Aug. 6, 2021

293: Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -with Larry Sharpe

293: Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -with Larry Sharpe

What's the goal: Liberty or Happiness?

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Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We've heard that phrase since elementary school as we learned about our nation's founding. The ideas of liberty are intoxicating for those empathetic to the ideas of individual rights, however, is liberty our end goal?


Returning to the program is Larry Sharpe who argues that liberty is simply a means to an end, would that end goal being that of accomplishing a subjective happiness based on the ability to reach that happiness individually.


"When I know I am unhappy, or I am not doing the right thing, all my problems aren't solved, it's a whole lot easier for me to go and go, I'm gonna be the savior of everything else. Because then if my life begins to collapse, I can claim martyrdom. And it's a common thing people do right now I can't help myself out, cuz I got to protect the whales, or the children or the planet or the insert thing here. Or I've got to stop the evil leftists or the evil righties or whatever, I've got to stop, right, I do that instead. And I'm gonna help myself out."


-Larry Sharpe


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All right. And with that, returning to The Brian Nichols Show, he is talking about his brand new book on happiness, how to unlock windows of opportunity, Mr. Larry sharp. Welcome back to The Brian Nichols Show.

I am happy to be here, my friend. Thank you for having me on.

Absolutely. Larry sharp, it is so great to have you back in the program, easily one of my favorite guests to have on the show because you like me, we come from the same world of sales, we approach things through the problem solver mentality. I think that was why I was instantly gravitated towards not only your campaign, but also the way that you just approach politics, my friends. So thank you, we are also really good looking. I guess that's the the underlying reality there, right? That's what it is. Larry, thank you for all you you've been doing here helping the the greater Liberty world, helping meet people where they're at. That's the hardest part. And I think one of the other areas that we struggle with, is really being the best version of ourselves, first and foremost. And that's, I think, maybe one of the main areas your book is going to help address so you wrote this brand new book on happiness, talk about that, what got you inspired to write a new book,

there's so many different things here. The first one, I want to touch what you brought up, which makes so much sense. You know, I'll talk both on the activist side and the youngster side, both of those two, very often young people will come to me and say, Larry, I want to get more involved, I want to do more, how do I do more, do more? And I asked them things like, okay, you know, have you finished school? Or do you have a job or any of those things? Well, no, you know, I just want to help out and my my hope, he says, square yourself away first, do that, while I'm happy that you want to volunteer in a campaign or help with some, you know, activism issue, those are great things, and very happy to do that. But sadly, you might take all your time and energy on that while you're not growing yourself as an individual. So now you spend whatever three years or whatever you do, spending all your time on something like this, and then you're burned out, things didn't go well for you, you didn't score yourself away, and now everything went wrong. I'd rather you spend a whole lot less time and more time on other things that will make you better. That's an exception. Of course, if this is gonna be your career, like if your career is going to be in politics, then that's different, because it's not always your career. But unless it's your career a little bit, and then fix yourself. Because while you couldn't give me you know, five hours of your time per week, which I would love to have, I would rather 510 years from now you become so, so wealthy and cool and powerful that you have more influence to get me for the right people. Or you can write me big checks, or you'll tell people to come and they'll follow you because you're an influencer. So that would actually be better for me in the long run, than you try to, you know, rush to do that. But it's the second piece, it is very easy for the individual to go out and try to find happiness and solving everyone else's problems without solving their own.

Oh, dig into that.

Yes. So when I know I am unhappy, or I am not doing the right thing, all my problems aren't solved, it's a whole lot easier for me to go and go, I'm gonna be the savior of everything else. Because then if my life begins to collapse, I can claim martyrdom. And it's a common thing people do right now I can't help myself out, cuz I got to protect the whales, or the children or the planet or the insert thing here. Or I've got to stop the evil leftists or the evil righties or whatever, I've got to stop, right, I do that instead. And I'm gonna help myself out. So it's very easy to do that. So I want people to not do those two things, and instead build themselves up. Because if we are stronger individually, we are by default, stronger as a unit. Right? Every every marine has to work out and be strong. Otherwise, the unit's in trouble, right? So all of us have to do different things, right? Some of us carry the machine gun, some must carry the ammo, but you got to be in shape, by the way, right? No matter what you're carrying, no matter what you're shooting someone someone's carrying the medical supplies, but but we all got to be in shape, right and doing different things. But we all got to be in shape. And I think that's a critical aspect. So then why on happiness? Yeah, because happiness, a thing that I've said many times, and I think we as libertarians often fail, we think that the concept is this our party, our movement is about liberty and freedom. It's not. It's about happiness. The question is, how do you get to happiness, I've got to allow you to be as free as possible so you can pursue your happiness. The Pursuit of Happiness was literally in our divorce papers in the UK, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness was in it. So I've got to get you to go there. The problem is to end libertarians. We've confused the means with the end, right? liberty and freedom is not the end. It's the means to the end of being happy. That's what you want to be is to be happy. Not everybody wants to be free. And that may drive some libertarians crazy. that's still true. It's an accurate statement, but We all want to be happy. So if we can actually allow people to be free, some people will choose to lock themselves up. Some people won't. Some people will follow people who tell them to do, some people won't. So they'll bounce back and forth, depending on what's happening in their life. All good. No worries whatsoever. The end is happiness. So I wrote a book on happiness, because that's most important. Happy people don't want to hurt others, happy people want to build businesses, happy people want to build families, happy people want to stay in America, happy people want to do good things. So let's make lots of happy people.

Well, okay, well, let's reverse engineer to start because I love the approach, because it's almost like you're a sales guy, but you're doing it for yourself. When we're sales guys, we often go out, we say, Where can we align the service, or the product that we are selling to the problem that we see out there when we see lots of problems as libertarians, but we have to make sure that we do have that that product that's going to actually solve the problem or that that service that solves that problem. So it looks internally, it's hard, because now we have to get almost into that position of the buyer, where you have to get uncomfortable, you got to get disruptive with that status quo. But that requires some internal conflict. So Larry, when you're going through, and you're approaching this mindset of trying to achieve that end goal, in this case, as you laid out happiness, what are some of those main objections that you're finding people raise up to you say, Larry, I can't focus on this because of XYZ.

Not I picked the perfect thing. Everybody wants to be happy. Come on, everybody wants to be happy, there's, there's nothing, the only thing I'll do is they'll say, I may not want to do it. Because here's the difference, there's three, here's how to get stuck. And that's why we're to book this way. There are three parts to being happy. It's very specific, three parts. You have to to be happy, you have to feel loved, you have to feel respected, you have to have purpose. The problem is, if we have all three, we're happy. If we have to, it's much easier to get the third, right. If I feel respected and feel loved, I feel compelled to find a purpose and I have a purpose and I feel loved, the odds are I'll get respected, right, and you'll get the third one if you've got two. But having one or zero is a problem. If you have zero, you will become self destructive. That's what you will do. It's human nature, you will eat yourself to death, drink yourself to death, drug yourself to death, video, game yourself to death, whatever. And you'll probably have a hurting others while you're at it. Because you don't have purpose. You don't feel loved, you don't feel respected. If you have one, you can hold on to it and be obsessive. So I only have purpose. That's it. Liberty movement, insert thing here, I've obsessive to the point where I never find love, or I lose my love, or I never find respect, or I'm so unhappy or disrespected. Or I only have respect, in which case now become a tyrant, you must respect me always, I only have love and have bad relationships. So you can become obsessive, if you have only one, the goal is to get from zero to one to two, and hover between two and three for the rest of your life. That's the hope because the problem is happiness is fleeting, it will go away. That's why it's a pursuit of happiness. But if you don't know what you're missing, if you can't look at it and go, you know, my problem right now is I'm not respected. If you can't figure that out, and with the book, hopefully you will, because it's very autobiographical. I tell about all my problems, all my failures, how I fallen down and how I got back up all those things, and tactics you can use to do so. Then you'll go you know what it is, I'm not feeling loved. Or I don't have a purpose, I'm struggling I'm, I'm just kind of hovering so I can't find my happiness. And unless if you get that you can move forward, I give you four different arenas you can find it. You don't have to have any of these in all four arenas, any of them will do either personal, family, business or social, the home run of them all the Grand Slam is having all 12 but almost no one does. But eventually you might move towards it, and I hope you do. But if you can be happier. We can all be happier because happier people, make better partners make better spouses, make better friends, make better business associates make better customers, happier people make better everything.

Amen. I can't agree more. But I want to focus on this idea of happiness. I love that you touched on this, Larry, is that you did hint that there are people who they will be happy being told what to do. They will be happy giving up there. Right. It's it's funny that you mentioned they have the freedom to do that. And this actually goes back, you know, our audience is smiling because we had Dr. Adrian version from Duke University. And he talks about constructal law which basically states that and this is the entire law that he basically came up with With that, as things move forward, the they are by default, looking for the easiest, most free way to move. And you see that right there with the the happiness being subjective because if you're not allowed to freely decide your internal happiness what it is that makes you happy, then it really comes down to well, that one person saying what happiness is and then forcing everybody to, I guess, Ben, then their will to this idea of happiness that's not their own. And I think that's creating a lot disdain we're seeing in society right now.

Absolutely. I mean, think about Marine Corps when I was 17. I literally signed my rights away. Yeah, I lost my freedom of movement, right, I went where the Marine Corps told me to go, when they told me to go, I had to be there when they said to be there. So I lost my freedom of movement. I lost my freedom speech, I could, I couldn't as a Marine, I couldn't go bad mouth, the president couldn't do that, I voluntarily gave up many of my rights. Right. But I did it on purpose, I voluntarily did it. And you know what, I was happy why, even though I given up my rights, I had purpose. I felt respected. And I felt loved. So I was pretty good in the Marine Corps, right. until a certain point, I didn't feel that anymore, I basically lost my purpose at one point. So I left because I didn't believe it anymore. So again, even my happiness was fleeting, but we can give it up. But just to get better. Sometimes, what happens if you decide to check yourself into rehab, because you realize that you're being obsessive over drugs, or food or whatever the case may be, you check yourself into rehab, you give up your rights to do something, or you join an organization that has a lot of binding control over you, whether it's a religious organization, but that's a social organization, whatever it might be, where you might, you might be a practicing Catholic. And if you're a practicing Catholic, there are many restrictions, or, you know, observant, if you're observant you Jewish, lots of restrictions, you may voluntarily give up those rights, because you feel that that structure is right for you. And it gives you purpose, or it gives you It gives you love or it gives you respect, all good, it's not my job to decide how free you should be. It's my job to let you be as free as you want to be.

I mean, we see this in, I wake up religiously, every morning, and do my 5am workout. And and I'm holding myself to doing that, not because it's fun, but because it makes me feel better. And it makes me be able to live what I consider my version of freedom, which ultimately ends up giving me happiness. And I think that right there speaks to there, there kind of has to be this push to almost hold yourself accountable. And we see a lot of libertarians, I think sometimes forget that aspect where there has to be something of substance behind the idea. You can't just talk about it. In an online forum, you have to actually not only live it in your your politics, but live it in your individual life. And I think sometimes

those are the that's why I was getting the policies, right, you always seem to come up with a policy right? I was talking to the gentleman the other other day, and a bit of a debate or discussion back and forth socialism versus libertarianism. And I was providing him with actual policies, here's how to implement a libertarian policy. Here's the policy to help the most people I can help without raising any taxes. And without any force, here's how I change the environment so that people can freely act the way they want. And what will happen is early adopters will take advantage, some will follow many will follow a fine, right? It's good. And if none follow, then I'm clearly wrong, right? But I create that environment. And all he did was tell me that, well, that's not gonna work, because this will that's not going to work because that, but a lot of his audience was like, Oh, this guy's actually saying stuff, huh? He's not just going a birdie good, which is exactly your point. I'm trying to show people that there are ways to there's there's stuff behind this that can give us actual happiness and give people more freedom to make choices that they want to make. But isn't that a piece I bring up all the time? I say what is so good about libertarianism, about the movement and about the party is we are By default, the healers, were the healers because you don't have to convert to be one of us. I mean, that's the issue. You can be liberal, you can be conservative, just don't force your views on others. If you're okay with that we're good that the joke will always bring up is I'll say, Okay, do you tell me that you're liberal? So I'm gonna go Yeah, I'm super liberal. I'm super liberal. Now ask great, super liberal. Great, good. Do you believe it is the government's job to make the the world and the country liberal? And if you go, yeah, then you're Democrat. If you go, No, it's not. It's not the government's job. It's my job, through my works through my example, through my community, to convince people they should be more liberal, libertarian single concern. I'm super concerned Awesome. Do you think it's the government's job to force culture to be more conservative? You go, yeah, you're Republican. You go, No, it's not the government's job is my job through my works through my example, through my community to show people, they should be more conservative. And if that's your view, and that's the key piece to, to kind of, I guess, piggyback off of your point, there has to be an example. There has to be substance, if people aren't looking at you and going, Yeah, I want that Brian guy, I liked that thing he does every morning. You know what that guy's good. If I'm thinking that, then maybe I'm gonna start thinking about how you act and how you think and other things like that I should be attracted to many things about you.

It's funny because I hear it, I'm not in agreement. This this is also a sales approach that you're taking, which I love. And because you're you're making very issue and their problem, your primary focus, and that's something I think we see far too often is that we instantly and I'm saying we as the collective libertarian movement, we to ensnare focus on getting people to buy the product to buy liberty to buy libertarian ism, the ISM that it is, instead of saying, What is your problem? Where can we start to bring our solutions to the problem to get you to your goal, which if we can solve their problem, then that will put them on a path towards happiness. But their vision of happiness doesn't necessarily have to align with our vision of happiness? And that's okay. That's an absolutely

yes, one 100%, right, the in in the best case scenario, as a nation, or as a unit, or as a company, or as a group or as organization, we have a diversity of thought, with a unity of purpose, right? That's the goal if we can make that happen. And I hope the purpose is the principles of our nation. Our nation is very special, in that it isn't as built on your 1000s of years of culture and history, as most other nations are built on that type of background. Ours isn't. And not every nation is but many are. And I was listening, I was both is built on a principle and our principles. And people say, well, Larry, look, you can't have people doing what they want. That's not going to work. We're a nation of laws. And I say that's great. But I'm not impressed by that. Lots of terrible nations have been nations of laws, Imperial Japan was a nation of laws. That's not impressive, right? Lots of nations or nations have laws. And well then marry me make nation of men, no, laws change, men die. And of course, I should be I should not be misogynistic people die. Maybe it's better, right? People die, laws change. Principles don't. principles are eternal. So instead of being a nation of man, or people or a nation of laws, how about instead, being a nation of principles? That's what keeps us together? So if we can think about those principles, it doesn't matter what you're thinking of where you want to go, who you want to date? Or how you want to hang out? Or whether you like guns or not, who cares? Can we say that the principles are you do you and I'll do me and we'll be good. And if someone tries to stop either of us from doing we want, we'll band together and kick them the hell out? I'll be good with that. I'm good with that.

I'm good with that. I think your average member of the audience, they're nodding in agreement. So now it's to reach the people outside of our little kind of spheres of influence, let's enter into those conversations. And I always find the best way to enter into the conversations is to enter into the conversation that they're already having. So I say let's look at the top of mind issues, Larry, and I want maybe just as we go toward the end of the show focus on what would you say right now are some of those top of mind issues that people are seeing those top of mind problems? And where can we as libertarians bring solutions to them right now from a Liberty based solutions based perspective?

Well, I'll see if I can cover a couple of pieces here in general, number one, to your point about libertarianism, you rarely hear me even say the words liberty or freedom or libertarianism. If you're doing it right, to your point, when someone has a problem, you start telling them how you think the problem can be solved, either through a concept or an idea, or a policy or something. And if they like it, they should think you're their party. So if they're, if they're a Democrat, as you go, Oh, you Democrat, if you're Republican, oh, you're Republican, they should assume that you are them. If they make that assumption, you're winning. That means to your point, Brian, you're connecting, right? If they're like, you must be the same thing that I am, then clearly you're connecting. And some of the issues we're dealing with now are actually tough. Because right now a lot of a lot of issue dealing with things like the economy COVID lockdowns, culture war issues. This is difficult for libertarians to get in because culture war issues by default are left right paradigm right by default good versus evil when a culture wars About right good versus evil, and and what's happening is almost everything. Not everything but like 99% of things is simply falling into the cultural paradigm. So now if you like masks, you're by default a Democrat, if you hate mask, you're by default Republican. That's just how it works. Right? And it shouldn't, it shouldn't be nothing, that they should not be related. But even that has become a culture war. Literally the guy, one of the guys, one of the Councilman of my city said, we should all wear masks to show solidarity that that's his words, not because they worked or didn't work, or because of COVID No, no, that wasn't his issue. It wasn't science. It was cultural. He said out loud, just so lonely. So now masks in his world have nothing to do whether they work or don't work irrelevant. It's just solidarity. So it's challenging for us. So what I want us to do then is focus on the outcome. So let's say for example, someone's unhappy about the lockdowns and COVID as an example, say, my kids can't go to school. I'm scared. So instead of saying COVID, real COVID is not real lockdown, just stupid. lockdowns are not stupid, every libertarian will just go to evil government. And immediately they talk to them off instead say, How can we have a system to where the kids who need school can go to school? And the kids who don't really need it? And can function outside can do that? And how about the kids who are sick and maybe shouldn't go to school? Because everybody's in the condition? How do we get those kids to be safe and still get a good education? And they go, Oh, that's great. Yeah. What if we had a system? And now I started talking about a libertarian answer, which is not focusing only on government schools, which of course libertarians case. Anyway. So now we're talking about other options to schooling. But I'm not saying government bad. What I'm saying is, how do we get all the kids the best education, you shifted into that, and what a person actually cares about does the actual mom or dad, and I have two kids, and I'm sure people listening have children, what you don't actually care about whether it's a government school or not, or whatever, what you want is a good education for your kid. If you thought you could magically do it with a magic wand, you probably buy the magic wand, right? As long as you can get a good education because all you care about. And that's what most people care about. And that's how we lead them to where we want to go. We don't fall into the left right paradigm are the lock downs, good are the lock downs bad because we say that you fall into the culture war by default, and they will put you on whatever team they decided that you're that that is, instead, go for the outcome that we all want, and discuss how to get there.

Oh, Larry, we could go on and on. But unfortunately, we are already hard pressed for time. So what I want to do is use the last few minutes to a number one give you the chance to give final thoughts to the audience. But obviously you also want to make sure we have the call to action get people to go ahead and purchase this brand new book on happiness. So let's start there. Where can folks go ahead and I had the link here it was sharp forward slash on dash happiness now is this where they can purchase the

book Larry, um, it will be on for pre order coming up here soon as should be done by next month. We're in finance. Fantastic done by next month. That'd be good. It's got it's got 16 chapters,

I think 16 chapters. Now if I'm not mistaken, maybe more, I think 16 chapters, if not mistaken. 16 chapters. And it should be an excellent book. I hope you can just click literally on sharp Wade comm book, and you will see there is a video that talks about it. And look, if you want to know what I'm talking about. Just follow the show. Follow the shop way on all the Insta web stuff, all of them. I'm even on tik tok, I'm on everything. Whatever it is, I'm talking the whole deal.

And let's do this. The final thoughts, what would you want as we kind of wrap up here and you know, we're gonna obviously, you're a reoccurring guest, and we'd love to have you on. But between now and the next time you're on the show, you know, let's say end of 2021 or so we're starting to look at how the rest of the years gone. Where do you you see things heading? And where do you think we'll be when you're back on Larry?

Well, first thing I'd like people to start focusing on is stop fighting outside and start fighting inside. Number one thing, stop finding reasons to blame other people and get mad at them. It's not helpful. It's not working, you're not, you're not making things better. Instead, work inside, try to make things better for yourself, for your family, for those you love, focus a little bit on the inside to make yourself and those around you who care about you better for you. So you have a better social structure. Because what is going to be happening in the future is the breakdown of more and more social structures you see again and again and again. We are surrendering our social structures. We are surrendering our friendships, we are losing connection to people, build the connections to your people in your world more than ever do it. Now. It's important and if it has to be through this, or in person or whatever it has to be literally if you can take anything from today, call or email or text, somebody you haven't called or emailed or text in a while and reconnect, the connections are going away as we find ourselves watching TV, picking sides, watching YouTube picking sides, government locking us down, not connect to people right now, your inner circle matters,

build the solution. That is the focus. And the solution in this case is to get people towards happiness. Larry sharp. It's always a pleasure, my friend. Thank you, as always for joining us and folks if you are interested in following Larry, on the bottom of the screen here you'll see at Larry sharp sharp with an E because E stands for entertaining. There it is. Thanks, folks.

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Larry SharpeProfile Photo

Larry Sharpe

A businessman who started a trucking business and sold a successful distribution company
An executive coach and management consultant who has mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs, executives, and companies in leadership and team building skills
A strategic consultant for thought leaders in government, finance, law, technology, media, and healthcare
A teacher and guest instructor who taught English, management, and business at universities such as Yale, Columbia, and John Jay College
A native New Yorker, Marine Corps veteran, husband to Georgia, and father of two daughters, Barbra and Josephine

Leader and MentorLarry isn’t just a leader; he develops other people into great leaders, too. With almost 15 years of experience training and mentoring international executives, entrepreneurs, and sales people, he has a wealth of experience across a variety of industries. In his professional life, Larry empowers people to realize their full potential, and as our Governor, he’ll empower New Yorkers to achieve prosperity and freedom. In the private sector, he’s honed his skills in building relationships between companies and their clientele—in government, he’ll bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans, and between the citizens of New York and its government, in a new era of ethics and transparency.
Business BuilderLarry’s business experience isn’t limited to teaching; his professional life began with ventures in trucking and distribution, where he built enough value in his last enterprise to sell it to an eager buyer. As Managing Director of The Neo-Sage Group, he builds his own business while helping his clients to thrive as leaders in their respective industries. Larry will use his experience to guide the governorship into a position of competency. In past projects, he has successfully reorganized companies to optimize efficiency and effectiveness, helping them to accomplish more with less. He’ll use this mindset to trim the fat in government while hiring the right talent to build a better New York.
Father and VeteranAs a Marine Corps veteran and father, Larry values duty, service, honesty, and loyalty. His experience imparted crucial skills like flexibility, resilience, discipline, and focus. With nearly seven years of active duty and an honorable discharge, teamwork and strategic thinking are at Larry’s core. He is attuned to the needs of veterans, as well as to the value of human life and liberty. As a loyal husband and honest businessman, he values ethics in everyday life. And as the father of two daughters, he understands that time is precious and that it is important to do now what is needed for the future. As Governor of New York, Larry will put all of these values to work for you.