Episode 260

Sharing the Simple Life Transformation Through Courses, Books, and More with Veteran Gary Collins

Sharing the simple life transformation through courses, books, and more with veteran Gary Collins in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Gary specializes in helping people start with lifestyle developments relating to off-grid living, minimalism, RV living, and optimal health.

Sharing the Simple Life Transformation Through Courses, Books, and More with Veteran Gary Collins

Gary grew up in a small, rural town in California. When he went to college, he felt like a fish out of water going from a town with less than 1,800 in population to a campus of 38,000 people. He eventually adapted, earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and went on to become a federal agent working for the government.

After having spent half his life working for the government he decided to leave, and by that time he felt burned out. He decided to start a health company accompanied by a newfound healthy lifestyle. He had an expensive house at the time that was killing him, as it cost a lot of money and time to maintain. Selling that house for a loss was what Gary had to do to free himself of the burden it had imposed on his lifestyle.

Selling everything he owned was a re-beginning for Gary, where he decided to take the responsibility to change his life and live life on his own terms.

After listing everything he owned on Craigslist and selling it all within 48 hours, he had made about $10,000-$12,000. As he was driving away from his old house and his old life, he felt depressed as if he had failed at what society had told him to do. But it soon dawned on him that he was now totally free of his possessions that were absorbing his mental energy but were not making him happy.

Gary rented a 475 square foot cottage in San Diego and ended up living there for over four years. After that, Gary moved into his RV and bought 20 acres in Northeast Washington. He has been living and working remotely since then.

Chris and Gary touch on how remote work and connecting to the global market is easier now than it has ever been. So if you’re interested in remove living and making a simple life transformation, now is a better time than ever.

You can learn more about Gary Collins at TheSimpleLifeNow.com. He also has a free resource you can download at TheSimpleLifeNow.com/Freedom.

At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes hereSubscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.

Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. Today we’re joined by a special guest, Gary Collins. He’s from thesimplelifenow.com. He’s got something for you over at thesimplelife.com/freedom. Welcome to the show, Gary.

Gary Collins: Thesimplelifenow.com/freedom. If you go thesimplelife.com, you’ll end up at Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton’s website, I think.

Chris Badgett: Okay, thank you for correcting me.

Gary Collins: They’ll go there, and they’ll be all, what is this?

Chris Badgett: Thesimplelifenow.com/freedom. Correct me if I do that again. Sometimes I get a little mental block. You have a lot of parallel tracks I wanted to get in with this show. You have some overlapping interest areas where you help people around off-grid living, minimalism, RV living, optimal health and some other things too. And where those intersect it’s really interesting. But before we get into that, I was just reading on your page on thesimplelifenow.com that you grew up in a small town and you’re doing hunting and fishing and then you went into big government and now you’re kind of back to the simple life. So the short version. Can you just describe that journey from the small town boy makes good and then back to rural different way of living.

Gary Collins: Yeah, it was an interesting progression. I grew up in a very rural part of California, which people don’t realize there are very remote places of California, still it’s getting worse. But I grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains in a little small town of about 1800 people in old ranching town. Half Indian reservation, half redneck and great place. And growing up that way. I grew up actually in a town connected to that, which was 20 miles away, which had less than 100 people.

Gary Collins: So I learned how to entertain myself at a very early age. So I was totally a free range kid. We didn’t have pagers and yeah, didn’t you have pagers. So cell phones, we were on a party line. My friends lived a mile or farther away and some lived in town and so it was kind of an interesting life.

Gary Collins: But my biggest, kind of the items that were the most important to me were my dog, my baseball mate, my football, my basketball, my bike and my Walkman and my shotgun. Those were my… And today all those items combined would cost less than far less than today’s cell phone, smartphone.

Chris Badgett: So did you it or were you dying to get out or kind of both.

Gary Collins: It’s a little interesting because there is a group of us that got out. And other people obviously we’ve had several people. One of my friends I grew up with is a two star in the air force. So people went to the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy for a little small town and some of us did very well. People went to Stanford. I was the dumb kid. Dumb poor kid I went to San Diego State. So I went from a town of 1800 people to a campus of 38,000 people. I was lost. I was such a fish out of water, but I adapted, made some really good friends.

Gary Collins: But my primary friends are the friends I grew up with, which is shocking to a lot of people today too, that some of my friends, we were babysat together. That’s how far back we go. We’ve known each other our entire lives and we’re good friends. We talk all the time. We see each other when we can. And that’s something that’s lost too. And I felt that was important to kind of get back to that kind of mentality of close relationships outside of social media and these fleeting for relationships, these false relationships.

Gary Collins: But yeah, I went from there, ended up working in the private sector for a little bit out of college and went into the military. I got accepted to the Naval Academy prep school and turned it down because I was a dummy.

Chris Badgett: So your military came after college?

Gary Collins: Yeah, got accepted to like I said, and I just said no. I was the first kid to go to graduate from college in my family. I had no real guidance. I was figuring all this out by the seat of my pants. I didn’t know what I was doing. A dumb 18 year old kid from the middle of nowhere trying to figure this out was interesting. And so I went from there and went into the military because the economy was pretty poor.

Gary Collins: It was the early 90s. So we were going through a recession. The job market wasn’t all that well good. But I always wanted to serve my country. It was still in the back of my mind. So I went in and listed being the smart guy yet again. I did that, but I did it because I didn’t want to commit long-term because I didn’t know where I was going. Right. I knew that I started as a mechanical engineer. I ended up graduating with a bachelor’s degree criminal justice. So it was a long figured out that I was not a rocket scientist and working 30 to 40 hours a week. I couldn’t make it through engineering school. It was impossible. I had to work to get through college. There was no way, no one paying my way. So yeah, I ended up doing that and went from there and went back in the private sector after the military and ended up being a federal agent, which was one of my goals in life.

Gary Collins: I picked a criminal justice for a certain reason and it was good to go and federal law enforcement or somewhere along those lines. And that just threw me from, military is huge. Military is massive. And then go into even a bigger part slice of the government. I went to the US State Department, traveled all over the world. And so yeah, I went from being in a small town to these massive institutions. So I got to see many different facets of them. And by the time I had left, the government spent half my life in the government. And so I was pretty burned out. I had lost my faith in all humanity, was in a kind of a really dark place trying to figure things out, but I knew that I had to leave and make a jump and do something else or I just wasn’t going to make it.

Chris Badgett: How old are you right here?

Gary Collins: I was 40. And I started this all very young. I started working for the government in college. I started when I was 20, I believe. So I went from state or County to federal military to big federal. And I worked for US State Department Diplomatic Security Service, US Department of Health and Human Services in the food and drug administration. So I had this wide variety of the government, so I got to see large swatches of different things, but they were the biggest pieces of our government basically. And so I left and I said you know what, I’m going to do something I’m passionate about. I’ve been following this trail. I’ve been told was going to make me successful and make me happy. I was unhappy. I didn’t know where I was going.

Gary Collins: I was lost in a way. I just said, this isn’t where… I got to do something else. I’ve got to figure this out. This can’t be what life is all about. Right? Chasing this supposed golden carrot that I could never seem to catch. It was always little further ahead of me, little further ahead of me. And so I created a health company.

Gary Collins: With my knowledge I had been a lifelong athlete, was one of my passions. So I created a primal paleo kind of ish company based on lifestyle, but I was training high end athletes. So I was training kids who were primarily football players, trying to get into major colleges through another guy who is sending me these people.

Chris Badgett: So how’d you make that transition from ex-government government employee to health coach?

Gary Collins: It wasn’t easy. It was weird because I had started to come out.

Chris Badgett: Did you come out of the government and the military and everything? Like did you have to repair some of your own health first?

Gary Collins: Yeah, I skipped a part there. I ended up selling my house. I had a big house in Southern California. Sold it took a huge loss, about a quarter of a million dollars.

Chris Badgett: Whoa.

Gary Collins: Yeah, it was a life altering decision I had to make.

Chris Badgett: Wait. On that decision, there’s that saying I always mess it up, but the pain of staying the same, it’s whatever. It’s easier to change and stay the same. Like what was that moment where it was just, even though it was hard you knew you had to do it or something had to give.

Gary Collins: Yeah, it was. I was sitting in my house one day and was having a conversation with a good friend of mine and I go this house is killing me. I’m spending a lot of money to maintain it. It’s not really where I want to be. I’m trapped. I felt trapped, is the best way to put it. And he goes, well, get rid of it. And I went, no, you’re right. I’ve been contemplating, thinking about it, but for me, again, I’m a very strict disciplined individual.

Gary Collins: And not to the anal over retentive side, but I do things right. I try and do everything right. And I said, if I sell this, take this loss, I felt like I was a failure and I felt like I was doing something wrong because that’s what society basically told me. Right.

Chris Badgett: Did your country upbringing make you disciplined or did the government and the military make you disciplined or both?

Gary Collins: I wish I had the magic answer to that. My wiring I’ve tried to figure out where it all came from, I didn’t have a whole lot of direction as a kid. I was never pressured to get good grades. I wasn’t pressured to go to college. I was a national honor student. I did it on my own. No one was telling me to do it. I think the way I grew up in the difficulties in being poor and living in a trailer and all that. I think it was more desire to get out. And not that that life was bad. I look back at it.

Gary Collins: Yeah. It was tough. But I have a simple saying, no matter how bad you have it, there’s someone out there that has it much worse. So quit your whining. And that’s kind of how I’ve lived my life is okay, this is the way it is. I can improve it. I think that’s where it came from. A lot of it in the military, if you go in with bad habits, it tends to reinforce those bad habits when you get out. If you go in with good habits, it makes those good habits even better. Is the way I look at it. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory. If you go in and you’re just a mess, you’re going to come out. I just felt from what I saw, if you didn’t have direction and ambition when you went in the military, usually the military wasn’t going to change that for you.

Gary Collins: You just learned how to cut corners even better. Is what it taught us some people. But some people it changes their life. They go in a mess, they come out, they spend a career, get their life together. It depends, but for the most part, yeah, just, and then going into the federal government as an agent, you have to be wired tight. I mean, there’s a lot people that weren’t, but for me, I mean you’re carrying a badge and gun every day. You’re responsible for, you lose your car keys, you get written up, you break your cell phone, you get written. I mean there was a lot of stress. I mean every little thing had repercussions that you did. So it tended to make you really walk a fine line all the time.

Chris Badgett: Well let’s go to selling the house and moving on like-

Gary Collins: All right, tangent again.

Chris Badgett: No, it’s all good. You make a lot of transitions, which is how we were introduced. We were both interviewed on a podcast by Tammy Gooler Loeb called Work From The Inside Out, which is a podcast about transitions. You clearly have made some measure ones which is awesome and you have a lot of different experience. But tell us about that transition from, you had the job and then you went out on your own.

Gary Collins: And I had a lot of health problems when I left. I was distressed and I had major mechanical injuries that I didn’t quite know how bad they were until I left and started getting MRIs and I was a wreck. I mean, I’ve been through eight or nine surgeries since I left. But that was part of the process, kind of a re beginning and I sold everything.

Gary Collins: So I said, okay, I’m getting rid of the house. I short sold. It took a massive loss, but it was a life decision. I said either I let this house run my life and I continue on this, supposed American dream or I take responsibility, I change my life and I do it on my own terms. And that’s what I decided to do. I drew my line in the sand, said screw this, I’m going to do it my own way. Literally fire sold everything. I sold-

Chris Badgett: For people that think like you did this at 40. Some people feel like they’re 30 or they’re 25 or they’re 28 is too late or whatever, but you-

Gary Collins: Don’t get me wrong. I wish I would have done some of the things much earlier. But that whole government career and all the things I went through made me who I am.

Gary Collins: So I can’t look at the hardships and the say not so pleasant parts of my life and career. I can’t look at those negatively. I got to look them as lessons. They brought me to this point and without them I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be the person I am. So that’s kind of how I look at it. And I just sold everything literally within 48 hours. I put everything on Craigslist, made about $10,000, $12,000.

Gary Collins: I sold the blinds. I mean I sold everything. Ceiling fans, people came over, two people bought the bulk of it. They came over with trailers, they were utility trailers, they go, “What do you got left?” I go, “Whatever you see around besides the dogs, take it, whatever’s around, I don’t care.” And the last piece was the dining room table was the last thing I sold and it was massive.

Gary Collins: This huge table I just spent months and months searching for and it had to be a certain color. It had to be a certain size, it costs a ton of money. I ate at that thing maybe five times. And seeing that thing go down the road on the top of a Ford Explorer. The guy who bought it, he was an officer in the military and we strap that thing with every piece of bungee cord and rope we could find.

Gary Collins: And I remember it driving away and I was a little depressed at first. I went, I have failed. I literally felt like a failure because that was last big item. And then I would say about 30 minutes later, it kind of dawned on me. I went, I’m free, I’m totally free. There’s nothing holding me back anymore. I don’t have all these possessions, all these garbage that I didn’t use.

Gary Collins: And I ended up renting a small little cottage in San Diego in the more rural area that I ended up staying there over four years. And it was about 475 square feet. So I sold everything, made a transition, bought an RV later on. And then after 40 years I moved into my RV because I had bought 20 acres in Northeast Washington. This is my off-grid house here and I’m on WiFi people, it’s off-grid. Some people get confused. He’s on the Internet. He’s not off-grid, and not tied to public utilities that’s the definition of off-grid.

Chris Badgett: So do you have a hotspot, mobile hotspot or how do you get on the Internet?

Gary Collins: I’ve been using a Verizon jet pack for seven, eight years. I bought the very first one. When I went in the store, I was the first customer to ever activate one. So I’ve had this thing for ever and that’s how I’ve run my business. So I decided to run my business remotely because I went total freedom. Right. I went, I’m going all in. The business was designed to run remotely and I said I can run it anywhere. So I started giving up clients and was working more consulting. Became a college professor, did that remotely.

Gary Collins: I did in campus on campus stuff too. But at the end I journeyed out into online courses teaching, which I wasn’t a big fan of. Just real impersonal. I’m much rather, I enjoyed the in class stuff much better. So yeah, I just transitioned that, started building the house off the grid, had become debt free. Had my health in order, had gotten my surgeries, had redeveloped my health through ancestral health means and live in a primal lifestyle because I thought I was doing everything right but I was doing everything completely wrong health wise, just like most-

Chris Badgett: This is where I wanted to kind of dig into your different niches. So you’ve got like the off-grid living, you’ve got the minimalism, like getting rid of this stuff and I think the dining room table is a perfect metaphor for that. Then you have the RV living, which is kind of like location freedom and then you have optimal health. Now there’s lots of people that specialize in just one of those things, but you’re integrating these things together and for you it helped you reboot your lifestyle and that’s what you help other people do.

Gary Collins: Well. And this all came about organically. The business model was never designed for this. And actually I’ve been running my own business for 20 years. I started my side business was real estate in the government. So it wasn’t like I transitioned and started business out of nowhere with no knowledge, no experience. I kind of think for me, I knew in the back of my mind that eventually there was going to be a transition in my life and I was preparing. I always tell people I always have a backup plan.

Gary Collins: My whole life has been based upon backup plans. And the reason why is my family doesn’t have any money. No one’s going to babysit me and hold my hand to do anything. So I had no fallback. So I always had these redundancies in life I noticed. And like I said, I don’t know where they came from, but that’s where a lot of this came from as well, is doing different things. But I wasn’t following a guide. I was doing them on my own. I was just build the house off the grid. Sure. There was a couple books, but everyone who lives off grid does it totally differently.

Chris Badgett: See this is one area where I really connected with you. There was a while before I was in technology where I was living in Alaska. I bought 20 acres outside of Willow, Alaska. It was off the grid. I had a hand pump, well I had a wall tent and I lived in there with a wood stove and I lived in there with my girlfriend at the time. She’s now my wife through the winter. So it’s getting down to like 30 below and stuff. And I was helping train sled dogs for the person that worked with.

Chris Badgett: But my mindset going into that is like, one, I knew I could do it. Two, if I could do that, I can do anything. There’s always like, I’ll be fine. And that’s always been my super power is even in the early days of business when things are cashflow is super low or got to make an investment in another person or whatever. I’m not scared because I can always like do a lot with little.

Gary Collins: In the same way. And that’s with everything that came from, I was still teaching health, nutrition, working with clients and stuff. I ran a health food company for a while and I was just doing whatever it took to get by. Right. And not whatever. It all had to fit within my moral. And that was one thing I had drawn my line in the sand too was no matter what I do, it’s the right thing.

Gary Collins: It’s the betterment of people. It’s to teach, it’s to help. Of course, I get something from it, but the main goal of everything I did was to help others. Right. I’ve been a teacher, I think that came from the government and military and it was my life purpose. We’ll talk a little bit about that. And so I did an interview and I was talking to the host about, I just bought 20 acres.

Gary Collins: I’m living… I’m going to build a house off the grid at the very end of the interview. And he goes, “Are you up to anything new?” And he go, “Yeah, I’m doing this.” “Oh, time out. Hold on. You’ve never mentioned this.” I went, yeah because it’s a life journey. It has nothing to do with anything. This is my personal journey. So I really haven’t told a ton of people what I’m doing. And I’ve had it in the back of my mind for over a decade. This thing’s been in the plans for a long time to get back to nature, to go back to simple living. The kind of similar to the way I grew up. And I got tons of emails, tons.

Chris Badgett: I have a question about this because sometimes some people have a problem or just they don’t get it. There was like this off-grid remote back to the land nature connection, lifestyle. And then there’s, you also have a online business that’s not limited. Like people can buy from all over the world. You can sell to people all over the world. You’re not limited by geography. Sometimes people don’t realize you can have both. How did you integrate those and why do you think some people think that’s a mutually exclusive decision where I have to pick one or the other?

Gary Collins: Well, I think it’s because the world market is fairly new. And also the Internet, even though it’s been around like 20 plus years now. Yeah. Roughly is new, it’s still kind of new and people are discovering and for people who want to live remotely, the options are far more advanced than they were before because like my solar technology over the last 10 years, it’s drastically changed.

Gary Collins: I mean, it’s so easy to hook up. It’s so easy to use. That it’s a tough one because you can sell information, right? Information courses, online courses, what you do and what I’m transitioning. That’s how we met too, is I’m getting ready to start all these online courses teaching what I do outside of the books, outside of the speaking engagements. I’m trying to get the message out as broad as I can through what technology’s available to me.

Gary Collins: So today you can even telecommute, I know people who live off grid who telecommute to their nine to five job, they go in the office every couple of weeks or they travel for their job and they still live off grid. So there’s so much going on technology-wise. It’s a double edged sword though, right? You use it as a tool, you don’t let it slice you. That’s what I tell people. Don’t let it cut deep and get inside you and start running your life.

Gary Collins: Use it to make your life better. And I think that’s the premise of everything I teach is look at the world we’re in and use things as tools. And I don’t need mean per interpersonal relationships. People tend to confuse that one. And I’m a little bit different. I actually, all the people I work with are friends of mine, and I’ve refused to work with anyone who is not a friend or does not become a friend.

Gary Collins: And people go, that’s a weird model. I go, well, it’s not just about selling widgets, right? This is about relationships. What I teach is being a better person, being a better steward of the earth, helping other people. I mean, that’s truly what I teach. So why would I have all these cold, hard business relationships where, “Hey Dave, can I get such and such?” “Sure. I’ll send it. That’s it.”

Gary Collins: All of us, we BS half the time before we ever get business. We’re talking about our lives, what we’re doing, our families. Our goals. That’s important to me. I don’t do business the other way. It’s too cold and calculated. So, I’ll talk about the three I want to talk about so people understand what because it can be, like I said, a little obtuse, a little out there for people.

Gary Collins: The three legged stool of what I teach, it’s life purpose, financial wellbeing, and optimal health. And people go, I tell those are your main focuses. That’s what I teach the bulk of. And they go, well, captain obvious. I go, well, if it’s so obvious, why do most Americans not even have one? They don’t even have one that they’ve perfected, let alone three. And the reason I teach it this way, my philosophy’s kind of a mix of objectivism, libertarianism and realism.

Gary Collins: I got a little twist on my philosophies of how they work. And it’s because if you do these three things and you do them well, health is the elephant in the room. I mean, we are absolutely in such horrible health in this country and the problem is we are so unhealthy. People don’t even realize it because everyone around them is unhealthy.

Gary Collins: We are losing the health battle in this country and it’s bankrupting not only the system, but it’s bankrupting us emotionally, personally and financially. So that’s why I teach health so much. I go, if you get your health in order, everything else will start to fall in place. And financial freedom, being debt free, then finding your life purpose. What would you do if you didn’t have to make money in order to do it? And people confuse that with, Oh woo, chase my passion. I can’t eat passion. I go, well, look at what I did. If you would’ve told me 10 years ago, this was my business, I would told you, you’re absolutely out of your mind. I let it find me. Everything found me. My purpose found me. Even though my life purpose was something similar it’s now a little different.

Gary Collins: And with those, by doing all three of those and mastering them, you remove the power away from the system that you’re complaining about all the time. What is your purpose? My purpose is to teach the simple life and have people give back to the roots, be compassionate, treat each other better.

Gary Collins: And again, that sounds woo woo. But we have a huge problem in the way we treat each other today. And I’m a firm believer, no one should be hungry. No one should not be able to get health care. No one should have to live a life of misery that they do not choose. And people kind of confuse this with, oh, he’s a socialist now he’s an anarchic. No, no, no, no, no, no. A hand up, not a handout. I firmly believe if you put in the effort, you’re doing the right thing, you should have access to all of those.

Gary Collins: Those should be within your grasp and you should be able to possess those right. Now, if you’re going to sit on the couch and eat Twinkies and vape all day and dye your hair pink, sorry, you’re going to have to live with the consequences. And that’s a little tough love. But people are a little shocked at that. Different kind of disparity between the two. I go, no, we as humans are meant to be free. We live in this capitalistic society. We’re so lucky. I’ve traveled all over and I’m sure you have too. But from what we’ve talked you go, I’ve been to some hell holes, I’ll tell you where were you do not want to live and the life you do not want to have. But I’ve also been to very rural areas of the world where the people are super happy and they have almost nothing?

Chris Badgett: Well on that note. If you go to the financial leg of the stool, what are some counterintuitive insights you have around financial freedom or having a healthier relationship with money. And one specific question I have for you around that is what do you think is like the number, if you can get two in the US dollars in a year, that really that or what circumstances are you actually free? Because a lot of people end up on this hamster wheel it never stops.

Gary Collins: Well you’re totally right. And I teach people today that we don’t have an earning problem in this country. We have a spending problem, it’s within our government. And we do it personally. I’ve done it and I always use this example. I use it in my books, that minimum wage, everyone’s fighting for the $15 minimum wage, which is happening. I’m in Washington, it’s happened here. Here’s the problem with it. $15 an hour. If you work just 40 hours a week all year long, that is $31,200 a year. So if you’re a couple, you’re going to make over $60,000 a year cooking fries, sweeping the floor, that’s not going to work. That’s unsustainable. And you’re feeding into the big companies that are saying, yeah, I’ll pay you $15 an hour, we’ll look like the good guy. We’re going to cut your hours and we’re going to automate you in about a year.

Gary Collins: So you’re slitting your own throat going that way. And not only that, but earning $15 an hour, just working four hours a week, which for salary employees, that 40 hour work weeks, dawn, no one on salary gets to work just 40 hours a week anymore.

Gary Collins: So you’re basically getting the best of the financial world without putting anything really into it. I don’t mean that I don’t want to get into a living wage, but that minimum wage puts you into the richest 1% in the world. So you make a minimum wage, you are considered one of the richest people in the world. Again, not an earning problem, a spending problem. So what I teach and what I talk about is looking at the instruments that were taught to use from the word go. As kids, we’re no longer taught to save. So kids go into high school, going to college, most of them don’t have jobs.

Gary Collins: And if they do, they expect $15 an hour as a 16 year old, which is ridiculous. I made 335 an hour mopping floors and washing dishes and busing tables. You take that and then you go, you turn to a teenager. You’re automatically told you need a credit card. No. So we’re introducing you to pour savings and debt right out of the gate.

Gary Collins: So now you’ve got credit cards. Now you go to college, you crank up your college debt, you go finance a car that you can’t afford, that you should have probably bought something cheaper. My first brand new car cost $1600, had no air conditioning, had no bumpers, no radio and vinyl seat, little Toyota pickup. I bought what I could afford and I bought it because I needed reliable transportation to get to work, to get to school and haul my crap around if [inaudible 00:30:47].

Gary Collins: All had to fit in the back of my truck. That was the rule. And so you go from that and then you get out of college and I did the math, the new financial freedom book. I break all this out by basic math. Most college students are in so much debt by the time they get out of college, the average college graduate makes about $54,000 a year. They’re already upside down and they don’t even know it. Because most kids go 54 grand a year. Holy, I’m rich. No you’re not. You’re upside down.

Gary Collins: And what they do is then they finance their lifestyle further on credit cards. It’s been proven. That’s what the young people are doing today. They’re just raking up more debt. So I tell people you need to step outside of that. You need to become debt free.

Gary Collins: You need to start paying these things off. The average American home is a loser. And I do this in math. I’ve been in real estate, I’ve cranked the numbers, I’ve done it many times. I’ve been bitten by it. The average American home over the lifetime because most people live in their house six, seven years before they upgrade or sell. Even if you go 30 years, the odds of you breaking even on that house, because no one, you’re not closing statements, right? When you look at that, that only gives you the difference between principle and profit.

Gary Collins: It doesn’t tell you HOS, mellow roofs, property taxes, upgrades, utilities, insurance. It doesn’t factor in any of that. You factor in all the pieces of a house. The average American house is a loser, is a financial loser. And we also are taught to finance it incorrectly with a 30 year loan, lowest down payment we can do. I say the lowest is 15 years, 20% down. If you can’t do that, you should not buy the house. And so teaching those things and understanding that, yeah, we’re in this great system, but the system is built to perpetual, kind of perpetuate the rich getting richer. I hate to be this way, but I’m a very analytical guy and I’ve got it big companies, big government are ruining our lives today. I should know I was there, I was on the inside.

Chris Badgett: Lets switch gear to the health because that’s awesome. And I want to encourage people to check out thesimplelifenow.com.

Gary Collins: I get passionate about that one because that’s the one that with health and finances, people think that they’re in a pit they can’t dig themselves out of, right. It’s because they have the wrong information.

Chris Badgett: Well, look at health. Is it, I mean there’s like diet, there’s movement, there’s like a toxicity has never been more. There’s all the technology and screen time and all that going on. What’s your approach to optimizing health and what are some low hanging fruits that if people were to think differently or change some habits or whatever can have really big consequences in a good way.

Gary Collins: Yeah, and health we’ve overcomplicated it and that’s why I write a book on each of these subjects, but they’re shorter. The health books a little longer, but it’s an all-encompassing book. It has recipes, it has a basic exercise program, and then it gets into, I talk about a lot of the whys. If you don’t know the why and that’s, I have five principles of the simple life. The first one’s knowledge is power. If you don’t understand why you need to be healthy and how the body works, we’re wasting our time.

Gary Collins: Humans are meant to learn. We’re very curious animals. We’ve kind of cut that out. Now we’re kind of just follow the path. Don’t ask questions. You need to be asking questions and you need to be figuring out the why. That’s what I teach in health and the thing we have to realize is the average woman today is 5’4, 171 or 174 pounds. The average male is 5’10 198 pounds.

Gary Collins: Both of men and women in this country are a couple pounds, two to three pounds away from averaging obesity in this country, averaging. We will hit that the next 12 months. That is absolutely ludicrous that we’re at this stage. Health is not that hard, but I have a simple saying, there’s no money in healthy people to keep you on the treadmill. Got to keep you sick, chasing that just if I take this prescription, I’m going to feel better. Oh, the pharmaceutical industry. Yeah. They’re here to help me. No, they’re not. I worked with them. They’re greedy and absolutely your health is at the bottom of their list of priorities. They could care less about your health. Yup. Again, little tough love. I hate to be that way, but I’m also not saying that pharmaceutical drugs are unnecessary. Absolutely they are necessary, but the majority of them are nothing but moneymakers that will not solve any of your health problems.

Gary Collins: If anything, they’ll make them worse and create others. You need to take control of your health. You personally, the biggest one sugar. Sugar is in everything. The average American consumes 43 teaspoons of sugar a day. The body to include your food. Remember their sugar in food. In natural food, there’s eight teaspoons or less is the maximum basically that we can handle without starting to have health problems. So do the math, five to six times the amount that is considered healthy maximum.

Gary Collins: You look at sugar, start eating food, people are well, if I can’t have bread, scones, my thousand calorie latte three times a day, my red bull, what am I going to have food, eat food. The biggest problem I have with dealing with clients and over the years cooking, we purchase more cookbooks in the entire history of humankind and we cook the least amount of food in our history.

Chris Badgett: Wow.

Gary Collins: Yeah, it is amazing that people can’t quite grasp the concept of this. Most people have all these cookbooks on their shelves that they never use. If you want to be healthy, you have to cook your own food. It’s cheaper. And this is the argument, I’m sure you’ve heard it too. It’s too expensive to be healthy. I can’t afford that food. Oh yeah. It’s cheaper to be healthy. That is the food industry. Putting a con on you. You go try and eat fast food today, it’ll easily cost you $10. You know what kind of meal? Organic meal, healthy meal I can cook with $10, that’s a grass fed ribeye. That’s a salad and that’s having a banana afterwards as my dessert, easy as opposed to your Frankenstein burger or whatever you just consume that’s going to kill you.

Gary Collins: And I’m not against fast food. I just tell people, use it as a treat. You eat it once, twice a month, you’re okay. People today literally eat almost every meal out and they can’t figure why they’re broken. This ties in. I actually have a whole chapter on the amount of money people spend on eating now. I’ve had clients that are spending over $30,000 a year eating out and they’re not rich. They’re middle class Americans and they could not figure out why they were so unhealthy and broke. And I had to break the math out to my go. You have a bottle of ketchup in your refrigerator, that’s all you’ve got. And they got a family of four. They’re eating every single meal out. And for that, if you just tackle sugar, cut out the fast food and eating out. Those are two big ones.

Gary Collins: But understand what food is. So meat, poultry, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, those are your big ones. I’m a paleo guy because paleo people confuse with kind of a fad diet because it’s been basically screwed up by a bunch of people who don’t know what they’re doing. Paleo is an elimination diet. That’s what it’s for. It eliminates the three main foods that we have issues with. Highly processed dairy, beans, grains. And again, I always get the, well, what am I going to eat? Food. And I’m not saying that you have to eliminate all these foods, but I’m going to tell you from a vast amount of experience and working with thousands of peoples at this point in my career, you eliminate those three, I’ve seen people’s health turnaround within 30 days.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, it’s amazing what can happen. I’ve just seen it when I’ve tried different dietary changes, just even in like three days, 72 hours of like, let’s say eliminating dairy or eliminating processed foods or not doing sugar or taking a break from coffee if you’re having adrenal issues or whatever. There’s all kinds of things that can turn around really quickly.

Gary Collins: What’s wrong with coffee, Chris? I don’t know.

Chris Badgett: I don’t have a problem. I don’t have a big problem with coffee. It’s just that for me-

Gary Collins: I’m joking.

Chris Badgett: I was using it to… It was creating way too much stress in my life. Too much like over consuming coffee. I still have coffee on occasion, but I don’t have it daily. I used to have like a giant press pot twice a day drinking coffee in the afternoon, messing up my sleep. I think the effect of coffee on sleep is the problem. If you can’t have a healthy relationship between coffee and sleep, you shouldn’t have it.

Gary Collins: Well caffeine is addictive and don’t get me wrong, I drink coffee, I drink 100% organic coffee that I freshly grind in the morning and I use an old school Italian Espresso maker stove top. That’s what I do. I’m very selective and I tell people too that no caffeine after one in the afternoon, none. You got to stop. It will screw your sleep up unbelievably. And not only that but a lot of the energy drinks they’re putting a ton of taurine in there and the caffeine isn’t necessarily natural. It’s synthetically derived and it has a weird tinge to it. Anytime, like if I stupid they go and get a Red Bull or something because I’m on the road and I just need something to keep me awake. I start to see stars after I drink it. I get my vision gets hazy and I’m all what is going on here?

Gary Collins: And it’s the chemicals actually crossing my blood brain barrier and it’s causing some weird psychological, I shouldn’t even say some neuro weird response that is unhealthy. My brain is going, what did you just do? And getting away from those things and living life, right. Get outdoors.

Chris Badgett: I have a similar experience. I was on a plane recently and I had like a juice, like a mass produced juice in the can and then they gave out a cookie and I felt like crap. I like you pretty clean, natural, organic whole foods. And I just had it and I was like, and I felt terrible for like three hours. I’m like, man. And that’s just like, you have like six cans of soda a day and all the junk food and stuff.

Gary Collins: Bags of Doritos, my favorite is people who have the Red Bull and they’ve pounded three cliff bars thinking they’re going to be healthy.

Gary Collins: And I just laugh. I go, did you look what’s in that cliff bar? I used to love cliff bars back in the day. I don’t anymore. They’re just sugar carb bombs. And cliff bars are geared for outdoor activities where you need to pack something and you’re out for a full day. That’s why they’re designed kind of, they’ve gone off the rails a little bit, but that’s what they were designed for were dense carb sources. That’s what they were for. They had fat-

Chris Badgett: You got to be hard on that.

Gary Collins: You’re burning. And that’s what they’re meant for. Not meant to sit on in between your cubicle and having your snack of 50 grams 60 of carb. No, they’re 90. They’re like 100 grams of carbohydrates, some of them. And yeah, just using your head. And that’s the problem is we are completely disconnected from health and the planet. We have a symbiotic relationship of humans to the earth. I have a sane too. You came from the dirt, you’ll return to the dirt. That is the cycle of life of human beings and all animals on this planet.

Gary Collins: And again, people think I’m sitting in the forest with my legs crossed humming. Yeah, sometimes. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about understanding that you have a relationship with the earth and what you put into your body has dire consequences. Nature is as close to perfection as we’re ever going to find.

Chris Badgett: Well, that’s perfect.

Gary Collins: But it is designed for us to consume.

Chris Badgett: For the people out there listening as we close out you’ve got these overlapping areas of purpose, financial health and human health and connection. And you’ve like really stepped in. You’ve made that transition into your, this is where I’m going to plant my flag with my expertise. This is where I’m going to keep sharpening the saw and challenging assumptions, helping people. You’ve got, you do speaking, you’ve got books, you’re starting to get into courses. What advice do you have for people that are let’s say a earlier version of you who are stepping outside, they’re making a change and they’re like, they want to do their own thing and build this kind of business and lifestyle whatever the three circles are in the Venn diagram for them, what advice you have for them to be successful and make progress and make the transition successfully.

Gary Collins: Start working on that three legged stool immediately. And the thing is, like I said, the finances and the health and life purpose, the great thing about it, they don’t cost any money. Really. And you can start them today. Do they cost money in the beginning? Of course you’d have to go buy, get healthy food. You have to change some things. And start with a plan. I tell everyone with the life that I designed for me, I had to have a plan and I had to have money. If you don’t have either one of those, it’s probably not going to work. And the money part, sorry, I glossed over that, but I look at money as freedom. The more money you have, the more potential for freedom you can acquire. The more freedom you have, the less money it takes to maintain that freedom. I know it’s rhetorical in a way, but it totally makes sense. So I am completely debt free. I own my house, I own my RV, I own my truck. I can live off far less money than I had two 10 years ago.

Gary Collins: So $15 minimum wage to me is a living wage because I can live off it, no problem owning all these things because I’m debt free. I don’t have the financial burdens that everyone else has. So take it step by step, go slow. That is my best advice. We like to go zero to 60 and jump in and not do research. And not plan. Take it day by day, if you can improve upon one thing, one little thing every single day, after a year, you’ll be shocked at your progress. But people who go, I’m going to do all this tomorrow. They’re the ones that get overwhelmed. They skip a bunch of steps and they give up. Just keep at it. You’re going to fail. I love that saying, failure is not an option. I’ve added to it.

Gary Collins: I go, failure is not an option, but it’s eminent. How you react to that failure and how you adapt and overcome is what’s going to define you as a person and where do you go in life? That’s what does it today we give up, we get a little pain, little failure, and may throw our hands up and we go, “I’m out. I’m done. Forget it. This is just too hard.” I’m going to tell you what I’ve done in this lifestyle is the hardest thing I’ve ever done by far. And it has the most rewarding thing I have ever accomplished in my life.

Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Gary Collins, he’s at thesimplelifenow.com/Freedom. Thank you for coming on the show and sharing your story and your methodology and giving us advice on our course creator journey. We appreciate it.

Gary Collins: Oh, thanks for having me on, Chris. I really appreciate it.

Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses to help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life. Head on over to lifterlms.com and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging, results getting courses on the Internet.

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