FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 55: The Bully and Your DNA: Part 2

In Part 2 of this series I dig deep into the link between our ‘ares’ and our DNA.

I am working on a theory, ‘The Uniqueness Imperative’, that describes a link between who we are and our DNA. I’m starting to look at psychology from an evolutionary biology perspective. I guess having a background in the evolution side coupled with an interest in psychology and therapy this is what you get.

In short, I wonder if it is our duty or responsibility to ‘express’ as much of our DNA as possible. A lot of this expression – how our DNA shows up in our individual person – is beyond our control. Most inherited traits just show up. But some traits require an environmental interaction.

Some genes give us a propensity for traits. The DNA provides the machinery and we develop this through practice.

We may grasp music or math better than other people.

We may have a very even demeanor and not react strongly to stress.

There are infinite possibilities.

And this makes sense with our understanding of genetics because there is a definite interaction between our DNA and the environment with respect to how some traits express themselves or develop.

So in the context of the Are vs Should Problem, our DNA becomes a major determinant in our ‘ares’.

In other words, the things we are ‘meant to do’.

Or the things we have a passion for.

The things that motivate us to get out of bed in the morning.

I’m suggesting these things have a genetic component.

Who we are is a big part of what we want out of life.

Original post with links to podcast audio and YouTube video here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/07/23/kew-episode-55-the-bully-and-your-dna-part-2/

Preview KEW Episode 73: What is Stress?

You think you know what stress is, but do you?

I think the term ‘stress’ is oversimplified. Sure, sometimes just venting ‘I’m stressed!’ is helpful to get some of the negative energy out, let people know how you are generally feeling, or explain your behavior.

But ‘stress’ is so overused, so ambiguous, and so cliche.

And I only mention that because that means the word is losing it’s meaning.

Also, because stress is often a result of the ‘shoulds’, in the context of the Are vs Should Problem.

What is stress, then, really?




All that and more.

Stress is the result of a dissonance between how you feel and how you want to feel.

Generally, we want to feel good. Stress is a general description of feeling bad.

This week I dig into stress a bit and hopefully help us understand what it REALLY is, and that opens the door for doing something about it.

Because you need less stress.

Full Episode Friday, right here at KEW. Make sure to subscribe to my email list so you will be notified whenever something new is posted to my webpage.

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Preview KEW The Are vs Should Interview Series: Dalton Johnson

Ok, so I got pretty lucky (again) when Dalton Johnson agreed to be interviewed on KEW. Like Dawn Bates, I met Dalton in a facebook group that links podcast with potential interviewees.

All I knew about Dalton is, again like Dawn, he seemed to live more in his ‘are’. From what I could tell he was a digital nomad interested in rock climbing and photography. He seemed like a total bada$$. Well, I wanted to know more and he was open to talking about the Are vs Should Problem with us.

Also, he rode his bike across New Zealand. And he tells us all about it.

He also refers to ‘The Alchemist‘ by Paulo Coelho and suggests it’s a great primer on the Are vs Should Problem. I had read it, but let’s just say I read it again immediately after talking to Dalton.

He’s an amazing dude with an impressive life and an honorable history. I know you will enjoy learning about him, hearing what he has to say about the living in your ‘are’, and seeing what is possible.

Full podcast and YouTube episodes right here this Thursday – Please subscribe to my blog email for updates whenever a new blog/pod/video is posted.

Dalton’s Instagram (incredible pics of incredible places) : https://www.instagram.com/daltonjohnsonmedia/

Dalton’s Blog (insightful reading): https://www.daltonjohnsonmedia.com/blog/learning-to-breath-in-the-moment

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 54: The Bully and Your DNA (Part 1)

In this flashback Episode I separated the two main elements from the Are vs Should Problem. The Bully is the ‘Shoulds’, those voices in your head telling you to do things a certain way, follow a specific path, or make a decision that jibes with an influential element in your life. In Part 2, I talk about the ‘are’ which I argue is inherent in our DNA.

The idea of ‘shoulds’ is pretty common in therapy. ‘Shoulds’ are things we tell ourselves we are ‘supposed’ to do, or have to do based on membership to some group or allegiance to some system of thinking and behaving.

You ‘should’ go to church every Sunday.

You ‘should’ forgive your partner for being a jerk.

You ‘should’ attend every single one of your kids’ soccer games.

You ‘should’ not eat a second piece of pie.

You ‘should’ think white people are better than nonwhite people.

You know what I mean. Some people even use the phrase ‘shouldding all over ourselves’ to describe how we beat ourselves up with the ‘shoulds’. This is a key element in self-help in learning how to be self-compassionate.

So in Part 1 of the Bully vs Your DNA mini series I talk all about the ‘shoulds’. Where they come from. What they mean. And why the aren’t really our true nature.

Being aware of, and even resisting the ‘shoulds’ is critical to personal growth and understanding who you really are.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

The original post with links to the full podcast audio and YouTube video is here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/07/16/kew-episode-54-the-bully-and-your-dna-part-1/

KEW Episode 72: What is Success?

If you said ‘money’ or ‘power’, you are not alone.

Sure, there are lots of different versions of success.

Getting a good grade.

Getting a raise or a better job.

Being invited to a prestigious event.

Being revered or treated like a celebrity.

But I think we can generally boil down the status quo definition of success to be related to having a lot of money or having a lot of power.

Mirriam-Webster tell us:

1 the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

And we could measure these things in units that are NOT money or power. But do we?

That’s what I discuss in this week’s episode.

Personally, I think measuring success in dollars and power units like followers or likes or attention is limiting and short-sighted.

I would rather my life be measured in units of comfort. And peace. And calm. And love.

But that’s not sexy. Love doesn’t get you flashy cars or big houses. Or designer jeans. Or whatever it is that people value.

And there’s that word again: value.

It all comes down to our values.

What is important to you?

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

What do you find motivating?

I would guess that many people would say money or power. This is why it is so critical to really think about what you value in order to get on your best path.

Because I can’t imagine a life that considers money or power to be the only meaningful things one can experience.

In fact, I would say one needs to ‘get away’ from money and power to really experience the best things in life.

How did we get it so backwards? How is it that people measure success the way many of us do? How is it that we don’t see happiness or satisfaction as worthy achievements?

If nothing else, how do we let each other know that we value other things and that success can be measured other ways? How do we support each other in our alternatives?

Maybe that’s the question of the day.

So. How do you measure success?

Full podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9552536-kew-episode-72-what-is-success.mp3?download=true

Or please subscribe to my podcast on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google podcasts, etc.

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/3kzOPd_OLI8

KEW Are vs Should Interview Series: Dawn Bates

I found Dawn Bates on a podcast interview facebook site. She was looking for podcasts to do interviews and promote her story. She is a coach, an author, and a genuine warrior. She is on a mission to help people in as many ways as she can.

I reached out to her to discuss the Are vs Should Problem, and she agreed to weigh in on the subject.

I intentionally didn’t learn anything about her, and I’m pretty sure she knew nothing about me or my podcast. What you see in this interview is a natural and organic discussion between two people over a single interesting question.

Why do we struggle between the person we ARE, and the person we feel like we SHOULD BE?

As you will learn, Dawn does not seem to struggle with this question. Maybe she used to, she doesn’t say. I would say Dawn lives her live nearly entirely in the ARE. Which is envious.

During our discussion Ms. Bates gives me a quickie improvised coaching session. She pretty much nails a potential solution to my issues, offering the advice that I should just change how I think. For many people, that may do the trick. I have been down that road and it isn’t that easy for me. But you may find her approach compelling and it might work great for you.

Dawn also shares her thoughts on more than one controversial, even conspiratorial, issue which, again, you may or may not agree with and/or find compelling. I include it all here for the sake of honesty. In fact, this interview is not edited at all. It is the entirety of our conversation beginning to end.

And so, dear viewer/listener/reader, I offer you my chat with Dawn Bates and invite you to check out her coaching, her story, and her books at http://www.dawnbates.com.

And, as always, feel free to share your thoughts below or on YouTube.

Full podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9552358-kew-are-vs-should-interview-series-dawn-bates.mp3?download=true

Or please subscribe via your favorite podcast app (I use spotify)

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/kUL4Hfg6G0U

I will be posting interviews over the next 8-9 weeks with a preview episode Tuesday and the full interview Episode Thursday. Subscribe to my podcast email list to get reminders.

PREVIEW KEW Episode 72: What is Success?

How do YOU define success?

I would like to say I define success in terms of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t let money and power creep in there.

I think most of society, or at least the *SHOULD* elements from society and the process of Domestication teach us that money and power are the measures of success.

And to a large degree they are.

Look around. We are bombarded by ‘get rich quick schemes’, influencers with millions of likes, flashy cars and clothes, and seemingly perfect bodies.

All of these require money and power. Or at least that’s what we believe.

But many of us, myself included, DO measure our lives in different terms. We just feel like no one else does or cares.

And if I think it means a lot do be a good dad, but no one else does, it becomes harder to believe myself.

I wish we could normalize recognizing other measures of success so that we could all feel better about ourselves.

Because at the end of the day, all the money and power in the world isn’t going to solve our problems, make us happy, or find us love. Regardless of what Instagram tells you.

Full Episode Friday right here at Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom.

KEW Preview: The Are vs Should Interview Series: Dawn Bates

This week I am kicking off my second interview series IN ADDITION to my regular weekly episode.

I am asking folks about their thoughts on the Are vs Should Problem, or the struggle many of us experience between the person we ARE and the person we feel like we SHOULD BE.

Dawn Bates is a helper. She is a coach, author, and warrior. Her personality is confident and authoritative. You get an excellent introduction in our interview where she shares what she does, how she works, and what she believes (and doesn’t believe) in.

You even get to see her coach me and prescribe a way out of my own issues. The preview below pretty much summarizes my ten years of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy work.

While Dawn doesn’t explicitly answer my question about the Are vs Should Problem, she fills in the blanks with her own unique brand of self awareness technique.You can find out more about her at https://dawnbates.com

Full Episode this THURSDAY, right here at KEW. Please join my email list for announcements when new material is posted here.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 53: Are vs Should Examples

If you think about any element in your life you can probably see an example of the Are vs Should Problem.

Sometimes it looks like indecision or Analysis Paralysis (and see Episode 11: Analysis Paralysis).

Other times it feels like frustration or anger.

In my experience I feel like I am ‘of two minds’ where I hear two competing voices telling me to do entirely different things.

What are the important elements in your life?


  • Should you go to the ballet recital or out with your friends?


  • Should you take the high paying job in a big city or the modest pay in a rural town?


  • Can I afford to buy new golf clubs or put the money toward my kids college fund?


  • Save or spend?


  • Is this about lust or building a life together?

The most obvious example to me is about our jobs and careers.

I believe if you think about any of these things you will feel for yourself that *pull* between the two sides. Almost like the proverbial devil and angel on your shoulder telling you what to do.

Many of us want to paint. Or act. Or write. Or play professional sports.

But the vast majority talk ourselves out of those paths in lieu of a safer route to make enough money to survive.

Because we feel like we *SHOULD* do that.

And many of us then hit midlife, look at ourselves and wonder how the hell we got here.

Here’s the original post with links to the full podcast audio download and the YouTube video: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/07/09/kew-episode-53-are-vs-should-examples/

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KEW Episode 71: Sustainability

From the dictionary:

1: able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed sustainable energy resources; a sustainable water supply

2: involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources sustainable agriculture/farming/techniques

3: able to last or continue for a long time sustainable development/growth

Have you ever noticed the hustlers around you? You know, the people working two or three side gigs, driving Uber Eats every evening, and staying incredibly busy? Some of these folks get little sleep and are very proud of their ability to work excessive hours and multiple jobs. They seem to have infinite sources of energy and an amazing ability to keep going. These ‘hustlers’ don’t really HAVE to work that much, it’s just their path toward having enough money (whatever ‘enough’ is, see Episode 20: Enough for more on that).

You have probably also noticed the folks who have to work that hard and for that many hours JUST TO GET BY. I have a lot more sympathy for this second group because it’s not their choice. See Episode 13: Slavery for more on THAT.

Regardless of the motivation, be it surviving or thriving, you probably see many of these people doing or achieving seemingly impossible things during the same 24 hour day you and I have.

This is what I’m getting at with this Episode.

To these people I always think to myself, “This isn’t sustainable”.

At first I thought maybe I was just making excuse for why *I* couldn’t achieve as much as these folks in my 24-hour day. These levels of achievement and work hours can make one feel inadequate. But this goes beyond jealousy or envy. My concern is for the long-term.

Because, sure, anyone can hustle on the short term. We have all had short periods in our lives where we have to work extra hard and extra long. The first six months of raising children, for example. That time at work when you’re working toward a promotion. Writing your book.

But with these efforts, we believe the struggle is short-lived and will END in the not-to-distant future. This makes it ok.

What I’m talking about is the people who don’t get this.

So many things are UNSUSTAINABLE. Meaning, they are too SOMETHING (intense, demanding, heavy, difficult, strenuous, etc) to be continued for a long period of time.

Sprinting up a hill

Consuming alcohol

Not sleeping

Carrying heavy weight

It’s just physics. Yet many of us try to beat the system. And not only does this concern me, for our individual and collective welfare, but it’s CHEATING

You heard me. Long-term, life threatening, dangerous sustained effort is CHEATING. It’s Gaming the System (and for more on THAT, see Episode 3: Gaming the System).

When something isn’t sustainable, it is a signal that you’re doing something wrong. Or, you are making a sacrifice over a short-term.

You can’t sacrifice continually. It doesn’t work like that. Once demand exhausts supply the game is over. There is no ‘going into debt’, only bankruptcy.

These are the basic principles of physics, ecology, and economics.

Yet, everywhere you look you will see people undergoing intentionally unsustainable activities. To get richer, prettier, healthier, or more powerful.

We think we are gaming the system, but we are really harming ourselves and others.

I hope you enjoy this episode and choose to like, subscribe or follow. The best place to stay up to date is by following my blog, subscribing to the podcast or the YouTube channel.

Podcast audio download: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9512717-kew-episode-71-sustainability.mp3?download=true

or subscribe via your favorite app. (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, etc.)

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/zeGCtwBmpL0

The podcast and video are identical content if you haven’t figured that out already.