Why You Shouldn’t Solve All Your Problems, with Dr. John Townsend

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

According to Dr. John Townsend, the key to growth, whether it be for large companies or for a single individual, is the need to need. What this means is that we need to have others that we rely upon, that we need in order to achieve success. In the final episode with Dr. Townsend, he shares with Daniel and Tana Amen some of the ways that needing other people (certain types of other people!) can bring us closer to our goals.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We are still with our friend John Townsend. This has been such a powerful week, such an important week. I'm so excited about your book, people Fuel. Thank you, John for being with us. Wow, the last episode I just think was so important, talking about responsibility for your own life, the ability to respond, not taking blame necessarily, but being able to be in your place of power. I just love it. And, in this podcast we're going to talk about resilience. Let's talk about how you bounce back from some of these things. Some of us had been through a lot. So, what about resilience?
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, before we do that, we would dearly love if you'd leave a question for us or a review on brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, and what's the one thing that you're going to take away from either this podcast or this week of podcasts with Dr. Townsend, and post it on any of your social media sites and hashtag Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. We would just be so grateful. So, this is what I think really floats your boat and my boat. It's not sort of treating mental illness, it's how to make people the best they can be and People Fuel just contributes to that in a powerful way. So, talk to us, John, on your thoughts about resilience.
Dr John Townsend: You mentioned making people the best and that's why I'm so excited about a thing called optimization, because in our world we call it pathologizing people. If all people think about is their depression or anxiety and the drugs, which you have to deal with, then they never get to the level of, "I want to be optimized. I've got 12 cylinders in my head and [inaudible 00:02:39] cylinders." It's about being the best you could design to be, not just solving the problems. You got to do both, and resilience is a key part of that because there are setbacks. There's going to be people that are going to let you down, and you're going to let yourself down, and when that happens, you've got to have some strategies in mind. What I always tell people is, "First thing you got to do, you have to evaluate the severity of the setback."
If it's like, "Well, the guy flipped me off on the freeway and gave me a bad day." All right, okay, sorry about that. But, that's not going to change your life.
Tana Amen: Right.
Dr Daniel Amen: Unless you chase him. I've had patients who've chased them and ended up arrested, so-
Dr John Townsend: I would say... Yes. But, then there's, you know, "Somebody left me or I lost a lot of money, or I had a big health thing or whatever and someone in my family went upside down." Those are really matters, gravitas. That means you've got to come to closure. Number one, "I have evaluated that it's serious." You got to bear with serious. Number two, you got to say, "How much was me, how much was somebody else, and how much was the fact that the world doesn't work right?" I've got a parcel this out. We talked about it in earlier podcasts. "I gotta own my part and change, maybe my attitude, maybe my behavior."
I've got to call some people to task and either correct what went wrong, or maybe they're not right for me, and thirdly, was it just some bad circumstance? Was it a disease or a tsunami or something like that? I just got to be sad and adapt to that. That gives me some tools to deal with the problem itself. The next step, though, is I've got to realize I cannot solve all my problems on my own.
I start the book off in People Fuel, I said, talk about, I was working with some leaders in a high level strategic retreat, and went away to a cabin for a weekend and I said, "What do you guys need to be successful?" It's a vision, alignment, strategy, resources, products. Here's the other thing you need, you need to need, and they went, "What do you mean?" I said, "You need to need," and they said, "We already told you what we needed. We've got the right retreat leader here. What's wrong with you?"
And I said, "You got to need each other and I don't mean need each other like give me a cup of sugar, or let me borrow your car." That's what we call Functional Needs. You need to need other people [inaudible 00:04:48], people that you could trust. Like, I'm watching you guys on this, on the video we're doing for your podcast, and you guys will touch each other's arms.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr John Townsend: It's kind of like, "I'm there for you, you're there for me." It's just a beautiful thing. You need a few people in your life to be that, because life is too hard to go alone. So, who do you find that can say, "I can bear this with you because if I can bear this with you, I've still got to solve my own problem, but at least I've got support around." Those are how the resilient people sail right through.
Tana Amen: So, sort of like the rising tide floats all boats.
Dr John Townsend: [inaudible 00:05:24].
Tana Amen: So, you surround yourself with people who help you to rise.
Dr John Townsend: And then, when it's their turn and they have a really crummy thing, you say, "Hey, let's grab lunch because you were there for me."
Tana Amen: Right, it needs to be reciprocal. I agree, I like that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, so you can categorize the people in your life and then fill in some of the deficits.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr Daniel Amen: So, help move on.
Tana Amen: And for some of us, the needing part can be hard. If you've been through a lot where you became hard to trust people, maybe a background when you were a child or whatever, it's difficult to learn to trust people. Maybe that's the work you need to do. And John, your work has been so great in that area of like learning how to, you know, heal some of those broken relationships. But, maybe that's your work is learning how to trust enough to need people again.
Dr John Townsend: Yeah, and the problem with that is, you're going to have to take a risk to do that, and it could go South. So, you've got to be careful about how much they can handle. But my experience has been that once you're done with the crazies, most people feel honored for you to be vulnerable with them and they'll go, "you know, you helped me so much at our lunches and you helped me with my struggles. I feel honored that you even brought that out to me and I will hold that for you and I'll be there for you and I'll be confidential."
Most people feel like it's a sign of respect. So, when you take the risk of something, then come away going, "Man, that was great. I thought that they would like reject me, or gossip about me, or judge me." And they just felt more, they felt more closer to me. I had a conversation like that this morning with somebody, where I talked about a struggle that I was going through and they said, "You know what? I feel like you're a better friend than I ever thought you were." So, take a little risk and see what they did with it.
Dr Daniel Amen: You know, I find one of the reasons that people struggle in relationships is, they're conflict avoidant and they have social anxiety, and so they tend to keep people around longer than they should because they recriminate themselves about the relationship, rather than taking sort of an honest look.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr Daniel Amen: So, I used to have a really hard time firing people, and you know, when you're the CEO of a company that has 200 employees, not everybody fits. But, if you're afraid because you don't want to be a bad boss, you don't want to hurt someone else's feelings, you never want to be a source of negativity or pain for another person. It really can cause you, as a leader, to become frozen. And Byron Katie's, one of our friends, when I had to let someone go, she goes, "You didn't fire them, they fired themselves." Just learning how to manage the thoughts around relationships is just so important.
Dr John Townsend: I can give you a great skill for your listeners. If there's a scary conversation and you got to say something hard like either, "I'm going to let you go, or our relationship's whatever," and it's a tough talk. The number one thing that I take people through is a role play.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I like it.
Dr John Townsend: You get together and you have the scary conversation kind of scripted out, what my points are, why I'm saying it, what the conclusion is, and you feel all the anxiety when you're role playing like, "Oh my gosh, they're going to hate me or they're going to take a machete and cut my throat," or whatever you're afraid of. And then, you get through and you go, "Ooh, I survived that." And then, you're much more equipped to go into the conversation and hold your own. Role plays are very powerful.
Tana Amen: I like that.
Dr Daniel Amen: I like that a lot. What else? Final thoughts before we have to wrap up this week? You have just been such a treasure for us.
Tana Amen: So helpful.
Dr John Townsend: Well, yeah, we're good. We're a good partnership.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr John Townsend: I have a model that I talk about. When you said, "be all the best you can be." it's three steps. All of us were designed to be fully not. I mean, sorry, to be fully functional. I want to be as helpful and burn up my energy to do the right things. By the end of my life, on my tombstone, I don't want it to say, "Nice guy, he thought about himself a lot." That would kind of suck. I want to be fully functional, use everything. But, to be fully functional, what the neuroscience says is, I must be fully loved.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr John Townsend: Because love brings up the nutrients, and the energy, and the positivity and resilience, and yeah, I got to have people love me. That's all good. But the third one's hard, and Tana just referred to it. Fully functional, meaning I've got to be fully loved first, but to be fully loved, here's the hard part: I've got to be fully known.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr John Townsend: I've got to be fully known by, not everybody, a few people, three different people, and they know that the pain, they know the mistakes, they know the hurt, but I can trust them with me.
Tana Amen: That's you.
Dr John Townsend: See? [crosstalk 00:10:33] And so, when I get fully know, then I know that I'm fully loved, then I can be fully functional. I don't want to go through life being two thirds known, because that makes me two thirds loved. That makes me two thirds functional. I want to know, so you've got to start there.
Tana Amen: I love that. I just don't want to say that that does come with a warning label. If it's a psychiatrist that you know you get involved with that fully knows you, they're going to push you way past your comfort zone. Everybody's going to know you.
Dr Daniel Amen: One less scared child, Tana's in the middle of writing it. Well, John, we are so grateful for your time, for your friendship, for your love.
Tana Amen: You are amazing. You're an amazing human.
Dr Daniel Amen: For your new book, for boundaries, for all the work you do. How can people learn more about your work, if they want to connect with you and your work?
Dr John Townsend: D, R, townsend.com. Drtownsend.com, Daniel. It has everything about the Institute if somebody wants an academic degree, but some people just want a professional training. We have a leadership group called Townsend Leadership, where people can get into small groups with other high level people, and learn their EQ and learn their strategies.
Tana Amen: Oh nice.
Dr John Townsend: So, we have both a professional end, and the academic end.
Tana Amen: One of the things I love about retreats and courses like that is, and I've always had this, well not always, since I went on this journey to heal my past and improve myself. Just like we always talk about, you become like the people you surround yourself with, and magic happens. When you are with a group of people trying to work on something, magic happens. It's just amazing and to just, it doesn't happen in baby steps. It's like it happens exponentially. It's really cool. [crosstalk 00:00:12:23].
Dr Daniel Amen: All right, thank you, my friend.
Dr John Townsend: All right, guys. Take care.
Tana Amen: Bye bye. If you're enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode, and while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: If you're considering coming to Amen Clinics, or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from Brain MD, you can use the code, podcast 10, to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com, or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at (855) 978-1363.