Really great to have you here. And to be honest, I've been looking forward to this conversation for a long time. You first came on my radar or your substack, I should say first came on my right radar, probably six months ago, or so. I believe it was the article that you wrote that was entitled something to the effect of how to know when to stop, which detailed your experience stepping down from a rapidly growing career in the technology industry, which will, which we'll get into. But that started the rabbit hole of going through your sub stack. And I guess if I would put a title page on it, you write about mental health for high achievers, which maybe for obvious reasons for some is kind of exactly what I was interested in at the time. And I've read substantially every article that you've posted since then. So I am very much familiar with your story. But for folks listening who may not be as familiar with your story, would you mind sharing it with us, and what led you to what you are doing today?
Sure, sure. Let me see if I can give the is the Instagram highlight reel of my background. I grew up in central California, on a small family farm in a blue collar community, it was sort of a classic scenario of work hard, earn your way into the top college and find your way into an interesting or successful career, and then everything will be taken care of. And so that's genuinely what I did, I left that small town and went to college, graduated college and started emailing CEOs of companies, because I figured that might be a more successful, interesting way for me to get my career going. One of them happened to respond to one of the cold emails that I sent out. And he was the founder and CEO of, I think it was his fifth company. And that company happened to be a financial technology business.
So that's how I got my career started fresh out of college, and basically stumbled into the technology industry. After a couple years there, that's when I realized that, hey, this world of software is interesting. Let me go and, and play my cards in Silicon Valley and see if I could build my career there. And that's what I did. I spent about 15 years working in the Silicon Valley, I was involved early on at Facebook, when it was just a few 100 people. Same at Twitter, when it was about 100 employees. And then I went even earlier stage at both Cora and Wealthfront, where I was one of the first 15 employees. And I did a variety of work all related to growth and product, before eventually I grew with with Wealthfront from a small business into a larger, successful company and found myself as first VP running both growth and product. And then eventually as the president of the company.
After Wealthfront, I spent a few years as one of the founding members of an early stage venture capital firm called Unusual Ventures. And I was the founding partner on the consumer side who helped get that venture that part of the venture firm up and running. But it was after a couple of years in the venture world where this nagging issue or this problem of repeated professional burnout, and really broader emotional, and what I would call spiritual burnout was something that I had pushed down many times in my career previously. And continue to soldier on and work through it, even though I was really struggling significantly on the inside. But eventually, things just sort of came to a head and I realized later in 2020 that doing the work that I was doing and working as hard as I was working, and continuing to pursue more professional success and financial attainment and esteem just was something I was no longer willing to do.
Because at one point, it became very clear to me that another promotion or another bonus or a bigger paycheck, but none of that was going to solve the the ongoing internal emotional challenges that I was having. And that the longer that I pursued those things, the more I was just distracting myself from the work that I really needed to do in terms of of healing a bunch of old pain that I had suppressed for a very long time. So the short answer is, you know, a good career in tech that eventually I call quits on because I just needed to take care of myself.
You mentioned burnout. And that's something that I want to quickly jump on, because it was something that I was diagnosed with many years ago. And prior to that diagnosis, I always thought that, you know, in all of my wisdom that burnout was just a synonym for being tired. And of course, I learned that that is not true, and that it's a real clinical diagnosis that often requires more formalized treatment. So I guess in your case, how did you know that you had evolved from what I'll loosely refer to as a, quote, normal or expected level of burnout? Said another way, how did you know that it was something that went beyond, you know, day to day exhaustion, and is something that warranted, you know, either formal treatment or more drastic action in your case?
I mean, frankly, I just hit rock bottom, it took, you know, just a significant step back in my overall wellness and fulfillment in life. And I thankfully, at one point, adopted a morning routine of meditation, because I was just searching for anything to help me kind of get through the day, other than drugs, or whatever else that I might turn to, to sort of numb myself out. And it was during a consistent and prolonged daily meditation that it sort of just hit me out of nowhere, where I just, I would wake up, I would sit in my bed to meditate, and I would just cry. I would just ball the entire time, that would go on for 30 minutes to an hour. And that happened every single day. And it was, during one of those meditations where yeah, just hit me like a ton of bricks, it was so clear that I was completely out of emotional energy and drive and just general satisfaction with anything in life, that something had to change.
So it took that that one moment of clarity to take a step back and to truly assess, like, how am I doing? And, and I was so down the rabbit hole of being focused on work that I'd put on these blinders, and just really didn't realize how much of my relationships are suffering, whether those were friendships or romantic relationships, or even the connection with my own family, and being distant and not engaged enough. My physical health was failing relative to where it used to be. And my ability to exercise was drastically reduced. My sleep was interrupted, and my nutrition was erratic. I'd eat healthy, and then I'd eat like shit, and I'd eat healthy, and I'd eat like shit. And I just do that over and over again. And so that's when things became very clear. It was like, I just was able to have a conversation with myself and say, This isn't working.
And if I continue down this lifestyle and path that I'm on, I don't see any way in which this turns positive. So, for me that that's how I arrived at that clarity was frankly, just a complete bottoming out, and feeling afraid for my life that if I didn't change something, that I would not be optimistic about my future.
Now, as I said, most so much of what you write about is about mental health, and managing mental health for the kind of high achiever bucket. And in the past, you said something really interesting that I actually want to double click on. You said, I used to believe that I was only lovable and valuable as a human being so long as I was achieving how I felt on the inside was predicated on how I was performing on the outside, which I think is something that I think we can all resonate with. So I guess maybe a two part question for you with regards to that specific quote, A, how did you come to that realization? I think so many of us are experiencing the same thing, but maybe we just haven't come to that realization yet. And to since you've come to that realization, how have you kind of undone if you will, decades of conditioning that suggested that your overall sense of happiness should be tied to the concept of achievement?
Sure. So a lot of it goes to my background. When I was young, my mom was very mentally ill, and that stemmed from her own significant trauma that she had earlier in her life. And so she was bipolar. She had been in and out of various psychiatric Institute's and had attempted suicide on separate occasions, one of those I was I had experience or witness to it, which was very unpleasant when I was probably eight or nine. And she also struggled with addiction. And so the first 10 years of my life involves a lot of uncertainty, volatility at times chaos. And I think for me being quite young with my brain and my nervous system still developing, and my psychological systems still developing, it was a difficult environment, and that had a lasting impact on me. And it wasn't until later in life that I had to revisit those early childhood experiences that were either traumatic or just weren't nurturing.
And I had to revisit those things in order to try and find the truth or the root cause behind the psychiatric symptoms that I was experiencing as an adult. And it was through that process of psychoanalysis combined with various forms of trauma therapy, such as EMDR, and exposure response therapy, which are forms of therapy that basically allow you to expose yourself or revisit traumatic experiences that have had a lasting and continued impact on oneself. And I also used psychedelic assisted psychotherapy on a couple of occasions, to also dive deeper into understanding myself and trying to work through different experiences that I'd had when I was young that I knew were still having a significant impact on me as an adult. And it was through years of work of slowly peeling back the onion on the psychological and emotional challenges I was having.
Where then eventually, I arrived at a core insight into some of my fundamental programming, in terms of how I thought about the world and how I presented myself to the world. And one of those insights is what you mentioned around this deeply held internal belief that if if I'm not this perfect kid, if I'm not succeeding, if I'm not earning all the blue ribbons and trophies, well, then I'm not worthy of love. And I think that was that that negative internal belief was really just the byproduct of how I internalized many of those experiences I had as a kid, where if there was a part of me that was thinking that maybe if I was this perfect kid, or if I was better, if I was always top of my class, then maybe I would get treated better. Or I would have a better relationship with my mom, or I would just receive more congratulations, and support from all the adults in my life, including teachers and coaches, what have you.
So I think you can you take that specific background that I had, and how I internalized those difficult experiences I had as a kid. And then you put that within the cultural context of an American culture, which really values individuality, achievement, and attainment, professionally and financially. And I think it was just a combination of all these factors that led me to believe early on that really, the point of life is to be this achieving, you know, highly successful person. And that related to that my self worth is entirely attached to what I do externally to the results that I produce. And so I just fell into that pattern of behavior, really as a response to the world around me, but also as a coping mechanism to the emotional pain I was experiencing when I was young. And that became my mode of operating. And so I was I was a top of my class sort of kid, basically my whole life and captain of the teams that I played on in sports.
I was voted most talented in high school and just it led to an amazing childhood in many ways because I really excelled and it felt good. But eventually, that just went overboard, where that mode of operating, which sort of brought me out of a very dark place as a kid through the path of success and achievement, eventually, that became the dominant narrative in my life. And then it started to work against me, because then I was focused on achievement at the expense of everything else. So to answer your question, you know, that's how I discovered that kernel was through a really consistent, dedicated process of internal engineering and trying to understand myself. And to the second part of your question of like, how did I start to change that? I guess the short answer is slowly and surely, it's still something that I struggle with today. And I accept that as well.
Because I also have to admit to myself that that part of my psyche has been with me for at least 30 years, probably more like 35 years. And for me, do you expect to entirely drop that really sort of root level programming of my mind instantaneously, to expect to drop it very quickly, I have to give myself the grace of saying, Andy, be patient, and give it time. But one of the very first things that I needed to do, and this isn't necessarily for everyone, but for me, it was, I said, you know what, if I'm driven almost at the subconscious level, to constantly achieve, because that's the way in which I feel valuable and worthy, and that has gone overboard. Well, then, if I want to correct that, because that narrative is now leading to negative consequences that are no longer making my life enjoyable and fulfilling, then one of the first things I needed to do was extract myself from the environment in which I was being obsessed with success.
And so for me, that meant that my time as an executive or as an investor in Silicon Valley was over, and that I no longer wanted to be there physically within that environment that is constantly pushing people to go harder and further. And I was no longer in love with the work either, because I was now aware of what it was taking from me. And so that's not to say that I believe Silicon Valley is negative, it's a bad place, not at all. I'm very happy that I went there and built the career that I did. I don't want to come across as somebody that's talking as if I think the work environment there must change. Rather, it's just this awareness that it served a point in my life. But then that point was over. And it was time for something new. And for me, that meant to eject myself out of that place and to begin the process of rebuilding.
So I want to stay on this topic, or this question of when a focus on achievement and ambition. How do we understand when it's a good thing and how do we understand when it's a bad thing? Because, you know, many people listening to this will be familiar with personality profiling tools like Myers Briggs, or Strengths Finder, Predictive Index or anything like that. In every such personality test that I have ever taken, the personality profile that overwhelmingly comes my way is that of an achiever, that is someone who, for better or for worse, tends to derive a lot of their overall sense of happiness and fulfillment from the concept of regular achievement. What I've learned over time is that that's a very common maybe it's even a necessary trait for entrepreneurs and CEOs, which most of the folks listening are. But I guess the question is, and this is a difficult one, how and when do we interpret these things as helpful, relentless sense of ambition and focus on achievement? And when do we start to recognize them as being like counterproductive or even harmful? Or is there even a way to differentiate between the two?
Yes, it's a good question. It's the kind of this age old challenge of striving versus self acceptance. And in trying to determine at the level of the individual, where's the line in the sand? And I say at the level of the the individual because there's tremendous heterogeneity within the human population. And where that line in the sand is for me, with respect to the trade off between striving and self acceptance maybe in a different place for another person. And I think that's an important point is still at the end of the day, you have to make an individual assessment. But for me, I'd say there was a clear cut line where if one's pursuit of success or achievement, then pushes somebody outside of the normal or acceptable range of emotional and physiological stress that an individual can handle. And it puts them into these excessive ranges that then excessive ranges of stress, and overwork, and burnout, and all that stuff.
Where it then reveals itself in dysfunction of your basic biological functions, for example, your weight, your physical health, your sleep, the quality of your relationships, your sensitivity to external stimuli. For example, things that in the past when upset you, but then those same things lead to a complete blow up, or outbursts of anger and rage. I think the first thing that I look for in that is a good guiding post for most folks is, is their work, leading them consistently to a decline in those basic physiological and biological functions. That's sort of the first question, right, it's like, if you go and adopt a dog, and you put it in an environment where that dog is so stressed out that it won't eat, well, then clearly, you got to do something to change the environment or the situation for that dog, because you know that this is beyond what that dog's nervous system can handle right now.
He needs to find that that place of safety and calm to where then these basic physiological processes return. So that's number one is, look at those core aspects of your life, your weight, your sleep, your exercise, ability, or drive the quality of your relationships, look at those basic things and assess, honestly, truthfully, where are they? The other thing I would say is that you have to have a specific goal in mind, so that you can make the trade off and ask yourself whether the juice is worth the squeeze. And I remembered when I entered Silicon Valley, I had no big lofty goals to begin with, other than I wanted to get a decent paying job so that I could pay off my student loans, because I had a negative net worth. And when your net worth is negative, that's an awful feeling. Especially having grown up as a kid where we didn't have a lot of money. At one point, our family was bankrupt.
So I came from a background where financial insecurity was a very real thing. There are even moments of food insecurity for us. And so for me, like being in a negative net worth, range was not a pleasant experience. And I just wanted to dig out of that as quickly as possible. And so at that time, I made the assessment that working really hard, which included not only my day job, but I was also doing consulting on nights and weekends by sending cold emails to entrepreneurs on TechCrunch. I was putting in that extra time and effort because I wanted to build the career, I wanted a solid financial foundation. And it was worth it in those earlier years. But then eventually, it got to a point where I said, look, I don't need that much money to be happy. I certainly don't need the Silicon Valley levels of wealth in order to be happy. I had a relatively modest sort of magic number, so to speak, in terms of how much I wanted to make.
And then I said, well, from here, I can call it quits and just walk away. But the problem is, is in those situations, you tend to move the goalposts, and I kept moving it and moving it because you kind of get sucked into that pattern of behavior. And all of that was was happening again when I just had the blinders on and I was so addicted to this path of success that I just completely lost touch with the the sort of basics of reality that I didn't need tens of millions of dollars to be happy and so I didn't need to be working anymore the way that I was, because what was the point? 15 years into my career, I didn't have to worry about student loans anymore. I didn't worry have to worry about making my, my apartment payment or my housing payment, I was in a much better situation financially. And so I had sort of obtained the goal that I had in mind. I had reached the goal of no longer being broke and feeling that sort of insecurity. But then I continued on well past that goal.
And so that's when I had to sort of, again, take this big step back and say, why the fuck am I doing this? What is driving this? That's when I really had to dig deep to figure out, why won't I stop despite a part of my conscious awareness, knowing that what I'm doing is not good for me, and it's not necessary anymore. So I don't know man, it truthfully, it's really hard to figure out, it's just something that somebody has to make that conscious trade off and be aware of with themselves. And the best guidance I can give is, for anyone, if you're outside of your normal, acceptable ranges of stress, and overworked for too long, and you see your basic functions declining, that is something to really pay attention to, and to get on top of right away. And secondly, it's know what your goal is, don't just be mindlessly droning on doing more and more stuff without really pausing and asking yourself like, why the fuck am I even doing this? So know what your goal is. And be aware of the basics of whether or not you're feeling well, and your body and your mind are operating in a healthy range.
Yeah, the concept of moving the goalposts forward is a really interesting one. Because as human beings for whatever reason, when we achieve a goal, usually unconsciously, the first thing that we do is to move the goal line immediately forward towards a bigger, more difficult, more ambitious goal. And most of us, in many cases fail to appreciate that we are all living the lives that we dreamed of living five years ago. But very few of us ever come to that realization for that same reason. And actually, anywhere I want to go next is the concept of anxiety. I want to ask you a few specific questions about anxiety, because you in my experience is someone who continues to battle with anxiety. In many instances, it's a very normal, and frankly, it's a very useful emotion for people to feel with. With my own experience with anxiety, it's clear that sometimes it's of the helpful variety.
So for example, a kind of waves of flags, so to speak, telling me that there's a problem that I need to address. But in other cases, anxiety is less helpful, right? So maybe this is like, unnecessary or unproductive or unfounded levels of worry. So if I were to say that in a different way, sometimes it feels like we should listen to our anxiety. And sometimes it feels like we should completely ignore our anxiety, or at least try our best to manage it. And personally, and maybe this question is a bit of a selfish one. I've always struggled with when to do what? When to listen to it and interpret it as useful versus when to kind of ignore it as being of the unusable or unconstructive variety? I'm curious, like what is your experience been? And have you learned anything about this same question?
Yeah, I've learned some. It's still perplexing at times. But yeah, I agree with what you said at a high level that these signals from our body, they're conveying something important to us in many cases. And the goal isn't to never feel anxious, or to never feel any sensation or emotion that we would deem as negative. That's not the goal in life. Because chances are, if you're not feeling any of the negatives, you're not feeling any of the positives either, right? They tend to go hand in hand and I don't think being at a complete flatline response list anything negative or positive in life, that's not the goal. And so I'd say that my first reaction is that yes, anxiety can be positive. If you sit there when you're feeling anxious, and you ask yourself, okay, body mind, why am I feeling anxious right now? And what are you trying to teach me?
Because it's teaching you something, it's telling you something in the same way that the feeling of hunger is telling you, hey, you might need to eat soon. So that's the first part of it is is consider it an important Messenger, and then just stop to listen to what it's trying to tell you, because it'll probably teach you a lot about the art of living. And it's probably trying to tell you that, hey, there's something you're missingmthat is an essential part of what it means to be a, this social human being, right? To be this mammal, like you're missing something. So a common example of this for me is, and I would have this a bunch as a kid, especially after my mom died was, I get anxiety and at times, I'd even get panic attacks when I was alone. And all that was sort of stemming from abandonment issues I had as a kid that still continue with me today.
And it's communicating an important message when I feel that anxiety when I'm alone, because it's basically saying like, hey, Andy, be around other people, you're a mammal, you're a social creature, you feel safer, you just naturally, it's not even a cognitive process. It's an animalistic process, it's happening inside of me as an organism that I feel safe. When I'm around other people when I'm around a pack of dogs, right? That's kind of where we're meant to be. However, it's also communicating something to me, that's false. You know, if I'm sitting at home, and everything is perfectly fine, I got my exercise in, I have nothing going wrong in terms of my personal or financial or professional life. Everything's great. But I'm sitting on the on the couch and my chest is, is pounding. Because my heart is just racing underneath it.
And I sit there and ask it like, what are you trying to teach me? There's moments where it's not teaching me shit. Other than, hey, Andy, this is the residual effect of your childhood plus, you're a little bit of genetic predisposition. This is the effect of that on your nervous system, that may just be an indelible part of who you are. So in that sense, it's still teaching me something. It's teaching me something deep and profound about myself, which is what led me to, after many, many years of being reluctant, led me to reach out to my therapist and say, hey, I think I want to consider getting on medication. Eckhart Tolle refers to this, as in he, for the folks that don't know, he's the author of The Power of Now, I think he's written one of the most important books on awareness and spirituality, especially for the West in the last 20, 30 years. He's the real deal.
But one of the concepts he talks about is what he calls pain body. And he talks about it within the context of anxiety, often, and he refers to it as pain body, which is his way of basically saying, like, hey, sometimes, things that happened to you in the past that might have been traumatic, those things really do get stored in your body. And sometimes the pain body, the body is just reacting constantly to old pain, even though your present situation and circumstances are not reflective of that old pain. And this is an experience that anyone with PTSD, which was a diagnosis I'd received in the past, and is one of the reasons why I like working with military veterans through a nonprofit I'm involved with, but anyone that's got PTSD, whether you're a soldier, survivor of sexual assault, and so on, they can relate to this concept of the pain body.
Where you're just sitting there on a park bench on a sunny day, but for some reason, a part of your body is reacting as if it's in a fight for its life. And so I think that's the distinction I would make is always pay attention to the anxiety. Ask it the question, okay, what are you trying to communicate to me right now. And in some cases, you'll find that it's communicating something that is important, and something you can do something about right away, for example, maybe you haven't exercised in three or four days and the body's saying, hey, I need you to put me to work a little bit. And so you go, you exercise and all of a sudden the anxiety goes away. Great. That would be a common scenario. And then for folks like myself that kind of fall into the pain body category of the anxiety isn't really telling me something other than that my default nervous system is set to nervous and anxious.
Then it still may be communicating that, hey, this is something that goes beyond psychological conditioning, and really may be sitting at a root level of how one's nervous system has been biologically changed by prior circumstances. And that something like medication may be appropriate, which I ultimately decided was true for me. So, anyhow, I'll pause there for a bit because I know I said a lot. But that's how I think about anxiety.
And what is the name of that book just in case people are interested in checking it out,
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and his name is E, C, H, A, R, T, or E, C, K, H, A, R, T, and Tolle, T O L L E. Brilliant book, it's a masterpiece. I don't agree with everything in it. But the basic principle of the book is teaching everyone about this core cycle that we're all subjected to, which is we have a thought, that thought produces an emotional response in our body. That emotional response then leads to us pursuing a specific behavior. And learning how to become familiar with the thought emotion behavior loop and learn how to control that is really the way that I would summarize backyards, teachings in that book.
So a lot of people listening to this, in the past will have probably described themselves as anxious people, right, whether it be just conversationally casually, somewhat flippantly. But some folks listening to this might be asking themselves who had previously considered themselves anxious? Like, what how do they know if they're experiencing a, quote, normal or acceptable level of anxiety? Versus a level that would require, you know, more meaningful treatment or more drastic action?
Yeah, I think I'm gonna kind of borrow on a little bit from the world of addiction, you know, the simple definition of whether or not something is sort of a compulsion versus an addiction is when it produces negative consequences. But despite those negative consequences, you're still unable to stop. Right? That's sort of the most basic definition of an addiction is, you're aware of the negative consequences, but you still cannot stop despite those. And to translate that a little bit to the to the world of anxiety, I sort of think about it similarly, it's like, is the anxiety producing negative consequences in your life, despite some of your sort of short term attempts to control it? And if the answer to that question is yes, like if the anxiety prevents a reasonable amount of social interaction, if it prevents you from being able to do work that you normally find pleasant or enjoyable. If it's creating continuous instances, or repeated instances of negative life circumstances that impacts a portion of your life that you view as like essential and meaningful, and I think it's something worth taking a look at.
That's a great, that's a great way to summarize it. And you wrote a fantastic piece on, essentially how to pick a therapist. So since I came forward with my own story a couple of years ago, a couple things happened in sharing my own diagnosis of anxiety and at the time, depression. A, I was blown away by how many people reached out to me behind the scenes and shared something to the effect of, hey, I had no idea you're going through this, you know, you'd never believe this. But I went through it a month ago or a year ago, or I'm still going through it. And of course, my response to them was, oh, I never would have thought you were going through something similar. So it just it went to show me how many people are actually dealing with something similar. We just tend to not know. The other reaction that I got, I would say second most frequently is or question I should say is, hey, how should I go about picking a therapist? There's a million therapists out there, how do I choose the one for me? So you wrote a great piece on that recently, and we'll link to it in the show notes. But would you mind just sharing with us how you thought about that very question and how you think others might think about that same question.
Yeah, yeah, I'll I'll try and condense it down to a few key points. The first is after you do a bit of shopping, because sometimes you just need to have a few sessions with many therapists to sort of window shop a little bit before you feel that you found the right fit is, trust your instincts around and your intuition around, do I feel comfortable and safe with this person? If the answer's no, then you may not need to introspect in it any more than just saying, okay, not the right fit. It's really important that you find somebody you feel comfortable and safe with. Because at the end of the day, if you don't feel safe, then the process of healing may not even get started. And in addition to that, so much of the therapeutic process is focused on catharsis, which is just letting out the shit that you've been holding on to.
And if you don't feel comfortable and safe, then you won't be fully truthful or honest with this person. And that will limit this cathartic experience, which is, in my opinion, the most important first step of therapy is just airing out all the shit that you've been holding on to whether those are lies or bad experiences you've been through, or just old pain that you need to just let out and you just want to cry, then you can only do that if you're feeling safe and comfortable. So that's number one. Number two, and I don't hear people talk about this a lot. But I actually think it's very important is, I think you have to find a therapist that's more intelligent than you are, or that is at least as intelligent as you. And given that this is a Silicon Valley audience, I looked into this, and there's a data point, I saw that. I think it's directional, it's not exact.
But from one data point, I saw the the sort of average IQ of somebody who's a entrepreneur in Silicon Valley is like 129, somewhere between 129 and 132, which basically puts you in the top one or 2%, of sort of raw reasoning abilities, at least, according to standardized IQ measures. And so I think that actually equips somebody who's reasonably intelligent to be able to think through their own life, their own circumstances, to analyze themselves in ways that can be quite deep. And if you're working with a therapist, that is, I think, unable to keep up with you intellectually, I think that's actually a really big problem. And it fits into the sort of trust and safety piece I first mentioned too is, it's no different than, if you have a boss, and you think your boss is an idiot, it's probably not going to be a good working relationship.
Because at the end of the day, you gotta be able to trust and respect your boss. And so you'd hope you find somebody who's intelligent and capable. So I think the intelligence piece matters quite a bit. So find somebody that you can feel safe with who you can trust there, and therefore open up to and begin that process of a catharsis. And then secondly, you get to admire them, people look up to them, they should be able to teach us stuff, and help you figure things out that you might not be able to figure out on your own. The third is, and this one I think it's hard for me to rank these things. But this third one, I think is in my mind, non negotiable. You want a highly trained therapist, but you also want somebody who leans on multiple modalities in order to try and help and heal people, including modalities that aren't necessarily part of the traditional accepted, scientifically measured or proven therapeutic methods.
Because, and the reason I say this, is there are many aspects to it. One is what I mentioned earlier about the heterogeneity of the human population. There is no one size fits all solution for everyone. And that includes clinical psychotherapy, it doesn't work for many people. Some folks may find a meaningful improvement in their mental health through entirely different means. Other than clinical psychotherapy. Some people benefit from it greatly. The end of the day, you got to figure out what works for you and And the best therapists I know are the ones that truly understand this, that sure they lean on their training and their licensure as a clinical expert, what they also understand that there are ways of helping people that lie behind the walls of the American Psychological Association.
Really related to that is if you look at some of the meta analyses and that assess how efficacious is psychotherapy, in terms of the the rates at which people that have gone to therapists with anxiety and depression, the rates at which those people are brought out of a clinical diagnosis and remain outside of the clinical diagnosis. So it is sort of the equivalent of like in the world of cancer, it's one thing if you treat the cancer, you remove the cancer, but it keeps coming back every single year. Well, we're not very efficacious, whatever that treatment is. However, if you remove somebody's cancer, and it doesn't come back for 20 more years, well, then that treatment is certainly superior relative to the other treatments where the recurrence rate is so high. And somebody did similar analysis in the world of mental health and basically ask the question, how good of a job are we doing, when it comes to helping people resolve their anxiety and depression and it not reoccurring?
And the data is not too encouraging? It depends on what analysis you look at. But the ranges I saw are only in the range of like 10 to 30% of patients, are we actually able to successfully treat and heal such that those illnesses don't reoccur and continue to come back and back. So I don't think you can claim that the world of Western psychotherapy has all the answers because the clinical evidence is is that it doesn't. And again, I'm not knocking psychotherapists, and the training that go through, I think it's really important work. All I'm saying is we don't have all the answers, therapists don't have all the answers. And the clinical analyses, or the scientific analyses of treatment outcomes, proves that if people are looking for more data and examples, I would check out the book by Christopher Palmer called brain energy.
He's a psychiatrist out of Harvard and a researcher there. And he does, I think, a phenomenal job at the beginning of his book, talking about the current state of Western psychology and psychiatry. And so to build on this point of having a therapist that looks for whatever will work, frankly, he was open to multiple modalities and tries to incorporate those into his or her practice. I think that is essential. I get really big red flags, if I talk to her or meet a therapist, or I have a friend or colleague who has a therapist where they stick entirely within the bounds of what basically the DSM four tells them to do, which is the diagnostic manual, sort of the Bible for clinical diagnoses and psychotherapy, and psychiatry. The therapist, I find that are minimally helpful or those that stay within that one specific swim lane. I'd mentioned earlier that I had experience with psychedelic assisted psychotherapies, that's with psilocybin, I've done it with Ayahuasca.
The handful of times I've done that over the last five years have been very important to me, I've had real breakthroughs actually, in terms of just releasing body based trauma, with the use of with what's called auricular acupuncture, which is basically needles in the IRS. I can't tell you why it worked or how it worked. But it did allow me to have a couple large emotional releases. There's been so many other methods that I've used to get in touch with my mind and body and to heal that are not supported or not included in any of these clinical diagnostic manuals. And if you have a therapist who is unopen to anything outside of the walls of what they've been taught, I wouldn't be worried. That's my personal opinion. So those are the three things you get to feel safe and comfortable. I think you really want a therapist who's open to exploring anything that proves that it can help heal people. And the second one is you got to be able to look up to them, they have to be able to teach you something you want somebody that's smart, smarter than you.
So if we were to count therapy as one of several tools within our collective toolkits. What are some of the other tools or practices or rituals or routines that you found most effective in combating anxiety? You've mentioned medication, meditation therapy, psychedelics you just mentioned, are there any other kind of tools in the toolkit that have proven to be particularly effective for you?
Yeah, there's sort of this whole collection of nervous system mastery, where Wim Hof was one of the first sort of, in the, I guess, outsider public figures that started to push this into more mainstream discussion through his cold exposure and breath work. And what he's proven, and many other folks have proven as well is that we do actually have the tools to control our own nervous system, including processes that we thought were entirely automatic, and that we were incapable of directly manipulating or controlling ourselves. So for me, and I actually just did this this morning, I went and spent about 45 minutes, in a couple of different saunas, I like to get my body temperature up high, break a really good sweat. So much so that actually it elevates my heart rate. Usually, it bumps it up as high as 110 beats a minute, just by sitting in a hot sauna.
And then when I get out, and when I cool down, if I take a cold shower, it's as if it then has the opposite effect, where then down regulates my nervous system. And then I feel very calm and subtle. So for me, heat exposure, cold exposure. Those are essential, learning different breathwork methods, which is something that I want to investigate. And I plan on making my way to various parts of Asia later this year, so that I can learn and study from folks who can teach me different breathwork methods, I think that's important. Exercise for sure, even if that's just 20 or 30 minutes of cardio it like it doesn't need to be two hours of difficult exercise. And I think one that that is under appreciated is play, especially in a group setting. If you can find a way to just do something that's fun, that makes you feel like a kid, again, that switches off your mind, because you're just playing.
And especially if the fun you're having is done in a group setting that has tremendous mental, emotional, physical benefits, I think for me, actually plays an essential part of managing my nervous system is just trying to find situations to have fun around other people. Namely, for me, that's usually something sport related. For example, I would love to go and get involved in just playing adult league pickleball I can't right now, because I just had knee surgery, and I'm not sure if my left knee would cooperate with me right now. But just having fun. It's massively underrated. And it's something that I would encourage folks to do is like, find the thing that for you is fun, and involves other people, especially if it's some sort of like constructive or physically involved or intensive activity. There's something very basic and very primal. That is consistent in all mammals that play and exercise in a group setting plays an essential role for bonding and connection. And by virtue, nervous system management.
What role does journaling play for you? That's one tool that I found to be very helpful for me. That might be maybe number one on my list, is it on your list?
You know, I suck at I have never been consistent with it ever. And that's kind of where my writing fits in. And so I think with the writing that I do, it's for me, it's a more entertaining form of journaling, especially in the moments where I write entirely on a whim where something just hits me or I have clarity on something all of a sudden, and I sit and write really without an editing process. And I just put down on paper, the stuff that feels like it just wants to spill out of me. If I do that it's extremely cathartic. It doesn't even matter really what I talk about it could be writing on a whim about how to pick a therapist, I just got to get it out of my head. So, so yeah, I'd say journaling. It's an important one. But for me, personally, it's played less of a less of a role in my my sort of nervous system mastery system.
Let's move on to you know, we've covered ambition, we've covered anxiety, where I want to go next is the concept of perfectionism. And where I'd like to start is with a subtitle that you wrote in one of your articles, and it really jumped out at me, the subtitle said, perfectionism is fear in disguise. So I'd love for you to tell us what is what what does that mean to you? And why do you believe that to be true?
Sure. And to make a distinction, I don't think all perfectionism is quote, bad, or is fear based. So for example, you can experience perfectionism in different forms of craftsmanship. My visits to Japan come to mind as an example, around that, because there are so many cultural aspects and undertones of craftsmanship, and their appreciation for the effort that goes into something, whether it's coffee, or food or anything else. And so I think you could, you could define perfectionism through the lens of an artist, or craftsman. And I would say that, like, that's probably an okay thing, where if they're doing their work, and they assess their work according to the quality of the outcome. And they also find that through the process of doing their work, and focusing so intensely on trying to execute a perfect outcome, then that focus itself can be seen as a meditation.
As an act of mindfulness, in the same way that archery through, sort of the culture of the samurai was also viewed as one of many forms of meditation, right, focusing all of your energy on this single act, to shoot a perfect shot. So I don't think all perfectionism is is bad. However, I'd say a lot of it, especially within folks like myself, who have a predisposition towards high achievement and self criticism. It can be quite detrimental. Because in my case, and the reason why I said, perfectionism is just fear in disguise is you have to ask yourself, like, why must this thing I'm doing be perfect? Like, what is it that I'm afraid of that will happen if it's not perfect? And by turning inward and sort of assessing that question, it can actually reveal the core of it, which is fear. So to give an example, this is back when I was still at Wealthfront, I was the head of product at the time.
It was the beginning of the year, and I was preparing a presentation for the whole company that was basically a walkthrough or a demo of our product vision. And it's something that startups and companies do often just to get everyone on the same page is to run them through like, here's our product strategy. And here's where we envision our product moving in. So I worked on this presentation, but I really obsessed over every little detail of it. And there were other employees there that were like, dude, it's good, when is this thing going to be done? And I just would not stop until I felt it was perfect. And the truth behind that when I reflect on that scenario is because I was afraid that I would not be perceived as competent enough. And that if I wasn't perceived as competent enough, then nobody's going to want to work for me and bla bla bla, bla, bla. You just go down this downward spiral of fear based thinking, that if I don't do this perfectly, everyone's going to see I'm a fraud or a sham or they're not going to trust me.
And the truth is, it's just tremendous cognitive dissonance and distortion. Because that one presentation wasn't going to be the single assessment of my capabilities as an executive, right. And I'd already been at the company for nearly five years and so I had built up a lot of credibility and social support within the company. And so, like I use that as an example, and I would imagine other people like myself who are listening to this can relate is deep down, there's something there that says like, if I don't do this perfectly, whatever that means I am not good enough. And if I'm not good enough, well, then I'm not going to be lovable and accepted. That's really what it comes down to. I think it's easy for perfectionist like myself, to come up with excuses to justify an obsession over something. When in reality, it's just just fear. Fear of not being good enough, not being accepted. And in most cases, it's completely irrational.
Yeah, and your blog post, when I was reading your blog post about perfectionism, you actually provided a test, so to speak. And I took the test, of course, and on the basis of those results, like I might have gotten a perfect score, which is to say like, I'm overwhelmingly a perfectionist. So good to be known for something I guess. And as someone with anxiety, I noticed that my first reaction to getting basically a perfect score on the perfectionism test was that of worry, right? My first reaction was, oh, I have a problem. I'm a perfectionist. What do I need to do to like, solve this problem? And then a day or two later, when I thought about it, I kind of asked myself, well, is perfectionism itself a problem? Or is it just yet another example of everything, having a price, like we talked about ambition is great, maybe it's necessary, but it has a price. Anxiety has good components, but bad components, you know, is perfectionism the same thing, whereas it can be deeply useful? And it could be a good thing, but like any other virtue, it just has its associated costs.
Yeah, this goes back to the acceptance versus striving thing, right? Where's the line in the sand? Again, one thing I returned to is drawing from the world of addiction of like, is it producing negative consequences? And despite those negative consequences, are you unable to stop? Like, that's one way of assessing it is? Is this perfectionism actually, meaningfully eroding other aspects of my life that I know, is negative that I view as a net negative for me, yet I'm unable to stop that pattern? I would start there for sure. Because if there's an inability to stop despite multiple instances of negative consequences, then it must lead one to the question of like, well, if I know it's a net negative for me, then why am I going to continue to do this? Right. So that so that's one. But actually, where I've settled on this is, and I actually draw great wisdom from the one part of the 12 steps tradition, in particular, that's known as the Serenity Prayer.
And it's something that is, the Serenity Prayer comes up at the both the beginning and the conclusion of of most 12 step meetings. And the Serenity Prayer is simple, yet contains really deep wisdom there. And what the Serenity Prayer says is this, God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. And the way that I've interpreted it is it sort of sets out this duality of, okay, I have this sense of self. And there are parts of myself that I can change. For example, maybe my sleeping habits, or my eating habits, my exercise routine, are the people that I spend time with the boundaries that are put in place to protect myself, and so on and so forth. So an awful lot of stuff that we do control. And then there's some things we cannot control.
You know, I couldn't control that given my family history and the prevalence of mental illness in different parts of my family, I have a genetic predisposition towards a few things. I also couldn't change some of my childhood circumstances. I was just kid, I was along for the ride. I could not change that. And those have had indelible impacts on who I am as a person. both positive and negative. But now the wisdom lies in knowing the difference. And coming to peace with the things one can and cannot change. And I think it's by reflecting on the Serenity Prayer and applying that to oneself, that I think the individual can arrive at finding what they decide is their own balance between what they can and cannot accept, which is another way of saying, like, here are the parts of myself that I do you wish to change. And I do wish to change those because I have a vision of a life that I want for myself.
And I'm going to change these things in pursuit of that vision of the life I want. But then there are these other parts where, yeah, that's who I am. And I just need to accept that and really internalize that and try and point those aspects of myself that I cannot change in positive directions. For example, I used to be an ultra marathoner, I met some really interesting people in the world of ultra endurance. And they share a lot of commonalities, actually, with entrepreneurs. You know, these are people that are risk takers. And there's one gentleman who I had met who he's actually credited as maybe being the only human, there might be a couple more at this point, but at that point, he was the only human in recorded history to ever run across the Sahara. You ran across the the Sahara Desert clocking like 50 miles a day, for months, you know, just this incredible feat.
And you will look at that and say, well, that's obsessive, you know, he's addicted to running. And the backstory was, well, yeah, he was an alcoholic. And he had been from a very young age, and so much so that it actually put his running career as a collegiate athlete in the Trashcan. You know, it had very negative consequences for him early in life. And what he did was, he came to an understanding of himself, he said, okay, this is how I'm wired. And these are the circumstances that lead to it. And I can't have a drop drop of alcohol because I have no no impulse impulse control over it. And that's how I'm wired, neuro physically. And so the answer isn't, let me get out of spoon and like, dig this part of my brain out where the addicted part of me lives. That's not an option. He accepted the part of himself that he cannot change.
And instead, the thing that he changed was, where does he point that addictive personality. And the way that he found himself towards sobriety was, whenever he felt like drinking, he went on a run, and he became one of the world's greatest Ultra marathoners. As another example, I went to an addiction recovery center myself at one point, I spent 45 days there, it was a difficult but an amazing experience. And it was there where I got to meet a lot of other people just like myself. I also got to meet the man who built this addiction recovery center and actually has spent 40 years leading the charge in creating all of the research in the scientific literature, and all the evidence and all the treatment protocols and so on and so forth. He is single handedly started the process of proving that what he was afflicted with was a brain disease, was a biological condition that had a root in biology.
And is responsible for the addictions he's treating actually being present within the the DSM, the diagnostic manual for all of psychotherapy. So the fact that some of these addictions are now recognized as addictions are because the man who started it and did all the work to prove that these things are addictions was an addict himself. And in pursuit of wanting to heal himself and saying, like, why can't I stop these things, even though I know that they're negative, they're not good for me or for anyone else? I just cannot stop. Instead of saying, okay, how do I scoop the addict out of my brain and move forward? You recognize like, no, this is a part of who I am. I'm just going to point it in a direction that's more positive. And so I walked away from that place, looking back at it thinking like, okay, no, the man who started all this and has built an amazing network of addiction recovery centers, he is still an addict, it's just the thing that he has pointed his addiction towards is sort of the pursuit of healing others.
And what he'd accomplished in a 34 year period is incredible. So anyhow, it's that's kind of how I approach your question in this trade off between striving and self acceptance is to try and decompose the problem a little bit and to look at oneself through the lens of the Serenity Prayer, and to say, okay, what are the parts of myself I can change? What are the parts of myself, I cannot? And then how do I learn to love and accept all those aspects of myself? And for the parts that I can change, let me point those in directions that are consistent with the goals I have, and the sort of life I want to live.
So fascinating. Andy, as we look to conclude here, as you know, the vast majority of our listeners are comprised of entrepreneurs and CEOs. And you were the former president of Wealthfront. So you can certainly relate to this from a first hand perspective. So, from a first hand perspective, as President of Wealthfront, as well as other very senior roles, and now, from a second hand perspective, talking to entrepreneurs and CEOs. I'm curious, are there some common struggles or challenges shared with you or perhaps experienced by you, as an entrepreneur and or CEO and or a leader of a company? And like, to what extent are the struggles similar to those of other people? And to what extent might they be different or unique?
It's a good question. There's a lot of struggle, I can tell you that, if you speak with the Bay Area therapist, they will tell you that there are no shortage of patients for them to see, I bet. And that a huge portion of them are people that on paper, you look at and you say, like, wow, these are very successful, high functioning people. So the thing I would say, and I've learned a lot, actually from Dr. Michael Freeman, who is, I think, the chair of Department of Psychiatry at UCSF amongst many other things. He's an expert on mental health for entrepreneurs. He himself, having been a founder and CEO and having worked through his own addiction challenges, and then going on to become a therapist, psychiatrist, and an MD. And the research that he and his team has done has elevated a very simple point through one of their papers, which I think is titled, Are Entrepreneurs touched By Fire?
And the point that they elevated was that what you see in entrepreneurs, and other people who are very successful in other industries, but really focusing on on entrepreneurs is the notion of two sides of the same coin is that on one side, you get the entrepreneur superpowers, their risk taking abilities, their ability to suspend reality, and to think in grandiose terms, and to have the sort of belief and confidence that they can change the world. And do it in ways that other people can't or don't see, the way that they calculate risk as a whole, the tendency towards these periods of mania were working exceedingly hard, hard and long hours, and being exceedingly productive in short periods of time. Like, those are also in many cases, complemented by the other side of the coin, which can represent the things that we would define as, as falling into the category of mental illness, right.
They can be more prone to not only these periods of mania, but the complete opposite of that of like very deep and dark depression. They can be much more susceptible to addiction. There are many, many attributes of entrepreneurship that fall on this other side of the coin that we also don't want to acknowledge. And there are some folks in the industry that still hold on to this dated belief that, you know, oh, you gotta go and get this resilient entrepreneur that's never gonna stop no matter what, because they are mentally strong, and it's bullshit, it is total bullshit. It's completely inconsistent with what the research reveals. And what the experts would actually tell you, which is that a predisposition towards mental illness is part of the sort of necessary collection of attributes that also lends itself towards somebody who's capable of being a highly successful entrepreneur.
You see this also in with entertainers. I mean, this is well known within the world of comedy. Like most of the great comedians are hilarious, because their background under life was fucking dark, like, they went through the shit. And they went through it over and over again for years and early on, and the way that they found their way through life, and to keep themselves afloat was through humor. And that's where they can talk about these dark things that offend other people. But the thing that I've noticed that amongst those folks who tend to get offended, is they haven't had to live hard lives. And as a result, because they didn't have a hard life, they didn't have to develop these coping mechanisms like these comedians did. And so they get offended by it, because they don't have that experience. It's not what the person is saying is offensive, it's how that person is interpreting what that person is saying. And then they are choosing to find it offensive.
Whereas the comedians don't find it offensive at all. Because they've seen and they've been through the real shit. The same is true for people at the high end of finance in the Hollywood and in tech, you name it. So I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the prevalence of mental illness, it is, and it's well studied at this point, it's much higher within the population of entrepreneurs than than the average population. Call it the population of the, or the the average of the rest of the human population. Dr. Freeman and his team through their studies, for example, found that entrepreneurs are 10 times more likely to have bipolar disorder. That's huge, 10 times. And I know that to be true through my own personal experiences, both working for people who have been very difficult to work for, yet extremely inspiring at the same time.
But also, because of a large network of folks that have also reached out to me just like you mentioned, they reached out to you when you first spoke up, so yeah. I guess to tie it back to what I was saying previously of around the Serenity Prayer, I guess my message to entrepreneurs would be, the goal isn't to hide who you are. The goal isn't to act as if everything's gonna always be okay at all at all times. That's not the goal. I think the thing I would encourage you to do is to reach out to folks like Dr. Michael Freeman, these experts and other experts, who are trained and who have worked with entrepreneurs in the past, to reach out to them and to work with them to help you just better understand yourself is step one. Do these diagnostic tests, participate in talk therapy and other forms of therapy, and first understand yourself as a person and the the double sided nature of who you are.
And then with that understanding, works through the process of saying, okay, what are the things I need to change to put guardrails around myself to make sure I don't push myself into deep water. But then what are the other parts of myself I cannot change and that I shouldn't want to change because I should actually love and accept those parts of myself because I realized that with that part of myself, such as the ability to take risk comes both the good and the bad. And so that's my message is don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just understand who you are, and then develop a lifestyle that as best as you can, within your goals as an entrepreneur, allows you to lean into a deep understanding of who you are, but that you don't drive yourself crazy by trying to reject the reality of your present circumstances and the attributes of what makes you you.
I mean, the two themes that seem to be permeating every question that we've discussed thus far. And the two themes that I'm going to extract from this conversation among others is first striving versus self acceptance and the delicate balance between both of those things. And the second thing is that no virtue is free, for lack of a better way to put it like for every pro, there is almost always a corresponding con, you know, ambition, achievement, perfectionism, even intelligence, like, I guess nothing can be described as an unambiguously good thing. I think for every virtue, even just understanding what its potential costs might be, and how those costs might manifest is probably the first step to managing those costs.
Yeah, and then the next part of it is, once you understand it, you can start to be kinder to yourself. Alright, so I, at one point in my life or another, I've been addicted to something, at least on the spectrum, whether it's compulsive or addictive, always been something. And I used to beat myself up for it, because at the same time, and this high achiever who's been very good at a lot of things throughout his life, I have an extremely high bar for myself, and I'm very self critical. And so there's the dual nature of things. On one hand, I have this high bar, it pushes me, I tend to succeed and excel. But on the other hand, I also judge the shit out of myself. And that judgment leads to a sort of loathing, and it's a low sense of self, which then makes me feel like getting high or smoking weed, so that I just, I can shut my brain off and not and stop judging myself.
Like, that's the nature of my lived experience, at least is like, I've got both of those sides. And it becomes so much easier when you become aware of those both sides, and then you just stop judging yourself for it. That doesn't mean you stop trying, you can still set some goals and say, okay, I want to be healthier, I want to live a little bit differently. And I want to do some things that may be more consistent with my values. But that doesn't mean I'm going to judge myself into a deep pit of shame that then is going to lead me to just smoking weed every day, because I don't want to feel that shame anymore. But if you don't know that, that's what's going on. And that's the cycle that you might be perpetuating for yourself. Well, then step number one is you got to become aware of it.
Andy, as we conclude our discussion today, is there anything that has been left unsaid? Anything that you want to share or communicate with our listeners that we haven't covered today?
Yeah, I think an important thing, and it's really an undertone in all this is that usually when people are saying like, I don't like this about myself, or I wish I wouldn't do that, or they're judging themselves one way or another because they're not meeting this perfect expectation that they have in their heads is to realize that that's part of the problem. If we continue to hold ourselves to a bar that is unobtainable, or that is unnecessary to obtain, then we're setting ourselves up for failure right away, because then that means we'll never accept who we are, and will never be happy with who we are. And so this is the pitfall of this very western bookstore approach to self help is it's, in many ways, and even all the stuff you see on social media about, you know, like, life hacking sort of stuff, like I wake up at 5am, and then I exercise and then a cold shower, and then I do this, and then I take my omega three pills, and then I do four hours, they sort of paint this picture of like being the perfect human being.
And I think that's actually really negative. Because if you set this bar that I won't be happy until I'm perfect, well, then you're just going to be very unhappy with yourself and who you are for the rest of your life. And for high achievers, we are especially prone to that not only because historically, we failed very rarely in our lives. But also because we then have like fully bought into this myth that there's a notion of what normal is a normal means somebody who is perfectly healthy and happy in all aspects of their life. And it's a totally a myth. Again, the heterogeneity of human population. There's what 8 billion of us. There's been somewhere around 100 billion of us previously, that are no longer on this planet. That's a lot of fucking people. And other than twins, every single one of them is very different genetically. We have to accept the reality that like, we're unique, not in the sense that we're this perfect little child that Mommy and Daddy brought us up to be more special in every way.
But we're unique just in the sense of like, yeah, we're different than everyone else who has ever lived in some way or another, at a minimum, because the lived experiences I've had are different than what everyone else has had. So I am unique in that way, and to strive towards this general consensus version of Instagram perfection, is completely unhealthy and unrealistic, and is one of the most common cognitive distortions present in western or at least American society today. And so I guess the thing that I'm advocating for and last thing I want to say to folks is like, pay attention to if you're holding yourself to this perfect bar of, of whatever normal is supposed to look like. And there's a good chance that if you are, you may just be punishing yourself unnecessarily. Because the answer isn't to try and become this perfect human being, which again, is a complete myth. I think the answer is to know what you are, and be it and that's it. Just know what you are, and be what that is.
And that's just what I'm trying to do with my life today. And it's still a work in progress. I have my battles with compulsions and addictions all the time, I'm still going through it with cannabis. I love marijuana, it does a lot for me and my anxiety, but I also know that I get addicted to things, and that it impedes in my ability to do the work I want to do helping others. And so I'm just trying to be real with folks so that they can be real with themselves and just take the edge off and start to learn and love the parts of themselves that they can't change. Because they probably had no choice over those parts anyhow, it's just who you are. And it's okay. So that's my message. I'm gonna get off my soapbox now. But that's all I wanted to share. And I just appreciate you giving me the time and the platform to do it.
Well, we appreciate the work that you've done. And speaking for myself, I really appreciate everything that you've done your substack, Andyjones.substack.com. I've read every article, and I will continue to read every article as they get published in the future. And for folks listening to this, I would certainly encourage you to do the same thing. I think you're gonna get a lot out of it. Andy, thank you so much for everything that you've giving back to the community. And thank you very much for your time today.
Thank you, Steve. I really appreciate it. And hopefully we have round two somewhere down the road.