We’ve come full circle here on The Light Watkins Show as today, we are joined by this podcast’s very first guest! Leon Logothetis is an explorer, TV show host, speaker, and author, and he is here with us to chat about his latest book, Go Be Brave.
After a quick recap of Leon’s extraordinary background, he tells us how he defines bravery and courage, his earliest memory of having to be brave, his extroverted and introverted selves and the one that is closer to his true self, and the correlation between being yourself and speaking your truth.
Then, we hear about the power of the truth diary and taking action, how to use nature to reconnect with your humanity, why taking action is more important than understanding the concepts in Leon’s book, and what Leon believes is the most fundamental and non-negotiable aspect of being brave.
We end this delightful and inspiring conversation with an exploration of the type of bravery that is needed to build long-lasting relationships, why our guest is closer to his life’s goal of marriage than he’s ever been before, and why you should be comfortable saying both yes and no, and knowing when to say them. Enjoy!
LL: "When you speak your truth, you are mirroring what is going on inside on the outside. Like, if I speak my truth to you, then the outside and the inside is being mirrored. And if I'm speaking my not truth to you, then there is no mirroring. Therefore, I am not being my true self. It doesn't mean that you always have to go up to everyone you ever meet and be your full self and speak 100% truth at all times, that's probably not going to end well. But it does mean, with a select few people and as much as you can, mirror your outside words with your inside feelings."
[0:00:46] LW: Hello, friends. Welcome back to The Light Watkins Show. I'm Light Watkins. I interview ordinary people just like you and me who have taken extraordinary leaps of faith in the direction of their path, their purpose, or what they’ve identified as their mission. In doing so, they have been able to positively impact and inspire the lives of many other people who have either heard about their story, or who witnessed them in action, or who have directly benefited from their work.
This week is a full circle moment for The Light Watkins Show, because returning to the podcast is my very first guest from episode number one. For all of you day ones out there, you may remember me interviewing this guy, who goes by the name of The Kindness Guy. Do you remember The Kindness Guy? His name is Leon Logothetis. In that very first episode, I did a deep dive into Leon's full backstory of how he went from working in the corporate world in London, to circumnavigating the entire planet in a vintage yellow motorcycle with no money, while relying solely on the kindness of strangers. Which is why he is known as The Kindness Guy.
Of course, that experience culminated into the uber inspirational Netflix series, which was called The Kindness Diaries. Leon has since taken several other excursions around the earth, and he's written books about his journeys, including Go Be Kind, which was a best-seller, which taught the reader about the importance of kindness and then practical ways to be more kind in their day-to-day life. Then most recently, Leon has published Go Be Brave.
In this episode, we unpack Leon's philosophy on bravery, and then practical ways that you can be braver in life, which is something that I think we all aspire toward. We'll talk about how Leon links bravery with speaking your truth. We talked a lot about how to start speaking your truth more in day-to-day life. And we also talked about what happened when Leon spent 10 days in nature by himself, and why he feels that nature is the universal truth serum. It's hard to not be honest with yourself if you're spending a lot of time in nature. We talked about how anger can also be useful and the importance of taking the burn-the-boat approach to life if you truly want to be braver.
This was a short but very sweet episode that I think you're really going to enjoy. Without further ado, let us get into the conversation with Mr. Leon Logothetis, aka the kindness guy.
[0:03:42] LW: Leon, welcome back to my podcast, man. Fun fact, you were not the first interview I did, but you were the first episodes that I published, our episode together was episode number one of my podcasts back when it was called At the End of the Tunnel. Now, it's just called The Light Watkins Show. It's good to have you back, man.
[0:04:05] LL: It's good to be back. Thank you so much for having me once again.
[0:04:07] LW: Yeah. We've already done the whole superhero origin story, so we don't have to really go into those details. If you are interested in hearing how Leon became Leon, then there's a whole, I think it's like two-hour episode that goes all into how you started The Kindness Diaries and Mental Health Stop, and what little Leon was up to, and all the insecurities and the obstacles that you had to overcome in order to be the person you are today.
Today, you are a published author many times over. You're a speaker, keynote speaker. Would you say that's the main thing you're doing now professionally, is in between these excursions that you do on occasion, you mostly speak and you write books?
[0:04:53] LL: Yeah. I mean, I speak, and write books, and I host. So working on a documentary, so that should be out God willing at the end of the year. We shall see.
[0:05:04] LW: Well, you have a book that's coming out. It will probably be out by the time this episode airs. It's called Go Be Brave.
[0:05:11] LL: It is Go Be Brave. I will tell you that I hate it when people do this, but I'm going to do it.
[0:05:19] LW: For those of you listening, he's showing a cover of the book.
[0:05:22] LL: Yeah. I'm showing a cover of Go Be Brave. All right. Okay. I did it.
[0:05:27] LW: I want to talk about bravery today and unpack what it means to be brave. Because I think out of all of the life experiences, that is the one that we regular people dread the most, having to be brave. But that's also probably the most rewarding one, after you're brave, even if it's just in a small way. Man, very few things feel better than that, than having been brave. Let's just get right into it, man. Let's talk about how are you defining bravery to start, and then we'll get into some of the things that you put in your book.
[0:06:03] LL: Yeah, sure. My definition of bravery may be a little bit different to some people's definition of bravery. I'll start with a story. Many years ago, I was in a spiritual retreat for depression and anxiety. It was a seven-day event. I was in a pretty bad place, and there were maybe 10 or 15 of us. There was a guy there who looks very, very scary. He just looks scary. Sorry, but he did. It turns out that he ended up being a Navy SEAL. At the end of the retreat, he turns around to everyone. He says, "People think that I am brave because of my job. But the truth is that the true act of bravery is what is happening inside this room, is what is happening when we share our pain, and when we share our truth."
The moment he said that, he didn't seem quite so scary to me. Also, I never forgot it. I share that, before I explain my definition of bravery, because it came from that Navy SEAL's words. My definition of bravery is to speak our truth. My definition of bravery is to share our pain. My definition of bravery is to stand in our power. It all came from that one day when that Navy SEAL truly did change my life because he made me realize that when we are vulnerable, and when we speak our truth, whatever that truth may be. Maybe we need to leave a relationship. Maybe we need to ask for a raise. Maybe we need to go to rehab. Maybe we need to accept that we're alcoholics. When we speak our truth, everything changes.
Sometimes people say to me, "Leon, what's the difference between bravery and courage? Your book is called Go Be Brave. Do you talk about courage?" Yes, of course, I do. Again, this is my definition of courage. Bravery, remember, is speaking your truth and courage is taking action. It's literally that simple. You start by speaking your truth and then you take action on that truth. Sometimes I go to schools and I give speeches, and I'll get kids to stand up and tell me what they want to be in life. That's their truth. They will say to me, "Oh, I want to be a scientist." I say to them, "That's great. But do you think you're going to become a scientist if you never take any action? Do you think you're going to become a scientist if you never read a book about science? Do you think you're going to become a scientist if you never watch a TikTok video about how to become a scientist?" And they get it, they get it. Courage is taking action. Bravery is speaking your truth.
[0:09:05] LW: I love that. This is going to get a little meta, but even get into that retreat for depression and anxiety, clearly, you had to have some courage, and you had to be brave, and be willing to be vulnerable, and be willing to speak your truth, and just kind of knowing a little bit more about your story than maybe the average listener or watcher of this episode. I can think back to several moments where you exhibited some degree of bravery. I'm just curious. What's your earliest memory of bravery as you define it? What was happening? What did you overcome? How did you speak your truth and how did it go?
[0:09:45] LL: That's a beautiful question. You read my mind. Look, when I was a kid, I was brutally bullied for many years, not just at school, not just by kids, but by adults too. I never told with anyone, I never told anyone what I was feeling, I never told anyone what I was going through. I just went through it. Slowly, slowly it started to break me. Slowly, slowly, it started to break my spirit. It reached a point where I had to do something about it.
The first act of bravery, true bravery that I remember, and I'm not saying this was necessarily conscious. But the first act of true bravery, I was about 15 years old. I walked into my mother's room, I remember this like it was yesterday, and I just started crying my eyes out. I started saying to her all of the things that had been happening for years, and that I needed to move school. She needed to take me out of the school and move me to a new school. I spoke my truth. I didn't know how she was going to react. Maybe she was going to be like, "Oh, don't worry, nothing's happening. Just stay in school." Luckily, she didn't do that.
I spoke my truth, she took me out of the school, put me into a new school, and it wasn't all hunky dory, per se but it was a lot better. That was the first moment that I remember speaking my truth and being brave. The action that was taken, not just by me, but by my mother was to move me from that school to a different school.
[0:11:25] LW: This may seem unrelated, but maybe it won't be, I don't know. For parents listening to this podcast, maybe experiencing the same thing with their kid. What was it about this other school that caused you to experience less bullying than you did at the previous school? I know you didn't go to like – did you go to public schools?
[0:11:41] LL: No, no. I went to private school. I will say, the first school I went to was an English school and the teachers were not particularly pleasant. It was a little bit rougher than the second school. The second school was actually an American school, so the teachers were much kinder, they much more understood about emotions, and how to get a kid who was sensitive to show up. I think that was the big thing. Again, it wasn't a perfect switch, like it didn't immediately go from the English school to the American School and everything worked itself out. But it was a process, and it was just much better, it was gentler. Gentler. I think the word gentler is a better way of describing it.
[0:12:21] LW: You also talked about this concept of being yourself. You and I are friends, like we've hang out, just – we had dinners, and lunches, and whatnot. I've also seen your Netflix specials, and it's kind of like you're a different person when you're in the Netflix, when you're having to go up to people and ask them to help you fill up your tank with gas, and feed you, and put you up for the night. That's a more sort of extroverted version of you. Then when we hang out, it's more of an introverted version of you that I'm experiencing. When did you feel like you're being yourself? Which one of those versions would you say, is the most accurate in terms of who you truly are?
[0:13:04] LL: It's a great question. I mean, look, I am an introvert, and people that meet me in real life are often like, "What? Where's the funny side? Where's this guy getting around the world, that is having all these experiences and is full of life, and blah, blah, blah? What happened to him? Where is he? I'm like, well, I'm actually just introverted. When I'm on screen, I can be an extrovert. In life, at times, I can be an extrovert. But generally, I'm pretty quiet. You know this and my friends know this. I'd say they're both me, but the version of me that is more me on a daily level is the version that you meet when we go and have dinner. Quieter. They're both me, but more me is the introverted me.
[0:13:54] LW: What's the correlation between being yourself and speaking your truth?
[0:13:58] LL: I'd say the correlation is that, when you speak your truth, you are mirroring what is going on inside on the outside. Like if I speak my truth to you, then the outside and the inside is being mirrored. And if I'm speaking my not truth to you, then there is no mirroring. Therefore, I am not being my true self.
[0:14:25] LW: Yeah. You're straining and people can sense the strain.
[0:14:27] LL: Exactly. It doesn't mean that you always have to go up to everyone you ever meet and be your full self and speak 100% truth at all times, that's probably not going to end well. But it does mean with a select few people, and as much as you can, mirror your outside words with your inside feelings.
[0:14:48] LW: What I'm hearing and what I'm taking away from this is, when you're with someone who you feel like you can be yourself with, you give yourself permission to be introverted, because that's how you would be ordinarily. You don't have to feel like you got to be on all the time. Those are really the best friendships and maybe deepest friendships are the ones where you can be a little bit sad sometimes. You could be a little bit vulnerable sometimes. You could be a little bit upset sometimes.
I tell friends because I have a lot of friends, and you probably have a lot of friends like this too, but who are coaches, and who helped people get through these times. I have to tell them, I said, "Look, I get everything is connected, I get that everything is working for me, but I just want to hear myself vent right now and just talk about this thing that didn't go my way. Because it's just, I don't know, I just need to have that outlet, and then we'll get back to everything's happening perfectly, and the whole silver lining aspect of it."
[0:15:42] LL: You know what, that's really interesting, because sometimes, people can be blinded by the light. What do I mean by that? It's like, not – your name is Light. I don't mean anyone to be blinded by you. But people can be blinded by the light, and they don't open up to their own feelings of sadness, of depression, of this – It's like, this is a spiritual bypass. Not anyone is always going to be fully 100% kind, fully 100% present, fully 100% in a good place. There are moments where we need to let the darkness out. I think that's a really important piece, and I think that's why some people look at self-help. Like, "Oh, it's just all light, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." No. Don't they call it toxic positivity, right? Yeah. I mean, yes, be positive. But sometimes, bad things happen and you have to accept that. Sometimes you get angry, sometimes you want to throw something or whatever. Don't ever harm anyone, but let out the anger. That's actually interesting.
I have a piece in the book about getting mad. I say, get mad, get angry, don't harm someone, don't scream at someone. But in the privacy of your own house, in the privacy of your own journal, get mad, and let it out. That's an act of bravery in itself. I promise you, if you do that, you get to a place where you can be a better friend, a better husband, a better wife, a better employee, a better boss, because you've let out the rage, healthily. That's one of the biggest things that I tell people. Just get angry.
[0:17:22] LW: Learn how to channel it. Learn how to channel it. Speaking of that, that story, in that chapter, you talked about giving the talk in prison. Can you just give us a synopsis of what happened when that inmate we thought hated you came up on stage?
[0:17:36] LL: Wow, that was a crazy day. Yes, I do speeches. I do a lot of speeches on kindness. Now, clearly, I've started doing speeches on bravery. The speech that I was giving at this maximum security in San Diego was about kindness. I was trying to inspire people to come up on stage and share their magic. There was this one guy who looked scarier than the Navy SEAL. There's no doubt about it. I mean, I'm talking about a maximum-security prison. Think about all the worst things that happen in society, those were the people who were sitting in front of me, right?
There was just one guy who I asked to come on stage. I thought maybe I shouldn't have let this guy come up on stage at some point. But whatever, it was too late. He came up on stage, and then he started rapping. It was beautiful, it was absolutely beautiful. The light inside him was shining so radiantly. It was a never to be forgotten moment. That shows that if we can touch our own magnificence and share it with the world, it changes lives. I've never forgotten that moment. I gave him a hug. He gave me a hug. It was so beautiful.
Unfortunately, for this fellow, I mean, I don't know what he had done, but it seemed that he was going to be there for a very long time. In that moment, he connected to his magic. Had he connected to his magic earlier in his life, had he had safe people who he could speak to, safe people who he could share with, there's a very big chance he wouldn't have been in there. It was such a profound moment for me.
[0:19:31] LW: You start the book with this contract you want the reader to agree to, which is to practice becoming themselves. What are some of the real-world metrics that one can look at just in their day-to-day life, and just to tell, to give them the feedback? "Hey! I'm becoming more and more of myself at work, at home, in the relationship with myself"?
[0:19:54] LL: I mean, look, it's really a real-world metrics. I would say, start off with a feeling. If I am a mechanic, but I know that I really want to be a poet, and that's my life. Or I want to be a writer, but I am being a mechanic. I am clearly not being myself. I understand there may be reasons why that person is a mechanic and needs to look after his family, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But you know, you just know inside whether you are actually doing and being the person that you are meant to be. It's like a felt sensation.
You know that you've met people who are clearly in the flow, and they are doing what they're supposed to do. Then, you've met people who are not in the flow. Let's say a doctor's office, there's a doctor's office I go to, and there's this assistant that you can tell, the person doesn't want to be there. That person doesn't want to be there. But for whatever reason, no shame, no judgment, she is there. Yeah, she is clearly not being herself. When it comes to real-world metrics, I would say get a journal, write in that journal what it is that you truly, truly want. Everything that you really, really want.
[0:21:15] LW: This is the truth diary exercise, right?
[0:21:17] LL: Yeah, it's called the truth diary. You write exactly what it is you want. If you don't have any of those things, there's a very severe problem. If you do have those things, then you are closer to the tipping point of being who you truly are.
[0:21:33] LW: What is it about the power of writing it down that will encourage or inspire action?
[0:21:38] LL: I think when you write something down, first of all, it's tangible. So you have a thought, and then you write that thought down, and the thought becomes real. It's actually out into the world on a piece of paper. I think that's a really important, let's call it a hack. So sometimes what happens to me is, I'll think of something. Until it's written down, it's not real. Of course, it is real, because I thought it, but it's not super real until it's actually written. That's a really important thing.
That real-world metric is, get a piece of paper. If anyone's listening now, get a piece of paper at the end of this podcast and write down what you really want. Not what society wants you to have, not what your parents want you to have. What you want. In the privacy of your own journal, write it down. I promise you, if you're doing it congruently, emotionally, the answers will be there. Now, I'm not saying it's easy. I'm not saying you write it down and all of a sudden it comes. But at least you'll know what it is that you're meant to be doing, to be feeling. It's there. You can look at it every morning and it becomes real. A thought is fleeting, you write it down, it becomes real.
[0:22:57] LW: I feel like a lot of people may find themselves closer to the assistant doctor than someone like you or me who's out there traveling the world and taking all these leaps of faith. So, let's say they write it down. Let's say you're that woman, you write it down, then what? Do you quit your job? Do you just start taking little baby steps?
[0:23:17] LL: Yeah. Remember, bravely speaking your truth. If you start by writing it down, you've started the process of speaking your truth, you then have to take it to the next level of sharing with another human being. How do you get from the doctor's assistant to someone who's living their dream? Small little baby steps of action. Or you can go nuts, burn your ships, what the conquistadors did, they burn their ships so they had no choice but to keep moving forward and just go for it.
For example, the doctor's assistant, I mean, I don't know what she wants to do with her life. I can tell she doesn't want to be there. Let's say she wants to start a fashion line. One way to take action is to immediately go on to Amazon and buy a book about how to start a fashion line. That's the first action. I didn't become a Netflix host, or write books, or create my speeches just like that. It really started when I spoke to my mother at 15 years old. The first step was speaking my truth. The second step was the courage for my mother and for me to move schools. Then small little baby steps got me to where I am. Small little baby steps. You start by speaking your truth. Most people never speak their truth. They don't. They don't do it. If you don't speak your truth, you don't share your pain, you will never get the chance to stand in your power. That's the truth.
[0:24:46] LW: I think when people hear burning the boats as a concept, we think about it in an extreme way. Like, "I should just quit the job, so then I have no choice", but you don't have to do that. I think what you're talking about which is baby steps, as long as you feel like you're moving forward, then you're moving in the right – that's a way of burning the boats because you're sacrificing something. You're sacrificing the time and attention you may be putting. Instead of reading that book on fashion, you're on Instagram, or you're watching a Netflix show or something like that.
When you find yourself getting stuck or using a lot of excuses not to move forward, a way of burning the boats that I've used before that I found to be very effective is I put something on the line. I sent a buddy of mine. I was writing my first book, and I was just not really being as proactive with it as I knew I could have been. I sent a buddy of mine a check for $4,000 and I said, "If I don't finish the manuscript by this date, which was like three months from that point, you have to cash this cheque and spend it on something that has nothing to do with me." Once that was out there in the universe, all of my excuses went away because there was no way I was going to lose that $4,000. I couldn't afford to lose $4,000. So I had to find the time, and all the time that I didn't think I had all of a sudden freed up.
[0:26:06] LL: Do you know what? I'm so glad you shared that story with the $4,000. I have never heard anyone else do that. I do that. I'm telling you, I give my credit. I give my credit cards to people, close people. I say, "Look, if I don't do this, you have my permission to spend $1,000 on my credit card." I had a coach, and I ended up giving her my credit card number. I said, it was for my new speech, "If I don't send you 15 slides by –"
[0:26:39] LW: No excuses.
[0:26:41] LL: No excuses. "You can spend $2,000 and give it to a charity, do whatever you want with it." And what happened, I did it.
[0:26:49] LW: Of course.
[0:26:51] LL: I did it.
[0:26:53] LW: Even with something a little more intangible, like you were wanting to, I think navigate your mental health challenges and just kind of get to the other side of that a lot quicker. Instead of doing that sort of conventional way, you decided to go out into the wild for 10 days by yourself. As a way of just sitting with it and feeling into it, and all of that. That brings us to another part of the book, where you talk about how rest is one way of dealing with stress, but a more effective way could be going into nature. Let's talk about that, about nature, and how that relationship can help you become more of yourself, and deal with the things that you're going through right now.
[0:27:32] LL: One of the concepts of the book is to become more human. What does that mean? What's he talking about? Become more human, I'm human. What I mean is to become more connected to the essence of our humanity. I was sitting in a field a few years back, and I remember, there's a field, like a forest area with a field. I remember thinking to myself, what a beautiful moment this is. I am drenched in nature, there is no phone, there is no computer, there is no Instagram, there is nothing. I remembered feeling, this is how a human being 50,000 years ago would have felt exactly like this.
We have forgotten over years, hundreds of years, 1000s of years of the essence of our own humanity. The best way to get there is to go into nature. For some reason, I wake up really early these days. I'm always up by like 6am. I look out the window and the sun is rising, and the feeling I get is one of being fully embraced by nature and fully connected to myself and everything. I can't get that in front of the television screen. I can't get that in front of my phone. I get that by being in this primal state of nature, this primal state of what is. Yet, we have lost connection to what is because we are connected to our phones, we are connected to our computers, we are connected to the chaos that is causing inner chaos.
The way to get rid of that chaos is to go into nature, whether it's the ocean, whether it's forest, whether it's a lake, and just sit in it and be consumed by it, which is our natural state.
[0:29:44] LW: I'm in Mexico City right now and very few people have a car here, in the area that I'm living in, which is right in the middle of the city. Going for a hike for instance would be an hour long just to get there, and you haven't even hiked yet. But there is this park right around the corner from my place, and within that park, there's an open area where there's just direct sunlight for most of the day. I tried to get over there for about 20 minutes a day. I have to say, that has been the most profound new addition to my daily routine that I've done in a long time since I started meditating probably 20-something years ago, was to go just sit in the sun.
I think when people hear nature, they imagine trees and forests, but it could just be something as simple as sun or something as simple as water. If you can't get to the ocean because you live somewhere that's a far from the ocean, maybe you take a bath and just sitting in a bathtub. Could be a good substitute for making sure you have some contact, some exposure with nature every day, because it's meditative as well. It will give you insights into those next steps that you're referring to.
[0:30:51] LL: One of the most beautiful things you can do is you can find a park exactly as you said, and literally just lie down on the grass and sit there for 20 minutes. It grounds you, it connects you. It's beautiful. It's like a heart-centered, grounding exercise that anyone can do. I mean, there's a park somewhere in the world, everywhere.
[0:31:26] LW: I read your previous books. This one is different in the way that you formatted it. It's almost like the scattering of thoughts, and even the indentation of the various lines are different from obviously conventional books, even from your previous books. I'm just wondering what your process was or what your thinking was around how you chose to lay this book out, and why you chose that format as opposed to a more conventional format.
[0:31:54] LL: The book, Go Be Kind, which is the previous book is actually similar to Go Be Brave. The other books, you're absolutely right. This is a normal book. But for example, with Go Be Kind, people would always say to me, "Oh, Leon. It's okay for you to travel around the world, and quit your job, and go on these kindness adventures. I can't do that, I've got a job, et cetera." I'm like, "I get it."
What I did was I did Go Be Kind as an adventure book of kindness, so you could go and have your own kindness diaries experience. Then with Go Be Brave, it's something similar. It's a journal, where you get to do 24 adventures. Well, 24- and three-quarter adventures. Where you actually immerse yourself and experientially live bravery, and make yourself feel the act of being brave. It's kind of like an experiential journey. It's not just a book that you read. It's a book that you do.
[0:32:57] LW: Why is that important to take this action as you're reading through the book, as opposed to just understanding it conceptually?
[0:33:06] LL: Because understanding conceptually and understanding feeling are two totally different things. In order to change, one has to feel. You can feel when you read a book, of course. I mean, I'm not saying that my book is the only book that you feel. But this book is like an experiential journey into the heart of who you are, into the heart of how you experience the world. I've experienced many journeys, many travels, and they stay with me. It's a felt experience that stays with me. That's the purpose of the book, to give you a felt experience of being brave, a felt experience of being angry, and sharing that anger, wisely. It's a felt experience.
Maya Angelou once said, "People don't remember what you say to them. They remember how you make them feel. " That's the purpose of this book, to make people feel their own magnificence.
[0:34:14] LW: When you were writing this book, obviously, you would think anyone would be game to be more brave, be more kind. But who specifically were you writing this book for? Who did you have in mind? Was it the people in the jails you talked to? Was it people who are just scared all the time?
[0:34:33] LL: You know what? That's a great question. People always say to me, "Leon, you need to write a book for a certain category of people, 18 to 35, 41 to 68, 105 to 112, whatever. I wrote this for everyone. I'm sorry, but I did. Can a seven-year-old read it? Maybe, yeah. Can a 12-year-old read it? Absolutely. Can a 99-year-old read it? A hundred percent. I wrote it for everyone. Because if I'm not mistaken, everyone is human. If I'm also not mistaken, everyone has feelings. If I'm also not mistaken, everyone wants to live as magnificent a life as they possibly can. If that's the case, then I wrote this book for everyone.
[0:35:18] LW: I'm going to push back a little bit, okay? I agree that it's applicable to everyone, but the way you wrote it, there's a lot of like disclaimers. I know you're going to think this is da, da, da, but just try it. That someone who may be apprehensive to buy into some of these concepts, because maybe this is the first time they're coming across this kind of information, and they have to kind of be sold on it a little bit.
[0:35:43] LL: Okay. All right. I get your point. Ultimately, if you're not aware of your own human frailties, and there's no awareness going on, then you're not going to read this book. Because you're going to look at it, and you're going to be like, "I'm not interested." If you are willing to see that there's another way to live, if you're willing to kind of be like, "Okay. Maybe it's time I show some vulnerability." If you're willing to be like, "I've been doing the wrong things for a while, maybe there's an opportunity to do some different things," this book is for you. If you want to live your greatest life, then this is a book for you. If you are inspired by going inwards, going inside, and finding answers that will enable you to live more profoundly, then this book is for you.
[0:36:35] LW: There's a Steve Jobs clip that makes the rounds on social media from time to time. He says that every morning, he would stare at himself in the mirror before work, and he would ask himself the question, "Do I feel like doing whatever I'm going to be doing today, whatever's on my agenda?" He says, if the answer is no too many days in a row, then that's his internal sign to switch it up. I would say that, yes, the book applies to everybody. But if you are in that situation, where you're saying no too many days in a row, then this book is really, really not just informative, but useful from an experiential point of view. Because you do walk people through these 24-and-three-quarter exercises for being brave.
Just like a lot of books in the self-help category, if you literally did everything that is being prescribed in the book, you would be a changed person by the end of that book. But obviously, a lot of times, people don't. They get excited, they read the book, they put it down, and they don't go back to it. I've done that. I've done that. I have tons of books that I started and never really finished. If that happens, and I know you probably don't want to think about it like this, but if someone could just focus on one of those exercises to just get the ball rolling, which one would you say is the most foundational principle for being braver?
[0:38:05] LL: Speak your truth. It all starts from there. It all starts from speaking your truth. What's your truth? Are you an alcoholic? If you are, do you need to go to AA? I would say yes. Are you in a job that you don't love and you don't want to be in? If you're in a job you don't love you don't want to be in, speak your truth, tell someone. If you live a lie, you will not end up magnificent. That's the truth. It's simple. It's, speak your truth, whatever that truth is.
Mine at 15 was that I was being bullied, I needed to leave school. It was also that I always wanted to travel the world and be a host. That's what happened because I spoke my truth. Find someone safe you can speak your truth. That's the ultimate thing. Share your pain. That's it.
[0:38:58] LW: I would also say that a close second, because you're right, you have to speak your truth. Then a close second would be asking for help. You talked about that in the book, about how The Kindness Diaries helped to show you how brave you could be in asking for help. When I saw another clip on social media, this karate instructor working with this kid. So, one kid was holding this kid's legs. He was like in the plank position. He picked his legs up, so the kid had to move forward with his hands, and he's walking on his hands forward. He just got to the point where he was so exhausted, he couldn't go another step.
The karate instructor goes, "Okay. What are you going to do next?" Because this happens all the time in life. You have the intention to move forward, you want to move forward, you know that going backwards is not where you want to be, but you can't go, you don't have the strength. What are you going to do next? Then he said, "If you were in the gym and you couldn't lift that next rep, you'd have to ask for spot, you have to get help." So he had two other kids come over and help pick the guy up, and give them a spot, and he kept moving forward. I would say a close second would be asking for help.
[0:40:02] LL: You know what, you're absolutely right. What I would say is, when I say speak your truth, I'm not talking about speaking your truth to someone who is going to squash you. I'm talking about speak your truth to someone who will help you. That's a very good point. Yeah.
[0:40:32] LW: One other part from your book that really stood out to me, because I know you on a personal level is when you went on the Rachael Ray show. She was saying, “Someone has or seems to have all their basic needs met plus more,” which was the situation you were in. What is something that you would desire? And you said, you said, what?
[0:40:56] LL: Oh goodness me. I said on live television, that I wanted a wife.
[0:41:02] LW: Right. You and I are like in our 40s. We're accomplished guys smart, intelligent, all the things, and yet, we don't have wives, we don't have kids. You've got a dog. How does bravery – and maybe there's no answer for this? But how does bravery relate to that kind of situation? Because I also would like to have a life partner. Or is it just the modern-day dating dynamics that – this has nothing to do with bravery? Does bravery relate to this experience at all, in not having something that you want? Because you want it to go around the globe on a motorcycle, you did that? You want it to go from Argentina, or Antarctica, to Alaska, and you did that. What is it about having a wife that we could use the principles of bravery, and burn the boats, and all the other things, speak our truth to fulfill.
[0:41:54] LL: Isn't that the definition of a good relationship? All good relationships are speaking truth. All good relationships are making decisions, not just for one, but for two. Relationships are not easy. It was easier for me to circumnavigate the world than it is –
[0:42:10] LW: Being in a relationship.
[0:42:10] LL: I'm not joking. Than it is to be in a successful relationship. That's the level of madness—
[0:42:16] LW: It was easier for you to go off to strangers for six months and ask them to put you up for the night, and feed you for the day, and put gas in your in your motorcycle.
[0:42:24] LL: Absolutely. Because I would have small relationships with them, right? Meaning, like platonic small relationships. I'll meet one person, then I'll meet another person. When you're in a relationship with someone, your madness, and their madness becomes one big inferno of madness.
[0:42:43] LW: You're naked.
[0:42:45] LL: Yes.
[0:42:45] LW: Literally and metaphorically.
[0:42:47] LL: Yeah, exactly. I think that's one of the greatest acts of bravery, to actually master that, which is what I'm trying to do somewhat unsuccessfully, to master that on Bruce Lee level.
[0:43:01] LW: Right. I call that. I say, relationships are the equalizer. Doesn't matter how much money you have, how many connections you have. It doesn't make it easier to be in a relationship. If anything, it can make it even harder.
[0:43:12] LL: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think it's a – look, like I said bravery, ultimately, to me speaking your truth. It's also sharing your pain. But the standing in your power, how the two people – I'm no relationship expert, clearly. How the two people began to stand in their power simultaneously, and everything worked out beautifully? I don't know. I mean, if anyone knows, let me know.
[0:43:40] LW: Can we just unpack it a little bit more, though? Since you started The Kindness Diaries, what have you learned about relationships?
[0:43:47] LL: That they are very difficult, and specifically, romantic relationships are extraordinarily challenging. I once read a book, where it said that we think that we are normal when we are alone. That when we get into a relationship with someone, we realize that in fact, we are not normal. Because all of the triggers come up, all of the ego stuff comes up, all of the pain comes up. To face that, that's not easy to face that. Not just in relationships, but just generally, to face our own madness.
It takes a lot of patience for ourselves. It takes a lot of patience for the other person. It's a tough one. You know my personal story, and I don't want to go into it here, but it's a tough one, you know, and I know, and you know, and we all know how tough it is. We get fed a story of romanticism that, "Oh, you're going to find one person and everything's going to work itself out." Within six to nine months, 12 months, the chemicals going on in our brain after meeting someone, they go away, and we're faced with the reality of having to deal with the reality, which isn't so simple.
[0:45:06] LW: Would you say that you are closer to having a wife today than you were back when you made that comment on Rachael Ray show, however many years ago?
[0:45:16] LL: I would have to say yes. I've become a lot – I'm wiser. I'm definitely closer, yes.
[0:45:23] LW: I would say the same thing. It's not because I necessarily have someone who I'm thinking about getting into a long-term marriage with or anything like that. But just as a person, I take things a lot less personally. When I reflect back to my track record, that usually was the point where things started to go off the rails, is when one or both people start taking things personally, not realizing that we're really just dealing with each other's inner child. It's really not personal, and it's an opportunity for us to see ourselves as a team against the problem, instead of seeing the other person as the problem.
[0:46:02] LL: You're absolutely right. I know that I do take things personally. People have told me that many times. Don't take things personally, likewise people. I understand it intellectually. But on a felt experience, when I'm in that environment with my partner, or whoever it may be, it just all goes out the window. Something happens internally.
[0:46:23] LW: It's the inner child.
[0:46:25] LL: Yeah.
[0:46:28] LW: Let's talk about yes and no, and the importance of saying yes, and the importance of saying no, and how do you know when it's the right time to say yes, and when is the right time to say no.
[0:46:39] LL: We've all said yes when we meant no. We've all said no when we meant yes. It takes a lot of bravery to say yes when we want to say yes, but we feel like the other person wants us to say no. It takes a lot of bravery to say no, when we want to say yes. I've confused myself, but I think you know where I'm going here, right?
[0:47:02] LW: Yeah. When to say no when the other person really wants you to say yes?
[0:47:04] LL: Yes, that's what I mean. The concept of the book, although I define bravery of speaking your truth and sharing your pain. The concept of the book is really about reconnecting to our humanity, reconnecting to who we are as human beings. With the advent of the Internet, with the advent of TikTok, with the advent of Zoom, with the advent of television, with the advent of all of these things, and the craziness in the news, we have forgotten who we really are.
Everyone wants the same thing, ultimately, to be loved, to be seen, and to live magnificently. Everyone, irrespective of color, irrespective of creed, irrespective of money, et cetera, et cetera. How do you get there? You get there by connecting to humanity, to the good and the bad of your humanity. Because when you are, you are grounded and you know what you are, what you want, where you're going, where you've been. But if we keep being pummeled with outside influences, we are not actually being the true essence of our own humanity. Go Be Brave is really about relearning and revealing how to be a human.
[0:48:28] LW: I love it because it feels so practical. Again, it's not something that you can really argue against because we all want to be brave deep down. But we also have these really important sounding excuses for saying yes to things that we know we have no business involving ourselves in. Just as an example, being in a relationship that you've already realized is toxic, or toxic work dynamic. And you realize, "Oh my God, I'm in the middle of this thing. I thought it was one thing, but turns out it's another thing. I've done enough of the research to see that there are so many red flags, but we live together, but it's paying me well, but my family likes this person." So we have these buts.
How do you overcome those really important sounding excuses to take that leap out of the yes and make the yes and to the no that it should be, or making the no into the yes that it should be? If somebody wants you to do something and you know everything inside of your body is contracted around the outcome of that possibility, and you know you shouldn't do it.
[0:49:38] LL: I'm going to let you into a little secret. You have to promise not to tell anyone. Okay?
[0:49:43] LW: I won't say anything. I can't promise that any of the 1000s of listeners won't say anything.
[0:49:50] LL: The person that wrote Go Be Brave isn't always brave. The person who wrote Go Be Brave doesn't always have courage. There is no perfection. The difference may be between the person who wrote Go Be Brave and some is that I have made a conscious decision to commit to kindness, to commit to bravery, to commit to courage to the best of my ability. There are times where I am aware that I am not doing it, and it doesn't feel good. There are times I'm aware that I do do it. So you have to make a commitment the same way you make a commitment to posting on Instagram, or the same way that you make a commitment to your wife, or to your kids. You make a commitment to become better. Make a commitment to become better, and I promise you, everything will change. But without that commitment, the chances of you becoming better are nil.
[0:50:56] LW: I think another important point to make, as someone who's made what others would consider brave choices in their life, living from a backpack, and giving up my apartment and all that stuff. Is that with that action is going to become periods of loneliness, periods of repetition. Where you're in the humdrum of it, of the process, and things aren't going to be as exciting as they may appear on a Netflix show, or in a book that we write as a result of these experiences.
There are lots of these in-between moments where someone could look at that and go, "Well, maybe I made the wrong twice, because I didn't think it was going to be this." But you have to understand that it's a process, and as much as possible, we want to be process-oriented, be in the process of it and understand the journey itself is the destination as opposed to, always looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
[0:51:49] LL: Yes. Michael Jordan only became Michael Jordan because he never gave up and kept on going. He made a commitment and he went through his own process. Otherwise, if Michael Jordan had woken up one morning and be like, "Oh, you know what, I can't do this anymore." He wouldn't be Michael Jordan.
[0:52:05] LW: Because he got to go through all this practice.
[0:52:06] LL: Yeah. I mean, that's the point. He committed. Commit to whatever it is you want in life, but ultimately at the base, commit to becoming better, whatever that may be. Whether it is through bravery, whether it is through your eating habits, whether it's through exercising, commit to it. Sometimes you'll fail. "Oh. Oh, no. I failed." Well, of course, you're a human being, you will fail, but commit.
[0:52:35] LW: I love it, man. Well, look, it's always a pleasure getting to speak to you both in person and virtually. I'm super excited about this, this work of art being out in the public for people to be able to use to change their life. I'm honored to be able to call you a friend and look forward to the next time we get to hang out.
[0:52:56] LL: Likewise. When you come back to Venice, let me know.
[0:52:58] LW: I will for sure. Thank you so much, sir.
[0:53:01] LL: Likewise. Thank you.
[0:53:05] LW: Thank you so much for listening to my interview with Leon Logothetis. For more inspiration, make sure to find Leon on the socials, @thekindnessguy. Go Be Brave, his most recent book is available everywhere books are sold. Of course, I'll drop links to everything else that Leon and I discussed in the show notes on my website, which is lightwatkins.com/show.
If this is your first time listening to The Light Watkins Show, we've got an incredible archive of interviews with many other luminaries who share how they found their path and their purpose. You can search the interviews by subject matter in case you want to hear only episodes about people who've taken leaps of faith, or people who've overcome financial struggles, or people who've navigated health challenges. You can get a list of all of that at lightwatkins.com/show.
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In the meantime, I look forward to hopefully seeing you back here next week with another story about someone just like me and you taking a leap of faith in the direction of their purpose. Until then, keep trusting your intuition, keep following your heart, keep taking those leaps of faith. If no one's told you recently that they believe in you, I believe in you. Thank you so much and have a great day.