Momentum Podcast: 548

Part 4: The Contribution Equation

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Here is the fourth and final part of my presentation at the Titan Summit. In this segment, I go into the contribution equation. Tune in with me as I dive into the meaning of life for entrepreneurs and what differentiates people from the very top to those that want to be there. 

You will hear it in the episode, but there are two things you need if you want to go and make your greatest contribution. The first step – relentlessly lower pressure and noise in your life. The second step – tirelessly ask for protection and support from those around you. If you are willing to follow these steps, soon you will join the entrepreneurs at the top. 

If you’ve missed the other three parts of this series, make sure to go back and listen to them. After hearing this final part of the series, it’s pretty clear that no matter where an entrepreneur is on their journey…they need support and real growth and scale solutions to build their businesses. If you would like to learn how we do that consistently with the entrepreneurs we work with, head on over to 

Full Audio Transcript

Jeremy: Hey, everyone. This is Jeremy from Alex Charfen's team. This is the fourth and final part of Alex's presentation that he gave at Titan Summit. Alex starts to really get into this contribution equation. He takes a dive into the meaning of life for entrepreneurs and what really differentiates people at the very top from those who want to be there. If you miss the first three parts of this series, you're going to want to go back and listen to them. There is solid gold in there.

Alex Charfen: I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.

Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.

I want to leave you with this. We call it the contribution equation. And if you were going to write anything down, this is it. We kind of call it the meaning of life for entrepreneurs. See, I know that for us there is an extraordinary amount of pressure and noise. And there's this thing, this argument in the world like it's a real argument still today, nature or nurture. How many of you have heard this? Is that the dumbest thing ever? Why are we still having that discussion? What do you mean nature and nurture? It's both.

Genetics, nature. They both conspire to do everything that happens to you until you get out of the womb and then all the way through. And for some reason, nature and genetics combined with us equates to a higher level of pressure and noise than for those around us. How many of you would agree? Is that fair? And here's what we need to do to lower pressure and noise, people like us need to ask for protection and support.

Now, here's the challenge. The day you declare yourself an entrepreneur, you become a product and you become vulnerable. And the day we say I am an entrepreneur is usually the last day we transparently ask anyone for help. Is that fair? Because if we can do these two things, what happens is strengths and abilities show. You don't have to go develop them. They just come out. And here's why. If you do these things, you can go make your greatest contribution.

Let me take you through this again. See, sometimes the first pass through isn't that clear. So the first step is lowering pressure and noise. Guys, I spent time around people who transitioned from humble means to billionaire. And when you have a B in front of your wealth, I want you all to understand something about these people. I like statistics. I like to look at numbers. I like to understand what's really happening in the world. And if you look at some of the multi-billion dollar empires in the world today, they are larger than some ancient empires in population. Does that make sense?

What's the difference between a billionaire today and an ancient empire? The billionaire is an emperor in a 100% benevolent system. It must be or it'll fall apart. We see those tragedies happen all the time. So they are an emperor who has to lead through contribution, and I watched it up close. I can tell you something right now. I watched Shark Tank recently and Barbara Corcoran told the girl not to cry because it wasn't befitting of somebody who was successful, and I have never met a billionaire that wouldn't cry in front of his people and does. 100% of them, because it means that much to them.

At that level, do you know what you're really dealing with? Just people. You're looking somebody in the eyes and saying, "Is this going to work or not?" Because you can't access anything else when you run $1 billion organization. And they relentlessly lower pressure and noise. I mean the people who are successful are fanatic about lowering pressure and noise. The two massage protocol, that's like a good start for these people and they look eccentric. How many of you have heard of the stories of billionaire eccentricities, right? "Oh, they're crazy. They ship couches so that they can have the same furniture in meeting rooms. They want all this stuff done for them. You know where that all is? Lowering pressure and noise.

And why not? You know what eccentric is? Being yourself because there's only one of you. That's eccentricity at its finest is just being who we are. And so we say these things about billionaires when we shouldn't be saying them, we should be mimicking them. And I have this friend who I used to go visit and it's an interesting contrast in lowering pressure and noise because... And the next step, increasing protection and support.

Guys, delegation is a myth. It's a joke. And if think you can delegate to a millennial, huh, good luck. And the next generation right behind them, there's no way it doesn't work anymore. The reason so many entrepreneurs can never reach their full potential because they believe they should delegate rather than transparently ask for protection and support in order to lower pressure and noise. Does that make sense?

I'd go out and I'd see my friend and I was running a really successful consultancy. We got up to 50, 75, $100 million. I'm doing incredibly well making a ton of money, but he's doing the really, really well. And I'd go out and see him, and I remember going in, and early in our careers I'd visit him and he'd have like a secretary, which made sense, but then he'd have personal assistants doing things like shopping for him and doing his laundry. His clothes would always show up in bags, and I'd always think like, "What an extravagance?" Then I'd go home, do my laundry, grow my little company, right?

Then I go back and see him the next time and he'd say stuff like, "Hey, how's it going?" and there was like seven or eight people around him that time. Somebody was driving for him then. And I remember thinking like, "What an extravagance," as his company exploded. And I remember one of the times I went to see him after things had really changed, and we were in New York City. We were in his office in Manhattan and from his office to the street, to the car, to the helicopter pad, to the private jet to Boca Raton, there was probably 50 people that helped us. All worked for him, like 50 people just to go get somewhere.

And I remember on the plane turning to him and saying, "Hey, don't you ever feel a little goofy having all of these people do everything for you?" I was out of my mind. I don't know why I was saying that. I think I was just being a jerk as I was jealous. And I got exactly the answer I should. He looked me right in the eyes and he said, "Alex, you've known me for awhile. You know every single person here has a purpose and they understand what they do. And a lot of them have hired each other, brought each other on. If I had opened a door today, they all would have panicked. They know they're here to make things easier for me because we all move forward."

And then I spent the rest of the plane ride sitting in there thinking about it because that's the easiest thing in the world to think about, the hardest thing in the world to do. What differentiates people at the very top from those who want to be there is these two steps. Are you willing to relentlessly lower pressure and noise, and tirelessly and transparently ask for protection and support the way you should as an entrepreneur? By telling your team what you're scared of, what frustrates you? Tell them tactically say, "Hey, I was uncomfortable in the meeting yesterday. I don't know why."

That will lower pressure and noise because here's something amazing about our personality type. Watch. Look at everyone else in the room. How many of you for a fact that when you say something out loud, it loses power over you. Right? Tell your teams. That's why they're there. They're there to help you move forward because if you will lower pressure and noise transparently ask for protection and support, here's the magical thing that happens. Your strengths and abilities just show. How many of you know this? How many of you have had times in your life where you overwhelmed yourself? You had people around, you had the right things happening and you could do things that you did not know you could do. Had the answer that you never should have had. Had the skill that never was trained for.

The problem is that people like us spend most of our time right there trying to grow our strengths and abilities, which is the hardest thing in the world for us to do. That's called school. How many of you feel like the system of school served you all the way through? Right? We don't learn skills and abilities, they develop when we go out to make our greatest contribution. And guys, I want you to understand something. Sometimes people get confused when they hear me. They're like, "Man, this guy talks about homeschooling. He wears weird shoes, and then he talks about making his greatest contribution, like we want to make some cash."

I know how to make cash. I'd made millions for myself. And don't forget, I'm the developmentally disabled ADHD guy with a lot more diagnoses. So if anybody's in the room, I like to compare, I've got about 130. That's two decks of cards. The fact is I'm a capitalist, and capitalism in its truest form is the exchange for contribution. Because capital flows to contribution so if you want wealth and affluence, if you want more money than you can ever imagine, make your greatest contribution with a fair exchange. And that's where we explode because capital flows to contribution.

And guys here's what's important to me about this. The contribution equation doesn't just work for me, it doesn't just work for you, it works for anyone like us regardless of how much pressure and noise there is because see, the entrepreneurial personality type, we're all unique. Some of us look incredible on the outside and we carry our pressure and noise inside. Some of us like Sally's child is now showing pressure and noise on the outside. And some of us can't hide our pressure and noise.

When I was a kid, I was so different that often adults would change the attenuation of their voice when they saw me coming. You guys know what I'm talking about? So for those of you who don't recognize this, it sounds something like, "Oh look, it's Elaine, Charles, and Alex." You know what I'm talking about?

So when I was a kid, the only other type of people that they did that with was with handicap people, right? So when somebody has like cerebral palsy or down syndrome or they're in a wheelchair, they'll often change the attenuation in their voice. So as a child, I believed that, that was my tribe. And oftentimes people feel sorry for me. They say like, "Oh, it's so sad that he only related to people with down syndrome and cerebral palsy and wheelchairs chairs." And I'll tell you something for anyone who knows anyone who has one of those conditions, there is such a profound strength of connection with people who show their pressure and noise.

And if you're willing to take a few moments, even in an unspoken connection, they will connect you to who you are. And that's contribution. And it wasn't just for me. I went out looking for stories to prove this to people that there are no broken people. And not one of us is irreparably broken. And I found a lot of stories because man, the person with down syndrome that was supposed to do nothing and now as a standup comedian, that exists. The person with cerebral palsy that runs marathons, that exist. The prison who is running a business, who was fundamentally retarded in school, that exists.

You're looking at him. But then I found this special story because like if somebody was like that, then maybe that just was meant to be. But what if somebody was changed to be like that? I found this story of Dick and Ricky Hoyt. Has anybody know Team Hoyt? Familiar with this story? So I have two kids and my first daughter Reagan was born at home. I don't do well with institutions. Can you imagine me hugging a vending machine in a hospital? And the doctor put Reagan in my arms and I remember the midwife, and I remember thinking... Well first you guys, how many are parents? Do you remember that first thought you have where you're like, "Holy crap, where's the supervisor? Right? Are they just going to give me this kid?"

It gets very real, right? And then the second thought, you all know what I'm talking about, it's like, thank God she's healthy. Because in that moment it's not like my life changed, it's not like perspective changed, it's like my definition of perspective, my definition of life changed. Who knows what I'm talking about? And when that happened to Rick Hoyt, his son had been fine five minutes before and was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.

The lack of oxygen caused palsy, caused his body to shrivel up. He was nonverbal. He couldn't really move, couldn't talk and express himself. What do we do with people like that these days? It's food and water. Morphine until the end. That's a common decision. Institutionalize. Dick said, "Not my son." They took them home, started running with them and he went, ran one day and he noticed his son was breathing better and he kind of moved around more. So we ran with him again, and it happened again. That's lowering pressure and noise through simple protection and support.

And so he entered in a 5K, and in the first 5K they ran in Team Hoyt had a group of people crowded around them to run with them. And then they started running marathons, and marathons turned into triathlons, and triathlons is where Dick Hoyt is dragging his son in a raft, putting him on in front of a bike to ride and then running with him in a wheelchair. And people leave testimonials about Team Hoyt that are amazing.

But here's what's so amazing. They're not talking about Dick, they're talking about Ricky. They say things like, "I was running a race and I saw your child running in the race. I saw your son running." He wasn't running. He was being pushed in a wheelchair. "I saw your son running. It changed my life." Kids say things like, "We saw your son running in a race and we realized the autistic kid in class can come play with that, so he does now." That's contribution.

An overall hundreds of thousands of people have come to run with, inspired by, move forward because of Team Hoyt. And the testimonials are for Ricky. And my favorite one is, I was running in the Boston Marathon and the guy says something like... I don't believe in spirituality or energy, or any of this stuff. You know how people do that right before they tell you they had a spiritual experience? Right?

And then he says, "I'm running the Boston Marathon. I looked over my shoulder, I saw this kid in a wheelchair and it changed my life. I was going for a personal record. I stopped and ran with them. And now I run with Team Hoyt."

Guys, that is lowering pressure and noise through simple protection and support. And even in a fundamentally visibly broken person, strengths and abilities that are magical are showing, and he's making his contribution. And if it works for Dick Hoyt, it works for any of us. And here's what I want you all to know. For all of you who felt like you were singularly alone, there is nothing wrong with you.

And when we lower pressure and noise, and we increase protection and support, and we have strengths and abilities show, we changed the world. We all know there are things in the world today that need changing. And it is our personality type that will and always has. So it is your moral responsibility to lower pressure and noise. Ask for protection and support, build your teams, build your organizations, make them strong. Your skills and abilities will show and we will go make our contribution because the world needs changing, and the people who will change it our right here. Thank you, everyone.

Jeremy: Thanks to everyone who took the time to listen to this episode. You know I speak to entrepreneurs every single day at all levels of the Billionaire Code and the things I start to realize is no matter where entrepreneurs are on their journey, they all need actual support and real growth and scale solutions to build their businesses. If you'd like to learn how we do that consistently, head on over to That's

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