GCM 88 | Disruptions And Success

 

Disruption and success can be synonymous to thriving and how you have made a positive mark in this world. In this episode, Rodney Flowers interviews John Vespasian about his philosophy on resilience and life as it relates to history. As the author of nine books which includes On Becoming Unbreakable, Thriving in Difficult Times and Sequentiality: The Amazing Power of Finding the Right Sequence of Steps, John reveals his patterns for writing books and his way of researching each of them. He shares some wonderful life lessons that you can gain from his masterpieces, as well as some examples that will enlighten you about what it takes to be successful in the end.

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Embracing Disruptions And Success With John Vespasian

I have John Vespasian with me. He is the author of nine books about rational living. He has turned his international background and his personal interest in history into a gree of personal development books that emphasize rationality, resilience and learning from real-life examples. His latest books are On Becoming Unbreakable, Thriving in Difficult Times and Sequentiality: The Amazing Power of Finding the Right Sequence of Steps. Welcome to the show, John.

Thanks, Rodney. It’s great to be here.

I’m glad that you’re here. You have some amazing work out there. I was looking through all of the work that you’ve done and I was fascinated. I’m curious about getting to your philosophy about resilience, your philosophy about life as it relates to our history. There’s a lot of correlation that you’ve worked on, created and brought to the table for us to learn from in this lifetime based on history. I want to get into that, but before we do, I want to talk about you and where you are from. I see that you lived in Germany, Italy, France, Spain. Now you are in the Netherlands. You’ve been all over the place. What has drove you to live in those places?

I have an international commercial background. I started to write books several years ago out of sheer frustration. It’s not that I intended to become a writer. At a certain point, after reading voraciously for decades about marketing, personal finance, special development history, which are areas I love, I started to get dissatisfied with the books I could find. Most books you will pick up in a bookshop about personal development are not helpful. Many of them are misleading, unrealistic advice, fluffy. It’s not supported by data. I find it annoying. I started to write the kinds of books I could not find. It’s factual, based on history, trying to spread a rational message because you mentioned the philosophy.

The philosophy underlying the books is simple. The principle is simple, but the implementation is difficult. The principle is simple. If we try to become a little bit more rational, and I’m not talking about becoming robots, to become 1%, 2% more rational and make better decisions in the long-term, it makes a huge difference. It can be the difference between success and failure, health or sickness, having happy relationships or breakdown. It makes a lot of difference. It’s difficult to become a bit more rational. It’s difficult for human beings to change. It’s difficult to admit failure. It’s difficult to change our lives. The methodology I use in the books is based on history. What I do in each book is to go through dozens of biographies of different people on different periods of history. Some people are successful, some people are unsuccessful.

I tried to draw from their stories. They’re short stories. I go to the essence of each biography. I tried to draw from the story’s principles that can make us more effective. You can tell someone to be more rational 24 hours a day and it will not work because people don’t change like this. We change through stories. The way it would become a bit more efficient, a bit more proactive, a bit more rational is to know the stories, to know patterns of behavior. We were going to make a decision. We can remember the story from the 17th or 18th century, from the middle ages. I say, “Now the situation is similar to mine and I can make the right decision.” What I’m trying to do in my books is to present the story after story, to go through the patterns of human behavior, to see what works and what leads to disaster.

GCM 88 | Disruptions And Success

Disruptions And Success: People who go through disruptions well acknowledge their mistakes. People who keep improvising eventually crash and burn.

 

What are some of those patterns that you’ve discovered?

In the latest book, the title is Undisrupted. I have a focus on patterns that makes people deal effectively with distractions. I can go through the principles and we can discuss different stories. In this latest book, one of the main principles that make people effective in times of disruption, I’m not talking about huge disruptors. It’s not little things like a breakdown in your car. I’m talking about people getting sick, losing their jobs, getting divorced, having to flee to another country because of war. You may have disruptions.

One of the factors that appear in history repetitively, going through different centuries is that people who do well when they are facing major adversity, these are people who go back to the basics. They go back to their basic skills. They go back to a business or a profession they know well. They go back to their friends they know for years. They go back to their relationships. They go back to a territory or to skills or to a situation. They have 100% control. On the other hand, people who tend to destroy their lives when they are facing problems because they make them worse and worse, these are people who tend to improvise.

In the book, I go through story after story showing how people who are clever, well-established, sometimes they start to improvise because they believe they’re super clever, cleverer than they are. They start to get into situations they know nothing about. They get into a new business and they don’t know the backgrounds. They have no relationships. They get into a new city and they start a meeting with the wrong people. Within a few weeks and a few months, you see this successful person losing ground completely and making mistake after mistake. To some extent, you sign up the stories of the book. I present people who destroyed their lives completely because they started to improvise. They could not admit that they didn’t know what they are doing. It would have been easy to go back to the basics, but they didn’t.

This extreme pressure that people put on themselves artificially is not necessary. Click To Tweet

I had an episode with a guy who’s a mental performance coach. He talked about when we are in a place of stress, building a lot of anxiety, the best thing that we can do is return to that place where we felt good about ourselves. We felt confident. We felt not invincible, but we were confident in who we were as people. To be able to do that, he told his story of how that allowed him to come out of what he was in. He forgot. He was in such a traumatic situation that he forgot some of his strengths, some of the good things about himself, his good characteristics and ways of thinking. He thought that he wasn’t good enough and that he was doomed. I bring that up because when we have to go back to the basics, whenever we’re in those types of situations, it leads me to believe that’s what you mean by that. We say going back to the basics. I know the basic is the fundamentals of things, maybe the fundamentals of life. In a sense, are you saying that we have to go back to that place where we feel like that about ourselves or those fundamental characteristics of ourselves are strong?

Let me give you an example from the book because it will make the idea more clear. The approach I take in the books is practical, hands-on. I’m going to share these theories of going back in your mind to someplace in your childhood, this psychological stuff. This worked for a while because it can reduce stress, but it will not solve the problem. If you want to solve major problems, you have to take action. Let me give you an example of what I mean by going back to skills.

One of the main stories I tell the book is about a Russian industrialist. His name was Savva Mamontov and he lived in the nineteenth century. Mamontov is the Russian equivalent of Andrew Carnegie. He was a successful railroad executive. He built railroads in Russia before the communist revolution. He became a millionaire and was a famous man in Russia. He had a big art collection. He was in the newspapers every day. He was a big celebrity who owned most of the shares in this railroad. It was listed in the stock market. Mamontov was on top of the food chain in Russia. We are talking at the end of the nineteenth century, beginning of the twentieth century.

He got the idea of expanding his business. He was already quite wealthy, but he wanted more. He got the idea of starting to manufacture steel because he read about the US manufacturer like Carnegie. He said, “I can do it myself.” He started a steel mill in Russia. Within a few months, he started to lose a huge amount of money because he thought it was easy. He was a good manager. He knew how to run a railroad but he didn’t know how to make steel. It’s a different business.

This is a key idea in the book. Instead of saying, “I know to do one thing. I can go back to my business. I closed down the steel mill. I take the losses and that’s the story. That’s finished. I will not go back to this mistake anymore.” Instead of doing that, Mamontov was unable to recognize his error. He started to make money from the railroads to pay for the losses in the steel mill. The problem is that he was not their only shareholders. He got more shareholders. Eventually, they got wind of what he was doing and he was sued for embezzlement because he was taking money from one company for covering the losses of the other company.

He was prosecuted as well. It was a big trial, the first page of the newspaper every day for a year. Eventually, he went to jail and lost everything. He lost his companies, his art collection and his houses. For the last several years of his life, Mamontov lived in total misery. His friends wouldn’t talk to him. He was totally ostracized. He was living on the brink of starvation. It’s an interesting story because you could argue how it is possible that such an intelligent, sophisticated person could speak several languages.

He was well-educated. He has a lot of experience as a business executive. How could he make such a huge mistake? This is one of the drivers of the book. People make mistakes of this kind over and over again and you see it every time you open the newspaper. You see a football player who lost all of his savings in some restaurant investment or some Hollywood movie star who lost his money in some perfume company. These are crazy stories, but it’s always the same pattern. This is one of the main ideas in the book. People who go through disruptions well, they acknowledge their mistakes. They go back to the basics and I mean basic skills, things they know well. People who keep improvising eventually crash and burn.

If you go through disruptions because you want to change your career or your life, go to plan B to reduce stress levels. Click To Tweet

Based on your teachings, what would you have recommended to this guy?

At a certain point, he should have declared bankruptcy because he had different companies. He could have let go of the steel mill and said, “I’m going to suffer some criticism. I’m going to lose some money. That’s it.” He goes back to his normal life. Within a year, the whole story would have been forgotten. He still had a successful career for the next many years. He could not acknowledge that he was wrong. This is a pattern you find systematically in people who go down in disruption. It’s not so much the disruption itself. It’s the inability to change scores, inability to say, “This is not working. I have to do something else.”

What is that? We live in a society where there’s a lot of pressure to succeed. Everyone wants success. Unfortunately, those that are going to the extreme end to reach that success and perhaps maybe they don’t make the right decisions. How do we bring that back into balance?

The formula I recommend in the book to try to grow your career or to develop your skills is a different approach. Nowadays, I devoted the full chapter of the book to criticize this mentality of just do it, go to the limits, give it all you have. This extreme pressure that people put on themselves artificially is not necessary. When you look at the stories, I present many examples in the book, how successful people have built amazing careers by taking a little risk. In the 21st century, we tend to identify success or entrepreneurship with high risk. This is not a good approach. When you’re looking at history and you look at the stories of people who do well, many of them take little risks.

What they do is to evolve in their careers, to grow organically, to accumulate knowledge, to accumulate relationships, to accumulate customers. Eventually, they breakthrough and they become extremely successful. When you look at the story, it looks like an overnight success, but there is a lot of work behind. This is the right way to do it. You don’t need to take a huge risk to become successful. This is extremely useful. Even if you get it right, you will suffer because your health or your immune system will suffer. I don’t think it’s a good approach. Let me give you an example from the book to explain what I’m trying to say.

One of the biographies I presented in the book is the story of Rubens. He was a successful artist in the seventeenth century. What is super interesting about the story is that Rubens was successful. In my opinion, he wasn’t a super good painter. There were many other competitors with better skills, but Rubens was a successful artist in an environment where his competitors were almost starving. He started his artist business. He started his workshop without any advantage. He was not particularly well-connected. He didn’t have a rich family behind to fund his business. Eventually, what made Rubens different from his competitors was making extremely successful to an extent we cannot even imagine. You have to go to Antwerp in Bellevue where he lived to see the house he built in the seventeenth century to get an idea of the level of success. It’s comparable only to Microsoft’s owner or something like this. He was amazing.

How did he do it? It’s the opposite of what we’re saying about this high stress and this extreme pressure. He did it in a completely different way. The only thing he realized when he was in his twenties is that it was extremely difficult to make money as a painter. This was something that many other people knew because at the same time you see Rubens in Amber, you have Vermeer who was a great painter in Delft. Vermeer didn’t manage to paint more than twenty paintings in his life because he could not do a full-time job out of it. He was always doing something else. Rubens realized it was going to be almost impossible to make money because there was much to learn and much competition.

What did he do that was different from the others? This is what I recommend in the book, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and trying to find himself the way as now everybody preaches, look into your heart and go for it. I thought it was stupid. Rubens, what he did was to try to copy things at work. He realized that the only people making money with paintings were the Italians. He went to Italy for a few months. He went to Venice and Florence. He looked at how they were doing marketing and production. He went back to Belgium. He killed it to such an extent that he was producing several paintings per day while most of the other artists were starving. He did it by copying techniques that in Italy, they were already being used for a century. In Belgium, they were unknown. He learned how to do marketing, how to do segmentation of the market, how to propose different products, how to make a proposal to different markets.

He learned that in Italy. He built such machinery of marketing and production that it was equal in the seventeenth century. This evolution took a few years and there were not a lot of risks involved. Even the travel to Italy was at a low cost. The only thing you have to do is to avoid this situation of high risk and high pressure because you don’t get anything out of it. It’s a complete waste of time. You will do much better as you try to build your career or your relationships or your skills, little by little learning from people who know how to do things. Try to avoid reinventing the wheel because it’s a complete waste of time.

What do you feel is the key to dealing effectively with disruptions that happen in our lives?

There are different patterns we got from history. In most cases, you see people copying solutions. When you’re faced with a major sickness or a major divorce or you go bankrupt, the first reaction is to panic and to say, “I cannot take it anymore. It’s going to be horrible.” People get into a deep depression, but the best strategy in those cases is to not motivate yourself artificially by some psychological trick, which is usually not effective. It could last for a day or two days, but it will not solve the problem.

This is the main technique I presented in the book. You have to go by history. This is easy at this time when you have access to books and Google to try to find the people who have solved similar problems in the past. This is relatively easy to do, to try to copy their solution without going crazy. If you focus on your situation, you talk to friends and family seeing they don’t know any better, they are going to drive you crazy because they will drive you into a deep depression. Let me give you an example from someone who has a bad situation, a terrible distraction as he managed to find the solution. This is the story. I tell you one of the chapters of the book of Django Reinhardt, who was a guitar player in 1948, the 1950s. Reinhardt suffered a terrible accident when he was in his twenties. He was a gypsy. He was living in a van. He was traveling from city to city playing guitar, but they didn’t have electricity at that time in the van. He was using candles for lighting.

During the night, a candle was overturned. The van where Reinhardt was sleeping burned completely. When he woke up in the middle of the night, he was surrounded by fire. He managed to escape, but he got a severe burn in the left part of his body. He lost the usage of one finger. When you lose one finger as a guitar player, it’s a kiss of death. You cannot play guitar with nine fingers. Reinhardt like most people goes through these disruptions. He became extremely depressed. For a few months, he was barely eating. He was completely lost because he didn’t have any other career path. He hadn’t gone to school. He has no education.

The only thing he needed was to play the guitar. His dream was to become a famous musician. Here comes the solution that I presented in the book. I find the best approach in times of disruption. At a certain point, Reinhardt realized that he has to get over it. He started to consider possible solutions. He looked into history to try to find examples of people who have gone through similar situations to try to find the solution. Eventually, he found some examples of people who play musical instruments with physical deficiencies. There were people who lost the usage of some limb or whatever. There are many examples in history. What people usually do in those cases is to change the musical instruments so that they can play. Reinhardt found a different solution, which is inspired by the same principle. What he did was to try to play with nine fingers, but the only way to do that is to play faster. He tried different ways and eventually after a few months, he was able to play the guitar again by playing fast.

Within a few months, it was a great success because he developed a type of music that was unique. He was playing fast. He was mixing jazz music with gypsy music. He became a successful musician in the 1940s and ‘50s. He went to the US. He was touring the US with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He became successful. The message, the principle behind this is that when you’re facing one of these major disruptions, instead of going crazy, going depressed or getting anxious, go down and try to find people who have solved different problems because you will find them in history. You can start with a sense of self-confidence that is based on reality.

To take it a little step further, you encourage readers to embrace those types of disruptions. Am I correct?

In some cases, you have no choice. This happens to millions of people. You can have the fantasy that your life is going to run every year a little better. You have to realize that the normal situation for most people is to be stuck in a situation, in a job, in a profession, in a business or in a relationship where they cannot grow for many different reasons because the market is too small or a romantic partner has evolved in a different direction, whatever. You’re going to find yourself stuck in life in many situations.

I devoted a whole chapter of the book to that because in those cases the only way to break through, to grow and to get better in your career, your business or relationship or whatever, the only way to evolve is to go through some disruptions. This is something that I worked on in their line. The book is not about living in paradise, having a perfectly smooth life. This is unrealistic. The book is about minimizing disruptions, minimizing unnecessary disruptions. In some cases, when you are stuck and you want to grow, the only way to go is to embrace disruption, but you have to do it in the right way. I presented in the book several examples of how to do it with minimum risk.

What is that right way? What do you mean by that?

It’s better to give you an example because it’s too abstract. Let me give you the example of Albert Schweitzer, which I presented in the book. He was a famous humanitarian in the 1960s, 1950s. He changed his life completely and it’s an interesting example. I would call it a creative disruption because I had a good job. He was a professor at the University of Strasbourg. He was a theologian. He had gone through several years of training to get his job. He had a PhD. He had written a dissertation. The problem with Schweitzer is that he wasn’t happy. He was teaching at the university every day of the week. He realized that he wanted to change his life. He could not grow in his job.

This is a pattern you find in the book and many of the stories. He could not do more than he was doing. He decided to change his life completely. He wanted to help people. He was a devoted Christian. He got the idea of going to Africa and started a hospital, which was completely crazy. When he told his friends and family, everybody told him, “You’re crazy. You have a job at a university. You’re a professor. Why do you want to go to Africa? You lost nothing in Africa.” Schweitzer realized that to go through these changes in his life, you’re talking about a major change. A few people go through these changes in their lives. What he did is clever and there’s a big lesson behind. Schweitzer realized that it was going to be risky and difficult to do that. He tried to get a job in Africa, in one of these churches.

He was immediately reacted because they thought, “What are you going to do there? You’re a professor. We don’t need professors. You’re in Africa. You’re completely useless.” Schweitzer decided to quit his job to train as a physician, to get a degree in medicine and going out to Africa. He wasn’t stupid. He realized that his plan was crazy, improbable, that there was a high risk. Maybe he went to Africa and he didn’t like it or maybe he got sick or maybe he had to go back but he couldn’t go back to his job because once you quit university, you cannot go back easily. He prepared a plan B. This is something that I underline in the book that is super important.

If you go through disruptions because you want to change your career, you want to change your life and you want to change your business, the best way to do it is to have a plan B because it will reduce your levels of stress. You cannot reduce stress by psychological tricks, by thinking about your childhood or thinking about the sea or something. This does not work. You need to have a real, feasible plan B. Whenever you get nervous, you know that you have the card in your sleeve. You can pull the card and you can go back to plan B.

As much he realized that going to Africa is going to be what’s called messy, difficult and risky. What he did was to have a plan that he could fall back on if everything was going south. Plan B for Schweitzer was to play music. He was playing every Sunday. On Saturday, he was playing music at the cathedral. He was a capable organ musician. He played for years. He realized that if he could not go back to his job at the university, at least he could make some money playing music and teaching music.

When he went to Africa, he eventually got a job and started a small hospital in Africa. When he went to Africa, he brought with him a second-hand upright piano. He bought it inexpensively. He practiced piano for one hour a day when he was in Africa. This was super important because he knew that if everything failed, if he was forced to go back to Europe and to go back to find a job, he could always fall back on his skills. This is the idea I presented at the beginning of the show, always have these basic skills you can go back to because you reduce your stress. You know that if everything fails, you can go back to the skills.

Schweitzer did well. When he was in Africa, every day he practiced for an hour. He did every day after lunch. He played the piano for an hour because he wanted to keep his fingers agile. When he ran out of money, and this happened periodically, he would go back to Europe and get some concerts and raise money for the hospital. He did it many times. This is a perfect example of how to change your career, how to go through disruptions, even major disruptions because you have this plan B, you can go through these disruptions with minimum stress.

GCM 88 | Disruptions And Success

Disruptions And Success: You’re going to find yourself stuck in life in many situations.

 

When you talk about nature, that’s good advice. We also learn from nature. I’ve heard people say that nature is a teacher. It leaves clues. Your philosophy is contrary to that. You’re skeptical about going back to nature for recipes for happiness. What is your thought process?

I attack this fantasy in the book quite strongly. Parks and holidays are nice. We can all benefit from holidays from time to time. The fantasy of imitating nature or now you have this motto of people going back to nature. I have to go back to nature and you have to become organic and these kinds of stories. It can be detrimental because many people believe in this fantasy that they want to go back and live in a village. They want to grow their own vegetables, raise their chicken or produce their own clothes. All these are nonsense. That means working twenty hours a day to have the standard of living in the Middle Ages.

All of this going back to nature, it has become almost a religion is complete nonsense. It distracts people from the real problems. Instead of fixing their real problems and relationships or their career or their finance, they go back to this dream of going back to nature, which is complete nonsense. We should not confuse a holiday, which is good. If you want to go to the countryside for a couple of weeks, it is great. Going back to nature as a philosophy is complete nonsense. It does not solve any problem. People have a romantic idea of nature, which is completely unrealistic. They never talk about spiders and mosquitoes. They believe that everything is going to be fine, easy and this nonsense. If you want to solve problems, this is not the way to go. It is pure nonsense with pure ideology. You have to become more practical. This is why I present in the book a lot of examples, why this fantasy is counterproductive.

It’s interesting that you feel this way. If you’re strongly against going back to nature, organic and doing all those things, what do you suggest? What is your recommendation?

Organic, if you don’t do it yourself, it’s fine. It’s fine to buy organic as a business. You buy tomatoes, whatever. To do it yourself, no. You have to decide in which area you want to develop your career. In the book, I presented many examples in different areas, different centuries of people who are successful. None of them tries to produce his own vegetables and grow his tomatoes and produce his shoes. This mentality of total self-reliance and you find in these books from the nineteenth century, it’s not feasible. You would have a life and you would be working twenty hours a day to get some food on your table. This is ridiculous. It’s a pity that it has become like a religion. It’s like a dogma that we have to go to this lifestyle. It’s good to produce organic if you do it commercially because you can do it efficiently and you can sell your tomatoes. To do it yourself instead of doing whatever you do, if you are a salesperson, a manufacturer or an engineer, concentrate on your job and let someone else sell organic. Don’t do it yourself because it’s a complete waste of time.

I understand what you’re saying. In your book, you talk about the myth of the inception point. What do you mean by that?

This is a super important concept when you’re talking about disruptions because what I tried to do here is to present an intellectual mistake that is a common mistake. Let me explain. What I call the myth of the inception point is the idea we get when someone goes through a problem, through a heart attack, bankruptcy or divorce and say, “My life was going fine. Everything was perfect until I got this problem. I got a heart attack. I got divorced. I got fired from my job.” You get this fantasy that everything was fine because there’s an inception point. There is a beginning. There is an attack. There’s a disruption. This is the inception point where the disaster started. This is a fantasy I presented in the book many examples. Why is this fantasy dangerous?

When you look at these stories, people who get a heart attack or a stroke, you look at the background and you see that for many years they have a horrible lifestyle. They’ve been eating crap almost every day. They had not enough sleep. It’s a horrible lifestyle. They made them vulnerable. Eventually, when they get a heart attack, instead of saying, “I brought this upon myself because I have this horrible lifestyle for many years.” They say, “No, this is an inception point. This is the beginning of the disaster. I was doing fine and everything was fine until this happened.” These are dangerous fantasies. It’s a fantasy that is promoted heavily by movies and by serials and fiction because it’s romantic.

You see people that are nice, are doing well. They suffer some disaster. Their life goes down the drain and they tried to recover. This is in real life. Most disasters are perfectly predictable. You see people that I’m sure you can tell from your friends, who are going to be a disaster a few years from now because you see their patterns. You see their habits or the lack of habits or you see the direction they’re taking. It’s predictable. From time to time, you could face in life some disasters that are completely random. I also addressed those cases in the book. This is exceptional. Most problems in life are predictable and the way to avoid them is to reduce your vulnerability.

It is by falling into this fantasy of this inception point that you’re going to solve them. One of the historical examples I present to explain this fantasy is the story of the Knights Templar. It was a powerful organization in the fourteenth century. It’s an organization of monks and warriors. They have 20,000 members and they collapsed overnight. It was a bit like the Middle Ages version of Enron. They collapsed within a couple of weeks. The stories were interesting because they looked strong. They looked powerful, but there was a little behind. There was complete disorganization, massive overhead, little fighting power behind the organization. When you look at history and people look at the Knights Templar, they invent this story of the inception point and say, “They were doing well.” Suddenly, they have this problem, then they collapse. It is not true. Organizations and people collapsed because they are vulnerable sometimes for years or for decades. This is why I make such a big issue in the book about the inception point because it’s a dangerous fantasy.

What’s making us vulnerable in your opinion?

The main reason is philosophical because in this world, in the 21st century, if you live in the United States, Europe, Japan or Russia, you have access to enormous resources. What you can do now with your smartphone is unthinkable only several years ago. We have philosophies and we have ideas that are unrealistic. People tend to think extremely short-term. Instead of trying to plan their lives, to reduce race, to diversify their investments, their friendships and their skills, they take strategies that are high risk. This is what we discussed at the beginning of the show when you were talking about people, various stress and under high pressure. These are situations where people are taking extremely high risk in an unnecessary manner. This is not the way to go. I underlined the book. The best strategy is to develop your skills, your relationship, your market knowledge to develop all these organically little by little and your probability of success will increase exponentially.

I appreciate how you have taken the approach to bring all of this information, our decision-making in a way you put it in a format to make it more rational. I know you’ve done that purposely, but I haven’t seen anyone do it this way. The way you’ve done it and the way you attach stories to your message is incredible. I’m intrigued about learning more from you, reading all of these books. You have many books, think about ten books to read. Thank you for this work. Thank you for coming on the show. Thank you for making it simple. The way you explain things, it makes it simple and rational, which is deliberate. I appreciate you for that. How can people find you? If they wanted to learn more about how to make more rational decisions and deal with the disruptions that happen in their lives, how can they connect with you?

I’m easy to find. You type my name, John Vespasian in Google or any search engine and in one second, there are a free newsletter and a blog with thousands of free articles. You can easily find the books on Amazon or other outlets.

What is the game-changing message that you would like to leave with? You’ve already dropped so much knowledge, stories and ideas that we have to go back and think about how we’re living our lives. If you could leave one thing with this, a game-changing mentality message, what would that be?

The main idea I want to convey in this book is that you have to think about the end game like a chess player. I devoted the whole chapter of the book to Capablanca. He was a chess player in the 1940s. Capablanca was able to play against 100 people at the same time. He was going through the main cities in the US playing against simultaneous games against 100 opponents. He was able to win 99%. He was a good player. When people asked him, “How could you play 100 chess games at the same time and getting it right almost all the time?” and the guy said, “It’s easy. You have to think about the end game.”

You have to simplify situations. You have to take a look at the risk and eventually try to choose the obvious decision. Capablanca, you see his games and they look almost boring because he tries to do the obvious. He was not a high-risk player. He wanted to win games with minimum effort. He did it most of the time. He was from Cuba and eventually lived in New York. He learned to play chess in a way, which is a philosophical way by always thinking about the end game. He simplifies the complex positions to the essence of disruption. In your life when you’re trying to decide to make good decisions, to think about the future, you have to keep thinking about the end game. What do you want to do in the next decades? It’s not weeks. Think about the end game where you want to go because most of the time, you’ll get it right. If you get it like Capablanca, you get it right most of the time, you will do extremely well.

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John, thank you for that. That is truly a game-changing message. Thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate you being here.

Thanks, Rodney. It was great to talk to you.

There you have it. It’s another successful episode of the show. Think about the end game in whatever you are doing, whatever decision that you’re making, whatever visualization exercise you’re working on, whatever success that you want to have, whatever strategy you’re putting in place. Think about the end game, think it through and there you’ll find success. Thank you.

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