JESSE: Yeah, I kind of think about it too. And I know a lot of people have asked me about why are you doing this? And people eventually stop asking me because they're like, I just don't understand. But I know so, I've been competing in endurance sports almost 20 years now and only this last year, did I get my first overall win. Then second a dozen times. I mean, from the beginning, from high school through triathlon years have been second a dozen times. I only just finished first, and it was a relatively small race. But the journey to get to that, I know, like I was crying at the end, it was just like, it's such a big deal to have spent almost 20 years to get to this point. But I know that I've learned so many things about me, about the analogies that come from let's talk about if you want to talk about life and having a hard life lesson talking about well, it's just like running because this. Because like in running, you need to pace yourself or you need to-- And even that language permeates our culture even for non running people pace yourself. MIKE: Right. Yeah, pace yourself, run your own race, those types of things. I mean, the running analogy, like for the-- I mean, first of all, there are a lot of runners who are PhD students and I don't think it's coincidence. I think there are life lessons that are infused in running that you can take to your real life. But the interesting thing when you mentioned winning your race, your first race I had that experience recently as well. But what I found is like, the next day or even really, that day, I didn't really feel any different. I didn't feel different about myself, right. And I didn't feel any different about the performance like I felt just as good winning as I did not winning, but it was hurting myself and, and challenging myself in the most authentic way. And I think that's a really, that's an important lesson for people to learn because there's this arrival fallacy, right? And it's not just unique to racing, like anything in life as well as that if I achieve this, then I will feel enough. But ultimately, you don't feel any different when you win, and that that feeling is so fleeting. And again, it gets back to the importance of the journey and like loving the process of what you're doing. And one thing that I'm really working with my coach on in running and life too, is loving the hard moments just as much as you love the good moments. Like it's so important to it's important to love the moment when you do win races and to appreciate all the effort that you put in to get into that point. But it's equally as important to love the challenging moments in your training when maybe you're dealing with injury or maybe you're burned out and you're not feeling it. To be able to embrace those moments and to bring the same joy into your training as you do when you have success, that's just so key to feeling fulfilled in that journey. But yeah, I experienced that myself. In the moment, I thought it was a really cool thing that I won a race because I've never really been the athletic type. But then you see the second and third place finishers come across, and you're just talking about the journey, you're not talking about anything related to the result, you're not talking about the trophy, you're not talking about any award, you're talking about that shared struggle. So, it's an important lesson and I think everybody would be well served to kind of feel that arrival fallacy as well. Because it's the same thing with my research. I once thought that if I publish in this journal, I will feel like I've made it as a scientist and that I just don't have that mentality anymore. So, it's about immersing yourself in the moment. JESSE: Yeah, I think that permeates us in other ways too. I know, you’re probably familiar with like the FIRE movement right now, financial independence retire early. And that permeates a lot of the culture I live in, semi entrepreneur, I own a couple companies and it's like, there's this idea about, okay well if you earn your net worth is so high and it's at this point like you've achieved whatever you need to live this life that nobody else has. And yes, you do have opportunities that a lot of other people don't necessarily have. But you can be just as miserable with, say $10 million in the bank as somebody with zero dollars in the bank, just depending on your own perspective. And I think you see it too with Olympians a lot of time. I think it's pretty well documented like Olympic winners get all this adulation and in all this attention so fiercely focused and all this effort they put in this one moment in time and then it's almost like this vacuum. Everything just sucked out and the Olympics are over and now what? MIKE: Yeah, yeah, that's a scary moment in life. I mean, recently when I published my article in science, there was this huge wave of feedback, right. And it lasted for about a week, and then it became a vacuum. And it was the first experience where I really had to take a step back and say in this moment, you have to embrace that you are enough. You don't need this external feedback in this external validation to be happy in the moment. And that was like, an awesome lesson for me to learn was I can still experience joy, even if people are not validating the things I'm doing in life. And that's not to say it was like an organic process, right? There was kind of a moment where I was waiting, I'm like, where's the feedback today? Where's the message? Why aren't people validating my opinion? But then you realize that's a beautiful part of this process is just being able to allow yourself to see that emotion because that emotion is natural and it's okay to feel that. But then also to realize like, but I'm still joyful in life and I'm still happy with who I am. It's not like I've changed as a person, it's just that the world has changed. It's dynamic. It's you know, impermanence is a beautiful quality of human existence. So, yeah. JESSE: So, I kind of wonder about your opinion on, I always feel like and again, I think this is a matter of projection in my own personal journey. But I always felt like this sense of inadequacy is one like large source of fuel. I guess, just to back up a little bit, I have a theory about motivation. And I think motivation in any endeavor should be fueled by what I refer to as your bag of whys. So, having a singular why is not enough because that singular why will fail at some point or another. It will come back or may be gone forever, but it will fail. So, I think you need to have multiple whys for some endeavor that you're interested in. And I think my thought for a long time is that this like, feeling of inadequacy is a huge source of fuel for trying to achieve something. So, when you're like, I'm not good enough, that gnawing inside of you pushes you forward, stronger than a lot of other things will. Much like it's easier to be hateful or feel fearful than it is to be loving and happy. I think we're a little hardware for that. So, if we get rid of that feeling of inadequacy, how do we move forward as a culture or collectively towards achieving a higher state of humanity? MIKE: Yeah. So, it's interesting because when I hear that a feeling of inadequacy drives someone, it feels to me like a very unsustainable framework for motivation. Because I mean, you are going to fail and you're going to fail hard. If you're trying something hard, you're going to fail hard. So, it's in those moments that I feel like that's a very tenuous platform upon which to stand. And it's interesting, though, I mean, it is a motivator. And I've been motivated by that in my life. I think ultimately, the one arena from which I'm trying to operate is this notion of gratitude and joy because those things should be ever present in your life, those things can be ever present in your life, is living being able to-- Again, it gets back to being able to appreciate the challenging moments just as much as you love the good moments. So, how that looks from a running perspective for me is, I'm no stranger to injury, and I've had multiple entries along my journey that have set me back. And what I've always found, again, I'm not gonna lie like I feel inadequate, right? Like, who am I to say I'm an ultra runner. I've been actually dealing with a hip injury recently. So, who am I to say I'm an ultra runner, I couldn't go out and run 31 miles today. So, there is a feeling of inadequacy there. But what I've always found is that these moments really refine my lens on this whole thing. And I always come back with more gratitude for the most mundane aspects of running, right. I used to get so stoked on the big workout or on the big long run. But now I just get stoked, honestly, by putting on the shoes and just thinking I get to go out today, and maybe it's going to be the most boring route, but I get to feel my feet on the ground, right? I never had that perspective of just being able to appreciate these little things that make the experience so rewarding. So, yeah, it all gets back to gratitude for me. And I think from again, I'm sure it varies per individual and I'm sure that people are motivated by fear. And people are motivated by anger and people are motivated by inadequacy. And I can't say for certain whether that's the best model or the worst model. But ultimately, I think for someone like myself, who does have a history of not accepting myself, ultimately gets back to how can I be most joyful today? And how can I extract the most out of my experiences? JESSE: Right. So, how do you get from a place where you feel inadequate or you don't feel like you have enough to a place where you are grateful? Do you keep a gratitude journal or what do you do? I know, I've been trying to be more grateful for my circumstances like this last year, having kind of achieved things like I bought my first house and we moved to a nice part of town and it's like, there's still plenty of things I want to do and have and all these kind of things, but trying to remember how fortunate I am. So, I know I don't keep a journal, I could probably do a better job. So, I'm kind of curious like what you do to maintain that attitude? MIKE: Yeah, from a very, like fundamental level. I mean, meditation has been a big thing in my life as well because I've always struggled with being in the moment. And I have a tendency really to distract myself and not to appreciate these kind of small things that you can really latch on to. So, mindfulness and meditation for me has been an opportunity to be more aware and to be more present in the moment and to appreciate these small things that may have otherwise escaped my lens on life. So, that certainly is a very fundamental way from which you can kind of build on those things. But yes, gratitude journals, huge. I don't actually write mine down on a daily basis, I probably should. But I do take a few moments every morning to just think of three or four things that I'm appreciative of for that day. And I try to allow that to happen, permeate through my life, in that throughout that 24 hour period is to remember those things and to try to live them out. And so that's certainly one thing. But again, I think it also gets back to this notion of success and failure. And for me success on a daily basis is how can I bring joy into other people's lives. And so again, it's kind of detaching from outcome and just being grateful for these small little things that may not go on a resume at the end of the day, right, but they do provide for a very rich life. And again, it's this incremental journey. So, these small things continue to develop and to develop and you gain more relationships and connections, and you learn more about yourself. It's kind of the snowball effect where you can continue to have momentum, starting at the small and then just getting bigger and bigger. And I found that like, this sounds a little woo-woo but I found that the more authentic I live, and the nicer I am to people, and the nicer and to myself that the universe rewards that in really interesting and cool ways. So, again, it's not-- I don't want to come across as a self help guru, that's certainly not my thing. And I've been criticized on Twitter for that as well. But ultimately, I think it is just like really embracing those small things in life that provide for ?? 13:21>. JESSE: I think the whole self help thing is is tough because I kind of touched on points from this in the past and a lot of things we're talking about, I saw this book sitting on my desk, Life is a Marathon. I don't know if you've seen that Matt Fitzgerald's new book. I had him on several weeks back. And so I think, in that interview I talked about, it reminds me here that there are attitudes that are effective for living a positive life, whether we know the actual house a mechanism by them and that's where that kind of like woo-woo thought comes in. Where it's like if I believe that the universe will give me everything, that it'll just come to me it's like, well, okay, maybe not. But even if that isn't the real mechanism, we can see that people that have these attitudes tend to be happier or live more fulfilling lives. So, it's like, okay, even if you think that the whole day the explanation is complete BS, can't you see that the adoption of the mentality is still resulting in a positive net effect? MIKE: Right, right. And yeah, I don't want to give a bad impression of self help books. I mean, my journey-- I was largely influenced by Rich Roll, for example. Like I was reading his stuff, and I started listening to his podcast and I’m like, here's this guy who made these complete life changes not attached to any outcome, like there was a lot of risk on his part to leaving his job and becoming a full time athlete. But he did these things and a lot of success just kind of flowed from that naturally. And I love the word that you use with mechanism because right it's hard when we're talking about these kind of qualitative experiences, it's hard not to put a finger at one thing that leads to success, but it is. It's kind of this collection, this network of relationships and experiences that provides for this full experience. Yeah, I love that. And it again, it's one of those things that I still struggle with because right, I'm a PhD student in the quantitative sciences. And my job is to uncover mechanism. So, I have to distinguish, like that professional part of my life where I want answers to everything, in my personal life where I have to be okay sometimes with not having the answer to things, which is often the case than not, And it's a radical acceptance, right, like you just have to be at peace with the unknowing. But, again, there's a lot of fulfillment in that too. You have to just trust and trust is a beautiful thing. JESSE: Yeah, I think that the toughest part is like getting people going because I know that whenever somebody's talking about it like for me often it's like a business thing because if you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So, I often think about things in that lens. And it's like I'm often just like, people say to me, “Oh, I wish I could start whatever business I had this idea and whatever. I wish I could be an entrepreneur like you.” I hear that and I'm like, well just start like, it is that simple. Like it isn't simple, but it is that simple. Like you're overthinking it. And then from there, it's that trust aspect that trust that things will continue to work out, like you mentioned earlier, you are going to fail. And I think I mentioned this with John too in my chat with him, just like knowing ahead of time, I am going to fail. That is 100% guaranteed, it will happen. But that's okay. And that kind of like we've touched on failure is not a reflection of my self worth. It is simply feedback on what is not working. MIKE: Right. Right. And failure, I mean failure is essential to growing as a human being. And that's where I'm big on this notion of productive failure. I mean, that was the whole point of the article that I published in Science is that there's ?? 17:34> in failure, and we need to start celebrating that. Because we have a tendency as a culture that glorifies outcomes, we have a tendency to want to kind of silo those, to isolate those too to omit those from our story. When in reality, if you talk to any successful person, I guarantee you they will tell you that the moments in which they actually grew most as an individual is when they felt like they were failing. And again, jumping into the void, accepting that uncertainty, as you mentioned, it's an incredibly scary thing. And for someone who-- I grew up really in the cookie cutter mold. I went to high school, I was protected in that environment, I went to college, I was protected in that environment. I had numbers to assign value to my worth as a student, right? I had all these kind of protective nets. But then when you get outside of that, you realize that kind of carving your own path, in a way is so much more fulfilling. And I have to embrace that now too. Putting a message out into the world that's different, it goes against the grain, you have to be okay with the negative feedback that comes from that and you have to accept that. In order to kind of put forth this message, you're going to have to continually step into that void in conversations, in you're writing on podcasts interviews. It's this kind of continual process of being okay with uncertainty and understanding that, yeah, you're gonna fail hard. If you're trying something hard, you're gonna fail hard. But your response to that failure is where you learn so much about yourself and that's where life becomes rich. JESSE: This is well outside your purview of expertise, but I’m gonna ask it anyway. Thinking about school obviously, again another very quantitative embark environment, what's your grade? How many things did you remember for this test? How's your GPA coming along? All of these things and I think it is partially because of that desire for a metric of success. And it's hard to measure say I've seen-- I haven't recently been paying that much attention but in the past I've seen the ideas about cutting music programs because as a culture we're falling behind in math and science and STEM fields, and saying, okay, let's cut out music and let's cut out art, let's cut all these extraneous things. Because how do you quantify success in these environments? Which you still can, kind of in the grade level, but how do we incorporate more like qualitative success or even remove that word, like qualitative experience, qualitative learning in a school environment since that's, at least I believe that's part of what makes the most successful people successful is they aren't so stuck on just these very linear attachments to this metric. It's these kind of tangential relationships that come together in that qualitative environment. MIKE: Yeah, I mean, I love that. I'm big on this. Education really is my passion at the end of the day and this is something I've been thinking about a lot is how to bring this element of fulfillment into a space that is so married to numbers. And it's damaging too because when students become attached to a number, they're ultimately at the end of the day, they're blinding themselves to the beauty of the journey. And in thinking about how we can incorporate productive failure into programs from a pedagogical perspective is super interesting. And again, like getting back to like the music and the arts, that creative expression is everything. That is so much more important than acquiring a piece of knowledge that ultimately at the end of the day, you're probably going to forget. So, it's about incorporating these elements of creativity and thriving and growing and improvement. And I don't know-- I'm not going to claim to know the answers to how we evaluate that. I think that's incredibly challenging to do evaluating qualitative improvement as opposed to quantitative improvement, but it's something that we need to incorporate more into education, in my opinion, is we need to think more about how are we challenging students? And how are we supporting students? And how are we providing the affirmation and that support that allows a student to grow over time instead of just acquiring pieces of knowledge and meeting test scores. Again, it's a huge discussion, but it's something, it’s a personal interest of mine as well. And I can often reflect on my experiences in sports to bring that into academia as well. Because as we've talked about, like thriving and fulfillment in sports, at least for the both of us is more from a qualitative lens as opposed to a quantitative lens. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 3
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 32 - Mike Haggadone - RUNNING WITH GRATITUDE - Part 2 of 3
Yeah, I kind of think about it too. And I know a lot of people have asked me about why are you doing this? And people eventually stop asking me because they're like, I just don't understand. But I know so, I've been competing in endurance sports almost 20 years now and only this last year, did I get my first overall win.