Today I’m happy to host Dr Brian King the author of The Art of Taking It Easy.
Interview with Dr Brian King
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was recently reflecting on this. I think I’ve led a very interesting life, at the least it has been really unconventional. I am a high school dropout with a doctorate if that gives you an idea.
After earning my degree in psychology, I bounced around the country from job to job, trying to carve out a career for myself in the world of consulting and market research. Eventually, I ended up in San Francisco, working at a job I hated and living in an apartment I could barely afford. I knew I was not cut out for the industry I was in and yet I wasn’t sure what else I wanted to do. Academia would not pay the bills and I really didn’t have the patience to do therapy. I got stuck and felt trapped in an unfulfilling occupation.
Then one night as I was walking down the street, I saw a sign advertising classes in stand-up comedy. For as long as I could remember, I had an interest in becoming a comedian but I kept putting it off in pursuit of more practical goals like my education and gainful employment, and my basic desire of not being homeless. I realized that the pursuit of these things brought me to a very unhappy place, and I signed up for the class the very next day. I began performing at open mics that week, and by the end of the month I was fired from my day job.
Being let go from that job was one of the best things to ever happen to me, as I felt instant relief. I knew life would be a struggle, but broke and happy wins over employed and miserable any day. I would get calls from headhunters trying to sell me on positions exactly like my last one and they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested. I resolved to never again take a position that would make me unhappy, and was determined to give comedy a shot even if it meant waiting tables with a doctorate.
Thankfully, it never got to that point. As I began to improve as a comedian, a friend recommended me to a company that hires touring public speakers for educational seminars. They were looking for a psychologist who could hold a crowd’s attention. A few phone calls later and my life was changed forever.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
As a habit, I express my gratitude every day. In my seminars on happiness and stress management, I encourage my audiences to do the same. It’s a common practice and it is very helpful in changing the way we look at the world. Even Oprah does it, and she seems pretty happy to me.
There are so many people in my life that have helped me get to where I am, and because of how I live most of them probably already know how grateful I am. However, there is one person who has changed my life in the most significant way possible who has yet to realize how much she has affected me: my two-year-old daughter, Alyssa.
Having children changes your life, that is common knowledge. But this little girl came into my world when I was at a very unhealthy point. Without knowing it, I had been suffering from sleep apnea for years and it was starting to take its toll. With fatherhood approaching, my partner, Sarah, convinced me to see a doctor and within the year I was on CPAP treatment and on the way to recovery. Having children does make people healthier, but having her may have quite literally extended the length of my life.
My new book, The Art of Taking It Easy, is dedicated to my daughter, but it was also inspired by her. If for some reason I don’t get to see her grow up, I wanted her to know how important she is to me and at the same time I wanted to give her a manual that could help her, and perhaps thousands of other people, live a better life. To this day she inspires me to live a better life.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’m sorry, nothing really comes to mind. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life but none of them are all that memorable.
The Art Of Taking It Easy
Book Title: The Art of Taking It Easy by Dr. Brian King
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18+)
Publisher: Apollo Publishers
Release date: October 2019
Content Rating: PG-13+
Psychologist and Comedian King explores the science behind stress in this witty, informed guide. The author uses a bevy of running jokes and punch lines to enliven technical explanations for how and why people experience stress. His metaphors of coming across a bear in the wild as well as being stuck in traffic are also used to great effect to explain a
variety of stress responses, such as perceiving a threat and feelings of powerlessness. Reframing thoughts plays a large role in King’s advice:
Stress is simply a reaction to a perception of threat being able to consciously redirect choices made by other areas of the brain is the key to living a less stressful existence. He also provides breathing exercises, plants for painting physical health and useful advice for
setting attainable goals. King’s enjoyable guide to living with less will be of help to any anxious reader.
Buy The Art of Taking It Easy
About the Author
Dr Brian King trained as a neuroscientist and psychologist and for the past decade has traveled the world as a comedian and public speaker. By day he conducts seminars, attended by thousands of people each year around the US and internationally, on positive psychology, the health benefits of humor, and stress management. By night he practices what he teaches in comedy clubs, and is the founder and producer of the highly reviewed Wharf Room comedy show in San Francisco. Dr. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a master’s degree from the University of New Orleans, and a PhD in neuroscience from Bowling Green State University. Hailing from New York and living in dozens of cities throughout the US as the child of a military family, today spends his life on the road with his partner, Sarah, and their young daughter.