FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 47: Changing Behavior Changes Beliefs

For years I was stuck trying to THINK my way into changing my behaviors, beliefs, habits, actions.

Not that I was all that bad or needed massive changes, but there were things I wanted to be different.

I would get anxious a lot.

I would get defensive sometimes.

I would say no to social invitations.

I would be afraid to try some new things.

You know, just some things I wanted to change. So, I would say things like, ‘next time I’m going to remind myself to do that differently’.

But I wouldn’t. Or, I would remember to remind myself, but be so overwhelmed I would end up doing the same things.

I would end up doing the same things. Out of habit.

And to change habits, we have to change our brains. It’s funny, but we can’t think our way into changing our brains.

We can’t change our brains WITH our brains.

We change the way we think by changing what we do.

Original post with full audio and video links: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/05/07/kew-episode-47-changing-behavior-changes-beliefs/

KEW Episode 63: The Two Types of Shoulds

I recorded this episode after replying to a YouTube comment about good and bad types of change (Episode 61: Change is Hard, but Resisting Change is Wrong). The commenter made a good point that sometimes we change in a bad direction instead of making a positive change.

I agreed but in doing so realized I had a bigger point buried under that. Perhaps another assumption I had failed to realize or express. Which is that I believe the Are motivation is essentially driving GOOD change, and that many SHOULD motivators drive a bad kind of change. But an even BIGGER point was buried even deeper about good vs. evil.

I believe that humans are essentially good. We start out good, and any evil we develop is learned through Should type processes. This might have to do with a book I just finished about whether or not humans are essentially good or evil called Humankind: A Hopeful History, by Rutger Bregman. Rutger argues that we are essentially good, and I’m on that side – at least for now.

So another assumption I have made, perhaps subconsciously, with respect to the Are vs Should Problem is that living from our Are is on the good side whereas living from the Should is leaning toward evil.

HOWEVER, the commenter ALSO made me realize that some shoulds are better than others. Sometimes we tell ourselves we Should eat better, be nicer, be more responsible, get a better job, or whatever. Sometimes these shoulds HELP us move forward.

So I had to break this down a bit:

Ares are intrinsic motivations that come from within us and generally encourage us to be better and come from a good place.

Shoulds can be intrinsic, or appear to be, OR extrinsic.

Intrinsic shoulds are mostly Are, but have some external motivations sprinkled in. Kind of like when I internalized my dads job motivation by conceding that I should change my major so that I could get a job. I internalized an external should, made it my own, and was fooled into thinking it was an Are. And, arguably, it was as it did achieve the goal. Of course, in HINDSIGHT I choose to see that as an extrinsic should that became internalized.

So most Shoulds come from external sources and can be misleading, bad, and downright evil. Shoulds serve to destroy the Are, but the degree to which this is intentional can vary from close to none to entirely.

So three basic choices: Are, Should, Internalized Should that is confusing.

While discussing the multiple types of Shoulds in this Episode, as you will see (or hear), I started formulating what I think will become the next phase of development in the Are vs Should Problem. I hit on the good vs evil elements already, but also posited whether or not we need to look OUTSIDE ourselves to better understand the Ares. I even suggest we learn to love people FAR outside our realm of attention. People that oppose our views or make us angry. I am wondering if we apply what we’ve discussed so far to people at opposite ends of the field if we might learn some new things.

In this episode I break way out of the box to introduce several new concepts that I think are related to future exploration. I started to incorporate the non-analytical parts, or somatic parts, of humans as mechanisms to fully understand our ares. I’m looking forward to seeing where this is leading us. I hope you will listen and share your thoughts.

Podcast audio download: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9178041-kew-episode-63-the-two-types-of-shoulds.mp3?download=true

Or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever.

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/bhuVQ7wPfOE

KEW Preview Episode 63: The Two Types of Shoulds

This Episode started out examining the different kinds of shoulds. Some shoulds come from extrinsic sources like my dad telling me I needed to get a job and not study philosophy in college, or your church telling you not to be gay. Extrinsic shoulds can be pretty easy to identify because they are often things we rebel against, are mean, or are even evil.

Intrinsic shoulds can be complicated. Some are good. We tell ourselves we *should* eat better and not have two pieces of cake. We *should* call our mother more often. Sometimes these shoulds come 100% from within us, but often they are actually extrinsic shoulds disguised as our own. The world has told us not to eat so much cake and that good sons and daughters call their moms more often. So it’s hard.

But I think, inherently, the more we come to know the are and to live in that space, the easier it is to identify whether your shoulds are intrinsic or extrinsic. In other words, I believe humans fundamentally KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. It’s just that the more time we spend in the shoulds, we forget.

Like I often do, I wander a bit in this episode toward some emerging elements. I began a shift, in real time, toward a more somatic and external assessment of our personal growth path with respect to the Are vs Should Problem. I even go so far as to suggest we take the focus off ourselves for awhile, and focus on the people around us!

I hope you enjoy the tangents and trust that I will continue to develop these ideas in upcoming Episodes.

Full Episode in audio and video formats this Friday, right here at KEW http://www.chrisburcher.com.

FLASHBACK! KEW Curiosity Interview Series 8: Bernhard Kutzler

I was so happy to meet Bernhard Kutzler. I told him we were kindred spirits because we were asking such similar questions. He agreed. He also agreed to interview with me to discuss Curiosity.

My first thoughts about Bernhard were why no one else has heard of him. I still think about why some people become household names and others’ work is lost out in the world of cyberspace. The simple answer is marketing. But that’s not the point of this post. The point I’m trying to make is Bernhard has made several important contributions to the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology, and personal growth. He has published a handful of books. He is an author on Medium and has his own blog.

You can find all of that work at www.bernhardkutzler.com.

To entice you to watch this rather long video in it’s entirety I’ll tell you one thing about Bernhard.

He took a THREE AND A HALF YEAR hiatus to live alone and unencumbered by technology. During this time he asked the basic questions like, ‘why am I here’, ‘what is the purpose of life’, and ‘what does it all mean’. Then he wrote two books about it. One is a comprehensive documentation about everything he did during that time. It (Consciousness. It’s Nature, Purpose, and How to Use it) ‘s a heady read, for sure. And maybe a little ‘out there’ in places. The other is a how-to apply what he learned to live your best life (Being Free: Get out of the Box) and is more approachable for most people.

Though this is a long interview, there is a lot of information, knowledge, wisdom, and experience here that will benefit listeners and viewers. I hope you choose to participate.

Bernhard is currently ‘out of the office’ again, surely exploring some amazing questions. I can’t wait to hear about it when he returns.

Original post here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/05/14/kew-curiosity-interview-series-8-bernhard-kutzler/

KEW Episode 62: Change (cont)

Apparently I didn’t say quite enough about change in last weeks’ Episode 62: Change is Hard, but Resisting Change is WRONG! because when I say down to record this weeks’ Episode I just kept talking about CHANGE.

Change. It’s the one thing we can count on.

Since the Big Bang, the universe has been changing. Changing forms. Changing states. Changing composition.

All around us, change is driving the universe. The Earth. Our behavior. The seasons. . . .

Yet, many of us resist change. We don’t like it. It messes up our scheduling. We OBSESS about predicting the future. The popularity of the Weather Channel is a great example. We believe we can predict the future and CONTROL change. Or even omit it altogether from reality.

Seriously, sometimes I wonder if that’s the state of nature we are shooting for. To have every day be as predictable as the last. The literal Groundhog Day of life. And on the one hand, it’s easy to see how comforting that predictability would be, but also how COMPLETELY BORING life would become.

And I get it. We resist change because it ISN’T predictable. And that makes us feel unsafe. And feeling unsafe is scary and sad. So we are afraid. So we want the fear to go away. So we attempt to CONTROL, and remove change from the world.

But that is literally insane. It is as asinine as removing oxygen from the atmosphere. Not only is it impossible, it would kill us. And I’m afraid the path toward minimal change will similarly cause our demise.

In fact, I believe our resistance to change is somehow related to (or the cause of!) many of our human problems.

In this Episode I continue exploring why change is bad, and further develop my hypothesis about how change is related to the Are vs Should Problem.

Full podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9139084-kew-episode-62-change-cont.mp3?download=true

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Episode also on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/e1DMgsrlfLs

Where you can subscribe to my channel and similarly be reminded each week.

Thank you for your support, comments, likes, and follows.

Preview KEW Episode 62: Change (cont.)

I’ve been talking a lot about how change is a FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF LIFE. Biological entities have DNA which builds our bodies and defines our unique abilities and deficiencies. But more than that, DNA is the mechanism that perpetuates and propels species through TIME by allowing adaptation to changing environmental conditions. The universe is always changing and anything wishing to persist needs a way of dealing with those changes. Biological things, like humans, have DNA to do that very job.

So a main assumption of the Are vs. Should Problem is that change is fundamental.

Another key assumption is that DNA is how we navigate that change – as individuals and as a species.

And my point in Episodes 61 and 62 is to point out a HUGE problem currently plaguing the human race:

We are currently RESISTING change, rather than embracing it.

And, I’ll argue, THIS is a major contributor to MOST of human problems.

From world hunger, to climate change, to our obsession with war. . . . it’s all about NOT understanding the need to change. To react. To modify. It’s literally in our nature. And when you fight your nature, you’re going to lose.

Full Episode coming Friday right here at KEW. Please subscribe to the KEW podcast and/or to my YouTube channel, and follow this blog for updates. You can also check out KEW on Medium.com.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 46: Values

Values, man.

If ever there were an oversimplification in the whole personal growth or self-help category, this is it.

What do you value? What are your values? It sounds sooo simple. But that’s deceptive.

For me, defining my values took WEEKS. And, worse than that, I THOUGHT I knew what they were. I think we all do.

I value family. Safety. Comfort. A good hot dog.

Whatever. We don’t really know what the options are, so how do we know we covered it.

To REALLY nail your values – and you REALLY need to to make quick progress – you have to put in some hard work. And by hard work, I mean repetition. And by repetition, I mean you have to be PERSISTENT.

It’s more simple, really.

Sit down quietly and ask yourself, ‘What do I value and love’, and, ‘What gets me out of bed in the morning’. Make a list. Read the list.


Take each thing you wrote down and GO DEEPER. Why do you value love? What is love anyway? Is this about a person? Write all that down. Write some more. Instead of a word you’ll have pages. Now ask yourself again. GO DEEPER. AGAIN.

Repeat that for every word on your original list and go through 6-10 iterations of each, going deeper until you can’t go any deeper. Take a few days. Take a few weeks. Take a few months.

Yeah, it sounds crazy. And maybe your final list will look just like your original list, but mine didn’t. It was close, but in the end I fell like the work taught me a lot more than writing that original list. I have now internalized and automated my values. I can now use them as guideposts in my decision-making and growth.

I hope you enjoy the video or audio.

Original post is here,

KEW Episode 46: Values

with links to full audio and video downloads. Please subscribe to my podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, and YouTube if you prefer that format.

KEW News and Updates September, 2021

Hey guys – just wanted to make a note here about a few projects I have coming up that you may be interested in.

First, I’m currently conducting interviews about the “Are vs. Should Problem“. I’ve completed the first two with people I had never met and I’ll say it’s going to be very interesting. I plan to do around ten total interviews and to start releasing them either every other week or as a separate series beginning in October sometime. I’m excited to hear others’ perspectives on this issue and to have candid conversations about what it means to be yourself.

Second, KEW now has a writer’s page on Medium. For those of you who don’t know, Medium is a website for writers. It’s subscription based, and non-members can only read a handful of articles for free. For me, it’s better than reading the news every day – I have made it a habit to spend more time on Medium reading interesting stories and articles instead of reading news. I have only written one article so far, but I have made it a goal to start writing one a week in the near future. Mostly these will mirror what is happening on KEW but we’ll see where that goes. You can find my first article here: https://medium.com/@kpluseiswise/what-we-forgot-6e4b7090d540

This first article, ‘What We Forgot‘, gets at the idea that somewhere along the line we flipped nearly 180 degrees from being people who lived mostly in our ‘ares’ to people who listened more to the voices of the ‘shoulds’. I’m still not sure how and why this happened, but it is becoming clearer every week. In fact, I am starting to develop an even larger project about HOW to address this issue which I will get to in the upcoming weeks.

If you know anyone I should interview for this AvS series please comment or email me at kpluseiswise@cburcher

Thanks, everyone,


KEW Episode 61: The Are vs Should Problem – Change is Hard, but Resisting Change is WRONG!

In the next few videos I focus on CHANGE. I have covered changing old beliefs, changing the way you think, changing your habits. But it wasn’t until Episode 47: Changing Behavior Changes Beliefs that I actually started to realize how critical CHANGE is.

Change is the key. The main element. The obvious, yet hidden mechanism of life.

One of my chief assumptions is that we we are vehicles for, or at least highly influenced by, our DNA.

And change is what our DNA was designed to do.

In Episode 55: The Bully and your DNA Part 2, I go in to detail about how and why I think DNA is so important, but I’ll reiterate here.

The Universe is constantly changing. It’s been well established by multiple branches of science. I’m going to assume most of us accept that tenet. I will further argue that the fact that things will change is one of the few things we can predict about the future. And we can look to the past and see things were different before. So we know that wherever we are today is likely to change. How it will change is hard to say, but we spend a lot of time trying to figure that out.

An unpredictable future is more dangerous than one that is known. Yet we WANT to know what’s coming up so that we can prepare. Will it rain today? Do I need a jacket? Will the weather be good while we’re at the beach? Will my retirement accounts be worth anything when I need them?

So, in essence, the world/universe/environment in which we live is going to change through time. Ok. Got it. So, in order to live in this world/universe/environment we probably need a mechanism to deal with change.

A crystal ball might seem like the most useful tool, but if you think about it, that only helps the individual. Sure, if we could predict how much Bitcoin would be worth next week we could make a lot of money. Or if we could know how many avalanches would occur in a certain area we would know where NOT to build a ski resort. Those things are helpful, but they only really increase the fitness of single individuals. And in the long run, biology is more interested in the whole than the parts. Because we are all connected, after all.

Enter DNA.

DNA is an ideal molecule to facilitate generational changes in individuals through time by allowing for responses to extrinsic environmental changes. In other words, DNA gives individuals the capacity to REACT to environmental changes at a rate commensurate with the changes themselves. Individuals can react, reproductive success is affected, and the environment selects for fitness in future generations. Species persist.

But I’ve talked a lot about that in other Episodes.

The conundrum I talk about in Episode 61 and 62 is how humans seem to resist change. In the past 200 years or so, it seems that human evolution has entered a period of minimal change. We have established cultural norms and rules that select for ‘sameness’ and predictability in individual behavior. In some ways this makes sense for behavior management as the Earth gets more crowded, but I worry about superficial and short-term changes trickling up to affect our general opinion about change.

Because change isn’t going away. We can never control it all. Control is an illusion, anyway, and we will never control the weather or the economy. We can depart Earth to inhabit Mars, but we will eventually have the same problems we have here.

I am concerned that our resistance to change in our daily lives is going to reduce our ability to evolve and persist as a species in the long term. In the short term, we will lose creativity and diversity of ideas and intellect, which will in turn stifle our ability to navigate the future. In the face of change we need creativity and diversity, not sameness and conformity.

I hope you enjoy this miniseries about change. More next week.

Download podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9127831-kew-episode-61-change-is-hard-but-resisting-change-is-wrong.mp3?download=true

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YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/9k4D2G1HSss

Preview KEW Episode 61: The Are vs Should Problem – Change is Hard, But Resisting Change is WRONG

This week I’ll continue to drive this point home. Change is a NATURAL element in all biological systems. Our very nature is dependent on and affected by constant and continuous change. The abiotic environment of the universe is constantly changing as matter and energy change forms. Luckily for us, we have DNA that facilitates adjustments to respond to these changes and life can persist through time.

Understanding and dealing with the Are vs Should Problem is contingent upon change. To the extend that we RESIST change, we must learn to accept it and deal with it. Luckily, it is a PART of us and has been for millions of years. All we have to do is remember. And I’ll add that it is ESSENTIAL to remember, if we want to succeed as a species.

Seriously. The path we are currently on where we minimize and try to avoid change, reward conformity, and value the continuing status quo is causing many of the problems we face. By embracing change we can solve these problems, improve our lives, and advance the human race. That will be much of what I’ll discuss in upcoming episodes.

Full Episode this Friday, right here on KEW.