Dustin Miller, PolyInnovator, is on a journey of becoming a polymath. He has a habit of taking a divergent approach to life, from his Omni-Content to his show The Polymath PolyCast. There is always something new around the corner.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/polyinnovator/
Chris Ippolito 1:47
Dustin Miller 1:48
Hi. How’s it going, Chris?
Chris Ippolito 1:49
Good. Welcome to the “Get Coached Podcast,” glad to have you on. You’re a fellow podcaster, which made our prep for this episode really easy. I got the pleasure of being on your podcast, which was one of the first and few that I’ve done so far, it is something I’m looking to do more of. First off, I wanted to say “thank you” for having me on as a guest and it’s my pleasure to have you on as a guest.
Dustin Miller 2:17
Yes, thank you for coming on my show, thanks for having me on. I get to have that little exchange and make a new friend.
Chris Ippolito 2:23
Yeah, I’m really glad we connected. I believe we connected on, what’s it called now?
Dustin Miller 2:29
Chris Ippolito 2:30
That’s the one, MatchMaker. Which is, for any other podcasters out there, a great place to connect with other podcasters to be either a guest or have them on your show. It tends to be a lot of podcasters, though there’s just people looking.
Actually, before I ask you what your story is, something I want to create a little bit of a new habit with is where can people find you, real quick? Then we’ll recap at the end where can people find you.
Dustin Miller 3:00
Yeah. I create an omnichannel presence. If you search “PolyInnovator,” you’ll end up finding me. But one thing I’ve tried to make sure I do is on my website, polyinnovator.space, that all my links are on there as best I can.
Chris Ippolito 3:12
Awesome, okay. Now, please, share your story. What’s your journey been and how did you ultimately get to PolyInnovator?
Dustin Miller 3:24
Yeah. I’ll try to be as concise as possible, when there’s a lot to it there. I started out as a lifeguard and swim instructor, that got me into this teaching mindset and being of service to people. Then eventually started moving into other roles, such as waterobics, personal training, water boot camp, even Move Your Joints, which is an arthritis-based class. I got to teach a wide variety of people and I learned that I loved to teach.
Then on top of that I’ve always been this businessman, this business acumen. When I was eight or nine, I asked my family for office supplies for my birthday. That’s what I wanted.
Chris Ippolito 4:02
What kind of office supplies? I have to ask.
Dustin Miller 4:05
I don’t even know, it was probably like a stapler and pens, paper, those kind of random things. I remember I had an office, my grandma had an office room, it was a bedroom, then she had a giant walk-in closet for that room. I just had that as my office growing up, which was fun.
That all led into this teaching mindset, being didactic, and I created a blog called the United Living Construct, which was meant to a hub of innovation. Which is what really led into PolyInnovator, I realized that I wasn’t good enough to build that company brand. I realized a personal brand was where to go next.
Chris Ippolito 4:38
Awesome. For the people that are not familiar, maybe they’ve heard the word “polymath.” Which is obviously part of how you come up with your name, “polymath” and “innovator.” But what is a polymath, for those that aren’t familiar with it?
Dustin Miller 4:53
Yeah, definitely. I love how you explain that, too. A polymath is someone who’s interested or mastered many areas. It’s a dual terminology, so to speak. You have someone who’s so interested in many different cookie jars, dipping their hands in a whole bunch of them. They’re not a jack of all trades, they’re deeper than that. They’ve gone deep into knowledge, deep into those skills sets.
Chris Ippolito 5:17
What do you feel would be a defining characteristic of a polymath, outside of obviously having a wide breadth of knowledge and deep? But what do you think would be another characteristic of a polymath?
Dustin Miller 5:33
Understanding interdisciplinary dichotomies. If you have two skill sets, if you’re a dual specialist, for example, you often can find a new innovation or a new pathway, a secret path, if you will, between those two skill areas that you know. As a polymath you have multiple skill areas to pull from. The real essence of a polymath is someone who can bridge those areas of knowledge in a unique way.
Chris Ippolito 5:58
Yeah. I like that, I think that’s a great definition. Definitely different from the one I gave you on your podcast.
Dustin Miller 6:04
It was still good.
Chris Ippolito 6:09
Who are some of your bigger influences as far as the lifestyle and the pursuit in which you’re on right now?
Dustin Miller 6:18
First and foremost, I’ve always said my hero is Leonardo da Vinci, who is probably the most true polymath in history that we know of. I mean, of course, there’s Elon Musk, who you could consider one. I would even consider Gary Vaynerchuk one, as well. Then Benjamin Franklin, Tesla. All these great minds, most of the time they were interdisciplinary, they were skilled in many different areas.
Chris Ippolito 6:39
Yeah. Gary Vaynerchuk is not somebody I would have originally thought of as a polymath, but I think that makes a lot of sense. Because that is what his skill set is, is he’s just so in tuned with what people are talking about, but he just understands it in just a completely different way from everybody else. It has to be because he’s got a very wide base of knowledge, but is also very, very deep in it. I think Elon Musk, if you don’t follow what Elon Musk has done, I think he’s the epitome of it, as you said, like Leonardo da Vinci. They were successful in literally everything they did and do, it’s crazy.
Dustin Miller 7:30
Well, you’d be surprised. Leonardo da Vinci failed at a lot of things. He didn’t fail in the sense that he didn’t know enough, he failed because he never completed them. I think Elon Musk is in that same state, too. I don’t know, I haven’t kept up with it all in the past couple years as much, but I’ve looked at it in the past 5 to 10 and he was close to losing both his companies. He was on the razor’s edge, as many people know. But I think because he’s a polymath, he was able to make it work. If he wasn’t, I don’t think it would have worked. With Leo, he actually didn’t finish a lot of his commissions.
Chris Ippolito 8:03
Yeah. Now I wonder if there’s something to that. Do you know what I mean? Leonardo da Vinci was exploring a lot of different fields, we’ll say, and he allowed his desire to learn to drive him. But I wonder if maybe what he ended up doing was when he lost that interest and that desire to continue pursuing, he just said, “I’m done with this,” then moved on. I wonder if that’s also a bit of a characteristic with a polymath, because I’ll admit I’m definitely guilty of that. What about you?
Dustin Miller 8:38
Yeah. Going off the Leo points, there were plenty of cases where he dropped things and there were some cases where he never let them go. He was a perfectionist. Like the Mona Lisa, there were some scribes looking into the painting, they were looking at the different layers, and he was still touching it up even late into his life, adding things as he learned new techniques and skills. But for me, I’ve always done these graphic designs called spriting where you create 2D characters for video games, just a hobby of mine. Like Pokémon or Mario sprites, for example. There’s plenty of times where I’ll just, “I’m done, I’m not doing this for a while.” Or maybe I’ll pick it up in a few years like it never left.
Chris Ippolito 9:17
Yeah. What are you learning right now? Actually, I’m curious. What are you focusing on right now?
Dustin Miller 9:26
First and foremost, since I started having guests like you on my show, I’ve been trying to practice active listening. I haven’t done as much research recently because I already did a lot in the past, because it’s a skill that I’ve needed for a minute. But being able to listen to people without interrupting, because I like to talk, and also just engage with what they’re saying. That’s something I’ve been learning and trying to teach myself how to do.
Chris Ippolito 9:47
Yeah, I would say the podcast is a great place to develop that skill set. To be a good host, you need to be attentive when your guest is speaking, but also be able to engage in conversation. Especially the format that I like to do, because I don’t prepare. I mean I do, but I don’t. I don’t have any predefined questions that I want to dive into. For the main reason that I just want the conversation to flow and feel natural. Yeah, but at the same time if I’m not really paying attention, I may not know how to steer the conversation or drive the conversation.
Dustin Miller 10:34
Definitely. That’s something else I’ve been learning, too, is the dichotomy of that, the balance of that. “Should I prepare and keep to a structure or should I let the person just rant, they’ll go on a tangent, let that train of thought go through?” I had a few guests where we weren’t able to get as many questions done. I don’t know if you remember, but I try to go into a deep area of people. I try to find something that if they’ve been on many shows, we find something new to talk about. I had one guest who’s been on like 30 and most of the time they just talk about his products. Really awesome products, but literally a lot of the time they’re just saying the same thing over and over again. I wanted to go out of my way, and for every guest I do this, I go deep into whatever social presence they have and try to find those new ideas that we can talk about.
Chris Ippolito 11:18
Yeah. I like that, I think that’s a great approach, it’s a great style. There are quite a few podcasters out there that take that approach. I feel like Tim Ferriss does a fantastic job of that because I remember listening to a few episodes where his guests have even been like, “Where did you find that? How did you know?” Because he’ll be like, “Tell me about that time, about the white sneakers and the peanut butter,” or something like that. They’re like, “What? How do you know that story?”
Dustin Miller 11:51
Right. That’s the thing, I like your format, as well, where it’s more conversational. You and I get along really well at this point, we’re able to just bounce off each other pretty easily. I try to keep a balance of that.
Lewis Howes does the same thing, where he really researches his guests. Right before he was about to interview Kobe Bryant, he gets like 20 minutes to interview him, then he gives him a whole sheet of things you can’t ask him. He did a lot of his research, Lewis Howes is a very famous podcaster, great persona, great person, very good energy, yet he was pushed to the side in a way from this staff. I’m not trying to say anything bad about the staff, but it’s just interesting how many limitations were on him. But he has a concept called the pre-show is the show, where how you prepare for it, maybe not even with questions but with the connection you have with the person, allows for a much deeper interaction for the actual recording.
He went up to Kobe, he had a few minutes before the actual recording, and just got along with him, talked about some handball and some sports that they both knew well. And was able to make such a rapport with him that Kobe was like, “You know what? Forget the sheet, ask me what you want, we have plenty of time,” and was able to have a fantastic conversation.
Chris Ippolito 13:09
Cool. There’s a very similar story involving a journalist, I believe, and Warren Buffett. Normally, again, when you’re a billionaire, he would be very protective of his time. I’m going to butcher the story, but I’ll just summarize it. It was similar in that there was a limited amount of time, but this person had worked so hard to be able to get time with Warren Buffett. They’re like, “Well, I’m going to do whatever I can to maximize my interaction.” But what she ultimately did was, “I want to make sure that he has a great experience.”
What she ended up finding out prior to the interview was that his favorite drink is cherry cola. When they sat down together, she poured a glass of cherry cola into a cup of ice and said, “I know this is your favorite drink, Mr. Buffett. I’d love for us to start off with you enjoying your drink and refreshing yourself.” They went from that, which I think they were only supposed to get like 10 minutes or something crazy like that, to having a conversation of like two hours.
Dustin Miller 14:23
Jeez. It’s how you start it, I know, it’s crazy.
Chris Ippolito 14:29
This wasn’t even really intentional, that’s part of the reason why I like to do the pre-interview calls, 15 minutes where we chitchat, get to know each other, and see if there’s a good connection there. Because I feel like if there’s not going to be a good connection within 15 minutes, it’s going to be really difficult to record a 60-minute conversation if we go the whole 60 minutes and have engaging and interesting conversation.
Dustin Miller 14:57
Yeah, I totally agree with you, but I also have this idea that I don’t. I don’t know if it’s because I do a lot of research before I even ask somebody on my show or if I’ve been lucky to have great guests like you, where I just haven’t really had anybody that was negative. I had one guest that was not as engaging as some of the other ones. That’s the worst I could say. I still loved talking to that person, too. I had no issues whatsoever. It was a great conversation, we had a great outcome, great story, great moral to it all.
I haven’t had any bad experience. But I did have an experience recently where I had a prep call like that on someone else’s show and there just wasn’t much jiving there, but he decided not to pursue forward. I do see the benefit of that because I don’t know how it’s going to be down the line, I may not get as many great guests and I might want to start filtering out people that we won’t jive with. Definitely.
Chris Ippolito 15:56
Well, you’ve been doing your podcast actually a lot longer than me. What are some of the other lessons you’ve learned from the podcast that you would have not guessed about? I’ve learned a lot myself personally that I would have never assumed I would have learned by doing a podcast. I’m curious, what about yourself?
Dustin Miller 16:14
I started it with the United Living Construct, which was that pre-brand that I did, pre-PolyInnovator brand, you could say. The first 18 episodes were the U.L.C. tech podcast, which essentially just had the same story beats and the stuff we’re talking about, but it was all solo. The first 42 episodes, even into the PolyInnovator stuff, were all solo. I learned that I like talking, I’m able to get the idea out, especially when I wrote a script. If you’re doing a solo cast, you don’t have to write down every word for word. I like that. But if I’m on camera, it doesn’t really work. But if you’re just listening to a podcast, you don’t have to worry about looking at a sheet of paper the whole time. I did find it was hard to say it without rushing.
Chris Ippolito 17:03
Oh, okay. Interesting. You’re talking in the case that you had a script, you felt like you would end up rushing through it?
Dustin Miller 17:11
Yeah. Because I talk fast, I’ve always talked fast. People have always given me crap about it. I need to take a step back, yawn, breathe, then be able to calmly, effectually say my words.
That was something I learned, then I took a class last year called Clear Communication. One of the things I struggled with a lot in that class was being concise. Like e-mails, I’d send a three-paragraph e-mail even if it’s just something simple. Mainly because I was excited to talk to that person or something like that. I think there’s a balance of that’s who I am, but also I should be more concise to respect people’s time.
That’s a tangent, but I don’t know.
Chris Ippolito 17:53
No, tangents are welcomed. Yeah, that’s really interesting. Maybe what it was was that it exposed areas that you wanted to work on, then the podcast became a platform for you to be able to work on it.
Dustin Miller 18:15
Well, one thing I think is really important, too, is that a lot of people prevent themselves from making a blog, making a podcast, making a YouTube channel because they’re afraid of how they’re going to be, they’re afraid of how they look on camera, they don’t like how their voice sounds because the bone conduction makes it sound deeper in your head versus in headphones and when you see it on camera. It’s lighter, it’s more high-pitch, you’re not used to that. Even right now using these headphones, I’m not used to using headphones when I do recordings. I can’t hear my voice as much, it’s a little bit off-putting. You know what I mean?
Chris Ippolito 18:47
Yeah. I still, when I listen to a recording of myself, cringe a little bit because I go like, “Really, I sound like that?”
Dustin Miller 18:59
It’s something you’ve just got to get over, then eventually it’s just not as bad as it used to be. Now it’s at a point where a lot of people don’t create because of that one barrier. I didn’t make videos for months after starting my podcast, when I wanted to start them basically around the same time, because I was so afraid of being on camera. I don’t know why.
Chris Ippolito 19:21
Part of it is really just fear of judgement. It’s part of our human nature. Because human nature programmed us to want to have people like us. We’re talking thousands and thousands of years ago. If they didn’t like us, we didn’t survive. Because they wouldn’t share their food, they wouldn’t share their shelter. We still have that programming in us and it is interesting, in a world where that’s no longer a concern, that we still have that. It’s almost like we have to associate these deep-rooted behaviors to just other things so that we’re in tune with it.
Dustin Miller 20:08
Yeah, definitely. There’s a lot of societal norms with that. But if we go back to Gary Vaynerchuk, he talked about, “Who cares if someone says a hate comment on your video?” Who cares if someone says a love comment on the video? Heart it, respond to it, engage with that person, but don’t take it to heart, good or bad. The peace from not responding to that, choosing not to react. Then because of that non-reaction, you’re going to be able to be more proactive to create content, create videos. Once I started, I started loving it. I learned the skill about looking into the camera, making sure I take a deep breath before I speak, and being able to project my voice more effectively. I wouldn’t have ever learned that, at least not very quickly, had I not just gotten started and just rolled with the punches while they came.
Chris Ippolito 20:55
Yeah. I’m going to even say it, for everybody the fastest way you’re going to learn is by doing. Which is why Gary Vaynerchuk, Russell Brunson, a lot of these types of people that are trying to share that message of just get started. If you want to do something, if you want to start a podcast, a YouTube channel, a blog, whatever it is you want to start, just get started and figure it out as you go.
A lot of people get stuck. I was very guilty of this in a lot of endeavors, or ideas of endeavors. Where I would research, research, research, and go, “I need to learn more, I need to learn more before I can start.” Then you get to a point where you just go, “I don’t know if I want to start anymore.”
Dustin Miller 21:48
Yeah. See, I’ve heard people say that and I think that I’ve been at fault of that, but I also really love learning. That’s what I’ve built the first phase of PolyInnovator content around, self-education. I’ve gotten into those research dives. Actually, someone who I had on the PolyCast yesterday, she’s had a problem with focusing on one thing at a certain time versus also some cases being hyperfocused where she could spend 12 hours on it. I’ve been in that case where there was one day I was trying to teach myself calculus for a specific reason, but I was motivated to do it. I spent 14 hours that day, with like a one-hour break in the middle to eat, studying calculus, when I sucked at math all throughout high school. How does that happen without really wanting to learn it?
I think that there’s also the balance of sometimes you’re going to be productive and create stuff, some points you need to actually consume. Knowing when you need to do one of those two things is very important.
Chris Ippolito 22:40
Right. What are some of your go-to sources for consumption and for learning? Do you have certain blogs, podcasts, books? What are some of your favorites and recommendations?
Dustin Miller 22:53
Before I say that, I do want to mention that there’s two apps I was thinking of for people who want to get started. Anchor.fm is a really great podcast form that people could do. It’s a great way to just pick up your phone and start doing it. It’s not the greatest podcast host, but it’s very easy to just get started. I transferred off my stuff there, too. It was a little difficult, but it’s possible. Then there’s VlogEasy on iOS only, but you can do recording that way really easily.
I just wanted to mention that so if someone wants to create. Then for resources, I actually cultivated a list. This leads into the main project I’ve worked on called the Modular Degree, which is my do-it-yourself degree, so to speak. You create your own self-curated list. You can have someone help you if you want, something like that. But essentially whenever you are creating this self-education endeavor, you’re able to cultivate just a long list of courses, like on Coursera, Udacity, edX, or whatever website you want to do, YouTube for example, or even podcasts.
I found myself collecting a whole bunch of resources. For a website, edX, Spotify, and YouTube are three of my main go-tos at the moment.
Chris Ippolito 24:04
Where do you see yourself building PolyInnovator, as far as the skills that you want to continue learning and/or the community that you’re looking to build?
Dustin Miller 24:16
I actually started working on building a community pretty early on. I started using BuddyPress for WordPress and started trying to make it a social network of sorts. The United Living Construct was supposed to be a hub of innovation, a community for innovators and for self-development. In fact, the slogan was, “World unity through self-development.” That same ideology is what really drove PolyInnovator, as well. I thought about making that PolyInnovator community, as I called it.
I ran into issues with that. I realized that I’m not going to be able to drive any traffic here unless I start creating content, I’m focusing all my effort on building this instead of creating. I started making that pivot and focusing on that. Right now my main focus is just creating, creating, creating as much as possible so I can drive as much traffic and get a lot of awesome people in this ecosystem. Innovators and polymaths alike, they could be mutually exclusive, but trying to get as many of those people here. That’s where the PolyCast comes in, as well.
Chris Ippolito 25:12
Yeah. Right now the goal is just create content of value to organically have people come in. Now I’m trying. Is there a business model that you’re wrapping around it? What’s the plan there?
Dustin Miller 25:30
Yeah. As a coach even, as a swim coach and stuff like that, I’ve always had a hard time being salesy. Even though I know that I’m good. “I could teach Michael Phelps something new,” is something I say when it comes to swimming. I hope he hears that, too, because I’ll reach out to him. But I know my skills are good, I know that I can help people, but I’ve always had a hard time asking for more, even if I earned it.
That’s something I’ve had to face with PolyInnovator, as well. But for monetization, affiliate marketing, showing awesome products or tools that I like. For example, repurpose.io is something I really loved. One of my newer episodes coming out in about a month or so I have an affiliate link there, which is the first monetization that I’ve tried to do with the PolyCast. That’s the only thing I’ve really tried, too, because I believe in it wholeheartedly.
Then I have a Patreon, I want to sell courses, I want to sell books, but I have to create those more. Yeah, there’s a plan, but it’s just long-distance.
Chris Ippolito 26:31
Yeah. No, hey, I’m right there with you. You mention wanting to potentially sell books. What’s the top of your list for books that you would want to read? Obviously you don’t need to give us all the goods.
Dustin Miller 26:48
Read or write?
Chris Ippolito 26:49
Dustin Miller 26:50
You said “read.” Read or write?
Chris Ippolito 26:51
Write. Yeah. Did I say “read”?
Dustin Miller 26:55
Chris Ippolito 26:55
I meant “write.” You say you want to sell books and write books, but what’s the topic? What would your first book be about?
Dustin Miller 27:05
What’s interesting about that is that I’ve actually had a lot of ideas for what I want to write. One of the things I was wanting to write is the U.L.C.’s story, more of a fiction-based story to expand the ideas because there was a lot of nuances that I wanted to go into. But the first book I’m planning on writing that I’ve already started is How to Swim: The hydrodynamics and philosophy of swimming. I should trademark that, actually. But yeah. Because swimming is one of my main things that I’ve taught over the years and ought to be one of the first things I do.
Chris Ippolito 27:35
Yeah. It would be a swimming book or would it be a book about something else using swimming to teach the lessons?
Dustin Miller 27:47
It will be a how-to-swim book. But as a teacher, I’ve always focused on the physics and philosophy of swimming. A lot of instructors focus on, “Hey, get your arms out of the water and kick. Just go, go, go.” That’s helpful for a certain degree. But unless you know why you’re doing it and how to do it better, you’re going to keep struggling, you’re going to keep panicking. That’s a real big deal, is that a lot of people panic. They focus on breathing too much. Because of that focus on breathing, they end up getting yards behind other people. If you can stay calm. Usually just some simple tricks that I teach, like being able to blow out under water and stay calm without having any air will make you last longer than if you have too much air. The carbon dioxide is a real key factor.
I wanted to go into stuff like that and teach people without having to actually be there.
Chris Ippolito 28:35
Well, now I want to learn more about swimming. I would say I was a strong swimmer. Somebody like myself, not really formally coached or trained, didn’t swim professionally, what do you figure would be probably a bad habit that I have that if I wanted to become a stronger swimmer, we’ll say in the competitive sense, what would be a bad habit I’ve probably picked up that you would say is pretty common with every amateur type swimmer out there?
Dustin Miller 29:11
Well, this goes for non-competitive, too, but breathing. A lot of times people breathe too much. Like I said, it comes down to that panicky notion. If you end up thinking, “Oh, I need to breathe, I need to breathe.” Oftentimes it’s not that you need to breathe in, it’s that you need to get the carbon dioxide out. Our body actually doesn’t need oxygen that bad, we can go for a while without it, three minutes or so. Honestly, too, it’s the carbon dioxide starting to make the muscles tense up, the brain starting to get panicky. Once you breathe out of your nose and release that air, you often feel a lot better. That’s a basic mistake a lot of people make.
Chris Ippolito 29:47
Breathing. Is there a counting system? Or I don’t know if there is, but is there a quick little tip that you could share that would help somebody correct that bad habit?
Dustin Miller 30:04
I have a three-step system that I figure we might go into here in a little bit. But, first and foremost, everybody is different. Understanding how your body is, there’s the sprinter and the marathoner. Some people who are fast twitch, some people who are slower twitch. How quickly your muscles react naturally. I’m a fast twitch, I like sprinting, I like going fast. If I try swimming slow, I sink because I’m dense. Even if I wasn’t dense, I’d still sink just because that’s how my body really operates.
Understanding how fast you’re going and how fast you need to go. Then count how many breaths you take in a length, or however far you’re going, and try to just keep doing the same amount each time.
Chris Ippolito 30:47
Right. As a sprinter compared to a marathoner, I would assume the sprinter is going to end up taking more breaths because they’re moving at a quicker pace? Or is that a false belief, we’ll say?
Dustin Miller 31:02
Neither. The answer is actually more complicated than that, because I actually prefer not taking breaths when I swim.
Chris Ippolito 31:08
Did you say “don’t taking breaths”?
Dustin Miller 31:11
No. I have proper grammar, don’t worry.
Chris Ippolito 31:15
No, I knew what you said, I just wanted to make sure that you were saying basically, “I don’t want to breathe while I’m swimming.”
Dustin Miller 31:21
Yeah, I don’t.
Chris Ippolito 31:22
Okay. I think I understand, but let’s go ahead, continue.
Dustin Miller 31:27
You’re good. Yeah, no, don’t breathe. In fact, when I start with new swimmers, I tell them, “Don’t breathe.” Especially while swimming. If you need to get air, stand up. Go to a shallow part and stand up. Swim for five feet, stand up. That’s the basic training that I do for some people. You just go for five 5-feet or 10-feet segments until you get better and better at the swimming, then you can get better at breathing.
For me, I just don’t like breathing because it’s a little bit more tedious. It’s more extra effort when I could just swim faster and get there. There’s plenty of times when you have to. But when you breathe, you slow down a little bit, at least in my experience. I’m not even thinking that in a competitive sense, I just don’t like slowing down because then I sink. Then you can’t breathe because you’re sunk down underwater.
It depends on how well you float, it depends on how fast you’re going, that kind of thing, but I just don’t like to breathe. I know, crazy, right?
Chris Ippolito 32:26
Yeah. I like breathing, it’s pretty good. But no, I think I get it. Because if the action of breathing is what’s going to hold you back, especially if you’re a competitive person or it’s survival instinct. Because, like you said, if you slow down, you sink. Then yeah, it makes sense that you’re like, “Well, I want to minimize my breathing because it has a negative effect to what I’m doing.”
Dustin Miller 32:53
Well, and we’re humans, too, we have to breathe. That’s an important distinction to make. I mean I’m human, too, right? Crappy joke there, but essentially whenever you are swimming, you have to breathe at some point. Especially if you’re not strong in the longs, if you don’t do cardio or exercise and you’ve jumped into swimming, you’re going to have a hard time because it’s a full-body workout. But if you want to get better at it, it’s better to practice the actual form of swimming. Swimming is not about breathing, swimming is about moving. It’s the aquatic version of walking basically, or running. If you want to move, breathing hinders your movement in a way because it slows you down, you’re focusing on something else.
This leads me into something I’ll share with your audience, it’s what I tell all my students. There’s three steps to swimming. Especially the front crawl motion where you’re on your stomach and crawling through the water, but they can be applied to other strokes, as well. Number one, legs. Number two, face. Number three, arms. I’ll go into those. Kicking the legs straight consistently, face down underwater so that way you’re not tensing up the neck, then arms out of the water diving back in.
When you have that three-step system, not only does it simplify the movements, but it makes it easy enough to where you are swimming and you are either panicking or not sure what’s going on, like, “Why am I slowing down, why am I not moving as much?” You can think in your head, “One, two, three. Oh, legs, my legs are kicking straight. My face, it’s not down. I should get it down, that’s what’s going on.” You can self-evaluate more.
Chris Ippolito 34:23
See, I think the thing I like about talking to people who truly understand a craft of some sort is how simple you can make it sound. Because I was just like, “Yeah, three steps, that sounds super easy. Then don’t breathe. I got it, I can be a competitive swimmer now.”
Dustin Miller 34:41
Well, that’s the thing. I’m going to bring it back to people’s old times there with a cassette, think of a cassette. Each of those three steps has two sides, you have the A side and a B side. I say that it’s more for advanced users or swimmers, but it’s not necessarily that advanced. Face down is great, but you’re still being flat and your head is fighting the water. But, for example, if you were to get the chin down farther, you end up creating a droop-snoot. Where’s the camera? Like on a plane. Where the water goes over your head, allowing you to be more hydrodynamic, more cutting through the water. Like aerodynamic, but hydrodynamic.
It’s interesting how you can cut through a lot faster. I learned that from a professional swimmer who was even farther along than I was.
Chris Ippolito 35:27
You’re saying now somebody is at that point of wanting to accelerate their speed, they would want to tuck their head?
Dustin Miller 35:37
Chris Ippolito 35:38
Oh, okay. That feels like it would be really unnatural for a lot of people.
Dustin Miller 35:41
But think of it this way. Let me see if I can turn this enough. Would you want to look like this in the water, with the neck up?
Chris Ippolito 35:49
Dustin Miller 35:50
But when people keep their head out of the water, that’s what you’re doing. You’re protruding your neck in a more uncomfortable state. It also prevents your arms from moving as much because it tenses up the shoulders. When your head comes up, you end up sinking down. Even if you’re kicking perfectly, you’re going to end up pushing your whole body down.
Chris Ippolito 36:05
Dustin Miller 36:06
Because the spine and whatnot.
Chris Ippolito 36:10
I like this because, though we’ve been talking about swimming for the last however long it’s been, a lot of the lessons and the principles that you apply to swimming, you can really translate that to many, many aspects of life.
Dustin Miller 36:28
Chris Ippolito 36:29
The fundamentals. Like, “Focus on this, then this, then this.” The not breathing part I feel like would be almost like saying, well, breathe in life, but more about don’t panic. Take your time, don’t panic.
Dustin Miller 36:47
It’s not about going from point A to point B, it’s how you get there. It’s almost a Taoist philosophy that I employ for swimming. Which, ironically, Taoism is going with the flow. Water.
Chris Ippolito 37:00
Speaking of philosophy, do you explore that stuff quite a bit? I think you do, right?
Dustin Miller 37:07
You talked about education pursuits earlier, I’ll go into a little story there. One of my favorite learning experiences in high school was not actually from anything that I learned in school, it was a self-education endeavor that I did. Where, I think, junior year I went to the library, I just burned through the entire philosophy and world religion section in a matter of months. I skipped some books, obviously, that didn’t interest me, but I read most of them in that area. Then on top of that I had a class that was Classical Ideas and World Religion. I was able to really get a wide range of philosophy education, I would even say college level because my teacher was really good. That’s really helped me in the long run.
Chris Ippolito 37:46
Yeah. My nephew, who is 18, turning 19 fairly soon, just got accepted into a neuroscience program. The other day I was talking to him about just school, what he’s planning on taking, and some of the arts programs that he has options to take. I brought up philosophy and I was like, “Well, have you considered taking a philosophy course?” He’s like, “No.” His dad heard me, his dad is a little bit of a man’s man. He looked at that and he was like, “There is no effing way my son is taking a philosophy course.” He’s like, “I’m not paying for that,” blah, blah, blah. I was just like, “All right, I’m not going to get into this argument with you.”
But I think for me the value that I took away once I started exploring philosophy was it just got me to think a little bit, think about things in a different way. Books in general have helped me out with that, but philosophy in particular got me just to contemplate things that I believe in and challenge them a little bit more. Which I’ve not even read a lot of philosophy courses, but I think it would be fun to take a philosophy course or read even more books and just get a little bit more into those types of conversations. More to just challenge the things that I believe in or test the strength of my beliefs on things by having it being challenged by other people.
Dustin Miller 39:29
Definitely. What you said there about your nephew got me a little heated there because I loathe the small-mindedness when someone is trying to say, “Oh, you don’t need philosophy.” But it’s on the same level as saying, “I don’t need science.” Science is the how, philosophy is the why. They’re asking basically the same question, like, “Why does this happen?,” but it’s more of how they approach it. Philosophy is more, “How can I understand it? How do I perceive it? What’s going on with that?” Then science is more, “How is this happening? What’s causing this to happen?,” and you get to the nitty-gritty. Whereas philosophy is more of the macro and the head in the clouds.
A lot of scientists have always been, “No, no philosophy.” A lot of philosophers have been, “No science.” But some of the greatest minds in history, including Leonardo da Vinci especially, were able to bridge both those areas.
Chris Ippolito 40:22
Yeah. It ties it all back to being a polymath or that pursuit of wanting to broaden your education, then going deep. I think philosophy is an area that, whether you’re really into it or not, you don’t even have to necessarily go deep, but I would suggest reading some of the more popular and almost pop culture type philosophy books. Mainly because it will get you thinking a little bit differently, it will challenge your beliefs. Just having that exposure, I think it refines almost everything else in your toolkit, in a sense. That would be my recommendation for everybody.
But on that note, I want to ask a question here because I want to see if we can start wrapping things up. It was a very broad conversation. I’d love to hear from you, what would be that one piece of advice you’d want to share with the audience to help them level up wherever they need it most?
Dustin Miller 41:34
My key principle in life is balance. What we’ve talked about today a lot of the time, don’t panic, is the balance of how I need to breathe, but I also want to move. You need to find the balance between those two points for swimming. That’s what the whole technique I was talking about is about, is staying calm enough to where I can wait until I need to breathe at a certain point later on, delaying instant gratification.
My principle of balance stems from the idea of, that’s what the United Living Construct came from, too, the balance of technology and ideology. I told you earlier how I wanted to be a businessman when I was a child, that grew into the idea of becoming a CEO. As a teenager around your nephew’s age, actually, I would tell people, “I want to be a CEO of an international company driven to innovate technology and ideology.” That was what I said out of a kid’s mouth, so to speak. I picked up this book off the shelf here, The Tao of Physics, it’s something I’ve talked about a lot just when everyone asks, “What’s a book you recommend?” This is always the book I recommend because it talks about deep philosophical thoughts and deep scientific thoughts.
Chris Ippolito 42:42
I’m writing it down, by the way. Sorry.
Dustin Miller 42:44
Yeah, definitely. Fritjof Capra. I’ll send it to you later, something like that. But essentially if you want to get into the nitty-gritty and the macro, you can combine them together and find that balance. That’s where the polymath ideas comes, as well, you’re having a balance between all these many areas of skill sets. That’s what a polymath is. It’s not someone who is just unfocused and doing all these different things. I mean they can be, especially an unproductive polymath. But a real one, like Leonardo da Vinci or even who I aspire to be, is someone who can be practical as well as mindful.
Chris Ippolito 43:21
Yeah, I like that. I would say that is different advice compared to a lot of the other guests I’ve had. But I love it because it very much speaks to the approach that I have with a lot of things right now. I would say I’m a little bit more of the unfocused polymath sometimes, still working on that aspect of it. But last question, to wrap up. Where, again, can people find you? What’s the best place for people to find you, connect with you?
Dustin Miller 43:54
To connect with me, really any social media is fine, like Twitter is a good place. But if you want to find me, polyinnovator.space is the best way because I have all my social links there, all of my website links. I’m on so many different platforms. What I thought about as an omnichannel person is let’s say your favorite platform is Instagram and you have no other social media. Well, if you’re a company that’s not on Instagram, or a personality like myself or you and you’re not on Instagram, and that’s the other person’s platform, then you’re not able to connect with that person. I wanted to take the omnichannel approach where if there’s a platform that you’re wanting to be on, you can reach out to me via that platform in some shape or form.
Chris Ippolito 44:34
Smart. Gary Vaynerchuk approach, for sure. Awesome. Well, Dustin, it was a lot of fun. I appreciate the conversation, it’s been a pleasure. I know we’re definitely going to stay in touch because we’ve gotten along really well in the two conversations that we’ve had. Thank you very much and take care.
Dustin Miller 44:53