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Rewriting Happiness: Brian Maierhofer's Insights on Entrepreneurship and the Human Psyche

Portrait of Brian Maierhofer

Coach, Therapist, and Actor


Key Takeaways

  • One of these things in your life that is killing you sooner than you intend: diet, addiction, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and chronic stress.

  • Rather than obsessing over a bad habit, try and think about its trajectory.

  • Despite our aversion towards it, trauma has a role to play in human lives.


Brian Maierhofer revealed how he was “stuck on a rollercoaster of sex, drugs, and rock 'n’ roll” at 20. He remembered getting tired of running away from responsibilities—from himself. All he wanted to do was get rid of distractions. Maierhofer ended up quitting college and taking a trip to Hawaii for a wilderness therapy program for the youth. 


It was here that he began to learn the essence of being human. Maierhofer immersed himself in the works of Psychologists Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Their works fuelled his intellectual curiosity. In the following decade, Maierhofer became a coach to people stuck on a hedonic treadmill of wanting better from life but never getting around to it. 


“There is one thing in your life that is killing you sooner than you intend: diet, addiction, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and chronic stress,” Brian says. In his 2,000 clinical hours as a therapist, Brian has helped several clients execute plans to help them achieve goals they’ve been yearning for. 


As he built his coaching business from the ground up, Brian also evolved as an actor. Storytelling came to him instinctively. He can be seen guest-starring opposite Ed Helms in ‘Rutherford’. Despite his busy life on stage and off it, Brian never turns down the chance to hike, swim, or go snowboarding. 


He chats with us about the intricacies of the human brain, trauma catalyst for change, and navigating entrepreneurship in the social media landscape. 


Train Your Brain for Happiness


While research suggests psychological flexibility is the key to happiness, Brian goes a step further to state that flexibility in one’s psychological identity is the key to happiness. To illustrate his point, Brian cites James Clear, the author of ‘Atomic Habits.’ Want to get your way around a habit that doesn’t serve you well? Try and think about its trajectory, moving your focus away from the unhealthy habit. 




 

Trauma's Paradox


In his conversation with Horizon Search, Brian refers to humanity’s conscious identity that is built off the ‘older aspects of the brain.’ These aspects, rooted in tribal culture, rely on human reciprocity for survival. Most people are tricked into believing their decisions are based on sound logic but often fail to account for the underlying emotion behind every decision. Decoding this should be the first step toward building self-awareness, seeking therapy, and coming to terms with grief, according to Brian. 


Despite our aversion towards it, trauma has a role to play in human lives. Maierhofer talks about the process of giving birth in this regard. The unconscious fetus experiences complete harmony with life. And with the birthing process, there is separation: something painful for both mother and child. “We all come from trauma. The universe was created through rupture,” Brian says. “Identify that trauma is the catalyst for healing, change, and transformation; it is nature,” he explains. 


As a therapist who has encountered several people who have undergone traumatic experiences, Brian strongly believes people must strive not to make their trauma a part of their identity but to emerge out of it. “I do not mean to be reductive in any way,” he says in a way to caution his listeners.  “Clarity comes when one realizes how two distinct energies, mostly in conflict with one another, originate from the same source,” he continues. 


"Identifying that trauma is the catalyst for healing is the catalyst for change and transformation. It is a part of nature.” Brian Maierhofer


Takes on Entrepreneurship: An Evolutionary Perspective


For Maierhofer, the entrepreneurial journey mirrors personal development and the growth of the soul. It’s like being in touch with parts of yourself that you thought were non-existent. It’s also about addressing your unconfirmed fears. While delving into his take on entrepreneurship from an evolutionary perspective, Brian charts the workings of the brain to showcase the dominance of emotions. 


“Humans are emotional creatures with our modern brains developed around the lizard brain and the mammalian brain,” he writes. 


  • The lizard brain is responsible for our primitive aggression, dominance, and survival instincts.

  • The mammalian brain is responsible for emotion, pleasure, memory, and social belonging.

  • The prefrontal cortex is responsible for logic, reason, self-control, conscious awareness, and identity.


Brian highlights how certain aspects of entrepreneurship, namely audience building and content creation, tap into deep-seated evolutionary instincts. The fear of public humiliation for instance is linked to survival instincts tied to tribal belonging, where rejection or humiliation can lead to exclusion from the group, potentially death. Entrepreneurs must recognize and rise above these baser instincts. They must not be afraid to express themselves on social media and use the power of the internet for their brand and enterprise. People must trick the brain by indulging in dopamine-inducing activities. In other words, Brian wants entrepreneurs to seek thrill for reinforcing positive behaviors, driving further entrepreneurial pursuits. 


Coach, Therapist, Advisor: Brian's Plan 


Given his many skills and interests, Brian is excited to be on the path of entrepreneurship. He believes he can offer a holistic coaching experience coupled with advice on mindfulness, nutrition, and fitness.


Much like his advice to entrepreneurs, he’s leveraging the power of social media with a laser-sharp focus and bringing together a community of like-minded individuals who want to tap into their inner strengths. Those interested in his insights on healing from trauma will also be able to find insightful content on his YouTube, Instagram, X, and LinkedIn accounts soon.


When asked about an actor who inspires him, he expresses admiration for Tom Hardy. Brian thinks Hardy’s work speaks to him for holding a beautiful cinematic paradox. On-screen, he has this bold persona that showcases both strength and sensitivity without veering into self-indulgence. 


 





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