If Benoit had a family show it would be called Better Call Mommy. He’s a mamma’s boy. His mom had to build up calluses in order to achieve.
Surrender is not giving up.
Benoit chose the path of highest resistance with his girlfriend gave up sex, and addressed their emotional and moral incongruences! Better Call Daddy: The Safe Space For Controversy.
Benoit Kim, is a US army veteran, Penn-educated former policymaker turned psychotherapist, and host of Discover More- an Apple Podcasts Top U.S. 100 podcast.
Discover More is a show for independent thinkers by independent thinkers, with an emphasis on mental health. The topics include cognitive psychology and mental health, the power of hypnosis, why spirituality and science are related, exorcism and psychology, and more. Looking for practical mental health insights? Notable guests include Fr. Vincent Lampert, Brothers Green, David Rudd Ph.D., Austin Chiang M.D., Anthony Kaveh M.D., Zach Pincince, Pain Academy, and more.
He pivoted early into the non-profit and policy sector from management consulting upon graduation, then committed to Teach for America (AmeriCorps program) teaching in inner-city Philadelphia before taking a military leave from this commitment and graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania due to a 2017 near-deployment.
In this 2017 near-deployment to the North-South Korean border, he experienced his first major depression and had to acknowledge that perseverance does not always prevail, which catalyzed his venture into the realm of mental health.
Then, he worked in the policy sector for a few years after becoming the youngest policymaker in the agency's 100-year history and, then pivoted recently into the clinical field as an aspirational psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist.
Lastly, he started the podcast in 2019 as a passion project which has turned into a growing business with an expanding team, and the show has been recently featured on Apple Podcasts Top U.S. 100 in 2023, Apple Podcasts Top 200 Global Chart in 2022, and is a top 2% globally ranked podcast in all categories.
He invites you to seek curiosity over fear by joining us in our collective journey of Discovering More.
Transcript @podtexts on Twitter
Reena Friedman Watts: Okay, so since you gave me an option in the beginning of which direction we wanted to go, would you rather go with questions from your friends or mine?
Benoit Kim: Oh wow. You said, friends? Plural? Doesn't matter. Whatever's the juiciest.
Reena: Juiciest are always who knows you better, right?
Benoit: True. Yes, we'll start with friends. Speaking of memory lane.
Reena: Yes. Okay, so let's go with Tony. How do you pronounce his last name? Is it Mena?
Benoit: Mena. Yes.
Reena: I was right. Okay, so Tony wanted to know, and I know you were recently on a Christian retreat, he wanted to know what motivates you to work for nonprofits or what motivates you to have a service-oriented career.
Benoit: I love choosing the broke poor life, just kidding, but I think that we all have to choose our path in life and a lot of that is attributable to my parents' genetics. It's not necessarily cultivated. I think I had the privilege to exposure to six figure salary early on at age 21, 22, straight out of college into management consulting realm. I saw the rat race, I saw how miserable so many people were, and I remember this viscerally like yesterday where one of the partners, managing partners at Deloitte at the time, he was taking us out. He rented out the entire bar at Penn State for entrance to show us woo woos with that golden handcuffs.
He got pretty drunk and I asked him a question, as I always do even before podcasting, that, "Hey, is that worth it? Is it worth making that $500,000, $600,000 salary plus vesting options?" He started being tearful. He straight up started crying. A grown-ass man in his 50s. He said that "I miss my firstborn. I didn't held him in the hospital. I wasn't with my wife. I missed my 10 year anniversary with my wife. I missed out on so many birthdays because the duty calls, and to get to that level comes with tremendous sacrifices."
That story stuck with me, and then once I started to work as a management consultant I realized, "Wow, this is not the life I wanted." I always wanted to do something altruistic, even though I don't believe in altruism because there's always that feedback of feeling good, but I do believe in effective altruism, and I chose the path of nonprofit and giving back, and I always check myself. I'm not a savior. I'm not better than other people. Some people find money intrinsically incentivizing and they like money intrinsically. For me, intrinsically I like making impact and creating this legacy, and at the end of the day it's just a job and it's just a personal calling.
Reena: When did you realize that?
Benoit: The first few years in the nonprofit sector, I think I definitely had this extra chip on my shoulder that, "Oh look at me, I'm creating this impact. I'm parting the positive footprint in this world unlike all my private sector friends," and we always find reasons to put other people down when you have that hole internally. Then through my mid to late 20s I realized, "Wait a minute, I happen to choose this path because I find this fulfilling." It's not holy or sacred or better than anyone else. It's just what drives me well, and I can't survive that rat race background. I just can't. I can't even just suck it through, just treading forward. A lot of people do it. I can't do it with my personality trait. I think it was about mid-20s.
Reena: Interesting. Now, you were just at this Christian retreat, and in our interview together you asked the audience, "How many of you want to get married?" You shared with me that 60% of people end up in divorce, but how many people wanted to get married? You said that a good chunk of the audience raised their hands. What did you take from this Christian retreat that you just did? What stayed with you from that event?
Benoit: That's a great question. I tie this back to my previous, previous, previous career as a teacher through Teach for America, where that's how I ended up in Philadelphia, and that it was my entry point into the nonprofit sector. I taught inner-city students, like the Black and Brown kids who had nothing, drive-by shooting on a weekly basis, some crazy stuff, and I thought, "Oh, I'm going to go in and teach them the subject I was teaching because I was a subject matter expert as a teacher, but the reality is I learned more from my kids.
Their grits, their resilience, their emotional maturity, and tie that into your question where I thought I was going in to volunteer my time to babysit 65 high schoolers, which is tremendous hard work, but the reality was, I saw the kids being really emotional, witnessing a lot of God moments. We have this worship night where it's like a sober rave. It's like a raving. Kids just go crazy. They jump around, they sing in this dark, and all the kids are crying, they're hugging each other because of depressions, the lonely path, just being Korean Americans and that heightens pressure from our parents.
Just seeing them I realized, "Wow, I might be farther in life than they are due to my age and experiences, but in terms of spiritual maturity or this thing that we call faith, some of these kids might have stronger faith than I do because they're in high school. The opportunity cost of them hanging out with their cool friends outside of this retreat because it's a two days retreat. Yet all of them, sure, some of them are parental pressure. It's a tradition, sure, but a lot of juniors and seniors, they chose to come to this retreat by giving up their technologies, phones, and cell phone for two days and just spend time with God and each other, and I realized, "Wow, there's definitely things I could do better in my spiritual life." Yes, I definitely learned in terms of how mature and how vulnerable, and how honest they are with their feelings. Because as adults, we're not always honest and straightforward with how we feel inside.
Reena: How do they get the kids to do that in today's social media addict world?
Benoit: I just talked about this too on my way back. It's funny. There is this "formula." I'm part of the church called Yongnak Church. It's one of the Korean megachurches in LA, and a lot of these kids they're like legacies. We call them Youngnak babies. Their parents used to be students and then the parents became teachers, and it's like almost like three or four generations. It's extremely, extremely internally interconnected. I think they have this unwavering trust with their peers and other classmates who are there, and I asked the kid who's in my small group, I asked him, his name is Ryan.
I said, "How are you guys able to cry just so openly in 50, 60 people?" A, having dark lights, having the lights off helps a lot, so people feel like they can be more honest, and B, he said, it's almost more embarrassing to hold your emotions back when your friends are being so radically honest. To nerd out a little bit, it's a group psychology. It's a group flow. Why is music festivals, why are these concerts so riveting? Why do people emote and have these group almost psychedelic experience without the substances? Because you are moved by this collective entity and this collective movement.
The psychology behind group flow is fascinating. Where a lot of people who go on riots and these very violent behaviors and these circumstances, a lot of those individuals by themselves they will never do such a thing. They will never even harm a fly, but you put them in this group where they're emoting, whether through anger, resentments or whatever emotions, positive or negative, they just get activated, and it's almost like the hormones are being synced. I feel like all that helps with people feeling more comfortable, but at the end of the day, it comes to emotional safety. They feel safe and they f
Great segment with Celia....so much confidence and wisdom from a young lady. Her makeup tips were on point especially coming from a woman that does not know how to put on makeup and pay others when I need it done for special occasions. The most I do myself is eyeliner, mascara, and maybe some foundation...then of course I keep my eyebrows groomed via threading. Love to hear the resilience that she stopped doing cartwheels but then she found her drive back again over time and she is working on pursuing her dreams and exploring all avenues of creativity when it comes to her future aspirations. Great segment Reena you all kept the conversation rolling and interesting from mother/daughter scoop
Reena is absolutely awesome! Don’t ever miss this podcast!
Reena asks what no one else asks. She is a phenomenal interviewer.