Today, our hosts discuss Connor’s new book, “How to Not Suck At Life: 89 Tips for Teens.”


Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Connor.

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: So today is an exciting episode because you, Connor, have a new book out for teens that I am super excited to talk about because if you knew me as a teenager, you’d probably know that I needed this book so much, and it wasn’t.

Connor: I wrote it for you, Brittany, for the teenage Brittany.

Brittany: For past Brittany. Oh, dear. She needed lots of help. So if you haven’t heard about the book already, I love the title. It’s How To Not Suck At Life. 89 Tips for Teens. it’s out now, I believe. Yes, it is out. It’s, we’ll put a link to it. It is ready for you guys to read. So, Connor, I thought it would be fun today to talk a little bit about this book. We won’t go over all your 89 tips, obviously, but let’s talk about your book. Let’s get our readers excited.

Connor: Well, I am first gonna share what would this be an admission, to all of our listeners right now. I’ve never told anyone this except for my wife and I just thought of this. I’m like, oh, this will be fun to share on the podcast. So I get done writing this book and I have my editor look it over and then another editor, and we’re kind of going through it, right? And I send it off to the printer, and we get it back and I approve it. So then we print all the books, and then I’m written flipping through the book and I’m like, are there really 89 in here? There are 88 tips. Oh my God. In the book.

Brittany: That’s so funny.

Connor: I think I counted the introduction as one of the tips or something when I was going through it. So it’s funny that the title is misleading, but now you guys know the little Easter egg is the, I don’t know, maybe there’s a bonus tip. Maybe it gonna listen.

Brittany: I was gonna say that’s, it’s the, yeah, it’s, you have to find it. That’s the whole point. So if you find it.

Connor: It’s the first, first letter on each page and you know, you tie it all together, that would’ve been fun.

Brittany: I was gonna say if listeners find it, comment, you know, on the podcast comments and.

Connor: Oh boy. All right. Well, why did I do this? It’s because, with this Tuttle twins stuff, we’ve been hearing from parents for like, years now about the challenges they’ve been working on with their kids, what their kids are going through. Right? And one of the biggest things is that teens don’t have a lot of good mentors. There’s not a lot of good, people to look up to in our society today. If anything, the popular influencers on social media and all these people are just mind-numbing idiots. And I mean that with respect. You know, I don’t wanna sound like a jerk, but they’re basically morons. These are people who are not worth looking up to, and yet it’s who is, you know, considered popular and who a lot of kids look up to today. And so, hearing from the parents over time who are kind of nervous about like, you know, where are the role models that my kid can look up to and not seeing a lot. And so at one point, I was actually toying with the idea of launching a little mentorship business for like teens and young adults and just doing some, you know, mentorship on the side. And you know, then I was like, well, but then number one, I’m like crazy busy and my wife will kill me if I take on another project. And number two, you know, that I don’t wanna limit myself just to like the three or five or 10 or however many people that I can specifically help. What’s a way that I can, you know, help even more people? So that’s the idea behind this book is I wanted to take some time to think through some of the advice I would be giving and talking to young people about. And so I kind of came up with the list. And then so the way it works in the book is every tip is two pages. I wanted to keep this so short, you know, cuz people’s attention spans are short and, you know, there’s a lot of stuff to read and whatever. And so I didn’t want this to be like a crazy long book where every tip is like this 10-page thing. I wanted to get short, sweet to the point, plant a little bit of a seed because I felt like, if, you know, I plant this seed and a teenager or whoever is reading this book, let’s say they’re, reading the chapter called Fail Forward. And it’s all about how failure is a good thing. Failure is information, right? Fail. When you fail, you’re actually gathering information which can help you as you make decisions moving forward. So this concept of fail forward is when you fail, you shouldn’t be stuck and stop, right? You just keep moving forward. And failure can just help you, you know, pivot and whatever. And so there’s some interesting, you know, other stories and advice in there, but that’s the concept. Okay? So, you’re a kid, you’re a teenager reading that book, reading that little chapter, right? If you come across this idea, my goal isn’t that like reading two pages is gonna change your life and solve every problem. It’s that it’s going to introduce you to an idea that may be new to you or a new concept and that you can go do your own research on. I mean, literally, you could just go to Google and, and Google fail forward and find, you know, dozens of other people talking about the same concept in a different way. You’ll find YouTube videos with, you know, coaches and speakers and people talking about the concept. And, so my thinking was if I can just plant some seeds and expose young people to some important ideas, then my work is solved. Because they can then go off and, you know, Google and find all kinds of people,  saying more about that topic. I wanted to be the source just to kind of expose them to those early ideas. Does that make sense?

Brittany: Yes, that makes sense.

Connor: So, you’ve kind of, you know, seen what’s in the book. Yes. Tell me, Brittany, like one or two ideas that stood out to you. Maybe we can talk about ’em.

Brittany: Yeah, so this one is my favorite, and this is just kind of a personal thing that I, care about and I’m seeing a lot of my, like I have a lot of nieces and nephews who are teenagers right now. So don’t be woke. So that was the one that stood out to me. Connor, what does that mean? What does being woke mean?

Connor: This is such a problem right now, I think woke is this idea that you should conform your behavior to the expectations of other people. Like right now it has a different flavor, this woke angle of like, oh, well I’m enlightened because, you know, I have these, what Tom Woods call would call the three by five card of allowable opinion, right? Like, my opinions are the politically correct ones and therefore I’m correct. And all you, you know, idiots out there are totally wrong and should be removed from society. And so that’s kind of this idea of wokeism, where you know, oh well, like all the tried and true principles from the founding fathers and all these great thinkers, they’re all wrong because they were white. And so they were part of the patriarchy and, you know, white supremacy and we should just discard all their ideas because, you know, they weren’t people of color and they weren’t from minority oppressed classes, right? It was like, it’s just like this idiotic approach where you just like, like, oh, sorry, we’re just gonna discard all those things because, you know, we don’t like this one characteristic. And, more to the point, it’s that teens and young adults who are kind of woke is they’re wanting to fit in, they’re wanting to be part of this like a herd mentality. And so they’re not questioning, they’re not thinking critically, they’re not investigating things for themselves. They’re adopting ideas just because other people, you know, state that those are the correct ideas or the proper ideas. And so, you know, that way leads to destruction. I mean, even just of your own identity. Yeah. You’re, giving up, you know, your own, personal standing and, and ethics and morality, your, your own opinions to the group of some, you know, someone other group and look like, you know, people who consider themselves woke. They’re not wrong about every single thing always in forever. Yeah. But, it’s more this question of, rather than being part of the herd mentality and following other people, right? You need to be your own person. And sometimes you’re gonna agree with people in that type of group. Sometimes you’re gonna disagree with them. What’s important is that you stand firm on who you are. You develop your own identity, you do your own homework and sometimes you’ll agree and disagree, but don’t, follow the group thinks mentality because that’s, I think, a big problem.

Brittany: Absolutely. So let’s talk, I was looking over a few of the other ones. I like it, I’m trying to think about it. One thing I really, really liked cause gratitude is a big deal for me is you talked about writing thank you notes. How can that help some teens?

Connor: This is one I didn’t learn until after college. You know, it’s funny, when we grew up, Britney, probably even me earlier on, like getting an email, like we all got mail, but then getting an email was like this special thing.

Brittany: Oh my goodness. Yes.

Connor: I remember using America Online, right? The little chime mail. Yeah. Then, yeah. Were you just doing the modem sound when, and so, you know, again, kids, sorry, you didn’t, you didn’t get to live through the awesome,  nineties and, and two thousands? But, no, getting an email was like the new exciting thing. And now I think it’s the reverse. Everyone just gets like gobs of email and hardly gets any email. And so what we’ve really lost, I think is the personal touch. And so this chapter isn’t so much, I mean, it is about gratitude, but it’s also about standing out. It’s about like, if you wanna be influential, if you wanna develop relationships with people, right? You want, to just do that extra amount that sets you apart from other people. You want to be noticed, you want to do genu, like, and don’t do it just, you want to be noticed, but you’re, you’re trying to act in a way that will kind of level you up in life. And so if you wanna stand out from the regular masses that you know, are just doing the bare minim they’re not sending thank you notes, maybe they’ll shoot an email or a text, right? You know, I’ve even, instead of a thank you note, sometimes I’ll send a thank you video. so like I’ll, oh.

Brittany: That’s fun. That sounds very like Gen Z I feel like the teens out there would like that.

Connor: Yeah. Like I’ll do it on,  what’s that app I use Marco Polo if they have.

Brittany: Oh yeah, my family uses that.

Connor: Or I’ll just even text a video. I’ll just record myself for like 30 seconds and as if I was talking to them, I’ll just, you know, record a video and shoot it over. but, but also handwritten notes I think are really important just because it’s what is it showing? It’s showing the other person that you took some time. Everyone knows that you know, sending an email takes you 15 seconds. There’s no indication there that, you know, a quick little thank you note took any time. but when you’re going to the effort of writing on a note and putting a stamp on it and putting in the envelope, putting the mail, it’s just, it may feel old fashioned, but what it’s really doing is it’s showing the other person that you care, right? Because the way you show people you care is with time. It’s not money, it’s not buying them things, right? It’s not even saying things cuz you can say things disingenuously or you can kind of be deceiving. But when you give someone your time, which is your most valuable resource, your scarce resource, cuz you’re never getting time back, that is such a great way to show people that you care. And so look, if you live near them, go, you know, visit with them for an hour or whatever, right? Like just last night we took my great, my grandma out to dinner and she loved it. Like, that was very meaningful her be for her because we took the time and so she felt loved and acknowledged and really loved it. And so we can do the same thing with thank you notes. Even if you don’t live near the person or whatever, you know, and even if you live next to them, the act of writing a thank you note is so different than normal for a lot of people that even if you see the person on a regular basis still taking the time to stand out, do something to say, I noticed you, I’m thankful for you, thank you very much. Right? That can really help set you apart from other people and show the other person that you care.

Brittany: You know, my best friend lived just a couple blocks away from me before she got married and moved away. But she would send me postcards and thank you notes in the mail. And even though I saw her almost every day, it was so lovely to get that in the mail because again, we get so many emails, we don’t get these physical, you know, pieces of paper. Sure. So it was wonderful. In fact, she and I both have a wax seal stamp to seal envelopes, Oh cool. Where you like put your initials in and we’d send mail to each other across the city. It was fun. So another one that I really like, cuz this is the advice, I think of all the advice in the book that I wish somebody had told me when I was young. And that is no one owes you anything.

Connor: Oh yeah, yeah. This one was fun to write because I think what this boils down to is an entitlement mentality. In other words, people who have a mindset or a mentality that they feel entitled to something entitled to a $15 minimum wage or free college or free healthcare or, you know, cheap products or whatever it is. When you have an entitlement mentality, you feel like other people are obligated to do something on your behalf. And so the real way to level up in life, I feel like in this context or for this idea, is to realize that no one knows you anything. Like you, you are your own person. You should create your own future. You shouldn’t go around expecting other people to do things for you. If anything, you should be unexpectedly doing things for them. And I talk about this elsewhere in the book, but when you create value for other people, right? It’s gonna be reciprocated and maybe not directly like, Hey dude, I pulled weeds for you without asking. Or I, you know, left you a really nice review, or I, you know, brought you this gift cuz I was thinking of you when I was on vacation. That doesn’t mean that person immediately is going to reciprocate and do something of equal value, but that person might later do it or that person may know someone else who they tell that to, and then that person does something for you. Or it may just be other people, right? When you create a life and a, personality where you are creating value for other people, people will want to feel like, they will naturally feel like they should do things for you. It’s a very interesting mindset way of creating this rule of reciprocity that people feel like they want to give back to people who are givers. And so, the same thing.

Brittany: There’s another chapter in the book, I believe, right? Yeah.

Connor: Yeah. In fact, I cover this in like two or three different ways in the book because it’s, you know, so relevant to especially teens because it’s so easy as a teenager like your parents have been taking care of you, right? And they give you maybe an allowance or they buy your clothes or maybe they got you a car or whatever it is. And so it’s very easy when you grow up and your needs and even your wants are being taken care of by others. It’s easy to fall into that trap of feeling like other people who aren’t your parents should similarly provide for you. And so in the teenage years where you’re transitioning from a child to an adult, you have to start to break outta that mindset. And, the most successful teenagers I’ve ever seen are the ones who are out working. Maybe they have even a second job. They’re starting a little business on the side, they’re trying to pay for all their own stuff. And it’s not like they’re helping Mom and Dad with the mortgage. They’re not, you know, doing, you know, doing those types of things, but for all of their own bills, all the things they want, right? As soon as possible, they are figuring out how to provide for themselves. They become the very successful adults because they figured out that look like, yes, I have this safety net, if you will, right now of my parents who are kind of taking care of my basic needs, but beyond that, I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna go get ’em. I’m gonna, you know, no one knows me anything. I’m gonna go out and create, you know, my own destiny. So all of these ideas put together, it’s, funny, Brittany, when I was working on this, I was sharing it online on Facebook and stuff, Hey, hey guys, here’s kinda the chapter list. And it so many parents who were like, oh, I need that for myself. You know, like.

Brittany: That’s what I was thinking,

Connor: Right? And so, you know, it was fun to work on. In fact, Amazon bought all of our copies, sold out and we, you know, amazing lost stock for weeks. Still trying to, you know, play catch up with them. It was number, one on all of Amazon for like one hour until someone else beat us. And so like, I think it just kind of blew up and then it’s just had a bit of attention since then. So a really fun book to work on. I hope for the listeners out there, it’s really helpful. To those of you who pick it up, we’ll link to it on the show notes page, Or you can just go to Amazon and check it out, how to not suck at Life. 89 Tips for Teens. And because you’re listening, you know, it’s actually 88 tips for Teen. So, maybe I’ll create like a second edition down the road this time. Really 89 tips for Teen. I really mean it. So anyways, thanks for setting this up, Brittany. It’s a fun conversation because this is, a project I’ve particularly been excited about because I’ve heard from so many families, as I’ve said over the years, who feel like this is kind of like a void right, of material that can help teens really try and level up. So hopefully it’s helpful, to some of you, Brittany, thanks for talking and until next time, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk To you later.