The Atlas Shrugged Interview – Part 4 of 5

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What’s up everybody, this is Russell. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets podcast. All right. I hope you guys have enjoyed the first three. We are moving into the fourth episode of our interview. My interview with Josh Forti talking about Atlas Shrugged. Again, during this series, we’ve been talking about religion and politics and all the things you’re not supposed to talk about, but we’ve done it all through the lens of Atlas Shrugged, which I hope you’ve enjoyed and had a lot of fun with it. Hopefully it’s made you want to go and actually read the Atlas Shrugged book, which I think would be really, really cool. With that said, I’m going to queue up the theme song. When we come back, you have a chance to start listening to part four of my interview with Josh Forti.

Josh Forti:

So, what did your parents do right for you? One of the things that I try to say, I try to say it a lot but I don’t even say it enough. My parents have played a absolutely tremendous… I owe so much of who I am today to my parents indirectly in a lot of ways. My parents didn’t teach me about money or things like that. That wasn’t their gift, but the principles of hard work and family values, biting your tongue, even though it doesn’t seem like I bite my tongue. Oh my gosh. Every day, right?

Russell Brunson:

It could be worse guys.

Josh:

Right. It could be way worse. Some people would love that, but you know, deescalating situations and having those… I owe so much of who I am to those. Yeah, they messed up in a lot of ways like you said, but what were some of the things that your parents did right? What are the things that you remember from your parents?

Russell:

Yeah. I love my parents. I was very blessed with my parents, for sure. I don’t think my dad was super engaged when we were younger just because he was in the phase where, like trying to figure things out and make money. It was different back then.

Josh:

Is he an entrepreneur?

Russell:

Yeah. He also had a job, but he did side business so he was always trying to figure things out. I saw him doing these things. I saw the job he didn’t love and then I saw him doing stuff he did love and I watched him work really hard. Then when I started wrestling, I saw my dad… That became the thing that me and him connected with which meant the world to me and it was so important to him. What’s cool was that my dad showed up to every wrestling practice. He came to every single match. His day job was State Farm insurance, he built up his book of business where by the time I was wrestling, he was able to take off as much as he wanted. It ran itself and he was making money and had residual income. I remember my dad was the only one, as soon as wrestling practice got done, my dad would walk in and we would do practice afterwards.

Never missed a match. He was always there. I remember just thinking, I want to make sure I have a business or something like my dad was for me. That was so important to me. Like I said, he wasn’t super around when we were younger and I think he struggled because of the younger kids, which I understand. That phase in my life, he was there and my best friend and it was just, it was awesome. I love that and I’ve been trying to have my kids now. Especially at times where maybe I wasn’t as good of a dad, I was too busy. I’m trying to connect more. That was my dad for sure.

Then my mom, for me she was just… I wouldn’t say I’m a people pleaser but I’m very much an achiever. I think when I started wrestling and I saw my dad got closer to me and then I got a win and I saw him get excited, I wanted to win because I wanted to impress my dad. To this day, I think I still have that. Part of the reason I’m in this business and I’m doing stuff is I love when my dad sees it. There’s something, I love impressing him. To this day I love that win.

With my mom, she loved me even when I didn’t win. that was something that was so foreign to me. I remember I’d be cutting away for wrestling, I hadn’t eaten for three days. I’d be so tired, so miserable. She’d come down and sneak in my room, bringing me food. I’m like, “Mom, I can’t eat. I’m not going to make weight.” She’s like, “Why don’t you just quit then? You don’t need to do this.” She was the opposite of my dad. She loved me no matter what and didn’t care that I was trying to win or succeed. Couldn’t care less. She loved me just because I was me. That was weird but so cool as well. It’s both those principles, it’s something I’ve tried to weave in. I’ve got two different sides I’m trying to weave that into my kids. Again, so far from perfect, but I think those are the two things that meant the world to me, that I’m super grateful for them those things for me because I still remember those things now.

Josh:

So there is… Which by the way, that’s awesome. There’s a lot of people in this world that are growing up without a dad, without a mom. It’s interesting because I think a lot of my social media posts, I kind of come across sometimes like the heartless a-hole, you know what I mean? A little bit, they’re like, “Josh!” You know what I mean? You talk about, take personal responsibility for your life, everybody can do anything. If you’re broke it’s your fault, that’s one of my favorite sayings. If you’re broke in America it’s your fault, right? They’re like, “Josh, you don’t understand. You grew up and your parents are still married. Not only do you have parents, they’re still together and they still actually love each other.” It’s not even necessarily they’re still together. You’re like a percentage of the percentage of the percentage in a lot of ways.

I don’t even know what question I’m asking you, but what would you do? Where could somebody find that? What can we do as a society or just as entrepreneurs, as producers to help those people? I feel like that’s a really big need.

Russell:

For sure.

Josh:

One of my big struggles with this is I always want to point it back to the church. I had a really awakening, come-to-Jesus moment back when I posted, this is probably a month ago or so. I posted it on Instagram actually. I think you liked it, actually, so I know you saw it. I said, “Defund the media, defund fear, defund career politicians. Fund orphanages, churches and schools.” I posted it on Facebook and I posted it on Instagram, and I was shocked at how many people were like, “Dude. Fund the churches? They’re a bunch of pedophile people there too.” So many people had such this negative view of the church.

I grew up in the church, that’s what I knew. How I knew how family works is because I saw our own family and then I saw the church family and I saw the community and how the church was involved in the community. The church that I went to, after I moved out Grable, Indiana, I worked three doors down from it and that’s where people went to vote was in their gym. And the fair, that’s where people parked. The church was such an integral part… that word, a part of the community.

So when I saw all these people that had this negative view of the church, that broke my heart because that was my solution. There are so many things. Like, if you don’t have a dad, you can go to the church. If you don’t have this, you can go to the church. Said, “What?” If that’s your answer, that’s cool, but how can we as producers of society and the people that are going out there and making the money, how can we help those that don’t have what you and I had?

Russell:

It’s interesting. What Mormons believe is the family is the central everything. That’s God’s plan. Husband and wife starts a family. That’s an eternal principle, right? If you look at the adversary, Satan, whatever you want to call him, his job, if he can destroy the family, everything falls apart. That’s the war we’re in right now. We think we’re in a lot of different wars. The war we are in is, Satan is attacking families. That’s it.

Josh:

Okay. I want you to finish this, I have to say this though. Guys, and this is not Russell saying this, this is me. This is why I hate the Black Lives Matter organization. Not movement, the organization so much. Because, their whole principle is bragging about the traditional family values. Anyway, I’m not speaking for Russell.

Russell:

Yeah, if you Google “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” you’ll see my beliefs on family. We have it printed out eight foot on my wall in my house. That’s my belief. Family is central, everything. So, Satan, the way he destroys societies and nations and this world is, destroy the family. So when you see families are broken, they’re single mothers and single fathers, it’s heartbreaking. I think it’s the saddest thing in the world.

I don’t know the right way to solve it. I do know that it’s vitally important. I remember first time I met Tony Robbins and started learning from him, one of the principles he talked about in relationships is masculine, feminine energy. The masculine and feminine is key to a relationship. I could go on for four hours just on masculine and feminine. Oh, that’s the most fascinating topic in the world.

If you ever see how Tony fixes relationships, you look at the traditional view of traditional counseling, there’s a problem. They’re like, “What’s the symptom of the problem?” They try to solve the symptom of the problem and counseling takes years because it’s a symptom of the problem.

All the issues, they’re all symptoms of problems. The real problem is when there’s a masculine and a feminine, and it doesn’t matter. Again, this is true with gay, straight, doesn’t matter. Feminine, masculine energy. You take a masculine and a feminine and that polar opposite, that magnetism, magnetize together, right? That’s what creates attraction, passion, everything. What happens is you have a masculine and feminine, they’re attracted together. That’s how you start. That’s how any relationship starts. Right?

Then you look at people getting married. It was interesting because what Tony talked about, he said you look at typically in a relationship, there’s what they call the seven-year itch, and why is that? He talks about the way the feminine causes change is… Some day I want to write a book on this. I don’t know perfectly enough to-

Josh:

Russell needs to become a writer. My word…

Russell:

Yeah, I’ve got a lot of books to write. But, this is how it works in traditional marriage. Masculine and feminine. What happens is one of the ways that feminine causes change is they criticize, right? I see this with my wife, with friends, with girls. If they want their friend to change their hair they don’t say, “Hey, you should get a haircut.” They’ll criticize to try to cause change. Right?

What happens is that a feminine-

Josh:

Yo, wow. That’s so true. Interesting stuff.

Russell:

Yeah. That’s just one example of-

Josh:

Dave!

Russell:

Feminine…

Josh:

Right, right.

Russell:

So, feminine and masculine come together. This is just an example. They’ll start criticizing the man, but a masculine man doesn’t care, it bounces off him. Like, “Okay. Okay.” Right? What happens after seven years of that happening? Eventually instead of it balancing off of you, which is the masculine response, you start taking it personally. Like, “Oh.”

As soon as you take it personally, guess what happens? You are shifting physically from your masculine into a feminine. You start shifting and what happens is you shift from masculine to feminine and boom, the attraction breaks, and it starts falling apart. And then all the other problems start happening.

The problem isn’t solving the fact that you leave the toilet seat up or that you don’t communicate well. The problem is that the masculine-feminine attraction is broken. If you fix the masculine and feminine, you can make men become men and women become women. Attraction comes back, all the other symptoms disappear. It’s fascinating.

That’s from a marriage, family, relationship standpoint.

Josh:

Okay. I want to-

Russell:

I’m telling this because I want to talk about this from the family with kids in a minute, but yes.

Josh:

Okay. But I want you to now give me another example that Tony Robbins has said, because what you made it sound like there is that the way the woman does something is the thing that’s causing the bond. I know that’s not what you meant.

Russell:

Oh, it could be, yeah. That’s-

Josh:

I just wanted to do that clarification.

Russell:

It’s the same thing with the men where the men are responding over and over, where women now become defensive and they become more masculine and it’s the other way. Yeah. Sorry. That’s not the only example. I was just-

Josh:

Right.

Russell:

The one-

Josh:

I just wanted to make sure we clarify that because I know thing’s have been taken out of context before.

Russell:

Somebody is going to be angry at me. I apologize. I’m stupid. I get it. But conceptually, does that make sense? It’s the break of the masculine and feminine that causes the split, which causes the disharmony. And if you bring the masculine and feminine together, I think that’s what causes attraction and causes passion and causes all these things.

I look at my life when we were struggling in our marriage, it’s because I’m showing up feminine. When I show masculine, everything’s great. Where my wife comes in masculine and I’m masculine, we butt heads, it’s fascinating. Anyway, I don’t want to get deep into this because there’s so much stuff.

There’s another show on this, because you look at this thing. You’ve got a family and the mother and father split and then there’s kids who go with either the mother or the father, and now what they have is they’ve got either a very masculine person they’re learning from or feminine, but they don’t see both. And so it shifts them and it shifts their relationship. So many problems.

I think the way we help the most, or can help the most is… Hormozi does this. Alex Hormozi does this. He donates his money to… Do you remember the name of the charity? He got our first Two Heart award. It’s afterschool kids. These kids, like men who… There’s these kids trying to play basketball or lift weights or whatever, who don’t have masculine energy in their life. They come and they donate their time and they help the kids to brig masculinity. All of us, we need male and female perspectives.

Josh:

Right.

Russell:

It’s designed to have those things together. When you lose one of them, it’s a tragedy. I think the way we can start helping is, how do we bring programs where they can see masculine energy and see the way to make it a positive and not a negative thing? A lot of times, all they know is masculine energy left and oftentimes there’s a lot of anger between the people. They hear talking trash about the spouse and talking trash about these traits which are traits that are essential for them to develop. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s the right answer or not, but I feel like that’s how we could help those things. Help them understand, like the kids who don’t have a father or a mother. They need that energy in their life to understand it, to be able to… I don’t know.

Josh:

Okay. This is seemingly unrelated to this, but I think that I can tie it back in because it’s a question that I think fits in here. I’m going to start with a super-basic question, which I think the answer is obvious, but we’ll go down this road. Do you feel misunderstood as an entrepreneur?

Russell:

I did early on, less so now.

Josh:

Why is that?

Russell:

When I was got started… Entrepreneurship has become more of a cool thing in the last decades. Since Shark Tank and stuff. Back when I first started it wasn’t. Everyone was confused. Like, “Why would you do that?” It is cooler.

Also, I think the more you talk, the more you either alienate people or you attract people, and I think a lot of the people who I have alienated have been alienated and I think they are attracted by attractive. So my bubble of people around me are people who understand this lingo, who relate to it. So it’s less hard now than it was initially.

Josh:

I believe that one of my superpower… Your superpower, your art, your format is marketing and funnels, funnels specifically. That’s what you do. I feel you could just sit there for hours and hours and days and forever for the rest of, all of time.

Russell:

Yes. I love it.

Josh:

My superpower thing that I like to do is this. Communication. I love constructing words in a way that people can understand. I’m sure not, but the Kanye West interview that Joe Rogan just did three days ago.

Russell:

I’ve heard about him…

Josh:

This has been a long awaited episode. No one thought it was ever going to happen because it was teased and it wasn’t, didn’t happen. Finally happens. So I see this, I had no idea what’s coming. It drops and I’m a huge fan of Joe Rogan and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing!” I sit down and I look online and all these people are like, “Terrible interview. Not worth your time. Couldn’t get past the first 20 minutes.” Anything like that. I’m like, what?

So I go and the first 20 minutes are kind of like, eh whatever. I get done with this three-hour interview. It was like, top three interviews of all time. What’s interesting is… Do you know Kanye? Like, how Kanye communicates at all?

Russell:

No.

Josh:

Okay, there’s so many references that I want to use that you won’t get. Kanye sees the world fundamentally differently and how Joe describes it in there and the way that I described it is… You wouldn’t know this, like I said, because it’s psychedelic, it’s like a drug or whatever. But imagine being on a psychedelic drug in a small format at all times. That’s how his mind works. He sees everything, it’s like expanded.

So even Kanye said, “The reason I have such a hard time communicating sometimes is because I see things in three-dimensional and then I have to put them into a two-dimensional conversation.” I’m not trying to compare myself the way I think to the way that Kanye thinks, ubt this concept of people think he’s beating around the bush when really he’s just trying to explain something.

One of the things I love doing is taking a concept that and figuring out how to describe it in a way that the average person can understand. I live in a different world, just like you live in a different world than the average person does. I live in a different world and that is by choice. I do not see the world the way that most people do. I intentionally do not want to see the world the way that other people do. Everything that I do, I will intentionally engineer where my life is different than the average person because I want to see the world differently, but I want to be able to communicate that in a way that they can understand.

My question is, do you think that there’s a lot of great ideas stuck inside of producer’s heads that if more people understood them and thought like that, we could change the world for the better? But because they’re stuck in their head and that person doesn’t know how to communicate it well, or is not focused on that, that that effect never happens.

Russell:

Gotcha. Yes. That’s why I think for me the study, this art of funnels and copywriting and story does, is so fascinating. That’s what it is, right? I always pitch, like when we have an idea, in my head it’s like this big granite block, right? It’s like, this is the idea and give it to somebody, like, “This is the idea.” You’re like, “I don’t get it.” Right?

Josh:

Right.

Russell:

Then you start thinking about, who is it? Start chiseling away at the stone. You start chiseling, chiseling, and eventually you have this amazing statue. This thing that people can see and they can understand and they gravitate towards. I feel it’s the same thing with communication or with any kind of idea you’re trying to sell.

The funnel is one thing. Right now, like, “Hey, you should buy my coaching programs.” Why? Like, “Ah, it’s too big.” I need to take them to a path, simplify that. So there’s a step-by-step process which is like chiseling away. Then inside each step of the process, there’s the words and the stories, the things you communicate to simplify it to get more and more fine tuned. That’s why for me, when we create a funnel and we launch it, it’s like taking this big granite block and chiseling it down to now something that somebody can come in on the side of it go through a process. By the time they’re done at the end, they’re going to get some money, they’re going to get a product and something’s going to change for them. I think that’s what marketing is. it’s that process of trying to simplify the message. I think a hundred percent, that’s why most ideas don’t get out.

I don’t know, how many times have you had… This kind of comes back to talking about, who knows, an hour or two ago too, but four or five people get the same idea, but then one person executes on it. It’s like the person who understands the communication the best is the one typically who gets it out, right? How much of your life or my life has been focused on the communication? I don’t necessarily like that part as much. It’s not my favorite part, but it’s such an essential tool.

I remember when I got in this game and I was trying to sell my very first product, Zip Brander. I put it up, I had a picture of it, Buy Now button and tried to send traffic, and nobody bought it. Someone’s like, “Well, you need a headline,” so I’m like, okay. So I put a headline. “Tell us what this does.” So I found some sites that kind of modeled what they did and the people started buying it. It was learning that process of, how do you communicate? I remember thinking, I never want to learn how to write copy. That’s what we all thought back then. “I don’t want to write copy, I don’t want to do that. That sounds horrible.” I wanted to hire someone, but the people I tried to hire was expensive, it was 10 to $20,000 for a sales letter. I couldn’t afford it, so I’m like, I have to learn this art and how to communicate. I’m so grateful because that’s how everything we built has been, off the communication of an idea, and doing it in a way that gets people to move.

Josh:

How do you decide what you’re going to communicate? You have a lot of ideas in your head and you have a lot of different thoughts on everything and you choose to share funnels and marketing primarily. Then you have some religion in there, which I would say probably is number two, maybe ish, of what you communicate. But that’s it. How do you decide…

Russell:

The battles I want to choose?

Josh:

Yeah.

Russell:

What battles? That’s a good question. I think part of what’s interesting, like why did I want to do this interview? I read the book, it was fascinating. I don’t know the answers and I thought this would be a fun way to talk it out loud. This is fascinating. Funnels are fascinating to me because I can apply it to so many things. You know when I talk a lot about wrestling, but not the community you bump into but for wrestling, I talk about that.

I think it’s just the ideas that fascinate me that I feel have the most fluidity and can do the most. Again, as an introverted person, I’ll typically go out and have conversations with people as much as I can, but when I find something that does cause and effect, that’s why I practice telling my story so many times and I’ll do a podcast. I know now when I’m on stage in front of 9,000 people, the stories can get people to move because I practice it. So I think it’s putting a lot of things out in the water and then seeing what things people relate to, and then I go deeper on the ones that are like, “Okay, this one had an impact.”

There’s a lot of stuff. I remember in first version Dotcom Secrets, there were seven or eight chapters more that never got published. I was going to publish…

Josh:

Do you have copies of this?

Russell:

Yeah. It was like, all my best stuff at the time that I knew that I was going to publish it and it was all in the book. I remember I heard an interview with Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday… Ryan Holiday at the time and they were both talking… Anyway, they were talking about their books. Both of them said that when they write a typical book… You know, Tim Ferris’s books are like this fat…

My first draft was like, twice as big. It’s like, to make your book go from good to great, it’s not adding more. It’s cutting. Like, I cut two thirds of my book to give you this one. I think it was Ryan said the same thing. The first draft is usually twice as big as the final one. Then the next section, it’s cut, cut, cut, cut. I remember going back to Dotcom Secrets that night and I was like, “Okay, based on that, what would I cut and how would that do?” I cut seven chapters out and after I was done, I was so scared because I love these things, but those things aren’t that important to get people what they need to actually be successful.

Some of those things ended up being in Dotcom Secrets and Expert Secrets, and different places, but yeah. I wonder how that first version-

Josh:

I was going to say, I wonder if she just published the first day or if she had a 2,700 page book and cut something out of it. That’s crazy. Okay.

Back to the question in the car, and I want to tie this back to the book. How has growing a multi-hundred million dollar, making hundreds of millions of dollars having a roughly billion-dollar company, being the CEO of 400 employees, how has that changed your perspective of the world?

Russell:

So many things I could respond. I think there was a season of my life where I thought that if I was going to create something, if I was going to do something, the way I was going to do it, by me. Does that makes sense?

Josh:

Yeah.

Russell:

In fact, if you look at my history, the first decade of business, the businesses were about me. They were me. I was the sole owner, the sole person.

On this journey, when we started, it was so different. It was like, what’s the team look like? Todd was my first time I had a partner. That was so scary for me. Then it’s been the greatest thing I possibly could have done. Right? Then we brought in other partners and then employees and stuff. I don’t know. It’s been fascinating just realizing that to build this, it wasn’t about me. It was about… I don’t know, just that whole thing.

I think anything great, a lot of times there’s a person that gets credit for it. Like, Elon Musk gets credit because whatever or Bill Gates or whoever the people are, they get the credit for it. You start really seeing how many people are involved to make something amazing. You know what I mean? I think that’s the biggest thing for me as I started growing it.

It’s frustrating. Not frustrating for me. I enjoy it. People are always asking, “Russell invented ClickFunnels.” I literally don’t know how to code anything. There’s not one dot of code in that word. Maybe once I leaned over Todd’s shoulder, put a button in that and he had to delete it. I think it’s cool that you see how many… Before Funnel Hacking Live, every time we start we bring our whole team together. I’m the one who’s on stage, but I am fully aware that it is not me. This is us. If it wasn’t for this team and these people, all you guys, all your contribution, this was impossible. I want to always ground that because I think sometimes the leader or whoever gets a big head where they think it’s them. I see that with a lot of people who are on big stages where they still drink their own Kool-Aid so they think it’s them.

That’s my shift in the world, just understanding the great things, the things that we remember. The things that are legacies that go on and on and on. There may be a head or a person that the branding tied too, but there’s this group of people that created something amazing. That’s… know what I mean?

Josh:

How do you stay grounded? I am a huge fan of Russell because for me, you’re the person I look up to as not just, hey, you taught me how to make a lot of money, but I want to have the character that you have. I don’t want to have… I look at Grant Cardone. You don’t have to talk smack about Grant Cardone, but I can. Grant Cardone is really, really full of himself.

Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from Graham Cardone, especially about money. He’s changed my perspective about a lot of things. I’m eternally grateful for that, but if I grew up to be Grant Cardone, where that was the focus…, I mean, I watched him, I was there at the stadium down in Miami or whatever. It was all about him. I think he even got up on stage and was like, “Oh yeah, everybody says Russell is the greatest salesman, but I’m the one that packed the house.” I’m like, dude! You know what I’m saying? Why? Why is that necessary?

How do you stay grounded? It’s so fascinating to me to watch different types of people. I know Tai Lopez for example, for awhile there, it was all about Tai and now he’s gone more behind the scenes, but each person that I watch whether it’s Tai or Gary or Grant, they all have a different way about them. You have your way about them.

The one that I see as the most grounded, humble… There’s nobody that’s looking at you. You get up on a stage and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’m Russell!” You know what I mean?

Russell:

Everyone awkwardly, like, “Yay.”

Josh:

Right. Then you walk up and Grant’s like… But you, it’s just yeah, it’s that awkward, “Hey, I’m just over here.” How are you grounded in that? How do you not let it get to your head? Because it would be so easy for you to get wrapped up in your own head.

Russell:

Someone told me it’s because of my wife. They said, “If you’d married anybody else, your head would be so big.”

Josh:

I met your wife for the first time today. I mean, we had crossed paths, but I said when you were getting your haircut, “So what’s it like being married to Russell?” She goes, “Hes just the sixth child of mine.” I was like, oh boy. The big kid.

Russell:

That’s awesome.

I think I would say it’s two things. We kind of talked about this earlier, but I’ll tie back to it. The first one is that I am fully aware that these ideas are not mine. I didn’t invent the funnel. I didn’t invent any of this stuff. All I know is that I was on a path, in a journey. I was given the thing and the next thing, and I was freaking out and I was putting them together. That’s part of it. This stuff’s not mine. It’s stuff that was given to me and tested and so I’m so grateful for that. It’s never me like, “Oh, look what I invented.” That’s so annoying because it’s not. Again, come back to these ideas, these thoughts, these desires and things that were given to us. I think that’s the first part.

The second part of it is, and I see this a lot in people in my world who, they had some success and then they’re like, “This is my person. I made them a bajillion…” I hate that too. Like, you helped them in a piece but they did the work. I’m very careful to always when I’m talking about any of our success stories, I didn’t make that person. We had this super-cool opportunity to be a piece to their journey. Right? We helped them give them some ideas and a tool, but they’re the ones that killed.

I don’t know what it takes to build what they’re building. I didn’t do that. They did that. I’m grateful that they did and I’m even more grateful that I got to be a little piece of that. I got to be part of that journey. I got to see that and just have the impact of, oh my gosh. Because I killed myself and wrote those books and because Todd killed himself and wrote software and I was able to communicate it, they’re able to do this thing and it’s not all me. I’m fully aware it’s not all me.

I know what every entrepreneur has to go through to be successful and it’s not a mentor who gives you everything. It’s just a lot of people who are a piece. I’ve had mentors who gave me a piece that I’m so grateful for, but then they try to take all the credit, like, “Oh, this is when…” I hate that too. So I think those two sides.

Number one is again, I don’t think these ideas are something that I came up with. They were given to me and I was a good steward of them because I was able to aggregate and there’s the thing. The number two is just my belief that I didn’t help anyone.

Even when you said, “You and Katie,” I felt awkward. I didn’t do anything.

Josh:

Right.

Russell:

Luckily some of the stuff resonated with you and it was a little piece of your journey. I’m so grateful for that. The fact, to see you do stuff now, it’s so much fun for me to watch you. Just knowing, “Man, because he bumped into me, maybe something happened and now he’s doing this stuff and this work and it’s so cool seeing how you’re impacting people.” I think those are the reasons why I don’t think my head gets big, because I don’t think it’s me. I’m grateful that I get to be a piece of it, of the journey, but I’m not the creator of it.

Josh:

All right. I want to loop back to the book.

Russell:

Go ahead. Can we just read it? You guys want us to read it to you?

Josh:

Yeah. What was the thing that fascinated you about it though? When you’ve asked me, you were like, “Dude, I read it and I’m geeking out about it, I just want to geek out about it.” What about it had you so fascinated? What did you want to geek out about it? I have a question that I want to ask later on about it, but what was the thing that just made you geek?

Russell:

There are a lot of things. I think the biggest thing that I was really excited, we talked about earlier was just… The biggest thing earlier was just this cons-… Again, for those of you who are tuning in late in here, there’s the whole, it talks about greed. Right? And that concept of greed versus charity.

Again, the book very much is like, greed is good, it’s the thing that causes production and you should care about yourself and then good things will happen, it will create jobs and everything else will take care of as long as you’re caring most about yourself. Which I thought was kind of cool but then also I had the other side with my beliefs in Christ and Christianity and all these things like that, where it’s just like, how does that reconcile with faith, hope, charity and love, and serving everybody else?

That’s probably the thing that got me the most. I think about that a lot, especially in politics. Again, I’m not deep into politics, I’m not going to talk about who I’m voting for, not voting for, it doesn’t matter. But I see that on both sides. I feel like on the Republican side you see a lot of this stuff, like this. Then on the Democrat side, you see a lot of the charity stuff. Again, in my notes I wrote this actually initially, because I wanted to talk about this. I’m a big believer that there’s not a right and wrong. There’s good in both sides.

Josh:

There’s not a right or wrong side.

Russell:

Yeah. Things are messed up on both sides. It’s how the world works. Satan, there’s this eternal struggle between God and Satan and Christ, this is always happening. So there’s two sides and there’s God-like principles and things on the right that are amazing and then there’s Satan that’s twisting things and jacking them up. Same thing on both sides.

I see everyone fighting tooth and nail and I bet you, if we all sat down, the majority of all issues we’d all agree on. But then it’s these fringe things that causes so much hatred and fighting and just drives me crazy. I think that this book is the perfect example of what I believe so much in some of these principles, but there’s also the opposite principles that I also believe in and they’re both right. If you missed the beginning part of the interview, we talked more about that but the greed, the growth and contribution, that transition is the key that just fascinates me.

Josh:

Yeah. What parts of the book contradicted the most with your faith? What part of the books did you have the hardest time with because of your faith?

Russell:

Yeah. The producers in the book, the minds, the people that I connect with, because I self-identify as a producer, someone who’s obsessed with production and creating. That’s why I relate with Hank Rearden, Dagny, all these people are cut from my same cloth. It’s as they’re growing this stuff that they didn’t give back, that they didn’t… That’s the thing. I felt like they weren’t rounded out characters and that’s the biggest thing for me. The first half of the book, I want to be Hank Rearden. He’s fricking the man. Like yes, that’s all I want to be.

I wanted to see him have that change of heart where he’s Christ-like and he gives of his own free will. Not because the government came with the gun and told him he’s got to pay taxes. I wanted to see his character develop and realize that, “Oh my gosh, I should be serving people because I love them. Not because of the government’s force.” That’s the piece that I wish.

Josh:

It never took that turn. The book, you almost expected it and then it didn’t happen.

Russell:

It got worse and worse and worse and then they waited until just everything… People were dying, everything collapses and then the lights in the yurt go out, wooh, and they’re like, “Okay, now we can come back and build.”

Josh:

Now we can go back and build, but even when they come back and build, it was built by our new law of basically… Actually, one of the things that’s fascinating about that was… Gosh, it was towards the end. Was it Galt? I think it was Galt. Yeah, I think it was during his speech when he was like, “The minds society, we gave all this stuff to you guys basically.” Trying to be like God there, but every day, we created all this stuff, we created these jobs, we created these resources. We gave it to you and all we wanted from you guys was for you to let us be in our own head. Let us, our minds be free and not be controlled by anything else. You took all that and not only did you take it all, then you said, “No, you’re bad and we’re going to take that away too. So we’re all going on strike because of that.”

You relate to that so much and then it’s like, yes! Then they explained how they live and it’s like, you expect them to have that change of heart rather, but no. It’s because we are amazing and because we are the great minds and we must live by this code. It has nothing to do with actually giving back or actually contributing to society. It was like they didn’t care about contributing to society. It just happened to happen.

Russell:

Yeah. Which is cool, which is why again, governments should let producers produce because the byproduct is really good.

Josh:

Right.

Russell:

For everybody. So that part is so much I relate to. Part of this is probably because Ayn Rand didn’t believe in God. You know what I mean? That wasn’t part of her values and so it’s tough because she weaved that… I just wish at the end of the book, it would have been like, and then Hank Rearden realized that he could help all these people himself and so he built orphanages and changed all these kids’ lives. Like, yes! That would have been amazing. He found about OUR and he went and donated money to save all these children.

Josh:

Right.

Russell:

But he did it of his own free will because he had that change of heart. I don’t want to die at the end of my days and… I produced some great jobs, but I didn’t care about people. I feel like that missed the mark.

Josh:

Hank Rearden you say is the person you related to really most in the book?

Russell:

Yeah, I think so. I wanted to be Francisco though, he was pretty sweet.

Josh:

Who do you think I related to most in the book?

Russell:

Oh. Who was it?

Josh:

It was a relatively main one. You were close.

Russell:

Oh, was it Francisco?

Josh:

Yeah. Yeah. For sure. For sure. Yeah.

Russell:

He was cool.

Josh:

Right from the beginning he fascinated me. I knew right when, the plot twist of where he ran off and became the playboy or picture, he was obviously a playboy or whatever. I knew right then and there. I don’t know what the plot, I don’t know what the connection is but I know this is going to come back around and it’s not going to be how it seems. The mind doesn’t shift and then he stays in the scene or whatever.

He fascinated me because, or he strikes me as someone… Hank Rearden didn’t care about the crowds. He did not at all. He hated going to the wedding. It was by force that his wife drug him out there that one time. It was always, “I just want to work in my office.” I’m actually not like that. I am actually much more the… I do like the crowds, but I don’t like the crowds because I need praise. Don’t get me wrong, I like being on stage and doing this type of stuff or whatever, but for me, I like the crowds because I love people.

It’s funny because I actually don’t get along with a lot of people in real life. Whenever I go to the airport, I’m like, I will pay whatever it takes. Put me on a plane first, the least amount of people I have to deal with, whatever. I don’t want to have to interact with people that I don’t want to interact with. But I love studying and understanding people’s minds.

For me, one of the reasons I am so fascinated by Donald Trump is because of how he can control the crowds. You look at his rallies. Dude, you can’t ignore them. They’re just huge. My fiance’s parents, or her mom and Kirby went yesterday, I think it was last night, to Omaha. 29,000 people showed up in the bitter cold of Omaha, a last-minute notice. That type of control or not even control, but that type of influence to be able to go through, what is it that makes people go and do that?

So Francisco in the book, he was the partier guy and he went and he was with the crowds and he was very good with words and articulated, but he sold me at that wedding. I’m telling you.

Russell:

That was good.

Josh:

To me, there’s more than two ways, but super simplified down, there’s two ways to influence people. There’s one, which is the indirect, which is build a software company, it’s build a product, it’s build an iPhone. You’re not directly influencing them with your words or whatever, but it’s influencing their behavior by creating a product, by creating a service that’s going to go out and change the world. Then the other way is to actually go out there and change them with your words.

That’s why Jesus, for example, Jesus didn’t build the product. He did it through His words kind of, sort of, but to me that’s so fascinating. If I can figure out how to do that, that’s how I can affect real change in the world. And it’s funny because you’ve had had such a massive influence on my life, but probably a year and a half maybe ish into me knowing ClickFunnels, I was like, “Man, Russell’s doing it all wrong.” I had this thing of, if Russell would communicate more about stuff besides funnels, he would have a bigger impact.

I had this limited belief of, this is the only way you can influence and impact people, is by going out there and actually speaking to them. But that’s my superpower and my gift. In the book, Francisco was the one I think that best represents my style of trying to go out and do things. I find it interesting by Hank Rearden with you…

Russell:

I’m the same way. I would rather be in here building funnels, doing some stuff. There’s scenes of Hank in the book where he’s sitting there looking out over the factories at night and he sees, he watches the steel being poured, it’s glowing. He’s enjoying that. For me, it’s similar where I do the stage thing and things like that. I get less value… interactions are hard, but I spend a lot of time on social media at night, just looking at the people that I know are in our world and watching what they’re doing because that’s me watching the steel.

My mission is not to go teach people how to do what you do. I’m giving you a blow horn so you can go do it. That’s more fascinating to me to sit back and explain to my wife. Events drive her crazy because then it’ll happen and it’ll get done and then I scurry off and I don’t want to talk to anybody. I sit in the room and I just watch what people takeaways and then who they’re talking to. I spend a lot of time just watching. That’s for me like looking over the steel and being like, I gave them a trumpet or I gave them a blow horn and now their messages are going out there and I can just watch it.

So for me, I don’t want to teach personal development and this and that, but I want to empower or give tools or whatever tools there are so that you can and whoever all the other influencers are to be able to do those things. Does that makes sense?

I’m an amplifier. I’m an amplifier of other people’s messages and my message just happens to be, “Here’s the amplification that you need to amplify your message,” and then letting everybody else go and do it.

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