I’m so excited to have Steve Taubman with us today, a magician, author, and mindset expert, Dr. Steve helps people discover their blindspots and awaken to their true potential. Steve has a very diverse background and brings lots of perspective and experience to our conversation. He's definitely making big waves of positivity and I can’t wait for you to meet him!

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Dr. Steve Taubman is a bestselling author and world class speaker who has dedicated his life to showing people how to thrive through their challenges. He's written extensively on the application of contemplative practices in stressful situations and has spoken worldwide on mindset mastery for goal-oriented and helping professionals. 

Having endured crippling anxiety and low self esteem early in life, Dr. Taubman made it his mission to understand the nature of happiness and the remedy for emotional turmoil. His search led him to neurology, holistic health, mindfulness, positive psychology, and hypnosis. Each of these disciplines is represented in Dr. Taubman's system for living a balanced life, free of neurosis and rich in accomplishment. 

Dr. Taubman's works include his bestselling book, UnHypnosis, his sales mastery program, The Magic of Inner Selling, his online productivity masterpiece, Procrastination Annihilation, and his latest book on thriving through stress on life's battlefields, Bulletproof. He's also written hundreds of articles for major publications and has produced specialized hypnotic programs for business professionals to remove mental barriers to success.  

Dr. Taubman continues to enrich his understanding of the science of happiness and its impact on achievement. When not writing or speaking, Dr. Taubman enjoys spending time in and around his home on the beautiful Burlington, Vermont waterfront.


[00:00:00] Neal Hooper: [00:00:00] I am so excited to have Steve Taubman with us today. A magician author and mindset expert. Dr. Steve helps people discover their blind spots and awaken to their true potential. Steve has a very diverse background and brings lots of perspective and experience to the conversation.

[00:00:21] And he is definitely making big waves of positivity. And I cannot wait for you to meet him. Steve, welcome to the show.

[00:00:30] Steve Taubman: [00:00:30] Neil. Thanks for having me. Wow. That's a great introduction. Thanks.

[00:00:33]Neal Hooper: [00:00:33] I'm just so excited to sit down with you. We have, we've had a few conversations now and each time it's just been so fun. You're just, full of light and have so many. Things to bring to the table. And I'm just exploding here with questions. So I'll try to stay on track, but I just want to dive right in here and you've just got so much value to add.

[00:00:55]I think a great place to start would be with a little background. [00:01:00] So let's get to know Steve a little bit. What's your story?

[00:01:03]Steve Taubman: [00:01:03] I was a chiropractor for many years. I had a sports medicine practice for about 14 years. And I hit a point in my career where I decided there was something calling to me to try something new, to do something different. And I had no idea what that was or why, although I did have a fascination and a passion for magic.

[00:01:23] Which was the way I was inflicting pain upon my patients. I was practicing my craft for them while I was learning to be halfway decent at it. And I started developing a side, a side hustle working with corporate groups and in restaurants and whatnot doing close-up magic. So I knew I had another skill and other interests, but I wasn't sure where I was heading career wise.

[00:01:45] But I did know at that point, after 14 years in practice that something was calling to me and that I needed out. And so I I ended up selling my chiropractic practice, taking a year, traveling all around the us and Central [00:02:00] America had some really interesting experiences along the way. And when I came back, I had essentially begun the reinvention process to reclaim some of my interest in entertainment and Oh humor and just, just being in the world in a different way and continuing to offer something of value.

[00:02:19] But rather than it being something of physical value, like what you do as a chiropractor, Something more of a mental, emotional, spiritual value, which is what you do when you're presenting something that creates either humor or laughter astonishment any of those things. So that's how my life has unfolded.

[00:02:35]Neal Hooper: [00:02:35] You've you mentioned one of your books on hypnosis but you've also written Buddha in the trenches and then Bulletproof. And these are just. So neat. Is there anything you could share about your books that might be interesting to know at a high level before we dive into the principles here?

[00:02:51] Steve Taubman: [00:02:51] Sure. First of all the first of the series was on hypnosis and I wrote that book about 15, 16 years ago. [00:03:00] And it came on the heels of an experience kind of a funny experience if you want to share it.

[00:03:05]Neal Hooper: [00:03:05] Please.

[00:03:05]Steve Taubman: [00:03:05] So I was I was performing hypnosis shows for MTV spring break. 30 jobs. Somebody has got to do it. And at the same time I was pursuing my spiritual practices and, learning to meditate and all that sort of thing. So I had already begun to look at things through the lens that we're talking, that we're looking through right now. And I was doing the hypnosis show in Jamaica in front of 2,500 semi inebriated college students.

[00:03:34] I use the word semi very loosely. And I was doing all the things that one does in hypnosis show. I've got people, they think they're milking a cow or conducting an orchestra. I've got one guy thinks she's pregnant. Another guy thinks he's the father. And. Yep. And so in the middle of the show, I decided I'm going to try something new and I which is what we're asked to do.

[00:03:59] Whereas, [00:04:00] whether you're a comic or a hypnotist or a magician, things are going well, and you're gonna take, you're gonna, you're gonna try some of your experimental material in front of a good craft. One of my subjects. And I said to him, I said you wake up three, things are gonna happen.

[00:04:13] And I said, number one, you don't believe you're hypnotized, even though you are. I said, number two, this is the worst show you've ever seen. And you're pissed at me. And I said, number three, there's an invisible wall, three feet in front of you. So I woke everybody up. I said, how's, everybody's doing how's everybody doing?

[00:04:29] And this guy screams, you suck. And it was him thankfully. And I said, what's the problem? He says, the show is terrible. I said, then leave. And the guy gets up and he takes three steps as if to leave the stage. And he hits this invisible wall.

[00:04:47] Neal Hooper: [00:04:47] No way.

[00:04:49] Steve Taubman: [00:04:49] Stop straight in his tracks. And he just looks very concerned and they started pushing and pushing and he can't get through it. And he finally sits back down and he crosses his arms and he starts to pout. I, And I [00:05:00] said, what's the problem. He goes, nothing. I said, are you hypnotized? It was no.

[00:05:04] I said, are you having fun? He goes, no. I said, then why don't you leave? I thinks for a minute finally goes, I'm not going to give you the satisfaction.

[00:05:16] Neal Hooper: [00:05:16] Oh, so big.

[00:05:19] Steve Taubman: [00:05:19] it was just, it was the funniest thing. And at the same time I had this epiphany in the moment and I realized, God that's all of us, we're all trying to get somewhere. And then we hit our invisible wall and we stopped. And we, and then what do we do? We first we tried pushing harder.

[00:05:35] So you've got this notion of what your life is supposed to be, what you want it to look like, what goals or dreams you're trying to accomplish, and you start moving toward them. And we all know that moment where we're all that enthusiasm suddenly stops dead in its tracks. Because of something inside something between our ears and it could show up as, as fear or frustration or overwhelm or boredom even.

[00:05:59] And we [00:06:00] just, somehow we don't go a step further. We start to sabotage ourselves and we try to use effort to push ourselves through that barrier. And you can't because the barriers in your head and, and it's also your head that's deciding to push. So you're pushing against yourself. And it becomes this vicious cycle this unwinnable conquest that you're trying to experience to move through your own barriers.

[00:06:25]And so what I realized was here's this guy who is clearly hypnotized and, this is obvious to everyone except for him. He's the only one who doesn't know that he sit in the ties. Are you hypnotized? No. Why don't you leave now? He's got to make up an excuse why he's not going to leave because the truth makes no sense.

[00:06:48] So I thought wait a minute. What if that's all of us? What if all of us are hitting with ties and as a result, we're all, moving toward [00:07:00] this thing we want. And then we hit our invisible wall. If that's the case, then. The only way to move through it. The only way to rise above it is to wake up. There's no other way, it's like being in a dream and you can't get out of whatever's going on in the dream. You've got to wake up from the dream in order for the dream to end. And you've got to wake up from the illusion of this barrier in order for the longer hold you back.

[00:07:28] Neal Hooper: [00:07:28] Wow. What a great story. And that, again I'm loving all the metaphors and analogies. You're bringing into the conversation. I'm a very visual person. And so that's so helpful to understand things and yeah, I think we can all relate to that feeling of almost being hypnotized. I actually last year I left the job in corporate America for.

[00:07:54] Fortune 100 company. I was there for two years and hypnotized is a [00:08:00] great adjective or that feeling of just being, sleep. You're just going through the motions and just totally miserable. And so I love that verbiage and that what a fun story to, to launch into that concept.

[00:08:13] But that is that's awesome. And I highly recommend. Everyone go pick up the books. We're going to link to the website in the show notes where you can go and find all of Steve's work. And so we highly recommend you go check that out. There's so many projects you're working on right now.

[00:08:32]And is there anything else exciting going on that would be fun to know about.

[00:08:38] Steve Taubman: [00:08:38] Yeah. I'm really fascinated by this concept of ritual. This is a really interesting area for me, because the first book on hypnosis was really about reinventing your life. Taking a look at taking a new look at yourself, comparing where you are with where you want to be, not just in terms of the job you have, but in terms of like how it's feeding, how whatever you're doing is feeding you on the inside.

[00:08:59] And [00:09:00] so that book was written with the presumption that, you're maybe doing something that isn't really. A good outer reflection of who you are on the inside. And then what I then evolved into was that second book, you mentioned Buddha in the trenches, which was much more about not necessarily reinventing your life or trying something new, but how do you bring your greatest resources to whatever it is that you are doing so that you could bring the maximum amount of inner peace and happiness and joy and productivity.

[00:09:28] To that. And so Buddha in the trenches to me was first of all, I think that's the best name for any book ever written

[00:09:34] Neal Hooper: [00:09:34] it's really good.

[00:09:35]Steve Taubman: [00:09:35] But unfortunately the business marketplace did not agree with me because, they're very sensitive to anything that sounds potentially religious.

[00:09:44] Neal Hooper: [00:09:44] what do they,

[00:09:45] Steve Taubman: [00:09:45] Yeah, exactly.

[00:09:47] I figured, I'm not going to buck tradition. So I essentially re-released the book with a few modifications, including the modification to the title. And that's what Bulletproof is. So Bulletproof is asks the [00:10:00] question. What if everything that bugs you that blocks you, or that brings you down didn't you know, what will your life look like if.

[00:10:07]You didn't hit that inevitable place where what used to be fun and purposeful and passion inducing was now causing you misery. How can you be more resilient? And the resilience is this quality of, I could keep going. I could keep going in a positive way. I can enjoy the process.

[00:10:26] I could be a good a good teacher to those around me. I could be a good example to others. That could be a good leader that, that's resilience. And when I looked around, I noticed that the conversation around resilience is now framed as mental toughness. So there's a whole thing called mental toughness, and I thought that's bullshit. Yeah, if you want, the that's BS and the reality is that resilience isn't about toughness. It's not about developing a thick, outer shell and, dogging, [00:11:00] determination and pushing on, despite all odds. There's a certain amount of sticktuitiveness and grit. That are necessary and that are part of it, but there's also a lot of emotional intelligence and equanimity and inner peace and self-awareness and flexibility.

[00:11:16] That need to be part of it. Those things are not taught typically to the business community when it comes to resilience.

[00:11:25]Neal Hooper: [00:11:25] No. There's a lot of work to be done there. You just shared some really neat things. I think also it's a great example of of one of the play three principles, except the build. Commonly known as yes. And the improv community in terms of, you release your book, you called it Buddha in the trenches.

[00:11:43] And instead of just, you want to talk about grit or uh, resilience instead of just, giving up or saying it was a flop. You went back, you accepted and built on that and released it with the new title and really, came out, swinging [00:12:00] and improved it. I think that's a great example of that.

[00:12:03]That's the segue into the question I want to ask you now, which is how does accept and build, help us reach our potential.

[00:12:13] Steve Taubman: [00:12:13] Good segue. Wow. I'm honoring you here in my mind. And thanks for, for noticing that w that story is a reflection of that. That's so true.  I think, first of all, and we're going to talk about inner parts and things like that as we go along.

[00:12:28] But I think, part of us has this tendency toward enthusiasm and invention and positivity, and then there's another part of us that's like waiting for the next good excuse to give up. And I think we're always, there's always that part there. And at times much worse than others. When we first spoke was just coming off, like the tail end of the worst two months of my life, having just lost my dog and use my travel and my bone is next.

[00:12:55]And so the idea of being productive [00:13:00] or creative was just. I didn't want that. I don't even want to think about that. It was just so in it. And I think one of the things I have noticed about being on that kind of journey of consciousness is that it does give you the faith that when you're in a big, deep, dark hole, that there is a place outside of the deep dark hole, but it doesn't necessarily take you right out of the hole. Sometimes it's good to have consciousness to know that you are where you are, but it's also sometimes you have to embrace where you are before you can move on. So that's a long way of getting to a point. And the point is yes. And isn't the same as no end. It's you don't disclaim the reality of what is.

[00:13:44] You just build on what is, yes. I'm depressed and there's more work I have yet to do in the world, yes. I wrote a book that had wisdom in it that wasn't accepted for based on the title. And [00:14:00] there's a different way of framing this. So the yes. Part, I think speaks to the the acknowledgement of what is and what isn't always necessarily pleasant and there's more beyond it.

[00:14:14] Neal Hooper: [00:14:14] and that's the part that's hard to remember. And I love how you share that. Each part of ourselves is working overtime to protect us. And I love that you bring that angle into it as well, because that's in those moments where it's really hard to accept this situation. Do you have any thoughts around how to get through those?

[00:14:36] And I know you're coming off a really hard chapter of life. And so how, when it's really hard to accept and build on a scenario, you mentioned a few things that, that help with that. I'm just curious if you have any other thoughts for those those situations specifically

[00:14:52] Steve Taubman: [00:14:52] Yeah, when you're in a deep dark hole and it's hard to pull yourself out of it. There, there are a few things that I always, you know, and these are definitely like the [00:15:00] resilience lifeline skills. And, one of them is other people. I think that's important. We don't exist in a vacuum.

[00:15:07] And when you can't be your best self by yourself, Sometimes you need to have the the wisdom, the insight, the perspective of others when yours is not particularly resourceful. So part of it is a willingness to lean on, rely upon open to the love, the acceptance, the feedback of others.

[00:15:29] But again, when we do that, we need to be careful about who those other people are. No. It's like you don't do yes. And you don't do improv games with people who are used to saying no all the time. You just don't, you don't do it. It's the same thing with this. Like when I, when Woody died I ended up deciding to do a celebration of life.

[00:15:48] For him. He was a very, he was not just a dog. He was an evolved soul and people would stop me on the street at least once a day to, to comment on him because [00:16:00] there was something very special about him and went everywhere together, all over the country and people knew him.

[00:16:05]His speakers would come into conferences. I spoke at, from other countries. So people all over the world knew Woody. And so I wanted to do a celebration of life. We had people from as far away as South Korea and Australia and New Zealand on this this virtual celebration of life for him.

[00:16:22] And several of those people were very conscious wise. People who said the right things, who whose way of being supportive was really spot on. And it was touching and helpful. And then there is still those other people who they mean No, it's not like they're trying to like to say the wrong thing, but they'd say things like, Oh, he's not really gone, or he's in a better place.

[00:16:46] I'd say, make up your mind. One of those things were helpful to hear, it was helpful. I'm so sorry, man. He was awesome. You had a great relationship with him. I remember when he did this or when you did that or, like reality stuff and what I realized is not that [00:17:00] people don't have something to offer, they don't care, but that when we're in a dark place, it's really important to choose our support system wisely.

[00:17:11] Neal Hooper: [00:17:11] I love that. And that is so key because if it is a dark hole that you are struggling to climb out of, and you need that rope to get thrown down to you. You need the right people to help you out in and, it's so important what you said too to know, it's hard cause there's the intent and then there's the action.

[00:17:34]You want to make sure is it Stephen R Covey, he wrote the book. The speed of trust. And he talks about character and competence. We may, and I love that, but surround yourself with people who are good people and they got the character and competence to help you in those moments.

[00:17:52] That's great.

[00:17:53] Steve Taubman: [00:17:53] Yeah, that's two great words to, to to think on. And that's, so that's one part of it, you asked what are the things [00:18:00] that you get you through these dark times? Another one is acceptance. Equanimity, the ability to know I'm in a really dark place. It's a really hard place to be.

[00:18:10] It's not permanent. There's gotta be in the midst of the darkest of times. There's got to be a shred of consciousness, a shred of what we call the witness. There's gotta be a part of us. That's able to see us in all of our pain and despair and know that it's not the sum total of who we are. There's gotta be the part that watches it, and that is unaffected by it.

[00:18:34] Almost like a loving parent, watching a kid, having a tantrum, the kids having a tantrum, you're the kid having a tantrum, but you've also got to be the loving parents, seeing the kid, having a tantrum.

[00:18:43]Neal Hooper: [00:18:43] I love that for a lot of reasons. And actually this is perfect because I'd love to shift gears now and talk about the present, because I think this is really where you start getting deep into that concept of mindfulness and how that can help [00:19:00] you really be resilient and get through these dark times.

[00:19:04] And so to build on that. I know you've mentioned ifs and you're talking about this inner child concept. Again, building on this idea of getting through the hard times and really striving for that happiness, the elusive, happiness and wellbeing that we want and that connection.

[00:19:21] What insights do you have around the benefits of being present and how that also helps?

[00:19:25]Steve Taubman: [00:19:25] I will use mindfulness and presence as essentially interchangeable concepts. And so being mindful, being present, being in the here and now, and not letting yourself be drawn off by, by thoughts and emotions of the past or future. But rather just really sitting like a like a Regal presence on a throne as things come past you.

[00:19:47]Whatever they are, they don't knock you off the throne. You don't cower. You just sit with sort of elegance and stateliness as all of these things present themselves to you. And so when we become mindful, when we [00:20:00] meditate, for example, or use other tools like meditation to develop mindfulness, what we're developing is this remarkable capacity to to sit in the eye of the storm.

[00:20:11] It's like all this commotion and turmoil is happening around you. And unless you've done mindfulness practice, there's literally no separation between the feelings and thoughts that are tumultuous, really making the way around your experience. And you don't know that there is a, you. Until you start doing mindfulness practice that you can, feel whatever you're feeling, whether it's anxiety or anger or whatever that is.

[00:20:37] And that it's possible to literally sit silently in an upright posture and notice those feelings, not as who you are, but merely as sensory experiences that are being played out, on the screen of your life. Like sitting on the side of a stream and watching the debris float down the stream.

[00:21:03] [00:21:00] Neal Hooper: [00:21:03] in with the analogies again. I love it. This is perfect. And that is so hard to do. I think, especially nowadays. Distraction is the name of the game. Everybody wants your attention. You're getting pulled so many directions and I think it's really easy if you're not careful to just default to that constant state of distraction almost to the point where if you do have some downtime, you're you just crave filling it with.

[00:21:30] Distraction and to be intentional to, to engage that mindfulness muscle and it is a skill to develop one that I'm still working on. I've got the apps that got. Headspace and these great apps to try to work on that, but it really is a skill and a muscle to develop. And I love what you're saying, about watching the debris float down the stream, because when you can remove yourself and like you mentioned earlier, train yourself to be the witness and not [00:22:00] be so much, the recipient of everything that's said happening.

[00:22:04]That is a very powerful state to be in.

[00:22:07] Steve Taubman: [00:22:07] It is. And it's something that I love. The fact that you use the word it's a muscle it's so much is a muscle. It's basically what you're doing by training. By practicing a meditation, mindfulness meditation is you're exercising, your focus muscle. You're exercising your ability to bring your attention into a particular, to a particular point, whether it be your breath or your physical sensation in your body or whatever it is.

[00:22:31] But without having developed that muscle without the capacity to direct your focus, your awareness to a particular point, you are therefore going to be much more. As you said, distractible, it's a computer or the TV, the phone, or whatever is going to distract your attention. It's going to do it much more effectively if you have no ability to bring your attention right back to the moment.

[00:22:56] And when you do, when you can start doing that and bringing your attention back into the [00:23:00] moment, then it starts to Dawn on you that all the things that you thought were crises. Usually aren't all the things that you thought I need to be fixed. Usually don't all the fights. You feel like you needed to win.

[00:23:12] You really didn't, it's just all stuff, right? The stuff becomes less fixed and less important. And yet at the same time, we know going into it that the ego, the thinking mind will always try to convince you that whatever it's thinking is vitally important and you must be thinking it now.

[00:23:32]Neal Hooper: [00:23:32] When your focus, is derailed, it's just that skill of just bringing it back letting that debris float down the stream and then just getting back on course. And that happens repeatedly.

[00:23:43] And it does take practice. Do you have any tips I'm getting practical here or tactical? I should say about developing the skill of mindfulness

[00:23:52]Steve Taubman: [00:23:52] For me, the one point of view, focus in meditation, that's been most valuable and useful for me is his [00:24:00] physical sensation. There are so many different ways to meditate, right? You could be meditating on a sound or a mantra or of candle flame or the sport or your breath as it goes in and out.

[00:24:10] There are so many things that you could cook. You could focus on On the image of a guru or on God or whatever, there are secular and non-secular choices you can make. But for me, what I find to be most effective is if I focus on physical sensation in my body now, what does it feel like at the top of my head?

[00:24:29] Where does it feel like in the palms of my hands? What does it feel like in the skin over my, or my torso and I just gradually move my attention down, like a scanner. Looking at what do I feel and not reject it. It's always awareness. Plus equanimity, meaning awareness plus acceptance. What is I feel this, I don't reject it.

[00:24:49] I just let it be. If you just stop for a moment, regardless of what you were doing, even if you were in the middle of grand central station, or you just had a big fight with your girlfriend and you just sat and you breathe and you sat [00:25:00] quietly and upright and just started to move your awareness in small chunks.

[00:25:06] Down your body, you start to dismantle the the momentum of whatever it was. That seemed so big. Now it's just little things at a time. It's, the inch by inch, it's a cinch constant. Yeah. So it's just okay, so now, maybe I was really angry a minute ago, but now, what does it feel like in my forehead?

[00:25:26] What does it feel like in my chest? And as you start doing this, w what happens is that you start developing this new, almost like a new set of eyes. That will that'll change everything in your life. Where before, anger was something that would trigger a whole set of thoughts that would trigger more anger, that would trigger more thoughts.

[00:25:45] And it was a vicious cycle. Now anger reminds you to go back into your body and to notice what you feel and whatever those feelings are, become less and less objectionable. They're just okay. So you just start to notice the feelings in [00:26:00] small doses throughout your body, and they start to dissolve, and then suddenly the things that were really, so over the top and so frustrating and aggravating and in need of your immediate repair aren't anymore, they're just, it just goes away.

[00:26:16] Neal Hooper: [00:26:16] And when you're in that state, you're in a state of power and control and intentionality is so easy to future trip and to get so concerned and that anxiety creates. You sin. And if you're not present, we like to say here on the show, if your anxieties in the future regrets in the past, but life is in the moment.

[00:26:37] And that really takes some intentionality for people that are not good at mindfulness, or just haven't developed that skill yet. That are starting out. Do you have practical tools or were there apps maybe that you recommend to people when they're first starting out or any other resources?

[00:26:56]Steve Taubman: [00:26:56] It depends how neurotic they are. If you're me, then you're starting out pretty [00:27:00] neurotic and you've got to, you've got to work with what you got. If you're, if you're just somebody who tends to be distractible, but you're fundamentally, pretty content and happy in life and yeah.

[00:27:10]You're just like living a little bit out of balance. Then those apps could be really useful because they're offering you a sound or a, an image or something to focus on. And anything you focus on is better than not focusing. Now if you're somebody who's, coming from historical trauma, And maybe you've got anxiety or depression, or you tend to err on the side of low self-esteem or you just tend to get really frustrated easily.

[00:27:37] Those are wonderful things. Yeah. We don't, we, I think that the idea of mindfulness or meditation is I've got to choose this external thing to put my focus on where the reality is that life is happening every minute. And if what you're experiencing is [00:28:00] irritation or aggravation, rather than saying I'm really aggravated, I've got to go sit down and I've got to stare at a candle to make the aggravation go away.

[00:28:07]Stare at the aggravation, just what where's aggravation in my body. What does it look like? What does it feel like where, how has it, how it moving through me? And, you just change it into a neutral inquiry and anything could become the subject of a neutral inquiry.

[00:28:25] Neal Hooper: [00:28:25] that is gold. That is awesome. I love the verbiage. Are you using there? A neutral inquiry? there's no need to judge it or label it. Just observe it. I love that. That is so good. 

[00:28:38]Steve Taubman: [00:28:38] As the guests and there is to just observe it and to observe it from the perspective or from the distance that is most useful. If you're. Really upset about something and you've got, know, you can try to move really far away from that almost as if, like, how would I feel about this?

[00:28:57] If I were looking at it from a different planet, it would probably [00:29:00] lose some of its momentum, or you could look at it from very close the way that, you know, in the old days, when they had billboards and the billboards were painted and they were a little dots of color that, when you step away from it, it turns into a big image.

[00:29:13] But as you move towards it, it just becomes lots of little dots of color and those little dots of color have no visual significance anymore. So the distance from which you observe your experience determines like how much power that experience has. If I move toward my pain, if I move toward whatever physical experience I'm having.

[00:29:38] And now, instead of looking at it from a distance where I see my whole body, now, I'm just looking at it from the distance. If I could only see four inches of my left side of my chest, what does it look like? There's no place where it looks bad.

[00:29:48]Neal Hooper: [00:29:48] Oh, that is so good. And I love the distance. I've never thought about it that way. That is a very good factor to add to that ingredient. [00:30:00] Or to the recipe of mindfulness and observation. I love that so much. I want to make sure we get to these last two questions and there's been so much good stuff shared already.

[00:30:11] We get in here and it would be well worth the price of admission, but I want to touch on let, go and play. And we've already, we've touched on that a little bit here and there, that is one core principle of play theory that we discuss here. And I just want to know, how can we leverage the power of letting go and playing and really leaving that comfort zone to pursue happiness?

[00:30:37] Steve Taubman: [00:30:37] Play is something that invites presence play is something that, if you're playing, you're not thinking about what else you're doing. If you're playing, if you're really enjoying what you're playing. Then, when the moment is completed in of itself and usually play involves other people.

[00:30:51] And so there's also the collaborative aspect of play and it, from a psycho neurological or immunological standpoint, we're releasing dopamine and all that other [00:31:00] stuff. So finding opportunities to play means finding opportunities to be more present and to to have a better neurochemical client climate inside your body.

[00:31:11]My first book was called hypnosis and it was about waking up from the hypnotic trance that we've all essentially fallen into. By virtue of the way we were raised. And we were all raised with this paradigm that you've got to grow up and go through school and get a certain kind of job and stick with that job.

[00:31:28] And that's the way it's supposed to be. So when we start to confront the possibility that there's something else there, like we've got another another way of expressing ourselves in the world, we smack right up against all of our childhood messages. You can't do this. That's, what are you crazy?

[00:31:44]You're successful. How can you leave the thing you're successful at? And so what I've noticed is that, that, although this transformational process is so powerful and it makes for better people. It also raises a lot of [00:32:00] discomfort. It causes people a lot of fear and anguish to think about the possibility of jumping into the void.

[00:32:05]The path through life is not that much different from a plane trip that you take, where you're getting from, the East coast to the West coast. And as you travel from the East to the West coast, the airplane is virtually never OnCourse.

[00:32:19] The entire time, it's either a little, a degree or two off to the right or a degree or two off to the left, or maybe it's a couple degrees or a couple of feet above its designated altitude or a couple of feet below it. And it's constantly making course corrections. It's an ongoing process. Now the problem with us is we don't make ongoing course corrections.

[00:32:38] Generally we wait until we're about to crash into a mountain and then we try to make them we're heading into the sea matey. Oh, okay. But why not? Why not make our course corrections moment by moment and become adept and and attentive enough to realize [00:33:00] when whatever we're doing. Isn't moving us in the direction we want to be going in.

[00:33:03] Neal Hooper: [00:33:03] Oh, that's such a good metaphor, Steve, because it's all about just rolling with the punches when we get so rigid. And we're just, digging our heels in to the direction without being open to the change. I think that's when when we're so afraid, it's really hard.

[00:33:23] Like you mentioned it, we're afraid to course correct because of, that void that we're jumping into, but really. Happiness, the skill of happiness. And that's, the topic of the day, every day, hear on the happiness playbook, but is being able to roll with the punches.

[00:33:37] And I love what you're sharing because, and not just from a professional perspective, but that applies much more broadly as well. To being able to make those little course corrections. And I love that analogy of the airplane because, from a distance, if you're looking on the literal tracker on the map, on the screen, it looks like a straight line, but it is not at all.

[00:33:55] And I love that. You're bringing that in very important.

[00:33:58] Steve Taubman: [00:33:58] Yeah. [00:34:00] And you brought up the thing about anxiety that, that getting rigid, it causes anxiety which brings up the fact that anxiety. Although we like to think of it as a pathology or a diagnosis, isn't, it's only a symptom of being off course and being unwilling to move back onto course.

[00:34:16]There's anxiety is not as, as we've created in our society. This is a, it's a disease and we've got a medicated. Now it's a it's a sign that that something is amiss, that something's out of balance that maybe you haven't been in touch with yourself and the way that you need to be in touch with yourself.

[00:34:33]And some of that has to do with where is the plane going? What's if we're trying to correct chorus constantly, which is what we should be doing, of course, to what, where are we heading? And I think if we think we're heading to some kind of wealth and fame, and that's where we're actually trying to go, then it's gonna be a lot of harder to make those course corrections.

[00:34:53] Then if we realize what we're heading toward is ultimate happiness. Where am I trying to go? I'm trying to stay on, I'm trying to stay on course [00:35:00] toward a happy life. And that means that I might make millions, of course, corrections that might mean career changes. Or changes in the way I interact with somebody else or changes in the way that I view something that I just did.

[00:35:12] These are all tiny course corrections, but all in the name of happiness. And so we always say choose happiness first so that every, so that all the course corrections are being corrected for the purpose of bringing you back on course toward happiness. Yeah.

[00:35:27]Neal Hooper: [00:35:27] Just dropping bombs of truth and nuggets, man. Thank you. That is so good. And yeah. Something that everyone needs the year. So I'm so glad that you dove into that. And they all tie together, don't they? So I love that you're tying that in because when we're in a state of play, that is the essence of presence and in, being in the moment and And that's so important, I think, to lower the stakes. And when you engage that, that playful nature, it's a lot [00:36:00] easier to leave that comfort zone.

[00:36:03] And when you can reframe the situation from being this high stakes, serious environment where the consequences are. Permanent and dramatic and instead view things in a more playful nature. We talked recently actually about the super Mario effect, which is a Ted talk.

[00:36:23] That's really good. But the guy talks about Mark Grover. He talks about. When you're playing a video game, you're playing super Mario brothers. When you fall down the hole, you don't just give up. It's it part of the game is to start over and then just use that as a data point and say, okay, I'm just going to jump a little sooner and get over there.

[00:36:40] And I love what you're saying though about this playfulness and how it really helps us be present. I love what you've shared also about letting go of the thought loop and that's a really powerful concept here as well that I don't know if you want to expound on that too.

[00:36:53] Steve Taubman: [00:36:53] Sure. First of all, I love the idea that we say, what, if this were a game, right? If [00:37:00] you're, if something is challenging you in life, If it were monopoly, you wouldn't get up and freak out and, you get in and start a new game. It's not that big a deal. And I often find that, just getting people to think along those lines that, Oh, it's just a game is a good way of reframing that.

[00:37:16] As you said, the seriousness of the situation. And in contrast, the thought loop is what do we do when we're addicted to an outcome? Then what we do is we start beating ourselves up. We start thinking about what we could have done differently. We get caught up in this thinking thing.

[00:37:33] And the thought loop is thought creates some kind of an emotional experience or a mood. And that mood becomes the. The fertile ground for the same kind of thought to reemerge. And then that thought creates a little bit more of the same mood and it's a vicious cycle. So we got caught in that loop of thought.

[00:37:48] And and the characteristic of that loop of thought is a sense that we know and believe that what we're saying to ourselves is actually true. And I always say don't [00:38:00] believe everything you think. Don't believe everything you think because as long as you play this, as if it were real, then you've got to justify all of your aggravation and you'd have to justify it through the next set of thoughts.

[00:38:12] And it becomes a cyclic thing you can't get out of.

[00:38:17] Neal Hooper: [00:38:17] And I love just taking that curious in playful. Approach and saying, okay, that's an interesting thought. What if, and when you add that element in there that is when the magic happens and it really allows you to maybe take a little more risk and to be a little more bold. Don't believe everything you think that is definitely going on the quote wall.

[00:38:41] I love that. And you've shared also in the past if you can't believe everything or if you're asking yourself really, if I can't believe everything, I think. Can I get out of my head and into my body. I love that approach as well, because that's really now helping you again, that ties into the mindfulness and the presence.

[00:39:00] [00:39:00] But as you're letting go of that thought loop and bringing in the curiosity and the playfulness that helps you really step into that observational role that we were talking about earlier.

[00:39:10]Steve Taubman: [00:39:10] That's why I advocate for a. Physical based mindfulness practice one where you're observing your physical sensation, because it just becomes much easier because you've been doing it that when you start getting into a thought loop, you immediately notice, Oh, that's a thought loop that thought is causing them an emotion, which is causing a thought, which has caused a good emotion.

[00:39:29] And I'm heading down the rabbit hole. And I know from practice that the only way out. Is to shift my focus away from this impenetrable, cycle of downward momentum and shift the focus instead to physical sensation. And Hey, I've been doing that for the last year and I'm pretty good at it now.

[00:39:46] So let me just do it now. And so now you get out of your head and into your body, you get out of the. Thought loop because your attention is now going back to this thing you've been practicing, what are my hands feel like? What am my feet feel like? What is it, w what happens if I allow myself [00:40:00] to breathe into this?

[00:40:01] Just, how has it shifted? How is it changing? So it's a really powerful strategy for breaking it, breaking the cycle and the reality here's the best analogy and probably chew on as we get ready to wrap things up here is think about sitting around a fire. And if you sit around a fire long enough, eventually a fire is going to go out.

[00:40:25] Unless you throw another log on the fire. And every time you throw a log on the fire that fire could keep going a little bit longer. And the logs in this analogy are your thoughts. So if you could learn to just sit and observe your emotions the way you would observe a fire. Oh, that's good. That there's anger.

[00:40:46] There's fear. How interesting. And you just watch it and watch for the tendency to want to throw a log on the fire, to start throwing thought into the mix. Because every time you do that, you're just making it go on longer. And some people will do it, their whole [00:41:00] lives. They've got a big stock of they've got a big woodpile.

[00:41:03] And they'll get in a fight with a family member that goes on for like decades or generations, because they never stopped throwing logs on the fire.

[00:41:11]Neal Hooper: [00:41:11] You guys listening to this? Oh, Steve. You're adding so much value for audience. I cannot. Thank you enough. These are all great nuggets. The last question we ask every guest. That comes on. The show is we always share a pro tip, which is a tangible way to apply a principle.

[00:41:28] And we've already talked about a number of those, but if you could narrow in on just one pro set that you'd like to share with our listeners, what would that be?

[00:41:38] Steve Taubman: [00:41:38] Okay. You're right. We went for a lot of this stuff already, but I think the, what I would say is, start out with the idea that everything that happens in your life. Is happening for you? Not to you. This is happening for me. Thank goodness that you know that my mother just insulted my girlfriend.

[00:41:57] Thank goodness. Yes. [00:42:00] It really aggravated to me and I really needed an operator Trinity to feel, to remind myself what aggravation feels like. So they could work on that. So I don't have to feel it so much anymore. It's every human being, every experience that you have that causes you outrage and is actually a teacher is actually a guide.

[00:42:18] And that's why on my wall. I've got, the, my house was funky swayed, and I have the wall where you've got pictures of all the the people who have had a spiritual impact on your life and right alongside of pictures of rom DAS. And the Buddha is a picture of this woman who used to work for me, who basically made my life a living hell. Because she was one of my spiritual teachers. And so the pro tip is to take a look at the things that aggravate you and bless them and thank them for being there. And then start going inside and letting yourself work the emotion the way you would digest your food. Just, be, just let it pass through.

[00:42:56] You just metabolize it, let it be grist for the mill as rom DASA.

[00:43:01] [00:43:00] Neal Hooper: [00:43:01] That is amazing. What a great pro tip to end on Steve. If our audience wants more of you, they want to support you and learn from you. Where do we send them?

[00:43:12]Steve Taubman: [00:43:12] I would say head on over to either my regular website, which is just Steve tubman.com. And there, you learn a little bit of in my speaking and some of my writings and whatnot. You can find all my stuff on Amazon or if you go to best of steve.com you could sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you a free digital download of the first chapter of Bulletproof.

[00:43:33] Neal Hooper: [00:43:33] Wow. Awesome. Freebie, awesome gift for our audience, Steve, I cannot thank you enough. This was beautiful. You are a beautiful soul and we are so grateful to have you on our team. Thank you for coming on today.

[00:43:49] Steve Taubman: [00:43:49] Thanks for having me, Neal, this has been great.

[00:43:51] Neal Hooper: [00:43:51] My pleasure.

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