Ep. 557: Eric Barker Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Eric Barker
Eric Barker

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Eric Barker is founder of the blog, Barking Up The Wrong Tree. He provides science based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome in life. His newest work is “Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong”.

What happens to valedictorians after graduation? Valedictorians are great at following rules and not breaking outside the box. This gets them far in school but not too far in the real world. Studies have proven most who excel in school end up in structured non-pioneering jobs. Most entrepreneurs don’t follow the rules of school or society. They are also generally classified as creative people and therefore have huge obstacles to maneuver through. Most teachers say they love creative children but research shows those are the students hated most. They don’t sit still or follow direction well. Luckily, In today’s era it is easier than ever for those creative types to succeed. The internet has given ideas the opportunity to spread quickly and easier than ever before.

With ideas easily being spread, so are negative (and positive) influences. We are always more influenced by those around us than we realize: work colleagues, friends, people at social events… whoever you choose to surround yourself with will have a tremendous influence on your life.

Learning to accept failure is just as important as surrounding yourself with the right crowd. New opportunities and innovation springs from a person’s ability to fail. Doing everything the same way every time, will always get the same results. Pushing boundaries is critical otherwise you’re not working toward expertise, you are just practicing redundant behavior. Everyone loves to hear about the 25 year old billionaire because it doesn’t seem like there was much work involved but when you peel back the layers, you see the grit necessary in getting to their success.

One example of grit and sustaining the right mindset is a research project Eric did with Navy Seals. What stood out the most was their optimism. They have short term focus that keeps them optimistically moving forward. Personal, persistent and pervasive are the three P’s that if kept positive, you can produce optimism and grit. Navy Seals don’t look at a 60 day program and say, “I can have no sleep or food for 60 days.” Instead they say, “I can get to lunch” and then after lunch they say, “I can get to dinner.” It is a day-to-day survival mode rather than big picture. The big picture is too daunting.

Michael and Eric end the podcast discussing what Eric calls “the buffet.” How close are you to buffet food? How much are your friends eating? Are you facing the food, or are you facing away? All these factors play a part in how your life is modeled.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • The entrepreneurial feeling
  • What makes valedictorians succeed
  • Filter leaders
  • Obstacles for creative people
  • Structure of story telling
  • Failure tolerance
  • Creating meaningful mentorships

Mentions & Resources:

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You might like my 2017 epic release: Trend Following: How to Make a Fortune in Bull, Bear and Black Swan Markets (Fifth Edition). Revised and extended with twice as much content.