Episode 2 - A Personal Renaissance with Joel Zaslofsky

Joel Zaslofsky of the Smart and Simple Matters podcast and SimpleREV shares his story of starting a "personal renaissance" five years ago and the experiences and lessons that have followed in his quest to help others experience a personal renaissance of their own.

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  • [3:00] Joel’s “seeds of awesomeness”
  • [5:05] Working in your strengths vs. weaknesses
  • [7:30] Joel’s “personal renaissance”
  • [12:00] Interacting with others after making life changes
  • [21:30] Experiments after the personal renaissance
  • [25:05] What is SimpleREV
  • [26:55] Joel’s Why
  • [28:25] What Joel is working on
  • [30:30] Connecting with Joel


  • “I was a fast learner and a slow experimenter.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “For the first 30 years of my life, that’s how I operated. If it’s easy give me more. If it’s hard not for me—I’m not going to do it. I’ve since completely flipped that on its head.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “Now, it’s not really about easy or hard, strength vs. weakness, it’s about where I can offer the most value.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “To me, if it’s not challenging it’s not worth doing anymore.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “I realized that I was going to be a horrible parent in about 8 months if things didn’t change significantly. Because at that point I was working a job, about eleven hours a day that I hated—I was in the financial industry working purely for the paycheck, which that was exactly what I wanted. I was checking all these boxes for so long. Go to college, meet your future wife, get a nice house, get a comfortable job, get a fat 401K. I’ve got it all, right? This nice life, nice house, nice friends, everything’s nice. But I was going to be a horrible parent because I was working a ton, I wasn’t enjoying it, and the time I wasn’t working a lot of it was spending time playing video games. So I had to make this radical change in order to set me up in about 8 months to be a good father. To be physically present and emotionally available for this kid, who would need me, who couldn’t do anything for himself.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “I realize I’m a really funky dude and I have a pretty funky way of living life, and if I’m going to march to a different drummer then I need to allow other people to figure out what their ‘right’ way is and let them do their own thing too.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “When you make that change, especially a drastic change, it’s hard to bring people along for the ride, because no one lives inside your head except for you.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “I think a lot of it comes down to the intent. Focusing on, I want to help, and I want to share, and I want to teach. As opposed to I want to change you—you need to be like me.” (Jeff Sandquist)
  • “If we don’t know why, then what and how don’t matter, and they’re never going to last—it’s just following check boxes.” (Jeff Sandquist)
  • “There’s two lives available to all of us. There’s the first life which is the life we are told that we should live. And there’s the life we know we could live if we would just listen to ourselves. If we would dive a little deeper. If we would shut out all the external voices that are confusing us and figure out what is it that I want out of my life.” (Jeff Sandquist)
  • “What is it that I want? I want to help people with my voice.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “Now, I can’t help myself. I have to experiment. I have to continue to embrace risk and uncertainty. And if it’s uncomfortable that feels weird—being comfortable is discomforting to me now.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “[SimpleREV] is really bringing community and simplicity together. At our core, we as humans I believe operate at our best as communities and tribes. And also at our core I believe that life is fulfilling, it’s meaningful, we can have more value, for focus, more gratitude, more contentment—all the things that we almost universally value—the more that we simplify and the more that we slow down. So through community we can learn how to live simply, and bringing those tow worlds together, SimpleREV really operates at the crossroads of community and simplifying.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “I do what I do because I can’t not do it. I believe so heavily in authenticity and also allowing myself to be vulnerable that I want other people to experience that as well. So, a lot of the things I do are intended to make other people think heavily, or feel awkward, or put them in uncomfortable positions because that’s where the growth occurs.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “It’s great to have external challenges, but if you can internally challenge yourself and push yourself and motivate yourself and experiment then life tends to get kind of stale and not so much fun sometimes.” (Joel Zaslofsky)
  • “I want to give people a kick in the pants to constantly assess and reassess what is it that I want and why do I want it?” (Joel Zaslofsky)


Intentionally Wandering,