Dr. Michael Gervais | Living An Authentic Life: How to STOP Worrying About What People Think of You

Wellness + Wisdom | Episode 612

Do you let fear of other people's opinions stop you from living an authentic life?

Michael Gervais | Living An Authentic Life: How to STOP Worrying About What People Think of You (Finding Mastery)Dr. Michael Gervais, High-Performance Psychologist, joins Josh Trent on the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast, episode 612, to explain how to shift from a performance-driven to a purpose-driven identity, why you're scared of other people's opinions, and how to create mental safety and regulate your nervous system.

“Fear of people's opinions is one of the greatest constrictors of people's potential. We abandon our sense of self for the approval of others. One of the great inoculations to the fear of people's opinions is to know your purpose. And when you do that, be about it as best you possibly can.”Dr. Michael Gervais


In This Episode, Dr. Michael Gervais Uncovers:

[01:30] Redefining Success As a Parent

[08:15] FOPO: Fear of People's Opinion

  • How Michael met his mentor by accident.
  • Why he struggled with worrying about what people think of him.
  • The fear of people's opinion.
  • What makes people scared of what others think of them.
  • How the threat of rejection makes you abandon your sense of self.

[16:05] Ancient Survival Mechanisms

[20:00] How to Find Your Purpose in Life

  • Why people are obsessed with performance based on their childhood.
  • The idea of purpose isn't introduced to children but performance is.
  • Start asking yourself questions about your purpose for the day.
  • Why awareness training is important if you want to find your purpose.

[26:00] Who Is There for You to Support Your Growth?

[29:40] Put Up a Screen to Filter Information

  • Nate Hobgood-Chittick
  • How coaches humiliate football players.
  • The process of putting up screens to filter and choose information that serves you.
  • How to filter the noise from other people that's distracting you from what matters.

[35:05] Memento Mori

  • Why Michael wants to die a normal death.
  • How experiencing trauma makes you realize how fragile life is.
  • Death is a reminder for us to honor the fragility of life.
  • How death helps Michael be more present.

[36:40] Regulate Your Nervous System

  • Why Michael needed help to artistically express his ideas in the book.
  • How writing his book almost cost him a friendship.
  • Why the commitment to regulating your nervous system outweighs the shortcut.
  • How Michael practices nervous system regulation through holding space for others.
  • Trauma triggers a sense of isolation from other humans.
  • The three most important breathwork techniques.
  • How agility allows you to trust yourself more.
  • Why it's crucial to commit to optimism.

[47:10] The Reality of Duality

  • How to be optimistic without spiritual bypassing.
  • Optimism and pessimism are an expression of duality in the world.
  • Why high-performance coaches ask more questions than they give directions.
  • The reason why we pull out from feeling joy.
  • Time under tension is what helps you get better at something.

[51:30] Michael Gervais' Healing Journey

  • Why being called “stupid” by his dad pushed Michael to be a rebel.
  • How community college changed Michael's life.
  • Why getting good grades made him chase knowledge to prove to others he was smart.
  • What made his wife ask him to move out after 7 years of marriage.

[59:20] Psychological Safety

[01:05:00] Power Comes From Peace

  • Real power only comes from peace.
  • Why Michael never wanted to get a job just because he didn't have enough money.
  • How he stood up for himself on one of his first jobs working with athletes.
  • Everyone has FOPO, except psychopaths and narcissists.

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Power Quotes From The Show

Thin Slice Your Purpose

“A thin slice way to practice purpose is you would say, What is my purpose as ___ today? What is my purpose as a father today? After you practice daily purpose, you would practice like, what's my purpose this month? What's my purpose this quarter? What's my purpose this year? When you practice purpose thinking, eventually you'll get to, What is my life purpose? You just get a little closer because you're practicing, just like any other skill in sport or performance.”Dr. Michael Gervais

Fear of Rejection

“We have this mechanism in our brain that is scanning for potential rejection because rejection 250,000 years ago was a near death sentence. The brain is optimized without having to think to respond to threat. And the threat of rejection was a near death sentence. So when we see a sign of rejection, we conform, we contort, we will critique them or critique somebody else to take the heat off of us, or we'll just disconnect from the relationship. So it's such an intense thing that we will abandon our sense of self for the approval of others.”Dr. Michael Gervais

Heal Your Trauma

“The nature of trauma is that it's not the event itself that is the traumatizing bit. It's that that triggers a sense of aloneness and isolation because others around you don't relate to you. So healing happens when another person just looks at you and hold space for it and is in it with you. They might cry with you. They might laugh with you. They might get irritated, but they're holding the space for depth. That's where healing actually takes place for folks.”Dr. Michael Gervais



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About Michael Gervais

Michael Gervais | Living An Authentic Life: How to STOP Worrying About What People Think of You (Finding Mastery)Dr. Michael Gervais is one of the world’s top high-performance psychologists and leading experts on the relationship between the mind and human performance.

Dr. Gervais has spent his career being called on by the best of the best across the worlds of business, sport, the arts, and science when they need to achieve the extraordinary.

Dr. Gervais is also the founder and host of the Finding Mastery Podcast, and the co-creator of the Performance Science Institute at USC.

His work has been featured by NBC, ABC, FOX, CNN, ESPN, NFL Network, Red Bull TV, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Outside Magazine, WIRED, ESPN Magazine and more.


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About Josh Trent

Josh Trent lives in Austin, Texas with his love Carrie Michelle, son Novah, and a cat named Cleo. He is the Founder of Wellness Force Media, host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath & Wellness Program. Josh has spent the past 19+ years as a trainer, researcher, and facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world. The Wellness Force Media Mission is to help humans heal mental, emotional, and physical health through podcasts, programs, and a global community that believes in optimizing our potential to live life well.

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