I crafted a list of 10 life’s philosophical questions that I wanted to answers for myself. I could easily answer the questions based on my thinking. I thought—what would it look like if I ask the same set of questions to the best in the world from the different domain—so that I can learn from them—what they do, how they think on the same questions, and much more!
Justin Brady amplifies the best ideas, entrepreneurs, and companies on earth. He achieves this with his podcast, writing, and PR/comms consulting for emerging tech. Cultivate Strategies utilizes PR, comms, and sneaky content strategies to reach millions of people. Nothing drives Brady more batty than seeing great ideas and great minds discarded—it happens every day.
Justin’s writing on communication, tech, creativity, and work culture have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, 99U and Quartz. His podcast has featured A-list business leaders and hit iHeart’s top 1% most downloaded podcast.
Please enjoy this conversation with Justin!
Nishant Garg: What books—or even movies and documentaries—would you recommend to someone who want to live a meaningful life? What books have you gifted the most, and why?
- In Pursuit of Elegance, by Matthew May. He addresses why people overcomplicate new ideas. And how the best ideas are elegant, simple and focused.
- A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. It addresses future work styles and why creative arts gives creators a huge advantage.
- Retire Inspired, by Chris Hogan. He talks about why becoming a millionaire isn’t rocket science, and how keeping up with the Jonses destroys your financial future.
- Entreleadership, by Dave Ramsey. He discusses concrete entrepreneur strategies that helped him build Ramsey Solutions into a multi-million dollar company.
Nishant Garg: What does your first 60 to 90 minutes in the morning look like? What are your specific rituals on a regular basis?
Justin Brady: Outside of drinking coffee and getting ready for the day, I usually have morning calls with clients to touch base, and provide guidance. I also take about 10 minutes to respond to communications like email.
Nishant Garg: You have interacted with many successful people over the years – what have you found are the most beneficial exercises that people really feel have changed their lives for the better?
- Truly successful people seem to be focused on a problem, and naturally curious, asking a lot of questions. They don’t seem concerned about how silly they will look for asking “stupid” questions.
- They also set goals for themselves on a specific timeline.
- They also have coaches and mentors that surround them to keep them focused and accountable.
Nishant Garg: In the last 3 years, how have you handled work/life challenges? If so, what questions do you ask yourself during tough times? What does your support system look like(any go-to-person)?
- I have a tight relationship with family and friends and make sure I’m connecting with them often, outside of work. This keeps me focused on what really matters. I also have a coach that I pay monthly to keep me focused.
- The exercise I do during the hard times is to write down my fears or everything bothering me. Getting something written down seems to help me focus on my problems objectively, and problems aren’t as mysterious or elusive once they’re written down.
- I also embrace my own personal experience that failure is an extremely normal thing. I’ve failed hard, but I’ve learned incredible things from failure has led to incredible experiences. So, even if my current business dies some day, I know that the experience will be an incredible teacher, leading to something better.
Nishant Garg: What advice people should ignore when suffering with depression, anxiety, or any other negative emotions? Do you have a particular message you would like to give to the people?
- I’m not sure what advice anyone should ignore, I’m not an expert in this area. In my own experience, I’d suggest folks struggling with anxiety or depression force themselves to connect with others and expand their relationships. In the dark times, you will not feel like socializing, but you must. Find people you can be 100% open and honest with. You’ll discover you aren’t as lonely as you think you are.
- I’d also strongly recommend someone find a qualified therapist ASAP. Don’t ever walk the depression/anxiety road alone. Even hardened military buddies of mine, see therapists. We use health coaches for our body, we also need health coaches for our minds.
Nishant Garg: What practices do you have in your life to calm your mind and body during overwhelming moments? Any recommendation to someone who constantly feels stressed out?
- I connect with friends and family. I also read Scripture and pray, and combine it with daily meditation. I’ve found the Calm app has great resources to teach meditation from an neutral/non-spiritual standpoint. It’s a very grounded, scientific approach which I appreciate.
- If someone is constantly stressed out, I’d examine your life goals. Personally, I was living in a prison of my own creation, because I had linked my identity to my former business. I hated it business, but it was my identity so I kept going. And my life kept eroding. I should have quit sooner and found something more fulfilling.
Nishant Garg: How do you cultivate joy in your life? Whom do you consider the most happy and fulfilled to you personally, and why? Could you share any instance(s) that caused you unhappiness and how you dealt with it?
- I surround myself with positive, uplifting, and success-minded people. I also meet regularly with a Bible study group I can be honest with. I manage or distance myself from negativity.
- I also read positive books, listen to positive podcasts, and watch positive shows. Especially as I get older, I find that violent movies, or crass films, really dampen my mood. So I favor positive/uplifting content.
- Who you hang out with and what you consume changes you. So make that change a positive one.
Nishant Garg: How do you find the balance between being appreciative of what you already have and striving to achieve more?
Justin Brady: I constantly struggle with wanting to achieve more and being unsatisfied with my accomplishments. It never ends. Therefore, I integrate thankfulness into my daily prayer routine. I constantly remind myself of my blessings and I have a wife who encourages me and reminds me of the blessings as well.
Nishant Garg: What are some of the things you have changed your mind about in the last few years? Do you have any other favorite quote(s) or life philosophy you live your life by?
- I’ve changed my mind about so much. I used to think you had to drop everything to start a business. Not true. I used to think creative cultures couldn’t be made. Not true. I usd to think people are incapable of change. Not true. I use to believe in fail fast, pivot quickly. Turns out that’s stupid. It’s really more strategic. I used to believe you should never give up. Now I think giving up is good when moving to something better.
- I suppose it’s important to know that goals, dreams, and minds change. Expect that something you’re focused on and excited about right now, may change in 5-10 years. Maybe sooner. And that’s ok.
- If you’re not changing your mind or making changes in life, you’re not truly learning anything.
Nishant Garg: Could you share any conversation from your life, or maybe more than one conversation that has made the most impact in your life? What is the biggest lesson you took away?
Justin Brady: A buddy of mine once told me the biggest limitations we face are those we place on ourselves. It’s truly amazing to me how many goals we can achieve once we write the goal down, and find someone to hold us accountable. A focused person is a powerful force.
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