Daniel Mate On Musical Theatre, Myth Of Normal And Living Your Best Life

Just Keep Learning

12-12-2022 • 1 hr 13 mins

Daniel believes strongly that we are all naturally creative, compassionate, committed, and highly capable creators.

He does many things, and at the heart of his goals and passion is musical theatre. He gave us a mini masterclass about storytelling through music. He didn’t find it cool as a kid, but perhaps because he didn’t “get it” at that point. It would be cool to see kids appreciate theatre from a young age, like any other creative medium, singing, dance, filmmaking.

Daniel is a refreshing creative, because he doesn’t just follow the norms online. We talked about coming to terms with being a multi passionate person, versus having a single niche. He gives some great advice for people struggling with this challenge of being multi passionate.

We are all just one person. But that one person can have many ideas and interests. Once Daniel found a connection between his passions, a throughline, he was able to live with more calm and coherence. This connection comes from defining the underlying meaning, or calling is. Make your meaning your foundation that all of your interests sit on top of.

We are creatives because we have stories to tell. It’s fun to have all of the accomplishments too. Results can be amazing, but only if the passion and purpose are there first. In that way we can work on a project for 18 years with no fame, or fortune because it was a life raft for our own mental health.

There were a few topics that are tough to discuss, but provide a tiny silver lining. Death, illness, addiction, social media, influencers and capitalism all came up.

Daniel understands that in many ways capitalism ruins things. We talked about the dark side of social media, sharing our messages and how inhumane our marketing can be. Turning humans and our relationships into commodities. Companies profit by providing the addictive properties of social media that can make us do crazy things for a like. Yet, we can connect with each other through social media for relationships and a good causes.

A fascinating and important topic was neuro-marketing, especially to children. It’s scary how many big brands and gurus market specifically to kids and teens to take advantage of the vulnerability of their minds. Yet, if we want to spread an incredible message like a new book we have that can help a lot of people, marketing is the path to have it spread.

Another incredibly sad, yet hopeful part of our conversation was about autoimmune disease, addiction and the myth of normal. The myth of normal is the title of Daniel, and his father Gabor’s best-selling book.

We discussed the real world challenges of scaling important messages such as normalizing illness in our body, or mind and how illness should not be normalized. How we as a society misunderstand, and disrespect the developmental needs of our children in favour of a toxic environment. In many ways humans confuse “normal” with natural and this keeps us sick emotionally, physically, and socially. Mainstream medicine, big companies, they aren’t going to be part of the solution. So we need to take it upon ourselves to figure out what should be our normal?

We also had a more lighthearted brainstorm about the similarities between Jordan Peterson and his dad, Gabor. How do people become fans of both personalities when on the surface they have such different views?

At the root of this a conversation is really the importance of doctors and health care practictioners working to share the truth. That our mindbody exist together, not separate. That our illnesses are a product of a cumuluative, contextual environment and that we need to keep learning to fight the ego of institutions. Regardless of our differences, we need to support each other in creating a less toxic environment.

One of the throughlines in the foundation of David’s work is his ability to simply live a good life. Perhaps, through his mentoring, he is even better at achieving this for others and so we talked about some of the tools and concepts he would recommend people do to live a healthy, happy life.

6 Tips For Living Your Best Life

  1. Learn to suffer well. Don’t prolong suffering, but don’t deny it either. Everyone of us, in having a human experience will have moments of suffering. Instead of asking “why” we need to shift our thinking to squeezing the wisdom from it. What can we learn from this? How can I grow from this?
  2. Don’t believe everything you are told, or even think. Be a critical thinker. Question everything. Realize you are the one making meaning out of your life. We all see ourselves and our story with a virtual reality helmet on, but it’s important to allow that helmet to crack, let some light in, change the way we see things as we become more and more enlightened and make personal changes accordingly.
  3. Context matters more than content. Any details, facts and stories can be viewed from different perspectives. Two people with very similar circumstances, or results can have entirely different experiences, positive, or negative, depending on the context, the frame they put around it.
  4. Don’t live with unconscious blinders on. Self reflect by removing the blinders and look at personal evidence of how you are creating your life. Be willing to have your heart broken, be willing to have life tenderize and season you by learning from all of the little difficult, or challenging, or positive moments, be willing to give up your own belief systems, or plans and grow through your experiences.
  5. Accept all of the given circumstances of your life. You don’t have to tolerate them. They don’t have to define you. But, you do have to accept them. They do exist, and not excepting them can hold you back.
  6. Put your attention to your intention. What are you here to do? Why are you here to do it?  and then decide, what are you going to do? Put this question to something bigger than you, God, angels, the universe, the stars, whatever you believe in and ask in a genuinely curious way.

Memorable Quotes

“ Lyrics are bound in time by the music and line length, you need to be efficient in summarizing your story. You don’t get to spout off for pages of free writing.”

“Art and commerce don’t necessarily mix. They don’t always have anything to do with each other. Except once you create art and it’s time to put it out into the world.”

“Why do you want to influence people? What kind of influencer do you want to be? Hitler was an influencer.”

“We don’t need more content. We need more context.”

“You can’t put an elephant on top of a mountain and have it survive, human beings are very adaptable, we can survive in all kinds of scenarios, but one of the curses of that is we can get used to things that are not good for us.”

“If normal is a myth, then abnormal is also a myth. People who are mentally ill, people who have chronic illness, people fight addiction. We are all people.”

Guest Bio
Daniel Mate is a composer, lyricist, author and playwright based from BC, Canad, living in New York. He graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing. He also holds a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from McGill.

While his main professional love have been music and theatre, Daniel defines the term multipassionate. He runs the world’s only “mental chiropractic” service, Take A Walk With Daniel. He is also co-authoring two books with his father Dr. Gabor Maté, is developing a podcast and runs a youtube channel.

Daniel is also an educator. He has supported many musical theatre organizations as a teacher. He also volunteers to work on original song writing and recording with children and youth in elementary, highschool and various therapeutic treatment settings. He runs workshops on mental health, the myth of normal, musical theatre, writing, and recording.


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