Flourish
Podcast #19 — Aired March 6, 2014

We’re all looking for the best way to balance work and our personal lives and this week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll talk with someone who says he has the answer. Our guest is life coach and entrepreneur Steve Moeller, author of Endorphinomics. Moeller will discuss his guide to maximizing emotional, financial, and physical well-being to optimize quality of life. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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Steve Moeller
Author, Endorphinomics
Founder, Endorphin Zone New Media

Steve Moeller is a successful entrepreneur, author, speaker, business consultant, and life coach. He has trained thousands of investment advisors to help their clients flourish in retirement. A student of many disciplines, including anthropology, positive psychology, peak performance, neuroscience, indigenous wisdom, behavioral finance, and quality of life, Steve founded Endorphin Zone New Media to share his holistic strategies for flourishing with people of all ages and walks of life.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Joining us today is Steve Moeller, author of Endorphinomics. Steve is a successful entrepreneur, author, speaker, business consultant, and life coach. He has trained thousands of investment advisors to help their clients flourish in retirement. A student of many disciplines, Steve founded Endorphin Zone Media to share his holistic strategies for flourishing with people of all ages and walks of life. Steve, its so great to have you joining us today on Better Worldians Radio. Thank you for coming on board.

Steve Moeller
Im very happy to be here. Thank you.

Raymond Hansell
Youre very welcome. Id like to begin our conversation in this segment with your book, Endorphinomics. What does that mean?

Steve Moeller
Endorphinomics, well, its a combination of two words, endorphins and economics and endorphins of course are those naturally occurring neuro-transmitters that when were feeling fantastic, they are triggered in our brain and they create that warm glowing sort of euphoric feeling. So endorphins are a metaphor for positivity, happiness, all of those great feelings when were in a positive mood and then of course economics. So endorphinomics is really the combination of maximizing your financial independence and your quality of life, so the balance between sort of the head and the heart, you know, the pocket book and the quality of life issues.

Raymond Hansell
What an interesting concept. Now you talk in your book about contrasting life styles between your father and your stepfather. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Steve Moeller
Yeah. I joke sometimes that I grew up in two dysfunctional families in that my mom was divorced and remarried and my dad remarried so I had two separate families and they were almost completely opposite ends of the spectrum. My dad was German and very severe, driven, maybe a little bit angry, very conservative. I would say a pretty uptight guy but he was very successful financially and he had a lot of options in his life and he really was able to do a lot of things that my other family wasnt able to do. So my stepfather was a complete bohemian and had lots of wild and crazy friends and they had a difficult time in my family I grew up with financially but they had a lot of love, just a lot of subjective experiences and feelings about life that were much, much happier and better than my dad. So there was kind of a conflict between my two families. Neither one of them was ideal so I I when I was thirteen I made a choice. I made a conscious decision. I can very clearly remember that day when I had an aha moment that wow, what if I took the best from both families, the happiness, the love, the affection from my stepfathers family, my moms family, and then the financial success and the security and the personal growth that I saw associated with my dads quality of life in his lifestyle. So best of both was really what I decided to do at thirteen and really that is what endorphinomics is all about.

Raymond Hansell
Taking the best of both, okay. Thats interesting. So you were influenced even back then before you even had the concept of endorphinomics about taking the best of both.

Steve Moeller
Right, and I had no idea of course how to do it back then but I just had this aha that wouldnt that be great if you could, you know, leave the bad and take the good and synergize or synthesize that into a different way of living life.

Raymond Hansell
How interesting. Before you met your client, Toby, you were primarily helping people increase their financial success. So what happened with this meeting with Toby that began to change the way you think at things?

Steve Moeller
Well, I had been I had steady success and money and business and I had become a business consultant. I was working with financial advisors, investment advisors for about five years. I met Toby at a conference where we both spoke in Aspen and he was the top producer for his firm and I was one of the keynote speakers and we ended up sitting at the same table. He appeared very, very successful and very happy and boy, the other people at the conference just looked up to Toby like he was the, you know, the ideal financial advisor and everyone wanted to be like him and he made about three million dollars a year before, so he was extremely financially successful. And in that field, that industry, that is all they focus on typically, you know, is just the financial side. So at that conference, we were both living in Orange County, southern California. So he said hey Steve, Ive got a little project Id like to talk to you about when were both back in California so why dont you give me a call and lets get together. So I thought well, fantastic. Hes a really successful advisor. I wasnt quite sure how I could help him because he seemed to have everything going on that everybody wanted that I was working with. But what happened was when I met with him, he had an incredibly beautiful office. I waited a little while in the lobby. It was just Ive been in lots and lots of financial advisors offices and it was one of the nicest I have ever been in. But when I went in to meet with him, it was kind of a surprise because after a little bit of small talk, he basically kind of broke down and he told me that he was miserable and that while he was making a ton of money, his quality of life was just horrible and his wife was thinking about leaving him and he was having trouble with his daughter. He was really stressed. I could see him kind of shaking and he asked me if I could help him find someone to buy his business. Oh, you know, here I thought this guy was the peak of success and I was going to help him get to the next level and all of a sudden he is telling me this is terrible, Ive got to get out. And he said the stress is or the success is killing me. And it turns out that he had created a business that was very dysfunctional and although in one dimension it was extremely successful and he was a role model, by my evaluation of what really counts, your subjective life experience, he was failing at it, you know, completely. So that was a huge turning point; that one day, that one meeting with Toby was a huge turning point for me.

Raymond Hansell
You came face to face with what we used to call a mournful millionaire.

Steve Moeller
Mournful?

Raymond Hansell
Mournful millionaire. Yep.

Steve Moeller
Yeah, I call them a successful, miserable person.

Raymond Hansell
Successful, miserable. It comes back to the saying I guess that we all hear that money cant buy happiness. But you were helping your clients make more money but at the same time, you shifted to that increasing their happiness. Tell us about that?

Steve Moeller
Right. Well, you know, there is that even though we all know its true in our brains, somehow emotionally we all think, well, yeah, just, you know, give me a shot. Id just like to try just give me more money. Im sure Ill be happier. But the reality is without money, were miserable. I mean, I tried poverty in college. It really didnt work for me, guys. So we have to have a certain level of income but but the thing is that you need the balance. You need a reasonable amount of income so you can support yourself effectively and you can plan for your future but you also have the balance in life where essentially your life experience is moment by moment what emotional state youre in. Are you in a positive state or a negative state? And so a good life, a life well lived, is a life that has a preponderance of positive emotions and very few negative emotions and what I found, a lot of these people were putting up with a lot of negative emotions, a lot of stress in order to make money, thinking if they made enough money, theyd eventually be happy. So I started calling it the American happiness myth. If I work real hard, put up with a lot of stress, make a lot of money, someday Ill be happy.

Raymond Hansell
What went wrong?

Steve Moeller
Actually what happens is someday youre going to be more miserable and youll want to sell your business because youve just created something that is really a monster for you. So I really shifted at that point and started focusing on quality of life and trying to figure out how could I help my clients have it all just like I wanted, the balance between the financial success and the quality of life that is really critical that ultimately we all need if were going to have a good life.

Raymond Hansell
And so you went about shifting your business to that direction?

Steve Moeller
Yeah. I shifted and it was kind of hard. This was in the early to mid-nineties and I, you know, I had been interested in flourish and I sort of at that point had kind of locked onto flourishing about financial success, thinking that again, you know, if you have enough financial success that somehow naturally, automatically all of these other things will fall into place and youll either figure it out or itll magically happen. Youll be happy. But there was very little empirical research that I could find at that point. I started to study and think and go to conferences and read but what I found was there is a tremendous amount of research on depression, stress, negative emotions and negative experiences but very, very little research at that point, at least that was available to me as a layperson, really organized research on what is now called positivity, positive psychology, and positive emotions. So I started just thinking about it and I really thought about balancing the head and the heart, doing things that you like to do. A big part of what I did at that point was shift focus to helping the advisors at least to clarify what their personal strengths were I call it personal powers so that they could be doing things that they enjoy doing and then create a team around them that would do things that were out of their comfort zone and they didnt like to do. So it was a slow process but I did make a conscious decision, started working in a more focused approach to lets try to build our businesses in a way that really enhances our happiness, our positivity, and our subjective feelings about how were doing, not just the bank account.

Raymond Hansell
Thats interesting. That must have been an interesting space to be in after you arrived at the other side to now suddenly be focusing on both of these things, straddling the financial success and at the same time looking at success from a broader perspective in terms of achieving happiness in the process.

Steve Moeller
Yeah. It had been something Id been thinking about my whole life but the meeting with Toby really crystallized the fact that I had to, you know, change my business model and essentially raise my game to be more focused around what people, you know What I realized guys, is that I can help them increase their income and at the same time it would decrease their quality of life. I thought, thats not really helping these people and I dont think thats a very good business model that people would want and be attractive for folks. Yeah. I made a ton of money but you destroyed my life? You know, working with this guy, I didnt think that was a good thing I wanted people to say about what I had done. I wanted my clients to have what I wanted which was to have it all, to have financial success and a high quality of life and it took me a while to figure that out and I know I studied with scientists, I studied with the shamans. I did a lot of reading, a lot of soul searching. But eventually I really did figure out and that is now what I do for all of my clients is we can do both if we start out with that mind and we work towards that. But we cant do it if we only focus on money hoping magically if we get enough, well be happy.

Raymond Hansell
You cant take it with you as they always say.

Steve Moeller
Thats right.

Raymond Hansell
Steve, as we go to break, I want to share your purpose statement with our listeners. On chapter six you actually state your single sentence purpose and it goes like this. I inspire people to imagine and create more success and happiness in their lives and a more peaceful, sustainable world for all. Now that is quite a statement so were going to chew on that while we take a break. Were going to take a break right now but I would like to offer this challenge to our listeners. If you know someone whose acts no matter how small are making a difference in the lives of other people, please, wed love to hear about them. Tweet us at hashtag Better Worldians so we can let the Better Worldian community know. Well talk more with Steve Moeller when we come back. You can learn more at Better Worldians .com and follow our live tweets at Twitter .com slash Better Worldians. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back live with Steve Moeller, author of Endorphinomics. Well talk more with Steve in a moment but first we would like to share some big news here at Better Worldians Radio. Weve recently launched a world-wide kindness campaign. Were challenging better worldians around the globe to watch a two minute video that illustrates the power of kindness. When it reaches one million views, we will release funds for surgeries that will allow ten kids in the developing world to walk for the first time. Please watch the video; share it with your friends at Color with Kindness .com. That is Color with Kindness .com. And now lets welcome back Steve and MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Steve.

Steve Moeller
Hi, MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi. Would you share with us your definition of flourishing and explain why that is so important in your work?

Steve Moeller
Well flourishing is, I think, sort of a high level concept than just happiness because it includes happiness and a number of other things. Kind of giving a little bit of a technical explanation, scientists look at this in three different sort of three different elements of flourishing. One is objective wellbeing and objective wellbeing is everything that you can imagine. Its your income, your education, your, you know, the number of square feet of your dwelling where you live, your blood pressure. Its all of those objective things about your life and when people have a very high standard of living, that is when their objective wellbeing is high. Standard of living and objective wellbeing are pretty much the same terms. But again, it is generally external but it is always measureable. Its tangible, something you can measure. Then there is subjective wellbeing which you really cant measure. That is about your internal life experience and that is typically what we refer to as happiness but scientists refer to that as positive emotions. So in order for your subjective wellbeing to be high, you have to be have substantially more positive emotional experiences every day than negative. In fact, you actually have to have about three to one, three times as many positive experiences as negative so then you will be happy. So subjective wellbeing, happiness is the simple term. Objective wellbeing is standard of living. So that is sort of the external world and the internal world and then the third element is perhaps extremely important. It is personal growth and personal growth is what Abraham Maslow referred to as self-actualization. It is moving towards who you really are, becoming more of your highest self and really reaching your full potential. So if you have a high standard of living and you have lots of happiness or positivity in your life and youre growing personally and evolving in ways that are meaningful to you, then youre flourishing. So that is when youre having it all. And so much in our society people look at only the standard of living. In particular, you know, we look at all of our politicians and policies. A lot of it is about money and income and youre not really measuring those things that matter most which are how we experience life. I mean, there are many, many people who dont make a ton of money that are much happier than people that make a lot of money. So flourishing means having it all and thats those three different elements; subjective wellbeing, objective wellbeing, and growing in a way that is meaningful to you as a person individually.

MarySue Hansell
I thought that was very interesting that you need to have three positive experiences to every negative one, so that is something that people can think about and I guess if you have more and more, four, five, or six positive experiences, you get to be a happier person.

Steve Moeller
Yeah. The more positive experiences you have, the more resourceful, creative, thinking outside the box, resilient. There are so many different positive results of positive emotions and you know, sometimes in our society it is a little bit what is the right term. There is a little bit of resistance to happiness. I had a guy walk out of one of my workshops once that said this happiness stuff wont go over here in Boston. It sounds like a California cult to me. Actually its a worldwide movement, the positive psychology movement, and it is because weve found that happy people are more productive, they are more cooperative, they make more money, they are healthier. There is just so many things that when you have that three to one or more, youre really on what is referred to as an upward spiral of flourishing and when it is below three to one, you go on a downward spiral of languishing. So we really do need to manage our lives to optimize our positive emotional states and experiences we have through each day.

MarySue Hansell
I read a lot in your book about the effects of stress. I think that would be important to chat about right now. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Steve Moeller
Yeah. I experienced the impact of stress firsthand because my dad who was an orthodontist, the German, was a pretty hardcore guy. He just drove himself and was very out of touch with his own emotional needs and he did not like what he did and he got tremendous stress, he got bad arthritis, and when he was a little shy of his fifty-third birthday, he died from early complications from all of these chronic, lifelong, stresses. So what I found in my research for my book is there is really kind of three different, you know, things that are affect you or three different times. In the short run, even mild stress makes us less adaptable and resourceful and it makes us tight and we pull in. And because of that, we kind of lock up and we were not we dont adapt to situations. We dont evolve. We dont grow. And it also reaches our immune system so it makes us less productive and adaptable and screws up our immune system and that just opens us up to all kinds of diseases and problems and that is just in the short term. In the midterm, if you have chronic stress, it typically will lead to depression where you just, you know, you throw in the towel. I cant take it anymore. Thats when you go into a catatonic state and you dont even want to get out of bed. You disengage from life if your life is too stressful. So that is midterm and then long term, what happened to my dad is when you have chronic stress for years and it really never stops, it just wears down all of your bodily systems, your organs. It prevents your cells from regenerating and it totally compromises your immune system. So almost every major disease is either caused by or is complicated and made worse through stress. So heart disease particularly, heart attacks and stroke, some of the biggest killers in America, are very closely aligned with too much stress. So a little bit of stress, you know, is not bad, but so many people I have seen and it is particularly the people I have worked with. They put up with stress believing that that is the price they pay to be, quote, successful. And I think if you read that chapter in the book, youll go oh my gosh. Whatever I do, Ive got to reduce my stress and minimize it and be conscious of the fact that even though I am not aware of it, it is wearing me down, making me sick, and it is ultimately probably going to kill me if I dont get out of this stressful situation.

MarySue Hansell
It certainly will pay us to learn how to eliminate stress. But you know, you also say in the book that a little bit of stress can be good and I think you call it eustress. What exactly is eustress and how does that differ from the stress that we have just talked about?

Steve Moeller
The sort of technical terms are distress versus eustress. Eustress is good stress and good stress is that type of stress that I felt this morning before we got on the call when youre psyched up. Youre excited about something whether it is a radio interview youre going to do, a speech youre going to deliver. Eustress will keep you up at night studying for a test. It will get you to prepare for contests. It is those butterflies in your stomach that you feel before going onstage. So eustress or I love to ski so the eustress is when youre looking down a steep mountain youre about to, you know, ski down. You got those little butterflies, that little excitement. What it does is it puts you in an optimal state of arousal, of excitement, and it sharpens your mind. It prepares you for success. So eustress is just a slight amount of stress but it is a little different than the stress you experience that is the bad stress because the main thing with eustress is it sharpens your focus, it sharpens your attention. It charges up your energy and it tightens your muscles and so on but the main thing that is different about it is it dissipates very quickly after that event is over whereas chronic stress has a tendency to release a lot of distress, bad stress. It releases stress hormones, cortisone into your system, and these stress hormones then stay in your system and they dont dissipate typically whereas with eustress, they go away. So there are really no negative impacts of eustress. Its all good. Its part of the same physiological mechanisms in our body but it is the good aspect of stress as opposed to the negative aspects of stress.

MarySue Hansell
So well learn to balance that by reading all of the good stuff you have in your book?

Steve Moeller
Yeah. You want to use eustress. Its actually a very, very exciting feeling and you even get eustress if you win the Nobel Prize. You will be stressed. You will be excited. You will be energized but it is going to be a good type of stress as opposed to if the proverbial bear comes out of the woods chasing you. That is going to be a different type of stress than winning the prize or taking the test or being on a radio interview like this where it makes you feel good.

MarySue Hansell
Well if I ever win the Nobel Prize, Ill let you know how it feels.

Steve Moeller
Okay.

MarySue Hansell
Anyway, you talk about in your book about upgrading your personal operating system. Can you tell our listeners what that is, what a personal operating system is?

Steve Moeller
Yeah, the personal operating system is my term since were in sort of the information era. A personal operating system is really your values, your beliefs, your worldview and very particularly your mental models, how you believe the world works. And I call it a personal operating system because primarily you it is programmed into your brain after you are born. So it is the from your culture, your parents, your upbringing, so on, you develop certain attitudes, certain world views about how the world works. But these arent hardwired into your body, into your brain. They are adaptable. They are taking change. Your personal operating system is what determines how you react to different situations, how you live your life, and essentially is the foundation for the interface between you as an individual, your inner life, and then the outer world. So the thing about your personal operating system which is so important is that scientists have found that the vast majority of your happiness that you can control is determined by your attitudes, your opinions, and your beliefs, which then lead to your behavior. So by if you want to change your happiness, your positivity ratio which is you know, three to one or more which we talked about earlier, the fastest and easiest way to upgrade that is to change your attitudes and your beliefs. Now I am not going to tell you that it is super easy to change your attitudes and beliefs but it is a lot easier to change the way you look at things and approach life than it is say, to instantly change your income if youre in a situation where youre not making enough or to change your life situation. So your personal operating system is really the key thing that you can change and if you upgrade it, then I believe you should upgrade it based on the science of human flourishing. In other words, if you are going to change your attitudes, your beliefs, and re-evaluate say how you prioritize your values, you should do that based on the scientific research of what works and what will help you flourish. So the whole idea of upgrading your personal operating system is getting up to speed on what scientists know about positivity, flourishing, happiness, success, and then upgrading the way you think so that you can apply those better ways of thinking in your life and then youll get better results which means youll flourish.

MarySue Hansell
Speaking about these scientific studies, youve learned a lot from positive psychologists like Barbara Fredrickson and Marty Seligman. Can you tell us how these people have inspired you and actually changed or upgraded your work?

Steve Moeller
Yeah. Its huge, its really huge. You know, working I have been in the investment industry as a consultant now for twenty-five years and the investment industry is sort of unique in that there is definitely one metric for success and that is money and I am fortunate to work with a small number of financial advisors that believe in a more holistic approach. But when I started reading and meeting and going to conferences and so on with the positive psychologists, it was completely a breath of fresh air. In the early nineties, I read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyis book on Flow, the Psychology of Optimal Experience, and that opened my mind to the fact that there were people out there, scientists that were studying positive emotional states. That was a huge day of excitement when a friend gave me that book and I looked at it and I recognized that hey. Here is somebody that is doing scientific research on optimal life experiences. So that was extremely exciting and then I eventually met Mihaly. We call him Professor Mike. Weve had lunch a couple of times, Ive talked with him at conferences, and the thing that really strikes me is theyre very much into helping other people and making a positive difference in the world. And that was so different from what I had sort of gotten used to as normal in my industry which was all of the conversations were about making more money. So the huge thing I think, it validated a lot of what I believed intuitively made sense and then I started reading the scientific studies and certainly Barbara Fredrickson made a huge impact with her understanding of the difference between positive emotions and negative emotions. And I also took a six month class from Marty Seligman who was the founder of the positive psychology movement and every week we spent an hour. So just being around these folks, their energy, their values, their caring and their willingness to help other people was really a breath of fresh air and it made me, I think, more consciously aware of the fact that what I was doing was on the right track but maybe only working with financial advisors was not the smartest thing. And so since working with them, I have definitely branched out and started working with what I refer to lovingly as civilians, people that arent in the investment industry. So they were hugely impactful on me, both, just being there. I remember one meeting I went to with Marty Seligman was there. He is very, very busy and a high profile person. He pretty much spent the whole event, it was a three day positive psychology summit, sitting at a table in an open lobby available to everyone and for the most part he would just mentor students. They would come up and they would talk to him and he would talk to them about I was sitting at the same table. He would talk to them about projects they were working on. He just spent the whole three days helping other people. I thought oh my gosh. These are the kinds of people I really connect with. These are the types of people that make a positive difference in other peoples lives and that is what I have always wanted to do. So they were very, very powerful role models for me.

MarySue Hansell
Great, Steve. Now before the break I wonder if we can fit in a quick story about your favorite client that is something somebody that you really helped turn their entire life or business around?

Steve Moeller
Yes. I have one client that I worked with for a couple of years who has become a good friend who I met actually through another friend on a ski vacation and we were he is a financial advisor and we were skiing in Alta and we were riding the lift one day and he asked me. Hey Steve, if I hire you as a consultant to help me build my business, how much extra money can you help me make each year? I said well gosh, I really dont know. His name is Barry. I said Barry, I dont really know because I dont know you that well but I can tell you that if we work together that Ill not only help you increase your income but also your quality of life. There was a long pause and we were riding the lift and I was just quiet and then he goes, well, Steve, youve got to realize I am very, very bottom line oriented and so this quality of life stuff is not that important to me. I said, well, I know, but the way Ive developed my business now is that the quality of life and making more money, they work synergistically. I cant really separate them. Theyre you know, they I do it all and that is just the way the process works now. That is after I, you know, met Toby and made this change. So Barry says, well, okay. If this quality of life stuff doesnt reduce or impact my income, then Ill hire you. So, you know, its like, okay, as long as it doesnt get in the way. Well now if you talk to Barry, this is about ten years later, his income has oh my gosh. Barry was making about a million a year and now he is making about four or five million a year. His income has gone through the roof but the reason it did is that he shifted his thinking and what happened with Barry is he started to realize that he is really a coach at heart and he started to realize that he liked helping people. He got more endorphins from helping people than from making money. So he got rid of his Porsche. He cut back a lot of his expensive lifestyle and he started focusing more on helping people and helping them discover what they really wanted to do when they grew up which is kind of what I always do, you know, our joke. And helping them use their money, their resources to create the quality of life that they really love. Many of his clients are retired. Well, what happened is his income went through the roof because as he started helping his clients get clear on what they wanted to do and then help them do that, guess what his clients started to do? They started to refer him to their family, their friends, their colleagues, not to help Barry but so that Barry could help their friends and the people they cared about the same way he helped them. So what Barry found out is that by helping people achieve more of what they want in their lives, that he got more endorphins but he also made a lot more money and that is where they synergy came in where you could have it all. You could do both but it took a little while and a little shift. But today Barry is extremely happy. He has an amazingly high quality of life and he is making more money than ever. So he is definitely a great success story of someone that resisted at first and now has totally embraced this concept of endorphinomics.

MarySue Hansell
Sounds perfect.

Raymond Hansell
That is actually quite amazing. As we take the break, it reminds me that you can get anything that you want out of life as long as you give everything that everybody else wants out of life.

Steve Moeller
Yeah. Thats really the key, isnt it? Thats definitely the key.

Raymond Hansell
Were going to take another break right now. When we come back, well talk more with Steve. You can ask Steve a question after the break. You can do that several ways. First, you can call us at 1-866-472-5788. That is 1-866-472-5788. Or you can also send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians .com or tweet us a question at Twitter .com slash Better Worldians. Well be right back.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back with Steve Moeller, author of Endorphinomics. Wed love it if youd call us in with a question for Steve. You can call us at 1-866-472-5788. Again, that is 1-866-472-5788. Or if youd prefer, you can also email at Radio at Better Worldians .com or tweet us at Twitter .come slash Better Worldians.

Gregory Hansell
Hi, Steve. This is Greg.

Steve Moeller
Hey, Greg.

Gregory Hansell
You know, I was thinking a few minutes ago when you were talking about eustress and the importance of that, of a story if you wouldnt mind I tell you quickly. About a year and a half ago, my buddy was getting married and we were kind of on the way to the ceremony and he was telling me how nervous he was. His heart was pounding, you know, and I was actually, the funny thing is, really nervous too because I was doing the ceremony and it was a pretty big wedding. And as I sit there, the two of us kind of freaking out in the car, I said, you know, dude, this is life flowing through us. You know, this is, you know, a very special thing that is happening. And when you were talking about eustress, it occurred to me that a lot of times I wonder if people just cant tell the difference. This isnt something bad that they are experiencing. This is something that is motivating them to do great things. I was hoping you could talk about that.

Steve Moeller
Well, you know, each part of what I do is to help people make distinctions and that is a really important distinction between when you feel those experiences. Is that negative or is that positive and, you know, there is a little saying for speakers when you feel butterflies in your stomach, you want to get them all flying in formation. So in other words being consciously aware that this is a good thing, its a natural process physiologically, but you then kind of control that and manage that and direct that energy as opposed to freaking out. So I would say that, you know, just being consciously aware of many different things. Like one of the big things that I do with my clients is I make them consciously aware of their emotional states and of the people that they are working with, their clients emotional states. And as soon as that happens, they can see. The big problem with financial advisors, they get way too technical and then the clients go onto a negative trance and hopefully off to Hawaii or someplace else where the advisor is giving them all of this information that they dont really know what to do with. They can see it in their face. So I think the whole idea here is be consciously aware of your emotions, of your states, and be aware of when thats good and when thats bad. If it is too much negative stress, you want to back off. You want to do something else. If it is good stress, then try to manage it in a way that is going to be most productive for what you are accomplishing at that time.

Gregory Hansell
Sure. I have to imagine it is related to what you talked about in terms of identifying values in order to understand what you want out of life.

Steve Moeller
Yeah. You know, in the western culture we have very, very little orientation toward self-introspection and knowing ourselves. Its a very external society or culture and its very focused on activity, activity, activity. And so many years ago I started to realize that people were making decisions that were completely out of alignment with anything they wanted. I was wondering, well, where do these come from? And often times they come from external sources; their companies, their parents, their spouses, or whatever. But we all have twenty-four hours a day and so without values that are clear, we dont know how to prioritize that time. So I look at values as a very specific type of belief and what values do is they tell us whats important and they help us prioritize. When people are living in alignment with their values, and we used to do workshops and would ask my people in the workshops, you know, how do you feel when youre in alignment in your values? Empowered, strong, happy, honest, and authentic. All of these terms come out and then you say well what happens when youre not in alignment, youre acting out of alignment with your values? They say, you know, depressed, sneaky, bad. All of these other terms come out. Well what I found is if youre not consciously aware of your values, there is no way that you can consciously live in alignment with them. So one of the simple exercises, and I have it in my book and you can certainly get it other places online, is you simply, if you ask someone what are your values, theyre just kind of like deer in the headlights. But you say in my case, here is a list of sixty-six positive values that are identified through research. Check off the ones that resonate with you and then go back and prioritize. Then once you prioritize your values and you know whats important to you, then you can start living your life more consciously so that you are living in alignment with those things that are important. You can organize your time. You can cut back on the things that dont support the things that you like to do or that you feel arent meaningful and then do more of the things that are meaningful. So that is, I think again, it is conscious awareness but again, it is introspection, it is taking a bit of time and just thinking about these things and then knowing. To me, its knowing human nature. Its knowing your own nature. Its knowing universal human nature and that really a huge part of happiness and flourishing is knowing your personal powers or strengths, your values, what lights you up, and once you understand these things consciously and you do an inventory on them, I call that your endorphin data by the way, the things that create endorphins in your life. Then you can start trying to organize your life and making conscious decisions as you grow and evolve that will align your life more and more with those things that really work for you and put you in what I call the endorphin zone, that positive emotional state.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, I think its interesting at one point you quote Daniel Gilberts concept of miswanting, you know, chasing something we think is going to make us happy but doesnt and you talk about it as kind of a hedonic treadmill, you know. And I think we get into these patterns of thinking that this is going to make us happy when really were just trying to fill a hole we created in ourselves, you know?

Steve Moeller
Right, and there is you know, we we consume food, get energy, and we have an information processing system in our brains so that energy is then used and we direct it ourselves in different directions. But what I believe, particularly after studying more about positive psychology and neuroscience and so on, is that we we have a lot of missed queues on terms of what we think will make us happy. Different societies believe in different things and our society is very focused and the more you study this, the more you realize the American society is very focused on extrinsic rewards; money, power, fame, image, and those types of things. But all of the research indicates that the things those arent really the things that bring us happiness. So we have a whole culture that is focused really on external materialistic types of things and that is one reason America is definitely so wealth and successful. But the things that really make us flourish and bring us true joy in life are uniquely connecting with other people, personal development, staying physically fit, and, you know, basically doing those things that are more intrinsically rewarding to us as a person as opposed to trying to prove that were worthy to other people or meet some sort of external goals. I see this a lot in the brokerage firms. Like for instance Toby was held up as a hero because he was he had made the most money in that firm. I never ever went to one of these conferences, guys, where there was some evaluation of the person that had the best quality of life. We just dont seem to do that very much in America.

Gregory Hansell
Its true. Yeah, I know you mentioned that in addition to values to kind of get you off this treadmill and get you on track, you have to have, you say, a positive vision for the future. Why is that additionally important?

Steve Moeller
Well the vision thing is really critically important. You know, in the bible, gosh, thousands of years ago, the old testament, it said that people without vision will perish and now modern scientists are realizing how true that is. When scientists interview people who tried to commit suicide who lived through it, the survivors or suicide attempts, and they ask them why did you try to commit suicide, its not because they anticipated that terrible future in front of them. The reality, the common denominator, was that they didnt anticipate any positive expectations for the future. So the way our brains work is that we need to have something that were looking forward to or we get very depressed. In fact, its interesting that people get so depressed that there is not something to look forward to that some of them try to attempt suicide. So in reading that, I have a tendency to look at things and say what the flipside of that is. So I realized, well, without a vision, people get depressed and sometimes so bad that they try to take their own lives. What happens if they have a vision and if you have a positive vision of where youre going that youre excited about? And in what I do is I help people gather their endorphin data in the different domains of their lives, their values, their interests, their passions and their strengths and skills. We actually document what works for them and then we create a positive vision around that and then they can move towards the vision. It turns out that when you have a positive vision think about this. If youve ever planned a vacation I went to the amazon in ninety-nine, 1999 for the first time and for six months before that, I was eustressed. I was so excited. I was psyched up. I was buying stuff. I was looking at maps. I was, you know, in just a very positive mood. I was anticipating this incredible experience and so when youre anticipating positive experiences, you go into a very positive emotional state. In fact, often times strangely enough you have more positive emotions often times before an experience than during it. So the power of a vision to keep us focused on where were going, to put us in positive states, is really amazing. And then there is one last thing that is critically important. If you that you know, people either move towards pleasure or away from pain in a simple way of saying that. But thats the only two operating systems or motivating systems towards something or away from something. Well, if you dont have a positive vision of where youre going, the only thing you can possibly do is move away from things you dont want.

Gregory Hansell
Thats great.

Steve Moeller
The problem there is it is very common that people move out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Steve Moeller
They move away from something they dont like only to find out its worse and I have a good friend that was in sales and he got a boss who was a terrible boss, a new boss. Decided to leave, Im out of here, this guy is a jerk. But he took a job that had a much bigger sales territory and he traveled and was away from home a lot at night and he had a new family, a new baby. Well, that lowered his quality of life. It didnt raise it and that was very much because he didnt have a clear vision of what he wanted. He only knew what he didnt want and that is why a positive vision of where youre going, what you want, what your life looks like in the future is critically important if you want to flourish.

Gregory Hansell
Well speaking of looking forward and where were going, you know, one powerful piece of advice that you give in the book that I thought was very powerful was that people should think about how they would like to be remembered if you could just say something about that.

Steve Moeller
Yeah. Its really helpful in many cases to put yourself into the future and look back and if you think about your your funeral, your eulogy, what will people be saying about you? And you know, most of us dont want to say he was a horrible jerk. Were glad hes dead, you know, the world is better off. Thats probably not, you know many people, again, dont think consciously of what people might say about them. But when you put yourself into the future and you think back about your life, about what meaning your life had for other people, and ultimately I believe were all here to serve other people and I think the scientific research indicates that that is true because the more you help other people, the more you give, the more you contribute to the wellbeing of others and actually of the planet and mother earth as well, all of the beings on the planet, not just humans, the happier you are. So if you think about, you know, what you want to have said about yourself and you write that down. I want people to say he helped a lot of people become successful and happy, you know, thousands, millions. I want to have as big of an impact as possible. So it really helps you it gives you a frame of reference for thinking about what you want your life to be about and that helps you, hopefully, helps you create your lifes purpose, you know. So its an exercise we use to help create a lifes purpose and then you work backwards from the future. Well, what do I have to do to get people to say that about me when Im no longer around? And that is that eulogy and that is so really critically important to think what is my life about and then start taking action to make that happen.

Gregory Hansell
Well we only have one more minute so I hate to give you only that short amount of time for this question but one thing we ask all of our guests is, you know, how can people take what they learn in your book and not just improve themselves but help make it a better world?

Steve Moeller
Well, you know, if people take any information useful from this interview or if they decide to buy the book and read it, the most effective thing they can do is to teach others because teaching others not only contributes and helps and puts other people in positive states but the teacher always learns more than the students. So I always encourage people if there is anything I have done to help you that has made your life better, share that with other people. Help them the same way. You know, its the paying it forward kind of concept. And for again, for most of us, helping other people, teaching them, coaching them, encouraging them, sharing some of the insights and the distinctions that weve been talking about today will enhance their quality of life and it will actually help you even more. So its an unbelievable win/win situation when you take what you know and what youve learned and helped you flourish and share that with others.

Gregory Hansell
Well Steve, I wish we had more time. Very quickly, how can people find out more about Endorphinomics and the services you offer?

Steve Moeller
Well, Endorphinomics right now is available only on Amazon .com both in Kindle or hard copy. My my website Endorphin Zone .com will be up and running in a week or two but it is not running at this point. You can also go to my Facebook, Steve Moeller, my Facebook site. But the book is available right now on Amazon only. It will be in bookstores in June.

Raymond Hansell
Steve, this has been an amazing interview. I wanted to make a personal comment that you also mentioned in your book the use of role models to sort of help you to implicate and think about the idea of your vision and where youre going so who are the people you want to role model. And right behind my office I have actually some of the books of people whose autobiographies or biographies I see as role models. One of them is Steve Jobs and another one is Walt Disney just to mention a few whose roles in life and use of imagination has changed the world.

Steve Moeller
Disney is also one of mine so that is great.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah. Thats an amazing story. Steve, once again I would like to thank you for joining us on Better Worldians today. Join us please next week on the so thank you, Steve from all of us here at Better Worldians.

Steve Moeller
Thank you. I really enjoyed it.

Raymond Hansell
For our listeners, please join us next week on Better Worldians Radio. Well be talking to Tom Ziglar, the son of Zig Ziglar, about his work following in his fathers footsteps. We also have an excellent lineup of guests in the coming weeks and if any of you know an unsung better worldian who would make a great guest on our show, you can send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians .com. Wed also like to remind everyone that you can also be part of a miracle by simply sharing our video challenge and help heal ten disabled children. It is that easy. Just go to Color with Kindness .com. Watch the video and share it with your friends. Give these kids the gift of a lifetime. Once again, thank I would like to thank everyone for joining us today, for listening. You can join the Better Worldians community at Better Worldians .com and until next time, everyone, be a better worldian.