I Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Author Bronwen Sciortino On Why So Many Of Us Are Feeling Unsatisfied & What We Can Do About It
An Interview With Drew Gerber
Know your values: our values are the things that are most important to us. When we know what these are, it’s so much easier to say ‘yes’ to the things that align us with the things that make us happy. The more we say ‘yes’ to these things, the less we need to use the scattergun approach to trying to find the ‘golden nugget’ in life, because we’ve always got things that feed our soul.
From an objective standpoint, we are living in an unprecedented era of abundance. Yet so many of us are feeling unsatisfied. Why are we seemingly so insatiable? What is going on inside of us that is making us feel unsatisfied? What is the brain chemistry that makes us feel this way? Is our brain wired for endless insatiable consumption? What can we do about it? In this interview series, we are talking to credentialed experts such as psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, brain science experts, as well as spiritual and religious leaders, and mind-body-spirit coaches, to address why so many of us are feeling unsatisfied & what we can do about it.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Bronwen Sciortino.
Bronwen Sciortino is an International Author and Simplicity Expert who spent almost two decades as an award-winning executive before experiencing a life-changing event that forced her to stop and ask the question: ‘What if there’s a better way to live?’
Embarking on a journey to answer this question, Bronwen uncovered a simple system to challenge the status quo and use the power of questions to purposefully direct her life.
Gaining international critical acclaim and 5-star awards for her books and programs, Bronwen spends every day teaching people that there is an easy, practical and simple pathway to creating a healthy, happy AND highly successful life.
Sourced globally for media comment as an expert and working with corporate programs, conference platforms, retreats, professional mentoring and in the online environment, Bronwen teaches people how easy it is to live life very differently.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!
I had a tremendously successful career for almost twenty years. But I was also a perfectionist …
I put way too much pressure on myself for far too long, pushing myself over the breaking point and into the depths of a total breakdown.
Nowadays, stress, burnout, and extreme fatigue are topics that are frequently discussed, and, like mindfulness and resilience, a whole sector of the health and wellness industry is devoted to teaching individuals how to prevent these negative outcomes.
I went through each of these experiences and fought my way through them. I was aware that something wasn’t right and that I was ill. but I persisted in moving forward.
Then, one day, everything in my life fell apart. I went from being an award-winning CEO to being on the ground, unable to handle daily tasks, and unable to stop crying, in less than 60 seconds.
This followed the removal of a tumour from my temple after surgery. I was so startled by my reflection in the mirror when I first noticed the wound that it sent me into another dimension where nothing would ever be the same again.
To claw my way back to being able to engage in life, it took me two years of intense, difficult struggle.
I wasn’t able to stand firmly in the vibrant, connected, and uncomplicated life I enjoy today until after another year of this effort.
I now devote all of my time to educating individuals how to design the ideal life for themselves, anywhere on the globe.
I devote every working minute to demonstrating to everyone that there is a straightforward and ‘doable’ route to building a life that is successful, joyful, and healthy.
What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?
The number one thing I would share with my younger self is this: make your inner critic your loudest supporter.
For too long in this lifetime, I sat back and watched my inner critic be rude, severely criticising, and incredibly vicious to me … but incredibly caring, sympathetic, and nice to everyone else.
One of the most significant turning points in my life was when I realised that I needed to shift the way I approached conversations and identify the qualities in myself that were “shout worthy”.
It became simpler to progress the more I practised praising my traits, my accomplishments, and each step I took.
I gradually came to recognise my own strengths and grew to know the most authentic version of myself.
If I could give that gift to my younger self I would do it in a heartbeat. We all get lost trying to find the ‘golden nugget’ that will catapult our lives into a different realm. I truly believe that this was the golden nugget my younger self was so desperately looking for.
When you love and care for yourself without limits, it matters less whether you are ‘keeping up’, ‘getting ahead’, or ‘being successful’. Standing strongly behind who you truly are, and supporting and praising yourself for every step you take, makes the rest of the noise and chaos melt away.
None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?
Like so many others, I am surrounded by lots of people who have a big impact on my life. Without a question, my husband Jon is the one for whom I feel the deepest gratitude.
When my life fell apart, he helped me get through the storm. Even though I was the one who had the breakdown, he too lived the consequences of the fallout. He moved from having a self-sufficient, very active wife to having a totally dependent, gravely ill person that he had to take care of.
While I was able to recover with the help of a number of resources, a caregiver is not quite as fortunate and so Jon was largely left to navigate the minefield on his own.
He was there for me in spite of that. He gave me the freedom to take the actions I needed to take in order to become the “new me” going ahead. He was never grumpy. He never made it about him in any way.
But mostly, he consistently told me that he loved me and would always stand by me.
One of the greatest blessings I have ever received was to have that kind of support through the most painful period of my life. He has my sincere gratitude for all time.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?
One of the things I love in life is being really curious about what’s out there and what might work to make my life simpler. I have fun dipping my toe in the water, trying different things in different ways and then creating solutions and processes that create easy, practical and simple ways for people to create the things they really want in their lives.
I am currently working on developing a corporate training program for one of the world’s largest training organisations. This program will help organisations around the world to provide simplified wellness solutions to their people. I’m also developing and documenting ideas for my next book, and I’m creating a series of mini-programs to help people re-set their lives after the trauma of the last couple of years.
These resources are perfect for people who need to step outside the programming and brainwashing of our current way of living so that they can create the tailor-made life that’s just right for them.
Everything I create focuses on providing a path that every single unique individual in the world can follow to create the solution that is right for them.
I believe this is the ONLY way forward.
The way we’ve been living our lives up to this point hasn’t worked.
The world is exhausted and suffering horribly from the side effects of being chronically over-stimulated and under stress. The long-held way of living that saw us push through and worry about our health later is at a crisis point.
It’s clear that we need to do things differently.
My products and services help people to find the ‘difference’ using tools and resources that allow them to get there with easy, simple and practical steps are that perfect just for them.
Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about feeling “unsatisfied”. In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. What has led to us feeling we aren’t enough and don’t have enough? What is the wiring? Or in other words, how has nature and nurture played into how humans (in an otherwise “safe and secure” environment) experience feeling less than, or a need to have more than what is needed for basic survival?
When you look at the basics of life, if you have running water, a roof over your head, food on the table and people who love you then you are richer than 85% of the people on Earth.
That’s a pretty interesting statistic that most people would have no line of sight to.
For most of us, we’re smiled at lovingly and encouraged to let our imaginations run wild. When we’re younger, the ‘adults’ ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at us when we come up with extraordinary things in our play and they’re often amazed at the creativity we display.
But then something changes. We start to notice that it’s not OK any more for us to use our imaginations. Suddenly, imagination is no longer practical nor useful. We start to be conditioned that creativity isn’t going to help us get anywhere in life, so it’s time to leave it behind.
We’re encouraged to knuckle down and work hard at school, particularly in subjects that are seen to be appropriate. We’re conditioned to chase after careers that are deemed ‘worthy’ for our intelligence level and we’re pushed to achieve, succeed and ‘get ahead’.
We’re usually also taught that happiness is not a part of the equation — that we have to get ahead before we earn the right to relax and enjoy ourselves.
Technology has accelerated this drive, opening doors and pathways in life that simply weren’t possible before. It’s brought us so many life-saving advances and opened the world for us from a business and personal perspective … the sky really is the limit now.
And that’s a great thing … until it isn’t.
Unfortunately, that same amazing technology has delivered a host of unforeseen, secondary consequences that have changed the way we live and experience our lives.
We find ourselves lost, chasing after what everyone else has told us is important, and never quite finding the formula that makes it all ‘happen’ for us.
We’re disconnected from money; we rarely hold that currency in our physical hand anymore. We’ve lost the feeling of handing over money to purchase something.
Similarly, we don’t receive our income in our hand anymore, so we don’t really associate what we receive with the time it takes us to earn a certain amount of money.
It’s also easier than ever to spend money. We no longer have to leave our couches to easily spend. We’re bombarded 24/7 with marketing campaigns that are backed by a billion-dollar industry that has been designed to hit our trigger points and have us consume.
And it takes a little less than a few minutes to spend significant amounts of money without really considering whether we have any connection to what we’re buying.
Advertisements on social media and via email constantly tell us what’s ‘wrong’ with us, and the way that purchasing this, that and the other will make us feel better. It rarely works and so we move on to the next ‘solution’ that’s supposed to solve the problems in our world.
We pay too much attention to what others are telling us and move too far away from what we innately know to be true about ourselves. We’re lost in a system that appears to be there to support us, but exists to keep us in an unconscious state.
We purchase the next thing, and the next and the next … in the hope that we’ll finally hit the nail on the head and be released into a fabulous life. But instead, we’re left completely unsatisfied and unable to find our way forward.
How are societies different? For example, capitalistic societies trade differently than communists. Developed nations trade differently than developing nations. In your opinion, how does society shape a human’s experience and feelings of satisfaction?
Every society is different. It doesn’t really have to be about capitalism versus communism.
It’s way too easy to point the finger — at an organisation, a nation, a religion, a school, a family or another person.
The reality is that our solution sits with us. Every single one of us must take responsibility for our actions.
Sure, there are a million companies out there trying to sell you their goods and services. They exist because there’s a need in the market.
It’s not their job to decide whether what they’re selling is right for you. It’s their job to offer their products and facilitate the buying and delivery process if you choose to purchase.
It’s the individual’s responsibility to decide whether what is being offered is right for them.
Until each individual takes the time to reconnect with who they are, know what they need and then find a way to give that to themselves, we’ll be stuck in a world where we’re dissatisfied, unhappy and unwell.
With a specific focus on brain function, how has the brain and its dominion over the body and beliefs been impacted by the societal construct?
As humans, we hold the brain in very high regard as the powerhouse of our bodies. But if you move past the brain and look at the mind/body connection I think that’s a more powerful construct to consider.
The mind has three components: the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.
Sigmund Freud is famous for his psychoanalysis of these three minds. He believed that each of these states of consciousness is crucial in affecting behaviour.
It is said that it is the subconscious mind that drives our behaviour. Why? Because it is in the subconscious mind that our patterns are stored.
Think for a moment about what it was like learning to swim, or to ride a bicycle. How many times did it take, and how much did you need to practice before you were able to easily and flawlessly complete the process?
Most likely, being able to synchronise a brand-new set of intricate motions is challenging at first. But then, over time, the movements require less conscious awareness as we gain proficiency, until everything starts to occur easily.
The subconscious mind (also commonly referred to as the nonconscious mind), one of the most potent internal forces that governs human behaviour, directs all of these instinctive movements.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
A bit like technology; it’s great … until it isn’t!
The most important thing to understand about your subconscious mind is that if you’re not spending enough time consciously connected to what you’re doing, it can be overtaken by the programming and instructions of others.
Your subconscious mind is your ally. It’s there to protect you and to make sure you stay alive. But — it responds to the signals you give it, so if you get very busy running around chasing after things that someone else has told you are important, your subconscious will store that information for you.
Here’s a simple example of how your sub-conscious works. It’s raining outside and you decide that you need to walk across a paved courtyard to get to your next meeting. As you start to walk, you slip on a section of the pavement that is wet and you fall down. Your subconscious then records that walking on wet pavements is dangerous and could hurt you.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Your subconscious then takes that information and applies it to EVERY situation in your life where you might be in danger. So, you go from a one-off incident where a pavement was slippery to ‘it’s wet, therefore you could fall, therefore it’s dangerous for you’. Taken to the extreme, you might decide never to go outside again, because of this flawed conclusion.
It’s easy to see how we can get lost and take directions in life that disconnect us from our authentic selves if we’re not consciously connected to what’s going on.
Do you think the way our society markets and advertises goods and services, has affected people’s feelings of satisfaction? Can you explain what you mean?
There’s a billion-dollar industry that’s grown up out of researching the trigger points that will make marketing campaigns more successful. There is no doubt that the way that this research has been applied to the selling of products and services has had a direct impact on people’s levels of satisfaction and happiness.
This has only been accelerated with the advent of technology and the ability to advertise 24/7 directly to your target market through social media campaigns.
From the second people start chasing the dreams and aspirations of others, and repeatedly try to squash themselves and their lives into a box that contains all the things they’re supposed to be, have, do and achieve, they put themselves on a pathway that sees them diminish the importance of happiness and connectedness in their lives.
While ever they push themselves to stay on this path, they experience the confusion that comes with doing what they’re supposed to, but never achieving the pinnacle that’s supposed to come with that.
Cue the advertisements that tell them where they’re going wrong and how the product/service will fix them. Thus begins the cycle of hope for a release from the rat race, followed by the depression that inevitably arises when whatever they’ve bought hasn’t worked, followed by the anxiety that there’s something wrong with them that can’t be fixed. Then the next product appears, and the cycle starts again.
It’s literally impossible to be satisfied while living this way.
How is the wiring of the brain, body, and beliefs shaped by marketing, language, and how humans trade?
When I first started my business, I had no knowledge of the process involved with marketing. And, as I sought to educate myself, I was left with a really bad taste in my mouth at what was being taught as the ‘only’ way to make marketing campaigns work.
Essentially, all the programs I looked at followed the same methodology:
- Find the ‘pain’ point of your ideal consumer.
- Make your ideal consumer feel this pain.
- Tell them how your product/service reduces the pain.
- Create scarcity so that they rush to buy from you in case they miss out.
For me, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less than create more pain and misery for the people I wanted to work with. My tools and resources are all about helping people to create what they want … and, in my opinion, people have already suffered enough. Under no circumstances did I want to create more pain for them.
And that’s the crux of it, right there.
In today’s highly visible, high-speed life, people have been brainwashed. Not just consumers, but also vendors. In a world where we live with less conscious connection, people are prepared to inflict pain on others because they don’t see that what they’re doing is adding to the misery. They simply follow the steps that someone else has given them to market their products in a way that’s been proven to make people buy.
Life is about a series of choices. We all make them, multiple times a day. How our lives evolve is in direct correlation to the decisions we make.
I wonder how different our lives would be if more of us made those choices and decisions from a conscious place.
I work in marketing so I’m very cognizant of this question. In your opinion, how do you think marketing professionals can be more responsible for how their advertising shapes humans’ health and experience of happiness overall?
For me, it comes down to making conscious decisions about the way that you’re going to market what you do.
Instead of following the formula that’s been given to you by someone else … as a marketer, are you prepared to step back and ask the hard questions about what the impact of what you’re doing will be?
Are you prepared to put material out there that could potentially push someone deeper into an abyss?
As opposed to marketing slightly differently, so that you make sure that you’re attracting the people who really need what is being sold and consciously, deeply and truly affecting someone’s life in a positive way.
Maybe it’s time for marketing to be less about the money generated and more about the flow-on effect in happiness and satisfaction in life.
Everyone is different, so everyone will have a different answer here.
Ultimately, it’s about having the courage to market in the way that’s consciously connected with who YOU are, rather that following in the footsteps of someone else. After all, we’ve all seen the results of doing that and where our lives end up.
For you personally, if you have all your basic needs met, do you feel you have enough in life?
You can have enough and still grow and develop in life. You can have enough and still explore and adventure and experience the world in different ways.
I think it’s a conditioning that’s been given to us that tells us we have to choose:
- We can be healthy and happy … OR we can be successful.
- We can live a simple life … OR we can be wealthy.
- We can be a good person … OR we can achieve significant career goals.
Actually, we can have the exact combination of whatever we want and still be truly, authentically, uniquely ourselves.
We simply need to know who we are, what’s important to us and then allow ourselves to have that in the simplest way possible.
Okay, fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview: Can you share with our readers your “5 things we can each do to address the feeling of not having enough.”
- Know your values: our values are the things that are most important to us. When we know what these are, it’s so much easier to say ‘yes’ to the things that align us with the things that make us happy. The more we say ‘yes’ to these things, the less we need to use the scattergun approach to trying to find the ‘golden nugget’ in life, because we’ve always got things that feed our soul.
- Give yourself more of the important things: important things always get done. So, make space in your diary to give yourself the things that are important to you. You’ll find yourself doing less of the stuff that’s draining and that you don’t like, because you’re busy doing the things that make your heart sing. And let’s face it, we don’t need to look for more when we’re distracted by being happy.
- Say ‘No’ more often: once you know what’s important to you, you’ll be more easily able to see the things that don’t help you achieve and have those things. Say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t give you the things that are important to you.
- Keep It Super Simple: as humans, we’re very good at making things complex, when simplicity will do. When you find something that’s important to you, the next step is to create simple and practical things you can do to make it as easy as possible for you to have that thing. So, create steps that give you the things that are important to you so you can have them in the simplest way possible.
- Get outside: fresh air and sunshine always give us the opportunity to find a new perspective on the things we’re experiencing in life. So, get outside and give yourself every chance of experiencing life in all the ways available to you.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?
I have a very eclectic soul so am always finding resources from many different places.
I love anything that expands my mind and my soul, that connects me to my imagination and that encourages me to ask questions that show me new perspectives.
The more time you spend growing and expanding who you are, the more you’ll find that resources appear to you when you need them.
Always ask to be shown all the possibilities, then open your mind to seeing them when they appear.
Put all the options on the table and allow yourself to learn and grow and develop in all the ways that are appropriate for you.
Then allow everyone else the same opportunity with an overview of empathy, and understanding that we’re all different, therefore we need different things — and that’s a great thing.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would inspire people to view the world with a filter of love.
We’ve been taught to compare, judge and criticise as the primary way of determining where we are at in comparison. We’ve been taught that competition — and getting to the top no matter what it costs us (or those around us) — is the number one objective in life.
If we could view everything in front of us as a projection showing us the direction of our next step, maybe we’d see the end of war, the end of greed and the end of a life full of ill-heath and misery.
We’d be aligned with the things that are important to us, and simply let go of the things that aren’t.
We’d be happy for everyone’s achievements while still chasing our own. We’d move to living life from a place of abundance for all, instead of lack and competition for scarce resources.
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
I spend a lot of time in the online space and am frequently sought as an expert for media across all channels. I share a lot of my work through my online platforms that readers can access by connecting with me:
Website Link: https://www.sheiqlife.com/
Free Email Series: https://www.sheiqlife.com/7-steps-email-series/
I also have an online program to assist busy professional women reduce stress and beat burnout that can be accessed here: https://sheiqlife.com/kiss-fbpw/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
About The Interviewer: For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. Drew is the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., a full-service PR agency lauded by PR Week and Good Morning America. Wasabi Publicity, Inc. is a global marketing company that supports industry leaders, change agents, unconventional thinkers, companies and organizations that strive to make a difference. Whether it’s branding, traditional PR or social media marketing, every campaign is instilled with passion, creativity and brilliance to powerfully tell their clients’ story and amplify their intentions in the world. Schedule a free consultation at WasabiPublicity.com/Choosing-Publicity
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Author Bronwen Sciortino On Why So Many Of Us Are Feeling Unsatisfied… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.