“At the end of the day, I’m just somebody who wakes up every morning and knows that they can live in the pursuit of their full potential with happiness and with fulfillment.” - Mark Metry
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How do you take charge of who you are? Do you have habits and rituals to give you the perspective you need to shut out the world and pursue your own happiness?
Mark Metry knows the labels he faces as a young man of 21, but he’s breaking them all down on a mission to spread wisdom, positivity and full transparency to anyone who’s discouraged by the “perfect” lives they see. Currently, Mark lends his voice and his wisdom to the Humans 2.0 podcast, and he has been featured in Forbes as a TEDx speaker.
On this episode of the #IAmMovement podcast, Rock and Mark lay down insight on the divide between generations and the learning curve each one faces, strategies for gaining perspective when life gets overwhelming, and why talking to yourself should be like talking to your best friend.
00:00 – Intro to Mark
00:30 – Millennials vs. Gen Z and battling social anxiety
08:31 – Who Mark is today
11:52 – Nurturing and focusing energy for higher success
17:11 – Assigning meaning to life’s happenings
21:14 – Mark’s book recommendation for better self-talk
24:40 – How to reach Mark and wrap-up
“Looking back now, every time I walked into a classroom, every time I walked into a room, even if it wasn’t in school, my mind would instantly go, ‘Mark, you don’t belong here. Nobody here looks like you, you’ve got to get out, you’re not going to be accepted.’ So that was the unconscious narrative that was at the bottom of my mindset.” – Mark Metry
“I remember being totally ashamed of who I was and where I was coming from…I would just try to get on by, I wanted to just be a number, I wanted to fade in the background. I didn’t want to stand out, I didn’t want anyone to know my voice or my story.” – Mark Metry
“A cognitive switch that I got that slowly began to move me out of these labels was when I heard Steve Jobs say, ‘The moment you realize that everything that you see around you was made by people no smarter than you, and you can change that’, that began a complete shift.” – Mark Metry
“The more struggles and honesty we can share, especially as successful people, the better. So that’s what I try to do every day.” – Mark Metry
“The more energy you have access to, the more dimensions you can see in front of yourself unfold throughout the rest of the day.” – Mark Metry
“Other than aligning yourself with your mission and waking up and being connected and having that presence, I think physiology is super important, especially in 2019 when a lot of the modern conveniences can really make us fall into the illusion that we can be lazy.” – Mark Metry
“When you write on a piece of paper, it gives you more perspective and you can go from, ‘Oh my God, life is about to end”, to, “Okay, this may not be so bad.” – Mark Metry
“If I can figure out what I can do before I think, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ I can get a much better handle on it, and it kind of seems like I’m not necessarily throwing things up in the air but I actually have a structured, ordered plan to follow.” – Mark Metry
What it takes to combat the laziness that modern convenience tempts us with – and how Mark put it in practice from a young age
Why managing your energy and caring for your physical being opens up new opportunities and gives you an edge
How to use life’s hardships as a catalyst for movement (and why you get to decide in which direction it moves you)
And much more!
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Hi, I’m Rock Thomas, the founder of M1, the tribe of healthy, wealthy, and passionate people, also known as fulfillionaires. You’re listening to the I Am Movement podcast, where we believe that the words that follow I am, follow you. Join me and the world’s greatest thought leaders, as we discuss the power of transformation and making success a part of your identity.
Rock Thomas (00:32):
My next guest is the host of the global top 100 podcast called Humans 2.0, featured by Forbes, NASDAQ and Yahoo Finance as the top 21 growing podcasts that you must listen to in 2019. Mark’s show has been listened to for over four million times, and features the greatest leaders of our time. And frequently converses with billionaires, professional athletes, Pulitzer prize winning journalists, and New York times bestselling authors, exploring today’s dynamic of the human experience in the modern technological times of 2019.
Rock Thomas (01:06):
Mark delivers effective talks, workshops, and keynote centers around human potential, mindset, social anxiety, transformation, and using podcasting as a business, and has spoken alongside Olympic athletes as well. Welcome to the I Am podcast, Mark Metry. We’re excited to have you here representing the millennials, and letting them know what it’s like to go from where you are today, where you want to go. So welcome to the show.
Mark Metry (01:33):
Rock, thank you so much for having me on. And I don’t mean to correct you, but believe it or not, I’m not actually a millennial. I’m a Gen Z, I’m 21.
Rock Thomas (01:40):
You are Gen Z. You look at least 25 dude, with all that facial hair.
Mark Metry (01:45):
Yes, I got to shave soon. I’m getting there, I’m turning 21 next month. So, it’s really interesting.
Rock Thomas (01:51):
What’s the difference for you between millennial and your gen, if you call it that? What would you say are some of the differences?
Mark Metry (02:00):
Well I think the main difference is that we basically grew up with technology, especially smart phones being sort of an extension of us. I actually think it makes things easier a lot for us in the sense of, if you were on the older side of being a millennial, or even if you’re past that, there’s this learning curve. But a lot of these kids these days and people in Gen Z, they had this as part of their extension. And then if they’re smart about it, they can use that to their advantage, and really use that and grow online. I think that’s a big one.
Rock Thomas (02:34):
Let’s start right there. You know that the podcast is the I Am Movement. It’s about the way we’ve been defined by our environment, by the people around us. You’ll never amount to much. You’re lazy, you’re a procrastinator. You’re a millennial, you’re Gen Z. These labels have been given to us and we expect to behave a certain way. But what I’ve found most of the time, is they’re limiting.
Rock Thomas (02:57):
What you’re saying is you guys are very nimble when it comes to technology, and other people may perceive it as a harder learning curve. What are some of the things that have defined you, and some of the things maybe that defined you negatively that you’ve overcome, if you have any in top of mind.
Mark Metry (03:15):
Absolutely, Rock. First off, I love what you said there. And for me, when I look back on my life, the main cards that I was dealt with, was having some health issues as a kid that made me feel like I had really low energy. I didn’t really sleep well, which in turn affected a lot of how I became socially conditioned. I ended up going to school out in a small town, 5,000 people. It was basically an all white town, faced a decent amount of discrimination, bullying, racism. And a lot of that stuff got in my psychology and I had really severe social anxiety.
Mark Metry (03:54):
I’m talking, when I was 18 I couldn’t even make direct eye contact with somebody. So what I began to do, Rock, is as I became consciously aware of this, I began to just consume content online, consume your Goalcast videos, started reading the classical books, like Think and Grow Rich. I just began to understand that I need to ultimately destroy this fear, because I began to project out in the future. I was like, man, if I’m 18 years old right now and I can’t even talk to somebody, in 12 years from now, I’m going to be one of those 30 year olds that’s sitting in a cubicle and not doing what he wants. Can’t even talk to people, doesn’t have any friends.
Mark Metry (04:35):
With that mission in mind, I was just like a bat out of hell. I began to try out different forms of exposure therapy to myself. Eventually it led me to this point today where I have my own podcast, that’s brought me a lot of opportunities like speaking in front of a thousand people. I would have never ever dreamed from that being, just a fairly short while ago, somebody who couldn’t even talk to people. That for me is the main card that I was dealt in life, and it’s a blessing today when I look at it.
Rock Thomas (05:10):
Congrats for coming through that. But I want to unpack that just a little bit, because you went over it. What were you telling yourself, as you have the experiences and you had the social anxiety, you were having an inner narrative. Tell us a little bit what that was.
Mark Metry (05:24):
That’s a phenomenal question, Rock. This is why it’s so great to have you interview me. I remember when I was a kid and I would walk into a classroom, everybody physically would look different from me. I was maybe about me, and maybe one or two other people, that were not white. Looking back at that now, every time I walked into a classroom, every time I walked into a room, even when it wasn’t in the school. My mind would instantly start telling me, “Mark, you don’t belong here. Nobody here looks like you. You got to get out. You’re going to be accepted. You’re not going to have any friends. These people don’t want to talk to you.” That was the unconscious narrative that was very much at the bottom of my mindset. And since I was-
Rock Thomas (06:07):
Was it, I am different?
Mark Metry (06:10):
No, because I think that the I am different, I think that can be a little bit more empowering. For me, I find it was very much difficult. So it was, I am weird, I am the outcast, I am Egyptian. Everyone there was white. I am different. It’s funny because I remember being totally ashamed of who I was and where I was coming from, and I would never tell people that I was actually Egyptian. I would just try to get on by, I wanted to be a number. I wanted to fade in the background. I didn’t want to stand out. I didn’t want anybody to know my voice. I didn’t want anybody to know my story.
Rock Thomas (06:48):
It must have been terrifying.
Mark Metry (06:50):
Dude, I lived it for a solid decade. Looking back at that now, I don’t know how I did it. Actually, it put me in this mental prison of the mind for a solid decade. When I got out of it, when I started meditating, when I started talking with people, when I started doing deep relationships, getting healthy, exercising. Man, it felt like my mind was just completely liberated. Obviously, I still face my own challenges and struggles today, but there is no comparison.
Mark Metry (07:23):
To tell you the truth, I don’t usually talk about this. But there was a time where I was about seven months into my self-development journey, and I went for a walk outside with my friend. We stepped outside, the sun was glistening. I looked up, I saw the leaves on the tree, and it felt like my vision completely shifted, visually speaking. I began to dive into a little bit of the science and the research. I’m no expert, but they’ve actually found that when you’re depressed, your serotonin receptors are down-regulated. And that has been proven to shown that your vision looks more black and white. It’s dreary.
Mark Metry (08:03):
Once you kick those up, life looks more vibrant. I literally faced that and I’m never going to forget that day. It’s because of that I started my podcast because I’m like, if somebody like me, who I thought I was a loser, who thought I was a shy nerd, whatever it is, is now able to do this. Imagine how many more millions, if not, I don’t know, a billion people, could hear this message of empowerment of not me being some kind of an expert. But me just being an average guy that did this, and so can you. That’s what I’ve been trying to do here.
Rock Thomas (08:34):
Well thanks for sharing that part. Man, that’s deep, and that’s really valuable. When my Goalcast came out, has now been seen by almost a hundred million people. We received tens of thousands of messages, and along the lines of what you struggled with and I struggled with, there are literally now confirmed by me, probably 100 million people. That have all in some shape, form, or another, had a label that they either got from a parent, or a loved person, or a close person, or put on themself, because they just felt weird or different or something.
Rock Thomas (09:07):
They had to find a way to figure out who they were in the world. But at the same time, Brittany Brown talks about this desire. We all want to belong, we want to matter, and we want to connect. But there’s this huge fear that we can’t, we’re not good enough for that, and we create our own internal prison, like you said. So let’s go forward now. Who are you today, Mark?
Mark Metry (09:31):
That’s a great question, Rock. I could tell you a thousand different things about what I do on a day to day basis. But at the end of the day, I’m just somebody who wakes up every morning and knows that they can live in the pursuit of their full potential, with happiness and with fulfillment. At times I get stressed, and in terms of how I keep myself busy, I run an organization called Metamorphis that’s centered around mental wellness and integrating technology to bring solutions.
Mark Metry (10:07):
I’m a co-founding member of a nonprofit that helps bring VC funding to countries that don’t have access to it, or people that don’t necessarily have money to it. I run a marketing agency. Honestly for the rest of it, other than having fun, I get to talk to some of the world’s greatest people. People that are impacting the lives of billions of people. People that are inventors, that have won Nobel Peace Prize, that are professional athletes, that have come from such extreme senses of lives. I try to take their stories, I try to take their perspectives, and put it up on my platform and let people know that they are also human too.
Mark Metry (10:52):
I think a big thing to go on a quick aside here is, when I got in and the reason why I felt like I had all these labels on me and I was different, was because I didn’t see any successful people talking about their struggles. I would see a successful person on TV or on the radio saying, “Oh yeah, I’m super great. I did this, and I did that.” But they would never be like, “And sometimes I get anxious too. Or I struggled yesterday.” Or whatever that is.
Mark Metry (11:17):
So, I’m really trying to push that message out there because for me, Rock. When I look back at it now, a cognitive switch that I got that slowly began to remove me out of these labels was when I heard Steve Jobs say, “The moment you realize that everything that you see around you was made by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change that.” That began the complete shift because when I was in my mental prison, I would always be like, “Oh wow, that person must be so awesome. And I suck over here, and I’m like that.” But I think the more struggles and just honesty that we can share, especially as successful people, the better. That’s what I try to do every day.
Rock Thomas (12:01):
I get it. It’s the Roger Bannister, right? Is he the guy who broke the four-minute mile, and then the next year 33 people did it. It’s the social proof, if Mark can do it, then I can do it. That’s the part that I think is lacking, is because we suffer from a disease of wanting to look good. There’s all these people walking around pretending to look good, and you’re really only as sick as your secrets.
Rock Thomas (12:26):
The way that we actually connect Mark, is by you and me being vulnerable and saying, here’s where I’m struggling. Can you help me? How many of us want to help other people? If somebody asked for your help, you’d help them, wouldn’t you?
Mark Metry (12:39):
Rock Thomas (12:41):
And then you’d connect with them and they’d connect with you. We walk around like, “Hey, how’s it going?” “Good man, you?” “Awesome, man. Good.” “Rock and roll, baby.”
Mark Metry (12:49):
And while they cry.
Rock Thomas (12:52):
Conversations like this, I think hopefully can encourage some people to open up. In my book, Your Epic life Blueprint, I talk about the top 10 rules of success. I have some rules in there that have really helped build my life. I don’t know if you had a chance to review any of them, but one of them is focused energy. I think that’s something that is important to you. Do you want to expand on that?
Mark Metry (13:14):
Yes, absolutely. For me and my personal thoughts on it are, I began to realize that energy was super important, when I began to eat healthy, sleep well, exercise, do all the mental wellness things, like meditate for the first time. Because I realized that, to simply put it, the more energy that you have access to, the more dimensions that you can see in front of yourself sort of unfold throughout the rest of the day.
Mark Metry (13:44):
If you’re too busy, not moving your body if you haven’t slept right. If you’re eating a ton of crappy food that you’re just picking up and eating it on the go. By the time 3:00 PM rolls down, and let’s say you have some kind of mental fog or you got that crash, do you really think that you would take advantage of an opportunity that would potentially still be right in front of your face, all because of your own energy?
Mark Metry (14:10):
For me, having almost no energy as a kid and all of a sudden I got this energy, that was a major unlock that I have. It really began, and especially, I think this is super important for Gen Z, and I don’t think a lot of people talk about this. It’s so important to take care of your physiology for energy. And I mean that in a sense of like, for you more experienced older folks, you guys grew up, you’re-
Rock Thomas (14:37):
Hey there, easy. Experienced humans.
Mark Metry (14:45):
Dude, I love it, man. Experiences is so key. You know, you guys ate food from whatever your parents cooked up.
Rock Thomas (14:50):
Mark Metry (14:50):
Your grandmother cooked up, right? Things were relatively healthy, depending on the kind of household. But now it’s like, I think with gen Z, a lot of different kinds of foods and snacks are being offered everywhere. Every single place you go, you can get anything delivered, and I don’t think it’s very good. For somebody like myself, even though I’m young, I struggled from a lot of different kinds of health issues, and in turn I was medicated for them.
Mark Metry (15:22):
It wasn’t until I began to really prioritize my energy and really get healthy, to the point where I was able to go to my doctor. And they ran all the tests and they were like, “Dude, you’re totally good. Whatever you did, keep doing it because you’re symptom free now.” I’ve been on that trek ever since, and it’s just like, other than aligning yourself with your mission, and waking up and being connected, and having that presence. I think physiologic physiology is super important. Especially in 2019 where a lot of the modern conveniences can really make us fall into the illusion that you can just sit around and be lazy and not move around all day.
Rock Thomas (16:05):
That’s really enlightened for you at your age, to have that awareness. And I guess because you went through what you went through, you had that experience. Pain often breeds a new decision, right? People that make good healthy choices, it’s sometimes not because they want to, it’s because they had to. Because their body gave them feedback and said, “If you keep on putting that shit in my body, I’m going to reject you.”
Rock Thomas (16:29):
But here’s the thing I learned, is that just because it seems normal, it’s not natural. Just the fact that people go to McDonald’s two and a half times a week in North America, doesn’t mean it’s normal. But a lot of people, “Well, if John’s doing it, I’ll do it.” People don’t know what you know, that 50% of your energy is in digesting food. People don’t know that you should just be putting 70% live foods in your body.
Rock Thomas (16:53):
So they end up being tired, and they think it’s normal to have a Red Bull at three in the afternoon. It’s normal to have four cups of coffee all day long. I always say to people, energy is the edge. And if you can vibrate at a high level of energy, like my mentor Tony Robbins, you can get so much more done. You have access to opportunities. And like you said, when an opportunity comes walking by you, you have the energy to seize it, versus the other person. When you’re down and discouraged and tired, even if there’s something great happening, sometimes you’re like, “I’m not in the mood.” “Hey, you want to go for a run?” “I’m not in the mood.” It could be with a really cool person and learn something and to have a great experience, but you didn’t manage your energy properly.
Mark Metry (17:34):
Yes, and it’s like you could be a billionaire and have a mansion, throw a party with a ton of your good friends. But you could have a sore throat or your foot could be hurting, and you won’t enjoy that experience for the most part. Even if you have this success, and all these other great dimensions in life.
Rock Thomas (17:54):
I just saw the movie with John Lennon. He threw some big parties in his own house, but he wasn’t able to manage his physiology. So everybody was enjoying his mansion and his riches, while he was sitting in a chair in his room, passed out. That’s a good example. One more rule. Rule number nine is, nothing has meaning but the meaning you give it. How good are you at assigning meanings to things in your life? When things go wrong, things go sideways, can you turn things around? Is that a muscle you’re conscious of?
Mark Metry (18:25):
I think it’s been an interesting dynamic with me. I’ll tell you, Rock, what I do. When I maybe get the news or something happens. What I’ll do immediately is I’ll just give myself five minutes to think about it. If it’s something that sucks, I’ll feel sucky. If it makes me pissed off, I’ll feel pissed off. And then from that point on, I just pull out a piece of paper and I just write it down, because I know that one of my mentors taught me that fear has no place on paper. So, when you write on a piece of paper, it gives you a lot more perspective and it can go from like, “Oh my God, life is about to end.” To like, “Okay, this may not be so bad.”
Mark Metry (19:09):
Then once I think it’s been de-escalated, the conflict. And it goes from that emergency to like, “Okay, this is a conflict and life is full of conflicts.” Then I think it goes to, so I used to at first say, “Why did this happen to me? Or how can this fit in my life?” But what I first began to do is, I began to say, what can I do about this? And I realized that, if I can figure out what I can do before I can fit in, why is this happening to me? I can get a much better handle on it. And it seems like I’m not necessarily just throwing things up in the air, but I actually have a structured, ordered plan to follow.
Mark Metry (19:53):
From that point, then that’s where I think in longer, macro terms of like, well I know that if this thing is not going to matter in five years, then I probably shouldn’t spend more than five minutes getting pissed off about it. So meaning is, in terms of impregnating meaning into anything. There’s a quote, “Humans are meaning making machines.” And if you can take that event and make it meaningful as a catalyst for action, or a catalyst for change, in you in your own life, I think that’s awesome.
Mark Metry (20:31):
I think one of the greatest things about adversity, is that it forces you to make a decision. I think as humans, a lot of the times we’re walking around, we don’t really want to be decisive about anything. But then when something actually happens, something really happens, it forces you to make a decision. I think that decision goes into, am I going to make this meaningfully great for me, to then set my life up for success? Or, am I about to fall into an even deeper hole of my hell? Going back to what I told you at the beginning, if I don’t beat this fear today, in 12 years, I’m going to be a 30 year old that… I think that’s phenomenal. How do you think about that? I’m curious.
Rock Thomas (21:16):
Very similar. I believe that you have two choices, is empowerment or disempowerment. When something comes along, then you either become disempowered or empowered by it. The flight is delayed, your fender bender, the car doesn’t start, flat tire. Nothing has meaning but the meaning you give it. I like what you said, that adversity forces a new decision.
Rock Thomas (21:38):
The amygdala, that part of our brain that protects us, is very decision adverse, because it wants to keep you from something unknown. So I really liked that statement. If you’re listening to this, this is Mark saying adversity forces you to make a decision. And welcome that, because the hero’s journey is about making those decisions that are difficult. There’s no hero in an easy path. Good for you. As we’re wrapping this up, a book that you love and why?
Mark Metry (22:10):
Probably my favorite book right now is, When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron. It’s a really great book because I think it’s definitely a must-read for anybody. Even if you haven’t necessarily faced some extreme, really bad time scenario. It is an amazing book to teach you how to talk to yourself, and how to talk to yourself with respect. Even in the moments when things literally seem like they’re falling apart. It’s been a massive help for me.
Mark Metry (22:45):
One thing real quick, that I got out of it, that I found really beneficial is, sometimes I’ll find myself engaging at times in some sort of negative self-talk. One of those tricks that book teaches you, and it’s a more well-known trick now, but it’s, just pause and just pretend that you’re talking to your best friend like that. And it’s like, that’s my best friend for a reason. Why would I talk to him like that? That little like cognitive snap can make you be like, oh wow. And you sort of wake up, and you realize that your mind just played this little trick on you. That’s a really powerful book, and those were one of the reasons.
Rock Thomas (23:23):
Have you seen the movie, Inside Out, by Disney?
Mark Metry (23:27):
Yes, one of my favorite movies.
Rock Thomas (23:28):
That’s really, sums it up for me is, your voice is your choice. And if you’re going to give the voice to sadness, or to anger, or to disgust, or to shame, then you’re giving the cockpit of your mind to that person. The habit and the rituals we do is about giving your voice to the voice of gratitude, or grace, or empowerment, or playfulness. And then they’ve got the controls. What I teach my students, is that each one of those, say playful.
Rock Thomas (24:00):
What’s the dialogue playful has? “Hey, this is fun. What are we going to learn over here? That looks really cool. Let’s try this. Let’s jump up and down. Yes, we had a fender bender but let’s jump up and down anyway, because it could be really cool. It could have been even worse.” So, whose voice are you going to give and what rituals and practices do you have?
Rock Thomas (24:18):
If people got up in the morning and they said, “Okay, for five minutes, I’m going to practice the voice of gratitude. Five minutes, I’m going to practice the voice of unstoppable. Nothing can stop me when I’m completely convinced that this is my mission. I’m creative and I’m passionate. Let’s go.”
Rock Thomas (24:34):
If you give the voice exercises, when the shit goes down, you can call on that voice by choice, is the way I look at it. Instead of being a victim and going, “Oh, sadness is taking over. Oh, discouragement is taking over. Oh, depression is taking over.” If you give them stage, they will give you a dialogue. Does that make sense?
Mark Metry (24:59):
Absolutely. I think the super important thing about that, Rock, is I think somebody may hear that and may be like, “Who cares if I’m sad or if I’m happy?” But it’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no. If you go back to something that we said in the last answer. If you’re not positive, if you don’t have your mind open, the part of your brain that detects opportunities literally shuts down. It becomes ROI positive to be in that state, so I absolutely love that, Rock.
Rock Thomas (25:28):
Well fun. We could talk all day long, but we’re going to wrap this session up, because Gen Z doesn’t like to listen to stuff for more than about half an hour. So we’re going to respect those young, exciting individuals. Where can people get a hold of you, Mark?
Mark Metry (25:42):
I’d say I’m the most active on LinkedIn and Instagram. Just feel free to message me. My name is Mark Metry. M-A-R-K. M-E-T-R-Y.
Rock Thomas (25:51):
Awesome. Thanks again, I appreciate it. You’re a great inspiration to people in your time zone, of 21, right?
Mark Metry (26:00):
21 man, 21.
Rock Thomas (26:01):
A lot of intelligence in your brain for a young age. Thanks for joining us today on the I Am Movement.
Mark Metry (26:07):
I Am, baby.
This is the I Am Movement podcast. To find out more about how you can join the I Am Movement and take your life to the next level, go to gom1.com. G-O-M-1 dot com.