All of us want to be loved and accepted. It’s how we were brought into this world and it’s how we should be spending our lives.
I’ve learned that if you want to get love you have to learn to give it, but it’s not always that easy.
I’m sure you’ve found yourself around people who you may find creepy or that may hate on you for seemingly no reason.
Your knee jerk reaction is probably to respond with an attack back, but that does the opposite of what anyone wants.
Hate breeds hate and love breeds love.
At the end of the day, how do you want to be remembered? I know I want to be remembered as someone who lit the way with love, compassion, and really tried to understand everyone I encountered.
On this episode of The School of Greatness I’ve brought you someone who has been spreading nothing but love around the entire world: Bob Goff.
Bob is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. He used to be a lawyer and has since turned his life into one designed to spread love. He is a New York Times best selling author, a diplomat, and a phenomenal speaker.
He’s helped build schools and shelters around the world. He’s saved lives by educating witch doctors in other countries, and has even become the Uganda consolut to the US.
This was easily one of the most interesting interviews I’ve ever done.
Bob’s mission is one I truly believe in.
And believe it or not despite everything he’s done he still gets haters on social media.
We discuss how he deals with those haters, how you can love deeper, and how you can overcome your insecurities.
Discover all of that and much more, on Episode 622.
Everybody, Always by Bob Goff
Love Does by Bob Goff
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 622 with New York Times bestselling author, Bob Goff.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
Thomas Merton said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to enquire whether or not they are worthy.”
Ooh, man! Does that ring true! And I try to bring on the most inspiring people in the world and especially learn the things that I need to learn the most about in that moment. And we’ve got Bob Goff on for a reason.
For so many people there’s a lot of conflict happening in the world lately. I see it on social media, on Facebook, I have it in my own personal life, but I hear so many people talking about conflict in politics and at work and relationships and, man, how do we just love each other fully, even if we don’t think they are worthy of our love?
We’re here to debate this today and really enlighten ourselves on how to love deeper, even if someone does something wrong or they’re hurting people, what we can do in that situation to navigate all of this.
Bob Goff was an attorney for 25 years, and he left his practice to pursue writing, speaking and international philanthropy full time. He is a New York Times bestselling author of the book, Love Does, a phenomenon that gave birth to the Love Does Organisation, a non-profit providing education to children in conflict zones around the world. He is also a diplomat, recognised as the honorary consul for the Republic of Uganda.
This guy goes everywhere and just touches people and impacts people in a loving, powerful way. His new book, Everybody Always – Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. It’s out, you can get it right now.
Again, how do we become love, attract love in a world of setbacks and conflicting people, conflicting ideas, opinions, points of view, actions, all these things? Not saying people are right, by doing certain things that might be extremely wrong, but how do we become love in those situations? And not let that consume our body, our energy, our mindset, and hold us back?
Well, in this episode we talk about these things. And some of the main things are where our insecurities come from and how to overcome them. And why this conflict may arise with a lot of different people in your life. Also, the difference between what’s “true” and what’s “magnetic”. How to think about failure. How to deal with these conflicting individuals and haters that you might have in your life. And what we’ll actually be remembered for in our lifetime.
Phew! This is going to be a juicy one, and I am excited! Make sure to take a screenshot of this, post it on Instagram Story, post it on Twitter, on Facebook, lewishowes.com/622 for the link to share out to your friends.
And a big shout out to the Fan of the Week! This is from Randy Lewis, who said, “Been listening for a few episodes, and I am hooked. Bought the book when Chalene Johnson recommended it, you have an amazing way of bringing out the best of your guests, and I’m going to listen to all The School of Greatness Podcasts. Thank you so much!”
So, I appreciate it, Randy, you are the Fan of the Week! And if you guys want to be shouted out as a chance for getting the Fan of the Week shout out, then just go to iTunes, check out The School of Greatness app, and you can scroll down on your phone, it’s pretty simple now, just leave a little review, let me know what you think, and we try to shout out as many people as we can. So, thank you, again, Randy, for being the Fan of the Week.
Before we dive in, I want to give a shout out to our sponsor for today, which is DesignCrowd. Again, so many entrepreneurs come to me and say, “Can you mentor me? Can you give me feedback on my business? Can you teach me about how to grow my business?” And then I look at their website, I look at their social media, I look at their programs and I’m telling you, the design is pretty sub-par, it’s pretty average.
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And a big shout out to Weebly! If you are a creative entrepreneur, you need more than just a beautiful website, you need an successful online business. And success and building your business isn’t just getting your products online. It’s not about just, “I’ve got this idea, I’m going to create it, and I’m going to put them online and now I’m going to make money.”
It doesn’t happen that way. It’s getting them in the hands of customers who will love them, and Weebly is more than a website builder, it’s an e-commerce platform that helps creative entrepreneurs sell their products, engage with their customers and grow their brands. You can pick from a huge menu of apps and features to keep your business growing and running smoothly.
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Alright! You were born in love, and you were meant to be love throughout the rest of your time. Let’s introduce you to the one and only, Bob Goff.
Alright, welcome, everyone, to The School of Greatness Podcast. We’ve got the inspiring and legendary Bob Goff in the house! Good to see you, sir!
Bob Goff: Hey! Thanks for letting me come!
Lewis Howes: I’m very excited you’re here, you’ve got some of the most incredibly magnetic energy that I’ve ever seen, so I’m glad you’re here, and for a former attorney, that’s nice, that’s refreshing.
Bob Goff: Isn’t that crazy? Because, as a lawyer everybody thinks you’re supposed to be uptight and argumentative and condescending, but actually, many of the lawyers I’ve met are actually really nice people. They just, sometimes you take on a character of who you think you’re supposed to be.
And that isn’t just lawyers. That’s, you know, you pick the thing, everybody has this idea of what they’re supposed to be like. And what if, instead of that, we were just us. Like, you have a big podcast, it’s this great big one, so people have this idea of who you must be, without even knowing you, and then they meet you and go, like, “Nice guy!”
Lewis Howes: “Just a normal dude.”
Bob Goff: Yeah, so what if I just assume that people aren’t who you think they are, just assume they’re really nice people, insecure in just different ways that you’re insecure.
Lewis Howes: Do you feel like you’re insecure?
Bob Goff: I am! I actually, you know, I don’t walk around like a timid guy, but somehow I got in my mind, I think it was in high school, that if people actually really, really got to know me, that they wouldn’t like me. Isn’t that crazy?
Lewis Howes: What, so you still think that?
Bob Goff: No, I think I’ve taken like decades to kind of loop back, to say, “Where in the world did that come from?” I’m not really sure of the return address on that, but we each get something in our mind. It could be something where you’re rejected and you invite somebody to the prom and they say, “You know, actually, I’d rather do something else. Actually, anything else.”
Lewis Howes: Did that happen to you?
Bob Goff: Yeah! Oh, dude, I still remember it! I finally got up the guts to ask Paula, right? And then she’s like, “Nope!” So the round trip on that was like 30 seconds. But I think, if we could figure out, without getting caught in an eddy of introspection, just figure out why do you do what you do. That would actually be really helpful, you could not just get absorbed in introspection, but reflect on, like, are you doing it for applause? Because if you’re doing it for applause, join the circus. Or are you doing it for validation? Or are you doing it because you want to just express love to people? So that’s worth asking.
Lewis Howes: Why do you do what you do?
Bob Goff: I used to be a lawyer by training, but then I switched over.
Lewis Howes: Twenty-five years, right?
Bob Goff: Yeah! A pretty long time! And it was the difference between practicing law and doing justice. And it’s just a quarter of a turn. You know, if you go downstairs into a wine cellar, There’ll be these dusty bottles of wine and there’s somebody down there giving them each a quarter of a turn. And I never knew until recently that the sediment sticks to the glass, and that’s how you make the wine clear.
And I think, sometimes, what it takes for each of us in our lives is just a quarter of a twist. A lot of people are a job or two behind who they’ve turned into. That isn’t a bad thing, that’s actually how it’s supposed to work. My world view is, we’re new creations. I’ve spent fifty-nine years with old Bob, but I met new Bob two hours ago. He was fighting traffic getting up here. So, but to say, “Who’s new Bob?”
And to see the newest version of you, the newest version of each of the people listening, and to just talk to that person and to just say, “Well, who do you want to become? Why do you do what you do, and what’s the impact you want to make?” And usually it just takes a quarter of a twist.
I was talking to this young guy who said, “Bob, you’ve impacted me so much, I’ve done a 360° turn in my life.” I’m like, “Actually you’re right back where you started!”
Lewis Howes: All the way round, yeah!
Bob Goff: I’d just give it a couple of twists backwards.
Lewis Howes: It should be 180 maybe!
Bob Goff: Yeah, yeah, exactly! 180 could be awesome, but 360, not so much.
Lewis Howes: Or even just a small degree. One degree can shift everything, the projection of your life, to a whole new stratosphere.
Bob Goff: Yeah, you know what I was thinking about when I was driving up here? There’s a race, it’s called the Transpac Race. It starts right off at the coast here, on Long Beach, and you go to Diamond Head, that’s the finish line.
And so when you’re in the Transpac race, you have to steer by the stars. You can’t do GPS and all that, so we have this small crew of guys, we got this 35ft boat, which is like two Tercels in the end, which is a pretty small boat, but this guy that was going to be the navigator was a navigator on a destroyer, so we had this ringer.
Well, two days before the race, they changed his orders, and he couldn’t go. They made me the navigator! What a bad idea!
Lewis Howes: By the stars, to get to Hawaii?
Bob Goff: Yeah! So I went to West Marine. I said, like, “I need a map,” they’re like, “It’s a chart,” I’m like, “Whatever!” So, I got this chart out, and a yardstick. I put one end on Long Beach and the other end on Diamond Head, I drew a line, and there’s a compass rose in the upper right hand corner. So I just figured out what the bearing was and we steered that for the first 1,700 miles.
Did you know there’s a difference between true and magnetic North? And from here to downtown it’s two inches, but from here to Hawaii, you miss the entire chain? Your first landfall will be Japan!
Lewis Howes: But did you figure out where to go?
Bob Goff: Yeah, we figured it out after 1,700 miles, and hung a left and went the last 500 the right direction. But there’s a difference, in my life, maybe you’ve seen that too, between what’s true and what’s just magnetic. So, winning arguments, that’s magnetic, right? But I want to listen for the truest voice, not the loudest voice. I don’t want to go for what’s magnetic any more, I want to give my life a quarter of a twist.
And a lot of that means encountering the people that have been really difficult to deal with, but encountering them with love. Faith’s a big deal for me, and so I just, I don’t want people to meet all my opinions, I actually want them to meet Love.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, wow! So, what did you learn from the twenty-five years of being magnetic and winning these arguments, essentially, because it sounds like you probably won some arguments in the court that maybe wasn’t justice, right? Or a lot of people, I guess, win, but maybe it wasn’t the right justice, but you become so magnetic that you’re convincing. Isn’t that right?
Bob Goff: Well, one of the things, I think, that happens is that we’re looking for validation. So you can get your validation from your work, or your titles or whatever it is. So it comes right back to that thing of thinking, “Why do I do what I do?” It would just be such a great thing if your feet hit the floor in the morning, before you hit the coffee pot, like, “Why am I going to do what I’m going to do?”
I’ll give you a couple of examples. So, I have three kids, and I want to be a grandpa more than I want to breathe. So, two of them are married right now, and so I’m just waiting, forget Instagram, I want sonogram! So, I schedule nine months and a day in the future, only nine months and a day, because somebody’s going to show me a sonogram, I’ll finish up what I’m doing, and you’ll never hear from me again.
Because I spent a bunch of my life trying to do things that worked and, a quarter of a twist on that, I want to do things that last. And I like investing in my kids and being available. This 18inch grandkid won’t know I’m there, but my kids will know. Because my kids, right now, if you ask them where’s your dad? They’ll just point at Earth.
Lewis Howes: Because you’re all over the place.
Bob Goff: Yeah! Sydney this week, and New York and all that. But I just want to be that guy, who, if you know who you’re becoming, which is, a grandpa, and it can be with anybody, then it informs who you are right now. So think of you, plus ten years. So, May I’m fifty-nine, so May plus ten years, sixty-nine-year-old Bob, I’ll bet he has a bunch of nine-year-old grandkids running around! That’s my hope!
So, think of you, add ten, and tell me about that guy. Who are you in ten years?
Lewis Howes: I’ll be forty-five, in ten years.
Bob Goff: Okay, tell me about that guy.
Lewis Howes: I’m my most authentic self, I’m my best self. I’m following through on all the commitments, the habits, the routines that I want to live into, and I’m making the deepest impact on humanity. And I feel like I’m doing that now, but I could always be better, and striving to impact more people.
Bob Goff: Yeah! Then the new version of you, the new version of me, the new version of everybody that works around us, just to continue to encourage people and point them towards that.
The people that have been kindest to me, were the ones that spoke these words over me. There’s a guy named Brad Quick, I remember in college they were having a Bible study at his house, and they said, I got there early, it must have been daylight savings time or something, because I never got anywhere on time. And he said, “You know what? It really honours me that you got here on time.”
And you know, this was thirty-eight years ago that he told me that, but I got here twenty minutes early. You know why? Because Brad Quick told me thirty-eight years ago, I was that guy. I was the guy that got places on time. And so, I don’t freak out about it, I just get on time because somebody, it was not a mystical thing, they just spoke that into my life.
And so I just want to say true words to people, talk about who they’re becoming not just all the versions of who they used to be. And what we spend a lot of time on it seems like, is focussing on who people used to be. And I’m more interested in, like, “This is where the music changes and the movie… Tell me who you’re turning into. Now we got a game!”
Lewis Howes: Wow! And why did you want to become an attorney in the first place?
Bob Goff: Back in my day there was like, every guitar shop had this sign with a circle and cross through it showing, no stairway to heaven, because that was the little lick that everybody knew how to play and everybody was so over it.
And I thought I wanted to be a youth leader guy, and so there’s this outfit that does that, and you can raise your support, and do it, and so I raised it all and said, “Okay, can I be a youth leader?” and they were like, “No,” and I’m like, well, it won’t cost you anything, and they’re like… I guess they thought I wouldn’t be good with people.
So, I went to law school, because I wanted to…
Lewis Howes: So, your dream, you couldn’t make your dream come true, essentially?
Bob Goff: Yeah, I didn’t, but it just changed. I gave it a quarter of a twist, and I was a construction lawyer. And I didn’t do that because Jesus was a carpenter, it just was interesting to me. And so, I just started trying construction cases up and down the coast, in Seattle and San Diego and L.A. But I gave that a quarter of a twist.
I started seeing the needs when my kids were the ages of these kids that were being bought and sold in India and other places, and I thought, “Man, I want to get some skin in that game.” So I kept my day job, as a lawyer, I had a law firm that had my name on it, but I gave it a quarter of a twist and just started spending more and more time overseas and doing this thing.
And I don’t think God is wowed when we go across and ocean. I think He’s dazzled when we go across the street. When you go to the office mate next to you, when you go to somebody who’s been kind of difficult who’s let you down, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do, I’ve been just one thing, like in your life, leads to another thing.
And a publisher said, “Will you write a book?” and I said, “I don’t know. When you build a school, I’ll trade you. One book for one school.” They said, “How big is your school?” I said, “A thousand child soldiers and a hundred teachers.” They’re like, “Big school!” I said, “Big book!” So I wrote the first book. It was called, Love Does. And I made them pay me in advance. I didn’t know if it would be any good.
So, we built the school and then they sold a bunch of copies of it. And so we built the next school in Mogadishu, Somalia, and the next one in Iraq. We’ve got one in Nepal, and an orphanage, and one in India. So we’re still endeavouring to start schools. You know why? Because I talk to the next version of me.
I talk to Bob-plus-ten and he’s going to be at home with his grandkids, so I’m like, “Let’s make some moves.” I mean, that’s a movement. Just a bunch of people making moves. So, I just hope, for each of your listeners, that they’re just making their next move. Whatever that is.
But don’t make a move towards, you know, burning down other people’s opinions, because that doesn’t make you right, it makes you an arsonist. So, just engage people. Engage them with love. And that isn’t this Hallmarky kind of fluffy thing, you can be… love and justice, they can go hand in hand.
Lewis Howes: You were saying earlier, when you don’t agree with someone, you don’t have to agree with someone sacrificing a child, or selling people, human beings, whatever it might be, but you can also connect with them and engage, right?
Bob Goff: Yeah, engage! That idea. We were just talking a little bit earlier before I stopped in, about how, if you get one handful of sand, that’s four-hundred-thousand grains of sand. Isn’t that terrific? I haven’t stopped to count, but I’ve got it on good knowledge.
But if you live 92 years, and I’m sure you will, because you’re really fit, and you meet twelve people a day, that’s four-hundred-thousand. So, we’re going to meet a handful of people, what if you say, “I’m going to have twelve conversations a day,” this counts as one. I got to talk to some friends of yours before we got started, that counts as two, the rest of the time I’ve spent…
Lewis Howes: That’s four.
Bob Goff: No, no, no, that counts as one, because we were in a group. So, that’s two, and I’m going to spend a bunch of time in traffic, so I better put somebody on the speaker phone if I’m going to get to twelve, because I actually want to have conversations, not ricochet off of people. I don’t want to just do that and with what you do, a lot of people know of you, but I want to make sure a couple of people actually know you.
And, indeed, they have, because they’ve heard you speak about things, but it would be shame if we were known of, but we were actually strangers to the people that were around us. Like, we were in proximity to people and not really present.
Have you ever done that? If you’re at a dinner party and somebody’s looking right past you at the next person. So, sweet Maria Goff and I will play softball together, and we just play catch. And I don’t even like baseball, but we play catch with the ball, because if you answer your cellphone you’ll lose teeth.
Lewis Howes: So you have to be present.
Bob Goff: Yeah, yeah, totally. Go get a softball, like, literally, just go play catch, whatever it is, just be present. Lose the cellphones, you don’t need to put them in a fishbowl, but just like, that idea of just being present. You’ll have those twelve conversations, and you know what? You’ll change.
Instead of thinking everybody else is going to change, and you’ll change into the next humblest version of you. So, that’s what Maria’s hoping. She’s hoping that when I get back, from L.A., I’m a more humble guy than I left this morning. Yeah, so that’s her hope every day.
Lewis Howes: That’s cool. When did you build your first school?
Bob Goff: Let’s see. It was eighteen years ago.
Lewis Howes: Eighteen years!
Bob Goff: Isn’t that crazy? I feel like the Crypt Keepers now. Yeah, so we just started. They said, “You need to have all these permissions,” Uganda had been caught up in this twenty-five year civil war, hundreds of thousands of people had died as a result of this and so we went to Northern Uganda, and we just said, “Let’s just start a school. There’s 400,000 kids that had never been at school.” So we let as many as we could, know. Hundreds of thousands. We said, we’re starting a school, you can come for free!” You know how many showed up? Nine!
But I wasn’t bummed, I’m like, “We got a soccer team,” and so I got a whole idea to just start and there’s this, it’s a beautiful, it’s both a proverb and it’s a saying in Africa: “Don’t despise small beginnings.” Just because, I think God delights when we just start the work. You know? It’s actually Zechariah that talks about that, 4:10. Just don’t despise small beginnings.
And so, start small. So, if you hear something that resonates with you during the day, then just, like, “What if I just start small? What’s one step in that direction?” If you’re like me, and I bet you are in many ways, have you done the Enneagram thing? Which is like a personality thing? I’m a seven.
Lewis Howes: I’ve done it, but I forget what it said I was.
Bob Goff: Oh, we’ve got to get you hooked up before the end of the day. So, Enneagram is like a 1 through 9, so 7 is the enthusiast.
Lewis Howes: I think that’s probably me.
Bob Goff: Yeah, so the enthusiast wants to spend every day at Disneyland, okay? But I don’t spend every day there. I spend Wednesdays there. Isn’t that crazy? Why do you do what you do? Because I teach a class at Pepperdine Law School, on failure. Isn’t that awesome? It’s the only class I know that talks to you at law school on how to fail.
And each week I just bring in my friends who have screwed up in front of Earth. So I just feel like, if you haven’t screwed up in front of a million people, we got nothing in common. So, one of the things that I don’t want people to do, is that we kind of get this idea that we need to go where there’s upward trending from one success to the other and actually, what’s marked me is just a bunch of times where it didn’t work. Or some went way awry, but it’s kind of what you do next.
What do you do with that? How are you going to grow? And you know who I spent the most of my time talking to? The next version of Bob. So talk about that guy. But the important thing, for me, is to not forget that childlike faith, right? So that eight-year-old version. Tell me about you when you were eight. Tell me about that guy.
Lewis Howes: Oh, man. Really scared.
Bob Goff: How so?
Lewis Howes: Really insecure, I was the youngest of four and I didn’t have any friends. I was growing really tall and just goofy looking. I could barely read and write at that age, so I just always felt like I was picked on. So, for me, I had a lot of passion and excitement, but I was always scared of people’s opinions. Because I didn’t have any friends.
Bob Goff: Interesting. Yeah. And that’s interesting, so sometimes you can find yourself, if you’re like me, acting like this eight-year-old version, all of a sudden it’s little Bobby Goff talking. Like, “Where did he come from? I thought we left him behind.”
Sometimes it’s useful to have that childlike version of you. Not childish, as guys, we’ve got childish nailed, but childlike, right? To be like a child, like faith, a childlike approach to things.
Lewis Howes: A curious mind, a passionate, curious mind.
Bob Goff: Of course! Curious about everything. Then when somebody has this big opinion about why things… You know, people don’t even know why bananas are yellow, and I’m like, you know, if somebody’s telling me about some angel on the head of a horse, and I’m like, “Dude, we don’t even know why bananas are yellow.” So, I’ll have one of my twelve conversations. But I’m not trying to straighten him out, I’m just curious about how life works for them?
Lewis Howes: That’s why I started this podcast, and that’s why I continue to do it, because I’m so curious. There’s so many fascinating people in the world that I want to learn from.
Bob Goff: There you go. Bingo!
Lewis Howes: And I feel like, each person I learn [from], I know an abundance more of information, and also feel like I know less of anything.
Bob Goff: Isn’t that true? It’s almost like we’re looking through a knothole. And you can see a 100% of everything you can see, but you can’t see much. You just don’t realise.
Lewis Howes: Exactly. I get to learn from each person, so much, but then I think, “Gosh, there’s so much more to learn, that I know nothing about.”
Bob Goff: Yes. What if… one of the things that’s kind of a hallmark for me is this idea of living a noteworthy life. Not noteworthy like other people would know about you, but so engaged in your life, that you want to just take notes on it. I bet I send myself sixty e-mails a day. Of just ideas.
I get home at night, I’m like, “Him again? Block!” But, what I’ll do, some people, in their faith exercise they have what they call a quiet time, and I haven’t had one in twenty years. Mine are super loud. And what I’ll do is, I’ll take everything I thought of the day before, and I’ll say, “No, it sounds right. Is it actually true?”
And that’s one of those quarter twists. Instead of just saying things that rhyme, because all of a sudden you’ll just start giving people advice that rhymes. You know, if you just go with the stuff that’s sounds right, rather than, “Is it really, really true?”
Lewis Howes: Yeah, right, sounding cool.
Bob Goff: Bingo! If you ever get advice that rhymes, run! I’m like, “Did that just rhyme?”
Lewis Howes: What’s your best piece of advice that does rhyme?
Bob Goff: Oh, here’s the deal. Instead of asking, “How’s my life working,” if somebody asks you, “How’s your life working?” I would say, “Awesome!” My life’s always working for me. I think the better question, a quarter of a twist, is, “How is your life working for the people around you?”
Wouldn’t that be a great thing to ask some of the people who love you the most? How’s your life working? Because, I would say, for some of us, if our life isn’t working for the people we love the most, then actually our life isn’t working.
And it just takes a moment of pause and candour with the people, and palms up and just say, “How’s this working?” And I’ve asked that question of Sweet Maria Goff, and she’s told me, once or twice, she’s like, “This actually isn’t working for me that great.”
I mapped out, on this map, all the places I’d gone in two years. It was like a tapestry. I was just everywhere. And I pulled into the driveway after one of these, like, saving the world things. I pulled into the driveway and after 33 years of marriage, this woman has never raised her voice or said a cross word to me, and in the window is a “Help Wanted” sign.
She wasn’t saying she needed help, she was saying I needed help. And she just, in the kindest way, she just said, “You know, this is actually not working for me.” But instead of scolding me, she loved me. And just like Brad Quick told me, “You’re that guy,” she in a really loving way, just pointed me back towards the guy that she knows I want to be.
And so, if we could do a little bit more of that, not telling people what to do, but reminding them who they are. And that’s just a beautiful quarter turn. And you don’t even know it happened. You just realise it, like, “Wow! I just made an actual beautiful adjustment in my life.”
But you have to have the conversation. You got to have one of those twelve conversations to get there. Otherwise, if you’re just like me, just Tigger, just bouncing off the walls, you got to find a Wise Owl. I’m married to one.
Lewis Howes: That’s great! Well, who are you right now?
Bob Goff: Well, I’m, so think of your life. I’m fifty-nine, so think of when you’re twenty as when you’re guy number two. When you’re in your thirties, you’re guy number three, and so I’m fifty, fifty-nine, I’m like, way guy number five, but almost guy number six, I spend most of my time talking to guy number seven, you know, that older version.
Lewis Howes: So you’re always talking to your future self, not your past self?
Bob Goff: Yeah, talk about that, that old guy, like, that guy’s on the bus. Think about, like, “Who am I becoming?” and so, you say, some of these practices and patterns that you’ve said that you’ve incorporated into your life, you’d want to see those carried forward. The people that help me only tell me what I’m doing today, tomorrow and the next day.
Isn’t that great? Why? I want to be present, I don’t want to be thinking about, “I’m here now, where do I got to go next?” I’m like, you can hook all the electrodes up to me, I’m 100% right here, because I actually have no idea what I’m doing after the day after tomorrow. And that’s super helpful, and that’s the kind of wisdom you can get from the next version of you.
I live down on the bay in San Diego, and evidently a lot of people know where I live now, and they’ll come by the back of the house on their boat and they’ll talk about me! They don’t know I can hear them, because their voices carry over water. And you know what I’m learning? Probably from the next version of me, is that humble voices carry further in this world.
And I think I just don’t want to be a loud voice, I want to be a humble voice. And so, that moment of pause when somebody does something kind of lame or says something that’s a little untoward, to just pause for a moment and say… And I just want to get a hold of the next humblest version of me,and have that guy do the talking now.”
Lewis Howes: How do you do that?
Bob Goff: I think it’s a moment of pause. There’s a prudent pause. Some people get paralysed, and there’s a difference between being kind of paralysed, and a prudent pause. And just that idea. Forget counting to ten, just be humble.
Lewis Howes: Right. Someone’s coming at you with all they’ve got, saying everything that could potentially offend you or attacking you or haters online or whatever, you pause.
Bob Goff: You know what I actually do? There’s three things. I just say, first, I just assume they’re smarter than me, because often times they’ll use bigger words than I can muster up, and so I’ll actually try to learn from them. So, I’ll look up the words and try to understand.
I actually was going to speak at a conference and I wrote a note to one of the other people that was going to speak there, and just said, “Hey, I’d love to meet you beforehand,” because you can tell if the people that are speaking are all friends. That you know each other and like each other. And I got there and he was like really mean. It doesn’t happen often, I’m a pretty hard guy not to get along with.
But I got this really mean letter back and it had all these words on it and I looked them up, and I just assumed that they were smarter than me. And then, I assumed that their faith was more significant than mine. Not putting myself down, but I just assumed that they loved God more than me. And that they were just doing their thing and expressing where they’re at in their life, and I just said…
There’s a beautiful verse that guides a lot of me, it says, “Consider others more worthy than yourself”, so I just assume that. And then the most important step is to think of what’s the least creepiest explanation. Because it’s easy to come up with the most creepiest explanation for whatever happened. But what if you came up with the least creepiest explanation?
I spoke at this gathering. It was maybe six months ago. And this woman, there’s 3,000 seats, there’s one empty seat, in the front row, and a woman walks in with a boa around her neck. Not feathers, a constrictor boa. And I’m like, “[Run] for your life! NO!” And then I just said, “Bob, get a hold of yourself,” and I just assumed she was smarter than me. All evidence to the contrary.
And then I just assumed that her faith was more significant than mine, because she was likely to meet God before me, on that track. And then I thought, “What’s the least creepiest explanation?” And you know what I came up with? “Maybe she doesn’t know!” Maybe she ducked under a branch and it wrapped around her, like, “I’m not telling her.”
So what if we just chill out a little bit. It’s just that prudent pause, and that’ll keep you from ricocheting off everybody. Because I think that that’s keeping us from having some of the conversations that we probably would grow from. Because I don’t think people grow where they’re informed, I think they grow where they’re accepted.
Lewis Howes: So what does faith have to do with loving difficult people or bad situations.
Bob Goff: Man, faith is so important to me in that. But I guess, I’m not trying to convince other people what they ought to believe, I’m just saying, what do I believe and then how am I going to go about that? And I know that the way that I’m perceived, is a guy that’s beloved.
I actually believe that that is the word spoken over me, you, everybody, whether they are in touch with that or not. And if you just think about your biggest screw up, the thing you don’t want anybody in the whole world to ever know about, I just hear God calling us beloved, over that.
And I think if you’re listening in and you’re not hearing the word, beloved, spoken over your biggest screw up, it ain’t Jesus talking. Just like that whole idea, to just be a little more situationally aware, that we’re all going to mess up. You’re going to mess up because you’re you and I’m going to mess up because I’m me.
But if you can understand in the context of that, that we’re beloved. And then some of these difficult people: if you want a report card on your faith. See how you’re treating the people who creep you out the most. So, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to just engage them. I’m not trying to engage them with all my opinions. I don’t want them to meet my opinions, I want them to meet Love!
But I think we can actually turn into love. You can, and I can. And so, somebody asked me, “How do you turn into love?” and I was like, “I don’t know, I’m still turning.” But I got my eye on the prize. Because I know where, here, oh shoot! Actually, if I had my phone, I would figure out where North is, but I will go into a hotel room, and before I put my stuff down, I’ll try to think where’s North. And then I’ll guess it, and then I’ll press that little button on the iPhone to figure out North, and I’m always a couple of degrees off.
And there’s something that’s beautiful. We just get turned around. It’s not a moral thing, it’s just a life thing. You’re just going so fast, and that’s helped me with some people that I found very difficult. I just assume that they’re a couple of degrees off. But I’m not thinking that I’m the sherrif. I’m not the hall monitor, I’m not their parole officer to bust their chops.
I just want to engage them with love. I want to see some evidence of these beautiful beloved, like finding within this person that’s incredibly difficult, and it’s a target rich environment these days. But to just say, “Wow! Wow! Them too?” Like, “Dang!” And I’l admit, man, I’m not there. I’m not where I want to be. I just hope that guy ten years from now will be, but I got my eye on the prize.
Like, I’m just going to continue to try to see these people as beloved, even when I can’t, but that it just takes, I think, maybe a little bit longer look. And I would say, there’s some people I would admit I’m still looking at and I’m still looking for it, but I’m not going to speak ill about them. Because, I remember a guy who told me that I was a guy who I wasn’t yet. And I turned into that guy who gets there on time.
And so, I’m not just blowing sunshine at people, I’m just thinking, “Man, if I look at it long enough…” But I’m not going to just be sedentary and look at things, I’m going to be looking on the way. So, this idea that in Somalia, there are a bunch of people that are starving. There’s a famine that’s hit, and we just took a bunch of the money from Love Does, and you can charter a cargo plane.
We got hold of the World Food Program, we chartered a plane out of Italy, filled full of food in Nairobi, and flew and landed in the sand in the western part of Somalia. And you can actually do that. Again, a bigger deal would be to go across the street to somebody that you’ve been avoiding just because they’re different. That would be, actually, I think all of Heaven would just be leaning over the rails to watch that.
So we think of these big things, let’s go with the bigger one, the more difficult one, which is just to engage the person that you work with that is actually still on the way and just come up with the least creepy explanation. Maybe they’re insecure too, maybe they got their feelings [hurt], maybe they were terribly wounded.
Lewis Howes: What’s the difference between engaging people, and engaging them too long, where it’s not working for you or for your mission, and do you stop talking to people after a while if they keep coming at you or if they keep doing things that you don’t agree with, or, are you becoming best friends with these people that you’re not appreciating their actions or their words?
Bob Goff: You know, I think there’s some people in my life and in yours that are just toxic. They’re actually just not good for you. And so, there’s some people that are actually probably worth keeping a little bit of distance from.
You know, at Disneyland they replant the trees about every ten years. Otherwise these trees would have to be trunks that are five feet around, because it’s sixty years old, right? And so, sometimes replanting your tree just a little further away from someone else’s lets both trees grow better. Sometimes you just need a little bit of room.
But you don’t need to cut down somebody else’s tree. What I do, you know, around your bed on your last day here on Earth, here, and mine, there’s room for about eight people. Nine, if they’re thin. And I’ve just figured out who my eight people are. And I’ve sent them all a text message. Literally, I sent them a message. “You’re one of the eight.” And they text me back, “What does that mean?” I say, “Don’t worry about it.”
So what if you figure out who your eight people are? Who do you want around your bed on your last day here, and what if you start surrounding your life with them right now? And if you don’t have eight, go get six. Do you know, five fruit trees is an orchard, but four fruit trees is just a bunch of fruit trees, but five is an orchard. I always wondered who came up with that. Probably some lawyer who had five fruit trees and needed a tax break. But go get an orchardful of friends. If you don’t have five, go get one friend. And there’s this place that God made, Starbucks, so people could have conversations.
Lewis Howes: So you can get off your computer and phone.
Bob Goff: Totally, just do that! Just be like, “This is one of the twelve [conversations]”. Find a person and, I’m just, every person I meet, you included, I’m interviewing for the job of being one of my eight. People that you engage, the reason why you do your podcasts, you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And so, if you say, “I’m always looking for my eight,” and your eight are going to change. Have your eight changed over time?
Lewis Howes: Definitely, yeah.
Bob Goff: Yeah, you don’t have to send them another text message and say, “You’re off the island!”
Lewis Howes: Right. It’s evolving. Has yours changed?
Bob Goff: Yeah, oh yeah! All the time.
Lewis Howes: Over the last year?
Bob Goff: Oh, yeah. As I’ve changed. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. But you don’t have to have a send off party, by making it a really untoward comment of somebody, just say, they’ve evolved, they’re moving into a beautiful different direction. I don’t know if it’s a better direction, it’s just a different one.
Lewis Howes: And how do you deal with you’re saving lives, building schools, making an impact in the world, you know, all the profits to your last book went to charity, all this stuff is happening, you’re spreading love constantly online, but you still get haters? How do you deal with it when you are doing the best you can to spread love, the thing we all want the most? And yet people…? In general, people will attack us for anything we do.
Bob Goff: Yeah, I think I am just very accurately assuming that I’ve got a lot to learn. Because if that is emoting from somebody, then maybe there’s something I got to learn in that. I’m not trying to figure out what they need to change. I’m like, “Is there anything…” but I don’t feel manipulated by that, I just feel like I’m your student, I’m the student of the people that are surrounding you, and you have a bunch of people that are not just blowing smoke at you, you’ve got a lot of kind people that surround you.
I’m trying to surround myself with kind people, but I don’t really insulate myself from people that are more difficult. And I think that’s that quarter of a twist. But I don’t need to engage them. You won’t see me engaging people online. I’m not going to engage in an argument.
I just wish them well on their adventure and I assume that they’re making a big impact in people’s lives and they’re passionate, obviously. And so you can just be a little more teflon about that. And it isn’t indifferent, it’s actually the opposite of indifference. It’s just that you’re so engaged in trying to be the next version of you, that can learn something, you become their student and say, “Is there something I can learn from this?” And once you’ve learned on them, get back to the important work of true North.
Lewis Howes: Right, right. You said this: “We are known for our opinion, but remembered for our love.” How does that work?
Bob Goff: Oh, yeah, well think of every eulogy that you’ve done. Where somebody says these words about somebody. Oh! There’s a guy who, his name is Greg Mertha, and I was back on the East Coast, and sitting with somebody and they had their cellphone out and they showed me the text message, it says, “Do you know who Bob Goff is?” And I’m sitting next to him and I’m like, “Oh, this is awesome!”
And he told me about this guy Greg, and Greg had gotten cancer and he’d been through one hundred rounds of chemotherapy. He’d been this phenom in business and all this stuff, and he was literally on his death bed. And so my friend texted back to him and said, “Bob’s sitting right next to me.”
And thirty seconds later, there’s another text message that says, “Will you ask Bob if he’ll write the foreword to my book?” And, I mean, there’s only one answer to that. I mean, if you say no, you go straight to hell! You don’t even die, you’re just eternally separated from God.
So, I said, you know, obviously, I would. And the next day he went to dance with Jesus for eternity. And I’d only met Greg one time. So I spent the next month talking to all his friends, “Tell me about Greg.” And you know what they talked about? His love. So, this idea of being known for our opinions, but remembered for our love, Greg’s just a guy who’s remembered for loving people like a linebacker. He would just square off and just love you. Just full contact.
Lewis Howes: A loving linebacker. Knock you down with love.
Bob Goff: Yeah! Totally! So, that’s how I’d want to be remembered. I don’t want to be remembered, man, three days after I stopped practicing law, everybody forgot I practiced law. They were like, “Whatever.” But you get to decide what you want to be remembered for, and you get to do that.
And if you’re living a noteworthy life, again, engaged, not noteworthy life in trying to grab headlines, but just so trigger locked on what’s true North for you and engage. If faith is a big deal for you, man, just don’t put your toe in the water, grab your knees and do a cannon ball! If business is your thing, like whatever, if dolphins are your thing, get in the tank, but whatever it is, just engage it and so I figured out my true North, I am headed towards it with everything I’ve got. And it means engaging some difficult people along the way.
Lewis Howes: And you were talking before about engaging with witchcraft people, is that right?
Bob Goff: Well, yeah. In Uganda I serve as the Consul for Uganda. Isn’t that crazy? I’m not the US guy to Uganda, I’m the Uganda guy to the US! Figure that, walk into embassies like, “Are you the Uganda guy?” But I’ve been representing them, I think for almost a decade, maybe more.
And so, one of the things that has plagued that country, and not just Uganda, but other countries as well, is these witchdoctors who will engage in human sacrifice, of little children. But in the history of Uganda, nobody had ever taken on a witchdoctor, because they were afraid of these guys. And part of the problem is, there’s always a victim, but they usually don’t survive and then they’re scared of the bad guy.
So, there was an attack, and a little boy survived, and I asked if we could try Uganda’s first case. And we did. And the word of this conviction spread to 41 million people. It was like, you touch a kid, it’s over. So this idea is, there’s no love without justice, but no justice without love. And so I think it’s a both-and. I’m a pretty up-beat guy, but I know where true North is, and when it comes at it, like, doing these things to these kids, I’m not just going to stand by and watch and take some notes.
Lewis Howes: So, you were the attorney on this case?
Bob Goff: Yeah! Isn’t that crazy?
Lewis Howes: In Uganda?
Bob Goff: In Uganda. And so, one of the things that happened though, after the conviction, I started thinking about all these witchdoctors and started deciding to engage them, so I sent word on the bush radio, that the Consul General for Uganda is here and I command every witchdoctor to come and meet with me.
And they came. I met with over a thousand. And they are creepy dudes. They make little dolls that look like me and stick pins in them. No, no, they’re some pretty creepy dudes. But instead of just telling them, “If you do these things, this is what’s going to happen to you,” what if you do both?
Let them know what the law is, let them know that if you touch a little kid you will never be seen again, but what if we teach them how to read and write? And so, we have a witchdoctor’s school. We teach them how to read and write. And the only books they have in witchdoctor school, are the Bible and Love Does, and so there’s something awesome about it and we have some pretty funky graduations.
Lewis Howes: You go to the graduations?
Bob Goff: Oh yeah, every single one. It’s pretty creepy! But there’s something beautiful because I know these guys by name, and I let them know, I let them know, “Man, you touch a kid, it’s over. What if you lead our life in a way that lets you lead your life?” And there’s something beautiful that’s happened. They’ve given it a quarter of a twist and they’ve stopped sacrificing children.
It’s really been beautiful. I think the power of love unleashed in your neighbourhood, with your friends, in your office, with people far away, with people close, people you’re married to, that you’re dating, just to be an authentic version of that, and I know it’s scary.
I’ve spent my whole life avoiding the people Jesus spent His whole life engaging. You know why? Because I didn’t want to get any on me. And I think the simple message that love gives, is to get it on you. Like, just get some on you. You want to turn into love? You got to get some on you. And so, in a strange way, some of these people that have creeped me out the most have been the ones that have informed my faith the most. Because I’m just realising…
There’s a ropes course, probably 100ft in the air, and I take these witchdoctors up there and they’re in harnesses and all that, I’ll unclip them and give them a push. And they’ll say, “Stop pushing me!” and I’ll say, “Stop scaring people! Because this is how everybody feels around you.” Like, “If you stop scaring them, I’ll stop pushing you!”
But instead of being a guy that’s pointing a bony finger at them, I engage them in love and teach them how to read and write. And there’s something about that, to find your way. And that isn’t for everyone, but find your thing, whatever that is, find your people, find the people that have caused you the most difficulty, and it might take staring at them for a little while but just shuffle forward.
And I just think that idea of, God just delights when we begin these small beginnings. Right? You just move a little. It’s one conversation, it’s one scary, vulnerable moment, to say, “You know what? What happened was, that was just me being super insecure right there, so can we have a do-over?” and the people that love you the most are going to be like, “You got your do-over.”
Lewis Howes: Wow! What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from the witchdoctors?
Bob Goff: I think the power of transformation in people’s lives. That the power of love, whether that is your faith that causes you to change, that’s been my experience. Whether, for some of these witchdoctors, the realisation that they’re accepted by people, that that will be where people change.
People grow where they’re loved. Not just where they’re planted, where they’re loved. And so, man, grow love by the acre. And not just this, like, squishy kind of love, but active and engaged, roll up your sleeves, “Let’s go do this thing.” Try the case, make the trip.
Mogadishu is a pretty scary place. Rounding up there’s a total of zero people that look like me in Mogadishu, but they won’t let you teach little girls how to read and write, because they’re girls. And there’s no way we’re just going to be watching that.
But find your thing. That’s not more noble, that’s actually probably tied for first and tied for last, in God’s mind, with engaging the person that you work with, that person that you pass by. We had this mailman, and his name is Art, and he’s just horrible at being a mailman. I hate to malign him on national audience, but he’s just bad at it.
He’s been our mailman for twenty years. He just can’t get the mail to the right people. Like, literally, my credit cards go over there, somebody’s getting audited, I get their envelope, I have to walk it over and like, “Stinks to be you.” Well, Art finally, after twenty long years, said he was going to retire. I’m like, “Praise the Lord!” and so we decided, we have a parade on our block.
We think that the idea of loving your neighbour isn’t a metaphor for something else, we just really think it means to love your neighbour. So we’ve been having this parade for 23 years. Well, our block is eight houses long, and we get together, in the cul-de-sac, and we pick one of the little ladies to be the Queen, and we have a grand marshal.
We made Art the grand marshal! And we put him in the back of a convertible. We put a thousand envelopes in there. We said, “Art, just do what you do every day. Just throw all the envelopes everywhere!” Eight hundred people turned out to let Art know just how much he was loved.
And you know what he did a week later? He called me up and he said, “Bob,” he was so touched by this outpouring of love, he said, “Bob, I’m coming out of retirement.” I’m like, “NO!!” But he’s back, and nobody’s getting their mail. But that’s why we all know each other.
But there’s something beautiful that happens.
Lewis Howes: So he brought you together, even closer.
Bob Goff: Bingo! So, just the things that you experience in your life, what I’ve experienced by writing books, is that the best chapter titles come later. So, think back in high school, when you felt rejected. You know, that’s where I would title, when Paula said no to the prom, I would have put the title of that chapter, “Rejected”, but actually, many years later, I’ve realised that was actually a release.
A time that you felt like you were prevented from something, then you give it that little while and you realise you were actually protected. Maybe something that happened when you feel like the title for that is, “I’m Out,” if you give a little while and you’ll give it a better title, and it’s like, “I’m Back!”
And so, maybe, pausing a little bit before you name other people, like before you figure out who they are, before you give them a name, just pause and just say, “Man, they’re just dealing with their stuff, too.”
And it’s hard to be patient. I mean, I make coffee nervous. I’m like, pretty hectic, but what if you just are a bit more patient. There was a guy, Paul, and he was talking to his friends, and he said, “Man, you know what I’m working on is immense patience,” and so those are the words. I’m not big on tattoos, but if I was going to get one, that would be it, right across my face. Just immense patience.
Lewis Howes: For you?
Bob Goff: For me. Because I’m not that guy yet.
Lewis Howes: What do you need patience in?
Bob Goff: Oh. Earth. I like, eat sushi just because I don’t have to cook it. I don’t even like sushi. But I’m just trying to be immensely patient, so when something happens, traffic, a delay, the book doesn’t get there on time, the whatever, just immense patience. That would be really awesome if, on my last day here people will say, “You know the thing about Bob? That guy was immensely patient.” That would not be said of me yet!
Lewis Howes: Maybe for your future self.
Bob Goff: I know who I’m aiming for and I know where true North is. So figure out who that is and aim towards that every day. Say, alright, new Bob! This guy is going to be immensely patient. It’s going to take some work.
Lewis Howes: Do you think if you had a tattoo across your forehead you would actually be more patient?
Bob Goff: No, I’d be avoided, like, immensely avoided! It would be like, “Ooh, it’s guy with the tat.”
Lewis Howes: Like the woman with the snake.
Bob Goff: Yes! Exactly! What’s the least creepiest explanation? “I guess he wants to be patient.”
Lewis Howes: Exactly. Now, you kind of like, took off on social media really quickly. You’ve got this massive following pretty quickly, it seems like. You sold tons of copies of your last book. How did you transition from just being this lawyer guy, to building this audience? How did that happen?
Bob Goff: Yeah, I don’t know. Well, what I do, each day, is I have this very loud time, not a quiet time. And then I’ll take what I was thinking about the day before.
Lewis Howes: Get ideas.
Bob Goff: Yeah, yeah, yeah, to get ideas, and then I’ll check it out, because faith guides the things that I’m doing, I’ll go to all the resources I’ve got and I’ll take an idea and I’ll say, “I don’t want it to just sound right, I want it to actually be true.”
Lewis Howes: You don’t want it to rhyme.
Bob Goff: Yeah, it can’t rhyme, and just say, “Once I know it’s true, then I’ll say it.” Any tweet you see, any book I read, you’re not going to see any Bible verses in any book I ever write. You want a Bible verse? Read the Bible, it’s full of them. But what I’ll do, is I’ll make sure whatever I’m saying is actually true before I say it.
Feeling the weight of that, I think you have a responsibility that you labour under very well, which is just to say true things. And I want to do that, too. And I think there’s a place right now, and there are many true voices out there. I’m among the smallest of them. But if we had people that were just intent on saying, “What’s true North on this thing?” and not swinging at every pitch. Just be like, “Yeah.” And it’s not that it’s an unimportant issue. I got some girls in Somalia, that we’re trying to take care of, and that’s not a more important issue, it’s just a different one.
Lewis Howes: It’s your purpose.
Bob Goff: Yeah, it’s just a different one. And I think, all together, I think we make one really well-adjusted person. Like, parts of the body, right? So we just are all together and just stay in your lane, do what you do, really well, but with a focus towards who you’re becoming.
What’s going to last, not just what’s going to work. What’s true, not just what’s loud. Those things, maybe use that to filter before you say something. A prudent pause, to ask, “Is my life working for you? If I said that sharp thing, would it be working for me, or would that just be me trying to get validation by saying a sharp word?”
Because, again, I win arguments, but I’m not trying to win arguments. I’m not trying to be right, I’m trying to be a little bit more like Jesus. And He just was kind and compassionate. He engaged people with love. He showed Peter, you know, this guy they said denies Him three times, He didn’t say, “You’re such a wuss!” He said, “You’re a rock.” And Peter turned into one.
That whole idea of speaking into people. I’ve got this mirror. I carry it around. When my kids were growing up, I’d get the mirror out, they’d be like, “Dad! Not the mirror!” and I’d be like, “Get counselling later.”
And I’d hold up this mirror to them and I’d say to my daughter Lindsay, she’s like Mary Poppins with grenades. She’s just fearless and courageous and kind, and I’d hold it up to her and say, “You’re a woman of virtue.” And I’d tell her why. I’d tell her, “You know that time that you did this…” And I’d hold it up to my son, Richard and I’d say, “You’re a man of valour, and here’s why: Remember that time that you…”
That idea of having that conversation, not just saying a word, because that’s good, that’s a great start, but the bobsled race is all the way down the hill, not just the start, so to tell him why he’s a man of valour. And when my kids left for college, they didn’t just take all their teddy bears they won at the circus, they brought their mirrors, and I bet anything, on the fourth day of college, one of their roommates said, “What’s up with the mirror?”
And can’t you picture them getting that down off the shelf and then holding it up and saying, “Let me tell you about you.” I think if we had more people holding up mirrors to other people and saying, “Let me tell you who you’re turning into.” Not in a mystical way, just, “This is what I see in your countenance. I see a kind person, I see an engaged guy. I see somebody who generally wants to love people and learn.” You could be doing anything, you’re probably running a small country, but you just decided to do what you’re doing. So if we just started seeing people, I see some people today, and I’m going, “Man,” and I’m holding up the mirror and I’m like, “I just don’t get it yet, but I’m waiting.” You know, hold that mirror up, and I’m just right on the edge, I’m like, “Okay, C’mon! C’mon!”
But I’m just doing that to myself, I’m not working out all my peccadilloes on social media. That might be a long answer to the question, and it might resonate with people, because I think maybe some voices would join in and there’s certainly people I’m learning from all the time on social media.
I think social media is just a wonderful place. It could be, like anything, it has other things, but that is just such a happy place to learn from people, and then even people who are difficult. Like, “Wow! I wouldn’t have seen that one coming. I could have spun that puzzle piece for a decade and not seen that one,” but to just, then, continue to move on and not to get caught in that eddy. My son, Richard, we went down the Nile together. We went out with this class five rapids, but there’s no class six, you’re just dead.
So we went over this class five, he pops out of the raft, we get stuck in an eddy, and he goes down straight. We didn’t find him for forty-five minutes! We were looking for him, and he’s like, and I’m thinking, “What am I going to tell Maria?” And we find him hanging from a vine.
He just popped out, and I think that happens with people sometimes they get stuck in an eddy. It can be an eddy in a career, it can be an eddy in some bad relationships, they need to pick a new eight. And then, just to have the courage, if you and I could, and all the people around us, could encourage people to paddle back into the fast moving waters.
Because it feels a little safe in the eddy, because it feels a little calmer, but you’re actually not going anywhere, and if you’re actually going to save some people’s lives, I think it’s just going to be in the faster waters. And you’re going to take a hit. You’ll pop out of the boat a time or two. I’m not aiming for that, but I’m like, “If that’s the price of admission, I’m in.”
Lewis Howes: Yeah. Wow. What’s the biggest lesson you think you still need to master? Besides patience?
Bob Goff: Yeah, patience as well, was the first thing that came to mind. But I think the idea of kindness towards people, assuming that their motives are beautiful and elegant. I think people sometimes will say something, and they don’t really, they just caught it in time, so to just come up with a better explanation for why they might be, or an explanation that’s as simple as their words just got ahead of them. So that kind of like, kindness. I’ve experienced that. Have you been around people that are that way?
Lewis Howes: Of course.
Bob Goff: They’re just more generous with, not only their finances, but with their thoughts toward people. Yeah, that’s what I’m working on.
Lewis Howes: I could work on that, too, probably.
Bob Goff: Yeah, yeah. And you get a chance, every day. It’s a new day, another dozen people, another conversation.
Lewis Howes: Tell me about this book. Why did you write this, Everybody Always?
Bob Goff: I was actually five years late. You know, you sign something up with the publisher, I know you have, and I signed it up and it has a due date. But I just didn’t have anything to say! I actually wrote the thing… This is so nuts! So I finally finish writing this book and I’m visiting a friend of mine who lives up in San Francisco.
He’s this big mega-church pastor, and five or six years ago he moved to San Francisco, to work with some really difficult people. They’re in a really rough part of town. So, I went up there, I go rent a van at Avis and I drive up to where these guys are hanging out. Well, I’m inside this house and when I go out to check on something, and when I go out, every window of the van is broken.
They’ve stolen everything. My laptop is gone. It had the book on it, and it wasn’t backed up. Who needs iCloud? It’s like, a nickle a year. So I had to start all over again. Sixty-five-thousand words. But you know what? Because I’m new Bob, I wrote a different book. It was a better book, it was more accurate. It’s new Bob.
And so, what had happened then is things started getting a little wonky in our society.
Lewis Howes: More difficult people.
Bob Goff: More difficult people, and I’m like, “I’ve got a book in me!” But hopefully kinder Bob wrote it, to just say, “How can we become love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people?” Because I’ve had a couple of setbacks how about you?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, of course.
Bob Goff: Yeah. So, it’s great, it’s easy to love God when everything’s going my way, but what happens when what I want doesn’t happen? What if there’s a setback? I built a lodge up in Canada and it burned to the ground because somebody made a mistake. So, what am I going to do then? I just got back to work. And so, I’m not going to stay in the eddy, I’m going to paddle back into the fast moving waters.
And so, hopefully this book will encourage some people that have encountered some difficult people, I think that would be Earth, to engage them with love. And it’s just a bunch of stories. That’s what Jesus did. He never spoke to anybody without telling them a story.
I think I know why. Because if people give you facts, I’m like, “I can’t get my mind around it.” I’ll forget them just as fast as they tell them. But a good story, I’ll remember that. I’ll remember you as a young guy, eight years old, being really insecure. Because you painted that picture, and kind of gangly.
But then somehow you turned the corner and decided, I think, whether it was conscious or not, you said, “I’m actually going to turn this thing into love. I’m going to turn that insecurity into love and engagement.” And so, as you engage people and find them and see what they did…
I’m going to tell you one last thing. There’s a guy, his name is Lex, and he lost his sight when he was eight years old. But by the time he got to college, he figured out he could run like the wind. And so, Lex went out for the track team.
Lewis Howes: Blind?!
Bob Goff: Blind. But you know what he did? He had a buddy that ran in front of him and called his name. Isn’t that beautiful? And he just ran towards the voice he could trust. Well, he had to pick an event and you know the event he picked? The long jump. Now, that’s just a bad idea. You run down a 2.5ft wide path, for 110’6″.
Lewis Howes: You have to hit a 6 inch board.
Bob Goff: Jump off a board you can’t see, throw your body into the air as far as you can go, into a sand pit. But you know what he’s got? He’s got a friend. And his friend stands at the edge of the sandpit and claps his hands and calls his name. And Lex just runs towards a voice he can trust. Isn’t that beautiful?
Well, he was just at the World Games, trying to qualify for the Olympics, and he got back to the end of the track, his friend went to the edge of the sandpit, started calling his name, Lex starts running towards it, and when he jumps he’s crooked and he misses the sandpit entirely and he crashes and burns on the concrete.
If it was me, I’d be out. I’d be like, “I’m blind, I jumped big, I got hit hard, I’m out.” But Lex has a friend. And his friend got him a new uniform because he was mooning everybody, and he walked him down 110’6″ went right back to the edge of the sandpit, called his name, he did the biggest jump of his life. Won the entire meet.
And I want to run towards voices I can trust. And I think what the world is looking for is a couple of voices that they can trust. I think you have a following here because yours is voice people can trust. I think what we can do, whatever our station, is just become a voice we can trust. In our neighbourhood, in our community, with our family, with our friends. Just be a trustworthy voice. And you don’t have to be the loudest voice. The truest voice.
Lewis Howes: That’s beautiful, yeah. A couple of final questions for you. I want to make sure everyone gets the book, it’s called, Everybody Always – Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. It’s out right now, so you guys can get it online or in bookstores everywhere.
This is called The Three Truths, this question. And I set this one at the end. And you’ve achieved a lot in your life already, you’ve made a massive impact in the world, you’ve written some books, you speak everywhere, and imagine you reach ten, eleven, twelve Bob, whatever number you want to reach, you make it and you get to choose the final day for you. You’ve gone, you’ve got beautiful grandkids, you’ve had the life you want. Everything you wanted to create you’ve done.
But for whatever reason you have to take everything with you, all the works you created, all your messages, your books, everything, they come with you when it’s your last day, so there’s nothing else to remember you by, physically, or online or whatever it is in the future.
But you have a piece of paper and you’ve got your eight around you, and they ask you to write down, on this piece of paper, three things you know to be true about your experiences in life. The things that you would leave behind in these three lessons and that’s all that they would be able to have to share with the world, to remember you by. These Three Truths. What would you say are yours?
Bob Goff: Yeah, what a great question! I would say the first belief and truth that I have is that I’m loved. That I’m beloved by God. I would want people to know that, that they’re just, whatever it is that happened, whatever has happened, you are beloved.
The second thing I would want people to know is that it will probably work. I don’t want people to just, that thing that they’re just hesitating, like, “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!” It’ll probably work.
And the third thing I’d say is to live on the edge of “yikes”. You know that “yikes” moment, where you just look, and, “Yikes!” Just live right there. Make that your resting position on the edge of yikes. Because comfortable people don’t need their faith.
Comfortable people don’t need other people. People who are living on the edge of yikes, people that are desperate in their faith, desperate in their relationships, in the most beautiful ways, actually engage life and engage the world.
Lewis Howes: Wow! Those are great. Yeah. Well before I ask the final question, I want to acknowledge you for a moment, Bob, for being an incredible grandfather, because I’m already seeing the future happening.
Bob Goff: Ah! Man!
Lewis Howes: And I already know you’re going to be the best grandfather that anyone would ever have, so I’m excited to see that come to fruition for you, hopefully in the next nine to ten months.
I want to also acknowledge you for constantly taking those quarter turns, or those one degree turns in your life, and not just sticking to what you’ve always been good at, and building a business and a law firm and staying in it because you are successful, but seeing what else is available for your life, and other “yikes” moments for you. I think you’re setting a great example of what’s possible for all of us. So I really acknowledge your humility, your patience, and your love. I appreciate it.
Bob Goff: Thank you, thank you.
Lewis Howes: The final question. Make sure you guys get the book, Everybody Always. [They can] follow you on social media, @bobgoff is it? Everywhere, @bobgoff
Bob Goff: Yeah, that’s it!
Lewis Howes: And the final question is: What’s your definition of greatness?
Bob Goff: Oh! Somebody who knows what love is. When my daughter was in high school and it was time to have people ask her to the prom, I wanted her to be a nun, but she waved off. I said, “When these guys ask you to the prom, ask them what their definition of love is. And if they tell you it’s like… Well, they’re guys, so they won’t know. So send them home and say when they figure out what love is to come back and ask you to the prom, and if they say it’s like butterflies, like, you can get that from bad pizza. But love is sacrifice and commitment.”
And so, people that I’ve found are going to change the world, are people that know what love is, and they know it isn’t just this rush of feelings, but it’s sacrifice and commitment and it’s that edge of yikes, it’s a quarter turn, it’s all the things that we’ve been talking about. You show me somebody who knows what love is, and I’ll show you somebody who’s going to change the world.
Lewis Howes: Bob, thanks, man!
Bob Goff: Thanks a million!
Lewis Howes: Appreciate it. Powerful stuff, man.
There you have it my friends! I hope you feel more loved today, more loving and I hope you spread more love to those around you. Especially to those that you feel like, maybe you don’t connect with that well, or maybe someone that has a different opinion, or maybe you feel like someone has wronged you lately.
How can you at least spread love internally, so that they don’t affect you, so that they don’t hold you back? And maybe you can start to listen to them in a different way, or take on a different approach in the way that Bob has talked about it.
I loved his message, I love his approach and it was such a pleasure connecting with him. If you enjoyed this, make sure to share it with your friends, lewishowes.com/622, lots of tweetables and shareables out there, so you can head back to the show notes, again, lewishowes.com/622, to get all those quotes that are up there for you. You can just click and share them out to your friends on the show notes.
You can watch the full video interview as well, check out his new book, again, Everybody Always – Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. It’s a powerful, powerful message, and something I get to personally continue to work on pretty much every day of my life. I’m not sure about you guys, but I know I get to work on that for sure.
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Oh, I love this, guys! We’re always learning together. We’re always growing together. We’re here together as a family, and if you haven’t signed up for The Summit of Greatness, for this year, October 4 through 6, it is going to be an experience you will always remember.
Make sure to go to summitofgreatness.com because we’ve already got over 1,100 people coming in from around the world. We’ve got about 2,000 seats and I haven’t even announced it, really, or promoted it at all. I haven’t even announced any of the speakers yet, but I’m telling you, it is going to be mind blowing.
Go to The Summit of Greatness website and get your early bird ticket, as the price is going up soon. Again, summitofgreatness.com, to join the other members of The School of Greatness community in person. Everyone comes together. It’s a big, happy family, we’re learning, growing, giving, connecting, it’s an incredible time. Make sure to check it out, and I hope to see you later this year, because I’d love to meet you in person.
Again, we were born in love and we’re meant to be love and give love. And Thomas Merton said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to enquire whether or not they are worthy.”
I love you very much, and you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!
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