Michael Easter is the author of The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Healthy, Happy Self.

He is also a contributing editor for Men’s Health as well as a writer for other notable publications and platforms, and has been featured on the Joe Rogan Experience.

We talk about why there’s a comfort crisis right now, what it means for our civilization and what we can do to not only improve our own lives but the state of our society at large. We also dive into the history books to see if there are any lessons we may have overlooked that are sorely needed in today’s world.

Buy the book Comfort Crisis here: https://geni.us/sGyV

Connect with Michael here:

Website: ​https://eastermichael.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michael_easter/
Facebook: ​https://www.facebook.com/Michael-Easter-225875898170585
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-easter-b208848/

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Transcript:

Clément: [00:00:00] Hello there and welcome to another episode of unleashed love. My name is Clément Yeung and I’m your host. And in today’s episode, I’m talking with Michael Easter author of the comfort crisis, embraced his comfort to reclaim your wild, healthy, happy self. Michael is a contributing editor for men’s health, as well as a writer.

Other notable publications and platforms. And he’s been featured on the Joe Rogan experience. We talk about why there’s a comfort crisis right now, what it means for our civilization and what we can do about it. We also dive into the history books together and see if there’s any lessons maybe that we’ve overlooked that are sorely needed in today’s world.

I really enjoyed this conversation. There’s no fluff, so it’s really practical. It’s really meaty. And so without further ado, I bring you Michael. I have to ask you, man, what made you write this book in the first place? Was there an event? Was there some kind of lead up to this, like an explosion fuck this, I’m going to [00:01:00] write this book.

Michael Easter: [00:01:01] Yeah. I had a handful of events, like just, and I were, I wrote for men’s health magazine for a long time. I was on staff. I’m still like a contributing editor there and I think. From that experience. I noticed that really anything that improves human health, whether that’s physical or mental, usually comes with some form of discomfort.

If you want to get fit, you got to work out working out socks. If you want to lose weight and you probably are going to be hungry, being hungry, isn’t fun. I also, I got sober about seven years ago and going through that, that was uncovered. And, but I came out on the other side a lot better.

And then I meet this guy whose name is Donnie Vincent. And he’s this back-country bow hunter and filmmaker. I ended up doing a story on him for men’s health and we become good friends. He invites me up to the Arctic for more than a month. And, I’d made that observation about discomfort.

And when I get up there, it’s oh, [00:02:00] Totally new forms of discomfort. Just get lobbed at me all the time. Freezing cold. Doing anything at all takes effort. If I want to drink water I gotta hike down to a stream and get it and hike a couple miles back up to camp. Even the silence and solitude of nature can be totally different and uncomfortable compared to what we experienced at home.

Like everything we do just. And, we’re hungry the whole time on and on. But when I got back to my normal everyday life, my, I just felt better. There’s obviously a lot fitter, I’d lost weight. But it just felt like the dial on my mental and physical health was like, had been moved 10 notches, and I wanted to know.

What was up with that. And I could see that really the differences that, thinking back to that observation, I made, like I faced all these different forms of discomfort in the Arctic that were just a part of everyday human life for millions of years. Stuff that we’ve totally engineered out of our lives that we no longer face.

And I [00:03:00] wondered, what are the repercussions of. This change we’ve had in our lifestyles. And so I started traveling the globe. I read a bunch of studies, a bunch of ancient texts. I talked to. Anthropologists at Harvard doctors at the Mayo clinic, special forces, soldiers Buddhists leaders in Butan, just all these different people who in their own unique way are finding that there are certain forms of discomfort that humans really need to thrive.

Clément: [00:03:27] Yeah. There’s loads that you’ve just talked about that I would want to touch on. I wrote a quote recently. Convenience should not be celebrated. I was like a, I’m quite a pensive person I’m quite reflective. And I just thought there’s so much about convenience that I feel damages us as a species.

How is it hurting us? How is comfort and convenience hurting us? That’s what we’re driving for, where all the technology. [00:04:00] All the optimization, all the improvements in efficiency, our philosophies about how to run businesses, about how to have more productive personal lives. It’s all boiling down to okay, how do we make things more convenient?

How do we make things better? Available, Amazon prime, one hour drone deliveries. You name it. It’s a content on demand. Netflix. What is it about convenience and comfort that is damaging us as a species?

Michael Easter: [00:04:28] First off, I’ll say it’s not at all surprising that things are headed this way, because when you think about the environments that we evolved in for like nearly all of time, Doing the most comfortable least effortful easiest thing kept us alive.

It helped us survive. So think about we are incentivized to not move because in our past. Movement burned up calories. There wasn’t that much food. When we finally got food, we were incentivized to overeat [00:05:00] it. And if it was calorie dense, we’d eat even more of it because we want to put on fat. For the next time we didn’t have food around. We’re incentivized to avoid all risk. This used to help us, but it doesn’t necessarily help us today. So there’s all that, there’s this overall drive we have for the easy, the effortless, the comfortable. That once the world started getting really comfortable and easy and effortless, it doesn’t serve us anymore.

This is why people today it’s like we’ve engineered, just think of movement and exercise. It’s like we’ve engineered movement out of our day. Which is not surprising because we have this drive to be lazy. It used to be helpful, but now we’re not, there’s not many incentives to exercise internally.

But we know we need effort. Think about food system. It’s like the most popular foods that we consume are all super calorie dense because we are rewarded when we eat calorie dense food with a shot of dopamine. Now the average foods that people eat, they’re way more calorie dense than anything you’d find in [00:06:00] nature.

And we’re driven to. This is why in America, at least more than 70% of people are overweight or obese. We avoid risk in things like business and our jobs and in our relationships, because in the past it was like, don’t do something risky. That’s dangerous. But nowadays it’s like the world isn’t really dangerous and we’re just missing opportunities.

This goes on and on, but essentially this tip into, Convenience, although it’s great. Yeah. And a lot of ways. We also know that we need to be challenged. We need to put effort into life. We need to sometimes do hard things or else we get a little bit out of whack as we’re standing with our rates of physical and mental health problems.

Clément: [00:06:43] Yeah, I agree with you a hundred percent. I was early to adopt a mindset along the lines of what you’ve just explained. I was in mastermind groups with, pre predominantly men. Sometimes men only groups I met with [00:07:00] overachievers, I mean with your work in men’s health, as an editor, you’re probably, you have a peer group that’s very similar.

Maybe you just, very pressured to always perform to the highest degree. So I immediately learned what it’s like to challenge yourself and to always be on the edge of comfort, maybe with one foot outside the circle of comfort in the uncertainty zone. And people like ice man half, are constantly pushing these messages.

I remember I was listening to a podcast episode. He did with Jordan Peterson recently. And he has the kind of personality where, you know Jordan Peterson was saying why don’t we do these things anymore? And he said, because we don’t do hard things anymore. He just kinda blurted it out.

And it was so great because it was unfiltered and it was raw, but essentially it’s true. And I think I’ve learned after leaving some of those groups how easy it is. Backwards into that kind of retreat into that circle of comfort. And it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel [00:08:00] to me like it’s comfortable.

I’m sure. When you went into those mountains or into the wilderness and you talked about how difficult it was, eventually it got to the point where it was very fulfilling because you had exercise those muscles and you had become a stronger version of yourself. And did that really? You said when you got home, you realize how much stronger you got, how much has it affected you?

I want to ask you more about like, how do you even keep that going? And maybe you’ve got some suggestions for that, but a question that I have on this whole topic is this predominantly a male challenge? Like I know there are women who talk about breaking free of you. Bad habits like Mel Robbins, for example, if you know who she is has a five-second rule 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and do whatever it is that, you need to do that you’re putting off, which seems to work really well.

But like David Goggins, Joko wilnick Joe Rogan, even, you’ve been on a show before Tom billyo Jason Wilson men don’t cry or cry like a man rather, and even Russell brand with his [00:09:00] book about recovery. Freedom from addiction, which I was an alcoholic. So I can relate to you being sober for seven I’ve.

Haven’t been sober for seven years, but I’ve been sober for about eight months and it wasn’t easy, man. It was so tough. Cause I was relying on it. I was relying on it to keep myself. Comfortable and it wasn’t good, man. It wasn’t good. So I guess the question is do you see this as a predominantly male issue or, is it, are, is that why most of the people talking about this, our ice man half or Jocko wilnick or ex special forces people or, and if it is just a male problem, is it a subset of men who are willing to talk about it?

Why aren’t more men talking about this? Why aren’t more people talking.

Michael Easter: [00:09:42] I don’t think it is just a male thing. And I say that just based on the reaction to my book I probably get half and half men and women, to be honest. And, especially I have a chapter on physical activity and the idea of rucking and carrying heavy stuff as a form of exercise and [00:10:00] a lot of women have really glommed onto that.

I think when you look at traditional societies, Men have typically been sent out to do things like hunting, and oftentimes the rites of passage for men were probably more physically difficult and, spend out in nature than for women. But we also know that Women probably did more work as we evolved.

And the men would go out and hunt, but the women were gathering. They were having to carry around kids all day. I think that just a lot of the way, culturally things are framed that, men still get sent out into war. So there’s this sense of Oh, that person was a seal.

That’s a really bad-ass job, but I do think that and those people just have the loudest voices and they have the backgrounds of that I think attracts people. But I do think that there it’s 50, 50 in my experience,

Clément: [00:10:50] okay. Yeah. Yeah. I can see that. Just trying to understand, what’s driving the trend behind these conversations.

Let’s talk about, I don’t make [00:11:00] are my shows political at all. This is a relationship podcast first and foremost, and then a mental health one. But I’m always interested in improving in a personal development kind of focus, but in terms of politics, do you see an alignment?

Comfort rising to the degree it’s at now and the kind of left ideologies of kind of individualism and freedom and Liberty, and just being able to do whatever you want, regardless of the kind of impact that might have on you, or how does, do you see an alignment there? Is that why there’s like a heightened leftist movement right

Michael Easter: [00:11:38] now?

That’s a good question. I think that I will say this. So one thing that I talk about in the book is. This idea that we’ve removed boredom from our lives. So boredom was this evolutionary discomfort that essentially told us that whatever we’re doing with our time it had worn thin the return on our time and invested just wasn’t working out anymore.

So picture yourself [00:12:00] on a hunt. You haven’t seen an animal for 12 hours, boredom would kick on and basically be like, Hey, if you want to survive, you’re going to need food. You should go dig some potatoes or pick some fruit or whatever it may be. Nowadays are we have a really easy fix for boredom, right?

It’s we get on our cell phone, we watch TV. You look at least the data on Americans. We spend more than 11 hours a day. Engaging with digital media. So this is our cell phones. This is like Instagram, Twitter. This is Netflix on TV screens. This is computer screens. So we have this really easy out for boredom.

And I think what you’ve also seen with the rise of digital media and essentially it’s evolution with algorithms that push us that are tailor made for us. If I have a certain political ideology, I can just fall into that and just read only that. And I’m only going to see stuff that I agree with, and I’m not going to see stuff that I don’t agree with [00:13:00] because I don’t click on that.

I don’t spend as much time with that. And therefore advertisers aren’t, the companies aren’t getting their advertising hits. And, I think when you have a country where two people can Google the exact same thing and get totally different results in totally different truths. There’s going to be a little bit of tension.

And so I think that to go back to your question about politics. I do think that this evolutionary drive we have to not be bored. To focus on information that is negative and inflammatory. Also focusing on that used to keep us alive paired with really smart algorithms that tell us we want to hear is why you’re seeing such a political divide.

In the U S and other countries. So I don’t know if that answers your question, but it’s just kind of some thoughts that came to mind. No, it’s

Clément: [00:13:48] all good. It, it definitely makes sense. And there’s this ongoing kind of. Pressure to be on the right side of history during these really tumultuous times with these [00:14:00] crazy, policies on, let’s say, allowing kids to choose their gender when they haven’t even developed to the point where they even know what that really means.

And we’re living in a world now at the moment where I think things are just so politically divisive. And just so crazy but. But back to the topic of comfort. And I w I want to ask you more about your journey. So what were the major takeaways that you got from, looking into this information and studying it and practicing it?

What were the major takeaways that you got for being able to take control? Of your life essentially, and being able to make decisions that were in your best interest, maybe in the longer term, because we’re talking about to a certain degree, we’re talking about offsetting the initial pleasure of the moment in return for doing something right.

Gonna re reward you further down the line. It’s going to be a little bit more hard. It’s going to be a little bit more tough, but you’re going to get more value and [00:15:00] fulfillment from it because it’s, you’re offsetting that initial pleasure. And the initial pleasure is one of the major factors of comfort is okay, now I don’t need to do anything.

I can just stay here. And things will continue on the status quo. So how did you manage to, to break away? And can we quantify that and replicate that for other people?

Michael Easter: [00:15:19] I think that one thing I’ve taken away is that, having worked in magazines for so long and then, really involved in health and fitness and nutrition and mental health media, You always see things sold as a silver bullet.

It’s Hey, just do this one thing. It’s going to fix all your problems. It doesn’t work like that. Our lives have changed so much over the last hundred years that we don’t even realize. All the ways that I’ve changed. And so you see a lot of, yeah, just do this one thing. But it doesn’t work because there’s so many things that we’re doing differently now.

And we’ve removed so many things that used to be good for us. So I think for [00:16:00] me, this like journey reintroduced me to a lot of, I guess what I’ll call it. Evolutionary discomforts that we need every day. So this is things like, we need to take on physical challenges. We used to face those all the time in our past and when we would take them on and come out the other side, we’d learn something about our practice.

So you see this in things like rites of passage, you see this in things like the hero’s journey. We don’t really have that anymore because those are a little bit dangerous. I can’t do anything dangerous anymore. Things like we don’t spend any time, we don’t spend much time outside. The average person spends about 95% of their time indoors now, but we also know that.

Being in nature has some really great mental and physical health benefits. And the reason we don’t go into nature is because it’s unpredictable and it’s uncomfortable. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. Might get rain. Dawn might get lost. The sun might burn my skin, we’re no longer hungry that often, right?

As we evolved, we were constantly hungry. Food was at a premium nowadays we’re surrounded in food. We still have this drive to eat. And [00:17:00] so we just eat it all the time, a week, too much of it. You look at eating only 20% of eating is driven by actual physiological hunger. The other 80% is because we’re on some schedule we made up or because we’re stressed out or whatever reason Even our exercise that we do, which all exercises great.

Don’t get me wrong. Is done in an air conditioned gym on a strange contraption that has us move in ways that we’d never move naturally. When we lift weights, it’s like we put our elbows on this padded thing, and then we moved this handle along this like fixed fixture. It’s we just try and make that as comfortable as possible.

We don’t move like we used to. So there’s just like this Mary and I could go on and on. There’s just like myriad of ways our days have changed. And as we’ve realized, oh, we can’t, we need to correct for this. I think we’ve fumbled our way through it in a lot of ways. And we focus too much on silver bullet type stuff, and [00:18:00] that shit doesn’t work.

It might work for awhile, but not really. We need to think about a lot of different ways. And when I think about. Discomfort like in the book. I don’t know. I don’t think the message is just go do whatever is uncomfortable because certain things are going to help. And certain things are not like certain things are just like, you’re just making shit up, so it’s like, what how can we mimic some of the things in our past that we evolved facing, because those tend to still move the dial.

Clément: [00:18:25] Yeah. The thing that you mentioned about just making shit up, because it’s uncomfortable, one of the questions that I had for you, and I’ll talk to you about a bit about this now, is that being around those people, those high achievers in those groups, Peer groups, right?

We’re talking about influence here. We’re talking about like, how, who do you draw your energy from and who do you try to emulate? And you’ve got role models. You’ve got peer groups, you’ve got family, you’ve got all these influences in your life. And the more you spend time with [00:19:00] them, the more right the saying is you become them.

And so what I found was there was almost a, I don’t want to say toxic. In the groups that I was in, it could be considered a bit toxic masculinity. I don’t like that term but there was something about always challenging yourself to the point where it was just constant. It was like a hundred percent of the time.

You’re just thinking of things to do, because you want to prove to yourself, you can do them. And and I’m just very sensitive to being in that environment again and people listening to this and thinking, okay, I’m going to go out there. I’m going to, I’m going to make my life uncomfortable.

I’m going to be around people who are going to always challenge me. And I feel like there’s a balance that can be met otherwise. Either end of the spectrum, you’re either going to be too comfortable or you’re going to be too pressured. And it’s just trying to find that balance in there somewhere. And how did that work for you?

How did you find a balance in, or have you been able to find a balance in your [00:20:00] life between comfort

Michael Easter: [00:20:00] and discomfort? Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah, I think you raised a really good point. I think the question is I think what can happen in certain groups is that. It becomes comparison shopping.

You’re not doing this, that you’re doing this thing. So you can be like, Hey. I did this thing that’s cooler than what you did, and then it’s oh, now I have to do this thing because this guy did that and blah, blah, that’s just stupid. It’s not sustainable. I don’t think it’s, you’re going into stuff for the right reasons.

I think that we need to recognize that the world today is freaking amazing. All these comforts and conveniences we have there I’m not telling you to never use your cell phone again, or like never sit on the couch. You should be squatting all the time when you’re watching TV or whatever BS people come up with.

No, but what I am telling you is that if that is all you’re doing, you’re going to have some long-term negative impacts over that. So it’s for me, the question is how can I. How can I [00:21:00] take advantage of this, all this amazing stuff we have, but not take advantage of it so frequently that it starts to backfire and how can I consciously weave discomfort back into my life?

So I’ll give you some examples of how I think about this stuff. Okay. I told you guys boredom is good, told you that nature is good. There’s a handful of reasons for that. 2030 minutes a day. I will leave my cell phone at home and I will just go, wow. I lived on the edge of the desert.

Let’s go walk out in the desert for 30 minutes. I’m in nature, totally removed from my flight’s not it’s there’s no, I can’t use it at all. I’m just removed from it. Something as simple as that. Like the research shows that has incredible benefits to our health. We don’t need to go extreme.

I think, every now and then maybe once a year, it is good to try and take off a big challenging task. So that’s one thing that I do, but I don’t do it like every week, because if you’re constantly like, just trying to do like the hardest craziest thing you could do all the time, like you’re going to burn out, So for me I’ll [00:22:00] do a pick off one big, crazy task.

Do it once a year. That’s usually good. I learned a lot about myself through that in terms of my physical activity. I’ve like rethought, how I train? I do a lot more caring and rocking now. And I try and think of like, how did humans move in the past? How can I do what we are? Best adapted to do because some researchers I talked to at Harvard, they told me like, Hey, like there’s probably some additional benefits to doing things that were most adapted to you.

Look at training now. And I think that, and I used to do a ton of weightlifting too. I still lift weights, but I’m doing it like two times a day, not four times a day because humans. Four times a day. And you were doing four, four times a day. Oh, sorry. Four times a week.

Clément: [00:22:44] I got to tell

Michael Easter: [00:22:45] you that’s pretty impressive.

I’m not that extreme four or five times a week. So now I’m down to two times a week because when you look at humans, I don’t think we evolved to be that strong. We needed to be strong enough for day-to-day task and by constantly pushing. Envelope on that. I think [00:23:00] you just start to break down and see injuries and it’s like, how can I just weave this stuff into my life in a way that, that freaking makes sense?

And I’m not just like doing stuff for the sake of it being hard. Like I’m arguing. We need to find the right kind of. Discomfort and weave it back to our life, into our life in an intelligent way. That makes sense in the context of what we know from modern research and just like ancient practices and wisdom.

W

Clément: [00:23:26] here’s a question for you. What do you think about culture in terms of Kim Kardashians and Marvel movies having an impact on why people go to the gym or why people. Have their diets optimized, right? This is what you’re talking about. You’re talking about, in my opinion, what you’re talking about is we’re doing things for the wrong reasons.

So where w where we optimize our diet, maybe what we’re doing is we’re trying to look like Kim Kardashian, or when we go to the gym and we’re working out with these weird machines that we never use ever until a hundred years ago, we’re trying to look like, Chris Evans from captain [00:24:00] America.

And I think I, what do you what are your thoughts

Michael Easter: [00:24:02] about that? I think for men in particular There’s this idea that like more muscle is always better. It’s I don’t think that’s true. I think you see, like you see arguments the idea of body mass index BMI being totally ridiculous because oh, the rock is technically obese and BMI, but like he’s super jacked.

It’s he’s still gonna have problems from that. We know that. Being too big, whether that is from muscle or from fat. There’s no real like distinction too much is too much. Like people today I think are generally too big. Like we’re just big humans and you look at the data on longevity.

Like people like to focus in on, oh, like what did this person eat? What do they eat? What do they do? It’s like the people who live the longest have two things going for them. They are in a developed nation to have decent access to medical care. They’re not too damn big. This is why we say little old man.

Not you don’t ever hear. Big old man, you don’t smaller. People tend to live longer and you [00:25:00] see this across species. This is why chihuahuas live longer than great Danes.

Clément: [00:25:04] Is that something down to like how the metabolism works when you’re burning less calories and it’s having less of an impact on your.

Michael Easter: [00:25:10] Metabolism, joint strain, more Oregon stress, Oregon strain. So I think to bring it back to Matt and it’s if you just want to be super jacked, like that’s totally fine. If you think that culturally that’s going to help you. Cause it totally might. But realize that. It doesn’t become as much of a health thing anymore.

Of course, having muscle instead of fat is probably better, but like just being massive for the sake of being massive, I don’t think is it is a good look in terms of in terms of women, I think, I don’t know. Oh man, like maybe the Kim Kardashian thing has been good because I think it has made a women.

More likely to strength, train, to be honest, it’s you’ve seen a lot more women go into the gym cause they’re like, oh, I gotta build this booty. Like you see them doing like hip Thrace and stuff. And. The data suggests that, women are less likely to hit the exercise [00:26:00] guidelines simply because they don’t lift weights as much.

And I get it. Like you go into a gym there’s dudes that are creepy and they’re trying to talk to you. But I think it has helped a women move weight which is probably good now to get back to the intention and the reasoning. I don’t know why, I don’t know what to say about that, but it’s yeah, whatever it’s

Clément: [00:26:18] like a it’s definitely a win for men if women do.

In my opinion, I do like art, artificial, superficially speaking. I do like women who are quite well-developed muscularly. But with strength training, I did learn that. Resistance training has a significant impact on the longevity. So yeah I can hear what you’re saying with that.

Michael Easter: [00:26:37] And it’s and it’s I think sometimes the studies get taken out of context where There’ll be a study that says, oh, people who had more muscle lived, we’re less likely to die across five years now, the populations that are studying, they’re not going, oh, the dude who lifts five times a week and is jacked versus the guy who lifts five times a week in this super jacked.

We’re talking about very basic levels of [00:27:00] muscle mass. They’re basically comparing. People who don’t do anything and therefore have a dangerously low level of muscle mass to people who have an adequate, because they do enough, so I think people take it out of context and go, oh, then I should just be as huge as possible.

Yeah,

Clément: [00:27:16] I like Ben Greenfield. You’ve probably heard of Ben Greenfield. I like some of the philosophies he’s has about being fit and making sure that what you do is practical and has some kind of functional benefit to it. But not everyone can be like Ben Greenfield. That’s his job, so it’s not it’s easy to look at the brand of Ben and say, oh my God, I wish I could be like that one day.

That’s what he does. That’s his life. But his teachings are generally speaking. I think leading people down the right path to thinking this way. What do you in your studies and your research. What do you think is the example of a civilization that kind of [00:28:00] got it right when it comes to balancing being stoic in the way that they think about life’s comforts and challenges and just having advancement and things like technology.

And was there something that stood out to you? Maybe it was the Romans, maybe it wasn’t because. They went down under yeah, I’d be interested to know if there was anything that stood out to you that you’re like, oh God, we should be more

Michael Easter: [00:28:23] like that. That’s a good question. I can give you a few examples that I think are interesting.

So men and Iceland are the longest living on earth. The reason is not what they eat their diet. They eat a lot of calories. They don’t eat many vegetables. They’re middle of the pack in terms of exercise. Their healthcare is whatever, but somehow they live super long and. The reason for this there’s a lot of things going on, but one of them is probably genes and that our ancestors evolved in a super harsh environment.

Over a thousand years, the island was totally [00:29:00] desolate. And then some Vikings from Norway about a thousand years. Decided they were going to defect and they went and they kidnapped a bunch of women from the UK actually. And then they sell to Iceland. There was no one there, it was a terrible place to live.

Not a whole, a lot of food grows there. It’s totally harsh, uncomfortable environment. And it was hard to live there. And, a lot of people perished along the way, but one theory is that. Essentially by having all these generations that tufted out that roughed it out, they could survive all the hell that Iceland manages to throw at a population.

It has selected for the hardier people. And so this might be one reason why they’re they live so long. Despite having all these things that say they probably shouldn’t. So I think that’s a really interesting case. I traveled there and I met with a guy who’s a geneticist, his name’s Kari Stefansson and he owns this massive.

He ran the neuroscience department at Harvard for a bunch of years, [00:30:00] but then he wanted to go back and study genes in Iceland because it’s a really interesting place to study genetics because a lot of people are related there. So I think that’s an interesting example. I honestly think like the country of Japan is an interesting case study.

They tend to live relatively long, rather stoic. There are some of their policies are interesting and I think there’s, there can be a sense of mindfulness there and protectionism It’s pretty interesting. And they w they walk a lot. I think that something that happens in fitness is, we do really intense things, but we forget that it’s good to do intense things, but also something as simple as walking as like what humans evolved to do.

And it’s good for us, yeah. It’s for many people,

Clément: [00:30:39] including myself, it’s either. All or nothing. That’s usually how I think about anything. Actually. That’s difficult if I’m not doing it properly or if I’m not doing it the whole way, I just might as well not bother one because of the new, real logical discomfort involved in actually getting into the action and starting to take action.

[00:31:00] That’s a lot, even. So just for a little bit of movement, like going for a walk around the block, I’m like, is it worth it to me to go through that suffering to get to the point. So does that, but then I think if you’re a perfectionist too, like me, it can be really daunting to, to know that what you’re doing, isn’t actually a hundred pounds.

What you should be doing what you could be doing, but

Michael Easter: [00:31:25] it will help. It will help. Yeah. What’s interesting about that. As I agree with you, it is hard. It’s like I’m going to take this 30 minutes to do something that’s easier. I, when I was at men’s health, I trained a bit at Jim Jones and when they were at their height, it was known as like the most intense, crazy gym you could ever train out.

Like they train the actors in 300 a lot of differences. It’s called Jim Jones. It had such a intense characters that it imploded on itself, but it was like the energy there at its height was like the ultimate place you could ever train and just crazy. And the guy who founded it [00:32:00] all of a sudden one day, he realized that like his fit and it was just exploding.

Like all of a sudden he, his rows were faster. He was putting up bigger numbers and lifts and. He tried to figure out like, what the hell was going on. I haven’t changed that much. It occurred to him. He had gotten a dog and he had started walking this dog every day for 30 minutes or an hour.

And though those walks were helping with his active recovery. So I think we sometimes don’t realize like how powerful some of that stuff can be. And then when things start to change, Oh, that’s like the only thing that’s like the one thing that has changed it for me, so I think that’s a good, I use that story as a selling point that like walking can be powerful, even if you’re the type of light type, a go hard or go home person.

Like you are like, I am like a lot of people can be,

Clément: [00:32:47] yeah. That’s fascinating. I did live with my family last year through the pandemic. We have a family. So I can relate to that. I can relate to taking it for a walk every day [00:33:00] and seeing the benefits. Some, something that I was fascinated in, I think maybe we can make this, our last point of discussion, but something that I was fascinated by and still am, was habit setting or habit destruction, bad habit destruction, and good habit creation.

And I read a couple of books. The most notable being James Clear’s book, atomic habits. I don’t know if you’ve read that, but it’s a great book. Anyone who’s listening might want to grab a copy of it. And one of the things that James talks about is. Making it easy, making it easier to actually adopt these new habits or get them in motion.

And you’re saying it might not be buying a dog. I That could be a, quite a large life decision, I would say, but just small things and getting into the mindset of. Don’t go from zero to a hundred. Let’s go from zero to ten first and just take it from there. Start optimizing things and removing things from our lives that aren’t serving us anymore that are keeping us like, for example, maybe you want to put your phone [00:34:00] in a completely different room, like the kitchen downstairs when you’re going to go to bed because you won’t use it before you’re sleeping and you won’t wake up in the morning and grab it.

First thing. Just proven to be such a bad thing for priming your day or getting a good night’s sleep. Do you have any kind of routine or do you have any kind of notable habits like this every day that you think would benefit others?

Michael Easter: [00:34:27] Yeah, I think I think you did bring up a good point about removal.

I think that it’s easier to progress by removing the things that are holding you back than it is by adding stuff. It’s we always want to add new shiny things, but if your foot is on the brake, as you just pressing the gas harder, isn’t gonna make you go any faster. What will make you go faster is just taking your foot off the brake, removing those barriers to entry.

So I think A lot of times. I think about something like diet, what often is the barrier to entry is that people aren’t even [00:35:00] aware of what their habits are. So it takes something like How many calories do, did you eat yesterday? What about the day before people have no idea? People constantly misjudge how much they eat.

So they’ll do studies on people who are overweight or obese. And now, these people will be like I can’t lose weight despite eating a thousand calories a day when scientists precisely measure exactly what they’re eating, they find that there are, the people are actually eating 2000 calories.

So that’s like this bigger thing that happens in our lives that we just aren’t aware of, where we are stumbling, where our stumbling blocks are. This is where trying to put in practices that make you aware of that, whether that be journaling, whether that be like with food, like try weighing and tracking your food for two weeks, you’re going to learn something crazy with your exercise.

It’s okay, if you have a workout planned and you didn’t make it. Track back what happened, the five hours, every truck, every hour, what happened that made you miss that? Where was the barrier there? [00:36:00] So I think that awareness can help spur action. Once you’re aware of something that there’s a problem problems don’t get better.

Whereas goals, I can set a goal and be like, I didn’t meet it. I’ll just set another goal who the hell cares, but a problem. I’m going to go, man. This thing is like a tack in my shoe and it’s there and I can see it and just keeps burrowing deeper and deeper. So identifying problems I think is really important.

For me and my own sort of daily habits, I, I’m first and foremost a writer. So I get up maybe four 30 every morning. It’s just I know, set an alarm. And I write, cause that’s the thing that I do. And I know that my most creative time is early in the morning. So I’ll write anywhere from four 30 to 10:00 AM.

And then and then the rest of the day, it was just open. I know that I need to exercise at least five, six times a week in order to not go crazy. So I I usually do that at the end of the day. And then in between, it’s just filling in a lot of the stuff that, that comes along with [00:37:00] the job, emails, interviewing sources, stuff like that.

I don’t know if I’m not one of those people who. Is super strict with the routine. Like you hear, a lot of productivity gurus are like, do not open Instagram. The first hour you wake up at an hour and 10 minutes, you must take this supplement and an hour and 30 minutes upon wake up, you must do X, Y, Z.

Don’t overthink it. Like I think people inherently know what is good for them. The question is. Why the hell aren’t you doing it? I think that the sort of very complicated rituals that people have are often just distractions from. From doing the work,

Clément: [00:37:36] absolutely like analysis paralysis. I noticed every single time I list out a new routine and I say, okay, at 9:00 AM, I’m going to do this at 6:00 PM.

I’m going to do this. I just find it’s difficult. It’s not the way I am. It’s not the kind of person I am and I’ve beaten myself up in the past for it. But now. I’m like, it’s okay. It’s just a, it’s a guideline. It’s a [00:38:00] reference point, but you’re right. If you pay enough attention to your body, to yourself, not even with your, what you’re most energetic about at that particular time, maybe it maybe you should, right?

When you feel like you want to write, maybe you should, go and work out when you feel like you want to work out and not try to fit it into just a box every day. But not only that, but you start to. Become more aware of what you should be eating. Your body’s trying to tell you, don’t eat that because you don’t need it.

You don’t need to put that in your stomach right now. And maybe what you need is something else. But Michael, it’s been an absolutely fantastic conversation. I think it just, it was mind blowing in some of the insights that I got from it. And your book, comfort crisis. It’s out now, right

Michael Easter: [00:38:44] now. Yeah, it’s available.

Yeah. Pretty much wherever books are sold. I think in the UK, you can get hard copies and audio copies in Australia. You can get audio and if you’re in the U S wherever so

Clément: [00:38:56] nice. Where can people contact you or find you online if they [00:39:00] want to get in touch or they want to

Michael Easter: [00:39:01] see your stuff? Yeah, good question.

So I have a website it’s Easter, Michael, that has my email. If you have a question or something, but I’m on Instagram as well. That’s probably the social platform that I’m most active on and that’s at Michael underscore Easter. And I appreciate talking to you, man. That was a lot of fun. It was a good conference.

Clément: [00:39:17] Yeah, no, thanks. I, I try to make it as conversational as possible and and make it just an organic, discussion between two people. So I think that’s what the value is in long form podcasting. Yeah. It’s more than that natural flow, but thank you so much, man. And if you’ve got any more books in the future, come back on.

We’ll talk.

Michael Easter: [00:39:35] Awesome. I appreciate it, man. Thank you so much. Hey,

Clément: [00:39:39] thanks for tuning in. Make sure you subscribe today and you won’t miss the next episode. We covered topics like recovering from infidelity, online, dating, managing chronic anxiety, and so much more we’re on all the popular platforms. So take your pick and we’ll see you soon.