'Adaptability Hacking' For Success With Dr. Yishai Barkhordari. Destiny Awakening Interviews 13

Mar 24, 2021

Why you've got to check out today's episode:

  • Discover how to effectively adapt to any challenge in any situation...
  • Learn how to turn your biggest weakness into your greatest strength....
  • Find out the tools every workplace needs to be peaceful and productive...


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Email: [email protected]


Are you struggling to grow your business? Are your employees overwhelmed? Exhausted? Unproductive?

Discover the three Ds (Data, Direction, Drive) necessary to effectively adapt in any challenging situations...

Today's guest, Dr. Yishai Barkhordari helps entrepreneurs and business leaders transform disruption, challenge and exhaustion into energy, excitement and excellence.

He uses his deep psychological training and experience to understand and harness our psychology in the unique way that humans have adapted to survive and thrive. And he does this by creating simple, user friendly tools to increase your adaptability, and your ability to adapt, into your greatest assets.

In today's episode, Yishai unpacks the topic "Adaptability Hacking For Success "

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 02:05 – Yishai’s ideal client: “The people that I'm working with right now are entrepreneurs and business leaders. And it really has to do with the human challenges that we experience all business is really oriented around people.…”
  • 04:28 – His client's biggest challenge: “It's when a challenging situation shows up and there's a need for either you or your team is there's a need to pivot to shift to adapt....”
  • 08:01– Yishai ’s #1 insight to help you: "For any adaptation to be effective, it has to have three key components, there are three things we really need. I call them the three "D's" data, direction and drive...."
  • 14:14– What concept, book, program, or talk impacted you the most: "I think the thing that I would really share is therapy. Therapy really was a place where I first started to be able to make sense of and contextualize my emotions..."
  • 17:58– Yishai’s valuable free resource: "I have two worksheets to share with you. One is a worksheet on adaptation, another one is a worksheet on overwhelm, it breaks it down its component pieces, and helps you understand both...."
  • 20:34– Yishai’s last thoughts: "For emotions, name an emotion, any emotion and I can break it down, its purpose, when and why it shows up. And how to harness it when it does, even how to engineer it, if or when you want to...."



(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

Narrator  0:00  
Welcome to the Destiny Awakening Interviews, a podcast with Andrew Wayfinder and his guests, bringing you powerful insights, inspiration and ways to break free, live life your way and make a difference in our changing and challenging world.

Andrew Hryniewicz  0:17  
So hello everyone and a very warm welcome to another edition of the Destiny Awakening Interviews.

I'm Andrew Wayfinder Hryniewicz and I'm joined today by Dr. Yishai Barkhodari, psychologist, adaptability hacker, host of the "Business Couch with Dr. Yishai" and adaptability coach and consultant for entrepreneurs, leaders and their businesses.

So a very warm welcome to you Yishai and where are you hanging out today?

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  0:43  
Thank you. Thanks for inviting me. Here I am at home like so many of us in Jersey.

Andrew Hryniewicz  0:50  
Okay, and what sort of weather you going through there at the moment?

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  0:53  
You know, we had a couple of snowstorms. Right now it actually kind of mellowed out, it was pretty warm today, I walked outside. And took a walk this morning with my wife and it was in the 40s. So it actually felt kind of balmy sweater on today.

Andrew Hryniewicz  1:08  
Yeah, we're starting to get down here in London as well, which is really nice. So the reason I wanted to speak with Yishai, with you today is because Yishai is a genius at helping entrepreneurs and business leaders, transform disruption, challenge and exhaustion into energy, excitement and excellence.

Dr. Yishai uses his deep psychological training and experience to understand and harness our psychology in the unique way that humans have adapted to survive and thrive.

And he does this by creating simple user friendly tools to increase your adaptability and your ability to adapt into your greatest assets. And Yishai is going to unpack that idea for us in six questions.

So the first question is: Who is the ideal client for this work that you do? And what's the transformation that you help them achieve?

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  2:05  
Yeah, so the people that I'm working with right now are entrepreneurs and business leaders. And as far as the transformation, it really has to do with the human challenges that we experience, all business is really oriented around people.

There are people who work in it, the people who purchase are our clients or our users, right? Everybody involved is a person other lots of systems involved in business, there are lots of non human components.

The biggest problems, though, are people problems. And so the transformation that I really help entrepreneurs and business leaders experience is to go from a place where those human elements are really disruptive and really challenging.

To a place where every reaction, whether positive or negative, really helps fuel growth in themselves, their teams and their companies.

Andrew Hryniewicz  2:55  
You know, I've got a coaching friend of mine who says the same thing.

I was complaining one day about how doing psychological work seem kind of soft and fluffy. Compared to the guys who come in and say, "Well, I'm going to increase your bottom line by this or that percentage".

And he said, "remember, all business problems are personal problems."

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  3:18  
Yeah. And practically speaking, really, what that means is that being able to adapt and be effective when challenged, not just the challenges, but the reactions that immediately follow those challenges show up.

Whether that's stress, overwhelm, fear, frustration, disappointment, anger. I mean, any and every kind of reaction that you can imagine. And it can also mean engineering, more of the reactions that we want.

Experiencing more achievement, excitement, happiness, joy, curiosity, motivation... whether that's for ourselves, in our teams, our clients, customers, users... I mean, anybody and everybody, the thing about it is that it's actually really predictable.

When you get down to it, when you break it apart, which is why I call myself an adaptability, hacker. That's what I really spend so much of my time and energy doing is really pulling these things apart and making sense of it.

Andrew Hryniewicz  4:09  
Okay, well, that, I think, ties into question number two: In this scenario, what's the biggest challenge people are facing?

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  4:17  
Yeah, so one thing I've noticed is that many entrepreneurs and business leaders have developed really great routines, habits. They can have often really motivated mindsets, they're really on track.

And when things are on track, it's going smoothly, they experience growth for themselves and in their business. But what really trips you up, is when a challenging situation shows up.

And there's a need, for either you or your team, is... there's a need to pivot, to shift, to adapt. I mean, we've been living in that kind of environment since about a year ago.

And it's been an incredible struggle. And some of have really been able to adapt and shift and pivot more or better than others. And so it's when these challenges show up, and then again, I'd said this previously, I think it's really important to hammer it because it's so important is...

That when a challenge shows up, we also get these big reactions, like stress, overwhelm, fear, anger. And for many people, those reactions themselves throw an additional wrench into the gears and makes it really problematic.

Andrew Hryniewicz  5:22  
Okay, So question number three then: What's the number one insight you would offer to help people right now, with these sorts of things that are going on for them?

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  5:33  
Yeah. So I actually have two things I wanted to share. One is a bit of a kind of framing. And the second one is really the insight. So I think it's really important to understand that we have two systems that are constantly at play in our brains.

And they're kind of like two sets of muscles, like your bicep and your tricep. And the way that works is one set of muscles, or one set of systems in our brain, is designed to create more efficiency: to require less energy or time, right, people call that habits.

And there's so many other names for that. It's an efficiency generating process. It requires less input, whether that's decision making, thinking or energy of any kind, and then creates a greater output. That's kind of like biceps.

And many people, I'm saying this about the strengths that entrepreneurs have... and business leaders, many of them have really done and worked out. They've done a lot of that kind of habit work, efficiency, creating work systems, creating work.

That's how they created success in their businesses. And that's kind of like doing curls over and over again, until you can do it with 70 pound weights. But then ignoring the tricep.

And the tricep, the other group of muscles is very much an adaptive, it's a slow down, pay closer attention, make a shift or pivot when you need to.

And the thing about that is that with our muscle system, with our body and skeletal system, when you use your bicep, your body does not also contract or use your tricep. Sometimes it uses it for stabilizing.

But ultimately, in order to really use the full range of motion and the full strength of the bicep, you need to loosen the tricep. And vice versa. If you try to, if you try to tighten both, or use both at the same time, it can actually threaten to break your bones.

And the only people who do that, by the way, the only people who learn to and need to use both muscles muscles or tighten them are bodybuilders. And they need to learn and be careful because they don't, you don't want to break your bones.

So that's a bit of the framework or background. That the tricep really represents a part of our brain, an element of our brain, that's really designed to get us to slow down, to pay attention to analyze and look at what's going on to make a shift or pivot.

And that's not an efficiency creating process. It's the reverse. And so as far as adapting goes, what's really important to understand is adaptation can either be biological in our DNA, or behavioral or actions.

For any adaptation to be effective, it has to have three key components, there are three things we really need. I call them the three "D's" data, direction and drive. I'm gonna explain them, this is the real number one insight here.

Data is that we need to know that something isn't working or needs to change. We need data about what doesn't work and what might work. Otherwise, we don't even have a clue that there's a critical need to adapt.

How many times have we missed something? And because of some information that we missed, we didn't make a change or shift. And that cost us and it can be as little as stubbing our toe, or it can be as big as not noticing a market shift.

And losing a giant chunk of our client base, or user base. So the first piece of is we really need data.

The second piece is "Direction". Even with data, we still need to set our destination, we need a GPS. Every adaptation is about selecting direction: you want to move away from something that isn't working and or towards something that is.

And the third is "Drive". Drive, really I think about it as either hitting the gas or hitting the brakes. And when there's no ability to do that. And when there's no gas in the tank, we don't go anywhere. If we don't hit the brakes, we can slam into the car in front of us.

And when it comes to being an entrepreneur, a business leader, there are times where when you need to shift or pivot, you really need to tap the brakes or sometimes slam the brakes.

Or sometimes you really need to hit the acceleration in order to grow because there's an opportunity there. These are three really key components to adapting.

Now the very fascinating thing is we have a system in our brain that's designed to push and pull us to pay attention and try to engage these three "D's" of adaptation. It's called your "limbic system", and it's also often known as your "emotion system".

As it turns out, that emotion for ourselves or for others, at its core it's not an outcome, it's not a result. It's not just trying to be disruptive, to create chaos. It's actually disruptive by design.

Any given emotion shows up under specific, even predictable parameters, and they have purpose, they have three purposes. In fact, and I just outlined them, emotions, give us data direction and drive.

Most of us, though, we don't tap into it. Instead, we try to suppress or ignore it. How many entrepreneurs and business leaders have said, you need to make non emotional decisions?

But it's really about understanding that it's trying to help you adapt. And if you know how to harness that, then your decisions aren't driven exclusively by your emotions, but your emotions become a critical source of data.

And they can give you direction. They can let you know when there's something that you need to move towards, or move away from, and they can really drive you.

Andrew Hryniewicz  10:58  
And that definitely lines up with the therapy model I was trained in, which was that we're born with a set of social, physical, emotional and biological and spiritual needs, and the innate capacities to meet those needs.

And emotions are a very important part of signaling when those needs are being met or not met. And then I think I think the last part of the picture is that, ideally, you're born into a family and a culture that teaches you everything else you need.

And I think that's where a lot of people are falling down, that we're increasingly being born into families and cultures that are not teaching you useful stuff. Not teaching you anything.

But that's a whole other question...

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  11:47  
We're all learning something. The question is whether it helps us, whether it serves us,

Andrew Hryniewicz  11:52  
Yes, I think that there's a tremendous amount of dysfunctional learning taking place out there.

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  11:57  
Yeah. And from my perspective, there's a specific emotion that's designed to let us know when we're learning something dysfunctional, it's emotional pain.  Emotional pain, some people call it suffering or hurt.

It is an emotion that tells you that there is damage or dysfunction in your relationships, in your lives. It gives us that data, it gives us direction, it says you need to move away from some of that, and develop a more functional way of working.

And then it gives us drive, it hits on the brakes, it slams the gas. It can do both. It can grab the wheel and turn and it can be very difficult. And again, when it's not directed, it can be a very challenging roller coaster. Very, very challenging roller coaster.

And we don't have to talk too much about getting into the point of dysfunctional that's much more in the diagnostic and therapeutic sense, right? I think it's really important to recognize that we have this set of systems.

And it tells us that most of us, we don't tap into that. Instead, we get kind of taught that your emotional pain is a problem. And if you show it to others, they're going to reject you.

And then what do you do with that? You're kind of taught to try to get rid of it, to try to make it go away or to wish it would just go away. You know, I think it's really analogous to physical pain in a way.

Physical pain shows up when there's damage or dysfunction in our bodies. We experience pain when we break a bone or when some part of our bodies is not functioning the way it really needs to. It's not functioning well.

And that is the signal to go get medical attention. How many of us don't pay attention to that? I mean, that's what the we don't have to go too far into this again. But that's what the whole opioid crisis is really about that.

We stopped relating to pain as something that is telling us about damage or dysfunction. We started saying it's something that's difficult and uncomfortable. So we need to get rid of it. It's another symptom of that same issue.

Andrew Hryniewicz  13:59  
So question number four, I think: What concepts book program or talk has been most formative or impactful in your experience that you'd want to share with my audience?

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  14:14  
Yeah, thank you. So I think the first thing that I would really share is therapy. And for me, really where that comes from is, I was born a sensitive kid.

But it wasn't something I really realized until I was deep into my own therapy, until I was in my late 20s. Really. And so I'll share with you a story of when I was seven. I was playing with a bunch of my friends in a guest house at a friend's place.

And my brother was there and we were all around the pool table. And we didn't really know how to play pool. So we were just kind of throwing balls around.

And I was... because I was seven and they were playing and I was kind of interested... I was leaning towards the table and I curled my hand my fingers over the edge of that pool table. And my brother rolled the ball. And it hit my hand at a with a lot of force.

And I immediately experienced a tremendous amount of pain. I mean, it was... and because I'm sensitive, what flared up there immediately was this huge anger... I was seeing red, and I grabbed the ball.

And I pitched it so hard -- straight at my brother's head -- that it tore a two foot crater into the wall behind him. And I was lucky because he ducked. And in that moment, I had another massive explosion of emotions.

I felt afraid because my brother is a year older than me, and he was like a foot bigger than me. I felt ashamed. I felt scared. I was still incredibly angry. I felt so embarrassed, there were a dozen of my friends who saw this.

And immediately I felt like I destroyed any reputation I had. I lost every shred of respect for myself, for everyone else. I'm bursting out crying, and I'm flying out of that room. And I went and I hid for hours. And I just like really hammering myself in my head.

And at the time, I didn't have the tools, I didn't have the understanding and my emotions... For many of us, it shows up at zero to 10. And for me, it feels like it shows up on a zero to 100. And a lot of times is bouncing between 80 and 90.

And I didn't have that luxury of being able to say "Oh, I can ignore or set aside those emotions" because they showed up so big. So for me, therapy really was a place where I first started to be able to make sense of and contextualize.

That my emotions aren't random, that they aren't invalid. Or rather, they're trying to do something. It wasn't until much later that I really kind of put together this understanding of what emotions are. And for me, it was a matter of survival.

Because my next reaction was to say, "My emotions are dangerous, they hurt me and people around me, and I need to get rid of them." So I spent over a decade, trying to learn to clamp down on them.

And that led me into a really deep depression, which again, thankfully, therapy was super helpful for. It helped me kind of let go of holding so tight and trying not to let myself have any of those reactions.

And so that was, to me, an incredibly impactful experience: that I could go to therapy. And because I was talking about it and trying to make sense of it, I can start to contextualize those things. And again, for me, it was really a lifelong experience.

It wasn't until 25 years later, that I finally realized what emotions are. That they have purpose, that they are, yes, signaling us, and that they show up in very specific kinds of ways.

And that's when I started to develop these tools, of which I now have so many. I mean, I love to say I'm going to jump the gun on your next question. If that's okay,

Andrew Hryniewicz  17:54  
Oh, sure. Yeah, what's what's your free resource?

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  17:58  
Oh, I was gonna. So the free resources, actually, I have two worksheets that I'm really excited to share with you guys. One is that it's a worksheet on adaptation. So it really breaks down the "three Ds" as we as we talked about today.

And it also gives you the space and kind of directs you for how you can think and write about them. So that you can really direct yourself to be adaptive in a given situation.

So that's one that I have. Another one that I have is have a worksheet on overwhelm, that shares with you a formula that really breaks overwhelm down into its really component pieces, and helps you understand that overwhelm.

So I'll briefly kind of share that overwhelm, I'm really nerdy, so I made it into a formula. Overwhelm equals, when our load is greater than our limits.

So when we're carrying more than our capacity, and what that means is for any moment that we're experiencing overwhelm, it's telling us that we're redlining, that we're pushing ourselves over, there's so much more on us.

And that means that in order to harness that emotion, what we really need to do is recognize what it is and then address, not just one side of it.

Which many people, when they're overwhelmed, try to just deal with or manage their load, or get rid of or offload some things. What we also really need to do is address the second piece our limits, if we can consistently expand our limits.

Then, we can take on more load in a consistent way. And if we are intentional and aware, and that's what the purpose of our overwhelm is to tell us, you are having more load on you, you're getting overloaded.

And if we didn't experience overwhelm, we would do that until we were crushed. So I have that resource and I'd love to share that.

Andrew Hryniewicz  19:50  
Okay, so that'll be in the show notes. dryishai.com/destiny-awake.

And then the last question is: What should I have asked you that I didn't ask you.

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  20:07  
Yeah, so that was something that I really love to say. I don't know if you are, if you in the audience listening, have ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", the patriarch of that family named Gus.

He has a line in that movie where he says, "Tell me a word, any word, and I'll show you how the root of that word is Greek." And I totally nerd out and I hack into adaptability. And for me, I feel like I can say the same thing.

But for emotions, name an emotion, any emotion and I can break it down its purpose. The "three Ds". When and why it shows up and how to harness it when it does. Even how to engineer it, if or when you want to. And that's something that I do a lot.

That's the work that I do. That's the transformation I help entrepreneurs and business leaders have. So if you'd like to name an emotion, any emotion, I just did it for overwhelmed, name and emotion, any emotion.

That's something that I can absolutely do. And I just love doing that. That's my passion.

Andrew Hryniewicz  21:08  
Well, that reminds me of what we were talking about before the show where I said that, it sounds like your work is very related to Nassim Taleb's work on anti-fragility.

You know that beyond resiliency, which is just bouncing back, he says anti-fragility is actually systems... it's people that become stronger as a result of the shock or the impact. That they learn and grow from it.

And so I think that's a perfect way to end the work that you're doing Yishai. So thank you very much for your time today.

Dr. Yishai Barkhordari  21:46  
Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Narrator  21:51  
Thanks for listening to the destiny awakening interviews. If you have a friend who would benefit, please share, and subscribe to the show on iTunes and leave a review. We really appreciate it. And remember, always use your power for good

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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