AIDA's QUEST

Secrets of Happiness with Benjamin Schultz | S01E01

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What is happiness? What does it mean to live a good life?

Aida’s drive for understanding human flourishing has connected her to some of the happiest people around. Now she’s setting out on a quest to find a universal equation for happiness by interviewing these uncommonly flourishing individuals by applying her 7-step CONCEPT Method for authentic human connection and development.

This Episode

This pilot episode is a discussion with the Concept.app Co-Founder and CEO, Benjamin Schultz. Together, Aida and Benjamin explore the motivations of Aida’s quest and the origins of the Concept Organization, setting the scene for Aida’s further journeys with the happiest people she knows. Along the way they learn the tricks Benjamin has used to build a flourishing life through challenging situations.

The Guest

Benjamin Schultz: Co-Founder and CEO at Concept.app

Concept.app handle: @benjamin

LinkedIn Profile

Conversation Highlights

This episode covers a broad range of topics related to human flourishing, including: life and career, mindfulness, yoga, physical health and postural alignment, bicycling, healthy diet, ergonomic furniture, mental health, positive psychology, the PERMA model, happiness, mental toughness, resilience, flow state, music, problem-solving, support systems, mentorship, building community, empowerment, spirituality, esoteric practices, and humanity.

01:01 The origins of the CONCEPT Method and Concept.app

04:50 Existing equations for happiness and flourishing

07:59 CONNECT: Benjamin’s CONCEPT Method interview begins

10:49 OBSERVE: Benjamin’s life experience

14:15 NAVIGATE: Benjamin’s approach to life situations

18:08 CONFIRM: Benjamin’s trusted advisors

19:09 EMPOWER: Benjamin’s sources of giving and receiving strength and wisdom

23:46 PRACTICE: Benjamin’s daily practice of a good life:

3 Do’s: spend time with animals/nature – eat healthy food – exercise

3 Don’ts: avoid unnecessary confrontation – avoid alcohol – avoid sitting for too long

26:23 TEACH: Benjamin’s three flourishing secrets

31:54 Conclusion

Mentioned Sources and Resources

Concept.app: Human Flourishing Beyond Labels

About Aida

The CONCEPT Method™

Building Authentic Human Connections

Flourishing Beyond Labels

Positive psychology

Martin Seligman

Authentic Happiness

PERMA Model

Humanistic Psychology

Yale Happiness Class (Psychology and a Good Life)

Human Potential Movement

Happiness vs. Flourishing

Alan Watts

Conceptual Self

Flow State

What now?

Share/Rate/Subscribe!

Join the Concept.app Flourishing Community

Nominate a Guest / Become a Sponsor – click “Connect” on concept.app

Transcript
Aida Askry:

In my quest for finding answers to the deepest questions in the

Aida Askry:

philosophy and science of happiness.

Aida Askry:

I started interviewing the happiest people.

Aida Askry:

I know.

Aida Askry:

I did everything I could to get them to fess up about their secrets on how on

Aida Askry:

earth they have discovered and maintained this state of perpetual flourishing.

Aida Askry:

I am your host, Aida Askry, and this is my quest on a journey to find a

Aida Askry:

universal equation for happiness.

Aida Askry:

Welcome to the first episode of Aida's quest.

Aida Askry:

Today's guest is our very own Benjamin Schultz, the co-founder

Aida Askry:

and CEO of Concept.app.

Aida Askry:

I'm going to walk Benjamin through my seven step CONCEPT Method to explore

Aida Askry:

his life story and understand how he has discovered and maintained this

Aida Askry:

beautiful state of perpetual flourishing.

Aida Askry:

Welcome Benjamin, how are you today?

Benjamin Schultz:

I'm doing great, thank you for having me.

Aida Askry:

I think Ben and I we've been working together on CONCEPT

Aida Askry:

and Concept.app, our private global community for flourishing.

Aida Askry:

We probably will talk a little bit more about this, but we've been

Aida Askry:

working on this for quite some time.

Aida Askry:

I'll say about three or four years now.

Benjamin Schultz:

Mm-hmm.

Aida Askry:

A few years back when we first started having this conversation,

Aida Askry:

about you know, where do people go to talk about their state of

Aida Askry:

happiness or improving their lives or reaching their maximum potential?

Aida Askry:

And we decided that there's not a lot of different places where people talk about

Aida Askry:

this and very little space and resources available to everybody and I think that

Aida Askry:

was the beginning of our realization.

Aida Askry:

It's like, well, if this space doesn't exist, then maybe we should create one.

Aida Askry:

Do you remember that?

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

And it's a lot about the environment.

Benjamin Schultz:

I mean, sitting here right now, talking to you with a cozy sleeping

Benjamin Schultz:

dog in the corner and a fire next to us just creates a different type

Benjamin Schultz:

of conversation than anywhere else.

Benjamin Schultz:

We're always looking for somewhere to try to find that atmosphere

Benjamin Schultz:

and we're always disappointed.

Benjamin Schultz:

And so it looks like we're destined to create it ourselves.

Aida Askry:

Exactly.

Aida Askry:

And, and it's interesting because, uh, again, we've been talking and thinking

Aida Askry:

about this as like, well, yes, some conversations like this it's possible that

Aida Askry:

they could happen in university halls, it could happen in maybe a yoga studio.

Aida Askry:

They could maybe happen at the bar.

Aida Askry:

I'm not saying that this is impossible, but it's less likely that

Aida Askry:

conversations like this can go towards purposeful and meaningful destination.

Aida Askry:

And, I think at that point is where we started creating the CONCEPT Method,

Aida Askry:

where we both recognized that, okay, well, there should be a way for us to have an

Aida Askry:

authentic connection with someone else beyond just a day to day chat, right?

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah because you've gotta go out of your

Benjamin Schultz:

way to make those connections.

Aida Askry:

Right.

Aida Askry:

And it, sometimes it comes out pretty weird.

Aida Askry:

You know, you can't just start talking to someone, you know, it's

Aida Askry:

like, "Hey, I'm, I'm here to have a very profound conversation with

Aida Askry:

you about the nature of reality."

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, you can we try and occasionally it works.

Aida Askry:

It doesn't go well.

Aida Askry:

True true.

Aida Askry:

So yeah, I think that's the idea of CONCEPT Method between the two of us when

Aida Askry:

we developed, what we call the universal equation for authentic connection and

Aida Askry:

development, and, a little bit on that, for the sake of audience knowing what

Aida Askry:

is going to happen in our new podcast, Aida's Quest, our goal is to find the new,

Aida Askry:

perhaps universal equation for happiness.

Aida Askry:

So I'm going to use the same method for CONCEPT that we have

Aida Askry:

developed over the past a few years.

Aida Askry:

Uh, just mainly because I think it helps us frame the conversation from point A to

Aida Askry:

point B, and get to a conclusion without getting lost, especially with questions

Aida Askry:

that they're a little bit more complex.

Benjamin Schultz:

Mm-hmm

Aida Askry:

Like, again, finding happiness, something to define that

Aida Askry:

is not necessarily as "definable".

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

It's definitely something that you want to look at from multiple angles

Benjamin Schultz:

and you don't just want to have immediate "A to B" like, this is

Benjamin Schultz:

the question and this is the answer.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yes or no.

Benjamin Schultz:

It's something that, you, you know, it's, it's worth exploring.

Benjamin Schultz:

It's an enjoyable process to explore a question like that.

Aida Askry:

Totally.

Aida Askry:

And, especially for me, you know, a little bit about my background, you

Aida Askry:

know, I, I was born and raised, for the most part in Tehran, in Iran.

Aida Askry:

And it was a very difficult time for me to try to figure out what I want

Aida Askry:

from my life and what are my maximum potentials, you know, as someone who

Aida Askry:

wants to reach out for the stars and had very wild dreams and very vivid

Aida Askry:

imagination of what I wanted in life.

Aida Askry:

It was very difficult to settle for less and, over the years, through a

Aida Askry:

time that I actually managed to escape the country and travel and finally come

Aida Askry:

to United States and study philosophy, which is really dear to my heart, all

Aida Askry:

in all, just to try to find out where and how people could find happiness

Aida Askry:

and flourishing for themselves, right?

Aida Askry:

And, and again, like I said, "human flourishing," it's one of the topics

Aida Askry:

that I was really surprised, you know, to be honest with you, when I

Aida Askry:

first moved to United States, I really thought that this is, this is, where

Aida Askry:

you come for your dreams, right?

Benjamin Schultz:

This is the land of flourishing.

Aida Askry:

This is the land of flourishing.

Aida Askry:

But, the very first signs of the word "flourishing" I found was

Aida Askry:

in the studies of uh, positive psychology and Martin Seligman on

Aida Askry:

his book about authentic happiness.

Aida Askry:

And later he developed a PERMA Model, which is one of the first models of uh,

Aida Askry:

measuring human flourishing and happiness

Aida Askry:

PERMA standing for "Positive emotion", "Engagement," "Relationships," "Meaning

Aida Askry:

and purpose" and "Accomplishments."

Aida Askry:ink that was like in probably:Aida Askry:

that beautiful work of art came out.

Aida Askry:

And it's been used ever since in positive psychology and humanistic psychology, as

Aida Askry:

well as a way of measuring or at least trying to understand how do we flourish?

Aida Askry:

How do we maintain a happy life?

Aida Askry:

And, you know, happiness and flourishing, I guess are two different....

Aida Askry:

"destinations" but they do, they do go hand in hand.

Aida Askry:

And that's where I found also the second, wave of studies and, uh,

Aida Askry:

teachings, outside of spiritual, practices and esoteric practices

Aida Askry:re I think Yale university in:Aida Askry:

Uh, I think it was called, um, Yale Happiness Class or

Aida Askry:

Psychology and a Good Life.

Aida Askry:

That was a very popular course.

Aida Askry:

If I remember correctly, that was actually one of the most popular, well-

Aida Askry:

attended classes over the history of 300 years of Yale University studies.

Benjamin Schultz:

I mean, why wouldn't you want to go to that?

Benjamin Schultz:

That seems like what all of college is trying to teach anyway, that's the

unspoken:

you go to college because it will afford you a good life and happiness.

unspoken:

So why don't we actually talk about what it means to find happiness?

Aida Askry:

Exactly.

Aida Askry:

And at least, and if there is anything different between flourishing and

Aida Askry:

happiness, which I think there is because I've met people in my life

Aida Askry:

that they're absolutely reaching their maximum potentials, but they're not

Aida Askry:

necessarily always like, happy- happy.

Aida Askry:

Right?

Aida Askry:

But they are flourishing and I've met also people who are absolutely happy and, you

Aida Askry:

know, quite content with what they have, but they're not necessarily flourishing.

Aida Askry:

So they're not really reaching the maximum potential, so to speak, they're kind of

Aida Askry:

settling for less, which is not a bad thing, but, um, recognizing the difference

Aida Askry:

between the two, I thought that was also interesting to, to have a space in

Aida Askry:

which people can come together and talk about this and, and find out what works

Aida Askry:

for them was the idea and the birth of Concept Organization and Concept.app.

Aida Askry:

Would you agree with me?

Benjamin Schultz:

Definitely.

Benjamin Schultz:

And just understanding different frameworks for thinking about things

Benjamin Schultz:

helps you come to totally different conclusions than you may have on your own.

Benjamin Schultz:

Like you were talking about PERMA earlier.

Benjamin Schultz:

I mean, positive emotions, or what we think of as happiness, is just

Benjamin Schultz:

the first step of flourishing, right.

Aida Askry:

Right, right.

Benjamin Schultz:

[There's] the rest of the whole PERMA model to think about, and

Benjamin Schultz:

once you start framing your life that way, then you have a different way of thinking

Benjamin Schultz:

about what you're trying to achieve.

Benjamin Schultz:

And that's, what's exciting about the CONCEPT Method because it's not

Benjamin Schultz:

complicated, but it gives you a different way to look at the situations in your

Benjamin Schultz:

life and use different people's ideas and different resources to come to a solution,

Benjamin Schultz:

or maybe even realize that you didn't need to be answering that question at all.

Aida Askry:

Exactly.

Aida Askry:

And I think that's what I'm excited so much about because you and I

Aida Askry:

developed the CONCEPT Method together.

Aida Askry:

So I think you are the perfect first guest on the Aida's Quest that again

Aida Askry:

is my quest of finding the universal equation for happiness and flourishing.

Aida Askry:

And quite frankly, Ben, I do recognize you as one of the

Aida Askry:

happiest people I have known.

Aida Askry:

So if you're okay with that, I'm gonna go ahead and start our seven step process

Aida Askry:

of CONCEPT Method and maybe we can find out how you have found that space for

Aida Askry:

yourself and that state of flourishing.

Benjamin Schultz:

Sure.

Benjamin Schultz:

I'd be honored.

Aida Askry:

Wonderful.

Aida Askry:

Great.

Aida Askry:

Well, let's get started.

Aida Askry:

So I'm gonna start you with our first step, uh, what we call it,

Aida Askry:

the "Connect" in the CONCEPT.

Aida Askry:

So we're going to start with taking the moment to be mindfully

Aida Askry:

aware of what's going on, with yourself and the world around you.

Aida Askry:

In my case, I like to 'connect' with you.

Aida Askry:

So in two minutes or so, can you give us a little bit about yourself?

Aida Askry:

Just tell us everything we need to know about you.

Benjamin Schultz:

You know, whenever somebody asks me to describe myself,

Benjamin Schultz:

I always have like Alan Watts in the back of my head saying, how

Benjamin Schultz:

do you really describe "you"?

Benjamin Schultz:

If you start by saying, "Oh yeah, I was born in California, I grew up in

Benjamin Schultz:

Kansas, I'm married, I have a dog.

Benjamin Schultz:

I have a house..."

Benjamin Schultz:

but is, is that really me?

Benjamin Schultz:

Is that me right now, is that me who I am throughout my whole life?

Benjamin Schultz:

Uh, and I think we're just kind of satisfied with those answers.

Benjamin Schultz:

So first I wanna say, I have difficulty answering this question now, but some

Benjamin Schultz:

things I do know about myself is I love building and improving things.

Benjamin Schultz:

Probably to a fault.

Benjamin Schultz:

I've had to learn over my life to not try to make everything that I touch

Benjamin Schultz:

the best that I can, because I can waste a lot of time trying to improve

Benjamin Schultz:

just one little corner of something.

Benjamin Schultz:

Um, I know that I don't like assigning myself to a specific

Benjamin Schultz:

label of career or lifestyle.

Benjamin Schultz:

So that makes it kind of difficult to describe myself.

Aida Askry:

But it's perfect because in CONCEPT what we are using as a motto

Aida Askry:

is " flourishing beyond labels," right?

Benjamin Schultz:

Mm-hmm

Aida Askry:

So, you're absolutely right, because a lot of time when you

Aida Askry:

start putting yourself in these boxes or labels, it's then difficult to

Aida Askry:

actually flourish and think outside the box and be creative and original.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah, exactly.

Benjamin Schultz:

So how do you describe yourself to people when they ask, "Hey, who are you?"

Benjamin Schultz:

And they usually don't have the patience to go through this

Benjamin Schultz:

philosophical debate with you.

Benjamin Schultz:

So thank you for at least giving me two minutes to try to unfold it.

Aida Askry:

Oh, absolutely.

Aida Askry:

I mean, I guess we could also take the psychology route and go, "this is, you

Aida Askry:

know, a self-story or a conceptualized self, and everything you're talking about

Aida Askry:

is a product or byproduct of our ego."

Aida Askry:

But like you said, we know there is so much more to us and I'm not trying to

Aida Askry:

take this conversation to any specific direction, but rather, giving everyone

Aida Askry:

an idea of who you are and where we're starting to connect on this CONCEPT Method

Aida Askry:

as a journey towards happiness together.

Aida Askry:

So I'm going to go ahead and move on to the second phase of the method to

Aida Askry:

"Observe" or to consider what things you found while mindfully connecting

Aida Askry:

that's worth further exploration.

Aida Askry:

So to begin with, I'm going to tell you a little bit about my

Aida Askry:

observation and experience with you.

Aida Askry:

As an authentic connection as an authentic one-to-one.

Aida Askry:

And then maybe we can hear a little bit about your observation of

Aida Askry:

yourself and the world around you.

Aida Askry:

So my observation and experience with you, Ben, I think from the very first

Aida Askry:

time we met was that you came across very authentic, very genuine, and you

Aida Askry:

were very uplifted and I think you were carrying a sense of curiosity about you.

Aida Askry:

I think if you remember the very first time we met at the yoga studio and

Aida Askry:

after class, we just started talking about the nature of reality and you

Aida Askry:

know, how our mind and bodies are connected in such interesting ways.

Aida Askry:

And that was a very fascinating thing to observe about you.

Aida Askry:

I don't come across people every day where they do carry that sense of curiosity

Aida Askry:

and child-like, wonder about themselves.

Aida Askry:

That is so authentic that was so there.

Aida Askry:

And I think that was really cool.

Aida Askry:

And it came across in a very happy uplifted tune.

Aida Askry:

Do you consider yourself a happy person?

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, I mean, that surprises me when you say that,

Benjamin Schultz:

because at the time my curiosity came from this desire to figure

Benjamin Schultz:

out my entire life all at once.

Benjamin Schultz:

Uh, I mean at the time was just finishing up with some knee problems that

Benjamin Schultz:

fortunately I found yoga to help me solve.

Benjamin Schultz:

And then I had started a new career and I wasn't sure if that was what

Benjamin Schultz:

I wanted to do facing 40 years of doing that for the rest of my career

Benjamin Schultz:

in, you know, that specific label.

Benjamin Schultz:

And so yoga also was something that I thought, well, maybe the more

Benjamin Schultz:

philosophical sides of yoga can help me understand that, but I just

Benjamin Schultz:

felt driven to figure it all out.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I guess I now realize that I don't have to figure it all out at once.

Benjamin Schultz:

So I guess my curiosity and excitement came more out of fear at that time.

Benjamin Schultz:

But since then, I've found a lot more positive uses for that curiosity and

Benjamin Schultz:

realizing that it doesn't all have to be solved immediately and that I

Benjamin Schultz:

don't have to have a label for myself.

Benjamin Schultz:

And since then, I've been a lot happier and more flourishing because then I don't,

Benjamin Schultz:

I don't have to fit myself into a box.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I found that things worked out okay.

Benjamin Schultz:

Even if I don't have a box that people can understand

Aida Askry:

Fascinating, well like I said, you came across very happy and someone who

Aida Askry:

I thought at the moment was flourishing.

Aida Askry:

So I'm very glad that you actually, since then managed to become happier.

Aida Askry:

Do you think there is a universal equation for happiness, Ben?

Benjamin Schultz:

It's a...

Benjamin Schultz:

It's a scary question because if we really convince ourselves that we've found the

Benjamin Schultz:

universal equation for happiness, then why wouldn't we use it on everything?

Benjamin Schultz:

And, and then it makes us want to turn everything into numbers

Benjamin Schultz:

that can help us be happier.

Benjamin Schultz:

So if we can find an equation that takes account of the subjective experience of

Benjamin Schultz:

people's lives and actually makes them qualitatively and quantitatively happier,

Benjamin Schultz:

then I think that would be awesome.

Benjamin Schultz:

But I'm not sure I know what that equation would be.

Aida Askry:

I would agree with you.

Aida Askry:

I guess that's why I'm on the quest.

Aida Askry:

It's somewhat a convoluted quest, but I'm up for the challenge and thank you

Aida Askry:

so much for joining me on this, because again, if we could find something

Aida Askry:

in that nature, I think we could all benefit from the results of that.

Aida Askry:

Now we're gonna go ahead and start the "Navigate" phase by thinking

Aida Askry:

about the next step we can take to act on our own observations.

Aida Askry:

And because you're one of the happiest people I know I wanna hear from you to

Aida Askry:

walk me through how you deal with your life situations, good or bad, can you

Aida Askry:

give me some examples of how do you throughout your life handle situations

Aida Askry:

and major changes and challenges?

Benjamin Schultz:

Sure.

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, I...

Benjamin Schultz:

I feel compelled to understand a situation.

Benjamin Schultz:

So I actually found that, for instance, when I was studying abroad in college,

Benjamin Schultz:

I didn't make the most of it because I felt displaced and I didn't understand

Benjamin Schultz:

being in a totally different environment and a different language and leaving

Benjamin Schultz:

all my family behind for six months.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I, in retrospect, I could have spent that time, really trying to

Benjamin Schultz:

understand where I was instead of just clinging to where I had been.

Benjamin Schultz:

But I've valued that ability in me to really want to understand whatever

Benjamin Schultz:

situation I'm in from every angle.

Benjamin Schultz:

And since then, I've been able to figure out how to capitalize on that.

Benjamin Schultz:

And then I can just dive into totally new topics and new environments

Benjamin Schultz:

and enjoy myself and recognize that I still have some stability.

Benjamin Schultz:

So I've dealt with life situations differently over time.

Benjamin Schultz:

And, and in each one, I guess I've taken the opportunity to

Benjamin Schultz:

learn how to deal with it better.

Benjamin Schultz:

So it's the same thing with yoga.

Benjamin Schultz:

I found yoga because my knees were in pain and I just kind of

Benjamin Schultz:

felt drawn to aligning my body.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I discovered that it wasn't my knees at all.

Benjamin Schultz:

It was my entire body that was misaligned and it took quite some time to get

Benjamin Schultz:

it kind of back in track so that I didn't have pain everywhere and just

Benjamin Schultz:

sticking with it and understanding the situation, not just being satisfied

Benjamin Schultz:

with whatever the first solution is, is how I usually deal with situations.

Aida Askry:

Fascinating.

Aida Askry:

So I guess no band-aid solution for you, you're looking for a root cause and

Aida Askry:

until you fix it, you're not gonna rest.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yep.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yep.

Benjamin Schultz:

And it's sometimes tough to find people to go along on that journey with you.

Benjamin Schultz:

So

Aida Askry:

Well I'm with you.

Aida Askry:

I am there.

Benjamin Schultz:

Thank you very much.

Benjamin Schultz:

It's been so helpful to have and, and I mean, yeah, that's what excites me about

Benjamin Schultz:

CONCEPT because bringing people together of that mindset could be super cool.

Aida Askry:

That would be amazing.

Aida Askry:

I agree with you.

Aida Askry:

Ben, if your life had a background music, what would it be?

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, it would be something etheric that reminds me

Benjamin Schultz:

that the mundane minutia of everyday life that I'm always trying to

Benjamin Schultz:

improve is not all that's out there.

Benjamin Schultz:

So it actually would probably be in conflict with what I'm normally doing.

Benjamin Schultz:

So it would be some sort of floaty electronic music while I'd be

Benjamin Schultz:

doing something very mechanical.

Aida Askry:

That would be remarkable, can you imagine if you could just

Aida Askry:

listen to the music, the background music of your own life while you're

Aida Askry:

going through activities on a day-to-day basis you don't necessarily

Aida Askry:

remember there is more to life.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

And you reminded me before that it's helpful to play music, to get yourself

Benjamin Schultz:

into those different states and yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

So I hope I, I do carry some background music with me.

Aida Askry:

Oh yeah.

Aida Askry:

And you know, when I started practicing and learning more about the PERMA model,

Aida Askry:

I learned that, I gain both positive emotion and also I can achieve my

Aida Askry:

flow state through listening to music.

Aida Askry:

And that was such a flourishing experience to begin with.

Aida Askry:

It was exciting at that moment.

Aida Askry:

And it also had really long term effect that I was very thankful for.

Aida Askry:

And I understood how important it is sometimes to have the right

Aida Askry:

music and rhythm involved in the activities that you're working with.

Aida Askry:

You definitely do create the environment and it changes everything around you.

Benjamin Schultz:

Oh, it totally does.

Benjamin Schultz:

I, I mean, of course we go out to restaurants and find that

Benjamin Schultz:

they're just playing top 40.

Benjamin Schultz:

It, it just often it doesn't fit because you see, we we've gone somewhere where

Benjamin Schultz:

there's people that are retirement age, listening to top 40 club music, and

Benjamin Schultz:

there's just been no consideration to what sort of environment's being created.

Aida Askry:

That's right.

Aida Askry:

Beautiful.

Aida Askry:

All right, I'm gonna go ahead and get ready for the part of the method where we

Aida Askry:

start to take action or draw a conclusion.

Aida Askry:

So this phase begins with "Confirming" we are on the right track.

Aida Askry:

Do you think you have a good support system?

Aida Askry:

And do you have trusted friends and family members and advisors that

Aida Askry:

you can use in situations like this?

Benjamin Schultz:

Definitely.

Benjamin Schultz:

I mean, I think throughout my whole life, I've had family members with a good head

Benjamin Schultz:

on their shoulders, which has been very helpful in getting navigated in the right

Benjamin Schultz:

direction and making sure that I don't make decisions that wouldn't be in my

Benjamin Schultz:

best interest, even though of course, kids like to do that for the fun of it

Benjamin Schultz:

anyway, and to prove it to themselves.

Benjamin Schultz:

But once you're past that state, then you really do want somebody to confirm

Benjamin Schultz:

things for you and you realize, oh man, I can learn from somebody else's mistakes.

Benjamin Schultz:

However, it's been harder as life has gone on because I've gotten to

Benjamin Schultz:

the point where, the way I look at things I can usually solve a problem.

Benjamin Schultz:

And if I can't solve a problem, it is tough to find the person who can.

Benjamin Schultz:

So I think right now I could use some more trusted advisors.

Aida Askry:

And, and you're right, because like you said, sometimes when you start

Aida Askry:

having more experiences in your life, then it is likely that you can answer

Aida Askry:

the questions and if there's a difficult situation, you can't figure out it's

Aida Askry:

likely that other people have difficulty with it, but that also means that if

Aida Askry:

you have experienced that state, you can offer the help to the people after you

Aida Askry:

who's going through the same situation.

Aida Askry:

So do you currently "Empower" those around you to find the meaning and

Aida Askry:

purpose in their lives or solve those difficult situations for themselves?

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah, I think so.

Benjamin Schultz:

If I had more than two minutes earlier, I would've said that people usually

Benjamin Schultz:

tell me that I see things from a different perspective and I think

Benjamin Schultz:

that's how I can be most valuable to people when they come to me.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I do find people come to me to just see a different perspective on an issue.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I can usually help them not by solving the problem because, over time, I've

Benjamin Schultz:

gotten less confident in my ability to give the right answer to every situation.

Aida Askry:

That's a wise man for you.

Benjamin Schultz:

But, at least I can tell them to look at the situation

Benjamin Schultz:

differently or recognize that it's a system, or sometimes an antiquated

Benjamin Schultz:

system, that hasn't been revamped in a while that's causing them difficulty.

Benjamin Schultz:

And so they can either look at changing the system for themselves or

Benjamin Schultz:

at least learning to work around it.

Aida Askry:

Right.

Benjamin Schultz:

So that's usually the types of advice

Benjamin Schultz:

that I find I'm giving people.

Aida Askry:

Delightful.

Aida Askry:

You're so right about that, you know, sometimes even if you can't change

Aida Askry:

the system, if you can't change the situation, you can change your

Aida Askry:

relationship with the situation you're in or relationship with the system.

Aida Askry:

And.

Aida Askry:

There have been definitely many times I think when we had conversations

Aida Askry:

around something like this, you have changed my perspective or at least

Aida Askry:

offered again a different way of looking at it, which is very, very helpful.

Aida Askry:

So thank you for that.

Aida Askry:

And I think anybody else who.

Aida Askry:

Has been helped by you in that nature would thank you if they had a chance.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, I mean, my favorite thing that happens to us is that we usually

Benjamin Schultz:

end up convincing the other one.

Benjamin Schultz:

So I'll end up with your viewpoint and you'll end up with my viewpoint.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I think that means we're pretty evenly matched wills.

Aida Askry:

That's true.

Aida Askry:

Those are the rules of debates and argument.

Aida Askry:

I think we both took that class very well in college.

Aida Askry:

All right.

Aida Askry:

So is there anything you need right now to empower your goals and

Aida Askry:

achieve your greater flourishing?

Benjamin Schultz:

I do think having some trusted advisors that have a

Benjamin Schultz:

more holistic view on life and aren't just specialized on in their field,

Benjamin Schultz:

but are somebody else who's tried to explore "What is the meaning of life?

Benjamin Schultz:

What is flourishing?

Benjamin Schultz:

How do we live a good life?"- That would be incredibly helpful.

Benjamin Schultz:

And, of course, it's always helpful to be connected with people with

Benjamin Schultz:

good connections, expanding your network, um, being able to make

Benjamin Schultz:

things happen through others.

Benjamin Schultz:

I always enjoy, uh, sometimes on the corporate scorecard where they give

Benjamin Schultz:

you for your leadership qualities, it will include delivering through others.

Benjamin Schultz:

And that's really interesting to think about because that's really

Benjamin Schultz:

how you make big things happen is inspiring others - getting along

Benjamin Schultz:

with others for a common goal.

Benjamin Schultz:

And that, that would be helpful for empowering my life right now is

Benjamin Schultz:

more people to join us on our quest.

Aida Askry:

Absolutely.

Aida Askry:

You're right about that too, you know, and that's kind of our vision for

Aida Askry:

Concept.app, our community, that we could create that culture and, and possess that

Aida Askry:

quality that everybody who comes to our platform can do that for one another.

Aida Askry:

How cool would that be?

Aida Askry:

You know, if we didn't have to just work towards one goal because we work

Aida Askry:

at the same place, because we're part of the same company, we're part of

Aida Askry:

the same city or same religion, just, just for the sake of flourishing.

Aida Askry:

I think that would be a lovely experience for everybody, and maybe hope for

Aida Askry:

humanity, if I'm really honest with you.

Benjamin Schultz:

Indeed.

Benjamin Schultz:

That would be wonderful.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I just don't know where I'd go for that right now.

Benjamin Schultz:

You would think that there would be systems in place to try to find people

Benjamin Schultz:

to connect with, but unless you've got a very specific goal and you're

Benjamin Schultz:

gonna have a transactional exchange, there's not really anywhere to go.

Aida Askry:

And I mean, there are some that if you belong to a specific labels

Aida Askry:

and there's again, nothing wrong with the labels, but if you are like part

Aida Askry:

of a specific organization, part of a specific, uh, religious group, those

Aida Askry:

are some of the things that you could probably achieve those conversations.

Aida Askry:

But, I fear that when you are in the state, you're pretty much

Aida Askry:

working through a box that you can't necessarily relate to everyone else.

Aida Askry:

Then it creates more separateness for us rather than the space of,

Aida Askry:

you know, "diversity in unity."

Benjamin Schultz:

Mm-hmm.

Aida Askry:

And that's what we're really hoping to gain, uh, through CONCEPT.

Aida Askry:

Bear with me there.

Aida Askry:

We're almost done.

Aida Askry:

I know how you "Navigate" situations, how you "Confirm" you're going down

Aida Askry:

a wise path and how you " Empower" yourself and make it happen.

Aida Askry:

But how do you maintain this state of flourishing?

Aida Askry:

What does it look like when you are having the daily practice of happiness?

Aida Askry:

Do you do specific things?

Aida Askry:

Can you tell us like three things you do every day to maintain your state

Aida Askry:

of happiness and flourishing and maybe three things that you stay away from?

Benjamin Schultz:

Definitely so three things I do every day.

Benjamin Schultz:

Um, I play with a dog that, over the past year that...

Benjamin Schultz:

- she is, oh, she's doing the cutest thing right now.

Benjamin Schultz:

I can't believe she knows that I'm talking about her-

Benjamin Schultz:

But it's just been a totally different perspective because dogs are always

Benjamin Schultz:

in the present moment and they teach you a lot about yourself by

Benjamin Schultz:

reflecting your vibes back at you.

Benjamin Schultz:

Uh, so that's one thing I do every day that's made me a lot happier lately.

Benjamin Schultz:

I move all the time.

Benjamin Schultz:

I've been called a moving creature.

Aida Askry:

You're definitely a moving creature.

Benjamin Schultz:

I don't really do "yoga" anymore, but more whatever my

Benjamin Schultz:

body wants, because I've gotten to the point that my body talks to me.

Benjamin Schultz:

And every part of my body will tell me whether it's doing what it

Benjamin Schultz:

wants or not right now, which is a blessing and a curse of course.

Benjamin Schultz:

Um, and I eat a vegetable at at least a vegetable.

Aida Askry:

A vegetable?

Aida Askry:

What's your favorite vegetable?

Aida Askry:

Don't tell me broccoli.

Benjamin Schultz:

I was actually gonna say broccoli, but-

Aida Askry:

They're really high in protein.

Aida Askry:

They're very good for you.

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, that's why I like the broccoli.

Benjamin Schultz:

I don't actually like broccoli.

Benjamin Schultz:

My, my mind likes broccoli.

Benjamin Schultz:

When I see broccoli on a plate, I'm like, "I've done something healthy for myself!"

Aida Askry:

And so what, what do you stay away from?

Benjamin Schultz:

I avoid confrontation, uh, which I'm trying to get better at

Benjamin Schultz:

still having the challenging conversations when something needs to be done, but, in

Benjamin Schultz:

general, I do everything I can to avoid uncomfortable confrontations with people.

Benjamin Schultz:

Physically I avoid alcohol just because it's, it's a bad drug man.

Benjamin Schultz:

Um, and I avoid sitting for too long.

Aida Askry:

Okay.

Benjamin Schultz:

I've got ergonomic stuff everywhere.

Benjamin Schultz:

People are always making fun of me at work because my chair is different

Benjamin Schultz:

than everybody else's, my keyboard's split in two parts, I've got like

Benjamin Schultz:

two different rolly ball mice.

Benjamin Schultz:

But yeah, so I, I'm avoiding sitting and being in one position for too long.

Aida Askry:

That sounds wonderful and so much fun.

Aida Askry:

I have to send a picture to everybody else from your work station at some point,

Aida Askry:

that would be really fun to look at.

Aida Askry:

That's something I'm gonna post in Concept Community.

Benjamin Schultz:

Hopefully people can learn from me and also get made fun of.

Aida Askry:

Absolutely.

Aida Askry:

So, uh, finally the last step to spread your flourishing by "Teaching."

Aida Askry:

I mean you've been already teaching us this whole time, but I

Aida Askry:

really want to hear your summary.

Aida Askry:

Can you teach us three simple ways, how we can practice daily to become happier

Aida Askry:

or achieve our state of flourishing?

Benjamin Schultz:

Okay.

Benjamin Schultz:

Three ways.

Benjamin Schultz:

I'd say focus on how the things that you're consuming make you feel.

Benjamin Schultz:

So whether that's food, obviously, or the news or conversations, or music

Benjamin Schultz:

like we were talking about earlier.

Benjamin Schultz:

If you find that the thing that you're doing right now is making you

Benjamin Schultz:

feel unpleasant or not how you want to be, then don't do that thing...

Benjamin Schultz:

But you've gotta be aware of it to be able to make that decision...

Two:

connect with your body and do what it asks of you.

Two:

Uh, Aida I think that you're better at knowing whether you want to eat

Two:

something- well after you eat it, you're like immediately: "Nope.

Two:

That wasn't good for my body."

Two:

I'm not quite there, but definitely for my physical posture and the way

Two:

that I'm doing exercises, I'm as connected as I can be and make sure

Two:

that I don't hurt myself because it takes a long time to fix yourself.

Aida Askry:

Oh yes it does.

Benjamin Schultz:

If you hurt yourself.

Aida Askry:

Exactly.

Benjamin Schultz:

I say with my broken toe from simply not looking where I

Benjamin Schultz:

was walking when I was standing up.

Aida Askry:

But you know, it's so interesting -and I hope that you broken

Aida Askry:

toe heals very quickly- but, um, you know, I'm always fascinated, I always

Aida Askry:

talk to everyone about this, especially with my career that, you know, we

Aida Askry:

sometimes go out of our way to purchase the most expensive insurance for our,

Aida Askry:

you know, houses and cars and things that they're not necessarily the easiest,

Aida Askry:

but easy to replace at some point.

Aida Askry:

But our own bodies, it's like, this is just one chance.

Aida Askry:

This is one life and yeah, maybe you can replace a knee and a

Aida Askry:

shoulder and a kidney, but you can't replace the whole body.

Aida Askry:

And we don't necessarily give it as much attention and love that it deserves.

Aida Askry:

So I definitely take that as, you know, paying attention more to our bodies,

Aida Askry:

absolutely is another key if it's not one of the most important keys to to

Aida Askry:

finding happiness and flourishing.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

And you've gotta learn it the hard way in many cases.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

And that's how I felt with my knees.

Benjamin Schultz:

It was quite an experience to, for six months or so.

Benjamin Schultz:

Not really being able to walk without an extreme amount of pain.

Benjamin Schultz:

And then you think like, wow, I could not walk for the rest of my life.

Benjamin Schultz:

If something happens to me

Aida Askry:

Right, and you you're an avid biker, I can only imagine

Aida Askry:

how difficult that is to stop doing what you absolutely love.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah, it is, uh, that was the thing.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I didn't bike for two or three years after I had my repetitive stress injury

Aida Askry:

Did that make you sad?

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, in the beginning.

Benjamin Schultz:

Yeah.

Benjamin Schultz:

But, uh, over time.

Benjamin Schultz:

I just came to the conclusion that maybe I'm not gonna bike ever again.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I found other ways to take care of myself and to get that same feeling.

Benjamin Schultz:

And so now I can bike again, but it took three years of dedicated yoga

Benjamin Schultz:

before I could get back on a bike again.

Benjamin Schultz:

And I think almost everybody that I talk to that gets some sort of injury tries

Benjamin Schultz:

to jump back on the horse, literally or metaphorically pretty quickly.

Aida Askry:

Wow.

Aida Askry:

That's quite insightful.

Aida Askry:

So what is your third?

Benjamin Schultz:

Well, I, I think it's my duty to say "join Concept" because

Benjamin Schultz:

really, as far as we can tell, this is the only place where you can be surrounded by

Benjamin Schultz:

people who are focused on flourishing and flourishing is not something that happens

Benjamin Schultz:

alone, and happiness isn't something that happens alone for most people,

Benjamin Schultz:

though I think I have a friend who's happiest alone, but if that's not you,

Benjamin Schultz:

then I think you should come to Concept and join us and explore this with us.

Aida Askry:

Oh, I would agree with that.

Aida Askry:

Thank you so much.

Aida Askry:

Can you fill in the blank from me?

Aida Askry:

Human flourishing equals...

Benjamin Schultz:

Ahhh...

Benjamin Schultz:

Human flourishing equals whatever Aida determines by the end of this

Benjamin Schultz:

podcast, stick around to learn more!

Aida Askry:

That means we have to find that answer...

Aida Askry:

uh, so finally, what's your motto life?

Benjamin Schultz:

I thought about this a lot.

Benjamin Schultz:

Uh, I, I thought maybe "it's turtles all the way down," but

Benjamin Schultz:

that's only applicable sometimes...

Benjamin Schultz:

but I, I think the one that I apply most is "if it's worth

Benjamin Schultz:

doing it's worth doing right."

Benjamin Schultz:

Uh, and like I said, sometimes I take that to a fault, but I, I haven't

Benjamin Schultz:

really had it let me down yet in life.

Benjamin Schultz:

So I'd recommend it.

Aida Askry:

I would totally agree and, um, I think you are definitely the kind

Aida Askry:

of a person who does that, just judging by the fact that, again, for Concept

Aida Askry:

Community, we've been working on a model for almost like four or five years now.

Aida Askry:

And only recently over the past a few months, we felt comfortable enough to

Aida Askry:

share and start expanding and opening the community to everybody so they can try it.

Aida Askry:

I mean, we all know still it's going to take a lot to take it to the point where

Aida Askry:

we feel happy and comfortable with it and everybody's really flourishing in it.

Aida Askry:

Uh, but we, we are definitely doing our best to make it look

Aida Askry:

and feel what it needs to be for our human flourishing community.

Benjamin Schultz:

What it deserves!

Benjamin Schultz:

It's flourishing.

Benjamin Schultz:

It deserves to flourish!

Aida Askry:

Absolutely.

Aida Askry:

And you know, the irony is that sometimes we, we work with everybody else as far as

Aida Askry:

our colleagues and even interns, you know, the first thing we wanna make sure is

Aida Askry:

that whatever tasks they're picking, it's something that they're happy and excited

Aida Askry:

and they're flourishing through it.

Aida Askry:

Because if they're not doing it, it's quite ironic.

Aida Askry:

You can't work for a flourishing company and not flourish.

Benjamin Schultz:

Exactly.

So you hear that:

go check out our job postings, come flourish here!

Aida Askry:

Exactly well, alright folks and thank you

Aida Askry:

Benjamin for joining us today.

Aida Askry:

If you're interested in connecting with Benjamin and following Aida's

Aida Askry:

Quest, please do join our private community at Concept.app today.

Aida Askry:

And if you know someone that is absolutely flourishing, that they might possess

Aida Askry:

some answer to the equation that we are looking for, please do nominate them

Aida Askry:

for our next episodes of Aida's Quest.

Aida Askry:

Benjamin.

Aida Askry:

Any last words from you?

Benjamin Schultz:

Thank you so much for always focusing on the flourishing

Benjamin Schultz:

of the world, because that's a very esoteric thing to want in life.

Benjamin Schultz:

And it takes a special kind of person to dedicate their

Benjamin Schultz:

life to that and keep going.

Benjamin Schultz:

So...

Aida Askry:

I can't help it.

Benjamin Schultz:

Thanks to Aida for us all being here today.

Aida Askry:

Thank you and have a fantastic day or night wherever you happen to be.

Aida Askry:

Stay tuned and enjoy your day.

Aida Askry:

All right, folks.

Aida Askry:

That's a wrap for today's show.

Aida Askry:

Thank you so much for joining us.

Aida Askry:

Please visit our website, concept.app rate right our show and tell your

Aida Askry:

friends and family about Aida's Quest!

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