452: Why You Should Set Stupid Goals with Steve Sims

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Steve Sims

If you had a chance to learn how to set major goals from the man who sent clients to the wreck of the Titanic, arranged for people to get married by the Pope in the Vatican, and set up a private dinner at the feet of Michelangelo’s David (statue) while being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli, would you seize it?

You are about to get that opportunity! My guest today, Steve Sims, has done things that seem like they’ve been ripped out of a Hollywood movie script. Forbes and Entrepreneur magazine have even called him “The Real Wizard of Oz.” 

Steve is an example that you don’t need to be afraid to dream big and that nothing is impossible. Fear of failure is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and you need to eradicate those thoughts from your mind to achieve your most cherished goals.

In today’s conversation, we discussed the importance of thinking big, taking massive action and why you should embrace failure to get to success.

We also discuss Steve’s latest book Go For Stupid: The Art of Achieving Ridiculous Goals and his strategy for developing an unbeatable mindset that will make it possible to turn your dreams into a reality.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The strategy that helped Steve go from being a nightclub doorman to doing business with Elon Musk, Sir Elton John, Sir Richard Branson, and many more.
  • Why most people are scared to chase their deepest passions and Steve’s method for overcoming that problem.
  • How to forget the word “impossible” and go after ridiculous, stupid goals!
  • If you act boldly, chances are you’ll fail. But you have to get comfortable with failure to reach success.
  • How Steve helps prison inmates turn illegal hustles into productive businesses.

 

AYG TWEETABLES

“We don't care about people laughing because the people that are laughing are nine times out of ten terrified that you're going to achieve it and validate that they can't.”

“I wanted to be able to challenge the way you thought, to come up with ridiculous goals, dreams, be a child because those goals are only going to be achieved once you've dreamt them.”

 

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Hal Elrod: All right. Steve Sims, we’ve officially been on the line for about 3.5 seconds and I said, let’s not have any small talk. Let’s hit record and see what the hell happens, right?

 

Steve Sims: Yeah. Well, how can that possibly go wrong?

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. And considering I haven’t talked to you in probably a year or more, maybe two. Did anything happen globally between then and now? Pretty life is normal.

 

Steve Sims: I think the world’s got pretty much turned upside down. Hasn’t it? So, things have happened.

 

Hal Elrod: It’s a little crazy, man. Where are you calling me from right now?

 

Steve Sims: Funny enough, I’m at Brad Lea’s office. You can see all Brad Lea stuff.

 

Hal Elrod: Oh, yeah. You know, it’s Brad Lea’s office because his name is everywhere.

 

Steve Sims: And the books. Yeah, everything in place. But I’m doing an interview with him shortly after his Dropping Bombs for the book. So, I’m in here. So, I’m in Vegas doing a whole studio lineup of videos for the book.

 

Hal Elrod: Good for you, man. Hopefully, when my next book comes out, Brad Lea will have me back.

 

Steve Sims: Well, I’ll have you.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. There you go. This is good. This is a good warm-up. We don’t use as much foul language as Brad will invite you to drop on his show. We’re a little more PG-13 rated but anyway, man. Alright. So, where could we start? Where should we start? I had you on. I did look it up. I always forget to look up when I have a second guest on the first episode and I always sound like I’m floundering. I go, “I had you on at some point.” No, it was Episode 222. Yeah. And in fact, let me see what it was called. The title of the episode was The Art of Making Anything Happen with Steve Sims, and I think that’s a good place to start. Let’s actually start with you’ve got a lot of famous stories and similar to me where you tell them over and over and over. But if you’re like me, you still enjoy telling the stories, right? So, let’s start with one of the most extraordinary, the famous Michelangelo dinner, right? Let’s tell this story because for those that don’t know, I mentioned that the last episode that we did together, Episode 222, if you all want to go back and listen to it, The Art of Making Anything Happen, that is what Steve Sims does.

 

And I guess I will have given you an intro by the time this is live and this is an example of you literally the way I define a miracle is an extraordinary result beyond the realm of what most people believe is possible. And if that doesn’t define the type of miracles you create on a regular basis, I don’t know what does. So, let’s talk about it. So, share your story, man. How did you end up at the statue of David in the famous museum in Italy?

 

Steve Sims: It’s easy really. I had a client contact me. For a start, I work with wealthy people, so I know they can afford it. That’s the first thing. There’s no payment plans with me. So, I had this guy, he contacts me, and I was in Rome at the time. To name drop, I’ve been asked to get a couple married by the pope in the Vatican, so I was in Rome organizing that.

 

Hal Elrod: So, yeah, slide that miracle in on the way to the other miracle. Yeah.

 

Steve Sims: There you go. And this guy contacted me on a Sunday night and he said, “Hey, I am in Florence on Wednesday. I believe you’re in Italy. I want to have a dine…” and here was the key, “A dining experience that will show how connected and powerful I am.” So, there were two things. So, one of them was, “It had to be grand,” because he had to show off how brilliant he was. But the keyword in there was “experience”. Not a meal, not a restaurant, not a, “Hey, get me into a hard-to-get restaurant and get the chef to come out and pander to me for 10 minutes.” None of that. “How can you give me an amazing dining experience that will expose how connected I am?” So, I went to work on it. I ended up getting the Accademia dell’ Galleria which if you don’t know that name, that’s the famous museum in Italy that houses the most iconic statue in the planet, Michelangelo’s David. And I closed the museum down from about 3:00 in the afternoon and at 9:00 at night, I had my guests walk in and there was a table of six set up at the feet of Michelangelo’s David. It was a real Thomas Crown moment.

 

They had the entire museum to themselves. They did a walkaround. They had champagne. They got to see a private tour to museum, private tour around David, sit down. I had a string quartet and I had a pianist. And then as they went through their appetizers and they started to hit the pasta, I said to them, “Hey, I hope you don’t mind but I got a local entertainer that I thought would be nice to serenade you during your pasta. Is that okay if I bring him in? And they went, “Yeah, absolutely. No problem at all.” And then I walked in with Andrea Bocelli to serenade him while they start the pasta. And here’s the story. Not a lot of people know this bit. The fiancé, okay, dropped her fork when she saw Andrea. Now, you think about it. We’re in a museum full of marble, marble walls, marble statues, marble floor. That thing echoed for what felt like about 20 minutes.

 

Hal Elrod: Wow.

 

Steve Sims: It was hysterical. But, yeah, she dropped her fork. It was quite funny.

 

Hal Elrod: And now you arranged this but you got to be there, right? You got to watch the whole thing unfold.

 

Steve Sims: Yeah. I’ve always joked that, well, think about it. My client turned up at like 10 to 9 and left at probably about 11:30. I had the museum to myself from 3:00 in the afternoon to 2:00 in the morning.

 

Hal Elrod: Nice.

 

Steve Sims: So, to say that I probably got the better experience is an understatement.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. I’d love to see the selfies that you took with the statue of David. There’s Steve in his beard and, yeah.

 

Steve Sims: Me and Andrea Bocelli doing the selfies, yeah. No, I did all of that. And I think that you actually just stumbled on something that I’ve never discussed.

 

Hal Elrod: Okay.

 

Steve Sims: I think part of my ability to do these things is my immaturity and my curiosity. Now, we’ve all got kids that will just go off on a childlike trance to try things. And as we get older, we’re taught this horrible word “grow up.” And my wife often says to me that I’m a 55-year-old five-year-old. I’m just immensely curious. How could I get in there? How can I get Andrea Bocelli? And I’m just very, very curious.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. No, that makes sense, right? And playful and fun. And also, it makes you likable because you’re adorable like a five-year-old.

 

Steve Sims: Yeah. You want to stick me in timeout a lot. Yeah. I will say that there are times I get into rooms that I shouldn’t. I get into conversations that I’m ill-qualified to be in. But it’s that curiosity that perpetuates me forward.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. And so, your first book was Bluefishing, which I had you on. And Bluefish is the name of your company, correct?

 

Steve Sims: Yeah, it was. I actually don’t do it anymore because now I do more speaking and coaching and all the other palaver. So, yeah, Bluefish, we kind of I’ve done it for 25 years. There’s only so many back doors, red carpets, white carpets, yeah, behind the scenes you can go to before you start yawning.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. You probably actually wore out your, I mean, I think you went a little too long.

 

Steve Sims: Yeah. I did. My wife was like, “I’m not going again.” You know, I think it was six or seven years we went to Sir Elton John’s Oscar party. Now, first couple of years, great. But then it gets tiring.

 

Hal Elrod: You’re like, “Aw, we got to go to Elton John’s. Again, honey? Come on.”

 

Steve Sims: Yeah, yeah.

 

Hal Elrod: “Can we just stay home and watch a movie?”

 

Steve Sims: That was it. Trust me, we’ve got those conversations. So, I just kind of moved away from that. And to be honest with you, the book helped me. I won’t say helped me. It ignited me because for 25 years I was probably the most connected guy that no one had ever heard of. And I was dealing with Elton John and Elon Musk and Richard Branson and people you’ve never heard of from Russia, Macau, Korea. Some very colorful characters I’ve got in my Rolodex that when I got the chance to write Bluefishing, I just wanted to like how a bricklayer was able to do these things, and I honestly didn’t think it would take off. And I’m not trying to be coy or humble. I thought, “Oh, this should be good. This means I can tell my kids I’m an author now. It’ll be fun.” It went stupid. It went worldwide. It got picked up. And of course, as you know, when you write something with your heart, people then contact you and expect you to help them further. So, it really pushed me into a whole new point. And then, of course, COVID came across, which just changed the temperature of the room, just changed people and their mindset and what they were willing to tolerate and what they were being fed. And that kind of created the ignition for my second book.

 

Hal Elrod: Okay. So, let’s talk about that because that is very much related to the podcast. This podcast is called Achieve Your Goals and the new book is Go for Stupid: The Art of Achieving Ridiculous Goals. I love the title, Go for Stupid, for multiple reasons. It fits your personality. It’s fun. I actually would love as an author, I’m going to selfishly ask you, when did that title come to you?

 

Steve Sims: It came to me about ten years ago because the first thing, it’s like Voldemort. You never say Voldemort’s name. You also should never say the word “impossible.” Now, I know people go, “Oh, that just stands for ‘I’m possible.’” But secretly, subconsciously, you’re given that word power. So, whenever someone would come to me and they go, “Oh, I’d like you to do this, Steve, but I understand it’s impossible,” that’s just because you think it’s impossible. That just gave me the chance to invoice you three times more than I would charge. So, we never recognize that word. And, literally, whenever we would do anything, just like the David, we would, first of all, get the request and then kind of ignore it and go, “Okay. How can we go for a stupid here?” Not, “Let’s go for the impossible,” because you’ve already committed in your head that it’s a dead end. What’s the most ridiculous thing that we could do? How can we go for stupid?

 

And we used to sit around our rooms, whether it be at home with my family, whether it be the office with a team, we would go, “Hey, let’s go for stupid. We want to do something in Paris. Where should we do it? Let’s go to the rooftop of the Eiffel Tower,” and we would always start with the stupid goal and quite often, quite often fail. But what we achieved was 20 times more than what we felt possible. And do you know a weird thing happens? It starts growing. You know, all of a sudden, 90% of your ridiculous requests come off. And like I’ll remember the David. I walked in there with no plan B, and when I said to them, “Hey, this is what I would love to do. I would like to wake up in the morning tomorrow morning, like all of us, paint the picture of the experience I’m trying to create. I’d like to wake up on Thursday morning and this would be the memory from Wednesday night,” and then I would get them to buy into the dream. And then you never ask them, “Hey, can we do this?” because no is always the fastest word to hear.

 

You always ask them, “So, what do we need to do to make it happen?” And I would always go through and I remember walking out of the Academia on a Monday. We were doing the meal on a Wednesday. On the Monday thinking, “Well, if it fails, I better look for backup,” walking out going, “Wow. I’ve got an entire museum all to myself.” And I was just astounded but it’s amazing. We all know the Wayne Gretzky, “You miss all the shots you fail to take.” I’ve always believed I get a no for every question I don’t ask. And I’ve always been kind of bothered by the fact that today’s society isn’t worried about getting a no. It’s not worried about failing. It’s not worried about rejection. It’s worried about other people seeing them fail and laughing at them. And we’ve actually been growing over the past two years the cancel culture. You know, we spent two years trying to find soundbites from like 1979. You went along to a fancy dress party as a Chinese person and all of a sudden we’re going to cancel your show. We spent a tremendous amount of energy ridiculing and laughing at people in this gotcha society.

 

But what I couldn’t get over it was Jeff Bezos doesn’t care about you laughing at him. Elon Musk doesn’t care. Richard Branson doesn’t care. All of the people that were actually creating impacts in the world that we revere, John Paul DeJoria, you, all of these people, we don’t care about people laughing at them because the people that are laughing are nine times out of ten terrified that you’re going to achieve it and validate that they can’t.

 

Hal Elrod: It’s a great point. I was just talking to somebody right before our call. Thirty minutes before you and I jumped on the Zoom here, I was talking to a friend I haven’t talked to in a couple of years, and he was just asking me to give him an update. And I was sharing with him in 2016, and I’m relating this to the whole Going for Stupid. And for anybody listening right now, actually, before I share the story, I want you to think about what Steve is talking about in that how often are you going for goals that feel impossible, right? And for most people, it’s, “Well, no, I don’t go after goals that feel impossible because I probably am going to fail,” and then either I’m going to like you said, Steve, I’m embarrassed that others will see me fail or I’m going to feel like a failure. And then I’ve created this meaning that to fail is bad versus to fail is awesome, right? If you’re going for stupid all the time, you’re going for these ridiculous goals and dreams, maybe you missed the first seven, but the eight you hit and you, “Oh, my God, I did it.”

 

And so, that’s the first thing I want to share is just if you’re listening, I really want you to think about and we’re going to go much further into this but what Steve’s talking about and look at yourself and go, “Are you going for goals that are extraordinary?” Because that’s when a human being is at their finest. You are at your finest when you are boldly going after things that you don’t fully know how you’re going to accomplish. And there’s a big part of you that actually is scared to death and thinks you might not do it but you’re going after it anyway because you realize that that’s a better way to live. That’s a better way to live. And I was talking to this friend and he asked me for some updates and I said, “What’s wild right now is we have the Miracle Morning in schools.” There are, I think, 1,800 schools in New York and right now 246 of them are doing the Miracle Morning every day. And here’s what’s crazy about that. In 2016, I wrote a ten-year vision for the Miracle Morning. It was right before I got cancer and I forgot it. I literally wrote it and I kind of forgot about it. And a few months back I found it on my computer.

 

And I’ve written down one of my ten-year vision pieces was that by 2026, every school in the world, every classroom starts their day with the Miracle Morning so that students are meditating and reciting affirmations and visualizing and exercising and reading and journaling what they’re grateful for. And I wrote down the outcomes are bullying has been eradicated because you’re not going to beat up the kid next to you when you’ve developed empathy and self-love through your daily Miracle Morning, right? Kids are more confident. They believe in themselves. They’re happier. Their families are affected because the kids are coming home, right? So, I wrote this down. I had no idea how I was going to achieve it. I mean, it was a stupid goal. How do I get every school in the world to start the day with my practice? Well, to keep a long story relatively short, Brianna Greenspan, who wrote the Miracle Morning Art of Affirmations book, she started hosting a Miracle Morning Clubhouse room. I didn’t ask her to do that. One day on a Clubhouse room, a principal spoke up and said, “Hey, we do the Miracle Morning in our school every day across the loudspeaker for 6 minutes. We guide our kids through the SAVERS.”

 

And another principal was on the call and said, “Hey, can you teach us how to do this?” And there it was. And now over 70,000 Miracle Morning books have reached schools in New York and poverty-stricken schools in Compton, California now we’re going nationwide and eventually worldwide. And here’s the point. Here is the point. The point is I wrote down a stupid goal that I had zero idea how to achieve. No idea how to execute. But if you won’t even let yourself think, consider, dream of what might be possible, then it is impossible. Impossible is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And so, Steve, I love that. I’d love for you to share a little more about like what’s the book going to do for people. How is it going to help people? What are some of the specifics?

 

Steve Sims: So, there’s a lot of stories in there, things that I’ve got up to and what I learned from it. And I learned some great lessons from the Bocelli. I learned how to ask and how to ask. So, not only ask more of what I wanted but also ask more of me. I also wanted to basically build up self-confidence to not worry about the gotcha society, to actually understand that those people point and then jeering at you 9 times out of 10 can’t afford you. It’s those people that we should be listening to that are usually the noisiest. And so, the book has got a bunch of that. It’s also got a bunch of conversations I’ve had with some phenomenally talented people throughout the planet from Elton John, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, where they talk about quite simply how they envisage goals and how they’re actually able to dispel the concern about the laughter. In fact, a good friend of ours, a joint friend of ours, Joe Polish, he openly turns around and he says, “The definition of hell is to meet the man or woman you could have been.” And so, I’m trying to and this is quite simply aggravation. I hated COVID, not because it locked us down. None of that. I’m going to say quite openly, COVID was the best years of my life.

 

Hal Elrod: I’ve heard that from people before. Yeah.

 

Steve Sims: It really was good. Here’s a little fact that you may be aware of. Did you know over 5 million new millionaires were registered during that two-year period of COVID? That’s more than any other two-year period in our life span.

 

Hal Elrod: Really?

 

Steve Sims: More people went, hang on, classic Sean Stephenson. How could I make this be done for me and not to me? And so, I wanted to give people the chance to go, “Hey, look, COVID was here.” Everyone was in this cancel mentality, the cancel culture, as it came up in the gotcha society. I wanted to be able to challenge the way you thought, to like you, come up with ridiculous goals, dream, be a child because those goals are only going to be achieved once you’ve dreamt them. And that’s what we’ve got to do. So, you’re going to get tactics from the book. You’re going to hear some great lessons, a lot of talk like say Henry Ford. Did you know they actually tried to ban Henry Ford doing the car? And the reason they tried to ban it was because the horses could go through the woods, the cars couldn’t. That was that reason. They tried to ban coffee. They tried to ban a light bulb, stuff that quite simply we could not live without today was first ridiculed before it became a mainstream of life itself.

 

And I want those people out there, like you say, to stop going to go for what you think you can achieve, to forget that word “impossible” even exists. Just get it out of your vocabulary. It’s not in there and dare to dream of a ridiculous stupid goal, reverse engineer it. You may well fail but let’s be serious. The mantra of every entrepreneur is the first time we try anything, it’ll be terrible.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah, sure.

 

Steve Sims: You remember your first podcast. You remember your first manuscript. You remember your first – we’re both speakers on stage. Do you remember your first speech on stage?

 

Hal Elrod: Oh, yeah, sure.

 

Steve Sims: Compared to what it is now because you’ve been doing it for 10, 15 years. So, I want people to get used to the fact that actually, that failing, that’s education. And that education becomes experience and that experience becomes credibility. And you can invoice very well for your credibility.

 

Hal Elrod: There you go. One of my favorite books of all time was Failing Foreword by John Maxwell. You’ve read that one?

 

Steve Sims: Yep. Yeah, I did. Great book.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. I mean, the title kind of tells you, right? It’s the idea that just embrace failure. It’s part of the process to success. And you think about everybody that’s been really successful in life, they typically failed at one thing and then another and then another, and then one kind of took off, but it fizzled. So, then they kept trying, right? And then, “Oh, they finally figured it out. They finally found their one thing, their idea, their sweet spot, whatever it was.” But if they weren’t willing to fail along the way, they would have never found it. And I think for most of us, that fear of failure stops us from even trying. And you’re a living example of somebody who has boldly gone where no man has gone before, if you will.

 

Steve Sims: Literally.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. What’s next for you? You mentioned you’re on the speaking circuit now. And so, writing, speaking, is that your primary focus? What’s next?

 

Steve Sims: Well, I have a media company. You know, I did very well with Bluefish when we were working with some of the biggest events on the planet from the New York Fashion Week, Kentucky Derby, Formula 1. So, we run a marketing and media company focusing on branding. That’s been my big bread and butter. But I’ve been on the speaking circuit for about four-and-a-half years now. I’m doing lots of gigs. In fact, I’m one of the headline keynotes for Traffic & Conversion this year in San Diego. I’m with Richard Branson in a couple of weeks, funny enough, and then a month ago I was with Gary Vee, so it’s just all taking off. I do a lot of speaking, a lot of coaching. I had my private events called speakeasies and I try to do things a bit different. One of the things I’m doing in November is I’ll go to prison. And as I believe you’re aware, I go to prison and this was pre-COVID. So, this would be the first, second time back since COVID, but I basically go to prison three times a year to a level 4 maximum security and I bring about 40 entrepreneurs. They all have to donate $500 each.

 

They donate it to the prison for education programs. And we train inmates that are called EITs, Entrepreneurs in Training. And we basically take the illegal hustle and turn it into productive hustle. And I’ve been doing that for about four years thanks to being introduced by Jayson Gaignard. And so, I’m really just trying to continue that growth. I’m trying to continue that education. I’m trying to stretch myself. And we can only be stretched when we’re willing to step into uncomfortable situations. And that’s what I try to do on a regular basis.

 

Hal Elrod: I love that. So, Go For Stupid, last question about that book is who is it for? And the reason I ask you that is you mentioned that your clients with Bluefish were all wealthy individuals. I’d imagine this is not strictly for wealthy individuals but you tell me who is Go For Stupid for.

 

Steve Sims: It’s the people that are getting in the way of themselves. And as you know, that’s most business owners. So, it’s for entrepreneurs. It’s for business owners. It’s for people in relationships where they want to turn around and go, “Hang on a minute, I’m settling.” So, if you are out there and quite simply, you’re happy with your life and you’re happy driving to work for your 9 until 5 and you’re happy mowing the lawn on the weekend, do not waste your money and buy this book. But if you’re annoyed, if you’re aggravated and you’re not willing to settle and you wonder, “What am I capable of by listening to what other people…?” Yeah, I left school at 15 years old. I was a bricklayer, I was a doorman, and now I can send a text to Elon Musk and Elton John. I want those people that are aggravated where they are to go, “Hang on a minute. Surely there’s more. Where’s the roadmap?” And that’s what the book’s going to be there for.

 

Hal Elrod: The road map. I love it. Yeah. You’re a perfect example of you can come from humble beginnings. You can be a total screw up and you can be not even very good-looking. I mean, I’m looking at you right now and you can still end up living the life of your dreams and helping other people do the same. So, cool.

 

Steve Sims: I can’t argue with that one. I can’t.

 

Hal Elrod: You’re actually a pretty good-looking guy. Any final parting words for the Achieve Your Goals audience, the Miracle Morning community?

 

Steve Sims: Yes. Stop settling. You know, get your standards. If you get a cold drink and it’s supposed to be warm, send it back. If you get some fries and they’re cold, send it back. If you’re having a conversation that’s not going well, change the conversation. If you got people around your table that don’t challenge and inspire you, change your table. So, start changing your standards and settle up.

 

Hal Elrod: Yeah. And ironically, stupid is the standard that we’re talking about, right? Aspire go for stupid. So, well, goal achievers, the book is Go For Stupid: The Art of Achieving Ridiculous Goals. It is by Steve Sims, the author who has himself achieved ridiculous goals. And I’m excited too. I just ordered my copy as well. It just came out on October 18th. Well, Steve, I love you, brother. It is so great to see you, man. And actually, I have to share this. I remember a moment when you and I were I think it was at a MastermindTalks event, but I had seen you speak and I was enamored. I was like, “Wow. That guy is awesome.” Like, I love your authenticity. I love your sense of humor. I love your personality. And I kind of had you on a pedestal and you came up to me at the hotel and you were almost like nervous to talk to me. And you’re like, “Hal, I read Miracle Morning and it changed my life. And I’m such a big fan and I would love to talk to you.” You know, it’s just amazing that, right, we’re both having the same thoughts about each other. Like, wow, I’m not cool enough to hang out with Steve Sims and you’re thinking the same. So, yeah, man. So, you really endeared yourself to me in that moment with your humility and your vulnerability and I’ve loved you ever since, man.

 

Steve Sims: Cheers, buddy. Thanks for being who you are and sharing.

 

Hal Elrod: Alright, brother. Goal Achievers, I love you very, very much. And get the book, Go for Stupid, and I will talk to you all next week.

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