On this Flashback Friday episode, Jason Hartman talks to research scientist Heidi Grant Halvorson about human motivation and success. She shares the strategies and principles that people can use to succeed. Heidi also highlights that motivation and setting realistic goals are important and that what people do with their wealth is the essential factor for fulfillment and happiness.
This show is produced by the Hartman media company. For more information and links to all our great podcasts, visit Hartman media.com.
Jason Hartman 0:09
Hey, this is Jason Hartman, thank you so much for joining me. Do you know what day it is? Yes, it is flashback Friday, where you hear the best of the creating wealth show and you hear some good prior episodes, some good review. Remember, we’ve got almost 500 episodes out. And you know what? iTunes doesn’t even hold them all if you’re an iTunes listener, if you are listening on Stitcher, thank you for joining us. So we want to bring you some good review stuff. Now. What’s interesting about flashback Friday, it’s a little scary for me. I got to be very, very candid with you on that. Because you the listener, you get the chance to hold my feet to the fire. Did I make any predictions? Was I right? Was I wrong? I’ve been right about a lot of things, but I’ve been wrong about a few. So you can give me a hard time about that if you wish. But it’s flashback Friday, and we will give you the uncensored Best of the creating wealth show with a prior episode. So let’s dive in. Here we go. Remember, this is not current. It’s Flashback Friday.
Welcome to the creating wealth show with Jason Hartman. You’re about to learn a new slant on investing some exciting techniques and fresh new approaches to the world’s most historically proven asset class that will enable you to create more wealth and freedom than you ever thought possible. Jason is a genuine self made multi millionaire who’s actually been there and done it. He’s a successful investor, lender, developer, and entrepreneur whose own properties in 11 states had hundreds of tenants and been involved in thousands of real estate transactions. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to your financial independence day, you really can do it. And now here’s your host, Jason Hartman with the complete solution for real estate investors.
Jason Hartman 2:12
Thank you so much for joining me today. And thank you to all of you who joined us in St. Louis and St. Robert, over the last weekend just had a fantastic time. And again, it always amazes me how much I learned and how much my team learns from you, our listeners and our clients. So thank you again, so much for your contribution. And of course, your business. We very much appreciate that as well, of course. And yeah, it was a fantastic time we had the reception on Friday night people came from all over it was really nice seeing familiar faces and new faces as well. I think we had kind of a nice mix of both at this event and did the creating wealth seminar on Saturday, and then Sunday we toured St. Louis. And then Monday, the group went on without me but with a couple other team members of ours, Molly and Ari and Zach, our st. Robert specialist, and looked at St. Robert Missouri. And the feedback I got was just excellent. From that heard all of you had had a great time and we ate some barbecue and had some nice meals together. And it was just really, really great to see everybody and to do the creating wealth boot camp out there again. So look at the headlines before we get to our 10th show today at 10th meaning every 10th this is number 260 of course, where we talk about a non financial topic and we have Heidi grant Halverson today who’s going to talk about succeed how we can reach our goals and I think you’ll get some great insights from that. And of course, we’ve got a whole bunch of great shows coming up for you afterwards in the 260 era 261 and on and before we get to Heidi though, let’s just talk about a couple pieces of news. This one comes to us from Channel 13, which is in Indianapolis station. Eyewitness News. They’re in Indianapolis, Indiana, one of the markets we’ve done business in for many years, one of the markets I own in myself and you know we haven’t talked that much about this market lately because we’ve had so many other markets, frankly kind of overshadowing it a bit but it’s just a great market it’s nothing exciting goes on there. And that’s what’s great about it, you know it’s just really consistent, stayed steady, consistent market Indianapolis, and this article is entitled tight housing market puts Indy on the national rent spike list. It says Indianapolis food prices, gas prices. Now add rent to the list of essential oils that are on the rise. A national broker ranks Indianapolis as the city with the fifth highest spike and rent prices. A tight housing market is putting the squeeze on consumers for lease for rent, but for how much the answer is more than many renters expected. In quote in places I’ve lived, the rents have gone up anywhere from 25 to 30. $30 a month, said Carla Cuccinelli who has rented numerous apartments over the last decade. How bad is it? Internet real estate broker Trulia says rent increases in Indianapolis are among the highest in the country jumping in astounding 11% in one year. Did you hear that? jumping in astounding 11%. In one year, quote, people can’t buy houses like they used to, they are forced to rent, which means higher demand for renting. So little more can be squeezed out of the rents said Jeff Adler Dorfman, by the way, that’s one of the management companies we’ve used there, it looks as if renters will continue being squeezed, quote, in Indianapolis metropolitan area, I see rents moving somewhere in the two to 5% range. And by the way, that includes apartments, single family homes have gone up a lot more. So this is really, really exciting for us as landlords. And you know, Indianapolis is just an example. This is happening all over in markets that we represent in many, many places all around the nation. Remember, you’re listening to flashback Friday. Our new episodes are published every Monday and Wednesday. What a great time to be a landlord. And you know, on the last show me I wanted to kind of clarify some of my remarks on the last show, because I talk about it. But sometimes I go and listen to the show. And I’m thinking like, Did I really make that clear to people what I was talking about? And if you ever have questions about what I say, please question me post a comment on our website, or, or whatever, and fill out one of the remarks or and let us know, tell your investment counselors. Gosh, what did Jason mean by this when he was on the show? And we’ll be glad to answer it on a future show. We love to get our listeners or clients on the show. And we love to get listener questions and comments. So keep those coming. And you can submit them at Jason hartman.com. But one of the things I talked about was the W shaped recovery. On the last show, I talked about that. And I’ve talked about it on several prior shows. And what I mean by that is that it’s really not a recovery at all. It’s kind of a misstatement by even saying that, but the W shaped pattern that I think the economy will follow. So the first part of that, as I explained in the last episode, is the depression airy deflationary recession that we’ve been in for the past couple of years. The second part of that w which misleads people into thinking it’s a recovery and see, I don’t think we’re in a recovery at all. I just think it’s an illusion of recovery created by inflation, by all of this massive amount of money printing. And you know, remember the election campaign that ronald reagan used many years ago? It was this it was question, it said, Are you better off than you were four years ago? And the answer was no, you know, with Jimmy Carter, right. That was the impetus to elect Reagan as President, and great question for Obama is, are you better off than you were $5 trillion ago? And I bet the answer is No, you’re not. It’s given the illusion of a recovery a little bit here, a bit of an illusion of recovery. And we see housing markets, increasing in prices all over the country, some massive price increases, frankly, from the low point. But it’s not a recovery, because it’s going to inflict a lot of pain on people through inflation. So this looks like a recovery. It’s a massive recovery for people following my plan, using inflation and do step destruction, investing in commodities that have universal need, like rental housing, it’s a great recovery for them. But for the rest of people, it’s not a recovery at all. In fact, it’s going to be very, very painful. And no one could ever accuse me of being an optimist, right? I’m just a opportunist. So you might ask yourself, and this is a question I’ve been asked it, many of my seminars, live events over the years. Jason, you’re you’re rather pessimistic about things. You’re not an optimist. Well, if things are going to get so bad, then who will be around to rent my property from me? Things have got to be good enough for everybody else. Otherwise, I’m not going to have renters if they don’t have jobs, or if they don’t have high enough paying jobs, how are they going to rent my property? Well, the answer to that is this. And you might just envision this picture this in your mind, picture two ladders, and the ladders are moving, and they represent the socio economic ladder. And every one of us find ourselves on, you know, a different place on the socio economic ladder, right? Some are richer, summer, poor summer in the middle, okay. And that’s the ladder that’s existed throughout human history. Even in communist countries. They have very, very rich elite class that control and run everything. I mean, hey, communism is great. socialism is great for the people at the top running the show, right? It’s just not great for everybody else. So everybody’s in a different place on that ladder and Your tenants today, you’re renting a property and say and I’ll just pick Indianapolis just because I just mentioned it. But Indianapolis and Atlanta, those would be two markets, where we have really large, large homes that people rent, and our investors buy those properties. And they’re, they’re pretty spacious. Okay. So in Indianapolis or Atlanta, say, for example, you are renting, you own a property there, and you’re renting it to a tenant. And that property is just for sake of discussion, 2500 square feet, and it’s 2012. Now, as things progress, and as the quote unquote recovery occurs, which is not really a recovery at all, okay, but the illusion of a recovery keeps occurring, what these people will find, because they’re not following our plan, because they’re not listening to the creating wealth show, what they will find is that as time goes on, they become progressively poorer and poorer. And why is this because inflation destroys the value of what assets they have. So what assets do they have? Well, they have their income, their income will be debased, or, and it will decline in value through inflation, hopefully, they have some savings. But that savings will be attacked by inflation. If they own any stocks, bonds or mutual funds, well, those things will be attacked by inflation. And if they happen to own a property somewhere else, they’re renting this one from you. But maybe they own a property somewhere else that they don’t live in, they might be an investor, too. I’ve certainly had tenants over the years who own real estate in maybe another area or in property in the same area, but it’s not the one they happen to live in, and they rent from us. So if they have equity in that property, that equity is also attacked by inflation. And see, I’ve always said that I’ve always taught you that regardless of the amount of equity you have in a property, the property will still rent for the same amount of money, regardless of the equity, whether you own it free and clear, or you have it leveraged to the hilt, even if it’s underwater, and the loan to value ratio is 150% on the property, the property will rent for what its market value is also the value of the property will go up and down with the market regardless of the loan balance on the property. You see what I mean. So what happens here is the equity in the property is attacked by inflation. So my advice, once again, is constantly engaged in the activity of equity stripping as much as you can. Now is it better to have equity in a stock account or a savings account or in real estate? Well, it’s much better to have it in real estate, of course, because at least then you have income from the property, you have tax benefits from the property. And you control commodities that have absolute, unequivocal universal need housing. everybody on the planet needs food, clothing, and shelter, right. So let them rent that shelter from you. But if you are one of the fortunate people who can finance properties, then of course, you should finance them, if they have equity in them. Now, refinance them, pull the equity out, get control of that money, don’t spend it on worthless consumer goods that go down in value, spend it on the guns, not the butter, you know, the old guns and butter theory, the guns are the things that give you offensive capabilities in life, butter, that’s the appearances of wealth. Those are the things like new clothes, nice cars, expensive vacations, things that go down in value, those are the butter and you don’t want to be using the equity pulling equity out of your property to buy butter, you want to buy guns with that, okay, you want to make that equity work for you once you pull it out. So very important thing to think about their guns and butter theory, equity stripping, more on this in prior episodes, get my products at Jason hartman.com, the creating wealth seminar, the one that I did Saturday, I have a recorded version of that on the website. Very, very valuable. And I’d highly recommend, of course, that you listen to that very reasonably priced, too. And you know, another thing, I’m always getting these questions about asset protection. Now I’m not a lawyer, okay, and I cannot give legal advice, but I can share with you my own experience and my own experiences that I see a lot of clients putting the cart before the horse. I see a lot of people setting up these LLCs and all these entities when they could simply get a good insurance policy. And they have no idea of the kind of complexity they’re creating for themselves. Different bank accounts, separate tax returns for the new entity and the financing hassles. Very, very difficult to finance properties, residential properties under four units. When you use these entities like an LLC, okay, so be a little careful and really think twice about that. My recommendation is go listen in the members section at Jason Hartman, calm go listen to the interview I did with rich dad author Garrett Sutton, who wrote one of the Robert Kiyosaki books. It’s excellent. He explained so succinctly and so inexpensively, how you can do asset protection, and I am following his plan. It is right there for you to listen to, I think I did about an hour interview with him. And before you go spend thousands of dollars with one of these services that creates these entities or, or a lawyer, just get yourself some education, join, get the membership, there’s tons of other benefits, it’s $197 a year, probably the best money saving investment you’re ever going to make. Okay, before you fool around with all this other stuff. All right, I wanted to also share with you a listener wrote me and you know, I get these all the time, and I don’t feel it’s proper to spend the show’s time sharing them with you. But you know, once in a while I do. And I just want to thank our listener and client, Richard for sending this one in. And he did give me permission to use this on the air. And he just wrote me a nice little note it says hi, Jason. Thanks for the recent slew of great shows. And congratulations on breaking the 250 episode Mark really enjoyed Harry dent again, I personally don’t think he’s right about another crash coming. But who knows. I do like his deep analysis of the economy and like you worry about where things are headed. I remain optimistic and realistic. But in banking, and betting on real estate’s continued bright future, especially in the rental arena, I deeply share your enthusiasm for our investor market and I am trying to bring all of my family and friends into your cult, haha. I do credit you for my knowledge in this area. And without you, I might not have come to where I am today. One year ago, my wife and I owned one rental property. And now we own nine rental properties. With two more properties in escrow scheduled to close in the next two weeks. Our goal is to own 20 by yours in and I believe we will make it You are a true inspiration, Richard. Hey, Richard, I know you’re listening to this. So thank you so much. That was really kind. And I could have retired several years ago. And People sometimes ask me why I’m still working. One of my listeners, Joel, who lives in France asked me that just the other day. And first of all, folks, I don’t think retirement is really that good for people. I don’t think I’ll ever be too interested in retirement, even though I have financial independence and could retire. I wouldn’t want him. because number one, I feel like I’m making a difference in the world. I feel like I’m really providing a service. And thank you for thank all of you for your feedback in that respect. And gosh, you know, what else is there to do? I mean, this is fun, you know, I I love what I do. It’s, it’s just great to be in a position where you don’t need the business. But you can do the business. And you can really operate sort of at a higher level at a more principled level. I think when you when you don’t need the money, you know, everybody likes to make money. Sure, it’s all great. But some point you’re just doing it because it excites you because you’re interested because you’re on a mission. And that’s how I feel about it. So it’s a great place to be I wasn’t always there seven, eight years ago, I wasn’t in that position. But I’m thankful with my investments and my business that I am now john burns. You know, I’m talking about his stuff all the time. We got to have john back on the show, because some of the stuff he’s putting out lately is just fantastic. JOHN Byrne’s real estate consulting out with a newsletter, it says rental housing booms set to explode. Rental households comprise 34% of the housing stock and are growing at an incredible rate of 1.6 million per year. Well own households. In other words, owner occupied are actually declining in number. This is an incredible surge in rental demand. And he shows a graph here that’s very, very telling about the increase in rental housing demand from the year 2000 to 2015 short years, we went from 33 million up to 45 million. Now of course, that’s a projection but just between 2010 and 2015. The end part of it is already current. Of course, the projection for growth and rental housing demand is 8.2 million households. In our summary of the US housing market, he goes on to say below note that only 20% of renters live in large buildings 20 plus units and the remaining 80% of renters live in alternate types of housing. He says approximately 55% of new renters are renting single family homes. Did you hear that listeners because that’s what most of our clients are buying Approximately 55% of new renters are renting single family homes. Wow, that should be music terriers, shouldn’t it? Well, 45% are renting apartments. The single family rental business, which is already larger than the institutional quality apartment business is booming, unprecedented levels of distressed home sales at home price rent ratios, that are the lowest in decades is driving the boom. Eventually, most of these renters will become homeowners. But in the meantime, smart investors will take advantage of the temporary disconnect in the market. Single Family rental growth. Now there’s a chart here new household point 4 million owners displaced 3 million and multifamily moving into single family. So these are people moving from apartments into single family homes. 1.1 million, that’s 4.5 million growth in renters renting single family homes, folks, the opportunity we have now. It’s just unbelievable. It is stellar. Never in my many, many years in this business, have I seen so many of the stars align, so many of the factors align to be in our favor as investors. It’s a wonderful, wonderful time. And I know, I may sound like a salesman saying that, but I gotta say it because it’s true. And you know, if you’ve been listening to the last 260 episodes, you know, I didn’t always say it that way. And you know, I didn’t always cite all of these same factors that I’m citing now. The one I always cited pretty much was inflation induced at destruction. And for many years, that has been the case. But hey, check out our properties at Jason Hartman calm in the property section, Jason hartman.com slash properties, and our educational products and our members section. great opportunities for you. And we will be back on the next Show Episode Number 261 to talk about economics, and inflation, and income property investment directly. But remember, every 10th show we talk about a non financial life and Richmond topic. And for that, we have Heidi grant Halverson, which will be back with us in just a moment. Just a reminder, you’re listening to flashback Friday, our new episodes are published every Monday and every Wednesday. My pleasure to welcome Heidi grant Halverson to the show, She is the author of succeed how we can reach our goals. And unlike so many people talking about this subject out there, Heidi is a research scientist. So we’re going to hear about some real hard science today, and how it applies to motivation and how we can live more successful lives. Heidi, welcome. Oh, thank you so much. Pleasure to be here. Well, our pleasure to have you. So where are you located by the way,
Heidi Grant Halvorson 22:55
I spend my time sort of between New York City and eastern Pennsylvania.
Jason Hartman 23:00
Fantastic. Well, so you are a research scientist on the subject, the field of human motivation, what do you do every day? I mean, what do you understand what that would? What would? What would be your typical day?
Heidi Grant Halvorson 23:12
Well, you know, it’s typical day involves things like, you know, conducting conducting experiments, but what do I think different about the approach that I take to motivation from say, you know, a lot of the other kind of advice that you get out there from from people is that, you know, much of that advice is, is personal, right. So, someone who’s very successful says, This worked. For me, this didn’t work for me. So that’s my advice to you, the approach we take is really to take a step back and say, okay, sort of, objectively, let’s look at 100 people trying to lose 10 pounds, let’s look at 100 people trying to get a promotion. And, and and let’s look at what they do. And let’s look at who succeeds and who fails and try and figure out, you know, what, what the differences. And the differences usually have to do with things like the strategies they use to try to reach their goals. And so we’re able to identify, oh, that’s a strategy that works. And that’s a strategy that doesn’t, so we kind of take a ticket by taking a little bit of a step back, you kind of get a better sense of sort of what works for everybody, not just you know, sort of what works for one person, but what seems to be sort of principles that you can really kind of count on. And then you can apply those principles in your own life to be more successful. And one of the things that we find is that, you know, our intuitions about success and failure, and what makes someone successful or, or not, are tend to be really wrong. If you know, there are lots of areas in psychology, where kind of common sense tells you basically how something works. This is not one of them, you know, we we kind of have it, we feel like we know what makes someone successful. We feel like we know why we were successful sometimes and other times not. And many times our answers are are just wrong. And we know that by kind of again, taking the step back looking at hundreds and hundreds of people and seeing what what the success stories have in common and what the what the failure stories have in common and often they’re not the things that you would intuitively think, you know, are the reasons so it’s a different kind. approach, but what I like about it is it’s fairly, you know, it’s an evidence based approach. And so what I do, on most days is, you know, design studies to try to kind of isolate these things to try to say, you know, I wonder if this strategy would be a good strategy. And then you try to design a study that really tests that idea by by having people use that strategy and in the lab work in the classroom or in the workplace and see if it works for them.
Jason Hartman 25:21
So then your academic training, I mean, you were a professor or professor now wondering why
Heidi Grant Halvorson 25:26
I’ve been a professor. Now I’m actually at Columbia Business School. I’m the Associate Director of the motivation science center there. So I used to do a lot more teaching now, I’m mostly focused on doing research and then writing about, you know, part of a big part of what I do these days has to do with sort of taking what we learn in these experiments in these various studies and kind of translating them into English so that people can actually use them. So I spend a lot of my time these days, writing for different kinds of outlets, I write for the Harvard Business Review a lot, and Forbes trying to kind of get people to learn about this stuff. So they can use it to actually improve.
Jason Hartman 26:03
And I should also say you write for Fast Company, you blog for them, the Huffington Post Psychology Today, and you’re a regular contributor to the BBC World Service Business Daily. So that’s fantastic now, so is your academic background, then in psychology, or statistics, or
Heidi Grant Halvorson 26:22
if you have in psychology, we learn a fair amount about statistics just to be able to do our jobs. But my my PhD is in psychology, and my area of specialization is motivation. So I’ve always been interested in, in sort of questions having to do with, you know, why, why do some people when we, you know, when we, when you do something difficult, that’s really challenging? Why do some people, you know, withdraw, and they feel helpless in the face of difficulty, while other people sort of kind of dig deep and, you know, experience it as a challenge? And and then really kind of rise to the occasion and what, you know, how are those two kinds of people different from each other? The interesting thing is that you know, what you will, you will, you might think something like, oh, that maybe one is smarter than the other, it turns out not to be the case, IQ does not predict anything about how someone handles difficulty. So it tends to be these more sort of psychological variables, our beliefs about ability, the kinds of goals we set for ourselves, the mindset that you have, when you’re approaching a goal, the strategies, as I said, that you use when you’re trying to reach it that really actually spell out the difference between success and failure.
Jason Hartman 27:24
So before, you know, we’re going to drill down into this, Heidi, and let’s, I mean, I think before we start, we have to define success. And of course, that means something different to everybody. But the general Western idea of success, I think it would be fair to say is economic success, mostly in it’s the most visible, it’s the most quantifiable mode of success. But of course, there are many other definitions and areas of success. How do you define
Heidi Grant Halvorson 27:50
success? Well, in the work that that I do, and other people do in this area, we tend to define it sort of, in the eye of the beholder, it really doesn’t. In many cases, no matter what the kind of goal is that you’re pursuing, it just matters that you have a goal. And then we kind of figure out what works because it’s surprisingly, that the things that tend to work, trying to lose the strategies you would use trying to lose weight are often in many cases, the same strategies, motivational strategies, you would use trying to keep your finances in order or get along better with your spouse, or Remember to call your mother or whatever the whatever the goal is, you know, oftentimes, the same kinds of strategies are useful. Now, having said that, and you know, that success is very much, I think, personal, it has everything to do with being successful at the goals you choose. And there are going to be determined, of course, by your experiences and your values, I would say on top of that, there is really quite a bit of research showing that some goals are better than others, if by better, you mean better able to to give us sort of a lasting sense of well being and happiness, it turns out, accumulating money for the sake of accumulating more of it, fame, popularity, power, these kinds of goals, which are, by the way, the goals most of us pursue all the time, really, actually tend to not predict. I mean, everybody’s happy when they reach the goal, but they don’t necessarily predict lasting happiness, as well as goals that we kind of think of as ones that satisfy our sort of basic human needs. So things like feeling connected to other people, feeling competent, you know, being able to use your skills and to develop new ones. And feeling autonomous, which is kind of basically saying that you get to choose what you do. And your choices reflect who you are your values, your preferences, you know, they feel kind of like authentically you, when people do when people set goals that kind of get to those feelings of connectedness, feelings of competence, and feeling that they’re kind of doing things that are chosen because they speak to them personally. Those are the goals that when you reach them seem to lead to a much sort of deeper and longer lasting happiness. That’s not to say that the other goals aren’t good and of course, often it’s the case that you need to be concerned about making money. In order to maybe do some of these other things that you want to do that are kind of more, you know, so it’s, they’re interrelated, you know, sure they are they
Jason Hartman 30:07
are interrelated. That’s a very good point. So a couple comments on that. And let’s just talk about kind of the money thing first, for a minute here, because that is so visible unquantifiable. And in the Western world, most people have their basic needs met, they’re moving up Maslow’s hierarchy. And you know, they’ve got the basics taken care of Fortunately, I mean, thankfully, that, of course, is becoming maybe less true. Nowadays, in this time of economic hardship, where you’ve got, you know, you see tent cities around the US and homelessness rates, and so forth. But by and large, anybody listening to this show has their basic needs met, and they’re striving beyond that to move up that rung. And so money does create independence to some extent, and and that that feeling of being autonomous and being able to make one’s own choices in life is a freedom and that that creates a sense of well being and happiness, right? Absolutely. Now, some of the studies I’ve read about money, like whether prosperity really the old saying is, you know, Money can’t buy happiness. And I say to that, is it buys more happiness than poverty does.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 31:13
That is certainly true.
Jason Hartman 31:15
Yeah, it doesn’t solve problems, it just creates new sets of problems, and it maybe makes the stuff that’s less pleasant in life, you know, you can hire other people to do that stuff that you don’t want to do. So there is maybe some freedom and independence in that I
Heidi Grant Halvorson 31:29
think, I think I think you’re absolutely right, in that idea that you’ve mentioned before, that sort of having money frees you to make autonomous choices is I really think a big part of it. I mean, it’s it sort of becomes about what you do with it, you know, that the studies that look at the relationship between wealth and happiness, they do show that there is you’d have to get to a certain level before you’re not miserable, because obviously poverty is very bad, you know, but then sort of like what happens beyond that what happens beyond when my needs are met. And, and which is really the interesting space. Now what what the data seems to show is that there isn’t a really reliable relationship between what happens after the needs are met, so you’re accumulating more wealth, and you’re not necessarily happier. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people in that, you know, that’s on and on average. And I think that there are people in that, that are, in fact, happier, because they have more money, because of what they’re doing with it, that they are using that money in ways that allows them to, like I said, sort of satisfy these other needs satisfied, to be able to the freedom to make choices, the freedom to pursue the things that you find interesting in life, and, and rewarding the freedom to, to have time to be with people you want to have connections with. And there is, of course, a feeling of achievement, you know, that is really should, there’s something to be said for that to someone who is really excellent at what they do. That is also very satisfying, and very, and leads to greater well being. And so there’s a kind of a satisfaction there that’s less about the money and more than just as like, wow, I’m really good at this. And that feels really good. You know, so I do think that it’s too It’s too, it’s too simplistic to say money doesn’t buy you happiness. And it really is more about making wise choices about what that money affords you to do. And when people get too wrapped up in just making the money for the sake of making the money, and they’re not really
Jason Hartman 33:21
that doesn’t work.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 33:22
That’s when you’re gonna find people that aren’t happy. And that’s why you find sort of on average, people aren’t happier, because there’s a lot of people that kind of aren’t doing it, right.
Jason Hartman 33:30
Yeah. So the things I’ve read about that, you know, I remember reading a really interesting study maybe five, six years ago, and it talked about the prosperity issue. And it compared it talked about different countries, and then within the US, and there was a lot of stuff about this out at that time. Maybe it was one of your studies, who knows. But but it basically said that in the United States, and of course, this is for a person who’s into their 40s and older than that, probably, but in the United States, if you could put a number on it in terms of a net worth number, they came to the conclusion that the net worth number that really kind of quote buys unquote, you the ideal level of happiness, and it depends where you live. And expenses are unknown. If you live in New York City or California, this numbers got to be higher. But if you live in the Midwest, or the southeast, this number is going to be fine. Right? Here’s the number I bet everybody’s waiting with bated breath and away
Heidi Grant Halvorson 34:25
I want to hear
Jason Hartman 34:27
what is the number is it 1 million? Is it 10 million? It was about one and a half million dollar net worth 1.5. That would that was the number they came up with. And that was of course before real estate prices doubled.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 34:40
Right? So maybe that number needs to be adjusted. It went up and then now it’s back down a little bit. What are your thoughts on that? I do think it has a lot to do with the point at which people feel that they’re not worried anymore. Now of course what happens for people you know, there’s a there’s a keeping up with the Joneses thing that happens for a while you know if you get if you’re making 50 thousand dollars, and then suddenly you’re making $100,000 a year, you don’t necessarily feel twice as wealthy because your expenses generally go up too, right? You move into a nicer neighborhood, you buy a nicer car. And that happened for a while, and it keeps progressing. You know, there was an article in The New York Times is interesting not too long ago, that was very controversial about basically how rough it is for the ultra rich in New York, because they have such huge expenses. And you ended and they are staggering. I mean, if you if you think, because you have to have a house in the Hamptons, and you have to have any, if you look at all these costs, and but but there is that sensibility, right? That it sort of, and I, my guess is that somewhere around that point is where people are feeling like they can breathe, they really it’s not hard to keep up anymore, and they can maybe relax a little bit, you know that the there’s also a lot of research showing that your money, either the ideal way to kind of make people happy is to take money out of the equation sometimes. So in other words, you have Fitbit, in order to do that, you have to make the amount of money. So big, Dan pink talks about all this about whether you know, with motivating employees, that the idea about taking money out of the equation is basically pay them really, really well. And then money is no longer something they’re kind of worried about. And so you you open up all this mental space for creativity and innovation and, you know, really enjoying their jobs, because you kind of taken that out, which is usually something can people tend to kind of fret over. So you know, I think there is probably a wealth point at which people sort of, don’t worry quite so much. And that opens up space mentally for all these other things that really are kind of enriching. And that would be my guess,
Jason Hartman 36:33
I would agree with you. And I would I would say that that one needs to get to the point in the money game where money buys margin, where you have this margin of comfort, the cushion, that you don’t have to worry about things, and that you have freedom and autonomy from everything. And I say that the things are, it’s it’s really a paradoxical time we live in because, you know, I’m, I’m an economist, okay. And things are deteriorating in many ways. And I think they will get a lot worse for some, but for others, they are accumulating more and more. And it’s really kind of sad to see the middle class going away in this country, because I think it’s been such a stabilizing factor. But yeah, no, I think that’s a really good way to look at money. And the only other comment I would have and would love to get your thoughts on is that I think when and I’ve noticed that at times in my life, when I’ve been successful, sometimes all these things you buy really become more of a burden and a ball and chain on you than pleasure. I used to have a big yacht, but it was just a big hassle.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 37:37
Yeah, it is a burden, it’s a it’s a responsibility, then it has to be taken care of the things, the things you own start to own you. And what I’d say that people want to have in their lives is they want to have that margin, that autonomy, but they also want to use their money to do some good in the world, because that’s very gratifying internally. And also to buy experiences, experiences and memories. Those are really important thing. So one that comes up would be travel is I think a good one for a lot of people it certainly is for me, and and experiences in education, things that enrich the soul in the psyche. I absolutely agree. And you know, there’s actually some very interesting research you just reminded me of looking at another reason why I’m explaining try to explain why wealthier people aren’t necessarily happier. And there’s very interesting research showing that the more money you have, the less likely you are to savor. And savoring, you know, whether it’s, you know, a really great steak or a fantastic vacation or a beautiful sunset, that you know, the thing we do, where we kind of really focus on how wonderful something is and how special something is. That’s a trait that is a very powerful source of well being. And it turns out that the more money you have, the less likely people are to take the time to save for something because things feel a little bit less special. Because they’re more easily gotten. You know, my mother who had very little she grew up in Germany after the war, and there was almost nothing, you know, very, very poor. And, you know, when she got an orange at Christmas, I mean, she, it was the most magnificent food experience he had ever had. And she was it was don’t there’s no oranges in Germany’s shipped in. And it was very special. It’s very expensive. And you know, and she said, You know, I almost missed, you know, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything in my entire life, even now, having much more money to go to fancy restaurants and things ever eaten anything as good as an orange, because it was so very special. And so it doesn’t mean that when you have a lot of money, you can’t engage that experience. But you have to sort of make yourself do it. You have to make yourself aware of you know, aware ask yourself, Am I appreciating Am I taking a moment to appreciate these amazing special things I have in my life, because it just turns out that if the more money you have, the less likely you are to do it. And you can fix that by just taking time for savoring and that turns out to be So really powerful way to really kind of access a source of happiness and the things you’re talking about when you say, you know, spending the money on creating experiences, creating memories, that is that kind of using my money to create things that I’m going to really savor and just really get the most sort of bang for my buck out of you know, in terms of my well being and my happiness. So I think that is really the the absolute best way to think about what the accumulation of wealth in the end should be for it should be for creating happiness, your own and other people’s and other people’s You know, that’s reciprocal, you create happiness for other people, it creates more happiness for you. So you just have to think about how you what you do with it. It’s always, you know, what matters?
Jason Hartman 40:41
Yeah, no question about that. And, you know, there’s a great quote about it. And forgive me, because I’m going to totally butcher this. But it’s something to the effect of as you climb the mountain to success. In other words, that’s the metaphor for moving toward your goal, stop and enjoy the view along the way, because there are many great things to see, as you’re doing that. And that’s part of that not so much more fulfilling experience. So we’ve got to just keep in check that the money doesn’t become a master, I think that’s really the way to look at it is it is important, no one can deny the importance of it. But
Heidi Grant Halvorson 41:12
check it out. instruments, not not the end in itself. And I think that that’s that then then you keep things in perspective. And then you can do it for your own sake, you know, it’s for it’s for, you know, maximizing your own happiness. It’s just the best way to think about it.
Jason Hartman 41:25
No question, Well, hey, let’s not focus totally on that prosperity, money wealth aspect, let’s talk more about the science of how we get ourselves to achieve our goals, whatever they are, whether they be to be more healthy and fit, or to make more money or to, to do whatever.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 41:40
Well, you know, I think one of the first things we you learn when you start studying this and looking over it, people have been studying motivation achievement for 50 years. And when you start looking at past studies and doing your own, one of the first things you realize is that that the one big mistake we make that people make in general, but nobody makes this mistake more than Americans do, is thinking about ability as really fundamentally the cause of success and failure. And by ability, we usually means something like innate ability. And so we see, we see someone who just does amazing, amazingly successful, and we think prodigy, we think, Oh genius, this person is a genius. And by that we usually mean something like they sort of won the DNA lottery, right. And maybe they were born to win. And and that turns out to be wrong in two ways that are both very important. First is that ability doesn’t work that way. So So really, nobody wins the DNA lottery there. It is true that your genes play a role in in shaping your temperament, they, they shape, what kinds of things you find interesting, that, you know, that tendency, not everybody thinks math is fascinating. But in fact, everybody can do math, this is one of the ones that drives me, most crazy. People, you constantly hear people say, I’m not a math person, or I am a math person. There’s no such thing as a math person, you know, what there is, is people who like math, and so they do a lot of it, and they get good at it. And people who don’t like math, or are frightened of math, or have convinced themselves that they’re not a math person, so they don’t put in the time and then they’re not good at it. Right. So ability is a profoundly malleable, whether you’re talking about intelligence, creativity, athletic ability, I mean, we just find no matter what ability we study that it turns out to be just profoundly profoundly malleable, it’s really just so influenced by your effort and your experience. So so that’s one way in which that kind of thinking is wrong. And the other way in which it’s sort of even more wrong, is that actually, it’s sort of ability in general has very little to do which who succeeds and who fails, what we find is that the difference between say someone who succeeds at losing 10 pounds, and someone who doesn’t, or someone who succeeds in getting a promotion, and someone who doesn’t, whatever the goal is, is not usually that one has ability, and the other doesn’t, isn’t even that one person knows what to do. And the other one doesn’t. They both know what to do, but only one of them can actually get themselves to do it. And that’s really where a lot of the strategies that I talked about in the book kind of come into play because with what Bob Sutton has called the and other psychologists have called the knowing doing gap, right, that we know what we should do. And we just don’t seem to be able, and we feel like we want to do it. By the way, you know, we feel like we really are we’re committed, and we just can’t get ourselves to do it. You know,
Jason Hartman 44:25
there’s a great saying for that. And for 20 years, I have loved this quote, it’s a it’s Zen quote. And here it goes. To know and not to do is to not yet know,
Heidi Grant Halvorson 44:36
exactly right to get to the end because there is a knowledge missing. And it’s that knowledge of how do I get myself to do the thing that I want to do. So not only can we and we approved and we approved it? I think partly, you know, part of the problem is we think okay, let’s need to really get more committed. Well, that’s commitment is very important. You know, you really do need to really want a goal especially if it’s a tough one. But commitment predicts less about success than we think is sort of necessary but not sufficient. Right? It’s in the philosopher’s terms, it’s, it’s something you have to have. But it’s not enough, we find on average that about 50 to 80% of the time, depending on the kind of goal it is, people have plenty of commitment, and they fail anyway. So so it’s not, it’s not that you’re not committed, it’s not that you lack ability, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not that you lack willpower. willpower doesn’t work that way, either. You know, nobody is born with lots of willpower and other people don’t, right. So it really turns out to be sort of, Okay, I need to get myself to do this thing. And and you have to recognize what the what the actual obstacles are. And they tend to be very simple things that we don’t do. One of them is we don’t get nearly specific enough when we think about our goals. So we tend to think human beings in general does sort of like to think in abstract terms, we like to think I want to be successful. Well, what does that mean? You know, when, and we tend to, you know, sort of live at this sort of higher level of thinking, and you really to be very successful. In terms of reaching goals, you need to break things down very, it’s not enough to say, I want to lose some weight, how much weight Do you want to lose? You know, it’s not enough to say, I want to be richer, you know, I want to have more money. Well, how much money exactly and by when, how much more money do I want to happen by when because it, you know, because that those differences, part of the reason there’s a lot of reasons why this is important, one of them is that it’s very difficult to know what action to take, if you haven’t gotten specific about what the goal is nine, so you don’t know what the next step is on if you’re not sure about exactly what the end state is that you’re going for. The other reason it’s really important has to kind of do with the way our brains are wired, we feel like most when we think about reaching goals and setting goals for ourselves, we feel like it’s a really conscious, deliberate process, right, I’m setting a goal for myself, and I’m thinking it through. And it turns out that the vast majority of our kind of the actions we take in order to reach goals happen unconsciously. And it seems that we’re just not aware of them, you know, you all throughout your day, you’re doing a million things to reach all the different goals you have. And you’re not necessarily aware at every moment that you’re doing something in order to kind of get closer to your goal. If you stopped and thought about it, you’d be aware of it, but we don’t, because we’re busy. And so your unconscious mind, which is most of your mind, is handling these things for you. And it’s a great system, you know, it’s how you can get in your car to go home at the end of the day and be preoccupied thinking about something and then your next thing, you know, you’re in your driveway, and you think I don’t even remember driving home? Well, you know, your unconscious mind handled that for you, because it knew where you were going. And so it took you there, right? So, so our so our brains are kind of amazing, the thing is, you really want to take advantage of all of that processing power. And to do that you need to kind of talk to your brain in its own language, right. And it needs to know what the specific goal is. If it knows you have a specific goal, like losing 15 pounds, getting a promotion, driving home, then it knows what to do, whether you’re thinking about it or not, it can actually take the steps that need to be taken in order to get you closer to your goal. Okay, so the then what you’re saying, if I’m hearing you correctly, is that we need to focus on talking to our brain in the language it understands. That’s
Jason Hartman 48:08
right. And does that mean we need to program our subconscious mind? I mean, certainly.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 48:13
It’s very simple. No, you it’s not even anything that elaborate, okay, by simply just taking the time to say to yourself, okay, I know, I want to get ahead at work. What do I mean by that? What would success look like? How will I know? And the question I tell people to ask themselves is how will I know when I’ve succeeded? If you say you want to be Richard? And I say, Well, how will you know when you’ve succeeded? People kind of look at you like, Oh, I? Well, I’m not, I’m not really sure. Well, if you can’t answer that question, you haven’t gotten specific enough, right? Because Because you need that end state in mind, once you’ve kind of narrowed in on the end state that you’re looking for, then your brain does the rest of it. That’s all it needed, it needed to know, it’s like, it’s like trying to program a GPS without putting in a destination, it doesn’t know where to go. And your brain is exactly the same thing. So until you kind of get that destination clear, in your own mind, you are missing out on a lot of brainpower that could be working for you. So getting specific is one big thing. And then the other big thing, you know of the among the strategies I talked about in the book, one of the most powerful ones is something I call extend planning. But the basic idea is that not only do we need to get specific about the goal, we need to get specific about the actions we’re going to take in order to reach the goal and when and where we’re going to take them. It’s sort of like, not enough to make a to do list. Everybody likes to do lists, they’re great. But the problem is that most people’s to do lists don’t actually include when and where they’re going to actually take each of the steps to complete the action item on the to do list so that nothing comes ever comes off the to do list, right? Because you just go Oh yeah, I forgot I wanted to do that. And it doesn’t actually happens. We miss opportunities to act on our goals all the time. So so it’s really about you know, it’s again, taking a little time and thinking, Okay, I really want to, you know, get a promotion, these are the concrete steps I’m going to need to take in order to make that happen. When and where am I going to take those steps, planning it out? Like when you know, when am I going to? I’m going to need to meet with my boss more regularly. Okay, when are you going to do that? When are those meetings going to happen? Break it down. And then and then it’s amazing, we find that when people do this, when they take the break things, break their goals down into steps and add that when and where information like, this is when I’m going to do it. And and this situation is when I’m going to do it. They’re on average about three times more likely to reach the goal. Sure, sure. So chunky, chunking the goal having a roadmap? You know, I talked to my real estate investor clients about having a five year plan, what are the steps along the way, you know, the the old saying the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step most
Jason Hartman 50:51
look at these goals as some big thing out there, like in the distance, and someday my ship is gonna come in, rather than just the daily doing this other nitty gritty.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 51:02
Jason Hartman 51:05
nitty gritty is not sexy. It’s
Heidi Grant Halvorson 51:07
not, it’s not how we like to think it’s how successful people do think they make themselves do it. Because they see the results. They know that often to sort of intuitively, they know, hey, when I do this, when I really break things down for myself, and I say, Okay, these are the steps. And this is when I’m going to do them. And I plan all that out. They just they’re much more successful. And we find, I mean, just to give you a fun example, there was a study that we did, where we took a bunch of people who were all not regular exercises, and and they they wanted to be and we said okay, take half of them. And they were all joining a gym. And we did half of them. And we said okay, when you know when when are you going to exercise each week, because they all said I want to exercise at least three times a week. And half of them we just said okay, when when are you going to do it. And they would, they could say whatever they want to do tomorrow, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before work or whatever they like. And then we came back a month later and saw to look at who was still exercising regularly. About 32% of the people who didn’t make a plan, were still exercising 91% of the people who made the plan. Were still exercising. So I mean, that’s huge, right from and just and just from taking a moment to stop and think about when am I actually going to do this, I want to exercise regularly. I want to meet with my boss more, I want to I want to put away more money in investments each month. Okay, how are you? When is that going to happen? How much money are you going to put away? When are you going to do it? What’s the system you’re going to use, and be very firm about it and you get typically like a 300% increase in success. I mean, it’s just they’re amazing. And they’re so simple. By the way, I’ve gotten into doing all this blogging and writing and is really like I when I read about these things, and I started doing the studies, I thought people have to know about this, this is hard, it is not a difficult strategy to use, and it’s so effective. And it really gets right at what the real problems of gold pursuit tend to be. It’s not that you lack stability. It’s not that there’s something wrong with you. It’s that you know, you’re having trouble getting over that gap between what you want to do and actually doing it, which by the way we all have. And you just need the right information in order to help you kind of bridge that gap. And it really works. Let me take a brief pause,
Jason Hartman 53:19
we’ll be back in just a minute.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 53:23
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Heidi Grant Halvorson 53:49
So do you want to talk anything about self sabotage? And why that occurs? Because I you know, I think that comes into play. It’s kind of like what you said before a lot of people know what to do, but they just don’t do it. And and you outlined some of the reasons for that. But yeah, you know, they also kind of shoot themselves in the foot along the way is that because maybe one feels that they don’t deserve the outcome that they don’t deserve the goal? I think that can happen. I think it can that can happen. I think the bigger book sort of the when you look at the research on self sabotaging and self sometimes called self handicapping, right when people kind of set themselves up to fail, you know, why does that happen? One of the biggest predictors of that actually had to do with insecurity about ability. So you find in the classroom, for example, that students who are concerned that that you who believe that ability is sort of a fixed thing, right, you’re kind of born with it or you’re not, and they’re concerned that they might not have enough, will intentionally not study. And the reason they’ll do that is because that way they know they’re going to fail the test, but when they fail the test, they can blame it on not having studied, which psychologically is less painful than having to run the risk of actually Studying really hard and then still failing? And having to say, No, it’s just that I’m not smart enough. So we find that that in general people self sabotage, in the situations where they feel they are, if they really tried, they would be able to judge something about themselves, that can’t be changed. Now, again, that’s wrongheaded thinking, because there’s really almost nothing about ourselves that can be changed. I mean, we can we people have pretty stable personalities and things like that. But you know, in terms of abilities, there’s nothing you can’t improve on. So I think that’s sort of a, that part of the problem is the kind of people who go into situations thinking, you’re either creative, or you’re not, you’re either good with money, or you’re not, you’re either a risk taker, or you’re not. And then they think, if I try really hard in this situation, I’m going to find out what you know, I’m going to find out what I am, and maybe the answer is not going to be good. So I’ll just avoid that. And, and it’s like, you know, it’s trading one pain for another, but they find that the pain of failing is that is easier to swallow, than the pain of really kind of revealing something about themselves that they would find deeply humiliating, and it’s and it’s a shame, you know, that’s, that’s
Jason Hartman 56:10
really sad. It’s really sad.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 56:12
It is because it, you know, you’re always we find that it’s really one of the most the biggest predictors of who handles difficulty well, and who doesn’t, turns out to be this this mental mindset that people have when they’re doing when they’re performing any activity or kind of pursuing a goal, whether they think it’s about validating their ability, or it’s about sort of developing ability. So when people go into some situation, you know, a new job, and they think of it as well, you know, I know, I’m not going to be great at this at first, because there’s a learning curve, but I’m going to get better at it over time. And so when things are difficult, they handle that difficulty much more much more easily. It’s, it’s not that upsetting to them, because they kind of expected things to be difficult that they see themselves as growing. Over time, other people get into that new job and immediately think everybody’s judging me. Everybody said to me, and I’m judging me, am I, you know, can I do this? Do I have what it takes? And everybody else is looking at me and saying, Do I have what it takes. And so now, the whole thing becomes about Do I have the ability or downtime rather than this is an opportunity for me to develop my ability in a new area, which is really exciting. And that mental shift turns out to be really, really powerful. And it’s the people who feel they’re being judged, who do the self handicapping. I’m again being judged by others, or even by yourself, they want to avoid the judgment. So they do something to themselves, like not bother trying. And and I think it is, it’s a shame, because it’s because you’re always every time you take that road, you’re selling yourself short. And so one of the things we work with in schools a lot now, we’ve developed a lot of interventions, trying to teach kids to think about intelligence and other kinds of abilities as malleable things we’re trying to kind of combat this sort of cultural story that’s out there that we kind of think about people as high ability or low ability, and sort of say, that’s actually not what the evidence suggests. That’s not how ability works. And we find that when we can get into situations and teach these kids, you know, no, actually abilities doesn’t work. That way it can grow, you see amazing differences in their, in their math scores and their English scores. I mean, you just see them having a totally different attitude towards school. So, you know, hopefully, over time, eventually we’ll kind of get people embracing this idea that we have to put aside our old ideas about what abilities are like, and then we’ll hopefully see a lot of this self sabotaging behavior, you know, start to disappear. good points,
Jason Hartman 58:26
good points. Well, how would you wrap this all up for people, Heidi, I mean, any actionable steps that you want to recap or things you didn’t mention, that can just help people do what they want, achieve their goals be more successful. And so
Heidi Grant Halvorson 58:40
as I said, I think I think that the the very first thing is to sort of put aside this idea that the reason that you’ve been you’ve had difficulty with something in the past has to do with something you lack, you know, some some critical quality that you don’t have, we just simply find that that is not ever the case. It really is about what you do, and you don’t do. And as I say, there’s a lot of strategies I talked about in the book, they’re kind of good for different kinds of things. There’s willpower strategies you can use for resisting temptation, all kinds of different strategies for tackling different problems. But the the app, the most powerful things I can say right off the bat are really get specific about what you want to achieve, really be able to answer that question, I will know when I have succeeded when and have that a clear visual in your mind, because that’s going to again, just engage all of that processing power of your brain that may have not been engaged before to help you address this problem. And then really, when you break it down into the steps you need to take really take that extra step and and think about when and where you’re going to take each step. And that’s called event planning. So if I’m in this situation, this is what I’m going to do. If you actually take the time to do that, you’re going to increase your chances of success about three fold. So it’s the best five minutes you could possibly spend to increase your chances of reaching your goals.
Jason Hartman 59:53
Good stuff. Well, Heidi, where can people get the book and learn more?
Heidi Grant Halvorson 59:56
Oh, as they say anywhere books are sold. It’s time Amazon and Barnes and Noble and and i also have another short ebook that I just put out with Harvard Business press a couple of months ago called nine things successful people do differently. That also talks about sort of nine of these key strategies that people can use. And you can find that on on Amazon as well.
Jason Hartman 1:00:17
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Heidi. And did you have a direct website that you want to give out?
Heidi Grant Halvorson 1:00:21
Yeah, I do. It’s just my name. It’s um, I have my website. It’s called the science of success. The address is www Heidi Grant halverson.com. And that’s where I sort of put all my blogging and videos and interviews and things and so you can find lots of things that I’ve written about motivation across a whole bunch of different topics that you know, definitely check it out. Well, Heidi,
Jason Hartman 1:00:41
thank you so much for joining us today. And I hope everybody has learned some good things that will help them be more successful and fulfilled and, and just happier in life in general. So thanks again for sharing this scientific research with us. Appreciate it.
Heidi Grant Halvorson 1:00:53
Thank you so much, Jason.
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