There’s a lot happening in world right now. A lot of conflict, fear, and division. When you add that to uncertainty, restriction, and loss, it’s a recipe for some real chaos. And in this chaos, I see people who are ready to die for what they believe, people who don’t know what to believe, and people who are shaping what they believe based on whats being promoted.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from becoming successful in an industry that is full of miss information, it’s this: That if you don’t guard the sources from which you receive your information, you’ll end up believing things that take you off track of reaching your potential, and will likely create damage along the way.
As I always do in my writing and coaching, I share my own perspective from what I’ve learned, and my own experiences. There is only so much perspective I have, as a flawed human being. But as someone who’s passion is transformation, I take my messages seriously and only present them in hopes that you will take the responsibility to continue the conversation and do the research yourself.
At 35 years old, I would consider myself fairly diversified in cultural and social economical experience. I grew up mostly in San Francisco, where I was bused across the city to public school in Chinatown. I lived in section 8 housing, where my neighbors were predominantly minorities with broken families. We lived off of food stamps back when they looked like Monopoly money. And to eat a restuarant was reserved for a birthday every few years.
At ten years old I had a brief stint in suburban living. Swimming pool in the backyard, weekend BBQs, long summer trips, and private school. This was the result of what I would consider a blessing from above. The quick seemingly overnight success of a business my dad, started. Selling used Levi 501 jeans to his home country of Thailand.
In 1998 the economy in Thailand crashed in what seemed to be overnight. Within 3 weeks my family of 10, moved from our comfortable home in Marin County, to the busyness of Bangkok. I witnessed first hand what culture shock was. Thailand is what I’d consider my first quarantine. No one to speak english, no internet, no long distance calling, and the constant longing to connect with friends and family back in the US.
From 98′ now at the age of 13, life in Thailand for my family was what I would define as a slow crumbling. The uncertainty, the grief over the lifestyle we lost and left behind, the unsettling stress of my Dad and his demeanor as he struggled to lead and provide for a family of 8 kids.
Just at the turn of the millenium, my sister and I moved to Florida with my Uncle and Aunt to begin High School. After two years, it was back to California, reuniting with my family. And from there it was what I’d describe as a further dismantling of the security and strength my family once had.
A return to welfare, foodstamps, and eventually back in subsidized housing. Add to this watching a Father crumble to point he was unrecognized as the noble head of house he once was. The subject of racism in the community often brought up, among other unsettling things. Family relationships that seemed iron clad completely imploded and fell apart, as did mental and emotional health.
For me to put myself in his shoes, as a dark skinned immigrant with cultural and communication challenges, not able to provide for his family, living in a predominantly affluent white neighborhood. I saw the way he constantly struggled with self worth. And how his drive and discord was based on proving his worth in what he deemed worthy.
I’ve been through poverty, to blessing, then back to poverty, then blessing again. I’ve been part of things that seemed invincible, that crumbled. I’ve started things that I had dreams and aspirations for, that crumbled. And there are some things that I’ve never had at all.
Considering all this, I believe my perspective may be helpful to some. Not only from my upbringing, but from the perspective of a coach who has made it his highest priority to help others reach their potential.
And with that as my priority, what I’ve seen in my industry in regards to the truth about real issues, and how it is manipulated to fuel things that don’t always have people’s best interest in mind.
When I first started coaching people, I realized how misinformed and how many misconceptions there were about getting results. There were times where I would lay out a plan or go over an exercise, and a common response I’d get would be, “Jonny, you’re saying the exact opposite of everything I’ve been told.”
Here I was, a 25 year old guy sporting all black baggy gym clothes, with a garage full of heavy weights. I was telling women to stop doing so much cardio. That Pilates wouldn’t make them longer or leaner. And that they needed to focus on lifting.
That they only needed to train with me 3 times a week, and focus on their nutrition. That they could eat white rice and red meat every day and get shredded, and they needed to stop drinking those pricey green juices and smoothies.
I told people that what was being marketed was a bunch of lies, being sold by people who didn’t even believe in what they were selling.
When going against the cultural and common flow, there is always pushback. I guess you could have considered me a conspiracy theorists. Of course until after the fact. Because the truth always eventually comes out in the results. I just hate the results of believing the wrong things. Even more so in situations where the damage has been done.
I saw this as the case in most things in life. The methods and solutions delivered to and accepted by the masses are rarely ever the solid truth. They are typically a portion of truth, with a slight or severe lean towards a given agenda. Be it business, marketing, news, or any form of persuasion.
These bits of truth are altered just enough to spark a human emotion like fear, anger, excitement, greed, lust, empathy. This simply makes it more appealing, more marketable. And more people buy into it.
I wasn’t willing to do that with 5 Stones. And if you’ve ever done a shred with me, you know the real solution isn’t pretty. It doesn’t look as cool as the adds that pop up on social media.
In reality, most the time your mind fights you. It requires discipline and character refinement, and it’s definitely not something all your peers are doing. Super appealing to masses, right? Not at all.
And that’s what I’ve realized about the truth. It’s not passive. It’s not emotionally driven, and not always super fun to talk about. It may even come across as judgement.
It risks offending people, and there are always sacrifices involved. But the truth is the only thing that sets us free.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” But now what you’ll likely hear more often is “Your truth” and “My truth.” I would call that our cultures way of suggesting that no one has to be wrong, and no one should judge what is accepted as the truth by others.
I’ve noticed what tends to happen with the truth, is people will take bits and pieces of it and paint a picture around it. As this happens, certain people either buy into the picture, or not. Or they create their own picture. And in some cases, those Fabricated pictures built around a partial truth, if convincing enough, can become a movement.
Although typically a movement is started by passionate people who want to find a solution to a real problem, the driving force can change. Because like many things that pick up traction and momentum, people with other agendas who are in a position to gain, align with the movement and add fuel by way of appealing to certain emotions.
This typically just creates a bigger movement, rather than actually solving the issue. Because solving the issue would lead to less gains, and less leverage for those who fuel it. Because for some, there is more profit in the problem than the solution.
Although people may have initially aligned themselves with the movement to create a positive change, that gets lost. Because it becomes more about the movement than the change. It becomes more about the fight than the actual victory.
When this happens, it separates people. Because due to the way it’s presented, you’re either for the movement, or against the movement. Which translates into being for the positive change, or not.
It’s not just disagreements and different opinions anymore. It now turns into accusation and shaming. Condemning and accusing others of either being a racist, or not. You either support equality for all, or you don’t. You either stand for freedom, or you’re against it.
And so what may have started out as a just cause and a stand for justice and equality, becomes a tool of division. This perpetuates the issues. Division spreads, hate intensifies, violence increases, and the initial goal that most people had of becoming unified and seeing justice for all is no where near reality.
So is there a solution? Can something so broken be restored and united? I believe it can be. But from experience I can only offer what I’ve seen the most success with when it comes to transformation.
And that is that true results and true change, start with first taking personal responsibility for our own actions. And From there, everything that is done must be done with a perspective of love. This requires sacrifice, as we must lay down our own personal desires, goals, and agendas, for the greater good. For the benefit of all.
This extends to community and relationships. Although Individuality may be more simple, a strong community with unity is what can create changes beyond what any individual on their own could create.
This requires an investment in Relationships. A core value that places the relationship above any disagreement or disconnection for any reason. These Relationships must be grounded in peace, patience, vulnerability, honesty, and accountability.
They must create an environment where people have freedom to speak their experiences, their beliefs, their goals, their fears, their motivations. A place where individuals come alongside each other and support, encourage, Inspire, and build each other up.
This environment must also be a place where honest critical feedback is accepted, and considered. Where real solutions to real issues are created by a community of people who care more about seeing the change, than they do about what the solution looks like, or what they themselves may look like in the process.
And in order for this to be sustained, it must be a place where there is an authority of truth who all will be accountable to.
Real solutions and real change, always come with sacrifice. They come with elevating the truth above the emotions, above the crowd, and above what culture says.
When people can lay down what benefits themselves, for the benefit of others, it’s the upmost example of love. And it’s love that can transform an individual, a family, an community, a nation.
I don’t believe the question is who is going to stand up and fight for it. I believe the question is, who’s gonna lay down their life for another?
Fighting is easy. Standing up and resisting authority is easy. Saying no to people who are pushing against what you believe, is easy. But taking the time to communicate with people that don’t see things your way, is another level of warfare. It’s a fight against your pride, and your sense of justifying your opinion.
Investing in trying to create a relationship with others who appose you, is not nearly as easy as