189: Becoming Unhackable with Kary Oberbrunner
Today I’m speaking with Kary Oberbrunner. Kary is an author, CEO, international speaker and coach who has trained over 250,000 authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs.
Since we last spoke on the very first episode of the podcast, he has made a number of major shifts in his life. He turned a book into 18 streams of income, launched the Igniting Souls publishing agency, and has created massive demand from influencers and CEOs who want to write books of their own and make an impact in the world.
In his new book, Unhackable: The Elixir for Creating Flawless Ideas, Leveraging Superhuman Focus, and Achieving Optimal Human Performance, Kary shows you how to close the gap between dreaming and doing.
Today, Kary returns to the podcast to talk about how he helps individuals clarify who they are, and what it truly means to be unhackable in life and business.
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In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- Why after over a decade in the church, Kary is so skeptical of businessmen who lead with faith.
- The relationship between purpose and income - and why money can’t be the goal.
- How pain helps us understand who we really are.
- Why your brain is as susceptible to hacking as your phone or computer - and how technology has become a barrier between dreaming and doing.
- How to stay on social media without letting it consume, manipulate, or “hack” you.
- Things you can try right now to reduce decision fatigue and become more effective.
- "Money's great. It should be part of it but if you don't know your identity, purpose, and direction, you're going to be a lost soul." - Kary Oberbrunner
- "We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons." - Jim Rohn
- Day Job to Dream Job: The Proven Plan to Break Free, Start Living, and Turn Your Passion into a Full-Time Gig
- The Fine Line: Re-envisioning the Gap between Christ and Culture
- Your Secret Name: An Uncommon Quest to Stop Pretending, Shed the Labels, and Discover Your True Identity
- Unhackable: The Elixir for Creating Flawless Ideas, Leveraging Superhuman Focus, and Achieving Optimal Human Performance
- Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
- The Social Dilemma
DisclosureOffer valid in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, to first-time requestors. During the offer period, receive one (1) in-stock book per request. Limit (1) book per week per household. Limit three (3) books total each calendar year, between January 1 and December 31. Offer valid while supplies last. Howard Bailey Financial, Inc. reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify this offer at any time. Void where restricted or otherwise prohibited.
Casey Weade: Kary, welcome back to the podcast.
Kary Oberbrunner: Hey, it's great to be here. This is a super fun chat that we're going to have and I'm just thrilled, Casey. Thanks for having me.
Casey Weade: Kary, the first time we had this interview is back September of 2018, the first time we ever spoke, and it was me launching the podcast. I was so excited to have you on. We were talking about Day Job to Dream Job, and I had a blast during our conversation. I was so excited that that was my first one because they're not always amazing. They're not always incredible but you brought your A-game and I was just lucky enough that I caught you and you were able to be that one that would come in and help me launch. It’s just so much fun that we were able to have and I'm hoping that today, we're just going to take that to the next level and we did here recently on your podcast. You so graciously brought me on your podcast and I had a blast there, and it seems like that's done really well for you.
Kary Oberbrunner: Absolutely. It was just a huge, downloaded, live stream. Lots of people tuned in, lots of people replayed. I think that your message and mine really coincide with each other because you talk about retiring with purpose and I talk about living with purpose. One of the ways people don't is by getting hacked so this is going to be a fun chat today, and I'll just let you lead the way.
Casey Weade: Well, I want to get into your big launch here, Unhackable, that you just had. That book, it was a fantastic book. I definitely want to get into that. I want to make that a focus for conversation but I'm just curious to know what's happened in Kary's life over the last couple of years. It's been about two years and I think four months since our last conversation and back then I think your focus was more in that realm of Day Job to Dream Job. That's what we focus a lot of our conversation on. How is your focus shifted over the last couple of years?
Kary Oberbrunner: Well, I joined Strategic Coach, and you're part of that, I believe, as well and Dan Sullivan is one of the best and world-renowned entrepreneurial coaches. So, back when we interviewed, I think that I was focused more on my brand, in other words, the Kary Oberbrunner brand as an author, a speaker, a coach, which is not bad. I mean, it's not bad to have a personal brand. In fact, I think most CEOs lack in that area and that's why they are worried because as they move closer to retirement, they think, “I don't exist outside of my company like who am I?” And so, there's a lot of CEOs and people who are moving toward retirement that haven't developed a personal brand. People like Tony Hsieh who recently passed with Zappos and Blake Mycoskie with Toms Shoes and all these different CEOs are starting to kind of create their own brands as well. But I was maybe the other way where I had my own brand but I really hadn't developed the concept of the publishing agency. And, Casey, I think that there's a lot of people watching who might be saying who's their ideal audience? Who's their target audience?
Here's what I suggest. Your former stuck self, your former stuck self because you know that person well and you can empathize with that person. So, for you, you're helping people create financial success tied with purpose. Why? Because that was your own journey. Well, my journey was taking a book and turning into the 18 streams of income and I really focused in that area because now in addition to my own brand, developing that, we've created the Igniting Souls publishing agency, and those CEOs and those influencers are coming to us and saying, “I want a book but I also want to take this book and do what you did. I want to turn it into multiple streams of income, but also impact.” And so, our company now takes books, not only writes them, and publishes them or helps people write and publish them but then we turn it into a course or a mastermind or social media content. So, all these different revenue streams for the owner which is great, they're super happy and excited and that's really grown. When I chatted with you two years ago, zero employees, a few freelancers. Now, we have 35 people plus on our team so it's grown quite a bit.
Casey Weade: Yes, it has. It's pretty amazing and I know there are some out there that’d be interested to know how that could become a retirement income stream, some multiple income streams in retirement. But I love what you said about your own personal brand. A lot of CEOs are starting as a CEO and then maybe they branch off and create this personal brand. I did it the same way. You know, it was all about Casey and now I go, “Uh-oh, this is a problem. How am I going to be able to fulfill the 100-year vision of the company?” I mean, our highest BHAG is that 100 years from now we continue to make a positive impact in the lives of our clients, our employees, and our community. Well, we can't do that if I'm the brand, right? We can't do that if it's Casey. It needs to be, "We're buying Howard Bailey. We like that company. We like the firm. We like what they stand for and what they're creating out in this world,” and that's the big danger in having you be the brand, right?
Kary Oberbrunner: I agree with that. Recently, I met with some advisors and I just want to highly recommend Casey and the need for an advisor. In other words, folks, if you're not having advisors and coaches in your life, you're going to make mistakes. Every advisor, every coach that I have in my life pays for themselves many times over. In other words, it's not an expense. It's an asset. But one of the things my advisor was telling me was, “Kary, do you want to move from a lifestyle business, which exists to kind of give you and your family a life of freedom, finances, and fulfillment? Do you want to create a sellable business?” And that was never my heart like I never thought I'm going to start a business to sell it someday but the reality is, is that every business has a lifespan. And so, your business will either die when you die or before or when you retire. Or you need to make it in such a way where it's sellable like you just said where it will live on and you just nailed it. To do that, you have to shift the branding from you to the company in a value create and so Igniting Souls will outlive me and I had to make that shift. Let's face it, Casey, there's a little bit of humility that needs to happen to do that where you say the company's bigger than Casey, the company's bigger than Kary. There's also some control you need to let go of. So, I would be curious. I know I'm the one being interviewed but did you have to kind of answer those two questions when you made the shift about becoming a little bit more humble and a little bit less controlling?
Casey Weade: Yeah. I'm a weird entrepreneur. I am one that I've never really had a challenge delegating tasks. I hear consistently that is the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs have is letting go and delegating. I think that's been one of the keys to my success is just being a master delegator, which I think is a postcursor and the precursor to that is master implementation. You get a lot, “I'm a master implementer.” You can't be a master implementer unless you're a master delegator and I think that's what I've been really strong at over the years.
Kary Oberbrunner: That is good. Hey, I love it, man. That's a strength. I had to learn it.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Most of us do. It's ours. I want to hold on to it and I go, “Now, somebody can do this better.” Yeah, you do that. I'm going to continue to do the things I really enjoy like this. So, you've made these different transitions, multiple transitions, and I think what many don't recognize is that word, you say Igniting Souls. Yeah, there's an origin story behind that. That comes largely from the transition that happened when you had those zero employees, right? Before that, you are a pastor, correct?
Kary Oberbrunner: Yep. Absolutely. Twelve years a pastor. In fact, I went to seminary and college in Winona Lake, Indiana, which is Grace College, Grace Seminary.
Casey Weade: I grew up in Syracuse, Indiana which is real close to you there. We lived on Winona Lake actually for a summer once.
Kary Oberbrunner: Wow. Well, I'll tell you what, it's a great area. It's a beautiful area. I have a lot of fond memories but I'll tell you what, Casey. I just kind of went that path because that's the traditional path. I mean, if you want to be in ministry and help people, it's like you become a pastor. So, my dad was a pastor. That's what I did and it wasn't long before I realized I feel like I'm a prisoner. And it's not like the church made me a prisoner but I feel like as an entrepreneur, you want risk. In fact, the word ‘entrepreneur’ means bearer of risk. I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I didn't know it because let's face it, we like that predictability, that safety, that security, and the more kids you have, the more responsibilities you have, the more you can just say, "Ah, I'll just maintain. I'll just stay here.” This is why I remember packing my office, Casey, after 12 years of being in that church and I remember thinking, "This is why people don't like to move because there's change,” and I remember thinking, "Am I doing the right thing?” Because when you're a pastor, you don't retire unless you steal money or have an affair. In other words, there's not this pastor exit plan where you say, “Oh, I'm going to move into the entrepreneurial space.” You're kind of looked at as like maybe a sellout or what happened to you? What's the real story? But the reality is, is that I'm now making a much bigger impact in the world than being in that church. I love that church, they're fantastic people, but now I'm having a global impact until to, John Maxwell says, "To go up, you need to give up,” and there are some things I need to give up.
Casey Weade: I'm curious what your thoughts are. In our industry, there are advisory firms that are marketed as, "Hey, we're a Christian firm, we’re a Methodist firm, or we're a Lutheran firm.” They want to market that they are Christian and we have Christian values and these are the things that we do. You are a pastor, you are undoubtedly a devoted Christian, and yet when we get to your website, I don't see a lot in your marketing out there where you're talking about your spirituality or your foundation. What are your thoughts on Christianity and business or religion and business where its place is and how people should consume that? I hear individuals say, “I only want to work with an advisory firm that's a Christian,” and I saw them. They said that they were a Christian. What are your thoughts on that?
Kary Oberbrunner: Man, that is an awesome topic. I love it. In fact, no one ever asked me it but it's one of my favorite topics. I'm going to use an illustration from U2, the band. I don't know if you're a U2 fan or if you ever were but what Bono says, because I studied them quite extensively, because I love the fact that they've been top of the industry for decades, I mean, since they've been 14 and 15. There's an amazing team stuff going on. But what Bono says is he says that his music is his currency to get him on a bigger stage, where he can then share his true message. So, let me break that down. A lot of Christians, their currency is not the value they bring to the business world. Their currency instead is Jesus or the Bible and, as a result, they expect, “Well, I can be an okay businessperson if Jesus is my currency,” and it's kind of like an excuse where I'll lead with my faith and then I might bring business value. I'm the complete opposite. I say, I lead with the business value, that's my currency, creating value for the client. Once the client sees the value that I bring to them, now I have a door open to share a conversation if they want about my faith. So, it's very different. I'm actually skeptical of people who lead with their faith because too many times I've seen people then, it’s a strong word but I'll just say it, they suck at business. You know what I'm saying? Like, “Hey, I'm just going to lead with Jesus in the Bible and God, but I'm really not a hustler. I don't deliver a good business proposition. I'm okay. I'm so, so.” Martin Luther said that the glory of God was a cobbler who created a great shoe at a fair price, and in that, God was glorified. Not a Christian shoe.
Casey Weade: That's good. That's great.
Kary Oberbrunner: In fact, you don't even know this but I wrote a book on this topic called The Fine Line. It was one of my early books where I struggled and I said, "Should I be a separatist who goes out of the world or a conformist who looks just like the world?” And I said, "Neither. I'll be a transformist, someone who's in the world but not of it.” So, that was like my first book.
Casey Weade: Yeah. I love that. That means so much to me because I just have the same feelings.
Kary Oberbrunner: You too and Justin Donald. Some of these people that we run within circles, like all you need to do is go an inch deep and you see their faith but they lead with incredible value just like you. I mean, you deliver a great service. Fantastic product. You're an excellent businessman. Then once we get to know Casey and he's earned the right to be heard, then we can see the faith. I think that's the way it should be.
Casey Weade: Yeah. I wholeheartedly agree, 110%. Thanks for that. I want to go to that Soul on Fire thing. What does Soul on Fire mean to you?
Kary Oberbrunner: Yeah. So, we were created with three questions. Who am I? Why am I here? And where am I going? This is why you and I connect so well because who am I is identity. So, most people start that with that question, “Who am I?” identity, then once that question is answered, you then become other-centric. Instead of saying, “Who am I?” and all your focus is on you, you then begin to say, “Who am I? Okay. Now, I know who I am, my identity. Now, why am I here?” So, now you become all about purpose and your contribution in the world. Once you answer that question, “Who am I? Why am I here?” Then what you usually say is, “I'm in the wrong job. I know who I am. I know my purpose. Why am I doing what I'm doing?” You know, because my parents told me, because I went to college, because this is what you do in the USA, whatever, then that's where you become consumed with where you are. And so, check it out. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Identity, purpose, direction, where those three circles converge is a soul on fire. When you know those three answers, you become a soul on fire. As Ferdinand Foch said, “You're now the most powerful weapon on earth,” and Saint Irenaeus said that the glory of God is a man or a woman fully alive. So, I believe that that is our best thing we can achieve in life. Money's great. It should be part of it but if you don't know your identity, purpose, and direction, you're going to be a lost soul.
Casey Weade: I want to dig into this starting point, who am I? You talk about helping individuals clarify who they are. What's the definition of who I am? Is that just self-awareness? What is the definition of who I am? What's that mean to you?
Kary Oberbrunner: So, I believe in my worldview that we all have a secret name and this might sound a little woo-woo but just hang with me. So, when you say who am I, we can talk about DISC. I'm a D, I. We can talk about Myers-Briggs INTJ. That's what I am. I mean, we can talk about unique ability, where my unique ability is to ignite people in projects to action through clarity, collaboration, and content. I mean, these are all identity issues that I've done a lot of deep digging and found out, but when it comes down to it, one of my books is called Your Secret Name. Your birth name, Casey, my birth name, Kary, will never answer the ache for identity. It's not like you're born and your parents name you and now you're like, “Oh, my identity issue is solved.” That's your birth name but as you go through life, you achieve given names. Given names could be athletes, given names could be for me, I struggled with depression so it could be depressed. So, you go through your life and you pick up all these given names. These are names that are positive or negative but they never answer the true ache. In other words, even the athlete who you think is a positive given name, what happens when they get injured? They lose their identity oftentimes. What happens when a beautiful young lady becomes a burn victim if her identity is tied to her looks?
So, I believe that God wants to give us a secret name, a new name. I get this from a scripture verse where it says, "To the one who overcomes will be given a new name written on a white stone and no one knows the name of it except the one who receives it.” Back in the first century, a white stone was given to you at two different times. It was given to you to enter a party. So, before Ticketmaster, they would give you a white stone with your name written on it, you pass it to the attendant at the gate, they let you in. The other thing that a white stone was done, it was used in a court of law and this is where we get the term blackball because the court back in the day would vote white stone innocent, the black stone meant you were guilty, nothing to do with skin color. So, I know I'm going really deep with this but you asked so the question is my secret name, the name God gave me is Free. In other words, a lot of my life was people-pleasing. It was performance, it was achievements, and it was this big weight that kept me down, perfectionism. And as a result, the new name God gave me in my time of prayer/meditation was the name Free and as a result, I've been free from that. We get into like literature, Lord of the Rings, Aragorn and Strider. I don't know if you're a Lord of the Rings fan, but Strider meant wanderer but he was always supposed to be the king, Aragorn. Lion King, you got Simba, heir to the throne, child of the king. He's supposed to be Mufasa’s heir to the throne but he falls into bad habits and he gets the old name, Murder. So, he runs and he has to come back to his identity.
I know this is really deep and really a little bit woo-woo but I just want to encourage anybody like you're not your given name. You're never going to get your answers in your given name. You're never going to get any chances in the birth name. You need to go on a journey and find your new name. I can keep going on this, man. I teach seminars on this but I think it's a deep thing and I think that we need to go on that deep journey to really find our identity.
Casey Weade: Will that continue to evolve for you? Will Free always be Kary or will that evolve? Do you expect it to evolve?
Kary Oberbrunner: That's a good question. For me, it's a deeper layer. So, it's a deeper understanding. I know people pick their word for the year and that's fine but like that's a theme that happens for 365 days then it's changing. I'll just even use an, people are sports fans here maybe, Orel Hershiser. Orel Hershiser, his nickname back when he stunk as a pitcher, the team named him howdy doody Hershiser like our parents had that howdy doody puppet back in the day or whatever. It was a geeky little puppet thing. Think about that. He's a pitcher and it's his moment of truth and he's staying on the mound and he's thinking about a stupid puppet. What does Tommy Lasorda do? First day of batting, at baseball training, he says, "Orel, get in my office.” He says, "Today, I'm renaming you The Bulldog,” and he says, "That is your new name.” And Orel Hershiser says that is the moment that changed the trajectory of his career because he became The Bulldog. And so, I just want to encourage people like there's something powerful about getting a new identity and it might be a literal name or it might be you go through, for example, let's say someone right now is struggling with cancer and, man, they woke up today and they're discouraged and they're defeated and they think they're losing, and yet, I want to encourage them today like you have a purpose. You can overcome this. And on the other side of cancer, they might have this new name which is overcomer or warrior, and that name will affect them for the rest of their lives.
So, I want to encourage people like you're more than your present reality. You have this future promise. When you walk in that, just like when Jesus saw Simon, which meant obedient boy, who wants that name? Could you imagine a UFC name, obedient boy? But he sees Simon and he says, "Your new name is Peter, The Rock.” I think that's powerful that the God of the universe has a new name for each one of us.
Casey Weade: I could probably stay in this topic for the next half hour but I know there's…
Kary Oberbrunner: We need to plan on it but…
Casey Weade: We might need to have three more interviews but I'm thinking about our son who had CDH, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and we call him the CDH Warrior and we tend to call him warrior since he was born, and I just see it in him. I mean, he is just there. He's going after it. He's going to get what he wants. He's super stubborn. He is there for the fight. He is. Anytime he gets hurt, I mean, he just brushes it off, gets back, goes again. He's a warrior and we've created that in him by naming him a warrior, “Carver, you’re a warrior.” So, I really, I really liked that.
Kary Oberbrunner: We didn’t plan it. I mean, I just picked warrior and there you go so that’s awesome.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, one of my good friends, Chris Smith says, "Words create,” and it really do. Words truly create.
Kary Oberbrunner: Absolutely.
Casey Weade: So, if you're able to name that so we get to that number one stop, who? Then we've defined that. We get to the why, our purpose, and I think that's a good time to interject a question we have from our Facebook audience. Tanya asked a question and I think this also ties back into income streams and what you're doing from an income stream standpoint with your clients, helping them create multiple income streams out of a book, which is really a purpose, something that really drives them and charges them up, a lightning rod to the soul, as I heard Dr. Martine talking about this morning. So, Tanya says, "Does the concept of finding a purpose have to be connected to an income stream?” And she goes on to say, "Or is the thought that once you can find your purpose, there could be an income stream that evolves from that purpose?” So, do you start with an income stream? Do you start with a purpose? I have my own opinions here but I want to hear from you.
Kary Oberbrunner: I love this question and I know there's a lot of haters out there for this question but I'm just going to say how I believe it. I believe that if you find your purpose and your passion, and you are other-centric, okay, so in other words, I tell people all the time, selling is serving. Okay. So, if you found your purpose and your passion and you are all about serving, you will get paid for it. I just believe, and here's why. You're creating value. Anytime you create value, money, which is currency is exchanged. So, I'm not saying, “Ooh, my purpose in life is to be a basketball star and I'm going to be hired by the Bulls, and I want to be dunking basketballs.” No. I'm not saying that at all. But if basketball is my passion and it's my purpose, and I'm other-centric, man, there's all kinds of things I can create around basketball: apparel, coaching, equipment, I mean, you name it. So, it's not apples-to-apples but I'll never be a singer. I just won't. I wasn't gifted. But if my passion is voice, man, there's all kinds of income streams I can create around voice and vocal and coaching and training. So, I hope I answered it but you can’t make money the goal.
Casey Weade: If you have to start with definition of who you are before you get to the purpose, I mean, I am a heck of a lot different today than I was when I was 15, when I was 25, and I would totally define myself differently today than 10, 20 years ago. I think the struggle that this generation has today is they've really got a lot of pressure to find their passion, find their purpose, and they're trying to find that before they've really truly defined who they are. I don't know if we can all define ourselves when we're 15, 25. Some of us might not be able to define ourselves for 50 or 60. I mean, what is your perspective on when we can really find that definition of ourselves? Is this something that is really bestowed upon us at some point in life? We can't push that needle. We can't make it happen. Can we force the definition of who we are and what our purpose is? Or does it have to happen naturally?
Kary Oberbrunner: I love what you just said that you can't discover your purpose until you discover your identity. I think you're on to it. But here's what I will tell you and this is not going to make a hallmark movie. Pain will make you jump the line a lot faster. In other words, when you go through pain in life and I'm not saying it's always health. It could be emotional pain but I would tell you that the area of your deepest wound is often the area of your biggest contribution. So, where we've struggled in life often becomes a strength that when you break a bone and it's reset, it can actually become stronger. The strongest tissue in life is scar tissue. So, pain we know creates strength and this is where a lot of the degeneration or humanity, in general, like we don't want to hear that but we were talking before we started the show, David Goggins’ Can't Hurt Me book. He went through a lot of pain and everybody wants the crown but nobody wants the cross. You need to carry the cross to find the crown and this is the difference between acute pain and chronic pain. Chronic Pain is dumb, purposeless, always there. It's agonizing. It's a bummer. Acute pain is short, intentional, focused, and beneficial. So, if I tear my shoulder and I have a torn labrum, I'm in chronic pain. To get that chronic pain fixed is going to cause more pain, which is surgery, acute pain, and then rehab but I will get healed. And that's where Jim Rohn said it like this, "There are two pains in life, one weighs ounces, the other weighs tons.” He said, "Discipline and regret are two pains in life. One weighs ounces and one weighs tons.” In other words, discipline is painful but when you go through it, you will have strength and not regret.
Casey Weade: Some of that discipline means you got to get out there and create an income stream because we just naturally have to in this world. Most of us, 99.99% of us have to work at least at the onset of life and eventually we might be able to evolve something out of that into what that purpose is, and that can then elevate that income stream to the next level. So, let's make a transition over to your book, Unhackable. What does it mean to become unhackable? Why the title, Unhackable?
Kary Oberbrunner: So, we often think about hack as something that a computer, a phone. The literal definition is when someone or something gains unauthorized access to a system or computer. We know that our bodies are made up of systems, circulatory, respiratory, pulmonary, and our brains are like supercomputers. So, when I think about things getting hacked, I worry about my phone, my computer, my bank account. But what's much scarier is when your brain gets hacked, and your brain gets hacked anytime you get sidelined or sabotage in life because you're basically saying, “I don't feel like I'm in control anymore.” Or something for you, Casey, in your world, a lot of times the economy can hack people or the stocks or the Dow. So, the point is this, that we all are born with dreams but then there's a gap. So, we have a dream, we have a desire, but then there's this gap. I call it ideation and implementation. The word abracadabra means, “I create as I speak.” It's from three Hebrew words: ebra ki dbra. Abra is the word ‘ebrah’ as father. So, it's literally made up of father, son, spirit, those three Hebrew words, which is amazing. But we're born as kids thinking that we can create magic that we're going to say something and it's going to happen. Stop raining so I can play football and it stops raining. Abracadabra. Well, as we grew up as adults, we say that's childish. We can't do that. We can't speak and create, and yet, we know that that's our divine calling like that's what God did. God said, "Let there be light,” and there was light. He had an idea and there and then there was implementation.
So, the book, Unhackable, is saying why is there this gap that exists between dreaming and doing, between ideating and implementing? And what it does is it says that that gap exists a large part because of technology, technology that the average person touches, swipes, taps, clicks their phone 2,600 times a day. The average person has to make 35,000 decisions a day, 226 about food. And so, this is why, Casey, we feel like in today's world, something called decision fatigue, where literally we start out with energy but throughout the day, we have so many thousands of micro-decisions that at the end of the day, we use words like, “I'm running on fumes. I'm going on empty. I'm burnt out. I'm fading.” Energy terms. Well, the book, Unhackable, is all about how to reclaim your life through 30 daily missions. I mean, 30 daily missions over a month but you basically create these missions to reclaim your life and your dreams, so that you can stop getting hacked.
Casey Weade: Now, I like what you said about food. I mean, I hate making a decision about food. I mean, I just loathe it and so I have an assistant that I said, "Your top priority here is to make sure I get fed every day and I don't have to think about it.”
Kary Oberbrunner: What you just said is success and, in the book, we talked about Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama and Steve Jobs even when he was living. They literally reduced their clothing decisions, so that they wouldn't waste energy staring at their closet saying, "Do this, or this, or does this match with this?” In other words, decision fatigue, they said, “I'm going to conserve my energy,” just like Casey, he's a smart guy says, “I'm going to conserve so that I can serve my clients better and be a better father and be a better husband.” In other words, you're delegating. You just said it. You're the master delegator. You're delegating the decisions that are dumb decisions that should be on autopilot, and you've made them become autopilot.
Casey Weade: So, that's one way you're getting hacked is just the decisions that you have to make all day long. I think a lot of people see the title, Unhackable, and start thinking largely about news and social media but it's more than just TV, social media, just this digital world that we're living in. It's more than that.
Kary Oberbrunner: Absolutely. Decision fatigue is a major problem. Of course, tech is, but you can get hacked in other ways. For example, thinking. So, you say, “I'm big-boned like I just have to deal with this weight. My parents had this weight, my grandparents,” and you basically say genetics and yet we know from all the research with epigenetics right now that's going on that Joe Dispenza and other things like you can actually recreate your genes. So, there's this no longer I'm a victim of my genes but your cells are developing, you can actually encode them. I know that sounds a little bit sci-fi but do the research. Google epigenetics and stuff, I encourage people to, but that's an area where your brain, your thinking was hacking you. Or here's one, Casey, in your area, “I'm not rich. My parents were never rich. My grandparents were never rich so I'll never have money.” You just got hacked through BS which stands for belief system and you're never going to outperform your thinking. So, if your thinking has had this cap on it, you're going to keep bumping up against this. The way that you become unhackable is to change. To say Oprah came from nothing and she made it so, obviously, other people can jump the generations. Maybe I can too.
Casey Weade: Well, I like you said, Joe Dispenza. My favorite meditation he has on iTunes that it is my number one played item on iTunes over and over again this morning and evening.
Kary Oberbrunner: I've read his books but I didn't even know about that. So, I’ll check that.
Casey Weade: His meditation guidance is unbelievable. One of the things I see showing up along those lines is those individuals that are retiring, their parents were in the Great Depression era, and they saw them lose everything and always pinch their pennies, and then they're stepping into retirement. They've been pinching their pennies their whole lives and they go, “Well, I can't spend this. I might lose it all,” or, “I can't spend this. I saw mom and dad lose it all.” It's just another story. It's a way that life has hacked us.
Kary Oberbrunner: And the animal world is huge in this area like we've all heard about, I mean, if you google this video, you'll see it. A guy puts an ant on a piece of paper and draws a circle around it and the ant can't go through the circle and then it busts through and then he draws another circle and it's stuck in a circle. It's the same thing. If you take a fish in a small aquarium that's been going like that its whole life, you put it in a bigger aquarium, it stays in that one area. Tiger is the same thing. Elephants, they would put chains on them eventually until they broke the elephant, then they put a rope on it. It could easily break free, but it never does. It's because of the self-limiting beliefs. And there are people right now watching that have self-limiting beliefs that say, "Wealth could never work for me,” and that it's a mental prison. I used to be there. I mean, I grew up of parents of two nonprofit careers. They never had money. I mean, we were evicted on Christmas Eve one year. I mean, you talk about learning that there are boundaries that you're never going to break out. The world wants to keep you there and you have to break out and your journey, my journey, that Soul on Fire journey, that's how you break free.
Casey Weade: Sometimes I feel like being hackable is good, though. I think I am a very hackable person, which in my mind means trainable. I am just obsessed with coaches. I've got coach after coach and I like paying for advice, coaching, consulting, and I allow myself in those areas to be hacked and listening to podcasts, reading constantly, and I am being hacked and I'm okay with it. You know, it's the same thing with Amazon. I think about, well, I never would have known that I needed that product if they wouldn't have put it in front of me and I'm really happy they did or I wouldn't have found it.
Kary Oberbrunner: Right. So, we have adopted the word 'hacked' into meaning shortcut. So, there are terms like life hacker or their hack could be meant as a shortcut but the true definition is, yeah, when someone or something gains unauthorized access to a system or computer but I hear what you're saying. When Amazon does say, "You might like this because you like that,” but here's where we're moving, Casey, as a world, I mean, you see it with marketing where you visit a website and because of pixeling, everywhere you go now on the internet, in fact, I looked at a bike jersey six months ago and it's still chasing me around the internet. When I go to different sites, it's like, "You might like this jersey.” So, in other words, it's hacking my brain, and eventually, I might just buy it just to stop the ad but that's where Apple is right now and I get it. I nerd out on this stuff because I'm into marketing, but Apple and Facebook are fighting right now because Apple is saying you don't have the ability for privacy issues to track people everywhere. So, there's a whole big marketing war going on right now.
Casey Weade: I'm one to, you know, I look for those pixels. I want them there. I want them to learn what I like so they make my life a little bit easier. I feel like there are some benefits to that. I think this goes along the lines of one of our fan questions. It came from Scott, one of our Weekend Reading subscribers, and for those of you that subscribe to Weekend Reading, we send out an email prior to our guest interview here so that you can submit your questions. Be the first to submit, and Scott did just that. He said, "Much has been written on how to be better multitaskers for productivity. Most of it negative. Are there any situations where multitasking actually works?” I feel like this is along the lines of Unhackable. It comes along with those 30-day habits and he says, “Are there any ways that actually works?” Because he says, well, like listening to this podcast, I’m on commute. I'm doing two different things. Is that okay? I think multitasking is just so constantly beat up. I feel like there are some benefits. I don't know what your thoughts are.
Kary Oberbrunner: Yeah. Listen. I ride the Peloton. I’m wearing my little logo today. I wish they call me to be a sponsor.
Casey Weade: You've been hacked.
Kary Oberbrunner: Yeah, but I'm always listening to audiobooks while I'm riding Peloton, but here's the difference. Did you say, Scott?
Casey Weade: Yeah.
Kary Oberbrunner: Scott, I love what Scott asks. Here's the point. It's two cognitive things that you can't do at the same time. And all the research has shown that it's not multitasking. It's actually called switch tasking. So, when you are trying to do two cognitive things like talk to Casey on a Zoom while you're sending an email to someone else, literally, your IQ drops 40 points, which is worse than being stoned. So, Casey, you have kids. How many?
Casey Weade: We have three.
Kary Oberbrunner: Three. Imagine one kid coming to you and then another kid and another kid, all three, trying to ask you for different things at the same time. The brain cannot…
Casey Weade: That happened this morning. One was screaming while the others…
Kary Oberbrunner: That’s right. But here's what we do as parents. We say, "Hold on. What do you need? What do you need? What do you need?” The point is that you can drive and talk in the phone. Why? Because your subconscious takes over your driving and this is just the truth. Many times, we hop in a car and we drive 25 minutes on autopilot and the conscious system goes into control when we're about to get into an accident. In other words, it snaps us out of the autopilot. But I love what Scott is saying. You can mow the lawn and listen to a podcast but what you can't do is give a speech and create a PowerPoint at the same time and expect that your productivity is going to go up. It actually goes down. And that's called attention residue. Attention residue is where you literally leak your energy on different cognitive tasks. So, part of my mind is here, and then when I shift to this task, it's here and then I go back and forth, and back and forth, and I'm leaking attention. And that's called attention residue.
Casey Weade: That's good. I like that because that's what I do. You know, if I'm focused on one thing, I’m focused on one thing, but I'm always listening to something but I can't possibly read something and listen to my wife talk at the same time.
Kary Oberbrunner: Yes.
Casey Weade: It doesn't work well for multiple reasons. And so, one of the things I do want to ask, though, when it comes to the news, when it comes to social media, when it comes to the news, how do we stay informed? How do we stay entertained, while avoiding being hacked? And this is a huge problem with, say, clients that we work with. They're watching the news all day long and it's just panic, constant fear that's being shoved down our throats and it's happening on social media, as well. So, you have that problem with news, social media. How do you stay informed and still stay positive and energized? I feel like I do need to know the news and I have to pay attention to news, especially in the career that I'm in but I also don't want to be hacked by it or influenced by it. How do you balance that? I mean, you're a heavy user of social media. You have a huge social media presence and yet, you have to avoid being hacked by it.
Kary Oberbrunner: Here's what I say and it sounds a little arrogant, but I just say it anyway. You can either watch the news or make the news. So, what do I mean by that? I mean that my wealth advisor tells me, "Stop watching the news because if you watch the news, and you're going to make long-term investment decisions, today, you would have sold tomorrow you'll buy.” It's just over and over and we thrash the law of compounding by making emotional decisions based on those fear, headlines. The Social Dilemma is a great Netflix episode. Watch it because I know you might have but your people should watch it because they say that negative and fear-based news gets six times more shares than positive news. So, think about that. If you are a media company that makes money off of advertisements and commercials, what do you think you're going to write about? You're going to be six times more effective if you create fear-based negative-laced news, your profit margins are attached to it. The brain focuses on what's a fight or flight. So, our brains will literally look out for survival to know we got to grab onto them. So, this is where news is no longer serving us. News is now creating inside of us animalistic impulses, where we're now glued to the screen. Why? Because something in my kitchen cabinet might be killing my family, some chemical.
I'm just saying you will find out about news. It's impossible not to find out about news. If something were happening in the world, you'll find out. So, you can either be waiting for it or you can be watching it. Here's the lie we tell ourselves, Casey, “I got to watch the news 24/7 so I know what's going on.” I dare people to then regurgitate what they just heard. In other words, the people are so addicted to CNN, constant negative news, they can't regurgitate and explain to their friend what's happening. So, we're literally reactionary. We're not learning to learn. We're learning to respond and react. It's fear-based, panic-induced fear-mongering, and I just want to encourage people like it's addictive, like you will get hacked. Because I can watch what's happening with Trump and Biden every single day, there's always a story. There's always something cutting edge. Or I can wait until the news actually finally releases and I would have gained months of my life.
Casey Weade: My closest friend is a huge consumer of especially political news, but just the news in general, and he always makes fun of me. He goes, “Well, Casey doesn't really know what's going on because he doesn't pay attention.” The same thing happens with the market. I'll have someone ask me, “Hey, what's going on in the market today?” I go, “I don't know. I don't need to pay attention to it today.” Well, isn't that your job?” I know my job is to make the market and the news irrelevant. I want to structure a plan in such a way that that doesn't matter. The day-to-day news even the year-to-year news shouldn't matter to me and that's how we become unhackable at part.
Kary Oberbrunner: Well, it's because you're a great wealth advisor. The people I chat with, they basically say, "If you look at the last 30 years and you missed these 19 days of the market when it went up, you're done.” So, like if we would have made emotional decisions in those 19 days over the last 30 years, we would have made decisions for the day and wrecked our retirement. And so, you're a guy who basically does what you're supposed to and that's you protect us from the market emotion.
Casey Weade: And the news.
Kary Oberbrunner: And the news. I love it.
Casey Weade: I want to ask you one more question on Unhackable. You got 30 daily habits in the book. Could you just give us one or maybe your favorite? It doesn't have to be your favorite. You probably love them all but maybe the first one that comes to mind that you go, “Hey, this is one you could take back. Try it out tomorrow.”
Kary Oberbrunner: Sure. Urgency. Urgency is I think day 17 but what it basically says is that you need to create a deadline for your dream, and here's why. Because we call it health care or urgent care. Why is it called urgent care? Because there's a cost if you don't get seen medically. Unlike just going into the doctor for a physical, urgent care means there's a cost. And what we've done in our lives is we haven't created costs or deadlines for our dreams. We just say, “I'll get to that when I want to get to it. I'll get to it when it's important.” And we never do. It's a lot. We are literally lying to ourselves. Jim Rohn called it the law of diminishing intent. The longer you wait to do something, the less likely you will ever do it. So, right now there are things in people's minds that are called open windows where they haven't made a decision and it's literally like RAM on a computer and there are too many windows open, and it's sucking their productivity. And so, what I do is I encourage people to get a post-it note, write down all the unmade decisions that they have, the smallest, the biggest, getting a landscaper, you name it. And all these decisions, they write them down and they might have 30 of them and these 30 decisions are literally grinding their subconscious all the time and slowing down their productivity.
What you do is you put a poster up and it says, "Do,” it says, "Delegate,” and it says, "Dump.” And you take these 30 post-it notes and under do, you put the ones that you want to do. Under delegate, Casey’s favorite word, you put delegate. And under dump, you put all those. And dump requires a murder. Here's why. The word decide means to kill. To kill. It's the same suffix as suicide, homicide, pesticide, insecticide. Decide means to kill and many people do not want to kill off decisions and as a result, they stay unhealthy. So, you never have delay. Delay is simply putting away the inevitable that you have to do, sucking up your palate. You want to become unhackable? Do, dump, or delegate.
Casey Weade: It's good. It's good. I've went through that exercise. I go through that exercise every morning, actually, as I go through my to-do list and everything that I have going on my list. There was a Facebook video you posted a couple of years ago. Why the goal is not retirement? I would like to reconvene. I think that discussion could be longer than maybe what we have time for here today. Would you be open to come back on and having that specific discussion? Maybe it's 30 minutes but we talk about why the goal is not retirement, how you define retirement, the 80/20 rule you talked about, true retirement’s definition. Would you be open to come back on having that conversation here?
Kary Oberbrunner: Absolutely. You're awesome and that hour whipped by today so it’s a blast.
Casey Weade: It did. Well, hey, if you enjoyed the conversation, if you like the idea of becoming unhackable, then I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the offer that we have for you today. Kary is so gracious and so giving, he's sent us over a box of his books. We're going to send those out until they're all gone. Absolutely no cost. All you have to do is send us an email at email@example.com after you have written a review for the podcast. That's how we get noticed. And so, if you want to write a review and do it on iTunes. An easy way to do it is go to RetireWithPurpose.com. Go to the Podcast tab that says Leave Review. Click on Leave Review. Do so then send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org your iTunes username. We'll verify it. We'll send you out a copy of Kary’s book, Unhackable, at absolutely no cost. Thank you for being so gracious, Kary, and thank you for coming on the show. And I look forward to our next conversation on why the goal is not retirement.
Kary Oberbrunner: Thanks for having me, Casey, and all that you do. Thank you.
Casey Weade: Until next time.