Jonas Koffler: Hustle Your Way To Success | E45

#45: Hustle Your Way To Success with Jonas Koffler

#45: Hustle Your Way To Success with Jonas Koffler

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[00:01:05] You're listening to YAP Young And Profiting Podcast, the place where you can listen, learn and profit. I'm your host, Hala Taha. And today we're speaking with Jonas Koffler Jonas is the co-author of HUSTLE: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum, and has been featured in Time, FastCompany, Business Insider, and NPR among others. He's a serial entrepreneur and a hustler whose ventures include the digital health and mental wellness startups, Lada Labs and Radical Wellness Inc. Jonas is also a stroke survivor. And this episode, we discuss how to develop a healthy POP or personal opportunity portfolio.

[00:01:43] Why we should rethink Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule to mastery to support being a multifaceted and talented worker and how we can manufacture our own luck. We also dig into what Jonas has learned from his near-death experience and why mental wellness has become his purpose in life. [00:02:00]

[00:02:02] Hey, Jonas. Welcome to Younger Profiting Podcasts.

[00:02:04] Jonas Koffler: A pleasure speaking with you Hala, very happy to be here and eternally grateful for you having me.

[00:02:09] Hala Taha: Likewise, I can't wait for this interview. I've heard you on other podcasts and you have such a great message. So looking forward to this chat. Let's start off by introducing you to our listeners in a really fun way.

[00:02:21] You have this concept it's called POP, which you cover in your book Hustle that you co-authored with Neil Patel and Patrick Vlaskovits it's hopefully I said that. Okay. So POP stands for your personal opportunity portfolio. Recommend as a framework to profit in life. So tell us what different entrepreneurial adventures are you involved in and what makes up your POP right now?

[00:02:48] Jonas Koffler: Sure. I think there are a couple ways to think about it, but as a guiding framework, it's a way of kind of organizing and making sense of the effort and energy you put out into the world, whether it's artistic projects or creative

[00:03:00] projects, entrepreneurial projects, or intellectual pursuit, however you may look at it.

[00:03:04] The idea is to continuously build and grow and add value into this portfolio, much like you would, an investment portfolio. So the idea is that it's something that you have direct physical control over, right? You're growing your basket of how you invest in yourself. And it's an interesting way of looking at the world because it's incredibly empowering on the one hand.

[00:03:29] And the other side of it is that you uniquely are in control of it. You can adjust your quote-unquote to actively manage your own portfolio, so to speak, and you don't have to put your future in the hands of other people. So that's the unique differentiator. And how does that apply to my own life?

[00:03:45] We're constantly and continuously growing and changing and shifting the things we focus on in our worlds. And so for me right now, Just to name a couple of projects. One is a documentary film called We Care Here, [00:04:00] which is about musicians and mental health and community in Austin, Texas.

[00:04:05] Austin, the live music capital of the world is also under growing this incredible growth right now, and a higher cost of living. And that impacts musician's abilities to support and sustain themselves and their creative pursuit. And so this is putting a lens on a very distinct locality and a very distinct situation wherein Austin is wonderful and it continues evolving, but how does it evolve in a way that is supportive of the cultural root or heart, if you will, of the city and of the, in a way that honors the tradition, so to speak without losing its soul.

[00:04:45] And that's a tough thing. You're trying to sustain growth and also attract technology. And these disruptive forces that are, have both incredibly positive aspects, but also some negative aspects. So it's that that story and I'm looking at how

[00:05:00] musicians can continue thriving, amidst these the shifts, right?

[00:05:04] That's one thing. And then the other is a new startup called Lada Labs. And a Lada Labs is a mobile development and software company that is focused on looking, at how we can better empower individuals and communities to live healthier, more active lives and engage with people like mine. And so that's what we're, we've developed our technology around.

[00:05:27] That's what we're continuing to suss out and figure out how we can better serve people. That's very early in its arc and we'll be launching our beta at some point in in early 2020.

[00:05:40] Hala Taha: That's excellent. And we'll be covering, both of those projects in more detail later on in the interview.

[00:05:45] First, let's get some idea of your background. So in your own words, you had a lot of weird jobs throughout your life. So tell us about some of the things that you worked on and some of the different jobs that you've had over the years.

[00:05:58] Jonas Koffler: Mapping or healing to this idea, [00:06:00] that personal opportunity portfolio without knowing it, the constant act of self discovery, right?

[00:06:05] No. Is revealed when we put ourselves out and we try things that are uncomfortable that bring us discomfort, that challenge us in unique and sometimes onerous ways. So that could be anything from working as a stonemason or digging ditches or something physically very demanding of our body. A lot of us are out of touch with our bodies because we're so trapped in our heads and staring into a screen of electronic 23 hours a day.

[00:06:32] So it's, it starts with an arc in various physical labor and and then transcends into long story short into creative endeavors and being a musician and a filmmaker, and then working in technology and startups and having some health, setbacks, and so forth, including a stroke that informs what you're capable of, when you need to step back and slow down.

[00:06:59] And then [00:07:00] to continue on a path of learning and growing such that you're able to work with incredible people, including in my case, some moguls in different industries, entertainers who have pulled off some incredible artistic feats. And then always asking the question, do I feel sustained here and supported?

[00:07:20] Do I feel like I'm making a meaningful contribution and then, looking at new ways to push yourself. So that's manifested in many sort of different careers, if you will, or many lives, if you will, in the cat, like sense for me. But the key here has been this idea of doing something that moves you, right?

[00:07:38] So for me it's asking, asking the questions, am I maintaining that movement toward a goal, bettering my life as, and in ways that, that I can, in ways that challenge me, because I think the worst thing we can do is to settle. And I think, that you love what you do.

[00:07:53] You can hear the passion and the curiosity in your voice, in your interviews. For me it's very much. [00:08:00]

[00:08:00] Hala Taha: Yeah. So you had all these jobs. At what point did you take control of your life and decide that you were going to be an entrepreneur and have, it sounds like you do like multiple projects.

[00:08:12] You always have multiple hustles going on. At what point did you say I'm going to stop doing a nine to five and I'm just going to be the owner of my life.

[00:08:20] Jonas Koffler: As far as a distinct point of departure let's call it. I think that was probably it. The seed was planted very early on. I had the blessing of being able to work at a startup very early on, become a product manager, in my twenties.

[00:08:33] And I think growing the confidence where I could put myself out there that probably happened, my early twenties, I think that the clear point of wanting to become an entrepreneur and understanding the, on the one hand, the incredible liberation. That you reap from being an entrepreneur is something that takes time to just blossom in your life.

[00:08:51] And for me, it was probably late twenties when I kinda got the entrepreneurial itch and then, post stroke and then have parlayed that in different ways. But keep in mind, [00:09:00] being entrepreneurial is not, in my mind, it's not that you're a pure entrepreneur.

[00:09:03] You may vacillate, you may, at one point be working for yourself and especially in this dynamic economy, we're all part of now, it's not uncommon to, you have some kind of entrepreneurial pursuit or project you're working on either individually as a solo artist or in collaboration. But also you may maintain a job that really gives you meaning and challenges you, and also help sustain the physical frame.

[00:09:25] It pays you a decent amount of money and you're part of a mission that you really believe in. So I think for me, entrepreneurship has been great, but at the same time, I'm very open to collaboration with companies and with individuals. So it's it's not one path it's actually many, I think, baked in if that answers.

[00:09:42] Hala Taha: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about your stroke. You've mentioned it a few times. It happened when you were 26, it left you temporarily blind loss of some verbal capabilities, and I'm sure you can explain it, but. I'd like you to explain what happened with your stroke. But I also wanted to just connect it to a point.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] I had Robert Greene on my show and he's the author of 48 Laws of Power. And we talk about this law of death denial. And in essence, this law is about humans, not facing reality, humans, avoiding thoughts of death. We fear death, and that we're all in this death denial, this constant death denial. And Robert suggested that we should accept our deaths.

[00:10:25] Think of our deaths keep death on our minds so that we live with more purpose and urgency to realize our goals, I believe your stroke was a near-death experience. So I'm wondering does that resonate with you and, could you explain more about your stroke and what happened and how it's altered your life since then?

[00:10:43] Jonas Koffler: Sure. Happy to do so I do agree very much with the point that Robert and many other perennial philosophers. I have surfaced and shared. And the idea is very simple that, and especially in our society, we are an aged denying, death denying in many cases, illness, [00:11:00] denying culture. Guess what? We're all going to die.

[00:11:02] We're all marching that same path or to an indeterminate future. When at some point the bus runs us over, it's just going to happen. So it's important to make that point and there's a lot more to it having lost my, one of my younger brothers suicide in the last year. Plus, I can comment on the pitfalls of that denial.

[00:11:22] And I also think that's a very important point to make, which is that life is incredibly short. It's a femoral. And for us as unique individuals, and I would argue spiritual beings, having a human experience that the stroke for me was in fact, a way of God's stroking me and saying, Hey, you need to take better care of yourself.

[00:11:43] That's my interpretation, right? The universe or energetically, or however you want to define God. For me, it was a very clear indicator that man, your life is not, you're not aligned right with health. You need to step back, you need to check yourself. And so for me that, it was a great [00:12:00] humbling experience.

[00:12:01] And I think we need more humbling experiences because they bring us back to what really matters in terms of priorities and values and how we should orient our lives. If we want to enjoy life and nurture ourselves and, so that was the experience. It was an ischemic stroke, as opposed to a hemorrhagic image strokes typically are more short-lived.

[00:12:20] There are given today's stressors and other compounding factors are a number of younger folks who are at risk and suffering from these types of experiences and setbacks. And, on the New York Times article that I wrote it solicited or generated a hell of a lot responses and emails and so forth.

[00:12:42] And cause that, that I had to deal with from other young people who have been suffering from similar symptoms. And I think that the lesson here is you need to know to listen to your body and to your mind and to not be so gung ho about it.

[00:12:56] Clearly, that was one like bifurcating point in my life. It [00:13:00] was time to take a right turn, so to speak and to slow down, put the brakes on. So that's one of the lessons without sounding too cliche, I think the important thing is also understanding that it's actually okay to slow down. Right?

[00:13:13] There's all this emphasis on like pedal to the metal and don't stop and that's great, but it's actually more about, and much like you would with a company or your career. It's really it's hustling fast and slow, right? There are times when you have to move quickly and you have to work to get things done.

[00:13:30] You have deadlines, etcetera, but there are also times when it's important to step back and create some white space on the calendar. So to speak, when you can plug back into health and taking care of yourself and being around people who love and support you and vice versa and doing things that get your mind off.

[00:13:45] All of that is some of the lessons learned, but I think the biggest thing is to the extent that, Robert Greene, as we opened with was discussing this idea of death now. There's also this denial that many of us really are far too focused on

[00:14:00] work. And if we're at the point where it's 99% of our lives, we're going to be suffering, whether we know it or like it or not.

[00:14:06] It's, I think it's for those listening to this it's worth taking a moment. And stepping back and thinking about like gratitude for all the things that aren't working in your life and maybe spending more time or carving out in your calendar ways to celebrate those things that aren't work and put your heart into, taking care of some other people.

[00:14:26] And if you're not going to take care of yourself, at least start there.

[00:14:29] Hala Taha: Yeah. What were the events that led up to your stroke? From my understanding you were working a job where you were working, like 70 hours a week and ,you were taking naps instead of sleeping.

[00:14:41] Jonas Koffler: The circumstances were such that look you're in a startup mentality, you're young and ambitious, and there is this invisibility cloak that you drape, grape on yourself every day.

[00:14:52] So the challenge was. If you're not sleeping well, you're working crazy hours. And then you're also moonlighting with

[00:15:00] the dream of becoming a film director. Something has to give. And in my case, the circumstances were over caffeinating not sleeping, not eating well, exhausting myself, to the point where, I thought I recover at some point on my own terms.

[00:15:16] And the thing that we need to again be aware of is that we have. Human limitation, and sleep is probably, there's a multi-billion dollar industry now around sleep. It should be unsurprising to us. Why is that? It's because we're so out of alignment with the idea that, seven to eight hours of sleep a night is actually required.

[00:15:36] You just is. And you can caffeinate yourself to the point where you think. But you need your rest. And I, at the time, I didn't think I did. And it's very simple that, given stress of work and stress of not resting and so forth, those stressors are going to compound and bite you in the ass at some point.

[00:15:56] And in my case it bit me in the brain and, I was very fortunate [00:16:00] to recover to the extent that I had.

[00:16:02] Hala Taha: Yeah. I think it's a theme that, especially younger people, they think that they're invincible, but you're really not in getting your rest as important. Like you said, seven to eight hours at minimum.

[00:16:12] I actually have an entire episode around this. It's called Unlocking the Power of Sleep With Daniel Gartenberg. It's one of our most popular episodes. If you guys are interested, check it out. It's number 12 on the playlist. What was your process of recovery? Like I read that you used yoga and meditation and you used to do complex math problems.

[00:16:30] Jonas Koffler: So I thought it was really interesting. If you could just explain how you basically cured yourself. I wouldn't, I don't know if I characterize a curing, but what I would say is, very simply you need to explore or test the parameters of your mental capacity, especially when you've had a TBI or traumatic brain injury.

[00:16:47] So this idea that you can regenerate. The neural tissue, right? Neuroplasticity, you're able, at some point to challenge the idea that, your brain is permanently damaged. [00:17:00] For me, it was okay. I'm young. I understand. And I did look, I studied neuroscience, so that made me that put me in an advantageous position, but I didn't know what I was capable of or what I, what I had lost at that point.

[00:17:11] So the articulation challenges as a linguist okay language actually really matters. It's important. It's a priority for me. I have to be able to convey my thoughts effectively, but if I don't, if I lack the words, I don't have the capacity to verbalize what I'm thinking, which was actually the problem.

[00:17:26] I could think of an idea, but I couldn't convey it. It wouldn't leave my lips. I had to start very simply one was to read old books that I enjoyed, but maybe I, because the damage I had experienced I'd forgotten or start learning new words or relearning language that I had lost.

[00:17:47] That was one aspect and one part of the brain, so to speak studying physics, being physics, or trying to work through complex math problems, as you mentioned, actually, it's incredibly stimulating I, recommend it. By the way you don't [00:18:00] have to suffer a stroke to work through complex batch, even if you're more verbally oriented, it's always good to challenge your brain and to revisit calculus or trigonometry or whatever moves you in that regard.

[00:18:10] It's a fun exercise to do, but my case, I love physics. And so those types of things, one specific task that, or activity that I found fun and challenging was to find polysyllabic words, and to spell them backwards. I would do that often. Now rectophobia Czechoslovakia where two of the big ones and just repeat over and then add additional words until I could get up to 20 or 30 words, spelling them backwards at a time.

[00:18:38] And then I knew, okay my brain is still working. So this is good. This is encouraging. Like doing a system check on a rocket ship, are we all systems go, what can be repaired? What can be fixed, et cetera. So it was that kind of thing. And then from a more metaphysical or energetic standpoint, my girlfriend at the time, What do reiki on me?

[00:18:56] So energetic therapy, yoga and meditation were instrumentally [00:19:00] important. Why? Because they slowed down and taught me how to use breath work as a healing tool. So understanding that most of the, of our days are spent using breath as a very sort of passive unconscious experience. But instead if you make it a more active and conscious experience, so maybe spending literally 30 minutes or an hour a day just breathing.

[00:19:22] If you can do that, it really has a profound impact on your thoughts and feelings calms you. It removes anxiety. And also it can be very energizing and very centering. So all of those things are incredibly important, especially for busy professionals.

[00:19:37] I applied, then I learned that early on and I was very fortunate in that regard. So again yeah, the stroke was a setback, but was it? I think in many ways it was a tool of empowerment. As crazy as that sounds.

[00:19:49] Hala Taha: That's so inspiring and you should be so proud that, you went through such a traumatic experience and came out almost better as a result.

[00:19:57] So you should be very proud of that accomplishment. And for [00:20:00] everybody listening, I think a key lesson in this is just take time to slow down, take half an hour out of your day, take an hour out of your day, just to, to breathe, to meditate, to think about things, to enjoy. Do something fun, whether it's working out or talking to somebody that you love, make sure that your life is not only about work.

[00:20:18] Not everything is about being productive and making money. Sometimes it's just about enjoying your life. I think that's a really important. Less than and all of this. So let's move on to your book Hustle. It's split into three parts, the heart, the head and the habits. I'm not going to spend the whole interview on this book because there's a lot to cover, but I do want to give my listeners key takeaways.

[00:20:39] Let's start off with the heart, which is all about following your own dreams rather than others. And one of my personal mottoes is that hustle and heart sets you apart. So I'd love to hear your perspective on heart and what that has to do with hustle.

[00:20:54] Jonas Koffler: Sure. So the premise is this it doesn't start in the head.

[00:20:58] It actually starts in the [00:21:00] heart. And what we mean is that the heart should be one of the huge pieces that guides us or moves us forward. If you think about what really drives you and motivates you deep down, I think people, everyone wants a sense of validation or recognition or respect. Those things are vitally important.

[00:21:19] And the piece about the heart, this theme is very simply packed up in the first unseen law of hustle, which is do something that moves you, right? So this idea of movement, energy, physical manifestation, that only comes from the heart. The heart pumps our blood through our body and oxygen allows us to, to do the things that we need to do on a daily basis.

[00:21:44] But so many of us are out of touch with that and frustrated. And so I think the thing is you start at the center, which is the heart and the heart of life. And the heart of the experience is to do something that charges your life with a sense of energy and enthusiasm. And for [00:22:00] us as entrepreneurs, this idea that we can actually change the world right in our own small way.

[00:22:07] And that all is baked into this idea of doing something that moves it. So for those who are feeling stuck, tap back into the heart, get out of your comfort zone and start doing something that moves you and maybe just play some small bets and yourself. That's the main thing. Just get moving. That's the heart.

[00:22:24] Hala Taha: Yeah. In the book, you guys use an analogy that suggests that working for another person or company is quote unquote, renting your dream and you can't rent and own your dream. At the same time. For me, I'm essentially renting and owning at the same time I work full-time at Disney and then I have a side job of running this podcast.

[00:22:45] So what are your feelings of side hustles?

[00:22:49] Jonas Koffler: Sure. Again, it's this idea that look it's okay. To start small. Anything that you do that begins to propel you forward, like any small step you [00:23:00] take, whether it's a simple conversation, whether it's walking an hour of time to write every day, whether it's doing some kind of project in collaboration with others that puts you in motion.

[00:23:14] So the idea that the end all be all is ownership of your dream. Yes, fundamentally you uniquely as an individual should be unapologetically ambitious about taking ownership of your dream and your life. But ownership may require you at times to be a little patient. And if that means working for other people or working on something that you may not be 100% enthusiastic about that's okay.

[00:23:42] It's a stepping stone, it's a lesson and a learning curve that you will undertake. And and the important thing is just to keep your head clear about that, right? The clarity gain from it. One thing that I recommend there as far as the ownership piece is for where you are right now, it's just the, you try to block your life or break it up into yearly [00:24:00] goals.

[00:24:00] And look, that's a much longer conversation, but the point is. Don't overthink the Why the more important thing is just the start doing and moving toward these goals or objectives that are important to you and hold yourself accountable. That's the important thing. And then, the other thing that I think is really important about this ownership idea is that you have time, right?

[00:24:20] At least to the extent that, you understand how time works. You have time to do this, you're going to have some time to do the things you want to do, but don't put it off at the same time. So there's like the idea that within any day or week or month or even year, you will have time to explore things that are important to you.

[00:24:38] That in and of itself is an expression or statement of ownership, right?

[00:24:42] Hala Taha: Yeah.

[00:24:43] Jonas Koffler: It is a declaration that I am going to pursue these things. And you know what, even if you're working for a job that you hate, you can still carve out time that you need. And I imagine any enlightened boss or manager will say, you know what?

[00:24:55] You should be exploring that. Go allow yourself to do that. As long [00:25:00] as you're accountable and responsible for the work you're doing, like we are here to support and ensure that we inspire and encourage other people to move forward in their lives. Why the hell else would we be here?

[00:25:09] Hala Taha: Totally. Yeah, I'm on the same page.

[00:25:11] I think that there's sometimes in life, you've got to juggle both, but I think everybody's end goal is to ultimately get paid for what they're passionate about and have complete ownership of their dream. So I'm totally on the same page. So let's move on to another topic. Your book mentions Malcolm Gladwell and how he popularized the work of psychologists.

[00:25:31] K. Anders Ericsson, who said that world-class achievement in any field can be had by anyone who dedicated 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. He called this the 10,000 hour rule, which many of us have probably heard of basically saying that you can master anything if you put in 10,000 Hours of Work, but you guys who wrote this book, you were opposed to this idea and you also propose an alternative.

[00:25:56] So can you just talk to our listeners about that? [00:26:00]

[00:26:00] Jonas Koffler: Sure. I'm happy to. The challenge Gladwell. And I actually have a funny anecdote about Gladwell is a uniquely talented, exceptional, arguably one of the best packager of ideas out there. Okay. And he said, he's a fabulous storyteller. I enjoy reading his work very much.

[00:26:16] And I'm actually a fan of outliers. However, the science behind the 10,000 hour rule is largely debunked. This whole notion of it's 10,000 hours to get good at something. Here's the issue. Number one is if you're, if you don't know what you're capable of, right? You should not commit to doing one thing too early in your career, your art, you should instead try a lot of different things.

[00:26:40] And in doing so, you, what you have talent for and how you want to invest your time that the 10,000 hour rule is not only is untrue and misguided and dangerous for most people, but it can be a great. So the thing to remember is for a lot of us, because talent is unequally distributed. You may be good at 10 things you're unaware of [00:27:00] right now, seriously.

[00:27:01] And many of us have all of these hidden talents. The challenge for us what hustle is really about is this notion of surfacing our hidden talents or surfacing our human potential. But most of us get stuck in this trap of just trying one or two or three. And that in and of itself is a prison.

[00:27:19] So what I would say is this 10,000 hours is, it's a huge amount of time. So instead, why not start with a few dozen or a few hundred hours, they get good, get to get adequately good at something that you can sustain yourself with me. And you can make the money from right, whether it's a professional pursuit or it's an artistic pursuit.

[00:27:39] So it's not simply about mastery. Pursuit of mastery is a false goal, and you can waste a lot of time focusing on this, what we call the madness of mastery in the book. Instead, I think the more important thing is that you figure out what you're good at, where your talents reside and then focusing on those things.

[00:27:57] So that maps back to the whole idea of the personal [00:28:00] opportunity portfolio for each of us. It's worth again, this reflects self-reflection a activity, which is to say, here are three buckets. I want to wrap my, my, my professional life around at this moment because we are going to change constantly and evolve throughout our life.

[00:28:14] One is writing. Okay. I'm a decent writer. Okay. I can tell stories. I can go straight a bestseller. I can, work on a film script, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Okay. That's great. I have this skillset. I've applied it. Here's how I'm sustaining. Too. I'm a good marketer, right? I'm just saying anyone hypothetical, you think about it, I've done X, Y, and Z or three is, I am exceptional about understand how to grow and scale a business.

[00:28:37] And here are three examples of that. And I can start constructing this portfolio around these talents and the proof as we speak about in the evidence of that, the track record, if you will, of how I've done those things. So don't commit to only one thing, unless you're going to. There are certain cases where this might apply.

[00:28:55] There are a few exceptions, right? Chess. I chess master [00:29:00] in the sense of a Casper off, or a uniquely talented pianist, like my nephew. Who's also now picked up trumpet. So there you go. With the 10,000 hour rule, there are exceptions, but in general, for most people we can pursue a few different talents, a few different procedures.

[00:29:18] A few different reflections of the things that we're really good at those will sustain us will not only be adequate, will actually be very good at them. And we can pursue them throughout our lives and continue adding skills and adding other ways to express our talent instead of just pigeonholing ourselves.

[00:29:36] So that's the danger of the 10,000 hour rules. If you want to, more research, just look up 10,000 hour rule debunked, and you'll see that the very scientists. He looked at this who, you know, from whom Bible based his work largely debunked the idea. So don't get trapped into thinking that it's a control system.

[00:29:52] I would instead encourage people to liberate themselves and think about uniquely, what am I good at? What have I not explored? [00:30:00] What are some new ways to. To figure out what I'm good at and start there.

[00:30:04] Hala Taha: Yeah. And I think that's really great advice, especially in today's like gig economy, world. There's so many freelance opportunities out there and so many ways that you can make money online using skills that.

[00:30:17] Aren't necessarily a hundred percent perfect yet. There's so many different levels of job opportunities out there that you can explore and make money off of, even if you're not, the best person in the world at a certain skill. So I think that's great advice. How does luck and risk play until all of this?

[00:30:35] Jonas Koffler: So this is really interesting and you sides of the. I wouldn't say the same point per se, but there's a lot there. So when we think about we'll a lock for a second, let's start with kind of risk that the whole idea of a risk is that for most people, risk is really the deciding factor in, in one sense of confidence.

[00:30:56] And one sense of competence as well, risk is a [00:31:00] hugely important and often. Let's call it an attribute or a steal. If you fail to engage in risk and to develop an appetite for risk, it's actually a really good thing. It's critically important especially for entrepreneurs from a survival standpoint, but also a learning and growing stamp.

[00:31:18] And so the, I think one of the things that I want to focus on when it comes to the idea that while risks can be overwhelming and terrifying for most people, that if you don't take. It can be the biggest determinant of your dissatisfaction in life. Most of us, I think are afraid of failure ,and therefore won't put ourselves out.

[00:31:38] We don't want to see ourselves fail. We don't want to deal with the connotations of failure around our identities and so forth. And instead, I would say, if that's you, the better way to think about risk is just start with very small examples, small feats or small. Small bets that you've placed on yourself.

[00:31:58] So you don't have to take [00:32:00] massive risks, right? We're not asking you to run through a wall of fire and to jump off a, a thousand foot cliff with no parachute, like that's ridiculous. And no one should do that, maybe it's as simple as asking questions of how you work, how you do work every day.

[00:32:17] Are there better ways to try things. Or maybe it's challenging your company or yourself to take on a new project in innovation or, and, it's things that you can, you're willing to fail at because if the other side of risk is exquisite, meaning if it works out, you're going to gain so much.

[00:32:36] And even if it doesn't even you fail, you're still gonna, you're going to learn a hell of a lot. And that's what I encourage people to think about, when it comes to luck. We have a theory about luck. That is that luck is a component of our DNA and it bubbles up from deep within our bone matter when we need it most.

[00:32:55] And so the idea is this, that life is not about being lucky or unlucky. [00:33:00] Life is about continually striving toward things that are important to you and surfacing the DNA in the process. And so this buck is a sort of a survival mechanism. We baked buck into and broke it down into four different components. Right?

[00:33:15] And this is largely based on the work of James Austin. Who's at Stanford but the idea is simple that there is a very sort of constant stream of what we call dumb or random luck. It's the luck of, you're it's Thanksgiving and you're looking for the elusive Turkey, and you drive into a whole foods that is packed to capacity and a parking spot opens walk in the door and you're greeted with the last available.

[00:33:37] And guess what you get it there's, that's the first random or dumb luck, right? The second level of luck is the luck of motion. That's hustle luck. And this is the luck that you manifest or generate simply through movement, back to this whole idea that the first scene law of hustle, which is do something that moves you when you get out, move around and pick things up, which does is essentially what hustle means.[00:34:00]

[00:34:00] You're going to surface possibilities that can be before. That's the luck of motion. The third level of luck is called hidden luck and hidden luck is a little more sophisticated. It's the luck of creative synthesis. It's being able to take two disparate ideas, concepts, or some secret knowledge that least, and connect it in a meaningful way that makes sense and adds value in the world.

[00:34:21] And the last component of luck, which is the luck that I think most people should embrace. Is this idea of quirky luck, it's our individuality. It's the luck that defines who we are, the luck that, that people characterize us with. It's that, it's the things that make us who we are, whether it's, it's dressing in a certain way or speaking with in a certain way, or having some attributes, like using a sense of humor for Christ's sake, or being able to take or willing to take some risks and do the things that, that set you apart, not to be an asshole, but to be a decent human. But also be willing to be unconventional and to be [00:35:00] yourself authentically bullying, right? Not simply mimicking, Steve Jobs at the black turtle, neck and jeans and speaking tech parlance.

[00:35:08] No it's being yourself. That's the key or key luck. And and if you do that, guess what you be yourself, people are going to like you and they're going to respect you. And so it's an incredibly empowering for us.

[00:35:20] Hala Taha: Yeah. I totally agree. I think that all those different levels of locker. Super interesting.

[00:35:26] So thanks for sharing. Let's move on to the second pillar of your book, the head. Could you just summarize the key takeaways about that principle?

[00:35:34] Jonas Koffler: Sure. The idea is that if the first law of hustles do something moves you, the second law of hustle is keep your head up and look for opportunity, that's having a strategic lens, tactical lens on, on life. So being able to, put yourself out and to connect possibilities and to think in ways that are unconventional and think in ways that will benefit you by creating opportunity or [00:36:00] generating more opportunity in your life. So again, moving away from the notion of complacency or being in neuro by conditioning, that you should set all.

[00:36:08] Things are how they are and they won't change, instead looking at the world as this blank, infinite canvas of possibility. So whether that means that you and I have this podcast and five minutes after we get off, we hatch a new idea for a new media platform. And then we build on that, or we test it out and try and see where it goes or it's being willing to, simply listen effectively.

[00:36:30] I don't think people listen enough these days, right? Listen to conversations and think about ways that you can enhance or add value in the world or help someone else out. Those are the ways that you apply this head layer by looking for opportunity and listening in, maybe places that you typically wouldn't go what you know, so it's not simply networking.

[00:36:50] It's being effective in a way. That uses your talents and allows you to leverage your ability to help other people or companies in the world. That's the head layer. [00:37:00]

[00:37:00] Hala Taha: And then let's move on to the habits which we touched on. It demonstrates how to spot opportunities and create your own luck.

[00:37:08] Jonas Koffler: Sure. If you've got the first two down, so if you're doing something that moves here, that's the heart layer, right? Following the force for good if you will. And you've then moved on to allow yourself to take risks and small bets in the head layer. Then it's about focusing on the personal opportunity portfolio.

[00:37:26] So the habit layer is not about breaking old habits and forming new ones alone. There are countless books on those topics, but instead of thinking about the habit of building into the four components of the POP, and so the POP again is the personal opportunity portfolio. And so what is it? So the key piece there is seal the deal, make it real.

[00:37:48] What does that mean? It means turning an opportunity into some kind of concrete transaction or some way to create optionality, meaning upside growth in your life. And the basic idea is POP is about [00:38:00] building into four different things, right? The first piece of it is the potential. So the opportunity of increasing your capability, that's the thing. The first layer.

[00:38:11] The second layer is the people layer, right? The opportunity of communities. That means building your relationships in the world in a meaningful way, attracting more people to your platform, figuring out how to leverage your relationships, to add value to other people's lives. Not only on your own.

[00:38:27] You've got potential in people. And then you move into the actionable project layer, and this is the opportunity of creativity. This is where you put your skills and talents out in the world and your network and so forth. And you build things that are meaningful and you're creating some kind of legacy.

[00:38:41] And then that ties into the final piece of the personal opportunity portfolio, which is proof. So forget about the resume. Resume is a dead 2d, 2d version of your life, instead of thinking. The opportunity of increasing your credibility by pointing to things that you have done or help [00:39:00] create in the world.

[00:39:01] That's proof, it's the most important aspect of this thing. And so if you do it in a correct way, right? Leveraging potential people and projects and proof, you're going to create a very virtuous or harmonious circle where you're continuing adding value and increasing your perception of what, your worth in the world.

[00:39:20] And that's what it should look like. If you think about it as a pie cut into 4, 4, 4 big quarters, and each of these is equally important. And I think that the thing to keep in mind is that it never stops. Moving away from complacency again and thinking about how can you explore these different pieces and how can you constantly evolve and grow into them?

[00:39:40] The book gets much more in-depth in each of these. The basic idea is that it's not, you're not a static being, you're being whose identity is going to change over time. Your capabilities are going to change over time. Your relationships and network are going to grow over time and your proof, your body of work, if you will, if you're an artist is going to continuously grow over time.

[00:39:59] And so it's [00:40:00] worth being mindful, aware that you're constantly putting, you're investing your time and energy and intellectual capabilities and so forth into this thing. So you might as well, again, back to the stream ownership, if you're going to. Really own it, but invest yourself in these different pieces.

[00:40:15] Hala Taha: Yeah. That was a great explanation. Thanks so much for that. Let's move off of the book and onto another topic that I know is near and dear to your heart and that's mental wellness. So why is helping others improve their mental health, your purpose in life nowadays?

[00:40:32] Jonas Koffler: So this is I would argue the, the challenge at the time.

[00:40:36] Like the epidemic, it's largely I think caused by a fractured or fragmented experience of humanity, I think. And part of this is a product of technology, but also part of it is this acceptance that we can't be empowered. I think we need to be more empowered and more in touch with community. And I think that starts with a couple of things.

[00:40:58] One is focusing [00:41:00] on belonging. So many of us are so isolated nowadays that it creates an incredible impalpable anxiety and depression and addiction, and any array of problems that we deal with. The worst of course, being suicidal ideation. And as I've already mentioned that, these are very serious and they affect us as individuals and they affect us as well.

[00:41:23] And so the idea that we can be stronger mentally and that we can be more proactive in taking care of it, actually practicing empathy, right? Caring about the wellbeing of other people is really important. Even if it's challenging for people, it's take a minute and actually listen, that really helps.

[00:41:41] Especially here, friends and family, if you can't start there, then I don't know where to begin, but you get out of our ego mind and say, you know what? There's a big world around us. And I think the other side of that. Many of us are in denial. Green talked about death denial, but I think this sort of the illness denial is that many of us again are functional, but we're

[00:42:00] not healthy.

[00:42:00] And so for society to be better for us just to prosper and to flourish, then I think, we need to spend more time thinking about how we can do a better job taking care of ourselves and others. And so the whole mental wellness thing for me was look, what. I was acutely aware and sensitive to, those suffering around me, as when I was young and growing up and had a, a chaotic upbringing myself, and I knew that this would be a theme or current in my life, which is to say, okay, how can we deal with the issues of suffering?

[00:42:32] How can we we help people be stronger, more confident that they can take care of themselves and can be there for other people. How do we help foster this sense of belonging community? Because we know based on the research. That helping people to develop a better sense of confidence that they can change their lives for the better it can transform is one piece.

[00:42:51] And the other piece is having a healthy social network. Not, I'm not talking about Facebook, I'm not talking about technology at all. I'm talking about physical [00:43:00] people that they can reach out and talk to you every day, at least call on the phone and be there for is absolutely paramount to our wellbeing.

[00:43:07] And the, again, this deals with the real right diving into the theater of the real, not the fake, not the artificial, but instead saying, if you have friends of yours who might be suffering, or if you're concerned about don't wait, reach out and make sure that you engage with them and see what you can do in small ways.

[00:43:24] It may be as simple as just listening. I certainly have times as an entrepreneur this, you deal with stress that's that feels at times insurmountable and in many ways, very alienating. So it's like, how can you plugged back into the little things in life that really matter. And in this case, it's a big thing because it's relationships it's knowing that you are loved.

[00:43:44] It's knowing that people care about you and vice versa. That really matters a lot. And I'm in this fast-moving fragmented world. It's very easy to overlook that. So that would be one of the things that, that I would want to emphasize. One of the companies I co-founded [00:44:00] called Radical Wellness Inc.

[00:44:00] Our entire focus was to help people deal with not acute, but chronic issues around anxiety and depression and mental health. And I don't think this is an issue that's going away anytime soon, the general sense of we need to do a better job here because there are a lot of people suffering. It's not an easy thing that we can quote unquote cure, but it is certainly something that we can place more attention on that we can be there for other people.

[00:44:25] And that we know there are any number array of healing modalities that work, whether it's talk therapy, cognitive behavioral thing. Whether it's simply getting out and being more active, physically spending more time in nature, cleaning your diet up and choosing, making better choices about what you put into your body to begin with sleep.

[00:44:43] We've already talked about all of these things are part of this wheel of health, if you will, that are critical and that people need to be focused on.

[00:44:52] Hala Taha: Yeah. So how do you think that improving. Our mental wellness will help progress [00:45:00] humanity. Do you think that this is completely necessary for us to positively evolve as a species?

[00:45:06] Jonas Koffler: Yeah, the short answer is of course, if we're fragmented, alienated, disconnected, in many cases, we've given up or we're so cynical, like how is that good for society? How's that good for any individual? Think about the sick mind. No, the whole point of life is I would argue.

[00:45:22] Is to be present, to be in a place of love and concern for yourself and others. And if you can do that, then of course, you're going to help the world become a better place. What's the opposite of that. Is it's fear and hate? How is that moving us forward, right? That it just fundamentally doesn't work.

[00:45:37] The question is who is responsible? Uniquely as individuals, we are responsible for our own well-being. But then beyond that, it's we're responsible as sort of family units. We're responsible at community as a queue at a community level. And we need to engage in the dialogue and not deny it right.

[00:45:53] We're responsible at, in the business community, taking care of our people. And it's not just, frontline, I'm talking about, there are [00:46:00] many executives who, who suffer horrific, anxiety and depression and loneliness and so forth. So we're all part of this. This is part of being a human to move society forward.

[00:46:10] Is to embrace empathy, to listen and show that you care to, to embrace other people to actually care about helping people feel better. And if you can't helping point them in direction where they can get better care, there are so many ways to make a small difference. And I think that the simple thing that I want to do is to say, look, we can all do a better job.

[00:46:31] I'm not saying that it's going to be easy, but we're all in this together. And that's what we need to remember.

[00:46:35] Hala Taha: Yeah, that's a great message. So tell us about Lada Labs and your upcoming documentary, We Care Here film.

[00:46:44] Jonas Koffler: Sure. So Lada Labs, is a mobile software development company. We're focused on empowering health and wellness and at the, both at the individual level and also at the the community level through shared experiences.

[00:46:58] And so we're, very early [00:47:00] stage we've developed our our MBP and we'll be launching in early 2020. And are currently raising funds and we've been bootstrapped for some time now, but we're very confident. This is a good space, a space that will, you know, essentially when you think about health and wellness as an industry, it's a $5 trillion space.

[00:47:18] Hala Taha: Wow.

[00:47:18] Jonas Koffler: People's needs will continue to be unmet until we've come to a point where we think that by giving people better options, as far as taking care of them, And better options in terms of activities, community that we can help solve some of these needs. But again, we're in a what I'd say is a fragile time to the degree that we believe people need better outlets.

[00:47:42] And because they're just too many people suffering and that's one argument. The other argument is that, we think that technology can be better use to help people feel better about, about themselves and feel better about life. And those are some of the things that we're thinking through, as we as we weave technology and our brand experience [00:48:00] into into a launch.

[00:48:01] Now, we may be pivoting along the way we don't know yet, but I think, if you think about, if some of the apps out there, whether it's meditation space or mindfulness, Headspace and calm, or we've already talked about the sleep space, Casper and some of the others out there, there's, there are innumerable things that we can do to enhance the quality of lives for people.

[00:48:20] And I think that's fundamentally of importance to me, it's part of my personal mission. And when you talk about ownership, if I can leave a legacy where I've helped improve people's lives from a health standpoint and a sense of wellbeing, then I've done my job.

[00:48:34] Hala Taha: That's awesome. And then you have an upcoming documentary. When does that come out and what's that about?

[00:48:38] Jonas Koffler: Yeah. So with my brother, Alex Alexander, who's the director and producer and Don Harvey is our executive producer and we have some incredible members of the team, as far as advisors go from Lewis Black is the co-founder of south by Southwest, who Elizabeth Havey who's, producer, Rob Rodriguez is the partner.

[00:48:57] Our focus again is to help tell the [00:49:00] story of the shift in one city's culture and focus any economy and looking at the different factors that are so hard to deal with when you're trying to honor the tradition, but also to move forward. And so that will be out. We hope in the spring, we'll probably do a debut at south by Southwest and then go to the Festival Circuit.

[00:49:22] But is where people can visit and find out more information. So far, the were, I'd say three quarters of the way through production. Then we'll go into post in the next eight weeks.

[00:49:33] Hala Taha: That's awesome. Jonas is starting this episode. I'm starting a new tradition on young and profiting podcasts.

[00:49:38] I'm going to end my interview with the same question for every guest. And the question is what's your secret to profiting in life?

[00:49:46] Jonas Koffler: I think the main thing is, as I was talking about this idea of, being willing to know thyself what does that mean? The idea that the essence of our experience in life is self knowledge.

[00:49:58] And the pursuit of wisdom [00:50:00] and exploring who we are constantly living, learning, and growing is the way that we profit the most in life. Forget about the economic consequences. Forget about any notions or ideas about other priorities. It is knowing thyself and becoming a better person because of that.

[00:50:18] I think that's key.

[00:50:20] Hala Taha: I love that. And where can our listeners go to learn everything about you and everything that you do?

[00:50:25] Jonas Koffler: I just visit or, go to conflict pictures. Either one of those works, you can always tweet at me @JonasKoffler and or sign up for my email list. Happy to do that as well, but keep focused on what matters to you.

[00:50:40] That's my lesson. Know that myself and I think if anything don't be afraid to do something that moves you.

[00:50:46] Hala Taha: Thank you so much, Jonas. This was such a great conversation.

[00:50:50] Jonas Koffler: My pleasure. And thanks so much to you and your team.

[00:50:53] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to Young And Profiting Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to leave us a review or comment on your favorite [00:51:00] platform.

[00:51:00] Follow you up on Instagram @youngandprofiting and check us out at And now you can chat live with us every single day on the YAP Society on Slack. Check out our show notes or for the registration link. And if you're already active on YAP Society, share the wealth and invite your friends.

[00:51:17] You can find me on Instagram @yapwithhala or LinkedIn, just search for my name, Hala Taha. Big, thanks to the YAP team as always stay blessed and I'll catch you next time.

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