Richie Norton – Award-Winning Author, Co-Founder & CEO of PROUDUCT
Richie Norton is on a mission to expose the biggest lie ever told: time management was designed to control people, not give them their time back. Richie is a serial entrepreneur and an award-winning author of several books including Anti-Time Management and The Power of Starting Something Stupid. He is one of the world’s leading thinkers and Top 100 coaches as honored by MG100.
Richie joins Ryan from his home in Hawaii for a master course in utilizing one’s time on earth to the fullest. They discuss why sacrificing what you love for success is never the right choice, and how having a full calendar can lead to an empty life. Richie gives advice on how to move from distraction to action, and reminds us to ask the question “What is the goal of the goal?” when making important decisions. Richie also opens up about some of his personal struggles and why he views grief as a tunnel and not a cave.
Ryan Berman 0:00
This is a show about facing fear, unlocking courage, and taking action.
Speaker 2 (Female) 0:05
Courage isn't necessarily a daunting thing.
Speaker 3 (Male) 0:07
It's going to give you more purpose, it's going to give you more drive.
Speaker 4 (Male) 0:10
It feels like making a courageous decision is going to get you closer to who you aspire to be.
Ryan Berman 0:14
It’s knowledge, plus faith, plus action equals courage.
Richie Norton 0:18
When you sacrifice what you love for success, you get neither. “Oh, I'm working so hard for my family, but I'm never around them.” We've been told this story that if you work really hard till you’re 65, and retired, we've been told this lie that one day you will finally be able to do all the things you want.
(Intro Music 0:35-0:39)
Ryan Berman 0:40
Now, I'm not one to take my podcast and throw special effects in there, but if I was going to do that here, you’d hear…
Richie Norton 0:51
Ryan Berman 0:51
You would actually hear, like, “Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.” That would be the right way to start this and my guest knows why. We're joined today by podcaster, coach, consultant, speaker, and really what got me excited about this is author; Richie Norton. Richie, what's up, man? How's it going?
Richie Norton 1:12
Oh gosh. I'm just so excited to be here. It's going to be so much fun. Thanks for having me on. Life’s good. Life's good.
Ryan Berman 1:18
How could life not be good? You're in O‘ahu.
Richie Norton 1:20
Ryan Berman 1:22
You've been living in Hawaii for 20 years, which is a nice… What timezone are you on? Are you three hours? Two hours behind me, right?
Richie Norton 1:29
So yeah. So, the Hawaii time zone, it doesn't change for daylight saving. So, I'm always… When someone's on Pacific Standard Time like in California, they're either three hours or two hours. So, right now, we're two hours.
Ryan Berman 1:43
I like that. I like that about Hawaii. Good for you, Hawaii. Don't change who you are. Hawaii never changes what it is.
Richie Norton 1:50
Exactly. It's pretty cool, though, because I do a lot of work with people on the East Coast. So, it's either five or six hours different. So, in other words, when people are trying to get me up to talk to them at, let's say, what? Nine in the morning in their time, that's a three in the morning in my time, or whatever it is if I’m doing the math.
Ryan Berman 2:07
Oh, early. Yeah.
Richie Norton 2:08
It depends on if it's five or six hours. And so, that's why I'm always just like, “Hey, if we're going to chat, it's probably going to be 9 or 10 o'clock Hawaii time.” Because then, most of the times those can fit in there. Even when it's over in Europe, it'll be the opposite. It'll be P.M. over there, either 11 or 12 hours difference, but I'm like, “ You do your night, I'll do my morning.” I do stuff in Asia too. So, they're starting to wake up around this time, it’s a little early for them. But it's a sweet spot because I can be done with work by 11 or 12, and the rest of the world is also done or just getting started. So, it's this kind of a sweet spot for me to kind of get my work done at any point in time, but I choose to get in early so I can play for the rest of the day. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 2:49
Oh, yeah. And it's the price you pay, right? Maybe for sunshine. I'm in San Diego and my East Coast clients, okay, I have to wake up a little early not like you would have to, but by two o'clock, one o'clock, I kind of have my day, which is amazing. By the way, that's not the case with everybody. So, we're off to lunch and, like, “Thanks for playing.” But, it's kind of fun to… I always find borders and time zones. These are the most funny things to me. Borders, for me, are funny is because we're all people. This fictitious line that we're all defending… Everyone's trying to do the best they can, and this is not to knock our military for what they do, but borders, man, it's sort of just this thing and a fear, like, protecting this line that we said is ours versus yours. And then, time zones are also just sort of… So, I love hearing that Hawaii was like, “No, we're staying on this, we're not going to appease the rest of the world.” And I can tell you, the time zone that I've always been, it’s always been I call YST, which is You Standard Time. It's like, “Am I making the most of my time?” And I think that kind of brings us to your recent book which is called ‘Anti-Time Management.’ And the concept of, like, “Hey, wait a minute. Are you really doing the most with your time?” And I'd love to start there. You do a lot of things, why this topic? When were you like, “Wait a minute. Okay, this is a problem. People really are not great at time management,” enough to give two years of your life to study, get it right, and then, take it out to the world? Why this topic for you?
Richie Norton 4:32
Yes. And it took a lot longer than that, by the way. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 4:35
Richie Norton 4:36
To research and write it. But, even when I was a kid, growing up, I had an entrepreneurial dad, and he was always my coach in baseball, or basketball, or soccer, or whatever, even if he didn't play or know the sport as well as somebody else. And I remember, later in life, I asked him why he did it, and he said, “Well, it was a way to force myself to remember to put my kids first, and to be there, and to schedule my time around you guys.” Because when you're an entrepreneur, even when you're working whatever job you have, it can be all-consuming. And I remember as I got into college, and got married, and started having my own kids, and having my own dreams, my own ideas, I would meet with -- either by chance or on purpose, either at conferences or in little meetings, or introductions -- very wealthy people. And I was pretty lucky to meet them and even get a chance to ask certain questions. And I would always ask, no, I mean, always isn't the right word, but I hint around the idea -- sometimes I would just get really specific -- I would ask about work-life balance because I'm thinking, “You're wealthy, you're successful.” In my head, I’m thinking, “They should have all the time in the world,” and it was the opposite. I remember the wife… Her husband just passed away. They were billionaires with a capital B, there's not that many of them. And she was giving a talk, and I got to talk to her afterwards because I was also speaking. At this time, I'd already written a book, etc. And she said -- Look, no joke, flat out, I'm not disclosing anything she wouldn't disclose, “My husband was a terrible...” She would say, “Husband, father is never around.” (Laughs) And the guy made billions of dollars managing other people's time but not his own. Now look, if you don't want to have work-life freedom, if you don't want to have autonomy, if you don't want to be available for the people in your life, then you chose that. The challenge that I found is that most entrepreneurs I meet, or that work with me, they give up their life and their time for a new business to get more of their life and time, only to lose all of their life and time to that same business. And I learned something in writing this book, and I’ll explain to you more why wrote it, but I learned that you can't sacrifice what you love for success. When you sacrifice what you love for success, you get neither. This has to sink in deep to people who are listening. When you sacrifice what you love for success, you get neither. “Oh, I'm working so hard for my family but I'm never around them and they never know that I exist.” Wait a second, you mean you sacrificed your family so you can have more time with them? That makes zero, literal, zero sense. But we've been told this story for 200 years since the Industrial Revolution that if you work really hard till you’re 65, and retired -- which was an invention of corporations and governments wanting us to work longer and harder, by the way -- we've been told this lie that one day you'll finally be able to do all the things you want. So then, I started interviewing people in retirement, “Hey, how's it going?” Bored out of their minds, not healthy, spouse has passed away, don't have the money they thought they would have. They waited for a time where they'd have more time, more education, more experience, and more money, only to find out that when they finally got there 40 years later, they still didn't have enough time, enough education, enough experience, enough money. I'm like, “This is a joke. This is an actual joke. A lie. Maybe the biggest lie ever told.” So, when you start realizing people are spending… They're trying to get their time back through time management, you have to realize where did time management come from. (Laughs) And that's when I started researching. You find out this guy named Frederick Winslow Taylor who invented it. He called it scientific management. They call it time study, and you go, “Oh, actually, time management was specifically designed to control people.” It was specifically designed to measure every drop of blood, sweat, and tears from workers. It was never designed to give anyone their time back. Not once was it ever designed to give someone freedom of time, of personal space, of availability, of autonomy. No. So, it's not about controlling time, you can't control time. It's about who controls your time. And if you're an entrepreneur and you're the one that’s controlling, it's, “Why are you still using these old time management principles that give you zero flexibility?” So, I learned that a full calendar is an empty life.
Ryan Berman 9:40
Wow, that's a biggie. Okay. That's a biggie. And, first of all, the book is not a time management book, it's a life management book which I'm learning here as we talk. The idea that you kind of chop wood for 65 years, and then, a rainbow appears kind of…
Richie Norton 9:59
(Laughs) I like that.
Ryan Berman 10:00
It goes against what you're spouting here. I also wonder, again, this is where I wish I had video because of the heads nodding, how do you help people clearly prioritize the most important thing? Or, better said in the business world, when do you know you're having the wrong conversation? The non-right combo. I'll give an example. The amount of times I sat at my last creative agency around a table with really smart people talking about time utilization and going, “This is the wrong conversation.” We're looking at how much time people are spending on ideas. And if people are sitting around, why aren't they working more on something? By the way, I'm getting stressed out just talking about this. It's like, well, what's the right conversation that we should be having? Which is, are we making the most of the time we have? Are we fueling some company's soul? Again, the sole concept of time, I am fascinated by.
Richie Norton 11:03
Let me answer it directly, and I'll give some analogies, then I'll give some personal stories.
Ryan Berman 11:08
All right. Cool.
Richie Norton 11:10
So, first of all, the idea is to stop managing time and start prioritizing attention. Another question will be, well, am I paying attention to the right thing especially when everyone is distracted? I don't know a single person who doesn't say they're not distracted. And now, to the extreme distracted. And I think I'm okay with distractions, “What? You're okay with distractions?” Well, I think the idea will be to move from distraction to action. But, to answer your question, if you're working on projects that get results, you crowd out distractions because alongside distraction comes this ability for some people to be hyper-focused. This is a real thing. So, people go, “Well, what about a procrastinator?” No, think about it for real. Just for one second stop demonizing people and their gifts. No one's more productive than a procrastinator with an impending deadline.
Ryan Berman 12:00
Ryan Berman 12:01
They frickin move mountains, man. And if you just leverage that in a positive way, and you think about that, you go, “Some people can do some amazing things in a short amount of time.” And sure, it might take some time to get there, but they did it. So then, you go, “Well, how should we be…” Like, in these rooms with owners, and entrepreneurs, or executives, or producers, or creative directors, these people who are making something happen but through others. And they're wondering, “How do we manage their time, they're not getting things done?” There's a lot of things we can say about it, and I also would say that corporations are going to do what corporations are going to do. Because they're going to say, “ Elon Musk bring everybody back to work and everyone has to work really long and hard.” Corporations are going to do what corporations are going to do. You're not a corporation, you're a human being, and you get to decide if you're going to work inside that machine or not. So, stop blaming it on Elon Musk. Do your work, man. You know what I mean? Like, live your life, he's going to live his. That guy honestly has every choice in the world to do the things he does and he chooses the way he wants to do it. That is autonomy.
Ryan Berman 13:08
I think that's really what this is about, right? It’s about choice.
Richie Norton 13:09
It's about doing what you want. It's about choice.
Ryan Berman 13:14
It’s a choice.
Richie Norton 13:14
So, if you're okay grinding every day, and hustling every day, cool. But to answer your question, I would say it begins with a different question. What's the goal of the goal? Because when you realize the goal of the goal, you can start managing people, because you can start working with experts. Because, inherently, an expert will get it done, it's handled. If they don't, they're not an expert.
Ryan Berman 13:40
Well, by the way, the goal of the goal, what I love about that is… Let’s just extract, to me, the message is are you intentional about the choices that you're making? Like, for example, obviously… News flash, breaking news, this is going to be really shocking. I love courage. I love talking to people like you that are going for it. I want to work with people that want to stretch. The line between busy and bored, for me, is razor-thin. And I'm on the road twice a month now doing a keynote or workshop. That takes me away from my kids, and my family. And there's times when I'm like, “I can't wait till they’re a little bit older and they can come with me and see me in action.” Here's the thing, though, my intentionality is I hope that one of my kids chooses to live a courageous life. That's it. Go on an adventure and share back. Does that mean I'm not spending time with my kids as much? Because I’m like, “I got to go do it myself so I'm emulating behavior that they…” Just like your dad made a choice to coach you guys and make that… My family's still my priority, I'm just making the leap that they're watching what I'm doing, and then, hopefully, one of them goes, “Thumbs up,” although I'm sure the other one will then go, “Thumbs down.”
Richie Norton 14:53
Yes. No, no, it's true. And there's so many things to say about it. But to help answer that question even further, think about it this way. People value their values, but sometimes, their time doesn't show up like that. How you spend your time is how you show your love. Hands down. Period. Stop. It's the way it is. If you're showing up differently than your values, you don't actually value that thing in practice. In practice. So, the idea is to value your time, don't time your values. When people time their values, they say, “I'm doing this so that one day I can actually live this thing.” So, I wrote ‘The Power of Starting Something Stupid,’ which is a book about courage. And I wrote all these ways to figure out how to live your dream, so to speak, by following that stupid idea. I learned that it wasn't hard for someone to start a stupid idea and make money. Anyone can do that. I'm not oversimplifying, I'm just saying it's a matter of having something to sell you can. I had another billionaire from Asia told me, “If you can buy a hamburger for $1 and sell it for two, you can make money.”
Ryan Berman 16:09
You have a business.
Richie Norton 16:09
You know what I mean? So, if you work at something, you can figure it out. If you figure it out, you do. If you don't, you don't. There's stats out there that say nine out of 10 businesses fail. Okay, so start 10 of them. It’s like, you keep going until you figure it out. But the problem wasn't that people will become successful, meaning they're making money, or even that they even got all the things they wanted except for the one thing that they really wanted, which was more time. I work in venture capital, even the founders we talked to are full of crap. “I'm here to change the world.” No, you're not, you're here to make money. What would happen after you change the world and you make money? What would you do with your time?” “Oh, I would do all these things.” Let's start there. Those guys stay around a lot longer because now we're baking in their values from the start. Because if you bake a cake without sugar, you can't expect it to be sweet unless you're doing some keto thing and you're sprinkling in some other thing that tastes delicious, right?
Ryan Berman 17:06
Richie Norton 17:06
But the idea is, if you actually bake in the value of having more time, if you bake in the time you want to spend with your family… Let's move away from the word ‘time.’ If you bake in the travel that you want, if you bake in the exercise, if you bake in all these freedoms of choice from the start, they grow with you. People get really confused because all these things we're talking about are abstract. But if someone said, “I'm starting a business so I can make some money.” And I say, “And then what?” And they say, “It’s so I can travel the world with my family,” the only obvious thing to say would be, “If you're working in alignment, why don't you travel with your family now and build a business that supports it?” Because when you don't, and you lie to yourself that one day at you'll have an exit, and you'll get all this time back, what happens is you cement systems that disallow you from ever living the lifestyle that you want when you could have been better at scaling bigger, faster, and better by removing yourself from the equation as a bottleneck, building your value from the start and they grow. They go, “This is still so abstract, how do you do this?” If you want to be healthy in 10 years, 99% of the people will say -- this is a metaphor -- “I'm so excited to get healthy in 10 years. I can't wait to start my dream in 15 or 20 years to begin being healthy.” It’s like, health doesn't work that way and neither does time. If you want more time later, you need to figure out how to have more time now. If you want more time with your kids later, you need to figure out how to have time with them now. Especially when your kids are 13 and 15, and they're going to be gone in five years; 18 and 20. And you go, “Oh, dang, I lost the dream to the dream.”
Ryan Berman 18:55
Richie, one of the things I'm hearing is… I'm sort of combining, like, hey, if you want to travel the world with your kids, figure out the business that lets you do that with the Asian billionaire that's like, “If you could make a burger for $1 and sell it for two, you have a business.” Is that part of this? In the book, do you give practical tools? Because I love traveling, and, I'll tell you, my biggest fear in all the stuff that I do is always -- and, by the way, I do it anyway and here we are -- is I'm going to try something and I'm going to run out of money. I'm going to take my kids to Costa Rica, and I'm going to do my courage thing, but, at some point, I'm going to have to go back to that last life. And I have that conversation with myself all the time.
Richie Norton 19:41
So yes. In anti-time management, I go chapter by chapter helping you kind of build out exactly what you were asking earlier. What it is you really, really want, like a Spice Girl knows exactly what they really, really want. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 20:02
(Laughs) That would be the first Spice Girl [Inaudible 20:05] on the podcast. Well done.
Richie Norton 20:06
Step one; become a Spice Girl. (Laughs) But you figure that out. And yes, we talk about I have a whole chapter called ‘change how you’re paid, change your life.’ Because if you were to think about it practically, and logically, take all the emotion out for a second, your life revolves around how you are paid. And I don't mean whether it's a wire or a cheque, I mean it's the way they require you to work. If you are required to be in an office 9-5 or longer, your lifestyle revolves around that. If you have to live in Minnesota, your life revolves around the Minnesota lifestyle. Fact. It is what it is. And so, when you decide that I can work opposite, anywhere, and wherever I want, that's a very different lifestyle. So, when someone says, “Hey, I really want to make money then live my life.” “Oh, to do what?” “To go fly fishing whenever I want.” Then you can say, “Why don't you start fly fishing now?” (Laughs) “Work that into your current work, your new work.” “Well, I want to live in Montana.” “You don't have to live in New York to make millions of dollars. You can live in Montana and make millions of dollars now too, especially online.” So all these things come up, but the real reason I'm saying all these things is because, as you know, one day, out of nowhere, my brother-in-law who’s 21, he just didn't wake up. He passed away in his sleep. No reason. No reason. A few years later, my fourth son -- who I named Gavin after my brother-in-law, his name was Gavin -- he caught pertussis, also known as whooping cough. He was perfectly healthy, everything was fine. Catches this cough and dies. We have three foster kids that came and went. The love of our lives, we love them so much. It's a different pain because we had them for two years and we don't know where they are in the world. It’s a different pain than having someone pass away because we don't know if they're okay and they're still out there. We're always thinking of them. Shout out to them, I hope you know that we love you so much. My wife had a stroke and lost her memory. My son got hit by a car crossing the street with his bike, he should be dead. He was unrecognizable after he was hit, he was thrown into a ditch. He's okay now, he's out riding these big waves here in Hawaii. And I mentioned these horrible things because… I even start my book out this way about when, all of a sudden, I'm speaking in Tennessee somewhere, I'm in Nashville somewhere that some… I don't know, I'm helping this Zig Ziglar family with something. There's another program going on, I’m doing all kinds of stuff. And I get this text that says -- I'm going to paraphrase -- “A ballistic missile’s going to blow up your island.” It didn't say that, but it said that. And then, I'm like, “Yeah, right.” And then, it's like, “This is not a test. This is from the actual government.” It turns out that North Korea wasn't actually trying to blow up Hawaii, it was a mistake by someone pressing a weird button, but I got to hear my family say their goodbyes to me. Actually, they thought they were going to die within less than 30 minutes. So, when you have these experiences you realize -- and everyone has their own in their different way, and they're all playing in different ways, but you realize, “Oh, life really isn't about this new product launch, is it?”
Ryan Berman 23:38
Richie Norton 23:39
Life isn't even about this frickin stage I'm on right now. It's about them. And if you don't have family, or you don't care about family, or you don't have friends, you don't care about friends, you do care about something. People don't work for work's sake. They do not. Even the richest people in the world would be willing to give up their business for another business if it was the right opportunity. So, when you realize what you actually work for can be front and center instead of on the fringe, it changes the way you operate. So, I started thinking and asking a better question; how can I do this thing without this terrible thing happening? Without other people trying to tell me what to do? How can I do it by next Tuesday, by the next two years, by the next month? So now, all of a sudden, purpose becomes center instead of the fringe. You have a castle with a moat that protects it. Most people are working in a moat and never even approaching the castle. The sad thing is, it's on purpose. They literally do it on purpose. They think that's the way it has to be. That's what anti-time management is about, is that it doesn't have to be that way. It never did have to be that way. And now, you can do it different.
Ryan Berman 24:45
Can I ask you, are you a… Because you've had some shit happen. We all have different variations, but you've had a tough decade? Do you still have a path to a higher power? Do you feel connected, or do you feel not connected? Or what's your take on religion?
Richie Norton 25:12
Ryan Berman 25:13
Richie Norton 25:14
No, that’s a great question. There's a point where I thought, “Does God hate me? Why are all these terrible things happening one after another?” And then, I was walking on this beach near where I live, there was no one there. It was while my son was in the hospital, I had to come home to get something for him, and then, I was going back. And I was just going in a little walk, and I thought, “Does God hate me?” That's kind of a normal question. When things go bad, people start wondering about their faith in a higher power, and what's going on in the world, and why things are terrible. It makes sense. Then I thought, “You know what? None of these things actually happened to me, they happen to the people I love.” That is one thought. And then, I thought, “And they weren't connected. One didn't cause the other. They all just happened, I'm connecting them.” I just started thinking that way. And then, I went, “Sometimes we're just in a world where things happen. And I thought… I never really had this thought before. I thought, “Love God unconditionally.” And when I had that thought, it was like, “Oh.” And then, it freed me to be able to keep my faith, and then, go to work. Because most of us, when everything goes wrong, we blame mommy and daddy in the sky. (Laughs) And I don't know how that's faith when it goes up and down based on sign-seeking, or waiting on miracles. And I realized that sometimes the greatest miracle of faith is having faith when there's is no miracle. So yes, I still believe in a higher power. I still believe in God. I still believe our lives can be led. But even those who don't, what I learned is, grief is a tunnel not a cave. And I learned that I can assign meaning to what happens instead of waiting to understand what that meaning might be. Maybe there is no meaning. Even if I assign a positive meaning to it, even when I do that and it's still hard, but I can go, “Oh, I can live better, not bitter.” So, in many ways, whatever happens to us happens to us, but moving forward, not moving on -- I feel like it becomes a part of you in some way, shape, or form -- becomes kind of a habit of thinking, What can I do to live better because of it? Or for them, so to speak?
Ryan Berman 27:51
I'm going to have to go back and listen to this episode just to hear all the… I love, “Grief is not a cave, it's a tunnel,” “Moving forward, not moving on” You're my cup of tea with…
Richie Norton 28:04
Ryan Berman 28:03
But look, we are meaning making machines. I agree with you. I like how you said it about love God unconditionally. I believe in a higher power. I understand that my values allow me to be a meaning-making machine for the greater good. Optimism is my number one core value. Core values [Inaudible 28:30] on how the exceptional role. I'm very clear on my particular values and what drives me. To get back to this concept of, “Okay, what are you going to do with your time here? And don't wait for the rainbow; start now..” If you do pull the Ryan Berman string, I will say courage is regret insurance. And it's like; start now.
Richie Norton 28:54
Ryan Berman 28:54
Okay now, here's my question for you because you’ve kind of given a cap-tip to procrastination. And we've talked about shifting distraction into action. So, here's my question is, is visualization, and, or speculation procrastination, or distraction? Or is it what you need first to get to action?
Richie Norton 29:17
I've never thought about it that way. I think what you mean is someone can lay around dreaming all day.
Ryan Berman 29:24
Well, depends on the person.
Richie Norton 29:27
And they can tell themselves that's productive, or they can tell themselves they're procrastinating. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 29:32
Well, to me, because I've had partners that are… I'll always say, like, visualization without speculation is kind of a dream. And then, speculation without visualization is a nightmare.
Richie Norton 29:48
No, no, I agree with that. I don't know if I would think about it as… It’s ingredients of the cake. And whether you spend more time on one or the other, at some point, preparedness becomes over-preparedness. And, at some point, perfectionism will never become perfect. You'll become more perfect through proliferation. There's three kinds of ways to treat dots, so to speak. There's collect, there's connect, and I believe there's correct the dots. Some people are ever collecting and never connecting. And those who are connecting the dots are not correcting them when they have new input. So, I think there's a lot of different flavors, there's a lot of ways to do it, and there's a lot of ingredients. But I would say it this way; what's the job of the goal? The reason I say it that way is because people think that the goal is the goal. When they know inherently the goal is not the goal, they know that the goal is what happens after they are successful. They started this dumb thing -- and I use dumb on purpose because I wrote ‘The Power of Starting Something Stupid’ -- to do that thing from the start. But they're always two-stepping, 10-stepping, and never reaching it. So, I would say whether it's dreaming, whether it's being practical, whether it's vision, or speculation, whether it's real or not, I would actually move beyond all that. It's a terrible thing to say out loud because of a lot of my peers who are obsessed with these things, but goals, habits, and strengths are tools. They're not the goal. And we have entire legions of people bowing down to these modern-day bizarre philosophies that habit is everything to make you who you want to be. Sure, but is it? What is the wrong frickin habit? What if you traded a bad habit for another bad habit? We've made goals, habits, and strengths, ends unto themselves, when, in reality, they are meant to get us on purpose, intentionally, somewhere else. So, in anti-time management, we move beyond. It's essential to move beyond goals, habits, and strengths and into the land, at least in your mind, of where you really want to be. Because when you land there, the goals, habits, and strengths change. A goal from experience is a task. You've done it before, just do it again. A goal that is something you haven't done before is growth, and inherently, something you haven't done before you don't know how to do.
Ryan Berman 32:56
I think that sort of where people get scared. I think that's the one where people… That's what's causing the procrastination. And then, people are just spinning in their own heads, and they're not trying that.
Richie Norton 33:05
Yeah. Sometimes, all that kind of stuff. So people go, “How do you deal with this? How do you deal with this?” The thing is, you already do know how to do it because if someone says… Maybe you say the word alignment for a second, your life is already perfectly aligned with who you've become. You did all those things to become this person. And if you're not the person you wanted to be, you obviously are not in alignment with your future self. Things have to change. And the best way to change is not to randomly choose some new habit. People don't like their strengths anymore. If people liked what they were good at, there would be no such thing as a career change. There'd be no such thing as courage. Because if you like what you're good at, you keep doing that; great. But many people in careers do not like what they're good at anymore. They don't want to code anymore. They're done coding.
Ryan Berman 33:56
How long do you think it takes people to find their thing?
Richie Norton 33:59
It's instant. They already know what it is because it's not the thing they want to do, it’s the person they want to become, it’s the time they want to have, it’s the availability they need. People go, “Well, if it's not balanced..” Balance is a terrible word to discussing how someone should live because it's just not the right word. In actual physics, balance means motionless. It means it doesn't move. It means stale, stagnant. So, I like the word flexibility. It's not necessarily the perfect word, but a flexible life looks like three things: Autonomy, availability, and ability. And everything you do, you either have the choice to do it or not, or you have to ask somebody. You either can or you can't because you're available or you're not. You're either able to or not because you know how or not. I can go on a helicopter, but I can't pilot it; I'm not the pilot. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 35:01
Richie Norton 35:02
So, in everything in your life, there's things you can do or can't do. But the more you are able to be available, the more you can be in alignment.
Ryan Berman 35:10
I can only imagine the amount of time you spend to extract yourself out and study the world, be an observationalist, help people make sense of all of what they're going through. Can you give me… What was the backup title for the book ‘Anti-time management’? If there was a podium for second place or third place that you were sparring with, can you please share one of the other titles that you flirted with, and then, tell me why you pivoted off that title?
Richie Norton 35:40
It was going to be called ‘time tipping,’ which I put in the subtitle; the power of time tipping. But the whole idea was how to collapse time, how to make what you want to have happen in the future happen right now. And, time tipping, I thought was a good title. I still think it is, that's why it's in the subtitle. But the publisher honestly thought anti-time management was stronger instantly. When you kind of saw it and you go, “Oh, this is what this book is about.” I kind of wanted it to be a little more abstract than jarring, but I think it was a good choice because people, they laugh because, many people, they instantly know what I'm talking about. “Haha, you're right. Time management doesn’t work. What are you talking about?” And so, it's a good opener. But yeah, ‘time tipping’ would have been what it also would have been called. And the people that use these, I call them time tippers; that use these principles. And we treat time the way Marie Kondo treats closets. We decide what we love, what we're going to keep. We decide what's going to be magic and what's not. We decide what served us and what's not. And, in that sense, the idea is that you become the person you want to become before you become it. You do the thing you want to do before you think you can do it. I'm not talking about going into debt, it has nothing to do with that. It changes the way you work. If I say I will write a book, I will forever one day be wanting to write a book. The instant I say, “I'm an author and I'm writing a book,” or, “I'm working on a book project,” or, “I have a book,” or, “I have a title,” it changes not just the way I behave and think, it changes how I approach life and what I do. So, when an entrepreneur who once was an executive leaves their company to start a new business, and they say, “I want to start a gym” -- real story, by the way -- and I go, “Cool.” He's an accountant, and he goes, “Okay, how's this going to work?” And he says, “Well, I'm going to need two gyms and it's going to take five years. I'm going to make all this money,” and I say, “Who's going to open the doors in the morning?” Because his goal is to get his freedom of time back because he didn't have it anymore. He was making 250 grand at his work. He was sick of it, and ready to do something else. And he said that he would because he was self-described as a micromanager. And I go, “You're not going to hire someone?” “No, no, no, I got to do it myself.” “Okay, cool. What do you want to do after the five years of working on this business?” “Oh, my family. I want to live in Italy two months out of the year.” That was the dream. And I'm thinking in my head, ‘Bro, go to Italy right now. What are you talking about? You could go right now.”
Ryan Berman 38:21
Start the gym there.
Richie Norton 38:22
And I go, “How old are your kids?” This is why I mentioned earlier, “13 and 15.” I go, “Okay, Mr. Accountant math man. I don't mean to be rude here, but doesn't that mean your kids will be frickin 18 and 20 by the time you're ready?” And that's when it sunk in. So, when you put your values first, it changes the way you operate. It doesn't mean he can't have a gym, it just might mean he needs to hire an operator. “Oh, I don't have money for that.” “Okay, fair enough. Maybe you can do the kind where they slip in the car 24/7 and no one has to be there. Maybe you can do it online.” The choices, the goals, that habits, and strengths can change based on the actual -- what Aristotle called -- final cause. An acorn becomes an oak tree, stop planting sunflower seeds even though sunflowers are cool if you want an oak tree; you'll never have one. You never will. And that's what happens when you talk to people in retirement, they look back and they go, “I planted the wrong seeds my whole life. I thought it would get me somewhere, it never did.” I'm going to sell my sunflower farm to eventually have this dream of living on the beach in Hawaii. Just go to Hawaii. It’s probably smarter and you’ll probably make more money if that's the dream. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 39:44
Well, Richie, you're living proof. You are in Hawaii. You're doing it from there. You're designing your life. You're trying to have it all, and it seems like you're doing it. Take us home here, if there's… Obviously, first of all, where can people find ‘Ante-time management? Is this on Amazon? Or is this audible?
Richie Norton 40:02
Yeah. It's probably in your local Barnes & Noble store, grab a physical copy there. You can get it on Amazon, obviously, easily. You can go to richienorton.com and my website richienorton.com/time. I have a free step-by-step guide to help you work through these things that are a companion to the book. At the end of the day, it just bothers me, to be honest, when people lie to themselves and they say they're working… We do it all the time. A lot of us are really hard-working people who care a lot about our family, and our friends, and our time, and we care about our work. Working hard is a high, it feels good, man. You don't want to stop when you like what you do. It's just, I don't like it when we lie to ourselves and say that one thing will lead to another when it never will. Getting in alignment really is a practice of doing it now, and then, finding a way to support it instead of working endlessly toward it.
Ryan Berman 41:01
Love it, Richie. Hey, thank you for giving us some of your time. And let's make sure you and I stay in touch.
Richie Norton 41:08
Yeah, for sure.
Ryan Berman 41:08
If I was going to rebrand the book, I probably would have just called it, “Just start already’
Richie Norton 41:14
Just start already.
Ryan Berman 41:14
Jeez, just start already. But I love the time tippers concept, by the way.
Richie Norton 41:19
Yeah, you're going to love it. The whole framework is very organic and based on what you want. Purpose, project, priorities, payments, prolifics. And, by doing that, it is the actual opposite of the way most people think. They start with payments, how they're going to get paid, and their life is a default. Flip that around because you can. It's not even hard, it's just a way of thinking. Anyone can do this. It's like learning how to ride a bike, man. Time tipping is a learnable skill. (Laughs)
Ryan Berman 41:56
Love it. Thank you, Richie. Everybody, give yourself permission to flip it. Find Richie. Go check out richienorton.com/time. And you and I aren’t done, my friend. Be good.
Richie Norton 42:07
Thank you, brother. I appreciate it.
Ryan Berman 42:11
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the courageous podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don't forget to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts so that more people can find us. See you again next week.
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