and convenience and things like that. Just like a gambler who quits gambling actually starts winning more, not less. A meth user who stops using meth gets more energy, not less. And someone who stops polluting will get, here's what they're going to get more.
[36:04] Joshua Spodek: You tell me, what do you think you're going to lose? And I'll tell you exactly what you're going to get more of. You think you're going to spend less time with family. You're going to spend more time with family. You think you're going to lose control of your career. You're going to get more control over your career.
[36:14] Joshua Spodek: You think you're gonna get less in touch with nature. You're going to get more in touch with nature. It's really hard to believe until you do it. But what I can tell you is that. Whatever you think you're going to lose, whatever you, whatever disaster you think is going to befall you, you're going to have some detox.
[36:27] Joshua Spodek: You're going to have some withdrawal. You will like life on the other side way more. I would not have believed anyone telling me this, but now it's become so glaringly obvious that whatever you think you're going to lose, you're going to get more of when you kick these dependencies.
[36:43] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Josh, for the listener who is bought in, they want to take the first steps.
[36:48] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What are some small actionable things they can do in, let's say the next 24 to 48 hours to start following the prescription you're talking about here?
[36:58] Joshua Spodek: The biggest thing is a mindset shift. If you're doing it because you think you're supposed to, or you have to. Or the New York times told you to or something like that, then you're complying and you're going to find reasons to resist the best thing I can do.
[37:11] Joshua Spodek: I can, I'll give you a link if that's okay. Of this podcast, someone I taught the Spodek method of how to create this mindset shift. And a guy that I taught it to was doing a podcast with someone else and they stumbled into it and he does the Spodek method with her and she's like, Oh, this is really good.
[37:25] Joshua Spodek: I really want to do things like this. So you can hear in action. I mean, it's what my podcast is. It's what you and I did on our podcast. when you're on mine. And creating that mindset shift first, have the mindset shift. So how to make that happen? The sporting method is a way to do that. The link that I'll give also shows me teaching the sport method to someone.
[37:45] Joshua Spodek: That mindset shift is absolutely critical. Otherwise people just push back and this is not about. You have to do this or Bangladesh is going to be underwater. This is about, we've disconnected from nature and we don't know what we're losing. And when we reconnect, we realize what we're losing. We realize how valuable it is.
[38:03] Joshua Spodek: And that mindset shift is, it's critical.
[38:06] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Josh, incredible. For the listeners, I will have links to Josh's websites, the Spodek method, his books, et cetera, in the action plan. Josh, thank you for making time to come on the show.
[38:18] Joshua Spodek: Glad to be here. Thank you. Thanks for listening. If you
[38:23] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk.
[38:26] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: You can see the limited spaces that are open on my calendar at jimharshawjr.com/apply where you can sign up for a free one time coaching call directly with me. And don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to jimharshawjr.com/action. And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often.
[38:48] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: You would totally make my day. If you give me a rating and review, those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through failure, select it, and then scroll the whole way to the bottom where you can leave the podcast, a rating and a review.
[39:06] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Now, I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck and thanks for listening.
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