There’s a lot of stress when you face tons of challenges. But how do you deal with that stress? How do you make opportunities out of them? In this episode, Dr. John Demartini, the author of the Resilient Mind, shares his insights on how you can face challenges and stress and make opportunities out of it. When you are stuck with your interpretation of reality towards others, that’s when your resilience and adaptability become less. Resilience and adaptability come from an objective state where you are not subjectively biased in your interpretation. Tune in to this episode as we go deeper into building a Resilient Mind.
20:38 – Subjective bias
32:31 – Neuroplastically remodel the brain
36:02 – How to create a more resilient mind
42:42 – It’s wise to do less
How do we leverage continuous uncertainty to thrive in this unprecedented new world?
The answer is to build the resilience we need to power us through the challenges we face so that we become “Change Proof.” Prepare to tackle the future with confidence by reading Adam’s latest book Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.
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Resilient Mind: How To Face Challenges And Make Opportunities Out Of Them With Dr. John Demartini
In this episode, I’ve got a great guest. He is somebody that you may have heard of. He is world-renowned. Dr. John Demartini is a polymath and a world-renowned human behavior expert. He has five decades of research across multiple disciplines. His work has been described by students as the most comprehensive body of work and an extensive library of wisdom, as well as the wisdom of the highest and most valuable order. He’s got a brand new book out, aptly named The Resilient Mind. Stay tuned and buckle up. We’ve got an amazing conversation that’s just ahead.
John, we know each other through an organization we’re both affiliated with but have never met before. This is our first meeting, which is exciting. I hope our folks will find it just as exciting as we do. I know a bit about you and you’ve got a storied history. I can’t imagine how many times you’ve been introduced, let’s say, where your bio’s been read, you’re being introduced and you hear that language of all the things you’ve accomplished and everything you’ve done in the world. I know it’s odd for me every time I hear that kind of thing, but my question for you first out of the gate is what is one thing that is not a part of that bio or that introduction that you repeatedly hear, even to this day that you would love for people to know about you?
I like to think about myself as a man on a mission with a vision and a message that loves to blab, speak and help people transform their lives and do something extraordinary with them. I’m sure we have that in common and that’s not always worded that way on any bio, but I do four things and that’s it. I teach, research, write and travel. The rest of it. I’m pretty useless. That’s the only thing I’m doing pretty good and I delegate everything except that’s what I do and everything is delegated. I even have a clock changer on my ship here.
I want to get to a question that came to mind when I heard what you said, which is when did you dial it in? I want to put that on the side for a second because for business owners, for people who operate in that space and entrepreneurs for sure to get that level of clarity. I’m sure folks read what you said that and it dropped in for a lot of them going, “I wish I was that clear. I wish I knew that’s what I should be doing.”
Also, not doing other things means delegating to people who maybe it’s their core competency to do those things. I want to put that aside and ask you a different question, which is, when did you know that this was your thing? I’m going to share quickly when I knew, but only later did I know that’s what was happening.
When I was 8, 9, 10 years old or something in that range, I remember with friends or other little kids around that I would be giving advice. It’s so long ago. I go back in my mind to try to think about what I was doing but was counseling. On some level, I was counseling this little group of young kids. Maybe it leaked into my teenage years, etc., and then I became a teacher later on for a short while in middle school. I became a lawyer and now doing what I’m doing.
The thread that ties all those different things together is this concept of counseling, of being able to give people advice or help them to figure the f*** out. My question is, do you have an early life memory or can you pinpoint when everything you’re doing now, all the seeds were there?
I was a learning-disabled child. I had a speech impediment. From one and a half to four, I was going to a speech pathologist. I had an arm and leg deformity. I was told in first grade I would never be able to read or write. I would never be able to communicate effectively. Probably, I wouldn’t go very far in life or never amount to anything. I was only decent at standing on a surfboard and throwing a baseball.
Sports was a way. Even the teacher said, “Put him into sports. He seems to be decent there,” because once I got out of my braces, I just wanted to run fast. I wanted to show that I could stand up and be balanced because I would fall over as a kid. I left school when I was thirteen and became a street kid. I wanted to go surfing.
From age 13 to about 14, I lived in Freeport, Texas, and Galveston, Texas, where the surf was. At fourteen, I hitchhiked out to California and down in New Mexico. At fifteen, I made my way over to the North Shore of Oahu. I wanted to be a Big Wave writer and I did. I got in some surf magazines, surf movies, and even a surf book from Big Waves. I nearly died at seventeen. I was unconscious for three and a half days. In recovery, I was led to a health food store into a yoga class to try to gain mind over body.
There was a guest speaker at this yoga class one night. His name was Paul C. Bragg. You probably heard of Bragg’s amino acids. Paul Bragg spoke that night in such a way that inspired me to believe that maybe I could someday overcome my learning problems, learn how to read and speak properly, and someday become intelligent.
The night that he spoke, it was the first night in my life that I thought, “Just maybe I could someday become intelligent.” That night he took us through a meditation. In that meditation, I saw a vision and I was standing out on a balcony. I remember walking through this stoned archway coming out onto a balcony and standing before a million people. I was speaking about the power we have in healing.
In the background, there was an iconic building from every major city around the world because it was me wanting to share a message with the world. I was speaking in Melbourne, Australia many years ago and I was sharing that story in more depth. A famous painter came up to me from the audience and said, “I would love to paint that.”
Dr. Demartini is standing on a balcony. He is looking out on what seems to be many thousands of people and these iconic classic buildings are in the background.
He sent this to me as a gift. His name is Andrew Tischler. He’s a famous painter in Melbourne, Australia. That was the vision that I saw that night. The title of it is A Man on a Mission with a Vision and a Message Who Wanted to Create Ideas to Serve Humanity. That’s the title. I knew that night what I was dedicated to.
At 16 or 17? What was it again?
It’s at seventeen. I have done this for more than 50 years. I became a teacher at eighteen. I started gathering students at eighteen when I first started learning how to read. I’ve never stopped and I’ve now spoken in 192 countries.
You still maintain your Jackson Browne hair. How on earth?
I still got a little bit of hair left. It’s starting to get gray.
You can’t say that in my presence.
All I can say is that I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than teach, research, write and travel. Can I share a story now of how that came about?
Just because you asked that question.
I was going to come back to that.
I want to be a teacher, healer, and philosopher. That was what I wanted to do. I ended up going on to professional school to be a doc and I opened up my practice in 1982. I had to go back and take a GED and go back and figure out how to pass school. I failed at first, but I eventually overcame it by memorizing a dictionary, and I ended up eventually becoming scholarly.
They said, “You’d never read.” I’ve read over 3,729 books now. I’ve devoured books since I learned how to read at eighteen, but at 27, I opened up my practice in 1982, on October 12th. About 3 or 4 weeks in, I was realizing I was doing everything. I’m doing payroll, and I had one assistant that I was paying. I’m doing bank reconciliations. I’m doing supplies. I’m doing patients. I’m doing this. I’m doing paperwork. I’m doing that. I’m going, “This isn’t at all that inspiring. This is not the way that I envisioned it to be. I went to ten years of college to do this.”
I love the healing art. I love speaking, but I didn’t love all this administrative stuff and I thought, “I got to figure out how to do something about that.” I went to Walden’s Bookstore, which was a chain in those days. I went and bought a book called The Time Trap by Alec Mackenzie on time management. I devoured that book. When I read a book, I devoured it and I wrote a summary of that book and put a six-column piece of paper. I’d like to share this if I could with everybody who may be reading because it could make a difference in their business. What I did was I put five vertical lines on a piece of paper.
There are six equal columns. In the far left column at the top, it says, “Daily Actions.” If you put it, the very far top first column on the six columns across the page is daily actions. I wrote down every single thing I did in a day from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. Factoring in over three months, each day is slightly different, but I want everything that I would ever do in those three months on that piece of paper.
Not broad or vague generalities and things or labels like marketing. It’s too vague. What are the actual little action steps that I’m doing with my body on a moment-to-moment basis in marketing or sales or whatever I’m doing, like administration? I broke it down and I made this massive list. It was multiple pages long of everything I do from the time I wake up and the things that I do at home for family and the things I do for my profession.
As I did that, this whisper in my head was saying, “You’re majoring in minors and minoring in majors. You’re doing a whole lot of stuff that’s not important. No wonder you’re burdened.” It’s because if you’re not filling your day with the highest priority actions that inspire you, your day’s going to fill up with low-priority distractions. If you don’t fill your day with high-priority actions and challenges that inspire you, you devalue yourself.
I was devaluing myself and it was not hard to see. As I made that list, I then went, “I’ve got nobody to look at except me. I’m doing this. I’m the one doing all this stuff.” In the next column, I wrote down, “How much does it produce per hour?” I considered if I was doing something produced per hour, it meant I was caring enough about humanity to do something meaningful to someone else they would be willing to pay.
I’m meeting some value and need in them for them to be willing to pay because I could be busy but doing something meaningful and productive that gives you some income. I need to know what that is. I made a list of what it produced per hour in the next column. I put a thousand dollars an hour, zero per hour, 200 an hour, $50 an hour, whatever it is next to every one of the things on that list, which is multiple pages.
The number of zeros on there was extraordinary. I was doing a whole lot of stuff that wasn’t producing, but it was taking up time and costing me. I immediately decided I was starting to charge for some of those things. I’m like, “Why am I not charging for that? Where did I get that? Am I injecting the values of some outer authority that I didn’t even know I was doing?”
I raised the fee on doing those things and I took that entire list from the thing that produced the most, which was getting out in front of a group of people and speaking and inspiring new clients to the highest priority clinical thing. I reprioritize it based on what produced the most down to the least and all the zeros down below. I made a commitment to try to make sure that if I’m doing something, it’s got to be of value, so I need to charge for it.
I was devaluing myself. When you do low-priority things, you devalue yourself and you don’t value yourself enough to charge. You diminish your own self-worth. Those two columns were already an eye-opener. I went to the third column and the third column I wrote down, on a 1 to 10 scale, how much meaning does it give? A ten is, “I can’t wait to get up in the morning and do this. I love it. It’s inspiring. I’m so grateful I get the opportunity to do that. I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this.”
One is, “I’ve got to do it. I’m trapped.” This is the time trap that he was talking about. When I went through there, I reprioritized that list according to 10 down to 1. Luckily, in my case, the things that were tens happened to be matched to the things that produced the most per hour, which were speaking and training and clinically working with the highest quality clients. I was blessed.
When I got through that column, I already knew where I was headed. It was already starting to become evident where I was headed and where my focus needed to be. I went to the next column and I said, “If I was to hire somebody to do all of those things at my standard or greater, it has to be greater than my standard, what would it cost?
Not just the salary but the paper, the pencil, the paper clips, the computer, the depreciation schedule, the parking and insurance. I want a complete analysis of what is the real true cost of that individual to do that job, training, lost opportunity, cost and everything. I made an exhaustive list and memorized it that went through that whole thing, that long list of if I was to hire somebody. I then realized that there were a whole lot of $10 and $20 and $25 and $30 and $40 and $50 jobs sitting in there.
The one that was making me the most was getting out and speaking to a group of people and engaging them into becoming patients, which is $12,000 to $18,000 in an hour. One big difference from doing what I was doing here at $0. I realized that where I need to be is a man with a mission, with a message, and fulfilling his vision. When I did that, I then took the spread between what it produced per hour versus what it cost per hour.
I prioritized that according to spread. I looked at what was the thing that would allow me the greatest extraction of surplus labor value out of it. I put down, “How much time am I going to do that?” If I’m allocating time, if I’m doing a job description, how much time is that per day? In the final column is the final prioritization with all those variables. When I got that done, I then divided that thing with layers into ten different layers and put a job description for each of those layers.
At the very top layer was mine. That’ll be the final thing I delegate is a duplication of myself in a franchise or some other form but down below, I’m d I’m getting that off my plate. I hired somebody and this was October 24th or something like that. The 2nd or 3rd week in my business. From one assistant in a small 970-square-foot office, eighteen months later, I was in a 5,000-square-foot office. I had 5 doctors and 12 staff members. My net income was tenfold and all I was doing is speaking, training doctors, and doing the very highest-end corporate leading patients.
I was generating more income and doing what he said. I was the visionary, strategizing, delegating, and inspiring. I never stopped. By the time I was 28, I never went back and I learned for many years now, “Don’t do desperate things. You’re not going to live an inspired life doing anything that you require motivation to do. Anytime you need extrinsic motivation to do something, you’re devaluing yourself and you’ll end up draining your energy.Don't do desperate things. You will live an inspired life doing anything that you require motivation to do. Click To Tweet
I don’t waste my time on that. I delegate everything except teach, research, write and travel. Everything’s off my plate. I have a clock changer because we change time zones on the ship. I live on a ship, in case you don’t know. I have cleaning people that come in twice a day. I’ve got a captain. I’ve got a chauffeur. I’ve got a pilot. I’ve got every single thing that I need to take care of everything. Even my girlfriend says, “Can you have Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Gerard Butler? Can you delegate the lovemaking to them?
What’s your answer to that?
I just said, I love you so much. She said, “If I did that, would you love me more?” She says, “I would love you even more.” I don’t do that. I’m joking. I delegate everything and I learned that when you get up in the morning, you want to be able to do what you love to do. You want to be able to, “I can’t wait to get up in the morning,” because when you can’t wait to do what you love to do, people can’t wait to get what you’re doing. It’s a reflection. I let go of everything except teach, research, and travel.
Again, it’s clarity and I think people have to come to that clarity on their own, but what I love about what you laid out, it’s a way to create that clarity and it’s formulaic. The way you would build an erector set when I was a kid or Lego or whatever it might be. I say to some people now, “I don’t know what an erector set is. I’ve got a little baby grandson who’s getting two and I got to go on eBay and see where those old director sets are, but right now, he’s enjoying Play-Doh. Who doesn’t love Play-Doh?
The idea that with a plan or at least a formula for how to go about something, it doesn’t mean you’re going to solve the situation the way you solved it in the same way, of course, but it gives you a starting point. I think a lot of people are lost as to things like, “How do I stop minoring in the major things, the most important things in my life? How do I stop majoring in the minor stuff,” which is what takes up the bulk of the time. When I hear you describe that, it’s been talked about also as the 80/20 rule.
I know that’s been more of a focus in our business. Everybody knows the 80/20 rule, but it bears repeating and you can apply it to so many things. What are the 20% of the business that you conduct that earns 80% of your income? You ask and answer that one question. You go, “When I get paid $20,000 to go and keynote a conference for an hour, that’s a pretty good return.”
Even when I was a lawyer, I don’t ever remember billing that kind of money or creating that kind of a result. There’s a roomful of people whose message is impacting in a very positive way in the best case. I’m fulfilled. It’s meaningful. All of that was out of one hour’s talk. Now truly, sometimes you have to fly someplace. You’re in Israel right now. I’m in California, but I’ll be in Memphis, then I’ll be in Birmingham and then I will be in Springfield, Missouri. It’s a little three-stop whistle tour and then back home.
A while ago, I was in front of the California School Board and I did it all virtually. I had to talk to teachers, people I love, and people doing magnificent work in the world who are underpaid, underappreciated, and exhausted. This is going to lead to the next question here. I did that virtually. I was able to leverage my time even further by reaching out and delivering this service to talk about how you turn around your exhaustion and become more resilient and all that kind of thing.
I did it virtually for 90 minutes over Zoom and you go, “That’s magnificent.” That’s why technology is this massive aid to us and gives us even greater options, but that’s a question I have for you, John. Given your travel schedule, the amount of work that you’ve done, and the number of lives you’ve touched, etc., how have you developed a greater resilience? I’d like to start with what your definition of resilience. I know you’ve got a brand new book that’s coming out.
As this episode is being released, that book will be available. It’s called The Resilient Mind. I want to talk about The Resilient Mind, but before we get there, I’d love to start with how you define it. Has resilience, the word itself, the concept, even the philosophy around it, been something you’ve been aware of for quite some time? This might also lead us to the inspiration to have written the book, but let’s start with your definition if we could.
I first got interested in resilience when I was in my twenties as a health professional because it had a lot of applications in healthcare and immune responses. That’s where I first got exposed to the idea. Can I develop this? Can I make it where it’s maybe more clear if I only put a few words on it? I don’t think it’s going to be as appreciated as it as I could if I developed it a bit.
Please do that. Thank you.
Let’s say you’re a single man or a single woman and now, because of the spectrum, this may not be appropriately languaged, but let’s say you meet somebody on the street or at a restaurant or at a social event that you’re fond and you’re infatuated with. When you first meet him, you get the dopamine and encephalon rush and you get oxytocin, vasopressin, and serotonin. You get a little bit of high and you get excited meeting this person that you are attracted to.
While you’re in that state, you’re conscious of the positives but blind to the downsides. If you start dating him for days, weeks, months, or years, some of the downsides and peccadillos surface, but you don’t see them initially because you’re blinded. You’re a little ignoring. You have an unconsciousness of some behaviors because of the subjective bias you’ve interpreted your initial reality too.
The more infatuated you are, the more you’re frightened of losing them. Anything you’re phylic towards, you’re phobic if you were to lose it. The more positive you’re seeing it, the more fear the loss. If you meet somebody you meet and you are resentful of them and you’re conscious of the downsides and unconscious of the upsides, now, you’re going to have no impulse towards them, but you’re going to have the instinct to avoid them.
These are both amygdala responses. They’re both subjective biases in the interpretation of them because if you got to know them, you’ll find out they’ve got positive and negative sides. If you’ve found the person infatuated with you, they’ve got downsides that you’re going to eventually discover. When you’re resenting them because of that, you have a fantasy of escaping them and you have a phobia of being around them.
Your resilience is lessened the more polarized your perception. The more you’re infatuated, the more you fear it’s lost, the more you resentful, the more you fear it’s gained. The more fear you have, the less resilience and adaptability you have because you’re rigidly stuck in your interpretation of the reality of these people. Now, after a period of time, you discover the downsides over time. You find out the person you’re infatuated with has a few things you have to deal with.Your resilience is lessened the more polarized your perception. Click To Tweet
Anybody who’s been married for a period of time knows that there are things you eventually like and dislike. You won’t find all positives and the things you think are terrible a day, a week, a month, a year, or five years later, you eventually discover the wisdom of the ages with the aging process but find some terrific coming out of that terrible. I almost died and I found my mission. These challenging events become the catalyst for incredible opportunities.
You eventually find it. It’s called desensitization on the terrible and it’s called habituation on the other ones. It’s trying to neutralize your brain back into a balance for the purpose of homeostasis for the electronic chemistry in the brain. The forebrain automatically tries to neutralize the amygdala’s subjective bias and automatically tries to neutralize it back into a homeostatic balance where you see both sides simultaneously.
Wilhelm Wundt, in 1896, wrote a book on simultaneous contrast. When the individual sees both sides simultaneously, they’re mindful. They’re not judging. They’re not highly polarized or infatuated. They are not highly resentful. Anything you infatuate occupies space and time in your mind and runs you. Anything you resent occupies space and time in your mind and runs you. It makes it difficult to sleep. You have got all this noise in the brain, but the second you bring it back into homeostasis, into balance, see both sides, which is what the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex, the executive center calms down the amygdala with glutamate and GABA transmitters.
It calms down those impulses and instincts and stabilizes them. The moment you have a perfectly neutral mind and you see both sides simultaneously, you have no fear of loss or no fear of gain and you now have maximum resilience and adaptability. Resilience and adaptability come from an objective state where you’re not subjectively biased in your interpretation of reality and fearing the loss of things that you seek or fearing the gain of the things that you avoid.
Resilience and adaptability are the maximum state of ability to respond to the environment without overreacting. This is what our executive is designed to do. When we live by the highest priority, our blood glucose and oxygen go into the forebrain. It activates the medial prefrontal cortex. It activates this executive center. It sends nerve fibers down into the amygdala.
It calms the impulses and instincts down, neutralizes through habituation and desensitization these misperceptions that we’ve stored there, that we’ve judged there and stored in our subconscious mind. It liberates us from that and allows us to have a more objective mind where we love people from both sides, which is what every human being wants to be, the love for both sides of themselves, not one side.
At that moment, we have maximum resilience and adaptability. We are willing to pursue the challenges that inspire us instead of trying to avoid the challenges that don’t. That’s where creativity, genius, innovation, and original thinking spontaneously emerge out of this forebrain when you’re living authentically. When you infatuate somebody, you minimize yourself and that’s inauthentic. When you resent somebody, you exaggerate yourself and that’s inauthentic.
It’s only when you love somebody that you allowed yourself to be authentic and that’s the state where maximum resilience, adaptability, autonomic regulation, and heart rate variability maximizes. You have more youthfulness. You’re not sitting there aggravating your cardiovascular system. I could go on and on about the significance. You think by priority.
What you’re doing is and I want to add a plus to this in the sense that I want to use different language for folks as well. This is a holistic concept. One of the most important things is my keynote presentations are often about resilience or about work-life harmony. People say balance. I prefer to use the term harmony. It’s nice. There are some things we could use to distinguish those, but resilience is not purely one thing.
First of all, we define it differently. That’s why I asked for your definition, but it’s mental. It’s emotional. It’s physical and it’s also spiritual. That’s what I’m hearing you say because of this concept of, “How do we get to equilibrium? How do we find that we can be neutral?” What a fascinating concept. You have to ask yourself in a moment or set out the intention throughout the day to simply be neutral about things.
There are a lot of things that trigger us. There are a lot of things that put us that get us into a state of anger. I want to put that aside and come back to that, but ultimately, if we can pause, ask, and choose. The book I wrote, Change Proof, lays out this philosophy of pause, ask, and choose. If you could simply do it, that pause concept is phenomenally powerful. That is to pause and take a breath, pause and take a beat. Just stop where you are for one second and do what you described, John, to get to neutral as in, “This is not right, this is not wrong, this is not good, this is not bad, this is not true, this is not false,” just for a second. What does that do? How does that restore? What’s the restorative quality of that one beat that you take?
It’s almost its own miracle. I’m getting the little chills because that’s a truth, like a capital T truth. Call BS on it if what I’m saying doesn’t ring true for you as well.
When you are infatuated with somebody, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which tends to activate the more delta waves, almost resting waves in the brain. When you are resentful of something, it activates the sympathetic and you get the beta waves.
It’s because you’re in fight or flight at that moment, the cortisol and the adrenaline.
fight or flight. When those are perfectly balanced at 7.8 to 8 seconds per second, you get on the alpha-theta state. If you get it just right and you have a perfect balance and you’re not exaggerating with your narcissistic pride looking down on people you resent, you’re not minimizing yourself altruistically with your shame. You’re centered. You get an eight-cycle-per-second alpha-theta state, which births a gamma synchronicity in the brain. It synchronizes the brain and gives you a tear of inspiration. It’s the little goosebumps.
It’s a state of authenticity and you get tears of inspiration, which is a confirmation of authenticity and maximum resilience. What’s interesting is the second that occurs, the hypothalamus gets activated. It neutralizes the autonomics in perfect balance and the intracardiac network in the heart calms the heart down and synchronizes the heart. The bradycardia-tachycardia effect or parasympathetic is perfectly balanced.
The sinoatrial node fires, a perfect rhythm occurs, your heart feels like it’s opening and you’re now getting rewarded for being authentic and loving another individual and not judging somebody. Maximum resilience, originality, and potential are born in that way. What you said is if somebody’s under an emotion, if they stop and pause for a second and get their executive center to think before they react, they wake up that center. That’s the approach to do it. That’s as valid and very quick if they can stop for a second and not let the emotional amygdala feel before it thinks and be allowed to think before it feels for just a second, you maximize resilience.
To me, uncertainty is a new certainty. In the world we’re living in right now, there are tremendous unknowns. It’s creating a great deal of that response that you described where in one state of alertness or beyond alertness and fear after another and it’s exhausting. My work and where our work dovetails, I wanted to use this as a way to leg into talking about the book.
When I’m being brought in, somebody’s saying our people are tired. Our people are exhausted, our people are anxious, and our people are depleted. They don’t typically use that word, but that’s the word that we use for it. That in that depleted state, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, there’s no way that we can be all that we’re capable of being, whatever that might be and that’s all that an employer ever wants.
They are paying for somebody to come and show up and be the best they can be. The depletion is the thing that is squarely in focus right now for organizations. It’s a good thing that they’re so focused on what well-being in the workplace might turn into or be other than foosball machines and nap pods or whatever.
I want to get a sense from you of, first of all, what is the resilient mind and I’d like to get more on what the origin of the book is, but also what’s the dividend. What’s the ROI for people, not only in reading the book but in understanding a way that our minds can renew and regenerate? Using a biblical verse, I would say that renewing the mind is a transformational thing spiritually and non-spiritually.
Authenticity is spirituality. That’s the bottom line. Equanimity is spirituality. Homeostasis is the expression of the spiritual through the material.
Again, to be clear. I’m not saying religious.
Spirituality is an inspiration where you may be climbing a mountain and that’s inspirational. It may not be religious, but it could be spiritual. Whatever inspires you spontaneously that you act without having any extrinsic motivation is a path of inspiration for you. Mine is teaching. For years, I’ve been doing it every single day, seven days a week and I love it. I don’t think about it. I don’t need the motivation to do what I do.
You have the energy to do it.
Energy’s infinite once you recognize the source. That’s the thing.
It’s renewing itself without willpower, let’s say. You don’t have to will yourself to do it.
No. Anytime you’re trying to live in other people’s values or trying to get other people to live in your values, you’re going to drain your energy. The draining of energy is not a mistake or a weakness. It’s feedback from you to let you know you’re not loving yourself and not loving others. You’re trying to live in the shadows of others or trying to get others to live in the shadows of you.
Neither one of those is authenticity. Do we have control over our perceptions, decisions, and actions in life? That’s it. Prioritize your actions and take command of your actions and delegate lower-priority things and get on with your life of inspiration. If you haven’t got somebody to delegate it, take the job duties that you have or daily duties you have and find out by asking this question. “How specifically is doing this action temporarily until I can delegate it, helping me fulfill what’s most meaningful, most inspiring, most fulfilling, and most authentic for me?”
Answer that question. Don’t say, “I don’t know. I can’t find it.” Be accountable and neuroplastically remodel the brain so that action is now on the way, not in the way, so you’re living a life of inspiration and mastery, not a victim of history. If you do, you won’t be blaming the job because anytime you have a false attribution bias and you blame things on the outside and look for solutions on the outside of your own mind, you don’t have a resilient mind. You have a delusion. You have to be accountable for your own perception, decisions, and actions in life and prioritize your actions and prioritizing your perceptions where no matter what happens in your life, how is it helping me fulfill your mission? That’s one of the greatest questions any human being can ask.Neuroplastically remodel the brain so that action is now on the way, not in the way. So you're living a life of inspiration and mastery, not a victim of history. Click To Tweet
It’s because no matter what happens, it’s on the way and it’s helping you do it. You’re not going to be drained when you’re doing that. You’re not going to be tired. I don’t get tired or drained. I have to sometimes delegate sleep to other people and say, “You take care of that for me.” It’s because when you’re doing something you’re inspired to do and you feel that’s you’re calling, you don’t even notice the time. You’re not living in the existential world of judgment. You’re living in the essential state of being, a timeless mind age and body state that Deepak talked about.
I want to talk about the renewing of the mind. Again, this is drawn out of scripture and so many things in the Bible. There are so many applications to it that are not necessarily tied to religious dogma or context, but rather what is commonsensical? What can we use as the wisdom of these words that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds? You have written a book called The Resilient Mind. How important is the practice? What does it look like to renew our minds or to create resilience mentally?
Here’s an example. We’re coming up on the Oscars and in 2022, famously at the Oscars, an event happened that has been talked about. I was somehow tapped to answer a question about that event for Psychology Today a couple of weeks after that occurred. We all know what it was. My theory then, and still is now, is that event occurred when Will Smith got up out of his seat, got up on stage, smacked a friend of his in front of the entire world, and did some serious damage to his career, maybe irreparable. Who knows? We’ll see. I don’t think so, but that occurred because he was depleted.
It’s not because he woke up that morning and said, “I’m going to sabotage myself, my career, my family, and all these things. It’s not because he’s a person who does that on a daily basis. This is not an abusive person. He doesn’t need anger management. I see him as somebody who was exhausted and at that moment, in a state of exhaustion, he did like any of us could have done or done worse being in his shoes. He snapped.
His mind was not resilient at that moment. He didn’t do what he could have done to stop that behavior from creating the damage that it created. Can we use that as an example? Can we talk about that in some way and talk about how people create a more resilient mind in a world where they’re inundated every single day with more? God knows how much was on his plate or is on any celebrity’s plate or anybody who’s constantly on all the time.
Also, how about for just a person who’s taking care of being a parent or taking care of an elderly parent and has a job and a boss and demands that are constant on the weekends and there’s no weekends anymore? In that world we’re living in, John, where it’s coming at us so rapid-fire, how do we create a more resilient mind? I would love to spend some time there.
That exercise I gave earlier would be one, to stop and look at what you’re doing. By the way, none of it has to be. People want to say, “I have to do this. I got to do this.” No, you don’t. You’ve made a choice. You’re subordinating to somebody’s expectation. You’re not willing to plan out an alternative pathway and until you have an alternative pathway that you feel is more viable than what you’re doing, you’re going to continue doing what you’re doing, but it’s not because of some outside source.
As long as you blame things on the outside, you gave your power away. The first thing you want to do is look inside. What are you doing to put yourself in this position? Are you not prioritizing? Are you not delegating? Are you not planning how you’re going to create your own business to make your own decisions?
Are you afraid to go and tell the people that if I go to the boss and say, “If I hire somebody here to do these things and get them off my plate, I can produce more for the company?” There’s no such thing as a person who’s trapped except in their own mind. That’s the first thing because until they get that, they’re going to keep blaming things, and blames don’t get you anywhere. Taking accountability for your own reality is the first step.
First is to take responsibility for the reality that you’ve created.
Take responsibility for your reality. I could have easily run this story and been a victim of my history. “If I’m doing all this, I got to do all this, I got to do all that,” but no. I went to a bookstore. I got a book and I changed my reality. I started doing different things and my life changed. It had nothing to do with the world outside me and everything is made with my decision as to how I’m going to do it.
Am I going to get new education? Am I going to get mentorship? Am I going to learn a new strategy? What am I going to do to be different? It’s because talking about and about how it is doesn’t get you to make any transformation. Stop the bitching unless you change BITCHING into an acronym and now it’s a sacred pathway.
If you say you are not allowed to complain for a day, I think y we’d have bigger problems.
I have no problem telling people to stop the bitching. You’re in here. Every decision you make is based on what you believe at that moment will give you the greatest advantage over the disadvantage. You wouldn’t be stuck there. You’re believing that right now that job is more secure than you coming up with an alternative. Right now, you’re afraid that if you don’t make this income or whatever, your wife will leave you or something. These are all your stuff. It’s not the external circumstances.
It’s a status quo bias.
I hold people accountable because until they do, they’re going to run a story and say, “This job’s killing me,” then either crap or get off the pot.
Step one is, let’s be aware, for starters, that this is of my own making.
This is your own creation. It’s because I’ve had people who said, “I can’t do this. I can’t do that.” I sat down. I negotiated and figured out an alternative. You’ve done it 1,000 times and all of a sudden they go, “Now, I know what I can do. I know what to do to solve that.”
I heard a description of that once, John, and you probably have heard this. You look at a child and I got children, little ones around me quite frequently and they can’t tie their shoes. For the life of them, they watch, they see, or whatever. They can’t tie a shoe. You’re two years old. You can’t tie your own shoe. An adult sits down and ties their shoe and it’s nothing for them.
We know that in a year’s time, they’ll be tying their shoes and they’ll look at their little brother or sister who can’t tie their shoe and think, “What’s wrong with you? You can’t tie your shoe,” but that’s all it is. Just because you can’t do something, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It only means you don’t know to do it.
Is it time for you to get a mentor to give you some new insights on how to break through your box? Is it time to go out and get a book and learn how to read and stand on the shoulders of giants and expand your awareness, but don’t bitch. You are not going to go anywhere bitching. Stop the bitching and start enriching. I didn’t get where I am by bitching. I got there by enriching myself and learning and trying new things out.
Again, that’s part of the resilient mind.
That’s it because people want to run their story. Instead of running your story, make history. That’s what I say. Make history instead of running the old story. A Greek philosopher said, “When people start on their journey, they blame others. When they go a little further on their journey, they blame themselves.” There’s nothing to blame. Everything was on the way. 0:41:14 Our circumstance right now, how is it helping me get where I want to go?
If you haven’t decided where you want to go, then you’re going to be going where everybody else goes. You don’t decide. If you don’t empower your mind, you’re going to be told what to think. If you don’t empower your business, you’re going to be told what to do. If you don’t empower yourself financially, you’re going to be told what you’re worth. If you don’t empower your self-relation, you’ll be told how do you do crap around the house?
If you don’t empower yourself socially, you are getting misinformation campaigns. If you don’t empower yourself physically, you are going to be told what drugs to take and what organs to remove. If you don’t empower yourself spiritually, you’ll be told some dogma from centuries ago. Wake up, empower your life, and give yourself permission to shine, not shrink. Do something extraordinary and not ordinary and know that if you’re going to fit in with everybody else, you’re going to be stuck. You got to stand on the shoulders of giants and be willing to walk a new path.Wake up, empower your life and permit yourself to shine, not shrink and do something extraordinary, not ordinary. Click To Tweet
That’s where our freedom lies, anyway.
That’s where resilience is. It’s the same thing.
We become aware and we take responsibility. In having this awareness, we gain a freedom we didn’t have before. What are some of the things that you do, maybe even on a ritual basis, to create a more resilient mind? What does that look like for you?
I say no to everything that requires external motivation to me and I say yes to anything that inspires me. I fill my day with inspiration and not desperation. It’s that simple. People go, “That’s okay because you’re financially independent,” and all that. They come up with that excuse. I said, “I didn’t become financially independent until I started doing that. That’s what got me there.”
It is a bit of the chicken in the egg.
People think that when I’m successful, then I’ll do those things. No. Do those things and you end up having the achievements that you want.
You inspired me. While you were sharing before, I was taking that in and integrating it. What came through for me was that it would be wise to do less in the world we’re living in right now. I know that’s going to sound weird, maybe controversial even given that there seems to be more and more on our plates all the time, but to do less so that we can be more obsessed with the quality of what we do. Also, add to that, we have to work in a natural way.
I think this is what you’re showing right now. Your model is you’re on a boat. You’re on your own ship because that enables you to travel the way you do, impact lives that you’re able to, and still be an equilibrium. I say this because I’ve seen it in myself that even in the midst of one of my inspired trips if I’m in the airport and they’ve canceled the flight or the equipment is broken or the pilots have timed out or the flight attendants.
There is any number of reasons. We traveled enough miles to know why you don’t get to where you intended to go on time. I learned long ago that I don’t check baggage, so I never have to worry about the baggage. “They lost my luggage,” thing. That’s a thing you can control. You don’t need it. Even in the midst of all that, I can find myself getting angry and the rage that’s there underneath the surface. I then got to do my own work to go, “Why is that triggering you to the point where you feel enraged?”
You don’t have your contingency plans in place.
I do. I’m always able to pivot.
If you got a private jet waiting for you, it doesn’t bother you, so you just go, “I got a private jet.”
It’s true, but this idea of you’ll have to work in a way that is in harmony. If we look at those three things, do less and work in a way that is harmonious. There’s an element of, “I love to work at night. My dad was a writer. I’ve become a writer and working at night is the thing that I’m used to doing, but I also need my sleep. I’ve had tensional between those two things I’ve had to resolve.”
In doing less to be able to focus more on the quality of your work, it goes back to what you said, that 80/20 principle. Spend your time on the things that produce the greatest return on that time and on that love, on that effort, on that energy, and the stuff that doesn’t produce that return like complaining. I don’t know what the ROI is for bitching. I don’t think there’s any.
No. I learned a long time ago because I’ve flown over 20 million miles. I think George Clooney did ten million. What’s interesting is I have been stuck many times and I had those rages too. I’m going to find out a concierge service that solves this and I’m going to find a private jet service that solves this. That way, I’m there and I’m not going to do it. I’ll have plan B ready. All of a sudden I go, “Let me have your name. Let me find out.” If you can’t serve me, let’s go to plan B or plan C. Let’s have them.” If I give myself permission to do those, then all of a sudden, I go, “This doesn’t have to be running my life.” I kept asking myself, “How do I transcend anything that normally pushes my buttons that distracts me from the external world?”
I want to make that a call to action for folks. I want you to write that question down. What are the things that trigger you? Write them down after the fact. Going back to the Will Smith thing, what triggers will we know if you are offensive? You say something offensive to someone he loves like his wife. In the aftermath of that, we got to find out that his mom had some hard times and he was a young child and couldn’t defend her. Here’s a guy who’s always felt this responsibility to care for and protect the important people in his life like his mother and wife. At that moment, that was his default mode to go into that state of protection.
Sometimes, we think these are mistakes. They’re not mistakes. Maybe that’s exactly what he needed to humble himself and to make sure that he got even greater discipline in the future and he can then be an inspiration to other people. The moral hypocrisies that trap people in polarities of one-sided seeking undermine and block resilience. I learned that for a long time.
When I was 30 years old or so, I went to the Oxford English dictionary. The largest dictionary and the finest print I could. I went through every one of the words in the dictionary and I found every one of the human behavioral traits, 4,628 traits I found. I went in there and I said, “Who do I know that’s got the most extreme behavior like that?” I went into myself and I said, “John, go to 0:48:04.
You perceive yourself displaying or demonstrating the same specific trade action until you can identify enough moments until you’re certain you do it as much because the seer, the seeing, and the scene are the same. Whatever you judge on the outside is nothing but a part of you that you haven’t loved on the inside. They’re giving you an opportunity to love it. This is an opportunity.
I found every one of them in me. I’m nice, mean, kind, cruel, positive, negative, giving, taking generous, stingy, honest, or dishonest. I had all of them and I have no desire to get rid of any part of myself if I’m going to love myself. All of it is worth loving of it, but moral hypocrisies imposed by politics and religions sometimes, impose a mechanism to get people to feel guilty so they’re easily controlled by the organizations that are promoting it.Politics and religion sometimes impose moral hypocrisy to make people feel guilty and control them easily. Click To Tweet
I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in human behavior at its finest, embracing all parts of yourself. How are you going to love yourself if you’re trying to get rid of half of your life? How are you going to love the world if you’re trying to get rid of half of it? How are you going to love the people around you if you’re trying to get rid of half of them? All of this is worth loving.
It all comes out of the same origin, which is your own concept of yourself and the shame that you have or it is that what you are feeling isn’t complete. There’s that old line in the Jerry Maguire movie that everybody loves great Hollywood. I think Tom Cruise says to Renée Zellweger, “You complete me.” Let’s talk about the BS line of all time. Nobody completes anybody. That is our work and by the way, we’re not incomplete at the moment. It’s one of those great paradoxes.
Nothing is missing. I was in Nepal and I met with the Lama there. We had a nice conversation and we both had a discussion about nothing is missing. It’s all present. The master lives in a world of transformation. The masters live in the illusions of gain and loss. Don’t be attached to form or you’ll perceive a loss or gain. Transform and see the movement and change of forms at all times. Nothing’s missing in you. I learned that when I was fourteen and I confirmed that many times over. When you finally that there’s no way you can have fulfillment if you’re thinking things are missing.
This all comes back to the through line of our conversation and of your book, which is, it’s about right thinking. We could spend months or years thinking about what and figuring out what right-thinking looks like, but you’ve already shared so much of that with us. I not only want to recommend that people buy or read The Resilient Mind. I want to mention two other books based on what you said.
One is called The Presence Process that a lot of people haven’t heard of. It’s by Michael Brown. He is a wonderful South African author. The other one is a book that’s going to have a strange title relative to this, but it’s totally on point, which is called Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno. It’s his work on the mind-body connection because so much of this is processing our own states as they’re happening. The more present we are, the more aware we are.
I’m triggered right now. My rage is being triggered. My shame, loneliness, rejection, or insecurity is being triggered but if you are aware at the moment, then you have choices. When the default is to simply react, I think back to what you were saying. That’s what we saw on display with somebody who reacted but couldn’t at that moment to process that very conflicting emotion.
What you’ve been saying all the time that we’ve been together is that our mind is more resilient when we’re able to be aware of that. Those books, in addition to yours, help with that processing stuff. If it’s to release is the next thing or it’s to act or whatever it might be, that makes sense, but when it doesn’t, is it preceded by a process of some kind of awareness, a presence, or love? What are we left with?
We’re left with being barbarians on some level, which we all know how to be. Everybody knows how to instinctually hurt before being hurt or defend or any number of other things that are creating a very difficult world we live in many ways now. I want to give you more than just the last word. I would love it if you could leave our folks with something and again, we opened up a few loops here, but if you were going to give that person who’s reading this who is feeling frayed somehow, exhausted, and not, not terribly inspired, but wants to be. Please say to that person, even if it’s the first step on the path, what might that look like coming from your perspective?
No matter what happens in your life, there’s an upside to it too. Take the time to ask whatever you think is challenging you. Where’s the other side of it? What’s the upside to it? How’s it helping me fulfill what is my mission? The one question that I think is most liberating is no matter what happened to me now, whether supportive or challenged, kind or cruel, nice and mean, positive and negative, supportive or whatever it is. No matter what happened to me and my perceptions, how did it help me move one step closer to fulfilling what’s in my heart?
If you answer that question and quit coming up with BS reasons why you can’t, but you answer that question and dig deeper, you will start training your mind to see no matter what happens on the way, not in the way, you’ll be a master of your destiny and not a victim of your history. That is more resilient than sitting there running your story.Start training your mind to see no matter what happens on the way, not in the way. You'll be a master of your destiny, not a victim of your history, and that is more resilient than sitting there running your story. Click To Tweet
I want to say thank you. For folk’s clarity here, it’s gone past 10:00 PM, where Dr. Demartini is at present. He is embodying everything we’ve talked about, to have the energy and clarity, everything at that hour. To me, the risk is not because you somehow put your underwear on differently than the rest of us. I imagine you do it one leg at a time.
I hire somebody to do that.
Your resilience, I think of it like a bank account in that sense that you are making more deposits than withdrawals, so you have a surplus. That’s why you’re able to serve.
I believe we live in a magnificent universe. If we sit there and watch the media out there, which is sensationalism, trying to distract yourself from your mission, we might not recognize the magnificent. However, the magnificence in every challenge we face is an opportunity to serve more people. There’s a service out there we can provide. I see that the challenges in life or the opportunities in life and the greater the challenges that you pursue that inspire you, the greater the creativity, and innovation, the greater the outcome you’re going to have in your life. The greater the life you’re going to have.
Thank you. I appreciate it. I know our people appreciate it. Everybody, we’d love it if you know someone that would thrive on hearing a bit of what was said here or maybe all of it. Please share this episode with those folks that you know or potentially would benefit from. Maybe that is somebody in your family or it’s a colleague. It’s somebody that’s working close to you, etc.
Also, we thrive on your feedback and we don’t delegate this piece of it. I enjoy doing this. When you comment, it’s not a member of my team or a bot that will respond. If you go to AdamMarkel.com/podcasts and leave a comment there, I will be the one that responds to it. We appreciate it. I know this is self-serving. I don’t quite get how the algorithm does it, but when people rate our podcast a five-star or some other thing, more people have access to it because it gets put in front of more eyeballs. It’s that simple.
You help us out when you do that. I don’t mind asking for that help and I certainly appreciate the fact that you go through the trouble of doing it. Dr. John Demartini, thank you so much for taking the time, especially where you are and where it is in the midst of your day or evening now. For being with us and sharing your wisdom, thank you very much for doing that.
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
Everybody, ciao for now. We will see again soon.
I so enjoyed my conversation in this episode. I hope you did as well. Dr. John Demartini is everything he’s cracked up to be. He is an expert in so many subtle arts. The wisdom that he shares both in life terms, in terms of how we behave and why we behave the way we do, as well as how it translates into the context that we find ourselves in so frequently, which is in our work pursuits and our career pursuits and other passions. I enjoyed his perspective and I’m sure that you did as well.
A couple of recaps here. We talked about how we can be transformed by renewing our minds and what it looks like to renew our minds. We talked about homeostasis and equilibrium in the context of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resilience and how we’re living at the present in a culture, in an age of exhaustion. Also, how that exhaustion turns us into bitching machines is the word that John used.
We talked about how it is that we can take greater control. He gave us the absolute number one tool, and I agree with this. I don’t think there’s anything that trumps this particular skill. If you master this skill, if you get it, if you do this one thing, believe it or not, this one domino will be the start of a cascade of dominoes that will change your life forever.
Most importantly, how we can focus on the most important things in our lives, careers, and business pursuits is fundamentally paramount to how we succeed. If we can’t master this particular task, if we can’t get at how we produce all of our results in life, I think we are at least temporarily speaking, doomed to wander, not maybe aimlessly, but more confused than we need to be.
When we’re struggling to figure these kinds of things out, ultimately, that struggle creates exhaustion. It creates a greater depletion in our brains and in all of our faculties, but in particular with our mind that exhaustion or that depletion makes us much less resilient and much more susceptible to reaction, overreaction, judgment, anger, complaint, etc. The things that absolutely get us nowhere and even more than that, exponentially speaking, set us back. It creates a more difficult road ahead than needs to be.
Reading this wisdom was fundamental for me. It was inspiring for me. The three things that came out of this are that I also want to reiterate. These were things that were inspired by what Dr. Demartini was sharing. One, where can we do less in terms of our own level of depletion, exhaustion, and productivity in our work pursuits, etc.? Do less but obsess about the things that we do being of the highest quality and how we work in a way that is more in harmony. How do we work in our zone of genius, if you will?
For some of us, that zone of genius may be in the morning. For some of us, the genius zone may happen at night. For some of us, that genius zone may occur on a boat or the water or at 35,000 feet, or it may occur in the woods while walking or by a lake or sitting quietly for lengths of time in stillness. Where is your zone of genius? Maybe it’s working right alongside other people and leveraging the energy of the group and the mind share of the group and even the mastermind of that gathering, maybe collaboratively. That’s the genius zone or where collaboration for you is at its greatest.
That’s one thing that you can be thinking about right now. How do I work? What is my optimal work environment or ecosystem look like? How do I potentially do less but focus and obsess even about the quality of the work that I do more? Those are questions that came to me. I’m going to noodle on those things. I hope you will as well. Again, I so enjoyed this episode.
If you’ve enjoyed it yourself, we would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment at AdamMarkel.com/comments. We’d love to read and hear your feedback and if there’s a response is required, then it will come from me. If you’ve not yet taken your own resilient leader assessment, find out a snapshot in time right now of how resilient you are mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. All that you need to do to get that happening for yourself is go to ResilienceRank.com and three minutes later, you’re going to get your own score at this moment.
How resilient are you? What are the things that you are doing to create resilience for yourself mentally? What are the things that you’re doing to create your spiritual resilience? What are the things that are keeping you emotionally resilient? Also, fundamentally important in our lives is our physical resilience and that’s a whole host of things. We’re going to measure that, give you that feedback right away, and send you a list of resources that are entirely free.
The things that you can use and do immediately to start recapturing some of what the gap might be between your snapshot resilience score now and what is optimal. All of that will be helpful to you and I can’t wait for you to join our community. We can dive in even further in the future. That is the great blessing of this. As we share our best practices and you get to share those best practices with the people you lead, the people in your lives that you love, the ripple effect is greater for all of us. With that, I will say ciao for now, and again, thank you so much for tuning in.
- Dr. John Demartini
- The Resilient Mind
- The Time Trap
- Change Proof
- The Presence Process
- Healing Back Pain
About Dr. John Demartini
Dr. John Demartini is a polymath and a world-renowned human behaviour expert. He has five decades of research across multiple disciplines. His work has been described by students as the “most comprehensive body of work,” and “an extensive library of wisdom,” as well as “wisdom of the highest and most valuable order.”