Episode 67 – Exploring Paths to Happiness with Dr Elia Gourgouris
What is your personal brand? If you are the “something” person, what is that “something?” How has this brand shaped your life and wellbeing? Chris, David and Producer Tommo have a chat with the happiness doctor Elia Gourgouris about the positives and negatives of personal brands and their connections to money. With Bage’s Biases, Tight Ass Tommo’s money saving tips and the thought of Chris practicing Yoga, the guys have a fascinating episode for you . . .
Welcomes and Introductions
What is this podcast all about –
- A chat with Dr Elia Gourgouris – the happiness doctor.
- Link to his book – 7 Paths to Lasting Happiness
Every episode, Behavioral Finance expert Neil Bage is going to be giving us his money behavioral tip.
– Link to Episode 36 – Understanding our attitude to risk
– Link to Episode 21 – Financial capability
– Link to BeIQ | Beam App
This episode – The Dunning Kruger Effect
Tight Ass Tommo
- Featuring direct debit life admin, cheap clothing and expensive books!
- Link to everything5pounds.com
- Link to the Penny Brohn shop
Dr Elia Gourgouris Interview
Where is Colorado?
Who is Dr Elia Gourgouris?
Personal branding – the story of how Dr Elia was branded the day he was born!
Nature vs nurture
Challenge your negative brand – Like 70 year old Princess Leia
Chris’ personal branding
The importance of mindfulness when talking to others, even in jest
We are all guilty of comparisons, so how can we make them positive?
Comparisons and money
Money equals freedom, the freedom to live our lives with purpose
Creating the best year of your life
The link between personal brands and changing to be a brand that helps others
Hmm, Chris and Yoga (🤐 no comment!)
Mindful meditation and gratitude journals.
Looking at how your spending your money, not just the focus on earning more and more and more
Stuff may make life more convenient, but experiences and memories are really what it’s all about.
Conclusions from the guys
Click here for more information about Dr Elia Gourgouris and his bestselling book Seven Paths to Happiness
Transcribe of the Podcast Script:
(scroll to the bottom to listen to the episode)
Hello, everybody and welcome to another one in our series of financial wellbeing podcasts. Tommo. You’re probably the most important person here today. Tell us all about yourself.
Producer Tommo 0:20
Thank you, David. Thank you. That’s put a real smile on my face. Yeah. So, director and Chartered Financial Planner, ovation finance, and director at the initiative of financial well being, and still in lockdown, still with a toddler, still working our way through the new world. But yeah, that’s me.
How exciting for you, Chris. Tell us about yourself.
Chris bud. From reporting from my cabin, in the garden where it feels like I’ve been for about 15 years. I wrote the financial well being book, I founded and am still chairman of innovation, finance. And I also run a business consultancy helping companies to do what I did with ovation, which is to sell that to an employee ownership trust, so succession planning and that kind of stuff.
My name is David Lloyd. And I kind of waffle on and ask all the stupid questions to which these two highly intelligent people are able to give good answers. So, Chris, any news for us today have you got anything you want to share with us about your life? either of you, actually,
I think you’re being a bit disingenuous by yourself, David, actually, your insights and wisdom are what makes this podcast so fascinating? And your experiences with heavy drugs? That kind of stuff, I think is what makes it also interesting.
Yes, that’s for anybody that listened to the previous podcast 66 where I fessed up to LSD usage. 46 years ago, I’ve never probably actually said that. At the time. It was extremely illegal. So I hope the statute of limitations has expired on that onw now.
Producer Tommo 1:57
Can you imagine somebody somebody downloading this podcast for the first time. It’s just discovered. You were talking about what in the last episode, there was a link, it’s all relevant. Go and check it out.
Excellent. All right, then let’s move swiftly o.n Chris. What what what have you got for us today?
Today, we have an interview with a really fascinating guy, Dr. Elliot grigoris. He wrote the book, the seven paths to happiness, a best selling book. I’m not gonna give anything away for the interview. But I personally found it to be deeply affecting actually. It’s got me thinking a great deal and I find it quite an emotional discussion. So I’m looking forward to you guys hearing it.
I’m looking forward to it too. But before we do that, let’s go to what is now becoming a fast established and very popular, regular feature here on the financial wellbeing podcast. One of Bages behavioral biases. Chris, tell us more.
So today, David Neil’s going to tell us all about the Dunning Kruger effect.
Neil Bage 2:57
Linked to overconfidence, there is another bias, which is not only fascinating, but can actually be quite influential in the way people navigate the world around them. The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias. And in essence, it means that people will believe they are smarter, and more able than they actually are. Essentially, people who have a low ability in something or have no competence, don’t possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence. And this combination, and lack of self awareness and the inability to recognize their incompetence, leads people to overestimate their ability. It can be summed up I guess, in that famous phrase, a little information is a bad thing. Now, let me explain quickly how this works. And you’ll see that it is notoriously difficult for humans to avoid this kind of overconfident driven bias. So let’s say you are new to investing, and you decide that you want to invest in stocks and shares based investment. You don’t know anything about it. So you decide to do your research. You go online, read a few articles, watch a few YouTube videos, maybe speak to a few friends. But all the time you are slowly slowly building up and embryonic knowledge based on investing in stocks and shares. The problem comes when you have a little bit of acquired knowledge, we typically tend to over inflate our ability at that point, especially when we are trying to apply that knowledge. So we get to a place quite quick, where we think we are better at something than we actually are. And only when you go on a journey and you learn and you learn and you learn and you become an expert in a subject Do you recognize or more to the point, you have the skills to recognize the stuff that you know and the stuff that you don’t know. And this leads to a heightened state of self awareness that is truly beneficial when we are making important decisions.
So I really find the Dunning Kruger effect fascinating. Neil describes it brilliantly there. But I’ve actually experienced this firsthand over the last couple of years. Let me just explain. So having sold majority of ovation into an employee ownership trust, which is a very new concept, I have written a book about it all – the eternal business, and I go out and advise and do consultancy with business owners. And I’ve spoken literally to hundreds and hundreds of business owners, 4-500 business owners about this, whether it’s just a sentence at a conference, or they phoned me up for a chat, I’m always happy to have a chat with people. And what I’ve discovered is so many of these people have said, thanks very much, Chris. I’ll now go ahead and do all the two years worth of cultural changes needed in my business on my own, because I read your book. And I try and say to them well its actually an awful lot deeper than that. But the Dunning Kruger effect is writ large in business owners who, yeah, who think that they’ve got enough information based upon just a very scant bit of knowledge. And yet, it’s such a deep and fascinating subject. So I’ve had this, frustratingly over the last couple of years big time myself.
Interesting, very interesting, right, let’s come on then to the next in our regular features, Tight Ass Tommo. Now I’ve actually got a tip this week about how you can save a bit of money. Now listen, this is not an original one. And indeed, I’m pretty sure that we’ve touched upon it in previous podcasts. But it’s worth reiterating it because I’ve just had a personal experience of it this week. And that is just check your direct debits, I had a letter from EE, who I have my phone with. recently. It said the contract on your tablet has run out and it was. And I remembered what I didn’t remember that I’ve got a tablet because I’ve got one. But I’d forgotten that actually, when I got it two years ago, I took out like a phone contract on it so that I could be connected when I wasn’t connected to Wi Fi. You know what, I reckon I’ve used the phone on that probably two or three times in the two years that I’ve had it. So they said, Well, look, you know, you can carry on, or you don’t need to do anything. It’ll just carry on. It’s £16.70 a month. And I thought well actually, do I still need to be doing that? No, I don’t. So I rang them up. Interesting. You always have to ring them up, don’t you? You could never just go online and cancel stuff. You’ve always got to speak to somebody so they can try and talk you out of it or sell you something else. However, I did speak to, actually to be fair, a very friendly person, who canceled canceled it for me No problem. And therefore I saved myself £16.70 a month just by keeping an eye on my outgoings.
Producer Tommo 7:37
Man I love that. Love that.
Thought you’d appreciate that time
Producer Tommo 7:42
I do. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of time to do a bit of life admin and hey, presto,
And do you know what the thing was, I saw the letter. I’d had the letter for about a week and I thought well I must, I must do something with that. I must do something with that now I know me well and in the past I would have thought I must do something with that and never actually done it. So the difference is, have an idea and then act on it.
Producer Tommo 8:03
Yeah, brilliant. Brilliant.
What’s yours then Tommo?
Producer Tommo 8:07
Right. What am I got for you today? So I’m not sure you, I’m not sure you two are going to be too happy with this because I know your views on the throwaway fashion industry. It’s not particularly sustainable is it. But you know what people need to wear clothes and for some people they’re going through some real hard times with, with locked down with incomes potential have dropped if you’re furloughed or be made redundant and we don’t quite know what the world may look like. And I remain optimistic, but I came across a site called everything five pounds.com now it reads as everything’s five pounds.com very clever instead of the s at the end they used a five. Well done them, but, but on. . . on there is literally everything is £5 you can buy yourself some you know a jumper, t-shirts – £5.
I’ll have a car!
Producer Tommo 9:02
It’s clothing, sorry I should have started with that. But you know I think a really good one if people are trying to tighten the belt and need some need some clothes, you know go and have a look. I five quid for an item clothing and I don’t know where it’s been made or what the ethics behind it are. So you know do that. Do that due diligence yourself, but go check it out.
I’ve got some homework for you then Tommo. Because a really really good money saving tip obviously is charity shops.
Producer Tommo 9:31
Can we do charity shop buying online?
Producer Tommo 9:35
Whoo. There’s a bit of homework for me. Right charity shop buying online.
You did me worried a little bit there Tommo actually because David and I. David I’m going to use the sobriquet – David I are authors. You’ve just finished your novel. So I think we can call you, you know, an author. And I thought you were gonna say a really good tip is buy secondhand books. I don’t agree with that at all. That’s a terrible, terrible idea.
Producer Tommo 10:00
I’ll tell you what, if you want a really good tip, and you want to spend some money on something it’s going to give you a great deal back is when David launches his book. Buy that. And Chris, you’ve got about 400 available. So buy one of those.
I’ve got some in the garage you can have for cheap!
Producer Tommo 10:17
Hey look, in particular the financial wellbeing book you can pick up directly at Penny Brohn.
You can’t at the minute because they’re shut. But
Producer Tommo 10:26
Nice idea. So let’s leave that one there.
Producer Tommo 10:29
All right. Okay.
However, do get the financial wellbeing book though, because obviously that is the foundation on which things podcasts are built.
Producer Tommo 10:35
You never know, people might be listening to this when lockdown is over. So check it out. Otherwise, hold off, because we want as much of the proceeds to go to that wonderful charity as possible.
Excellent. Thank you for that, Tommo. Chris, why don’t you introduce your interview for today?
Thanks, David. So we have Dr. Elia Gourgouris. I hope I’m pronouncing that okay. He is the fascinating psychologist, an expert in the field of positive psychology. He’s the president of the Happiness Center. And he’s also author of a number one best selling book, it’s Seven Paths to Lasting Happiness. And this starts off with his own personal story, which I think you’ll all agree will be absolutely fascinating and really sets the brain going about your own life. So let’s have a little listen to my chat with Dr. Elia Gourgouris.
Elia, thank you so much for joining on our podcast.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 11:30
You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure.
Where are we speaking to you from today?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 11:34
Colorado. Okay. I don’t know my America very well, I’m afraid, but what’s what’s Colorado home to?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 11:43
Colorado is more of the Rocky Mountains. If you’ve heard of the mountains of Colorado were the western part of the United States. We border Utah, I guess, and to the West the Wyoming, the wilderness?
Well, if you’ve got Rocky’s it must be a very beautiful area. I’m sure
Dr Elia Gourgouris 12:02
It is beautiful. Yes.
So perhaps you could just explain to us how you came into this idea of happiness and how you became a happiness expert.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 12:13
Well, you know, that’s actually a very funny and interesting story. You know, my background, my professional background, I have a PhD in psychology. I had a clinical practice for many, many years. And then I transitioned over to the corporate side and do executive coaching and leadership training and development. But the happiness expertise began. And this is a true story, on the very first day I was born. So I was born a long time ago in Athens, Greece. And as the story was told, growing up, you know, my Dad, kind of a tough Greek guy, you know, shows up at the hospital, and, and, and asks the nurse, you know, where’s my son. And I guess I was behind this little window, me and four other little babies were all wrapped up in the same generic white blankets back in the day. And I guess at that moment, I had a big smile on my face. So the nurse turns to my Dad and says, your son, he’s the happy one. And I was branded the day I was born. So that story was told to me growing up, you know, well, you came out of the womb happy, you’ve always been a happy kid. And people that have known me for decades, my friends and family. So you know, for the most part, in spite of life’s tragic events, from time to time, or to the ups and downs that I tend to see life as a glass half full, or I have maybe the glass overwhelming, and that’s for 25 years now I’m in graduate school. And the professor is talking to us about the debate between nature versus nurture.
Just what I was going to ask you yes,
Dr Elia Gourgouris 13:46
No, no, no, but this is the beauty of it. In basically, is it a genetic predisposition that makes us who we are? Or is it our environment in it’s impact on us? And of course, the reality is that they both contribute, but I had this terrible thought, in the middle of that class. It was if it was yesterday. And I’m like, Well, wait a minute. What if my Dad gets stuck in traffic shows up like 15 minutes late, come up to the same little window asks the same nurse the same question, which one’s my son, and at the very moment, I have this, you know, horrible gas pains and I’m screaming my head off and my face is all red. And the nurse turns to my Dad, your son, he’s the cranky one.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 14:25
Exactly. And therefore, you’re, you’re like all that personal branding. You know, I’m branded from the get go, who you came out of the womb crying, you were a miserable little beep, you know. So when I share this story, not just in this country, but also you know, I spoke in London last year and then Paris and Rome and Athens. When I shared this story about personal branding. I say this, that we’ve all been branded to some degree. In some brands are positive, like being that happiness, you know, brand, is a brand that I’ve actually embraced in my lifetime. There are other great brands like the smart one. You know, obviously creative one, the intelligent one, the artistic one, the princess, you know, there are a whole bunch of other brands that are positive. And if you have been branded that way, count your blessings. My experience, however, in working with people is this, that a lot of people, certainly my clients that I work with, and many people that I’ve talked to actually, throughout the country in the world have had negative brands. And I will tell you, the worst three, or the most common I should say, the ugly one, the fat one in the stupid one. You would be amazed how many people have grown up with those brands.
And the interesting thing is that, that those those terms are given to us by our peers in order to make it to put us down and be lower than them, haven’t they?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 15:44
Yes, in the unfortunate thing, Chris, is that sometimes that happens early on in our life, sometimes it happens even in our own homes. So a few years ago, I’m giving this talk to a women’s conference. And I challenged the audience, basically, I said, Look, if you don’t like your brand, this is an empowerment, you know, this is the time in your life. If you don’t like your, your negative brand, choose a different brand that represents who you want to be, and who you want to become. So out of the corner of my eye, there’s this older lady in her 70s, gray hair, stands up and starts waving her arms, you know, at me. So it kind of interrupted my flow in my talk. But obviously, she wanted to say something. And I said, “Yes, ma’am.” You know, and she goes, “You know what, after listening to you, I grew up for 70 years, I’ve had the brand and I haven’t had one, I had all three of them. I was called stupid, fat and ugly my entire life”” And you could hear a pin drop in the audience, Chris. I mean, it was, like we it was, it was stunning, actually, that she acknowledged that. And I thought quite vulnerable, honestly, in front of an audiencek, 500 people, I don’t know if I would have shared something so personal in front of, you know, a whole bunch of people. Anyway. So I said, you know, it caught me off guard a little bit. I’m like, it’s because but after listening to you, I’m gonna change my brand. And I’m like, Okay, well, what would you like your new brand to be? And her name was Leia, by the way. She goes well, from now one, I want to be known as Princess Leia. And I’ve been the, you know, I’m up in the podium and I bowed I said, Yes, Your Majesty, Yes.
That must have got a great laugh from the audience. Love it
Dr Elia Gourgouris 17:16
No, that the audience laughs they came, you know, from a very serious, moment, to a very light hearted moment. But why do I share this story with you and with your audience? The reason is this. If a woman in her 70s, after seven decades, has, makes the decision to change her brand from this negative that has haunted her basically for seven decades and change it, then that means any one of us can change our brand if we don’t like it. And I applaud her, I think was a remarkable thing to do it in public in front of 500 other people. I like using her for as an example, because that’s remarkable.
Can I, I don’t wish to try and get some free consultation with you! But let’s share something that you’ve awoken to me and saying this, that I’ve been thinking about my son. So my father used to make a joke. And it was a joke. And he only meant it in jest. But it’s one of those things that you say within a family that he always used to say to me, you got to work hard at school, because you got to pay for my nursing fees. You’ve got to pay for my care home fees. And I believed him. And I thought he was serious, you know, I thought he actually meant it. And so when I started work, and I only realized this years later, I went to university, I did a degree that I hated – economics. When I really I wanted to be a writer. And I my whole career is full of doing things. And I realized in a way I have realized for a while because I’m careful not to say the same thing to my son. But I have realized for a while that my branding was the guy that had to pay for my dad’s care home fees.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 18:47
Yeah, you were the responsible one. Actually. I mean it. I mean, that’s not necessarily a negative brand, because being responsible has certain positive connotation.
Yeah, but I think drove me to do things . . .
Burden upon you by your Dad
Yeah, exactly. Burdens a very, yes, it drove me to do things that I may not have chosen for myself.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 19:04
And he didn’t mean it to be selfish. He would, you know, no way that he mean it like that it really was only a joke, but it did affect me. And it did drive and in many ways, a few offhand comments like that from somebody else did set a course for my life.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 19:18
Absolutely. So I think that’s why it’s very important for us, especially in our families, in our homes and with our children, to be very mindful of what comes out of our mouths and what we see even if we do it in jest, you don’t know what life long or long term impact those words are going to have, even though we don’t really mean it in a negative light.
Yeah, one of the things that we talk about a lot and I’m pretty sure you’ll be you’ll be more than familiar with this is the self-limiting beliefs that we have. And I assume that a lot of these come from that kind of branding.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 19:48
So absolutely. You know, I wrote a book called Seven Paths Lasting Happiness. It became a number one bestseller in the United States. In the first path of course is love yourself in the first part of that is the personal brand, because the way we view ourselves if it has it, if the glasses we wear are negative, and we have self-defeating thoughts, typically those leads to self-destructive behaviors, which basically only reinforce the fact that we’re losers in esscence, you know. So we have to change the way we view ourselves and change the way that we think about ourselves. So personal brand is one thing, there are a couple of other things that have a direct impact on whether we love ourselves or not. One of them has to do with comparisons. And we’re all guilty, we all make comparisons, and all of us do it, we probably do it on a daily basis. And really, if you think about it, if we, when we make comparisons to somebody else, there are only two possible outcomes. Either I’m better than you, Chris, or you’re better than me. And if I go around thinking, I’m always better than other people, that’s a very arrogant and prideful statement. And nobody wants to be around people like that. And really, if you think about it, arrogant people on the outside, they’re insecure little boys on the inside. That’s why they’re arrogant, and why they put other people down, if you feel secure within yourself, you never have to put anybody else down. So that’s one side of the comparison doesn’t work. However, the majority of people, you know, and I’ve had a lot of, you know, my class have been women in and those are my kind of informal statistics. When comparisons are made, it’s always like I don’t measure up basically compared to somebody else. Because oftentimes, we compare our own human frailties, and, you know, weaknesses. And, you know, just, you know, we’re not perfect human beings, to other people’s perceived strengths. So when we don’t feel like we measure up with somebody else, then that makes us depressed actually, it erodes our self worth and our self esteem. There’s only one way to get away from this comparison conundrum. And that is to, the only comparison that really counts is the one within ourselves. And in practicality how does that work? So let’s take an easy example our physical health. And I take people through, I have a program, you know, work life happiness program that I take people through, and specifically as – now go back and compare yourself physically, your physical health, like 10 years ago, five years ago, last year now. And let’s say like, 10 years ago, I was in terrible shape. In five years, I started doing better. In last year, I hired a nutritionist, I’m eating healthier, and I’m exercising five days a week, and I’m in the best shape of my life. That’s not an arrogant statement to say, I’m doing better now than I used to do. That’s a factual statement. I’m actually factually in better shape than I was before. So that’s the one side of the comparison. But let’s reverse that example. Let’s say the 10 years I was in tip top up shape. And then five years ago, and I started having family, have kids don’t have time to exercise. And now I just eat fast food. And I’m all stressed out, and my physical health has deteriorated. I’m not as in good shape as I used to be. The question then is, this is not meant to beat myself up. Really, it’s more about to inspire me to move to action. In other words, remember, Chris, how good you felt 10 years ago, when you’re in the best shape of your life? What are you willing to do about it? Now to get back to that place? That’s all, you’re not comparing yourself to anybody else other than against your best self? If we could do that, then we avoid, you know, feeling down, we avoid feeling depressed. Or on the plus side, we don’t feel arrogant. We’re just saying, Yeah, I’m on a good path, pat yourself on the back from time to time as they keep doing it. So comparisons are deadly. And we all do them.
Presumably, but when we compare ourselves with other people, I presume we only ever compare ourselves against the best of other people?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 23:35
Exactly. But they’re you know, there’s some people that compare themselves and put them, so I got more money, I got the faster car, the bigger house this I mean, there’s also the comparison of the you know, the prideful, arrogant side. But typically, for most people, it’s the other comparison where I don’t quite measure up. You know, we look at other people’s like, we always feel like they have a better life. And social media has exacerbated this, of course, you know. Everything on Instagram, or Facebook or whatever. It’s like people living this perfect lives, quote, unquote, that you look at your own life, and you’ll commiserate it, like, Oh, my life sucks, basically. So.
So there is a lot in this about about money isn’t there about how we view money, and about how we compare ourselves with others financially thinking that we’ve got to have a certain amount. I was just doing a talk for somebody else. And there was a survey where, I think it was in Canada, where they offered a group of people choice between $100,000 a year salary where everybody else was earning $200,000 a year, or a $50,000 a year salary where everybody else was earning $20,000.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 24:41
So they chose the 50?
And they chose the 50. Yeah,
Dr Elia Gourgouris 24:43
So we’re actually doing ourselves down by making those comparisons, aren’t we we’re not getting the best for ourselves by making our comparisons.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 24:52
Indeed we are. And there have been studies that have been validated repeatedly. So it’s not like a one off study that, at least in the United States, anyway. If you make $70,000 a year, that is the optimum in terms of your happiness. In other words, if you make more than that, if you make 100, or $200,000, that doesn’t increase your happiness anymore. So for whatever reason, you know, $70,000 basically says, I have all my needs met, and maybe I have a little bit extra to, you know, take your some of my wants.
There’s a chap isn’t there who put all of his employees on $70,000 a year I was reading about it recently.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 25:27
Exactly. And there was an article that came out actually, just recently that talked about what impact that has had as his employees and how happy they truly are. So he’s a, he was a visionary CEO, honestly.
Mm hmm. What chance do you think that might be of that catching on?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 25:44
I don’t know. I mean, I hope that other people, like emulate what he has to do, I don’t know much about the kind of company that he has, or you know, how he was able to do that. I haven’t read the specifics. But it is true that he has had a very positive impact on all his employees. Love it as a CEO.
I’m just I’m just thinking that, you know, $70,000 a year? I mean, I was gonna say it’s not that much. Of course it is. If you don’t have it, of course, it’s a lot. But when you’re thinking of the seriously wealthy people that there are in the world, and, you know, some of the Silicon Valley billionaires.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 26:15
How can we get to those people? I’m just musing here, but how can we get to those people and make them realize, hey, this isn’t making you any happier all this money? Why did you keep it? I mean, can you go do some work with them?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 26:27
Yeah, if you think about it, Chris. Really, money equals freedom. I mean, that’s how I see it. You know, do I like nice things? Of course, I do. Do I like to have a nice house, a nice car, of course, and go on vacation? Yeah, of course. But that doesn’t necessarily make me happier. What makes me happy is the relationships that I have with people around me, you know, living life with a purpose, which is one of the seven paths lasting happiness. I, you know, my purpose in life is to leave this world a better place than I found it and to make a difference in other people’s lives. Yes, the money is good. But really, it’s making a difference. This is what drives me, that’s what I’m passionate about. The other thing about a happy people are people who are of service to others, who, you know, who perform acts of kindness, if you will, to others that it improves, that makes people happier, though the billionaires of the world, if they’re in the process of distributing some of their wealth in contributing, I should say, to causes that they they believe in I’m sure that brings them a certain level of satisfaction.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 27:29
If they’re all about, you know, making the next billion dollars or whatever, I don’t think that’s, you know, that necessarily makes them any happier. I know. It doesn’t.
Yeah, yeah. So this is a very interesting one I just like to pick up on if I may one of your seven steps being about purpose. It’s something that we’ve talked a lot about, on a podcast about financial planning, it should be about helping you to achieve purpose, rather than goals, that kind of stuff. But one of the things I’m very aware of is it’s very easy to say that, but it’s actually not very easy to find purpose. How would you suggest people go about finding their purpose?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 28:08
You know what, I asked them, I have a process that I take people to call the best year yet. So I help them to create their best year of their life. So for 2020, for example, in, in and that also happens for companies, not just for individuals, it can happen for a team, we can happen for a for a division, or for the entire company. And, but let’s do it on an individual basis, because it’s easier to explain this. If you’re to go back and think about it times in your life, what are you most passionate about? When he used to daydream? And I say this, if you had unlimited money, and unlimited time and a magic wand, what would you want to be doing? And another so it’s kind of like a fight. It’s a funny exercise, because people kind of, and I’m like, no limitations, just go crazy. What would you like, you know, to be doing in your life. But basically, you will do it if you even if you’re not getting paid. I mean, for me, you know, I’ve done pro bono work where I help people in times of need, because I do this because I love it. I love helping people. That’s my passion. That’s what I’m passionate about, in whatever form that comes. Whether it’s writing books, or lecturing, or one on one or in group settings, or in corporate, you know, retreats, or whatever, but the theme is the same. I love seeing teams come together. I love seeing people, you know, transform their lives for the better. That’s a huge reward. And I’ve been fortunate enough, honestly, because I’ve known that since I was pretty young in my life, long before I knew psychology or anything like that. It’s something that I’ve always been driven towards. So find something that you would say, Man, I would do this, even if I didn’t get paid because I love it so much. It fulfills me basically,
Could you link that with the personal brand idea you know if you’re going to change yourself from being ugly, fat and stupid to be – I’m the one that helps other people.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 29:55
Sure. I mean, I hadn’t thought about that. I mean, I’m glad you brought that up. That’s it. I think that actually makes sense, right? If your personal brand and your purpose are aligned, then you would be happier. Of course.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Um, gratitude is a word I seen that you use often in your articles and blogs and books. How can gratitude help increase our well being?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 30:19
That’s a great question. But number one, it through that path number two, after love yourself, gratitude is number two. And we’ve always heard the phrase having an attitude of gratitude. So there’s no way we can be grateful in be down or depressed. At the same time, those two things cannot coexist. When I live in gratitude, my life, my heart is full. Now, it’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. As a matter of fact, I’ll tell you, I’m the most grateful guy when everything is working out. Well, that’s easy. The tough part is, how can we be grateful. And I say that we’re all graduate from the same university in this world, we’re all graduate from the University of adversity. Because we all face adversity in life, that’s a given. As a matter of fact, the older we get, the more adversity we faced in our lifetime. Meaning that we’re going to have relationships that are not going to work out, you know, perhaps divorce, health issues, financial issues, unemployment, underemployment, you know, strike, financial stress, all these things happen to most of us, potentially cancer, or heart disease, or diabetes, or, you know, we’re going to lose loved ones, or individually, our grandparents, and then our parents, and then we, you know, God forbid, our spouse, or a child or a cousin or an aunt and uncle, that’s part of human life, right? These things are going to happen. So we’re all part of this university of adversity. The key, of course, is how can we be grateful in the midst of that, and that’s not easy, by the way.
I just started yoga, and, which is a bit late at 53, but there we go! Never too late to try these things. And one of the things that has really struck me is this very, very simple line that our yoga instructor says, which is just be grateful, or well done for making it to the mat tonight.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 32:13
It’s such a simple line, but it’s really got under my skin. It’s just a way of saying, you’ve made the effort to take an hour for yourself, well done. I walk away thinking about that line every single time a little bit of gratitude, that I’ve got that spare hour in my day that I can just sit on the mat and do a bit of yoga.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 32:35
Whether you do yoga, or you do mindful meditation, or I mean, I ask people to create a gratitude journal and I say, look, write three things. Just bullet point, nothing long. Every morning when you wake up when you’re grateful for. If you do that for two or three weeks, it will become a habit, it’ll become second nature. And I promise you, when you have down days, you can open up your gratitude journal and start reading all the things that you’re grateful for. And that’s the quickest way to go from being down to being up again.
Yeah, yeah, that’s a that’s a great tip. We had, we had a chap on the podcast, Nick Alston, who’s an anxiety expert. I just put these two things together, if you’ll forgive me for a moment, because he gave it a tip when he was suffering from anxiety, where he one Monday morning wrote down a list of everything that he was worrying about, kind of the opposite.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 33:25
And he wrote down 127 things that he was worrying about.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 33:29
And what was so fascinating was, he said a week later, he went back over that list and have a guess how many of those things that actually happened?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 33:41
Not that many I bet?
Not a single one of them. So he was carrying 127 things around, and he was worrying about none of which have happened. Now, if that’s a great first step, maybe a second step is then your gratitude journal. Those two things together, I wonder they could be quite powerful, couldn’t they?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 33:58
You know, he, your friend that made that list, Mark Twain, who is the you know, the famous, you know, American satirist, and author and so on, had this thing and I’m kind of paraphrasing a little bit, but basically, he said, I have suffered a great many things in my life. Most of them never happened. Meaning that they were in his head, just like your friend, he had 127 things that he was anxious or worried about, and none of them happened.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 34:27
So basically, what I see don’t borrow trouble from the future. Because that’s what anxiety really is. Anxiety is always when we’re thinking ahead, right? It’s a future based feeling, or depression. A lot of times it’s more in the past. And that’s what we you know, through yoga, or through mindfulness, and meditation. You know, I suggest that we try to live in the present as much as we can, because when you’re in the present, number one, you’re much more alive. Number two, you don’t struggle from depression or anxiety. Your friend had 127 things that never happened. But he was in his own mind. It’s almost as if they were real. Right.
Yeah, so being in the present to stop the depression from the past or the anxiety of the future. That’s, that’s a lovely tip. Thank you.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 35:12
It’s not easy to be in the present? Don’t get me wrong. That’s where I’m, I am glad to hear you’re doing yoga, because that does bring you back into your body in the present.
Yeah, you know, what I found? Excuse me with it. But balancing. Balancing has been revolutionary, because suddenly I have to concentrate so hard on not falling over, that I forget to think about the past or the future.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 35:34
Yes, yes. That’s the whole point, though. Yeah. Can you do that consistently? You know, can you do yoga three or four or five times a week? Where you’re centered? Yeah, do that your life will be really happier. There’s no doubt.
Yeah, absolutely. So look, before we finish, I wonder, what are, the strapline from our podcast is that financial planning is really very simple. You just work out what you want from life and spend your money on that. Which is a kind of slightly tongue in cheek thing to say, because of course, working out what you want for life isn’t very easy at all. Do you have any thoughts on our, on that?
Dr Elia Gourgouris 36:11
I think when we struggle financially in, if we’re really living paycheck to paycheck, basically, in trying to make ends meet, that does take away from our personal happiness, I think there’s, I think that’s where the 70,000 a year comes in, basically, because if you’re, if you’re just making enough or you have credit card debt, or if you’re not able to pay your bills, it’s very difficult to be happy in the midst of that, honestly.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 36:38
There’s no way that financial stress doesn’t impact your overall sense of happiness.
Yeah. So one of our five areas of financial well being is to gain control of your daily finances. So that you could almost then you’re seems to be suggesting that’s like a precursor. That’s the first thing to get sorted, and then you can start working on the other stuff.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 36:59
In of course, you know, I mean, I used to do when, in my, in my oldest when I was a psychologist did a lot of premarital coaching, right. And we used to talk about all kinds of things. And one of them was, of course, you know, finances, because finances along with sex, you know, their communication typically have to be some of the biggest stressors in their in their relationship, especially if the couple is not in alignment, you know, and it’s twofold. One is, people always focus – Well, I need to make more money. Well, you know, what, that’s only half the story. The other half the story is that you need to watch your expenses, just like a company. You know, I consulted with a with a with a company, and they were growing by leaps and bounds in a and I coach, their, their CEO. And he was all revenue based, you know, made a 50 million this year. And next year, I want to make 100 million I got it. He was all about making more and more and more and more. And I asked him, I said, who’s looking after where you’re spending your money? Because it seemed like the more they made, they were still like breaking even basically, it goes on, nobody’s doing that. And I’m like, What are you talking about? How can you run it? Like, how can you run a company, you know, you’re not looking at your expenses. Just because you made more money than last year, you’re spending more money, you’re back to square one. That’s like economics one oh one. I’m not an economics major. But I mean, seriously, if I make $10 in this is the definition I will say to you. If I make $10 and I spend $11, that’s misery. If I make $10 and I spend $9 that equals happiness, right? Simple.
So So and also, when we bring that back to the financial well being is how you’re spending the money, as well on things that will make you happier. So experiences rather than buying stuff. And, and all that kind of thing.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 38:43
Yes, great point. Stuff never makes anybody happy. It might make our life a little bit more convenient. But really, and I probably about 10 years ago, I told my family, I don’t want any presants for my birthday or whatever. Or Christmas. Experiences, togetherness, you know, so we have those memories, create those memories. That’s really what it’s about.
Yeah, yeah. That’s a fantastic place to stop. I really, really appreciate your time today. It’s been absolutely fascinating. We’ll make sure that we put your book out there on the show notes. And I really appreciate your time today, thank you.
Dr Elia Gourgouris 39:18
Thank you so much, Chris. And keep doing the yoga man.
Oh, I did enjoy that. That’s another one of your great interviews. Chris. You’re getting very good at this interview stuff, aren’t you? I love the questions that you ask. And you you get you elicit really good answers from people as well. He was fascinating.
Yeah, that’s very kind of you David. I’m finding myself drawn into these conversations, I think because they’re all so interesting you can’t help but go but but. Me, it’s Gonzo interviewing, isn’t it? It’s all about me. But I thought that his stuff about personal brand that you are what you say is just absolutely so fascinating. And it makes me wonder, but obviously you could hear in the interview and it made me wonder it makes me wonder why is my personal brand. And now I don’t know if you guys feel like sharing this having a guess at this, but what would you say would be your personal brand what sort of, you know, if you’re the something guy, what guy would you be?