Gay Hendricks has served for more than forty years as one of the major contributors to the fields of relationship transformation and body-mind therapies. Throughout his career, Dr. Hendricks has coached more than eight hundred executives, including the top management at firms such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, and KLM.
Along with his wife, Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks, he has coauthored many books including Conscious Loving, The Corporate Mystic, and his latest, the New York Times bestseller Five Wishes, which has been translated into seventeen languages.
Dr. Hendricks received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Stanford University. After a twenty-one-year career as a professor at the University of Colorado, he founded the Hendricks Institute, which offers seminars in North America, Asia, and Europe.
He is also a founder of The Spiritual Cinema Circle. In recent years his passion has been writing a new series of mystery novels featuring the Tibetan Buddhist private detective, Tenzing Norbu. Ten’s first adventure was The First Rule Of Ten, followed by The Second Rule Of Ten and more to come.
With over 100,000 copies sold, New York Times bestselling author Gay Hendricks demonstrates how to go beyond your internal limits, release outdated fears and learn a whole new set of powerful skills and habits to liberate your authentic greatness. Fans of Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and Gabrielle Bernstein will discover the way to break down the walls to a better life.
Listen to more great episodes at Next Level Soul Podcast
Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 090
Gay Hendricks 0:00
How many of those thoughts are things about the past that they meaning we have no control over? Or how many of those thoughts are about the future, which ding ding, ding, ding, we have no control over. And so the moment we can let go of focusing our awesome thinking power on stuff that doesn't make any difference, and can't possibly have any effect. The moment you can shift your thinking over to focusing on the things that you want the things that you want to create how you want to be rather than how you don't want to be.
Alex Ferrari 0:46
I've been able to partner with Mindvalley to present you guys FREE Masterclass is between 60 and 90 minutes, hovering Mind Body Soul Relationships, and Conscious Entrepreneurship, taught by spiritual masters, yogi's spiritual thought leaders and best selling authors. Just head over to nextlevelsoul.com/free
I'd like to welcome to the show. Gay Hendricks how're you doing?
Gay Hendricks 1:20
I'm doing great. Alex, how are you today?
Alex Ferrari 1:23
I'm doing great. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm excited to talk about your, your work what you've been doing for for many, many years now and trying to help people break through their their stuff? To say the least. So how did you begin this? This, this line of work?
Gay Hendricks 1:43
Well, I'm one of those healers who started by healing himself. If you look at me now, let's see are most of your viewers and listeners are going to be listening to this on audio? Or can they see me too? Yeah, there'll be both. Okay, so I'm going to stand up and show you that right now. I'm six feet tall and weigh about 185 pounds. God bless you. If you looked at me walking down the street, you'd say there's a healthy, fit looking Oh guy, I look like an athlete. But if you had seen me when I was 24 years old, you would have seen a person who weighed more than 300 pounds, who smoked a couple of packs of Marlboros a day, who was in a really toxic relationship and had a crappy job and a car I didn't like so I was in the worst possible shape you could imagine. And I had a genuine enlightenment experience the hard way. I I went out for a walk. It was had snowed, it was in New Hampshire. And I went out for a walk to clear my head after a big argument with the woman I then was with, and I slipped on the ice, and I went down on my back with a gigantic woke. You know, if you weigh 300 pounds, you basically weigh what a refrigerator weighs. And so if you can imagine a 300 pound refrigerator going down on his back. And I didn't knock myself out unconscious. But I knocked myself out of my ordinary way of experiencing things. And for about two minutes, I lay there on the ice. And I had a whole different experience than I'd ever had in my life. It was this, if I could see down through all the levels of myself like, I could see that I had this extra 100 pounds of fat on me, because I didn't want to feel the all the feelings that I had underneath it like old angers that I'd had about things in my family and grief about the loss of my father and other loved ones in my life. And at 24 It was like I had this layer of fat around me to prevent me from seeing and feeling the real me underneath. And I've been a medical problem all my life. When I was born, I had some The reason I was fat was one because I ate so much as it was that I was the only fat person and a family of skinny people and I was born with some kind of glandular disorder that made me gain weight just tremendously. And later on in life, they figured out what it was. But when I was a kid, nobody could figure out what it was this was in the 1950s You know, and not much was known about this particular illness at the time. But to make a long story short, I saw myself who I really was underneath all of the fat and underneath all of these unfelt feelings. I could feel that I was this purely creative, individual and that everything else had been laid down on top of that, and so I made a commitment to bringing forth that who I really was down in there. And it took me a year. But I basically lost more than 100 pounds in the course of a year. And I changed my vision, somehow my eyes got better. So I no longer needed glasses. I got out of the toxic relationship, I found my life really. And so then my life was dedicated to other people, helping other people do the same thing. And so that's when I went back and got my master's degree and my PhD in Counseling Psychology at Stanford and got into the profession as as a professional.
Alex Ferrari 5:37
Now, what, what is the thing that stops most people from achieving their higher higher potential or highest potential?
Gay Hendricks 5:47
I think it's because Alex, they get entrapped by some old program, an old version of themselves, an old set of what I call unconscious commitments, like the unconscious commitment to stay hidden in life and not bring yourself forth, or the unconscious commitment to turn away love rather than accepting it, or an unconscious commitment to a drug that takes you out of the here and now through an addiction or alcohol. You know, there are a number of unconscious commitments that human beings get into as we grow up. But the important thing, once you get a conscious moment, is to start thinking about what do I want to commit myself to consciously, and I committed myself, when I was laying there on the ice, I committed myself to bringing forth my true self, who I really was, whatever it was, I didn't know who I was. And so I recommend that people make a conscious commitment to bringing forth more and more of their true essence of themselves in their true genius, every day, and then see what happens because none of us know the incredible potential. Like when I was laying there on the ice, I didn't know that there was a guy in there that was going to write for five best sellers. And I didn't know there was a guy that was going to sit on the stage talking with Oprah and her audience on occasion, later on, you know, I didn't know those things, because I was still inside that 300 pound body, but the only thing I had was the power of my commitment. And really, when you think about it, that's all you really need.
Alex Ferrari 7:28
Without question, now you talk about something called the upper limited prominence problem. What is that?
Gay Hendricks 7:35
The upper limit problem is your tendency to sabotage yourself, just when things are starting to get better. And the upper lip, I bet you've done it.
Alex Ferrari 7:44
All we I think everybody has done at one point or another. Yeah, like,
Gay Hendricks 7:48
I when I started to lose that weight, I lost 35 pounds the first month just by focusing on eating foods I'd never eaten before things that did not contribute to my Oh, 300 pound body. And so I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and things like that. And you know, 35 pounds disappeared. And then I was walking past an ice cream shop and I looked in the window and I saw this family of four eating this gigantic ice cream sundae with bananas on it and everything. And I went in and I ordered one. That's the upper limit problem. I just unconsciously sabotage myself, I made myself so sick eating that thing that I've been, you know, eating purely for a month, and then suddenly, won't I put in all this pound of fat and sugar and it just made me so sick. So that's the upper limit problem in one way or the other. Fear is what drives our upper limit problem because, like if you think about it, there I am. I've lost 30 pounds, I'm feeling great. And feel on top of myself, you know, on the type of life for the first time in 24 years. I got scared that I didn't know how to sustain that I you know, I got scared. Is that the real me? Can I really do that? Or is my 300 pound body the real me so those fears cause us to trip a trip ourselves up
Alex Ferrari 9:13
So in many ways that you know I've had this happen to me throughout my life as well as where you are more comfortable in the pain. And the in the area that you're that you know, it's kind of like to say that w is Better the devil you know that that you don't. So losing weight, you don't know how to function and let's so let's say you weighed 300 pounds, and all of a sudden, you wake up after six months of working out with a six pack and you're 185 pounds in the best shape of your life. Many people psychologically can't deal they don't like how do I how do I be this? How can I be this new? Alex let's say are new gay. Like how can I be this person? And that's where the self sabotage comes in. Correct?
Gay Hendricks 9:57
Yes, you get scared and so That's why if you want to master your upper limit problems, you have to master your fear, you have to figure out what am I really afraid of? Am I afraid that I have some fundamental flaw inside me that I don't want the world to see? Or here's a big 1am, I afraid of shining, of really letting myself come forth? Am I afraid of really letting my true self be seen in the world? Am I afraid of my creative expression? And you know, those are big questions that people need to answer for themselves. And those are the questions that you can answer only by kind of going down into your body and become a, a researcher of your fears. What are you really afraid of, to the extent that you do that, then you begin to lift free of those fears. And you begin to be able to make conscious commitments like a conscious commitment to bring forth more and more of your genius every day. That's what I do. Every day in my life, I make a conscious commitment to bringing forth more and more of my genius every day. And here I am, you know, 50 years later, after this big experience. No, actually 55 years later, after that big enlightenment experience. And, you know, I've written 50 books and have created 42 years of a great relationship, all of those things I don't think would have been possible unless I'd made that commitment to really bringing forth my true self,
Alex Ferrari 11:32
Which is really interesting, because most human beings walk around with a mask on. And we put this mask on to protect ourselves from society, our own fears, our own thoughts, everything. So most people live with that mask. And it's scary for them to look themselves in the mirror and be like, who am I and they've learned that mask for so long, they forgot who they really are, or have never even met who they really are.
Gay Hendricks 11:58
Yeah, as a matter of fact, I'm a golfer, I, I play golf, at the Ojai Valley Inn, which is only a few minutes from where I live. And one of my main golf partners, is a great guy. He's a wealthy man now in his early 80s, and he's still very fit and healthy. But 25 years ago, he was a falling down, black, out drunk, alcoholic. And he told me something really interesting. He said, the pain of being a drunk and always having to apologize and messing up his relationships with his kids and everything like that. He said, the pain of that was awful. But he realized one day that he was avoiding the real pain of his life, by making the pain about his alcoholism, instead of actually facing what he was really afraid of inside. And so on this one magical day, he stood up and said, my name is John, and I'm an alcoholic, and, you know, began the process of 12 step recovery. And, you know, here many years later, he's, you know, still soap celebrating his sobriety. And he's faced these actual pains that he had in his life, instead of creating artificial pain through the addiction. So that's, I think, you know, they say, in 12 Step work that you don't know what you've been drinking for, until you stop drinking, and you can face that stuff directly. And I've heard the same thing from drug addicts of various kinds. And, you know, my wife and I, since we write relationship books, we do a lot of relationship counseling. And we have a lot of people that have become addicted to the pain in their relationships, so that they create it over and over again, by having the same arguments over and over again, for sometimes decades at a time.
Alex Ferrari 14:05
That's fascinating, because, again, I am a neuroscience geek, and I love studying, you know, psychology and understanding how this, this thing up here in our noggin works. And it's so fascinating to me how humans constantly avoid pain and want to gain pleasure. Those are the two main driving factors of humanity as a general statement, and how we to avoid pain, create pain for ourselves in order to feel comfortable in the pain that we know rather than the pain that we don't know.
Gay Hendricks 14:38
That let me give you a great example of that. I had a client. I was in my 40s at the time, and he was probably in his 70s. And he'd been an airline pilot, a lot of his life, but then he in when his father died, he inherited a fortune and so when he was about maybe 55, he quit being an airline pilot. But anyway, that's to give you the background of what he said. He was another one of these folks that had created a lot of pain in his relationships. And he had the same realization about his relationship addictions that he had, that my friend John had about his alcoholism, that he created relationship pain, in order to avoid feeling the pain he really had inside and whatever the feelings were inside. And I talked to him and I said, Well, what do you think the deepest thing is inside that you're afraid to look at or be with? And he said, it's, it's a fear, it's a fear of being left in a relationship or being left behind. And he had had early life experiences of abandonment. And so he kind of projected those into real life. And he created kind of one relationship with a woman after another who left him kind of for some mysterious reason. And he didn't realize that he had this unconscious commitment to being abandoned basically, in his early life. And so he woke up to that. And so he's looking into what am I really afraid of? And I said, Well, what? Why don't you just go ahead and feel that right now? And he said, Oh, my God, he said, I don't think I can do that. And I said, Well, tell me about have you ever been had another experience in your life? That was really scary. And he said, Well, I crashed two airplanes that I was piloting in my life one when I was in Vietnam, and one my own private aircraft. And, and he said, That was scary. But this is really scary. In other words, you imagine that he's comparing crashing an airplane to this mysterious feeling of being abandoned, and he finds this one harder to deal with,
Alex Ferrari 17:08
Isn't it isn't an interesting, and I'd love to hear your thoughts about it, the power of our childhood, and what happens to us in our childhood, in the programming, because, you know, as you get older, obviously, we all go through bumps in the road, we all go through traumas in our lives. But there's something specific that happens in those first 15 years, arguably the first 10 that really, if there's, there's something that happens traumatic, it completely, cars us for life, and completely pushes us in certain directions, like your friend was saying, or if your parent dies, or something like that, you feel that loss, and you know, your outlook on life changes. You know, it all it all depends, but it's fascinating. The power of the trauma that you have, like I had a trauma when I was, in my 20s, I wrote a whole book about it about almost making a movie for the mafia and all that and going into Hollywood and meeting stars and all that stuff. But I'm still dealing with that drama even after I wrote the book. And I'm still trying to let go of that. So is there something you can suggest to the audience who are holding on to let's say they understand, first of all, if you're the 1% understands the things that are holding you back in your mind, how you can let go of that. And then secondly, how can you discover what those unconscious programming that's in your in your system? And you kind of eradicate it?
Gay Hendricks 18:43
Yes. Well, the short answer is, the eradication comes through the microscopic, looking at it, looking at it like a through a microscope, you know, really understanding and feeling the detail of your fear and ultimately, the only thing that will really cure fear is love, that you have to accept it as it is and even love it as it is. And then it disappears as fear and becomes sheer pure creative possibility. But that comes through the power of your ability to love and accept. But you know, as you were speaking, Alex, here's my own situation was a classic example because many years later science discovered what the problem was that caused the obesity read the obesity in my case, die. Why was the only fat person in a skinny person's family was that my father died during my mother's pregnancy with me, and she went into a grief process and stopped eating. And so instead of gaining weight during her pregnancy with To me, she actually lost weight, she lost weight went from 120 pounds down to 89 pounds on the day I was born. And she looked, you know, like, so thin to not an ounce of fat honor. And so that was an emotional issue for her obviously. And what happened was now scientists discovered it shut down certain hormones in me, and made me to avoid starvation to turn more stuff into fat, and to store it up. And so but that was not discovered when I was born in 1945, or even in the 1950s. And so, but that caused a problem that later I had to actually take on as a problem of my own, but not until I was in my 20s. And so when I was in my 20s, suddenly, I realized, well, no matter what my programming has been, I'm going to take responsibility for creating the body I want. And so it's that conscious commitment, that I want everybody to know about the power of that conscious commitment. Now, no matter, you may not have an ounce to lose, but whatever it is, I know there are things about your life you want to create, and it's going to take conscious commitment to kick it off and get it rolling.
Alex Ferrari 21:18
But is there is there are those those subconscious things that how can we, I mean, you said, microscopic, I get that. But for us to even so let's say I already gone through the microscope. I'm like, Oh, it's this thing that happened to me that's caused me to hold back or self sabotage or something along those lines, how can you at that point, start to let go of that, that's, that's a big word. I didn't let go of those feelings of that program. Because if you're conscious about it, now it's in the front, it's in the forefront. So what can you do?
Gay Hendricks 21:54
Peace of mind comes from total participation. So the moment you can allow yourself simply to feel whatever it is the anger or the sadness, or the fear is the letting yourself experience it, instead of trying to keep it away from your experience. The moment you allow yourself to experience your fear, to feel it to take a breath with it, it begins a process of diffusing it. And that's why loving conscious awareness is your most powerful healing tool. So the moment you can bring your own feeling of loving acceptance to whatever it is your anger, your sorrow, your rage, your your fear, your sexuality, whatever it is, it needs to be felt, to be experienced. And that's the opening gate, to then coming to love it and accept it and let it go.
Alex Ferrari 22:57
Now, there's a cycle of fear and negativity that we many of us go through again, this kind of like going back and forth. Is there any suggestions on how we can end that? In the cycle of fear, and also, which then leads to the negative thinking that that little voice that beats us up pretty bad, pretty heavily?
Gay Hendricks 23:20
Okay, here's a big thing I've learned in my most recent book that the genius zone I was, it's really based around one key point. And here's the way to turn off your negative thinking. It's the most efficient way to do it. And that is to spot the specific negative thought. And I will guarantee you that that thought is a thought about something you have no control over. Because we become addicted to thinking thoughts about things we have no control over. Because they stimulate adrenaline and we get hooked on our own adrenaline. The only way out of that is to realize, oh, I have no control over that and to turn your thoughts toward something you do have control over. So for example, one of my she's become a dear friend. We were originally in a group together a meditation group way back way, way, way back in the 70s. And she was telling me one time about a problem she had with her mother in law. And her her husband, my friend's husband had passed away, but her mother in law, still would have too many glasses of wine late at night and call her daughter in law my friend and tell her what a bad daughter She was and all sorts of critical kinds of things that drunks do when they get in that stage of drunkenness. And so my friend, she was saying, you know, I've tried everything to try to tell her about it and everything like that. And I said, Well, what is the one thing you have control over when she's doing that? And she said, Well, I could hang up the phone. And I said, you actually could do that concerto I could never do that, you know. And I said, Well, here's my guarantee to you, you'd only have to do it once. And so she made an agreement with me next time, her mother in law called drunk on a Friday night and started telling her what a terrible person she was. She just said goodbye, clunk. And her mother in law, called her the next day in tears, and apologize to her, and said she had never, she'd been up all night, trying to figure out that, and she comes to the realizing that she had been taking out her grief on my friend with this crazy, stupid, addictive behavior. And they're all crazy stupid in one way or the other because they produce a negative end. And she never did it again. And so I was happy that my prediction, you only have to do it once came true. But I knew that whatever she did, if she could break up the pattern one time and create a new situation, she would be able to find her way through that.
Alex Ferrari 26:38
And I'm gonna want to dig into a little something you just said, breaking the pattern, because I've heard the concept of the record, and the record groove. And that's the programming in our mind. And something needs to happen to kind of shock us out of that, whether it be falling on your back, and shaking up the programming or some event happens. Or some as or you get therapy with someone who literally tries to, as you're going down those negative roads, that same groove, you do something to kind of like Scratch the record. So it can't get back there and start to create new neural pathways to things that you do want to create. Is that a fair statement? Yes. So so how do you do that?
Gay Hendricks 27:19
Well, it happens organically. In the moment of acceptance, and loving and feeling something, it liberates the creative energy that's been trapped in it. And you see, human beings are kind of layered up like a parfait, you know, we have our thoughts. And then we have our different emotions, we have anger, we have sadness, we have fear, we have our sensations, like our sexual sensations, and our hunger sensations. So there's many layers of ourselves. But what is the essence, to me, the essence the pure consciousness of human beings is our consciousness. The fact that I can say to you, Alex, take a moment and be aware of the muscle tension in the back of your neck. And you can do that, well, the application of consciousness is the magic that human beings have. But unless we have that moment of conscious awareness of something, we run on our own automatic programs. And there's a saying, James Joyce, the first line of one of his famous novels, I can't remember which moment, unfortunately, but it says Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body. And, you know, that's a common human problem. The Greeks had a word for it. To Greeks, one of the main illnesses was alexithymia alexithymia, which basically in Greek means you don't know how to describe your own feelings. You don't can't figure out words for describing whether you're scared or sad or angry or whatever. Fortunately, we've developed a nice language for that over the past few 1000 years, we've got a good, you know, like they say, in up in Alaska, that the native peoples up there have hundreds of different words for snow, you know, where we only have, you know, one or two, maybe, same thing, you know, Tibet, in the Tibetan language, there are many more words for descriptions of consciousness, because they've been thinking about that for 5000 years sitting up there in those cold winter nights thinking about that. And so but now we've evolved a pretty good language for describing our emotions yet alexithymia still has a grip on so many people. So many people are walking around, not knowing the actual things they're angry about, or sad about or scared about. They'd been living on top of those things kind of paving over those things. And, you know, I've worked with 4500 couples now, and about 20,000 individuals and about 1200 business executives. And I haven't found anybody yet that didn't suffer from a tinge of alexithymia that all of us are struggling with how to bring our true selves out how to talk about our feelings, how to communicate our angers to each other in a way that's not insulting, or how to communicate our sorrow in a situation where we're feeling sad. One day, I was consulting at Dell computer way back in 1996, how many years ago is that 30 years ago, maybe. And I, I was talking in a business in a coaching session to this the number two guy there, and he says, long retired. But I said to him, you have a reputation for exploding in anger and beating on your desk. And then 10 seconds later, you're over it. But you don't realize that the other people don't get over it in 10 seconds. You know, he grew up in Brooklyn, and you know, a feisty kind of guy. And so had that kind of New York attitude. I'm a California, you know, and my friend goes to the, he's going off on his books, book tour. Here's a quick California New York study. He's going off on his book tour. And he goes to the post office in Venice, California to mail something before he goes to the airport. And the clerk says to him on the way out, have a nice day, you know, and he said, Yeah, you have a nice day. So he gets on the airplane, goes to New York gets off the airplane, he in his hotel, he goes down to the little store to the hotel to buy some toothpaste or something. And the clerk handed him his toothpaste handed him his change without without looking up. And my friend said on the way out, aren't you gonna say Happy Day, and the clerk says it's on the receipt. As New York Are you a New Yorker,
Alex Ferrari 32:16
I was I was east coast and west coast. I've lived on both. I started on the East Coast in New York and South Florida, which is basically New York light and then lived in LA for over a decade. So I have the feeling of all all coasts.
Gay Hendricks 32:32
You have a foot in both camps? Absolutely. Absolutely. So it was original east coaster myself. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 32:40
It's it's a different energy is a different energy is like I think there was a famous song that one said, live in Northern California once but move before it makes you soft. Live in New York once but leave before it makes you hard. And it's great advice. Now, what is the zone of genius?
Gay Hendricks 33:03
Your zone of genius is you at your best is you when you were expressing what you really came here to this planet to do. I don't want to go all metaphysical on
Alex Ferrari 33:14
The show is called next level soul. So please go as metaphysical as you'd like.
Gay Hendricks 33:18
Well, haven't you seen I, here's what I've seen. After working with all those people. We all have something down inside us that wants to come out. You know, even if you look back, there was a book that was edited out of the Bible, the original Bible, but it has a lot of great stuff in it. It's called the Gospel of Thomas. And and one of the sayings is, if you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. I mean, that is so beautiful to me, because that means that we all have something inside. To me, I call it your genius. It's what you're here to teach. It's here to what you're what you're here to do. And it doesn't matter if it's to compose a symphony, or to make a really great soup that makes the seven people in your family space light up. It doesn't matter. The the level of n in terms of grandiosity, what matters is the level of passion and attention that goes into it. So what I've found is there are some things that we are just set up to do. You know, like, this family story is told about me, I put it in in one of my books, I can't remember, I think it's in the big leap. But when I was five years old, I got this tricycle that I wanted and asked for and everything. But it was pouring rain that day in Florida and so I couldn't ride it and I was just sort of heartbroken but my grandmother, where I was at the time, gave me special permission to ride my trike in her living room. She had this huge living room and with a carpet on the floor and everything. And so they rolled up the carpet and let me ride in the living room. But I was so happy about that. But after riding around for a while, I got my granddad to help me set up a cardboard box in the corner of the room. And I called it my office. And so I would commute on my tricycle to my office, and I would get in my cardboard box and sit there. And people said, Okay, what are you? What are you doing in your office? And I told them, I said, I'm here to help people solve their problems. And they said, like, You mean a doctor. And I said, No, a special kind of doctor. But they didn't understand what I meant. Because this was Leesburg, Florida. In the year of 1950. There was no psychiatrist in town, there was no psychologist in town, mental health three or four doctors and a bunch of ministers. But there was nobody that did what I was talking about. Where did I figure that out? You know, how did I come up with that idea? I mean, unless it was somehow coded down in me somehow, but I've been doing that all my life. Now I've been, I say, I've never had a job in my life. Because I've for the last 50 years, I've always involved in some kind of human transformation, where every day of my life, I get to see people's faces light up when they lose some grief they've been carrying, or when they clear up some fear they've been operating out of. So I've lived on a steady diet of miracles for 50 some years now. And I think everybody else can do that, too. It just starts with making the right kind of conscious commitment.
Alex Ferrari 36:32
Isn't it fascinating that you as a child was able to tap into your soul's mission, if you will, our souls purpose. So without any exterior influence, because you're like you said, that concept that you were talking about, was an as absolutely foreign as a concept in the environment that you were being raised in. So I always I call it the, you know, I was programmed at the factory that way. You know, my, you know, my kids came in, I'm like, we didn't teach her that, like, nobody in this house says anything like that. No one in the house acts like this. She was programmed at the factory, like,
Gay Hendricks 37:12
Yeah, and that's why I'm with my daughter, too. Although she's been a big grown up now, but she's an artist. And ever since she could walk pretty much. She love nothing better than rearranging bits of cloth on making an art project of some kind. In the beginning, it was always things with cloth and things, but then she began drawing and painting. But I remember them one day, when she was really little. I walked into her room to tell her to come for dinner. And she was working on something even though she was a pike, you know, she was probably three or four years old. And she looked up at me in a certain way, like, Who are you, you know, like she was so into that that she lost touch with her surroundings. Alex, that is one of the main symptoms and signs of genius that inside us all, there's something we'd like to do so much that it takes us into the timeless for me. I'm a writer, I'm a born writer. My mother says I was scribbling on little things. Even before I went to school, I insisted on learning to read before I went to school because I It drove me nuts that I could see my mother and my brother sitting around reading. And so I hatched a little reading program for myself. First reading the headlines off of newspapers and then asking my mother is that what that said, and so but I taught myself to read before I went to school, just because I something about expressing language just really turns me on. And like, if you'd see me this morning at 530, you'd see me I get up every day at 435. And by 530 or so after I've meditated I'm working. And it just, it still just turns me on. And I feel alive and alert and in the timeless when I'm in my creative zone. And see I think everybody has that it's nothing special. It's nothing special about me. It's nothing special about the special people. It's a special thing about human beings.
Alex Ferrari 39:13
Yeah, we're all we all we've all heard of the concept of the zone, and athletes being in the zone and act not actors but artists being in the zone and even every every every kind of career path. When you love what you're doing. Time just stands still. And the opposite happens when you're doing something you hate. Eight hours at a job you hate is eight hours, eight hours at a job you love goes quickly.
Gay Hendricks 39:46
Yeah, Einstein's famous quote about the theory of relativity that a minute on a hot stove goes by like an hour, but an hour with your beloved goes by like a minute You know, you're in the arms of your beloved, that goes by like a minute. And the reason for that is because if you're sitting, or if you're doing something unpleasant or toxic, the cells in your body, you're trying to get away from it, you're trying to be someplace, you someplace else, basically, you don't like where you are. But when you're in the arms of Your Beloved, all your cells are expanding into union. And in that space, there is no time.
Alex Ferrari 40:24
That's absolutely now, what is the genius move?
Gay Hendricks 40:30
The genius move is the moment you let go of focusing on something you have no control over. And let go into that pure zone of wonder and creativity. example, let's say you've been worrying about something. Am I going to lose five pounds this week? Or am I going to be able to get this relationship glitch with my partner straightened out or with one of my kids straightened out. So you're focusing on that, and you're making yourself gradually more and more frantic inside. And then the moment you realize, oh, I'm focusing on something I have absolutely no control over. In that space of creativity, new things are hatched. And one thing that gets hatched is one thing I could do that I do have control over. Let's say you're sitting there worrying about whether some friend of yours likes you or something like that, picking up the phone and saying, Hey, Sally, I was worrying about whether you like me, do you like me? Something that you have control of? That's the genius move. Because then in that moment, you're focusing on the things that you love to do the things that make you feel good, the things that you have control over. Those are things that come from that moment of letting go of the old pattern and saying, What do I want right now? What's something that I have control over that I can do right this moment?
Alex Ferrari 42:06
Do you find it's true that most humans, and most people live in the past? Which is their memories? And live in the future? Which is their imagination? And forget about living where they are at the moment?
Gay Hendricks 42:23
Yes, like John Lennon says, life is what's going on while you're busy making other plans. It's really true. Because I mean, if you think about the number of thoughts you have every day, you know, experts say we have 50,000 thoughts a day, I don't know whether that's number two or not. But let's say it is, how many of those thoughts are things about the past that they meaning we have no control over? Or how many of those thoughts are about the future, which ding ding, ding, ding, we have no control over. And so the moment we can let go of focusing our awesome thinking power on stuff that doesn't make any difference, and can't possibly have any effect, the moment you can shift your thinking over to focusing on the things that you want the things that you want to create how you want to be rather than how you don't want to be. That's a big shift. And so I always say we're only one positive thought away from changing our life. Because the moment you can get your mind off of the negative thinking and just direct it over and say, Okay, think about something that I would like to do right now. Or what, what's something healthy I would like to eat right now? Or what is something I could contribute to my friend who's not feeling good today? You know, a friend of mine was depressed. And he was talking to me about being depressed. And I said, well, well think of one positive thing you could do for somebody else to kind of get yourself out of thinking about yourself. And he's a PhD therapist, by the way. So we're not immune from getting into depressions, either people that do this kind of work for a living. Just looking at whether your thoughts are devoted towards something in the past or the future that you have no control over and moving them into the present. One of my mentors, Eric burns, psychiatrist Eric burns way back in the 50s said, most people in relationships don't have 15 minutes of genuine intimacy in their entire lifetimes. And once I read that, I thought, oh my gosh, that's Yeah, but the more I got into my field and everything, I realized that most people are going around thinking about something in the past, or something in the future, or they're in their relationship grinding about something in the past or obsessing about something in the future. And they're not in this moment where all the beauty is where all the love is where all the great stuff of life is.
Alex Ferrari 44:54
Now, how can we live in the zone of genius?
Gay Hendricks 45:00
Well, I say you don't need to believe in it. Because all you need to do is taste it. And you taste it by beginning, very simply by saying, Hmm, what do I most love to do? That's when you begin to birth, that place of genius in you, finding out that what you love to do, and your genius are very closely related, they're part of each other. And so begin with the simplest things, just finding out what do I most love to do? Or like, in my work, what do I most love to do about my work? What I love most to do since I was five years old kid on that tricycle is somehow helping people have a better life, you know, to to solve some problem, you know, I was kind of the neighborhood Peacemaker when I was a kid. And, you know, people would get into corals that I would help straighten them out and stuff, even when I was, you know, I remember one time, even as a fifth grader. So it really, it was somehow woven into me, and I think we all have something like that, that we're here to do. So our job is to say, Hmm, what do I most love to do and begin to do more of that?
Alex Ferrari 46:17
Now, what are the three boxes in the spiral?
Gay Hendricks 46:21
Yes, well, think of three boxes that people get trapped in. One is what I call your zone of incompetence, where you're doing things you're not very good at. Like, one time I was I had a flat tire, and I was trying to change my flat tire, I'm hopeless with tools. And this one guy stopped, and he was helping me. And he realized how hope ended up changing my tire for me. And I mean, I would have literally been there all day. And so to me, we get stuck in incompetence. Because we don't know any better way we don't know any other way to get it done. The other box we're stuck in is the box of competence, where you're doing stuff you're good at, but somebody else could do it just as well. The three boxes, the third box is the box of excellence. And it sounds like a good thing. But it becomes a trap bigger than the others pretty much. And that is many of you are good at stuff you do, you're better at doing them than most people. That's why you have a job or you get paid for something, because you're good at doing something. And so many of us, though, get stuck in our zone of excellence. So we get piled on with more and more stuff that we're good at, but doesn't represent our true genius. And so one of the most frustrating things that I do, people come in here all the time, frustrated, because here's the typical conversation. And let's say the person saying to me, you know, I'm a lawyer, I'm 45, I'm making a million dollars a year. My family loves being in the clubs, and they love flying first class and everything. And I feel like if I keep going this way, I'm going to kill myself. And when we drill down into it, the problem is always I'm doing so much of the stuff I'm really good at that I don't have a chance to do the things I really want to do. And so I always say the personality that gets you up to about age 40 is not the one that's going to get you from 40 to 80. And because, you know, I up until 40, I had a much more driven aspect of me. And then I realized that the really good things in life, I can't pursue, I have to let them come to me I have to let go of that desperate pursuit. And just focus on my own oneness with the universe and let the perfect things come my way.
Alex Ferrari 48:54
Well, that that energy though of pursuit and hunger and ambition is necessary at the beginning of that journey, but you're absolutely right, being someone who's closing in on 50 I understand that comments so beautifully because the person I was in the third personality got me up to this place, probably up at around 4045 is a completely different person that I am moving forward. So in other words that 75 I'm not going to be doing things I was doing at 25. So the personality changes and you have to let go of the old the old model of who you were, it's kind of like you're upgrading your model your car model all the time. Same thing for your, your, your psyche, you your mind, your body, different stages of life, cause our are different kinds of models are needed. When you're younger. You might need a sports car. You might need one a 75 If you feel like it, but generally speaking what you important to you. I have two questions I ask all my guests, what is your mission in this life?
Gay Hendricks 50:07
My mission in this life is to expand every day in love, creativity and abundance, as I inspire other people to do the same.
Alex Ferrari 50:17
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Gay Hendricks 50:20
The ultimate purpose of life? Yes. The ultimate purpose of life is to expand and let flower essence who we truly are. And if we can do that, then life is going to be fulfilling in every possible way.
Alex Ferrari 50:36
And where can people find out more about you and your books and everything you have to offer the world.
Gay Hendricks 50:41
A big place would be hendricks.com, hendricks.com, or our nonprofit foundation, The Foundation for Conscious Living. That's a good place that has a lot of free resources on videos and things like that. Our books are everywhere. The biggest book that you probably run across these days is the big leap, and the new in the genius zone. And conscious loving is out there everywhere. My book about relationships written by my work by my wife, Kathy.
Alex Ferrari 51:13
Gay, it's been an absolute honor and pleasure talking to you today. Thank you so much for all the hard work you've been doing over the years to help us on our life's path and hopefully getting us to a little bit more enlightened place and moving forward and left. So I appreciate you my friend. Thank you again.
Gay Hendricks 51:28
Thank you again, Alex. Thanks for the work you're doing getting the word out to people.
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Links and Resources
- Gay Hendricks – Official Site
- The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
- The Genius Zone: The Breakthrough Process to End Negative Thinking and Live in True Creativity
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