I had the honour to interview Gustavo Razzetti is a sought-after speaker, author and change facilitator who has transformed lives, teams, and organizations through consulting, training and team coaching. He is the founder of Liberationist a change consultancy that turns people into agents of positive change.
1) Let’s start of easy, tell me about yourself and what made you interested in changing human behaviours?
I consider myself a change instigator. I like to inspire and challenge people to grow beyond their comfort zone. I’ve always been obsessed about human behavior—I believe that our potential is limitless, but our education, upbringing, and professional etiquette hinders our abilities.
Since I was a kid, I ‘ve always asked, “Why?” all the time. I’m curious about everything and believe that people are a box full of surprises. I’ve been told many times that I wasn’t’ good at something or that my projects would never succeed and proved people wrong. Resistance is like fuel for me. And I want to help people realize that. Our society doesn’t encourage learning or grow but to follow the crowd instead of our desires. It’s exciting to help people liberate their potential. There’s nothing more rewarding than to hear people say, “I didn’t know I could do that.” That’s what drives me. But, I don’t take credit for that. People have the power to live purposeful and exciting lives; I just help them upgrade their mindset and liberate them from what’s holding them back.
2) I had a look at your website Liberationist, and it’s amazing what you created. I love that you built a community around positive thinking, how it all started and get to the point where it is now?
I started my consultancy to help people and teams unleash their true potential. Most change initiatives try to fix people; they approach them as if they are broken. That’s why most approaches are not successful. Rather than inspiring people they take the energy away.
People are not broken; they don’t need to be fixed. My approach is to help people, teams, and organizations reconnect with the good within and build from what’s already working.
We focus a lot of our work on developing a positive mindset. Our mindsets are like lenses that filter how we see reality. They are ingrained in our beliefs and values and affect our perception of the world, others, and ourselves. We can’t succeed in life if we don’t upgrade our mindsets, as I wrote here.
3) With the study of human behaviour, do you believe us humans choose to stay negative instead of positive and what is the reason for that?
Our brain is wired to fight uncertainty. Research shows that we prefer a certain outcome, even if it’s negative, over not knowing what the outcome will be.
That doesn’t mean that we choose negativity over positivity. Negativity spreads fast, mainly because we ruminate on what doesn’t go well in our life. The news cycle is built around the same pattern: to reiterate negative things, because we feel more compelled to that emotion. However, positive news can spread fast too.
It’s not that we choose negativity over positivity; we have trained our brain to be more receptive to one than the other. But we can retrain our minds pretty easily.
Take the practice of being appreciative. If you start journaling to capture everything that went well in your day, at first, you will find it difficult to least more than two things. But you practice it journaling every night; you’ll start developing the practice of noticing everything good that happened during that day. In a week or so, the daily list will become bigger and bigger. Appreciating the little good things that happen to us trains our brain to focus more on the positive experiences.
4) Why do you feel that humans are so scared of fear and taking risks when it can not only benefit themselves but get them in a set of mind that helps them grow?
We fear change because we can’t anticipate the outcome. It’s not that fear taking risks; we don’t like not being in control. However, not doing nothing can be riskier. Not only we can lose opportunities, what feels safe today –like a job we have or a relationship—can disappear. Staying put is more dangerous than doing something.
One question that can help us move into action is: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” By listing all potential scenarios, you can realize that sometimes, the worst cannot kill us. Also, I invite people to ask, “What’s the best that can happen?”
Ask yourself, “If I avoid action or making a decision, how could that impact my life?” Write down the impact in one day, in one week, in one month, and one year. Consider all aspects, not just the ones linked to a specific decision or action. A professional choice impacts our health, emotions, finances — our entire life. And vice versa.
The worst decision you can make is not doing what you want because you fear the consequences. The cost of inaction is atrocious. Stop worrying about what can go wrong.
5) Since you connect and help so many out there, what is the biggest thing you notice between negative and positive people? Do you see a huge shift after they attend your workshop?
The first thing is that labels get people stuck rather than help them grow. I don’t like calling people negative or positive. This is not defined by our DNA, but by our behavior—and behaviors can be changed. That someone behaves negatively doesn’t make them negative. We both have both sides. We can play more one than the other. The secret lies in not getting stuck into one label.
In our workshops, we help people and teams reconnect to who they are. First, we make them aware of the labels they use and how those limit their own perceptions and potential. For example, when you ask someone, Who are you? They usually reply with their name, job title, or relationship status. But, if you keep asking the same question over and over, people will start reconnecting with the many layers of their identity. We are much more than the labels that we usually use or people impose on that.
The biggest change after attending our workshops is that people become more self-aware, reconnect with their purpose, and free liberate to recover control of their lives. Most of us live our lives in autopilot. We help people get back in the driver’s seat.
6) I know you are the author of two books, “Stretch your Mind and Stretch for change” do you believe that humans learn more from books or live workshops and what’s the reasoning behind that?
I think they are two different animals. Books give you depth and the opportunity to reflect on your own. You can always highlight a paragraph or idea and get back to it whenever you want.
A workshop is more experiential, and it pushes you out of the comfort zone. You are always interacting with others, sharing, and learning from others too. It’s more challenging as well as requires us to embrace our vulnerable side.
I think books and workshops should feed off each other.
7) People usually get very motivated and fired up after workshop or seminar, why is that the fire dies down after a while and they go back to square one? Is it possible for someone to always stay positive, or does everyone go through a cycle of negative and positive?
That’s a great point. The workshop is not the end of the journey, but the beginning. Building new habits requires building cadence—you have to show up every day and keep practicing.
When we work with organizations, we always offer follow up calls and video sessions to keep the team energized, monitor how they are doing as well as coaching them deal with obstacles they are facing.
We all go through cycles, like the waves. We need to manage the lows as moments to recover and take a deep breath before the new wave forms.
8) Do people have control of their minds, someone who is extremely negative, are they able to get out of it? For example people with depression and anxiety.
We cannot completely control our minds, but we can train them. Self-awareness exercises, practicing mindfulness, and meditation are very effective ways to overcome negative thoughts. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to work on our own. Especially if you are having extreme depression or anxiety. Meditation can feel comfortable at first practice, but, as we start confronting our thoughts, it can feel daunting or create more anxiety.
I always advise people to look for help. Depending on the need, you can get an accountability partner, a coach, or professional help.
An accountability partner or success partner increases our chances of succeeding (either improving our act or simply recovering from when we feel down, limited, or are procrastinating as I wrote here. We all need to have a partner in crime, a go-to-person, who can help us overcome our fear, bad habits, and negative thoughts.
10) When in a relationship with someone negative, what are the biggest challenges and how do you overcome it to find the balance and not let someone down.
We all go through ups and downs in life. If your partner is experiencing a negative moment in theirs, it’s up to us to help them overcome that period. Avoid labeling them as negative as this will hinder their ability to recover. Be patient and empathetic.
Most people run away from so-called negative people but forget to see that we all face negativity at some points in our lives. There’s a lot of posts talking that we are the average of the people that we spend our times with. So, people want to surround themselves with “positive” people making those who are going through a rough patch on their own. I wrote a post challenging that idea here. Not only there’s no scientifical evidence about that, but it also promotes a divide (we, the positives versus them, the negative).
Labeling people into groups divide us. We all need help from others to become our best selves. Don’t forget about it when you are going through positive times.
Try to understand what’s going on with other people rather than judge them. Ask them how you can help them without giving unsolicited advice as it can backfire. If things go out of hand and your partner can’t recover on their own, look for professional help.
For more information about Gustavo, please visit his links below: