In this episode, Stacy sits down with Matthew Ferry, who is the founder of Matthew Ferry International, as well as an executive life coach, spiritual teacher, and best-selling author. The two discuss why it is important to learn how to quiet your mind in order to maximize your creativity, productivity and success.
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Transcript For This Episode:
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and brand and content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics, for us to share their insights and knowledge on topics, which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom-line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.
Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.
Stacy Jones (00:36):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today and I want to give a very warm welcome to Matthew Ferry. Matthew is the founder of Matthew Ferry International and he’s an executive life coach, a spiritual teacher, and bestselling author of Quiet Mind Epic Life. For the last 26 years, Matthew has coached thousands of top performers to help them achieve enlightened prosperity. Today, I’m going to talk about why it’s so fundamentally important to learn how to quiet your mind in order to maximize your own creativity, productivity, and success. We’ll learn tools that help make this happen from Matthew’s perspective, what should be avoided, and how some people just miss the mark. Matthew, welcome. So happy to have you here today.
Matthew Ferry (01:20):
Yep. Really glad to be here. Looking forward to sharing with your audience and teaching them how to get their mind to quiet so they can be more productive.
Stacy Jones (01:28):
Sounds like an awesome adventure lies ahead of us. Can you start off by sharing, how’d you get here today? How did you get to the point where you are an expert on how to quiet your mind, how to actually allow your thoughts to grow?
Matthew Ferry (01:44):
Well, I started my path on a quiet mind when I was nine years old and I had several experiences where I felt like I was floating above my body and I didn’t know what it was, really, but I felt this profound peace and the experience was so powerful that as an adult, I was really driven to find this predictable path to get myself back to feeling what I could only describe as knowing that all as well, and after personally coaching now thousands of people from Wall Street to Main Street, I’ve discovered I’m not alone, Stacy. Most people want to feel like all is well and especially executives and business owners and it’s such a powerful feeling to experience a deep trust, to have this inner compass, like, “Hey, everything’s going to be okay,” so it’s been a lifelong journey of mine, one that I don’t really think that I chose. It was so intense when I was a kid that I had to figure out what’s the way to do that, how do you get back there again?
Stacy Jones (02:47):
Is it something that you’re just more in tune with the universe, is that the connection where when your mind is quiet, or is it just that you’re not letting outer stimulus in to distract you and cause havoc and have you be freaking out about all the little things going on in your life?
Matthew Ferry (03:06):
That’s a really good question. The answer is probably stranger than what most people are used to hearing and as a person who grew up in a personal development family, my father’s mentor was a man named Earl Nightingale. He worked for Earl Nightingale for years and years and years and then he started his own company, that was my father. When I started working for my father and the real estate sales training industry, he exposed me to every mentor that he had been exposed to and then all the people that he wanted to be exposed to and for the most part, everybody was just reiterating these same old ideas over and over and over and they weren’t leading me personally back to that state where I was in that bliss and that joy and that peace.
I mean, certainly, I made strides, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of stuff that really is beneficial out there, but it wasn’t until I had a breakthrough and realized that the mind chatter itself is an expression of survival consciousness and that the moment you step back and begin to realize that your business is not a survival situation, your marriage is not a survival situation, if this ad works, that’s not a survival situation, and that you’re going to be okay, so know no matter what, you’re going to be okay.
The moment you start to get that, your mind doesn’t actually need to be rehashing, “Well, what about this and what about that and what about this and what about …?” Your mind doesn’t need to be doing all of that stuff because all is well, everything’s going to be okay, so it’s more like, rather than intentionally trying to quiet your mind, what you’re working to do is create a context where you realize your life is good the way that it is, you’re okay, and there’s not a threat to your existence. All the threats are predominantly imaginary. I mean, of course there are real threats, but most of the threats to a marketer or a business owner or an entrepreneur, those threats are in our mind, and so when you neutralize them, your mind chatter starts to diminish and you go into a much more peaceful, open creative state.
Stacy Jones (05:27):
When you’re talking about all this chatter, I know not everyone’s like this, but some people, they’ll get on a spin where they focus on something and it’s in their head and they can’t get out of it and they just spin and they spin and they spin and no matter what, it comes back to that, so that’s what we’re talking about, is how to disrupt that and stop it and find a way to be more calm.
Matthew Ferry (05:51):
Well, that’s certainly one kind of chatter, but there are many functions. I call the talking in my mind the drunk monkey and it’s all that craziness that’s going on in your head. Let me just read you a couple of things from my book here, Quiet Mind Epic Life.
Stacy Jones (06:08):
Matthew Ferry (06:08):
I’ll read you some of the important components of the drunk monkey: The drunk monkey has what I call “unconscious reflexes,” so these are unconscious and it’s sort of like when you hit your knee with a hammer, just blink, it pops up, your mind’s the same way. Your mind will distract you with urgent matters that aren’t urgent, your mind will lament, and it’s typically doing these things: It’s forecasting the negative, it has a desire to fit in, it’s holding other people accountable to agreements that they never made, it’s avoiding making the same mistake twice, it’s following rules that don’t exist, it’s avoiding failure, and it has opinions on everything, including things it knows nothing about.
All of these things are survival strategies, so you and I were born with them, they just happen automatically, except those survival strategies are happening in such a way that they rob us of our peace, which means that we’re not as creative as we want to be, we’re not as resourceful as we want to be, our experience of life is diminished and we live in this illusion, like “Someday, when I achieve all this success, then finally, I’m going to be at peace and my family over for dinner and we’re all going to be in the back yard, we’re going to have drinks and it’s going to be so amazing,” and I will tell you that the vast majority of my clients have already made it and they’re wondering when they’re going to have their peace because money and success and accomplishment don’t bring you the peace that everyone hopes that they would.
Stacy Jones (07:39):
Yeah, there’s people who have peace who have none of those things that you just named.
Matthew Ferry (07:44):
Certainly, but we also don’t want to be unrealistic. I mean, there is a blend that can occur in the world that we’re living in and I suspect that there are a certain percentage of your listeners, maybe you listening right now, that are extremely committed to feeling good, feeling happy, feeling positive, feeling energized, feeling connected, and what happens is we get caught up in this delusion that I have to change the circumstances in order to have that happen, and actually, we have to shift the context, something called “recontextualization,” that’s what creates the peace.
Stacy Jones (08:25):
Well, how do you do that? What’s the first step to do that?
Matthew Ferry (08:30):
Oh, man. Well, there’s plenty. I think step one is to recognize that your mind is not your friend and that the talking in your head is not you, that it’s automatic, that its job is to navigate and to navigate a survival situation, so it’s in a perpetual state of looking for what is negative and trying to avoid it and looking for what is positive and trying to acquire it, and if you are caught in one of those two domains, trying to avoid negativity or trying to get positivity, those two domains, even though they sound extremely practical, when you step all the way back, you realize the negative thing that you’re trying to avoid isn’t actually negative and the positive thing that you’re trying to acquire won’t actually fulfill you.
The mind is trained through genetics, through history, through, right, you were born this way, the mind is trained to survive, except you, me, our listener, we’re not in an actual survival situation, so your mind is not your friend, but it’s not an enemy either. You just begin to recognize, “Oh, this is a piece of my machinery.” It’s like I don’t steer the boat by looking at the radar, I look at the radar to gain information to then help me assess, how do I want to steer my boat? Where am I going? The radar’s important information. The speaking that my mind is doing is giving me important information sometimes.
Stacy Jones (09:59):
And so if your mind is speaking and giving you important information and you’re listening to all of this, how do you cut through the clutter? How do you decide where you should be listening and focusing versus where you should be taking a step back?
Matthew Ferry (10:15):
That is a really insightful question. You actually don’t need to decide on that. When you begin to recognize what your mind’s motivation is, you then can take every single thing that your mind says with a grain of salt and the moment your mind chatter, the talking in your head, the moment it’s no longer important, might be interesting, might be curious, might be, “Oh, that’s… Wow. Gosh, I wonder where that thought came from,” but the moment you remove the attachment to the thinking and you see that the mind itself is just a mechanism doing its thing, it’s no different than your heart beating or your lungs, right? You don’t make your heart beating mean anything. You don’t make your lungs breathing mean anything. Your mind, your heart, your lungs are all the same thing, it’s just a part of your biology.
The moment you don’t make it important is the moment that you then have these intuitive leaps and that’s for a marketer, that’s the goal. That’s where the goal is. It’s in these, “Wait, whoa. You know what I should do?” Those moments of inspiration come much more frequently when you release the illusion that what you’re doing is important, that you matter, that your business matters, and blah, blah, blah, all the survival stuff.
Stacy Jones (11:45):
You make me laugh because I have an acupuncturist who I love, Dr. Kim, and he always is telling me in counseling and he says, “Anything that comes up, just say, ‘Ah, isn’t that interesting? Ah, isn’t that interesting?,’ and let it go. ‘Ah, isn’t that interesting?'” You mimic with what you’re saying, you’re reinstating exactly what he is sharing and saying to his patients, to just take it, see it, understand that it’s a thought, doesn’t mean that it’s a good thought or a bad thought, it’s just ah, hmm, and take note.
Matthew Ferry (12:20):
Things that make you go, “Hmm.”
Stacy Jones (12:20):
Matthew Ferry (12:23):
Yep. Well, here’s the thing is that when you have a quiet mind, you’re in the present moment and that means that you’re free from the stress and the worry and the concerns and that’s a big deal because the American Institute of Stress, prior to the pandemic that we’re in the middle of, was able to do some testing and discerned that 73% of Americans are dealing with psychological stress on a regular basis. Now, right at this moment-
Stacy Jones (12:53):
Matthew Ferry (12:54):
… I suspect that that might be like 90, 92, 95, right? The stress is pretty high in the world and that’s bad news for a marketer because when you’re stressed, you make bad decisions. You don’t see things clearly, you’re not easy to be around, your creativity is diminished, your energy is zapped, and if you’re going to achieve your goals as a marketer, if you want to live an epic life and have an amazing experience, well, you want the best version of you to influence every aspect of your life, and that happens naturally when you remove the survival consciousness and you transcend into a quiet mind.
Stacy Jones (13:37):
I know that I have pure moments of genius, I’m just going to call it that, right, pure moments of genius where intuition comes to me, where a new business idea or the dots get connected or a solution is provided, but usually, those only happened to me when I personally have had enough sleep, where I’ve had enough time to disconnect and downtime and somehow disengage because when I’m working 22 hours trying to get a project done, there’s no capacity for my brain seemingly to function, so I’m sure sleep’s an important part of this, but what are other things that people can do to impact their physicality, to help them get to that point where they allow these processes to actually be happening?
Matthew Ferry (14:22):
Well, you’re really onto something there, and I’m going to put it in a context first, and then I’m going to let our listener decide for themselves. What you described was I have these incredible moments of genius when I’m rested and I’m not in an urgent state, I’m a little more relaxed and flowing and there’s no false survival information being created and we create false survival information all the time by putting arbitrary deadlines into our future and then beating ourselves up if we don’t achieve that.
Stacy Jones (14:22):
I’m good at that, really good at that.
Matthew Ferry (15:03):
I’m not saying that that isn’t a best practice, that is a best practice. That’s the way you get things done is through procedure, process, structure, accountability, monitoring, all of those things are incredibly important for our entrepreneur, for our marketer, for our executive, but they are arbitrary. You did make them up.
The goal that you’re going after won’t accomplish the thing that you think it will. You think that once you’ve made all this money and once you’ve got all this done and now we have the momentum and now the flywheel’s turning and the money is flying in, you think that once that happens, as though suddenly you’re going to be in a good place and I’m here to say, BS, doesn’t happen. I am coaching billionaires. They are not in a good place. I am coaching people who make hundreds of millions of dollars. They’re not in a good place. I’m coaching people who make 40, 50, $60 million a year. They’re not in a good place. I’m here to tell you that the process is more like what you said, more sleep. Give yourself a break. Relax a little bit. All the things that you say you’re going to do someday once you have the money, do those things now.
Now, one of the practices that I highly recommend that our viewer or listener takes on is what I call taking your MEDS, and that’s meditation, exercise, diet, and sleep. M-E-D-S, take your MEDS. Meditation, some kind of stop and reprieve, and don’t think of meditation in any kind of formal way, that’ll actually screw most people up. For me, a meditation might be, I just stop and I take some deep breaths and then I continue on. Other times, it might be that I go for a walk and I just get into rhythmic breathing with my walking, but everybody gets to make up their own version. Anyone who says, “This is how you meditate,” is actually BSing you a little. It’s just what they think is interesting and what they, what works for them, so take what works for you and modify it.
Meditation, exercise, diet, sleep. For me, I’m just one of those guys that sugar and carbs just annihilates me. I mean, I love those things more than anything, but if I eat them, what happens is my body becomes disrupted and then I go into a survival state and then my mind starts talking and now I’m distracted and I’m a little agitated, I’m just a tiny bit off, I’m not hyper-focused and in the moment, so you find the way to get yourself into a state of rest and ease and when you’re there, it’s like you said, your brilliance comes out.
Stacy Jones (17:55):
Because we’re all brilliant, we just have to know that it be found.
Matthew Ferry (17:59):
We have to set the conditions for the brilliance to come through.
Stacy Jones (18:06):
There was a course I took at one point, Alison Armstrong, and one of the whole things that she focused on was allowing yourself to have that downtime, whether it was bubble baths, or as you said, walks or whatever it was to recharge because if you don’t have that recharge, you don’t actually have the ability to fill your tank again to give, and whether that’s giving to yourself or giving to others, you just drain yourself dry, so I think that’s very apt with what you’re saying as well.
Matthew Ferry (18:37):
Just look at professional athletes. Part of their routine is rest and recovery and for us, oftentimes, our athleticism is mental, it’s mentation, we’re being creative, we’re using critical thinking, we’re trying to solve a problem or put something together or build something, but almost all the things that we do as marketers are mental and the exact same ideas apply: You have these routines that you do to create an effective mentation and then you also have these routines to give your mind, your brain a break so that you can then come back and build on it further and continue to get stronger and stronger and stronger.
Having a quiet mind doesn’t mean that you stop thinking, it means that you are able to think intentionally and you aren’t derailed by the survival madness that goes on in our head: “What about this and what about …? Did I do that one? How come? Why not? I don’t know. What does she think? Why does she look like that? Why does she …? Did she …?” You’re driving in your car and you’re having an argument with your spouse in your head. You haven’t even got home yet, but you’re already having the argument in your head. You’re already thinking of all your objections and all the things that you’re going to say. This is wasting your life and the mind when it is meditating in that way, it creates negative physiological effects and stress and anxiety and all kinds of stuff.
Stacy Jones (20:11):
Yeah, you’re actually envisioning all the things you don’t want to be having happen as well.
Matthew Ferry (20:17):
Truly. I mentioned before that I had some ideas to share with people from my book, Quiet Mind Epic Life.
Stacy Jones (20:17):
Mm-hmm (affirmative), perfect.
Matthew Ferry (20:23):
If they want, they can actually go download my app and if you go to, you just search “Matthew Ferry” on The App Store for Google or for Apple, you’ll find my app, and in there, I give people my 23 days in a row of practice, so I give them things that they can do now to immediately get into a more quiet mind state and I want to read this one because I mentioned it before, and this is day number four, and it’s, “Stop holding people accountable to agreements they didn’t make and if you want to have a quiet mind, you’ve got to stop holding people accountable to agreements they never made, to agreements that are in your head.”
The contrast and the uncertainty of people not doing what you expect them to do is a natural trigger for your mind and your survival mind, which I call the “drunk monkey,” and that will invade your mind share and it will rob you of your peace and your creativity, so today, just recognize nobody signed up for your rules. You are not the ruler of the universe. You don’t get to decide how people behave. If you want to create an alignment with someone, then ask them if they would be willing to behave the way that you want them to behave.
But most of us don’t do that. Most of us just get pissed off that people don’t behave the way they “should,” but that should is just a made-up story that you have and you don’t even know why you believe that and that’s one of the investigations that I would highly recommend people get on is trying to figure out, “Why do I even think the way that I think?” I think you will be disturbed when you discover you invented almost none of your own paradigms, that you are, in fact, just a stooge.
Stacy Jones (22:04):
Well, that is one way of looking at your belief systems of being made up of a lot of BS. Yes.
Matthew Ferry (22:12):
But how freeing.
Stacy Jones (22:13):
Matthew Ferry (22:13):
How freeing, right? If everything I believe is just a bunch of BS and it seemed like a good idea at the time and other people told me about it and I genetically came in a certain way, right, because certain people just come in certain ways, so if everything that I believe is just sort of like, “Hopefully, it works,” well, that gives me a lot of freedom to say, “Well, you know what? I’m not going to believe that anymore.” That makes no sense. I have no idea, there’s no grounds for it, it’s not provable, it’s dogmatic, and the rapid-alignment process, which is the process that I’ve created over the last 20 years is really about busting your own dogma on provable ideas that actually weaken you, cause you to go into a degraded state and get your mind talking. Why not? I mean, if you’re going to make things up, you might as well make things up that feel good. Why not believe things that naturally inspire and empower you so that your mind goes quiet and your creativity and your resourcefulness explode within you?
Stacy Jones (23:17):
It’s so interesting that we as humans will go towards the negative instead of the positive as a first for many people. I’m sure there’s people who are not like that, but I mean, if you’re in a conversation and you’re talking about your employees and there’s something that’s negative that they did, it’s easy to jump and go down that rabbit hole instead of trying to take the step back and remembering that people in life tend to want to do good, people tend to want to be good. They want to be successful, they’re not out there to cause havoc and to be the downfall of your company or to be negative in any ways, but it’s easy for our belief systems to immediately focus into the bad that they’re presenting.
Matthew Ferry (24:04):
And how beautiful that we are in a time where one, we’re so safe that the thing that you and I are doing is pontificating on video and audio for our listener or our viewer who has so much time, so much freedom, their life is so set and so easy and so simple that what they do is listen to other people talk about stuff. It’s an amazing time that we’re in and we’ve only been here for about 50 or 60 years, so we have to look at the biological system that we came here with and the biological system is a survival system. It defaults to the negative.
There was a study done by Harvard researchers and they put out a iPhone app and they had the app, they asked the people who were participating to just track, “What are you thinking about when you’re doing these different activities?,” and what they found was a shocker. They were just trying to understand what’s going on with the mind, but the thing that blew their mind and the thing they ended up writing their paper about was that when the mind is idle, it defaults to the negative, that its natural propensity is to go towards the negative, so people like you and I were like, “Hey, everybody, you can be positive,” but most people are like, “I don’t know, have you been in my mind before? Because it’s not easy to get there.”
Let’s be honest, Stacy, even for you and I, it’s taken tremendous amount of discipline and focus in order to train our minds not to be negative. I’ll just give you an example. Prior to getting on the podcast with you, my wife came in and told me a piece of news about a deal that we’re involved in and it wasn’t positive, it wasn’t positive news, and all the sudden, I was about 10 minutes before we were going to go get on and out of nowhere, I’m filled with dread and I’m feeling anger and upset and I’m like, “Oh, bull, oh, geez, here I go.”
I was able to get myself into a good place by the time we got on the call and the way that I did that is by honoring and appreciating that my mind and my physiology were trying to protect me in a situation where I was not being threatened and as soon as I was able to get to that place where I was like, “Oh, wow, thank you. Thank you, mind. You’re so kind to keep me safe. I appreciate you.” Sometimes I just pet my head. Aw, I know. You get so riled up. It’s like a dog, right? Your dog can’t help it. Another dog walks by, what’s your dog doing? Barking.
Stacy Jones (27:08):
Or growling or snapping-
Matthew Ferry (27:10):
Stacy Jones (27:11):
… and making you look like the worst owner in the entire world because you were making the dog do these things, right?
Matthew Ferry (27:16):
That’s biology, and so each of us has a pet and that pet is called our body and the question is, can you have an effective relationship with the pet and realize it’s predisposed to negativity, it’s predisposed to survival thinking, it’s predisposed to being suspicious and forecasting the negative and thinking about all the things that’ll go wrong? As soon as you can just be at peace with that and just go, “Oh, there it goes, it’s doing its thing,” it opens you up to more positivity, more creativity. More resourcefulness occurs naturally when you do that.
Stacy Jones (27:50):
And you can connect into what that intuition you have that is going to link you into those moments of genius that we were talking about earlier if you’re able to do that.
Matthew Ferry (28:01):
And every genius who has had a breakthrough will tell you about the times that they were just being and they were just sitting and thinking, or they were having a coffee and staring at a tree and listening to a bird, and then all of a sudden, wait a second, the genius, though certainly it can, doesn’t often come from grinding it out.
Stacy Jones (28:30):
Sometimes it comes from a glass of wine, though, I will say.
Matthew Ferry (28:33):
Stacy Jones (28:35):
Matthew Ferry (28:35):
… shut down the mind, baby.
Stacy Jones (28:36):
Yes, I get it. That’s awesome.
Matthew Ferry (28:39):
Shut it down.
Stacy Jones (28:40):
That’s awesome. How can people learn more? You’ve already mentioned your app. If they want to learn more about you and find the book and go on this exploration, how can we put them in touch with you?
Matthew Ferry (28:55):
Go to Amazon for the book, Quiet Mind Epic Life by Matthew Ferry and go to my website, matthewferry.com to find me and find my blog and my videos and all the things that I’m doing to support my community in having a quiet mind, and that’s M-A-T-T-H-E-W-F-E-R-R-Y dot com.
Stacy Jones (29:14):
You make that easy. Everyone can remember your business name and your name.
Matthew Ferry (29:18):
Stacy Jones (29:19):
All in one. Any last words of advice to our listeners and viewers today?
Matthew Ferry (29:25):
Yeah. Practice total and complete acceptance of all people in all situations at all times, including yourself, and if you will take that on as a practice, you will find that stress and anxiety, fear, and doubt and concern begins to subside and when it does, your mind starts to go quiet, you have more space, more breathing room, and that’s going to open you up to a lot of genius moments.
Stacy Jones (29:55):
Well, Matthew, thank you so much for spending your time with us today and sharing your insights. I think you’re very spot on with everything you’ve said.
Matthew Ferry (30:04):
Thank you so much. I’m glad that I got to contribute today.
Stacy Jones (30:07):
Of course, and to all of our listeners, thank you for tuning in to Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them. I look forward to chatting with you on our next podcast.
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