I Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Faust Ruggiero On Why So Many Of Us Are Feeling Unsatisfied & What We Can Do About It
An Interview With Drew Gerber
Try not to listen to advertisers and marketers. Remember, the very nature of their job is to sell you something you don’t need. Take those lists you made, and decide what is absolutely essential.
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 Faust Ruggiero, M.S.
Faust Ruggiero’s spans over forty years. He has counseled clients ranging in age from five, and into senior living. He have counseled people and families in inpatient facilities, prisons, substance abuse counseling centers, in nursing homes, provided employee assistance programs to major corporations, and have extensive experience providing emotional support services to deaf children. He has been a Psychologist in private practice for thirty-five years.
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 am one of those people blessed with the understanding of who I am, and why I am here. I knew at a very early age that my position in life would be guided by my service to others. By the time I was a junior in high school, I knew that Psychology would be my course of study, and that helping others who are suffering, and so often, lost in their lives, would be my own personal destiny. For some of us, we need to search for the meaning in our own lives. For me, instead of searching for something, I simply followed the path which seemed to be laid out before me. I was born to be in service of people, I answered the call, and as a result, I am living a rich and fulfilling life. I have never looked back.
What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?
I would tell myself that everything I need to be happy and productive is already inside me. I would advise that I focus on my faith and my family, and my willingness to be in service of other people. I would also advise that I take a good look at what I need versus what I want. All too often, people look back at their lives, and focus on events and decisions that they would love to be able to do over. For me, life is all about processes and the energy we direct toward those life fulfilling processes. If I had the opportunity to meet my younger self I would have this to say: begin to formulate a plan that will help you direct your energies into a positive and world enhancing way of living. Let your intellect rule your emotions, and base your decisions on factual information that can help you to achieve your goals, and to be a happy person. I would also talk to myself about balance in life. I think it’s important that we understand that we are all physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual beings. I would tell myself to be mindful of that, and to work to keep as much balance in my life as possible. I would also say how say how important it is to unconditionally love others. This is where we all find ourselves.
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?
I, like many other people, had a high school teacher who decided that I was a protege, and I was going to be his personal project. Studies it came easy for me in school, and I had a tendency to “become distracted”. He decided to put an end to that and quickly assign the duties of news editor for the school paper to me. Along the way, he challenged me intellectually, but was always nurturing, positive, and never let me off the proverbial hook.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?
I am. We are in the editing phase of my new book, The Fix Your Depression Handbook. I hope to have this ready for publication before the end of the year.
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?
I watched so many people get caught up in the acquisition process. In my first book, I write about keeping life simple, and needing less to have more. We have a tendency to inundate our lives with our desires, which are nothing more than empty ways of feeding our emotions. Emotionally, we have become needy, reduced to comparing ourselves to others who we assume have more than we do. Though we know little about them, we think we want what they have, and don’t measure up if we can’t secure it. We think we want what they have and don’t measure up if we can’t secure it. This becomes a continuous and obsessive cycle of emotional investment for unnecessary personal gain. It possesses no productive purpose, and produces no long term sustainable happiness or fulfillment.
As far as the nature part of the question is concerned, we never really move that far away from our primal instincts, and those include stockpiling items that make us feel good. The nurture part of this has these items stroking our emotional insecurities, and for a short time providing a quick fix that makes us feel as though we have enough, and are, in some fashion, measuring up.
We have redefined safe and secure which used to be applied to our physical survival, and have attached it to our emotional survival.
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?
Regardless of societal and cultural differences, it all boils down to having and not having. We saw examples of this when the first wave of the COVID virus hit. All of a sudden we seem to be behaving more in tune with our primal instincts. We began stockpiling resources, some that we needed, and some that we simply did not. We attacked each other, and we became emotionally competitive assuming that we needed to do this to survive. Typically, the more we become threatened, the more primal we become. We may express it differently in different cultures, but when you take a closer look at it, we are not as different as we think we are.
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?
Societies have a tremendous impact over what we think, and how we behave. They create a sense of normalcy, and they provide guidelines for the manners in which we conduct our lives. The brain is designed to learn and relearn information. It also attempts to apply information to help us feel safe and secure. Our brains are designed as problem solvers, but also to create pathways to happiness. So, the society in which we live provides a template for how we are going to live, and our brain does its best to understand and apply the information contained in the template.
So, the brain always looks for a format which will provide the necessary processes for living. Society provides that format. Our brains adjust to that format, and the processes that we use to live, items like honesty, communication intellectual reasoning, emotional expression, and even the way we conduct our relationships is expressed through the format that society provides, as our brains socially and individually adjust to this format.
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 is no doubt about this. Let’s use an example. Big pharma has a tremendous influence on the way people perceive their health, and what to do about it. On any given evening, in most commercial television shows, you can find commercial messages about drugs the pharmaceutical company would like us to buy. However, we need a prescription from a physician to buy these medications, so it looks like the commercial message is useless. You see, big pharma is not selling the drug. They are selling the drug culture. In western civilization, we buy into that notion very quickly, and we are being influenced to become a drug dependent society.
Now, that’s one example of advertising influence. Much of this is done on a subliminal level. The message in all advertising for goods and services is that you don’t have what you need, and definitely not what you want. Now we’re back to feeling inadequate, insecure, and just not making the grade.
How is the wiring of the brain, body, and beliefs shaped by marketing, language, and how humans trade?
Language is far and away our most powerful influencer. The brain uses language in two ways. First, it uses it to express what we think and feel. Second, it processes language from others and attempts to internalize and order it so that we understand what we are hearing, and know what to do with it. Honest communication can be a wonderful thing. On the other hand, marketing is not designed to be honest. It is designed to work on a subliminal level, and create the impression that something needs to be acquired, especially when there was no need for it. When we buy into that notion, we quickly become dissatisfied with ourselves, and often the condition of our lives. We believe what that external language is telling us, and we have a tendency to direct our lives accordingly.
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?
The most important concept is truth in advertising. If we were a culture that simply created goods, and then told the public that we have created them, show them what is beneficial and maybe not so beneficial, and then let them make decisions for themselves, we would have truth in advertising. It would foster trust, and quite frankly, in the end, people would become repeat buyers.
What I’m saying here is that marketing people are caught up in the web they, themselves, have created. They firmly believe that they need to use dishonest and subliminal techniques in order to sell their products. In truth, all they really need to do is be honest, respectful, and present the information in a straightforward fashion. People do respond well when they are treated with respect.
For you personally, if you have all your basic needs met, do you feel you have enough in life?
It’s a good question. Many years ago, I consciously trained my brain to move away from quick fixes and external things I do not need. I did this by slowing down the process. If I saw something I thought I wanted, I would take several days to make a decision about it. I collected all the information that I needed, and made my decision based upon factual information.
This is what I’m talking about when I’m saying we can have less to have more. Being rich is not about having a lot. It’s about needing less. When we get to the point that we understand and firmly believe that we don’t need as much as we think we do, we introduce a little more freedom into our world. It’s a much calmer and more fulfilling way to live.
Can you share with our readers your “5 things we can each do to address the feeling of not having enough.”
First, make a list of everything you need, and then another list of everything you want. Here is the catch though. The things you need should relate to your safety and physical security. They can also be items that you need to live. You’d be surprised how much on your want list is unnecessary.
Second, try not to listen to advertisers and marketers. Remember, the very nature of their job is to sell you something you don’t need. Take those lists you made, and decide what is absolutely essential.
Third, Don’t compare yourself with anyone. Envy is slow suicide. When you envy someone else and try to do what they’re doing, all you are doing is repeating their mistakes. Your life is your own. Live according to your own needs.
Forth, keep your process slow. There’s no need to rush into decisions about acquisitions and keeping up with everyone else. Give yourself a luxury of time, and you’ll keep your mistakes to a minimum.
Fifth, remember that your life is important, and you don’t want to surrender it to a useless acquisition process. Live by what you need. not by what you want.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?
There is a book that was published way back in 1971 call Be Here Now, by Ram Dass. It really focuses on living in the present, and living simply. Is a good read
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. 🙂
Let’s stay with your theme in this interview. Instead of buying into the acquisition process and weighing your life down with so much of what you don’t need, keep your life simple. Be a person who needs less and realizes how much you have. Become strong by working from the inside out.
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
They can find me on my website at: www.faustruggiero.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
As always, it has been my pleasure. Be well, and God bless
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: Faust Ruggiero On Why So Many Of Us Are Feeling Unsatisfied & What We… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.