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SPI 719: Automating Some of Life to Make the Other Parts Even Better with Leo Babauta

Today’s guest is one of the first bloggers and creators I followed when I started my online business journey. His content has been absolutely instrumental for me. Now he’s diving into podcasting and has created one of the few shows I subscribe to!

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits is here to tell us why starting a podcast in 2023 is still a great idea. He also shares the mindset that has enabled him, as a new podcaster, to stand out right from the beginning.

This is an inspiring conversation about minimalism and mindfulness in content creation and a great companion to our previous chat in episode 627.

In this chat, Leo and I tackle uncertainty and stress head-on and share tools and strategies to keep you moving toward your goals. (Fair warning—some of the tactics discussed today involve snakes, but we also provide you with nonvenomous solutions!)

If your work is meaningful, you’re guaranteed to encounter resistance. So listen in on this session to learn how to overcome the obstacles around your purpose and mission. Enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog with a million readers. He’s also a best-selling author, a husband, a father of six children, a vegan, and someone who changed his entire life one habit at a time. He’s now dedicated to helping people overcome resistance, fear, and uncertainty to do their meaningful work.

You’ll Learn


SPI 719: Automating Some of Life to Make the Other Parts Even Better with Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta: Listening to podcasts, I feel like I know the person. I really understand the power of that medium. I don’t understand how to do it yet. So I’m still learning that part, but this year, I’m no longer willing to wait.

This year, it’s happening. And I had so many things have come up throughout the year, where I could have said, well, you know, I’ll just keep putting it off. But I’m, like, “No, this is happening.” It was like you’re willing to move mountains to make something happen.

Pat Flynn: One of the very first bloggers and content creators that I ever really subscribed to is on the show today. His name is Leo Babauta, from Zen Habits. And Zen Habits has played a profound role in my life as a blogger, especially in the beginning. I read every single post of his, and his style was also very different than a lot of the other creators that were out there.

So I appreciated how quickly I was able to see, Oh, Leo’s different and this is how he’s different and he’s doing that through his content and I really took inspiration from that not trying to mimic what he was doing as far as minimalistic and simplistic, but rather just developing a voice and developing a style and so I really appreciated him for that.

He’s been on the show a couple times before, but what’s really interesting about today, is he is now a podcaster, something that I thought he was going to be a long time ago and it took him this long, but we’re going to talk with Leo from Zen Habits about his new podcast, the Zen Habits Podcast, and really get into his mindset around the show and how he’s approaching it.

It’s just really interesting to see somebody who has been creating content for so long now get into this medium that you’re listening to right now. And it’s, I got very curious about it. I also got very curious in this episode about a lot of the things about simplistic lifestyle and minimalism in his life today.

It’s a very noisy world, as you know, and remaining minimal, remaining simplistic and zen is very difficult. So I ask him questions at the top of the show about that, some stuff related to his health, his workload and whatnot, some strategies. But really, this is just a casual conversation that I think you’re going to get a lot of inspiration from.

And. My goal is to help you understand that his podcast is worth listening to. I’ve already at this point listened to a couple episodes and it is, I got to say, one of the only podcasts that I’m now subscribed to. Sean Stevenson and now Leo Babauta are on my playlist because I’m a busy man. I got a lot of things going on.

I don’t intake a lot of content from the outside because I’m always focused on creating. But this especially with relation to mindset and growth and overall health. Those two podcasts are a great combo together. So anyway, I’ll stop talking so we can start listening to the conversation that I had with Leo Babauta from Zen Habits podcast. Episode 719, thank you so much for listening in. Here he is.

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he still writes handwritten letters to thank people. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Leo, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income podcast.

Thanks for being here, my friend.

Leo Babauta: Thanks for having me. It’s great to be back.

Pat Flynn: It’s always a pleasure to have you on. And for those of you who don’t know, I might’ve said this in the intro already, but Leo has been a part of my life for a very long time. Ever since I started online, you were one of the first bloggers to sort of that have come across.

And I, you had a very different style than everybody else. You know, a lot of people were going really all in on just a ton of information and like kind of aggressively, you know, putting themselves out online and you always had this calm sense about you just kind of almost minimalistic in a way and you just kind of put something out there and let it do its thing.

And you’ve helped so many people. Has that always been sort of your nature, Leo, to sort of just Kind of take the calm route toward things.

Leo Babauta: Not always. Definitely not always. It’s something that I’ve been cultivating as part of, as you know, the Zen Habits journey. Yeah. Simplicity has been a big focus of mine.

And so I was like, well, if I’m trying to simplify my life, then why would I do anything different and when it comes to my business and my online presence. I did see a lot of people really, it’s almost like trying to scream for attention. I totally get where that comes from. So I have no judgment of that, but it didn’t feel congruent to me.

So I wanted to have a presence that really reflected what I was trying to live in my personal life, which was minimalism and mindfulness and really an intentionality. So that’s, yeah, that’s where they came from.

Pat Flynn: I love that. And people can go back and listen to those other episodes where we do touch on those topics.

But I’d love to ask you now in 2023 or closing in on 2024, actually, how are you keeping your life simple? What mechanisms are you using to remain simple and remain calm throughout a lot of the noise that’s happening out there in the world right now?

Leo Babauta: I fall off of it all the time. So that’s the first thing to note is that I’m not like this perfect, you know, Zen minimalist, you know, I go in these like almost like binges some once in a while. It’s not quite binging, but it’s like I get really deep dive into something. And, you know, last year I had like a month off. I somehow got into knives, folding knives. And so I bought like way too many knives. Yeah, it was like it was cool thing. And it’s like, you know, there’s not a lot of things, you know, like women have a lot of like accessories and things that they they can get into.

Guys don’t have a lot of options, you know, like maybe me, some nice clothes. I got into watches was another one. And then folding knives was another one. And it’s just, it’s just like really cool to get into like knife steals and all these different geeky things. And so I bought way too many. So that’s an example of me falling off of that.

And it was basically from an obsession that I, I had at the time. And I’ve done that a few other times. I got into chess one time and I bought piles of books on chess. And then a similar game the game of Go, an Asian game. And it, that was, I also bought way too many books there. And so when I get into that, I would tell my wife, don’t let me buy any more knives.

Or no more chess books. And I’m like, if I do, it’s like slap me. And so once in a while I get off of it and I have to catch myself and find a way back. And I end up selling a bunch of things and simplifying.

Pat Flynn: So how do you feel about those moments? I’m curious. Like, are you looking back and you’re like, Oh no, I got Leo.

You did it again. Like you fell off like bad Leo. Or are you just like, Hey, you know, this happened. It’s okay. Like it’s just a season and we move on. Like, how do you feel about yourself when you see that you fall off?

Leo Babauta: There’s a few things. One is I used to be a lot harsher. No, I don’t find that to be too useful.

I used to be a way that I would like motivate, motivate myself to get better, which is where a lot of self improvement comes from. Just like really like, you know, beat yourself into like self improvement, but that doesn’t work for me. I mean, I don’t think it actually works for anybody. So I try and be a little more compassionate with myself. But on the other side, I also don’t like to just ignore it. Like, okay, I don’t need to look at that. What happened? I like to actually take a look at it and say, Oh, what drove that? Like, there’s something really interesting about that. And could I like dig into that a little bit more?

Like, what’s the tendency of my mind? Like, what does that lead to? And how can I like use that for some good learning material so that I can keep growing?

Pat Flynn: That’s wonderful. Sorry, we got off track there a little bit, but I, I just got really curious about those things. Actually, what did you find did spark those things?

Have you noticed any patterns that, that sparked sort of the interest in those seemingly random things that you binge?

Leo Babauta: Yeah. Another one just, as a side note, it was ultralight backpacking, like going out and backpacking in the wild country. Oh, that’s cool. Like, but going really ultralight. So that has like specialized gear.

That’s like super like lightweight and also a little more expensive. So I got super into that one, one summer. Part of it is I take time off from work where I’m like, really work. I work hard and I love it. But I also stand for me taking some time off. So two months a year, June and December, I completely take time off.

And so at that time, I, I’m like, Ah, I’m not doing a bunch of stuff. And so like, what do I do with myself? So it’s really interesting, because if you don’t have that thing that you’re used to just driving yourself to do, you’re just kind of left with like, now what? And I found that really uncomfortable. And so my mind goes to Well, let me get into something, you know, doesn’t have to be useful or productive, but let me just kind of like learn about something. And that’s cool.

I actually really like that about myself. I have this curiosity to really understand something, but from that, I’m like, Oh, but what did that? I start to fantasize and it’s like, well, what if I could have the perfect ultra light set up and I start to research that. So it’s this fantasy about having the perfect whatever I could be the perfect chess player, go player.

I don’t know what the knife thing was about, but it’s like being a badass, maybe, you know, there’s, there’s like this fantasy that comes into it. And once you get into that, your mind might start to fix, or at least my mind starts to fixate on it. It’s like playing a video game, but you haven’t quite finished it yet.

So it’s like, I don’t feel complete until I finished it. I don’t think that’s necessarily a helpful pattern, but it’s just really interesting to learn that about my mind. And that’s something that I could work with going forward.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. That’s cool. No, thank you for, for being vulnerable and, and sharing that to my original question about simplicity and what you’re doing today in today’s noisy world.

Like what techniques or strategies or things are you doing to remain intentional today?

Leo Babauta: Yeah. Well the month off is a good example of that where this past June, I’m like, okay, I know how it’s gone before. And I’m like, let’s, let’s not do that. And so I really got intentional. No buying sprees, you know, no, no getting to binging and stuff.

Actually, the thing that I got into was really paring my stuff down. So I actually went through everything, you know, things in my office and my closet and my garage and just started tossing things out. Probably stuff I’ll regret later, but, but it was fun. And so that was one thing was like getting really intentional about what is it that I going back to like curating what I want in my life.

That was really good. And then the other thing that I’ve been doing is simplifying my approach to eating was a good example of that. So I mentioned to you before we start recording, like I’ve been on a health kick lately. So yeah, I really been simplifying like what I put into my body. And so, you know, lately it’s been like lentils and kale twice a day, a big, huge bowl of that. And then I’ve also cut out like alcohol and caffeine. So no coffee, I’m a big coffee geek, but just to improve sleep, I’ve decided to try the last couple of months without that. Less sugar. And just so on that end, I’ve been just simplifying, just really getting real minimalist with what I eat and and drink.

Pat Flynn: Is this a new obsession? Like the eating thing? Is it sort of just like, okay, well, I’ll focus on that because I have the time to focus on it. Or was there, was there something like a, an event or I know that I, and I’ve shared this earlier in the show that I got a DEXA scan that showed me that I was teetering on the level of high risk for my body fat, which then gave me my health kick that I’ve been on lately and I don’t want it to be just a health kick. I want it to be a complete and almost permanent lifestyle change or mindset change with my body. Like, how are you approaching yourself in that way?

Leo Babauta: Well, I’ll tell you the event you asked if there was an event. So this is something I’ve always been like the last, you know, 15 years I’ve been interested in, and I kind of go back and forth on getting into it or kind of falling off the event this year was I turned 50. So in April, I’m like 50. And so for some reason, that number like 49 was not a big deal, but 50 is a number that just shook me a little bit.

Like, okay, take a look at your life. You know, is there something, you know, like, you know, the DEXA scan for you is like, what’s the direction you’re heading in? And this is even before I turned 50, it was like beginning of the year. I knew that was coming. And I started like, Oh, I’m like, I’ve been gaining a few pounds over the years.

You know, my health is good, but it definitely could get better. And like, how do I want to be in my fifties and beyond? And I’m like, I want to be, you know, kicking ass, you know, basically I want to like, you know, not be heading towards where some of my relatives are heading, which are like diabetes and, you know, cancer and things like that.

And so like, what are the things that I can do to actually move in that direction and taking them on like one or two things at a time? And so I’m not 100 percent there yet, but I’m way closer than I was at the beginning of the year. And so it shows like you can actually make really noticeable changes.

I’ve lost, you know, probably like 15 pounds. I feel stronger. I feel great. But it’s not just the weight. I’ve been getting better quality sleep and just generally like thinking about how to take care of myself.

Pat Flynn: That’s great. Kale and lentils though. I mean, that seems extreme to have twice a day. It doesn’t sound fun.

And so how do you wrap your mind around that? I understand the simplicity of it.

Leo Babauta: But like, I don’t recommend it for everybody. So, you know, for some people that would be total hell, you know, torture, you know, everyone has to find what works for you. So like, you know, for some people, there’s a degree of simplicity where it’s like, well, I have maybe five meals that I rotate through, and that really works for me.

For others. It’s like, I like to cook. I like to like experiment. So you just want to always be doing that. But for me, I thrive on simplicity and routine. And so I’m, I’m a rare person in that way. There’s others like me, but it’s someone who could, I could eat the same thing every day and not get bored. Like I look at that bowl of kale and lentils and I’m like, Oh my God, like I’m so lucky. You know what I mean? So I just feel grateful to have this nourishing food that is simple to make. It takes me minutes and I, I think it’s delicious. And I feel, I look, I, I actually put stuff, I’m a geek. So I put stuff into an online tracker where it like shows all my micronutrients and everything.

I’m like a hundred percent or more on everything. And so I’m like feeling like I’m taking care of my body through this really simple meal.

Pat Flynn: Are you using MyFitnessPal for that?

Leo Babauta: Cronometer. Oh, Cronometer. Yeah, it’s similar. Yeah, it’s similar, but it has a really good breakdown of all the nutrients. You know, I geek out about this stuff, but the recipe that I wanted to say is, it’s not mine.

It was from a friend of mine, and he gave this to me at one time when I was doing this. It was like trying to like, redo my gut biome, you know, like really like put a lot of fiber into it. I’m not a lot of processed foods. So I did that for like a month and I kind of like, I’m like, I don’t want to stop with this meal.

So for the last, probably during the entire pandemic, I’ve been eating this probably like 90 percent of days, so it’s kind of crazy. Wow.

Pat Flynn: You’re like having a direct impact on the lentil industry with how many lentils that might be. Is this an approach similar to, like, Steve Jobs who wore the same jeans and this sort of black turtleneck just so that it wasn’t even a worry in his life that it was just like the decision was already made for him and he can use that brain power for something else.

Are you like thinking about it that way?

Leo Babauta: Yeah, that’s, that’s something that I’ve, you know, Steve was Steve Jobs with us. Come Steve, like he’s my friend, Stevie. No, Steve Jobs was onto this early, but it was something that I also discovered. Is that if for people like you and me, who are entrepreneurs, who are putting our, you know, creating, who are putting our work out there, we face a lot of uncertainty in the world.

And so I thrive on uncertainty, but you can’t have uncertainty in every area of your life. And so there’s some places where, you know, if you’re, if uncertainty is like, where am I going to sleep today? You know, that kind of uncertainty, you’re not putting stuff out into the world. You know, you’re trying to figure out how to survive and for others, it’s like, well, what am I going to wear?

What am I going to eat? What am I going to, you know, how am I going to take care of the kids? All of that kind of stuff takes away from the uncertainty you can face in terms of creating and creating a business. And so for me, I love uncertainty in terms of writing blog posts, now, like podcasts that I’m coming out with working with people, coaching one on one or a group coaching, there’s a lot of uncertainty in all of that.

So I try and minimize it everywhere else so that I have the capacity to fully be there with that.

Pat Flynn: Where else are you taking a similar strategy in your life.

Leo Babauta: Pretty much everywhere, but the places I mentioned and the other place where I actually allow uncertainty is in relationships. So with my wife, with my kids and larger family, there’s, you know, there’s always stuff going on.

So I have to have capacity there. If I’m like, don’t talk to me about your problems, that would not be like how I want to be as a father and husband. So I have to allow for some of that, but what I wear, like I wear like plain t shirts most days, I like, I don’t even think about, I just grab something out of the closet, you know, how I get ready in the morning, my morning routine in terms of productivity.

You know, I structure things in terms of what I do on each day. So I have themed days of like admin or creation day or coaching day. It’s not quite that clean, but I do have a lot of things where the structure makes it really predictable. You know, let’s see where else. Yeah, definitely for food and exercise.

I already know what I’m going to do today in terms of exercise.

Pat Flynn: What’s your calendar look like for somebody like that? Is it 9 30 a. m. I am sitting on the toilet, you know, not, you know, is it like, I’m, I’m guessing it’s not quite like that, but is it like you have your whole day planned out.

Leo Babauta: So for those things that I mentioned, I don’t think about those anymore, so I don’t need to block them off.

They’re not even on the calendar. So they’re not, most of them are not on the calendar, except for, like I said, admin day and finances and things like that. I do put those on the calendar, but in terms of my morning routine, I know those because I’ve been doing them every day. So those are like, they’re memorized.

So it’s almost like, you know, muscle memory at that point. So I get up and I don’t have to like, think about what are the first few things that I do? Those are like, I just go into them and there can be variation. So it’s not like I’m not, there’s it’s so rigid that I can’t change it, but it’s like, Oh, I know what a generally if I open my computer, I know what I’m going to be doing to start with.

And so I have a, you know, reflection and planning kind of session that I do to start out with that kind of thing. It’s just like. You know, it’s already thought about.

Pat Flynn: The seemingly monotonous rhythm of that, I can imagine some people going, well, that’s just like, that’s the same thing every day for those moments.

Like that’s just sounds boring, repetitive, but like I’m having this profound thought of, of this idea. It’s similar to, like, cause I’ve been on this health binge as well. I have been eating a lot of the same things every day. I have the same shake in the morning. I have the, I have a meal from the same restaurant, Sweet Green.

That’s near us. It’s totally healthy and a lot of protein. But then like the random times I have maybe a fruit or the one time I do allow myself to have a dessert because it’s not totally strict. I still can eat what I want. It just has to be within that caloric intake goal. It tastes better like those things that aren’t planned now are that much sweeter.

Are you finding that that is in a sense kind of what’s happening with your life? These things that are routine, that allows for the relationships to be stronger. That allows for those, you know, that dessert that you have to be sweeter. Is it, are you finding that to be the case?

Leo Babauta: Yeah, you have to have some variants, like, you know, you have to have variety, but yeah, I think when you, if you do have, you know, as you called it, you know, monotony is one way to look at it, but for me, it’s just like something that’s predictable and reliable, you know, that that makes the variations, like you said, that much sweeter.

So, yeah, I mean, I, I definitely have fruit, you know, like. I’ll have variations every single day. I’ll have the lentils and kale like almost every day, but in between I might have, you know, a peach or, or whatever. And if there’s a dessert, you know, I let myself have it. I’m not that strict, but I’m just not having it every day.

So, but when I do have it, I’m like, Oh man, just. savor it because that’s not what you’re having all the time.

Pat Flynn: The uncertain moments, like, like you were saying, right? The, like when you’re writing, I’m sure your writing is more creative because that’s your time to think and to get creative and it’s not structured.

Are you, like, are you finding your creative work to be that much stronger because of this as well?

Leo Babauta: Yeah, it’s just, I’m less drained from having to make all kinds of decisions throughout the rest of the day. So I’m like, I’m now like, you know, I do my morning stuff and then I’m like ready to like write the blog post and I’m really ready to like fully be there with that and really put myself into it, put like real devotion into something like that.

But I don’t want to be doing that with every single thing that I do through the day. You know, if I, if I had to like think about how I’m showering, you know, that’s, that’s too draining, you know? So, yeah.

Pat Flynn: That’s cool. And it’s not just a blog anymore. You’re thinking about it’s a podcast. I’d love to know a little bit more about what spurred this on.

I’m actually surprised that it’s taken you this long to have a show of your own and you have one now tell us what it is and give us the rundown on sort of why are you now voicing your thoughts as opposed to just writing them down?

Leo Babauta: Well, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time, but there’s always like reasons not to.

I’m sure people who are listening can relate to that. It’s like there’s this Thing that you want to do and years went by and I’m just like, yes, I’m going to do the podcast this year, but it just just didn’t happen, but it was definitely inspired by people like you who have a community of people and you get to like be in conversation with them and really like, you know, go deeper than, than a simple like blog post.

And that’s been where I wanted to go is like the blog post, I think is a great entry point. And I’ve been doing that for so many years. I love that medium, but there’s a limit to how far you can go. And also like. You know, how you can relate to the person through text, like you can, through hearing voice or video, you really get to like, feel the humanity of the person.

So listening to podcasts or watching videos for people like you, like really, I’m like, I feel like I know the person. I really like understand the power of that medium. I don’t understand how to do it yet. So I’m still learning that part, but I know how powerful it is. So that’s something that I’ve been inspired by.

And so in this year, I’m like, maybe it’s the 50 year old kind of thing, you know, turning 50 this year, but I’m like, I’m no longer willing to wait. Like this year it’s happening. And I had so many things come up throughout the year, like the first five months of this year. So many things happen that, where I could have said, well, you know, I’ll just keep putting it off.

But I’m like, no, this is happening. It was like, you’re willing to move mountains to make something happen. And so that’s, that’s kind of been the stance that I’m in, which is a real commitment to making it happen. So I hired a consultant to help me like learn all of the like technical sides of podcasting and, you know, how everything works.

I’m working with my team, I’ve been talking with people in my community. I got someone to make music for me from my coaching program. They’re like a musician. I got, this is another cool thing. I hired my son who’s 27 years old to be the editor for both audio and video. So he’s doing that. We’ve been working together for weeks now and it’s a lot of fun.

He’s really engaged. And so it makes it more meaningful when I bring in people like that to be a part of this. It’s, it’s not just like Leo’s creation, but I’m bringing others in, including, you know, talking to people like you and other guests that I’m having. I believe you’re going to be a guest if, if everything goes well on my podcast.

Pat Flynn: So yeah, I think it’s scheduled for tomorrow, actually. Yeah.

Leo Babauta: We’re going to talk tomorrow back to back. So I’m excited because that’s bringing in wisdom of people outside of who I am. So, yeah, that’s. That’s kind of where I’ve been with the podcast creation.

Pat Flynn: That’s amazing. Tell me about the show itself and what you hope for it and sort of who is it for and kind of like the kind of show you’re trying to create here.

Leo Babauta: The where I’m at right now is wanting to experiment and play. Like, I don’t want to have like, I know how this, this works and then it’s going to be like this and that’s, I’m set. So what I decided to do is break it into seasons. Because as you might know from my blog, like I talk about a lot of things on the blog, a lot of different topics from minimalism and simplicity to mindfulness, to productivity and, and all kinds of other stuff.

So this season I’m doing about a four month season, and it’s going to be about tackling resistance, fear and uncertainty around your purpose work. So, you know, every, you know, podcast is a good example of that, but it’s just like that resistance that comes up. It’s inevitable. If it’s meaningful to you, it’s going to have resistance.

And so how do we work mindfully with that? How do we create structure, how do we create the willingness to turn towards it and train our minds to be able to do that? So that’s where I am. And I’m asking people, I thought it’d be fun to ask people to play along. So choose a project and actually be doing that project during the season.

And that way they can be not just like listening to it, but actually putting to action and then coming up against their own blockers and then share that with me in questions. And also I’m going to bring people on and coach them live. So I think that’d be kind of fun. So I’m playing with it and season two might be something entirely different.

I like letting myself have a little bit of a playground where I’m just seeing what emerges from this.

Pat Flynn: I love that. I love the division of seasons and having them based on something specific. I love the way that you are interacting with the audience and getting them to participate and sort of like come along the ride.

So or obviously wherever you listen to podcasts, go ahead and check it out. Who are some guests that you are excited to share that you’ve had on the show? And, and like, what, what are the kinds of outcomes of, of those? Guest spots so far.

Leo Babauta: So the thing about me is I, I focus on something really deeply.

So, you know, uncertainty and resistance and fear around meaningful work. But I also like to go broad in terms of where am I bringing in the wisdom? So I’ve learned from Zen study and even just like, you know, technology around mindfulness training, but I also want to like bring in people like you who have been working with entrepreneurs for years and entrepreneurs are the perfect kind of people who actually face uncertainty and resistance around their purpose work. So there’s people like you, but I’m also bringing in a woman who was a nun under Thich Nhat Hanh at her, at his Plum mountain monastery in France for like 15 years. She was like one of his right hand people who helped lead his programs and edit his books. So people like that.

And she wrote a book on uncertainty. I bring in, you know, other people who do stuff around music, you know, Derek Sievers, yeah, worked with musicians, but entrepreneurs over the years. So I’m looking for like convergence. So people who are like well known, like you and Derek, but also people who are kind of like domain experts.

I want to bring in, I talked to this guy, I want to bring him in. He is head trainer for the Red Bull sports program. So he trained, he led the coaching. He was the head coach. I think he’s not there anymore, but he trained all the coaches who trained people like Tiger Woods and, you know, Olympic athletes and all of that.

And he’s, it’s fascinating how they work with uncertainty. And I want to bring people like that on. Can I tell you a quick story about that? Yeah, please. So he was saying, you can train people in practice all you want, but how do you train them for the pressure and stress of being on the 18th hole at Augusta?

You know, like there’s the pressure on your like the NBA finals game seven, you know, last 30 seconds. How do you train with someone in practice for that? You can’t like, because that’s a psychological component that is just hard to train for. And so he says, what we do is we, we actually put people under stress so that they can face fear and uncertainty in practice.

And we have a fear camp where we bring all kinds of athletes from all, all the disciplines and sports. We train them how to do this, but we put them through a bunch of different things that give them uncertainty and fear. And he said, one of the ones is that we put them in this thing where it’s like maybe three feet off the ground.

It’s like a box. That’s a lot of space, but it’s dark and you’re down and feeling a little claustrophobic. And we train you how to deal with that uncertainty. And he’s like, once you get good at that and you can breathe. Then we released the snakes.

Pat Flynn: Wait, what? This is like fear factor now.

Leo Babauta: Exactly. And I was like, okay, I love that.

He’s like, well, we don’t tell them is there’s no, we defang them. So there’s no way they can bite you. But you’re like, you know, the fear that comes up, you know, that’s the kind of fear you face when you’re taking the three pointer at the, at the buzzer. Anyway, I just love that example. And I’m like, I got to have this guy in my podcast.

Pat Flynn: That is wild. I understand that as far as, you know. In the moment your fight or flight controls are on and you need to kind of take control in some manner or else things can get wild. So that is crazy. I never heard of a camp for that. Only game shows with Joe Rogan on them. But I look forward to listening to that one.

And I’m curious as somebody who has been behind the keyboard for so long, now that you’re involving other people, how do you interview and, like, that component of it?

Leo Babauta: Yeah. Well, interviewing is something actually I, I was trained in early on. So I was actually a journalist, print journalist, so it’s not the same thing, but interviewing something I’m comfortable doing, but it’s a different format. So I’m like, I’m just coming in with a beginner’s mindset.

So I don’t know how this works. And, you know, the first one that I did was really messy. I didn’t, you know, I didn’t know how any of the technology worked, but, you know, I figured it out. And that’s the mindset that I have is I don’t have to get it perfect at the start. I remember when I first started blogging in 2007.

I didn’t know how to do any of this stuff. So my, if you look back at my blog posts, actually I might’ve removed some of them, but they were terrible. Like I didn’t know how it works. So I just, it’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall, like see what sticks, you know? So that’s what I learned around blogging is like, I got better over time.

I, if. If I had an expectation that I had to be like the best blogger in the world and day one, I would have never have done it. So I wanted to bring the same kind of approach to podcasting is, you know, maybe I’ll never be the best in the world, but I would love to be world class. Someone like you, you’ve been doing it for so many years that like you’re amazing at it, but I’m sure when you first started, you weren’t, maybe, maybe you were the exception.

Pat Flynn: It’s terrible. Absolutely terrible. I think John Lee Dumas came on the show once and he said, you have to be a disaster before you become the master. And I don’t know if that was his quote or somebody else’s, but I repeat that all the time because it’s so true. And I’m sure your podcast is not going to start out as a disaster because of that experience you’ve had.

And obviously you’re very proficient with content, but it’ll be interesting to see the growth and I’m, I’m excited to follow along with the journey. I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but yours will be one that I listened to and I recommend everybody go and check that out.

Leo Babauta: What an honor. If you have any suggestions, as an expert, please let me know. I’m always open. And actually anyone listening, if you’re like Leo, do this, like your voices, you keep banging the microphone. Stop doing that. That’s the kind of thing where, you know, one of the uncertainties for me is I, I listened to a recording and I’m like, I don’t enunciate that well.

Well, you know, if you listen to like Tim Ferriss, he’s, he enunciates every single consonant and I’m like. I blend my stuff together. It’s like kind of a slur. And so it’s slur might not be the right word, but you know what I mean? It’s like everything kind of jumbles together. And so I’m like, Oh, that, that sounds terrible.

Maybe I need to get better at that.

Pat Flynn: No, you could, there are people who students of mine who are from other countries who have heavy accents and they’re always worried about how they sound and honestly, as long as you can understand them, then it, it’s all about the content and the conversation. And so I don’t think you have to worry about anything there.

I am always curious for new podcasters in terms of how they structure their questions. I love going deeper or seeing how I might be able to go off sort of a side road. You know, we’re on this main road, but you know, sometimes we want to take a detour. And that can lead to amazing things. And oftentimes new podcasters will kind of stay on that main road.

And, and even though something wants to go on a detour, you know, they don’t give it a chance to explore. And, and, and sometimes there’s fun adventures over there on the other, other roads. So that’s really good. I’ll let you know after our conversation tomorrow, when, after you interview me, but I’m excited for it.

And so make sure you subscribe to the show. It’s. The Zen Habits Podcast, is that the name of it?

Leo Babauta: The Zen Habits Podcast. Also, can I say one thing about that? Yeah. So I actually don’t go in with a list of questions. I’ve noticed some podcasters do. I don’t either. Yeah, there’s usually something that I’m really curious about, and so I start asking questions.

And then every question has me like, actually the hard part for me is, I have like five to 10 questions to follow up on. I’m like, Oh, I want to know about that and that and that and that. And so the hard part is actually like, how do I satisfy my curiosity in the limited time that we have? So basically I kind of stand in for the listener is how I do it.

It’s like. If that, if I’m curious about this, like I’m sure people, other people will. So I’m like, I just got to know, you know, what, you know, Derek Seavers was a good example of that. He said, Oh, this it’s like the, I forgot what he uses, like the bull and the, and the bull horn. I forgot what it was, but he said that.

And he’s like, I’ll get back to that later. I’m like, Derek, we need to come back to that. Cause I’m so curious about that. It was through this little hook in. And so I’m like, if I’m curious, I know that the listeners are as well. And so I just try and follow my curiosity.

Pat Flynn: I take the same approach too. And I think that’s important because then that show is yours, not something that another person can kind of just read the questions and get the same answers for, and it adds a level of depth for sure.

So I think you’re doing it the right way for sure. And of course it’s going to take some time for you to, and for any, but any new podcaster to, you know, get their legs going and find their voice. And I found that just from podcasting for the last 14 years, I have developed as a communicator and a questioner and an interviewer and a storyteller.

And you’re already a very proficient storyteller. I’m again, really excited to see where the show itself takes you because it forces you to create content in a different way. It’s, it’s really different than text and it gets you thinking differently and thinking more on the fly. So I don’t know if you’ve thought about doing things like public speaking in the future or more video specific things, but podcasting is a great entry into a lot of those things too.

Leo Babauta: I also started a YouTube channel and I had never thought I would say this, but I’ve also started a TikTok.

Pat Flynn: So have you now? Wow. Okay. And why do you say I’d never thought I would?

Leo Babauta: I’ll admit, I have, there are things that I have judgment about, and it’s like, TikTok was one of those. Actually, Twitter was funny, and back in like 2008, I was like judging people on Twitter.

I’m like, it’s so much noise. Yeah, so my thinking has evolved around that. I’m like, oh, actually TikTok could be a fun place to play. Like, I don’t know how to create short form video stuff, so like, why not? Why not learn? So I’m in, I’m learning YouTube, podcasting, short form video, and I’m just like, I just want to play and figure it out.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. I like that word play. And then the final point is, is that the C word you mentioned earlier, curiosity, that’s going to drive everything. And that, you know, I think as, as long as you remain curious, the shows will be great. And, and I am just so grateful that you’ve answered my curiosities today about what you’re doing and the podcast. So everybody go and listen to it. The Zen Habits podcast, subscribe. You’ll catch an episode with me on it at some point in the future, if not already. And Leo, it’s just been such a pleasure to have you on and catch up. And just, I hope that at least one point in the future we’ll be able to cross paths again, cause it’s been way too long.

Leo Babauta: Yeah, no, I’m always down to have coffee or come on to your show, but I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to come on here. It’s a huge honor. And I don’t take that lightly. And I also really appreciated you getting curious about the podcast, because it’s really cool to be questioned by someone who’s been doing this for so long and doing it so well.

So thank you.

Pat Flynn: You’re a podcaster now, man. Welcome to the club. Thanks so much. I appreciate you. All the fam.

Leo Babauta: Yeah. Thank you.

Pat Flynn: Alright, I hope you enjoyed that episode with Leo Babauta. This is session 719 and you can go and get the links and the resources and stuff to Leo’s books. And of course his podcast, Zen Habits Podcast, over on the show notes page at Again, Always a great pleasure to catch up with Leo. We didn’t even talk about how he was able to manage his life with… Several kids, I think he has six or seven kids, but we did talk about that in one of the earlier episodes that I recorded with him.

And if you do want to listen to that, that’s session 627, where we do talk about uncertainty and fear and all those kinds of things which are obviously important for us entrepreneurs to understand and learn how to control. And don’t worry, I’m not going to put you in a box with a bunch of snakes, but I do want to have you subscribe to this podcast if you haven’t already, because we’ve got a lot more great conversations coming your way.

And also subscribe to Leo if you’d like to check out the show. Zen Habits Podcast, this is the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Cheers, take care, and I’ll see you in the next one. Peace.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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