Jake Ducey: Hacking Public Speaking, Traveling & Dropping Out of College – #226
By: Dave Asprey
Why you should listen –
Jake Ducey comes on Bulletproof Radio today to discuss becoming a writer, dropping out of school, traveling the world, and the art of public speaking. Enjoy the show!
Jake Ducey is an author and speaker. At 19 he independently released his first book, “Into the Wind,” which is about quitting college basketball to travel the world. Ducey then became the youngest motivational author to sign a book deal with Penguin Random-House for his second book, “The Purpose Principles.” This spring he will embark on one of the largest book tours ever which will be filmed and produced into a major documentary about his generation.
What You Will Hear
- 0:15 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 1:38 – Welcome Jake Ducey
- 8:23 – Near death experience
- 17:19 – Public speaking at high school
- 22:01 – Building rapport with top talent
- 28:35 – Serious-less-ness
- 30:57 – Breathing techniques
- 36:30 – Bob Dylan
- 43:12 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Questions for the podcast?
Leave your questions and responses in the comments section below. If you want your question to be featured on the next Q&A episode, submit it in the Podcast Question form! You can also ask your questions and engage with other listeners through The Bulletproof Forum, Twitter, and Facebook!
Dave Asprey: Hey everyone, it’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that smiling, when you’re in a stressful situation, can minimize the effect of your bodies response to that stress, even if you’re faking your smile. There’s a recent study that suggested that smiling actually changes your physical state. They looked at participants who held a neutral facial expression and then they looked at participants who were told to smile. Those who smiled had lower heart rate levels when they recovered from a stressful activity.
They even made these participants hold chopsticks in a manner that forced them to smile. They didn’t really say if they were holding them in their face or in their fingers but it had to be in their face, maybe holding their face up? Wasn’t quite sure from looking at the study. They still had a better heart rate than those who were told “Don’t smile,” so when you’re parents are saying, “Don’t you smile at me young man,” they probably weren’t actually giving you good advice. Smile even if it’s not really very much fun and the old advice, “Grin and bear it,” has scientific merit, at least now it does.
Today’s guest is a pretty cool guy. Young guy who’s done some amazing things, it’s Jake Ducey, who’s written two books. His first book, “Into the Wild-”
Jake Ducey: “Into the Wind.”
Dave Asprey: All right. I was just going to say, I know you’re first book is “Into the Wind” and the notes I took here say, “Into the Wild,” autocorrect error right there baby. Because I’m like, “No, no, this is wrong,” as I said it. “Into the Wild” is that guy who died in Alaska right?
All right, let me correct what I typed right here because that’s just horrible. We could edit this but we’re not going to because this is Bulletproof Radio and I am not infallible, I do make typos. My apologies Jake, your first book, “Into the Wind,” the reason it’s interesting is- well Jack Canfield said it was good, which is kind of unusual and it’s being made into a movie which has not happened to the Bulletproof Diet, which also hit the top 300 books on Amazon. That in itself is a really hard thing to do so congratulations on a first book doing that. My first book actually didn’t. My first book was a pregnancy book called, “The Better Baby Book” and it didn’t do anything useful on Amazon. You got me beat there.
Your second book, “The Purpose Principles,” is pretty interesting too and you’re the youngest motivational writer ever to sign a deal with Penguin and Random House so basically you’ve gone from, kind of a bum, I would say, bumming around Thailand, hanging out, falling off cliffs, you know that kind of thing. Into, someone who’s become a really serious motivational speaker and so I want to figure out what makes you tick on today’s show.
Jake Ducey: Thank you for having me, I appreciate it.
Dave Asprey: One of the things that gets me excited every day is I want to talk to people who unusually kick ass, right? We talked with people who are high up in the TV industry like Brandon Routh and I’ve talked with Arianna Huffington and a bunch of scientists and researchers who are also studying people like that and you fall into that category of someone who’s both studying people because you’re a motivational people and you look at what makes people work. You are also, in yourself, because you’ve done this pretty early on and you’ve got something interesting going on. You’re sort of a split between those two where you’re kicking ass but you’re also looking at people who kick ass but I don’t know how you did it so you’re going to get weird questions from me and people who are listening will probably be like, “What is Dave talking about?”
All right, they’re coming.
Jake Ducey: I believe you.
Dave Asprey: First up, you learned to write- you write about this in your book- by retyping your favorite books after you failed in English class. You went to college because you played basketball but then you dropped out, traveled the world and I lied about falling off the cliff in Thailand, it was in Indonesia but you’ve spent a lot of time in Thailand and I know I’ve spent some time in Thailand too, so, tell me about your journey- how the heck did you get where you are because it doesn’t sound like you did it in the normal way.
Jake Ducey: No I did it in a totally not-normal way. I went to college to play basketball and I thought basketball was- it was really something that allowed me to pass my classes basically, so I could stay eligible even in high school. I thought, I’ll go to school and I’ll study business and I’ll go work for some corporation and I’m tall so I can go sell something for some company that I don’t care about and then I’ll get all this stuff that I don’t really need and then I’ll finally be happy when I can retire after I gamble my entire life betting that one day I’ll be able to retire.
In economics class, I asked my teacher why we couldn’t audit the Federal Reserve freshman year of college and my teacher basically told me to shut up and that’s when I started thinking that the educational system wasn’t the most conducive place for my learning and I found a couple books, Eckhart Tolle’s, “A New Earth,” Jack Canfield’s “Success Principles” and I wondered, “Why have I never heard this in my entire life?” Two months later, three months later, I was on another path and by the end of freshman year of college I started back-packing.
Dave Asprey: So basically, these two books sucked you out of the machine?
Jake Ducey: Yeah, these two books sucked me out of the machine. I never thought that there was consciousness within me or that everything was made of energy, that there was something other than you do this, you do this, you do this, then you die.
Dave Asprey: They’re going to have to burn those books right away, we can’t have people coming out of this- I mean, who’s going to do all the labor? No. Congrats on figuring out that the world’s more interesting than they tell you it is which is in and of itself, pretty remarkable at 19 but also takes a lot of guts. You got a scholarship, you’re tall, being talls a gift they tell you, how tall are you?
Jake Ducey: 6’3″ – 6’4″.
Dave Asprey: Okay, so we’re about the same height. You do get that unfair pay raise that if you’re tall. You get paid 10% more than short people. It just happens, it’s not a tall mafia thing. You got this going for you but you’ve got college, you’ve got a scholarship which is pretty amazing given that college costs more than cars and houses these days. To just be like, “Screw that noise, I’m out of here.” Information is one thing, there’s a lot of college students who understand this and I feel like there must be more but I’m afraid to make the leap, what made you not afraid? Or, at least, more afraid of staying than going, why did you decide to drop out and do this?
Jake Ducey: I’d say two things. The first thing is when you confront your actual mortality and you literally realize you’re going to die soon, it makes you realize, “I am literally going to die,” and we’re never told that, it’s implied that we’re going to live forever or something. When you realize you’re going to die and you also, at my age, I was a little bit more cynical of the world at that time, “Well, what if the economic system falls apart and the world goes into total chaos and my whole life is ruined because I sat in this desk?”
The second thing is that I realized that there is a difference between learning it and living it. Generally we spend most of our time learning it. We listen to podcasts, we read the books, me, myself, I had a whole word document full of my favorite quotes that I could tell you, memorized, yet I wasn’t living an inspired life. Living is often taking steps past that fear because you know that something greater is there for you. You have this intuitive feeling and I realized that if I actually wanted to live a fulfilling life than I had to live it rather than merely learn it.
Dave Asprey: So the impetus for this was the Indonesian cliff diving championships?
Jake Ducey: Yeah, that was.
Dave Asprey: Okay, tell me about your near-death experience.
Jake Ducey: I had actually lost my wallet before then so I had a passport and I met these locals and they were trying to sell me stuff on the corner in Indonesia, all the tourists, as you know, make their living off of- or all the locals make their living off the tourists so I met these guys and they took me to another island, Lumbock, because they wanted to take me to their home village. We were on Bali, we took the boat across. We got on the back of their little motorcycles and we headed way outside of town and there’s nothing out there except for rice fields. You can’t see a single building anywhere and it’s starting to pour rain. He tells us in the distance, we’re going to go up that mountain over there and I see this giant, green mountain that’s poking into these huge rain clouds.
We start getting higher and higher up. I’m sure you and anyone else who’s been outside of the country has learned, often hiking trails are not hiking trails, there’s no trail. We get up to the top of this mountain and we park the bikes in the mud and they say, “We’re here!” Okay, so I say, “Okay, where are we going?” There are these huge 8, 10 foot boulders or so and we’re climbing up these boulders covered in moss in the rain to get up to a waterfall up in the distance. We get up there after 30 minutes of climbing and it’s just changes- you were speaking earlier about your heart beat slowing down, first time in my life I felt my heart beat was actually at the pace it should be at, I can’t see anything but nature, it’s a total reset, having such an amazing time. We had to head down to take the boat back to Bali because we need to get back before the sun set, the last boat that will take us back.
As we’re coming down- I mean, it’s pouring rain at this point and we’re just climbing one boulder after another straight down, moss is everywhere and I decide, “I am going to walk more careful than I have ever walked in my entire life because there are giant boulders and if I fall off that, that’s a 10-12 foot neck-breaking, back-crunching, jaw-smashing fall.” All right, I’m walking really slow and careful and they’re going super fast down below me. As soon as I take another step, I slip off the moss.
When I slipped off the moss I fell straight off the boulders. Instinctively, I covered my head up and I was, “I’m about to break my neck. I’m about to crack my jaw. Something bad is about to happen.” I can hear them yelling my name. Everything goes into slow motion at that second. It’s a fall for a second, but it feels like 15, 20, 30 seconds where I’m thinking about everything- am I going to die out here? I’m thinking about my travels, my life and I’m, “Okay, well at least I was living life on my own terms if I’m going to die or something bad’s about to happen.”
Then I get smashed into the crevice and I think, “Whoa, this is what death is like?” I finally open my eyes and when I open my eyes, my arm is bleeding, my legs bleeding and I’m kind of out of it. After 20-30 seconds I can hear them yelling my name and I come to and I’m, “Okay, I’m actually alive right now.” I move my arms, my legs, I’m stuck in this crevice, I landed I’m side, thankfully, instead of my head. I realize I’m stuck inside a crevice of these boulders and when I roll all the way over, one of the guys I was trapping with named Ari jumped after me. I could hear him yelling my name and jumping off the boulders. I wasn’t alive when my mom birthed me but I like to say that Ari jumping after me was the most courageous thing that I’ve ever seen a human do except for my mom birthing me.
I was crying on the ground, I didn’t even really know this guy. He was so pleased that an outsider had let him travel and take him out like this that he jumped after me and he couldn’t get to me and I was stuck inside this crevice and after a few seconds he’s yelling, “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.” The other 2 guys up there are telling me, “Get out, get out, grab onto my hands,” and I’m not going to grab onto their hands, I’m 6’4″ and Indonesians are generally 5’2″. They’re yelling for me to jump and I’m still in total shock, my arms, my legs.
I know I’m hurt but at this point I’m like, nothing is broken, I’m okay. I’m not going to pass out in the next 5 seconds and die. After a few more minutes I get up high enough in the rocks where they all levy themselves down and basically use each other as rope to levy themselves down far enough where I jump. Next thing I know I’m standing on the solid ground and I’m yelling at these guys that hardly speak English, telling them, “You saved my life, you saved my life.”
That changed my whole life. I was in so much shock that night I was crying and I didn’t know what, and then I finally thought of these guys I’d met and these Swedes in Australia and these Swedes that I met were telling me I should go to 14 days silent meditation with them in Thailand and at the time I was, “Silent meditation, well, can you fart in there? Well I’m not going if you can’t fart,” next thing I knew I was in silent meditation and it changed my life.
Dave Asprey: I did a 10 day silent meditation in Nepal at a Buddhist monastery and it was vegetarian, high lentil meditation and I do believe that flatulence is a meditation disturbing effect in a room full of people. Sorry. I noticed this first-hand experience. Apparently that happens.
Jake Ducey: That’s funny. Mine wasn’t lentils but I also had a little bit of gas there.
Dave Asprey: Meditation and tilting don’t go together. Someone’s going to Tweet that and that’s just embarrassing but that’s just the way it is.
You also got into Hatha Yoga and journaling and you did this as a pretty young guy so you’re really focused and it’s because you had this, “I’m going to die,” you saw your life flash ahead of you and it’s pretty well established people who experience a near-death experience often times come back- not that you were actually dead- but you come back from the experience saying, “Maybe there is something deeper or more,” because how many nineteen-year olds have a sense of mortality right?
Jake Ducey: Yeah, how many people by and large? I think that employed Americans or Westerners you know? That’s what made me come back and ultimately write, I’m traveling for no reason, I’m running away from my problems and my fears and I realized that it was really more about offering value to the world than stamping my passport in as many places.
Dave Asprey: How old are you now?
Jake Ducey: I’m 23.
Dave Asprey: 23 and this happened 4 years ago when you were 19?
Jake Ducey: Yeah, this happened 4 years ago, yeah.
Dave Asprey: In those 4 years, you’ve written a couple books and you’ve done a lot of things but what’s your biggest achievement to date?
Jake Ducey: My biggest achievement today is that-
Dave Asprey: Or to date, not just today.
Jake Ducey: That’s what I mean, I’d say my biggest achievement to date is two things. Wanting to be a writer and failing English classes and having no idea how to write and second- I’d say 3 things- second thing is finally feeling comfortable in my skin and excited to wake up. I didn’t feel like that for most of my life. The third thing is, I’m doing hundreds and hundreds of High School speeches now and that’s great, I always wanted to be able to reach the kids which is a bureaucracy and it’s super hard to get into and I finally got through.
Dave Asprey: This is really worth talking about, I would have never felt comfortable in my skin until I was about 32. How did you do it so fast?
Jake Ducey: I really like that quote by Albert Einstein, “Try not to be a person of success but a person of value.” I tried my whole life to be a person of success, I wanted to be number 1 in the box scores every day in basketball, I lead San Diego in 3-point shooting, everything was based off numbers, stats, rankings. I wanted to become a successful person and I shifted my focus to be a person of value. That gave a sense of significance that every human being wants but often- at least, for me, I was seeking it out of numbers and success and acknowledgement and I found, wow, I found my significance out of offering value and being of service. By the way, the amount to which we’re paid is in proportion to the value we add, according to the marketplace so I started to make more money than I’d ever had. I think it really centered out at finding purpose out of being of value in some form.
Dave Asprey: Who taught you that the value that you get paid is equal to the value that you provide?
Jake Ducey: The first place that I think I- that I heard that from was probably Jim Roan and then it clicked with me, “Oh man, I remember that Albert Einstein quote, to be somebody of value,” probably Jim Roan, I read it in T. Harv Eker’s book, “Secrets of a Millionaire Mind,” and then I clicked on all my places in my life. As a 19 year old, I got paid zero dollars for 60 minute keynotes and now I get paid 10,000 and counting for keynotes. If I look at it, I was offering less value, I didn’t know how to speak. I knew nothing about what I was saying and I’ve practiced this skill and honed it and I’ve become more valuable at it.
Dave Asprey: It’s funny that you talk about practice and honing and how you’re giving all these talks in High Schools. Early in my career, in my early 20’s, I was scared of public speaking, I actually stuttered a little bit, not super bad but enough that I noticed it and I was self-conscious about it. I decided I was going to get good at this. I actually did Junior Achievement, where you go and you teach High School students for one hour a week about Economics.
I tell you, I’ve also lectured for 5 years at the University of California, I ran a program there while I was working full time about how the internet works, the guts of the internet for geeks. I did that because I wanted to learn how to teach and I wanted to learn how to speak but the hardest audience of my entire life was those damn high school students. They are so inattentive and if you lose their attention, they’ll talk to each other, they’ll throw things at each other and that was the most challenging thing and you are now basically cutting your teeth as a speaker with the hardest audience you could ever do.
Is this on purpose? Or did it just happen that way?
Jake Ducey: Well I always wanted to get into High Schools and I always laugh about it. Last month I had two gigs at household fortune 500 companies and then I turn around and speak to an entire public school, minus the juniors, 2,000 kids and I’m- the lights go off in the middle of the talk and it’s so much harder and it’s- I’m so much more scared, it’s not on purpose but I’ve realized now, I’m 23, the kids connect with me, I’m not an adult to them. I see that I can of a lot of value to them so I want to do that but I’ve also recognized it’s going to help me be able to become better in my craft in other areas because it’s so much harder to get a kids attention.
Dave Asprey: Who taught you how to speak?
Jake Ducey: First I learned through- I had never had a speaking coach and I did hundreds- I drove all up and down the coast, I self-published my first book and filled my car with books, I spoke in cafe’s to one person, showed up to zero people here, there and often one person, a lot of times no one would show up to my events but I did 100 talks, I was doing 2 a day. Then I finally got a speaking coach and I use him to this day, his name is Patrick Pomes, he’s done 10,000 colleges and thousands of corporations, he’s my speaking coach that’s really helped me.
Dave Asprey: Having a speaking coach, for people who are listening who are interested in being more effective at work or going down a path like that. If you are going to play or practice, you’re doing, “Man that helps,” I found in my life that having really high end speaker training is one of the most important things you can do and then the 10,000 hours thing, you crank out the talks and after awhile, for me at least, I lost the terror that maybe led to a flow state and then with heart-rate variability training, there is a sense of ease where you go in and, “I’ve got this, and not only do I have it but I’m going to deliver immense value on multiple levels and that’s why I’m here,” and you’re just not concerned about it. Are you there? Do you still sweat before you go on stage in a high school?
Jake Ducey: Actually, my last one that I just had was my biggest one and that was the first- I was nervous before because they had told me it was 500, then they told me all the seniors needed to log more hours at school and there was a mistake so I was, “Does that mean all of them are really mad right now?” He said, “Yeah,” and I said ,”Oh,” and I got really nervous but when I got in the state, like you said, understanding the art of speaking from my coach has helped me to be able to be in a state of flow so much more. I definitely get nervous, I’m definitely a firm believer that that can happen so I definitely feel it though, yeah.
Dave Asprey: You’re being mentored right now by a couple guys I respect a lot, John Grey and Jack Canfield. I don’t know Jack personally but John Grey spoke at the Anti-Ageing Research Group right around SVHI and I got to have dinner with him. What a gentlemen. I’ve written about him before, he’s about to come back on Bulletproof Radio but I’ve always had enormous respect for the way he looks at relationships and bio-chemistry and he’s a good soul. How did you get hooked up with guys at that level, these are both serious A-players and you’re- let’s face it, you’re still kind of a kid, teenagers still do that so it’s hard to get the attention of guys at their level, what was your trick?
Jake Ducey: The foreword to my new book, “The Purpose Principles,” is by Jack Canfield and he tells the story in it, of how we met, which is; I just got back from traveling, I heard in one of Jack’s books to write down your top 101 goals. I didn’t know if I believed it, I thought I’d play the game so I wrote down, number 9, “Become mentored by and endorsed by Jack Canfield,” and just before “Into the Wind,” my self-published book came out, somebody gave me a call and they said, “Hey, Jack Canfield is MC’ing this event, there’s 600 or so people, it’s in LA, you should buy a ticket,” I looked online, I almost couldn’t afford it but I decided to buy the ticket.
When I showed up, it was in the ballroom of a really nice hotel and I realized 2 problems. The first was that you’re not dressed up when you have a corduroy suit on and a wrinkled blue shirt and the second thing that I learned was, it’s really hard to build rapport when there’s 600 people in the room and Jack’s the face of the event and there’s a line just to take pictures with him. I didn’t want a picture, I needed to build rapport.
My seat was on the top level of the event and it was one of those where you bought the ticket beforehand or when you bought the ticket, you also clicked for your food. They would deliver the food in a certain 30-40 minute time frame and the nights going on and I’m starting to get nervous, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do? There’s so many people here.” He finally steps off the mike and heads down back to his seat and I think, “I’m going for it.” I head down my floor and he’s down at the center of the ballroom and there’s these tables of about 6 and I start going and somebody gets up to grab his attention and I go, “Oh,” and I try not to look like I’m not that weird, like I’m not stalking him.
Then I’m looking out of the corner of my eye and finally, he goes back to his seat and I’m super nervous but I think, “10 seconds of courage, 10 seconds of courage,” I walk over and I tap him on the shoulder and I say, “Hi Jack, my name’s Jake Ducey and you inspired this book, In your book, “The Success Principles,” you say when someone says no, you say next. SW. SW. SW. Some will say no. Some will say yes. So what, someone’s waiting. I used these to write this book, I self-published it and now I’m going on a tour.” He’s like, “Go meet my wife,” and his wife’s the seat next door and turns out his wife and mine are hitting it off and I started to turn while the food comes down.
I don’t want to annoy this guy so I start to turn to leave while the food comes down and he says, “Hey Jake, wait, aren’t you going to eat that?” I was so excited, I didn’t realize that the person to his left, in a fully occupied room, had left for dinner. The waiter still put the food down and the waiter came at the same exact time I finally had the impulse to go. I sat and ate dinner with him, we hit it off and so Jack and I developed a nice friendship. Jack introduced me to John at one of his birthday parties.
Dave Asprey: That was random right?
Jake Ducey: Or maybe not random at all. People say, psychologists tell us 90% of our life is governed by our sub-conscious mind. Sub-conscious mind is imprinted by thoughts and by writing things down. I wrote something down, I put it out of my conscious mind. Then, I was at an event and consciously I was telling myself, I’m not going to be able to meet him. Consciously, I was telling myself, I’m not going to have enough time. Then, I finally get an intuition, which comes from the sub-conscious mind, at that moment, I walk down, sub-consciously, behind the scenes, I didn’t know but the waiter was coming to his table, out of all places and the person left to his left. Consciously I didn’t notice the seat was empty but all of these things happened together to help me reach a goal that I had.
Dave Asprey: That whole writing goals down thing is amazing. When I was 16, I read, “Think and Grow Rich,” the Napoleon Hill book, which is kind of the original book like this, at least in modern literature. I wrote down that I want to be a millionaire by the time I’m 23 and I wrote, I want to have a million dollars in net worth. I wrote it with intent and all that and I put it on my mirror and read it every morning and actually it’s a shallow goal, to be honest, it’s money. It’s nice to have a million dollars, but it’s not your purpose for being.
When I was 23, I totally didn’t have a million dollars. But when I was 26, I made 6 million dollars-
Jake Ducey: No way!
Dave Asprey: -“Holy crap,” but what I didn’t write in there was, “And keep it,” so I lost it when I was 28. There you go, there really is value in writing down what you want. I actually don’t believe that was random, people like to say, “That’s not scientific,” my observation in my life is the things I focus on, tend to happen. They don’t always happen right away but it doesn’t look random and maybe I’m convincing myself I’m happier if I think that but that would be of value too, right?
Jake Ducey: Yeah, absolutely. There’s tons of doctors, especially in other countries that perform- have performed hundreds and hundreds of surgeries from removal of tumors to amputations without subduing their patients with medicine and only under hypnosis. There’s definitely a power in the sub-conscious mind.
Dave Asprey: As anesthesia you’re talking about?
Jake Ducey: Yeah, yeah.
Dave Asprey: Absolutely, it’s done and it’s kind of scary that that’s possible but it’s also really cool because it means the body is that hack-able and you don’t have to do it with chemicals, you can do it with electricity or just with the mind. It’s a pretty cool world we live in.
You write about something called “Seriouslessness,” tell me about that.
Jake Ducey: I thought it was funny that you started off this with your fact about smiling. I’m writing a new book right now called, “Profit Off Happiness,” and the second chapter of the book is called, “Share a Smile,” and I also when I wake up in the morning I go like this and it seems stupid because, when we take ourselves seriously, it seems dumb but the reality is that I think that we would find a lot more peace and happiness in life if we realized that we’re all going to die and as Bill Hicks says, “This is just a ride.”
I think the more playful we can be with ourselves at times, that doesn’t mean to not sit down and work but the more relaxed we are and in a state of joy we are, the less we’re clenching our fists, our jaws and every time we’re doing that we’re trapping energy that could be focused towards our objectives or towards our well-being. So “Seriouslessness” is an important quality because over the last 50 years, America’s depression rate has increased by 1,000 percent. There’s too many people that are stressed out so I think it’s an important component.
Dave Asprey: All right. I have to point this out, you dropped out of college, you traveled around Indonesia, you went to a 14 day meditation retreat in Thailand and you don’t have any kids that you know of. Now, it’s pretty easy to talk about being not stressed, right? Pretty much, your cost of living is 2 bucks a day because you know where to go to live like that, what’s going to happen when things get a little bit more complex? When there’s people counting on you, they don’t eat if you don’t perform?
Jake Ducey: Yeah, no, I think that’s a super important thing. I think one of the most important things that a human being can do, especially if other people are depending on them, is remembering that all the little things create the big difference. Whether it’s 30 minutes of sweating in the gym, whether it’s while you’re driving to just go like this, if you don’t have 10 minutes to meditate, 5 minutes of breath work or 3 minutes of breath work. These are all important components that all add up to releasing stress in other ways.
Dave Asprey: Now we get to talk about breath work, which is awesome. I spent a lot of time learning breath work, I’ve done advanced yoga, art of living for 5 or so years and I just interviewed Alberto Villoldo, a well known medical anthropologist and shaman who just wrote a soon to be New York Times bestselling book,we think, called, “One Spirit Medicine,” one you should read by the way and we talked about two different breaths. This is right on the tip of my brain here, what is your favorite breath?
Jake Ducey: My favorite breath is this, in for 5 or 6 seconds, hold for 1 or 2 and feel the energy in my body, out for a little bit more than I breathed in. A deep breath, the opposite of a shallow breath.
Dave Asprey: Now, as I watched you breathing, I’m seeing smoke waft in front of the camera, are you smoking something that you’re not sharing?
Jake Ducey: It’s incense.
Dave Asprey: I was guessing it was incense but that’s too funny, right when you were breathing this smoke wafted up, it was a classic moment, if you’re not watching this on YouTube, you should be. Awesome.
Walk me through that one more time or tell me, am I breathing through my nose, through my mouth, for how long, what am I thinking? Am I chanting OM, is there any other stuff you do in there?
Jake Ducey: I like to breath in through my nose, in through 6. The reason I do a longer number than 1 or 2 is because I think often, if we are really aware of the times when we’re stressed and the times we feel deep peace, oftentimes we give out the “Ahhhh,” when we feel good. That’s a deep breath. Oftentimes I’ve found in my own life, when I’m stressed, when I’m having a creative block, when I hear bad news that I’m reacting to, I’m not breathing.
I try and deepen my breath and often even make it deeper than it normally would be so I go like in for 6 through my nose and instead of saying things, I try and feel my energy when I hold it. I try and feel it. That brings me back to the moment, that brings me back to awareness rather than concepts and the matrix’s of our mind and I just try to hold that for a second or two because it really brings me into the life that I am, not just the concept that I am. I usually breath out through my nose after a second- or back out my mouth because I feel like I get more air when I go out my mouth.
It gets more air out of my lungs and gets all the old energy out. I try and do that a little longer than my inhales so I can push most of the air back out.
Dave Asprey: Do you do this for a set period of time each day? A set time of day?
Jake Ducey: I meditate every day and I used to do set times when I would literally have a timer, now I do it sometimes for 5 minutes, sometimes for an hour and never at set times anymore. I try to do it once in the morning, once at night, I go in the sun after the gym, I get in there and do it.
That’s just one breath that takes 20 seconds. You can do that in a cubicle at work, you can do that in the elevator at work, you can do that in the car while you’re driving, you can do that while someone’s speaking to you. While your child is speaking to you. Taking a deep breath and re-connecting yourself. You can do that at all times. It’s not something that you need to sit in Lotus posture in order to breath. In the shower, the shower’s a really big resetting time for me, where I look like an idiot, I’m smiling and breathing really deep but it relaxes me.
Dave Asprey: Do you ever do it on stage?
Jake Ducey: Yeah! That was one of the first things that I learned from my speaking coach was that, what’s less important is what I say and more important is the energy that I project and the only way to project a heart connecting energy that will cause transformation is to actually connect with my audience so that breath gives me one second. Usually I don’t pick up the mic and say, “Hey!” I hold it and I look around for a second and then I’ll start because it slows me down so I don’t start and speed up right away which is an easy thing to do.
Dave Asprey: It’s kind of funny because, what you’re talking about there is sort of anti-logic, the heart you bring is more important than the topic and when you talk with top speakers or top performing artists. I had the chance to talk with Stephen Jenkins from Third Eye Blind, the lead singer, who’s just a powerhouse on stage if you have ever seen them live and same thing, he does breathing things and very specific preparations because it takes energy and you’re emoting energy when you’re speaking or singing or performing and as a relativly experienced public speaker myself, yeah, it is about the energy that you put out and the words are part of it but they’re not the primary part.
It’s not like you can be programmed to have perfect body language, if you’re terrified inside and your body language is perfect and your words are perfect, you’re still terrified and you don’t connect with the audience. That was a skill that wasn’t natural for me but it’s very natural now and it sounds like you’ve had really good advice early on to grow that so kudos man, that’s quite unusual and it’s a life-long skill.
Jake Ducey: Thanks very much.
Dave Asprey: I don’t think you sound crazy to the people listening.
Jake Ducey: Yeah, for sure, thank you.
Dave Asprey: Talk with me about Bob Dylan. What’s up with Bob?
Jake Ducey: I’m a big Bob Dylan fan, Bob Dylan- first, I was into poetry before I wrote. I wrote a lot of my first book in poem format and then I went back and turned it into prose. The first times I expressed myself creatively was through poetry. One of the first people that I really came to like was Bob Dylan. I’m gathering you’re mentioning this because I write about him in “The Purpose Principles,” on numerous occasions. A lot of people hate that guys voice and so many people say that- that were around him a lot- that he was not the most talented but he was the guy that always strummed the guitar.
He developed consistency, which was something that really aided him and non-conformity. He did something that no one was doing in the style of lyrics that he wrote and his sound. He didn’t contain it into one thing. I really like, especially the- we talk a lot about productivity on podcasts like these and I think that he’s the antithesis of someone who used consistency in order to create long term results. The dude’s still touring and all that.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, pretty remarkable words. I actually like his voice but man, that harmonica can get a little bit grating. I’m not so sure that harmonica’s have a place in modern society. Harmonica’s and banjo’s both should be approached with extreme caution. That’s just me saying that. By the way, my dad plays banjo. That was just a slight joke there.
Jake Ducey: Instead of the warning, “Explicit language” discretion it can say, “Warning Banjo.”
Dave Asprey: “Explicit Banjo,” that would be great. Since we’re doing banjo jokes, I didn’t think we’d get to and I have to ask this and I’m going to piss off half the banjo players, both of them. What instrument do you use or tool do you use to tune a banjo?
Jake Ducey: I have no idea actually.
Dave Asprey: It’s wire cutters. Sorry. I had to say it. Enough about banjo’s, but thumbs up for Bob Dylan. Quite a thinker and the idea of non-conformity is cool because you have to walk your path.
What are your plans for your next book? Tell me more about what you’re working on.
Jake Ducey: The new book’s called, “Profit Off Happiness,” I actually just signed the contract with Penguin/Random House yesterday so it’ll be out Spring or June 2016 and this is a book that’s going to be aimed towards business and leadership. I speak at a lot of corporations and I see a lot of interesting things, especially being a hippie and not someone that’s accustomed to the work environment and so 75% of American’s reported in the Gallup polls that they are actively disengaged from their jobs. Two million American’s are consistently quitting well-paying jobs because they aren’t liking, they aren’t inspired, they’re not empowered, they aren’t liking their bosses. The US Economy is losing billions of dollars a year specifically from productivity loss.
This new book is about breeding leadership and connection by the value we’re offering. The first chapter is about adding value for profit, the rest of them are about connection, sharing a smile, lending an ear. These are the things that ultimately empower people. I share some stories, I got to spend some time with Marian Wright Edelman she was Martin Luther Kings lawyer and I got to spend some time with her so I asked her, “Why was Martin such a good leader?” I’m expecting her to say, “His voice was just incredible,” she says, “He would sit and just listen to people and so that’s why people found their own value and that’s why people stepped up and were inspired by him,” today we’re at a crisis of leaders. You don’t need to write a book or create a billion dollar product to make a difference in the world. I think it really comes back to connection and I think it comes back to connecting with people in the eyes, smiling at them and offering our value. You don’t necessarily need to create a product to jump your income. You can become the most valuable energy.
I go into companies and they always point out their most valuable players. They always show me their MVP’s and they say, “We’re having a lot of problems with team leadership and this and that.” “Well what team is having the most problems?” They point out their MVP is, “That team.” “Ahhh, so, who’s your MVE?” “What’s that?” “Most valuable energy.” It’s always someone that’s over looked and they give the MVP to whoever logs the most hours and I think that it’s really important to recognize that we can impact the world in a really positive way by the energy we’re putting out and by the little interactions.
When we go to the cashier at the store and the cashier says, “How are you doing?” We don’t say anything and we just hand them the money so the next person that comes up the cashier doesn’t even bother to ask. All these things make a big imprint into the dopamine receptors in our brain, the lack of connection, we’re not as inspired, we’re not as present and this has an impact on our productivity and stuff like that.
Dave Asprey: People oftentimes- they’ll come up to me on airplanes, they recognize me from Bulletproof Radio or wherever and to me, that’s kind of weird. I’m a computer geek, my whole career and there’s probably 500 other computer geeks from my little speck of technology and we all know each other but this is different and they’re always, “I’m sorry to bother you.” I don’t think they quite get it but I like to help people so I’m on an airplane, I wasn’t going to do anything anyway but you want to ask me a question, it’s actually my pleasure to answer it. Okay, if it’s knowledge you don’t have and I can give it to you and it’s going to take 5 minutes and it’s going to help.
It’s a good interaction versus, “Don’t bother me.” I guess it depends on your perspective because there are times when it’s, “Don’t bother me,” because I have to be somewhere, because I made a promise that I was going to go on stage and if you stop me now I’m not going to be where I said I was going to be but for the most part, you really can be a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person. I find I’m a lot happier if the glass is full even if I’m completely self-deceiving myself, which I don’t think I am.
What about you, is the glass half full or are you deceiving yourself?
Jake Ducey: Sometimes I wonder if the glass actually exists.
Dave Asprey: That’s a fair answer. That actually brings us to the question that I’ve asked every guest on the show, it’s sort of the wind down question and that is, based on all the stuff you’ve learned and all the things you know, top 3 recommendations you have for someone who wants to kick more ass at life. You want to perform better or whatever it is you’re here to do, these are 3 most important things you should know. What have you learned so far?
Jake Ducey: One, start smiling more even when there’s nothing to make you smile. Instead of waiting for something to make you smile, smile. That even has an impact on sales. People subconsciously sense that energy. That has an impact in anywhere that you’re working and it makes you happy- happier as an individual. Smiling more is a great way to become a more influential person.
Number two, I would say, is to take deep breaths, especially in the face of nervousness and fear. When you take a deep breath it can often give you a step back to realize that while you absolutely may feel that fear, that doubt, that insecurity, it’s not something that needs to prevent you from taking action.
The third thing that I would say is try to be a person of value, as Albert Einstein said, rather than success. You can increase- by the level in which you grow as an individual, you can then offer more value. Which will make you more money but what will actually make you happy is who you become as a person. They’re not separate, I grew up thinking it was like, you become successful and you sacrifice happiness in life but you can have both of them at the same time by growing as an individual.
Dave Asprey: Beautiful advice. Thanks Jake. Where can people find out more info? Give me your URL, your book titles, all that kind of stuff that we’re going to put in the show notes for people to download them but for people who are driving in their car and are going to completely sanely but illegally probably type that into their cell phones.
Jake Ducey: If you’re driving in your car, pull over to the nearest Barnes and Noble and look for my book, “The Purpose Principles-”
Dave Asprey: Hold on, did you just piss off Amazon? Oh my God man. All right.
Jake Ducey: My names Jake Ducey, my last name D as in David, U-C-E-Y. JakeDucey.com. It’s Jake Ducey on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. D as in David, U-C-E-Y and on Amazon, you can type in Jake Ducey and find “The Purpose Principles” is my new book with Penguin. “Into the Wind” is my self-published book, which you’ll only find on Amazon and my new book, “Profit Off Happiness.” If you search Jake Ducey you could find me on the World Wide Web.
Dave Asprey: Nice. I’ve heard of the inter-web, it’s a pretty cool place.
Jake Ducey: It is a cool place.
Dave Asprey: Jake, thanks for coming on Bulletproof Radio, totally appreciate your time today.
Jake Ducey: Yeah man, thank you for having me.
Dave Asprey: If you enjoyed today’s show, which I think you probably did, at least I did, I’d really appreciate it if you went out and checked out Jake’s book, “Into the Wind” not wild like I said earlier and download it, read it. I think you’ll find something of value there and while you’re at it, go to the Bulletproof store and check out something that I haven’t even plugged ever, I think, on Bulletproof Radio, we have a new screen protector that goes on your iPhone that blocks the narrow range of blue light that’s most responsible for melatonin suppression-