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Win at Life with John Strelecky

George Grombacher August 5, 2022

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Win at Life with John Strelecky

LifeBlood: We talked about how to win at life, why it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, setting the rules of the game, and how to rig the algorithm of life, with John Strelecky, best-selling author, traveler, speaker and ponderer

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


John Strelecky

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on I’m left with this is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guests strong and powerful John store likey. John, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:18
I’m ready. Let’s go.

george grombacher 0:19
Let’s go. John is your writer traveler A Ponderer. He is the author of the many, many times best selling number one book, The cafe, on the edge of the world. And he’s the author of the Big Five for Life series of books as well. John, excited to have you on, tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work

Unknown Speaker 0:38
and why you do what you do. Yeah, thanks, George. First of all, great to be here great chance to talk to you offline. And now online. And I’ll be very brief about myself because I’d love to talk about what you feel is most relevant for you and your listening audience. I have a very strange backgrounds. I’ll give you just a couple of the highlights. I as a kid looked at life, and I was like, seriously, this is the way it works like you grew up, you go to school until you can’t stand it, then you get a job that you can’t stand and then you work until you’re 65. And then you finally get to retire. And even as a little kid, I was like, this seems absolutely insane to me. So I clearly did not fit the mold of everyday society didn’t really know what I wanted to be. So I decided that after watching Top Gun, I should go be a pilot. Little tip for everybody out there do not make your career choices based off of individual movies, especially Hollywood blockbusters. Had the I was on a career track to do that found out I had a medical condition which would not allow it. After I had invested all of my life savings from the time that I was 12 years old in that dream, and ended up backpacking around the world twice, almost getting killed twice in freak accidents. Coming out of all of those experiences, became a father, which is the greatest thing ever to me, wrote a book that was intuitively streamed through me over 21 days, which is now in 43 languages and has sold over 4 million copies and has been turned into a movie. There’s the 32nd version.

george grombacher 2:02
I love it. So we were talking about joking about growing up in cold weather climates and then going on vacation and you’re at the beach, you’re like, wait a minute, looks like there’s people that live here. Why are we not? Why are we not doing that? And then you sort of look around, you’re like, wait a minute, and you said it’s so so beautifully. You know, we’re in school till we hate it. And then we hate jobs. And we wait for as long as as you know Until 65 Until we have the life that we want. And I feel like a lot of us are just carried along by that current. It’s just kind of what we do. And maybe it’s a function of we just don’t know that we can do something else. We don’t know the right questions to ask. We don’t ask those questions. What do you think about that? Yeah, I

Unknown Speaker 2:47
mean, I remember, like I said, seeing what seems to be the insanity in the system from a young age. But I didn’t, I thought I was the only person looking at it and thinking this seems kind of crazy. And so I was asking myself the question, which is, why am I here? Like, what is the point of this whole endeavor? I’ve been an athlete my whole life. And one of the first things that you learn when you take on a new sport is okay, how do you play? Like, what are the rules? What’s the parameters in which you operate? And how do you win. And what struck me even at a young age as odd is that there is no manual for life like that, like nothing that was presented to me at least. And that’s maybe the way the whole system works. You you at some point, have to discover the insanity to ask yourself the questions to then try and figure out like, what are the parameters in which I’m going to set for my life? What are the rules of the game? And how do I win individually? Because the answer might be totally different for you or me. Interestingly, because we were talking offline about this, both of us discovered, you know, what, where you’re born doesn’t have to be where you stay. And so since you’re going to spend your 20 1900 days somewhere, might as well make the decision to go to a place that makes you at least comfortable every day.

george grombacher 4:00
You mentioned two or several life threatening accidents that you have. And you have this this this this genetic condition or physiological condition, which which didn’t allow you to become a pilot. There’s some times it take some kind of a an experience like that to wake people up to start asking those questions.

Unknown Speaker 4:19
Yeah, unfortunately, I mean, mine happens when I was sad. I’d had the dream of being a pilot, when I was about 17, like I said, but I’ve been saving my money for college because we didn’t have the means to pursue that for a long time since I was 12. And so I had invested all my life savings in a dream that it was gone. Looking back through the rearview mirror, I see that head I have become the pilot that I thought I wanted to become. I wanted to become the writer that I am and I am much better serving my purpose by being the writer that I am. So I think one of the takeaways is the ability to ask the question, hmm, I wonder why this is happening. And in the midst of lousy situations, that’s not necessarily so easy to do. in my younger days, and especially in that moment, when I found out I couldn’t fly anymore, it was more like, this is bullshit. Like, why is this happening to me? It’s unfair, I worked super hard. It’s not something that I picked, I didn’t screw up. But that really gets me nowhere. And so a much better question is you can use the same words, but reframe it in the way that you said. So from a place of curiosity, I wonder why this is happening. And when you look in the rearview mirror, sometimes you see it’s actually guiding you to a path that is more in alignment with who you truly are. But maybe you didn’t have the life experience to know that at the time. And that was certainly the case with me. The two other accidents. I was on my path already. But man, oh, man, you get very close to death. And it’s a really good reminder of the preciousness of life and how each day each minute is either going to be used as like a throwaway. Or it’s going to be something cool. Something

george grombacher 5:51
special. Yeah, 20,900 days, I’m planning to saying that we don’t there’s only 50 weeks in a year. So you only have 50 Saturdays, right? So we really want to maximize that. And growing up in the Midwest, you certainly appreciate a nice summer day better than when you’re living in Arizona or Florida. Right? So talking about what are i and i absolutely love my grew up playing sports too. So need to understand the rules. And then okay, how do I win? So that’s what I’m interested in doing. I’m interested in winning at whatever game that I’m playing. So I think that that’s amazing. And when we’re talking about what are the rules of my life, I get it. How do you help like coach people through like, what are the parameters family time? There’s so many different things?

Unknown Speaker 6:37
Yeah, so I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a kid, I think one of the first things that comes to mind when you ask that question is knowing your numbers. And so if you say, what are the numbers? How do I win the game of life for me individually, and you look at that, and you say, Well, I would like to be at 17 Little League games this summer. That’s one of the key numbers for you. If you say, I want to take my family on a 10 day vacation twice a year. That’s another key number for you. And what is interesting to me is that there’s very little training for this also, in terms of life, like I went through all of my university experiences, got an MBA from a top school. Nobody ever really asked me, What numbers would make you say, this was a great year, they talked a lot about the financials. And that’s all great, but it’s like, what are you going to do with that money that creates a special, memorable moment in your life? And what I’ve discovered along the way is that if you allow yourself to map out these things, and then you work backwards and say, Well, what kind of income do I need to earn to create that reality? It just changes the game. It’s it shifts the mindset, it shifts the way you approach life. And I don’t know exactly the way it works, George. But in terms of the game overall, there seems to be a cosmic algorithm running through these things. And I’ll give you a very simple example of this that I’ve noticed in myself, if I sit at my desk all day. And I wish that I was spending more time at my kids Little League game. But I’m sitting at my desk for 12 hours a day. In the same way that if I get on Google, and I type in Purple Cows with pink polka dots, 1000 times that at some point, the algorithm is going to start giving me pictures, stories, news briefings about Purple Cows with pink polka dots, it appears to me as I survey life, that there is something equivalent going on, and that if I sit at my desk, 10 to 12 hours a day. And I think to myself, I wish I was at my kids Little League game. But the universe is watching me sit at my desk 10 to 12 hours a day, it says Well, I don’t know why he’s doing that, because like his back hurts and wants to be at his kids Little League game, but he’s dedicated to that desk thing. So, you know, since he’s a creature of freewill, I’ll give him more of that. And it just seems to me that as part of the algorithm of the game, our actions end up creating the reality of opportunities that we really want. And so if we’re not demonstrating what we want through our actions, it just doesn’t seem to happen. To the contrary, when you draw the line in the sands, and this is about knowing your numbers, it’s amazing how the thing seems to happen in alignment with that I can’t explain exactly the way it works. But I’ve noticed the trends so many times, I’m convinced it’s there.

george grombacher 9:22
What a wonderful way to think about that. Certainly, we’re all aware of the algorithm. And when we start searching for things the algorithm gives it gives us more of that thing. So why wouldn’t it be the exact same for our actual lives? And

Unknown Speaker 9:37
have you have you noticed that in yourself first, okay, like I’d love to hear an example. So I’m not the only one thinking I’m crazy with this stuff. But it’s

george grombacher 9:45
the life rewards action, not just intention, right? Like I need to have good intentions, but you know, that’s the path to hell is laid with good intentions. You actually need to, you know, actually get to work and start moving it and when you’re doing that you’re demonstrating and showing whatever the universe or how people want to think about a God. Yeah. And then you’re rewarded with more.

Unknown Speaker 10:09
Yeah, I’m happy to hear you say that because I firmly see it around me, I see it in my own life, I see it in the actions of others. And that’s powerful to know that there is something helping create this with us that it’s because I grew up in an era where it was sort of like the John Wayne or Dick Butkus of football, where it’s like, you just push harder. And, you know, don’t get me wrong action. And effort is what creates results. Whether you’re writing a book, or whether you’re building a business, what I’ve learned is that it’s not just about trying to break through the wall, 1000 times charter doing the exact same thing, but there’s actually a flow to this game, if you allow yourself to tap into it and figure it out. And I think the algorithm is a piece of

george grombacher 10:50
that. That’s for sure. That’s been the hardest thing for me is to understand. You need to let things come to you. I would hear that forever. I’m like, I don’t even know what that means. Give me a hammer. I’m gonna go smash that thing. I totally hit the wall. Nothing will stop me. I’ll let the buck as John Wayne, whatever. Yeah. And it’s probably just been the last couple of years, probably through the podcast, honestly, and having great conversations with people like you that like, Okay, well, John’s a smart guy. He’s had all these wonderful experiences and a ton of success. Why wouldn’t I, you know, look into this a little deeper.

Unknown Speaker 11:29
Yeah, well, you know, it’s funny that that exact feeling that you’re describing, I remember sitting in an audience watching a guy on stage. And he was talking about the way in which you think your thoughts and the beliefs that are building upon those thoughts are driving those thoughts in the word choices that you use impact your reality. And I was at a lower point in my life, I remember sitting there thinking, Oh, that’s such a bunch of bullshit, like easy for you to say, Mister best selling author. And I didn’t have the cognitive awareness that you just described that you have of saying, Well, wait a minute, maybe the reason he actually is successful is because he’s implementing these things. And I had to get out of my own way. And get past this just I’m gonna beat through the rock 1000 times, to at least try some things that seemed way outside of my comfort zone. And then hey, if it works great. And I’ll give you a super small, super easy example of that. I used to be this was all the time and I’d be driving, I’m driving, I’d get to a stoplight. And I’d be find myself drifting back to a moment from my past, either in business or some other aspect of life that didn’t go well. And I would be replaying the conversation, but I would be perfecting my side of the conversation. And finally, one day I was in my truck, and I noticed this and I was like, this is like the greatest waste of time ever. Because the only way I’m gonna go back 20 years and have that conversation again. But do it so much better this time, is if I invent the time machine. And if I do that, I frickin am not going to use it to go back to that moment. Like, I’m going to go see something Uber cool, like. And so I was thinking to myself, well, what would be a better use of my time. And I had listened to a podcast and a guy talking a very famous author talking about his strategy of writing down 15 times a day, just a single thing that he wanted in his life. And at first, he used it for dating. He was like, I saw this girl, and she was totally out of my league. But it’s like, I totally want to get to know her. And so this, and he told us funny, sir, and I was like, You know what the hell, I’ll give it a try. And so as I’m sitting in my truck, I was like, I’m gonna come up with something that I want my life to be. And I’m just gonna repeat it while I’m sitting in my downtime. And I gotta tell you, George, I was about four repeats in, and my brain was off in lala lands drifting. So it took me about 90 days before I literally would pull up to a stoplight, and I would default to this thing. This has been an absolute game changer in terms of mastering the algorithm. I can’t tell you how it works. The only thing I can tell you that I think is the way that it works is much like we talked about the Google algorithm, maybe our thoughts and our actions are sending out a ping, I used to be a pilot. And so there’s a thing where you send out a ping that says, here’s where I am, and here’s what I’m focusing on. Maybe there’s something that exists in the underlying energy of the world. But man Oh, man, this was something that has been an absolute game changer. And why not? Because I was just wasting my time in the truck anyway.

george grombacher 14:23
And why not? What a powerful thing that is 1,000% Guilty of going back to those conversations 20 years ago and rehab. Yeah, it’s it’s a very, very human thing to do. And it doesn’t serve us it has absolutely zero benefit. And to us, if you did, in fact, have a time machine. What a moronic thing to do to go back to that, but maybe I would. Exactly. So, selling 4 million copies that’s that I imagine is probably feels great, but it’s somewhat surreal. Or you’re expecting eight and you’ll be there soon. How do you spend your time now? What is it? What is a regular day look like for you, John?

Unknown Speaker 15:10
Yeah, this is the crazy, tie it all together story elements of it. And that my dream like why did I want to become a pilot back when I was 17 I wanted to become a pilot, because I knew that they got to travel, and they got to travel, they got free airline tickets. And they also got a lot of time off, because they can work a three day shift and then back it up with another three day shift. And then they have four days off after that, and then it can back that up with the four days off and then go back on for the three, three sounds like wow, I don’t know of any other career where you get to have free airline tickets, you get to travel the world, and you get a lot of time off and you get well paid. Those are things. And that shows you how completely clueless I was at the time. Because there’s what I’ve learned since then is of course, there’s many ways to have that reality. I’ve backpacked around the world twice. Now once as an individual out there doing my thing once with my family. And I could do it for $40 a day to go see the world travel the world experience all these amazing people, cultures and animals. And I didn’t need to have an airline pilot background to go do that. I just needed to have enough money to pay for my ticket. And that was sufficient. And so the life I get to live now is a life way better than I dreamed of. I get to do cool discussions like we’re having here. I get to do something that is much more in line with my purpose, which is thinking about these questions that I’m struggling with trying to come up with answers and then releasing that information to the world and hopefully helping other people along the way. And I’ll tell you, George, I never thought in my entire life, especially the way that I was raised that someone would ever say to me, thank you, you changed my life. Every time I do a book signing, I have the great humbling experience of people walking up to me and saying, Thank you so much this changed my life. And sometimes those stories are so powerful that it just I can’t even tell you the degree that it humbles me. I had 17 year old kid write me a letter, I’d signed a copy of a book and met her mom, she said, Would you sign a copy for my daughter, I assigned it to her daughter and using that same sort of intuitive, like energy thing that we’re talking about. Again, I’m not saying I know exactly how it works. I’m just saying I get the sense. It’s there. So she said, Here’s my daughter’s name, would you sign a book for I signed a book for I get this beautiful letter in the mail. She says I’m 17 years old, you signed this book, you met my mom. I’ve been in and out of hospitals for the last two years as an eating disorder trying to figure out my life trying to figure out the point of life, I thought I was so alone, asking these questions that you’re asking in this book. And for the first time in my life and a long time I want to live because I see that there is more to life. That is way better for me than having been an airline pilot, like I ain’t doing nothing wrong, be an airline pilot. That’s somebody else’s, like dream reality. But this is way better for me. And I get to do that every day. So

george grombacher 17:55
it couldn’t get any better. Amazing. I love that. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 17:59
And I guess that’s the takeaway. And this is what I love about your show. And what you do too, is you’re helping people realize that just because we didn’t come with an owner’s manual, doesn’t mean that you can’t figure this stuff out. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t find yourself. In Arizona, if you don’t like Minnesota or in Florida, if you didn’t like Chicago, or, you know, if you’re an accountant, and you’re working for a company that you hates, but you love backpacking, then at least go be an accountant in a backpacking company. So there’s options to move our life so that we’re more aligned with who we are and what we wanted to do.

george grombacher 18:29
Well, I think that is great stuff that definitely gets caught. John, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you? Where can they get a copy of the cafe on the edge of the world?

Unknown Speaker 18:41
Yeah, so everything that I write is available through Amazon, which is I mean, most books are bought through there these days. And so they can just do a search on my name or on the title of the book. Also, you can go to my website or via social media, which is John straw. So that’s Jo HN, S, T, R, E, L, E, CK y. And yeah, now we write some stuff, some stuff that doesn’t quite make it into the books, but I have an interesting thought or idea. Like, all anger is a manifestation of fear, for example, small little thought provoking moments. And I’ll write that stuff. And I’ll just put it on my blog. So yeah, there’s something that caught her interest in our conversation today. Definitely check it out.

george grombacher 19:18
Love it. If you enjoy this as much as I did, so join your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas pick up a copy of the cafe on the edge of the world at Amazon and John’s other books as well. And you mentioned you’re working on a movie, John.

Unknown Speaker 19:35
Yeah, yeah, that first book that you just mentioned, the cafe on the edge of the worlds, the movies in progress script has been written and casting has begun. So yeah, looking forward to it when it comes out.

george grombacher 19:44
Amazing. And then go to John store JOHNSDRELECK and check out all the great resources and John’s ponderings thanks again, John. Thanks, George. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight because we’re all in this together

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