Sean Croxton has produced some highly influential healthcare documentaries and podcasts, but he has recently made a shift to another important aspect of the health picture – mindset, beliefs and happiness. In my opinion this is one of the most under-served areas of healthcare at the moment. Sean and I discuss some key issues regarding how to find happiness and how to dismantle any self-limiting beliefs that may be holding you back.
If you need help optimizing your happiness, click here.
Episode Intro … 0:42
Sean’s Internal Shift … 2:11
The Powerful Mind … 13:05
Beliefs … 18:24
Friendships … 27:10
Thoughts … 38:05
Episode Wrap-up … 53:27
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Important Techniques For Achieving Happiness with Sean Croxton
Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Dr. Ruscio Radio. This is Michael Ruscio. I am here with my good friend, Sean Croxton. Sean, welcome to the show.
Sean Croxton: Thanks so much of having me, doc. Appreciate it.
DrMR: Pleasure to have you here, my man. And I’m excited about what we’re going to discuss today because I think we had a similar kind of internal shift several months ago, maybe even over a year ago now. But I was feeling like I love this space, but I feel like things are getting too excessive. People are too afraid. And while we’re doing a lot of good, we’re also doing a lot of bad.
And I think people on the podcast have heard me make this criticism a number of times about how we can make functional medicine not as excessive, not as fearful. We can reach more people if we do this and so on and so forth.
And I think you’ve kind of been having a similar shift in your own right. And you’ve been doing a little less with your typical healthcare kind of stuff but focusing more on the person, their life, enjoyment—using just some vague, broad terms. And I know that’s the direction you’ve been heading in. And you have some really cool updates to share with us.
But I think that area is very under-served in this space. And so I’m really happy to be connecting with you and excited to talk about what you’ve been doing, what you’ve been learning, and really wherever else you want to go with the conversation.
SC: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I would love to talk about all this. Where do you want me to start?
Sean’s Internal Shift
DrMR: Why don’t we start with how you’re experiencing this internal shift? Because I was having it for my own reasons, many of which I just laid out. Maybe what were you seeing or feeling or hearing that made you start to having this shift in this direction?
SC: Well, here’s the thing about life is that passions have seasons. And my season of being the health guy, it was just over. And about a year ago, I think it was when I was filming The Depression Sessions, I just wasn’t as excited about it as I typically was when I was out traveling the country and interviewing people about a specific health condition.
And at the same time, I was no longer enjoying doing my podcast. My podcast was called Underground Wellness Radio. It’s still out there, still 300-something episodes there that can help a lot of people. But when I was in it, it got to the point where I felt like I was…I’m not sure how much I was helping.
I knew I was helping people because I was getting emails from people saying, “Oh, my God. I listened to your show. And I realized that I had Hashimoto’s.” Or “I listened to your show. And I realized that I had celiac. But it just hadn’t gotten bad enough for the doctor to find it on a test. But I took this other test that you recommended. And it showed it. And it’s so cool because it changed my life.”
And I would get those emails. But at the same time, it also felt like every single week, somebody can listen to my podcast and go, “Oh, my God. That’s what’s wrong with me.”
SC: And that’s what’s happens when you’re in a space. And there’s nothing wrong with this. I just didn’t want to participate in it anymore.
That’s what happens when you’re in the space where everybody has their own cause, where there is the vitamin D person. There’s the adrenal person. There’s the digestion person, the SIBO person, the depression person, the neurotransmitter person, this person, the other person. And whatever your symptom is, they’re all going to say it’s caused by their cause.
And it was very confusing for a lot of people. And I think it made people—I don’t know—kind of turn into hypochondriacs again where every time they listen to the show, they were like, “Oh, my God. I’m going to die because that’s what I have.”
And I don’t really feel like it was fear mongering. I feel like the guests that I had on the show meant well. But when you step outside of it and you take on the role of the person listening to the show, you can’t help but be confused as the listener.
SC: And also as the listener, you can’t help but be really stressed out all of the time over your health. And so my other passion—I would always say that Underground Wellness Radio was primarily a health show with a sprinkle of personal development. But those personal development shows were the ones that I truly enjoyed, where I got done with the show, and I was like, “Oh, my God. We nailed that one. That was awesome!”
SC: And so I decided—I have to follow my heart and follow my passion and just do what I really love to do. And health wasn’t it. And so I’ve transitioned over, have a new podcast called The Sean Croxton Sessions where I speak with personal development authors and experts. And it’s been a darn good time.
DrMR: That’s awesome. Awesome. And then, yeah, I think a lot of my own experience has been similar to that where it’s a bit disheartening. And I was actually thinking about this, this morning. I’m writing some of the preface to my book and reflecting back on my experiences from what now is—geez—over ten years ago when I was first having my health experience.
And I started in on the process of looking into all these things. And I thought I had heavy metal toxicity, Lyme disease, hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue, low testosterone. You start thinking you have all these conditions. And while it can be helpful on the one hand, it can also, like you said, kind of turn you into a hypochondriac.
And this was back when internet didn’t have nearly the wealth of health information it has now. So I can’t even imagine how much deeper I could have sunk down that black hole had it been today. But I do see that with my patients where it’s almost like there’s too much information available where people just are inundated.
DrMR: And they can just really kind of freak themselves out. And so I’ve been trying to be much more practical in how I practice functional medicine, not to be fear based, not to facilitate people going to the worst possible meaning of whatever it is they’re worried about because usually it’s not that bad. And I’m trying to re-frame things a bit more positively, a bit more conservatively.
DrMR: And do things a bit more efficiently. And so I feel a real kinship with you in that regard where we’re not necessarily doing the same things in healthcare. But I think we have that same objective of looking at the person keeping their psyche kind of healthy and making sure that they have stuff that they really enjoy because that’s another thing that I noticed.
We’ll have two people with the same stuff going on biochemically, if you will. But the person that has something that they’re doing that’s bigger than themselves—they have a life purpose. They have friends, or they have a good family. Those people do so much better—
DrMR: Than the people that don’t have that, that are just sitting at home on the internet festering in their thinking about, is it adrenal fatigue? Is it heavy metals? Is it this or that?
And it really hurts me in a way because it saddens me to see how the same people can get over these things physiologically. But they don’t always get “better” because one person has something greater outside of themselves pulling them to improve. And the other person has nothing there.
DrMR: And they’re kind of anchored where they’re at.
SC: Yeah, and I’ve had a few conversations with friends about this. When I was a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner and I worked one on one with clients, the ones who got the results were the ones who had the best attitudes.
SC: The ones who had a purpose, who were doing something or had some type of motivation that was greater than themselves, like you said. And looking back, I think most of my clients had a mindset issue. You’ve got to think about the disintegration, the breakdown of the body, the over—I don’t know—the sympathetic nervous system just kind of being in overdrive all the time.
That’s something that you get when you’re not really living according to your highest values, when you’re going to a job that you hate, when you come home and you’re just not happy with the relationship that you’re in, where you’re barely sleeping, where you’re stressed out, where you’ve got bills piled up. And at the same time, you’re just doing something that you don’t like to do. You cannot help just to be in sympathetic overdrive all the time. And what does that do to your health?
And so as a health practitioner—and this was—gosh—six, seven years ago, I found myself going, “Gosh, I wish I can help these people more than I can with these tests, with these supplements, with this diet protocol” because, yes, they can do them. But to be honest, what’s typically going to happen is they’re going to sabotage themselves.
SC: Because what’s going on with their mind and their values is not congruent with the goal that they have right now. And I was watching this Tony Robbins video a couple days ago. I enrolled in this course that he promotes.
And there was a lady who needed to lose weight. And she tried all this stuff to lose weight, and she couldn’t do it. And she’s on stage with Tony. And the reason that she couldn’t lose the weight is because she got so much gain, a mental/internal gain from eating food and not exercising. She got certainty. She got variety. She got love and connection from it. She got significance from it. She got growth from it.
And so when you have so much to gain from the behavior that you steeped yourself in, it’s very hard to get out of it because the reason that you’re doing it is because you’re getting something from it. She’s getting love and connection from food. She’s getting certainty and variety from food. She’s getting significance and growth from food. There’s really no reason for her to stop doing it.
She can consciously say, “I want to lose weight because society says I’m supposed to be a particular size.” But subconsciously, she’s like, “Oh, my God. I’m getting so much from this. I’m not going to stop. I’m going to say I’m going to stop. But I’m not going to stop.”
And I think a lot of our clients and patients are dealing with that. And we’re not really looking at it at all.
DrMR: I completely agree. And one of the questions I have on our intake paperwork is something along the lines of, “Do you feel like you have adequate time for yourself? For time with your friends, family, or hobbies?”
And that’s there to kind of give me a little probe into what their life is like. And some people answer, “Yes, I’m the mother of two. I love my husband. My kids are my world. Everything is great. I paint every other weekend.” And some people say, “No, I don’t. I am hard pressed to make financial ends meet. I have a husband that we’re not getting along very well. We moved to a new city. I don’t know anyone.”
And those things, I think, are harder to fix than the biochemical things. It’s not that hard to treat something like SIBO or to use things for inflammatory bowel disease. I’m not saying that they’re easy in all cases. But I guess they’re less multi-factorial in a way where someone can be eating healthy and sleeping enough. And we can say, “Okay, we’re going to use a probiotic and an anti-microbial. And that’s going to get rid of the SIBO.”
DrMR: But much harder is it to change what someone is doing with their life, the intricacies of their relationships, how they think about themselves. And I think this is something that’s probably more ubiquitous in our society as things have changed so much where families get separated. People are working more. They’re spending less time with each other. Relationships are on a decline, I think. Social time is on the decline. And having a life purpose or something that people are doing outside of themselves is harder to find, and it’s harder to come by.
So I almost think that this is the area now that is more under-served relative to knowing how to eat healthy, knowing how to exercise, and knowing some of those health basics. I think now it’s the mind/soul basics that are more under-served.
SC: Exactly. Yeah, the mind is huge. Like I was saying, there can be a patient that you’re working with who has a digestive problem. And that digestive problem that they have could be something they’re getting attention from. And I don’t want anybody to get mad at me for saying that. But there’s a lot of truth to that.
They become significant because of the health challenge that they have. If they didn’t have the health challenge, they’d be less significant. Or they feel like they would be. Maybe it’s consciously; maybe it’s subconsciously. They get less attention. Maybe they get lots of love and connection due to their health challenge.
So again, there’s always a reason why we do things. I’m not saying that people are being sick on purpose by any means. But we have to look at both sides of it. Yes, there are pains of it. But there’s also for a lot of people some pleasures of being sick and ill.
The Powerful Mind
And a conversation that I had very recently with someone is the mind is so powerful. And when you really think about it and if you think about the studies that have been done, especially on anti-depressants that show that it’s belief—it’s the belief in the medication that makes people actually feel better but not the medication itself. It makes me wonder in hindsight when I was working with clients which ones were getting the results because they believed in the protocol.
SC: Because you’ll have somebody who has a digestive problem or whatever problem. And one person can go to the homeopath. And somebody else can go to the medical doctor. And someone else can go to the functional medicine doctor. And somebody else can go to the acupuncturist. And somebody else can go to somebody else.
But they all can get the right results. So was it really the protocol itself? Or is it just the belief in the protocol that helps the body to heal? So this was a really interesting conversation I had the other day about this.
DrMR: I completely agree. And I wondered the same thing myself. And we’ve talked on the podcast before that the placebo effect can be over 80%. And I’m approximating here. But even in randomized control trials where you have a placebo group and a non placebo group, it’s still over 40% what the placebo can account for.
So even when people know they’re getting a placebo, you can still have an over 40% effect. Never mind when someone is going to a doctor’s office. Let’s say they’re coming into my office. They may think I’m really smart. So they have a ton of confidence, not only in me and belief in me, but also belief in whatever protocol I’m going to prescribe. So the potential for placebo there is very high. And I often ask myself how much of this is really needed.
And I guess two things there—one, if it is the placebo that’s helping people, I’m not against that. But I am against it when that placebo comes after $4000 or $5000 worth of lab testing and if that placebo involves indoctrinating them into a culture where they’re afraid of food and they feel dependent upon supplements.
So that’s why I try to continually frame things as positively as I can, as conservatively as I can, and have a minimalistic intervention. And I’ve been getting the same, if not better, results by doing that. And to your point, Sean, I wonder how much of that is because a lot of this is based on belief?
SC: Do you feel like, though—because I’m not a fan of over testing. I know there’s a lot of that going on. But do you feel like the testing itself is what gets people to buy in? Because I know when I was a practitioner running an adrenal stress profile or running an intestinal barrier screen or running a stool test which no other doctor had asked them to run—when they saw those results, they were able to get confirmation of what’s going on. It explained everything.
And they were able to buy into me and to believe in me and my protocols more than they were able to buy in, to believe in someone else that they worked with in the past. So do you feel like the testing kind of helps to bump up the amount of belief that they have?
DrMR: I think it can. But what I’ve noticed, especially over the past few years, is a lot of patients have sought me out because they know I’m more conservative with my testing. And they know I look for the vital few tests rather than the trivial many—
DrMR: To, I think, quote Robbins. So I do think the testing can help. But I also think people now are getting a little bit burnt out on the excess that this type of healthcare sometimes produces. And so they’re looking for someone who’s going to be a little bit more conservative.
And I think, ultimately, people want to have something that is to blame. But they don’t need eight things. And that’s what sometimes happens. You have adrenals, permeability, SIBO, some heavy metal, some inflammation.
And the dialogue I often have with patients is, “Yes, I know if we tested all these things right now, we’d find imbalances in all these systems. The question is, what one or two areas are driving the imbalances everywhere else? So let’s focus on that and then go from there.”
So I think your point is a good one. But I think if we re-frame that as practitioners, we can get the same endpoint for the patient, give them something to believe in, give them a positive finding but do it in a more focused way that also happens to be more efficient, both from an amount-of-care perspective and from a financial perspective.
SC: Absolutely. It saves a lot of money for sure. That stuff can get expensive!
DrMR: Very, very expensive.
SC: I remember the first time I wrote up a supplement protocol. It came out to $850 just for her supplements. It was crazy. And so from there I learned to just keep it conservative and just give them exactly what they needed.
DrMR: Totally. Totally. So, Sean, as we’re diving into this topic, there are so many different ways that I want to go. And I know this may be hard to answer because it’s going to be a little different for everyone and it’s multi-factorial. But what are some of the most common areas where you think people could be helped by making some forward progress or by trying to remedy certain areas?
Is it self-talk? Is it relationships? Is it purpose? Where would you start people on this path if they’re trying to improve this area of their lives?
SC: I think that it’s really important for people to start thinking about some of their beliefs about life and about themselves and asking them, are these beliefs actually true? We learn a lot of our beliefs from when we were young people, from the age of 0 to about 6. We really don’t have a logical, rational mind.
We’re mostly emotional creatures. And we kind of soak up information, ideas, images, and thoughts from the people who are around us, the authorities around us, our family, brothers and sisters, mother and father, religious figures in our lives, babysitters, media, as well. We take that stuff in. And we kind of become indoctrinated to a certain way of believing.
And by the time that we actually develop our rational, logical minds, a lot of that programming is just stuck. It’s there. And it’s very hard to change. And I feel like a lot of the negative thinking that we have as adults, the negative thinking that makes us worry and doubt, that creates fear, that creates anxiety, that creates depression, that creates deceleration in where we want to go in life, that creates the disintegration of our health—I think it can be traced all the way back to these beliefs that we have.
And a lot of us believe that we’re not worthy of being loved. We just have all kinds of negative beliefs about ourselves. And I think when we really just sit back and consider, what are my beliefs? What is that foundation that is pretty much running my life, that is controlling my decision making, that is controlling my logic, that is controlling my ability to make money, my ability to eat right, my ability to get healthy, my ability to follow this program?
What are those beliefs? And are they really my beliefs? Are they true? Is there evidence for these beliefs? Or are they just beliefs that just landed upon me, that were inherited from the authority figures that are around me?
And I think once we realize where a lot of these beliefs come from, we can slowly begin to untangle them and be able to see life from a new perspective because perspective and perception are huge. Just a subtle shift in perception can completely change your entire life.
And so again, going back underground to the very core which is the beliefs, I think it won’t only change people’s health, but it will just change their lives in general.
DrMR: I really like that. And as you are saying that, I think about at least one thing that has been helpful for me. And I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on other techniques for people to kind of hone into their beliefs.
But one thing that’s been very helpful for me is just solitude, spending some time alone, spending some time in quiet, and just reflecting and just seeing things that pop into my head and then almost taking that thought, that idea, that emotion—whatever it is—and taking at step back from it and saying, “Hmm. Let me examine this. Why am I feeling this way?” And just taking and almost looking like an outsider looking in at my thoughts and my emotions and my beliefs and what have you and examining those.
And that’s been very helpful for me to pinpoint where I had maybe some false programming or faulty beliefs, however you want to term it.
Are there other techniques that you have found helpful for people to start in on the process of identifying beliefs that might not be serving them?
SC: I think it’s really important to, number one, look at where we’re getting poor results in our lives. And number two, to look at our parents and ask ourselves, “Did our parents get the exact results that we’re getting right now?” Because again, a lot of this stuff is inherited. And we’ve learned from them.
Number two is to kind of look at the traumatic events that happened early in life and to really think about where our minds were at the time. So if something happened to you when you were four or five years old—your parents got divorced, and maybe you blamed yourself. Or just something very tragic happened.
And at that time, you’re so emotional, you don’t understand any logic at all. You just know that you are you. And you are the center of the universe. And everything that’s in your life is because you did something.
And I think it’s important to go back and consider that and also consider where your mind was at the time and consider what belief did you take from that specific event that occurred. And then from there, how did you build on that belief? How did you prove it to yourself that that belief was true and then create a program?
My friend Bonnie Kelly has a fantastic book coming out about this called True to Your Core. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read about how we get this program and how to unwind it as well. Slowly going through it for the second time again right now. And I think it’s important to do that so we can identify it. And we can start making the changes.
And I think the first step is just the awareness because a lot of us are just robots. We don’t understand that we have this programming. We just think that everything is just happening the way it’s supposed to happen and we’re perceiving things the way that we’re supposed to perceive them.
But we have to realize that there was a lot of stuff going on around us. And it’s those core beliefs that are putting our focus on certain things. So if you feel like you’re not worthy of being loved, that’s all your going to see—ways in which you are not loved.
And you’re going to put yourself in positions to prove to yourself that you’re not being loved. And of course, that’s going to cause the domino effect of negative thoughts that are going to, of course, again, create the disintegration in your life.
And so again, to answer your question, look at your results. Look at your parents. Look at those traumatic experiences. And ask yourself, where was your head at the time? And how did you build that belief? And how did you build evidence for that belief? And then you can just kind of go backwards and disprove—almost put those beliefs and thoughts on the stand as an adult and cross examine them and find out whether they’re true or not.
And I tell you, 95% of the stuff that we say about ourselves in our heads—95% of the beliefs that we have about ourselves—is completely false.
DrMR: That makes a lot of sense. And I agree. And as you’re saying that, I’m not a big TV guy. But I’m reminded of the television show called The Profit. Have you ever seen that show?
SC: Yeah, Marcus Luttrel or something like that?
DrMR: Yeah, Marcus Lemonis.
SC: Yeah, there you go.
DrMR: He’s a billionaire investor. And he goes in, and he buys failing companies. And he challenges the owners on the things that are wrong in the company.
And the thing I love about Marcus Lemonis is he’s an exceptional communicator. I’ve seen the owners of businesses that he’s working with after he’s bought in literally tell this guy to F off, screaming at him right in his face. And Lemonis just holds a consistent cool.
He waits for the person to calm down. And then he just pierces right through to where that rage is coming from. And with this eloquent line of questioning, I have seen him dismantle the most angry person and help turn them to an epiphany.
And I think as I watch that show, I see a lot of the bad programming these business owners are running. And when someone else can just kind of question them on where those things are coming from, they can finally, like you said, look at it and kind of disprove it and then free their ability to no longer act in a fearful way or whatever it is going forward. So yeah, I think that can be a very powerful exercise for one to go through.
SC: Yeah, Tony Robbins said something like, “The quality of your life is determined by the quality of questions you ask yourself.”
DrMR: I like that.
SC: That’s huge because until you ask yourself these questions, you don’t realize that you have alternative choices than the ones that you have right now—or compared to the ones that you have right now.
And I want to go back really quickly. When I say that 95% of your beliefs are totally false, I mean your negative beliefs about yourself. Just want to be clear on that.
DrMR: Right. Yeah, thank you for clarifying. So one of the things that wraps in with this piece, in my opinion anyway, is friendships because I think it was Robbins or maybe a few other people who have said –or actually I think it was my grandfather who said, “Show me someone’s friends. And I’ll tell you who they are.”
So friends and friendships are a big part of this. And I think also for healing, relationships have been shown to be very careful. There’s a researcher—I believe her name is Shelley Taylor—who has done a lot of research showing that when women are in a stress response, they don’t really go into flight or fight, they go into what’s called tend and befriend, as she calls it, where when women are under stress they tend to need social interaction more than even men do.
So friendships are important. And one of the things that I have been reflecting on is my friendships. And as you get older, friendships change.
When you’re really young as a kid, you hang out with all the kids in your neighborhood. And then you get older, and you’re in high school. And you hang out with whoever you have a common interest with. I played sports, so it was always the guys on lacrosse team or the soccer team.
And then in college, if you’re playing sports, it’s the sports people. If you’re in some kind of grueling academic program, it’s the people that you’re trying to soldier through that with.
And one of the things that has occurred to me is there is a lot of utilitarian aspects to friendship, meaning you—at least as I have been examining this—a lot of your friendships are forged with people that you have a common interest in aligning with.
And at first, that struck me as being a bit selfish. But I guess if we peel this all the way back to the way we used to live as hunter/gatherers, it was all about surviving. So part of the reason why we hunted larger game animals even though it was dangerous is because those larger game animals had more fat per calorie, therefore more energy. So we were more efficient with our hunting. And it was more likely that we would survive.
So forging friendships, at least from a hunter/gatherer perspective, out of utility, also makes sense. And I would only expect that to be carried through somewhat to modern day.
One of the challenges I think people can face is if they’re not feeling well, they may fall into the associating with other people who are only identifying around their illness. And then if they lose their illness, they lose their reference group.
So I guess I’m asking a few questions here all in one. And we can jump in however. But how do you address friendships? And how do you try to help people find higher quality friendships, maybe with the kind of people that they’re trying to become rather than people who may be more ill as they’re trying to kind of leave that reference group?
SC: Ah, it’s a really good question. I was actually writing about this the other day. And I think about it all the time. And I think we tend to attract friends that confirm our programming. And like you said, people who are ill tend to stick together.
And the interesting thing about it, like you said, if they’re not going to be ill, then they’re going to lose their identity as the ill person. And they’re going to lose their group of friends. And of course, they want to be part of the tribe.
And I’ve been doing a lot of reading. And I had kind of a change of opinion on this, just a little bit, because I used to say to people, especially if you’re trying to be more successful, “Your income is going to be the average of the five people that you hang out with the most” and all of that stuff.
SC: But I also find that when you’re continuing to grow and you’re setting big goals for yourself, I feel like a lot of people will just say, “Oh, my friends don’t agree with what I’m trying to do here. They’re not going to support me. My friends are always negative. My friends are broke. And I don’t want to be like them.”
And then what happens is really interesting. You find yourself all by yourself. And that can be very stressful. That can be very lonely for a lot of people. And so in my book The One Percenter’s Mind, I wrote down some tips for how to deal with this.
Number one, this isn’t actually in my book. It’s just a way that Lissa Rankin put it when she was on my show, the way that she sees this. I think she calls it empty elevator syndrome. And you’re on an elevator.
DrMR: I like that.
SC: And all of your friends are on the elevator with you. And you feel a connection with them. But at some point, you change your goal. You want to shift your life. And they get off the elevator. And you’re in the elevator all by yourself. And you’re just going up floors. And you kind of have to ride it out and be by yourself and then finally hit your floor. And then all your new friends come on.
And that sounds fantastic. And for a lot of people who want to be on the elevator all by themselves, they can do that. But what I say is if you have a goal to get healthier and you know that your friends aren’t going to support it, keep it to yourself. Just keep it to yourself.
Do what you have to do because, of course, if you’re telling them that you have a goal to get healthier, they’re going to feel like you’re trying to change them. It’s not that they don’t’ support you. It’s just that they have accepted the fact that they’re going to live this ordinary, ill life. And they want to do it as a group. And if you change, then they’re going to have to change. So they don’t want you to push it upon them.
And I also wrote in my book that we have to focus on the positive side of our friends, as well. I think when we start making that shift, we start to look at the negative side of our friends, the sides that don’t support us.
But as John Demartini says, “You never had a support without a challenge. Never have a good without a bad. You never have a criticism without a praise.” Start to look at the other side of your friends and don’t just see them as ill people. See them for all of their positive aspects, as well. And I think you don’t run up against that whole “they’re negative, sick people who don’t want to get me to be ill” type of mindset.
And then you have sometimes friends who just don’t want anything that’s good for you. And at some point, you’re just going to have to go and cut bait and kind of roll out and find your friends.
Now, ways that you can find new friends and a new circle is to—gosh—there’s MeetUp.org. I know in the health space, we can go to different conferences and stuff like that. We can go on different chat groups and meet people on Facebook and all that.
In terms of finding friends who want to get healthier, I’m not exactly sure if I have a good answer for you on that, but I’m sure it’s possible.
DrMR: That’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to because one of the things I’d like for a lot of my patients is to have more robust social lives. But I think we have a lot of society kind of working against that.
It’s a deep problem. And I don’t think it’s going to necessarily have a simple solution. But it’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking a lot about. And I certainly don’t have a great answer for that at this point.
But the one thing that comes to my mind, and I’m trying to find easy ways to make this actionable for people as I’ve been thinking on it, is trying to find areas in your life where you’re trying to do something. And then you can find other people who are trying to do that too because so much of friendship as I have stepped—and this is just through my examination. These are just my thoughts.
But so much of friendship seems to have this utilitarian aspect to it where you have people who are trying to achieve the same thing. And the friendship is forged out of that common goal. So I think to myself, “Why not just go with the way things already are?”
If people are looking for friends on the journey of where they’re trying to go or whatever they’re trying to achieve, think about the things that you’re trying to achieve and look at that as a leverage point for finding other friends. That might be easier said than done. And I think I could probably expand on that to make it easier for people. But that’s as far as I’ve gotten with my kind of internal wrestling with that idea right now.
SC: Yeah, it’s a tough question. Group exercise classes.
DrMR: Yeah, that’s a good one.
SC: Gosh. Yoga. Do that. Well, that is a group exercise class. I know in San Diego, we have these VAVi Leagues out here where you can join a basketball team or a kickball or whatever type of team, people who do healthy activities. And like I said, MeetUp.com might be another one for you.
DrMR: Okay. Yeah, and there was one that popped into my head. Oh, well, not an easy one. But I think one area where people pick up a lot of friendships is when they have children because now they have that common goal of “Okay, my kid’s starting to play little league whatever. And now, there are other parents who are play little league whatever. So let me see if I can forge a relationship with these people because we now have this common goal of providing a good sporting environment for our kids or what have you.”
DrMR: So I think if we take a step back from our lives and think about it, there’s probably a bunch of stuff that we’re doing where we could find other people who are also doing the same things and just try to use those as aligning point.
SC: Yeah. Just real quick—I think we need to just kind of take a step back from the generic advice that we just need to cut bait with our friends and move on and find new ones, though. I think that’s really important because I know when I was a health practitioner, on my intake forms there was a question. It says, “Do you feel lonely and isolated?” And I tell you, 98% of my clients felt lonely and isolated.
And so if you already feel lonely and isolated and you’re also going to leave your friends behind, you’re really going to feel lonely and isolated. And so before you say, “I’m rolling out,” again think about the positive aspects of your friends and support them. They’ll support you.
Don’t preach at them. Just lead by example. And stick around because you never know. You might be able to be the one who inspires them to get healthier. But you’re never going to be able to do it by preaching to them all the time about the things that you’re doing.
DrMR: I agree. And I’m glad you made that reiteration once again because I want to especially be clear so as not to paint the picture that I’m advocating, “Hey, if you have friends with any bad habits or who aren’t healthy, ditch them” because I completely and profoundly agree with you, Sean.
And I do think, and I have noticed this in my own life that you get much more out of people when you expect the best of them, when you treat them kindly, when you bring positivity to them. So I completely agree that you can get a lot out of your current relationships if you just bring positivity, love, kindness to them.
And also, just remember—because I kind of had a bit of maybe that elevator syndrome at one point where not every friend is going to be able to meet all of your needs 100% for every parameter. Not every person is going to be able to connect with you intellectually about food, about exercise from a support and kindness perspective, from a values perspective.
But I think you’re going to have different friends who meet your needs better or worse in different areas. And I think that’s okay. You wouldn’t expect one person at your work to fulfill every work need that you have. You have different people who have different strengths. And they work in different areas and so on and so forth. So yeah, I think that’s definitely a very important thing to mention, Sean.
So what else? We’ve talked about beliefs. We’ve talked about friendships. What else do you think is really important for people to be aware of?
SC: Whoo-ee. Gosh, that’s a tough question.
DrMR: Or what else from your book—because I know you’ve spent a lot of time and you probably have a lot of your thoughts there. What else do you think is important for the audience to take away from this call in this realm of discussion?
SC: I think that your thoughts are very important. I think your thoughts create your world. I think your thoughts create your circumstances. I think a lot of times we get caught up in using the evidence of our circumstances to dictate the way that we think where it should be the other way around. Instead of our results dictating our thoughts, our thoughts need to dictate our results.
And one thing that I’ve said many times is that we live in a society where seeing is believing. I always use the example of you checked your bank account one morning. You’ve got $40 in it. And you say to yourself, “Oh, my God. I’ve only got $40. I’m broke.” The evidence supports the fact that you’re broke. That’s your circumstance.
And then you have thoughts of how broke you are and how worthless you’ve been and how you’re not contributing and how you have a bad job. And then you have feelings about yourself. You have feelings of doubt. You have feelings of worry. And then you take actions that are based on those feelings. And those actions typically are going to get you more of the same.
And so if you’re constantly thinking, “Oh, my gosh, I’m not healthy. Oh, my gosh, my gut is bad. Oh, my gosh, I’m so depressed,” you’re going to create your thoughts. You’re going to create your feelings. You’re going to create more actions that are going to give you just the same result.
And so I think that we have to get into the mindset that believing is seeing, not the other way around. Regardless of what your circumstances are, you can create something better in your life. You can do that. And so if you see negative circumstances, you think that there’s something better.
You set a goal of something better, of what you’re going to create because you know you can create it because there’s nobody ever born in this world who had special powers. We all have the same powers. Just some of us decide to use them and create a better world for ourselves. And some of us don’t.
Some of us look at other people. And we say, “Oh, that person’s special. There’s something that they have that I don’t have.” That’s not true. It doesn’t matter who it is.
And so you use your mind to create your goal and to create your thoughts. Those thoughts are going to dictate the way that you feel, not just in your mind but also your health as well. That’s going to dictate your actions—how you act, how you eat, whether you follow yourself in the protocol, whether you do the things that Dr. Ruscio has been telling you to do. And then that’s going to give you the results that you want. That way you’re not getting more of the same.
And so believe is seeing, not seeing is believing.
DrMR: Didn’t Wayne Dyer write a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It?
SC: I’m not sure.
DrMR: Or I know he had a quote. And that always struck me because it speaks to the exact thing that you’re saying. You’ll see it when you believe it. You have to believe it first before it comes into being.
SC: Exactly. And we’ve become a society that doesn’t believe in ourselves anymore.
SC: It’s really unfortunate. We have powers to create anything we want to create within the bounds of nature. You can be the Wright brothers and decide you’re going to be the first people to fly a plane. You can be a guy who says, “I’m going to get to the top of Mt. Everest.” You can be Thomas Edison and say, “I want to invent the light bulb.”
Those guys did these huge, ginormous accomplishments. That’s huge! There’s somebody in your audience who’s just saying, “Gosh, I wonder if I can get my health back?” If someone can create a plane that flies—
SC: If somebody can create a light bulb, if somebody can create an automobile, if someone can get to the top of Everest, you can certainly improve your health and get back to where you want to be.
DrMR: I think that’s why purpose is so important because if you have a strong enough purpose it just pulls you forward. Purpose, in my opinion, is strong enough to push out or overcome obstacles, challenges, doubt. I’ve always had this strong, burning purpose. And it has helped me overcome a lot of adversity.
And whenever there were things present, stuff in reality that would totally contradict me thinking I was going to do what I thought I was going to do, my purpose or my belief in that was always so much stronger than whatever I was seeing in front of me that I knew that this was just a temporary circumstance.
And just to share—one of the things that has really driven me to work so hard is not to make a good financial living so that I can have a fancy car and a big house but rather to be able to take care of my family. I’d love for my baby sister—well, I wouldn’t love. But if her car broke down, I’d love to be able just to buy her a new car. [snaps fingers] Done!
So those are the things that are in my head—the emotion of being able to help the people in my life I love. And I think when you have that sort of strong belief and that burning commitment and something that’s really positive like that, it’s easy to keep yourself being pulled forward whereas if that was a vain—if my motivation was I want to have a Porsche, maybe I’m wrong here. But I think it’s harder to have that deep of a burning purpose when it’s something that’s focused at vanity. But when it’s something that really helps the greater good, I think it can really pull you through a lot of this adversity.
SC: Right. Right. Right. It’s because you have a high value on family. You don’t need any motivation to do things for your family. You feel inspiration from within. The lower something is on your list of values, the more outside motivation you’re going to need.
And so somebody that you’re working with as a patient needs all kinds of motivation. They need an email every day. They need a coaching session all the time. They need a pep talk all of the time. It’s not very high on their values.
I’ll give you an example. I had a Skype session—I’ll never forget this—from a woman in Australia. She was about 60, 65 years old. I wrote about this in my book The Dark Side of Fat Loss. She had been working with practitioners and on every diet you can think of since the Reagan administration. She had been through 22 different practitioners.
And I’m thinking to myself while I’m talking to her. I’m going, “I’m going to be number 23. And the same thing is going to happen. And she’s going to be on the phone with number 24 going, ‘Hey, that Sean Croxton guy from YouTube, I worked with him. And he was terrible.’” And I was like, “I don’t even want to work with this lady.”
And so we started talking about her values. And I started asking her some questions. Where is she the most organized? How does she spend her money? How does she spend her time? How does she spend her energy? What does she do that requires no outside motivation? What things does she do that she’s inspired to do? What does she think about the most? What does she talk about the most?
And we did this for a little while. And we wrote a list. And it ended up being family, her social life, her community. She was very much involved with the church. And so that’s community as well, but her religion. Traveling was very important to her as well. We talked about a few other things.
And at some point, as we’re making this list, I stop and I look at her. And she’s like, “What?” And I said, “Do you notice anything missing on this list?” And she just sat there for a little while. She’s like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, dude.” And suddenly, she goes, “Health!” And I was like, “Yeah, your health.”
She didn’t value her health. She didn’t have a high value on her health. Honestly, it just wasn’t that important to her. And whenever we’re setting a goal that isn’t aligned with our values, we’re going to get sabotage. We’re going to feel weird. We’re going to have all these little moral dilemmas. We’re going to feel like we should do it and we shouldn’t do it. We’re just going to feel confused.
And whenever you feel confused and whenever you feel there’s chaos, you’re not going to have the order that you need in order to do what you have to do to accomplish the goal that you’re trying to accomplish.
And so what we had to do is try to get health higher on her values by linking her getting healthier to the things that she valued more highly. So how can getting healthier help her community, help her to serve her community more? How can her getting healthier help her to travel? Oh, she won’t feel so uncomfortable in those little seats. Oh, when she goes out sightseeing, she won’t be the one who has to stop and take a break and hold the rest of the group up.
What about your family? Oh, she’s going to be around for a longer period of time. She’d be able to do certain things with her grand-kids.
So people have to sometimes understand that if you have to continually motivate yourself to do something, then you might want to—go to Amazon and look up a book called The Values Factor. And take the test in there to see exactly what your values are. And do it real. Don’t go into it thinking, “Oh, my God. I need health to be on the list.” But just do it. Do it the real way. And what you’ll very likely see is that you just don’t value health that much. And that’s why you’re getting the results that you’re getting.
DrMR: Very insightful. I like it.
SC: Thank you. Because a lot of times—just real quick—society tells us, “You’re supposed to be this size. Your test results are supposed to say this. You’re supposed to feel this way. You’re supposed to want to do this. You’re supposed to want to eat this.” So society is pushing its values upon you. And so then you feel like, “Oh, I’ve got to contact this practitioner to do what society tells me to do.”
You’re never really going to do or follow through on what society tells you to do. You’re going to do what’s important to you, and that’s it. If not, you’re just going to sabotage yourself.
DrMR: I agree. And that’s why I try to help my patients understand that—or maybe I should take a step back. One of the ways I look at this is, with enough energy, one can do almost anything.
If we gave you enough energy where you were functioning at your optimum and you didn’t even need to sleep. You could just go around the clock. If you had infinite energy, it can really help you do a lot. Not everything, but energy is definitely a very key component for achievement.
And so one of the things I like to explain to my patients is, “Let’s get you as healthy as possible so you have the energy to do all the things with your life that you’re wanting to do.” So I look at health very much in the context that you just framed it, Sean, which is not necessarily as the endpoint itself but the vehicle through which you can achieve the things in your life that you’re trying to achieve.
SC: Right. And I’m glad you brought up energy because all of us have within us. I think Bob Proctor says, “In your hand, you have enough energy to light up such and such bridge.” We all have energy within us. For a lot of us, it’s untapped. It just hasn’t been unlocked.
And one of the things that’s going to unlock the energy to do what you need to do is desire, is by setting your goal, setting your want and committing yourself to it. And when you do that, when you get emotionally involved, when it’s one of those things that, again, you get up in the morning, you’re just ready to go. So for example, who’s your favorite athlete?
SC: Yeah, you.
DrMR: God. Probably Tom Brady, but I want to be careful saying that given the hate mail.
SC: So Tom Brady. If you were dead tired and asleep in your bed at 11 o’clock at night and I went in there and I was like, “Doc, get up, man. I just need you for a minute.” You’d be like, “Dude, leave me alone. I’m trying to sleep. I’m tired.”
If I said, “Doc, Tom Brady is at the front door,” would you still be tired?
DrMR: Oh yeah. No, you’re right, man. You would be at the door in about a second.
SC: Right. You would need no motivation. You would need no more coaxing to get out of bed. Your desire to want to meet Tom Brady will light you up with energy.
Our patients, our clients need to have that same desire to get healthy. And once they do that, they’ll have the energy to do everything that they need to do. But they have to have that desire. I can’t just be some weird fantasy or dream or whatever it may be.
It has to be a true desire that is within them that drives them, that inspires them, that makes them want to get up at 5:45 a.m. to make it to the gym by 6:15. And if they can’t get up at 5:45 to get to the gym at 6:15, then it’s not that important to them. It’s not something that they highly value. And it’s not something that they have a true desire for. It’s something that they kind of want to do. But it doesn’t light them up the way that you want it to light them up.
DrMR: Yeah, I agree. And I think it also comes back to priorities. I often tell people, “If I told you I’d give you a million dollars if you were able to do this for one week,” you would be able to do it.
DrMR: It’s just all about how high is your motivation. And I think a lot of motivation comes back to desire, just like you’re saying.
SC: Inspiration, though. Motivation typically comes from outside.
DrMR: Right. Sure.
SC: You go to a motivational talk. And you’re all fired up. Everybody’s been to a motivational talk or you watch something on YouTube that really pumps you up.
SC: And then if it’s a big event and it ends on Sunday, you’re still a little bit high on Monday. And then Tuesday morning, you wake up. And you’re like, “Oh, I don’t want to do it anymore.” Or watch the video on YouTube. And you’re all pumped up. And then two hours later, you’re right back down to baseline.
That’s motivation. It came from the outside. It’s almost like a drug. You’re just going to keep needing hit after hit after hit after hit.
Inspiration is different. It doesn’t come from the outside. It comes from within because you value it. It’s important. And you have a strong desire to make it happen.
DrMR: And to use a somewhat healthcare-related analogy to that or just experience, I used to do food allergy testing. And what I found was sometimes the results correlated with a person’s experience. But most of the time, they didn’t.
However, at first, it was a good motivator. Don’t eat dairy because this piece of paper says you can’t eat dairy. So for about a month or so, people would be very compliant with not eating dairy. But eventually, something happens. They’re getting coffee with a friend. They forgot about it. They got a latte. And they had dairy. Or they were somewhere. And there was something that looked so good that had dairy in it. So they had dairy.
So eventually, people are going to touch the hot stove they know that they’re not supposed to touch. Eventually, you have to kind of test it. And when people don’t notice experientially, eventually, their motivation continues to fade because the only motivator for them to avoid dairy was an external, fear-based motivator.
DrMR: Why I really like the elimination/reintroduction and then only avoiding the foods that you have a problem with is because people have an experiential, internal, intrinsic motivator to avoid those things.
DrMR: “When I eat dairy, I get bloated. Or I break out.” And so now, they’re intrinsically motivated. And that seems to be much more long lasting rather than the fear-based, piece-of-paper angle.
SC: Absolutely. We tend to move away from pain and towards pleasure. And so if somebody knows that they’re going to get pain every time they have that food, they’re going to be more likely to comply.
DrMR: Absolutely. Absolutely, my man. So, Sean, I know you’re a busy guy. I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Tell us—
SC: I’m not that busy to be honest.
DrMR: Well, I’m jealous then.
SC: Sitting around reading books.
DrMR: So I guess, to bring us to a close, I know you’ve been really busy with everything you’ve been doing and that you’ve been talking about. Give us a few closing thoughts or if you want to refer people to your book or to your website, whatever you want to kind of leave people with in terms of how they might take the next step in this direction.
SC: Absolutely. Head on over to SeanCroxton.com. And when you go over there, you’ll see my free e-book. It’s called The One Percenter’s Mind: 7 Steps to Beating Fear, Doubt, and Indecision and How to Get Anything You Want.
And don’t let the one percenter thing scare you. I know a lot of people see that. And they go, “Oh, my God, I don’t want to be a one percenter.” But what I’m doing over there is I’m redefining what it means to be a one percenter.
If you look at society in general and you were to ask yourself, how many people actually focus on the giving and the growing before the getting? How many people actually take responsibility for their lives? How many people want for everyone what they want for themselves? And I have 21 different points I have in my book about it. But it’s a really small percentage. It’s like 1% to 2% who really take responsibility for their lives.
And so what I’m trying to do is just re-frame what it means to be a one percenter and get people on board so they can think in a way that not only creates a great life for themselves but a better life for people around them for the greater good. And so that’s available on my site.
You can go to iTunes or Google Play or any of the other podcasting platforms and look up the Sean Croxton Sessions. I interview authors in the personal development space every week. And that’s been on hiatus for about six weeks or so. But that’s going to be cranking back up.
And look for my other podcast—we’re going to do a little trial week of it in a couple weeks—called The Quote of the Day Show. Just a short 7 to 10 minute show with a clip of a motivational talk to kind of get your day going. So I’m pretty excited about that.
And of course, I’ve got lots of other stuff that I’m planning. But it’s too early to talk about that. But yeah, I appreciate being on the show. It’s been fun.
DrMR: Absolutely. Sean, you’re one of my favorite people in this space. You’re just honest. You’re down to earth. I love what you’re doing. It always has come through to me that you’re putting people’s well-being first. So I just want to let you know I appreciate that about you, my man. And thank you for taking the time. And I look forward to the next time we get a chance to meet up and hang out.
SC: Thank you very much.
DrMR: All right, Sean. Take care, buddy.
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