Bo Eason: Being the Runt of the Litter
By: Dave Asprey
October 31, 2014
Bo Eason is a former NFL player, acclaimed Broadway playwright and performer, and an international presence/story coach. He has trained with some of the world’s most brilliant performance and movement coaches, and has logged over 20,000 hours on stage crafting and presenting his personal story. His play, Runt of the Litter, has toured in over 50 cities, and opened in New York to critical acclaim. Bo is now dedicated to helping other tap the power of their personal story in order to become effective, persuasive communicators.
Why you should listen –
Bo comes on Bulletproof Radio to discuss the power of goals, why a dedication and commitment to perfection is essential for success, how to deal with criticism, and the power of sharing your personal story. Enjoy the show!
(Note: Apologies for the lack of video, there were some technical difficulties, but Bo is such a badass that we decided to publish this episode anyway!)
What You’ll Hear
- 0:10 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 0:25 – Welcome Bo Eason
- 1:30 – The power of goals
- 6:49 – Overcoming obstacles
- 9:43 – Pain, public speaking, & flow states
- 14:58 – Runt of the Litter
- 22:32 – Bo’s house rule
- 26:15 – A dedication & commitment to perfection (translates to success)
- 28:43 – The power of sharing your personal story
- 37:45 – Is your story all about you?
- 43:12 – How to deal with criticism
- 49:37 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Dave: Hey everyone it’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that about 1.2 million American kids play high school football and of those, only about .08% play pro football which is a totally relevant cool fact of the day because today we have a former NFL star, Bo Eason who happened to also become, get this, an acclaimed Broadway playwright and performer, a major international coach on how to really have a presence on stage and how to tell your story and he’s got 20,000 hours on the stage crafting and presenting his own personal story.
His play called Runt of the Litter has toured in over 50 cities and opened in New York. I didn’t know what else to say about Bo, he’s a pro athlete and he’s a playwright which is opposite into the spectrum and I’ve got to hang out with Bo several times and he’s an amazing guy and really understands personal development as well as pro athletics as well as just to have a presence which is really a difficult thing and some people really benefit from that. I don’t know what else to you say about you other than welcome to the show man.
Bo Eason: That was a great introduction. I was listening going, “Hmm, this dude sounds cool. I want to see this podcast.” Anyway, yeah, thanks for having me. You know what’s funny Dave, that fact that you opened with, the 0.08% of high school football players play in the NFL, I went to this tiny little farming community high school up in Northern California called Delta High School and …
Dave: Where is that?
Bo Eason: That is outside of Sacramento about 30 miles.
Dave: I went to high school in Manteca California.
Bo Eason: Oh, you did, I didn’t know that.
Dave: I think we might have played against those guys. Anyway, small world. All right go ahead.
Bo Eason: Yeah, Manteca. I know the whole Modesto, Manteca, that whole area, Stockton, Lodi, all over there. I grew up right between Stockton and Sacramento right on the Delta.
Dave: Okay, that’s where Delta. I didn’t even realize that we’re from that same part of the world.
Bo Eason: This little high school that I went to Dave called Delta High School, it had about 270 kids in the school and that school has been in existence for close to 100 years and never has there been a pro athlete from that school before I got there and never has there been one since I’d left, but check this out, 27 little farm boys were on my team. 27 guys that played on that team. Based on the statistic of 0.08% of all high school football players get to play pro football, how many of those 27 do you think played in the NFL?
Dave: There’s probably your brother, other than that I don’t know.
Bo Eason: Check this out. Four of us out of 27 played in the NFL for a total of 25 years. Isn’t that crazy?
Dave: That statistic really unlikely, you’re taking up hay bales, snowing the area in Manteca? I don’t know what causes this.
Bo Eason: I know. What’s in the water there, right? That’s what we’ve always been trying to figure out and so we had a 30 year reunion of that team a couple of years ago. I went back to this reunion and I saw all those guys who didn’t play in the pros and I saw the guys who did play in the pros. I asked them, “Why did you play pro football given that no one has ever played from our school before we got there or since we left?”
They all said, “You know what it was Bo? It was that stupid plan that you would carry around. That 20 year plan that said I was going to play in the NFL, I would show it to them every day and I was the littlest, not the best player on the team and I would show them this plan every day and I would say I’m going to be the best safety in the whole world and these other guys said, ‘If that little shit Bo is going to play pro football, I am too”. That’s the reason they gave me. I always find that really peculiar and it’s very cool that when somebody decides that they’re going to do something, then other people go, “Well, maybe that’s a possibility for me too and then they just decide to do it too.”
Dave: That idea of having a 20 year plan. I probably talked about this on the podcast before, but I don’t remember how long ago, so I’ll say it again. When I was 16 I read Think And Grow Rich, the Napoleon Hill book which is kind of the first book that really scientifically looked at what are these really powerful influential people do to get that way and then came over the set of entirely bizarre sounding practices, some meditations and some other stuff. One of the things in that book is take a sheet of paper, write down in a very specific way your goal and read it early morning, put in your mirror and I did when I was 16. I said, “I’m going to make a million dollars when I’m 23.” It totally didn’t work because I made 6 million dollars when I was 26. It was a total failure. It really hadn’t say make and keep because I lost it when I was 28. You live in your word.
Bo Eason: Those are details.
Dave: My advice at any age, but especially if you’re a young person and also, it’s a weird stuff your friends will probably make fun of you for doing it. Just tell your friends to go screw themselves if they’re making fun of you. Just do your think, make your goal and read it every morning. I think there’s really good science behind that and you just got two guys who’ve done a couple interesting things telling you the same thing.
Bo Eason: It definitely works. That’s why you better be careful on what you want and you’d plan for and what you’re wishing for.
Dave: Be careful of the language. If you say you want to not do something, I’m sorry your brain is stupid it will actually just hear the do something. Be positive in what you’re asking for or you’re going to get the opposite. The other reason that … You’ve done all these cool stuff. The other thing is you’ve had a ton of knee injuries and surgeries. I have too, I have three knee surgeries. I have a screw in my right knee that all happened before I was 23 mostly because I was fat and inflamed all the time and I was trying to play soccer like that and thinking jogging was going to make me lose weight or something. I did actually do that. What did pain, especially knee pain but any kind of pain do for you to make you more or less successful?
Bo Eason: I’ve had seven knee surgeries and multiple shoulder and fingers and a lot of broken bones and things. It’s not that I didn’t feel the pain, I did, I mean it hurt. It’s not that NFL players don’t feel it, it’s just … It just wasn’t an option to miss out. Once I declared the dream of being the best safety, doctors kept telling me as I’m having surgeries in high school and then in college and then the pros, they kept saying, “Well, you can’t play anymore.” With each surgery, they said, “That’s it, you’re done. We’re running out of parts from your body for which to put this thing back together.” I just kept saying, “No, it’s not really an option. I’m just going to keep going.”
Dave: Do you have parts from dead people in you?
Bo Eason: I don’t. That was a big thing in the 80s when I was having surgeries but I avoided that cadaver ligament.
Dave: I did too. They are trying to get me to take one. Unless I knew the guy, I’m just not that comfortable with it.
Bo Eason: I know. It’s just kind of creepy to have a dead dude in your knee. Unless he’s going to do you some really good, but who knows.
Dave: Anyway, do me the takeoff track but I just figured you must have some artificial parts in there. Go ahead, what does this pain do for you or not do for you?
Bo Eason: It really drove me and it really … It taught me one thing that once you have this mindset that you want to win and you want to achieve a certain thing, the obstacles really don’t matter. Pain, surgeries, all that kind of stuff, they kind of fall by the wayside. Even I have kids now, I know you have young kids, and my son is playing and he’s seven and he’s playing sports. A lot of times they mistake being hurt with an injury. They don’t know it hurts a little bit but they’re okay to keep going. They just don’t know they’re okay. I’m always checking in to see, “Can you keep going? Or is this a legitimate injury that we got to stop?”
Dave: It’s funny. One of my previous guest on Bulletproof Radio, Reichart who runs Innovation USA, the TV show. He had to go get a trainer to teach him how much physical pain he was supposed to be able to take. He’s a computer geek like me and unless you had some kind of sports training or what you experience, knowing what the differences between, “Well, I’m pushing really hard,” and, “Oh my God I’m breaking myself,” it’s a learned skill and until you play with that line … If you didn’t get that as a five year old or seven year old, you’re not going to have it as a 30 year old. It’s kind of cool. I always just injured myself because I never knew the line. I just kind of blindly walk over it until maybe wisened up, but that could have been because when I was really, really young I didn’t ran into enough walls. Does that what you do with your kids? How do you teach them the skill?
Bo Eason: I tell you, it always happened to me and this is what I try to impart on them. Say I’d get an injury, a legitimate injury, like a sprain in the ankle, the thing is swollen and you can’t go. The whole week of practice, I can’t practice and that being swollen and we can’t get the swelling out of it. Up comes Friday night or Saturday night and it’s game time. I don’t know why this happens but by some miraculous something, I can tape that thing up and I can go. I can play and I can play as good as I’ve ever played. Something just happened and it’s always happened to me. Whether it was a broken collar bone or whatever it was, separated shoulders, I would miraculously heal at the last second be able to play the game.
I’d still feel the pain like later, but somehow I get through it and I always challenge my kids to do the same, whether it’s homework or whether it’s their training regiment. I want them to push pass that place where you can’t go anymore or you think you can’t go because once the big game is scheduled or once the big test is here, I think whatever you want to call it, God or the universe starts working for you. When the game is scheduled and you know it can’t be changed, so your body and the universe comes to your aide and somehow you’re ready for it. Even though it looks like leading up to there’s no way you can go through with this.
Dave: Steven Kotler who’s also been on the show and who’s the keynote speaker at the Bulletproof Conference coming up here and I guess you’re going to be attending probably for a day at a conference which is awesome. I’m stoked to hear that. In his book, The Rise of Superman, he talks about that exact phenomenon Bo and he says that … I remember like a pro skater jumping over the Great Wall of China or something totally wrecks his ankle as in shattered and ends up jumping the wall six times with a shattered ankle that shouldn’t have held his weight. When we get into some special state, if this is learned and is reproducible that magic powers emerged for lack of a better word and these are intrinsic skills. They’re just altered states that most people either experience randomly and remember fondly but don’t how to reaccess or something that maybe you learn how to do and so you end up structuring your life that way. Do you write when you’re doing a Broadway play or did you play in a state of fluid you think or was it something else?
Bo Eason: No doubt about it. When I read Steven Kotler’s book, somebody gave it to me and I read it and I go, “Oh, I know exactly what he’s talking about.” I’m always searching for the place where I can get into that flow where I can enter that flow state. When you’re playing at a high level as an elite athlete, you get to enter that once a week at least because of the game schedules. There’s no way you can survive out there for any length of time if you don’t go into that flow state. The only place I could only duplicate it that I have found that I can duplicate it Dave, that feeling, that zone is to be on stage. Al Pacino became my mentor many years ago and he told me one thing. I’ll never forget it and this really captures that flow state. He said, “I wish that the stage was a tight rope so that only the brave would enter.” If you’re going to be a great tight rope or an extreme athlete of any kind, that’s life and death, so you’ve got to enter that zone or you’re dead. The NFL is a lot like that also.
Dave: It’s amazing that you say that when you go on stage it’s the same thing. When I started public speaking, I was absolutely terrified and I was some of my early 20s. I think it was that terror but I go up there and I would kick ass on stage. My first big speech is like 500 plus people. People are laughing, I got standing ovation, I was talking about some technology, early internet thing I think like the rise of the web or something.
I’m like, “Okay, I don’t even know what I said.” Literally, people told me afterwards because I was so scared that I just went in to this altered state and I nailed it and I ended up getting invited to do a lot of other speaking event technology because of that. Now, there’s zero fear, but I still go into a flow state when I get on stage, unless something’s really mess with my biology like four days without sleep or something. I’m going to go up there and something snaps and then you just have all these energy to bring, but being on stage certainly is one of the things that induces a flow state for me too. What about when you’re writing a play like when you’re actually doing that? Do you go into flow from writing or just from performing or being on the field?
Bo Eason: I write in a very peculiar way. I write standing up and I write on the move so I’m usually running or on a stationary bike.
Dave: You run on a treadmill when you right or …
Bo Eason: Yeah, or just running on the grass like in Santa Monica area or on the beach.
Dave: With a pen?
Bo Eason: No. I’m totally mouthing the whole thing and then when I get back to my truck, I start writing down what came up when I was on that run. Run of the Litter, I actually wrote while training for a marathon. What’s funny about it, I never ran the marathon, but the training, I totally … When you get in those states where you’re so exhausted you can’t go on you think you’re going to die, so all the sudden your body just kind of surrenders and all the sudden these great terms coming out of your mouth and coming in to your head and then I just started to capture them and capture them and capture them for this …
It was about a six month period of this training that I went through and then I went in a Borders Bookstore for two years for three hours a day and I sat there … It is in West Hollywood and I never written anything in my life. I never actually written anything. I wrote this whole play longhand while sitting in the religious book area. I’ve never been trained at any kind of religion that I wasn’t brought up that way, but I’ve always had a sense of something bigger than me and I’m always arguing with somebody who I call God, you know what I mean? I usually lose those arguments by the way. I sat in this religious book area of Borders Books and they gave you … If you bought a coffee Dave, they gave you three hours of free parking in West Hollywood. That was my writing schedule.
Dave: That was a cheap parking spot actually.
Bo Eason: For LA, it was really cheap. I bought a coffee every morning, sat there for three hours. Some days I didn’t even write, I just sat there, but the other days I let that sucker go. Then after two years, I handed it to my wife, I go, “Look, this is a play.” She goes, “A play? Who is going to want to see a play that I’m the only one in?” I said, “I don’t know. Go out, start raising some money and let’s put this baby up.” That was 1998 I started writing that thing and I haven’t stopped performing it sense. It’s almost 16 years.
Dave: What did it feel like the first time you actually were on stage performing a play that you wrote will that do you?
Bo Eason: I’ve never been so scared. I’ve been up against some big boys in my life and some dangerous people. You’re a flight, you’re scared but you throw your head in there anyway, but this is a lot worse fear. Facing your peers and then New York critics and people are going to judge and make remarks on you because I’m the one who wrote it, I’m the only one who performs it and I’ve never been so petrified. Somehow, some way, I entered that state, the one that you just talked about, that zone. I don’t remember much of it other than looking at people and connecting to people and all of a sudden it was over and they responded to it. People responded to it because … I feel like I was flying by the seat of my pants. I was just trying to survive up there. I think when people, when an audience senses that, that’s courage that they would pay top dollar to witness. Somebody on a high wire act right in front of you in real time with no net, there’s something irresistible, intoxicating about that that an audience goes, “Okay, we’re not going anywhere. This is why we’re staying.” That’s the same state you just talked about the first time you spoke.
Dave: I feel like when an audience senses that state and that level of focus and passion, they’re all rooting for you. If you go up there and you’re fake and or maybe … Maybe you’re not or something is not right, they feel it before they see it and then they are not rooting for you because they feel like they’re a cheater or like you’re deceiving them. I don’t know how to give a good presentation without just bringing the authentic thing there, because otherwise it doesn’t work. I don’t know how to say something I don’t believe in and make the audience respond the way an audience should to a good quality talk. You’ve noticed that same thing like if you’re in a state, they’re there for you and if you’re not, they don’t.
Bo Eason: No doubt. Look, I have this theory that the people who are going to lead and the people … Especially from stage because if you have the ability to be powerful in front of other people and have them co-create your message with you, co-create your story with you, those are the people who are going to lead. Those are true leaders. Not like pretend leaders, not like fake leaders who are trying to manufacture and manipulate an audience. I’m talking about somebody who comes from who they are from their experience and you can tell the difference because like we’ve been talking about, that person on stage or that person in front of you is in free fall. They’re very brave. That takes a lot of courage.
That’s why everyone says the number one fear of people is public speaking and the number two fear is death. People would actually rather die than be up there. We’re very interested as an audience, as a species of people who are courageous and are walking on a high wire. We can’t get enough of it. Therefore, if you’re really slick on stage and comfortable and got all the right answers, that makes your audience feel a certain way like, “Oh, this guy is not the real deal.” There’s something too perfect, too polished, too controlling and they don’t trust. Audiences are polite, so they might let you get away with it. They might let go and nod their head and politely applaud but they’re not going anywhere with you. They’re not going to help you build the thing you want to build.
Dave: It’s very true. I think the first time we met, you were giving a talk at Michael Fishman’s Consumer Health Summit. It’s an invitation only conference for leaders in the health and wellness field. People who have achieved some level of influence to help people basically solve some of the national health problems that we have and just to live better. You and I were there and you get this fantastic talk but honestly you have the whole place riveted, you got a standing ovation but you’re starting out by talking about something that happened when you’re a little kid. Do you remember that story? Can you tell me what it was?
Bo Eason: I’m trying to think of what story I opened with there. It may have been … Was I talking about my son Axle and playing … I think that’s what it was.
Dave: It’s coming back to me now. You were talking about your son Axle and the people that his school. You don’t have to talk about that if you don’t want to.
Bo Eason: It’s fine. We have a rule in our house and the rule is we don’t let the ball touch the ground. When we play catch with a football, when Axle and I or the girls, my two daughters Lyla and Eloise, we play catch. We have a rule and the rule is we don’t let the ball touch the ground. The ball does not touch the ground. That particular story you’re talking about, I was at a fancy birthday party of five year olds and Axle I think was three at the time and he and I were playing catch and with this little football in this backyard, it was like all these entertainment agents and all these entertainment lawyers in this backyard and Axle and I were playing catch and Axle dropped the ball and I go, “Axle, don’t let the ball touch the ground.”
He goes, “Oh yeah dad.” He picks it back up and we started playing catch again. That upset some of these guys and they came over and had a little chat with me about how to speak to my son and they asked me, “What did you say to that boy?” I said, “Well, I said to that boy who’s my son, I told him don’t let the ball touch the ground.” The guy was upset that I said that. He said, “Why would you say that to that boy?” I said, “I say that to my boy because that’s a rule in our house. We don’t let the ball the touch the ground.” He got more upset and he said, “Why would that be a rule in your house?” Like that was the most offensive thing ever.
I said, “That’s a rule in my house because when I was growing up, that was a rule in our house.” My dad got us a football every Christmas and me and my brother … My brother would throw it to me 1000 times every day and I would catch it 1000 times every day for the whole year. That ball, if it touch the ground was not going to last until the next Christmas and we weren’t getting a new ball if that ball was ruined. We had to make it last for a year and we figured that if you’re going to catch and throw a ball a thousand times a day, if it never touches the ground, it’s going to make it to Christmas.
We dedicated our lives to it. That’s why it’s a rule in my house. That’s what I told this dude and the guy goes … He was all smug and he goes, “So how did that work out for you?” I was so happy that he asked that question because I said, “Well, it worked out pretty good. My brother and I both played in the NFL.” He walked away. Anyway, the point of the story was I’m just not comfortable with my life in the hands of amateurs who have reduced themselves to mediocrity and they believe that that’s as high as you can reach. I took all my kids, Eloise and Axle and Lyla wasn’t born yet and my wife out of that birthday party, went out into the car and we drove home and I told, I announced to the family that we are not moving.
We moved to an area of town where it’s more accepting to honor excellence and to not let the ball touch the ground. The reality is, my kids let the ball touch the ground more than any other kid in the neighborhood because they’re attempting to throw and catch more than any other kid in the neighborhood. It’s an effort, it’s a quest that we have. It’s not necessarily it never touches the ground, but funny enough I would equate my success in marriage, in parenting, in writing or speaking or NFL. I would equate that to that kind of dedication. To that kind of work ethic and I’m not saying perfect, I’m saying that’s the quest. I think that kind of commitment that my kids are learning now will pay off in their 40s, will pay off in their 50s. When the shit hits the fan and things aren’t going good and they’re going to be able to just hang in there. You know what I mean? With that kind of work ethic.
Dave: You’re basically instilling resilience at a very deep level so that they understand they work hard and things work and sometimes you drop the ball but you’re not supposed to drop the ball and you’re going to pick it up again and maybe do a little bit better next time. Building resilience in children or adults is not well studied. It was not well enough studied and it’s one of the most important things you can do because for me, the whole point of the Bulletproof, state of high performance, no one is indestructible and you park a cement truck on you, it’s going to hurt, but if you’re resilient, you might survive and you might grow new legs or whatever it’s going to take in order to do what you’re going to do anyway.
It’s that you can’t stop me perspective that when you get that in to you somehow, you can’t be stopped and it’s hard to know all the things that make it happen but you strike me as a guy who’s got it. It’s fascinating to be able to have the opportunity interview a bunch of people who have that like I’m going to do it kind of perspective. You though maybe made a process out of what you do more than the average person and you focused on sharing your personal story as part of what you teach people to do. You were also kind enough to talk about the three most important things that people can master to show their own story.
I think people listening to the Bulletproof Radio podcast would really appreciate and maybe value that because sharing your personal story is useful whether it’s something you’re doing at work, something you’re doing at home with your kids or something you’re doing in front of 10,000 people and a big stadium or something. This is a skill that helps everyone and what are those three things?
Bo Eason: The three most critical steps that I always teach to people that I work with about their personal story … First of all, the personal story, my belief is that is the most valuable thing that you’ve got. That is the one thing that distinguishes you from everybody else on this planet either before you or after you. That’s not to be repeated. The miles that you’ve already run and I always say to people, I go, “Look, you’ve lived this life. You’ve attempted to master this life.” However old you are, I’m 53, I’ve spent 53 years trying to be the best at whatever occupation, whatever dream I have chosen.
That’s very specific to me. That story, I can take that anywhere. I can start any speech with it. I can start a podcast with it. I can start a toast with it. I can start a prayer session with it. There is no place I can’t go. If I ran for president, I would lead with that story so that people would know exactly who they’re dealing with. That story would reveal the character that I am and there would be no mistake to the constituency. The three most critical steps of your story are this. Number one, personal. It’s got to be personal. Most of us have been taught to not … We’re raised in a time where it’s not cool when your parents said, “Hey don’t brag about yourself. Don’t talk about yourself.” Which I totally get, but that’s not what I’m talking about your personal story. I’m talking about you sharing yourself. It’s usually a defining moment in your life that pretty much defines who you were for the rest of your days.
I guarantee you in your life Dave and in my life, there is a moment between the ages of 9 and 12 that we decided to be something. We decided to write some wrong and I guarantee you at the age of 53, I’m still trying to write the wrong. My life is defined by that moment. For me, that moment was being cut from little league at 9 years old. You know what? I’m still trying to … They cut me from little league and I didn’t leave, I stayed. I just kept going to practice and they kept going, “You’re not on the team.” I said, “I’m just going to practice.” They said, “No, no, you’re not on the team.” I said, “No, no, I’m just going to hang out.” “No, no, we sent you home.” “No, no, I’m just going to be over here.”
That’s been the story of my life. That’s a theme throughout my life. You may get sick of me now and go, “Bo, I’d like to break up this friendship and stop the podcast,” but I won’t go away, I’ll be here somewhere. I don’t stop. That’s a theme in my life. You have something so similar to me and all of us do. We have that defining moment that says who we are for the rest of our lives. It defines our character. That is the best connective tissue that you have. I was over in London and I was trained in the top 100 financial advisers in all of Europe and they brought them into London, they also brought in this guy from a company called Oxford Analytica. Oxford Analytica has 200 think tanks throughout the world and they come up with threats and then where the markets are going and all these kinds of things. In fact, our president, gets Oxford Analytica briefings on his desk every morning.
This guy is speaking, he owns this company and he’s speaking on behalf of them. After I got done talking about your personal story being the key to the kingdom for these financial advisers, he comes up to me afterwards. He goes, “Bo, do you know you’re right about what you said about these people’s personal story being the golden goose for them?” I said, “Oh, good, I’m glad I’m right because I dedicated my life to this.” He goes, “Not only are you right, I’m going to send you the analytics to back you up.” Dave check this out. They’ve done a study from Julius Caesar, the middle of the Roman Empire to 2012. All leaders in between those two times and not just political leaders. They had Lady Gaga was somebody they really studied. Osama bin Laden of all people was somebody they really studied.
They want to know why people follow these leaders. What is it and they come up with three characteristics that all of these leaders from Julius Caesar to now have in common and guess what number one is. Guess what the number one ability is. The ability, you have to have the ability to tell your own story. That is the connective tissue that people latch on to you. Think about your company. Think about Bulletproof. It’s a story that I heard that I connected to. I didn’t know. I knew your story. Cool, right? I didn’t even know your name. I know your story and I wanted to be a part of the story. I became a part of it. I didn’t meet you for eight months after I became a part of the story.
Dave: I appreciate that and pointing that out, I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this, but I started my blog and put some of the story in the blog and then someone who became actually a good friend, my friend Alexis twittered me at the time or tweeted me I guess that’s what all the cool people say, but I try to stay out of the Twitter culture even though I use Twitter all the time. I don’t want to use the lingo because … I don’t know, whatever call me a tech elitist. I was twitting and she said, “Come to talk at this conference.” It turns out it was the Bill Conference which is like Ted’s little brother. It happens along side the Ted Conference, but it’s kind of for a younger crowd who isn’t going to drop $8,000 to go to Ted, but still wants to share.
I went up and I didn’t know what to say at this conference, but I was honored to be invited to speak. The first time to speak about something like computer securities and boring. I put together some photos and I just told my story. It was exactly my story and I just laid it out the way it happened and just like you’re saying. The audience was literally mesmerized and I got like twice the amount of time I was supposed to have for speaking, I’m sorry whoever was after me. You could just tell, I connected with the audience there and it was that talk really that started a lot of just the passion for Bulletproof on because it helped me see the story and to tell the story well and the response I … Some of them became good friends and supporters and all of this.
To this day, if you will say, “Well, how did you grow Bulletproof?” The answer is I got on airplanes and I flew to places where people wanted to hear the story and I told the story. It wasn’t that I bought some SEO keywords and I facebooked my way to this and that. Those are small scale tactics. It’s the story just like you’re saying it’s the story. Everyone has their story and if you can’t tell it, it’s like you’re working on blindfolded.
Bo Eason: People most of us are just reluctant to tell it because, “Well, I don’t want Dave …” Everyone always says, “Well, I don’t want to talk about myself.” Look, you’re talking about the journey that you’ve been so that people have an ability now to connect with you and be with you and then help you build whatever it is you want to build. In this case, you’re a company. In this case, my company. The more personal, the more universal story becomes, the more personal. Dates, details, smells, taste, the more personal, the more effective the story is. That’s why people connects so … Steve Jobs was so good at this. I think when Apple lost him, they lost their storyteller. He told such a good story and you wanted to be a part of it.
The same thing that you do, I didn’t know who you were, I knew your story. Your story preceded you. Somebody told me your story. I wanted to be a part of it. I went on the website, I became a part of the story, I started drinking a coffee. Then my whole family is involved then everybody I walk with is now involved with Bulletproof Coffee because I make them drink it. You know what I mean?You’re nice enough to bring your great looking staff and have them have that barista right there and making the coffee and my clients go nuts for it. Now, they’re a part of your story. It’s your story. Your story is key and it’s so personal and that’s what people connect to. That’s why if you look at the corporate world, if they don’t start attaching human molecules to their corporations, they’re on a sinking ship. They’re scrambling right now to connect humanity and personal stuff to their companies otherwise people will leave them, people won’t work with them.
Dave: That must be really hard, it felt like Monsanto or someone.
Bo Eason: Yeah, right.
Dave: There’s a flip side to the personal story. In the last couple of days, Slate ran an article about Bulletproof Coffee. Thank you Slate, that’s awesome, I appreciate it. The reporter though took whatever plain coffee they found and put whatever non-grass fed butter, layered a slick of it on top, drink it and said, “This is actually disgusting,” and then proceeded to go to my website instead of the other way around and then called me a megalomaniac. What do you do when people say, “Bo, everything is about you.” Honestly, it’s not about me from where I see the world and I know you and I know that when you’re doing your art and your craft it’s not about you either. Some people anyway will see it that way. How do you respond to those people?
Bo Eason: This is how I respond to them. Everybody that I work with, I say this to them. If this words ever come out to somebody’s mouth, “Hey, it’s not about me.” If somebody says that, I tell my friends to run.
Dave: Didn’t I just say that?
Bo Eason: Yeah. As an example. Listen Dave, who introduces a concept like this writer for Slate, he introduces a concept that nobody is thinking about except him, because typically writers … Look, there’s players like we’re players. We want to be on the field, we want to play and then there’s people who report about the players, who try to tell the story of the player. That’s two different make ups of people.
Those people who sit on the sideline 100 miles from the battlefield always have an opinion about the warrior don’t they? They always say, “It’s all about … It’s all about Dave, it’s all about Bo.” You know what? Because they can’t get that out of their mind. They’re so afraid to play and participate in a way that we want to participate that they sit in the safe zone which we’re not interested in and they comment on how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of good deed should have done better. That’s what they do.
I don’t even include those people. I don’t include them. If anybody brings up, “Hey …” If I see a speaker on stage go like this, “Hi everybody. My name is Bo and I may give you a little speech here and let me just tell you it’s not about me. I am going to run for the exit if somebody does that because who’s introducing a concept that no one is thinking about? I’m talking about sharing yourself the most generous act in the world to be able to share yourself with another human being and in real time just like you and me are doing right now co-creating a benefit for people in real time right now. Are we going like this? “Oh, God I hope I look good on camera. I hope my hair is okay.”
We’re not doing that shit, we’re trying to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s what people want. There’s a difference and it’s recognizable like this. Anybody who brings up, “Hey it’s not about me.” Get out of there. It is all about them. They’re a narcissist. We are not narcissists. That’s not how we operate. If we were, we’d be going, “Oh my God Bo, let me just talk about myself a little bit more. Let me do this.” It’s not how it goes. It’s not attractive and it’s not inspiring and I don’t know what those people are talking about.
Dave: Amen. When I interview people I listen for that because there’s a certain trait that we have where we’ll make things that are not about us about us. If someone says, “Let me tell you about my … I, I, I.” Even if what they’re talking about has nothing to do with them, it’s a problem. When I work on my writing, I actually go through my writing quite a bit on the blog and as sooner as I work with researchers and content people in order to help organize it, but I always go through and the comments are exactly the same. Whoever I’m working with on the editorial process, why is it full of all these statements about I this, I this, I this and even in the Bulletproof Diet Book. Quick plug, bulletproofdietbook.com, please order it. Bulletproofdietbook.com, did I say that?
Anyway, in that book working with the editors, they insisted on having more I because of the power of the story. My God, it’s got my name on the cover. It’s about me. It’s my words. Maybe my mistake is to not use that so much because that’s the not subject of it. It’s the subject of what do you do so you can kick more ass. It’s a funny thing but when you’re talking with someone in person just like you’re saying and then they let me tell you about me, it’s not about me, that is a turn off and it means that the way you see the world is colored with more ego than you think is there and those were the people who are hard to work with.
Bo Eason: Who brings up ego and who brings up it’s not about me? Just think about who brings that stuff up, people that are thinking about it. You and me, we only brought that up only because we’re not thinking about it? The writer introduced it and tried to take shots at you, because what else is he going to do? He didn’t follow the instructions. He follows the recipe.
Dave: It’s kind of cool Bo. I didn’t realize we’d go here and we were talking about this, but how did you of criticism in business or in a family situation, it’s always the same thing. There’s a certain way that you are programmed to respond a criticism and it often times comes from things as small as we don’t let the ball touch the ground and the way you were told that can program your whole biology, not your conscious brain, but your fight or flight response. There’s kind of three podcasts that really standout where we’ve talked about that. There’s you, there’s Peter Sage and Tim Ferriss where each of you has a different perspective on how to deal with critics and criticism. It’s actually really helpful as Bulletproof goes. For reasons I don’t even understanding, people have never spoken to or like, “Wow, I didn’t know I was the anti-Christ.”
It’s really interesting to watch my own response to the criticism and then to learn from others who have dealt with the same kind of thing about not only what works from an internal perspective, what works from an external perspective on dealing with that. When everyone say this, I’m like, “Hey, here’s a brag of the real coffee beans and a bottle of Brain Octane oil and a recipe card. I’d be happy to help you out. Just here, try it. You don’t have to worry about it and we’ll see what happens.” I don’t know what’s going to happen but like, “I will just blend it, please?”
Bo Eason: This thing is exploding from what I can see. I walk around LA and I see it and I go to my barista thing over here at the Erewhon Market by where I live and they got Bulletproof right there and I tell the dude behind the theme, I go, “Will you make a Bulletproof coffee?” He goes, “Heck you.” I go, “Is it popular here?” He goes, “Heck yeah. Do you know I had dinner with Dave Asprey the other day.” It was like, “No shit, really?” It was all fired up. He’s been pouring your coffee, he never met you but he knows his story.
Dave: I go in there and the next I’ll say hi. [Crosstalk 00:45:06].
Bo Eason: Don’t think they think you’re Elvis Presley, but look, if that’s going to happen which that’s going to happen and that’s happening now, the opposite is also going to happen. I love the Theodore Roosevelt quote. It’s my favorite. The critic does not count. It’s the man who’s actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Those are the ones who count and is the only ones who count. You’re going to get some arrows for sure and you’re already getting them. I would encourage you to invite them in because they’re coming anyway. Invite them and then go, “Okay.” Look, if you’re a true leader, that opposite is coming. They’re coming for you.
Dave: It’s a sign of success absolutely.
Bo Eason: Yeah and you just keep being you, you keep telling the story and … I know how I came to know you and I know how I came to know the story and got involved and then get to know you like totally secondary. I remember when you walked in to that dinner and I go, somebody goes, “That’s Dave Asprey.” I had never really seen your face and I had been drinking your coffee for like eight months and you sit right next to me and I go, “Dude …” I turned to you, I go, “Dude, I’ve been drinking your coffee for eight mans. Man it’s a pleasure to meet you.” You go, “I like you already.”
That’s how it goes. Look, I love it. My kids love it. My one daughter Eloise, she’s 10. Every time she goes, “Dad is that Bulletproof?” I go, “Oh yeah.” She goes, “Dad, who would want to shoot your coffee?” That’s our little thing we do every morning. When I drink my coffee they go, “Dad is that Bulletproof?” I go, “Yeah.” You’re already a part of this consciousness, this story is a part of consciousness of little kids who are 5, 7 and 10 who are always looking to be the best in the world at what they do. That’s how they’re trained to be the best in the world at their occupation. Not second.
Dave: It’s true Bo. At 5, 7and 10 … My kids are 5 and 7. That flashing blue machine right there, that’s a bar game from the 80s. You put a quarter in and it lets you test your working memory. It beeps and it shows you what color and you press the buttons in the same order like an old My Simon. My 5 year old son has trumped on me. He’s kept my ass like he’s tripled my top score. Brandon Ralph who played the Superman in one of the big Superman movies, he’s a character on Arrow for this season of The Atom. He came up to hang out for a weekend and literally like Superman is in the house. Alan walks up and Brandon plays his first game. Alan walks up and goes, “I can beat that easily.”
Bo Eason: That’s your 5 year old?
Dave: Just as what you’re saying. It just happened. Brandon is the coolest guy ever and just to see Alan like, “I could beat that.” That’s that drive you’re talking about. It’s in them and that’s what you do. I imagine by the time we get your podcast at the podcast with Brandon that we recorded up, it will be up as well, so I hope the order comes out right. It’s that thing where kids just have to do it and something in life takes it out of them. I don’t know if it’s school or things, but my job as a parent and it sounds like your job the way you’re raising your family is to keep that in them and keep as much of it as you can for as long as you can. When they learn that along enough, they learn how to take their licks and get back on and keep doing, you keep being who they are and keep doing that stuff. That’s one of the most important things I can do at all is to teach my kids that I could beat that easily.
Bo Eason: It’s great.
Dave: We’re coming up on the end of the show and here’s a question. I think we actually talked about this at dinner once but maybe not so formally. What are your top three recommendations for people who want to kick as at life? You want to perform better at whatever it is you do whether it’s writing things or running around as a pro athlete. It doesn’t have to be from either of those domains. What pieces of advice do you have for people?
Bo Eason: What I always teach my kids and I always teach my clients is I need for you to be great, for me to get the best out of you like for you to be the top in your field. I need access to your raw animal instincts. I want access to your true nature, that primitive side of you, that primal side. Once I have access to that, there will be no stopping. We live in a culture and a society that really frowns upon that and in the training that I do, a lot of it, the promise that I make the people that I work with is that no one will have the ability to look away from you.
If you implement exactly what I tell you to implement and say and do, people don’t have the ability to look away because imagine a cheetah or a leopard or a lion on a stage. You just don’t have the ability to look away from that if you’re anywhere near it. You can’t look away. Those are predators that I just mentioned so are we. We are the most lethal predator that ever been created and I call it noble predator because predators are trustworthy. Not the way our news explains predators. They’ve given this moniker to the worst of our society so now we think this word predator is supposed to be a bad thing when in actuality, it’s the most natural thing, it is the most trustworthy and noble being on the planet.
That’s who we are and until we can get really close intimate relationship with our true disposition, our natural ethos, you’re limited. You’re limited if you can be the best in the world at what you want to be. Whether that’s an Olympic athlete or a singer or a speaker or a business person or the saxophone player. It doesn’t matter. I have to have access and more importantly you have to have access to that raw animal natural instinct. Once we get that. Once we get that square and like you start to surrender to who you already are … We’re not making something up here. We’re not trying to create something, it’s already there. We’re just going to surrender to it and allow it to percolate, allow it to review itself.
That’s where all the true power lies. It’s just like you and me Dave. If you and me decided, “Hey Dave, let’s go build a beach house out in Malibu right on the ocean.” That might be something we might want to think about because it does sound like a good idea. We can build a gazillion dollar home that is indestructible and beautiful and everyone would love visiting in it. Eventually, we’re going to lose that battle aren’t we? Eventually, mother nature is going to win that one. It’s going to take that house. We’re just borrowing that space for the time. I think the people who are more in touch with that nature, their true nature, those are the ones who are going to be the true leaders, the pure leaders, the ones that I’m waiting for them to arrive and starting to create them for myself.
That is huge. If you and I right now thought and everyone who’s listening thought right now of what are the occupations that we cannot look away from. What are they? I know the ones from me that I just have trouble looking away from. If Mikhail Baryshnikov does a ballet and you’re going to have a tough time looking away from that. A predator animal, whether it’s a killer whale or a shark or a falcon or a cheetah running for an antelope. I can’t look away from that. An elite athlete at the highest level running either a sprint or dunking a basketball or hitting a home run. A navy seal charging a beachhead with oncoming fire. I can’t look away.
Are you and me any different than those occupations? Those are life and death circumstances, but why don’t we play with those stakes? Why don’t we raise the stakes like Al Pacino said and have each stage and each place we enter would be a tight rope so that only the brave could enter. That’s the world that I envision and that’s the world that I am building because that’s the world I want to be led by and I want to lead. That kind of people. It’s always those occupations that have to be very close to their own nature that you can’t look away from. I think that’s important for you and me.
Dave: Okay, there’s one, you got two more.
Bo Eason: I got two … I handled everything in that one thing.
Dave: Three most important things and for basically of being a high performance human. You basically said access your primal nature like understanding who you are there. I love that one and no one has actually said it so eloquently on the podcast before. Are there two other big things that people just … That you found to be essential and being able to just bring it?
Bo Eason: There’s a couple more. One is practice. Most people, when you say the word practice they think of eating their vegetables, the drudgery of that. What I have found for the highest performers that have ever been around and I have been around like the best elite in every performance venue whether it’s dance or athletics or performing on stage or music. I’ve been around them and I noticed at the very top, the very, very peak all do the same thing. They all live by the same kind of code and that is practice or rehearsal if you will is the center of their universe.
Most people want the game, the big game to be the center of their universe. The greatest people at games, at performance. Those people practice five times more alone than anybody else. Not only do they do it, they love it. They don’t love it every day like they have that certain drudgery or that anxiety about having to come through for themselves again and again, but they do it. It turns into a habit and they’re just … They’re really unstoppable and they’re unmatched and there’s no way you and I can catch them if they’re ahead of us because they’re going to keep doing. Even if we double our output, they’re going to still keep going and they’ve got years on us. That’s how I train my kids. I go, “Look, every other kid is interested in the big game. They want to do well in the game. They want to be great when they’re 7. I’m not interested in 7, I’m interested in 27, who you going to be then. If we run the miles now at 7, who are you going to be at 27 if you practice, if you rehearse whatever the specific discipline that whatever their dream is, whatever the job is. Practice is key.”
Dave: One more, relatively short one and then I have a final question for you.
Bo Eason: Okay. The final one would be a plan. I have four dreams in my life and they’re always … They’re 20 year plans as what I put together. Sometimes they overlap. What I always do and I do it every time is I drew … You’ve seen one of them that you saw the one I made when I was 9. It’s school paper and I drew who I want to be in 20 years and then I write that I want to be the best in the world at this specific discipline in the world. I draw the plan and I hope that plan until it comes into existence. Now in my 40s and 50s, I have graduated to these books like a book like this, like a sketch book and I still do the same thing. I sketch, I draw who I want to be, what influence I want to have, the difference I want to make and … It’s like a declaration of independence for me.
What I do is I live out of that declaration until it lives in the real world. These are pretty far fetched. Some of them are really out there, but those are the ones that are easier to come true because the universe and your brain capacity … Everything starts working for you and now these things come into existence rather quickly. It doesn’t take 20 years anymore. Now, they happen like in four or five years when it used to take me 20 to make them into existence. A plan is … That declaration and I hold that declaration close to my heart and I tell everybody that I know my declaration so they can help me bring it in to existence. I think that’s really key.
Dave: Those are some heavy and very powerful recommendations. We’re up on the end of the show, but in addition to seeing your play, Runt of the Litter, people can work with you directly as basically a storytelling public presence coach and you’ve written some pretty fascinating stuff. Where can people go to connect more with you Bo?
Bo Eason: My website is boeason.com, so it’s B-O-E-A-S-O-N .com, boeason.com. I have two events a year that I do called Personal Story Power Event and I do them in La Jolla, California and I do them in a Broadway style theater because I want people to get the feeling when they’re on stage of how to paint a room that vacuous and that huge with their humanity, with their predatory instincts, with their story. Once they do that, every room they enter for the rest of their life will pale in comparison. I bring in my movement guy, a guy named Jean-Louis Rodrigue and the team that created Runt of the Litter. I bring them in to this theater to work on all my clients so that they basically turn their lives into a one person show.
No different than you Dave. You’re a one person show. No one sees the whole team behind the scenes but that’s the same as a Broadway show. There’s one person on stage and there’s a hundred people pulling the strings, but you’re the voice, you’re the brand same with everybody who’s listening on here. They’re the voice, they’re the face, they’re the brand of their company. That is a one person tour de force that they’ve got to be able to express their vision, their story so that people can follow them. So that people can help them build their dreams. That’s really my expertise and that’s my team’s expertise. That’s what we do for people in La Jolla. If you go to boeason.com, I would love to have you, obviously come work with me and the team and we’ll get the most valuable asset that you’ve got. We’ll get that thing attached to your molecule so it’s out in the real world communicating at all times.
Dave: Bo thanks for being on the show.
Bo Eason: You’re welcome. It’s fun.
Dave: If you enjoyed the show and you got some value out of it, I’d appreciate it. This is after 150 or so shows like this without any advertising and anything else. If you could, this one time, go to Amazon and pre-order the Bulletproof Diet Book, I would personally I appreciate it. I’ve also sent you a bunch of other stuff that you haven’t seen before when you do it. This is the kind of work, the writing that helps us support the show and keeping the show at the level of amazingness that this one just was. Bo, thanks again for being here. I can’t wait to get to hang out in person again. I admire your work, I admire you and it’s really an honor to have you on the show.
Bo Eason: Thanks Dave, I appreciate it right back at you and I’ll see you in Pasadena.
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