Dr. John Demartini – World-renowned Human Behavior Expert
Probably one of the busiest guests we’ve ever had on the show. We’re privileged to have him and to have a little bit of his time, Dr. John Demartini. He is a polymath and a world-renowned Human behavior expert with over four decades of research across multiple disciplines. Students have described his work as the most comprehensive body of work, an extensive library of wisdom and wisdom of the highest and most valuable order. His mission and vision are to share knowledge and wisdom that empowers you to become a master of your own life and destiny. He’s an internationally published author, a global educator, and the founder of the Demartini Method, a revolutionary tool in modern psychology.
Dr. Demartini has studied over 30,000 books across all defined academic disciplines. He synthesized the wisdom of the ages, which he shares online and on stage in over 100 countries. Now, his presentations where the keynotes, seminars, or workshops leave clients with insights into their behavior and give the keys to transform their lives completely. His signature program is The Breakthrough Experience. It was delivered in 64 countries to over a hundred thousand students.
He is the author of over 40 self-development books. I have no idea where he gets the time to do this and manuscripts, such as the number one bestseller, The Breakthrough Experience. This book was translated into 36 languages.
You Define Your Life
One night in 1972, November 18th, it was at Sunset recreation hall on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. I was led there to a health food store, and a gentleman I met there said, “You need to go to this yoga class.” It was at a yoga class, and a special guest speaker named Paul C. Bragg was attending and speaking. He was an elderly gentleman, and he began to speak. He touched my life in a way that’s hard to describe. He said we have a body, mind, and soul; the mind must direct the body.
The soul must guide the mind to maximize who we are as Human Beings. He said that you want to set goals for yourself, your family, your community, your city, your state, your nation, your world for a hundred to 120 years and beyond. What you think about, what you visualize, what you say to yourself, how you feel about yourself, and the actions you take can change the trajectory of your life.
Before that, I was a high school dropout. I was illiterate, and I didn’t read my first book until I was 18. My first-grade teacher told me that I would never be able to read, write, and communicate effectively, probably not amounting things or go very far in life. I was a street kid, and I was living in a tent at the time. I nearly died right about 2 to 3 weeks before that.
In that recovery, that’s what led me to this little yoga class. That night, that man with that one hour got to me. It was the first time I ever thought maybe I could overcome my learning problems and be able to communicate properly. After hearing him, I thought perhaps; I could overcome this and do this and become intelligent someday.
A Mothers Love
That was the beginning of a quest to overcome learning challenges and learn how to read. I flew to Los Angeles, went back to Texas, took a GED and miraculously guessed and passed, and then failed to try to go to school again. I almost gave up. My mom found me crying on the living room floor after failing a test, I got a 27, and I needed a 72 to pass. She said, “What happened, son?” I said, “I guess I’ll never be able to read or write effectively. I don’t think I can do this.”
She said to me something that only a mother could say. She put her hand on my shoulder. She said, “Son, whether you become a teacher and travel the world like your dream, whether you go back and ride big waves in Hawaii like you’ve done or return to the streets and panhandle as a bumming child, I just want to let you know that your father and I are going to love you no matter what.”
That moment of unconditional love, certainty, grace, and presence, made my hand go into a fist and look up. I see a vision that I saw the night I met Paul Bragg, me standing in front of a million people speaking.
I said to myself, “I’m going to master a thing called learning and reading. I’m going to master this thing called teaching philosophy. I’m going to master this thing of educating. I’m going to do whatever it takes. I’m going to travel whatever distance. I’m going to pay whatever prize to give my service of love across the planet. I’m not going to let any Human Being stop me on this, not even myself.” I got up, and I hugged my mom. I went into my bedroom, and I got a function dictionary out, which I still have.
Focus on Your Goal
I started memorizing 30 words a day. My mom helped me memorize these 30 words, pronounce them, and use them in sentences. I grew my vocabulary by 30 words a day until the end of the year, I had 10,000 new words and was starting to pass school. I never stopped reading from that day forward to this day. I read every day, and I started reading faster and devouring everything I could.
When I turned almost 19, my mom said, “What do you want for your birthday? You were born on Thanksgiving. What do you want for your birthday and Christmas?” I said, “I want the greatest teachings on the face of the Earth. The greatest writings humanity has ever created are by the greatest minds who ever lived from around the world.”
She asked me if I was sure. I said, “Well, Mom, I want the greatest teachings on Earth.” She contacted her brother, my uncle Ralph, a professor at MIT at one time. He sent two giant 6x6x6 foot wooden crates on a flatbed truck to our home as a gift. I laid him down on the ground from the flatbed truck. I got a crowbar out, opened them up, and filled my room with thousands of books.
I started to go to work, and I never stopped. That opened up the doorways of many different analogies. I wanted to be a man of letters, and study everything I could from every different discipline. I committed to reading at least a hundred books in every known discipline. I started teaching, and now I’ve spoken in 159 countries. I get to speak almost every day, and I love it. I’m inspired today as I was that moment I met Paul Bragg. It still gives me tears of gratitude to get to do what I do.
Perceptions, Decisions, and Actions
William James, the father of modern psychology, made a statement doing a slight paraphrase that the greatest discovery of our generations is that Human Beings can alter their lives. It is by altering their perceptions of mind and attitudes of mind. I believe that we have control over three things in life: perceptions, decisions, and actions. It’s not what happens to us on the outside. It’s how we decide to proceed.
I’m a firm believer that there’s a neutral event out there until we subjectively bias our interpretation of our reality and see things in some sort of polarized fashion. If we see something that’s terrific, we will fear its loss. If we see something terrible, we’re going to fear it again. We will induce this phobic life because of our polarization of perception.
If we ask a question that our intuition constantly attempts to bring us back into homeostasis and balance and liberate ourselves from the infatuation and resentments that occupy space and time of mind and distract us.
Tears of Gratitude
Suddenly, we ask the question, how specifically is whatever’s happening to me right now that I think is distressful? How’s it helping me fulfill my mission on Earth? How’s it helping me do something extraordinary of contribution and service to the world? How’s it helping me become the magnificent being that I’m innately at? Who am I, my authentic self?
The quality of our living space and the questions we ask. If we ask the question, how specific is it helping us get where we want to go? Not to run our story as a victim of history, but allow ourselves to be a master of destiny. The outside world is a challenge or opportunity to be the magnificent being that we are here to shine from the inside.
I’m a firm believer in asking those questions. If you answer those questions and don’t stop and keep doing it until you get tears of gratitude, your stress will be your blessing. Our emotions are based on our ratios of perceptions. If we choose to see the downsides instead of upsides, or upsides without downsides, we’re going to avoid or seek, and activate our amygdala.
Allow Yourself To Be a Master of Life
We’re going to be instinctive to avoid the thing that we think got more drawbacks and benefits. We will be caught in an uncontrollable impulse for what we believe in, having more upsides and downsides. If we take accountability, be objective and see things as they are, not as we assume they are, we permit ourselves to be empowered as a master of life. Not this victim of history, and we can transform it.
We don’t want to sit there and wallow in our pity parties and trauma dramas. We want to empower ourselves by taking command of our perceptions, decisions, and actions. If we fill our day with the highest priority actions we can, our day doesn’t fill up with lower priority distractions that keep us from being empowered. I’m a firm believer in finding out what’s valuable, what’s important, and concentrating on the solution; the flowers. Otherwise, you’re going to keep pulling weeds.
Causes of Addiction
I’m not the most Orthodox individual, as you probably guessed already from my responses. The first thing I do is I’ve had the opportunity to work with people with all types of addictions, food, sex, drug, etc. Believe it or not, there are unconscious motives, and the first thing I’ve asked them is, “What’s the benefit you’re getting out of doing this?”
They told me, “Well, it’s not killing me. It’s this and that.” I know, but no one will decide unless they perceive consciously or unconsciously more advantages than disadvantages, and they’re not going to do it. Deep inside, there must be a perception in associations you’ve made in your life along your journey of more advantages than disadvantages.
This is an example. I was doing a reality TV show filming in Universal Studios a few years back. They gave me 12 people to transform their lives, nonstop, 2 hours each and 24 hours. There’s a real wild marathon. A lady there walked in with 2 boxes of food and came in. She said, “I brought food for everybody in case we get hungry, everything else.” Then went on to eat more than a week’s worth of food in front of me.
Pinning Down the Benefits
I mean, that was amazing. Of course, her reason for being there was that you got to help her stop eating. That was the thing. I said to her, “We got 2 hours here now. The first question I have is, you’re saying that you have an eating addiction.” She was a large woman, as you can imagine. I said, “So what’s the benefit you getting out of that?” she replied, “there’s no benefit. Look at me; I’m overweight. It’s causing problems.” I said, “Stop. What’s the benefit you’re getting out of it?”
She could not think of any until, finally, she paused. She got present, quit running the racket in the story, and then covered up the dodging mechanism, the social of statements. She said that everybody in her family is large, and she was not. She felt like she was not part of the family. I said, “Great. What’s the next benefit getting out of this?”
She said, “My sister used to bully me and push me around. She’s bigger than I was when I was young. I made sure that she couldn’t push me around. I always made sure I was bigger than her.” She then affirmed that her sister is still big. I asked her again “Okay, good. What’s another benefit you got?” Then she said, “A big one that belly-washed her, brought tears out of her eyes.”
That lady told me that she went on a weight loss program one time and lost 45 pounds. She got a little bit of a figure, and for the first time, a man approached her. She thought the man loved her. The very first time they went out, they made love. The following day she never saw him again.
About six weeks later, she found out she had a baby coming. She is a Catholic and of Spanish descent. Being pregnant, she was so angry at herself. She felt shame, foolishness, vulnerability, and bitterness. She didn’t want to have a child but didn’t want an abortion. It was the most painful thing she had ever experienced. She chose abortion and has dealt with it ever since.
She cried and said, “One thing I never did is I never allowed myself to be vulnerable for a man again. I always kept my weight on because I associated it with losing weight.” I said, “Good, what’s another benefit?” she answered, “I’m in the TV industry, as you can see. From my breast up, smooth skin, very thick hair, voluptuous, from there down bowling pin. I make sure I’m only seen from here up, and every time I’ve tried to lose weight, my skin sags a bit, and I don’t look well. I’m ensuring that I’m keeping my skin smooth because people always compliment me on my skin.”
You Are Empowered
We went down through this question, and we got 75 unconscious benefits brought into conscious awareness. When she got through, she said, “I don’t intend to lose weight, do I?” I said, “Not until we can develop a viable, alternative way of getting those same benefits with an alternative action. I mean, that’s doable, but first, I want you to know that you’re more empowered than you think. You’re not this disempowered individual.
You go through your life navigated through and strategized. You found a way of getting all the things you wanted by this one thing called eating. It is quite an ingenious strategy, a simple process of eating that gives you some pleasure to satisfy all those concerns. I don’t want to judge you for that. I just want you to know you’re empowered, and you have the power to Shift it now that you’re aware of that.
We started going through those benefits and looking for viable alternative pathways to get the same benefits until ideas came. We linked them to what’s most valuable by asking how specific doing will help fulfill what’s truly meaningful in life. We turned around and de-linked the previous eating behavior to what was most important. We started, in a sense, using the operant model of Skinner and Pavlov. That is to readjust her perceptions and neuro-plastic pathways the way she perceived getting those outcomes in life and shifted her over a period.
Ability to Rebuild Life
I had to sit down and work with her on several occasions, not just those two hours. That changed her eating pattern because she had unconscious motives that she didn’t realize. Many addictive behaviors; I worked with a heroin addict in Los Angeles also that was a famous movie star but was using heroin every day. All his roles in the movie industry were always about being a stoned hippie guy who looked like he was on heroin. He made millions, and when he got older and stopped getting those roles, he quit his drugs. It was a strategy to look the part, be the part, and get those opportunities because he was not even acting. He was just being stoned.
The first thing I did was I tried to help them understand that they are more empowered than they realize. Do not give away power and believe it’s some anthropomorphic system that needs to be subordinated. The real truth is that they have tremendous power inside, but they are not conscious of their strategies.
There’s nothing wrong, and you don’t need to say, “I’ve messed up,” or anything. You just need to be able to say thank you to yourself and, “No matter what I’ve done or not done, I’m worthy of love, and I have the power to transform my life.”
Advantage vs. Disadvantage
Every decision we make is based on what we believe will give us the greatest advantage over the disadvantage to what we believe is most valuable in our life. My highest value is teaching. Since I was 17 and I’m 67 now, it’s been my dream. Every day, I made sure I structured my life and delegated everything else away. I’m useless everywhere else. That’s about all I can do is share. I’m pretty well useless.
I mean, I haven’t cooked since I was 24. I haven’t driven a car in 32 years. I delegate everything. I even jokingly say to my girlfriend, “Look, if I was to get you Hugh Jackman or Brad Pitt or Gerard Butler or George Clooney to make love on my behalf, would you still love me?” Every time my girlfriend says, “I would love you even more.”
Anytime you’re doing lower priority things, you devalue yourself, put yourself in your amygdala, and become vulnerable. I always say that addictive behavior is compensation for unfulfilled highest values. If you’re filling your day with something significant, deeply important, you’re not going to overeat. It’s like a woman who’s about to get married in 10 days and she wants to get in that special wedding dress.
She’s not going to pig out, over-drink, party, and everything else on those 10 days. The night of the wedding, watch out. She’ll catch up. The husband better watch out because you better shellac that and get a picture of that before it’s too late. The point is that when you have something deeply meaningful to you, and you get engaged, the blood glucose and oxygen go into the forebrain.
Your Life, Your Principles
Literally, the forebrain, the executive center, and the gratitude center mitigate the volatilities of the impulses and instincts of the amygdala, where the addictive behaviors come from. You’re not going to have out-of-control behavior when you’re doing something inspiring and meaningful that you feel called in your life to fulfill serves.
I call their values the hierarchy of values because we’re making decisions based on what our values are. If you look carefully, your life demonstrates your values. My life demonstrates my values of teaching, researching, and writing because I do it every day and travel all the time. Those are my values. I don’t have a value on cooking because I haven’t cooked since I was 24, so that’s 43 years. Your life demonstrates what you value.
Knowing What is Important
Suppose you look at how you fill your space. In that case, your intimate space is 1 foot and half, and your personal is about 4 feet in proxemics. The personal and intimate space reveals what’s valuable because anything you keep in there is valuable, and you push away anything that’s not important. Then you look at time. You make time, find time, spend time on valuable things, and you run out of time and don’t want to spend time on things that aren’t.
Then you look at where it energizes. You’re energized by things high in your values and de-energized by things that are not. Then how do you spend your money? You find money, make money, and spend money on valuable things, but you don’t want to spend money on things that aren’t.
Then you look at where you’re most organized and most disciplined. What it is that you think about, visualize, and internal dialogue with yourself about how you want your life that shows evidence of coming true. Not fantasies that don’t show evidence, but evidence of coming true.
Then you look at what you want to converse with other people about most. Which is anything to do with maximizing Human awareness and potential for me. You look at what inspires you and brings tears to your eyes. What are the common denominators that people who inspire you? You look at what you love reading, studying, and learning about that you can’t wait to go and fill your mind with food for thought.
Learn to Trust YOU
What are the most consistent persistent goals you have that are coming true? If you look, there’s a pattern there. I’ve been doing it for 43 and a half years, taking hundreds of thousands of people through this process. It is a pattern that reveals itself if you answer honestly. What many people do is compare themselves to others.
Sometimes, people on pedestals think they’re more successful and intelligent; more of this injects values from others, clouds the clarity of their own calling, and confuses themselves about what they’re committed to. That highest value is the calling, the purpose, and the most fulfilling. You are spontaneously inspired to want to do that. Finding that is where we excel.
Doing lower priority things, we need external motivation to keep us doing that. We end up subordinating and offloading decisions to other people. We are not allowing ourselves to realize our genius, magnificence, and empowered state. Prioritizing our life and filling our day with the most important things are most important. Planting flowers in the garden of our mind is greater than pulling weeds and dealing with distractions, according to Parkinson’s Law.
SOUL: State Of Unconditional Love
I like to think of the soul as just the acronym, the State Of Unconditional Love. When we exaggerate ourselves and look down on people and sometimes resent them and puff ourselves up, that’s inauthentic. When we look up to people, exaggerate them, minimize ourselves, and go into shame, that’s inauthentic. But when we put them in our hearts and have equanimity within us and equity between us and them, we actually realize that they’re just an intimate reflection, of everything that we may not have owned but now can own. We actually have a love for them and we’re not exaggerating and minimizing.
We’re not wearing our personas and masks. We’re just our being. The essence of our being is the soul, the State Of Unconditional Love. We realize that what we see in others is the perfect reflection of what we can love in ourselves. Thank you for them, grace, and that’s the authentic self. That’s our soul.
The Essence of Our Being
Our soul is constantly trying to express itself. Our magnificence is greater than all the fantasies we impose on ourselves and all the personas and facades that we might wear. We’re not here to put people on pedestals or pitches. We’re here to put them in our hearts, which liberates us from the illusions that disempower us and the confusion of trying to change others into us or us into others.
We’re not here to fix anybody. We’re here to realize that our Human will can be part of the divine will in a state of the soul. There’s nothing to fix, and we’re grateful and graced. That’s where we’re most profound, and that’s where genius, inspiration, calling, inner message, and divine design are revealed to us that we can fulfill. So yeah, our soul is the essence of our being, and it’s greater than the existence of our illusions, the personas that we sometimes wear.