We all experience downfalls in our lives. The difference is in choosing whether to allow it to keep us low or use it to rise higher than ever before. We have a choice to move towards the path of redemption, and our guest shows us where this path has taken him. In this episode, New York Times best-selling author Tucker Max shares his spiritual journey to the self. He talks about how he hit rock bottom, hitting the hole in his soul, and going deeper into himself, where he found redemption, acceptance, and love. Underneath it, Tucker tells us how we have the power to create our own destiny. All it takes to realize it is to take action. So tune in as we follow Tucker’s journey to self-actualization and gain his wisdom on finding enlightenment from going deep within ourselves.
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A Journey To The Self: Finding Redemption, Acceptance, And Love With Tucker Max
Namaste, beautiful souls. We are on for a ride, so buckle up. This extraordinary guest is going to show up with his life. This show, especially this episode with this fabulous guest, is about self-actualization and self-realization. The one quality that I admire, love and respect about this guest is that he always shows up with his natural and authentic self no matter what. Welcome, Tucker. How are you, my friend?
I’m good. Thank you for having me.
I’m so glad you’re here. If I had to write a movie about you or maybe a book, the title would be From Ignorance to Bliss. Its subtitle is Why Breaking the Ego Is the Only Choice on the Quest to Redemption, Acceptance and Love. Welcome.
At the beginning of your career, what was your experience like overcoming defeat and criticism?
That’s the whole career. I was fired from being a lawyer two and a half weeks into the job. I wrote an email about it to my friends, who were all lawyers. They thought it was hilarious and sent it to their friends. It blew up and became this huge email forward. This was twenty years ago. I ended up getting blackballed from the legal profession because I wrote the email and then I got fired. The email was supposed to be funny about what I did but it ended up with me getting fired.
Everyone in the legal profession knew who I was before I even started. Not only did I get fired but I also couldn’t even get another job. I went to work for my dad, who had to retrieve the family business, which is restaurants in South Florida. My dad fired me from the family business in six months. The two things that I trained for in my life, law and family business, I was ejected from.
During this time, I was writing funny emails to my friends like the ones that my friends forwarded around that got me blackballed. One of my buddies from law school was like, “You’re not very good at law and business but these emails you’re writing are the funniest things I’ve ever read. You should go do this.” I’m like, “Be a writer like I’m some kind of b**ch? I’m not going to be a writer. What are you talking about?” He said, “You’re not so good at the two things you’re trained for. Maybe this is what you should do.”
I took five of my funniest emails. This was 2002. I sent them to every publisher and agent in New York. There was a lot. There are way more of them now. I will probably send out 500 or maybe 1,000 queries. When I say I got zero response, 90% didn’t respond. I got 50 rejection letters. Most of them were forum letters. Although 3 or 4 people went out of their way to write personalized rejections, “This is the worst thing I’ve ever read. You should never write an email again.” They’re the stories that became the core of a book that invented a new literary genre and sold millions of copies around the world.
People were like, “This is awful. This isn’t even readable,” and all that stuff. It was a complete rejection from the publishing industry, like 100%. This was 2002. Even five years before then, there probably wouldn’t have been another option I would have done. In 2002, you could go on this weird niche place called the internet and put things up for free. People can read them for free.
You’re old enough to remember GeoCities. I put my site up on GeoCities. You had to learn to program HTML and nonsense, but my stories blew up. They took off. Some funny sites picked them up and published some of them or linked some of them. They blew up. MTV came and did a documentary thing about me because I was meeting girls on the internet from the stories. In 2002, meeting people on the internet was the weirdest and creepiest thing of all time.Most people aren't ready or willing to change until they've suffered enough. Click To Tweet
Now, a third of people who get married meet their partner on chat apps or Tinder. Back at the time, it was creepy mass murderers and weirdos in their parents’ basement. The MTV show took off, and then all the publishers who didn’t want my stories came back and were like, “We want to publish your stories.” It took me about two years to finish my first book. It came out and did pretty well. It hit the New York Times Bestseller list for two weeks. I had built my audience.
Because everyone rejected me from every outlet, I was forced to build my own thing, which ended up being great. In the short term, it was hard and awful. In the long term, it was amazing. The book trailed off a little bit. There was no media coverage. It hit the bestseller list from my audience. It started taking off through word of mouth. It started going and going. It got back on the New York Times Bestseller list about a year later and stayed on for five calendar years. My first book was I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.
It’s funny. There was a movie made about my life. There has already been a movie made about my life. It came out before I was 34. It came out on my 34th birthday. It didn’t do very well at the box office. I fought and struggled so long and hard for success and I had it. The movie bombed and I was crushed, but the funny thing is it’s the most ridiculous rich White person problem ever.
Think about it. A Hollywood movie had to be made about my life that came out before I was 34. It didn’t do $10 million at the box office at the first weekend. This was soul-crushing to me. I was still rich and famous. I didn’t lose anything except my ego. It was crushing but that ended up being the most important single event that has ever happened in my life because it set me on a different path.
It took me a while. It wasn’t overnight but I realized, “If I am so fragile and broken that a movie about my life not being the biggest movie of all time is soul-crushing to me, something is not right.” I fixed everything in my life. I’ve gotten in the best shape. Everything external was perfect. I was still pretty miserable. Don’t get me wrong. Being in shape, rich, and famous is way better than being poor, fat and lonely but it was 10% better. It wasn’t night and day.
It was like, “The only thing left is in me. The problem has to be the way I think, the way I feel, or something about that.” That started my journey in the broadest sense of self-improvement or personal development. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a spiritual and emotional journey. There was therapy, psychedelic medicine, and all that. I started a company that I exited. I met my wife. Now I have four kids and live on a ranch. Here I am.
Somebody who’s going to read this is like, “I’m having obstacles or challenges in my life. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m being criticized and judged.” That’s what you went through over and over again. Can you go deeper with us? It’s easy to say to people, “Take a course in meditation,” but the way I feel about this is it’s not enough. It might be one of the keys but for you, maybe you meditated for ten hours a day. I don’t know. That’s what we’re going to uncover through this episode. When you went into this hole in your soul and reached that point, then what? Did you go to your best friend and say, “I need to talk to somebody.” Did you cry for hours? If you remember a little bit, you did say it was a spiritual journey for a reason.
I summed up twenty years of growth in three minutes. It’s hard to understand. In short, I’ve noticed for almost everyone and myself that most people aren’t ready or willing to change until they have suffered enough. Before the movie came out, I hadn’t suffered enough. The best way to say it is most people would prefer the pain of what they know to the joy of what they don’t. I had not suffered enough to make me want to change. Even though I was miserable, I wasn’t miserable enough.
After my dad had fired me, I was poor and broke. I thought in my head, “If I’m just rich and famous, then everything will be great.” I got five times richer and more famous than I thought I needed to be for everything to be great and things were 10% or 20% better, but now I’m much better and that much different. That was confusing but then my thought was, “The next thing will make it. The movie is out. A hundred thousand books sold is not enough but a million will be. A million wasn’t enough but two million will be.”
When the movie came, I put a lot of my self-worth into the movie. I put a lot of effort into that. The movie didn’t do well mainly because of what I did and a lot of decisions I made, which is a whole separate conversation. The point is I attached my identity to that movie. If the movie was good, I was good. If the movie bombed, I suck. The movie bombed. It was awful when it happened. Make no mistake about it, but it ended up being the best possible thing.
There’s no possible way anyone could have convinced me at the moment when I’m sitting in my hotel room in Phoenix crying because the movie bombed that this is going to be good for you. That was 2009. Thirteen or fourteen years later, I can see that. I’m so happy that happened. If the movie had been a massive success, I would have never changed. I know guys like this. If that had been a massive success, I would have been emotionally stuck at that moment for the rest of my life because I would have had multiple series of wins, especially deeply ego-based narcissistic wins.
No one would have ever been able to convince me that I was wrong ever again. No one would have ever been able to tell me anything. It was a crucial failure for me. It was early enough that I hadn’t solidified and hardened. The movie fails. It’s not like I became enlightened. It was six months of accepting to myself that it happened. I fixed everything because it’s still like, “I’ll get in great shape, get my finances together, and move here.” I moved to Austin and did all this stuff.
I felt a little bit better but I still decided to start regular talk therapy. I had to go through twenty therapists to find a good therapist. I had to go to the therapist for therapists. There’s one analyst in Austin who specializes in other therapists. I had to go to an older woman who’s no-bullsh*t and smart as hell. She can see through all my nonsense because I was way smarter than most of the therapists I went to. In two sessions, I was breaking them. That doesn’t work.
I eventually found her. She was good for me for a while and helped me unpack all my bullsh*t and understand rationally, logically, and empirically what’s going on in my head, and connect a lot of dots for me. Truly, I went for years with her. I felt 10% better at the end but not that much. I’ll get to why in a second. That was a long period of work. I met my wife about three years into talk therapy. That was amazing. That was ten years ago. We have been together. That was great.
We started having amazing kids. Kids forced me to grow. Kids are like mirrors. Everything that you are will be reflected back to you. People say, “My kids teach me.” Before I had kids, I thought, “Your kids are idiots. They’re six. What are they teaching you?” It’s not that they’re wise little sages. It’s just that they reflect back on you. You have to decide, “Am I going to face who I am or not?” That’s how they teach you.
The real thing that shook up my whole world was when I did psychedelic medicine for the first time. I did MDMA therapy. That was a bomb being dropped on me. What I realized from psychedelics, MDMA specifically, was I had never felt hardly any more emotions ever. When I first did psychedelic therapy, I was 4 or 5 years into being married. We had two kids already. Once the medicine hit me, I felt the deepest and most profound love ever in my life.
It was so deep that I realized I had never even felt loved before. What I was feeling was so qualitatively different. I was married with two kids. I loved my kids and wife. I realized I had spent my entire life thinking and not feeling. Psychedelic medicine helped me begin the journey of feeling. The last few years have been adding feeling to my thinking. That’s not the only part of the journey. The vast majority of the progress I’ve made on my spiritual journey has been once I started feeling my emotions.
What you talked about touched a nerve for so many of us who are striving for success. We identify with our name, label, certification, and everything. If you think about it, it’s everything that we are not. What are you describing for us is the levels of your self-experiences that you went through. This is so good because I get a lot of questions like, “What’s enlightenment? What’s spirituality?” You get to tell us through your pathways the levels of the self, the thoughts, the mind, and the process that you went through. Even though you were successful, you went through being miserable.
You tried and got it through a talk therapy session. It’s very valuable to open a door. I personally don’t believe it’s the key but it’s a start. You know what it is with you even though maybe you didn’t even consider yourself as a spiritual being and all these things at a time. It’s so interesting because what I’m hearing is you’re already tapped into your intuition without knowing it. You already die without knowing it. This is the blessing in disguise because you were unknowingly tapped in. You opened the doors necessary to activate your higher self without even knowing it. This is so cool.
I still think about it in those terms like higher self or this or that. This has always been part of me. As much as possible, the more I can avoid labels and identities, the better. I’ll give you a good example. Probably the reason that I am such a successful writer is because I never tried to be a writer and I never identified as a writer. The reason I sat down to write was to make my friends laugh. All I ever tried to do was make my friends or readers laugh and enjoy the writing, not be a writer. They’re not the same thing.
The road to success for writers is littered with the bodies of people trying to be great writers instead of trying to solve a problem, entertain or whatever you’re trying to do with your writing. I saw they all hated my guts too. It was so funny to watch those people who spent their lives trying to be writers and wrote crap because they were putting on air or trying to have an identity and not trying to do the work. I just did the work.
It’s the same thing with the spiritual stuff. Many spiritual people, whether they’re good ones or frauds, have an identity or a way they approach the world. I don’t mean any judgment. I never liked any of that because it doesn’t resonate with me. I’m not going to be an airy-fairy person, but also because putting on an identity to me always gets in the way of doing the work. I didn’t go on my spiritual journey to be a spiritual person. I don’t want to be a spiritual person. All I want is peace.Enjoy the writing, not be a writer. They're not the same thing. Putting on identity always gets in the way of doing the work. Click To Tweet
I used to say, “I want to be happy.” I realized it was not true. What I want it to be was at peace with myself and content with who and what I am. Not content like, “I’m going to sit here and do nothing.” I still do stuff I like. I like doing things but I wanted to be at peace, not be so anxious and upset, and not have such internal chaos and turmoil. Now I can see clearly that all of that comes from me pushing feelings away and running from issues, problems or emotions I have that I don’t want to feel.
If I have a ton of deep grief from my childhood, I can put that away, lock it away, and not feel it but there’s a price to pay for that. The price is I’m going to be anxious. I’m going to always be struggling. I’m going to be pushing for success. I’m going to be doing something to occupy my time to keep my mind off of that. I eventually got to the point where I was tired of paying the price for not feeling my feelings. I’m going to turn them, face them and feel them.
I didn’t understand that at the beginning of the process, not consciously. Maybe I understood it unconsciously but I did not understand it consciously at all. Only in the last couple of years am I starting to realize, “This whole spiritual journey is nothing more than me feeling my feelings, and coming to grips with both truth and emotion.” For a lot of people, coming to grips with the truth is a very important part of a spiritual journey. It wasn’t as much for me because I’ve always been good at accepting the truth. That has been a thing that has never been a problem for me, whereas with emotion, I was like, “Put that away. I’m not feeling any of that.”
It’s so funny because I have friends who are the opposite. They feel everything but they don’t want to recognize anything. I was joking with a friend of mine where I’m like, “If we could switch problems, I would solve yours in 10 minutes and you would solve mine in 5 minutes.” The spirit is always recognizing the truth and then feeling all your emotions. Both come naturally. For me, it was 80% feeling.
Thank you for sharing because you’ve been speaking. I’m very sensitive. I’m sure you can tell. You speak and give us some wisdom bombs. I don’t believe so much in words. You’re a top writer. I’m speaking the truth. I don’t read books because the words get away with wisdom. They interfere with me. I put my hand on the book and get the knowledge from the book by putting my hand on the book because I get the vibration and the frequency.
When you speak, you say things that have a very clear vibration. I’m not kidding. My body goes into chills. It lights up. The wisdom that’s in you that you’re able to share is very powerful. What you’ve been sharing is it’s not outside. Even sharing this self-realization, which is the path that you’ve been on without even realizing that you are.
It’s super powerful even to the point where you realize that emotion, which is energy in motion. Especially in this country, a lot of people are wrapped up in emotions. They have to feel everything like, “Watch this.” When you feel emotional before starting to write your work, do you feel like it’s going against your peace and interferes with that mutual peace? I’m getting too deep, maybe because peace is not an emotion. Peace is peace.
I am not sure if this is correct. You can almost define peace as a lack of emotion, not pushing away but more as an absence, which gets back to what you were talking about and the questions you get about people asking, “What is enlightenment?” I didn’t go on a spiritual journey for enlightenment. I’ve always been in search of truth. Enlightenment is much more than truth. It encompasses truth but it’s not only the truth.
Almost all the great avatars have gotten it, whether you’re talking about Jesus, Buddha, Krishna or a list of them. They all say in some form or another that enlightenment is the release of all attachments and understanding of the connection to all things at once, and the recognition that you are a part of a bigger system in a sense like what Christians would call God.
I always connected with Buddhist teachings more than most of the avatars. He teaches that enlightenment is simply the acceptance of suffering and the release of attachments. That’s so hard to understand. I remember reading this stuff in college. I’m like, “What the hell is this goon talking about? It doesn’t make any sense.”
It’s exactly what you said. He’s using words to try and help people walk the path but enlightenment is only an experience. It is not a thing you can understand from words because it is biased. It is only an experience. The metaphor he uses is, “I am the hand pointing at the moon. Don’t mistake my hand for the moon. Enlightenment is the moon. I’m pointing the way to you for enlightenment but my teachings are not enlightenment. They are a way to enlightenment, not even the only way.” The reason I find it difficult talking about enlightenment even though I’m walking that path is I haven’t gotten there.
I’ve had flashes of what I think it is but talking about it is a little harder for me because I have very little if any experience of it, but also because it is a thing beyond words. I’m not far enough on my path for that part to talk about it. Even with psychedelics and medicine or spiritual and emotions, so much of it can only be understood with experiences. You have to do it. The metaphor I always use for people is, “You can watch all the porn on Earth but it’s not the same thing as having sex.” That’s what a spiritual journey is like. You’ve got to have sex.
We’re going to switch to a different theme here because we need to speak to entrepreneurs as well, which we are now because it’s an important subject. You are prior to consciousness. If I said, “Tucker, I’m going to talk to you a little bit,” you’ve already been enlightened. You don’t need to seek it. You don’t need to read about it. You don’t need to practice it. It’s a natural state. When you get to the end of the path, that’s it. There is no path. You get to the end of the path but now you have your ranch. There is no path at the end of the day. There are many paths to take you to the one path to tell you there is no path.
Ironically, the only way to understand there’s no path is to walk.
You have to put through the suffering. I love that you’re here. This is a different level of consciousness with you because the audience is going to experience it in a vibration kind of way, which is altering the consciousness. It’s similar to the things that you were taking or the psychedelics. You do that to people. You talk to people and unlock them. That’s what you do.
I don’t sit for people or anything but I finished a piece about the beginner’s guide to psychedelic medicine. Psychedelics are one tool. The metaphor I use is this. The point is to have the house. You use a hammer to build the house but you don’t get obsessed with hammers. They’re just a tool. They’re useless when they’re cool but they’re not the only tool. There’s an important tool to build a house. The point is the house. It’s the same thing on a spiritual journey. The point is being at peace and eventually, enlightenment. The point is not the psychedelics or the meditation. Those are all ways to get to a place, not the place.
Talking about tools, I’m going to give a shout-out to my sponsor, BrainTap. Meditation is a trend. What I love about BrainTap is it’s a new technology because it goes into your brain. It’s a technology or a headset that you put on your head, brain and ears to light up the pathways of your brain. It’s a powerful technology that does that. It’s lighting up the pathway of your mind with the purpose to unlock your full potential. If you’re interested in trying BrainTap, you can try it for free by getting to the link of the show, TheMysticalMavericks.com. Try BrainTap. Let’s go into the entrepreneur mode a little bit more.
The bridge to entrepreneurship is a very simple one from what we’re talking about. Every single entrepreneur I’ve ever known, and I’ve known a lot, is using in some way, shape or form entrepreneurship to avoid their issues. I’m not saying that to discount entrepreneurship, disparage it or say that starting a business is bad. I sold a huge business. Entrepreneurship is an amazing vehicle for change. The point of business is to meet people’s needs.
There’s a good moral argument to be made that entrepreneurship is one of the most important activities on Earth. All that being said, most entrepreneurs I know are doing it. They’re running from their problems. They are using their running from their problems to do something positive, which is great. It’s way better than being a drug addict or fighting or doing whatever else to avoid your issues. You’re creating something. The danger of entrepreneurship is that you can be so good at it. It can be so productive that you never turn and face your issues.
Many entrepreneurs I know have seen my transformation. They will come to me and want something similar. I’ll start talking to them about this. It eventually gets down to, “Why did you do what you do? Why that business? What do you get from it? What do you want?” It’s not all of them because some of them do love what they do in their business. They need to do some things and go on a journey to heal themselves but they will come back to the same business, which is great.
I see two buckets. One is that they are in a severely misaligned business. The thing they’re doing might be great but they hate it. For some reason, it’s not working for them. I’ll see ones that want to heal but their superpower comes from their trauma or their wounds. I get that because that was me. I was the one who thought all my superpowers came from my wounds. In a way, that is true. I don’t want to be like, “That’s not true at all.”
If I hadn’t written I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell then, I could not write them now. It’s not like I couldn’t remember the events or anything. I can’t access the emotional state that you need to be in to write those books anymore. It’s not there. I have a different emotional state. It’s a higher consciousness one but there’s a trade-off. It’s not like you as you heal, you get funnier or something.The whole spiritual journey is nothing more than feeling your feelings and coming to grips with truth and emotion. Click To Tweet
Some people do. I don’t. I was way funnier when I was sad, distraught, broken, lonely, and covering it up with comedy. I’m still funny but no one is paying me for being funny anymore, which is fine. My life is way nicer. I’m going to take that trade-off every time. I do get the worry that a lot of entrepreneurs have. It’s that, “If I go on a healing journey, I’m going to lose my powers.” Some of them won’t. Some get better immediately, but there are some that have attributes and skills that can come from unhealed places.
That’s a thing. I had one friend. He came to me. He’s thinking about doing MDMA therapy. He’s in a very high-pressure business in finance. It’s high-pressure and high-stress. He hates it. He’s misaligned. This is the wrong business for him. I’m like, “Let’s be honest. You may not want to take this journey. It depends on what’s most important to you.” He was coming up on some big deal. There were six months of stuff in front of him.
I’m like, “The reality is if you start feeling your emotions now after 45 years of not, it’s not going to make you better at being a deal maker, a hustler or that type. It’s not going to help there in the short term at least. In the long term, it might but that’s a lot of work away. For the next six months, if you need to be sharpened the way you’ve been for the last 45 years, feeling your emotions is not going to help. It’s going to hurt.”
He got that. He’s like, “I wasn’t sure.” He’s so fried. He’s getting to the point now where he has suffered so much that he’s going to be like, “I don’t care anymore,” but I know others who were like, “I’m ready to serve.” You can go slow on this journey. You don’t have to go fast. You don’t have to wreck your life. You don’t have to leave everything behind. You don’t have to sell your business. It’s none of that.
I know plenty of people. I’ll talk about one. I can say his name because he has been public about it. It’s my friend, Jeff Hayes. I don’t know if you know Jeff. He’s great. He runs a film company called Revealed Films. Jeff wrote a book about doing MDMA therapy. It transformed his business. His business has grown five-X in the last few years since we started this therapy because he was doing something already from a position of love.
He loves films. His spiritual work has made him more of who he is. He was already aligned. He just needed to do some work. It helped his alignment. If you’re aligned, it rockets you. If you’re not, it’s going to not help your business. Some people that are aligned are like, “I’m ready to burn down that business. I’m ready to leave that. I want to go figure out who and what I am.”
You’re speaking the truth. There’s only one truth, which is going back to, “Who am I?” If somebody out there is struggling, listen to the signs. If you keep struggling, there’s something that you need to unlock. Everybody is so different but if you keep struggling, you’re probably not in alignment. You must start to go to, “Who am I?” He described himself. Go to the layers of yourself to the old self.
The guru means the one who gives light to the darkness. That’s what it means. I see you as a guru because of light and darkness. It’s the one who lights up the darkness. That’s what the guru is. You find a guru within yourself. There are no woo-woo names or anything like that. It’s just the truth. The truth is the truth. Go to yourself and search deeper.
There is a quote. I found it on your social media. It goes back to what you said already but I love it. I want to speak it out, “Every successful person I know, including myself at a time, used the pursuit of success to avoid painful emotion.” It’s so good. It’s right to the point. In the turning point or the defining moment when you started to seek the truth about what you are, you’re telling us how to grow within to win.
If someone is reading this and they’re very rationalistic, one of the things on a purely rational level is that everything we experience exists inside of us and not outside of us. I’m not saying this phone doesn’t exist outside of me. It’s a physical object, but my experience with this phone is purely internal. If you don’t understand that, what I’m talking about is the tactile sensation of it and the vision of it. What I see and what I hear from it are all interpreted by my neurological system or my nervous system.
It is all an interpretation. Quite literally, the light reflecting off of here goes into my eyes and is turned into electrical signals above all the brain. There is no such thing as an objective external reality of my experience. Debating whether an external reality exists on its own or not is a whole different conversation. My experience is 100% subjective. All things I experienced, I only experienced in my head, whether or not they exist outside of my head.
The best rubric that I like to use is if something requires my belief, then it’s bullsh*t. If it doesn’t require my belief, it’s not. The phone existing doesn’t require my belief. I’m assuming it’s here, whether I believe it or not. Once you understand that, the implications are enormous because from there, it’s like, “If everything I experienced is in my head, it doesn’t mean you can create your reality fully in your head.” We do live in a physical interface universe. The table is here and you’re there.
In almost all aspects of my experience, I can either control, shape or form. Once you understand that, it’s like, “Hold on.” The real kicker on that or where the rubber meets the road on that understanding that everything I experienced in my life is essentially my fault. It took me years to understand this. It doesn’t mean that if some drunk driver hits my car, I’m to blame but everything that is in my life is, at a minimum, my responsibility. Probably, I created it for myself.
There are ways you can debate a little bit of that. There’s an amazing sign I saw. I’m probably going to write this up and put it on my wall, “If you’re struggling and you are up to your neck in sh*t, don’t worry. Everything will be fine. Remember that you created all of this for yourself.” It’s true. If you are miserable, it is because you created it or you’re accepting it or you’re allowing it, or however, you want to phrase it. If you don’t want to be miserable, all you have to do is decide you’re not going to be and start taking the actions that flow from that. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen immediately.
It’s funny when people argue about this. I’m like, “Read Viktor Frankl,” and you can’t argue anymore. If that dude can survive literal death camps and come out of it the most positive person on Earth and not bullshitting himself, then that’s the end. There’s no more conversation about whether this is possible. The only question now is, “Are you going to do it or not? What life are you going to pick for yourself?” I shouldn’t say that because I can understand it so well, if I’m born 7 feet tall and Black, okay fine. It’s just what experience of your life are you going to pick for yourself? You pick that.
We are going to have to take a deep breath in and out because I’m trying to suck everything in. They’re so good. It’s like a full three books on its own right there. They’re so clear for you and me but it’s so unclear for so many, Tucker. You spoke about The Secret. We don’t have to go through that conversation but The Secret is not a secret. You are the master of your destiny. You can create your reality but it’s the power of will and action. Take action. I always say the biggest prayer is action.
It’s action beginning with belief though.
Yeah, but if you’re sitting in your ass in meditation ten hours a day. I tell people, “Meditation is one thing but you’ve got to get up and take action. You cannot just sit and meditate. It’s not going to show up at the door.”
You say it’s not going to show up at the door but then a lot of times, it can. It’s a very paradoxical thing. Everything is internal. It’s like, “If everything is internal, why do I need to take action?” The universe does exist outside of you. Things exist outside of you. Actions with them create stuff but also internal action. The thing I focus most of my time now on is my internal belief system. What do I believe? Why? I’m unpacking that because as much work as I’ve done, I still have a lot of parts of me that I don’t know, that I haven’t fully explored, and that I don’t fully understand.
I have found that I spend all my time now doing two things. It’s either direct physical action on my ranch, like building a fence or making a bookshelf. It’s things that are purely physical almost or very deeply introspective beliefs and feeling emotional things. There’s almost no in-between stuff, whereas it feels like most people hang out in between. They do things that are kinds of actions. Most people’s jobs are total BS. It feels like action. You’re not doing anything. You’re not stopping, thinking, contemplating, meditating or feeling. You’re not doing anything. You’re stuck in between.
What I’ve done now is divide my life into three things if I count relationships, which is a little bit of both. It’s my family, wife and friends. I spend a ton of time with the people I care the most about. I do a lot of purely physical action things. I also do quite a bit of “nothing” but it is time spent with myself. It’s deeply introspective, “What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What’s going on with me?” For the modern American person, that can feel like time wasted. For me, it’s the most important time I spend.
It’s the program. We have been conditioned in school. You talked about the second grade at one time in school. They were being conditioned to things that if you go do anything, you’re not doing anything. You have to do something to be intelligent in our world, which is blatantly not true. To spend time doing nothing is the best thing you can do for your evolution or whatever success you want. You’ve got to get to that place, sit and do nothing. Schedule it, “I’ll do nothing from this time to that time.”Enlightenment is much more than truth; it encompasses truth. Click To Tweet
Don’t say, “Do nothing,” because that confuses people.
Do nothing in consciousness. You can be doing nothing and being conscious or not conscious about it. You can be lazy doing nothing or be doing something as you do yourself, Tucker, which is working on the self.
The time I spend doing nothing is often the most intense, most difficult, and most challenging, especially now because I’ve gotten pretty good at learning how to not hide from myself and bullsh*t myself. There’s no TV. There’s nothing. If I’m spending time with myself and not distracting myself in any way, things can be intense. It’s no joke. The things you’re avoiding, you’re avoiding for a reason. They’re painful or unpleasant. They might be joyous. You have some issue with the feeling of joy or whatnot. There are a lot of things. Those can be the most challenging. To me, that’s the only way. That’s what you’re looking for. That’s what I’m looking for. It’s the journey into myself. That’s what I’m here for.
The journey to the self and through the self is the only way. This is powerful stuff. At the end of the day, when you go through that journey, do you feel like you get in touch with what is the self? When you scratch all the beliefs and emotions out, you’re left with one thing. I’m not going to take the word out of your mouth, and you don’t have to say it but you’re left with what? Nothingness.
That’s super advanced.
I’m so glad you touched on that because you nailed it. The words that you used are very simple to understand versus when you go to Google or whatever. They talk gibberish you don’t understand but coming from you, it means something deeper. We can understand it. You were talking about how the camera or the object that you see is a reflection. All this stuff is important because it’s simple in a way but it’s tough for the brain because it’s outside the brain. It’s beyond it. You’ve got to go beyond it. What’s something most entrepreneurs don’t know about the book industry now?
Honestly, when most entrepreneurs approach the book industry, they’re approaching it from a position of ego and validation. My company has done thousands of books. Many of them will start saying words, “I want to help people and this and that.” I start with, “Why do you want to do this book?” We break them down. What they want from a book is some validation. Most entrepreneurs especially didn’t do very well at school. They have a lot of wounds from it that are unaddressed.
For them, a book is simplistically saying, “I’m going to show those people I’m not stupid. I’m important. I’m this or I’m that.” A book in our culture has a deep social significance. There’s nothing wrong with that, honestly. If you want to use a book for those things, that’s okay. The only problem comes if you’re not honest with yourself about that. If you think you’re writing it for other people but you’re writing it to hit a bestseller list because you want to feel better about yourself, then you’re not going to write the book that’s going to get you what you want.
It’s not my company anymore. What they still do is dive deep into what the author wants. What do you want from this book? What do you want this book to get you as the author? Forget what it gets for the readers. That’s important but it’s far more important for you to understand what you want the book to get you. I want to understand, “Is that realistic? Will it work?” A lot of authors are very unrealistic, “I’m going to write a book. It would be a New York Times bestseller. I’m going to be on Oprah. I’m going to be rich and famous.” It’s not going to happen.
Is it realistic? Also, will it even work? Will it get me what I want? By far the most important thing is understanding that for most authors, a book is not just a book. It is a lot more. Once you unpack that, it’s like, “I want this. I want that. I want to drive my business.” We can figure out how to do that. Let’s do that but the more honest you can be with yourself, the better your book experience will be.
It gets me to that point. I’ve been following you and hearing you speak and whatnot. You talk a lot about the importance of sharing a story. You’ve probably seen in your journey where entrepreneurs are writing books from more of a logical experience or headspace versus that emotion of talking to the audience. Can you share a little bit more about the importance of storytelling?
A lot of people will come in, especially the heavily left-brained types and rational or analytical types. They will be like, “I can’t talk about myself in the book.” I’m like, “You can.” I don’t want to say you should. There are some books where sharing your whole story doesn’t make sense. What I always tell authors is, “All readers like stories. Any good story they’re going to like. They like to learn through stories. Almost always, they want to know about you, not necessarily everything about you but they want to know why are you the person to teach me what you’re going to teach me.”
If you’re reading a book about writing a book, you want to know that I know what I’m doing. You’re like, “Why is this the dude I should listen to?” He sold moons of copies. He has done this. I get it. You don’t probably care what I think about sheep. It has nothing to do with writing a book. I don’t write about that. We get a lot who come in thinking that it’s not okay for them to have anything about their story. Usually, we have to get them to put that part in, not just credibility but also, “How did you learn this? How did you find this? Tell me a story about how you’ve helped a client.” That stuff is important.
We can also get one on the other side though like some accountant who’s got some great knowledge to help entrepreneurs. Let’s say it’s how to do taxes or something. They want to tell their whole story. It’s like, “No one cares.” If this book is about a cut-and-dry subject, no one cares about your childhood. That’s not relevant because we will get a lot of people who want to tell their stories. They want to write a memoir but they don’t feel like they’re allowed to.
They try and make it a business book but they want to cram all their memoir into it. I’m like, “Go write your memoir.” It’s valid. There is nothing more valid than a person who wants to tell their story. That’s great. In a nonfiction book, you only use your story to help the reader learn. A memoir is about you. Go make it about you. That’s valid. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
In the world now, I hear people talking about trends. You’re the master of trends. You know a trend before it shows up. You have the third eye or the 6th or 7th sense about the next trend. As a mystical mavericks, where does that come from? Is it your intuition? Perhaps you want to share what’s the next trend in a new world or this new enlightenment age that we’re in.
I’m going to tell you my secret for trend spotting. It’s simple. The things that I’m super into always become trends. I miss a lot of trends. I don’t get every single one. I thought TikTok was stupid at the beginning. I still think it’s stupid. It’s a huge trend. I miss a bunch. I’m not the person to ask if something is going to hit. The reason to watch me is if I get into it, it always becomes something. I can’t think of any exception.
We sold our place in Austin in town and moved an hour out to a ranch. I have spent 2021 getting this place dialed in. We have a well, rainwater capture, solar, and backup solar. We’ve got generators hooked up and a grid as well. There’s all defense stuff you could imagine. I don’t think we’re going to see a societal collapse but it’s already happening. We’re going into a phase of extreme chaos of supply chain breakdowns, grid failures, and all those things.
If you are not ready for that, you’re going to be lucky if you come out of this only suffering. A lot of people are not going to make it. I don’t say that because I’m excited about it. I think it’s the reality. We have our food supply. All the meat my wife and I and the family eat comes from our ranch. I’m not messing around with this. If you’re not ready, things are going to get rough for a while.
Technology is not wired to know the truth but you are because when that hits the fan, you and I know this. If you don’t know how to plant your carrot, you’re doomed. You have to get back to Earth. You have to get there. They were so turned on by all this magnetic EMF technology crap that it’s shattering who we are as human beings. We’re not going to be able to survive that way because there’s no connection to Earth anymore. That’s a different show but I’m glad you got into this because that is not just a trend but this is a survival skill. We have to teach our children.
Being into social media was an option. It’s having resilient systems of energy, water and food. It’s like if you don’t do it, you may not make the next ten years.
I’ve been sharing this message with my tribe and whatnot. A lot of people think I’m becoming nuts or I’m negative but I’m like, “This is coming. This is already here.”If you are miserable, it is because you created it or you're accepting it. If you don't want to be miserable, you have to decide you're not going to be and start taking the actions that flow from that. Click To Tweet
I don’t know how you can pay attention to what’s going on in the world in the last few years and think this is nuts. If you said this in 2019, I would be like, “You’re a little nuts.” Have you not been paying attention? Look at what’s going on.
My parents in the ’70s had the vision that things are going to hit the fan. They bought a 60-acre ranch. We had cows and all this. I’m going back to that because I know that’s where we need to go. Whether or not we’re going to have followers, I don’t know about that. I’m worried about my children. That’s where it’s at. I’m glad you touched on that subject because it’s very deep for me. We cannot avoid the problem. We cannot have those blinders anymore. We have to open up our consciousness, grow from within, and do what we need to do to have those skills of survivors because it’s coming. Develop your intuition. That’s important. It’s coming.
If you do your spiritual work or emotional work, intuition comes with it. Never in a million years did I think that would be part of this but that has been a huge part and a huge benefit.
You can communicate with your animals and have conversations with trees.
I’m not at that level yet.
I know you will because this is powerful stuff. What has been your deepest mystical experience in the way? You shared a lot.
A couple of years ago, I did MDMA combined with LSD. It was the first time I had done LSD. This was in a controlled medicinal setting. I was an atheist the day before. That experience was crazy. I had a deeply religious experience. I understand why so many rational people are atheists because I was. I understand why so many rational people dismiss the way religious people talk about God because it sounds like nonsense but on LSD, it was crazy.
It was almost like someone was like, “Walk me through what I knew about physics and chemistry. You already know all of this is true.” I’m like, “Everything is energy. I know that E equals MC squared.” It led me to the next step beyond all the stuff I knew. It was like, “This is true but then it was more than that.” It then got deeper. I had a deep experience of oneness. I’m like, “This is what Jesus meant when he said the kingdom of heaven is with him.”
I remember feeling almost like I had lost my entire self and became part of everything, and then realizing that’s what it is all the time. There is me but it’s an eddy in a stream of larger things. The me I understand is me. It exists but it doesn’t exist the way I think of something permanent, forever, and all this stuff. Once I had that oneness, I was like, “This is what people who say they have a relationship with God are feeling.”
The next day, I called up my friend, who’s Mormon. He’s a brilliant guy, Ben Herding. You know Ben. He’s a brilliant dude. He’s smart and deeply religious. I remember I’m like, “Hold on. When you say your relationship with God, are you talking?” I described all this. He’s like, “That’s what I’m talking about.” I’m like, “I get it. I thought you were stupid. You were fooled. I thought you believed all this dumb sh*t that priests are selling you.”
He’s like, “The thing with God is the experience.” I’m like, “I get it. I now have had that experience.” I’m not religious in the sense that I don’t go to a church. I don’t believe in any dogma but I am not an atheist anymore. I’m like, “That’s foolish.” I like to call it source but we’re talking about God and the universe. It’s the same thing. Of course, God exists and we’re all one. I get that ecstatic religious feeling.
This sounds marital to me, like somebody who’s tapping into the self as a big house, which is the oneness and the I am-ness. I am what I am. There is nothing but the self. The self, the guru, and God are one. It’s the same thing.
We have to experience it. I didn’t understand what any of these people were talking about because I never had that experience.
Not everybody is going to have the same timing. It can be many lifetimes to get to experience this. This is deep because you’ve been working at this probably for thousands of years and you don’t even know it. It just happened now. What’s the next big bang in Tucker Max’s universe? What’s going on? Show the world.
I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure I know the direction but it hasn’t started yet. It’s one of those things where until the gears are going, I’m not going to be like, “It’s this,” because it may not be. Honestly, I’m focused on my family, the ranch, and myself. I’m in between things. We finished the last thing in the next couple of months, and then I’m truly out. My next thing will probably start in the fall or maybe early in 2023.
Thank you for sharing this. If they are wanting to get to you, your tribe or any courses.
It’s TuckerMax.com. It’s very simple.
I’m so deeply grateful. I’m glad that we took so many hoops to get here because it feels right. I don’t want to leave you.
We have this scheduled for weeks. We tried to get on six times. My Wi-Fi was broken, you got flooded or whatever and a storm hit, and then my Wi-Fi broke again.
It’s ridiculous. I broke a tooth. I had to schedule it. I asked the source, “What’s going on?” The guys all said, “It’s not in alignment for you two. You have to be patient.” It was what I got for myself. Selfishly, I said, “Be honest with yourself.” That was so cool because it’s something that we all have a hard time with. It was like, “Juju, you moved again. Get yourself in the mirror. Be honest with Tucker. He’s a celebrity entrepreneur. Get to the point. No messing around.”
I honor you. You’re a champion of the heart. I hope that you continue to experiment with yourself but also expand upon and share that with entrepreneurs and human beings. They need to hear that revolution of the self that you went through because it’s going to help a lot of people. It’s helping a lot of people. Your journey and purpose are amazing.
I’m honestly super grateful and privileged. I know you’ve got to go and feed the chickens. I’m so jealous. I can’t wait to have your life. I want to feed chickens. Thank you for showing up. I hope that you enjoy the show and expand your consciousness with Tucker. We’re going to jump into his wisdom here shortly. I know he has to go. Big love, Tucker Max. We love you.
Thanks for having me.
About Tucker Max
Tucker Max is currently a rancher and shepherd on a ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, where he lives with his wife and four children.
He previously co-founded Scribe Media, the premiere professional publishing company in America. He’s written four New York Times Best Sellers (three hit #1), which have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide. He’s credited with being the originator of the literary genre “fratire,” and is one of only four writers to have three books on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller List at one time (along with Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis, and Brene Brown). He was nominated to the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential List in 2009.He received his BA from the University of Chicago in 1998, and his JD from Duke Law School in 2001.