Is Life Experiencing, Creating or Problem Solving?

According to a super wealthy skater dude, humans use their time experiencing, creating or problem solving in every moment of life. Do you agree? Which of these are reactive? How does our own awareness inform us about how we spend time? Join JJ and Melissa to discuss this popular influencer and his take on life.

October 26, 2021
Show/Hide Transcript

Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:18  
Most I've been listening to this podcast called My first million Yeah, yep. And it's like it. It's like a tech Broly sort of podcast where they talk about like, business ideas and tech and, you know, like, cryptocurrency and all sorts of weird things. So obviously, I love it. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  0:38  
Obviously, I haven't heard of it.

JJ Parker  0:39  
You've never heard of it. So. So they like it's a it's like a. So they bring these guests on, right? From all different, different genres of business and tech, right. But this week, they had a skateboarder on Okay, was Rob Dyrdek. Okay, now, I'm probably butchering the name that his last name, but skateboard has been around a long time. And he has all these shows on MTV, like, one of his shows is called ridiculousness. Oh, like, they do ridiculous things, right. It's sort of like, like a stunt show, right? Where they like, will do whatever, like jump off the side of buildings and flip cars. And

Melissa Albers  1:27  
you know, like, right, right, right. Yeah. All right. Yeah. MTV, skateboarder, dude. Kind of things.

JJ Parker  1:31  
Yeah, totally. Yeah. Um, he had this other show called like, they call it the, the thrill factory or something like,

Melissa Albers  1:41  
Oh, I've heard of that guy.

JJ Parker  1:44  
Jumps in skateboard ramps and stuff. So I was just thinking, like, here is a skateboarder that does extreme stunts. And gets famous for it. Right? This right, like, right, the YouTube playbook or something? Well, they had him on. And it actually turned out to be super interesting, huh? Because he's not just a skateboarder. He's actually a really savvy business guy. Ah, that's interesting, different companies like, like the company that produces all this content for MTV as a production company. Well, he recently sold this production company for a bunch of money because he built it up to be like a pretty large organization. Right. Yeah. And so he's, he has he said he has 17 businesses? Oh, my gosh. And that's like a lot to juggle. Yes. Right. Given coming from a guy who doesn't have 17 businesses, but likes to get myself involved in a lot of things.

Melissa Albers  2:51  

JJ Parker  2:53  
So it was really interesting to hear. Hi, how is this guy juggling?

Melissa Albers  2:56  
Yeah, exactly. much stuff.

Yeah. Did he sound like he had ADHD? Like was he like, running off the top crazy?

JJ Parker  3:03  
He wasn't he was he was pretty articulate is pretty calm, huh? Right. Yeah. And it wasn't like, he certainly wasn't like, I don't know us. But stereotypical, Southern California skateboard. Yeah, right. Right. But he didn't you know, he did kind of sound like a skateboarder. Yeah. So the first thing I thought and, and the, and the guys on the podcast thought was like, Well, okay, here's a guy. He's got a whole bunch of businesses. So he's just putting in 80 hours a week. We're like, crazy beat. Like you said, ADHD beat like act. Yeah. An insane person. Right. Right. But he dropped this bomb on our cast, and said, when he got chellis on that he goes, Yeah, no, I only spend 30% of my time on work.

Melissa Albers  3:58  
Wow. Right. So yeah,

JJ Parker  4:03  
is amazing. Like, yeah, he only spent 30% of his time. Yeah, work, right. And he had his phrase he goes, the thing I'm working on now is human optimization.

Melissa Albers  4:20  
So his goal is to be at like, 15% work experience by December.

JJ Parker  4:26  
But he said he wants to spend 30% of his time on work 30% of his time on family 10% of the time on himself. Oh, my gosh, I don't know why. But he's, he's super into time tracking, right. Like, right. We've kind of come across these personnel. Yes, we track every second of every day.

Melissa Albers  4:42  
Mm hmm. I'm out. But it's obviously working. So like how did he How did he do that? How did he explain it?

JJ Parker  4:50  
Well, so he explained like that. Just for his time tracking stuff. Yeah. Is that he wanted to Make sure that he knew that he knew that being involved in so much stuff could get him sucked in Tark. Right. Yeah. So you wanted to make sure that he was making very specific boundaries around things. And being as efficient with his time as possible. Mm hmm. was just like a time blocking technique. Yeah. Right. Right. And he wanted to make sure he was like, giving enough time to his family, which was really important to him. So yeah. That's awesome. I mean, it's great that he's so like, prudent about that, like, a lot of us. Are that thoughtful. Right, right. Well, I don't think any of us are Yeah, we think that but we don't. Yeah. Can't put that into like a right system. Yeah, within, right.

Melissa Albers  5:46  
Or if we do, it feels too hard. And we in it last kind of like when you're going to lose a 10 pound diet in a month. It's like you get that sounds like a good idea. But in, in theory, it sounds like a great idea. But in practice, it feels not not possible.

JJ Parker  6:00  
Yeah. Or maybe you can do it for a little bit. But yes,

Melissa Albers  6:04  
yeah. Stay. Yeah, right. Right. Right. Right.

JJ Parker  6:09  
Yeah, so that, that is all that is all fascinating to me. But he said one thing that I thought was super interesting. What he was talking about time he goes, people spend their time doing three things. Mm hmm. Experiencing, creating, or problem solving? Hmm.

Melissa Albers  6:34  
Experiencing, creating, problem solving. Yeah. So that's interesting. You and I have talked about all three of those things,

JJ Parker  6:43  
right. And I thought that was really interesting to just put it into such a simple frame. It's like, yeah, what are the things in my day that I'm just doing because I want to experience them? Or I'm wanting an experience, right? Or I maybe just am experiencing?

Melissa Albers  7:04  
Yeah, that's where I go right there is that most most people unaware. Just experience their lives as though they are a recipient of all these things happening.

JJ Parker  7:18  
Yeah, like, like, they're a TV show that they're watching.

Melissa Albers  7:22  
Yes. Like stuff happens to me all the time. Like, I'm just like, I was having a great day. And then these eight things happened. And I wasn't having a great day. Like, everything happens all the time. To me, that kind of thing.

JJ Parker  7:38  
You're, you're passive in it. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  7:41  
And reactionary. I think I think when he uses that phrase experiencing, that's, that's like, where I go, that's where you go. Yeah, but but but so did he. Did you have any other way of like, did he summarize any of this further before you and I dive in, because I have a bunch of thoughts.

JJ Parker  7:55  
He just pretty much dropped that and moved on. And I was like, wait, I want to stop and talk about that

Melissa Albers  8:00  
more ad is really interesting. Yeah. What was it? What did you think? Did you think what what were your thoughts about that? You found it interesting? Because

JJ Parker  8:10  
about those three points. Yeah. I thought it was interesting. Just because it was fairly simple. And to me, it was like, I could, I could really quickly bucket the things that I do in into those. Especially experiencing and creating, and then I really liked having problem solving bass being a separate activity.

Melissa Albers  8:33  
Yeah. That's interesting. I wonder, yeah. Me

JJ Parker  8:37  
experiencing where? Where I went with that a little bit. Yes. More like consuming. Right. I feel like we spend a lot of our time just like, like consuming things. Oh, actually saying, like, almost like, just entertaining ourselves for No, yes. Yes.

Melissa Albers  8:57  
We've talked about that. Yeah, right. Mm hmm. Right.

JJ Parker  9:01  
I kind of like this, this phrase, like sometimes, like entertaining ourselves to death. Yeah. Which just means like, we're not actually doing anything.

Melissa Albers  9:11  
Yeah, exactly. Just like

JJ Parker  9:12  
past the time for

Melissa Albers  9:13  
Yep. Scrolling for hours on Instagram or whatever. Yeah, whatever.

JJ Parker  9:19  
Sometimes you might need that break. I'm not being I'm not trying to be critical of that, or No, I know, judging of that, but it's just for me. It's an observation, right? Like, when am I just in this mode, where I'm just consumed, just consuming or just taking things in with no specific purpose?

Melissa Albers  9:40  
Yeah, I feel like I honestly feel like most of the time, you know, just in my coaching career. I feel like most people spend most of their time either in experiencing or problem solving. Like, I don't think a lot of People spend time creating, I really don't. Even being a very, you know, we're all creative beings, we are all creative beings. But somehow I feel like that is that takes a backseat. I wish that guy would have used what how he said he spends 30% of his time on work. I wish that guy would have said what percentage of time he spent on these three things. Like from his perspective, that would have been super interesting. Because I think, you know, like, We talk all the time about becoming more aware of ourselves. And so I'm taking this course right now. It's pretty interesting. It's called duality. And, and I'm just in the first week of the lessons and and the whole thing is about being aware of your focus points, right. And I think that this goes into just falling into experience, like, even like, you and I are sitting here right now having this conversation. But are we really 100% focused on the task on us with each other talking? Where is our awareness? And if you know, like, if we're not really aware, we can be sort of creating this conversation, but also like, Oh, I'm looking out the window, I'm holding my dog, I'm thinking what I'm going to do right after I hang, you know, after we hang up from this podcast, like, I'm going to be doing all these things, and then at four o'clock, and so that's what I mean. It's like, I think we split our energies so much. That and now those energies while split are all in the mode of experiencing, not creating. So that's the interesting thing for me, right?

JJ Parker  11:39  
Yeah. Split split energy is certainly that, like, you got to start talking about like mold, you know, like, are you able to multitask?

Melissa Albers  11:47  
Yeah. The answer's no. Even us,

JJ Parker  11:51  
if you want to use a Harry Potter analogy, like how many horcruxes can you actually split into? Let's be real, I was too many.

Melissa Albers  12:02  
Oh, it's just 66 might be my high end limit. So so

JJ Parker  12:10  
that so the third thing that are the the problem solving part? Yes. Little triad. Yeah. That's the one that I thought was especially interesting to me. Yeah. Because you and I've talked about this before, he actually mentioned that all the time. And I thought, I think I am starting to appreciate it much, much more and be way more mindful of it. Is that you always say that your mind is a great tool. Yes. And a terrible Master.

Melissa Albers  12:41  
Yes. Right. Yes. Precisely.

JJ Parker  12:44  
I'm listening.

Melissa Albers  12:46  
Yes. So exciting.

JJ Parker  12:51  
But the idea that, like we spend time problem solving, yeah. Is good, right? I mean, this is part of like, our, our human superpower, compared to yeah, all the rest of the animals on the planet right now are actually really good at problem solving. Problem solving, though, on overdrive causes all sorts of trouble.

Melissa Albers  13:17  
Yep. And, and I think, again, it's a reactive state.

JJ Parker  13:22  
Yeah. And I like the idea that you that, that problem solving as an activity would be called out as a separate thing. Like, right, when you're doing this particular thing. Yeah. It makes sure that you're being mindful of how much of your, like, time it's occupying.

Melissa Albers  13:40  
Yeah, precisely. And like, as we talk about problem solving, in the same vein, as we talk about creating, like, how many times like you and I were talking about this, and you were saying, you know, sometimes like creating is, feels the same as problem solving, like it can because like, if you think about when teams come together to, to build a marketing plan, or teams come together to kick off a new product or whatever, you You're, you're doing an act of creating, but you're also problem solving against not creating things that have already been done before, are creating not creating something that won't work, because here's all the problems that could get in the way. So I mean, it's kind of like that's a slippery slope for me those two pieces when you put them together like that, yeah.

JJ Parker  14:25  
Well, I we've talked about before, but one of my fundamental creativity Hacks is limitation. Mm hmm. Right. So in order to become more creative, put limits around the thing you're trying to do. Then your brain can do this problem solving part which is like yeah, superpower. So to me that like art from limitation phrase that I use all the time, that's trying to engage that problem solving part of our brain. Yeah, apply it in like a really good way. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  15:00  
So, you know, like, let's just bring this back to awareness, like, as you and I are talking about, about these, you know, these experiencing, creating and problem solving as, as the way humans spend all of their time. How do you perceive self awareness comes into play with those three things? Does it impact them? Not at all? If so, how? Like, what do you think?

JJ Parker  15:26  
Well, if we're, if, if we're proclaiming, not sure if we are actually proclaiming, yeah, claiming that life is experiencing, creating or problem solving, like you're doing one of those three things at any given time, Mm hmm. This self awareness comes in, simply to to know which one of those you're actually doing, because that's interesting, because it's hard to notice. Right? Like until you sit and think about maybe like a framework of these three things and try to bucket your activities and your thoughts and your emotions into one of those three things. Yeah. Then you're just gonna run around on autopilot, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, reactive state.

Melissa Albers  16:15  
That's, so that's interesting. So you came from the angle of, you can have self awareness. In all three of those things at any given time, it just helps if you are aware of which one you're in. That's an interesting perspective. I hadn't thought about that. Because where I went with it was, the more self aware you are, the more you can change the percentage of time that you're in each one of these things. Like if that guy spends 30% of his time on work, and he has 17 companies. Wow. Like, he must be exceptionally good at, like time blocking and recognizing in his own awareness when he's going to do stuff, but how he does it to to make it really effective.

JJ Parker  16:56  
Yeah, I'm kind of jealous.

Melissa Albers  17:02  
But I think like, I feel like, I think that I think that I really like what he said, I think that is absolutely true. Like if we were to take on his assumption as gospel and we to believe that. I do think, though, that we have greater potential to create more, having more awareness. Because, you know, like, How many times have you gotten up in the morning? And you said, Oh, okay, I'm just, it's gonna be a great day. Like, here's what I got going on. I'm gonna just like, I'm gonna make this a really, I'm gonna make this a really productive day. I have this little break and I'm gonna do this and and we think like this, right as we're laying in bed before we even hit the ground. And then we jump out onto the floor, and we step on a Lego. I don't anymore, but let's say you do. And it hurts like a mother. And you stumble into the bathroom and you realize, Tana, I'm out of toothpaste, I have forgot to get more toothpaste and not going to have to spend 10 minutes trying to squeeze the last little bit out of this stupid. Why did they design them like that? Anyway, metal II type of tubes. And so your date, while you had such great intention of creating something, you have suddenly jumped into the experience of your day? Unaware. Like you're allowing all these things to impact your awareness. And I think you kind of leave your body I think you kind of leave your mental peace. And you just become into this experience. So flow. Oh, great. Now I bet they won't have my coffee. I Kwik Trip. Oh, great. I bet they won't. Right. So I just think that that we start being very mindful and wanting to create like in the morning is our best time actually. Because we are free and clear the slates clean. There's no more momentum from what happened yesterday, unless you didn't sleep well and you didn't whatever. But But generally speaking, you know, that's when you wake up in the day and that is your your highest probability of being able to create but I'm aware so many things knock us off our center and knock us right out of that authentic of that authenticity and that authentic creation that we suddenly become very experiential and unaware of all those great ideas and intentions and emotions that we had even like six minutes prior. It's it happens that fast.

JJ Parker  19:22  
Yeah. Yeah, that's that's like an interesting way to look at it. I was just thinking if that happened, then you could take the Legos you stepped on and make some sort of like toothpaste to squeezer to just like turn your whole day around.

Melissa Albers  19:40  
Boom. Job solved, done. Moving on. So I don't know

JJ Parker  19:47  
it is easy. You're right. It is easy to get into that. That mindset that the world that the world is happening to you.

Melissa Albers  19:56  
Yeah, yeah. And through little simple things. We don't realize how quickly we jump there.

JJ Parker  20:02  
And then when you're and then when you're talking about creating your, you're talking about creating a different reality that makes you happier. Right? Precisely we've talked about is all about your own mindset. And yeah, internals, yeah, yeah. How you're responding or how you're reacting? Yeah,

Melissa Albers  20:25  
I mean, your environment. Yeah, exactly. And so like, we use the word creating, like in some big, global big thing, right? Like we're going to create, but actually, every moment we're creating every single moment, we're either aware that we are or we're not. And if we are more passive than we think we're experiencing every moment as though we didn't have anything to do with it. And it just was sprung upon us. And even down to conversations that we have with people, interactions that we have with people, how we park our car, where we park our car, like everything we're creating, right, like, and we've gotten into this, but I don't think that we're aware. So when we are unaware that opportunity of creation ends up feeling and being more experiential. So I don't know if I'm articulating that well, but you know, it's just like, if I'm going to have a coaching conversation with someone, and I know that in six minutes, I'm going to hop on the call. And if I push out the energy of, you know, sometimes this person can be really tough for, you know, that person is really, really up and down. And I feel like I have to sort of what do I need to do to make this call good to be helpful? What do I so if I put forth all of this thinking, and when I'm using this mind, but the mind is a master in that moment telling me oh, it's going to be like this, then I'm ending up experience some experiencing something that maybe isn't that at all. Maybe I've actually now created it that way. Because the way I was thinking about it.

JJ Parker  21:59  
Yeah, yeah. So the this idea that are we experiencing, creating or problem solving is really, again, about making sure you're being mindful of your intention?

Melissa Albers  22:10  
Yeah. Mm hmm. And at the simplest, simplest place, not complicated. Not really hard. Just what is your intention? Yeah, I really like that. I really like that. Because if you're focusing even just a little bit on that your awareness is increasing every day.

JJ Parker  22:28  
Yeah, right. Yeah, it's using using these three things. It's not like you're gonna be in the creating mode all the time.

Melissa Albers  22:39  
Oh, ha. Right. Now, you just couldn't be I don't think, I don't think. Yeah, yeah. Yeah,

JJ Parker  22:45  
you could, but you'd have to be like, meditating monk. 24 hours.

Melissa Albers  22:53  
You know, it's funny, like mine that focused. Okay, so I'm going to tell you like, Yes, exactly, right, like, right here. So I told you, I was taking this new course, well, the very first activity is to bring all of your awareness. So like, just try this right now. It's like crazy, to bring all of your awareness to just behind your eyes. Just look off someplace sort of, you can even look at me or whatever. But like, bring all of your awareness to right behind your eyes, you can almost feel like a physical sensation when you do that. And you realize when you're focusing to do that, you're not thinking about 75 things, you're actually really thinking about trying to bring your awareness to right behind your eyes. And that meditation was a five minute meditation. I made it like two seconds as like, Okay, I'm, I'm not doing that. Am I doing it? Right? This can't be right. Does this also feel like this? Like, it's crazy how much we are split into multiple activities all the time. And it starts with that piece, and how we feel like our thoughts and our feelings are where everything starts. But even in that little thing as like, I can't even do that right now. Why? Am I bad? Why can't I do that? Like, right, boom, there got some touch.

JJ Parker  24:06  
What cool, this was, this was fun to explore. I just yeah. Like these little frameworks, these little ideas and thoughts that can help us, you know, build our own awareness like, yeah, are always useful. And it's fun to chat with other people about Yeah. Or,

Melissa Albers  24:24  
and people might be interested in checking out that podcast that you mentioned. So do you want to just say the name again? And who it was?

JJ Parker  24:32  
Yes, so Well, it's my first million. Yes, these two tech guys that that? I mean, frankly, I almost don't want to like they're gonna listen to ours. If you're in the tech industry, and you're super into like, tech business, you should totally check it out. Yeah, love it. Yeah. If you're into like, anything else, then you're gonna think these guys are kind of kind of

Melissa Albers  24:57  
odd. Yeah, but that's that's what makes the world go round. That's why there's so many fine podcasts out there. And people probably say the same thing about us. Well, if you're into self awareness, you could listen to him. If you're not, you're gonna think those two are real goofballs.

JJ Parker  25:10  
That's okay. And then, and then their guest was Rob Dyrdek. And okay, skateboarder

Melissa Albers  25:17  
is cool.

JJ Parker  25:20  
The other the other fun thing is just like, don't judge a book by its cover, you know? Yeah, like a very deep articulate over wise person. Yeah. In the wrapper of a, you know, skateboarder? Yeah, hoodie and jeans.

Melissa Albers  25:36  
Yeah, I love it. That's such a fun story. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

Learn more about the topics in this episode

The Art of
Self Awareness Course

Have you ever wished that you could be happier inside more of the time? Does your productivity take a hit when your mood dips? Do you wish you would just do better but don’t know how?

If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, this course is for YOU.

Join The Self Awareness Journey to learn how feelings, when explored, inform us of our thoughts which ultimately cause our actions. When things don’t go as planned we often blame outside circumstances, people or timing. But most of us are unaware of our core feelings so we are never quite able to manifest our true desires.

Intrigued but want to know a little more?

Drop your contact information below and we'll keep you updated with our latest tips for increased self-awareness.