Dec. 14, 2022

Good Ideas Can Come From Anywhere with Scott Kaplan

Good Ideas Can Come From Anywhere with Scott Kaplan

Bagel invites friend and former guest, Scott Kaplan, back to the show to reflect on two previous episodes from Season 2 – interviews with Jen Rao & Chris Montero – in order to explore how good ideas can come from anywhere.

In this episode, we cover:

  1. How staying open and curious allows you to pull good ideas from anywhere
  2. The concept of "Closing the Gap" for personal growth
  3. Why simplifying & refining your life can ultimately lead to clarity, happiness, and fulfillment
  4. Embracing growth & change, especially when it comes to values & ideals


You can read the full show notes, transcription, guest bio, and more for this episode at: :


Have a comment or suggestion for the show? Leave us a voice message or email us at


Mentioned in this Episode:

  1. Sunsama (Affiliate link)
  2. fyt
  3. Live Your Values Podcast
  4. LYV on Facebook
  5. LYV on Instagram
  6. LYV on Twitter

 [00:00:00] Bagel: Have you ever listened to an episode of Live Your Values and thought, man, I strongly disagree with that statement. Or had a deep reflection to an overlay, or even a eureka moment. 

Well, if you didn't know, you can leave us a voicemail and share your thoughts with us. We'd love to hear if something or someone resonates with you. Whether it's a reflection of your own values or if you've been able to apply something that you've picked up from our conversations here at LYV. Just go to the episode description in your podcast player and click the link to leave us a voice message. You can also reach us at If writing is more your jam. 

Speaking of reactions, this week on LYV I invited friend and former guest, Scott Kaplan back to the show to reflect on two previous episodes from earlier this season: interviews with Jen Rao and Chris Montero. In order to explore how good ideas can come from anywhere.

In this episode, we cover how staying open and curious allows you to pull good ideas from anywhere, the concept of closing the gap for personal growth, why simplifying and refining your life can ultimately lead to clarity, happiness, and fulfillment, and embracing growth and change, especially when it comes to values and ideals.

We'd love to hear what you think of this new format. Start the conversation with us on social @lyvshow on Facebook and Instagram. That's @lyvshow or @lyv_values on Twitter. Let's dive into this week's reactions episode with our friend Scott Kaplan.

​ So when I saw the topic of the episode, like alternative living, I was like, I'm gonna listen to this But I don't think this is gonna be an episode for me. I enjoy living in a city. I enjoy the standard living. know, I don't like camping. I'll go hiking. I don't like camping. 

[00:01:57] Bagel: You're more of an indoor kind of guy when it comes to the dwelling.

[00:02:01] Kaplan: Yeah, I need to sleep inside on a mattress in air conditioning. I went into it kind of not expecting to get much out, and then there was a ton of ideas that I was like, Oh, that's a great idea. Oh, that, that connects to this idea. That's really cool. And I something that I always try to embrace is that good ideas can come from anywhere. So, I didn't expect to get much out of this, but I was open to it and I did get something out of it. A great example is when I was pledging our fraternity and we had a pledge brother who had a reputation for saying kind of not the most intelligent stuff. Very smart guy. He just, you know, he would say some silly things. He had the answer to a pledge challenge we had, and because we had said, No, you don't have good ideas, you don't have good ideas, he didn't bring it up.

[00:02:43] Kaplan: He had the answer like, good ideas can come from anywhere and you have to stay open to that.

[00:02:47] Bagel: Yeah, it's so true. I I can't remember if it was Jen's episode. It was one of them recently where I said like, I hope at the beginning I was like, I hope you can approach this with openness and curiosity What stirred up ideas as you were listening to her interview?

[00:03:02] Kaplan: she said how in the town she's living in, a fixer upper house was a million dollars. And just a few years ago, no one wanted to live there. So the idea of go do what you want, and if money comes with fine, but as long as happiness comes with it, like she's just doing what she wants and she ends up in this town, that's blowing up like in a good way.

Little things like that. There were also just like connections, like a common theme I saw with hers is another common idea with me is closing the gap. So like for me, I call it closing the gap. She doesn't call it that, but the idea of, there's who you are and who you want to be.

[00:03:38] Kaplan: There's where you are and where you want to be, and you can work towards closing the gap. But then once you get there, you're gonna have a new perspective of what else can I close or how else can I change this? And like, you know, she mentioned experimenting with life. Uh, That was like early on she was just like, We should, you should just experiment with like, try things out, see how it falls.

 When she was renovating her, truck or her rig, I think she called it, 

[00:04:02] Bagel: Yeah. 

[00:04:03] Kaplan: The active renovation, but she loved seeing the transformation. It was like she knew she had to work towards closing this so that she could get to where she wanted to be.

But then once she had it, like a, a desk ended up being a big deal to her. She never thought a desk would be something she wanted. Or, you know, when she first got into the van, one of the things she wanted to do was get away from modern luxuries.but then once she was in the van not having a shower, like a modern luxury of a shower, she was like, Oh my God, I do need this.

So like, once she was closing the gap of what she wanted, she started to see, okay, here's how I can continue to improve to get to the next place that I want to be. So some of it was,know, she got there and she realized she wanted something more different. That first van led to, she needed a bigger rig.

 Some of it was she got there and she was content. She stayed in British Columbia for longer than expected cuz she likes the town. And then, like I said, the shower, sometimes you get there and you realize actually this isn't really what I wanted or I wanted it different. And like all of those are okay, but just keep working to close the gap of what you think you want or who you think you want to be.

[00:05:08] Kaplan: And then you'll get a better idea of where your direction is going.

[00:05:12] Bagel: Yeah. I love that. It really goes along the lines of a little bit of what we talked about with Ancona at the end of the first season of just starting and getting feedback. And it's sometimes it's not feedback from a person, it's feedback from your environment and from yourself. Like you said, Jen took that, her and her husband just took that leap and said, we're gonna do this van thing and you know, they realized like, we miss having an actual toilet. And so they did the house, you know, stay thing where they would watch somebody's house so that they at least had periods where they could be in a home and have two toilets and a shower and those basic necessities. But it, it is also funny, I can't remember at what point she said it, but she was like, yeah, when my tap just turns on, I get bored.

And that one idea resonated with me so much. I've grown to like my domestic life a whole lot more than I did, you know, six years ago when I took my big trip. But I remember at that time I was like, yeah, like I wanna find ways to make life a little bit more challenging, but because I want to appreciate things more and I wanna simplify things .And I want to be a little bit more in touch with like, nature and, and see what's out there in our country and that sort of thing.

So it resonated with me when she said that. But I like what you said about closing the gap of continuing to refine. And I think it often starts with simplifying. That's what I'm connecting what you just said to the ideas that Jen talked about is like they were already living in a small house and then they downsized and simplified and decluttered to get into a van. And then they started to like build back up into that bigger fifth wheel rig where they needed a desk and the deck and all these little things that they started to add back in because they were able to kind of push every thing aside and have a little bit more clarity of what they truly needed.

And I think that's, to me, that's like the most respectable thing that I got out of her story.

[00:07:11] Kaplan: Yeah, I think that was it. It always makes sense, like when there's too much clutter, like even in your life, not just like physical clutter, but just like people or too many things to do. You don't see what's important. So when you can cut those out, you start to see this is what matters to me. This is what I actually care about.

[00:07:29] Bagel: Yeah.

[00:07:30] Kaplan: I wanted to know, since we got on a downsizing, like what was your experience when you had to downsize for your road trip? Like did you have your parents' house where you could just dump all your stuff that you didn't need? Did you try to really just downsize to only own what could fit in your car? What did, what did that look like for you?

[00:07:48] Bagel: Yeah, great question. And just for context, cuz I think I've shared this like little bits and pieces, but for anyone who's listening to this. So I did a, a big cross country road trip in 2016 on the road for about eight months, just in my little Mazda three. So that's kind of the backdrop for what Kaplan just asked.

 I made the decision to leave Wilmington, North Carolina, but I decided to move home first for those four months. Like when I say home, back to my parents' house for four months or so to save up a little bit more money before I started the trip. And so I had the luxury of, well, before even I did that, I got really lucky.

[00:08:27] Bagel: And the people moving into the house that I lived in in Wilmington bought most of my furniture from me. So that was really easy. And then anything I did have, I packed up and moved into my parents' basement. Most of which is still there, . And I've been asked a few times in the last few years to maybe start cleaning that out.

But yeah, so I got, I had that, you know, luxury of keeping stuff in the basement. And then I remember as I was getting closer to the date that I had picked to leave for the trip, which was April 23rd. The week or two before I started to actually like practice packing my trunk and figuring out what could fit, what do I really need. As usual, like everybody, I packed too many things that I didn't need. But it worked, and for the most part it fit most of the stuff fit in the trunk.

[00:09:12] Bagel: I had a few things that needed to go in the backseat, which ended up hurting me later in Vancouver when my car got broken into and things visible. But yeah, Now that you're back living in North Carolina when you ended that trip, obviously you've left some of the stuff at your parents' house cuz they're asking you to get rid of 


[00:09:32] Kaplan: Have you, Did you have to downsize again to figure out, okay, well now I'm not on a road trip. I don't need these things, but here's what I will need.

Did you have to do another, a similar thing when you got for that move?

Yeah. were you already lighting up on your feet that you kind of started anew?

[00:09:48] Bagel: Yeah, I was, pretty light on my feet. I mean, you know, I sort of joked about it, but half my stuff got stolen outta my car in Vancouver and not like I had a lot of stuff and I didn't, luckily I didn't have like a lot of valuables other than, you know, laptop and a few things like that. I lost a bunch of clothes.

I lost some camping gear, you know, there's some things like that. By the time I finished the trip and Emma and I decided to, you know, temporarily see if we wanted to live together when I moved to Charlotte. And then after a month or so we kind of just committed to to it and living together. And she had a fully furnished apartment already, so I didn't really need to add too much to that, which is why all that stuff is still in my parents' basement cause I haven't needed it.

So, to answer your question, I actually started to kind of build back up. At that point, once I moved to Charlotte and we've gone through like a little bit of decluttering over the last year here in the house that we live in now. And it has felt really, really good to get rid of stuff that clearly we don't need and don't touch and don't ever think about.

So, even just a simple example of like, you know, occasionally we'll go through some stuff that we want to get rid of or donate or, you know, Goodwill or there's like a local group of people who you can like post on Facebook and they'll come and grab something if they want. And all that stuff was just sitting here in my office, like right in my view from where I sit.

And I felt for those like, and it was my responsibility to like get rid of that stuff. And for that, that month or two, that that stuff was just sitting there, I felt like my mind was cluttered. Like I just couldn't ever feel like I could think straight because I was just seeing this physical mess in front of me.

And finally, once I got rid of all that stuff, it just literally felt like everything just opened up and it's amazing how that can happen just by decluttering your stuff.

 I was just gonna ask for you, cause I know, I know you tend to be a little bit more on the minimalist side. You know, like with physical things it, it's as far as I can tell.

[00:11:54] Bagel: So what, what does it look like for you? Cause I know you've moved around a bit from New York to Delaware now to Philly over the last couple years.

[00:12:01] Kaplan: Yeah, so I, I do end up hoarding a little bit. Like few boxes where I have trouble, you know, the sentimental stuff where I just, maybe I'll never look at it again, but I wanted to keep it.I had one big, when I a year or two outta college, I moved to Florida. Moving into a fully furnished house and just took what could fit in my car.

Kind of did the same thing as you where I put stuff in my mom's basement. Stored that for 10 plus years, and took, you know, got rid of most of my stuff, which was, it really is a freeing feeling. But my mom just recently moved out of the house that I grew up in, into a one bedroom apartment, where she loves it.

[00:12:37] Kaplan: She's very happy there. I just got off talk to her yesterday and she was raving about this complex. 

[00:12:41] Bagel: Nice. That's 

[00:12:43] Kaplan: this was a really, I had to help her move from a four bedroom house where a five person family spent 35 years to or one bedroom apartment. And this was a really interesting experience cuz I had to go through all the stuff that I had left in her basement.

And I downsized all of my childhood memories into two bankers boxes. I have a good memory of my childhood now and all the stuff that I was like, I don't even know where this is from. Like, I, I don't care about my fourth grade report card. That doesn't add anything to me. I got straight A's, I knew that already.

[00:13:10] Bagel: There you go.

[00:13:11] Kaplan: But then also going through things that mattered to my dad, you know, he passed away. Do you throw out something that mattered to him? Do you give something away? We found people who, you know, my father's friends who loved, like someone got his accordion that he had had for 40 years. None of us play it. It was just sitting in the basement and taking up space. So,uh, this musician that we know gave it to him and just going through all these things, that was literally my life. And it wasn't just my life. It was my family's life was hard. It was, it was exhausting. You know, we took probably a good couple months to go through everything.

At least couple months, but, you know, there's nothing that we got rid of that my mom, myself, or my brother, are like, Oh, we shouldn't have gotten rid of that. You know, we, everything was a good choice and it, it really was a full house worth of stuff that no one was using. I, I really liked how Jen said, you know, everyone should do this at least once in your life.

And it, I couldn't agree more. I've done it twice well, one and a half times, and it really is cleansing to the soul as much as it is to the space.

[00:14:17] Bagel: Yeah, that's, that's really cool to hear. And, and it's hard, I mean, maybe for some people more than others. If, if you're more sentimental or maybe struggle with, like, making decisions. I know that that can be a tough thing for certain people. Like there's some people in my family, I'm not gonna name them by names, but they really have trouble with that.

And, you know, to look at a pile of stuff or a pile of boxes and feeling like, well, there's may, there's a reason why I kept it before. So there must be one now. And sometimes that can contribute to the feeling of almost like guilt. Like, oh, well I am I disrespecting the person who this belonged to, whether it's a family member or whatever, if I get rid of it.

And the reality of all of it is like, once in your hands, it's your choice. You know? Not to oversimplify it, but like that really is what it comes down to. Like you can choose whether to give that thing meaning or not, or to take that meaning away like a report card that you clearly knew what, that you got straight A's.

You're like, yeah, I don't, I don't need a piece of paper to tell me that when I was 11, nine years old, whatever it was.

[00:15:21] Kaplan: Yeah, I was gonna say one thing that Jen said that I do think can be very helpful if you are. At least it helped when I was working with my mom to get clean up the house. What she had mentioned, sometimes she'll just focus on one space with the client. she went into like a closet that was too full.

And so when my mom was trying to think of how to downsize, she was seeing the whole house. So when my brother and I came in, we said, Let's just look at this one room. Let's just look at the closet of this one room. Okay, we got rid of it, we got that closet done. Let's go through this dresser. And just breaking it down into smaller parts makes it so much more digestible that, and you know, it, it's daunting to see the whole thing. So simplifying it to a smaller task makes it much easier to accomplish.

[00:16:04] Bagel: Yeah, I think that's great advice. Cuz yeah, it doesn't really matter how big of a house you have, if you're gonna try to tackle that whole thing, it's, it's gonna feel like way too much for you to handle. So I love that approach.

[00:16:18] Kaplan: I have a question for you. Since you've done quite a few interviews at this point,Did you notice with Jen's interview any either common ideas with other people you've talked to or any broader live your values, ideas that she covered?

[00:16:35] Bagel: Yeah, just to kind of recap a few, being intentional about the life that you really wanna live. Like, like we talked about, her decision with her husband to downsize, to get. For actually even before that, her decision to get out of the corporate job where she was not only working 40 to 60 hours, but being stuck in like hours of commute every single day.

 I'm sure she had that story down, like she's probably told it many times, but it was so apparent that that traffic thing is what put her over the edge. I mean, it was like so, so clear that she was like, I don't wanna spend five days a week stuck in traffic. And it almost felt like that was the thing that just pushed her and said, nuh, I want a different life and I'm gonna, I'm gonna go pursue what I really want.

So that just tells me that sometimes we don't know what that triggers is gonna be. It was sort of like the, the last straw, you know, that, that might just push us over the edge to, to make a decision. I go back to, of course I'm gonna screw up the saying cuz I always do. But, there's something about, you know, change happens when the pain of not making the change you know, overcomes the pain of making it sort of thing. Hopefully I said that right. you probably get it though. and I feel like that's, that's often the case when we're making a big change in our lives. Like career or relationship that is clearly not working out or, you know, some, something big. We usually have a lot of hesitation. And I think when you start to realize that that pain of not making that change is, is becoming too much to handle. That's usually when you tip over the edge and, and you go for it. And the more you do that, like the more you pay attention to your gut and what it's telling you and that maybe you're ready to make a change a little bit more quickly, hopefully you learn from that experience.

[00:18:26] Bagel: I would say that that was probably one of the biggest takeaways and just the fact that it sounds like her and her husband are just adventurous people. And it sounds like they just would not be satisfied and would not be fulfilled of living the more traditional life that most of us think we're supposed to do.

And I just thought that was cool. It's just a different way of living and I just think it's really cool for other people to hear that that's possible. And, I was glad that I brought her on so that she could share that message too. 

[00:18:53] Kaplan: Absolutely. Yeah. I have the two words I think she used written down was alignment, which I think is like, that's kind of what live your values is all about, is aligning your life with your values. And then the other word was uplevel And it's, this is all what you just described, but then once you align your values, you can up level your life and improve it to be more of what you want it to be.

So that's kind of the two words that I hooked on and I was like, this is live your values to a t.

[00:19:21] Bagel: Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. 

so I just think it, when we're talking about alignment, she had mentioned, that it was her dream job. It was like the perfect corporate job. So before she had worked in the corporate world, she pictured, and this kind of goes back to alignment and closing the gap, but she thought what she wanted was this perfect corporate gig.

[00:19:40] Kaplan: It fit her so well, and then once she was in it, it wasn't what she wanted. and that, that really stuck out to me that I think she used the term dream job or perfect job. I forget exactly what she said, but that then it wasn't her dream to do that anymore.

[00:19:54] Bagel: Hmm. Yeah. I mean that probably I would imagine might resonate with some people listening right now. Like, you know, how hard did you work to get to something and then realize that's not what you wanted and are, are you in denial about it? I mean, I think we've all experienced that where you like, even if it's just making a purchase. Like buying something that you're like, that's gonna make me happy. And then you get it and you're like, you like it for a week, and you're like, all right, I'm back to my normal life. Whether it's like a phone or you know, whatever. Just a stupid example. But yeah, that's, I mean, that's really interesting and, and also how much of that is maybe temporarily fulfilling you, right?

Like maybe it was her dream job at first, like working for a coffee shop that was all about, you know, ethical practices and sustainability and she was working with a great team and maybe a lot of that was really fulfilling a need that she had at first, but maybe then some of the costs of doing that job that she talked about of the long hours and the corporate culture and the traffic and all that other stuff maybe started to seep in more.

[00:21:08] Kaplan: Yeah, I think you 

people also just grow sometimes. Hopefully we're growing all the time, but so something you wanted one year ago, two years ago, five years ago. It's not even that you realize that this isn't exactly what you wanna do, but these just aren't your priorities anymore.

[00:21:23] Bagel: Totally. I was, yeah, I was just thinking too, priorities definitely shift. You could look at things very, pessimistically and say, well, what, what's the point of doing any of these things if I'm not gonna, like, really wanna do them for long? But I would argue the opposite. Like, you've gotta go and pursue the things that you think you want in the moment so that you can figure out what that next stage is,

[00:21:44] Kaplan: there's a saying in sports, and I'm, I'm probably gonna mess this up too, uh, where failure isn't permanent, but success isn't forever. It might be flipped the other way, but the idea that's like if you fail, you can still fix it next time. And if you're successful doesn't mean that's success forever.

So, you know, if you change your mind, success can turn into, well, this isn't What I measure success.

[00:22:07] Bagel: Yeah. Yeah. I love it. We're gonna have to go find the actual quotes for these things that we're sharing, cuz we've probably been butchering them.


the only other line that I had highlighted, and this kind of touched into something Chris talked about too, was, she said that you, you asked her how she recharges, I think, and she said she recharged by allowing herself to work less. And that's something that is like, I think most people have trouble with.

You know, we, that a lot of America has the grind culture, where it's work 60, 70 80 hours a week to climb the corporate ladder or to get what you want. And just having the self-awareness that that's wearing on her that she needed to give herself permission to work less was like a very self-aware step to improving herself.

[00:23:00] Kaplan: And it kind of made me think of in Chris's episode where he talked about how the, the two hour lunch, everyone just stops working for two hours. That as a culture they understand we need a break, we need to make sure that we can work for a longer period of like, in a long length in time rather than all at once.

And I just think that's something that everyone should really be aware of is, are you giving yourself the time to recharge?

[00:23:29] Bagel: Yeah, that's so true. I, I definitely agree that it was very self-aware of Jen to realize that and to take the time to think about what would really help her, you know, live a little bit more aligned and a little bit more simply. And what will really allow her to keep living the life that she wants and that part of that is to be able to work less.

I think that was really insightful. And then, yeah, for, for Chris and his example of, you know, culture that he grew up in, in Venezuela and a lot of Latin American culture and Spanish culture of, you know, taking the siesta and doing the, the midday lunch. And it's all about quality time with, with family and the close ones.

And, you know, intentionally carving that time out every day where it's not a, it's not an option, it's part of life. yeah, we could use a little bit of that in the, in the US I feel like, I don't know if that'll ever happen as a norm maybe, but it's pretty cool.

[00:24:28] Kaplan: Yeah, agreed. was there anything else about on Jen's that you wanted to share?

 She said she wanted to do a West Coast trip one day and it was like a, just a comment in passing. But I found it really interesting that she's literally living in a vehicle where she can go anywhere, but this thing that she wants to do someday is more of a future goal rather than like, Oh, I have to do it right now.

Like, there's nothing stopping her from going right now and doing this thing she wants to do one day. I thought, well, why don't you just go do it? But at the same time, what's the rush? If you're happy with where you were? it, This is one comment in passing that my brain got stuck on and was like, Well, it could go either way.

[00:25:06] Kaplan: Like, why aren't you doing it? But why does it have to be something other than one day? We all need something to look forward to. So maybe that's just what she's keeping as a future goal so that she has something to work towards.

[00:25:18] Bagel: Yeah. Super interesting. So the idea that you wanna have things to look forward to. That resonates deeply with me. As I've been navigating the mental health challenges over the year of, I, I noticed that when I come back from a trip. Or, you know, at the end of a, a fun experience or weekend, that's usually when I start to get a little bit down. And if I don't have something in place to look forward to, you know, as like a next thing, whether it's in the next week or a couple weeks, that's when I tend to like dip.

And I wonder, you know, what's the balance for people? I'm sure it looks different for everybody. How much do you want to have things in place to look forward to in the next week, months, year, versus just going for it. And like saying, yeah, with something we wanna do. So we're gonna make it happen like as soon as possible.

[00:26:12] Bagel: And I think that that looks different for someone like Jen who's got more flexibility where their home is their vehicle and they can literally, you know, drive somewhere new if they really want to, you know, in, in almost an instant. So, I don't know. That's, that's an interesting one. What, what do you think, what are your thoughts on what, what does that balance look like for you?

[00:26:34] Kaplan: I think it's, it's a very individual thing. You know what one person's need to act immediately isn't gonna be the same as someone else's. It kind of reminds me of in fitness you have your micro, mezzo and macro cycle. So it's like what are your short-term goals? What are your middle goals? What are your long-term goals?

But you always should have those three things. So once you get through your shortest cycle, you're gonna start a new short term cycle. But that might alter what that long term goal is. So maybe you just always need that long term benchmark to keep yourself going. A West Coast trip is like a very finite thing that you might not have to work up to, but extrapolating out, just not that one thing. Having that long term goal is important, but also making those short term actions is also important.

[00:27:21] Bagel: Now you're gonna get me on a tangent, but don't let me forget to come back to Jen. Do you have those kinds of goals for yourself in life or for fitness or, or all of the above? The micro, mezzo, macro.

 I'm I'm in a transitional part of life right now. Let go from a job and I've just really been enjoying exploring my own brain, my own And so right now I'm kind of formulating up the direction I want to go. My greatest joy right now is walking 15 miles a day, just throwing on different podcasts and just like exploring Philadelphia.

[00:27:57] Kaplan: And I'm enjoying that so much. I don't, I'm not really thinking beyond that. Which is kind of not my norm. I mean, I'm always kind of thinking about what's coming next and right now. I'll have to find a job soon, but I'm not in any rush. So at this point, no, I don't.

[00:28:14] Bagel: Yeah, that, that's awesome. 15 miles a day. Is that like consistent?

I mean, sometimes it's a little less. I've, I've crossed the 20 mile a couple times.And it's not always in one, you know, I might do 10 miles in the morning and then five or 10 miles later. Butuh, I didn't start walking that far. I just, you know, worked my way up. I guess that's maybe a goal. Yesterday I walked to all the way down to the stadiums and back, which was something I'd wanted to do. So that was a short term goal. 

[00:28:38] Bagel: Yeah.

[00:28:39] Kaplan: but, no. Yeah, just, no,

[00:28:41] Bagel: And that's not, and that's not around the corner. I mean, you're in what, Northern 

[00:28:44] Kaplan: Yeah, it's, I, I think the Route I took it was about 14 and a half miles round trip,

[00:28:50] Bagel: Man. Okay.

[00:28:52] Kaplan: Yeah, listened to your Bagel Bite from that was released yesterday. but, you know, throw on some comedy,podcasts and politics, podcasts and just kind of hear what other people are doing.

How about you? Any, any, short term, middle term, long term goals?

[00:29:05] Bagel: Yeah. I, I knew you would turn that around on me too. I should have been prepared. . you know, I, I struggle with this. It's not gonna be new to people who know me that are listening. I get energy from setting goals, and I, I love checking things off the list and completing stuff. But for whatever reason, that messy middle is what I've been calling it, is just so difficult for me.

it's like distilling it down into actual, like, attainable goals. You know, things that are more chunked down. That's probably where I could focus more on, if that makes sense. So like, Beginning of the year, I might, set some goals for work and for the podcast and for my business and some personal stuff. But I sort of tend to forget about them, like probably like a lot of people.

And what I've been doing a little bit better job of lately is at least I'm using a new app to help me with focus and time blocking and actually like staying on task, doing one thing at a time. And one of the exercises that the app kind of integrates is doing like a weekly planning thing. So at the beginning of the week I've been getting in the habit of like setting some objectives for the week and then I can actually connect.

[00:30:20] Bagel: The tasks that I'm putting in there to the objectives. So I can actually see at the end of the week how much time did I spend doing things that related to the objectives that I set. And that's been eye-opening because it's been less than 25% on average . Basically, long story short, it's not like I'm filling my time with stuff that doesn't matter. I'm just doing like my job, like I'm just getting stuff done that I need to get done, responding to emails, like, you know, that kind of stuff.

Whereas the bigger goals that I'm working on, you know, it, it seems like not as much time is going every week towards actually accomplishing those bigger rocks. So to speak, but honestly, I don't know that I can, I, I might be able to tweak that a little bit, but I don't know that I'm, that that's gonna change drastically.

It's not gonna be the other way around anytime soon, where like 75% of my time is going to these, like, bigger things. Because those bigger things are often loftier goals, you know? And so it's gonna, it's more of a long game. It's like a little bit every week to eventually get those things where I want them to be. 

[00:31:27] Kaplan: That's kind of your, those longer term goals are like your West Coast trip where you might not get 'em done right away, but they give you something to look forward to.

[00:31:35] Bagel: Yes,


[00:31:37] Kaplan: finish this West Coast trip story.

[00:31:38] Bagel: Yeah. So Jen, just emailed me last week, right around the time that we released her episode. And she sent me all these pictures.

They did an a month long trip down the coast of Oregon, just recently. They spent a whole month, like literally just going town to town along the Oregon coast, you know, at all these beach towns that the terrain is like rocky beaches out there.

But it looks like they had an absolute blast and she was just like, it was so, so amazing. Something we, you know, she had said in the episode that they were wanting to do some sort of West coast trip and she did this trip in, in Oregon. And so it was really cool to, to see that that actually got fulfilled, you know, just a year later.

[00:32:21] Kaplan: very Right. Cool.

 (Need a transition overlay to intro Chris's episode) 

[00:32:22] Kaplan: You know, after you asked about trying to do areaction episode,

Chris's was interesting. I mean, the whole idea was code switching. And that's something that in our current social political climate, I've always heard that as a negative. That people are forced to fit in with like the standard straight, white male way of talking. And, I found it interesting like the, when they're not at work, they're speaking how they would normally speak to friends but when they're at work, they have to fit in and it's, it's like, well, why can't work? Come to me, like, why does it have to be one way? And I not in any way putting that perspective down, I, I, I maybe don't fully understand where they're coming from, although,you know, I sometimes, somewhat I do. But to hear it from a perspective of this isn't a negative, this is a positive, this is how you cultivate more relationships with people outside of your immediate circle.

This is how you try to understand where other people are coming from. It a really interesting way to present it. 

And I, I had never really thought of it before, but when I was growing up, whenever my mom would be around me when I was with my friends, she would always say, You're showing off. And I was like, I'm not showing off mom.

Like, this is how I act with my friends. I'm showing off and I'm with you acting all polite. And it clicked in my head that even as a kid, I was code switching, you know, with my friends, I would act 

one way With my mom, I would act another way. And, so we're all probably doing this thing, but how aware of it are we and are you using it to your benefit?

[00:33:57] Bagel: Yeah, as I was listening back to the episode, I had a lot of similar thoughts where I was like, I tend to code switch a lot, I'm a bit of a chameleon. And so I tend to adopt, you know, and mirror people's behaviors and, and language and all that kind of stuff based on who I'm talking to, which has its benefits, but it also has a lot of drawbacks.

And one of the things that I think is difficult, is sometimes like not knowing your own voice. Like not really knowing, who are you by yourself without that external influence. And I mean, I'm just speaking personally, it's something I struggle with. I'm sure maybe there's some other people who identify with that.

Now, what I, what I don't have experience with to the level that Chris does, of course, is what it's like to, you know, have different color skin and to come from a different culture and to have an accent and these other factors that you have to be a little bit more conscious of when you're in new environments and how people might react to that.

I just thought, you know, him describing different experiences, but talking about that difference of acculturation and assimilation and what those really look like. I thought that was really eye opening. I thought it was, it was funny when I listened back, I don't know if you had a reaction to this, he kind of joked about, you know, the, almost feel like he said like, the only time it's okay to assimilate is like if you're going for like a $300,000 a year job at Google or whatever. And he is like, by all means, like, assimilate as much as you need to.

And when I went back to it and listen, I was like, oh, but I, I don't know if I would agree with that and, I think it maybe was sort of off the cuff and maybe a, a little bit joking. And at the same time, like that might be okay with some people, right? Like if they make that choice like that, they're gonna just not necessarily change all of who they are, but if they're gonna make the effort to assimilate a little bit more because they really want a certain opportunity.

 You can't really fault them. Right. I mean, I think it's like, that's a choice that you can make. It'd be nice if we lived in a world where everybody was accepted for exactly who they are. But that's idealistic and not practical. But that was the only thing that I listened back to and I noticed, but there was just so much good insight and like helping see things from different perspectives that came out of that interview for me.

 I'm glad you said assimilate cuz that was something, that was a word where get, I guess I, I haven't been using it right. And when I think back, like growing up when I would watch Star Trek, there was the board and they would say like, you will be assimilated. That meant you lose all of yourself and you become one of them.

wasn't, I was using it wrong, but I kind of always, I think I was thinking of a acculturation when instead of assimilation, you know, my grandparents spoke Yiddish. So the common English words that are actually Yiddish words, like klutz or, what's another one? There's so many of them. 

[00:36:53] Bagel: Like 

[00:36:54] Kaplan: As, that's not as common. I kind of always thought that was Jews assimilating into American culture. That was more of acculturation where we were bringing parts of how we spoke in. but I've Always been kind of fascinated. Another term that you hear a lot with parts of our society aren't doing well is appropriation, right?

Where we're just taking it from you. And so the idea of being able to define like what actually is appropriation, what is assimilation, what is a acculturation, what's appreciation? Yeah, there's some alliteration there with some rhyming that maybe that's why it sticks in my head. But I, I wish there was a, a better way we could recognize what's what.

Cause I think except for appropriation, the other three all have benefits. And maybe assimilation not so much, but like appreciation and acculturation, there's some good benefits there. So how do we make sure that we're not misinterpreting, even if it just comes down to intent. Like what, what are we using? What is happening here?

[00:37:52] Bagel: Yeah, that's really interesting. And it's funny that they all start with a. So to me, as you were saying that, I was thinking assimilation and acculturation, what the two terms that Chris talked about. Those are how you are showing up in the world or in your environment.

I think the other two things you are talking about that you added in appreciation and appropriation are actually how others are reacting or seeing your experience. Do you see it that way? Cuz it's, it almost feels like it's the, not that they're opposing, but it almost feels like it's the two sides, right?

It's like, how do I show up and present myself? And then how is that received, 

Yeah, I see what you're They all work together, right? So acculturating into a society like the, I think that's a great example of, you know, Yiddish words that folks brought over to the US when they came here. That may have been met with appreciation. Like, oh, that's, that's fun. And can we use those words as well?

Is it something that, especially a lot of the food words, probably got really, you know, used in, in the culture like New York City for example. But then appropriation. I mean, there's countless examples of that in our society. And obviously for the most part, I feel like it's pretty negative and in some cases, like pretty, disrespectful.

it feels like it's in response to like how folks are trying to assimilate and acculturate into that environment.

[00:39:20] Kaplan: Yeah. Cause I always kind of looked at, like Elvis as like the, the biggest appropriator from a musical sense, right? he, He's literally stole songs, like didn't give them royalties, didn't pay them for it. And then I watched the new Elvis movie. And obviously this where they're probably gonna paint 'em in the best light, but like his childhood was surrounded by that music.

He was brought up with the music, he was very inspired by the music. So he appropriated by like actually stealing songs. But was that from a sense of appreciation? That's kind of what the movie made it feel like. 

[00:39:56] Bagel: And that is interesting cuz where's the line of what's accepted and respectful? Versus the, the opposite. 

[00:40:04] Kaplan: Which then wears the line with assimilation and acculturation, like, how much of your culture can you keep if you, if there's a hundred traits and you keep one, 

you've mostly assimilated. But is that still acculturation? Like where, how do we better identify what exactly's happening here? Or does it even matter if people aren't upset by it?

[00:40:23] Bagel: Yeah. These are great questions. Always gotta own it. It's okay to have some opinions as long as I think we, preface it by stating the obvious here. I mean, we're both Jewish, right? So there's a little bit of, of bringing that perspective to things. But yeah. White males. So 

[00:40:42] Kaplan: very very 

[00:40:43] Bagel: are. 

[00:40:44] Kaplan: White male

[00:40:45] Bagel: Yes. Yes, a hundred percent.

I mean, the things that stood out to me that you shared. I, I really like the concept of closing the gap and I hadn't thought of it that way. I think of constantly evolving, growing, refining, and it seems like that aligns with what you're saying. But closing the gap to me is a little bit more about like getting closer and closer to that ideal that you're striving for.

I guess, I don't wanna open up the can of worms again, but now you got me thinking a little bit. is there an end goal with closing the Gap? Or is it just like constantly getting closer and closer and closing off that gap as much as you can as you continue to grow? 

 [00:41:40] Kaplan: This isn't my idea. This came from my mentor when I worked at Kate's. so credit to Allen Burkhart, genius of a man. the full thing was close the gap to the nth degree. so 

nth, like The nth degree is like a math term where it's, it could be any number, right? The idea is once you've closed the gap, you then reassess and see now what's the next gap I want to close? know, It kind of comes down to the, the man who knows the least is the man who thinks he knows everything or just saying like that. So it's like once you think you, you're complete, you're falling behind, you're not making gains anymore.

It doesn't always have to be in the same direction. It doesn't always have to be in the same field, but like always trying to improve who you are, improve your life. like, So you finish one and you're gonna see that there's another gap. It's not even that you are choosing to do it. There's gonna be another gap that you see.

[00:42:19] Bagel: I like that. I think that it's a helpful reminder that there really is no end game. You know, it's like we might have goals and we might be able to check certain things off a list or bucket list or, you know, things we wanna accomplish in our lives. But the reality is like we keep living until we're not alive.

So, we're just constantly trying to get closer to some version of what we think is ideal for us. Whether that's fulfillment or joy or happiness or something that we're ultimately striving for. Connection, right? I think that's why the values stuff can be so powerful, because if you're constantly using that as the lens to like help you close that gap, hopefully you're getting closer and closer with some confidence. Knowing that you're still working on a similar gap and you're not off here starting on a new rock pile and whatever the analogy is 

Yeah. but on the other side of the coin, I could see how some more type A personalities or people who are very structured might feel like, well, I, I need to have things be closed out. I need to know that I'm done with this, and then I can go on to the next thing.

And maybe that's just a different lens that they're looking through. What, yeah. 

[00:43:34] Kaplan: Yeah, well I think  that you are closing multiple gaps, right? So there is an end to the gap that you're working on to the thing that you want to improve. But then the idea is once you've checked that one off, you're gonna see another thing to work on. This is probably great for a type A cause it's gonna, you know, as soon as you finished one, you have the next thing.

Well you should reflect and think about it, but there's gonna be another thing for you to work on. So ultimately the, like the grand idea, the forest, there's no end. But each tree has an end.

[00:44:08] Bagel: Yeah. Okay. I like that. We'll, we'll have to get some feedback from listeners If you're out there right now, reach out and let us know what you think about that and which side of the camp you fall on. If that seems like a concept that's helpful for you, or if you maybe look at your life a different way of how you're actually working towards the things that matter.

But I it's a cool lens. I like that a lot. Yeah, I mean the only other thing I had written down from towards the beginning is just how you said that you were approaching listening to one of the episodes, like the one with Jen, you know, not necessarily feeling like you were gonna get much out of it, but you were open to it.

And I wonder how much of getting a benefit out of something that you do in life, keeping that really vague. But how much of that is just dependent on your attitude towards that thing? And I think that's another thing that's, it's hard to measure. But if you're open to going into an experience thinking that you might gain something from it, even if it's, wow, that thing sucked, or I hate it.

Or on the other side of the spectrum, like yeah, that's a new perspective, that's opened up my eyes and ears and thoughts to something that I never considered before. We each are our own individual person and you can take anything that you're presented with and filter it through your own lens and figure out what it might mean to you.

So I just wanted to echo that. Cause I'm a little biased. I think being open and curious is a healthy way to live. But I think it can lead to a lot of good,

[00:45:43] Kaplan: So I think that it's funny, the other podcast I listened to yesterday, besides the Bagel Bites. Was this guy who's a YouTube tech reviewer, was being interviewed. And he went in and basically he explained how there's this whole industry of when there's tech reviews about to happen, the companies have like specific people hired to go give them a really positive experience before the review.

So taking them to dinner, giving them a free flight, doing all these things to put them in a mindset of positivity. So that when they review it, they're reviewing it with a lens of I'm already happy, my outside negativity can't impact how I see this. I think we all do that is you, you go into situations and, you just had a fight with your partner and so you snap on someone else even though they didn't do anything wrong. Like we all react that way.

So trying to not, I don't know if compartmentalize is the right thing, but being aware that of what your feelings are in a situation doesn't necessarily. If it improves the experience, that's great. But if it's gonna block the experience, that's something you should be aware of.

[00:46:51] Bagel: Yeah. No, that is super interesting. there's some famous psychological study out there that is about priming, and it talks exactly about that. Yeah, like priming with positivity and how it actually affects the outcome. So it's a very real thing. Just shows you the power of the human mind, man. we can think anything into existence pretty much.

[00:47:15] Kaplan: Absolutely

[00:47:16] Bagel: So. Cool man. 

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