How to Give Up Everything to Save Yourself (ft. Matt from Yes Theory)

Published 2023-12-06
In 2021, Matt Dahlia revealed he was quitting one of YouTube's biggest channels, Yes Theory.

Despite being an internet celebrity, Matt's story is a common one—about someone who gave away too much of themselves to be liked by others, and now desperately trying to get themselves back. In this episode, Matt and I unpack this familiar dilemma, as well as covering topics like codependence, managing success, dealing with parasocial relationships, determining when vulnerability goes too far, and much more.

Get "Talk to Strangers: The Yes Theory Story" at:
And be sure to check out Yes Theory's incredible videos:

0:00 Introduction
1:59 Why Matt’s giving up his dream
9:00 The challenges fame brings
14:14 How to mature in the spotlight
17:45 The incredible story of Yes Theory
21:53 Losing boundaries in the world of fame
26:54 Performing, not living
27:58 How much of yourself to share as a creator
35:44 Matt’s top tip for being a creator
37:29 Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation in creative work
43:52 Matt’s biggest takeaway from his career
48:06 How Matt went from hating to loving his book
51:56 What makes the Yes Theory team work
53:54 What’s next for Matt
57:28 Fuck, Marry, Kill


Theme Song: "Throne" by Bring Me The Horizon
License ID: 40z1dmJq6Q5!Mark+Manson

All Comments (21)
  • @YesTheory
    Love you Mark! Super grateful for everything we've learned from you and your work, and even more grateful to have connected with you in the real world :) - Thomas
  • @IAmMarkManson
    Thanks to Matt for being so candid and forthcoming. Be sure to check out the book, it's an incredible story.
  • @sarazen
    Whenever pretending becomes your life, you’re no longer in touch with your real self. Congratulations to Matt for having the courage to be real.
  • @MsLinda165
    I found Yes Theory during covid. I'm in my 60's and I marveled not at how they say yes, because it's really a youth related thing to say yes; but I marveled at their ability to be civil and warm towards each other on the team, after a meteoric rise to fame and fortune, crossing cultural barriers, languages, time zones and close quarters. That was really impressive to me. I subscribed only because I wanted to watch how this would play out. I have to say, the jerky camera is a tough thing to overlook; I can watch better travelogues on other channels, but I was fascinated by 4 young men, of different backgrounds, traveling together and inspiring others to grab the day and get uncomfortable. I hope these guys stay friends their whole lives. I won't be around, but in 40 years, how cool to have a reunion episode. A 'where are they now' epilogue.
  • @gaberivera7228
    I related to Matt a lot during this podcast. I've always struggled with pleasing people and codependency. i've built my identity around it in some ways. It's hard to know where your pleasing self stops and your genuine self starts. I appreciate you guys making this episode!
  • @willemkossen
    That was nice. I love to see grown men have good conversations about deep topics. The world needs more of that.
  • This was so right on time, thank you both!! I've been uploading on YouTube for just over two years and was just yesterday thinking about what you said about how much freedom I've had to experiment and try different stuff cuz barely anyone was watching. And still as it's grown slowly and the pressure starts creeping up to make more of what the audience wants, it feels like what Mark was describing about adjusting to that over time. I feel very grateful at this point for these last two years to find my rhythm with creating where I don't feel like I'm just feeding the algorithm. I've had a chance to root into my intrinsic motivation. "If you lose at a pie eating contest, you didn't really lose, cuz you got to eat pie."
  • @JK-ek5jv
    Wow when you started talking about putting yourself to the side during a bad marriage and it clicked why I felt compelled to watch this. I experienced that exact thing and have over the years been getting to know myself and what I want to do. I've also found that with all of the deep healing I've done, I'm constantly in that state of getting to know myself. Thank you for sharing your insight on this topic!
  • @bridgemixx3653
    Wow, great chat. I admire the ability to "wake up" at such a young age. So introspective.
    I'm from Gen X. we never grew up with these kinds of conversations. Such an important message.
    Well done!
  • @somsedigh7686
    Great episode and great guest, thanks Mark and Matt. Loved being able to hear the stories of someone I used to watch when I was younger and someone whose Youtube channel philosophy I used to idolize. Hearing Matt talk about how he feels he's still 19 now that he stopped acting for the audience and started figuring out who he truly is was super relatable. Brought me great solace knowing that we're all in this together. You'll get through it, amor fati :)
  • @KasturiKS
    I love when Mark laughs. It feels so heartfelt. ❤❤
  • @quynhanh3067
    I absolutely am in love with this podcast and this ep is a genius idea to show that self-help advice is not absolute
  • @ZondyRex
    As much as it's sad to see Matt leave, as much as I'm happy for him! very inspiring! I relate to many things Matt was discussing today. Thanks Mark for this amazing episode!
  • @ellykabboord_
    Incredible episode Mark and Matt! You truly touched on subjects and perspectives I don’t thank many, if any, have touched on around the consequences and choices surrounding varying degrees of notoriety and success. Thank you for this thoughtful discussion and sharing so candidly your experiences 💜.
  • @livestock9722
    I came across "Yes Theory" once upon a time, and was immediately grateful that I had begun my mastery of saying NO. Watching the content drained the life out of me.
  • I just loved the conversation. It's kind of challenging to put on hold when you are getting a lot. I always love Matt.
  • MM has been my main idol for years, but this video helped me in a different way because I’ve found myself really jaded trying to create an online audience for my book launch. It’s so good to be reminded, blowing up is a 1 in a million, so it’s okay to just enjoy yourself and not try to game the algorithm. The algorithm works best when there’s a sweet spot between doing what you love and giving people what they want; I can’t forget about that first half. 🤙🏽
  • @niksvp93
    Wow. I never expected this duo! 💯🔥
  • @sx1nsty
    Ego is the enemy...No one becomes self aware catering to an audience
  • @teodorhagiu7945
    I think the split-screen parts are a smart editing decision, feels more like a real conversation.