Chattin’ with Andy Proctor
No, he’s not the father of happiness. But I would definitely say Andy is a cousin or a relative of it. After working selling products for a company online and learning about their mission to bring out the science of happiness, Andy went on a personal mission to discover the truths behind happiness.
His journey took him to studying positive psychology, and he learned that happiness is really a skillset. One that can be learned. If certain principles were applied, one could be happy. He’s studied some of the world’s leading experts on happiness, flow, empathy, connection, human flourishing, etc. Now he has a powerful message to share and is currently the CMO of the Cook Center, whose mission it is to help children find happiness in their own lives and see that they have lives of incredible value.
Andy and I met earlier this year, and we’ve had many amazing conversations about the truths he’s learning. We’ve had a great time sharing insights and stories with each other on this podcast. Hope you enjoy!
About Andy Proctor
Andy Proctor is the Director of Marketing for the Cook Center for Human Connection in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He is uniquely qualified to support the Cook Center in their marketing needs as well as their academic progress.
Andy is a positive psychology expert with a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Brigham Young University. Course work for that degree gave him education and experience with applied social psychology, human cognition, psychological statistics, and organizational psychology. Other areas of education include personality theory, the psychology of sex and gender, and health psychology.
Independent of his formal education, he studied emotional intelligence in sales, prospect theory and cyber aggression, and mentored research. He also has multiple certifications, including certification to be a professional life coach from Transformation Academy and a certification in Applied Positive Psychology from The Flourishing Center.
In 2014 his wife was hospitalized and later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since then he has been a passionate well-being activist and has been influential in the prevention of suicide with two of his friends.
He believes in increasing real connection and love in order to help treat mental illness and prevent suicides. He spent his time hosting a podcast called “More Happy Life” that has over 135 episodes. Interviews ranged from well-being experts, researchers, TED speakers, Olympians, therapists, social media influencers, and New York Times bestsellers.
With his podcast being mentioned in the New York Times, ABC News, Anchor.fm, and Fox Business, he started being a special guest speaker for men’s groups, podcasts, church groups, YouTube channels, television stations, and libraries. He speaks mainly about the science of well-being from an academic and religious viewpoint.
He works as a board member for the local TEDx events and in the Utah Positive Psychology Association as a co-chair where he continues to spread his love and support to those struggling with mental health challenges.
Cook Center for Human Connection
As the Director of Marketing at the Cook Center for Human Connection, he spends his time helping in multiple capacities. He not only works hard to formulate and implement the marketing strategy, but he also helps in the vision to increase positive and meaningful human connections in order to prevent suicide.
Combining his enthusiasm for well-being, positive psychology, and the need for meaningful relationships, he brings a lot to his role. The relationships we form with other people help to protect us against anxiety, depression, and uncertainty in our lives. The relationships can be with members of our family, friends, mentors, or advisors in our lives. When these relationships are healthy and supportive, challenges related to mental health can be overcome and manageable.
The Cook Center strives to combine resources from organizations, products, and programs to help prevent suicide through proper support for mental health issues and increasing human connections. With a mission that has four main pillars, they are always striving to lend the best support possible to those struggling.
Prevention is one main focus of The Cook Center. Because most suicide attempts are made in desperation to escape pain, many suicide attempts are preventable. Providing the right resources to support healthy mental function gives hope to those who may be contemplating suicide.
One important aspect of preventing suicide is creating meaningful human connection. Promoting understanding, kindness, and active listening can help those who are struggling to find the support they need. Meaningful relationships help to increase personal resilience and courage in the face of mental health struggles.
No real progress can be made in the face of suicide rates without proper education. Those who live with mental health issues or know someone with them needs to have the right information and education in order to provide the necessary support. Family members, friends, and co-workers can all be affected by mental health issues, so the more people who are educated, the better the support system can function. Being in a position to give help and receive help when it is needed is crucial.
Education is important, but without action, it doesn’t provide support. When someone is in pain, it is important to act. Education gives people the resources and knowledge they need to know what to do, but empowering them to act is just as important.
Andy currently lives in Vineyard, Utah, with his wife. In his spare time he likes to explore new cities and find new cafes to enjoy with his wife. He also enjoys spending time on the lake with his electric longboard. He speaks English and Spanish and plays the cello.
Andy Proctor Podcast Transcription
Charan: What’s going on guys, this is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand podcast. I’m with my dear buddy, Andy Proctor, who — Andy, go ahead and stand up just a little bit so we can see the beautiful sweater you have on right now. Oh man, happy little holiday from Mr. Bob Ross himself. There is no greater joy than having a sweater like that. I’ll tell you that for sure.
Andy: I agree.
Charan: No, this is, this has been awesome. Guys, we’re all very privileged to have Andy on the show. He’s a dear friend. We actually met earlier this year, but it feels like we’ve known each other for a long, long time. Andy and I are part of a friendship group called Uber Well. We’ve been changing these names left and right, but I think we’ve landed on Uber Well.
Charan: That’s kind of where we landed. We met actually on a road trip earlier this year. It was really awesome. We had a good time. We were in LaVerkin, Utah, I believe. We had an Airbnb. We went and just hung out and had some really positive, awesome discussions. Andy and his wife, Stacy, they are the big believers in happiness, which I think it was really, really cool. Andy’s dedicated his life to the study of the nature of happiness and what people can do to thrive. It’s interesting, because a lot of people from a religious community, they rely on their faith and things like that. But then there’s other people that don’t have that faith background or whatnot. And so it’s like, “Well, where do they go? What is their source of happiness?” I love Andy’s perspective. He’s studied from a very holistic overall perspective of what happiness comes from.
Charan: The Lemonade Stand podcast is all about entrepreneurs and creators and people that have dreams that like to bring their dreams to reality. I just thought Andy’s study on happiness and how he’s brought that into the world has been so instrumental to helping this world out, especially in a year like the one we’ve had where we could all use a lot more happiness in our lives. Andy, yeah. Thanks, man. I’m so glad that you are a part of this podcast.
Andy: Thanks for having me, Charan. This is awesome. One of my favorite things to do is obviously talk about the science of human flourishing. The only thing I think better than a Bob Ross holiday, happy little holiday sweater is being able to depill that sweater with a depiller. Look at this. [crosstalk 00:04:19].
Charan: Oh man, I have not seen that, but that also makes me happy.
Andy: It’s just like, you can like (machine noise). It’ll last forever. Right?
Charan: So great.
Andy: Anyways just a little plug there randomly.
Charan: Yes, please.
Andy: Yeah, I’ve been studying the science of human flourishing. Some of the academics call it subjective well-being. Where it started with Martin Seligman. Maybe people, listeners have heard of Martin Seligman before. He’s seen as the father of positive psychology. Whereas, I studied psychology BYU in my undergrad. Really, we were studying, a lot of the focus was on what’s wrong with people …
Andy: … and how people are suffering and maybe how to get people out of suffering, which I think is absolutely important to do. I mean, gosh, I need it for sure sometimes, right? Positive psychology, though, on the other hand, is the study of what’s right with people, and what’s going well, and how can we study people who are just like on fire, people who are flourishing in life so that we can do more of that, so that we can maybe pick that apart and look at the anatomy of flourishing to then say, “People who do these things and live in this way and surround themselves with these types of people and in these kinds of environments can actually flourish even more.” Even they’ve found, which is cool, that the people who are struggling with clinical depression and those types of mental illnesses, which are rampant today, can also benefit from these skillsets. Anyways, happiness, it’s really a skillset. It’s really something that we can practice just like you can practice a musical instrument to get better at it. You can get better at happiness. It’s exciting.
Charan: That’s really cool. I think it’s empowering to people to know that, “Hey, I can actually practice certain skills to be happy.”
Charan: Before we get into all of that and some of the studies that you’ve found, can you tell me a little bit about what led you to study this thing to begin with?
Andy: [crosstalk 00:07:09].
Charan: Did you have a happy childhood? Were you like, “I’m happy. I want to be happy. I want to study it.” Tell me about that. That’s amazing.
Andy: No, I mean, yeah, not that I didn’t have a happy childhood. I had a beautiful childhood. Yeah, and I definitely think I was that kid who was always just happy for no reason, right, like I just, I think, I mean, studies show that 52% of what results in our happiness is genetic. I think I got the jackpot when it comes to genetics in subjective well-being and positive affect, which I’m very grateful for. It’s crazy.
Andy: So speaking of entrepreneurship, right, which we’re talking about a little bit on this podcast. My wife and I were actually running, who you know, very, very closely as well. Stacy, she’s amazing. We were running an online business. We were selling supplements. We were basically online retailers for a mother company that was our distributor or wholesale source. The company’s motto was “The science of happiness.” As we were selling this, I mean, we were selling a junk load of this stuff. I mean, it was crazy. We launched this thing. It was actually connected to an MLM, but nobody knew that we were distributors because we were doing it all digitally, right? We were doing it all online.
Charan: Your focus was more on selling the product versus trying to build a downline maybe, right?
Andy: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yep, so we were selling. The first day we sold like 10,000 bucks worth of it.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Andy: I mean, this stuff, it’s awesome stuff, too, but I mean, we still use it today, even though we’re not part of the company anymore. I was like, “Is it just a supplement? Is happiness just a supplement?” Like, the science of happiness, right? I was talking to the CEO of this company. I was like, “What if there was something more? What if it was also behavioral and a part of our thoughts and beliefs.” It’s not that I hadn’t thought of this before, because I studied social psychology at BYU, but I hadn’t really dug in to this whole field.
Andy: Darren Hogue, was his name actually, the CEO of this company at the time. He’s like, “Yeah, go to work, man. Send me something. Let’s see if maybe we can sell a behavioral aspect of it too.” So I started diving into what is the science of happiness and where does this come from. I discovered this field of positive psychology. This is 2014. I got hooked, man. I started watching Ted Talks. I read this book called “Flourish” by Martin Seligman. I’m a huge fan of public libraries. I go to the library and just dig around for books.
Charan: [crosstalk 00:10:49].
Andy: Right? It’s one of my favorite places. I found Shawn Achor. I found Martin Seligman. I found Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi about flow.
Charan: Flow, yeah.
Andy: Robert Emmons about gratitude. I’ve found Rick Hanson on mindfulness and neuroscience. It’s like so many cool things, Barbara Fredrickson on positive emotion, Sonja Lyubomirsky’s “How of Happiness.” I mean, it was just this entire world was just opened up to me. The crazy thing is that if you hit the rewind button about five years before, four or five years before, I had just recently come back from this travel study, which was my last semester studying in college. I was sitting in this class where we were literally talking about what is your purpose? Like, in life, right?
Charan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andy: I was sitting there. I feel like I had this kind of, whatever you want to call it, download from the cosmos or whatever, right?
Andy: … and where I believe I received my life mission, right? I wrote it down. It’s a three-fold mission. Part of that mission was to be a powerful voice for good in the world, both inside and outside of the church that I belong to. I had no idea. That was just concreted into me, right? I had no idea how to actually make that happen. I was like, “Okay, that’s great. I love that.” I was like, “I don’t even know what this means. I don’t know how to make this happen. I don’t know how to do it. Is it with SEO?” Because at the time I was starting to figure that stuff out with blogging. “Is it social media? Is it writing as an author? Whatever?” It wasn’t really until 2014, when I discovered positive psychology, that it all came together. It was like, “Okay, this is the vehicle that I’m going to get on and ride to be able to bring goodness to people, right, be a powerful voice for good.”
Charan: It’s interesting because as you’re saying this, I remember those moments in my own life where I had aha moments of “this is what I’m going to be doing. This isn’t the purpose of my life.” Then the very next thought is, “How the heck am I going to do it?” It’s like, you know what’s going to happen, but you don’t know how it’s going to happen. You know?
Charan: Then that’s another journey, right?
Charan: It’s filled with these journeys “Okay, I know that’s what I need to do. I don’t know how it’s going to happen.” It’s beautiful that you went on that path of knowing “Okay, I know I need to be a force for good” inside the church you belong to and outside the church you belong to, but how to do that? All of a sudden 2014 comes around, and you’re like, “Positive psychology, this needs to be a big part of it.” It resonated with your soul.
Andy: Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing how it’s like Steve Jobs says, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward.” Right? You can’t just say, “Okay, this is how it’s going to work.” But looking backwards, here we are in 2020, almost 2021, right. Maybe by the time this is published, it’ll probably be 2021. Looking backwards though, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, six, seven years ago, how would I ever known that I’d be here right now today?”
Charan: Yeah, yeah. It’s difficult to know, right? You have to, you can only, the way I look at the future is it’s something you can write as you go, you know what I mean?
Charan: I don’t know. For me, making plans for the future is all about just direction. It just gives me a direction, because if I was to sum up my life, I would be like, “And it did not come to pass.” But not in a bad way, not in a bad way at all. It’s just more of a way of understanding that, “Hey, you know what? I didn’t expect that to happen and that happened.” There are certain things you hope for it, you go for it. Sometimes things turn out way better than you even thought they were going to turn out, right?
Andy: Right, exactly.
Charan: It’s like, “Hey, let’s just have the direction to move forward and have that positive energy towards that destination but not be afraid to pivot when things change up.” Here’s the interesting thing. I feel that people that are truly happy tend to be flexible. They’re not as rigid, you know?
Andy Proctor Talks About the Connection Between Happiness and Mindset
Charan: They’re like, “Okay, that didn’t work out. Let’s try something else.” Why do you think that is? Why are the happy people the ones that are a little bit more go with the flow, more present? Yeah, what are your thoughts on that?
Andy: I think that’s a great thought because so there’s actually a lot of research that’s been done on this. Carol Dweck did a lot of research on what’s called fixed and growth mindset. People who have a growth mindset- who have a fixed mindset, oftentimes, they struggle to do new things. They struggle to put themselves out there. They struggled to know that it’s okay to fail kind of thing, right?
Charan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andy: They don’t practice. They don’t try new stuff, because they’re afraid that if they try it, they’re going to fail. If they fail, that means that they are a failure versus they just failed.. Whereas growth mindset, this open-minded mindset that you’re talking about, people who have that mindset are much more likely to try new things. Last night I was just hanging out with my nephews and niece. They were all wanting to try my cello. None of them ever have ever picked up a cello before. It was so interesting to watch them like, “Okay, where do I put my hands?” Screeching the bow across the strings. They were all just gung ho, going for it, right?
Andy: They weren’t afraid to just try. I think that’s how it is in life. If we have that fixed mindset of rigidity of, “Oh, shoot. If I fail, then that could be bad.” Whereas if I try, that’s a success, even if it doesn’t work out, right? Yeah, and one of the researchers, Barbara Fredrickson, talks about — she’s the queen of the positive emotion research — she talks about how it’s actually not necessarily a good thing to put “be happy” on a plaque on your wall or whatever, because that can actually backfire on you. She says, “What you should put on your wall is ‘be open.'”
Charan: Oh, I like that. Yeah, that’s awesome. It allows for more space, more room to come in, right?
Charan: Now, we were talking a little bit about human flourishing. I liked the way you described that human flourishing, you studied that. Although, I’ve never personally studied it in the way that you have, I feel like I try to live that lifestyle of openness and happiness and flourishing. The way I look at is like, “Hey, what makes me come alive? What makes me come alive?” I really enjoy being alive. You know?
Charan: I know you and I, we’ve shared hikes together. We’ve had some deep convos together. It’s been amazing. I find that happiness, being alive, flourishing, all those great, awesome moments being in the flow, if you will, those are all very, very, very present things. It’s not like, “Oh, I’m going to be alive when all this and this happens.” You know what I mean? Or like an expectation put on some future event that’s going to lead you to finally being happy or finally flourishing or whatever. It seems like way more of a present thing.
Charan: You feel like, “Oh my gosh, I love the world. I love my outlook on life right now. I love not knowing what’s going to happen, but I’m optimistic about what’s going to happen.” You know what I mean?
Charan: All seems very, very, very present. What is it about being present and being mindful that leads us to those conditions of happiness and flourishing and being alive?
Andy: One of my colleagues and friends at the university, he’s actually a professor at the University of Utah, he studies mindfulness. His name’s Adam Hanley, Dr. Adam Hanley. If you’re interested in mindfulness and present thinking and present being, look him up. He’s got some really fascinating studies on pain and mindfulness and things like that. He talked about how we tend to, people tend to look at themselves when they think of where, if you were to look at me, where I am, this sense of like Andy, or Charan, and you had like a little diagram of a little gingerbread-man type of diagram. What would you put an X on? What would be the top place where you’d put an X? Most people put an X on right here on the head, where they think is their self, right? That’s where they live, right? That self is basically constantly living in my head.
Charan: Their mind, their narratives, their thoughts, you know?
Charan: That’s what makes them feel like they’re alive.
Andy: Right. Well, at least that’s what they identify with. Then the interesting thing is that the people who tended to put an X or mark “where I feel where I am,” the lower the mark was on the body, the further down it went, whether it was the heart or the belly or some people even like would circle the entire thing, right? Those people were correlated with higher well-being scores overall. People who focus not just on their thoughts and just being in their head all the time but that they’re able to move their bodies and know that they’re not just their head, but that they’re their whole body. It takes being present and takes things like hiking or doing stuff with your body that make you remember, “Oh, I’m not just my brain, right? I’m not just my hands typing on a computer with my head. I’m my whole body.” Those people are the happiest.
Andy: I mean, that’s just an interesting study, but I think I think that, just my personal opinion, we are storytellers, right? If you think about our ancient ancestors, that’s how they survived. They told their stories.
Charan: Yeah, they told stories, yeah.
Charan: For sure.
Andy: They were constantly storytelling around the fires. They were dancing. They would dance and they would tell their stories around the fires at night of like, “Hey, we survived today. We did it. We overcame the beasts and the monsters.” They would tell those stories. Those stories would be passed down, right?
Charan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andy: The things that we actually do with the experiences that we have that, I mean, you think about, you don’t think back with fondness on, “Oh yeah. I remember that one time when we were just watching Netflix.”
Charan: Yeah, exactly.
Andy: It’s like, “No.”
Charan: Or doing my homework, you know?
Andy: Right. Yeah, like, “No.” Stacy and I just recently went and we went to this amazing workshop by one of my friends. His name is Hugh.
Charan: Funny enough, he was the last person on the podcast.
Andy: Oh, was he?
Andy: Oh, that’s awesome.
Charan: Yeah, yeah.
Andy: That’s perfect.
Charan: It’s amazing.
Andy: I totally had no idea. He’s amazing. We went to his workshop. I will never forget that where we literally saw this wild mustang go from wanting to kill us and buck us out of this square, wooden room with sand on the floor to letting us lay on top of it. I laid on top of this wild mustang. I will never forget that. That’s my story. That’s a part of me now. It was a very present moment. I think these moments that allow us to be present are often experiences that we can come back to. We can really; they’re a part of our story.
Andy: The other thing is, speaking of Hugh, he talks about how animals like horses, they don’t have a prefrontal cortex. We do. We’re the only ones. Humans are the only species that can think about the future or worry and no mull over the past and worry about what’s going to happen. I don’t know. We’re sitting here talking about, “Oh gosh, 2020 sucked. Oh, I’m so nervous about 2021. What’s going to happen?” Animals can’t even do that. They don’t worry. Yeah, they have reflexes and stuff to keep them safe and protect them.
Andy: The more we can be present and just be here now, the less we will worry, the less we’ll associate our life with a story of fear or of rumination or not good enough. There’s not a horse in the world that is worried about what people think about them, worried about what they look like, worried about the fact that they just pooped right behind them and it smells and whatever. They don’t care. They’re just like, “Am I safe?” I think if we can be present enough to realize that this is all we have right now, this is it, Charan, right now with you, right now. This is it. There’s no future or past. It doesn’t exist. Those are just a few thoughts that I have on present thinking.
Charan: A billion things, I was trying to shut my prefrontal cortex up while you were talking. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, so many things that have come in my head.” One of the things, I guess, I’ll hit on a couple of them. We were talking a little bit about not just identifying ourselves with our thinking brain but our whole being, our whole body. It’s interesting, because I liken it to a computer that is going all the time. If it keeps going more and more and more, the computer shuts down and so does our brains and so does our minds. We are so identified by that thinking brain that we fail to experience life. I think the more we allow our instrument, our whole being, to experience the richness of the moment that is right now, we just are filled with greater life. We’re filled with greater purpose, you know?
Charan: It seems to me that the people that are unhappiest, whenever I look at them, they’re so consumed by their thinking mind and the problems of the future or the things of the past, that they don’t allow their beings to experience the richness of the now. I liken the flow of life to this beautiful river that constantly gives us energy and love and life and all those good things. Sometimes we’re resistant to it. We’re resistant to it, because our thinking mind is like, “Oh no, what is the future going to hold? What is 2021 going to be because of 2020? and all this stuff.”
Charan: If we can, and before I used to think, “Hey, let’s just surrender to it. Just surrender that resistance in our heart to the flow of life.” Then even that word sometimes, “surrender,” is like a negative connotation, like, “No, we’ve got to fight. We’re Americans,” or whatever. We want to think whatever narrative we’ve already had about that. Then I heard a friend of mine. I don’t know if you knew who Thomas McConkie is.
Charan: He’s a great, great thinker. He’s got some great, great ideas. I’m listening to his course. He was saying, “Hey, just relax into it.” I like that word, “relax,” because relaxed is like, “Oh yeah, I’m not a surrenderer, but I can definitely relax.” Relaxing into the flow of life allows your mind to go, just shut down for a second. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay. Let’s just enjoy right now. Let’s just be present and take deep breaths right now and experience the nowness of it.”
Charan: I was talking to Hugh just last week, right, he was on the podcast. We were talking about Mustang Medicine and what a beautiful thing it is to see this horse who is so wild feel safe enough to say, “Hey, I’m going to allow myself to lie down now, because I feel safe. I want, I’m happy to let people lay on me and love me.” It’s a pretty remarkable thing when you think about it, right.
Andy: It was crazy.
Charan: It’s crazy. It’s crazy, but it’s life-changing too, because the principles for us is incredible, right?
Charan: I think the definition, and I’ve talked about this in previous podcasts, but the definition of trust is to feel comfortable while you’re vulnerable and to truly have that, to truly feel safe. I think is a key ingredient for happiness to flow in us and to thrive.
Andy: I really like that. That’s really powerful.
Andy Proctor Talks About Turning Lemons Into Lemonade
Charan: I want to ask you, you who study happiness, I know life can be challenging, and we’ve talked about challenges that you’ve faced in the past as well. How have you been able to take those lemons that have come into your life, those struggles and turn it into lemonade? Just through the studies that you’ve learned, you know?
Andy: Yeah, it’s funny, because people, a lot of times, they ask me, “Well, you’re the happiness guy. You study happiness, right? Does that mean you’re happy all the time?” I’m like, “No.” I’m a real human too, you know?
Andy: Yeah, I think I’m, but what I do that I think has an edge on people who maybe are not doing this is that I prioritize the things that I know from the science that I know increase my well-being and my flourishing. Anybody can prioritize those things, but we don’t, right? Hanging out, being around with other people is so helpful, which has been difficult during this crazy year. To answer your question what has happened, yeah.
Andy: One thing, I don’t really talk about this very often, but I was married before I was married to Stacy. I was married at 27. It didn’t go well. We ended up getting divorced within a matter of months. It was rough. Divorce, for anybody, it’s just so hard. Anybody out there who’s listening who’s ever been through a divorce or who’s thinking about it, that’s so difficult, so hard. I went through that. It shattered my whole world. It shattered my worldview. It shattered my view of myself. It completely changed the story that I was telling in my life. I had to really look at myself and say, “What am I doing? Why am I doing what I’m doing? Is this what I want to be doing?” It was almost like a death and rebirth, honestly, where I just, a big part of me died. I had to decide do I want to be reborn, and if so, who do I want to be born as, right, who am I going to become?
Andy: As I did that, I came up with this whole system of this is what I actually want to be, and this is who I want to become. I didn’t really dive back into dating. I just started to become what I believed was the best version of myself, this highest me and who stood up for himself, who is anchored in purpose, who is a little bit more open-minded, like we were talking about, not as much of a fixed mindset. As I was just living the best life I could live, that’s when this relationship that I have now came about. We just found each other as friends being our best selves together, right?
Charan: I love that, man.
Andy: Yeah, and so it was rough, right. It was definitely a lemons-into-lemonade kind of thing. Had to add a lot of sugar.
Charan: I’m glad. You know what? I’ll tell you, it’s amazing. I have not been married before, so I’ve never experienced divorce, but I’ve definitely experienced breakups. It’s interesting because yeah, when you come out of a breakup or just any relationship, you definitely feel like a piece of you has died in a sense, you know?
Charan: You’re like, “Oh gosh, okay. What now? Where do I go?”
Charan: You are actually, it’s interesting, you’re the second person in, not that long, that’s shared something very similar where when you decided to be reborn, you were like, “I want to show up as my best self, whatever that looks like, whatever that feels like.” It’s interesting, because I find that I’m doing that myself for no reason of like, “Oh, I want to find someone, that’s why I’m doing it.” It’s like, “No, I’m just doing this for myself.” Right?
Charan: Which is just being authentic to yourself, I think, is absolutely key to finding a happy life.
Charan: Because when you’re not authentic and you’re lying to yourself, you put on this mask like a charade. Sometimes the mask is even, it’s put on, and it’s like you wear it almost every day that you just identify with that mask. You’re like, “That’s just who I am. This is my mask and stuff.”
Charan: I remember this year earlier, I was, when COVID hit and just the movie industry shut down, I found myself not necessarily super unhappy, but confused, like, “What am I supposed to do right now?” I think a lot of people felt that way, right? I kept getting this insight, and I think I shared this with you, which was go have more fun. I’m like, “Wait, what? That seems like, I mean, awesome, but why should I do that?” Then I had this other thought saying, “Well, because when you’re having fun, you’re your most authentic self.” I’m like, “Yeah. Oh, wow. That’s crazy.” Then I kept thinking, “You know what? So much of my life I have been living as a narrative that somebody else presented to me.” Someone else said, “Hey, you should be doing this.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, yeah, I totally should be doing that. That makes sense to me.” You know?
Charan: And so I stood deciphering like, “Wait, all the things I’m doing right now, how much of it was something I really wanted to do or something somebody else said I be doing, and so I’m doing it? Am I living someone else’s dream? Am I living someone else’s dream of me or what they think my life should look like?” I realized anytime I didn’t feel alive, anytime I didn’t feel happy or authentic, it was because I was living somebody else’s truth. It was interesting, because like you were saying, you got to a point where you showed up as your best self. You were just, “When I’m reborn, I want to identify certain things that just don’t fit me or whatever, and then we can make it happen.” You know?
Charan: Stand by one second. I apologize. Anyway, it’s been really interesting, because as we’ve been, I don’t know, as we’ve been discussing these things, it’s like Stacy, who is an amazing partner for you and just an incredible, incredible human being, and it’s interesting, because when I see the two of you together, I’m like, “I can’t see anyone that would be a better fit than the two of them are together.” It’s cool that you guys both had that experience of being able to get together like that.
Andy: It was really cool. Yeah, and I love what you’re saying about authenticity too. There’s just high-level wise from positive psychology, positive psychology theory, that’s pretty widely accepted, is based on PERMA theory. It’s called PERMA, so it’s Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement, so PERMA. Within engagement, that E of PERMA, there’s a lot of research on what’s called, just on boredom.
Andy Proctor Talks About Trait Boredom
Andy: There’s two types of boredom. There’s state boredom where you’re just like, “I’m just bored right now. I’m bored of whatever, and I’m going to depill my sweater, right with my little depiller.”
Charan: Yeah, your depiller.
Andy: Then there’s trait boredom. Trait boredom is really about meaning in life and purpose in life, like for wearing that mask of living as if we were somebody else or living to try to be somebody else’s version of success. We’re going to start experiencing that trait boredom, which is basically this permanent boredom, this boredom of life, this dissatisfaction with the direction that you’re headed. I love that you said, “Do what you love. Go have fun.”Because that’s when your authentic self comes out and that’s when you can actually have those breakthroughs to say, “Gosh, what am I doing with my life? I should be doing this with my life, not this, which is what I’m doing right now, which is this mask self.” Right?
Charan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andy: We can escape that trait boredom if we actually approach with honesty, being honest to ourselves, who we really are.
Charan: Man, you hit on so many beautiful things. Trait boredom is so apparent and rampant in our world today. I remember, it was a couple of years ago, I was at Target, I think, for Christmas. We were buying some stuff for Christmas. I was like looking at people. I try to look at them in their eyes. I found a lot of people that were like, “Oh my gosh, they’re suffering from trait boredom, big time.” I was looking around the store.
Andy: That’s interesting.
Charan: I’m like, “Who of these people are genuinely happy? Who really seem alive?” I kept looking around. I’m really sad to say, not that many people seemed alive. You know?
Andy: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: I had a conversation, and this was a really poignant conversation that I never forgot. My buddy, Josh, came and visited me on set one day. This was years ago, probably like 2011, I’m thinking or 20-, yeah, 2011. We were making this movie. I hadn’t seen him in forever. We went to high school together. Back in high school, he was just this really goofy kid, copied homework off of me. We were just good buddies, just goofing around.
Charan: He had become really successful, financially successful and married, kids, all this stuff, right, just doing well. I’m like, “Josh, dude. I haven’t seen you in forever. Come visit me on set.” He came and visited me. I remember when he was talking to me, he was just so polite. He’s like, “Charan, this is so wonderful to see you do all this stuff. It’s really great.” It confused me, because I never knew Josh to talk like that.
Charan: I was always remembering him as this fun, goofy kid. I’m like, “Sure, but Josh, it’s me. You can joke around. Just be yourself. It’s great.” I told him, I said, “Well, it’s great to see you’re succeeding, like you’ve got all this. You’ve made really good money for yourself. You’ve got a good family. It’s awesome.” I saw this look in his eyes of despair. It’s kind of weird. He’s like, “Yeah.” He’s nodding. He’s like, “But you’re living your dreams.” In that moment, I’m like, “Wait a minute. I’m not seeing the whole picture here.” I guess it could be that “trait bored” you’re talking about where so many people fall into that trap of having a meaningless life because they weren’t authentic to themselves. That’s a real tragedy. You know?
Andy: Yeah, it really is. It really is. I mean, it’s a death. It’s almost like people, like you said, are walking around dead. It’s hard because, I was reading recently “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson. He talks about… we don’t always have to be, like, full disclosure here, I’m a marketing professional who is obsessed with the science of happiness. I’ve been doing this as an avocation for the last seven years. Have I made a ton of money doing positive psychology stuff? No. When it comes to trait boredom, I think it’s okay to pursue your dreams while still doing, like, you’ve got to pay your bills and stuff too. You know what I mean?
Charan: Sure, yeah.
Andy: That can become difficult sometimes, but you can’t forget about that side of yourself. If you trap that side of yourself out or if you bottle it up, then you will have that glossy-eyed look of like, “Yeah, I’m doing well, but you’re living your dreams,” like that moment, right? I really love in “The Power of Moments” the Heaths talk about, “Beware the soul-sucking power of reasonableness.”
Charan: Oh dude, I love that. Yes.
Andy: The first time I heard that, I was actually on a ski lift with my brother-in-law. He told me that. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” Right after that, at the top of the hill, I took off my shirt, and I skied down the hill topless, right?
Andy: I was like, “I want to live,” right?
Andy: What is it for you that means fully living?
Andy: Right? Sometimes, you definitely have to pay the bills and stuff, but sometimes you’ve got to be just a little bit unreasonable, because that’s what life is all about. That’s what you remember. I remember that day when I took my shirt off and skied down the hill in the freezing cold air. That was life, right? That’s life.
Charan: I remember, I was having a conversation last night. I was over at my bishop’s house. We were just hanging out and talking. He’s just a funny guy. He’s a really funny guy. We were talking about pranks we used to pull on people. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I love this conversation.” I was telling him about this time, I have a friend who used to be the assistant to the president of Young Living. She called me up. We were chatting. She’s like, “Charan, can you please come and pull a prank on my boss?” I’m like, “Absolutely. I have to.” I remember right when I got that call, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, whatever happens today, it’s going to be magnificent.”
Charan: Anyway, long story short, I showed up to his office in my full Indian garb with a thick Indian accent. I told him I was so grateful for all of his hard work and getting the oils out there, oils that have meant so much to me. I hardly ever use [inaudible 00:49:55] oils. I basically, he was just so nervous. He didn’t even know what to do, right? Then I said that I would like to say a prayer for him and his company in the building that they would have much success. He’s like, “Sure, I guess that’s fine.”
Charan: Next thing I knew, I found myself holding hands with him and some of his top-level people in his office in a circle singing a made up Indian prayer. I don’t even speak any Indian language. I’m making up some made-up Indian prayer. The best part is, I’m having them repeat the words that I’m saying. I don’t even know what I’m saying, right? We say this prayer. At the very end, he’s like, “Thank you so much. What did we just say?” I said, “Well, I blessed you with continued prosperity and success and also with a sense of humor, when you realize we were pulling a joke on you.” He’s like, “Wait, what?” I just started, and I went back in American accent. I’m like, “Dude, I grew up in Provo. I grew up in Utah.” He was dying, laughing, right? He was like, “Oh my gosh.” He was like, “You got me so good.” Then he proceeded to say, “Hey, can you stick around a little bit more? Can we get our CMO? Can we get our CFO?” I’m like, “Absolutely. We have to. I’m here.”
Charan: It was one of those days where it completely unreasonable to do that. Who would have thought when I woke up that morning, “Hey, I’m going to go now to the president of Young Living and prank him and the entire executive team?” It was interesting, because those moments, we felt so alive. It’s like, “I can remember that moment. I remember exactly how it felt.”
Andy: You remember seeing it.
Charan: He even, so my friend was telling me, she called me back and she’s like, “Charan, all day, they’re just talking about you, that whole thing. That was amazing.” I just thought, What a beautiful moment that was. What a fun, joyous moment that was where we all felt very present, we all felt very alive. It didn’t cost us any money. It just cost us some time. It is interesting because yes, we have bills to pay, we have to provide for our families, we have that narrative. But the problem is, is if we get so sucked into that narrative of like, “Oh, we’ve got to take care of the family. We got to pay the bills. We’ve got to be reasonable. We got to be reasonable,” then what ends up happening is in that mindset, we suddenly have glossy eyes. We suddenly have trait boredom. We don’t experience joy.
Andy: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That’s exactly what happens.
Andy Proctor’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: Yeah. Andy, I love talking to you, man. You’re the best. We could talk forever. I actually, but I do want to wrap up with this last question for you, which is learning all that you’ve learned in the last, however many years, what would you tell the Andy that was going through the divorce, that felt but he was dying?
Andy: Good question. Man, yeah, just have fun with it. Cry it out as much as you need to. Be okay with the tears. Then I think I would take me by the shoulders and just shake me and say, “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.” I mean, there were times where I was driving my car, and I was so distraught that I was weeping to the point where I had to pull over because I couldn’t see because of the tears. I think, I would get into the car with that version of me and just say, “You’re going to figure this out. It’s going to be okay. You’re not alone in it.” Yeah, that’s like, man, that’s a good question.
Charan: It’s interesting, because I remember in the times that I felt so much pain. I remember back in 2017, I was with a girl who, funny enough, we’re still really good friends. We’re great friends. In 2017, we were in a relationship, and it ended. I remember feeling so confused and hurt, you know? I was like, “What happened?” Just a month earlier, it felt like everything was going great. I felt like this rug was pulled out underneath me and the entire world changed, the landscape of everything I knew changed.
Charan: It was interesting, because now knowing what I know now, I realized even back then when I was in that relationship with that girl, I wasn’t completely authentic to myself. I wasn’t completely stoked and excited about that relationship. I was trying to convince myself to be. I think that’s the beautiful thing is when you truly are authentic to yourself, you don’t have to convince yourself to be authentic. You know what I mean?
Andy: Right, you’re just you.
Charan: You’re just you. You can just be you. You can be free. It just feels so wonderful. You’re free to love. You’re free to love yourself. It’s a beautiful thing. Anyway, man, I appreciate you talking to me about these ideas, especially the idea of trait boredom, because I can see that that’s exactly what it is that people go through. Yeah, I appreciate you talking about those ideas and coming on this podcast. It’s been super fun chatting with you.
Andy: Love it. I could chat all day, man.
Charan: Seriously, and we do. We do.
Andy: We do. It’s actually true.
Charan: It’s amazing. Any last words, man?
Andy: [crosstalk 00:56:59] after this, if you want.
Charan: Any last words before we end up?
Andy: Oh, no. I mean, I think gosh, just live. Yeah, live your best life. Go out there and make it happen. I love the saying of what would you do with, I think, it’s with 30 seconds of insane courage, right?
Charan: Oh my gosh, “We Bought a Zoo.” “We Bought a Zoo.” [crosstalk 00:57:23].
Andy: I love that movie.
Andy: Yeah, with 30 seconds of insane courage and make it happen. Whatever it is, that thing that you’re like, “Oh, maybe I should do that.” Do it. Yeah, and if you want to learn more about happiness and science of happiness, I mean, obviously there’s Google, but you can always check out my podcast I have called “More Happy Life.” We talk about all kinds of cool stuff on there too. Yeah, and thanks for having me on, man.
Charan: Yeah, man.
Andy: It’s been awesome. I guess one last thing I would say too. So I just joined this organization that’s just amazing. It’s called the Cook Center for Human Connection. I mean, in the happiness research, the number one predictor of health and happiness is connectedness, is this connection and relationships, positive relationships. We’re doing some really cool stuff. I mean, we’re starting by really trying to help with suicide prevention and improving well-being of children, of kids who are struggling. There’s some cool stuff. If you’re interested in getting into this, a lot of people who are interested in happiness and listening to these podcasts, they’re like, “What can I do to be an activist to?” Come, check us out. It’s just cookcenter.org.
Andy: Reach out to me. I’d love to get you involved if you want. If you’re super into the positive psychology stuff, if you’re listening to this, we just started, and I guess maybe, and you’re in Utah, we just started the… well, I just started the Utah Positive Psychology Association in the last year. It’s awesome. There’s some really cool initiatives going on. If you want to be a part of making Utah, even the United States, a beacon for well-being and happiness, hit me up. I’d love to get you working on some cool stuff. There’s a lot of cool stuff to work on.
Charan: Oh man, I love it. I love it. That’s cookcenter.org. Is that correct?
Andy: Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Andy: Cookcenter.org, yep.
Andy: A lot of cool resources, free courses for parents who have struggling kids called parentguidance.org. Yeah, cookcenter.org. We’re coming up with the animated series, it’s going to be amazing for kids, that helps kids to, really it’s targeting the younger audiences, to realize that their life is worth living and that there’s more to live for. A lot of cool stuff. Yeah, so thanks. Thanks for having me on, Charan.
Charan: Yeah, man.
Andy: It’s always good, man. I hope we can hang out and have a more than an hour-long conversation.
Charan: Absolutely, awesome. Well, thank you so much, Andy. I really appreciate the time, okay?
Andy: Absolutely, you too.
Charan: All right, take care.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to Lemonade Stand podcast. We hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews. If you or someone you know has an awesome lemonade stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much. Have a great day.