Hey Eleanor! I Have an Inferiority Complex!

Lucas Rayala: Triathlete. Entrepreneur. Inferiority complex defeater.

Lucas Rayala: Triathlete. Entrepreneur. Inferiority complex defeater.

Welcome to the Hey Eleanor Podcast, episode six. This week, we're digging deep into the psyche to discuss something many of us face on some subconscious level:

An Inferiority Complex.

Lucas Rayala is a serial entrepreneur with an aforementioned inferiority complex. It’s caused him to self-sabotage his businesses and seize up when trying to even talk about what he spends all his time and energy working on. We discuss what an inferiority complex is (it’s a real thing, not just a cutesty title), the steps he’s taken to get past it, plus his latest business venture... which he can finally talk about freely without giving in to the negative proverbial voices in his head.  

Here's an excerpt of our conversation. 

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Molly: So can we just talk a little bit about your inferiority complex? Is that a real clinical term?

Lucas: It’s a real thing. I've been told that biologically-speaking, the amygdala gets a little over-reactive to certain situations, like when you're around people, crowds and people of authority. For me, it's gone back a really long time to when I was a kid, and it’s has been very impactful to a lot of relationships with family and friends. But it's only something I've come to grips with within the last year.

Molly: It sounds like it was a business venture that finally pushed you to take a minute for self-reflection.

Lucas: Yeah, it did. As an example how it kind of affects me in an adverse way, as a kid I used to play ping-pong with my neighbor. I was pretty good, but I lost every single game. And I was as good as the person I was playing against. I remember playing one complete summer losing every single game. [At one point], friends of ours came in one day... And they were way worse than us. I still lost every single game. There's a little tic in my brain that makes me feel like I need to lose. That’s an example of how many things of go in my life. I think to myself, I’m going to have to settle for second. That’s just how my brain seems to work. That's something I've known my whole like, but I've never really come to grips with it from [the perspective] that there's something I can do about this.


Molly: In this ping-pong example, it’s not that you're consciously losing, right?

Lucas: No. It’s like I subconsciously seize up. Subconsciously, I’m turning my hand to flip the ball up... I can kind of feel it happening, but it's constant. Thing is, I always tried. It’s just that bizarrely my best effort always seem to crumble around me, and for weird reasons… Altsie was a cool new distribution model for independent films. We were showing independent films at bars, restaurants and coffee shops…  The idea was to get people into these businesses and showcase independent films... At our peak, we had I think nine different locations… so these little films were getting some cool distribution.

 As I was working on this, I couldn’t get it out of my head that everybody must hate these films. And they’re really great films! I [was convinced] everyone was thinking about me, and that I had picked bad films, or [the Altsie] website isn't working. Because this was such a public display, this really started to eat away at me. To the point where I was getting so overwhelmed that I would have a conversation with my wife and I wouldn’t be able to finish my sentences. That pressure was just building up and getting pretty intense. I realized that I was obviously having some anxiety and depression issues.

Eventually, it just all fell apart. At the time that business fell apart, it was the best it had ever been. And I just had t pull the plug on it.

Molly: Interesting that in your mind you were saying it’s all coming apart, but the reason it fell apart is because of you.

Lucas: Yeah it wasn’t falling apart! It was doing great! I'd insured would do great. I'd sold thousands of tickets through Living Social.


Molly: But you had to finish second.

Lucas: Yes.


Molly: So that point, when you saw the business crumble, is that when you said, you know what, I need to go talk to somebody about this?

Lucas: [Altsie] was the biggest thing I’ve ever done that had not succeeded. I put my heart and soul into that. So I decided to spend a year trying to improve myself. 2013 to 14 was kind of going to be the year I figured it out.


Molly: The Year of Lucas.

Lucas: Yes, it was The Year of Lucas! This wasn’t going to be the year that I try to write a book or bike across California. This was the year where I was going to figure out why so many of the things I was trying to do in life weren’t working.



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Find out more about Lucas's coffee-green tea mashup, Green Alert. Here's a link his Tech Crunch article, "The Founder and the Inferiority Complex."

Here's a big, fat link to the shirt I designed with Cotton Bureau, which is available until 8pm on June 17. 

My Cotton Bureau + Hey Eleanor shirt. 

My Cotton Bureau + Hey Eleanor shirt. 

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