The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 81--Stoic Street Smarts with Ed Latimore

January 18, 2023 Billy Lahr
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 81--Stoic Street Smarts with Ed Latimore
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Ed Latimore,  a best-selling author, former professional heavyweight boxer, and competitive chess player. His writing focuses on self-improvement and a practical approach to stoic philosophy. He is here today to discuss why he thinks humanity is doomed and everything is fucked.  Buckle up while Billy tries to convince Ed that maybe things aren't so bad!  

Billy and Ed discuss:
–How he came to the conclusion that humanity is doomed and everything is fucked 
–Whether or not we have a responsibility to help the weak get stronger
–His beef with the college education system
–What he means exactly when he says, “Nobody cares about you.”
–His "Coffee So Black" mugs and why Billy probably won't buy one

Want more from Ed Latimore?
Check him out on his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel
Take a look at Ed’s TedTalk on Addiction and Identity
Listen to The Jordan Harbinger Show, Ep. 6: The Superpower of Ignoring Social Approval
Support Ed’s “Coffee So Black…” Mugs

All of our episodes are available at
Book a call with me:
Get a free week of BetterHelp using Billy's referral code!

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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Ed:  The way I've tweeted it and talked about it before, nothing bad comes from being likable and nothing good comes from losing control of your emotions. If you put those two ideas together, you kind of get the crux of my philosophy, which is, don't let your emotions lead you. I don't say don't feel, I say, don't let your emotions be the reason you do a thing. At the very least, don't do something without objective calculation. And for most people, that means you need to step away from your emotions. Very few people were able to feel and be fully present emotionally and objectively evaluate the situation.

Billy:  Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life. 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. Thank you 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. And remember, this free and useful information is helpful to people of all ages. Wisdom isn't about one's age. Wisdom comes from our ability to reflect, learn, and grow from our own life experiences, while also learning from the experiences of others, regardless of what stage of life we are in. Because you never know what life is gonna throw at you. So there just might be a conversation or two from past episodes that help you feel a little bit better prepared for the challenges you might face in life or that you're facing right now.

Whether those challenges be your emotional, mental, and or physical health, your relationships with others, including your partner and children, your career, your finances, whatever curve balls, life is throwing your way right now. Just know that you are not alone in your experience. And the conversations I'm having here are with people who have been there before and have done the research to help you navigate these situations with more awareness, openness, curiosity, and compassion so you can live a more purpose-filled life. And trust me, I take all of these conversations, I'm having the heart as well, and I try to apply what I'm learning from these conversations, which is why I do solo episodes the first Wednesday of every month because I think of this show as a, a running dialogue between me and you, the listener, because my hope is that you can see and hear the growth I'm making in my own life, so that it inspires you to seek out the connections between our shared experiences so that you too can take intentional and inspired action.

So if you're looking for some ways to help you better navigate whatever you've got going on in your life from someone who's been through it before, check out some of the other episodes at or wherever you get your podcast. A few quick notes about this week's episode. First of all, I apologize for the sound quality of my mic during my conversation with today's guests. I recorded this episode way back in September and I had just set up a new mic and audio interface. But because my good friend and former co-host Brian on the base, who's also the sound engineer for the show, wasn't there to assist me, I set it up incorrectly and I sound like I'm speaking through a mosquitoes ass. Which brings me to my next note. <Laugh>, my guest today holds some very strong opinions, and it was fun to challenge him on some of those opinions during this conversation, but his language is a bit more colorful and animated than most of my past guests.

So if you have kids in the car while listening to this, tell them to earmuff it. If you don't want them to learn a bunch of new naughty words. <Laugh>, you've probably said him in traffic anyway, but just so you know. Lastly, as I mentioned before, I recorded this episode in September, but it's being released in January. So just as an update, I wanted to let you know that my guest today is now a proud papa. So be sure to give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter and tell him congratulations. All of that information is in the show notes. So with that, let's meet today's guest. Our guest today is Ed Latimore. Ed is a bestselling author, former professional, heavyweight boxer and competitive chess player. His writing focuses on self-improvement and a practical approach to stoic philosophy. He is here today to discuss why he thinks humanity is doomed and everything is fucked. And I'm going to try and convince him that maybe things aren't so bad. So welcome to the show, ed Latimore.

Ed:  Hey, thank you for having me, man. I'm, I'm happy to be here. I, I had to remember where that was from and I was like, oh yeah, that's right. I made a threat about that <laugh>. Yeah.

Billy:  Yeah. Your social media posts are pretty entertaining because you kind of go with the tough love approach. And you know, there are some things in there that I'm like, boy, that's real tough. I, I kind of wanna talk to Ed about that and see where that's coming from because your life experiences are pretty wild and have shaped this stoic philosophy that you have. So I just wanna talk about that and get into some of these other things too. But what we always do to start off the show is to talk about the 10 roles that our guests play in their life. And you have your author, chess player, boxing coach, expecting father, partner, s e o, writer, teacher, student, and creator. So just really quickly, congratulations on being an expecting father.

Ed:  Oh, thank you. I'm excited. I mean, I hope the kid's excited. I mean, I know he's not and he doesn't even know what's going on.

Billy:  <Laugh>, what are you having? Do you know?

Ed:  Oh boy.

Billy:  Oh boy. Congratulations. You got the name all picked out.

Ed:  We got some ideas. We're pretty set on what we have now. We thought we were pretty set, you know, two months ago. So it just keeps jumping around.

Billy:  I'm not a dad. I don't ever expect to be a dad or anything like that, but whenever I talk to people who are parents, they're like, we thought we were prepared, but they, we were in no way shape or form prepared. Do you feel prepared or you just kind of rolling with the punches so to speak?

Ed:  I think cause I'm rolling with the punches, I feel prepared now. Like in terms of the things you can measure, you won't have to worry about money weeping together now for 10 years. Very stable and we like one another. It's very loving and home he'll be coming into. And, and more importantly, I've done a lot of things that I wanted to do. So I'm not gonna be like, I'm not gonna feel resentful for anything I can't do with the kid. And furthermore, and this is the most interesting part to me, there's this whole community of people with kids, right? And it makes sense. And so since the different world to compare it to, I think what I'm looking forward to is like when I discovered the world of people who don't drink, I was like, wow, there's a whole world of people who don't drink and there's a whole community and everything like that. And I, and I think it's like that for any experience. You get to find other people who are like you and doing things like, thank you. It should be fun.

Billy:  Well, and that's one thing that you and I share in common. I didn't drink during the school year. Back when I was in education. I would take nine months off and do like an alcohol sabbatical during that time. And then during the summer months I would have one or two here from time to time. But I had to teach myself how to be a social drinker cuz I didn't have the addiction like you've talked about in your TED Talks. And we'll, we'll link that into show notes too. I didn't have that physical addiction, but I didn't know how to turn it off when I started. But then if I wasn't drinking I was like, well I can handle it. But it sounded like you had that physical addiction to it and that Ted talk does a great job of talking about addiction.

Ed:  Yeah. You know, people, people have their ideas of like what addiction is and I certainly have mine and they've been modified over the years. And ultimately what it comes down to is this behavior getting in the way of detracting from my quality of life and can I stop it? If so, once you recognize that it's a problem, then you jump to the next step, which is how big of a problem is it? Can you stop doing it? And if you can't stop doing it at will <laugh> and you know, not feel uncomfortable and go do other things, you probably have an issue. Right. And that, that, that's how I feel. That's how I looked at my situation of my life. I looked at the damage that it was causing me. I looked at many opportunities it was causing me to miss. And I said that I don't know what difference it'll make.

At least, you know, then I, I had no idea. And I don't know what my life would be if I kept drinking, but what I can say for sure is one to the first question is, or rather the answer to both questions. I really like how my life is now and I like the person I am and I respect the person I am. And I know that wouldn't be possible if I continue to have alcohol. It's a focus in my life and cause of the type of person I am, you know, when I quit, I'm just so grateful for, for everything that's brought me. I'm grateful every day I wake up every day happy that I don't have to worry about a hangover. My girl not gonna worry about getting a call or finding some girl I was referring with at the bar, something like that.

You know, I've eliminated entire stress points, timelines for my life cause I don't drink. And to me that's important. And it's one thing to say that just as a predictive kind of deal, but I know I've been down the other path, you know, <laugh>, I know where it goes cause I've seen it. I'm not interested in being there. This has just been really a fantastic point. And and one of the things that's interesting to point out, you had me list the 10 rolls. Here's how ingrained it's become. I didn't even think to list anything related to sobriety and then like that's a big deal. Like I had my sobriety date tattooed on my arm and I now think to list anything. Cause now I'm just a person who doesn't drink and I don't even see it as an identity piece.

Billy:  Yeah, I was actually thinking about asking you that, you know, hey, do we wanna include something about sobriety or being an alcoholic? Cuz you, in your TED talk you said, my name is Ed and I'm alcoholics. I was wondering should we include that into the 10 roles? But like you said, it's not even something that you really identify with anymore. You used to be a boxer and now and you were a pretty successful boxer, but now you've transitioned out of that. And I think some people would say that you cut your career short and I know you have an explanation for that. Woo. But now you're, you make your money publishing articles and doing SEO writing and you're just a constant creator. And those are two things that you're looking forward to in the second half as well as being a creator and going from a self-published author to a published author. So can you talk about where that creative energy comes from, why you wanna go from self-publishing to published author with a company?

Ed:  You have to know what drives you, right? And it's important to know all the things that drive you, at least as many of the things that do. Cause then you can make honest, real decisions that are gonna help you to be fulfilled and help you be happy. Cuz I'm the only one, one that's gotta live this life. Right? And there are people who have to live with the consequences or benefits of the things I do or don't do, but I'm the only one that that feels what I feel. Okay. So, so, so with that aside, you know, self-publishing is great, especially for what it's done for me. It, it really, and here's what's the crazy thing, before I even go into this, that first book I published, I don't even think it's that good. I think I made a lot of mistakes in, in my writing, but it was an authentic, powerful message and that carried it, that exposed me to a lot of people and really grew my brand and who I am.

I know though with everything I know now with a publisher behind me, I just would be able to legitimately achieve big numbers and big recognition and it would really transform what I'm doing and take it to a higher level. Now I always write, that's not gonna change. I mean the the site, no one pays me to write on that site. I mean, I figure out ways to get paid, but no one pays me to write on that site. No one pays me for the newsletter. No one pays me for the writing I put out on Twitter. The little tweets. To me, it's just the mode of expansion and expression. When I write something, Donna helps me think clearly about it. Right now I'm doing a lot of writing about insulin resistance and cholesterol and linoleic acid and things like that Anyway. Cause that's what I'm, I'm interested in right now.

So it's important for me to, to write it because writing organizes all of my thoughts and helps me think clearly. It helps me formulate and know my argument. Well, if I don't do that, then I don't know anything, you know, and, and you know, who knows where my interests will be. I'm also starting a series of articles about my ideas and my journey through chess. For me it's how to learn, how to express myself. I think I have a pretty interesting and unique perspective. At the very least. I know that I'm better than most people. I've taken complicated ideas and making them simple for others to understand. And so that's the appeal of writing to me that and then the appeal of being published is that I get real muscle and help behind, the next book. And yeah, you give up a little control, but it gets you into rooms that you don't even know exist is the best way I can describe it from what I've talked to people about. It's just an amazing thing to, especially if you can get it to the best seller status. And I have all the tools to do that.

Billy:  What's that unique perspective that I wanna dive into here today? So what we're gonna do is this, we're gonna take a quick break and when we come back we're gonna talk to Ed about what this stoic philosophy means to him. 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, 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. We are here with Ed Latimore, just kind of breaking down this idea of stoic philosophy. So I'm not super familiar with this Ed, so you describe it as stoic street smarts. What do you mean by that?

Ed:  The idea right, comes down to this. The way I, I've tweeted it and talked about it before, nothing bad comes from being likable and nothing good comes from losing control of your emotions. If you put those two ideas together, you kind of get the crux of my philosophy, which is don't let your emotions lead you. I don't say don't feel, I say don't let your emotions be the reason you do a thing. At the very least, don't do something without objective calculation. And for most people, that means you need to step away from your emotions. Very few people were able to feel and be fully present emotionally and objectively evaluate a situation. And the ability to do that kind of makes you appear cold. No, I've gotten that before. So sort of balance that out. I had to really work on, on being likable, which means reading and understanding people.

And the same skills that allow you to read and understand a person. They also contribute to the ability or rather to a street smart level of ability. You know, all street smarts is, is reading people. We talk about it as if it is exclusive to people who are like hustlers on the street. But the reality is anybody can be street smart. All that matters is you know, your willingness to, to learn things you can't learn in books from experience or interaction from mistakes, from reading things. We're making decisions based on incomplete information or probabilistic functions rather than certainty and determinism. When you're able to do those things, then you're street smart. The better you do it, the better you'll get. You know, occasionally you'll lose just like a poker. Occasionally we'll get dealt, you know, pocket ACEs and still get beat and some so idiot sat in the hand with, with two seven and the flock came down 7 72. It happens, right? But that's not what usually happens. And over a long enough time you'll win more hands than you'll lose.

Billy:  Well, it's those street smarts that made your story really resonate with me. In fact, the first time I had heard of Ed Lattimore was I was listening to the Jordan Harbinger show and you were a guest on there and your story was so fascinating and so interesting. I remember exactly where I was in the world because I was in sore Portugal listening to that interview overlooking the end of the world where you can see the sunset at the furthest point in Europe. And I was just, just blown away by your story and I started following you on Instagram because I really like your story and you go into depth in those episodes. But then as I started to follow you on Instagram, I was like, oh damn, Ed's kind of got a chip on his shoulder right here he is dishing out the tough love right here into these posts. I imagine you and I see the world very differently because our life experiences are vastly different. How have you come to this conclusion that humanity is doomed and everything is flocked?

Ed:  Well, I'm an eternal optimist, but more than that I'm a realist <laugh>. And the more I learn about how people interact with one another and kind of what incentivizes and disincentivizes certain behaviors and my experiences online with, with our over 190,000 followers where I get to interact with a lot of people and meet a lot of people, I think our evolution is a species is now gonna be driven internally. We're the apex predator on this planet. Nothing will force us to get better and sort of an asteroid or meteor or something that's contagious, but like with the death rate of Ebola, nothing will kill us. And people go, what about nuclear winter? But no, you don't understand like there's not enough nuclear material. It would be devastating, but we'd be okay. That's well enough of us to continue. But what's really gonna wipe us out of those two things, if anything ever wipes us out and start to thinking, and I look at the things that cause problems, you know, we, we don't know how to forgive, we don't know how to listen to move to the next level.

Everyone would have to collectively be disciplined and non-reactive and that'll ever happen because what you're asking an organism to do is exist in a state that is not the most energy efficient one. And I always say, you know, every organism assumes the most energy efficient configuration by default. That's the most general way of seeing we, we take the easy way to turn and get the most effort, the most, the most return possible to overcome a lot of our issues is what you're asking people to do is to intentionally restrict themselves, intentionally be disciplined, intentionally be patient and do that regardless. And it'll never happen. And this is why, for example, you know what else might kill us? Oh we might realistically over harvest our food supply <laugh> because greed, you know, not cause we need it to mind you, but cause it's easier to do it one way and that way has costs that are cheaper than the value received.

So you do it right instead of going out there and, and a bit of self sustainment that that's one way we could do things. Capitalism has ruined everything. I'm not against capitalism. My view on capitalism is that it's a lot like salt. This is the analogy I always give. So salt is composed of sodium and chloride, two substances on their own, which are poisonous and corrosive, but combined creating an essential element for life. But if you have too much of it, you get hypertension, heart disease, high blood pressure, dehydration, you know, you get a lot of problems having too much so food doesn't taste quite right, doesn't taste good compared to capitalism. I go capitalism. So two things bother themselves, incredibly destructive, self-interest and greed combined them and created something that has changed. The lives just changed. This planet really pulled us up from the dark age to we are now, but at least in this country, in the United States, capitalism has sprinkled everything and that's ruined everything from healthcare to education.

Even our methods of entertainment we're driven to the lowest common denominator to generate the most money with spending the least amount with the least investment instead of a focus on a creating a real quality product. You see, our food supplies base is poison. You look at the rates of metabolic syndrome and the research coming out. That's what I'm saying though right now my big thing is, you know, cholesterol and insulin resistance and all that. And you see our pursuit of cheap and plentiful food and profit has led to us in many cases outright deceiving the public. And by us, I mean the American Heart Association outright deceiving the public and having 'em consume something that actually makes them syrup <laugh>. It's just crazy. And humanity's always been driven forward by a few different individuals, whether it be spiritually, intellectually, physically heard wise, they've always been driven by a few. The problem now that we didn't have in the past is that the others all have a voice, all have reached and have access to life-ending weaponry. It wasn't always like this. Now the idiots have a voice and the idiots have the power. And then the cowards have the power of the the courageous man. And it, it's a weird universe, man. But that's why put it that way. <Laugh>.

Billy:  Well, and you talked about evolution, you talked about the cowards, you talk about the have nots of capitalism and you also talked about like you cannot trust weak people because when you're weak, deception and disloyalty are their only means of survival. So then what responsibility do we have when it comes to helping the weak get stronger? Or do we just let Darwinism handle it?

Ed:  No, I, I don't think you let Darwinism handle it. If I had to rank the best way to handle these things, I, I think letting Darwinism handle it probably is in the middle, right? I think the worst thing we can do is to enable or encourage pretty much what we've done by making it profitable to be a victim or at the very least not disincentivizing it. And getting people to, to relax and look at the facts and make real decisions are the corruption that exists that, that prevents, like with this example, just to, to so step a little bit, I'm never the guy, even though I'm a black man, I'm never the guy that just looks at the case and goes, the police were wrong and the racist. Now look at it, I look at each case and what I've realized looking deeply is that the, the problem or one of the biggest problems, there's two, when there's a mistake, the police don't step in and fix it.

You know, there was no reason for us for certain people to get killed and the police could have handled that and could have restored faith. And then the other end of it is, you know, we don't have the most stringent requirements in this country to become a police officer. And the training is four months. I mean, compare that to being a marine, the training to be a marine, the basic training is four months before you go to your advanced training, before you're like fully in, it's a different world, you know, compared that to other places. So we were like once again though, capitalism, there it is, it's infected a negative display of it. Instead of trying to get a get the well trained best police officers. You don't do that because that costs money in, are there someone taking cut somewhere? My point there, yes, is that when you have these situations that are explosive in society by enabling and polarizing two things that are profitable for certain people, you, you end up with, with an adverse effect.

I think the best way to handle and the best things to do is a very tough love objective view of reality. I'm not like a bigot, I don't like block anybody out, nothing like that. I love everyone, but at the same time, I'm not an idiot. Someone had a post and it really stuck on me. And it was like they convinced you that a man could be a woman convinced me that we're not in a recession, should be no problem, should be a layup. And I was like, that's brilliant because now you're vilified if you even remotely question that idea logically, not from a position of like emotion or hate, but but what was the big deal with the Supreme Court nominee? They asked or how would you define a woman or whatever that that's crazy that an adult could not do that. And that's an example what I mean of we don't adhere to an objective reality anymore.

And I think doing that would remind us that certain facts, <laugh> or you, you can't escape them just in the rest of your life in general. And if you try to do so reality, you don't care man. It would be like the argument you see floating around every now and then about how the W N B A, it's not fair cuz they're not paid like the nba. And, and I sit here and I go, how does one even get to the point where they feel comfortable making that analogy? They get to that point because someone did not explain basic tenets of reality to them <laugh>, right? So they're operating in a, in a world where this is like real possible to them that like there's some, there's an injustice going on and that's crazy to me

Billy:  With your experiences in your life and, and what you grew up with, I imagine that there are people out there there who they're in the pull yourself up by the bootstraps crowd, which I talked to Dr. Shree Walker about that too. There's kind of two sides of that where it's like you have people that wanna to prop someone up who overcame the odds and as some sort of model and say, you know, see, look what Ed Latimore overcame. How come you can't come up with that? Does that discredit the struggle marginalized population's face or is that something that people like to say in order to make themselves sound woke?

Ed:  Oh man, you want to hear something crazy? I have struggled with this internally and, and I think I have an answer, but I struggles, right? So I recognize now at, at 37 years old and, and, and I bring up my age cause that that's old enough to have watched people who were born when you were like, not an adult, but like real memories. Well even as an adult, right? They're adults now, at the very least they're making adult decisions. And to see kind of how the cycle plays out and to look at the rest of my family and my peers and see how the trajectory plays out when you look at it. And what I've realized is, is I'm lucky there are a lot of things that are different about me from the rest of my peers and none of them I had any control over.

And there were instances in my life, whether it be by luck, a lot of it by luck, again, you know, I didn't end up in prison or something because the coin just landed on a different side. And before I always say you cannot outrun the law of large numbers. And and for anyone who doesn't know the law of large numbers is the law of probability that states with enough trials, the measured outcome gets closer to the predicted outcome. It's like if I flip a coin 10 times and it comes up seven heads, three tails, you wouldn't say that coin is fixed. And maybe unless you knew it was, you would just go, okay, you only flip it 10 times, flip it a hundred and maybe a hundred times it comes up 55 45. That's a lot closer to one half. And guess what, if we flipped it a thousand, it would get closer and closer and so on, right? And I always say that to point out that if you keep doing dumb shit, eventually you're going to get caught

Billy:  <Laugh>.

Ed:  There's a great line in the in Narcos and where he goes, the bad guys have to keep getting lucky. We only have to get lucky once. And I was like that man, I just woo that that stuck with me. So I say all that to say I am a lucky individual. I had to make certain decisions and choices to put me in a position to have better luck. But, but even some of those were luck. And the people who are still there though, there comes a point where you gotta make decisions too because like when you're 14 or 15, a judge looks at you and goes, you're not an adult and we're not gonna try you as an adult closer, you get to 18, the less likely it is to be to happen. So I just looked up a case, it was my cousin's case, I had a fuzzy memory about it, but I figured it was a profile enough to be in the newspaper.

So I looked it up and, and it was 17 years old, decided he was gonna, this is 1990, decided he was gonna take a taxi knowing he didn't have the money when they got to the destination, the taxi driver was like, okay, where's the money? He said no, they got into an argument, he shot him, kid shot him in the chest, killed him. He's doing a life sentence right now. But he was 17 and they tried to get him tried asthat was part of the docket. They tried to get him tried as a juvenile, but they were like, fuck no <laugh>. Not only is he not that juvenile, he just shot, he shot a man in his chest for, for asking for his money. It's crazy. And here's the crazy part about that, that that statement, I got a cousin right now, his brother in fact doing the second time in jail though, 12 to 24 years will probably do closer to 20.

He wasn't even born when the brother did this. But he was raised in the same environment by the same mother with the same lack of resources. And I see this and I look at the rest of my family and look at the rest of the people I know and I go look for every me I I'm a sur you know what survivor's Biase is where you look at the people who succeeded and you go, oh, that's possible. And instead of looking at the thousands who failed and then using me as an example, what's what can be, what can happen? And and when when you have that type of humility because that takes a lot of humility to be like, yeah, you know, I worked hard and I'm smart, whatever, right? But at the end of the day, man, there's a lot of shit that didn't swallow me up before I got my mind right.

Especially like, you know, why you think I drink so much? It's not, it's not what a normal person does, but I had to get that under control. Otherwise it was a matter, it was only a matter of Tom. I don't, I dunno if there's, if that's an answer or not, I guess to sum it up, I know you have to make your own decisions in life, but I just cannot in good conscience look past the, if all you know is bullshit growing up <laugh> you not going to have, you know, and that's one of the things that I got lucky with. They, they discovered I had an IQ at like 1 35 when I was eight. So they put me in a gifted program and it was only one day a week. One day a week I went to a different school in a different neighborhood, different people but mostly white folks.

And I saw something different and I was like, wow, that was enough to where when I turned 14 or when, or rather when I graduated from middle school, the way our city works is you, there's a school you feed into for your neighborhood but you can apply to go to another one. I told my mom, I said, we're gonna go down, we're gonna apply to go to Sheley, which was across town. I had to catch two buses. We out the door by five 30 in the morning when I was a kid. That makes a difference cuz the other high school man that they still kill a motherfuckers right at that high school. Occasionally my sister went there, my sister's a mess, right? That's how this things work.

Billy:  Well it's interesting that you bring that up because then it ties into the question to nature versus nurture, right? And oh, I was just listening to somebody today on a podcast where they said that psychopaths are actually born, you can actually see their brain is different in a brain scan than a normal person's. But she was talking about this Venn diagram where you have con artists and psychopaths and there's this overlap of con artists being psychopaths and some psychopaths of being a con artist. But they can be mutually exclusive because depending on the way you were nurtured, you might have the brain of a psychopath, but you might not ever apply it to the con.

Ed:  Oh man, I'll take you one step further on that. There are people, if you somehow you ever see the show Dexter?

Billy:  I never got into that one. That was one show I never got into. So,

Ed:  So the whole premise of Dexter is that Dexter is a psychopathic murderer, right? But he was raised to take out those urges in a controlled way. And what he decides to do is, I guess he's technically a police officer, but he is a blood splatter expert, is he kills bad guys. They really interesting premise. But you can see the same thing in like certain people who end up selected out for the highest levels of the military and by, by self select, I mean they first they enlist and then they go on to special services or whatever, right? In this book or kill him. He talks about this that most of us don't really, even in war, we're not killers, we're just not built for it. But a few of us, ah man, we don't really feel anything. Not only do we not feel anything, you know, there's like battle fatigue. Like you, you gotta rotate in off the line. You can keep the motherfuckers out there forever. Don't come right back. Like nothing happened. We exist, you know, it's or not we, it's, I dunno, I'm, I'm putting myself in that category. Well I

Billy:  Was just gonna say, cause I was gonna ask you if you would put yourself in that category because you served in the military and I don't know if you need to have like a killer instinct as a boxer. I imagine you have to be okay with hurting people. Yeah,

Ed:  You gotta gotta be okay with hurting people. You, you gotta be okay with hurt, okay. To be a big good fighter and, and you know, my military service wasn't all that. I was a national Guardsman, didn't deploy man mainly for school. Well, I mean sure they could have sent me somewhere. I certainly signed that check or signed my name on line, but it never came to that. But as far as fighting goes to be a good fighter, you have to enjoy hurting people. Otherwise to you it's going to be a sport. And you are never gonna be able to go to the place where the other guy goes. You know, you know what to be like. It'd be like two guys get together in a battle and one guy says, I'm never going to use this weapon. It's against my moral code. And the other guy's like, fuck this.

I'm gonna use whatever I can. The odds are always now you can prove for the good guy and the honorable God you want. The reality is that the other guys is gonna have that advantage. And you know, it is little things, things you learn to, during a fight, you gotta be okay with knowing that you're gonna probably, there's a good chance you're gonna hold to somebody's life taking food out their mouth. If you winning, they don't get the next fight. And then you have to not just with, with that cause that trait by itself, there's a lot of assholes in the world. You also gotta be comfortable and able to manage pain and have this calm and as you approach a dangerous situation. I'll tell you a story, man. When I was in Los Angeles as part of my amateur sponsorship, they evaluated us with sports psychologists.

And the sports psychologist told me something about myself that I thought was really interesting, just looking at my assessment and everything. He goes, you knowI've been, he I've been doing this for a long time. I've never seen or not never. He said very, very rarely has he seen someone get calmer the closer they get to the event. And I said, that's really interesting because to me, if you talked to my coach, he'll, he'd say, you know, one of my issues was getting fired up. And to interpret that is, I didn't wanna hurt the guy is completely incorrect. Even if it was sparring, I'd be like, fuck outta, you know, I I had no problem with that. My issue was that, but I, I didn't feel anything, if that makes sense. I didn't go in there angry, vengeful, nothing to prove. I, I, I didn't have those feelings. To me it was, it was a systematic thing. Here's a person, let's stop this human. Whatever damage I gotta take, as long as I can keep going forward, whatever. Right? Because you get used to being hurt. I mean, I think that's what's really interesting about being a fighter. You get used to being hurt and that's just part of the game.

Billy:  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 of 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. So you've had a lot of experiences from being a writer, being a boxer, playing chess and serving our country. You're very worldly experienced. You also have a degree in physics, which is interesting to me that you went and got that physics degree because you've presented yourself as kind of anti collge unless you're gonna go get a science or a math degree and you know, you got your science degree. But now here I

Ed:  Am, that's a math degree too, man. That's a, that's a hard degree <laugh>.

Billy:  But, but here I am, you know, I worked 21 years in education. Why are you shitting on my profession? Ed, what are you doing to us educators out there and telling them college is overrated unless you're getting a math or science degree. What's your beef with

Ed:  College? My beef with college is that it's been infected by capitalism. Pure and simple. I have nothing against education. Hey, if that's not obvious, I don't know what else to say. I have nothing against education. What I'm against, for example, is forcing a student to take two years of a prerequisites completely unrelated to what they're studying and that would instantly doubles the cost of tuition. What I'm against is a policy that forces a, a first year, sometimes second year student to live on campus and pay room and board, which is always more expensive than simply staying off campus, right? What I'm gets are exorbitant feeds for these textbooks, you know, and thank goodness the the digital games switch that all up. Now they don't even, they don't even bother trying to keep, oh well, or rather what they've done, you know, build a better mouse trap.

But, but then, but kids are smart. We figure out ways around it. If it was just about learning what text you get, almost wouldn't matter. But instead they're like, you gotta go and spend $200 on this book. Cause I'm assigning the questions out of this book and I'm like, you dirty motherfucker. Like you could get the questions anywhere, right? But you chose that book to cost $200. It's insane. And here's what this nuts part, they figured this shit out on. This is not an accident. They said, okay this was back in the seventies. They were like, and by they, I mean good colleges, but who did not have the name brand of a Harvard or Cornell or Brown, right? They said, how do we compete with these guys? Ooh, the man brand is there. What if we just raise our prices? Because I know a few of the AVI leagues, if you get accepted, it's not even at, at least it's how it was.

I don't know how it's now you get accepted, you don't even have to pay the tuition unless your family's like rich. You just go, right? But these other schools were like, that's how we'll compete. We'll raise the price and it fucking worked. Cause people are foolish, right? It worked well. So now what you have is a race to the top instead of a race to the bottom. But it's the wrong metric. It's let's make the school cost as much, okay? And, and then when you combine that with the incredibly predatory practice of student loans and what I'm against from student loans, what you're effectively asking to do, and I got a unique perspective on this because I went and got stuck in that machine when I was 18 and I didn't know what the fuck it was. But then when I went back at 30, lemme tell you something, I don't know if they did this before, but I had to do it.

It took about two hours. You sit through a whole thing where you're like, here's how this works. What are you studying based on what the projected salary or what your studying is. This is how long it's gonna take. You pay this money back. Like it was a rules of real education, you know? But I know the average 18 year old man ain't thinking about that. Some of 'em are still in high school, like they're not even legally allowed to drink. We know their brains, particularly the part of their brain that deals with planning and considering the long term is not developed till 25. That's why other institutions won't loan them money, won't let them rent a car, won't let them rent a, a house without a cosigner. But we're going to give all this money for this thing that's been pumped up to cost more.

So you can get away with charging the more and extract them in this, this guaranteed money from the government. But putting the individual on the hook, that's what I'm against. Okay? And look, people in Europe look at my shit, they're like, man, you Americans are crazy, right? <Laugh>. Cause it ain't like that in Europe. At least not. Well, I mean, guess the UK is a little different, but even in UK it's not like that. Cause they, it's, it's not as expensive. That's my problem. You fix that. We'll be all good. At least at the higher level. Now. Now as far as high schools go, it's a different conversation with other problems, but not that problem as far as income goes.

Billy:  So how come math and science get a pass? And I'm curious why English doesn't get a pass. Because you are a writer and you had to learn those skills somehow. Maybe you didn't learn those through an English course. Maybe you just learned it through trial and error. But why does math and science get a pass also, I taught English for 15 years. Go

Ed:  <Laugh>. Okay, so, so, so first of all, one of the things I want to say is, and you can see it, well you could, if I left it up there, there is a clear difference in the quality of my writing pre my degree in physics and post, because you know who scores the highest in the gre physics majors on average because you have to be better than average at math at the worst. But that's where you can describe things with equation. But you also have to be a hell of a communicator order. And your words and choice has to be incredibly precise. Cause some of the things we say colloquially those, there's a big difference in physics. For example, I can't just say the car is sped up. What do you mean it's sped up? Oh, you mean it's just going fast. I can't just say turn the volume up.

You don't turn volume up, you increase it. <Laugh>, little things like that to be able to describe formulas and words and words and formulas and do it in a way that where it's understandable, right? There's a skill. But as far as why math and science get it passed and not all science, I, I wanna be clear in the stem, I, I'm very, very anti Ds. He T and the E get a pass. The m it depends right? Now why is that? Because if you're gonna make something about the money, which is what they've turned into college. So your passions, fuck your passions, they don't matter anymore, eh, because to finance your passion is gonna cost you a minimum of on the low end, $25,000 a year. If you want the four year degree to say I love my passion, right? Okay, so when you make it about the money, but when now you gotta get a return on your investment.

And I know that if I have a degree in computer engineering, I know there's no one that that's gonna pay me less than 110. Starting starting. It's gonna make it a lot easier to deal with my student loan payments. If I got this English degree though, I'm gonna have to have a bunch of other skills to supplement that. Even short of becoming a teacher. And I have a huge problem. I don't care what subject is. If your path is studying this subject, go to grad school, teach this subject, what the f That's a pyramid scheme by definition. Like do you understand what a pyramid scheme is, right, <laugh>?

Billy:  Yes, but I wanna hear this explanation right here. <Laugh>.

Ed:  I, okay, so a pyramid scheme is where there is no actual good exchanged, right? That's the big difference between a subscription service model or superior scheme, right? Is that a subscription service model, I send you something and that is the way I make money. Now you ain't gonna like my price, but I send you shit if you agree and you send me money and we havet conducted an economic transaction when a pyramid scheme, I recruit a bunch of people who recruit a bunch of people who recruit a bunch of people. And as part of recruitment we pay. But what do I get as a recruit? I get to recruit other people. There's been no exchange of money. It just flows to the top. That's why I compared the people who get a degree just to teach the subject like a appearance game. Cause there's, there's been no contribution to society.

And that's ultimately where the value of what you study lays what, how can you use it to create or facilitate something in humanity? That's what the investment is supposed to be. If you can't do that, the only way you're gonna get paid is to go teach it again. You've just kept the loop closed, you have brought in more subscribers. That's what you've done. Or rather you haven't brought them in but you're distributing each time. And then each of those, they're gonna go off teachers and go off and teach what have they actually done and use that degree to accomplish. That is where I stand with that. And, and I don't care if it's English, I wouldn't care. Look, I, here's how harsh I am. It's really hard to cause of the way, you know what you gotta do to progress through engineering, like get an internshipwhich usually put you in a position to create and contribute value.

But if somehow you only went through your degree and you only only used it to, to go teach later, you bought into the pyramid scheme model of education. You didn't use your degree to, to contribute like from an economic perspective, you would've been better off doing shit. You'd been better off driving Uber man because you still gotta pay that money back. At least when you start driving Uber, you start right there, which is what happens in the pyramids scheme on you. You end up owing money <laugh> to your upper line or up to your upper line I guess technically to your, your down line. I don't even remember the term, but the person that brought you in, you gotta keep paying them. That's the only way you keep getting the money from everyone below you. Otherwise you are out. It's the same way with the degree system. This way

Billy:  I lucked out because I went to college in the nineties and college was still affordable. So I, I got out just in time and I made sure that whatever my loan payments were, I doubled those. So that way I got those loan payments taken care of. That was the one really good financial advice

Ed:  How'd you pay your loans back?

Billy:  For the salary that I made teaching.

Ed: Right? Okay. But it's teaching but it's OK <laugh>

Billy:  I was a good saver. I was a good saver. So, you know, by talking about like how much did I, how much was I making a year? Like no, I wasn't making as much as somebody coming out with a computer. Listen, I started into computer programming that was my original major and two weeks of FORTRAN programming and calculus taught me that I don't know shit about shit. And so I was like, all right, I need to figure out what it is that I'm good at. And what I'm good at is I loved reading, I loved writing and I loved talking about reading and I loved talking about writing. And I had always been a coach all through my high school days. Coaching t-ball, coaching little league, that kind of stuff. So I lucked out and figured out what I was good at. Now, like you said,

Ed: Paying for it. Yeah, you're right, but you're not paying, you're not paying out the ass for it. That's the problem today.

Billy: I lucked out, I lucked out with that time going to college in the nineties was that it was still affordable. But now I see what you're saying there. Now I think when you talk about contributions, one of the contributions that I think about as an educator and you know, as a teacher, as a dean was I was caring for my students. But I know I have seen you post things that say, listen, nobody cares about you. Come on, I just wanna give you a hug. Ed <laugh>, you know this. Listen. So don't you think that when we tell people nobody cares about you, it perpetuates a me over we mentality that also reinforces selfishness and narcissism.

Ed: I can see that being a conclusion one reaches. I think if I was like to rank the, the logical steps and give them a grade to take, would it, I would probably give that conclusion a c plus <laugh>. Because here's the thing, well the statement isn't, you don't care about other people, it's other people don't care about you. And this is a really significant, it might not seem like a big deal, but I'm, I'm explain because one takes the focus off of you, the other puts the focus on other people. And there's a significant difference in the two when you, when you take the focus off of you or rather put or puts the focus back on you, when you take the focus off of you by saying no one cares about you, it should be a liberating thought, really. One can hear that and go the negative route with it.

No one cares about me, right? All, all one can go, no one cares. But I tell, you know, to not care about other people. There aren't many positive ways to take that. I can see a trick of the mind going, okay, don't care about other people, just care about this. But that still eliminates the, the human element. But if I tell you people don't care about you, what I'm preparing you for is the worst case scenario, which almost certainly isn't true. And preparing for that worst case scenario, you tend to benefit a little more. Cause it's a lot better to make plans under the assumption that you won't have support than it is and, and be surprised then to make those plans under the assumption that you will have support. And it turns out I'm, I'm a little more right thanyou gave me credit for. There's no loss if you assume people aren't thinking about you. People don't care about you. There's a lot of potential for some bad things to go if you go the other way and assume they do. But if I tell you don't care about other people, which is the angle you were taking with this, if I tell you don't care about other people, I think there are fewer positive interpretations of that, fewer ways to go.

Billy: So it sounds like you're talking about managing expectations around the spotlight effect. And if people don't know what the spotlight effect is, it's when you think everything is around you. Like if you were to leave a party early,

Ed: Right?

Billy: No one cares, and, and, and no one cares, but you're like, oh gosh, I, you know, if I don't say goodbye to everybody, then everybody's gonna care. And the reality is, it's not gonna be as big a deal as you've made it out to be in your head. So, all right, I, I can buy that. I can buy that. This idea of managing expectations. My last question for you is this, ed, am I allowed to laugh and am I allowed to purchase one of your Coffee So Black mugs

Ed: <Laugh>? Absolutely. Man. One of the things,

Billy: I don't know that I'm gonna take a picture of me drinking out of it, but, you know, maybe I'd have it just as a souvenir and said, I got this from Ed Latimore

Ed: People are so sensitive. You know, here's the, one of the, one of, when I was talking about why we're all fucked, right? Cause I'm very careful, my coffee. So black jokes, that's why I don't share a lot of peoples cause they miss it. They see it in, they, they're overly mean. A lot of the ones that people will send me and I'm like, look at my coffee. So black jokes and tell me what you see. In fact, I made a page where I explained to every joke, they're supposed to highlight some element of black culture or black history in a clever way. Coffee. So black, only three fifths of its calories count you like. You need to know history to get that, to understand that. And it's hilarious. Are coffee so black, it was shipped across the middle passage. You need to know history to get that coffee's so black drinking, it makes you late to everything.

That's a stereotype, okay? But it's not, I don't think it's mean. Certainly, I would illegal, certainly. I don't think it's mean. They're jokes. You poke fun of it. You know, a lot of people didn't like this one or didn't get it, but I explained it on my page. You know, coffee. So black Planned Parenthood wants to stop from being brewed. And that is, most of them aren't particularly low brow. You need to have some culture, some historical knowledge, coffee. So black barely fits in your mouth. They put, but they have to work. Like I, I wanna persona file the coffee if I can. I, I'll tell you one that got me a suspension on Facebook. I said, coffee so black, you don't grind the beans, you whip them. And they were like, and somebody reported me <laugh>. And, but that's said, get a mug, man. I would love to support. I put 'em out there. Cause people, people were asking about ask for 'em. Every now and then a cell comes through, somebody buys the mug. Well,

Billy:  Hey, if you're interested and you're brave enough to get yourself a coffee, so black mug, go to if you wanna follow ed on social media. He has cornered the market on Ed Latimore. If anybody is born later and wants to use Ed Latimore as their social media tag, they are going to have to buy it from Ed because Ed has cornered the market. You can go to pretty much anything on social media. Look for Ed Latimore. Ed, thank you so much for being on the show. I'm glad I got you riled up here a little bit, <laugh>.

Ed:  Yeah, it was a good time, man. It was. It was fun. It was a fun conversation. Very, very unique.

Billy:  Hey, if you enjoyed this week's episode, be sure to look in the show notes for all of Ed's contact information. Don't forget to subscribe to this show wherever you get your podcast. If you're an Apple listener, you can do that by clicking the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner. Also, please do me a favor and leave a five-star review with a few kind words. Or if you're a Spotify listener, click those five stars under the show Art after you click the follow button. If you'd like to share your thoughts on this week's episode, you can find all of my contact information in the show notes as well. Feel free to email me your takeaways from this conversation at mindful midlife crisis You can also follow me and DM me on Instagram mindful underscore midlife underscore crisis. I'm also on LinkedIn at Billy Lahr.

That's L A H R. Or you can send a message to the contact page at While you're there, feel free to sign up for the newsletter so you can get access to the free meditations I send out every Sunday. Finally, I know Ed and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may benefit from ED'S expertise and life experiences. Remember, the purpose of this show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. And I hope this conversation provides some insight that will help you reflect, learn, and grow so you can live a more purpose-filled life. So with that, for Ed, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Make you feel happy, healthy and loved. Take care of friends.