Silvercore podcast episode 121 Neil Smith Mettle
episode 121 | Jan 16, 2024
Personal Growth
Personal Growth
Experts & Industry Leaders
Outdoor Adventure

Silvercore Podcast Ep. 121: Mastering the art of Mental Fitness

Dive into the world of mental fitness with former TV producer Neil Smith, co-founder with Bear Grylls of the brand new app "Mettle". Discover the power of resilience, overcoming challenges, and embracing the wild in this captivating episode of the Silvercore Podcast.
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Silvercore Podcast 121 Neil Smith Mettle.

[00:00:00] Travis Bader: I'm Travis Bader, and this is the Silvercore podcast. Silvercore has been providing its members with the skills and knowledge necessary to be confident and proficient in the outdoors for over 20 years. And we make it easier for people to deepen their connection to the natural world. If you enjoy the positive and educational content.

[00:00:30] Travis Bader: We provide, please let others know by sharing, commenting, and following so that you can join in on everything that Silvercore stands for. If you'd like to learn more about becoming a member of the Silvercore club and community, visit our website at silvercore. ca.

[00:00:52] Travis Bader: Do you want to sleep better, relax, achieve more, be happier, take control? That's the goal of today's guest. Who left the prestigious lifestyle of working at some of the UK's largest media production companies to forge a new path along with co founder Bear Grylls to develop Metal, the first mobile app designed specifically for men's mental fitness.

[00:01:13] Travis Bader: Welcome to the Silvercore podcast, Neil Smith. 

[00:01:17] Neil Smith: Thank you, Travis. What a great intro. You know, you did say if you don't like it, you can just say start again, but no, let's go with that one. 

[00:01:24] Travis Bader: Excellent. I always, you know, I find that's the hardest part for me is doing that intro because if I don't do that, right, then I set the tone wrong.

[00:01:32] Travis Bader: And there's a part of me that feels I've done this for like 120 podcasts. Maybe it's time. I should just start, just start talking and see where it goes. But, uh, Uh, 

[00:01:41] Neil Smith: yeah, you did look very serious. You look very serious. 

[00:01:45] Travis Bader: Well, you know, you gotta, you gotta make it look right. You know, when we're talking before, you're saying that some of the happiest times in your life are times when you've been working with the co founder of Metal, Bear Grylls, and you're telling a few kind of fun stories that surrounded that.

[00:02:03] Travis Bader: Are those things that you'd want to share with the audience here? Of 

[00:02:06] Neil Smith: course. What sort of fun stories? I can't remember which ones 

[00:02:09] Travis Bader: they were. Well, you didn't delve too deep into them. So I was hoping to get them from you here 

[00:02:15] Neil Smith: Yeah, fine. I mean well look, you know, so You know metal m e t t l e that is so it's not metal the kind of material It's a metal as in you know per m e t t l e is the spelling and it's a person's ability To overcome or cope with difficulties, you know spirit and resilience and I guess that you know before I got into the The mental fitness app game, you know, as you say, I was a big TV producer in the UK.

[00:02:41] Neil Smith: I produced, I ran a couple of big production companies. One of the companies I ran, I, I met Bear for the first time. We started working together and we spent many, many years having great shows. And, and, you know, metal actually kind of sums up what his shows are about. You know, it's about a person's ability to cope and overcome with, uh, overcome difficulties, you know, spirit and resilience.

[00:03:02] Neil Smith: So actually the name of our company now really kind of, you know, encapsulates. What we were doing, you know, so I mean bear is brilliant fun to work with Because you know like by the time I started working with bear I was probably a little bit too senior to go on every shoot, you know Um, but I did anyway because they were the shoots that I wanted to be on and I'd always kind of say to, to the, you know, to, um, to the team, Oh, look, it's an expensive show.

[00:03:29] Neil Smith: There's a lot that can go wrong. True. You know, it's dangerous. Also true. Um, you know, I really need to be on this shoot and yeah, we just had a brilliant time filming together all over the world, you know. You know, bear is a kind of consummate performer, but he's also somebody who really kind of lives this stuff Yes, so he kind of loves adventure.

[00:03:51] Neil Smith: He can't really live without it. You know, he's so you know in his downtime You'll find him jumping out of planes, you know, often way more dangerously actually than we're allowed to do on TV. That much lower, lower kind of distances from the ground. And, um, yeah, so it was just brilliant fun to travel with him and his crew.

[00:04:13] Neil Smith: He always kind of credits the crew as being the real heroes. of the journey, you know, because they're the ones who kind of like, you know, have to do exactly the same as him, but with a camera or a sound, right, sound kill. And I 100 percent agree with that. It does create a great atmosphere and you've got a great crew kind of flying around the world, just getting up to high jinx, you know, jumping out of airplanes into volcanic lakes, whatever it might be, you know, sleeping in the jungle, uh, you know, eating crazy stuff, you know, feeding, you know, You know, A list celebrities, ants for breakfast, or, you know, whatever, wherever it could be, you know, so working with Bear was one of the highlights of my career, for sure, you know, in TV, uh, and it's great fun, I mean, you're an outdoorsman yourself, aren't you, so, you know, I'm based in London, uh, uh, our ability to kind of get out in the wild is more limited, um, and so doing those shows, you know, it's great, however, I was, There was a, uh, um, a Google presentation that we did recently that Bear did and somebody asked him, Oh, you know, what if you live in the city, you know, how do you connect with nature?

[00:05:23] Neil Smith: You know, he said, turn on the cold tap, get in the shower, turn on the cold tap, you know, there's nature for you right there, you know, cold, having a cold shower, you know, that's kind of one of the ways that you can kind of look after your mental health. Fitness, you know, that's a great way to reconnect with nature.

[00:05:41] Neil Smith: I don't know how, how, how often are you out in the wild? 

[00:05:44] Travis Bader: You know, I always say not often enough, not as often as I'd like, because personally, I'd like to be out there all the time. And I, you know, Silvercore is Silvercore Outdoors, the company, not the Silvercore podcast is designed specifically to help strengthen, uh, people's connections with their natural environment.

[00:06:02] Travis Bader: And I do that because. It brings me a lot of comfort and joy being outside. There's a whole, there is a whole mental fitness aspect of that. Yeah, some people, they just, they don't even want to be alone. They're afraid to go outside. They don't know what to do. Um, they don't want to go in the ocean cause they're afraid of sharks.

[00:06:20] Travis Bader: So we don't have sharks over here. They don't want to go in the woods cause of bears. Well, we have bears, but they're not. They're not a concern if we look at this statistically, right. Um, but if we can do a little bit just to, uh, break down those barriers and to deepen that connection with people's natural environment, then I mean, that, that speaks to me and my soul.

[00:06:39] Travis Bader: I like to create things. I like to be outside. How can I marry the two of those together? And this is where I'm at so far in, in my endeavor and in my journey going through is with Silvercore Outdoors and in the podcast. And hopefully people listening to this, it'll inspire them. To say, man, like, what is this metal app that I could check out?

[00:06:59] Travis Bader: Or like one of our past guests recently, Alistair Humphries. He's one of your, uh, countrymen and he's, yeah. And he was talking about micro adventures and how, like, if you're in a built up area, how can you get out and actually have. An adventure and maybe get portions of what you get on some major epic adventure as well.

[00:07:17] Travis Bader: So that's, uh, that's what I'm looking to do with the podcast. If there's some positivity I can share and bring value to the audience and the guest. I've done my job. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I met bear, uh, a few years ago at shot show. Uh, shot shows, a shooting, hunting, outdoor trade show in, uh, in Vegas.

[00:07:38] Travis Bader: And, you know, I've, uh, watched his shows for, for years. And the one thing that always struck me is that underlying positivity, like he'll, he'll have his detractors, he'll have people come out and say, oh, he stayed in a hotel sometime or, uh, and who knows, maybe that was part of, part of you guys and your production team putting them up or.

[00:07:59] Travis Bader: It 

[00:07:59] Neil Smith: wasn't, I can just say categorically that he never stayed in a hotel when we filmed him as if he'd stayed overnight on any of our production. Well, so yeah. And you know, yeah, no, you know, if, if he was sleeping out, he was 

[00:08:11] Travis Bader: sleeping out. That's amazing. Well, you know, there were, uh, And I'd watch these people and I won't get into the specifics because people can Google and then get there themselves.

[00:08:20] Travis Bader: But what really impressed me was the response. And the response always was, uh, yeah, so and so probably is a better, uh, bushcraft person than myself, or, you know, I'm just trying to do ABC and bring some positivity or, you know, this person over here, they've got a great thing, I'd, I'd give it to them. And he's always quick to give away.

[00:08:41] Travis Bader: That credit to somebody else. And the ego seems to be low. I mean, everyone's going to have an ego, but the, the management of that ego and the, uh, the underlying goal of what it seems like he's trying to do, which is a spread positivity and to bring people up, shines through. So, 

[00:09:01] Neil Smith: you know, he, he wants people to find their own adventures, you know?

[00:09:04] Neil Smith: Uh, you're right. He, as I said earlier, you know. He always says, Oh, it's not me. He's doing, I'm not the real hero. Look at the crew. That guy's got to do the same as me. But with the, with the, you know, 15 kilo camera on his shoulder and still hang off everything. And, you know, it's kind of like. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:09:23] Neil Smith: He's kind of very humble, uh, character. Um, but you know, it's all about inspiring people, you know, bears. Mantra is never give up. So I love it's kind of like, okay, well, whatever you're going through, keep going. You know, so he's more about positivity, I'd say than, than even the wild these days. Cause you know, it's just sort of, you know, that's, that's kind of, you know, Central to kind of what he's trying to get across.

[00:09:48] Neil Smith: I think, you know, positive. 

[00:09:50] Travis Bader: I think that's how you affect change, right? I mean, you can go out there and you can personify a positive lifestyle. You can be in the outdoors lifestyle and you can do these crazy things, which some of it's going to be amped up a little bit for camera. Like, I don't know who's going to be out there drinking bear dung, right.

[00:10:05] Travis Bader: But, um, uh, unless you absolutely need to. Um, 

[00:10:10] Neil Smith: but, but then you've put the lens, at least you've learned how to do 

[00:10:14] Travis Bader: it and it gets people talking, right? And there's a virality to that, 

[00:10:19] Neil Smith: you know, in terms of stories, you know, that was one, I remember there's a big channel here called ITV. Yeah, that's like, you know, a big, you know, when our big free to air channels, one of the top.

[00:10:29] Neil Smith: By the second, first or second biggest channel, you know, and I remember being told that I'd brought the channel to a new low By the head of entertainment there, which I was very pleased about. It's actually the second time I managed that, that I got that honor twice But this was because we had like a big celebrity show, it's called Mission Survive, and they took Celebrities out into the wild and you know, they got eliminated.

[00:10:52] Neil Smith: Yeah, so it's a kind of classic reality style format It was really really fun, and on one of these shows You know, we'd already done the urine drinking, you know, as a kind of, which was brilliant, you know, of course, you know, uh, but, you know, we needed to step it up a level. So, you know, we got them to, to give themselves enemas.

[00:11:13] Neil Smith: Which, which, you know, our national was quite conservative national channel, you know, was, which was, you know, really. Really something that we managed to get away with that being told or you've brought the channel to a new low but in a Congratulatory way by the head of entertainment. It's funny But you know, I said, yeah, but actually if you were stuck in the sea, you know And like you didn't have any fresh water then, you know, like an enema is a great great way to kind of purify Some of that salt water and keep you alive so it could Could keep you alive that tip.

[00:11:45] Neil Smith: So what we're providing is a really useful kind of Educational tool for the viewers I 

[00:11:52] Travis Bader: tell you this much the idea of hydrating through an enema had never crossed my mind prior to that But you know if I ever find myself in that situation, maybe it'll be one of those things that my mind can recall I 

[00:12:04] Neil Smith: mean, it is painful, uh, cause you know, saltwater on those, uh, very fine mucus membranes, uh, is something that is kind of, you know, not to be taken lightly.

[00:12:17] Neil Smith: I don't know whether you've ever been a flotation tank. 

[00:12:19] Travis Bader: No, no, I haven't done that. The idea of a flotation tank to me sounds fantastic, but the idea that I don't know how many other people have been floating in this, in this bath and doing Lord knows what, that, that doesn't appeal to me. 

[00:12:34] Neil Smith: Yeah, but you know what?

[00:12:35] Neil Smith: One of the things you've often told to do is kind of, you know, grease around the anus Protect it from the salt 

[00:12:43] Travis Bader: water. I've never heard. I didn't know that. Okay, good to know 

[00:12:46] Neil Smith: I've 

[00:12:49] Travis Bader: got I've got ADHD. So I tend to flow pretty 

[00:12:53] Neil Smith: easily Champion of neurodiverse Uh, leaders and, uh, you know, you know, not just, you know, I've worked with neurodiverse leaders, but you know, neurodiversity in the workplace in general, you know, and in schools, I think, I think this is another subject, but it's one that's really close to my heart, you know, that, yeah, my, my wife, Just started teaching at a university, on it, there was a saying, there was a kind of question saying do you suffer from a disability, and it said what, it said tick the disability, ADHD, kind of dyspraxia, and it's like, those aren't disabilities, you see what I mean, I would argue that ADHD is a superpower.

[00:13:34] Neil Smith: In ways, yes. Because, you know, for me, obviously at school, it was chaos because I was chaos. Yeah. But once I kind of came to running a big company and I had 15 things to do at once, no problem. Yeah. Give me one thing to do. I struggle. 

[00:13:49] Travis Bader: I can, I can relate to that. What was school like for you growing up? It was, 

[00:13:56] Neil Smith: yeah, it was difficult, but fun.

[00:13:58] Neil Smith: I mean, it was fun for me, not so much fun for my teachers, I imagine, because I pathologically could not. You know, I wasn't a bad kid, but because I had such severe ADHD, I got moved up years, down years, like excluded from classes, subjects, whole subject matters, you know, but, um, but you know, my crowning glory at school, my big achievement in my, in my own opinion is we have these things called O levels, which are exams you take first big set of exams that you take around 16.

[00:14:30] Neil Smith: And, uh, I was excluded from physics as a subject because, uh, it was just too disruptive. And so I had, they said, you've got to teach yourself the rest of the course, you know, so I, so I did. And unfortunately for the school, uh, I came top of the county. Wow! And, and the first day, or the first week of the next year of school, You know, they had to present me with an award.

[00:14:56] Travis Bader: See, isn't that 

[00:14:57] Neil Smith: funny? It's up in the county in physics. And of course the whole school knew that I hadn't been taught by them. And so 

[00:15:04] Travis Bader: it was kind of, isn't that funny? Now, if a teacher could recognize and provide somebody like yourself with those tools to be able to get from point A to point B in a way that would work for you, man, the teacher would be wearing all the accolades, but instead it's you, it's on you.

[00:15:20] Travis Bader: I remember, but that's 

[00:15:22] Neil Smith: ADHD in action, 

[00:15:23] Travis Bader: you know, you know, I got, uh, I, I did not fit in with school, elementary school. I graduated not because of my grades. My teacher said I, she didn't want to see me back in grade seven. Again, she figured high school would sort me out. Uh, grades aren't good enough, but I'm passing you anyways.

[00:15:40] Travis Bader: Get into grade eight. I remember, well, I mean, just acting out and the, the common behavioral things you do. Um, yeah. And I remember, uh, we called him Chuck Morris, uh, Charles Morris was the teacher's name. And, uh, I somehow was able to get under his skin so badly by just my disruptive behavior that he ran at me and he was, uh, I'm, I'm, it was, I think six, four.

[00:16:06] Travis Bader: By the time I was in grade seven, I'm six, six, 250. Now, actually, when I met Barry, he's like, he looks at me. He's like, they should call you bear. Anyway, anyways, um, He ran at me and grabbed my throat with both hands and just choking me out on the, uh, the table behind me. And this is a, um, a local private school that I was going to, and I was like, I got it.

[00:16:29] Travis Bader: I won't do anything. I won't fight back. I'm going to pass the class. That was all that was going through my head as he's doing. 

[00:16:37] Neil Smith: Yeah. I teach you to be so violent. I mean, you know, our teachers were, you know, They were terrible, you know, like, you know, hitting kids and with whatever they could find, you know, doing nowadays is that's all in the UK.

[00:16:50] Neil Smith: That's illegal now, so it became illegal while I was in school, but they, you know, that sort of stuff that you've just described was. Completely normal behavior at one point, I 

[00:16:59] Travis Bader: think, I don't know how normal it was, but it was at least accepted to the point that it was, it was an all boys school. And yeah, 

[00:17:07] Neil Smith: me too.

[00:17:07] Neil Smith: Me too. Yeah. So it was just accepted. Mine was a, well, you know, it was a public, you know, a free school, you didn't need to pay to go there, but it was, um, selective and it was just for boys because, you know, I was quite academic actually. So I used to, that's how I used to get through things because I was academically quite gifted, I guess, you know, I could get into trouble and they wanted to keep me in because my grades were pretty good.

[00:17:29] Neil Smith: So I kept the average up. Well, I ended up. But they were like, if you bring other people down too much, then, then you're out. Yeah. 

[00:17:36] Travis Bader: Well, I kind of did both. It just depended on where, like, I ended up graduating on the honour roll. Uh, but I remember I, I spent a couple of years at each different high school.

[00:17:46] Travis Bader: Cause I kept getting moved around, not because we moved, but because of the ADHD. And, uh, the last high school I was at was rated worst in the province. And, and, uh, and I hated it there, but I wanted to be on the beach or I wanted to be up the mountain snowboarding. And so I tell the teachers, can you tell me what's expected for the week?

[00:18:06] Travis Bader: Can you tell me what's expected for the day? I'm going to go across the street to the university. I'll go in the library. I'll do my work. And I had the rest of the day to myself after about an hour to two hours of doing my own work and I'm graduating with honors teachers are like, we don't have this behavioral problem in our, in our school.

[00:18:22] Travis Bader: And he's getting good grades. Awesome. So, you know, as, as I look at your transition there, and maybe that makes a bit more sense if you talk about the ADHD and, you know, impulsivity would be one of the things that kind of goes with it. I'd say optimism as well. Um, I find more of a glass full than a glass empty person.

[00:18:47] Travis Bader: And I always know I can achieve what I'm going to do, uh, whether the ends justify the means at the end of it, like all that effort I put in, it could have been a lot easier if I did something else. But you left some pretty high profile, well paying gigs to go into the crazy, crazy, crazy. 

[00:19:07] Neil Smith: Yeah. I mean, what was I thinking if I knew now what I, what I, you know, well, if I knew that what I know now, I'd never have done it.

[00:19:16] Neil Smith: That's not true. It's not true. But yeah, I had a midlife crisis, I guess, you know, or, uh, other people, you know, I heard of a theory called second mountain theory. Okay. Yeah. What is that? So second mountain theory, so obviously we've created an app for men, yeah, because the reasons that, you know, we should discuss why men need their own product to help with their mental health and fitness because, you know, they're, they're not catered for, yeah, and there's a mental health crisis, which would be good to kind of dig into a bit.

[00:19:46] Neil Smith: But, um, but yeah, so, you know, but there's this thing called second mountain theory, yeah, which is Men tend to empire build, you know, they protect themselves, you know, so in our DNA we want to protect yeah So ourselves, our family provide. Yeah, that's in our DNA. Yeah, so we protect and we provide and we build and we build our Fortresses and our careers if you like, you know, which enable us to protect and provide provide and you climb the maps you think, right?

[00:20:16] Neil Smith: I'm climbing this career. So I'm you know, I'm a man. I'm outcome focused. I'm gonna get to the top of the mountain Yeah, so it runs the top of the mountain. It gets the top of the mountain and Then you get to the top of mountain And you realize, Oh, I'm at the top of the mountain now, what next? And you see another mountain over there.

[00:20:32] Neil Smith: And so I've got, that's the mountain I've got to climb. Second mountain there. And basically it's kind of like, you know, there I was. I was kind of like, you know, I got to the top of my profession. You know, I have pretty severe ADHD as you probably can appreciate Travis more. I got to the top of my profession more by luck than design.

[00:20:51] Travis Bader: Funny, the harder I work, the luckier I get. 

[00:20:55] Neil Smith: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So it's kind of, but you know, I just did what I liked. And that was making TV shows, yeah, coming up with ideas, going out, filming them, directing them, whatever, you know. And then, you know, I got pretty good at that, started selling a few of them, uh, and, you know, ended up running, first a company that made a lot of shows with Bear and various other things, and then, um, a bigger company, um, which made, you know, some of the UK's biggest shows by far.

[00:21:21] Neil Smith: Um, and yeah, it paid really well. And I had, um, you know, everything done for me and I had a big staff and a big team. It's very comfortable, but I was really unhappy. I felt unfulfilled and I thought, okay, well, I've got all these skills, um, you know, this ability to communicate, to take important ideas and bring them to audiences.

[00:21:45] Neil Smith: You know, I need to do that for good. I need to do something good in the world. I need to have a purpose, you know, beyond just. Making telly and earning money and you know that TV was good TV Entertain people and the stuff that the adventure stuff we did was great and I did some stuff, you know I did stuff around like homelessness where I took another survival guy Ed Stafford right the 60 days.

[00:22:08] Neil Smith: Yeah, that's right And we did 60 days on the streets. Yeah So Ed normally he does a show called naked and marooned or he's that's where he started then that became marooned on discovery Now he does first man out. I think it's cool um And he's, you know, very authentic survivalist. So I said to him, and I just made a show with him on, on Discovery.

[00:22:27] Neil Smith: And I said, look, Ed, you are ex, ex military, adopted, um, male, and have suffered from mental health problems, which he's publicised. All risk factors for ending up on the streets. There's a shocking homeless crisis going out, going on in London. Why don't we just do your show, your 60 days and 60 nights on a desert island with nothing but a camera.

[00:22:49] Neil Smith: Let's do it rather than on a desert island. We'll do it on the streets of. The UK cities over winter we do it over Christmas You have to spend Christmas out there and you'd live on this and he just totally went for it spent 60 days fully immersed Surviving on the streets as I'm this person Yeah, and had a call incredible adventures and that brought a massive audience to homelessness because that was actually the channels highest new rating series For two years and remained so Wow for another three after we after we did it, you know And it was about homelessness, which you think oh god I don't want to be battered over the head with some worthy kind of subject So so I thought okay.

[00:23:28] Neil Smith: Well, can I do that? Can I do what I do really? Well, which is taking important ideas that may be a bit off putting to people But are important You know, and I'm able to communicate them to big audiences and bring those audiences because I do want that for something that's really important to me, you know, which in my case is, is mental fitness.

[00:23:51] Neil Smith: You know, so that, that's, that's sort of led me to, to leaving. And I mean, you know, I've gone on the true founder's odyssey of going from wealthy to skin re mortgaging their house. You, you, you know, like my life has changed completely, you know, as a result of a passion project, a vision, but it's something that I felt the world needed and I wanted 

[00:24:14] Travis Bader: to put into it.

[00:24:14] Travis Bader: What did that unhappiness look like and how long did it last 

[00:24:19] Neil Smith: for? Okay. So the unhappiness, that's a really, that's a really interesting question. So the unhappiness lasted about six months, I suppose, before I acted on it, I think. And what it looked like the thing I remember is the you know, I'm I I know that I'm not motivated I'd love to have some more money now, but I wasn't particularly motivated by money then and You know, I found myself counting how much money I've made every day.

[00:24:53] Neil Smith: Mm hmm just to sort of Give me the purpose for the day and that's when I knew that this is this is just not right Just thinking how much money if I had to pay It's like and you know the people I work with were great the programs we working with great, but just needed Strike out, you know, I needed, there was a, I, I, there was a bigger, I felt, you know, I just called to do something else, you know, whatever you want to call it, you know, the second mountain theory, whatever it is, you know, I had to do something else.

[00:25:24] Neil Smith: Um, 

[00:25:25] Travis Bader: yeah, you know, I look at money as a motivator and it's something that I've always lived by, you know, I'm comfortable having nothing or next to nothing. That's how I grew up. Yeah, me too. Right. A lot, a lot of people like that. I have a little bit of something now because I've, I've built something, but if I lost that all tomorrow, okay, I know I've got the ability and talents to be able to rebuild it.

[00:25:49] Travis Bader: But if I make money, my driving factor, I'm always going to be chasing the money. But if I make the. Project or the endeavor, whatever it is that I'm passionate about my driving factor. I find that money will be a natural by product of my hard work and my efforts. And sometimes the end doesn't justify the means from a financial basis, but from a, uh, soul nourishing aspect, I'm doing what I love and the end absolutely justifies it means.

[00:26:18] Travis Bader: And whenever I find myself, cause maybe it's an ADHD thing, but I like to build something. I like to create something, but. The maintenance of something over and over, come in, come out is, um, the routine of the monotony of that can be a difficult thing for me. So I keep looking at how I can keep growing. Um, I think that in itself, always looking how you can grow, how you can grow, what you can do next can be tiring.

[00:26:43] Travis Bader: Are you like that? 

[00:26:45] Neil Smith: Yeah. So my, what am I got? So the, so one of the things that I did at my last company was, um, you know, they, we worked with kind of, you know, I was on like a global leaders kind of. And they get you to create a personal purpose. So my personal purpose, my dream, the thing that I wanted to do, was inspire wonder, greatness, and joy.

[00:27:08] Neil Smith: That was my kind of purpose. I like that. That's what I love doing. So I love inspiring, you know, wonder, in, you know, the shows that we made, so people can lose themselves in it, and joy, you know, and greatness. I'd say, you know, in my team, you know, I love to nurture a team. Uh, and, you know, empower them to, you know, grow.

[00:27:27] Neil Smith: Mm-Hmm. . But my biggest kind of belief is was that learning and growth are non-negotiable. Mm-Hmm. . So for me, learning and growth and non-negotiable. Yeah. Without which I sort of die inside I guess a little bit. Mm-Hmm. , you know, and, um, so I think that was what was going on with me. You know? I just felt I wasn't learning and growing.

[00:27:50] Neil Smith: Yep. So now, oh. Wow, I got what I wish for, you know, uh, you know, as you say, you know, as a startup entrepreneur, I'm all learning and growing. There's nothing else but learning and growing. Yeah. Um, so it's kind of like, be careful what you wish for. But, um, but, um, but yeah, I mean, what are we here for arguably other than to learn and grow, you know, it's kind of like, it's, it seems to me like a real kind of guiding principle.

[00:28:21] Neil Smith: And in fact, we've just been working on our values for a company. And. And grow or growth or growing and quite settled in, but growth is a, is one of our principles because we have to, we have, we all feel that we have to grow as people and we need our company to grow, 

[00:28:36] to 

[00:28:36] Travis Bader: survive as well. You know, there's, there's an interesting dichotomy there as well, because for people who want to grow, who want to self improve, um, it's, it's sort of like that old one with a Rockefeller and a reporter asked him, like, you've got so much money, like how much is enough?

[00:28:52] Travis Bader: And he says. Just 1 more, same thing for these people who want to grow. Oh, just a bit more, just a bit more. And there's an argument to be made for how do we enjoy what we have now? How do we come back and say, um, I want to grow, but I'm going to take a break for a little bit and say, this is my enjoyment time.

[00:29:11] Neil Smith: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So growth shouldn't be your right. Cause growth, when it's happening all the time, it's painful. Yeah. Nature teaches us that doesn't it? Growing pains that kids have. Which is when they're growing too fast. Yeah, like when you start starting up a new business. Yes That's that's painful growth.

[00:29:31] Neil Smith: Yeah, it's enjoyable. I'm loving it. Um, But you know, there's there's not much balance at the moment. You see what I mean? And that balance is it is important Yeah, so you want to grow and you want to learn and you want to enjoy don't you? Yeah, that's the kind of you know, I did ideally you want to You want to grow a bit, learn a bit and then enjoy the things you've grown into and learn about, 

[00:29:56] Travis Bader: I guess.

[00:29:57] Travis Bader: And I guess that's the tough part with people who are like looking at self betterment. Well, yeah, that's right. To what level? Like, and yeah, that's interesting. Am I comparing myself against other people? Or am I comparing myself against what I was yesterday? And when am I better in these different areas?

[00:30:15] Neil Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So that's interesting because when we were looking at this product, so our product basically There's a really simple toolkit for men, because we saw that men were not being catered for. But um, you know, in the UK and similar in the US, I'm not sure about Canada, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 now, which is a shocking statistic.

[00:30:40] Neil Smith: So like 80 percent now of all suicides are male versus female. And then, I've got all these tools, like meditation, breath work, and Self hypnosis that I've been using for years, but I noticed that you know, most of my mates weren't using them Yes, I talked to them about and they kind of stare into their pints and want to know what time the football's on You know, it's kind of like taboo subject and that's my expertise.

[00:31:06] Neil Smith: Yeah, like the homeless thing Yeah, so it's kind of like taking taboo subjects and blowing them up making them acceptable. So for me, it's about Making mental fitness if you like or growth or whatever you want to call it, you know that betterment accessible to everyone because what some of the things that I had observed was there's a lot of information out there but not much transformation yeah so there's a lot of information from it you know so like you know whatever podcast you know the Rogans or the Hoopermans or you know great podcasts you know loads of information but my wife was like I remember my wife saying to me who doesn't Oh, yeah.

[00:31:48] Neil Smith: I've just said this podcast and this guy's saying that the key to healthy living is 17 different colors of vegetables every day or whatever. But last week you had the podcast and he said that it was intermittent fasting. Right, right, right, right. There's so much information. Yeah. And there's not much transformation.

[00:32:05] Neil Smith: Yeah. So what I wanted to do is make because for a lot of people that information is good as it is for me It's gonna be confusing and difficult to follow. Yeah, so much of it out there and it's an industry I can ensure it is You know, it's the manosphere or whatever you want to call it is is an industry that needs content to feed it Well, there's a journalist.

[00:32:23] Neil Smith: I understand that, you know, so it's not so much about the truth. It's about What's engaging and what will sell, you know, it's going to get me bums on seats or list ears on headphones or whatever we call it these days. Um, you know, so it's kind of, um, you know, but, but how do we just give people some tools that they can just use at their own pace and can transform them and they don't need to think too much about it, you know, like a simple breath work, being able to control your breath, according to when you want to sleep or you want some energy in the morning or you want.

[00:32:56] Neil Smith: Uh, you know, you want to de stress. Yeah, yeah, just relax. Yeah, those are really transformational tools that anybody can use. Yeah, they're really accessible. Yeah, so it's not about striving for kind of some Unreachable goal of perfection, you know, I'm no way in that camp, you know, like I don't go to the gym I try to keep fit, but I'm not kind of you know, I'm like, you know equally I'm not very good at meditation even though I've been doing it since I was like 11 12 years old Yeah, but I still get the benefits of it And if we can just share those tools with people Then they can also benefit from them.

[00:33:36] Neil Smith: So I think, you know, that's something that thing about growth and comparing, you know, it does, we don't all need to be David Goggins is what I think I'm saying, you know, uh, we just all need to be, would it all benefit from being a bit better? Yeah, so having slightly better physical health or slightly better mental health or mental fitness and, and, you know, so it's just a progression that you go on a journey that you go on at your own pace, I think, you know, rather than saying, I've got to be here in six weeks.

[00:34:08] Travis Bader: Look, it's interesting, like, you know, you're talking about that second mountain and, uh, Alan Watts, he's a lot of people heard of him, philosopher, um. Uh, I mean, if you look at his life, he had a plethora of problems as well. I mean, he, but he had some good things that, uh, uh, that he could share with people from his studies and his learnings, but he has this neat one.

[00:34:30] Travis Bader: I think the afterschool SKOOL, they do the little scribble drawings and voiceovers of people and, um, always find those fun because it's. Engaging for an ADHD brain, but he, it's got Alan Watts talking, talking about, you 

[00:34:44] Neil Smith: know, I'm familiar with it. Yeah. 

[00:34:46] Travis Bader: You got all of these, uh, promises. Oh, you pay attention, you do your homework, you'll graduate, you'll get top of the class, right?

[00:34:53] Travis Bader: You go to high school, you get into a good university, get a university, get a good job, and you fed all of these promises and it's up there. Keep going. Right. There's that mountain. You get to the peak. And when you get to the peak, you sit there and you say, is that it? Right. I've been fed this story this entire time.

[00:35:08] Travis Bader: That's right. Is that it? And he says, you get there and you realize that the whole thing was a musical event. You're supposed to be singing and dancing along the way and engaging and part of the process. So that, that's, that made me think of that Alan Watts. Um, speech, but that second mountain thing, you've been vocal about the fact that I think it was in your twenties, uh, you suffered depression.

[00:35:33] Travis Bader: Yeah. Was that for similar reasons? You weren't finding the, um, uh, the purpose inspiring people or what did that, what was that about? You know what 

[00:35:42] Neil Smith: I don't actually know might be, and there's a reason I don't know. It's because I never. You know, I never got it probably treated by a doctor, I suppose, you know, so, you know, I never delved into that side of things or by a talk therapist or whatever, you know, I never took medication for it.

[00:36:06] Neil Smith: So my experience with depression is it came along. Yeah, like when I was in my early 20s, I guess, you know, I think I was just finished university. I was still living near the university. My, my doctor was. The university, you know, the university medical practice

[00:36:27] Neil Smith: and, and, and, you know, you know, when you've got depression, you know, there's, there's all the signs, yeah. So I'm depressed. Yeah. So here I am. I don't know what's caused it, but you know, cause I was at the start of my life, you know, then I was at the start of my career and I was able to progress my career along alongside having depression for a long time.

[00:36:47] Neil Smith: I did really well. I, you know, I started as a journalist and then went into television and I was always successful. But I was kind of plagued. Uh, uh, and I went to see, um, you know, so it took all the current, like, like many or potentially most men. Yeah. I didn't tell anybody about it apart from my girlfriend.

[00:37:10] Neil Smith: Yeah. And I think this is part of, you know, the, the thing that we're trying to tackle is just this, the men, you know, there's a big message around mental health for men that men don't talk. Yeah. And then need to talk. Yeah, and I agree. That's a really, really important thing for men to do to talk about their mental health and how they're feeling.

[00:37:30] Neil Smith: Yeah, because some men will very sadly take their problems to the grave. So, you know, sadly, I had an example of it recently where a friend of mine, one of his very good friends, took his own life. Um, and you know, around the time that he was doing it, you know, like a few minutes before. He was texting everyone on Whatsapp, or Whatsapping everybody and taking part in the banter kind of, do you know what I mean, sending the memes and stuff.

[00:37:59] Neil Smith: Yeah, so he took it that far, he couldn't speak, and so there's a real imperative for men to speak about their mental health, yeah. However, that doesn't, telling men to speak doesn't change behavior. Yeah, very quickly, yeah, maybe over a long period of time, but you know, we can, you know, it's difficult, you know.

[00:38:19] Neil Smith: And so what we're trying to do with metal is give people tools. That can help improve their mental health without them needing to talk to people So that is kind of one of the things that were really key to the app, you know So here are some tools that don't require you To talk about your mental health with anybody because even though i'm sitting here talking about mental health with you Yeah on a podcast.

[00:38:41] Neil Smith: I still don't want to talk To my mates about how I'm feeling on a Friday night when I'm down the park, I just, I just, I think 

[00:38:46] Travis Bader: a lot of people will listen to podcasts so they can have these conversations, at least listen to the conversation without having to have that difficult conversation and you've seen, 

[00:38:55] Neil Smith: so go on, so, you know, just, just to go back to that kind of not being able to talk, just to get back to your, your question about depression, you know, so I've experienced it for myself.

[00:39:06] Neil Smith: I was unable to talk to anybody about it because I was depressed. Yeah. And so eventually somehow I got the confidence, um, to go to the doctors. Um, as my colleague, uh, um, and, you know, took all the strength I had to, to make, to, to go and see a doctor and tell, tell them. And so, you know, all these, all the strength I had and I went to see a doctor and, and, you know, I said, I think I've got depression and he said.

[00:39:38] Neil Smith: I'm just going to stop you there. Depression is over the road in occupational therapy. So you just need to go over there and make an appointment with them. And of course, so I got up, completely destroyed. And I didn't go over the road and make an appointment. I went to the pub and I got drunk. And I continued ignoring you know, what needed to be dealt with for the next, best part, 10 years.

[00:40:07] Neil Smith: To be honest. So that's kind of a, I think that's an example of, you know, men don't like talking. Let's try and improve. Let's try and get them better at it, but it will take time. And in the meantime, what else can we do to help them? You know, give them some practical tools. Yeah, so that's I guess what we're trying to do here.

[00:40:28] Neil Smith: But that's I guess how that depression fit into my life. And also, I ended up being cured of it through clinical hypnotism, which is one of the things 

[00:40:35] Travis Bader: that we have on the app. Yeah, you do. You got a pretty famous hypnotist on the app there. 

[00:40:39] Neil Smith: Yeah, that's right. Paul McKenna. Yeah, who's kind of the world's most famous hypnotist.

[00:40:43] Neil Smith: And again, you know, he, you know, he kind of, you know, came on board. I said to him, look, Paul, we got this app, there's all this stuff out there. You know, which is generalist, but all the science shows because we're working with universities and charities that men need their own specific, gender specific interventions, you know, the best outcomes, you know, men respond best to things that are just for men because they feel safe.

[00:41:09] Neil Smith: Yeah. So the reason men don't want to talk is because they feel vulnerable. Men, we're taught, we're trained not to feel vulnerable because we're always strong, the provider, the hunter, whatever you want. Bullet that archetype can't be vulnerable. Yeah, so why would we admit to somebody that our mental health is in a poor place?

[00:41:26] Neil Smith: Yeah, so it's kind of like, you know, we need So many so what we've tried to do with metal is make it a safe place So it's just for men, you know, so they feel there's, there's no judgment there. They can't say it's too, so the objections to using a lot of things that are on the market, some of the other apps that are on the market, which might contain similar things, might contain meditation and breath work and hypnosis and stuff, is that, you know, the three objections that we found.

[00:41:51] Neil Smith: On interviewing a couple hundred men with two female, two hippie ish, and there's nothing wrong with me. Yep, so two female makes men feel vulnerable, yeah, so it's just for men, takes that one away. Two hippie ish makes men feel vulnerable, I don't want to be associated with that stuff. Okay, well we're completely straight, talking in science back, takes that objection away.

[00:42:10] Neil Smith: Third thing, third objection, there's nothing wrong with me. Men don't want to talk, admit that there's anything wrong with them. Well, we're not saying there is, that's why we have a mental fitness, not mental health. You know, I said to Paul, look, we're doing this app, there's nothing out there for men. You know, we want to change the world and give them just great content that can change their state.

[00:42:31] Neil Smith: And Paul has written books on, you know, how to beat anxiety and, um, you know, how to be more successful. Uh, Change Your Life in Seven Days was a book that I Read and listened to of his, which did change my life to me a little longer than seven days, but, uh, but, you know, create, get me incredible tools. And so can we tell, tailor them for men?

[00:42:54] Neil Smith: Can we kind of, you know, build them for men? And he's like, absolutely. And he came on board and that was just. Well, 

[00:42:59] Travis Bader: there's a bunch of things I'd like to unpack and what you're saying there, uh, one thing, if I work my way backwards, I was talking with a friend of mine, he's actually British army sergeant and, uh, talking generally about the app and you and sort of what you're endeavoring to do, he says, Uh, we, as men have been conditioned to suppress our emotions, especially in the military.

[00:43:21] Travis Bader: You can't process events and incidents if you are suppressing your emotions and feelings. And, you know, the, the other thing I'll read out here, because you have developed in that specific for men, and you talk about, you know, 80 percent male versus female. And I tried doing some research, uh, On this and get actual numbers and they don't keep really good records of, uh, suicide and these percentages in a way that's, um, that makes sense.

[00:43:51] Travis Bader: Like for example, I don't see a chronic liver failure from, uh, just. Alcoholism being slotted into the suicide list or opiate crisis and fentanyl overdoses, but all of these things fit into mental health and, uh, And the deaths that happen there. So, and, and, you know, the 80 percent for men versus women, is that because, uh, there's more men that are committing suicide or is that because men typically will choose a more final solution than, than women, women typically will use pills.

[00:44:26] Travis Bader: Men will use firearms. I mean, 

[00:44:28] Neil Smith: statistically speaking, yeah, I mean, what I'd say is I'm not an expert. This is not my area of expertise. So I don't want to kind of, you know, really say definitively, but some of the things we've heard are, you know, A, men don't, you know, the thing that we discussed, men don't talk, they suppress their emotions, therefore they will bottle them up until they can't cope, yeah, so that's one way, women are much more likely to talk to their friends, you know, so like, just, what I can do is give you examples from my own life, so, you know, I go out with my best mate, one of the people I had in mind when building this app, because you know, he's physically fit, mental health could do with some improvement, you know, but he needs to feel safe.

[00:45:07] Neil Smith: To use it. Now he's using this app, but, um, but you know, I go out, him, have a night out, I come back, my wife says, oh, how are, how are, how are, you know, how are his family? I'm like, oh. I don't know. I did not. I didn't ask. They hadn't 

[00:45:23] Travis Bader: come up. We're guys, that's not how we 

[00:45:25] Neil Smith: interact. We had a few drinks, we had some banter.

[00:45:27] Neil Smith: It's like, how could it, but you've just been with him. You know, like, it's gonna, she can't compute. It just didn't come up. Sorry, I forgot to ask about his wife and kids. I'm sorry. It's just, you know, we were out having a few drinks. We had a really good night and, you know, that's, but that's, that's quite typical.

[00:45:44] Neil Smith: You know, so men and women are different. And, you know, the science shows that they need different. One of the big things and why certainly in the UK, a lot of the charities are focused on that message of men need to talk because there's this thing, the That will lead them, as I said, I gave that example earlier, that will sometimes lead them to take their own lives because they can't talk, yeah?

[00:46:07] Neil Smith: They'd rather do that than talk to somebody about their problems. Some people, yeah? So that's number one that we, that we know. And what we're trying to do is, oh for a bit, you know, we're not trying to deal with people at the end of that, at that end of the scale. It's important to say, you know, we're trying to, this is for everyone, yeah, to try and be a bit more mentally fit.

[00:46:23] Neil Smith: But, you know, it also hopefully, or certainly the evidence shows that if you use the tools, In this app, then you're less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than people who aren't. So those are just, those are just the knowns. And that's the first controversial science or anything. That's pretty standard knowledge.

[00:46:42] Travis Bader: The best time for you to get physically fit isn't when you're three, four hundred pounds. You're missing the boat on that one. It's right now. Right now as you start to get out. Yeah, 

[00:46:51] Neil Smith: yeah, yeah. So get mentally fit. And you're going to perform better in every area of your life. So just going back, sorry, I was just slightly referring to something you said earlier, but it's kind of like men aren't allowed to express their emotions.

[00:47:02] Neil Smith: The one emotion they're allowed to express, traditionally, is anger. The men are supposed to express everything, you know, that's the acceptable. It's both unacceptable and acceptable. So it's unacceptable as in, um, you know, you got angry, or you know, there's a man, he's got angry, it's like, but it's the, like, society, you know, societally, it's the only.

[00:47:23] Neil Smith: Emotion that men are supposed to express his anger and that's where everything you're not supposed to cry, etc, etc. So I think, you know, going to your, um, your army, uh, friend's point. I think that, so that's one thing. And I think the other thing is you touched on is perhaps men are more able. I think that's some of the evidence points towards that.

[00:47:47] Neil Smith: Yeah, final means. That's right. But, you know, as I say, we're trying not to focus on that side of things. Although there's clearly a problem and you know, it's sort of a, it's sort of a tricky balancing act, you know, as we say, you know, the problem is male, male mental health, but the solution is mental fitness.

[00:48:08] Neil Smith: Yeah, so if you're mentally fit, so, you know, if you're physically fit, you're less likely to get diseases, aren't you? You know, you're less, you know, you're less likely to suffer, you know, from, you know, if you're physically fit, you're less likely to suffer from fatty liver disease, for example, or heart disease or And cancers, etc.

[00:48:28] Neil Smith: Do you say, I mean, so it's kind of like, if you're mentally fit, of course, you're less likely to suffer from poor mental health conditions, you know, well, we also have, 

[00:48:36] Travis Bader: sorry, I was gonna say, I'm going to read something here from the Mayo Clinic. And it says, uh, depression is one of the most important risk factors in suicide.

[00:48:44] Travis Bader: Unfortunately, male depression is underdiagnosed because men are less likely to seek help and because men don't always develop standard symptoms, such as sadness, but instead are more likely to experience fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbances, and a loss of interest in work and hobbies. So I thought I'd read that out just, you know, cause most people think about mental health or depression as, okay, I'm sad.

[00:49:09] Travis Bader: Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, men tend to display it in that sort of a way. Um, and, you know, I'm sure you've seen the Norfolk FC, uh, ad. For the, uh, powerful, powerful ad for people who haven't seen that one. I'd say Google it basically in a nutshell. It's these two individuals watching their favorite football team over and over again.

[00:49:33] Travis Bader: And there's in this, in the bleachers and there's one guy is cheering and happy and his buddy beside him is looking sullen and withdrawn and. Each, each game, same thing over and over again. And then the final game, the guy shows up who's still unwithdrawn and puts his buddy's jersey beside him because the guy who was happy and cheering was actually the guy who was suffering from the mental health problems.

[00:49:59] Travis Bader: It's not 

[00:49:59] Neil Smith: always clear. No, it isn't. You have to be careful around that. I mean, I was that person. You were Richard Corey. I was. Who's Richard Corey? Sorry. 

[00:50:11] Travis Bader: Edwin Arlington Robinson wrote a poem called Richard Corey. Whenever Richard Corey went downtown, we people on the pavement looked at him. He was a gentleman from soul to crown, clean favoured and empirically slim.

[00:50:21] Travis Bader: And he was always quietly arrayed. And it was always human when he talked, but still he fluttered pulses when he said good morning, and he glittered when he walked. And on we worked, and waited for the light, and curse of bread, and Richard Quarry, one calm summer's night, went home and put a bullet through his head.

[00:50:37] Travis Bader: The Richard Cory's of the world are the ones that you have to kind of look out for. And if you have the tools to be able to identify what these things look like, withdrawn, irritable, uh, lack of sleep, lack of interest in these things, maybe, maybe we should be taking that initiative and saying, Hey, you should talk to somebody, or do you want to talk or, Hey, there's this app called metal that I've been using.

[00:51:02] Travis Bader: That's been, uh, I got a couple of cool tools. 

[00:51:06] Neil Smith: Because, you know, even if, you know, even if the tools don't resonate with you and you're more and you need more specialist help, we at least have a help page telling you where to 

[00:51:14] Travis Bader: go. And you don't find that in other places? 

[00:51:17] Neil Smith: No, no, no, it's not on other apps. So, you know, we felt that was really strongly that was something that we wanted to include.

[00:51:22] Neil Smith: But, but, you know, so yeah, I was the, by the way, I can see why you were an honors student, Travis. That was an excellent recital. very much. Um, but, you know, but, but just, you know, I was a great mascot. So my, you know, my best mate who I talked about, uh, earlier, you know, he was somebody I had in mind for the app only found out that I had depression when he read about it a couple of months ago in a national newspaper.

[00:51:50] Neil Smith: You know what I mean? It's like, well, I didn't know that. The life when I was, you know, we were going out every day. These are the people 

[00:51:59] Travis Bader: closest to you. Yeah, it's exactly that advert, you know, uh, I, I think in my head, um, how often do you think about your hot water tank and it flooding in your house?

[00:52:10] Travis Bader: Probably never, right? Most people probably never. I know a fellow and he goes around, he shows everybody this little alarm. You can put underneath your hot water tank and when moisture hits it, an alarm goes off and it can notify you. Why is it on his mind? Why is he talking about these things? Because it's affected him personally.

[00:52:27] Travis Bader: And so these are little things that I look out for when talking about people, things to keep coming up. It's there's, there's a reason for it. And, um, maybe, maybe it's not as obvious as someone coming out and saying, Hey, I've got an alarm or I've got this, but if there is a common thread to the conversation, maybe, maybe there's something that should be dug into a little bit deeper.

[00:52:48] Travis Bader: Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:52:49] Neil Smith: I mean, I, I can sympathize with him by the way, because I've had boiler problems that really expensive to fix. 

[00:52:56] Travis Bader: Have you heard of the Australian sheds initiative? Yes. This is where I see metal moving to my personal from an ADHD standpoint and loving to build and create things. I see it moving from a mobile app to a movement, sort of like rucking, right?

[00:53:14] Travis Bader: Rucking, they got communities and people get together and they put their pack on and they'll go and they'll get their exercise. To be able to facilitate a boots on the ground community of people who can, and for people who haven't heard of the sheds initiative, uh, in Australia, they found that men were not likely to go and sit down and talk about what's going on in their life with their mates, but you give them a project to work on, they build a shed and they've got different woodworking or they have a motor that, uh, needs rebuilding on a lawnmower and they get a group of men working together.

[00:53:50] Travis Bader: They'll talk, they've got a shared focus or working on something. And they'll, they'll talk about things that maybe they wouldn't normally open up or talk about. And so that's exploded in Australia. I can see a similar thing being, uh, driven by 

[00:54:05] Neil Smith: metal. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, being a movement is something we want, ultimately want.

[00:54:13] Neil Smith: To be, you know, we want to create a community at the moment. We have to focus on the app. Of course the app is expensive 

[00:54:18] Travis Bader: You gotta recoup those costs. Come on 

[00:54:21] Neil Smith: Exactly, you know, and that's a really good first start because it gets us into the pockets and you know the the lives Potentially of millions of men.

[00:54:29] Neil Smith: Well, yeah, but ultimately You know metal we want to be synonymous with male mental health, you know mental fitness, you know, so it's kind of like okay well that means the community that means at events that means kind of things happening in the real world to support men and Like our whole, uh, our mission, our central mission is to help men be better because we believe if we have better men, then we have a better world.

[00:54:54] Neil Smith: Yeah. Men are good at messing things up. Yeah. Every, every woman has a man in her life and vice versa. Yeah. So a lot of women really are in great support of this. You know, it's kind of like, I think so. Like only. Yesterday I speak to somebody who'd approached me because his wife said, you've got to download this, get a grip on your anger.

[00:55:13] Neil Smith: He's heard about it on a podcast or whatever. And it's like, you know, now he's on it. And then I spoke to him, he's like, I love it. But it's kind of, um, yeah. Have you, 

[00:55:24] Travis Bader: have you, um, read that study from Harvard, the longest study of his kind, 80 years that followed different people from all different backgrounds to try and determine what brings happiness into their life.

[00:55:38] Neil Smith: Well, if it starts with the longest, having ADHD, that's a no. I mean, you know, that's where tldr, you know that phrase tld? That is my, yeah, too long. 

[00:55:49] Travis Bader: Didn't I use eif, ELIF. Right. And it's explained. What's that? Explain? Like I'm five and I type that, yeah. I type that into ai. I've got an app on my phone, call po or I'll use GPT or whatever, right?

[00:56:02] Travis Bader: eif and I give the link and it'll come through and to give, like I'm a 5-year-old to give the main points and then I can dig deeper if I want to. Um, 

[00:56:10] Neil Smith: correct. But. Yeah, that's quite the, yeah, that's, that's how I have to work. 

[00:56:14] Travis Bader: They said the number one predictor of happiness across all ages, genders, uh, backgrounds was strong social connections.

[00:56:24] Travis Bader: And I would think, I know you're step one, just out of the gates with metal, man, if there's a way to get a boots on the ground. Movement of people getting together and be able to build those social connections. Cause building a social connection within an app is an important is important, but I think the actual physical connection that people can have is one of the things that people are dearly missing in today's society.

[00:56:55] Neil Smith: Yeah, a hundred percent agree. Yeah. And you know, that's, you know, obviously we were talking about the flip side of that is that makes people happy. Oh, totally. Part of that. It, it, it's the people without social connection, that's one of the biggest risks, um, of somebody taking their own lives, is, is that they're missing that.

[00:57:16] Neil Smith: So you know, that, it works all the way across the spectrum, social connection. And I 

[00:57:21] Travis Bader: wonder if it's one of these things where, you know, it seems overwhelming, it seems massive, but the reality of It, it's just these tiny little tweaks and there really isn't much to it. Like, I think there's a danger to going to talk therapy or going to, um, uh, medication, getting medicated too quickly, uh, because people come in with this approach that there's gotta be something wrong with me and maybe I feel like I'm down or I feel like I should be ABC.

[00:57:53] Travis Bader: And maybe instead of saying, well, there's got to be something wrong with me. Say how I'm feeling right now is absolutely natural. Given my current circumstances, given the fact that I don't have a goal or I'm not driven or I lack, uh, I'm not exercising. I'm not eating right. I'm not meditating or I'm not sleeping like these, how I'm feeling is a very.

[00:58:12] Travis Bader: Natural by product and rather than looking at it, like I have a problem, um, Looking at it like here's some simple steps or solutions that I can take in order to get there. And I guess the fear is that you go to medication too quick and people get hooked on these things or the wrong ones. And it's really a throwing of the dice when you try and figure out what meds are going to work with somebody.

[00:58:34] Travis Bader: Or you look at talk therapy and you got the wrong person. I mean, it's never going to click for you. But if you can have those strong social connections with your mates. And it's like the old crocodile Dundee one, when he's, uh, talking, they're at a party and, and he says, that guy's a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

[00:58:54] Travis Bader: What's that? And I forget his, uh, friend's name there. She says, well, you know, you go in, you pay him a bunch of money. You talk about your problems and he helps you out. You keep going there over and over and you get. You get some results and she says, well, don't you have anything like that down under? He says, Oh, we got the bartender.

[00:59:11] Travis Bader: We tell him our problems. He tells everybody else, no more problem. Right. And maybe it's as simple as that for, for not everything, but 

[00:59:18] Neil Smith: yeah. So that's a really, that's really interesting because obviously that was delivered as a joke, but it has a huge amount of truth. So certainly in the UK, a movement that starts in the UK is.

[00:59:32] Neil Smith: Barbers, so it's like men will relax when they get in a haircut. Yeah, they just talk to their barber. So a lot of barbers now are being trained in, you know. being able to spot kind of mental health things, but also, you know, community, how to communicate with men and help them out and point them in the direction, right direction if they need it.

[00:59:53] Neil Smith: Um, you know, black men especially, uh, can often use the barbers as a community. Totally. A lot of people will be in there. And so we've been working with some guys who, who, um, are in that community who, um, you know, uh, uh, really making great strides because, because You know, in the black community, uh, uh, mental health outcomes are even, even worse for black men than white men in the, in the UK.

[01:00:25] Neil Smith: Um, and, uh, and they find it perhaps harder to talk, um, because of cultural reasons. And, but the barbers is one of the safe spaces. So, you know, actually that telling the bartender or the barber. Is becoming now a real place where, um, people can make an impact on male mental health because it's, it's accessible.

[01:00:49] Neil Smith: I feel comfortable there. Yeah, I don't, I'm, I'm, I'm happy to let my guard down for a moment. Right. It's a place to go 

[01:00:55] Travis Bader: to relax. Right. Yeah. And I'm not going to be judged. And if I'm laughed at, it's going a way because they actually care about me. Right. And it's my peers. 

[01:01:06] Neil Smith: Yeah, it doesn't cost me anything either.

[01:01:08] Travis Bader: Yes, totally. That's an important piece of the puzzle.

[01:01:15] Travis Bader: I love that. Um, that's good. So you just launched it. You got it out of the gates. Um. Initial traction, like testing. I know I was looking at some of the stats. I was through the roof, the Instagram, Facebook, seeing what the results are back on that. Everyone knows was likely aware that people keep talking about the next pandemic is going to be a pandemic of mental health, right?

[01:01:42] Travis Bader: And it's that we are in a mental health crisis, which maybe, maybe that's a good thing, maybe the pandemic, and maybe these things that have come. Push people to a point of mental health is good from the, um, the path of least resistance principle or Zipf's law. I think they call it. Have you heard of that one before?

[01:02:02] Travis Bader: So they say, um, I guess this guy did, uh, got his name associated with it, but essentially let's say you got to seek out a An answer to a problem you have, and you can look in your building and there's a generalist who has acceptable answers, or you can go to the next building over and you can get the specialist who will give you the bang on answer.

[01:02:24] Travis Bader: Well, it's easier just to talk to the generalist. Cause I'm going to get the acceptable answer. That's the easy part. If you push it harder, right? If there's enough pain involved, you're going to seek out the actual solution. So maybe it's kind of like, well. Um, I'm, I'm in a relationship and it's okay. I'm not happy, but I'm not bad.

[01:02:44] Travis Bader: And he'll just carry this relationship out. But if it becomes violent or really bad, okay. You know, path of least resistance now is to leave this relationship and seek out something new. So maybe the pandemic and the media concentrating on all these negative things is actually pushing people to a point where they're like, mental health is important.

[01:03:06] Travis Bader: We're going to have to move. 

[01:03:09] Neil Smith: Uh, you know, I think that's. There's a, there's a lot of truth in that, you know, like if you just take the last pandemic, you know, it made people completely reevaluate their lives and, uh, you know, certainly that's for me when I made my big change. I also kind of reevaluated my relationship with my family as many people, many men especially did.

[01:03:33] Neil Smith: I think, you know, so huge amount of change was forced. Through a difficult situation, you know, and now my relationships certainly, you know, with my family are a lot closer I would say, you know because people were able to think okay. Well, how important is balance, you know in the world? What what is important when a lot's taken away, you know, our freedom effectively is taken away from us What's important and what do I want to when I go back when the world goes back to normal What bits am I just going to get back to normal or are things going to be different now?

[01:04:10] Neil Smith: And like, you know things have changed so You know it's not the norm that Certainly not that everybody goes to work in the office every day You know, people might do a day or two from home or more. Yeah. And that's perfectly normal now, but it wasn't before the pandemic, you know, it just, it wasn't, you know, zoom.

[01:04:33] Neil Smith: Yes. Yeah. So when I, so as a TV producer, if I wanted to pitch a show to LA and I lived in London, I have to fly to LA. As soon as, as soon as COVID happened, obviously the option. wasn't available. Yeah, everybody moved to zoom. And since COVID's over, everybody's stuck on that because it's like, well, why would I fly to LA to pitch a show?

[01:04:57] Neil Smith: Just get on the zoom. Yeah. It's kind of like, so these things do force change, you know, they're, they're hard, but you know, it's kind of, there's been a lot of positive change. 

[01:05:08] Travis Bader: Well, how are you managing the stress of a startup as well as those boundaries of work time? Because I know doing startups myself, I like to joke, you know, you know, I've got my own business.

[01:05:20] Travis Bader: I can take time off whenever I want, which is true. You can, but the reality is you don't, the reality is that it's always on your mind and you're working when you wake up and you're working, when you go to sleep and you're talking with your spouse about work and how do you manage that? Yeah. So 

[01:05:35] Neil Smith: a couple of points there.

[01:05:37] Neil Smith: You know, somebody told me a while ago, you know, so a coach that I was working with about, you know, you shouldn't really look at work life balance, work life balance anymore, because that's just going out the window, and it's going to go out the window, you know. Think about work life integration, yeah. So it's kind of like, you know, okay, well, yeah, I'm talking to my spouse about, you know, metal.

[01:05:57] Neil Smith: I'm waking up and thinking about it. But I'm not necessarily in the office the whole time doing that. Do you see what I mean? So I'm making sure. The, I spend plenty of time at home. We don't work long hours here, but we think about the products all the time. Not true. When we're building the product, we often did have to work very long hours, but you know, but, and we still do actually, but not always from the office, you know?

[01:06:23] Neil Smith: And, you know, I make sure, you know, our CTO, just after we launched the product, he went to Mexico on holiday for two weeks, which is a really bad time. I remember 

[01:06:32] Travis Bader: I talked to you then when he was on holidays. Yeah. It's a really bad 

[01:06:35] Neil Smith: time for him to go. But he needed to go and we wanted him to go. Yeah.

[01:06:40] Neil Smith: Because he needed that break. Break. Obviously the product broke. Mm-Hmm. , you know, but not too badly while he was away and, and, and, you know, came back and refreshed and ready to go, you know, I'm going away for a week on, you know, to to, to do some surfing and some yoga and some meditation. Nice. Uh, in a couple of weeks because I need, I need a break and I think it's.

[01:06:59] Neil Smith: You know, I say that if we can't, if we create a mental health app and then our mental health is destroyed by the process of building that app, then we've failed, you know, that's what it comes down to for me. 

[01:07:13] Travis Bader: Yeah. Lead by example. 

[01:07:16] Neil Smith: Also, do the tools work? So, you know, the acid test for me was, okay, now I'm in a really stressful situation, which is I've launched a new business and it's stressful.

[01:07:31] Neil Smith: Do the tools on metal work for me? And the answer is yes they do, because I partly built the app because I wanted something decent that works. I love that. 

[01:07:37] Travis Bader: I love that. 

[01:07:38] Neil Smith: That's the best one. And so like, you know, yesterday I, you know, I've got, I do the courses, I do the quick hits. Yesterday I was feeling stressed.

[01:07:45] Neil Smith: Yeah. And we've got like a little chat bot thing. This is how you feel. I pressed stressed. So why? Work is, work is full on. So it served me up a couple of breathworks from stress and anxiety and I did them, I felt better. Um, so, you know, built a tool to help me build the tool. I love it. 

[01:08:02] Travis Bader: I love it. What, what do you see in the future?

[01:08:06] Travis Bader: Like, I mean, it's hard to look future when you're in a thick of a launch and, and getting things out there. What do you see in the next foreseeable future in the distant future for metal? Yeah. 

[01:08:17] Neil Smith: Well, so in, in, in the very close future, we want to make the app better. You know, we want to, now we've got a user group, we want to listen to them and, and feedback and make it more accessible, easier to use, use your things, you know, where you quite UK kind of focus, we're available everywhere, but a lot of our marketing budget has been spent in the UK, so we need to kind of broaden out, and you know, so the whole world knows about us, uh, but ultimately it's what you said earlier, we want to become a movement, you know, we want to become synonymous with men's fitness, you know, there's so much There's no voice there that you can name.

[01:08:58] Neil Smith: There's no brand, you know, not an authentic brand, you know, that stands that actually do something about men's mental fitness, you know? And it's kind of like, well, that's what we need to step into. So those are our plans. But in the meantime, yeah, we've got to. You know, it's all, you know, it's all, um, all feet on deck.

[01:09:19] Neil Smith: Is that the phrase? I can't remember. All hands on deck. Yes. All hands on deck. Not 

[01:09:23] Travis Bader: feet. I could do both. 

[01:09:26] Neil Smith: Yeah. Hands on feet. All hands and feet are on deck. Just trying to improve the app. Um, but yeah, certainly the longterm focus has got to be, you know, helping men be better because we believe that if they're better men, we've got a better world.

[01:09:40] Neil Smith: And that's, that's what we're doing it for. It's a passion project for everyone. That's another one of our values, passion. Because we're all in it, because we're completely passionate. None of us are doing it for money. You know, that's for sure. Um, you know, it's quite funny the people's perceptions of tech and, you know, oh, you know, , it's kinda like it doesn't really work like that.

[01:10:00] Travis Bader: Um, I mean, some hit everyone compares. Yeah. Some 

[01:10:04] Neil Smith: hit. And if you hit right, yeah, I'd love, I'd love it to hit. Of course I would. Yeah. I'd love to make lots of money off it. Of course, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. But that is not enough to motivate you to do something like this. No. All of us have taken huge pay cuts to do this.

[01:10:18] Neil Smith: You know, uh, and we do it because we're passionate. We really believe there's something there. We really believe there's a gap in the market. We really believe there's a mission. And when we hear from, when we get feedback, you know, not all of the feedback is positive, and that's what we're working on. But most of it is positive.

[01:10:34] Neil Smith: And people are saying, Oh, I never thought I'd meditate until I tried Chibs. He's our meditation coach. Yeah, he's good, eh? He's so cool. And now I'm doing it every day. You know, it's like, you know, we had a guy in Hawaii write to us, and he's kind of like, You know, I've just had open heart surgery, I'm recovering, I found metal, I'm using it every day, it's really helping with my mental state, you know, we're getting better.

[01:10:57] Neil Smith: We've had lots like that, you know, somebody in the military writing to us says, I want to get this out to all my My soldiers is really helping me. And that's, that's what you do it for. Yeah. 

[01:11:06] Travis Bader: You know, a friend of mine just had his blig amputated a couple of days ago and, uh, I'll be visiting him as soon as we wrap up here, but he started a local movement of, uh, mental health walks and he does it every, every, uh, second Sunday going out and doing a mental health walk after an individual that we know, uh, attempted to take his own life was unsuccessful.

[01:11:31] Travis Bader: Ended up losing an eye and bullet went under his chin and out through his forehead here. Um, and regrets the second he pulled the trigger. He says he regretted the decision. And I mean, the fellow is a PPCLI, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Sniper, he says, I know where the bullet's supposed to go.

[01:11:52] Travis Bader: He says, but at the very last moment, it was intoxicated. It was a Christmas time. And, um, very last moment before he pulled the trigger, he heard a booming voice says, change the angle. And he doesn't know what to attribute that to. He's found faith afterwards and says, I think that's what it was. But like, I know where the bullet's supposed to go, ended up having to.

[01:12:15] Travis Bader: Affect his own self rescue, but that affects everybody around you. I mean, people look at this permanent solution to whatever their temporary pain is without realizing perhaps, or maybe in the moment, not caring that the pain that you have. Affects your entire family afterwards. Everybody has to carry that.

[01:12:37] Travis Bader: Your friends end up carrying it. And so this individual, he went out and said, I'm going to make something positive of this. And he started these mental health walks that they do every, every Sunday. Of course, now he's going to have a little bit of a recovery time. Um, maybe I should get him a subscription to metal while he's in the hospital.

[01:12:54] Travis Bader: They're recovering to help with the, uh, the meditation. 

[01:12:57] Neil Smith: Well, you know, just people are using it for that. It's good. And you know, as I say, that's what we're all about. You know, it's about. You know, for me it was my, it was my personal journey. You know, I found these tools, you know, I started meditating at the age of 11 to cope with the neurological illness that I had, you know, which made, which I have still have, but just doesn't present, but which was made me shake really badly.

[01:13:18] Neil Smith: When I was a kid, it was called benign intention tremor. So by the time I was 11, I couldn't get a teaspoon of sugar into a cup of tea. My hands would shake so 

[01:13:25] Travis Bader: badly. It's hereditary, isn't it? That's a hereditary disease, isn't it? It's hereditary. My uncle has it, yeah. How's your uncle dealing with it? Is it similar?

[01:13:35] Neil Smith: Uh, so, you know, my uncle is still very visible in him. Yeah. Uh, when I was 11, it was very visible in me. He went to, you know, to seek out kind of anything we can do about it. And, you know, met a doctor who said, well, It's an untreatable disease theoretically, but there's this thing called meditation. We've heard of that that might help with him And so he came back and gave me some tapes, you know And I started meditating every day and that's how I got into it and it completely transformed my my shaking I stopped shaking.

[01:14:14] Neil Smith: I should have you know, my rights be shaking all the time. It's not 

[01:14:18] Travis Bader: crazy the power of the brain 

[01:14:21] Neil Smith: Yeah, it's the power of the brain. Yeah. Mm-Hmm. . So that transform, that's how I, you know, got into it. Start with, and then the breath work, you know, again, really quick way of transforming your physiological state.

[01:14:32] Neil Smith: Um, uh, and hypnosis, you know, was I got to through having depression, that been my way there. So all of these things are things that work for me in my life. And so, you know, I'm just really proud and honored that I'm able to share them with other people and that they're. Having a positive effect, you know, we're not going to get everything right in the first but people are responding 

[01:14:58] Travis Bader: Well, is there anything else that we should be talking about that?

[01:15:02] Travis Bader: We haven't talked about 

[01:15:06] Neil Smith: Maybe why in Canada ice hockey fights are allowed to go on for as long 

[01:15:12] Travis Bader: as That's a good question, that's a good question 

[01:15:17] Neil Smith: Nothing to do with what we're talking about Cause they just don't stop them. They don't seem to stop them. Or they, they stop them at some point. Yeah, no. Yeah.

[01:15:25] Neil Smith: I think my son was watching someone on YouTube the other day. You know, 

[01:15:28] Travis Bader: I think the rules are if they hit the ground, okay. It's stopped. But until then you go, I've 

[01:15:33] Neil Smith: got it. Right. Until they hit the ground. Yeah. 

[01:15:36] Travis Bader: Here's an unpopular opinion. I'm sure, like you mentioned earlier about men, they can only, uh, generally speaking, the emotion that they're encouraged to share is anger.

[01:15:48] Travis Bader: That's right. And there's some people who would say that and make small show. Mixed martial arts and jujitsu is just a, uh, legitimizing male touching where women, it's okay for them to hug and interact and they'll do their hair. This is a way that men can interact because, and I know I'll catch a lot of heat from some people who are right into it, but they say, Hey, the.

[01:16:10] Travis Bader: Big, a draw for some people, aside from the fact that, you know, it's good in physical conditioning, mental conditioning, you get, uh, some skills you can take away to be a protector, but you're forming social bonds with other men in a way that would not be socially acceptable outside 

[01:16:25] Neil Smith: of that. Yeah. I think, I think, you know, I think that, um, you know, so I know a few people who do MMA, I think they probably, they probably agree that that brotherhood, if you like, is, is very strong.

[01:16:36] Neil Smith: There's a lot of respect in that community, you know. You don't get, you know, it's, you tend not to get people with big egos. You know, it's kinda like, you know, okay. You know, top performers, maybe , but you know, in general. Mm-Hmm. , the guys who are doing it. Yeah. You know, there's a community there. They feel really passionate about it, you know?

[01:16:56] Neil Smith: Um, you know, I, I, I, I, I know somebody who, who's a, an ex alcoholic who, you know, just went to, you know, afterwards, kind of just went to AA meetings. and MMA classes. That's where he got his community from. That's where he kind of, do you know, that's where he got his strength from. Both of those are communities, you know.

[01:17:20] Neil Smith: Very much so. So yeah, so there's, so yeah, well, 

[01:17:26] Travis Bader: I'm going to put some links up to the app and, uh, make sure people have information to the things that we're talking about in here. Uh, Neil, thank you so much for taking the time to be on this podcast. I really enjoy getting to know you better. 

[01:17:39] Neil Smith: I have to Travis myself and you, it's been, it's been a delight, you've been a great host. So I'm gonna retreat into my evening and you're gonna get on with your morning. Yeah, exactly. I loved it