Jan. 11, 2023

Chris Bailey | How to Calm Your Mind and Increase Your Productivity

Chris Bailey | How to Calm Your Mind and Increase Your Productivity

Chris Bailey shares a toolkit of science-backed strategies for finding presence and productivity in anxious times.

Chris Bailey, productivity expert and author, returns to the show to talk about how to calm your mind and increase your productivity. Bailey shares a toolkit of science-backed strategies for finding presence and productivity in anxious times. So if you're ready to take control of your anxiety and boost your productivity, tune in and let Bailey be your guide on the path to a calmer, more productive life.

Subscribe for ad-free interviews and bonus episodes https://plus.acast.com/s/the-unmistakable-creative-podcast.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Maximize Your Output With Mem 

The knowledge generation course for coaches, consultants, content creators, and small business owners who want to access and use their knowledge to create content, build a body of work, and grow their business. Enrollment for October Cohort is Now Open. 

Click Here to Learn More



Srini: Alright, let's get started.

Well, you have a new book out called How to Calm Your Mind and you were one of those rare unmistakable creative guests who are here for the third time, which to me always says a whole hell of a lot. Oh, about the first few...

Srini: But before we get into the look, I wanted to start asking what was the very first job that you ever had and what impact did that end up having on your life, your career, and the choices you've made?

Chris Bailey: Oh, my, my first job was washing dishes at a shoddy fast food Italian chain, Canada's version of Olive Garden called Eastside Mario's, and it was actually a wonderful job. I loved it. And, you'd spray the dishes off and, there'd be like, there'd be sometimes food left. I would never eat the food, so some of the dishwashers would eat the food.

Chris Bailey: I would never stoop to such a level. But, rinse the dishes, put them in the tray, slide the tray into the dishwasher, and pull the handle down. It would automatically clean and sanitize them all. And that was my job. Wash, rinse, repeat - probably hundreds, thousands of times every night.

Chris Bailey: And I loved it. The feedback was immediate. The people were great. There was the camaraderie, there were sometimes two people on the dish line, one to wash, one to put away, and it was, and it kind[a] of formed a lot of the work ethic that I have today because if you didn't keep up and you weren't focused and you didn't, and you weren't in that flow, you would fall behind and the dishes would start accumulating at a greater pace and you would just feel like you're in the weeds, but working diligently.

Chris Bailey: That was the skill that taught me.

Srini: It's funny.

Chris Bailey: Funny

Srini: I don't think I've ever heard anybody speak so eloquently.

Chris Bailey: So

Srini: About a week ago, I was walking down the street when I noticed a sign that read "Help Wanted." I thought to myself, "This could be a good opportunity." So, I went inside and asked the manager if they were hiring. He said, "Yes, we are. Come back tomorrow for an interview." I was so excited! I couldn't believe my luck.

Chris Bailey: A low-wage

Srini: Alright, let's get started. So the first item on the agenda is the budget report.

Beth: I believe I have the report right here.

Srini: Great. Can you please go over it?

Beth: Sure. So, the total budget for the fiscal year is $1 million. We've already spent $250,000, leaving us with $750,000 to go.

Srini: That's great news! Anything else we should be aware of?

Beth: Yes. There are a few typos in the report. I've already corrected them, so we can move forward with the review.

Srini: Excellent. Thank you for spotting and correcting those typos.

Chris Bailey: A fast-food job isn't the

Srini: Just have.

Chris Bailey: Way I went to McDonald's, so I kinda have an

Srini: You're talking.

Chris Bailey: Idea from that. Yeah. What is that? Is that like, why do you have such a positive perspective?

Srini: Or is that?

Chris Bailey: Something you recognize. Now, in retrospect, I feel I have that with everything.

Srini: Yeah!

Chris Bailey: Whatever I do, I try to approach it with that positive spirit or whatever you want to call it. But also the people there were great; they were down to earth. I think whoever made the hiring decisions at that place realized that camaraderie really does create a lot of motivation in a workplace.

Chris Bailey: So I was pretty lucky. Thanks, Kevin.

Chris Bailey: Who did all the hiring stuff? Thanks, Kevin.

Chris Bailey: Funny, I wrote this article about tables and vice.

John: Yes, it really is.

Srini: It's really funny!

John: Yeah, it sure is.

Srini: It's really funny!

Srini: Freshman year can be overwhelming, but it's also an exciting time full of new experiences. I found it helpful to stay organized and use my time wisely. I'd suggest starting with a calendar to block out times for studying, classes, and other commitments. That way, you don't overbook yourself and end up over-stressed. Also, make sure to get enough sleep, go for walks, and take time for yourself so you don't burn out.

Chris Bailey: Fresh, one piece of advice for the new year: don't be afraid to take risks!

Srini: gave in

Chris Bailey: Advice that was given to me when I first started was to never give up.

Srini: It should work in food service.

Chris Bailey: To everyone.

Srini: In their life.

Chris Bailey: Oh, 100%! The reason.

Srini: I think what was invaluable for me was that it was an incredibly humbling experience.

Chris Bailey: The thing I appreciate most about this group is how supportive and encouraging everyone is.

Srini: From being in

Chris Bailey: recognize that this was a pit stop, but for most of those people, this was their

Srini: Good day.

Chris Bailey: Life. Yeah, and...

Srini: Just makes you so hyper-aware of how privileged you are when you

Chris Bailey: How not?

Chris Bailey: Oh, it's so true. And even talking about going off to college. 'Cause I started there near the start of high school and I was, started on the dish line, then worked up to the prep cook, and then worked up to being a cook. And then made my way out of the kitchen was a.

Srini: Be here for life.

Chris Bailey: Talking to customers all the time and just being able to relate to different people in different situations and being able to connect with anybody instantly. I definitely agree with that, especially with being a server or somebody who's dealing actively with customers and has to, if somebody's pissed off, you have to ease their mind right away and find a way to do it. And if somebody needs accommodation, you can make people feel accommodated. Even maybe if you're in the rush of your life and you have 10 tables that you have to juggle at any one moment. I think there is an immense amount of skill, and if you can find that calm under pressure in such a situation where it's definitely that urgency thing because ultimately it's dinner at a restaurant.

Chris Bailey: It's not life or death.

Srini: Yep.

Chris Bailey: It does have that urgency bias where, because everything is so urgent, you're running around with your head cut off, basically.

Chris Bailey: You can find calm in the chaos, and you can find calming chaos beyond that point too. And I think there's a great skill just being able to relate to anyone in the room.

Chris Bailey: I remember back in the day when I was a server, I don't think anyone cares about this, but I'm gonna mention it. Feel free to cut this out of the show. But I would go online and look for server tips when I became a server, like how to make more tips. If you touch someone on the shoulder, it makes them feel more connected with you, and they're more likely to give a bigger tip.

Chris Bailey: And if you, if there are kids at the table, Ben, bend down a bit so you're not on your [stooped] over, you're more likely to get a better tip. And just these simple rituals of relating to people in a more genuine, deeper way, I think is a skill worth developing.

Srini: Yeah. What do you think?

Chris Bailey: You mentioned that it's not a matter of if, but when.

Srini: death, and I had to ask, what is the most absurd request you've ever had?

Chris Bailey: In a restaurant situation.

Srini: Have someone accommodate you.

Chris Bailey: Oh, sorry about that.

Srini: Or accommodate them? Sorry.

Chris Bailey: Yeah. I think East Side Barrios was the opposite. I don't wanna just bash East Side Marios, but I do at the same time because if you think of it, it's like Olive Garden, but a lot worse like Italian fast food. The funniest thing, there was nothing too absurd because it didn't attract that kind of clientele.

Chris Bailey: But the most amazing thing was when somebody would compliment the chef where, you know, coming from the kitchen, I realized half the things either came frozen or out of a plastic bag. And so they're basically complimenting whatever chemist concocted the Italian wedding soup or the home loaves, which came pre-cooked.

Chris Bailey: But, the compliments to the chef were what I found the most amusing because in my head I just thought it came in a bag, man.

Srini: Yeah.

Chris Bailey: You don't know what you're missing. Go to a real Italian restaurant. Sorry. Eastside. Mario's.

Srini: Yeah, no, 'cause I, I

Chris Bailey: I am so excited to be here today!

Srini: 'Cause I remember there were

Chris Bailey: Remember there were times I'd get

Srini: And people would.

Chris Bailey: Come in and just face the absurd requests.

Srini: Like, I don't understand why you're so adamant about this.

Chris Bailey: What's the most absurd one you had? The one that sticks out in my mind, is if somebody comes to the Drive-through, they're like, "I want just the patty from a burger, no bun, no condiments."

Srini: Was there a meeting yesterday?

Chris Bailey: Yeah

Srini: How do we?

Chris Bailey: Yeah, I'm not sure. I think I might be able to meet up later.

Srini: Of the

Chris Bailey: Back up.

Srini: Out. And you talk about the

Chris Bailey: Yeah, that sounds good.

Srini: 'Cause like I

Chris Bailey: I don't think I would know if I were

Srini: Out.

Srini: And then I'll be able to move on to the next part of the project.

Chris Bailey: And I remember the first sign that I had that I was burnout

Chris Bailey: Was in June, when I took the entire month off from interviews and I realized, oh my gosh!

Srini: Literally

Chris Bailey: I haven't stopped.

Srini: Since I have been here, I have been amazed by the hospitality of the people.

Chris Bailey: I started the show. I've never had a full month without a gig.

Srini: And I spent

Chris Bailey: Month in Brazil.

Chris Bailey: Just reading and writing was the first, like real

Srini: Vacation

Chris Bailey: Vacation was ago

Srini: Not sure what you mean. Can you explain further?

Chris Bailey: Actually, I'm not gonna win. Yeah. Even though I spent a lot of time preparing.

Srini: And writing

Chris Bailey: Yeah, of course. And this was a tough thing I found to discover where I would equate burnout with exhaustion. And so if I was really tired, even at the end of a day or a week or a month, I, I would, oh, I'm just so burned out right now.

Chris Bailey: I need a rest. But burnout is a technical construct that is studied by researchers. Christina Maslach is probably the world's pioneering researcher in this field. She defines burnout as having three core characteristics, and the research shows that we do need all three of these in order to be burnt out.

Chris Bailey: We do need that exhaustion. Exhaustion indeed is the first one of burnout. We need to just feel totally wrecked and depleted and ragged as if there's nothing left of us to give. That's number one. Number two is cynicism. We need to feel as though there's this negativity behind us as if there's just no point in what we're doing.

Chris Bailey: And the third, we need inefficacy. So we need to feel profoundly unproductive and as if what we're doing does not make a difference in our work, or in the lives of other people as well. And one of these things between exhaustion and cynicism, feeling unproductive serves as a stepping stone to a full-blown burnout phenomenon.

Chris Bailey: And you mentioned the interviews, that is what causes burnout; is chronic stress that doesn't let up. Whenever we encounter enough chronic stress in our lives, the stress that we face repeatedly, a lot of the stress in our life is obvious, but a lot of this chronic stress is hidden as well in the depths of our life.

Chris Bailey: Our body gets to that point where it just chemically refuses to mobilize to a stressful incident, and we get that combination of exhaustion, cynicism, and unproductivity. So it is this phenomenon that's tough to understand when we're in it, but it is simple in theory.

Chris Bailey: And one of these can serve as a tripwire.

Srini: Wow!

Chris Bailey: Yeah!

Srini: So, you're telling me that you want to go ahead with this project?

Chris Bailey: Make this distinction between Cecil and myself.

Srini: Ambition

Chris Bailey: Ambition.

Srini: Which really stood out to me? You said that Cecil's ambition

Chris Bailey: Ambition often results in overreaching.

Srini: Our

Chris Bailey: Might just transit

Frank: have enough time to go over the entire presentation

Srini: We don't even have enough time to go over the entire presentation.

Chris Bailey: In response to a question why...

Srini: More

Chris Bailey: We're talking. Yeah. Why are we so rarely saying?

Srini: Our accomplishments.

Srini: And I know.

Chris Bailey: I know we talked about

Srini: You said that

Chris Bailey: Say that engagement is the process.

Srini: Which we actually

Chris Bailey: Actually, become more productive.

Srini: And I think that's all I have to say!

Chris Bailey: Intentional living and this is especially the case when we're.

Srini: With our most consequential

Chris Bailey: Tasks throughout the day can be tricky to manage, especially if you don't have a plan.

Srini: The biggest challenge I faced during my internship was getting used to the corporate environment.

Chris Bailey: differences

Srini: And, and that's why I recommend this solution.

Chris Bailey: You, that struck me so much because I remember we had to miss

Srini: I was a professor at Stanford here. You're talking to us about the fact that

Chris Bailey: Like students coming in with their whole lives ahead of them and then

Srini: That's one group, and

Chris Bailey: Then the other is basically clueless and I'm like, "Oh, I'm worried about what I'm passionate about."

Chris Bailey: Your passion follows your engagement.

Srini: And this is why I think we should move forward with this project.

Srini: Figure out what you find engaging, and then

Chris Bailey: This is something I'm so passionate about: don't follow your passion, follow your purpose.

Chris Bailey: Yeah, it's been a busy few days. We've had to get a lot of things sorted for the launch.

Srini: What

Chris Bailey: Discover.

Srini: I'm passionate about it.

Chris Bailey: Oh, it's so true. And that engagement, that I, if you look at what allows you to actually make progress, it's being focused, it's being engaged with whatever it is that you plan on doing.

Chris Bailey: The, there's a story that I love. When the University of California at Irvine was first built, the school was built without any sidewalks. And what the designers of the university did is they waited and looked at where people walked around the buildings that were already on the campus, and that's where they laid the sidewalks on top of.

Chris Bailey: It's called a desire path because it's where people actually want to and desire to go. And so I think there is so much value and wisdom in that advice to follow. Engagement. And if you look at what allows you to naturally be engaged with the work that you're doing, it's probably the work that you find interesting and those kinds of tasks you'll naturally be more productive on.

Chris Bailey: And going back to that idea of burnout, the fascinating thing is that engagement on a psychological level is the opposite of burnout. So if you look at those three attributes of burnout, exhaustion, cynicism, and being unproductive. When you're burned out, you're exhausted. But when you are engaged, you have this fire underneath you.

Chris Bailey: There's a driving force behind what you're doing. Instead of being cynical, you feel like there's a light. Behind what you're doing. And instead of feeling ineffective, you feel as though you're making a profound difference. That's the definition of engagement. These are the characteristics of engagement too.

Srini: Yeah!

Chris Bailey: I've come to see engagement as a superpower, right? If we can be engaged with whatever it is that we intend, I don't think we need to ever pick up another productivity book again in our lives because we can just set out to do something and then do it. But here's the fascinating thing as well.

Chris Bailey: And in other words, the sidewalks at the university are mapped to where people actually want to walk, not to where they should. And so you don't have these other situations where you have a sidewalk and then there's the path that people actually want to take, and it's carved out in the dirt or the grass that's well-worn over time.

Chris Bailey: There are certain attributes of our work that drive us toward engagement or burnout, and there are six of them. The workload is the first one. The more our workload exceeds our capacity to get it all done, the more likely we are to be burned out. 

Chris Bailey: But when it is roughly equal to our capacity to get things done, we reach a flow state and we're more likely to be engaged. Lack of control, or a lot of control, is the second one with what we work on, how we work on it, when we work on it, the methods through which we use, and how we collaborate with other people on the work that we have.

Chris Bailey: The more control we have, the more likely we are to be engaged; the less control we have, the more likely we are to be burnt out. The reward is the third one. So the more fairly we are rewarded financially, socially, and intrinsically as well. So when we find our work motivating in and of itself, the more fairly we are rewarded, the more we tend toward that engagement side of the spectrum.

Chris Bailey: When we're experiencing insufficient reward, we're more likely to burn out. It's another attribute, another dial that can either be off-kilter or in-kilter. When we feel connected with the people that we work closely with, we're more engaged. When we have that disconnection, we're more likely to be burned out.

Chris Bailey: Fairness. That's another one, the fifth factor of the six. So the more fair things are at our work in terms of how work is assigned and how we're rewarded, the more likely we are to be engaged. Values are the final factor. So there are 10 values that I mentioned quickly, but the more our work is aligned with what we value, the more we can feel as though we're manifesting our values through our actions and seeing our work as quite meaningful.

Chris Bailey: And that leads to engagement as well and away from burnout. But the fascinating thing is, with these six dials, with these six factors, our work can either be aligned to who we are and what we need in order to do a good job, or it can be misaligned to who we are and what we need to do a good job. And that alignment either leads to burnout or engagement depending on all these different factors.

Chris Bailey: And so it's this fascinating phenomenon, but when we look at what allows us to actually make progress, it's engagement. And this is yet another reason why burnout can be such a devastating phenomenon, not just in terms of how it feels to go through it but in terms of how it leads us to make far less of a difference.

Srini: Yeah!

Chris Bailey: Yeah!

Srini: Let's talk about the project.

Chris Bailey: "Let's tighten up the presentation before we make it public."

Srini: And I think we have to move forward on this.

Chris Bailey: Oh, I almost forgot! We need to pick up some groceries on the way home.

Srini: Concept about

Chris Bailey: about skin and, moving over-stimulated.

Srini:  You know what they say: "Practice makes perfect."

Chris Bailey: Basically, I'm just trying to say that I think we should be careful with our decisions.

Srini: called super stimuli, where you say "super".

Chris Bailey: Super!

Srini: With more dopamine than everything else, we're spending our

Chris Bailey: Time and attention on.

Srini: Enjoyment is short-lived.

Chris Bailey: Yeah. And obviously, I think this is not

Srini: You're no news to any of us, as you joked, we should do a shot every time.

Chris Bailey: Yeah.

Srini: Dopamine on a podcast. But yeah, talk to me about this because you talked about being able to control the amount of

Chris Bailey: Stimulation. Yeah. Yeah. So super stimuli, we're all familiar with them 'cause we all tend to them. Are these highly processed, exaggerated versions of things that we were biologically programmed to enjoy? Takeout is a great example of this. Fire up Uber Eats, and you'll see hundreds of examples of super stimuli - things that are fatty, salty, and sweet - all at your fingertips regardless of the hour of the day.

Chris Bailey: If you happen to live in a big city as I do, but you're so right that most of these super stimuli, most of the things that are highly dopaminergic, that we, for the sake of the dopamine hit itself, happen to be found in the digital world. And so, pornography is a super stimuli version of something, of intimate time with a partner, which we're biologically programmed to enjoy.

Chris Bailey: Social media is a simulated version of social connection, which we're biologically programmed to enjoy, but because these behaviors are primarily rewarded with dopamine, we don't feel that presence with whatever it is that we're doing. And dopamine is this fascinating neurochemical; we think of it sometimes as a pleasure chemical, but the truth is that it's more of a chemical of anticipation, of pleasure.

Chris Bailey: That's the feeling that dopamine provides. So whenever we get a hit of this, stuff we feel as though pleasure is right around the corner. And there is, there's a mechanism in our mind, the novelty bias whereby for every new and novel thing we direct our attention to, our mind rewards us with a hit of dopamine, and indeed one of the factors that contribute to this.

Chris Bailey:  The size scale of a dopamine hit is determined by three factors: novelty, direct effect, and genetics. Novelty seems to be the factor that changes the most, relatively speaking, on the internet.

Chris Bailey: And so we get a hit when we check Instagram and get a hit of novelty on the we explore tab there. And then after that, we check email and get another hit of novelty and get another hit of dopamine as well. We get another hit of anticipation. But because we're constantly anticipating pleasure, we never

Chris Bailey: Truly I feel as though we've arrived. We never truly feel present because there's always this chemical motivation that is propelling us to continue behaving in a certain way, but that never really truly makes us feel satisfied. And you alluded to these different levels of stimulation in the question earlier, everything that we tend to do over the course of our daily lives at a different level of stimulation.

Chris Bailey: Depending on how much dopamine it releases. And so at the very top of this height of stimulation chart is social media, it's the online news, it's drug use at the very zenith of these heights of stimulation. But then you start to work your way downward. And in the middle band, we have activities like playing board games with friends, grabbing a coffee with somebody, and doing creative work.

Chris Bailey: And, as we go down these heights of stimulation, the activities that are plotted on it, they release a bit less dopamine, but they release other chemicals that make us feel connected and actually present and satisfied with how we're spending our time, our attention, and our energy, and generally speaking.

Chris Bailey: These activities also lead us to calm and away from anxiety and away from burnout, and they lead us to presence and productivity where productivity and focus feel more effortless. And so it's fascinating when you look at the research on this topic of dopamine where dopamine begets more dopamine.

Chris Bailey: The more dopamine we want, the more we crave. And because stimulation, begets stimulation and distraction begets distraction. The more distracted we become, the more we want to continue distracting ourselves in order to stay at that highly stimulated level, and it's hard to come down. But it's worth coming down because not only do we actually enjoy our experiences far more, but it also has beautiful effects on our well-being.

Chris Bailey: We're able to savor them. But because of that, the productivity benefits and because of the present benefits, where we spend more meaningful time.

Srini: Yeah!

Chris Bailey: Yeah!

Srini: Let's speak briefly about analog experiences, and we will wrap this up because

Chris Bailey: Yeah!

Srini: Distinction between analog and digital. Do you say?

Chris Bailey: Hey there!

Srini: We want to do an activity efficiently, we should do it digitally. And when we want our actions to be

Chris Bailey: Meaningful.

Srini: Do things the 'analog' way.

Srini: This is a great opportunity for us! We should take advantage of it.

Chris Bailey: This way.

Srini: Internet for

Chris Bailey:  The internet is good at many things: connecting people, enabling commerce, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs, providing access to information, and more.

Srini: It's amazing how technology is saving us time, adding features to our lives, and connecting us with others while avoiding pesky digital rabbit holes. And you and I were just talking about the fact that

Chris Bailey: That

Srini: Remarkable tablet as. Reason to basically stop the stimulation.

Maddie: I've actually heard of that

Srini: And the funny thing is, I've actually heard of that.

Chris Bailey: People have.

Srini: Reactions are remarkable when they buy.

Chris Bailey: Buy it. This thing is overpriced. I might as well find an iPad. I think those people missed the point. Yeah. Yeah. Intentionally.

Srini: It's limited in terms of what it can do.

Chris Bailey: Yeah, yeah. And I think we've forgotten about the analog world in a really big way. And if you look at how we spend our time throughout the day.

Chris Bailey: I think this statistic was done in 2021 when researchers found that the average person now spends over 13 hours a day looking at screens. And when I encountered this statistic, I didn't really believe it. But then I started looking at my own life and noticed that I was just bouncing around between screens in this digital world, never really slowing down, or maybe more importantly, coming down and finding meaning in what is slow and analog, and especially things that are analog at that lower level of stimulation. Sitting around a campfire with a few people just watching the flames, moving in and out of the conversation. If you're grabbing brunch with some people who are able to not check their phones for a meal, if you're playing cards with your family, if you're passing the time on a road trip with your family, these are little moments.

Chris Bailey: Counteract all of the dopamine that is in our minds. They release oxytocin, which is the chemical of connection. When we feel connected to other people, real people, that's one of the most beautiful things, the most beautiful part of our analog world. Serotonin is released when we do something that makes us feel proud.

Chris Bailey: Produce an inordinate amount of meaning simply because we're present with them. And when it comes to presence, this is a topic that is tough to define; it doesn't really have handles, but we know it when we feel it when we're in the moment in an experience. And the research shows that analog experiences lead to far greater presence because they release a concoction of chemicals.

Chris Bailey: I'm learning the piano right now for this reason. I feel a sense of pride when I play something that is enjoyable. We feel a sense of euphoria. Experience an endorphin rush, like during exercise. And we do experience dopamine as well, but just in smaller amounts that are released in response to these activities.

Chris Bailey: And we all have activities that we can, like the tasks on the remarkable, move into the analog world. And the way I think about the activities that we do in both, we can visualize a Venn diagram of sorts, where one circle is the analog-only things that we do. Another circle is the digital-only things that we do.

Chris Bailey: Now if efficiency is the only thing that matters, then it might be something worth doing digitally, like keeping a to-do list. For example, I would argue that slowing down when you plan leads to more deliberate execution later on. But tasks like brainstorming feel different on a big whiteboard or on a remarkable (notebook) that you can hunker down over with a cup of coffee and not be able to tab over to another window to reach a new level of stimulation. It's also about spending time with people, right?

Chris Bailey: So analog-only activities might be brushing our teeth or spending time in nature. Digital-only activities. We all have examples of social media, email, etc., and where they meet in the middle. Those are the activities that we can bring into the analog world without really losing too much in terms of efficiency.

Chris Bailey: My wife and I love nerding out with each other and with friends over board games, and it's so much more rewarding than playing some mindless game on a phone that moves you from one point in time to another. And so there are so many different activities that we can bring into the analog and so we don't have to tend to them digitally and calm our minds and find that deliberateness at the same time.

Srini: Beautiful!

Chris Bailey: This, unfortunately, is the case.

Srini: As I would be. So I have one final question for you

Chris Bailey: Yes.

Chris Bailey: When we spend time with others in the analog world, we feel far more depth of connection. In a circumstance like that, reading a book I love, the physicality of a book and not being able to, again, tab over to a different application to get a new surge of stimulation. Games. Playing board games with people is one of my favorite things to do.

Srini: How do we finish all of our interviews at The Unmistakable Creative? What do you think it is that makes somebody, or something unmistakable?

Chris Bailey: What is it that makes something unmistakable? I think when something is so unique and so different, and it is based on novelty that's structured on top of it. Novelty is this idea that over time I'm finding myself more and more fascinated with it not just for the dopamine connection, but because everything that we tend to encounter over the course of our day, over the course of our life has a varying amount of novelty, but also a different flavor.

Chris Bailey: Type of novelty. Novelty on the internet is so often structured on top of just our basic, responses. Whether that's mating with a partner or eating good food or getting angry or tribal or something like that. I, in fact, Facebook whistleblower, Sophie Hogan reduced Instagram to two things: bodies and comparing lifestyles.

Chris Bailey: And I think that describes much of social media and the internet and the novelty that is to be found there. But I think when something is novel in a way that is not only unexpected but also unexpectedly deep, that I think is what makes something unmistakable.

Srini: Amazing!

Chris Bailey: I'd love to hear my answers, my previous answers to that, but

Srini: Me

Chris Bailey: It's probably completely different.

Chris Bailey: That's correct.

Srini: Of my

Chris Bailey: Probably one of my favorite answers I've ever heard.

Srini: To answer that question.

Chris Bailey: Oh, that's good.

Srini: Yeah.

Chris Bailey: Yeah!

Srini: I can't thank you enough.

Chris Bailey: I'm looking forward to our team meeting tomorrow.

Srini: Thank you for taking the time to join us and share your story, your wisdom, and your insights with our listeners.

Srini: Where can people find out more about you, your work, the book, and everything else you're up to?

Chris Bailey: Yeah. Thank you so much for [having] me. We'll have to make it so I don't have something to plug next time. The book is called How to Calm Your Mind, finding Presence and Productivity in Anxious Times. And I think it's the best thing I've ever created and I'm [completely] biased. But I'm quite proud of what I learned along this journey and it's helped me immensely.

Chris Bailey: And so the book is available wherever books are sold, and my website is chrisbailey.com. I also do a podcast with my wife called Time and Attention where we nerd out about this stuff. But "How to Calm Your Mind" is where you can find my latest thinking.

Srini: Amazing. And for everyone listening, we will wrap the show with that.