Meaningful growth is hard. In part, because most of us don’t have amazing people to learn from. Grow Big Always is a weekly discussion-oriented podcast where host Sam Lawrence gets to the bottom of the uncomfortable, private, often surprising journeys unusual people have taken to achieve big results. It teaches us exactly how they have created breakthrough businesses, unusual relationships or life-changing transitions. Grow Big Always is an intimate and often funny look at a wide range of people and the irregular way they created something legendary.
This heart-melting lawyer will make you rethink non-traditional love
It’s so easy to cast judgement on other people and their relationships. I know I’ve been guilty. It’s so easy to do. I’m also guilty of feeling like our culture is finally getting more open-minded with recent advancements in LGBT rights and our long war on civil rights. But then I look around the media alone and realize just how divided an polarized everyone still is.
To bridge that gap— truly go to the other side and understand what it’s like for people who don’t fit into your perspective of what love should look like— takes a lot. I might not be easy. The reality is, there are tremendously huge varieties of different kinds of loving relationships besides just married people raising a family. There’s a reason why shows like Modern Family are popular. That platonic, puritanical construct of what marriage and child raising looks like does not map to how the mass population really lives. Not just in the Western culture but around the world.
As you might guess, the legal protection for non-traditional relationships and non-nuclear families is insanely slow to progress. That’s why people like Diana Adams are so important. They dedicate themselves to fight for the rights of folks that may live outside your view. Diane founded her own law firm that’s focused on same-sex couples, non-nuclear relationships and families. She is very, passionately dedicated to helping form healthy, stable families no matter the love construct. Whether that’s co-parenting, polyamorous families, different same sex configurations— there’s all kinds of ways that love and families come together. In this episode, you’ll hear her talk about some very poignant and personal examples.
Hopefully, you get to the same place I did. That love is love and these families deserve the same level of protection the rest of us have.
Big Pharma will fall like Media, Music and Money with Neurohacker’s Jordan Greenhall
I guess I hadn’t stopped to think that one reason why government seems so insane right now is that the “governing” they’re trying to manage across wealthy, huge institutionalized structures like music, media, money, pharma, education, transportation— are fast becoming super-decentralized. All of them are fast evolving due to a tectonic shift in control. In this way, Governments themselves are just another “Woolley Mammoth System” like them. Like it or not, their Ice Age is ending.
We’ve all watched various forms of power-decay impact these systems. Have you stepped back and wondered where all this is headed? That’s not what I anticipated talking about with this week’s guest, Jordan Greenhall. I thought we were going to talk about Nootropics. That’s where we started but Jordan quickly aimed the conversation at the dead center of these trends.
I was first made aware of Jordan and the Neurohacker Collective because some of his folks attended a podcast and dinner party for a show I did with “The Iceman” Wim Hof (co-hosted by author Chris Ryan). Jordan was one of the cofounders of DivX, was at mp3.com and the guy has been dabbling with a massive spectrum of things from philosophy to role-playing games. Most of his interests have come back to the co-evolution of human civilization and technology. Jordan has come to the conclusion that humanity is in the midst of a world historical transition. As he puts it, it’s likely to kill us all (Mad Max) or see us in an amazing future (Star Trek).
Either way, humans are going to need a significant upgrade. That’s what the Neurohacker Collective is focused on. They have a Nootropic called Qualia that’s gotten a lot of buzz (so to speak). I know for sure it felt like my brain got an upgrade and yours will too by the end of this awesome episode.
Why time flies with The New Yorker's Alan Burdick
Experiencing time pass has to be one of the weirdest things. It surrounds everything around us yet is incredibly inconsistent. One moment it’s molasses slow, the next it was like it was never there.
Scientists and philosophers have tried to explain time, how our brain makes it possible, for ions. Did we invent it? How do we all have such a unified experience with time? Is time passing or are we passing time? “Now” is a squirmy thing, the closer you get to it the harder it is to pin down. Time seems to be a sort of creepy mystery quietly packed with discovery and at least for me, it’s something I work hard at slowing way down.
I dared to talk about time with the New Yorker’s Alan Burdick. His book “Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Investigation,” digs into all these things. It’s a beautifully written book that will change the way you think about the past and present. Alan is a staff writer and former senior editor at The New Yorker and a frequent contributor to Elements, the magazine’s science-and-tech blog. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, GQ, Discover, Best American Science and Nature Writing.
Alan and I talk about all things time from some brain-blowing points of view, so be sure to make room for this episode. No doubt, it will fly by.
Why your ancestors had perfect teeth with paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar
Before a lot of expensive orthodontic work, my mouth was an accordion of crowded teeth in the front and impacted teeth in the back. I remember being a kid thinking about having my wisdom teeth extracted and thinking how unnatural it seemed. Honestly, it’s not a topic I spent too much time thinking about after I had all my work done. In fact the entire dental marketplace of corrections, straightening, flossing, brushing, invisaligning, headgearing— really the whole category— is something I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid.
That’s why Peter Ungar’s book, really caught my attention. He’s a professor at the University of Arkansas and he studies the environmental dynamics and anthropological view of teeth over vast stretches of time. The book is, “Evolution’s Bite: The True Story of Teeth, Diet and Human Origins.” It digs into what our ancestors ate, and what their their fossil remains can tell us about their diet and evolution. Not to mention what teeth are like for modern hunter-gatherers compared to ours. Why are they so straight? Why don’t they have the same wisdom teeth problems that we do?
In fact when you look inside the mouths of modern hunter-gatherers and compare it to the inside of our mouths, ours teeth look like pillows compared to a very different landscape inside of theirs. It could just mean that the assumptions about our teeth, their purpose, the way they’re supposed to mature over time is very different then the way we think of them in industrialized society.
How to practice extreme intimacy with Dominatrix-to-the-stars Jenny Nordbak
When you boil it all down, all of us want super intimate relationships. But how do we get there? Especially with our loved ones. There’s not much to model from. Hard to learn from your parents. It’s not like there’s a class in school on how to have intimate relationships or even what to look for. Really, there’s not any kind of guidance. We’re all grasping at straws, feeling our way without much of a map.
And when you live in our culture, there’s some pretty strict rules about what relationships look like. We’re either watching movies like “Love Actually,” where a guy shows up holding poster-board that says “to me, you’re perfect” or we’re watching hardcore porn of people’s junk. When it comes to intimacy, there’s two types of trained professionals that people pay to get help. Either you’re droning on to a shrink about your problems or you might have some specific sexualized fantasies that you need to exercise. For that, you might turn to a Dominatrix.
I wanted to have a conversation about intimacy and the different creative frameworks we can use to get there with Jenny Nordbak. The has a new book out called, “The Scarlet Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an LA Dungeon.” Jenny had an alter-ego while she worked in Healthcare Construction. At night she was “Scarlett,” a Dominatrix. She was living a double-life, exploring all the different edges and tools meant to help unlock various gates on the way to deeper and deeper intimacy.
She did this across age ranges, genders and celebrity-statuses (her book mentions some very high-profile people came to see her in L.A.). It all took a serious turn one day when she found her Boyfriend’s phone, but I’ll let her tell you that story.
So what does intimacy look like from someone who has tried every flavor out there? What chapter comes next? And what can we learn as we engage with our spouse? Hopefully, we all end up with what Jenny did: The kind of addictive intimacy that only available to people willing to risk it all.
Free-range vs. institutionally-schooled kids with unschooling advocate Dayna Martin
For those of you following this is my second time raising a family. I have two sons in or near college and a two year old. Every since my two year old was born, I’ve watched my wife continually blown away at how critical, cookie-cutter and unnatural our society is in contrast with our perfect little boy. The good news is, I’m married to someone willing to do things "our way" vs following society's convention.
One day, April pointed out "Unschooling" as a topic and Dayna Martin as a guest. Obviously, I had heard of schooling and home-schooling, but what was unschooling? Once I learned more, it mapped to a convo April and I had on a road trip: We chatted about how our standardized education system resulted in standardized ideas and people. How that standardization creates followers that mindlessly take their place in a broken operating system. We wondered what someone would be like who was never squeezed through that Play-dough "education" template.
Dayna Martin has four children ranging in age from 9yrs -18yrs old and all of them have been unschooled. They’ve never attended ANY school or institutionalized education program. Dayna has become an activist for the unschooling movement, in fact her book, “Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun,” was a launching pad that landed her on Dr. Phil, CNN, Nightline, 60 Minutes, The Jeff Probst Show, Wife Swap and yes, even Oprah.
It’s hard to imagine the bravery of deciding not to do what everybody else is doing. Can you imagine not sending your kids to school? The commitment? Having people at the grocery store ask you what grade they’re in? You’d have to constantly have to explain to everyone while they all talked behind your back. Those are the topics perfect for this show.
When I told April I was super excited, she smartly pointed out that I started this podcast exactly for the same unschooling reason: I “received” an eduction, “climbed” a corporate ladder and in the end felt like I had been through the cookie cutter and wanted to learn on my own. Now, I am unschooling myself. :)
This is a critical podcast. It will completely change the way you think about parenting, the education system, about what result can happen when you raise a child based on their own interests and facilitate their own natural curiosity as they grow. As you’ll hear in this show, the results extend beyond your kids and dramatically affect your own growth as a person.
Positive and inspiring
The guests are always interesting and Sam Lawrence is engaged, guileless, and insightful. He brings a good amount of his personal experience into the conversation, which I like, and I feel as though I've gradually grown to know him. I wish all the interviewees got his sense of humor, but maybe some subtlety is lost on the phone. He's hilarious!
I also wish the format were a little longer, just because I want to hear more!
Insight interviews with the accomplished and influential
Sam does a great job of sourcing guests and provides an engaging and lively discussion worth listening to every time. Thanks.