I Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Gunter Swoboda Of Swoboda and Associates On Why So Many Of Us Are Feeling Unsatisfied & What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Drew Gerber

Drew Gerber, CEO of Wasabi Publicity
Authority Magazine
16 min readMar 20, 2023


Connect with others: Building supportive relationships with others can help us feel more connected and less isolated. Consider joining a social club, volunteering, or simply reaching out to friends and family members for support. Building connections with others can help us feel more fulfilled and supported.

From an objective standpoint, we are living in an unprecedented era of abundance. Yet so many of us are feeling unsatisfied. Why are we seemingly so insatiable? What is going on inside of us that is making us feel unsatisfied? What is the brain chemistry that makes us feel this way? Is our brain wired for endless insatiable consumption? What can we do about it? In this interview series, we are talking to credentialed experts such as psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, brain science experts, as well as spiritual and religious leaders, and mind-body-spirit coaches, to address why so many of us are feeling unsatisfied & what we can do about it.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Gunter Swoboda.

Gunter holds over 40 years’ experience as a psychologist. His passionate perspectives and scrutinies on what makes human beings thrive allows him to develop relationships with people to ignite their aspirations. Gunter is exceptional in facilitating outcomes in learning, productivity, and communication by providing a safe environment with unobtrusive assistance and guidance wherein participants experience the flow between content and context. Swoboda is the creator of the Making Good Men Great movement which gained the attention of BuzzFeed and Oprah. Swoboda is the author of Surfing the New Wave of Masculinity available in stores and online everywhere. He is the writer/producer on the social documentary Masculinity That Inspires Change on Amazon Prime and Host of the iHeartMedia Official podcast: Inspire Change with Gunter that is currently airing in its fifth season and syndicated on all major podcast platforms. He is also a global speaker at various events in the USA such as Book Expo America in New York and private events in Los Angeles, as well as a speaker for TEDx in Australia.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!

My family migrated to Australia from Austria when I was twelve years old. I fell in love with the ocean and the land. Because I had to learn English, I wasn’t a very good student initially and focussed more on surfing, music and girls. I ended up working in a bank for two years which really didn’t suit me or the Bank too well. Because I felt stuck I was open to taking a day off and going with a friend to his University lecture in first year Psychology. In ten minutes he was asleep and I was hooked. Unfortunately I could attend because I had no entrance qualifications. I ended up doing my SAT equivalent studies of two years in one. It was a struggle but worthwhile.

What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?

Probably the one thing that I’d advise my younger self would be to develop a more powerful approach to become influential on a broader scale earlier in my career. I hadn’t realized this was important to me until my early fifties. Although I would be concerned how this would have affected my family relationships which have always been my priority. In other words, these are very important words, “You cannot have everything.” This is part of my foundational belief system.

None of us are able to experience success without support along the way. Is there a particular person for whom you are grateful because of the support they gave you to grow you from “there to here?” Can you share that story and why you are grateful for them?

At the beginning of University, I met my wife and soulmate. She and I have shared a lifetime of love and adventures, including sharing our passion for our work in philosophy, gender studies and psychotherapy. Most recently, we have become partners in crime in co-writing fiction. More importantly, my wife is an essential part of the Making Good Men Great faculty. We have focussed that our integrity of living our values is a true measure of practicing what we teach.

It is part of our commitment to helping men and women work together in a non-patriarchal way. Recently we finished our first collaborative work that is now with the editors. The beautiful thing was how easy it was to do, when we stuck to all the principles that support a good relationship and teamwork. We continue to be hampered by patriarchal values that are ultimately destructive because they disregard fundamental human needs. To that effect, I am encouraging people to challenge and deconstruct patriarchy. As a result, we can shift away from the ideology of exceptionalism, privilege and power to a place that is inclusive, respectful, and cooperative rather than competitive.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think it might help people?

My program is called ‘Making Good Men Great for a reason. It is to help men to realize that they have bought into a toxic ideology that is killing them and others. Ultimately, I want this to carry into being a movement. A movement like this requires everyone to engage in their growth as a human being and their own evolution. We can then begin to engage in a process that engages social change. Men need to come to terms with the realization that patriarchy has objectified them and others. In such a relationship there can be no true intimacy, only relationships that are transactional. Once we have unchained ourselves from patriarchy, we are then able to focus on our humanity rather than on our gender.

In line with the program, I am also currently in the fifth season of my iHeartMedia podcast series: Inspire Change with Gunter. I’m looking to literally inspire my listeners to reflect on themselves and how they conduct their lives in a simple and reasonable manner so that they can thrive and not simply struggle with surviving in this often-toxic world we have created. Again, the core idea is that we change our beliefs to reflect what good science tells us, and how to live in an ethical and moral way. This requires that we deconstruct Patriarchy and its operational arm, neoliberalism. Both these ideologies have created enormous harm to people and societies. We need to create more inclusive and respectful relationships and appreciate that we are not all the same. I don’t want to be a McDonald’s Hamburger or a bad reality TV show.

Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s now talk about feeling “unsatisfied”. In the Western world, humans typically have their shelter, food, and survival needs met. What has led to us feeling we aren’t enough and don’t have enough? What is the wiring? Or in other words, how has nature and nurture played into how humans (in an otherwise “safe and secure” environment) experience feeling less than, or a need to have more than what is needed for basic survival?

The feeling of being unsatisfied or not having enough is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that has both biological and cultural roots. From a biological perspective, humans have evolved to be driven by a desire for more, as it helped our ancestors survive and thrive in challenging environments. Our brains are wired to seek out rewards and pleasures, such as food, sex, and social connection, which activate the brain’s reward center and release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation. However, in modern Western societies, where many of our basic needs are easily met, this biological drive for more can become maladaptive, leading to feelings of dissatisfaction and a never-ending quest for more material possessions, status, or accomplishments. This drive for more can also be amplified by the constant exposure to social media, advertising, and other forms of media that promote unrealistic standards of beauty, success, and happiness.

How are societies different? For example, capitalistic societies trade differently than communists. Developed nations trade differently than developing nations. In your opinion, how does society shape a human’s experience and feelings of satisfaction?

As a psychologist and psychotherapist, I would say that societies play a significant role in shaping a human’s experience and feelings of satisfaction. Different societal constructs such as capitalism and communism have different values, norms, and expectations that influence the way individuals perceive themselves and their surroundings. For instance, in a capitalist society, there is an emphasis on individualism, competition, and materialism, which may lead individuals to prioritize success, wealth, and status as a measure of satisfaction. In contrast, in a communist society, there may be more emphasis on collectivism, equality, and social responsibility, which may lead individuals to prioritize community, cooperation, and shared values as a measure of satisfaction.

With a specific focus on brain function, how has the brain and its dominion over the body and beliefs been impacted by the societal construct?

These societal constructs can have an impact on the brain and its dominion over the body and beliefs. For example, in a capitalistic society, individuals may experience increased levels of stress and anxiety due to the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure. This may activate the sympathetic nervous system, leading to an increase in cortisol levels and physiological responses such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. On the other hand, in a communist society, individuals may experience a sense of belonging and social support, which can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to feelings of relaxation and calmness.

Moreover, societal constructs can impact the beliefs and values that individuals hold, which in turn can influence brain function. For example, if an individual grows up in a society that places a high value on academic achievement, they may develop a belief that success is measured by academic performance. This belief may lead to the activation of the reward centers in the brain when they achieve academic success, leading to a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. Similarly, if an individual grows up in a society that places a high value on physical appearance, they may develop a belief that attractiveness is a measure of success. This belief may lead to the activation of the reward centers in the brain when they achieve a certain physical appearance, leading to a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Cultural factors play a significant role in shaping our experiences of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Western societies often place a strong emphasis on individual achievement, success, and competition, which can foster feelings of inadequacy or a sense of never measuring up. There is also a pervasive belief in the “American Dream” or the idea that anyone can achieve success if they work hard enough, which can lead to feelings of failure or disappointment if one does not attain the desired level of success. In addition, the culture of consumerism that has emerged in the Western world encourages us to equate material possessions with happiness and success, leading to an endless cycle of consumption and dissatisfaction. The constant bombardment of advertising and media messages also contributes to the sense that we are never enough, and that we need to constantly strive for more.

Do you think the way our society markets and advertises goods and services, has affected people’s feelings of satisfaction? Can you explain what you mean?

Yes, I do believe that the way our society markets and advertises goods and services can affect people’s feelings of satisfaction. This is because marketing and advertising often create unrealistic expectations and desires in consumers, which can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment when those expectations are not met.

Marketing and advertising often use images and messages that promote an idealized version of life or beauty, which can create a sense of inadequacy in individuals who do not fit those ideals. For example, advertising for beauty products often features models with flawless skin and perfect features, which can make individuals feel insecure about their own appearance. Similarly, advertising for luxury products often portrays a lavish and extravagant lifestyle that most people cannot afford, leading to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with one’s own life. Furthermore, marketing and advertising can also create a sense of urgency and impulse buying, which can lead to feelings of regret and dissatisfaction later on. Many advertisements use limited-time offers or create a sense of scarcity to encourage consumers to buy immediately, even if they do not necessarily need or want the product.

The constant bombardment of marketing and advertising messages in our society can contribute to a culture of consumerism and materialism, where individuals may feel that they need to purchase products in order to be happy or fulfilled. This can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment when those products do not deliver on their promises or meet unrealistic expectations set by advertising.

How is the wiring of the brain, body, and beliefs shaped by marketing, language, and how humans trade?

I believe that societies are different in many ways, and these differences can have a significant impact on the human experience and feelings of satisfaction. Capitalistic societies, for example, place a high value on individual achievement and financial success, while communist societies emphasize collective ownership and equality. Developed nations tend to have greater access to resources and opportunities than developing nations, which can impact individuals’ access to education, healthcare, and other necessities of life.

These societal differences can shape individuals’ experiences and feelings of satisfaction in many ways. For example, individuals who grow up in a capitalistic society may feel pressure to prioritize financial success and achievement over other values, such as community or relationships. Conversely, individuals who grow up in a communist society may feel pressure to conform to collective values and may struggle to express their individuality.

In terms of brain function, societal constructs can impact individuals’ beliefs and behaviors in a number of ways. For example, studies have shown that individuals who grow up in collectivistic cultures tend to have different patterns of brain activity when making decisions than individuals who grow up in individualistic cultures. Similarly, studies have shown that individuals who experience social exclusion or discrimination may experience changes in brain function that impact their emotional well-being and decision-making. I believe that society can shape individuals’ experiences and feelings of satisfaction in complex ways, and that these societal constructs can impact individuals’ brain function and emotional well-being. As psychologists and psychotherapists, it is important to be aware of these societal differences and to work with individuals to understand how their experiences have been shaped by the society they grew up in.

I work in marketing so I’m very cognizant of this question. In your opinion, how do you think marketing professionals can be more responsible for how their advertising shapes humans’ health and experience of happiness overall?

I believe that marketing professionals have an important role to play in shaping human health and well-being, given the pervasive influence of advertising on our lives. It is important for marketing professionals to be aware of the potential impact their advertising can have on individuals’ self-esteem, body image, and overall well-being, and to take steps to promote positive messages and values in their marketing campaigns. One way that marketing professionals can be more responsible in their advertising is by promoting a more diverse and inclusive representation of people in their campaigns. This means featuring individuals of different ages, ethnicities, body types, and abilities, and avoiding idealized or stereotypical images that can contribute to feelings of inadequacy or exclusion in those who do not fit those ideals.

Marketing professionals can also be more responsible by avoiding the use of manipulative tactics such as fear-mongering, shaming, or exploiting people’s insecurities to sell products. Instead, they can focus on promoting the benefits and features of their products in an honest and transparent manner.

Furthermore, marketing professionals can take steps to promote positive values and behaviors in their advertising, such as promoting healthy lifestyles, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. This can help to shape consumers’ perceptions of what is important and valuable in life, and contribute to a more positive and fulfilling experience of happiness.

Overall, as a psychologist, I believe that marketing professionals have a responsibility to consider the potential impact of their advertising on human health and well-being, and to take steps to promote positive values, behaviors, and representations in their campaigns. By doing so, they can help to shape a more positive and healthy society for all individuals.

For you personally, if you have all your basic needs met, do you feel you have enough in life?

I feel blessed in that I have a loving relationship with my partner, beautiful adult children and fantastic grandkids. All our basic needs are met and although there sometimes is a desire for something more, it never makes us dissatisfied.

Okay, fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview: Can you share with our readers your “5 things we can each do to address the feeling of not having enough.” Please share a story or example for each.

I can provide some general suggestions for individuals who are struggling with the feeling of not having enough. Here are five things that may be helpful:

  1. Practice gratitude: Taking time to focus on the things you do have can help shift your mindset away from feelings of scarcity. Consider keeping a gratitude journal where you write down three things you are grateful for each day. This can be a simple and effective way to cultivate feelings of abundance and contentment.
  2. Focus on what you can control: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the things we cannot control in life, but focusing on what we can control can help us feel more empowered. Make a list of the things you can control in your life, and focus your energy on those areas. This may include things like your attitude, your actions, and the way you spend your time and money.
  3. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help us stay present in the moment and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Consider practicing mindfulness meditation or simply taking a few deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed. This can help you feel more grounded and centered, even in challenging circumstances.
  4. Connect with others: Building supportive relationships with others can help us feel more connected and less isolated. Consider joining a social club, volunteering, or simply reaching out to friends and family members for support. Building connections with others can help us feel more fulfilled and supported.
  5. Set realistic goals: Setting realistic goals can help us focus our energy and feel more accomplished. Consider setting small, achievable goals for yourself and celebrating your progress along the way. This can help you feel more motivated and empowered to achieve your larger goals.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you to live with more joy in life?

As for resources that inspire living with more joy in life, there are many great books, podcasts, and resources available. Some popular ones include “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, “10% Happier” podcast by Dan Harris, and the Headspace app for meditation. And my own podcast “Inspire Change with Gunter”

“Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius — This book is a collection of personal writings by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was also a practicing Stoic philosopher. It provides insights into his daily reflections on stoic philosophy and how to apply it to one’s life.

“The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff — This book applies principles of Zen Buddhism to the character of Winnie-the-Pooh, demonstrating how the simple wisdom of this beloved character can help us lead a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

“The Enchiridion” by Epictetus — This is a short handbook of Stoic philosophy, providing practical advice on how to live a good life and develop personal resilience and strength.

“Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki — This classic book on Zen Buddhism explores the idea of beginner’s mind, or approaching life with openness, curiosity, and a lack of preconceived notions. It provides insights into Zen philosophy and practical techniques for meditation.

“Letters from a Stoic” by Seneca — This book is a collection of letters written by the Stoic philosopher Seneca to his friend Lucilius. It provides practical advice on how to live a virtuous life and cope with challenges such as fear, grief, and anger.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

The seed of the movement is here. It is about deconstructing the most toxic ideology in history, patriarchy. Patriarchy is about dominance, control, aggression and competition. It is about transactional relationships where others are either owned or are simply of use to me. It lacks empathy, kindness and humility. And we have socialized generations in this ideology that we have come to accept as being the nature of men, when in fact it isn’t. Our true nature is to be altruistic, empathic, distributive and sharing. Our success as a species has been through co-operation, and caring for even those that are sick and injured. A recent archaeological find has been the discovery of a stone age child who had a limb amputated. The child survived. This totally contradicts the idea that it is the survival of the fittest. It takes a lot of people to care for someone that’s ill or injured in a small tribe with little or no technology. Hence my mission is to get people to understand the toxicity of patriarchy and to begin to dismantle it brick by brick.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

My website www.gunterswoboda.com, The Making Good Men Great movement: www.goodmengreat.com, the podcast “Inspire Change with Gunter” which is syndicated on all major podcast platforms and my book “Making Good Men Great: Surfing the New Wave of Masculinity” (available at all major retailers).

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. Drew is the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., a full-service PR agency lauded by PR Week and Good Morning America. Wasabi Publicity, Inc. is a global marketing company that supports industry leaders, change agents, unconventional thinkers, companies and organizations that strive to make a difference. Whether it’s branding, traditional PR or social media marketing, every campaign is instilled with passion, creativity and brilliance to powerfully tell their clients’ story and amplify their intentions in the world. Schedule a free consultation at WasabiPublicity.com/Choosing-Publicity.



Drew Gerber, CEO of Wasabi Publicity
Authority Magazine

For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world