PP 676: Unleashing Your Talents and Following Your Passion with Curt Mercadante
“Unlock the talents you were given to be the best that you can be, and also to be the best that the world deserves from you.” – Curt Mercadante
There’s a reason why everyone is born unique. Otherwise, no change will take place and no miracles will happen. But the journey is not easy- from identifying your gifts to finding courage to actually live it, and let alone impact the world. In this episode, Kim sits with Curt Mercadante, the author of the bestselling book, Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle. Curt is an expert in helping others build authority brands and today, he shares the strategies, mindsets, and values that serve as prerequisites to unleashing your talents and following your passion. The “Greats” we know in history are all normal people like us. But what helped them to make a difference is their standing out as different. Listen in and be ready to show up in your most authentic self!
04:35 From Success To Guilt
10:51 Politics In Wealth And Entrepreneurship
15:42 Faith Versus Belief
21:11 Entrepreneurial Mindset
26:53 Scarcity Mindset To Reprogramming
32:02 Use Your God-Given Talent To Your Utmost
42:34 Authenticity: Know And Be Who You Are
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki
- The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
- Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle by Curt Mercadante
“Instead of blaming everything on everyone else, realize that you were endowed with talents.” – Curt Mercadante
“You can’t truly love other people, friends, family, or other human race, until you love yourself.” – Curt Mercadante
“Belief is knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt.” – Curt Mercadante
“Entrepreneurs get stuff done… We either make it happen or we don’t achieve our vision of changing the world.” – Curt Mercadante
“If you’re constantly having garbage thoughts in, you’re going to have garbage results out. You got to change what you allow into your brain.” – Curt Mercadante
Unlock the talents you were given to be the best that you can be, and also to be the best that the world deserves from you.” – Curt Mercadante
“You have to know who you are, and be who you are.” – Curt Mercadante
About Curt Mercadante:
Curt Mercadante is an authority branding expert who helps business owners increase brand exposure to the right clients, so they can make more money. For more than 25 years, he has counseled small business, entrepreneurs, as well as some of the largest corporations and associations in the country, on how to build authority brands. He’s built three profitable businesses, including a 7-figure Public Relations and Advertising agency. Curt is also the author of the bestselling book, Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle, host of the Freedom Mindset Radio Podcast, and creator of the Freedom Media Network. He has spoken, trained, and coached around the world.
Kim Sutton: Welcome back to the Positive Productivity Podcast, I’m your host, Kim Sutton. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about today’s conversation. Our guest today is the author of Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle. How to escape your comfort zone of misery, Curt Mercadante. Oh, my gosh, listeners. I got the name right on the first try. Curt, that’s a win for me and it’s still early in the day so I know it’s going to be a great day.
Curt Mercadante: Well, Kim, it’s a pleasure to be here and don’t feel bad because I’ve actually misspelled my name before on a guest register. When I was younger, my mom said, what are you doing? And it was my brother’s wedding, which made it even all more interesting.
Kim Sutton: That’s hilarious. Well, my mother still has to ask me how to spell my first name, and she’s the one who named me. I’ve never really talked about this. My maiden name was Buckley and I don’t go by my full first name, Kimberly, except for all my licenses and if a credit card requires it. She constantly forgets if Kimberly has L-E-Y like Buckley does.
Curt Mercadante: Interesting. Interesting.
Kim Sutton: Yeah.
Curt Mercadante: Pretty soon we won’t have to worry about names. My daughter was just informed that here at the college of Charleston, apparently in many classes, they call your last name, they call your dad name. Because you did not choose it, it was given to you by your father, and somehow was a form of keeping you down in the world. So they call your dad name. So who knows? We may not have names pretty soon.
Kim Sutton: I don’t know if this is the appropriate, well, it’s appropriate for me that almost feels sickening to me because there is so much out of family in, and I do understand that family changes as we get older. I mean, our family looks different. We adopt for lack of a better word, people to become part of our family as we grow up and we forge new relationships. I have friends who I consider better family members than blood people.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: But still it’s my upbringing that, well, I guess there’s also the debate about adoption. Oh, well, we’re not going to get there, but you are here. You’re an international speaker, a trainer, a disruptive entrepreneur, and then as I already said, the author of Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle. You already know all this, but I’m so intrigued by the freedom lifestyle. Our listeners here have heard my struggle because I was saying yes so much to everybody else. I had a period in 2016 where I suffered such bad burnout, that I was ready to end everything, including my life, just because I was so tired and so frustrated with chasing everybody else’s successes instead of my own. So I’m just going to jump to the book, if you don’t mind, how did it come to be? What was the journey that brought you there?
Curt Mercadante: Yeah, So I built three profitable businesses. They’ve all done six-figures in year one, including a financially successful public relations and ad agency. And I built that over the span of 13 years. Fast forward to the end, when I shut it down, I woke up one morning and said, I’m done. I looked at my wife and I said, I’m done. And a lot of people say, well, why didn’t you get it ready to sell? And my response is: “Well, that would have been great.” Except, I was in denial that I hated the company, I hated my lifestyle. I did not have freedom. I did not have fulfillment. I woke up everyday with anxiety. I was 50 pounds heavier than I am now. There was one day where my wife walked into the bedroom, the lights were off and I was rocking back and forth on my bed. I had massive stomach pains so bad, I felt like an alien was going to come out. And I asked her, we had two kids at the time, get the kids out of the house because I couldn’t stand the sound of their voice. And yet I kept going on because, like you, I had said yes to what I thought I was supposed to do, which was the money. Oh, I’m the man. That’s my responsibility. Whatever I have to feel in terms of fulfillment, man, I feel guilty about that because I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I think guilt should be one of, if not the most dangerous of the deadly sins, because we’re raised with guilt. We’re raised from birth to be programmed, sometimes it’s from the pulpit, we learn this in our churches. Sometimes it’s from our parents. Sometimes it’s from Hollywood that we are born unworthy and we have to spend the rest of our lives beating ourselves up and going through that struggle just to make ourselves worthy.What that leads to, is low self esteem. Low self esteem translates into what? GUILT. Because I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. Man, I’m struggling. I’m making money, but I don’t feel like I’m doing what I was put on this earth to do. So you know what? I’m guilty because I’m going against the programming that’s been beat into my head and embedded inside of me since I was one year old.
Kim Sutton: Can I ask, did you have resentment?
Curt Mercadante: Did I have resentment? Probably. I resented my clients for making me feel that way. I resented myself. You can’t truly love other people, friends, family, whatever, other humans, the human race until you love yourself. And I had resentment towards myself because I didn’t truly know what my truth was and who I was. So if you don’t know that, you simply can’t be in healthy relationships with anyone else. But you know what? I go back to that word guilt. When I bring that up and people look at self-awareness as selfishness, because they don’t have that, that’s what they were born with. We were born, sorry sinners. We were born unworthy, and we have to spend our entire life just struggling and trying to make our way to be worthy. And that leads to self hate, it leads to guilt, which can lead to envy, which can lead to resentment with ourselves and with others around us. And that’s just not a healthy way to live at all. And because of that, you put up with it. You think that’s what you’re supposed to do so you put up with the prescription drugs, you put up with the weight gain, you put up with the pain, you put up with the fact that you’re going to lose your wife, lose your kids because it’s programming. On any given day, scientists say that 95% of what we do in a day is our subconscious. You walk down the street, you breathe, your heartbeats, you’re not telling it to do that, it just happens. 5% is your consciousness. Your consciousness is like, a lot of people think the key to success is like, I’m going to get motivated. I’m going to have willpower. Oh, I’m going to do that. Well, that’s your conscious. And the reason it’s so tough is because you’re fighting against the other 95%, the subconscious. I just had a blog post on this, there’s people who watch Shark Tank and they’re like, those people just have too much money, those fat cats, and no one should have that much money. The words that are coming out of their mouth? That’s the programming that they’ve had from teachers, from Hollywood, from politicians, from their churches, whatever it is. I can guarantee those people, because of the relationship and the mindset they have about money, we’ll never be wealthy unless they win the lottery. And if they win the lottery, they’re going to be one of those many, many, many people who have a poverty mindset, scarcity mindset who win $10 million and lose it almost just as quickly, because that’s what they’re programmed to do.
Kim Sutton: Oh, my gosh. I am absolutely loving this because, well, I’m going to start with the lottery and work backwards. There were city workers, one town North of me, and I’m in suburban Ohio. Okay. I mean, there’s cornfields less than a mile away from me, a 10th of a mile. And there’s a lot of blue colors, and the city workers all pulled in and they won like a hundred million dollars.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: There was one family out of all of them who hired a financial advisor and still has money. The rest are in worse financial situations than they were when they won. But going back and I don’t want to, at the risk of going political, the cough was not intentional, but it was properly placed. I get so frustrated. I know we’re recording this in an election year, depending on when you listen, it could be four years out so I’m just going to leave it like that. But I get so tired of hearing people say that the wealthy need to pay more and they need to do more. When I feel that the people who are saying that are not wealthy and they are in a scarcity mindset so they don’t see the opportunity, but they also don’t see the work that it took on the backend to get there. When I have that seven-figure year, let me just be honest. When I have that six-figure year, because I have not yet had one, please Lord, let it be this year. I know that I will know what it took to get there, but it’s not just working hard. I’ve been working hard in my business for seven years, but it was also working right. And that does not mean burning myself or like running myself into the ground. I tried that, that’s the sure fire way to go broke, in my opinion.
Curt Mercadante: There’s a few things there that I’d love to unpack. The first is politics, a big part of my agency, and even before my agency was in the political realm. I now am not a member of any party. I will not vote for anyone in the major parties. Because right now, both major parties, in my humble opinion, reflect scarcity. It’s about us versus them. Now, the us to either party is different, and the them is different, depending on which party it is. I won’t get into specifics, but in many cases, the them is the evil wealthy. Now, I always find it funny that the wealthy are bad. And yeah, it’s always convenient how someone will make a speech. And by the way, not just politicians, but religious leaders will make a speech designed to make you feel so guilty about the free market, entrepreneurship and the evil wealthy, and all of that. And then they’re following the speech, what are they going to do? They’re going to pass the hat. Oh, it’s $10,000 if you want to get a seat at the debate, you go and raise your money. Oh, I made $6 million writing a book, but that’s different. That’s different. I’m not one of those other wealthy or certain religious leaders. I grew up Catholic.
Kim Sutton: So did I.
Curt Mercadante: It’s interesting how the Pope, and listen, I grew up Catholic. I have given tens of thousands of dollars to the Catholic church. The Pope will give an anti-market speech about how capitalism is so bad. He is silent on a number of other things going on within the church. He’s silent about Venezuela, which by the way is socialist and they have bread lines, people are being jailed. Silent about that, but we should feel guilty about capitalism. Oh, and by the way, totally separate topic. University of Notre Dame costs 50 grand a year. My high school that I went to costs 13 grand a year. That ain’t the poor people being served there, that is the poor people giving it in. So making people feel guilty, then pass the hat is always very interesting. But when you demonize wealthy people, it’s often because your parents demonized wealthy people. I just interviewed an awesome individual, bestselling author named Randy Gage and he talks about prosperity. He lists all these Hollywood movies focusing on Titanic and said, that’s the most evil movie there is. Because at every layer in that movie is embedded that the rich and the wealthy are bad. He talks about the fact that movies, you never become rich to be the good guy or the good woman, you gotta be rich and then quit your job to be the good guy. And that’s embedded in, heck, The Muppets. Oh, the Muppets are at risk of having their theater bought by the evil [inaudible]. It’s a wonderful life, Mr. Potter, he’s evil. Everyone is evil. My goodness. Yes, there are Bernie Madoff in the world. There are bad business people. But those same people put their faith in the angels of bureaucracy and government.
Now, again, I don’t want to get too political, but it’s all part of our programming. You’ll ignore a Flint, Michigan. You’ll ignore daily headlines, sometimes five a day in a place like Cook County or Chicago, where I grew up working in politics. You’ll ignore all that, those are all good people. Let’s give them more power and let’s take power away from the true heroes. The entrepreneurs, the people who are creating jobs, who are creating wealth, who are moving us forward. It’s programming that is so dangerous, that is so detrimental to human progress. And as you’ve learned, and as I learned, it’s corrosive to us as individuals because we grow up living with that guilt. Which forces us, as you say, say yes to things that aren’t in our best interest. Because if we don’t say yes, Oh, my gosh, I may never have an opportunity again. If I don’t have an opportunity again, then I’m risking everything for my family. And then I feel guilty and Oh, my gosh. And then it leads to all these thoughts and the fear of missing out and all that. And what you do is you end up chasing your tail in wasting time. You end up saying yes to things that aren’t awesome. You say yes to the mediocre or less. And so then you can’t truly get in that zone where you’re moving it forward. Now, one other thing I want to unpack there, you said, Oh, gosh, I pray to God. Hope to God that I’ll get there this year.
Kim Sutton: I have to say, I kick myself in the butt afterwards, but I want to hear what you say and then I’ll explain why I kicked myself in the butt.
Curt Mercadante: There’s a difference between faith and belief. Faith will say, Oh, my gosh, help me get there. Please help me get there. That’s a difference because you don’t truly believe. My father passed away in 2012, which was really a catalyst for me saying enough is enough. So it still took four years. It’s changing it over the guilt and the worry. But I recently talked to my mom about it. We were talking about religion and she went away from the church for a while, and even from God because she had prayed and God didn’t answer my prayers. You see? That’s kind of what people see as faith. I don’t truly believe it’s going to happen, but I gotta throw out that prayer out there and hope that it works. That’s not true belief. Belief is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have a clear vision and I’m marinating in my vision. And I say, yeah, that’s going to happen. Everyday, I get up a couple of hours before everyone else and I meditate on my vision. I don’t think about what happened yesterday. Maybe as a learning experience, but I don’t marinade in the past and the emotions of the past. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am going to get there and you actually make your future, your present, like you’ve already been there. And I have to kick myself from saying things, Oh, God willing, I’ll get there. God willing. Well, God’s given you everything you need to succeed. And true belief in God, and some people listening may not believe in God. True belief in God is, he’s given me the tools, I’m the ultimate creator. Here in the quantum universe, I have the belief that I’m going to do it. That’s true faith, that’s true belief rather than hope and wish. And it’s a tungsten struggle. That to me, getting to that point is the hard work.
Kim Sutton: There’s a story that I heard and I can see how it reflects into the work that I do every single day. There’s a story about a parable about a guy in a flood who’s on a roof and he prays to God for help. An inflatable raft goes by and asks him if he wants help and he says, no, God’s sending something. And then somebody on a jet ski goes by and says the same thing, he says, no. And then somebody on a canoe, same thing. And then he yells at God, why aren’t you helping me? And he’s like, I did. I sent three.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: But then in my work, I see, and the reason I bring that up is I build marketing funnels for my clients. I offer marketing strategies. They have what they need, either in me or laid out in front of them, but then comes the part of doing the work. So when I said, I kicked myself in the butt right now, actually what I’m praying for is just help seem focused because I know that I have everything that I need, I am very blessed. I have great accountability partners, and supporters, and resources, and tools at my disposal, but my problem is myself. I get off track. I see a squirrel like the movie Up, and I lose focus. So it’s not that I don’t think I can because I know I can. But this year, it’s staying focused. I know that with focus and with action, and I want to say that word again, action, that I will reach that six figure year. I will. And then it’s also setting up the systems that will take me further, but I will not, under any condition, allow myself to slip back to where I was before. I really appreciate you sharing waking up with anxiety because I had a good year stretch of that as well. I would put my feet on the floor and immediately it would feel like vines of anxiety were climbing up my body and choking me. I would come out to my desk and try to work, but I just didn’t feel like I could breathe so I would go back to bed and try to sleep it off. But then I would feel the guilt for not working, and it was this constant struggle within myself. At this point, I am the sole breadwinner of the house. My husband is a video game designer who just, listeners, if you know of an awesome game developer like coder, please get in touch with me because that keeps on striking out in that department. Sorry for the tangent, sorry. He’s got all the art, but that’s another thing that entrepreneurs struggle with. What we don’t know, sometimes we don’t need to know. We just need to find the people who do know and will support us in that area.
Curt Mercadante: Sure.
Kim Sutton: But as going, I’m circling all around on this. I told you I would do it going back to the political, the wealthy and entrepreneurship. I think it’s painful to see the way the entrepreneurs, at least in my area, this might be countrywide and might be worldwide, are viewed. Because my husband, he’s a disabled veteran. He had to work for three years. He was a retail store manager. I mean, he had his degree in game design, but where are you going to take that? Unless you’re in an area where you can go to an office, which we are not in Ohio. So he was a retail manager making $12 an hour. He had to keep that job for three years, despite all the pain that he experienced going there everyday, because that’s what the bank required for us to get a mortgage. They would not look at my income as an entrepreneur because it was not a quote real job.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah, yeah. Been there. You gotta do all sorts of interesting finagling to jump through the hoops with that, with insurance. It’s like if I worked for a company, I’d be great to get insurance. And if I was dirt poor, I could figure out a way to get it. But right now, if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s harder. You fall through the cracks, and everything is designed to help either those people who are the paycheck getters, if that makes sense? The nine to five people, or the poor, but entrepreneurs have to fight through. And the interesting thing about entrepreneurs is we do it. That’s our mindset. We do it, we don’t complain about it and we just get it done probably because we’re the only ones who can handle it. It’s like, how do you do that? Not knowing where your paycheck is going to come. It’s like, well, if we do it right, we know where our paycheck is going to come.
Kim Sutton: Right.
Curt Mercadante: And entrepreneurs just get stuff done. We don’t have the luxury of sitting around for five hours a day worrying about things we can’t control. We either make it happen, or we don’t eat, or we make it happen, or we don’t achieve our vision of changing the world. There’s a lot of people who don’t understand that, mostly people who are programmed. Robert Kiyosaki who wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad talks about the programming we have throughout our lives that today’s schools, mainstream schools prepare you to be a paycheck getter, not a paycheck provider.
Kim Sutton: Yep.
Curt Mercadante: Patrick Bryant who is, he’s the kind of Uber entrepreneur here in Charleston. I interviewed him recently and he talked about a stat he saw like 80% of kids, as they’re going into college, before they go into college, think they’re going to work for themselves. But only like 20% coming out because they’re programmed in college that you go to college, you get these quote unquote skills, which aren’t really skills. And it prepares you to go out, do your resume, send that and get it. Now that’s changing. I mean, there’s alternatives to all of that. And I think in 10 years, it’s going to be much different. Most of, perhaps because the entire financial student loan, financial bubble has burst and forcibly changed the system. But when you look at people who are truly changing the world, it’s entrepreneurs, it’s people who are starting, you may love Elon Musk, you may hate him. The guy risked everything he had to change the world in certain ways. Steve Jobs, same thing. If you want to look at non-business, you want to look at someone like Mother Teresa, she really was kind of an entrepreneur.
Kim Sutton: Yes, she was.
Curt Mercadante: She did it outside the church structure, she went and she built it. That’s a form of entrepreneurship. It’s not the kind of middle level people, and I’m not saying they’re bad people, certain people are programmed to do that. But when we punish the wealthy, what we’re really doing, it’s a form of self hate. Because what happens if you struck it rich? What happens if you had an idea for a life changing thing and suddenly you help a million people, you make a million dollars, you’re gonna hate yourself for that?
Kim Sutton: Right.
Curt Mercadante: And I think the answer is, yes,
Kim Sutton: You got me thinking about this squeegee thing that’s on like the Home Shopping Network, the magic paper tall.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: Yeah, yeah. Do you want to hear something crazy, talking about education? Well, two sides of this. I have an eighth grader who’s getting ready to go into high school. And last night, we were looking at the courses because he has to go in and select his courses with his guidance counselor, and entrepreneurship is on there. So I was thrilled to see that, but I was looking over the list, and just once, by the time my now kindergartener gets up there, I want to see it as a mindset course. We need to be teaching our kids mindset. Actually just this morning, I posted on Instagram a whole long monologue about that because I think it’s severely lacking. I feel just, even based on our short conversation already that you with your kids are probably already teaching mindset. I am doing my best to teach mindset, but so many people aren’t just because it’s how it is, does it mean that’s how it is. We have the ability to change it, but then here’s the funny thing. I have a junior, he’s receiving all these college mails and all this stuff that’s targeted at high school students going into college. Apparently now, there are full ride scholarships being offered for gaming. You can go and represent a college as a gamer, it’s an e-sport now. I was cracking up. I mean, I talk about productivity, business systems and marketing systems all the time. I am all about setting up ways to be more productive or maybe I should say, get more done without having to be at your computer because admittedly, I am a gamer. I mean, I am. But I just had a laugh that, and I’m not against it, I just don’t know that I’m not for it at this point, offering scholarships on e-gaming. Listeners, I would actually love to know your opinion on that.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah. it’s funny. Someone recently told me that Illinois, and I’m originally from Illinois, Illinois is hundreds of billions of dollars in debt, mostly because of pensions of not only teachers at the elementary and high school level, but also because of college pensions. And the interesting thing is, I mean, the amount of every dollar that goes toward these pensions, and not actually doing what it’s supposed to do, which is educating children. But you know, the top paid, not just in the university system, but the top paid employee in the State of Illinois, the football coach of the University of Illinois football team, which is by the way, horrible football team. But you look at most States, that’s probably the same thing. And Hey, I love college football as much as the next person. But it’s become part of the programming in terms of, when we decided to homeschool our kids, the first questions are, what about prom? What about those football games? What about the Friday night lights? What about all that? What about education? And that’s not the first thing that comes to people’s minds. By the way, even from people who hated high school, who didn’t get asked to prom, who didn’t play on the football team, who were bullied by the football players, now they want to live through their kids, or grandkids, or great grandkids lives, but it’s not about education, but you see, that’s why people will smoke cigarettes right into their grave. That’s why people will keep voting a certain way, I-E take like an Illinois, right into bankruptcy. That’s why people will do any sorts of things because it’s their subconscious. They’re doing it without even knowing they’re doing it. And that your scarcity mindset is programmed into you, that’s your default.
Now, the good news is you can reprogram, but it takes daily discipline, daily practice, it takes getting off of Facebook. And listen, I’m on social media, but I limit myself. I use something called the Freedom app that literally shuts down my computer, my phone and certain apps. On my cell phone, I don’t have Facebook, I don’t have LinkedIn, I don’t have email. When people say, how do you do that? And the funny thing is, people think it can’t be done. I know those people do not rely on online as much as I do to make money, but I still find a way to do it. When you start controlling, what enters your brain, thoughts, fuel our emotions. Emotions are actually chemical reactions within us. So if you think about someone you’re really attracted to, obviously, there’s a chemical reaction, we won’t get into that. If you think about past trauma, you feel that drop in your stomach, that’s cortisol that’s coursing through your veins. If you constantly let garbage thoughts into your mind, that anxiety that you and I know about, that’s causing a certain emotion that causes cortisol the course through your veins on a regular basis, your constant fight or flight mode, your emotions lead to actions and the actions lead to results. So if you’re constantly having garbage thoughts in, you’re going to have garbage results out. You got to change what you allow into your brain. That is the hardest work for people to do because they’re programmed to keep picking up the phone, staring at the phone, looking at the phone, I’m going to watch MSNBC or Fox news for eight hours a day because that’s what I’ve done for eight hours and that’s what our eight years in a row, and that’s what I do. And when you start letting that into your brain, it corrodes you because you no longer are thinking for yourself. Your subconscious is controlling you. When your subconscious is in charge, you’re actually dumber because your conscious thinking is where you’re smart and all that. Your subconscious, you’re just a robot. And more and more we’re allowing ourselves, our children, everyone around us to be robots. Run by their subconscious, which is programmed with scarcity, anti wealth, anti money. And the more and more we do that, the more and more we’re headed toward a future that doesn’t look bright.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. So my accountability partner and I, this past week, we’re actually talking about phone usage and I didn’t realize that you had it on. See, I am not tied to my smartphone. I have email on my iPhone for emergencies only. If the internet goes out at my house and I need to tell somebody I’m not going to make it, that’s why I have it there, but that’s it. And people will Facebook message me. My husband will Facebook message me rather than texting me. I’m like, do you not understand? I’m not in there. I’m not in there. And I turned on Facebook, news feed eradicator so that when I go into Facebook, I have to be really intentional. If I want to see somebody’s feed or go to a page, I have to go to their page. I see birthdays, and I see a quote of the day, and that’s it. And then a whole bunch of people got offended because I unfollowed them on all the social media platforms that I’m on. Well, I didn’t want to see your drama anymore.
Curt Mercadante: Yup. I hide so many people, and I hide them because the family I don’t want to start up, an incident, an international incident, but that’s absolutely true. I mean, we’ve started not allowing certain movies in our house and people are like, Oh, bad language and all that. It’s like, I’m less concerned about some of the bad language than I am about, that the programming that rich people is bad and I’ll have people quote the Bible. Well, God said, it’s hard. Jesus said, it’s hard for wealthy people to enter heaven. But then you really look at some of the translations, the Bible we read today is actually through the lens of translators.
Kim Sutton: Right.
Curt Mercadante: Some of whom were affiliated with the church. And if you look at, for instance, in the original Aramaic, the word sin doesn’t mean evil, it means missing the mark. Well, that’s an important distinction. And you start looking at words like prosperity or wealth as like, blessed are the poor in spirit. The way I’ve explained it, talk about mindset to my daughter, we recently left the Catholic church because my daughter was coming home feeling guilty. They talked more about politics in her Sunday school than they did it actually about the Bible. She had a book that said, this was one of the last droughts , that the word, without any context, that individualism is bad and it’s equal selfishness to which I said. Well, St. Peter was quite the individual, refusing to denounce Christianity and Jesus, even though they crucified him upside down. If that’s not individualism, I don’t know what it is. But I told my daughter, I said: “Here’s the true sin, if someone gives you a gift and we give you a gift, and you either don’t use it, or you trash it in an ungrateful manner, that’s a really cruddy thing to do.” I truly think that when you talk about wealth and the spirit, it goes back to belief. And when you’ve been endowed with these gifts, whether you believe in God, whether you believe in the universe, whether you believe in some sort of other consciousness, when you read Hindu scripture, I’ve read them all, they all agree on this fact that we were made in the likeness of either God or in the [inaudible], it’s part of us. When you look at it that way, and then heck, you even look at the first law of thermodynamics and the fact is we are energy, or energy manifested as matter. And that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. That means that we are quantum creators. We’re given these talents, and you’re given these gifts. Perhaps the greatest sin, if we want to give it a word, is to just ignore those and not use them. Because when we don’t use them, what happens? We don’t live up to our potential, we become toxic and corrosive, and that’s not a victimless crime. Because then we’re not contributing to the world, we are not contributing to our families, we are not contributing to society further.
And I would surmise that the people most likely to fall into that rut are the people who, and money’s not the only thing. And certainly when I made seven-figures, I was not using my gifts to my utmost. But if you crawl on the corner, you have a victim mentality. You say the rich are all to blame and I can’t do anything. To me, that is a form of evil, if we want to give it a name, because that is the height of selfishness, because you aren’t giving the world the best that you have. And I don’t say that to make you feel guilty or whoever’s listening. I say that because instead of blaming everything on everyone else, realize that you were endowed with talents. They may not be the same talents I have, they may not be the same talents someone else has or someone else you love, but instead of worrying about them, start rejecting the notion that to do so is selfishness. Realize that what you’re doing now is true selfishness, and look and unlock the talents you were given, and find out how you can put one foot in front of the others starting today to start unleashing those talents. To be the best that you can be, but also to be the best that the world deserves from you, and that is a totally different mindset and teaching. Then you hear in churches, from politicians, from schools, from most parents, because it’s uplifting, it doesn’t start with the notion that you are unworthy, that you are an evil sinner and you have to spend the rest of your life in guilt trying to fight your way out. That notion doesn’t help anyone, quite honestly. Well, I know who it helps and it’s not the people who really want to get where they’re going.
Kim Sutton: I feel like when I’m listening to my own episodes, I roll my eyes at myself because I say it all the time, I am absolutely loving this. I don’t say that in my day to day talk. It’s a podcast thing, but I’m absolutely loving this. For the last few years, I’ve been reading a law by Joel Osteen, Danny Johnson. Finally, it took me a whole year instead of 40 days to read the purpose driven life. And the theme across all of those was, you are here for a purpose and you need to stop comparing yourself to everybody else because you are you. Just like what you were saying, and I am coming from the Christian perspective, I’m not ashamed to say it. I though not associated with any organized Christian sect, Is that the right way of saying it?
Curt Mercadante: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: My husband and I do got our own way. It’s been more successful than any organized Christianity has ever done for us, but I get really frustrated when I hear people even talking about Joel Osteen as the prosperity preacher. Yes, the guy has made a lot of money, but he has done a lot of work to get there. I can’t even imagine all the work that it takes to build a church, the size that he has, and to put all the people, the places and the structure together, and then make sure that everybody who’s in their role does their role. I mean, it’s a business in a church. And then Danny Johnson, she talks about how, I mean, I think she’s a high school dropout or she was. I can’t remember right now, it’s been a year since I read her book, but she’s making seven figures, multiple seven figures a year. She says she lives off a portion of it. And she calls it tithing, but she says, she’s not giving it back necessarily to her church. She’s the one who I learned that just because I have my faith, doesn’t mean I need to give everything away, or that I need to undervalue and undercharge for what I provide. Because the more good I do and the more I make, the more I can help others. So whether it’s creating more podcasts like this, because I don’t think, and you have a show, I’d love to hear about that. And listeners, we’re going to have a part 2 to this so that we can dive in deeper. But it’s not cheap, it’s not inexpensive at all to produce any type of online content. It takes time, it takes resources of all types. So the more I am able to make it my business, the more free content that I can create, which will help the people who can’t necessarily pay for it.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: I feel that as part of my purpose. My God given purpose, because this is my talent or one of them. I can’t cook like my husband, and I can’t talk on stage without fumbling over my words. I have fun talking on stage, but I’m not a polish speaker. I’m not the tech genius or visionary that Elon Musk is, but I have my own talents and I love my talents. I finally realized that I don’t need to be comparing myself to everybody else. Curt, there was one point that I thought I had to cut my hair off and dye it turquoise.if I was going to make my business bigger. There was a reason for that, but that’s as far as I’ll take it. But the person that I was looking to as my measure of how well I was doing had her hair cut really short, dyed it purple, was cussing all over social media, and that’s not me. Thankfully, my husband reminded me of that because I’m in total frustration. I said: “What am I supposed to do? Just cut my hair off and dye it turquoise?” And he reminded me that I am me.
Curt Mercadante: You have to know who you are and be who you are. A lot of people talk about the word authenticity, and then they spend their time being authentically someone else. You could tell they just watched a Gary V or a Grant Cardone video. I’ve been known to swear and drop a few F bombs during my speeches in my videos. But people who know me? Know that’s me. Some people don’t like that, some people do. And if you don’t like it, I respect your opinion, but you’re not going to like working with me. When you talk about Joel Osteen, I don’t know much about him. I know who he is, but I do know that people get fired up about him. And the interesting piece is that you look at, and again, I’m not going to get political, but you look at someone like a Bernie Sanders who wants to confiscate wealth, who’s made millions from being, what I would say as a preacher of anti wealth, elected, but as a politician, multi-millionaire now. He doesn’t like to talk about that, but he’s a multimillionaire now. What’s the difference between that and Joel Osteen? For the people, because most of the people who are slinging arrows at Joel Osteen would not think twice. And I think what it comes down to is tribalism. And we have to choose one side or the other. We’ve talked about religion and spirituality, which are two different things. And whether or not you choose to be part of a specific religion or find God in a different way. Well, my wife and I decided to ladder, we’re Christian. We were racked with such guilt and anxiety because we were told, Oh, my gosh, if you don’t do that, if you don’t go to church every Sunday, if you don’t go to confession every week, if you don’t put this much money in there, if you do this, that, and the other thing, which by the way, all our laws made up by humans, then you’re going to hell. But it’s the same way.
When I decided to leave the two party system, because I truly believe that they’re different sides of the same scarcity coin. Oh, my gosh, how can you do that? The country’s going to go to hell in a handbasket unless you show up and vote for who, and who, and who, who. And it is that tribalism, which is the strongest branding that there is. Because if you don’t vote Republican, the world will end, the country will cease to end. If you don’t vote for a Democrat, they’ll see that the world will cease to end. If you aren’t Catholic or whatever the world, you’re going to hell, and you do this. A lot of people see the yin and yang and they think it’s the opposite. It’s good and bad. Actually, the end of the yang is meant to be mixed up together. You take some good with the bad, and often what we do is, it’s good and it’s bad. And we are going to go so far in the good category, that we are going to be intolerant of other people. If we go anywhere near the bad, or anywhere near the black, we’re in danger of falling into the abyss and dying to eternal damnation. And what that leads is to a life with no risk, a life in which we subsume any type of risk with guilt, with bad. So we live this comfort zone life, and I call it a comfort zone of misery. When you’re not happy, but we’re not supposed to be happy. We were not born to be happy because we were born losers. Someone just posted on LinkedIn, I actually did a blog post about it today, it was about the struggle, that we were born to struggle. She said, nobody is born a winner. Nobody’s born a winner? So we’re all born losers? But see, I don’t blame her for writing that–
Kim Sutton: Is she looking for comments?
Curt Mercadante: No, she might’ve been, it’s what I call struggle porn. There’s several reasons we do it. One, we want to get the dopamine rush of likes and comments because it’s a martyr syndrome, right? If I post about how bad my day was, I’m going to feel better because everyone’s going to rush in. By the way, if you post about how great a day you had, you either get nothing, or you get people ridiculing you for being privileged or otherwise. So you don’t do that. Other people will do it because they think that’s what you have to do. I’m not saying that, at some point you have to sacrifice to get there, but it’s not preordained. The struggle is not preordained. When I had my PR and ad agency, making money was easy to me. I felt guilty about that. I felt like, wow, I got a new client. I had a great year. That means this year is going to be stuck because it’s all gonna balance out. It was that yin and yang in the back of my head. And when you get into that mindset, it is so damaging, it’s so corrosive. That’s where that resentment you asked about, builds inside of you because it’s like, wow, I’ve had it too easy. Something is wrong with me. And if you think you were born a loser, and she put in her post, that’s what her pastor told her. You know, none of us are born, usually, it’s interesting, I was thinking about this the other day, you see adults come into, they get baptized, or they come on Easter Sunday. In the Catholic church, adults would come in and they call it the Rite of Christian Initiation where adults get baptized. And you find that those people who come in know their stuff more than anyone else who’s been a lifelong Catholic or Christian. If you ever talk to a recent immigrant who just went through the citizenship process–
Kim Sutton: They know more about America than lifelong citizens.
Curt Mercadante: Right. Because why? Because we didn’t choose it. We were born into it. So there was no critical thinking to arrive at that, it was just programmed in. I brought this up with Randy Gage, he said, the stats for so long, where if your dad was a Republican, you’re a Republican, just because you were programmed to do it. And Randy pointed out, he said, yeah, but the stats, you’re also programmed. If you’re a Democrat, simply because your dad was a Republican to get back and rebel. Now, you see these things where I’ll talk to people and some relatives who hate Trump. And listen, I get it. I understand it. In terms of things he said, I wouldn’t want my daughter to hate him. People will look at that and immediately hate him and everything he stands for. But I recently saw a video where they were taking Trump’s policies but saying they were Bernie’s. And Bernie supporters were saying, love it.
Kim Sutton: Isn’t that crazy.
Curt Mercadante: It’s tribalism. It’s the brand you put on it. I know Republicans who have been lifelong free trade people who have never met a tariff that they like. Why? Because they had at my parties. There was no critical thinking involved. Listen, if you thought about it critically and you come to that decision? Great. But there’s a difference between, that product sucks, why do you love it? Because it’s the brand that I’ve always had. I remember falling into this trap when I was coming up in high school, I ran track in most countries. My shoes would fall apart because I have wide feet, but they were Nike’s and Bo Jackson was Nike. And I had Nike posters on my wall. So no matter how much pain my foot is, no matter how much the shoes are falling apart while I’m running, I got to wear Nike’s because that’s what it takes to be successful. I literally lived this year. I was an Apple fan boy, forever. I switched and I got a surface. You know what? It felt like something was wrong with me? Like I felt guilt? It’s that programming. And it’s the branding and the programming that comes with tribalism, which can be a good thing.
Kim Sutton: But it’s so interesting how, I know your book was talking about the freedom lifestyle from a different aspect, but freedom lifestyle impacts so many aspects of our life. I know listeners, you are totally eating this up. I want to hear your comments at thekimsutton.com/pp676. Curt, I’m going to have to ask you to come back for at least a part 2, probably a part three too, because there’s so much more to discuss. I feel bad breaking us here, but I want to get us immediately on the calendar for a part 2.
Curt Mercadante: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: In the meantime, besides the show notes, where can listeners go to find you online, connect and get to know more?
Curt Mercadante: Yeah. My name is, as we discussed, a long one. So instead of going to my website address, go to fivepillarsoffreedom.com, it’s a landing page for my book, you can get chapter one absolutely free, but it’s also all the other links for the rest of my website are there where you can find out, well, by the time this airs, perhaps a number of events coming up, you can grab my book and find out everything else, I’m daily I’m blogging daily now so about many of the things we discussed today.
Kim Sutton: Amazing. Listeners, again, go to thekimsutton.com/pp676.