“The fear of other people’s opinions [FOPO] is one of modern humans’ greatest fears and one of the greatest restrictors of potential,” Gervais says. “Yes, we all have a deep desire to belong, but what other people think of us has very little to do with our actual potential.”
FOPO is a theme his guests have talked about extensively. Valerie Kondos Field, the head coach for UCLA Gymnastics, told Gervais: “It all comes down to living your life unapologetically, true to your spirit and your soul.”
To fight FOPO, he says, you need to have high regard for other people—but at the same time, you need to have the courage to live by your own standards.
Research proves that maintaining a positive outlook can prevent stress, fend off depression, and lengthen your life. It’s also been closely connected to grit, a key predictor of success. Indeed, the hundreds of people Gervais has interviewed are pretty much all “fundamentally optimistic,” he says.
Renowned cosmetics creator Bobbi Brown—who started her eponymous makeup line with $10,000 in 1991 and sold it to Estée Lauder for a reported $74.5 million four years later—told Gervais in 2018: “I never think something’s not going to work out. If it doesn’t work out, I just change things up and it’s an opportunity to do something different.”
To reach your full potential, you need to train the body and brain equally. “Mindfulness can help you develop a relationship with your inner dialogue, build confidence, create a sense of intense calm, and focus deeply on the task at hand,” he says. These trainable skills play a huge role in improving performance in work, fitness, and relationships.
Meditation isn’t new, but Gervais had never heard about extreme implementations until he interviewed Formula 1 Mercedes owner Toto Wolf. “He explained that when he and his team travel across the world to race, he uses the entire ten- to eleven-hour flights to meditate and think deeply about how they’ll meet the challenges they’re going to face,” Gervais says. “Most people would get on a plane, flip on a movie, and escape. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Toto’s is an inspiring strategy.”