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If you Want the World to be What you Want, you Need to Change in it, not the Other Way Around

“If you want the world to be what you want it to be, you need to change in it, not the other way around,” is a quote from my good friend and colleague Benjamin Tyler. Ben spent more than 25 years of his life waiting, bitching, and wallowing in self-pity because the world wasn’t giving him what he wanted and what he was “entitled to.” 

I interviewed Ben on the podcast a few months back and it was a big revelation and learning moment for me. Ben was emotionally neglected as a young person and it affected him profoundly into adulthood—drug and alcohol abuse and misuse, a disheveled life without purpose that was spiraling toward an unhealthy point of no return. It wasn’t until a few years ago that Ben discovered self-love and his want and need to help others and live the life he was born to live. And that included the realization that he needed to change inside to see any kind of outward results he was looking for from the world. 

Ben’s episode is embedded above and is available on iTunes and for direct download as well. The interview is chock full of humor and light moments, and some darkness colored by hope and healing. We’re just two dudes speaking honestly and openly about emotions, childhood neglect, helping others, and living a purposeful and healthful life. Give it a listen—I hope you find it as useful and enjoyable as I have.

Transforming Stigma

What do we do with a kid who has severe behavior issues and problems—a kid who gets kicked out of school three times and attempts suicide by the age of ten?

Are these “just puberty” issues or is there something more? How does one handle the behavioral problems as a teacher or parent? 

I often see cases of kids with anger problems or who may cuss out a teacher or parent, and that child is written off as a bad seed who will never amount to anything. In fact, in fifth grade I was written off as a bad kid who would never amount to anything because I hit a kid in school and then lied about it. In retrospect, I was living with untreated mental illness and I had few positive role models in my life. Stigma around mental illness prevented me from getting the treatment I needed. I shouldn’t have gotten a free pass, nor should any kid with behavioral problems—what I should have gotten, in addition to treatment, was extra attention and mentorship. We need to take these kids under our wings, teach some coping skills, and then provide them or show them they can channel their energy into something healthy or meaningful. 

Mike Veny, the kid who was kicked out of school three times and attempted suicide at age ten, is a glowing example of someone who needed extra attention and an outlet for his energy. I interviewed Mike on the podcast, and he talks about how mental illness and drumming saved his life as a young man (much like theatre did for me as a young person)—and how he presently uses drumming to talk about mental illness and mental health to make sure young people don’t suffer the way he once did. 

Mike’s interview is full of tidbits of wisdom and practical skills and tools to deal with the difficulties life throws our way. He’s funny and insightful… and his spirit animal is a goat (you’ll find out why when you listen… ha!).

Mike is doing great work as a speaker and thought leader with Transforming Stigma. His website is Mike’s episode is embedded above, is downloadable, and can be found on iTunes. I hope you enjoy :)

Surviving My Past

How does someone live through one of the worst things a person can experience—their power and innocence stolen, never to be returned?

In the aftermath, they hold on by suppressing the memories of that experience… but they can’t escape—their body and subconscious remember even if their conscious is doing everything it can to keep those memories under lock and key. 

Over the coming years, this person may unknowingly become cold and distant; or perpetually angry; or develop severe anxiety, depression, OCD, post traumatic stress, alcoholism, substance abuse and misuse; or all of the above… OR they may even subject another person to the experience that they barely lived through and hated with every fiber of their being. 

That’s what severe trauma can do to a person. Especially childhood physical and sexual trauma like what my friend Matt Pappas experienced. 

Matt is an incredible dude, upbeat, funny—a father, a brother, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan (great minds think alike... haha). 

I interview Matt on the podcast, and despite the subject matter the tone of the interview is friendly and cheerful. We don’t talk past details but we do talk hope and healing… and we even joke a bit. We’re just two blue collar guys from the Jersey/Philly area who are looking to help some people, live a good life, go down the shore once in awhile, and have a good laugh. 

Matt is crushing it with his blog, podcast, and foundation Surviving My Past and he’s helping men, women, and children all over the world with his words of wisdom and the safe space he provides. His website is Oh, and he also interviewed me on his podcast HERE, and he’s a writer in our second i’Mpossible book