#342 – Michael Easter

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Sevan Matossian (00:03):

We do it.

Sevan Matossian (00:07):

Bam, we’re live.

Michael Easter (00:09):

Bam we figured it out, man. Good

Sevan Matossian (00:11):

Minutes

Sevan Matossian (00:11):

Late.

Michael Easter (00:13):

It’s not too bad.

Sevan Matossian (00:14):

No way we’re here now. So yeah, 11 minutes

Sevan Matossian (00:17):

Late. This is disgusting, Michael. Good morning.

Michael Easter (00:23):

Good morning. How you doing?

Sevan Matossian (00:26):

Uh, my back is crazy tight. I I’m 350 shows in, and this is the first time this has happened and I want to fucking lose my mind, you know, when you want everything to be perfect in the morning.

Michael Easter (00:36):

Every day. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (00:40):

I have see that com I, I have that laptop over there that I run my whole system off of and it just kind of sits here. Yeah. And it started, it’s doing like a one hour reboot or something. It says, okay, we’re updating your computer. It will take 59 minutes. I’m like, what? Yeah. So I quickly grabbed this other laptop. I have, that’s been brand new. That’s never been set up. And so I was like, oh my God, I don’t even have Chrome installed in it.

Michael Easter (01:02):

Yeah. Well, Matthew and I were talking, it’s like, you get to the point where you kick the update down the road so many times. Yes. That you’re like five updates behind. And then it’s like, I don’t even have a, like a starting point to fix myself. So we gotta, like, we gotta figure this out. Sounds. That’s where you found yourself.

Sevan Matossian (01:20):

I go running into the house, looking for the, for whatever. I don’t know what just now my wife’s like, can you help me? I’m like, yeah. Can tell if you’re God, you can help me. Other than that, I screwed push time back. 11 minutes.

Michael Easter (01:34):

There you go. While we’re here.

Sevan Matossian (01:36):

Hey, um, Michael, how, how old are you?

Michael Easter (01:41):

I am 35 years old.

Sevan Matossian (01:43):

35? Yeah. I started CRO I, I started CrossFit when I was 34 when I was 34. I got kicked outta my mom’s house for the last time.

Michael Easter (01:50):

Oh yeah. And then you found CrossFit.

Sevan Matossian (01:53):

Oh, I, how did that happen?

Sevan Matossian (01:54):

I kind of, I kind of found him at the same time. Uh, there was just, you know, just some yo dude lying about his workout telling me he did like a hundred pullups in a workout and just stupid shit and, and deadlifts. I was like, you don’t have to lie. You already have a beautiful body. And then I went to the website. I’m like, oh shit,

Sevan Matossian (02:12):

He’s not lying.

Michael Easter (02:14):

So what year was that?

Sevan Matossian (02:15):

Oh, oh six.

Michael Easter (02:18):

Okay. When did it start?

Sevan Matossian (02:20):

Uh, uh,

Sevan Matossian (02:23):

Ish. Good question. Ish is

Sevan Matossian (02:24):

Two, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003. Basically. You know, Greg ended up having that really wealthy client who was like, like, um, the, the guy owned one of the Amer America cup boats, a Philippe con billionaire dude. He patented something that was like in every cell phone for like 15 years. And, um, he, he, Greg trained him in his family and that, Hey, I’m going on the road? And I need, uh, I need you to put this stuff up on a blog. And Greg’s like, what’s a blog. And he’s like, well, you need a computer. And Greg’s like, what’s a computer. So Greg made that first post at one rich dude’s request. And then, you know, um, from there, you kind of know what happened. First responders, uh, special forces, the DEA, all those people started doing it and started demanding a certification from Greg. It’s a great story. Right? Hard work, focus, perseverance belief.

Michael Easter (03:17):

Yeah. Didn’t I didn’t know the billionaire connection. That’s really interesting. Just some guys, like I’m gonna be on my boat. I need, I need my workouts, put it on this thing called the internet and we’ll go from there.

Sevan Matossian (03:28):

And then, and then when I showed up in oh six, um, that was when, uh, people were just starting to put like pictures on the internet, but it was frowned upon because it slowed the upload of all the pages and absolutely video was a, an absolute, no, no. Yeah. Like if, if you just wanted people, if you wanted to drive traffic away, put up a big ass picture or a video. Right. But, but Greg didn’t care. He was like, fuck it. We’re doing pictures and video. And if people get driven away, we don’t care. But you know, within a year or two, it didn’t matter. All the speeds and everything was working. Yeah. Now it works so good. There there’s some like kid in China who could turn off our country for three months. The internet got so good.

Michael Easter (04:04):

Yeah. With one click, it could all end for us right now.

Sevan Matossian (04:08):

Holy shit. What is going on? You’re in a weird profession, dude.

Michael Easter (04:13):

Uh, which one? I, I kind of have two roles. I, so I’m professor and I’m a, a journalist.

Sevan Matossian (04:20):

Oh God. They’re both so weird. They’re both so weird

Michael Easter (04:23):

That no. Yeah. I mean, I feel like it’s strange times for a lot of professions, but maybe it’s, uh, extra strange for both of mine.

Sevan Matossian (04:31):

Would you wanna be, would you wanna be a professor, a journalist or a cop? Hmm. God.

Michael Easter (04:40):

Well, I feel like some, sometimes I, I am a pop to my students. Yeah. This man,

Sevan Matossian (04:48):

This book you wrote. Um, um, and, and I always it’s like, I used to work with disabled adults and I always messed up the, uh, I would call it alcohol fetal or fetal alcohol syndrome. I always got it backwards. And I do that with your book too. So I better, I’m gonna look at it before I, the comfort crisis. I always wanna say the crisis comfort, the comfort crisis. Uh, what a, what a cool book. And then you wrote this other book before then in 2017 with a Maximus Maximus body.

Michael Easter (05:14):

Yep. I did. I helped him write that up. Sort of the ghost writer on that one. Um, yeah, I’ve known him for a while. He’s a good guy. He’s a bit, it’s,

Sevan Matossian (05:24):

He’s a beautiful body. Um, when you, when you, when you were younger and you read a Malcolm Gladwell book, did you have aspirations? I mean, I mean, how ex he must be stoked. Right? He writes such cool books. So many people buy them. Um, they’re fun. They’re, they’re easily digestible and everyone likes it. Like even the people who don’t like it, like it, and they keep reading more of his stuff. It’s, it’s like kind of candy for the brain. Right? All the numbers and stats and stuff you can apply to your own life. Um, when your book, when you wrote your book, did you know you had something like that?

Michael Easter (05:59):

Uh, well, that’s a good question. I mean, I don’t know if I do have something like that. Um, I mean,

Sevan Matossian (06:05):

I, I feel like you do

Michael Easter (06:07):

Well. That’s good. That’s, I’ll take that compliment.

Sevan Matossian (06:10):

Yeah. It’s just candy. It’s two stories being weaved at once, right? The story of your trip to the Arctic. And then, and then the story of scientist who are, are, who are trying to prove what, I dunno if they’re trying to prove, but they are proving what you’re experiencing and, and you weave the two together. You, you shuffle the deck together.

Michael Easter (06:26):

Yeah, exactly. Look like, I’ve always thought, like, if you, if we, if we really just wanted pure information, right. We could just go to a textbook. Now, why doesn’t anyone do that? Well, that’s because textbooks are boring as hell. Okay. So what isn’t boring, what isn’t boring is stories. Stories are how humans communicate. They’re the reason that humans are the apex species we are, because we can tell each other, uh, we can communicate information about the future about different ideas, abstract ideas in the form of stories. So stories really speak to, to us. So if I want to get you to a point where you can grapple with this complicated semi boring concept, I can get you in there with the story. Right. And I mean, Malcolm, Gladwell’s like the expert of this, right? You read his books and they, everything kind of starts with this story.

Michael Easter (07:16):

And you’re like, what’s going on here? You’re kind of meeting characters. You’re getting really, there’s a little bit of suspense. And then there’s this moment of change where your brain kind of goes, oh, aha. And you learn something new. Now, if he would’ve just started with this new concept, like people would just be like, oh, this is kind of boring, right. If I just start telling you about numbers and data and figures, it becomes a little boring. But if I can get you in there with, with a tale about human, that you can identify with all of a sudden, it becomes a little more interesting. So,

Sevan Matossian (07:45):

And, and were you ex, were you ecstatic when you saw the book? Did so well,

Michael Easter (07:50):

Yeah. You know, look like writing

Sevan Matossian (07:51):

A book. I mean, it’s a lot of work. It’s crazy work.

Michael Easter (07:54):

Oh God. And it’s, it’s, um, you know, you basically lock yourself in your home office for two years and you talk to sources. I go out in the world and do a lot of, you know, interesting things. So that’s always fun, but a lot of it is very lonely and you’re just kind of like pouring yourself into it and you have no idea. And then you just send a thing out in the world and you like, all right, well, there’s, you know, two years of 80 hour weeks and we’ll see what happens, you know? And so the fact that, um, it has resonated with people is super cool. Super cool. Cause it just feels like rolling some dice.

Sevan Matossian (08:32):

Um, you, you could get a job at seven 11 or no, let’s say Pete’s coffee is hiring down the street for my house 20 bucks an hour. And you could work there, um, uh, eight hours a day, knowing that you’d make $160 a day before taxes. And after a year you’d be offered health insurance. I mean, there’s like, you can see the goal. You can see the goals and the doors that unlock to give benefits. And you can’t see that with a book.

Michael Easter (08:55):

No,

Sevan Matossian (08:55):

You could even see maybe it costing you money. You could have spent all that time making it, publish it, maybe spent some of your own money to travel to places and fucking next thing, you know, it’s like in one of those 50% off bookstores, like stacked to the, to the ceiling, I dunno if they still have those anymore. But I grew up in Berkeley, California. Those were everywhere.

Michael Easter (09:13):

Yeah, totally. No, it’s interesting. And I mean, even the book industry, almost views books as like little venture capital, uh, projects where, you know, they’re gonna buy, say 10 books and they’re gonna give advances to those 10 books and they’re gonna expect that nine of those books are not gonna make up the advance. They’re probably gonna lose a little bit of money on ’em, but they’re looking for that one, cuz one of ’em is going to make significantly more, um, really resonate with people and sell a lot. So the classic example is, um, uh, what were those? Do you remember those weird vampire books, um, that were popular? Um, no, they were the

Sevan Matossian (09:55):

Twilight

Michael Easter (09:55):

Ones. Yeah. The Twilight ones. Yeah. Um, that brought in like 75% of the revenue for penguin random house that year. Everyone got, everyone got massive bonuses. So really you’re, I mean, that’s what they’re looking for. Right? It’s like, we’re gonna, we’re gonna buy a bunch of books. We’re gonna publish a bunch of books and we’re hoping for that one damn vampire book to just guy rocket us into another other dimension.

Sevan Matossian (10:17):

I didn’t do Twilight. I didn’t do Twilight.

Michael Easter (10:21):

No, I didn’t either. I mean, but a lot of,

Sevan Matossian (10:23):

But I did do a little bit of Anne rice. Did you do Anne rice? Did you do any Anne rice?

Michael Easter (10:27):

No. No I didn’t.

Sevan Matossian (10:28):

She was interview with the vampire that ended up being the movie that I think, um, you may have not God that’s so long ago Tom cruise and maybe Brad Pitt was a crazy cast.

Michael Easter (10:38):

Yeah. I know the I’m familiar with the movie. I don’t think I watched it though. Is it one I should be taken in here?

Sevan Matossian (10:43):

No, no. The books in the books are incredible. I mean the books kind of swept me away and I, and I’m not a fiction guy at all. I’m not a fiction guy at all. All right, I’ll check it out. Oh shit. She died. Oh

Michael Easter (10:54):

No. And oh recently. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (10:56):

Recently. Hey, let’s see if she died of, COVID see if she died of COVID look real quick. I wanna see, see if she got, if she got it. Um, what are your thoughts about words,

Michael Easter (11:11):

About words?

Sevan Matossian (11:13):

Um, yeah. What, what are your, what do you think about words? What, what do you think words are, Do you think about what words are

Michael Easter (11:21):

Not often? I mean, I think about using them for a purpose, you know, to communicate an idea, to get to entertain people.

Sevan Matossian (11:32):

Um, oh shit. To give

Michael Easter (11:34):

Them information. Oh no,

Sevan Matossian (11:38):

Sorry. I interrupted to get people,

Michael Easter (11:42):

Um, yeah. To give people Infor information, um, in a way that’s engaging and entertaining. I mean, I think words are ultimately, you know, how we, um,

Michael Easter (11:53):

Find how we communicate so we can find reward in life. Right. Some sort of meaning and communicate information. And um, but in the way that I use them is, is similar in a way I do agonize over words. I can tell you that. I mean like, you know, I’ll spend three days on a paragraph that is not a good use of time. It’s really not right. But like I can’t not do that. Right. It’s like, that’s my job to be a freaking psychopath about, about, uh, sentence placement and how a sentence is constructed and all that kind of stuff. So

Sevan Matossian (12:28):

There’s this, there’s this guy heard, say this the other day, his name’s Israel, a Sonya. He, he, oh,

Michael Easter (12:34):

The fighter,

Sevan Matossian (12:35):

The fighter. And he said that the difference between LeBron James and Michael Jordan is the way they make people feel

Michael Easter (12:45):

Not. That’s interesting.

Sevan Matossian (12:47):

He said they’re both. Um, I I’m paraphrasing, uh, sorry is real if I’m fucking this up. But, um, basely, they’re both equally is good basketball, but the greatest is the one that made the audience feel better. And that’s what he’s going to do as a fighter. He’s gonna make the audience feel something that they’ve never felt before by his artistry, by his movement, by his, you know, and uh, when, when you told me that you agonize over paragraph, I wonder if that’s why, because you read it and you’re like, that says what I wanted to say, but it doesn’t feel, I, I, I don’t know if it’s conveying the feeling.

Michael Easter (13:21):

Yeah. I think that just, I mean, just a single word can totally change what happens in a person’s mind as they, um, read a sentence, what they, what they think of, how they’re viewing things. I mean, there’s certain words that really sort of speak to humans. You think of like the work of, um, Carl Young and like symbols, right? There’s like certain things that are just like, you hear that. And as a human, you get, um, you get this like deep sense of something bigger, but also can like picture that like certain things stand for things to us. So like making sure that you’re using the right word is very important about how the reader perceives what is happening when you’re trying to tell a story. Right. And like the English language is just has so many words. And, you know, I tend to default to let’s make this readable and simple, but at the same time, like every now and then you just have to use the perfect word.

Michael Easter (14:24):

That might be a little more abstract for people, but they’re like, oh, wow. Right. Like I want to get you through the words quickly, cuz that’s the 10, that’s the type of books that, that I have always gravitated to. Like if I’m struggling to read thing or kind of like my mind’s going off in other places, I’m like, I’m out, I’m just I’m out. Um, but, but books that I can just cruise through, like what is it about them? And I think it’s an ease of readability. I think there’s a fact that there’s a story where you want to know something happening in the future. You’re also picking up new information. And so my goal is to just try and do that basically,

Sevan Matossian (15:00):

Uh, digestible.

Michael Easter (15:03):

Yeah, digestible, digestible. I think what I think what, um, can tend to happen. I mean, especially among, um, professor and I think two among a lot of journalists and writers, um, nonfiction writers is that they sometimes forget that the average person, like doesn’t have a lot of the context that we have. Like we we’re embedded in this stuff all the time. Right. And I think that, so times we default to almost trying to impress other professors or impress other, uh, journalists, you talk at like a very high level, but it’s like, that’s not your audience. Right. It’s like your audience needs and you’re not bringing it down to them because that, that has like a, a strange connotation. What you’re really doing is like, just speaking directly to them, like you, like you would, if you were sitting at a, at a bar and having a beer or at a coffee shop. Right. Um, yeah.

Sevan Matossian (16:01):

I feel as if Michael is part of the archaic revival movement, I dig get along with liver king whim H functional fitness, et cetera, Logan. Mars it go. Sorry. Did you wanna say something Michael? Go ahead.

Michael Easter (16:14):

Yeah, I would say that. Yeah. That’s an interesting, uh, comment. I mean, I definitely think, I definitely look at things through an evolutionary lens. I mean, I think that can tell us so much about ourselves. Like the idea of this book, the comfort crisis is that, you know, as the world has become and more comfortable over time, we’ve lost a lot things that used to keep us healthy. Right. So if you think about it, it’s like, why do people want to be comfortable all the time in the first place? Well, that’s because for 2.5 million years doing the next most comfortable, next easiest thing, every single time that gave us a survival advantage, right? When you have access to food, eat as much of it as you can, right? Uh, don’t, don’t move any more than you have to cuz you’re just burning extra calories and food is at a premium stay out of the weather, right?

Michael Easter (17:03):

You don’t want to be cold. You don’t wanna be too hot. You just always avoid risk. Right. And that worked for a long time, kept us alive. Uh, but now that the world has become so comfortable with, you know, calorie, dense food everywhere, we don’t have to, I mean, you could walk a thousand steps in a day and still survive, right? Risk is no longer, oh, there’s a tiger lurking in the bushes. Or I have to, you know, get from point a to point B across this sort of dangerous terrain. It’s like presenting in front of our boss or whatever. Uh, but we still sort of fear those of things. And I think this is backfiring. That’s the general argument I’m making in the book. And so I look at the book, looks at a handful of discomforts that we’ve essentially removed from our lives that used to really steal us and keep us, uh, not only physically healthy, uh, but also mentally healthy as well. You know, I think that you can tie a lot of the really increasing rates of anxiety, depression, um, dissatisfaction with life with the fact that we have it so damn easy now, which seems counterintuitive. Right. But it’s just taken away. It’s just totally removed. Uh, a lot of people’s perspective I think on how’s we have it in the grand scheme of time and space.

Sevan Matossian (18:15):

Yeah, man. There’s so many doors open. I don’t know which one I wanna travel down. Uh, we had, we had this, we had this guy on he’s. He was, he was, uh, a psychiatrist. He was head of the largest psychiatric center in Stockholm entry, Stockholm in Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden. Thank you. And he basically said that what we are that, that the safer human beings get, um, that the more unsafe they get and, and he explained it and I, and I’ll, I’ll send you the video. He did a Ted talk on it. I’m not articulating it very well right here. But basically what we have now is a society that is completely, uh, risk averse and unable to do risk assessment, which has caused a massive mass psychosis. He said he saw it about 20 years ago, but he didn’t know it was gonna spread so quickly.

Sevan Matossian (19:01):

And obviously we saw it spread, um, through the use of, um, the confusion of what the issue versus the symptom in, in terms of COVID I’ll tell we’ll circle back on that. But, um, and he said basically 20 years ago, the people who would come into the psychiatric center had seen horrors that he can’t even tell me like, shit that like, dude, you like, no, and now it’s a, it’s a, it’s a woman whose dog got run over. Or it’s a man whose girlfriend broke up with him and they’re, and they’re psychiatric. And I’m just like, and when I was reading your book, I was thinking of all, oh yeah, this guy, God, this guy’s so good. Yeah.

Mattew Ouza (19:40):

The security junkie syndrome.

Sevan Matossian (19:41):

So good. Yes. Thank I’ll

Michael Easter (19:44):

Have to check that

Sevan Matossian (19:44):

Out. Thanks. Yeah. And I’ll send you a link afterwards. It’s so good. Um, there was this friend of mine in college. Um, he, he was from Germany and he was going back to Germany like in two weeks. And there was this girl he really liked who really liked him and they hadn’t hooked up. And we were, I was going to her house for a party. I’m like, yo, dude, let’s go. And he’s like, nah, I’m not going. I go, why he goes, cuz I don’t wanna hook up with her. And I go, what do you mean? I’m like, he’s like, dude, I really like her. I’m like, so what dig deep into that. And he’s like, no, I’m like, I’m, I’m like, why? He’s like, I don’t want to go home and be hurt. I’m like, you don’t wanna go, fuck dude, hurt yourself to death. Jump on the sword. Fall in love with her. Make the best outta these two weeks and cry your whole fucking way back on the plane. Are you fucking kidding me? Get in there and feel that shit. And that always stuck with me that story. And I told him like, dude, we could die tomorrow.

Michael Easter (20:32):

Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (20:33):

Go hurt. Go fall in love with her, make it. So the next five years of your life are ruined. Cuz you’re writing her letters from fucking Germany who cares. Um, but he didn’t and he didn’t. And I, and I, because this book that this book that you, um, write it, it there it’s um, obviously we know anyone who’s like hiked L cap the, the 12 hour trip to the top and backer, is it L cap or what is it? Half done, whatever that one is in Yosemite that everyone and their mom’s done you. That that’s a great trip. If you leave like at six in the morning, cuz you go, you get to the top and back and you go through all these emotions, right? Oh yeah. So it it’s nuts. You never, you know, you don’t even expect it. You’re like, I’m just gonna hike this shit down and then halfway up, you’re having these crazy thoughts and you’re pissed and then you’re happy and you’re angry with the people you’re at at, with, and then you love ’em and you’re like, what is going on? It’s the weirdest trip.

Michael Easter (21:18):

Yeah dude. Totally.

Sevan Matossian (21:19):

You know what I’m talking about?

Michael Easter (21:21):

Oh yeah. Cause yeah, you’re going too slow.

Sevan Matossian (21:23):

You’re going too fat.

Michael Easter (21:25):

We don’t have to do things like that anymore. That used to be a, that used to be a part of daily life. Right. We used to get thrust into, um, these challenges and it was what nature was showing us. We weren’t selecting this right nature would throw us these challenges. And what would happen is that, you know, along the way, we would really learn a lot about our potential. So if you fail in the past, failure often meant in death. So you had to dig deep, but each time that you would dig deep, you would learn something about yourself. You’d be like, holy shit. I didn’t think I was gonna make it out of that one. But I did. So what does that say? I’m

Sevan Matossian (21:59):

A little more, you sound like a UFC fighter. That’s why they fight half those guys. That’s the story. They tried to explain what you just explained to me. That’s why they fight to see yeah. To see how bad.

Michael Easter (22:09):

Yeah. And, and I think that the wor you know, the world obviously doesn’t show us those sorts of things anymore now. And I think that we’ve lost a lot from that. So kind of going back to what you were talking about with, um, you know, the psychiatrist in Sweden and what he was observing, it’s really interesting because you start to see in that 1990 about, I think it was 92, um, mental health rates among, uh, young people start to get a lot worse and a lot worse. And what the researchers think it was is that that’s when helicopter parenting really starts. The reason for that is cuz there was some big, um, big examples of kidnappings in the media. Now kidnapping was actually going down, but you know, there’s all these stories about terrible kidnappings in the news. And so parents are like, stop going out.

Michael Easter (22:54):

Like you can’t go outside alone anymore. You can’t, you know, know more like just come home at sundown thing, like hang out inside. I wanna know where you are all the time helicopter parenting. Right. And that seems to be what has, what has really kicked off a generation that has poor mental health rates? Because we know that, you know, if you have a ton of challenges and traumas in your life, like just a ton, those type of people have poor mental health at the same time. If you have no challenge in your life and challenges completely removed, those people have equally poor rates of mental health. There’s a sweet spot where we need enough of this kind of stuff that is bad that we view as like sort of trauma or a challenge because it teaches something about ourselves and that we can get through that and survive. And it gives us, um, it just tells us something about ourself. That’s good that we can handle things, you know? And I think we have less of that. Now

Sevan Matossian (23:49):

The story you tell of, um, Aaron Sorkin is, is awesome.

Michael Easter (23:54):

Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (23:54):

It reminds me of my, it reminds me of my childhood. None of my stories turned out as good as his, but, but that, that was the story of my childhood. Do you wanna tell that story?

Michael Easter (24:04):

Yeah. Yeah. So he was, um, so Aaron Sorkin, famous screenwriter,

Sevan Matossian (24:09):

He could be just like, no, fuck off you tell it.

Michael Easter (24:12):

Yeah, I can. I, I can try if I get some of the details wrong, um, fill, I

Sevan Matossian (24:16):

Just read it yesterday. So, so if you fuck it up, I’ll tell you what you actually wrote. Yeah.

Michael Easter (24:20):

It’s gonna be fresher. It’s gonna be fresher for you. So basically, um, he lives in New York city. He’s I don’t know what he was doing with his life at the time, but he is young and he lived in this apartment with some people and he gets home one night and no one’s there. It’s kind of a terrible night in New York city, you know, no one was going out on the town. There was nothing to do. The radio was broken, the TV was broken. The only damn thing in that apartment was a keyboard typewriter. So he goes, well, there’s nothing else to do. I’m bored outta my mind. I might as well just sit down and, you know, start writing something. And he starts writing and he hasn’t stopped from then. That’s what really kicked off his career as a screenwriter. He, he decided he’s gonna start, um, you know, screenplays for plays and TV and movies and all that sort of thing.

Michael Easter (25:12):

And I think the lesson from that is that he had to face boredom, right? It’s like, there’s nothing to do. He doesn’t have any digital media that he can just lean into reflect reflexively. Now he says, if the TV was working, I would’ve sat down and just watched TV, like that’s the east thing to do. Right. Um, so in the book I talk about, I use that anecdote in a place where I talk about, uh, why boredom is actually a good thing. So the human brain evolved to be bored because it used to tell us that whatever we’re doing with our time, the return on our time invested had worn thin. So let’s pretend you and I are out hunting and gas, right? We’re sitting on this hill. We’re like waiting for these animals to come through nothing’s happening, but we need food tonight. Right. So if we don’t get food, we’re gonna starve. So boredom would kick in it’s this discomfort. That’s like, ah, gotta, we gotta go do something else. Right? Like, ah, this is, I’m getting sick of this. I don’t like this. Go do something else. So we’d go pick potatoes or pick berries or whatever it might be. Right. So boredom used to tell us to do something. And in the past that’s something used to be more productive. But nowadays when we feel boredom, what do we do?

Mattew Ouza (26:21):

Pick up our phone,

Michael Easter (26:22):

Pick up our phone, right? We have a million really easy escapes from boredom. So the average person today, uh, the data on this is crazy and it keeps rising. Like it’s, it’s even a higher number than since I published the book, which was in may. Uh, the average person spends 12 hours engaged with digital media. And that’s from all formats. That’s from cell phones, uh, TV, computers, all that kind of stuff. So I’m not saying at all that these things are inherently bad at all. I think there’s a lot of great stuff online and whatever. Um, but I am saying that maybe 12 hours a day is quite a bit, right. We’ve essentially killed boredom. And we know that boredom has a lot of, um, pretty solid benefits. So it’s associated with reductions in anxiety and depression. And it’s also associated with increases in creativity, which is really badass studies where the researchers will take two groups of people and they’ll let one group do whatever they wanna do.

Michael Easter (27:20):

You know, they’ll just sit in a room and like be on their cell phone. Then they’ll take other group and they’ll bore the hell out of these people. And the board group always comes up with more, better answers on a creativity test. Like they just smoke the group that was not bored. It’s because, uh, boredom gives your mind some time to rest, to wander. And that seems to lead to good ideas. It’s one of the reasons why people tend to have their best ideas in the hour, right. You’re not doing anything your mind’s just often wandering and it’s like the solution appears to what you

Sevan Matossian (27:49):

Were looking for. Yeah. Or, or, or, or, and I’m sure you’re gonna agree this cardiovascular activity go the air runner in your garage and just walk backwards on the air runner.

Michael Easter (28:00):

Totally watch.

Sevan Matossian (28:01):

Watch that creative monster startup. Um, there was this story about a, a kid. Um, he, he was a, um, he, he, um, he, he would get home from school at two and his friends didn’t get home from school until three. So he’d go out in the front yard with his BMX bike and ride in circles until his friends came home. And then they would all ride bikes together. But since he had an hour of free time where he was bored every day, the first day he learned how to ride, cuz no one was there with him. How to ride with no hands. Second day, he learned how to do wheelies. The third day, he learned how to do bunny hops flash forward 10 years. And he is the greatest bike rider in the world because he was bored, waiting around for his friends for an hour.

Sevan Matossian (28:35):

I made that whole story up, but I thought of that story. That’s not true story, but that is how bored works. And I see that with my kids, my, my kids, my kids. I don’t let my kids watch TV except on Friday nights and Saturday after the sun goes down. And so like my seven year old plays the guitar every day he got a guitar. Mm my, my other kids now pick up drums. They now sing. They think they’re gonna write songs. They, um, I just see a boredom is to go outside and, and build a box and sit there and wait to try to catch like the neighbor’s cat with the stick under it. You know what I mean? It’s like, it’s fucking dope. Yeah. It’s so, oh,

Michael Easter (29:11):

Totally.

Sevan Matossian (29:12):

And you gotta be careful, especially with boys. They’ll do some fucked up shit. You can’t leave ’em alone too long. You gotta kinda one eye on ’em.

Michael Easter (29:18):

Yeah. And I think that’s, I think that’s, um, but that’s how kids learn about themselves and you know, they become more resilient by going outside and do and stuff like that. It’s like when I was a kid, you know, we were allowed to go outside like all day. And so what would I do? It’s like, you go to the playground, you fall, you, you hit your head. It’s like, oh, I learned not don’t do that. You know, you’re gonna, you’re having interactions with other kids. You call some kid a shithead, he hits you in the head then the face. And you’re like, oh, I guess I gotta be nice to people now. Right. Yeah. Yeah. And now all these like interactions are happening indoors. And a lot of times, um, behind screens, like on social media, it’s like, it’s no wonder kid’s mental health is not doing well right now. It’s like, I have a kid, one of my class.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

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