October 1, 2022
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/ben-and-jessa-legacy-planning-boundless-book-parenting-series/
My name is Ben Greenfield, and on this episode of Ben Greenfield Life podcast…
We live in a very dopaminergic era, you know, whether it's social media or food or sexual sensations. I've been thinking about this term. I was even thinking about writing a book by this title called Viceless. Having this mentality that you want to not be attached to anything in life. Viceless. Like I think that's something I really wanna make sure that you know the Greenfield family is known for is we don't have any dependency on dopamine and don’t tend to be addicted in substances and activities.
Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
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Hey, what's up? It's Ben Greenfield. I thought you would find this episode kind of interesting. My wife and I were recently sent a lot of questions from actually a financial advisor that we are working with. They were asking us everything about our financial philosophy, spirit of scarcity versus spirit of abundance and how we've actually built wealth over the years based on that particular philosophy. Questions about education, formal versus untraditional education, money and finance passed on to future generations. Creating mindsets for perseverance and resilience, including daily habits and daily routines and some of our best habits to form healthy life. Some of the most meaningful choices and decisions we've made, our ideas and philosophies passed on to us by our parents, our thoughts about inflation, investments, taxes, legacy and a whole lot more. So if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/benjessalegacy. I'll put the show notes over there. And a link to anything that comes up during this episode. And of course, as usual, if you have comments, questions or feedback you can leave them over there. BenGreenfieldLife.com/benjessalegacy. And I hope you enjoy today's show.
This is going to be the responses for Ben and Jessa Greenfield for some of the modifications that are being made to our trust. And, we're on a walk right now, so we're just going to kind of start spitballing on this as we go. We apologize in advance for any mistakes or fumblings, but we'll do the best we can.
So, first of all, do you have a fully articulated financial philosophy that you can share in written form? And, obviously, for the purposes of this project this would be audio form. And, I'll go ahead and kick things off, I suppose.
So, I grew up, I would say in a family where saving was emphasized. We weren't a wealthy family, although my father did have wealthy parents, we weren't necessarily wealthy. He was a firefighter. My mom was a stay-at-home mom who did some hair styling on the side. We were homeschooled. We had a little bit of money, but not a lot. We did live in a nice home that my father's parents bought for him. But we pinch pennies a lot. I think I grew up with the real spirit of scarcity, even me personally, I was a real saver. Saved and choked away a lot of money. Always cut corners when it came to spending. I still will shop for that can of sardines that's $0.50 cheaper than the other can. I've just always been a real saver. But I'm naming that because I don't want the Greenfield family to be a family that operates with the spirit of scarcity. I want us to operate with the spirit of abundance.
Jessa and I are both really good stewards to our finances. We love to shop for deals. We're not materialistic. We don't like to own a lot of nice things, nice clothes. We don't really care what other people think of us or judge us. If there's one thing we probably spend a little bit of extra money on, it would be our home and our health. Occasionally, nice things here and there as far as maybe art or good food, but we're not materialistic at all, wouldn't you say, babe?
Jessa: Yeah, for the most part. I mean, we do have things, though.
Ben: Yeah, even me. A lot of my toys, I wouldn't even have if they hadn't been given to me. I wouldn't have bought him of my own volition. And so, that's not because we want our family to operate in spirit of scarcity. We just want to be good financial stewards so that the money that we could have been spending if I choose UberX instead of Uber Black car, that's 60 extra bucks I could use to help somebody or to save or to invest back in the business. So, I guess our overall financial philosophy would be operating with a spirit of abundance and a spirit of blessing others and also taking care of our own bodies and health and legacy. But, basically, at the same time, we really are very cognizant of just about every penny with that whole philosophy that if you watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. And so, I don't know, I mean just spitballing, those are the main things that come to mind for me. How about you, babe?
Jessa: I think that's it for the most part. Yeah, just having a spirit of generosity. I think we do that to a point now, but I'd like to be more generous with what we have.
Ben: And, I mean honestly, for example, I just told my sons a curriculum coordinator that I really want to block for them this year where they learn about what a nonprofit is, how it's different than a regular business. How they can operate their own businesses and nonprofit, with that culminating them setting up their own nonprofit or their own charity so that when they're 14 years old they can already be giving disbursements from their business in a nonprofit. I do the same thing with my company Kion and Ben Greenfield Life for World Vision. I don't come from a family that ever had a charity, that ever gave money away aside from just tithing. And, I really want us to be known as a family who basically takes the money that we have, is able to buy the things that we need to live a decent life and then everything else just goes out and either helps other people or builds our legacy, meaning equips our children to be able to better help people. So, yeah, I think that kind of wraps it up. What do you think, babe?
Ben: Alright, what do you want future generations to know about money and finance? For me personally, so I grew up with the mentality again, have a lot of money in the silo, when you die, put a lot in the storehouses for a rainy day. I'm a real prepper, and I certainly do have a real, real appreciation for, and I really value preparation, whether that's guns, gold, silver, Bitcoin, Campbell soup cans, meat in the freezer, you name it. But, A) I really don't want my kids to grow up having accumulated a bunch of wealth and then just dying sitting on top of that wealth. I want them to know that money is just a tool for impact. It's a tool for creating value in people's lives. Even their own business and my own business, our number one metric is lives touched and not money made. And so, the main thing I want my children to know about money and finance at the end of the day, the reason that we're wise stewards, the reason we understand our books, the reason we understand finance, the reason we look into things like insurance and trusts and the type of discussions that we're having right now as a part of this audio is so that they can best equip themselves, their families, and their bank account to help other people. And gosh, I mean, that's what I would love for the Greenfield mentality to be, is basically, how do we take our skillset and be super successful and make a whole bunch of money. But unlike many people, not take that money and buy a Tesla or the $100 pair of jeans, but instead, buy a Prius and some jogging pants and then go help people.
Jessa: Yeah, and then I think when you said being successful, I mean, when you're successful you're also able to employ families and people and provide source of income for others.
Ben: Yeah, create jobs.
Jessa: Exactly. So, it's not just about just being successful and financially free. You're also opening up doors to help other families.
Ben: Yeah, and then something to really highlight. And, I don't know if this is a question either because I really look forward, so, at my heart, I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm an artist. I'm a creative. I'm a storyteller. I tell people if I could really snap my fingers and just do what my fallback would be, if I could just wake up in the morning, I would write songs and make music and learn to play new musical instruments and write fiction and probably do a little bit more drawing. That's where I'm at. I don't really like to build businesses even though I have this entrepreneurial bug. My entrepreneurial bug is kind of interesting. I don't fancy myself as a suit-wearing CEO. I fancy myself as this artist, creative storyteller who just does some wild and interesting things and almost like this, not so narcissistic but a total D-list celebrity who people follow, which I kind of get a kick out of, building my name and my brand and my following. But ultimately, I don't see the Greenfield family as a business mogul family as much as an artistic creative family. Would you agree, babe?
Ben: Alright, so anyways, the formal education. How do you feel about formal education? Well, I mean how much time you got? But, basically, I think that it is an outdated model that is really well designed for creating good factory workers and people who can engage in things like rote memorization of facts and put square pegs and square holes and round pegs in round holes but does not produce creative free-thinking, resilient young individuals who are going to thrive in an era where creativity and being able to adapt to problems on the fly and solve them creatively is far more important than the type of things that artificial intelligence and automation can now do. And so, I think that when you mix that with everything from peer pressure to learning at the same pace as everybody else in the classroom, to a lot of the failures of the modern schooling system, even just the lack of God and Christianity in the public schooling system, I look at the unschooling that we do, which is essentially experiential-based education based on paying attention to the passions and interests of a young person and then surrounding them with as many tools and toys and books and tutors and strategies that support those passions and interests. And, then proactively creatively making sure that young individuals also set up for anything else that life might throw out them by making sure they have a good understanding of rhetoric, of logic, or persuasion. I'm sorry, of rhetorical persuasion, of logic or computer programming, of reading, of writing, and of arithmetic. That's really how we educate. And, I'm pretty sure our sons are aware of this, but I think it would be pretty shocking in the future for a young Greenfield to be found doing anything other than attending probably a classically based private school or being unschooled.
Jessa: Yeah, and our kids know that there's zero pressure for them to go to college.
Ben: Yeah, how do you deal with the abundance mindset? By the way, I should mention with college, because I think this came upon her last call, I actually do respect the idea of a well-rounded liberal arts education that again is rooted in things like classic literature, rhetoric, logic, reasoning, Latin, Christianity, and history. I think that does a good job setting a young person up for life, whether they decide to be a lawyer or engineer, or physician, or an artist, or author or anything else. I don't think it's necessary, but I can tell you there's a really good liberal arts institution in Moscow, Idaho our sons are quite interested in. And so, while we're not that infatuated with college, there's a few exceptions to that rule.
Ben: Alright, so how do you create an abundance mindset and deal with scarcity thoughts and thinking? For me personally, I think that the abundance mindset must be rooted in faith because if you don't have a higher power that you trust who will provide for you in the same way that God dresses the flowers, the fields, and feeds the sparrows, you're going to have a really hard time having the trust that's necessary to say something, “Okay, I'm going to sock away 10%.” And, really, if you look at traditional giving back, it's 10 to 30% of my income to charity, to people, to the church, to others who need it in a spirit of abundance. So, I think that one part of creating abundance mindset is trusting God.
I think another part about creating an abundance mindset, frankly, not to sound stupid, is just recognizing the tendency that human beings have towards a spirit of scarcity, identifying that in oneself or one shadow self, and then just basically having the awareness that the fallback tends to be scarcity and selfishness. Humans are falling creatures and we do tend to be at core be selfish.
And, basically, I think that knowing that, identifying that, recognizing it, and then placing one's trust in God and attempting to be more and more sanctified in Christ each day, which means becoming like Jesus who was a servant of all, is really, in my opinion, the best way to approach an abundance mindset. I mean, really, an abundance mindset, in my opinion, is synonymous with becoming like Jesus.
Jessa: And, I think, to just tag along on that, it's not having a lot of things. You can have abundance in very little. I grew up that way and still have happiness and joy. So, it's not abundance in having things or having enough money. You can have abundance outside of that.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. An abundance mindset, you're saying it's not just money.
Jessa: Yeah, like it says in Scriptures, Paul said, “I learned to abound when I had very little and when I had a lot.” You can abound in either situation. Really, the spirit it's not right measured by actual physical.
Ben: It's that Victor Frankl idea of just choosing happiness, of being content no matter your circumstances, which is of course a core part of the Greenfield family mission statement. And so, yeah, I think that if you're happy no matter your circumstances and your attempts to be more like Jesus every day, that you're going to be able to operate a lot more easily with that spirit of abundance.
Now, how do you create the mindset for perseverance and for resilience? I mean, I think that the outside observer would probably say that I personally, with all the masochistic shit I've done over time, from Ironman triathlons and Spartan races and body-building. I'm known as a guy who just puts my nose to the grindstone and does hard physical things, although I've probably got a little bit softer with old age. I like to sleep in every now and again, and I don't go out and do these triathlons and stuff anymore. But, I think one part of building perseverance and resilience is doing hard things every day, scheduling them. I play guitar, piano, or do something that challenges my mind and my fingers, and my coordination every day. I do something that makes my lungs burn or makes me want to sweat out my eyeballs in the sauna or shiver in the cold pool, or swinging unwieldy object like a kettlebell every day. I walk every day when I'd rather be sitting to work. I instead just put on my shoes and go burn trails because I know that moving is good for you and it builds up perseverance and endurance and resilience.
I even think that spiritual resilience is built up to things like prayer and fasting and meditation and silence and solitude and worship and journaling and devotions, and a lot of things I talked about in my books, “Fit Soul,” and my book, “Endure.” And, I tackle the physical endurance part of things in my book, “Beyond Training,” and my book, “Boundless.” I think that the Greenfields are hard workers. I have to admit that at the back of my mind is always that thought that, gosh, do my kids sleep in too much? Do I not push them hard enough? Do they need to be doing more burpees? Do they need to be doing more hard things? Should we be camping more? All the things I know kind of take a young person outside their comfort zone, I do question that about myself a lot because I mean, sometimes, I look at people who intentionally live a stoic lifestyle just to be hard in themselves, and I'm like, “I don't know, do you really have to fast for 72 hours every week and then go do an eight-hour workout every weekend or maybe not?” But, at the same time, I think that intentionally weaving periods of hardship and resistance as almost like microdoses of hardship and resilience into one's life is something that can build perseverance and resilience. I just think it needs to be kind of intentionally scheduled.
Jessa: Yeah, and like you said, it's not just physical hard things. Sometimes, it is denying yourself certain things. I agree with you. It's just having probably small doses of difficult things daily prepare you for the really hard things that just show up on your plate. If you don't do hard things ever, you won't be able to overcome.
Ben: Yeah, and I think a big part of this — And, I really want to make sure I nip this in the bud in our family as we accumulate wealth, is just this idea of dopamine. We live in a very dopaminergic era, whether it's social media or food or sexual sensations. We could live all day long triggered by dopamine and addictions to food and supplements and drugs and smart drugs and coffees and teas and all sorts of stuff. And, I just want to really make sure, I've been thinking about this term. I was even thinking about writing a book by this title called “Viceless,” having this mentality that you want to not be attached to anything in life, “Viceless.” You don't need coffee. You don't need tea. You don't need marijuana. You don't need kratom. You don't need Instagram. You don't need any of these things that we tend to kind of, as Anthony de Mello says in his book “Awareness” we've become so attached to, that our happiness depends on them. And so, I think that that's something I really want to make sure that the Greenfield family is known for, is we don't have any dependency on dopamine and don't tend to be addicted to substances and activities, because even genetically, I've looked at my father's genes, my mother's genes, my own genes. I haven't looked at Jessa's so much.
Jessa: I don't think I have a lot of addiction.
Ben: But, we're hard-wired addictive personalities. And, I'm always kind of paying attention to cutting myself. Jessa is a lot less so.
Jessa: I know. I'm trying to be positive.
Ben: What are the best habits to form for a healthy life? Well, I mean, as far as things to avoid for a healthy life, I would say exactly what I'm talking about, like crutches, addictions, things that you rely upon to feel good, whether that's cigarettes or alcohol or marijuana or even exercise. I think that just avoiding dependency on anything is super-duper healthy to have a healthy lifestyle. But, as far as living a healthy lifestyle, honestly —
Ben: Yeah, I mean, again, how much time you got? I've written a whole book on this. But, I think it comes down to eating real whole food as close to nature as possible, moving your body by lifting heavy stuff, sprinting, and engaging low-level physical activity every single day consistently, not eating too much food, eating in a relaxed state around people, having good relationships, both with God as well as your fellow human beings, being outside in nature, getting lots of good sunlight, exposing yourself to the stressors of things like heat and cold and heavy objects and lung-sucking type of activities, a good clean water, pure minerals, and just largely an ancestral kind of primal lifestyle in an era where we have a lot of evolutionary mismatches. In this post-industrial era where living in boxes, sitting in boxes, traveling in boxes, and eating out of boxes, I think that the more that we can identify that and live more close to nature, the better. So, I frankly am not too worried that the Greenfields are going to be an unhealthy family, just because I've kind of set the standard for us. But those are few things that come to mind.
What have been the most meaningful choices and decisions that you have made? And, what was your process? That seems like a really broad question. That's a super broad question, kind of difficult to answer. But, it's on your mindset where there's meaningful choices, decisions you have made, what was the process.
Jessa: Well, I think mine was staying close to our family. Our family is extremely important to us. We could have lived anywhere in the world and we chose to live near our family, so our kids could grow up knowing their grandparents and their cousins and have a really rooted community. So, we could have been transient, but we chose not to because I personally thought it was a choice that we made for ourselves and not for our kids.
Ben: That's true. I had a lot of opportunities in LA, in Austin, in Miami, in Seattle, where I could be making a lot of money right now, and we chose to stay close to home, close to family, and close to nature. So, that's one. I'd say another one was education. Choosing alternative education model, that was a really important decision that we made. Our decision to just really hardcore buckle down and focus on our family. Our emphasis on faith and family, I think, has been more than, I would say, and don't let me put words in your mouth, Jessa, I think probably more than neither of our parents even focused on.
Jessa: Yeah, I would assume.
Ben: Jessa and I have really recognized that if we don't develop a playbook for the Greenfield legacy, nobody's going to do it. And so, just that decision that we just really want to build the Greenfield name, not in a narcissistic way to be great, but just in a way that builds legacy.
Jessa: So, you can identify who you are, what you are, what you stand for.
Ben: It's creating impact for Christ as possible through the Greenfield family. That's just something that has been a big decision for us. And, then, gosh, I can't think of any major decisions.
Jessa: Who knows when we're making big ones?
Ben: But I should just say that any big decision that we make is just steeped in prayer and seeking God's wisdom and spending time in silence with a journal and meditation. We just really carve out those intentional times to be able to go to God and make God a part of that decision-making process, which I think is important.
What are the most important things you want future generations to know that have been instrumental in your success? Basically this idea that you chop wood, you carry water, small consistent amounts every day. And, there's this saying that I heard once, “Don't dance in the farm,” meaning, at the end of the day, you’re gonna have a big party that the work is done because the next day you're going to be getting up, milking cows, plowing the fields, picking the weeds, hauling the hay, and just basically doing all the things you did the day before because the work never stops. And, at some day, you'll be in heaven, living forever and resting forever. But, right now here on Earth, if you want to make maximum impact with whatever skill set you've been given in life, you just got to wake up and chop wood and carry water and do it consistently every day.
Yeah, I mean, that's what I want future generations to know, embrace discomfort, embrace the endurance and perseverance and resilience necessary to keep coming back every single day and putting in the work, chop wood, carry water. That's really as simple as success goes, just do the work. And, what ideas and philosophies were passed down to you by your ancestors that still serve you well?
Jessa: Mine is, I think, sacrifice trumps any kind of financial that you can give to anyone. If you sacrifice for someone, that's way more important than any kind of money you can give to them.
Ben: What do you mean by that?
Jessa: When I was young, my dad made $30,000 a year and raised a family of six. Our Christmases were all handmade things. And, my parents would spend hours and hours making that happen. And, it was because we have very little, but what they gave us was a lot more than just a dollhouse. It was invested time, probably nights that were till midnight. And, we all knew that. And so, it's like their sacrifice stands out more to me than anything that they actually really gave to me.
Ben: Yeah, that makes sense. The idea of time and presents, presents with a “TS” or presence with a “CE,” not a “TS.” That's basically a gift that every human can receive. Humans want to be seen. We want to be loved. And, we want to be heard. And, I think that idea really resonates in what Jessa said. We don't necessarily want to be given stuff. We want to be seen. We want to be loved. And, we want to be heard. And, other ideas and philosophies that I would say were passed down to me by my parents. I can't think of a whole lot, but definitely, I saw hard work. My dad is a serial entrepreneur. I didn't see him working smart, necessarily, but I did see him working hard. And, I also think that our family, we really did have an emphasis on love for God and a love for family. Those two things were really important, both faith and family. It wasn't executed perfectly, but it was definitely something that we focused on, that we held dear, those ideas and philosophies of faith and that of family.
My grandfather was a great salesman. He worked with the likes of Zig Ziglar and a lot of these other motivational speakers. And, again, same thing with him. He wasn't necessarily one of those guys who was super-duper present for his family because he worked so hard. But, at the same time, he had incredible work ethic. And, he pride himself on building a great business and having great customer service and taking care of his customers, being ethical and honest businessperson. And, I think that that definitely got passed down to my dad and got passed down to me. So, yeah, I mean as far as ideas and philosophies, I wouldn't say that I had a ton that was passed down traditionally. But, those are a few of the things that come to mind.
And, then, formulas that support me in my success or any formulas that support Jessa in her success? Like I mentioned, one formula is that idea of chopping wood, carrying water, doing small consistent bits every single day no matter what. Getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, I think is important. More productive things happen in the morning than happen in the evening. Painting with a broad brush, I think evenings are more focus on recreation and entertainment. Mornings are more based on work. So, going to bed early and getting up early is a formula that's been helpful for me.
Scheduling and calendaring everything. Planning things out sometimes to the minute is a way that I've been able to be very, very productive, just basically protecting time and recognizing the value of an importance placed upon the sanctity of time. That's another really important one. Those are a few of the formulas I could think of. I can't say that there is a whole lot of algorithms or hard-set formulas that I follow, though.
Jessa: And, I also say identifying your purpose. Knowing what is a good use of your time and what is not. For me, that's been a big thing for me, because there's a lot of shiny pennies for me. And so, I have to really figure out if this is going to be valuable or waste of time.
Ben: Yeah, identifying the most purpose-filled activity. Having a life's purpose statement. I mean, there are other formulas. We meditate in the morning. We meditate in the evening. We have a gratitude practice every day. We have a service practice every day where we'll write down one person we're going to serve that day, along with the one thing we're grateful for. At the end of each day, we engage in a process of self-examination. We examine what it is that we did that was most purpose-filled that day, what we did good, what we could have done better. We pray in the morning. We pray in the evening. We pray before meals. We have family dinners. I mean, I've mapped out a lot of our formulas in the Greenfield family playbooks. Those are all kind of written down, the type of things we worked with Chris Christiansen of the Legado Family Foundation. So, those are a few of the major things that come to mind when it comes to formulas.
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Okay, so, what kind of relationship do you want to have with your family? Well, I mean, to me personally, it's pretty simple. I want to have a good relationship with my family. I want to be bonded. We want to be together. We don't want to have strife between sisters and brothers or stupid bitter arguments that last for years that tear so many families apart in the long run, often because of just stupid and silly things. We want to be bonded as a family. We want to be together for family reunions and for family get-togethers. We want to have pride in our offspring and our children and our children's children, their children for being a Greenfield. We want our family to know what it means to be a Greenfield and what we value and what we stand for. And, we really do not want to be a family that's like ships passing in the night. But, I mean, if you hung out with our family right now, we're close-knit, we bond. We laugh together. We live together. We enjoy each other. We don't just put up with each other. We actually enjoy it. We love being together. We have a great time. We're all lovers and friends and family members and brothers and sisters in Christ and just the whole shebang. So, I would say those are a few of the main things come to mind for me.
Jessa: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of descriptive words I could throw out there. Like authentic, respectful, transparent, I mean, I think those are the types of characteristics that I'm interested in our family having. Really, it's just a brotherly and sisterly love for one another.
Ben: Yeah, and it says how do you go about choosing relationships and do you have a method to protect you from people that may not have the same values as you? Let me let me put this way, when we had a party at our house once somebody commented guys your house, the Greenfield House is the island of misfit toys. You have the Pagan massage therapist and the weird person from down the street and the overweight person who does not know anything about exercise and the super healthy people over here and a single jujitsu fighter over here and a family of five over here. We're not judgmental people. We don't try to choose to just hang out with the people who are the same as us. The only thing we're picky about in our relationships is we know we are the equivalent of those who we spend time with. Whether the equivalent of those people from health standpoint or from a character standpoint or from a value standpoint. So, the main thing that we pay attention to is whether or not the people that we're with are going to rub off poorly on us, or whether we're going to rub off positively on them.
I don't necessarily fool myself thinking I can hang out with a bunch of bad people and expect myself to be the good influence on those people and not put myself at risk of being tempted or falling into sin or compromising scenario by surrounding myself with bad people. But, at the same time, I'm not one of those guys like the Christian says, “Oh, no, I'm never going to talk to a prostitute or a tax collector or a sinner or whatever.” Not the tax collector these days or–
Jessa: It's not quite the same.
Ben: Not if they get accountants. But, I'm saying basically, we're picky in that we surround ourselves with people who are going to build us up, but not in a manner that's overly judgmental. I guess we aren't proud and narcissistic and haughty. Although we are always hyper-aware of the type of people that we're surrounding ourselves with. Whether those are people who are on our TV or in our earbuds, like with entertainment and music and movies, or whether those are people we are physically with. We do constantly analyze the nature and the character of those individuals, knowing that they could wind up influencing and affecting the way that we live.
Jessa: Just to tag in on that, we're very welcoming to all kinds of people, but in the same breath, I'm also very picky about the people who I want to influence me. I will pick out certain women with attributes that I actually would like to see more in myself and I will tether myself to them greater than other people for that reason. So, yes, we're open and welcoming.
Ben: That makes sense. Alright, well yeah, so I think that tackles relationships.
Have you had any health issues and concerns that may reduce your life expectancy and do you plan to create good health as you age and expand your life expectancy? Yeah, I mean, you're talking to a guy who, even though I think is silly sometimes, I'm considered to be an icon in the longevity and anti-aging sector. That's one of the things I do is I train people how to live a long time with good life span and good health span. So, if there is a life extension strategy that exists, I have probably done it. From stem cells to NAD to laser lights to the whole shebang. So, I plan to continue to create good health as I age, but I need to know that my goal is not to live as long as possible. My goal is to keep my body put together so that I can be as impactful as I can with a great combination of health span and lifespan to be able to make as great an impact as I can for God during this life that I have on this planet. Whether I live till I'm 70 or whether I live till I'm 170.
And so, as far as issues and concerns, I've personally had that might influence my life expectancy. I have had gut and colon issues in the past. That's really probably the number one thing is, and my family does have a history of gut and colon issues. So, I think that would just be the number one thing that that I'm cognizant of. How about you, Jessa?
Jessa: As far as I'm aware, I don't have anything that I specifically worry about and my family on average lives until their 90s, so there's not a whole lot in my family.
Ben: She's got good genes.
Jessa: So, I don't have any big concerns about any long-term health.
Ben: And both of us take really good care of ourselves. Jessa does hot yoga and walking and hiking and lots of outdoors work and lots of spiritual work, and she takes good care of her body and I do, too, so. So yeah, we definitely do the things you will expect from a dietary in a movement strategy to expand life expectancy.
Do I expect their assets to grow at a higher rate than inflation or do we expect to draw down our assets during our lifetime? I would say we expect our assets to grow at a rate that exceeds inflation. I mean, even our outlook on things vacations, we take many retirements throughout the year, tiny little vacations. We just got back from the Grand Canyon then we're going to go cycling in Italy next year. And, we're planning on trip to Hawaii and we'll do these little vacations. When we vacation, we do operate with a spirit of abundance we don't have to fly all the way somewhere, not go to the nice restaurants or go see something cool. When I was young, we used to travel. You travel and get to where you're going and not do anything because you're afraid to spend your money because you got to afford to get home. And, I figured if we're going to travel, travel right. That's one of the times when maybe we're not quite as-
Ben: As frugal as when you travel, because we recognize that the reason, we went to this place is built to enjoy that.
Jessa: To experience it.
Ben: To savor that part of God's good planet. But, yeah, we're not spendthrifts. We don't plan on being golfer yacht-owning retirees. I'll probably work till the day I kick the can. I think Jessa probably will, too. So, yeah, we definitely expect our assets to grow at a rate higher than inflation. And, you say, is it important that your investments aligned with your purpose and your passion? Oh, I mean, I even avoid much investing and even the stock and bond market just in case some company should wind up in my portfolio basket. That might be a company that let's say was Disney as far as sexual deviancy or abortion rights or things like that. Yeah, I am definitely ethics-based investor. I would never want my money put somewhere where it might harm people or it might rub against my own ethics and values and beliefs. I mean that's pretty straightforward.
One thing I should say about my investments too, is that I'm careful to invest as much as I can in businesses whose success I can directly influence. But that's because I am an influencer and what I mean by that is, I'll invest in a company that I can also be in the commercials for or do a podcast for or advise as far as the quality of their product, the development of their product. So, that's another kind of investment philosophy that I have is I invest in companies that I can also influence and be directly involved in the growth of and quality of.
How do you feel about relinquishing control of assets today to protect those assets from creditors? How about potential estate taxes? Well, I can't say I can comment too intelligently on this.
Jessa: I know I can't.
Ben: I'm fine with relinquishing control again, operating in the spirit of abundancy and trust if that's something that allows those assets to be protected from creditors. Same thing with potential estate taxes. I mean anything that we can do from charities and nonprofits to any other tax strategies. I'm totally game to do when it comes to protecting the wealth. So, I mean yeah, I'd rather have not a whole lot of money now and have those assets tied up elsewhere for future growth that I would be able to have those assets now so I can go see a movie and have popcorn. So, I'm a total marshmallow test out person. You put marshmallow in front of me, give me 100 marshmallows 100 years from now and I'll sit there for 100 years and have zero issues with it.
How do you define legacy and what does that mean to you? To me legacy means that my values, my beliefs, what I hold dear, what I believe in, what I work for, what I would die for, what I live for is well understood by the generations that follow me and is built upon by the generations that follow me in a manner that each generation becomes subsequently wealthier, not only financially, but wealthier in characters, wealthier in values, wealthier in impact, wealthier in reach, wealthier in drive. And so, I think to me legacy is just every generation becoming subsequently better. And, when I say better, I mean just better human beings physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.
Jessa: That's a great one. Because sometimes I think legacy people are like, “Oh, I just want to control everything in the future while I'm not around,” and that's not how I view that at all. Because that's just silly.
Ben: I agree. And, what are you currently doing to establish and live your legacy? I mean, it's conversations this. It's the Greenfield family playbook. It's the Greenfield family crest. It's the Greenfield family logo.
Jessa: And it's the consistency of doing prayer every day. And, praying for your kids and family. Yeah, it's small things, too.
Ben: The little comings and goings. The Greenfield family meditations. What we do on Christmas. What we do on Easter. What we do on Thanksgiving. I mean, fortunately, as part of this work is I know that especially the financial team is listening to this call is aware of. I mean, that's a lot of the work that we've done with the Legado Family Foundation and with Rich and so, yeah, I mean, all those pieces I know you're familiar with our pieces that we've had in place for legacy. So, yeah, I think that one's pretty straightforward.
And, you say what things are you not doing that would be essential to building your legacy? Gosh, I feel like we're doing a lot. I think probably the only thing I can think of on top of my head is my sons don't shadow me at work a lot. It's not I'm a blacksmith and my sons are going to work with me every day, shooting horses and making axes and hammers. I work from home. My kids kind of see what I do, but it's not they're interning or working with Dad much. I sometimes wonder, “Oh, should my kids be seeing me write more, seeing me podcast more?” But, I mean-
Jessa: I don't think so. I think they see a lot of that.
Ben: I think that's such a small thing and, maybe I'm just judging myself too harshly. But, I think that everything that we're doing right now that's essential to building legacy. I mean, we don't know what we don't know. But, I feel like-
Jessa: But that's where you guys come in.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. So, what are your best practices that you would to continue to do more of in order to create your legacy? Oh gosh, I mean our daily rituals and routines, our daily comings and goings. What we do with the kids when they're eight, when they're 12, when they're 16, when they're 20. I feel like freaking Rich Christensen right now, but he's rubbed off on me a lot when it comes to showing me the value of a lot of this stuff. And, I think that the best practices that we've learned from the Legado Family Foundation are, I mean, not to be just too simple and short, but I mean to me that along with our faith and going to church and those daily habits those are the best practices, in my opinion. So, that that one just seems kind of simple to me again.
So, in what ways do you make the world a better place? What kind of legacy and contribution do you want to leave behind? So, for me I teach people right now how to be healthy, and increasingly also how to find satisfaction in God. How to have aspects of Christ and all their life and how to be most satisfied. Basically, God is most glorified in us when we were most satisfied in him and that's what I'm trying to teach people every single day. Not just to have success in health and meaning and fulfillment health, but rather meaning and fulfillment spiritually, emotionally in their relationships. I mean, the way that I'm making the world a better place is I'm using my platform as a creative media outlet to teach people how to live their optimized life, not in a selfish and narcissistic way, but in a way that loves God, that loves others and the savers all of God's creation while becoming more Jesus every day.
Jessa: Yeah, and I mean for myself, my calling is my family and to minister to them and I feel I'm doing that effectively. And, if I'm doing that effectively, we're putting out two amazing boys, men who can go out into the world and affect the world. So, for me, it's pouring into my family.
Ben: Yeah, I agree. And, what are the most important things you want future generations to know about you and what you stand for? There are so many things, we even went through this process called the life book once, where he mapped out 12 different areas of life. Our favorite quotes, our favorite books, book clubs, it's a process created by our friends, Jon and Missy Butcher. And, that was very helpful in terms of really defining who each of us are as individuals. But, I think that the most important things that if my kids were to look back and talk about me or future generations will look back and talk about Ben Greenfield, the founder of this part of the Greenfield family or whatever, I want them to say that he was a hard worker who knew how to just basically put his nose down, do difficult things, and again, chop wood and carry water. That he loved others more than he loved himself, that he loved God dearly and that he was also just a fun-loving happy go lucky guy who just loved to savor all aspects of God's creation as a real renaissance man. Just intensely curious about all aspects of life.
And, not in a way that grassroots straws or tries to get the most out of every single day on this planet, but instead just looks around with awe and wonder and childlike curiosity of all of God's creation says, “Oh, man, well, how can I help other people discover all the joy that I've found?” So, basically, I wake up every day, I do the very best job with whatever God has put on my plate and anything I'm curious about especially when it relates to life optimization, which is kind of my specialty. I just love to dig into and research and share with as many other people as possible while working really hard in the process. And, I would love for future generations to look back and know that about me.
Jessa: For me, I think mainly it was just that I'm a kind person, that I'm a welcoming person, and that I truly love people and I want to help. I'm a helper.
Ben: Yeah, I would agree with that. And, then you say, you feel your investments are shaping the world and making it a better place? Well, I think it could be better let me put that. My own business we've raised a ton of money for World Vision. We're feeding kids and giving kids water in Africa and doing all sorts of drives and charities. And, we help people out on a local community. Maybe I judge myself too harshly, but I always feel I could be doing more. As far as my own personal investments, yeah, I mean, a lot of them they're in the health industry, they're in the supplements industry. They're in the longevity industry. They're in the life optimization industry. And so, yeah, I feel like I don't just invest in widget companies. I invest in companies that do two cool things that help you protect you from health standpoint. So, I would say that yeah, my investments are helping to make the world a better place, but it's far from perfect. The Greenfield family, if I look at it, obviously this is a far cry from where I'm at. But, if you look at whatever Bill and Melinda Gates, not that they're perfect people, but I like the idea that you think of them, you think, oh this is a couple that's taking their wealth and they're trying to help a lot of people with it. Maybe in a misguided way, in their case.
But, I would love for people to look back at the Greenfield family and be like, “Oh, Ben and Jessa Greenfield create a scenario where subsequent Greenfield generations could like they've done, put their nose to the grindstone, work really hard, live their best life, and then do a great amount of good for a whole bunch of other people because we figured out a way to intelligently with wisdom and systematically and with the great team disperse our wealth around the world to the people who need it most in the most impactful way.”
Jessa: Yep, I agree with that. I don't have much else to have on that one, sorry.
Ben: Let me think, just because we got a little bit time on this walk left. I think a few of the things that I didn't get off my chest that I'd like to say is Jessa and I, I probably be more of this than Jessa is, but we don't care that much about what people think of us. We want to be our true authentic selves and not who the world expects us to be. So, there's that phrase I'm about to go to Austin, Texas a couple of days, and so this comes to mind. “Keep Austin weird.” The Greenfields, we are a little bit weird. We are a little bit pattern interrupt and I pride ourselves on that. We were totally okay with swimming upstream. We're totally ok with being the odd person out. I know I sometimes embarrass Jessa probably with some of the things I'll do in public or the things I'll wear, things I'll say. But, we're unashamed, we're unabashedly ourselves I would say that's one thing that kind of sets us apart. Babe, what do you think?
Jessa: Yeah, I would say so. We're unabashedly ourselves but we do answer to the Lord and so we so I guess that is our governance. And so, it's not that we aren't governed we are governed.
Ben: Right, yeah. But, at the same time if Jessa and I are walking to a cocktail party, people look at us. They'd probably be like “Oh, those are two people who take care of themselves. They look okay. They're not butt ugly and they don't stink. And, they seem to take care of themselves and they carry themselves in public.” So, we're not like we don't care what people think of us like dirty hippies. But, we are unabashedly and unashamedly ourselves but in a graceful way. So, I would say that's one thing that comes to mind. I would say that another thing is that, and I might be more this way than Jessa, and this maybe comes back to the part that you asked about formulas. But, I'm very productive.
Jessa: Yes, you are.
Ben: Sometimes to a fault. I look at my friends who get home and watch Netflix and just go to a lot of parties and hang out and just go to dinners every night with their friends. That's all great I'm all about enjoying other people and company in God's creation, but I feel people waste a lot of time more time than you need to. Our family might see two movies a year and we might watch a TV show once a month. And, yeah, we'll go to dinner, but it's not excessive. Most of our dinners are at home with the family, playing games and talking. We just recently went on a ten-day family vacation and our family vacation was basically wake up, meditate, devotions, workout, go to breakfast, hike all day, come home, hang out as a family, take a nap, play some cards together, go to bed. So, we can kind of being simple, but not in a boring way. But we don't fritter away a lot of time with specifically entertainment and watching other people live their lives. We'd much rather be the stars of our own movie than watch other people's movies. That's the way I'd say. Babe, what do you think?
Jessa: I absolutely agree and I've gotten rid of so many things on my phone because of that reason because I just I can identify them and say that's wasting my time, I don't need that, so I delete it out of my life.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Social media being another example. Our kids, they don't have phones. Well, they have a phone, but it's not something to do much with. It's their emergency backup phone. But, I'm on social media and on my phone a lot but if you pay attention to what I'm doing, if you were to look at, I don't even know how to use Instagram. Meaning I don't know how to scroll through Instagram feed. I can't tell you the last time I just went on Facebook and just scrolled through stuff or Twitter. Even social media, I use that for hyper-productivity. Okay, I got this video. I'm going to post it now. I'm going to say this. I'm going to say that, boom published, done. So, social media for me is my business, and a lot of times I'm watching something like a cooking show it's just to learn some new cooking tactic that I wanted to put in a cookbook or learn from. So, yeah, we're pretty hyper-productive and great managers of time.
And, then I would say the very last thing is that our faith is important. We probably aren't dyed in the wool Christians, though. In fact, that we're very spiritual in a way, meaning that we'll raise our hands and we'll dance to Christian music. We're also very intellectual with Christianity. We embrace the mystical aspects of miracles and being anointed with the Holy Spirit in deep prayer and listening to God and talking to God. We're not just the Christians that just go to church every Sundays that's what I'm saying. We have a pretty deep and magical and intimate relationship with the creator. And, I mean deep, just the acknowledgment of angels and demons and fourth dimensions and Christian mysticism and this whole other world around. There's a lot of stuff that people might look at us and be, “Oh, that's not standard typical westernized American Christianity.” We're kind of this weird mashup of some of the stuff that probably for me and the health industry through Eastern mysticism and plant medicine has fed into that.
But, we kind of claim that for Christ all the way down to just seeing an old school hymns on the guitar around the dinner table at night. We have a strong Christian faith, but I think that, I guess the best way to describe it is, our Christian faith is one that acknowledges the deep sacredness of the entire universe. It's not a really a logical, rational, scientific, heady Christianity that we have. It's more this sacred, soft, spiritual Christianity. Yeah, you're right, it's this weird mashup of both. But what I'm saying is yeah, we've kind of got this weird mashup and the same with my businesses. This weird mashup of ancestor wisdom meets modern science. Our faith is this mash-up of ancient spirituality and mysticism combined with modern Protestantism, and because of that sometimes I find it hard to plug into a specific church or whatever but either way I just I wanted to mention that, too. Just because obviously faith is really the most important part of existence. When you look at the fact that we're going to live forever at the end of the day. The most important part of us is our soul and our soul practices here on Earth are going to influence us for eternity.
Jessa: In legacy, and all of that. I mean, because our faith basically, if we really are living it out perfectly penetrates every aspect of our lives to the very bites of food that we take in, knowing that God is the one who makes up the cells and all of that. So, it's basically every aspect of our lives.
Ben: Yeah, I mean, to put a pretty pink ball in that. One of my favorite economics books is “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein and if you've read that book, then you understand exactly what I'm talking about. Is even sacredness and money.
Alright you guys, well, I hope that gives you some stuff to work with. Whoever's listening to this, I hope you got something out of it. Got to know Jessa and me and the Greenfield family, and our hopes and dreams and desires a little better. We managed to walk through a spring rainstorm and stay dry without destroying my phone. So, yay and God bless.
Jessa: God bless.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh, entertaining, well informed, and lots of outside the box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. If you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel, wherever that might be. And then just find the BenGreenfieldLife episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. Means a lot.
Throughout my career, I've been known as a health and fitness icon.
I have to admit that I sometimes find this kind of silly.
It's not that I don't think that taking care of my body is important. Far from it. My physical health remains a top priority, and this will probably be the case until the day I die. However, my days as a bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, obstacle course racer and hardcore masochistic endurance athlete are over, and my vision for my life has notably changed (although I'm still heavily sporting in different skills, such as bowhunting and pickleball). Back in January, I released an article about how to find your purpose, and in that article, I also shared my own new purpose statement that reflects the higher priority I'm now placing in my life upon faith and family, as opposed to, say, fitness: “Love God through prayer and worship, and love my family through preparing and providing.”
Anyways, a significant part of living my purpose is starting to think and talk more about money and legacy.
After all, how you handle your finances has a substantial impact on how you show up in the world and how you show up for your family.
What this means for Jessa and me is that we are committed to only spending the money we need to spend to live a modest, satisfying life. For instance, we still go on vacations, and when we do, we don't deprive ourselves of pleasures like going to a nice restaurant. But we're careful with spending, never mindlessly purchasing things that are likely to quickly lose their appeal. Rather, we have decided that additional income that we earn will be put back out into the world to help people or to build the Greenfield legacy so that our children can be better equipped to help people in the future.
This philosophy also directly applies to the family business. The primary goal of Ben Greenfield Life is to touch lives, not to make money. However, that doesn't mean that we don't care about profitability, since we need to be profitable to continue to share with you with the help of a paid team. Jessa and I are proud that we employ people who support their families, and we provide generous benefits to ensure that they stay healthy.
So recently, Jessa and I were sent questions from our financial advisor (Scott Ford, at Way2Wealth) about our financial philosophy and how we have built wealth, and we decided to take a walk and record our answers to the questions. In this episode, you are invited to join us on the walk as we share our thoughts on inflation, investments, and taxes, then also go way behind those “boring” topics to how financial responsibility can shape an earnest, purpose-driven life. I hope you find it interesting.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Do you have a fully articulated financial philosophy that you can share in written form?…05:09
- Ben grew up in a family where saving was emphasized
- Ben’s parents, their wealth, and why he grew up with a “real spirit of scarcity”
- Stewards of their finances
- Overall financial philosophy – operating with a spirit of abundance and a spirit of blessing others and also taking care of our own bodies, health, and legacy
- If you watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves
- Jessa wants to be more generous with what they have
- Ben wants the boys to focus on how they can operate their own businesses and non-profit
- Ben: “I want us to be known as a family who basically takes the money that we have, is able to buy the things that we need to live a decent life, and then everything else just goes out and either helps other people or builds our legacy, to equip our children to be able to better help people.”
-What do you want future generations to know about money and finance?…09:24
- Ben’s mentality is to have a lot of money in the silo when you die, put a lot in the storehouses for a rainy day
- Ben: “I really don't want my kids to grow up having accumulated a bunch of wealth and then just dying sitting on top of that wealth. I want them to know that money is just a tool for impact. It's a tool for creating value in people's lives.”
- Number one metric in Ben Greenfield Life is lives touched, not money made
- The Greenfield mentality is to take our skillset and be super successful and help people
- Jessa is proud of Ben for being successful and being able to employ families and people and provide a source of income for others
- Ben fancies himself as an artist, a creative storyteller
- Ben does not see the Greenfield family as a business mogul family as much as an artistic, creative family
-How do Ben and Jessa Greenfield feel about formal education?…12:34
- Formal education is an outdated model
- Designed for creating factory workers and people who can put square pegs in square holes and round pegs in round holes
- Does not produce creative, free-thinking, resilient young individuals
- Peer pressure to learn at the same pace as everybody else in the classroom
- Lack of God and Christianity in the public schooling system
- Unschooling, which is essentially experiential-based education
- Zero pressure for the kids to go to college
- Ben respects the idea of a well-rounded liberal arts education rooted in classic literature, rhetoric, logic, reasoning, Latin, Christianity, and history
-How do you create an abundance mindset and deal with scarcity thoughts and thinking?…15:11
- Abundance mindset must be rooted in faith
- One part of creating an abundance mindset is trusting God
- Becoming like Jesus who was a servant of all is the best way to approach an abundance mindset
- Jessa: It's not having a lot of things; you can have abundance in very little
- In the Scriptures, Paul said, “I learned to abound when I had very little and when I had a lot.”
- Just like Viktor Frankl‘s idea to choose happiness, be content no matter your circumstances; which is, of course, a core part of the Greenfield family mission statement
-How do you improve perseverance and resilience?…17:46
- Do hard things every day; schedule them
- Physical resilience
- Play guitar, piano, or do something that challenges the mind and the fingers, and coordination
- Sauna, cold pool, and workout (lifting, running) – moving is good; it builds up perseverance, endurance, and resilience
- Beyond Training and Boundless
- Spiritual resilience
- Prayer, fasting, meditation, silence, solitude, worship, journaling, and devotions
- Fit Soul and Endure
- Ben thinks that intentionally weaving periods of hardship and resistance is like microdosing hardship into your life, which can build perseverance and resilience
- Ben occasionally asks himself if he did not push his kids hard enough
- Jessa thinks it's not just physical hard things; sometimes, it is denying yourself certain things, having probably small doses of difficult things daily that prepare you for the really hard things that just show up on your plate
- If you don't do hard things ever, you won't be able to overcome them
- Ben is thinking of writing a book “Viceless,” about having the mentality that you don't want to be attached to anything in life
- You don't need coffee, tea, marijuana, or kratom; you don't need Instagram; you don't need any of these things that we tend to have kind of become so attached to
- Awareness by Anthony de Mello – how we have become so attached to things that our happiness depends on them
-What are the best habits to form for a healthy life? What things are essential to avoid in order to maintain a healthy life?…21:57
- Addictions or things to avoid for a healthy life – things that you rely upon to feel good, whether that's cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, or even exercise
- Avoid dependency on anything to have a healthy lifestyle
- Jessa: Find balance
- For a healthy life:
- Eat real whole food as close to nature as possible
- Move your body by lifting heavy stuff, sprinting, and engaging in low-level physical activity every single day consistently
- Do not eat too much food
- Eat in a relaxed state around people
- Have good relationships, both with God as well as your fellow human beings
- Be outside in nature
- Get a lot of sunlight
- Expose yourself to stressors like heat and cold
- Good clean water, pure minerals
- Live an ancestral kind of primal lifestyle
-What have been the most meaningful choices/decisions you have made, and what was your process?…23:43
- Staying close to our family so our kids could grow up knowing their grandparents and their cousins and have a really rooted community, and close to nature
- Choosing an alternative education mode
- Emphasis on faith
- Develop a playbook for the Greenfield legacy, not in a narcissistic way to be great, but just in a way that builds legacy so you can identify who you are, what you are, and what you stand for
- Creating impact for Christ through the Greenfield family
- Any big decision that we make is just steeped in prayer and seeking God's wisdom, and spending time in silence with a journal and meditation
- Carve out time to be able to go to God and make God a part of that decision-making process
-What are the most important things you would want future generations to know that have been instrumental in your success?…25:53
- Doing small amounts of work consistently every day and don't procrastinate
- Do not party at the end of the day after the day's work is done, for tomorrow you will be doing the same things you did today; the work never stops
- Right now here on Earth, if you want to make maximum impact with whatever skill set you've been given in life, you need to wake up and chop wood and carry water and do it consistently every day
- What we want future generations to know is to embrace discomfort, endurance, perseverance, and resilience necessary to keep coming back every single day and putting in the work
- That's really as simple as success is, just do the work
-What ideas and philosophies were passed down to you by your ancestors that still serve you well?…27:02
- Jessa thinks that sacrifice trumps any kind of financial help that you can give to anyone
- Jessa on her parents: It was invested time, sacrifice that stands out more to me than anything that they gave to me
- Emphasis on love for God and a love for family
- We don't necessarily want to be given stuff. We want to be seen. We want to be loved. And, we want to be heard.
-Any formulas that support you in your success?…29:42
- The idea of chopping wood, carrying water, doing small, consistent bits every single day no matter what
- Getting up earlier, going to bed earlier; more productive things happen in the morning than happen in the evening
- Evenings are more focused on recreation and entertainment; mornings are more based on work
- Scheduling and calendaring everything; planning things is a way to be very productive
- Jessa: I would say identifying your purpose; knowing what is a good use of your time and what is not, and figuring out if this is going to be of value or a waste of time
- Writing down one person we're going to serve that day and the one thing we're grateful for
- At the end of each day, we engage in self-examination; examine what it is that we did that was most purpose-filled that day, what we did good, what we could have done better
- We pray in the morning, evening, and before meals
- We have family dinners; activities have been mapped out in the Greenfield family playbooks.
- Rich Christiansen of the Legado Family Founder
-What kind of relationship do you want to have with your family?…35:55
- Good and bonded relationship
- No strife between sisters and brothers or stupid bitter arguments that last for years
- Authentic, respectful, transparent
-How do you go about choosing relationships, and do you have a method to protect you from people that may not have the same values as you?…37:29
- We're not judgmental people; we don't choose to just hang out with the people who are the same as us
- The only thing we're picky about in our relationships is we know we are the equivalent of those who we spend time with, whether it's from a health standpoint, a character standpoint, or a value standpoint
- Jessa: We're very welcoming to all kinds of people, but in the same breath, I'm also very picky about the people who I want to influence me; I do specifically seek out women who are wise or who are soft-spoken and are choosy with their words rather than just rambling on
-Have you had any health issues and concerns that may reduce your life expectancy, and do you plan to create good health as you age and expand your life expectancy?…40:17
- Ben: I think it's silly sometimes, but I'm considered an icon in the longevity and anti-aging sector
- Life extension strategy – from stem cells to NAD to laser lights, etc.
- Ben's goal is to keep his body put together so that he can be as impactful as he can, with a combination of healthspan and lifespan, to be able to make as great an impact as he can for God during this life
- The goal is not to live as long as possible but to be healthy to create an impact
- Ben has had gut and colon issues in the past
- Jessa does not have anything that she specifically worries about, and her family, on average, lives until their 90s
-Do you expect your assets to grow at rates higher than inflation? Or do you expect to draw down your assets during your lifetime?…42:20
- Assets are expected to grow at a rate that exceeds inflation
- When we vacation, we do operate with a spirit of abundance
- Definitely ethics-based investor and would never want to put money somewhere where it might harm people, or it might rub against our ethics and values and beliefs
- Invest in businesses whose success can be directly influenced
-How do you feel about relinquishing control of assets today to protect those assets from creditors? How about potential estate taxes?…44:47
- Fine with relinquishing control
- Ben would rather have not a whole lot of money now and have those assets tied up elsewhere for future growth than be able to have those assets now so I can go see a movie and have popcorn
-How do you define legacy, and what does that mean to you?…45:50
- Legacy means that my values, my beliefs, what I hold dear, what I believe in, what I work for, what I would die for, and what I live for are well understood by the generations that follow me
- Built upon by the generations that follow me in a manner that each generation becomes subsequently wealthier, not only financially, but wealthier in character, wealthier in values, wealthier in impact, wealthier in reach, wealthier in drive
- Legacy is just every generation becoming better physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually
-What are you currently doing to establish and live your legacy?…47:04
- The Greenfield family playbook
- The Greenfield family dress; The Greenfield family logo
- Jessa: consistently praying every day; praying for your kids and family. the small things too
- Legado Family Foundation and with Rich Christiansen
-What things are you not doing that would be essential to building your legacy?…47:47
- Ben is doing a lot to build his legacy but top of his head
- Ben’s sons don't shadow him at work
-What are your best practices that you would like to continue to do more of to create your legacy?…48:39
- Daily rituals and routines
- It's not to be just too simple and short, but along with our faith and going to church and those daily habits, those are the best practices
-In what ways do you make the world a better place? What kind of legacy and contribution do you want to leave behind?…49:21
- Teaching people how to be healthy and how to find satisfaction in God
- Use my platform as a creative media outlet to teach people how to live their optimized life, not in a selfish and narcissistic way, but in a way that loves God, loves others, and savers all of God's creation while becoming more like Jesus every day
- Jessa: my calling is my family and to minister to them, and I feel I'm doing that effectively; putting out two amazing boys, men, who can go out into the world and affect the world
-What are the most important things you want future generations to know about you and what you stand for?…50:41
- The Life Book – mapped out 12 different areas of life, our favorite quotes, our favorite books
- It's a process created by our friends, Jon and Missy Butcher
- Most important thing to Ben is how his kids would see him
- Jessa: For me, I think mainly it was just that I'm a kind person, that I'm a welcoming person, and that I truly love people and I want to help
-Do you feel like your investments are shaping the world and making it a better place?…52:48
- Raised a ton of money for World Vision
- But Ben always feels he could be doing more
- Ben’s personal investments – supplements industry
- Ben’s investments are helping to make the world a better place, but it's far from perfect
-What Ben and Jessa think about social media…57:52
- The kids have phones for emergency use only
-Ben and Jessa's faith…58:48
- Our faith is important
- We embrace the mystical aspects of miracles and being in touch with the Holy Spirit in deep prayer and listening to God and talking to God
- Our Christian faith acknowledges the deep sacredness of the entire universe; it's not a really a logical, rational, scientific, heady Christianity that we have; it's more this sacred, soft, spiritual Christianity
- Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
-And much more…
- Runga: October 13th-15th, 2022 (Austin, TX). This is the one event every year that I never miss. Join me and my family to tap into your full potential over three days of fully immersive programming and therapies. Gourmet organic chef-prepared meals, live podcast recordings, and personalized health consulting make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are only fifty spots available, so claim yours today here.
- Wild Health Awake + Aware Principles: October 22nd, 2022 (Lexington, KY). Join me for a one-day intensive experience where I will guide you through a series of interactive lectures that explore purpose, meaning, and spiritual health. VIP guests will also join me on an immersive walk through nature and an intimate dinner. Learn more here.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
32 Questions For Boundless Parenting
The following questions were posed to the wise parents interviewed for my upcoming book, Boundless Parenting.
- How many children do you have, how old are they, what is their profession or passion, and why, in particular, are you proud of them?
- Are there any elements of your parenting approach that you would consider to be particularly unique?
- What books, systems, models, or resources do you rely heavily upon or consider to be indispensable in your own parenting?
- What traditions, habits, routines, or rituals are most important, memorable, or formative for your family?
- What rites of passage or significant moments of maturation to adolescence or adulthood have your children experienced, if any?
- Who do you look up to as parenting mentors?
- What have you taught your children about raising their own children?
- Do you have any philosophies or strategies for educating your children outside of traditional school, such as homeschooling, unschooling, self-directed education, or other alternatives, creative, or “outside-the-box” forms of education?
- What has been your proudest moment as a parent, and why?
- What do you wish you had known before first becoming a parent?
- Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome as a parent? If so, how have you coped with that?
- How have you achieved a balance between mentoring and passing on wisdom without “living vicariously” through your children?
- Have you ever faced any big parenting decisions that kept you awake at night worrying or that you feared you would mess up?
- What do you regret, if anything, from your experience as a parent?
- What is the biggest mistake you have made as a parent?
- What, if anything, from your parenting experience would you go back and change or improve?
- If you had multiple children, what did you think was right at the time with one child that you then went back and changed with the next child or future children?
- Have you ever sensed or feared that your children would grow up too different or weird as a result of any “outside-the-box” parenting approaches you used? If so, how did you deal with that?
- Have you ever differed from your spouse on parenting principles, techniques, or approaches? If so, how did you manage that?
- Warning: This question is long but important: As a parent, have you ever felt conflicted about wanting to share a book, teaching, resource, or method with your children as a means of impacting their future success, but feared that it might “overload” them, especially at their age? If so, how did you balance bestowing this valuable knowledge to your child without causing them to worry too much about adult concerns? How did you decide when to just “let a kid be a kid” versus nudging them towards responsible adulthood and the attainment of valuable wisdom?
- How have you balanced being a present, engaged parent while preserving your own identity, taking time for your own self-care, tending to your career, or pursuing other interests that did not include your children?
- How have you engaged in one-on-one time or created space for dedicated time with your child, especially if you have more than one child?
- If your children have grown up and moved out of your house, what strategies have you found most helpful for maintaining and building your relationship with them?
- If your children have grown up and moved out of your house, do you often miss them, fear for them, or think of them? If so, how have you coped with any loneliness or desire for their presence?
- Do you have non-negotiable rules for your children?
- How have you disciplined your children, if at all?
- How have you helped your child to establish responsibly, moderated, or conscientious consumption or use of books, media, entertainment, screen time, and social media? This is not my favorite question because the focus on “limiting screen time” seems a bit blown out of proportion these days and I think causes kids to get obsessed with the “forbidden fruit” of screen time, but it seems to be on the minds of many parents today, so I’d be remiss not to include it.
- Have you emphasized or encouraged any health, fitness, or healthy eating principles with your children? If so, what has seemed to work well?
- If your child or children could inscribe anything on your gravestone, what would you hope that they would write? What would you most want them to remember about you?
- What do you most want to be remembered for as a parent?
- What do you think your child or children would say is their fondest memory of being raised by you?
- What message for parents would you put on a billboard?
Resources mentioned in this episode:
– Books by Ben Greenfield:
- The Ultimate Guide To Unschooling: Top Tips To Create Free-Thinking, Resilient, Creative Young Humans Who Can Thrive In A Modern World.
- How To Build Your Legacy, Bond Your Family With Traditions, Rituals & Routines, Rites Of Passage & Much More With Rich Christiansen of Legado Family Founder
- Lifebook: The Most Transformative Process I’ve Ever Discovered For Crystal-Clear Clarity, Purpose & Direction In Life.
- Forsaking A Relentless Pursuit Of A Better Body: How To Find More Purpose & Meaning In “Fitnessing” & Make A Bigger Difference In The World.
– Other Resources:
- Awareness by Anthony de Mello
- Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
- World Vision
- Clearlight Sauna
- Morozko Forge
- Water and Minerals
- Legado Family Founder
- Spiritual Disciplines Journal
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