Anna Akbari: Creating Digital Happiness –

Video | Dave Asprey

00:00:00 > everyone Dave Asprey with bulletproof executive radio before we get started on today's show I just like to take a second to thank you because you've helped this podcast reach number one on iTunes we've got more than three million downloads more than a million people a month see the bulletproof content on the podcast the blog and social media and I just want to say thanks I totally appreciate it and I appreciate it if you take the time to click like on iTunes so other people can find the show can't thank enough to be perfectly honest today's guest is pretty darn cool she's been teaching digital happiness which is something that honestly I didn't know there was such a thing until I saw her work at TEDx Silicon Valley and I'm talking about Anna akbari she's pretty interesting she's taught classes and online dating and actually tried it herself she taught for five years in New

00:01:03 > York but now she's relocated at Silicon Valley and grew up in Iowa so we have someone who's multi coastal comfortable with the flyover States who teaches digital dating and a bunch of other cool stuff and who's given a TED talk this sounds like a totally bulletproof conversation at least that's what I'm hoping Anna welcome to bulletproof executive radio thank you thanks much for having me so what are you doing now that you've left New York you moved to Silicon Valley I did which was a big move for me I am currently working down in the valley with a tech incubator and I'm developing their entrepreneur education for universities governments and international groups and different corporations all right how does that connect you with the sociology of style because that's what you're kind of well known for yes well you know I think the

00:02:04 > main ways that is through the sociology of style that I really learned about the startup world and learned about what it means to be an entrepreneur and went through that whole process so um you know that is actually still in existence we're actually relaunching next month which we're very excited about but uh yeah so that's the connection just that's my background in tech entrepreneurship all right you just said something that doesn't make any sense to me style and technology in Silicon Valley having spent like 20 years of my career there working for startups and VCS and all having seen Zuckerberg sandals up close like style Oh tell me more what is this sociology of style and really tell the people listening driving in their cars you probably haven't heard about it yes so that's one of the biggest most striking differences I've noticed between new york and Silicon Valley would be the personal aesthetic choices of the inhabitants of those two regions

00:03:07 > they couldn't be more different in fact just this morning I was messaging a friend while I was on the muni on my way at the caltrain saying this is so strange I am on this path train and I'm the only person wearing heels in the whole space which in New York that would just be an every person occurrence right but you're in San Francisco they had to be at least one guy wearing heels right there make it might have been you might have been sitting down and I missed it no there's a there's a there's a very big difference in sort of the standard it's much more obviously it's much more casual it's much more of a sort of permanent outdoorsy look even if you are going into the office you always look like you're poised to go and scale a mountain or hike for the day you know complete with backpack and the technical gear so it's sort of you know embodying that mentality in that lifestyle all the time even when you're in the office and you think that's more of a new york thing versus Silicon Valley thing oh

00:04:08 > that's what I thought it's like when I spend time in those yeah but even that that's a dressed-up entrepreneur and from a Silicon Valley perspective like if you're a coder like well my jeans like they're kind of clean and it's a stereotype but honestly there's a little bit like I'm so good I don't have to dress up that's right that's right and if you do if I was just having this conversation with someone where you know if you did wear a suit and a tie to work or to give a presentation you would be seen as actually be disempowering for you because it would be seen as you not understanding the rules of the game in this particular space and you would be seen as sort of irrelevant when it would actually would not work in your favor well this is kind of a really old story most people probably haven't heard it or maybe they have but it turns out my mother was the first employee for the company that became Microsoft no she didn't get any stock this is back in Albuquerque and there was a day when like Bill Gates showed up in his whatever flip-flops and jeans from the 70s and the IBM guys showed up and of

00:05:09 > course they're wearing suits so the next day the IBM guys show up in jeans and Bill gauge shows up in a suit right so they're like both trying to get themselves going do you actually like in your courses that you teach like how to like not dress to awkwardly for your environment well you know one of the things I do is I have my students engage in ethnographic fieldwork where they actively have to transform some aspect of their physical persona and then test it out see how people engage differently with them and how how they feel different and therefore behave different in their social environment and so I try to help them become aware of what they're taking for granted because because some people don't realize how attached they are two particular aspects of their physicality or certain elements of their personal aesthetic so for instance a woman with really long hair um that may be completely embedded in her sense of identity um and you put the hair up in a hat and suddenly she feels that everyone's staring at her or that you know she's not getting the same

00:06:11 > responses that she adds to usually does I'm so small things like that can can be radically transformative for an individual so this is actually like the pua the pickup artist sort of thing but for you who aren't trying to just get laid yeah yes exact it does it also work to get laid you know I won't have not really had a student that has tested that out in particular least to my knowledge they didn't write about it at least I got funded and I may have another date like okay I get it but absolutely yes you know there are there have been studies done where they there was there was one in it and I said video of it where it was actually done in England and they put a guy in a window like a shop window and they had women combined and rate him and they raided him on what his perceived income was what they would guess his job was and if they'd go in a day with him and then they took the same guy they changed the way he looked and they put him back in the window and they

00:07:13 > had more women come by and they asked him and as you can predict you know when they when they dressed him up and they put him in certain outfits it completely aligned with you know the income level the job and yes they wanted to date him then so Wow all right random question yeah how should I address when I want to get past the TSA with minimum harassment at the airport oh that is a really good question and one that I have not figured out because I get patted down every single time you're screwed you're an attractive woman anyone who can see you on the youtube version of this knows you're totally getting like the the fine tooth comb every time this is how it works but like if I've noticed cuz I experiment I travel way too much like a hundred times a year I get on a plane probably more than that honestly and I've noticed like if you dress certain ways it's just gonna suck and if you dress like less in a sport coat they'll probably leave you alone and lately I'm like if you dress like a scumbag but really nice scumbag clothes they'll also leave you alone like like they're looking at the weave of your pants to

00:08:14 > see if they're like Walmart pants or like Nordstrom pants I swear but like that's what I think it comes down to I think the more you look like you are professional yeah and you have somewhere to be and and that you are someone that demands respect that going to treat you accordingly and also like are you nice to them like they're all just doing their job they're working to protect everyone so like if you're a jerk you should expect to be treated like a jerk but it's funny I just the difference is huge so you're doing this to teach people throughout their life to like look different which helps people in business school and whatever else okay I I work with people individually and I go into corporations law firms and I talked to them about how the way they self present actively transforms the way they're perceived in different contexts it transforms their claim to power in public and ultimately it affects how much money they're gonna make who they're made it all these really important factors in life which really elevates aesthetics beyond something that's just superficial right all right here's another confession and

00:09:15 > I was 23 I wanted to get raises like anyone who's 23 and I realized that old people get paid more hey I went to the stylist the hair stylist and I'm like I want gray on my temples now being 23 I didn't actually realize that there were differences between like high-end stylists and ones who barely like we're like able to cut my hair I'm like I know thirteen dollars or something so they kept trying to dye my hair dark to keep it from being great i'm like no i want my hair to be great on the temples so then i'll get a raise and i honestly think that would have been true is that is that true so so there's a little bit of a gender double Sam oh of course that would be four boys right yeah that would be provides for women it would have the reverse effect or inverse effect yeah and that's not fair no no it definitely is not I have two women over 60 working for bulletproof and they both rock so that's cool yeah that yeah it's great and the unfortunate thing is that women are expected to look like they're in

00:10:16 > their 20s but have the experience of someone who's you know in their 60s and so it's an impossible and very challenging standard and so that's one of the things I work with some of my female clients on are most of your clients women are men aah over all over the years it's been a pretty close split 50-50 um I would say maybe excuse maybe 60 40 women but I I do work with a lot of men I work with a lot of people that are going through any sort of transition because if you think about the moments in your life when you're undergoing a dramatic change there's often a sort of physical catharsis that involves it or having a sort of physical catharsis transformation helps you to take on a new identity or to shed an old one so those people are also particularly ripe for advice they're open to something new they they want to actively and mindfully

00:11:20 > adapt new persona so so they're they're particularly great to work with okay so you find people who want to make a change inside they make a change in how they look what changes how they act and how they feel and then it's part of it it yes so would it be fair to say the work you're doing is like image consulting or are you different than this like la stylist people who keep telling me I should meet because I dress like a biohacker oh so I call myself a thinking persons stylist because I help people to understand their full sense of identity in a more holistic way and then of course there is a practical application to that right we do actually have to dig dig in and say okay so what are your tools just like you have technical tools and you have supplements that you might take all these different tools that transform your identity transform your body we have to actively get into your closet eventually but there is a lot of conversation about you know what are your goals who do you want to be how do you see yourself and just

00:12:22 > by listening to them talk I can start to piece together a sort of future projected persona for them and help to guide them toward that and to realize it physically that's really really cool I've not heard anyone explain the work of a stylist that way well I you know I'm a sociologist and that dips into a lot of psychology as well and it's the intersection of the two that really are at play there okay that's pretty cool so you're you're basically working on that angle like how do you hack the people around you by looking a certain way that's right that's right how do you pack your own identity and therefore if we for lack of a better word manipulate the the people around you into behaving differently toward you and so we might think of that as duplicitous but really we're all doing that on some level all the time and it's just better if more aware of it so a while back I took a course called urban escape-and-evasion where you had to walk around after escaping from handcuffs being handcuffed

00:13:24 > over handcuffed and kidnapped by a group of bounty hunters and then you run around town for a day whether trying to capture you and you have to like totally change how you look and how you act huh which was like maybe the final exam sort of thing okay I still remember dramatically this experience where I needed to like walk past three bounty hunters who were looking for me and so I like got a cigarette and I had like this hat and I walk like a guy seriously on drugs like just jonesing about ready to snap and people would like part like the like leave a 20-foot gap around me and no one would look at me including the bounty hunters I walked right past him I got what I wanted yeah and it was it was so cool to just think like oh my god and this little girl walks right up to me he goes high and I'm like shh don't tell anyone cuz I don't know she somehow knew that I wasn't exactly a threatening guy yeah but like that's an extreme example but like how do you how do you dress if you don't want people look at you like what are the tricks well there are different ways of blending in or or pulling back right and there's there's a

00:14:26 > con where we're in a constant state of negotiation between sticking out and claiming our individuality and then demonstrating that we're part of a group and it's always a delicate balance you always need a little bit of both um and the best way to to not stand out is to really look like everyone else right is to actually conform as as much as possible and to conform in a way that is very muted so um you know it can't be conformity in a sloppy way right it has to be conformity in a very sort of status quo ah kind of expression does that make sense it can so for instance let's say you're in an office let's say you're in a player in a law firm right and so if you if you want to not stick out then you wear your brown loafers and your brown belt and a suit that fits you well right but that isn't the top of the line soo but that isn't

00:15:29 > doesn't look like you've got it at you know for you know fifty dollars and didn't get it tailored and the caller should be something that is um mildly stylish but not uh not French cuffs right umm so so there's a conservatism but there's not a sloppiness that is the best way to not stick out now why you would want to do that I don't know they're there are many instances I suppose where where one could want to sort of fade into the background um for instance if you know your need to observe in a particular way and you don't want to draw attention to yourself and you know you can get more information by being sort of the silent person in the corner then that's a perfect opportunity to find that mix of conservatism um and you know conformity interesting this sounds like something that you could totally like play around with as a biohacker just to see what you're doing so I I love what you're doing in that course i wish i had taken out in school it probably would have liked taught me how to dress so all

00:16:31 > right I've heard something else about you and and I I almost embarrassed to ask but is it true that you make students turn off their computers and cellphones when you're teaching yes I am evil evil professor so you hate trees is that what this comes down to yes I hate trees and it's put a light I um yeah so I do do that and I'm very upfront about that at the beginning of my classes so that there's the student and yet even though i announced that to them i still get complaints in the evaluations at the end of the semester um because i tell them you know this class might not be for you if you need to be permanently plugged in at every moment because i have students that will say oh my mother my boyfriend my internship needs to be able to reach me in the next hour every at any given hour not because there's a specific emergency at hand so i say that's fine I respect that that's not that fitness class isn't for you and the argument is that what do we gain when we

00:17:34 > turn up technology in a mindful way at a very particular time so my argument to them is essentially that we have 20 30 individuals who have hopefully read a particular text who have thought about certain ideas for that day who have come there with ideas and experiences and stories and questions and so by engaging with your technology by focusing on the screen you are putting actually a physical barrier in front of yourself and you're allowing all these external distractions to filter in so even if you turn up the internet you're still looking at your you know Google Docs or Microsoft Word page and you're taking notes in your editing and you're making it look nice and you're missing things and you're not looking at each other and I and that high contact makes a huge difference in the communication that you're having in the information that you're that you're receiving and processing and I asked

00:18:37 > them to think about the times when in their lives when they really have a moment like that I mean they're paying an extraordinary amount of money to be in this class and yet they're sort of mentally opting out if they're on their technology and so isn't it wonderful to have this hour 23 hours where you can really just be present with each other and it's all about the exchange of ideas and that might sound antiquated um and that's fine or too idealistic but honestly I can I really notice the difference in the level of engagement and the kinds of conversations that we have when there's no technology present and and I would argue that you know we really there really is a sort of lost art of conversation and a lost art of just you know extrapolating about ideas and so this is this is one way that we can carve out a small period of time each week to have that oh sorry I was just if you're just listening on the radio sorry I just held up my iphone

00:19:39 > like I was checking my texts but I wasn't actually doing so I hear what you're saying I'm I taught for five years at University of California a lot of times I don't talk about that but i did that i was working full-time at one of the companies that created the modern cloud computing thing so I teach almost every night and it's a constant struggle because part of me is like if I'm not engaging people as an instructor and they want to do something else on their phones like Who am I to tell them no on the other hand it's easier to be an instructor when people are like paying attention because you sort of have them stuck so I ended up because largely I was teaching technology stuff like okay use your phones and then I would sort of give myself a pat on the back if I MIT if I made most people not check their phone too often but phones have changed since I taught even though that wasn't you know more than like eight years ago or something so they're just more addictive and I think it also depends on the kind of nature of the class right you're in the kind of class that that I was in it didn't demand technology there was it it just it just wasn't it wasn't necessary

00:20:41 > wasn't a design class or you know and it also wasn't a large lecture class where you have read 300 students in it yeah and so you know some of them also say well I can take notes faster okay I know that there will be some things that maybe you don't scribble down as as quickly but the stuff you do right will be thoughtful and if you do go and rewrite it and type it up you're going to understand it differently and you're going to have a different relationship with that content so um I am yet to find a compelling argument that would convince me to a lot of technology that said I do allow it at the brakes um we always give them a break and it's this sort of media technology frenzy right they oh oh so do you actually talk about creating a tech free environment outside the classroom like yeah ah what's your take on that like what is how do you define a tech free environment today anyway and like why do people do that

00:21:45 > well I don't think enough people do it first of all on for instance I was just at brunch this weekend and I walked past this table of women probably six women who were all sitting together and all on their iPhones and everyone's seen that everyone's seen the sort of dinner drinks gathering where and the iphone is right here or maybe right here and and they're sort of conversing right and and and so what is lost again in that why why is that why does that matter why does it matter that we actually have a meaningful conversation with someone well you know if you think about it from a happiness perspective you are you're you're building a stronger relationship you're you're you're creating a stronger connection and you're also more likely to go into a flow state and that's the thing that I didn't mention also about the classroom which i think is really important I feel it when I'm in there and I'm talking with them and we're discussing and I can you know you've been in situations where you can feel

00:22:46 > that flow state of a conversation um and that makes work more enjoyable it makes it creates more long-lasting and doreen happiness so I think that those are all reasons that it's important i also think creating tech-free environment is important because we've to think about what is the value of being alone and what does it even mean to be alone in a hyper-connected world and it's about being alone with your thoughts carving out time to perhaps meditate to clear your mind and all the cognitive all the cognitive benefits that one can get from that quiet time from quieting the mind as I know you've talked about on your show before and the values of meditation and controlling the mind and it's very very difficult or impossible to do that when you are constantly bombarded with technical distractions as well it's a fair point I went and I spent four days fasting in a cave outside Sedona with no

00:23:49 > technology just because I'm like let's play with no technology and just being alone with your thoughts and see what happens yeah and it was generally relaxing and a little bit boring and to be perfectly honest but anytime you meditate for days it's boring so that's part of meditation but a lot more of that kind of stuff right digital detox retreats and um tech-free or cell phone free parties um and I'm an advocate for basically people just finding ever whatever day whatever moment that they can work into their lives in any regular way even if it's just about limiting technology so maybe it's about going to the movies right and they're still technically it involves technology but it's still sort of an isolated time where you're not you're not multitasking you're not on call right there's also a stress effect that a lot of people have and I realized I really had this terribly I was in one of the early email guys I think I got an email like in 1991

00:24:50 > and i literally would feel like I was going to die when my email was down which happened all the time because they didn't really have ISPs and gmail and all that stuff so it would happen and I like I'm disconnected and I just wasn't very self-aware back then and I realized that the response most people get even like very successful people when an email comes in you get a little ding on your whatever your device is your iphone if you have that alert set on you can see it in your brainwaves like it's a stress response and it'll like mess with you well it's a tricky one right because there's a stress response but then it also triggers your pleasure Center and you get pinked so it makes you feel loved connected important but it's that momentary it I mean I'm not the first person to ever describe it as an addiction something bad that mimics addictive don't be severe or addiction in the brain and that's essentially what's happening and so it is it is something that is very difficult to pull

00:25:52 > away from but when you do you know if you have someone reflect on a time when they are without technology and this is one of the reaffirming notes that I often receive in my course evaluations is that students who originally experienced immense anxiety at the thought of disconnecting from their technology come to find that it is a respite for them that they feel like it's the only time where they don't have to be on duty where their mom or their boyfriend or whomever is not aiming them every five minutes and demanding their attention and so they they sort of in it not all of them but at least a few I feel that way about airplanes I'm totally opposed to having Wi-Fi airplanes it's evil it's what it's such it's one of the last great places to do some wonderful reading exactly yeah that said I I don't know how to go to the bathroom without a cell phone so if I drop my cell phone I'm gonna have

00:26:53 > problems but like someone posted that on Facebook the other day and I was just laughing I'm like that's good he was like like that little respite is gone is there not there probably is a tumblr that's all about iphones in the bathroom or something like that I think two percent two percent of Apple stock price has to do with iPhones falling in toilets or something like that all right let's talk about happiness so your TEDx talk was about digital happiness and I'm a quantified self like I like to measure what I hack at least while I'm hacking it so how do you measure happiness and how do you think we should go about hacking it so so happiness happiness is is difficult to measure though there are certain individuals groups and even countries that are working toward measuring it right so um boot an for one local is dealing with a gross national

00:27:58 > happiness uh I believe that's what's called gross gross yeah and and Denmark is always ranked at the very top as well as really they really are interested in how do you measure well-being how do you check in with people and really it's about prioritizing it right so so making sure that people feel like they're living a good life and I but i think it's i think it's difficult I think that quantify quantified self component is really interesting because on one on the one hand the more we measure things about ourselves the more aware we are and the more aware we are the more we can fine-tune it and the more we can fine tune it in general we can optimize our lives and become happier however the downside is that you know self-tracking and the quantified self is really about control and efficiency and I think those things have their limits right and so it can overreach to the point where you can

00:29:01 > become a constantly living for that long term record instead of just being present in the moment and so I think that takes a lot of self-awareness and self-regulation to know when to go into those two modes that is of something you don't hear very often talked about but I couldn't agree more it's the difference between sending letters and being a stamp collector and it's like I know people like I have you know 15 years worth of data and I mean what did you do with your data that's right in there like the underpants gnomes from South Park like I sort of just look around going we don't know why we're doing it we just do it you know we're collecting and it doesn't serve a purpose in that point at least none that I know of no it doesn't and you know we can even loop that back to our previous conversation about self presentation when you look at the collecting that goes on on across social media right in the form of mostly images you really have people who are

00:30:02 > collecting images as proof sort of proof of existence proof of happiness as opposed to oh I'm really getting I'm getting caught up in that in the flow state of this moment and I'm just enjoying myself um you know you have the Facebook facelifts for instance which is an actual thing where people are getting facelifts so that they look better in their Facebook photos right that's what a Photoshop is for come on people other I have had tell me that they Photoshop every single photo that goes up with them on on facebook now there's something that's incredibly anxiety-inducing that is counterproductive to happiness you know but but the mentality is ok if I maintain this image I'm going to be happy because this is this is my sort of this is the record of who I am at and sort of my value really wow it seems like Alicia the least you could do as a biohacker if you're going to do that is

00:31:03 > like use fiber so you don't waste your time I photoshopping your thing have someone else do it I i think the effects of biohacking on the appearance of the body and how that then gets captured it in social media across social media it's very interesting also at the same time we're kind of on social media now like Adam I'm recording this video is going to go up on youtube on you know the bulletproof executive channel and you've got on like nice lip glass your hair's up like you look really professional and like appropriately dressed for this like you know your necklace is nice but not too big not too small not too ostentatious like you you followed your rules nicely so there'll be lots of people going this is a great video and me I look slightly less than homeless I mean more than help us whatever but no I'm kidding i did my hair too you know i'm putting a little spritzer whatever you did you do but i'm a guy i don't have to so so what's the difference okay someone used chemicals and makeup and like I mean you you did a good job you look nice at the same time like if you

00:32:05 > could have photoshopped this was some little video filter when that have just saved you time right and we can't you're absolutely right you make a great point and it's not about saying that there should be no sort of virtual biohacking because that is for us to consider especially if you look at second life which I find incredibly fascinating and um for a while I made all of my students in one of my classes um participate in second life um which which they thought I was absolutely crazy for but uh but it's really interesting because it challenges so many things so when you are when you get to design your body um which is comfortable what biohackers are trying oh yes right and so when you actually get to design it from scratch what choices do you make and so the norm interestingly in spaces like second life meant end in many of many video games is this state of perfection and so some of my students have done experiments where they

00:33:06 > where they make less than perfect choices and till they look quote-unquote more real as an experiment and the other avatars are very eager to help them because they think they just must be so misguided that they would make that because if given the choice what we all look perfect right uh so I was gonna ask you about a hacking your virtual identity but I didn't think we get into sort of the realms of science fiction so when you get into like transhumanism and I mean I maybe isn't that much science fiction anymore there's the other the perfect people the smartest people but there's also like the odd person who has you know four arms and a giant hole in their abdomen just because it was cool and I mean I love hanging out in San Francisco in fact I've often said if you want to find like the best coffee in the city you want like the most tattoos stretched ears and piercings because that correlates nicely with people who care about coffee like okay so that's 1 vanguard of like frankly body modification right so absolutely yeah how do you explain that and like how do

00:34:08 > you even ties back to purchase identity but how do you sort of explain that sort of quote less-than-perfect from one ideal but like why the diversity that we see now that we didn't see a long time ago so i think that gets that goes beyond the realm of the philosophy of aesthetics and beauty i mean that's what sort of biological preference right that we like cemetry we like pretty things these are these are these are part of our innate preferences but what's interesting is that we layer that with culture and so culture is all about signs and symbols it's all about the semiotic subculture and that's what's at play when you have tattoos and piercings and particular subculture styles you're giving off a symbol and that symbol is only it only registers with someone if they're familiar with it so if you think about an alien who comes down and they see someone who's pierced and tattooed

00:35:09 > or whatever those things don't mean anything to someone who has not been taught what the rules of that game are and that's true actually for any subculture where you have to be taught what each thing means you have to have a certain level of experience to then be able to judge it accordingly graded accordingly privilege it accordingly and so what's changed is that the perception the cultural perception of those things have has involved enough so that it's now in the forefront of our culture and it's become desirable among certain subcultures not severable and others and it's a way of marking the self its intended to mark you know what what your preferences might be how you might respond to something um you know how much money you might make uh what your profession might be all of these all of these all these components of identity and your sort of cultural identity are marked in your body in a lot of different ways I always say it's interesting if you go to a nude beach

00:36:11 > and you observe people they're even there you will have bodies that have been bio hacked to a certain extent right whether it's through exercise or the Sun or tattoos interesting piercings you see a lot of interesting oh you've been to yes there there are still there are still symbols that people are giving off and they're different codes that people are operating on accordingly and those codes are actually really important because they actually keep social order they help us to know how to relate to each other so again they're not merely superficial all right I have to ask this question beards what about beards virtual or non-virtual what do they say it's interesting I was jet I just uh did an interview for a news station that was running a a piece on

00:37:12 > facial hair and hairiness actually in general the resurgence of male hairiness and they're so tying it into um American was american hustle uh and um different sort of 70s inspired motifs Wolverine I mean the ultimate biker yeah yeah um or you have you know that the hipster kind of Brooklyn scruffy sort of sort of look so you know I think my stance on it is that the the resurgence of beards and male hairiness is sort of a backlash to the kind of um I want I wouldn't say the feminization of men but this sort of this new cultural imperative that meant engage in grooming rituals just like women and that they're held to a new standard just like women and so there's sort of a backlash and maintain no I'm gonna I'm gonna be hyper masculine I'm

00:38:14 > going to just go ahead and be be manly and some would argue that the the facial hair is also a reaction to to an over feminization of men to and masculine of men and a more kind of more genderless society if you want to call it that all i can say is I'd my chest waxed once so electrodes would stick better and come off more easily for my biohacking and oh my god that hurts so bad I am never waxing my chest again and I don't really care if it's masculine or feminine or whatever else but you know that hurts then how how it feels when women have other body parts way I after that experience I just assumed that women are so much better handling pain than me that I'm just not in into that waxing thing for myself anymore no but I think I think the beard phenomena is very interesting and then of course you have to throw in a sort of ironic mustache trend which which was this sort of internet meme for a while so I think I

00:39:17 > think I think facial hair has been interesting and sort of establishing and kind of being a physical way of speaking out about gender norms and expectations ok I love that we got to talk about that hey and there's two more questions I really want to ask you about before you run out of time on on our show today one of them is about our relations with our technology devices like our phones and things like that and you're kind of against them in some ways anyway and in other ways you're talking about hacking your online identity you make people use a second life so are these like or do these sometimes improve our relationships and connections or they generally a bad thing yes absolutely i don't i don't want to give the impression that I'm anti-technology um let's use the example of long-distance relationships right so I think there there's an instance where

00:40:20 > having technology to facilitate keeping in touch and being able to see each other and you know via video can be a really a wonderful way of actually having a relationship that otherwise might deteriorate given geographic distance and that that long-distance relationship could be amorous or it could be a familial relationship as well you know getting to see parents or grandparents that live or get to interact with them in a regular basis and in a really wonderful way even something like um what is it like words with friends is I think that's what it's called right the sort of Scrabble game that people play so asynchronous relationships are often facilitated by technology email is an example of an asynchronous you know exchange and those can actually be great because even though you might not be connecting at the same moment you still are thinking

00:41:21 > of each other and engaging periodically in a sort of casual fun playful way so another example would be something like um farmville right I don't personally play farmville but just the act of fertilizing someone's field um okay can actually create a sense of happiness and connection between the individuals um and I'm not saying that those are substitutes for human interaction again I think it's about that balance and and creating opportunities in space to have meaningful face-to-face embodied interaction but when that's not possible um then these sort of virtual surrogates can be really great got it so it's not good or bad it's it's somewhere than how you use it sure fair point that's true of just about everything including drain cleaner that could be good or it can

00:42:22 > sure stain the curtains alright closet catharsis and strategic shopping what are those and why do you do those so so that is part of the services component of sociology of style and essentially you know I named at closet catharsis because princess if i were to work with you we were to go through your closet we would talk about every single item that's in there pretty much ever unless you have an exhibit number of items then we wouldn't have time to death but we were talking about pretty much everything that's in there and all those items have a story and they have a relationship to you you have experiences that you've had in them that i might even be just oh i got a deal on that and you felt really excited that you didn't pay very much for that or maybe something monumental happened in your life during that time so we sort of parse out this emotional attachment that we have to those items and then we try

00:43:25 > to look at it and from a more objective perspective what's actually serving you and how are you perceived in relationship to each of those items um and and we basically make puddles and say you know this is something that doesn't serve you there's and there's no justification for this and one of the ways that I do that is I say some people want to hold onto things because of the emotional value and I always say you know when are getting dressed is this ever going to win is this ever the best you can do should it ever win and and if the answer is no then it go it's usually discarded and after we go to that process it's interesting because it's a very anxiety-inducing process for people it might seem like it's just this kind of thing where you clean out your closet but when you really think about it in these terms and you do a mass sort of um discarding of really you know stuff that he's become part of your life and your identity because as we wear clothes it becomes a sort of second skin for us right and so when you discard that there

00:44:27 > can there a lot of individuals initially have this real sense of loss and an absence and then that pretty quickly becomes a really cathartic feeling where they feel that they've sort of opened their self themselves to you know letting in new things and not settling for for that particular person or identity that they were sort of hanging on to and it creates an enormous amount of clarity so eliminating choice as you know is a really powerful tool um okay that's that is really funny now I think about this I have a lot of like tech t-shirts from Silicon Valley and I only wear a t-shirt if the company's either been acquired or gone out of business and like I'm not gonna wear at each other like a company that's still like doing something that would just be uncool but honestly I live in a small town in Canada and when I travel I don't really wear t-shirts like that anyway so they just sit there so I guess I should just like toss them all right I get that and then I bought all the t-shirts that

00:45:29 > I like invented like because I used to run a t-shirt company many years ago is like the first company it's not anything online i still have like the original t-shirt i made but who wears 25 year old t-shirts it's like yellow anyway but i think i have to keep that one well i would say you know i think that your listeners are about optimization right a clarity and so you think about what do you have to do every single day you have to get dressed pretty much every single day right and so eliminating choice or eliminating things that only cloud your judgment and aren't for you are key so that means you have 10 pieces that you wear all the time but that are great and then maybe spend a little more money on do that create a uniform for yourself you know who's probably the most badass of all about that and no matter what you think about his politics obama has it down on the suits and someone gave him a hard time and he's like i have the gray and i have the blue and that way I don't have to think about I were the one I didn't wear the day before and I don't pick out my own ties okay and I'm like oh my god I could wear a suit under those rules

00:46:30 > otherwise well I'm not gonna deal with that so I was like that is the cleanest answer I've ever heard so I thought that was cool yeah absolutely well it's a little bit easier for guys um again they can they can really create a uniform a very narrow uniform that can look great and they can replicate pretty much everyday women it's a little more complicated but but we can we can do a variation on that as well that is that is awesome and you made me think about that quite a bit now I have to go throw away half my closet damn you all right strategic shopping what's that so so a lot of people purchase things because it's on sale or because they find something that they they they just like it right and those are two fine reasons for making a purchase but if you are again if you're into optimizing your life and not clouding your future judgment on things then you want to approach every purchase from a holistic

00:47:32 > perspective how is that going to work into your larger sense of identity how is that going to contribute positively to the persona that you're constructing and how does it literally figure into everything else that you own so I advocate for at least seventy-five percent of what you own all working together so if you need to throw everything in a bag and pack in five minutes you can pretty much do that because it's all complimentary you just don't have to think about it you know some people want a different extravagant outfit for every day but you know what most people they don't people don't want to look fashionable they want to look right and feel confident so Steve Jobs had it right yes he had he had uniform he branded himself you know there are a lot of huge figures who have really branded themselves aesthetically and so I think that is a major part of optimizing who you are and making the most out of you

00:48:34 > know whatever situation that you're in is having a visual mark very cool i guess my orange glasses count for that yes yeah yes they would uh they don't always match my shirt though all right here's the last question the question that I ask everyone in the show and that is is it true that your mom drinks bulletproof coffee oh wait that's not the question but is it true it is ok she is now a devotee yes so my mom in Iowa that is so cool you mentioned that right before the show I just had to say hey that's awesome and high anna's mom the real final question on the show is what are your top three recommendations for people who want to perform better people wanna kick more ass whatever you know whatever their domain in life is doesn't have to be style or sociology just your wisdom distilled to three things so i think the number one thing that comes to mind for me is to find a way to be

00:49:35 > present as often as you can to the people you're with to yourself i think that being present and giving someone your attention in your focus is one of the greatest gifts that we can currently give other individuals and i think that it's very much rewarded and noted I've had people that I've spent an hour with tell me they can't remember the last time that someone didn't check their phone during that time and so they feel very special they feel like they have a connection with you and you feel that as well as a result and you need being present to yourself finding you know creating a meditation practice or learning to find moments where you can unplug whether it's for a few minutes a day or it's one day a week or however it is that it works into your lifestyle so so being present and then I would say you know take an active interest in your

00:50:36 > self-presentation in both your physical self presentation and your virtual self presentation both are extremely important now you can't have one and then just ignore the other they so you you have sort of double duty now thanks to technology and the internet you really have two selves that you have to maintain um and that's that image management is is is a lot it's a lot of work and that's why I advocate for this sort of streamlining of things so that it doesn't have to be a stressful activity one one activity that i would challenge all of your listeners to do is to do the sort of ethnographic experiment that i have my students do where they change one thing about their personal self presentation and then go out about their day and see how they feel see how if it feel differently see how people respond to them differently i mean it could do it over the course of a week and change a number of different things and it sort of reflect on that it

00:51:38 > tends to be a very enlightening experience and you really start to see how attached you are to different aspects of your physicality so i would say be cognizant and aware and mindful of your self presentation and then the third one i would say is to take advantage of the abundance of technological tools that keep emerging that either track your happiness or facilitate ways of unplugging so a few of those would be there's a track your happiness project and if you've ever done that and that's a sort of it's a survey that sent to you a couple times a day for I think about them two weeks and you see graphs of when you're happiest you really it's a great tool for quantified self and then it will repeat it um six months or a year later you can set it and you really start to see patterns and what makes you happy and the same

00:52:39 > thing with unplugging um I subscribe to a newsletter called the undo list which i think is really terrific and every week it gives you prompts of things to do and think about while you're disconnecting and unplugging and connect plugging into individuals and nature and other aspects of life so I'd say find ways to use technology to facilitate happiness and mindfulness practices awesome that came two three right that's three I was like making sure I counted them and would you also let people know where they can learn more about the things are doing now Twitter Facebook URLs stuff like that yes absolutely they can go to my website which is on a very calm that's a NN a a que VA RI calm and my twitter handle is just a ton Akbari awesomes will include those links in the show notes and when we publicize the podcast so if you didn't get those or you need the link to the happiness thing

00:53:41 > you just talked about we'll put that in there as well and end it I wanted to send you some of our new chocolate truffled espresso beans or coffee beans but they sold out so you're gonna have to wait they'll be back in and just like a week so I'm not happiness spike they were really popular I ate a whole bag of them like yesterday on an airplane and it was it was a very happy hour plane let's just put it that way but uh we'll send you some as soon as they're back and just to say thanks for being on the show I really appreciate you taking time this evening the first-ever night recorded podcast sure set a record have an awesome evening thank you so much and were you actually putting raw liver in your smoothie though like just grinding it up absolutely so all right you I did that this morning see and I'm slew the edge power down you you win the man award there I cannot do a raw liver smooth I've tried it it's like five percent screaming and like ninety-five percent relaxation and embodiment work I

really like hitting things with sticks too they kind of are I did something like that once and I it felt absurd