The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 80--Avoid Toxic Self-Help Advice with Jordan Harbinger

January 11, 2023 Billy Lahr
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 80--Avoid Toxic Self-Help Advice with Jordan Harbinger
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Jordan Harbinger, host of The Jordan Harbinger Show, which decodes the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turns their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.  As a recovering lawyer and two-time kidnapee, Jordan brings his unique background and personality to every episode of the show.  He’s here today because if you’re a fan of this show, you’re probably a fan of self-development, but we want to ensure you’re not getting duped into buying into messages around toxic positivity and hustle culture. 

Billy and Jordan discuss:

–How his life and travel experiences influenced his genuine desire to help people develop high-value skills
–The importance of asking professionals for advice beyond your capabilities
–The meaning of toxic positivity
–His issue with “Follow your passion”
–His issue with the word “manifest"

Want more from Jordan Harbinger?
Check him out on
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and his website
Have a listen to Jordan’s stories about being kidnapped!
Episode 443 of The Jordan Harbinger Show: Kidnap Me Once, Shame on You
Episode 444 of The Jordan Harbinger Show: Kidnap Me Twice, Shame on Me

If you liked this episode, check out these episodes as well:
Episode 39--Billy Shares the Lessons He Learned during His Trip to Portugal, Spain, and Dakar
Episode 28--How to Successfully Switch Your Career with Career Coach Dr. Dawn Graham
Episode 30--Outperform the Norm with Personal Performance Coach Scott Welle

All of our episodes are available at

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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Jordan: They're not trying to make you feel better. Like they tell you that they can make you feel better, but they're trying to make you feel worse. The guy in front of the Lambo saying, look what I have and you don't, at least that's honest, right? I mean they're probably running a crypto scam or whatever it is, but like that part they're displaying is honest what the self-help guru is doing. Self-Appointed. And again, not all, cuz I always get these emails like I'm a life coach and I'm certified and I help clients get around. I'm like, I'm not talking about you. You know what I'm talking about, right? The TikTok-y type Instagram-y types. A lot of the life coaches that I know, I mean, I'll have a laugh with Jen because I'll see somebody that two months ago was talking about how they're lost in life, they're moving from place to place, they can't keep a job, their relationships fall apart.

And my wife's like, guess what? So-And-So's doing now? And I'm like, what life coach? And I'm thinking, are you joking? I wouldn't follow this person into a supermarket, let alone their life choices. I mean this is absolutely the poster child for having no clue what you're doing and being completely unfulfilled and lost. And it's like inspirational. Quote me standing on a mountain. I'm just thinking, this is such a sham. It's absolute insanity. And there's, you know, 50 comments like, yes I'd love it. And I'm thinking at least one of these people is her customer. It's just such a racket. They're trying to make you feel less than in many ways because doing so makes them feel superior. So they're getting like ego and narcissistic validation out of it while also selling you something that allows them to hang out in Patagonia for three months a year. It's a good freaking bracket. If you're soulless.

Billy:  Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life’s second half, I'm your host Billy Lahr, an educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher, and Overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning. Mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating and parenting, all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn, and grow so we can live a more purpose-filled life. Take a deep breath, embrace the present and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.

Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host Billy Lahr and thanks for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of this show is to provide a platform that gives people the space and permission to share their expertise and life experiences in order to help others navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. Now, just to be clear, you don't have to wait until your thirties and forties or fifties to apply this free and useful information. I would've benefited greatly from this information when I was younger. In fact, I'm sure people tried to tell me stuff like this all the time, but I was too stubborn and filled with youthful pride and living in an alcohol induced state to really apply this advice in a meaningful way. But I'm telling you, these conversations are universally golden and will help people of all ages reflect, learn, and grow.

So if you hear something that resonates with you in this week's episode, go back and check out some of the other episodes. This week's episode has a little different tone to it because my guest today is not a fan of words and phrases like manifest and follow your dreams. So we're going to dive into this idea of toxic positivity a little bit because we have not addressed this on the show yet. So let's meet today's guest. Our guest today is Jordan Harbinger. Jordan is the host of the Jordan Harbinger Show, which decodes the stories, secrets and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turns their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you as a recovering lawyer and two-time kidnapping. Jordan brings this unique background, a personality to every episode of the show. He's here today because if you're a fan of this show, you're probably a fan of self-development, but we wanna make sure you're not getting duped into buying into messages around toxic positivity and hustle culture. So welcome to the show, Jordan Harbinger.

Jordan:  Hey, thanks for having me on and for forgetting up really early your time cuz

Billy:  This is Yeah, no problem. Anything for you Jordan? Anything for you? Uhhuh. <laugh>.

Jordan:  Yeah, thanks for that. I appreciate

Billy:  That. Yeah, you bet. So Jordan, one of the things we'd like to ask our guests is what 10 roles they play in their life. So what are the 10 roles that you play in your life?

Jordan:  I mean, that's some information that you probably have that I don't necessarily have in front of me. Is that somethingyou wanted to send over?

Billy:  I'll tell you what, I wrote 'em out here cause I know you're a busy guy. So here are the 10 roles that I came up for you. And you can say, yeah, that sounds like me or no, I've never done that. Do your research. So sure. You're, you're a husband, you're a father, a son, a podcast host. A two time kidnapping. Former Wall Street lawyer. Prisoner Reform volunteer.

Jordan:  Yeah, I did that. We did that.

Billy:  That's right. Holly Glot. Yeah, world Traveler and North Korea tour operator. Former North Korea tour. That's

Jordan:  Right. Operator actually. Yeah. It's illegal now. So yeah, it's illegal now. Everybody can stop digging. But yeah, we did run that company for a bit. Funnily enough, my co-founder was Gabriel who's now my co-host on the show, which he, you know, that was a long time before that. So it's funny, we've been working together for even longer than I thought.

Billy:  So you've talked a lot about being a two-time kidnapping and people prop you up probably like, wait, what, what, what? And I'm not gonna make you rehash that story again. We'll actually link both of those episodes of the Jordan Harbinger show in the show notes. The only question I have for you about that is when you talk about the Mexico kidnapping, you kind of leave it open-ended as to whether or not that person who kidnapped you lived or died <laugh>. Yeah. So, so, so there's that. So my question is how long were you looking over your shoulder after that happened

Jordan:  Quite a while because it's traumatizing. So since most people don't know what, what happened, there is an episode of the show that talks about this, but it ended in a physical conflict between me and this cab driver who basically kidnapped me and he ended up unconscious and I ran. But I'm like the open end is, is he dead or is he alive? Did he just wake up like what the hell was that? Or is he still dead? The answer is I really don't know how that ended. But I did look over my shoulder of course while I was in Mexico and even when I got back to the states, I was like, what if they call and I'm like, I even checked with attorney friends and I was like, if something happened to Mexico, can I get sent back there? And they're like Nah, it's very unlikely that you would get sent down there for something unless there was like, they probably not gonna bother with that.

And I was just like, imagine being 20 years old and your Googling, is there an extradition treaty? Like will kind, how can I fight extradition to Mexico? I mean it was just, and I realized how ridiculous it was cuz they would've found me already, you know, if anything had happened and now I talk about it because it's probably fine. And also if it came down to the wire and they're like, there's an identifi how many I unidentified, you know, murder or unsolved murders I should say are there in Mexico City in any given year. And I've given no detail about it. So of course my plan cuz people go, what are you doing now? And I trust me as an attorney, I've checked with other attorneys, my reply is Hey I'm embellished. It's just a story. It's

Billy:  Just for entertainment value. I'm a podcast host, I'm trying to

Jordan:  Draw, listen, he got up right after and it's fine. You know, come on people. I'm just not that worried. And it was a long time ago. I mean we're talking like multiple decades ago. So the last thing they're trying to do is find some dude who kidnapped a foreigner and make sure he is okay.

Billy:  Well and you would think that something like that would maybe deter you from traveling, but you've continued to travel all around. You were actually just an Istanbul lately. What's left on your travel bucket list?

Jordan:  Sure. Actually I would love to see Greece. First of all, I love Greek food but when I see those idyllic little villages and stuff I'm like, I would love to just walk around these islands. Aren't there dozens slash hundreds of inhabited islands in Greece that, I mean most of them are really, really small. But it would be really cool to do some kind of like two, three week long tour where maybe you sleep on a boat and every day you go to a different island and just walk around. That would be pretty damn cool. I would love to do something like that. I have never checked out Spain and Portugal, it's been decades since I've been to Italy. When I was young I would go to these adventurous places, you know, Ukraine and I'd go to like North Korea like we talked about or I'd go to the eastern block and stuff like that in South America and my parents were like, what are you doing?

You know, you're worrying us sick. Which is a fair point. But also I remember a lot of the older people that we would meet there would be like, wow, you guys are so young and adventurous doing this. It took me years to be gutsy enough to be traveling outside of resorts in Cabo, you know? And now here you are in Panama. And I thought, okay, so the trick is to go to places where you're sleeping under a staircase that you rented from some guy's store, getting really sick from eating street food. Like you do that in your twenties and then in your thirties I was working a lot and doing some North Korea stuff, going to China. But now that I'm in my forties, I'm likewhere are the five-star hotels that have really, really good, you know, car service to all the fancy restaurants and ti I'll still go roughing it sometimes, but most of the time I wanna just like relax cuz I'm working all the time now. So there's nothing super, super adventurous on my bucket list. Although I am probably gonna go to Rwanda in February for something. But it's not just to check out the gorillas. There's some podcasting going

Billy:  On. Well if you ever decide to go to Portugal or Spain, let me know. Cuz actually a year ago I was in Portugal for two months and then I headed over to Spain for two weeks and Lisbon is my favorite city in the world. I, there's nothing with the colors like Lisbon, I absolutely love it there. So I strongly recommend checking that out if people wanna go back and listen to episode 39. You can hear about the adventures that I had in Portugal. It's Wonderland. It's so cool. So those 10 roles, the three that you're most looking forward to here are father and husband. We just combined those into one podcast host because I mean that's, you're living the life right now and then world traveler, all three of those seem connected. So what is it about being a father and a husband that you're looking forward to in the second half of life?

Jordan:  Being married has been fun but also my wife and I, we went to Istan together and we were like wow man, when's the last time we took a trip? Was it before we had kids? Yeah. And she's like, this is the first time ever that we have taken a, or maybe it was like in the last five years or so that we've taken a trip where it's not also you're doing a speaking gig also we're doing three recordings also. We're da da da. So we're usually hauling gear around. I think the last time we did that was a long, long time ago when I went to Taiwan with her and her fam. I mean we're talking like six, seven years. So I'm looking forward to doing things with my wife and kids that are not just like, Hey I've got a business trip. Do you guys want to go?

And then while I work you sit around at the pool and take care of two babies. I wanna do nice things and and have fun. And we never even took a honeymoon. People go, oh but what about your honeymoon? We didn't have one. So that kind of thing makes me wanna just slow down a little bit during certain times and do something along those lines. Even if we end up doing the proverbial honeymoon and also taking kids and family along, I don't care. But that is exciting to me also, I see a lot of people who have kids say you only have 18 summers and I'm thinking, yeah, but for like eight of them they're really little and then for four of the remaining ones they're like, I don't wanna hang out with my parents <laugh>. So you have like three or four summers where they give a crap and are conscious human beings <laugh> that are interested in hanging out with you.

Right? So maybe you have 18 but technically but you have like nine that they're aware of and then like half of those that they actually want to go and hang out with you in. So I'm definitely gonna be that dad who's like, okay, school ends on Friday, Sunday, we're flying to gear up for three months and then you know, South Africa and wherever and, and they're gonna, you know, only in the time that they're excited about it cuz once they get to be like 13, 14 or maybe 1415, I don't know, they're gonna be like, I wanna hang out with my friends. You know they're not gonna care about that. And you don't wanna take a five year old to, or six year old to Europe cuz they don't care. It's target is cooler than the Notre Dame Cathedral or the French Riviera, right? They just, the toy aisle target is way cooler. So the opportunities are lost on them for a lot of this stuff. So I plan on maximizing that stuff and not being like, oh I'm really busy with work cuz that's, I heard it just flies by.

Billy:  Well and you and I were talking about how you could scale the podcast into something monstrous because you've got a lot of offers on the table, a lot of things cooking, but you're actually in the mindset of I'm pretty good where I'm at because if I add more to my plate then that means that I spend less time with my kids, less time with my wife, less time traveling the world. And not only that, but you also work with your wife, she helps you with the production of it all. So, it's kind of like how do you have that separation and you gotta have that separation as well between business partner and husband, wife.

Jordan:  Yeah, my wife wants me to work less. She's like, can you not do as much? And I'm thinking the way to do not as much is to grow to a certain point cuz with podcasting, right? If a hundred thousand people listen to something, you get paid more than if a hundred people listen to it. But the production work is basically the same mostly, right? I mean certain things you can't afford to do when you have a hundred listeners versus a hundred thousand. But the truth is, if you're gonna create the best thing you can then you'd much rather have a hundred thousand people listening than a hundred. So I'm like okay, if I wanna do less work, what I have to do is grow so that each one pays more in the way you grow as you buy advertising and all this stuff and marketing.

So that's good but up to a certain point then you get into, oh but I should just keep growing because it's working. And then it's like, but wait, why are you doing that now You're just going more and more more and you're spending a bunch so you're not saving more, your retirement date's not getting closer, you're not able to enjoy more. You're actually just reinvesting the profits and then at some point it doesn't matter because at some point what if you do build a 50 million business but you're a guy like me who just lives within his means, or sorry I should say below his means like I was raised to do, I don't need to die with 30 mil. Like dying with 10 million is the same as dying with 50 million. So why work any single extra minute trying to get to a place where your bank account is fatter when you croak, you give your kids something, but what's that Warren Buffet quote?

Give them enough to do whatever they want but not enough for them to do nothing. And I feel like I'm definitely gonna do that. So anything extra that I earn is just gonna end up at some charity fund that I won't be able to administer cuz I'm dead. And so I'm trying to find that point at which I'm like, we're good. I'm not gonna work any harder. And then try and work less by like hiring people to do this thing and cutting out this other thing I don't like to do. So I'm constantly trying to outsource or I should say get rid of things that don't need to be done at all. Outsource things that can be outsourced and then focus on things I enjoy doing. But it is a challenge because when you've cracked the code for podcast growth for example, the last thing you wanna then do is go, okay, I'm done.

Even though every month I'm growing by like 2%, no I'm just done Now that's kind of a weird thing to do as an entrepreneur because you've spent decades trying to get more and it's sort of counterintuitive to go, okay, I'm done growing. But that's kind of what artists do, right? Banksy doesn't go crap, man, I better crank out two paintings a day. He's like, I'm just gonna do as many as I feel like doing and I where I find them and I create 'em and they're special and that's the end of it. I mean that's the end of it. So you have to think more about being like a creator and an artist versus being like a widget factory. Trust me, every network that gets me on is like, okay, can you do a daily show? And I'm like, well if somebody does all the prep and I show up for it and they're like, great, hire this person.

And I'm like, but then I have to manage them. Hire a manager. Okay, so I got a manager, they're managing these people, they're prepping a daily show. I show up for it and then hopefully I recoup the cost of the creator and the manager and the cost of, and then beyond that is more profit. But then I have way less time and I'm just like, wait, this equation doesn't make a ton of sense. It only makes sense if it's like I'm gonna sell my network later to somebody and get a big payout. Which I don't think makes sense because I would have to also go with them. You know, they're like you can sell your media company. Okay, what is the Jordan Harbinger show worth with a different host? Big question mark. There probably not much.

Billy:  There are hustle bros out there who are dying inside right now at this philosophy, which I think is kind of the point of, yeah, this episode. So let's do this. We're gonna take a quick break and when we come back we're gonna talk to Jordan about this hustle bro idea, why it's toxic, why there's toxic positivity and what that's all about and why you should be more aware of it so you don't get duped into falling into that trap. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. If you're enjoying what you've heard so far, please do me a favor and hit the subscribe button. Also giving the show a quick five star review with a few kind words helps others find and benefit from this podcast just like you are. Finally, please spread the wealth of free knowledge and advice in this episode by sharing it with the people in your life who may find this information and my mission to help others live a more purpose-filled life valuable.

My hope is that these conversations resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm here with Jordan Harbinger, he's the host of the Jordan Harbinger show. You can find all things Jordan Harbinger at He's got way more episodes than what I have right now. Actually you have 10 times more episodes, but you've been doing this longer too. You've been doing this for 10 years. So if you don't know where to start with his show, go to and you can figure out which episodes to start with. That's actually what I did. I'm a big fan of the show, it's part of my daily routine cuz I'm trying to get caught up on all 700 episodes by, I don't know, the end of 2025. That's <laugh>, that's my goal. So Jordan, you have a genuine desire to help people develop the skills of the world's most brilliant minds through the conversations you have on your show, but you do it with a flare of entertaining snarkyness and total contempt for a toxic positivity. How much of that do you attribute to growing up in Detroit and traveling extensively around the world and working on Wall Street as a lawyer?


Yeah, that's interesting. I probably, growing up in the Midwest, we're not afraid to kind of make fun of ourselves, make fun of things. I mean that's maybe very American in general, but my family's kind of that way too. And there's a lot of self-help nonsense out there that I think I came across early in my twenties and I was like, some of this is really good. But then I was like, wait a minute. A lot of this doesn't make any sense. And then now as sort of Instagram slash TikTok life coaches are exponentially more than they were in the twenties, I just realized how derivative stupid outright nonsense most of it actually is. And so my Wall Street attorney where I worked with a bunch of dudes from New York, Brooklyn, whatever, where we were constantly ripping on each other, I take that vibe and I sort of bring it into what I talk about on the Jordan Harbinger show from a scientific perspective or from an educational perspective, which is, hey, if you think about what this person just said, this makes no sense, or this common bit of conventional wisdom is actually totally wrong.

And I'm also very against the toxic positivity and the conventional wisdom and I put that in air quotes of self-help because it mostly just makes people feel bad. I'm not saying like all self-help is useless or that you're not gonna get anything from winning how to win friends and influence people or whatever it is. But most of it is designed, especially the internet stuff to sell you the product that that person sells so that they can like go back to the pool and Bali <laugh>, they,

The people that are trying to make you feel less than by either setting up hustle videos or motivational stuff or like crazy calendar systems that are unnecessary. Most of them have taken that from somewhere else, but most of them never use it themselves. And additionally most of them are just trying to get you to feel like you're not doing enough or you're not being enough so that they can sell you the thing that supposedly allows them to be enough. So they're just selling a lifestyle and a mindset, just like any D bag who's always leaning up against a new Lamborghini is on Instagram. They're just less transparent than the guy who's like, buy my cryptocurrency and you can get a car like this. The self-help person is actually saying, I just want you to be better. And it's like, well, but also I want you to buy my course and it's a calendar but it's a hundred dollars and it comes with a marker.

And it's the system that I invented by talking to billionaires and I'm like, guys stop. Just stop You don't follow this. You don't even use your phone calendar. You can't, you're the guy who can't reply to an email or a text message in under a month. You're selling productivity. Gimme a freaking break man. It's a lot of people who are pretending to be somewhere in life that are usually not there or they are there and they're discounting all of the other factors such as luck, right place, right time, right connections, set of talents. And they're like, you too can do this. And it's like you're literally not qualified to tell me that I can do this. You have no idea if I can do this. You just wanna sell me your stupid thing. And so it really does grind my gears.

Billy:  Well and it's interesting that you talked about that a lot of this self-help actually makes people feel worse. And you know that we talk about, there's all sorts of research around how social media has an impact on our self-esteem and that's where a lot of people find the self-help stuff too. So I like that idea of that these self-help people are <laugh> trying to get you to feel better, but they're doing it in the sleepiest way. Just like the guy standing next to his Lamborghini. I like that image.

Jordan:  Well they're not trying to make you feel better. Like if they tell you that they can make you feel better, but they're trying to make you feel worse. The guy in front of the Lambo saying, look what I have and you don't, at least that's honest, right? I mean they're probably running a crypto scam or whatever it is, but like that part they're displaying is honest what the self-help guru is doing. Self-Appointed. And again, not all, cuz I always get these emails like I'm a life coach and I'm certified and I help clients get around. I'm like, I'm not talking about you. You know what I'm talking about. Right? The TikTok E type instagramy types. A lot of the life coaches that I know, I mean I'll have a laugh with Jen because I'll see somebody that two months ago was talking about how they're lost in life, they're moving from place to place, they can't keep a job, their relationships fall apart.

And my wife's like, guess what so-and-so's doing now? And I'm like, what life coach? And I'm thinking, are you joking? I wouldn't follow this person into a supermarket, let alone their life choices. I mean this is absolutely the poster child for having no clue what you're doing and being completely unfulfilled and lost and it's like inspirational quote me standing on a mountain. I'm just thinking this is such a sham, it's absolute insanity. And there's you know, 50 comments like yes I love it. And I'm thinking at least one of these people is her customer. It's just such a racket. They're trying to make you feel less than in many ways because doing so makes them feel superior. So they're getting like ego and narcissistic validation out of it while also selling you something that allows them to hang out in Patagonia for three months a year. It's a good fricking bracket if you're soulless,

Billy:  You're a son of a bitch. Because I'm sweating here now because I've actually quit education and I thought about, oh maybe I should get my life coach certification because I still like this idea of helping people, the educator in me, the teacher in me and all that. And now it's like <laugh>.

Jordan:  I mean look, should

Billy:  I become, should I go and do it?

Jordan:  <Laugh> But you can become a coach and you can sell people coaching services without making them feel bad. Like the hustle culture stuff is what makes people feel bad so they can sell you something. When I was doing coaching for dating stuff when I was in my early thirties relationships, dating, networking stuff, we didn't say, look at you, you're probably a loser. Here's a video to watch that makes you feel like a loser. We just gave away a bunch of free information on the previous iteration of the Jordan Harbinger show, the old, old, old stuff. And guys would go, guys and gals for that matter. But mostly guys would say, you know, I really trust this guy. He gives really good advice about a lot of stuff. Maybe I should go and do this thing. So they would come in feeling empowered and they would leave feeling really empowered. I don't do any of that anymore and I don't sell anything like that. It was like you don't have to make people feel crappy to get them to become your customer. It's easier to do that, but also you end up with the wrong customers. But if you're just selling an ebook online, then you don't care. Right?

Billy:  Well now on Fridays, you and your producer Gabriel Mirai, you respond to fan mail that asks for your advice and right. Some of these topics are real doozies. Mm-Hmm to use your word yet you and Gabe always present multiple angles of that situation and you always provide like a helpful script for people writing in in case they need something in order to address that issue. What have you learned about the way you listen to someone and offer them advice when you're actually in person as opposed to when you have time to compose something profound research and legitimately helpful?

Jordan:  Yeah, I would say one of the biggest revelations of people who ask for advice are that most people who are asking for advice are not actually asking for advice. They're asking you to help them rationalize a decision that they've already made. And an example that I give, there was a kid who hit me up on Instagram and was like, should I start a clothing brand? And I was like, what's your experience in clothing? None. But I'm really good at designing and I love clothes. And I was like, cool. I would get a job at a retailer and then aim for corporate. Cuz he was like, you know, n not yet started college or maybe he was in college or maybe he just graduated from college. But I was like, start at the bottom, get retail experience and or work in corporate at a place literally like the Gap.

It's a big international franchise. You can work at a different store if you want to, whatever you, you know, floats your boat. And he is like, but should I just skip all that and start my own clothing line? And I go, no, you're gonna be better off income wise paying your student loans if you get a job and you're gonna learn more, you're gonna learn on someone else's dime. They're gonna pay for your mistakes, they're used to that, right? You're gonna get a lot of experience and spend like five to 10 years doing that unless you have a shortcut. Like your uncle is Damon John from Shark Tank and he's got manufacturing connections when whatnot. And then I followed up like a month later cuz I put that in a folder on my phone. I usually don't bother with this, but I was curious and I followed up a month later I said, Hey, how's it going?

Like did you start your own clothing line or did you get a job? And he goes, I'm not talking to you. Cuss me out. And I was like, what's up? And he is like, you all you do is stamp on people's dreams. And I was like, what an idiot, first of all, you know, absolute knucklehead. But I was like, oh I get it. You didn't really want advice. You wanted me to be like, yeah, go for it if you set your mind to it, well shucks, you can do anything you want but you can't. That's nonsense. Anybody who tells you that is no idea what they're talking about is just trying to make you feel better. So I told this kid actual advice, but I realized he had no absolutely no interest whatsoever in getting real advice. He just wanted permission to do something he'd already decided to do.

And since I counteracted that he could either go, hmm, this person that I trusted by asking for advice thinks this is a bad idea. His choice was to go, I better change my mind or path of least resistance. Well I guess Jordan Harbinger's actually an idiot and I shouldn't listen to anything he says and he just chose that. And of course now he's constantly shilling, you know, multi-level marketing protein shakes on Instagram because he's broke and has no job and is not designing a clothing line, just didn't wanna work. Which is not a good trait in an entrepreneur or would be entrepreneur, especially in the clothing and textile space, I'll tell you that. But I see this all the time. Should I break up with him? Yes, he's terrible. You don't even understand him he loves, it's like, oh okay, you didn't want advice, you wanted me to be like, no girl love finds a way which it doesn't and shouldn't always

Billy:  <Laugh> these people just want you to tell them to follow your passion, Jordan. Totally. Why won't you? Why won't you just give them what the people want? You know? That's me.

Jordan:  It's just bad advice. If you want bad, if you want bad advice, there's plenty of places to go and get it. If you want real advice, you can write into me. That's why I don't give advice on Instagram anymore or on social anywhere. I'm like, this is a good one for feedback Friday when people start to write up their question, which by the way filters out 90% of like should I take this job? Because they don't really care about my answer. But when they start to write it out and they clarify their thinking half the time people will write in and go, I'm only sending this cuz I'm done typing it, but I really don't need a reply because typing this out has answered the question for me. Then I don't have to ask them 87 questions about what their goals are or whatever because they've already written it out.

And also because I can put that on the show, I used to spend just way too much time talking with people and then find out that they like didn't even open that email or whatever because they didn't like where the conversation was headed <laugh> or they, I did see it, but I disagree and I'm like, I wrote you three pages in your comment is I disagree after my third follow up. <Laugh>, how entitled are you? This is insanity. So yeah, I don't do that anymore because most people don't really want advice, they just want permission. Fine, get permission from a YouTube TikTok Instagram or don't waste my time with it.

Billy:  Here's the thing though, not all of your Friday feedbacks are that innocuous. Like when we say doozies, like you really get some, some extremely difficult questions and a lot of times you and Gabe, you'll handle them on your own. But some of 'em you decide to outsource to professionals in law or psychology because you're talking to people with a range of life experiences who are victims of sexual harassment and abuse, extramarital affairs. I'm always impressed with how many questions you get from the L G B T Q community because there are two questions I distinctly remember when you had a lesbian couple from Indian and Chinese families right end who have been hiding their relationship but now one of them is faced with an arranged marriage and they didn't know what to do. And then there's the guy who wrote in saying he prayed the gay away. Oh. And was asking your advice on how to be a resource for his girlfriend who told him if it wasn't for him she may not be there. Right. And part of your response was, you know, hate to break it to you dude, but your gay <laugh>. Yeah. So how do you approach questions like that that come from very diverse experiences from a lens of cultural awareness while still providing useful and helpful information? Especially given you're a straight white dude who might get told, Hey man, stay in your lane.

Jordan:  Sure. Yeah, I, I'm, we're very conscious of that, me and Gabriel cuz we're both straight white dudes and we, you know, many times need to stay in our lane. And so what we do when we're asked to stray outside our lane is we find a professional. And so when it's psychology law, some of these things we may talk to an actual professional. There's no such thing as a professional lesbian as far as I know. So we try to talk with other people and do research and call in other experts credited or not where we're like, Hey, check this out. And so somebody who's like actually a gay minority will say, oh yeah, so here's some things I would consider if I were in your shoes. And I would advise. So we'll do that. And a lot of people go, I don't need to be credited, you know, I'm a accountant, I don't really want my name in this dramatic question where I'm telling you my personal opinion.

That's not my professional op. So we do that all the time. And so that's why we're able to hit the mark so well. I think it's well researched, it's well resourced and sometimes people do need tough love. Like the guy who had unending gay thoughts in a bunch of, I can't remember if he had like short-term gay relationships and then was like, but I asked God to take it away from me. And I haven't felt that way since except for a few short moments that were fleeting something, something. And also if I leave my girlfriend, she's gonna kill herself because that's what she said. And also it's a sin in my, you know, it's a member of some like super conservative church and I'm thinking like this poor guy is so caught between many rocks and many hard places that if he admits who he is, it's like you killed your girlfriend and you ruined your family life and your church ostracizes.

I'm like this guy, I understand the temptation to pray the gay away, but bro, you're gay. You are, it's okay. You don't have to go and tell everyone right now, but you should at least face the fact. And he like couldn't do it. He had to rewrite reality completely to avoid the question. And what was interesting was he was Mormon I think and all these other conservative Mormons wrote in and they were like, dude, you can still be gay. Like I know the church doesn't love it, but come on man, there's tons of gay mormons and even gay Mormons. Were like, okay, I don't put this in my Twitter bio or anything, but like there's a lot of gay Mormons. We have Facebook groups guys, come on, face it. And I introduced him to a bunch of 'em and he's like, sorry, don't need it by the way, y'all are sinners. And then they were just like, oh, he's one of those. We see those all the time, you know, it's just sad.

Billy:  Let's take a break to process what we've discussed so far and we'll be right back with more from Jordan Harbinger. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. New episodes come out every Wednesday to help you get over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact me or if you have suggestions about what you'd like to hear on the show, visit and click contact us while you're there. Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to get free weekly meditations as well as free resources from our reflect learn grow program. You can also click on the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. If you wanna check out my worldly adventures, follow me on Instagram at mindful underscore midlife underscore crisis. My hope is that my trials, tribulations, and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose-filled life.

And while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then too. Thanks again and now back to the show. But I think that speaks to the research that you do with your show and how that's significantly different than what you see in terms of people who are on Instagram. Like do they have any real research, do they have any real networking? And that's what's impressive about you is that you do provide network opportunities. You have a six minute course on your website that people can check out. How does your network, I always say your network equals your net worth. Yeah, I think I heard that from my friend Dr. Dawn Graham, episode 28. If people wanna check that out. Why is network so important to building a lifestyle that does not revolve around believing in toxic positivity? Sure. Or follow your dreams.

Jordan:  I mean, in part because when you have a wide and broad slash diverse network, you can ask for actual opinions. You don't need to rely as much on cliches like your network is your net worth. Which is funny cuz that is cliche as well <laugh>. But like you don't have to rely on cliche, right? I don't need to go to Instagram and be like, oh you know, what would this influencer do? They would go for it. It's like, no, no, no, I can actually ask a real expert or somebody who has at least experience in this area. Should I quit my job and go all in on flipping NFTs? No you shouldn't. But you can actually learn that not from A N F T influencer on Instagram who did the same thing and is praying they can pay their rent this month. You can do this with somebody who quit all in and win in on any business and they'll go go, you probably shouldn't quit your day job until you have a predictable and stable income stream from the thing you are doing.

And you can no longer scale it without extra time from you. Like real advice. And when you're surrounded by real people giving you real advice that you can actually trust like a network of actual humans, you're gonna be much better off than if you're surrounded by the propaganda blast from everybody on Instagram or social media. Cuz people will say, oh, social media is like networking. No it isn't. They're not tailoring anything to you. The advice is not tailored to you. The people don't know you, you're not really connected with them. You have a parasocial relationship or you follow them and they've never heard of you and they don't care about you probably. Or very possibly they, even if they say they care about you, they don't know you exist. So technically they really don't necessarily, and they're going to give blanket advice that applies or at least sounds good to people that are looking at their stuff.

Your friend or a business connection or a networking connection, they're not going to do that. They don't have an audience. You're the audience. So that's tailored to you. They've put thought into it, they're taking your circumstances into consideration, your personality, into consideration, things they know about you into consideration. None of that is present on social media. So you can't replace a real life network of established real relationships with social media. People love to say that you can, but you absolutely cannot do that. It's as dumb as saying you can do it by watching television. Oh, I'm surrounded by great people in business. Why? Cuz you watch Shark Tank <laugh>, you don't know anything about business. You know, 0.1% about how business is done on television, let alone in the real world because you watch that show. And so nobody would ever say, I know a lot about business, I watch Shark Tank.

People will gladly say they have a great network because of people they're talking to on fricking Twitter, Instagram people they follow on TikTok. It's ludicrous. It's absolutely the dumbest thing that I've ever heard. But it's such a widespread belief now because you can get wisdom from a lot of places. And I'm not saying don't get wisdom from people that are wise. Good conversation, especially long form stuff. Stuff that's an hour long, like this conversation. There's wisdom in here, there's good content in here. It's hard to do that in short form and it's ludicrous to do that in any of that. That's why books are superior to clickbait news articles. You can't apply these same bits of knowledge from social media to your life. It doesn't really work. All you can do is put it on a t-shirt and wear it around.

Billy:  Well, and I think people who have a strong network do not succumb to this idea of follow your passion, follow your dream. And one of the people that you're connected to is Scott Galloway. He's easily one of my favorite guests of yours. Episode 2 0 4. Everybody should check that one out.

Jordan:  Oh, he was just on recently too. 700 something.

Billy:  Yeah. He has a new book out, A Drift, which sounds really amazing and I really enjoyed that. Episode two. And in 2 0 4, you guys eviscerated that mantra of Follow Your Dreams. And you've kind of talked about already, like your issue with Follow your dreams. What's better advice instead? Then

Jordan:  You can always bring passion with you, but you should find some place where your talents and work ethic have confluence, right? So, and your interests, of course. So if you're interested in something but you're not that great at it, you may not be able to make a living doing it. You may, who knows, you might be able to get good enough at it. But you have to figure out where your interests lie. Yes, that's the passion thing. But your talents, whether you can develop them or they already exist are are important. And also your work ethic. You know, if you are not going to work hard enough to be in, let's say the top 5% of radio broadcasters, you're probably not really going to make a good living doing it. And if you're already talented doing it and you have work ethic, now you're standing a good chance of being in the top 5%. But if you're not interested in it, then who the hell cares? Why would you wanna be in the top 5% of something that you couldn't care less about? So you have to be really aware of where your talents lie or can be, where your work ethic lies, and of course where your interests actually are. And people will, they seem to think that if you're just really interested in something, you can make it happen. But it's complete nonsense. There's absolutely no reason anybody should believe this.

Billy:  Well, and I feel like people conflate passion with fun. Mm-Hmm. And they're like, oh, that looks fun. That's my passion. And so then they go to that and they don't realize that when you actually have to put in the hard work to do the little things that you hate, then all of a sudden it's not as much fun. And then it starts to feel like work. When we talk to Scott Welle, I think that's episode 30, he said something along the lines of that he doesn't like that idea of "do something that you'll love and you'll never work a day in your life." Listen, I love podcasting, but this is a lot of

Jordan:  Work. It's a lot of work. Yeah.

Billy:  And I'm not at your level yet where I'm getting sponsors, that kind of thing. Like I'm paying to do this at this point. In hopes that I get to some point where it'll reimburse me or I'll break even in some way. But I'm passionate about it. I feel like I'm decent at it. I like talking. I think the natural teacher and orator comes out in me here in doing this. But it's still a lot of work. And I feel like passion is something that you would do for free or you would do as a side hustle until you figure out how you can monetize it or scale it in a little bit bigger fashion because you're doing all the little things that go along with it because you are committed to it in that way. So I've never liked that. Follow your dreams, follow your passion thing. Because I think it skips all of those little details that you and Scott Galloway talk about. Like making sure that you have a network, it skips things like privilege, it skips things like resources that are available to you. So if you're out there and you're listening, why are they shitting on Follow your passion. It's because it's shitty advice.

Jordan:  It is. It's terrible advice. Yeah, exactly. And it's parroted a lot, even by people that should know better and do know better. And that's one of the reasons it's so popular. You know, you'll see a keynote by like Mark Cuban or something, speaking of Shark Tank, and he'll be like, follow your passion, make it happen. And it's like, no, you, this is survivor bias. You're at the top of the heap. So people see you and they go, well he did it, but not really. Right? I mean, there's all these other factors that he's ignoring, but he's making that the top advice because the, the real advice in what to do is one, hard to articulate. Two, not necessarily something he knows because he isn't cognizant of his entire process and three very, very unsexy and won't fit into a commencement speech at some university. Sleeping on the floor and working and selling blood plasma to pay for server bandwidth or whatever the hell it ends up in the book at some point. But it's not gonna end up in a commencement speech. You know, follow your passion is gonna end up in that commencement speech. So that advice gets tossed around and people go, well, a billionaire said it, so must be true. Not really. They have just as much cognitive bias as anybody else when they're thinking about how they got to where they are. I

Billy:  Worked in education for 21 years. That's a lot of follow your dreams and commencement speeches. Sure. That I have heard over my <laugh> over my career. So it's like, ugh, I'm so sick of hearing about this. I was working with my friend Jill Dayler, we were doing this mindful self-awareness program. She's a little bit more woo boo than I am. So the word manifest gets thrown around quite a bit. In the planning stage, you and your producer Gabe, had a conversation during a Friday feedback a while back about your disdain for that word manifest. But I actually related more to Gabe's definition of it. So what's your issue with the word manifest?

Jordan:  Yeah, I mean I, it's a whole episode where I kind of went off on that and then gave the, a better definition in my opinion. But basically, I think a lot of folks use that word because they don't understand the process of how things are accomplished very easily. So they put this metaphysical spin on it where they're like, oh, if you put something out into the universe, the energy comes back and it's like, nope, there's no energy going out or coming back. Not really. Not the one you're talking about anyway. And it's like the universe will conspire to make things happen for you if you do that. No, no, no. What's conspiring, there's no sentient thing out there that's doing something in response to what you are doing. That is a lie. And there's no evidence for this. And even if it sounds good, it's really, you're doing everyone a disservice when you talk about things like this.

Because what you're saying is just want something really, really bad. And so people who try to cover up the manifest nonsense and clean up the mess, I'll go, no, no, no. It's about when you do the work, the good things will come to you. And it's like, well also not necessarily true first of all. And second of all, why put a metaphysical woowoo nonsense spin on something? If you actually know the process is sitting down and doing hard work, why turn it into this like poetic thing that doesn't make any sense to most people who hear it and make them relearn something that's not true? Just say good things co happen to people that work hard. Well, because that's not really what you mean. What you mean is that everybody can supposedly be rest easy because they're gonna be vindicated if they just work hard enough and they want something bad enough that it's eventually going to happen, which is complete nonsense. And so that's the one of the many problems I have with the manifestation crowd. It's like purposely for absolutely no really good reason, obfuscating what you need to know to be successful by turning it into like a different language and then getting rid of the important stuff and then covering it over with like a veneer of whatever course you can get from Gabby Bernstein or whatever. It's just a bunch of bullshit. It really is.

Billy:  Would you agree though, that if you're a good person, you make genuine connections and you put in hard work, that it increases the chances? Sure.

Jordan:  But that's totally not manifesting, right? That's not what that is. But people who try to defend that word will say that that is part of it. But it's like, why change the language? We already have a way to explain this in English. You don't have to pretend that the word that you are now misusing encompasses all this good stuff. And that in your definition, all the stuff that we think is stupid is not included. It's like, why do that? We know you're lying.

Billy:  So you're talking about wordplay and conning and you've done episodes where you explore the confidence game with people like Magician Brian Brushwood and author Maria Cono Cova who wrote the book, the Confidence Game. What do you see as the foundational differences between people like Brian, who actually use their talent for manipulation, to educate people how not to get scammed, and people like the ones in Maria's book who used manipulation to intentionally and maliciously do people in order to get ahead in life.

Jordan:  I think that one of the chief differences is gonna be, is there a victim At the end of the day, you know, when Brian Brushwood is doing a magic show and he shows you how a watch gets stolen, you're entertained. Maybe you're a little educated. What Maria Cono Cova wrote about was people who get their life savings drained. I mean, the lesson there is the world is a scary, bad place. I mean, that's not a real lesson, right? It's this person's been victimized, they've been hurt by a criminal. So it's a difference between going to a magic show and then getting mugged outside the theater where you saw the magic show, right? I mean, it's a completely different thing.

Billy:  So here's my last question for you. Just, you know, we've been playing devil's advocate with positive messaging around here. So you were having a conversation with Adam Grant, where you talked about in college you somehow created your own major by picking out classes that interested you and talking your advisors into turning those courses into some general studies degree that sure. Sounds like you followed your passion for those areas of study. Yeah. And manifested them into a degree somehow.

Jordan:  That's exactly what happened. I just manifested a degree by following my passion <laugh>. Yeah. That's interesting. No, I did do this. It's a sort of a system hack, right? Like I didn't love every course I took, I still went to college and worked hard and got a degree. I was just able to craft a better path for myself, but I wouldn't say that everything I did was somehow following my passion and Sure. But you know, hey, manifested it. Last I checked, there were some signatures on there. I don't remember if one of them was the universe. I think it was just the dean of the school, <laugh> over at Michigan. <Laugh>.

Billy:  Well, Jordan, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate it. This was a lot of fun today.

Jordan:  Yeah, thank you.

Billy:  Hey, if you enjoyed this week's episode, be sure to look in the show notes for all things Jordan Harbinger. Don't forget to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcast. If you're an Apple listener, leave us a five star review with a few kind words. And if you're a Spotify listener, click those five stars under the show Art. Finally, I know Jordan and I would appreciate if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may benefit from Jordan's expertise and life experiences. The purpose of this show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half, and we hope this conversation provided you with some insight to help you reflect, learn, and grow. So for Jordan, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, and you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.