Do you know what the long term effects of leaving your comfort zone are? How does your attitude REALLY affect your happiness? And what are the dangers of mislabeling TRUE success? Find out today on a jam packed episode of the happiness playbook!   



When someone gives an undesirable offer to you VALIDATE and REDIRECT toward a mutually beneficial offer.

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What are the long-term effects of leading your comfort zone?

How does your attitude really affect your happiness and what are the dangers of mislabeling? True success. Find out today on a jam packed episode of the happiness playbook.

📍 Hey everybody. I hope you had a great week. I'm so excited to be with you today and, to be sharing some awesome nuggets from a live workshop. We did. I thought it would be fun to bring you in and play some real sound bites from a workshop from our participants who were amazing, by the way, shout out to the champion circle who had me come by and do a four week workshop with them.

And we had a ton of fun, played lots of games, and I just met. Awesome people and we're going to keep playing with them. Let's kick things off today with our highlight reel, which is a very interesting one. So an 80 year old man went to a showing of the new James Bond movie entitled no time to die during the viewing. He went into cardiac arrest from a heart attack. Now, this sounds terrible, but it has a happy ending. I promise.

So in the audience, there were four individuals who jumped in some of them doctors. And I think a nurse as well was in the mix and they performed CPR on this individual. And for 15 minutes they kept this guy alive long enough for the paramedics to arrive and he survived. It's Okay to laugh now. Cause you know, he lived right.

Aside, from the ironic title of the movie, he was watching during the incident where he almost died. How awesome of these total strangers to jump in and help save this man's life. They had a skillset and they happen to be in the right time and the right place, and they didn't even stop to think about it.

They just jumped in and started performing CPR. Awesome story with a pinch of humor in there as well. Glad there was no time to die for this man at the theater.

Okay. It's time for the post-game analysis. So last week we discussed the importance of validating and redirecting offers, especially when you're strapped for resources and time. So how did it go? Were you able to validate and redirect offers and find mutually beneficial? Options for you and the individual.

I tried putting this into practice and I actually had a situation with a huge project that I had previously actually said yes to and discovered, or, or rather admitted that I didn't have time for it. And I was able to validate this individual. It was a big project that was going to be a ton of websites.

There's gonna be like 20 different websites, but they're going to be smaller websites and didn't pay as much. And so it was going to take a lot more of my time for, um, you know, less pay. And I was able to validate this individual and tell them I'm so grateful. They reached out and I still want to be involved.

And then we actually found higher paying project that met both of our needs. And so it was a huge win. And I'm so grateful that I am getting better at this as a yes, man. So make sure that you are validating, you're holding healthy boundaries for yourself and finding those reluctant okays and replacing them with enthusiastic.


Okay, huddle up here for a minute. Cause we got an awesome testimonial to share with you. the feedback on our survey has been amazing. Thank you for everybody jumping in there and giving your thoughts. So I wanted to share, one piece of great feedback from Adri or Tayga who said

I began listening to play theory because it came at a time of tremendous negativity, community conflict, and restriction. The podcast was an outlet into a different mindset and reminded me of the positive things in the world. And the way I might say. Can be different in spite of whatever else was going on.

Audrey, thank you so much for your kind words. They really are the gasoline in our happiness van. So thank you for sharing. If anyone else wants to take the time, it would mean the world to us. Leave us a review on apple podcasts or send us your feedback on the survey, which is still alive.

And we would love to get as much as possible. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Today, there are three awesome nuggets that I want to share with you from my workshop with the champion circle. And this was an awesome group. We got this group of amazing business owners, entrepreneurs, and they're just excited about life and shout out to John Kovach, who is the. The co-founder of champion circle, who invited me to come and play with them.

We just had a great time and I just wanted to share some of the insights from those amazing participants. So the first one that I want to share with you, um, has to do with leaving the comfort zone. So give this one a listen,

failure and error are the fundamental basis of growth. Let's hear it. Let's hear a clap for that round of applause.

Isn't growth. What we all want at the end of the day, let's talk about the comfort zone for just a second. We have the comfort zone outside of the comfort zone. We have our stretch zone. Outside of the stretch zone, you could argue, there's a panic zone that you don't want to spend too much time in, but we got the stretch zone, which is where we want to be, because that's where we're growing.

I call it the growth zone. Right? Your, your comfort zone gets bigger, right? And we perform very well in our comfort zone. And as you stretch, your comfort zone gets bigger and your performance increases. And that is a very key element to. I love that conversation for so many reasons. We've talked a lot about the comfort zone here on the happiness playbook and how that incorporates into the principle of let go and play but it's important to remember. Long-term what's happening. As we consistently leave our comfort zone, our comfort zone is actually expanding. The great thing to point out here is that anxiety and stress are much more common. As we increasingly spend time in our comfort zone, it's in leaving our comfort zone. As we expand our comfort zone, that our performance actually increases. And that's why over the long-term, it's so important that we are leaving the comfort zone so that that performance can increase and we can be more comfortable doing increasingly harder things.

This next nugget is really good. So listen up has everything to do with focusing on what we can control. So.

My, I try to teach my older kids right now that, um, that they can control what they can control. Um, failure's going to happen. The situation is going to happen where you feel you can't control situations, but you can control your attitude and how you behave within that event within that situation. Um, and that's one thing that I keep telling them time and time again, as you can tell.

Well, you can control. And right now you can control your attitude and how you are acting within this situation. That insight was powerful. That was Sam diamond, a good friend of mine. And I am so grateful. He shared that because we forget the power of our attitude. And that is a very important thing to teach your children if you're a parent, but for us to be reminded as we go through life and encounter very difficult situations.

John Maxwell sums up this thought beautifully. He said, the greatest day in your life. And mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up. We can face some very hard, challenging, stressful, heartbreaking situations, but we always have power over our attitude.

Now I'm not saying that's easy and I'm not saying. Can't have time to mourn and you shouldn't process trauma when it happens. What I am saying is that your attitude will dramatically improve or worsen the situation at hand. So it's important that we work on our attitude and our emotional reaction to these hard situations as they come.

Sam, thank you for that nugget. That's awesome.

to round out her workshop nuggets here. It's an, it's a strange name, but I'm rolling with it

is a more high level, but equally powerful nugget here about success and how we define it. So give this a listen.

Sometimes we need to let go of desires, successes. Ooh, tell me more about that. Um, how often do we think. Same as failures, not always failing themselves. Sometimes we think we need to have a certain success. So we strive to achieve that success, even though it's not what we want, it's not is going to read is happy.

It's not necessarily even a success, but in our mind we hold that as a success. Oh, there's so much to unpack here. And success is a tricky topic because it's such an arbitrary word that can be defined in so many ways.

But I love the angle that Tony Robbins takes with this said success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure. And what he's saying, there is a lot of the times we think we've defined success and that we will be happy when we have achieved that definition of success only defined that we had mislabeled success and that we have no fulfillment

he continues by saying. So why are so many successful entrepreneurs depressed? I can speak from personal experience here. I distinctly remember going to St. Lucia with my wife and children and thinking to myself, is this all there is I was feeling depressed. On vacation all because I had reached several of my goals and the expectations of how I would feel when I got there.

Simply weren't there. If we do not carefully define success, we can wind up miserable. And without that fulfillment, Now, I don't know about you, but when I hear that word success, I think broadly speaking, it is defined as wealth, you know, or influence. And there are these kind of worldly definitions of success,

If we fixate on success. Defined as wealth, fame, and fortune at the expense of other much more valuable things like relationships, purpose, and service. We are going to experience the ultimate failure that Tony Robinson's talking about, which is success without fulfillment.

And in order to get that fulfillment, we have to dig deep. And that is a perfect segue into today's play of the week. What I want you to do is to take time to think. And to define true success for you and let go of what others have influenced you to define it as Tony. Overbay our good friend over the virtual couch podcast.

which if you haven't listened to it, you need to go check it out. He calls these socially compliant definitions. And We often make socially complaint and goals, which is allowing others to influence and define our goals. And it's not aligned with our true values and that causes all kinds of problems. But if we can let go of that socially compliant definition of success, you know what others have defined success for us as, and really dig deep onto what will make us happy and fulfilled.

Then we will be much happier. So I want you to redefine success. Is it, what will truly fulfill me? That's the question I want you to ask yourself, is that an amazing marriage purpose-driven work traveling and seeing the world with loved ones, service dig deep. Once you've defined what success looks like for you.

True. Start letting go of the things that do not align with that definition of success. Now, this is a very broad play of the week, but I know as you ponder this, as you start to retweak that definition of success and let go of what you feel, it should be. You're going to be able to truly find fulfillment as you strive for that success.

So that is our player of the week. It's a, it's a broad one. It's a pro-tip. Uh, but it will pay dividends.

Wow. Lots of nuggets on today's episode. I hope you enjoyed that. Thank you all at the champion circle for your thoughts and for sharing those amazing nuggets and letting me share them here with team happiness. Embarrassment is hard to manage and we get embarrassed all the time and we don't even realize how that's impacting our wellbeing and happiness.

So next week, you're not going to want to miss it because we're going to do a deep dive into how to navigate embarrassment and really level up our happiness.

📍 All right. You beautiful people. Thank you so much for joining me today. It was awesome to do this happiness workout with you. I hope this week that you can consistently leave your comfort zone and really expand your performance. I hope that you can focus on what you can control and really start practicing your attitude and reaction to all of these hard situations that come your way.

And most of all, I hope that you can really define true success for yourself and start making those small steps toward finding fulfillment and true success. And as always remember that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport catch next week.

Disappointment is hard. Today’s episode is so important and the story you’re about to hear is POWERFUL. Let’s see if we can rise above those clouds of disappointment and thrive today...


This Week’s PRO TIP is:

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Today we let go and play, and chat about the relation between leaving your comfort zone and how that impacts your growth! You’ll even get to see me being bad at pickleball if you’re watching this on YouTube! Buckle up and said adios to the comfort zone because here we go!


This Week’s PRO TIP is: Promote safe failure and learning by lowering the stakes of failure with those around you.

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In order to progress as humans, we must learn and develop skills. It’s a part of this whole journey we are on. When we were born, we knew nothing, we had no skills, and were entirely dependant on our parents. We had to learn to crawl, walk, and run and eventually do taxes, pay bills, fight parking tickets, do the laundry, wash the dishes, mow the lawn...Anyway! Growth and learning is a huge part of life. But we’ll only experience it if we are leaving our comfort zone and trying new things.

I made so many mistakes! But I committed to leaving my ego at the door and learning the sport. If you haven’t played pickle ball before, there are a lot of things going on...I mentioned a lot of the rules in a previous episode last year but playing myself and having to navigate the turns, the positions for each set which switch frequently, the number of bounces, the lines, and don’t even get me started on the kitchen. There is a lot of stuff going on!

Thankfully as I began, I had a very patient and skilled coach, the one and only LaRee Florence who is actually a FOUNDER of PLAY THEORY and produces the Happiness Playbook podcast. 

As I swung and missed, swung and hit too hard, swung and hit too soft, I began getting the hang of the rules, the right amount of pressure, and really enjoyed myself.

I learned how to juggle when I was a kid 

But after several days of diligent practice, I got the hang of it. It’s worth noting here that the more we lower the stakes, stay present with the task, and learn to enjoy the process, we will begin finding ourselves more open to letting go and playing.

Another key takeaway here is that leaving our comfort zone in the name of growth and learning and development is SO much easier when we have supportive people who are great at creating environments that promote that safe space for failure and learning to occur. This was my hot take right after playing pickle ball

Our pro tip for the week is to promote safe failure and learning by lowering the stakes of failure with those around you. You may not realize how critical or harsh you are being to loved ones even engaging in conversation. Lower the stakes by giving permission for fail;ure to happen. LaRee was great at this when teaching me pickle ball, she said, you’re going to mess up the serve and that’s ok, just imagine you’re trying to hit several balls in a can you lower the stakes and create an environment that is conducive to learning, growth, and risk taking?

We must take risks in this life. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. While it’s nice to have supportive people around creating a safe environment to take risks, you won’t always have that. This is a muscle that must be developed, and it SHOULD be developed. The only way to growth, productivity and ultimately happiness, is to let go and play, and fail forward to a better tomorrow.

Today’s show is very special and jam packed with tons of value. Trust me, you will not leave today’s show anything but inspired. Back by popular demand...we dive back into the mind of the one and only BILL MURRAY!!!

We learn a little bit more about Bill’s past and teachings that led to such a beautifully unique perspective on life and how we can be a little more like Bill Murray and good at let go and play.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Ponder this quote from the one and only Bill: “Be available for life to happen.” - Bill Murray. Take a bit of time and LET GO OF the busy in your life in order for life to happen. Slow down and let go of the shoulds, to make room for the coulds. Answer this question: “How can you make yourself more available for life to happen?”

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We have a special guest on our show today, on today’s show we go deep on how to apply play theory in relationships and processing trauma from a licensed therapist - Jennifer Lehr. Jennifer specializes in educating couples on the relationship skills they need to build a solid, connected and loving partnership. She has had advanced training in many couples modalities and uses her knowledge to help others. Jennifer has been helping couples for nearly 20 years. She is a regular contributor to her 3 blogs, which are designed to help people improve their lives and relationships: Healing Tips Blog, WeConcile’s Blog and Jennifer’s Blog, as well as other media. Jennifer Lehr also writes and talks about her journey from a difficult relational beginning to creating a beautiful relationship with her husband.

I’m so excited to welcome our guest today and dive deep into the principles of happiness and relationships. 

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Be curious about your partner! 

BONUS TIP: Do yoga!

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Neal Hooper: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]We have a very special guest on our show today. On today's show, we're going to go deep on how to apply play theory in relationships. In processing trauma, and we have a licensed therapist today. Jennifer layer, Jennifer specializes in educating couples on the relationship skills. They need to build a solid. 

[00:00:54] Connected and loving partnership. 

[00:01:01] [00:01:00] She has had advanced training in many couples modalities and uses her knowledge to help others. Jennifer has been helping couples for nearly 20 years. She is a regular contributor to her three blogs, which are designed to help people improve their lives and relationships. And those are healing tips, blog. We can Siles blog and Jennifer's blog as well as other media. Jennifer layer also writes and talks about her journey from a difficult relational beginning to creating a beautiful relationship with her husband. 

[00:01:32]And I'm not sure what was going on with the audio when we recorded this on our platform, but it took a hit. So, uh, forgive me for the audio quality. And we're just going to let go of that and a play with it. And roll with it and accept them, build on that, but really excited for you to listen to this episode And with that, let's roll right in to the conversation.  I am very excited to [00:02:00] introduce you to our guests today. Jennifer layer. Has many qualifications as you heard in her bio, but really she is on a mission and we totally agree with the mission she is on.

[00:02:14] Let me pull up your one pager here. I love this says. Jennifer layer is on a mission to create a world filled with connection instead of conflict. That is awesome. And something here at the happiness playbook, we are very passionate about. I think everyone, these days could use a little more connection and less conflict.

[00:02:38] So we're very excited that Jennifer is joining us today to help us learn how to do that. Jennifer, welcome to the show.

[00:02:45] Jennifer Lehr: [00:02:45] Oh, thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here.

[00:02:49]Neal Hooper: [00:02:49] I just want to dive in here cause you have a lot of value to add and I'm excited for our audience to learn more about you and in what your message is in some of the [00:03:00] principles that you teach others. So maybe a great place to start is just with a little background. So what's your story, Jennifer?

[00:03:07] Jennifer Lehr: [00:03:07] Oh, I have a long story. So my story is I grew up in a family that was had a lot of conflict, a lot of anger and bad communication and connection skills. So I went out into the world not very developed in those areas and through the course of my life and relationships, I started working on all that because.

[00:03:30] I wanted a good life and it wasn't going to happen the way it, the way I came out. So, I eventually became a therapist and did a lot of my own personal work as well as worked with people, a lot of trainings. And then I also decided that realize that couples needed a lot more resources than they have.

[00:03:49] And I started, I created an educational system for couples called we concile, which we're now currently turning into an app.

[00:03:57] Neal Hooper: [00:03:57] Wow.

[00:03:59] Jennifer Lehr: [00:03:59] that's the short [00:04:00] version of the story.

[00:04:01] Neal Hooper: [00:04:01] That's awesome though. It's so interesting. Cause we all, if we look deep enough, we all have baggage. Right. And I love that you bring that up. And also, that there's hope for us to get tools to overcome that that natural tendency, I think, to. To fall back on the conflict.

[00:04:20] Right. Which is something we're really good at. I'm just curious. And I'm kinda, coming out of left field here with this question, but you've had 20 years of therapy and you have seen a lot of people you're on the front lines for this, a battle for emotional wellbeing and mental health.

[00:04:38] And I'm sure you have. So many stories, but I'm just curious, what are some of the most common forms of baggage that people are bringing in to their lives and relationships? What are the biggest perpetrators.

[00:04:52]Jennifer Lehr: [00:04:52] People have wounds, we all have wounds places where we didn't get what we needed. And so we come into a relationship with [00:05:00] another wounded person and we don't understand each other's wounds. We're usually hungry for connection, but we don't know what to do when there's.

[00:05:08] A conflict or disagreement or we come at things from different angles because we're hungry and we don't know, we often don't have the space for the other person to really listen to what's going on for them because of our own, we're filled up with our own stuff.

[00:05:25] Neal Hooper: [00:05:25] wow. Is such a good way to put it wounds. I love that visual because I think that is a great thing. We view it as that the person is hurting, when someone's acting out or even acting out in a inappropriate way or a malicious way, it's because they're hurting. And I think that's a great perspective to take going into that.

[00:05:48] So there's a lot of tie-ins to the play three principles that we talk about and your message. And we'll kind of sprinkle those throughout. But you have a great message and kind of [00:06:00] framework around attachment. Theory. And so I just want you to dive into that and help us understand a little bit more about attachment theory and really the process and system you've used there.

[00:06:13] Jennifer Lehr: [00:06:13] Okay. So there's attachment theory and then there's attachment types, but we're going to talk about attachment theory. The types are you can Google attachment types and you get, avoidant there's like disorganized secure anxious. But we're going to talk about attachment theory and attachment theory is the mammalian need to connect.

[00:06:31] So mammals need to connect, and that means translate it into human terms. Am I important to you? Am I valuable to you? Do you care about how I feel? Am I safe with you? Am I enough for you? W the deep feeling level of what we need is my partner accessible. Interested curious. So it's about the deep emotional need.

[00:06:56]The human attachment means that we feel safe. [00:07:00] If we're sick, we want to be safe and secure in our relationships. And that's what secure attachment is.

[00:07:08] Neal Hooper: [00:07:08] And that's helpful to understand because in any relationship and correct me if I'm Wrong here, but that could be in a marriage. Could that also apply to a parent child relationship? Is that any relationship?

[00:07:23] Jennifer Lehr: [00:07:23] All close relationships that re that have vulnerability and, intimacy, vulnerability, that kind of thing. Yeah.

[00:07:31] Neal Hooper: [00:07:31] Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So those are, and remind me again, what are the things we need to have that attachment? Within the relationship again, it's safety.

[00:07:41] Jennifer Lehr: [00:07:41] well, there's a whole, we want to feel safe. We want to know where we're at and we want to know where valued. We want to know that we're enough. There's it's the list could go on, but those primary, yeah.

[00:07:54] Neal Hooper: [00:07:54] that's so good. And we're a huge here in having this playbook about a [00:08:00] principal. Which is lookout word and everything you're saying there it's really easy to not feel those things in a relationship when we're looking inward and we're thinking of our needs. And it's always, you got to mention the caveat that you're only able to serve to the degree that you have, engaged in self care and maintain your own wellbeing.

[00:08:21]But really it's that looking outward and in those intimate relationships, Creating that, helping people answer that question affirmatively, I do feel safe. I do feel needed. I do feel important. So what are so style, a little deeper there and how, when you see a couple or any. Two people right there, their relationship is just in the dumps and how do you help them work through that and go from not having those things, to feeling that connection and attachment.

[00:08:55]Jennifer Lehr: [00:08:55] Every therapist would work somewhat differently and it also depends on what your [00:09:00] training is, what modality you're sort of drawing on, but you want to get the couple to first identify how they keep getting stuck. So, When you when your tone got sharp with me, I left the house and slammed the door and then you cried.

[00:09:16] And then I got mad and yelled. In other words, what's actually happening. What are the behaviors you want to identify that because people have to take responsibility for what they're doing, because you can't create safety with that kind of behavior going on, and you have to create safety to get down into the deep, vulnerable feelings.

[00:09:35] And that is. When you had that tone, it reminded me of how my mother used to talk to me and that made me bristle and I, made me feel like I wasn't important. So you have to get into the story and into the deep feelings and you can't communicate that with bad behavior going on.

[00:09:56] Neal Hooper: [00:09:56] Okay, this is so good because [00:10:00] you have to let go right of the bad behavior. You have to let go of  those disruptive emotions just long enough to then get present, right? Is that, am I hearing you correctly? Cause you have to play that observational role and kind of process, what's going on and what the causes are for those emotions.

[00:10:19] Is that fair to say?

[00:10:21] Jennifer Lehr: [00:10:21] Yes. So present being present moment to moment awareness is very important. Because you have to be in your body and in yourself to really even be able to connect with the deeper emotional feelings. And you also have to be clear in order to say, Oh, I did this and that. Wasn't okay. I did that it wasn't.

[00:10:40] Okay. So if you're not present you're you tend to be spinning. You could be caught and you're not, you could be in the past spinning. You could be, but you're spinning more with anxiety or something's going on. That's keeping you out of right here right now. What's going on. And I can think of an example.

[00:10:58] I can think of a couple. I worked within [00:11:00] the w the woman in the couple. Was just furious with her partner for good reason, but she was furious. And so she was coming at him like a train, but she wasn't aware of herself. She didn't even see that she was pushing him away with her velocity of anger.

[00:11:15] And so she had to be, or I had to stop her slower down, get her to breathe and get her to identify. I know you're really angry, but what's going on. And underneath was this horrible feeling that. He didn't care about her and that's what was driving the behavior, but she had to be put into the present helped into the present moment.

[00:11:35] So she could connect with that. Okay.

[00:11:37] Neal Hooper: [00:11:37] Oh, that's so good. And really hard to do. And so you mentioned a few things just now. Deep breaths obviously are helpful. What other approaches or tactics do you teach people to get present so that they can play that observational role?

[00:11:52]Jennifer Lehr: [00:11:52] Well, we can sell it. I use what's called the lenses. So there's a body awareness lens, a thinking lens, a feeling [00:12:00] lens sensation, image lens there's 12 lenses and these are portals into experience. So I'll give you an example. I've talked about this before about my husband and.

[00:12:11] We are in some kind of disagreement. And I asked him, what is going on for you right now? And he said, my stomach feels really tight and cold. And I said, Oh, what's that about? What does that remind you of? And he said, that reminds me when I was a little kid and my dad was having a temper tantrum. I said, Oh so that, that moment of tuning into the body opened up a story that informed him and me of how he was being impacted by our disagreement. So, which was useful.

[00:12:43]Neal Hooper: [00:12:43] I read and my wife actually has finished the book, but it's called the body keeps the score.

[00:12:50] Jennifer Lehr: [00:12:50] Yeah. I've heard, I've read it. I've heard of it

[00:12:52] Neal Hooper: [00:12:52] okay. And I think the concept, again, I, it didn't get very far into it, but is that you can actually tap into and [00:13:00] understand traumas or things from your past and how they've affected you, but you can actually feel those or identify those based on how it's manifest, even physically in your body.

[00:13:11] And so like the story you mentioned there is there any thoughts to that? Have you found that to be true?

[00:13:17] Jennifer Lehr: [00:13:17] Oh, yeah, the body it's all in the body. Cause we're physiological, being and all our experiences are stored in the body and in how we're wired. So here's another example. So I'm thinking of a person who goes into an altered state when big due to trauma and You can use EMDR eye movement desensitization. Which is a form of therapy where you start working with either a light or a pattern going back and forth, and you start integrating the memory from one side of the brain, into both sides of the brain, and that enables the body to metabolize. And that's one way there's other ways to metabolize trauma.

[00:13:55] So one way the body can start metabolizing trauma instead of having it be [00:14:00] caught somewhere. Where you have no control over it. And it just sort of jumps out and grabs your psyche and causes you to behave in ways that are destructive.

[00:14:10] Neal Hooper: [00:14:10] Wow. That is kind of the first step in play theory with the four principles they're actually in order. And we start with be present because if you're not present, it's kind of , a non-starter and it's hard to really. Except in build, let, go and play and look outward if you're not present.

[00:14:29] And if you're just distracted and giving into all these emotions inside, I love, it sounds similar that, that's the first step is let's get present. What's observed and learn

[00:14:39] Jennifer Lehr: [00:14:39] Yep. Yeah.

[00:14:41] Neal Hooper: [00:14:41] very cool. Now you have what you call the relationship roadmap. And I would love for you to share a little bit more about what that is and and the approach you take

[00:14:55]Jennifer Lehr: [00:14:55] If you're a couple and you want to sort of start Harmonizing [00:15:00] better together, that sort of rhymed you want to, so the first step would be, or the first question I would have is have you talked about your goals?

[00:15:10] What is each of your purposes and your purpose? Do you have a purpose for your relationship? Like if somebody wants to travel and the other person wants to live in a little house with a fence, in a yard those two goals in life might not fit together. So the first step is who are we together?

[00:15:28]Sometimes couples get together and they don't even go there. They just get together and they're married and all of a sudden they find out that one person wants to go to grad school and the other person wants that person to make money so they can buy a new, new thing. So.

[00:15:41]So that's the first step. Have you talked about your dreams, your goals, and are you on the same page? The second step is what we already talked about. When you get into a fight, what is your pattern, each of your patterns and start deconstructing that, Oh, you did that when I did that, then I did that [00:16:00] and that means you're also.

[00:16:03] Becoming a team against the pattern, which is called externalizing. The problem instead of you getting caught in the problem and you're BA I'm bad and you're pointing fingers at each other. You go, Oh, the pattern is the problem and we have to break it. So let's step two and that's not easy to do because we tend to blame

[00:16:20] Neal Hooper: [00:16:20] Well, and that's really hard because we're so used to pitting ourselves against each other, but what you're really doing is letting go of, that perspective and that that angle, I had a mentor, so I'm kind of jumping around here, but he had a disagreement.

[00:16:36]He had a disagreement with his wife and they were sitting across from each other on a table and they were having this disagreement and I'll never forget. He said after a while it was not dealing any fruit. It was not being very effective. And so he wrote the problem on a piece of paper, put it on the table and then went on and sat next to her.

[00:17:00] [00:17:00] And so they were looking at the problem. So I think that's a great visual of exactly what you're sharing.

[00:17:04] Jennifer Lehr: [00:17:04] Externalized it. So then the third step is getting into attachment language. Now we touched on this attachment language. Isn't, I'm so mad at you that you forgot my BR that you went to your mother's house when it was my birthday, whatever some issue, attachment language is.

[00:17:22] When you forgot my birthday, it made me feel like you didn't value me. And it really hurt me. And I love you. So I need you to value me and not forget my birthday. So it's getting down into what's really going on. So you have to develop an ability to talk about your attachment needs and your attachment fears.

[00:17:41] I'm afraid, blah, blah, blah. But, and I need to know that you will consider what I want to, I need to know that what I want is important to you. I'm afraid. You'll forget me. I'm afraid I'm not good enough. I'm afraid you don't value me. I need you to do these things. So you have to start developing language because when you're [00:18:00] in a disagreement of some kind, right.

[00:18:02] There's almost always a level of attachment language that could be spoken that would help the people connect better, and understand each other better. So that would be step three.

[00:18:14] Neal Hooper: [00:18:14] Awesome. And what role does validation play in? Step three.

[00:18:19]Jennifer Lehr: [00:18:19] It's really important to listen and tend means you're actually. Your health, helping the person express themselves. You're curious. You want to hear what they have to say? You're not like, okay, let's just move on. I got things to say, you're like, wait, I want to understand you, let me give, allow me the privilege of stepping into your world. So that's that's, really important to be able to do that.

[00:18:46] Neal Hooper: [00:18:46] That's great. And that ties in perfectly to accept and build. Which is another way people see that one in the improv community is yes. And right. But you're taking sounds like you're taking where they are and you're not [00:19:00] just validating and accepting them. You're building on it and you're helping them feel comfortable to extract more.

[00:19:07] Jennifer Lehr: [00:19:07] Right. Exactly. And there's specific steps that that you can learn in order to do that but that's what you're doing. You're, reassuring them. You're often repeating, you're asking, clarifying questions, all of that, to help them elicit, to help elicit a larger who are you in response?

[00:19:23] Yeah.

[00:19:24] Neal Hooper: [00:19:24] I love that. I love step three. That's a great one.

[00:19:27] Jennifer Lehr: [00:19:27] And then step four is what I talked about. The lenses. It is getting into understanding a moment to moment. Your experience. So let's suppose there's a couple and one of the, let's say the woman, cause I'll go, stereotypical says, well, what are you feeling, Neil? And Neil says I don't know.

[00:19:49] And 

[00:19:49] Neal Hooper: [00:19:49] Yeah, that sounds great.

[00:19:53] Jennifer Lehr: [00:19:53] the person into the feeling and the way you do that is through the lenses. What are your thoughts doing? What are your [00:20:00] emotions? What is your body doing? What's happening? Is your, where is your heart beating? Is your stomach tight? Do you feel, what is it starting to help people get into their direct experience to understand what's going on?

[00:20:12] So when someone says, what are you feeling? They don't say they don't shrug and say, I don't know. They could say. I'm having this image of my mom chasing my father with the knife. And that really scares me. And, they could have some, and then you're like, Oh, you're having a real, something is really happening here.

[00:20:28] So you're not feeling you just are, you're being hit by stuff and you don't even know how to verbalize it. It just gives dialogue and language to experience when people often just go, I don't know, because they haven't learned to scan the body, the mind, the emotions and figure out what's going on.

[00:20:46] Neal Hooper: [00:20:46] wow. That is awesome. Very clear framework. I love the steps and it's a very clear how that would help you come together. Really understand [00:21:00] what's going on and then move forward. So I love that there's tons of be present, accept, and build, and a lot of let, go and play too. 

[00:21:08] Jennifer Lehr: [00:21:08] And there are other steps too, but those are the first four.

[00:21:11] Neal Hooper: [00:21:11] I'm so sorry. I'm jumping the gun here, please. Oh, there's more. Let's keep going.

[00:21:16] Jennifer Lehr: [00:21:16] the next step for, and these are, at this point they can start, they can move around but you have to be aware of these different we'll call them building blocks of connection, areas where you actually need to have some professor proficiency, but one of the steps is.

[00:21:31]How you've been impacted by your past. And, I worked with many people and I asked him how he w you know, what was your childhood like? Oh, it was great. Big red flag. Maybe a big red flag and yeah, there are people with great childhoods, but there's also a lot of people who didn't have great childhoods and they don't know it because that memory has been pushed away.

[00:21:52]And I can think of a particular situation where I was in a parking lot and there was a mother and a little boy who was, [00:22:00] let's say he was. Four. He was little and she was screaming at the top of her lungs at him and he was wailing and I just thought, Oh God, this poor kid. So what's going to happen to him when he's older, when he's trying to have a relationship, where are what's?

[00:22:16] Where, what will he have done with his feelings? He might not have any feelings by then. He might have got rid of them, not safe to have feelings. I whale. And my mom just screams at me. I mean, who knows what his story would have been, but I call these survival skills, survival strategies. So if you're an adult and when you feel a certain way, you might act a certain way because you learned how to do that to survive as a kid, but you don't, there's no link.

[00:22:44] You don't know, Oh, I'm doing that because I learned that as a kid, because whenever I had a feeling that I got slapped or whatever, So you so unpacking the impact of the past can have a huge it can really help, people [00:23:00] understand, Oh, that's why I do this. And I don't have to do it this way.

[00:23:03] There are better ways of responding of being.

[00:23:07] Neal Hooper: [00:23:07] That is so good. And again, awareness and that presence and observations the first step. Cause you can't let go of something you're not aware of. And that's a big one. I imagine that's it was just, that takes a lot of work sometimes to get that out of people.

[00:23:21] Jennifer Lehr: [00:23:21] Well it's really? Yeah, because you can't just rip someone open. You have to slowly, build a relationship and start understanding who they are and start opening little doorways and having them start going, Oh, are little lights go on and eventually more and more opens and they get a clear picture of who they were, what they experienced, how it impacted them.

[00:23:44] And what they're so carrying around that doesn't work.

[00:23:48]And we could keep going, but that's the basic that's the basic, I mean, there's, you go deeper and you refine and refine as you go on and you do more connecting of. The surface feeling what's under it. How does it [00:24:00] affect your cycle changing, and learning how to communicate differently, because you become more aware of the nuances of your experience.

[00:24:09] Neal Hooper: [00:24:09] wow. Okay. That's huge. And I love the framework again. I think it's very thorough and again, really tying into the relationship piece, but also just being able to it's a function and move forward with confidence and feeling good about yourself. So I think there's a ton of value there and obviously as high level, and I'm sure there's a lot more that goes into each one of those steps, but thank you for sharing that.

[00:24:35]We would love for us to all just be experts right. At this relationship in life thing. And the truth is, especially in relationships, I'll take that angle because that's kind of what we're discussing here. But there is trauma that happens. There are mistakes that are made and trust is lost.

[00:24:56] And I know that's another area of expertise for you is actually [00:25:00] rebuilding trust and intimacy in your relationship after there's been an event of betrayal or some kind of loss of trust. And so I'd love for you to dive a little deeper into that and help us understand how we can do that.

[00:25:12]Jennifer Lehr: [00:25:12] Many kinds of betrayal. One of the common ones. Cost courses infidelity, but there are many kinds of betrayal, emotional betrayals just different kinds. So when you have two people and there's been a big betrayal and we'll use infidelity in this example, the party who, who will call the perpetrator, just for lack of a better word, the perpetrator needs to be able to.

[00:25:38] Have empathy and not just, I'm sorry I did that, but my heart is breaking because I broke your heart a very deep level of, Oh wow. I really hurt you. And that hurts me. They have to be able to get to that level of empathy. Often the person who cheated [00:26:00] or was the perpetrator.

[00:26:00] However we want to call it is defensive? And that's a roadblock you'll you won't get anywhere and it's not possible. So that's the first thing that has to happen 

[00:26:10]Neal Hooper: [00:26:10] And just real quick on that note, it's that looking inward that is preventing any progress from happening. And I love that you pointed that out because that level of empathy, that level of looking outward. Is incredibly humbling. And I would say, very rare even, is that fair to say

[00:26:32] Jennifer Lehr: [00:26:32] Yeah, it's hard if people don't get there right away generally. And there's a lot of shame when you've hurt someone it's shameful and there's a lot of defensiveness. People don't want to feel shame. They'll, it was your fault. I mean, people throw the blame around because who wants to feel shame and.

[00:26:48] It's a hard, it's the hardest feeling. So, yeah. So then you, so then the next thing the person who was betrayed, they're not going to forgive right away, but they would need to [00:27:00] have it as a goal. I would like to trust you again. I would like to forgive you someday.

[00:27:05] Obviously it's not going to happen in three seconds, but it has to be a goal. If they have no intention of ever forgiving or one trust person, again. That's also a game stopper. There's nowhere to get. So there's those two big pieces eventually, and this is way down the line. You have to look at the dynamics of the relationship.

[00:27:23] That allowed this to occur because I can think of a relationship I had years ago where my boyfriend cheated on me and I just wasn't tuned in enough to, I wasn't tuned in enough. And had I been, I might've said this guy really isn't fully there for me and I need to get rid of him, but I wasn't tuned in,  I was young.

[00:27:43] And so really knowing. That there's always a S a whole picture. It's not, I mean, someone might have an addiction, a sexual addiction that could cause it, but generally both parties have a role, but you can't get to that until way later, because first you have to deal with the [00:28:00] injury and rebuilding trust.

[00:28:02]Neal Hooper: [00:28:02] You kind of alluded to this and I just want to clarify. Obviously infidelity there's a whole spectrum there of what that could mean. And on one end you have, the act of going out and cheating on your significant other, and somewhere in between, there's probably online activities.

[00:28:22]Catching a partner, viewing pornography, for example could have a huge impact depending on their perspective. Is it is it the same process, even at those earlier stages?

[00:28:33]If there's that loss of trust or betrayal.

[00:28:36]Jennifer Lehr: [00:28:36] I think it is. I mean, obviously different people have different tolerances for many different things and different people have different wounds. And for some people, the partner using pornography is that non-issue and for other peoples it's devastating. But regardless if there is a wounded party who feels betrayed, the process has to be what I outlined earlier, because that person needs to know that [00:29:00] it won't happen again, that their feelings are valued, that they can, that, that they won't ever have to.

[00:29:06] Yet. Nobody wants to go through trauma more than once.

[00:29:09]Neal Hooper: [00:29:09] Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. Thank you for those those clarifying points. 

[00:29:13] Jennifer Lehr: [00:29:13] It's just to be aware that infidelity and betrayal is a tsunami in the relationship and you will have a new relationship. You will not be able to keep the same relationship if you repair it. You actually have to create a whole new relationship because the old one is over and it's that way it can be good because you could end up with something that is much better than what you started with, but it's not an easy process at all.

[00:29:40] Neal Hooper: [00:29:40] wow. And that's the ultimate, let go and play in my opinion, because that is. And we've chatted about this earlier in the conversation. That's going to be really hard to not hold onto what you had and to just kind of start over clean. But that's a very important part of the process.

[00:29:56]You mentioned something earlier and [00:30:00] that I thought was interesting about needing to and you might have to remind me the wording here, but yeah. Kind of your new identity as a couple versus your identity as an individual. And is that a fair way of putting it

[00:30:16]That, that when you come together, you gotta figure out what your new identity is.

[00:30:20]As a couple rather.

[00:30:21]Jennifer Lehr: [00:30:21] I would just send you that when you take two individuals and they let's suppose we're formed and we have ideas about ourselves in our lives. And you put them together that, so in that context you do have to figure out what, who are we as a couple? This is a little different than when I'm talking about repairing and fidelity, because in that case, the relationship and the ways you were is over, because it allowed something to happen.

[00:30:47]Neal Hooper: [00:30:47] When you mentioned it earlier, I was thinking when my wife and I got married, it was funny because. As a single person, you make friends and you're just factoring in how you and that individual gel, but then [00:31:00] after you get married and you're trying to make friends, it kind of creates this whole new dynamic and you have to think through, okay, us as a couple now are going to gel very differently than I did as an individual with certain people.

[00:31:11] And so I just thought that was a good thing to keep in mind. 

[00:31:14] Jennifer Lehr: [00:31:14] Yeah, well, I think to have a healthy relationship, you have to work out of, like, I have friends that  my husband knows them, but he's not really friends with them the way I are. And he has friends that I know, but I don't, I'm not really close to them the way he is. And then we have friends that we know together that work, and that just part of, there's no, what is it?

[00:31:31]The Venn diagram with the overlap

[00:31:34] Neal Hooper: [00:31:34] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:31:35] Jennifer Lehr: [00:31:35] and different people have different overlaps, according to what they need. And, you do run into a problem if one wants a complete overlap and the other one wants to circle to very barely touch, right? But that's that's part of figuring out how to be a couple, how to be the specific couple that you are to the best ability.

[00:31:53] Yeah.

[00:31:54] Neal Hooper: [00:31:54] wow. That is awesome. You've shared so many good nuggets and I [00:32:00] just so grateful for your expertise and. I would love to know in your experience again you've had a lot of experience. You've worked with a lot of people.

[00:32:08] What's like, what's been the. The best victory, I guess, for a couple that's come and worked with you or maybe that's come from that most dire circumstance and then had a big win. I don't know if you have any stories like that off the top of your head, you could share.

[00:32:22]Jennifer Lehr: [00:32:22] I would say my relationship is the best victory because my first marriage was extremely difficult and I'm in my second marriage. And we did in, I mean, we had, the first six months is generally bliss, which it was, and then you start hitting the, the problems. And we did some therapy together.

[00:32:40] I think I did every other week for a year or two with him, but I was writing, we can sell. So I was learning a lot and I was writing and he was reading and editing and we had a lot to talk about because of that process. And it enabled us to. Really work, understand each other work through huge like differences.

[00:32:58]Like I understand why he [00:33:00] reacts the way he reacts sometimes because of the conversations we've had and he understands why I get upset the way I, so there's a much it's like the weaving of the two cloth, the two cloths get woven together with understanding and story and a bit bility too.

[00:33:15] To connect in a deep hole, deep way where both people, their whole selves are coming in and that's, I'm just using me for an example because I think we have a particularly good relationship. And so that's why I'm bringing that up.

[00:33:30]Neal Hooper: [00:33:30] I like to brag about my marriage as well when I get the chance to, so that's awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful concepts with our listeners. And we're so excited to to share this before we get to our last question, the pro tip that they can take and apply.

[00:33:50] I just want to know if our listeners want more Jennifer, they want they want to learn more about what you're doing. Where do we send them?

[00:34:00] [00:34:00] Jennifer Lehr: [00:34:00] You can w E C O N C I L E like reconcile, but we can style. That's the website. I have a blog with a lot of articles on relationship in different subjects. I also, Jennifer Lear where I do more personal writing. I have a free quiz or relationship quality quiz. We I'm on Instagram and Facebook at wee concile.

[00:34:24]Those are. Yeah that's probably the best way to

[00:34:27] Neal Hooper: [00:34:27] That is awesome. Okay. So you heard it here. She's got a free quiz, so make sure you go check that out. We'll put it in the show notes, the link for that. So you can go and and again, for this quiz, what are they learning about themselves when they take this.

[00:34:41]Jennifer Lehr: [00:34:41] It's just 10 questions. So I made it short. But they're going to learn how they score. In a couple of different areas, including hope about the relationship, sexuality conflict understanding of each other, blah, blah. There's like, I think six, probably six categories. I'm not sure. And [00:35:00] yeah.

[00:35:00] And so then they get actually a score that says, okay, you're doing good or okay. You better jump on this before it's too late. So

[00:35:07] Neal Hooper: [00:35:07] Okay. Awesome. That sounds very valuable. Thank you so much for offering that to our listeners. And and again, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. Now for the last question, what is one pro tip for applying and developing the skill of happiness that you would share with our audience?

[00:35:28] Jennifer Lehr: [00:35:28] Oh, my there's so many tips. So, I'm gonna, this is an odd tip, but I'm gonna throw it in there. Because it seems disconnected, but it's not. So I've practiced yoga for how many years. More approaching 30 years now which is a long time and what it taught me, you're on the mat and that's your little universe and you notice, Oh, I don't like this isn't fun.

[00:35:55] Or that person's doing it better than me or. Oh, I don't like that [00:36:00] teacher she's ganja yet. And you start witnessing a lot of yourself because you're stuck in this spot . And it's a really good way to to develop, present centered awareness which you need. If you're working on a relationship, now I could give other tips.

[00:36:16] That's a very sort of general how to develop presence, centered awareness. But it's a really good one, a good method to do that. In terms of relationships you want, if you're not curious about your partner, you want to look at the blocks to your curiosity. So your partner's upset and you're mad at them for being upset.

[00:36:36] Can you be curious? Why are they upset and why do I not want to be curious about this what's going on? So that would be a good thing to just take us. Self-inquiry.

[00:36:48] Neal Hooper: [00:36:48] wow. What a great question to ask, because that is huge and that applies to couples, but also if you're. On a date with someone I'm assuming [00:37:00] that applies as well there. So that is awesome. Jennifer, thank you so much. You've been so gracious with your time and your knowledge and we are so enlightened and better off for having had you with us.

[00:37:13] So thank you so much

[00:37:14]wow. That is good stuff. Whether you are in a relationship or marriage or you're in the dating scene. And you're just trying to find out how to connect with people. Today's show armed you with a lot of very concrete applications of play theory in relational setting. So I hope that this week you will move forward, that you will become introspective. And remember the pro tip that she shared. 

[00:37:40]To be curious about your partner. And again, that applies in friendships as well as relationships. 

[00:37:48]So take that one to the bank. 

[00:37:50]Thank you so much for joining us today on the happiness playbook. Remember to look outward, to let go and play this small stuff and accept and [00:38:00] build upon the hardships and become a better you and to build a better relationship. 

[00:38:06]Thanks for tuning in and as always, I just wanted to remind you 

[00:38:10] that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport and we are so glad to be on your team. Catch you next week. 

What does failure, Nintendo, and launching cars off massive trampolines all have in common? Find out today as we talk about the art and beauty of failing forward.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Think back on a failure that you may have thought at the time was a pit or a "green turtle shell" that metaphorically killed you and set you back that you now recognize as a stepping stone that helped you fail forward into a better situation. And THEN share it with us on any of the social media platforms or comment on on this episode's post.

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LINKS From Show



[00:00:00]Neal: [00:00:00]    What does failure Nintendo in launching cars off a massive. Trampoline all have in common. Find out today on this very exciting episode of the happiness playbook. As we talk about the art and power of failing forward. Let's kick things off with our highlight reel, where we share some of the good things happening in the world.

[00:00:55] Dr. Omar, a teak originally from Pakistan founded the [00:01:00] Arkansas cancer clinic in 1991. He has always enjoyed treating his patients, but his clinic had to close back in February due to lack of staffing. There was $650,000 worth of debt owed by his patients. So Dr. A take attributed this buildup of overdue payments to his willingness to always treat a patient no matter what, as he began reaching out and contacting the patients in February, he realized that most of his patients were not able to afford the.

[00:01:35] Bills. They had incurred during the difficult times, brought on by the pandemic. He decided with his wife and family to forgive the $650,000 in debt outright. How amazing is that? I am so touched by this story and.  The effort that so many people are making in the communities they live in [00:02:00] to help people get through these hard times.

[00:02:02] Yes.

[00:02:02]  All right. It's time for coach Neil to give us a report on operation. Joy domination. Emotions are running high today because we have already passed our December numbers. Baby, we've got to keep this up. If we ever want to embarrass that Rogan feller with his silly little podcast over there on Spotify in a few months, I reckon that we'll have that Spotify exclusive deal 

[00:02:31] as good as ours, not only are the numbers, something to write home about 10, stop crying, go give me 20. I'm a little proud today as well. Cause we've got some star players shining their light on the field. First up, Rose molten Hodnett said. I just want to say that I love these principles. I love listening to the podcast and having them fresh in my mind, just this week, I've been [00:03:00] able to bring comfort to an uncle in prison by asking him to focus on gratitude.

[00:03:05] And I was able to accept them, build in a conversation with some distant relatives. Yeah. In a topic that could potentially be a stumbling block, but instead I sailed a ride over the part I disagreed with and steered the conversation to what I could agree on. It was great. Well, Rose, you are great. We think you are the cat's pajamas.

[00:03:25] Keep up the good work team. We are nearing and. Out of this world. Awesome tackler milestone, and we need your help. So keep sharing and tell us how you are helping us win the game of life and execute operation happiness domination. Tell next week, coach out.

[00:03:44]Oh, never good. So whether it's a test, a new job, a new relationship, or simply a goal that is pushing you outside your comfort zone. Failure is something we must all come to [00:04:00] terms with. But today I'm here to tell you that it is not the failure, but how we frame that failure that will make the difference in your life to start off.

[00:04:12] I would love to welcome my amazing guest Mark Rober to the show. Okay. So he's not actually really here. One day. I got to tell you it would be my absolute dream to have Mark Rober on the show. And if anyone listening to this right now has a connection, I will pay you in. Pure pineapples to message me those those connections and introduce me.

[00:04:41] I think Mark Rober is just the coolest guy. And before I, I man crushed too much, you should probably know who he is if you're not familiar. So Mark Rober is a YouTuber. He's an engineer and inventor. You might know him for his viral video, where he builds a glitter [00:05:00] bomb trap for package thieves that releases the finest, glitter and fart spray on the Woodby thieves.

[00:05:07] This video alone earns him legendary status. In my opinion, if you haven't seen this video, you've got to just stop, pause this right now. Go to the show notes and watch it. It's just amazing. And he does it every year. So actually this year was his third iteration of the glitter bomb. It's just amazing.

[00:05:26] Go check it out. And he is just one of the coolest guys on the internet. He's amazing. He spends months of his time engineering and designing these amazing projects and turning them into YouTube videos. But he really. Gets educational. He's entertaining. They're just amazing. If you haven't checked them out, you have got to go subscribe.

[00:05:49]He's up to like 16 million subscribers right now. So he's absolutely blowing up,

[00:05:54]but the message of Mark Rober that I really want to dive into today [00:06:00] is regarding a Ted talk that he gave. So. A few years ago when 50,000 of Mark robbers at the time, 3 million YouTube , subscribers participated in a basic coding challenge, that data all pointed to what  rober has dubbed the super Mario effect.

[00:06:23] The YouTube star in former NASA engineer describes how this data back to mindset for life. Gamification has stuck with him along his journey and how it impacts the way he helps or some would say tricks. His viewers on YouTube, into learning science, engineering, and design. He shares his thoughts about it in his Ted talk.

[00:06:46] And  he just touches on so many amazing things in the talk that are so applicable to our topic today. So let's go ahead and play a clip.

[00:06:56]When my son learned to walk, he didn't think about how dumb he might look.

[00:06:59] If he fell [00:07:00] down and this, his parents, we didn't punish him. If he wasn't successful either. The focus was always on the end goal. And we celebrated the successes with him as a result of constantly failing and trying and discovering new things. During that phase of our life, YT Clip 1 [00:07:15] we discover so many more new capabilities within ourselves, and it's not even close to any other time in our life,  

[00:07:23] Neal: [00:07:23] children, especially when they're learning to walk or doing lots of motor skills or just learning in general, there is no shame in failure and as parents and guardians and caretakers, the last thing we want to do is shame them or humiliate or make fun of them when they fail a child who's learning to walk is cheered on, is celebrated and.

[00:07:48] The frame of that failure, the perspective of the failure to that child is always on the goal. It's get back up and try again. And this is the beauty of this [00:08:00] perspective that we're talking about today. But what I really want to dive into is what Mark Rober, dubs the super Mario effect. So let's go ahead and play that clip and then react to it.

[00:08:12]Mark Rober: [00:08:12] 

[00:08:12] YT Clip Super mario effect [00:08:12] when super Mario brothers came out, my friends and I became obsessed. Like we wanted to get to the castle and rescue the beautiful princess peach from the evil Bowzer. We get to school and ask each other, like, dude, what level did you make it too? Did you pass the game? We never asked each other about details on all the different ways we might have died when it comes to games like this, no one ever picks up the controller for the first time.

[00:08:34] And then after jumping into a pit thinks I'm so ashamed, that was such a failure. And they never want to try again. Right. What really happens is they think, Oh, I've got to remember, there's a pit right there. So I think next time I'm going to come out with a little more speed. I'm going to jump a little bit later.

[00:08:47] The focusing obsession is about beating the game. Now how dumb you might look. If you get hit by a sliding green shell. And as a direct result of that attitude of learning from, but not being focused on the [00:09:00] failures, we got really good. And we learned a ton in a very short amount of time. We were the right side of this graph.

[00:09:06] This is what I call the super Mario effect, focusing on the princess and not the pits to stick with a task and to learn more. 

[00:09:14] Neal: [00:09:14] Now I grew up playing super Mario brothers and I'm sure there's a lot of you listening to the podcast right now that may have also played the game. And what he's sharing right here is so relatable for someone like myself who is familiar with these games because the goal. Is beating the game and I love how he says it's not how dumb you might feel from getting hit by a sliding green shill 

[00:09:41] it's about winning. It's not about focusing on the failure and the super Mario effect. The term that Mark Rober coined in this talk is defined as focusing on the princess and not the pits to stick with the task and learn more.

[00:09:58] Okay. When we [00:10:00] fall off the cliff, we say, when we're playing Mario, ah, man, that sucked, but what can we learn from that? Gamification. And especially when you apply this concept of reframing failure and focusing on the end goal, when we've applied that to life and we have a positive attitude, you never give up because it's not about the failure.

[00:10:23] The failure is just a stepping stone along the path as you progress forward and fail forward. When you frame a challenge. In the way we're describing you actually want to do it, just like the toddler who's learning to walk, wants to get back up and try again until they've mastered  waddling around on two legs.

[00:10:47] We too can reframe challenges and obstacles and setbacks in the same way. And instead, double down on our goal. To fail forward, but it's not [00:11:00] natural. As we grow older, we slowly start to give in to this perfectionism of society and culture where failure is viewed as a negative thing. And we've got to reframe it.

[00:11:12] We've got to change that mindset and perspective in order to experience.

[00:11:17]Something. I really love about Mark Rober. If he can't tell I'm a huge fan of his, but his, he actually embodies the super Mario effect in his life. If you've seen his YouTube channel again, which I can't recommend it enough, then you see this play out in every video he does. Whether he's making the world's largest Nerf gun, filling an entire pool with jello and jumping in it or creating the world's largest trampoline to bounce a full size car off of, he shows you the process and he shows you the failure and it is so cool [00:12:00] to see how. Once you've reframed failure and obstacles and setbacks in this way as stepping stones and not roadblocks, then that's when the magic happens and he certainly makes the magic happen.

[00:12:12] On his channel,

[00:12:13]He also mentions in his Ted talk, how we have done a major disservice to society and to our students in the public education system with how we have framed learning science. So let's listen to that clip real quick.

[00:12:29]So as a science, YouTube, or sometimes I feel people have framed the act of learning science in a negative way it's been taught poorly. So it feels scary to them. And my YT Clip [00:12:39] approach is to take the same physics lessons you might've hated and to try and sort of trick you into learning something through something cool, 

[00:12:48] Neal: [00:12:48] And I think he is absolutely right. We have taken the learning process and especially as we get older, we start to view [00:13:00] learning and especially science or math or these important things as such a. Prescriptive and lifeless process, but to really bring it to life and to really make learning, engaging, and growth and progress engaging, we have to learn how to fail forward.

[00:13:20] We have to reframe these setbacks and these failures as stepping stones. And to really move forward by reframing the learning process and focusing on the cool, amazing end goal. The fear of failure is taken off the table and it will embolden you and empower you to move forward. You will be excited to move forward.

[00:13:44]What I love most is how he ends his Ted talk. So he puts up this slide and you're going to see it because you're going to go watch this after the podcast. He has on the top. It says your plan and it's somebody on a pike, it's a little drawing, [00:14:00] right. And so it's somebody on a bike and it's just a flat, gradual inclined to a little flag.

[00:14:05] And then just below it, he has a drawing called reality. And it's way zoomed out, you see a little guy on a bike, but then there's immediately a pit of rocks and then a bridge and then another deep pit full of water. And then there's, clouds and snow. And then finally, after one last, really steep dip, it goes up to the flag and he says, that's what reality is.

[00:14:28] Like, we always plan for a gradual easy flat terrain, but then we're given all of these obstacles and curve balls in life, and we've all experienced this. So let's listen to see what he has to say about this part.

[00:14:43]This is so true. But often in life, we tell ourselves that the top version is what we want. That's what we expect. But then something happens. Maybe it's a really bad grade on a test or meeting with a client that goes horribly wrong. Maybe it's a bad breakup. Maybe we miss a wide open shot, some [00:15:00] kind of green shell hits you.

[00:15:02] And so at that first setback or sign of failure, doubt creeps in and we tell ourselves we're not good enough. We're not smart enough. And yet if the bottom rectangle here is a game where now your bikes crash and you have to get your bike across to the flag, it's not, Oh, I hit these rocks. I'm just going to leave my bike here.

[00:15:18] I'm not good enough. And you quit and walk away. You see that flag to the right. And you're like, nah, like what did I just learn? You're like, okay, next time. If you're going to come out with more speed and I'm going to, I'm going to lift the front of my bike up. You want to try it again? You're immediately excited to go forward again.

[00:15:32] We sort of tell ourselves we want our life's challenges to look like the top one, but that's boring. If that were a real video game or a book or movie that went out to the market, it would be a total failure. Nobody would buy it. Where's the risk and the reward. Where's the challenge. There's no feeling of satisfaction.

[00:15:49] The bottom picture is real life and that's not a bug. That's a feature. Think about anything that means anything to you in life. Whether it's a degree, a relationship with a [00:16:00] friend or someone in your family, maybe professional accomplishment. I can guarantee you, it came from something that looks like the bottom and not the top feeling and feeling and feeling and eventually succeeding to the point that it now holds value.

[00:16:15] Just like the most meaningful high fives of my adolescents were those. When I said, dude, I finally beat Bowzer last night. 

[00:16:23] Neal: [00:16:23] my man. Mark is spit in so much truth here because by removing the obstacles and the dips and the rain clouds that makes life dull. And gray and boring. It is in the contrast and in the failing and failing and failing and eventually succeeding as he points out that gives us value and meaning in our lives.

[00:16:49]A lot of the successes in life come down to the super Mario effect. Great triumph is always preceded by great [00:17:00] challenges. And as we learn and practice that skill of happiness of letting go of that perfectionism and playing the game of life or super Mario brothers. We will then experience the abundance that life has to offer us as we leave that comfort zone and really go for it by applying the super Mario effect to your life and the inevitable challenges that you will face, you can fail forward into greatness and happiness.

[00:17:30] Just like no one would buy a super Mario game that didn't have any goombas 

[00:17:35] or green shells or Bowser's or pits, our life would also be dull and boring without these obstacles and without these opportunities to learn. 

[00:17:47] So remember, let's focus on the princess and not the pits. That is how you're going to learn how to accelerate your growth exponentially. [00:18:00]

[00:18:00]For this week's pro tip. I want you to think back on a failure that you may have thought at the time was a pit or a green turtle shell that, that killed you and set you back. But that in hindsight, you now recognize as a stepping stone. That helps you fail forward into a better situation. And I want you to share it with us on any of the social media platforms or comment on on this episodes post.

[00:18:33]As always, we want to hear from you. So if you have a story, an idea, or an idea for a guest like Mark Rober or feedback, head over to play and send us a note on the contact page. If we've benefited your life in any way, we hope you'll look outward and send us some love. So please leave that five star review on iTunes.

[00:18:57] Give us a follow on Spotify, share the [00:19:00] podcast, do your part. We're building a community of positivity, promoters, and want you to be a part of it. So head over to the Facebook page and join the conversation.

[00:19:10]Thank you so much for joining me today, as we explored the super Mario effect and how we can fail forward  into our best life. I know that as we get better at practicing, let go and play and failing forward and reframing those. Failures as stepping stones and progress and playing the game of life that we are going to experience abundance and happiness at levels.

[00:19:39] You could not imagine

[00:19:41]practice happiness this week and never forget that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport catching next week.

Well here we are, we’re finally getting near to closing a very hard and trying chapter of humanity’s book of life...2020. For very obvious reasons to all listening right now, 2020 has been one of the hardest years across the globe. There’s a staggering list of reasons why 2020 was rough year:

Wherever you were in the world this year, you felt the wrath of 2020. And as hard as it was, and it’s been harder on some than others, there are some who not only survived 2020 but thrived! I want to note that whether you were on the thriving, surviving, or even suffering end of the 2020 spectrum, we want to highlight some key takeaways from 2020 as we launch into the new year.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: For this week’s pro tip, I want you to get out a paper and pen, notes app on your phone, or whatever form of note taking you prefer, and WRITE OUT THE LESSONS YOU LEARNED FROM 2020. Then I want you to go to and comment your favorite lesson learned from 2020 on this episode of the podcast! We want to hear your lessons learned and how you have grown in 2020.

Come join the conversation and play with us!


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This is a fun one! It’s that time of year, hot chocolate, holiday parties, and of course Christmas Movies! Today we want to extract the principles of happiness out of some Christmas classics you’ve grown to love and give YOU a Christmas present from us here at the Happiness Playbook. Hold onto your cocoa, because here we go… 

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Look for Play Theory principles in your day to day life (movies or elsewhere!) and TELL US about your observation!

Come join the conversation and play with us!


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[00:00:00] Neal: It's that time of year hot chocolate holiday parties. And of course, Christmas movies today. We want to extract the principles of happiness out of some Christmas classics. You've grown to love and give you an early Christmas present from us here at the happiness playbook of these insights. So hold onto your cocoa because here we go.

[00:00:56] I am delighted to be joined today by the one and [00:01:00] only Laurie Florence, founder of play theory and producer for the happiness playbook. Laurie, thanks for joining me today. 

[00:01:09] LaRee: Oh, you're so welcome. 

[00:01:12] Neal: The format we're doing is Laurie and I are just going to go through the foreplay three principles and we are going to pick some Christmas classic movies that have.

[00:01:23] Great examples of the play third principles in them, and then listen to some clips and react to those and help you practice examining and observing the play theory principles. So it will be a lot of fun and we got some good movies in the pipeline. Don't we? 

[00:01:42] LaRee: We do. If we, If we have half as much fun doing this, as we did talk about doing this, it's going to be great.

[00:01:48] Neal: Yes. spoiler alert, we're going to be talking in depth about the plots of all of these movies. So if you haven't seen them feel free to. Watch them and then come back and enjoy the [00:02:00] conversation. Let's start off. I am up to the bat first.

[00:02:04] So we're going to start with be present and for any new listeners be present is what it sounds like. It's the ability to focus, to pay attention, to be present in the moment that is be present and to illustrate this principle. We wanted to look to. The Grinch, which is a classic Christmas story.

[00:02:29] I love the story of the Grinch for so many reasons. And. How important it is to ground in the moment to experience joy. This is a principle that you might not even catch on if you're not paying attention, but the Grinch. And there's a few different versions of the Grinch. My personal favorite is actually the most recent animated version with Benedict Cumberbatch.

[00:02:55] LaRee: Really good. I was, I saw that was a little bit leery because I [00:03:00] liked the old cartoon one it's hard to, and Jim Carrey has some profoundly funny moments in the live action version. So I was like, how can they, how can they make a better? And I don't, I'm not going to say that it's better, but it's definitely worth watching.

[00:03:13] It was so enjoyable. 

[00:03:15] Neal: Yes, I totally agree. And who knew Benedict Cumberbatch had such a versatile voice? That was amazing. 

[00:03:22] LaRee: That is my one beef though is his lovely English accent is gone and that's an attractive, wonderful thing to listen to why we love English accents as Americans do the British.

[00:03:35]If you're listening over there and the answer to this. Please reply and let us know, but do they love American accents or do they prefer how they sound to themselves as 

[00:03:45] Neal: well? That version is really profound. And I think it's in that version where you can really extract this principle because the Grinch, he had such a terrible upbringing, he's in an orphanage.

[00:03:59][00:04:00] And. He just really grew to resent Christmas because of his childhood. And he became so fixated on the past and the trauma from his childhood that he could not enjoy Christmas at all. So let's listen to a little clip here and then we will react to it.

[00:04:26] He walked through the crowd. And the sound and the lights and his ears heard the thump of their joy and delight. And it took him right back to his earliest years to that loss lonely boy who cried all of those tears that lost lonely boy, isolated and sad with no home of his own. No mom, no dad.

[00:05:00] [00:04:59] And as the Grinch looked around, he felt downright scared as he remembered that Christmas where nobody cared, where nobody showed, not even a flee and there were no cards, no gifts and no tree.

[00:05:25] And as he watched other kids, one thing became clear that this was the single worst day of the year. So we see, and it's really sad. This really pulls at your heartstrings 

[00:05:43] LaRee: so sad. They do a really great job of showing his trauma without dragging you through it. But everybody's got their past, everybody has their traumatic stuff they've gone through and you can really empathize with him here. 

[00:05:57] Neal: And it's so interesting because. [00:06:00] He is there at the Christmas tree lighting and he's having, it's like a flashback and they're showing you the source of that anxiety and trauma, and it removes him from the moment and it fuels his.

[00:06:15] His disdain for Christmas because of that, that trauma and that sad, empty feeling. He remembered from his childhood where nobody cared. 

[00:06:27]LaRee: And I'm not a psychologist, but I would venture that if this was a real person, he probably wouldn't even be cognizant of that kind of flashback. He'd just be experiencing this anxiety or these.

[00:06:39] Feelings at a surface level or he's uncomfortable. And that's why he attaches them to what's happening around him, the Christmas lights and everything. And so he thinks they're, what's making him miserable when in reality it's this, this past horrible thing. And he just knows this bad feeling, Christmas makes him feel angry and sad and, he might remember those [00:07:00] days, but I think being present is one of the things that helps us separate from that past experience, because otherwise we bring it all the way through to our present with us.

[00:07:12] Neal: Yes. And it's so hard and we all do this where we let the trauma from our past, take us out of the present and even resent the present if we're not careful. Yeah. And the kicker is he was never shunned by the who's. He chose not participate because of this dwelling on the past. It's not until later as we fast forward, when he's about to he's robbed all the houses, all the gifts and presents, and he's about to push the sleigh full of gifts over the cliff on Mount crumpet.

[00:07:47] And. He hears the who's singing. And this moment is so well done too, because getting ready to push the slate full of gifts over the edge, and he hears [00:08:00] the who's singing and he's touched by the holiday spirit or the Christmas spirit. 


[00:08:06] And it's so interesting because especially in this version, they emphasize the Grinch being present and how that helps him feel.

[00:08:15] And it's as he really grounds. And he even asks himself kid, I feel. What she feels, and he's referencing Cindy Lou who describes the singing to him when they crossed paths in the house. And so there's this moment where he stops and he just listens to the singing. And it's only as he's being present.

[00:08:37] That's when his heart opens and grows, two times bigger. 

[00:08:42]LaRee: That's, that's so interesting because instead of being, the first, the clip that was shared where he's. Experiencing the singing, but then going back into these traumatized emotions in his past, and he's able to be present with the exact moment where he's at and not bring [00:09:00] that all into his moment with him.

[00:09:02] So he can have a future of his choice rather than bringing this baggage alone. 

[00:09:06]Neal: Cindy Lou, who actually comes back, and this is another edition in this version that just really, I love Cindy Lou who comes all the way back up to Mount crumpet and invites him to dinner. And it's, as he becomes vulnerable and opens up that he's able to connect with the who's and they have this beautiful Christmas dinner scene that plays out.

[00:09:27] And again, just to bring it all home. Sometimes our traumas from the past, if we're not careful can really distract from the present and harden our hearts and make us close off to the beauty that surrounds us just as this happens to the Grinch. And we're all, Grinchy in our own ways. And it's very tempting and comfortable even to dwell on the past.

[00:09:52] And even today, Pull up the victim card and to really re rehash and replay over and over [00:10:00] again, these terrible things that might've happened to us, but as long as we're reliving the past and feeling sorry for ourselves and not moving on, we can't experience the true joy in the moment. And that is I think the key takeaway for me.

[00:10:16] LaRee: Yup. That's a great example of being present and what's possible. That's awesome. 

[00:10:23] Neal: Yes. So the Grinch, it's a good one. 

[00:10:27]LaRee: A little movie moments like that. Some of them are harder to find, but home alone, that's a classic. And I just think about Kevin, this kid who is experiencing trauma in the moment, because he's been abandoned.

[00:10:40] I don't know how old he is in the movie, but, he was able to drill down and be so present that he had the. Presence of mind to set up his traps and all the little, the booby traps and things. And then rather than being an anxious mess and an unable to take [00:11:00] action, he was patient. It is time or bite.

[00:11:03] It is time and of course it's fictional, but the outcome was hilarious and he was able to take good care of himself. And so that's this little like metadata dive on how being present, allows you to take care of yourself and be more powerful in the real-time moment. Oh, that's fun to think 

[00:11:21] Track 1: about.

[00:11:22] Neal: I love that. And it goes both ways. I love that you brought that example in, cause that's, anxiety about the future. We talked about the Grinch. That's not trauma or depression, even from our past regret, both can take you out of the moment, whether you're going into the future into the past, both of those can distract.

[00:11:39] And in the example of home alone, he had to perform right to really hold it together and defend his. How w I'm gonna, I gotta insert the line nail from him when they come to the door and he says, this is it. And he talks the gun.

[00:11:59] Don't get [00:12:00] scared. Now 

[00:12:03] LaRee: be present just to throw it out there. Remember frosty the snowman. What snow fan is putting a stake in having a 90 year life? Frosty knew he had limited time on the planet. Barely, not even a season. But was a pretty jolly fellow. And he, I think would not have been able to do that if he wasn't able to be present and accept where he was.

[00:12:26] And if he was all worried about melting then or resentful that he was just A man made out of snow. He would have not enjoyed any of his life. So another great play theory, moral in our Christmas Bonanza of holiday movies. 

[00:12:40] Neal: That is awesome. Yes. Frosty the snowman. Our time is not maybe that limited hopefully, but but the principle applies.

[00:12:48] We gotta make the most of the time we have yeah. Awesome. Will that is our Christmas special on beat? Present? We have more for you though. Next up is let go [00:13:00] and play and I'm going to turn it over. 

[00:13:02] LaRee: Okay. I, that good money, everybody out there knows what movie I'm going to talk about. Yeah, it is buddy.

[00:13:11] The elf. 

[00:13:12] Neal: Yeah. 

[00:13:15] LaRee: Oh my goodness. Th the movie, the concept, the story, and will Ferrell's performance. I don't know how he was able to be.  Playful. He just is a playful person, but I watched this behind the scenes and we will put a link on that. So you can check it out. I think it might be on Netflix.

[00:13:32]So you might have to be a subscriber to Netflix, but we'll check that out. But if you get a chance, look into how they made it. And I wasn't aware of this, but a lot of the scenes where buddy, the elf is wandering around New York city. Those were just two. They just threw welfare on an elf costume and let him loose on the streets.

[00:13:50] Neal: I didn't know that. That's amazing 

[00:13:53] LaRee: where there's a guy who looks like Santa, but he's in a jogging suit and buddy. Comes up behind him and says [00:14:00] Santa. And I guess that gentleman was not an actor. He was just, on the screen and on him and paid the most of opportunity, let go, and play. So they were like, and playing, I was there making the movie.

[00:14:13] I wanted to focus on one that I think is more relatable and that is. When Zoe Dasha Nell's character is singing and buddy the elf overhears her she's like in the employee's washroom and is singing in the shower. And later on, he approaches her about you sing beautifully. You should sing, and she's too embarrassed.

[00:14:33] She doesn't want to sing she's uncomfortable. And can we relate to that? Not wanting to let, go and play. And she's pulling people doing a shower where no one's listening or she thinks no one can hear her. But then when somebody else is there, everything changes. And I think that's the gist of let go and play.

[00:14:51] It's let go of caring what people are going to think and do what makes you happy with her. It was singing and when she's in the [00:15:00] shower, singing, she's letting go and she's doing what is playful and makes her happy singing this beautiful song. But then when she's out in front of other people, she can't let go.

[00:15:09] And. How much more would we get out of life? If we were able to really let go of the belief that other people's judgments or condemnations or expectations or anything are really going to affect our ability to feel joy when we're doing something that we love. So that's the one that I wanted to share and there's a clip.

[00:15:28] That I don't have it in this document, Neil, so 

[00:15:31] Neal: buddy, he's the epitome of let go and play and just being playful. And it's so interesting because he really does not care what others think. And they play off that a lot in the movie, that he's just buddy, the elf and  you want to be considerate and you never want to be intentionally putting others in uncomfortable situations, but.

[00:15:55] There's a balance act there because he has this purpose  [00:16:00] and drive, he's an elf and his goal. And, we're going to get to look outward and maybe this is where that would apply to, but as you really gain that confidence, and as you said, not caring. What others think and not putting, not allowing others to value your self worth, to, to put a price tag on your self-worth.

[00:16:21]That is I think, a preceding step that allows you to let go and play. Where that with buddy he's just himself and he's having fun. And he wins people over eventually, right? Yeah. 

[00:16:34] LaRee: Not the movie, wherever he's playing and playful, others are joining in and they're having a lot of fun too.

[00:16:40] And that has absolutely been my experience. It's truly a gift when we let go of our self-consciousness and our playful and invite others to join in. So you want to play this clip where he's inviting Zoe dash and L's character to a. Trying to convince her of the merit of letting go and singing in this case.

[00:16:57] Neal: Yeah, let's roll it. [00:17:00] Thanks for, I don't say, Oh, it's easy. It's just like talking to louder and longer and you move your voice up and down. I can sing, but I just choose not to sing, especially in front of other people. If you sing alone, you can sing in front of other people. There's no difference.

[00:17:14] LaRee: Actually. There's a big difference. 

[00:17:17] Neal: No, there isn't wait. I'm singing. I'm in a store and I'm singing I'm in a store. There's no second in the North pole. Yes, there is. No, it's not. We sing all the time, especially when we make toys. See. That is awesome. 

[00:17:42] LaRee: It's so fun. It's just an interesting thing to be aware of what it is.

[00:17:47] You're not letting go of. What are you hanging onto? That's keeping you from letting you go and playing. And buddy's a great example. And again We don't want to give too much of the movie away if you haven't seen it, but if you haven't seen it, [00:18:00] heaven's just pause and go watch it right now, later on, the singing becomes more important because there's this moment where it's pivotal to the plot that this crowd starts to sing.

[00:18:12]Let's leave it at that Zooey, Deschanel or Zooey Deschanel as she. Has hung out with buddy and experienced and watched him letting go and playing. She now in this moment has gained the courage, but he's no longer with her in this moment. He's doing something else, but she recognizes this need to get the crowd singing and she steps in.

[00:18:38] And helps out. So let's listen to that one. 

[00:18:40] Neal: Yeah. Perfect. Let's roll it. He's 

[00:18:43] LaRee: making a list, 

[00:18:44] Neal: checking it twice, gone to find out who's naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town. He sends you when you're sleeping. [00:19:00] He knows when you're away.

[00:19:09] shake. Oh, you 

[00:19:11] LaRee: better watch out. You 

[00:19:13] Neal: better not cry.

[00:19:23] I love that scene there at the end, too, because again, you can see. People who were really the shakers and movers in society were the ones willing to let go of? 

[00:19:37]LaRee: I like to think if you're so busy, worried about defining and identifying the box, you're never going to break free of it. And culturally, we always celebrate those who stepped out of the box and stepped onto it to new and greater Heights.

[00:19:52] Neal: Yes said, and that is definitely the lessons we learn here about let, go and play from [00:20:00] buddy 

[00:20:00] LaRee: the elf. Yeah. There's one more movie. I think that you got to talk just a little bit about. Which is nightmare before Christmas. And you are a big fan of this, and you're an inspiration to me to step out of my comfort zone and to explore and to be open, which is another way of summarizing, go and play.

[00:20:19] And if you think about Jack from the nightmare before Christmas he was out exploring and then he came across something unknown or new, and rather than shutting the door, being frightened, which. Maybe he should have, but, and he stepped out of the comfort zone and he tried new things and new relationships were formed and a great story was told and people grew and we're better for it.

[00:20:46] Neal: And the inherent curiosity of the song, what's this, when he's going through the town and just, exploring for the first time a snowflake and all these things, I think curiosity is such a powerful ingredient [00:21:00] as well to let go and play that. We see there with the nightmare before Christmas, for sure.

[00:21:05] I love that. 

[00:21:06] LaRee: Yeah. That's a powerful word. That's something to hang on to is curiosity. If you think about where children have it and where individuals start to lose it, or they no longer are interested. And the growth and development slows down exponentially. 

[00:21:24] Neal: I think those that maintain curiosity are the ones who really grow and progress in very powerful ways.

[00:21:30] So that is a very good nugget. 

[00:21:32] LaRee: Yeah. Wow. That is like a Lifespring. 

[00:21:36] Neal: That's right. Oh, Lifespring from Jack Skellington. That's ironic. But we got two more principles here to cover. Next up is accept and build and accept and build again. If you're tuning in for the first time and learning the principles that has to do with.

[00:21:56] Validating the offers that come your way, [00:22:00] whether from people or life in general, and then building upon those offers and and turning them into something even better. And so accept and build is a very powerful principle. And there were a lot of examples that we could have looked to But we're going to narrow in on Disney's the Santa Claus.

[00:22:21] And as you may recall, the film starring Tim Allen showcases the journey of an ordinary guy, assuming the role of Santa Claus. So a fun take on a classic story, but the lead character, Scott, Calvin. Is actually going through a nasty divorce, which is a very interesting element they included. And this is just a constant source of contention throughout the movie, as he navigates visitation rights with his son and simultaneously steps into the role of Santa Claus.

[00:22:55] And that's, I think the beauty here and where we really see this principle come [00:23:00] into play is he's resisting this new Call to be Santa Claus. And he's not only resisting that, but you can obviously see he's resenting the divorce and everything that means and how it's impacting his relationship with his son.

[00:23:16] And so it's really neat. As we develop through the movie and he really begins to embrace to, to accept not only. His role as Santa Claus, but to really just accept, the situation of, the divorce and everything going on with his family, as he accepts it. He not only is able to build his new life and really grow into that role of Santa, but he's actually able to build a much better relationship with his son and his ex-wife and even her new man that's in her life now.

[00:23:57] And there's this beautiful monologue at [00:24:00] the end that we want to play for you now. Where he goes into this. So let's listen to that. I think it's a much better idea that you stay here with your mom and Neil freely. No bus, Charlie. I can't be selfish. I can't be with you all the time. We're a family.

[00:24:21] You, me, your mom and Neil. And they need to be with you too.

[00:24:40] And don't go yet. I 

[00:24:41] LaRee: have something for you.

[00:24:49]Neal: It's my Christmas present for you with the custody papers. I want you to come and see, you can count [00:25:00] on it

[00:25:08] Merry Christmas. So again, we see as we stop resisting. The trials the new opportunities in this case as well, that come our way as we really accept those and then build upon them, we are able to take even a, an undesirable situation and really redirect that even, and turn it into something much more beautiful.

[00:25:34] LaRee: Yeah. They stay there's the same one. God closes a door, he opens a window and it's a great example of yeah. His marriage ended. But there was a window that opened, so he could continue to have this relationship. And he has a new role. Santa Claus is a pretty boss role and I love the idea of acceptance because.

[00:25:53]In this principle, we have to take the action and it's up to us at risk squarely upon our [00:26:00] shoulders to take that step. 

[00:26:02] Neal: There's lots of movies. Like I mentioned, that we could also touch on, there's the classic animation stop animation, Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer, where. He accepts his glowing nose and used it for good.

[00:26:14] And it's worth noting in the beginning. They're trying to hide his nose and make him feel ashamed, but it's only in embracing it and stepping up to the plate and capitalizing on his shining knows that they're able to save Christmas. So there's another example. All right. One more principle to extract here and a great Christmas classic.

[00:26:34] Laurie, tell us about look outward. 

[00:26:37] LaRee: I have heard some people say they haven't seen this movie because they consider it too old fashion. I'm just like, stop that snap out of it. You just need to go watch it's a wonderful life. And if you're still not sure, watch something that talks about, maybe we'll find a link and put it backstage about how this movie came to be.

[00:26:55] And it was just, it's a wonderful backstory and won't go into that, but [00:27:00] it's a treasure that we have this movie and Jimmy Stewart. Who does a wonderful job portraying the protagonist. It goes, it's shows us a moment in his life when he's a young boy or young man, he's working at the druggist the pharmacist shop and that man's name is Mr.

[00:27:22] Gower. And it's apparent through a verse. Looking or from Jimmy Stewart's character, seeing a telegram that has come. And Mr. Gower's behavior that Mr. Gallagher's son has just been killed in the war. And mr. Gower, isn't right in his head. He's obviously. Really upset and Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey realizes that the pharmacist has sent the wrong drugs to a family in need, and he realizes that they could be poisoned and he takes the fall.

[00:27:57]So we're gonna share that clip with [00:28:00] you really quickly, 

[00:28:03] Neal: really bright advisor characters.

[00:28:08] What I said,

[00:28:16] right? How did you know that? Boy?

[00:28:22] LaRee: You don't know what you're 

[00:28:23] Neal: doing. You put something wrong on those capsules or you're on your own. You got the telegram and you're upset. You put something bad, 

[00:28:30] LaRee: those capsules, it wasn't your fault, Mr. Gower. 

[00:28:34] Neal: Just look and see what you did up in the bar. The bar it's poison. I know you feel bad.

[00:28:54] I know you hear me.

[00:29:00] [00:29:00] LaRee: Oh, that's a tough one to watch 

[00:29:02] Neal: because George 

[00:29:03] LaRee: he's just trying to be helpful. He is looking outward. He needs. Able to recognize that Mr. Gower's in pain. And so he's willing to be more patient when Mr. Gower is angry and actually hitting him. And it's just a beautiful example of George, even at a young age, being able to recognize this man's very.

[00:29:28] Real deep need and watching out for him and then watching out for that family, that how would they have felt if they'd gotten the wrong medication and possibly died. And then how would Mr. Gower have felt again, the druggist, if he was responsible for killing a family, he could have gone to jail. So the wonderful thing about this, it's like this little taco of lookout word play theory because it's this cosmic wraparound because, and obviously the writers have done a beautiful job.

[00:29:57] But later on at the end of the movie, [00:30:00] when George Bailey is in dire straits, he is in need of some funding and some money to come through. And it's a beautiful moment. It's a wonderful moment in the movie where the townspeople rally behind him. And at this moment, someone shows up and says, quiet everyone.

[00:30:22] There's a telegram. And I let's just play it. And then I'll talk about it. 

[00:30:27] Neal: Yes. Okay. Let's roll it.

[00:30:35] quiet. Quiet. I'll get this. It's from London. Oh. Mr. Gower cable need cash. Stop my office instructed to advance you up to $25,000. Stop he hall and Merry Christmas Sam Wainwright.

[00:30:53] LaRee: did you catch that? It's a little hard to follow. And the first few times that I watched the movie, I didn't put [00:31:00] two and two together, but this person comes in and announces that when Mr. Gower. Who is now an old man heard that George Bailey needed help. He telegraphed a former resident of the community.

[00:31:16] That was an old friend named Sam Wainwright who had become quite wealthy and asked, let him know that George Bailey needed help. And Sam Y Wainwright then replied, saying you got up to. Back in their day. It would've sounded like millions, but $25,000. And so what a beautiful thing that here, Mr.

[00:31:39] Gower had the opportunity to look outward and do what was within his power. That to then help out George Bailey. I just. Love that's a special moment for me. I always cry. I always tear up 

[00:31:53] Neal: the thought of people not watching anyone going through your life and not watching this movie is really sad to me.

[00:31:59] Cause I [00:32:00] think there are, it really is. So if I put together life one Oh one as a course that everyone was required to take, this would be a part of the curriculum. 

[00:32:08] LaRee: It usually. I put together a curriculum. 

[00:32:13] Neal: Yeah. I will do helped put together the curriculum. I love how George Bailey, he did the right thing and he looked outward even when he knew that Mr.

[00:32:24] Gower, wasn't maybe going to be understanding and he wasn't initially, and that can be really hard. Those moments are hard to look outward when you're not going to be understood when there's lots of opposition. And, but you gotta do what's right. And I love that example here because. He does make the courageous decision, even though it costs him at least initially in that moment.

[00:32:48] And so that I think is very good. 

[00:32:50] LaRee: Oh, it's so true. And that, that is the some real amazing force behind this principle of looking outward. It gives you [00:33:00] courage and. I think for me it's because when I am looking outward, even when it's in the face of something and I've had to make some tough decisions and this principal has saved me because I don't go back and second guess and think, Oh, should I have done this?

[00:33:13] Or did I do it right? Cause I can go back and say, I know I was looking outward at the other person's best interest. And then even if. My efforts were rejected. Like George Bailey's were in that, that first clip. I can know that my intentions were aligned with my core beliefs of my authentic self and wanting to help the other person.

[00:33:34] And even if I got it wrong, even if I did the absolute worst thing in that scenario, because I misjudge things, I can still rest that I was thinking of the other person. And so it's a great way to. Encourage yourself to take the step to do those things that might take boldness beyond what you really feel because  you're thinking about that other person.

[00:33:56] Neal: And to have that as a guiding compass is just a [00:34:00] game changer as well. I love also how evident it is. Not that this is a reason or should be an objective and looking outward, but your net worth is not as powerful as your network. And when you see all the lives that George Bailey. Impacted in such a positive way in how they all come through for him in the most dire of circumstances, it's just such a powerful reminder of how important it is to build relationships and especially through looking outward and serving others and being there for them.

[00:34:36]Just what a safety net that is for you throughout life. And I can attest to that in my own life. How many. Countless times I have been saved, maybe not in as dramatic fashion as George Bailey, but certainly in dire circumstances because of, previous times where I had the courage to look outward and be there for people.

[00:34:58] And then that karma came back [00:35:00] for me. And so that was just such a beautiful moment in this film. 

[00:35:03]LaRee: It's wonderful because in different cultures you can call it a parable of Christ where cast your bread upon the water. It will come back, you can call it karma. There's. All kinds of other ways of labeling this idea that when we put ourselves out there for another person, it's going to be compensated often in ways that are larger than what we initially our initial investment was.

[00:35:25] And I really. I have seen that so many times, and this is one of the principles that people consistently will return to me. And thank me for introducing them to, or share an experience where they have been completely convinced of the authenticity of. Of this idea. So yeah, Christmas, it's a wonderful time because I think we, the season invites us to look outward.

[00:35:50] We're buying gifts for the other person is sometimes, it's all about what am I going to get for Christmas. But I think the most joy and satisfaction comes when, where. Thinking [00:36:00] about the other person. And I just have to end on a lookout word movie with frosty the snowman, going back to that it's a trite little tale.

[00:36:09] It's ridiculous. It's a snowman, but what a beautiful little message that when Karen, who is Frosty's little friend, it becomes too cold and it looks like she's not going to survive. The cold frosty is willing to go into the greenhouse because he knows it will save Karen's life. And. Yeah, he makes that sacrifice and he does it willingly.

[00:36:30] And we, we have that warm, wonderful feeling because I think we understand the truth of that principle of looking outward rather than trying to grasp, take and hold onto whatever we can get for ourselves. That's the source of true joy and happiness. 

[00:36:46] Neal: Oh, that's such a good example. And I love look outward.

[00:36:51] I love that. It's the last principle that we talk about because it's such a powerful one. And this time of year, it's all about giving. And I think look [00:37:00] outward is just such a natural such a natural principle to talk about as we look to give gifts and and to sacrifice our comforts, to hopefully lift the spirits of others.

[00:37:12] I love that. 

[00:37:13] LaRee: That's awesome. 

[00:37:15] Neal: Larry, this has been so fun, so insightful, and I love getting on here to just dive into these amazing principles of happiness. 

[00:37:25] LaRee: I really just scratched the surface though on all these principles and these movies. So we really hope people will step up and share so we can maybe talk about next year.

[00:37:34] We can talk about the ideas that they found. 

[00:37:36] Neal: Yes. I love that. As you can see, these principles are everywhere and we found some examples in Christmas movies, but we want you, as Lori said, to keep your ears to the ground, open your minds and hearts and see, and observe where they are in your life. And then share those examples, because we're all about practicing [00:38:00] the skill of happiness here on the happiness playbook.

[00:38:03] And. Life is a team sport and we are so glad to have you on the team. Laurie, I am so glad to have you on my team. Thank you for joining me. 

[00:38:13] LaRee: Oh, it's been a pleasure. I always love talking about play theory, especially with you Neil. 

[00:38:17]Track 1: Merry Christmas to everyone have happy holidays and we will catch you next week for a very fun and unique episode of the happiness playbooks.

[00:38:29] So stay safe, stay happy. We'll catch you next week.

Failure is not the end of the’s the PATH! Today we explore Let Go and Play and how to pivot when things don’t work out the way we were planning. Remember that “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” - Winston Churchill.

CALL TO ACTION: When we began the Happiness Playbook we had big plans. We don’t want to be just another feel-good podcast that you tune into once and then forget about.

We wanted to start a movement of happiness, connection, and wellbeing! Well the movement has started and I’m so happy to report that we are in the top 35% of ALL podcasts!

But we have a goal and we want to bring you in the loop. We want to expand our reach and bring these principles of truth to the world. There are so many crazy, negative, hurtful, and downright HARD things going on and we want to combat that...but we need YOUR help!

Today I’m officially recruiting you onto our Pro Team. You are now in the Happiness big leagues and the time is more important than ever to bring the world positivity, light, and joy through these principles.

So here’s our play...we want to expand our reach and influence and if we get everyone who listens to gets just ONE more person to listen then we will reach our goal and be in the top 20% of podcasts. 

This Week’s PRO TIP is: 

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Calling all parents and caretakers! On today's show we sit down with Stephanie Whiting to discuss PLAY THEORY and parenting. We chat about parenting, marriage, anxiety, shyness, and performing and how PLAY THEORY positively impacts ALL of them! Such good content...

Stephanie is an amazing warrior momma of 6 kids (5 girls, 1 boy)…She loves spending time with her family. She’s a running, soccer, hiking, reading, and musical theater enthusiast. Her and her family recently bought a ranch and they love riding their horses into the sunset and caring for all 16 horses that are at their property. Stephanie is also the Momager for her her kid’s music group called Torch family music (see link below). 

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Take note of your day-to-day application of PLAY THEORY principles in a journal. Reflect on the experiences you’ve had and how you can better apply them in the future. This intentional reflection and application of the principles will help you exercise the muscle of happiness!

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