Welcome back to the Healing Pain Podcast with Robbe Richman
If the red pill were real, would you take it? If you’ve seen the movie The Matrix, then you know what Robbe Richman is talking about. Robbe is the creator of the Xpill. The Xpill is not a prescription drug or a supplement. All it is is brown rice protein with no active ingredients. On its own, it has no healing properties, and yet the moment people take it, their whole perception and approach to life changes. The power of a pill lies in the transformation effect it has on people. What’s more interesting is that even if people knew, it can still be really effective. Try to keep an open mind as Robbe talks about how he created the Xpill and his method.
In this episode, you’re going to learn about a special little pill that I’m willing to bet you have never heard about. Some of you will think to yourself, “What was just explained sounds a bit like what is known as a placebo.” What I’m about to reveal to you is no placebo. A placebo by definition is an inactive substance. For example, a placebo pill may contain a little bit of sugar. They’re often used in clinical trials as the inactive control so that researchers can better evaluate the true or overall effect of an experimental drug. The way this works during a clinical trial is that one group of patients would receive the placebo and the other group would receive the experimental drug, but neither group is aware which treatment they have received. The key to a well-controlled placebo study is that you have no idea what you’re being given. On the podcast, you’ll be introduced to something which might sound similar to a placebo, but in reality, this is something that’s completely different and innovative. Even though there’s nothing in this pill, it still has the extraordinary ability to create massive change. On its own, it cannot heal, fix, or alter you in any way, and yet the moment you take it, your whole life can potentially change.
A few years ago, I met our next guest, Robbe Richman, who is the creator of the Xpill at a personal development seminar where he was providing the keynote on how to break through your barriers in life. Robbe is well-known for being a manager and a cultural strategist at the shoe company, Zappos, where he cofounded Zappos Insights, an innovative program educating companies on the secrets behind its game-changing employee culture. Based on his experience working with hundreds of companies and their cultures, he wrote a book titled The Culture Blueprint: A Guide to Building the High-Performance Workplace. Since then, Robbe has spoken and consulted for Google, Toyota, Eli Lilly, Whole Foods, Intuit and many other companies.
He is going to speak to us about his invention called the Xpill. If this is your first time here in The Healing Pain Podcast, I want to extend a very special welcome and to let you know that if you’d like to receive the latest podcasts delivered right to your inbox each week, all you have to do is go to www.DrJoeTatta.com/Podcasts. On the right-hand side of the page you’ll see a box where you can enter your name and email address. By entering your name and email address in that little box, I will send you the latest podcast episode right to your inbox. As we settle into our podcast, try to keep an open mind as you listen to my interview with Robbe Richman and we learn more about the Xpill.
The Power Of A Pill With Nothing In It with Robbe Richman
Robbe, welcome to The Healing Pain Podcast. It’s great to have you here.
Thanks so much for having me, Joe.
I’m excited to talk to you even though on the majority of my podcasts, I don’t recommend that people take pills although you have something that’s really interesting and unique. I probably have spent the last two years of my life talking about side effects of pharmaceutical medications, but what you have is not a pharmaceutical medication, but it does come in a pill and I can’t wait to tell everyone how it works and how it’s changed people’s lives, how you’ve seen it change people’s lives. Before we talk about how you created this pill and this method, take us back a little bit about what your background is in business and how you start to recognize needing this in the personal development and leadership space?
I’ve been involved in that space for a while now. I’ve done a lot of self-development work, Tony Robbins, all kinds of different types of work in that. I became a coach myself through Georgetown’s program, Georgetown’s Leadership Coaching Program. I’ve furthered that on to work in the field of culture. I became most well-known for being a culture strategist at Zappos where I was a manager and launched a business within the company called Zappos Insights, where we would teach world-class culture to other companies coming through. I realized there are a lot of similarities between the individual transformational work, culture transformation work and my original book in college, which was film, and these arcs of character and these points in a journey people go through. I’ve always loved movies and I’ve been obsessed with the hero’s journey especially the Matrix. I started to look at ways that people have big, huge breakthroughs really quickly. That’s what guided me toward this development.
Most people would probably know what Zappos is, but tell them what that company is and what it was about.
Zappos is known as the biggest shoe store in the world and became known for their world-class customer service where American Express rated it as number one in customer service, 90% plus NPS scores if you know that, and also having an amazing culture where people love to work and never leave and being a top ten workplace while I was there. People would come in constantly, tens of thousands of people on tour every year to understand how it could be such a great culture and deliver amazing service at the same time.
Obviously, you have a business background. You have background in leadership. That certification is really well-known and has helped a lot of people. You’re a big movie buff, you’re watching movies, how do you start to think about this concept called the Xpill? How does it come about?
It was this bizarre notion of, “Why can’t my favorite movies be real?” I just watched Fight Club recently and some friends and I are gathering to do fight club together. Essentially, we’re going to be boxing and wrestling. That’s what I do is I look at movies and I say, “This is really cool,” and I make it real. That’s what happened with the Matrix. As I said, “He’s taking this pill that has nothing in it but it’s symbolic and it represents his willingness to open up and see his truth,” I thought, “Why can’t we create our own red pill?” I couldn’t find any red pills, so I took a red Tic Tac and I put them in prescription pill bottles to make it feel a little more real. I took them to the land of make believe, which is known as Burning Man, and tell people I have the red pill.
People would have these amazing experiences and they take it and they would have these thoughts that would come up about what’s going on in their life. I actually just thought it was a fun game until two weeks after that, I got a call from a psychologist who called me up on the phone and said, “Are you that guy with the red pills?” I’m like, “The Tic Tacs? Yes, why?” She said, “I took several of your bottles home and I’m a psychologist and I’ve been using them with my patients.” She said, “I’ve been having breakthroughs with them that I previously have not been able to get. Do you have any more of them?” That’s when I knew it jumped the fantasy world into reality. That’s when I really started experimenting with it with people to see how far this could go.
You’re walking around Burning Man with Tic Tacs. What’s cool about Burning Man is it’s a playful environment. People do explore and start to look at different states of being, whether it has to do with altered perceptions. Do they know they’re taking Tic Tacs at that point?
You can’t hide a red cinnamon Tic Tac. There’s nothing on the planet that looks or tastes like that. They knew. That’s when I realized too that people can know and it can still be really effective.
How do you jump from a Tic Tac to your own product at that point?
First, I found red vitamins because that was much more like a pill. It’s an actual pill and I put them into these really cool glass containers and put them into a book like in the Matrix, where he opens up the book and reveals there’s a secret in there. I just posted it on Facebook and I said, “If the red pill were real, would you take it?” A bunch of people said, “Yes,” and I sent it out to them. Only this time I said, “Beyond just taking it, I want you to associate some intention with the pill.” They did and then we put them in this Facebook group and one-by-one they started to accomplish what their intention was. They were very different intentions and I realized it was like this focusing pill. It puts your attention on what it is you want. When you want a BMW, you see BMWs everywhere.
That’s when I started to see, “We can map this to intentions.” That’s when I said, “Let’s go actual full on a specific pill.” I called a pill company and said, “Can I get pills that have no functioning substance within them?” They said, “Like a placebo?” I said, “Yeah.” They said, “You can’t do that. That’s illegal.” “We can write on the label that there’s nothing in it, that it’s just brown rice. I’m not going to make any claims. No claims in the bottle.” They said, “We’ve never heard that before.” They let me do it. I created a whole run of these purple pills and I work individually with people. We’ve had a session, you and I, to really zone in on what is it that they want? Why do they want it? What’s the feeling behind it? Putting all this emotion into this little pill before they swallow it. I noticed that people have visceral reactions very much in their body like sweating, shaking, nervousness, excitement. It brings up whatever is real because I realized that when you swallow this, it’s on. You can’t hit the cancel button like you can on the computer. You’re on the journey. It brings up every element of resistance for emotion to that thing people want and that’s where we can deal with it.
The red pill became a purple pill. Just so people know, what is inside the Xpill as you have it now?
It’s just pure non-GMO brown rice powder. Just rice and nothing else.
That’s what differentiate it between being a placebo because with the placebo, people don’t know what they’re taking versus you’re telling people you’re taking just brown rice powder.
Even at Harvard, at the Institute for Placebo Studies, they did tests with ethical placebos that people know it is. I think it was for either IBS or back pain. People found it still effective even though they knew it was. I personally don’t like to call this a placebo. I call it an inert pill because placebo is devoid of any kind of expectation usually. What happens with this is people see the video, they hear other stories, so it’s got certain expectations and almost like a brand to it already.
Can you tell us about some of the stories? I’ve watched you on your website at Xpill.com. People can check this out. I watched a video of you and a friend running a marathon but you actually didn’t train for it.
That really blew me away. I really knew I had to test it because I was in Vegas for a different meeting and I saw people had the marathon bibs. I thought, “I really want to do this.” I really ran maybe three miles. One time, I jumped into a marathon and ran six. My knees buckled out of control and I couldn’t function on my knees for a week. I thought, “What if I could jump in the half marathon and run thirteen miles?” I had no training, none whatsoever. I decided to take the pill for it and I said in a positive way, “I’m going to run the whole thing, no walking, and I’m going to run it with perfect form,” rather than saying no injuries. I did that and it’s all on video now in the Xpill site. Not only did I run the whole thing and have no injuries, I couldn’t believe that I was not sore afterwards and the whole thing.
That I did to prove to myself that, “What is the power of the mind with this? Can we really do this?” I created the whole thing on video. That’s just one of several stories of people doing some pretty incredible things. There’s a guy named Leon there who’s really afraid of the water for a triathlon and he used it to get over that fear. At the triathlon, not only was he in water but it was a stormy, windy day. He said it helped him not only get over that fear but increase his time. He beat his time by 30 minutes. I put other people on there because I don’t make any claims with this. It’s people creating their own meaning with this and people have done things that I even would say, “Maybe that’s coincidence,” but it’s them who’s saying, “No, it was the pill.”
We talk a lot in this podcast about how the mind influences the body, especially when it comes to chronic pain. What kind of stories and transformations have you seen with regard to physical health? Pain really is about physical health as well as mental health. What kind of health transformations have you seen people go through that they’ve struggled with that they have been able to change by going the traditional route?
I’ve been very sure to stay away from any kind of claims with this because I know it’s highly regulated and I want to make sure I’m just really careful. What I do is I position it such that as people experience. It’s really more about their relationship to it. I think it’s really a meaning making pill. To one person, she was dealing with it, but after taking the pill, it wasn’t so much that her physical symptoms went away as much as her relationship to it. She felt more empowered about what she was going to do, how she was going to solve it, the things that she was holding back doing because of the pain. Saying, “I can’t do this with my life because I’m in pain.” She used it to say, “I’m going to do it anyway.” It was more like changing the relationship to it.
Any weight loss things or getting back in relationships? The triathlete is a pretty cool one actually.
A guy named Raymond Small, I believe. He’s on the site as well. He said that what he did was he took it to get down to his weight. This is a guy with massive amounts of willpower. He literally carries a sled across 100 miles of snow, but he couldn’t break this block in terms of his weight. What’s fascinating about this for me is that he said that he took it and then that day was a buffet at lunch. He goes over to the dessert table and what blew his mind about this was he said he didn’t need willpower anymore. Dessert was unattractive to him. That’s where it really gets interesting with the body. I heard from another woman who used it to stop smoking. She goes through the process because we really associate with why you want it. She associates it with her creativity and how she’s been holding back on that. She decides to take the Xpill for stopping smoking and then five minutes later she said, “Nah.” Started to smoke, right after that, she throws up. She can’t even take the smoke after having taken the pill.
You said perception is a big thing and that’s a big factor in this as people perceiving what they want or what they don’t want. I looked at your website a little bit. You started talking about values on one of your website pages. Here’s a big difference between someone having a goal, like, “I want to stop smoking or I want to run the marathon,” versus values. Values is, “I want to be a healthy person.” Being a healthy person may entail obviously the actions of stopping smoking or the actions of beginning an exercise program. When you’re coaching people, do values come up in the conversation and framework with people?
Yes, but not directly. I find that going direct on that can be a little misleading because people start thinking about what they value as opposed to how are you living your life is currently what you value. Is that in alignment with what you want or do you want to be doing something differently? That’s where I really looked at value. I do a lot of values work with companies and cultures. It’s interesting. You can do more to find out a company’s values if you talk to the team and people about what they hate and what they don’t like. Then you can map that to the opposite or you take a look at how people spend their money, spend their time, spend their energy, what they’re thinking about, what kind of videos they’re watching and all of that. You can really start to ascertain their values, not that they are necessarily the values people want. Then it becomes, “These are my values that I’m currently actually living, not the thing I say that I want and these are the results that I’m getting.” If those are working in alignment, fantastic. Don’t even change a thing. If you’re saying, “I’m not happy with these results and this is the way I’m living my life in these values,” then we either have to change the result you want or changed for the values.
Have you brought the Xpill into corporations to give it a run?
I’ve just done it in small companies. I really want to. I want to start bringing it in. I think I’m going to bring it into the Entrepreneur Masterminds. I’ve done a few Entrepreneur Masterminds. When it’s individual people like that, it’s really interesting because you probably know, entrepreneurs are willing to do whatever it takes to get the edge, so they can get over the craziness of taking this pill. I’ve seen some massive breakthroughs, especially since it’s usually personal things that are blocking them from it. It’s a little tough on companies especially to do in a group with a company. What I’ve found with small ones I’ve done is that they don’t want to seem too weak, “No. I’m good. I’m going to make this goal.” They don’t want to show any vulnerability there. With that said, I would be intrigued to do with a sales group because salespeople, they’ll do anything for the edge. If it’s going to work, they’ll try it.
Where do you see this evolving into? You’ve been working on this for a number of years and obviously, the time you dedicate it, there’s definitely some good evidence-based research to support interventions like this. It has applications, everything from personal development to healthcare. Are there certain niches that you’re very interested in?
The way I see this going is right now it’s in the personal development space and there’s a process that we use to coach people through it. It used to take an hour and a half. Now, it takes ten minutes. I’m really interested in training people how to do that too for their clients and other practitioners. The other way is I see it being a platform like the iPhone and the platform and people who develop apps. For example, if you’ve got a protocol around pain management, there could be a step in there where people take a pill to that commitment. You get to define what the words are, what the protocol is, when they take it in the journey, because I don’t know that. You know that really well. Somebody else can know that for other kinds of discomfort or creation. What I would love to see is people to use it with their platform as a booster. What I’ve often seen, especially with educational programs, is that people’s own resistance and limitations come in, they don’t complete it. They run against their own personal blocks and it’s not the fault of the program creator. I’d like to see this as something that helps people get over that resistance to whatever it is, such that their programs can be more effective.
You used the word booster, which I think is really cool. You have this program; a lot of people have integrated pain programs. I have one, but this can be a booster at a certain phase of the program to obviously help people get over a “block” they might have or reset the intention to keep the momentum moving forward, which is what so many patients need.
They’re probably on a conscious level saying, “I know what works. I know most of your people have used it. I just don’t. What is that thing? I don’t have time. My kids are bothering me. I need this sleep.” It’s whatever on the logical levels coming in, but it’s usually a deeper subconscious level. What the pill can do is connect that subconscious and unconscious. What I’ve found with people is that it either gets them to their goal really quickly because it aligns everything to what they really want it and drops the resistance, or if something is really in the way, then it brings that up. I’ve seen some curious cases on that.
For example, this one woman, Jennifer, she had a seven-figure business and wants an eight-figure business. She took it to get that eight-figure business. Seriously, within a couple of days the whole business crashed and she said, “I can’t believe this.” I couldn’t believe it. I was worried she’d hate the Xpill and hate me and all this and she said, “No. It was only by doing this and the business crashing that I realized I hate my business. I hate my life.” She’s so much happier now with what she’s doing. That wouldn’t have happened without that commitment to it. The unconscious mind said, “Nope. Not in alignment with is. We’re going to bring us back into alignment.”
With a lot of different types of pills, there’s a ritual. Take it every morning or take it twice a day. You mentioned this can work just once with people, but do some people need to keep on it for a period of time?
I’ve seen all kinds of different uses of it. Some people take it every day, others until that goal is accomplished. This one woman named, Sandy, she said she’s going to write for 80 minutes a day. She will take it for that and it’s amazing the amount of resistance that came up. Then she kept taking it and taking for it and then she became an award-winning screenwriter as a result. She really credits this process to it. She doesn’t still currently take it for that, but she did for a while until that became natural. It can be a daily thing. If you have an intention that you want to have every day, a one-time use for a commitment. I do it before I go on stage as a speaker. It’s interesting how I just feel calm and grounded when I take it and don’t even say anything. It’s called the Xpill. X, because you fill in the X as to what it means and you get create those.
It’s a booster as well as it can be a reinforcer. It keeps you going on that path. You mentioned that when you go on stage you take it because it promotes calm for you. I was at an event where you did the Xpill process and people have varying degrees of different types of reactions. Some of them are full body. Can you talk about that and how that happens or what people may experience if they do the Xpill?
There’s one woman who said she wanted to feel the love of her husband again like they did when they met and she just started bawling, crying and feeling these butterflies in the stomach when she took it. I’ve seen people start to get really nervous because when you commit to writing that book and then you took it and there’s something in your body saying, “I have to do this now.” I’ve seen people actually shake and get nervous and get hot. Getting hot is definitely a reaction that I’ve seen. Some people have actually said it felt like they were taken Ayahuasca or some hallucinogenic drug. Granted that person had that experience, I don’t think a lot of people would have it without knowing what that even means. It has really run the gamut to some people just suddenly tearing up. I remember my friend, David, took it and he was about to take it. He said, “I’m going to take this but I’ve got to tell you as your friend, I don’t believe it will work.” I said, “That’s okay. I’m all for experimentation.” He took it and tears start coming down his face. I saw him in shock with tears coming down because the interesting thing I found is that if people are willing to, it can work. The people who it won’t really work, they won’t try it. It’s asking them to do something so ridiculous that they do. It’s like, “I’m not even going to do that,” but if somebody’s willing to do, there’s something in their mind that says, “Wait a minute. This could work.” As long as that openness is there, then it can work.
They make a distinction which is important. They don’t necessarily have to believe it, but they just have to at least be willing to go through the experience. With pain, we talk a lot about beliefs. If you believe that physical therapy will help you, it’s more likely that’s going to help you. With this, you’re saying that you’ve seen people who say, “There’s no way this purple pill with just some rice powder in it is going to help me, but I’m willing to go through this process with you,” that you see a change.
The purpose might not even include the pill itself. For example, this one gentleman that was at a speech I was doing. Everybody was excited to take the pill. He goes out of the room. He says, “These people are crazy. They’re ridiculous. They’re taking some stupid pill with nothing in it.” He goes to the bathroom and he says to himself, “This will never work.” As he said that, it was this echo in his mind because that’s what he kept saying were the words for his marriage. He kept saying the words, “This will never work.” He hasn’t even taken the pill but the pill triggers the conversation. Then tears started coming down his face as he just has this a-ha that’s been what he was referring about his marriage. It hits him how much he loves his wife and he was sharing with the whole audience about how he’s now realizing how amazing his wife is.
There are so many different experiences that people have and I think that lends a lot of credibility because when people are having different experiences, you know that’s affecting people individually. Not that everyone’s having the same type of sensation happening in their body. If people want to learn more about you and learn more about the Xpill and the whole process and how they can purchase an Xpill, where can they locate you?
I want to thank Robbe Richman for being on the podcast. You can find him on his website. You can go there and you can see what the Xpill is all about. There are some great videos on there of Robbe describing what it is in more detail as well as personal testimonials of all different things, from healthcare to personal development. Make sure you go there and check it out. I want to thank Robbe for being here. Make sure you share this out with your friends and family on Facebook, on social media, on Twitter, whatever your favorite social media handle is. Make sure you hop over to DrJoeTatta.com and sign up for the podcast so you can receive weekly updates on The Healing Pain Podcast. I’m Dr. Joe Tatta, thank you for being with me.
About Robbe Richman
Robbe loves to take abstract concepts and translate them into words we can all understand and experiences that shift our beliefs.
As far as his history, he’s reinvented himself many times: He ran a magazine, a fashion company, a web development company, and a co-working space.
He’s been a spinning instructor, a leadership coach, a marketing consultant and online community manager. He basically turned ADD into a business model.
He became most well-known for being a manager and culture strategist at Zappos.com where he co-founded Zappos Insights, an innovative program educating companies on the secrets behind its game-changing employee culture. Based on his experience working with hundreds of companies on their cultures, he wrote The Culture Blueprint: a systematic guide to building the high-performance workplace. He was a He took Zappos Insights from an idea to a multimillion dollar business line. Since then, Robbe has spoken to and consulted for Google, Toyota, Eli Lilly, Whole Foods, Intuit and many other companies.
He’s also a big fan of Improv comedy, the Muppets, and exceptional coffee
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