Dr. Mark Goulston is one of the world’s foremost thought leaders of empathic listening. He has been: UCLA Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, FBI hostage negotiation trainer, advisor in the OJ Simpson Trial, owner of the Theory Y Executive Coaching, suicide prevention specialist for 25+ years (without losing anyone), author of the 7 bestselling books, especially “Just Listen” – Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.
Topics We Talked About
- The Benefits of Box Breathing & Simple Meditation Techniques
- How to Think Like Elon Musk & Steve Jobs
- What IDEO Chair Tim Brown Said About Their Approach to Product Innovation
- The World’s Top Communication Expert Teaches 3 Steps to Gain Trust
- How to Let an Idea Echo Inside Someone’s Mind
- Finding Your True Calling By Getting Pass 4 Things
- Make More Impact, Speak Into What People Are Listening For
- Ten Ten Ten Strategy To Make Better Decisions
- How to Inspire Employees, Transform Business With Theory Y
- Shame As a Powerful Motivator
- #1 Parenting Tip From the Leading Expert on Empathic Listening
- From 25+ Years of Suicide Prevention Expert, Surgical Empathy For COVID PTSDs
- Story Of Patient Courage From 25-Year Suicide Prevention Expert
- My Source of Love And Compassion For Others
- Men Who Give Solutions Get Into Couple Arguments More, Communication Expert Says
- Tech Platform to Lessen Pain & Suffering of Men at Scale
- Suicide Prevention Expert Helping Schools & Parents About Teen Suicides
- Doctor Warns Entrepreneurs of Adrenaline Addiction
- Doctor Provides Visualization Meditation to Heal Childhood Trauma
- Psychiatrist’s Interview With the Director of Weight of Gold, Brett Rapkin
- What You Do After the Dark Night of the Soul to Reestablish Baseline, Expert Says
- Small Act of Service Towards Homeless People
- Small Act of Service Through Email
- My Wake Up Call Podcast
- Everything Glitters That Isn’t Gold
- Dr. Mark’s Podcast Episode With the Director of The Weight of Gold
- Dr. Mark’s Podcast Episode With Colonel Chris Kolenda
- The Science of Smiling With Dr. Mark
The Benefits of Box Breathing & Simple Meditation Techniques – Mark Goulston
yes. CK led me through a, what was it called? Four count grounding exercise. Box breathing box breathing. I like to go along with things. And so here was the experience I had and why I should do it every day. And you should too, as I went through the box breathing, what I felt is I felt the three parts of my brains safely disengaging from each other.
And I closed my eyes and with the breathing, I could feel the thinking human part of my brain loosen from the feeling emotional part of my brain loosened from the survival part of my brain. So really what it was. I imagine a really tense Rubik’s cube. That’s all twisted together and you’re making it through life, but it’s twisted together.
And with that breathing, what happened is it allowed those three parts of my brain, the thinking, the feeling and the acting parts of my brain to organically just release from each other. And by the end of it, they reconfigured. So what was a way of safely letting go of control? Cause one of the challenges for many entrepreneurs is they have trouble letting go of control and unless you let go of control, you can’t create.
How to Think Like Elon Musk & Steve Jobs – Mark Goulston
I was recently speaking to a group of entrepreneurs and it’s about 15 in the room. We did it by zoom and there was one woman and I was there to speak about communication. Cause my book on listening did pretty well around the world. It became the top book.
I’m listening in the world. I spoke with a Nobel prize winner in Moscow, a guy named Daniel kahneman. He wrote a book called thinking fast and slow. no, that’s what they teed me up to be talk about communication entrepreneurs. But I listened, into the meeting before the break, before I was about to speak.
And as I listened in, I thought they don’t care about communication. They don’t care about listening. I go on a good day. I can be engaging. I’ve got some interesting stories, hostage, negotiation, suicide, so I can grab people’s attention. But I thought, what is really struck by was Jennifer and Jennifer was this amazing.
Young entrepreneur. And I could tell they all looked up to her and I looked up to her and so before the break I said, okay, we’re going on break. And it’s me afterwards. Here’s the choice. We can talk about communication after the break. And I’ll tell you how to become a better listener. But most of you are entrepreneurs.
You don’t really like to listen. you assign your P you assign your people issues to someone else because God loves them. People are messy. They’re just not that clear. Yeah. And so you like vision strategy? the problem is a bottleneck with execution. Cause you got to do it through people, until you replace them all.
So I’ll give you a choice. We can talk about communication. I’ll give you some tips or I can tell you how to think. Like Jennifer Elon Musk and Steve jobs. So let’s go on break. And when we come back, tell me what you want. So you can guess what they wanted, Would that lead up of course break was over.
They said, we want to think like Jennifer and meanwhile, Jennifer is looking at me like, who is this crazy guy? And I’ll say, here’s the difference between Jennifer and the rest of you? She sees the unknown as an adventure to be lived. The rest of you see the unknown as a danger to be avoided. And the reason she sees the unknown as an adventure to be lived is because that’s all, she’s been all her life.
And she believes that if she just goes out there things, opportunities, dots to connect will reveal themselves to her because they always have. I said, isn’t that true, Jennifer? And she looked at me and she said, how did you know these things? I said, is it true? She said, it’s absolutely true. And then she texted me and she said, you’re going to coach me.
So I’m coaching Jennifer. And in a couple months we’ve been working together.
So she has a home care company, one of the, one of the top home care companies. So in a couple of months we were working together. She bought a nursing school. She started a company called Ivy at your door because when you go into some of these, home care facilities, they’re not allowed to have IVs on their patients.
And with all of this, COVID, it’s a real struggle to take a, an elderly patient, take them to the emergency room. So she’s created a whole business called Ivy at your door where she takes vans and she brings them IVs. And, but I wanted to share that with you because there’s a lot to be learned.
And that’s how, by the way, Elon Musk and Steve jobs look at the world, they have a quality. that I learned from a mentor of mine. All of you are too young to know the name, Warren Bennis. If you look him up, he’s one of the top five people who ever lived, and he’s a thought leader in leadership and he died a bunch of years ago and, and he had this great quote that he often told me that came from a playwright named Saul bellow.
And the quote was be a first class noticer. Be a first class noticer because noticing is different than looking, watching, or seeing when you look, watch or see you’re an observer, but when you notice you just tune into it. Like I’m noticing that I’m looking into this camera lens. I’m not quite seeing CK, but I’m looking into the lens to see all of you.
What IDEO Chair Tim Brown Said About Their Approach to Product Innovation – Mark Goulston
I have a podcast called my wake up call and I talk to people about their purpose, their calling in life, and what matters most to them and how they came to develop that what were the wake up calls? So one of my favorite interviews is with Tim Brown. Tim Brown is the chair of idea. He was formally the CEO of for 20 years and I’m talking to him and he’s telling me about his background and he’s always been an engineer and like doing things. And I said, Tim, you’re a first class noticer you know what? You’re a first class. Noticer. In fact what you do at IDEO, does you attract people from all different fields, sociology, psychology engineering, and you basically tell them that IDEO university, God notice stuff you don’t notice. What’s frustrating. People maybe go up to them, find out what’s frustrating them.
Notice what they’re excited about. Go up to them and ask them, what are you so excited about? But that’s how I do it. Oh, trains, its people go out there and obviously you’re noticing something as a psychologist that would be different than noticing it as an engineer, but a good thing to do with your teams and yourself is, maybe in your meetings suggest to people that in your weekly meeting your zoom call. And by the way, this is going to wake up some of the zoom fatigue and you, and your roll call is to say, what is something that you noticed for the first time, since the last meeting?
The World’s Top Communication Expert Teaches 3 Steps to Gain Trust – Mark Goulston
for the longest time by my life was really about just the mind, everything else, the body, emotions, even spirituality, things like that. These are just Secondary tertiary. They don’t even exist. If you don’t mind speaking to a younger CK, Who don’t quite care about what you were pointing to the noticing, be a noticer. Why care about heightened our awareness to things beyond just the obvious, why care about emotionality communication? Why care about these things?
I will tell you, the reason to care about it is it will stretch your brain and you will actually have more influence in the world. So I’ve been fortunate, in that I’m seeing it. It’s just thought leader, my life, my wife would laugh at that. but I have connections with amazing CEOs and amazing companies.
And then I asked them, I said, why do you have conversations with me? And they say, Because every conversation we have, you bring up something that’s counterintuitive. So in other words, if you can develop these skills, which you do by thinking outside the box, you will be influential. People will want more of you.
They won’t treat you like a function. They won’t treat you like a plug and play. and what these people have said is you come up with something that’s counterintuitive, meaning I never would have thought of that I never would have thought of that. And you and it’s intuitively correct. Which means that could work.
1)I never would’ve thought of that. 2)And that could work. 3)Yeah. And then the third thing is, I think I can do that. So I think one of the ways I’ve gained influence is by just noticing things in all directions and in the, what I’ve noticed has started to come together. And what happens is when you with other people and they leave a conversation with you thinking to themselves, boy, I never would’ve thought of that.
That could work. I think, yeah, I can do it.
How to Let an Idea Echo Inside Someone’s Mind – Mark Goulston
Perfect. I’ll share a story. You mentioned I was involved in the OJ Simpson trial with the prosecution and this is how I got involved. I don’t usually talk about it because I was on the side of that lost, but how I got involved. Is I knew the da at the time who was Gil Garcetti, Gilgore said he was the district attorney.
His son is Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. and I knew him and I said, I don’t know that much about trials or juries, but if I was looking for a juror, it’s gonna be downtown Los Angeles, which is going to be largely African American. I would ask them, have you ever changed your mind about the way you felt about something?
Because if they didn’t change their mind about maybe an abusive dad, they’re not going to change their mind about OJ Simpson. And so you want people who are capable of changing their mind about something. And then I would ask them what made you change your mind? Was it facts. Was it emotion? I said, if it’s emotion, you better have a compelling emotional case.
It was fact of a convincing case. And he came back to me after speaking with Marcia Clark, who was the da. And he said we never would have thought of what you just said ever. As soon as you said it was obvious. We need to find people who are capable of changing their mind. And we need to find people, who changed their mind based on whatever.
And that’s when he said, you want to join us, can you be an observer? So during the trial, I was there probably 30 days and I would come in and I’d give them feedback. I’d fax them various things, that they wouldn’t have thought of. I’ll give you one thing that they used.
I thought, okay, the jury’s going into deliberation, so they’re leaving the court. So how do you influence the way a jury thinks when they’re no longer in front of you?
So one of the things I suggested, which they use and Marcia Clark used that in her closing argument, I said, make sure you play the tape of Nicole Brown Simpson, talking to the police that OJ Simpson was at her back door. I said, the way you influence someone that you’re no longer seeing in the courtroom is you haunt them.
It would be haunting is they’re hearing the voice of the person who was murdered naming the person that murdered them. I said, make sure that’s in the closing argument. because everybody’s heard everybody’s voices for too long and she put that in the closing argument, but can you see, that was counterintuitive.
Geez. We wouldn’t have thought of that. And we can do that.
Make More Impact, Speak Into What People Are Listening For – Mark Goulston
I’ll share something with you. yes, please. so what I spoke in Moscow, along with Daniel kahneman last October, I introduced my latest thinking on listing.
And the title of my talk was change everything, you know about communication. and I think if you practice what I’m about to say, this will change your life forever. So this is, I hope this is counter intuitive intuitively. Correct. And you can do it. what I said to the Russian audience.
I said to them, now they’re hearing me in Russian, I’m speaking in English. they don’t even hear my voice. They’re hearing voice (of interpreters) . And I said to them, cause it was a business audience managers and CEOs of organizations and companies.
And I said, you’re listening to me and I’m going to do this with you CK. We’re going to do it in real time. This thing to me. And if I give you a bunch of bullet points, that’s what I said to the Russian audience. And you’ll write down a few of the bullet points. You might try them. You’ll probably forget most of them.
And if I’m engaging and I have good stories, you’ll be entertained, but you’ll probably drop most of them. And, but if you’re listening to me and I give you a bunch of bullet points, we’ll have a nice transactional conversation.
And then I said, but if, instead of that, I focus on what you’re listening for from me. Instead of you focusing on your listing to me and me going rat tatata. If I focus on what you’re listening for and I get it right. And I deliver on it, you’ll give me everything. And I said, so imagine as I say to the Russian audience, so let me see if I get it right. And then I’m going to do this with you CK.
You’re gonna love it. I said to the audience, let me see if I get what you’re listening for. You’re managers and CEOs, first thing you’re listening for is you’re listening for something that can get you better measurable results, because your performance is based on measurable results.
And you’re listening for something that will get you better measurable results because of that happens you get a raise. Is that true? They go da.
Then I said, also listening for something that will get you those results. That’s less stressful. Than the way you’re doing it now. Cause the way you’re doing it now is stressful. You’re stressed. Your people are stressed, you’re eating too much or drinking too much. It’s a mess. So you’re listening for a way to get better results with less stressful. Is that true too? They go, da. It was a thousand in the audience.
And then I said, here’s the most important thing is you’re listening for something that is immediately doable by you where you don’t have to buy a book. I haven’t even written a book on this that there’s no course.
Cause you don’t even have the space in your head to take a course. And you’re listening for something that is immediately doable that will get you those better results. That’s less stressful.
And if I can deliver that today will have been worth all the time and money you spent to come here. Is that true? Da, how did you know that? But can you sense that CK, that I was, I focused on what they were listening for? Absolutely.
So here’s the example that if your viewers and listeners I’m going to do this on CK, so CK is asking me some, really good responsible, host-like questions. You’re already saying, can you answer this?
Can you answer that? And I’m answering some of them and he’s tolerating me and. I think it’s a pretty good conversation. And so if I focus on what you’re listening to, you give me a question. I answer them, but this is what you’re listening for. And tell me if this is different and it’s going to be tough.
Cause you’re an engineer. I got to pull you out of that left brain of yours. I think what you’re listening for is it’s really important to you that you bring value to your listeners and viewers. Absolutely. It’s a calling.
And what you’re listening for and looking for is something that they can use immediately that will make their lives better, make them more successful. maybe, something that will get them better, measurable results. That’s less stressful.
Something they can use immediately.
You’re also listening for. Whether you need to protect them from your guests because this is live and you can have some experts on written, all kinds of books. But they’re real stiff. They’re boring. And you’re thinking to yourself, we’re going live. Geez. I read the person’s book and the book is so much better than him or her. We got to get through this alive. Geez. I feel like I have to apologize for my viewers and say, look at his book as much better than he was. So you’re listening for also people that you want to protect your listeners and viewers from because you don’t want to waste their time. Absolutely. So did I get it right? that’s what you’re listening for.
Absolutely. And thank you so much for going a few layers deeper. And for me, one of my deepest commitment also is yes, we get to share with them actionable tactics, a way to think about the problems or their life, but really the underneath all of that is such that they can truly tap into their own purpose, such that they can go on and make the kind of difference that they want to make.
And so I think for me, what I love to also get that from you is tapping into that such that they get the energetic transmission, the mental models, the actionable tactics, but really get how they can go out and create the life that they love.
Finding Your True Calling By Getting Pass 4 Things – Mark Goulston
there’s a lot of entrepreneurs. I don’t know if you knew, know this fact and maybe we are listeners and viewers will, will verify this, but quarter of entrepreneurs have significant psychological issues. They have add, they have a little bit of bipolar thing when they feeling great. They feel on top of the world. When they feeling down, they feel like they’re doing, they’re being foolish. Maybe they should get a regular job and about a quarter of entrepreneurs are prone to anxiety and depression, and they became entrepreneurs to treat their anxiety and depression.
So in the meaning, when you’re an entrepreneur and we belong to a community, that your listeners or viewers probably don’t know about and something I find funny, but ironic, and you’ve heard this, there is the host of our community will say, he has a British accent. He said, this is a group of heart-felt entrepreneurs and we’re all un-hireable.
We’re all on hireable and everybody laughs and it’s true. But when you think that you’re unhireable and you couldn’t work for anyone and it’s great that you’re on an adventure now, but it wasn’t so great when you were young. Right when you were young, it’s like, why can’t you sit still, you’re different. What does that have to do with your homework? Where is this leading?
And so you can understand that maybe it’s higher than a quarter of entrepreneurs when they were kids. They, a lot of the people who will never be entrepreneurs would give them a hard time. The teachers would say, why do you have to be so rebellious? Why can’t you sit still? And so you can understand how, God bless all of you. if you suffered with that, then you made it into your teens, that you found a way to find your calling.
Here’s an exercise. I give people, I don’t know that it’ll apply to the people listening in, but this is a great exercise you can give your friends. I would like you to imagine that your personality is a circle. It’s a circle. And inside the circle are the parts of your personality that are trying to prove, show hide, or please.
Prove something, show something, hide something, or please someone. So imagine that’s in a circle.
And then I say to people, I’d like you now to take all of those outside the circle what’s left. And a lot of people will say nothing.
My whole personality is proving, showing, hiding a pleaser. And I think a good exercise. Maybe you want to do the block, the breathing exercise when you do this, but if you can imagine eliminating the parts of your personality that are trying to prove show hide to please, because when you’re doing that, you don’t belong to you.
You don’t belong to you. You belong to someone else who you try to prove show please some machinery. Yep. And if you can eliminate that. And go for a long walk.
You may discover a calling. That’s been calling out to you like the siren. You may discover something has been reaching out to you, your purpose, but you couldn’t hear it because you were so busy proving, showing, hiding, or pleasing.
Ten Ten Ten Strategy To Make Better Decisions – Mark Goulston
How to Inspire Employees, Transform Business With Theory Y – Mark Goulston
if you go to my LinkedIn profile, you’ll see that it says theory Y executive coaching theory, why executive coaching and what theory Y executive coaching is I coach people to be theory Y leaders. And again, something that all of you are too young to know about is once upon a time, there was a fella named Douglas McGregor.
And he wrote a book called the human side of enterprise. He was the pioneer of organizational development. Some people credit him with being the very first one and the human side of enterprise came out in 1960 and he talked about theory X and theory Y and he said, theory X is looking at people as if they’re lazy. As if you got to hit them with a stick to keep them motivated, because they’re not going to want to give you a good day’s work.
Theory Y was no people aren’t like that. You want to give him a carrot. You want to give them a chance to fully develop their potential and their skills and their amazing talents.
And if you can create a theory Y organization that doesn’t have fear as opportunity. And you make it the most amazing opportunity. those workers are going to reward you with something that’s a unicorn right now. And that unicorn is loyalty.
And so in theory Y coaching. And it’s interesting because some years ago companies would hire me and they would say, we’ve got a big revenue maker, or we’ve got someone who’s a genius, but they’re really difficult. They rubbed each other. they run over people. They’re so arrogant and, and we want to keep them because they make us a lot of money or they’re a genius, but we don’t want a, a harassment suit.
Collateral damage. We don’t want collateral damage. So can you work with them? And so I’d work with them and it was interesting. I went through an evolution with them because I would see them. And sometimes they’d be arrogant because they knew they had the company over a barrel. And I actually was reasonably effective with them because imagine meeting someone who’s really arrogant and they resent having to do this because they make so much money and whatever, or their boss told them to do it. They really don’t want to do it. You don’t want to do it.
So I would meet with them. And I would say, I’d say, I don’t think this is going to work. Say what I’d say. Yeah. I don’t think there’s going to work. probably better find another coach. And I’d say this even to their boss. So what do you mean?
I said I gotta root for the person I’m coaching. I got to look forward to seeing them. I can’t root for this person. Cause they’re a jerk it’s I don’t care how productive they are, that’s your problem. It’s not my problem and I’ve given every chance to be someone I could root for and, he failed everyone.
Sorry, I don’t think I can do it now. Sometimes that actually turned out to be really interesting because. That would challenge the person. Okay.
But what’s happen is as time has gone by, I don’t even want to deal with these people because the world is coming towards me because what’s happening is now companies don’t find me, CEOs, entrepreneurs who recognize that their interpersonal nontechnical skills and where to holding them back. They find me. Yeah. They come to me and they say, I’m pretty talented, after two divorces, after having a kid was on drugs, I think I’m an asshole.
They Be saying to me, these are my things. I need her. These are the clients who seek me out. got it. They say you, I think, they’ll tell me, I think I’ve outsmarted myself. You got lousy marriages. My kids have problems. Yeah. And I’m smart, but maybe it’s time to fix that.
So those people seek me out because they want to be theory Y leaders.
Shame As a Powerful Motivator – Mark Goulston
So quick question there. there’s the higher self, right? There’s the higher self, I desire to change my life, to be a more compassionate, more empathetic person. So let me request dr. Mark’s help. And then there’s the.
The habitual self, the lower self, the egoic self, the one that’s arrogant. And then it took him decades. they have that muscle there. So when you work with the quote unquote difficult, these type of people who is trying to make a change, but at the same time, the habitual self is pulling them back.
how do you ensure that they are living from their higher self.
I make a distinction between guilt and shame. I think shame is an incredible motivator. So guilt, you do something wrong. You make amends. Shame is when you do something or you fail to do something that’s out of alignment with who you want to be.
So shame is a, like I’ll give you an example, from my personal life, my kids are all grown and, as I have three kids and I was, especially close to my middle child because my oldest child was, close to mom and I used to go to every practice that my, middle child would go to.
and I try to be present because, I could feel that connection and, and at the time I was this therapist helping families and listening and, and empathic and all that. And, I needed to practice what I preach. And so it was one practice that I blew off. I had something to do and, and I said, I rationalize, it’s just a practice.
It’s not a game. And my wife called me and she said, ah, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when you come home. And I said, why? And she said, because our daughter, kept looking at you to come into the gymnasium and you never came. She kept staring at the door and you never came. And you told her you would.
So I do what a lot of dads did a, I went to some toys store and bought her a bribe. So I come home and there’s my daughter. And she was about seven and I go into her room and I looked at her and I said, I told you I would come to your practice and I didn’t come. I didn’t tell you the truth. And she’s looking at me a picture of seven year old, and you’ll see this. When you have kids, she’s going to do this. She’s fighting tears Mo and I could just see the love and disappointment in her face.
And I looked at her and I said, look at me. And she’s just crying like this. And I said, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m never going to tell you, I promise to do anything because I want you to believe that a promise from your dad you can count on. You can count on it 150%. So I’m never going to promise you things. What I will say at anything is I’ll say I’ll try and have a good track record, but I want you to realize that a promise from your dad, you can count on and I’m sorry.
And then I gave her the little doll. She still wouldn’t let me off the hook. Okay. And then the next morning, she goes to school and I go into her bedroom and there is the doll in the trashcan. So what I’m saying is now some people listening to this will say, why don’t you have him on, but that shame I felt That I disappointed someone who loved me so deeply. So trusted me.
#1 Parenting Tip From the Leading Expert on Empathic Listening – Mark Goulston
if you ever have kids, what you want to do is you want to immerse them when they’re young and something called basic trust. There was a psychologist named Eric Erickson, and he talked about the stages of psychosocial development.
And at the lowest level of our psychosocial development is either basic trust or basic mistrust. And look, parents aren’t perfect. But, when you have basic trust and you walk in the world, it’s a different view than when you have basic mistrust. When you have basic trust, like Jennifer, has you go where you’re looking, when you’re a basic mistrust, like the other entrepreneurs in that room, you look where you’re going. Meaning you’re cautious. Yeah, your worry in psychological safety is.
And I think it’s important that we base our kids in basic trust when they’re young, because, there’s a famous quote. It’s not that famous from Albert Einstein and I’m messing it up, but he said something like the most important decision you will ever make in life is whether the world is safe or dangerous.
From 25+ Years of Suicide Prevention Expert, Surgical Empathy For COVID PTSDs – Mark Goulston
something that you’ve done for over 25 years as a suicide interventionalist, Moments like that, the stake I would say is the highest, cause you literally intentional and trying to say someone’s life. If you’ve failed as a psychologist, as a spouse specialists, then they could take their life.
And then. You’ve been successful without losing any kind of life. I’m curious to know your point of view, when someone have, are going through that dark night, the soul with our loss, our hope, our all humanity of themselves, the environment, just the point of living, right? All of that gone. They don’t have anything to stand on. How do you persuade them in recontextualize such that they have that basic safety. Basic psychological safety tools to stay alive.
So after Anthony Bordain killed himself, I wrote a blog. You can find it. Why people kill themselves. It’s not depression.
So it got a lot, you got 500,000 views in it. A week because it’s a strange title. And what I talked about is hundreds of millions of people that are depressed, who don’t kill themselves. Hundreds of millions of people lose jobs, lose marriages. They don’t kill themselves. It may contribute to it.
But as a suicide prevention expert, one of the things I’ve observed that almost all of them have in common when they kill themselves is they have despair.
And if you break the word despair into D E S P A I R. It means desk pair on paired hope less without a future power, less without the power to get yourself out of it, help less worth less. Use less meaningless purposeless. And when they all line up. The last one is pointless and you pair with death to take the pain away.
You say easier path to good takes the pain away. He said, correct. So what I learned to do, and I was so fortunate is after I trained in psychiatry, I didn’t go work for an institution I was going to, but then it was a fellowship and it fell through. So I said, let me just, put out my shingle.
And, and one of my mentors was the pioneer in the field of suicide prevention. So he kept referring me suicidal patients. And so I was fortunate because if I worked in an institution. I would have to hold my clipboard between them and me and I’d say, how’s your sleep? How’s your medicine?
Have you had any of those suicidal thoughts, but because I’d have to report it to someone. And, but what I started to realize as I started to look into their eyes and what their eyes were telling me is you’re checking boxes. And I’m running out of time. So I had a choice, stop checking the boxes and see what I was seeing in their eyes and dive in.
So my view of this despair, it’s like an abscess, like a wound mental room in the dark night of the soul. If you know anything about wounds, you need to go in, you clean it out and you don’t sew up the wound. If you sew it up it may get reinfected may get something, but you do what you go in and you clean it out. You leave a drain in, and it heals from the inside out. We call that granulation.
So what I learned to do was go into the dark night of the soul and just stay with them there. Didn’t throw treatments or advice of them because many of these were multiple attempters.
And I would just find a way to listen into their eyes and I would go into the dark night of the soul and I’d keep them company there.
And when they felt by me, and feeling understood is nice. It’s better than feeling misunderstood, but when you feel felt. When you feel that your pain is worth someone getting there right next to you. So you’re not alone in it. People start to cry, they cry with relief and now if you’re just learning how to do this, and I have a new book coming out called why cope when you can heal.
healthcare heroes of COVID-19 can recover from PTSD. It’s coming out in the next couple of months and we introduce something called surgical empathy. I liked it.
And surgical empathy is literally going into where it hurts most in the dark night of the soul and not rushing them with a technique. So with the multiple suicide attempters that I’d seen, they’d already had all the techniques.
And again, if you’re depressed, you’re suicidal and I’m not currently in practice. I’m retired. Although I’m teaching counselors, teaching parents, I was the co-creator and moderator of a multi award. Honored documentary called stay alive, intimate conversation about suicide prevention, where I speak to Kevin Hines. He’s the fellow who jumped off the golden gate bridge and survived, and you can get it for free stayalivevideo.com.
And so the whole idea is that when you can listen in to the dark night of the soul and people feel felt by you, they start to cry and as they start to cry with relief, They start to calm down now for you techies.
I’ll give you a neuroscientific explanation for that. When people are really stressed or distressed something in your brain called your pituitary, sends a signal to your adrenal glands and your adrenal glands, push out cortisol. And high cortisol is basically a signal to your physical body. Let’s get ready to deal with this stress and that high cortisol then goes back and triggers a part of your brain called your amygdala.
And the amygdala is in your emotional brain. And what happens is it sends a signal to your amygdala. Let’s redirect the blood away from thinking to surviving. So blood preferentially goes away from your thinking upper human brain to your survival lower brain. Because in our primitive thing, we needed that lower brain because we had to, get the heck out of there.
We had to run, we had to flight flee fight, or freeze.
And what’s interesting is what counteracts high cortisol is. High oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. Okay. Yeah. And it’s what enables, young mothers to bond with their screaming babies. Screaming, babies are stressing them out. They’re sleep deprived, but there is so much oxytocin going on that they’re bonding to that baby and they don’t get angry.
They get tired. And so when you cause someone to feel felt they get a surge of oxytocin. The oxytocin counteracts the cortisol goes down. The amygdala goes down, blood flow goes back up into your upper brain. You can start to think again.
Story Of Patient Courage From 25-Year Suicide Prevention Expert – Mark Goulston
so I was dealing with someone who had been suicidal, and I was feeling his pain. And I said to him, after a long conversation, I said, why haven’t you done it? He said, why haven’t I done what I said killed yourself? You said what?
I said, yeah. Why haven’t you killed yourself? Because I just felt a little bit of your pain, just the tip of the iceberg. And if I felt all of your pain, I’m not sure I would survive. You’re stronger than me. I’m not sure I would’ve survived because I’m just feeling a little bit of how horrible the things are that you’ve lived through. and I said, so I don’t think I would’ve survived it. So I’m wondering why you haven’t killed yourself.
And he looked at me and he said, so you don’t think I’m weak or I’m crazy. I said you’re stronger than me. Crazy. I don’t think so. let’s see, I’m just getting a little taste of the pain you’ve been through. it’s intolerable. So I don’t think you’re crazy wanting a way out and you’re not weak.
You’re stronger than me. And so I’m validating, cause he’s feeling all this shame I’m weak and I’m crazy. So I look at him and I said, so why haven’t you killed yourself? And then he said, let me get this straight. You don’t think I’m weaker and crazy. I said, I’m not going to repeat it too many times.
You’re stronger than me. And I don’t think you’re crazy because the pain was awful. And I said, so why haven’t you done it? And then he smiled and he said, Because I was waiting to meet you.
I said what. He said, I was waiting to meet someone like you, who could tell me I wasn’t weak or crazy for wanting to get away from the pain.
I said, you’re not weak or crazy. And he says, you sure about that? I said, don’t push me. I said, wait a minute. And I took out a prescription pad. I said, I’m going to prescribe something for you. I write it down. I give it to them. I said, read it. And he reads the prescription and it says you are not weak or crazy.
I said, read this every time. You’re feeling suicidal. Okay.
and then he looked at him and, cause he’s crying through the whole thing, he’s just trying to cry because he’s being validated.
and then at the end of it, he’s smiling because, he felt less alone. He felt validated and they looked at me and he said, doc. He said, doc, you’re crazy. And I looked at him, I smiled. I said, no argument there.
My Source of Love And Compassion For Others – Mark Goulston
anyone who’s spent any more than five minutes actually feel it’s just how much you love human beings.
would you say you were born with this incredible capacity for love that you’re able to hold other people’s suffering. Or was it cultivated over time? what’s your response to my question.
there’s usually a backstory to these things. I got to tell you the backstory and then you’ll say, Oh, that explains it.
When I was in medical school, I dropped out of medical school twice and I think I had untreated depression. So the first time I dropped out. And I was highlighting every book because I could read stuff, but I couldn’t hold on to it. And I took a leave of absence and my brain and I worked in blue collar jobs and my brain came back I went back after a year and then within another semester it came back again.
And so I met with the Dean of the school who’s about fundraising and you lose money when someone drops out. No tuition doesn’t pay for that empty seat. So I met with the Dean of the school. Who’s about fundraising, and I don’t even remember the meeting, but he may have saved my life because he referred me to the Dean of students who cares about people.
And I get a call from the Dean of students. And he said, Mark, I have this letter from the Dean of the school. I think you should come in here. We should have a talk. And I was down and I had a mindset that said, if you can’t do anything, you’re not worth anything. You don’t deserve to be here if you can’t do anything. And I was. I was passing everything, but it was a low point.
So I go in there and he says here, read the letter. I read the letter and the letters from the Dean of the school. And it says, I’ve met with mr. Goulston. We talked about an different career and I’m advising the promotions committee that he be asked to withdraw.
What that means is they really couldn’t kick me out because I was somehow passing my courses. So they couldn’t kick me out, but they wanted to get me out because, I was a lost cause. And so I looked at the Dean of students and I said, what does this mean? And he said, you’ve been kicked up and I’m not a religious person, but maybe I’m spiritual because it was like a gunshot wound.
When he said that I went.
And I felt something wet on my cheek bones, and I thought I was bleeding. I just kept looking up like this and it was tears.
And I’ll tell you, I think it was a miracle because if he had said, if I can help you, give me a call. I don’t think I would have called him. I think I would have gone back to my apartment and I’m not sure if I’d still be here, but he didn’t say that.
So imagine you’re there and you feel useless and worthless because you can’t do anything. And what he said instead was, Mark, you didn’t screw up because you’re passing everything miraculously, but you are screwed up. But if you got unscrewed up, I think this was school would be glad they gave you a second chance.
I’m thinking what I mean, who’s he talking to? Because I’m useless, worthless. And then he said, imagine hearing this. He said, and even if you don’t get unscrewed up, even if you don’t become a doctor, even if you don’t do anything, the rest of your life, I’d be proud to know you because you have a streak of goodness in you that we don’t grade in medical school. And you have no idea how much the world needs that goodness. And you’re not going to know it til you’re 35, but you have to make it till you’re 35.
So I am just crying. he is pummeling me with compassion and then he says, and I couldn’t even look at him. I’m having trouble looking at you.
He says, look at me. And he points at me and he says, you deserve to be on this planet and you’re going to let me help you.
And so he arranged an appeal, and I had to make my case and I guess they saw something in me. but it flipped the switch. Cause there I was useless and worthless, but he reached in and didn’t let go. Plus, he stood up for me. He stood up against the school for me.
He was a PhD and this promotions committee were all medical doctors. He took them all on to say, I think we should give this guy another chance. So it flipped a switch in me, but essentially. Maybe that connects the dots CK, because that’s what I basically done as a suicide specialist, as I go in, I see some value in them and I say, you’re not going anywhere.
Men Who Give Solutions Get Into Couple Arguments More, Communication Expert Says – Mark Goulston
Now, women might say, what about us? Women can use their language. Women are able to use their words and feel, and if you don’t try and problem solve them, if you’re a guy which most guys do, women are expressing themselves because they want to feel felt, and they want to feel felt because they want to feel oxytocin because if they feel oxytocin, their cortisol is going to go down.
But if, when they share with you their feelings that they just want to have listened to. And you give them advice or solutions they don’t want, you’re going to increase their cortisol because what they’re really wanting is the oxytocin. They want to feel felt because when their oxytocin goes up, unfortunately doing that scares the heck out of most men.
But when their oxytocin goes up, without you making it worse by giving them advice, they don’t want, their cortisol goes down. They calmed down, they cry, they feel better
Tech Platform to Lessen Pain & Suffering of Men at Scale – Mark Goulston
You talk about purpose.
Yeah. How would you articulate yours?
there’s a story that I share. and it’s a story about Abraham Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln was going from one town to another town and he passed a horse that was stuck in a ditch and he drove by about a half a mile, and then he drove all the way back to the horse.
And the people in his group, when they got back there, they said, why’d you do that? And Abraham Lincoln said, I couldn’t get the pain of the horse out of my head. So that’s what happens to me is I can’t get the pain of the world out of my head. And I believe I was born to try to lessen it. And the pain is fear, hurt anger.
And, but what I want to do is, and if people want to help with this, I would love to start building a platform. In fact, I think I’m gonna be doing something. And if you haven’t heard of this, I hope you’ll check it out. CK. There’s something called tether.men. And it’s a group, it’s a peer to peer support group for men who are dealing with a lot of these things.
And I’m getting to know the cofounders real well. And what happened is they, they went on a retreat, a men’s retreat and they personally had breakthroughs. breakthroughs that alleviated some really dark thoughts. So they’re doing their best to bring it online in a digital community to create a community of peer to peer support for men.
Suicide Prevention Expert Helping Schools & Parents About Teen Suicides – Mark Goulston
here’s one of the difficulties I have because I do these shows and a listener or viewer will say. You could reach my son or daughter and I’m not, and I’m retired. and also, and what I tell people.
So I do, I cope present to EO and we’re hoping to do it to YPO a friend of mine’s 14 year old son killed himself two years ago. And Jason Reed. And if you look up Jason Reed, gold cast, He did a presentation to 15 male entrepreneurs about how he blew it with his 14 year old son killed himself.
So we’ve been doing presentations where he tells the story. And I talk about, here’s something you can try with your kid. And, but it’s still difficult for me because I say, look, I might be able to reach your kid empathically. I don’t know. I’m getting pretty old, but if I reach them, how can I reach them and then I can’t continue to see them. So the stage of my life, I can’t continue to see them. I’m retired status. And so I’ll help you as a parent. I’ll help you. These are some of the things you might say. But, but it’s painful. It’s painful because it’s, okay. Yeah. It’s tough to walk away and say, I might’ve been able to help that person.
Yeah. Yeah. You only do what you can do and I’d much rather. So if people are listening in and they find any of what we’re talking about relevant, and there’s been suicides in your high schools, your colleges, I’d be happy to do a zoom call, what I’ve discovered about preventing suicide and how to get through to people.
you can reach out to me and, as time permits that’s the other problem is I have so many things I’m working on. I don’t know that I have even time to breathe, but that saving lives is, Yeah. You talk about purpose.
Doctor Warns Entrepreneurs of Adrenaline Addiction – Mark Goulston
Most of the people are drawn to psychedelics and ayahuasca tend to be control freaks, and they do not know how to let go of control. what happens is when you take the drugs, you’re no longer under control. you’ve lost it, but that’s why you need someone. A facilitator or shaman to reassure you because, you’ll feel like, I think I’m going crazy.
This is a nightmare. I don’t think I’m ever going to come back and because they’re so experienced and basically what’s happening is it’s not getting past your ego. It’s that your brain and mind are misaligned.
Say more that,
think of it this way. Let’s say we start out in life, basic trust and we start out and we’re a perfect Rubik’s cube.
Just perfect. Every side is perfect, but then because of life and being abused, being criticized, being ignored. That rubric’s cube starts to twist and twist, and it’s not so clean anymore. And it keeps getting twisted and twisted, but then what happens? And this is especially true for entrepreneurs.
Yes, can’t get it back to that special shape, but B you discover something called an adrenaline rush. So when you’re under stress, your cortisol not only goes up, your adrenaline goes up, fight or flight, and adrenaline makes you feel superhuman. You feel powerful, but then what happens? And in my book, why cope when you can heal.
We talk about the adrenaline rush, being a case of fools, bold, not fool’s gold. Fool’s bold. Meaning that when you’re under the influence of an adrenaline rush, you feel super powerful. you felt you can do anything. You can stay up for days in a row, in a horrendous hospital, seeing death all around you, and you don’t know how you’re doing it because you’re running on adrenaline.
But then when the danger goes away and the thing that’s spring, the adrenaline rush goes away and the adrenaline goes away. The crash causes you to start to fall apart. So a lot of entrepreneurs are always pedal to the metal because they want to keep the adrenaline high.
They’re addicted to that high.
Yeah. Another reason they’re addicted to the adrenaline high is because adrenaline is similar to Adderall. High adrenaline equals equal similar to Adderall. And if you have add, when you’re on an adrenaline rush, you can stay really focused. That’s why a lot of extreme athletes had add his children, but boy, when they developed a skill as an extreme sport, they just focused.
But what happens is when the adrenaline rush goes away, Your mind starts to unravel.
Doctor Provides Visualization Meditation to Heal Childhood Trauma – Mark Goulston
I’m curious to know your opinion about the use of psychedelics ketamine. ayahuasca, psilocybin as a way to allow people to penetrate. Through the perception through the ego, right? The personalities to the core of who they are. Just a little bit more direct. Curious to know your thoughts on that.
it’s interesting. I do a visualization with people. If you go to my wake up, call podcasts. I’ve done it with a number of my guests. But if you look up Colonel Chris Kolenda, K O L E N D a I did on the podcast with him. It’s an audio. and what I do, and I’ve done this with a number of people, then maybe we’ll do this on a, another interview with you is I’ll have people go back to an awful time in their life.
And I’ll have them go back as an adult and meet that person who was traumatized. And then we facilitate a conversation with that person who was traumatized, feels, felt, and safe by you, this older adult. And you don’t tell that younger part of you that you’re them. What you do is you dive into something where they feel felt by you.
They start to express their fear, their horror, their terror. And then what happens is you reveal to them because they’re going to feel better, that younger part of you. And they’re going to think, so you’re going to leave, aren’t you. And that’s when you tell them I’m never leaving you because I’m, you. And you made it through this and you’re going to have a good life.
It’s going to be some bumps in the road. And then at the end of it, I have in the visualization, the adult you hug that younger you and imagine your DNA fusing together. Share that because I think what happened with psychedelics in ayahuasca and whatnot, it’s a similar kind of thing where those allow you to let go of control.
Psychiatrist’s Interview With the Director of Weight of Gold, Brett Rapkin – Mark Goulston
There’s actually a documentary called the weight of goal by Michael Phelps. And it talks about the suicidal tendencies of these Olympians.
it’s interesting you bring that up. If you’re listening to this, you can catch weight of gold.
On HBO, max, you can see a panel with Michael Phelps and the director, Brett Rapkin and they talk about making the movie and Michael Phelps. And the other athletes said they had add when they were kids. So imagine at add, they’re just frustrating everyone. And then they suddenly do develop a superpower.
And I, and if you go to my wake up call, I interviewed Brett Rapkin the director. So you go to my wakeup call, you’ll see that interview and not to leave it alone. I may be part of a series called the mediator with a fellow named Sean Collinson. And we did an episode called all that glitters is in gold.
It’s a video. And so I talk about what’s that like when you have the appeal of the gold medal, And it turns out you go from this frustrated and frustrating child, but won’t sit still to suddenly you have this superpower and not only do you have the superpower, Oh, your coaches love it because you’re gonna make them famous.
And sometimes your parents love it because you’re gonna make them famous. And then you give up everything in life to become this amazing athlete. And sometimes you don’t even get the gold medal, but even Michael Phelps, he got many gold medals. But then what happens is it goes away. The adrenaline rush goes away.
You realize I sacrificed my entire life to be this superhuman athlete. My coaches are not that interested in me because they’re interested in the younger athletes. So what they deal with is, I sacrificed everything to become this superhuman and amateur athletes make almost no money. You think they’re running in money.
They make almost nothing, but everyone thinks it’s so glorious to go to the Olympics. And then I think what they’re dealing with, which wasn’t didn’t happen in the film, but I’ve seen this with Olympic athletes. I have seen this with celebrities. I’ve seen this with rock stars, one of the most difficult things they have to deal with which can lead to being suicidal. That’s what they talk about in the film is they feel foolish for having sacrificed everything and they feel used by the coaches. They feel used by the Olympic committee. And so when you have a combination of look what I’ve sacrificed. And now the glory day is over. I didn’t even make money from it.
And all these people that I thought loved me were actually using me because it made them a star. Can you see how that can lead to, pretty self destructive thoughts? so that might be an interesting evening. If you can catch the weight of gold, listen to the Brett Rapkin. Interview on my wake up call and then catch our video.
I think it’s called everything glitters isn’t Gold.
What You Do After the Dark Night of the Soul to Reestablish Baseline, Expert Says – Mark Goulston
So I’m curious to know from your perspective, Mark, what could they do as a way to reestablish. Because their identity is being wiped out similar to the Olympians per se.
Then they’re going through this dark night of the soul, the trough of disillusionment, the crises whatever name you give it, what actionable tactics could they take on to reinvent their identity, such that they come out even stronger. So this is a blessing, not a curse.
there’s a, there’s an acronym cause I’d come up with these little abbreviations for people to remember. And it’s it’s called MAPR. I wish I could probably come up with another one. But what it stands for is every day. If you can do a meaningful activity that serves a purpose, it will give you a reason to get out of bed.
If you can come up with a meaningful activity that serves a purpose. It will give you a reason to get out of bed. It’ll give you a reason to live. So here’s an example. one of the things I used to do, I’ll also have a TEDx talk called what made you smile today and you can check it out. And I think it’s, I think it’s a pretty good talk, but, given the COVID thing, cause I started a mission called what made you smile today?
And the TEDx talk basically talks about. I speak about a friend of mine who had a drug addict daughter. And, he didn’t want to call her because she was always manipulating making excuses, but he felt, I’m making her worse, but I hate to speak to her cause he’s always manipulating me.
So instead he started texting her every day and he said, Hey honey, it’s dad. What made you smile today? And at first she started talking about, Oh, I thought you’d give me money. And he said, no. We’ve done the money thing, no money. And he just kept doing it every day, 5:00 PM. And after about six weeks, he gets a text back from her and she says, okay, dad, if you must know what made me smile today was knowing that you would text me.
he started to cry. and that turned the corner. He started crying because he realized we started to enjoy each other. And it wasn’t about being manipulated.
And a couple months later she was off drugs because she had felt like she was a burden and the plane is as long as she was a liar, she was a burden. And so she turned that around.
What I did after hearing that. And it’s a little challenging with people wearing masks, but what I did and let me see if I have any here. I have a thousand of these wristbands. And it says hashtag w M Y S T, which stands for what made you smile today? Hashtag w M Y S T.
And if you go to Instagram, we have a hashtag w M Y S T. And what I started doing is whenever I would see someone who served me a waiter or waitress TSA, I go up to them. I’d see their name tag and I’d say, Hey Joan, thank you. So I thank you. I thank them for serving me. Hey John, thank you. My name’s Mark.
I have a question for you and they look like this. I said, no. You’re not in trouble. Joan, what made you smile today? They pause. They think, and then they look and they have a huge smile. My kids, my dog, it’s a new day, the sun. and then I would give them two wristbands.
And I’d say you have a great smile. Here is one to remember to use it every day and give the other one to someone else, pay it forward. I love that. And, and actually you look up the nowhere, man, nowhere, man. Yeah. We’re two men in a startup in Manhattan. And if you look up nowhere men, the science of smiling for a week, they took the, what made you smile today challenge. And it’s a great segment and they video it and they go around the shopkeepers and they will nervous. They talked about Jeezy. I’m nervous, I’m here in New York, but it seems to whatever, and they did it for a week. And if you watch it changed their life and they get shopkeepers and a shopkeeper comes out and starts dancing with them.
Yeah. And there’s one, there’s this really just cute short, Hispanic. Fellow who’s shy. And they said, what made you smile today? any smiles like you made me smile today. And so the point is that was going to be in a, I may, we may revive it. That was going to be a mission. As I said, it’s all challenging because people wearing masks, but it’s an example of what to do.
Small Act of Service Towards Homeless People – Mark Goulston
Here’s something else you can do, but again, you might feel uncomfortable with it. I always carry a box of snacks with me, little snacks, peanuts, and I go over to homeless people. And sometimes you’re afraid to give homeless people money because you’re afraid they’re going to use it on drugs or alcohol and I’ll go up to them and I try not to scare them and I’ll say, Hey there, my name’s Mark. What’s your name?
They do have names, homeless people, they talk, they have names and the look now, so what made you smile today? Because that would just be insensitive, but I’ll give them a snack back. Now, some of them may not take it, it’s better than giving them money and worrying, they just going to buy alcohol or drugs.
I’d say, Joe, it’s good to meet you. here’s a little snack. I hope it helps you take care of yourself and see what happens when you do this. And people light up and you made someone else happier for a moment and you didn’t get anything from it in your bank account.
It actually helps you to feel worthwhile. It helps you to feel, I brought a little sunshine into the world and I’ll tell you, it takes very little.
Small Act of Service Through Email – Mark Goulston
And one of the other things I think I talk about in the TEDx talk is I get emails from all around the world and sometimes I just get too many, but I got one from a young man named a rule in India and he asked me something and I had a moment. I gave him a little advice. And and we’re not talking, we’re just typing. And I said a rule. I have a question for you. We got nervous. I said a rule. What made you smile today?
And he wrote back. He said, no one as famous as you has ever typed my name.
And so every day I go to the computer and I type what you typed, I type your name and I type, I touch your name and I touch fina. I’ll tell you it really got to me. And I thought, wow, that was so little that could have changed Arul’s life.