Hello, you! Here we have another insightful, unusual, unscripted Rebelhead podcast for your ears and mind. I interview entrepreneurs of all sorts – from startup founders, CEOs of multi-million turnover companies, movie directors, writers, life coaches and anyone who wants the most out of life and refuses to accept normality. Today’s guest is no exception, and certainly unlike any other guest to date. His name is Joe Barnes, and he is an author, blogger, YouTuber, hypnotherapist and 
NLP Practitioner.  

Joe is founder of the popular online blog Screw The System Now. He writes for the people who refuse to accept life the way it is and have a hunger to experience and achieve beyond the boundaries of conventional success.

A calming soul, with a challenging and disruptive outlook on life. We discuss:

  • How and why Joe so passionately believes in screwing the system
  • Why being an unreasonable bastard is the secret to success
  • How to push yourself out of your comfort zone
  • Overcoming fear and how to train your brain to get rid of negative thoughts
  • Tips for anyone who wants to launch a profitable blog, podcast, book and personal brand – the mistakes Joe made in the early days and how to avoid these mistakes
  • The three questions you should ask yourself if you ever consider giving up on something you love
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  • I’ve certainly never felt like I needed a title, or needed to describe myself in some way
  • I don’t like the term entrepreneur, because to me the term entrepreneur is about making money
  • The drive, the passion can’t be about making money. That’s just not inspiring enough to me. It’s about having an impact
  • I had it as a kid, I had good holidays, I went to a decent school, but I still came our messed up from it. I wasn’t happy i was pretty depressed, and it made me realise wow, money isn’t everything
  • I’m not against working hard, but working hard doing something I don’t enjoy – what’s the point?
  • I certainly had some wilderness years, where my only solution was to shut myself off from the world
  • Screw the system, you’ve got to go out into the world and change things
  • It’s about being true to yourself. Not letting the voices of your teachers, the media, your parents, your boss, religion – all of these different voices – telling you who you are and what life you should live. It’s about discovering it for yourself.  
  • Go outside your comfort zone, and push yourself through your pain barrier
  • One of the most productive things you can do is get a full night’s sleep
  • I think it’s a compliment to say to someone they’re a dreamer
  • Freedom is the ultimate goal of escaping the system
  • I’m 100% screw the system, I’ve got to say what I believe
  • The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man persist in trying to adapt the world to himself – and therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man (Bernard Shaw)
  • I want all unreasonable bastards out there to realise that you’re needed, you’re desperately needed!
  • You’ve got to reframe it, so instead of it becoming a terrible threat to our ego, or a fear that we’re going to encounter you’ve got to remember what lies on the other side of it
  • It’s little games in your mind, constantly reframing the challenges you face so they become positive
  • It is good to be able to look in the mirror and say, yep, I did what I needed to do today
  • You can have so many measures of success; money, the impact you have on other people. But I think that THE most important measure of success is how good you feel on a day to day basis.
  • Money is important and I don’t want to play down the role of it, but you can’t grab it or digest it, it can’t become a part of you. All you’ve really got is the energy you live with, so you may as well build that to the maximum.
  • Letting go is one of the most powerful things you can do
  • You can’t control every outcome. You can’t manipulate every situation to go your way; so you have to let go sometimes.
  • I know very well from being someone who spent most of his late teens and early twenties doubting himself, that that does no good whatsoever, it only holds you back.
  • We feel the way we do about things for a certain reason. We feel bored and uninspired at a job because we’re not supposed to be there, we feel inspired about doing something with our lives because we’re supposed to do that, we feel in love with another person because we’re supposed to spend time with them. So that’s how I know what the right thing to do is.
  • If you want to create some great work of art, it’s always got to come from something that inspires you
  • Two of the most powerful words I’ve found for myself are “Let Go”
  • Live the life you believe in
  • Always moving forwards
  • Attitudes, outlooks – that’s what I’ve had to rebel against. Not letting societies or the system’s outlook become my outlook
  • Get obsessed with something. I think it’s an obsessional level of focus that enables you to do something successfully
Links & People


Time Stamped Notes
  • 00:04:07 – On personal identity, titles and definitions  
  • 00:08:43 – Values instilled when growing up
  • 00:09:44 – Joe’s perception of money growing up
  • 00:17:08 – About ‘Screw The System’
  • 00:20:07 – Overcoming psychosomatic conditions
  • 00:22:08 – Two ways to grow, and face your fears
  • 00:24:37 – How to make money from a concept business focused on content
  • 00:33:37 – The FOUR steps to discovering what you want
  • 00:39:42 – Unreasonable bastards
  • 00:50:33 – What scares Joe most about what he’s doing
  • 00:53:47 – The biggest mistake Joe ever made
  • 00:55:03 – Why listening to your audience is sometimes a bad thing
  • 00:57:03 – Joe’s biggest personality flaw
  • 00:57:47 – How to overcome self doubt
  • 01:00:26 – The three questions you should ask yourself if you ever consider giving up on something you love:
  1. What would you tell a child?
  2. Have you done absolutely everything?
  3. What do you really want?
  • 01:04:12 – Productivity Hacks
  • 01:16:08 – On Mentor
The Rebel Wrap Up Round

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received, who gave it to you and how has it positively affected your career?

01:08:55 My writing mentor Tom Butler Bowden. He’s a multi best selling author. Having written 50 Self Help Classics, and 50 Psychology Classics and many more. On our first ever meeting he said “Break open the surface of who you are, get down to the core of what you want to say and express it”.  I had showed him the original manuscript for my book, and it was called ‘How To Live Your Dreams’. He told me this was far too generic for self help, and told me I needed to think of something that was more me, more part of my true identity. SO I had to dig deep find out what I really wanted to say, and not be afraid to say it.

Who is the most disruptive, rebellious or revolutionary entrepreneur of the last 2 years?

01:10:02 My first answer would be Elon Musk. Because we really need green technology, desperately. His Tesla electric cars I think are the way forward.

My second answer would be someone a little more obscure, but he’s started to gain a lot of traction on YouTube at the moment – a guy called Vegan Gains. He’s hugely controversial, a very aggressive Vegan who’s called out a lot of people in the health and fitness world who claim to be natural but are probably on steroids; these people sell crappy workout programs claiming it’s the workout that has resulted in their gains, when actually it’s the steroids. He’s getting a lot of hate, but a lot of people are really catching on to his message. I’m a meat eater, but I’m still inspired by him. He is really disruptive, inspirational and a controversial figure.

What is the one generally agreed upon rule, or conventional piece of wisdom that you disagree with?

01:11:37 Education. The idea that getting good grades is the be all and end all, that it’s the golden ticket to a happy and successful life – I disagree with that completely. I’d like to talk to anyone out there who’s done badly, or is failing at school – to realise your life is not over, not by a long shot. There are so many opportunities out there for you, and education is not the be all and end all. Education is important, but self education is so much more important if you want to have a happy and successful life, not just a life where you make lots of money.  

If you could change one law what would it be?

01:12:56 I would like to create a law. Because if I changed one it would probably be something selfish like making the speed limit 10 mph faster so I didn’t always get busted.

But I would like to create a new law. One day a year, have Global (or National) Green Day. No flights in and out of the country. No cars on the road. No eating beef (because that’s a massive contributor to greenhouse gas emissions). Turning off the lights. No going to work, just having some fun for a whole day that doesn’t involve electricity or greenhouse gas emissions. Realising that the whole world’s not going to fall apart if we do that. I know a few businesses will take a hit, but I think we just have to start making these big changes or we’re going to be faced with a calamity in 40 or 50 years time.

What’s your definition of entrepreneurship?

01:14:43 An entrepreneur is someone who ultimately has a very strong belief in themselves. Most entrepreneurs have failed at least once or twice. The main trait of an entrepreneur is that they keep going, and they keep going, and they keep going – and they’re open to ideas all the time. They want to be creating business, or assisting people to create business, always.  

What advice would you give to anyone listening to this who wants to become a creator entrepreneur?

01:14:51 I would say, get obsessed with something. I think it’s an obsessional level of focus that enables you to do something successfully. Do balance it, you’ve still got to have a life, but you’ve got to be obsessed. It’s not something The System teaches. The System teaches us that you’re weird if you’re really focused on just one thing. But I think you’ve got to have it, if you want to be successful at doing something.

Who do you nominate to be a guest on the RebelHead Entrepreneurs podcast?

01:15:21 I nominate two people!

  1. Tom Butler Bowden, my writing mentor. One word to sum him up would be: ‘Library’ – he’s a fountain of knowledge of everything psychology and personal development.

2. Tim Martin, my hypnotherapy mentor. He has a practice in Harley Street. Charismatic is the world I would use to describe him.

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About The Author

Matt Cheney
Executive Producer

Matt has been in the media industry for 11 years, specialising in audio post production. Matt has created Emmy award-winning music features, BAFTA nominated animations and acclaimed festival documentaries. Max & Matts’ paths merged in 2015 to produce the REBELHEAD podcast; publishing the successful series, telling stories of today’s most disruptive and rebellious entrepreneurs. Matt is currently Head of Audio at Vice Media UK and currently partner in two growing audio production companies. As part of the REBELHEAD Production team; he is ambitiously road-mapping the rise of REBELHEAD via new media and emerging technologies.

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