Sevan Matossian

#243 – Sevan Matossian – A Growth-Minded Guide To Raising Superhuman Kids | Modern Wisdom with Chris Williamson

Check out the Modern Wisdom Podcast Page & Episode Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Sevan Matossian’s parenting philosophy is based on Crossfit and Taoism
    • Crossfit focuses on movement and diet
      • Struggle causes adaptation
      • “If you want to know how to best operate or treat a human being you have to take the L1 (Crossfit course)” – Sevan Matossian
    • Through Taoism’s principles, Sevan is able to watch his mind and make sure he makes the best decisions for his kids
  • “On a basic level, every child wants a mom and dad who love each other” – Sevan Matossian
  • You can’t let your kids hold you hostage
    • The hostage situation is where all the bad decisions are made
      • It leads parents to say yes in a situation where they know it’d be better to say no
  • Kids will mirror our behavior
    • Sevan tries to never lose control in front of them
    • While he likes to shows them that it’s ok to apologize and be humble
  • Most parents don’t pay enough attention to nutrition
    • Kids with poor diets will usually have poor focus

Key Products Mentioned

  • Chris mentioned the Navalmanack by Eric Jorgenson, in relation to Sevan’s approach to education (focusing mostly on English and math)

Intro

How Sevan Made a Name for Himself as a Parent

  • Sevan has extensive experience as a film-maker
    • For over 20 years he’s been creating commercials, movies, and other video content
    • He uses social media as a cheap publishing platform
  • His three sons are his greatest subjects of all time
    • He loves recording them and they caught a lot of attention on Instagram
    • Part of their popularity is due to Sevan’s parenting philosophy

Sevan’s Approach to Parenting

  • Sevan’s parenting philosophy is based on Crossfit and Taoism
    • Crossfit focuses on movement and diet
      • Struggle causes adaptation
    • Through Taoism’s principles, Sevan is able to watch his mind and make sure he makes the best decisions for his kids
      • It helps particularly to work through tough times
      • Stop thinking and all your problems will go away” – Taoist saying

Cross-Fit Methodology for Parenting

  • Sevan considers the Crossfit L1 course as a basic pillar for healthy living and parenting
    • It is based on Greg Glassman (the creator of Crossfit)’s teachings
    • It teaches you how to eat and how to move
  • “If you want to know how to best operate or treat a human being you have to take the L1 (Crossfit course)” – Sevan Matossian
    • “If you have kids and don’t take the L1 you are borderline neglecting your duties” Sevan Matossian
  • Crossfit teaches you to make it harder as you become better
    • When the body is put in discomfort, it adapts

Principles for Parenting

  • Set Boundaries
    • Within the boundaries, kids find total freedom and feel safer
      • They will still try to break the boundaries from time to time
        • Parents need to be disciplined to enforce the boundaries
          • By doing so you teach kids discipline
    • As an example, Sevan NEVER lets his kids use his cellphone or chew gum
    • This doesn’t mean you cannot be flexible on rare occasions (when/where it makes sense)
  • Structure
    • Structure makes life easier
    • Sevan introduced structure even through clothing
      • His kids wear the same thing every day
  • Discipline
    • Not in the sense of punishment
    • Teaches kids to do things even when they don’t want to
  • Follow-through
    • If the parents says something he/she has to do it
      • You have to be very careful with what comes out of your mouth
    • This holds both for punishments and for promises
    • If you don’t follow-through you are doing a disservice to your kids
      • “You are either making better kids and being a better parent or making worse kids and being a worse parent” Sevan Matossian
  • Love and Attention
    • A big part of loving someone is staying still and creating space for them
  • Parents’ Relationship
    • “On a basic level, every child wants a mom and dad who love each other” – Sevan Matossian
    • Sevan tries to avoid as much as possible any fight with his wife in front of his kids
      • Kids will mirror our behavior
        • Sevan tries to never lose control in front of them
        • While he likes to shows them that it’s ok to apologize and be humble
  • You can’t let your kids hold you hostage
    • Parents spend their waking hours preparing for the hostage situation
      • They are afraid of how children would react if their requests are not accepted
        • The hostage situation is where all the bad decisions are made
          • It leads parents to say yes in a situation where they know it’d be better to say no
    • Every time you give in a hostage situation you:
      • Hurt your kids
      • Weaken your position for the next time
      • You’ll make your kids feel unsafe

How Can Parents Say ‘No’ More Productively?

  • It’s never easy saying no
    • You might think that if you give in they’ll love you more
    • In reality, having strong boundaries will get you more love
      • With strong boundaries, kids feel safer and closer to us
  • Don’t lie to your kids
    • If you can’t tell the truth don’t say anything else
  • If you think they’ll rebel to a no and start screaming, take a few deep breaths and then say no
    • Once they respect you you’ll be surprised to see how often they don’t scream
    • “95% of the time kids scream for more than 20 seconds (when you say no), it’s because they know there’s a crack in the dam, they know you might give in” Sevan Matossian

Kids with Strong Boundaries are More Likable

  • You definitely want people to like your kids
    • Being likable as a child will give you a huge advantage in life
    • The harsh truth about life is: hard work and who you know (who likes you) determine one’s success
    • “Never let your kids do anything that makes you dislike them” Jordan Peterson
  • We talk a lot about financial privilege, but never talk about “personality privilege”

Putting Your Kids Through Struggle

  • Many of the most successful people we know had really traumatic upbringing
    • Again confirming that struggle causes adaptation
  • If our kids have it too easy, we can create challenges to help them grow
    • “If you want extreme outcomes, you also need extreme inputs” – Chris Williamson

The Most Common Mistake Parents Make

  • Most parents don’t pay enough attention to nutrition
    • Kids with poor diets will usually have poor focus
  • Main nutrition rules
    • Foods to eat
      • Eggs
      • Avocadoes
      • Chicken
      • Celery
      • Carrots
      • Spinach
    • No sugar
      • If you have to give them treats;
        • Bananas
        • Bars made with all-natural ingredients (Rx bar and Larabar)
  • Sevan will give his kids ice cream or similar treats when they reach a big achievement

Education

  • Every day from the age of three, Sevan’s kids read and do Math for 5 to 20 minutes
    • He wants his kids to become really good at Math and English
      • With those foundations, they can teach themselves everything else
    • In line with Naval’s advice of learning Math and Persuasion (from the Navalmanack by Eric Jorgenson)
  • Sevan recently started playing chess with his kids

Children as the Ultimate Fulfillment

  • Sevan never thought he wanted to have kids, but once he did he started dedicating his life to them
  • Through his meditation practice, he had this insight
    • “We look for something outside of us to alleviate the discomforts that come inside” Sevan Matossian
      • We feel bored or stressed so we eat
      • Alternatively, we could just watch the feeling and let it pass
  • In the same way, we go through life looking for the perfect reflection of ourselves
    • We jump from relationship to relationship, from job to job, etc…
    • Around his kids, Sevan feels like he has everything he needs, so it’s easy to let any feeling of discomfort pass
Modern Wisdom : , ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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