When things go way off the rails, turning your life around can be one of the most difficult things to imagine yourself doing, but fear not: it is possible. Of course, it’s not going to be easy because there’s so much work involved, but the power is—and always has been—in you. James Purpura is an entrepreneur, a philosopher, and the Co-Founder and President of Powerful U. James shares his arc of redemption with host, Rodney Flowers. Life wasn’t so easy for James for a long time, and he pulls on that experience of hardship to empower you to find the way back to where you want to get.
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Turning Your Life Around: 180 Back To The Right Track With James Purpura
Our guest has experienced some of the most extreme moments life can offer. Many years ago, he was an inmate struggling with his life in solitary confinement. He was placed there as a result of his actions while homeless and addicted to drugs. While in prison, he reconciled his life and developed a personal philosophy. Once released, he found his wife. He created an amazing family, a beautiful prosperous life and became inspired to share his knowledge with the world. Welcome to the show, James.
Thanks, Rodney. I appreciate being here. When I look at my story, I don’t think it’s anything compared to yours. I’m sitting here in awe of what you did.
We all have a story, James and thank you for recognizing mine. I certainly recognize and appreciate yours and I believe that because we all have a story, we all can learn from those stories. I’m very interested in what you have gained. I feel that sometimes when we go through certain things, we feel like we lose. That I know better. We go through things and there’s something that we can gain if we have the right perception, which we’re going to talk about. I’m interested in what did you gain, how did you turn your life around and what nugget are you coming out of this situation with that you can share with us?
There are a lot of nuggets. This is a gold mine here because there were a lot of experiences that redefined who I was. People sometimes ask me, “When you think about that time when you were in jail and in solitary confinement, what do you think about that now? Do you regret that?” I’m like, “It was the best time of my life, that point.” I often think about it and I would never trade that time for anything. I was there for fifteen months. I’m like, “I would never trade that time and I’d never go back either.” The food was awful. What happened is that I went in one person and came out another person. I remember when I got there, I was super depressed. When you sleep and you can’t sleep anymore, your head hurts so bad. I didn’t even have a pillow on this hard mattress. I would sleep and sleep. I got this letter from my dad and the letter said, “Son, I don’t know how long you’re going to be in there. Most people don’t get a chance to work on themselves. Don’t let that time go to waste.” I took that to heart. I started thinking, “I’ve got some time in here.”
After a long time, that was my first transformation. I need the information. I started requesting books from the library. I started asking the jail psychologists to come down and talk to me. I knew that I needed to get information to shift and change. I got a lot of books on meditation, spiritual and trying to redefine who I was. After a while, I became freer in that cell than I’ve ever been. I remember there are points in that cell that I was so happy about nothing. That was shocking to me. The real turning point came this one day. I had a victim mentality. Because of some bad things that happened to me, I felt like the world was a crappy place and people were out to hurt me. I remember I was writing this long list of all these people who would harm me because I was going to do a meditation and a prayer to try to forgive them.
One day, I was staring at that list. I thought, “The only common denominator between all those things is me. What if I somehow created all of these circumstances?” I thought about what that meant for a long time and here’s where I went with it. If I hadn’t created those circumstances, it meant I was not the creator of my experiences. I figured you couldn’t create some and not the edge. You’re either the creator or you’re not. If I didn’t create my life, it meant the world was a crappy place and I probably didn’t want to play anymore. If I was the creator of my experiences, what did that mean?
There were a lot of things there. I’d take responsibility for a lot of stuff and I have to own it. That was pretty heavy. When I thought about that, I was like, “If I did, that means I can create something different in space. I’ve just got to figure out how we create our experiences.” I didn’t realize it until years later, the power of that moment. The power of that moment was as I took ownership of my life and by doing that, I took my power back. Because if something was always somebody else’s fault, then you don’t have any power to change it. I owned it. I said, “It’s all me. I created all of this.” I took responsibility for everything.
There’s an important distinction that everybody needs to know because bad things do happen to good people. How do you take responsibility for everything? What I had to get to was, what was the creative element of my life? I had an abusive situation in my kindergarten year at school. It set the scale for everything that happened thereafter. My teacher used to bring me upfront of the room and call me stupid and all the kids call me stupid. Essentially, what happened is I thought to myself, “Did my abuse define me? If my abuse defines me, then I’m stuck forever.” What I decided was that because not everybody who had ever been abused that life turned out bad after, so it couldn’t have been the abuse. What was it?The better information you have, the better decisions you make, and the better results you'll have. Click To Tweet
What I decided was, is what I chose to believe about myself because of that abuse. Even though my teacher treated me this way, I didn’t take responsibility for her actions. That was her responsibility. I took responsibility for what I chose to believe at that moment. What I chose to believe was that it was stupid, that I was not good enough, that I was never going to be good enough and I was not safe. Those beliefs are what created my life, not the abuse. The reason that’s an important distinction because people always want to go, “You were just a baby,” but I still had a choice and I could have chosen differently had my mom supported me. Had I had outside figures come in and say, “What’s going on here? You don’t need to believe that. That’s not about you.” By having a choice, it meant I had control. I had an agency. I was the creator of my existence, not my abuser. That’s how I took my power back.
Why is that important? I feel it’s the story that you told yourself that changed everything.
It was that story about who I was that I chose to believe. The reason that’s important is because as human beings, we always want to blame our experiences and our emotions on other people. It’s like, “You made me feel this way.” No, that’s one of the problems with emotions. We always want to blame our emotions on other people, “You make me feel this way.” We want to blame our emotions on them. We want to own their emotions like, “They’re mad at me so they must hate me.” It’s not about what is going on with them. It’s about us. We’re constantly making their emotions about us and our emotions about them. The reason that distinction is so important is that if it was my choice, it means I created it and I could choose again. If it was the abuse, I can’t go back and change the abuse. Even if it was the most logical choice, it was still my choice. That’s the power point because now that I can choose again, I can create something different.
Let’s play with that a little bit because we make decisions based on expectations, anticipated outcomes or outcomes that we want. You’ve created this movie and it’s called Perception: Seeing is Not Believing. You talk about this topic about the story that we tell ourselves. How we look at what has happened to us, good or bad. There’s a portion in this movie where you talk about the thoughts around practicing your life. If we get into this idea of practicing our lives before it plays out, it can aid in our decision-making. Help us get clear on what it means to practice our life.
In order to understand that, I think we need to back up one step. I’ve got this narrative. I want to tell you you’ve never made a bad decision. You tell people that and they go, “No, I’ve made a lot of bad decisions.” The answer is not only have you never made a bad decision, but you’re not even capable of making a decision. People are like, “What do you mean?” Here’s what I say to you, Rodney, is that we all make decisions the same way. We take all the available information and we make the best decision we can. The decision we believe is in our best interest with that information. It may not always turn out that way. The difference is that we never made a bad decision because you’re not actually capable unless you’re a sociopath or mentally ill. You don’t start out saying, “I’m going to make a decision that is not to my best interest.”
We never do that unless you’re suffering in some mental illness or you’re a sociopath. What’s the difference? We make decisions using bad information. People say, “That’s phonetics.” I’m like, “It’s not phonetics.” It means there’s nothing wrong with you or anybody. We’re only making decisions we believe in our best interest. The difference is that it’s the information. The better information you have, the better decision you make, the better result that you have. The question becomes, where do we get our information? This is what I tell people. If your life did not turn out the way you want it to be, it’s not because you’ve done anything wrong. It’s because you made the best decision you could with the information you had available to you. Life is an information problem. If you’re sitting there and you’re reading this and you constantly beat yourself up for making bad decisions for not being good enough, it’s not true.
If I have something or Rodney has something that you don’t have, it’s not because we are better than you or smarter you. It’s because we have better information when we made our decision. The question is where do we get that information? That’s where perception, the story you tell yourself and where your subconscious mind comes in. At the low end, 95% of our cognitive awareness is in our subconscious mind. Our conscious mind is only dealing with 5%. Here’s the underlying thing behind perception and this is where people get screwed up. You do not see reality. You either know that and you go, “Of course, I know.” You don’t actually believe it. You’re like, “What do you mean?” I’m like, “It feels real.” “Of course, it feels real.” The question is, what do I see?
What you see is an assumption of what you think the reality is based on your past. That’s where the stories we tell ourselves come in. Your subconscious mind is full of all of the negative stories that you’re constantly telling yourself. That’s what you’re seeing on a daily basis. What we’re talking about is rewriting stories so that you can see something different. We will dig into the science behind what you’d see and what you don’t see. Essentially, the part that people need to know is there’s nothing wrong with you. Stop beating yourself up. This is an information problem. If you want a better life, get better information. What we’re going to teach you is how to upgrade your information.
I want to challenge you on that because I think some people do feel that something is wrong. I want to help those people because of things that have gone on in their life. There are certain traumas, situations, experiences that people have gone through. Some of these things are horrible things that they’re dealing with. They’re carrying it around and it causes a lot of fear and anxiety and it prevents them from moving forward. It blocks them. For them, that’s the reality. They’ve experienced that and they can still feel the horror from that. How does someone deal with that?
Rodney, let’s look at what you said because I think that’s important. What you’re saying is that somebody’s past is casting a shadow over their future. What I want to tell them is there’s nothing wrong with you. Bad things happen to good people. We all have a story. We all have difficult things that happened to us. There are people that are reading that have had extremely difficult things happen to them and horrific things. The question is, is why does it impact you? It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. The reason that those things keep impacting you day in and day out is because that’s the pool of information that you’re accessing to understand your current reality. That’s the information that needs to be upgraded because it’s not about the abuse. I don’t care if you’ve had the most horrific thing in the world happening to you. What does that mean to you?
For instance, my wife was sexually abused when she was a kid. Does that mean that her body is no good or that she’s not worthy of love, she’s ruined or broken? No. What’s real about you can’t be hurt, can’t be changed or can’t be raped. It’s intact. It is whatever you believe it to be. Essentially what you have to do is you have to go back in those moments and decide again what that meant to you. For my wife, she was sexually abused and her father abandoned her. What she believed is she was broken and dirty. That the one person who was supposed to love her didn’t love her. That meant she was unlovable.
That feeling of being unlovable is what created her life. It was a fine assumption to make when she was eight years old but my question for you is, “Is it true? Was she unlovable?” The answer is no. Whatever story you’re telling yourself based on, “I’m not good enough because I had this experience. I’m not lovable because I had this experience.” That’s BS. It was never about you. When you’re abused in a massive way, it’s about the disruption of somebody else. They didn’t take anything from you. They don’t have that ability. Only you have the ability to do it. You get to decide what that means to you and that decision is what impacts your life.
You talk about dealing with these things. It’s beautiful advice that you’ve given someone that’s reading this that I know because I know you and I’ve studied your work that it’s deeper than that. There’s an emotional integration technique that you recommend for people that deal with these emotions that come up for people. You found that a lot of times when you’re experiencing this type of anxiety and blockage, it’s based around some rejection. Maybe the very first rejection that they’ve experienced in their life and whenever they experienced it, there are four parts that they have to deal with. The four things that happen to their identity. They go through an identity crisis. Their very being gets split into four parts whenever they experience something like that. Could you explain this integration technique and what happens whenever we go through this type of crisis, what happens to our identity?
The question that I like to ask people is, “Are you living in fear?” I’m going to ask all of your audience right now, “Are you living in fear?” Everybody always wants to go, “No, I’m not living in fear.” The follow-up question is, “How would your life be different if you absolutely knew without a shadow of a doubt that not one of your fears was real?” They always go, “I would be so much different. I’d do this. I’d show up differently.” I’d be like, “Then you’re living in fear because the answer would have been that I would be exactly the same.” The question is why are we living in fear?
That’s where the lie comes in. We have this thing called the Emotional Integration Technique. What I want to tell everybody reading is if you get our book or get our movie, it’s in there. It’s in a lot more detail in the book and it will teach you how to do this. It’s a daily meditation technique where you can quickly go in and identify these past emotional disruptions and the fears you have inside of you. We give you a technique for removing it. What I need you to understand is that this power is within you. You just need a methodology for doing it. I want you to think about it this way. It’s like when you’re living through your day, that in any given day, things often upset you. Why do the things that upset you, upset you? For me, going through that kindergarten experience, it was like, “You could say this about anything to me and it wouldn’t impact me, but if you called me stupid, it was on.”
The question is why? I felt like in my conscious mind that I’d long since overcome that idea of being stupid after my kindergarten experience. That belief was implanted. It’s like that inception idea. It is so deep in my subconscious mind that it was still impacting me now. We have to get all that garbage out of our subconscious mind and that’s what the emotional integration technique does. Here’s what basically happens. I’ve done the Emotional Integration Technique. You and I did it. It was a cool experience. I take people back and I ask them to bring up some anger. I don’t care if that anger is your dog or your neighbor’s dogs pooping in your yard or somebody cutting you off in traffic. What we do is we bring up that anger and what most people don’t realize is that your emotions are stored in your body, where your memories are stored in your mind.People forget to calculate the cost of what they perceive is doing nothing. Click To Tweet
You think of your central nervous system as an extension of your brain. It gets stored somewhere along your central nervous system. Here’s the way perception works and this is why it’s important is because every time that you have an experience, your mind goes back and does something similar to a Google search. It says, “What does this mean?” It goes back into your database and memories said, “Let me see what it meant in the past.” It looks for similar experiences and delivers that meaning and says, “This is what this means.” What you don’t know is what emotional response is tied to that memory. It’s like when you’re having a conversation with somebody and they’d say something that pisses you off and all of a sudden the next side of you comes out and you’re like, “Where did that come from?”
It happens to everybody and it happens to all of us. That’s because your mind sourced the memory that’s got harsh emotion attached to it. That’s why we go through these emotional disruptions. If you’re living in a chaotic place because there are so many emotions stored up from past experiences in your body that every memory has got an emotional experience. You’re on this emotional roller coaster. You have to go back into your past and clean out all these experiences in your body. That’s what the Emotional Integration Technique is. There’s one experience that trumps all other. Every time I see somebody take back into bringing up some anger, it always takes them back when we can get there. Some people don’t remember their first rejection.
Here’s what we’ve discovered. You’re rejected for the first time in your life. It causes a split inside of you. This isn’t religious, but all the great spiritual traditions talk about this idea of separation. This is the idea of separation I’m talking about because once upon a time we lived in tribes. When we lived in tribes, we knew there wasn’t even a word for “I,” there was only “we.” They didn’t have a word for it because you couldn’t survive outside of the tribe. We absolutely knew that our survival was dependent on one another. The only way that you didn’t survive is if you were kicked out of the tribe and you were already dead. Essentially when you were a baby, you do not feel separate from your parents. You are a part of the “we.”
At some point, that bubble burst when you’ve suffered your first rejection and you are no longer a “we,” you are an “I.” Because you were rejected, whatever “I” is not, “I’m not good enough.” The first thing that happens is that separation. It’s that, “I’m alone. I’m an “I” and whatever “I” is not good enough.” For the very first time, the fight for your survival springs up. The second thing that happens is that this is the creation of your ego. This actually kicks off this primal program inside of us because when we got kicked out of the pack, it was like, “We’re dead.” The only way to get back to get accepted was to either get the pack to accept you back in or to take control of the pack.
This starts this validation control cycle. This is why people want to control, “I want to control. I want to be safe.” This primal program inside of you is saying, “If you don’t get accepted or gain control, you’re going to die. If you don’t want to play the game, you check out through suicide and you check out through addiction.” That’s number two. What happens is, because you don’t believe you’re good enough, what do you need to do? I’ve got to become something different. Your ego takes over and spins up this persona and says, “How about this? I got you. I’ll spin up personas. Is this good enough?” It starts presenting it to the world as you. What we do is set up a thousand different personas and we were different people in different situations.
We’re running full speed away from the most authentic and pure version of ourselves. That’s the start of the ego’s need for validation. The problem is the reason it never works is that you’re trying to validate a persona, which is what you’re not. It’s never going to be enough because you can’t validate what you’re not. You have to validate what you are, which is buried under a thousand personas. The next thing that happens that is an important one is that this is the first time you feel contempt. What this contempt does inside of you is if you externalize that contempt and this creates your victim. This is the victim mentality. What happened to me was very much outside of my control.
This justifies you doing harm to somebody else. It justifies you stealing from somebody else’s because it’s like, “You did this to me. You alienated me. I’m now fighting for my survival because you threw me out.” That’s where that victim mentality starts. When you externalize it and you internalize it, it’s the beginning of your shadow. This is where that self-deprecation with people start, “I’m not good enough, I hate myself.” That’s the beginning of the mental illness. It’s also the beginning of that path towards suicide. You can externalize it, you can internalize it. The last thing that happens is the introduction of shame, which is that I am now ashamed for who I am and I’m more ashamed for who I have to become because here’s the part that people don’t understand.
We have the saying that says, “What if you’re everything that you think you’re not and nothing that you think you are.” That’s the most likely scenario. You are running full speed away from the most authentic version of you because you’re ashamed of it and you’re trying to become anything but that and more likely you probably hate that. Growing is not about becoming something different. It’s about peeling back the layers become what you once were, the purest version of yourself.
A lot of these things that go on inside of us go on a mental standpoint and an emotional standpoint is tough to see.
The underlying principle of perception is that you don’t see reality. Here’s what I want to do. I like to think about it this way. People will tell me, “James, I don’t give a crap about my trauma. Can you tell me how I can get funny?” I’ve got a question for you, Rodney. I know you’ve seen the movies so play along with me here. “Can you have the thing you want most in the world sitting right in front of your face and just not see it?”
I don’t think most people understand this. They do understand this on a fundamental level. We tell this easy story. The story is I want you to imagine a guy that wants more than anything to be loved. He wants to be in a relationship. He has abysmal low self-esteem. One day, he walks into a store and walks up to the counter and the girl behind the counter starts flirting with him. Does he recognize that she’s flirting with him? What do you think?
He probably can’t see it.
The question is why? It’s because he had low self-esteem. If this guy has the thing he wants or at least the opportunity to get the thing he wants most in the world sitting right in front of his face, what if this happened to you? They’re like, “I’m sure it happens occasionally.” No, that happens every day. That’s what’s happening to you. That’s what perception is. The question is why can’t he see it? What does he see? He sees an assumption of what he thinks reality is. Here’s essentially what’s going on and this is where most people are lost, is that what’s on the inside is always being reflected on the outside.
This guy has low self-esteem. The reason he doesn’t see it is because he doesn’t believe it’s possible because of his low self-esteem. Why wouldn’t you see it if he doesn’t believe it’s possible? It’s a simple matter of capacity because his mind is not looking for it. How many of your audience would go to the end of a rainbow looking for a pot of gold? Zero. Why? Because they don’t believe it’s there. Your mind is not looking for information. It doesn’t believe it’s possible, just like you wouldn’t look for that pot of gold. He’s not on the lookout for it. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to people, but I’ll tell you why. It’s because our subconscious mind takes everything. In any given minute, there are millions of bits of information it’s taking in.
It’s taking in doors closing on the other side and it’s taken in everything. It takes all that information but filters there with the most interesting pieces to our conscious mind based on what we believe is possible. The guy doesn’t see it because he doesn’t believe it’s possible. He doesn’t think that a girl like this would be interested in him, but it is happening. He’s not seeing reality. What he’s seeing is what he believes is possible for him. That’s how it works. Whenever we have beliefs in our subconscious mind that we don’t believe that we’re worthy of love, then you’re not going to see it. We don’t believe we’re worthy of money. We don’t believe that we’re capable. I want your audience to know that it has everything they need to create a magical life for themselves and have everything that they possibly want.
The opportunity to get those things sitting right in front of their face and they can’t see it. There are two ways to illustrate this to prove it to you. Number one is how many people do we know that have known each other for years? They liked each other, work together and then years later they discover it and then they get married and they’re together forever. Another one is if you were in that store with that guy and you were standing off to the side and he comes walking away from the counter. You look at him go. What would you say to him?
“What’s wrong with you? She’s definitely digging you. Why didn’t you talk to her?”
Immediately, that guy becomes aware because the information is there. He’s like, “You’re right.” He gets all nervous and scared. That’s how it works for everything. The intention is a powerful thing. I’ll tell you how intention works. I want all of your audience to think about the car they drive. I don’t know if you decided you were going to get that car before you went to the dealership or you showed up at the dealership and bought that car?
I decided. I had that puppy on my mirror every morning. Several times during the day, I would go look at it because that’s the car I want.
As soon as you decided that, everybody in your town is driving that car. It’s even more dramatic if you go to the dealership and you’re like, “I’m going to get a new car,” and you pick one out and then all of a sudden, you don’t remember seeing any of those cars and that car is everywhere. You’re like, “How come I didn’t recognize this more?” Because your mind wasn’t on the lookout for it. That’s how your intention is at. When you decide something and you decide to see it, it comes into your awareness like the car. You can only see it if you believe it’d be possible. When you decide that you want an opportunity to make more money and you decide that you want all these different things, the opportunity to get those things only become in your awareness once you believe it’s possible. We talk about the Law of Attraction a lot.As human beings, we always want to blame our experiences and our emotions on other people. Click To Tweet
The Law of Attraction is not about drawing something to your awareness. It’s not there. The reason we put things on our mirrors and our vision boards is to foster belief. Once we believe it, then the opportunity that’s already there becomes aware to us and we take that opportunity. The opportunity was always there because your perception works much like your eyesight. It works in somebody in the field. The more you believe it, the more likely you are to see it. The less you believe it, the less likely you are to see it. That’s the way your mind works. Whatever you feel and believe on the inside is getting projected on the outside just like a video game. You are literally playing a video game because you don’t have access to reality and what’s being projected on the screen in front of you is your beliefs. That’s what you’re interacting with. That’s the program.
This is so powerful because I think about the things that people want out of life, the achievement that they want, the types of life that they want to live. A lot of times we feel that we don’t have enough money. We’re not smart enough. We come up with all these things, reasons why we can’t have the life that we want. It doesn’t start with any of those things. It starts with the belief. It’s a powerful statement, to begin with the end in mind. You’ve got to believe, see and know that you can have a certain thing, that’s the beginning.
Achieving things was never about doing. It was only ever about being. That’s what people don’t get. It’s like, “What do I want?” “No, what do I want to become and what does that person have?” What I challenge your audience to do is I want you to bring up something that you want bad and feel it. If there’s a negative emotion that comes up, that’s the trap. That’s what’s keeping you from having it. That negative emotion. When you feel like, “I can’t do it.” In the movie, I demonstrate this, but I’m going to give your audience a sneak peek. When I got out of jail, here’s what happened to me. I got five felony convictions. I’m not educated.
I go down to the community college and I take the entrance exam. The lady comes out after I take the entrance exam and she says to me, “Sir, I’m sorry but you can’t come to school here.” I said, “Why not?” She goes, “Because you didn’t score high enough on any of our exams to pass a single class.” The highest level I have was a fifth grade and one thing because of my education. Everybody always gets caught up on the wrong side of the story. They always focus on the lady. That’s the victim mentality. It’s like, “They wouldn’t let you? What’s wrong with the system?” You’re missing the point of the story. That lady was as nice as she could be. She was like, “Maybe you should pick up construction and stuff.”
I realized at that moment that I didn’t have the skills to go to community college. It didn’t mean that I didn’t have the skills to be successful. From there, I went back to my house. I thought about, “What am I good at?” I’m like, “I’m good at solving problems. When I’m passionate about something, I can be persuasive.” I was like, “I’ll go into sales.” I went into sales and because I went on my strengths. Here’s the thing about skills and I want everybody to understand this. I don’t care what your education level is. I don’t care what you think you know, what you don’t think you know, what you’ve been told your whole life. Right now, you have everything inside of you. You need to be successful at any level.
I took those two skills and turned them into millions of dollars. I didn’t go back to the library and start reading Dr. Seuss and work my way up to high school education and go back to that community college lady and be like, “I’m here. I’m going to take those classes now.” I focused on what I did have because what people don’t understand is that you’re never going to have all the skills, which means you don’t actually need any of them. We talked about Bob Proctor. He’s the one who said, “When I figured out I couldn’t do all the work, then I just decided I didn’t need to do any of them.”
The idea is that I don’t have to be good at math, spelling or writing because I can’t be good at every single thing, which means I’m going to have to surround myself for people to fill in those gaps anyway. It’s a matter of getting people to fill in a few more gaps. As I turned into an entrepreneur, what do I have to be good at? I have to foster belief from the inside. When I went to start making money, I did not go out and start working on skills on the outside. I started cleaning up what I believed about myself. I remember one of the first affirmations I picked up was I love myself. I’d be like, “I love myself,” and this little light voice would come back in my head and be like, “Liar.” After a while, that became less of a lie.
I deserve great things. I deserve that. I’m fostering a belief. I’m going in and putting in a new narrative. You have to listen to your own stories. That negative thing you’re constantly spinning, “I can’t,” that’s getting weaved into every level of your subconscious mind. Picasso said, “I dream my painting then I paint my dream.” It’s time to dream your painting. You have to change the balance of information in your subconscious mind by inserting more good than there is bad so that good will start being reflected in your own bad and that’s how you change it. It’s not by going on the outside.
People think that change is about going out and fixing things on the outside. They’re always trying to fix their life. If what’s inside is getting projected outside and you’re trying to fix your life from the outside in, what you’re doing is sitting in the movie theater, you’re running up the screen, you’re slapping it, trying to change the picture. You’ve got to go back to the film. The film is your beliefs. Yet you’re constantly telling yourself a story in a narrative that empowers you. I had this experience one time and my victim wanted to tell my stories so bad. Somebody give me a stage, it’d be like, “My life was so bad.” “You think your life is bad.”
I heard this thing in my mind one day when I realized this, you can tell that story, but it’s going to cost you. I was like, “What? Mom, is that you?” I started thinking about what that meant. I believe that my trauma and my victim was the only thing that was interesting about me. That’s how I was going to get attention but it was costing me dearly. I decided on that day and Jordan Peterson explained something very similar to this. I had this epiphany that I had to stop saying things that made me weak. When this first started, it meant I had to stop saying just about everything. People would come up to me and I often dish up an opportunity to tell my sad story and I would be biting the inside of my lip. I got to be bleeding in my mouth because I wanted to tell it so bad. I wanted that validation, that attention. I had to stop saying just about everything.
After a while, that narrative started changing in my mind because once I stopped telling the story, the need to tell started filtering down. Eventually, it went away and I could start telling a more empowering narrative to myself and to the outside world. One of the things that’s interesting in the book and in the movie, I covered my stories. I have teenage kids. They didn’t even know I’d been to jail. They didn’t know I did drugs. When we decided that we’re going to tell this story, I had to sit them down and be like, “There are some things I probably should tell you about my past.”
The reason that’s important to understand is because I disconnected from that completely as a necessity. Now that I’m on the other side of that, I can tell that story to help other people that are in that situation. I look back at that part of my life, that’s a different person. That was a different life. I can’t even imagine how that person felt. I had to disconnect from the old story, the old narrative and I had to create myself into something great. I had to tell myself that story and as I did, eventually the good outweighed the bad.
Let’s talk about that because in the movie you talked about the importance of learning how to have uncomfortable conversations. This is something that you had to do not only with your family but with yourself. Explain your philosophy around learning how to have uncomfortable conversations and why that’s important.
It’s important is because we’re delusional. If we’re not seeing reality, what are we seeing? We’re seeing what we believe reality is. That’s a delusion. I call it empowering our delusion. Here’s where we get screwed up. This is a societal problem. We are obsessed with being right. Because right equals control, control equals living. We go back to that primal program. It’s been bred in us since we were little kids. You go to school, if you’re right, you get an A. Everybody celebrates you. If you’re wrong, you get an F and everybody hates you. The question is and here’s what I’m going to tell everybody reading. If you’re obsessed with being right, your current life is the best it’s ever going to get because you have to be open to the fact that you’re wrong.
What are you wrong about? Just about everything. Growing starts at, “I don’t know the answer.” You have to embrace not knowing, which is embracing uncertainty. You have to be the person in the room that’s going, “When we’re talking to each other and we act like we’re the smartest person in the room.” You’ve got to be willing to be the smartest person in the room and the dumbest person in the room. I say that because the smartest person in that room is fully aware of what they do know and what they don’t know and they’re upfront about that. One of the big parts of growth is getting clarity around these beliefs and ideas.
Having an uncomfortable conversation is all about seeking clarity of these ideas because everything’s an assumption. People like to say, “I don’t like to assume.” Everything’s an assumption. I have this narrative that if you want to change your life, assume everything for the best. They’re like, “That’s stupid.” I’m like, “No, it isn’t.” They’re like, “Why?” I’m like, “Because when you assume everything’s the best, it’s like you walk into a coffee shop and there’s a friend of yours sitting in the corner, they see you walk in and look at you, they get up and bolt out of the back door and give you a nasty look.” What do you do?
It’s like, “That person’s mad at me.” This is uncomfortable. You’re making their emotions about you. You have no idea why they’re mad at you. Based on the evidence, it’s a good assumption but the question is, does it serve you? Because of the assumption that they’re mad at you, what happens now? You’re upset. You’re tossing this around in your mind. My wife, Stephanie and I walked into a grocery store one day and the lady was a complete beast behind the counter. As we were walking away, Steph goes, “That lady hated us.” I’m like, “Is that what you took away from that?” She goes, “What’d you take away?” I’m like, “Anything but that.”
I didn’t make it about me because when I make it about me, then it causes me disruption. What I would say to you is that we all have these misinterpretations. We’re constantly misinterpreting what people say, but we’re afraid to ask and seek clarity. What successful people know that unsuccessful people don’t know is that you have to be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. You have to be able to seek clarity. My wife and I are having an agreement that we always call each other out on our things. This is a tough agreement to have because it feels like sometimes that they don’t have your back but in reality, they do have your back. My wife will ask me, “How was that?” If it was her fault, I’ll tell it was her fault. I’ll take the other person’s side. If it wasn’t, I’ll tell you her side. She’ll be like, “You don’t have my back.” I’m like, “I do have your back because I want you to understand and fully deal with the truth.”We all make decisions the same way. We take all the available information and we make the best decision we can. Click To Tweet
Having undercover uncomfortable conversations is about constantly questioning your reality and your perception of things so that you’re only ever dealing in truth and constantly questioning other people’s perception of things. When you see that somebody’s upset or mad, be willing to ask the question, “What’s going on?” If you make it about you because that’s what your mind’s tendency to do, now you’re suffering and they’re suffering. When you clear up those inconsistencies, those uncomfortable things and you’re clearing your mind of disruption and worry. You’re protecting your peace. As my homeboy, Trent Shelton is constantly saying, “You’ve got to protect your peace,” by having the uncomfortable conversation and getting clarity around everything.
This is all great stuff and I can feel people who are reading this to say, “That’s too much work, James. I want to be normal and live my life.” What is your response to that?
It’s too much work not to do it. If your life is everything that you want it to be, none of what I’m saying is important. You can say it’s too much work, but there is no shortcut to the top of the mountain. My narrative is either do the work or change your goal. There’s no shame in it, but don’t sit around complaining about your life. If you say that’s too much work, then change your goal. Say, “I’m good with everything.” If you’re good with everything, there is no shame in that. If you’re good at being 400 pounds, be good at being 400 pounds. If you’re good with being broke, be good with being broke but don’t complain about your life and then say it’s too much work. We’re laying down the truth, what it’s going to take to change. It’s more work not to do it because of all that worrying, anxiety and fear that you feel inside of you, that’s what’s creating your life.
Everybody’s on a path to somewhere. If you want to have an uncomfortable conversation, have a conversation with yourself about where that path is leading. There is no magic. You have a relationship path. I’m going to ask you about your romantic relationship. Is it better than it was the last time? If the answer is no, it’s worse. How much worse? 10% worse. Where will it be even further? Money is super easy and weight is super easy. Do you have less or more money than you did? I have less money. Are you in more debt? Where would you be if the current trend will continue several years from now?
What people don’t understand is they don’t calculate the cost of what they perceive as doing nothing because there isn’t actually that. Your weight, your physical fitness, your health, where are you at personally a year ago? Calculate that thing out. Stop lying to yourself. There is a cost to doing nothing. What drives me crazy is you get somebody who’s overeating their whole life. They are living terribly. They smoked and then they get heart disease or heart attack and they’re like, “Why me, God?” What did you think was going to happen? Either become okay with your current circumstances. Stop lying to yourself about what those circumstances are and be okay with the path that you’re on or do the work you need to change. If you continue to sit in that space, where you’re sitting in that in-between space, then you’re suffering because every day you wake up and you’re like, “This is the day I’m going to lose weight.” You eat the donut and you feel guilty all day. Either be good with it or do the work because if not, you’re going to suffer.
How can people reach you, James? If they want to learn more, watch the movie, maybe hire you as a coach or a mentor, how can they connect with you?
We created a company that’s called Powerful U. It is about giving people the information they need to move their life forward. Everything we do is geared towards every financial situation. We do not deny people content. We have content. Our movie is $12. We have a subscription platform that’s $12. Everything we do is affordable, even the events that we do. We don’t refuse a ticket interview. We have scholarship tickets. I don’t care where you’re at. We can give you the highest dollar coaching in the world, but we service the whole market. I don’t want anybody thinking here that they can’t afford what we have because they can. Go to our website. It’s Powerful-U.com. Check out the movie. I think you’ll like it. That movie will shift and change your life. It will give you the information and then we have all the follow-up information you need to change your life.
I want to say thank you for coming on the show. I realize that there’s so much more content that we have to cover. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time to cover it all. The content that you shared is so valuable. For people that are reading, it’s rich and it’s much that I would recommend that you read it again to get the content and what James is saying and sharing with us because it is a shift. I recommend you to watch the movie. This needs to be something that’s in your library. You need to watch the movie, share it with your kids and with your family members because we are living based on the beliefs that we have in our heads. The question that we have to constantly day-to-day, moment-to-moment ask ourselves is, “How is that serving us?” That is a very powerful question. James, I would like to ask you one more thing. What is the game-changer mentality message that you would like to leave with us?
I want your audience to know that we need them. There are people reading that are considering committing suicide. It’s statistically impossible that there isn’t. There are people here that are depressed and they feel like they’re alone. They feel like there are no options and that their life is the best it’s ever going to be. I want you all to know that you’re not alone. I see your pain. I understand what you’ve been there because I’ve walked those steps. I want you to know that there’s hope and that you can change your life. It can be magical and that we need you. There are people that you’re going to be able to reach. My biggest goal in life is to break people free of pain and ignorance at scale.
I can’t do that alone. I need you to understand that you’re not alone. To understand that there’s hope, that you can have more and that you can create the life that’s magical. We need you because there’s something so new, unique and powerful about you. You’re the only one that’s ever lived your life experience. You might not think it is special, but it is special. That’s what is unique about you. It’s not skills. There was power. There’s a spark and you know the spark because you feel it. There’s a spark inside of you. We want that spark to become a fire that sweeps the whole world and it’s going to take all of us. We need you to stand up and recognize your power. We need you to get in here and fight with me and Rodney because we’re not going to be able to make the change we want to do alone. The world needs all of us. There’s hope. There’s something inside of you that we needed to come out and we can help you get there.What's on the inside is always being reflected on the outside. Click To Tweet
I want to echo them guidance to me. This is real talk here. We’re always looking for an answer. We’re looking for a sign and we’re praying for something to take place that can help us. This is it. It’s the key to this. Watch the movie.
You are what you’re looking for. That power you want and the love, you are the source of love in your life. It’s there. We can help you identify that.
Thank you, James, for coming on the show. This has been amazing. Thank you for what you do and what you are doing. We support you. You have our support here. For the audience, this is another successful episode. This is very heartfelt and it’s game-changing. James, if you can give information one more time for the audience.
You can watch the movie. It streams on our website, Powerful-U.com, because it’s all about you. If you want to get our book, it’s a much deeper dive into the concepts we’ve talked about. You can buy that on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The book and the movie are called Perception: Seeing is Not Believing.
Until next time, peace and love.
- James Purpura
- Perception: Seeing is Not Believing – Movie
- Powerful U – You can watch the trailer and purchase our film here!
- Barnes & Noble – Perception: Seeing is Not Believing
- Amazon – Perception: Seeing is Not Believing
- Perception: Seeing is Not Believing
About James Purpura
James Purpura, entrepreneur and philosopher, was a homeless drug addict just fifteen years ago. After enduring a personal descent into Hell, he was able to overcome limiting beliefs to build and sell one of the largest construction software companies in the world. As a part of his journey to success, he and his wife built their own personal development philosophy which hinges on the study of perception. James believes our perceptions define our world and dictates all of the decisions we make.
He developed concepts called the “Field of Perception” and “Perception Loop,” which explain how we develop the patterns that dominate all of our lives. These concepts show us how to view our lives differently. They also explain how we are letting our pasts cast a shadow over our futures. After confirming that their philosophy works, James and Steph created their company, Powerful U. This was a way for them to give back their knowledge to the world, and help as many people as possible to evolve their lives.
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