Master Your Emotions: The Road To Building Emotional Sobriety

The Most Important Conversations | Emotional Sobriety

Imagine a life where you’re not controlled by your emotions. Where impatience doesn’t hijack your day, and frustration fuels action, not meltdowns. Join Chad Lefevre & September Dohrmann in today’s conversation as they traverse the path building emotional sobriety and master the power of emotional intelligence. Emotional sobriety is the key to understanding your feelings and using them to fuel your best self. It’s about taking responsibility and designing a life you love, not just tolerate. Do not suppress your emotions, instead, harness its power. Join Chad Lefevre and September Dohrmann to gain a deeper understanding of emotional sobriety and how it can transform your life.

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Master Your Emotions: The Road To Building Emotional Sobriety

September, how are you doing today? 

Emotional Sobriety

I’m doing good. I definitely could use an emotional sobriety conversation today. 

That sounds good. We’re always in need of that every day. 

The more I learn about it, the more evident it is how intertwined that skill set is with everything that we do, and when we don’t have it, we don’t know that we need it. Then, when we learn what it is, how it works, and what it creates for us, I’m in a phase where noticing where it’s popping up is happening more frequently. That’s the phase I’m in with it right now.

Just for everyone who’s watching and listening, if you haven’t heard about it before, one of the things that we teach in TMIC’s whole life architecture work is emotional sobriety. I firmly believe that developing it is the superpower of this century. It could have been the superpower of any century, but it seems to be coming to the forefront right now. What emotional sobriety is, is our ability to master our emotions, but not suppress them, not repress them. We fully feel our emotions. 

We create a container within ourselves for them to speak to us when we have these things that we call negative emotions. First of all, there’s no such thing as a positive or a negative emotion, there’s just emotions. We relate to them positively or negatively, and that’s part of the sobriety, incidentally. When we’re feeling something that we would call a negative emotion, what that is is our higher self trying to tell us that there’s something either about this moment when the emotion’s happening or sometimes it could be more broadly about our life or circumstance.

The Most Important Conversations | Emotional Sobriety

That’s not in alignment with the authentic person that we are. Now this can get a little messy because most of us aren’t really that clear about who that authentic person that we are is because all of us have grown up in a society where, from the earliest days, our friends, family, community, culture, such an enormous influence on our sense of self and identity that we’ve tended to kind of bend to the expectations of the friends, family, community, and the society. You can see there’s these two things going on.

There’s who is our authentic self, and we have these negative emotions that are trying to tell us, there’s something about what’s happening about this circumstance or this person that’s not aligned with who you authentically are. If you don’t know who you authentically are, it can just feel really confusing and lost for people. Our emotions are actually a very powerful and insightful tool that’s trying to help guide us. That’s why we don’t want to suppress or repress them. 

We want to create a space where they can fully be felt, fully be understood, internalized, and integrated with who we are, and we can learn from what they’re trying to say to us. Emotional sobriety is the ability to be in that space in that way and to not repress, not run away, not hide from none of that. That’s emotional sobriety. There’s much more to say about it, but that’s a bit of a framework. September, you wanted to talk about emotional sobriety and anything in particular that’s coming up for you.

There’s lots of stuff going on. News was talking and saying what the emotions are used for. I was reflecting, and you’re saying it could be the moment that you’re in, it could be the situation. For me, it feels like the day, is this is the tone of the day. There’s lots of frustration, and it’s only 1:00. I can feel the weight of those frustrations. I’m not reacting to them, or maybe I am reacting to them. I do feel like I’m holding on to that feeling.

For me, what I normally do in a state like this is that I’ll go stand outside barefoot for a few moments. I don’t feel grounded is what I’m actually feeling underneath of the frustration. I do believe that even having a conversation about emotional sobriety can be very grounding. I welcome that, but there’s just this frustrations you’ve got. You and I have been working on this project for almost going on three years now. That’s crazy. I’m ready for things to move. It’s like I’m ready to give birth. 

I’m past the nesting phase. We’ve got the clarity that we’ve been looking for. We know what direction that we’re going in. We know what the products are. We know what we’re offering. There’s still these little roadblocks that have shown up why we’re not moving forward, why it’s not going as fast as I want it to. It’s moving, but not the way that I want it to today because I feel very impatient. That’s a good word. I feel very impatient today.

Emotional sobriety is a great tool for handling impatience. All of us have felt impatient. For anyone listening or watching, maybe there’s something in your life or in your business that’s not moving as quickly as you’d like it to. Often, what the tendency of people to do is when that starts to happen is to look for people or situations to blame for why it’s not happening. Now, that doesn’t mean blame is different than responsibility. We should distinguish that. All of us are 100% responsible for what we have in our life. 

Emotional sobriety is a great tool for handling impatience.

When you’re working inside of a team environment, that means everyone is taking 100% responsibility for the outcome of the team. If it’s a company or you run your own small business, or you could even consider a family dynamic could even be a team or any kind of group. If everyone’s taking 100% responsibility for their life, that means they’re always doing that. We want to take 100% responsibility for our life because that is the path to freedom. We’ve talked about this before, that most people want a license, they don’t want freedom. 

They want a license, the ability to do whatever they want without any repercussions or consequences or responsibility on them. That’s what most people want. Most people don’t want freedom because freedom requires 100% responsibility. Do you want to be free? You’re responsible for all of it. Most people don’t want that, but if you can take that on and develop the emotional sobriety that’s required to take 100% responsibility can be very rewarding. Yes, coming back to group dynamics and like we’re dealing with it, I’m sure everyone listening and watching is dealing with some element of impatience in their life. 

What is there to do about it? There’s this one concept or distinction that we talk about which isn’t unique to us. A lot of different groups talk about it, but it’s powerful. It comes from spiritual principles, actually, across various religions, but this idea of be, do, have. This idea of living as though and living from the place that you want to create, even though it hasn’t fully materialized at the moment yet. This is when Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This is what he was talking about. 

What be-do-have is, is most people live from a have-do-be kind of framework. It’s like when I have the money, when I have the relationship, when I have the job, when I have the car, when I have the clothes, when I have whatever, then I will be able to do these things, whatever those things are that you’re kind of saying you need something to do anything with, and then you will be happy. It’s have-do-be. That’s what most people are operating from. When you’re operating from that place, you’re always operating as from the place of a victim because what you’re doing is you’re putting in front of you. When I have this, then I will do these things, then I will be happy.

What if you never have that? What if you never get that thing? Then you’ll never be happy? It’s kind of the math of the whole thing. The flip is when we feel impatient with things and we feel like things aren’t moving quick enough to look at what are we putting in front, but how are we existing in a have-do-be kind of situation in that moment? Impatience is usually coming from a place of have-do-be has crept into your psyche, because all of a sudden your impatience is that thing that needs to move is required in order for this and this to happen. 

I’m not saying that there isn’t a sequence in life, but I’m talking only about who you’re being about. If yes, there are things that sequentially follow other things that need to occur to move things forward, but you can be the presence of it’s already complete. It’s already done, even while you’re working through it to manifest it and bring it into physical form, versus coming from a place of lack, which is where impatience is showing us that we’re sitting in a position of lack at the moment. 

There’s something to look at there because you’re not being the way you would be at the end of a have-do-be sequence. You want to flip it, so it’s a be-do-have. You’re already existing in the power, already existing in the state, already existing in the mind state of it is complete, it is done. In the Bible, they talk about whatever it is that you desire, consider in your prayers that it is already complete and it will be done for you. This is a be-do-have thing. There’s nothing new here. This has been talked about for centuries. 

It’s the most powerful way to move through those moments of impatience. I think of impatience, we’ve talked about it I think on this podcast before about the insightful power that complaint provides. When we’re complaining about something, if we look underneath the complaint, we’ll find that there’s something that’s out of alignment for us, and there’s also a place where we’re not stepping into our power. 

That’s why we’re complaining. Impatience is kind of a form of complaint in a way. It’s like, “I’m so ready for this, but this, this,” and it’s impatience and you can feel it in your body, and this sort of impatience? The same kind of practice of centering oneself around who you’re committed to being in the world and being that person that you will be, because you’re already that person once all of this stuff happens, is the thing that helps you move through the impatience. I don’t know if any of that’s helpful, but that’s kind of the flip that we have to do.

It is helpful and what came up was where I could be taking more responsibility of being who I am. The things that are creating the feeling of impatience, I’m thinking of two situations. We’ve got TMIC, our projects that we’re working on, and then I have a legal matter in my personal life. When I look at these two things, I say, “Who am I being in these two situations?”

I immediately felt like you’re being the victim because I don’t consider myself a victim of life, I wouldn’t think that it would be hiding at this size behind something. It’s so small. You don’t notice it until you notice it. Then what follows behind that is, But who am I? I’m somebody that gets something done. I take responsibility and take the steps to get to where I need to go. Then I go. Are there steps in front of me that I could be taking to help move these things two things? 

Yes. There’s a few things that I could do. Perhaps taking the action of going through that process of peeling back the layers. Now I have direction. Now I have clarity of, “There’s things that I cando, and I’m going to take those steps.” Then perhaps reevaluate what I’m feeling afterward to do another peel-back layer of, “What’s on any?”

It’s never a one-and-done. I mean, we’re always in these layers. I like what you said there. It’s just a new frame of mind where when you’re feeling impatient about something, use that as a bit of a trigger, like develop it as a trigger to go, “Where am I not taking responsibility?” I’m impatient. The next question should be, where am I operating as a victim and not taking responsibility? Let’s use the example without naming names and stuff like that.

We have some stuff inside of TMIC we’re trying to move through right now in terms of sharing with the world some of the new things that we’re excited to bring into 2024 and to different communities around this work with Design Lab and for businesses and the whole life architecture for individuals and leaders and the development of who they are. We’ve been hitting these sort of crunchy, slow kind of parts we’re trying to get through here and it leads to impatience. 

You and I have been talking and we’ve been sharing that both of us have been experiencing impatience because it’s a human thing. Listen, there isn’t a person on planet Earth who is not going to deal with impatience and is not going to deal with so-called negative emotions. We’re always course-correcting and reorienting. That’s why this work, incidentally is so important. If you want to live a powerful life, if not be a victim and live a life that you’ve created by design versus living a life by default, you need to be prepared to not only go through the work that we teach and really apply it and re-architect your life from the ground up, which in some cases means unwinding decades of habit and conditioning and limiting self-talk and all of this kind of stuff. 

There’s that work to do, but even once you get through all of that and you feel like I’ve got some awareness now that I’ve developed, I’ve got some tools that I can use as I go forward, you’re never out of the work because, for the rest of your life, you’re always going to be course correcting that impatience is going to pop up, that frustration. Your ego is going to show its head again. Your need for validation is going to creep up in the most weirdest places. You’re like, how did that? It’s just going to be there. That’s just being human. 

That’s why emotional sobriety is the superpower of the next century, because if you look around the world, we’re seeing emotional reactions everywhere. Everyone is a victim, the grievance culture, the blame that’s going on in society. I mean, frankly, I’m exhausted by it. I’m sure a lot of people are too. It’s just like, can we not just create something cool and like live a good life? Can we just stop biting? I’m going to pull it out of Rodney King. Can we all just get along? It’s just real basic stuff. 

My point is that these tools are important, and doing this work is important because it gives you the ability to always course-correct and nudge yourself back. Where I was going with using our example is that sometimes taking 100 responsibility, it doesn’t mean it has to be a drastic thing. Sometimes it just means there’s that conversation you need to have that you’re not having, and by having it, it completely releases the gridlock that was there. It may mean that you need to say something that might be uncomfortable for you or might be uncomfortable for another person. 

Remember, we always talk about until people develop an intention from which to come from in their own life that is connected to who they authentically are, which is part of the work that we do in whole-life architecture. Until people do that, most people are operating from the intention of either avoiding discomfort or avoiding effort. When we’re not taking 100% responsibility, that might mean we have to have that uncomfortable conversation. What’s the default intention running our life? Avoiding the effort, avoiding the discomfort. That’s what’s running it. 

When we’re living in the avoidance of discomfort and the avoidance of effort, what I say is you get a life you tolerate. That’s the life you have. You’re tolerating certain things. It’s the classic saying, the devil you know. Most of us, because of our avoidance of effort and the avoidance of discomfort, are willing to tolerate the devil we know in our life. That could be a person, it could be a circumstance, a situation, it could be a job that we don’t like, it could be any number of things. When you learn to develop emotional sobriety, you start to get a sense of inner strength, and it allows you to move through tough conversations. 

The impatience is the ping. Something is not moving as fast or working the way I’d like it. The question we ask ourself, where am I not taking responsibility for this? When you look into that, you might find that I need to talk to so-and-so, I need to be transparent with them, and I need to be candid about what I’m experiencing. How I’m experiencing them. It doesn’t mean that they’re doing it intentionally, often they’re not. We’re all just walking on eggshells, dancing around each other all the time, and so we get the life we’re tolerating. It’s not a life we love, it’s a life we’re tolerating.

I think it’s worth mentioning that not all circles are that way. There are some circles that you can have conversations with on a deep level, and know that you’re safe to do that. Between you and I, I’ve learned over the years of working with you that I’m safe to be me. What me looks like is blunt and direct. I say things that need to be said and it’s not always comfortable to do that. I cannot imagine that it’s not always comfortable to receive that, but not all circles have that space that’s created. For the people who are listening, if you don’t have a circle where it’s not safe to be you, even the edges of you, my directness and bluntness can be an edge. 

It can be sharp to some people. I don’t intend to be that way. I just intend to be truthful to myself. This is my truth. It may not be your truth and I respect that, but this is my truth. If you ask me, I’m going to tell you. For so many years, I would hold that part of me back because I wasn’t in a circle where that was accepted. I was in a circle where that was frowned upon and you shouldn’t do that. You really should keep those comments to yourself.

The Most Important Conversations | Emotional Sobriety

Look at what you just said there. It’s insightful because what you just said is, I think is most people’s experience, is that we’ve always had people in our lives or have been part of, whether it’s family or friend groups or work colleagues or whatever. Human beings are naturally social. We’re always looking to gain the acceptance of the group because we don’t want to be ostracized, and that’s just wired for the most part. If you’re not, you’re technically a sociopath.

I mean, you don’t have the ability to feel, and you don’t care what other people think. We’re walking this fine line when we’re talking about taking full responsibility and being empowered where I care about what you think, but I’m not going to take it on and let it direct my life. This is weird tension because what most of us do is I care about what you think, but I don’t really care that it’s what you think. 

I care that it’s what you think about me, therefore, I’m going to alter myself to gain your approval versus, I respect you, I care about what you think, and I wholeheartedly disagree, and I’m going to live my life and good luck to you. Now, it’s an uncomfortable tension for a lot of people until you get used to it until you practice it. That’s what emotional sobriety gives you the power to do is to be fully human and feel and have self-awareness about it, but to not let validation and your need for others’ acceptance dictate who you are in the world. 

Emotional sobriety gives you the power to be fully human.

Yes. It’s something that you said, I would say it is, “I respect what you think and I’m still going to tell my truth.” It’s never a but. To me, I feel like emotional sobriety has really identified that and it’s not a but, it’s an and. The key is to have relationships that understand and respect the and of things. I hear what you’re saying, and I’m going to make my own decision. 

That person is not going to withhold their love from me because I’m doing something that goes against what they want. It’s finding a relationship that says, “I shared with you what my thoughts were, you’re making your own decision, and I respect that.” You’re not withholding your love. You’re not withholding your affection, your attention, or your time with that person. There’s like emotional sobriety. That’s the only way I can explain it. 

Or you’re not going to war with them and trying to change them. If I look around at what’s happening in our culture right now, whether it’s in the political sphere, in the geopolitical sphere, in the work culture sphere, or whatever family dynamics, it seems on mass. Most people are trying to change other people. It’s they’re trying to rearrange the furniture of their own life, but not change themselves. I know what I know, but you’re never going to change me, but you guys all got to change. If you don’t, I’m going to change you. I’ll even go to war to change you.

I mean, that’s what’s going on. The flip is to be the change you want to see in the world. Be-do-have, change yourself. Do you want to affect change in the world? Even like say in your family dynamic, in your work culture, in your friend culture, change yourself. Change yourself and watch because here’s the math of it. This is an interesting thing. Everyone else is looking for approval from everyone else, and we’re all running around crazily trying to change each other because we’re trying to get this approval. 

If we change ourselves, then other people are going to look at us, and they’re going to want to gain approval from us because that’s the game everyone’s playing. If I decide I’m not playing that game, I’m going to be myself, I’m going to be authentic, I’m going to be emotionally sober, I’m not going to try and change them, I’m just going to live how I want to live. What usually happens? All the other people around you start to change themselves to mirror you because they’re playing the change themselves game still.

Or they choose to exit. 

Or they choose to exit. You have 1 of 2 things that’s happened. You create the conditions where you’re around people you love to be with because either A) That’s who they are, B) They’ve changed to become that, or C) They’ve left so you don’t have to deal with them. Instead of trying to change someone, change yourself and watch the world reorient around you, and it will. It will absolutely reorient around you. Now you might have to wait a moment and that’s where the patience comes in because people aren’t like that quick. 

Something’s different about September. I don’t really know what it is. They’re going to test you, and they’re going to try stuff on and see, “Is this still her?” They don’t even know they’re doing it, incidentally. It’s not like they’re planning. Maybe some people are, but mostly it’s just a reaction to who you’ve become. Eventually, the world is either bending towards you or you’re bending towards the world. If you want to be the kind of person where the world bends towards you, you have to turn inward and focus on yourself, transforming yourself, and the world will bend to you. Or those people will disappear, in which case, what do you care? 


That journey of it and the testing part calls you to the table like nothing else. I talk about self-awareness all the time. I’ve learned for me that is a very powerful tool is the self-awareness piece and being self-aware. It’s like when you have a disagreement with your spouse and you’re moving into that space of learning to be more emotionally sober, you have to pause before you react.

It’s getting ourself to like that, notice it, and pause. It doesn’t happen right away, and you trip over it several times before you remember. Then sometimes, and I know for me, I would catch myself right in the middle of reacting, and I would just stop. It wasn’t before the words fell out of my face that where I stopped, it was right in the middle as they were coming out. I find that to be progress. I noticed it in the middle. Let me see if I can notice it sooner the next time. 

I feel like I cannot call my partner to the table on certain things if I’m not doing it myself. If I want to be spoken to in a respectful way when that person’s had a bad day, maybe they are just in a very frustrated state and they don’t have emotional sobriety. I cannot go to my partner and say, Have more patience, speak more respectfully, because I’m not doing this. The blaming stops in this process. 

You have to take responsibility for what you’re doing. You have to. It’s the only way to move through it. I think there’s too many of us have discomfort around taking responsibility for our own actions and behaviors and the things that come out of our mouths. It’s difficult to do that in the beginning. I mean, it’s very hard to move through something like that. Especially if that’s all that you know and that’s the way that your family is.

The fear under the surface is will I be ostracized and rejected? If I’m authentic to myself, and you might be. That’s part of the emotional sobriety too. Remember, it’s what we’re moving from when you were just talking about the pause there, we don’t want to react, we want to respond. In order to respond, insert those 3 seconds to 5 seconds in 10 seconds. Insert as long as you need to so you can actually be a response instead of a reaction. What I find often is, as I practice this over the years, is usually I’ll have this impulse to react to something that someone said. 

If I insert the pause in there, I just don’t say anything and I sit with it. Sometimes I’ll sit with it for a long time, like a day or two or whatever until I can get, and manage the emotions. I can feel them and they kind of burn off. It’s like an anger or frustration or something like that. It dissipates eventually it goes away. Then you can look at what that circumstance was or what that person said through different eyes because you’re not in the midst of it. Often, I find that I don’t even say anything. Often, I find that, well, there’s really nothing to say. 

It’s not even necessary.

Chasing An Emotional State

There’s very little to talk about in the world in terms of these sorts of human dynamics that we’re talking about. I mean, there’s just, there’s not much to say. We create our own problems. Part of the reason we create our own problems is because we’re not emotionally sober, meaning we’re chasing an emotional state. The reason I’ve called it emotionally sober versus say emotional intelligence. It’s not the same thing. 

Emotional sobriety has emotional intelligence, but there’s some other variables and things that are also at work and going on. The reason I’ve called it that is because we’re all, and this might sound very provocative, but we’re all addicts. People listening or watching might be saying, “I’m not an addict. What the hell is this guy talking about?” What is addiction? Addiction is reinforced behavior. That’s all an addiction is. Our brain is a reinforced behavior machine. It is an addiction-making machine. 

A behavior is that satisfies something for us, rightly or wrongly, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. A great example that I use all the time is heart disease patients. There was a study that was done about 15 years ago that found that people who had had a heart attack and were told by their doctor if you do not make substantive lifestyle changes, eat better, exercise, more sleep, that kind of thing. Technically or statistically, within 10 years, you will either be dead or you’ll have another heart attack. 

What they found in that study of already people who’d had a heart attack, so they’d already been there, done that. You’d think that that would have shocked them into, less than 10% of people of those people made any lifestyle change whatsoever. Think about this. Our brains are such addiction-making machines, habit-making machines, reinforced behavior machines, that even in the face of our own death, I still cannot eat that meal that I love to eat or sit around and not go for walks. I still live the way I lived that gave me the heart attack because the addiction is so powerful. 

Now that’s an easy example, but we can get addicted to feeling, to putting someone down, to feeling depressed. We can get addicted to depression, everything. Our brain is an addiction-making machine and we get neurochemical payoffs by our brain to continue those addictions. We get the payoff. You might say, why would someone want to get addicted to being depressed? That’s what it is. That’s what depression is, is an addiction to a melancholy state that you cannot break out of. Now you can, but people feel stuck. 

I bring all of this up because it’s important to realize that if you’re going to successfully start to nudge at the edges and chip away at the addiction, you cannot chase an emotional state because feeling good, that feeling that we have is the thing that we get addicted to. Part of emotional sobriety is the ability to feel emotions that are opposite of the emotions where we become addicted to and to allow them to have space and to allow them to exist in us and to learn from them what it is they’re trying to teach us because they’re trying to guide us towards more and more alignment to our authentic self. 

When we just repress it, no, I can only do things that make me happy. Therefore, everything that is not giving me the happy payoff right now that my addiction requires, I will ignore, I will suppress, I will push out of my space. That’s just not feasible to live a whole real life. Everything has a season. Sometimes it’s okay to be sad. Sometimes it’s okay to be angry. Sometimes it’s okay to be happy, and on and on. We have to create space for these things and not suppress our feelings and our emotions. That’s another part of it emotional sobriety is not chasing a particular emotional state that we’re constantly committed to being in because it’s impossible. 

There’s so much that you said there that I loved. First, I want to go back to something that you said about depression. I totally agree with you. Depression, a lot of it is mindset. I had people in my family with depression, and the story loop just keeps repeating itself, and they won’t get out of the loop. That being said, there are medical things that can create that sense of feeling, which then we go, “Why do I feel this way? It’s because of blah, blah, blah.” Then the story is created but there can be a hormonal imbalance, for example.

Having gone through women as we go through menopause, there’s hormonal changes that plays an effect on how we feel, and then we try to connect a story to what that feeling is and just being mindful of it and self-awareness. As you were talking about all of this, it made me think about the healing process of moving into this way of living life that we talk about with TMIC, this emotionally sober more of a creator instead of a consumer and being mindful of the architectures of our environment and of our life and things like that. 

There’s also a healing journey that goes through that and managing our nervous system. Remember when I first started out on my growth journey, I was talking with a friend, and I don’t remember how we got into the conversation, but she said something really profound to me. While my mind is changing, my mind is growing, I’m changing my mind intentionally. My nervous system has to catch up with that. Those two don’t run in sync. They run at a different pace. 

Managing our nervous system and finding ways, just going back to what I said, anytime I do feel the feeling of frustration in my day or a heavy feeling, I’ll go stand outside barefoot. That’s how I regulate my nervous system. I can be mentally clear in saying, “I just need to take action. I’m clear, but now I’m still feeling a little fatigue in my body from that.” Figuring out ways of managing our nervous system is really crucial in this journey. For those that are ready to take it, be mindful that that will be something that you’ll need to learn to do as well as regulating your nervous system.

It’s a huge part of it, because in order to create space for what we would call negative or unpleasant emotions to exist, because we got to feel them. If you repress them, you’re just compounding the problem. 

Creating disease in the body. 

Disease, exactly. In order to create that container within yourself where you can feel all of those emotions, especially the ones that are uncomfortable and we want to avoid, is going to require practices to help regulate the nervous system. There’s no question about it. That’s where meditation can come in or rigorous exercise, cardiovascular exercise, is great for that. There’s been these studies over the last few years, last ten or so years about the blue zones. Blue zones in the world are these places where there seems to be a higher number of centarians than any other place on the planet for some particular reason.

It’s a whole lifestyle thing. It’s a combination of diet, exercise, the way that they exercise, and community. They tend to eat whole, natural foods, tend to be a lot of sort of beans and rice and fish and things like that. They do tons of what they would call natural movement throughout the day. They’re not necessarily going to the gym. These places are like Greece, and Japan. One of them happens to be in California. If you look at the lifestyles there, a lot of them aren’t going to the gym, it’s not part of their culture, but they’re out in their garden, they’re out walking, they’re swimming in the ocean if they’re near the ocean. 

There’s a lot of movement every day. They’re not stuck behind a desk like in modern Western culture. Finally, this is nervous system stuff. They are really connected to their community. Daily are spending time with people. They’re laughing, they’re telling stories. If I look at the Blue Zones and compare it to the Malays that I find a lot of our society is stuck right now, most people in the modern Western world, let’s call it, and I don’t mean modern as better, it just we’re in sort of our own trap of our own making. 

We’re not hanging out with friends, family, and community on a regular basis. These days, you’re lucky if you even know your neighbor the way you used to years ago. I mean, we spend all of our time on these devices now. I mean, you look at millennials in Gen Z, right? We’re not eating well. We’re relying on packaged foods and quick meals and there’s not whole foods. If we even exercise, which most people don’t anyway, but if they do, it’s usually these extremes that we’re oscillating through, where it’s like no exercise and then I’m going to kill it at the gym and I go there for 2 or 3 months and I exhaust myself and then I drop off and I’m oscillating. 

There’s nothing consistent in it. We’re living and you see the output of that. We have enormous rates of depression and growing and expanding rates of disease. The great resignation. People are like, “I’m tired of this. I don’t want to live this way anymore.” You look at the conflict that’s starting to boil over. It’s because we haven’t created a society designed around human beings’ abilities to thrive. We’ve created a society that is based on an economic model, not a human being thriving model.

This is a lot of stuff that we’re looking forward to helping to facilitate solutions around within TMIC with the design shop and design summits and the design lab, and all of this stuff to start having these important conversations with people. How do you thrive? How do you create a life where you are thriving, where you get up full of energy, full of vitality, and full of health? The people in your life or the people you want to have in your life. There’s alignment with every action that you’re taking. 

This is what’s possible for people, but it’s going to mean unwinding quite a bit of stuff and letting go of some stuff and bringing it back to what we’re talking about today. It’s going to require emotional sobriety because when you have to let go of things that might have been in your life for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, in order to get and create an architect by design the life that you want that is going to help you thrive, you have to be willing to do some work, not avoid the effort, discomfort and lean into it. Emotional sobriety is the heart of everything that we’re talking about here. 

Emotional sobriety is the heart of everything.

Can you imagine having a school system that teaches principles like this and having people in office that believe in the power and live their life this way? Just how different the world could be with just one little tweak.

The problem is that we have a world where the Ego is running the show of most people’s life. The ego is your identity and who you have been told you are by your friends, family, and community, and who you’ve adopted as sort of a mantra for yourself. I am this. Anything that is opposed to this, I will tear down and go to war with, and resist. That’s what we have, but it’s not who you really are because you wouldn’t be so freaking angry if that’s who you really were. 

I was just reading something the other day in a psychological journal about how when we commit acts of violence against other people, that could be verbal, it could be physical. It’s always coming from our own internal lack that we have, but most people don’t want to look at that. That’s just too confronting for them. Anyway, that’s the situation we’re in. There is an antidote to it and that antidote is emotional sobriety and leaning in. If you want to live a great life, there is a way to do it. That’s what we’re here to help people do. 

Agreed. I’m happy to be doing this with you, Chad. Thank you. 

Likewise, always a pleasure, September. This was a great chat. 

Yes, it was very good. Thank you. I appreciate the conversation and the space to be able to peel back the layers and do the work. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to having a buddy to be able to call and say, “I’m kind of stuck.” They just remind you and reground you. I appreciate it. Thank you.

No problem, and we all need those people in our lives and we’re building a community of people. You can plug into that if you need that for yourself. Maybe you don’t have that with your friends, family, or community, but you have it here we’re creating with the show. On that note, we’ll wrap up. If you want to learn more about what we’re doing, go to or also Both will get you to the same place. If you feel like typing a really long domain name, you can do the latter. Learn about what we’re up to. If you feel like getting involved, there’s ways for you to get involved, and we encourage you to do that. Until next time. Enjoy your day and we look forward to seeing you again on the next episode of the show.

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