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How to live a life of less regret

Intro

Allen Funston was a professional engineer, management consultant, and business leader then turned full-time dad to 3 toddlers. In 2017, he went on to launch Sentient Future Consulting with the purpose of unlocking other people’s time with a modern approach to leveraging technology. He has saved organizations over $500 Million and individuals over 681,109 hours (77.8 years) in their lives. He’s developed a groundbreaking map of the human condition, “Sentient Process Network Theory”, which helps regret-proof his clients’ lives and combat the Attention Economy’s threat to society’s fulfillment and the entrepreneurial landscape.

Episode Summary

  • The Attention Economy and it’s impact on our current world
  • Living a life of fewer regrets
  • An exercise to evaluate what’s truly important to you
  • Why Money, Time and Freedom shouldn’t be things you place value on
  • Common false beliefs holding people back
  • The one thing you can do to start living a more regret-free life
 

Resources

Time tracking app: https://atracker.pro/home.html

Guest Information

Website: https://sentientfuture.earth/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sentientfuture

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sentientfuture

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sentientfuture/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allendf

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Chris Ippolito 00:31 

Hey, Allen. 

 

Allen Funston 00:32 

Hey. 

 

Chris Ippolito 00:33 

Thanks for being my first guest on the “Get Coached Podcast.” 

 

Allen Funston 00:40 

It is an honor. Thanks very much, Chris. 

 

Chris Ippolito 00:42 

Yeah. We’ve known each other for a little while. And how we connected, I like our story as far as how we connected because it’s a lot about the technology and just leveraging technology in a positive way. But I want you to share that story, if you don’t mind, how we ended up connecting. 

 

Allen Funston 01:01 

Yeah, absolutely. I think we connected primarily on LinkedIn and had conversations, if I’m not mistaken, originally around some of the ideas to do with marketing and some of the trends and, at least from my perspective, where I think some of that will go and the influence technology has on, obviously, the technology that we’re using, and then, of course, our own well-being, which is more so my area of focus. And yeah, I felt like I learned a lot from you in terms of your perspective on what some of the best practices in marketing right now are. And I felt like hopefully I was able to share some ideas, as well, around where I think the trend will ultimately go and how we can position ourselves now as business owners and the like to be in the best spot from a brand perspective in the coming years. 

 

Chris Ippolito 02:00 

Yeah, yeah. Actually, originally we connected on Shapr, but then we moved the conversation quickly over to LinkedIn because, obviously, we were like, “Oh, yeah, there’s a good connection here.” And then we jumped on a call. And yeah, we had that really, very cool conversation about technology. And you really opened up my eyes around that because, as much as I kind of knew what you were talking about, but I hadn’t really thought about it from the perspective that you were sharing with me. I was wondering if you’d be willing to let’s revisit that conversation because I thought you had a great perspective on it. 

 

Allen Funston 02:38 

Thank you. Yeah, I’d love to revisit the conversation. Where do you want to start? 

 

Chris Ippolito 02:43 

One of the biggest takeaways, I think, from that conversation I took was the direction that marketing and technology is going is around attention. And you’d mentioned the term of “attention economy.” I’ll let you take it from there, if that’s good. 

 

Allen Funston 03:03 

Yeah, absolutely. The attention economy, just as a matter of defining it before we go into what it means for us, different aspects of our lives. It’s a modern trend that is occurring because we now have orders of magnitude more content than we could ever consume in a lifetime. This is specific to digital content obviously, but there’s a variety of other content, things to consume in life. 

 

Chris Ippolito 03:27 

Yeah, what we’re doing right now. 

 

Allen Funston 03:27 

Yeah, exactly. And it has really emerged because now content creation has been democratized, technology has allowed us all to pick up a phone, capture a selfie, capture a video, easily post it. And what that does is it now makes attention the scarce resource as opposed to the content, which might have been the case 50, 60 years ago, let’s say, when TV was first invented, or there were a handful of radio shows, that type of everything. 

 

There are two big risks around that. First of all, attention is extremely valuable, as well, because we all trade on it. We have to have someone’s attention before we can sell them anything. We have to have their attention before we can work with them or collaborate with them on anything. In most cases we need to have their attention to even give them something. Attention is an extremely valuable resource. And just economics 101, anything that is scarce and valuable gets extremely expensive. 

 

And from a digital marketing standpoint and online ads and that type of thing, those are going to get very, very, very expensive as everyone realizes that that’s where attention is and everyone realizes that they’re trading on this attention. And you get a lot of people effectively bidding for a resource that is in finite and short supply, relatively speaking. 

 

Because there are two main issues. And I think we’re starting to see both of these emerge, and my goal is around resolving them. But the first issue is more so for medium to small-sized businesses, right? Because we all trade on attention, I could be a shoe salesperson and I’m now competing with Coca-Cola. Not because I sell soft drinks, but because I also trade on attention, I need your attention to sell my shoes, even if I have the best shoes in the city or even the best shoes in the country. If I don’t have your attention, you won’t buy from me, right? 

 

The issue with that then becomes that as attention gets extremely expensive to purchase, which is effectively online ads and marketing, how do I best put this? The companies with the deepest marketing budgets are the ones that are going to be able to buy more of that attention, right? Those tend to be the larger firms. And that can mean that the small to medium-sized businesses will struggle to stay ahead or to get ahead, struggle to start up in many cases, simply because they won’t have enough traction and they won’t be able to buy enough attention to even launch, if that makes sense, to get enough of a start to start paying down, obviously, some of their operating costs and pay back their fixed costs, too. 

 

What I think the concern there is is that the market is going to start combining, we’re going to have more oligopolies, more large firms as opposed to fewer, and that reduces the amount of choice that we have as consumers, which is, from an economics perspective, generally a bad thing. The other piece that I’m concerned about, and obviously this affects every business owner who’s listening to this, right? This is an existential threat to where your business is at if you don’t have enough attention and if you can’t acquire attention in the coming years in a cost-effective way, outside of online marketing, which will become increasingly less financially viable. 

 

The other big issue though, which is one that I care even more deeply about, is that because attention is so valuable, increasingly more addictive and effective means will be used to get and keep our attention. And I think we’ve begun to see that in a lot of respects. And there’s nothing wrong right now with anything, any form of entertainment or the like, or any social platform, that has our attention. It only becomes an issue when we reflect back on how we’ve spent that time and we regret it. Right? It’s when we regret how we spend our time that these methods or technologies and the like start becoming a problem. 

 

And my concern around that is that the more that different technologies, let’s call it, hack our attention or learn what keeps our attention, the more we’re going to be engaged necessarily on that and the less that we will be focusing time on that which we truly value or that which is valuable for us long-term or that we find fulfilling as a way to spend our life, which I argue is our endgame. 

 

And I see the attention economy as a major driver of regret, which is this form of suffering that we all have but it is actually 100% preventable and the problem I’m solving. But I’m just concerned that it’s going to get far worse before it gets any better. And I’m hoping to share some ideas that will help entrepreneurs and business owners start the work today that will allow them to thrive in the attention economy through different means and, as well, open the eyes of the average consumer, as well. We are all obviously consumers, too. To give us the tools to define what it is that we value, to weight what it is that we value so that we have such conviction around who we are and what we want and why we’re doing it that in the short term that supersedes anything that might tempt us. 

 

Chris Ippolito 08:53 

Right. Yeah, for you it’s solving the problem of regret. Would you say that it also expands to some of the other, almost what people are calling, epidemics of mental illness of anxiety, of stress, of depression, and all of that? Do you feel like it’s all tied together? 

 

Allen Funston 09:14 

It is. Let’s put it this way. And we can go into the specifics as far as an actual process is concerned later if you like. But imagine that it were possible and that you did know yourself so well and that you felt like you had given yourself permission to pursue who you were and what you wanted and you knew why you were doing it. It does a variety of things. First of all, it reduces the number of existential questions you’ll be asking yourself because you will have thoughtfully gone through it and found some of your answers. And it may shift or evolve with time, but nevertheless you’ll have a high degree of self-awareness, which is just not something I think a lot of people have, it’s not something we’re brought up, I think, being taught or shown. 

 

Chris Ippolito 09:58 

Yeah, we’re definitely not taught that. 

 

Allen Funston 10:00 

Yeah. It does a variety of things. First of all, I think it helps minimize the amount of regret because you’re able to make more regret proof decisions that are in line with what it is that you value in life, and spend your time in a way that is balanced according to what the different combinations of things that you find valuable in your life. But around that, too, the anxiety and the depression, I mean a lot of that comes from comparing ourselves to others, it comes from feelings of inadequacy. It comes from feelings of resentment in some ways with loved ones who told us what they thought we should do in our lives and we went and we’ve done it but we’re not happy. 

 

And I think the better we know ourselves, the more we realize that success from someone else is not what success for us means or is. And it allows us to be happy when we see other people succeed by their own definitions and realize that we’re on our path and that that is what success is to us. And it really is that that is the pursuit of it, rather than the achievement of it, and we can get into exactly why later. But yeah, I think it is all tied together. But the more you know yourself in a structured and actionable way and, I think, the more confident you are with your actions, your decisions, and you realize what is and is not relevant when you see it, you’re better able to apply that filter. 

 

Chris Ippolito 11:25 

Right. When you’re working with your clients, what are some of the action items or the guidance that you provide that help them get life back on track so that they are living a life of fewer to no regrets? 

 

Allen Funston 11:44 

Correct, yeah, absolutely. Let’s just quickly do a quick definition, and then I’ll take you through the exact process that I tend to take people through in my free consultations. And people can apply 80% to 90% of this themselves. It does help to have someone who’s done it a bunch before guide you through just tweaking it a little bit, but this is something your listeners can take away right away. When I talk about regret, I’m talking about making actions and decisions that are not in line with what you value. And the opposite is fulfillment. Fulfillment is pursuing that which you value and making decisions in line with what you value. 

 

The question comes up, “Well, what do you value?” Right? Now most of us, when asked that question, don’t have an answer ready. And that’s fair. Right? First of all, don’t feel bad if you don’t have an answer for that ready. But if you have no clue where to start, first of all, here’s one way you can get started. If you reflect back on maybe the several dozen types of experiences that you’ve had in your life so far, maybe different relationships, different extracurriculars, maybe different forms of education, maybe different types of travel you’ve done or different places you’ve gone. If you list what you enjoyed and did not enjoy about each of those activities, and it takes a little while to do this, right? But it’s worth it. You start looking at the trends of, “Well, what have I enjoyed that seems to pop up, what aspects of these different experiences have I enjoyed that pops up in multiple of these experiences?” That is usually a very good start to help you decide what it is that you value in life. 

 

Now I do want to make a quick distinction. People talk about personal values and they talk about corporate values, and those are similar in the sense that they tend to reflect character traits. Right? Whether that’s honesty or resilience, that type of thing. And those are important. I mean something a little bit broader than that because those personal values fit into this larger view of what do you value. 

 

When I say, “What do you value?,” the idea is what aspects of life do you value. Do you value particularly relationships, do you value personal growth, professional growth, health, whether that’s physical, psychological, mental, right? Spiritual. Do you value alone time, do you value entertainment? That kind of thing. There are an infinite number of categories there that you can choose from. And you can choose any which ones you want, you and only you get to decide what you value. A lot of people can suggest things, but it’s something I really do hope that people take away. 

 

Now from a personal value standpoint, if people are curious, that tends to fit into either a personal growth segment, right? “I want to become more like that. I value these personal traits so I want to become more like that.” Or it shows up in a social or networking sense, “I want to meet more people like that.” And that’s how you can act in a way that is consistent with your personal values or those corporate values that people tend to talk about most. 

 

But it’s far more actionable to think about the aspects or the behaviors in life that are intrinsically motivating that you just enjoy. Because you can actually do something about those. Right? You can value honesty, but it’s rare that you can just choose to go do honesty, it’s more of a way of being and I find that’s a little less actionable. 

 

Chris Ippolito 15:05 

Can I ask a quick question? It sounded like one of the things you had mentioned, perhaps for personal growth, is that desire to want to surround yourself with people of that quality, that character quality, that you’re looking for. 

 

Allen Funston 15:20 

Yeah. Absolutely. 

 

Chris Ippolito 15:21 

The reason that one really stuck out for me is, to be honest, that’s a big part of the reason why I’m doing this, is coaches and that group of people that are pursuing that type of career usually have a certain kind of mindset that I’ve always been very attracted to but didn’t realize what it was until a few years back. 

 

Allen Funston 15:45 

Right. 

 

Chris Ippolito 15:46 

And the question I was asking myself was, “How can I get more time with that type of person?” And this is basically the results of that. That’s why that one really just stuck out at me. I wanted to confirm that’s what I heard, but that’s awesome, cool. 

 

Allen Funston 16:04 

Yeah. 

 

Chris Ippolito 16:05 

Hey, I’m doing it. 

 

Allen Funston 16:07 

You are. And it works out nicely, right? Because it’s a win-win-win, right? Ideally, with the right fit, it’s beneficial for all of us to get together, right? To consider these questions in our own lives and the perspectives of others, right? 

 

Chris Ippolito 16:19 

Yeah. 

 

Allen Funston 16:20 

Getting back to what it is that you value. When you have a list of three or four or five or six things, call them your top five, even though the number that you consider your top can change. It’s not that you don’t value anything or everything else in life, too, you do. It’s just that these top five are really disproportionately more intrinsically motivating to you. When you have this list of five, the question then becomes, “Well, how much do I care about each?” Right? Because you might have several options in your life when you’re making a particular decision and some of the aspects of life you value suggest you take one option and some of the other aspects of life you value suggest you take the other option. How do you break a tie? Right? 

 

And this is, I think, the age-old question that I just had not seen a good answer to yet. Because what you value and what’s intrinsically motivating, these are subjective feelings. Right? And we’ll go back into this perhaps a little bit later, but my business’ name is Sentient Future Consulting and it’s this idea that we’re inherently sentient, that we evaluate life subjectively. And it’s important that we look at it that way first. But it’s hard to make the subjective of the qualitative more actionable or quantitative, but there is away. 

 

The way works like this. Imagine a standard week, 168 hours. If you subtract off eight hours a day for sleep, roughly you get 112 hours. To make the math easy, think about 100 waking hours in a week. Assuming you had no other responsibilities and you could only spend your time on one of those five aspects of life that you value at a time, how much time would you spend on each of those things you value? 

 

Chris Ippolito 18:03 

Okay. 

 

Allen Funston 18:04 

Right? Now it’s a strange question because we don’t hear it asked very much, but it’s actually a very answerable one because it’s something we already do, we have time, we do choose to spend it, a lot of it is conscious, a lot of it we choose to spend unconsciously, or rather we subconsciously choose how we spend it. 

 

Chris Ippolito 18:20 

Yeah. 

 

Allen Funston 18:21 

And the idea is really to be a bit more conscious about how we spend it and plan it and put ourselves in the right situation. But when you answer that question, and even though it’s asking you for a number, it is a subjective question, it is a qualitative question. It’s what balance feels right to you. And when you have 100 hours, you are faced with the reality that it’s finite, you’re faced with the reality that when you choose to spend your time in one way, you are, by definition, choosing to not spend your time in other ways. And that’s okay. Because what you find is the balance for you, because we all have the same time in a week or in a day, as it were. When you find the right balance for you, then you’re good, right? You wouldn’t make any changes. It’s something that is really worthwhile thinking. 

 

Now when you’ve done that, what you’ve effectively done is you’ve transformed your list of top five subjective or qualitative values, right? Things that you value in life that are intrinsically motivating. And you’ve transformed them into decision criteria. And you can use it in two ways. The first way is to make medium to large decisions. And I look at it like this. Maybe if you’re maybe making a career choice or where you’re going to live in terms of a city or other large life choices, maybe education. If you list out the options you think are viable or have promise at the time and down the side you list your values, right? With the relative weights. You can score for each of your options, out of 10, how well they rank on each of the aspects of life you value. Right? “If I choose this career, how much time am I going to have for exercise? Or how much time am I going to have to socialize? Is it intrinsically social, my work, plus having some time outside of work?” That type of thing. 

 

You score them out of 10, and then for each option you multiply the scores times the weights. You add those up in somewhat of sum-product way and you get an answer at the bottom of every option. That number, it doesn’t have units, it doesn’t really matter what the units are, but the option with the highest number is the option that suits your values best, that matches your values best. It’s the option that you are likely to feel most fulfilled choosing and it is regret-proof in the sense that you would never come back to this point in time with the options you knew at the time, with the values you had at the time, and with the information you had at the time and chose anything differently. It is regret-proof. That’s not to say the outcome is necessarily favorable, we don’t control that, but the quality of the decision is distinct from the outcome, which we could talk about a little bit later. 

 

And when you do it that way, a couple of neat things happen. First of all, even if it’s the exact same decision that you might have intuitively chosen, you now know exactly why you chose it and you can have peace around that decision. You don’t look back and have these what-if questions, because you realized you went through this in a process that was in line with what you knew at the time, what you valued at the time, and the options at the time. 

 

And the other neat thing about it is how you use it in a second way. Right? And that is comparing how it is you spend your time now to how it is you would ideally spend your time. Right? And that gives you a good idea of what to work on, frankly. If you realize that you value spending time with family more than you actually do or spending time exercising more than you actually do, and as a consequence you actually value these other things less, it’s you giving yourself permission to go do that, to strike that right balance for yourself. Right? 

 

And, I mean, the thing I would really advocate people try most is that when you’ve established what it is that you value, the big first thing is try not to ignore any one of those five or six or three elements for too long, that’s when you really start to not feel yourself. Start there, and then try to hover around that balance on a rolling average basis. You certainly won’t be able to sustain that exact balance week in, week out. But the closer you hover to it, the happier you’re going to be. And that fulfillment, that process of pursuing what it is you care about in a social arena, in a professional arena, in a growth arena, in a health arena, whatever arenas matter to you, that’s the endgame, that’s the goal. Everything else is a means to that, to those ends. 

 

Chris Ippolito 23:07 

Right. I think it might help to almost walk through it as an example. 

 

Allen Funston 23:15 

Sure. 

 

Chris Ippolito 23:16 

Just because I remember when you first shared this with me, my head was spinning. And I can only imagine that some of the other people listening might go, “Holy moly, that sounds very complicated.” But I think if maybe we walk through it together, just very surface level just to give it a little bit more visibility as far as what that might look like. 

 

You were saying that the exercise being somebody sits down, they list out the things that are important to them. And not necessarily that it has to be five, but maybe we’ll use three or five as an example. But things like health being in that top five category I would assume is probably quite popular. Would you say that it would have to be more specific? Because for me health is important. 

 

Allen Funston 24:17 

I tend to advocate that we get a little bit more specific. From health I tend to focus either on physical wellness, mental wellness, and spiritual wellness. And the specific behaviors within that are obviously up to the individual. Right? And they don’t have to choose all three. Some people don’t value physical wellness in the grand scheme of things. They’re happy not being athletic, right? But they’re in a good headspace or good spiritually, whatever the case might be. And no judgment, people get to choose whatever they want. 

 

Chris Ippolito 24:49 

Okay, that helps, I think that helps. Health would be too broad. If when you’re coaching somebody and they were to share health, you would say, “Okay, what kind?,” right? Physical, mental, or emotional. That’s perfect. Then what about relationships? Again, too broad? 

 

Allen Funston 25:12 

A little bit. It’s perfectly fine. Let’s put it this way. If you want the category, if it fits nicely as a combined category for you, do it. Right? There is no right and wrong here. There are reasons why you might choose either combined or something more detailed. Obviously the reason why you might want to go more detailed is maybe within that there are two halves of it, but you actually disproportionately value one versus the other and you want to reflect that. And it helps you plan your time in a way that gives that part more emphasis. 

 

From a relationship standpoint, the three that tend to come up, if you’re going to split them up, would be family. This would be like blood relatives, friends, and significant others. 

 

Chris Ippolito 26:05 

Oh, okay. Significant others. 

 

Allen Funston 26:08 

Yeah. Whether that’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, or husband, wife, spouse, fiancé. Those tend to be good, too, because what I find is that people will tend to value different people in their life to different degrees. And it’s important to be clear with yourself as to, and unapologetic too, like, “This person just matters more to me than some of these other people.” And that’s okay because I only have finite resources here, I have to make a choice. And I don’t want to set them all equal just because that’s what’s perceived to be fair from somebody else’s perspective if it isn’t intrinsically what I want. You have to unapologetically pick what you want. And when you do that, actually you find you serve other people best. I’d recommend breaking that out. 

 

And one other helpful distinction actually is to think about what types of things, there are very few, but what types of things should not be on the list at all for what it is that you value. 

 

Chris Ippolito 27:13 

As far as things you don’t invest time in? 

 

Allen Funston 27:18 

Yeah, I mean being conscious of what isn’t on your list is useful, but what I mean is I’ve given pretty much everybody carte blanche as to what it is that they put on there. But there are a couple of things that I argue shouldn’t ever be on anyone’s list. 

 

Chris Ippolito 27:34 

Okay. I think I get what you’re saying now. Can you give some examples? 

 

Allen Funston 27:39 

Yeah. The first is money. 

 

Chris Ippolito 27:41 

Oh, really? Okay. 

 

Allen Funston 27:42 

The second is time, and the third is freedom, which is kind of a combination of the two. But those are common ones that people say, “Oh, I value money I value.” Well, if you think about it, time, money, and freedom are effectively all either resources or opportunity. Right? And they aren’t inherently valuable or enjoyable to you, it’s what you spend them on that is valuable or enjoyable to you. I want you to think about that question more deeply. If you had more money, how would you spend it? If you had more time, how would you spend it? If you were free from some shackle, if you want to think of it that way, what would you do? Right? It’s those that are intrinsically motivating. It’s the ends that are intrinsically motivating and not the means. 

 

And what that then does is if you value having lots of creature comforts, right? Well, let’s put it this way. When you look at your options, right? And you look at your options and one of the options happens to earn you more money, right? It’s going to naturally score higher on that creature comforts list item. Right? It intrinsically does that as opposed to money for the sake of money, and obviously time for the sake of time, freedom for the sake of freedom. Those who have money or time or freedom and don’t know what to do with them, that can be equally depressing. And that’s what you see with a lot of celebrities, as well. Right? 

 

Chris Ippolito 29:24 

Right. The reason you’re excluding those is because… 

 

Allen Funston 29:28 

It’s not deep enough. 

 

Chris Ippolito 29:30 

Yeah. Let’s say, as an example, that physical health is one of the top five. And you’re going through your decision process and you’re making the decision around a job opportunity. I think that one’s just relevant. Or a business opportunity, actually, because our audience is mostly entrepreneurs. They’re wondering, “Should I pursue this?” And then as they’re going through their decision-making process, if it’s something that is going to allow them more of an opportunity to take care of their physical health, which could be either more time, more money to invest in personal trainers, a fitness coach, a health coach, whatever it is, then they’re naturally just going to score that higher? 

 

Allen Funston 30:19 

Correct, yeah. You can recognize that opportunity is giving you more of the means towards those ends, but your list should be your ends. 

 

Chris Ippolito 30:30 

Got it. Start with the end in mind. 

 

Allen Funston 30:34 

Start with the end in mind. Yeah, exactly. 

 

Chris Ippolito 30:36 

As Simon Sinek says. 

 

Allen Funston 30:38 

And frankly he has driven a lot of my thinking in that space, and develop my own why and the like. And I encourage everybody else to think about theirs, as well. The last thing around that topic that I’d like to add. I just want to make sure, I got it right here. It’s escaping me. Sorry, I’ll probably come back to it. But yeah, it’s just incredibly important to find that balance for you and unapologetically pursue it. That’s when you’re going to be at your happiest, that’s when you’re going to be able to serve other people best, that’s when you’re going to serve the right people. Right? 

 

Oh yeah, I remember now. For me personally, I’ve listed the aspects of life as more so the people in my life. It’s like, “Who am I doing any of this for?” Right? And that’s another perspective people can take. Self should be in there somewhere, because to sustainably serve anyone else you need to take care of yourself. Significant other is there, my wife is in there, my kids are in there, at different rates actually. And it helps govern, for me, how much time I choose to spend with each. Right? And my extended family is in there. The general population is in there, too. I call it Earth. Right? “How much time am I devoting my life to serving people that I don’t even know just because I care, just because it’s all in our best interest?” People might appreciate that perspective, as well. If you don’t want to think of things or activities or behaviors specifically, you can think around who you care about it in your life. And then, as you look at options, how well do those options allow you to serve your own needs, serve other people’s needs? And I think that’s another great way to be clear with your priorities. 

 

Chris Ippolito 32:45 

Yeah. That’s awesome, every time I hear you talk about it. Because the first time we talked you sent me a video when you were presenting to a group of post-secondary students. I think it was engineering students, if I remember correctly. 

 

Allen Funston 33:01 

Yeah, yeah. 

 

Chris Ippolito 33:02 

And you’re going through the concepts and explaining it. I’m like, “This is so unique.” There’s little bits of it that “oh, that sounds kind of like this,” or maybe I can almost feel like I see where some of the influence has been drawn from, but you’ve just put it all together into something incredibly unique and I think could really speak to somebody who is very much more on that analytical mind. Which, with your background of being an engineer, it doesn’t really surprise me that you ended up developing an approach like this. 

 

Allen Funston 33:37 

It’s my default, for sure, but it can equally apply for people who like to operate more so on principle as opposed to in the details. The main idea is that we’re living intentionally, that we’re clear on what it is that we value and that we’re in line with that. And that’s just what helps us lead our best lives and everything else is really a means to those ends. And if you do that, if you serve others, which is simultaneously actually in your long-term best interest, we are all better off long term for future to generations. 

 

Chris Ippolito 34:12 

Right. Question. From your experience in the people you’ve helped, worked, and even personal journey, what are some of the more common false beliefs that people have when it comes to making significant change in their life? Like in what you’re teaching and coaching it’s about living a regret-free life. And when you deliver that message to somebody and you explain the system and the process in which you do it, has there been some common feedback where you’ve heard they’re like, “I can’t do this because,” insert really lame reason, to be honest? Because it’s always overcomable. But what are some of the more common ones you’ve heard? 

 

Allen Funston 34:57 

I think a big one that comes up is that other people’s opinions of what you should do with your life carry any weight at all. And I’m not saying that we don’t listen, of course we listen, of course we empathize, of course we understand where they’re coming from. But if we accept the direction or the suggestions that other people have, it’s because we’ve realized the wisdom, or not, right? But let’s say we’ve realized the wisdom in that advice and we’ve taken it on as a matter of a conscious choice for ourselves because it is the right fit, as opposed to just because somebody else said we should and we respect them. It has to feel intrinsically right to us. 

 

And this false belief that success is anything other than what you personally define it as, I think that gets in a lot of people’s way. First of all, a lot of success, by traditional means, or the traditional definition of it, it is not fully under your control. Right? There’s a lot of third-party influences, a lot of external factors. First of all, nothing of that sort is guaranteed. But even if you do achieve it, if it doesn’t set you on fire, if you don’t inherently enjoy it, A, it’s going to be a lousy victory, or a hollow victory if you want to think of it that way. And B, you’re not likely to get there if you don’t intrinsically care about it because most things of significance take a lot of work. And humanity is not good at putting in a lot of work on things that we don’t intrinsically care about. 

 

Chris Ippolito 36:28 

Right, yeah. 

 

Allen Funston 36:29 

It’s hard to sustainably force ourselves to do something. 

 

Chris Ippolito 36:31 

That’s a good one. Just basically not living your life on other people’s terms kind of thing, and/or caring what they think or feel about the decisions you’re making with your own life. Because at the end of the day it’s really funny that we think that way because it’s, “Oh, I can’t do this because so-and-so might be disappointed, unhappy, not like it.” But then we are at the same time caught in this trap of seeking approval from other people because of the way that a lot of social media operates with likes and reshares and just the vanity metrics of it. Which I know is a big part of what you talked about and what we’ve talked about before, we just didn’t get into the specifics today. 

 

But yeah, I think that’s a tough one for a lot of people to overcome just because that has been the programming that we have gone through for the last, I don’t know, 10, 15 years or so with the Internet and more recently with social media and all that kind of stuff. Which is part of the reason that people feel, anyways, that Instagram and all those guys are trying to remove the likes and the numbers. Though I heard a really good perspective as to why they’re actually getting rid of that, but it’s one of the reasons perhaps, we’ll say. 

 

Allen Funston 38:04 

Yeah, I think so, too. And the funny perspective I have around that, too, is this. Even if you really want to be wealthy, let’s say that’s intrinsically motivating to you because of the creature comforts or you love buying fancy things, the newest gadgets, whatever the case might be, living in a nice home. If you don’t choose a way to go about it that intrinsically motivates you, right? If you aren’t in love with that process, you won’t get there. 

 

What I’m saying here is to live on somebody else’s terms or to pursue success by somebody else’s definition is ironically less likely to get you there. You’re more likely to fit somebody else’s version of success, let’s say, from a financial standpoint if you do it your own way. 

 

Chris Ippolito 39:09 

Right, right. Which I think one of the common, almost stereotypical paths that we could probably illustrate as an example is the family of doctors who wants their children to become doctors because that’s what the family does, “We become doctors, that’s how we become successful.” Then the child goes, “But I want to,” I don’t know, “be an e-sports professional.” 

 

Allen Funston 39:35 

Sure. 

 

Chris Ippolito 39:36 

Right? And their parents are like, “No, go get a real job,” right? “Go be a doctor, that’s what you’re supposed to do.” And you hear this story all the time, then they succumb to the pressure of the parents, they push through, they do it, and at some point in their life they end up saying, “I’ve just never enjoyed any of this,” whether they have the financial results or not. And yeah, and that’s exactly what you’re trying to help people with, is not to go down that path, especially too far, because then you’ve exhausted that one resource that we all have a very finite amount of, of time in life, to do what made somebody else happy. 

 

Allen Funston 40:25 

For sure. And if anybody listening to this needs some support or encouragement to pursue what it is that that they want and they need help giving themselves that permission, then please do reach out. And we’ll talk about how later, but it’s incredibly important. 

 

Chris Ippolito 40:44 

Yeah. Actually, you know what? I think this is a good place to wrap up. Why don’t you share where can people connect with you if they want to learn more about Sentient Future and what you’re doing? 

 

Allen Funston 40:57 

Sure. On just about every social platform you can find me under the name Sentient Future, S-E-N-T-I-E-N-T Future. That’s Instagram, Facebook, you name it. I have my own podcast, as well. And the intent around any of that is that I’m trying to create content that is innately valuable to you, that saves you time and it’s worth more time to you then the time it takes to you to consume it so it’s net positive, that’s really the goal. And yeah, beyond that there’s e-mail addresses. And my website gives you a little bit more information with different links, and that’s sentientfuture.earth. 

 

Chris Ippolito 41:40 

“.earth,” you don’t see that too often. 

 

Allen Funston 41:43 

No, it was a different one, but it sort of fits the ideas nicely. And just for intrinsically motivating reasons I want to help as many people as possible save years effectively in their life because they know themselves better and are spending less time that they ultimately regret, which is a way of looking at time is wasted, really. That’s really the goal. 

 

Chris Ippolito 42:08 

That’s awesome. And my goal with this podcast is to wrap up every episode with at least one tangible action item that the audience can take away and implement to start impacting the changes that they may want. If they were interested in everything that was discussed today, which I’m sure they would be because it was a great conversation, what would be that one thing that you would suggest they start with that’s going to start helping them live a more regret-free life and start saving those important hours of life? 

 

Allen Funston 42:45 

Yeah. The very first thing I’d recommend you start doing is tracking your time. 

 

Chris Ippolito 42:51 

Really? Okay. Do you have a suggested app or method of tracking time? 

 

Allen Funston 42:57 

I do. Most people, I think, these days, your listeners, will have smartphones. There are a lot of different solutions out there, primarily apps that are used for freelancers and you can track how much time you’re spending on different projects so you can ultimately get your billing correct. But if you use it for yourself and you define your categories of how it is you spend your time, who you spend your time with, that type of thing, and you look for an option that has ideally a home screen widget so you can switch states quite quickly. I’ve been tracking my time just for context since 2018, 24/7, 365. 

 

Chris Ippolito 43:31 

That’s crazy. 

 

Allen Funston 43:32 

It’s been almost two years now. And my attention actually for over a year, since August of 2018, which is a little different than just our time, our behaviors. 

 

Chris Ippolito 43:40 

Yeah. 

 

Allen Funston 43:41 

But that’s doing the attention economy thing. But just the very act of tracking it will make more of your decisions conscious. And you’ll realize, A, first of all, you’ll start spending it better just by doing that, never mind anything deeper. And B, you’ll start to see the opportunity that exists for you to identify what it is that you value, to weight what it is that you value, the process I talked about earlier. If you see a big discrepancy with how you’d like to spend your time and how you are spending your time, that’s a good motivator for change. And it is entirely your choice and responsibility and power to do that, and you can do it. I hope that people just start by start by not turning a blind eye anymore, just track how you spend your time. 

 

Chris Ippolito 44:37 

Yeah, that make sense. And not that we want to promote it, but what is the app that you currently are using? 

 

Allen Funston 44:44 

Sure. I’m on iOS and I use an app called ATracker Pro. 

 

Chris Ippolito 44:48 

ATracker Pro? 

 

Allen Funston 44:50 

Yeah. And then one of the reasons I like it, obviously it’s got a home screen widget, but it also syncs to my calendar so I can have in my Google Calendar the history of how I’ve spent my time. 

 

Chris Ippolito 44:59 

Okay. 

 

Allen Funston 45:00 

Right? And there was something else. Oh, it ties in nicely with Siri shortcuts, too, if you want to use even faster methods. 

 

Chris Ippolito 45:07 

Yeah, something I really want to explore more. Because as soon as that launched in the last update, I was like, “Oh, this is cool.” But I’ve not spent enough time on it to learn it. In fact, I just want somebody to show me some cool shortcuts, because it’s not that important to me. 

 

Allen Funston 45:23 

No. No, it isn’t. Although that’s the thing, start with what you want to do and why and you’ve got this new direction. I know you’ve been super busy with fatherhood and all this change, but the clearer you are on all of that, that’s when applying technology makes sense, right? Is to help you do what you inherently want better, as opposed to technology being an end unto itself. 

 

Chris Ippolito 45:46 

Right, using it as a tool, leverage basically. 

 

Allen Funston 45:49 

That’s what it’s supposed to be. 

 

Chris Ippolito 45:52 

Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Thanks, Allen. Everything we talked about, any references we made, I’m going to include in the description of the video or the show notes of the podcast. And thank you so much, this was awesome. And I’m sure, if you’re open to it, I’d love to have you back on at a later date and we can dive into other stuff, like tracking your attention, I think a lot of people would be really curious as to how you actually do that. 

 

Allen Funston 46:19 

Yeah, sure, absolutely. It’s been a pleasure, thank you very much for having me. I look forward to chatting again at a future date. And yeah, take care, everyone. 

 

Chris Ippolito 46:28 

Take care. 

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