Human Bandwidth: Expanding Your Life

Leon LaBrecque Sequoia Financial Group

Burnout, stress, and anxiety are increasingly common in our society. With a never-ending plateful of things to get through, it can often feel like you are just trying to make it through each day. By merely surviving, we are not living up to our full potential. One way to change this and expand our lives is to work on our human bandwidth, and today’s guest, Leon LaBrecque, is here to provide insights on how to do just that. As the Chief Growth Officer at Sequoia Financial Group, Leon has seen firsthand what it takes for people to flourish. In this episode, he shares his theory on the parallels between electronic bandwidth and its human counterpart. Through critical inquiry, Leon has found that four components make up human bandwidth — time, money, happiness, and love. We learn more about what he discovered when he played around with the formula and how an increase of one component leads to nine times more volume! Noise adversely affects electronic bandwidth, and it’s no different with human bandwidth. Leon sheds light on how we can distance ourselves from the mental clutter to see what’s important. We also discuss how to reframe our time-money relationship and the importance of delegation. Outsourcing draining work has cascading effects, increasing your time and money, which in turn grows your capacity to love. We hear some incredible tips on altering your bandwidth inputs too. What Leon ultimately wants us to remember that as overwhelmed as you may feel, making small, consistent changes is what gets the needle moving, so just start.

Key Points From This Episode

  •  What Leon means by ‘personal bandwidth’ and the four components it’s comprised of.
  • Leon’s fascinating discovery about the bandwidth formula and tweaking the inputs.
  • The interrelationship between time and money and ways to optimize money and time actions.
  • The signal-to-noise ratio is as important in human bandwidth as it is in regular bandwidth.
  • How to step back from the noise and focus on what is actually important.
  • What construal is and how it impacts our perception of the world around us.
  • Rethinking our time-money relationship and looking for opportunities to save on both.
  • Increasing our own bandwidth increases everyone’s bandwidth, through network connectivity
  • Leon’s tips on how to prioritize activities so that your bandwidth inputs are optimal.
  • Why you should try to figure out a way to not sell your time.
  • The cumulative effect of small, positive changes and why they end in big results.

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Branch Out, a Connection Builder’s podcast. Helping middle-market professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers. Through a series of conversations with leading professionals, we share stories and insights to take your career to the next level. A successful career begins with meaningful connections.

[00:00:22] AD: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Branch Out. I’m your host, Alex Drost. Have you been enjoying the Branch Out Podcast? We’d love if you could take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes and share our podcast with your network. This really helps with our visibility. More importantly, we want to hear from you. What do you like about the show? Where do you see opportunities for us to improve? Reach out to me, Alex Drost, through email or LinkedIn. We’d love to hear from you.

All right, on to today’s guest. Leon LaBrecque, Chief Growth Officer at Sequoia Financial Group. Leon shares his thoughts around the four elements of human bandwidth; time, money, love and happiness. We discuss ways of thinking that will help you increase your bandwidth and expand your life. Hope you enjoy.

[00:01:07] ANNOUNCER: Connect and grow your network. We are on LinkedIn. Search for Connection Builders.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:01:14] AD: Leon, welcome to Branch Out. Excited to have you here today.

[00:01:17] LL: Hey, great to be here.

[00:01:19] AD: Leon, a few weeks ago, you and I were having this discussion around your personal bandwidth. Can you start by unpacking that for our listeners?

[00:01:27] LL: Alex, all we talk about all day long is bandwidth. It struck me about a decade ago that we have human bandwidth. I really thought that there was a parallel between the formula for actual electronic bandwidth, or even any other type of bandwidth and human bandwidth.

I broke it down being a corny guy. In fact, I did a TEDx Talk on this. I broke it down into four things that seemed to be occupying most of our lives and our happiness. That is our time and our money, which are interrelated, except and also two good songs by Pink Floyd. A big difference, by the way, Alex, says you can always make more money, but you can’t make more time. Then our happiness and our love. Those things give us satisfaction in life. I call those life satisfaction.

To me, I’m always searching for purpose and meaning. It struck me that bandwidth was the flow. It was the way to get to it. What was more interesting is when I started taking the formula for bandwidth and I started playing around with how for example, Verizon computes bandwidth. There’s some interesting parallels to how we do things. First of all, every increase in your bandwidth, every time you increase a little bit of your bandwidth out, you get a monumental increase in volume. The volume actually goes up roughly nine times.

You get nine times as much increase in the throughput of whatever you’re trying to achieve and you also get constriction the same way. How many times you’ve done this? How many times you’ve been stressed out? You can’t get things done and you’re too busy. I mean, in these times, I know what it’s like. I’ve been too busy and it makes me unhappy. Then when you’re not busy, it makes you unhappy. There’s this whole level of that.

One part of it was the monumental increase in throughput that we get by increasing our bandwidth. Then the second part that I discovered was one of the things that impedes bandwidth on a regular basis on the bandwidth of computers, of the bandwidth of electronics is something called the signal-to-noise ratio.

[00:03:13] AD: Let’s start by unpacking that a little more. First off, just to recap for our listeners, as you said it from our human bandwidth standpoint, we’ve got four primary focuses. Again, that was time, money, happiness and love. You pointed out, very much time and money, they’re very interrelated. Time very much being the finite object. We all get 24 hours in the day, no matter who you are. As you said, you can always make more money. Thinking on that and talking about that and then tying it back to the signal-to-noise ratio, along with that increase you get in bandwidth, where do you start looking to say, “Okay. How do I expand my bandwidth and how do I become aware of maybe, some of the noise that’s causing me to have more limited bandwidth?”

[00:03:56] LL: You said something really important. It’s the inner relationship. Let’s start out with just time and money. Because most of us, Alex, you and I included to a degree, sell our time for money. I mean, that’s what you do. When you’re working, you’re selling time for money. When you’re doing leisure, you’re selling money for time. You’re giving up money to have leisure, so you can get time and it’s the opposite end.

I mean, if you think about it, our whole lives as working organisms is that we’re always doing that. We’re always making that trade off. I remember in the old days when I started out as a CPA, I was always trading time for money. In fact, we defined ourselves. Our definition of our worth was how many billable hours we had. “Oh, I had a 100 billable hours last week,” which like, that was something to be joyful. We are joyful that we were making so much money and didn’t have any time to go to any baseball games, or do anything else.

One of the first important spots that we can expand is just getting what I would call, getting rid of some of these things that we’re making stupid trade-offs. An easy one and it’s just a very simple one. Who likes to pay bills? Start out with this. Say, “Hey, Alex. Let’s sit down and pay your bills.” You sit down and get your checkbook out and you write your checks, or you go online and you do your own your bill pay. Then you if you’re doing it manually, you write it out and you get an envelope and you get a stamp and you go to the post office, you burn up an hour of your time.

You’ve burn up an hour of your time, which might be worth whatever you want to construe that to be worth. I do want to talk about consumable theory. How much you consume your time to be worth? You might think, “Well, I’m worth 50 bucks an hour.” Well then, it costs you 50 bucks to pay bills to do something that made you unhappy, that took up a bunch of your energy and your wasted stamps. Go on auto bill pay. Get it out of the way. Make it simple. It’s so simple. It’s just like – I stress out. I got to save my money.

I see this all the time. I’m an investment guy. I’ll get somebody who has 20 grand in their IRA. “What stocks should I buy?” I said, “You don’t worry about what stocks you should buy. You should worry about getting an extra 2 grand in there.” Why don’t you quit going to Starbucks for a little bit and get 2 grand more in there?” Then there’s no way you’re going to make 10% off for what I’m going to tell you, but you’ll make 10% by doing something, by having an action.

Sometimes when we objectively look at those actions, what’s my money action, versus what’s my time action? I think that’s a profound way to look at it. It’s a profound way to help us walk our way through this. Auto bill pay is a good example. Automatic savings methods are good examples. Just doing a once a year check, a gut check on your investments, in your personal financial plan, that’s a good way to put those two things together.

Then the second is quit wasting your time thinking about what you’re going to do with your time. I always think about this thing that time management seems goofy. You can’t manage time. It’s finite. It’s there. You can’t manage something. You don’t have any choice. You can’t make it more of it. You got 86,400 seconds, then they’re gone at midnight, so you better get to work. How much time do you waste thinking about what you want to be doing?

Grab a notebook and do a brain dump and write down every single thing that’s on your mind. Then look at the piece of paper and they go, “This isn’t even worth it anymore.” Throw it out. Clean out like you’re cleaning house. Clean the time margins. Clean those time margins out and get those out. Those start to definitely benefit where we’re going.

Then as we go through that, then what happens is as you increase the time and money, you increase the happiness, which gives you more capacity for love. Then the whole bandwidth starts getting that nine times bigger. You get that nine times increase in size. Of course, so one way to do it is efficiently allocate where you’re going.

The second is to get rid of the signal-to-noise. I mean, the signal-to-noise ratio stunned me when I really started looking at it. I mean, in the old days, maybe you remember we’re looking all this high-tech equipment, now we’re doing our podcast remotely and having fun. In the old days, I had tape recorders. I remember being in a band, we’d have a tape recorder. We had something called the signal-to-noise ratio. If you put too much in the bandwidth, it overloaded the VU meters and it blew it off the charts and it sounded terrible.

Unless you were Jimi Hendrix trying to get feedback, it didn’t work. The trick on signal-to-noise is extremely important, Alex. I think that’s something our listeners ought to be thinking about as well.

[MESSAGE]

[00:07:57] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, a Connection Builder’s podcast.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[00:08:06] AD: Well, let’s dive into that a little bit more. How do we step back and identify what that noise is in there that may be disrupting the signal?

[00:08:15] LL: We are surrounded in noise. We are surrounded and the problem we have as human beings is we’re pattern recognition mammals. We see patterns and we identify patterns. Our brains are programmed for that. Our reptilian brain, not so much. Our reptilian brain looks for patterns of danger, but our mammalian brain is sitting there going, “Okay. What do I got to find here? What’s going to happen? What’s happening? What’s happening? What’s happening?”

We get all kinds of what I call heuristic biases. Our heuristic biases create noise. The heuristic biases, we’re paying attention to something right this second. Right now, it’s COVID. I guarantee you, five years from now, you and I won’t talk about COVID much. There’s a heuristic called the Baader-Meinhof syndrome, or some of our listeners who are old will remember it. There was a terrorist gang called the Baader-Meinhof gang. No one had ever heard of them.

They started a big problem with the Israeli Olympic team and everybody heard them. Then everybody was talking about them. Remember a few years back, Herman Cain was running for president. Who was talking about Herman Cain? No one was talking about Herman Cain anymore.

We have attention biases. We have a group of heuristic biases that we pay attention to what our brain tells us is really important right now. Most of the time, it’s not. Most of the time, it’s not that important. We’re sitting around, playing with things that aren’t important and we have to say, “Let’s get rid of some of that noise. Let’s get rid of some of that bias. Let’s turn down the noise and go into what’s more important in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish.” What is going to be an effective use of our time, or what is going to be an effective use of our money?

That actually rolls a little bit to what I call construal. Construal is when you think something takes – you think something is different than it is. You misconstrue it. I mean, that’s what – I don’t want to be misconstrued about this. Take an example. If I said, Alex, how long does it take you to go to the grocery store? You’d give me a typical answer. How long do you think it takes you to go to the grocery?

[00:10:04] AD: 90 to a 120 minutes.

[00:10:07] LL: Okay. If I said, okay, that’s good. We’re going to write down 90 to a 120 minutes. Now I’m going to say, let’s take a stopwatch and let’s literally watch how long it takes you to do that.

[00:10:15] AD: Three hours later.

[00:10:16] LL: Right. How long is it going to take you to think about going to the grocery store? How long did it take you to go get your car and then turn on the radio and then how long did it take you to go text your significant other and see what else I’m supposed to go get, and then go to the store and wander around and read People Magazine and see what’s happening there and pick up the extra stuff you wanted to go do, compared to if you just got online, ordered it and had Kroger deliver it for you, it cost you 10 bucks and you’d had that time in your system and do something else.

I call this the Tesla construal problem. I don’t know. Have you driven a Tesla, Alex? You have to. It’s one of the best things you’ll ever do, next to having a really ice-cold beer on a hot day, a Tesla is one of those things. It is absolute fun. It’s like being in a slot car when you’re a kid and it’s just, “Oh, my God. This is so cool.” It is the coolest thing in the world.

Everybody who drives a Tesla wants one. I drove a Tesla and I had, “Oh, I got to get one of these. These are great.” I said, “But I drive to northern Michigan all the time.” The supercharger that’s in Bay City. If I go, I have to stop there and I have to go charge up the car. It takes 25 minutes to charge up the car in the supercharger.” If two lawyers are in front of me on their way to Traverse City and they’re sitting around BS and on their cellphones for 25 minutes, that means it’s going to be 50 minutes while I’m in Bay City.

If I make 300 bucks an hour, I just blew all the time and energy I had of trying to save any money on my Tesla. That didn’t save me money. It didn’t save me any time. I mean, there are some of the issues that you see, what I call the electric car paradox. “Oh, we’re saving all kinds of energy.” I had a friend, had a Tesla and I said, “Love your car. Coal-powered.” He goes, “It’s not coal-powered. It’s electric.” I said, “You live up in over by Port Huron, don’t you?” He goes, “Yeah.” That’s a lot. That’s a coal-powered car. Go look at the Marysville plant. Burning coal.

The construal theory basically says this, we misconstrue our time. That is definitely a noise. It’s trying to get that noise out of the way. In our trade off with bandwidth, Alex, you can trade time and money and those are logical trades. Then you can trade some of those other pieces. It’s how we approach that. A situation happened to me. I was going down 75 and there was, believe it or not, a pothole. Wow, imagine.

[00:12:22] AD: At 75?

[00:12:23] LL: Yeah. At I-75. I know that’s farfetched that –

[00:12:26] AD: Our listeners will never believe.

[00:12:28] LL: Yeah. I-75 in Michigan, there was a pothole in the springtime on the freeway. I got a blowout. I pulled over. There’s another guy who got a blow out right in front of me. Young guy. I call AAA and then I get on my cellphone and start working. I’m working like you would do. You used to be the mover and shaker in the private equity world. I mean, I just start, “Well, okay. I’ll get on the phone.” I get on the phone, “Hey, I’m not going to be able to make it. Got a blow-out. AAA is on the way.”

AAA road service comes. They replace the tire while I sit in the car still on the phone. I get on the phone and the other people are still there. I thought about this and I said, I bet you, they don’t have AAA. I bet you, he had to go get somebody else to help him. I’m picturing all the cascade of that problem that that turned into. He may had to get call a buddy and the buddy had to bring a tire and had to bring a jack and they came and did it and he missed the job interview and they couldn’t get the babysitter for the baby.

I mean, you can cascade this whole relationship of where things go. You can see how that just completely changes the complexion and avenue of how our interactions affect our bandwidth. His bandwidth was completely stuffed with noise. Completely, because he wasn’t thinking, “I might get a flat tire, or I can’t afford AAA road service. I can’t do that.” I mean, this is actually addressing some of our societal problems today, is we don’t value our own time as much.

I mean, do you ever think about when there’s a black Friday on New Year’s and people are camping out for two days and I’m going, “It’s Thanksgiving, there’s turkey, there’s stuffing, there’s pumpkin pie, there’s good things to eat, there’s wine. Why are you sitting in a parking lot at Best Buy to buy a TV set for 40 bucks off?” I’m missing something here. I’m just not getting it.

[00:14:08] AD: Leon, there’s two things I really want to unpack there for our listeners. First is let’s talk about this idea that I think we as humans, we’re really poor at really making a decision, understanding second and third order consequences. We all think in first order consequences. Great example, so losing weight and being fit.

I really want to be fit and in shape, but I really like ice cream. At the moment of getting ice cream, I say to myself, “Well, this is great. This sounds awesome and I really enjoy that.” The second order consequence behind that is well, I’ve eaten ice cream too much and that’s certainly not helping my long-term goals. That’s an analogy that I think most of us can relate to in one way or another. I think that it happens in so many aspects of our life.

Then the second part I really want to unpack is this time for money trade-off, we’ve talked about it quite a bit here. I think all too often and I want to be clear here, for those of you and those of us in this that are listening here, that are blessed and fortunate enough to be in a place where you can have AAA, or where you can hire out someone to help in areas that you are not good at, or that are not a good use of your time, you have to step back and say, “Okay. How can I be smarter about the allocation of my time?”

To your point about bill pay, it could be as simple as just putting it on an auto pay system that has effectively no cost to you. You just need to sit down for one Saturday afternoon and make it happen. For others and for me personally, one that really hits home for me is cleaning the house. My wife and I, we both have really, especially during COVID, we’ve discovered that cleaning the house is not our expertise.

It’s more draining than it’s worth. As much as I can sit back and say, “Well, that’s a lot of money to have someone come clean our house every week. Should I really be spending money that way?” I also step back and say, in the end, what is my time worth for the hours I would spend there, plus the stress build up that comes both before I have to do the chore, plus after I have to do the chore? What is that worth and how do I value my time? It all comes back to this and we talk about this in the podcast all the time. It comes back to being intentional when you think about how you allocate that time and how you allocate those dollars for that trade-off.

We talk about the increase in your availability of old time and money, opens up the opportunity for additional happiness and love. Can you share some thoughts around that and how you look at that?

[00:16:28] LL: Let’s take your house cleaning. Let’s just take that. That’s a great example. Let’s say, it takes you two hours to do house cleaning. That would be if you’re a professional house cleaner, but you’re not, so it takes you three hours, because you get distracted and you go over and look at your computer and you look at your phone and somebody calls on the phone and you have to pet the dog and you have to do something else. During the course of it, it takes you three hours.

Let’s say for purposes of argument that you make a $100 an hour, so that literally cost you $300 to do that. Let’s also take a look at what you didn’t do during those three hours. You didn’t go for a walk with your wife. You didn’t go to a concert. You didn’t do something else. What you’ll probably do is you’ll try to make up for that. You’ll do some mental accounting and say, “Well, we cleaned the house. We should reward ourselves, so let’s go have a good bottle of wine and go have dinner.”

Let’s say, you buy a $50 bottle of wine. Now it’s up to 350. Now you have to go get the bottle of wine. You have to do the other parts. You’re starting to see the end of it. Then you’ve diminished your happiness, because you were sniping at each other during cleaning the house and you’re going, “Well, she’s not doing it the way I want to.” I mean, our argument is, how do you make the bed? Weirdly enough, our weird relationship, we fight to see who makes the bed first, because she likes to make it one way and I like to make it the other way. Whoever does it first, the other one has to abide by it.

I might pose to you Alex, it’s costing you 400, 500 bucks, plus some happiness to have your house cleaned. If you can get it done for a 100 bucks, you’re way ahead of the game. Then what you’ve done is you shrunk your bandwidth. When you took those things out, when you burnt up that time and you burnt up those other things, you traded time for money. I’ll do it myself and it wasn’t worth it. I mean, my dad was a machine repairman. I came from poor background. My dad fixed the car in the driveway. I remember the first time I went to Uncle Ed’s oil change and my dad had a fit. “You didn’t change your own oil.” I go, “No, dad.” He goes, “Why?”

I said, “Because it was 29 bucks.” He said, “You could have saved money.” I said, “No way, dad. That wouldn’t save money.” “Oh, yeah. You would’ve.” I said, “I’d have to go buy five quarts of oil, now it cost me 12 bucks.” I said, “I had to buy a pan.” I said, “I would had to buy an oil filter.” I said, “I had to buy an oil filter wrench. I would have had to buy ramps. I would have had to buy band-aids for my knuckles when I busted them on a thing. I had to buy a six-pack of beer, because that’s what I would have drank after I spilled the oil all over the place and it would have taken me two hours.”

I said, “It took me 15 minutes. The guy did at Uncle Ed’s and while I was on the phone I made a 100 bucks. Why was that not a good idea?” You start to get to that analysis. You go, “You know what? Having an extra hour and 45 minutes would be a lot more fun.” There’s a generation that has a mentality, we should always do it ourselves. Then there’s a generation that has a mentality, I should do what I’m really good at and let other people do it what they’re really good at. Let people do what they’re good at and their bandwidths increase and now we’re getting into probably one, I think, one of the most important points, Alex.

When we increase our own bandwidth, because of network connectivity, now think this out, let’s say you and I are making a network and I increase the bandwidth between our notes, that increases the bandwidth of the whole network. If you increase your bandwidth and are happier and you’re able to do things more and you let somebody else clean your house, you’ve increased their bandwidth, because they now have more money and they’re happier.

Then they go get their nails done and they increase the bandwidth of the nail salon technician. If I have AAA come out, I increase the bandwidth of the people at AAA. We eventually start increasing the whole global network by doing it that way. I think that’s probably a bigger, more important thing than just our own. It’s not just a selfish end to bandwidth. It’s that we’re all connected to each other.

[MESSAGE]

[00:19:46] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, bringing you candid conversations with leading middle-market professionals.

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

[00:19:54] AD: Listen, Leon. You made such a great point there and I’m going to tie it back to the cleaning the house, because it’s an easy analogy for me. In the times that during COVID that I was learning how to clean my house, when our housekeeper was unavailable, to your point, my mood was down. The energy I was able to bring somewhere else was not nearly as high and it’s a really good lesson to step back for everyone to say, again, focus on what your strengths are. Focus on what you are good at.

I very much understand, it’s not available everyone. People that you can afford to have someone help you in certain areas, you’re very fortunate and blessed to be in that position. I think all too often, people can probably afford it more than they realize and saying, “Why? I’ll just save the money and I’ll just –” The oil change example is a great one. Let’s just say you owned everything and you’re just getting the oil, yeah, from a net dollar basis, you might be able to buy oil cheaper than they’re going to charge you to do the service, but when you really factor in everything, did you save any money? Did you really save any money in that process?

[00:20:54] LL: I didn’t at all. I’m not sure I made myself happy changing my own. I’m sure, there’s somebody who’s happy changing their own. I mean, so I’ll give you a weird example, I love to build boats. I’ve built a couple boats out of wood and nice wooden boats are beautiful and everybody looks at them goes, “Oh, my gosh. These are so nice. You could sell these.” I said, “If I sold these for my time at $2 an hour, they’d be $10,000. No one would buy one.” I did it, because I was happy. It made me happy.

Sometimes you do things to make you happy. All I’m trying to stress, Alex, is do it because you want to do it, not because you think you have to do it and that’s probably the biggest thing. For every amount that we increase the radius of our bandwidth, we get nine times the throughput. For every elimination of signal-to-noise, which is an inverse relationship, if I take the signal over the noise, if I can cut the noise down by 10%, I increase the bandwidth again. That’s the key thing that we should be looking at as humans.

If we do this, we really, really end up in a great place, because we get the most important piece we now have, which is the time for love, where we can love our kids, or love our spouses, or love our friends, or love our country. We have the ability to put that emotion forth, which is the most powerful piece of human bandwidth.

[00:22:01] AD: I couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s talk about this from a practical standpoint. I’m a professional. I’ve got a demanding work life. I’ve got a million things on my plate. What you’re saying makes a lot of sense, but how the hell do I even tackle it? Where do I even start?

[00:22:15] LL: Right. Start with the easiest things. Start with the things that are – things you absolutely don’t need to do. Let’s say, you’re a software engineer, then you don’t need to be cleaning the house and you don’t need to be doing other things. You need you need to be a good parent, so let’s put parenting up in a high priority and let’s put paying the bills down in a lower priority.

Then, I think it relates to if you’re in a relationship, let’s delegate between the people. Let’s get everybody’s bandwidth going and say, “You know what? Instead of us bickering about the house cleaning, tell you what, you clean the house this week, I’ll clean the house next week and I promise, I won’t complain about how you do it. You promise you don’t complain about me.” We’ll get it out of the way.

Let’s get little slices and put those in place, because remember, Alex, little slices make huge differences. Then to my young up-and-comer, I’d say, if we’re flying a helicopter 10 years from now and the kids are 10-years-old and you’re 10 years down the road in the job, what’s it look like? What’s the ideal scenario? What did you do? Did you give up too much time? Do you go back and say, “God, I wish I wouldn’t spend so much time with the kids.” I doubt it. Did you say, “Gosh, I wish I would have learned more about Python.” You probably just said, yeah. Do you wish that you would’ve traveled more and probably, yeah.

All right. Then, let’s get those things down. Tell me the 10-year role. The 10-year helicopter ride, when go on that helicopter ride, what’s it look like? What are you going to be happy about and what are you going to be unhappy about? It’s one of those weird things, because I talk to people all the time who retire and sell their businesses, whatever else. I go, “What do you want written on your gravestone? I wish I worked more, or I wish I had more fun?” Where does it go? What’s that balance between those?

Probably, the easiest way to start, Alex, is go with the time and money. That’s the simplest. Just determine where your time and money is. What actually starts to happen is your happiness starts falling in place. Money does not buy happiness and you can’t buy me love, like the Beatles like to say. It certainly helps when you clear those two pieces of bandwidth. I’ll go, “Man, I’m using all 86,400 seconds the way I want to, or most of them, and man, I’m getting the most bang for my buck when I sell my time.”

Probably, the last thing I’d say is figure out a way not to sell time. Here’s the wildest part to me, Alex. We’ve got 86,400 seconds in a day, so you can sell those. As a lawyer, I used to sell them when I was practicing law and I’d sell them for a couple hundred bucks an hour. As a CPA, I’d sell them for a couple hundred bucks an hour. Then I started saying, “You know what? I’m going to sell ideas. You know how many ideas you can have? Infinity.” You know what they’re worth? No one knows.

Steve Jobs had an idea. I’m going to put all the world’s information on a little device that doesn’t have any keys. What are you? Out of your mind? Trillion dollars later, maybe not. Uber came up with an idea. “We’re going to take taxis and turn them into people’s cars and you can just do that.” Don’t mind them now. Airbnb.

I mean, literally, I can keep naming what doesn’t exist now, it wasn’t an idea. I’ll challenge our listeners. Start working on an idea. Take some of that mindfulness that Alex talks about all the time and be mindful of what would be a good idea. What is an idea just for you?  What’s an idea for your family? Maybe we should do a family scrapbook. Maybe we should do a family cookbook. Maybe we should have a family trip and let the kids pick it. Maybe we should set up a map and do an imaginary family trip.

I don’t know. There’s a whole bunch of things we can do. Maybe we should all watch a TED Talk once a week. There are some ways to trade that time and money thing. Try to come up with ideas, because there’s the one thing that is absolutely positively unlimited. There is no barrier on those.

[00:25:39] AD: I couldn’t agree with you more. What I hope our listeners really step back and say is in the end, you have to carve out that white space and that time to think. When you are in the day-to-day grind and taking back to your example, when you were selling yourself by the hour as an attorney, and again, if you’re an attorney and that’s part of your day, you have to do that as part of your job.

However, if that’s all you do, if that’s all you focus on and you don’t carve out that white space to really sit back and think, how do you come up with new ideas? Whether it’s intentional thought, or meditation, or whatever it is, but you carve out that white space and that’s how those ideas come to be. They don’t just naturally pop into your head, unless you are carving out that time intentionally to make it happen.

[00:26:24] LL: You find that from the noise. Burn the noise up. Turn off the device for a second, not until our podcast is done, but turn off the device for a second and just be mindful and say, “What’s a problem I want to solve? What’s something I want to do? What’s important to me?” Or as this Lombardi said, when? What’s important now?

Your mindfulness is always paid off for me, Alex. I’ve always been mindful. I’ve always said, “What am I doing right now, this moment, this second? What’s the most important thing now?” I think, having that weird little exercise – what a funny thing we’re telling our listeners to do, think. Go out and think of what it might be. Everything around you, go look at it, came from an idea somewhere, somehow.

[00:27:09] AD: 100%. The one thing I can hear some listeners saying in the back of their mind right now is, “I just can’t. I’ve got too much on my plate. I can’t make that happen, or it’s not realistic.” What I’m going to challenge everyone to step back and say that when you have a fixed mindset and the idea of well, it’s just not going to work, or there’s no way I can work that in, you certainly will never make it happen. It’s certainly never going to get there. You have to be open and say, “Okay. Let me figure out how to make this happen.” To your exact point here, you figure out how to eliminate the noise, you become intentional with how you’re trading time and money and you’re carving out that space and that the small steps is as you brought this up earlier, it’s the little changes every day, those little steps along the way that ultimately lead to that long-term happiness, that long-term successful feeling.

[00:27:55] LL: Alex, I always say to people, could you change 50%? They go, “Oh, God. No. No, I couldn’t change 50%.” Could you change 1% a day? The think, “Oh, I could do that.” We change 1% a day, that’s actually way more than 50%. Way more. How many how many minutes a day do you meditate right now? “Oh, none.” Okay, good. Try two. Two. Two won’t kill you. Just two. I want you to try for two. The next day, do it for two minutes and 20 seconds and let’s see what happens and let’s just build it up from there.

It is really an interesting thing. Your point on an expansive mindset, versus a fixed mindset, there’s a remarkable book on that called Mindset. It covers that whole concept, that people with expansive mindsets have higher income, higher happiness, everything else, because they see possibilities.

I have a cool glass. I don’t have it in front of me, but it’s a big tumbler glass and it’s got a line in the middle. It says, Odamista Pessimista. Odamista sees the glass half-full, Pessimista sees the glass half-empty. If you say, “I can’t. There’s only – It’s dog eat dog world. Someone wins, someone loses.” Okay, you’re right. You’re going to be in the winner-lose thing. If you think the world’s expansive, I might pose that our grandfathers didn’t have iPhones and didn’t have electric cars and didn’t have – they had fax machines, whatever that is.

I mean, there’s so much expansion in the world caused by our human intellect and our creativity, that I think that’s probably the profound thing. We should just all be a little bit more creative.

[00:29:20] AD: Leon, this has been great. You and I could certainly talk about this for another hour, hour and a half here without a problem.

[00:29:25] LL: We could. Maybe we should do it again some time.

[00:29:27] AD: Absolutely. I really appreciate you coming on here today and sharing your thoughts with our listeners and absolutely looking forward to finding time to do this again in the future.

[00:29:35] LL: Great, Alex. Thanks, and thanks for having me. To all our listeners, just remember that as a famous set of philosophers once said, all you need is love.

[00:29:43] AD: I love it. Thank you. Thank you so much, Leon.

[00:29:44] LL: Thanks.

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