This week we talk to Eric Barker
Eric is a thought leader in the field of success. His humorous but practical blog, Barking up the Wrong Tree, presents science-based answers and expert insight on success in life. Over 270,000 people subscribe to his weekly email update and his content is syndicated by Time, The Week, and Business Insider. He has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and he was a columnist for Wired. With a writing career spanning over twenty years, Eric is also a sought-after speaker and interview subject and has been invited to speak at MIT, West Point, NPR affiliates, and on morning television.
His first book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong is available now.
In This Interview, Eric Barker and I Discuss…
- His book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong
- How he defines success
- Achievement, Happiness, Significance, Legacy
- The dangers of only using one metric for happiness
- How money is a lever to something else that makes you happy rather than the thing that makes you happy in and of itself
- There’s no finish line in the quest of what makes me feel good
- We must decide what is “enough”
- New and novel make our brains happy
- We must decide what really is going to make us happy in the long run
- Turning what we do in our lives into games can be helpful in increasing our persistence and grit
- Games have these attributes: Winnable, Novelty, Goals, Instantaneous Feedback
- A feeling of progress and meaningful work keeps us engaged
- Challenging yourself in a familiar task
- True burnout is when you start to feel pessimistic about your job so you withdraw and then you get poor feedback so you finally disengage
- Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose
- A change is as good as a rest
- That we are telling ourselves stories about what’s has meaning and what doesn’t
- How telling your children about their lineage will increase the likelihood they stay away from drugs, stay in school etc
- Therapy as editing the story we’re telling about our lives
- Cognitive reappraisal
- The role of positive self-talk
- I can do it vs I can’t take this anymore
- If you break your arm you wouldn’t say “I am broken” you’d say “My arm is broken”
- Listening to our thoughts from a distance and asking “is this useful?” to be more mindful about what thoughts we identify with
- We don’t choose what makes us happy, we choose what’s easy
- The role of a plan
- How anticipation is happiness
Eric Barker Links
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed
The Tale of Two Wolves is often attributed to the Cherokee indians but there seems to be no real proof of this. It has also been attributed to evangelical preacher Billy Graham and Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw. It appears no one knows for sure but this does not diminish the power of the parable.
This parable goes by many names including:
The Tale of Two Wolves
The Parable of the Two Wolves
Which Wolf Do You Feed
Which Wolf are You Feeding
Which Wolf Will You Feed
It also often features different animals, mainly two dogs.