How To Set Appropriate Boundaries With Work And Money - An Interview With Garrett Gunderson

How To Set Appropriate Boundaries With Work And Money - An Interview With Garrett Gunderson

What follows is a transcript for the podcast How To Set Appropriate Boundaries With Work And Money - Garrett Gunderson

Topics within the interview include:

  • How to set appropriate boundaries with work and money
  • Powerful financial exercise for determining your relationship with money
  • How to focus on creating value
  • Faulty thinking about planning for retirement
  • Common ways to make your money work for you

How To Set Appropriate Boundaries With Work And Money

James Schmachtenberger: Welcome to today's episode of Collective Insights. My name is James Schmachtenberger, the CEO and co-founder of Neurohacker Collective. And I will be your host today. And today I'm delighted to get to introduce our guest, Garrett Gunderson. Before I intro him though, I just want to say I'm particularly interested in the topic matter that we're doing today, because it's something that's new for us. For those of you who have been listening to Collective Insights for a period of time, you know that we've been covering many different aspects of health. We've dove into dozens of areas of physiological health, we've covered psycho-emotional health, we've gone into spiritual health.

But an area that we've actually never covered is financial health. And I think it's a very important area for us to look at because the world we live in today, so much of what we want to do, some of the resources we want access to the bio-hacks, maybe in the case of our community, are all things that require intermediated by money. So having a healthy relationship with money, having a good understanding of it, a good ability to navigate it without a lot of the common stressors is key. And I think Garrett is the perfect person to be able to talk to us about this topic today.

So for those of you who don't know much about Garrett, he is the founder of an Inc. 500 firm. He authored the New York Times hit book, Killing Sacred Cows, as well as multiple other Wall Street Journal bestsellers. He is commonly referred to as a financial genius within the entrepreneurial communities. But this wasn't something that he was born with. Garrett wasn't born into money or with a silver spoon. Quite the contrary, he came up in very blue collar, working class family, fourth generation coal miner, I believe.

Garrett Gunderson: Yeah.

James Schmachtenberger: And so it was actually those early experiences and watching the pain that he went through and the pain that so many other people in his world went through as a result of not having financial fluency that drove his desire to study and master this area and be able to help others. Now, after more than 20 years working in the finance industry, he has shifted up his approach and taken what he knows best, which is money, and paired it with what he loves most, which is comedy, and developed a new methodology known as win then play. We all have the opportunity to win, but not only to win, but to win bigger more often and to attain more of what we want, but in order to do that, there are a number of myths that we need to expel and in place embrace truth and self expression. So if you are ready to transform your life, your finances, your future, then today's guest will help you do just that. And it's time that we all have an opportunity to laugh at money's expense for change. Garret, welcome to Collective Insights.

Garrett Gunderson: It's going to be here. It's interesting because in writing comedy around money, I've had to get even clearer and more concise. But today I met with the children's author who sold three million books who wants to write a book on money with me. I spent a half hour describing concepts that I thought we could put in the book and may have to get even more simple. And what's crazy is sometimes we think that money is complex, and it can feel that way because of crazy things like derivatives and options and margin and all the terms that we hear at Wall Street. But I think if we stop thinking of money as spreadsheets and numbers and start thinking of it more as concepts and understanding how it works as a concept and a construct, life gets simpler, especially in how we relate to money.

And so if I were to say that to this group, it's that money is a man made efficient tool to exchange with one another. Money represents value. It's like a snapshot of value we've created from moments of the past, but it doesn't reflect our potential and it doesn't dictate our destiny. See, ultimately it's a byproduct. It's a byproduct of value creation. And when we deliver value through serving others, solving problems, money is going to follow that value. And so if we can really look at and separate that our self worth and our net worth are not the same things. Although some people chase it, that the more money they have the more power they have, the more money they have the more valuable they are, the more money they have the more freedom they're going to have.

And the reality is there's a lot of studies that show from a baseline level of having money it does directly equate to more happiness on a baseline level, because if you're not taking care of the foundational pieces of life, scarcity tends to be the dominant way of thinking. And our mind is consumed with how are we going to provide food and shelter and some of those basic things. But once those things are provided, if there isn't clarity, money becomes confusing. I like to say it's a terrible solo artist, but a great companion. Meaning if it's our only objective, then we start thinking the ends justify the means. If we only have this amount of money, we're going be happier. Once we have this, then life will be better. And it actually gets people stuck in this trap of sacrificing. A lot of times that sacrifice is at the expense of health, at the expense of purpose, at the expensive quality of life and relationships, because we've been sold this lie, that if we just hustle and grind and work, then one day someday, we'll have enough money to retire.

And the only reason people want to retire is because they're doing things they don't enjoy along the way to finally afford the things that they want to have when they're probably too old to actually do that, unless they're obviously following all the health stuff you guys are teaching, because how many times do you guys see this where people are sacrificing their health for their dollars? And then ultimately we know how that's going to end up, they'll end up spending those dollars to try to regain health that they've lost, and that will be in a time that will be very stressful and difficult. So I look at money as important. Some people said it's not important, but I have a joke that says, well, you think it's unimportant you probably don't have much of it, because we need a bunch of useless stuff laying around.

But at the same time in my 20s, I let it define me, how much money I had, how much money I made, revenue that I had, profit that I had, stuff that I had. And I think that this is a construct that's really been intentionally built in a world of consumerism. And in consumerism, I think our mind is poisoned with something I would call the consumer condition where we think that we want to take more than we give in the consumer condition where it's based upon scarcity, which is governed by fear, doubt and worry. People in scarcity often think that profit is evidence of deception, of course, in a wrongdoing. They believe there's only so much to go around. So it's a zero sum game. It's about take what you can get, hold onto what you've got. It's about competition over collaboration.

And ultimately, this survival of the fittest type of mindset is why we have other aspects of our life start to fall apart or deter, because we're chasing the almighty dollar. And I actually wrote this. I think if you heard me do my money poem, which is a little bit play around five minutes of all the names we've dedicated to money and all of these belief systems that are governed around money and that are conditioned through us in society. Well, I look at money as that efficient tool to exchange with one another. And exchange is through serving and solving problems and adding value. And the more we exchange, the more wealth there is built, but that comes from a philosophy of innovation and ingenuity and abundance rather than have that fear, doubt and worry.

In this producer paradigm where we see that we contribute more to the world than we take from it, that world is different than that consumer condition in that you might actually spend more long term, because you're probably making more because you're willing to invest in yourself, you're playing the game of value creation versus scarcity, you're playing a game of expansion rather than cutting out, because nobody's shrinks their way to wealth. And in this producer paradigm, profit is evidence of value creation instead of coercion. And so if someone subconsciously believes that money is the root of all evil or someone subconsciously believes that if someone has a lot, it's because they've done something wrong, they're going to self sabotage in order to have an identity that they're a good person, and they'll come up with genius excuses that might not even verbalize that would prevent them from being the value creator that they can truly be.

And so for me, vision is the ultimate container in which we create value, but vision is different than a goal or objective. A goal or objective is something that you could probably do on your own where vision requires collaboration. It requires other people's support and help, because the amount of time and money and ability one person has wouldn't be enough for something that's that far out of reach, but it would make a meaningful difference. And that starts to drive value and then dollars follow that value.

And when that comes from a place of prosperity, then that becomes our state of being, because prosperity is not a point of arrival, it's a perspective. And with the wrong perspective, we get stuck in the consumer condition, get into scarcity, your money is bad, wrong or evil or limited. We try to hold on to what we've got, get trapped into budgeting or get trapped into hustling. And ultimately, there's almost no level of freedom. And see, financial freedom to me... I like how, by the way, I said, "Yeah, you should just interview me." And I just don't stop talking from one simple statement, you didn't even ask a question, I don't think.

James Schmachtenberger: It makes my job really easy.

Garrett Gunderson: I just have a small amount of passion around this and think about it a little bit. So go ahead.

James Schmachtenberger: So actually I want to double click on something that you said, because I think that it's potentially quite useful, particularly for our audience. So you commented on how a lot of people have the idea that money is the root of all evil and that there's this self sabotage or guilt that comes up with when people start to become more successful. And I know I've had that experience and I'm someone who's actually been fairly skilled at being able to build businesses and generate money. But as that's developed, I've had to battle a lot of those beliefs to be able to further success. And I'm curious, in your work beyond identifying what some of those core myths are, particularly this one, how do you help people dispel that? How do you help them break down that mental idea that they're holding onto? Because I think that one goes deep for a lot of people.

Garrett Gunderson: So I took you through an exercise when we were together in Arizona recently. And I think that, that exercise is the single most powerful way to break down that experience of being in scarcity. So I could talk about it a lot and I think it could make logical sense, but something can make logical sense and not make emotional sense. It could not change that feeling or that subconscious belief. And so sometimes those are a little bit trickier to find or discover or to handle. And I know this because I did tests where I would go and speak for a whole day. And then the next day, when we start up the event, we would talk about scarcity versus abundance and where these beliefs came from and where they heard it. But then I would just take them through this three minute exercise. And then I couldn't get them to quiet down after they exercise, because you can see the light bulb we went on, that it's almost something that I would use the term it's to be experienced, not to be explained, because... Go ahead.

James Schmachtenberger: So from that lens, would you be interested in taking our audience through the exercise?

Powerful Financial Exercise For Determining Your Relationship With Money

Garrett Gunderson: Yeah. So let's go through the exercise to really feel and experience this. And so during this exercise, what I'm asking people to do is as long as you're not driving while you're listening to this is close your eyes. And as I ask you these questions, just pay close attention to your thoughts and your emotions. And I'll take you through this exercise and just stay with it and just allow for whatever to come up to come up. It's not really about judging yourself or your thoughts, it's just about being in the moment.

So let's start by saying you have an extra $10 per month that's coming into your bank account each and every month for the rest of your life. No strings attached, no taxes. It's just an extra $10 per month. So what are you thinking about? What would you do with it? How does that make you feel? Okay, so let's add a zero. Let's take it to $100 a month, each and every month, the rest of your life. Just like before, no taxes or strings attached to it. Now, what are you thinking about? How does it make you feel? What would you do with it? Okay, let's add yet another zero. Let's take it to $1,000 dollars per month, each and every month for the rest of your life. Now, what are you thinking about? How does it make you feel? What would you do with it?

Now, I bet you could predict. We're going to add a zero. We're going to take this up to $10,000 each and every month. Now, what are you thinking about? How does it make you feel? What would you do with it? We're going to add yet another zero, take it up to $100,000 each and every month till the day you die. Now, what are you thinking about? How does it make you feel? What would you do with it? Let's add a zero. Let's take you to a million, not once, but each and every month for the rest of your life. What would you do with that? How does that make you feel? Now, what are you thinking about? What if we made you a billionaire, what if you were a billionaire, what would you do? How does that make you feel? What are you thinking about?

Okay, open your eyes. And now if you're not sure what to do with the larger numbers there, I want you to think bigger, to expand your value, to focus on impact. If your number where you stop thinking about yourself and turn your focus to value for others was 10,000, that's your value index. So that's the moment where we move from survival or scarcity or selfishness or even self care, because it doesn't mean it's bad that we're thinking of ourselves, but we moved to a place of abundance when we think about what we could do for others, when it's beyond what we could take or what we need or what we might spend. And in that moment, we start to think about the very nature of what it takes to be abundant. We start to get where we put value first, where money is no longer the primary reason or excuse we'd have to do or not do something. It's just a consideration, but not the consideration. Or the consideration of having it is, well, I wouldn't even know what to do with that so I guess I got to think beyond myself.

And look, this is why if people don't make a certain amount of money, they're in survival, it's hard for them to think charitable even if they want to be, because they're just worried about paying the next bill, they're worried about having the next meal, they're worried about the basic necessities, which can drain our energy and consume our thinking and create a lot of scarcity. But if we get to have that inflection point where we know what our number is, and we say, well, what thinking would I have in that situation, and begin to think that way today. We start to think about the level of what value we could provide if we were financially set. This is why I think financial independence is important.

I'll make a distinction. There's financial independence and there's financial freedom. Two different things. Financial independence is having enough recurring revenue from assets to cover your basic expenses so that if you didn't open a computer or look at a phone or go to an office, you would have enough money to cover your expenses that day. Financial freedom is back to the sediment that I mentioned before, where money is no longer the primary reason or excuse why you would do or not do something. It's a consideration, not the consideration. That's financial freedom. That's a state of mind or a state of being where the other one is a state of having or a state of cashflow.

So when we're economically independent, we can typically swing for the fences and what we do. We have more ability to go for a vision, especially maybe you have someone that your significant other thinks differently. They want more stability and security and you want more growth. And those seem to be at odds, which can be when we don't understand each other's money persona or we don't understand money in general. And those two things rather than becoming an amazing ally, become two opposing forces. That is the number one reason most people say they get divorced is because of money problems. Now, I don't really think it's money problems. My assessment of that is when we have money problems that are insurmountable in our mind, we stop thinking about an exciting, compelling future, and we start wishing that our lives was good like it used to be in the past. And when we can't think forward in a positive way to the future, it starts to decimate our energy and destroy our prosperity.

And so what do we do in that point? We start looking for who's to blame or what to do or what were the obstacles. And so this is why it's really important to know each other's money persona. Like my wife and I haven't thought about money since 2008. That was a good fight in 2008. We didn't know each other's money persona. I looked at myself as the gas. She was the brakes. I got over spending in real estate. She's going, "Okay, so why did you get into all this real estate? We had a really good life before, but now you're just on the phone with attorneys all the time and property managers and dealing with partners that are going belly up and now you're inheriting properties. And now you're talking to realtors." I didn't really think clearly about what money was and what its use was and how I wanted to earn it.

And I think a lot of people don't think about the way they want to earn it. That makes it difficult to discern an opportunity from a distraction. An opportunity, something that actually aligns with who you are and helps accelerate the results of your vision. A distraction is it may or may not make money, but it looks like it's going to make money, but it takes you away from who you are and what out to create. That's why lack of clarity in our vision or the consumer condition bringing in scarcity is the reason why wealth is destroyed more than any other thing. No amount of luck, no saving, no discipline, no ready to return, no financial advisor can save someone if they're in scarcity.

Scarcity will give us illogical levels of thinking that lead towards the destruction of wealth, because it tends to move towards a selfish state. We're only thinking about survival and it eliminates or limits prosperity and value creation for others, which is actually the way to have exponential growth when it comes to financial wealth. So now you've asked two questions and I've gone for quite a bit of time off such a small amount of questions.

How To Focus On Creating Value

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah. Well, let's add some more to the mix. So one of the things I've heard you talk about, and I've seen in some of your other materials that I've studied them, you talk a lot about value creation and having people not focus on making money, but focusing on how they're creating value. And I think that's one of the things that I actually particularly like about your work. And I'd love to go a little bit deeper there, because I think that it's so common and very easy for people to get caught up in pursuing making money, because in the world in which we live, there is a need for money. But that often happens at the expense of who they feel like they are at the expense of their passion and at the expense of that natural impulse that a lot of us have to do good in the world.

So yeah, just curious to hear your thoughts on how does someone, if they maybe are caught up in feeling like they need to make money, how do they shift from that place into identifying what their unique value offerings can be and then how they pursue that in life?

Garrett Gunderson: This is tricky. It's not always easy, because I feel like there's a lot of people in the world that get stuck doing what they do because they know how to make money doing it. And they've also increased their lifestyle to meet or exceed what that is. So they don't have a lot of space for growth, because there's limited time. Maybe they have kids, maybe they're married, maybe they've got a business, maybe they've got... Who knows? I've got a 13 and 16 year old. I feel like my wife's just constantly driving everywhere. And so that consumes... I always joke. I'm like, "You're one of the best people at helping people and asking questions and listening and helping them grow, but you're too busy driving kids around."

And I feel like that happens for a lot of people is a lot of their skillsets aren't tapped into because they're busier than... And if I got to the root of that, it's because a lot of people start out in the hole, they start out in debt. And that debt starts to become a driver for them to start earning. But sometimes they earn at the expense of the greater vision or the greater opportunity, because it's trading time for money, because it's taking care of those basic necessities that if they don't, they aren't going to have food and shelter at an adequate level. And then even when they start making a lot of money, sometimes they justify spending more because of all those years of hard work and going to school and whatever it might be. And so now they deserve these types of things and we can buy things at such a low interest rate, whether it's a home or whether it's car. So all of a sudden we're financing future working hours for things that we're enjoying today at a premium with interest.

So I think that, that really is one of the trappings that we have to watch out for, because ultimately, if you can invest in your skill sets beyond just degrees and education that the world's giving you, but emotional intelligence, financial literacy, communication skills, the things that the world needs to have in the neuro-hacking world that they wouldn't know about that you guys are bringing to them, but give them exponential results is mental capital. And when we have substantial mental capital that really enhances and improves other people's lives, there's opportunity for exponential growth and wealth, because we're either going to impact more people or more deeply impact those that we currently reach. But either way, those are really the roads to riches.

So if we're stuck just doing something in the name of earning because it's a necessity, that doesn't leave the space for thinking, that doesn't leave the space for listening to ourselves and discovering our purpose or creating a compelling vision. There's so many people out there that their vision is I'm going to work, find a retirement. And then when I retire, finally, get a little bit good life. What happens if you don't make it, because you don't take care of your health? I had two partners die in a plane crash when they were 35 years old.

And so I think one of the biggest issues when it comes to money in life is we bought into a faulty notion called sacrifice. We think that sacrifice is required in order to be successful. And hence why the world is so unhealthy. Why so many people are... Maybe they're not sleeping enough or they're not getting enough movement or sunshine or water or just the basic elements, not even getting into the depth of what you guys would teach, but just some of the basic things, because they think it's always going to be a temporary thing that becomes a permanent habit. And before they know it, they're addicted to this limited lifestyle that was all a name of a better life. And they may have the stuff in the consumer condition, but they don't have the fulfillment, they don't have the joy, they don't have the happiness, they don't have the energy, they don't have the health and the longevity because ultimately they become enslaved to cash, to finance, to loans, to all those kinds of things. And this is unfortunately, the state of the condition of most of the world for that.

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah, absolutely.

Garrett Gunderson: I don't even know if I answered your question, because I take so long to get to the point though.

James Schmachtenberger: I think you answered at least part of it. And I think part of it isn't an easily answerable topic, especially in broad sense, like what we're doing here today, because it was a how to question, but the path there I think is quite different depending on where each person starting point is and what beliefs they're working off of.

Garrett Gunderson: Yeah, you've got to develop your mental capital and you've got to invest in your relationship capital. And relationship capital has two facets to it. One, people that you support and then they probably pay you. And number two people that support you and you likely pay. So there's a lot of people that don't have enough people supporting them and they get stuck. And part of it's because as humans we've gotten pretty terrible at just asking for support. We're like these rugged individualists thinking that we have to do everything on our own. And if we ask for help, somehow it doesn't count or somehow that's weakness. But the reality is collaboration is the game if you want to really have an expansive future. And if we try to be Jack of all trades, that becomes pretty difficult to master our mental capital in a way that is ultimately meaningful for the people that we support and serve ourselves.

Faulty Thinking About Planning For Retirement

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah, absolutely. So another, I'd like to explore a little bit. I've heard in your materials, you talk about the faulty thinking of people trying to plan for retirement. And I think that's a fairly ubiquitous thing, at least in the west. Most people have this idea that we work for several decades, we sacrifice most of what we want in life along the way and then towards the end of our life, we're going to get to enjoy it. And one of the things I've appreciated and hearing your book is really erring away from that and looking at how do you build a life that is actually worth living, that you don't necessarily need a vacation from where you don't need to retire from, but how do you make your finances actually work for you to improve quality of life throughout the duration of life, particularly when you're most physically capable of engaging in it? I guess that wasn't really a question as much as a thing I appreciate about your work, but I'd love to hear you speak more into that and how people can shift those ideologies themselves.

Garrett Gunderson: I think when it comes to finance, we bought into that we don't have the time, we don't have the expertise as two main excuses that hold us back. And there's a lot of myths when it comes to money. And written about these quite often myths, like it takes money to make money. That's a defeating statement people say that they don't have enough money and it eliminates them from being more resourceful or high risk equals high return risk means chance of losing. Increasing your chance of losing isn't going to help you win, it's going to have you more speculative. I'm sure you'll hear stories of people that speculate and make a lot of money, but when that creates a behavior in someone else that they're doing something they don't understand, that's gambling, that's not investing. And there's going to be unfortunate losses along the way.

There's so many beliefs of retirement that says, "Hey, if I want to retire, it's a set it and forget it. Invest early often and always." It's an equation of wealth being a function of how much money we put away, which it takes me to make money, times the rate of return we get, which is the high risk equals high return type of fallacy. And number three how much time can you wait, because compound interest although you're in it for the long haul. So it takes money to make money, high risk equals high return, and you're in it for the long haul are these three erroneous dogmatic beliefs around retirement.

So people are setting aside money. The market has these amazing times like the 90s where it's so good, we're going to have such a great life. Or right now, the market's been on a big, big run, but what people aren't accounting for as interest rates are so stinking low that if they retire, they're getting such a measly amount of interest on their investments. But even if they've got millions of dollars, they might be moving like a popper. Maybe they're only getting $30,000 per year per million dollars that they've saved up, because interest rates are so low and taxes might go up. Or we know inflation's going up, we're watching that. And we have the front row seat to that wild ride or maybe interest rates continue to go down, which they can't go down much lower than they are today. But those three facets, it was people set all this money aside thinking if I put up enough money away, earn enough return and wait long enough, one day someday I'll finally get to enjoy life. And they miss out on memories and experiences along the way, they do things they wouldn't have otherwise want to do or would be willing to do, but they're doing it for this future potential better life.

And then when they get there, well, what happens if they get there in the year, 2000, three straight down years that decimates their entire dream. What if they get there in 2008, three straight down years, it starts to decimate their life. They get there in 2020, very turbulent, very scary year. Okay. Now, it came back. Are we going to be okay? I don't know. Interest rates are low. When is the stock market going to come back down to earth, because it seems overinflated? Well, these factors become complicated, because no longer when we retire, are we in charge of the outcome of our income. It's really assets outside of our control, whether it's bonds or stocks or annuities or insurance plans. And so now people are at the mercy of financial instruments rather than their own value creation.

And so what I like to do is help people become economically independent in three to seven years, which I met someone at Mindshare that was like, "Hey, when I met you three years ago and you said that was possible, I thought you're crazy." And then they got up and got some award for being the most improved person. And they were economically independent in three years starting from pretty meager situation, but just doing the work. And if we want to have prosperity, responsibility coincides with that. It goes hand in hand with it. The good news is you don't have to learn about the stock market or tax liens or commercial paper or options trading or any of that stuff. You just have to figure out what your investor DNA is. What investments make sense based upon who you are.

I've had very prominent people in the health space that have done extraordinary well just staying invested in that lane, other types of businesses, but they understand those businesses, they understand the products, they have massive followings that when they mentioned the products, move those products, they have all these mechanisms that they can legally influence what's going on in the economy where they can't really do that with a publicly traded stock. And so they relate more to it. And so if we can get people financially independent, now they can really swing for the fence in their business, which might mean more delegation and less burnout, which might mean taking time off for bursts of time over time, so you're not just waiting until age 65.

I did 63 days in Italy one summer, we did another 30 days another summer. I'll be taking a lot of December off this year, so that I don't completely burn out. So I don't want to retire. I want to see people build a life they don't want to retire from where they continue to add value, but they redefine how they work on a daily basis as to not get stuck in burnout or not simply reinvest every single dollar back into the business without finding a way to translate or transfer that to personal wealth or at the expense of enjoying everything along the way, because we go back to the beginning, which sacrifice is really this vice that traps us in losing games. Sacrifice wants us to think it's temporary, it becomes permanent. Sacrifice wants us to think, I can trade time for money or scrimp and save, but that's all at the expense of today. So really it's about plugging financial leaks. It's about keeping more of what you make without cutting back. It's investing back into yourself and your skill set so that you have more unique mental capital to bring to the world and reach to those people that you're serving, so you actually get money that comes back in. And as you can start to build that worry, it's not all reliant upon you, but it's reliant upon a structure that you create or people that support you.

So you have a little bit of time freedom, then you don't hit that burnout, then you don't go, I have to retire because I hate what I do. And if you'd have all the money in the world tomorrow and you would stop doing what you're doing today, you might be in the wrong career, you might be doing some of the things that aren't really the most fulfilling for you. And I'm not saying to do just to cut and go, all right, I'm going to totally change things tomorrow, but what if you were to pick up the pen and just start saying, what is your vision? What works for you? What's a winning game for you? I don't think people even understand what game they're playing. We're playing the game called the consumer condition, more is better, bigger, better, faster. One day, someday, eventually it all worked out and I just need to sacrifice another week, another month, another year, I can make up for it later.

And what happens is we finally crash and burn and figure out it wasn't worth winning. We check boxes and we go, it didn't work, because we're playing someone else's game. I was playing someone else's game in my 20s. I was playing this game called striver. Like I can just work harder than everybody else, I will sacrifice so I can live like no one else can live sometime in the future. And when people say, what are your hobbies? I'm like business. What else? Business. That was just it. I was obsessed, that's all I did. I was heavier. I wasn't as healthy. That's where most of my gray hair came during that time, probably nutritional deficiency probably telling me what was really going on there.

But ultimately, that was the way I thought was the way to win. But then I had to realize, well, what game am I even playing? And if I win the game, I'm playing, could I win and still end up losing? Yeah. Losing my health, losing my family, losing my purpose, and have a big pile of cash that I give half of it away through divorce that I give and the other half chasing back my health. So we've seen the writing on the wall that way, but it's still sneaky and tricky, because again, it's like the devil on the shoulder being like it's fine for now. But then it just becomes who we are. So to take a breath and say, what game do you want to play? And how do you want to play that game? And what are your rules, not society's rules.

It's almost like society hands of rule book to us that says he who has the most wins, go. And so then people just go, but it's like, well, most what? And what do you really want? But if you take the time to say, here's when I work, here's when I don't work, here's what I do, here's what I don't do. And start looking opportunities versus distractions and your wins and your lessons along the way. Then you continue to evolve and say, when I hit my 30s, I'm like, "Okay, I don't do Friday one-on-one meetings. As a matter of fact, I don't do one-on-one meetings. I'm a one to many guy from here. I'm going to write books." So I started re-establish the rules based upon what worked for my life. And people didn't have my cell phone that were clients, because I didn't want to be available at all times. I could be assessable at the right time, but not available to the point where I couldn't be present with my family or the aspects of my life.

And look, this is some of the hardest, yet most rewarding work, because society tells us you've got to be on social media, you've 100% of the time you got to be on email, you got to answer every text. It's always about availability, availability versus accessibility, which is what if you had your rules and parameters of when and what you choose to do in any of those forums or formats? Because I don't really do much really with social media and yet people are like, "Well, how in the world are you going to be a comedian?" Well, I'm still filling venues. I've done 11 cities so far and almost every one was 100% full. And Dave Chappelle is not on social media and he seems to have this comedy thing going pretty well for him for the most part. But it's again, we don't establish our rules so we get in the trappings of everybody else's rules and trying to model what everybody else has done.

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah. I like this area, because I think you're right. I think that people get so caught up in that there's a certain way that they have to do things and then they try to adapt who they are as individuals to this amorphous concept and end up miserable and losing a sense of who they are in the process. And what I hear you saying is that one of the key things that actually allows for more success is not trying to fit into a standard box or do things a particular way, but actually define how you work effectively. What does and doesn't work for you and then set appropriate boundaries.

I know for me that's been huge for probably most of my career. I thought that there were particular ways that I was supposed to do things and seeing people be successful at it. And I thought I had to be available all the time, used to sleep with my cell phone under my pillow, despite knowing the health consequences of that. And now it's like I put my phone on airplane mode, I don't touch it again until a while after I wake up. And it was such a hard shift to be able to start making certain changes and say, hey, when I work this way, I'm actually miserable and less productive. And when I work this way, even if it doesn't work as well for certain other people, I'm getting so much more done and impacting that many more lives. I really appreciate that area of the importance of being able to set healthy boundaries around work. And more than that, actually, get to know ourselves and what does and doesn't work for us and then adapt a work life to be able to meet that.

Garrett Gunderson: Totally. And it's tough, because when I was in my 20s and I decided, okay, I'm going to take some days off, that was like withdraw. I was like, "Well, I need to be in touch with people all the time and checking my phone." And so I had to go up in the mountains and go snowmobiling or going mountain biking so I could be away from that. And it felt like withdrawals. And then eventually it was like, okay, well, my computer doesn't leave my office when I'm done for the day. I never bring it into my room. That was just a rule or, hey, I'm not really one to respond on email. So I'm just going to get rid of email. That was my rule. I'm not saying this is what everybody else's has to be. It was like, hey, we want to do summers in Europe.

We just invented a new game. And it's not like we had the solution from day one. But I remember when I hired a new assistant and when I was early on in business and she was doing scheduling for me, she goes to all these people can only meet at 8:00 PM. And I was like, now I was trying to draw boundaries, I go, "Well, ask them if they meet with their doctor at 8:00 PM, because I'm not going to be their financial doctor here and I don't meet at 8:00 PM. I meet from 9:00 to 5:00. And if they can't do that, they'll probably find someone else." And sure enough, they scheduled for 10:00 AM the next week.

But if we don't set expectations, the people we serve create expectations for us. And if we have those expectations clearly set, we can have more peace of mind in our life. And so it's not always easy to do, especially because we have our old ways of being. And sometimes when we make these changes that with people who used to interact with us, expect us to behave the way we always behave. And that means sometimes we lose some of those people as clients, patients or whatever you might call it, because they don't want to play by the new set of rules, they're going to allow you to grow, they're going to allow you to have this quality of life, they're going to make it so you don't burn out, they're going to make it so that you can continue to do this into older years when everybody else still has more brain power, but instead they're not using it because they're just beat up and exhausted.

And so I think that financial literacy is a huge part of this so that we understand how to have money service properly and not have to worry about it all the time. And when we have a grasp of how it works in the basic sense and then make decisions based upon cashflow versus accumulation or efficiency versus risk or simplicity versus complexity or automation versus effort, these types of factors start to add up and exponentially make a difference over time. And so to me, it's progress over perfection, done is better than perfect. And then just look at our own lives and go, "Where am I operating in a way that isn't working? Where are the footprints of failure? Where are the footprints of frustration? And what am I doing there that isn't working and what could I do differently?"

So for example, the very first thing I like to do with people in our firm is find where they're losing and leaking money, rather than having them save more money. Look at ways we can undo budgets and just automate the savings versus restrict budgets and restrict also their level of production. Because a lot of times, I don't know, being on a really strict budgets, being on such a strict diet that you get to the point where you're like I'm just going to binge on Saturday, I'm done with this. And then it's a rubber band type of process. And there's been a lot of studies on that in finance. So again, I'm looking for how do we create simplicity and elegance in order to create a more profound result.

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. So what are some of the best places you could direct people or things for them to study to be able to start to expand financial literacy?

Garrett Gunderson: So Two hours to tease They could figure out their money persona and that money... We just had a challenge? We were part of where people took this and people are like, "Oh my God, this completely describes me. Oh my God, I didn't realize it, but it completely describes me and this is so helpful to know," but it really dictates how we make our financial decisions good or bad. And when we start to understand it, and we understand the money personas of the people that we love most and we spend the most time with, we can start to learn how to operate more in harmony. So that's a great, immediate resource.

I think if you go to, you can get a free download of one of my books or two of my books. So whether it's Killing Sacred Cows or What Would Billionaires Do? And we've created that link because I'm like I'm out here doing comedy, but I want to have people take something home with them. So we're giving them books through that. So those are two really nice resources that would be useful.

James Schmachtenberger: Great. Yeah. And I think that's good. I haven't actually done the quiz yet, but I think that seems like a particularly interesting path, because it's a bit more personalized. It's having people identify their personas, what their maybe inherent strengths and weaknesses in the domain of money are so that the pursuit of knowledge in that area can be more customized to what the actual needs are.

Garrett Gunderson: You learn your shadow persona and your winning persona. So you can see the dark side and what's going on there versus what the most profound side would be. And it's interesting because my son really understands it and he's 13. And so we'll be watching a TV series and he can say which persona the characters are. We're watching Parks and Rec, he's like, "Oh, that person's this, this person's this. And oh, this thing is this or this." And you can totally see it. Then we try to at the office and some of them are really clear, some of them are like, "Oh, I would be awesome to have that character take quizzes, that character and see what they would get. Would they be this one or this one?" But it's pretty cool to watch him start to have that sink in and understand how that works.

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah. I really like tools like that because, for me, it drives self awareness right. Like if I'm able to identify what some of my patterns are, and then like you said, the dark side and the light side of each persona, it gives me an opportunity to pay attention and watch what's happening inside of my own brain. And when I'm starting to look at something and if I can tell that it's triggering part of unhealthy idea that I'm holding, I'm more readily able to identify that quickly and then be able to make different choices around it, as opposed to getting caught up in it. Or if I can recognize that it's on the positive side, I'm like, cool, this is an indication of growth and the direction that I want to keep leaning.

Garrett Gunderson: Totally. Cool.

Common Ways To Make Your Money Work For You

James Schmachtenberger: Those are great resources. Yeah. I look forward to our audience checking them out and look forward to seeing some of them on my own. I guess another question before we start to bring it in for closes, you've talked at different points about how to make your money work for you more. And I'm wondering what are some of the common thing that you direct people to? I realized that this is a topic that is going to be different for each individual in each case, but I'm imagining there's probably some core directions and principles that people could start to look at to be able to develop more ability here.

Garrett Gunderson: Yeah. Interesting. I don't mention this book a lot. It's a fairly new book, but My book there is really like got not only the foundational elements of how to pay yourself first, how to automate that, how to plug financial leaks, where to save the money that's sitting in a savings account so it gets better returns and has tax advantages. That book is really A to Z the encyclopedia of finance of what to start with and what to do once you've got the start. And then when that happens, what the next levels are. So it's amazing. We worked so heavily and hard on that book, but What Would Billionaires Do? always sells more than that book, but it's not nearly as comprehensive and doesn't have some of those pieces to put it together every step of the way. So that book is probably one of the best that anyone could get their hands on and really build out their plan if they want to do it on their own.

I've got firms that I endorse and that I license stuff to that are brilliant at helping people actually put that on the ground and implement it, because I think if you've got more time than money, getting a book is a good way to do it. If you've got more money than time, probably best to hire someone to condense it for you, personalize it, help you out. And so a firm that I founded Wealth Factory is really good. And I think, you can answer a few questions and then actually get a phone call for someone to say about one of their custom programs, how they might be able to help you implement some of those things in your life, because some people might be further along, other people might be deep in debt, some people might have a lot of complexity and risk, other people might just be starting out. So we do have different programs for different people that we've created over the last decade.

James Schmachtenberger: So yeah, on that topic, so if people want to learn more from you, if they want to potentially work with you, what are the best places maybe in which order for them to look, because I realize you've got a number of sites, a number of organizations?

Garrett Gunderson: Yeah. If they came to my comedy show, that's the best way to start, because you get a laugh a little bit. It's not too intimidating. We've got Miami, Philly, St. Louis is sold out already, and Austin, Texas coming up for November, depending on when they're watching and listening to this, that's the best entry thing because you get a little bit of fun and it's the cheapest way if you're ever going to see me speak, which is cool. Normally I'm charging a lot more than $47 like what we charge for ticket for that. But that's a really cool start. The foundational book that again, Killing Sacred Cows really outlines the nine main financial myths that most people if they don't understand, these are subtle lies that will compensate well. But once they understand it, I feel like that's the ultimate book that gives you permission to succeed when it comes to money. It doesn't put all the pieces together. There's some really nice resources that are bonus with the book, but it's more of a philosophical construct to help understand how does money work? Why is money important to me? What things are scarce versus abundant and how does that apply to money?

And I wrote that book in my 20s and I just handed out to all these billionaires a couple of weeks ago. I just thought this is hilarious. I wrote this book in my 20s. But I re-read it and did the audio book for just a few years ago and I was like, "I couldn't believe I wrote that when I wrote it," because it still holds so strong today and is more valid and valuable now than even the day I wrote it before the 2008 crash. So I think that, that book is so foundational, such a nice starting point. And then a lot of the resources would lead you to Wealth Factory if you wanted more one-on-one support, if that was the right situation.

I've had a lot of people buy that book for their financial advisors and give it to them. And a lot of them are pretty good with it, not all of them, because sometimes it threatens their way of life of how they sell their retirement plans and things like that, because it definitively dispels why deferring tax is not in your best interest the majority of the time and what hidden fees due to confiscate your wealth and more lack of cashflow isn't actually helping you along the way and slowing you down. So it's fairly articulate on those things.

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah, for sure.

Garrett Gunderson: I said articulate, then I couldn't think of a way to end the sentence, which wasn't articulate at all. And I like [crosstalk 00:52:13], but I told almost no jokes today. I just dove right into content.

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah. Well, so I'm torn here as we look at wrapping up, part of me wants to go in the direction of having you do some jokes and part of me wants to see what would be like a core message that we didn't cover that you would want to share with our audience. And I guess to that extent, let me give you some of the characteristics of our audience, people are very, very interested and committed to human optimization across pretty much any domain that, that looks like right. The core of that is physiological and psychological health, but this is an exceptionally committed audience tends to have high degrees of follow through and usually substantially educated and in a self driven fashion, more so than traditionally educated. It's a lot of pursuit of knowledge based on personal interest. So within that frame, what would be a key idea or message that you would want to share?

Garrett Gunderson: Look, when you optimize your finances, you can have access to optimizing your health at a totally different level. You have less stress when you're in a good financial situation, when you're abundant thinking and with more financial freedom and you have more choice, which is going to lead to better health as well. And you could definitely be on the cutting edge of whatever technology and advancements there are when you can write the check for it and others can. So to me, health and wealth have some correlations. One, they both have plenty of misinformation, but two, they're both things that you can't relegate. You can delegate and have people help you, but you have to be responsible for each one of them. We're finding amazing ways to hack a lot of things, but ultimately I pretty much still have to be in the room to have something work the majority of the time.

I can't just go, "Hey, can you do my workout from where you're sitting and I'm just going to go take a nap?" Now, that might be helpful for me, but I still have to do some level of workout, even if I'm putting something on my arms to enhance it or restrict blood flow or whatever it might be, running cold water through it while I'm doing all those things that might make that even more effective. But what I find is if we operate with velocity, which is in our economy GDP or gross domestic product divided by M2, which is money supply, it tells us how many times can money exchange hands in a given year, the more velocity, the more output. So in our own life, we can live by one methodology that says, "Hey, you should budget." Budget says cut, reduce, eliminate, expenses are bad, which is not an optimization technique, it's a preservation technique.

The better ways to optimize is through efficiency and expansion. Efficiency and expansion is velocity for you personally. If you take your personal output divided by your personal input, and you can increase output without having to set more money aside or cut back, it's because either you saved on tax, saved on interest, save on investment fees that were not performing or an insurance cost, and weren't transferring risk properly or were inefficient, or you're expanding your means. See, budgeting gets us to shrink and nobody shrinks the way to wealth. Expansion is the game to optimization. How do you add more value? How do you get more clarity around your vision? How do you understand how money works? How do you invest back in yourself? How do you treat yourself as your greatest asset? How do you maximize your cash flow? How do you create economic independence?

These are the questions rather than how do you set aside more money? How do you take more risks? How do you wait longer? They're completely different methodologies. One to me is needs based garbage that nobody really knows what they're going to need in the future. We're making an educated guess that usually is off course from the first day that we assess it versus optimization and maximization says, let's make sure we get the maximum output with every resource that comes, which means how do we have our assets coordinate and work together? How do we have cashflow come in so we get our dollar do more than one thing and add more velocity rather than just accumulate? And that's a pretty quick synopsis at the end, but hopefully it gives a sense of what I believe in and what I advocate when it comes to money.

James Schmachtenberger: Yeah. So I think a lot of what I heard there was don't defer your success to others, whether this is physical health or financial, engage others, collaborate with others, use the skills knowledge, et cetera, but take personal responsibility that you're actually the one who is driving the ship. And then you're using the support and the knowledge of others to be able to guide it in the right direction. And then I think the second part of what I heard you say there, and this definitely paraphrasing is invest in that which makes you alive. Put more time, money, energy into the things that create a liveliness, because ultimately that liveliness is what's going to be the thing that's going to let you create more value in the world, the thing that's going to make life worth living. And if your path to wealth is cut, cut, cut, and those cuts make you feel less alive, it's probably not the right path.

Garrett Gunderson: Right. That's well said. So focus, don't diversify; expand, don't shrink, and invest back into yourself and be really strategic instead of being scattered.

James Schmachtenberger: Sounds like good advice. Awesome.

Garrett Gunderson: Not what you hear from a lot of financial people, unfortunately, but if people think about it, it'll resonate.

James Schmachtenberger: Well, we don't have a lot of financial people on here for a reason. I think so much of the way that people think about finances and the way that our world works economically is pretty broken. And our focus here is how do we expose new ideas that are more of evolved and that can take us in a new and more evolutionary direction. So yeah, definitely appreciating some of the approaches that you take that differ from and contradict a lot of the norm.

Garrett Gunderson: Yeah. Well, thanks man. I appreciate that.

James Schmachtenberger: I appreciate having you on. This was great. So yeah, to learn more about Garrett and his work, go to,, a number of other resources that'll all be in the show notes. Thank you so much.

Garrett Gunderson: All right. Have a great one.

James Schmachtenberger: You too. 

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