After almost four years of podcasting, I’ve now built up a pretty large volume of work for you to consume. So if you feel confused about where to start or what’s most important, I don’t blame you. To help you along, I’ve created this greatest hits series to highlight the essentials that I know will change your life, whether you’re revisiting it or you’re listening to it for the first time.
1% feels tiny, doesn’t it? The same way you might think $10,000 is closer to zero than your goal of $100,000, or running one mile when training for a marathon is basically nothing. This might seem like basic, logical math, but this math doesn’t apply here.
If I had to pick one episode that truly teaches the secret to life, I think this topic might just be it. The Infinite 1% is a concept I came up with and still see in my own life where it can be so transformative, so I know re-listening today and implementing it from a deeper, more elevated mindset is going to be mind-blowing for you too.
Welcome to Unf*ck Your Brain, the only podcast that teaches you how to use psychology, feminism, and coaching, to rewire your brain and get what you want in life. And now here’s your host, Harvard Law School grad, feminist rockstar, and master coach, Kara Loewentheil.
Hello my chickens. So this week we are continuing with our series of the greatest hits of the Unf*ck Your Brain podcast. If you’ve been listening, you know that these are some of my best, highest level teaching, most in-depth, most transformative episodes, and I’m re-releasing them for a couple of reasons.
For those of you who are newer to the podcast, you probably haven’t gone back and listened to the entire volume of my work, which is now quite large, and I don’t blame you. But these episodes that we are re-releasing as part of the series are like, the essentials.
The episodes that I think will transform your life the most. And for those of you who have been with me for two, three, four years – how long have I been doing this podcast? 2017. Yeah, almost four years.
Those of you who have been with me this whole time, you are now operating at such an elevated deeper level in your understanding of thought work and self-coaching after listening to all of these episodes and so it’s time to revisit these concepts to grasp them at a deeper level.
One of the things that I think is just so mind-blowing about coaching is that in some ways, what I’m teaching is so – it’s not basic. It’s simple. It’s like the simplest things are the hardest for us. How to accept ourselves, to love ourselves, that our thoughts cause our feelings, that external things don’t make us happy or unhappy.
I can explain these very simply in language that a kindergartner could understand, and yet they are so challenging for us to grasp at the deepest levels. And so if you’re new to this work, these episodes are going to blow your mind. But if you are familiar with this work, it’ll actually blow your mind at an even deeper level and you will see the ways in which this now applies either in ways you didn’t see before because you had blind spots or you didn’t understand it yet, or because you’ve now up-leveled your life from doing thought work and so now it applies in a whole different way.
It’s been so fun reading in The Clutch – part of The Clutch is we have a Facebook group for the community part of things, and people have been posting like, here is what I learned the first time I listened to this episode two years ago or whatever, and here’s what I understood today from it and here’s how it applies to my life this whole other different way and people are building on those.
It’s such an interesting conversation. So that’s why we’re doing this greatest hits series and so today, we are going to be going back to The Infinite 1%. I know I say this all the time but I think if had to pick one episode that truly teaches the secret to life, I think this might be it.
Thoughts cause feelings is always the number one secret to life, but the infinite 1% might be the second secret to life. It’s like, in that top two. It’s in the top three for sure. Everything in my life that I’ve created that I value I created using this concept.
And it is the antithesis to all of the thought patterns that made me so miserable before I understood it. All of the black and white thinking, all of the perfectionism, this is so mind-blowing. As I’m recording this intro, just in talking to you guys and thinking about the infinite 1%, I’m seeing in my own life right now how this applies in places that I haven’t applied it.
This is why you have to revisit this work. Even as I’m explaining to you that the infinite 1% is the opposite of perfectionism and the opposite of black and white thinking, the back of my brain is going okay, but there’s this area of your life where you still are totally using black and white thinking and what if you applied the infinite 1% to that?
So if that’s happening to me and I wrote the fucking thing, you guys really need to listen again. You’re going to get a lot more out of it the second, third, fifth, 10th time you listen to it. I mean, how many times have I thought about and taught the 1%? And even now, as I’m talking, I’m having a minor brain explosion.
So the 1% is really the opposite, the antidote to all of that black and white thinking, perfectionist thinking, on or off the wagon, I should already be done, I should already be there, I should already have the thing. It pairs really nicely – it’s like a wine pairing – with the episode called Result-Entitlement I think if you want to listen to them together.
So the infinite 1% is really all about how we create big change in our life with small steps but really, with our minds and understanding the value and importance of small steps, which most of us want to ignore. So it’s so crucial. So that is what I want you to revisit today.
And then I also want to let you guys know, we’ve been getting some questions because people have been seeing the posts on social media that we are opening registration soon for Clutch College Live, which is a live three-day teaching and coaching event that I do a couple of times a year.
It’s like a coaching brain exploding jamboree. I’ve never been to a real jamboree. I don’t have a banjo. But that’s what it feels like to me. They are so incredible. We did one in January and one of the participants wrote in to us or told us right afterwards that if we were opening up registration, if we were selling the same event with all the same content that she had just done for three days, if we were going to open registration for the same exact thing with the same exact content again, she would sign up and pay again right then.
That’s how mind-blowing it was. I keep these events really quite small so that everybody gets personal coaching attention from me and the Clutch coaches. And so you guys get to know each other, which is so much fun to kind of make new thought work friends and have that community.
And we really dive deep. This Clutch College, we are going to be talking about the coaching model we use and getting really amazing at using the coaching model. Not just to understand when we feel terrible, but also to understand how to create positive thoughts and positive emotion, which is something that you can actually create. You don’t just have to wait for it to happen to you.
We’re going to be talking about goal setting, how to set and achieve big goals, which is something that comes up a lot, I know for many of you. And we’re going to be talking about what I call a relationship reset. How to change our thinking about relationships, how to stop trying to control other people, how to create more love and understanding, how to have a lot less drama in our relationships.
So we’re going to be working on all of that in Clutch College. Totally live, with new tools and new concepts that are only available at Clutch College Live. If you want to come to that, you have to be in The Clutch. It’s only for people who are in The Clutch because you need to have the kind of basics of that self-coaching we do and an understanding of how we operate in order to get the most out of the event.
So it’s not too late though, you can totally join The Clutch now and then try to get a spot at Clutch College Live. If you want to join The Clutch, you can just go to unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch or you can text your email to +13479348861 and we will send you all the info on how to join The Clutch.
So again, that’s text your email to +13479348861 and we will send you all the info back, or you just sign up at unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. Alright, with there, let’s talk about the infinite 1%.
I want to teach you a brand-new concept I’ve come up with, which I am obsessed with. I only like to teach you things I’m obsessed with. It’s a huge mental reframe that can create enormous results in your life if you implement it, and it’s called the infinite 1%.
So that sounds weird, right? 1% sounds tiny and infinite is infinite. They kind of seem like opposites, but it totally makes sense, I promise. When we think about doing big things in our lives, I think that we assume, certainly lizard brain assumes it’s going to be a lot of work.
And the way we think about it, we think we aren’t close to the goal until we’re close to the goal. So if we want to make $100,000 as a life coach, we think we aren’t close to making $100,000 until we hit like, $90,000. If we want to run a marathon, we think we aren’t close to the goal until we can run 20 miles, let’s say. Or even if we want to run a 5K, we think we aren’t close until we can run 4K.
If we’re getting a PhD, we think we aren’t close to the goal until we’ve almost finished our dissertation. If we want to learn to drink less or stick to a budget or stop biting our nails or any other habit, we think we aren’t close to the goal until the habit is almost gone.
We think that the first few steps barely count, that they’re just like, barely more than nothing. That they are so far away from the goal. We think $10,000 is closer to zero than it is to $100,000. We think running half a mile is closer to not running at all than it is to running a marathon. We think making a drink or meal plan and then only following it 20% of the time is closer to just not following it at all than to following it 100% of the time.
It seems like basic math. But this math is wrong. Because the difference between doing nothing and doing something is the biggest difference there is. From zero to one is exponential growth. From zero to one is the part most people never do. From zero to one is the hard part.
Once you’ve gotten from zero to one, it’s just rinse and repeat. Doing 100 podcast episodes in a row every single week for 100 weeks was not actually that hard. What was hard was getting over my own bullshit to do the first one. After that, it’s just rinse and repeat.
Making more than a million dollars a year, not actually that hard. The hard part was getting out of my own way to make that first $20,000 that first year. The last two thirds of a run, not hard. The hard part is getting myself out the door and moving for that first one third. That’s always the hardest part.
Remember that your brain loves to save energy and it’s scared of doing anything new. Newton’s first law of motion, thank you to my classic studies at Yale – I may be the only person who went through the directed studies program at Yale and is now a life coach. I wonder if that’s true.
Okay, still though, listen, classical learning is important. Even if I’m the only life coach who talks about Newton. So Newton’s first law of motion is that a body in motion will tend to stay in motion, and a body at rest will tend to stay at rest. What is hard is overcoming the inertia of zero to get to one. What is hard is to be in a state of not being in motion, a state of rest, and go into being in motion. That’s where you need effort.
When you want to take a new action, you have to get over the inertia of not being in motion to get in motion. But after you’ve done it once and you know how, it’s just rinse and repeat. What’s hard is going from being in motion to being at rest. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. When you want to stop taking a certain action you have, like you have a habit you’re trying to change, the inertia is actually to just keep repeating it.
Just keep taking the same motion, keep doing the same thing. And the effort is that you have to get over the inertia of just repeating the habit, the same way you always do to change it, to be at rest. But after you’ve allowed an urge without acting on it once or twice, just rinse and repeat.
The big difference in the world isn’t between people who have done a little versus people who have done a lot. It’s between people who do nothing and people who do something. And this is the tragedy of perfectionism because perfectionism keeps us thinking that doing a little is pointless. But doing a little is everything.
If you spend five minutes doing thought work every day, after a year, you will have spent 30 whole hours working on your brain. Now, 30 doesn’t sound like a big number but really think about 30 whole hours. That’s almost a whole work week of nothing but working on your thoughts. All day at work.
If you don’t spend those five minutes because it’s too little and it doesn’t count, a year later, you will have the exact same thoughts and results you do now. You will have gotten nowhere. A body at rest stays at rest. A mind in chaos stays in chaos. Unless you use your energy to overcome that little bit of inertia, that first 1%.
The exponential difference is not between you who are spending five minutes a day on thought work and someone who’s spending an hour a day on it. You are actually very close together next to each other. The exponential difference is between both of you and someone who doesn’t do thought work at all.
On the spectrum of change, if you want to think about it visually, the person spending five minutes and the person spending an hour are so close together you can barely see between them. It’s like if you think about those timelines of like, the development of the Earth, and it’s so long and then when human history started and where we are now are very close together because it’s like, billions and trillions of years.
And then it’s like, a few thousand years of recorded history and then infinity out in front of us. That’s what it’s like. On the spectrum of change, the person spending five minutes a day doing thought work and the person spending an hour a day doing thought work, so close together, you can barely see the space between them.
But the space between them and someone spending no time on thought work or whatever habit or goal you want to plug into this, I’m just using thought work, the space between the person doing nothing and the person spending five minutes and an hour, five minutes and an hour are so close to each other. The space between them and the person doing nothing is all the space in the world.
When you’re despairing about how what you can do is not enough, you know what you aren’t doing? You’re not actually doing it. You just sit around thinking about how it’s not enough and so you do nothing. But if you believed the biggest difference in life was between those who do nothing and those who do a little, then you’d have no excuse not to try because you would understand the infinite 1%.
That even doing something 1%, the difference between nothing and 1%, the difference between one minute or one hour, however you want to think about that time or effort, the difference between nothing and 1% is infinite. So you’d have no excuse not to try doing at least 1%. and that would change everything for you.
So if you aren’t in The Clutch, I suggest you join so I can teach you how to do this five-minute a day self-coaching practice that will change your life. But either way, pick something. Pick anything in your life and do it 1%. Embrace the infinite 1%. Have a beautiful week, my chickens. I will talk to you next week.
One last thing I want to share with y’all. This is a note that I got from a podcast listener and I asked her permission to share it with you and she said yes obviously. I asked her permission and she said no and I’m sharing it anyway. No. I asked her permission and she said yes, I’m sharing it.
So here’s what she said because I think it will speak to a question that a lot of you guys said. She said, “I’ve been listening to you for many years now. I started listening to the podcast in 2018 and I even listened to The Lawyer Stress Solution.” That was the previous name of this podcast, back when I only coached lawyers.
“Even though it had absolutely no relevance to me while I was working on growing my real estate business, except of course that thought was proven wrong instantly because those episodes most certainly did have relevance to me. I got just as much from those episodes as I did when it became Unf*ck Your Brain, so I highly recommend anyone else listen to those early episodes too.
I was in a pretty dark place mentally and I didn’t really know where to start to change the way I thought about life, others around me, and most importantly, myself. I started going to therapy, which helped, but I needed a constant soundtrack to basically tell me everything’s going to be okay, you got this, you should stay on this path.
To this day, I listen to new episodes pretty much as soon as they come out but back then, I was so hungry for further growth that I listened to episodes over and over and over again to make sure I got the most out of them, which is funny because in last week’s episode, that’s exactly what you suggested.
Even with all of that, it took me until January 2021 to finally join The Clutch. My honest thought about not joining was something along the lines of, well, I listen to the podcast and it’s helped me tremendously and there can’t be that much more value in joining The Clutch than what I’m getting out of the podcast. Boy, was I wrong.” She has that in all caps. Emphasis, boy, was I wrong.
“I have been diving deep into the coaching tools ever since I joined this amazing community and truly without The Clutch, I would never have grasped how to do this effectively by just listening to the podcast alone. It turns out you are totally right when you say that you take the work deeper in The Clutch. Long story short, this work is truly life changing and I’m so excited to continue to apply these lessons that I have learned to my life every single day. Thank you so much for creating such an amazing set of tools and community that women can use to change the fucking world.”
So I totally cried when I read this. And there are so many things I love about this that I wanted to share with you all. The first one is the way that this chicken was combining coaching and therapy. It’s a question that comes up a lot. As if they’re sort of two very different things that shouldn’t be used together, or it’s one or the other.
I also love that she listened to the podcast over and over again because oftentimes you really need so much reinforcement to really be able to change your thought patterns, like going to a session with a therapist once a week, that’s an hour of a whole week.
And when you can listen to the podcast on repeat, and even better, if you join The Clutch and you can have things you’re practicing every day and community to be talking to every day, you’re going to make so much more progress because you’re just getting so much more exposure. Your brain is getting so much more immersion in it.
I love that she re-listened to the episodes, which I totally recommend. And I love that she was so honest about why it took her so long to join The Clutch. I love that she shared that thought, which probably a lot of you also have. That the podcast has already helped you and like, what could the difference really be?
And I love that she explained there is such a big difference between just listening to the podcast and joining The Clutch. It’s like night and day. The podcast is amazing. Obviously, I love this podcast. I’ve been doing it every single week for free for four years, so I love it and I believe in it.
But it’s not the same thing as having access to a whole library of coaching tools and workbooks and exercises and having expert coaching on demand from coaches and having access to a community of women doing the work to support you and talk it through. It’s just a totally different experience that completely up-levels and takes it deeper for you.
And now is an amazing time to join The Clutch because we are going to be opening up registration soon for our next Clutch College Live, which are three-day events that we do live online these days. In the future hopefully we’ll get to be in person again someday. But we will be doing one in May that is live online.
And it’s a small group event where we dive deep into a couple of topics. So the one coming up in May we’re going to be working on the coaching model that I teach and how to both deal with negative emotion and change negative thoughts, but also create positive thoughts and positive emotion on purpose.
We’re going to be working on setting big goals and achieving them, handling everything that comes up along the way, so you actually set yourself up for success, and we’re going to be working on relationships. Any relationship you have, how to increase connection, decrease conflict, decrease your anxiety, and cultivate a better relationship in any kind of setting or any kind of relationship you have.
So if you want to come to that event, you have to be in The Clutch in order to attend. And they sell out pretty quickly. We really limit the size to that everybody gets lots of personal attention. So it’s always an amazing time to join The Clutch because it truly will up-level anything that you’ve learned from the podcast, like Caitlyn explained.
But now is a particularly good time to join because you will have a chance to try to sign up for one of these spots at a live event. So if you want more info, you can go to unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch or you can text your email to +13479348861. That’s +1349348861. Just text your email and we will send you the info. Or you can go to unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch and Caitlyn and I will see you in there.
If you’re loving what you’re learning in the podcast, you have got to come check out The Clutch. The Clutch is the podcast community for all things Unfuck Your Brain. It’s where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life.
It’s where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more. And it’s where you can hang out and connect over all things thought work with other podcast chickens just like you and me. It’s my favorite place on earth and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at www.unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. That’s unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. I can’t wait to see you there.