Most ultra successful people suck at relationships. Look no further than Johnny Depp, Elon Musk, or Will Smith. Despite their riches, their relationships are either deeply troubled or in shambles.
Because of a trap many achievers fall into. Achievers dedicate decades of their lives sacrificing their weekends, relationships, and happiness for success.
And you know what?
Once they achieve massive success, they realize that’s not what their soul was searching for.
In this episode, you’ll discover how to have success without sacrificing everything else that brings you joy and love.
Show highlights include:
- The “Rainbow Trap” achievers fall into, which gives you financial success at the cost of sabotaging your relationships (2:54)
- How getting good grades in school can repel women instead of attract them (4:10)
- The insidious way only relying on your romantic partner for love, intimacy, and connection leads to soul-crushing breakups (6:20)
- How to experience immense love and joy from the mundane things in your life (even if you don’t have career or dating success) (10:42)
- Why Will Smith and Johnny Depp are in traumatic relationships despite their success (and how to prevent attracting deranged women in your life) (17:26)
- How to overwhelm yourself with happiness by acting like a baby (24:38)
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. This episode is all about why it’s so hard for successful people to find love and fulfillment and lasting happiness in their lives, and, especially, to find relationship success. Why is it so difficult for successful people to succeed in relationships?
Even if you don’t think of yourself as successful right now, if you are driving for success, if you are trying to find your self-worth or happiness or meaning in life by being successful, by achieving success, then you’ve really got to pay attention to what we’re covering here in this episode. [01:05.3]
If you pay close attention to what I cover here in this episode and you understand it and implement it, then it’s like, and I’m going to stay with this analogy, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—and by “pot of gold” here, I’m referring to all the good stuff that you are really hoping you’ll get as a result of all of this achievement and the success.
Success in itself, you might think it’s a reward in itself, but you wouldn’t work this hard or obsess about it if that was it, if there was no other reward, and outsized success at the top, top levels requires a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes you lose the forest for the trees. Mixing analogies here, mixing metaphors; we’re going to stay with the pot of gold and the rainbow.
The pot of gold at the end are the emotions that you hope to experience, the love, the connection, the sense of worthiness, the sense of significance, the sense that you’re finally enough, you’ve finally arrived, a sense of meaning, a sense that you are worthy of love, the feeling that you are finally important, somebody in the eyes of those that you value. [02:16.3]
If that’s too deep, then it’s just a sense that you can rest, that, finally, after all this hard work, you’ve finally earned your retirement or your rest. You probably wouldn’t put it as retirement, but you’ve earned your vacation. You can finally sit on a beach and do whatever you want. You can finally just relax, and that latter feeling of just relaxing and going on vacation, it’s especially the case for those in their twenties, who are just, ironically, starting the process of mastering something and sacrificing to achieve outsized success.
So, don’t lose sight of that pot of gold, because what normally happens is that, as you’re striving for success, achievers end up mistaking the rainbow for the gold. They get sidetracked, distracted, obsessed with, tempted by, attracted to the rainbow, the shiny, the bright shiny object. They’re just so focused on the rainbow, which is supposed to just take them there. [03:17.4]
It’s just the method, the conveyance method or conveyance vehicle, or the way that you are supposed to get to the pot of gold. It’s all about the pot of gold, but then they focus on this rainbow. They focus on the bright, shiny object, and that’s the trap that almost all achievers and all those who are super successful fall into.
They focus on the rainbow and that could be anything. That’s supposedly a sign of the pot of gold, and remember, here, the pot of gold are those emotions or the emotional states of love, fulfillment, a sense of meaning and purpose and significance and so on, the thing that you’ll get as a result of this success. But they just focus on the success. They focus on finding the rainbows, thinking that the rainbow will get them the pot of gold and that’s the promise, but they even forget the pot of gold and they just chase rainbows. [04:09.3]
The rainbows could be getting an A on the test. At the beginning, that’s not a big deal, but then the more you get focused on the grades instead of what you learn as a result or the sense of personal satisfaction from a job well done. The most common rainbow is money, just focusing on money and making more money and not stopping to ask what it’s for or what you are hoping that money would get you, and just focusing and getting lost on obsessing about losing decades of your life, just chasing the money.
Another rainbow could be supercars or some flashy watches or cars that you’re going to show off as a sign or symbol to others that you are successful and losing sight of the thing that you’re really hoping to get out of that, which, in the example I’ve just given, is a sense of significance or a sense of self-worth as a result. That’s the actual pot of gold, but they think that the rainbow will give it to them and they just lose sight of the gold at the end of the rainbow and just only focus on the rainbow and get lost in the rainbow. [05:15.5]
The same thing can apply to men trying to get better with women, not realizing what they’re hoping to get as a result of being better with women, and for a lot of guys, it’s not just the love and connection and intimacy that they’re hoping that they’ll experience in a loving relationship.
For a lot of guys, it’s a sense of significance and trying to reclaim their masculinity that they’re a man because they have this skill that they can attract women, and all of that is those feelings. That’s what you’re hoping to get as a result of developing these skills or as a result of getting these results with women. [05:57.2]
The results with women, in and of themselves, are not the pot of gold. That’s just the rainbow that gets you the feeling. This is super important because if you’re not aware of the difference between the pot of gold and the rainbow, then you’ll mistakenly think that the rainbow is the pot of gold.
Here to stay with that example of attracting women and getting into relationships, so many people mistakenly think that only a romantic partner can give them that love, intimacy, connection and fulfillment that they so desperately seek, and that’s the problem. They’re mistaking the rainbow for the gold, because now that you’re able to see that those are two separate things, then it makes a lot more sense when the therapist tells you and all of good couples counseling tells you that you are the one you’ve been waiting for, that you are the one you’ve been seeking. [06:55.3]
If you don’t understand that difference between the gold and the rainbow, then that statement wouldn’t make any sense, but it’s because you recognize that the thing that you’re looking for isn’t actually the partner, the romantic partner, it’s actually the feelings that you’re hoping to get as a result, the needs that you’re hoping to have met as a result. Once you can decouple those, then you can understand how you can get the pot of gold without the rainbow. There’s actually just the pot of gold just there, waiting for you to discover. You don’t need the rainbow to get to it.
And if you just chase rainbows, you’ll get lost and not find the pot of gold, or you’ll work yourself up and sacrifice decades of your life and your personal life to achieve some kind of success, and it might just be success with women, and then you get to it and you get to the end of the rainbow, and you’ll discover that after all that time and effort invested, there’s no pot of gold there, because all along, you have been the one you’ve been waiting for. You are the one and the only one who can consistently, over the long term, over the course of your life, meet your emotional needs for significance and love and connection, and intimacy and fulfillment, and give you meaning. [08:14.8]
This applies not just to the rainbow of your romantic partner or potential romantic partner, but also to the rainbow of success and achievement, hoping that if you can achieve enough success, then you’ll get to feel all of these things finally and get permission to rest, and that is the big trap. This is the bright shining object.
As I was writing the notes for this, I thought of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie, and now kind of dating myself. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If you’re too young, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but it’s a great movie. It’s a fun movie, and there’s a scene towards the end, spoiler alert, where the bad guy is forcing Indiana Jones and the female lead to point out to him the Holy Grail. [09:01.3]
They’re in this kind of cave and they’re in front of this knight who stayed alive for 700 years because he’s been drinking from the Holy Grail and the Holy Grail has kept him alive with basically the elixir of life. If you drink the water from the Holy Grail, you’ll be healed and it’ll give you a new life, but if you drink from any of the other cups in that cave, you will die. This bad guy is asking these archeologists, Indiana Jones and the female lead which is the Holy Grail, because he’s going to drink from it and get this elixir of life.
The female lead points out this bright, shiny, gold, beautiful chalice, this beautiful cup, and he picks it up and says, Yes, this must be it. It’s so beautiful and shiny, and I think it’s got jewels, or whatever. It’s like the big shiny object. He dips this chalice in the water and drinks from it, and shrivels up and dies in a kind of gross way, and it turns out that wasn’t the Holy Grail. [10:04.3]
Now that that guy is dead, Indiana Jones says, okay, the grail would’ve been a humble, plain, ordinary wooden cup that a carpenter would’ve used, in other words, Jesus—and, lo and behold, they found the simplest looking cup and it turned out to be the one. That turned out to be the Holy Grail and they were able to heal this father who was shot. Anyway, long story. Just giving you the end of the movie there.
That reminds me, that scenario reminds me of getting tempted by the bright shiny object, and I was using the rainbow as the analogy, but now we’ve moved to Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail, the bright shiny object and getting sidetracked by that and completely obsessed by that, and focusing on that and not realizing that the plain, the simple, the ordinary, the seemingly mundane can hold that pot of gold, that so many achievers get stuck in this trap of being tempted by the lie that you require a bright shiny rainbow to get you that pot of gold—the pot of gold being love, connection, intimacy, fulfillment, happiness, lasting happiness, significance, a sense of self-worth. [11:16.3]
You don’t actually need any success in worldly terms. You don’t even need dating success. That is to be able to walk into a room of 10 attractive women and attract them. I know that’s the aspiration of a lot of men who have found me on the internet in the past. Don’t make the mistake of that bad guy in the Indiana Jones movie and focus on the bright shiny object, thinking that will give you what you’re really looking for. [11:46.1]
It can be as simple as that. It can be, not always. It doesn’t have to be, but it can easily be found in the simple, the plain, the ordinary day-to-day life, that love, that sense of self-worth, of significance, of connection and intimacy and happiness, lasting happiness inside, not only does not require worldly success, but that worldly success often blocks you from experiencing or finding that pot of gold, all the good emotional stuff that you’re really after, that when you started striving for success, you were actually hoping was at the end of that journey of success.
I’ve got three points here. I’ve already started Point 1 and that’s about the sacrifices of success, and I’m talking about really outsized. I’m talking about top 1% success. I think that you can get to the top 10% in any given field just through passion and it’s because you really love it and you enjoy it, and that’s why you do it, that’s why you’re in this field or doing this activity or this sport or this art or whatever it is. That passion, that interest, has carried you through up to this point. [13:03.8]
I think, actually, if you’re talented, you can follow that to the top 10%, depending on the field and how competitive it is and what’s at stake, maybe the top 5%. Just to give you an idea for comparison, in the United States, in terms of income, the top 10% make around $200,000 a year and the top 5% is about $300,000 a year, and then the top 1% is around $500,000 a year, in terms of taxable income.
So, when I’m referring to outsized success, super success, I am not referring to the top 10% or even the top 5%. I think you can get there just on passion and talent, and be in flow a lot of the time that you’re doing the activity or the work so that it doesn’t even feel like work because you enjoy it so much. Then just through that, you don’t need to make a ton of personal sacrifice. You’re just sort of following your interests. But for really outsized success, 1% or 0.1% and 0.01%. [14:05.5]
I see plenty of guys and young guys quoting Elon Musk who is not anywhere near the top 1%—he’s 0.0001, the richest man in the world currently—or Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, and using them as models of what this 20-year-old, 25-year-old, 30-year-old should do with his life and just not realizing how much those people have had to sacrifice to get to that point, the level of obsession of sacrificing their personal life, their time with friends, their weekends, their fun time that they’re fully obsessed with it.
This is how they got in super-competitive fields to the very top, not even the top 1%, but the number one very best, or the numbers two, three, four, five, anywhere in that range. That level of success represents a tremendous amount of sacrifice. [15:01.6]
If you’re, let’s say, at the top 1%, I know plenty of people who are income-wise in the top 1%, and if you’re really more than the top 1%, you’re not even thinking in terms of income. You’re really thinking in terms of net worth and liquid or illiquid net worth or assets and so forth. At that level, you could get there through efforts and talent, a combination of those, and sacrifice five to 10 years of your life in terms of your personal life, because you don’t take a whole lot of days off and you don’t see your family very much in that period there in, whatever, your thirties, forties. You’ve just sort of put all in on the long-term game there and you called your way up to a CEO position. Totally see that.
Then there are those who sacrifice and are continuing to sacrifice their entire lives, and they’ve sacrificed their personal lives and understanding love and how intimate relationships work in order to achieve that worldly success as achievers. [16:06.5]
Then young people see that and they think that’s the way they fall into this trap that they were seduced into when they were younger of thinking, achieving, achievement will lead to love and a sense of significance and acceptance, and connection and all that good stuff, the pot of gold that I was talking about.
Then they look to the people who have achieved the most, the most successful, and they think that, man, they must experience the most love, the most connection, the most intimacy, whatever, right? They must have the biggest pot of gold in terms of these emotional goods. They’re just fed this lie where they fall into this trap of this lie and it’s a lie that this successful, I don’t think, are purposely purveying. They’re not trying to going out there and saying, Follow me, because I’m the way to find love.
But the average person who is a pleaser or an achiever gets sucked into this trap of thinking that’s the way to get it, success. Then they look towards none of those who have achieved a balanced level of success at the top 10% of their game or the top 5%, but those in the top 0.001%, not realizing how much they’ve sacrificed, especially in terms of their personal lives. [17:18.8]
I’m moving to the second point now and the reason I have or part of the reason I chose this topic was because I’ve been getting asked quite a bit to comment on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. Immediately, just memes popped up. It seemed like that was really overdone. I hadn’t finished the Will book, co-written by my friend, Mark Manson. I still haven’t finished it. It’s pretty big.
But in addition to that was and now there’s a lot of coverage of Johnny Depp’s court case with Amber Heard, and here are two great examples of incredibly successful men on many different fronts, not just successful monetarily, but also in many other ways, status, attractiveness and so on, and it seems like they have the conditions to be the happiest, right, because they’ve achieved all the success in all these different facets of their lives, and they’re really attractive and all that. [18:16.6]
You’d think the average achiever or pleaser who grew up that way thought or would think that there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to find that, the pot of gold, the love, happiness, fulfillment, meaning, connection and intimacy that should all come as a result of success. With all the money, that must come naturally, the babes.
I mean, this is like a warped version of Scarface, right? First you get the money. Then you get the power. Then you get the women. Then they just adapt the Scarface progression of money, power, women, to money, power, women, love, connection, intimacy, and when you put it that way, you really see how ridiculous that line of thought is, but it makes so much sense coming from an achiever or pleaser mindset. [19:00.8]
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I’d also like to bring to your attention a great profile that Neil Strauss wrote on Elon Musk, who currently and probably for a while is going to be the richest man, richest person in history, and this interview exposé profile that Neil Strauss wrote really dove into Elon Musk’s mess of a relationship life. [20:06.3]
And we grant that. In a way, as you read it, it kind of just makes sense because he must have sacrificed so much to reach this amount of success, as well as to have that kind of personality that would get to that point that would drive you there, and that’s a rare personality.
So many people, so many especially young men who have bought into the Scarface lie—should have just called that from the beginning, the Scarface lie of progression of get the money and then you’ll get the power and then you get the women, and then you’ll get the love and the connection and the intimacy, and the sense of self-worth and happiness, right?—they’ve bought into that lie and are wondering, Hey, this seems strange now. It seems noteworthy that these successful men would be having relationship trouble and that they’d be still white knights. [20:55.1]
I’ve done plenty of content on white knight syndrome, and I’ve just realized now I haven’t done that much free content, though, on the unholy pairing of the white night and the emotional vampire, though, in my “Rock Solid Relationships” course, I devote multiple modules to unpacking that and to help you and guide you through a process that’s emotional and speaking to your unconscious, the unconscious level, to help you get out of or free you from that and to help you avoid it, the unholy pairing. You’ll see that that’s the case in these examples.
I wanted to pause on the Johnny Depp example just because there are actual court transcripts that are coming out now, and things might develop more and more. I mean, I’m commenting on an active, ongoing court case, so I’m not going to say a whole lot except to point out just some things that Johnny Depp has said in his testimony on the stand, and one interesting thing that he said was abuse from his mother. He started to slowly realize, and he says this and I’m quoting him now that “You start to slowly realize that you are in a relationship with your mother, in a sense.” [22:02.1]
Wow, it seems like Johnny Depp has done that, what therapists call psychoeducation, education about his psychology, and has undergone some kind of psychoanalysis because that sounds spot on and that’s great. That’s a great step in the right direction.
That’s Point 2 I wanted to make. The first is just recognizing the sacrifices of really extreme success versus just following your passions and applying some degree of hard work, but not needing to sacrifice a whole lot of your personal life in other areas of life that are important to you if you were to stop and reflect. That’s sacrifices of extreme success, and the second point being, if you want to avoid that, start educating yourself seriously in your own psychology and engage in some kind of psychoanalysis.
The psychoanalysis, this is all the intellectual work, the cognitive work, and that’s a lot easier to do than the emotional work, but in my opinion, because it’s easier to do, you might as well do it. In a way, to me, it’s kind of fun for my intellectual parts to do it. It’s, in many ways, necessary for those who have strong intellectual parts in order to trust the emotional process that comes later. [23:13.6]
Something else that Johnny Depp has said under testimony is when the lawyer asked him, “Well, why didn’t you just leave? Why did you stick around? Why did you stay with Miss Heard, given this type of behavior that she was exhibiting?” and his response was, “I suppose, because my father stayed,” and that’s like he has done the analysis. It looks like he’s maybe got a good psychoanalytic therapist, and hopefully, he has done the emotional therapeutic work as well to go along with it and time will tell, but those are some really good spot-on answers, as succinct as it gets, from the psychoanalytic perspective. That’s awesome. That’s step two, psychoeducation and analysis. [23:59.5]
Step 3 is how do you avoid making a mess of your personal life and relationship life, and losing the pot of gold for the rainbow and buying into the Scarface lie of the money, the power, the women, then love and connection intimacy, and all the happiness and fulfillment, and meaning and joy, right? Hopefully, you see how disjointed those two are, those two halves of the equation are. How do you get out of that? And that’s Point 3. The therapeutic work. You have to do the work. You have to do the work.
Now, it’s an objection that I’ve heard applied to getting better at dating, but it applies here. It can apply here as well. Somebody might say, why is it so much work for us to be happy? Shouldn’t we, after all these millions of years of evolution, have evolved to be happy just naturally?
Two answers to that. First is we actually have, I think, evolved to be happy. If you look at a baby playing or a child playing, they are just naturally full of joy and in curiosity and so forth, but then they get themselves into all kinds of danger in trouble if you just leave them unattended. [25:05.8]
Then, of course, we get to the real world of having to find food and shelter, and then build up all of this civilization around us that for most of us is a kind of capitalistic system, so we’re going to have to contribute some sort of value in exchange for the money that will allow us to buy the food in the shelter and so forth. Now the innocent child who is full of play and adventure, and spontaneity and innocence and openness, is now forced to get on in society, in civilization, especially a capitalistic one. I know that one the best because I’ve spent most of my time in that one.
So, evolution actually is really about two main goals, replication and reproduction, and survival. That’s what our genes care most about, surviving long enough to replicate enough times, and that’s it. We’re not actually evolved for a happiness, unless our happiness and fulfillment and joy and all that helped contribute to our living longer or surviving and replicating. [26:10.4]
But notice that you could be a really powerful mean guy who is just brutal like a villain and have a lot of sex in your harem, or maybe you’re a rapist and you’re just going around like the stereotypical invader force and literally force yourself upon the women that you’ve conquered and so on, and there you go. From an evolutionary standpoint, that person who has raped a whole ton of women and then died at a young age at, I don’t know, 20 something, has actually succeeded more on the evolutionary goals of surviving long enough to replicate as many times as possible. Evolution is kind of brutal in that sense. [26:52.8]
Now, we’ve also been evolved—and this is a much bigger argument that would need to be unpacked I think for the average person because there’s already going to be resistance—I think the red in tooth and claw type of evolution, which I ascribed to until the past few years, was a lot easier to assent to I think because you can just look at nature being brutal, animals killing each other, eating each other and all that, and find many easy examples for that and find easy examples for evil and bad in the world, versus the other argument, which is that we’re also evolved for compassion and empathy because that was what undergirded our alliances that allowed us as human beings, homo sapiens, to rise to the top of the evolutionary heap on this planet.
Like I pointed out, children when they’re first born and then as they’re still children, you can observe that an infant playing is full of innocence. It’s when the world gets to them, when life gets to them, when parents lose their temper and patience and get to them that they begin to shape. We begin to get shaped in childhood in all kinds of ways that make it much harder for us to find lasting happiness and fulfillment, and joy and love. That’s why there are therapists because of how impossible it is for a child to stay innocent in a world that is a civilization that requires production of value in order to get the food and shelter. [28:15.5]
So, the third point is to do the therapeutic work, and if you’ve been following my podcast here for any length of time, I’ve already unpacked a whole bunch of ways of the therapeutic work, but I’m going to list out a whole bunch here that I include under therapeutic work. This includes parts work. That’s jargon from IFS therapy.
Under parts work would include any inner-child work, any shadow work. It seems like, in the masculinity coaching field, shadow work is really popular. It’s like a trigger, like “throw ‘shadow’ into the title and I’ll get more clicks.” But that’s a type of parts work, and in parts work, it’s really just identifying and discovering the various parts of ourselves, getting to know them, befriending them, building trust with them. Okay, so that’s parts work. [29:00.3]
Then another example of therapeutic work is the practice of accessing and maintaining and staying in the state of your higher self-practice of self. Okay, and that goes hand in hand with parts work, because the parts won’t relax and reveal themselves fully and all of that without more and more the presence of your higher self or your true self in IFS therapy’s parlance or jargon.
Another example of therapeutic work is grief work and there’s a lot of literature on grief work all the way from the ’70s and ’80s up until now, and grief work is about accessing and is involved with recognizing the toxic shame that’s driving all of our behaviors that lead to undesirable outcomes or feelings, and then grieving for the events that led to the toxic shame, and being able to feel with and be, to feel into and be with that grief and have it be okay, because we need to process that sadness, and there’s a whole process around it. There’s a whole process around processing our sadness and that’s grief work. [30:12.3]
Then there’s a process of unburdening that is letting go of the emotions and the beliefs that we concluded or we came to way back when in our childhood that have limited us now that are burdens to us now, being able to let go of those and see those events from a new perspective.
Then there’s the therapeutic work of integration, of integrating the various parts of ourselves once they’ve been or are unburdening. Then there’s the therapeutic work of developing our parts in ways that they enjoy and want to develop.
So, there’s a lot of therapeutic work. This can continue and ought to continue because it’s when you really do it and go into it at first, just like with any kind of new skill or new area of learning, it will be maybe kind of jarring, lots of confusion, because you’re still wrapping your mind around what’s going on, and then there will be this resistance. [31:08.1]
That’s why I and many of my clients enjoy doing the psychoeducation and analysis first to help those intellectual parts that might otherwise be resisting the grief work, for instance, of feeling into the sadness and being with the parts of ourselves that are holding so much sadness. Maybe at the beginning, they interpret that as “No, that shouldn’t be there and this is painful” and not realizing that if they just stopped resisting the grief work, for instance, the sadness, then it will actually feel very good, actually pumps you, when you cry and release the tears, full of dopamine and other good-feeling chemicals.
I just want to put the caveat out there that not all ultra-successful people are bad at relationships. Some have done the therapeutic work. Some have done the work, but that’s separate from whatever it was that they did to achieve their success. They, at some point, realized that if they wanted to have lasting happiness and have success in relationships, and have a life of love and connection and intimacy, they were going to have to work on that separately, and so they’ve done the work. [32:13.0]
Okay, so that’s the therapeutic work. Just to recap, the first point is about the sacrifices required to achieve extreme success, not just top 10% or top 5%, or even top 1%, but the extreme success that so many people, so many young people are focusing on and taking lessons from, not realizing the extreme degree of sacrifice and the type of odd or rare personality that leads to that kind of obsession to go to that level beyond me or passion, but well beyond that.
Then the second point being, starting from psychoeducation and analysis, and the third point being really committing to the therapeutic work of the parts work, the inner-child work, shadow work, the practice of accessing and staying in your higher self, the grief work, the unburdening, the integration, and the development. [33:07.7]
Now just noticing how so many really successful people have not done the therapeutic work because they’ve obsessed and focused completely on the worldly achievement, and not noticing all of the sacrifices that would necessarily have had to be made for them to achieve that.
Then this being pointing out mistaking the rainbow for the pot of gold that, actually, from the beginning, what you really are after is the love, the joy, the connection, the fulfillment, the meaning, and the lasting happiness. That’s the pot of gold, but everyone is fixated on the rainbows, chasing the bright shiny objects, like in the Indiana Jones example, and mistaking and thinking that it’s necessary to do all this achievement and get all this success in order to get this thing that is actually quite different, really different in kind. The gold is different in kind from the rainbow. [34:04.0]
In the Indiana Jones example of the humble wooden simple and plain ordinary cup, that can and actually will hold the elixir of life that you actually don’t need all of the bright, shiny objects to get that thing that you’re really after, because what you’re really after won’t come from any of those things you’re chasing, including that relationship or the partner, unless you are able to find it in yourself first. You are the one you’ve been waiting for. Your higher self and the love of your higher self and the presence of your higher self is actually the thing that you’re searching for.
That can only be uncovered for you and it will only make sense truly for you at the experiential level once you’ve been doing the therapeutic work, so commit to the therapeutic work. This is so important because even these super-successful people don’t realize this until quite late, so I raised the example of Will Smith, but also the kind of hopeful example of Johnny Depp as you can see from his testimony coming out at least the other end of this chapter of his life and this ordeal with an emotional vampire. [35:12.7]
Again, it’s an ongoing court case, so we’ll see what else the transcripts reveal, but that’s what I’m seeing right now as the recording of this and those are ones that people are talking about.
And it’s important to just realize that the Scarface formula doesn’t lead to the pot of gold. It’s not just money, power, women. It’s more like money, power, sex, and then it stops when that’s where it ends, and then from there you think, so many young people think, especially guys think that then it continues. It then goes to once you have the women, instead of seeing sex, instead of seeing sex and see women, and then they think also “Then I’ll have love and connection, and significance and self-worth, and fulfillment and happiness.” No, actually, if you went the money and power route, you’ve now actually prevented, in many cases, not always, but that makes it harder because you’re now focused on the wrong thing. [36:04.8]
Again, you could get to the 10%, top 5%, I just want to put that as a caveat, and still lead a balanced life and not have to make extreme sacrifices or have an obsessive personality or anything like that. But when we’re focused on and a lot of the young people are focused on the extreme, extreme top success, you’ve got to understand what comes with it, what sacrifices are required for that.
I’ve learned this all the hard way, not that I’ve achieved extreme success, though. I currently have the honor and privilege of working with people who have, but I luckily was at my– and again, it’s all relative, right? It’s about the time and effort you put into it and I’ve sacrificed a whole ton, and I also had wrong views about moral values. I mean, I’ve changed a lot in my views over the decades. [36:56.0]
But I’ve experienced all this the hard way, and so I’m not just commenting on celebrities that people are talking about, but I’m drawing also from my own experience personally, as well as the experience of clients and students that have shared with me. I’m trying to help you sidestep this trap, to avoid this trap of falling for the bright shining object and mistaking the rainbow for the pot of gold. You can get the pot of gold now separately by doing the therapeutic work.
You don’t want to get stuck devoting decades of your life, sacrificing your weekends, your relationships, your happiness, thinking that if you get that money and get that power or you get the shiny object, whatever those things are—maybe it’s a supercar. Maybe it’s a flashy watch. Maybe it’s the status of having your face in the cover of a magazine or something or top 30 under 30, whatever it is—thinking that achievement will give you and lead to lasting happiness, fulfillment, love, or connection, that pot of gold that doesn’t have to be and that actually really isn’t at the end of the rainbow that you’re chasing, and that’s a separate thing, that pot of gold. You can get that now because “you” are the one you’ve been searching for. [38:09.3]
If you invest in the time and effort, and make that commitment to the therapeutic work, you can get that pot of gold without needing to do all this achievement to get there. Okay, so that’s really the message and have been spending this whole podcast just elaborating on it.
Thank you so much for listening. If you like this, hit a rating on Apple Podcasts or share it with anyone that you think would like it. Hit like if you’re on the platform that’ll let you like it, and comment. Let me know, give me feedback on what you thought of this podcast, if it helped you in any way. Any kind of feedback you’ve got, I’d love to hear from you.
I look forward to welcoming you in the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out. [38:48.5]
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