Marc Champagne: Mental Fitness for the Highly Driven and the Key to Limitless Potential

Marc Champagne Headshot


In this episode, I chat with the very insightful Marc Champagne and we dive deep into the subject of mental fitness with a special focus on those who are exceptionally driven.

Marc Champagne  is of course brilliant at the work he does but to me, his true talent is in presenting very simple solution to life’s big challenges. The more complicated the problem, I feel, the simpler Marc’s solutions get and there’s a very calm energy to all of Marc’s work. It feels nourishing, there’s no drama, no provocation there, the simplicity of it all, as I said, really stands out as you’ll notice during this conversation. I mention this because I hope this conversation will teach you to avoid overcomplicating things in life and take the simpler approach.

Drawing inspiration and lessons from the life of Elon Musk, we explore how some achieve staggering success, maintaining an intense pace without succumbing to burnout. Yet, is this level of dedication truly sustainable, or does it come at a hidden cost?

Marc sheds light on the delicate balance between ambition and self-care, revealing a combination that can unlock limitless potential without compromising mental well-being.

We also try to understand if the ideas popularised online impact how we experience our health. If you want to stay mission focused but also nurture your mental fitness and wellbeing, this conversation can help.

Dive in and discover the secrets to harnessing your drive while nurturing your mind.

We are all one question away from a completely different life.

About the guest-

Marc Champagne is a best-selling author, podcast host, keynote speaker, and mental fitness strategist who helps corporate teams and individuals enhance their mental well-being. Leveraging insights gained from over 300 interviews and studying leading minds such as Kobe Bryant, Maya Angelou, Coco Chanel, and Stephen Hawking, Marc trains people to ask better quality questions so they can clear out mental clutter, release pent-up stress, expand their clarity, and rev up performance.

Marc’s keynote presentations, mental fitness bootcamps, company retreats, and interactive workshops provide attendees with customized techniques and practices that equip them to overcome overwhelm, defuse emotionally charged situations, and clear out their minds so they can operate with greater clarity, focus, and innovation.

He is the author of the best-selling book, Personal Socrates: Better Questions, Better Lives; host of the top-50 ranked podcast Behind The Human; co-founder of KYO, a journaling app that reached 86.9 million people; and a sought-after speaker who provides mental fitness strategies to Fortune 500 companies such as VaynerMedia, Google Pixel, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, and many more.

Shownotes -

00:01:25 – Guest Introduction

00:05:10 – Mental fitness 101

00:07:00 – How mentally fit can we be with the pace we must maintain

00:09:55 – Gen z’s aggression and its impact on their mental health

00:14:30 – How we get in the way of our mental fitness

00:21:30 – #1 strategy to be less emotionally reactive

00:31:25 – Goal obsession and mental fitness

00:37:30 – Life approach of the spiritually awake vs that of an entrepreneur

00:40:20 – Detachment when you’re very goal focused

00:44:00 – How ideas popularised online impact our experiences

00:49:00 – Simplicity, curiosity, and solitude

00:57:28 – One fun question

Resources + Guest Info

KRATI: Yes, once again, thank you so much for being here. I am super excited that we are discussing what we’re discussing today, which is all about mental fitness, all about navigating this world that we are living in that feels, despite how used to we are of how things function, despite that it feels so strange almost all the time like, yeah, you get this feeling like, I don’t think this is how life was ever supposed to be. So yeah, I want to get your opinion on that. So let’s start with the very basic for someone who may not have found your content yet. What, according to you, is mental fitness?

MARC: Oh, well, great question. I mean, and great place to start. For me, mental fitness is quite simple. It’s really just anything that we do to train our minds to work for us instead of against us, includes mental fitness. So, it’s kind of like an umbrella term that captures mental health, mental performance, mental optimization, resiliency, all of that stuff but from the lens or the perspective of, we can do this, it’s empowering, just like physical fitness, like we can make the decision to exercise and move our body. We can also exercise and train our minds and it doesn’t require all of this expensive stuff or 30 day silent retreats and all that stuff, all helpful. I’m not at all knocking any of those, but I think we get real, we get hung up or we prevent ourselves from going down these paths of training our minds because we think that it’s complicated or we need all this stuff, but it literally can happen in seconds, not even minutes, seconds every day. And that’s where I get excited because all of this, I’m not inventing any of these kinds of modalities and practices, they’ve been around since the beginning of time, my job, or at least the way I see my job is to bring access to the practices through, relatable conversations and story and exactly what we’re doing today.

KRATI: Yeah, your podcast is amazing. Like it really hits home.

MARC: Thank you.

KRATI: I have to ask you, in your experience, like you share advice that is extremely practical that anybody can use. So even if someone were using all of those practices on a daily basis, do you ever think that we can reach a level of mental fitness that would be as it should be? As in, do you think the world gets in the way of that? Like in this world, living at this pace, we can only have so much mental fitness. Do you think that is ever like something that we should keep in mind because people do tend to go overboard with everything these days?

MARC: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s less about the world and more about us because if we focus on what we can control, then we can process and really handle anything because then it all comes back and this is going pretty deep, pretty fast, but it really just all comes back to our perspective of a situation and, you know, focusing on what we can control and how our mind is reacting to situations, including, you know, some of the things that you had talked about, I think even before we hit record, but just, or an introduction of how the world is, it feels heavy. There’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s just, there’s so much, but it feels like that because that’s how we’re viewing the world. It’s almost like we’ve put a lens in front of the world. It’s not to say that, you know, there are no, that the facts don’t support some of those feelings. They most certainly do, but there’s always an alternative to how we can view it. Usually that links back to, and this is something I think we’ve lost, especially in North America. We’ve lost a lot of fundamental core belief systems and, you know, a lot of that came from spirituality and religions and whatnot. And, you know, it’s not to, there’s so many different, so many different religions and spirituality kind of beliefs and whatnot out there. I’m not here to point anyone into one of them, but what I’ve noticed is we’ve lost all of them in a way. And then what happens then is like you, it’s like you’re out in the world without any kind of navigation system. So something huge happens and we don’t have a way to pause and zoom out and just see this from a perspective of, okay, how can I navigate this? Like, what is the path? And can I trust that, you know, whatever is happening is happening for me or what, again, that’s my belief system, right? So it’s trusting that there’s a reason behind something happening, which shifts your perspective and puts you back or has the ability to put you back into a thriving mindset versus what I would say the majority of the population is in right now survival mindset.

KRATI: I do wanna go deeper into this. This is a very, like this is a judgment. So this is not exactly a fact, it’s a judgment of mine, but I wonder if you’ll agree with me. We always say, like my parents would always say that we didn’t grow up with this kind of technology and neither did I, like my generation didn’t grow up, our generation didn’t grow up on technology. So we kind of have that way of getting through a day without being that engaged with our devices. But this generation, the Generation Z that is growing up with social media, with technology, being so constant and being so visible on social media all the time. But despite that, I feel like, despite the fact that they’re growing up with it, it still affects them way worse than it affects us like there is this extreme like form of aggression.

Aggression, in general, is growing in the world, but I kind of noticed that a lot more, like this is the activist generation. One reason I would say is because they care so much more, but also I feel like the approach has become very aggressive. Like we don’t wanna talk, we wanna get straight to burning things down, taking things apart. I don’t know if you’ll agree with me or maybe that’s just my perspective on things. But I wonder why that is.

MARC:  It’s a really good observation and judgment. And I do think it is that, and you’re not alone. I mean, I fall into thinking that as well, but when you pause though, and you start to look back in history, you can compare, go right back to the Roman times where there’s massive wars all the time. Everyone’s within, and that’s all disagreement and that’s violent disagreement. Or maybe a little bit closer, like think of in the 60s, I wasn’t around for that, but in the 60s where you had all of these riots and protests and stuff like that. So it’s just the circumstances and the landscape has changed with technology and so forth. But even with that, I remember, I’ve just seen writing my book, I remember seeing some of this coming up in the research.

There was a very similar narratives and fears and discussions when things like radio came into the picture. Then when television replaced radio, it was like, oh, we’re losing all that time within books and human to human and stuff like that. So this stuff plays out in, again, just different perspectives. But I think it all comes back, but that’s the thing is to be able to, and this is where the mental fitness comes in, to be able to see that and zoom out. Right, and this is why I read a lot of Stoic philosophy, because I remember doing the research on Marcus Aurelius, there was language in his meditations where if you were to update the English for today’s time, it would be hard to disassociate what he was writing about back in those days because it seems so similar. He’s writing things like, oh, I really, really need to get to a vacation and escape to the countryside to reset and things like that. And you think that’s thousands of years ago. So the only reason I’m sharing that is that, first of all, I think it helps in the fundamental topic that you brought up at the beginning that helps lighten our minds in a situation because we’re in it, and we see it, and we get hit by the content and the news headlines all the time.

So if we can just lighten the situation through some perspective, then we can more easily navigate the days because that’s where we win. We win in the minutes and the hours of the day, not the looking so far down the horizon like the world’s gonna end because of AI or this and that. It’s the moments, it’s those micro moments with our minds that we all have control to pause and shift, right? And then we feel a hell of a lot better and we can also make decisions from a different place and take different action and so forth.

KRATI: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think you have a more like something my listeners would appreciate more. I think I spend way too much time alone. That’s why when I go out, I’m like, oh, whoa, what’s happening? I think that’s, yeah, working from home and I’m anyways a loner, I always get very surprised when I go out and I’m like, okay, everything’s too loud, everything’s too much, we all need to calm down. But the perspective that you shared, I think that makes a lot more sense. But considering that, I would love to know what you think is getting in the way of mental fitness for all generations, not just Generation Z, but for all of us, because this is such an ongoing conversation. You would think we would have more appreciation for it. We would have like our own practices developed by this point, but we need people like you to constantly guide us. So what is it that gets in the way of it?

MARC: Well, I mean, our own minds, it’s ironic, our own minds get in the way of our own mental fitness because, and this is an opinion, of course, and observation, but what I see, and I’m victim to this as well, is we like to overcomplicate things. And are we like to look at situations and make them bigger than what they actually are? And then all of a sudden it’s like, okay, and the easiest people see, most people have experiences with their physical health. It’s like, I wanna get healthier, and whatever the reason is, whatever the goals are, and then it’s like, okay, I need to completely change my diet. I need to completely change my routine and incorporate exercise here, here, and here. And it’s just too much. It’s just not, we set ourselves up to fail. So it’s the same, I see the same thing when it comes to mental fitness, where there’s this interesting phenomenon with meditation where I often will hear people like, I have to get my meditation in. Well, just even that language, I have to get my meditation in, kind of defeats the purpose of the meditation, right? Versus just slowly making some small micro shifts to your day, that’s what I say, like seconds or minutes, like when your coffee or your tea is steeping in the morning to just slow down and check in with yourself. How do I feel today?

One word, and just acknowledge how you’re feeling, where you’re feeling that in your body, and then how do I want to show up today? Just doing that, just starting there and doing that for a week, you’re gonna notice the differences, and that takes minutes, not even minutes. Could take one minute to go through that cycle. So I think it’s just, again, just pausing and being realistic with, okay, what does my day look like? What are my current obligations? And then slowly getting to the point of, well, if I make these small shifts, then I’ll get closer to where I want to be. And that probably should be the first point of inquiry, is just like we do this with companies and brands all the time, but we don’t do this with ourselves often, is where am I at right now, or who am I right now, and how did I get to this place? What were the factors? Who were the people, circumstances? And do that from a place of non-judgment, just facts, gather the facts. All right, so I am this kind of person because of these things. Now, either you wanna stay down that track or often, and I mean, I think just humans in general, we like to evolve and progress, so there’s usually always room for improvement. Well, where do I want to be and who do I want to be? And spend some time just, again, from a place of no judgment, just like what would be the ideal day, an ideal life? How would I feel? Who would be there? What would I be doing? No rules, there’s no boundaries in the sense of like, well, I can’t do this, or I only have access to this amount of budget or money or whatever. Just blow all that stuff out. Just set the course, right? And then you can, then now you have data, you have insight to where you’re at, where you want to be, and you can start making the changes because now it’s the habits and the systems and what you do day in and day out it’s very binary. It’s either they lead you to where you want to be or they’re pushing you farther away. And when we know that stuff, again, with perspective, we can pause and think, okay, well, if I do this thing, like that’s completely derailing me from my path. No different than if you run some sort of campaign that is completely off of the objective for a brand, right? Oh, I wouldn’t do that because that’s, why would I spend money on that when that’s not where we’re trying to go, right? So it’s, again, it’s these perspective shifts and bringing different examples to show that basically we can do that for ourselves and our minds and so forth, which leads to everything else that we’re working on.

KRATI: Yeah, I think that’s very interesting because I really don’t wonder, even when we’re alone, we have this, like one of the reasons why we have to do the whole thing perfectly instead of doing what we can is, I think we kind of have this idea that we’re being watched all the time. Like, obviously we know we’re not being watched, but we’re gonna share this on Instagram. So it has to look a certain way. I think, I don’t know if you’ll agree with me, but I feel like we take ourselves so seriously. And I think that’s another narrative that does the rounds these days that you matter, you matter so much. And well, that’s a great thought, but at the same time, that also creates this pressure. Like, don’t take yourself so seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself. And I don’t know if you’ll agree, but maybe that sort of creates this pressure that we have got to get everything right and everything perfectly. You in your podcast would share all of these many, many resources that you have shared. They’re so helpful and they’re so full of content. But I’m not gonna try and do all of it because that’s not gonna help. You can just pick one thing. So why is it that we latch onto that narrative and we try to get everything absolutely right and then we’re on Instagram, we’re sharing it?

MARC: Well, yeah, I mean, I think that the point that comes up or intuitively surfaces from you as you’re saying that is no one cares as much as we think they care. But we act as if that is the case. It doesn’t sound nice, but yeah, true. Yeah, it’s just, I mean, like think of your own behaviour when you’re scrolling through social. I mean, you might see something that catches a, you know, microsecond of attention and like, oh, interesting. And I’m thinking even like close friends, you know, oh, interesting, I guess that’s what they’re up to. And that’s it. But on the other side of that, typically when preparing the post or taking the shot or the angle, it’s as if, you know, we think the person on the other side is just gonna drop everything and just sit there and dissect, okay, you know, where are they? What are they doing? What led to that? That’s just not happening, right? So just, you know, again, perspective, just relieve ourselves of that pressure and just live and be, you know, I mean, that takes some work and some self, you know, development and reflection, of course, to be ultimately just comfortable in our own skin and mind, right? And show up, you know, I guess you could say unapologetically ourselves and with confidence and just be, you know, that’s the ultimate. The more I study, you know, ancient kind of principles and religions and philosophies and stuff, they all come to the same conclusion for the most part. And that is just being ultra present and self-aware and living truly in the present moment. And if we can do that, then you’re not, you’re not renumerating about the future, you’re not reminiscing about the past and getting stuck in depressive loops and stuff like that. You’re just here right now. And that’s, you know, it seems like a grandiose thing to say, but we all have access to the now, all of us, right? And just even saying that or telling ourselves that, you know, even if it’s only for a minute or two, we all have that, you know, take a couple deep breaths and you’re, you know, you can tap into that, that current moment.

KRATI: Yeah. I think like your words were this advice that you give out, it’s golden advice that zoom out. Like you always remind us to zoom out for in that moment and see like everything, all of it that you’re obsessing over, because it does help. It sounds like, I think one of the reasons is as someone who has been at the receiving end of advice, unless it’s complicated, unless it requires a lot of work, it doesn’t seem very effective advice. It seems like, but my problem is so huge. This advice is not gonna help. It has to be as complicated as the problem is. But this advice that you always give like zoom out, I think it’s huge because if you zoom out, nothing seems as complicated, nothing seems as serious.

MARC: The thing is with that kind of advice is that we can prove it to ourselves, because we’ve all been there. Like we, the big challenge or whatever the situation that we’re currently in, no doubt feels huge, you know? And it’s stimulating all kinds of different emotion. But just if you pause and you take a look at, let’s say the last five years, and just take 10 minutes to identify the biggest moments in the past five years of your life, or the moments that you felt the most stress and most scared and all of that, well, somehow you’re over here on the other side of that. And when you look at it from a timestamp, or if you look at our lives like a book and we have different chapters, it’s just a chapter. And often it’s just a paragraph within a chapter, but it feels like the whole book in the moment. So we just have to remind ourselves like that because we have to be real with our biology. We didn’t get the software upgrade to our mind to support current 2023, 24, the current era we’re in. We’re still stuck way back into survival thinking. So just to give us some credit, that’s what’s happening. So we do have to take a pause and bring in some of these mental fitness or reflective practices, because if we stay on autopilot or default mode, sure, we’re gonna default to that survival-based programming and then we get stuck, you know? And we get stuck in all of those emotions and those feelings.

KRATI: Yeah, that’s so true. And what you said, I think that rings really true that I always feel like we have lacked, like our ability to adapt is simply not up to the challenge. It often feels like that. Yeah. Yeah. That’s so true. Yeah, totally. Yeah, I’ll share like this funny thing that happened. A couple of days back, India landed the satellite on moon. I don’t know if you know about that. And it was supposed to be on TV. Like we were supposed to watch it live. And my mom comes into my room, she’s like, it’s happening now, come on, come on, we’ll watch it together. And I’m like, no, no, no, I’ve got to release my YouTube video. Mom’s like, you think anybody’s watching your YouTube video right now? We’re landing on, like we’re gonna be the first country to land on this corner, south pole of the moon. So I was like, yes, you’re right. Nobody cares about the video.

MARC: Mom for the win.

KRATI: Yeah, mom always gave you the best reality check.

MARC: Well, and the other people too, kids, like young kids, I mean, just watch them. They are in the present, they’re pure joy for the most part and just living their best life and not, haven’t been conditioned yet at this point to get stuck and take their attention away from what matters most in that moment. And the thing is, again, from a perspective, we’ve all been there so we know it’s possible.

So we can go back there. Just takes a little work.

KRATI: Yes, absolutely. But I have to ask you, like in your experience, what happens, what changes within us and how can we check for it? So to prevent that sort of getting lost in the pace of things, like going from that innocence to becoming consumed by this idea of how we need our life to be, and how can we check for it in ourselves and in younger kids?

MARC: Well, I mean, I think the big thing is to take the time to think and do some reflection on, going back to those bigger questions and like, who am I right now and how did I get to that place? Because stuff happens in between the moment when we are that curious child to just even starting to go to school. And all of a sudden, you’re not asking as many questions because you start to fear, well, if I don’t answer properly, my peers are gonna laugh or whatever. Like, and it just slowly, you slowly start to become conditioned by society in general is probably the biggest thing. And then we continue and then that’s what’s happening with all of us even present day, no matter what age you are, we’re being conditioned by outside factors. So with that and knowing that, I think that ease, not the easiest because it’s not necessarily easy, but the thing that we can do that will give us the biggest shot is, well, there’s a couple. I think one being, we have to set our environments internally and externally up to thrive. So for example, again, coming back to physical or let’s just actually nutrition is a good example. I mean, if you just load up your place of living with unhealthy choices, eventually, you’re gonna start grabbing those things because you’re gonna run out of willpower by mid afternoon and all of a sudden that’s gonna look really healthy for you and you’ve got marketing running against you, all of these different things. So it’s the same thing though when it comes to what we put into our minds. This is like this on social media. I mean, this isn’t new information. We know that there are teams that are there and trained to hijack our attention as much as possible because that’s how those things work. So if we know that, then we need to set up some boundaries, maybe we only load up those apps at certain times during the day, not the first thing in the morning when our minds are clean and not full of inputs, outside inputs, like that’s the time to do the best thinking and to do some stuff for ourselves and so forth. So it’s just setting up the environment and setting some ground rules in support, always have it linked to something in terms of your personal or professional goals, but in support of who you’re trying to become or who you’re striving to become. If you have some big tasks that are coming up that mean a lot to you, I mean, get those things done first thing in the morning without distraction. We’ve heard that before, but it’s the same thing when it comes to how we want to feel and how we want our mind to operate. So I think it’s that. I mean, it’s just being conscious to what we’re almost automatically or on autopilot doing day in, day out, that isn’t serving us. And I fall victim to this as well. I’m probably on social media more than I’d like to be, but I definitely have some boundaries there. And I definitely have my phone set up that it’s not a notification center where I’m constantly being hijacked. It’s set up in a very intentional way. That’s just a couple of things that you can immediately do and you’ll quickly, quickly feel and see the benefits of, oh, wow, I’m less reactive. I feel like I have more ownership of my time and my energy because you’re not living on other people’s agendas. That’s the big thing. And it used to be, here’s the thing, we’re talking about social media, but we used to talk about the same thing when it came to email. It was the same things like, oh, you’re just sitting there responding to email nonstop 24 hours a day, which you probably can because there’s enough volume of email. And the email, you keep getting the alerts. You’re trying to work, you’re trying to do a PowerPoint or something like that, and you’re getting alerts and notifications. Like shut all that off, right? You don’t have to have that on.

KRATI: So true. All of this is, thank you so much for sharing all of that. And just to lend more credence to what you said about the world being rigged against us. I recently had Dr. Patrick McNamara on the show who understands how inception works, lucid dreaming works. And he actually shared with me that the whole thing about inception, like incepting ideas into your dreams, that’s a real thing. And marketing people can actually use that against you to incept ideas into your dreams, which is very scary. So it- Wow. Yeah, it reminds you, you are absolutely right. We have got to have our guard up against all the things that are not serving us. And again, the ideas you shared, they’re massively helpful. But I want to ask you, because we talked about not taking yourself so seriously, understanding that not everyone’s watching you. And, but then there are people who have these massive goals, massive missions, people that you researched and talked about in your content. People like that, they are consumed by their goal. They do work with this idea that my work matters on like a whole other level. For them, what did you observe were the things, traits, behaviours that they practice that helped them be mentally fit?

MARC: Well, you’re right. They all have massive objectives, massive goals. They think in the terms of possibility versus constraint and that, you know, I don’t like, sure, great idea, but we don’t have the resources to do this. Like that just doesn’t enter into the vocabulary. It’s more so, okay, well, we may not have that right now, but they start asking questions of what’s, you know, what we do have and what’s possible. So there’s two things that come to mind immediately. One, first one is an overwhelming theme that kind of everyone that I’ve studied or interviewed at this point have figured out what works for them to still their mind and take time. Even the billionaires where you would think, oh yeah, they’re running multiple companies. There’s a lot going on. They’re still taking time to read, to think and just still the mind without inputs so that they can see the path forward. Because that’s the thing, we all have the answers. We have a lot of questions and we all have the answers to those questions. What gets in the way is all of the mental debt and mental clutter. And when we take that time to do the long walk, a lot of them are taking walks, you know, in the middle of the day or first thing in the morning, or if they’re traveling to a new city to adjust to the time zone, just taking a walk in silence and you let the mind breathe and still, you know, just to surface the insight, then you see it. It’s oh, well, that’s the path. That’s what I need to say. And we’ve all experienced this, you know, people get ideas when they’re, you know, in the shower or they’re going for a run. It’s the same thing. The commonality is that you’re not jamming your mind full of inputs and then expecting results or clarity to surface out of that. It’s really hard, right? It’s like, what’s a good analogy? It’s like looking into a clear pond that you can see straight to the bottom of the bottom of this pond, but then, you know, taking a stick and stirring it up with stuff. Now it’s the same environment, but you can’t see the bottom anymore. But if you just let that sit and let things calm down, then all of a sudden you have this beautiful view and we can all do that. And what’s key is though, is you have to find, you know, some of them it’s meditation, some of them it’s breath work, some of them it’s taking a walk. For me, it’s journaling and breath work. We have to find what works for us. And the easiest question to do that is just to answer or ask yourself, what are three to five things that you can do that are really important for you to be able to do? So the first one is trying to find about your mind, your mind’s goal, activities, rituals, practices, that if I do these things, put my mind in a calm and happy state and try those things out and make sure they’re part of your equation. The second thing and this has been coming up a lot, but this is, I’m probably a little bit biased because I just wrote probably a couple of months ago, but he’s an interesting human, that’s for sure. You either love him or you hate him, but you can’t, like we can’t deny the innovation and the impact he’s had across multiple industries at this point. And talk about someone that is operating from a possibility mindset and the way that he does it is through questions. If you think the reason SpaceX came to be, just to stay on theme of your space exploration and the landing on the moon and whatnot, was the initial question and it still is this question, how can we colonize Mars, right? But then it doesn’t stop there. It’s like, okay, well, if we need a rocket to get to Mars, then like, what does that take? Well, it turns out there are people already building rockets, but it costs a fortune. And it doesn’t seem sustainable or attainable. So, okay, well, what’s required to build a rocket? What components are required to build a rocket? And it kept going with the questions and he didn’t stop there. Well, what are the raw materials within the components to make the rocket? And then the last question, and this is what did it, can we source those raw materials for those components and build them ourselves? And then that question ended up resulting to them building rockets at 2% of what they were being quoted from other manufacturers. So it’s just a series of questions. And it just takes time to, a bit of time and a bit of intentionality to pause and ask them.

KRATI: Yeah, it’s an awesome combination. Like always, always being very aware of the possibilities and stillness. If you could, like those are two very powerful and not a combination that comes to you right away. Like you wouldn’t think of it, but the way you put it, the way you describe it, it makes so much sense. In fact, every successful person that I’ve ever admired when you read their stories, it’s like, well, it’s gonna happen. So I just have to figure out how I’m going to get there. So that makes sense. It kind of also answers this one question that I’d written down was, do you see like, are the habits of the spiritually awake versus the entrepreneurs versus the athletes? Are there any remarkable differences between how they approach their challenges and their rituals? If you wanna add anything to that, I mean, I kind of got the answer, but yeah. If you wanna add anything.

MARC: No, that’s an interesting perspective. I haven’t really thought about that before. I think because entrepreneurs are interesting in the sense that they definitely have some of these practices to think and ideate at levels that most don’t reach. But they are also the group of people statistically that have the highest rates of mental health challenges. And typically the reason you see that is because they are so all in on their mission and business that they’re just going for it. They have, for sure they have some of these practices or they wouldn’t be able to ideate at that level. But I think the difference is eventually, not for everyone, but I’ve seen enough of this happen where they’ll build these companies and then they’ll reach a certain level of success, but then they’ll come to this realization that something is way off in their lives and usually because they hit some sort of mental wall, where they just feel completely burnt out. And then that’s when things start to change and then all of a sudden, and you see, there’s a lot of examples. They start creating businesses out of more intentionality and helping others and so forth and whatnot. So I think that, I think when you look at some of the spiritual or more, how did you describe them?

KRATI: The spiritual awake versus the entrepreneurs versus the athletes. So because those are different personalities, you would not put them in the same category.

MARC: But I think everyone, for the most part, maybe not everyone, but many eventually get to that place of being spiritually awake in some capacity at one point. Everyone goes through a certain period of, or a certain amount of, you can call it struggle or experimentation before getting there. And there are similarities across the groups, but because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how successful the company is. If you’re completely broken as a human, there’s usually some sort of reflection or some sort of moment where like, what can I do to feel better and more aligned with my work? And eventually you get there, then you can combine. That’s when it’s beautiful and you see where both worlds combine.

KRATI: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, especially with the way you put it. That makes absolute sense. You know, these days I am reading Bhagavad Gita and all of that. So they really promote this idea of detachment. Be detached, be detached. That is the path of spirituality. When you feel no extreme joy, no extreme sorrow, no matter what’s happening, that’s when the spirituality thing really takes hold. But I don’t, this is something I really struggle with. There is no way for you to have Elon Musk level of success or forget success, even do that level of work, whether you have success or not, that’s secondary, but to be able to do that kind of work without being really driven to get that thing done. So how can you have detachment? To me, like it’s a little off topic, but I always wonder how do those two things could possibly coexist where you can have detachment and then walk the path of spirituality and then also be this freaking driven that you’re working 18 hours a day. That, I don’t know, that confounds me.

MARC: Well, I mean, I think Elon’s not, you know, he’s a good example in terms of pushing the boundaries of thought and innovating and whatnot. He’s not, and he admits this, and I use some of these quotes, he’s not the perfect example for mental wellbeing and mental fitness. I mean, he said, I’ll paraphrase it in some capacity, but he says something to the fact of, I don’t recommend anyone work these amount of hours. I only did this to save Tesla or Tesla would have died. And he was referring to, I think about a three month period where he literally slept in the factory to make it work. And the only thing I can relate that to, I talked about this with a team recently that I was doing some mental fitness with is anyone that are parents that have kids that you know that, let’s say you broke your ankle or something and it was in like, you know, cast or boot or something and you’re, you know, you saw your child in a burning building, you wouldn’t think about the broken ankle. You would just go immediately. And Elon, this is my opinion, but I feel like he thinks of his companies like that. That he’s just, whatever it takes for that company to survive, he’s not even processing everything else that’s going on or whether it’s good or bad or the after effects to his health. He has, he’s operating purely from a place of the company needs to survive because he is so attached to the higher mission of why that company exists in the first place. So a better example though, where I think someone has combined both, you know, spiritual detachment, but also works a lot and does a lot of good is someone like a Tony Robbins who has multiple businesses. I think over a hundred different businesses running, bringing in well over north of a billion dollars in sales and is, I mean, I don’t know him personally, but I have studied him quite a bit. Seems to be pretty spiritually awake and connected and does this from a place of love and truly trying to help as many people as possible. So it’s possible, it definitely is possible. It’s just a matter of, again, it’s what you want. You know, Elon wants to do that. Well then, you know, that’s what he’s doing. I’m from the school of, well, we can learn and take the great things about Elon, which to me is first principle thinking and that line of questioning and so forth, and then edit and take the things and remove the things that don’t really resonate, which to me is his self care or lack of self care and bring in people that, okay, I do admire and respect and see for me personally, how I can combine those kind of examples and to make it work for my reality. And I mean, and essentially that’s what I’m trying to do just through studying all these different people, curating different practices, different ideas, different belief systems and making a recipe that aligns at least for me, that I know will, that’ll work and help progress forward and help others do the same thing.

KRATI: That makes a lot of sense. I have one more, like another weird question on this. I know a lot of people, my mom, she grew up in poverty, like extreme poverty, my father had to struggle a lot, from sleeping on the street to like, till he built his business. So I often like burning out was not a thing in their generation, like these are the words they use, this was not a thing, like something was picked up. So they always say that this just wasn’t a thing in our time and we did all of like, my mom’s stories, it’s hard to imagine, it sounds like a movie story when she describes things that she had to go through. But she honestly never burned out. So I wonder all of these narratives that do the round, like you said about Elon Musk, it wasn’t a consideration for him because he needed to get that thing done for Tesla. He simply couldn’t allow for that thought to be a factor in it, like his mental wellbeing. Do you think that that is something to be considered? Like if you are not so sensitive to all the narratives doing your round, you could actually cross the finish line and still be okay? That’s a good and big question. A lot of research, a lot of examples, I think. Yeah, yeah, for sure. Because there are people who have like Steve Jobs, he didn’t just do that to himself, he did it to other people, like he would put them in these time constraints and you would tell them, get it done, yeah.

MARC: Yeah, well, and that doesn’t necessarily relate to everyone, but I mean, one interesting thing that did come up quite often in researching Elon was, because he’s known as well for really working his team to the max in what almost, time seems like just not even human levels. But for the most part, and of course there are exceptions, but it seems like there’s a generality that most that work for him or with him know that and are pushed, but still respect him and the mission. It’s almost like a weird thing when you, there were so many examples when I was doing the research where someone, you could read it and say, wow, they are on the edge of burnout, max stress, but at the same time wouldn’t have it any other way. So it’s this, I think, coming back to the space example, and I mean, I’m in Canada, but I’ve only heard this from US citizens back when they were first landing on the moon for the first time. It’s just like the whole country was behind that. And it seems like, same thing with Steve Jobs, you’re behind this whole mission of bringing so many different innovations to the world, that innovation and that goal and the vision just kind of takes over, right? And I still think it’s possible. I think about my past life when I was in the corporate space where I was on a track of being promoted and whatnot and going through kind of the ranks of that world. And I remember every time I would shift jobs, people were like, oh, you’re, congratulations, but you’re just gonna get completely swamped by email and never gonna have any time to do your work and so forth. And this story would play out over and over because the norm, and this is not, I’m not at all, you know me well enough from the book and whatnot, I’m not anyone special, but I would never accept that because I didn’t live in my email inbox. Yeah, I went in and I was intentional with a couple of times per day and I cleaned it out really fast and got my work done. So that’s where I started to learn that the narratives that others are putting out there and that the kind of society is putting out there as a whole, we don’t have to accept. So I don’t think we have to accept that we have to burn out and completely destroy our mind and body to innovate at a level like an Elon Musk, for example. I think there’s ways to do that in our own way by also prioritizing our health and wellbeing because it just, it seems like it makes more sense that if your mind is healthy, you’re gonna have better and clearer ideas and be able to execute on those ideas for a longer period of time. That just, I don’t know, intuitively makes sense to me. Just like if you’re gonna eat well, you’re probably gonna feel well. You know, it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.

KRATI: Yeah, that’s so true, that’s so true. But I will say one thing, it’s gonna sound very strange to you, but you said you’re not someone special and you just knew how to get this thing done. But I will say this, the way you approach all of these topics that create so much chaos every time they discuss, I think there’s an innocence to how you approach it. There is a simplicity to how you approach it that seems very lost in how we, the rest of humanity is approaching these things. I think we need more of that. We need less of this, the constantly, constantly complicating what should be natural to us. I think we’ve forgotten that some of these things that we talk about are supposed to come naturally to us. But even the language gets complicated. Oh, you’re not supposed to say supposed to, you’re not supposed to say should. And you’re not, I’m like, okay, seriously, then you just wanna leave the conversation. So I find that comfort that so lays in your content because there is a simplicity that is maintained throughout all pieces of it. And I appreciate that. I think you have figured out something that the rest of us haven’t figured out, but thankfully we have your content.

MARC: Well, I received that that lance straight in the heart. Thank you. I mean, I’m just trying to, like everyone, tap into our own energetic makeup and figure out how best to work kind of in unison. And I do know that as a characteristic in my makeup around simplicity and taking kind of complex situations and just zooming out and getting to the core of whatever’s going on as something that is just part of my makeup. So yeah, I just run with it as much as possible. And I think the big thing though is just to stay, just to stay curious, and continue to learn and study and not be, I remember thinking like when I was gonna profile Elon, I’m like, oh, this is probably gonna get some controversy and not from a clickbait standpoint, but I’m sure, because he’s a polarizing figure. Even like you said, like Steve Jobs, and frankly, any huge innovator of our time or people that have passed, there’s always another side. But for me, I didn’t want to stifle that curiosity just because of that, because I think, like we’ve been talking about, there’s stuff we can learn from everyone. And like the people that we don’t like or don’t respect for whatever reason, there’s always something to learn there that we can take the good and leave the bad. And if we can live like that from a curious perspective in a learning mentality, then stuff just starts to happen. And people show up, opportunities show up, and you start feeling better, and it’s not complicated.

KRATI: I’m always criticized for saying this. I always tell people, you’ve gotta cultivate more independence. You have to learn to love your solitude. You know, we may believe ourselves to be social beings, but we have an ability to be completely independent of society and I always get criticized for it. I’m always told that this is a very unhealthy way of living life. You are not doing things in a healthy way. But I have to ask you because I see, again, as I said, like I see a kind of serenity in your content. I see like the sense of calmness in your content. How can people cultivate that? With all the competition, all the noise, can we make a place within ourselves where we can just retreat to and not give a shit about what’s going on? Is that possible?

MARC: Oh, I mean, it’s more than possible. I think it should be a requirement. But with the caveat that we are, I think you and I probably resonate in the same thing around the idea that time, you know, with ourselves and reflection and calm, it works well for us. Others, you know, thrive in being with other people in community and stuff. I mean, I get some of that as well, but I would much prefer walking in nature by myself. I’ll get more energy from doing that. So I think first and foremost is just to be radically honest with ourselves and that’s when it, that does take some time to think. And again, a simple question, like when do I feel my best? Is it with other people? Is it in this circumstance? Like what factors or characteristics support me feeling at my best and identify that. And then it’s just a matter of making sure that those moments that you again, set up your environment internally and as well as externally to support those feelings, right? Then it just leads to small unlocks along the way.

KRATI: I Want you to share one thing here, because I know you were like, you also had a lot of success in the corporate world and corporate world is you can’t isolate yourself when you’re part of a corporate setting. So I wanna ask you, did you reach this place of like loving your solitude? Were you always like this or was this something you consciously cultivated? Because I think that would be very helpful.

MARC: Even in the corporate world, I mean, this is kind of where my journey all started. The early mornings I would spend just myself. And that’s where my journaling practice started. I typically would have at least 30 minutes to an hour every morning just for me, no inputs, no phone, no email, physical exercise mixed with some sort of journaling and so forth. And it’s the same thing now. I’d say probably an hour and a half at this point is just quiet time, reading, learning, thinking, all of that. And like I said, I mean, it works for me. It seems to work for a lot of others. I would definitely say the vast majority that I’ve interviewed or studied have done that as well. Have some sort, especially in the morning, just because we had just have more control over our energy and our time. Because as the day goes on, there’s just more opportunities for our time and our schedule to be hijacked, right? So it’s again, it’s like setting ourselves up for success. So I think it was critical. I mean, I don’t think I would have, not even, I think I know I wouldn’t have performed at the same level in the corporate space had I not had those practices. Because every morning, it was just training. It’s no different. It’s the same thing as if you’re training to run a marathon of some sort. You get to the event day, you’re not doing new things during the running of the marathon. You’re relying on the, a month or three months of training to actually perform in those moments. So in our corporate worlds or life in general, the biggest game of all, our event, when stuff comes up then in the middle of the day, it’s that morning daily training of being able to pause and zoom out and not react and just actually respond with intention and zoom out and see, okay, what is the actual play here instead of just jumping right into it. That is the morning mental fitness training that I really think that whether it’s the morning or another time, but again, more opportunity or higher probability of success in the morning, I think we should all be doing. Just like we’re, for the most part, people are always talking about prioritizing moving the body in some capacity, but I know I’m biased, but it’s our mind that tells us to go move the body. It’s our mind that tells us to eat the good thing or the bad thing. It’s our mind that forms the bad or the good habits. So if you’re gonna train anything on a daily basis, I’d spend a few minutes a day training your mind first and everything else will follow from there.

KRATI: Okay, if you had like power at your hand to code humans in a way and make it so they can’t bypass certain inner experiences, what would those experiences be and what approach do you think they should take as they navigate those?

MARC: Oh, that’s an easy one. I would definitely code everyone, myself included of course, to not bypass the current moment because I think we bypass the current moment, the present moment more often than not. And that is just, it’s unfortunate because we’re, and I’m guilty of this as well. Like we’re robbing ourselves of the beauty of what we have right now, that there are other people in the world that don’t have this moment and we’ll never have this moment again. So we’ll have others, but so if we can really just be hard, the thing is I say if, but we can. That this isn’t a science fiction question that you’re asking or the solution isn’t science fiction. It is real and we can actually do this right now. And that’s just to be as present as possible. Just even setting that intention for the day. Today I’m gonna be present and you’re gonna be more present by just doing that, just by setting that intention. So yeah, to do that, the mechanics of it, again, small things, just start the day in some silence and take a look at what you do in your morning routine or your morning rituals and stack on one of those check-in questions and set that intention. How do I wanna show up today? After lunch, if you’re gonna eat your lunch, just take five or 10 minutes after and just breathe with nothing. Just count your breaths. You’re not trying to do anything. You’re not trying to notice thoughts or release thoughts. Just count your breaths, period. I find it challenging. And I notice something like, wow, I can’t even count to 20 without being distracted. And it’s usually always a really good gauge at how full my mind is. And again, it’s just data. So then if I can’t do that and there’s obviously something hijacking my mind, what is that? And can I cut the fuel from that hijack? Then all of a sudden, you’ve got more data and insight and you’re just making small progress, there are moments of progress. But yeah, just breathe. I mean, we all have to do it. That’s how we stay alive. Even now, I’m excited, so I’m leaning forward, but I’m noticing I’m constricted, right? Versus standing up straight and just, already I feel calmer, one breath.

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