June 4, 2022
[00:01:52] Podcast Sponsors
[00:06:11] Why this generation needs heroes
[00:11:03] The Hero's Journey defined
[00:17:23] Why we're wired to embrace the Hero's Journey
[00:20:37] 4 ways to be a hero
[00:20:59] Surrender your attachments and addictions
[00:32:01] Podcast Sponsors
[00:34:58] Service is the foundation of the hero's journey
[00:38:48] Put on your spiritual armor
[00:46:07] What to do when you feel the call to the Hero's Journey
[00:56:12] How do you identify your mission and purpose in life?
[01:04:41] Upcoming Event
[01:06:13] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
But look around you and tell me that right now we do not need a hero, a collective uprising of people who are willing to speak up for what we believe in. You can't be a hero and so tied down to all your biohacks, gear, and fitness that you're just weighed down and unable to proceed forward.
Yeah, it is scary. It's scary crossing out of your ordinary world and stepping over that threshold. But, the feeling deep down inside that you get when you speak up for what you believe in, nothing in the world can replace that.
Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
Hey, what's up? It's Ben Greenfield. The podcast you're about to hear is actually the keynote speech that I gave at Paleo (f)x in 2022. I'm going to put all the shownotes for you at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Heropodcast. That's H-E-R-O-podcast. BenGreenfieldLife.com/Heropodcast.
Now, why “hero”? Well, the reason for that is because this entire talk is about why the world needs heroes right now. It's a call to action. The theme of this year's Paleo (f)x was Primal Uprising. And, I really wanted to go outside the box of supplementation, health, and biohacking, and instead, delve into, I think, something a little bit more important when it comes to living out whatever hero's journey that you've been called to. So, I hope you find this inspirational and you can leave your comments, your questions, your thoughts, your feedback over at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Heropodcast.
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Welcome, Paleo (f)x . Is it a good day for everyone? So far, yes. Learning new things, trying new hacks, messing yourselves up with all sorts of crazy pills, and capsules, and electrical machines out there. I talk about that stuff a lot when I come up here and I speak. I'm not going to talk about any of that stuff today. Laser lights up your nose or the special pills and capsules and magnetic electrical units. Those are all cool.
But, I want to talk to you about something different today. This idea of being a hero. This whole concept of a primal uprising. What's a hero? Well, you might be familiar with the hero's journey. We're going to learn a little bit more about that this afternoon, the ordinary world that you may have found yourself living in so peacefully the past few years. The call to adventure, the refusal of the call, the meeting with the mentor, the crossing of the threshold tests, allies, enemies, the approach to the inmost cave, the ordeal, the reward, the road back, the resurrection, the return with the elixir. It's all the classic hero's journey. And, I think that we are living in a time right now where more than ever, we actually do need heroes, we need heroes.
I realize that that might sound hubristic, right? Every generation has thought that they were living through the difficult time, they were living through the tough time. I'm fully self-aware that this could come across as a little bit cliche but look around you and tell me that right now we do not need a hero, a collective uprising of people who are willing to speak up for what we believe in, who are willing to put our foot down and finally quit accepting all of the nonsense that's streaming at us 24/7 via media, and our friends, and our social life. And, we don't need a scorched earth hero. We don't need Arnold Schwarzenegger hero, but we do need heroes. We need heroes who understand what it means to surrender and what it means to sacrifice. We need humble heroes, humble heroes, which is why I call this talk the “Humility Of The Hero” who could admit when we're wrong and change our mind but not do so in a way that scapegoats others. We need heroes who like my personal hero, Jesus Christ and I will tell you more about that hero. And. many other heroes during this talk can rise up and have the meekness and humility of a gentle lamb but the ferocity and the courage of a lion. That's the type of hero that we need.
Now, I recently wrote on my website that aging men and women who fear death will do great evil. Do not underestimate the power and the temptation and the evil that's capable of any of our fellow human beings especially as we approach death. You will find this especially if you're in this anti-aging and longevity sector. The more that you approach that phase that's halfway through your life, the more that you approach that phase where the aches and the creaks and the pain start to emanate from your joints, the more you realize you're impending mortality and death. Man, if you're not wired up the right way, if your priorities are not right, the things that you will do to clutch at life, the things that you will do to leave a legacy that goes on far after you've left, the things that you will do for more power, for more wealth, from our money, from our fame, for just even more dopamine that you can bleed into your system before you die, it's unsettling, it's shocking. And, we, right now, are facing an uphill battle against people who actually fear death and will do great evil and great injustice because they fear death.
Now, the idea of whether or not we should fear death might be a topic for another day. I think that death should be honorable, it should be something that we hold up on as a pedestal, as a crossing of a threshold into a better place, but many, many people fear death. And, we're fighting people who fear death and who will do great evil because of that. So, we need to surrender, we need to sacrifice, we need to serve, we need to gird up our spirits in such a way that we can be that hero that the world needs right now but we must be a hero in an entirely different sense of the word.
Now, to be a hero, you have to understand the hero's journey. Has anyone in here ever studied up on or heard of the hero's journey? It is the classical plotline that some of the greatest Hollywood hits and greatest Disney princess movies and greatest novels of all time have followed. I first discovered it when I was reading an excellent book by Christopher Vogler called “The Writer's Journey.” “The Writer's Journey” spells out this idea of something that resonates deep within our human DNA when we see that hero who's living in an ordinary world go through these precise 12 steps of the hero's journey. And, I've actually mapped it out for you. Basically, human beings across the eons of time have been living out this hero's journey and you can see here different Hollywood movies: “Lord of the Rings,” “Lion King,” “Spider-Man,” “The Matrix,” “Star Wars,” and “Harry Potter” can all give us a glimpse into what this hero's journey looks like.
For illustrative purposes, I can walk you through this journey. I need to know which movie you guys like, which one's your favorite. Somebody says “Matrix.” Mentioned “Star Wars.” Oh, I've heard a few “Star Wars.” I'm old school so we'll go with “Star Wars.” The ordinary world, Luke Skywalker on a moisture farm, whatever the heck that is at his aunt and uncle's house in Tatooine, living his ordinary peaceful life. And then, there's a call to adventure, there's a call to adventure. Now, as you can see here on this slide, it's when R2-D2 comes and gives a message to Luke that threatens to rock his world, take him out of his peaceful comfortable existence. And then, we have the refusal of the call. The hero in this case typically digs their heels in. They don't want to go. Life is comfortable. Life is peaceful. Life is not scary. Even though scary is a lot of times where you need to be to make maximum impact and to be able to live out your calling and your purpose for your life, the ordinary world is very comfortable. So, there's often a refusal of the call. “I don't want to do this. I don't want to crush a threshold. I don't want to be that person. I want to sit and behave on the airplanes and the Ubers. And, I want to keep my mouth shut and put into my body what people are telling me to put into my body. And, I want to live my life watching Netflix and making money and giving my kids money and then dying.” It's the ordinary world. It's comfortable. It's peaceful. It's safe. It's not impactful, it's ordinary. It's a very safe place to be. Many of us are there right now.
And then, we have a meeting with the mentor. In this case, Luke meets Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, his mentor. Typically the mentor is that person who pushes the hero outside their comfort zone who says, “Yo, it's time. It's time to cross that threshold to get out of your ordinary world and to go and seek out something greater for yourself, something greater for yourself.” It's like the classic Disney princess again. There must be something more to life than this is that anybody ever sat with that existential crisis like, “There must be something more to life than this.” If you're at that phase, then you're hearing the call to adventure and you're nervous and you're about to cross the threshold. And, it gets pretty exciting and pretty scary after that. And, a lot of times, you need mentors, you need people who can help you along the way. You can teach you what it takes to cross that threshold. And, when you cross the threshold, that's when the adventure actually begins. That's when Luke leaves his planet and goes to join the rebel forces and some “Star Wars” aficionados in here are probably going to read me the riot act for not getting everything correct about Luke's journey. But, Luke crosses the threshold. Luke crosses the threshold. Then, there's tests, there's allies, there's enemies, there's everything from Yoda to the garbage monster and the base of the spaceship. But typically, we have people he meet along the way, “The Fellowship Of The Ring,” a perfect example, we have elves, and dwarves, and hobbits and other hobbits, and we have monsters and we have dragons. And, there's all these characters that occur leading up to the next step of the hero's journey, which is the approach the innermost cave. The approach to the innermost cave. And, that's where the evil lies. Sometimes it's not an actual literal cave but it's the place where you have to go to do battle. It's the place where the hero is about to take what they've learned from the mentors, from the test, from the allies, from the enemies and go in and see what they're actually made of.
And then, there's the ordeal. This is the fight. There's many of them in “Star Wars,” many of them in “Star Wars.” We can see here in this case, it's when they rescue Leia and Darth Vader kills Obi-Wan Kenobi. And, that's the ordeal. But, is the movie over at that point? Is the movie over after the ordeal? You're right. No, it's not. It keeps going. We have the reward. The hero has clutched the reward. They hold the reward and now it's time to go back. And, this is the part in the movie or the storybook where everything seemed like it was going to be hunky dory and okay and then the enemy is not quite dead yet. Or, they come rushing out of the cave after the hero who's clutching the reward under their arm, bring it back to the people and the enemy comes and they say, “No, no, this is not going to happen, not this time. Not this time.” And then, we have the road back. And, the road back is the point at which the hero has that reward clutched under their arm, they're hurrying home, they're hurrying back to bring this elixir back to the people, and there's one final battle. And, typically in this final battle, the hero gives it everything that they've got, every last shred of their energy, their courage, their bravery, their emotion, and then they're resurrected. They're resurrected, they're brought back to life. At that point, they return with the elixir. We see it in “Rocky,” we see it in “Frozen,” we see in “Star Wars,” we see it in — gosh, there's so many flicks and stories where this pattern repeats itself over and over again.
Now, I have a hypothesis. I think that one of the reasons that we resonate so deeply with this story is it's part of the epicness of human history. At the very, very beginning of time, we were in our ordinary world and we had a lot of mistakes, we had a lot of things that happened, we had a lot of sin, we had a lot of fallouts with God. And then, eventually, we got to a point where we needed this salvation, we needed this elixir so bad. And, the greatest hero who has ever walked the face of this planet, Jesus Christ, basically gave that to us, lived out that hero's journey for us in a very inspirational way. And, there are other examples. There's the person who finally decides to step out from being overweight, or sedentary, or obese. They sign up for their first Ironman triathlon, they cross that threshold from their ordinary world. We have the parent who decides that they're going to take their kid out of school and unschool or homeschool. I've been through that. It's very nerve-wracking, very harrowing to make that decision, to step out and do something uncomfortable especially when your child's life, and psyche, and emotions, and education is on the line. There's the business person who pivots, who decides to take their business in an entirely different direction to do something new, to do something scary, to defy the status quo. And, there are many of you in here I know who have done that, who have quit your day job and stepped out of your ordinary world and started something new, started something that really resonated with your soul. And, I respect that. There are so many instances where we see this hero's journey being lived out over and over again.
And, I think the ultimate, again, most inspirational example of the hero's journey is that of Jesus Christ. This is so inspirational to me. This deity sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven who basically comes down to Earth and becomes a baby, and poops, and burps, and has to eat baby food and get cut and bruised and scarred and live their whole life down here in this crazy different world that's anything but the ordinary world of heaven, and eventually undergoes an ordeal, one of the most unfair, brutal, horrifying murders that has ever existed in this planet. And then, eventually, after going to battle against evil forces for three days rises again and the hand comes up with the elixir. And suddenly, there we are, and there we are with that hero who's gone to battle for us and we're able to just lay it all down at the foot of the cross, our burden at the foot of the cross because that hero had returned for us with the elixir. I think it's the ultimate example, the ultimate example. And, I think that for me personally, that's the hero that I want to be. I'm not a God, I'm not a deity, I'm not Jesus, but I think it's a pretty good example.
And today, I want to give you four ways, four ways that you can cross the threshold out of your ordinary world. And, you can be a hero. These are practical examples. I don't just want to talk to you about the hero's journey, I want to tell you what to do. And, I've had to walk through each of these steps myself and I can tell you right now it's been transformative.
So, the first is to surrender. Surrender all attachments. You got to be willing to give up everything. So, Frodo left the Shire, Neo left the Matrix, Simba left Primal Rock, Luke Skywalker left Tatooine, Jesus left Heaven. You can't be a hero and so tied down to all your supplements, and biohacks, and gear, and fitness, and tools, and diet, and belongings, and social media accounts, that you're just weighed down and unable to proceed forward. You have to free yourself from attachments. You must surrender. And, there's a lot of really good books out there about surrender like Michael Saylor and David Hawkins. And, there's many ways to do it. But, there's a book that I would recommend you by Napoleon Hill. It's called “Outwitting the Devil.” That book is not as popular as Napoleon's book, “Think and Grow Rich.” But, has anyone here read it? Anybody read “Outwitting the Devil”? Yeah, it's a great book, Scotty. How are you doing, man?
So, the idea is that the devil would prefer for us not to be impactful as human beings. And, one of the best ways to get that done is to put us into what Napoleon calls a “hypnotic trance.” Wake up. You use my day as an example: oil pulling, and tongue scraping, and jumping up and down on the trampoline, and taking your supplements and making your coffee, and going to work, and taking a lunch break, and having some superfoods, and taking a nap, and getting some more work done, coming home and having dinner and going to bed very comfortable, very comfortable. That's the hypnotic trance though that many of us have been in. We're creatures of scheduling, of calendaring. And, that's all good. That allows you to be very impactful. But, at some point, you must be willing to get uncomfortable, you must be willing to surrender attachments. And, a lot of times, that means sacrificing yourself for other people. And, I'll get to that momentarily.
But, the idea of surrender is very powerful. You have to be willing to surrender your body, your biohacks, money, drugs, supplements, plant medicines, your social media feed, your calendar, your schedule. You have to be able to look at anything in life and say as Anthony De Mello says in his book, “Awareness,” “I really do not need you to be happy, I'm only deluding myself that without you, I will not be happy. But, I really don't need you for my happiness, I can be happy without you. You're not my happiness. You're not my joy.” Can you say that to your coffee? Can you say that to your smart drug? Can you say that to your gym and your fitness routine? Can you say that to your diet? Can you say that to your books? Can you say that to your Instagram account, Facebook, Twitter? I don't care what it is, you must be able to step back and surrender attachments to anything in life with one exception, that would be God. God is the one thing I know in my life even above family, friends, fitness, everything. God is the only thing I will not surrender on. But, you must be willing to surrender every attachment in life if you want to be a hero. You cannot go camping out in hero land with a giant backpack full of all the things that you need in order to survive based on the hypnotic trance that you've been living. So, you got to be willing to surrender.
There's another author named Arthur Brooks. He wrote a fantastic book called “Strength to Strength.” “Strength to Strength” is about how we progress from our early phases in life where we're doing, doing, doing, achieving, achieving, achieving, inventing, and how we can gracefully transition into a mentorship role, into a teaching role. Any of you who are becoming old fogies like me, I just turned 40, I read that book, it's called “From Strength to Strength.” It's excellent. It's an excellent outlook on how your latter half of life compares to your former half of life. And, he has a similar saying, Arthur does, he says, “This is not evil, but will not bring me the happiness and peace I seek. And, I simply don't have the time to make it my goal. I choose to detach myself from this desire.” That's another perfect example of surrender. And, you should be able to just pick anything in your life and say that. And, if you can't, if there's some type of cognitive resistance, or spiritual resistance, or unsettling in your gut, then you have work to do. But, when you combine surrendering with the other tips that I'm going to give you, it makes all this very, very easy, especially if you care for your spirit, which I'll get to as we go along here.
So, first, to be a hero, you must surrender. Second, you must sacrifice. Okay. So, the modern stereotype of a hero is this Adonis-like figure with cannonball shoulders, and multiple swords, and weapons on a giant stallion riding out to save all of humankind. And, I think that to a certain extent from an ancestral, or primal, or paleo standpoint, that makes sense, the people who appear to be harder to kill would be the people who we look up to as leaders, as potential heroes, as kings. We've been stereotyped. We've been conditioned to want that stereotype in a hero. But, if you look at Peter Parker, Peter Parker was with scrawny, Frodo was a very small man with hairy feet, so was Bilbo, Luke Skywalker didn't have the most impressive spaceship, Harry Potter lived in a freaking cupboard underneath the staircase. Okay, these were not the massive, impressive heroes that we like to think of.
Again, another example of this would be Jesus Christ, the Jews. If you study Jewish history, we're expecting this messiah who would come bearing a sword maybe with the giant army who's going to save them from the Romans and finally free the people. And, what they get, they got a tiny little carpenter baby born to a poor mom and dad, grew up in a little town called Bethlehem, and was really nothing. And yet, he told us that “The meek shall inherit the earth. He told us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” And so, this idea of a hero not quite being that hero that we've been conditioned by Hollywood to believe is the ultimate hero is something to think about. It's humility. It's surrender. It's sacrifice. It's not the braggadocio of Gaston in “Beauty and the Beast” or the muscles of the Predator or the Terminator, it's a humble approach.
Rocky Balboa was a poor Italian American. Frodo and Bilbo, again, little, tiny hobbits. You don't have to be big, you don't have to be powerful, you don't have to be rich to be a hero. As a matter of fact, I think that a hero who arises in a time like this needs to be a pattern interrupt because it is the rich, it is the powerful, it is the influential, it is the people with all the social media followers who we expect to be the hero. And, all of us are waiting for that person to be the hero.
How many of you been waiting for the past two or three years for somebody to step up and say something but it's something that you know deep down inside you wanted to say and you still want to say but you don't because it has to be somebody cool and somebody impressive and somebody who's rich who if the world tries to shut them down they're going to be okay? So, we sit here and we wait for Elon Musk, and Joe Rogan, and all these influential figures to save us. And, that's not necessarily the way that we should be thinking. It's humble people, ordinary people, people who band together, people who stand up for what they believe in, people who are their true authentic selves who are the hero. Every single one of you in here has the great potential to be a hero or scarily enough to be a monster. But, you can choose who it is that you want to be.
You have to sacrifice in terms of humility. Meaning, you have to sacrifice your ego to be a hero but you also have to be willing to sacrifice yourself, your money, your job, your career. I mean, you've got to be willing to be weird to be cast out to be vilified to be a martyr. Look, I don't want to sound narcissistic, but fitness was a pretty successful game for me, fitness, and health, and biohacking. Okay. I made a lot of money doing that stuff. I was successful doing that stuff. And then, I stepped out and I decided I wanted to help people find greater meaning, and purpose, and fulfillment. I want to help people find the same hope and joy that I wake up with every single morning as I greet God, and I talk to Jesus, and I care for my spirit. And, that's something that required me to sacrifice. Meaning that I had to be willing to be laughed at, to be vilified, to be weird, to be some Jesus freak on Instagram instead of the cool fitness guy. I can tell you right now, when you make that step to be authentic, when you take that first step, yeah, it is scary. It's scary crossing out of your ordinary world and stepping over that threshold. But man, the feeling deep down inside that you get when you speak up for what you believe in, nothing in the world can replace that. But, you got to sacrifice your ego and you have to be willing to be sacrificed in order to do that. Look at Jesus Christ. It was a horrific, horrific death that he experienced, hanging on a cross, beaten, crown of thorns on his head, six hours of suffering and tormenting, and three more days of fighting evil forces in hell. And, you talk about sacrifice like going from being the most powerful entity in the universe to being the most lowly. That's inspiration right there. If any of you have not yet read that story, read Matthew, read Mark, read Luke, or read John in the Bible. Go home and read it when you come back from the event. It's so inspiring what this individual did in living out the ultimate hero's journey.
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So, you got to surrender, you got to sacrifice your ego, sacrifice yourself, the meek shall inherent the earth, the first shall be last, the last shall be first. That's the way that you need to start thinking.
And, after surrendering and after sacrificing, the next step is service. So, service. This does not mean you got to go build a school, does not mean you got to like get on a plane and go construct churches in Africa or deliver water to people in need across the world. Service can begin very, very simple. Like for me personally, it began with my family. I did not realize how much I needed to serve my family, serve my wife, serve my sons, be there and build a family foundation, and frankly until COVID hit. And, I was stuck with my freaking family for a long time and I realized, oh, my gosh, this is the foundation in addition to faith that I probably haven't been pouring enough energy into. Just imagine if every single one of you in here returned home and just delved in hardcore, going out of the way to serve your family, whether those are your own children and your spouse or whether it's your mother, your father, your brothers, your sisters, your cousins, your nieces, your nephew's next surf community.
Okay. I began to throw dinner parties and have people over and go out into the community and serve and volunteer and find people to help. A hero must have the heart of a servant. A hero must have the heart of a servant. It really, like I said, was until the COVID pandemic that I really realized how much of a difference you can make when you volunteer in your local community, when you throw dinner parties. We begin throwing dinner parties once or twice a month just inviting people of all shapes, and sizes, and colors, and religions, and backgrounds over to our house and just break bread together and have a meal.
We went out in the local community. We found men and women to help there. Like I said, I changed my entire purpose statement to be able to serve my family. My purpose statement in life right now is to love God through prayer and worship and to love my family by preparing for them and by providing for them. And, it's so odd because when you set up that foundation of faith and family at home, everything becomes better out in the business world, in the sporting world, in the recreational world, in the real world, the adult world, it all starts at home. And, I think that sometimes a lot of us think with this kind of grass is always greener type of syndrome that all the cool stuff that we can do, all the impactful stuff that we can do is outside the home. But, I can tell you right now, some of my most impactful moments right now are when I'm meditating, and praying, and journaling with my sons in the morning, and at night, and when my wife and I, our heads hit the pillow every night, we're praying together, we're spending time together. I'm serving them. I'm preparing them. I'm providing for them. That is the mentality that you need to have as a hero. It doesn't have to start big, it can start small. Dinner parties, taking care of your family, helping out, volunteering in the local community. Those are the type of things that don't seem sexy, they don't seem the type of epic thing that a hero could or should be doing. But, these are the things that make a big difference.
One thing that we do that I'll tell you about here momentarily is we even write down one person who we're going to pray for or help or serve each day. Every single morning, my family and I do that, and it's impactful because that's 365 people a year that you can help, that you can set an encouraging note to, that you can pray for, that you can be there for, that you can go out of your way to help. So, surrender, sacrifice, service.
And then, the last thing that you need to do to really equip yourself to be the type of hero that the world needs right now is you must gird yourself up spiritually. You must put on your spiritual armor. I've written books about this recently. I wrote a book called “Fit Soul.” I wrote a book called “Endure.” And, that's what these books are about. They're about spiritual fitness because look, it's almost embarrassing that this one part of our bodies that's going to go on and live for eternity forever and ever, the one part from which our energy and our emotions and our character emanate, it's often the most shriveled up shrunken neglected part of our entire existence. We train our brain, we use all the fancy electronic tools, we take the smart drugs and nootropics, we train, we do fitness, we do hacks. All that's going to disappear. What does it gain a man or a woman if you have the whole world but you lose your own soul? So, your spiritual fitness is so, so important. It's something that I go out of my way to tend to every single day.
And, I'll tell you a couple of things that we do, but this is a verse that I like. And, I'm not going to read the whole thing to you but it's this idea that every day when I wake up, I think, alright, I'm putting on my helmet of salvation, my shield of faith, my belt of truth, my shoes fitted with the gospel of peace, the sword of the spirit, the power of prayer, the breastplate of righteousness and I'll pray that over myself, I'll put on my spiritual fitness in the same way that I go for a run or lift weights, or I do yoga, or I drink a cup of coffee. You got to take care of your spirit if you want to have the resilience and the fortitude necessary to be able to fight the uphill battle that a hero has to fight.
So, how can you tend to your own spiritual fitness? I'll tell you what I do, this isn't necessarily the perfect way to do things, but this is what I do. Actually, for those of you who want to experience this, I didn't really realize this until a couple hours ago when I was about to come up and I was talking with the folks at BrainTap and they actually have programmed in to their BrainTap that's out there on the expo floor the exact routine that I do in the morning and in the evening that I lead my family through. It's very simple. We use something called the Spiritual Disciplines Journal. And, in the morning, we sit, we start a timer, we close our eyes, we meditate typically, we'll meditate on a Bible verse for two to three minutes, sometimes memorize it. And then, we all write down one thing that we're grateful for and spend a couple minutes meditating on that, visualizing that, bringing it to life, thanking God for it. And then, we move on to service, which I was talking to you about. We write down that one person we can pray for or help or serve each day. And then, we end with a simple Lord's Prayer. And then, we move on to the evening. In the evening later on, we love our evenings as a family, we have these wonderful family dinners and we sing and we read stories and we play games. And, I tell corny dad jokes. And, in the evening after we've had that dinner, we again return to our journals and we write down three things as we replay our entire day like a movie in our mind. We write down what good did I do today, what could I have done better this day. Meaning, where did I learn from my failures, and where was I most purpose-filled today. Where is I scratching the itch of my icky guy, my plan de vida.
If you don't have a purpose statement in life, you must have one. It's very interesting as you go through this practice of gratitude, and service, and self-examination, and purpose, you find those things that you might be doing repeatedly that you could have done better that you failed that you don't want to repeat. It's revealed to you those things that occurred that made you feel most purpose-filled with your life. You realize those things that happen to you each day that you might not intentionally be grateful for that you should be being grateful for. And, this practice is just amazing, it's service, gratitude in the morning, it's purpose and self-examination in the evening.
And then, if you want a little extra, another thing that I do — and, please notice, this is all calendar, this is all scheduled, this is all intentional. This stuff doesn't just happen, you have to do it, you have to carve out the time, you have to set your alarm clock earlier in the same way that you'd set it to go to the gym. And, it's hard. I've been on a spiritual journey for the past, I mean, my whole life, but really more intensively for the past six or seven years. And, every single day, I wake up and every single day there's resistance, every single day before I do my journaling, and my praying, and my meditation. I want to go check emails, and I want to go work out and I want to have the kava. I want to do all this stuff, but you got to prioritize. I think within the first hour after you get up, you need to take care of your spiritual fitness if you really want to be equipped to be the resilient hero that the world needs.
And so, the other thing that I do is I wake up before the entire rest of the family is awake. And, I put on this Spotify channel, is called Soaking Worship. It's just great, great music. And, I'm a biohacking geek, so I do about 30, 40 breathe-ups. I literally will sit there on the floor on my cheesy little hippie meditation cushion, and I do my 30 to 40 breath ups, and I end with an exhale and a final inhale, suck all the air in, breathe it out. I have candle lit in front of me. Soy and paraben and fragrance-free for anybody who's wondering if it's a paleo candle. And, I've got incense sticks. So, my goal is to make my little meditation almost like a temple. So, I got my incense, I got my candle, I got my music, and then I just start praying, I start pouring my heart out. I have a little list on my phone of all those things that I want to pray for. And, I'll read, I like to read something encouraging like a devotional. Usually, the devotional that I read has a little Bible verse on it, so I'll read the Bible section, read the devotional. And, I always open with the prayer, and the breathing, and the candle, and the incense. And, I always finish with a prayer. Sometimes I'm done with that by 5:30 in the morning. And so, yeah, you are a little bit tired when you wake up early to do that.
But, you know what, I don't know a lot of impactful people, I don't know a lot of leaders who don't live life just a little bit tired. The way I think about things is I believe in eternal life, I believe I'm going to live forever. And so, I don't mind a few decades of being a little more tired than usual because I was putting on my spiritual armor when I get up in the morning. But, that's been super impactful for me. Okay, not only this meditation of service and gratitude in the morning and purpose and self-examination in the evening but also this idea of just going to God hardcore every single morning and being a little bit woo-woo about it: candle, incense, breath work, music. If you're speaking to a deity, you might as well make it a sacred experience. It's not as though you can't talk to God when you're sitting in the Drive-Thru McDonald's waiting to order your — oh, think about where I'm speaking, order your salad, your chicken breast on top of it. But, this idea of starting off each day intentionally that it's so powerful, you guys. It's so powerful.
After hearing this about how the world needs heroes, and there's this whole mapped out journey that a hero can follow, and there's a need to surrender, to sacrifice, to serve your fellow human being, and to gird yourself up spiritually, maybe you're feeling the call, you're realizing that you might have a little bit of a pull, a little bit of a nudge, a little bit of a desire to step outside your comfort zone, maybe you imagine the Disney princess that there must be something more to life than this, that you have some attachments, that you can surrender, that you can release, that there are certain elements of your life that you need to sacrifice. You're seeing, you're tasting, you're sensing, you're hearing, you're smelling this call to adventure. And, maybe you don't want to be a hero, maybe it sounds scary. Like I was telling you, scary is where impact happens. Comfortable, ordinary existence is not scary. It's happy. It's comfortable. It feels good. It's what 99% of the human beings walking the surface of this Earth are experiencing right now. But, man, scary waking up and not knowing if you're going to get censored, not knowing if you're going to get shut down. I know if someone's going to laugh at you because you decide you're actually going to acknowledge the sacred spirituality that exists inside each of us as human beings. It's scary but it's impactful. It's scary. But, at the end of the day, it actually is more fulfilling. I'm more happy living a scary life than I was living a safe and ordinary life.
And, I really, really think that in order for us to experience this primal uprising that we're all here to contribute to, we have to have that same mentality. We got to step across the threshold out of our ordinary world and be willing to be a hero. You have more power and influence than you think. You really do. If you have a $500 laptop and a $30 a month internet service plan and a YouTube account, you've got a greater potential audience than like 1990s television studio with millions of viewers and cameras and a staff and transmitting antennas and receivers. Really there's so much that you can do just with the little supercomputer you probably have in your pockets right now. Just start speaking up for yourself, start speaking up for what you know to be right. Go to God every day to check yourself and make sure what you're saying is actually something that is derived from the ultimate source of wisdom and discernment. Study the life of Jesus Christ, the ultimate hero. Yeah, watch “Star Wars” and “Frozen” and “Rocky” too. But, man, even just the Gospels, it's a perfect place to start. Every single hotel room I've ever been in has it right there in the bedside drawer. You open it up. You can read that story. It's so, so inspirational.
So, you got to surrender, you got to sacrifice, you got to serve, got to gird up your spirit. That's how you change the world. That's how you make impact. I'm sure that there's something you're doing right now that you could be doing differently, some steps that you could take in your family, or in your community, or in your own life that you've just been waiting for and putting on hold because you thought it would be weird, you thought it would be scary, you thought it would take you outside of your ordinary world. Does that sound familiar to any of you? What are you going to do? I'm serious, what are you going to do? Are any of you doing something right now that you could do differently? Is there some step that you could take right now in your community with your family, with yourself that will equip you to be the hero that the world needs because you do have more influence than you could ever imagine?
This is now participatory. Somebody speak up and tell me. What's one thing that you're going to do? What are you going to surrender, or sacrifice, or serve, or gird yourself up spiritually? What's something different? Who's brave enough? Who's the first person to step outside your ordinary world of being an audience member? What's your name?
Ben: Mirai? What are you going to do? Having a baby. That's a big step. It's a big step. I can get behind that though. It's one of the most important and beautiful things you can do in life. One of the most important beautiful things you can do in life is to have another human being, another human being that can go on to change this world, make it a better place.
Now, you set the bar pretty high by having a baby. It's possible that there's 50% of this audience that might not be able to have a baby unless they identify with that particular skill. But, anything else, anything else come to mind that you want to step out of your ordinary world and do? Something you've been wanting to say, something you've been wanting to participate in, something you've been wanting to speak up for. Yes.
Female Speaker: I'm a mom. I have two young adult boys. They're 22 and 24. This is something I already did and I challenge every parent in the room to do this. I called each of my children and I said, I need to have a conversation with you. And, what I'm about to say, please don't say it's okay, just take it in and accept it. I want to apologize for every time I fucked up as a mom and said or did something to you that made you feel like less of a human because that was me not being my best self in that moment, it was not a reflection on who you are as a human. And, as a parent, as parents, that's one way that we can show growth and acts of courage and being a hero.
Ben: Yes, yes. Restitution. It's called restitution, setting things right. I didn't do that until, gosh, five months ago. I finally wrote my parents a letter and I said, “I'm sorry for being a crappy son. I'm sorry for not honoring you. I'm sorry for being embarrassed when you got divorced and throwing you under the bus and thinking that I could get away with not being nice to you because you were no longer the perfect parents.” You ever read “The Five Regrets of the Dying,” an article by palliative care practitioner Bonnie Ware I think her name is? She has a book too, “Five Regrets of the Dying” and there's a few of them. I wish I'd been my true authentic self, I wish I'd displayed my emotions more, I wish I hadn't worked so hard. But, one is, I wish that I'd stayed in touch with or maintain connections with old friends. And, that really is the concept of restitution, this idea that you don't let the sun go down in your anger, that you can be at peace with all humans as much as is possible and is within your power, cover every situation with love, and peace, and joy, and forgiveness. It's a very magical way to live. So, if there are relationships right now that you can go and fix and repair, you can make the phone call, write the letter, have the conversation, go out to coffee. Man, it's powerful, it's powerful. And, it can even be with your own family, your own children or your own parents. Absolutely.
Patrice: Hi, Ben. I'm Patrice. I started listening to your podcasts in 2013 or '14. You inspired me. I asked myself the same question, how can I change a world? Came back from Dubai where I was living for the previous two years, came back to Montreal, got reconnected very deeply with my kids. I set up, invested all my money into events, sports events. So, I'm putting together the world triathlon event in Montreal.
Patrice: And, I'm inspiring people to train more to move with brilliant elite athletes to Montreal. Built a team around that, created an event company called Podium Production. We now host a world tour of the FIBA 3-on-3 basketball event in Montreal. We acquired another triathlon event, which is more family-based. So, thank you for inspiring me to get to that level, get out of my comfort zone, invest the money I'm still not making money with those events. That's not the point. The point is I'm having deeper penetration into inspiring other people and bring people to have a better life.
Patrice: Your talk today, now tells me I need to go to the other level.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely.
Patrice: I need to keep growing on that and spiritually as well.
Ben: And, it takes trust. Thank you for doing what you're doing by the way. Thank you for speaking up. It takes trust. It really does. I'm not a very trusting guy. I mean, I try to micromanage every aspect of my life. I have a really hard time letting go of things. But, for me to be able to say things that are important to me that I'm nervous might scare people away or drive people in my audience away, for me to write an article that is not promoting a company or something like that and just talking about faith, and trust, and love, that does take trust. It does take trust. It takes me waking up and just saying, “Alright, God takes care of the foxes, and the sparrows, and the flowers, so I'm going to do the very best job I can with whatever God has placed on my plate for the day. Be my true authentic self and then just hand everything over to God and trust that it's going to be okay.” But, yet, it can be scary, I can tell you what. When you got a higher power on board to help guide you through it, gosh, it's so much better, it's so much better.
Male Speaker: How do you figure out your mission or your purpose?
Ben: Yeah. There's a lot of different ways that you can identify your purpose. Some of it is thinking back about what it is that you love to do when you were a child. I love to read and write and spend time in nature. Three things that I still love to do and I'm fired up by. You think about the things that make time go by very quickly for you right now. For me, I'll be honest with you, I love to write. I really do. You put me in front of a blank page and I'll sit there for four hours and feel like 20 minutes has gone by writing. You do the same thing with my wife and she'll be a ball of tears and crying because she doesn't like to write. She got writer's block. But, if you put a canvas and a paintbrush in front of her and she'll literally just paint all day and feel like time is just flying by. So, what'd you like to do when you were a kid, what makes time go by fast for you right now or as my friend Mark Manson says, what makes you forget to eat and poop? It's a pretty, pretty good equation.
There's a book though called “Ikigai 2.0.” I know it's a funny name. Ikigai is the Japanese term for life's purpose. “Ikigai 2.0” is an e-book that you can get on Sloww, S-L-O-W-W.co. I took my sons through it recently. It's a formulative way to identify your life's purpose based on your strengths, on your tendencies and what you're naturally hardwired for. And, what I like about that particular flywheel that they present in “Ikigai 2.0” is look, I was just talking about this on a podcast out there with Mike Bledsoe, you can be the starving artist who is doing what you're doing and very passionate about it and self-actualized. But, at some point, you got to pay the bills. Of course, you trust God, but you have to trust God and put on your seatbelt. You got to trust God and strap on your sword. And so, what I like about “Ikigai 2.0” is it says, “Okay. Well, here's what I'm good at, here's what I'm encoded for, here's what makes time go by quickly, here's what I'm passionate about, but then here's what the world needs. And, here's how I can package this up and here's the commercial and monetizable aspect of it.” Because from a very practical standpoint, at some point you have to take your purpose and make it into some type of way that provides for you, provides for your family. But yeah, “Ikigai 2.0” is very good.
As is Mastin Kipp's book, Mastin K-I-P-P, I think it's called “Claim Your Power,” also a really good book for life's purpose. And, I have a section in my book, “Fit Soul” which I get into life's purpose as well, I'll walk through some stimulatory questions to help you find your life's purpose. I would love for one or two other people to share if you would like, if you feel led.
Male Speaker: I'll give you one more that's a bit aligned with what you're talking about. A couple years ago, I just been doing what my career, just following the path, the easy way, the comfortable way, and dropped that and really poured everything into a lot of things you're talking about. So, dropped it, funded one company that does transformational experiences. Another one, a lot based on the work of Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey.
Male Speaker: And, another one based on really helping people find their ikigai. But, what I didn't do then is because my go-to is career, so I did that transformation and career. And, what I'm going to do is really step back from the career and put it back into the family, and now, children, grandchildren. So, it's a bit of an inverse of career first, but for the betterment of all, but avoided the focus on the family, which is the closest to me.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, that's wonderful. And, it does make me think of one thing that I would probably be remiss not to mention. Many of us feel as though to become a hero, and to pattern interrupt, and to step outside our comfort zone that there has to be some type of scorched earth event. You got to go down to Peru and do ayahuasca or have some shaman come over to your loft and serve you iboga or kill the ego with some type of plant medicine ceremony. I look around. I hear the talk. I've paid attention to the type of things that people turn to when they're trying to become new people. I really haven't met a single person who has changed themselves or altered themselves for good with that type of approach in the absence of some type of faith practice, belief in God, and the saving power of a belief in Jesus Christ. I won't lie, you guys, I've done freaking every drug known to humankind. I've done the iboga and the ayahuasca and puking my guts out for three hours, all the things. There is absolutely nothing that comes close to waking up every morning putting on my music, lighting my candle, burning my incense and talking to God. No drugs, no plant medicines. I'm not throwing that stuff under the bus, but what I'm saying is you don't have to have some type of crazy experience that occurs in order for you to step outside your comfort zone and start being the hero, you just wake up tomorrow morning.
I remember when I first started that intense morning spiritual practice, the first part of it was just basically repentance saying sorry, “God, you've been taking care of me for so long, I've barely even been talking to you and telling Jesus just thank you for dying, for being a hero, for saving me.” And, every day when I come back, it's just more and more powerful. It's so odd because we hear about this hero's journey and the return with the elixir, and Jesus Christ is the perfect example of a deity who came back from hell with that elixir for us. It's called the Holy Spirit, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And, I don't know if any of you ever felt this, but when you have that anointing, it's just energy coming out your fingertips and you radiate joy and peace and love and hope. And, yeah, you still have crappy days, it's not like you're freaking just saint with a halo walking around all the time, but you don't have to have some epic drug-infused journey to become a new person, it literally can be something as simple as saying a prayer. Alright, saying “Jesus, I believe that you were deity, that you died for me, that I'm in need of salvation. Please come into my life, come into my heart.” It's that simple. It literally is that simple, and it's so, so magical what happens after that. It's so magical. So, that transformation that first transformation step is so, so easy and so easy.
And, of course, I mean, you guys all know how to get a hold of me on my blog, or my newsletter, or my website, or whatever. This is what I want to help people with for the rest of my life is to find the same peace and hope and joy that I found. So, I mean, if you have any questions about any of that stuff, I would love to help you.
I also want to thank you for coming. I realized that sometimes I talk about very practical things about the longevity, and anti-aging, and telomeres, and blood work, and labs, and fitness, and six-packs, and all that stuff. But, I'm just super grateful to be able to stand up here today and share with you what I feel is something that's just far more important like caring for your spirit and being that hero that the world needs. And so, if there's anything, anything that you could do in return for me coming up here and talking to you today, it would be to leave here on at some point tonight, at some point right now and you're taking a break in between sessions, write down a step that you're going to take, something you're going to do, someone you're going to call and set right things with, some pattern in your life that you're going to interrupt and change, some devotional you're going to read, some journaling practice you're going to start. Maybe you're just going to start off tomorrow morning talking to God saying, “Hey, God, it's been a long time. What do you have to say to me?” It's powerful. It's powerful when you start your day off that way.
Thank you all for coming. And, I hope to see you tomorrow as well. I'll see how the book signing. Thanks.
Hey, I've got a special announcement about an event that's taken place with me and my team at Ben Greenfield Life. So, we have our big Ben Greenfield Life team retreat this year in Sandpoint, Idaho. And, we're going to do what's called the Walk for Water during that event. We've partnered up with the fantastic charitable organization World Vision. And, on June 14th at about 10:00 a.m., we're going to be doing a 6K, 6K length event, which is the average distance people in the developing world have to walk to get water, sometimes sadly enough not even clean or safe water. But anyways, what we're going to do is we're going to raise money for World Vision to be able to provide clean water for someone in a developing country for life. And, World Vision does a fantastic job equipping farmers, equipping people who would normally not be able to get water with the ability to be able to produce water or get clean drinking water.
So, here's how you can help. There's a $50 donation option that will help to provide clean water. Fifty bucks is all it takes to provide clean water for one person for life. And, there's also a $50 registration fee where you too can join in to do the 6K. so, here's where you go, BenGreenfieldLife.com/WalkForWater. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/WalkForWater. Check it out and get ready to join us on June 14th at 10:00 a.m. And, of course, you can just do this all virtually, you don't have to be in Sandpoint, Idaho for the event.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often 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. And, 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 just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
There's a revolution on the horizon…
…led by a collective of people who are willing to speak up for what they believe in. I call these people heroes.
And today, more than ever, the world needs heroes. Now, I'm not talking about Rambo- or Terminator-type heroes. I'm talking about heroes who, like the greatest hero Jesus Christ, have the meekness and humility of a gentle lamb and the courage and ferocity of a mighty lion. We need heroes who can admit when they're wrong, and who tend lovingly to the garden of their spirit and their soul.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to an audience about why it's imperative to surround ourselves with a community of individuals who know how to surrender, sacrifice, and serve. I was asked to give a keynote speech at Paleo f(x), the world's premier wellness event, covering the 7 pillars of health–physical, mental, emotional, relational, spiritual, financial, and tribal. Over three days, there were 100+ speakers and 8,000+ attendees focusing on optimizing their health and elevating their consciousness. It's one of the most fun, inspiring, and educational events I attend all year long. From the stellar speakers to the amazing networking, to the killer parties and food, nothing like it exists, period.
I could have spoken on any topic related to biohacks, gear, and fitness—as you know, I've spent plenty of time on those subjects in the past. What I felt called to reflect on, though, was the concept of heroism and the Hero's Journey. The theme of this year's Paleo f(x) was Primal Uprising, which felt like the perfect forum to delve into something a little more important. My inspiration for the speech was the article “The Humility Of The Hero: A Call To Action (& 4 Ways To Be The Hero The World Needs Right Now).“
It's scary crossing over from your ordinary world, but nothing can replace the feeling of when you reach deep down and speak up for what you believe in. Here, I share the entire keynote speech from Paleo f(x), during which I talk about the Hero's Journey, overcoming addictions, the importance of serving others, and much more. I hope you find it uplifting and motivating.
In this episode, you'll discover:
-Why this generation needs heroes…07:01
- We're constantly bombarded with info via media
- Have meekness and gentleness
- Sabbath Ramblings: Evil
- Sabbath Ramblings: Hubris
- Uphill battle against people who fear death
-The Hero's Journey defined…11:03
- The Writer's Journey by Christopher Volger
- Steps of the Hero's Journey:
- Living in an ordinary world
- Call to adventure
- Refusal of the call
- Meeting the mentor
- Approach the innermost cave
- The ordeal
- The reward
- The road back
- The resurrection
- Return with the elixir
-Why we're wired to embrace the Hero's Journey…17:25
- Jesus lived out the Hero's Journey
- Live a healthy life, unschooling, do things out of the norm
-4 ways to be a hero…20:37
Surrender your attachments and addictions…21:00
- Podcast with Ronnie Landis on addictions:
- Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill
- Hypnotic trance
- Awareness by Anthony De Mello
- From Strength to Strength by Arthur Brooks
- A real hero often defies the romanticized stereotypes
- Humble approach
- Rocky Balboa, Bilbo Baggins, Peter Parker
- We wait for someone else to be the hero, but the world is waiting on us
- Sacrifice your ego and your self (career, ambitions)
Service is the foundation of the hero's journey…35:13
- The pandemic opened Ben's eyes to the need for service to family and community
- Most impactful moments are with family and neighbors
- The hero must have the heart of a servant
Put on your spiritual armor…38:48
- Fit Soul
- Ephesians 6:11-17
- Ben's practices for spiritual fitness
- Spiritual Disciplines Journal
- Meditate on a scripture
- Write down one thing you are grateful for
- Write down one person to serve
- Family dinners
- Write down: what good did I do today, what did I learn, where was I purposeful?
- Sabbath Ramblings: The 4 Spiritual Disciplines I Practice Every Day (& Why).
- All this is calendared, intentional
- Soaking Worship Spotify playlist
-What to do when you feel the call to the Hero's Journey…46:23
- Scary is where impact happens
- Read stories reflecting the hero's journey
- There's something you're doing now you could be doing differently
- Restitution – setting things right
- The Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
-How do you identify your mission and purpose in life?…56:13
- Thinking about what you did as a child
- What makes time fly by so quickly
- Ikigai 2.0
- Podcast with Mike Bledsoe:
- Claim Your Power by Mastin Kipp
- Fit Soul
- You don't need a “scorched earth” experience
-And much more…
- World Vision's Global 6K for Water on June 14. Click here to join the BGL team virtually from wherever you are for this year's Walk for Water.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldlife.com/calendar
Resources mentioned in this episode:
– Podcasts And Articles:
- The Addiction Free Lifestyle: How To Break Free From Nicotine, Caffeine, Drugs, Porn, Masturbation, Alcohol, Serial Relationships & Much More With Ronnie Landis.
- Tattooed Crossfitter To Bearded Monk: How Mushrooms Rewire Your Brain, Yoga Tune-Up Balls & More With Mike Bledsoe
- The Humility Of The Hero: A Call To Action (& 4 Ways To Be The Hero The World Needs Right Now)
- Sabbath Ramblings: Evil
- Fit Soul by Ben Greenfield
- Endure by Ben Greenfield
- The Writer's Journey by Christopher Volger
- Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill
- Awareness by Anthony De Mello
- From Strength to Strength by Arthur Brooks
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
- Claim Your Power by Mastin Kipp
– Other Resources:
- Paleo (f)x 2022
- Spiritual Disciplines Journal
- Soaking Worship Spotify playlist
- The Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
- Ikigai 2.0
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