Catherine Price is the author of The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again.

She is a science journalist, speaker, author, and teacher. She is not an improv comedian…as you’ll soon hear.

She helps people create a screen-life balance by setting boundaries for their devices in order to maximize creativity, productivity, and mental health.

Catherine graduated from Yale University and UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. She’s a recipient of a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Reporting, a two-time Société de Chimie Industrielle fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and a winner of the Gobind Behari Lal prize for science writing.

She is the author of; How to Break Up With Your Phone, Vitamania, 101 Places Not to See Before You Die, The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, and, again, the book she released this week, The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again.

In other words, Catherine helps people scroll less, live more, and have fun while doing so.

Enjoy this interview with the fun and funny Catherine Price!

If you enjoyed this episode of the Remarkable People podcast, please leave a rating, write a review, and subscribe. Thank you!

Don't miss @catherine_price on @guykawasaki's Remarkable People podcast. Share on X

Do you need a funtervention? Make sure to visit Catherine at!

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Transcript of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast with the remarkable Catherine Price:

Guy Kawasaki:
I'm Guy Kawasaki, and this is Remarkable People.
We're going to have fun in this episode.
My guest is Catherine Price.
She is the author of The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again.
She is a science journalist, speaker, author, and teacher.
She is not an improv comedian, as you'll soon hear.
She helps people create a screen-life balance by setting boundaries for their devices.
Catherine graduated from Yale University and UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.
She's a recipient of a Middlebury Fellowship in environmental reporting.
Plus, she's won several awards from organizations whose names I don't know how to pronounce, and I am on deadline to deliver this file.
She's the author of How to Break Up With Your Phone; what a great title, Vitamania, 101 Places Not to See Before You Die, The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, and again, the book she released this week and I recommend, The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again.
In other words, Catherine helps people scroll less, live more, and have fun while doing so.
I'm Guy Kawasaki, this is Remarkable People.
And now, here is the fun and funny, Catherine Price.
I can't believe it's so hot in here.
Catherine Price:
I'm not sure we're supposed to say. I'm rather cold right now.
Guy Kawasaki:
No, Catherine, this is from your book where you talk about yes, and.
Catherine Price:
Oh, see, see, see, I am bad at that.
Oh my goodness, that's so funny.
Yes, fair enough. You're trying to get me to say yes, and, as an improve comedian. But in my book, as I point out, I am not good improv comedy. I tried to be yes, and, but I was like, "I don't know. I don't know what he's talking about."
Guy Kawasaki:
Okay. I'm going to give you another chance. All right? So not what I'm trying to do.
Catherine Price:
I literally can't think of anything else to say. No, I'm really bad at improv comedy.
Guy Kawasaki:
So this is not going to work?
Catherine Price:
No, I think this is kind of hilarious.
Guy Kawasaki:
Okay. You tell me, you say to me.
Catherine Price:
It sure is hot in here.
Guy Kawasaki:
You're the one who wanted to see where Epstein is right now.
Catherine Price:
I can't do it, Guy. I can't do it. I really can't. I'm very spontaneous in conversation. I cannot do this.
But you're welcome to make fun of me in the podcast.
Guy Kawasaki:
People are going to be wondering what the hell is Guy trying to do.
So maybe you can explain what I'm trying to do and failing.
Catherine Price:
Let's explain what the hell Guy is trying to do.
In my book, The Power of Fun, I talk about the importance of having what I call a fun mindset, which is a version of a growth mindset, being open to opportunities for fun. And one of my suggestions is that you adopt a similar philosophy to what is encouraged in the art of improv comedy, which is yes, and which is taking whatever is presented to you, and instead of shutting it down saying yes, and then trying to add to this situation.
So in the context of improv comedy, that could be a statement such as, "Wow, it's hot in here," to which the other player, as they're called in improv comedy, could say something that builds upon that scene.
Now, in my book, in my defense, I point out that I am actually horrible at improv comedy, it's one of the few experiences in my life that has truly embarrassed me. And I have to include examples from Tina Fey, who is an obviously excellent improviser to even respond in the book to the statement, it's hot in here.
I am a spontaneous and fun-loving person in many contexts, improv comedy is not something I excel at personally. So she might say something like, "You shouldn't have said we should crawl into this dog's mouth." That's one of her examples, but Guy has just pointed out and proven that I truly am not good at acting or pretending.
Guy Kawasaki:
Typically, I'm not trying to make my guests look bad. I thought you would just come back and just have some brilliant-
Catherine Price:
That's so funny. Also, I should say I'm very literal. So when you say it's hot in here, I'm like, "Okay, well I'm actually quite chilly." And then I'm thinking, "Yeah, I'm sitting next to a radiator, but it's not really working."
Guy Kawasaki:
Nothing like a good fast start to a podcast interview.
So, shall we proceed?
Catherine Price:
Sure, sure. Let's yes, and our way somewhere else. Yes we should, and I'm happy to talk about anything else that doesn't involve me pretending.
Guy Kawasaki:
How is your kitchen?
Catherine Price:
My kitchen is fantastic. And I think you may be asking me that because my kitchen played a role in me writing this book.
Yes, I love design and I love old details. And with the help of my husband, we collaborated on designing our kitchen and incorporating all sorts of what I find to be interesting architectural elements and salvage things into our kitchen, which was a very fun process.
Guy Kawasaki:
But arguably, at the end of that kitchen story, you tell the story of holding your baby and how you were totally distracted and you were thinking your baby's looking at you saying, "What is mom doing? I'm looking at her."
Catherine Price:
My new book, The Power of Fun, is directly inspired by my last book, which was called How to Break Up With Your Phone.
And that book was inspired by an experience I had that you're alluding to, it was probably a number of experiences, but one that stands out in my mind where I had recently had a baby and I was up with my daughter late one night, feeding her. And I had this out of body experience where I saw the scene as it would appear to an outsider, and the scene was this little baby gazing up at her mother and then her mother looking down at her phone.
And I just felt devastated because that was not what I wanted to be doing with my time or the impression I wanted her to have of our relationship.
And what you're alluding to is the fact that whereas many people might have been looking at a news story or a post on Instagram, what I was doing was I was looking at doorknobs and hinges on eBay because we had just been in the process of renovating our kitchen when my daughter was born, she was five and a half weeks early.
And even though by that point, we'd finished the kitchen renovation, all my doors had doorknobs and hinges, I was still opening eBay at random moments just as a compulsive tick in the same way that many people do social media and scrolling through pictures of Victorian doorknobs instead of interacting and engaging with my baby.
It's an absurd example of how our attention can be hijacked onto things that are ultimately really meaningless and be taken away from things that we probably, truly do want to be paying attention to.
Guy Kawasaki:
But Catherine, if I may be a devil's advocate and support you, I would make the case that you clearly find looking on eBay for Victorian doorknobs to be fun, so it was okay for you to do that. No?
Catherine Price:
I don't think it was fun, no.
I'm a bit advantaged here, Guy. because I spent the past two years thinking about, what is fun? But I would say that it was stimulating and it was a quick fix of dopamine in the same way that you get a little bit of excitement if you find a new email or a new comment or a new post or you find something new, but it wasn't ultimately satisfying.
I wouldn't say that I have fond memories of the times I've spent scrolling through eBay looking at heating grates, which I also did, on eBay.
So I think it was like junk food. It was like a quick fix of pleasure, but I've actually thought about what I was doing, it was not very meaningful, it didn't nourish me. And in fact, if you do it for too long, which I did, it leaves you feeling empty and gross.
Guy Kawasaki:
I just interviewed Julia Cameron, and she has this concept-
Catherine Price:
Oh, I love her, The Artist Way.
Guy Kawasaki:
So she has the concept of these play dates, artist dates.
So if you had written that, one of the ways you have fun is you go to antique stores and you look at drawer pulls and knobs and door knobs and all that, and that's how you have fun.
Everyone would be swooning saying, "Oh yeah, that is such fun to go antiquing." But you were doing it digitally.
So why does that make it bad?
Catherine Price:
No, I don't think it's bad per se, but I would say that I think that not everyone would be swooning, some people would be like, "That sounds like a miserable way to spend an afternoon," because not everyone finds fun in the same way.
And to push back on that, I actually don't think that would be fun either because I've become much more precise about how I use the word fun.
And I think there's a distinction between things that we enjoy, which are legitimate. If you're truly enjoying something, by all means, do it. But I think there's a difference between just enjoyment and fun.
And the definition I've come to for fun is that it's a very energizing, active, and engaged state that I define as being a confluence of playfulness, connection, and flow.
And I can tell you more about how I came to that definition if you'd like, but it requires us to be fully present in our experience and connected with something or most often someone else in the vast majority of cases and other person is involved, even for introverts, and to be totally undistracted and present.
And by playfulness, I don't mean that you have to play a game. God forbid you have to play charades. As you can tell already, I'm horrible at charades and I hate it.
Or you don't have to play a game, you don't have to do an improv game, just the spirit of light heartness and just being open to whatever happens without caring too much about the outcome.
And that's what I define as fun. And so I would say that I might enjoy. And indeed, I do enjoy going to stores to look at doorknobs and hinges in person, but I wouldn't say that for me that's fun per se. It's just a hobby or something that I like to do that's an enjoyable use of my time, but it's not going to nourish me for days afterwards to think, "Man, that was a gorgeous door knob."
Guy Kawasaki:
And since you mentioned it, tell us how you did come to this three factor definition of true fun.
Catherine Price:
I started by just noticing the feeling or trying to put to a word to a feeling that I started to have when I started this guitar class.
So to back up a bit, when I wrote How to Break Up With Your Phone, a lot of that obviously was about reclaiming time from devices. It's not about dumping your phone, but it's about creating better boundaries with technology so that you make sure that when you are using your phone or any of its apps, it's the results of a conscious choice rather than some kind of manipulative design trick that's there to essentially make money for somebody else.
Now, what I came to conclude after I started taking back more time for my devices, is that you end up, unsurprisingly, with a lot more free time.
And so the next step in the process is to figure out what you actually want to do with your free time.
And I had this horrifying moment, actually in this very room, where I realized that I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was deliberately not spending time on my phone in this particular afternoon.
My daughter was asleep, she was napping, and my husband was out. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do. So I freaked out, decided that meant I was waiting to die. And I thought, "I don't want to just be waiting to die, I have to figure out what I want to spend my attention on."
And I ended up signing up for this guitar class because I always said... I had asked a lot of people when I was researching How to Break Up With Your Phone, "What's something you always say you want to do but supposedly don't have time for?" And my personal answer to that question, and I encourage listeners to ask themselves that question too, my answer was to learn to play the guitar because I had one, I play piano, I just never gotten around to the guitar.
And I decided for this class, and I started to realize pretty early on that this hour and a half on Wednesday nights was quickly becoming the highlight of my week.
And it was interesting because at first I thought, I like music, I'm learning a new skill, maybe that's what's causing this energized feeling that really lingered for days afterwards. But then I realized it wasn't the skill acquisition, it wasn't the activity itself that was causing this feeling, there was something bigger going on.
And the feeling, the best word I could come up with to describe this feeling of energy and buoyancy and lightheartedness and joy, was fun. I was having fun with these other people. So I became very interested in trying to nail down what the definition of fun is.
And when I looked it up in the dictionary, the words that I found and the descriptions and definitions I found didn't adequately capture what I was feeling. They would say things like lighthearted pleasure or enjoyment. And that was true, but there was something deeper for me going on.
So I realized I would have to create my own definition. So I came up with this hypothesis based on my own experiences of playful, connected flow. And then to test that out, I recruited this whole big group of people, over 1,000 people, for what I called the fun squad, and I asked people to recount experiences from their own lives to me that they would describe as having been, "So fun." I hadn't come up with the idea of true fun.
And I didn't tell them my proposed definition, I wanted to see what they would say. So they shared these anecdotes. And then I asked them for their definition of what fun is. And only after they'd done that on the next page of the survey did I propose my definition of playful connected flow and asked them, "Would this accurately describe the experience as you just recounted to me?" And the vast majority of people said yes, that actually really does capture it.
And when I read through their proposed definitions, I saw a similar energy running through it where it wasn't just lighthearted pleasure, there was something much more profound going on, something deeply joyful about the stories.
And they stood out in people's minds as peak experiences from their lives in a way that went way beyond, "Yeah, I liked looking at those door knobs in that salvage store." So that's how I came up with the definition. And I just became obsessed with what that feeling was and then looking into what it does for us, because I really love examining things that we take for granted but that upon reflection we realized we actually have never thought critically about.
One of my previous books was about the history of vitamins. And that was the same reason my husband turned to me one day, he said, "What's a vitamin?"
And I opened my mouth to answer him. I had been writing about food and nutrition at point, and I was like, "I actually have no idea." And so I spent three years writing a book about vitamins.
And the same thing with phones, I became curious, "What are the effects of these devices that all of us carry with us at all times? What effects are they having on us?" And then subsequently, "What is fun? We use that word all the time, we talk about fun casually in all sorts of context, but what does it really mean? And then how can we use a more precise definition of fun to make much better choices about how we spend our time?”
I think many people listening may be wondering, she's mentioned it two or three times, how about just giving us the short course on How to Break Up With Your Phone, which by the way is one of the world's greatest titles, I have to say.
Catherine Price:
Oh thank you. I like that title too.
It was really hard to sell that book, because at that point, no one was really interested in it. It was only one place that was interested in buying the book and it's been so cool to see it really resonate with people around the world.
I would say the first step would be to ask yourself what you actually want to spend your time on. Most people will start at this place of restriction and hacks, like they'll say, "Oh, I just spend too much time on my phone, I need to spend less time on my phone," and then they'll turn their screen to black and white for a day, and then that fails. They give up and they feel like they are horrible people, which is not what your goal is.
So I encourage you instead to start by asking yourself, what is important to you? What do you want to spend time on? And you can use fun to help you answer that question, which we can talk about more.
But what are your priorities? Because once you recognize what your actual priorities are, it becomes easier to contrast that with how you're actually spending your time. You'll say, "I want to spend time this hobby or this passion or this person, in reality, I'm spending two hours a day scrolling through Instagram."
And once you see that contrast laid out for you, it becomes a lot easier to change your habits, not from a place of restriction, but out of true desire.
You just won't want to spend as much time on your phone because you've got other things you'd rather do instead. And if you can reach a point of feeling disgusted by the techniques being used against you, by many of the apps that suck the most time from us, that's a very motivating emotion to get you to just not want to spend time on them because you got better things to do.
So I would say the philosophical approach is very important to start with. And then once that's in place, you can start making changes to your phone itself and to your habits surrounding your phone use and to your physical environment, to create better boundaries with your phone so that you can keep the parts that are useful or truly enjoyable for you and minimize or eliminate the things that are not so that it becomes a matter of setting your goals and then using those goals to help you set better boundaries.
Guy Kawasaki:
It's time for true confessions.
So usually, I sleep with an iPhone within arms reach.
Catherine Price:
Is it under your pillow?
Guy Kawasaki:
Not under, it's charging.
Catherine Price:
All right. That's better than some.
Guy Kawasaki:
I don't want to get some brain tumor or something from that. But last night, in preparation for this, I said, "Okay, I am going to put that phone in another room and I'm not going touch it." And I did it until 4:00am. And at 4:00am, I woke up and with every ounce of self-discipline, I picked it up, I went to another room, and I put it down out and I went back to sleep. So I have been phone free, or I had been phone free for twelve hours, which is probably the longest I've been phone free. So you've already improved my life, I just want you to know.
Catherine Price:
That's pretty cool. That's really interesting. Because I think that once you start noticing that, then you just start noticing how crazy we've all gotten.
The idea that it's hard to spend your time asleep with your phone.... You're sleeping, why does your phone get to be a part of that? That should be, one might think, easy, but you're certainly not the only person. First of all, most people use their phones as their alarm clocks.
And it's one of those things where if you stop and think about it, how do you get an alarm to stop? You touch the alarm. So if your phone's your alarm clock, you are guaranteeing, your phone is the first thing you interact with in the morning.
And if you think about what's going to be waiting for you on your phone, unless you've done a good job already of cleaning up notifications... But even if you have, honestly, you're going to be met with either notifications that are there to pull your attention away or you're going to be compelled just out of habit to follow up the silence of your alarm with a quick check of your email, a quick check of the news.
All of a sudden, your morning and therefore your whole day has gotten derailed. And guess who you are benefiting? The people who are making and the companies that are making the apps. You're not doing anything that benefits you.
So I think that setting better boundaries around sleep and protecting the moments before sleep and right after you wake up, that's where I would actually start, because you're going to get huge benefits if you're able to create better boundaries to protect those spaces.
Your day is going to be started on a different foot that actually is the way you want to start it, and you're also going to be able to relax, unwind, and sleep and get the rest that you need, which our phones are having hugely negative impacts on our sleep.
Guy Kawasaki:
Julia Cameron would say that if you first check your phone in the morning, that just throws off the whole morning pages theory, shatters that.
Catherine Price:
Yes. That's funny. I have somewhere right near me, I have a journal in which I try to do her three pages in the morning thing. And yeah, when you've got a special energy in the morning and your brain that's waking up refreshed, who knows what it was doing while you were sleeping.
I play a lot of music and I'm just fascinated by what my brain is up to while I'm sleeping. I started playing the drums as a result of this book. And if anyone out there has played the drums, I'm sure can relate. It explodes your brain in a really exciting way, but it'll be something I just can't do because I can't get all my limbs to work independently and I'm stuck.
Go to sleep, wake up in the morning, and all of a sudden I can do it.
And it's like, "Brain, what were you up to? Thank you. But I don't want to waste whatever my brain has achieved in the night by then turning to the news or writing a stupid email, I'd much rather put it to something creative such as, especially since I am a writer, I'm supposed to be writing, like writing three pages in the morning and just seeing what happens. That's such a better use of your time.
Each of us has a different thing that we might want to do in the morning. For someone else, it might be going for a walk or extra or meditating or reading, whatever. But I can guarantee you that nearly no one, if you ask them, is going to say, "What I really want to do first thing when I wake up is spend a half an hour on Twitter."
Guy Kawasaki:
Better to look for doorknobs. Yeah.
Catherine Price:
Oh my God, yeah, that at least you can open your doors. And every time you open your door, you get delighted. When has Twitter delighted you?
Guy Kawasaki:
At my house, my office is in a barn and that barn is down the hill, and so what works for me is the amount of effort to get to a soda or French fries or candy or a phone has to exceed the pleasure I receive from drinking that soda, or eating that candy bar, or picking up the phone. So I think I'll just leave my phone down in the barn every night because that will make it... It's not like I can reach over and grab it anymore, it would take a lot of effort to get to that phone.
So that's my new theory.
Catherine Price:
Yeah. I think it's also worth keeping in mind just that anytime you experiment with something like that, people tend to think that you need to then permanently do it.
From now on, you're going to always keep your phone in the barn. And then they think, "I might not be able to do that. What if there's an emergency?" All these thoughts will couple up. So I would say if anyone's having that reaction, try for just one night. Do all these things as an experiment and then notice the difference it makes, and you'll be able to pick out which things you want to try more consistently.
And it's going to take a while because we have a different relationship and different set of boundaries that's going to work for us, but it doesn't have to be all or nothing. And if you try something once, it doesn't mean that you're committing yourself to a life of it, but try it. Just try it and see what a difference it makes.
Because right now we're stuck in these habits that as of fifteen years ago, you'd be like "What? You have this, you're calling it a phone, but wait, do you make phone calls on it? Isn't that just like a news or an email device? That's not a phone. We're you sleeping with it? Wait, what? Didn't you used to read books? I thought you liked books. I thought you had real friendships”, but it's absurd if you have to think about it.
Guy Kawasaki:
You are just defining my life, but we won't go there.
So can you tell me, do you think true fun is more about the removal of bad things or the addition of good things?
Catherine Price:
I think true fun is really the confluence of those three states, the playful connected flow, but in terms of how do you achieve it, how do you create more opportunities for it?
I think it's a combination. I think that one of the biggest impediments to fun right now is distraction, because as I was saying... To clarify, flow, so playful, connected flow, we talked about playfulness and connection.
Flow is the psychological state of being so engrossed in your present experience that in many cases you lose track of time. The most traditional example of that is an athlete in the midst of a game, but you can have in the middle of a conversation.
I would argue that I'm in flow right now, talking to you because I'm totally focused and engaged and present. There's multiple opportunities we encounter each day for flow. Anything that distracts us is going to kick us out of flow because distraction is antithetical to flow.
I argue that flow is intrinsic to fun, you can't have fun if you're not in flow. And if you put those pieces together, it means that anything that just distracts you, it's going to kick you out of flow and then you're not going to be able to have fun. So distractions and fun do not mix.
So, given that, we are so distracted these days, and in many cases, the distractions are coming from our devices.
I would say that one of the most important things we can do to set the stage for fun is to try to reduce or eliminate distractions whenever possible, because if you're not present, you're not going to have fun. So in that sense, it's removing a negative, it's removing these constant distractions that are vying for our attention and stealing our lives from us, essentially. But then as we come to number four, you're going to end up with empty space and you need to figure out how you want to fill that space.
And so I think that's when you start to investigate for yourself what typically generates playfulness or connection or flow for you personally.
So I would argue that the definition of true fun is universal. Playful, connected flow really does seem to resonate with people as a universal definition of fun, but each of us finds it in different ways.
And I think of that, I call them fun magnets. And my definition of that is, what are the activities, and the people, and even the settings that are the most likely to generate fun for you. Are they going to be guaranteed to generate fun for you? No, because fun is an emotional experience that that does not like to be pinned down.
It's like romance, if you force it, it's going to not happen, it's going to run away.
For example, I can tell you that I know that playing music with a particular group of friends is a fun magnet for me, I very often have true fun when I'm doing that. I can use that knowledge to actually put more opportunities for fun on my schedule in a way that makes it possible to plan for opportunities for fun, which I know sounds counterintuitive because how do you plan for fun?
But if I know I'm likely to have fun doing this thing, I can make a point of prioritizing it. It might not be like the most mind blowing experience of fun I've ever had in my life, but it's going to be way more fun than, for example, spending the same amount of time scrolling through doorknobs on eBay, even though I love those doorknobs.
I think it's a combination of making space by removing the negative and then filling that space with a positive and identifying really having a good sense of your personal sources of fun so that you can prioritize those and incorporate them into your daily life as much as possible.
Guy Kawasaki:
Can you be in a state of flow when you're doing something you're not good at?
Catherine Price:
Yeah. Give me an example of what you're thinking of.
Guy Kawasaki:
When you started playing guitar or drums, or when I started surfing. I was not good at it. Can you achieve a state of flow surfing when you're not a surfer yet?
Catherine Price:
I think that's a great question. So the person who coined the term flow named Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi actually wrote about that. Unfortunately, he recently passed away.
In his book, Flow, he talks about how there is often a certain level of skill that's necessary to get into a state of flow, and that when you are building up to that point, it actually... flow itself is intrinsically motivating and you'll want to do it just for the sake of the enjoyment of doing it because flow feels good, but you can't get into flow if you suck at something, if you don't know how to do it.
Guy Kawasaki:
Trust me, I notice.
Catherine Price:
Right. How do you actually get yourself the motivation so that you can reach the state of competence at which flow becomes possible?
And one thing he says in his book is to actually provide yourself with extrinsic motivation and external rewards to keep your motivation up till you get to the point. So I think that's interesting to just play around with, as a concept, if you want to learn a foreign language, but are not at the point where it feels at all flowy, it feels horrible, what can you do to make it more enjoyable?
Also, what attitude can you bring to it? Can you bring a more playful attitude toward it so that you're not...
One of the, I think, the most damaging things to do is to criticize yourself while you're not good at something. Of course you're not good at it yet because you're a beginner.
So changing your mindset to become more excited about the idea of being a beginner and more accepting to the fact that you're not a master, and that's actually part of the process. But it's something I kept in mind personally, especially as I was writing the book.
I signed the book deal in April, 2020, so right when lockdowns were really starting and then spent the subsequent months, very isolated writing this book about fun. And in some ways, that was a little depressing, but it also made me really committed to the idea of building up more skills and knowledge so that I'd have more opportunities for flow and then I could use those as opportunities and springboards for fun when it became possible to see people in person more.
And one of my motivations for that was actually from the book Flow in which Csikszentmihalyi uses this example I love, which he says that a chess board to someone who doesn't play chess is just a board with carved figurines on it.
Honestly, it's that to me. But if you've put in the work and the effort to learn how to play chess, then the same chess board becomes this portal into flow for you, and I would argue into potential playfulness and connection and true fun if you're a chess player and that's a magnet for fun for you.
So all that is to say, yeah, I think it's hard if you can't get into flow, if you are just stumbling over yourself in that early beginner stages.
But I think we can make adjustments to our mindset and we can use fun in the concept of fun to make those adjustments so that we're kinder to ourselves in that beginning phase, and we can maintain an excitement about our stumbles instead of just criticizing ourselves. And then we will eventually get to the point where we can get into flow.
And once that happens, it is a self-reinforcing cycle where we will want to continue because we have experienced flow, it feels good, and we want to have more of it.
Guy Kawasaki:
This is like Catherine Price and Carol Dweck walk into a bar.
Catherine Price:
I would love to walk into a bar with Carol Dweck.
Guy Kawasaki:
And they come out with the fun mindset.
Can we have the opposite problem? What happens if you're so good at something that it's no longer challenging or exciting? Can you overshoot flow?
Catherine Price:
For flow in particular, there is an element of being right at the level of your abilities.
If you read Csikszentmihalyi's work, I can't speak for him, but I would think that he probably would say, "Yeah, if you've totally mastered something to the point that it gets boring, then you're probably not going to be in flow because you're going to be bored." I think that's something that can be a trick if you're with a kid sometimes.
For example, if I have such a good time playing music with my friends, but if one of them were a concert level or a professional musician, they'd be bored playing with me, they'd take a special kind of mindset to be like, "I'm really enjoying this."
So I think that you can get to a point where you either are bored because you just have mastered it and there's nowhere else to go or you're doing this activity with people who are at a different skill level. So either the people are better than you and you feel bad about yourself, or you are so much better than the other people that honestly it's hard for you to get into flow because you need to be on the same page.
I think that it can actually just be a useful thing to keep in mind when you're picking what kind of activities to pursue. I keep using music because it's something I'm really into, other people may have a totally different way, so feel free to use your own analogy.
But for me, I'll never master music. You can always get better at music. So I'm not worried about ever getting to a point where I'm like... Maybe there'll be a piece, there'll be a particular piece where I'm like, "Okay, I can play this without thinking I no longer really enjoy it because I'm sick of it." There's an infinite number of other pieces.
And it's interesting, I never had thought about this, but just as a personal example of getting to the point where you can experience flow, I've played piano since I was a kid, but I never improvised because I was really shy. My teacher is such a good improviser that I just wasn't able to let go in that way. And it's something I'm really working on.
I'm now in my forties, I'm really trying to be better at improvising and let myself go. And we do it in my guitar class that we do blues jams. And some of the other people in my class clearly get into a flow state when they do that. They're just playing and they're enjoying themselves, they're lost in the moment, and I am not there yet.
And I can tell you I really don't like those moments of classes. I feel dumb and just awkward, but I'm trying to get through that because I can see the reward on the other side, I can see what joy, and I feel their joy too, they are experiencing from this musical flow.
And I know that if I continue to put in the effort of practicing the scales and just putting on backing tracks and doing it, eventually, I will get to that point. And I know it's going to be worth it.
So I think keeping in mind the eventual reward, even when it feels really challenging and frustrating and being again, kind to yourself is crucial. I can report back in like seven years to tell you if I've actually reached the point where improvisation allows me to get into flow, but I'm trying.
Guy Kawasaki:
Okay. Does true fun change as you get older?
Catherine Price:
I think that the fundamental feeling of true fun doesn't change as you get older, but I think that the sources of it could change.
And I think that that's actually really useful to keep in mind, because I think that often we get locked into either our definition of who we are and what we do, or what we think of as fun, and then we don't either try new things or we don't abandon things that may have been truly fun for us in the past, but aren't anymore.
I used to really love water skiing when I was a teenager, I didn't do it that much, it was just at the summer camp, but I just found that to be so exhilarating.
Going into the weeds, I don't know if I would say that was fun per se, it was exhilarating, but I did love it, it was something I would seek out actively. And I had the opportunity this summer, because I went to a family camp, at that same camp to water ski and I was like, "Oh, okay, I'm going to live the live the glory of Catherine when she was sixteen." And I got to say, I really didn't enjoy that much. I felt pressured, I felt like I was supposed to be able to do what I was able to do when I was sixteen or seventeen despite not having done that for twenty whatever years.
And I found myself just worrying about injury, “What would happen if I fell?” And I had bought tickets to go a water ski during this camp and I realized, "I'm actually just going to get reimbursed for the rest of them because I actually don't enjoy this anymore." I don't.
And so I think it's important to recognize that things may be more fun now than you ever thought that they could be or less fun. And that goes for both activities in terms of their potential to generate fun for you, and also people. You may notice if you start paying attention to how you feel when you're around certain people that you may be maintaining some relationships, some voluntary relationships.
Obviously there's some people you can't avoid having to interact with like certain family members or colleagues or whatever, but you might be spending time with people where if you actually reflect on it, you don't have fun together, you actually don't even enjoy it, and they're draining you set of nourishing you.
And I think that that's useful to recognize because maybe they played a different role in your life or they were different or you were different earlier, but now, where are you? And I think that's very useful to recognize because our time is limited and we need to be much more aware of how our various activities and the people we spend time with make us feel so that we can just make better decisions about spend our time in a kind way. But I think that's important to be aware of.
Guy Kawasaki:
Catherine Price and Abraham Maslow walk into a bar and Catherine says, "I think you should add true fun to your hierarchy of needs."
Catherine Price:
What you're referring to as the hierarchy of needs that he created, I think it was 1943, so it'd be hard to walk in a bar with him, but if we were able to transcend time and space, the things that people need in order to reach their full potential and the bottom layers of his pyramid are basic needs like food, and water, and shelter, and security.
Then if you look at the top three levels of this pyramid, it's things like strong social connections, or emotional security, or a feeling of self-actualization.
And one of the most frequent pieces of pushback I get when I talk about fun is the idea that it's not yes, it's nice, but it's frivolous, it's unnecessary, or the assumption that we already need to be flourishing, we already need to be at the top of that pyramid before we can experience fun. And what I would love to talk to my good friend Abraham about would be the idea that actually well sure, achieving, if you do have strong social connections and you're full, you're actualized or whatever, yeah, sure, that's conducive to fun.
But I would argue that the reverse also holds true that fun doesn't just result from flourishing, it's actually a cause of human flourishing and that therefore, once our basic needs have been met, if we then prioritize the pursuit of true fun, true fun, like the full sense of fun that we're talking about, it can help us reach our full human potential.
And I just love that idea because I think we don't think, ironically though as it sounds, we don't think seriously enough about fun, but if we do, we'll start to recognize it's like a loophole in the world where it both feels really good, and it is really good for us.
How often do you have that? In my book I compare it to being like a diet where the only rule is to eat more of the foods you love. That doesn't exist.
But it's funny. I thought that existed once. I remember I was in college and I was eating all these cookies and baguettes and all this food, and this is a sick representation of the female psyche, but I was, "Ooh, I'm losing weight and I'm eating all these cookies. Did I find a loophole? What's happening?" No, I had type one diabetes and it was undiagnosed and I was eating all that stuff because I was literally starving because I was screening all my energy through blood sugar and I would've died, 100 years prior, I would've died because I had a terminal disease that now was treated with insulin.
Anyway, I was like, I thought I discovered this loophole, but no was actually a chronic and curable disease. But with fun, that isn't a loophole, it's true.
The more fun you have, the happier you'll be, the more resilient you'll be, the healthier you'll be, the better you'll able to connect with the other people in your life. You'll be more productive, and the list goes on. It's truly astonishing to think about the benefits of fun when you define it as the confluence of playfulness and connection of flow.
Guy Kawasaki:
I want to discuss the nuance that generally, or at least this is how I interpret it, you say that true fun can kick in after some of the basic needs are met, food, shelter, rest and safety.
But how do you define adequate or taken care of?
Because poor people can have fun, right? And people who are not American middle class can have fun. So what's the baseline here?
And I could also make the case, the flip side is true that there are many wealthy people who have food, shelter, rest and safety and they're not having fun.
Catherine Price:
Yeah. I completely agree. I feel this need given the tone of conversations right now to really explicitly be like, I understand that you're not going to be able to prioritize fun if you don't have food to feed your family, don't have electricity or someone in your life is sick with or has just died of COVID.
That's what I want to be sensitive to say, I'm not saying if you're at that level of struggling for survival, I don't want anyone to feel like we're adding someone else to your plate.
But I think what you're saying is really true and is not acknowledged enough that plenty of people who are the absolute top in terms of privilege are not having any fun at all.
And many people whom you'd think whose life circumstances you might think would prevent them from having any fun are having way more fun. And I don't think that anyone should be assuming... I think it's condescending and patronizing to say, "Oh, you're poor than I am. You can't be having any fun at all, you poor thing." They make me like, "Screw you. I actually have a lively social life and I'm really close to my family, and I have a really good sense of... " I don't think we can make those assumptions about each other.
I'm just trying to be sensitive to the fact that there's certain circumstances.
If you're in a true crisis moment, then you got to just survive.
So what's the adequate level? I think that it depends for each person, but if you are truly at a point where you are battling for survival, then you're going to know that maybe you're not going to be able to put as much thought into it.
With that said, there is a real benefit for all of us to try as much as we can to notice some moments of everyday playfulness, connection and flow and opportunities for those things that exist without us having to work for them.
One of my favorite practices actually was inspired by this poet, Ross Gay, who I might also love to go to a bar with.
And he wrote a book called The Book of Delights, accurate title, because it's a book for which he wrote an essay every day about something that delighted him. And he's not a Pollyanna.
He's not just saying, "Oh, everything's wonderful." He writes about really sad and difficult subjects, but he also just makes a point of noticing things every day that delight him. And when he does so, he puts a finger up in the air and he says out loud, “delight”. One of the things that delights him is anything purple. He just loves that with all the horrible things in the world, there's also all this purple that just delights him.
And I adopted this practice for myself and then I started to encourage other people to share their own delights.
One use of my phone that I actually really love is that I have got a delight text chain going on with some friends whom I don't get to see often because they live across the country. Every once in a while, someone just texts a picture or a comment or something with a caption “delight”. And I always feel a little more connected to those people and delighted. And it's actually gotten to the point I have a bracelet on my wrist, which obviously the listeners can't see, but I had these bracelets made and it says delight on it.
And it's a reminder to me to notice delights. One says pay attention and the other one says delight. Anyway, I think that speaks to the fact that anyone can notice delights.
And I think it's important also as a source of resilience, fun and prioritizing fun, and thinking about fun really, really helped me during the most isolating points in the pandemic, and just coping with life.
All of us have different challenges. Maybe you've got plenty of food on the table, but just examples from my own life, Type one diabetes is really hard. It's not really, acknowledged as such, it's really, really hard to live with and to manage. And it's very scary.
And just last night, I had a low blood sugar, a serious low blood sugar, and it can kill you in any day. So that's hard.
My dad has dementia. There's a lot of hard things going on, so I no way mean to be a Pollyanna. But I think that the more we can focus on the delights, the more we can orient ourselves towards opportunities to connect with other human beings, to experience the feeling of shared humanity that fun can help facilitate.
The more resilient will be and the better able will be to cope with whatever life throws our way and to help other people do the same.
Guy Kawasaki:
How do people determine if they are fun and compatible with other people?
Catherine Price:
The idea for fun compatibility, it goes to what I was speaking about earlier, where I think that playful, connected flow defines fun universally, but each of us have particular fun magnets that help us achieve the state of playful connected flow.
And I just think it's interesting as a conversation starter and as something to reflect on, to talk with the people in your life, your spouse, your friends, your kids, whatever, about what their fun magnets are and how they overlap or don't overlap with yours.
And then benefit of that, I think, is that the better you understand the similarities and the differences, the better you'll be able to make better decisions about the things you do together and then support each other in the more individual pursuits.
As an example, one of my fun magnets with my husband is going on adventures with our daughter.
So we prioritize that, or we love hosting dinners with friends, obviously hard during pandemic times, but when that's possible, it's something we want to prioritize because it brings us both joy and fun.
But an example of a fun magnet he doesn't share is for example, a couple Fridays ago, I sat in a parking lot for three hours with my friends for music class, it was freezing out, and we played music until my feet were so numb, it took an hour for me to fall asleep when I got home, it probably was a hugely bad idea, but it was really fun, not my husband's thing.
He loves going on overnight backpacking trips in remote locations that involve like carrying fifty pounds of stuff on your back. I don't find that so fun. That's not a fun magnet for me.
So we realized that perhaps that's something he should do with our daughter or on his own as a special father daughter thing, or I could take on the responsibility of childcare for a weekend so that he could go do that with one of his friends who does find that fun.
And I think that's a really useful tool for relationships too, is to identify where you might differ and then support each other. Instead of shutting down their source of fun because you don't share it, what if you supported it?
Because one thing my husband I have found is the more fun we're each having, the more pleasant we are to be around.
I was actually feeling totally overwhelmed just this past Monday, and my book's coming out and I just felt like I had so much to do and I'm just falling behind, and he said something really astute. I had a guitar class that night and he said, "I know one thing for sure, and it's that when you come back from that class, you're going to feel a lot better."
And so he was encouraging me to go out and do that. And I think it's really true.
Anyway, that's the idea. I think it just can be fun to talk about as a subject is what brings you fun and how does it compare to what generates fun for me? But it also can be a really practical tool for improving your relationships with all the people in your life.
Guy Kawasaki:
Let's suppose that you're an executive or a founder and I guess the term might be CFO, which is chief fun officer.
Catherine Price:
Oh, there should be more of those.
Guy Kawasaki:
Yeah. What should a company do to promote a fun environment? I don't want to frame you.
Should a company, first of all, promote a more fun environment? And if the answer is yes, then how?
Catherine Price:
Yes, I think they definitely should. And they should do it both as global citizens to make people enjoy their lives more, and then also, because from a business perspective, the more fun your employees are having, the more productive they're probably going to be, and certainly the more creative they're going to be.
And since most businesses do benefit from productivity and creativity, if you want to have a successful business, it would make sense to encourage the prioritization of fun.
But how do you do that? I don't think that's about like just putting a ping pong table-
Guy Kawasaki:
I was just going to ask.
Catherine Price:
Like always ping pong.
By the way, not a fun magnet for me. I suck at ping pong because I hit the ball too hard, air hockey much better, but I don't have an office because I am freelancer.
So how do you do that? I think one of the biggest issues for corporate environments is actually the lack of what I call screen life balance. In between writing How to Break Up with Your Phone and then writing The Power of Fun, I founded this platform, I call, with the idea of trying to help people create better boundaries.
And I've noticed that one of the biggest issues for corporations is email, not the first person to say this, but so much time is sucked up by email and it becomes busy work and then it follows you home. And suddenly, you've got your phone at the dinner table and you're checking your work email inbox, surreptitiously under the table while you're supposedly spending time with your kids.
It's just such a waste of time and it's just a bad use of technology. So I think that change needs to come from the top down.
It's really hard for employees to try to make systemic changes in terms of how communication is handled. But I think that's one of the most important things that companies can do to boost people's ability to have fun and their productivity and reduce their burnout, which everyone is feeling so much right now.
So one thing I would suggest that people think about, and I really I'm harping on email, because it is one of the biggest negative impacts on my own life. Email was not meant to serve all the purposes we're using it for it right now, it's not meant as a scheduling tool.
It was essentially meant to place written correspondence, but now we use it as a scheduling tool or we use it as a project management tool, or we use it to share stuff, or to edit, to collaborate on things. It's not meant for those things.
There are much better platforms for that stuff, whether it's Trello or Slack or whatever. I have a whole suite of programs that I use with my part-time assistant so that we don't have to use email. And it is so much better, it's so freeing. I also think that just having better communication systems in place.
For example, when I talk to people about screen life balance and trying to take breaks from technology or create better boundaries, one of their biggest pushbacks is, “What if I miss an emergency? What if I miss something important? I have to check my email on the weekend because what if? What if? What if?”
That's legit, it's like a work version of FOMO, the fear of missing out, but there's a way around that, which is to have a clear sense of what is an emergency and then how it will be communicated. So I think if companies and heads of companies and people with leadership positions think and define that for their employees and then create a chain of communication, that can be enormously helpful in freeing up the emotional and the time space for people to have more fun.
So I would strongly encourage people to not use email as a tool to communicate an emergency, decide ahead of time that you will call people.
That means that people cannot check their email over the weekend and not worry about a fire or something because they'll know they'll be contacted.
And also take advantage of things like scheduling emails in advance and encourage your employees and your colleagues to do the same. Don't send an email at 10:00pm. Even if you say you don't have to respond to this, it's on their plate, it's in their mind, but you can send your emails into purgatory by saving them as a draft or using a schedule send option, so that's out of your mind.
Think about your recipient and think about how it's going to impact them in that moment. There's an anecdote I found very powerful from Tristan Harris, who is the founder of the Center for Humane Technology and a former Google product philosopher.
He was in the room with engineers who were designing Gmail and they were deciding whether or not to have push notifications happen automatically. And he points out that in that moment, they were making a decision about whether billions of dinner conversations around the world were going to get interrupted. And that wasn't something that enough thought was put into, and they did decide to do the automatic notifications.
And as a result, billions of dinner conversations have been interrupted as the result of a dinging Gmail message.
In other words, think about your recipient and what impact you're going to have on them before you hit send.
I think that's a cultural thing that can be emphasized more on a company wide basis to help set the stage for a better balance and more fun.
Long answer, I'm sorry. I'm pretty glad you got that.
Guy Kawasaki:
No, no, no.
But in a sense, the pandemic has taken that and made it even worse because there's one thing within email you send at 10:00pm, but now you're expected to be on a Zoom call at 10:00pm because somebody else is in Singapore and it's 8:00am for them, what do you do about that?
Good news, bad news. We're a company that the sun never sets on, that's the good news. The bad news is we're a company that the sun never sets on.
What do you do now?
Catherine Price:
Did it really work out for the British Empire?
Maybe the suns set occasionally, honestly. You're in a tough position if you based half on the East Coast and half in Singapore, that's an extreme, obviously as extreme as you can get, but I'd say, yeah, keep in mind that you're interrupting people's lives.
Also, do you really need to have all those meetings? Do they all really need to be on Zoom?
This goes back to thinking more critically about how we communicate and what, for what purpose.
I think there's certain circumstances where Zoom is a good option because it is helpful to see people and it does feel different, but there's also circumstances where it's exhausting, whether by virtue of just having to be camera ready at all times, which clearly your listeners can't see, but I am not, but that's a certain pressure on its own.
Just think more about how we communicate, what is necessary and then what's the best form for that communication.
Guy Kawasaki:
Okay. Two more questions. And the second one is going to be harder, so get ready for this. But the first one is-
Catherine Price:
Don't tell me, it's hot in here again.
Guy Kawasaki:
No. It's along those lines, though it's going to put pressure on you.
So the first question is, what do you think is the appropriate age for a kid to get a phone and what boundaries should be established for that phone?
Catherine Price:
That's a whole conversation. I don't think there's one right age.
My first comment would be to push back and ask, what are we calling a phone? Because many parents will say, "Oh, I feel like I need to get my kid a phone because I need to be able to communicate with them." Maybe they've started to walk home from school on their own or something like that. And I'd say, "Okay, I get that." It's too bad we need to be so worried about where our kids are at all times, but I'm a parent. I get that.
But you're talking about a phone in that case that can text and that can call.
You're not talking about the internet in the kid's pocket, which is what a smartphone is.
So at first say, what's your actual goal as the parent in getting your kid the phone? The trickier question is what to do when all your kid's classmates get phones and your kid feels left out. And I don't have such a great answer to that because I it's really challenging.
What I'm doing myself is to try to infiltrate my daughter's school and give presentations to the students about how they're being exploited by social media companies. Because again, I think that the trick is to get people disgusted with these products, which they really should be.
They should be angered and disgusted by how they're impacting our lives. But I also think parents should put their foot down to a certain degree. Very few ten-year-olds are going to have $1,000 just at their disposal to pay for a new iPhone let alone the data plan.
So I think that talking to other parents and having conversations, almost getting a group of like-minded parents who will all agree that, "No, we're actually not going to just get you a fully functional smartphone when you're nine or ten years old or even twelve."
I think waiting for as long as possible is important.
But I also think like educating kids about the techniques that are being used against them and who's actually profiting is a really effective technique to try to get them to buy-in the idea that maybe you don't want to be doing this with your time, that maybe it's making you a boring person and then maybe the adults in your life who maybe you wanted a phone because it seems so grown up, but actually grownups are lame because we're just wasting our lives on these stupid apps. That's another technique.
For me, I'm going to try to wait for as long as possible, honestly. I don't know what that will be.
And I just also think that it's okay to be unpopular as someone's parent, it's okay. That's just part of our job, I think. So your kid might hate you, but if they were begging you for cigarettes because everyone else was smoking, would you give them to them? And then if you do get a phone, I think you need to have a family conversation.
First of all, you're going to lose your kid to a certain degree because that's just what's going to happen in general, but with the phones, but conversation about how everyone relationship with their device should look like, what it should look like.
Because adults are just as bad as kids, and if we're telling them not to spend too much time, but then we're on our phones all the time, that's not going to work. And then I think that having etiquette for your family is really important where for example, you all charge your phones in the same place at night, where you don't have technology in the bedroom.
There's been so much coverage recently about the predatory stuff going on in social media and all the truly sick stuff that kids get exposed to. And I do think it's our responsibility to protect our kids from that to a certain degree.
And one way to do that is use computers in public places. It sounds bad, but is to give a sense of what people are doing. Try to model that yourself too. And also your kid's sleep is enormously important, everyone's sleep is, but kids in particular, and kids in particular, they're staying up way too late in the middle of the night.
I don't know, I could talk about this at length. I've talked to a lot of school, psychologists about the impact of technology, I've talked to even tech directors at schools, they have all said they can tell when kids get phones, they can tell the impact on their behavior, their creativity, their health, their sleep, etc.
And that there's a whole increase in psychological issues when kids get phones. So I think as adults, we really need to look much more into the consequences of this act before we just blindly give our kids phones because "everybody" else is getting a phone.
Guy Kawasaki:
Are you ready for my last question?
Catherine Price:
Yeah. What's the hard question you were going to ask me?
Guy Kawasaki:
Are you at home?
Catherine Price:
You're like, solve humanity, and then what's the next one?
Guy Kawasaki:
Are you at home?
Catherine Price:
I don't know, what's your question? No, I am at home.
Guy Kawasaki:
Okay. So will you play your guitar or drums for us for-
Catherine Price:
I knew you were going to ask that. If you give me a second to get the guitar, but let me preface this by saying, let me preface this-
Guy Kawasaki:
Hot mic.
Catherine Price:
I will do this, but this is not fun for me because performing for an audience when I'm doing it alone, not fun for me. So I'm doing this because, I'm yes, and, I have a fun mindset. I like doing stuff collaboratively with people.
And if you want me to send you any recordings of me doing that, I'd also be happy to, but I will do that because I'm going to say yes.
So hold on.
Guy Kawasaki:
No. Wait, wait, wait. I take back my request because I do not want you to do something that's not fun. That would be the antithesis of this interview.
Catherine Price:
I'm of two minds, and this is why, because sometimes when someone says something and your first instinct is, "No way, I'm not going to do that," you actually should say yes. So I'm not going to sing, but I can try to play something, but I can also share with you afterwards the recording of me truly having fun doing so that you're welcome to use because I've been playing stuff with my drum teacher, which is ridiculous. And it's like, I just giggle because every time I do something really loud, it makes me laugh.
Guy Kawasaki:
I leave it completely and utterly up to you. You can say no to this request and not play something spontaneously right now.
Catherine Price:
I'll try to play something for you. I'll play the intro to a song. Hold on. I got to get it though
Guy Kawasaki:
Okay. Please note that I did let her off the hook. I tried to tell her she could say no.
It's not easy being a podcaster. It's not easy being a guest either though.
I want you to know that Pink's Drummer was on my podcast and he played the drums at the end of his episode, so it's you-
Catherine Price:
Oh really?
Guy Kawasaki:
Yeah. You and Pink's Drummer.
Catherine Price:
That is delightfully absurd. Can you still hear me?
Guy Kawasaki:
Catherine Price:
My husband is walking past the hallway giving me looks like, "Who the hell are you talking to?"
It's part of my job, Peter. Go away.
Guy Kawasaki:
Tell him I don't like to camp either.
Catherine Price:
Okay. Oh really? It's very controversial.
The first song, when I first got this guitar, which I got in college and then I didn't play it for twenty years because my grandmother gave me money to buy a guitar and then I didn't get around to it.
But I asked my friend to teach me the Indigo Girls song, Closer To Fine, because that was a big thing. So I subsequently learned it, but I don't know, I freeze up when I perform, so wait.
Oh my God.
(Playing Closer To Fine)
There you go.
Guy Kawasaki:
Yay, yah, yay. Thank you.
Catherine Price:
That was fun. That was ridiculously fun. There you go.
Guy Kawasaki:
See, no other podcaster in your book tour is going to ask you to do that.
Catherine Price:
I hope not, but I enjoyed that.
Guy Kawasaki:
And now if somebody else on your book tour ask you or starts off the interview with, “It's so hot in here”, you're just going to nail them.
Catherine Price:
No, I won't. I won't. I honestly will not, because I still don't know what I was... I think it's an interesting point that there's just certain things that each of us has a block against.
And for me, anything that involves pretending or acting, I shut down, I completely shut down and it makes me clench up and I can't think, I can't do it. I remember telling my sister-in-law that I sucked at charades and she's like, "Oh, you can't be that bad, let's play." And then I tried and she's like, "Wow, you really are bad." And I was like, "I told you, I can't do it. I can't do that."
So no, if someone said it's hot in here, I probably still have the whole mental dialogue with myself about, "Huh, he's hot. I wonder why he's bringing that up. It doesn't make any sense? What does that have to do with fun? Why am I so cold? Huh, he's in a bar and it's hot."
Guy Kawasaki:
But what you should be thinking is, "Oh my God, this guy really prepared for this interview. He really read the book."
Catherine Price:
Well, after I realized what you were doing, there was a lot going on in my head. I did, I actually was going to thank you for putting so much work into preparing for this and reading the book and for these questions, were really fun to engage with and really unusual. And I appreciate it.
Guy Kawasaki:
Your answers are so deep and so eloquent and so sophisticated.
You remind me of the former executive director of Wikipedia. Her name is Katherine Maher. And she had a mind, or she still does, she has a mind just like yours and it's really remarkable.
Catherine Price:
I'm going to be laughing about that hot thing, using that itself as an example going forward.
Guy Kawasaki:
Maybe someday you can be on The Moth, right?
Catherine Price:
No, no. You mean the storytelling thing?
Guy Kawasaki:
Catherine Price:
No, just tangentially. But right after college, I tutored to pay the bills and the mom of one of these kids I tutored told me about The Moth. It was when it was just starting in New York. And I went to a couple of them and I was like, "Oh my God, this is amazing."
But I didn't really put together how much people had prepared for those stories. And at some point I went to... I don't get embarrassed easily. And you've touched on the two memories I have of really being embarrassed where the improv comedy class, and then I put my name in the hat at a Moth to tell some story about my students.
I was teaching middle school math at the time, in addition to tutoring, and my name got pulled out and I went up to try to tell some spontaneous story that I really hadn't thought out. And they flapped their moths, it's like the getting a hook pulled off the stage. I got mothed off the stage.
And I remember I was so humiliated, I left halfway through and there were these people standing outside smoking. And one of them turned to me and was like, "I didn't think it was that bad."
Guy Kawasaki:
There you have it, Catherine Price, How to Have Fun.
I love it. And I'll tell you, it's been three days since I did the interview and I have not slept with my iPhone three times in a row, which is actually quite an accomplishment for me.
Also, I have figured out how to use Gmail and Spark to send my email at 8:00am Pacific on the weekdays and Monday 8:00am Pacific over the weekend.
So no more email from me on the weekends, and no more email from me after 5:00pm Pacific, which is making many people's lives much better, I think.
I'm Guy Kawasaki, this is Remarkable People.
My thanks, but not my email to Jeff Sieh, Peg Fitzpatrick, Shannon Hernandez, Alexis Nishimura, Luis Magana and Madisun, the drop-in queen, Nuismer.
All of their lives are better for me having listened to Catherine Price. And now, you can make that change in your life, too.
Have fun. And you're hearing this on December 22nd at the earliest. So as we say in California, Mele Kalikimaka.