Episode 131: Ignorance Is Not Bliss: Positive Psychology Of Awareness With Tony Child
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We know of the adage, “ignorance is bliss.” Others believe that there is value in living life not knowing, finding liberation from not overthinking and just letting be. However, the guest in this episode begs to differ. Tony Child, the Founder and Owner of Elevated Worldwide, believes that bliss is in awareness. When you know why things are the way they are, you are better equipped to overcome challenges. Only then can you truly free yourself from the weight, overwhelm, and negativity. Tony joins Brett Gilliland to dive deeper into why this is. He discusses positive psychology, navigating emotional and mental distress, and creating a more positive, collaborative, and creative space. If you are a leader in your business or just looking for ways to live your best life in awareness, then you won’t want to miss this conversation!
Every single time I have the opportunity to sit with a guest, I’m amazed at the quality and the caliber of people who agree to say yes or they agree or say yes to be here with us, and this is no exception to that. Tony Child is with us. He is involved in more things than I can count but let me give you a brief intro, and then I will let him fill in the blank. Tony is the Founder and Owner of Elevated Worldwide, which focuses on improving how executives, founders, and business owners see and think about life to create success on purpose.
If you have been reading this episode any amount of time, you know we love having people like Tony who are out there creating something on purpose. Tony is involved in multiple companies. All of them have to do with helping people develop, people, leaders, and businesses develop. He does that with a ton of passion and purpose. He helps businesses do the same in their life. Tony, welcome to our show. We are grateful that you are here with us.
Thank you. I’m excited to be here. I love talking about entrepreneurship, and so this was a show I was excited to jump on.
On a personal note, you and I got a chance to meet a couple of years ago. We were 2 or 3 months into the pandemic. I’m not one to keep bringing up the pandemic but that’s when it happened. It was very appropriate because our members, our Elite Momentum community, is what we call it but our members were starting to feel the weight of trying to navigate their business through a trying time.
I wanted to bring in somebody to come and talk to them about what positive psychology looks like and how they could help lead their people through a challenging, emotional and mentally distressing time for all of us. You came in and talked to our members, and it was awesome. Thank you for doing that then, and now I’m thrilled to be able to bring you to our broader show audience and bring some of that greatness that you have. Thanks again for being here.
I would love to start with how you help somebody who is feeling the weight, the overwhelmed, and the negativity and all they can see are the problems. How do you and people like you help the rest of us navigate difficulty so we can stay in a more positive collaborative, and creative space? Entrepreneurs are the most creative and value-creating people on the planet. If we have life suffocating them, pushing them down, squeezing some of that creativity out of them, that doesn’t do anybody a service. How do we break out of a funk if we get into that mode?
The way that I would answer that question is that you may have heard of the adage as you were growing up that ignorance is bliss. You heard of that adage before. It is not bliss. I believe awareness is. What I mean by awareness is that I don’t know what I don’t know. Everything I don’t know is a mystery. It is like unaware. I have no idea that it even exists or that it is what it is. What I would recommend to anybody that is feeling anxiety, depressive thoughts, fear, worry, thoughts of doubt or self-confidence hits, all of those are why those take place. What causes anxiety? What causes depression? What causes worry and fear?Awareness is bliss. Click To Tweet
As we see, as we look into psychology for me, I was oblivious to this field. I had no idea that there was even a positive psychology department in universities where you could get degrees. I knew that psychology existed, and I thought that it was for people that were broken that had to go to a therapist. That’s it. I love therapy. Everyone needs a therapist because of what I now know. If you go to somebody, it’s like, “I got to go to my therapist,” most people look at that as, “Something is wrong. You are broken.”
That person is messed up.
Instead of, “What are you improving?” We take this negative connotation of therapy with, “I’m broken or something is wrong with me. Something is bad with me.” We look at psychology and this negative light, and that’s the way I always did until years ago. I was sitting in a workshop, and the first thing that the person said in the workshop was, “If you change the way you see things, then the things you see will change.” This workshop was out of Harvard.
I turned to my boss. My boss was sitting right next to me. This was when I was in the banking world. I nudged my boss. I said, “Can I go because that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” She said, “If you want to get fired, you will go.” It’s like, “I will stay.” The next three hours, though, changed my life because I began to be aware of things that I had no clue about.
What do I mean by aware? Here’s Psychology 101. For those that are struggling with anxiety, the pressure in the chest, you are struggling with depressive thoughts, worries, and fears or the stresses of business, payroll, and all of those growth pains that you go through as a business. It’s important to understand where that stress is stemming from and what’s causing it.
Psychology 101 is very simple. I’m going to make this super simple for anyone to understand. What I think causes how I feel and how I feel causes energy in my body that then goes into action, and people can feel that energy. Brett, have you ever walked past a room or walked into a room and wanted to walk right back out because the energy sucked so badly? Has that ever happened to you?
You didn’t need to hear anything. Nobody was saying a word but you felt like you had just walked into a hornet’s nest.
On the flip side, I’ve walked into a room where the energy was so great that I was like, “What did I step into? This is amazing.”
You didn’t know. You could feel it, though. When people say, “Tony, you are getting into this energy stuff.” It’s like, “You can feel it. Your body is constantly putting out energy.” Another word that I use for energy, by the way, because people get weirded out by that word, is attitude. It’s a word that we made up to replace the energy that a person is exhibiting.
That person has a good attitude.
It means I feel good when I’m around them. That’s what it means. They are putting off good mojo. They are putting off good energy. What I think causes how I feel. How I feel causes the energy in my body with which I act. Now, what causes what a person thinks? This is the secret sauce.
That’s where the magic is.
It’s my five senses. What I see, hear, smell, taste and touch. That causes to a great degree, what people think. Let’s say I look at a sell sheet. It’s not where I need it to be. We are going to lose money this month. What thought does that create? As I look at a sell sheet, that’s not where it needs to be. I got board members that are going to come asking me like, “What’s going on with your sales numbers? What’s going on?”
That creates thoughts of doubt. Those thoughts of doubts now cause my brain to imagine using my imagination worst-case scenarios. Now I’m going and thinking about all the worst things that can happen. “I’m not going to be able to pay my payroll. All my employees are going to quit, and then I’m going to be out on my house.” The brain will go to the worst-case scenario. As I entertain that worst-case scenario, it causes feelings of fear and worry.
As I continually feel those feelings of worry, it causes anxiety in my body. That’s what worry and fear cause in the body. It’s anxiety. People go around. They don’t express their anxiety. They suppress it. It’s the suppression of anxiety that is depression. It’s the suppression of anxiety. When I realize that what I think causes how I feel, how I feel causes energy in my body with which I act, and I’m heavily influenced by my five senses.
It’s the ability to look at a sell sheet and say, “That’s the worst thing that can happen. What’s the best thing that can happen?” I learned to shift my brain to the best-case scenario or what’s right with the sell sheet or with my company which causes a thought of confidence, a feeling of love and faith. That feeling of love and faith turns into excitement and engagement. We talk about engagement all the time in organizations.
If you want to engage employees, get them out of fear, worry, and anxiety. You will have happily engaged employees. Anyways, here’s a little nugget of, “Ignorance is not bliss. Awareness is,” and most people are completely unaware of how their five senses are controlling what they think, how they feel and the energy in their body, which then turns into that anxiety.
How those five senses are either from now or in the past because a lot of what goes on up here is stored experience. Five senses from yesterday or yesteryear created a lot of maps in our mind about how these things go and all those worst-case scenarios but that was fascinating. Thank you for that. That is a great review.
I had a question that I wanted to ask. When you had that moment where you turned to your boss like, “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m getting out of here,” what changed your life in those three hours? We can’t reenact three hours but how did you start to see differently? I’m pretty sure other people have had similar experiences or maybe they are even having that experience like, “This is all hooey-wooey stuff, and I got to get back to doing real results here in my business.”
I’m a believer. I wouldn’t have you on here if I weren’t. I want to help other people understand the power of their thoughts and how those thoughts show up in real life, the results. All these outcomes that we get in life start right up here with our thoughts, and that awareness is huge. You were at this place saying, “I don’t buy it. I’m out.” Somehow during those three hours, you saw it differently. Is there anything you could share that might help others see it differently?
I’m going to preface it with a question that I want your readers to ask themselves and answer for themselves. You can do it in your head as you and I sit here together. Brett, if I come to you and say, “I want you to add a zero to what you made last year.” Meaning we are going to 10X it. What does your brain do to you?
Add a zero to your number, whatever the number is. If I made $100,000 last year, you are going to add a zero that makes it a million. If you were at $1 million, add a zero that makes it $10 million. My point is to add a zero to your number and see what your brain does to you. What does your brain do to you, Brett? If I say, “You are going to add a zero to your number this year from last year.” What does your brain do to you?
My brain goes, “That’s fun.” That’s what my brain does. It’s like, “That sounds cool.”
That’s awesome. That means that you are preset with a positive precondition. If somebody out there is thinking the same thing, like, “That’s pretty fun. That’s awesome. I’m game for that. That’s great,” then you are a pretty positive person. For most the vast majority of people have a negative or a neutral mindset. It’s 85% of the public. Get over yourself. You are like, “I’m positive.” Maybe. Eighty-five percent of the public, according to Gallup, is in a negative or neutral mindset.
When I say add a zero to your number, most people will go into, “That’s stupid. There’s no way. I can’t. I have no idea how even to do that. Where would I even start to add a zero to my number?” They automatically start to play with this negative dialogue in their head. That’s where I was at. It was, “I can’t do that. Are you kidding me?” I’ve had this goal my whole childhood, as maybe most kids do, which is that I wanted to be a millionaire. That was my goal.
I want to make a million dollars in one year in my lifetime. That was a goal that I’ve had ever since I was a little kid, and then I got into banking. My vision started to decrease because I saw that the only way to make a million dollars in the bank was if you were the CEO of a large organization. That was the only way you were making a million dollars. I had settled that, “I’m good with $100,000 or maybe $200,000 in my lifetime. That’s probably the most I’m ever going to achieve.”
I started to believe that’s what I would ever achieve in my lifetime. A couple of $100,000 a year. Making a million dollars a year was not even in the realm of possibility. It was like my brain was screaming at me, “You can’t.” That’s where I was at as I started that workshop, like, “I can’t. This is stupid. Why even say that?” That’s the stupidest comment you could ever make. I was stuck in this lens of, “I am good right where I’m at. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be anymore. This is good. I’m good enough.”
This is what I call phase one. I’ve got four phases that people move through. I was in phase one. Most people that listen to podcasts or go to workshops enter the podcast or the workshop in phase one, which is simply, “I can’t. I can’t make a million dollars where I’m at. I can’t change jobs now. I can’t build the company I wanted to build. That’s impossible. I can’t do that.”
What happened to me over that three hours was that I moved to phase two. Phase two is where people move from this idea of, “I can’t,” to at least questioning, “Can I? Can I do that? You are saying that if I change the way I see things, I can do that?” What happened over those three hours was that I was given research after research, study after study of how groups would change from negative or neutral to positive. Their results would dramatically change, and I was hooked. It was like, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” I moved from, “I can’t,” to, “Can I?”
There’s a third phase, which is, “How can I?” I’m no longer questioning my ability. I know I can. I just don’t know how. Now it’s, “How can I create that business that I’ve always thought of? How can I go to the next level? How can I add that zero to my number?” Phase four is when you consistently practice this, “How can I.” You will get to a point where it’s, “I can, and I will. I don’t even need to know how. I know it will happen because I have that belief that is so strong that if I think about it, I can do it.”
That’s where you get the highest performers in life, the NFL athletes. I work with NFL athletes, Olympians, and big CEOs of large organizations. People ask me all the time, “What’s the difference, Tony, between your average American and these high performers, high achievers?” They have the highest belief of, “I can do that. I can do anything.” Most people don’t have that mentality.
What I found is that to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 from, “I can’t,” to, “Can I,” an event is needed. Some event. Maybe your readers are reading now, and this is the event for them. This is like, “Tony Brett, thank you. I get it.” This is their event. That’s shifting them from, “That’s impossible. I can’t do that,” to, “Can I? Can I add a zero to my number now? You’re saying I can?” That’s all I got to move people to as I talk, as I speak, as I get on the podcast. My whole goal is to get somebody from, “That’s stupid. I can’t do that,” to, “Can I?”
I hate to bombard people with more resources. I know you do a lot of speaking. I’m sure you have your own podcast, probably.
I do not. I have been asked by many people to start. I tried to start one, and I got massively busy that I couldn’t stick with it. I get on everyone else’s podcast now.
You are speaking all the time. If people want to learn or have opportunities to move themselves from that 1st spot to the 2nd spot, is there a book you like to recommend? Is there a video people watch? Is there a thing on your website like, “Go here. If you are squarely stuck here, here’s the best way to loosen that up a little bit and give yourself a chance to go to that phase two?”
We created a link that is super easy that people can go to. It’s called FreeHighPerformanceBook.com. That’s all I do is teach high performance. How do I go 10 levels higher, 10 times what I’m doing now? You can download a book. It’s a 10 or 12-chapter book. It’s pretty simple to read. I go through what are the concepts that I need to learn to go from, “I can’t,” to, “Can I?” There are also some events we run that will be shown to you there that you could jump into. You can either go there or my name TonyChild.com, and you will be able to see anything, any stages I’m speaking on. Those are two places people can go.
I love that you reviewed that with us. I love that you started with the story where you were like, “I was in, I can’t.” That’s where I was. Is there an, “I can’t,” for different areas of our life where we break through in one area and go, “I can do that in my relationship but over here in work, I’m still stuck in I can’t?” Does that happen sometimes?
It happens all the time. Again, I deal with NFL athletes. I transition NFL athletes out of the NFL into their life. Their whole life, if you put a football or any play, it’s I can to the hundredth millionth degree but then you take them out of their career and say, “Let’s start a business.” Now, it’s like, “I can’t do that. Tony, I didn’t even graduate college. What are you talking about building a business?” It’s making them what I call conscious competence.
What they did to get to the highest levels of the NFL, if we translate those same skills, they can translate it to business, relationships, and all different areas of their life. There are areas of life that I still have, I can, and I teach this every day. Just because you didn’t know, it’s not your fault. We blame ourselves when we listen to podcasts. It’s like, “I should have known that.” No, you didn’t. Now you do know but you shouldn’t have known it. I didn’t know it for many years but now I do. Don’t beat yourself up too badly.
I don’t like to talk negatively about anything but if you think about some of our formal education processes, at least here in the United States. Nobody is teaching our kids this stuff that you shared with us. You call it Psychology 101 but it might be like how to live a happy life 101 because it all happens right here between the ears. If we can master our thoughts, we get whatever we want out there in the world but that’s such a foreign concept.
If you’ve systematically gone through our education system, none of that comes up. None of it. Only like, “Here are the rules, and you stay within these bounds.” There’s not abundance and possibility. It’s like a guided structure all the way. I know it has some good to it but there’s a lot of this life stuff that doesn’t happen naturally in our education system. I’m glad there are people like you out there helping us get there when we come out of the system not ready.
My wife is a public educator. I love that there are some teachers out there that are into the research. They want to be able to teach their kids the right things. There’s a lot that doesn’t. There are two philosophies that a teacher can take. I’m going to teach my students what to think or I’m going to teach my students how to think. Most of the education is set up to teach our kids what to think. Not how to think.Most of the education is set up to teach our kids what to think. Not how to think. Click To Tweet
What to think in this specific circumstance, in this scenario. They get out in other scenarios like your football example. “I know the field inside and out. This pig skin, I can do this. You put me in another scenario. I don’t know how to think about that.” It’s a good example. Tony, this has been fun. I could talk to you for hours. You already shared a couple of resources, which I’m grateful for. Aside from going to TonyChild.com, I’m sure you have followers on social media. Where can people follow you? Where do they connect with you?
The best way to connect with me is through Instagram. It’s @TonyChild_. That’s my handle on Instagram. I do a bunch of Reels, little things that are on my head that I will riff on. If you love this content, follow me there. I will follow you back. I’m out there to make the world a better place. Wake people up to a better way of living, a higher way of living that anything is possible. Thank you.
I hope you can tell that I’m a huge fan of the work that you do. Certainly, a big believer in the fact that all of it comes down to us being able to master our thoughts and create what we want. We live in an abundant world, an abundant reality where anything is possible but only to those who know how to think and do some of this hard thought work. The next time I hear somebody saying, “I got to go to therapy.” I’m going to say, “Good for you. Way to work on yourself. That’s awesome.” We should all be doing that.
Let’s celebrate it. Not make it bad.
It is not bad at all. Tony, thank you again for being here. I sincerely mean that.
You are welcome. Thank you.
Please keep reading, share, like and tell other people about this. We want to bring people like Tony and all of his thoughts in front of as many business owners as possible. Especially seven-figure business owners who are trying to do that work of growing themselves to be the leaders who can grow their businesses to $10 million and beyond. Keep reading, like, share and do all that stuff. We will see you next time at the show.
- Elevated Worldwide
- Elite Momentum
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About Tony Child
Tony is the Founder and Owner of Elevated Worldwide, which focuses on improving how executives, founders, and business owners see and think about life to create success on purpose. They have been enhancing their clients’ knowledge base, providing them with processes that will build up their professional and personal structures, and develop an environment where passion, purpose, and profit combine.
Tony has been a big fan of Superman since he was a child. He admired Superman’s alter ego – Clark Kent. He loved that Superman could save the world and do extraordinary things while still being able to live an everyday life as Clark. Tony then has embodied a Clark Kent attitude in personal development.
Tony has collaborated with famous authors like John Maxwell and Bob Proctor. He also became a mentor to executives, high-performing entrepreneurs, and Olympic athletes. In addition, his book entitled VisionShift: A 10-Week Program to Transforming Your Life, Company and Industry So You Can Have, Do and Give More delves onto the concepts and tools for harnessing the power of your mind. His mission is to impact leaders and unlock their potential capacity through written and spoken words while remaining true to his core values.
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