Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the RevoPT High Performance Podcast, which from today, has a new name — a brand new name. It’s called the Your Revolution Podcast, which I’m really, really excited about. I decided… I’ve been thinking about it for a few months that I wanted to change the name, because the stories that we tell on this podcast are all about the turning points in people’s lives. And the idea of that is to encourage a turning point in your life if it’s something you want to do. And so I thought Your Revolution fits really nicely with that because we’re also keeping in line with the gym that this has come from, which is Revolution Personal Training, and that’s the idea of the podcast.
Today is probably the most exciting day of my life because I am talking to one of my really good friends, and the person that absolutely epitomises the mission of this podcast, Hamish Blake.
Hamish Blake: Jane, what an honour.
Jane Erbacher: Thank you.
Hamish Blake: on Episode 50.
Jane Erbacher: Exactly, that’s it. So thank you so much. I know that you’re probably the busiest man in Australia and I really, really appreciate your time.
Hamish Blake: Not at all. I’ve put my laptop on the table to give the illusion that I was doing work, before you got here. But if you do want to honestly know what I was doing?
Jane Erbacher: Yes.
Hamish Blake: When you got here Jack — Cackling Jack — who works on the radio show with us was here, and we were like, ah we should have a day where we have a think about maybe some stuff for the radio show. We spent most of today… like we had this idea that… I have to make sure Andy doesn’t listen to this, but we had this idea like wouldn’t it be amazing — because we’re back on in… we’ve still got a couple weeks to go until we’re back on the air — if, when we came back to the radio show, we’d learned like a really difficult song — like him on guitar and me on drums.
We listened to music for about 45 minutes, just playing song for song to each other, just pretending that we were playing the music. So, I wasn’t that busy before you came in.
Jane Erbacher: That’s so funny. Well you know what, I was reading something today about when you are trying to be creative, it’s good to actually do your work and then put it down and then come back to it.
Hamish Blake: True.
Jane Erbacher: So, after this hour, who knows what you’re going to create.
Hamish Blake: I think that’s a technique, where people write down a problem before bed and then your brain just sorts it out.
Jane Erbacher: Absorbs it. Well this is what someone once said to me, and said before an exam I used to actually put my notes under my pillow and just hope that the information would like sink into my brain.
Hamish Blake: I don’t know if it’s a physical float up. You probably need to learn a bit. But, I mean I-
Jane Erbacher: I should have used gravity. I should have put it above me.
Hamish Blake: Something.
Jane Erbacher: Maybe then that would have worked — something better than what I was doing.
Hamish Blake: Tape it to the inside of your eyelids. I was a fiend for… I firmly believed at university I had a way better short-term memory than a long-term memory.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Hamish Blake: So I convinced myself the most effective way to learn a course was to get up really, really early on the morning of the exam and to spend three hours reading over the course notes.
Jane Erbacher: Did it work?
Hamish Blake: I convinced myself I could not do the subject, and I could get up really early. I passed some management subjects that way.
Jane Erbacher: I think with what you studied though, it was science and commerce right?
Hamish Blake: Science, you can’t do that.
Jane Erbacher: No.
Hamish Blake: You can’t feel out a math formula that you’ve never learned.
Jane Erbacher: No. Damn it. Well you know now.
Hamish Blake: You can feel out management for sure, because a lot of it’s sort of emotional and then like, what remedies would you put in place if you were running this business. So some of that could just be common sense.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: But there’s not many …
Jane Erbacher: You can’t make up.
Hamish Blake: If it’s like using theory to solve this and you don’t know what that theory is … you’re either incredible if you invent it on the spot or you just don’t know what it is.
Jane Erbacher: That’s so funny. You should have done an arts degree, because what I learned very early in my arts degree was that if you could justify anything, you were right.
Hamish Blake: You were right.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, there was no actual answer.
Hamish Blake: It’s basically about digging in for fun.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, totally.
Hamish Blake: If you don’t really care about what you’re digging in.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. Well thank you so much for being on the show.
Hamish Blake: I’m excited.
Jane Erbacher: I really, really appreciate it. Obviously he needs no introduction. Everybody knows everything about him. But I want to introduce you how I know you and how I met you.
Hamish Blake: Yeah, go for it.
Jane Erbacher: Because it was at a really… it was a really interesting time in my life, and you introduced me to something that’s actually changed the course of my life. So we met in a café.
Hamish Blake: I’m so glad that you are vaping now.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah. I know, it took me a few years to get on to it, but I remember the wise words.
Hamish Blake: We did meet in a café, didn’t we? Do you know what, we probably met early in the morning beside an Oval.
Jane Erbacher: Yes, when you used to run past carrying your medicine ball.
Hamish Blake: There was a boxing gym on one side of the Oval — still there, although not for much longer — and then there was a little pavilion on the other side of the Oval. And at 6 in the morning — like real early — or 7 in the morning, you were running PT classes on that side and me and a bunch of friends started going to this boxing class early — like Mondays and Fridays. And a lot of the time, the boxing instructor, Jimmy — who we still see — I think a lot of his methodology was because it was so early in the morning.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: And I guess the thing is if you’re a boxing teacher you have to seem like you’ve got it planned out for the day.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: And just a stop gap, I reckon, for him to have a think about what we could do next was just telling us to run a lap. Quite often you’d just see a bunch of guys running past with boxing gloves on.
Jane Erbacher: But the best was you’d be carrying things. So you’d be carrying things with your boxing gloves on, which I always thought was really funny. Exactly, it would have taken longer then. And that is a bit of a secret if PT’s. When we send you away from us, it’s because we’re trying to do something before you get back.
Hamish Blake: Yeah, I could see him back in the gym going God, what can I get them to do? 5,000 burpees — that will buy me some time. But, we just started… like, you guys were such a nice bunch.
Jane Erbacher: We always said hi to you.
Hamish Blake: So we just had this weird… probably for like a year we had this dynamic where your guys would say hi, and we were always just knackered and like pant hi back.
Jane Erbacher: Hi.
Hamish Blake: And then there was a café nearby and we also knowing each other from that.
Jane Erbacher: Yep, totally. And I remember I met you and we were chatting one day and was telling you that I was about to open my own gym. And you were like, “Tell me about this gym. What’s it like?” And I was explaining. I’m like, it’s AstroTurf and monkey bars. And you got out your phone and you go, “You know who I love following? This group.” And you showed me Jim Jones Salvation and Bobby Maximus.
Hamish Blake: I did.
Jane Erbacher: I was like, who are these people? I was like, I love these people. I started reading the captions, and I was like, yeah, this is what I’m aligned with. This is cool. And I still remember one of the quotes that … well I don’t remember it by heart, but I actually wrote it down that we looked at that day. And I want to start off this podcast with it because it’s something that I’ve thought about a lot since then. You did say that you have a different quote every day.
Hamish Blake: Oh wait. I wish I was someone that could…
Jane Erbacher: Short-term memory?
Hamish Blake: Yeah. If you’d have let read a quote book before this, I would sound like a genius.
Jane Erbacher: You’d have like 16. Well that’s all the questions, just tell me all the quotes you know. But this is a really cool one. This is our friend Bobby Maximus. “So if you want it you have to work for it. You have to suffer for it. You have to give everything for it.” And that’s really a really interesting quote that I remember, because if you look at Jim Jones, that’s basically their shtick.
Hamish Blake: It’s their mantra. And do you know what? I love that. I wasn’t aware of that particular quote, but if I did have any sort of like — in the fitness world — any sort of mantra or quote to live by, I guess it would be along those principles.
Jane Erbacher: Yep.
Hamish Blake: Now admiring those principles and living by them are two very different things. But I suppose it starts… it’d have to start by first admiring the principle.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: But there’s an old saying, which I really like, which is “the secret to doing more chin-ups is do more chin-ups.” Which is like a real basic one, but …
Jane Erbacher: But it’s the truth in every area of your life.
Hamish Blake: So much of the fitness industry and so much of everyone’s life is like, people decide on a goal — they decide that they’d like to do something, and then your brain tricks you into thinking it’s time better spent by sitting back and conserving energy and waiting for a shortcut, or waiting to learn a craftier way to get there. But there really… you know, the secret to doing more chin-ups is you just go do more chin-ups. And then if you want to be able to do 10 chin-ups, you have to spend months being able to do one.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: And you have to spend months being able to do two. I think again, it’s so many areas in life — like you realise you’re treading water hoping for an easier way. And that quote’s great, because it’s essentially saying… there’s good news and bad news. The good news is whatever it is, you can have it. The bad news is there’s a price.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, you’ve got to work for it.
Hamish Blake: And sometimes you know… and if you’re willing to pay that price, you’ll pay that price. And I think sometimes in our ultimate fantasies of our futures we are happy to accept the good news. And when we hear the bad news, which is if you want to be the best actor in Hollywood you have to go there and be poor, and not party, and be hungry, and be weird, and suck up, and play a game, and be political, and not see your family, and not see your friends. When they hear that price, they’re like yeah, but…
So go back to getting an Academy Award. How do I do that bit but not do any of the other stuff?
Jane Erbacher: Totally without the work. Which is really interesting because one of the things I actually wanted to talk to you about was your work ethic. Because I think that a lot of people think that everything has kind of fallen into your lap and it’s just kind of evolved from there?
Hamish Blake: Which I never push back too hard on. Only because I’d be weary of ever discounting the omen of luck. Certainly in our career. But luck is such a funny thing to study, because I do think there is a lot to be said for making your own luck. You certainly buy more tickets in the lottery the harder you work. You could win off one, for sure, but you increase your chances. The harder you work, the more tickets you get.
I think that it’s been a combination of … but to win the lottery, you still have to win. The balls still have to fall your way. And especially in our careers we’ve been exceptionally grateful to have those balls fall our way. So it’s a bit of a 50/50 I think. Career wise, finding … I mean, it’s one of those things to where like if you look at our kind of our radio and our television career with me and Andy, in hindsight you look back on it and it seemed like there was a plan. But I think if you talk to a lot of people — especially getting into your mid 30’s you begin to realise that not all of your life is in front of you anymore. You’re not old but it’s a different mindset than when you’re 20 and you’re kind of like, oh I’ll sort this out later, because all my adult life’s ahead of me.
I think it’s the funny thing of like the fallacy is it looks like it was deliberate, but when you ask people, a lot of the time it was just a combination of a best guess and hope. Of just best guessing, hard work and hoping. And sometimes it works and sometimes it didn’t. I would say one of the big elements of luck is just meeting someone like Andy in the first place, that we kind of really connected and we were able to build a career together. Because on top of being great mates, we just … the power of being in a team, the power of being in a duo … what it stopped was more instances than would have happened without it where we just sat and were consumed by negative thoughts and kind of were jammed.
By having someone else there — and for a lot of people this is their partner or whatever — but for Andrew and I, career wise it was each other. Having someone else there just kind of almost make a game of it. Let’s try something. Let’s do something rather than thinking about it. I personally was probably 100 times more likely to do things because there was a conversation about it and we were doing it together, than if I’d have just been left alone devices. I know I would have, a lot of times — sadly, I’m not proud of it — but I know I would have a lot of times just sat there and thought about it rather than doing something.
So I think that thing that we were together and we’re a little bit competitive too kind of helps. And you’re with a mate — maybe it’s a guy thing too — you don’t want to show …
Jane Erbacher: Be the one?
Hamish Blake: You don’t want to show fear to the other guy, so in a … I mean this is weird because we were just talking about comedy, but in a way you just push each other forward and keep doing it. You realise in the end it wasn’t about having a plan, it was just about moving.
Jane Erbacher: Exactly. And that’s what I was just thinking then is for this last year I’ve created a new business for myself, and it’s … I really loved it. And a few years ago when we did meet in that café, my plan was to own a gym for the rest of my life. I thought that’s what I was going to do. I thought I had everything laid out. What I realised in the last year is things shift daily. So my attention gets taken daily in different directions, and what I’m doing today is very different to what I expected 12 months ago.
Hamish Blake: Yeah.
Jane Erbacher: And so while I didn’t have a plan — and I think this is kind of similar to you — I’ve had an attitude and I’ve had a work ethic applied, and that’s what you …
Hamish Blake: Yeah. I’m beginning to realise that is you get older, there is no day where you sit back and go I did it all and I feel completely satisfied.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Hamish Blake: I don’t think that would be a great feeling. I don’t think it can ever exist for someone, because the closer you get to… not to be confused with don’t have goals, but I think you realise the further you go along, the momentum is the fun part. Not ticking off boxes that you held for a long time. Not ticking off ideals and checklists that you built five years ago. Sometimes you do tick off a box from five years ago and that can be super satisfying. I suppose what I’m saying is that it’s not an at all cost to achieve that goal, because you’ll miss out the actual-
Jane Erbacher: On the process.
Hamish Blake: The actual fun of life is building that momentum and day to day realising that the goalposts have shifted and seeing how you can adapt.
Jane Erbacher: That’s awesome. That’s so interesting. Something that I really wanted to talk to you about today is the transferability of training — like your work ethic in terms of fitness and training, and then that into your life. And you’ve basically just answered that completely without even knowing I was going to ask you that. But I think the reason I brought Jim Jones up at the start is because that’s what it’s based on — this whole idea that the work that you’re doing — training — is transferable to the rest of your life and gives you confidence.
Hamish Blake: Yeah, right.
Jane Erbacher: And I think that a lot of people don’t realise what an actual weapon you are in terms of fitness. And you’re going to talk me down here.
Hamish Blake: I will, but I… the only thing I reckon I’ve ever found… the satisfying thing I found in exercise is just, I just for some reason I think my brain my just enjoy the discipline. Maybe it’s taken me a long time to get there too, but once I… I was a lot heavier a couple years ago. Never technically fat, although comedically, I was a poor bit jiggly.
Jane Erbacher: I remember when you did that London Olympics pick the non-olympian thing. I feel like that was a turning point for you.
Hamish Blake: Actually, I thought I looked pretty good then.
Jane Erbacher: I thought you looked great.
[00:16:51] Like a lot of people that kind of go into that transformation, there was an arbitrary goal, which was do a Tough Mudder with some mates. Which in my head I thought was going to be intense, but just wasn’t. I’m not trying to be a here, but you just roll through the day and it’s actually fun.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. Everyone just lifted me over things. I was that girl — just kind of …
Hamish Blake: But before we did it we were like, this is like we’re going on an SAS selection course. But it was good because it scared me into getting-
Jane Erbacher: Fit.
Hamish Blake: -into getting fit. I don’t know, for me personally, I’ve got a thing in m brain where I don’t mind suffering. I enjoy suffering and I enjoy the pain. It’s meditative. No matter what the activity is, if you can get to a point where all you’re thinking about is sometimes your next breath … I just enjoy … I’m not great at anything. I’m not an elite athlete. I can’t lift a lot. I can’t run at all. I’m a terrible swimmer. But I just enjoy… I’ve just got a part of me that enjoys getting to that point where you think you’re going to quit, and just to see in that… right on that knife edge, right on that between night and day.
Like if you imagine the moon? I think they call it the terminator? Like right on that point between doing something and not doing something. Like how do you cope in that tiny fraction there and just survive?
Jane Erbacher: And what do you choose?
Hamish Blake: What do you choose? Who are you in that moment? I think you can change who you are in that moment if you go to that place a lot. Because I reckon when I was younger, I was a wuss in that moment. And that’s all right because that’s human instinct. Like when you’re in pain, people stop doing things. I think as you go on and… no matter what you’re doing, whatever it is — lifting, or running or-
Jane Erbacher: Skiing.
Hamish Blake: Skiing, or kettle bells, or rowing, or whatever it is — the more time you spend in that zone, I think there’s just a lot of things you realise. You’re just never there. I’m really interested in anything in life that kind of takes me to a place where you’re not there normally. Which I know I’ve just rephrased people saying step out of your comfort zone.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hamish Blake: So this is not revolutionary in any sense, but it’s like finding a thing where you can hang there for a while and see who you are. Because then — talking about transferability — sometimes in life you find yourself suddenly in a situation where you’re not used to things happening. If you’ve got a bit of a muscle memory for being in that space, it can be less daunting. I suppose is the reason people do it. Or maybe that’s part of the reason why I’m a little bit interested in that — in who you become when you’re right on the edge of complete exhaustion.
I think I remember watching a docu once about training guys, picking guys for the SAS. And the thing that stuck with me-
Jane Erbacher: They throw a Tough Mudder.
Hamish Blake: Yeah, exactly. They just make them do a Tough Mudder. If you can do it without a drink, you’re in. But I remember them going without shooting life rounds at people, you can’t really assimilate that world. But a pretty good approximation is just exhausting people and see who they become. Because everyone can interview well. You can interview well. You can hit all the requirements. You can lift lots. You can do a lot of chin-ups. Which is great, and certainly a requirement, but that thing of… I was always interested to go, these are the most … there’s not too many more extreme conditions in the world where you are going to die if you don’t do the right thing.
So that’s always interesting to me, that notion of right of exhaustion, that’s who you really are. But I also think that you can change it. You can train it a bit better. You can adapt it. Because thinking back 10 years ago maybe, right at exhaustion… I think it’s normal when they’re in that zone to get scared the first few times. I believe you can change who you are in that zone.
Jane Erbacher: Yep.
Hamish Blake: So in some ways it’s kind of revealing your true character. But in other ways I think it’s not a totally un-manageable true character if you do it often enough over time.
Jane Erbacher: Yep, I completely agree. I think what you’re talking about is resilience and creating resilience. And I think it’s really cool, because before I met you I listened to you every day in the car going home from Uni and stuff. And I just decided you and Andy were my friends, and I would just laugh my head off at you guys. I thought you were just the coolest and you had the greatest laugh I’d ever seen. I thought you were amazing.
And then I got to know you when I saw you in training when I used to train you, and I couldn’t believe your resilience. I found you quite difficult to train because I couldn’t teach you anything. You were already there, and I was just kind of-
Hamish Blake: That’s interesting.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, which is really interesting. I found it really interesting to observe you though, because you would get to that point, that point in the moon, and then you’d say where is [inaudible 00:21:41] or something. But where you got to choose. You got to choose whether you were going to push yourself and you were going to be better, or where you were going to hold yourself back. And I would have to say 10 times out of 10, 100 times out of 100, you chose to push yourself.
And after observing that in your training and then kind of observing your career since then, I realise that that’s what you’ve done in your career as well. You’ve made those hard moves. And yeah, things have come to you and you have described it as luck, but you have been there for things to come to you and you have taken action on them. And I think that that’s what’s really interesting and I think that that’s what makes you such a cool role model. Because yeah, you’ve chosen this-
Hamish Blake: Aw, thanks Jane.
Jane Erbacher: No, it’s true.
Hamish Blake: Well, I think that a lot of the mentality comes from going … at the end of the day, nothing’s really that bad.
Jane Erbacher: No.
Hamish Blake: Unless you’re actually by yourself and you thought you could bench press 300 kilos and it’s choking you and you’re definitely going to die. There’s nothing that’s … like that thing of like going away — if you’re riding a bike and you’ve just got jelly legs and you’re pouring with sweat and you can’t breathe, that thing of going just see what happens if you go a little bit further. Nothing terrible is going to happen. You’re just going to be a bit more exhausted.
Same with the career thing. Probably one of the best things that happened to us early on in our career — and maybe this is true for all careers — is we … when Andrew and I were 22 and 23, we got sort of hoisted out of nowhere. We didn’t really know what was going on. We knew we couldn’t say no to this kind of stuff, but we were made part of a show on Channel 7. And then that later was a sketch show at the time and they didn’t really know what they were making. We didn’t know how odd this was at the time. We were just like I guess this is what happens when you get into TV. So arrogant, like oh, we expected this to happen. This is it.
But we were sort of thrust into the show and then it became … it was called Hamish and Andy because they were like, we’re just going to call it you guys, but you would do some ensemble cast, we’d name it after you. It all happened super quick and in the space of six month we’d gone from community TV to now I’m trying to understand the way commercial television works, and we’re doing publicity, and we’re talking to people. We didn’t know what to say because we didn’t know what this show was. But we also were like, well we won’t stop this ride.
We felt like giant frauds being there, but at the same time we knew if this has any shot of working we have to believe and we have to really have a crack. But it was destined to fail. We went through that experience of going well, regardless of how you got here, you have to put everything into this. You have to put aside your worry that the timing wasn’t right, because it’s happening, so you’ve got to do it. So we put everything into it.
Again, so lucky we were doing it with a mate because it meant rather than coming home tonight and staring at the ceiling and crying…
Jane Erbacher: And no one else getting it.
Hamish Blake: You just had a big gallows humour about it. It taught us pretty early on to go, this is a comedy show on TV, it’s not the end of the world. But at the same time, it’s an early age to get … I suppose everyone is used to some social media now, but this was pre social media. It’s an early age to get shredded in newspaper reviews, and to be the big butt of a joke, and for people to kind of bag out how bad the show was. You’re only a few years out of high school so you’ve still kind of got your teenage sensitiveness about you, and it stings. To you it seems like everyone in the world is reading it. And then you just sort of grow up and go…
At the very least, it taught me in those moments to go, all right, if you’re feeling this way, if you’re feeling like we crashed and we were… you know, we were hurt by it, but not… we knew it wasn’t devastating and we knew the world would get over it. And we had each other to laugh about it at the time. So we’re going through this thing that’s meant to be, that if you listen to that voice in your head — this is career ending, and devastating, and all the words that your voice in your head wants to throw at you.
It taught us, I think, at least to have the presence of mind to go, all right, well if you want to wallow in it, wallow in it. But remember, this is how you felt like you felt like it was the end of the world, and come back in a year and see how you are. And I’ve always just got that memory of that time to go … certainly if there was one or two days that if you asked me how are things, I would have said terrible — like, this is what’s happening. And then I think it just taught us in our world where if — especially in our industry, everyone’s obsessed by what will people think, what’s the media going to think — our answer… like where Andrew and I… and this kind of flies in the face of a lot eye rolls and people maybe think we’re being a bit flippant with the people we work with — but the answer is I don’t think people give it a hoot and no one gives a shit really.
Jane Erbacher: No, and everyone forgets.
Hamish Blake: Today, people will pretend to give a shit because some people have a vested interest in pretending like they give a shit. But none of this… without wanting to sound, again, like I love doing our job, but stakes wise, if this goes — whatever we’re working on — if this goes phenomenally or terribly, it doesn’t really matter.
Jane Erbacher: Yep.
Hamish Blake: And I think it taught us at a young age — like we got kind of a bit burned — it just taught us to not hang on to… because we do live in a really … we work in a very superficial industry. It just taught us to not care about the superficiality of the industry. I think it taught us to go… and we often… and I’m obsessed a bit with this. I’m a bit obsessed with memories — short-term and long-term.
But I’m a bit obsessed by going, when I’m 60, what will I remember about this year? What will I care about this year? Because when I’m dying, I don’t think we’ll care about the ratings that week. I don’t think we’ll care about tweaking the sponsor line. I do think we’ll care about the fun we all had together in our careers.
Again, I suppose treading that fine line between being flippant… like, it’s not like we don’t care about problems, but also just keeping them in perspective.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. I think it’s really interesting that — I’m going to use a quote — that Maya Angelou quote is people don’t remember what you say, people don’t remember what you did, but people will always remember how you made them feel. And I think that that’s kind of like what you’re saying. I think it’s really interesting that at 22 then… so were you on the radio then?
Hamish Blake: Yes. Like Light 9. We managed a sort of … for a while there I reckon we managed to convince TV that we were the next big thing in radio, and we managed to convince radio we were the next big thing in TV. And so by playing them off of each other, we kind of got spots. So we got this TV show and then we went to the radio show. I’m like whoa, we’re on TV now. They’re like all right, well you guys can do like a weekend breakfast. I’m like, great, they fell for it.
Jane Erbacher: You’re so strategic. You need to be on some other…
Hamish Blake: I know, so we just kind of landed this gig. I remember at the time — again, because I loved radio, and really we’d always sort of dreamed of being on radio — the crazy thing for us was we felt like, oh my god, we’ve been given this slot. There must be hundreds of people trying to get this slot. Then we got into the industry, like sort of that thing of like slamming the door behind us to keep the hoard out. And then we peeked through the door and there’s no one there.
It was really funny feeling that we thought we were in competition against all these people, and then you sort of got into this industry and we were like, why isn’t anyone doing this? And I think a large part is… I’ve said to people… and I don’t mean this to be a jerk. People were like, oh man, well, you know, if I have a radio show then I’d do that. And I’ve often said to people… I mean, not a lot of people say that, but I’ve had an experience where I’ve said to people, well, do you know the only thing stopping you and I from having radio shows is I asked to have one.
I’m not being condescending to those people. That’s the only difference. Don’t come around and go…
Jane Erbacher: Hey, here’s…
Hamish Blake: Here’s a special form that we’ve only got four of and you’re the only people that are allowed to try and get on radio. But then I — again, I’m not deliberately trying to be a hero and be condescending to the people that have ever thought that — but it comes back to the thing of going you can have what you want, but there’s a price. Like our price of being on the radio, whilst it’s the best fun job in the world, it’s like all right well, it’s all consuming. You can’t have a bad day, and you’re never not working. And for those first few years — especially in our 20’s when we were on the radio show — we didn’t even make a pact. We just wanted to do so much and we were so excited by the job.
And we had such a… like you said before, not an idea specifically what we wanted to do, but we had a real idea of how we wanted our show to feel and how we wanted people to feel having come in contact with our show, that a lot of our ideas that fit into that notion of how we wanted our show to feel, required 100% time commitment. So it was perfect for guys who were either single at varying times, or had girlfriends that didn’t live with us. We didn’t have mortgages. We didn’t have kids. We were just like lone wolves.
When we were in our 20’s we had girlfriends who, if we said to them, hey we’re going to be away for three weeks, they were like all right. Well we’re at Uni, so you go and do that. It’s a much different game when you’re older. And older people we were against kind of had kids and things anchoring them to their lives. That was wicked fun, but it was a cost. There was thousands of nights out you went with friends because you were doing something else or you… whatever, or there’s family functions you missed.
Again, maybe some people hearing that they go, very small cost. And probably, sure. If you look at the returns we had a dream career. But it still kind of cancelled. There was personal sacrifices you made along the way and you expose yourself . If this is the kind of thing you care about, you make that choice to be a public figure.
Jane Erbacher: Completely.
Hamish Blake: So you do lose your anonymity, and you do learn to deal with the fact that people — rightly so — feel like they have some sort of ownership over you. You can’t walk down a street and expect to be just a man in the crowd. And again, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. That’s just a reality.
Jane Erbacher: And it’s part of the cost.
Hamish Blake: It’s part of the cost.
Jane Erbacher: It’s really interesting, because I think-
Hamish Blake: Which I don’t disagree with, by the way. I’ll make that clear. My personally policy is like, for people that… sometimes people want photos and they’ll want to say hi. It’s awesome. Even if I didn’t enjoy it, I would still want to make that experience pleasant for them. I do happen to enjoy it. I really like… nothing gives me more joy than people that have watched our shows or listened to the radio show. Because it’s a really special feeling to feel like you’ve got that community.
But again, even if I didn’t feel like that, I personally believe — like ethically — you owe it to those people. They’ve paid… even with the radio show, people have paid literally hundreds of hours of their time for you to have that job. Really, super analytically, they’re a customer, and you owe it to that person.
Jane Erbacher: I’ve witnessed you do this. Like even in the middle of a workout, people would walk past the roller door of the gym and they’d be like, “Oh Hamish! Hey man!” And you’d be like in the middle of doing something and you’d be on the Airdyne or something and you’re like, “Hey man, how’s it going?” I always thought, oh my god, he’s so nice. That’s so nice that he’s saying hello. And you were genuine though. It wasn’t like you were responding because you had to respond. You were just genuinely like hi.
Hamish Blake: I think it’s just that thing of like… it doesn’t seem like… it’s not hard for me to say hi. And I remember… it’s a hard thing to say without it sounding a little bit arrogant, but I remember when I was a kid… if I see someone I’m a fan of, it’s great. I don’t think personally it should be exciting to see me, because I live with me all the time. I don’t think it’s exciting.
Jane Erbacher: It isn’t very excited right now.
Hamish Blake: No one in this house gives a shit. But I’m willing, without having… I’m not going to convince someone they shouldn’t be a fan. I simply going, if that’s how you feel, I know because of how I felt if someone I really admire has taken a moment — it gives you a buzz — I’m like whoa. I don’t agree with the fact that I have this power to give someone a buzz, but since I do have it, it’s so easy. Why would you not give someone a buzz?
Jane Erbacher: Completely. Do you know, I got recognised from the fun castle today.
Hamish Blake: There you go.
Jane Erbacher: From my voice.
Hamish Blake: Give a buzz.
Jane Erbacher: In that café patch, it all happens.
Hamish Blake: It’s the best thing in the world to be able to give someone a buzz.
Jane Erbacher: Oh my god, it was so exciting.
Hamish Blake: It’s what we live for.
Jane Erbacher: So I can’t believe I just brought that up. I’m really embarrassed.
Hamish Blake: It is a hard thing to talk about without sounding arrogant. But, I do think… I’m a big believer in just that happiness, and being in it. I think it’s a really fun feeling to be able to give… If you’re in a position where you can give someone… if you can make someone happy by waving? That’s awesome. The Pope must feel that all the time.
Jane Erbacher: Who do you look up to? Who would you get a buzz seeing in the street, or training in the gym, doing dead lifts?
Hamish Blake: Training? I was about to say Bill Murray.
Jane Erbacher: Oh yeah?
Hamish Blake: But I was like, I don’t think I’m going to run into Bill Murray doing dead lifts at an odd place. He’s back.
Jane Erbacher: Have you met him yet?
Hamish Blake: I did. We met him really early on in Vegas and he’s awesome.
Jane Erbacher: Oh, great.
Hamish Blake: He’s in that category of people who you just… it’s a gamble meeting them, because if they’re not great, it will break your heart.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: Tom Hanks was another one in that category. We interviewed him for like seven minutes on a junket. But going to it I was like, oh no, what if he’s a jerk? And he was the best guy in the world.
Jane Erbacher: Oh, this is the best.
Hamish Blake: I came out of it going I want Tom Hanks to be my friend. I want him to be my dad. No offence real dad, but you understand. But he was just the greatest guy.
Jane Erbacher: That’s the best. And what about … so, I don’t know if everybody knows what a huge Survivor fan you are. We’ve spent many, many hours talking about Survivor. Obsessed, I’m obsessed.
Hamish Blake: Probst.
Jane Erbacher: Jeff Probst.
Hamish Blake: That was a great… I spent half an hour chatting to him once.
Jane Erbacher: Because I think I listened to it. Someone sent it to me. Maybe you had it on your show.
Hamish Blake: Andy doesn’t care about Survivor so he wouldn’t let me put it on the show. So I did a half hour separate podcast to the show.
Jane Erbacher: Because yeah, someone sent me a link to it. Oh my god, I love him so much.
Hamish Blake: Just a great… a fascinating… like so many aspects of getting to talk to Jeff Probst were fascinating. I think he’s an extremely intelligent guy. But he’s also had a front row seat to a really — I think one of the most fascinating psychological games of our time.
Jane Erbacher: Oh my god, it’s the greatest.
Hamish Blake: The thing about Survivor is every season it has to change, because it’s a function of the last season. So it’s just never the same game. And there’s new people on. So for anyone interested in humans, that’s why I think…
Jane Erbacher: Totally. My sociology degree, I’m like, why didn’t they just play Survivor to us?
Hamish Blake: Every different season.
Jane Erbacher: This is it. It’s the best show in the whole world.
Hamish Blake: I also believe it can only really be made with Americans, because they’re just made for television.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And they’re a little bit more cutthroat I did find in the Australian season. Everyone was a bit nice and a bit hurt when people kind of back stabbed them. And I’m like, that’s what you’re here for.
Hamish Blake: Yeah, and Americans have no… it’s probably just an absence of my dog Poppy.
Jane Erbacher: Yep. Yes.
Hamish Blake: So there’s no worry that your methodology will be seen by your friends. But in Australia there is always that concern. Like we don’t want our friends to see how cutthroat we are.
Jane Erbacher: And we don’t want to be self-promoting in any way. Whereas in America it’s like, self-promote. If you’re not self-promoting, what’s wrong with you?
Hamish Blake: Like, get out.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, exactly that’s so interesting. Just a little while ago you talked about… basically, I wanted to ask you what challenges or what mistakes you’ve made, or if you’d go back and change anything. Because I think that one of the main reasons people don’t take action … I think it was interesting how you said, it’s not like they’re giving out slips of paper, who wants a radio show. I think the main reason people don’t take action is because they’re afraid of failure. But anybody who has failed in some way goes, oh, I learned everything from that. Like, it was fine.
Hamish Blake: It was the best.
Jane Erbacher: But how, at 22, did you pick yourself up and keep going?
Hamish Blake: Being part of a group definitely helped. And there are areas of my life where I probably tried things personally, or individually, that I probably maybe should have sucked at and I didn’t. I’m definitely vulnerable to taking failure too hard. I think being in part of a group really helped kind of force a bit of momentum out of it. Because yeah, that’s like everyone. After failure you’re tempted to sit back and you know, you’re in shock a little bit. You getting given a real whack and it’s that… and this is sometimes where like I think training’s a good example of it too.
You just can’t physically see how things are going to work out. But sometimes in an exercise environment too, it’s just about doing the next bit. Just do the next bit. If your arms are sore or your legs are sore, whatever. If you’re like, well there’s just no way. I know I’ve got to row 2k’s at the end of this workout and I’m already sore now, so I’m just not going to… I’ll quit.
I assume people who have seen this podcast have some sort of loose interest in the psychology of training. But we’ve all been in those serious situations where if you can ignore that fact and you just do the next bit, you are often amazed at what follows. And I think career wise, being in a group helped us just keep stumbling forward. We had no real idea. We just …
Jane Erbacher: Kept trying.
Hamish Blake: We just kept trying, and it was… looking back there was just various things that turned into huge lucky breaks. But if we didn’t keep doing something, it would have sputtered out and failed. And I reckon there definitely lean times where personally I had an idea or I just let it sit as a Word document for too long, and I just didn’t keep doing it. It sputtered out and failed.
Jane Erbacher: Yep.
Hamish Blake: I think personally a bit help has been being in a group environment where you just make each other a bit more accountable.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: I’ve still got miles to go until I could say I could personally wake up, run my day and be accountable for myself in a way that I’d be impressed by. Because I’m a very gentle coach.
Jane Erbacher: Well, I remember at school-
Hamish Blake: As a manager, I cut myself a lot of slack. I’m also my favourite staff member.
Jane Erbacher: I remember at school they made us — they would try to encourage from year nine or something, independent learning. I was like, independent learning means I get to do whatever I want.
Hamish Blake: See yeah guys.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, and I think it’s so funny because it’s-
Hamish Blake: Well I already told you, I would just not study really and try to learn it all right before the exam.
Jane Erbacher: But you had a method to it.
Hamish Blake: And unfortunately I’ve just always… my brain has always… and it’s like laziness. I’ve always gravitated towards and environment where… it’s like rather than play the whole basketball game … if you had an option between play the whole basketball game, do everything right, pass, dribble, execute tonnes of tiny moments properly. That’s a more honourable way to go. That requires discipline and training and all that. There’s a part of my head that’s like, or just get one half court shot in, and if you get it you win the game.
Jane Erbacher: At the end of the game when you’re one point down.
Hamish Blake: You just pick it… like you can play basketball and you’ll probably win, because you know how to do it all, or just get a half court shot. My brain goes like, go for the half court shot, because what if you get it.
Jane Erbacher: Do it. And if you go for enough half court shots, guess what?
Hamish Blake: And I can’t hate that I have that mentality. Sometimes my… what if instead of having to do thousands of little things right in the right order, what if I can just do one awesome thing?
Jane Erbacher: See what happens.
Hamish Blake: I’m constantly trying to tell my brain that’s not the way the world works.
Jane Erbacher: I feel like you’ve done pretty well. So whatever methodology you’re using, it’s kind of going well.
Hamish Blake: My brain likes those shots.
Jane Erbacher: Well what I think that people don’t realise is that to be successful, you don’t need to struggle every day. If something takes hard, horrible, non rewarding work, maybe you’re pushing the wrong …
Hamish Blake: For me, in my own work, for me it comes down to fun. Are you having fun doing this? Because yeah, there have been long days and stuff in our world, but definitely always fun. Always fun. And shitty days, and days where everyone is short with each other… in our world it kind of sucks because hard work isn’t the answer sometimes.
Let’s look at like a radio show. Like, if you’re trying to think of stuff… a radio show or a TV show … if you’re an accountant, being in the office for 10 more hours, you’ll do more work. But if you’re in TV trying to think of an idea, being in the office for 10 more hours does not guarantee you a funny idea. It will guarantee you some ideas, and it will definitely guarantee you that everyone’s trying to convince themselves these are good ideas, but it won’t guarantee you an actual good idea.
And that’s the hard thing about working in kind of a half creative half slog work world where the creative gets the spark … and they come from different places and different people. But then once you have that idea, usually there’s one spark and the rest — to use a Survivor analogy — is coconut husk, and fanning, and getting more sticks, and working on it.
Jane Erbacher: Totally, yes, totally.
Hamish Blake: But you just don’t know when that spark’s going to come, how it will come, and that’s just a whole nother question. So it’s usually the most energy sapping, energy depleted you feel is just before that spark. Because you’re just like, what if we never get a spark? We’ll be here throwing sticks and fanning something that’s not alive.
Jane Erbacher: Totally, yeah. You can build the most amazing structure out of those sticks, and if you’ve got no spark…
Hamish Blake: You can have the best fanner in the world, but if you don’t have a spark you don’t have a fire.
Jane Erbacher: Yep. If you don’t watch Survivor…
Hamish Blake: If you don’t watch Survivor, I’m assuming you still know about fire.
Jane Erbacher: This is an advertisement.
Hamish Blake: If you are listening to this podcast and you still don’t know about fire, I’m impressed.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. What would you say has been the most challenging thing each day or over the long hall? What have you found challenging?
Hamish Blake: In my line of work it would be learning to comfortable in your own skin. And I think this is probably a little bit analogous to a lot of different paths of life. Standing there going — you look at the people that you idolise, or even parts of the people you idolise and you’re like, man they must have it figured out. I’d give anything to be at that level with them having sorted it out. And the more you do it the more you realise everyone’s full of insecurities, everyone’s racked with doubt, everyone’s scared of the same things you’re scared of, everyone is guessing as much as you’re guessing. But it just seems like they’ve got it all happening.
And I think that the being comfortable with that, over time you stop having to put up that façade of feeling like you have to pretend like you know what you’re doing all the time. I don’t think there’s a shortcut to that either. Going back to the quote that started this off. I don’t think there’s a way a 16 year old is going to go I’m comfortable like a 40 year old, because it just takes time. You can waste time, but it takes time to go through enough experience to realise that all right, you’ve …
So for me, in comedy definitely was that thing of like I’ve got to look at what everyone else is doing and you just think you have to do that. So the first few moments that you maybe weren’t even thinking about what you should be doing and you just did something naturally. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but sometimes it’s like if I’m natural, I’m always funny.
The first time you did something that was really natural and it got that response in the comedy world, those were the pivotal moments. And I was like you begin to realise you can just do this. You can just be yourself and your path won’t look like anyone else’s. And might come nowhere near stacking up to your heroes, but you begin to just value a bit more that at least it will be your path.
Jane Erbacher: Completely, and that’s where people connect with you once you’re you. People can connect you.
Hamish Blake: Yeah, yeah. Especially in our job, which we are on radio. It’s a conversation and our show’s a community. So it kind of is about connection. But I think even if you’re a builder and you’re like what do I really want to get out of this. I think it’s that same notion of at the end of the day going … you learning and just going I just appreciate my path because it’s my path, more than I worry about what it looks like compared to someone else’s path.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: But it took time for me, definitely. Because you know, I was a sensitive insecure kid.
Jane Erbacher: It’s so good hearing that from you, because I think that a lot of people listening will think that you’ve got it all together and you never feel like that. So it’s really cool that you do.
Hamish Blake: [inaudible 00:47:05]. I don’t think anyone… no one does. I mean I genuinely don’t think … if you can think of someone and be like they’ve got it together, they know what they’re doing, I bet you they don’t. But you just realise there’s no other way. If you wait for when you do have it all together, you’ll just die with a stopwatch in your hand. Just waiting.
I remember … we’re lucky enough in our jobs to kind of come in contact with people who you would think, again, because they either hold high office or they’ve done something incredible, that they knew what they were doing. They prepared, they put the work in, and then they just kind of leapt and they hope it worked.
Jane Erbacher: That’s the best.
Hamish Blake: I mean, I remember… I don’t think I’m talking out of school here or breaking any laws, but it’s been a while since Wayne Swan was the Treasurer of Australia. But we found ourselves at dinner, at some sort of charity dinner, and we were near him and it was … so this would have been … say it was 2009, so the global financial crisis hit and Wayne Swan was the Treasurer of when we had that idea of where, remember everyone got like 1,200 bucks?
Jane Erbacher: Yes. Yeah, wait, you were in New York for the gap year that year. Was that the year?
Hamish Blake: It might have been.
Jane Erbacher: Yes, because I think I came to your show that year. This was before we knew each other. But I’m pretty sure I got the money while I was overseas.
Hamish Blake: Yeah, everybody just got 1,200 bucks. That was $30 billion that the government just gave everyone to buy couches, and TVs, and fridges. We were talking to him about it — but it was a year later — we were like mate … because it widely was held as a success. We didn’t hit a recession or whatever we were trying to avoid. It kept the wheels turning. And so we were saying to him like, who came up with that? Essentially wanting to know what the mood was like inside Parliament house, because best guess you’d be like everyone was going shit, does this work? Like, who tells you that this will work?
And so we said to him, “Did you know it was going to work? Did you learn this at Uni or something?”
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, did you have some sort of a formula?
Hamish Blake: Yeah like what book do they teach you if you’re ever running the government and things get a bit shaky, give everyone $30 billion? And so he… was like, “Oh mate, shit no. We had no idea that would work. We hoped it would and the rational seemed there.” But essentially, they were shitting themselves.
Jane Erbacher: Wow.
Hamish Blake: So these are the guys running a country — again, they’re all qualified. On paper, it looks like it should work, but no guarantee. No one’s ever done this before. It was moments like that where you’re like, no one knows.
Jane Erbacher: No one knows.
Hamish Blake: Everyone’s having a crack. They’re not sitting there reading the paper going will this work, going look at these idiots in the newspaper. We know, we’re the government. No one knows. Which kind of makes sense if you think about it, because if you did know, how do you know?
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Hamish Blake: Especially for people that are doing something that’s never been done before. How do you know it’s going to work? But you just have a go.
Jane Erbacher: There’s something I ask everyone that’s on the podcast, is what do you feel is your purpose in life?
Hamish Blake: Great question. I’m enjoying the transition, especially since having Sonny, having my little boy. Well my wife had him, but I hang out with him a bit.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, you were there.
Hamish Blake: I’m really enjoying that transition from… and I’d almost say that I’m not 100% sure what my purpose is in life yet. But I’m enjoying that transition. I’m beginning to have that feeling in myself, probably as a dad, from going I reckon for a lot of my old life it was about me. It was quite self-serving, a lot of the things we did. Even though comedy is — the idea of it is ultimately to sort of provide humour. But again, it’s like there’s… let’s not get too carried away with how altruistic being a comedian is.
But I mean I’ve begun to have that slight shifting going. Like rather than trying to be somebody, or in the public world, that shift is going all right, what do you do? Like the difference between being and doing, a little bit. And I think it’s come from Sonny. It’s great to be famous and have a radio show. But further than that, what’s the next… what is the purpose?
At the moment I would say I think if I had to wind up what can I do talent wise, I would say I do think it’s got something to do with having fun and comedy. And I do think it’s a worthwhile thing. I do get so much joy and satisfaction out of doing a radio show and doing TV shows. And I do get… the most rewarding personally is people that you would never otherwise meet giving you that feed back of when they listen to the show. And there’s been so many beautiful examples, but for the sake of privacy I won’t be too specific.
But people that go through dark times and you never expect that it’s your show that is helping that. And do you know what, if my contribution to the world is just helping some people have a better day, I think there’s a lot worse things you can do. And enjoy the fact that whatever it is I end up doing, if it can contribute to people having a better day, I’d be happy with that as a purpose. However that takes shape over the next 50 years.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I can promise you that you’ve made so many of my days better. And I’m so corny. I’m trying not to be corny, but as a fan turned friend, I would say there was so many days where… and it’s funny, because I was thinking last night, I couldn’t remember many of your actual jokes or skits or anything, but I can remember how I felt. I can remember that deep laughing, like that actual pure joy laughing from you guys.
Hamish Blake: Thank you, man. That’s really lovely. I always think of it a bit like a very, very… a soup with a lot of ingredients — the show. And I’ve felt this — like I’ve gone and seen comedians I think are the funniest people in the world — like Demetri Martin or someone — and you’re lucky if you can remember a joke. But you know your face hurt for an hour.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, completely. George’s marvellous medicine. George’s marvellous medicine.
Hamish Blake: It’s like with a crazy soup. You can’t name one ingredient, but you know that that was a good tasting soup.
Jane Erbacher: It tastes good. Exactly. Oh my god, I think that’s such a great place to finish. You know that I would sit here and talk to you all day, but you have many things to do.
Hamish Blake: Thanks mate. Well, you’re an active one, so you’ve got stuff to do too.
Jane Erbacher: Thank you. I know, I’m honoured as always. Thank you so much, you’re the best.
Hamish Blake: Thanks.
Jane Erbacher: And thank you everyone so much for listening. Bye.