010 How To Get Back Up When Life Knocks You Down with guest Neil Pasricha

If you are a new leader, I will tell you, be yourself. Be your best self. Bring your excitement. Bring your enthusiasm. Love your job. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Tell everyone what you’re doing, and everything will sort itself out. – Neil Pasricha


Hi everyone! In today’s episode, we talk about how to get back up when life knocks you down. This is the episode where we learn practical strategies about failure. We often talk about success, about over-achievement, disruption, innovation, but we rarely talk enough about when life really kicks us in the gut and how to get back up and keep moving.

Our amazing guest today is Neil Pasricha. Neil is a New York Times Best-Selling Author of The Happiness Equation, The Book of Awesome, and he’s got a new book coming out called Back to Awesome, where he talks all about failure – what do we do with it, how do we become more resilient to move forward in our lives.

Neil is currently the director of the Institute of Global Happiness. He has a popular TED talk with over 3 million views. He has an amazing podcast called 3 Books with Neil Pasricha, which won an award as one of Apple’s Best of 2018 Podcasts.

Neil is an all-aound great guy, a down-to-earth human, and I’m really excited for all of you to listen in.

A Benign Envy

You, as the leader, have to be the most excited person in the room. People can only match your level of vision, your level of enthusiasm, your level of commitment. Whatever you show them that you are willing to do, that is setting a high bar that people can aspire to and it creates inside them a benign envy.

There’s two kinds of envy. One is called malicious envy – that’s the negative envy, something like jealousy. The other is called benign envy, which is actually something that we all want. It means that you’re surrounded by someone you consider a role model, and it improves your own behavior and your own drive.

Find your small pond

One of the things I do whenever I’m going through failure or through a loss is I find small ponds. What does that mean?

When I was at Harvard Business School, I was lucky enough to have lunch with the dean one day, the retired dean of HBS. He was like, “How’s school going?”

I’m like, “Bad. I’m stressed, school’s really hard, I’m up late every night studying, and all the big, fancy companies are coming to campus… Not only are we supposed to do homework every night, but we’re also supposed to have beer with people we don’t know and apply for these jobs that we probably won’t get…”

You know what the dean said to me? He’s like, “Oh man, that’s terrible. Well why don’t you just leave the beach?”

“What beach? What are you talking about?”

“Well right now you’re standing on the edge of the beach, like there’s a fence. If you look inside the beach, there’s like 10 bathing beauties, but there’s a thousand people like you outside the fence. The odds of you landing one…are super small.”

“So what am I supposed to do?”

“Leave the beach. Go find the broken companies, the bankrupt companies, the companies going through a hard time…If you can call them up, if you can work your way inside, if you can take a lower level position, then you will get unbelievable opportunities, because you’ll be working something in there. You will be given a lot of responsibility, promoted, taken seriously in meetings, and they will want to hear from you and your learning will vastly accelerate.”

So I did that.


Neil’s Advice

Don’t take advice.

That would be my advice. Often when we’re asking for advice, we’re really looking for an alibi. We’re looking to confirm something we already have inside ourselves. That’s why some resonate, some do not.

When it’s resonating with you, it’s something you already believe. The people you’re asking are telling you the thing you want them to tell you, because you have something inside yourself.

You can look at the most common advice of all – it all contradicts.

”Actions speak louder the words” OR “The pen is mightier than the sword” – which one is it? Is it “The early bird catches the worm,” or is it “good things come to those who wait”? Which one is it?

You can’t find objectively true advice that applies in any case.


Links and Resources

Connect with Neil: LinkedIn | Facebook



How to Get Back Up by Neil Pasricha

The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

3 Books with Neil Pasricha

Neil’s TED Talk: The 3 A’s of Awesome

The One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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