Introduction to guest:
Eric Barker is the author of The Wall Street Journal bestseller “Barking Up the Wrong Tree,” which has sold over half a million copies and been translated into 19 languages. It was even the subject of a question on “Jeopardy!”
Over 500,000 people have subscribed to his weekly newsletter.
His work has been covered by The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Financial Times, and others.
Eric is also a sought-after speaker, having given talks at MIT, Yale, Google, the United States Military Central Command (CENTCOM), and the Olympic Training Center.
His new book, “Plays Well with Others,” was released by HarperCollins on 10 May of 2022.
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Key quotes and takeaways from the show:
On average, lonely and non-lonely people spend around the same amount of time with others. You can feel lonely in a crowd. The quality of your relationships (feelings of connection, care, physicality, etc.) is more important than the amount of time you spend with people.
Friendship makes us happier than any other relationship. Even in a marriage, the most happiness-inducing part of it is the friendship between the two people.
To build deeper friendships: time and vulnerability.
5 love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service and receiving gifts.
4 fundamental things that people do wrong in relationships that are high predictors of divorce: criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt.
Complaining is okay in a relationship because it allows people to raise issues so they can be addressed, criticism is the problem because it makes the complaints personal.
One of the biggest errors couples make is forgetting to do exciting things together (forgetting to have fun and being in environments that produce positive emotions). We associate the feelings of an environment to the people around us. Keep the positive emotions going – horse riding, rollercoaster, dancing, etc. Here are some ideas: Cheap Dating Ideas
Having a better social life is the equivalent of having an extra $131,232 per year.
Loneliness is different to solitude. “Loneliness is associated with nearly every negative health outcome you can imagine […] The level of stress hormones released when someone feels lonely is the equivalent of a physical assault.” Solitude is related to creativity, deep work and self awareness. “No one ever came to deep profound thoughts at a house party.” The difference all comes down to how you feel about your relationships (feeling connection, belonging and love), not the amount of time you spend with others.
Before the 19th Century, loneliness didn’t exist. It meant “isolated”, it didn’t have negative connotations until it was written in Frankenstein.
Marriage doesn’t make you happy, a happy marriage makes you happy.
If you fix all your problems, you will only make it to neutral, so focus on the positives, not the negatives. “I have a non-negative relationship with every stranger on this planet, that doesn’t make us happily married.” Statistically, for a happy marriage, you should achieve 5 positives for every one negative.
69% of long-term marital issues never get resolved. This is true of happy and unhappy couples. “It’s not the resolution of conflict that’s important, it’s the regulation of it.”
Monitoring stress and anxiety has never been an effective method of detecting lies. What is an effective method of detecting lies is to monitor an increase in cognitive load – i.e. ask unanticipated questions. People will slow down.
There are 2 forms of popularity: status and likeability. Status can alienate you from “real” friends.
We all need to have our own personal definition of success. Outside metrics aren’t useful for personal happiness. The world is never going to tell you that you’ve done enough. Your boss is never going to tell you to stop working. If you don’t have a personal definition of success, in the modern world, you’ll just never stop. You’ll burn out.
What price are you willing to pay for your level of ambition?
If you take all the quotes in the world and put them against each other, they’d all cancel out to zero
No way is the way.
Links to podcast sites:
The full podcast:
For more podcasts on success, relationships and happiness, check out these related videos…
- 00:00:00 – The 4 sound panels!
- 00:00:47 – What we know about relationships is wrong.
- 00:13:45 – Introvert vs. Extrovert.
- 00:18:12 – Does love conquer all?
- 00:25:29 – How to catch a liar.
- 00:29:05 – Modern empathy & narcissism issues.
- 00:46:02 – What we know about success is wrong.
- 00:51:35 – A recommended book.
- 00:53:41 – Where Eric is stuck.
- 00:55:43 – Eric’s writing process.
- 00:57:44 – Self help advice.
- 00:59:55 – An unusual recommendation.
- 01:02:54 – Eric’s final message.
- 01:03:53 – Gaz’s confession.
- 01:05:14 – Parenting without giving a f^ck.
People and resources mentioned:
In alphabetical order:
- 5 Love Languages
- A humument
- Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker
- Bruce Lee
- Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History
- Daniel Kahneman
- Derek Sivers
- Eli Finkel
- Fay Alberti
- John Cacioppo
- John Gottman
- Mitchell Prinstein
- Nir Eyal
- Plays Well With Others by Eric Barker
- Shawn Achor
- Shelly Gable
- Sherry Turkle
- Steve Kamb (Nerd Fitness)
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
- Vivek Murthy