Why Everyone Has Midlife Wrong | Chip Conley on Impact Theory

Last updated: Jun 1, 2023

The video is an interview with Chip Conley, a serial disrupter and former CEO of Joie de Vivre, who discusses his near-death experience and his decision to disrupt himself by selling his company and joining Airbnb.

The video features an interview with Chip Conley, a serial disrupter and former CEO of Joie de Vivre, who talks about his experience of dying nine times and how it led him to realize that he no longer wanted to be a CEO. He also discusses the importance of in-person connections and how social media cannot replace the sense of oneness that comes from connecting with others in real life. Conley's journey of disrupting himself and selling his company is also highlighted.

  • Chip Conley is a former CEO of Joie de Vivre who disrupted the hospitality industry.
  • He sold his company and joined Airbnb to transform it into the world's leading hospitality brand.
  • Conley had a near-death experience due to an allergic reaction to an antibiotic.
  • He believes it was a divine intervention and a wake-up call to disrupt himself and move on from his boutique hotel business.
  • Conley is on the board of Burning Man, which he loves because it's a place where artists rule the world.
  • The first half of our life is about accumulating, and the second half is about editing and letting go of mindsets and identities.
  • The Modern Elder Academy is a week-long program for people in midlife to shift their mindset and identify mindsets and identities that are affixed to them that they want to take off.
  • Midlife is full of transitions, and we haven't created a safe crucible where people can come together and talk about how to navigate these midlife transitions and repurpose themselves for the second half of their lives.
  • The Modern Elder Academy helps people to get clearer on their mindset through a series of exercises.
  • People need to realize that they have a lot of time left and can start doing things they have always wanted to do.

Why Everyone Has Midlife Wrong | Chip Conley on Impact Theory - YouTube

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Introduction

  • Chip Conley is a serial disrupter and former CEO of Joie de Vivre.
  • He discusses his near-death experience and his decision to disrupt himself by selling his company and joining Airbnb.
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Chip Conley's Background

  • Conley started from a single pay-by-the-hour motel he bought in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco when he was just 26.
  • He disrupted the entire hospitality industry and built a real estate empire that would ultimately make him the second largest boutique hotelier in the U.S.
  • During his 24-year reign as CEO of Joie de Vivre, he racked up a series of awards including the industry's highest honor, the Pioneer Award.
  • He helped his company ascend to the number one spot in customer satisfaction.
  • His diligent study of humans and relentless commitment to his staff and customers also saw him granted an honorary doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University.
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Disrupting Himself

  • After weathering two financial crises and spending nearly a quarter of a century at the helm, he realized that his company no longer served his deepest passions.
  • Disrupting himself this time, he sold his company.
  • Just when he thought he was out of the hospitality industry, the founders of Airbnb convinced him to come help transform their promising startup into the world's leading hospitality brand.
  • He also managed to write five incredible books to pass on what he's learned.
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Why Everyone Has Midlife Wrong | Chip Conley on Impact Theory - YouTube

Near-Death Experience

  • Conley had a bacterial infection in his leg that went septic and he should have stayed at home and just said enough.
  • He ended up going to St. Louis to give a speech and he was on antibiotics and on crutches.
  • At the end of his speech, he slumped in his chair and three minutes later he came to on the floor.
  • The paramedics showed up and that's when they put heart monitors on him and he died the first of nine times.
  • Each time he went to the other side meaning he was asystolic and had no heartbeat at all.
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Near-Death Experience

  • Chip Conley had a near-death experience due to an allergic reaction to an antibiotic.
  • He felt like he was at one with nature and everything around him.
  • It was a wake-up call for him to disrupt himself and move on from his boutique hotel business.
  • He believes it was a divine intervention.
  • He sees it as a hotelier's wake-up call to say he's ready for what's next.
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Burning Man

  • Chip Conley is on the board of Burning Man.
  • He loves Burning Man because it's a place where artists rule the world.
  • Art is at the center of life at Burning Man.
  • Psychedelics are present at Burning Man, but they're not necessary to enjoy the experience.
  • There's a sense of ego separation that evaporates, and what comes in its place is communal joy.
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The Importance of Letting Go

  • The first half of our life is about accumulating, and the second half is about editing.
  • Anything that helps you peel off mindsets, identities, and responsibilities is good.
  • Letting go of your identity and mindsets is important because it helps you get back to something more essential.
  • The more digital we get, the more ritual we need to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves.
  • There's an element of ritual that speaks to the idea of feeling connected.
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Tapping into Human Connection

  • You don't have to be at a big festival to tap into human connection.
  • Figure out the process of helping yourself let go of your identity and mindsets.
  • The grandeur of the ritual is not critical, but the process of letting go is.
  • Human connection and experience are important in the second half of our lives.
  • Anything that helps you feel connected to something bigger than yourself is valuable.
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Shifting Mindset

  • The Modern Elder Academy is a week-long program for people in midlife to shift their mindset.
  • The program helps people to identify the mindsets and identities that are affixed to them that they want to take off.
  • People let go of whatever is not serving them anymore through a purge on the beach.
  • Examples of mindsets include "my best days are behind me," "I'm bad with money," and "I'm never going to meet my potential soul mate."
  • The number one thing people have to do to understand their mindset is to first identify it, imagine a different point of view for it, own that new point of view, and then start talking from that new point of view.
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The Crucible of Change

  • Society has done a good job historically of helping people through transitional times, but there is nothing for the transitional period between baby shower and funeral.
  • Midlife crisis was coined in 1965, but we haven't done much to change it.
  • Midlife is full of transitions, such as getting married, getting divorced, changing jobs or careers, and having parents or a spouse pass away.
  • We haven't created a safe crucible, a place where people can come together and talk about how to navigate these midlife transitions and repurpose themselves for the second half of their lives.
  • The Modern Elder Academy is a safe crucible where people can come together and talk about these transitions.
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Identifying Mindsets

  • The Modern Elder Academy helps people to get clearer on their mindset through a series of exercises.
  • By the end of the first day, people have identified some of their mindsets and put a name tag on themselves.
  • One at a time, people start taking these mindsets off, but they actually sort of say what they have to give up to actually move away from that mindset.
  • Sometimes the mindset served people at a different time in their life or serves them as giving them an excuse.
  • The process is not easy, and it is not something you do while driving in traffic.
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Half Time

  • The longevity sites that Chip Conley goes to say he is going to live until age 98.
  • If he starts counting his life at age 18, from 18 to 98 is 80 years, and he is exactly at half time at age 58.
  • Chip Conley started surfing last year because he knows he is going to live until age 98.
  • He can start learning Spanish and do a bunch of other things because he knows he has a lot of time left.
  • People need to realize that they have a lot of time left and can start doing things they have always wanted to do.
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The U-Curve of Happiness

  • The U-curve of happiness shows that happiness declines from age 25 or 30 until the 40s, when it drops faster.
  • People in their 50s are happier than their 40s, and people in their 60s are happier than their 50s.
  • Women in their 80s are happier than women in their 70s, but this is not true for men.
  • Something happens in the second half of life that helps people feel happier.
  • Aging could be aspirational.
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The Modern Elder

  • The traditional elder was regarded with reverence, but the modern elder is about relevance.
  • Being relevant as someone who's older requires a combination of curiosity and wisdom.
  • Curiosity is the piece that a lot of older people have a harder time with.
  • Being the dumbest one in the room is okay if you're curious.
  • Asking provocative Socratic questions is important.
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Curiosity and Passionate Engagement

  • Curiosity and passionate engagement are important for getting a job after age 50.
  • When you're energetic and engaged in life, people forget about your age.
  • Curiosity and passionate engagement make your wrinkles disappear.
  • Pattern recognition is a component of wisdom.
  • Being able to see patterns in your life helps you know what's important.
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Dealing with Midlife

  • Being young enough to go surfing and old enough to know what's important is great.
  • Pattern recognition helps you get better at knowing what's important.
  • Being an elder is about not reverence but relevance.
  • Being relevant requires a combination of curiosity and wisdom.
  • Asking provocative Socratic questions is important.
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