I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted to address the pandemic of the body and mind. The pandemic of the body is obvious to most people, but the pandemic for the mind is invisible.
Don’t ask what is the least you can do, ask what is the most you can bear.
Tom Bilyeu came on this show to help us develop an “anti-fragile, unbeatable mindset.” He is the co-founder of 2014 Inc. 500 company Quest Nutrition — a unicorn startup valued at over $1 billion — and the co-founder and host of Impact Theory. Impact Theory is a first-of-its-kind company designed to facilitate global change through the incubation of mission-based businesses and the cultivation of empowering content. Every piece of content Impact Theory creates is meant to underscore the company mission to free people from The Matrix and help them unlock their true potential. Impact Theory exists to inspire the next generation of game-changing companies and creators that will make a true and lasting impact on the world.
I really got interested in what Tom was doing after seeing a video of an interview he did with Simon Sinek on Millennial. The video went viral and helped bring a lot of people to Impact Theory. I’ve now watched countless interviews from Tom.
If you find him on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you’ll see a hard-driving approach to personal development, no excuses, and getting the most out of yourself. But in this interview, you’ll hear it comes from a challenging upbringing and a lot of compassion for our humanity. Tom talks at length about how average he is, and how he had to work so hard at learning how to be more. How he built a billion-dollar company in the wellness industry, but hates working out…even though he does it every day. You’ll also hear me tackle a controversial video he posted titled “It’s all your fault,” where he charges us to take everything bad that’s ever happened to us and say, “It’s my fault.” Sound ridiculous? Listen in.
Connect with Tom at Impacttheory.com or just search Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or iTunes for Impact Theory.
And, folks, while we keep this show free of any offending language, we don’t commit to this from all the content our guests put out.
[00:24] Welcome to The Ziglar Show. I’m your host, Kevin Miller, and we are here to inspire your true inspiration. Today we have Tom Bilyeu with us. Tom is the co-founder of 2014 Inc. 500 company Quest Nutrition — a unicorn startup valued at over $1 billion — and the co-founder and host of Impact Theory. Impact Theory is a first-of-its-kind company designed to facilitate global change through the incubation of mission-based businesses and the cultivation of empowering content. Every piece of content Impact Theory creates is meant to underscore the company mission to free people from The Matrix and help them unlock their true potential. Impact Theory exists to inspire the next generation of game-changing companies and creators that will make a true and lasting impact on the world.
[01:17] I really got interested in what Tom was doing after seeing a video of an interview he did with Simon Sinek on Millennial. The video went viral and helped bring a lot of people to Impact Theory. I’ve now watched countless interviews from Tom.
[01:47] If you find him on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you’ll see a hard-driving approach to personal development, no excuses, and getting the most out of yourself. But in this interview you’ll hear it comes from a challenging upbringing and a lot of compassion for our humanity. Tom talks at length about how average he is, and how he had to work so hard at learning how to be more. How he built a billion-dollar company in the wellness industry, but hates working out…even though he does it every day. You’ll also hear me tackle a controversial video he posted titled, “It’s all your fault” where he charges us to take everything bad that’s ever happened to us and say, “It’s my fault.” Sound ridiculous? Listen in.
[02:30] Connect with Tom at Impacttheory.com or just search Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or iTunes for Impact Theory.
[02:41] And folks, while we keep this show free of any offending language, we don’t commit to this from all the content or our guests what they put out.
[02:52] Here then I bring you…Tom Bilyeu:
[03:00] All right, Tom, so this is the best preview to the interview I’ve ever had, because I just spent an hour listening to you on Facebook Live and figured out you are probably feeling a little stroke right now, after all those questions.
[03:15] Yes, and thank you, by the way, for joining me, I always found it awesome.
[03:27] It was great I jumped on, I was actually in the prep of the interview here; I was looking for something that I saw yesterday on there and happened to see you, and it was great. I can feel your energy.
[03:45] On that, I have prepared my own notes and put it to something you last said to somebody, but you, in a very emphatic way, said that if you want to be a pro, shut everything else out. I want you to speak to that, how they can pursue being pro.
[04:37] Yes, this is just a truth of the human condition. If you want to be pro, if you want to excel at anything, if you want greatness in your life, the truth is you actually have to become great — like, being a mediocre player, being above average is not the same as greatness. Greatness comes at an extraordinary cost. And I believe that anyone can get good at anything. So it comes down to how much time and energy do you want to apply to that thing?
[05:10] And the quote that I was talking about during my Facebook Live — I wish I could remember who said it, but it goes something like — this is a paraphrase. But right now somebody is working on something that you’re not working on. And when you meet, they will win because they are putting in that energy, they’re putting in that effort and that time, and if you want to be better than them when you meet, whether in a business context, in a sport, in anything, then you’ve got to have put in that inhuman amount of time. And so the question that was asked was, “Tom, you say that you know during the week.” So this is the true state during the week — I’m either working out or working, period, like that. That is, if I’m awake, one of those two things is happening on the weekends.
[06:48] When asked what you wanted to deliver to The Ziglar Show listeners, you said you wanted “to get them to develop an anti-fragile, unbeatable mindset.” So you must have a significant story that took you from being the scared kid in Tacoma, to co-founding the billion-dollar Quest Nutrition company. But what took you from there to devoting yourself to the personal development world?
[07:20] Really, two things. So one was I’ve known for a very long time — almost always — but I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted to address both the pandemic of the body and the pandemic of the mind. And people get the pandemic of the body because it’s so obvious. Like, people are dying. It’s dying of diabetes; insanely miserable; all of the metabolic diseases which are way beyond just diabetes, but diabetes is like, as you’re dying of that you start getting amputated toes, than the feet and the legs. It’s so crazy and so horrifying that people really get it. Obesity is very visible like…so people understand that the mind ever is it’s invisible.
[08:29] Now, the reason we want to do that, though, isn’t because I have some need to build a studio. It’s because I work backwards from the problem of mindset and said, “How do we actually influence mindset generationally?” So, not just say you go watch my social video and you’re inspired. That only works for a very limited number of people. How do we do it generationally across cultures? And the answer to that is narrative. Period. Like, the way that human beings assimilate truly disruptive information is your story. That’s just a fact of life, human biology. So that I knew I was going to end up dealing in the dominant forms of narrative, which are, you know, books, TV shows, movies, comic books, video games are coming — we’re not there yet, but like that’s something that’s coming that I think will really have a big impact. So I know that those are going to be the arenas that I am going to be in, but it has to be a self-sustaining economic vehicle.
[10:21] Okay, well, so on that I want to hit on that aspect of it. I am currently reading a — hold it for you to see — the plant paradox book, which, impressively, in the back of it when it’s giving you — ok, here are the good foods, you know, the non-election foods here the elect in full. I was incredibly impressed that out of all the myriad of options out there, that they chose you. So I want to ask: you talked about the pandemic of the body and the mind and you’re focusing on the mind. Now, I come from a world similar to yours that is focused on the body. I’m talking to you right now out of a functional medicine clinic that I’m partner in, and we are working in their body-mind. That’s it. Where does, and I want folks to hear this because as we look at the Ziglar’s wheel of life, which you and I are going to talk about in the next show, and the seven spokes, one is health. One of the issues there is, as we’re looking at the mind — and that’s where we always we want to create, we want to go after all our desires and dreams, and we want to be — as “I have a mind like a steel trap.” Where do you put the body health within that structure, even if it’s just sequentially?
[11:44] I really believe that the body and the mind are exactly the same thing, and it’s really — it would be like saying the heart and the body. It’s there in an ecosystem; they exist together, and it’s only because consciousness arises out of the mind that people think of it as uniquely separate. But once you begin to ground it in, it’s just another organ; it’s in the body; it’s impacted in terms of its abilities, its strength, its endurance. Everything. By the whole ecosystem you really begin to understand how important it is to take care of the body, to be physically fit. So, the very first thing that I do in the morning, I wake up; the first thing I do is work out. Now, I hate working out. I wish it weren’t so; I wish my brain were in a jar somewhere and I didn’t have to think about my body. That would be, that would be incredible to me, because it takes so much time and energy. But the truth is, it’s just not the way the world works. So I have to take care of my body; I have to push myself. I have to go through the constant discomfort of getting my body in a place that I want to be for my mind to be in the place that I want it to be. So, really, really critical. And I don’t think people pay nearly enough attention to that feedback that exists between the mind and the body.
[12:59] Absolutely. You know, with that I say, the more people I talk with on these interviews like this, I hear more and more and more and more from these folks who are world-changers like yourself, about not just — and we’re going to talk about daily habits in the next show — but about morning routine, specifically. It’s almost across the board. I don’t know if I talk to anybody who does not have, without me asking, and it comes out their morning routine. So I’ll ask you that. So, you talk about, the first thing you do is work out before you hit the minutia of the day, and work out. Let me ask you about your morning routine.
[13:35] On this sign I’m religious, so I believe the morning routine starts the night before and has everything to do with what time you go to bed. So I prioritize sleep, and I go to bed at 9 p.m. like it’s a religion. I wake up when I wake up. I don’t use an alarm. And people always push back on that. But do go to bed at whatever time you need to go to bed to wake up naturally and have time to do the things you need to do. So, I usually sleep between six to seven hours, and usually five to six, but for whatever reason right now I’m in a cycle where I’m sleeping for about seven hours a night. I will get up when I get up, so if I go to bed at 9 and I wake up seven hours later, what’s that, like 4 am?
[16:30] I saw a video on your Twitter account (tombilyeu): Your own physical transformation, you said the biggest crux was…”changing my identity.” And that at the end of the day, identity and values drive behavior.” And you talked about changing your narrative. You cited,”If you tell yourself you’re a scared, undereducated kid from Tacoma whose family never accomplished anything, you’ll become just that. But then,on the flip side”…and I was waiting for you to take a glass-half-full look at your upbringing and you surprised me. You didn’t try to paint the picture of the circumstances as rosy; you instead spoke to the qualities of strength, which, to me, felt a lot more realistic and digestible for people who did come from hard things that it’s really difficult to make that look nice. Was that a conscious approach to helping people look at those real circumstances that are hard?
[17:39] Yeah. And maybe even more than that,it’s understanding that your frame of an event is more important than the event itself. So,you know,Tony Robbins talks a lot about ask yourself how the worst thing that ever happened to you is the best thing that ever happened to you. And just forcing yourself to really find a real answer to that — by the way, not some answer but to really find a real answer. And there always is one,and even if it’s the lesson that you learned knowing that — like, take abuse, which is one of the worst things that could ever happen to somebody, especially when you’re a child, is to be the person that breaks the cycle to have gone through that might be so empathetic towards other people, and you can really help them. Even just that is already amazing to think, “Okay, I know I wouldn’t have this gift, I wouldn’t be able to do that for the people if I hadn’t gone through that. It doesn’t make what happened ok, it doesn’t make it any better. It just means that there is something amazing that’s going to come out of that because you choose to focus on that. So that, like, understanding that the frame of reference is a choice, you know, how you look at something is a choice, what you choose to learn from something is a choice. So those choices can be empowering or disempowering, and that will change your life for sure.
[18:50] So on this, on your effort, do you feel, I’m curious: you’re from a personal purpose here that your messaging, your communication to people, becomes your ultimate, the thing you want to deliver, that you just spent an hour on Facebook Live comes from a passion for the culture, a burden, an anger? Where’s it germinate for you? What’s the feeling that drives it?
[19:19] So there’s both. I think there’s light and dark in everything and there’s no question that I have a chip on my shoulder and that I am hellbent to do something and that darkness accounts for about 20 percent of my motivation, Eighty percent of my motivation, though, is on the other side, it’s the lightness, it’s the beauty, it’s the gratitude, it’s all the great things that have happened for me that I want to help bring to the world like all of that. And I try to spend the majority of my time, the vast majority of my time, there in a beautiful place. But there’s no question that there’s times where the beauty is going to fail or you need something that has that harsh edge. And they’ve done studies on this where you can ask somebody to submerge their arm in an ice bucket and see how long they can deal with that pain, and they get a baseline and then they say, “Okay, right,” as you’re about pull it out instead of doing that. I, when you express anger, I want you to let yourself be enraged and people can leave their arm in there for 30 percent longer, or they can deal with 30 percent more pain because they’re able to. So I find that may anger the haters, if you will. Like having a chip on your shoulder about not letting them be right in very acute moments like that will really, really help.
[21:46] Absolutely. Folks, I hope you’re getting as much out of this interview as I am. Again, you can connect with Tom at impacttheory.com or just search Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or iTunes for Impact Theory. And if you get value here, please let us know in iTunes and leave a review.
[24:44] Well, so you just mentioned emotions and, in essence, feelings, and I’ll take that, I mean, the majority of, if I take for face value I look at Instagram, I look at Twitter, I look at Facebook, even in what you’re putting out there. It’s very forward, focused, it’s very forward thinking, and yet you are talking about emotions and feelings and a way to kind of speak to where that is because I think people can often hear that you know, here you are, you’re driving, let’s go forward, let’s not worry about what’s happening right now, let’s just go towards the goal. And yet I know you also do put emphasis on your past and dealing with that on emotions, on feelings. Help kind of clarify that for folks so that they can understand that you’re not just the guy who has no feelings and is only going forward.
[25:34] Yeah, I think I have maybe the most feelings. So, first of all, feelings are the body’s way of telling you something — and let me say it more specifically: it’s the subconscious form of communication. So your emotions are all that data that’s being processed by the subconscious which, they say, is faster and faster. It’s speaking to you by giving you emotions. So whether that’s an unease, whether that’s excitement, that is just subconscious telling you something. Now, I try to always listen to my subconscious because it is able to process data faster and faster than I can consciously. The conscious mind is like the various little tips of a gigantic iceberg. So, not leveraging your emotions, I think, would be foolish. Also, pretending that you don’t have emotions is also foolish. So we all have a body. We all have a brain that has certain traits, an aspect, like an amygdala, which is meant to process fear, we have regions of the brain that paint our experiences with emotion. And here is a fascinating thing: if you damage the region of the brain that generates emotions, people become incapable of making a decision. It is one of the most fascinating revelations of what happens when the brain gets damaged that reveals how we actually make decisions. The way you make decisions is based on feelings. It is not based on all the logic in the world.
[28:08] On this, you posted a Twitter question recently. It said it was one of the means, graphics, what belief is holding you back, and asked for responses. And I was curious with you as the receiver of that, as you’re going through those, what were some of the leading responses? What is holding people back?
[28:30] Fear — and look at it. I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough. I don’t come from the right background. You know, genetically gifted. It’s all BS, like people want to be by nature some something other than average. And here’s the great news, we’re all average. Like the law of averages states that we’re literally average. It is a bell curve. I promise: your average, like the odds of you not being average, are against you. So and I get it. They do studies on this stuff all the time, and everybody thinks they’re above average. Like, no matter what the math says, they just assume, “I must be above average in this.” The truth is, you’re not. That’s great news, because the human animal is an adaptation machine. So whether you start average, or even behind the eight-ball, doesn’t matter; the human ability to grow and adapt is absolutely phenomenal.
[31:17] You just mentioned the price that we’re willing to pay. So another post — and I just I spent a long time just looking at your core messages — but you may, you had one that resonated with me a lot. Not a fan of the word “easy” and your quote was, “Don’t ask what’s the least you can do. Ask what is the most that you can bear.” How do you find that message, though the engagement or the acceptance of that, when we’ve got a culture who is admittedly very focused on comfort?
[32:21] It’s interesting, because what I found in my community is people self-select. So the vast majority of the world, obviously, if they were to encounter my page, would be like, “Yeah, the sky’s full,” and edge. “I have no interest.” But for the people that stay, and they’re like, “Whoa! This really resonates with me!” So I consider myself unfiltered. They resonate with that image, that notion, those ideas, and so I don’t get pushback. And so, most often — not entirely, but most — of the comments and feedback that I get are, “You know, I needed to hear this, thank you so much.” And the great news is, it’s the truth. So even if I met a tsunami of people that were like, “This isn’t true.” Like, “There’s only one path to greatness…” Like, when was somebody ever great at something by being average? I think the answer is never. They may be average at other things. But the thing they become known for, they’ve somehow become extraordinary at that thing.
[35:43] Your message from your heart, from your experience, from your wisdom, from your struggles, you also bring in, as I do, the best of the best that are out there in your interviews. Matter of fact, that’s how I found out about you. I got contacted about having you on the show a long time ago, and I knew you as the guest guy — didn’t know much more than that. Then I saw…somebody, I’m sure, tagged me on it and I saw the interview that you did with Simon Sinek on millennials, which was dramatic. I sent it to my kids immediately and I’m sure I shared it on social media, but it showcased to me what you were doing and got me into your fold in those interviews. Well, I asked, you know, from recent interviews that you’ve done, whose message is foremost rolling around in your head right now.
[36:32] Well, it’s not a new message over the past few days, but the guy that I’m obsessed with is David Goggins. That guy is just unbelievable. So he was a Navy SEAL and he believed growing up that he was the weakest man that God ever created, and he wanted to become the toughest man alive. And he said, “Look, I don’t know if I have accomplished it or not, but I needed that goal, and that was the thing that I went after.” Man! Talking to that guy isn’t the type of guy that ever lived. He’s close. It’s very, very impressive — ultra-endurance athlete is just — and some of the most incredible things I’ve ever heard of in my life. So inspiring, and he really occupies a lot of my mind. Now, I think I have a David Goggins region of my brain, kind of kicks, and when I’m feeling lazy or weak and I need something to really like get me going again, I definitely think of David Goggins.
[39:12] You know, I saw in your site — this is an off tangent thing. You have a book list you should do if you don’t have a movie list. So far, we’ve got the Matrix and Jerry Maguire, both that I own. I’m curious about the other one, so there you go. So someone put that out there. I’d love to see it.
[39:27] Now that’s a great idea. We actually just launched a YouTube channel called Impact Theory Studios, where, like I said at the beginning, this whole goal is to build a studio to rival Disney. So we’re now going to be putting out social content that is all geared around how I extract knowledge from movies. So I think it’ll be a different take on that, or we’ll be talking about TV shows, movies, like what you can learn about leadership from Game of Thrones, stuff like that. We just did a review — or a panel discussion, really — on Blade Runner 2049, which, talking about identity memories — how to use them, how they work against you. It’s really exciting.
[41:00] So here’s a biggie. I have — this is the one I wanted to get to — so I saw again, I think it was a Facebook page. You had a short video there, and you prefaced it by saying, “This is the most controversial thing I’ve ever said, but it’s the very secret to success.” And it was the little, I think it is a minute clip off of maybe a four minutes clip you had at the website or something, called “It’s all your fault.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard somebody speak, when I have played around with in my head and I haven’t defined it as well. And so I know I don’t have to now, because you did. And I’m going to share it with my family first. And, actually, no I did share it on my Facebook page today but I’m going to talk to my family about it because yes, talk about controversial! It’s use of — folks, I would give you, go — actually, just type in Tom Bilyeu and “It’s your fault.” I think it’ll just come up and hit videos in Google or wherever you’re looking for it. I think you’ll find it right there at the top. Of course, it’s on the Facebook page. Go to Tom Bilyeu and his videos; you’ll find it. Tell us about that.
[42:23] Yes. So this is definitely the most controversial thing I say; this is the one thing I get pushback, like, even from my audience, and this is heartbreaking to me. And the reason it’s heartbreaking is until you do this, you’re never going to succeed like that. I can’t say it any more plainly than that. And it goes like this. Everything in your life is your fault. Now you can’t stop yourself from being victimized, but you can definitely stop yourself from playing the role of the victim. And so the example that I give people is, my wife is British, so let’s say that she’s at home with her mom in the house that she grew up in and the doors are locked. The alarm is on. She’s in a bed that she grew up in. She is safe and sound, and right at that moment a meteorite comes screaming through the atmosphere, crashes into her bedroom, and kills her. Whose fault is that? Now, you don’t know me, and didn’t get, just get that pre-amble; been mostly we’re going to say “it’s fate,” it’s some luck, it’s, you know, Divine providence — that’s nobody’s fault. And the truth is, it’s my fault.
[43:16] Now, I literally mean that, and the reason that it’s my fault, I know right now there is a group of people that track what are called Near Earth Objects and they’re trying to find a way to deal with things that are on a collision course with Earth. So, whether that becomes a powerful ray or a giant nuclear explosion, like, whatever that’s going to be, I know they exist. I know they’re doing that. I’ve never sent them a dime of money. I never called them on the phone to give them my ideas. I’ve never written them an e-mail with encouraging words. I’ve done nothing. Now, I think that’s the right answer because I think the odds of my wife being killed by a meteorite are vanishingly slim. So, applying my time and energy there doesn’t seem like a good use of my time.
[45:11] Well, let’s dig in more and, again, this is something that resonates with me, but I haven’t put it out there either because not only is it controversial, I don’t think I have understood how to define it. So, to what you said, can we assume that the reason that we want to put blame out there, the reason we want to is because we’re trying to get rid of the possibility of guilt and shame on ourselves? What you’re saying sounds like an offering to open your eyes, your arms wide open, and take the guilt and shame for everything. But on the opposite side, and I think you said this or I read this, the opposite side, though, if we don’t take what we are given. And, again, I’m paraphrasing, so correct me on how you said it. You’re giving power to something else. And there’s a no-win situation in that.
[45:59] Yes. So first of all, I don’t want the guilt and shame. I’m not taking on the guilt and shame unless that serves me. If feeling guilty and shaming myself is going to move me towards my goals, I’ll do it. But the odds are that are it’s not going to. And that’s what I want people to understand. I use the word “blame” to get people’s attention. What I want you to be thinking about is how are you in control? What could you have done differently? Because embracing a situation by saying that somebody did something to me that was out of my control, there’s nothing I could have done, I couldn’t have done this any better, well, now, you’re stuck. If instead you’re you’re asking yourself what could I have done differently to get the result that I wanted? Now you’re in control, so you’re absolutely right.
[49:10] Love it. Thank you. Love the topic I want to talk about that one more, and I’ll probably pull that one into some more stuff that we’re doing because it is, as you said, it’s the crux of everything, to a great degree, with talking back again about people you’ve had on this show and your own journey, in this personal development bent, with the Impact Theory podcast, with the show that you’ve had with people that are famous, that we know people that we never heard of you bring on, the most amazing people. What has in this endeavor, in this initiative from you, what has surprised you since starting it, something you weren’t expecting, whether that’s a fruition or a challenge? Either way, something you didn’t anticipate.
[49:59] It’s a great question. I always wanted it to drive relationships, and that’s been the best thing, but certainly not the most surprising. I think the most surprising is how consistent across very diverse arenas, types of success, you hear the same things, and that’s been really, really cool to see. I really think that some of — anyway, the principles of success in any endeavor are truly universal. And so hearing people talk about those that aren’t listening to each other, it’s just really, truly what they’ve had to do to accomplish, like taking ownership that’s just universal. You have to do that, and until you do that, you’re just not going to be successful.
[51:15] Well, anyone on your list you really want to interview and have not yet?
[51:21] That list is legion. There are many, many people, so I’ll give you a few. Stephen King, who’s had a huge impact on my life. Jay-Z. Barack Obama, man, Michelle Obama. Yeah. Like we actually keep a list of people that I really want to interview. Eminem would be incredible, Will Smith. Yeah. The list goes on and on.
[54:57] OK, well, I’m going to take that quote and a tribute to you, pull people out of the matrix at scale. Yes, that’s quotable right there. I want to be part of that club, too. Thank you. Thanks for taking the time to bless our audience today to share with us. Incredibly grateful for the work that you’re doing to help us improve ourselves.
[55:24] Well, Ziglar friends, that interview with Tom Bilyeu should give you some massive conviction to do something to take action. As you heard, Tom didn’t just fall out of the sky on top of the world. He started with zero and just did the work, very much a Zig Ziglar story. He did it day by day. So, if you want to know what he did to get to success, the nitty-gritty; and now what he does day to day, tune in to the next show, episode 496, to hear about his habits for all seven spokes on the Ziglar Wheel of Life. And, folks, again, if you’ve got value, please leave a review for us in iTunes. Hey, thank you for being here!