PTP.032: Joel Comm “The Fun Formula: How Curiosity, Risk Taking and Serendipity Can Revolutionize How You Work”
The purpose of The Pathway to Promise Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller is to provide a pathway for persons to overcome personal adversity to achieve their God-given promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.
In Episode 032 Dr. Brad Miller interviews the author, internet entrepreneur pioneer and podcaster Joel Comm. Joel specifically talks to Brad about his new book The Fun Formula: How Curiosity, Risk Taking and Serendipity Can Revolutionize How You Work.
Joel contends that two words dominate the lives of many people in the workplace which are “hustle” and “grind.” He points out that greatest success in his life has not come from “hustle” and “grind” but when he relaxed focused on personal relationships and experiences and was curious about the opportunity around him and had a bias on serving the needs of others.
Joel says to Brad that no one knows how much time we have on this earth and should act to seize the day and enjoy life and have fun. This approach to living is “do good things.”
Have fun and enjoy Episode 032 of The Pathway to Promise Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller.
The Pathway to Promise Podcast is published on a regular basis by Dr. Brad Miller who has spent 35 years in pastoral ministry and holds a doctoral degree in transformational leadership.
Dr. Brad Miller
Brad Miller 1:23
Our guest today on pathway to promise is a published author of a number of books. He’s been involved with the internet marketing space and in the media space for some time. And his latest book is the fun formula, how curiosity, risk taking, and serendipity can revolutionize how you work. His name is Joel Comm. Joel, welcome to the pathway to promise.
Joel Comm 1:47
Excellent, thanks for having me. Joel.
Brad Miller 1:49
It is excellent to have you here on our podcast, which is all about helping people overcome adversity to achieve some of their promise. Life is like we like to call it your latest book is about fun, and about how you can use fun to turn your life around. But I’ve got a I’ve just got a suspicion that you wrote this book somewhat out of response to some parts of your life that may have not been so fun.
Say, can you say a word about that maybe why you wrote this book was there someone responds to adversity in your life, you know,
Joel Comm 2:25
it was more response to the messaging that’s taking place out there. Right now, there’s two words that we’re hearing again and again, and in reference to how one succeeds in the business world. And those words are hustle and grind. And I absolutely bristle at the sound of that terminology. Because not only do I think that the hustle and grind mentality is, is not the best way to approach business and life, but it’s also damaging, you know, somewhere else along the line, we turn this idea that hard work is a virtue into that 10 times the hard work is 10 times the virtue and I reverse engineered the 23 years, I’ve been doing business online, I’ve had about seven, what I would call home runs, and even more, a greater number of failures. And then everything in between. And what I discovered is that the home runs the greatest successes came when I actually did the least amount of effort into them. Uh, but the themes that they had in common were that I was always following my curiosity and allowing my creativity to express itself, I was always willing to take a risk. And I allowed the process serendipity to to take its right timing for things to unfold. Every time I tried to force things that’s usually when things went, you know, off the rails. And so I think that there’s a place for hard work, there’s certainly a time that you have to buckle down and get things done. But there really is something to working smart as opposed to working hard.
Brad Miller 4:10
And as a part of this process, you seem to share that following your passion is really where where magic can happen, say a word about just following your passion as opposed to be forced to do someone else’s agenda?
Joel Comm 4:26
Well, sure. I mean, I believe that we all have unique passions and, you know, were created for a purpose. I don’t think anybody’s here by accident. And we’re all incredibly unique with our own talents, and experiences and personality. And, you know, how, how we approach the world. And I think that when we are following that, which we are most personally aligned with, that’s where we’re going to find the greatest success. And again, there’s nothing wrong with doing a job and doing that job. Well, you know, if you’re going to do a job and pursue somebody else’s dream, then, you know, perhaps part of your dream is, is being, you know, part of that team to make that happen. But, you know, if you’ve got your own dream to do something, especially as an entrepreneur, then, you know, there’s people out there that are going to be selling you this hustling grind bill of goods, and that’s truly what they are doing. They are selling it to you, they want you to buy something, and odds are, that’s not going to be the best way to go about getting what you want.
Brad Miller 5:27
Hmm. I think a lot of people are searching for, for filming in their life, whether it’s in their career, or in something else in their life. And, and they’re not having a whole lot of fun. Do you put Do you correlate fun and fulfillment together in some form or another,
Joel Comm 5:42
I do, I feel that when you’re doing what you’re made to do, even though there’s work involved in it, you’re going to enjoy it, it’s not going to feel like work. I don’t remember who who actually said this. But the quote is, if you can tell the difference between your work in your play, you’re doing one of them wrong, her, you know, I I haven’t worked like the way we think of work for years, I, I do what I love to do. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything I do I love every component of it, you know, sometimes there’s tasks we got to do that are, you know, tedious, or maybe not exactly in our skill set, or, you know, timing could be difficult. But it means in general, we love what we do. And as a result, we have a better chance of being successful at it. And fun spills over from work into play, and play into work. And, and, you know, if we love what we’re doing, we’re just going to be more effective at that task.
Brad Miller 6:43
When one of the things you talk about in your book, as you kind of point to the opposite. What you’re saying there is that fear can hold us back and it fun is on the other side of fear. And then we we going to break through fear in order to find those serendipitous moments. How does fear hold this back? And what are some maybe strategies we can use to break through fear?
Joel Comm 7:04
Well, I think that, you know, we definitely live in a competitive society. And I think that’s a good thing. And, you know, we very early on, we grade, you know, our students, and, you know, you get an A, from two and a half of you know, that the F is for failure, right. And we’re told that failure is a is a bad thing, but failures, not a bad thing. In fact, I’ve learned more from my failures than I have from any of my successes, the successes, you know, those are the times we celebrate, whoo hoo, and, you know, crack open the champagne and think, okay, what’s next? But the failures of the times that we get to really be introspective and figure out what went wrong. Was this the wrong project for me? Was I distracted? Was there outside influences was it wrong timing, there’s all these questions. And if we are honest, and take a look at, you know, what we can evaluate that happened, then we can learn a lot. And so the greatest life lessons come from failures. And so don’t be afraid of failure. When when we talk about failure, I see opportunity, you know, there’s opportunity to grow. And if you’re going to push beyond fear, you have to be willing to take risks. And we all know people that are not willing to take risks, they play it safe, their their content, or at least appear to be content in the security of knowing that they’re getting a paycheck, you know, that they’ve got their job, that they have their insurance, there’s no risk, really, seemingly involved in doing the same thing, and not stepping out. But if you’re going to, you know, do something that truly makes a difference, something epic, something magical, that that is a fulfillment of your dreams, you’re going to have to take a risk, and that means you will fail, I have failed way more times than I have succeeded. But those failed years, have then led me to learn the lessons that have led to the greater success. So risk taking is a key part of the fun formula.
Brad Miller 9:10
Yeah, I’ve heard it said, if you want to find the fruit, it’s not only you got to go out in the land to find the fruits, right, you got to take some risk there. You You mentioned one of those subtitles of your book talks about serendipity. And that’s a term I love. I use it in my life and ministry a lot, you know, so it was kind of those aha moments. And you talked about how you can’t really engineer serendipity. But you can create the environment. See a little bit about that. But what’s turned up means to you, what do you what do you mean by creating the environment?
Joel Comm 9:41
Well, to me, you know, I don’t, I don’t believe in luck. I know that we try to attribute locked to the unexplainable circumstances of our lives. But I’m kind of one of those that believes things happen for a purpose. But we don’t know we see opportunities, we have to hit like the have our radar, fine tuned to be able to recognize what’s going on around us, some people get really focused on a goal. And they were told that, hey, if you want what’s on the other side of that door, you just keep beating on that door until that thing opens up, I’m looking around and going, but you know, there’s a door over there, that’s open just a crack, and there’s one over there that’s wide open, there’s opportunity all around. And if we get this tunnel vision of this has to be the thing and this has to be how it was done, we miss opportunity. And so serendipity to me, is trusting the process and it’s showing up, it’s allowing opportunity to come our way in detecting it. When it does, it could mean you know, answering the right email at the right time, making the right phone call showing up at the right event. And not knowing what’s going to happen there. But creating an environment around you that says, You know what, I’m open to anything happening. I can’t tell you how many times just showing up and being around people. Because ultimately, our business is about people, not about our products and our services. Those are just the conduits we use to serve people. But all are the things that we do are there to serve people. And so put yourself around people, and you’re going to discover opportunity. And, you know, ask questions, I love going to events, even if I don’t have a direct business reason to go there. I mean, I’ve showed up at the Toy Fair, and Comic Con, and the networking events and marketing events of all kinds, just because I think, Hey, this will be fun. And you never know who you’re going to meet. And you never know from speaking with somebody what problem they have, that you might be able to solve.
Brad Miller 11:50
So your agenda is more an open ended agenda. Rather than going to an event, let’s say that you’re going to whatever handout 100 cards, whatever it would be, or you’re wanting to really make connection with such such people trying to be open to what opportunity comes. But it sounds like making these personal connections, at events and so on, is part of the strategy for allowing this environment to happen
Joel Comm 12:09
well, really isn’t oftentimes those connections come to you. And it happens when you have these discussions. You know, so many times people come with a fistful of business cards. And their goal is to distribute them and tell people what they do. Well, that’s just kind of like email blasting, you know, a bunch of people I prefer to go to where I know people are that have some sort of connection to the same interests as me and ask them what kind of problems are having What’s going on? Yes, and about them, you know, we always say, so what do you do, and oftentimes, we can’t hurt wait for people to finish telling us what they do. So we could tell them what we do, right? That that that mindset is not effective. The mindset should be, ask people what they do, and then listen and find out what their needs are, they may have absolutely no interest in what you do. But if what you are able to do solves a problem they have, all of a sudden, you’re the right person in the right place at the right time. And that could turn into something that you never predicted.
Brad Miller 13:13
And there’s simple power in the Ask power in making those connections. And I sure appreciate that say. So there’s these relationships are powerful, I would just say a word about I like to talk about how even these types of relationships, there’s an element of emotion or love, even though might say, what is the power of loving type relationships, whether it’s in your personal life, or in reaching out to others, or caring about humanity is general that makes a difference in helping us transform and have more fun in our life.
Joel Comm 13:44
Well, again, when you’re remembering that your your life is ultimately not about you, but about the blessing in the value you bring to others. It takes the focus off yourself. And it also helps us with with our fear, you know, we can be more loving, loving to ourselves, when we realize, Hey, you know what this passion that I have this thing I want to do is not so much about me as it is how I can serve other people with it, you know, great application for this is as a public speaker, I used to be terrified to speak. And it’s taken many years for me to get to the place where I feel like I’m walking into my own living room when I go on stage. But what I always tell people who are nervous about speaking, is to get over themselves. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but we get when we get into our fear, we get so focused on ourselves, and how we’re going to perform and in nervous about what we’re going to say. But the truth is, you have an audience of people that are there because they want to hear what you have to say. And if you’re focusing on yourself, you’re doing them a disservice. And so they tell you the picture of the room of people naked. I don’t like that idea.
Brad Miller 14:56
And I don’t want to see, yeah, I prefer I prefer to see people more on your side, anything else? And they’re really rooting for you. More often than not, they’re here you see, for some reason to make a connection to you. Sure, yeah. Joe, you you also talk in your book. And I know I’ve in your personal life a little bit about
the importance of have a higher power
chest, little bit about a sense of connect you to a higher power, how can this have helped us have fulfilling their life or help us have fun in their life and speak to, to what we really what’s most important in life?
Joel Comm 15:33
Well, you know, not not everybody’s gonna believe is, I believe, and that’s fine, I’m allowed to have my beliefs and others are allowed to have theirs. I believe there is a spiritual component, I think that humans are three part beings, we are physical, you know, we were in these Earth suits that we were for a time while we’re here for the very short blip, that we exist on this planet, we have souls that, you know, that are who we really are that invisible part, our mind or will or emotions. And then I believe we have a spiritual part that is designed to connect with a higher power, or God is, is I like to call him. And I think that because spirituality is something that persists in all likelihood, apart from this physical world, it seems to me that that spiritual realm is actually a more significant realm than the physical realm, you know, we, we live in the here and now. And because we can touch the world around us, it feels like this is all there is. But if there is a spiritual component, it is a superior realm to the physical realm. And so I think investigating that in our lives, and making that a part of our core and understanding what we believe and why we believe it, and then living that out in a way that impacts the world positively. I think that that’s naturally if that all is true, that’s naturally going to leave to a more fulfilling time on Earth.
Brad Miller 17:03
Yeah, and if you’re going to be fulfilled person, and by your definition, have fun in your life, you need all three parts, to use your your framework there, you need to have that emotional and physical and the spiritual to be a whole person. And that’s at least why I like to take it. And I think that’s important aspect to come for us to approach as well, let me ask about some of the ways that you do this, I’d like to talk for just a second Joel about some of the practical ways you live out this lifestyle that you have talked about any habits or routines or things that you do in your life to intentionally live a fulfilled fun life?
Joel Comm 17:42
Well, for me, personally, I’m unemployable. Now, I know there are people that enjoy working, employed and having whatever their job is. And that may be their calling. And that’s fine. For me personally, it means that I don’t ever want to to be on a traditional schedule, I like to sleep in until I’m awake, I like to stay up until I’m ready to sleep. I like to sometimes I’ll work all day on Sunday, and take off all day on Wednesday, sometimes I’ll work late into the evening or not get started until noon. It just I try not to over schedule myself to the point where I’m so busy that I’m not seizing the day. And so I probably I feel like I work less than most people I know. And it’s not because of where I am financially in my life. It’s because of a choice I make to live each day in the way that is most satisfying. For me, there’s a lot of flexibility in that. And so I when I look back on the years that I worked more, because I thought I was supposed to, I realized that a lot of that time I was spinning my wheels with, with needless effort. And it could have been more time, you know, with my family, or more time, you know, resting or vacationing or enjoying my hobbies. And so I’m not you know, going to make that mistake again, there is once you’ve made money and lost money, you understand how money works, then I think when you become even a step closer to being self actualize, done, you know, on Maslow’s hierarchy, then you realize materialism isn’t going to really ever satisfy. It’s more about the quality of your life. And it comes down to two things, the people in your life in the experiences that you have, that’s ultimately the only thing that is of lasting value. You know, nobody gets to their deathbed and goes man, I could have worked an extra 10 hours a week, instead of instead of playing, you know, I could have had a second car, I could have had a third home or a boat or whatever.
Brad Miller 19:59
Yeah, you can’t, as one of the studies you referenced in your book St. with people who, what regrets they have, at the end of their life. And I’ve been privileged to be with people in their life. And, and you just can’t take it with you. There’s never, there’s never a u haul trailer behind a hearse, or anything like that. There’s, you know, so you and people always, almost always talk about relationships or experiences. And that’s been the privilege and I’ve had, so that’s awesome. Just well,
Joel Comm 20:27
and the problem the problem is, people plan out for their future, right? And they say, Okay, I’m going to work for 35 years, and I’m going to retire and I’m going to move to Arizona or whatever, which I can’t imagine why you would do that. The idea of stopping production of value to me seems like your death sentence. I don’t get that at all. But, you know, even more importantly, is we don’t know how long we have, you know, I’m in I’m 54 right now. And I’ve seen people younger than myself acquaintance and friends, you know, leave their lives early, you know, too soon. And others, you know, live to grow to be old. Well, I don’t know how long I’m going to live. We just we don’t know. And if I’m always planning for one day, I’m going to fill in the blank. That blank may never get filled in. And so we have to car pay the idioms and we have to do it now.
Brad Miller 21:22
No one knows. Yeah, hour a day. So what would you say right now, Joel? Is your purpose in life? What would you say? Right? That is right now, you know,
Joel Comm 21:31
I feel like I am here to to bring value through my talents, my skills, my abilities, I like to inspire people, I like to help people to feel good about themselves. by pointing out the reasons they should feel good about themselves. I like to focus on on the positive. In fact, I’ve got a phrase that I have trademarked and placed on a T shirt and stickers, that’s called do good stuff. It’s the hashtag that we use is do good stuff. And the idea there is that there’s enough bad news in the world. And especially if you’re watching the news or reading the newspaper, turn that off, they are there just to manipulate you and it’s poison. Yeah, it is that they are there to sell you toothpastes, toilet paper, and to make you fearful and, and they do a good job for those that you know that eat it up. But turn that off and recognize there is way more good in the world than there is bad. infinitely more good than there is bad. You just don’t see it show up. Hey, and tonight on the news. You know, we’ve got puppies and balloons and birthday parties and you know, people rescuing people. And in the end, the human interest stories, the murder, right? Instead, we have a whole half hour full of bad news murders and bombings and wars and scandals. And then at the end, there’s the puppy story, right? It’s in this because it’s what sells. So turn that off. Focus on on what’s positive. And if you if you seek to do good stuff, putting good out there in the world without always thinking what’s in it for me, not saying we shouldn’t have contracts and deals and negotiations. But I’m saying there’s many times if we just seek to do good without expecting anything in return. I believe that when you sow good seed, good fruit comes up. And you don’t always know when you don’t always know where you don’t always know how it could happen overnight. It could take decades. But it’s true what they say what goes around comes around and so put good stuff out there. And that’s that that’s what I seek to do.
Brad Miller 23:41
Absolutely. It’s just and it’s the opposite of what we talked about earlier fear, we focused on the fear that’s destructive. You focus on the fun and the productive, good things happen. So speaking about productive, how would you define prosperity, you know,
Joel Comm 23:55
I don’t define it as monetary or material. I think if, if a man is fulfilled, or woman is fulfilled, in their work, and in their relationships than the measure, you know, I think they’re successful. I think they’re prosperous. I think that if we are rich in in love, and the people around us that matter that to us than we win
Brad Miller 24:24
Absolutely. What brings you peace and fulfillment?
Joel Comm 24:28
My faith brings me peace and fulfillment and my relationships with my family and my friends. You know, I love my kids. And they’re both grown adults now. And it’s a joy to see them making their way in the world. You know, regardless of how scary it is, and how difficult is when you’re when you’re getting started. And it’s rewarding to know that every now and then you know, you get an email or a call from somebody that says you’ve impacted them in a positive way it’s like that that’s cool. That’s good to know. It’s It’s It’s not for nothing thing it’s not just talking into the wind
Brad Miller 25:03
well that’s awesome. Well thank you for your time that we could go and talk to you for a long time raising adult children is a whole big thing there I know you’re very much into the cryptocurrency world right now there’s a whole different discussion there but if folks want to learn more about you Joel and learn about what you’re up to how can they find out more about your what you’re up to
Joel Comm 25:23
Joel calm calm is my blog or follow me on Facebook or Twitter both are you know, agile. Tom and if you are interested in cryptocurrency, check out the bad crypto podcast the show that we make blockchain and Bitcoin and cryptocurrency easy for people to understand.
Brad Miller 25:41
Absolutely. Well thank you Joel comm for being our guest today on pathway to promise